The Force tells Obi-Wan it's time to choose another padawan.
Obi-Wan Kenobi does not have an incredible sense of the Living Force, but he can feel the changes in the emotions of a room. Even the tiniest ripples are like earthquakes. He can feel the excitement and awe and giddiness coursing through the senior initiates. But it is tempered slightly by an overwhelming sense of anxiety coming from one individual.
He cannot pinpoint exactly who it is so he ignores it for the moment.
He comes to the crèche and the initiates wing a few times a month to see the younglings and spend time with them. The war has made everyone stressed and afraid so he likes to distract the little ones with fun stories and help them along with their studies or techniques.
Obi-Wan is in the rooms of Bergruutfa Clan to visit with the initiates soon coming of padawan age. He remembers exactly what it felt like to be this age, eager to be chosen but frightened of the possibility of failure. He gives these children extra love and attention because he knows how much it would have helped him at the time.
He can feel someone's attention flickering between him and another object like they are hyper aware of his presence but attempting to focus elsewhere.
That signature finally shivers through the Force and retreats from the room. He looks over to see a girl disappearing into the dormitories almost frantically.
Obi-Wan excuses himself from the group of initiates he was speaking with and approaches the Clan's crèchemaster.
"Is something wrong?"
He looks at the door and back at Obi-Wan. "She gets upset sometimes. Anxious. We try to help her release it but often it is too much for her to handle. She goes out to calm down."
He cannot explain the reason he goes through that door. His master would say it was the will of the Force. Obi-Wan is inclined to agree with him.
He follows that tumultuous signature to a little room he remembers from his own Initiate days. A "time out" room of sorts. A place for anyone to go if they needed a moment to decompress or find their center.
She is sitting on a cushion, clutching a pillow to her chest and rocking slightly. Obi-Wan's chest squeezes painfully tight.
“May I come in and sit with you?” He asks softly, hating how she startles at the sound of his voice.
“Sure,” she says, her voice barely above a whisper.
She does not meet his eyes before turning back and pressing her mouth to the pillow. Obi-Wan walks into the little room and settles onto a meditation cushion near her. He releases a deep breath and closes his eyes, slipping into a light meditation.
He opens one eye when he feels something tremble in the Force. She is crying now, shoulders shaking as she muffles her sobs in the pillow. Obi-Wan feels his heart break when he sees how she curls in on herself.
“Oh, my little one. What has you hurting so badly?” He asks gently.
He does not touch her. One thing the Jedi were staunch on was bodily autonomy and consent. He would not force affection on a child who did not seek it out.
“I’m not going to be a padawan,” she gasps between sobs.
Obi-Wan feels as if he were slapped with the amount of grief pouring out of this child.
“Why do you think that?”
“Everyone says so. I’m not good enough.” Her voice cracks from the tears in her throat.
“Master Quarmall has said this to you?”
She shakes her head. “Not in so many words. He tries to make me feel better, but I’ve stopped believing him.”
“What do these people say about you, little one?”
She sniffles, but fresh tears come. “I’m too emotional. I’m not strong enough. I’m not fast enough. I’m not cut out for this lifestyle. I won’t survive on the battlefield. Masters are only looking for the best and the brightest now that the war is going on. No master would want to look after me because they have better things to worry about.”
Obi-Wan can barely swallow down the growing sense of horror that comes as she speaks. The Jedi failed this child and allowed her to think so little of herself. She deserves more than to feel like a burden.
“No one should have ever said those things to you.”
“They’re all true.” Her voice breaks again.
“They are not true.” He draws in a deep breath. “I’m so sorry they’ve hurt you so badly.”
She wipes her eyes and sniffles. “I don’t want to get my master killed on the battlefield. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
“Jedi masters are masters for a reason. We’re stronger and faster and able to handle a lot more than some people think. A master would be more than capable of keeping you safe and still fighting. I would know, I’ve done it before.”
She tries to smile, but it falls flat.
“Keep faith, dear one,” he says softly.
Obi-Wan retrieves her a glass of water before he leaves. When she looks up at him to take the glass, he finally sees that she has a pair of beautiful brown eyes.
“Master Kenobi, you have the floor.”
Obi-Wan stands and moves to the center of the Council room. He bows to the Council before letting out a breath to calm himself.
“What do you wish to discuss?” Mace asks him.
“I wish to discuss how we are treating our initiates.”
Several Council members look affronted or confused. Plo Koon leans forward—Obi-Wan knew he would be easy to sway. Plo has a soft spot for children six parsecs wide.
“What has made you bring this topic to the Council’s attention?” Plo asks.
Obi-Wan settles his shoulders back as he prepares to speak and releases a breath.
“I recently spoke to a young girl in Bergruutfa Clan. She was in tears because she was certain no master would choose her as a padawan.”
“Not all padawans can be chosen, Master Kenobi.”
He clenches his teeth and glances over his shoulder at the master that spoke. “Yes, I’m aware, Master. But no initiate is ever told outright they will not be chosen until they are being sent to the Corps. This girl is barely eleven years old.”
He knows he has more of the councilors attention now. They mutter quietly amongst themselves before he continues.
“She told me that masters and other initiates told her she was not fast or strong enough to be a padawan. That no master would want the burden of looking after her if she could not handle herself on a battlefield. They told her she would never be chosen because she is too emotional.”
Obi-Wan whirls on the same master that spoke before. “It shouldn’t matter! She should not feel like a stranger in her own home, and we as an Order should support her no matter what until she is old enough to be chosen or sent away.”
He turns back to the others. “I don’t recall a petition being sent through this Council for the age limit for padawans to be lowered to eleven unless I was absent for that vote?”
Several of them shake their heads.
“My point exactly. Her future is not decided. Why are we allowing adults to destroy the spirit of our children before they are even of age to be chosen? If our younglings do not have faith and confidence in themselves, then how are they supposed to compete for our attention? I thought we were better than this.
“I nearly aged out of the crèche and was made to feel as if I was not worthy of a master, but my future changed in one moment in a mine on Bandomeer. When I became a Councilmember, I made sure to implement some safeguards for our children so none of them would suffer like I did. I oversaw anti-bullying statutes that would make the competition less fierce and cutthroat so it was not so difficult to accept when you were not chosen.
“How could we have allowed a war to hurt our children, the future of this Order? They are the ones that are bearing the strain. We lose more masters every day and fewer children are brought to the Temple every year. Our numbers are dwindling but we should not allow the Jedi we do have in the Temple to suffer.”
“What do you propose we do?” Plo asks.
Obi-Wan sighs heavily. “I propose we retrain our crèchemasters to treat the senior initiates with more care and kindness. More of them are being sent away to the Corps and that is not usually part of their plans for their future. We need to acclimate them to this idea earlier so they do not feel abandoned or hurt if they are not chosen.
“I also propose we gather the knights of rank and skill to take padawans and speak to them. I want to tell them that the war has changed things but we must not allow our children to bear the brunt of it. They should be briefed on the new ways we wish to handle senior initiates. And they should be encouraged to take padawans as soon as possible. We cannot allow all of our knights and masters to die off and leave our children with no one to train them.
“I also believe that the Council should be required to spend time in the crèche with the initiates. I think we have become cut off from the youngest and most important Jedi in the Order and we simply make decisions blind while sitting in our tower. We could use the time away from the war and all the death it brings.”
He bows shortly. “Thank you for listening to my proposal.”
Obi-Wan takes his seat. He pointedly avoids the gazes of the agitated members of the Council. Master Yoda hums and taps his gimer stick on the ground.
“Correct Master Kenobi is. Blind we have become to our childrens’ suffering. Unwanted no child should feel, even if sent to the Corps they are.”
Obi-Wan lets out the breath he had been holding and allows himself to relax minutely.
Plo nods. “I agree. We need to ensure that our initiates are comfortable and happy while they are still in our care here in the Temple. No child should feel as if they are unwanted. When we take them, we promise their parents that they will be cared for and become successful knights, but that has been becoming less true as more years pass.”
More councilors begin to nod and voice their agreement.
Depa Billaba adds her voice. “I’ve also heard similar accounts from our children. Our crèchemasters have had their attentions divided between too many distractions. There aren’t enough of them to care for the number of children we have and their other duties have become too demanding.”
“We will begin to construct some instructions for our crèchemasters and decide how to speak to our knights. I agree that we must change some things if we wish to keep our Order functional and strong,” Mace says.
They take a vote and come up with a majority of positive votes. Obi-Wan managed to sway most of the Council with his argument. He may have actually changed something in the Order for good instead of for the betterment of the Senate. He hopes that it will make a difference.
There is a little less anxiety in the Bergruutfa Clan rooms when Obi-Wan visits again. He makes his way slowly through the room, sitting with the initiates and speaking with them and helping them with their coursework. He dislikes how they idolize and deify him, but he knows he did the same to his favorite masters as a child. It is the natural way of things. He comes here to spend time with them to bring himself down off the pedestal a bit and help them realize he is just a normal man. The fact that he is a High General and Sith killer does nothing to help his attempts at normalizing himself.
When he sees the girl again, sitting on the edge of the room and watching him nervously, something in the Force chimes. Her brown eyes flit around, refusing to linger on him for more than a second, but her attention is solely on him.
Obi-Wan feels breathless when he realizes what the Force is trying to tell him.
He accepts the Force’s prodding and makes his way over to the girl.
“Hello, again,” he says with a smile.
She gives him a timid smile in return. “Hello.”
“May I sit with you?”
She nods. “Yes.”
Obi-Wan takes a seat across from her at the small table. “I never asked you your name last time we met.”
“Oh,” she says. “Um, my name is Elora, but I go by Edie.”
The Force practically shouts in his face, but he will not choose her today.
“That’s a beautiful name. Why do you go by Edie?”
She looks away, pulls her hands into her lap to pick at her nails. “Edie is my middle name. I didn’t feel like Elora fit me very well. It felt too fancy.”
He grins. “That’s a fine reason. I think Edie fits you nicely.”
Edie smiles at him, slightly bigger than the last time.
“How are you doing in your classes?” He asks.
“I’m doing well,” she replies softly. “Especially the history classes. They’re my favorite.”
“I enjoyed those too when I took them. I was always very good at piloting also, but I still don’t like flying,” he offers.
Her eyes cast down to her lap. “I’m not very good at piloting or mathematics.”
He leans forward on his forearms. “That’s alright. Everyone has their own unique set of skills, and if we had a bunch of pilots, then no one would be able to settle diplomatic disputes.”
She smiles then.
“Do you like politics?” He asks.
He grins and leans back. “We seem to have a politician on our hands.”
“Not a politician,” she says. “But I do want to go on diplomatic missions. I’m not very good at debating yet, but I’m great at gathering information and sources.”
Obi-Wan is continually charmed by this girl. “You’d make a great diplomat.”
He sees how her cheeks turn pink at his compliment and feels his chest fill with warmth at the sight. He sits with her a while longer, enjoying her witty remarks as she relaxes and does not hold herself so tightly. But all too soon his commlink is beeping and calling him away to other duties.
Before he leaves, he crouches down beside Edie. “I'll try to come back and see you soon. Maybe we can have a meal together.”
The joy in her eyes at his statement is enough to get him through the Council meeting that lasts into the night.
Obi-Wan hears the whispers and sees the furtive glances when he takes Edie from her Clan’s rooms. He hopes they will not make Edie’s final days in the Clan miserable for her after he brings her back. He knows he is waiting a while before choosing her but he has a plan. He knows what he is doing, but he hopes Edie will not suffer for it.
The dining hall is relatively busy, but several people look their way as they walk through the seating area to the food line. Obi-Wan puts his hand on Edie’s shoulder and guides her along with him.
“Don't pay them any mind. They're more interested in me than you, but I've learned to ignore them,” he says softly.
“Why do they stare at you?” Edie asks.
Obi-Wan shrugs. “I'm not sure. Likely because I'm a Council member and one of the faces of the war. I wish it wasn't this way.”
“I'm sorry,” she says quietly.
“Thank you, little one. But they don't bother me anymore. Besides, I have you to keep me company now.”
She smiles and he gives her an answering one, squeezing her shoulder lightly. She does not shy away from his touch like he has seen her do with other masters and initiates. Obi-Wan hands her a tray from the stack and follows her as she picks her food. Her tastes are simple and few, not at all like Anakin's love for nearly every food available. She hesitates at the selection of desserts until Obi-Wan chooses one of his own. He files that away for further thought at another time.
He selects a table off to the side and sets his tray down. Edie follows his lead and sits down a second after he does. Obi-Wan thinks he may break that habit after he takes her. He does not like the unwavering obedience that borders on submission that they are instilling in the initiates now. He would prefer to have a padawan that is loyal to him but confident enough to go against him on occasion.
“What have you been up to these past few days?” He asks.
“I moved up in my ‘saber class, but I’m still behind most of the other initiates,” she says quietly.
“Why is that, do you think?” He asks her gently.
Edie shrugs slightly. “The instructors go too fast, and I can’t keep up. It takes me longer to learn everything.”
“Have you asked them to slow down or re-teach you certain lessons?”
“Yes, but they don’t want to re-teach the same lesson three times.” She sticks a piece of meat into her mouth and chews it slowly.
“Didn’t you have a diplomacy test this week?” Obi-Wan asks, changing the subject to something he knows is lighter.
“Did you get your score back?”
She finally smiles. “I got a perfect score.”
Obi-Wan grins. “That’s incredible.”
Her joy warms the Force and he basks in it. He imagines what it will be like to be around her every day, and the thought thrills him. She is a bright spot in the Force, shining and beautiful and enticing. Her light rivals Anakin’s, and while his is strong and intense, hers is gentle and soothing and warm. Obi-Wan is eager to have her in his life and share a bond with her. He is excited to see her grow and succeed and become a knight.
After they finish their meal, Obi-Wan takes her on a walk through the nearby meditation garden and enjoys how she shows him her favorite flowers and plants. She reminds him so much of his master it is slightly unnerving, and then she turns her charming smile on him and he is hooked once again.
Before they arrive back at the Bergruutfa Clan rooms, Obi-Wan takes her aside to sit on a bench in front of a window. She looks up at him with big brown eyes and he all but melts under her gaze.
“I enjoyed our time together.”
She smiles sweetly. “Me too.”
He returns her smile with one of his own. He feels more relaxed and at peace than he has in a decade. She is obviously something very special.
“Are you going to participate in the Initiate Trial coming up?” He asks.
Emotions flash quickly across her face before she answers him with an affirmative, but he catches each of them. Surprise, hope, denial, and then resignation. She thinks it is impossible that Obi-Wan Kenobi, member of the High Council, General in the Grand Army of the Republic, sith-slayer, master of The Chosen One, could ever want to choose her as a padawan. He plans to prove her very wrong.
Master Quarmall smiles down at Edie when he opens the door to the clan rooms for them. She smiles back, and then Master Quarmall gives Obi-Wan a knowing look. He simply returns his gaze and tells Edie goodbye and to sleep well.
His walk back to his quarters is quiet, but full of joy. He feels elated to be giving an initiate a life full of knowledge and experience and love. He knows he will have to change his methods of teaching because Edie is very different from Anakin, but he is open to the idea of change. Even Jedi Masters continue to learn after they are given the title.
Obi-Wan greets his fellow knights and masters as he enters the gym that has been transformed for the Initiate Trials.
“Master Kenobi, I didn’t know you were thinking of taking a padawan,” Master Quarmall says knowingly when he comes to stand by him.
“It’s a recent interest,” Obi-Wan replies blandly, looking out over the groups of younglings clustered together before their matches.
“I wish you luck then.”
“Thank you, Master.” He bows to the crèchemaster.
Obi-Wan looks for the one initiate he came to watch, but struggles to find her—until he looks to the outskirts of the groups instead of within them. She is dressed in her ceremonial white initiate fighting uniform and it has nary a frayed stitch or dirty scuff. It is her first Initiate Trial then. Obi-Wan thinks it fitting that he chooses a padawan at her first trial when he was not chosen until after his last. He never wants another child to know that pain.
He can see and feel all the attention his presence is bringing. He hates to get all the younglings’ hopes up, but he wants this choosing to be as public and obvious as possible. Edie never even looks his way, her head nearly always down as if she wants to forget he is there.
When her name is called, Obi-Wan can feel the tension in the gym increase tenfold. He carefully makes his way to the front of the group of masters and knights to have a better view of her fight. He hears her wish her opponent good luck, but they do not reply. They bow to each other and wait for their signal.
Edie is not the best fighter, but she is excellent at defense and evasion. She realized her weaknesses and worked around them. Her dark hair is braided, the tail falling between her shoulder blades, and Obi-Wan is struck at how similar she looks to his master in that moment. Finally, she loses her fight with her opponents training lightsaber centimeters from her throat. They move apart and bow once again. She offers them a breathless congratulations and they respond with a tight smile.
Obi-Wan steps forward before she can disappear back into the groups of initiates. A hush falls over the crowd though everyone continues murmuring quietly to make it seem as if they are not staring and waiting. He smiles at her and holds his hand out. She stares up at him with wide dark eyes and obvious shock, but finally reaches out to rest her hand in his. He curls his fingers around hers and gently pulls her closer.
Obi-Wan Kenobi does what his master never did for him and what he never did for Anakin.
He chooses her.
“Edie, would you do me the honor of becoming my padawan?”
Tears well up in her eyes and her lips tremble as she tries to come up with her answer. After a moment, she catches her breath.
He sinks to his knee in front of her and wraps her in his arms, feeling her shaking and laughing and sobbing into his shoulder. He feels more content than he has in over a decade, holding his brand new padawan and feeling her joy light up the Force like fireworks.
The entire gym rises into a deafening uproar and Obi-Wan can feel people jostling him, but he ignores them in favor of Edie. He separates from her gently, looking into her flushed, tear-streaked face and smiling. She grins back, laughing and wiping at her eyes. He stands and takes her hand, gently leading her through the crowd to the doors.
When the doors shut behind them, the noise of the crowd is deadened to a murmur and they are alone.
“Thank you,” she says softly, her voice breaking on that simple phrase.
In this moment, Obi-Wan realizes he would give this child anything. He would do anything to keep her safe and ensure she felt loved.
Obi-Wan smiles down at her and cups her face in his hands. “I assure you the pleasure is entirely mine, little one. I'm very eager to begin our new adventure together.”
She smiles at him, cheeks dimpling slightly, and he is smitten.
“Let’s go get your things from your room,” he suggests, and she nods.
As they walk, Obi-Wan reaches down and gently curls his fingers around her hand. Edie gasps softly, but squeezes his hand and does not let go.
“As you are bound to discover, I am not like most other masters. I may be on the Council, but I was trained by an unorthodox Jedi that hardly ever followed the rules. I've found my balance between the two. I act very differently to the Council than I will around you. Now that you are in my care, you have become the most important person in my life. I will always put you first, even if that means I have to answer to the Council. Your safety and happiness are my first priority and I do mean that literally. Some masters feel as if they are doing their padawan a favor by training them, when it is often the opposite. I'm honored to be allowed to teach you, and I will not treat this honor lightly.”
Edie’s signature in the Force feels uneasy, but it also feels warm and comforted. Obi-Wan thinks it is likely that she heard some of the stories of padawans being left behind on battlefields by their masters.
“Our relationship is not anyone else’s business. If any masters try to speak to you about how I am treating you, direct them to me immediately. I do not plan on keeping you at arm’s length like many other masters do with their padawans. I sense that will not be your key to success. I am willing to do whatever necessary to ensure you become a knight because I am positive you will grow into an incredible Jedi.”
He lets out a breath.
“I apologize, little one. I'm rambling, aren't I? It's been so long since I've been nervous I forgot that I sometimes speak whatever I'm thinking,” Obi-Wan says bashfully, rubbing his hand over his beard.
Edie looks up at him worriedly. “It's okay! I'm--I'm glad you told me all that. I was nervous too. I didn't know what to expect from you. Whenever you came to visit me, you acted so differently from what I had heard about you.”
He looks down at Edie and she meets his gaze with a timid smile.
“I'm very excited to watch you grow and continue to learn, and I'm excited to be the one to teach you. I'm also very eager to learn from you as well. A true master and padawan pair learn equally from each other,” Obi-Wan says. “You will likely teach me just as much as I teach you.”
“Really? I don't think I have a lot to teach you,” Edie says quietly.
“Oh, I'm certain you will teach me many invaluable lessons, my dear. We are very much alike, but we also have a lot of differences that will make for learning experiences for us both. I've discovered that the teaching methods I used with Anakin will likely not work with you.”
He squeezes her hand lightly to stop her from interrupting.
“I'm not bothered by this. It was ignorant of me to even think that two padawans would learn in the same way, and this is not a fault of yours. I’m eager to change my ways and learn how to best teach you, and I can't wait to learn alongside you, Edie. I feel we are going to make a very successful team.”
Edie looks up at him and he smiles at her.
“I think so too,” she says.
Edie begins to settle in at Obi-Wan's side.
Obi-Wan settles down onto his new meditation pillow and Edie sits on hers, once belonging to Qui-Gon Jinn, directly in front of him. Her dark eyes are wide and eager. He reaches out and carefully collects a small lock of hair from behind her right ear, pushing the rest of her hair over her shoulder.
Edie smiles at him and it's a tight, nervous little thing. He strokes his fingers through the hair he is holding, parts it into three sections, and begins twisting them together to create her braid.
“The master, the padawan, and the Force; they are three entwined to make one. They are inseparable. I, Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Master of the Jedi Order, take you, Elora Edie, to be my padawan-learner. I pledge to guide you in the Light and to teach you in the ways the Force until the time comes that we stand as equals, knight to knight.”
He secures the end of her braid with a white tie, the color all padawans receive first to signify the beginning of their training. He lets his hands fall down to squeeze hers gently.
"I believe our partnership was willed by the Force, and I intend to cherish this opportunity to be your teacher," he says softly.
Tears well in her eyes, but they do not fall. She blinks them away and smiles at him.
“Thank you,” she says.
Obi-Wan reaches out and runs Edie’s braid between his fingers. “It’s my pleasure, little one. I am very glad to have you as my padawan and I'm very eager to continue getting to know you.”
He shifts to sit with his legs crossed underneath him and takes her hands again. “Speaking of, let’s use this time to get better acquainted with one another.”
She seems to perk up at the idea and nods. “Okay.”
“Since I was a child, I’ve always been very open to the unifying Force and have experienced visions my entire life. Sometimes they do not affect me, but occasionally they will leave me a little disoriented. If you don’t feel comfortable helping me after a vision, I will not think badly of you. You can comm one of my friends or Anakin and they can come help.”
“What should I do if you have a vision?” She asks.
“Just tell me where I am and let me reorient myself. I’m not very difficult after a vision, and I don’t have them often.”
She nods. “Okay.”
“Do you know if you have an affinity for the living or unifying Force?” He asks gently.
“I think I’m more in tune with the living Force. I’m always more content in the gardens and I’ve never had a vision before. Some of the initiates in my clan had visions so I kind of know what to expect if you have one,” she explains.
As he listens to her speak, the Force rings with truth and he can almost feel the warm, green energy surrounding her.
“Can I ask a question?” She asks.
“Of course. You can always ask me anything,” Obi-Wan tells her.
Edie brings up one shoulder shyly. “How do you feel about saying 'I love you'?”
Her question catches him off guard, but her hesitancy says everything. The courage it must have taken to ask that question is enough to make him answer truthfully.
“I would be fine with that. I wish I had felt comfortable enough to tell my master that I loved him because I did love him very much. I’m very open to saying it with you.”
He feels her Force signature grow warm and content. Her smile is infectious.
“Let me ask you a question,” Obi-Wan says. “How do you feel about physical affection?”
Edie twists her mouth. “I think I would be open to it."
She hesitates for a long time before speaking again. "I take a long time to warm up to people. Most of the time no one puts up with me long enough for me to come around."
Obi-Wan tilts his head. "I'm not going anywhere, little one, and I can be patient. I cherish your trust far too much to push you before you are ready. We can start off slowly and you are always welcome to put a stop to anything you do not like."
He ducks slightly to catch her gaze. “I want us to have open communication because it's something I wished I’d had in own apprenticeship and while I was teaching Anakin. Your comfort is paramount and I want you to always feel safe bringing to my attention something you are upset about or dislike. I will never judge you.”
She nods solemnly. “I understand.”
“I will never come into your room unless you give me express permission. I ask that you extend me the same courtesy, but it is very unlikely I will ever turn you away if you ask to come into my bedroom.”
“Of course.I’ll always ask.”
“I know you will. I want you to feel at ease and to know that you always have your own space in these quarters that I will not enter without permission.”
She smiles. “Thank you.”
Obi-Wan returns her smile.
“Do you know how a bond is created between a master and padawan?”
Edie shakes her head. “No.”
“Often times it will form naturally as we spend more time together. After a few weeks, we will go to the Halls of Healing and a mind healer will be able to tell us if our bond is forming or not. If it is not forming, they will help us create one.”
He leans a little closer. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“Yes, master." She nods excitedly.
“I think we may already have one.”
Her surprise is evident on her face and Obi-Wan feels his heart constrict with all the love he feels for her in that moment. She is shocked at the idea that they could already share a bond and her innocence is nearly breathtaking.
“It is impossible to force a bond, but I believe we have already formed the beginnings of one. My master and I shared a bond before we even knew each other’s names.”
“Really?” Her eyes are wide.
He nods. “My partnership with Master Qui-Gon was willed by the Force, and I think ours is much the same.”
“What do they feel like?” Edie asks, awe evident in her voice and face.
Obi-Wan cannot help but smile.
“I think they feel warm and comforting. I always enjoyed being connected to my master, and I felt very similar with Anakin. At first, we won’t be able to do much with it, but over time we will be able to communicate through sensation and thought. Both of us are able to block the bond if necessary and there is always a natural shielding that prevents every single thought from being passed between us.”
He looks at her, catching her gaze. “A bond between a master and a padawan is a very sacred and precious thing. We do not treat them lightly, and abusing them is punished severely. This is something very intimate and I would never think to misuse our bond to spy on you or learn something you do not want me to know. That is a violation of your trust.”
Her eyes are wide, but her signature in the Force is soothed. She knows she is safe with him.
“If we truly do have a bond, you’ll likely be able to tell in a few days. It won’t feel like an intrusion, more like something that was supposed to be there, but you never knew it was missing.”
“If you have any questions or concerns about this, don’t be afraid to come to me. I know the crèche masters didn’t prepare you very well for becoming a padawan, but I will take over that responsibility now—and gladly,” he says, letting his truth color his words.
Her fingers curl around his own, but he does not draw attention to it.
“I’m excited to be your padawan,” she says softly, and his chest tightens.
He smiles sweetly at her.
“I’m excited to be your master.”
Obi-Wan lets Edie stand close to his side just outside the Council chambers and he can feel her shaking. She has never been in front of the Council before and even this, a happy occasion, worries her. He rests his hand on her back. She looks up at him and he smiles at her.
She nods. “Yes, sir.”
He opens the doors in front of them and leads her into the Council chamber. Each of the Councilors is in their seat, whether they are actually in Temple or not, and Obi-Wan can sense Edie’s curiosity as she looks around furtively at them. He stops in the middle of the room and guides her to stand in front of him. He rubs his thumb along her shoulder gently.
“Master Kenobi, you have requested our presence,” Master Windu states.
Obi-Wan smiles brightly.
“Yes, my masters. I have requested your presence so that I can officially choose Elora Edie as my padawan.”
Master Yoda nods thoughtfully. “Want to be Master Kenobi’s padawan, you do, Elora?”
Obi-Wan settles his hand more firmly on her shoulder, encouraging her.
“Yes, Master, more than anything.” Her voice rings through the chamber, trembling slightly.
Mace smiles at them. “We acknowledge and accept your choice and offer our congratulations.”
“We wish you success in your coming partnership,” Master Plo Koon says, a smile in his voice.
Obi-Wan can feel Edie’s overwhelming joy being released into the Force. He grins back at his fellow Councilors and feels them celebrate for him.
The Councilors not currently in Temple offer their congratulations before cutting their transmissions and the few remaining stand to greet their youngest member's new padawan. Obi-Wan feels Edie press back against him and he welcomes her weight, smoothing his hands along the curves of her shoulders.
"There's no need to fret, little one," he says softly, and she tilts her head to peer up at him.
Her attention is drawn away from him to Plo Koon as he draws near them, clawed hands held behind his back. She bows low to him in respect and he makes a pleased noise through his mask. He waits for her to straighten before returning her bow and there's a surprised burst of joy in the Force.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, little one. We've heard much about you since Master Kenobi first met you."
Plo chuckles quietly and Obi-Wan can only imagine his padawan's face bearing some version of incredulous disbelief.
"Your master has been beside himself since he realized the Force meant for him to choose you," Depa Billaba says teasingly. "He's not stopped talking about you since then."
When Edie looks up at him, he smiles and doesn't hide his blush. She turns back to Kit Fisto as he approaches and kneels in front of her, sharp teeth bared in a grin.
Mace catches Obi-Wan's eye and smiles warmly. When Kit stands, having been successful in getting Edie to laugh, Mace steps closer and offers a deep bow to them both before Edie can even dip her head. Awe curls lazily away into the Force from his padawan and its joined like a little bit of adoration. She'd never been treated so kindly in the crèche and to have the Grand Master of the Order be the first to show her this respect is revolutionary to her.
When he's upright once more, Edie makes a point of returning his bow properly and Obi-Wan's stomach flips. He dearly loves this child already.
Mace smiles at her and inclines his head in thanks. He offers his hand and she doesn't hesitate to take it. Obi-Wan knows he is sensing for shatterpoints and touch often helps, especially with subjects Mace has never met or spent time around before. Standing so close to his padawan, Obi-Wan can feel the Force grow warm and he relaxes knowing Edie trusts Mace so wholly. He feared she would freeze up and keep the Councilors at arms length, give them perfunctory thanks and stiff bows, but she's surprised him yet again.
"I'm glad to know that Master Obi-Wan has you now," Mace says quietly to Edie.
Her surprise is evident in the Force.
Mace smiles again. "You two will be an incredible team. I'm eager to see you grow together."
"Thank you, Master Windu." Obi-Wan bows slightly to his fellow Council member.
The tiny thread of their bond tugs at the back of Obi-Wan's mind. Excitement for the future leaks across the link and he agrees.
Edie shares some uncomfortable truths and Obi-Wan handles it with his usual grace.
Three weeks have passed since Obi-Wan chose Edie as his padawan, and he can genuinely say that they have been the happiest and most peaceful weeks of his life. She is quiet and sweet, but she keeps hidden a sharp wit and huge vocabulary until he is least expecting it. He has still not gotten used to her voice, soft and lilting and gentle as it reaches out for his attention.
“Yes, padawan?” He turns from where he was pouring tea to see her standing in the doorway to the kitchen.
