All But Name

Mirror and Image

Anakin all but leapt out of his Naboo starfighter, adrenaline still coursing through him; all his fear was forgotten as the excitement of it all continued to sweep over him. What an adventure! He wondered if Jedi always had this much fun when they were saving planets, he couldn't wait for the training!

One fighter stopped next to him, and a weathered man stepped out, Ric Olie. "You?" he asked, his voice incredulous. "You were the one that shot down the station?"

Anakin looked up, spinning slightly, high on his adventure. "Yeah!" he affirmed with enthusiasm. "Wasn't it awesome?"

"A kid," Orlie mumbled. "A kid fired the lucky shot... I don't believe it..."

Anakin decided that the man was going to be boring and dashed off, R2-D2 wheeling behind him. He needed to find Qui-Gon and share his exploits, he would be interested, and maybe that snobby guy Obi-Wan would take interest too. People were cheering left and right, the occasional droid being trounced by the Naboo people who were surging forth from... somewhere. Swells of crowds filled the courtyards, there was a lot of shouting and cheering and cursing and pushing. Anakin navigated all through the throngs of legs, caring less about what was happening around him because he was so happy about how he felt on the inside.

Dashing through an enormous marble hallway, he rounded a corner and saw Padme. Yes! She would be interested in his adventure, too. And the snobby Jedi, Obi-Wan was there! Perfect! That meant Qui-Gon was nearby!

"Hey Padme!" he called, putting on an extra burst of speed. R2 whistled brightly and Anakin was heedless of the solemn expression on both of the people.

"Oh, Ani," the queen said. "You're alright!"

"I'm not alright, I'm great!" he said, still giddy and excited. "I just had the best adventure with R2 and it was really exciting and scary and wizard and I think I was the one who was able to turn off all the droids and I learned a lot about how to fly and fight with a Naboo starfighter and it was better than podracing!"

Both Padme and Obi-Wan frowned, but the Jedi put a hand on Padme's shoulder and said softly, "I'll take care him."

"Obi-Wan, are you sure-"

"Yes. I'm fine milady. Don't worry yourself on my account."

Padme looked undecided for a moment, but nodded and walked away.

Anakin suddenly felt put out. "Hey! Doesn't she want to hear my story too?" he demanded.

Obi-Wan put a hand on the boy's shoulder. "I'm certain she does, Anakin, but right now she has a lot of work to do."

"What work? We won! What's left to do?"

"She has to rebuild, Anakin," Obi-Wan said softly. "Naboo was very badly hurt during the invasion, and it's going to take a lot of time to build it back up again." His voice trailed off slightly. The boy hardly noticed, turning back to watch where Padme had disappeared.

"Being a queen must be really hard then," he said.

"Yes, it is," Obi-Wan agreed.

"When will she get any free time? I want to tell her about what happened!"

Obi-Wan rubbed his face. "I'm certain she will find time soon, and I'm more than certain that when she finds it she will come straight to me. Therefore, logically, you will be around to tell the story."

Anakin frowned, taking the time to work out Obi-Wan's unnecessarily complex sentences. "Oh," he said, catching on, "because Mister Qui-Gon will be training me! I get it."

Obi-Wan stopped walking for a moment, Anakin darting ahead before he realized that the man had stopped. When the boy turned he thought he saw a strange look on the Jedi's face but it disappeared too quickly for Anakin to name it; and besides, he started walking again, his face far away. He turned off to a room and Anakin followed.

The nine-year-old hopped onto an enormous bed, bouncing several times before finally sitting on it cross-legged. R2-D2 whistled next to him, anxious to hear Anakin's retelling of the story. Obi-Wan didn't seem excited at all, he just sat in a horseshoe shaped chair and crossed his legs, once again rubbing his face. Anakin pouted. "I haven't even started telling the story yet and you're already bored?" he asked.

The Jedi looked up, his eyes heavy, but he put on a smile and leaned forward, uncrossing his legs so he could use his knees to support his elbows. "No," he said quickly, "I'm not bored. Indeed I fear this will be very interesting, given how you were told to stay hidden."

