By: Stormqueen
Timeframe: JA, before TPM
Genre: Angst, Drama, Mystery, AU
Characters: Evil Qui and poor Obi
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me, save some of the ideas, but some of those were also lifted from Batman Begins (I'm sure you can figure out which. Layren, that ice scene was totally for you.)

Notes: I've had this idea bubbling around in the back of my head since I saw Batman Begins back in June of last year, but I've only just now gotten around to writing it. There's some lovely cover art that the brilliantly talented JenniferLyn made for me (link in my profile since it refuses to show up here), so check it out if you've got a minute.

A huge, HUGE thank you to both Layren, for telling me to get my butt in gear and write it and then offering suggestions on what to do with the issues I was having, and to Nienna for beta-ing and also offering lots of wonderful advice. Lots of hugs to you both! (grins)

The first thing that caught Obi-Wan's eye when he stepped off the transport was the desolate, snow-covered mountain in the distance. It loomed over everything in sight, its shadow wrapping the lands around it in a cool, dark light, and he couldn't help but shiver at the tug he felt from the Force.

He was bound to climb that mountain one day. He knew that from the instant he set foot on Bandomeer.

The wind caught his tunics and teased his short hair as he stepped towards the group that arrived to meet him. He held up a hand to shade his eyes from the sun, his other hand tightening on the pack slung over his shoulder. All around him stretched a dry plain, strewn with rock and sparse, golden grass. It was colder than he expected, but he knew he would grow accustomed to it, given time.

"You must be Obi-Wan," one of the men in the group said, smiling and gesturing towards the waiting speeder. "Welcome. I hope your flight here was all right?"

He nodded mutely, his eyes still roaming the surrounding countryside. Something was calling him here, something he couldn't explain. He could feel it, as though the Force was churning all around him, whispering to him that this was where he belonged.

For now.

"Come, we'll get your things and then we'll be off."

He nodded again, his gaze landing on a figure in the distance, a being of great height. It watched them closely, and Obi-Wan drew a sharp breath when the Force swirled around him furiously.

What did it mean?

He blinked for a split second and the figure was gone, almost as though it had never been there to begin with.

"Is something the matter?"

He started at the voice and turned towards its owner, bowing his head. "Forgive me," he said quietly. "It was nothing."

His boots tapped softly against the aged stone floor beneath his feet, the lights flickering and their flames casting long shadows in the darkness. The air around him was stagnant and dusty, mixing with the metallic odor of rusting metal and sharp scent of rotting wood. He was in the oldest part of the fortress he called his home, the part that dug deep into the mountain it rested on and housed the normally unused dungeons.

"My lord."

He nodded in greeting to the soldiers who guarded the cell, and waited as one of them moved to open the door, the old-fashioned key creaking loudly in the lock.

"Have you had any problems?" he asked quietly and one of the guards shook his head.

"None, my lord. The inhibitors were administered on schedule and all the containment shields were examined. Nothing appears to be amiss," the guard said as the door swung open at last.

He nodded once more to the guards and stepped down into the waiting cell, pausing at the final step until the door was secured behind him.

"You're late."

He looked up at the sound of the weakened voice, his gaze fixing upon the cell's occupant. Furious yet weary blue-green eyes glared back at him, the flickering light etching harsh shadows on the pale face.

"Despite a month of captivity, your wit refuses to suffer," he replied, taking his customary seat across from the boy, who smirked.

"And it never will, if you continue to visit me regularly," the boy said, easing back against the stone wall, his chains clanking with the movement. "I don't know why you keep coming. Surely this is a waste of your time."

"I'll stop coming once I get the answers to my questions," he said, leaning forward to clasp his hands together.

"Then why should I answer them? You'd be robbing me of my only source of entertainment."

"I've promised you your freedom," he said calmly, meeting the boy's stare evenly. "Surely that is enough of an incentive to give me the answers I seek?"

The boy regarded him silently, their soft breathing the only thing disturbing the lull that settled upon them.

"You told me once," the boy said at last, shutting his eyes and leaning his head against the lichen-covered wall. "That the only freedom we can obtain is in death."

The boy then lifted his head, his lids slowly parting and his eyes shimmering in the semi-darkness. "So I suppose I can never be free until then."

"Death may come more swiftly than you like," he replied, sitting up and folding his arms over his chest. "You know of the poison that lurks in your veins. Every day you refuse to answer only hastens your demise."

