mattlauercansuckit: (destiny)
[personal profile] mattlauercansuckit
title all the things that never were
author [livejournal.com profile] patientalien
word count 1317
rating PG
summary After Ahsoka's death, Anakin sees the Soul Healers
notes Written for the "counseling" prompt on my [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo card. Title from "Out From Under" by Britney Spears.
warnings mentions of character death

-------



Ahsoka doesn't return from Bothawui with them, but this is not entirely true. Her body returns, but the rest of her does not. A blaster bolt intended for her Master is her undoing. The battle concludes, the Republic has won, and they are heading back to pay tribute to the young Padawan who has sacrificed herself to save another.

-----


Anakin disappears after the pyre. Obi-Wan is not surprised, but he can't help feeling somewhat disappointed, somewhat worried. Anakin Skywalker is not a man who deals with loss well, and Obi-Wan knows he blames himself.

-----


He eventually finds Anakin in the training salles. They have managed to reprogram a series of battle 'droids to provide realistic training exercises, and Anakin is pitting himself against three dozen Super Battle 'Droids and a bevy of destroyers. Obi-Wan watches, mesmerized, as Anakin throws four of the SBDs across the room with the Force at the same time he eviscerates a fifth with his 'saber.

Soon it is just down to the destroyers, and Anakin is in a frenzy, his jaw set, his eyes blazing. Obi-Wan can feel the anger and the hurt through the Force, the glimmer of Dark energy. He knows he should stop this, but knows, too, that Anakin would just as easily attack him if he interrupts. He watches, instead, as Anakin shorts out the destroyers' shields. One, two, three, four, they go down. He jumps on top of the last one, slams his fist against the carapace again and again and again. Finally, he uses his 'saber to take out the control panel and he and the 'droid slump to the floor.

Obi-Wan takes the opportunity to walk over. Anakin is cradling his mechanical hand, picking at the torn leather of his glove. He is shaking, and Obi-Wan crouches down beside him. "Anakin."

Anakin flinches away. "Leave me alone," he growls, getting to his feet. Obi-Wan stands as well, but Anakin is already out the door.

-----


He encourages Anakin to return to the apartment they once shared, knowing it is better than the alternative: Anakin, alone, does not make good decisions at times. To his surprise, Anakin takes him up on the offer, settling into his old bedroom.

On the first night, Obi-Wan is woken by screaming. Anakin has always been plagued by nightmares, but these are particularly vicious, and Obi-Wan wraps his arms around his friend, sending soothing pulses through their bond.

The next morning, Anakin shamefully avoids him.


-----


He attends a Council meeting. They are worried about Anakin, and he is too. They tell Obi-Wan to get his former Padawan to the Soul Healers and though Obi-Wan is sure Anakin will resist, he agrees to convince him to go.

He doesn't expect Anakin to be there when he returns to the apartment, but the other man is, sitting in the kitchen, Ahsoka's Padawan beads entwined around one hand, the other hand clasped around a glass. A half-empty bottle of Ithorian Mist sits on the table, sweating condensation. Obi-Wan's first thought is that he wishes Anakin would use a coaster. His second thought is a wish to the Force that he didn't have to have this conversation.

"Anakin."

Anakin looks at him, tightening his grip on glass and beads. "Lecture away," he slurs, and clears his throat theatrically. "There is no death, there is the Force. Let go of attachments. Grief and anger and guilt all lead to the Dark Side." He tosses back the last of his drink, refills his glass. "You can't save everyone."

Obi-Wan pulls up a chair beside his friend. "I didn't come to lecture you," he assures. "I want to help you."

"And how do you propose to do that?" Anakin counters with a snarl. He swallows his drink, pushes himself up from the table, stumbles to the sink. Obi-Wan's half-impressed that Anakin's cleaning up after himself, mechanically washing the glass, jerkily returning the bottle to the cooling unit. "What if I can't be helped?"

Obi-Wan sees his opening. "The Soul Healers do a wonderful job," he ventures, expecting Anakin to blow up at him.

When no such explosion occurs, he turns his gaze to his former Padawan. "I'm not weak," Anakin informs him, leaning against the counter, arms wrapped around himself protectively.

"It's not weakness," Obi-Wan reassures. "Please, Anakin."

Anakin lets out a sharp breath, sags in on himself. "Fine," he murmurs. "If it'll get you off my back."

Obi-Wan supposes it's the best he can hope for.

-----


When Anakin returns from his first session with the Soul Healers, he is withdrawn. He refuses Obi-Wan's offer of dinner, saying he needs to be alone, to think. He goes into his bedroom and when Obi-Wan goes to check on him an hour later, he is asleep.

He only has one nightmare that night.

