“I can’t believe that we are finally returning back to the temple, it has been years,” the tall blonde Padawan spoke out, while checking the system. They would soon exit hyperspace.
The ginger haired man, whose hair had long since grown out of the Padawan hairstyle and who was now sporting a beard, chuckled. “Indeed.”
“Do you think they will remember me?” he was mostly referring to his uncles – even though they had regularly had contact via holo transmission – but to a couple of other Jedi as well. During their ten years of partnership they had travelled across the whole galaxy and they had often met other Jedi, sometimes even other Master-Padawan-Teams. Anakin had been able to make quick friends with his fellow age mates and something that sounded suspiciously like the Force, told Obi-Wan that it wouldn’t have been the case, had Anakin remained in the protecting halls of the temple.
“I am sure they will,” the ginger haired Master – after a specially gruesome and hard mission, he had been granted the title of a Master, by Yoda and Mace personally – reassured his charge.
The blonde hummed. “You have to remind me, to write Mom,” Anakin said.
Needless to say, Obi-Wan and Anakin had travelled to Tatooine one more time. The older of the Jedi had gambled – with Anakin’s help – until they had enough money to buy the boy’s mother from Watto, who had been hesitant at first, but eventually craved in, at the large amount of money he had been offered. Now Shmi Skywalker was living in the palace of Naboo, as a maid for everything. She was paid, had a proper roof above her head and had even married. Anakin had been unsure about the last part, but quickly warmed up to his stepfather. He was just glad that his mother was finally free and most importantly, happy.
“Do you know what I will do first, when we are back in the temple?” Anakin asked, his voice was eager and at this moment, he sounded more like a nine-year-old than the man of almost twenty years that he was.
“What will you do, my ever energetic Padawan?” he teased. He himself was bone-tired, but apparently Anakin was not… or the adrenaline was, what kept him working.
“I will take a long and hot shower, Master.” A blissful sigh escaped the younger male and he leaned back in his chair with his eyes closed.
“That sounds lovely, young one,” Obi-Wan offered. He too craved a real shower, but he would gladly allow Anakin the precedence, as long as there would still be some warm water for him as well. The only thing worse than not showering, was showering with ice-cold water and Obi-Wan knew what he was talking about.
With that, their brief conversation was more or less ended and the ginger haired Jedi allowed himself to fall into a light trance. It was just enough to let him rest and to collect some of his own thoughts, the Force knew that he desperately needed it.
Obi-Wan was not sure who was more glad to be back, himself or Anakin. It was true that the young one did not really know anything about the standard temple life, but that was no real problem. Obi-Wan had decided to raise and train him without the Council, without people watching and bothering him, just because he was supposed to be the Chosen One. Also, this trip that has lasted ten years, had brought them very close together. Only a team that trusted each other to one-hundred percent, could survive in the wilderness on their own and it was clear that they had proven to be able to do so. Otherwise, they would not be walking down the slowly lowering ramp.
A smile appeared on the bearded male’s features. He had immediately sported his brother’s all too familiar Force presences in the small crowd that had gathered. It was nice to see so many people eagerly awaiting their return, especially after all these years. Granted, there were also those, who just wanted to take a look at the infamous Sith-Killer and his Chosen One Padawan, but most of the assembled, were friends or family.
Both Feemor and Xanatos wasted not another second. Somehow they managed to make their way through the crowd and then they found themselves in front of Anakin and their youngest brother. Immediately, Obi-Wan was engulfed in a bone-crushing hug that he eagerly returned.
“Welcome home,” Feemor mumbled, while the raven haired Knight had already moved on to the Padawan, who was now towering over him.
“Oh my… Ani, you have certainly grown.”
“Hello, uncle Xani,” grinned the blonde and he too wrapped his arms around the raven haired male.
“It is good to be home,” Obi-Wan replied to his oldest brother, who nodded in agreement. A silent promise for stories was exchanged, before he turned his attention to Anakin as well.
