When you wake up, it takes you a moment to remember exactly where you are, eyes still shut to avoid any source of light. There’s an ache in your skull, and you realize very quickly that your hands are bound above you.
Your eyes snap open then, ignoring the painfully bright light as you try to take in your surroundings, survival instincts taking over. The room is empty aside from the intensely luminous machine you’re restrained to, but beyond a window in the side wall you can see masked figures around a control panel.
“Ah, young Jedi, so good of you to finally join us,” a voice says, and it’s then that the memories finally come back. The mission, the supposedly simple rescue mission, the traitor, the trap… the sound of Anakin’s voice shouting stop rings clear in your mind. You had already breathed in the sedative, though; you were on the ground before they even started firing.
God, you couldn’t have been more useless if you’d tried.
“We’re going to ask a few simple questions, and should you fail to provide the answer we want, we shall… motivate you toward cooperation.”
Not even a second follows their words before a current runs through you, your entire body seizing with the force of the electricity. When it passes, you immediately fall forward, breathing heavy. “That was merely a small taste of our machine’s capabilities, so do keep that in mind when choosing your words, Jedi.
“Where is Admiral Coburn stationed?”
You understand from their first question alone that they have no clue you’re a Padawan. The information they’re asking for is something even Anakin might not know, and you’re the one strapped to a torture device, expected to answer.
You’re about to admit you have no idea before holding your tongue, suddenly aware that these people would have no hesitation in killing someone that's no longer of use.
You have to make them think you’re useful.
“It’s classified,” you answer, holding yourself as poised and steady as possible while preparing your mind for the electricity that’s about to hit.
But it hits harder than the first bolt, and an anguished cry escapes you. It’s nothing like the Tutaminis exercises you’d done in your training; no amount of Control would let you dissipate the strength of that voltage, not at your skill level.
In an almost sickeningly sweet tone, the voice replies, “Surely your ‘classification’ is meaningless here. Just give us the information, and you’ll be free to go.”
Your breath is harsh, ragged, but you grit your teeth and hold your composure despite the tears that threaten to spill. “It’s classified.” You don’t know how you’re going to get out of here, don’t know what else to do other than stay the course you’ve chosen. No matter how hard you try to clear your mind, center yourself in the Force, the next current shoots through you and it’s almost blinding.
You’d been injured on the battlefield before, but a blaster bolt seems like nothing now. The paralysis, combined with the intense burning vibration throughout your body… you’re not sure how much longer you’ll last. You know there’s a certain point they won’t pass, not if they want to get any information from you, but what if you push their patience too far?
“Let’s move on to the next question, perhaps your words will fall more loosely as we progress.”
You grimace at the thought of how many questions they could have, questions that will inevitably result in another zap. “Tell us, what Separatist bases have been infiltrated by Republic spies?”
You do, in fact, know a few due to your recent missions, but you hear Anakin’s voice in the back of your mind, stop . You’d made an oath, along with every other Jedi Initiate, to defend the Galactic Republic; even if betraying the smallest secrets could lessen your pain, you couldn’t break that oath.
With another deep breath, you deflect the question. “I am not at will to say.”
The pain hits again, and again, and again as you continue to refuse their questioning. Adrenaline helps you through it at first, and you do your best to try and find some path of escape while still avoiding their questions. Eventually, though, the agony takes its toll. You can feel the lingering burns around your wrists and ankles, where the currents must be entering and exiting; it’s only made worse as you sag against the restraints.
You’re not sure how much time passes. You know at one point you black out, only to be harshly awoken by yet another shock. The questions go on and on, and you reach a point where all you can do is shake your head, tears sliding down your face.
“You do know we have enough voltage at our disposal to fry your small, fragile body to a crisp, don’t you? If you can’t give us some information soon, we’ll have no choice but to—”
The voice cuts off into a scream, and you look through the window only to see flashes of blue and red light. The restraints shut down, and you drop to the ground in a heap, groaning as you try to push yourself up. Every muscle in your body feels stiff, useless, and you’re barely able to crawl toward the door as it opens.
You’re prepared to defend yourself, moving back on your heels to raise your arms. You use what’s left of your energy to Force push the armed droid back into the hall, wincing at the effort. You don’t have your lightsaber, don’t have much energy left; there’s seemingly no way to combat the droid, but you move forward nonetheless.
And then, a blue lightsaber slashes the droid in half, and you feel a wave of relief wash through you. Master Obi-Wan appears in the doorway, and he quickly helps you to your feet. Down the corridor, you can hear Anakin shouting orders to his squadron, and Obi-Wan walks you in the other direction.
