I still don't own Star Wars I'm just playing in the sandbox again
Obi-Wan Kenobi was tired. It wasn't physical tiredness which bothered him. He knew even a Jedi had reason to be tired due to everything which had happened lately: negotiating the end of the Clone Wars as well as meditating with the Council on how to handle Anakin's near fall to the dark side, his marriage to Padme, Palpatine being Sidious, and what these things meant for the future of the order.
Hope for the future had come from all of this: the order would allow selfless love and not selfish attachment, the Republic and the Jedi would heal from the dark side's damage thanks to the newly appointed liaison Padme Skywalker and new ways of thought were being debated. After the pain of the Clone Wars, and being in the shadow of the dark side, the Republic and the Jedi were embarking on a new renaissance.
The tiredness with bothered Obi-Wan was mental. He should be happy for the Republic and the order. He should be overjoyed that Anakin had reached his potential after all and lived happily in the light with Padme, Luke and Leia and was now a master. That the force, as well as Anakin and Padme, showed trust in him by giving a clear feeling Luke was supposed to become Obi-Wan's padawan someday should have been icing on the metaphorical cake.
Instead he felt tired. He worked to hide it from Anakin and the Council. He worked to be the same steady, at peace and model Knight he had always strived to be. Everyone else seemed brimming with an optimistic joy for the future. Obi-Wan found himself feeling apart from it all.
He should feel freed by what had happened. Not only was Anakin and the Republic safe, but Qui-Gon had even returned from the netherworld of the force to make sure Obi-Wan wouldn't see the near catastrophe as Obi-Wan's responsibility. Obi-Wan had cautiously come to believe his master's words.
So why the fatigue?
"A very good question."
It appeared there was one person who wasn't fooled.
"Master, there's no reason for you to be worried."
"I will stop worrying if you do something about this padawan. If you don't speak with someone soon I will."
"Qui-Gon, I am just adjusting."
"I am very glad you no longer feel the universe and Anakin's fate are on your shoulders alone Obi-Wan. That is progress. If that was the reason for this fatigue; however, you would be feeling better. Not the same or worse. There is some other cause."
"If we talk about this will you please drop it and not bother anyone about it?"
"Only if it is a meaningful conversation padawan."
"People may call me 'The Negotiator' but you have me in a corner master."
"Be that as it may. Now don't focus on how you should feel but how you do."
Obi-Wan frowned as something bothered him. This was all too convenient. He had been so busy between the negotiations and other work that he and Qui-Gon hadn't had any time to talk since Qui-Gon's vehement defense of Obi-Wan in the council chambers. Just a little while ago, Anakin had come to Obi-Wan pleading to teach Obi-Wan's classes for the day because Anakin wanted to see, and think about, something besides baby spit-up for a few hours. Which meant a few hours were now available for this talk.
"Did you put Anakin up to this?"
"The other way around."
Obi-Wan frowned. It seemed his shielding hadn't been as good as he thought.
"You taught him well."
"I did my best."
"You're getting off topic. Talk to me Obi-Wan."
Qui-Gon's voice soothed Obi-Wan's spirit. He closed his eyes.
"I feel empty master."
"I know we've teased about you connecting with the living force before but how can you be separated from the joy around us?"
"I just feel I am."
Obi-Wan put his hands at his temples to knead away a building headache.
"I don't know."
"There must be some reason."
Obi-Wan decided that since everyone was conspiring against him he might as well humor them. He slipped into a meditative state with Qui-Gon's presence following him.
"What ails you Obi-Wan?"
He lifted his head up from Qui-Gon's forehead and wiped away his tears. A Jedi, let alone one who must become a knight and the master to the chosen one could not be anything but exceptional. Exceptional Jedi did not think of themselves. They thought of others.
"Oh my padawan. I should have never-"
"If you expect me to forgive myself you must forgive yourself as well."
"I may have cornered you into this but you are still the best negotiator of this age my padawan."
Knowing Qui-Gon was well and proud of Obi-Wan had eased away the last of the grief Obi-Wan had felt at seeing him die. So why did this vision come to him?
