Title - Smoke and Mirrors
Author - Gaswn
Ratings – T (violence, and just unpleasantness. Just in case)
Genre – Drama
Pairings – Sabe / Obi-Wan friendship, eventual Sabewan
Summary – War comes to Naboo, making ordinary people into heroes and heroes into legends. She was a warrior armed with deception. A royal decoy faces her past and fights for her future. Sabewan.
Disclaimer- Don't own 'em, and I'm not worth suing.
Author's notes: This is my first fanfiction. Any reviews will be greatly appreciated and any flames will be taken as compliments.Prologue
Coruscant, 42 BBY
The evening horizon was still painted with the spectacular colors of sunset in red, gold, and purple on a putrid canvas of smog. But in the cavernous avenues of Coruscant's underworld, it could have been midnight. The fading light, blocked by towering buildings, never made it to ground level. Soot, urine, cooking food, and home brewed alcohol made the air below all but unbearable, and the mass of residents of every species and language was dense. Some of them were coming home from work, others making their way towards it. Others were just seeking hard for some sort of trouble to get into. None appeared to be in a good mood.
The ginger-haired teenager propped against a streetlight was no exception. He had been at his post for two hours, and his angular, attractive face was contorted by a terrible scowl. His youth and undistinguished brown clothing made him invisible to passers-by. Indeed, some of them walked right into him, and each time it happened, his scowl deepened.
If any of them had taken the time to notice him, they might have observed the glint of metal at his belt whenever his cloak slipped open, or the attitude of expectation behind the frown, with frequent glances toward a bar a block away.
It was his third year with Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and still he had not grown accustomed to being left behind. This time when they had donned civilian clothing, he had been sure that his Master would allow him to participate in the undercover operation, even if he wasn't yet old enough to drink. But when they had finally found the bar where an interplanetary Glitterstim operation was supposedly headquartered, the older man had instructed him to wait and had gone in alone.
The boy counted slowly to ten, thinking of all the lessons about serenity he had learned from Master Yoda in the Temple. Anger leads to hate, hate leads to…
Suddenly he stiffened, irritation forgotten. The scowl fell away entirely, leaving behind an uncanny look of focus that was unsettling in someone so young.
There had been a disturbance in the Force; a shiver, like a breeze across he surface of a pond. He scanned the street, his hand falling to rest by the light saber beneath his cloak. But no one in the streets attracted his special attention. They were all just the usual streetwalkers, hustlers, food vendors, and a few animals scouring for scraps between quickly walking feet.
He was unprepared for the impact directly in his knees. He grunted in pain as they hyper-flexed against the force of a small body hurtling directly into them. His vision swam.
When he recovered himself he was face to face with a small auburn-haired child with large brown eyes. She looked as if she had crawled straight out of a gutter, with dirt smudging her face and hands, and threadbare clothing so coated in grime and soot that it was impossible to tell the original colors. She sat where she had fallen hard on her bottom, staring at him reproachfully as if he had run into her.
"Steady on, young one," he said, the diminutive almost laughable from a speaker so young himself. He stretched out a hand to help her up. "You could get hurt racing around like that."
She looked at the proffered hand for a moment. Then she turned her luminous eyes back to him and gave him an insolent wink. Gathering her ragged cloak around her as if she held something within, she scrambled to her feet and was running off before he could say anything further.
The boy withdrew his hand and shook his head, puzzling over her strange behavior. And that shiver in the Force…
Well, he would ask Qui-Gon about it when he came back. He turned back into the direction of the bar to watch for his master once more.
It was only as he turned with his cloak swishing softly around him that he missed the familiar weight at his hip. With a cry of dismay he whirled back toward where the girl had disappeared. "Hey!"
He started after her at a dead run.
She had a three-stride head start, and the throngs of people in the street seemed to close in on him as he rushed to catch up. Nevertheless, after a block or two he could see her ahead, twisting between hips and past the ankles of people who barely seemed to notice her presence. The same people shouted with anger as the boy pushed past.
