Title: For What You Dream Of
Rated: PG (Slight implied slashiness and some violence later on.)
Summary: Obi-Wan, Anakin and the balance of the Force.
Disclaim: George Lucas owns the Jedi and their side of the schism. Planet name theived from the sublime Paul Magrs.
Etc: This is the longest thing I have ever crafted. By quite a lot. kbk was my funky beta, Di-Ana Wolf was my unsuspecting test subject.
This does have an ending, I'm just posting in bits for episodic retro joy.
his earliest memory is of being held underwater
He has been to Hyspero many times since. It is, as they say, beautiful. The sunlight glistens on the lakes, the vast banks of solar cells along the equator shimmer like seas themselves, the night side glows with the lights of cities that never sleep. It is a world where life itself is art.
closing his lips against liquid death, eyes wide and stinging
The Jedi are not welcome on Hyspero. For the planet and its people have their own ways of doing things, their own ways of listening to the Universe. They build sculptures of glass and steel to venerate it, they sing to it in the streets. The disciplined ascetism of the Jedi insults the Force of the Hysperons. They are, quite simply, heretics.
the air boiling in his lungs, blood churning as it's oxygen disappears
On Hyspero the Jedi have to flaunt their difference. The lightsabers on their belts become a warning rather than a utility. The cold cylinders reinforce the idea that the Jedi are dangerous. Sometimes this fear can be useful.
carbon dioxide building up to attack the body that gave birth to it
* * * * *
"I'd like you to go to Hyspero."
"Why?" The question comes out harshly, the tone bordering on confrontational. The thin, quiet aide in the corner of the room raises an eyebrow and leans forward slightly. Obi-Wan mentally berates his lack of self-control. He keeps his gaze level, but at the back of his mind he wishes that the thick carpet were just a little softer, to allow him to sink silently into its depths.
The Chancellor smiles slightly. "Kenobi is a Hysperon name, isn't it? I thought they might find you a little more...acceptable than most. One of their own."
"I am Jedi, Chancellor. Not Hysperon."
"Of course." The smile again. Unsettling, isn't it? "But every little helps in these situations. There is an ambassador from Alderaan leaving the planet in two days. The Republic wishes to provide an escort for him."
"The Republic security forces are perfectly-"
"The Seperatists are strong on Hyspero, Master Kenobi. The ambassador has survived two assassination attempts there. His bodyguards have not. He would feel safer under the protection of the Jedi." Palpatine lowers his voice significantly. "He has made a specific request."
"Then he shall have our protection. I'll leave as soon as I can arrange alternative care for my apprentice." Obi-Wan suppresses a shudder as a chill starts to snake its way down his back. He wonders if the air-conditioning needs repairs.
"Why not take young Anakin with you? I'm sure he'd be very interested to see your home planet. You must have a lot of fond memories." He smiles.
Obi-Wan freezes, just for a fraction of a moment. He knows. He must know. He has access to the archives, he... "Yes, Chancellor."
He bows low, forcing his eyes downward. Membership of the Jedi Order demands that he trust this man implicitly, trust all the Chancellors of the Republic. They would not hold their power if it were not the will of the Force, and a Jedi must respect that will. Even if they do not always respect those it chooses.
* * * * *
Halfway up the building, on the northern side, there is a garden. This in itself is not exceptional, the garden is one of many crowded along the terraces of the Jedi Temple. This one juts out from the structure, daring gravity to blink first. On two sides the garden ends at a wall and a rail, enough to stop you falling, not enough to prevent a jump. The other two sides are cloister. The plants grow wherever the architecture allows and a few places where it doesn't.
The centre of this improbable courtyard is the purpose behind the overhang - a shining floor of glass, seemingly to wide and too thin for such a height.
Anakin, nineteen and brazen with it, stands in the centre.
Anakin's earliest memory is of sand in a cup of milk. Sharp little remnants of rock floating in the liquid, coating his tongue and scraping the inside of his throat.
Glass is just heated sand, he tells himself.
"I'm not going out there." Fenri, who runs faster and has a longer braid, looks at Anakin with a mixture of incredulity and trepidation. She is scared of heights despite her training, and more to the point she has told Anakin about this on numerous occasions.
"It's not going to break. Look." He jumps up and down a few times. Fenri winces slightly. Anakin grins, suddenly sly. "Well, if you're scared..."
She glares at him. "I'm not!" Her lightsaber is in her hand in an instant, her feet moving purposefully across the glass. She doesn't look down.
Lightsabers ignite, green and violet. "Just remember," she tells him as they circle each other, "that there is no shame in losing to me. I've got two years plus early childhood on you. Your victory is measured in how long you can hold me off."
Anakin nods. "So what's your victory measured on?"
"How quickly I can-" Anakin almost isn't fast enought to stop her winning immediately. Almost. He parries the blow with millimetres to spare, stumbling back slightly.
Fenri jumps over his first attack, ducks under the second. Anakin manages to maintain the stalemate longer than she had expected.
He tries to work out where his advantage lies. Not in agility, speed only barely. She is slightly more predictable in her movements. He is taller. She is scared of heights.
He drops to the ground, rolling to avoid her blade. Fenri keeps her eyes on her opponent, closes her mind to him when he projects a sensation of falling. Anakin realises that this isn't going to work. He pushes himself up, he needs to take back the advantage of height. He leaps, somersaulting over her head.
His foot slips as it makes contact with the glass. He feels his centre of gravity tip backwards, his feet leave the ground and the air leaves his lungs at the impact. He looks up to see Fenri's blade at his throat. His own lightsaber is gone, fallen from his grip as he tumbled.
"Very good, Skywalker." She switches off her lightsaber and returns it to her belt. "Do you know what you did wrong?"
"I fell." He picks himself up, cataloguing each of the new pains he has just discovered.
"You underestimated her." The padawans turn guiltily as Obi-Wan emerges from the cloisters. "Well done, Padawan Modiki, that was an impressive victory."
Fenri bows and mumbles her thanks, blushing slightly.
"If you'll excuse us, Fenri, I must speak with Anakin."
He watches as the girl scurries off. Back to her books, probably, thinks Obi-Wan. Apparently this is what most Padawans do with their time, instead of foraging for parts to build yet another slightly pointless machine. "She doesn't like me," he comments.
"She thinks you're mean." Obi-Wan looks surprised. His skin flushes and he stares down at the distant streets of Coruscant.
"Don't you worry about falling?" he asks.
"If it wasn't safe it wouldn't be here, Master." Anakin gazes past his own feet and through the glass. "Everyone's afraid of it. I don't think I've ever seen anyone walk on it that didn't have to."
"You're not scared of anything." Anakin's voice holds such conviction, and Obi-Wan has to hold back the reflexive laugh at the statement.
"I don't like water," he says finally.
"You taught me to swim."
"I had to. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to lose your Apprentice? I'd never live it down."
Anakin blinks. "You're teasing me again!" He grins as Obi-Wan gives in to the smile trying to form on his own mouth.
- - - - - -
TBC - soon.