“I need to tell you something.”
Despite all of his training, Obi-Wan still fears the worst. His stomach sinks, but he shows nothing to her.
Finally, he nods. “Alright.”
She disappears back into the living room and he finishes his task before following her. She is settled on her meditation cushion, looking down at her hands in her lap. Obi-Wan sits across from her, setting his teacup on the floor beside him.
“I know I keep repeating myself, but you can always speak freely,” he says. "I never want you to be fearful to share your troubles with me. I'm always here to help you."
She nods silently, still looking at her lap. She draws in a shaky breath and he aches to hold her, to reassure her that nothing could push him away.
“You don’t have to look at me,” he whispers.
Edie swallows. “I know you haven’t been to the healers yet to get my files, but I wanted to tell you what you’ll find before you read it.”
The dread in his chest tightens its hold on his lungs and he focuses on breathing steadily as he waits for her to continue.
“The healers just recently told me that I’m genetically predisposed to certain,” she takes a deep breath, "mental health conditions. I have the markers for generalized anxiety and depressed mood. That means that no matter how long I meditate or how many tranquility exercises I do I may always still be anxious or depressed. I can take medications if it gets to be too much for me to handle, but there is nothing I or they can do. The crèche masters thought I was just slacking off during meditation practice, but the healers knew something else was wrong. I can’t control it either. Somedays I just wake up and I feel like there’s no reason to even get out of bed. And simple tasks like going to the dining hall make me so anxious I get sick to my stomach. Nothing about being a Jedi will change these things, and I know these were why all my masters thought I wouldn’t be a padawan. They felt that if I couldn’t control my emotions, then there would be no hope for me.”
She still does not look up at him. He takes the opportunity to school his features from the shocked at hearing what his fellow Jedi had said to his padawan.
“I understand if you change your mind about having me as your padawan. I wouldn’t want to deal with me either. I’m not very easy to handle on my bad days.”
Obi-Wan breathes out through his nose.
“Listen very closely to me, Edie,” he says softly, his voice low and soothing. “Under no circumstances will I ever send you back to the crèche, especially not for a medical condition."
“But it can’t be cured. I can’t be fixed. I’ll have this my whole life,” she says, her voice breathy and close to tears.
“I don’t care. I don’t want you to be fixed simply because your crèche masters wanted it. I only want you to seek further treatment if that is what you want for yourself.”
He takes a breath. He will speak with the healers and then the crèche masters in that order as soon as possible.
“May I hold your hand?” He asks gently, resting his hand on the floor between them.
When she hesitates, he adds, “You can say no.”
Her breath shivers. “Not right now.”
He takes his hand away. “That’s alright. I want you to know that I am ready to support you fully, no matter what may come. I don’t know much about these topics right now, but I am going to speak to the healers and do my own research if necessary. I will not leave you to flounder on your own simply because this is something I have not dealt with before.”
He remembers Tahl, but keeps it to himself.
"This is not something you could help. This was passed to you from your family and you cannot do anything but handle it, and I am fully prepared to help you as best I can.”
Obi-Wan’s chest aches when he realizes she is crying. Her head is bent over her lap, hands cupped over her mouth, and her tiny body quakes with the force of her sobs.
“I thought you wouldn’t want me anymore,” she gasps.
“My darling girl,” he murmurs, heartbroken at seeing someone so young deal with something so difficult. “Nothing in this galaxy could make me give you up.”
He sits with her until her sobs have tapered off into hiccups and her cheeks are flushed and wet with tears. He still does not touch her.
“I think you are very brave to come to me and tell me this, and you are incredibly strong to already have to handle this at such a young age.”
“But I can’t control it,” she says, her words choppy. "What if I can't go on missions?"
“That’s all right. We will learn to deal with it however works best. I don’t want you worrying about missions at all right now. We need to focus on the here and now, like my master always used to say. I will do everything I can to help you through your bad days, I promise. We will learn and work together on this, okay?”
She nods, wiping her eyes.
“Good. Now, would you like some tea?”
She nods again. He stands quickly and makes his way back to the kitchen. He dumps his now-cold cup of tea and refills it from the kettle. He gets another and fills it for Edie. She is still sitting on her meditation cushion when he returns and she takes her cup gratefully. They sit quietly with each other and drink their tea, and Obi-Wan listens to her sniffle and hiccup as she continues to calm down.
Obi-Wan lets out a breath.
“I want to be sure that I know exactly how you want to handle this situation. Would you mind me asking you some questions once I know more?”
She shakes her head. “No, I don’t mind.”
Silence falls between them and she sips from her tea, still sniffling. Obi-Wan unfolds himself from his cushion and pads to the side table, picking up the box of tissues. He comes back and settles back down, sitting the box in between them. She takes one and wipes her nose.
Obi-Wan swallows a sip of tea. “You’re welcome, little one.”
While silence with Anakin was usually unbearable, Obi-Wan finds that silence with Edie is calm and peaceful and soothing. Her signature in the Force pulses contentedly. He thinks she probably enjoys the quiet, prefers it to overwhelming noise. Obi-Wan adds that observation to the growing list of Edie’s unique qualities that interest and captivate him.
A few days after their discussion on her medical records, Obi-Wan makes his visit to the healers to get Edie’s information. He does not expect to be lead to an office and made to sit down across from the head healer, Vokara Che.
“Do you know anything about your padawan’s medical records?” She asks.
Obi-Wan stares at her for a moment before he answers her question.
“She told me about her anxiety and depression, but that’s all. Is there something more serious I should know about?” He asks, his own anxiety forming in the pit of his stomach.
Vokara Che does not look up from where she is typing on her comm unit. “She gave me all the permissions when she came for her check up after you chose her.”
She turns the screen to face him. “This is her midichlorian count.”
Obi-Wan’s hand creeps toward his mouth and he strokes his beard to mask the movement. His shock gets the better of him.
Vokara rolls her eyes. “Yes, but I would have put it a little more eloquently.”
“Stars, Kenobi, I would have thought you would have used a little more tact. This isn’t something I want broadcasted across the Temple,” Vokara hisses.
Obi-Wan stares at the screen. “You’re sure this is hers. This is Edie’s count.”
Vokara nods. “We just checked it again two weeks ago.”
Obi-Wan swallows drly.
“This does not affect her negatively," Vokara says, folding her hands in front of her. "She’s perfectly healthy. Sure, she’s heavier than most girls her age, but I’m not too concerned. That being said, the other padawans her age will likely use her weight as a means to target her and demean her. You need to be ready to intervene if necessary because that could get very ugly very quickly.”
"Anxiety and depression will often manifest together and feed off one another. One escalates the other. It's a cycle that is hard to break. Edie is rarely in control of her emotions if one or both of them are working against her. She sees a mind healer every two weeks, more often if she feels it’s necessary. They help her develop coping skills for when she is in a downswing or feeling slightly off kilter. She’s doing very well right now, but if her problems become more severe, then we will probably seek medicinal therapy. Do you have any issue with that?”
Obi-Wan shakes his head. “No. None at all.”
Vokara nods. “Good because she will need your absolute support to continue living with these problems. They will not go away. Her crèche masters struggled with the idea that they could not simply force her to meditate longer to rid her of her anxiety. Mental illnesses are not logical or simple. She may get upset over taking a test, but have no problem walking onto a battlefield. You will never know what will be her trigger until it comes. You will need to be her biggest advocate because there will be a lot of people that think she is unfit to be a Jedi or even a citizen of the Republic.”
“What?” The word feels icy in his mouth.
“Some people believe that anyone suffering from a mental illness or disability should be—isolated. They feel that they are a strain on society and should not be pandered to."
Obi-Wan feels his heart racing in his throat. He assumed he would have to protect his padawan from Separatists, but not regular citizens that simply think she is undeserving of a life.
“I’m afraid you may go up against some of this with the Council. Edie will need longer recovery times between missions and some may trigger her depression and cause an even longer downtime. Sending her back out into the field immediately will likely make it worse. The Council will have a hard time not being able to treat her like a normal Jedi. You need to advocate for her because they will not listen to her. Make them listen to you.”
Obi-Wan nods. “I will.”
“On occasion, you may be able to help her out of her downswings, but don't count on it always happening. It's not a slight against you. She cannot help it. Her moods will change seemingly at random, but if you stand beside her and support her, then she will do well.”
“I will do my best.”
Vokara smiles tightly. “Edie doesn't know her midichlorian count. No one outside this room knows her count either. Her count was very low when she was first brought to the Temple, but it steadily rose as she grew. When I realized how high it was going, I hid the results and ensured I was the only one to take her counts after that. I did not want her getting treated differently than the other children and I knew nothing good could come of this information. I would advise not telling anyone. If Edie asks, it is up to you whether or not you tell her. I don’t know what I would suggest.”
“I’ll think of something,” he says. “She hasn’t asked yet.”
Vokara nods. “She likely never will. Every mention to me about it has been insinuating that it’s absurdly low and the root of all her problems as a Jedi.”
Obi-Wan does not doubt that.
“Has she not exhibited stronger use of the Force in training?” He asks.
Vokara shakes her head. “No. She does not seem to hesitate when using the Force—I had her practice with me—but I have no doubt that her usage will be very strong with further training and focus.”
He shifts to sit more comfortably in the chair, stroking his beard.
He looks up, and Vokara’s eyes are soft.
“I’m delighted you chose her. I can’t think of any other Jedi I would want her to be with more than you. I can tell you already love her and I’m glad she has you as her master. She will flourish with your teachings and become an incredible knight.”
Obi-Wan feels his cheeks warm under the praise. “She’s already made my life a brighter place. I don’t think I’ve smiled this much in years.”
Vokara grins. “It suits you.”
He returns her smile with one of his own. Hearing another master speak so fondly of his padawan means more to him than if they had complimented him personally. Vokara finishes typing up her message and sends it Obi-Wan’s personal comm unit.
“That’s all I have for you, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to come by and see me. If you want us to tell her about her midichlorian count together, we can. It’s up to you.”
Obi-Wan nods. “I will think on it. Thank you for telling me.”
They both stand.
“Of course,” Vokara says, bowing to him. “May the Force be with you both.”
He returns her bow and smiles. “Thank you.”
Obi-Wan turns over in his mind all the information he has learned as he walks to the dining hall. He stands off to the side by one of the large windows and thinks about the responsibility he has taken on by choosing Edie. None of what he was told opens the possibility of him renouncing her and he is more than capable of handling it all. He worries for her—not for himself.
He feels when his padawan’s signature in the Force draws nearer to him. He straightens up and looks out into the growing crowd of Jedi converging for midmeal. Edie is difficult to spot because of her short stature, but after a small cluster of padawans pass by him, he can see her walking in his direction. She is scanning the crowd for him and his chest tightens when she finally spots him. Her joy colors the Force in the hall and she quickens her steps.
Obi-Wan cannot keep from smiling as she gets closer.
“Hello there,” he says sweetly.
He reaches out to smooth her hair when she finally comes to stand in front of him.
“How were your classes?” He asks.
“Good. We’re learning about which planets are ruled by royal families,” she says.
He nods. “I’ve been to several of them. I’ll tell you about those missions sometime soon.”
He is about to suggest they head into the dining hall for midmeal when he hears his name.
Obi-Wan turns and grins at the sight of his closest friend. Bant drags him into a hug and he returns it with zeal. He had not realized how terribly he had missed her until he laid eyes on her.
“Bant, it's so good to see you again. I want you to meet someone,” he says, pulling away from her.
Obi-Wan sets his hand on Edie’s shoulder lightly. She is sometimes nervous to meet new people, but he gives her his support.
“I'd like for you to meet my new padawan, Edie.”
Bant grins at him before smiling down at Edie.
“It's so great to meet you, Edie.”
“It's a pleasure to meet you too, Master Eerin.” She bows to her politely.
“No, no, no, call me Bant. Or Master Bant if you must. You're like family now,” she says.
Edie smiles widely and her delight warms the Force surrounding them.
“I never imagined you'd choose another padawan,” Bant says to him. “You always seemed so busy.”
Obi-Wan shrugs and smiles down at Edie. “She was special, and I couldn't deny the will of the Force.”
Edie’s signature flares bright in the Force. Her delight is palpable.
Bant smiles. “You’ll have to tell me everything soon. I need to go report to the Council, but hopefully we can share a meal or tea and talk.”
“Of course. You have my comm number, and you can come by our quarters anytime,” Obi-Wan says.
Bant leans in and kisses Obi-Wan on the cheek. “I’ll see you later.”
She waves to Edie, who returns it eagerly, and turns to make her way to the Council chamber.
Obi-Wan guides Edie on the path to the dining hall. “Bant was my closest friend in the crèche. We’ve been friends for a long time.”
Edie nods and follows along at his side. After they have chosen their food and settled at a table, Obi-Wan tells her about his friendship with Bant.
“I can’t remember when we first became friends. We’ve always just been together. She’s two years younger than me, but that never made any difference. She's always been there for me and I for her."
They tuck into their meals, but Edie pipes up with questions occasionally about her classes or anything that is on her mind. While Anakin's mind was almost always focused on mechanics, Edie's mind wanders everywhere. Obi-Wan never knows what topic her next question is going to be on, and he delights in that.
"Can you tell me more about Master Bant?"
Obi-Wan smiles at the title. "Of course. Bant was very quiet as a child, and everyone always mistook that for innocence or naivety, but she is never to be underestimated."
"She is someone who prefers to work through problems civilly before pulling her lightsaber, which I admire greatly. She's a great diplomat and I wish I could go on more missions with her. I haven't been able to spend any time with her properly in years."
"Who was her master?" Edie asks
Obi-Wan doesn't expect the thought of Tahl to hurt as badly as it does. He smiles though and tells her.
"About a year after I was chosen, my master's friend Tahl chose Bant as her padawan.”
He nods. “Yes. She saw how brave and resourceful Bant was during an invasion of the Temple so she chose her as her padawan.”
“Your best friend was your master’s friend’s padawan,” Edie says excitedly. “That’s amazing.”
He laughs. “Yes, it was.”
They are quiet again for several minutes, and Obi-Wan watches Edie look around the dining hall. Despite it being almost identical to the other dining halls in the Temple, she takes in every detail as if she is seeing it for the first time. She glances around at all the various Jedi knights and masters and their padawans sharing a meal together, and Obi-Wan is struck by the simple beauty of the moment.
"Do you have any meetings today, master?"
Obi-Wan's chest tightens when he hears her call him master. She doesn't do it very often so it's a pleasant surprise.
"I don't have any meetings today, thankfully."
She smiles, obviously pleased by this news, but she doesn't offer any explanation.
Obi-Wan asks, "How would you feel about getting to know the Council members better sometime? Not on an official level, but as my coworkers and friends.”
She gives him an uneasy look. “I suppose.”
“They’re not all as intimidating as they seem. You were wary of me, and I turned out to be nice, didn’t I?”
“I mean, I guess,” she says, grinning at him cheekily.
He sits back. “I walked straight into that one.”
“You did,” she teases.
He laughs and feels her delight warm the Force around them. Her smile is infectious.
Edie meets her padawan-brother and his padawan.
Edie does not see the astromech rolling towards her as her attention is focused on trying to quickly get back to her quarters before her master begins to worry. She was supposed to meet him there nearly ten minutes ago but she was held up by one of her teachers. They were going to meet Anakin Skywalker’s ship in the hangar and she was terribly nervous to meet her brother padawan. She only discovers the droid once she has tripped over one of its legs and is sprawled on the Temple floor. The droid beeps at her and she thinks it almost sounds concerned, but she was never good at learning binary.
Hurried footsteps come near her and then someone is kneeling down to help her sit up.
“Are you alright?”
One of their hands is gloved while the other is bare which strikes Edie as odd. Until her eyes follow along their arm and take in the color of the tunics and tabards. She only knows of one person wears black tabards and dark tunics. When Edie looks up into Anakin Skywalker’s face, her first thought is that he is very handsome before her entire body is flooded with nervous anxiety. She does not mean to rip her arm away from him, but in her haste to present herself as a dutiful padawan, she leaves him empty handed.
She scrambles to her feet despite still feeling slightly unsteady from her fall and bows to him. She misses the way he scowls at the title.
“Just call me Anakin,” he says, still kneeling in front of her. “I know why you know my name, but I don’t seem to know yours.”
Edie avoids eye contact with nearly everyone except Obi-Wan, and it took her several weeks to build up the courage to do so. She makes sure to glance at his eyes or his nose to give the illusion she is being respectful.
“Edie,” she supplies softly.
Her heart races faster when he smiles at her.
“That’s a beautiful name.”
A moment later realization shows evidently on his face.
She stares at him in confusion. “Yes.”
“You’re Obi-Wan’s new padawan! He sent me a transmission about you!”
Edie knew that. Obi-Wan had told her after he had done it because he felt it better to tell Anakin ahead of his return to Coruscant than springing it on him as a surprise.
Upon hearing her master’s name, Edie remembers where she was supposed to be going.
“I’m supposed to be meeting him at our quarters,” she says lamely.
“I’ll go with you. We’ll comm him to let him know we’re coming.”
Anakin stands and Edie has to tilt her head back slightly to look up at him. He’s taller than her master, but only by a few inches. His presence is commanding though and she wishes Obi-Wan was there to help her through her anxiety.
“Come on, R2,” Anakin calls behind him, already walking.
Edie runs to catch up, the droid rolling after her.
She looks up at him as he comms their master and waits for him to respond.
“Hey, Obi-Wan! I met Edie!”
He grins down at her and she tries to smile back.
“She tripped over R2 in the hallway. We’re coming to your quarters now.”
Relief colors Obi-Wan’s voice even over the commlink. “Oh, good. I’ll meet you there.”
They end the transmission.
“He must have been looking for you,” Anakin says as he puts his commlink back in his belt.
The walk to the quarters is quiet, but occasionally the silence is broken by Anakin asking a question and Edie answering him. The droid follows along behind them like an akk puppy.
“Is this your droid?” She asks as they get into a lift.
“Yeah, this is R2-D2. He’s my astromech,” Anakin says, pressing the button for the right floor.
Edie looks down at R2-D2 and smiles. “Does he understand Basic?”
R2 chirps at her and Anakin laughs. “He does.”
“Hi, R2,” Edie says, and he swivels his dome in her direction.
He beeps at her in a happy sort of tune and she grins.
“Can you understand him?” She asks.
Anakin nods. “Almost perfectly. Although some of his more colorful language doesn’t translate well.”
Edie covers her mouth as she laughs.
When they get to the quarters she shares with Obi-Wan, she touches the scanner by the door and the door slides open quietly. She walks inside with Anakin and R2 following behind.
“Hey, why isn’t your name on the nameplate?” Anakin asks.
Edie shrugs out of her cloak. “The planet I come from doesn’t have family names. I have to choose one when I feel it’s right. They usually reference something of importance to our lives.”
“So you just have one name?”
She shakes her head, reaching up to hang her cloak beside Obi-Wan’s. “My first name is Elora. My middle name is Edie. I go by Edie because I like it better. Elora sounds too fancy.”
Anakin nods. “Fair enough.”
Obi-Wan comes out of the kitchen with a tray of tea. “I’m glad you finally decided to join me.”
Edie grins at the sight of her master. Simply his presence makes her feel lighter.
“How were your classes today?” Obi-Wan asks.
“They were good. We’re learning about aquatic planets in astronomy,” she replies.
Anakin seems quiet like he is feeling something in the Force, but Edie says nothing.
“Where is Ahsoka?” Obi-Wan asks Anakin.
Anakin sits down on the couch and stretches his legs out. “She was catching up with Master Plo.”
“You should comm her to come here and meet Edie,” Obi-Wan says, taking a sip of his tea.
Edie watches Anakin pull his comm out of his belt again and cannot help the way anxiety crawls up her throat. A warm hand slides against her arm and she looks over to see Obi-Wan leaning towards her with a comforting smile.
He says it so softly that even she barely hears him.
“How’s the bond coming along?” Anakin asks.
Obi-Wan sits back and grins at him. “Nicely. It’s growing normally, if a bit quickly.”
“Can you use it yet?”
“No. Sometimes I can feel her, but it’s usually quick and faint,” Obi-Wan says.
Anakin nods along.
“It’ll happen soon,” he says with a smile.
Edie cannot help but smile back. Having Anakin’s approval means more than he will ever know. She takes her cup from the tray and tastes the tea. It is the perfect temperature and soothes her anxiety slightly.
“You said Edie tripped over R2?” Obi-Wan asks.
She nods embarrassedly and Anakin laughs.
“I think he may have done it on purpose.” He reaches over and knocks on R2-D2’s dome.
R2-D2 chirps and rocks side to side.
“Don’t do it again, buddy. She landed pretty hard.”
His response is an affirmative whistle. He shifts out his foreleg and rolls around the sofa to Edie, emitting a soft, apologetic whine. Edie smiles and reaches out to rest her hand on his dome.
“It’s okay. I forgive you,” she says.
He chirps happily.
The door chime sounds and Obi-Wan stands, setting his tea cup on the table. Edie stands too, out of anxiety and the desire to seem polite. The door slides open and Ahsoka grins up at Obi-Wan.
“Hello, Master Obi-Wan!”
“Hello, Ahsoka.” He steps to the side and looks back at Edie, who fidgets slightly. “I’d like for you to meet my padawan, Edie.”
Ahsoka walks into the quarters and stops in front of Edie with a big smile. “Hi!”
Edie cannot help but smile back. Ahsoka’s joy is infectious. She is taller than Edie, but most people are, and Edie finds herself kind of entranced by her.
“Hi,” she says softly.
“How old are you?” Ahsoka asks.
“Eleven,” Edie answers. “How old are you?”
“Fourteen,” Ahsoka says. “But I’ll turn fifteen soon.”
Obi-Wan takes his seat again. “Sit down, you two.”
Edie settles stiffly on the couch, watching Ahsoka intently as she sits between her and Anakin.
“Tell Edie how we met, Snips,” Anakin says, nudging her with his elbow.
As Ahsoka tells the tale of her assignment to Anakin and their rocky beginning, Edie watches her and the way she speaks and moves. When she turns her head to look at Anakin, Edie can see a string of beads hanging behind her montrals.
“How did you meet Master Obi-Wan?”
Edie glances to her master, who smiles sweetly at her, and tries to find the words.
“He came to visit my clan a few times, and he chose me at the initiate trial,” she says, hesitant to share the details of their first meeting.
Obi-Wan takes over for her. “You know I like to spend time in the creche and with the initiates. After the first time I saw her, I knew she was meant to be my padawan and I returned to her clan several times to visit her. The Force was quite insistent that I choose her.”
“That’s awesome!” Ahsoka says with a grin.
Anakin’s comm beeps and he pulls it from his belt. He reads the text and sighs heavily, levering himself off the couch.
“Come on, Snips. We have to give our report to the Council.”
Ahsoka stands, and Edie and Obi-Wan follow.
“It was nice to meet you,” Ahsoka says, smiling at Edie.
“You too,” Edie says.
“Don’t worry, we’ll be around for a while,” Anakin says. “And Obi-Wan can’t keep us out of his quarters because I know his codes.”
Obi-Wan purses his lips. “Even when I change them you manage to learn them.”
Edie hides her smile and Anakin grins.
When Anakin, Ahsoka, and R2-D2 have gone, Edie lets out a breath. Obi-Wan reaches out to smooth her hair and pulls her close, but his touch his light in case she decides to pull away. She presses up close to his chest and he strokes his fingers through her hair.
“You did very well, little one, and I’m certain they already like you,” he says. “Let’s fix something for dinner, hm?”
She nods and steps away. Obi-Wan bends to retrieve the tray from the table and they walk to the kitchen together. Edie looks through the cold storage and pulls out the meat and vegetables they chose from the kitchen’s available food stock. As Obi-Wan heats a pan, Edie washes the vegetables and starts to chop them. The comfortable silence is enough to soothe Edie’s weary nerves. Obi-Wan only speaks to her occasionally to ask for something or ask her opinion. Occasionally, if he is moving past her, he will press a kiss to her head. They are becoming more open to easy affection and Edie loves the change. She does not have to worry about Obi-Wan’s feelings towards her if he is eager to show affection.
Before they sit down to eat, Edie wraps her arms around her master’s waist, holding him tightly and pressing her face to his chest. She feels him stiffen slightly before immediately relaxing into her hug, sliding his arms around her back and resting his cheek on the top of her head. The simple act is more than enough to fill Edie with warmth.
Obi-Wan takes Edie to Ilum to find her lightsaber crystal.
Edie looks at the cave with nothing but trepidation in her eyes. She turns back to Obi-Wan, her face almost pleading with him to take her back to the Temple. He wishes he could help her, but this is the first test a youngling must take on their own to become a Jedi. Most are thrilled for the experience, but Edie has been full of anxiety since he told her they were coming to Illum.
“I’ll be right here the whole time, waiting for you,” he says gently.
Her breath shivers as she sighs heavily and frost billows from her mouth. He fixes her coat, settling it more comfortably on her shoulders, and tucks her scarf closer to her neck.
“There is no danger inside,” he tells her. “Trust in the Force; listen to your instincts.”
He touches her back, not pushing but urging her forward. She takes a step before looking back up at him. Her cheeks are already pink from the cold, and she sniffles every now and then.
“You can do it,” he murmurs, smoothing her hair. “I know you can.”
She nods silently before walking carefully toward the cave. When she looks back at him again, he smiles encouragingly. He holds his breath until she has disappeared inside.
He was not this nervous when he brought Anakin to Ilum, but Edie is different. Whereas Anakin's fears and doubts are carefully hidden beneath the surface, Edie's are on display for everyone to see. That can elicit different responses based on the person. Obi-Wan is drawn to soothe and protect and encourage. Some masters jump at the chance to scold her and insist she meditate on her inability to reach the usual impassive state of a Jedi. Obi-Wan doubts she will ever be that way, and he is glad. If she was anything but herself, then the Order would lose so much.
Maybe he is becoming more like his master after all. He is more willing to embrace the eccentricities and differences of the Jedi instead of campaigning for universal compliance. He cannot even imagine what Qui-Gon would say if he saw him now.
Obi-Wan settles down at his little campsite and breathes deeply in preparation to meditate to pass the time. He finds it a bit difficult to center himself and his anxieties are consistently drawn to the thought of Edie inside the cave. He worries that he pushed her too quickly, but then he shakes his head and settles himself. She needs a lightsaber, and this is the first test a padawan must take in the journey to become a knight.
He slips into his meditation easily after that and finds himself comforted by the easy warmth he finds there. Sleep and meditation have become his only peaceful moments amidst the war, but now with Edie he finds himself enjoying more of such moments even if they are not exactly silent.
Edie stands at the end of a narrow bridge of ice and fidgets nervously. Across the bridge, she can see the shine of a crystal. She can hear it too. It sings to her, sweet and enticing, and she knows this is her crystal. Reaching it will be the problem. She has yet to succeed even small Force-assisted jumps much less what this would require her. The ice does not look too thin, but walking across it could still cause it to break.
She takes a breath and closes her eyes. She reaches out with the Force to evaluate the strength of the bridge. It seems stable enough to allow her across, but she decides to play it safe and crawl across on her belly. Spreading her weight out across a wider area will lessen the possibility of the ice breaking underneath her.
“It’s not so bad. It’s like the obstacle course at the Temple when we crawl under the netting,” she tells herself.
Edie sighs heavily and sinks to her knees, laying down on her stomach. She manages to find a rhythm that allows for minimal jostling but still gets her across the bridge. The movement of her arms kicks up snow and she grits her teeth against the chill of it on her face. The closer she draws to her crystal, the clearer its singing becomes. She is reminded of an instrument that sounds eerily similar to a person’s singing voice and it becomes hard to decipher which it actually is the longer you listen.
It feels like hours have passed before Edie makes it across the bridge and can stand up. She brushes the snow off her coat despite it being caked to the seams and in her scarf.
Surveying the wall of ice in front of her, the crystal is too high for her to reach on her own. Even standing on the blocks of ice would not get her high enough. She settles down on the snow, breathing deeply, and centers herself in the Force. She can feel her master’s signature very faintly and for a moment she is distracted. Every day she is reminded how lucky she is to have him and how dearly she already loves him. He has been the very best thing to ever happen to her and Edie sometimes cannot believe he chose her.
The singing of her crystal draws her attention back to the task at hand. She breathes slowly and focuses on the crystal’s signature in the Force. It is bright and sparkling and Edie reaches out for it carefully. She rarely enjoyed practicing saber techniques, but Edie always loved practicing utilizing the Force. It requires a concentration and finesse most children her age struggle to grasp, but she found herself easily mastering the concepts given to them. She spent hours in her room carefully moving objects and replacing them in their rightful spots. She still could not slide a datapad out of a shelf, but she knew that task was difficult for even some senior padawans.
The crystal’s singing has softened to a gentle croon and it’s the most beautiful sound she has ever heard.
Edie opens her eyes to see her crystal suspended in front of her and she releases her hold on it to let it drop into her hands. Some crystals betray their color immediately but some not until they are placed in a lightsaber. This crystal has no discernible color and she wonders what her blade will look like. Carefully placing her crystal in the pocket of her coat, Edie stands from the snow.
She starts back across the bridge of ice and tries to keep her rhythm steady. She pushes off with the toes of her boots and pulls with her forearms, doing her best to make the motion as smooth as possible. What would she do if the bridge collapsed? She didn't look into the crevasse below before beginning this trek.
Nearly halfway across, Edie hears the telltale sound of ice cracking. She freezes for a moment, hoping the cracking ends, but she feels the bridge sink beneath her. She scrambles to her feet, the snow sliding across the ice and making her slip. She finally gains traction and bolts for solid ground. As she runs across the bridge, it continues snapping and she struggles to keep her balances as it jerks beneath her.
The last pieces of ice fall away underneath her and Edie lunges. She manages to grab hold of an uneven patch of ice that stops her from sliding down into the crevasse below. Taking a moment to catch her breath, Edie starts trying to pull herself up onto the ice. She has never had great upper body strength and she panics, dangling over open air. After all the anxiety and hard work to retrieve her crystal, she might not even make it out of the cave. Her fear mounts the longer she's unable to pull herself to safety.
Through the tiny beginnings of their bond, her master's alarm is evident. His Force signature wraps around her, bolstering her strength and lending her momentary peace. It's the first time Edie has truly felt him in the Force and she is in awe. His signature is soothing and encouraging and full of warmth, and it gives her the strength to finally climb to safety.
She lays in the snow, panting, for a long moment.
“That was close.”
Edie rolls to her knees and gets to her feet. Her legs still feel weak from the overload of adrenaline. She makes her way back through the caves, occasionally stopping to reach out with the Force to search for her master’s signature so she can ensure she is not lost.
