Where There's No End

When the war started, Anakin wondered when it would ever end; when Order 66 happened he begged it would just finish; when he fought Sidious he was even desperate enough to end it himself in his attempt to make another option. Now, three weeks later, he was still avidly waiting for an end.

It had been hours before the clones had figured out that their emperor was dead and allowed help - any kind of help - to arrive. By then Obi-Wan and Ahsoka had managed to do the impossible (Anakin admitted that he wasn't the only one to break that rule, he just did it more often than most) and crawled their way to his side to help him.

As Anakin understood it, those critical hours had cost them the most. Ahsoka was the only one to make a full recovery, her broken bones knitted together and treated. Obi-Wan had suffered extreme bone calcification from the lightning, but his worst injury had been the stabbing done by Anakin's own hand. Even with all the medical knowledge they had at their disposal, time was and always would be the most critical element of medicine, and Obi-Wan would never be able to use his arm fully again without great pain.

Anakin, too, did not leave without scars. There was the bone calcification, of course, the plethora of broken bones from the fall - even using Sidious to break the fall didn't keep that from happening - but the electrocution had also caused nerve damage, and that could never be repaired. It was ironic that his prosthetic arm - once the one limb he had the least control over - now had the most precision of his body.

Ahsoka reached up and straightened an invisible fold in his robe. Her hands were never far these days as she tried to do something, anything, to help with the tremors he would feel for the rest of his life. "Are you sure you don't want me on the podium with you?"

"No," Anakin said, running a hand through his hair and taking a deep breath. His hand shook slightly as he lowered it. "Your best place is in the Senate with Padme and the twins. I really doubt anything will happen at this point, but it's better to be safe than sorry, and since you've agreed to be the Senate liaison, you'll have to get used to sitting there."

"But..." the Togrutan said slowly, looking uncertain as a shudder ran through Anakin's body.

"Trust me," he said, "No shakes during the speech."

"No doubt he's planning to redefine impossible again," Obi-Wan said softly, at the new Grandmaster's side as he always had been, as he always would be. "I'll politely hit him if he seems to be doing something self-destructive."

Ahsoka offered a soft smile, still eyeing the two men worriedly, before bowing and turning.

"Knight Tano," Yoda said, "Worry, you should not."

Still uncomfortable with being called a Knight, still uncertain if her work (or lack there of, as she put it) to aide Anakin counted as her trials, still on uncertain footing, she bowed out of respect and deference before disappearing to the Senatorial chamber.

Obi-Wan felt Anakin's concern and nodded. "She'll grow into it. We're all a little uncertain these days. Direction will help, especially with her. The better question is are you certain you want to address the Senate now?"

Anakin winced, a tremor passing through almost his entire body. Obi-Wan reached out to still him and he winced painfully as his shoulder throbbed. Anakin had to laugh. "We're a sight, aren't we?" he said.

"Yes," Yoda said, leaning on his gimmer stick. "A shame it is, that most cannot see."

Anakin looked down, frowning, wondering just what Yoda could see, but shook his head slightly and put it aside. That would have to wait. Mace was at the Temple per the new Grandmaster's instructions. The Korun Jedi, upon Yoda's nomination of Anakin to the position, had stared at him long and hard with his aloof glare before finally saying, "Perhaps it is for the best." The thought made Anakin sigh. He couldn't convert everyone.

He, too, needs time to adjust.

I know, Master.

"Master Jedi," an assistant said, "It's time."

"I understand," Anakin answered, stepping up a little shakily onto the central spire that would lead to the Senatorial chamber, Obi-Wan and Yoda flanking him. There was a soft hum, and the podium began to rise. It was still so surreal; the last time Anakin had used this podium it was to get down to Sidious' office and confront him. Now it was an empty space - the position of Supreme Chancellor empty, the entire structure of the government in upheaval - but Anakin could not completely shake off the negative emotions that formally warm black and red room had held for him.

"Will I always be like this?" he whispered to Obi-Wan. "Vacillating?"

"Some lessons," his master answered, "Need to be learned over and over. Force knows how many times I've been made to learn about attachment; even now I keep discovering new little facets and shades."

