Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala
Genre and settings: AU and no, this is not a slash-fic… sorry.
This is a time-travel Obi-centric fic and begins at the end of RotS but quickly shifts back to when Obi-Wan first met Anakin in TPM.
Disclaimer: All Star Wars characters belong to the great George Lucas.
I first started writing this fic over a year ago, but I have been very hesitant to put it here before now. Chapter-wise I have about a third of the fic left to write. If you read this prologue, please tell me what you think and if you want to read the rest of it.
TURNING BACK THE PENDULUM
The sunset at Tatooine was dazzling and more beautiful than Obi-Wan could describe in words. There was some kind of tranquillity in the pearly, vibrant shine of the twin suns and yet some kind of eternal melancholy that echoed from every rock and grain of sand in the desert landscape.
Beru Whitesun's silhouette was also stunningly beautiful as she stood with her back to him with little Luke in her arms, gazing into the setting suns. Another, larger, silhouette walked up to her. Owen Lars had joined his new family.
They might have been made by desert rocks themselves, Obi-Wan thought mournfully. For they looked so right together. Solid, content and happy. That was exactly what Anakin and Padmé would have looked like had they survived. He turned away hurriedly and started towards his mount as he felt the first prickle of tears in his eyes.
The burnt corpse of Anakin – the terribly scarred body of Vader on the rocky shores of Mustafaar would always haunt him. Yellow eyes had bore into him, accusing him but also pleading with him. Don't leave me here, Obi-Wan. They had said. He had hesitated for a moment. But yellow eyes belonged to a dark lord of the Sith, not his Anakin. Yet hadn't there been a flicker of blue in the depths even as the hoarse voice screamed hatred and revenge?
Because of that small doubt, he hadn't been able to deliver the killing blow. In retrospect that wasn't very merciful to the tortured creature, but he couldn't bring himself to kill the person who in his heart was his son. He had failed Yoda and the Order. No doubt Vader would die of his wounds, but that was beside the point. He hadn't acted like a Jedi when he had spared Vader's life. He had acted like a selfish person who had no regard for authority or any ability to calculate risks. There was a very small risk that the Emperor had monitored Ana-Vader and would hurry to his rescue. But Coruscant was a far way from Mustafaar. Surely he couldn't make it in time? What if Vader survived? Then Luke and Leia would be in grave danger. What if he by sparing the life of Vader forfeited so many others?
Obi-Wan batted the troubling thoughts aside. There was nothing he could do if the Emperor had run to the rescue. He had made his choice and he couldn't go back and undo whatever damage he had done. He would stay here on Tatooine and watch over Luke and train him when he was old enough. Leia was safe with Bail. It was Luke who was in most danger. He shone almost as brightly in the Force as Anakin had. But as Anakin grew and the life at the Temple had gotten on his nerves with its peace and serenity, the light that marked his presence had dimmed until it was almost as weak as the moon on a night where heavy clouds obscured the skies.
Obi-Wan tried to stave off a headache. It was easy to see now that the dimming had progressed in the same pace as Anakin's descent to the dark side. Why hadn't he seen it before? It was his duty as Master to notice such things and set his padawan's mind at peace. But what could he have done differently? Glancing back over his shoulder at the family standing on a hill by the homestead, he had his answer. What Anakin had longed most for in his life was a family. Anakin had occupied the place of a son in Obi-Wan's heart, but had Anakin known that? Qui-Gon's and Obi-Wan's apprenticeship time had been much closer and filled with love than ordinary Master-padawan relations, but Obi-Wan had not realized that until many years later when it was already too late for him and Anakin. How much could have been changed if only he had acted differently? If Obi-Wan had shown Anakin more of what was in his heart and not abided by the code so stubbornly – thinking that showing attachment would lead Anakin towards the dark side – maybe then his padawan wouldn't have turned to Palpatine for a bit of affection.
Oh Force. He sighed. If only they had realized sooner who Palpatine truly was… then Qui-Gon might not have died. Anakin most probably wouldn't have turned to the dark side. Probably. The latter likely weighed more on Obi-Wan's shoulders than anybody else's. If only he had been able to realize that a child, not raised within the temple and thereby already in control of his emotions, needed slightly customized training.
If, if, if. There were so many "if"s Obi-Wan felt sick. The past was the past and he, a mere human, could do nothing to change it. He should just let his negative emotions flow into the Force and accept the situation as it was. The Force! He rallied against it with all his might. How could it let Anakin slip so far? Wasn't Anakin conceived by midichlorians themselves?! So why had the light side of the Force let the dark half corrupt him?
But Obi-Wan knew that the Force didn't view itself as dark or light. It simply was. It pulsed around him now, trying to soothe his pain and siphon it away. But he wasn't ready to let it go. The anguish of losing Anakin was still too raw. He couldn't and wouldn't let it go. Neither could he go back to being a full Jedi now that he knew how great his failure was. Was this how Qui-Gon had felt with Xanatos? If it was: how had Qui-Gon managed to continue living? Obi-Wan felt lightheaded. This was all so absurd. Would the next padawan he trained, if he ever would train another, become a Jedi only to battle a Sith and lose his or her padawan in turn by either the padawan or the master himself becoming a Sith? A hysterical laughter threatened to break forth.
The Force swirled and swelled around him. A boy's carefree laughter rang from far away, riding on the swift currents to reach his ears. Obi-Wan cried. Anakin.