He is already standing when she finally emerges from the cave, watching the mouth with eager worry in his blue eyes. Edie is hit with a now familiar pang of emotion at the sight of him. His place in the Force shines almost blindingly bright and his talent leaves her in awe. She can only hope to be as skilled as he is when she's a knight. When he spots her, his face brightens with a grin and her whole body fills with warm excitement under his gaze. He meets her at the handful of steps and holds out his hands to steady her as she descends. His Force signature curls around her, protective and joyful.
Edie finally finishes her lightsaber!
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Three days after their return to the Temple and Obi-Wan can tell Edie is growing frustrated. Each day she has worked tirelessly to construct her lightsaber. It comes together very slowly, piece by piece, but she is forced to disassemble it several times when they do not fit together. Obi-Wan realizes he took for granted his and Anakin’s skill with machines. He had his lightsaber completed in one day, and Anakin in less than a day. From their time together, Obi-Wan thinks Edie will be too proud to ask for assistance, but he also does not want to force it on her. He decides to allow her a few more days before he broaches the subject.
He only has to wait one day before Edie slinks up to him, parts cradled in her hands, and asks him very quietly for help. Her shame is evident on her face and in her voice. Once again, Obi-Wan is impressed at how she consistently overcomes her fear to approach him.
Obi-Wan sets his datapad aside and smiles at her. “Of course. I would be happy to help you.”
He stands from his chair and sinks to his knees at the low table in the middle of the room. When Edie places her parts on the table and sits across from him, Obi-Wan is struck by the similarities.
“Both Anakin and I built our lightsabers on this table,” he says softly, smoothing his hand over the tabletop. “In fact, I built both my lightsabers on here.”
Edie’s brow furrows just slightly. “Both your lightsabers?”
“Sometimes a Jedi outgrows their first lightsaber and have to build a new one to better suit their skill and stature,” he explains, and she nods along. “But my lightsaber was lost to a melting pit on Naboo.”
Her brown eyes widen and Obi-Wan smiles gently. “I was close to outgrowing it anyway. And some Jedi like to redesign their sabers. It’s a personal choice.”
He pulls his lightsaber from his belt and sets it on the table for her to see.
“What did your first one look like?” Edie asks.
“It was silver and black and looked very similar to Master Qui-Gon’s saber. I can show his to you sometime. It’s kept in the Archives because it was the first saber in a millennia to kill a Sith.”
Her eyes are sad when she looks up at him beneath her lashes. It is a look he is used to seeing now when he talks about his past and losing his master. It is not pity, but empathy of the deepest kind. A facet of his padawan that Obi-Wan adores but worries it could affect her over the course of her training and life as a Jedi. He will find the perfect way to help her move past it but not lose it completely.
“Let's see what you've got here.”
She pushes the parts toward him and looks at him pleadingly.
“I don't know what I'm doing wrong,” she says softly.
Obi-Wan catalogs each of the pieces she has and where they should go on a lightsaber. He realizes she is missing a part that is vital to holding her casing together but would seem innocuous and not obvious.
"Wait a moment," he says, standing from the table.
He goes to the small cabinet against the far wall and opens one of the drawers. He has kept spare lightsaber parts since his padawan days because he and his master were always needing to patch up their sabers after rough missions. He finds the part she needs easily and comes back, kneeling down across from her again.
“You were missing this. It will hold everything together and keep it all stable.”
Edie studies the piece of metal he placed in front of her and he can see the realization of the missing part and how it should act.
Obi-Wan smiles. “You're welcome, my dear.”
As he is watching her slide pieces around on the table where she wants them, the parts of her lightsaber slowly lift from the table. They float in front of her and she uses both her hands and the Force to place them in their correct spots.
It is something Obi-Wan has never seen before. Usually a padawan will use a meditation to piece together their lightsaber but hardly ever with their eyes open and utilizing their hands to move things around. It was as if she was building it suspended in a ray and not in thin air. The ease with which she does it also shocks him. He's only ever witnessed seasoned masters use this technique.
The completed lightsaber falls gently into her hands and she pulls a leather sleeve from beside her to roll onto the handle. She straightens it to her liking, gripping the saber and testing the feel of it. Obi-Wan watches her realize he is staring and her satisfied smile falls.
“What's wrong? Did I mess it up?”
Obi-Wan comes back to himself forcefully. “No, Edie, you did nothing wrong. It was perfect.”
She looks unconvinced.
“Edie, I'm simply amazed at what you just did. You used the Force to suspend your saber parts in front of you and used both the Force and your hands to build your lightsaber. I was enthralled by your skill.”
She ducks her head and looks down at her saber in her lap. Even with their bond not fully formed yet, Obi-Wan can feel her pride and her joy at having completed her lightsaber.
“Can I see your lightsaber?” He asks softly.
Edie hands it over, practically shoving it at him, and he smiles. He looks at the short silver barrel covered in a brown leather sleeve and the smooth edges and thinks it fits his padawan perfectly.
He hands it back to her and folds his hands on the table. “It’s perfect. Do you want to turn it on?”
Obi-Wan can feel her nervousness permeate the Force. She settles it in her hand and carefully thumbs the button, ensuring it is pointed away from either of them.
Her blade snaps to life and hums contentedly in her hand, casting its green glow on both of them.
Joy and awe swirl around him and Obi-Wan basks in it. He looks at her blade and smiles. It will be nice to see that color again after such a long time.
“Just like Master Qui-Gon,” he says softly.
Edie’s reaction—unadulterated love and happiness—fills him with warmth and he feels the beginning of their bond throb in the back of his mind. He keeps it to himself and keeps his focus on Edie and her newest accomplishment in her journey to becoming a knight.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you chose another padawan!”
Obi-Wan just smiles. “Hello, Garen.”
“Hello, nerfherder. Why didn’t you comm me? I had to hear it from Bant! I thought we promised we’d always keep each other up to date on the happenings in our lives.”
“I was busy getting her settled and spending time with her.”
Garen gives him a withering look. “It’s been over three months.”
Obi-Wan shrugs. “I like her more.”
“I’m hurt,” Garen teases.
They grin at each other and Garen reaches out to pull Obi-Wan into a hug.
“Where is she? I want to meet the girl that stole you away from me,” Garen says eagerly.
“She’s actually at a knighting right now. The padawan being knighted was in the choir and they’re singing for her.”
Garen looks puzzled. “Bant didn’t say anything about her being in the choir.”
“I didn’t know either,” Obi-Wan says. “She only just told me this morning. Imagine my surprise when I find out I have a padawan in the choir.”
Garen smiles. “Is it a public knighting?”
“Yes, but I didn’t want to presume—”
“You were just going to miss out on seeing your padawan perform for the first time for me?” Garen scoffs. “Not a chance. We’re going.”
They walk to the knighting chamber in easy conversation. When they draw near to the room, Obi-Wan can feel his padawan’s signature pulsing and bright. Just the proximity to it makes his heart race and stomach flutter with excitement. They take their places with the other friends and guests, but Obi-Wan eases his way toward the front so he can see the proceedings clearly.
He finds his padawan standing near the front of the choir’s group because she is one of the shortest and he finds himself smiling simply by laying eyes on her. He gently touches their bond to draw her attention, and Edie looks over to meet his eyes with a smile. Obi-Wan feels her excitement tempered slightly by anxiety that was not there moments ago. He worries that he is distracting her by being here. But why else would she tell him about the event that morning if she had not wanted him there?
He turns back to Garen, allowing Edie to see that he is not solely focused on her alone. He knows the attention can unnerve her.
“She’s the third one from the left in the very front,” he tells him, watching as Garen searches for her.
Garen’s face slowly breaks into a smile. “She’s precious. I think you chose very well.”
Obi-Wan smiles indulgently, looking over again to where she is talking quietly with another youngling beside her. She is smiling and relaxed and Obi-Wan basks in her contentedness.
“I can’t wait to meet her,” Garen says, still watching her. He finally turns back to Obi-Wan. “What’s her name?”
He nods. “Her name is Edie. She’s eleven and already a diplomat. I’m glad I chose her. I don’t know how I lived without her.”
Garen smiles. “That’s great. Bant said you were really excited about her, and I can see why.”
Obi-Wan nods. “I am. She is a joy to have around, and I’m excited to teach her.”
Garen grins at him and Obi-Wan feels his entire body go warm. They finally turn their focus to the knighting as it begins. He pays most attention to his padawan, how she sways slightly from side to side as she waits, and he watches her taking in the ceremony. His chest is filled with warmth at the thought of knighting Edie in this very chamber, raising her to an equal title because although he holds the rank of master he is no less a knight. Just the thought leaves him slightly breathless.
His attention is captivated by a swelling in the Force, a tension that begs of something to come. The padawan’s braid is cut and she rises to her feet with a grin. A moment later, she leads the choir in a lively, celebratory song.
Obi-Wan grips Garen’s arm. He never takes his eyes from his padawan, watching the joy on her face as she sings. It only takes a second of concentration to single her voice out from the rest and he melts. Comparing it to the voices of the angels on Iego would be a disservice to her. Edie sings with such confidence and surety—something he has not seen in anything else she has done. Not perfection, but determination is what makes him stand in awe.
The song ends with a melodic crescendo that hangs in the air even after they have finished singing.
The small crowd erupts into applause, one of the few moments the Jedi celebrate loudly, and Obi-Wan basks in the beautiful joy pouring over the bond with his padawan. His entire body fills with the sense of contented accomplishment and he lets it seep into his bones.
“Stars, Obi, she’s incredible.” He hears Garen breathe.
“I know,” he answers distractedly.
He and Garen are trapped against the farthest wall and are forced to wait while the knight and their master leave with the choir trailing behind them. The rest of the guests file out of the room and the moment he can escape the group he follows her Force signature to find her.
Garen keeps up with him, close on his heels. When he spots Edie, speaking to the new knight, he slows. The new knight is a female human like her, but much taller with long blonde hair twisted into a braid. Obi-Wan cannot decide if the look on his padawan’s face is innocent hero-worship or love-struck admiration. He finds that he does not mind either way, but the presence of the emotion is very welcome.
He cannot hear the end of their conversation, and he would not want to intrude on a private moment. His padawan’s eyes light up at something the knight says. The knight starts to draw away, but does not break eye contact as they bids her goodbye. Edie replies to her with eagerness. The knight winks at her and grins before she finally turns as she walks out of the hall.
“Wait here for a moment,” he says to Garen, who nods.
He moves out of the crowd and immediately feels himself break into a grin at the sight of Edie’s smile when she sees him.
“You were absolutely incredible,” he says, cupping her face in his hands.
“Thank you, Master.” Her voice flows over him like honey, soothing him and wrapping him in her love.
“You are very welcome, my dear.” He tucks her hair behind her ear. “I have someone who wants to meet you. You remember my friend, Garen, who I told you about?”
“Yes! Is he back from his mission?”
Obi-Wan laughs. “Yes, he is.”
He turns to wave Garen over to them, sliding his arm around his padawan’s shoulders. She leans into his side, her little body nestling against him, and he feels complete.
“Garen, this is my new padawan, Edie. We’ve been very eager for you to return from your mission so she could meet you,” he says with a smile, and Garen smiles back.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Master Muln,” she says politely, bowing to him.
Garen grins down at her before looking back to Obi-Wan. “I’m sure you didn’t tell her to do this. You’ve never done anything this nice for me.”
Obi-Wan quirks his mouth.
“It is a pleasure to meet you as well, padawan.” Garen bows to her, and Edie blushes. It is common practice for all Jedi, no matter their rank, to bow to one another, but it is still special when a knight or master bows to a padawan or initiate.
“I think you’re going to be great for your master. You’ll actually teach him some manners,” he teases.
Edie hides her laugh behind her hand but the sound carries. Obi-Wan smiles despite the jab at him. He should have expected that from one of his best childhood friends.
They walk back to their quarters and Edie answers Garen’s questions politely. Obi-Wan can tell his friend is smitten with his new padawan already. Garen and Anakin hit it off immediately over a shared love of piloting, but this is something else entirely. Edie has that effect on people, and it is working full force on him.
“May I see your lightsaber?” Garen asks once they are inside their quarters.
It is never polite to demand to see a Jedi’s lightsaber, and some will even flat out deny any requests, but most padawans are eager to show theirs off. Edie offers hers to him, and he takes it like she has offered him the most precious gift. He looks it over before handing it back.
“Will you ignite it for me?”
She looks to Obi-Wan first, unsure if igniting a lightsaber in their quarters is acceptable. He nods his assent.
She nods and thumbs the button to ignite it. Her green blade snaps to life with a hiss and hums contentedly in her hand. She looks to Garen for his reaction and he gives her an answering smile.
“Just like Master Qui-Gon.”
Edie beams up at him, and Garen’s smile grows. Obi-Wan smiles to himself, warmed at the joy on her face at the mention of his master.
“Just the same,” he adds, and she looks at him with such delight he cannot help but grin.
Garen asks her a myriad of questions from her favorite classes to her choice of fighting style.
“Soresu,” she answers softly, glancing at her master.
He smiles sweetly at her. “A great choice.”
Garen smiles down at Edie. “It was great to meet you. I need to head out and finish up my report for the Council. And hope my quarters weren't reassigned while I was gone.”
Edie laughs and Garen turns his smile on Obi-Wan.
“We’ll get together again soon and have a meal or something.” He looks back at Edie. “And you can update me on your studies and training.”
“I'll see you later,” he says, grasping Obi-Wan's hand.
Once he is gone, Obi-Wan can feel the tension drain out of Edie. It has become a familiar sensation to him that only comes when she returns to their quarters. Healer Che explained that her anxiety often manifests in social situations and she can get easily overwhelmed. Not ideal for a Jedi knight, but she copes well. Obi-Wan is immeasurably proud of how well she handles herself despite her struggles.
“Why don’t you go change and I’ll make us some tea?” He suggests.
“That sounds good,” she says, and he can hear the relief in her voice.
She returns wearing her preferred tunic and pants, comfortable and loose, and her hair is gathered into a bun to keep it out of her face. Obi-Wan is starting to become more accustomed to her presence in his quarters, but sometimes he is still amazed that he has taken this step in his life and he has another incredible child to train. He cannot wait to see how their relationship will grow as they grow together. This is the only time since Anakin’s knighting that Obi-Wan has looked forward to growing older. That will mean he sees Edie do the same and learn along the way. It feels like the most precious of gifts the Force could have given him.
Edie and Obi-Wan have their first sparring session together and, well, accidents happen.
Obi-Wan watches Edie test the floor with her feet.
This particular sparring room has a padded floor to minimize injuries from falls. It is also one of Obi-Wan’s favorite of the available gyms and salles for training. The walls are cream panels with brown structure and the emblem of the Jedi Order is painted in black on the highest panels on each end. The atmosphere is calm and soothing despite the intensity of the fights that can occur.
He takes Edie’s lightsaber from her and sets it down alongside his against the wall. All younglings and initiates take saber classes, but each one learns a little differently. Edie learned slower than the other children her age so Obi-Wan wants to ensure she is comfortable with each lesson before moving on. Teaching without a set curriculum will allow them to move as slowly as necessary to build her confidence. Some masters despise taking over their padawans’ saber training and allow them to continue in padawan lightsaber classes. Obi-Wan split Anakin’s training between classes and their own private sessions to coax Anakin into being with kids his age. It is obvious to him that Edie needs much more attention than the teachers can provide so he is eager to take over her training. It will allow them to grow closer and cultivate her self-confidence.
Both of them are barefoot and wearing loose, comfortable clothes. Edie’s hair is gathered up into a bun, her braid tucked into the elastic tie to keep it out of the way.
“Where do you feel comfortable starting off?” Obi-Wan asks her.
“The beginning,” she says.
He makes no comment, only smiles and nods. “Alright.”
“Why don’t we start with stretches first?”
Without words, Obi-Wan can tell she is uneasy.
“Sit with me,” he says, folding himself down onto the floor.
She settles down across from him.
“Is something wrong?” He asks gently.
She picks at the cuff of her pants. “I’m not flexible.”
Obi-Wan remembers something and smiles. He touches her pant leg and draws her attention.
“Can you touch your toes?”
Edie shakes her head silently.
“Master Windu cannot touch his toes either.”
Edie had looked away from his face, but her eyes snap back to his eyes at his statement.
He nods. “Really. He’s never been able to do it.”
She goes quiet for a moment, thinking over the information.
“You don’t have to be perfect to be a Jedi, Edie. If that were true, none of us would be here.”
She has doubt in her eyes when she looks up at him, but Obi-Wan lets it go.
“You don’t ever have to be able to touch your toes. I will not force you into uncomfortable positions you cannot hold. I want you to enjoy our time sparring together.”
She nods and he feels some of her tension release into the Force.
In the peace of the room, Obi-Wan guides her through simple stretches. He encourages her to hold them for as long as she can stand and says nothing when she releases them. He can’t possibly know what she is feeling so he does not voice his opinion.
“Four, three, twoーgood job.”
The Force warms at his praise. He files that feeling away, reminding himself to always praise her when possible.
“Push off the floor, stretch your back. Just like that.”
They shift again.
He feels her jealous gaze when he easily folds himself to rest his hands on the floor at his feet, but he reaches out and tugs on her pants playfully to distract her. He tucks himself further to his legs and rolls into a somersault, looking up at her from the floor. She’s smiling.
“I can’t do a somersault. It always hurts,” she says, folding herself down to sit beside him.
“I’ll teach you ways to do them so they won’t hurt. But truly you can get through life without needing to do one.”
“Don’t you have to do them when you’re fighting or in the field?” She asks.
“Sometimes, but usually I’m not putting that much thought into it. Any way you can get to safety is a good way.”
He sits up and crosses his legs to mimic Edie’s position, sitting across from her again.
“You mentioned that you liked the hand-to-hand combat the most in your sparring classes.”
“Let’s start there.”
He pushes up onto his feet and she follows him. Her eyes are expectant and she looks up at him eagerly. He loves being the recipient of that gaze.
They start with simple moves that boost Edie’s confidence every time she performs one successfully. Obi-Wan keeps her energy high by praising her often and encouraging her to connect the actions to make one fluid motion. He shows her each maneuver and performs them by her side, their movements timing almost perfectly with one another.
He moves in front of her for Edie to practice the steps on him and they go slowly until she builds her confidence back up.
In her excitement at her success, Edie’s next jab comes too quickly and Obi-Wan has no time to dodge it. Her fist connects squarely with his nose and knocks him off balance. He stumbles back several steps, his feet connecting hard with the mat in his attempt to regain his footing. He catches himself, but his hands come up to cradle his face as he ducks his head against the pain. He squeezes his eyes shut. It had been some time since he was caught off guard during a normal spar.
“Master, I’m so sorry!”
He laughs into his hands, bringing them away and opening his eyes. Blood slides through his fingers and drips onto the floor at his feet.
“It’s all right, padawan. Can you get a towel from the wall, please?” He says calmly.
He cups his hand under his face and watches Edie scramble across the room for the towel rack. He accepts the towel gratefully when she returns and he holds it to his nose.
“Thank you, little one. I’m afraid we’ll have to cut this session shortー”
“No, it’s okay! You need to go to the Halls!”
She takes his elbow and he allows her to guide them out of the room. She collects their lightsabers and boots, but they make their way to the Halls of Healing barefoot.
When they arrive, Vokara Che is standing in the front vestibule and speaking with another healer. She halts her conversation when she sees them, and covers her mouth with one of her hands. Obi-Wan knows she is smiling.
“Follow me,” she says, gesturing for them.
She takes them into an examination room and pushes Obi-Wan into a chair.
“What happened?” She asks as she washes her hands.
“We were sparring and I was unable to dodge one of her punches,” Obi-Wan says.
With careful hands, Vokara peels the towel away from his face.
“Force, she really got you.”
Obi-Wan lowers his voice. “She was doing very well and got excited.”
Vokara smiles. “No shame in that.”
Obi-Wan appreciates her use of the Force to dull the pain of her setting his nose back into its usual place. She cleans the blood off his face and hands and gives him a hypospray of pain medication to help take the edge off.
“Your face will bruise and you may feel lousy today and tomorrow, but if you focus on healing it slowly while you meditate, then it should heal up fairly fast,” Vokara explains.
He nods. “Thank you, Master Che.”
She washes her hands again and dries them, giving him a smile. As she walks toward the door, she reaches out to rest her hand on Edie’s shoulder.
“He’s going to be fine, little one. You got him here in plenty of time,” she says comfortingly, rubbing Edie’s shoulder gently.
After she has left, Edie scuttles forward to give Obi-Wan his boots. Before she can retreat, Obi-Wan catches her hands and pulls her closer. She doesn’t meet his eyes, instead staring at his knees, and he allows it.
“Edie, darling, you didn’t mean to hurt me and this was a very minor injury,” he says softly. “I forgive you even though there’s nothing to forgive.”
He rubs his thumbs along the back of her hands and squeezes her fingers.
“I do hope you look at me sometime this evening. I find myself missing your smile.”
He puts his boots on and stands from the chair, setting his hand on Edie’s back.
“Let’s go back to our quarters and rest. You did very well today,” he says.
On the way to their rooms, Edie slips her hand into his and Obi-Wan smiles, keeping his eyes straight ahead.
“I’m sorry, master.”
The apology is soft, nearly whispered, but Obi-Wan hears her.
He looks down at her as they walk and Edie peers up at him with wide, worried eyes.
“Thank you, little one. I accept your apology,” he says, more for Edie’s benefit than his needing an apology.
They continue on to their quarters in comfortable silence, hands still clasped.
A quiet, relaxed evening sees the completion of their bond.
Obi-Wan is sitting in his armchair and idly reading through a datapad. Edie is curled up on the sofa, as close to her master as she can get without sitting at his feet.
There is a tension in the Force that trills in their ears for a moment before soothing out into a comfortable silence. Obi-Wan looks up at his padawan who is gazing at him with wide, expectant eyes.
“Come here, little one.”
Obi-Wan stands and takes Edie’s hand, taking her over to their meditation pillows. He pulls her pillow closer to his so they sit with their knees touching.
“How are you feeling?” He asks softly, holding her hands between both of his.
“Good,” she says.
He smiles at her. “Do you want to try using the bond?”
“Yes.” Her impatience colors her voice.
“Allow me to access it first. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Edie nods quickly.
Obi-Wan sinks into meditation and reaches out to her in the Force. Her answering touch is gentle and sweet and makes his skin prickle with warmth.
Their bond is a bright spot in his mind, drawing him in and enticing him with the surety that this was forged by the Force.
Where before it had felt similar to a single thread, strung between them and holding strong but not strong enough to handle any strain, now it felt like a solid rope binding them together in the most intimate way. Obi-Wan never realized how badly he missed having a bond connecting him to someone. For a long time he had never been without some kind of bond. He went from sharing one with Qui-Gon to sharing one with Anakin. The years between Anakin's knighting and his choosing Edie feel empty now that Obi-Wan shares a bond with her. Not wanting to discredit his past connections, Obi-Wan avoids describing their bond as stronger or more solid than his others despite the obvious change. He never felt this deeply connected to Qui-Gon or Anakin during his years with them. His bond with Edie immediately feels ironclad like nothing could ever force them apart.
Touching their bond elicits a sensation of peace and love and support and respect that makes Obi-Wan’s chest ache. He grasps it tighter and it anchors itself in his mind where it is in easy reach. He lowers the natural shielding that was created and feels Edie’s presence, muted slightly by her own shields.
Sometimes Obi-Wan thinks Edie feels similar in the Force to his master, but then he thinks that it has been so long since he felt his master’s signature and he is projecting his grief onto her. Her presence is soft and welcoming and unobtrusive, but he feels drawn to her like he could never think to turn away.
He presses gently against her shields and she lowers them obligingly. Her joy at feeling his touch across their new bond floods him and Obi-Wan feels as if his heart might burst with the feeling.
Obi-Wan encourages Edie to reach out across the bond once he has retreated. Barely a second passes before she is extending a tentative hand over the connection and Obi-Wan welcomes her eagerly. Her delight swirls around them. Obi-Wan wishes he could sink into that sensation and never surface.
He nudges her back across the bond, but uses the space to test the strength of their bond. He sends an innocuous question between them.
Can you hear me?
Some training bonds are able to support thought communication very quickly, but some take months or years to strengthen to that ability.
What? Oh! Master! Yes, I can hear you!
Tender affection tightens in his chest and he sends gentle amusement across to her. She sends back unadulterated joy and love.
The sensation is not a surprise, but very welcome and very different from what Obi-Wan has been used to feeling since he was a child.
Our bond is stronger than most. It seems we were truly meant to be master and padawan through the Force.
Something warm and sweet curls through his mind and settles in his chest.
I knew it from the beginning.
Edie meets Obi-Wan's padawan-brother and bridges are rebuilt.
Edie is glad her boots are so strong or else dropping the crate of groceries she had been carrying would have hurt a lot worse. Thankfully, nothing is damaged, but some of the fruits escaped. She moves to chase them down when a man kneels down to gather up the furthest ones.
He has blond hair that is turning white at the temples and freckles scattered across his face. His skin is marked with age spots like he has seen a lot of sun. When he stands, he is likely close to her master’s height, but maybe taller. His smile is warm and sweet.
Edie, despite being shy and anxious, is always friendly and this stranger is obviously the same. She smiles up at him as he draws nearer with her runaway fruit.
“I caught these rogue muja. I assume they're yours,” he teases, placing them in her crate.
“Thank you, master,” she says.
“You're very welcome, padawan.”
Edie’s smile turns shy. She had worn her hair up today and her braid rested on her shoulder prominently.
“Are you headed back to your quarters with this?” He asks, settling everything back into the crate as it had been.
“Where are your quarters? I’m heading that way as well.”
Edie tells him the location and he stills, looking at her silently for a moment.
“Who is your master?”
“Master Obi-Wan Kenobi,” she answers nervously.
The Force almost sings around them at her answer. He smiles again, wider and more joyful than before.
“I am Feemor Gaard. I was Qui-Gon Jinn’s first padawan,” he says.
Edie finds herself gaping at him before she remembers herself and bows to him. He laughs and takes her shoulders in his broad hands, squeezing lightly.
“You don’t have to be so formal with me, little one. I forgot my manners and never asked your name.”
“My name is Edie,” she offers.
His smile seems to soothe all of her worries and makes her stomach swoop.
“Let’s get this back to your quarters. Is your master there?” Master Feemor says, picking up her crate.
“He should be,” Edie says.
They walk in silence. Edie worries she is expected to speak to him and keep up a conversationーsomething she is terribly bad at doing.
“Are you upset about something?”
Edie’s stomach sinks. She’s projecting again instead of shielding. When she gets nervous, her shields weaken. Her master has been trying to teach her ways to ensure her shields remain strong despite her emotions, but the lessons have been tumultuous.
“Edie, can you look at me?”
She drags her eyes up to Master Feemor’s and forces herself to meet his gaze.
“When I became Master Qui-Gon’s padawan, I had just lost my first master and I was having a hard time with the change. I had trouble making it through each day and I was constantly anxious. You might feel alone in your struggle, but you aren’t.”
They continue their walk.
“I know your master will support you if you ask him.”
“He does,” Edie says. “He and Master Che help me a lot.”
Master Feemor smiles at her. “I’m glad to hear that.”
They walk several more meters before he speaks again.
“How has Master Obi-Wan been? It’s been too long since I’ve seen him,” Master Feemor asks.
“Ahh--from what I can tell, he’s seems happy,” Edie says.
“That’s good. He needs to smile more.”
When they finally reach the quarters Edie shares with her master, the Force feels eager with anticipation. Edie opens the door and precedes Master Feemor into the room.
“Master? I'm back with the groceries.”
“I was beginning to worry you'd gotten lost,” he teases, coming out of his bedroom.
He comes to a stop when he sees Master Feemor and Edie worries this was a bad idea.
Her master’s voice sounds weak and shaky. Edie’s worry increases exponentially.
Master Feemor sets the crate down and walks toward her master.
“It's been too long, little brother.”
Edie’s anxiety is allayed when Master Obi-Wan eagerly leans into Master Feemor’s embrace. Their arms wrap tight around one another and she watches her master tuck his face against Master Feemor’s shoulder.
She carries the crate into the kitchen to put the food away. Her master deserves a moment alone with his brother padawan. It's likely they haven't seen each other in years. Edie knows she avoids people, but she's discovered that her master is much worse.
Her master appears in the doorway and she places the bag of grain on the counter.
“Edie, darling, come in here. I want you to meet Master Feemor properly.”
She follows her master into the sitting room and Master Feemor smiles at her. Her stomach swoops again. Edie watches Master Obi-Wan run a hand through his hair and take a breath.
“Master Feemor was my master’s first padawan,” Obi-Wan explains and she nods.
He turns to Master Feemor. “I chose Edie almost half a year ago after I met her while spending time with the initiates. The Force was very insistent that I choose her and I am still very, very glad I listened.”
He reaches out and smooths Edie’s hair and she feels her chest swell with warmth. Occasionally he will tell her outright how glad he is to have chosen her, but hearing him tell another master makes it feel more real.
“Just speaking to her, I can see how well matched you are. I'm not surprised the Force pressed you.”
He looks down at Edie and then back to Obi-Wan.
“I know Qui-Gon would have loved her.”
Edie thinks she sees her master’s face crumple in relief and joy, but it is gone so fast she can't be sure. Having Master Feemor’s approval obviously means a lot to him.
“We can't go so long between meetings again, little brother. I need to keep up on this one’s training and check in on my favorite Councilor.”
Obi-Wan laughs and it sounds slightly watery. Edie doesn't stare up at him in worry or surprise. She can feel in the Force that this meeting was necessary and it is helping him heal.
“We would love to have you for meals or tea or just to catch up. And I'm sure Edie could benefit from someone trained so heavily in the Living Force. Although she seems to be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone, including me.”
Master Feemor laughs and it's a lovely sound, rich and warm. “I can tell she is something special.”
Edie shifts closer to her master, bashful now that she's been put in the spotlight. He wraps his arm around her shoulders and rubs her arm soothingly.
Master Feemor kneels down in front of her and Edie can’t help but smile at him. He smiles back, reaching out to touch her arm.
“I’m glad to have met you, Edie. I hope we get to spend more time with each other.”
She leans harder into Master Obi-Wan’s side. “Me too.”
Even though he never spoke of it, Edie gets the undeniable urge to dart forward and wrap him in a hug. He laughs and tucks her close to his chest, squeezing her tight. When he releases her, she immediately backs away, embarrassed that she did such a thing. But Master Feemor is grinning and standing, reaching for her master. They hold onto each other for a long moment, fingers curled into each other’s tunics, and Edie feels like something is right in the Force.
Obi-Wan is deployed to Ryloth and he struggles with it.
Obi-Wan knows this wasn’t the Council’s decision, but that doesn’t mean he has to be happy about it.
“We wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t dire,” Mace says, his tone kind.
