The warehouse was not extremely large; it was designed to hold small but fragile cargo. It had been well built, made of steel with a foundation of duracrete. But the years and wars had taken their toll on the building; the duracrete foundation was crumbling, the steel walls were dented and had jagged holes. The most intact part of the building was the slowly deteriorating roof.
At least it keeps the rain out, the man mused. He sat on the floor of the mostly empty building, his black shirt and pants worn but still intact. He clung with rough hands to an old, worn brown robe like it was life itself. Shifting where he sat in a mediation pose, he wrapped the robe around his body, putting his arms through the loose sleeves and pulling it tight.
He gazed up at the roof, where a distant pattering sound could be heard. Little drops of water fell on his face, wetting his shoulder length ginger hair and trailing down unshaved cheeks like tears.
He turned his face down, letting the water fall on his thick hair instead of his face. Weary blue eyes blinked, looking at the stained duracrete floor. He sighed.
Finally, he rose to his feet, shaking unsteadily. His stomach growled, reminding him that he had to go out and find food soon. His cheekbones were clearly visible, his skin drawn and pale. He had been running for a long time on this miserable planet, shifting from location to location. The Empire had come and taken it easily - not that the government officials had put up much of a fight. The Empire settled down in the industrial oriented planet and suddenly he found himself trapped. A Jedi Knight, trapped within the Empire.
He frowned slightly, walking forward among empty boxes, rags from other homeless occupants - now gone - and other debris. He growled as he did not find what he wanted. How could he have just thrown it so carelessly when he came here? His lightsaber was his life. Blue eyes restlessly searched the area.
He closed his eyes for a moment. Then, with a growl of frustration, he kicked a box. Then his hand swept out, knocking over other boxes. Soon, he was kicking and striking out with both hands.
There was the sound of glass shattering when an empty bottle shattered at his touch. Shards of glass flew, striking the man's hands and arms. He hissed, drawing away. The pain told him he would likely have to pick out the shards.
He closed his eyes, making a sound almost like a sob. Quickly, though, self-control returned. He sat down, sighing softly. He gazed at his bloody hands and began picking out the shards.
Blood. The sight seemed to draw his eyes, his attention. Like an arresting fascination. Droplets of red fell down, strangely reminding him of Anakin. Anakin . . . he had had blue eyes. But red - red was more fitting. The color of passion, of hate.
The soft blue, the color of peace and calm, all gone.
Swiftly, he closed his eyes and turned his head away. He should not think of such things. "Come on, Obi-Wan. Get a hold of yourself," he whispered hoarsely, so unused to speaking.
Ignoring the pain in his hands and tiredness of his spirit, Obi-Wan turned back to where had sat. He walked over and slipped again into a meditation pose. It was the only thing that brought him any peace.
Since Anakin's fall.
Vader, he reminded himself. His name was Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was dead. It was so much easier to think of it that way. Dead, not turned to the dark.
As he had only a few times, Obi-Wan allowed himself to remember. He remembered the shock he had felt at Anakin's marriage. The sense of betrayal. He accepted that pain, and went on. He remembered how Anakin changed, how helpless he had been to stop it because of the war. He remembered Palpatine, his rise to power and his self-declaration that he would be Emperor. He remembered the fight with Anakin, where he had thought his Padawan dead - only to wish later that he were. He remembered Padme, her belly swollen with pregnancy, going into hiding to have her children. He remembered that with a sense of hope; she was with Yoda. The old Jedi Master, Obi-Wan knew, was more than capable of taking care of the former Senator.
He remembered the bill that was signed that made the very existence of Jedi a crime.
Tears flowed down his cheeks as memories, long repressed, came to the fore. But his eyes snapped open when the Force suddenly screamed to him of danger. It told him that he had to move, and quickly.
He rose to his feet with a grace not apparent before. He stretched out with the Force, seeking the options he had.
There weren't many. Vader was here; he could sense the Sith's presence, a dark malevolent thing that made Obi-Wan feel like he was suffocating. He extended his search, knowing that Vader would not come alone. Yes. There were stormtroopers, their minds alert and focused.
They were focusing on his location. It could only mean one thing; they knew exactly where he was. Which led to another conclusion - this had all been planned out. Vader knew that Obi-Wan would sense his presence, and by extension, that of his trained killers.
