(A/N: Hey guys. This is just another Obi-Wan story that made it out of my head onto my laptop. I really do have to start typing these out. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. If I did, Obi-Wan would still be alive :( 'Nuff said.
Of Rooms and Belonging
The moment Anakin saw the room; he knew that it was the right one.
He'd been nine years old, scared and missing his mother. Qui-Gon Jinn, his protector, had died and left him behind in the care of his apprentice. Twenty-five-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi seemed okay, but it just wasn't the same. He could tell that Obi-Wan didn't want him, and it made him feel sad and alone.
They'd taken the ride out of Naboo together, with Obi-Wan attempting to explain the life of a Jedi to him. Anakin didn't really get it, but was content with listening as Obi-Wan talked. It was a consolation to him that somebody still cared that he was there.
At the funeral, Obi-Wan had turned his sad blue-grey eyes to him and promised to make him a Jedi. Anakin took him up on that, because Jedi never, ever broke their promises. He would be made a Jedi, and he would come back to free his mother. Because he was a Jedi now too, and Jedi kept their promises.
Anakin had sat contemplating his future all the way back to the Jedi Temple, and the sight of the huge building only distracted him from his thoughts for a short time. Obi-Wan had chuckled slightly at Anakin's giddiness at finally seeing the Temple, and that was the first show of amusement Anakin had managed to wring out of his new Master.
Now, Anakin sat in the Jedi's apartment, nervously glancing around the small rooms. He knew that Qui-Gon used to live here, and that made him feel a bit weird.
Obi-Wan poked his head out of one of the bedrooms. "Anakin, would you like to pick out your room now? We can start to unpack once you've settled in."
Anakin nodded, grinning as he swung his short legs down to the floor. "Yes, Master!" He chirped, running towards the direction of the bedrooms. He paused in front of the first door, turning to Obi-Wan. "Master? Which room was yours?"
Obi-Wan gave a small shrug, although Anakin could detect a small hint of amusement. "Does it matter, Padawan?"
Anakin gritted his teeth at this vague answer. Why couldn't he know? Was he not supposed to? Or did he have to find out on his own? Anakin blinked as he realized that this could very well be some sort of test. He shook his head rapidly. "I guess not, Master Obi-Wan."
He stood outside the first door hesitantly, blue eyes scanning it for some sort of identification and finding none. He took a deep breath and pushed open the door. Before him lay a neatly ordered room, with a tidily made bed and organized shelves. Anakin glanced around, puzzled, for a few minutes before furrowing his brow in thought. What am I supposed to do?
He decided that simply looking around the room wouldn't help; he would have to do something else to decide where he'd be sleeping for a very long time. Anakin closed his eyes. Think, Skywalker. Think like a Jedi.
He suddenly remembered the feeling he'd received when walking into the Temple; the overwhelming whack of millions of strong Force-filled presences hitting his mind. Anakin grinned, understanding what he was meant to do. Closing his eyes, he searched the room not with his sight, but with his mind. He let the previous occupant's Force signature fill his mind, feeling a free-minded spirit. This presence reflected wisdom and loyalty, and incredible strength. Anakin smiled, opening his eyes and moving quickly to the next room.
Opening this door, he saw a slightly cluttered room, with overflowing bookshelves and a messier desk. The Force-presence in this one was loyal and determined, but what really stood out was the immense compassion and selflessness. Anakin closed his eyes, letting it give him strength.
"Anakin?" Obi-Wan was behind him. "Have you decided which room you want to use? I've got your clothes here and…"
Anakin interrupted, pointing to the door. "This one."
He didn't need to say anything more. Obi-Wan gave him a funny look, and then nodded. "Alright." Obi-Wan shooed him inside "Let's get you settled in."
Anakin nodded, mechanically going through the process of unpacking and sorting what little clothes he owned. As he watched Obi-Wan proclaim that he needed more Jedi outfits, he smiled inside. From now on, he wouldn't be alone. From now on, he would be sleeping in the same room his protector, Qui-Gon Jinn, slept in. Even if Qui-Gon wasn't there, the sense of being in the room where his comforting presence lingered made him feel, well, protected. Sorta.
