Obi-Wan Kenobi blinked against the sunlight in the room.
His hands went to his heart and was stunned to find it intact, and Obi-Wan stared down at the solid flesh against his hand in shock. He took a deep breath, trying to calm the panic blossoming inside of him and winced painfully, hands reflexively griped his tunic tighter. A throb was aching deep within his heart, a painful burning sensation that seemed to spread out and into his lungs and Obi-Wan rubbed the skin over it harshly, as if that would some how help.
The pain in his heart spiked with each breath he took, becoming more and more unbearable with each second, and with little warning his stomach launched its protest at such abuse. Falling on all fours Obi-Wan fought to cease his vomiting, but found that his stomach was refusing his commands. He was horribly confused; he was... he was dead, right? Surely this was not the Force. Obi-Wan had always thought it was warmth, light, and peace, not emptying his insides out until he wretched so hard it felt as if his spine would break.
His throat convulsed pain bringing his focus back to his body, and Obi-Wan shuddered as he felt the sharp sting of bile in his nostrils. His stomach had succeeded in emptying itself all over the rich blue carpet and for a moment the Jedi just stared at it, hovering on all fours and wondering when it was he'd eaten noodles. A large hand cupped his shoulder and Obi-Wan started, eyes immediately snapping up to assess the owner of the hand. A Jedi Master kneeled before him, a sympathetic smile on his face as his thumb messaged Obi-Wan's shoulder comfortingly.
"Feel better now?" Obi-Wan stared in open shock at the Jedi, nodding dumbly in response. The Master - Obi-Wan's mind quickly supplied his name, a gentle human by the name of Cort Rent - stared back curiously.
Obi-Wan leaned back onto his heels, nodding slowly as he stared at the dead man, Mind racing. A Jedi? But that was impossible...it was impossible! There was no way!
His eyes refocused past the Master's face, blurring slightly as he focused in on the group of booted people that were quickly forming a circle around him. Obi-Wan raised his gaze, barely able to muster the strength to do so. A part of him was afraid of what he may see, afraid that he would recognize too many, and remember how he had failed them. Again and again. Because somehow, impossibly, Jedi surrounded him.
"How?" Obi-Wan blinked at his own voice, a hand rising to touching his voice box in confusion. Was that my voice?
"Obi-Wan!" A worried voice called from the back of the crowd. "Excuse me, please move!"
"Bant?" The shocked Jedi breathed, his voice shaking. The Mon Calamari took one look at her soiled friend and threw her arms around him. Obi-Wan shook in the embrace, unable to bring himself to respond as love and worry radiated off the girl in waves. The human Jedi felt himself tear up at the emotions; it had been years since he'd last experienced the Mon Calamari's comforting friendship and his hands twitched at his side, wanting desperately to embrace her but they were seemingly frozen by his side.There was no way, this was just too cruel a joke. This couldn't be real.
The girl took his lack of response as a bad sign, her concerns watching. "Oh, Obi," she breathed, "what's wrong? Are you sick?"
He shook his head and gently pried Want off of him, clambering to his feet and backing cautiously away from her. "What," Obi-Wan lowered his voice, the crispness he had acquired as a General layering it, "is going on?"
Bant frowned, her smooth, salmon colored skin gaining a greyer tone as she flushed in concern. "Obi-Wan?" She stepped forward, hand held out tentatively. "Have you stopped sleeping again?" He stared at her. Stopped sleeping? Sleeping was a luxury a Jedi could not afford to have in these dark days. Bant nodded, a grim line taking her lips. "I thought so." Then slightly quieter, "Why didn't you tell me?"
She took another step forward, but a commanding voice froze her mid motion. "What seems to be the problem here?"
Mace Windu - dear Force, in all his glory - stood before him, his brown eyes still held strength and vitality, bright with life. Something swelled up in Obi-Wan's chest and he forced himself to drop the Council member's gaze, the Jedi Master's cruel death flickering through his mind. He swallowed. Hard.
Am I...Am I in the past? Was it all some horrible dream?
Obi-Wan destroyed that hope, stamping it away before it could take a deeper root. This was an impossibility, this had to be some kind of trick, some new way Anakin thought up to torture him. Perhaps he hadn't truly died after all. The Jedi's eyes narrowed suspiciously, a hand coming to rest over his heart as he surveyed the group around him. There was no way I could have survived a lightsaber blow to the heart.
"I'm afraid that we had a bit of an accident." Master Rent said as he stood from his kneeling position. He smiled kindly at his Padawan, taking a stack of datapads back from the struggling Twil'lek. "Poor lad didn't quite make it to a refresher in time."
