Era: The Clone Wars, immediately following the upcoming episode of the animated program, "Crisis on Naboo."
Summary: Anakin is undecided whether to forgive Obi-Wan for his deception.
a/n: Extrapolated from the preview of the aforesaid episode.
Anakin lifted a hand. "Not yet."
Obi-Wan settled back into the adjoining seat in Yularen's wardroom, words dying on Rako Hardeen's coarse lips, words of apology, of explanation, of reprimand for Anakin's outgrown need to feel. The return to Coruscant seemed ages longer than it needed to be. He didn't even know the name of the ship he was on. The appointments of the wardroom showed Yularen's taste, pewter plates free of design, solid chairs, no art prints or schematic drawings on the bulkheads. It made the Jedi Temple seem ornate and overdone. The steward droids were clanking in a subdued manner in the adjoining galley, preparing for the next meal, before Anakin spoke again.
"They made you do it, didn't they." It wasn't a question. The Force held its breath, waiting for truth.
Obi-Wan complied. "We came up with the scheme together, Anakin." The name sounded rough in his own ears and he softened Hardeen's voice with a Negotiator's skill. "Anakin. It was a joint effort."
"No." Anakin shook his head, waving his hand around, the flesh one that now had a new scar on it, thanks to Dooku's blade. The Count had managed to evade Anakin's guard before fleeing with Grievous' help. Obi-Wan wondered if Dooku and Grievous ever had conversations like this.
"No," Anakin repeated. "You wouldn't have done this to me on your own."
"That's what I just said."
Ahsoka broke in. "Master Obi-Wan, he was heartbroken. You shouldn't have - "
"I was only - "
"And I appreciate it, but please, leave us."
A year ago, she would have protested, but now she rose, gave the two of them a look that dripped maturity and departed. Obi-Wan would craft an explanation for her privately. She was Temple-raised. She would understand, given time. He took the lead.
"Anakin, events played out mostly as we on the Council envisioned them. The plan did work. The Chancellor, your friend, is saved." A low blow, one that Hardeen would deliver. Obi-Wan backpedaled. "The Republic is saved, whether for an appreciable time or not, I can't foresee, but Anakin, the risk was worth it."
Anakin was not buying into Obi-Wan's speech. It hurt Obi-Wan that after his careful training of the boy, he was losing ground with the man. "Anakin - "
"I know what you're going to say, Master. You're going to say that you're older than I am, that in the natural course of events you'll pass into the Force before I will, that our lives as Jedi are dangerous and that no one knows what each mission will bring. I know all that. What I don't know is why you did it."
Three subjects were prohibited in any wardroom: religion, sex and politics. Obi-Wan threw the ban out the porthole. "The Force showed me that it was the way to go, the Republic needed me to do it and I knew that because you love me, you would understand. Now I'm asking you to understand." He took Anakin's newly-scarred hand, careful not to press too hard. There was a reason he had seated himself next to Anakin, rather than obeying the steward droid's seating chart of opposite sides. "Now I'm asking us to move forward."
Anakin turned his face away, leaving his hand hostage. Long minutes passed.
"It will take a while."
"I'm aware of that. I do not forgive spontaneously, myself." More time elapsed.
Anakin shrugged in the direction of the holoviewer over the bar. It flickered on, depicting a Troig enthusing about the upcoming game. The Troig seemed familiar, but Obi-Wan couldn't think about that now.
"Today is the big game," Anakin said, keeping his hand still.
It was as if Obi-Wan were frozen. He couldn't lift his hand from Anakin's as gratitude overwhelmed him. His Team could go on.
"Yes. Want to watch?" An assortment of snacks drifted to them from the bar on Obi-Wan's bidding. Soon it would be gametime.
Obi-Wan nearly flinched as Anakin stared down at Obi-Wan's ungloved hand. Jedi intel may have missed Bane's involvement with Moralo Eval, but in the details of Obi-Wan's disguise, it succeeded superbly. Stains of an impermanent tattoo mimicked the permanent ones on the back of the real Hardeen's firing hand, sigils of marksmanship and accuracy. On the other hand were tattoos signifying Hardeen's bodycount. There were hardly any patches of Obi-Wan's pale simulacrum of Hardeen's skin left untouched on that one. "I do if you do."
Maybe Rako Hardeen would learn something from his incarceration. Obi-Wan certainly had, from his. "I do," he said. The game began.