Summery- What if he could do it again? Would it be different? (reviews make me happy)
Disclaimer- This is George Lucas's sandbox, I'm just playing in it.
Warnings- Kind of AU but actually not really, you have to read it to understand. CP of a minor(s). Hardcore fans most likely won't appreciate. Oh and I go with the Yoda/Jinn thing as opposed to Dooku, I like it better.
*I do realize that there a million reasons why this does not work but I don't care*
Back to the Start
"When I left you I was but the learner now I am the master." His voice was almost comically cocky, as though he had rehearsed it.
"Only a master of Evil Darth." Obi-Wan's voice was grave. He regretted what was about to happen. He advanced and the sound of their clashing sabers soared down the corridor.
Vader blocked both blows. Obi-Wan raised his saber again and…Vader stopped. He stopped dead in his path. It wasn't that he stopped and lowered his lightsaber, he just froze, saber in mid swing. Obi-Wan sensed something. A rift in the Force, and something else that wasn't possible.
When he turned, he dropped his saber. The impossibility walked over to Vader and looked at him then turned back to Obi-Wan. "You know, Padawan, when I said train the boy…this wasn't exactly what I meant."
Part of Obi-Wan told him to get his saber. And then do what? The other part asked.
"It's alright. I'm sure this is a bit of a shock after all this," the impossibility said gesturing in a circle as if to imply everything that had happened sense he had died in Obi-Wan's arms. Because that was what made it impossible of course. Qui-Gon Jinn had died on Naboo in Obi-Wan's arms.
"Yo-you…died." Obi-Wan barley managed to stammer.
"Yes, yes I did. But it would seem that I left some business unfinished." His dead master responded, nodding to Vader. "Come with me Obi-Wan, we need to talk." With that he waved his hand and the Force rifted again. It made sense now that Obi-Wan was looking at it. It was a rift, really a rift. Qui-Gon stepped through it and beckoned Obi-Wan do that same. If asked he would never really be able to say why he did, except that he did what his master told him too.
Nothing, there was absolutely nothing. White, blankness. The Force had grown oddly quiet yet terribly strong as though it were preparing for something. Obi-Wan did not understand. "But Luke-" there was something different about his voice.
"Luke will be fine." His master assured him. It wasn't just his voice, he looked down.
He was gone, that is Obi-Wan was gone or at least the Obi-Wan that he had been a moment ago. His clothes weren't very different but he was. He saw a braid running down his shoulder and he touched his face. It was smooth, no beard or wrinkles. He was 23 again.
"What's happened? Where are we?" Obi-Wan didn't want to admit it but there was definitely an accusing tone to his voice. Qui-Gon sighed; this was going to be very difficult to explain. "We are in… the absence of time. Where the Force builds or destroys existence. You are young again because… because the existence you knew or at least some of it has been destroyed." That didn't come out quite as he had intended it too. Confusion adorned his padawan's face and Qui-Gon searched for a different way too put it. "Obi-Wan I've undone the last 34 years, I'm taking you back. Back to before all these tragedies happen." That was a little better.
"What do you mean undone? Are you saying that everything that's happened in the last three decades has been…undone?" Obi-Wan demanded.
"Yes." Qui-Gon put his hands on Obi-Wan's shoulders "I'm taking you, back to the start of all this, to the night of my funeral. I'm taking you back so that you can save Anakin. Save him from Darth Vader and save the Republic from the Empire." He didn't know what to expect from his apprentice. After all he just turned his world as inside out as you can get and still have a cohesive connection to reality. "Anakin was never destined for the Dark side. He was only a child. He can be saved. So can you, it can be different this time." Nothing is set in stone, not yet anyway.
It wasn't so much that Obi-Wan was opposed, he didn't really understand what he was opposed to yet. He was shocked and dismayed and confused and…shocked. Perhaps it was the sudden nature of what had just happened but for some reason his mind felt clouded. Almost as though he had to struggle to reach his perception and memories of the reality he had just known.
As though Qui-Gon sensed this he replied, "All of your memories are still intact, you're just thinking with your younger mind again. They may seem harder to get to but their all there." Qui-Gon was loosing him. He hadn't said the right thing yet.
He sighed "Obi-Wan, there were factors that led Anakin to the Dark Side. You can stop them this time. Forget all the chosen one nonsense! He can grow up in a universe that isn't damned! You won't have to spend your life alone." Qui-Gon sighed again more satisfied this time.
As helplessly confused as he was, Obi-Wan did understand the last part. Maybe he could try… do or do not there is no try. Alright then, he would do whatever his master told him. "What do you mean factors?"