In the months that followed, Anakin was introduced to the big, strange world of the Jedi Temple. It was a bit bewildering to be away from the dusty weather and harsh life of Tatooine, but it felt nice. Sure, he'd get homesick for his mother, but he wasn't a slave anymore. And he'd promised her he would come back to free her when he became a Jedi. Jedi always kept their promises. Always.
He was finally, finally introduced to the ways of the Force. That had to be one of the best things about the Temple. The Force was a wonderful thing, and it solved many of the mysteries about him and his abilities. Through his lessons of the Force, he could now tell why he could sense auras and moods, as well as really find out how special he was. Master Yoda had said that he was the "Chosen One", which meant that he had a lot of Force power. Or "midi-chlorians", as Qui-Gon had explained to him. In Anakin's perspective, "Force Power" sounded cooler, but he never mentioned that to Yoda. Once, he'd made the slip in front of Obi-Wan, who just chuckled slightly and gently reminded him that the Jedi Council would definitely not like that term. Something about the Force not being a tool or whatever, but he hadn't really listened. "Force Power" still sounded cooler.
But the Jedi Temple wasn't all great. There was first the homesickness issue, because Anakin really missed his mother. And frankly, there wasn't really a substitute for that here. Obi-Wan was nice, but he wasn't his mother. Not by a long shot. There was also the fact that the Council didn't like all his Force Power and the fact that he was the "Chosen One", and the whispers that always followed him everywhere. He never made any friends, and if Obi-Wan wasn't around he was basically left alone. And, he made lots of mistakes because he wasn't used to the ways of the Temple, like when he punched that boy who made fun of Anakin's accent. That day had been pretty bad. Obi-Wan had returned from the Council meeting on the matter looking absolutely exhausted, and had only responded to Anakin's queries with a long lecture and two extra hours of meditation. Anakin never asked about that meeting, but he was pretty sure that the Council didn't summon every Master to a meeting over a small punch. He surmised that Obi-Wan had fought to keep him again, and felt a little relieved that he hadn't been taken away and given to another Master.
However, the absolute worst thing about the Jedi Temple was the whole "no emotions" issue. Especially the deal on love and attachments. It just didn't make sense, who would live in a family where nobody was allowed to love each other? Didn't Masters and Padawans have an attachment anyway? Anakin found it completely ridiculous. When he'd mentioned so to his Master, Obi-Wan sighed and told him that yes, Masters and Padawans did have attachments, but he would grow to understand that part of the code. Anakin always got frustrated by Obi-Wan's vague answers. When he really wanted to calm down, he went to his favorite place in the Temple: his room. It was like a haven for him; a safe place where he could feel all he wanted to feel without anybody telling him about emotions. He would just let the comforting presence of the previous occupant wash over him, and hope that it would remain for as long as he needed it.
Then, the nightmares began.
They began suddenly. It had been an ordinary at-the-Temple routine. Wake up at an ungodly hour to have a meditation session, breakfast, history and general knowledge, lunch, lightsaber practice, dinner, bed. It was just an average, ordinary day. Except for the nightmares, that had begun that night almost as soon as Anakin's head hit the pillow.
They started off small; falling down a staircase, getting lost, and in one particularly humiliating episode, walking around the Jedi Temple clad only in his underwear. The nightmares were annoying, but Anakin managed to push them to the back of his mind and ignore them.
They slowly grew to include images of violence and gore. Anakin couldn't count the number of nightmares he'd had of his own death. He gritted his teeth and bore them, not telling Obi-Wan about them when he worriedly inquired about Anakin's recently acquired pale complexion. Anakin could handle these nightmares on his own, no problem. He didn't need Obi-Wan to worry about something as insignificant as this. Plus, he wasn't alone. Qui-Gon's very presence in that room helped him enormously. After he would wake up from a nightmare, sweating and shaking, he would just sit up and let what was left of Qui-Gon in the room sooth him.
Anakin was comforted by this very fact. Qui-Gon had cared for him, he'd existed and this room proved it. It was like his last link to the long-gone man. He was terrified that his constant presence might erase the previous one. He was even more scared of letting anyone else enter the room, as their presence could remove Qui-Gon's memory with double the speed and stain the sense of safety of the room. This was the one reason he never allowed Obi-Wan in there, insisting he needed his privacy. He knew Obi-Wan would back off for that. Obi-Wan was a firm believer of personal space. And lying like that made him feel a bit guilty, actually. His mom despised lying; it was one of the things she couldn't tolerate.
