Disclaimer: It's George's sandbox, I'm just playing in it.

Title: Matters of the Heart

Author: JadeMax

Timeframe: Pre RotS - their return to Coruscant

Genre: Not sure what this falls under - Drama?

Characters: Anakin, Obi-Wan

Summary: Obi-Wan knows of Anakin's marriage to Padmé but has kept quiet because of his own past indiscretions. Anakin hears rumors and an especially hot topic one days becomes explosive...

Notes: Thank you to Hananiah for the rabid plot bunny - it chased me down before beating me into submission :) (And I pulled Anakin's opening arguments from another of my stories )


Matters of the Heart

"You have to be kidding me."

"No, seriously." Anakin's head popped up from under his star fighter's wing where he was making some last minute repairs as he reached for a hydrospanner. "I mean it. Think about the code for a minute. How can you say that there is no emotion; there is peace? Shouldn't the word emotion be turmoil? A Jedi feels as much as the next person, just because we use the Force doesn't mean we're immune to them."

"But there is a difference between feeling emotions and letting your emotions rule your actions and decisions, Anakin." Obi-Wan was sitting on the nose of Anakin's fighter cleaning his lightsaber. "That part of the code means that we are not slaves to our emotions."

Anakin's head disappeared back under the fuselage. "No, the code says there are no emotions. So it's not that we're not slaves to our emotions, it's that we're not supposed to feel them at all. Isn't compassion, something to fundamentally essential to a Jedi's character, an emotion?"

"Compassion is taught, yes, but compassion is also something that won't lead you down the path to the Dark side."

Anakin snorted. "Selective emotions; how controlling. Don't they ever wonder what the Padawans do when their masters are away?"

Obi-Wan chuckled softly. "Anakin, every Jedi is taught the same thing. Emotions can't be allowed to rule our actions or they can lead us down the path to darkness."

"Just as passion can?"

"Passion is a prime example."

"I beg to differ. Passion, in its pure form, can be a very powerful ally."

"Passion has no place in a Jedi's life."

"Passion is essential! How can you, or I, or any other Jedi not see passion as something that we must feel, we must harness, to do what we do? Are we out here because of duty, because we were ordered to be out here? No, we're out here because our passion for democracy, our passion for justice dictates that we need to be."

"You're confusing passion with duty."

Anakin slid out from under his craft, wiping his hands on a rag. "Are you trying to tell me you'd be out here if you thought what we were doing was wrong simply because someone told you to? That it was your duty?"

Obi-Wan put his lightsaber away and stood. "I'm saying that passion is a dangerous emotion. To let yourself be guided by passion, to let it fuel your actions and desires, is a sure way to meet darkness."

"Ha!" Anakin stood. "If the Jedi would just allow their members even a taste of passion, a hint of connection with another person beyond their master; if they allowed children and wives, giving us something worth fighting for beyond duty, don't you think the Jedi would become all that much more of an effective force?"

Obi-Wan folded his hands inside his robes and turned, Anakin falling into step beside him as they headed out of the hangar. "Passions of the heart are the most dangerous of all. They lead to jealousy, anger, suspicion, distrust... all things that can jeopardize the path of a Jedi."

"But true love in its untainted form would be a reserve for a Jedi to draw upon in times of adversity instead of giving in and letting the Force take your life-force. Wouldn't it be better if we had that driving force, that desire, to live and return to our loved ones?"

"At what risk, Anakin?"

"Are you speaking from experience, Master or simply hypothesizing?"

"Pardon?"

Anakin clamped his hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder, dragging him to a stop and turning so they were looking at each other, face-to-face. "I've heard about your time as a Padawan, about your indiscretions with Siri."

"Who?"

"Siri Tachi, another Padawan."

Obi-Wan appeared to think about it. "I'm afraid I don't know anyone by that name, Anakin."

Anakin crossed his arms over his chest. "You're a horrible liar, Master. She was a friend of yours when you were apprenticed to Qui-Gon. Her master was Adi Gallia... ring any bells?"

"If you're talking about the Padawan who disgraced her order after a falling out with Master Gallia by taking up with a slave trader, then I may have an inkling of whom you speak. Why do you ask?"

"Well, I think you don't want passion to be a part of a Jedi's life because you've been burned by it."

"The dangers of playing with fire, Anakin." Obi-Wan's smile was easy, but there was a hint of unease in his gaze. "That is the very reason Passion has no part in the life of a Jedi. Love is messy; it complicates things, blinds you to options, and controls your thoughts and feelings. You sacrifice the ability to think so that you can feel. No, I do not think love has any place in a Jedi's life. It interferes with our duty to the republic."

"She really hurt you."

Obi-Wan paused and then nodded once. "She hurt the child I had been, Anakin. You have to understand that I hold no grudge. Siri made her choices; I have made mine. I chose to let go of the anger that followed her betrayal of the order; I understand why even if I don't condone it."

"But if things had turned out differently, if she'd stayed, how could you ever have been able to continue to live in secret?"

Obi-Wan's gaze held compassion and understanding, as if he knew exactly what Anakin was asking. He clapped his friend on the shoulder. "I would have persevered but become a different man than I am today. Secrecy is not an easy burden and it takes a stronger man than I to live with it daily when a slip could cost him his career."

Anakin was silent for a long minute before nodding. He finally understood.

A beeping on their belts effectively ended their conversation. Little did either one know the events that were about to be put in motion as news of the Chancellor's kidnapping was relayed and they headed for their fighters.

Fin