Master Windu nodded, pulling his comm. unit from his belt and calling for a droid cleaner to be sent to the Main Hall. Cort Rent's Padawan looked from her Master to Mace to the surrounding Jedi before snorting incredulously. "Is no one going to mention that fact that he's gone all wonky?"
"Padawan!" Rent reprimanded strictly, visibly embarrassed, and the Twil'lek winced at Rent's obvious displeasure.
"But Master," she whined,dove grey skin flushing, "you saw how he was acting!"
Mace looked from the padawan to the Master, an eyebrow raised imperiously. "Anything you need to tell me, Master Rent?"
Master Rent nodded, shoving the data pads back into his padawan's hands with an irritated glare. The girl groaned as she once again fought to balance the tall stack against her short frame. "The Initiate seems a bit disoriented."
Mace looked at the padawan, but clearly cowed a only shrugged. A webbed hand was pressed comforting against his forearm as the Baby instinctively shot to his defense.
"He hasn't been sleeping." Bant explained quickly, eyes darting from the Council member to the blank face of her friend. "And I think he has a cold."
Obi-Wan offered no defense. He simply stared. This couldn't be happening. None of this could be real. Not. Real.
Apparently the Padawan couldn't help herself. "I still say he went fritzo. He feels all weird."
"Padawan," Rent breathed, appalled, "apologize for your lack of consideration of the Initiate's feelings at once." Sighing the girl bowed, barely managing to keep the datapads from spilling everywhere. "Please forgive Quea. It is a daily struggle for her to remember her manners."
The Twil'lek blushed even hoter as a series of sniggers erupted around them.
"What do we have going on here Mace? A gathering in the Main Hall?" Everything inside Obi-Wan came to a screeching halt at the sound of that voice. A much younger Qui-Gon Jinn than the one from his memories stepped from the shadows of the crowd, a small grin playing on his lips as he rested his hand on Mace's shoulder.
You would find this funny.
Qui-Gon glanced at the puke, his smile never wavering, and then back to Obi-Wan. "Not feeling too well are we?"
Obi-Wan shook his head, wincing as his heart throbbed. He rubbed it, pressing his palm into his chest roughly, as if the pressure would stop the sensation. Unfortunately it did not, the burning once again growing with each breath and his stomach rolled, nausea hitting him with a tidal wave of queasiness.
"Move!" Pushing Rent away Obi-Wan fell once again to his knees. His body retched...but nothing would come out. But he could not still it.
"Obi-Wan!" Bant cried, her voice taking a high pitched, worried tone as she dropped to her knees next to him.Obi-Wan wavered her concerned touch away, wincing as a burning sensation rushed up his throat and coated his tongue. Obi-Wan stared down in disgust at the bright green stomach bile. It came up again, but Obi-Wan forced his mouth shut, determined to save some of his dignity and swallowed it back down. With a strained groaned he fell off to the side, pressing the palms of his hands into his eyes. The pain wasn't lessening and his body still demanded that it purge itself. This is worse then when I ate that stew Anakin made for my birthday.
The pain in his heart intensified with the thought of his former padawan and he pressed his palms firmer into his eyes as Obi-Wan opened his mind to the Force, letting its sweetness wash over, providing comfort as it could. He sighed, releasing his fear and confusion into it, sensing it hum around him as the emotions vanished.
For so long, the Force had been his only comfort, the only friend he knew that he would not lose. For a moment he stilled all thoughts, pushed away the raging emotions, and simply listened. The Force was whispering to him; this was no trick, this was no illusion. Somehow, someway, he had been transported back in time. Obi-Wan couldn't understand it; was he here for a purpose? Was he supposed to try and change things for the better or allow them to play out their own course? He didn't even know if he could allow it do that – no, he knew he could not survive it a second time. It would utterly break him.
Nothing would ever be the same.
The pain in his heart escalated, responding to the new anxiety that had rooted in his mind. Obi-Wan pressed the flat of his hand against the fabric above his heart. A gift from a Padawan to his Master.
That was what Anakin had whispered to him before he had driven the crimson blade through him. Groaning, Obi-Wan's hand twitched against his heart. These are thoughts are for another time.
He had more then enough opportunities to study Grief Release into the Force and drew on that experience, quieting his thoughts as he opened himself completely to the Force, and the pain began to dull, growing weaker each time the Force lapped against it. Encouraged, Obi-Wan released everything to it, allowing it to sweep across his mind. He didn't give a second thought to the crowd of Jedi that surrounded him, or how they would undoubtedly feel the Force respond to him, feel it swell and shift around him, or that they were analyzing his every move. In the moment he could hardly care.