This is my first Star Wars fic, so be kind! Customary disclaimer about how I own nothing and George owns everything applies.
Reviews are really, really, appreciated. I apologize in advance for the unabashed Obi-worship.
Thanks for reading!
Yoda shuffled mirthlessly through the wet sand by the water's edge. Heavy, pungent mists hung lowly, wafting lazily in the thick air of the bog and clinging damply to the rocks and vegetation. At times he felt as if he were standing in a secluded storm cloud, his small form keeping endless sentinel over a forgotten valley that would never again know rain.
And yet, the area was drenched in a kind of tranquility as every slithering life form and soaked weed netted together in a mesh of the Force's harmony. Long ago, a calm had settled in the diminutive Jedi's heart, a resolve borne out of necessity and salved by the deep waters and murky isolation of his chosen home of exile.
However, though Dagobah allowed Yoda a saturation in the ways of the Force, his time there was nevertheless lonely. His self-imposed bouts of solitude earlier in life had not adequately prepared him for the stiffness now taking residence in his joints or the lonely calls of skeletal birds in treetops he could scarcely see. A stubborn hump had risen between his shoulders, the result of his gaze slowly retreating from the stars and falling more and more to the soggy ground.
He absently stabbed the muck at his feet with his gimer stick. A single, cold raindrop plopped with a soft noise on his robe, followed by more, each one chillier than the last. For a moment the tired Master considered remaining in the rain to fully soak up the breath of the planet. Dagobah was sluggish and dank, but also allowed for moments of quiet beauty, like the slight hush before a late evening shower.
Before he wandered further into his mind (and before the rain thickened into sheets), Yoda caught the scent of his small fire and the meager stew cooking in the heat. He turned slowly and retreated into his den.
But before he reached the door, an invisible claw tore into his insides, seizing upon his heart in a sudden grip. Yoda gasped and leaned heavily on his stick, his tiny fist gathering the cloth of his tunic. Nearby reptiles slunk and scuttled away into the dark as his Force signature vibrated in alarm.
He quickly straightened himself and rubbed his head in consternation. Something was happening, somewhere, and his undimmed sensitivity to the Force rang out in protest to an event his mind had not had time yet to register.
Once he made it inside, Yoda noticed immediately that his fire had in the course of a moment dwindled to a few bright but lonely embers. Not a wind stirred in the small dome of a house.
Yoda knew what had transpired before the last heat of the remaining ember bled into ash. He felt suddenly exhausted, as if he had known it for days, even foreseen it months, maybe years before in his daily meditations. But now, reality caught up to him, and the ache sharpened into a pain, one that penetrated into every cell and left him paralyzed where he stood.
Obi-Wan was gone.
Yoda closed his eyes and saw sandy red hair, an immaculate beard partially concealing a broad smile, shining blue eyes, and a beautiful white light. His former padawan was now one with the Force, but the transference of that perfect light from one plane to the next left Yoda feeling as if he had momentarily stepped into a vacuum, like a gust of wind had stolen his breath.
"Hrrmmph...Vader," he grunted to himself and sank slowly to the floor. His brow was knitted tightly, his eyes squeezed shut in pain.
As Obi-Wan's young face faded from Yoda's thoughts, the aged Master sadly cursed his memories, because that was all they were, memories. He did not touch Obi-Wan's blessed presence as he died, he only had the memories at this moment of loss. The Force crowded around him and then retreated in erratic, striken waves.
So in the seclusion of his stone hut, the wise Yoda, perhaps for the first moment of his long existence, indulged himself in grief. He bowed his head and sat in silence for a length of time no tale can recount, in a trance of mourning the depths of which will never be known.
Yoda remembered his student, his fellow warrior and friend. He thought many times over of Obi-Wan's smile, his warmth, his calming manner and soothing voice. He remembered the grace of the swordsmanship and the deep strength of his commitment to the Order.
In his mind he saw an uncertain and frustrated boy desperately searching the face of his towering new master for some sign of acceptance or affection.
He could almost feel the rush of bodies run past him, as a 14 year old padawan and his fellow apprentices raced happily through the halls of the Temple.
He remembered the look of hurt on a young face as an apprenticeship ended abruptly and in a haze of mild but familiar rejection.
Yoda also felt a tiny stab in his heart at the image of a fallen Knight, exhausted and undone by the treachery of one his own former padawans.
But more than anything, Yoda remembered grace. Not only the grace of Obi-Wan's fighting and physicality, but the grace of his devotion, his patience, his intelligence, and his kindness.
Though the details of the scene were unknown to him, Yoda knew as a fact that Obi-Wan's last moments carried that same perfect, selfless grace. Yoda smiled to himself at that knowledge, of the certainty that accompanied the thought of Obi-Wan, the certainty that he was pure to the end, incorruptible and steadfast in the face of heart-wrenching trials.
When Yoda finally opened his eyes, he noticed a modest smoldering within the long dead pit of the fire. A small glow burned a tawny orange and filled the room with an unseen comfort.
He rose with both renewed purpose and increased weariness. Yoda could feel for the first time the light beginning to fade in his own eyes. The shadowy corners of his home seemed more indistinct than before. Nevertheless, two of the larger embers in the fire appeared to gather close to one another and feed into a single common flame, tiny but flickering and alive.
"Witness his passing in life, I am glad you did not," Yoda said evenly. He turned his wrinkled face slightly to the door. The softly shimmering form of Qui-Gon stood not far from the opening.
"It will not be long before he is returned to me. Not even the Force could grant me the absolution that I will know when our bond is renewed."
"Still quite possessive, you are," Yoda countered with a tired but wry smile. "Belonged to the universe Obi-Wan always did, and continues so to do. Magnified, he is, by his openness."
"Yes, he truly belongs to everyone now as a part of the Force. But he is also beloved. And always was."
"Disagree with you I do not." Yoda shuffled quietly to a bench under the round window of his home. Shadows from the small but vibrant fire danced on the interior walls.
"His final acts were courageous. He has secured the future of young Skywalker, and in doing so, preserved the light of the force," Qui-Gon said measuredly. "I've never been more proud."
Yoda smiled thoughtfully and lowered his head. An idle breeze gently rustled some dry leaves nearby. He again began to poke at the soft ground with his gimer stick and let out a long sigh.
"Master Yoda?" Qui-Gon asked gently. "What is it?"
"Dark times we have seen. And more darkness lies ahead." He pushed over a rock and watched a tiny worm wriggle away indignantly.
"Clouds of doubt and deception, long have they troubled us. But the light..."
Yoda met Qui-Gon's gaze.
"...the light never did I doubt. And full of light, Obi-Wan was. A threat to nothing but evil, untouched by darkness. Luminous, he was."
Qui-Gon's deep voice remained even as he silently faded. "And still is."
Many long minutes after Qui-Gon's departure, Yoda made his way back inside. He tenderly prodded the loyal little fire and listened to its soft crackle. In the end, Obi-Wan did exactly what was needed of him, just as he always did, and his final sacrifice shed light on a new path, a new direction for the fate of the galaxy–one that Yoda knew would lead inexorably to his doorstep.
So in the calm of Dagobah's murk and melancholy, Yoda thought about the Jedi called Obi-Wan Kenobi. And with those thoughts as his guide and comfort, he waited.