He sets his jaw and nods. “I will leave tomorrow.”
The Council dismisses and Obi-Wan scrubs a hand over his face as he leaves the chamber. Edie will be back from her classes soon. Maybe he can alleviate some of the stress of the news with her favorite tea.
He had just gotten a package of the cookies he and Qui-Gon had always loved. Sharing them with Edie might soften the blow slightly.
He is kidding himself thinking she will take this well. They had barely enough time to strengthen their bond and grow closer, and now the Council is tossing him back to the front lines.
Anakin was given Ahsoka on the front lines, but Edie is not as old and has less training.
When he arrives back in their quarters, he sheds his robe and boots and sets the water to boil. He picks up his datapad and sends Feemor a message, asking if he would stay with Edie while he is gone. She seemed so at ease with him so quickly that Obi-Wan is not nervous to leave her with him.
Once the water is heated sufficiently, Obi-Wan adds the tea to steep and leans against the counter, face in his hands.
“How am I going to do this?” He says to himself.
Feeling much too young for the title of master, Obi-Wan wishes he could have just faded into obscurity after his Knighting to raise his padawans in peace and not have the entire galaxy watching his every move. If he’s being honest, he wishes his master had never died and he had never been thrust into his Knighthood too early and in the midst of fresh grief.
The door to their quarters opens and Obi-Wan straightens up at the counter. He turns to peer out into the common room. Edie is sliding her boots off like she always does. She hates wearing shoes in their quarters so she always jumps at the chance to remove them and walk barefoot.
Seeing his padawan in good spirits allows Obi-Wan to relax. He smiles as he watches her place her boots on the mat beside the door.
“Hello, there,” he says gently.
Edie looks up at him and smiles. “Hi.”
“I made tea. Will you join me?”
“Yes,” she says brightly.
He watches her pad toward him, her movements so different from what he is used to seeing among his close friends. She is built differently than most Jedi, but she carries herself just as serenely. He knows her inner anxiety contradicts her outward appearance, but she has nearly mastered the outer serenity. Her stride is much smaller than Obi-Wan is used to, and he files that away for when they are walking together. She may struggle to keep up with him.
As Edie settles at the table, Obi-Wan retrieves the fresh package of tea cookies. Edie watches him curiously and he smiles at her.
“My master used to keep these cookies in the cupboard for when we had tea together. We didn't have them every time, but they became a staple,” he explains, sitting down beside her.
He opens the package and pulls a cookie out. He immediately puts it in his mouth and begins chewing as he gets another for Edie. She giggles at him, the picture he makes of a Jedi master with his mouth full of cookie. He offers her the next one and she takes it with a grin.
He watches as she tastes it and enjoys the way her eyes widen slightly.
“Do you like them?” He asks, sipping from his tea.
She nods, still chewing.
He smiles. “I thought you would. I loved them from the first taste too. Anakin likes them, but he prefers the spicy ones.”
Obi-Wan hates that he is about to ruin the moment he cultivated with her.
He takes a sip of his tea and releases a breath slowly. He can do this. It’s not the end of the world.
“Edie, I spoke to the Council today, and they need to send me out on a mission.”
She takes a sip of her own tea. “When?”
“I leave tomorrow.”
She is quite for a moment. “Okay.”
Obi-Wan refrains from letting his breath leave him in a great heave, but Edie notices his silence.
She smiles humorlessly at him. “Did you expect something worse?”
Obi-Wan rubs at his beard bashfully. “Actually, yes, I did.”
“I figured it was going to happen sometime soon. You’ve never been in the Temple for this long before. And you’re the best general they have.”
Obi-Wan’s heart aches hearing her say that. He wishes desperately that this war had never begun and he could raise his padawan on peaceful, diplomatic missions and vacations disguised as exploration missions. He wants to take her all the places Qui-Gon took him for their breaks from their usual routine. He chafes at the thought of her never getting to set foot out of the Temple at his side because of this war.
He would rather hear her say he is the best at snoring or he has the best bedhead or he is the best at getting food stuck in his teeth. He would take anything other than ‘best general’ gladly.
“Would you feel comfortable having Master Feemor stay here with you?”
It had been a little more than a month since she met him, but he had remained in the Temple on leave and had become a fixture in their quarters. If Obi-Wan was busy with the Council or strategizing battles, Feemor took Edie to the gardens or the Archives or simply kept her company. Obi-Wan was delighted to see Edie finally opening up to someone other than him. And Feemor welcomed her like she was his own padawan.
He gives her a gentle smile. “You’ll have fun together, I know it.”
Edie runs her finger around the lip of her teacup. “Can I know where you’re going?”
She nods. “Will you be able to comm regularly?”
“I should be able to, and I will do my best to keep in touch. I’ll try for every evening if I can.”
He knows that she wants to protest, but he knows that she is also pleased to be able to stay in touch with him so often.
“Is this supposed to be a dangerous mission?” She asks timidly.
“Ryloth is currently being occupied so there is a possibility that it could be dangerous, yes.”
She looks up at him intently. “Can I meet Commander Cody?”
Obi-Wan’s eyes widen slightly, but he smiles. “Of course.”
After they finish their tea, he takes her down to the hanger where his battalion is packing up to head out. He watches her out of the corner of his eye and tries not to smile. She is projecting an air of confidence that he knows is a facade, but she is surrounded by strange clones she has never met before and her master is about to be sent to the front lines of the war. He sympathizes greatly with her and doesn’t draw attention to her obvious discomfort.
The clone commander turns and snaps a salute, standing at attention. His helmet is tucked under his arm.
“At ease, Commander,” he says.
Edie is standing beside him, her confidence starting to wane, but he can see she is holding onto it with all her might as not to lose it in front of these strangers.
“Cody, this is my padawan, Edie. She requested to meet you before we ship out tomorrow,” he says.
“Commander.” Cody salutes her.
Edie is startled and looks between them. “What?”
“Padawans of generals hold the rank of commander,” Obi-Wan explains.
He almost laughs at the incredulous look on her face.
“I don’t want it,” she says.
A moment later, she sobers and Obi-Wan feels regret leaking across their bond. She worries she offended the troopers by insulting her rank in their presence.
“It’s alright. Many of the padawans your age feel the same way.”
She looks up at the new trooper that appeared at Cody’s side and then looks at Obi-Wan.
“This is Waxer,” he says. “Waxer, this is my padawan, Edie.”
Edie fidgets for a second before sticking her hand out. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Obi-Wan shares a smile with his men as Waxer takes her hand.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you as well.”
The exchange prompts more of his troopers to come over and introduce themselves and welcome Edie into the battalion. After a while, Cody barks at them to get back to work, and Edie presses herself against Obi-Wan’s side, overwhelmed.
“They’re going to have to wear name tags,” she says into his robe.
Obi-Wan can’t help but laugh. He wraps his arm around her shoulders and pulls her close.
“I’ll tell them that. They’ll love it,” he says.
He keeps his arm around her and leads her out of the hanger after they bid his soldiers goodbye.
As they walk, Edie drifts away from his side, but she reaches out and takes his hand instead. He recognizes that her grip is much tighter than usual and he rubs his thumb along her hand soothingly. She may not be showing her distress, but his departure is weighing heavily on her.
When they arrive back at their quarters, Feemor is standing outside the door.
“I was just about to comm you,” he says, smiling at them.
Obi-Wan lets them all into the rooms and once the door is closed, Feemor is reaching for Edie. To Obi-Wan’s surprise, she goes willingly into his arms.
“Everything’s going to be alright. Your master always manages to find his way home,” he soothes, rubbing her back.
She tucks her face into his chest and Obi-Wan’s heart breaks.
How can he leave her like this? Their bond is still so new and so delicate. What if this mission strains their bond, or breaks it? Ryloth is nearly in Wild Space.
He will comm Master Che and ask her to monitor their bond while he is gone. He doesn’t want Edie to suffer the pain of a broken bond if he can prevent it.
“Obi-Wan, you’re thinking too hard,” Feemor says, squeezing his shoulder. “It’s going to be alright.”
He smiles weakly. Feemor’s hand comes up to his neck and he pulls him into a hug. Obi-Wan never knew Feemor was so tactile, but then, he never spent much time with him. It’s a nice change to Obi-Wan’s usual solitude.
There is a horribly tentative touch on his hip, and it nearly breaks his heart. He pulls away from Feemor and immediately sinks to his knees, reaching for Edie. She responds eagerly, leaning into him and tucking her face against his shoulder. They hold onto each other for a long moment; Edie’s fingers curling into his tunic as if she never wants to release him.
The sun won’t come up for another two hours, but Obi-Wan wakes Edie at her request. She looks up at him blearily in the dark and he leans down to kiss her.
“Do you want to come to the hangar?” He asks softly.
She nods silently and starts to crawl out of bed.
Obi-Wan sends a comm to Feemor, apologizing for waking him though he already knew to expect it. He receives a reply quickly, insinuating Feemor was already awake and prepared. He doesn’t know why he lost contact with him. He’s always been a kind soul and willing to help. Obi-Wan doesn’t worry at all about leaving Edie with him, knowing Feemor will care for her like she is his own.
Obi-Wan helps Edie into her boots and settles her cloak on her shoulders. She sticks close to his side and he lets her, knowing this is her way of dealing with the stress. He curls his fingers around her hand when she reaches for his.
The walk is quiet and uneventful. Obi-Wan always loved the Temple at night, with the lights dimmed low and the sounds of the nocturnal species moving through the halls. He realizes that the halls don't sound very different during the day. Their numbers have fallen so dramatically that the halls are nearly silent at every hour. It makes his chest ache to realize that the feeling of joy and the noise of his childhood no longer exists.
The hangar is busy, but the noise is kept to a minimum. Most of the soldiers are wearing the gold of the 212th and Obi-Wan feels guilty that he is so eager to get back out in the galaxy.
Don't feel guilty. This is what you love to do.
He looks down at Edie, who looks back at him with wide eyes. Her cheeks are flushed from sleep and she's still wearing her sleep clothes under her cloak. He wishes dearly that she was coming with him, would be on the ship with him and there to greet him when he returned. He briefly considers taking her along and leaving her on his flagship while he is planetside. But the thought of a sudden attack from Separatist ships quashes that idea quickly. He would never forgive himself if she was injured.
Maybe once she turns twelve and has more training he can justify taking her along on less volatile missions. Maybe even by then the war will have ended.
“Good morning, you two.”
Edie turns and smiles at Feemor, who smiles back sweetly.
“Good morning, master,” Edie murmurs, still so tired from waking up much earlier than normal.
Edie tucks herself into Obi-Wan’s side, under his arm, and he holds her there with an arm on her back. He feels her breathe, and tries to commit to memory the sensation of her against his body. They watch as Obi-Wan’s men gather the last of the supplies necessary for the trip onto the last of the transports. Their time is growing shorter and Obi-Wan needs to be on one of those transports soon to get up to his ship. He is dragging out his time on the ground as long as possible so he doesn’t have to face the fact that he will be without his padawan for several weeks.
“Do you know when you’ll be back?” Edie asks softly.
“Hopefully in two weeks,” he says, leaving out the part about how his missions always seem to run over their allotted time no matter what he does to keep them short.
When there is only one transport remaining, Obi-Wan smothers his urge to flee the hangar and kneels down in front of Edie.
“I’m going to miss you,” he says softly. “I’ll try to comm every evening.”
She nods, and he sees tears welling in her eyes.
“May the Force be with you.” Her voice wobbles, but the phrase leaves Obi-Wan aching.
He gathers her into his arms, kissing her cheek and temple and breathing deeply to remember the warm scent of her hair. He feels her small hand come up to stroke through the hair at his neck, careful not to mess it up but wanting to feel it all the same. He knows that he will be locking himself in his quarters for several minutes when he boards his ship just to get control over his emotions. He never realized leaving would be so hard.
“I love you.”
He feels her surprise physically and through their bond. They hadn’t said those words to each other since Edie asked his opinion of them shortly after he chose her. But now feels like the right time to encourage their use. He can’t lie to himself any longer—he loves Edie as if she were his child and he needs her to know that.
“I love you too.”
He tightens his arms around her and feels her bury her face in his neck.
Finally, he knows he has stalled for far too long. He separates from her gently, but she goes willingly. She understands his duty is to the Order and the Republic, and she would never stand between that. He gets to his feet, but cups her face in his hands and stares at her for a moment. She stares back, and Obi-Wan smiles at her. She tries to return it, but her smile falters. He understands. He leans in and presses his lips to her forehead in a firm kiss.
He pulls away and looks her in the eye.
“May the Force be with you,” he says quietly, stroking her cheeks.
She nods, her brown eyes still filling with tears.
One last kiss to her forehead and Obi-Wan tears himself away. He squeezes her hand before he finally turns his back and walks to his transport. He contemplates facing away from them in the ship, but he quickly decides against it. He steps up into the ship and grabs hold of one of the overhead straps, looking back out into the hangar.
Feemor is coaxing Edie to his side, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and letting her press against him.
For a fleeting moment, Obi-Wan is jealous of how relaxed Edie seems to be with him.
She feels like she has to impress me, ensure I never find fault in her and send her away. She can’t relax around me because she thinks I won’t approve of something she does. Feemor isn’t her master, he holds nothing over her, and she can be herself around him without fear.
He will have to focus on this when he returns. He hopes Edie won't have grown or changed too much by the time he finally makes it back home.
As the ship lifts off the ground, he raises his hand to wave to Edie. She waves back, and Feemor does too.
He watches them until they are finally out of sight, and his heart breaks knowing that he won’t see Edie again for weeks. Holo calls can only do so much to lessen the pain.
Obi-Wan wonders how their bond will hold up. It’s already shown signs of being stronger than most training bonds so it’s possible that it will withstand the distance easily. He hopes this is the case for Edie’s sake. He knows what a broken bond feels like, and it’s not something he would wish on his worst enemy.
When he arrives on the bridge of The Negotiator, Cody is there and turns to face him.
“Sir, you’re not scheduled to be on shift for another hour,” he says.
Obi-Wan starts. That can’t be right. He always starts his shift immediately upon boarding his ship.
Cody is looking at him intently, as if he wants Obi-Wan to realize something.
“I thought you might like time to settle in,” Cody says. “Reacquaint yourself.”
Cody changed the schedule so Obi-Wan could have time to handle the stress of leaving Edie. If it was possible, Obi-Wan would submit to have Cody promoted.
Edie struggles with bullying and math but makes a new friend along the way.
Edie does her best in her classes, but sometimes her best isn’t enough. She tucks her datapad close to her to block her latest score on a mathematics exam. She knows her master gets reports on her work, but she hopes fruitlessly that he will overlook this one.
If the Force could swallow her up before he sees the score, she would greatly appreciate it.
“How’d you do?” A Twi’lek padawan beside her asks quietly.
“Okay,” Edie lies.
The Twi’lek nods. “Me too. This one was hard.”
Edie catches a glance at their datapad lying on their desk. They scored above average on the exam.
When the class is released, Edie sags back in her seat as younglings jostle to make it out the door first. Once the crowd has thinned somewhat, she rises and makes her way out of the classroom. She is barely two meters away from the room when someone pulls her datapad out of her hand. She reaches out to snatch it back, but the initiate responsible moves it out of her way.
The initiate holding her datapad is human, taller than average for his age, and very talented with a lightsaber. Brenaar Genjune has always been on Edie’s radar, but until she was chosen he was never a threat. This is the third time this month he has taken something from her just to get a rise out of her. This time feels different though.
Rather than give into the urge to yell in his face, Edie stands there passively.
“What’s this?” Brenaar says, his tone mocking.
He looks at the score on the datapad and snorts, handing the pad to Stanati Aebro, a female Zabrak who just turned twelve. She howls with laughter before showing the pad to Sneck Grotain, a green-skinned Rhodian boy.
Edie’s heart is pounding. She wants to take back her pad and leave, but they’ve boxed her in against a wall.
“How do you expect to even make it out of training with scores like these?” Brenaar says.
“Much less keep someone like Master Kenobi around.” Sneck smirks at the others.
“I don’t even know why he chose you,” Stanati says, her tone bored. “It’s not like you’ll pass your Trials; if you make it that far. Imagine his disappointment when he has to send you away after wasting all that time on you.”
“You should have listened to the crèche masters, Edie, and chosen to go to the Corps. They didn’t even let you go on a Gathering trip so they must have known something was wrong with you,” Sneck points out.
Edie grits her teeth.
“You’re so far behind in saber technique I doubt you’ll even be ready for missions by the time you’re thirteen,” Stanati says. “Master Kenobi will just have to keep leaving you behind while he actually does some good for the galaxy.”
“Padawans are supposed to help their masters,” Brenaar says. “Not get them killed.”
Brenaar adds, “You’ll never be able to go into battle with your master. You can’t even hold your own against a practice droid.”
They somehow know everything that keeps Edie awake at night, and know exactly how to exploit those weaknesses. She dreads the day she’s old enough to go on missions, and worries even now about being unable to protect her master.
Edie wants to scream at them that her master made it perfectly clear why he chose her, and it wasn’t for her fighting skills. She knows they don’t actually care.
“Don’t have anything to say?” Stanati sneers. “Of course not. If you’re barely able to stand up for yourself, how do you think you’ll do on a battlefield?”
She tosses the datapad on the ground as they walk away and Edie waits until they’re out of sight before stooping to pick it up.
She looks up to find a boy her age with tan skin and dark hair standing in front of her.
“Hi,” she says carefully.
“I heard what they said to you,” he says.
Edie’s jaw clenches.
“You shouldn’t let them talk to you like that.”
She opens her mouth to give him an indignant reply.
“But that’s easier said than done.”
She closes her mouth with a click of her teeth. “Yeah.”
“Do they do that a lot?” He asks.
“Once a week at least,” she answers.
He scrunches his face up in disgust.
“Usually it’s not so bad,” she says quietly.
“I know that’s a lie.”
Edie shrugs. “My name is Edie,” she offers, changing the subject.
“Caleb Dume,” he says in reply.
“I’m Master Kenobi’s padawan,” Edie says.
“I know.” Caleb smiles. “I’m Master Billaba’s padawan.”
Edie grins. “Wow.”
Caleb’s smile grows. “She’s really great.”
“Is she in Temple now?” Edie asks, wondering if Caleb is in the same situation as her.
“Yeah, but she’s due to ship out in a week or so,” Caleb says glumly.
“Master Obi-Wan is out on Ryloth,” Edie says. “He’s been gone for almost a week, and he’s due to stay out there for another. But usually his missions run long. He always manages to find trouble somehow.”
Caleb laughs. “Master Billaba has said something like that.”
“Oh, yes. Apparently Master Kenobi is notorious for getting into trouble,” Caleb says.
He pauses for a moment before, “Do you want to come back to our quarters? Master Billaba is supposed to be there, and you can meet her.”
“Yes, I’d love to!”
“Come on,” Caleb says, motioning her to follow.
“Master! I’m back!” Caleb calls into the quarters as Edie follows him in.
Edie smiles to herself. She had a feeling that Caleb and his master had a relaxed relationships similar to hers and Master Obi-Wan’s.
“Okay, Caleb, no need to shout.”
Master Billaba stands from their comm terminal and turns to them with a smile.
“Who is this?” She asks.
“Padawan Edie,” she answers, bowing low. “Padawan of Master Kenobi.”
Master Billaba smiles at her sweetly and returns her bow. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Padawan Edie. I’d hoped to meet you sooner, but I could never pin down your master.”
Edie shuffles her feet slightly as if she must apologize for her master’s inability to sit still.
“Come in, I’ve just made tea,” Master Billaba says, beckoning them to the kitchen.
Caleb groans, and Edie covers her laugh.
“You don’t like tea?” She asks him.
“It’s okay, but Master keeps making me try different ones to see if I like any of them,” he says. “Why; do you like it?”
Edie smiles. “Yes.”
“Oh, I’ll have to poach you from Master Obi-Wan,” Master Billaba teases.
Edie hesitates before sitting down, waiting for Caleb and Master Billaba to take their seats first.
“Come on, Edie, it’s not like we have a seating chart,” Caleb says, grinning as he flops into a chair.
Edie smiles shyly and sits down at the table.
Master Billaba brings a tray with a steaming tea pot and three cups over to the table. She serves them all a sweet green tea and Edie finds she enjoys it, despite it tasting slightly grassy. They pass the time with small talk, something Edie struggles with, but she manages to maintain most of her serenity. Master Billaba asks a lot about her and Master Obi-Wan, curious about their time together since Master Obi-Wan is fairly tight-lipped. Edie doesn’t offer too much, but she can’t help basking in the joy that Master Obi-Wan chose her to be his padawan.
Master Billaba’s commlink chimes.
“I have to go. The Council meeting is going to start soon,” she says, standing from the table.
She reaches for her teacup but Caleb sweeps it closer to himself.
“I’ll get it, Master. You don’t want to be late,” he says.
Master Billaba purses her lips, but her smile betrays her. “Alright, Caleb. I’ll see you in a few hours. It was very nice to meet you, Edie.”
“It was a pleasure to meet you too, Master.”
When Master Billaba has left, Caleb throws back the rest of his tea before standing. Edie stands as well, gathering her cup, and follows him to the sink.
“I’ll wash, you dry,” Caleb says, handing her a towel.
They wash and dry the teacups in silence, and Caleb puts them away.
“Do you need to fix up your lightsaber?” Caleb asks, pulling a box of tools out of a drawer.
“No, I barely use it,” Edie says. “I’m still working on the forms without any weapons.”
Caleb nods, setting the box on the table.
Edie expected him to make a comment about how far behind she is in training, but he just pulls out various tools, inspecting them. Edie sits down across from him and watches him work.
“Hey, what’s your last name?” Caleb asks curiously.
“I don’t have one,” Edie says.
“It’s a tradition from my home planet. We’re not given last names so we have to choose one when we think it’s right.”
“Huh,” Caleb says. “That’s cool.”
“It’s kind of stressful. What if I don’t ever find one I think is right? What if I choose a really terrible one that I hate later on?”
“Couldn’t you just change it again?” Caleb sticks his tongue out as he tightens a screw on his lightsaber.
Edie sets down her lightsaber. “I guess I could, but I don’t want to change my name ten times just because I can’t settle on one I like.”
Caleb shrugs. “Just do whatever feels right.”
Edie laughs, the sounds bubbling up unexpectedly.
“I guess,” she says.
Caleb smiles. “Don’t think so hard.”
Edie looks up from her datapad to find Master Yoda standing before her in the garden. She moves to rise, but he puts his hand out to stop her.
“To stand there is no need. Here I am as a friend,” he says gently, settling down in front of her.
“What can I do for you, Master Yoda?” She asks.
“For me? Nothing. What I can do for you, that is the real question.” He lays his gimer stick on the grass beside him.
Edie is puzzled. “I don’t need anything, master.”
Yoda tsk’s at her and it hurts more than she expected it to. She never wants to be wrong especially in front of such an esteemed master.
“Sensed that you are struggling with something I have, young one.”
Edie starts. How could Master Yoda sense something about her? Has she been broadcasting that loudly all of her emotions? She feels her stomach knot in anxiety, terrified the Jedi Master is here to send her away.
After a moment, a clawed hand touches hers and she looks up at the old master.
“Edie, alone in this Temple you are not. Even when your master is away, full of your family is this Temple. Need to hide your problems you do not, little one,” Yoda says, his voice softer.
“Know do you what Master Obi-Wan asked of the Council before he left?”
Edie shakes her head. “No, master.”
“Hmm. Asked the Council your master did to look after you. Trusted you with us has he. Knows that you have not met us Master Obi-Wan does, but also he knows protect you we shallーno matter what.”
Master Yoda takes her hand between his and touches his claws to her palm gently, drawing aimless patterns in her skin. It soothes her and she doesn’t hold herself so rigidly.
“Tell someone of your struggles when you are ready, Edie. Suffer alone in silence you must not.”
Edie nods. “Yes, master.”
“Care for you greatly does our Master Obi-Wan. Very important you are to him; to us.”
Edie’s breath shivers. She’s never heard that from another master before. Even Master Obi-Wan only says it sparingly.
“Allowed initiates and padawans to suffer alone before have we, but never again,” Master Yoda murmurs to her. “Part of my lineage are you, Edie. Important to me you are despite how little we’ve met. Care for you do I just as care I did for your master.”
She shuffles closer to him and he rests his hand on her cheek.
"Doubt your place in this temple you should not. Doubt your place at Master Obi-Wan's side you are not allowed."
She looks at him, startled, but he's smiling.
"To be Master Obi-Wan's padawan the Force meant for you and ensure your success we all will."
He pats her leg gently and Edie stares at him, full of uncertainty.
Edie reaches out to Feemor, and Caleb offers his support.
Edie knows Feemor is waiting for her before she even turns the corner.
He isn’t upset with her, or even disappointed, he’s just worried and it rolls off of him in waves.
He opens the door to her and Master Obi-Wan’s quarters, allowing her to follow him inside instead of forcing her ahead of him. She follows him dutifully, knowing she isn’t in trouble. She removes her cloak and boots and settles on the sofa beside him.
“Master Endeel commed me to say you weren’t in class this morning, and then I got a similar message from Master Hasew. Why did you skip your classes today, Edie?”
She avoids looking at him, afraid she’ll lose the tenuous grip she has on her emotions.
“I didn’t want to be there today,” she says.
“Why is that?”
Master Feemor’s voice is kind, gentle. It doesn’t make her fearful, but she hates baring herself like this. She hates admitting her weaknesses when it comes to her feelings.
“Three younglings around my age are in those classes with me,” she starts. “They know my master is gone, and they already dislike me for being Master Obi-Wan’s padawan anyway. They’ve gotten…worse.”
She sneaks a glance at him, his brown eyes wide as he gazes back at her.
“How long have they been doing this?”
“Ever since I was chosen. It’s just,” she takes a breath and lets it out, “escalated since Master Obi-Wan left.”
Before Feemor can open his mouth to reply, she bursts out, “Please don’t tell Master Obi-Wan. He’ll worry and I don’t want him to worry. He’s on a mission and can’t afford to be distracted. I can handle it, I promise. He doesn’t need to know.”
Whatever Master Feemor was going to say dies on his tongue. He reaches out for her hand and draws her to sit on the sofa beside him. She pulls one of her legs up to tuck underneath her and turns to face him.
“Please don’t tell him,” she implores quietly.
He sighs. “I’ll make you a deal.”
Edie nods quickly.
“I won’t say anything to your masterーyet. If you can handle this by the time he returns, it’s up to you whether or not you tell him anything. If this is still going on when he returns, we will tell him everything,” Feemor says.
She knows she isn’t going to get a better deal than that.
Feemor nods, leaning back into the couch.
“Have they been hurting youーphysically?” He asks gently.
She shakes her head. “No. Just taunts.”
She almost spills it all right then and there, but something stops her. A little voice that sounds like one of her teachers:
A Jedi needs only themselves and the Force.
Her master’s voice wars with that message:
Do not hide away in fear of reaching out for help.
Master Obi-Wan always encourages her to reach out to him or anyone else she is comfortable with for help. He’s told her stories about himself and Master Qui-Gon never asking for help and suffering in silence. He learned the bad habit from his Master and he is still trying to overcome it.
No one will fault you for asking for help, and if they do, that says more about them than it does about you.
Master Feemor is watching her patiently, his eyes soft and his face open. She feels safe with him. She knows he won’t fault her for asking for help, and she knows he will do anything he can to assist her.
“I don’t know what to do,” she says finally.
“What have they been saying to you?” Feemor asks gently.
Edie brings her other leg up onto the couch and settles down more comfortably.
“Master Obi-Wan will realize while he’s away that I’m not worth the trouble. He’ll realize I’m so terrible at fighting that I likely won’t ever be able to see combat so why should he waste his time on a padawan that can’t go into the field with him. They tell me my scores are so low I’ll probably be removed from Master Obi-Wan’s side because the Council doesn’t want a failure as a Council member’s padawan.”
“How do they even know your scores?”
“They steal away my datapad or look over my shoulder,” she says. “They’re right about that, my scores are really low.”
“Not in history or diplomacy or languages,” Feemor says.
“Those don’t matter when you’re being shot at,” she replies, sneaking a glance up at him from her lap. “They remind me that I’m now in a lineage of incredibly skilled swordsmen while I can barely hold my lightsaber correctly to perform one kata.”
“Have you thought that they might be jealous or threatened by you?”
“They’re not threatened by me; they’re threatened by my position as Master Obi-Wan’s padawan. They want my place so badly I’m sure one of them wants to hurt me for it. Instead of actually trying anything, they’re just beating me down until I give up and renounce myself as Master Obi-Wan’s padawan. I can’t say I’m not close to considering it.”
Edie ducks her head when she realizes all that she just said. She didn’t mean to tell Feemor exactly how the bullies make her feel, but it spilled out alongside everything else.
“Obi-Wan would never let you leave his side,” Feemor says softly.
The tenderness of his voice makes Edie want to cry. She had pushed all of the taunting and bullying aside for so long she had become numb to it. Revealing everything to someone has caused the hurt to bubble up again, and knowing she has a master willing to support her is nearly enough to reduce her to tears. She didn’t know how she was going to handle the bullies. She was terrified to go to Obi-Wan for fear of looking weak and needy when she is supposed to become independent.
“He loves you, Edie. I’ve never seen him so happy before. You’ve changed his life, and I doubt he would be willing to give that up simply because a few younglings believe you to be the wrong padawan for him. Apparently, they don’t understand that Obi-Wan chose you. He picked you from all of the available initiates and it’s obvious he’s never regretted that choice.”
Feemor touches her knee with his fingertips, telling her he is here for her but not forcing affection.
“He was loathe to leave you behind for this mission. He paced this living room for an hour trying to figure out a way to deny the Council’s request or take you with him, but he didn’t want to put you in danger.”
“How do I make it stop?” She asks quietly. “I don’t want to leave him. I want to prove to him and myself that I can make him proud.”
Feemor smiles. “You already make him proud, but I will help you put an end to this. You deserve to feel safe and welcome in your classrooms. It’s going to be hard, but we need to speak to your instructors.”
“We’ll handle all of this together, okay? I will not let you down. I will be at your side the entire time. You are not alone in this.”
She nods again, slowly shifting closer to him on the sofa. Not close enough to press against his side, but close enough to touch.
Edie arrives at the salle before Caleb and she sits on a bench to wait for him. They aren’t planning on sparring with lightsabers, just empty-handed katas and possibly some hand-to-hand, but nothing that could lead to injuries. Caleb teased Edie for not wanting to do anything more than careful practice, but Edie didn’t let him goad her. Caleb acquiesced, deferring to her logic that they wouldn't want their masters to find out they hurt themselves doing something they shouldn't have been doing alone.