"So be it," the boy spat, the smirking mask vanishing and acid dripping from his tone. "If my death is the only way to stop you from succeeding, then I'll die as many times as it takes."

He sighed, noting the stubborn set of the boy's jaw and the defiance that blazed in his eyes. It was the same response, day in and day out, and he was beginning to doubt that the boy would break at all. Even after torture, even with all the threats brought down upon him, he remained as obstinate as he had been on the first day.

"Pity you taught me how to resist truth serum," the boy said, his smirk returning. "That would've solved your problem easily, wouldn't it?"

"Taunting me will gain you nothing," he said, a touch of ice creeping into his voice.

"Why don't you just go find yourself a different Jedi then?" the boy asked. "Find one who has the same visions who can tell you the exact same information. Why waste all this time trying to pry it out of me?"

He sat back, crossing one leg over the other. "You know why," he said. "You're the only one, save that damn Yoda, who has the information I seek."

He allowed himself a small, mocking smile then. "And to think that they tried to throw you away, when you hold the keys to their downfall."

The boy froze at that, a slight motion that he only noticed because he knew what to look for, and his smile widened. "Touched a nerve, did I?"

"You're a monster," the boy hissed, drawing back and wrapping his arms around himself. "I have nothing more to say to you."

He uttered a dramatic sigh before rising. "This isn't over, Obi-Wan. It won't be until I get what I want."

"You're wrong," the boy replied, his voice a mere whisper. "You just don't realize it yet."

"Was this your dream, young Kenobi?"

Obi-Wan looked up from his weeding, squinting against the sunlight as he focused on the man that stood a few meters away. The figure was a rather tall Human, with sharp, piercing blue eyes and a neatly trimmed beard. He had short chestnut hair that was flecked with grey at the temples, and he was dressed in a level of finery unheard of in the AgriCorps. His suit was free of wrinkles and dirt, his shoes shined to a luster Obi-Wan would've thought impossible, and he radiated an aura of cool, collected power.

"Is this what you wanted to do with your life? To watch after plants until you're too old to hold that spade?"

A thrill of apprehension trickled down Obi-Wan's spine. This was the figure he'd seen upon landing on Bandomeer all those months ago; he knew it.

"No," he replied softly, setting aside the gardening tool so that he could stand slowly, and he watched a small smile play across the lips of the man.

"I thought as much," the man said, his eyes glinting in the sun. "You're destined for greater things, Kenobi. I'm sure you feel it as you sit there, working with those plants. You've been taught to be a warrior, a diplomat, and now thirteen years of training are meaningless simply because no one chose you."

Obi-Wan swallowed, watching the man with a look of surprise. "How… how did you know that?"

The man smiled, his eyes darkening slightly. "I was informed that a promising Jedi initiate was coming to this planet by the Council."

Obi-Wan nodded slowly.

"What if I told you that your dream could be within your reach once more?" the man said, taking a small step forward and clasping his hands before him.

Obi-Wan frowned. "That's impossible," he replied, unable to keep the bitterness from rising in his throat. "I'm too old to be taken as a padawan. My thirteenth birthday has long since passed."

"You haven't answered my question," the man said gently, and Obi-Wan felt that piercing gaze examine every centimeter of him. "What would you do, Kenobi? Would you leap at the chance to train?"

Obi-Wan remained silent, studying the man before him.

"What are you suggesting?" he asked at last, watching another smile tug at the man's lips. "Are you offering to take me as a padawan? You'll forgive me, but you don't look like a Jedi."

The man laughed at that. "I may not be a Jedi in the usual sense," he said, his voice rich with lingering mirth. "What I offer is certainly not traditional, but as you said, you can't be a traditional Jedi."

Obi-Wan pressed his lips together in thought and he picked at the hem of his tunic. "What do you mean, that you offer is not traditional?"

The man was silent for a moment. "I have severed most of my ties to the Order," he said. "They probably don't even consider me to be a Jedi, and yet they continue to send me messages."

Obi-Wan frowned at that, his picking focusing on a single, loose thread.

"Think on it, Kenobi," the man said after a bout of silence. "It's really very simple. You can either take me up on my offer or you can remain here, looking after plants for the rest of your life."

Obi-Wan looked up at him at that, meeting the man's gaze as best he could. "Then what must I do?"

The man smiled, his eyes lighting up with pleasure, and he reached out to place a hand firmly on Obi-Wan's shoulder. "Go and get your things. We've got a long journey ahead of us."

