Anakin Skywalker walked through the cold halls of his ship, The Resolute, which was locked in Republic space. He didn't know why he was up; by all means he should be asleep like his padawan, Ahsoka, was. But the recent battle had left him too tired to fall asleep, and too sore to even lie down comfortably.
most of his troops were also asleep, only a couple night clones walked around in the desolate halls, giving him a weary nod as they passed every so often. Anakin nodded back with a small smile to each.
He was the Hero with No Fear, yes, and the Chosen One, and one of the best Jedi in The Order, but he could still acknowledge the men who watched his back on a daily basis. And as Obi-wan often said, his back was more often than not all over the force blasted place.
Speaking of Obi-wan, Anakin sucked in a deep breath as he stopped outside the control room, he could sense the guest that was supposed to have arrived earlier inside. The comforting, warm, calm signature that was his old teacher flowed through him. He walked inside.
Obi-wan looked older than the last time they had met, almost a month ago. He also looked bone-tired as he leaned over a holo-graphic map of certain planets and solar systems, his brow crunched in concentration.
The slight blue tint stained his face blue because of the lack of any light. He stroked his beard in a gesture common for both of them; Ahsoka was even beginning to copy the sign.
"Obi-wan," Anakin greeted. Azure eyes flicked to him, and a small smile graced Obi-wan's face, making him look younger. "Hello, Anakin, I heard you conquered the Rishi system," he shook his head and turned, leaning against the council and crossing his arms casually. "For the fourth time in a row" he sighed.
Anakin smiled and bowed his head in a poor attempt of looking humble. "Yes, well, I didn't do even half of it," that was true, in a sense. "Ahsoka was the one with the insight" he offered.
Obi-wan chuckled and turned back to his holo-gram. "Ever the humble one," he said. Anakin rolled his eyes and joined his former teacher. It felt good to once again be at obi-wan's side.
Granted, he had been a Jedi knight for three years now, and had every right of a Jedi knight, but he was still attached to his old teacher. It was at Obi-wan's side that the universe didn't seem to be in such a mess, that maybe, with good men like Rex and great Jedi like him and Obi-wan, they could win this war.
"When did you get on board?" He asked. "An hour ago," Obi-wan didn't look up as he said it. "An hour ago?" Anakin cocked an eyebrow. "I recall you saying you'd be here earlier than that, master" he accused. Obi-wan shrugged. "I ran into Grievous," He answered nonchalantly.
Anakin straightened up. "You did?" he asked. Obi-wan nodded and sighed "yes, and lucky for me, he was in quite a hurry and had no time to chat, though I did board his ship and gave him a bit of a headache. I put a tracker on his ship, and Cody has been tracking him for weeks," he explained.
"Weeks?" Anakin asked. "I put the tracker on his ship in an earlier fight," the older man waved his hand dismissively. "You know how me and the good general seem to attract each other, oh, and he told me to tell you you're a useless Jedi scum who blew up one of his ships. I don't know when you did that, but good job" he stated.
Anakin laughed, and clapped Obi-wan on the back. "I don't know when I did it either, but tell Grievous he's a sorry heap of scrap metal" he told him. Obi-wan shook his head. "I'll do that. Speaking of which, shouldn't you be asleep?" he asked. Anakin sighed and leaned against the council tiredly.
"Yes, but I'm too sore. I popped just about every joint out of place in the battle today, and it didn't seem fair to wake Ahsoka to have her pop them back in place," he told him. "Do you want me too?" Obi-wan asked. Anakin nodded "yes, please" he sat on the edge as Obi-wan came behind him.
Strong, gloved hands grabbed his shoulder plates and popped them forward. Anakin clenched his teeth in pain; it would take a while for the muscles to readjust to the movement.
"Shouldn't you be sleeping?" He asked between clenched teeth. Obi-wan shook his head. "No use," he sighed. Anakin scowled. "No use? Well, that's not the optimistic man I know. What's wrong, Obi-wan?" He asked. Obi-wan ran two fingers along his spine, cracking the bones back into a straight line. Anakin sighed in relief; that felt much better.
"Nothing," Obi-wan answered. "Tired, as usual. The press drove me crazy for four days before Cody managed to stir their attention to some other poor Jedi. I've dealt with selfish, corrupt politicians and sniveling, whining kings. I've had natives try to kill me and townspeople throw fruit at my army. In essence, I'm tired of war" he sighed.
Anakin glanced back at him worriedly. It wasn't usual for Obi-wan to complain. It was something the man just didn't do. And when he did, he was usually so good-natured and humorous about it he had everyone laughing. Obi-wan was only like this when…..