Edie smiles to herself. Sometimes she can’t believe that she met Caleb by accident but he latched on to her almost immediately. She’s not the easiest person to be friends with, but Caleb is stubborn and she likes that about him. Hopefully she won’t push him away like she has so many other younglings in the past.
“Hey, let’s go,” Caleb says, jogging up to her.
Just as Edie stands to follow him into the salle, Brenaar, Stanati, and Sneck come around the corner. Edie’s heart thumps hard in her chest. It's been nearly a week since they last bothered her and she was naive to think they had lost interest in her. Caleb tries to glare at them and push Edie toward the door, but they block their way.
“What now?” He mutters.
“How'd you do on the astronavigation test, Edie?" Stanati asks.
Edie blows out a breath, trying to come up with something smart as a reply.
"The same as the last math exam then," Sneck says, laughing.
She clenches her jaw.
Stanati whispers something to Brenaar that Edie can't hear, and Brenaar smiles. His height gives him an obvious advantage and he towers over Edie as he steps closer. She doesn't look at him, refusing to give him the satisfaction of knowing he is putting her on edge. She steps back after having gathered herself.
"What do you want?" She asks.
"Nothing much," Stanati says, her tone almost bored. "Just wanted to see if you were still around or if you'd finally been sent away."
A cold feeling settles in her stomach.
"Master Kenobi won't be able to help you keep up with your age group for long. You might as well bow out now while you can leave with some semblance of grace."
"I'm not going anywhere," Edie says softly.
Stanati puts a hand on Edie's chest, stabbing with her index finger. "You don't deserve Master Kenobi as your master. You're nothing and he won't waste his time on you for long. Wouldn't it be better for everyone if you just left instead of forcing him to renounce you?"
"Shut up!" Caleb shouts, his whole body tense and quivering.
He advances on them, putting himself between them and Edie, and Edie panics.
Surprisingly, he freezes in place. His fists tighten fractionally, but he doesn’t launch himself at Stanati.
“It’s not worth it,” Edie says softly.
Caleb looks at her and nods once, but his jaw remains clenched.
“Yeah, listen to your girlfriend,” Brenaar jeers.
They both glare at him and he grins at them.
“You know what,” Stanati says, her tone bored. “I think it’d just be better if Master Kenobi never came back.”
A chill runs down Edie’s spine. As if she hasn’t had nightmares about that very scenario…
“Why?” Caleb snaps.
“If he dies out on the field, Edie won’t have a master and she’ll be sent to the Corps, and Master Kenobi won’t have to see what a disappointment she becomes.”
Stanati states it as if it was obvious.
“If he’s dead, he won’t be stuck with you,” Sneck continues. “And that’s really better for everyone.”
Edie has never felt anger like this before. She breathes heavy, her heart racing, and she feels tensed as if to spring. She’s never wanted to hurt someone before. She always believes that people are inherently good and deserve a chance, but she wants so badly to hurt Stanati like she’s hurt her.
“Edie, let’s go,” Caleb says, holding her arm gently.
His touch doesn’t match the steel in his voice.
The fury bleeds from her like water from a popped balloon. She pushes past Stanati roughly, but trips over Sneck's outstretched foot. She hits the floor hard, and they laugh. Caleb scoops her up onto her feet and leads her out of the hall.
“Your quarters are closest,” Caleb says quietly.
Edie doesn’t respond, just keeps walking. When they reach her quarters, she is barely hanging onto a thread of calm. She is close to losing control of her emotions and she doesn’t want Caleb to witness it.
“I’m sorry,” she says, pushing away from him and bolting for her room.
She cries for what feels like hours but is likely only a handful of minutes. She wants her master back on planet so badly she could scream. He’s already been gone for his allotted two weeks and there seems to be no end in sight. Logically, Edie knows he will return as soon as he can, but her torment at the hands of other younglings has made her desperate to feel his calm presence. He always knows what to do and how to handle things and he exudes a sort of serenity no one else can match. Simply being in his company allows Edie’s anxiety to fade into the background and she has been able to think clearly for the first time in years.
When she has finally run out of tears to shed, she opens the door to the bedroom expecting to see the sitting room empty, but she finds Caleb sitting on the couch with a datapad and a teapot on the table. She freezes, unsure of what to do next. She’s never had someone but Master Obi-Wan hang around while she lost composure and it’s a shock to her.
“Hey,” Caleb puts the datapad down and stands up. “I made tea. I don’t know if it’s any good, but I know you like it and I thought it would help.”
Edie wavers, grasping desperately for some semblance of peace so she doesn’t cry again, and nearly fails. Her breath catches in a hiccup and she takes a step back into her room. Caleb’s eyes go wide.
“It’s okay, I promise. You don’t have to hide from me.” He puts his hands out as if coaxing a frightened animal, but Edie doesn’t think the analogy is wrong. “I know all the masters talk about releasing your emotions into the Force and whatever, but why isn’t crying the same thing?”
He shrugs and scuffs his toe against the floor. “I know I put on a show of being loud and tough, but I cry when I’m frustrated. Master Billaba doesn’t mind and she helps me a lot when I do. Even Master Windu is always willing to help me.
“Does Master Kenobi help you?”
Edie nods, tears welling up again at the mention of her master.
“Good, that’s good,” Caleb says softly, looking down at the floor.
Edie comes out of her room slowly, disliking giving up the safety her room gives her, but Caleb is baring himself to her and she can’t let him stand there alone anymore.
He reaches out to touch her arm and Edie moves away from his hand.
“I don’t…like to be touched when I’m upset,” she says quietly, shameful.
“That’s okay,” Caleb says, and he means it.
Edie sits on the couch, reaching for the teapot. Caleb sits beside her, but he leaves several inches of space between them. She appreciates his consideration for her need of space and it only serves to solidify her affection for him.
"Thank you," she says quietly, not looking at Caleb.
From the corner of her eye, she doesn't see him turn his head or even move to glance at her.
Edie gets a very pleasant surprise and a not very pleasant surprise.
Caleb continues telling Edie about his day with Master Windu yesterday, but her mind has drifted.
Caleb and Ahsoka both have their grandmaster around to learn from and make memories with. Ahsoka has Master Plo who found her and brought her to the Temple. Despite having one of the best Jedi in the Order as her master, Edie hates that she feels alone. Her lineage is jagged and broken and she tiptoes around subjects as if on eggshells because she can't know what reaction they might elicit. Caleb has his master and his grandmaster right there with him, live and well and not shrouded in mystery.
The door to Caleb and his master's quarters opens and Edie stands to leave. Caleb makes a halfhearted fuss about having to go train with Master Depa and Mace, but he's been looking forward to it all day. She says goodbye to Caleb and then to Master Depa as she passes her on her way out the door.
Her feet make the walk from Caleb's quarters to her own without her having to think about it so she isn't paying much attention except to sidestep someone passing by. As she draws closer to her home, some of her anxiety seems to lift and she feels less on edge. Her shoulders fall slightly from their position they had found up around to her jaw and she begins to relax. None of this registers for her and she simply unlocks the door and steps inside when it opens.
She is already out of her boots and halfway out of her cloak when someone says her name. She spins around, heart in her throat.
Standing there in the living room, uninjured and healthy and whole and a week overdue, is her master.
His hair is a little longer, his eyes a little more tired, but he is undoubtedly Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Her heart hammers in her chest and she doesn't know what to say, but he's smiling and approaching her and reaching for her. She has the urge to recoil at first, uncertain and trying to make sense of everything, but then his hand is on her shoulder, warm and familiar, and he is silently asking for her permission before hugging her. It's a familiar series of events and her initial panic recedes.
Edie allows him to draw her in and she leans against his chest, having forgotten just how lovely his embraces felt. His presence alone allows her to rest and ease her worries, and his touch only amplifies those feelings of peace. Does he know the effect he has on her?
His beard catches in her hair when he bends to leave a kiss on her head and he presses his face into her hair. There's a feeling of being touched, asking for her attention, but it comes from their bond. She hadn't realized how thinly it had been stretched until it was relaxed once again.
He spreads his fingers across her back and she reaches up hesitantly before clinging to his tunics at his waist. He smells like recycled air and ozone and dust, very little of his usual scent remains, but she knows that will return once he's cleaned up.
She doesn't realize she's shaking until one of his hands has moved up to the back of her head, fingers sliding into her hair. She can feel his arms around her, hear his smooth voice only inches from her ear, but everything feels so displaced and far away. His touch grows firmer, his arm wrapping around her back, and he moves her hair away from her face, brushing her skin with his fingers. Alongside his physical touch, he reaches out in the Force to comfort her, cradling and supporting her as she crumbles.
She didn't want his return to be like this. She wanted to meet him at his ship and welcome him home properly and be there to help him settle back in.
Her master's presence in her mind seems to brush away her thought, insisting that this return is perfect and he is simply glad to have her nearby again. His joy at seeing and holding her again radiates through their bond and she laughs without meaning to.
There's another kiss on her head, then one on her forehead, and she just listens to her master breathing. His breath tickles her face, but the scent of his breath is different than usual. They rarely remained so close together for this long, but Edie had taken notice of these small bits of information in an attempt to never forget anything about the man who took a chance to care for her.
She hears him speak to her, Come here, darling, but she isn't sure if it was with her ears or in her mind.
He draws her over to the couch, guiding but not forcing her, and he's barely seated before she's curling up in his lap. Everything is done without speaking, simply sense from their bond. She didn’t need to ask to sit with him, and he didn’t need to worry she was uncomfortable.
His arms settle around her, but his grip is slightly tighter than usual as if he had desperately missed touching her. Edie rests her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes and simply breathing with him, and he relaxes beneath her. She loses track of time as they sit there. His strong heartbeat and steady breathing nearly lulls her to sleep, but she stays awake simply to remember this moment. After several minutes pass with no movement from her master, Edie leans back very carefully to peer up at him. His head is tipped back onto the back of the couch, hair falling over his forehead, and he is soundly asleep. Edie settles back down to rest with him, relishing the fact that her master is safe and at her side once more.
Edie can't keep the fear from showing on her face when she meets Master Feemor in the hall of her quarters. His expression softens and he reaches out a hand to her. She tucks herself under his arm like they had gotten comfortable doing after all their time together, and his hand is warm on her shoulder.
"I'm not going to say anything. I know you'll do what you need to do," he says, stroking the hair that brushes over his hand.
"Thank you," she says quietly.
Edie is hesitant to ruin her master's homecoming. He seems to be in such a good mood, smiling and laughing and socializing with his friends, and she's loath to be the bearer of bad news.
The decision is taken out of her hands one late morning.
Caleb is supposed to meet her outside her astronavigation class, but he is nowhere to be seen in the long hall. Her excitement for her passing grade on the most recent test is tempered slightly, but she knows that she'll be able to see him in a few hours to share the good news.
She turns a corner only to be met by Stanati, Breenar, and Sneck. Her heart climbs into her throat, choking off any quick remarks she might have formed.
"I heard Master Kenobi made it back," Sneck says, looking at Stanati.
"How unfortunate for you both," she says. "Now you'll have to face him when he sends you off to the AgriCorps."
Resentment rises in her chest, ugly and hot, and she has to fight to wrestle it under control.
"Really, what kind of master is he if he can't even choose a padawan that will actually be a benefit to the Order? We can't keep just anyone around so everyone gets a chance," Breenar quips.
Edie chafes at the double jab, but she remains passive. She remembers how Feemor countered every one of their arguments when she recounted them to him and how silly he made them seem.
Stanati steps closer, pushing Edie back with a hard nudge to the shoulder. Edie stumbles once but stares up at the other girl defiantly, despite the severe lack of actual bravery to counter.
"I can't believe the Council even lets him keep his title, much less his seat. How many planets has he lost to the Seppies? How can anyone call that man a Master of anything but failure? No wonder he chose you! He just wants someone to take after him."
Edie's hands fly to Stanati's chest and she shoves with every bit of strength she can muster. The absolute indignant rage she feels at the blatant lies they were making up about her master pushes any thought of serenity or level-headed decision-making out of her mind. She acts solely on instinctive passion that she knows is below her, but at that moment she doesn't care what the High Council thinks of her.
Stanati trips back, caught off guard by Edie's outburst, but she doesn't fall. In seconds, her expression of anger melts into something more vulnerable and fearful. Confusion sweeps through Edie's mind, trying to come up with any reason Stanati might be actually afraid of her. She stands several inches shorter than Stanati and lacks hardly any muscle mass.
"What's going on here?"
Ice travels down Edie's spine faster than if a bucket of water had been upended over her head. Her whole body feels frozen, her mind a million parsecs away, and she finally moves as if on autopilot.
Standing behind her, just inside the corner that she had turned only a handful of minutes ago, are Master Windu and Master Kenobi.
"Masters, Edie pushed Stanati!"
"She didn't do anything! Edie just yelled at her and shoved her!"
"I wasn't doing anything but walking, and suddenly Edie is there—"
She finally understands what some people mean by strength in numbers.
Their shouting is nearly eclipsed by the pounding in Edie's ears. All she can do is stare at her master, knowing full well that he heard her shout and saw her push Stanati almost off her feet. She can see the disappointment in his eyes, the set of his mouth, and the tension in his shoulders.
He gestures at her. "Come with me."
She follows him with slow steps, and she barely makes it past the corner. Her vision blurs with tears and she covers her mouth with her hand in a poor attempt at stifling her sobs. She wonders if her master will continue on without her, fully expecting her to follow him at all costs, but she realizes a second later that was an unbecoming thought. His hands are gentle where they make contact with her arms and guide her along at his side. She wants to curl away from him, overwhelmed and overtaxed, and his touch feels too kind for what she's done. He presses them both into a dim room off the hallway before closing the door behind them.
He lets her go when she pulls away, but she can sense his reluctance in their bond.
She curls in on herself, sinking to the floor, and she hides her face from him. He sits down nearby, but allows her space to work through her emotions on her own.
After several long minutes, she is left hiccuping but still shying away from her master.
His voice is soft when he speaks. "Can you show me what happened?"
She barely holds onto her composure, but she clumsily pushes her shields down for him to have access to her mind. He is careful as always, but she still bristles at the fact that he's privy to all the memories of her meetings with her three tormentors. He only accesses the most recent instance, but she knows her hand has been forced.
The tension his signature holds in the Force finally bleeds away and he moves closer to her, carefully laying his hand on her leg.
"It's going to be all right," he murmurs, wrapping her in a comforting embrace without ever touching her.
It's only after several more minutes of cajoling that Edie lifts her head and lets him fuss over her. He would have made an excellent crèche master what with his patience and ability to remain calm no matter what was going on around him. Dealing with children must be a lot like handling a war zone, she thinks idly.
She feels him laugh, hears that rich sound she'd been deprived of for weeks, and things don't seem so terrible anymore.
"Is it alright if we talk with Master Windu?" He asks gently.
She nods. With Obi-Wan Kenobi at her side, Edie know she can do anything.
They raise the lights in the room and Master Windu enters. Edie notices his shoulders are relaxed and his face isn't holding its usual stern mask. They sit on the cushions in the room and Edie recounts the entire last nine months of her life, dodging Stanati, Sneck, and Breenar as best she could. She mentions Caleb's support and Master Windu's face softens further.
"We've had several complaints surrounding those three in the past, but there was never enough evidence or desire to even pursue punishment to do much. How do you want to handle this, Edie?" Master Windu looks at her expectantly.
She sits up straighter, surprised but also afraid that nothing would be done. "I just want them to leave me alone."
"What can we do to make sure that happens, Mace?" Obi-Wan asks.
"To begin with, we can remove them from Edie's classes to ensure she can go about her day without trouble. The High Council and EduCorps Council will have to meet and discuss what should be done with this information we have now. I won't say it's for certain, but there is a possibility they'll be sent away to the Corps or their families if everyone feels they can't remain on the path to becoming Jedi."
"I don't want them to be sent away," Edie says quickly.
Why is she defending the three who made her first year as a padawan so miserable?
Both masters look at her with a mixture of pride and bittersweet sadness.
"We know, Edie, but it's out of your control. We know you don't want anything bad to happen to them, but they've made very poor choices with how they've acted in the past few years. It won't be you who sends them away. You won't even be part of the final decision. It's also possible they are not meant to be Jedi and their paths are meant to diverge here," Master Windu says.
She nods and looks down at her lap. She will have to learn how to handle the thought of her being the reason those younglings might not get a chance at being a Jedi.
When her master reaches over to touch her leg, she remembers Feemor.
"Master Feemor knows about what's been happening," she says suddenly. "But he didn't tell you because I made him promise not to and he made a deal with me that I would tell you soon or he'd do it for me. Don't be mad at him."
Master Windu and Obi-Wan laugh.
"I won't be mad at him, little one. I'm glad he gave you the chance to handle this on your own. And you did, even though you didn't get to make the decision on when to do it," Obi-Wan says.
After her master speaks with Master Windu for a few minutes, they finally part ways and begin the walk back to their quarters. Obi-Wan doesn't force her to speak at all, but he does keep the conversation on lighter topics.
Dinner has already been eaten by the time Edie remembers her astronavigation test score.
The grin on her master's face fills the chasm that had opened in her chest when she first laid eyes on her bullies earlier that day.
She really can do anything with this man at her side. The idea of becoming a Jedi Knight doesn't seem so daunting when her master is smiling at her.
Obi-Wan has a vision and he and Edie share some intimate truths. Then, a slumber party.
It's been a whole year, but I'm back and I've got PLANS
Obi-Wan wakes up gasping and sweat-drenched. He swings his legs over the edge of the bed and leans over his knees. He focuses on his breathing, tries to keep himself from hyperventilating. He clamps down on a sob, but the tears still come. It had been some time since a vision left him so emotional. The vision slips out of reach as he tries to recall what upset him so badly.
“Master, are you okay?”
Obi-Wan looks up and swipes at his cheeks, but he knows his padawan would never fault him for his emotions. Edie stands in his doorway, leaning forward on her toes as if ready to spring to his side. Her hair was hastily thrown into a bun and her cheek is red with creases from her pillow. He reaches out for her and she comes to his side immediately. Her arms slide around his shoulders and he holds her tight around the waist. He listens to her heart, fluttering anxiously, and it helps ground him. He feels her fingers card through his hair. Eventually, the urge to break down completely fades and he squeezes her lightly around the middle.
“I’m sorry to have woken you,” he says, leaning back.
She releases him reluctantly but settles her hands on his shoulders. “You didn’t. I was already awake.”
“Why were you awake?” He asks, reaching up to stroke the frizzy hairs around her face that never seem to lie flat.
“I woke up from a dream.”
His heart sinks. “Come here, darling.”
He guides her to climb onto his bed and sit with him. He holds her hand loosely in case she wishes to pull away.
“What was your dream about, little one?”
She sits cross-legged in front of him, looking at her lap. "You were sent away on a mission and lost any contact with the Temple. They couldn't reach you."
She doesn't cry, which is more than Obi-Wan can say for himself, but her presence in his mind is tumultuous, roiling with anxiety.
"I'm sorry you had to experience that, little one," he says softly. “Have you had a lot of dreams like this recently?”
She shrugs one shoulder, and he reaches out to cup his hand around the curve of her jaw. She looks up into his eyes.
“I think I have them whenever you have one.”
He starts. “Why do you say that?”
“Whenever I wake up, I can feel you through our bond either dreaming or already awake. You may be able to fool everyone else, but I always know when you’ve had a vision or a dream.”
He ducks his head. “I apologize. I shouldn’t try to mislead you. It’s unbecoming of me.”
She takes his hand between her two smaller ones. "It's okay, Master. I'm not the best at being honest either."
He looks up at her and she meets his gaze, embarrassed. Her eyes flicker away again.
"I learned to keep my problems to myself," she says, "to avoid being punished because no one understood."
Obi-Wan's stomach sinks. He squeezes her hand.
"I learned something similar. I was never punished for my visions, but very few people took them seriously. It made things easier to just never mention them," he says.
Edie wipes at her eyes. Obi-Wan wants desperately to protect her from ever feeling this way again. He knows at least for this moment he can offer her comfort so he holds his hands out. She hesitates, her mind agitated, and he nearly pulls back and apologizes. At the last second, she pushes forward and turns to sit with her back to his chest and he wraps his arms around her. The place she occupies in his mind quiets.
"I will never punish you for asking for help, little one. You don't need to suffer on your own anymore; I won't allow it," he murmurs.
She turns her head slightly but doesn't look back at him. "It's not always that easy."
He kisses her temple. "I know, but you don't have to fear me. I'm not going to abandon you."
She looks down at her lap.
"Do you have anyone to talk to about your visions?"
Her question surprises him. No one has ever asked.
You should talk to one of the mind healers.
A strange revulsion to that statement rears up in his mind, but he's not certain of its source. He's spoken to mind healers in the past, but since his master's death and the beginning of the war he's barely been in Temple long enough to make an appointment. He thought he handled his visions well considering his constant mission schedule. Maybe his baser emotions felt threatened that Edie assumed he couldn't handle himself, but he knows that wasn't her intention.
"I'll look into it," he says softly, and he feels a soft wash of relief from his padawan.
She worries about him. That thought upsets him but he files it away for later consideration.
"Are you having any more problems in your classes?"
She shakes her head. "Caleb is helping me with mathematics."
"That's very kind of him. I'll be happy to help you with any of your work if you need it, but I know it's easier to ask a friend than your master."
He strokes his fingers along her forearm and the Force around them warms. He loves feeling his padawan's contentedness, knowing she feels comfortable in his presence. She sags slightly in his arms.
"I think you're going to be sent back out this week," she says, and he feels her grief potently.
He tightens his arms around her and presses a kiss to her shoulder. He wonders if she truly doesn't have an inkling of the Cosmic Force like him.
"I will ask the Council of their plans, and if it is true, I promise I will not lose contact. I won't put you through that, darling."
Obi-Wan squeezes her hand gently. "Why don't you go get your pillow and spend the night with me?"
Their bond gives an excited pulse and she crawls off his bed to do as he suggested. She returns and settles down beside him, letting her hair down from its tie. Feeling her so close to him puts him at ease and he finds it easier to relax. She rolls over and sits up to kiss him on the cheek and he smiles, returning the gesture. She wipes comically at her cheek and he pulls her pillow up over her face. They finally settle down and he turns the light off, but Edie's place at his side and in his mind continues to shine brightly. She lies down on her stomach and Obi-Wan reaches over to stroke his fingers along her spine. Their bond shivers with pleasure. He keeps up the soothing touch until she's dozing and he tucks her hair behind her ear carefully.
"Sleep well, little one."
Obi-Wan and Edie spend the day together and Obi-Wan shares some stories with his padawan.
The next day is a blessedly relaxing one. Edie's classes are on a break and Obi-Wan has no Council business to attend to. He takes advantage of the free time to dote on his padawan, something he rarely had time to do for Anakin and wants to ensure he can do for Edie.
They sleep through first meal and Obi-Wan wakes slowly, feeling more relaxed than he has in a long time. He finds Edie curled up close to him, dark hair fanned out on her pillow. Her face is lax and she breathes deeply. Their bond is quiet; she's not dreaming. He lies there and watches his padawan sleep for a long time, imagining the adventures that lay before her. He won't take her on missions to occupied planets, but she needs the experience traveling offers. If the war has not ended by her thirteenth birthday, Obi-Wan will personally end it himself. A memory of his first mission rises in his mind and he presses it aside to be dealt with later. He won't allow Edie's first mission to play out so messily.
He leans over carefully and presses a kiss to Edie's forehead before sliding out of bed. He fixes the covers over his padawan and leaves to get ready for the day, the usual weight of the galaxy gone from his shoulders for the time being. He waits in their sitting room, reading from a book he had started months ago.
Edie pads out of his bedroom, her hair once again pulled up into a bun, and she gives him a sleepy wave.
"Good morning, little one," he says.
He sits forward. "I thought we could eat midmeal in the dining hall and then do anything you want for the day."
His padawan's eyes widen slightly at the daunting task of choosing their activities and he smiles at her.
"That sounds good," she replies.
He fixes her braid once she is dressed. Anakin hardly ever asked him to fix his and Obi-Wan wasn't hurt, but he did miss the closeness the act gave him with Qui-Gon. Now he gets to feel that again with Edie who asks him to fix her braid whenever it just even slightly mussed. He never turns her down and their bond betrays how dearly she loves this act of love.
They eat in the main dining hall where several Jedi stop by their table to greet him and, in turn, his padawan. Garen is passing through the Temple and he sneaks up behind Edie, startling her, but she dissolves into laughter once she realizes it was him. He crouches down beside her and talks indirectly to Obi-Wan, his longtime friend, but Obi-Wan is unbothered. He chucks Edie under the chin and winks at her before he leaves, squeezing Obi-Wan's shoulder as he goes.
Kit comes over and he's more subdued than usual. His smile isn't as bright nor his laugh as hearty, but he seems to lighten somewhat at Edie's presence. He asks about her progress and tells her he wants to spar with them both sometime soon. At her wide eyes, he smiles and twirls her braid gently, reassuring her he knows she's still learning. She agrees reluctantly and Kit manages to laugh. Edie smiles, proud. After he leaves, Edie looks at Obi-Wan with big, concerned eyes, knowing his actions were not normal.
"Master Fisto recently lost his former padawan to General Grievous," he explains gently and she looks after Kit as if wanting to run after him.
When their meal is finished, they walk slowly and aimlessly through the Temple. Edie is always content to simply be by his side and that fact warms Obi-Wan. While he enjoyed Anakin's energy and his constant need for stimuli, Edie's easygoing nature is a new experience and complements his own. He still needs an outlet for pent up energy and can spend an entire afternoon sparring, but as he's gotten older he's calmed substantially. Edie's love for relaxation and small pleasures is the perfect addition to his life.
"What would you like to do today, little one?" He asks as they pass by a looming window that displays the Senate dome.
He feels her thinking, turning ideas over in her mind, and he relishes the sensation.
"Where is someplace you liked to spend time when you were a padawan?" She inquires.
"Would you like me to take you there?"
He smiles. "I know just the place."
She trots beside him as they traverse the Temple and Obi-Wan is hit with such emotion he nearly falters in his even pace. He remembers being so comfortable at his master's side and eager to follow him wherever he went. He liked to tag along when Qui-Gon ran errands around the Temple or out in the markets, listening to him tell stories or teach him something.
When they reach the star map room, it is thankfully empty. The blue velvet ceiling curves high over their heads and pinpricks of light are the only illumination. Edie stares around the room in awe and Obi-Wan smiles. He understands the feeling.
"This was my master's favorite room in the Temple," he says, and Edie looks up at him. "He brought me here often during my time as his padawan and we would talk for hours. I cherished that time with him and now I cherish those memories."
He settles on a cushion and Edie joins him, sitting beside him so their knees touch. He spins the stars until he finds the planet he wants and brings up its hologram.
"This was my master's home world."
He selects a spot on the planet and a hologram fills the room of a small river with trees and grass surrounding it. He looks at Edie.
"Do you remember the rock that is on one of the shelves in the sitting room?"
She nods. "It's black and red."
He smiles. "Yes, it is. My master gave me that rock shortly after he took me as his padawan. This is where he found it."
Edie studies the picture surrounding them.
After a few moments, she turns to him and asks, "Will you tell me about Master Qui-Gon?"
At one point in time, simply the mention of his name would have been too much for Obi-Wan to bear, but he has managed his grief and sharing his master's memory with Edie seems like a good way to continue that practice. Edie wanting to know more about her grandmaster catches him off guard, but it turns out to warm him more than he thought possible.
He must have paused for too long because Edie hunches her shoulders and looks away.
"I apologize. I shouldn't have asked," she says.
He rests his hand on her knee and she glances up at him.
"I'm happy to tell you about him. I'm admittedly unused to telling stories about him because most people in the Temple knew him at one point or another. He was practically infamous and also incredibly friendly so there are few people who do not at least know of him."
"I didn't know how you felt about him," she says quietly. "Not everyone likes their master, but I assumed you cared for him since you have so many of his things in our quarters. I also didn't want to ask anyone else because he was your master and I wanted to hear it from you."
He strokes her hair behind her ear. "Don't ever be afraid to ask me something. Even if I don't know the answer, I'll help you find it. I remember what it was like being your age and wanting information on difficult topics. If I'm ever uncomfortable with something, I'll let you know. I will try my best to always give you an answer even if it is not pleasant."
She nods and her signature in the Force smooths out.
"Look at me, Edie," he says softly, and she does. "I'm glad you asked about him. I haven't had the opportunity to talk about him for a long time and I'm delighted to share his memory with you."
She smiles. He sets the hologram back to the stars and lets them revolve lazily around them.
"When my master was a boy, he met a Noorian named Tahl when they both snuck back to a lake to practice scaling a cliff. Tahl challenged him to a race and then beat him to the top. They jumped off into the water, but Master Yoda showed up and they had to hide behind a rock to avoid being seen. They were best friends from then on for about forty years."
He watches Edie's face as she realizes the math doesn't add up.
"Did they stop being friends or did she die?"
Obi-Wan smiles sadly. "She was killed when I was sixteen."
Edie's eyes are sad when she looks up at him. "I'm sorry. You've lost so many people."
His heart clenches. She's right and he has yet to tell her about his time as Qui-Gon's padawan.
"I only knew Tahl for three years," he says, "but she was like a mother to me. She was incredibly intelligent and could find anything you could possibly want to know from the Archives. Do you remember my friend Bant?"
"Yes," Edie says happily.
"Tahl was her master for a few years," he says, and Edie's brightness falters. "After she was killed, Master Fisto continued Bant's training until she was knighted."
"That's good. I'm glad she had someone to finish her training, and Master Fisto is kind. We should invite them both for a meal sometime."
Obi-Wan looks at her, but Edie is studying the stars. He still marvels at how he managed to find two such incredible children to teach and if he is truly worthy of the honor.
"I'll contact them later today and set something up," he says.
She nods, smiling. "Good."
"Master Qui-Gon was chosen to be a padawan when he was twelve by Master Dooku."
Edie's head snaps up and Obi-Wan inclines his head.
"Dooku was not always Sith. He was quite nice for a time and he trained Qui-Gon well. They never saw eye-to-eye, especially on Qui-Gon's ability to connect to others and his willingness to trust. After Qui-Gon was knighted and handled his missions differently than his master would, they quickly grew apart, but Dooku was devastated when Qui-Gon died on Naboo. He left the Order shortly after his death. I am uncertain what drove him to join the Sith."
Edie shifts beside him, leaning against his side, and he slides his arm around her back.
"Master Qui-Gon found a force-sensitive child on Telos IV six years after he was knighted and brought him back to the Temple. His name was Xanatos. His father, Crion, was the wealthiest man on the planet and he was hesitant to part with his son, but eventually, he allowed Qui-Gon to take him to the Temple. While he went to the creche, Qui-Gon did for Feemor what Master Fisto did for Bant. He took on Feemor's training after his master was killed. Feemor's knighting led to Qui-Gon's promotion to Jedi Master."
