Very random plotbunny. I was thinking about Siri and Obi-Wan hanging out together, got a few random mental pictures I liked, and wrote this. Just a one-shot, fluffy and sentimental mixed with a bit of angst and drama. Random, I think, is the best word to use here.
Disclaimer: I wish
So yeah…please don't be too harsh if you don't like it; I know it won't be everybody's cup of tea. Apologies for typos that have snuck past editing.
The first step over the Temple threshold removed some of the burden from her mind. At least, that was what it felt like to Siri. Returning after a mission was always a feeling she looked forward to – knowing she was back where she belonged, where there was food and warmth, peace and relaxation to be had. Here, there were people she had known for years, places that were special; nothing hostile or dangerous, no difficult missions or criminals that need to be brought to justice – here, she was home.
A step behind Adi, Siri followed her Master back to their quarters to put down their travel packs. The Council had said they wanted a full report as soon as the Master-Padawan team returned; but all Siri wanted to do was meditate and sleep.
Adi seemed to pick this up, and stopped Siri's brisk yet fatigued walking with a gentle hand. "Padawan, why don't I take care of the Council? You need to meditate." She said it gently, but the words hit their mark, and Siri nodded silently, trying to block out the images that were now coming to mind.
She hadn't been fast enough…there had been a bomb threat during the mission, a threat that turned out to be all to real, and Siri and Adi had been caught in the blast. Neither had been hurt, but many others were. Siri had been inside the rubble to try and find a lost child – but he had died in her arms, and now she couldn't get the sight of the small injured boy out of her head, nor the feeling of his body in her arms, nor the crying grief-wail of his mother. It had shocked her thoroughly and she couldn't shake off the guilt.
Adi knew that although Siri looked composed, on the inside she was dwelling on it. It hadn't been a mistake of Siri's, of course not, and she had risked her own life to try and help – an admiral act. Adi had watched Siri try and meditate and fail, and watched her from the corner of her eye as her Padawan stared blankly out the ship window into the hyperspace sky. Coming back to the Temple seemed to have calmed her a little at least – through their Force-link Adi could feel Siri was somewhat more relaxed.
Siri needed time to think and meditate in a comfortable surroundings, somewhere she felt safe and open. Here, in other words. It would also do no good for Siri's thoughts to be distracted during a Council meeting – that was a place one had to keep their wits about them.
Adi smiled faintly as Siri nodded. In earlier years, Siri may have challenged the order, wanting to prove her strength and stand before the Council. But she had matured, and now the twenty-three year old understood that solitude was what she needed. Adi left with one last look back and soft word of farewell, leaving Siri alone with her thoughts.
She sank down onto one of the couches and rested her head in her hand. Why was this plaguing her? Things like it had happened before. She had seen death, destruction and pain on many missions, helped put a stop to some instances and been unable to do anything in others. Why was this one still with her?
She guessed it was down to the combination of events – after all, she had only been awake a short time after the blast herself when she had run inside the burning building for the boy. His mother had been screaming, pointing at the rubble, weeping and mostly incoherent. When Siri had grasped what was wrong, she had run inside without a second thought.
She had found him – him; she realised. She never found out his name – cowering, badly injured, behind the remains of a stone pillar. Having no medpacks on her, she had dulled some of his pain with the Force and picked him up gently to take him to his waiting family. It was a slow journey back – she didn't want to bump him and cause more injury – and she had had to be doubly cautious for both of them, picking her way under fragile overhangs and past piles of burning rubble.
It was when she was almost back he moved slightly, seeming to relax in her grip, and she felt the whisper in the Force as he died. She had forced herself to keep moving, to get out and not let her mind dwell on what had just happened. She didn't get a chance to say anything to the mother – but Siri was sure she would never forget her.
The woman's eyes had lit up when Siri had returned, only to become opaque and tear-filled when she looked at the Padawan's stony face. Snatching the body of her child from Siri's arms, the mother had rocked back and forth, keening in a haunting high-pitched wail. Siri had stood, unable to tear her eyes away, until Adi had slipped a gentle arm around her and lead her away.
Now they were back, and the feelings had lessened slightly, but not completely. Fleetingly, Siri wondered what the mother must have felt like. To have her son die…
Jedi do not have loved ones, Siri thought. So how can we know what it must be like when a child, or a spouse, dies? Love is an attachment we are forbidden to have…so we will never feel that pain if someone dies…how can we understand it?
Lifting her head, she looked out the window to the city beyond. This was doing her no good, she needed to seek deep meditation and look to the Force. She knew where to go – a secluded part of the meditation gardens, slightly separate from the rest, where she could be alone and concentrate.
Leaving the apartment, Siri wandered slowly towards the gardens. Not properly concentrating on what she was doing, she almost missed the passage she needed, ducking into it and out of the way as the soft voices of conversing Jedi approached her. She kept walking, but something made her turn in time to see the speakers pass the passage end.