"I did as I was told!" Anakin protested. "I was hiding in the cockpit and Mister Qui-Gon told me to stay there even though I wanted to help him and Padme and I did stay there! I figured I could help them from there and I started pressing buttons to see what would help Padme."

"You 'started pressing buttons'?"




Obi-Wan raised a tired eyebrow.

"... Well, yes. A little," Anakin admitted, but quickly tried to turn it around. "But not totally randomly. I learned a lot about cockpits when I was working by Watto, I worked a lot of engines and thrusters, and I got really good when I started podracing, so I kinda know the basics of where thrusts and steering and deflectors should be, but I never worked on a Naboo starfighter before. They have buttons in weird places and some of them do every stupid things like-"

"Yes, yes," Obi-Wan said, raising a hand to forestall Anakin from continuing his analysis of Nabooan mechanics. "Continue."

"Well," Anakin said, excitement once more coursing through him. "I accidentally hit the stabilizer buttons and the whole chasse started to shake but I finally found the lasers and I fired at the droids that were attacking Padme because I wanted to protect her."

"I see," Obi-Wan said, rubbing his face again but making an effort to look interested. "What happened next?"

"Well Padme got away so I was able to protect her like I promised, but then all the droids were coming after me and I was firing lasers everywhere and trying to find where the shields were because they're always on the right side of the cockpit and I was still mashing buttons and then the ship took off on it's own!"

Obi-Wan was not the best audience Anakin had ever entertained, but he did look up from rubbing his face again and blinked. "What?" he asked.

"Artoo says one of the buttons I hit was the autopilot, but I never did figure out which button it was. Anyway the ship backed out of the hangar deck and started taking off into space. I told Artoo to override the, uh, override so that I could at least steer; once we were out in space I could hear the squadron chatter as they were fighting the droids in space and then suddenly I was there in the thick of it! It was really scary because I couldn't control the fighter but its flight plan was so erratic we didn't take much fire."

"Wait a moment," Obi-Wan said, raising a hand again. "You didn't take a single hit while you were on autopilot?"

Anakin thought back, trying to order the wild memories of his adventure. "No, I don't think so. There was one point where I thought we were going to die, but Artoo was able to turn off the autopilot, and that was when everything got really wizard, because then it was just like when I'm podracing. The fighter was working in my head and I was letting my head do the firing and the steering."

Obi-Wan sat up very straight, his face becoming more alert. "Say that again," he said softly.

"Huh? What part?"

"What was it like to fly an aircraft you've never flown before?"

"Oh, it's just like podracing!" Anakin said, excited that he could explain how it worked. His mother never seemed to understand and that was the only person on Tatooine he ever felt comfortable saying it too. He didn't have the chance yet to talk about it to Qui-Gon, but if Obi-Wan was interested then Qui-Gon definitely would be. "All the parts of the machine like the thrusters and the fuel gauges and the aft engines and the deflector shields and all the nuts and bolts come alive in your head. You don't even have to see the parts to know what they're doing because it's all up here," he pointed to his forehead, "and when that happens instinct does everything else. Your brain tells you what to do and then your body follows through quick as it can. It's the most funnest thing in the world! It was a dream come true 'cause I dreamed that one day I'd leave Tatooine and visit every planet in the galaxy and it was like I was living my dream!"

Obi-Wan frowned, but motioned for Anakin to continue.

"Well," Anakin chattered, "It got a little close for a while. All my button pushing had overheated the blasters and for a while I couldn't fire back at the ships that were firing on me. I did what I do sometimes in podracing, I let the other guy get really close to my draft and lead him up to the big Federation station; I got as close as I could and then jammed the fighter right and the other guy couldn't pull up enough to stop the impact." Anakin paused as a though occurred to him. "Is there a direction like 'right' when you're in space?"

Obi-Wan's mouth tried to grin, a corner flicking up and then down. "That can be explained later. What happened next?"

"Well I got another guy on my tail and I was using the hull of the space station like it was Beggars Canyon. Artoo was mad and told me it wasn't podracing but it really was," R2 whistled in indignation, "and I was doing pretty good, too, but the other guy's lasers finally hit me. I cut the thrusters and tried to slide, but I didn't have the friction like I do at Beggars Canyon and I kept going so I just sort of aimed at this giant opening and once I was in it there was friction and I was able to come to a stop. But there were lots of droids in there and the lasers were still overheated and the engine was off because everything was overheated."