Edie smiles up at him at the mention of Feemor. He's been away since her confrontation with her bullies and she's missed him. She's sent him a handful of transmissions and received short but thankful replies.
"Have you learned anything about Xanatos in your classes?" He asks.
He's never sure what is included in the curriculum now.
"No," she says. "We haven't gotten to more recent Temple history yet."
He nods. "Alright. You'll be ahead of your classmates then."
She laughs and he smiles back.
"Master Qui-Gon took Xanatos as his apprentice and they were a great team. Xanatos was intelligent and skilled with a lightsaber, but he was also narcissistic and volatile. Master Qui-Gon believed him wholly and was thrilled when Xanatos was ready to be knighted. Their last mission was to Telos IV to mediate a civil war. The people were unhappy with Crion's rule as governor."
Edie's eyes widen at the mention of Xanatos's father ruling the planet.
"Tahl had been temporarily assigned a padawan who had lost her master and they accompanied Qui-Gon and Xanatos to Telos IV. Crion tried to kill the padawan and Qui-Gon ended up killing him to prevent it. Xanatos was enraged and, already having fallen back into his life as a wealthy Telosian, branded himself with his father's ring and turned on Qui-Gon. Xanatos escaped capture and Qui-Gon left Telos after the people reclaimed it.
“He wandered aimlessly for several years, sometimes joined on missions by Tahl, but Master Yoda began pestering him to return to the Temple and choose a new padawan. He didn’t get the help he needed to heal from Xanatos’s betrayal and that was where most of his issues laid. Xanatos affected the way Master Qui-Gon trained me and I wish desperately that had not been the case. I know Qui-Gon cared for me, but he never told me out loud. He was warm to everyone, but he struggled to open up to me because he feared I would turn as Xanatos did.”
He feels a tiny hand on his leg, then Edie’s fingers lace with his own. He smiles.
“Master Qui-Gon was incredibly wounded by Xanatos and he even renounced Feemor’s successful training, feeling like he couldn’t take credit for it.”
The Force swirls sharply around them and Obi-Wan laughs.
“Don’t worry, little one. He and Feemor eventually made peace with one another. He doesn’t think badly of Master Qui-Gon,” he explains.
Edie’s place in the Force still feels prickly. “Okay.”
“Master Qui-Gon returned to the Temple every year to see the younglings coming of age to be chosen as padawans, but he never chose one. He did this for ten years.”
Edie’s signature brightens. “And then he chose you.”
He hates to break her heart. “Not exactly.”
The way her face falls feels like a wound to his own heart, but he squeezes her hand.
“Master Qui-Gon was unhappy with how fiercely I fought my opponent. He was right, but I was young and the boy I was fighting tormented me frequently. That doesn’t excuse my anger, but it is the reason Qui-Gon was able to see it so obviously. I was three weeks away from turning thirteen and I was desperate for a master to notice me. Qui-Gon refused to take me as his padawan until we were forced to work together to fight against a Hutt clan, a group of draigons, a corrupt mining business, and Xanatos.”
The Force roils again and he looks down to find Edie glaring darkly at the carpet.
“What’s wrong, darling?” He asks softly.
“I was scared I wasn’t going to be chosen as a padawan, but I still had two years. You only had three weeks.”
He rubs her back. “It’s not a competition, little one. You were allowed to be worried. Everyone’s situation is unique and I didn’t have the struggles you do at your age.”
She doesn’t reply, but her signature feels calmer.
“I was sent to Bandomeer immediately after Qui-Gon rejected me because the boy I sparred against set up training droids to attack him and accused me. The Council believed him and I was sent to the AgriCorps, but Qui-Gon was on the same transport as I was. A clan of Hutts was on the ship as well and they started causing trouble, then pirates boarded the ship. Qui-Gon and I fought well together, but he was still unconvinced.”
“What about the draigons?” She asks.
He smiles. “Our ship was badly damaged by the pirates so we were forced to land. The draigons didn’t take well to our presence. Once we actually made it to Bandomeer, Qui-Gon made me join my AgriCorps assignment while he followed through on his mission. We discovered the mines on Bandomeer were being run by a mining company owned by Xanatos and he tried very hard to kill us both. He stuck me on a mining platform in the middle of the ocean with a bomb collar locked around my neck.”
A jolt of fear rocks their bond and Obi-Wan pulls Edie closer to his side.
“A Phindian named Guerra helped me—most of the time—and Qui-Gon rescued me at the last minute.”
“What does that mean?” She asks timidly.
“I had been caught snooping around where I wasn’t supposed to be and they threw me off the mining platform. Guerra caught me before I could hit the water and Qui-Gon arrived as this all happened."
“Were you scared?”
He looks down and Edie’s wide eyes meet his.
“Yes, I was.”
“Qui-Gon couldn’t remove the collar with the Force or his lightsaber so I had to wear it while we chased Xanatos, but I had the transmitter so I wasn’t in any danger of someone arming it. We followed Xanatos into one of the mines and walked straight into his trap. He closed us off in the mine. There were bombs set up all around the AgriCorps and mining grounds in places where they would cause the most damage and harm the most people. I knew Qui-Gon could get to the main bomb and disarm it so I suggested using the collar around my neck to blow open the door.”
Unease, discomfort, and horror leaks out into the Force and Obi-Wan curls his hand around her hip, holding her close. She leans hard into his side.
“At that point, I felt worthless. If I couldn’t be a Jedi Knight, I figured I could save lives in another way. Qui-Gon refused to let me sacrifice myself and eventually unlocked the door. I learned in my time on the mining platform that ionite has a neutral charge and shorts out most electrical equipment, and that mine we were in happened to have a vein of ionite. I used it to disable the timer on the nearest bomb and Qui-Gon disarmed it.”
He reaches up to stroke Edie’s hair in an attempt to soothe them both.
“Qui-Gon accepted me as his padawan after. He told me that I taught him something in that mine: that light can always battle the dark. He said that when the padawan teaches the master, the partnership is right.”
Their bond is heavy with something like exhaustion. He kisses her on the head.
“I’m sorry, little one. I didn’t mean to overwhelm you,” he says softly.
She shakes her head but says nothing. He’s gotten used to this occasional nonverbal reaction to stress and just holds her against him.
“Let’s go back to our quarters and rest,” he says, coaxing her into standing.
He holds her hand as they walk and she squeezes his fingers occasionally. In the lift, she leans into him, tucking her face against his chest. He brings his hand up to stroke her hair and sinks his fingers into the thick strands. She sighs softly.
They’ve settled on their couch with warm cups of tea when she finally speaks.
“I’m sorry you almost weren’t taken as a padawan.”
Obi-Wan brings his cup down from his lips. “Thank you, little one. I’ve made peace with my past, but I understand it must be unnerving to hear it when you had such a similar fear.”
She glances at him, eyes weary. “Master Qui-Gon didn’t choose you.”
He blinks, turning the sentence over in his mind. Then:
Qui-Gon accepted me as his padawan after.
“No, he didn’t. He didn’t choose me, I didn’t choose Anakin, and Anakin didn’t choose Ahsoka. That is why I came to your Initiate Trial. I could do for you what hasn’t been done in my lineage for decades. Edie, look at me.”
She does and he warms under her gaze.
“I chose you, darling. I chose you because I loved you after we shared that first meal together. Out of all the younglings, I decided you were going to be my padawan and it’s been the best decision of my life.”
Edie smiles, eyes slightly wet. He leans in to kiss her on the forehead.
“I love you,” he murmurs.
“I love you,” she echos in a whisper.
She curls up against his side and he rests his arm around her back. The shields on their bond relax. He relishes the serenity and pleasure he feels from her, knowing she’s happy in her place with him.
Obi-Wan returns from the mission to Geonosis bruised and battered, and Edie frets. More stories are shared.
Obi-Wan knows the moment Edie bursts into their quarters. Her anxiety is palpable and she doesn’t wait to ask permission to enter her master’s room.
She advances to the side of the bed and he turns his face toward her with a smile. She leans in, her hand holding his face gently, and presses her forehead to his. Their blond flares open wide and her fear is met with his pleasure.
"Hello, sweetheart," he says, quiet and rough.
She gasps for breath, trying desperately to remove any infinitesimal distance between her and her master. He hushes her, crooning sweetly, and she fights back tears. He reaches across their bond for her and she responds fiercely.
“Come here,” he murmurs, tugging on her so she climbs onto the bed with him.
She grasps his hand and he squeezes back, kissing her firmly on the forehead.
"What happened?" She finally asks, clearly afraid of his answer.
He clears his throat. "We were not prepared for the resistance from the Geonosians. Anakin landed relatively unscathed, but Ki-Adi's ship was shot down and mine followed. We managed to secure the area we wanted and Anakin is currently working on taking out the droid factory."
He takes his hand away from hers only to cup her cheek in his palm.
"I spent most of my trip back in a bacta tank. I'm already feeling better.”
Her face betrays her disbelief. He smooths her hair before bringing his hand down to stroke her cheek.
“I’m home now, darling. I don’t have to leave until I’m fully healed, and I intend to remain here as long as possible. You have a choir concert coming up.”
Edie smiles, ducking her head. He talks about her choir events for days before and after they occur, telling everyone who will listen about them. He’s roped his friends into attending several times and mentioned inviting a few of the Councilors he’s closest to. She puts up a feeble attempt to dissuade him, but he knows she’s delighted by his support.
“What have you been up to?” He asks.
She settles down against his chest and tells him all about her studies and what she and Master Feemor did to pass the time while he was away. He laughs when she regales him with the tale of her and Caleb’s heated game of push feather and she can’t help but join him.
“Caleb can get competitive,” she says. “But he calms down when I remind him.”
He smiles. “You sound like Bant and me when we were your age. I was always getting into something and she constantly cautioned me—sometimes to no avail.”
“That doesn’t sound like you at all,” she says teasingly. Her smile is cheeky.
He laughs again. He feels her touch the Force, sense his joy, and shiver in response.
Edie sleeps in his bed with him that night, curled up close but not touching him for fear of aggravating his injuries. He draws comfort from knowing and sensing his padawan so close to him. The more he is away from her the more obvious it becomes to him that he craves to be with her. Any time separated borders on painful the longer it stretches. Voice transmissions help, but the ache to feel her at his side is only assuaged for a while before returning with a vengeance.
She is frantic to help him with everything despite his assurances that he’s perfectly well enough to care for himself. The healers wouldn’t have released him from the Halls otherwise.
He allows her to do simple tasks for him like make their pot of tea or fetch a datapad from his bedroom but makes certain she sees him up and about on his own, moving without difficulty and only mild lethargy.
Late evening has fallen when Edie cuddles up close to him on the couch after retrieving another pot of tea. He forwent his armchair today in favor of possibly getting any affections from his padawan and he is reaping the benefits in spades. She’s rarely left his side. He strokes her hair where it is falling loose from her nerftail and she looks up at him, something near adoration in her eyes.
“Will you tell me more about your time with Master Qui-Gon?” She asks timidly.
“Of course. Where did we leave off last time?”
“Master Qui-Gon took you as his padawan after you saved the miners on Bandomeer,” she says.
He nods. “That’s right.”
Obi-Wan recounts the unplanned trip to Phindar thanks to Guerra and his brother.
“Master Qui-Gon hated being tricked. He would likely have agreed to help them if they had only asked. We helped them anyway because he could never turn away a person in need. As his padawan, it was exhausting to always be deviating from our assigned mission to help someone, but it taught me valuable lessons.”
He sighs, recalling the disastrous evens of a successful mission.
“I was caught while impersonating a guard and held captive in a tiny cell. A group called the Syndicat was ruling the planet, governing through fear and fabricated famine, and they had created a terrible way to ensure obedience. Anyone in trouble with them would have their mind erased and they would be set out to fend for themselves. Guards placed bets on how long they survived.”
The Force roils and he looks down at Edie. She’s staring at her lap, knuckles white around the mug of tea she holds. He presses his hand flat against her side, feeling her breathe.
“They attempted to wipe my memory, but I used Master Qui-Gon’s river stone to center myself and guide a meditation so I could protect my memories. They were wholly unsuccessful in their attempts to ruin me,” he says, trying to impress his survival upon her.
“Master Qui-Gon told me later that he was furious at Guerra and Paxxi for abandoning me despite it being my order for them to do so. He was sick over the thought of me losing all of my training and he felt like he had let me down by allowing me to be captured. He was ready to abandon Phindar completely to find me, but I came to him.”
He tells Edie about ending up on Gala, capturing Prince Beju, and returning to Phindar in disguise. She relaxes eventually, leaning into his side. He continues on about their real mission to Gala, finding an unknown royal heir to the throne in the hill people, the connection between Xanatos’s Offworld and the man rigging the election, and the successful election of a new governor.
“This mission made Master Qui-Gon curious about his legacy and he told me that as each mission passed, he grew more convinced that I was going to be ‘extraordinary.’ His words, not mine,” he laughs.
She grins up at him and a surge of love nearly chokes his breath.
“He was right,” she says, joyous and matter-of-fact.
“Thank you, little one.” He kisses her on the forehead.
She turns toward him. Her bent legs rest on his thigh and he relishes the warmth of her body. He hadn’t realized how he had missed affection until he was given it once more. Edie had been so uncertain of him at first he’d feared she would never feel comfortable, but she’s come so far in their time together. He can’t imagine giving her up now and spending his days alone once more.
“What happened after that?” She asks.
Obi-Wan sighs and goes for broke.
“After the mission on Gala, Master Qui-Gon and I went to a planet called Melida/Daan to rescue his friend Tahl. I befriended the children there who were the last remnants of generations of war and wanted to help them convince the adults to stop the violence. I refused to leave with my master and abandoned my place at his side. Things fell apart quickly after that and I was forced to call Master Yoda for help. Master Qui-Gon returned and helped me put a tentative peace in place for the people. I returned to the Temple with him and was put on probation. Master Qui-Gon eventually accepted me back, but he was hurt by my choice. We overcame that hurdle as we did everything else.”
He glances down to find Edie staring up at him, brown eyes wide.
“That was you.”
“There was a story that went around the creche about a padawan who left the Order, but no one ever knew their name.” She looks away from his face. “Depending on who told it, it was used to scare us into reaffirming our loyalty to the Jedi, but sometimes someone spun it as a heroic tale about standing up for your beliefs.”
“It felt much the same to me when it happened. I believed in what I was doing until it all fell apart and I realized I needed my master’s help. It showed me that I was meant to be a Jedi. My relationship with Master Qui-Gon was still new and rocky. We hadn’t yet gotten to know each other very well and I couldn’t see past my desire to help the others. Qui-Gon did eventually admit, under Tahl’s threats, that they hadn’t needed to leave as quickly as they did, but he was worried about her safety. I understood his point of view afterward, but I couldn’t go against my conscience and leave the planet without trying to help. It was a lesson I needed to learn, but it was difficult.”
Edie nestles against his side. “I understand wanting to help people, but I can’t relate to not being close to my master.”
Obi-Wan laughs; he’s always being surprised by her.
Edie and Anakin grow a little closer.
Edie opens her bedroom door at the overwhelming distress flooding the Force in her quarters. Her master is in a Council meeting; who could be in their quarters? The disheveled hair and dark robes of her brother padawan can be seen over the top of their sofa. He's visibly upset, fidgeting and pouring anxiety into the Force, and Edie winces.
She crosses the room to him. She reaches out through the Force and he jumps but doesn't flee. His eyes are wide and underlined with dark bruises.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know you were here," he says, voice cracking.
"It's okay." She tries to make herself as non-threatening as possible despite her not being very threatening at all, but Anakin is vulnerable and she doesn't want him to clam up. "Do you need to talk?"
He looks at her, wild desperation in his blue eyes, and she worries.
"What happened?" She asks softly.
She ends up settled on the sofa beside him, legs crossed underneath her, as Anakin switches endlessly between lounging on the cushions and sitting up ramrod straight. He tells her about Geonosis after Obi-Wan and Ki-Adi left, the droid factory, and nearly losing Ahsoka. She touches his leg when he cuts himself off. His eyes meet hers and she tilts her head.
"You don't have to hide," she says, and the dam seems to break.
"I was so angry that Luminara wanted me to leave Ahsoka behind when I knew I could do more. I couldn't believe she would just let her padawan die under the factory without trying to rescue her."
Edie agrees with Anakin, but also understands Luminara’s point of view. She isn’t nearly qualified enough to make a judgment on the situation, but she is more than qualified enough to support her brother padawan's need to vent.
Anakin shoves a hand through his hair. "I shouldn't have bothered you with this."
She reaches out and takes his hand. He looks between their hands and her face.
"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know," she tells him, making intense eye contact. "And I get the feeling you don't have anyone else to talk to."
She squeezes his hand.
"What else are padawan siblings for?" She says brightly.
He finally smiles. "I always wanted a sibling."
"Well, now you have one and you can't get rid of me."
He laughs and she grins at him.
He sits back and looks over at her. "What have you been up to lately?"
She tells him about her recent tests—the excellent score on her diplomacy exam and the dismal score in mathematics—and the first kata Obi-Wan showed her before leaving for Geonosis that she's been practicing. His presence in the Force calms as she talks so she keeps it up, thinking up anything she can to take his mind off his problems. She tells him about Stanati, Breenar, and Sneck and he nearly leaps off the couch until she grabs his hand and explains that they're no longer a problem. He's still angry that they had the gall to target her and wishes he had known so he could have helped. She squeezes his hand in thanks.
"I should have told Master Obi-Wan sooner, but he'd just gotten back from Ryloth and I didn't want to ruin his only downtime," she says, studying the patterns on his black glove.
"He was probably more upset that you felt you couldn't tell him," he says.
She sighs. "I know."
Anakin turns his hand over and grasps her own. "You handled it, though, and it's over now."
She gives him a tight smile. She still panics each time someone advances toward her in the hallway when she's holding her datapad or someone leans over her shoulder in class.
"Who stayed with you while we were on Geonosis?" He asks.
"Master Feemor," she says.
He nods. "Who's going to stay with you if he's gone and Obi-Wan has to leave?"
"I don't know." She shrugs. "I've only ever met a few other masters in passing."
"I know I'm almost always dispatched with Obi-Wan, but I'd be happy to watch over you if I'm available. If you're comfortable with it, that is."
She looks up at him and he gives her a gentle smile. She returns it.
"I would be fine with that."
There’s a sensation in the Force that feels like relief and joy.
"How do you like being Obi-Wan's padawan?" He asks.
Her stomach flips as it always does when she thinks about being Obi-Wan Kenobi's padawan. She still wonders when she'll wake up from this dream.
"Why did you feel sad when I asked that?"
She looks down, her shoulders hunching slightly. "It still doesn't feel real. I still can't believe he would choose me ."
"Why not? You're pretty spectacular."
She almost laughs but realizes that it would be unkind.
"I'm not spectacular at anything," she says. "All my grades are average and I can't even use my lightsaber yet. I can barely block the bolts from a training droid. My teachers finally had to pull me from those lessons because I was getting burned so badly."
Now he's holding her hand, thumb stroking back and forth soothingly.
"Pretty much all I have going for me is that I'm quiet and can occupy myself. Luckily, he has yet to see me at my worst. That might change his mind."
"What do you mean your 'worst'?" Anakin asks, voice soft.
She glances at him, his big blue eyes full of worry, and she shrinks under his gaze.
"I have major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety. On my bad days, I can barely get out of bed. It was a problem with some of the crèche masters because they thought I was just lazy," she explains.
Anakin squeezes her hand. "That's terrible."
"I'm sorry you had to experience that. I know Obi-Wan won't treat you like that, and if you ever need help or want some quiet company, I'm only a comm away."
She looks up at him and that soft smile is back, warming her from the inside out.
"You're welcome, Edie."
The door slides open and Master Obi-Wan walks inside, head bent over a datapad, but he looks up at Anakin's cough.
"Oh, Anakin. I didn't know you would be here," he says.
"I needed a place to think, and Edie turned out to be a good listener," Anakin says, smiling at Edie and then at Obi-Wan.
Their master beams at them, the Force in the room growing warm.
"Would you like to stay for dinner?" Obi-Wan asks, hanging up his cloak.
Edie leans closer. "You could comm Ahsoka to come and R2 is welcome too."
Anakin laughs and his signature feels light for the first time since she walked out of her bedroom.
"That sounds great. Let's see where they're at." He presses his comm and it chirps to life.
Edie sits in between her master and Ahsoka at the table, across from Anakin. She and Ahsoka chatter happily about Ahsoka's mission and Edie's classes. She catches Anakin watching them wistfully and kicks his ankle under the table. He feigns injury until she is giggling helplessly. Obi-Wan covers his face, but his shoulders shake with laughter.
Edie meets Obi-Wan's friend from long ago and finds an immediate friend and ally in her. Obi-Wan Kenobi does not stand a chance.
The train car rocks gently and Edie steadies herself with a hand on his belt. Obi-Wan rests his hand on her back.
“Are you nervous?” He asks.
“Don’t be too worried. Satine is going to be thrilled to meet you.”
Edie sat riveted the night before listening to him tell the tale of his and Master Qui-Gon’s year-long mission on Mandalore. She looked at him with such empathy in her dark eyes when he explained his conflict in leaving with Master Qui-Gon in the end.
When the train comes to rest at the Senate stop, Obi-Wan leads Edie out onto the platform. She looks up and around at the skyline and the speeders.
“Have you ever been out of the Temple?” He asks, realizing he doesn’t know the answer.
She meets his gaze. “Not in years. They didn’t want to risk taking younglings out with the war in progress.”
“I’ll bring you out and show you around whenever I’m in the Temple. There are some places I know you’ll love,” he says. “I want you to walk beside me, not behind me. I know it’s not proper, but I want to keep you close.”
She nods and takes her place at his side.
“Hold onto my cloak if you think we’ll get separated. I care less about decorum and more about your safety,” he says, and she nods again.
“Let’s go,” he says with a smile.
She trots along beside him and her mind races on her end of the bond as she takes in the Senate district. She looks around, fascinated, and he enjoys feeling her wonder. The city has become lackluster to him after so many years of passing through on missions, but now he sees it as if for the first time.
Senators watch him interestedly as they climb the stairs and make their way through the halls. It hadn’t occurred to him that the rest of the galaxy would be surprised to see another padawan at his side and he worries what that interest could mean for Edie. She’s still at his side, sticking close, and he forces himself to relax. He can’t do more to protect her without locking her in the Temple.
They meet Satine in a private office and she’s once again in the blue and green dress from their trip. Edie’s surprise at the sight of her filters across their bond and he smothers a smile.
“Duchess,” he says, bowing to her.
Edie follows him, quiet at his side but still taking in everything around her.
Satine turns to them. “Master Jedi—Oh! And who is this?”
Obi-Wan smiles and touches Edie’s back. “Duchess Satine, I would like for you to meet my padawan, Edie.”
Edie steps forward and bows again deeply. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Duchess.”
Once Edie has straightened and retaken her place at his side, Satine looks away from her and back to Obi-Wan.
“A padaw—” She murmurs, shocked, and then her face darkens.
She punches him on the shoulder.
“You didn’t think to tell me any of this when you came to Mandalore?” She demands.
Obi-Wan rubs his arm. “I didn’t know it was relevant.”
“You were nearly killed,” she shouts. “If I had known you had a padawan—”
“What would you have done? Rescued me more quickly?” Obi-Wan asks incredulously, then laughs. “You’re willing to save my life for my padawan, but not for me.”
Satine glares at him. “I did save your life, Master Kenobi, but it’s one thing to put yourself in danger when you’re alone. She depends on you, Obi-Wan.”
He quiets. Edie’s surprise and discomfort at their argument leaks over their bond.
“You have a point,” he says softly. “But I don’t appreciate being assaulted when I’ve come to support you at the Senate.”
Satine smiles flatly and says nothing, then turns to Edie. “How long have you been Obi-Wan’s padawan, my dear?”
“Almost one year, Duchess.” Edie folds her hands politely and Obi-Wan smiles.
He’s the recipient of Satine’s glare once more and he balks.
“Have you enjoyed being his apprentice?”
“Yes, Duchess, very much.”
Satine’s brow furrows. “I want you to call me Satine from now on, my dear. We’re friends now.”
Edie smiles bashfully and Satine’s eyes shine bright. She crouches in front of Edie who watches with surprise.
She holds her hands up near Edie’s face and asks, “May I?”
His padawan hesitates for a long moment before nodding and Satine cradles her face in her hands gently.
“Look at you,” Satine croons. “You’re beautiful.”
Edie’s cheeks burn hot and her shock and embarrassment batter his shields. Satine braces her hands under Edie’s jaw to prevent her from ducking her head.
“Listen to me, Edie, you’re a beautiful girl and you needn’t doubt that. I have yet to see what your skills are but I’m certain you will surpass even Obi-Wan one day. Don’t shy away, little one. Own your strengths and don’t let anyone take them from you. You’re stronger than them.”
Obi-Wan cannot see the tears in Edie’s eyes, but he knows they’re there. Satine strokes her thumbs across Edie’s cheeks and smiles at her.
“Come, let’s see if the Senate will listen to what I have to say,” she says.
She stands and holds her hand out for Edie. His padawan looks to him and he nods, smiling. Edie takes Satine’s hand and keeps pace at her side, staring up at her adoringly. He follows behind them. He’s glad he asked her to come today.
The Senate is as infuriating as ever and Edie’s anger feels sharp on her end of their bond. She keeps quiet and stands dutifully at his side, but she itches to argue on Satine’s behalf. He’s certain if he could see her face it would be darkened into a scowl that would likely only startle a loth-kitten.
He will get an earful about the Senate this evening and he’s very much looking forward to it.
Obi-Wan makes Edie stay in the Temple after Satine’s assassination attempt. She doesn’t argue, but her displeasure is evident. She asks him to tell Satine she’s sorry about what happened and he assures her he will pass along her message.
He almost wishes he’d brought Edie along if only to distract and comfort Satine from the Senate’s actions against her planet.
Only once Satine’s innocence has been proven and the Senate has ceased the Republic’s encroachment on Mandalore does he allow Edie to accompany him to see Satine off.
Satine hugs her tight, whispering something that Edie responds to with a nod, and smooths Edie’s hair.
“Make sure your master keeps in contact with me so I can know how your training is progressing,” she says.
Both of them turn their sharp gazes on him and Obi-Wan Kenobi blanches. Satine grins sharply.
“I’ll request Jedi assistance for something or other once you’re old enough for missions so you can see Mandalore. The Council wouldn’t dare send anyone other than your master.”
Edie laughs and Satine cups her face in her hands, smiling back. She releases Edie, who stays close at her side, and turns to Obi-Wan. He smiles at her and she reaches up to his face now, stroking his beard.
“I still don’t know how I feel about the beard,” she remarks, and he rolls his eyes.
Edie is uncertain as if she is encroaching upon them. Satine looks down at her and she snaps to attention, dark eyes intent on the duchess’s face.
“What do you think, my dear?”
She looks at Obi-Wan and smiles. “I like it.”
Satine laughs. “Very well. It suits you, Master Jedi.”
He purses his lips in mock-annoyance.
“I’m glad to have your approval,” he says, deadpan.
Edie giggles, her hand coming up to her face, and he grins.
Satine strokes her hair lightly, smiling at her, and turns back to him.
“Until we meet again,” she says softly.
He bows to her, short and quick. “Until then, Duchess.”
She tilts Edie’s face up and they share a smile.
“Be good, my sweet, but give him trouble any time you can.”
His padawan laughs again and Satine winks.
Edie tucks herself close his side as they watch her board her ship and Obi-Wan wraps his arm around her shoulders.
Edie makes a request of her master.
"Master, I've been thinking," Edie says one evening.
She's curled up on the couch, wet hair piled on top of her head in a bun, and cradling a cup of tea. Obi-Wan looks up from reading on his datapad and she's looking at him, but her eyes are focused somewhere around his shoulder.
"Oh?" He says, interested. "I do always love to hear what you come up with."
She smiles, glancing up at his face.
"What were you thinking about, love?" He asks, putting down his datapad and giving her his full attention.
She stares into her cup, fingers stroking over the smooth ceramic. "Tomorrow will be a year since you chose me."
He knows; he's looked forward to this far more than he did for either of their birthdays.
"It's been the best year of my life. That isn't necessarily saying much, I'm only twelve, but I'm still so grateful for what you've done for me," she says.
Obi-Wan tilts his head, studying her as she formulates her words. "It's been my pleasure, Edie. I've loved having you in my life."
She gives him a shaky smile and he returns it confidently. She keeps eye contact with him and he watches her with intent, ready to listen.
"I realize now what I wanted to ask is just me taking something else from you besides your time and your energy." The look in her eyes is vulnerable.
Obi-Wan stands and moves to sit beside her. "Darling, I would give you the galaxy if I could. There is very little you could ask of me that I would be unwilling or unable to give."
She sits her cup on the table in front of the couch and looks at him.
"You gave me a chance when I thought I had none and you've never once made me feel less than worthy of my place as a Jedi when so many others did. They made me think I shouldn't be here since I couldn't live up to their standards. You continued to support me even while you were being sent to the frontlines of the war. You've never once made me feel afraid to come to you or ashamed to be less than perfect at something."
Obi-Wan smiles warmly.
"My planet doesn't have family names and we're supposed to choose one when we feel it is right. Most people take the name of someone they love or something related to their career."
"I remember," he says.
Edie meets his gaze. "I wanted to ask you if I could take your last name as mine. I'll understand if you say no because it's your name and they’re special. But you've changed my life and I wanted to be able to honor you for being so kind to me. I know I'm asking to take something else of yours and I understand if you don't want to say yes."
Obi-Wan takes her hands in his and she gives him a quick, anxious smile. He's so proud of her; he can't imagine the amount of courage it took to ask him this question.
"Edie, I would be honored if you chose to take my last name as your own."
She sighs heavily and her smile grows, eyes glittering with unshed tears. He reaches up to cup her face in his hands.
"I cannot imagine sharing my name with a more perfect person. You will bring incredible honor to my name, and I'm so flattered you chose me."
She reaches up, wraps her arms around his neck, and he pulls her closer. He presses a kiss to her head.
"Thank you," she says, muffled against his chest. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, little one. I'm so proud to share my name with you," he says.
She leans back slightly but refuses to release his tunic. He kisses her on the forehead and smiles at her.
"We'll go down to the Archives and change it first thing tomorrow, alright?"
"And we can get a new nameplate for the door," she says.
He grins. "Of course!"
She lunges forward to hug him again and he wraps her tight in his arms. When they part again, he looks at her intently.
"You're a Kenobi now," he says, and they smile at each other.
He sends her off to bed and sits back in the sofa. When he read about her planet’s customs, he never imagined she would ask to take his surname as her own. He assumed that sometime in her apprenticeship she might ask for his help or opinion in choosing a name.
