“Asajj,” Obi-Wan ground out. “You’re too injured. You won’t make it. Let me take you--”
“I will not die as your prisoner, Jedi,” she snapped, one hand pressed to her side, trying in vain to slow the bleeding--it was internal. There was no evidence of the blood she was draining, and that was worse .
“ Asajj ,” Obi-Wan snapped. “Let me help you .”
Around them, the ship’s flight deck continued to explode into flames, the smoke growing thicker and heavier with each passing moment.
“Master, we have to get out of here !” Anakin called.
“You were trying to kill me two minutes ago. Forgive me if I’m not feeling terribly trusting .”
“I wasn’t trying to kill you,” Obi-Wan replied, sounding almost affronted. “Believe me, you’d know if I was trying to kill you. Now, let me help you. Continue to be stubborn and you’ll die .” She glared at him and locked her knees to keep herself from crumbling. He seemed to soften somewhat. “You know who fired on us. You know that Dooku knew you were here, and still gave the order. He is not your Master anymore; he has betrayed you, as all Sith eventually betray their lineage. Come with me .”
“Take me to Dathomir,” she said, surprising even herself. “The Night Mother can heal me.”
“Alright,” Obi-Wan agreed, and offered a hand. "If you give me your word you will forsake the Sith, I will give my word to take you to Dathomir."
Asajj nodded slowly, and then reached out and took it.
“There is nothing here for a Jedi,” the Nightsister hissed. “You do not belong here. You are not welcome.” Obi-Wan gestured back to the small shuttle they’d taken down from the Negotiator . He’d brought only Asajj, Cody, and Waxer with him. He wished his men had elected to remain behind, but they had both wordlessly shoved their way onto the shuttle.
“I seek nothing from you,” he said, putting his hands up in a placating gesture. “I came to return one of your own who asked to come home.”
“She is in your ship? Why has she not come out?”
“She was injured,” he said. “Badly. Not by me! If I had hurt her, why would I be fool enough to bring her here ?” The Nightsister paused where she had taken a step forward, ready to take her justice for his crime. “She was betrayed. We stabilized her, but… her wounds are extensive. She was adamant that the Night Mother could help.”
“She can,” the Nightsister hissed, though calmer this time. “Bring her to me.”
Obi-Wan turned to the ship and nodded; Cody emerged holding Asajj’s limp body. The Nightsister accepted the unconscious form, holding her length and weight as though they were nothing.
“Some thanks,” Cody grumbled, and Obi-Wan laughed.
As instructed, they remained at their ship. It was just after nightfall when two more Night Sisters appeared, and a taller, more regal figure with them. Obi-Wan guessed that would be the Night Mother.
“How is she?” Obi-Wan asked, folding his hands into the sleeves of his robes, the perfect image of Jedi serenity. Behind him, Cody had a hand on his holstered blaster. Inside the shuttle, looking out from the open hull, Waxer was no doubt aiming from the shadows.
“She will live,” the Night Mother proclaimed. “You delivered her to us in time.” Obi-Wan nodded, his mask slipping to reveal genuine relief. Cody wondered why--he’d known that his General had some sort of soft spot for the Sith witch, but never why . She’d tortured him for months at one point, for Force’s sake!
“I am pleased to hear it.”
The Night Mother tilted her head to the side slightly. “Yes, you are. How… interesting.” She straightened even further, her height impressive, towering over Obi-Wan. “The Night Sisters of Dathomir do not like to be indebted to an outsider .”
“I am a Jedi,” Obi-Wan said, frowning slightly. “I brought her here because you could save her, and that was the right thing to do. Jedi preserve life. It is our way. We do not seek reward for it, or collect on debts .”
“We are indebted to you,” the Night Mother repeated, “and we would not have it so. I will provide you the… appropriate recompense.”
“That’s hardly necessary--”
She spoke over him, her strange, low voice cutting through his words. “You have delivered my daughter to me, and I have made her whole. There is only one true, equal measure for you.” The Night Mother studied him carefully, and Obi-Wan thought he saw flashes of anger and sadness in her expression. “Something precious was taken from you. She should not have touched them. They were not hers to take.”
