Down in the square in front of the Senate Building, Siri was getting restless. The waiting was wearing her nerves and she felt the un-Jedi-like desire to pace back and forth.
Near her Qui-Gon, Yoda and Mace Windu were meditating on their knees, eyes closed and face relaxed despite the danger looming over the Republic and the Jedi Order. There was no doubt that if Obi-Wan failed to defeat Palpatine or, worse, if he turned to the Dark Side, the Jedi would have to confront with as a serious threat as they had never faced in one thousand years.
Siri clenched her fists, then forced herself to relax as she probed her bond with Obi-Wan, wishing to feel how he was. But the bond was silent, as it was the Force.
To her perceptions it felt like the Force, while still existing and penetrating the galaxy, was now immobile, still, or at least untouchable by her and, she suspected, by every Jedi or Force-user in galaxy. Or more correctly, it was the Living Force to be still, while the Unifying Force was all concentrated around the Senate Building.
Siri had the desire to use the Force to try to move an object just to see if her theory was right or wrong, but then discharged the idea as childish.
What did it matter if she was right or wrong? Whatever the outcome of her experiment, she would not be able to help Obi-Wan.
The only thing she could do was to have faith—in the Force and Obi-Wan – and wait.
Siri was about to start pacing, when there was a sudden shift in the Force. The Living Force, so still until a few seconds before, returned to pulse and whirl just an instant before a loud shrieking sound was heard and the Senate Building collapsed on itself like a giant castle made of sand.
Qui-Gon, Yoda and Mace stood up and looked in wonder and shock, and so it did the curious crowd that had gathered in the square.
A tick cloud of dust rose high from the spot where the heart of the Republic government had been, creating problems with the nearby air traffic.
"Obi-Wan…" murmured Siri, as she reached out with her mind, but the fear and the panic emanating from the crowd around her were disturbing her perceptions.
Worried, she turned her eyes to face Qui-Gon but the master shook his head, his blue eyes betraying her same concerns.
Around them, the sky and the square filled with shuttles and speeders of the Civil Guard and the Medical Rescue, as the authorities tried to keep order in the ensued chaos and more curious people gathered to watch and comment what had happened.
The column of dust, which had raised for several metres above the area, started to collapse, and washed over the square, investing the onlookers, blocking their vision, disturbing their breathing and covering them with a fine, grey powder.
It was in the middle of that almost surreal scenario, with the flashing lights of the rescue ships colouring the still fluctuating dust in red and blue, that a solitary figure was seen crossing the square.
As the dust finally settled, the man advanced, seemingly walking in slow motion, his steps measured and calm, completely unaffected by the confusion around him, by the guards urging him to speed up for the area was unsafe or by the medical officers asking him if he was all right.
He just kept on walking, slowly and surely, pointing toward Siri and the other Jedi.
He was covered by grey dust from head to foot, from his short, spiky hair to his leather boots and blood was pouring by several small cuts on his hands and by a longer one on his right cheek.
Siri's heart started beating faster when their bond throbbed in recognizance, even if she was taken aback by the unfamiliar power in that beloved, well-know Force signature.
Forgetting her Jedi restraint, the masters behind her and the promise made ten years before, Siri let out a cry of joy and ran toward Obi-Wan, meeting him mid-way and throwing her arms around his neck.
He tensed for a moment, then his arms rose to embrace her back, as he buried his face in her neck.
"Obi-Wan," murmured Siri against the dusty fabric of his tunic. "I thought I had lost you."
"You didn't. I was never lost. I was on a mission for the Order; I had to track down the Sith Lord," Obi-Wan answered, speaking against her hair.
"I know. Masters Windu and Yoda have told me…" Siri pulled back from his embrace and said, "I am sorry for how I attacked you. I should have known you would never turn to the Dark Side."
"No, Siri. I would never turn, but this doesn't mean there is no darkness in me."
Something in his voice made Siri look up and she gasped when she meet Obi-Wan's calm gaze.
His right eye was its usual, beautiful blue-grey—the colour of a clear mountain creek. This left one…his left one was instead yellow, shining like gold and reflecting the red flashing lights around them.