There will be another Padawan Kenobi in the Temple.
He smiles and reaches up to wipe at his eyes as they tear. It will be good to hear that again.
They make the trek to the Archives before they’ve even eaten first meal. Jocasta is delighted to make the change for them and congratulates Edie on her new name.
They’re on their way to the dining hall for their meal when Obi-Wan’s comm alerts.
“Which one?” Vokara Che asks cheekily.
He laughs. “The old one.”
“Hello, Edie,” Vokara says. “I just received the update to your file. Congratulations on your name. I’m very happy for you, padawan.”
“Thank you, master,” Edie replies.
“I’ll let you two finish your errands. Congratulations to both of you.”
Obi-Wan smiles as he ends the call and wraps his arm around Edie’s shoulders, continuing on their way.
“If we see anyone we know, do you want to tell them or keep it to yourself for now?” He asks.
“I’m not sure,” she says.
“I won’t say anything. You can make the decision.”
They run into Caleb, Depa, and Mace almost immediately. Edie’s anxiety is evident across their bond and Obi-Wan reaches out to soothe her. But as soon as the masters’ attention is on him, she pulls Caleb aside and shares her news. He’s ecstatic, his reaction reaching the threshold many masters deem acceptable for any joyous occasion and rocketing past without hesitation. This encourages Edie to give in to her more childlike tendencies and she allows Caleb to hug her and shake her playfully. Her laugh rings through the dining hall like bells.
None of the masters deign to chastise them. Mace’s smile is wider and brighter than his usual expression of happiness and he claps Obi-Wan on the shoulder. Depa’s own grin is equally excited and she moves from their small group to congratulate Edie wholeheartedly.
Edie stares up at Mace, worry simmering on her end of the bond, and she fights the urge to fidget. Mace crouches down in front of her and she smiles that huge, beaming smile that never fails to make Obi-Wan’s heart soar.
“I’m delighted to hear that you’ve chosen a name for yourself, and you’ve made an excellent choice,” he says and she barely avoids tucking her cheek against her shoulder. “I’m certain though I won’t have to shout after you like I did your master. I don’t wish to repeat myself.”
Edie giggles and shares a smile with Caleb. Mace winks at her before standing.
The five of them eat together and Obi-Wan adores watching Edie open up with Caleb. She’s excitedly telling him about an experiment her chemistry class recently completed and he’s watching her with rapt attention.
“She’s such a sweet girl,” Depa says quietly.
Obi-Wan smiles. “She’s made my life such a beautiful place.”
Mace tilts his head. “It’s been a long time since you’ve spoken so optimistically.”
“It’s been a long time since I felt optimistic,” Obi-Wan says. “But Edie has changed everything. She’s reminded me that the galaxy isn’t always a terrible place. I have someone to return home to.”
“I noticed your reports have shown a decrease in risky maneuvers,” Mace says.
“I’ll do anything to ensure she doesn’t experience what I did,” he replies solemnly.
Mace squeezes his shoulder. “You’ll keep her safe. I’m certain of it.”
Mace, Depa, and Caleb leave for the salles. Caleb promises to comm Edie to work on a project together and hugs her tight before dashing back to his master’s side.
Obi-Wan can nearly taste Edie’s excitement as they walk to the quartermaster. The feeling is a common one among padawans who are chosen by masters. The pride of having one’s name on a master’s quarters is heady and Obi-Wan remembers it well.
The quartermaster Ptoly is a portly man who grew up with his master and has been in his position for longer than Obi-Wan had been alive. His grin is huge and infectious, and he is delighted to see Obi-Wan with a new padawan.
“If only Qui-Gon could see you now,” Ptoly muses, setting the nameplate to be engraved.
Obi-Wan smiles. “Oh I’m sure he’s watching from the Force, getting quite the laugh.”
“You’re right. There’s no way he doesn’t know exactly what you’re up to,” Ptoly says, chuckling.
He slides the new nameplate over the desk and smiles. “You, my dear, I am positive Qui-Gon would have adored.”
Edie grins, and Obi-Wan tries not to let his emotions leak across their bond. How badly he wishes his master were here to meet her and teach her alongside him.
“Congratulations,” Ptoly says.
“Thank you, master,” Edie replies happily.
As they walk back to their quarters, Edie trotting along beside him with the nameplate clutched in her hands, Obi-Wan realizes how content he feels at this moment. His time away from the war, as sporadic as it has been, has left him relaxed and happy and peaceful.
Edie is the best company he’s had in years. She is young enough to still be bright and playful, but there is a certain maturity to her that allows them to have intense and intellectual conversations.
Edie scampers up to their door excitedly, stretching to reach the nameplate.
“Can you reach it?” Obi-Wan asks.
She waits for Obi-Wan to take the old nameplate from the frame before she stands up on her toes to slide in the new one. She sinks back down onto her heels and stares up at the door.
Kenobi / Kenobi
“It’s perfect,” she says, looking back at him.
He grins. “Yes, it’s perfect.”
She darts forward and wraps her arms around his waist, face pressed against his chest. He settles his arm around her, smoothing his hand along her back.
“Thank you,” she murmurs.
“You’re welcome, little one. I’m honored to share this with you.”
The padawan teaches the master and Obi-Wan finally reaches out to Anakin.
Obi-Wan is grateful today that Edie is a quiet child. He’s usually eager to hear her voice, but the events on Mortis have drained him completely. She can sense something is off about him but is too polite to pry. They spend the day in almost silent company, Edie finishing coursework and Obi-Wan attempting to focus on mission reports.
His head snaps up and he finds Edie watching him anxiously.
“Are you alright?” She asks.
“Of course. Why do you ask?”
“I called for you five times before you answered,” she says simply.
He drops his eyes. “I apologize. I’m distracted today.”
“I can tell. Did something happen on your mission?”
He chafes at the thought of decompressing from a mission to his padawan. It’s not her responsibility to help him work through his problems, but he doesn’t want to keep things from her or make her worry. He doesn’t even know how he would begin to explain what happened. Edie is watching him intently and he sets his datapad down.
“Anakin, Ahsoka, and I were transported to some kind of planet where the Force was incredibly strong. We met three beings who lived there: the Father, Son, and Daughter. The Daughter was a bastion of the light side while Son was of the dark side. The Father kept them in balance. The Son took an interest in Anakin and tried to sway him to the dark side. Anakin—” he breathes deeply “Anakin was convinced to join him, but he eventually broke away.”
He looks at his padawan to find her forehead creased in worry. She’s come to care so deeply for Anakin after their discussion.
“Have you talked to Anakin about what happened?” She asks.
He blinks. “No, I haven’t spoken to him.”
“I think you should,” she says.
He tilts his head, scratching his fingers through his beard. “Why do you say that?”
“He feels like he can’t talk to you about a lot of things,” Edie says.
Obi-Wan hates how those words cut so deeply.
“How do you—”
Edie levels him with an unimpressed look. “He came to our quarters because he felt safe here, but he came because he thought they were empty. If he’d felt like he could come to you to talk, I wouldn’t have found him on our couch. It’s not that he doesn’t care about you or trust you, he’s just scared you’ll judge him for what he says.”
“I wouldn’t,” he says, still shocked by his padawan’s reveal.
“Then tell him that. You’ve made it clear to me that I’m allowed to come to you with anything and I feel safe talking to you about difficult subjects, but I don’t think Anakin feels the same. Did you tell him what you told me?”
Obi-Wan rests his head in his hand. “I don’t think I did. I believe I decided on that approach after he was knighted and I realized how little we actually spoke of personal matters to one another. I didn’t want to raise another padawan that I couldn’t connect with.”
She nods. “That’s okay, but you should tell him now before he grows too distant. I don’t know him as well as you do, but I think he’s desperate for companionship. He’s not like me. It doesn’t bother me to be alone, but he needs the reassurance of company to feel at ease.”
“How did you become so smart?” He teases.
“A lot of time with the mind healers,” she says, tilting her chin up. “You should try it sometime.”
He laughs. “I did promise you, didn’t I?”
“Alright, I will speak with Anakin and make an appointment with the mind healers. Is that satisfactory?” He asks.
“Yes, thank you.”
He smiles, then, an idea.
“Let’s go see what the kitchen has for dessert,” he says.
Edie tosses her datapad aside with a grin. “Okay.”
He stands and watches Edie pull her boots on. She loves these little adventures he springs from time to time.
The Temple is quiet this late in the evening—one of his favorite times to explore and revel in the peace of his home. Edie holds his hand and their bond opens to them both. She is content simply being with him.
She’s delighted to see the kitchen has her favorite chocolate cookies and Obi-Wan sets an example by taking three of his own favorite. They share a pot of tea at a table near the wall and converse about upcoming events. Edie will be home later than usual the next day due to a choir rehearsal and Obi-Wan doesn’t mention his plans to surprise her with her favorite meal for all her hard work. He has a Council meeting the day after next, but they’ll break for lunch and would Edie like to meet him?
Obi-Wan contemplates keeping his appointment a secret until afterward, but that would be unbecoming of him. Edie will be the last person to think badly of him for reaching out. He has encouraged her to avoid hiding her struggles and he needs to set a good example. When he tells her why he’ll be out of their quarters longer than usual, she simply nods and accepts his statement with little fanfare.
He never expected to feel so drained as he left the Halls. He shrugs out of his cloak as he steps through the door and spies his tea set on the table in the common room. Steam curls up from the spout of the teapot and two cups sit on the table, in front of his armchair and Edie’s preferred place on the couch. His cloak dangles from his fingertips as he stares at the setup before his attention is caught by Edie entering the room from the kitchen.
“What’s this?” He asks.
“Tea,” she says simply.
Something ugly roils in his chest. Even the hardest battles haven’t left him with such impatience and it concerns him. Before he is forced to swallow his biting reply, Edie speaks again.
“I know these appointments can make you tired,” she says. “I wanted you to have something nice to come home to.”
She comes to his side and takes his cloak from him. She hangs it up and then returns to him, peering up with worried eyes.
“Thank you, darling.” He smoothes her hair. “I appreciate your kindness. Let’s sit down.”
They share the pot of tea and Edie doesn’t talk much, scrolling and reading on her datapad. Obi-Wan is grateful for the companionable silence to work through his mind healer session and the daunting thought of digging deeper into his past. His healer is very likely correct in assuming that he hadn’t processed the emotions so much as buried them and avoided disturbing them. He is compassionate and understanding toward Obi-Wan’s concern over his grief for his master’s death, reassuring him there is nothing shameful about missing his master’s presence. He was convinced he was a failure of a Jedi for struggling to fully release his emotions connected to some of the more tragic events in his life, but his healer denied that claim as soon as it passed through his lips.
He was surprised but not shocked to hear that he likely still suffers from an untreated case of psychic shock from the premature breaking of his training bond and it could be contributing to his inability to fully move on from his master’s death. The healer encouraged him to speak with Edie about Qui-Gon as much as he was comfortable since she seems to be eager to learn about him, and explained that sharing his memories will help him cope with the less acute grief. He asked him to listen to his padawan and reach out to Anakin and avoid allowing their relationship to deteriorate.
He hadn’t expected to leave a medical appointment with homework, but that was exactly what the healer gave him. The idea is not completely daunting, but after all this time of distancing himself, he hesitates to reach out to his old friends as he asked him.
He looks up at Edie, sitting across from him with her teacup cradled close to her chest as she reads, and knows these uncomfortable steps are necessary to give her a good apprenticeship. Knowing that she will be with him and support his attempts the entire way makes the thought less frightening. He can do it with her.
His discussion with Anakin lasts long into the night and sees them mending connections Obi-Wan had thought long burned to ash. Anakin confirms his suspicions that he is married to Padmé and also his fear that Obi-Wan will turn him over to the Council. His shock is palpable when Obi-Wan assures him he would never and has kept his thoughts to himself all this time.
They discuss their first haphazard meeting and Qui-Gon’s death. Obi-Wan is disheartened to hear that Anakin thought he hated him at first. He tells Anakin of his overwhelming grief at the loss of his master and how it affected his ability to teach for the first few years, but he came to love Anakin as his son and brother. Anakin seems shocked momentarily before it seems to sink in that Obi-Wan is telling the absolute truth.
The training bond neither of them had severed but had wilted and withered to almost nothing roars back to life, connecting them once more, and Anakin can sense Obi-Wan’s truth, love, and respect for him. He doesn’t share the memories only he retains from Mortis but listens as Anakin frets over the mission and the ghosts it dragged up for them both.
“I’m glad Edie wasn’t there,” he says quietly, voice far away.
“She was very worried about you when I told her what happened,” Obi-Wan says.
There’s a flush of pleasure from the other end of their bond, but disbelief colors it. The two of them haven’t interacted very much, but each meeting only makes Anakin’s love for her more obvious. He’s even picked up souvenirs from missions remarking how Edie might like it and she’s got a small collection of knick-knacks along the back of her desk she keeps fastidiously organized. Has Anakin ever seen it?
Anakin folds in hands in front of his mouth, staring into space around Obi-Wan’s elbow. The crease between his eyebrows is deep and the Force shivers.
Obi-Wan reaches across the table for him. “What is it, Ani?”
“What if I hurt them?” He asks, tears pooling in his blue eyes.
No clarification is needed and Obi-Wan aches to hold Anakin like he could when the boy was still small, but he remains in his seat and simply opens his hands. Anakin hesitates to remove his last bit of protection but he finally surrenders his hands to his master’s.
“You would never hurt them,” he says.
He squeezes those slender hands gently, the unforgiving metal of his right and the warmth of his left. Even the cybernetics are part of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi loves every piece of him.
“Not willingly,” Anakin says, voice barely a whisper.
“If you weren’t willing, then it wouldn’t be your fault, and they would never hold it against you.”
Anakin looks him in the eye then and Obi-Wan feels pinned by his gaze.
“If you ever have to choose between me and Edie, pick her. I will not forgive you otherwise.”
He nods and his former padawan seems to sag slightly. The scenario smacked of similarities to the choice given to Anakin by The Father between Obi-Wan and Ahsoka, but Anakin had not chosen one or the other. Everyone knows Obi-Wan is not as strong as Anakin and could not do the same.
Anakin smiles then and looks at him. “Can we all spar together soon? I want to see what you’ve been teaching her.”
“Of course,” Obi-Wan says. “Edie isn’t very confident in her saber skills yet, but maybe she would be willing to learn from you sometime.”
“I hope so. I’d love to help her.”
Obi-Wan smiles, chest warm and full of love for his padawans. He squeezes Anakin’s hands again, allowing their bond to open, and his affection passes across unhindered. Anakin squeezes his hands back and smiles that crooked smile of his that Obi-Wan has always loved.
Edie's "worst" has come and Obi-Wan does everything he can to help her.
***This chapter deals heavily with the way a person acts and feels when experiencing severe depression and anxiety. If that at all bothers you, please don't read the chapter. You will not miss anything vital and I'd rather you take care of yourself.***
I based all of Edie's emotions and actions on my own experience with mental illness.
Apologies for the late chapter! I realized too late that the chapter wasn't finished and then my family was traveling all day so I couldn't work on it. But it's here now and I hope you like it!
The Force feels strange this morning and it sets Obi-Wan on edge immediately. Could a Separatist attack be imminent? They had always threatened an attack on Coruscant and it was one of his worst nightmares. Edie was supposed to be safe in the Temple, but if the Separatists attacked here, there was nowhere she could go.
His morning does not continue as normal. Edie sleeps later than usual. She has no classes today so there is no pressing responsibility, but it is still unlike her. Obi-Wan answers a comm from a fellow Councilor and expects to see Edie emerged from her room by the time he is finished.
Her door remains closed, the door to the fresher open and the room dark. She hasn’t so much as made a noise either.
Obi-Wan crosses the sitting room to her door quickly. He hesitates for a moment, hand raised to knock. Why is he so adamant she comes out of her room? The Force is still unsettled and roiling, lapping obnoxiously at his mind and refusing to let up. He knocks lightly on the door.
He knocks again, louder, and calls his padawan’s name.
He ruminates for several long seconds over opening the door. He doesn’t want to invade her privacy, but his anxiety is only climbing the longer he does nothing. The door slides open at his touch and he’s greeted with a familiar dark room.
Edie is a lump under her covers on the bed, her back to him and curled up toward the wall. The Force in her room shivers.
“Edie? Are you alright?”
His answer is a shuddering breath and his heart seizes. He crosses her room and touches her back, feeling the tremble in her taut muscles.
“Oh, darling, what’s wrong?” He asks sweetly.
He starts. She won’t even speak to him.
The Force nearly moans in his ear, a pained noise. His body reacts viscerally, but it does not register the sensation as physical pain. His chest aches, his stomach feels hollow, and he nearly sags under the press of weight.
It dawns on him.
If this is what Edie is feeling, then he can't fault her for not getting out of bed.
Her shielding is barely there and despite the issue of morality, Obi-Wan intends to use the lapse to gauge his padawan’s mood and desires.
He sits down on the edge of her bed and rests his hand on her back.
“Edie, are you hungry?”
A flash of indifference is unexpected.
“Would you like something to drink?”
There’s a sliver of a positive answer and he celebrates that small victory.
“How about some tea?”
The indifference is back and coupled with crushing anxiety. It unnerves him.
He racks his memory for anything Vokara Che might have mentioned during their discussion or in the lengthy message she left on his data pad. Inability or lack of desire to make decisions? It sounds familiar.
“I’ll bring you some tea,” he says.
The anxiety loosens its stranglehold on the Force and Obi-Wan breathes.
He ducks down to press a kiss to her head, resting his hand firmly on her waist. He drops some of his shielding, allowing her to feel him across their bond, and she welcomes the change.
While the water heats, Obi-Wan sheds his cloak, belt, and boots. They’re not going anywhere today. He keeps tabs on her through their bond as he moves around their quarters.
He returns to her room with tea for both of them and sets the cups on her nightstand. He slides his hand along her back, remembering how that soothed her when she spent the night in his room. Her place in the Force and his mind brightens slightly at his touch.
“Can you sit up for me?” He asks, voice quiet.
She pushes herself up into a sitting position and he strokes her hair away from her face.
“Hi there,” he says sweetly.
She tries for a smile, but it’s pitiful compared to her usual grin. He doesn’t mind and tries to translate that across their bond. He offers her the cup of tea and she takes it with measured movements. He watches her drink from over the lip of his cup. She blinks slowly as she swallows, staring down at the liquid in her hand. Another bit of her signature loosens up from its knotty presence in the Force.
“Can I ask you some questions, little one?” He strokes her cheek, cupping his hand around her soft skin.
She looks up at him, brown irises nearly eclipsed by black pupil, and nods very slightly.
“Are you upset about something that happened?” He asks.
It wasn’t too long ago he returned from Geonosis barely able to walk and Ahsoka nearly died. Then she met Satine only to witness several assassination attempts on her life. Finally, he came home from Mortis in his own kind of depression from what he’d seen and she’d been distraught at his reaction.
“You can say no,” he adds. “I just want to know how to help you.”
She shakes her head. “No.”
The first word he’s heard from her in over twelve hours is a negative one, but it’s a relief to hear her voice all the same.
“That’s alright. Would you like to eat something?”
She nods but offers nothing else. Obi-Wan runs through her favorite meals and picks one at random.
“I’ll start lunch. Can you brush your teeth and come out to the couch for me?” He strokes her hair where it falls around her shoulders.
Another nod. He smiles, chucking her lightly under the chin.
“I’ll see you out there.”
He kisses her once more on the forehead, pausing to rest his forehead against her temple.
“I love you.”
He doesn’t wait around for a verbal reply; he can feel her love for him across their bond. Standing at the counter in the kitchen, he relaxes when he hears the fresher door close. If they get no further, at least she’s made it this far.
She’s on the couch with her half-empty teacup when he emerges from the kitchen. He refills her tea and is glad to see her reach for the food he made. She’s quiet as they eat, but then she looks over at him so he gives her his attention. The shields she holds up around her end of the bond fall and he’s privy to her turbulent emotions.
“It’s hard to describe how I’m feeling sometimes,” she says softly.
He nods, encouraging her to continue.
“I thought it might help if I simply let you look for yourself. I don’t want to leave you in the dark because I don’t have any answers.”
“I think that’s a good idea. I’m sure it’s not easy to make sense of these feelings especially trying to describe them to someone unfamiliar with them,” he says.
“Will it bother you?” She asks.
“No, little one, I can block it from my end and seek it out if I need to know something. Don’t worry about me.”
She gives him a tight smile.
After the third bout of seemingly random tears, Obi-Wan feels as if he is in over his head. He wants nothing more than to take Edie’s pain from her, but every attempt is only temporary. Her mind works in waves, calm for a time until something rises and sends her emotions crashing. She is even less accepting of his careful attempts at physical affection than usual. Even with her shields lowered, he can barely make sense of her thoughts as they ricochet from one end of the spectrum to the other. She tries to calm herself only to have the simple act make everything worse.
“Would you like to speak with your mind healer?” He asks.
She nods. He comms down to the Halls of Healing and is told they will be up to their quarters shortly. The Force roils with Edie’s heavy anxiety. He had assumed meeting with her healer would soothe her somewhat.
Edie’s mind healer, Sena, is a Bivall woman a handful of years older than himself and Obi-Wan is immediately comforted by her presence. She’s open, warm, and kind to Edie, encouraging her to feel her emotions without fear or shame. He relaxes knowing Edie has someone to support her emotional health.
“How do you feel about going back to classes tomorrow?” She asks.
Obi-Wan recoils at the sharp pain that radiates through the Force. He had no idea this was what Edie dealt with behind her impressive shields and he aches to think he’s let her suffer all of this alone.
“Scared,” Edie says.
Her voice is so soft, so timid, and so unlike the bright and joyful tones he’s used to hearing. The difference leaves his chest tightening painfully.
“Why are you scared?”
Edie curls her arms around her midsection, back curving and shoulders hunched. He wishes he could shield her from this agony.
“I’m behind on work, other younglings will ask me where I’ve been, and the teachers will be upset I missed class,” she explains.
“Why do you think your teachers are upset with you?” Sena asks gently.
“They act very annoyed that they have to help me catch up,” Edie says. “I’d rather be perpetually behind in class than face them.”
Sena types quickly on her datapad. “Have your current teachers acted this way toward you?”
“But you’re certain they will?”
Edie shrugs. “It feels inevitable.”
“They should not treat you like that, Edie. You have a chronic illness and require accommodations, and you are deserving of respect for your predicament.”
Obi-Wan wilts at the disbelief he feels from his padawan. Her face is impassive.
“I’ll be communicating with your teachers and if they resist my suggestions, you’ll be moved to another class with a more respectful teacher,” Sena says plainly. “I already know you struggle to return to classes after a setback like this and your instructors should only aide you in catching up instead of inhibiting you.”
Edie scrubs at her eye, pushing tears away.
“You owe none of the younglings in your classes an explanation for your absence. I know you want to be polite and avoid alienating yourself, but you can tell them you were physically ill, needed a break, or your master wanted to take you out of class for a training day,” she says.
Obi-Wan leans forward. “Edie, I give you full permission to place the blame on me. Masters have the power to take their padawans out of classes for a variety of reasons and other younglings should understand that without much question. Use me to your advantage, darling, and I will back you up completely.”
Edie looks at him with desperate thanks and he smiles comfortingly at her.
Nervous energy bleeds into the Force and Sena is alert immediately. Obi-Wan likes her.
“What are you worrying about, Edie?” Her voice is soft, coaxing, and holds no judgment.
His padawan looks between them before answering.
“It’s getting late,” she says. “What if my teachers don’t see your message before the day is over and I have to go to class tomorrow?”
Sena types something on her datapad. “I’ve already labeled the message as urgent so it will be pushed to their inbox and they’ll receive a notification even if the school day is over. They are required to open urgent messages no matter the time. I will ask for a response as soon as possible and you will not return to classes until they’ve spoken with me.”
Edie’s body sags in relief and she ducks her head, shoulders shaking.
“I’m very proud of you for reaching out, Edie,” Sena says softly. “I know this wasn’t easy for you, but this will help you come back easier than if you had tried on your own. Master Kenobi seems eager to support you and I will always be available if you need me. You’ve come a long way, little one.”
Edie gives her a tiny smile but says nothing.
“Is there anything else you want to talk about?” Sena asks.
“I don’t think so,” Edie says.
Sena turns to him. “I will message you as soon as I hear back from each of her instructors with their responses. Would you be willing to meet with them tomorrow to help Edie ease back into her normal schedule?”
“Absolutely,” he says.
“Are there any events tomorrow that might conflict?”
“This is more important,” he says.
Sena smiles slyly. “That doesn’t answer my question.”
“The Council can wait,” he says firmly.
She smiles wider and types on her datapad.
Edie reaches out to him across their bond, tentative and nervous. He reaches back, cradling her with his mind, and is relieved to feel her relax into his touch.
“If you have any other concerns, do not hesitate to comm me,” Sena says to both of them.
“Of course,” Obi-Wan says, standing. “Thank you for all of your help.”
He follows her to the door and then into the hall.
“What can I do for you, Master Kenobi?” She asks.
“Do you think it would benefit Edie to complete her classes outside the classroom?”
Sena considers for a moment. “Not right now. I worry that pulling her from her classes would alienate her further; she already struggles to make friends as it is. Once she is thirteen and able to join you on missions, it would help her keep up with her studies instead of missing so much instruction. If she continues to struggle with getting to class, we can always have her meet individually with her teachers. I hate for her to lose the interaction with other younglings, but her health and education should come first.”
He nods. He never knew there were so many avenues for younglings to complete their education, but he had a relatively normal childhood and he doesn’t have just any padawan. He’s willing to do anything it takes to ensure Edie’s success.
“Let’s see how tomorrow progresses,” she says. “I greatly appreciate your support of her, Master Kenobi. I worried over her being chosen by a master that didn’t understand her struggles, but you’ve stepped up and she’s been making incredible strides as your padawan.”
“Admittedly,” he says. “I came into this blind. I’ve never dealt with anything like this before.”
“Yes, but you didn’t make Edie’s life any harder than it already was. You took the opportunity to learn so you could help her and you’ve been immeasurably influential in her growth and success.”
Obi-Wan smiles shyly. Their situation could have deteriorated quickly if he had done anything other than taking Edie’s problems in stride, but they are flourishing as a team now and he cherishes his relationship with her.
“Contact me if she has any more questions or concerns. My comm is always on,” Sena says.
“Thank you, master,” he says as she leaves.
They discover something about Edie even she did not know.
Obi-Wan enjoys sparring with his padawan now that he's been able to build her confidence. He ensures the salles are empty to further prevent her from withdrawing and it also allows him to shed the shroud of stoic Jedi master. He can tease and laugh with his padawan and simply enjoy their time together. Part of their time is spent in a serious kata session and the rest in an aimless game of tag.
Anakin and Ahsoka are on the opposite end of the salle, sparring intensely, and Obi-Wan is chasing Edie across the floor, their lightsabers set to the lowest possible setting. She shrieks whenever he gets close and swipes at her. Her pale skin is flushed pink from exertion and her hair sticks out in all directions despite being twisted into a bun. She grins at him over her shoulder.
Edie turns to face him, crouched and holding her lightsaber out to ward him off. He advances slowly, inching sideways, but she turns with him and never lets him out of her sight. He lunges for her and she screams, slashing her lightsaber down to catch his. It's a successful parry and he grins.
Her joy colors the Force around them and he relishes that feeling.
"Ready?" He asks, rocking from side to side.
"Yeah," she says, panting but smiling.
He comes for her again and she tries to avoid simply running from him so he slows his attacks, allowing her to focus on her form rather than her speed. She manages to slide his saber away and swing around quite quickly to nearly scorch his tunics.
"Oh, very nicely done, my love," he laughs.
Their bond floods with her pleasure at his words.
Obi-Wan restarts his attacks and she's watching him intently, blocking as many of his swings as she can. He's forced to pull most of his jabs to avoid hurting her, but he's unbothered; she has time to learn. There's a moment where her arm is twisted in a way that makes it impossible for her to swing her lightsaber up and around in time to catch his most recent slash and he sees the panic rise in her face, eyes widening in fear. Before he can cease the motion and extinguish his saber, Edie has dropped her lightsaber and thrown her hands up in front of her. The Force swells for a second before exploding against his chest, sending him flying across the salle.
He cushions his landing but lays on the floor in shock for a moment. His lightsaber clatters loudly to the floor. Pounding footsteps near him and Edie collapses at his side, terror buffeting through the Force.
"Master, I'm so sorry. I don't know what happened."
Anakin and Ahsoka rush to his side, but he is solely focused on his padawan. He sits up and reaches for her, but she shrinks from him. He persists, taking hold of her wrist and drawing her closer. She finally allows him to gather her in his arms and he rubs her back soothingly as she buries her face against his throat.
"It's alright, little one. You didn't hurt me," he says. "You protected yourself the only way you knew how."
"There's no need to apologize," he repeats.
He pushes her back carefully and he's relieved to see she's not crying, simply panicking. He tilts her face up and cradles her jaw in his hands, directing her gaze to his face.
"Take a deep breath, darling." He strokes his thumbs across her cheeks. "It's alright."
Her breathing gradually slows and he continues to praise her until she's managed to calm completely.
"I don't know what happened," she says.
He strokes her hair away from her face. "You were unable to use your lightsaber to block my attack so you utilized the only other weapon you had at the time. Your fear magnified your strength and you were able to protect yourself by blasting me across the room."
He smiles at her, but there's still something frightened in her eyes.
"Don't worry too much, Edie," Anakin says and she looks at him. "I blasted Master Obi-Wan through a wall once before I knew how to control my power."
Obi-Wan laughs. "I still have a scar from that."
Edie doesn't laugh, and Obi-Wan knows their time is the salle is over for today. He moves to stand and Edie scrambles away from him. Anakin takes his hand and helps him up, eyes serious.
If you need me, comm me.
Obi-Wan nods once and turns to his padawan, who is worrying the end of her braid. She must have tugged it out of her bun simply to hold. He u sed to do that when he was upset and Qui-Gon would steal the braid away t o tickle his face. He doesn't do that now, maybe another time. Edie walks beside him but avoids touching him at all cost . Through the walk to their quarters and switching out use of the refresher, h e allows her space to c ome to terms with her emotions. He doesn’t understand the fear of uncontrolled strength, but he handled it with Anakin and he can do it again. While Anakin had been excited and nearly delirious with the power he could now wield, Edie is timid and frightened to do anything that could hurt another.
“Edie, will you come sit with me?” He asks after nearly an hour of silence in their quarters.
Her face is blank and her signature tired. She follows him into his bedroom and sits with him on his bed. They’ve come to find a comfortable closeness here that doesn’t exist elsewhere. She’s more willing to open up to him in the peace of his bedroom; he plans to exploit that without pushing her too far.
