This is it! The last chapter! It's bittersweet, but I hope y'all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! This chapter is semi-short, but I hope it's still a satisfying end for y'all!
THANK YOU SO MUCH to EVERYONE who reviewed, faved, or alerted my story! It means so much to me :)
SO without further adieu, chapter 14!
DISCLAIMER: I OWN NOTHING
I stared at the comlink as it began to glow, indicating that it was ready for use.
We could contact the Temple! We could get off this Force-forsaken planet!
Just as Anakin and I glanced at each other with relieved grins on our faces, the blue button flickered and went out again.
My heart sank as Anakin removed the extra wire from the power cell and comlink wires. He stared at it for a few painstakingly slow moments before putting the bundle of wires on the ground.
"The wires are too frayed to hold an electrical connection." He explained. "We need something stronger to make it work long enough to contact the Temple."
I closed my eyes and tried to think of a solution when Anakin whispered something inaudible to anyone but himself. I opened my eyes to see him fingering the gold plating of his mechanical hand.
I knew exactly what he was thinking.
"Anakin, you don't have to-" I started but he interrupted me.
"Unless you have any ideas, this is the only way."
"What if this isn't the only way and we just haven't figured out another solution yet?" I asked, pleading for him to not go through with his plan.
"Obiwan, you and I both know that the wires in my arm would be strong enough to hold a connection." He told me, voicing the thoughts that I had tried to ignore.
They would be strong enough, they'd be more than strong enough… But he and I both knew that all the wires in his arm were directly attached to the remaining flesh.
"What if there are still wires that would be helpful at the crash site?" I tried hopefully.
"You know there wouldn't be anything there." Anakin shot back. "You yourself said that everything was destroyed in that second explosion. Besides, the trip there would take too long and for what? Finding charred scraps and ashes?" He was right, but I didn't want to admit it.
"Anakin, it won't be easy to just replace those wires." I pointed out solemnly. I remembered how painful his first arm surgery had been. The wires were connected to nerves, and ripping out just one would be incredibly painful for him. Then the Healers would have to get his prosthetic arm off and attach a completely new one. If he followed through with this, the next surgery he was asking for would almost be worse than the first.
"I know." Anakin replied.
"Anakin…" I whispered, still disagreeing with his plan.
Anakin didn't say anything in response, but the look of pure determination in his already pain-clouded eyes made me give up my argument and simply nod my head.
He took a deep breath as he pried off a piece of the outer plating and gently fingered one of the strands of wires inside the metal weavings. He swallowed hard before grabbing the bundle of wires in his fist and yanked.
Extreme pain shot up my arm as the wires were torn away from my flesh, muscle, and nerves.
I screamed as I pulled the rest of the wire strands out from the intricate metal design and clenched my teeth, trying to ignore the burning in my arm. The sudden wave of pain made me light-headed, and the fever flared as I began to sway.
Jekaisa knelt down next to me and placed a hand on my back and chest, helping me steady myself. I finally relaxed after a couple minutes and the pain in my arm became only a dull ache.
I handed Obiwan the comlink and told him to hold it up since my right arm was practically useless now.
After a couple of tries, I somehow managed to twist the wires from my arm in with the ones from the comlink.
"Hold these right here." I instructed Jekaisa. She carefully grabbed the wires and didn't move them as I took the power cell and gently held it against the open end of the wires.
The blue button from the comlink blinked on and off for a few breathless seconds before it began to glow a steady blue color.
"Is that good?" Li'ana asked quietly from Harleke's side.
I smiled at her. "Yes, Li'ana, it's a very good thing."
"Will you come hold this?" Obiwan asked her.
She bounced over to Obiwan and carefully took the comlink out of his hands and kept it in contact with the wires Jekaisa was holding.
Obiwan then pressed the button on the comlink and all we heard was static before Mace Windu's voice came over the connection. "Mace." He answered.
"Thank the Force." Obiwan breathed.
"Obiwan? Is that you?" Mace asked. He must have heard Obiwan's quiet gratitude.
"Yes, Master Windu." Obiwan replied with a smile plastered to his face.
"Where are you? The Council thought you were dead."
"Anakin and I crashed." Obiwan explained simply. "The ship is in ruins and we have no knowledge of our location."