One was a tall, broad-shouldered man, with long hair and a beard. His hands were deep in the sleeves of his dark robe, as he listened to his companion, who was explaining something. The companion of the older Jedi was a younger man, with short hair and a Padawan braid hanging down over his right shoulder. He was speaking softly, using his hands to emphasis whatever he was saying. They were only visible for a few seconds before they passed from Siri's sightline.
Beginning to walk again, Siri was smiling. She hadn't realised Obi-Wan and Master Qui-Gon were back at the Temple, returned from a mission just like her and Adi. She hadn't seen Obi-Wan in a long time, perhaps as long as a year. The two pairs never seemed to be at the Temple together, instead out on various missions in the galaxy.
Obi-Wan was one of her best friends. They had never been very friendly when they were younger – and she was two years his junior – but over the years and taxing missions they had formed a solid and long-lasting friendship. It had surpassed that too, but neither of them talked about it. Love was a forbidden attachment, and so they had both made the painful decision of duty over personal feelings. Siri had never forgotten the comfort that flared within her when she found out how he felt, all those years ago…
…but that was in the past. Still, sometimes, just sometimes, when they had a rare embrace – if they hadn't seen each other in a long time, or one had recovered from an injury or had a particularly important mission that was successful – she could feel his arms around her for a fraction of a second longer than would be considered 'normal'. She thought she could see his love, too, in his eyes when he looked at her.
Or was it all her imagination?
Stepping through the wide archway to the gardens, her mind still with Obi-Wan, Siri made her way to the corner. Here, the stream vanished through a low archway to the adjoining garden room. There was a leafy plant, which covered the narrow bank almost from the wall to the stream, creating a barrier. It wasn't a purposeful barrier, it was the way the plant had gown over many years. There was a willow tree from some distant planet in the corner itself, its long branches bending and reaching to the ground.
Between the stream, the plant and the tree, there was a small clearing: protected from above by the dipping branches of the willow, three sides from the two walls and the plant, and the fourth bordered by the stream. It was secluded without being completely isolated, and Siri liked it.
She sank down on the ground, dipping one hand into the clear, cool water. Letting her hand drift with the current, Siri reached out to the Force and felt it slowly fill her. She drew her hand from the water, settling into meditation and letting the memories of the bomb and the boy came back to her.
With the Force they were clearer, sharper images…step-by-step, she re-lived what had happened. The bomb…the mother…feeling the boy die through the Force. She could feel him in her arms again, smell the burning stone, hear the cries of the wounded…
Her eyes opened, and for a moment she wondered why she couldn't see. Realising that she was crying and she couldn't see through her tears, Siri wiped them hurriedly away. She was a Senior Padawan, she wasn't meant to be this emotional…before she could look up at the speaker, whoever it was had sat down next to her and pulled her into a secure embrace. She lay in the person's arms as more tears flowed, her forehead against their neck.
There was a hand stroking her hair softly, the person was whispering to her, calming her down, their arms still tight. She absorbed their comfort, using it to help her get a hold on herself. After a while – she didn't know how long – she managed to stop crying and wiped her face with a hand as she sat up.
It didn't surprise her to find it was Obi-Wan sitting with her. Somehow, she already knew, but still turned away embarrassedly as she wiped the last of her tears away.
"Siri, what happened?"
"I didn't know you were back at the Temple," she said lightly, trying to evade the question. "How was you last mission?"
"Oh, fine. Straightforward. Siri," Obi-Wan put a hand on her shoulder, causing her to look at him directly. "Qui-Gon and I met Adi in the halls. She said your last mission hadn't gone as easily as it could have, and she was worried about you. I said I'd seek you out and see if you were okay."
"Well congratulations, you found me," Siri said sarcastically. "I'm fine."
"What happened?" It was a gentle question, delivered with the tact she knew so well.
"Nothing." She looked away from him again. "I need to meditate, so I'm not going to be very sociable."
"What happened?" The same gentle question.
Still facing away from him, Siri scowled. "It's just something that I need to work out myself, okay? Why should you care?"
There was a moment of silence, before Obi-Wan gently turned her head back to him and lightly kissed her forehead. "Why do you think?"
Siri, surprised, felt herself blushing, but kept it together. "We said we'd never talk about it."
He shrugged. "Maybe so, but that doesn't mean it's gone."
Siri didn't know what to say. He was smiling, that beautiful, soft smile, and she felt her irritation and determination crumbling. She sighed.
"We were on a peace mission, okay? There was a bomb…I went into the rubble to rescue a kid and he died in my arms as I carried him out." She felt a lump rise in her throat and brought a hand up to her eyes to ward off the tears. She felt Obi-Wan pull her to him again, one arm around her waist, so she was leaning against him. He rested his head atop hers and swore softly above her.
"Force, Siri…that's horrible. No wonder you feel so bad."