Despite all logic, your mind protests against the action, and he assures you, “It’s alright, young one, Anakin will meet us at the ship. Right now, we need to focus on our escape.” The sound of a blaster accompanies his words, and he quickly deflects it, ending the bolt’s path toward your head. You don’t need anymore convincing, and concentrate fully on pushing forward.
The path he’s leading takes you outside, and you squint under the light of a bright, purple sun. It had been setting the last time you’d seen it, and you subconsciously catalogue the passage of time, something to ask about eventually.
By the time you reach the Twilight, you’re sure you’re leaning all your weight into Obi-Wan’s side, but he doesn’t say anything as he helps you inside the ship and onto the med-table. “Stay put, young one, I’ll have to guard the ship until Anakin arrives.”
The Jedi Master places a hand on shoulder, “We’ll get you proper medical attention as soon as we’re able.” You realize then that he’s healing your pain, if only for a moment. “Rest.”
As he walks away, you slump back against the wall behind you, taking a deep breath. You center your mind around the Curato techniques you’d learned at the temple, choosing to close your eyes rather than look at the burns around your wrists. While you know you won’t be able to heal the wounds on your own, you can at least try to lessen the pain they cause.
Reaching a meditative state proves difficult, with the sound of blaster fire outside and the absence of both Master Kenobi and Skywalker troubling your mind, but you take another deep breath and focus.
When you fully center yourself, the door of the cramped med-bay opens, and you open your eyes to see Anakin rush into the room. Instantly, you sit up straight, trying to maintain your composure as you speak, “Master, I’m sorry.” You can’t even look him in the eye, gaze cast downward. “I should have been more careful, more useful, I—”
He cuts you off, placing his hands on your shoulders and saying your name softly enough that you find the courage to look at him. “You did nothing wrong; it was a bad situation, I should’ve realized sooner… I’m just glad you’re alive.” He gives you a tired smile, but it fades as he glances down to see the wounds around your wrists.
“I didn’t tell them anything,” you’re quick to assure him, somehow keeping your voice and expression calm. There’s a whirlwind of emotion inside your mind though, pain the loudest; you know he can sense it.
“It’s alright, little one, you don’t have to keep up appearances for me.” He takes your wrists in his hands, focusing the Force through them.
“But, the Code—”
The sincerity in his tone, accompanied by the trust you can feel through your Force bond, encourages you to let down the walls around your pain. Tears begin to spill over, and you close your eyes, taking in a ragged breath.
“I was so scared; I remembered, emotion, yet peace, but when current after current hit, and I couldn’t find a way out, couldn’t feel your presence…” You stifle a sob, and he pulls you against his chest, holding you close as he continues to channel a healing energy.
“I know, young one, I know. You’re safe now.”
You can feel a wave of stress lingering behind his calming tone and wrap your arms around him, holding onto him like a lifeline. He continues to assure you, guiding your mind toward peace, and eventually the pain dissolves.
Exhaustion settles in its place, but so does curiosity, and you ask, “How long was I missing?” sniffling as the tears begin to slow.
He takes in a sharp breath before replying, “Eighteen standard hours.”
“Who were they?”
“A band of bounty hunters, clueless and in way over their heads.”
You hesitate before asking your next question. “Did you take care of them?”
He hesitates just as long in his response, admitting, “A few of them required… lethal force, the others were arrested and taken in by the squadron.”
A heavy silence hangs in the air as he continues to hug you. It feels as though the Force itself carries the residual tension within both your minds. In the same way he projects a sense of calm through your bond, you reciprocate it, and he lets out a small laugh. “You’re learning, young Padawan.”
You smile against his shoulder, “I try my best.” After a moment, a realization comes to you, and you pull away, panicked, “Where’s my lightsaber?”
Anakin unclips the weapon from his belt and places it in your hands. “Right here, don’t worry; it’s completely unharmed.” You look it over nonetheless, clipping it to your own belt once you’re sure it’s functional.
As he looks at you, mostly healed and incredibly fatigued, he lets out a sigh. “You need rest, and this metal table definitely won’t help with that; let’s get you into one of the passenger seats.”
“That sounds like one of the best ideas you’ve had yet,” you murmur, and he chuckles as he helps you up. You pause before asking, “Could I… talk to you about what happened? Once we’re back at the temple, I mean.”
“Of course,” he replies easily, your nickname following his words. “Anything that’ll help, I’ll be there.”
You sit down in one of the chairs, reclining it as far as it goes, and Anakin sets his outer robe over you like a blanket.
“You don’t have to do that, Master.”
The sentiment is practically instinct, never wanting to be a burden or nuisance, but Anakin simply shakes his head. “Space is cold, young one. You deserve some rest.”