"Because of what I did that day?"

"And because of many, many other things," Obi-Wan replied, smiling gently and radiating love and pride.

Anakin swelled, and it gave him the strength to look to the Senate with a calm fa├žade. The chamber had been repaired quickly, all things considered, gone were the destroyed pods and smoky trails, gone was the horrible bloodstain at the very bottom of the room.

"The Senate will now hear from Jedi Grandmaster: Anakin Skywalker."

Anakin's eyes and senses immediately locked onto Padme and Ahsoka, each holding one of the twins - twins! - and he could feel Padme smile just for him. He offered a smirk of his own, sending her a very naughty picture, and more than enjoyed her flushed reaction in his mind. Her birth had been difficult, Jar Jar was filling her role as Senator for now while she recovered, but she utterly refused to not be a part of this meeting. Even now, he could feel her steadfast determination to be there for her husband. Anakin smiled and sent a strong pulse of love, and in response he felt her flush and lean back in her seat, smiling and thinking she knew why.

You'll make her Force-sensitive yet, it seems.

Anakin smirked and looked up around the massive chamber. He asked a quite, We're broadcasting, right?

After asking Ahsoka to ensure it? I'd be surprised if we weren't.

Nodding, Anakin took a deep breath.

"To the Jedi who were able to scatter and hide," he said, "I'm sure by now you've figured out that the Sith master Sidious is dead. What you might not know is that the Temple is safe; you can come back. Master Windu is there now, contact him and let him know you're coming home. If you come home, you and the rest of the Jedi, what's left of us, can work together to come to terms with what's happened. It's not an easy task: we've been betrayed by the Senate and suffered genocide, we've watched - and worse, felt - our entire family be slaughtered; devastation like that causes a lot of negative emotions: anger, confusion, fear, hatred, uncertainty. Together, I would like it if we all could wade through it and find some level of peace.

"If you're too angry to come back, I, we, understand. But I want you to know that you are walking a very, very, dangerous path. And if you fall, then, we'll likely meet again."

A tremor started in his wrist. He called on the Force and demanded it be silent. He would pay for it later, but he needed to look strong.

Obi-Wan sent him strength, as did Padme and Ahsoka.

"To the Senate," Anakin continued, his eyes once more sweeping over the conglomerate. "You're all a bunch of poodoo sucking womp rats."

As he expected, the entire room exploded into noise. He could feel Obi-Wan mentally put his head in his hands as Padme, invisible in the crowd, did the same. Ahsoka he could sense snort and offer a Go gett'em, Master!

He waited, fighting off more tremors, before the chamber settled into anything resembling quiet.

Anakin's voice turned hard. "I take if from your reaction that you might be somehow surprised by the accusation," he said. More than a few people started to articulate on that point, but Anakin pointedly ignored them. "In light of that, let me clarify a few things." Then he waited, but there even after seven minutes the crowd was still roaring and protesting; and while Anakin was willing to tentatively admit that he'd learn some patience, he knew himself to know that it would never be natural, and so he decided to make them be quiet.

With a touch of the Force, the entire room rattled.

Silence befell the chamber.

"As I was saying," Anakin said, his voice firm and almost cold. He mentally asked for more strength from the Force as another tremor started to sweep over him. "I'm a little surprised that all of you are surprised. After all, almost every single one of you is only here because you openly campaigned support of Palpatine - oh, excuse me, Sith Lord Sidious - and happily, even eagerly, voted for every one of his executive powers. All forms of government regulations were revoked - from banks to health care to housing to education - and as a result capitalists raked in mountains of money, billions of people were evicted from their homes, and children were suddenly crammed into classes of forty or fifty with only one underpaid teacher to do the job. You revoked freedom after freedom in the name of security so that you could push whatever agenda you or Sidious had hidden under your hat. You blocked people asking for honest change, blocking them through filibuster, threat, intimidation, or out and out attempted murder. As if all of that wasn't bad enough, as if your complicacy isn't the end of it, you all openly sanctioned Order Sixty-Six: the genocide of the Jedi."