Obi-Wan’s body went rigid, his pale skin losing even more color. “I… no. They weren’t.”
The Night Mother nodded. “I will make you whole again, as I have been able to make my daughter, because of you, and our debt will be satisfied.”
“I… perhaps my delivery of Asajj only satisfies my debt to you,” Obi-Wan murmured. “I killed Maul, a son of Dathomir.”
“I know this,” the Night Mother said placidly. “I know what becomes of all of my children; their strings are not so easily cut from my web, no matter how far they may stray from me. He was the aggressor, and not strong enough to win the battle he sought to fight. It is not our way to seek revenge or hold you in debt simply because you were stronger . Come, child. Bathe in the Waters of Life, and allow my magicks to work. You will be made whole, and our debt will be repaid.”
Obi-Wan studied her, both physically and in the Force. The anger and sadness he had felt… they were for him . At what had been done to him, for what he had lost, for what had been taken from him so long ago.
“I… thank you, Night Mother.” He bowed, and she nodded, satisfied.
Cody reached out to grab Obi-Wan’s arm. “I don’t know what she’s talking about, but perhaps you should remain here with us, sir.”
“It’s alright, Cody. She doesn’t mean me any harm.” He smiled and patted the hand on his arm. Cody nodded stiffly. He didn’t like it, but he knew his place. He wouldn’t argue further.
Anakin and Obi-Wan never talked about their scars, the ones they had already earned before meeting one another. Obi-Wan, he could sense, didn’t want to force him to relive any old hurts from his former life, and Anakin repaid him the same consideration.
That didn’t change the fact that Anakin had always wondered about them. Some more than others.
The most striking scars Obi-Wan bore were on his back: two long, identical, red and angry welts following his shoulderblades. Anakin wondered where they came from, and why, and if they still hurt, because sometimes Obi-Wan would flinch ever-so-slightly when someone put their hand on his back and happened to touch one of the scars. (Anakin, when he was younger, stuck to touching Obi-Wan’s arms or shoulders, and as he grew older, the small of his back.)
He’d seen them countless times. A Master and Padawan were almost always in close quarters, on missions or in the Temple, and Obi-Wan had never been shy about changing in front of him or stripping down to bare his back for help patching up an injury. The questions had died on his tongue so many times: What happened to you? Who did this to you?
He didn’t think he would ever get his answer, and over the years, the curiosity faded. It was enough to know that, here and now, Obi-Wan was as whole as he could be with the hurts he’d been dealt, and there .
(But he never could quite fully let it go, the anger he felt seeing the evidence of the injustices done to his Obi-Wan wanting some direction , wanting to know who and why . Anakin tried to truly let it go, but… he’d never been very good at that.)
Neither Waxer nor Cody slept that night, waiting for the return of their General.
“I don’t like this,” Waxer said for the umpteenth time. Cody merely sighed. He didn’t either, but it had been the General’s choice.
Cody’s commlink began to beep. He answered it with a frown, not bothering to replace his bucket. It was probably just the Negotiator checking in; they were late, after all, and even though Cody had sent them a text message (“The General is conversing with the leader here. Later ETA than expected. Will update when new intel available.”), he knew how much his brothers worried.
It was Rex.
“Vod,” Cody greeted him warmly. “What can I do for you?”
“General Skywalker’s been in a frenzy for the last two hours . He’s been trying to raise Obi-Wan, even using their personal comm frequency that they keep for emergencies only, but there’s no answer. The Negotiator sent word that he’s planetside somewhere?”
“Is he with you? If General Skywalker could just speak to him…”
“Not at the moment. He’s… in a delicate conversation with one of the leaders down here,” Cody said vaguely. Rex sighed. “Why was General Skywalker looking for him?”
“He said something about General Kenobi being in pain,” Rex said grimly. “He said he felt it through their bond.”
