In the grand spirit of everything going wrong in Obi-Wans’ life, just Darth Vader
(he refused to think of him as anything else, because by the force did that hurt) is about to cut him down, as he stands unguarded, the perfect distraction for Luke to get away (kind, gentle Luke, who never harmed a soul, who was so much like his father had been ) it all goes wrong.
The force shrieks as Darth Vader swings the burning red blade down, lightning crackling along it, and then –
Then the force screams, crying out in injustice and rage, and the world itself seems to pause as it rents and ruptures and tears open-
It isn’t so much an explosion as an implosion. Too much pressure all at once, an endless deafening sound pressing harsh against his ears, pain and relief waring against each other and he has no idea what is going on and-
There is a horrible BOOM and he is thrown backward, nothing left in his vision but a haze of tears. His body is on fire, and he knows he is screaming but he cannot hear it over the deafening silence, broken only be a high-pitched ringing sound in his ears, over the void of death that has obviously laid claim to him.
Then it stops. It all stops.
Obi-Wan’s knees hit the ground hard, as his legs give way beneath him. He slumps, lightsabre still clutched in his hand, the unlit head digging hard into his side. The pain is barely noticeable over the single wailing thought rising in his mind. He had failed again, he knows it. Deep in his bones, he knows. He has failed, and all is lost. Luke will have been captured or killed oh force no, please not Luke please-
There is a person speaking next to him.
Obi-Wan raises his head to meet familiar brown eyes, and his heart stops. Cody is standing in front of him, armour dusty and worn. Cody is standing in front of him. Cody miraculously, gloriously alive.
The joy that fills Obi-Wan’s chest is quickly dampened by disbelief and fear. Cody wonderful, glorious Cody, who had shot him down and declared him dead, left him to drown without so much as a backward glance. Cody the man whom he had trusted so much, who had killed so many. The man who could not possibly be here, who had to be fake but-
The hand on his shoulder shaking him feels very, very real.
“General? General?! General, please stay awake, its ok, General Skywalker will be here soon and-” Cody says, fear lacing his voice, but Obi-wan can no longer hear him over the roar in his ears. General Skywalker? An impossibility. There was no ‘General Skywalker’ anymore, Obi-wan knew this well, but at the same time everything happening right now was impossible. Perhaps the force was granting him one last beautiful, very painful dream before the accepting embrace of death.
Looking around with blurry eyes Obi-Wan slowly notices something he wished he had not. It was strange how dreams worked. His body was so much younger now than it had been in years, his wounded body so fit underneath all the blood and torn clothing. It was strange and almost disconcerting how youthful his hands were, how clean his lightsabre was, unscuffed by sand. It was almost disorientating how he didn’t have a white beard down to his chest.
He turned sideways slightly, ignoring the sharp exclamation from the illusion of Cody, and the feeling of something moving in his chest that should not have moved and the pain that ripped through his side. He peered around the rock he was resting against
(when did that get there?) and blinked to try and clear the haze from his eyes. The scene he was looking at didn’t change.
Everywhere there were both fallen and active battle droids, hundreds of fighting and dying clones.
Scenes that even now haunted his nightmares.
In the edges of his dying vision, he can vaguely see the familiar landscape and strange vegetation of Raydonia. He cannot turn enough to look, but the ship they came here on must be behind him, the separatist base up ahead.
He was on Raydonia. How very interesting of this dream to take him there.
Raydonia, so absolutely destroyed years ago, brought back to life beneath him. He twisted slightly to try and see more, and pain once again tour through his body with all the finesse of a falling stalactite. He froze slightly as some small part of his mind stumbled over a devastating realisation. You couldn’t feel pain in a dream.
This was all real.
At another time, Obi-wan might have rejoiced, or demanded answers, or tried to fight what was so obviously, what had to be, the painful delusion of a dying man or even struggled to his feet to fight alongside the men he loved, but not now. Not today. He was too exhausted in both body and mind, his grief and loss still far too real, the agony of all he had lost having never truly faded over the last twenty years and so he does none of those things.
He instead looks up into Cody’s panicked face, whispered, “Oh, dear” before keeling over sideways in a dead faint with all the grace and finesse of a truly exhausted man, unknowing of the panicked yells above him and the pure fear and concern that was pouring into his mind from a beautiful golden bond in his mind, a bond that had burned to ash with someone he had once loved so much, on a planet built of lava and pain. It came through a bond that was supposed to have been long since destroyed on Mustafar.
But Obi-wan had no knowledge of this and so remained in peaceful unconsciousness.
He wakes to the ceiling of a medical bay, which is surprising.
What is unsurprising is his overwhelming dread at finding himself there. He traces the cot idly with his fingers, surprise lingering in his mind at the fact that he wasn’t restrained. He peers around the med bay, observing its plain white walls, beeping equipment and stores of bacta, the heavy weight on his waist.
Obi-Wan looked down very slowly, unsure of what he might find. Bandages? Some random creature from a swamp they had fallen into whilst searching for a signal flare Anakin had dropped? He braced himself and opened his eyes.
It was just Anakin fast asleep across his waist, half in a chair by the bed, half asleep on Obi-Wan.
That’s alright then.
Humming to himself, he gently ran a trembling hand through the golden strands spread across his lap, unmindful of the pain the action brought his aching muscles. It was an action that had calmed Anakin for as long as Obi-Wan had ever known him, ever since he was a youngling climbing into Obi-Wans bed because he had had a nightmare.
The war had been ever so hard on his poor beloved padawan. Anakin would never tell anyone when he was hurt, would never let anyone see his vulnerabilities. He seemed to believe that in order to protect those he held in his heart, he needed to never let them in. On some level Obi-Wan feared that the beautiful sun whose head lay beneath his hands might have learned that from him.
He hoped not. He prayed every day that this awful mockery of a war would not claim Anakin from him, that the Clone Wars would not rip another he loved from his arms-
The Clone Wars. He’s in the middle of the Clone Wars.
That was Anakin in his lap.
Oh, dear force.
Obi-Wan was by no means a master when it comes to knowing the forces will and ways, but he had learned an awful lot over his over the last few years. So, when he thinks back to the colour and light and sound, of the very force itself claiming that no this is not how it shall be. That its favourite knight will try again, this wasn’t terribly surprising.
That when he thinks about what followed the swing of Darth Vader’s lightsabre, it is not impossible to think that maybe, just maybe, he has travelled back in time. That this is not simply a contortion of reality or a hallucination, but a second chance of so many chances. An opportunity to not have his very heart ripped from his chest by Sidious, by Vader.
A chance to not lose Anakin, the person he loved more than anything else. And if so, by the force would he take it.
He had a chance now to save the men hovering outside the Medbay. A chance to save his brave, wonderful men who have not yet betrayed him. He finds himself vaguely amused that someone has taken his lightsabre (likely Cody), but that is of no consequence. What is more concerning is how his family – his family, alive, every clone and youngling, Anakin and Ahsoka– will take the news. Should he tell them who he is at all? Or should he focus his efforts on destroying Sidious before the man can get his slimy hands on Anakin?
It is too much to think of, all at once. There are too many possibilities, and he is in too much pain, both physical and emotional to think clearly about anything. At least he had reached a stage in his life where his pride would allow him to acknowledge the fact. After you have lost everything, you tend to learn that you should have keep yourself in good enough condition to appreciate what you had. Something he had hardly ever done, as he had barely ever slept or eaten during the war. Something he ought to remedy.
Ah well. As always Anakin came first, always Anakin before himself.
Looking down, he prayed that he could find the strength to not shatter in front of Anakin’s love once he woke.