The ginger haired Master let his awareness drift through the hangar bay. He was slowly cataloging everyone, who was there. Of course he immediately recognized the approaching forms of Master Yoda and Windu, who were accompanied by Kit Fisto and Plo Koon. There were a lot of other familiar presences, but one was missing.
A heavy arm draped over the Master’s shoulder. “He is not in the temple, the Council sent him on a mission,” answered Xanatos the unspoken question. He was still as good as ever in reading Obi-Wan’s moods and thoughts.
“I see,” he said, his tone giving nothing away. In truth, he did not even know how he was supposed to feel actually. The man he had considered his Master and father for years, had not ones tried to contact him and every time Obi-Wan had called, he had received no answer. It was as if Qui-Gon did not want to have anything to do with him anymore, but that thought was absurd, if he could believe Feemor and Xanatos that is. The two older Jedi had not forgiven their former Master and it was clear that a certain part of them never would, but at least they had still contact with him and even asked him for help and his opinion. Obi-Wan never had that luxury.
“Lighten up, you will meet him soon enough, I am sure of it,” Xanatos continued.
“I am sure,” he said and gifted his companion a small smile.
“By the way, I like your beard, it suits you. I would advise you to keep it that way, a full beard would make you look old, but the – what is it called? – Door-Knocker-Style certainly suits you.”
“Thank you, it was Anakin’s idea.” He replied, feeling the blonde’s pride at having been praised.
“Of course it was,” Feemor teased. Obi-Wan just shook his head in amusement and freed himself from the older Jedi’s grip, intending to greet the two approaching Jedi Masters.
“Master Yoda, Master Windu,” he said in greeting.
“Obi-Wan,” Mace Windu inclined his head in respect.
“Good to have you back, it is. Missed you, we have,” Yoda’s aura was warm and the blind man could tell, even without seeing it, that the green troll’s eyes were shining.
“The Force told me it was time to return,” he answered cryptically.
“Well, we are lucky it did,” the Korun Master stepped forward and the two men clasped each other’s arms in a friendly greeting. During the last few years and especially after the fiasco with Qui-Gon in front of the whole Council, Mace and he had become rather good friends.
“Now, with all due respect Masters,” Xanatos interrupted, “but we saw him first and therefore I won’t allow you to take him away already, not before he and his Padawan have spared against Feemor and me that is.” He was grinning broadly, showing his pearly white teeth.
“Arranged, that can be,” Yoda hummed.
“Of course we will watch,” dark brown eyes looked challenging at the raven haired man.
“Ah, good. The more people seeing Obi-Wan being beaten by me, the better,” there was no real menace in his voice, just teasing.
The ginger haired Master in question huffed. His Padawan brothers did not know about his status as a Jedi Master yet and they did not know that he had studied Soresu and made it his main fighting style.
He would never have accomplished this feet without Master Dooku. The man had been strangely friendly and open after he had heard that Obi-Wan had saved Qui-Gon from certain death. Not that Obi-Wan would complain, he had grown rather font of the often eccentric Jedi that was his Grandmaster.
“Your pride will be your downfall,” he retorted.
Both Xanatos and Feemor groaned aloud. “Please, you sound like Master Jinn,” complained the blonde Knight. Again, Obi-Wan only shook his head.
“That wasn’t fair,” complained Xanatos loudly, causing the whole crowd of spectators to laugh. He was sitting cross-legged on the training hall floor, with his arms crossed before his chest and the biggest pout in Jedi history plastered on his handsome face.
“I hate to say it,” Feemor’s voice was muffled, because he had yet to move from his position face down on the floor, “but it was.”
Anakin and Obi-Wan shared a look. They had bested the two Jedi Knights on the floor, who gave no indication to move any time soon. That was fine by Obi-Wan, perhaps he would have at least some time for a light meditation then. Then again, there was a whole crowd of Force users in the training halls, he probably would not have another calm minute and neither would Anakin, who seemed a little bit uncomfortable with the whole attention he was getting.
“Since when are you a Master of Soresu?” the raven haired male asked.