"Where are we going?" he asked, and the man pointed to the mountain.

"I live at the summit," the man said. "It's an old fortress, built by monks before this planet was discovered by the Republic and became home to the Jedi's AgriCorps."

Obi-Wan stared, his gaze drawn to the craggy, snow covered peak, something heavy surged in his heart. The mountain swelled before him, whispers teasing his ears, the wind rustling the surrounding foliage.

Destiny was calling him.

"Do you have a name?" he asked, his eyes never leaving their destination.

He could sense the man's smile. "Jinn," he heard the man say. "You may call me Master Jinn."

"It was all a lie, wasn't it?"

He looked up at the sound of Obi-Wan's trembling voice, slightly surprised by the boy breaking the silence that stood between them the entire day. He knew for a fact that when Obi-Wan didn't want to talk, it would be no use in trying. He normally spent those days attempting to wait him out, asking questions occasionally and never expecting anything in response.

It seemed he was finally successful.

"What do you mean?" he asked calmly, leaning back and focusing on the boy.

Obi-Wan's skin was now snow white, livid, ugly bruises standing out easily against the pale backdrop. Blood caked the rags that had once been his robes, his shoulder-length, honey colored hair darkened with sweat and grime. He shook from the effects of the drugs they'd fed him today, and his eyes slid in and out of focus as he fought for coherency.

"Everything was a lie," the boy whispered, clenching and unclenching his fists as he swayed back and forth. "I was just a pawn, just a tool. I wasn't a promising initiate. You just knew I was going to have visions that you needed."

"If that is what you want to believe," he replied, "then I can do nothing to change your mind."

Obi-Wan laughed. "When has that ever stopped you? Why do you come here every day, trying to get me to answer? I'm never going to tell you, you know."

He didn't respond, and Obi-Wan fell silent.

"Did you know I knew from the moment I landed here that I was going to die on this planet?" Obi-Wan said after a moment.

He watched as the boy nodded, not waiting for a reply. "I knew, I knew. Destiny said so."

Obi-Wan laughed again, his voice high and brittle, and he brought his filthy hands to his face as best he could.

His laughter broke into hysterical sobs, ones that shook his emaciated frame even further, and all the while, the other remained silent. He had seen this happen before, the drug-induced delirium causing a variety of passionate responses, from the blackest anger to the deepest depression.

"I hate you," came the furious whisper.

"I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!" Obi-Wan screamed, his voice ringing in the enclosed space.

"I wish I'd never met you, I wish I'd never agreed to train with you! I've never done anything to you, I just wanted out! Why are you doing this? Don't you care what's happening to me? You're a monster, a monster!"

The other remained unmoved. "Tell me what I want to know and this will stop. You can go then. No one will bother you."

Obi-Wan drew a shuddering gasp, lowering his hands. "And be responsible for killing thousands of Jedi?" he snarled, his eyes blazing. "Never."

"It's your choice."

"I know," Obi-Wan hissed, his fingers digging into his palms and reopening old wounds, the blood trailing down his wrists. "I know."

Obi-Wan tightened his grip on the wooden training sword, his palms sweating despite the bitter chill. Jinn had decided to take the lesson outside today, not a first in the several years Obi-Wan had been training with him, but considering that they were fighting atop a frozen lake that stood in the shadow of the mountain, it was something different. The ice cracked loudly at the slightest shift of weight or the softest step, and it took every shred of control Obi-Wan had not to panic.

Jinn came at him in a flurry of movement, the Force swirling at his command and keeping the ice from giving way beneath his feet. Their training swords clacked against each other furiously as Obi-Wan found himself forced back, trying to stave off the assault while copying the Force tactic Jinn used.


Obi-Wan blinked up at the sky; when had he been knocked on his back?

"You aren't focusing, Obi-Wan," came Jinn's call. "You are letting your fear of falling cloud your mind."

He stood, the world around him pitching strangely, but he could just begin to make out Jinn's tall frame hurtling towards him. Once again, he was forced to go on the defensive, managing to block every attack hurled at him, and this time he sensed the powerful Force-push just before Jinn unleashed it.

He dove to the side, using the momentum it gave him to spring to his feet and launch an attack of his own. He caught a flash of surprise on Jinn's normally stoic face before it faded to a pleased smile, and the two fought back and forth across the creaking ice.