"Did you find any natives?" Mace asked.
"Yes, they've…they've taken care of us." Obiwan looked over at me and then at Jekaisa with a grin.
"Is the boy dead?" Of course he would ask if I was dead opposed to alive. This is why I hated him. I glared at the comlink as I bit my tongue to keep from saying anything myself.
"Anakin is alive, but needs medical attention." Obiwan explained.
Mace was silent for a moment before the voice of Master Luminara Unduli was audible. "Keep this connection open, Master Kenobi." Master Luminara told him. "We'll come to your location as soon as we can."
"Yes, Masters." Obiwan responded before silence took over the comlink again.
I closed my eyes and let my mind run free. The Jedi would find us, and we would be saved.
TWO DAYS LATER
Anakin's fever was still present and his back was becoming raw and infected again, despite the pulp that I kept almost constantly on his back. Because of it, he was almost constantly in pain or asleep, but he was still alive and I planned to keep him that way until the Jedi arrived.
After Master Kenobi had finished talking to the Jedi Temple, we had carefully placed the wires, comlink, and power cell on the ground and left it alone, that way the connection would work without us having to hold it.
I didn't know how far away the Jedi Temple was from our village, but it must have been a long way away since two sunrises had already passed since the connection.
Anakin stirred behind me, and I gently put another cool cloth over his forehead, trying to break his fever.
"Is it feeling any better?" I asked Anakin. I wasn't quite sure what 'it' was, but it let everything come into the question. And even though I meant every part of him, he shook his head slightly.
I removed the cloth and felt his burning forehead as his blue eyes cracked open and glanced at the comlink on the other side of the tent.
"The power cell is dying." He whispered as he breathed in slow, uneven breaths.
I looked over to the comlink to see that the blue light was dimmer than it had been.
"What happens if the power cell dies?" I asked him, fearful of the answer, but needing to know.
Anakin shook his head. "I don't know."
I nodded as I helped him lean forward so I could look at the hardening purple pulp on his back. With each slow, shallow breath, the marred skin on his back would pull at odd angles, making the pulp crack and reveal the infected lashes below. I wiped some fresh blood off his side and gently patted part of the pulp back down on the knife wound that Rayoshi had given him.
Sadly, my stock of pulp mixture was running low. All of my and Jarina's supplies was running dangerously low. Since the curse on the Mahoozi had been broken, rain had been coming down in bursts. It would be dry for a day then rain steadily for the next. The rain had killed most of the herbs Jarina and I used as karijas. Many of the herbs we used were grown in poor, dry soil, not water-deluged, mineral swamped soil. And with Anakin's state of being and all the dead or nearly dead Anarani men, Jarina and I had used more substances, mixtures, and spells in the past few days than we had in years.
I hadn't said anything about it to anyone, but I was beginning to wonder if I should. Soon, Jarina and I would be completely drained of all medicine except for spells that only required our voices and the aid of the spirits…I was hoping that that day wouldn't come, but I wasn't sure.
I noticed for the first time that Anakin was watching me quietly.
"Your supplies is running low." He stated without taking his eyes off me.
I nodded. "The rain is drowning everything on this planet."
Anakin's eyes flickered to the small crack in the tent flap and then back to me. "I'm sure the rain will stop sometime soon. After going for fifteen years without rain, the Mahoozi part of the planet is definitely going to be flooded, but this side of the planet should be fine after a few days."
I smiled, but I wasn't sure if he was right.
"You should believe him, Jekaisa." Harleke said as he and Obiwan walked into the tent.
Since the men had arrived back from the Mahoozi camp, Harleke had been named the head chief of all people on the planet, even the remaining Mahoozi men. They had eagerly agreed to become Anarani men, finally free from Kiojah's reign. Jarina had agreed to let me be the second karija of the Anarani, and Li'ana had asked to become my apprentice. Despite being so young, she had never shied away from Anakin's vicious wounds, and she had cared for him so well. After Jarina and I became partners, Li'ana asked me if she could learn from me. I agreed almost instantly.