“Correction, Knight Du’Crion, THE Master of Soresu,” Mace Windu gave his opinion. He and Yoda had made their way down from the ranks.
“Master Dooku taught me the few times our paths collided. I don’t know, I guess it suits me better than Ataru ever did.”
Feemor huffed and finally pushed himself up so that he was lying on his back instead. “Could have fooled me, there were still enough Ataru parts in your fighting style.”
“And don’t let us begin on your Padawan,” Xanatos grumbled. He had always been a bad loser. Undoubtedly, he would work on his skill and come to challenge his youngest brother at some point in the future again.
“I hate to interrupt your chat,” Mace voice held a hint of amusement, while his face was set in s stern mask, “but I would like to talk to you Obi-Wan.”
Surprise could be seen for the briefest of second on the bearded male’s features. But it was gone as soon as it has appeared, leaving absolutely no trace behind. Out of instinct, the blind man straightened, his eyes directed at Mace’s face, at least more or less.
“Yes, Master?” he had a feeling that it was something important and formal. The Force gave him no warning though and he allowed himself to relax just a little.
Mace cleared his throat, he too had straightened his spine and with his best Councilor voice, he began to speak. “On behalf of the Jedi Order, we would like to offer you, Master Kenobi, a permanent seat on the Jedi Council.”
Everyone in the training hall – who had been able to hear what was being said – was stunned. It was so silent, you could have heard a pin falling.
“You… you want ME, as a Council member?” he could not quite believe what he was hearing. It was a great honor to be even considered, but an even greater honor to actually been offered a seat and a permanent one at that. Obi-Wan was not quite sure what to make of it, nor did he know what to reply.
“Obi-Wan, what are you waiting for, say ‘yes’ already,” Xanatos encouraged and even Feemor nodded his approval. It was nice to have support from two of the most important people in his life.
“You truly think I should become a Council member?” he asked.
“Of course, who would be better than you… except me of course,” everyone knew that the raven haired male was simply joking. It was well known that Xanatos loved his freedom and therefore he would never settle down to become a Council member.
“See it as a great opportunity for the Order. You are young and you have fresh ideas. Perhaps a few changes might be exactly, what the Order needs.” This time it had been Feemor, who had given his honest opinion about the matter.
Obi-Wan bowed his head. “I am truly honored by your request, but the decision does not only lay with me. I have a Padawan to think of and his future is more important to me than a seat on the Council.” There was a reason, why Council members rarely had Padawans of their own. Their duty to the Order was so time-consuming that they would not have enough time to properly take care of an Initiate, especially a young one.
“We understand the difficulty and of course we make sure that you will have enough time and freedom to continue the training of Anakin Skywalker,” the dark skinned Korun Master reassured.
“Master,” this time it was Anakin who spoke up. The blonde had remained utterly silent up until now, but he deemed it necessary to step in. “You should agree. It won’t be too long until I reach knighthood and since we are back at the temple, you can ‘dump’ me on Master Xanatos or Master Feemor.” His reasoning sounded logic and there was nothing Obi-Wan could say against it.
“And you will be alright with it?” he just wanted to be absolutely sure. He would love to be on the Council, it had been a secret wish for a long time now – ever since people an dJedi Masters had said that he would never even become a Jedi Knight due to his blindness – but Anakin was more important than his own personal desires.
“Of course,” he smiled brightly.
“If that is the case,” he waited for a couple of seconds, just in case someone wanted to change his mind, “I would gladly accept this offer.”
“Welcome on the Council, Master Kenobi. Expect great things from you, we will,” Yoda inclined his head when Obi-Wan bowed in respect.
“I will not disappoint you, Masters,” the bearded male vowed.
“Know that, we do,” with that the topic was closed.
Who would have thought that, after they had just returned from their year long absence, Obi-Wan would suddenly find himself on the Council? The Force truly moved in mysterious ways sometimes.