Her hand rose to touch his cheek, but he took it in his own and brought it to his lips. "The darkness is still here, Siri. Contained, yes, but still here."
"What do you plan to do?"
Obi-Wan shook his shoulders. "I don't know. I will trust the Masters' judgement." He looked behind her and smiled briefly. "I see they are waiting for us; it will be better to join them."
She nodded and he lowered his gaze to look at her with serious eyes. "Thank you for being here now, Siri. It means a lot to me. You mean a lot to me."
"As you mean a lot to me, Obi-Wan. Don't ever doubt it," she answered, squeezing his hands.
"I don't." He smiled, then his expression sobered. "I must go to them."
Siri let go of his hand and followed him, as he walked straight to where Yoda, Mace and Qui-Gon were waiting.
Obi-Wan stopped in front of the three masters and dropped to his knee, his head bowed.
"The Sith Lord is dead, Masters," he informed them.
"Know it we do, Obi-Wan. The shroud of darkness disappeared is," Yoda answered, patting his shoulder.
Obi-Wan raised his head to meet the old master's gaze and murmured, "Not completely. It's still inside me."
Yoda nodded, studying his eyes—and the soul sheltered behind them.
"Eliminate it completely, impossible is. Only balance it, we can. In you the darkness is, yes. Foretold it was. Good thing, this is."
"What?" Obi-Wan's voice was so surprised Mace Windu actually chuckled upon hearing it.
"Yes, Obi-Wan, this was written in the prophecy about the Chosen One."
"But I thought I was supposed to destroy the Sith…"
"Which you did; you killed both the master and the apprentice."
"Yes, I know. But this darkness in me…don't you find it disturbing, Master?"
"No, Obi-Wan," answered Qui-Gon, kneeling to be able to better face his former Padawan. "The Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force now live both in you, near and yet not touching, powerful yet under control. It is the same in the rest of the galaxy. You have brought balance to the Force, between the darkness and the light, between the evil and the good. This balance will last as long as you live, Obi-Wan and the Jedi Order will work so that it remains like this even after you rejoin the Force."
"Are you not concerned I might unbalance it again and fall to the Dark Side?" Obi-Wan asked, still needing reassurance everything will be fine for him and the Jedi.
"No, I am not concerned, for there is no brighter soul than yours, Padawan-mine."
"Your trust honours me, Master," Obi-Wan bowed his head in acceptance, and Siri let out the breath she had not realized she had been withholding.
Qui-Gon rose to his feet, but the younger Jedi remained kneeling.
"Obi-Wan?" The master called softly.
"I cannot stand, Master. I still have to beg your forgiveness for the pain I caused you in these two years and the last time we met."
"Oh no, Obi-Wan," interjected Mace Windu. "You did your duty. There is no forgiveness to ask or be bestowed upon. Yoda and I decided it was best to keep Qui-Gon and the other Jedi ignorant about your mission. If someone has to ask for forgiveness it is us, not you. Never you, Obi-Wan." The korum master reached out with his hand and the young Jedi took it.
Obi-Wan stood up and turned toward Siri. His face was still covered with dust and blood, and his yellow left eye gave him a strange expression, but there was no mistaking in the happy smile on his lips or in the serenity pouring out of him.
Siri smiled back and putting her hands on her hips looked sternly at him and exclaimed, "All right Kenobi, I think it is about time you go home and take a bath!"
The four other Jedi laughed or smiled and then the group turned around and directed to their ship, as around them the Force swirled and pulsed, once again perfectly balanced.
A/N: this story was conceived in an usual way, because the first scene that popped up in my mind was the final one. I "saw" Obi-Wan leaving a building while listening to "The Island" soundtrack song "My Name Is Lincoln". The scene was so detailed I was compelled to write a story in which I could insert it. So well, if you own the above soundtrack, you may wish to listen to that track while re-reading this scene...you will see I tried to write it to follow the pace of the music. :) For those who don't own the soundtrack but saw The Island, I am referring to the music used for the last scene in the movie.
Oh, a final note for those who have this story on their alerts list but never leave a comment. Could you leave a review this time? If you feel like doing it, of course. I would love if this story managed to reach the 100 reviews mark. Thank you. :)