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Brother's Love

The love of a brother should be enough to save someone, Obi-Wan mused, staring out at the stars beyond the viewport. He'd taught him, guided and protected him, even pretended not to see for far too long the boundaries that Anakin was crossing.

He'd have died for Anakin. He'd have done it willingly, with not a shred of regret, for he would have been saving his Padawan- his son and brother and closest friend, all within one stubborn, talented, vibrantly alive young person. Instead, he'd been sent to kill him. He hadn't been able to bring himself to strike the final blow. He'd fled, letting the Force decide what Anakin's fate would be.

Would Qui-Gon have succeeded? Obi-Wan had sworn to train Anakin, amid his grief as his Master died. He'd promised, and wept, and held the only father he'd ever known, wishing desperately that it wouldn't end like this; that Qui-Gon would smile, and stand, and tell him the wound was nothing really, he could get it healed easily. That he would not be left alone, uncertain of what to do, always wondering if he was really getting it right, or on the wrong path entirely.

He couldn't help but think that Qui-Gon would have known what to do. Qui-Gon could have saved them all. Qui-Gon would not have returned to a ruined Temple, numbly witnessing strewn bodies of children and friends and sparring partners. And even if he hadn't stopped all that, Qui-Gon would have done better than to helplessly hold a pair of children as their mother gasped out her final breaths.

Why had none of them known? Why hadn't they seen Palpatine for what he was? They'd given their lives, their hopes, all of their strength to defending a Republic already in the grip of their greatest enemy. Palpatine had smiled and nodded and lined the trap, as he lured Anakin away into the darkness.

Transparisteel cold under his fingers, Obi-Wan pressed his hand mutely against the viewport, eyes still fixed upon the stars twinkling uncaringly outside. They were dead, all of them. All of the people he'd known were gone. Some would have survived, surely, but he couldn't let himself wonder who. If he let himself wonder, he'd go searching for them, and be shattered again and again as each loss was confirmed to him.

He breathed in slowly, and then exhaled, letting the desperate hopes and gnawing fears flow out in one mingled stream. While even one Jedi lived, the Order lived on. It was scattered and broken into fragments, hiding from a foe of almost boundless malice. Scattered, yes, but it wasn't dead. Obi-Wan lived. Master Yoda lived. It wasn't much, but it was enough. They would wait, they would endure, and they would prepare to rise again. The Galaxy still needed them too much for them to give up.

The children lived, too. They would be the future hope of the Jedi, both of them. Obi-Wan would have died for Anakin. That would have been easy. Instead, he would live for him; for all that he could have been, for the children who would grow to honour the memory of the good man Anakin had once been.

Still…it hurt. The failures burned like salt in a wound. Love should have been enough to save a brother. Yet Obi-Wan had been not quite a brother, and love had not quite been enough, this time, where hate had triumphed. He couldn't hate Anakin for what had happened. Not even after hearing him scream his hatred from the shores of a molten river. It would be enough. Obi-Wan would wait, and remember, and live. Somehow, he didn't yet know how, having only faith that it would, love would be enough next time.

In spite of everything, Obi-Wan Kenobi closed his eyes, and smiled for his brother.