Hopelessness pervaded Obi-Wan's body. Turning away from the facts that the Force presented to him, he focused on his physical surroundings.
The smell of garbage. He was living in garbage. Fainter, he could smell the cleanness of rain. Little light came into the warehouse, and the clouds further depleted it. Obi-Wan stared into the shadows.
He looked down, gazing at his bloody hands, the color almost black in the dim light.
He stepped forward, a slight sheen telling where to go. Soft, worn boots hit the floor soundlessly and he crept past boxes without disturbing them, like a ghost. He knelt gracefully and picked up a silver cylinder.
His lightsaber. The familiar grooves and etches were comfortingly familiar; the heavy weight a balm to his soul.
He thought for long moments, his eyes rested on the lightsaber. What would Vader do? How would he kill Obi-Wan? Would they fight first, would Vader take him fairly? He was fairly certain that Vader could defeat him now, his skills honed by killing Jedi; it had been Padawans, at first, then he had graduated to Knights and Masters. He thought of how much Vader hated him, hated him for taking away Padme, hated him for - failing. Hated him for putting him in that horrid, black armor. For making him a monster to his own wife. Would Vader kill him?
Or did he hate Obi-Wan enough to prolong it instead? What if he took Obi-Wan to Palpatine, to show that he had truly turned? What if. Obi-Wan closed his eyes, his grip tightening on his lightsaber until his knuckles were white. He looked ahead in the Force and saw his capture, saw his torture. His begs for mercy.
The Force screamed at him to leave, that danger was coming. The sense of threat became more intense, like the fierceness of battle adrenaline. But Obi-Wan remained eerily calm, steady and unmoving. He didn't hurry, but he did not pause. He hefted the lightsaber, testing its weight. Remembering, letting painful memories fall into the past.
The Force told him to live.
But I don't want to live. He wrapped both hands around the hilt of the lightsaber, and turned it inwards, so the blade would come out into his chest. He pressed the hilt to his chest, directly over his heart, a firm circular weight. He spared a thought for the irony of dying this way - a lightsaber through the chest - the same way his Master had fallen.
His thumb found the ignition switch. He began to press down, moving with inexorable slowness.
It was only an instant of pain. He imagined he could feel it moving through his chest, through his heart - burning. The pain spread throughout his chest, moving swiftly. He felt his muscles relax against his will and unconsciously he braced himself for when he would fall. When he did hit the floor, after an unknowable amount of time, he barely felt it, registering it only as a distant fact.
Then the pain began to fade. A merciful blackness descended, sweeping him away. Finally, he would know the peace of death.
The Force did not allow it. Instead it took him elsewhere, making him an observer to the future. He was bodiless, but he could see.
He saw the sand-ravaged plains of Tatooine. He saw a young, blond boy - so much like Anakin it could only be his son - playing there with tiny model ships, and he watched as an armored figure in unrelenting black approached the boy. Obi-Wan screamed silently, mind shaking in the way of the bodiless. The scream turned to a silent wail of despair as the boy looked up at the man that was his father, curiosity lighting on the youthful face.
The image was burned away.
He soon saw another place. It had rich, green plant life and gently rolling hills. Blue skies stretched down the horizon, cloudless and beautiful in the starkness and completeness of that blue. A young girl with long, dark brown hair and familiar brown eyes played in the thick, high grass. She laughed and twirled in her light pink dress, her braid swinging.
Then he saw it all burning. The ground turned black and crisp and the girl blackened from the inside out. Her tiny mouth opened in an endless scream as the world around her shattered. With that, she was gone, disintegrated into nothingness.
The visions did not stop. He saw the marches of massive armies, he saw people die. He watched as people grew old and the hope faded from their expressive eyes. He saw the glory of once great worlds fade and disappear. He watched as the young boy turned bitter and dark, the emotion spreading. He saw the Sith triumph.
He saw Master Yoda die.
There was anguish now, and regret. Such regret, and a reaching for what he had carelessly thrown away - his life. But it was too late now and it slipped away. Obi-Wan truly knew despair in that moment.
It passed away soon enough. There was nothing but the Force, its ceaseless comfort and its anguish. Its simple existence - and the entity known as Obi-Wan Kenobi faded into it.
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