In fairytales, this would be the end and everyone would live happily for the rest of their problem-free lives. Sadly, reality strikes back. Reality makes you remember the countless lives that were lost to get to this point. Reality forces you to look back at all the pain and fear Kiojah had caused. Reality makes you recall that the Jedi hadn't saved Anakin or Obiwan yet, and it made you realize that Anakin's condition wasn't a simple thing. Reality is a cruel thing, but it's how life is. Life isn't simple; it's hard, problematic, and sometimes painful.
But sometimes, life has its wonderful moments.
"Mariokku spotted something in the sky; you might want to come look at it." Harleke told us.
I didn't want to get hopeful, but what else could it be? I looked up at the black speck in the sky again.
"We can go home now." Obiwan whispered next to me. He looked over at me and smiled as he repositioned my arm around his shoulders.
I smiled back while I still tried to shake off the slight dizziness. We would be going home. Back to the Temple, back to Padme, back to my life.
I looked around and noticed that most of the Anarani people were out of the tents, staring up at the incoming ship along with me, Harleke, Obiwan, and Jekaisa.
As the ship drew closer, I heard Li'ana come up next to me. I glanced down at her to see her green eyes staring at it in awe.
I lifted an arm up to my face as the ship landed and blew dirt up into the air. The landing ramp came down and Master Unduli and Master Windu walked down it, medics following closely behind. As soon as they spotted us, they walked over.
"Welcome, Master Jedi." Harleke told them and they both bowed slightly to him.
Li'ana tugged on my pant leg as Harleke, Jekaisa, Obiwan, Mace and Luminara began to talk. I knelt down next to her with some difficulty.
"Are you leaving to go the Jedi Temple now?" Li'ana asked me.
I nodded. "I am."
I could see the sadness in her young eyes as she reached into a small bag around her waist and pulled out the wires from my arm. She held them out to me and I noticed that she had braided the wires and put beads in various points around the brass-colored strips. "Here, this way you won't forget about me."
I smiled at her as I took the braided wires from her small hands. "Thank you, Li'ana, but I won't ever forget about you." I told her honestly.
Li'ana's eyes became less sad and replaced it with a look of care as she spoke again. "I won't ever forget about you either. I'm glad I got to meet you instead of Rikashi. I like you a lot better."
I laughed slightly as medical clones came over and helped me sit down on the medical capsule in front of them.
"We'll be leaving soon, General." One clone told me.
I nodded as I placed the braided wires down next to me.
"Anakin," Li'ana started, "jihma katte yuzimah." Li'ana said, making me remember my 'language lesson' from a few days ago as she flung herself at me and hugged me tightly. I enveloped her smaller body in my own as I felt a couple wet tears trickle onto my chest.
I drew back and looked Li'ana straight in the eyes as I held her shoulders. "Jihma katte yuzimah." I told her back, pronouncing it perfectly.
Li'ana smiled back as Harleke placed a hand on her back.
"The Jedi will always be welcome here." He told me as I glanced at Obiwan, Luminara, and Mace. "If we can ever be of help to the Republic, we'll be here."
"Thank you." I whispered back as the clones began to walk my stretcher off to the ship.
I sat with Anakin in the Medbay of the ship hours later.
He was lying on a bed, finally done with his initial exam. The clones told us that we would need to get to the Jedi Temple for proper treatment, but they would do all they could for now.
"Mace said it would take two days to get back to the Temple." I told Anakin. "He also said that they already had a room ready for you."
Anakin laughed lightly. "The same one?" There was one room in the back of the Medbay – away from any doors for escape – that Anakin had practically always been in when he was there. I asked Luminara once if it was on purpose and she just laughed before going to help another injured Jedi.
"Probably." I replied.
Anakin sighed and closed his eyes and we sat there for a few more minutes, listening to the sound of the random monitors in the room.
"It's finally over, isn't it?" Anakin asked me quietly.
The mission itself was over, yes, but there was still a long way to go. Getting back to the Temple, Anakin's surgery, healing, and recovery were far from over. We would have to build up our strength again, finally get more than three hours of sleep, and return to a normal routine of basic life…but for now, that didn't matter. Anakin was safe and we were heading home.
"Yes, Anakin," I responded. "It's over."
So there you have it! It's over! Now I'm sad. Anyway, I hope y'all like it and once again: thank you for all the reviews, favs, and alerts!
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