"I'm not afraid of anything," he said as they met in a contest of strength, the wooden swords straining against each other.

"Then prove it to me," Jinn replied, dropping away and aiming a kick at Obi-Wan's knees. He flipped to avoid it, bringing his sword up to deflect any blows Jinn lashed out with, and caught the man's wrist when he aimed a punch at Obi-Wan's stomach.

"Much better," came the soft whisper, and Obi-Wan felt a flash of satisfaction before their battle resumed.

One thing Obi-Wan prided himself upon, despite his earlier training's warning against the emotion, was his ability to learn and adapt quickly. He had been Jinn's apprentice for four years now, his skills leaping forward rapidly under the Jedi's unorthodox teachings, and he relished every minute of it.

"Surrender," he breathed at last, his chest heaving from their exertions. "I've beaten you."

Jinn favored him with a smile, despite the wooden sword at his throat.

"I'm afraid not, my apprentice," he said, his eyes sparkling with humor, sweat beading down his forehead. "It seems you've neglected one crucial element, all for the sake of obtaining a killing blow."

Obi-Wan's eyes widened. "Sith-"

The ice gave way beneath his feet.

"Didn't you swear to obey me?" he asked, watching Obi-Wan's somber profile carefully. The boy was lucid today and the poison was finally starting to show itself, sapping him of what little strength remained in his body.

"Didn't you promise to do anything I asked of you, to give me anything I required? Wasn't that part of your oath as my apprentice?"

"I was a naïve fool," Obi-Wan replied, his voice rasping in his throat, his eyes locked on the wall to his left. "I should've put the facts together when you told me what to call you. I should've instantly realized that you were the same man who slaughtered an entire city in a fit of rage."

"Then why didn't you?" he asked, watching Obi-Wan flinch. "If I truly am so evil, why didn't you realize it in the beginning?"

Obi-Wan shuddered. "Because I didn't look. I was too blinded by my desire for training that I sold my soul to a devil."

He snorted. "Must you be so dramatic?"

"There was a reason you never told me your first name," Obi-Wan said, his look in his eyes akin to icy durasteel. "All those missions we went on? They weren't really from the Temple, were they? You killed even more people, and… Force, I helped you do it! I should've realized then, when I saw your men cut down children…"

Obi-Wan trailed off, swallowing, and he shut his eyes before leaning heavily against the wall.

"Just go away," the boy whispered. "I'm not going to answer."

"Who is the Chosen One?" he asked, his tone riddled with urgency. "Where will I find him? You will tell me, Obi-Wan. Surely you realize this."

Obi-Wan opened his eyes, the cool grey piercing him and eating away at his patience. "And hand him over to you?" the boy said, a small smirk twisting his lips. It paled in comparison to the ones he'd worn weeks ago, but it still succeeded in irking him.

"I'll die first," Obi-Wan said, his eyes glinting in the light.

"So you keep insisting," he replied, sitting back.

"And you keep refusing to believe me," Obi-Wan returned, snapping as best he could, his chest heaving from the effort. "I'm not going to let you destroy him."

The other sighed faintly at that, letting the conversation drop, and he watched as Obi-Wan went back to studying the wall.

"Why do you keep coming back here?" Obi-Wan asked after a moment. "Why do you keep asking me, despite the fact that you know what my answer will be? Surely someone as smart as you would have other ways to destroy the Jedi."

He smirked a little in response. "Of course I do," he said, "but none of them would be as satisfactory as the one I currently have in mind."

Obi-Wan turned to look at him once more, his eyes full of disgust. "So you torture and bully someone you claimed was like your son?" he hissed, rage pouring off him and making him tremble. "Is that what happened to your other apprentice? Did you kill him too?"

He backhanded the boy before he could stop himself, smacking Obi-Wan into a wall. He blew out a breath before snatching up what remained of the boy's tunic front, dragging him upright as much as possible, and met the glare easily.

"You will never speak of him again," he snarled, his ire flaring when Obi-Wan's expression darkened, his lips curling in a smirk.

"Touched a nerve, did I?" the boy mocked.

He let Obi-Wan drop to the floor and straightened before returning to his seat. "You will not speak of things you can't possibly understand."

Obi-Wan remained where he had fallen, curling in on himself as laughter shook his form. It eventually quieted, and the boy rolled onto his back, his eyes fixing on the ceiling overhead.