"... What were you feeling?" the Jedi asked, leaning back in his chair as a hand raised to his chin. He looked thoughtful.

Anakin was brought up short. "What do you mean what was I feeling?"

"What emotions were you experiencing during all of this?" he repeated.

The child frowned, taking time to think before answering. "I was excited when I was in control of flying," he said, "I always am because I love that feeling of the machine being in my head; it always makes me feel good and I know I can do anything when I'm like that. I was a little scared when I didn't have control because I knew I couldn't do anything until I did have control and that's why I was pressing all the buttons I could find. I was trying to get control as quick as I could and I was learning as I went so I could do better when I did have control."

"What made you decide to fire in the first place?" Obi-Wan asked. "When you were still planet-side."

That answer was longer in coming, because Anakin wasn't sure he could or should answer that out loud. Would Qui-Gon ask him that question? Feelings were important to a Jedi, Qui-Gon had expressed that when Anakin had gotten in the fight with Greedo. Feeling suddenly a little anxious, Anakin answered. "I wanted to keep my promise."


Anakin squirmed. "I promised myself I'd protect Padme and Mister Qui-Gon. I knew this wasn't just an adventure, it was a battle, and I didn't want them to..." His voice trailed off, unable to say the words out loud. "You and Mister Qui-Gon were fighting that red and black thing, and Padme was being overrun with the droids, and Mister Qui-Gon said to stay put and I didn't want to go against him but I wanted to do something to help."

Silence stretched between them. Anakin wasn't entirely sure he had done the right thing telling Obi-Wan all that, but he could ask Qui-Gon about it later. The Jedi looked awfully thoughtful, his eyes low and his mouth frowning and his eyebrows pinched together. Anakin squirmed a little, and just when he thought he couldn't stand it anymore Obi-Wan asked another question.

"And when you were in the Federation hangar, surrounded by droids and your ship overheated? What were you feeling then? Scared?"

"No, not scared really. I knew I was in trouble, but I've been in trouble enough to know that being scared won't do anything so I didn't let myself get scared. I just knew I had to keep a cool head and try and figure a way out of it." He looked up, smiling. "Then Artoo was able to fix the overheating and get the blasters unlocked! Then it was just like podracing again, I turned on my shields and fired these torpedo thingies at the droids. My head saw a shadow in this one corridor so I fired on it but I missed, which never happened before, and it blew through a vent duct. Then I was just trying to get out of there; then the whole station exploded!"

Anakin suddenly remembered the radio chatter, the men deducing that he had somehow blown up the station. He remembered wincing, because he wanted to return the ship back to the hangar where Qui-Gon had left him so he wouldn't have to explain the adventure. The rush of victory had overpowered that anxiety, and now he had just spilled his guts to the snobby Jedi. The one that didn't like him. He found himself leaning back a little. "... Am I in trouble?" he asked.

Obi-Wan must not have heard the question; he still looked like he was thinking.

"... Mister Obi-Wan?"

The Jedi glanced up, their eyes meeting. He sighed. "You most certainly have had an adventure," he said lightly, putting a smile back on. "I would never have believed it, but I suppose I have to."

"Huh? Why?"

"Because I am a Jedi, and I have a better understanding of what happened," he said slowly. "When you talk of having the starfighter living in you mind, you are talking of the Force guiding your decisions. I didn't think a connection that deep was possible, and yet it comes so naturally to you it is simply astounding."

Anakin blinked at first, unsure of what Obi-Wan was saying. "Does this... does this mean you like me now?" he asked.

Obi-Wan's face softened slightly, and his smile looked more sincere than the ones he had been giving previously. "I never disliked you," he said, reaching forward a little awkwardly and putting a hand on Anakin's shoulder. "I suppose I just didn't know what to make of you."

"And now you do?" Anakin asked.

Obi-Wan paused a moment, considering his answer very carefully. "Let's say that I can now most certainly see your potential."

