padawanlearner123 – Obi-Wan had waited a long time to have that talk with his master again.
vikky-leigh – Yep, they say the strangest things.
DarthAbby – I have yet to kill Obi-Wan in my career as a fanfic writer.
Obiwan456 – Yes, this was very much a mush chapter after the angst.
Scfilover – Thanks for reading!
Hikari Urania – Another update for you.
pronker – Thanks for your interest and support. I would love for you to rec it if you would like.
*** I am afraid we are at the end of a journey as this post will complete this fic. It has been fun and you are wonderful readers. I hope you enjoy the final touch here.
~ Almost 50 years later ~
Obi-Wan leaned heavily on a walking stick as he entered the room in the Healer's Ward. The object of his search was resting in the room's only cot. It's stiff white linens were a stark contrast to the black sleeves of the man's silken sleep clothes.
Xanatos was still except for the gentle rise and fall of his chest. Not wanting to disturb the man's rest, Obi-Wan began to leave.
"Going so soon? You just arrived," a voice still alluring even in advanced age called.
"You need your rest and I did not wish to disturb you," Obi-Wan replied as he turned around.
Midnight blue eyes, one of the few things about Xanatos that had not changed looked back at him. They were the same as Obi-Wan remembered from his childhood. Silver had long ago chased away the man's thick ebony locks and time had creased pale skin, but overall, he had aged well.
"The truth is – I was warned within an inch of my life by the healers not to bother their patient," Obi-Wan continued, earning an appreciative chuckle.
"It's a good thing they don't expect you to listen to them," Xanatos replied. "Besides, it was just a short nap. I'm awake."
The elderly man proceeded to sit up. Obi-Wan placed an extra pillow behind him before pulling a nearby chair closer to the cot. It concerned him that just the effort of sitting up seemed to sap Xanatos' precious energy.
"I hear you were a troublesome patient in my absence," Obi-Wan posed, adding a scolding tone to his voice that had served him well through two apprentices.
"You say that like you are always a model patient," Xanatos bit back. "Besides, you weren't here to keep me in line." The light accusing tone turned thoughtful. "How did you get stuck with that job in the first place?"
"I think the rest of the Council made it my penance for allowing you to be treated here," Obi-Wan replied sarcastically. "Of course, I didn't know when you came to collect on a certain debt that you would become a permanent resident at the time. Besides, I am the only one you listen to."
A chuckle rumbled in Xanatos' chest. "I will give your padawans credit for trying while you were gone."
It warmed Obi-Wan's heart that Xanatos still referred to the two he had trained as 'padawans'. Both men were accomplished Jedi masters who had trained apprentices of their own and now sat on the Council at his side.
"Rumor has it you are considering retiring your Council seat, Master Kenobi." Xanatos raised an eyebrow. "I question your judgment in leaving the Council to the Skywalkers."
"Whie will keep them in line," Obi-Wan assured him before looking back toward the hallway. "Are you up for some fresher air?"
"Any excuse to leave this place," Xanatos grumbled. "It has been a while."
"That is your own fault," Obi-Wan chided. "Maybe if you behaved, someone else would walk with you."
Obi-Wan helped the former Jedi into a nearby hover chair before tucking a blanket around the older man's legs. Xanatos had used to complain about the fuss but now seemed to just accept the pampering. Obi-Wan rested his walking stick against the wall before reaching to the handles to begin pushing the chair.
"I thought you would be rid of that damned crutch by now."
"It looks like it will be with me to the end," Obi-Wan shot back quickly. "Apparently, I am old and my bones don't heal like they used to."
"All the more reason for you to stop gallivanting around the galaxy like you are still a senior padawan," Xanatos scolded. "You do realize you are over 80."
"Do I sense concern?" Obi-Wan asked, not bothering to hide the smile stretching across his face.
"Of course," Xanatos replied. "Who will take me on walks if you get yourself killed or worse, laid up in that ward yourself?"
"I pity the healers if they ever actually had to deal with both of us in there." The thought was, Obi-Wan had to admit, vividly amusing. "I actually don't mind the walking stick," Obi-Wan continued. "There is a whole new generation of Jedi whom I intend to teach to value their shins in Master Yoda's memory."
That got a good hearty laugh out of Xanatos as they turned in to the Room of a Thousand Fountains and found their usual place. From a bag Obi-Wan had hung on the back of the hover chair, he pulled two cups and a bottle of fine Corellian wine before sitting on a bench next to the hover chair.
"Contraband," Xanatos murmured approvingly.
"I picked it up on my last trip. Now aren't you glad I went?" Obi-Wan asked smugly before raising an eyebrow. "Word of this best not get back to the healers. I would rather not have another lecture on what is best for your health."
"It's not as though it matters," Xanatos said softly before taking a sip. His eyes slid closed before he continued. "I don't have long left, or so the Force tells me."
Obi-Wan simply nodded his head. The Force had told him the same.
"I wish it would tell the healers so they would leave me alone," Xanatos added with an irreverent snort. A smile tugged at the elderly man's lips. "Will you grant an old friend a wish?"
"We're friends now?"
Xanatos rolled his eyes, earning only more laughter from the Jedi master.
"How did it happen before … how did I die?"
Obi-Wan took a deep breath. What did it hurt now to divulge such information? "Apparently, you were very busy after you escaped from Bandomeer. You made plans to attack Master Yoda and destroy the Temple."
"My … I was ambitious."