Blast it; and he had forgotten?
"It's Qui-gon's thirteenth death anniversary, isn't it?" he asked. "It was yesterday, actually," Obi-wan grabbed his arm, popping his elbow back into place. Anakin yelped; that was the joint that hurt the worst. And then he sighed. "I can't believe I forgot," he moaned.
"You were busy fighting a battle," Obi-wan assured him gently. "You remembered," Anakin pointed out with a sigh. "I was his padawan, and besides, my dreams wouldn't let me forget anyway" he told him. So that was why he wasn't asleep, dreams of his master's death had always haunted Obi-wan, but none more than this time of year.
"We should burn a picture of Maul and then stomp on the ashes, it would make me feel better" he growled. How could he have forgotten the death anniversary of the man who had saved him from slavery?
"Revenge is not," Obi-wan popped his wrist, making Anakin hiss in agony. "The Jedi way, Anakin" he reminded him. "He's already dead, why can't we burn his picture?" Anakin demanded. Obi-wan sighed "because he's dead, what's burning his picture going to do?" He countered. Anakin huffed and crossed his arms, and then realized how insensitive he was being.
He let out a slow breath. "It would be something," he said slowly. "You, me, Ahsoka and Qui-gon as a team. We'd be the greatest Jedi team ever, I know it. Maybe Qui-gon could get you to lighten up, old man" he nudged Obi-wan playfully.
"Qui-gon would have left you on the side of the street had you ever done half of what you've done to me with him" Obi-wan snorted. "I would have found a way back" Anakin assured him.
That got a crack of a smile from Obi-wan, who moved on to his other arm. "Yes, you two would be quite the team. Your just like him, do you know that? The council couldn't stand Qui-gon, his methods were his own. Qui-gon served the force, not the council, and thus, he never really obeyed the council," Obi-wan sighed fondly.
"Ever. He almost got expelled twenty-eight times. I had to convince the council that he was actually worth their breath; it's how I became a negotiator, that and you. I never inherited much of his tenacity," he stopped, thinking.
"Or, yes, I did. I just use it on the bad guys. Qui-gon did that a lot; he'd talk to the people who had captured him. He'd have full blown conversations, and he wouldn't stop talking either. If he was gagged, he'd keep going. Or switch topics. People sedated him most times, and when he woke up, he'd keep talking" Anakin chuckled.
"Sounds like you," he said. Obi-wan shrugged. "It's funny to see how annoyed they get," he answered. Anakin laughed. "Yep, I can see it now. I'm going on about ships and pod races; Qui-gon is telling them a bunch of useless riddles that make no sense at all. Yoda riddles, is what Padme calls them" Obi-wan snorted in agreement.
"You're giving a lecture on basic rules of hostage situations, Ahsoka is telling them over and over that they're stupid and need to get a life. Force, this would be the funniest war ever with all of us" he said. Obi-wan smiled and nodded, "indeed it would be," he cracked his wrist. "Done," he announced as Anakin hissed in pain.
He turned back to the holo-gram. "You can't stay up all night," Anakin yawned standing. "Yes I can" Obi-wan replied. Anakin rolled his eyes "alright, correction; you shouldn't stay up all night" he argued. "Anakin, you know I won't get to sleep anyway," Obi-wan said.
Anakin reached over and pressed the holo-gram off, earning him a hostile glance from Obi-wan. "A wise man once told me that dreams pass in time" Anakin countered sensibly. Obi-wan sighed again, and Anakin got the distinct feeling Obi-wan wanted to hit him.
He softened his tone. "Please master, come to bed. It makes no sense to deprive yourself of sleep when we could very well be going into battle tomorrow. Yoda would agree with me this time" he crossed his arms, studying his friend worriedly.
"That's nice," Obi-wan turned the holo-gram back on. He waved him off "you go to sleep, Anakin, I'm fine, honestly" he reassured him fruitlessly. Anakin crossed his arms stubbornly. "I'm not going to bed until you do," he answered defiantly. Obi-wan rubbed his forehead in a way that made Anakin want to give him a hug and massage his tense shoulders.
"Anakin, sometimes I really want to hit you," he told him. "Funny, Ahsoka told me that today. Anyway, go to sleep" he answered cheerfully. "Why didn't Grievous stab me today?" Obi-wan grumbled. A tendril of fear shot through Anakin, those words had a deeper affect than Obi-wan knew.