Cody and Waxer exchanged looks .
“As soon as we get the General back, we’ll let you know. Best I can do.”
“Vor’e,” Rex sighed. “I’ll just… send the Commander to keep him occupied until then. Over and out.”
“I really don’t like this,” Waxer groaned.
They had been separated. It had happened before, and Obi-Wan was no longer a youngling, but… Never before had Qui-Gon felt this clenching in his gut, the pounding in his head that said find him-find him-find him , this anxiety borne from the whispered--vague but insistent--warnings from the Force and the feeling of sheer, horrified pain flowing through the bond from Obi-Wan’s side.
For ten hours, he did not rest, he did not stop , and still, when Qui-Gon found him, it was too late.
He fought his way through the sprawling lab complex, cutting down droids and mercenaries sent to guard it without a second thought. Find him-find him-find him . When he entered the room the Force was urging him towards, his heart still pounding from the exertion and adrenaline of battle, his lightsaber already ignited--Qui-Gon nearly dropped it.
There, resting on one of the white lab tables, covered in blood, lay a pair of copper wings.
A woman stood over them, covered in blood herself, peering down at them. There were gloves on her hands, some sort of instrument in one while the other stroked the feathers, a mimicry of some sort of scientific study.
“You’re a touch late, Master Jedi,” she sighed.
“Zan Arbor,” Qui-Gon growled. “You will pay dearly for that.”
And he did not use his ‘saber at all. Qui-Gon brought the Force to bear, channeling every feeling he knew he should be trying to release--fear, anger, pain, hatred . He slammed her up against a wall. The impact was a sickening thud; she had broken bones. Internal bleeding was likely.
Qui-Gon continued to press, and press, and press , collapsing her body under an avalanche just as real as any in a snowy mountain range, though far less tangible.
Mottled purple bruising began to appear on what was visible of her skin; blood vessels in her eyes popped; her lips began to turn blue from the lack of air.
“Qui-Gon! Stop !”
Immediately, he dropped his hand, and his ‘saber, the green blade blinking out just before it hit the floor.
Obi-Wan was leaning against the doorway, pale and shaking, covered in his own blood, his tunics ruined, staring at his Master with… with horror.
“I am so sorry, dear one,” he rapsed, voice breaking. “You should… not have had to see that. You should not have had to endure that.”
“A Jedi does not seek revenge,” Obi-Wan whispered back. “You were standing on a dangerous precipice. I’m only glad I got here in time to pull you back.”
“You always do,” Qui-Gon answered, his smile grim. It faltered in the next instant. “What she took from you… I could not allow that to go… unanswered for.”
“I’m alive, Master,” Obi-Wan had said wearily. “Let that be enough. Let Judicial decide her fate--that will be justice. This was… revenge.”
Qui-Gon nodded slowly, reticently. “We’ll take them with us. Perhaps the Healers can--”
“We will take them with us, because they are mine , but…” Obi-Wan shook his head; he already knew the truth. Even if they could be reattached, they had been fully severed. They would never function again. He would never fly again. “I’m alive. Let that be enough.”
Qui-Gon could do nothing. Again, he whispered, “I am so very sorry , Padawan.”
When the Night Mother returned early the next morning, again flanked by two Sisters, their General was being suspended in front of them, a cloudy green mist below him seeming to bear him aloft. Cody stood immediately and strode out to meet them; Waxer followed after a moment.
“He will be well,” the Night Mother said, sounding smugly satisfied. “Allow him to sleep. When we wakes, then you may leave this place.”
“What did you do to him?” Cody asked, tone dangerously even. “He was in pain.”
“Yes,” she said mildly. “No loss can be restored without first confronting the pain of the loss. That is our way. But he overcame, and was made whole. You may take him now.”
Cody stepped forward to take the General’s unconscious form, hoping they wouldn’t drop him before he was ready to grab him, and… he didn’t know where to put his hands.
