Advice to the Living from the Dying

Obi-Wan Kenobi notices odd, incongruous patterns when the smell of scorched meat hits the air. The vertigo strikes him, like the vicarious plunge when Bruck Chun plummeted into the water. Except Obi-Wan isn't dying now. He's the only one who isn't, on the chessboard that the once-shining rim of the pit has become. To the eyes of the Force there's a gray square where it shouldn't be, as Qui-Gon's life force slips into the whole to be replaced only by the sharp smell.

It's darkness that causes death, and so Obi-Wan tries to shake off the anger congealing around him like blood on a wound, because giving into the darkness would be ridiculous.

He bows his head for a moment as the tears drip, forming darker dots on Qui-Gon's sleeve. Then he lets his attachment follow his master's spirit away into the Force.

Part of the attachment, anyway. He keeps some, because he has to.

He gets up, the stringy parts in his knees protesting from the fight and the minutes of kneeling afterward. He walks around the rim, across the fading chessboard, because the other Force presence in the room is still doggedly clinging to existence.

The pain is keeping the Sith alive. Obi-Wan knows it as he looks down, clinically, at the knight of the black king. It's a Zabrak, he has time to notice now, and the messy lightsaber wound ploughed through one of its hearts. Arrhythmia is ruining blood flow. The Sith is trying to live, and it's not going to succeed.

It is hard for Obi-Wan to leave any being to suffer and die, but he thinks he might manage.

The Sith speaks. 'Jedi', Obi-Wan thinks the word is, but when it escapes the stained teeth again it's nothing so simple.


Obi-Wan surprises himself by caring enough to say "What?"

"Ready to die?" A quiet, husky cough, an ebony-edged smile-grimace. "Not today. When you do."

Obi-Wan says, "I don't know."

"Weak. You should never accept death. Never allow this…allow it in. It doesn't… exist. A trick…of time."

Obi-Wan does not know what to say. The rage that beats through the Force like a strong heart is the same now as it was during the duel. It threatens to wash the meaning of the words away, but they're so unexpected that surprise keeps them coherent.

Because he wants to know, he asks, "Are you ready?"
The wrath crescendos. The Sith raises himself off the floor with a braced, spidered hand. His grimacing face parts from the tiles by centimeters.

Then he collapses again, arm turning from a durasteel support to a severed rope as he moulds limply against the floor. Obi-Wan is left with two corpses and an answer.