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Immutable, or, Five Times Obi-Wan Kenobi Compromised His Jedi Ethics for Anakin Skywalker

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"He will stop at nothing to save me, for example, because he thinks I would do the same for him."

Mace and Yoda gazed at him steadily, and Obi-Wan had to lower his head.

"Because," he admitted reluctantly, "he knows I would do the same for him."

- Matthew Stover, Revenge of the Sith novelization

i.

“You appear to be outnumbered as well as well as unarmed, General Kenobi,” the Koorivar general said, dropping the cleanly cut halves of Obi-Wan’s lightsaber onto the floor in front of him.

“I am never unarmed,” Obi-Wan said calmly, one hand still on Anakin’s neck, his partner’s pulse a comforting beat against his fingers. “I have the Force.”

The general sneered. “Your Jedi magic won’t help you here, General. Kill the injured one,” he added to his soldiers.

Obi-Wan’s grip tightened on Anakin’s shoulders. “Touch him and I will kill you.”

“How? You’ll talk me to death?” He nodded to his men.

Obi-Wan snapped a hand out, reaching for the Force. The approaching soldiers stopped, staring at their general as he scrabbled at his throat.

There was something cold and almost slimy sliding along his skin, nearly lost in the heady rush of power that encompassed him. Obi-Wan squeezed until he felt the bright spark that was the Koorivar general go out of the Force. He could still feel the rest of the Koorivar soldiers around him, deeply inimical to him and to Anakin, and reached out with both hands splayed. The Force flowed through him, stark and pure, burning out the nerve endings in the tips of his fingers. It was only when all those sparks of life had gone out that Obi-Wan closed his hands, shaking his head to clear the glare from his eyes. The bodies surrounding them were still smoking.

Anakin made a low, pained sound in the back of his throat and Obi-Wan pressed his palm to the still sluggishly bleeding blaster wound in his shoulder, ignoring the way his hands were tingling. “It will be all right,” he said, trying hard for soothing. “It will be all right.”

ii.

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan began, motioning the door open with two fingers, “why aren’t you –” He stopped dead just inside the room -- his room – as the door slid shut behind him.

Padmé scrambled for the nearest covering, which happened to be Anakin’s cloak, and pulled it up over her chest. “General Kenobi,” she said with dignity.

Obi-Wan blinked. Once. “Senator Amidala,” he acknowledged. “Is Anakin here?”

She hesitated briefly, then nodded towards one of the doors off the main room. “He’s in the ‘fresher,” she said.

“Thank you,” Obi-Wan told her, and strode past without looking. He motioned the door open; Anakin nearly fell into the shower.

“Master!” he exclaimed. “I can explain –”

“I’ve been comming you for the past hour,” Obi-Wan informed him impatiently. “We’re supposed to be on a starcarrier shipping out for the Outer Rim in thirty minutes.”

Anakin stared at him, wide-eyed. “But we just got back!” he protested.

“We’re needed,” Obi-Wan said simply.

“I’ll get my bag,” Anakin said. He winced abruptly and said, “Master –”

“Just tell me you know what you’re doing,” Obi-Wan said very softly.

Anakin looked down, then up again. “I know what I’m doing,” he said, and stepped out of the ‘fresher. Obi-Wan followed him.

Padmé was back in her dress now, twisting her hair up above her neck; she looked back as Anakin came out. Her eyes were on Obi-Wan, questioning.

Anakin smiled at her and vanished into his own room. Obi-Wan tugged his hands into his sleeves. “You can’t have him, you know,” he said eventually.

“Neither can you,” Padmé said. She raised her head as Anakin came back with his bag slung across his shoulder. He glanced at Obi-Wan and dipped his head to kiss her briefly.

“Goodbye,” Padmé told him, brushing her fingers across his cheek. She looked at Obi-Wan. “Good luck.”

He nodded once, sharply, and left, Anakin behind him.

iii.

Obi-Wan half-slid, half-fell down the slope, landing a few feet away from Anakin’s crumpled body. He got up to hands and knees and scrambled over, still clutching his lightsaber.

Anakin was sprawled in the dust, legs and arms spread-eagled. There was a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth, another from his nose. His head was twisted at a sharp, unnatural angle.

“No,” Obi-Wan said, wrapping an arm around Anakin’s shoulders and groping for a pulse. “Oh no, Anakin, no.”

His partner’s body was a limp weight in his arms. Obi-Wan put his face down into Anakin’s hair, crying unreservedly and without shame. It was like Naboo all over again, only worse, because it wasn’t Qui-Gon this time, it was Anakin -- like the nightmares he’d started waking up to as the old dreams of Qui-Gon became less and less frequent, Anakin dead a thousand different ways in his arms.