He glared at them hard, Obi-Wan and Master Yoda doing the same.

He offered a cold smile as the information sunk in. "I suppose you should know that all that information, all that wonderfully documented information, is being given to the press as we speak."

As the reaction to that little tidbit of information exploded throughout the Senate, Anakin took the moment to send his thanks, again, to Padme and Obi-Wan; his wife, for giving him the information necessary, and Obi-Wan for outlining how to maximize the effect. The Senate had thought that this was going to be a pep talk, the new Jedi Grandmaster offering a few platitudes and humbly giving support to the socio-political machine as it talked itself back into complacency.

That was what they thought. That was not what he had planned.

"I should also announce," Anakin added over the din, his voice immediately quieting the chamber as they waited for another shoe to drop, "That because there are so kirffing few Jedi out there right now, that we are closing our doors to Senatorial requests."

He let the Senate explode with that and instead turn his eyes to Padme and Ahsoka, nodding slightly. A camera floated down and Anakin looked at it.

"While they're whining, I have something to say to the people of the galaxy," he said to the camera. "We may be closing our doors to the idiots who betrayed us, but we are not closing our doors to the people of the galaxy who need us. If you have a request or a need of a Jedi, don't bother going to the Senate - they'll try to swindle you at any rate - instead come to us directly. The one to contact will be Jedi Master Yoda." Obi-Wan gave him a soft mental nudge, and Anakin looked down, frowning, before looking back to the camera, trying to look earnest and maybe a little worried. "I should probably mention," he added, "That it might take a while. There aren't exactly a lot of us..."

Stop there, keep it simple. The worst thing to do is overplay your hand.

Got it Master. Back to the idiots.

Be nice, Master, Padme's one of those "idiots."

She knows I don't mean her.

The camera floated away, and Anakin leaned back and waited for the noise to die down.

"Bold, your moves are," Yoda said slowly. "Changes, this will bring."

"Change is necessary, Master," Anakin said softly. "Change can be violent, will be because of all the damage Sidious did, but with any luck those changes will all be positive."

They had to be. For his children's sake.

When something resembling quiet - at least enough that Anakin could speak again - finally settled, the grandmaster started, "In some ways," he said to the Senate, "You're going to get off lucky. Jedi don't take revenge, and frankly we have our hands full mourning the thousands of infants, children, initiates, Padawans, knights, masters, and Council members you've killed and releasing our emotions to the Force. But don't think you're completely in the clear, because the Will of the Force can do some very mysterious things. You've made your beds, and I hope you have fun lying in them.

"To the Confederacy of Independent Systems: the Republic is a mess. You have a choice now, system for system: you can rejoin the Republic and help the tiny handful of Senators who are trying to fix things, or you can stay in the Confederacy. I can't speak for the Senate, but I can say that the Jedi will take no part in that conflict - and neither will our clones."

Another uproar in the Senate.

"Oh," Anakin said, "Did you forget about that? That the clone army was placed under the Jedi command because it was viewed back in the day that we were the only ones with the experience in combat to lead them? Without Sidious giving commands and with the power vacuum you all have created because of your vying for who will be next Supreme Chancellor, a few wonderfully legal documents place the Clone Army in Jedi hands, and since you trusted us to lead them, we've decided to ask them what they wanted to do, and they said all they needed were orders. So, very simply, we ordered them to more humanitarian tasks. They're going to be field medics and construction workers and farmers and teachers to any who want them, Republic or CIS. Jedi Master Kenobi will field requests for them.

"To the people of the galaxy," Anakin said, "You've suffered just as much as we Jedi have. Your angry and frustrated and desperate for change. Now is the time to try and bring it out; believe it or not, there actually are a few Senators in this collection of womp-rats who have the best interests of the galaxy at heart. Look up the Delegation of Two Thousand and ask them what you can do, I'm sure they'll be more than happy to give you the chance to make changes."

Master, Bail and Mon are about to have heart attacks, and this is even after Padme told them this was coming.

I know, Anakin replied, but the only way this Senate is going to fix itself is if there's a huge turnover, and giving them the Rebels is the best way to do it.