She nodded against him. "I can't get it out of my head. The mother wouldn't even look at me…"
"She had just lost her son…"
"But that's it exactly. This made me realise – we don't understand this at all. Our no love, no attachment rule means that when this happens we can't identify with those it happens to. Sure, we loose friends – but loosing a friend is different to a child or a partner. And they're Jedi – we all understand the dangers that face us. It's not…it's just not right." Siri sighed. "Did that make sense?"
"Yes – I understand what you mean. It's a good point."
"I do. But we, as Jedi, don't react like that because we keep our emotions in check, not because we don't love, right? But I can see what you mean…Qui-Gon's the closest thing I have to a father or a brother – I don't know what I'd do were he killed."
"I agree. Adi is wonderful…she's a Jedi Master, my Master, but she's also family."
"And everyone deals with grief in different ways – I've seen some who never speak or weep, some who destroy everything they can reach, and others who take it as a part of life. Each of us has another outlook and theory on it." Obi-Wan was silent for a moment. "I think I'd be angry, then completely numb for a very long time."
Siri twisted her head to look up at him. "Angry? Really? Even with the whole Jedi-emotion thing?"
He smiled sadly, looking into the stream. "Sometimes we have to remember – we're humans before we are Jedi." He looked down at her. "I'd be angry. I'd presumably make it pass and control myself – but I'd definitely feel something like it, I'm sure."
"I think I might be one of those who tries to destroy everything in sight. And I wouldn't ask for help or support," Siri quietly confessed. She knew she was stubborn.
Obi-Wan kissed the top of her head. "You're allowed to act however; it's only natural. It scares me how some Jedi seem not to care. But know this, Siri Tachi – I love you. Still do, ever since I realised…oh, about seven years ago? I'm proof Jedi are not impervious to emotion."
"Even though we can never be together?" Siri asked in reply.
He smiled. "Knowing is enough for me. And I think Qui-Gon knows."
Siri's eyes widened in panic. "What? He does? How?"
"He knows me to well – and he can pick up on it."
"But Adi hasn't…" Siri combed her memory. Not once had Adi said anything or spoke to her about it in any way…
Obi-Wan laughed grimly. "No one's had an apprenticeship quite like mine…and besides," he added quietly, "Qui-Gon was in the same situation."
"You mean he…?" Siri wasn't sure if she could believe this.
"She was called Tahl. Do you remember her?"
"Worked with computers a lot? Honey-coloured skin. She went blind, didn't she?"
Obi-Wan nodded. "That's her. She loved him back, but they put the Order first."
He nodded. "When she died, he went mad. I've never seen him so angry…he crossed very close to the Dark Side – but she brought him back. Her voice, through the Force." He sighed. "So it appears to me that love is both a blessing and a curse, depending on how we let it effect us. People fall to the Dark Side though love, so we're warned, but surely some must use it to a positive outcome? I asked that of Qui-Gon one day; a few years after Tahl died, and he said it was all about possession, not love itself. He said Tahl taught him to love with an open heart…so we can love one another openly, without actually being together."
In the following comfortable silence, Obi-Wan's comlink chimed. He answered it, speaking softly. "I'll be right there, Master."
Ending the transmission and returning it to his belt, Obi-Wan looked down at Siri. "We've got a new mission, my Master and I. Seems the planet of Naboo has been blockaded by the Trade Federation – and the Chancellor needs negotiators. I've got to go."
Siri stood with him, the two of them emerging from the secluded clearing. Siri briefly wondered what the two of them must look like, walking out of there together – but there was no one in their line of sight so it didn't matter. Obi-Wan gave her an embrace in a small deserted corridor.
"Feel better at all?"
"Yeah, I do, actually. Talking about it helped."
Obi-Wan nodded. "Don't beat yourself up over it – if I didn't think about anything but what had gone wrong on missions and in life, than I'd be…" he paused, thinking. "I'd be very different – and possibly mad."
Siri laughed, nodding. "I'll see you when you get back?"
"If you're even here," Obi-Wan replied with a wink. "Knowing the Force, you and Adi will be running around the Outer Rim somewhere when we get back."
He turned away from her with that, waving before he vanished around a corner. Siri smiled, turning to walk back to her own quarters. The memory was still with her, but after talking to Obi-Wan and being able to speak her mind, she was at peace. Her actions had been admirable and heroic, and it had not been her fault the child had died. That was the way it had happened; so be it.
She paused suddenly. She had a bad feeling…looking back at the way Obi-Wan had gone, Siri felt the Force swirl around her. She didn't know what was going to happen, but she knew that when he returned – the next time they were both at the Temple together, he would need her. Like she had needed him today, he would need her advice and support.
She had a bad feeling about his mission.
What was going to go wrong?
Putting in random foreshadowing is fun. There might be a sequel to this – when Obi-Wan returns to the Temple following Qui-Gon's death. Might be – depends on the reaction to this one.