Of course Qui-Gon had heard the news of the return of his latest Padawan. It was basically everything everyone seemed to talk about these days. The long haired Jedi could hardly blame them, after all they were talking about the Sith-Killer and Master Negotiator, as well as his Padawan, the so called Chosen One. But all the pride he would have felt for Obi-Wan, evaporated in the face of the tremendous guilt he felt every time the blind Jedi’s name was mentioned. It was an all-consuming grief that squeezed his heart in a painful way and would not let go. It seemed as if he would forever carry this burden of shame with him. But he did not deserve anything else. After all, what kind of man was he, to throw aside his bright star without a second thought? Qui-Gon did not know what had driven him to his actions and he was not sure if he really wanted to know. Of course there would have been other methods to get the Council to allow Anakin to be trained, he could have sworn to be the good little Jedi they all wanted him to be for example. It would have been worth it, for Anakin’s sake. But things hardly went as planned, which is why Qui-Gon was watching from afar, how his precious boy became a member of the Council and how his Grandpadawan became one of the best swordsman the Jedi Order had ever seen.
He stayed away from them, despite the almost overwhelming pain of having a loved-one so close, but also so far away. It was as if a piece of him died every time he spotted his child, without being able to face him and to properly apologize. He did not deserve forgiveness, which is why he was not going to ask for it. That and how could he face Obi-Wan? Surely the younger male would not want to talk to him ever again. The Force knows that he would react like this. Then again, he had always been a lesser man than Obi-Wan…
A shaky sigh escaped the brown haired man, whose hair was turning silver already. He shook his head, his midnight blue eyes landing on the ginger haired male with a longing look, and then he turned around and vanished. Little did he know that a pair of unseeing eyes was following him.
“Coruscant to Obi-Wan, please respond. Coruscant to Obi-Wan, can you hear me? Over.”
Obi-Wan barely refrained himself from rolling his eyes at his brother’s attempt to be funny. “Xanatos,” he eventually acknowledged the Knight.
“It is painful to watch, the way your eyes glass over whenever you feel him in the same room and the way his eyes become teary, whenever he spots you,” Xanatos was completely serious for once. “You should talk to him, the way things are, you are both hurting each other without even wanting to, let alone realizing it.”
A sigh escaped the bearded male, “I know… but I don’t want to push him. I can feel his grief, his self-blame… he is not ready to confront me yet, no matter how much it hurts to see him in such pain and peril. I truly wish I could go to him, but I have a feeling that it would only make matters worse, at least at this point it would.”
The raven haired boy did not look convinced. “Do you mean it or are you just trying to find an excuse for avoiding him further?”
Furious blue-green eyes came to rest on his face and Xanatos actually flinched. He now understood why his little brother was such a great diplomat, with a look like that, even his worst enemies would cave in.
“I am not a coward,” his tone was as dangerous as his look.
“I know and I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just… you cannot avoid him forever and neither can he you for that matter. You are part of the Council now, it is only a matter of time until he will be summoned before them and what will you do then? An awkward stare-down perhaps?”
Obi-Wan grimaced. “I am very much aware of the problem at hand, thank you very much.” He was only partly in lecturing mode right now. “But despite our personal quarrel, we are both Jedi Masters and very much able to control our emotions and keep the interaction level inside the Council chambers at a professional manner.”
A groan escaped Xanatos, “I cannot believe that we made you agree. You are already sounding like one of them and here I thought you were stronger than this,” it earned him a cuff to the head that definitely would leave a slight swelling. “OW!”
“You deserved that,” the blind man said matter of fact and with that, the topic was closed, at least for the moment. He even turned back to his meager meal.
Xanatos mentally sighed. He suddenly felt much older than he actually was and he also felt guilty for having treated Qui-Gon so badly those last few years. It was clear that the man was hating himself enough already, without Feemor and him adding to it. With new found determination, the raven haired Knight made a mental note to contact his older Padawan brother and then he and the blonde would go and confront his former Master. If they could not convince him to go to Obi-Wan, then they would at least let him know that he was still very much loved, not only by them, but by the youngest member of their small family as well, and he did not mean Anakin by it.