Don't call them Rebels, Anakin, that's not a positive term.

Speak for yourself, Obi-Wan. I'm a rebel, aren't I?

Obi-Wan sighed.

"And finally, to the Senate," Anakin said, another tremor trying to shudder through him. He had held off too many - he could delay them but he couldn't stop the tremors, once this was over they were all going to hit him at once, and he was going to be in agony when this was over. His family just kept giving him strength. "I only have one humble piece of advice: Fix yourselves. If you can't figure out where you went wrong you're too stupid to be here; if you think you can get away with it then you have all that leaked information, the honest Senators, and the galaxy to answer to. If you think a few platitudes will save you then by all means try and see how long you last. But one thing is more than clear: there needs to be change."

He bowed. "Thank you for allowing me the time to address you. I'm certain you have more than enough work to do, so I'll be taking my leave - for a good six months. Any questions or need for clarification will not be answered by me because my family and myself won't be here, so you can forward them to Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano."

The podium lowered, and all three Jedi masters - even Yoda - gave a small sigh of relief. Anakin's shaking hit him full force, and he all but stumbled to a chair, pain filling his joints as he lost complete control of his body.

"Honestly, only you would use the Force so recklessly," Obi-Wan said, reaching out with his good arm and touching his brother's head, pulling out the pain and releasing it to the Force.

"On the up side," Anakin said through chattering teeth, "At least I'm not on a respirator. I don't know that I could control my lungs like I do the rest of me."

"I say again: reckless."


Six months later Anakin was playing with little Leia on his lap, her face alight in happy delight. The Naboo Lake Country spread out before him.

Obi-Wan walked in, Luke in his arms and what looked vaguely like a put upon frown on his face. "You do this on purpose," he said by way of greeting.

Anakin smiled, a little too bright and a little too innocent for it to be real. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I can't help it if I can't play with both of them at once when everyone and their brother is asking for my help. And if Padme is taking another nap, then with Ahsoka out on Coruscant of course one of them is going to fall to you. You don't think I'd trust him with Threepio, do you?"

"And the fact that it's always Luke?" he said, an eyebrow raised. He shifted said baby from one arm to the other, forgetting the reduced strength and frowning when he had to switch back.

"That isn't me at all," Anakin said brightly, Leia reaching up and trying to tug at his collar, giggling madly. "Luke's the one that's taken a fancy to you."

"You love this," Obi-Wan accused.

"I love everything Obi-Wan, I thought you knew that."

The comment sent a thoughtful crease on Obi-Wan's forehead, and Anakin could hear Obi-Wan reliving memories across their bond, old worries that all that love would turn to hate and the pain involved of when it didn't. The Jedi master sat down in a heavily cushioned chair and looked out over the expansive lake. "I see why you always spoke of the Lake Country of Naboo so fondly. It is beautiful here."

Anakin leaned back in his own chair, swinging it around to face the breathtaking scenery. Leia was still tugging for his attention; she was a stubborn baby in that respect, and so Anakin looked down and tickled her incessantly. That would keep her occupied for a few minutes. "I'm going to hate leaving here," he said slowly. He could feel Obi-Wan's own regret over the bond.

"It can't be helped," his brother said.

"I was hoping to get at least another two months out of this. By then Padme would be back up to full strength and things could be... I don't think easier is the right word, but..."

"I saw the medics this morning. How is she?"

"She's made a full recovery like Ahsoka did," Anakin said, relief filling him once again as he remembered the good news. The birth of the twins had been difficult to the extreme for Padme, and she had Anakin's tumultuous emotions, and their fight with Sidious to compound problems. He'd spent several days in a near panic when he'd learned of her weakened condition, that it was "touch and go," and that people were "hoping for the best." She frequently needed naps and had little stamina after something as simple as nursing the babies. She was getting better however, and Anakin couldn't help but feel relief. There is no death; there is the Force - that may have been true but Anakin didn't particularly want to apply that to Padme just yet. He didn't think he could have emotionally handled it after everything else that could happen.

