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Avoiding Destiny

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It’s already halfway into the planet’s night cycle when Padawans Obi-Wan Kenobi and Quinlan Vos sneak from the ship they’d been instructed to wait in, and make their way from the port and into the seedier part of the city.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Obi-Wan announces calmly. He doesn’t feel any immediate threat in the vicinity as they walk, but can’t shake the feeling of impending doom that creeps up on him, much like it does whenever a mission inevitably ends up going wrong.

“It’ll be fine, Obes. We’re taking the night to have fun for once. Where’s your sense of adventure?” 

“I must have misplaced it the last time that you got us into trouble,” Obi-Wan replies dryly.

Quinlan laughs. “Says you. My fun plans only ever go wrong when you’re with me, it’s like you attract trouble.”

Despite the light and joking tone of his voice, Obi-Wan can’t help but get a little caught on his friend’s words. Because to be honest, it really did seem like he attracted trouble to a frightening degree. Xanatos, Bandomeer, Melida/Daan, force, even just his bad luck for falling into nests of creatures that would gladly devour him whole if given the chance.

“Hey, come on, we’re going to miss the first round if we don’t hurry,” Quin points out, dragging Obi-Wan from his unhappy musing.

“What a shame. Perhaps we’ll be so late they won’t let us in? I still can’t believe that you want to go to this. No, actually, I can believe it. What I can’t believe is that you convinced me to come along with you.”

“You know you don’t have enough luck for that to happen, Obes. And you had to come with me.”

“I suppose it could be worse.”

And it really could be. They could be on the frontlines, he thought miserably. They so rarely got missions like these anymore, ones where they actually get a moment of downtime which isn’t just spent on a cruiser heading to the next fight. The Sith Empire’s attacks on the Republic have been intensifying recently, and he’s sure that whether they’re ready or not, both of them will be up for knighting soon to keep up with the losses. The Republic desperately needs more generals, and so Knights are getting younger and younger.

“Yeah, we could be stuck back on the ship still,” Quin replies lightly, seemingly unaware or unwilling to go in the morbid direction Obi-Wan’s thoughts had gone to.

“You could have gone with them, you know,” Obi-Wan points out. It was, after all, only him that had to avoid running into mandalorians. An annoying precaution he’s lived with since his soulmark had become clear when he was fourteen. “You didn’t have to stay with me.”

“Like I’d leave you alone. You’d be sure to get yourself kidnapped by someone then,” Quinlan retorts, before grabbing his friend’s arm and dragging him along faster through the busy streets, before pausing at a turn for a particularly rough looking road. The locals give them curious looks as they pass by. “It’s just this way, I think.”

They follow the street to its end, finding a bunch of busted up, and likely mostly disused from their state, warehouses, but there’s light coming from the one furthest away, and people hovering around outside. As they draw closer, sticking to the shadows, it becomes clear that this event is even less civilised than Quinlan had made it out to be.

“Quin, you really do take me to the most wonderful places,” Obi-Wan says pleasantly, as he wonders just how badly this night of fun is about to go.

* * *

Despite his earlier reservations, Obi-Wan had to admit this was more entertaining than he’d expected, though it is certainly as uncivilised. The inside of the venue left much to be desired, dirty, packed with an array of interesting people, and a large cage set up on a stage in the centre of the room.

Drinks were purchased, bets placed, and they were already watching the third fight of the night, a particularly nasty bout between a huge orange Zabrak and a Devaronian who is already spilling black blood from his nose, when everything begins to go wrong.

“Kriff. Obes, we need to leave. Now.”

“What, why?” he asks, even as he begins to scan the room with his eyes and with the force for danger. Almost immediately, he’s struck by a strange void in the force somewhere inside of the warehouse. Turning to look in the direction of the void, he quickly sees what has Quinlan sounding so serious.

Mandalorians. Three of them, standing to their right, near to fighting cage. Fully armoured with their distinctive helmets on, Obi-Wan knows they must have only just arrived, there’s no way they would have missed them this entire time, but he still feels unnerved by the fact he didn’t notice their arrival. He'd never been this close to a mandalorian in beskar before, never felt the weird muffling effect it has in the force. Now at least he'd know what to avoid in future.

The only mandalorians meant to be on this planet currently should be where Master Jinn and Master Tholme are, more specifically, right on the other force-damned side of it. So what are the three of them doing here, fully armoured in Republic space, at some low-level cage fighting event? Were these mandalorians with the ones their masters had gone after? Does that mean-

“Come on,” Quin insists, starting to drag Obi-Wan by the elbow, leading him through the crowd towards the exit and pulling him out of his spiraling thoughts.

He shrugs his friend off, giving Quinlan an annoyed look. “There’s no need to manhandle me. Look, even if it were one of them, it’s not like they could tell just from looking at me.” Despite that fact, he can’t help but tug his hood a little more forward to cover more of his face before they continue walking. “Just don’t draw any attention and we can quietly leave, the mandalorians probably won’t even notice us—

“Why so worried you’ll catch our attention, aruetii?”

Obi-Wan doesn’t even need to look up to know how screwed they now both are. He senses Quinlan tense next to him, and knows he’s already reaching for his hidden lightsaber. With a quick mental nudge, he tries to let him know to wait.

Maybe they can still talk their way out of this?

He’d certainly talked his way out of worse situations. He’d once managed to talk himself out of being kidnapped by pirates. Though Hondo had attempted to charge a shocking amount for his return to the temple. Stating Obi-Wan’s ‘rescue’ as well as the food and transport costs to bring him back to Coruscant as the reason for the insanely high price. 

“We don’t want any trouble,” Obi-Wan begins, keeping his voice even despite the fear he’s yet to release into the force. For a second he wishes he had his Jedi robes to hide his hands in, as he’s suddenly unsure what to do with them, but quickly remembers how much worse this situation would be if the man now questioning them knew they were both Jedi.

“Why so sure you’ll find it then?” the Mandalorian asks bluntly.

Obi-Wan is about to try and spin a reasonable answer when he notices it. It’s painted across the front of the man’s chest plate, right over his heart. His mouth suddenly goes very dry, and he finds that no words will come out. The very first mandalorian he meets up close and it’s him.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is quite sure that he has the worst luck in the galaxy. 

 The now impatient mandalorian reaches forward and yanks down Obi-Wan’s hood, his eyes immediately catching onto the thin padawan braid that he’d tucked back out of sight.

“Jetii.”

Oh well, there goes talking our way out of this, he thinks bitterly as everything goes to chaos.