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Just a Nightmare

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The idea of this mission was making Obi-Wan uneasy. He wasn’t quite sure why. Perhaps it was because undercover missions were not his strong suit. Perhaps it was the upcoming masquerade as a criminal. Perhaps it was the prospect of faking his own death. So many things could go wrong, and it was something he’d certainly never done before. Perhaps it was because this entire mission was to protect the chancellor. In fact, Obi-Wan going undercover was partly the chancellor’s idea.

Whatever it was, Obi-Wan had to have it settled before the mission actually started. He only had a few weeks to prepare.

 

Rain poured down around Anakin, drenching his clothes, churning the ground into mud, and sizzling on his lightsaber blade. Exhaustion, water, and mud dragged Anakin’s movements down, but he kept going, destroying just one more droid, then just one more, then just one more. By some miracle of the Force, he hadn’t fallen as had many of the padawans he was fighting side by side with.

Anakin defeated the last droid in front of him and found himself surrounded by Jabiimi rebels. He gritted his teeth, lifted his lightsaber, and started in again. He reached over the bond to touch Obi-Wan. Are you all right?

Still alive, Obi-Wan sent back. Alpha-17 and I are in an AT-AT right now. You?

Alive, Anakin sent with the concentration he could barely spare. With some other padawans.

I have to go, Anakin. Stay alive, Obi-Wan sent.

I’ll do my best. Anakin pressed forward, gaining inch after painstaking inch before being forced to fall back.

Blinding pain ripped through his bond. The threads that connected him to Obi-Wan ripped and were left dangling empty. He was gone. Obi-Wan was gone.

Aubrie Wyn blocked several blows aiming for Anakin. “What’s wrong with you? Pay attention!”

Anakin straightened, hot tears running down his cheeks alongside the cold raindrops. “Obi-Wan,” he said hoarsely. “Obi-Wan is gone.”

Obi-Wan was gone, and now, Anakin’s world had officially ended.

Anakin bolted upright, a hoarse scream scraping his throat. His blankets were tangled around his sweaty legs. He panted heavily, darting his eyes around the dark room. He had to run back to the base. Maybe if he got there in time, he could still save Obi-Wan.

But he wasn’t on Jabiim anymore. That horrible battlefield had been left far behind, and Obi-Wan was back, from the dead, from Ventress’s clutches, from the nightmarish state Anakin had had to drag him out of after the torture he’d endured.

Anakin trembled, shakiness overtaking his muscles. He pushed himself out of bed, disentangling himself from his blankets, and shrugged on a robe. Obi-Wan wouldn’t appreciate it if he showed up at his door shirtless in the middle of the night.

He braced himself against his knees and tried to slow his breathing, but the dream kept flashing back to him. The memories. The pain of feeling the bond rip, the horrible aftermath of the battle, Obi-Wan and every other Jedi at the battle, of which there had been many, dying, being forced to choose between his clone troopers and the people they’d come to defend, the months of insisting Obi-Wan had to be alive and being trained by Ki-Adi-Mundi who didn’t know how to handle a resentful, headstrong Anakin who blamed him for every way in which he was not Obi-Wan Kenobi, finally finding Obi-Wan barely alive, nursing him back to health and slowly bringing him back from the horrors that ate his mind away from the torture he’d endured.

He had to go see Obi-Wan, just to make sure he was all right.

Anakin stumbled out of his apartment and made his way down the hall to Obi-Wan’s quarters close by. The door was locked, as it always was after hours. He pressed the buzzer, too shaken to punch in Obi-Wan’s passcode. The door didn’t open, so he leaned on the buzzer, propping his head up against the door.

The door hissed open. Anakin stumbled forward at the loss of weight, barely catching himself in time.

“What on earth—” Obi-Wan started. His hair was rumpled, and he stood on the other side of the door in his sleep robes, but he was healthy. Sane. Alive. Anakin’s heart slowed down the race it hadn’t stopped since he woke up just a bit.

Obi-Wan’s eyebrows rose. “Anakin. What’s wrong?”

