Author's Note: Yes, I am aware of the utter pointlessness that is this story. But I hadn't posted anything for a while, so I figured some of you might enjoy this while I finish typing the next chapter of Something Like Rebirth. I promise, it shouldn't be too much longer in coming.
Anakin's Other Fall
Anakin was smart, but he hated book work. So it came as no surprise to Obi-Wan when his Padawan practically jumped out of his seat as soon as he heard the door open.
"Well?" he asked excitedly, "what did the Council want?"
Obi-Wan set his briefing packet down on the table and slid into a chair. "I have a mission, Padawan."
"Great!" Anakin exclaimed. "Where are we going?"
Obi-Wan sighed. "Not we, Padawan. I wish I could take you with me, but you're falling behind in your studies as it is."
Anakin made a face. "Does that mean I have to stay with Master Nu again?"
"Now Anakin, Master Nu has always been good to you. Didn't she help you with the research you had to do about Correllian politics?"
"Yes," Anakin conceded, "but she's boring. And last time you left me with her, she made me practice with all the younglings!"
Obi-Wan chuckled. "Alright. I'll see what I can do about that, at least."
"Long day, Obi-Wan?"
He blinked slowly up at Siri; he must have fallen asleep over the files he'd been reviewing. "Not so much long, actually, just menial."
"I see." She slipped into the seat opposite him, and glanced over at Anakin, who was doing his own research a few tables away. "Taking him with you again?"
"Not this time," Obi-Wan replied. "Though I wish I could. I know how much he hates being left behind."
Siri nodded in understanding. "He's welcome to come and train with Ferus and I, if you think he'd like that better than traveling around with the clans."
Obi-Wan smiled at his friend. "That would be wonderful, Siri. I'll tell him later."
Anakin normally woke up at dawn to meditate with Obi-Wan. It had never even crossed his mind that Master Tachi might call him earlier than that.
He blinked sleepily and reached for his lightsaber before he realized that it wasn't the weapon that was beeping insistently at him, but his comm-link. He finally found the offending piece of equipment and turned it on.
"Rise and shine, Anakin." Siri's voice was far too happy for his current frame of mind. "Grab some breakfast, then meet us in the Room of a Thousand Fountains."
The connection ended abruptly, which was fine, because Anakin did not have the wits to reply sensibly anyway. He dressed quickly, pulling on his pants and tunic, realized the latter was backwards, straightened it, and then stalked into the small kitchen unit to grab a bit of tea.
He was only slightly more awake when he arrived at designated place. Siri smiled pleasantly at him.
"I thought we'd start off the morning with a nice run. Sound good, boys?"
Ferus nodded; Anakin blinked sleepily.
"Excellent. Anakin, follow Ferus. He knows the usual route." And, that said, she took off, her long legs carrying her away from the two Padawans.
"D'you think she'd notice if I just curled up under a tree and went back to sleep?" Anakin asked.
"Yes," Ferus replied matter of factly. "And she wouldn't be too happy about it."
"Too bad." Anakin stifled a yawn. "Guess we'd better start then."
Ferus gave him a slightly miffed look before taking off down one of the wider paths. Anakin followed a few steps behind, inwardly considering going back to his rooms and waking his Master. It wasn't fair that Obi-Wan would still get to sleep for several hours, when he was the one who liked to get up early—
Ferus turned off the path and started climbing up one of the ledges. Anakin stared for a moment.
"What are you doing?" he finally asked.
Ferus, halfway up the ledge, called back down, "It's a shortcut. We're supposed to end up there--" he indicated a balcony on the third level, "--and this connects to the path that leads that way." He grinned down at Anakin. "Unless you'd rather run the whole mile."
Anakin recognized the challenge. He grabbed a handhold on the stone, found a foothold, and started to follow Ferus.
The ledge they wound up on was about wide enough for one person – one small person. Anakin jogged warily after Ferus, noticing that their path was still sloping upwards, and wondering if it was really going to get much narrower.
He got his answer when they reached one of the many waterfalls that flowed throughout the room. The shear wall that had been on his left ended suddenly to allow the water to flow by. Instead of a solid path, a line of stones was set across the edge of the waterfall. Ferus jumped easily onto the first, the second… he was halfway across before he looked back at Anakin.
Anakin crossed his arms resolutely over his chest and shook his head. If he didn't know better, he'd say Ferus had picked this route especially for him. He knew how much Anakin still feared large amounts of water!
Ferus jumped to the next rock. "Well, if you can find another way down…"
Cursing, Anakin followed the other Padawan. His first landing was solid. His second was shaky, and he took a couple deep breaths before trying for the third stone.
Ferus had reached the other bank. He called back to Anakin, "Hurry up, or I'm going on without you!"
Anakin glared. He jumped again, and missed his footing.
He called upon every Force-trick he knew to try to slow his falling, but it wasn't any use. With a loud splash, he hit the water at the bottom, and immediately started to panic. He couldn't stand here— he was sinking— where was his rebreather?— he knew he had to calm down, or else he'd drown for sure – but it was so hard to think clearly when your lungs were filling up with water.
At the top of the ledge, Ferus panicked too. Then he remembered to call his Master.
Obi-Wan was woken very suddenly by an overwhelming sense of panic from Anakin. He started to dress quickly so that he could go and find him, and was halfway through tugging a shirt over his head when his comm-link started to beep.
"I didn't mean for it to happen, honest!"
Had the boy been within reach, Obi-Wan might have slapped him (lightly, of course) or grabbed his shoulders and shaken him. Instead he had to settle for trying to calm Ferus with words. "It's alright, I'm sure it wasn't your fault. Now, stop panicking and tell me what happened to Anakin."
He could hear Ferus take a deep breath on the other end. "He slipped. Master Tachi is resuscitating him now.
"Where is he?"
Bant Eerin did not even have to look up from her notes to know who Obi-Wan meant. "Floor eleven, ward three, room eight. And don't look so worried. There was no serious trauma, just a few bumps and scratches."
Obi-Wan let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "So Anakin's alright then?"
"Yes. He's just wet and rather disgruntled right now."
Obi-Wan nodded. He imagined he'd be rather disgruntled if he were sopping wet and stuck in a med-ward also.
At least Ferus had the grace to look slightly guilty as he related the story to the two Masters.
"If I'd known," he finally finished, "I would have just taken the long way. I didn't know that he couldn't swim."
"Liar," Anakin muttered darkly. "You heard me talking to Tru about it the other day. I saw you smirking at me afterwards."
Obi-Wan looked at his apprentice, wet hair still plastered to his forehead. "Now Anakin, I'm sure that Ferus meant you no harm--"
"He still caused it," Anakin interjected.
"--and I think that means you owe him an apology."
Anakin knew from the start that he would not win the staring contest between him and Obi-Wan, but that did not stop him from trying. Finally, he looked away and muttered an indistinct "Sorry," in the direction of his blankets.
"Didn't quite catch that, Anakin."
Anakin glared at his fellow Padawan. "I'm sorry for accusing you of wanting me to fall off a cliff."
"And I'm sorry for leading you up there and considering pushing you," Ferus replied, a slightly sarcastic and slightly vindictive grin gracing his features.