He sits down in the co-pilot’s seat, and you close your eyes, finally letting the exhaustion wash over you in its entirety. As you fade into unconsciousness, you overhear the beginning of a conversation.
“You handled that situation very well, Anakin; as your former Master, I’m proud.”
“You don’t have to lie, I’m well aware of your opinions on the Jedi Code.”
“Your Padawan is young, Anakin, and considering what they’ve just been through, I’d say these particular emotions were rather well deserved. After all, no Jedi is perfect.”
“I just don’t understand why the bounty hunters would question them, I mean, they’re clearly not a Jedi Knight, right?”
“I imagine it can be difficult for some species to determine human age… perhaps your Padawan’s braid was hidden beneath their hair. I told you they needed a haircut.”
“Now is really not the time for…”
When you awake, you find yourself being carried through the Halls of Healing, and you say without thinking, “Anakin, I’m fine.”
“We need to make sure there’s no internal damage, voltage like that is no joke.”
“Well, I feel fine,” you counter, lying slightly as a lingering ache runs throughout your frame. “Didn’t you heal me on the ship?”
With a sigh, he tells you, “There are some injuries only a practiced healer can detect, especially when it comes to…” He stops himself, hesitant to continue the sentence, to admit the possibility.
“Yes, that.” His voice is bitter, though you can tell he’s still trying to restrain his feelings about the situation, if only for your sake. “We can’t take any chances.”
“Can you at least set me down?”
When you’re given the all clear, you follow Anakin back to his living quarters, rather than returning to your cramped, lonely dormitory. You know it’d normally be frowned upon, but at this point, you just can’t care. You’ll do anything to not be alone.
Entering the room, you walk over to his workbench and sit on the table out of habit, and he just shakes his head with a small smile.
“Eventually, you’re gonna get too old to be doing things like that,” he remarks, putting his pack down on the bed and practically collapsing beside it.
“Oh, and you’re not too old to be doing that?”
“After the week we’ve had?” he replies, staring at the ceiling. “I guess we’re both entitled to some ‘childish’ things, huh.”
You hum in acknowledgement, picking up a rubber band from the desk to tie your hair back, Padawan braid on full display. “Do you think we’ll get a few days off?”
“You definitely will, after we report to the Council, that is.”
You groan and lean your head back against the wall, pulling a laugh from him.
“I know, I know, I don’t like it either. Trust me, if I could just have Obi-Wan do all the reports…” he lets out a sigh. “They’ll have to hear it from you, though.”
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk to them, not about this.” you admit, frowning, and he looks over at you. “I mean, the whole point of the Jedi is cool, collected composure, no emotion, no chaotic thoughts… I’m not sure I can do that for this. Not yet.”
Anakin sits up on the edge of the bed. “We can practice talking about it before we go in; I’m sure they’ll give us some time, considering what you’ve been through. If not… Master Obi-Wan can persuade them.” You hesitate, and he assures you, “Hey, it’s gonna be alright. We’ll get through this together, just like we always do.”
He pats the spot next to him, and you move to sit beside him. “Walk me through what happened.”
And so, you take a deep breath. You tell him how you woke up, recite every question you remember them asking, every deflection you responded with. As you speak, you start to tear up, and he walks over to his workbench to take a ribbon from one of the drawers. Looking at it, you realize it’s the same color as your saber, and you pause as he starts to undo your braid.
“Keep going,” he encourages you, and after a moment, you do, struggling to maintain your composure as the painful memories surface. You focus on how he interweaves the ribbon with your hair, refusing to sink fully into the past while you recount the events.
When you reach the end of your story, he ties off the braid. “There, that wasn’t so bad, right?”
You shake your head, turning to face him and ask, “How did you know that would help?”
“When you find something to focus on, it helps keep you in the present. With memories like that, you want to view them, not fall into them. Pick a focal point, a thought, an image, the Force itself, and hold onto it.” He places his hand on your shoulder, “You’re resilient, young one. You may not feel strong now, but it’ll pass. You’ve proven your strength time and time again; I’m proud to call you my apprentice.”
You smile, pulling him into a hug, and promise, “I won’t disappoint you, Master.”
He laughs softly, “I know.” After a moment, he pulls away and says, “Alright, c’mon, I’m sure we could both use some food, especially something other than ration bars.”
You make a face at the mention of it. “Anything but that,” and he laughs again.
You know you’ll have to meet with the council soon, but you push the thought aside, focusing on familiar banter as the two of you walk toward the dining halls. Besides, Anakin will be there with you, you’ll get through this.
Just like you always do.