There, resting against the General’s back, covered by the green mist--and the only possible explanation for how he hadn’t noticed them before--were two large, bright copper wings, the long feathers the same color as his hair.
“What did you do to him?” Cody gasped.
“I have already told you,” the Night Mother sighed. “I made him whole .”
Obi-Wan woke slowly, lying on his stomach. He immediately sensed the similarly sleeping forms of Cody and Waxer nearby, and knew that if there was no one keeping watch, he was safe enough. He indulged himself, bringing himself slowly to awareness, stretching out his senses as he stretched his body, his arms straightening over his head, straining his legs and then relaxing them, and he stretched out his wings slightly, ruffling the feathers, and--
His eyes flew open, disappointment pooling in his belly. He was dreaming again.
Ah, well. A small, rueful grin appeared on his face. If he was having this dream again, he was going to take full advantage.
He stood slowly, quietly, and made his way out of the shuttle. Dathomir--of course. The last place he’d been often featured into his dreams when his mind decided to give him his wings back.
But Dathomir would suit well, with its towering mountain ranges and low valleys. The shuttle they’d taken from the Negotiator had been landed upon a plateau, and there was just one such sweeping valley below them. Obi-Wan grinned; this would suit perfectly.
He paused only long enough to feel the currents of the wind around him, and then he strode to the edge and stepped off.
It didn’t seem to matter how quiet or sneaky his General tried to be; Cody seemed to have developed a sixth sense for the man. He woke the moment his General stepped out of their craft, and scrambled up after him, quickly shrugging off exhaustion with the long experience of the battle-ready and regularly sleep-deprived. His own movements roused Waxer, who was up right after him.
They were just in time to be treated to the sight of General Kenobi stepping calmly off a cliff .
For a long, heart-stopping moment, neither Cody nor Waxer said anything, and Cody’s mind whirled--his first instinct was utter panic , because there was nothing he could do to stop the fall, and his second was to remind himself that his General had the Force, and he could levitate for kriff’s sake. But why he’d jumped off was another… troubling matter.
And then his still sleep-sluggish brain remembered the wings. Would they actually hold him? Could he actually fly? He’d seen avian species before, of course, but all of them were… distinctly bird-like. What if Obi-Wan was too heavy? What if he needed hollow bones or something like true avians did? What if--
The panic eased, but Cody’s breath caught, as he saw his General appear in the air above them, shooting upward, wings beating powerfully, gleaming brilliant copper in the red sunlight--
It was beautiful.
“ Osik !” Waxer cried.
They could do nothing but watch, slack-jawed and wide-eyed, as Obi-Wan finally reached a height that seemed to suit him--and Cody still couldn’t quite get the image of his General falling out of his head, and his stomach churned again--and then the wings went taught and still, spread out across his body. He shifted left and right, riding the current he’d caught, before pulling his wings back in, rolling, and then reopening them, all in seconds.
He did it again, and then again, and Cody managed to smile--
And then he pulled his wings in a fourth time, and he did not roll, and he did not spread them again. He began to fall, faster and faster and faster, his body a straight line, arms at his sides, legs straight, headed back for the plateau--
For several too-long, nauseating seconds, Cody thought he was going to crash.
At the last moment, Obi-Wan spread his wings, gliding quick as speeder only a few scant meters over the ground, whipping by Waxer and Cody so quickly that the wind of it made them both take a step back, grounding themselves with a wider stance. The shuttle rocked slightly.
Obi-Wan made another pass, this time a lazier loop around them and the shuttle, before righting his body, going perpendicular to the ground, his wings beating powerfully again, stopping him in place. He allowed himself to fall the last few inches until his feet hit solid ground, and then tucked his wings back.
Cody wanted to… he wanted to hug him, he was so relieved , and that really had been… awe-inspiring. And then he wanted to shake him, maybe even punch him, because waking up just in time to see him throw himself off a cliff was terrifying .
“Fucking di’kut ,” Cody growled, his fists clenching. So he’d picked anger, then.