-----


A week into Anakin's sessions, he and Obi-Wan are sparring. Anakin is being aggressive, more so than usual, and Obi-Wan is giving ground. While the two of them do not normally require the safety of training 'sabers, Obi-Wan has insisted upon it this time, and is glad that he did as Anakin lands a blow on his leg that would have otherwise severed it. Instead, it just stings, and Obi-Wan powers down his 'saber, bowing and admitting defeat.

"Be careful," he admonishes Anakin as they rehydrate. "Your moves were not well-controlled today."

Anakin flashes him a grin. "I won, didn't I?" he replies, and the conversation is over.

-----


Obi-Wan finds him in the corridor outside the Halls of Healing, sitting against the wall, knees drawn up to his chest. "What are you doing?" he asks.

Anakin looks up at him. "Don't make me go back there," he pleads. "They're taking her away from me today." He looks agonized, arms wrapped around his legs. Obi-Wan realizes he's not sure what exactly is entailed in Anakin's sessions with the Soul Healers. He has assumed it is private, confidential, and has not asked.

"Anakin, this is what you agreed to," he attempts, though the pain in Anakin's eyes and the horrified look on his face make him almost reconsider.

"No!" Anakin exclaims, closing his eyes. "I didn't know! I didn't agree to this! Don't let them take her!"

The door to the Hall slides open, and Vokara Che appears, holding out a hand. "We're ready for you now, Anakin," she says, and Obi-Wan can feel the push of the Force behind her words. He is suddenly nervous, though he can't say why, and he doesn't want to get in the way of any potential recovery Anakin may have.

Anakin looks like he is trying to fight the Force suggestion, but he rises to his feet anyway and reluctantly follows Vokara Che into the Hall, leaving Obi-Wan alone, worried.

-----


The next time Obi-Wan sees Anakin, the difference is staggering. Anakin is grinning at him, waving him over to see modifications he's made to his fighter. "See, by re-routing the thrusters like this, I get five times the maneuverability. Want me to do yours too?"

Obi-Wan feels decidedly unsettled. "Oh, I don't think I can handle any more maneuverability," he replies instead of commenting on his discomfort. "How are you doing?"

Anakin gives him a curious look. "Fine," he says, raising an eyebrow. "Why wouldn't I be? We get a vacation, I get to overhaul my fighter..." He shrugs. "I'm pretty great, actually."

Considering how not-great Anakin has been over the previous days, Obi-Wan is suspicious. "Well, I'm glad."

Anakin flops down on the floor and leans against the landing claw of his fighter. "You're acting weird, Master," he proclaims. "What's up?"

Obi-Wan can't help think that he's not the one acting weird. "Can't a Master occasionally inquire into the well-being of his Padawan?"

"Former," Anakin corrects, leveling a finger at him. "Besides," he continues, standing, "I wouldn't know. I'm never gonna take a Padawan anyway."

Date: 2011-10-04 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] girlofavalon.livejournal.com
Wow! That counselling is disturbing.

Date: 2011-10-04 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
I've always kind of been of the opinion that the Jedi do not really put much stock in mental health - it's all about releasing emotions into the Force and anything away from the norm is Dark Side material.

Mostly I was thinking about how Ahsoka's not mentioned in RotS, and yet another "explanation" for that.

Date: 2011-10-05 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-erupt.livejournal.com
I love that Obi-Wan was a constant presence through this and trying to help Anakin though it was clear he didn't really know how. I think Anakin's depth of emotion always throws him off a bit. The ending was so ridiculously creepy. Wow.

Date: 2011-10-05 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
Obi-Wan knows he doesn't fully understand Anakin and never will, but he still tries, and I think on some level Anakin appreciates that even if he can't really vocalize it.

Glad the ending came across that way :)

Date: 2011-10-06 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] citizenjess.livejournal.com
So you know all of this but I love the ending, how it's so creeeeeepy and how Obi-Wan is struggling to deal with the fact that he's basically just lost a piece of Anakin and isn't sure if it's worth it. Your Obi-Wan's really good in this - ineffective in really helping Anakin with his pain, as he is wont to be, but it's obviously killing him inside to see his former Padawan reduced to this. The Britney Spears title doesn't hurt, either. :P

♥!

Date: 2011-10-06 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com


I'm really glad you liked it, and that you thought Obi-Wan was in character. :)

Date: 2011-10-11 12:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wrongly-amused.livejournal.com
Ah man, now that's what they call a wham ending. (And what a clever way to link to RotS and tie up the threads!) I really enjoyed the interplay between Obi Wan and Anakin, the way the former wants to help but can never quite reach far enough across the line that separates them to truly connect. Great story. :)

Date: 2011-10-11 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I thought there are a lot of good possible explanations to tie in TCW with RotS and this one... well... yeah.

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