"Isn't it sad that I once thought of you as my father?" Obi-Wan said, startling him slightly by the change in subject. "I never said anything, but I did. Part of me always hoped you weren't really who you said you were, but the moment the visions started, I knew it was impossible. I knew I had to get away, to try and warn the Jedi of what they faced."

"So you betrayed me."

Obi-Wan turned his head to look up at him.

"I didn't want to," the boy whispered, his eyes shining with conviction, "but I had no choice. I'm nothing, after all. Just a tool, just like you said. Nobody really cares about me, as a person. They're only interested in my talents, my skills. I was never a son to you. All that training… it meant nothing."

The other sat back, reaching up to tug gently on his beard. "If you think this is going to change anything," he said, a warning note clear in his voice, "I'm afraid you're wrong."

Obi-Wan shut his eyes as he smiled, letting his head drop back down to the floor. "No, I don't think so. Unlike you, I realize the truth in things," he said, his voice steadily fading. "But I had to say it… I had to say it."

"Why?" he asked, the words slipping from his tongue without thought.

Obi-Wan stared up at the ceiling for a moment, his eyes opening and closing languidly, before he finally replied.

"So I can finally die."

"Remind me again why we're stuck out here?"

Jinn shot him a rather exasperated stare. "Flippancy will get you no where, my apprentice."

Obi-Wan returned the stare with a cheeky grin, despite the shivers that racked his body. "Well, I'm not the one who upset those diplomats," he said before huddling closer to the meager fire they'd built, tugging his robes around him.

"I suppose you could claim that you didn't know they'd actually start shooting at us, but aren't you the one who advocates being aware of their surroundings at all times?"

He heard Jinn sigh heavily. "The older you grow, Obi-Wan, the sharper your tongue becomes," Jinn said. "Pity your other skills remain lacking. If you spent as much time practicing your swordplay as you do in honing your wit, you'd best every opponent you face."

"And here I thought I served as a good form of entertainment," he returned before sneezing violently. He'd spent the past five years of his life atop a mountain, only leaving on the occasional mission Jinn was called upon, and here he was, catching a cold when exposed to a slightly different artic climate.

Jinn chuckled softly and silence blanketed them, broken only by the howling wind that whipped past the opening to the cave they occupied.

"Jinn?" he asked after a while, his gaze not leaving the opening to the cave, but he could sense the man's attention.

"Why did you sever most of your ties with the Order?"

The question fell from his lips before he could stop it and he sensed the tension that coiled in the other man. He turned to meet the piercing gaze that remained fixed upon him, watching shadows flicker in the man's blue eyes, and finally dropped his head in an apology.

"Forgive me," he said softly. "It is none of my business."

Jinn uttered a small, heavy breath and scooted around the fire to place an arm around Obi-Wan's shivering frame.

"It's only natural, I suppose, that you would be curious," Jinn said, his hand gripping Obi-Wan's shoulder tightly.

They sat in silence again, with Obi-Wan's chills fading slightly at the heat radiating off Jinn. His eyes began drooping despite his best efforts to force them open, and he let his head drift to rest on Jinn's shoulder.

"In all the long years you've been with me, you've never once asked me my first name."

The soft statement startled him a little, but he merely shrugged. "I never thought I needed to know."

Jinn made a soft sound, almost like a gentle snort. "So steadfast, so loyal, two of your traits I truly admire," he said as Obi-Wan yawned. "A man could not ask for a better son."

Obi-Wan let his lips curve in a smile and he sensed that Jinn was smiling as well. The arm tightened around him and sleep crept hazily over his mind.

"My true name," came the quiet voice just before he finally succumbed to blessed unconsciousness, "was Qui-Gon."

The moment he stepped through the door to the cell, he knew something was wrong. He couldn't explain it, as Obi-Wan no longer registered in the Force due to the inhibitors flowing through his veins, and the bond they shared as master and apprentice had long since shattered.

But one look at the boy, who curled up in a corner, and his stomach lurched with an emotion he didn't dare to name.

He hesitated in taking his seat, a first for him, and couldn't help the frown that played across his face when Obi-Wan's eyes finally opened. They were glassy and unfocused at first, but when they landed upon him, a small smile rose to the boy's cracked lips.

"You're late," he said, his voice almost lost in the empty space between them. "I'd hoped you'd be here today."

Obi-Wan gestured for him to sit, his bony hand barely rising from where it rested on his thigh.

