“Only three sides? Mandalorian politics are muddied at best,” Micah admitted.
Anakin had to laugh at that, nodding to give the Master acknowledgment of the admittedly true statement. “So they are, Master Micah, so they are.” In his mind, he could see his former Master, flustered and frustrated, and yet still so in love with the sharp-featured, sharp-tongued Duchess. If he arranged interference now, would Satine Kryze still become the ruler of the New Mandalorians? He was beginning to see how putting together a cohesive timeline of what he knew, and when he knew it was coming, would be more than useful. Exposing his Sith Master, before the old – nope, not thinking those words in the Temple – gained any sort of real power, would be useless, particularly since he didn’t know who Plageius even was, let alone when the being, of whatever species, had died – most likely at Sidious’ hands.
Micah, thanks to Plo’s strong presence in their bond, picked up the shape of Anakin’s thoughts, and nodded. “Getting you a datapad is high on my priority list, Skywalker. Before that can happen, however, you’re going to need to address the Council. Given the likely sensitive nature of your information and identity, the full Council will not hear your briefing. A select few of our members, including myself, as the being that encountered you first, will be awaiting us.”
Even nearly two decades of serving his Sith Master had not given Anakin less fear of facing the Council, even a reduced Council; the cringe was instinctive, and did not go unnoticed by Micah. “The Darkness that clings to you, Skywalker – I fear much of it must have been our own doing, if you still fear the Council so much. If it would ease your mind, I could possibly request that those selected for this briefing be members of the Council you either do not know or those from your own time that you are most comfortable with?”
Anakin shook his head; if they did that, there would probably be fewer members than were needed. “If I can request that Master Windu is not a part of this briefing, though he can know, from someone else, what information I have, that should be enough.”
Micah nodded, and took the rebuke to his old friend and near-agemate with simple acceptance. Mace was not the most flexible of their number, and even his short acquaintance with Anakin Skywalker was enough to tell him that Mace would have had to face too many of his own faults and failings in this young man. “Master Windu is not on-planet at this time, so he would not have been included, regardless, nor is he currently a member of the Council, though I gather that will come to pass - and while his ability to see shatterpoints would have been useful to us all, it is obvious to me that his presence would be highly detrimental. I foresee that much of what you have to tell us will not flatter my old friend.”
Anakin nodded, but didn’t condemn Master Windu; to be honest, he wasn’t sure what he thought of the future Master of the Order, but with the feelings simply thinking of the man inspired, he was afraid that his darker impulses might come into play.
“Peace, my young friend,” Micah said, laying a gentle hand on Anakin’s arm, where his hand had formed a tight fist without his knowledge. “Your anger would seem to be something that a Sith would covet.”
The rebuke was mild, certainly more than any he had ever received from any Council member, and stung all the more for it. How many times had his own, beloved (once, before a Sith got into his head and twisted all of that adoration and near-hero-worship into something sick and twisted, bitter like the rind of a pallie in the back of his mouth) Master gently swatted him down, only for Anakin himself to hear only the criticism, and none of the implied praise that he could so clearly hear in this Master’s voice, without the twisted Dark web that even now he could sense overlaying his own thoughts? His penance, his redemption, at the hands of his child had washed away much of Sidious’ influence on his thoughts, but the triggers were still there – all it would take would be a single, drawn-out, exasperated ‘An-a-kin', in that patient (and fond, he needed to stop remembering Obi-Wan as the monster that had cut him down when he should have been at the height of his power, who hadn’t the decency to kill him, who had left him, trapped, for two decades in that suit, and remember that, whatever his flaws in expression, Obi-Wan had loved him) tone, and he was concerned (afraid) he’d snap. He closed his eyes and slid sideways into the Force, letting it wash him clean of the overwhelmingly complicated emotions that were attached to his memories of Obi-Wan. As Vader, he hadn’t cared to meditate, but the suit had required maintenance on a fairly frequent basis – likely a deliberate design flaw – and even in his chamber, he’d needed the weightless, painless existence in the Force that only meditation could give him. More than twenty years later (or Force-only-knew how many before), he was capable of meditating with an ease the him that had last inhabited this body (or one that had some semblance to it) would have envied.
When he was something resembling calm, he opened his eyes and let the Force flow away from him. “Thank you for your forbearance, Master Micah.”
Micah could feel Plo’s interest in their guest spiking, and shunted his bondmate to the side, gently, of course. Plo could meet Skywalker in time, but he had a mission to focus on and should not be spending so much of his attention away from what was the here and now for him. Plo took the correction with a huff of laughter down their bond, and retreated.
Watching Skywalker release his frustration and anger had been – almost overwhelming, in truth. The sheer amount of power at his disposal was unsettling; in Micah’s mind, no one being, no matter what their life experience, should have that much power. To have been able to tap into it from his youth, as Skywalker clearly had given the few memories he’d been able to sense, could only have led him astray without any but the most compassionate and centered Jedi, and the little that Skywalker had shared, thus far, indicated that his own entrance into the Temple, overaged and attached to his mother, saddled with a broken barely-Knighted Obi-Wan Kenobi...Micah shied away from it.