"You escaped back to Telos, and of course, Qui-Gon and I followed," Obi-Wan continued. "Your mining operations on Telos had turned the Sacred Pools of Telos to acid. It was there that we finally cornered you." Obi-Wan made brief eye contact, seeing that Xanatos had begun to make the connection. "Rather than be taken by Qui-Gon, you jumped and well …"
"I get the picture …" Xanatos groaned.
"Right before you jumped. You told Qui-Gon, 'I am your biggest failure. Live with that. And live with this.'"
"Was I ever so foolish?" Xanatos murmured after a moment's silence as he slowly shook his head. "Thank the Force for sending you and Anakin back to Bandomeer." Reaching out, he grasped onto Obi-Wan's arm. "I have one more thing to ask of you."
"Anything, My Friend," Obi-Wan said without hesitation.
"I am making you executor of my estate. Offworld affairs, of course, were settled long ago. I haven't been involved for quite some time. This is for my personal assets …"
"Wouldn't your attorney be more suited?"
"I trust you, Obi-Wan," Xanatos said decisively. The spark of defiance that had not been tempered even with age shined brightly in his eyes. "You have no vested interest in my fortune, and thus I am ensured my last wishes will be followed to the letter without contest."
"I would be honored."
"Thank you," Xanatos said, letting out the breath he had been holding. "It is important to me. You, Master Kenobi, will leave a proud line of Jedi masters in your wake. This is what I have to leave behind."
"Your legacy is more than that, My Friend," Obi-Wan reminded gently. "None of us would be here – none of this would be possible without your help."
Obi-Wan smiled at the whisper along his bond with Qui-Gon. To see his two padawans as friends … as brothers … was more than he had ever wished for. The flutterings in the Force did not go unnoticed.
"You really speak to him, don't you?" Xanatos asked, to which Obi-Wan simply nodded with the same content smile fixed on his face. "Since moving to the Temple, I have begun to sense him a bit. He's waiting for me, you know."
"How do feel about that?"
"I look forward to finally making peace," Xanatos replied with complete honesty. "I am ready."
Obi-Wan sat in the Hall of Remembrance long after the funeral pyre had died down. Xanatos had left very little instruction in his will on what to do with his physical remains, so naturally Obi-Wan had arranged for him to be honored in a proper Jedi funeral, something the former Jedi would never have felt he deserved. The Jedi master was still stunned by how many had turned out to pay their respects.
Now he sat alone, meditating on having seen yet another friend join the Force. It was easy at times to feel as though he was being left behind, yet he wasn't. The Force was always with him, something he had known since his earliest memories. But with advancing years came new understanding. The Force was full of the voices of those who had gone before. Some were more distinct than others. He spoke with Qui-Gon often and even with the spirit of Master Yoda face to face. As he spent more time in meditation, he felt the flickerings of friends' presences. And today, yet another had joined that chorus.
/"Have you both found your peace, Master?"/ Obi-Wan whispered into the Force.
/"Yes, thank you Padawan."/
A smile turned up the Jedi master's lips as he sensed two very dear to him approach. He had wondered when they would come to check on him. They sat down on either side of him, joining in his silent vigil.
"Xanatos didn't speak much about his past," Luke finally ventured. "I still wonder what happened to make such a drastic change and set him on the right path."
Obi-Wan turned to Anakin, sharing a knowing smile before simply saying, "The Force is persistent and mysterious, Padawan."
Anakin and Luke nodded at each other, a sure sign they were speaking behind their master's back. Sure enough, Luke offered a feeble, "I should go. Ben asked to speak with me before the next Council session." He stood and offered his elders a slight bow before leaving them alone, what Obi-Wan suspected Anakin had asked for.
"What are you thinking about, Master?" Anakin asked after a moment.
"It seems Luke and my thoughts were in similar places. I remember Xanatos told me after I allowed him to escape on Bandomeer that he intended to live a long a full life."
"Always a man of his word," Anakin said. "One hundred years is a pretty long life."
"That it is."
It was not hard for Obi-Wan to discern that something was bothering his former pupil, but he knew that Anakin would speak when ready. Sure enough …
"I have heard rumor that you are planning to step down, from the Council," Anakin asked with great concern and what almost seemed like fear.
"Some things never change, especially the rate at which information only privy to a few finds its way around the Temple," Obi-Wan said, his lips twisting into yet another smile.
"Why would you … step down?"
"I am not getting any younger Anakin," Obi-Wan said with a chuckle. "I am practically a fossil - the last master sitting on the Council who was also on the Council during The Clone Wars."
"Which makes your experience and guidance all the more valuable," Anakin protested.
"Perhaps, but much has changed and I wonder if I have changed enough with it," Obi-Wan murmured. "For Force sake, Anakin. Half the Council is married, and I still am not sure how I feel about it."
"I am sure Master Yoda had to adapt much in his centuries on the Council," Anakin argued. "I for one am glad he did because all were able to benefit from his wisdom."
"True," Obi-Wan said quietly.
"Please reconsider," Anakin said. "I am not ready to break up the team yet."
The words that had been often quoted over the years still had not lost their meaning. That a Jedi master approaching his seventieth year and a man who had grandchildren now still wanted his master close was a mystery that Obi-Wan had learned to just accept.
"Padawan," he said warmly – another word that had not lost its meaning. "The team will never be broken up. I will always be here for you."
"I know, Master." Anakin stood, smiling as he reached out a hand. "But the Council is meeting soon. Are you coming, Master Kenobi?"
The Force spoke to him as it often did, warming and rejuvenating him and the voices of those who had gone before encouraged him. Obi-Wan stood and pressed his walking stick firmly to the ground and returned his apprentice's smile.
"After you, Master Skywalker."