Okay, so this fic was supposed to be finished months ago, but that's life. And here it is, finished now, so that's something, right?
I loved writing this story so much! The sheer ridiculous of it and all of the helpful suggestions from you guys really made this an amusing writing experience. Please feel free to submit more suggestions if you'd like to see another story of this ilk. So sad to see this one coming to a close.
Please review! For Obi-Wan's sake. Look at the past couple of weeks he's had! ;)
Chapter Ten: Anakin's Party
It was an unfortunate accident; a scheduling conflict, really.
Yes, Obi-Wan's Trials were today.
Yes, it was supposed to be a day of calm solemnity, quiet meditation, and restrained joy that another Padawan had successfully completed years of arduous training.
And yes, it was the day he had been anticipating nearly as long as he'd been a Padawan – before even that, perhaps. The day he had worked for, sweated for, visited nearly every Healer in the galaxy during his training for.
Today was that day for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
However, most unfortunately, a minor oversight somewhere had resulted in Obi-Wan's Trials being scheduled for the same day as Anakin's rather large birthday party, weeks now in the planning and most highly anticipated by about four people in the Jedi Temple: Anakin himself, Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin's mother Shmi, and Council member Mace Windu. It was awfully hard for Obi-Wan to take Master Windu seriously during his Trials when the now-former Padawan could easily see Windu's "Force Yourself!" party t-shirt peeking out from underneath his robes.
Obi-Wan had heard from other Jedi how harrowing their own Trials had been and he'd been grimly awaiting his own encounter with the Dark Side. What he hadn't expected, however, were these solemn words from Master Yoda:
"Padawan Kenobi," the small Jedi said solemnly, "watched you we have bear up under great pressure these past few weeks; tremendous was the strain, but displayed you have composure that would make any Master proud."
Except maybe mine, Obi-Wan thought, wondering where this was going and trying not to fidget; he deeply appreciated the ceremony on his behalf but he knew Qui-Gon was counting on him to finish putting the decorations up before the party guests arrived.
"Therefore," Mace chimed in, "because of your perseverance under extreme duress, your poise under pressure, and your admirable control over emotional strain that surely would have quailed lesser Padawans and perhaps some Masters, we the Council are hereby conferring the rank of Jedi Knight upon you."
"Congratulations, Knight Kenobi," Yoda added, "Passed your Trials with grace, you have."
Obi-Wan wasn't certain he had heard correctly: in fact, he was sure he hadn't. His Trials had been two weeks with Anakin and Qui-Gon? It seemed so … wrong.
Well, okay, there was the little matter of him bisecting that Sith on Naboo. But that paled in comparison to the past few weeks. Theed Palace was one brief, terrifying moment in his life. The past few weeks had felt like eons of unrelenting torment.
His braid was sheared off and dropped into his numbly upraised palm, and Obi-Wan wished he felt something at this moment he had so long dreamed of.
But he didn't have time, really.
He had decorations to finish putting up.
"Look, Obi-Wan, isn't this cool?"
Qui-Gon proudly gestured toward the piñata he had created for Anakin. It was an odd thing, a grey sphere with darker intersecting lines and a fist-sized divot near the top. Originally, Qui-Gon had had it on a thin string; now it zipped around the room seemingly of its own accord.
"I put a training remote in it," Qui-Gon explained proudly, "so it would be harder to hit – I had to take Anakin's amazing talents into account when designing it. I hope he lets the other children have a chance," he added in a stage whisper, with a deprecating wave of his hand. "Could you take it with you when you finish decorating, please?"
"Of course, Mas … Qui-Gon," Obi-Wan sighed reluctantly, accepting the small device that controlled the floating piñata. He gathered up the rest of the decorations and set off for the map room, the piñata humming along behind him, happily obedient.
The map room looked fantastic.
Obi-Wan had done a superb job decorating, even going so far as to insert a globe into the reader. Coruscant, Alderaan, Tatooine, Corellia … these worlds and many other planets and stars rested against the darkened ceiling where they could still be viewed even with the floor lights on. Qui-Gon had to admit he was impressed, which was something Obi-Wan managed every so often. If only there were more things that Obi-Wan was the only human who could do.
The guests were gathered and it was time to start. Qui-Gon had a brief moment of panic when he realized that he'd been so busy getting ready for the party that he hadn't had time to prepare a speech; once again, however, Obi-Wan had come through for him, silently handing him a datapad seconds before he stepped in front of the podium. The assembled children and Jedi mostly quieted and Qui-Gon glanced at the datapad and began speaking, trying to make it sound as if he weren't reading but had actually prepared and memorized this speech weeks ago.
"Good evening, everyone, and thank you all for attending. I just want to say a few mercifully brief words in acknowledgement of our guest of honor: Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One. Dum dum de dum," he read, and then shot a disapproving look at Obi-Wan, who smiled cheerily and waved back at him from the front row.
"Though Anakin had humble beginnings," Qui-Gon continued, glancing wearily back at the datapad, wondering if maybe he should have prepared his own speech, "we all know that he will soon rise to the level of the most dedicated of Jedi. Thank you to his mother Shmi Skywalker for allowing the Jedi this most high honor." He smiled at Shmi adoringly, took a quick glance at the words Obi-Wan had written about hard work and commitment and needing to keep on keeping on, and decided to just scroll to the end. "Thank you for coming," he read with a flourish, "and please remember to review every fic you read, because authors put a lot of hard work and time into their stories and it's very discouraging to get a lot of readers but not a lot of reviews." He shot a confused look at Obi-Wan, who nodded approvingly in a self-justified way.