He reached for the Force, trying to heal some of the damage, trying to make Anakin more presentable and less damaged. He stopped with the threads of it still in his grip, sliding over him like a thick bolt of Corellian silk. Death is the natural order of life, Qui-Gon had said more than once, but this wasn’t natural, wasn’t supposed to happen. Anakin was meant for greater things than this, dying young and broken

Obi-Wan opened himself to the Force and let it flow through him, filling him and spilling over. Something burned -- something snapped, nerved endings beginning to spiral off into eternity, and still Obi-Wan kept himself open.

Let me die that he might live --

-- and bit open his lip.

Obi-Wan’s eyes snapped open. He hadn’t realized he’d closed them; at first all he could see was a white glare. Then something moved across his knees; Anakin moaned and said groggily, “Master?”

Oh. He groped blindly for Anakin’s pulse, ignoring his partner’s weak attempt at batting away his hands. Strong pulse, slightly erratic, and he palmed the bones of Anakin’s neck, finding them whole and unharmed beneath his fingers.

“You’re bleeding,” Anakin said, pushing himself upright. He slid a finger along Obi-Wan’s lower lip. “Master, are you –”

“I think I fell badly,” Obi-Wan said quickly and precisely. “I can’t quite see right now, but I think – ah!” He’d moved unexpectedly; pain spiked up and down all his bones. Greenstick fractures, the beginnings of breaks. He turned his head blindly towards Anakin, who was still touching his face tentatively. “I’ll be all right in time.”

He felt rather than saw Anakin nod. “We’re supposed to be evacuated anyway,” he said decisively. “Don’t move. I’ll take care of you.”

iv.

He came back to his rooms to find Anakin passed out on his bed, limp and boneless in sleep. Obi-Wan sat down next to him, content to drowse with his head nodding over his knees and the constant murmur of Anakin’s heartbeat in the Force a reassuring presence. It took Anakin sitting up for him to rouse.

“You’re back,” Anakin said. He paused, reading Obi-Wan’s face, and said, “I won’t ask how the Council meeting went.”

“Thank you,” Obi-Wan said. “Aren’t you supposed to be in the Healer’s Wing?”

Anakin lifted his bad arm and winced. “I’m all right,” he said and Obi-Wan looked away, out the bank of windows at the Coruscant nightlife. He could still remember the feel of Anakin’s body in his arms, the pulse of blood over his hands as Anakin bled out slowly and inexorably. He hadn’t expected him to live.

“Obi-Wan,” Anakin said quietly.

He looked up.

Anakin stood, illuminated for a minute in the light from the window, and turned to Obi-Wan. He slid a knee along either side of Obi-Wan, resting his weight lightly, and when he leaned in Obi-Wan turned his head away.

“Please,” he said. “Obi-Wan. Don’t make me beg.”

“Don’t make me tell you no,” Obi-Wan said softly.

“You won’t,” Anakin said, absolutely certain. “Not this time.” He leaned forward again, carding the fingers of his good hand through Obi-Wan’s hair, and pressed his mouth against Obi-Wan’s.

Obi-Wan sighed, deep in the back of his throat, and let him.

v.

There are no cemeteries for the Jedi, no headstones. The names of the fallen are said to be graven into a wall of bronzium that runs the length of the Temple, but no one in living memory has seen this wall. Except for the notorious fallen, the traitors, the Jedi do their duty and fade from knowledge.

Because of this, Obi-Wan goes to the gardens for peace. Normally he avoids the sand gardens for the faint unease they put in him, but this time he sits on a bench by the smallest, staring at the waves carefully sculpted to look natural. There is no connection; Qui-Gon died on a water planet, not a desert one. Still, Obi-Wan waits until full dark has fallen and Coruscant has quieted somewhat before he begins to speak.

“I would die for him, you know,” he tells the night quietly. “If it was a question of giving him the chance to live one heartbeat longer, I would throw myself in front of a lightsaber without a moment’s hesitation.”

He is silent for some time. Shouts of laughter drift up from the far gardens – younglings, most likely, or the younger Padawans. The war has not yet touched the deepest stronghold of the Order.

“I have killed for him,” Obi-Wan says finally. “And I think that I would do worse. Have done worse. Without a moment’s hesitation. Without a second thought. Without regret. I think that I would betray my vows for him.”

The wind moves the sand in front of him, creating a number of small dunes that hadn’t existed a moment earlier. Obi-Wan stands.

“Did you know?”

There is no answer. The wind is silent and the dead do not speak. Obi-Wan steps down into the garden and walks across it, leaving a trail of footprints in the sand. He turns back to look.

“I would do it again,” he says and goes back into the Temple, where Anakin is sleeping off his wounds in the Healer’s Wing.