So Anakin kept to himself, dealt with the nightmares and Obi-Wan was none the wiser.
That is, until, he had that dream.
At this point, he'd dreamt of death millions of times. His, Qui-Gon's, Yoda's, Jar-Jar's and Padme's (with great fear. He'd nearly cried out). But he'd never dreamt of his mom's. Neither, for some strange reason, Obi-Wan's. He didn't know why, but the fact he didn't see either made him incredibly grateful.
But the night he saw his mother, broken and bloody in his arms, was the last straw. She had put her hand up to his cheek, whispering "I..I love…" And she was gone. Just like that.
Anakin couldn't help it. He screamed.
The scream brought Obi-Wan to his room: something he did not want to happen. He'd noticed Qui-Gon's presence lessening with each passing day, and was petrified that it would abandon him entirely. He didn't want to speed up that process.
So, when he heard Obi-Wan's concerned "Anakin! What's wrong?", he lost it.
"GET OUT!" He screamed, head covered by a pillow. "NOW!"
Obi-Wan looked confused. "Anakin…?"
Anakin couldn't take it. "Leave, please!" He sobbed. "Just get out!"
Obi-Wan's eyes hardened determinedly and he firmly stated. "No. You're panicked and half-awake. I'll stay until you feel better…"
Anakin shook his head. "No, no, NO! GO AWAY!" He continued to sob hysterically into his pillow, hoping Obi-Wan would leave. He most certainly didn't expect the bending of the mattress as Obi-Wan sat down next to him stiffly.
Anakin attacked, leaping up to push Obi-Wan off and out of the room, away from where his taint could destroy his last vestiges of comfort…
Obi-Wan grasped his wrists firmly, but gently. "Anakin? Calm down, I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying."
Anakin stared up and Obi-Wan's eyes and saw the determined set to them. He wasn't going to leave. Not until he got some answers. And then the words hit him "I'm staying…"
Was this the one constant in his life? Was Obi-Wan really going to be the one who wasn't going to leave? Suddenly, Anakin felt ashamed. He'd been pushing away the only one who'd been willing to stay.
Anakin's breathing slowed and he went limp, finally calmed. "Sorry, Master."
Obi-Wan nodded, still not letting go. "Anakin? Why did you want me to leave?" He asked simply. Did he look…hurt?
Anakin turned rather red. How would he explain something like this? Garnering comfort from somebody who didn't exist anymore? But looking up at Obi-Wan, Anakin knew he deserved some answers.
"I…I don't want this room to change." He began softly. "I chose it that first day because the presence comforted me. I know it's stupid; it was Qui-Gon's room, not Qui-Gon himself. And I know I have to let go, but I can't! I'm just scared that too many people in here will remove him and then I'll be all alone!"
His voice had risen by the end. Obi-Wan was stock-still, staring down at him with an indiscernible expression. After a few minutes of silence, he finally spoke. "Anakin, I know it's hard. I know how you're feeling, I'm going through the same thing. But don't forget: you're a Jedi now. You've got the whole Temple. You've got me, ok? So you're not alone. Don't you ever think you're alone. Let go of the past and embrace the future. That way you can let go."
Obi-Wan ruffled his hair and stood up to leave. "I'll make some hot chocolate. That's always calming."
Anakin stared after him, almost awed. He never thought he'd hear Obi-Wan speak like this. Ever.
At the doorway, Obi-Wan turned around, smiling suddenly. "Oh, and Anakin? Just to let you know, this wasn't Qui-Gon's room. It was mine."
Anakin literally froze where he sat as Obi-Wan exited the room. He was in shock, motionless. What…?
He did one last check. Haivng got much better at Force-sensing than he'd been when he arrived, he checked the familiar presence of the room. It hit him like a ton of bricks: this wasn't Qui-Gon. It was comforting and strong, but it wasn't Qui-Gon. It was Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan called from the kitchen. "Anakin! Hot chocolate's ready! Are you coming?"
Anakin felt a wide grin split his face. "Yeah!" He called back, happily slipping out of his bed.
And right then, he felt…protected. Yeah. Completely.
(A/N: What do you think? It's a oneshot now, but I can add another chapter if asked.
REVIEWS are much appreciated! The Star Wars muse loves them :D)