Title: Rushing Wind
Author: Laura of Maychoria
Category: Not a clue. Looks like Drama/Angst, so far
Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker
Summary: Obi-Wan is a brand-new Master, very young and uncertain of his path. Anakin is a brand-new Padawan with no idea of what to expect or how to behave. Everything is a first for them.
Author's notes: This will be a series of vignettes centered around Obi-Wan and Anakin's first few months together. I was never interested in writing Anakin before, but I started thinking about Obi-Wan, twenty-five and grieving, with this powerful child suddenly thrust into his care. And about Anakin, newly-saved from slavery, in a world and life utterly new to him. And I started thinking about what some of their "firsts" must have been like—their first dinner together, their first spar, the first time Anakin got in trouble, the first time they hugged. Of course I had to write it then.
1: The Empty Rooms
These rooms were usually empty of late. The two men who lived here were often gone, so much so that one could hardly say they lived here at all anymore, only visited upon a time, as a man grown from would visit old childhood haunts, reminiscing over bygone adventures, laughing and shaking his head at childhood treasures, passions, and fears long left by the wayside.
In cool afternoons a small droid would enter the rooms, watering the many well-loved plants strewn about, clearing away any dust that had dared to settle on the few cherished bits of memory scattered on plain-hewn shelves, and straightening once more bedclothes that had not been disturbed since the droid's last arrival. Otherwise, only light visited, entering the large picture window in an almost solid box of luminescence, angling down the wall and softening in the end to dusty twilight. Peace reigned here, a tranquil, patient waiting for the return of the two who filled this small space near to bursting with light and life. Their presence lingered even now, despite the lightyears that separated the men from their comfortable home.
One fateful day, the light seemed to enter more darkly than was its wont, hesitant, unsure of its welcome. The bright green (and purple) leaves of many of the plants seemed to fade and wilt. Perhaps they felt the difference through some strange osmosis of the Force, and knew that one of the beings who filled this place with warmth and wisdom was not going to return. Never again would a broad shoulder lean against that doorway, a wide, rough palm pass gently over the back of the broken armchair, a deep, smiling voice encourage the plants to dig their roots deep into the soil, their twining branches to stretch for the sun.
Soon after this, there was a change, and the long-empty rooms were empty no longer.
The child entered hesitantly, open curiosity in his round face, his bright blue eyes. He stood in the middle of the common room and tried to take in everything at once. His fingers danced as if already eager to find some mischief, and if the plants could have shrunk away from him, they would have.
Oddly, the young man entered with a bit of hesitation as well, though he had been here too many times to count. He glanced around with a mixture of hopefulness and sorrow, as if part of him expected a familiar figure to approach from the kitchen or the back bedroom, his hands out in greeting, but another part of him knew that that would never be. Something was missing from him—the braid at his shoulder was gone, and seemed to have taken some of the childlike luster of his spirit with it. He was no longer a youngster, this one.
"Wow." The child flitted from one side of the room to the other, staring at the strange plants, the bits of memorabilia. "We live here? My whole house back on Tatooine could fit in here two times! Do all Jedi have such big rooms?"
The young man smiled, though the shadows under his eyes made it look weary and sad. "Not all. Just Masters and Padawans. If Master Qui-Gon hadn't been living here just a week ago, you and I would probably have much smaller quarters. But this was easiest."
The little boy stopped moving to look up at his Master with wide blue eyes, eyes that had seen more than most, and still did. "It isn't easiest for you. I bet you'd rather be somewhere else now."
Obi-Wan pressed his thumb and forefinger against his eyes, rubbing gently. "I'll be all right, Anakin."
The child stared at him for a moment longer, then seemed to take him at his word. He rushed down the hall, yelling, "Which room is mine?"
"The first on the left!" Obi-Wan called. "And don't run in the Temple!"
Obi-Wan walked slowly to the middle of the room and turned around, looking at everything just as Anakin had, though with different eyes. Then he sank down to sit on the edge of the couch, not letting himself lounge back against the familiar lumps and bulges. His shoulders were hunched and his arms rested on his thighs, hands hanging loosely between his knees. Memories played behind his eyes—this could be seen in the occasional glints and flashes in the blue-green depths, though the still expression betrayed nothing of their contents.
"Hey! Do you know what this is?"
Obi-Wan looked up to find Anakin standing in front of him, holding a box so large that his arms barely stretched around it, small hands holding tightly to the front corners. The young Master quickly leaned forward and took the box. He grunted and set it on the floor.
"Blast, that's heavy!"
Anakin shrugged. "I've carried lots of heavier stuff."
Obi-Wan looked at his Padawan for a moment, the small crease between his eyes deepening. Then he shook it off and looked back at the box. "Where did you find this?"
"In the back of the closet in my room. The room's all empty right now, 'cept a bed and a desk and that box."
"Ah, yes. Bant told me that she and Reeft had moved all my things to the master room. She also said she had packed away Master Qui-Gon's possessions so I could go through them when I'm ready." He was silent for a moment, just staring out the window at the air traffic flowing by. "I have good friends," he added quietly.
Anakin shifted where he sat. "So what's this box, huh?" he prompted.
Obi-Wan blinked. He saw the boy twitch, saw how hard he was trying to rein in his impatience, and offered a smile that glinted with the old boyish mischief that had always been his trademark, though seasoned now with his new burdens and concerns. "Well, let's find out, shall we?"
Anakin leaned forward, watching avidly as Obi-Wan broke the seal and pulled off the top.
"Oh! I'd forgotten about these."
The expressive blue eyes sparkled with delight as Obi-Wan lifted out a small model spaceship, still attached to the filament that had once hung it from a ceiling.
"A Verpine fighter! Can I see it?" Anakin held out his hands as if in supplication.
Obi-Wan glanced at him, and the mischievous grin intensified. "I don't know. Can you?"
Anakin bounced up and down. "I mean, can I hold it? May I?"
The Master's smile softened. "Certainly." He handed over his old childhood treasure. "I made these when I was ten, eleven, twelve—until I started building my lightsaber. After that I lost interest, I suppose, though they hung from my ceiling until my twenty-first nameday. Then I decided I was too old. I hadn't realized until now that I actually missed them, in the way that you feel an absence, but can't remember what it is that you miss."
Anakin looked up from his careful scrutiny of the model, his hand tightening reflexively around the metal hull. "Do you want them back?"
Obi-Wan sighed. "No, I guess not. It's time for me to put away childhood pursuits for good. After all, I am a Master now."
He reached out as if to ruffle Anakin's hair, but the boy leaned back, evading his hand.
Obi-Wan drew back, the crease between his eyebrows deepening again. Again he shook it off. "You may have the models."
Anakin grinned, just a little sheepishly. "Thanks . . . Master."
"You're welcome, Padawan. Your room may be empty now, but I have no doubt that you'll soon have it filled with little odds and ends that will make the place your own." Obi-Wan looked thoughtfully around the room, his gaze pausing at the gaps in the plain-hewn shelves where objects had been removed by a gentle Calamarian hand. "These rooms have been empty for a long time—Master Qui-Gon and I were rarely here during the past few years. But I do believe I smell a change in the wind."
Anakin jumped to his feet and ran back to his room, holding out the model in his hand and making very credible Verpine fighter noises. "Come help me hang them up! You're lots taller than me!"
Obi-Wan sighed again, but hauled himself to his feet readily enough. "I'm coming. And don't run in the Temple!"