For a long time, the two of them watched the lake, ripples spreading from one end of the lake to the other.

Not long enough, however, before the communicator went off.

Anakin cursed.

"Really, Anakin, in front of the children?"

"There's always something with you, isn't there?"

"Of course," Obi-Wan replied with a grin, "It's only fair since you constantly sic your son on me."

"I repeat: not my fault."

"Master, it's always your fault."

"Ahsoka!" Anakin said with a bright grin when he turned on the primitive screen he had personally wired to take satellite communications into the boondocks of Lake Country. "How're things on Coruscant?"

"Everyone's desperate to know when the 'Beloved Hero' is going to return to public spotlight," the Togrutan said with a roll of her eyes. She leaned forward to the view screen and propped a hand on her chin. "All the Kowakian monkey-lizard politicians from Palpatine's supermajority are still in office; Mon Mothma's subcommittee on routing out the corrupt is having more than a few difficulties, and some of the members have even been attacked. Most of my work as Jedi representative has been focused there."

"I see life hasn't yet become boring on Coruscant," Obi-Wan said lightly. Anakin saw him fiddling with Luke and Anakin knew that for all his complaints that the two of them more than enjoyed each other's company.

"Oh, is Master Obi-Wan with you?" Ahsoka asked, trying to peer further on the screen. Anakin grinned and turned the monitor's camera. "They've been asking for you as well - at least Bail is, and him I trust."

"How is he?" Obi-Wan asked, putting Luke down and lifting himself out of the chair enough to edge it over to get a better view.

"They finally decided to elect him as, er, they haven't decided on a title yet, but basically he's the new Supreme Chancellor, emperor, leader, voice of reason, take your pick."

"And so we swing from one extreme to another," Obi-Wan sighed. "At least they made a good choice on that score."

Ahsoka made a face. "They really didn't have much choice when Anakin said, 'Fix the problem or face me,' and then made the whole Senate rattle. I think most of the argument was on why Anakin didn't just take over to begin with. That and all the monkey-lizards trying to jockey for position and being blocked by Mon's flood of, er, they've been calling themselves the Rebels."

"I told you it was a great name," Anakin said, eyeing Obi-Wan with a grin. He turned back to Ahsoka. "You're little public service announcement really stirred up the people. There have been floods of citizens that want things to change volunteering to do something, anything. The galaxy has turned into a giant Naboo."

"Don't let Padme hear you say that," Obi-Wan said lightly.

"Too late for that," a soft voice said. Anakin's smile might well have lit up the sun as he stood up - a little shakily as one of his legs was suffering from tremors - and walked over to wrap his beautiful wife into an awkward hug. Leia fussed, but decided she wanted her mother more and reached up. Padme took her and the three walked back to Anakin's desk.

"Are you okay?" Anakin asked, already sensing his wife's annoyance but needing to ask anyway.

"I'm fine," Padme replied, only half her attention on her husband as she gave the rest to their daughter. "Is Luke still fumbling for his uncle?"

"Yes," Anakin replied brightly before Obi-Wan could reply, adding, "and they're both very 'put out' by it. At least that's what they proclaim when they aren't planning secret rendezvous."

"Anakin!"

"Yes? Master?"

"Are you still being flooded with calls begging for help?" Ahsoka asked, a smile on her face as she surveyed the familial scene.

Anakin made a face. "Yes," he said in a flat voice. "I feel guilty for turning them down all the time, but if there's one things I've learned after everything that's happened is that people - even Jedi - need time to heal; emotionally as well as physically. Some people," he gave unveiled glances to a certain brother and wife, "are so wrapped up in their work they forget that sometimes."

"Like you're any better?" Ahsoka asked, a wry grin and a skeptical eyebrow vying for position on her face. "Frankly I can't believe you've managed to stay in one place for so long."

Anakin sighed but leaned back in his chair. "If I had my way I'd take up permanent residence here. This would be a great place to raise Jedi. There's a lot of Living Force here; it's close enough to Coruscant that they can call and beg for help, and far enough away that we can take the time to fix our own problems."