The crowd thinned as they left the main street and the girl ducked down an alleyway, with the boy skidding on his heels to follow. She scrambled over a dilapidated wooden barrier at the end of it with surprising agility. The boy groaned in his throat and then used his momentum to carry him partway up, enough to grab the top and swing over.
The child moved like a Coruscanti rat, and he was becoming very irritated with the chase. Little brat probably ran into me escaping her previous victim, he thought grimly as he followed her into an open-air market. He narrowly dodged a gang of air scooters, and craned his neck. Twenty feet away, he saw a tawny head duck down a flight of stairs.
Her advantage was her obvious knowledge of the area and her experience in being chased. His was the Force. He smirked and darted to the left. Behind a group of food carts was a low wall marking a sheer drop. Leaping lightly over it, he landed catlike from a fall that would have broken a normal person's legs. He only had to wait a moment there before he reached out and plucked the girl out of midair.
She was stunned for a beat, but then she became a demon in his grasp; biting, kicking and shrieking in a wordless wail that had the boy casting his eyes around, alarmed. "Settle down!" he said in the most commanding tone he could muster.
But the girl would have none of it. Twisting her body in an almost impossible arch, she sank her teeth into his arm. He lost his hold with a cry. She hit the ground running and was out of sight amidst the crowd before he could blink.
Choking back curses in several languages and holding his arm, the boy almost missed the tingling warning of his Master's presence.
"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon called from the staircase, taking the steps two at a time.
Obi-Wan turned to him, his face going crimson. "A little girl, Master. She picked my pockets and is running off with my light saber."
"This is a problem," Qui-Gon said, his eyes twinkling. "A Jedi must never be defeated by an adversary under ten."
Obi-Wan resisted the temptation to roll his eyes, and pointed down the street in the direction he'd last seen her.
"Hmm," Qui-Gon said, considering. "There is a street that runs parallel to this one, and an alley that joins them two blocks down. I will take this street, and you will take the other and we will cut her off in that alley."
He was off before Obi-Wan could ask how he knew she would be there. Obi-Wan muttered an oath and made for the adjoining street.
Of course Qui-Gon was right, as he nearly always was about matters of the Living Force. The girl must have decided that she'd lost him. When he turned into the alley his Master had indicated, she was sitting between two trash receptacles in a pile of rubbish, the light saber in her hands. Qui-Gon was nowhere in sight.
Obi-Wan slowed to a walk, hoping to get hold of her before she even noticed his presence. But as he watched in horror, the girl's hand brushed over the red button on the side of the handle, and the blue blade advanced, buzzing ominously. The girl started back, and then raised her other hand to touch the light saber's blade.
"No!" Obi-Wan shouted, and held out his hand.
He had never had much success at moving matter with the Force, which was why he was as shocked as she was when the light saber deactivated and whizzed through the air into his hands.
They stared at one another with wide eyes.
"Well done, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said, jogging into the alley.
Obi-Wan ducked his head in embarrassed pleasure.
Qui-Gon walked toward the little girl as one might approach a feral tusk cat and knelt before her, placing himself at eye level. "And what's this?"
"A child," Obi-Wan replied, distaste dripping from every syllable.
For her part, the girl couldn't seem to decide whether to glare at Obi-Wan or cower under Qui-Gon's intense scrutiny.
"So I see," Qui-Gon said. "Well, youngling, you have given my apprentice quite a chase."
Obi-Wan gaped as he and the girl shared a secret smile.
grasped her arm to help her to her feet, but as soon as his fingers
closed around her thin wrist he frowned, his high forehead furrowing.
"This girl is—"
"Force sensitive," Obi-Wan finished for him. "She used it to swipe my light saber." He tucked his weapon back into his belt.
"Used it?" Qui-Gon said disbelievingly. He looked at the girl for confirmation, but she just stared back with her large, inscrutable brown eyes.
"You use your abilities to steal," Obi-Wan said to the child sternly.
She leveled a chillingly precocious look at him.
"What is your name, girl?" Qui-Gon asked more gently.
The girl hesitated. "Sabe," she lisped softly.