To lose Obi-wan, force, Anakin couldn't even fathom it. He didn't know if he would survive the war without the guidance of his old master. He ran a stressed hand through his hair.
"I really wish you wouldn't say things like that. Do you want me to have to celebrate your death anniversary, too?" He asked. Obi-wan actually laughed, but it was bitter and joyless. "You'd forget mine too," he said. "And when you did remember, while the rest of the temple mourned me, you'd go out drinking with Padme, I could see it now" he shook his head, smiling as if it was an old memory that he liked to think of. Anakin, for his part, was horrified.
"Do you think I save your life just to gloat?" he demanded. "Yes," Obi-wan answered immediately. "Well," Anakin thought about it, he didn't really do anything else. "That is my main reason, but I actually like having you around, to an extent," that sounded cruel, he reflected regretfully.
"Go to bed, Anakin," Obi-wan waved him off, shaking his head. "You aren't helping me at all, and for the record, you annoy me too" he replied. It was hard to offend Obi-wan, he was too confident to take offense to anything. But Anakin felt he had at least poked a nerve.
"Whatever," he sighed. "What I'm failing miserably trying to say is that Qui-gon would be proud of you. Trust me, I know that much, he talked about you to everyone. He bragged to my mother, to Padme, to Threepio, he drove us nuts talking about you," Obi-wan's face didn't move a muscle, but his eyes had moistened. "He'd be more proud of you," Obi-wan told him as always, he couldn't stand to receive recognition, or even flattery. As true as it might have been.
"You're the one who's worked hard to become a great Jedi" he pointed out. "Obi-wan; shut up and let me flatter you. I know I'm awesome, I remind you of that every time we see each other. I already know Qui-gon is proud of me; you never let me forget it. I am trying to help you, so shut up and listen," Obi-wan chuckled.
"You are such an inspiring person, humble too" he laughed sarcastically. "That was one of my best speeches, and you still won't shut up" Anakin answered annoyed. Obi-wan opened his mouth again, stalling.
Anakin grabbed him and pressed a hand over his mouth. "Okay, where was I?" He asked as Obi-wan tried to claw his arm away irritably. By all means; Obi-wan was stronger than Anakin, but he was also shorter and tired.
"Ah, yes, blast, I need a new subject, that was the only thing I had for that one. Oh, did I mention you're exasperating? Wait, wrong lecture. Force, I'm tired. How about this one? You lost your master, and somehow, you pulled yourself out of your own grief, which by all means you deserved to have, to train the likes of a slave boy from Tatooine. I'm well aware I was a terrible padawan, I take pride in it really, but you still did it."
Obi-wan squirmed more, he hated this story, but Anakin was having a good time. "Even though it took arguing with the council and yes, I know you still argue with the council on occasion in my defense. A supreme amount of patience, which was sort of annoying…. Oh well. And being wise beyond your years, did you know that you're the youngest on the council and yet you're the one who talks the most?"
Obi-wan stopped, thinking, he obviously had forgotten this. "You fight battles every day, stand up for me half the time, put up with me most of the time, you've been captured and tortured eight times in the past three months and yes, I've been keeping track. You win wars bloodlessly, which puts me out of a mission, but works with me just fine anyway and force, that's only half, Obi-wan.
Anyway, I'm too tired for this. In essence, Qui-gon would be more proud of you, because I still can't figure out how you did it. I can barely handle Ahsoka. What was my point in the first place?
Oh, yah, something along the lines of go to bed,"he then let him go, pleased with himself. He brushed off his hand, half asleep now.
But he hoped above hope that he had helped his old master. He glanced up, and nearly fell over in shock. Obi-wan was quickly wiping at his moist eyes. Crying? Well, that was new; Anakin hadn't known Obi-wan even had tear-ducts. "Thank you, Anakin" his voice was steady and composed, but dripping with gratitude. Anakin felt his heart constrict, why hadn't he ever done this before?
"You deserve so much more, master. And don't thank me," he put a hand on Obi-wan's shoulder. "Without you, I wouldn't be where I am now. I should be the one thanking you, for everything" he felt tears of affection prick at his eyes. "You'll always have me, Obi-wan, and I know it doesn't count for much, but I'm proud of you too" Obi-wan smiled, and again Anakin wondered why he hadn't ever said this out loud before.
"Let's go to bed, Anakin" Obi-wan said turning off the holo-gram. Anakin nodded and flung an arm around his oldest friend. "And tomorrow, we are still burning Maul's picture right?" He teased. Obi-wan snorted. "Of course."