Padme looked up from her ministrations with Leia. "Then you were serious? When you said you didn't want the Jedi to be affiliated with the Senate?"

"Oh, yes," Ahsoka said, leaning away from the screen and adjusting her sitting position. "The Senate is still having random conniptions about not having Jedi in their pockets anymore to whip out at the slightest notice. Mace will burn my ears off at any opportunity to tell me how stupid our new Grandmaster is for making that decision. I smile and nod as best I can, but I think I agree with him. There are so few of us left we can't take on major projects or battle - and that's what the Senate really wants us for, Bail and his ilk aside. The Jedi, what's left of us, need more time to heal than anyone else. That reminds me," she added, looking back to Anakin, "Three more came back to the Temple last week, all Padawans. They're very angry; very upset. I'm not the expert you and Master Obi-Wan are, but one of them is having a really hard time dealing with all the loss. I can feel darkness around him."

Anakin frowned, but nodded. "I guess Yoda has his work cut out for him."

" 'Master' Yoda," Obi-Wan corrected, his face turned away as he watched Luke play on the floor. "He gave you the title of Grandmaster, I think you owe him at least that much respect."

"Respect is earned, 'Master,' and that takes time," Anakin sniffed, annoyed that that particular topic was still being brought up.

"Have you decided when you're coming back?" Ahsoka asked, her tone tentative.

"In a week or two," Anakin replied, sighing. "I really want to put it off more, but if those 'Kowakian monkey-lizards' as you so aptly named them are still causing trouble and attacking people, then I guess the move back to Coruscant is sadly pushed up on the priority list."

Ahsoka smiled. "If nothing else, Master, it will make running the Jedi a little easier. At least you'll be called a lot less."

"Oh, yes," Anakin said with great aplomb, "Instead I'll be stuck in meetings all day instead of playing with my kids."

"Says the man who made it clear that no one calls him in the evening hours," said Padme with a devilish smile on her face. "I'm most certain it won't continue at all, oh no; not for a man so desperate to say in one place."

Anakin pouted. "And what does that mean?" he asked.

"That you've been itching to be in motion," Obi-Wan supplied. "Who was it that wanted to visit every star in the galaxy? Who was more than happy to go gallivanting out on some damn-fool idealistic crusade and drag me along for the ride? Who keeps taking those calls in spite of his very protests and fights the urge to get up and run to be of service? Who's the new Grandmaster of the Jedi and isn't even a quarter of a century old?"

Anakin openly snorted. "And who's already planning on training the younglings in Form III even though he doesn't have full range of motion in one arm?" He turned to Padme. "And who's been having extended calls with Bail and Mon and all the rest when she thinks I'm not looking?"

"You mean I've been doing all this work as acting Jedi liaison and consultant for the Senate and Padme's already been keeping you in the loop? MASTER!"

"I never said she was, Snips," Anakin said in bright official tones, "She just thought I didn't know."

Padme humphed. "Jedi mind tricks," she muttered.

"And you wouldn't have it any other way, angel."

"Well, anyway, I'll let Master Yoda and the others know you're vacation is almost over. I know Master Windu has a lot to say to you. I'll talk to you later in the week." She gave a cheerful wave as she signed off.

"Change, dramatic or otherwise, will always cause resistance to those set in their ways," Obi-Wan muttered.

"It was our stagnation that lead to Order Sixty-Six," Anakin replied, looking ahead to the coming arguments when they moved back to Coruscant. "We have to change to survive. Yoda recognized that, that's why he made me Grandmaster. Everyone else will just have to fall in line."

Conversation trailed off as all three looked to little Luke, who had stopped playing on the floor and was balancing on his hands and knees with a look of determination on his face. In Anakin's mind, he could sense the child reaching for Obi-Wan, and said Jedi master kept himself open as one child-sized hand reached forward and fell to the floor, shifting his weight forward.

Luke was still reaching through the Force to Obi-Wan, though his eyes were focused on his limbs as he tried to bring another hand forward and lost his balance. He got up on all fours again, putting one hand forward as he had before. With intense concentration he moved a knee forward and when he didn't tumble, he tried for his other hand again.