Obi-Wan just laughed. “My apologies if I worried you. I did get a bit… carried away.”
Cody pointed two fingers at him. “ Don’t ever do that again,” he snapped, his tone the same business-like Commander’s voice he used on the shinies. “At least not without warning me .”
“Of course,” Obi-Wan agreed easily, the smile still on his face.
There was a strange, heavy silence then. Waxer cleared his throat.
“Well, I don’t know about you , but I want to get out of here,” Waxer said. “The witches said we could leave when he woke up. Let’s go home.”
Something mournful and pained flickered across Obi-Wan’s expression then, his smile dimming. “Of course,” he repeated, but remained standing precisely where he was.
“...what are we waiting for, sir?” Cody asked.
“Waxer said we could leave once I woke up,” Obi-Wan explained slowly. “I’m waiting to wake up now.”
Cody and Waxer exchanged puzzled glances.
“Quite strange of my subconscious to keep it going this long--usually I don’t even get a full flight in before I wake up,” Obi-Wan was continuing to prattle on. “And the two of you are very much in-character.”
“This… isn’t a dream, sir,” Cody said slowly. “It’s real.”
“That’s kind of you to reassure me,” Obi-Wan said, nodding, although he clearly didn’t believe it.
“Do you… dream about having wings often?” Cody asked. Some distant, still-shocked part of his brain whispered that this was perhaps the strangest Jedi-shit that he’d ever been a part of.
“Oh, yes,” Obi-Wan sighed. “Ever since they were taken from me years ago.”
Cody again looked at Waxer, and then back at his General. “The Night Mother said she made you whole.”
“I… what?” Obi-Wan faltered, his brow furrowing in confusion.
“After you brought the Sith witch to them. The Mother took you somewhere, saying she was going to make you whole again, and then when you came back, you had…” Cody gestured to him, and saw the wings ruffle slightly.
Obi-Wan’s eyes went wide, his expression perfect shock.
“I… what ? This is real ?”
“It’s real,” Cody and Waxer confirmed together.
And then Obi-Wan burst into tears.
Anakin was… agitated. Irritable. Upset .
He was… confused. And worried . Anakin hated being confused, and he couldn’t stand being worried . He was a man of action --puzzling out the lay of the land and figuring out what to do was what Obi-Wan was good at, and Anakin was good at the doing part, but that was the whole point : something was happening to Obi-Wan, and he didn’t know what , and he couldn’t figure it out. Obi-Wan wasn’t answering him, either through their commlinks, or their bond.
And their bond… that was where the confusion-worry came from. He’d woken up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath, feeling waves of fiery pain thrumming through him. It had taken him a long moment to realize that he wasn’t the one in pain.
He’d leapt up in a panic as soon as it subsided enough for him to breathe again, grabbing his commlink and pacing the length of his quarters (only four steps back and forth--his legs were long, and the cabin too small for this, but the movement helped).
Obi-Wan didn’t answer.
The pain faded away to tired-sore- hope that made no sense to him, and Anakin had gone to find Rex. His Captain answered promptly despite the late hour, dressed down to his bare blacks for sleep.
“Comm the Negotiator ,” he said. “Anyone in the 212th. I need to talk to Obi-Wan now .”
Rex frowned, but nodded, jerking his head to indicate Anakin should follow him into his quarters. As Rex grabbed his commlink and punched in Cody’s code, he asked, “What’s the situation?”
“I don’t know,” Anakin growled. “That’s why I need to talk to Obi-Wan. I… there was so much pain , I felt it through the bond, he was hurt , and… badly.”
Rex nodded. “I’ll try the main bridge line for the Negotiator .”
They were answered promptly.
“This is Captain Rex and General Skywalker,” Rex said, allowing the weight of authority to color and clip his words. “We need General Kenobi on the line now .”
“He isn’t here, sirs. He’s planetside now, with Commander Cody and Waxer.”
“Thank you.” He ended the call, and then punched in Cody’s comm line. No answer. He looked up at his General. “I’ll keep trying them.”