He liked him. He liked him! That meant he didn't have to fight with Qui-Gon anymore! "That's great!" he said, energy once more filling him and he lurched to his feet. "Do you think you'll get to help Mister Qui-Gon train me? Would you mind? How does..."

Obi-Wan's face had cracked.

It was the only way Anakin could describe it.

Obi-Wan's face had cracked, the smile was broken, and the eyes didn't look right. Obi-Wan slid off his chair onto his knees, and his free hand went to clasp Anakin's other shoulder. He looked into the child's eyes, his mouth suddenly a thin line.

Anakin, so giddy on his adventure and his excitement, felt his stomach and his feet fall out from under him. The mood of the room had changed, and he couldn't quite understand why. There was a tiny voice in the back of his mind that said he knew, but he firmly denied the knowledge because it wasn't true. He had promised.

"Anakin," Obi-Wan said, his voice soft but hurt. "Anakin there's something you need to know."

He shook his head. "No," he said. "No, don't say it. I don't want to hear it!"

"Please, Ana-"

"No! I won't listen to it!" He struggled to cover his ears, to break away from the Jedi but Obi-Wan's grip was firm and unyielding. "I promised!" he cried out. "I promised! And I helped Padme! I-"

"You did everything you could," Obi-Wan affirmed, gently pulling Anakin closer to him, his voice still soft. "You did things I would never have dreamed possible. You were amazing."

"But I didn't do good enough!" he shrieked.


"I could have done something!"


"I should have done something!"


"I promised he wouldn't-"


The child startled. He'd never heard Obi-Wan shout like that, never heard him even raise his voice. He almost thought he was going to be hit, he flinched in spite of himself, but Obi-Wan's broken face hadn't changed, nor had his strong grip of his kneeling position. He looked at Anakin with eyes that hurt before they closed and he took a very deep breath.

"A Jedi learns things called sutras," Obi-Wan said slowly. "They are phrases and passages that they study in meditation. You'll learn all of them in time, but one of the sutras is, 'There is no death, there is the Force.'"

Anakin stared, tears leaking out of his eyes.

"Everything dies, Anakin," Obi-Wan said slowly, his voice quiet but now rough. "From plants to people to planets to stars. Everything dies - but death is what we beings call it. Our bodies can merely no longer contain us, for under this skin we are all luminous beings. You'll see that, too, with training. When a body can no longer contain the being, the being rejoins the Force that exists everywhere. It..." Obi-Wan's voice cracked and he finally broke eye contact, his head dipping down. Anakin could see his shoulders shaking. When he looked up, though, his face and his eyes were still dry. "It is a time for celebration," he said, his mouth trying to smile. "Qui-Gon is no longer limited by the flesh and blood his being was trapped in; he is in the Force."

Anakin blinked, trying to stop the tears. "So you're happy?" he asked, his voice as cracked and rough as Obi-Wan's. "You're happy that he's dead?"

Obi-Wan's head dropped down again, unable to face the question.

Anakin hugged him.

Obi-Wan stiffened at first, shocked at the gesture, but Anakin just plain didn't care anymore, and he buried his head in Obi-Wan's shoulder and cried for all his worth.

It wasn't long before Obi-Wan followed suit.

Anakin was eavesdropping. He knew it wasn't a good thing to do and his mother often scolded him on it. But what he was listening to was about him, so of course he would listen. This conversation could possibly determine his future. Whether or not he'd be a Jedi.

The last day had been so chaotic that he hadn't really thought about what was going to happen to him. He'd blown up the Trade Federation control ship of all the droids and everything since then had been a whirl. Padme was going from meeting to meeting to assess the damage, determine what was necessary to rebuild, what it would cost, where the funds would come from, to say nothing of all the preparation for the funerals and mourning for those that had been lost. Anakin could swear sometimes that he couldn't turn a corner without finding someone who was desperately trying to contain the sorrow of losing someone close to them.