"There were events and different circumstances that you can avoid this time. Not the least of them being Palpatine."
Palpatine, yes. If Obi-Wan went back then it would be before Palpatine could take hold of Anakin. It would be before the Empire.
"It wasn't just Palpatine though. You have to keep him away from Palpatine but there was more to than that. I'll grant you that you didn't know about most of it until it was too late."
Actually Obi-Wan didn't agree with that, he'd known he was loosing Anakin for a while but he never knew what to do. The boy had always been distant, not that is it was entirely his fault. Obi-Wan hadn't really been the doting master the Anakin had seen in Qui-Gon. There were failed expectations on both sides.
"What else was there? Besides Palpatine?" the younger (sort of) man asked.
"The worst of it started with the death of his mother, that's when he truly embraced the darkness for the first time. His infatuation and relationship with Pademe distracted him from the way of the Jedi and… well…" he couldn't go on. There really was no good way to explain this.
"And I treated him no better than an unwanted stray, a pathetic life form." Obi-Wan finished for him. Pathetic life form, he was the pathetic life form.
"That," Qui-Gon paused "I think was mostly my fault." He put an arm around Obi-Wan's shoulders. "Let's take a walk"
They did walk, not that there was anywhere to walk to. "Obi-Wan, I always loved you. I mean that. You were a son to me in every sense of the word. There were times when-" he laughed for a moment "when I was so proud of you that I thought I would start to glow." He stopped too face Obi-Wan "You were everything I could have ever wanted in an apprentice and more." Qui-Gon shut his eyes and looked down. "I'm sorry I never had the common sense to tell you that. I'm sorry that I let our last moment together be about him. I wasn't replacing you, I should have told you that too." Qui-Gon choked on tears and couldn't go on.
Obi-Wan was once again left speechless. It wasn't the content of what Qui-Gon had said that floored him really; he thought the very same thing to himself a thousand times. He supposed it was hearing it and knowing that those feelings had finally been acknowledged that made him dizzy with the implied regret. Even so, he still had the presence of mind to realize that they were getting nowhere fast with this.
"Master" he realized that he hadn't said the word up to that point "may we start again?"
That made Qui-Gon smile.
Though the complete lack of background was still somewhat alarming to Obi-Wan, the small bench that Qui-Gon -manifested?- made him feel a little better.
"You said Luke will be fine, how can he be anything if he's never born?" Or Leia for that matter, he thought.
"Pademe will meet someone more appropriate for her and Luke and Leia will still be born. Without this Jedi burden on their lives, they'll be able to grow together with their parents."
Obi-Wan had to admit that was better for everyone in the long run.
"So if everything that happened hasn't happened at all, then if I just kill Palpatine then none of it should ever happen. Right?" Kill Palpatine; yes that was a very appealing notion, indeed.
"Well, that's one option, but if you wait until he's damned himself with power, you probably won't have to. The only reason he was able to gain control the way he did was through his allies. If you wait until he has more power then he could ever hide if exposed. Then you would have the council and senate behind you. You'll know when the time is right. The most important thing you can do is to keep Anakin away from him. That will be difficult, he'll try and get to him but you can't let him know what you know or he'll discredit you in some way."
Maybe he would just kill him anyway, Obi-Wan decided. "Should I go back to Tatoonine for his mother?"
"No, no I'll handle that. Obi-Wan is this real to you yet? You still seem… unsure."
That's putting it lightly, Obi-Wan thought sarcastically and then winced a little internally knowing how his master disapproved of sarcasm. He really was thinking with his younger mind again. Alright maybe it was getting real to him, forget the doomed past or doomed future or whichever it was and focus on what was too come.
"I am unsure but that's just me. It's starting to feel real and that's frightening to me." He took the lightsaber off his belt and glanced at the one on his master's. They were the same. Of course they would be.
Qui-Gon smiled "You've got a bad feeling about this?" Obi-Wan nodded, sheepishly.
"Padawan, I should have learned a long time ago to trust your "bad feelings" they were usually right but in this case and just this case because I don't think I ever gave you credit for the strong perception abilities that you had but in this case I think perhaps you're feeling unsure of yourself." Qui-Gon wrapped his long fingers around the back of Obi-Wan's neck and squeezed a little "but I want you to know I have complete faith in you."
"And I want you to know that this isn't just about Anakin. Your life can be different now too."
Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I've set you apart
Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh, let's go back to the start
Running in circles
Coming up tails
Heads on the science apart
Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start
I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
Oh tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start
Running in circles
Chasing our tails
Coming back as we are
Nobody said it was easy
Oh, it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start