“Right,” Anakin growled, “I’m going to… to…” There was nothing else he could do. He’d been summoned back to the Core; the Resolute would be resupplying via Coruscant while he and Ahsoka remained in the Temple so she could catch up on some coursework. They all could use the break, Force knew. But that meant there was no battle to plan, and most everyone was getting well-earned rest, and… He had nothing to do .
Anakin felt his shoulders slump. “I guess I’ll monitor the bond, then, and see if he responds.”
Anakin returned to his own quarters, sinking down into meditation, opening himself solely to the bond between him and his former Master. He didn’t know how long he sat there, unmoving, before the door chime drew him back to himself.
It was Rex. “I reached Cody, sir.”
“...he said General Kenobi was ‘a delicate conversation with one of the leaders’ of… wherever they were. I didn’t think to ask, at the time.”
“That’s… not comforting.”
“Thank you, Rex.”
“Of course, sir. Cody said he would notify us when the General returned. I’ll keep you updated.”
Anakin knew that Rex had sent Ahsoka to him as a distraction, but… it had helped. She sat down next to him, opening her own bond with Obi-Wan, sending Anakin brief pulses of reassurance through theirs.
It was hours and hours later before either of them felt anything. When they did, it hit Anakin so strongly that he gasped. The pain-fear-grief of the night before was now set against wild, unabashed joy-exhilaration-wonder , and… what was going on?
It faded away a few minutes later to intense confusion, and then shock-disbelief- hope , and Anakin forced himself away, the quickly spiralling emotions making his head ache. He rubbed his temples.
“What was that?” Ahsoka asked, eyes wide.
“I don’t know, Snips,” he said slowly, “but something happened.”
Not five minutes later, Anakin’s comm chirped. It was Obi-Wan’s frequency. He answered and frowned; audio only.
“Anakin,” his Master said, his voice just as smooth and steady as ever. “I’m sorry if I worried you.”
“What the fuck was that ? Are you okay?”
“I am… fantastic, actually.” Without being able to see him, it was difficult to tell if that was sarcasm or not. “Really. I’m fine.”
“What happened?” Ahsoka broke in.
“Oh, hello, Grandpadawan,” Obi-Wan greeted her. “It was… a gift, of sorts.”
“You were hurt,” Anakin protested. “I felt it.”
“I’m so sorry,” Obi-Wan said, regret genuine in his voice. “I didn’t intend for that to reach you. But to answer your question: no, I am not injured. I was… reliving old hurts, so that they could be healed.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Anakin growled, and Obi-Wan laughed.
“It didn’t for me, either, until I experienced it myself,” he said. “The Night Mother’s methods are… unusual, but effective.”
“The Night Mother? On Dathomir? That’s who you were meeting with?”
“What did she do to you?” Ahsoka looked pointedly at Anakin’s clenched fist, the one not holding his comm; it was his mech hand, and he was in danger of over-exerting the joints again. He forced it to relax.
“I really think that’s something you ought to see in person,” Obi-Wan said, sounding… amused? Absolutely infuriating , Anakin thought. “The Council has ordered the Negotiator back to Coruscant. I’m told I’ll see you there.”
“Dammit, Obi-Wan, what were you even doing ? It felt like you were in pain, and then this morning it was like… Bliss.”
“Oh, that? I was… flying.”
Anakin blinked. “You hate flying.”
Obi-Wan chuckled. “No. You and I simply… have very different definitions of ‘flying.’ But I’ve got to be going, we’re docking now. You can wait two days, Anakin. Always a pleasure, Ahsoka.”
The call ended, and Anakin threw the commlink at the wall. He heard it crack and winced, the anger suddenly going out of him.
“At least he’s okay. Should we meditate, Master?” Ahsoka asked gently, and Anakin sighed.
“Probably, Snips.” He sighed heavily, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to settle now, but… He was trying to set a good example for his Padawan. Like Obi-Wan. He winced at the thought, and a flare of irritation at the man made him ask, “Do you want to go spar instead?”