Anakin resisted the urge to pull Obi-Wan into a hug. Now that he saw him, the reason for the visit seemed a bit silly, as if he was still a child running to his master for soothing from every fright, but the horrors of the memories still gripped him too strongly. “I…had a nightmare. It’s nothing, I should just go.” He turned to head back to his room. Obi-Wan wouldn’t want to listen to him anyway. He should just go back to bed, even if he wouldn’t be able to sleep the rest of the night.

“No, wait. If it was bad enough for you to wake me up, you’d better come in and tell me about it,” Obi-Wan said.

Anakin paused. “All right.” He followed Obi-Wan into his bedroom and stood near the door as he turned on a bedside lamp.

Obi-Wan sat on the edge of his bed and patted the spot beside him. “Why don’t you come here and tell me about it?”

Anakin sighed and sat down next to Obi-Wan, the mattress bowing under his weight. He gathered the strength to speak about the dream, but it failed him at the last second.

“Was it a vision?” Obi-Wan prompted.

Anakin shook his head. “Not really. Just memories. Things I haven’t thought about in a while, so I don’t know why they’re coming up now.”

“What is it?” Obi-Wan asked.

Anakin drew in a shaky breath. “Jabiim. I was dreaming of the moment when…when I thought I felt your death.”

“Oh, Anakin.” Obi-Wan placed a warm hand on his shoulder.

Tears pricked Anakin’s eyes. “It was horrible. Everything about that battle was horrible. And losing you…” He barely kept back a sob. “It…it was almost as bad as…” He trailed off. He wasn’t sure if he could actually say this.

“Almost as bad as what?” Obi-Wan asked gently.

“Losing my mother,” Anakin said. “Maybe even worse,” he whispered, his voice dying. He shrugged, tears streaming down his cheeks. “You know how it is. You lost Qui-Gon.” He swallowed. Maybe that would make the hoarseness go away. “Anyway. I just had to make sure you were all right. Even after we found you, you weren’t all right for a long time, and I’m not sure I could bring your mind back again.”

“Oh, Anakin.” Obi-Wan’s voice broke. He laid a warm arm across Anakin’s shoulders and drew him close. “Come here.”

Anakin gave in, wrapping Obi-Wan in a hug and burying his face in his shoulder.

Obi-Wan rubbed his back, up and down. Anakin broke, losing himself in sobs and the gripping memories.

“Please don’t leave me.” Anakin gripped Obi-Wan’s sleep tunic tightly. “Please don’t leave me like that. I can’t lose you again.”

Obi-Wan’s hand paused in its rubbing for a second, then resumed. “I won’t, padawan. I promise.”

 

Obi-Wan felt like an utter heel. In his calculations on how to spare Anakin the death of Chancellor Palpatine, he hadn’t even considered Qui-Gon or the fact that Anakin had lost Obi-Wan once before. He had just formulated how best to convince everyone that he was dead, using Anakin’s emotions to accomplish it. And it still was a logical plan, one that made sense in itself.

But what was he becoming that he could even consider it? Telling himself that Siri had done this sort of thing all the time was no excuse. She had broken relationships, not convinced everyone she was dead. Even now, Anakin had fallen asleep teary and exhausted in his arms, and was now slumbering away on his bed because, like the child he still had barely outgrown, he couldn’t bear to be away from his brother in case the nightmares came back.

At Anakin’s age, Obi-Wan was still a padawan. Even several years older and with a long history of a rocky relationship, Qui-Gon’s death had almost destroyed him. Why was he plotting to both use Anakin’s feelings against him and expect him to handle himself like a seasoned Jedi master when the cards were dropped? Kriff, even the most seasoned Jedi masters wouldn’t take what Obi-Wan was planning on doing very well, even though many might pretend they did. They would be just as hurt and betrayed as Anakin inevitably would be.

And they would have every right.

Anakin had never confessed how hard he had taken his death before. Never even came close to comparing it to his mother’s death, which had hit him very hard. That made sense, as Obi-Wan had been almost incoherent when Anakin found him. Only Anakin’s unwavering attention and careful nursing had brought Obi-Wan back from the brink of insanity. And here was ungrateful Obi-Wan planning to put Anakin through all of that over again, make him feel those feelings again and panic that he was losing him again.

