Title: Shadows And Dust

Author: Amy Fortuna (peacefulpassion@hotmail.com)

Rating: PG-13

Category: Angst, POV

Disclaimer: *singing* "The Jedi don't belong to me/George Lucas is God, you see..."

Archive: M_A, SWAL, anywhere else please ask.

Series: Final story in the 'Explanation' Series. Follows "An Explanation, 'There Is Another,' and 'Revelation.'

Spoilers: For ROTJ.

Summary: Obi-Wan watches an epic moment, makes a decision, and greets an old friend.

Feedback: Really, why would I want something like that? *g*

Notes: This has taken so long, I doubt anyone remembers the first stories, so go back and read them, either before or after you read this one. http://www.geocities.com/peacefulpassion/fiction.html

The term "shadows and dust" is, of course, from "Gladiator"... a great line.

*******************

"I love you, Obi-Wan."

I had heard those words for the first time in too long, as a lightsaber blade slashed through my body, and I fell backward, the universe fading, into the arms of my Qui-Gon.

Such happiness was a gift. A gift of moments, for my journey was not yet over. Qui-Gon whispered a few words of love and devotion to me, then proceeded to tell me my further task.

It seemed that dying had been for nothing. I was to watch over Luke until the fight for Balance was over. I could not be with Qui-Gon forever until I had also settled my own Darkness.

And with those words, and an injunction to hurry, my lover faded away into the pale air.

I glanced around. The world I so recently had inhabited was still there, but was dim. My body was the only real thing, the only thing I could touch.

I could travel anywhere in a thought. I used this to good purpose, staying with Luke, often speaking to him, wondering if he heard me or not. When Luke slept, I felt drawn to go elsewhere...to see just what was happening in the rest of the universe.

What I found frightened me. The Sith with their swords had all but destroyed beautiful Coruscant, the gem of the galaxy. The Temple had been raided, plundered time and again, and ultimately leveled. Only a few Jedi were left.

Master Yoda, to my surprise, was one of them. We shared conversation and wonderment about the fate of the universe. I was not the only one, I discovered, who was waiting for Balance.

He seemed to know about Luke Skywalker already, but when I questioned him as to how, he merely nodded. And then I realized that Qui-Gon must have told him -- Qui-Gon, who seemed to be managing the fate of the Jedi of the Light. I smiled.

And so the years, or whatever they counted as time, went by and I stood behind Luke as he was brought to the Emperor, the cause of all my pain. I could only watch, of course, the battle was Luke's to fight and win -- I could not speak to him now.

As the conversation between Luke, Darth Vader, and Palpatine unfolded, I felt myself being torn in two. Part of me wanted Luke to attack *now*, kill that deathly evil being, kill my former padawan, bring justice to the galaxy. Death was what they deserved.

But the part of me that was tied to the Light rebelled. Evil was everywhere. To kill this part of it would do little good. And Luke was not ordained to fight *my* battles, avenge me, or Qui-Gon, but to do what he, as a Jedi, deemed right.

And so Luke made his decision.

"I am a Jedi, as my father was before me," he said. And only then I saw his greatness.

He was not concerned with the destruction of evil. He merely wanted to save his father. Where I had seen fear and hatred, he saw potential love.

I was ashamed of myself. For years my only thought had been revenge. No wonder Anakin had turned into Darth Vader, with me as his master.

Swift tears sparked behind my eyes as I watched the end of their confrontation; something I could never have foreseen, my Anakin facing his Darkness and winning.

Palpatine's destruction...I was avenged then. But it meant nothing to me except grief that he too could not be redeemed. There was no triumph in my eyes.

And when Anakin died, the light intensified as he stood before me, looking like a youth just Knighted.

"Master," he said. "I'm..."

He broke off and laid his hands on his face. "What have I done all these years?" he whispered brokenly.

My throat choked up, and before I could think better of it, I was at his side, my arms around him.

"No, Anakin, no. You have nothing to repent of...you've already done all that...."

I took his hands from his face and held them between mine.

"What is behind is only shadows and dust, beautiful ones," we heard a voice behind us say. Turning as one, we saw Qui-Gon, hands outstretched to each of us. "Welcome home."

We stepped forward, and he took our hands in his, leading us where we knew not.

"I have plans for you, love," my master whispered in my ear, and I blushed.

There my tale ends, or maybe only begins.