"What's so special about today?" he asked as he took his seat, his eyes never leaving the boy's face.

"Today…" Obi-Wan breathed, "marks the sixth year since I came to this planet, since I first saw you on that hilltop. And…"

The boy drew a shuddering breath. "It marks the day of my death."

He resisted the urge to start at the boy's words. "Surely you jest, Obi-Wan," he said. "How can anyone be so certain of such a thing?"

Obi-Wan merely smiled, his eyes growing distant and faintly dreamy. "I know lots of things for certain," he said. "I know you won't succeed now, I know the Chosen One is safe. I know today will be the day that your poison finally kills me. And…"

Obi-Wan's gaze drifted back to him. "I know all about that apprentice, the one who made you hate the Jedi so much."

He struggled to tromp down the rising anger, and he shifted a little. "This will only make things worse, Obi-Wan," he said. "You can't possibly know all that. How did you find out when the Force has been blocked from you for over a month?"

Obi-Wan's smile grew slightly. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised you don't believe me, since you haven't believed anything else I've said."

He snorted, giving Obi-Wan an exasperated stare. "Then tell me what you know about this apprentice, if you're so certain it is correct."

"His name… was Xanatos," the boy whispered, swaying a little as he spoke, "and the Jedi made him hate you. They made him hate you and he turned, and you were forced to kill him. You watched him jump into a pit of acid, all because of the Jedi."

"This fails to impress me," he said, folding his arms over his chest. "You could've easily read that in the Archives."

"So you left," Obi-Wan continued, oblivious to the interruption. "You left and found the Jedi who had given you the order to kill Xanatos, and you killed him. You ripped him to pieces and then, as your rage continued to grow, you murdered every single being who drew near."

"Again," he said, "you could've read this anywhere."

"I saw it," Obi-Wan said, his eyes glazing over. "I saw you cutting off your hair. I heard your oath, the one you swore to him, to your dead apprentice. You promised that you would destroy the system that turned father against son and then you burned everything that connected you with the Jedi. You even destroyed your lightsaber."

He froze. "How?" he hissed. "How did you see that?"

Obi-Wan turned to him then, and he felt as though those pale grey eyes peered into the very depths of his spotted soul.

"Destiny," the boy whispered. "If the Force wanted me to see something, nothing you could do would stop it."

He swallowed, frowning at the strange sensation that curled around him, and he watched as Obi-Wan drew a deep breath.

"I hoped to live just long enough to tell you… that you were wrong."

"Wrong about what?" he asked, watching the boy's smile with growing trepidation.

"I will die… without telling you about the vision," Obi-Wan said, leaning against the wall heavily and drawing another deep breath.

"Good-bye, Master Jinn."

He started as the boy rested his head against the wall, jerking from his seat when the energy around him pulsed.

"Obi-Wan, don't you da-"

He watched in horror as awareness faded from Obi-Wan's weary eyes, the boy's chest falling as his lungs expelled the last of their air.


He stretched out a hand, his fingertips hovering over the boy's shoulder. He realized, to his infinite disgust, that his hands were trembling, and he clenched his fists with a soft growl.

I don't believe it, part of him whispered as he knelt before the body, reaching out to search for a pulse. This just could not be; how had the boy done it? Had he somehow fooled the medics, who'd been charged with keeping him alive, into believing him to be relatively well?

No pulse met his efforts and he sat back, anger rising in his throat, along with a darker emotion that he worked to shove back into the depths from whence it came.

He is dead then, he thought, shutting his eyes and blowing out a breath, one hand clasping over his mouth. Despite everything, he is dead.

He rose after a moment, refusing to linger any longer, and turned towards the door, his hand reaching out to knock in the normal signal –

"I was never a son to you."

His hand dropped to his side as he shut his eyes, the black emotion tearing at the cage he'd shoved it into.

"A son would never have betrayed me," he hissed to the silence, shivering when nothing answered him, and he turned back to the body. "A son would've honored his vows, would've remained loyal."

You taught him to follow his feelings, came the traitorous whisper. And so he did.

He shut his eyes again, a small smirk rising to his lips.

"I suppose I truly am a monster," he said as he stepped back to the body and touched his fingertips to the cool forehead.

"But we each choose our paths, Obi-Wan, no matter where they might lead," he continued quietly, brushing at several locks of limp, filthy hair, its luster long-since ruined in captivity.

And I have chosen to be the monster.