The feelings brought up his own feelings of sorrow at leaving his mother behind. She had been his whole world for as long as he could remember and now that he was on his own, he felt lost, directionless. Padme was there for him, but she was so incredibly busy that Anakin didn't want to be a bother. He had been welcome at dinner, and she did give him some attention during that time, but it was often interrupted as someone else came in with a new damage report and assessment of how things were. The fact that she paid any attention to him, she a queen and he a former slave, warmed a large part of his heart and he clung to that.

But Padme wasn't his mother, nor would she ever be. She was a good friend. One he cherished. Yet where he was lost and directionless, she had destination and purpose. She was responsible for her entire planet and Anakin didn't really want to burden her with his relatively small problem by comparison. She still seemed to notice, and always gave a warm smile that he appreciated.

Especially when his ache of loss was particularly strong.

Anakin tried to remind himself that at least his mother was alive and safe on Tatooine. Not happy, and still a slave, but alive. Unlike Mister Qui-Gon. And that was another loss that Anakin mourned. Qui-Gon had saved him. Had tried to save his mother as well, though that didn't work. Qui-Gon was someone Anakin looked to like a father because Qui-Gon looked at Anakin as a person, not a slave, and believed in him like a parent was supposed to. Qui-Gon had fought for him, wanted him to become a Jedi and was willing to go against the Council to do so.

That's what a parent was supposed to do, right? And Qui-Gon would train Anakin and be like a father to him.

But Qui-Gon was gone. And the funeral would be the next day.

Anakin had never been to a funeral before. For all that slaves weren't the best-treated beings in the galaxy, most owners understood that the best way to get work out of a slave was to keep them healthy. Educated was a different story, but most slaves, at least where Anakin had lived, were not deprived of food or water or medical aid. Not unless there was some sort of confrontation and a slave needed a "lesson". But nothing was ever permanently damaged because then the property would be no good. So Anakin had never had go to a funeral. Qui-Gon would be the first.

And it wasn't even a normal funeral, but a Jedi funeral.

On the one hand, Anakin felt honored that he'd even be there. Jedi were so mysterious and to be allowed into what would probably be a private ceremony under normal circumstances, was the chance of a lifetime, much like seeing so much of the Temple was.

But it shouldn't have been Qui-Gon's funeral. Without Qui-Gon, Anakin didn't have a support.

... No, that wasn't true. But Anakin didn't like admitting that.

Ever since Qui-Gon's apprentice, Obi-Wan, had sat down and asked him what had happened to him up in space, Anakin had noticed a change. Anakin's first impression of the apprentice was that he was friendly enough, just kinda... snobby. He acted all polite and proper and was very much the type of guy that he imagined his mother wanted him to be, but there was a wall around him. This Obi-Wan person kept people at a distance and Anakin would have thought him aloof were it not the obvious care and devotion to Qui-Gon. Those two acted like father and son, which was how Anakin knew that when he became Qui-Gon's apprentice that he'd be like Qui-Gon's son. That, in a way, made Obi-Wan kinda like a brother.

An annoying brother who couldn't be bothered with younger siblings.

This, at least, Anakin was familiar with as several of his friends had older siblings who gave the cold shoulder to the younger siblings in public. But in private they were just as warm and affectionate as a sibling was supposed to be. So Anakin assumed that, with time, he and Obi-Wan would have a similar relationship.

But that was all assuming Qui-Gon lived.

He hadn't.

And even though Anakin knew Obi-Wan was grieving just as badly as anyone else he came across, Obi-Wan made time to sit with Anakin. Made time to talk to him about Jedi beliefs and practices and start instructing him in some very basic Force stuff. Had spent most of the day talking about those things with him. All the things Qui-Gon did before the Council had forbidden him to do so on the way to Naboo.

The previous night, Anakin had just gone forward and hugged Obi-Wan, because he knew Obi-Wan was holding that grief inside and his mother always said that holding things in was bad and that it hurt you worse than just letting it out, in the long run. That and Anakin was grieving. He'd just learned that Qui-Gon was dead and that meant he had no one because his mother was so far away and the one person who stuck up for him was now dead. Anakin just wanted to be held, because when someone cried and was sad, all they wanted was to be held.

Obi-Wan hadn't done anything at first, but as Anakin cried out the grief they both were feeling, he'd started to cry. After that they were both sobbing and holding onto each other for dear life.