It hadn’t really been that long since Jabiim either. All the battles and missions and the coming and growing of Ahsoka made it seem longer than it was, but really, it had been barely two years since the battle, and the aftermath had taken months to resolve. It was unthinkable to make Anakin relive it, especially so soon after the actual event.

Obi-Wan rested a hand on Anakin’s curly hair. “You won’t lose me this time, padawan. I promise.”

 

“Why did you request this Council meeting?” Mace asked.

“I am afraid I cannot take the Rako Hardeen mission,” Obi-Wan said.

“But we’ve already almost completed our preparations,” Mace protested.

“I don’t particularly care,” Obi-Wan said. “I cannot do it. I was a fool to think I could. It’s not fair to make Anakin experience my death again. He had no choice the first time, and now that we have one the second time, I do not believe we should take it.”

“I agree,” Yoda said.

“You’ve been against this mission from the beginning,” Mace said. “Of course you agree.”

Obi-Wan glanced around the Council chambers. He couldn’t quite ascertain the opinions of any of the other Council members. He wasn’t very adept at reading most of them.

“I agree as well,” Ki-Adi-Mundi said. “I don’t think we should put Skywalker through that again. “It’s not fair to him. I don’t think he can handle it.”

“Nor should he be able to,” Plo Koon said. “The death of a master is seen as a tragedy, but not an inevitable one. And certainly not something one must be able to bear multiple times with great strength. Sometimes I feel we expect too much of Anakin simply because he is so competent at so many things.”

“I think Skywalker will learn to handle it,” Mace said. “It’s his duty.”

“I disagree on both counts,” Ki-Adi-Mundi said. “You weren’t his master. You didn’t see him after he lost Obi-Wan. He cannot handle it again, nor should he have to.”

“But the Jedi Code—and the mission!” Mace said.

“Kriff the Code and kriff the mission!” Obi-Wan said, startling even himself. “I don’t care what you have to do to finish it. Call Quinlan Vos or some other Shadow off from what they’re doing and have them complete the mission. Do it yourself if it’s that important to you. Let the chancellor die. I don’t care. I won’t betray Anakin like that and none of you can make me!” He stood up and stalked out of the Council chambers.

For some reason, Anakin was standing there waiting for him, looking for all the world like a startled tooka. “What was that about?”

“Never mind, Anakin. Master Windu and the chancellor had a terrible idea and I refuse to be a part of it.” Obi-Wan stalked to the lift and stabbed the down button.

Anakin trailed after him. “Master Windu and the chancellor agreeing on something? Uh-oh. The galaxy must be coming to an end.”

“I agree,” Obi-Wan almost spat. He curled his hands into fists. He felt like an initiate again, unable to control his anger. He had lost his temper for the first time in a long time, and it felt good. He wouldn’t let them talk him into compromising his conscience anymore. He refused to be a part of this slow descent into darkness. He was going to do what he decided, and no one could stop him. So there!

The elevator doors hissed open and Obi-Wan stalked in.

Anakin followed him inside as the doors shut again. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this angry,” he said. “What happened?”

Obi-Wan sighed. “It doesn’t matter, Anakin. All that matters is that I came to my senses before making a dreadful mistake, and thanks to that, you don’t have to bear the fallout.”

“The fallout of what? What aren’t you telling me?” Anakin pressed.

“It would hurt you more if I told you, and now that it’s not going to happen, it doesn’t matter anymore anyway,” Obi-Wan said. He rested a hand on Anakin’s shoulder. “All I can say is, I’m glad you had that nightmare last night.”

Anakin frowned. “Okay.” He was silent for about half a minute. “So what really happened?”

Obi-Wan bit back another sigh. Anakin was relentless when he was fixated on something, and unless he was distracted, he would keep hounding Obi-Wan until he gave in. It was a skill Anakin had developed over many years. “I’ll tell you everything when you confess what’s really going on between you and Senator Amidala.”

“What? I… what… how… I didn’t…” Anakin spluttered. “Who’s Senator Amidala?”

“Exactly,” Obi-Wan said.

Anakin crossed his arms and pouted. “That’s not fair.”

“Life’s not fair, Anakin.”