Slowly, as he worked out what needed to move when, Luke started to crawl for the first time, unsteadily at first, making a direct line straight to Obi-Wan. Every time he looked up, he lost what he was doing with his limbs and fell, but Obi-Wan just smiled, keeping himself open to Luke's determination and offering a welcoming smile.

All of them, Anakin, Padme, Obi-Wan, and even little Leia watched in great anticipation as Luke put one limb in front of the other, and they all cheered as Luke finally crawled into Obi-Wan's lap.

He picked the child up, smiling and sending warm feelings of pride and affection, just as Anakin was doing.

Not one to be outdone, Leia gave a small grumble before clambering out of Padme's arms and starting her own determined attempts to crawl to Anakin.

Padme let out an "Awwwww," as Leia picked up crawling faster than Luke (no doubt getting help from her brother as Anakin sensed their bond pulsing...) and happily received much praise from her beloved father. Anakin flooded everyone in the room with his love, and they could only smile in response.

The five turned back to the lake, watching it's beautiful ripples of water caress the surrounding mountains as Leia once more tugged at his collar. Anakin's mind wandered back to the idea of a second Temple here, just for the younglings maybe. Or maybe the older Jedi.

A place to learn about family.

End


Author's Notes: We're done! We're doooooone! (dies) Guaaaaaah, we're doooone...

Whew, what to say now that it's over. This fic was started over the idea or rewriting Mustafar. Many a fic did that, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized that by the time Mustafar happens, the Ani-Obi relaltionship is damaged beyond repair, and we realized for it to work there needed to be changes before the battle of Mustafar. When we start thinking that, well, things started to snowball.

We broke a lot of personal rules with this fic.

When we write there tends to be something of a formula: inspiration of an idea, lots and lots of discussion that leads to more ideas, draft an outline, write. One of the first rules we broke is that we didn't have an outline for this fic. It's not the first time we've broken this rule - if an idea strikes us hard enough, and we have a really strong understanding of the feeling that's supposed to be conveyed we can let the inspiration carry and a pretty good fic will churn out. A good example of this is the Holic/Detective Conan fic Price of Truth that we wrote. Sometimes we'll get really far, however, and then just fizzle, our ideas being exhausted and leaving us struggling to finish the fic. Our other Star Wars fic, currently Untitled, suffered this fate and there's a certain lack of quality in it that makes us feel it's below our standards.

This fic falls somewhere in between; mainly because of the second rule we broke.

Every story we've ever written was written in sequential order - with or without an outline. We started at the beginning and finished at the end. This is the first fic ever, ever, to break that rule. We wrote the drabbles/ficklettes/scenes/whatever the heck you've been calling these chapters as the inspiration struck us. Sometimes we were both writing at once, one on the computer and the other scribbling on a notebook.

The mental strain of this was ridiculous. For example, I wrote the Cody chapter, Obi-Wan learning about the Tuskens, Ani learning about Obi-Wan's petitions, and then finished the Munnilnst chapter in that order. I had to go from the Ani-Obi super bond and then backtrack to the Ani-Obi strong bond and then back. Rearranging the thought patterns for back and forth was a pain, and furthermore the result was that sometimes one of us would write a chapter and not be entirely sure where to put it or realizing that no, no, we're still not done with the Clone Wars because we need another scene here and here to explain how things go from this to that and we both feel like pulling at our hair. The Clone Wars arc suffered from this the most.

By the time we his the third arc, ROTS, we stopped wholesale and said "enough is enough, we need to do this chronologically." Especially since we still weren't completely sure how the ending was going to turn out. We wrote the last arc in stages, outline say four or five scenes, write them, then outline the next bunch. That actually worked out to our benefit, taking the time to stage the sequences more carefully led, we feel, to a much richer experience in the ending. The build up of Anakin Falling or not worked really well, too, at least we think it did now that we're done with it. We were both crying with respective scenes that we wrote and hopefully you all did, too

Happy Holidays to all our readers who have supported us throughout this story. You are all awesome.

We'll be taking January off, then we'll start posting All But Name again.