“Thank the Force, I was hoping you would ask.”
The moment Cody and Obi-Wan stepped off of the shuttle and into the bay of the Negotiator , a hush fell over the troopers who had been bustling about, attending to their various duties. Waxer was spared, choosing to remain onboard for the moment to set the shuttle back to rights. Two dozen sets of eyes all stared at Obi-Wan, and he felt himself flush.
This was, perhaps, the one thing he hadn’t missed about his wings.
“I… sir?” Obi-Wan looked over to where one brave trooper--Arrow, he recalled after a moment--had called out to him. “Is everything… alright?”
“Yes, Arrow, everything is fine,” he said confidently, smiling at him. He nodded, and then continued through the hangar. No one moved or said another word.
“It’s going to be like that through the whole ship, isn’t it?” Obi-Wan sighed.
“Can you blame them?” Cody asked. Obi-Wan laughed.
They continued in silence until they reached a T-junction. Obi-Wan started to step to the left, and Cody grabbed his arm. He jerked his head to the right.
“You’re going to the med bay, sir.”
“ You are going to the med bay .”
Obi-Wan sighed, but allowed himself to be led. He smiled at each trooper he passed and greeted them with a nod and their name as though nothing was different or unusual at all, although he caught stares and stunned silence from each of them.
“Cody, you said this was going to be a simple dropoff,” the medic on duty, Power, greeted them. “Why am I seeing your ugly mug in my medbay?”
“Not here for me,” Cody said, and then jerked a thumb over his shoulder towards his General. “Him.”
“General, what’ve you… done this.. time… what the fuck ?”
“Yes, I know, it’s rather different than the last time you saw me,” Obi-Wan said. “But I assure you, I’m fine, and they are, in fact, supposed to be there.”
“I… you have wings,” Power said dully. “You leave the ship for a little over a day and you show up with two new appendages? No. That’s not ‘fine,’ General. Sit down. Strip.”
“They’re not new , Power. Well, I suppose, sort of --”
“ Off. ”
Obi-Wan grimaced. “I think you might have to… cut it off.”
“Well, the Night Mother didn’t exactly gift me new clothing, or bother to take it off for this. The wings sprouted through the shirt, but those holes aren’t anywhere near big enough to go over the wings now.”
Cody grimaced, sensing a lot of requests to the Quartermaster in his future. His General always got his tunics and robes from the Temple, that was true, but Cody always liked to have spares. Who knew what his General was going to get up to. Not to mention that they would have to modify his armor. The back plate would need to be split, and--did wings need armor? What if they got shot? Cody’s headache grew worse.
The tabards and obi were easily pulled away around the wings, but Obi-Wan was right, and Power had to cut the actual tunic off. He ran a hand over the seam between the wings and Obi-Wan’s back; the General flinched slightly.
“Does it hurt?”
“No,” he said, and then shifted slightly. “That... tickles.”
“Right,” Power said slowly. “Do you think they work?”
Cody couldn’t help himself and snorted. “They work.”
“I… tested them rather thoroughly this morning,” Obi-Wan admitted.
“He jumped off a kriffing cliff and then flew circles around us.”
Power fixed Obi-Wan with a disapproving stare. Obi-Wan shifted guiltily.
“I… thought I was dreaming?” he said in his defense, which only deepened Power’s glower. “Besides, I had the Force with me, as always. I wouldn’t have fallen too far if they didn’t work. But they did.”
Power sighed, shaking his head, and turned his attention back to the wings. He ran a hand over one of the wings, which immediately relaxed slightly, and Obi-Wan let out a strangled noise. Startled, Power drew his hand back.
“Apologies,” Obi-Wan murmured, blushing faintly. “They’re quite... sensitive.”
Power thoroughly examined each wing, and once he realized that “sensitive” meant “that feels good,” his touch became a bit steadier, a bit firmer.
Finally, he stood up.