"Remember the vision my padawan. It was not of my death. It was of after."
"Then why did you speak of what happened then?"
"If you had let me finish I would have said I should have never have put this burden on you not just because you felt unready. It was wrong, my padawan, not only for what it caused you to have to be but also because of what you did to yourself."
"What do you mean?"
"You made yourself what you saw as a master from that moment and you never stopped. From then on, you pushed away, or healed from in secret, any hurt that came your way. You used first being Anakin's master, and then the demands of the Clone Wars, as justification for this. You are levelheaded, perhaps too much so, and would not allow yourself the tiredness which comes from being overburdened."
His grief for Qui-Gon. His worries about Anakin. His pain at Siri's death. The ordeal on Rattatak. He had insisted on working through them all himself because he had to. He was Anakin's example, and increasingly an example to the Jedi. Jedi were not supposed to be burdened by such things. He worked through each, alone, and that had taken a lot of time and energy. Healing with the help of others would have been easier, but it was not a luxury he had allowed himself.
"You are right my master."
Something tugged at him. He remembered Qui-Gon had said 'pushed away' as well as 'healed in secret'. He saw himself crying while holding Ventress as she died on Boz Pity.
"Her life was a tragedy until that point Obi-Wan. There was nothing wrong with crying."
"Anakin asked me why I cried. That was what I told him."
Looking back on the scene, though, something was off. He had never cried during an incident -let alone in front of anyone else especially Anakin- at any time since Qui-Gon's death. Even when Siri had died he had been able to keep the pain inside until he was alone. What then had pushed him over that edge this time?
"She could have been so much more Master. I think somehow she embodied, at that moment, all the pointlessness of the war."
"Is that all?"
Obi-Wan remembered their banter. The mutual respect for their capabilities- even if there hadn't been respect for each other's points of view and actions.
"She could have been so much more to the Jedi."
The force would not let him leave it at that.
"She could have been so much more to me. A friend, as close to me as Anakin or Mace or you."
The force let him pull back from the memory. Something still felt unsaid, but even saying this much in addition to everything else he and Qui-Gon had discussed had exhausted Obi-Wan.
"She was not able to become your friend, so your grief felt excessive didn't it?"
"Yes, I simply…pushed it aside."
"I know such cannot be accomplished. Master, what has this realization gotten me? I only feel more tired."
"You know why you are tired now Obi-Wan. You need to grieve for her and regain strength after standing strong alone for so long. You can only appreciate the future if the past has been put to rest."
"Master, I have responsibilities."
"Hand them over."
He was about to say he couldn't but that wasn't technically true. There had been only one time he had put responsibility aside since Qui-Gon's death. It had, ironically, involved Ventress. He had known she was not dead and had dragged Anakin off to find her. He had put aside duty. The galaxy had not fallen apart.
"What will people think?"
"What does it matter? You have been more than responsible for long enough. You need a break Obi-Wan. Heal from the past so you can embrace the future my padawan."
He had the feeling Qui-Gon was hiding something from him but knew better than to ask. As things were it did sound like a good idea. How to heal from Ventress's death though? He had the feeling what he did would be important somehow. He frowned in thought. Going back to Rattatak after what had happened, and could happen since the planet was dangerous, was not appealing but he felt the need to. It would be a dangerous situation because Asajj had been the only one to bring it peace, of a fashion, and now she was dead.
Asajj lived there. For a time she and Master Narec were light on a place so filled with pain and senseless destruction. It is time the Jedi honored that, or at least recognized it, somehow. I don't know what I'll do, but I'll think of something. I would consider bringing his lightsaber back there, but where would I-
The force moved him strongly to bring it anyways. Master Narec died attempting to bring peace there, and Asajj was heartbroken when I took it away. I'll just have to figure a way that it can rest in memorial to him and who she could have been without being available for someone to get to it. No ideas come to hand, but I feel I must bring it.
"I must go to Rattatak. I can't tell Anakin that though. Instead of letting me go he'll tie me up so I can't do something so blatantly idiotic."
"The will of the force is never idiotic. Tell him that if he pesters you."
"Thank you very much master."
"I'm glad to be of help."