Qui-Gon shrugged and added warmly, "Happy birthday, Anakin!" He looked around the room expectantly at the eerie silence that followed his words, cleared his throat, then frowned at the half-hearted chorus of "happy birthday, Anakin,"s that rose in a somewhat lackluster fashion from the assembled - all except the "Yeah! Happy birthday to ME!" that came loudly from the guest of honor.
"And now I have one more announcement," Qui-Gon murmured, nervousness mingling with pride and excitement shining in his tone. "To my former Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Obi-Wan glanced around in surprise, automatically straightening in his chair.
"Obi-Wan, I have watched you grow from an insecure teenager to an insecure young man," Qui-Gon stated formally, and Obi-Wan cringed, feeling an awkward blush warm his face. "And this very day I watched – without pride or love, because these things are paths to the Dark Side – " he interrupted himself snarkily, tossing an almost-sneer at Mace and Yoda, " – as you were Knighted, little one."
Obi-Wan frowned at the familiar clenching in his gut – for some reason, he had a bad feeling about this…
"My Knighting gift to you, Obi-Wan, is this … "
Qui-Gon paused his speech as he left his podium to stand near Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan realized that this was it, this was the culmination of all his foreboding. The world narrowed to a pinprick, and over the roaring in his ears he dimly heard Qui-Gon say,
"With the enthusiastic blessing of the Council, I have decided to resign from actively training Padawans, and therefore I am bestowing training of the Chosen One Anakin Skywalker to you."
Qui-Gon smiled warmly, following his generous statement up with the double whammy – a hand on the shoulder and a braid tug – or at least, an air tug where Obi-Wan's braid would have been, had it not been cut off earlier that day.
"May the Force be with you," Qui-Gon said solemnly.
Obi-Wan realized suddenly that he wasn't surprised by Qui-Gon's generous … gift – in fact, he had been shrewdly expecting this since their arrival on Tatooine, and the few days he had spent watching Qui-Gon around Shmi had only cemented the nauseous feeling of grim anticipation lurking in his stomach.
He had his answer ready before the words were fully out of his former Master's mouth.
"No, thank you," he replied politely.
Qui-Gon's proud smile faltered just a little, slipping around the edges. "What?"
"You heard me," Obi-Wan said firmly. "I said 'no, thank you.' No. Thank. You. I will not train Anakin."
"But … you have to,' Qui-Gon said weakly, stumbling back a bit. "I have bequeathed him to you."
"No, I don't," Obi-Wan refuted, crossing his arms over his chest. "Where does it say that? Nowhere, that's where," he pointed out, though not unkindly.
"I don't know what to say," Qui-Gon said slowly, his hand sliding from Obi-Wan's shoulder in his shock. "You can't take back something bequeathed to you..."
"How about, 'Anakin, I am your Master?'" Obi-Wan offered helpfully. "Or, I have CHOSEN you to be my Padawan, Anakin. Or something like that?"
Dismay was starting to sink in past Qui-Gon's astonishment. "Obi-Wan, how can you do this to me? I had plans!"
"How can I do this to you?" Obi-Wan demanded indignantly, crossing his arms over his chest. "Hello, remember: "I take Anakin as my Padawan-learner?' Because I certainly do."
During this time, the audience's attention had begun to waver from what should actually have been quite gripping drama, and the one who ought to have been the most interested in the conversation – Anakin, for it was regarding his welfare they were disputing – was the quickest to lose concern. He decided that no one else should have to suffer boredom either, and glanced around quickly for a way to be interesting and the center of attention, which had unacceptably shifted away from him – difficult because there were no podracers in sight (a fact that was fortuitous to everyone else who had no wish to lose another eleven minutes of their lives watching him podrace a second time.)
Anakin shouldered past the other guests to the game table, locating, to his immense joy, the piñata Qui-Gon had constructed for him along with its remote. Without another thought, he sent the small sphere hurtling around the room, causing both laughing children and screeching adults to break from their seats and run about with their arms thrown up over their heads. One of the younglings – presumably to add to the fun – hit the illumination switch and the map room darkened, allowing the planets on the ceiling to be even more visible. It was a beautiful but eerie effect, and even distracted by Qui-Gon's tears, Obi-Wan had a weird foreboding when he glanced at the piñata and saw its dark shape hovering among the stars.
Obi-Wan let go of the thought immediately, however, as the piñata – perhaps due to the stress the training remote was under from holding the wire frame of the piñata in place – began to smoke and spin wildly. When the remote started to discharge its tiny laser, burning through the fist-sized divot at the front of the piñata and into the crowd, the Jedi organized a hasty evacuation, channeling partygoers from the room in an orderly fashion until the only people left were Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Anakin, and Shmi, and Mace huddling over what looked suspiciously like a keg, trying either to hide it from Yoda or drink from the tiny hole the piñata/remote's laser had burned into the side.
"Great party," Mace added, tossing his robe over whatever it was and dragging his burden toward the door.
Qui-Gon watched forlornly as the piñata zipped by, still discharging laser fire randomly, Obi-Wan's rejection still echoing in his ears. "Thanks," he said hollowly, wondering if it was too late to get a refund on the two luxury liner tickets he'd purchased as a surprise for Shmi.
Severely overheated now, the piñata fired again explosively, burning a hole in the ceiling and effectively obliterating the spot where Alderaan hung defenselessly on the map.
"Wow," Obi-Wan said slowly.
"Cool," said Anakin.
"Jedi Kenobi," Yoda interrupted, tugging gently on Obi-Wan's cloak. "With me, come, and discuss with you I will your first solo assignment."
Obi-Wan glanced down in surprise before allowing a brilliant smile to break across his face.
He had made it. He was a Jedi.
He followed Yoda out of the carnage proudly, head held high, thinking it hadn't been such a bad Knighting day after all.
The end. :)
I don't know. Demented Qui-Gon cracks me up.