“General, I don’t know how this happened, and I’m just going to assume it’s more weird Jedi shit at this point,” Power sighed, and Obi-Wan nodded, a sympathetic expression on his face. “They look fine to me, but I’m not really equipped or trained to treat… wings. Do you know anything about… how you’re supposed to care for them?”
“Of course,” Obi-Wan said with a wan smile. “I had them for fifteen years, before they were taken from me.”
“You had wings before ?” Cody asked, and then he frowned. “The scars on your back-- that’s what happened? Someone--”
“Yes,” Obi-Wan cut him off, looking pained. “And I’d rather not dwell on that, thank you. Especially now that I have them back.”
“Well, then, I guess I’ll pronounce you fit,” Power said, looking a bit out of his depth. His expression turned thoughtful. “Do the Healers in the Temple know how to care for wings?”
“Of course. There are several avian-type Jedi.”
“Right, then. I’ll want to make contact with them once we reach Coruscant, get a crash course in…” Power waved a hand at Obi-Wan, gesturing to all of him. “... this .”
“Of course,” Obi-Wan repeated.
Anakin was ready to burst by the time he got the notification that the Negotiator was in orbit and Obi-Wan’s shuttle was about to land at the Temple. With their detour to Dathomir, they’d been an entire day behind the Resolute in getting there. An entire extra day , Anakin had had to stew.
He hurried from his room--the same Padawan room he’d occupied when Obi-Wan was still his Master; Ahsoka liked her independence, and either slept in the Padawan dorms or on their very comfortable couch--and found Ahsoka at the table, poring over a datapad.
“Snips, it’s time,” he said, and she immediately jumped up, her studying forgotten.
They garnered a few disapproving looks from other Jedi as they raced toward the landing platforms, but Anakin didn’t care. Not that he usually did, but this time he had a reason for being in a hurry. Obi-Wan was too important, and he had to see him.
Mace was already there by the time they reached the platform, and he raised an eyebrow at their harried appearances.
“Master Windu,” Anakin greeted, and he and Ahsoka bowed politely. Mace nodded back.
“Force, man, breathe,” Mace said. “Did you run here?”
“Uh, it was more of a fast walk?” Ahsoka chimed in, and Mace snorted.
“Here to greet Obi-Wan, I take it.”
“Yeah,” Anakin said. “I’m really looking forward to figuring out what in the Hels is going on here.” Mace frowned.
“What do you mean?”
“Have you talked to Obi-Wan? Something happened to him, and he wouldn’t tell me what.”
“No. We got an acknowledgement of the orders to return here from him, but that was all.”
“Well, we’re about to find out,” Ahsoka said as the shuttle came into view, landing easily on the platform before them.
There was a charged silence as the door hissed open, and one of the 212th troopers stepped out--Anakin’s heart dropped into the pit of his stomach as he placed him: Power, one of the 212th medics. Had Obi-Wan lied to him again ? Was he hurt ?
But Obi-Wan was behind him, exiting the shuttle under his own steam, and Anakin felt relief so strong that he had to lock his knees just to remain upright.
And then Anakin noticed the… things behind Obi-Wan. They came up over his shoulders, over his head, even, and… were those feathers ?
“How in the nine Hels --?” Mace breathed, his eyes wide, and Obi-Wan caught sight of them and smiled widely. When he got close enough to them to hear, Mace repeated himself: “ How ?”
“Ah, to make a long story short: the Waters of Life on Dathomir. The Night Mother… took special offense to what was done to them before,” Obi-Wan said cheerfully. “Apparently part of the code of the Night Sisters forbids coveting that which is not rightfully yours.”
“You… do they work ?” Mace asked, and Obi-Wan nodded.
“Very well, in fact.”
“You have wings ,” Anakin said stupidly. Obi-Wan turned to him.
“Hello, Anakin. And hello, Ahsoka. Yes,” he said dryly, “I have wings.”
Ahsoka, in her awe and excitement, seemed to forget that she was standing in front of her own Master and two High Councilors, and proclaimed, “That is so badass .”