That was when Anakin decided he liked Obi-Wan, because Obi-Wan clearly didn't like letting people past the wall he put around himself, but he'd let Anakin in. It meant that he acknowledged that they were family now, since their father, Qui-Gon, was dead.

It was why he was eavesdropping. The Jedi Council had arrived that morning. Obi-Wan had given a weak smile to Anakin after lunch and excused himself, saying that he needed to give his report.

Anakin was fine with that. Padme was getting and giving reports left and right. But it had also meant that there was going to be discussion of what to do with him. Obi-Wan had already promised that he'd train him and Anakin could already sense what Obi-Wan called a bond. It was just a quiet tingle in the back of his head, but it was there. It would grow with time, Obi-Wan had explained, and Anakin was curiously prodding at it from time to time the same way he tinkered with droids and machinery.

It was during one of these curious pokes that Anakin had suddenly felt a strong need to find Obi-Wan. Anakin had guessed that it was the Force telling him to go seek out his new brother, and since Obi-Wan always said to trust the Force, he had figured it was a good idea to get moving.

When he'd run across Padme, he decided she might have a better idea of what was going on. She had smiled at him warmly, ruffled his hair, and said that the Council had adjourned their meeting some time ago and that Obi-Wan had just been called to meet with Master Yoda.

Anakin didn't care for the long-eared frog. Yoda had said some unpleasant things about Anakin and clearly didn't like the idea of Anakin being trained. And, though Obi-Wan was being very kind in teaching him and clearly was set on training him, Anakin knew that meant fighting Yoda, whom Anakin had never seen Obi-Wan conflict with.

"Ani, I'm sure it will be fine," Padme had tried to reassure him. "With everything you've been able to do, I have no doubt that they will train you."

But something inside Anakin's gut had been twisting. "Where are they?" he'd asked. He was anxious to find out what was going to happen to him and he had felt he needed to be there.

So Padme had offered her hand and walked with him.

The door had been slightly ajar and Anakin had watched as the small troll had paced back and forth with Obi-Wan kneeling in front of him respectfully.

Padme had pulled lightly on his hand, clearly not liking the idea of eavesdropping and wanting to go somewhere else to wait, but Anakin had just sat down, watched, and listened. And Padme did too, after her jaw dropped.

"Allow it, I will not. Allow it, I will not!" Yoda said, his voice firm as he turned to start another round of pacing. "The boy's future, darkness clouds. Too old, too old he is, as your master I told. Agree I do in making you a Knight, but agree with training that boy, I do not."

Obi-Wan lifted his head to face the tiny master. "It was Master Qui-Gon's last wish. I have spoken with him, Master Yoda. That boy's future may be clouded, but he himself is not. Yes, he bears attachments, but he has an incredible capacity to learn. Just today alone-"

"Teach him, you should not have," Yoda interrupted. "Told you and your master both I did, not to train him."

Obi-Wan dipped his head at the reprimand before looking to the master again. "You ordered my master to. You gave no such command to me."

Yoda chuckled. "Such insolence. Taught you well, Qui-Gon has."

Obi-Wan dipped his head again, but Anakin just knew that had more to do with grief than the gentle chiding.

"I promised him, Master Yoda. I will train Anakin - with or without your approval. If you don't see that he will be an excellent Jedi as I do, then consider that the Sith are still out there, and if they get a hold of him-"

"Understand this I do," Yoda was again firm. "But thinking clearly you are not."

"Master, I-"

"No," Yoda turned again in his pacing, his stick tapping fiercely against the floor. "Speaking not from your mind, but from your heart. Speak from your own attachments, you do. Your attachment to Qui-Gon. Wounded you deeply it did, when the Force Qui-Gon joined. Wounded you, Qui-Gon did, when cast aside you were so the boy could be trained."

Anakin sucked in a breath at that. He hadn't thought about that conversation from Obi-Wan's perspective and that hurt; because as much as Anakin wanted to be a Jedi, he'd simply thought that Qui-Gon was saying that Obi-Wan was ready. He didn't even realize that it was like when a neighbor down the street remarried and the daughter had felt she was second to the new woman of the house. Anakin understood part of that, especially since he was always cast aside as a Podracer because he was Human and so young.

