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The Support of Memory

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Feemor settled in next to Obi-Wan on the couch, already having gotten them both a stiff drink. It was not the Jedi way to mourn, but they were still sentient beings who had to process their emotions. Plo Koon nodded at the elder of Jinn's Knights, even as Adi settled on the arm of his chair. Luminara was on the other side of Obi-Wan, while Bant had taken up the floor in front of him, letting him stroke the top of her head absently as it seemed to be soothing him. Reeft and Siri and Garen had co-opted the loveseat, which had the blonde more or less in her friends' laps.

This was as much a wake for Darsha as for Qui-Gon, and the grief had reddened eyes all around the room. Lissarkh, Plo Koon's padawan, had taken young Anakin for the night, promising to teach him basic lessons, feed him, and make sure he slept.

"Darsha would have been mad you Knighted at the same time she did," Siri told Obi-Wan, an awkward opening, but one so true to them. "Because she would have. If she'd made it back. I heard some of the Masters talking." She gave a furtive glance to her own, and to Plo, both on the Council, and the only ones present.

"She would have been," Obi-Wan agreed, even as the solid presence of his dearest friends helped drive back the black pit he felt pulling at his soul. Quinlan wasn't here, but then, he had Knighted first, due to his unique talents, and was off on mission.

"Between her and you, Siri, there was more than enough competition among your group to drive all of us slightly mad," Adi told her padawan.

"Qui-Gon maintained that Obi-Wan did not seek to compete, yet fell into it all by accident," Plo said, making the others laugh a little.

"That's true," Reeft said. "Things always happened to sharpen him, even if he wasn't looking for it."

"It's not my fault I'm a trouble magnet," Obi-Wan said, blushing faintly.

"At least you own up to it, Obi," Bant said, leaning her head back enough to see him somewhat.

"I have little choice, Bant, when all of you have made certain I knew it!"

That sparked more laughter, then a quiet fell. After a few minutes, Feemor spoke up. "I did not know Darsha well; she was not given to taking the classes I prefer to share with padawans. But I heard much of her, from Qui-Gon. He admired her skill with a lightsaber, and suggested that she was the reason, not himself, that Obi-Wan excelled in that quarter."

"He downplayed his own hand in that," Plo said, "but I know from Bultar and Lissarkh alike that Darsha was more than capable with her bladework. Master Anoon was more than pleased with her in that aspect, among others."

It did the younger crowd good to hear a revered Master like Plo speak of their friend openly and well, helping them move forward with accepting the loss. Darsha might not have made it to Knight, but she had left an impression within the Order nonetheless. They had known losses through the years, but Darsha had actually been a good person, unlike Bruck Chun, for instance.

Bant was the only one who had known the loss of a Master though, and knew what Obi-Wan was going through. She pressed against his legs, and felt his fingertips soothe at one of the lines of her scalp. She let her eyes close slightly, a quiet presence in the Force for him to lean into… and he was leaning. His stoicism had broken the first night back, when she had come to check on him.

"Masters," she began, directing her attention to the pair occupying the chair, each sipping at a drink… though she really did not want to know what Plo's was, as thickly as it moved through the straw and under his mask… "Will you share a memory of Master Jinn?"

Adi smiled gently, then nodded. "That is what is best to help move forward, to remember the person lost." She tipped her head back, considering what she could tell that these young ones might not know.

"I wished him to take my Master's place on the Council," Plo began innocently enough, just to watch as every padawan and Knight in the room exploded. Adi laughed, nodding.

"You spent that entire mission arguing with old Master Tyvoka on that matter. The sad thing of it is, I have no doubt that it would have taken all of us to convince Qui to accept, if he had relented," Adi agreed once the various mutters and exclamations about the idea of Qui-Gon Jinn on the Council settled down.

Plo nodded, his tusks flexing with amusement. "Yes, but it would have been interesting."

"That's one word for it," Feemor agreed. "I loved my master as a brother; I knew him my whole life. But a man of quiet contemplation and careful consideration is not what he was!"

"No, he really wasn't, but he was ever a consummate Jedi, if of a rebellious nature," Adi said. "I remember taking his class on the Living Force when I was a padawan."

"You were one of those once, master?" Siri asked cheekily. It got a pillow stolen from the pile on the floor and lobbed at her with the Force before Adi continued.

"Few Knights specialize in it, as it is the more pervasive and easiest to touch of the facets of the Force," she said. "But he said something that stuck with me, something I've used my entire career as a Consular to the Senate. 'That which is most pervasive is that which can cloak the most, because we do tune it out'. I find that it is as true of social climates as it is of the Living Force, and have often had cause to thank him for making me think of it in that way."

Obi-Wan nodded, thinking of how they should have seen the Sith, that something should have given away the return of their ancient enemy. "Feemor, do you have a memory to share?" he asked his elder 'brother', as there had been a distance early on between them, with a friendship only arising late in his training.

The elder man considered, then smiled. "It might be hard for you to believe, Obi-Wan, but our master was far less serious when he mentored me," he said. "There was an incident, one that your friend Quinlan would have been proud of, involving the fountain master Yoda most enjoyed meditating by when I was a padawan. It began fizzing, just as he had settled beside it," Feemor began, and Plo Koon could not help but laugh.

"So he was the one responsible?" the eldest of them asked, getting a grinning nod.

"I did not know, for the longest time. But the fizzing turned to spouting and only a quick turn of the Force kept our revered ancient master from an unscheduled shower." Feemor shook his head. "I only learned the truth on the eve of my Knighting, when the advice he gave to me was to never, ever let life make me too serious."

Obi-Wan shook his head, then nodded once. "I often wondered why I got away with as many nights out when we were in Temple as I did. Darsha so rarely could break away, and the rest of you often pleaded duties. I asked him, one… well, closer to morning that I had come in, just why he indulged me that way.

"He told me he didn't want to see me bend too far into the seriousness that I approached my lessons with. Knowing I would take time to myself and go enjoy life was important to him," he said.

Plo nodded. "It was ever our way, when we were young. Tahl and Micah and Ky… no, you young ones would not know him, I think… and I were often able to find a way to relax away from our masters and enjoy life, as you put it, Obi-Wan. Anoon would sometimes join us, but he was given to far more seriousness than the rest of us. He and Vokara were alike in that, as if they had to dispel the myth that Twi'leks were always happy people."

"Master Bondara passed that on to Darsha," Garen agreed. "The seriousness." He then lifted his glass. "To our lost masters, who taught us all they could, and our friend, who left her own mark on us," he toasted.

As one, the group lifted their glasses, and on the sip of drink, each let go of some of the pain, sharing in the communal feeling of having known remarkable people.

"May we live to be as strong in the Force and touched by the Light as they all were," Luminara said softly, in the manner of her own people, a benediction to the passing, and an affirmation to those left to live.