Title: Death In The Afternoon
Characters: Obi-Wan, Anakin, mystery guest
Setting: Another snowy world. Does the name matter? Obi-Wan doesn't think so. Takes place before he and the Duchess reunited.
Summary: All Jedi die sometime. Obi-Wan is ready.
Disclaimer: I am not George Lucas, make no profit from this fanfiction and Lucas owns Star Wars and all its accoutrements.
A/N: Rudefic in Hemingway-esque style. Definition of each term on my profile. There ought to be a law against having this much fun, Papa.
When the sky craft made noises like plumbing that was about to give trouble, Obi-Wan Kenobi was in one of his moods and did not aid his young partner as he would have if he had been his regular self at their Temple home. When would Anakin tell him all his secrets, he pondered, and what will our next mission be, and at what point will I join the Force. The war which began in the spring of Geonosis years and years ago did not seem able to stop itself, so the Jedi worked as hard as they could to stop it but like a giant beast that grew two heads each time one was lopped off by a lightsaber, the monster of War never faltered. Obi-Wan's despair grew as deep as his strength in the Force.
Obi-Wan had never thought of himself as a dejected poet, but when his ideas turned to lead and his body followed, he wondered about himself. Satine had warned him about brooding and she was gone forever from his life. He wanted her now as he had in the first months after she left him for her throne and he left her for his Order. If he could see her again, he would die content. She may have been a diva, but she was his diva.
"Stop thinking about some girlfriend and help me! Send the distress call before it's too late!" The boy who Obi-Wan had nurtured had never understood him. Obi-Wan fell into soul darkness that was as inevitable as the long torturous pause between a youngling's hurt and their shriek of pain. The sky craft sobbed through the atmosphere. Obi-Wan thought of the boy's younger days and pushed the red button.
It is a good day to die, thought Obi-Wan. I am ready any day, but today is a good day like I have never seen. Master Qui-Gon would agree.
The boy who was no longer a boy looked sad when he was not looking nervous, but the mood in the cabin of their sky craft was sad and Obi-Wan did not know what to do about it. Crashing and burning to death was a sad thing. Obi-Wan sighed. If they did not crash and burn to death today, then he would have to find a reason to live and he did not think he could find any more. When he died, Master Qui-Gon had stolen Obi-Wan's good feelings.. It was hard not to hate him for that, but Obi-Wan managed it. Hate was not in his lexicon.
"More! More power to the ablative shields!"
The boy needed something. He always did. "Padawan, give it up. We are not going to pass through this unscathed. Prepare yourself to join the Force, as I have taught you. Die like a Jedi."
"Bona nai kachu! I am not ready to die and if you are, at least do not take me with you!"
The boy was like that, dramatic and unschooled. His native language was his default when he got upset. I have not taught him properly, Obi-Wan thought. It is as good a reason as any to die today. I have shamed Master Qui-Gon. I have shamed myself and my Order.
Obi-Wan pulled his cloak over his head.
The boy did something brave and they did not crash. They landed and their sky craft burned. They looked around. It was a cold planet, the air like a vibro shiv in their lungs.
"Move! Do not make me carry you again, boska, boska!"
The boy forged ahead to the ice cave that he had seen. Obi-Wan followed the boy, plunging through the drifts, wetting his robes. It was another thing to add to the list of bad things that this day had wrought. Obi-Wan could not wait for this day to end. He would be better off dead.
"Take off your clothes."
Perhaps Obi-Wan was hallucinating in the cold. Perhaps the boy was hallucinating and Obi-Wan was caught in his hallucination. This was an astounding thing to say no matter whose mind he occupied, and Obi-Wan made note of it in his response.
"I will not. It is cold."
"We must conserve body heat. Skin to skin is the best way. Do not make me strip you, Master."
The boy was like that, issuing ultimatums at the least provocation. Dying today would mean an end to hearing the boy's demands.
"What's so funny? Inkabunka! We are going nee choo before rescue can make it here if you do not do as I say. Disrobe right now, loca pateesa."
The boy was truly upset to talk in his native language to this degree and length and Obi-Wan was in the habit of making him un-upset. He considered as three weak afternoon suns did what they could to warm the cave. This could not be real, Obi-Wan decided. It was a dream, such a dream as the nearly dead from hypothermia experienced. He could comply without his conscience making all the noise it did as a matter of course. His conscience made a great clanging gong sound when Obi-Wan forgot to flush, the same sound as it made when Obi-Wan accidentally flamed his transport's afterburners and hurt someone in the Jedi hangar or when he left a light on all night, the same loud sound for all his missteps. Obi-Wan would be happy, as happy as it was in his nature to be, if he never heard his conscience gong again. It would all be over soon, and Obi-Wan would be at peace, dead peaceful peace.
Obi-Wan smiled wider.
In this crazy vision or dream, there was no one else that the boy could turn to. In the absence of a willing female, Obi-Wan was the prime choice. He pulled his wet travel robes further around his shivering chest. Sometimes the Force moved in ways he did not understand, like the time he pulled Master Qui-Gon's beard when Master was giving him a leg up over a palace wall and Obi-Wan nearly fainted from embarrassment, but then he used the handful of hair to cushion his palms from the broken glass that the sadistic militia had placed atop the wall. Obi-Wan worked his way around the idea of the Force shaping this odd dream as he undid his obi and removed his boots. He found that the prospect of dying appealed less and less. Perhaps this would bring him out of the funk he had lived in for years. Perhaps Master Qui-Gon would approve. Perhaps Master Qui-Gon wanted him to be happy in his last moments. Master Qui-Gon had always been hard to interpret.
"Will you stop smiling and come over here quick. I am not going to bite."
Obi-Wan approached the boy. The boy was as attractive as anyone in the galaxy could be. Obi-Wan would miss him if he were gone. This was not going to be as hard as he thought. He wanted to do what the boy wanted him to do, and it would shut the boy up.
So Obi-Wan and the boy-who-was-not-a-boy-any-longer did what seemed right. They liked it so much that they did it again, in reverse order. They became warm as rye toast and when Master Mace Windu flew to their rescue in his private Jedi starfighter, the one with the back seat that could hold two, Obi-Wan and Anakin did not notice. They did not notice when Master Windu used his lightsaber to carve his way through the ice and snow that had clogged the opening to their secluded ice den. They did not notice when he stood over them while his lightsaber strobed purple streaks onto the ice crystals above and around them. They did not hear his mutter.
"Lapsitting. Inspired. You can stop now."