A small seed of doubt sprung in his mind. Maybe all he was, was a promise to Qui-Gon. Maybe Obi-Wan didn't care about him at all. Anakin shook his head. If he were just a burden, then Obi-Wan wouldn't have cried with him. He wouldn't be making such an effort.


Obi-Wan bowed his head again, but raised it immediately. "Master Yoda. I admit that I mourn. As are you and anyone else who knew my Master. But I do not speak from simple obligation. Have you even spoken to Anakin? Asked him about what he was able to do in an unknown starship in the middle of a battle? He's a brilliant boy with a bright spark of potential. He won't just be a good Jedi. He'll be an excellent Jedi; a star in our Order. I won't deny the clouding of his future, but surely you can see that his future isn't just uncertainty? He will be able to do things that no one else will because he hasn't grown up the same way as the rest of us. He already has such a broad understanding of things coming from the Light because of his mother and-"

Yoda slammed his stick to the ground, silencing Obi-Wan.

For Anakin, a part of his heart was warming. Obi-Wan wasn't the powerful you-will-listen-to-me defender that Qui-Gon was. But Obi-Wan was fighting for Anakin. And that was... nice.

Padme squeezed his shoulder.

"Believe this, I do not. I do not." Yoda heaved a great sigh. "Not only attachment to Qui-Gon clouds your mind, but attachment to this boy."

Obi-Wan didn't look down again. He merely narrowed his eyes the tiniest amount and said, "His name is Anakin, Master Yoda."

"Deep attachment. Attachment you realize not."

"I do not speak from attachment, Master. Merely common sense."

Yoda shook his head. "As of now, a proud Knight in our Order you are. But if this boy you train, a Jedi you will not be."

Padme gasped.

Obi-Wan looked stricken.

Anakin's jaw dropped. He didn't quite understand it, but that sounded like one of the ultimatums his mother would give him if he were misbehaving on a grand scale.

"Master Yoda..." Obi-Wan's voice cracked. He bowed his head to compose himself, before looking up again. "You are asking me to chose between my Master and the Jedi."

"If think, this makes you, then yes." Yoda reached forward, putting a clawed hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder. "Wish this, I do not. A good Jedi, you have always been. One day, a fine master you will be. To his mother, the boy will return. Check on him, from time to time, a Jedi will, so that find him, the Sith will not."

There was silence.

Anakin didn't like this. He loved the idea of seeing his mother again, but Watto would take him back as a slave in an instant. And Qui-Gon said he'd be a Jedi. He was being rejected after all the hard work he'd done to get to this point.

Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, Master Yoda. Anakin will stay by my side," he said quietly. "Please excuse me, I must see to my Padawan."

"If to that boy you go, then to Coruscant, you will not."

"I understand. I will see you at the funeral tomorrow. Then I shall wish you a safe journey."

Anakin scrambled back as Obi-Wan headed toward them. Obi-Wan came out, rubbed his eyes, but when he spotted the two eavesdroppers, he gave a weak smile. Reaching down, he lifted Anakin into his arms. "Come, Padawan. We have some meditation to do." He turned and bowed to Padme. "If you'll excuse us, milady."

Padme gave a nod, her face as composed as her voice, as she slipped into her queen method of speech. "I understand, Knight Kenobi. If you are available, I wish to speak with you and Anakin at a more private dinner this evening."

"As you wish." He bowed again and started to walk purposefully down the hall. Anakin was still trying to grasp everything that had just happened. It had gone by so fast he wasn't even sure he had heard everything.

"Mister Obi-Wan?" Anakin asked.

"You can just call me Obi-Wan."

"Obi-Wan? Does this mean I won't be a Jedi?"

The arms around him tightened. "You will be a Jedi, Anakin. I promise you. In all but name."

Author's Notes: Well, here's a new idea we're working on. This one is a cool idea, but getting it down on keyboard seems to be pretty difficult. Of course, this isn't the first Obi-trains-Ani-outside-the-Temple fic on ff . net, but as is comon fo rus, we're taking a traditional idea and doing it our way.