The Luck of the Jedi
Characters: Obi-Wan, Anakin, Cody, Rex, Ahsoka
Era: The Clone Wars, sometime after the Obi-Wan/Satine story arc
Disclaimer: I am not George Lucas and I make no profit from this fanfiction set in his Star Wars.
A/N: Attempting poignancy; warnings for that. Not a happy story.
"Obi-Wan, if I die, will you tell Padmé how it happened?" Anakin brought this up on the third or maybe the fourth day of their entombment.
Even in these circumstances, Obi-Wan's mellifluous voice held only a touch of hoarseness. "Don't be foolish. You can't die. You're the Chosen One."
"What if I'm Chosen for this?"
In the pitch black, Anakin could picture Obi-Wan's scowl. There was a shift in fetid air currents, Anakin Felt his Master strain across the cruel distance between them and then a hand clasped Anakin's shoulder, its grip shaking in weariness inherent in no food or water and little air. "You can't die. Remember you've got to rescue me. I need you, Anakin. We're The Team."
Anakin had a bad feeling about those words. The cave lay on a remote continent of the planet Braehiin, circling a nasty brown dwarf star and their clone squad of six were all dead from commando droids' cruel efficiency. The day before yesterday, Anakin had Felt the last wounded trooper fly back to his Maker, or whatever their beliefs were. He wasn't sure. It wasn't a question to ask such proud soldiers. "Well, in case that's not what the Force means by making me its Chosen One, will you?"
The hand fell. "Why?"
It was no longer his secret to tell or keep. It was hers alone, the Force whispered, and therefore he answered neutrally, "Because she and I are close and I want her to hear it from you." It was the truth, not the whole truth, but close enough.
The black got blacker, if possible. "Is there some reason --- never mind. Yes, I'll tell her."
A change in the mood of the planet, a brightening although his eyes could not see it and Anakin knew the sun had just come up over the ruins of their tank and the litter of unmourned droid carcases. "Thanks."
It wasn't until that evening that they spoke to each other again, though Anakin heard Obi-Wan mumble from time to time. Perhaps Obi-Wan's hold on the Force was weakening and the thirst was getting the better of him. Thirst was something a native Tatooiner had learned to live with.
A half hour later, Obi-Wan answered. "So, what?"
"So is there someone you want me to give a message to, if you die and I get out of this?"
Another half an hour. "Satine. Tell ... Satine ... that I meant what I said on board The Coronet. Tell her that --- I --- that I --- " Obi-Wan swallowed thickly as Anakin heard the rasp.
"I'll tell her. I overheard you, you know."
"Oh. Well, then."
The next afternoon, Obi-Wan wasn't speaking anymore. Anakin thrashed himself free of the worst of the crushing rocks, from an unknown source of strength. At last he could feel his legs, and then he wished he couldn't. He bit off any cries so that Obi-Wan couldn't hear him. Various med-techs through the battle years had told him that the sense of hearing was the last to go. Through the grit and cutting rocks, he crept to his brother. Feeling his way along, Anakin discovered that Obi-Wan was partially protected by a shelf of crumbly shale, flaking and unsteady in the best of circumstances. How lucky that the shale had withstood the boom of whatever had exploded outside.
"Obi-Wan. Master Obi-Wan. Master."
Puffs of air against his stubbled cheek. Slow rise and fall of a battered chest. Anakin used his barely-functioning mechno-arm to unseal his and Obi-Wan's armor, leaving the shell of the war behind them. He didn't think the Force would mind.
"Obi-Wan." No answer. There didn't need to be any. As close as he'd ever wanted to be to the one who had guided him to fulfill his dreams, Anakin lay his head in the scree under his Master's outflung arm, drifting into an unending embrace within its broken curve. To his dismay, Obi-Wan paled in the Force, his golden aura readying itself for a final bursting free of its flesh confinement. Ear pressed to Obi-Wan's right ribcage so that his weight did not impede the shallow breaths, Anakin listened for what he feared as he stared into darkness, thinking of Shmi, thinking of Padmé, thinking of Obi-Wan. His head couldn't hold any more thoughts, so he fell asleep. When he awoke an hour or a day later, Obi-Wan's chest had stopped moving. I don't even have enough breath left to cry, thought Anakin, but I'm not afraid anymore. He closed his eyes again, safely enshrouded by the faithful arm that he could not see. He awakened once more, too tired to open his eyes, hearing a scrape of vibro pick against rock and the mutter of clone voices, all one voice, all different. He sighed a final name to the tomb that would soon be empty, and by the next quarter hour, he was beyond hearing.
"Generals! General Kenobi! Sir!" shouted Cody. Of all things, to triangulate the missing squad's position not by a trusted mechanical tracker, but by a disturbed Togrutan Padawan's feelings. Once he had seen the cave-in and the pile of droids and brothers outside the ruined tank, he pieced together what had happened. They had taken cover in the cave from those barves and the rumble of the exploding TX130-T fighter tank had weakened the looming cliffside. A kriffing commando droid must have specialized in sniping, because the blast marks on the tank looked like a work of a PLX-1 portable missile launcher. One final bolt's blast had brought it all down on them, commando sniper and Popper and Fargo and Mortigh and the Generals. His General, crushed and hurting for days without aid. And there, there was a discarded pile of dirty white armor! Cody threw aside his vibro-pick for his life form indicator. "Gangway! Everyone else, back!" The Commander and the Captain acted as one.
"Over here, medics! Over here!" Rex called into his wrist comm, leaping down to the gap cleared between the rocks. "Medevac, stat!"
Cody checked his LFI readings. "No hurry, Rex."
Rex bit his lip. Sunlight the color of a unripe daelfruit spackled the cliff's overhang, turning Ahsoka's skin to umber as she raced in front of the medteam disembarking from their larty. Rex stepped aside with Cody to record the scene of the fate of the missing squad's personnel, taking refuge in the unrelenting momentum of military procedure. They cited the angle of the projected entrance of the collapsed cave and noted rock fractures. At the Padawan's cry, the medteam, too, studied the far cliffs as they slowed their pace, medical capsules bobbing in the dry heat of Braehiin.