“You don’t have to look at me,” he says softly, happy to repeat himself every time they have a difficult discussion.
Being forced to stare your master in the eye as you bare your soul is often too much to bear as an adult much less a child struggling with new emotions.
“Tell me what you were feeling today in the salle,” he coaxes.
He rests his hands on his lap, close to her. He itches to hold her and comfort her, but he’s come to realize that she only seeks out affection once she has worked through her emotions and not a second sooner. The extra stimulation overwhelms her and prevents her from collecting her thoughts. She will curl up with him once she has quieted her mind, use his love to soothe her soul, and those are the times he cherishes.
“I was scared,” she says.
“When were you scared? While we were sparring or after you pushed me?”
“Were you afraid I would harm you?”
She rolls her shoulders, a sign she is distressed. “Yes, but I know you wouldn’t.”
“You’re right. I was fully prepared and able to extinguish my saber, but you were simply quicker this time,” he explains.
She sags, ducking her head.
“That was not an admonishment,” Obi-Wan says. “If anything, I’m very impressed by your speed. Why do you think this upset you?”
He pitches his voice low and turns one of his hands to offer the palm. Edie curls her fingers into her hands and her body stiffens.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially unintentionally,” she whispers.
“I understand and I’m glad you feel that way. This was an accident, I wasn’t hurt, and we will use this as a learning experience. Now that we know you’re capable of something like this, we can train for it and you will learn to have control over the power. Then, it will no longer surprise you and you won’t hurt someone.”
She nods but remains quiet.
“Would you like to talk to Anakin about this?” Obi-Wan offers gently. “He understands what it’s like to have to control his strength.”
“Not right now,” she says, shaking her head.
“Okay. He’s happy to help you whenever you’re ready to talk.”
They’re quiet for several moments, and Obi-Wan can feel his padawan’s mind swirling wildly behind her shields. She’s thinking intently about something. She looks up at him suddenly.
“How could I possibly have this strength?” She asks.
Obi-Wan presses his lips together and gives her a sad smile. “Why are you so shocked? You’re incredibly strong in every other way.”
“I’ve never been able to do anything but the bare minimum in our Force classes. Why all of the sudden can I blast a Jedi Master across the room?”
“Sometimes a Jedi doesn’t learn the extent of their powers until they’re older and they’ve grown more skilled at accessing the Force. You might have reached a point in your training that allowed you to tap deeper into the Force and your fear of being burned amplified it.”
Her mind betrays her disbelief. He makes a decision.
“Edie, do you know what your midichlorian count is?” He asks.
She shakes her head, sadness encroaching on her features as she expects a devastating answer.
“When Master Che last checked, your count was eighteen thousand,” he says.
She’s quiet, staring at him.
“When we found Anakin, his count was over twenty thousand. It’s steadied out to twenty-one thousand now. Master Yoda’s count is eighteen thousand.”
He catches a stray thought from his padawan.
He wouldn’t lie.
He picks up his datapad and opens the message Vokara sent to him when he visited her for Edie’s medical history. Edie’s midicholorian count is there in plain Basic.
She looks at him again, eyes wide.
“This doesn’t need to mean anything,” he says, setting his pad aside. “Your midichlorian count is simply the number of midichlorians that reside inside your cells and allow you to more easily touch the Force but is not necessarily a guarantee of great power. You and Anakin happen to have high counts and can very easily use the Force should you wish. Honing this power will make it a great skill, but you don’t need to use it.”
Edie looks everywhere but at his face. She picks at the fabric of her pants and her mind races.
“What’s your midichlorian count?” She asks quietly.
“Thirteen thousand,” he answers. “Has been since I was found and brought to the Temple as a baby.”
Edie crosses her arms and tucks them close to her body. Obi-Wan thinks she’s trying to wrestle with the idea that she could be stronger in the Force than a High Council Member.
“But you’re so strong,” she whispers desperately.
He smiles and leans forward, elbows resting on his knees. “I’ve trained since I was a youngling to hone my skills. Age and experience have allowed me to reach this level. When you’re my age, you’ll probably be ten times better than me and I’ll be so incredibly proud to have taught you even a fraction of that.”
She shakes her head, tears welling in her eyes.
“Sweetheart,” he says, holding his hands out. “We can handle this another day. Let’s get some sleep and tackle it in the morning, alright?”
She nods then and he relaxes.
“Do you want to sleep in here with me tonight?”
He smiles. “Go get your pillows then.”
Obi-Wan puts his head in his hands while she’s gone. What could the Force have possibly seen in him to give him two incredibly strong padawans? Someone like Mace or Yoda had to be more qualified to handle these situations. His fear from his time training Anakin returns like a slow leak. He’s terrified he will ruin Edie’s ability to reach her full potential. He feels lacking in every way.
He scrambles to turn down his sheets before she returns and gives her a big smile when she reappears in his doorway, pillows clutched to her chest. He nods toward his bed and she clambers up beside him with a tiny smile. He remembers how lovely it felt to share a bed with his master, the love and companionship and closeness. He’s glad he now gets to share this with his padawan.
Edie and Anakin bond over starfighters and their strength in the Force.
With her master on a short mission off-planet, so soon after his return from Kadavo too, Edie is left in Anakin’s care. They had both promised Obi-Wan that Anakin would train with Edie to work on controlling her use of the Force before he arrived back at the Temple.
They reserve one of the private training rooms and Edie is surprised to find several damaged droids leaning against the wall
She looks at Anakin.
He grins. “They’re irreparable and I want to see if you can crush them.”
He jogs to the wall and hauls one of the battle droids to the middle of the floor.
“Start close up to it,” he says. “We’ll see how far away you can be before it gets too hard.”
There’s a handful of feet between Edie and the droid and, even deactivated, the battle droid makes her uncomfortable, knowing what they can do.
Anakin moves to stand to the side, closer to her.
“Okay. You’ll find how to best reach the Force the more you train, but Obi-Wan started me off in something like a light meditation. Just reach for the Force and feel it moving around you and the droid. See if you can see or feel the droid in the Force.”
Edie breathes and lets her shoulders fall. Some residual nervousness hangs around her mind from the thought of being trained by Anakin Skywalker but she does her best to ignore it.
The eddies of the Force move differently around people than they do droids, and around Force-users than non. She hasn’t met many non-Force-sensitive individuals and been able to look at them through the Force but even her subconscious has picked up on the difference. The Force feels unnaturally still around droids, especially those that are deactivated or run on a less sophisticated type of AI.
This droid before her feels cold in the Force. Edie doesn’t really want to touch it at all.
It can’t hurt you and I can deactivate it if something does go wrong. You’re safe.
Her eyes open in surprise.
“I promised Obi-Wan I’d keep you safe while he was gone and that includes from droids,” Anakin says, a smile in his voice.
She closes her eyes and searches the Force again.
She imagines her grasp on the Force as a giant hand circling the droid and it’s simple to clench that hand.
The shrieking sound of crunching metal surprises her. When she opens her eyes again, the battle droid is no more than a ball of tan, sparking metal.
She looks to Anakin who grins back.
“Excellent,” he says encouragingly. “Now let’s try again.”
They do this until Edie can destroy the droid standing on the opposite end of the room while Anakin chucks soft balls at her, tugs at her with the Force, or blows air in her face as a distraction.
“We’ll work up to blaster bolts,” he says after.
She wrings her hands. “I’m still not good at blocking those without anything else to focus on.”
Anakin rubs his mouth with his hand, thinking.
“Let me think on that one and I’ll get back to you,” he says and she nods. “Let’s cool down.”
Their cool down consists of a game of push feather, exercising the more delicate use of the Force over the huge crushing use of earlier.
“Can I tell you something...personal?” Anakin asks after several minutes.
Edie nearly drops the feather. “Of course.”
“You know our last mission was to find a village of Togruta taken by Zygerrian slavers, right?” He asks
“I know,” she says.
The image of her masters back scored with burn marks from the electrowhip likely won’t be forgotten anytime soon. They had healed completely with a long soak in a bacta tank but the sight of them told her he had suffered and that was enough to break her heart.
Anakin’s gaze is far away, but his place in the Force is calm.
“I didn’t come to the Jedi Order until I was nine,” he says. “I was a slave on Tatooine before that with my mother. We were owned by a Toydarian named Watto who owned a junk shop. I was good with the mechanics and my mom was great at numbers and bookkeeping even though she could barely read. Out of the slave owners, Watto was the nicest. He never beat us but occasionally withheld things. That was the best we could hope for.
“When I was nine, Master Qui-Gon and Queen Amidala landed on Tatooine looking for a new hyperdrive and ended up in Watto’s shop. I won a podrace to get the supplies they needed. Then I found out Qui-Gon bet my freedom and won that too. The Council didn’t want to admit me to the Order because I was too old and they felt I could be dangerous, but after Master Qui-Gon died, Obi-Wan told them he would train me whether or not they accepted me so they had no choice.”
Edie lets the feather drop.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
He gives her a tight smile.
“What about your mom?” She asks.
“Ten years after I joined the Jedi, I started having nightmares about my mother dying. Obi-Wan and I were protecting Senator Amidala at the time. She and I had been sent to Naboo to keep her hidden from the bounty hunter that was after her. When I told her about the dreams, she insisted we go to Tatooine to look for my mother. We did and I found Watto and asked about her. He’d sold her to a moisture farmer several years prior, but that farmer actually freed my mother and they fell in love and married. When I found him, he confirmed my fears. My mom had been captured by Tuskens and no one had been able to rescue her.”
Edie shivers. The Force feels cold and dark. She has yet to discern if Anakin is a tactile person yet so she simply moves closer to him, offering her presence. He only manages a tiny quirk of his lips. She doesn’t mind.
“I went after her and found her, but she died shortly after I arrived. She had been hurt too badly.”
His breath leaves him in a shaky exhale.
“At least she didn’t suffer any more than that.”
There is a tension in the Force that feels as if something is being withheld, but she says nothing. She shouldn’t expect to be privy to all of Anakin’s thoughts simply because they’re becoming friends.
“I’m sorry,” she says again. “I don’t know what else to say.”
He laughs a little and his smile is more genuine than before. “It’s alright. There’s not much that can be said. I wanted you to know because I finally told Ahsoka after this mission left me a little...unhinged. I didn’t want you to be in the dark.”
“Thank you for trusting me,” Edie says.
She scoots closers but still doesn’t touch him.
“Are you okay?” She asks.
He gives her another smile.
“Yeah, I’m okay. I appreciate you always being such a good listener.”
Edie sits up straighter. “You’re welcome. I’m always happy to listen.”
This smile is brighter, more genuine, and Edie lets herself relax.
“Let’s get out of here,” Anakin says as he stands. “I’ll get R2 to retrieve the droid scraps.”
Edie follows him out of the training room but he hangs back until she walks at his side.
“Have you ever flown a starfighter?” Anakin asks.
Edie shakes her head.
“Still working on the simulator?”
“No, I haven’t made high enough grades to get to the simulator yet,” she says softly.
Anakin makes a noise. “Follow me.”
They end up in one of the Temple’s hangars and Anakin pops the hatch on a yellow starfighter. On the wings and hatch of the fighter are a yellow circle with a red semicircle surrounding it. Anakin touches one of the circles and smiles.
“This is the symbol for mine and Obi-Wan’s fleet,” he says. “It’s the Open Circle Fleet and this is on all of our ships.”
“It’s on Master Obi-Wan’s vambrace,” Edie remembers.
Anakin laughs. “Yeah, it is. Let me show you something.”
He climbs onto the wing of the fighter and holds out his hands. Edie climbs up after him. He gestures her closer. She considers him for a moment before allowing him to help her down into the cockpit.
“What do you think?” He asks, crouching down on the wing.
Edie takes in all the buttons, switches, and levers and mourns ever learning to fly one of these.
“Hey, what’s up?” Anakin asks and reaches out to touch her arm.
“I’ll never learn to fly. I can’t learn all of this.” She gestures to the panels.
Anakin smiles. “That’s why we have the simulator. You can crash as much as you need to and never get hurt. Even crashing in a fighter doesn’t have to mean certain death if you’re strapped in and know what to do.”
“You’ve been flying since you were nine,” Edie says, voice flat.
“Yeah, but I didn’t know what all this meant,” he says. “I went by instinct through the Force until I got here. I failed astronavigation twice before I got it right.”
Edie looks at him, timid and hopeful. “Really?”
He nods. “You’ve got time, little one. You don’t have to master everything right now. That’s why you have Master Obi-Wan to teach you and be there to help you if you fail. He’s here to protect you when things go wrong and help you up when you fall and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
They smile at each other and Anakin stands.
“Scoot up a little,” he says.
She does and he steps down behind her, sitting back in the seat and holding out his hands.
“Come here,” he says, eyes bright with mirth.
She stares at him with wide eyes, her reason warring with her confusion and excitement. He wiggles his fingers at her and she laughs. She lets him pulls her onto his lap and situate her to his liking.
“Look, I’ll show you the simple stuff,” he says. “Here’s the power,” he presses a green button, “and the ignition,” a switch is flipped, “and the hatch,” another button and the hatch closes over them.
Fear jolts through Edie like electricity and she jumps.
“No? That’s okay. We’ll open it back up.”
Anakin’s voice is soft and even.
“Leave it closed,” Edie says.
“Are you sure?”
“Do you want to go up?” He asks. “You can say no.”
Edie looks out the transparisteel of the hatch at the sky filled with speeders and ships. Anakin is probably the most skilled pilot in the Order; there’s no one safer to fly with.
His joy is palpable in the Force.
“Alright, let’s strap in,” he says.
He stretches the restraints out to settle firmly around both of them and tests the give of the straps until he’s satisfied.
“If you get scared or something, try not to grab at my hands, okay?”
“Okay,” she says.
Their liftoff is easy but still presses her back into Anakin’s chest and she gasps at the forceful sensation.
Later that evening, when Master Obi-Wan comms to check in, Edie tells him all about their excursion.
“Master, it was amazing. We saw some of the cruisers and they were massive. He spun us upside down and it tickled. He told me you’re always in sync with one another when you fly and I thought that was so cool and he said I could watch you two fly sometime. Oh, and I got to see the hyperspace rings. Have you used those?”
Master Obi-Wan smiles. “I have used them. It’s been quite a while though since I rarely travel without at least one cruiser.”
“I can’t believe you command those,” she says softly. “Not that you’re not capable, but it’s just...amazing.”
“I suppose it is, isn’t it. I’ve never really considered the weight of it. What else did you do?”
“Rex commed us because Ani’s cruiser saw us on the radar and he asked what we were up to so Ani told him. Rex said for us to stop by so I could meet him sometime. He says he’s heard about me from Cody. Do the clones really talk about me?” She asks.
“They do,” Master Obi-Wan says. “They’re very eager for you to join them on missions. I’ll take you to see them again when we’re back home, how does that sound?”
“That sounds fun.”
“Maybe I can bring you up to my cruiser and give you a tour,” he says and she grins.
“That would be amazing,” she says excitedly.
He smiles at her. “It’s a plan.”
Obi-Wan pushes back against the Council.
“For the record,” Mace says slowly, “you are refusing the undercover mission as Rako Hardeen to save the Chancellor?”
The urge to roll his eyes at the phrasing of that question is indescribable.
“Correct,” Obi-Wan replies.
Mace shares a look with Yoda and Ki-Adi but Obi-Wan simply sits and waits.
“This is an important mission,” Ki-Adi says.
“I won’t fake my death. Choose someone who doesn’t have a young padawan,” Obi-Wan retorts.
He leaves that Council meeting censured and put on Senate duty for the duration that the Rako Hardeen mission would have lasted. He leaves that meeting with a smile.
The next day he and Edie leave for the Senate after breakfast and this is the only time Obi-Wan has ever been relieved to be in the massive building. He says nothing about why they’re there beyond it was his turn to take Senate duty.
Their morning is filled with mediating treaties and contracts. Edie runs papers to various offices and messages between senators. Obi-Wan appreciates the technology that allows him to sign his name once and copy it to the various lines to save himself from unnecessary muscle cramps. Edie nudges him sharply across their bond and he smothers a smile. She’s been on her feet crisscrossing the building for hours and he sympathizes with her discomfort.
Lunch is coming soon. You’re doing a great job, little one.
She softens at his statement and returns to her task at hand.
Obi-Wan hadn’t planned as far ahead as lunch but it seems the issue is moot when Edie returns to him at the break.
“I delivered a message to Senator Organa,” she says. “When I introduced myself, he asked who my master was and when I told him, he demanded we eat with him and Senator Amidala.”
Obi-Wan smiles. “Senator Organa is a good friend as is Senator Amidala. It’s been some time since I’ve met with either of them.”
They walk to the room Bail had told Edie and are greeted by a small gathering of senators and representatives.
He smiles good-naturedly and lets Jar Jar shake his hand vigorously.
“Hello, Jar Jar,” he says.
Jar Jar grins and then Edie catches his attention.
“Whosa this?” Jar Jar asks.
“Jar Jar Binks, this is my padawan, Edie Kenobi,” Obi-Wan says.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Representative Binks,” Edie says, bowing.
She barely avoids jumping when he lunges forward to shake her hand but she smiles at his enthusiasm.
“Isa so good to be meeting you, Edie,” Jar Jar says happily.
Edie’s smile edges from polite to genuinely delighted.
“Let us sit,” Bail says.
Obi-Wan positions Edie in between him and Bail while Jar Jar and Padmé take their places across the table.
“Edie, did Obi-Wan say your last name is also Kenobi?” Padmé asks.
“Yes. My planet has a custom that parents do not pass down their last name to their children and instead we are supposed to choose our surname when we feel the time is right. I asked Master Obi-Wan if I could take his last name as my own and he was kind enough to allow it,” Edie explains.
“I didn’t just allow it; I was honored to share my name with you, Edie,” Obi-Wan says.
Edie smiles shyly. “It’s been almost a year since but I still can’t believe it sometimes.”
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful,” Padmé says.
Edie glances at him and then turns to Padmé with a smile. “It’s like we’re a family.”
“Yes.” Obi-Wan smiles. “It is.”
“How long have you been Master Kenobi’s padawan?” Bail asks.
“Almost two years,” she answers. “He chose me when I was eleven.”
“Have you enjoyed your time with him?”
“It’s been incredible. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
“Even with these rotations in the Senate?” Bail teases.
“Oh you’d be surprised how entertaining the things you overhear from offices can be,” she says mildly.
Bail and Padmé erupt into laughter.
“Obi-Wan, she’s perfect,” Bail says. “You chose very well.”
“I think so too,” Obi-Wan says with a smile.
They spend the afternoon watching the Senate’s proceedings from Bail’s pod.
Edie stands close to his side, unnerved by the size of the room and the number of beings surrounding them. He eases an extra layer of shielding around her in an attempt to soften some of the noise in the Force and she relaxes minutely. Nearly a year has passed since she was here last and then she’d had the drama of Satine’s plea to distract her. He speaks quietly to her during the session, asking her questions and testing her knowledge in an attempt to help pass the time. These sessions can be incredibly boring and he understands it might not hold the attention of a twelve-year-old, Jedi or otherwise. Asking her about various planets that are represented and how she would solve the issues brought to the table also lets him learn more about his padawan’s way of thinking before they’re thrust into a delicate diplomatic situation together.
The time passes more quickly when Obi-Wan is leaning down to listen to his padawan’s intense whispers and offering his steady replies. He loves hearing her unique perspective on situations and marveling at how differently but intelligently her brain works around problems. She continues to surprise and amaze him.
When the session has finally ended, they follow Bail out of the chamber and into the hallway to meet with Padmé. She smiles so sweetly at Edie and just her kindness appeals her to Edie immediately. He worries over how quickly and easily she trusts individuals without knowing their true intentions but he won’t train her to fear or distrust everyone she meets.
Being contained in the same shielding as his padawan subjects him to her visceral reaction to Chancellor Palpatine’s arrival. He bundles her off to the side of the hallway before the Chancellor has taken notice and blocks her from the view of the hall.
“What’s wrong?” He asks quietly.
She searches for words, staring through him to where the Chancellor is standing several feet away. Her eyes are wide and vulnerable, the way they had been the day she’d woken up filled with that heavy sadness.
The only way to describe it is a bad feeling.
Every single time he said similar words to his master and their situation had gone from bad to worse comes to mind in that moment.
I’ll greet the Chancellor, make our excuses, and we can go back to the Temple. You don’t have to speak unless spoken to and even then keep your answers short if you need.
She nods. Thank you, Master.
He keeps his hand on her shoulder as they walk back to join Bail, Padmé, Jar Jar, and the Chancellor.
“Ah, Master Kenobi, it is good to see you again,” Palpatine says.
Obi-Wan bows. “Greetings, Chancellor.”
“Who is this?” He asks politely. “A youngling you were asked to bring to view a Senate session?”
Edie shrinks from the assumption that she’s simply a tagalong and Obi-Wan rests his hand more firmly on her shoulder. He dislikes it just as much especially considering her braid hangs loose from the bun the rest of her hair is gathered into. Palpatine knows the signs of a Jedi Padawan after all the time Anakin spent with him over the years. Obi-Wan settles his shoulders back and smoothes his face as if he were about to argue a treaty with a particularly ornery government official.
“Edie is my padawan,” he states. “She’s been by my side for nearly two years now.”
He’s so very proud of his padawan when she bows respectfully to the Chancellor.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Chancellor Palpatine,” she says, even managing a convincing smile for the man.
Palpatine’s remorseful smile looks hollow. “I never would have thought you’d take another padawan, Master Kenobi. You seemed so devoted to Anakin.”
Obi-Wan understands Edie’s aversion now. He’s rarely interacted with the Chancellor since he took office and he’s glad of that fact.
“Anakin has been a knight now for almost four years,” he says. “He even has a padawan of his own. There’s little more I can teach him that experience won’t.”
“How did Anakin take the news? Was he upset?”
“No, he was delighted to meet her. They’ve become close friends and he takes every opportunity to teach her when I cannot.”
Before Palpatine can speak again, Obi-Wan takes a step backward.
“My apologies, Chancellor, Senators, but Edie and I must be getting back to the Temple. We must report our progress to the Council.”
They had to do no such thing but no one here would know that.
“How unfortunate,” Palpatine says. “I was hoping to speak to your padawan further.”
Edie’s fear at that statement floods their bond but her face remains unchanged from her polite smile.
“Yes, well, perhaps another time,” he says. “Thank you for your hospitality, Senator Organa. We enjoyed our time here today.”
He and Edie bow to the group before making their measured escape.
Connected as they are under his shields, Obi-Wan can nearly feel Edie’s heart racing. He reaches down and takes her hand. The sleeves of their cloaks hide any evidence that two Jedi are showing affection in public and it allows him to keep his padawan close.
By the time they’re back in their quarters, Edie’s anxiety is gone and only discomfort and confusion lingers.
“I’ll make tea and then we can talk,” he says.
Edie nods lost in thought.
She has divested herself of her cloak and boots when he returns.
“Let’s sit over here,” he says, nodding toward their meditation cushions. “For old time’s sake.”
She smiles and follows him. He sets the tea tray down and settles on his cushion, keeping his mind calm and signature relaxed. Edie sits in front of him and reaches for the tea. She fills his cup first.
“Thank you, my dear, that was kind of you,” he says.
Her smile grows slightly but then she refocuses on their tea. He watches her make her tea to her liking, adding sugar and cream. The first sip of the drink has her relaxing both physically and in the Force.
“I know you can’t tell me why you reacted that way to the Chancellor,” he says, “but maybe we could meditate together on it and see if there is anything hiding deeper.”
“Okay,” she says, the first she’s spoken since greeting the Chancellor.
They savor their tea, exchanging quiet conversation on nothing of consequence. Edie continues to relax further.
“Do you think you can get into meditation by yourself?” He asks gently.
She nods. She looks tired.
They meditate for an hour, focusing on Chancellor Palpatine’s arrival and her reaction. She runs through the interaction countless times in an attempt to understand her revulsion but nothing makes itself evident. They surface together and Edie’s agitation is palpable.
“What are you thinking, darling?” Obi-Wan asks.
“Why couldn’t I figure out why I reacted that way?” She says. “It doesn’t make sense.”
“Not everything we do or feel is decided by rational thought, even as Jedi. I don’t have any better answers for you, little one, and we’ll have to continue meditating.”
She rubs at a threadbare patch on her meditation cushion that has been there since Obi-Wan was a padawan.
“Will I have to be near him again?” She asks.
“Absolutely not,” he says. “The closest he’ll get to you is from his podium.”
Edie smiles at him weakly. He takes her hand in his and bends to kiss her knuckles.
“I’ll keep you safe, my love.”
A specter from the past returns.
"You're not looking too good, little one."
Edie looks up at Anakin as he sits down beside her.
"Something's wrong with Master Obi-Wan," she says, soft, uncertain.
His concern colors the Force around them and she shifts uncomfortably. Her bond with Obi-Wan continues to strengthen exponentially as they utilize it and his travels stretch its reach. Master Che says it has far surpassed Obi-Wan's bond with Qui-Gon which had been remarkable for its time. She's never seen this strong of a bond between a master and such a young padawan, but reassures them it's perfectly healthy.
She can’t speak to her master at this distance, but she can feel flashes of his mood and he is in obvious distress.
"Nobody knows where he went?" She asks.
Anakin smiles sadly. "Only Mace and Yoda, but they won't say."
She wants to yell at them, make them understand the pain of knowing her master is in danger but unable to do anything but listen. Anakin strokes her hair.
"I know, Edie. I'm sorry."
She curls up on the couch, unable to keep from feeling her master’s fear and anger. Anakin reaches for her with one hand.
She nods and he shifts closer, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. He pulls her against his side and she leans into him. He’s solid and warm, but it only makes her ache for her master to be the one holding her.
Edie’s never been in any of the hangars by herself, but she’s willing to do anything to get to her master. She runs down the line of ships, searching with her eyes and their bond. Suddenly, the haziness of distance disappears and she knows with certainty where he is at that moment. She continues on, excitement speeding up her steps until she’s nearly sprinting. Her master disembarks the beat-up ship at the end of the hangar.
His head turns toward her and the tight line of his shoulders sags slightly. He catches her as she wraps her arms around his waist and practically folds in on himself. She hugs him hard, gasping into his dirty tunics, and he’s shaking.
Right there in the hangar, he pushes her away simply to hold her face in his hands and kiss her on the forehead. He smoothes his hands over her hair, then returns them to her cheeks, stroking his thumbs over her skin as if to remind himself of her presence. She holds his tunics in her fists, refusing to budge more than the handful of inches between them.
His smile is weak, tremulous, and breaks her heart. She reaches up to wrap her arms around his neck, standing on her toes, and he bends to welcome her touch. She cards her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck and presses her cheek to his. He has not stopped shaking.
I love you.
He lets out a shuddering breath, his grip on her tightening, and she closes her eyes.
Whatever happened had rocked Obi-Wan Kenobi to his core and Edie doesn’t know what to do.
Several days pass before Obi-Wan asks for her undivided attention one night. He draws her onto the couch and she curls up at his side, facing him. He looks only marginally better than when he arrived—the black eye is slow to heal and his signature in the Force still unsteady. Edie hates this, hates everything feeling so out of place.
“Do you know how my master died?” He asks quietly, eyes sad.
He takes a shuddering breath and Edie worries.
“Thirteen years ago, he and I were sent by Chancellor Valorum to oversee the end of the Trade Federation’s blockade of Naboo. They weren’t interested in negotiating and tried to kill us. We escaped the planet with the Queen, but our ship was damaged. We landed on Tatooine, where we found Anakin.”
She nods. She remembers the turbulent emotions that lingered in the Force long after Anakin had finished telling her about his past.
“Qui-Gon was attacked by a Sith lord on Tatooine. We were able to escape that as well and make it back to Coruscant, but the Senate was no help so the Queen requested we return to Naboo to take the planet back ourselves. It likely would have worked if we hadn’t also been tracked there by the Sith from Tatooine. Qui-Gon and I fought the Sith while the Queen took back her government. He was a skilled warrior and proved difficult for us to handle, but we were managing. He separated us in a reactor room. The fight had gone on for too long and we were both tiring. I had been knocked off a catwalk so I was unable to catch up with my master in time.”
He breathes unsteadily, wrestles his composure under control.
“The Sith got under Master Qui-Gon’s guard and stabbed him through the abdomen with his lightsaber. I defeated the Sith by cutting him in half, but I was unable to save my master.”
Obi-Wan’s lip quivers precariously and Edie doesn’t know what to do.
“I thought I had killed the Sith called Darth Maul, but he survived and he’s intent on getting revenge for what I did to him. He massacred a village on Raydonia simply to get my attention.”
Edie covers her mouth with her hands.
Her master loses his battle against his tears and he ducks his head, coughing out a sob. He trembles uncontrollably, tears falling from his cheeks and darkening his pants.
Uncertain but determined, she pushes her way onto his lap and curls her arms around his neck. He wraps her in his arms and holds her tight against his chest. She tucks her head in the crook of his neck.
“I’m sorry, Master. I’m so sorry,” she whispers.
He cries into her shoulder and Edie strokes her fingers through his hair, tears gathering on her lashes. His shields hold steady but the grief thrashing around behind them is palpable even to a junior padawan. She had only ever heard stories of the pain from a broken training bond but this was evidence of the effects. She grieves for her grandmaster’s murder and the seemingly never-ending struggle throughout her master’s life. He’s never been allowed to keep his happiness for more than a few months at a time before something else stole it away. The hollow look in his eyes when she first met him makes sense now. He’d been surviving for so long he’d forgotten what it was like to live.
She loathes to let Obi-Wan go when he pulls away but she lets her hands slide down his chest.
“I apologize,” he says softly as he wipes his eyes.
Edie reaches up and uses her sleeve to dry the tears from his cheeks. He freezes and looks at her through wet eyelashes.
“You don’t shame me for crying. Don’t do that to yourself,” she says.
“It’s not your responsibility to bear the burden of my grief,” he replies, sounding as if the weight of the galaxy rests on his shoulders alone.
“No,” she agrees, “but it makes it easier to handle my own if I see you deal with yours. Hiding it does no one any favors.”
His face crumbles once more, tears sliding down into his beard. He swipes them away and cups her face in his hands.
“Edie, you’ve changed my life in more ways than you can imagine. I’m so thankful to have you by my side. You’re incredibly intelligent, strong, and brave. I cannot describe how much joy you bring me every single day. Every day I realize how blessed I am that you’ve allowed me to be your master.”
Edie wraps her arms around his neck and he laughs, kissing her firmly on the cheek.
“We’re both blessed,” she says into his tunic. “I didn’t think I’d have a chance at becoming a knight before I met you. I know it’s against the Code, and one day I’ll have to learn how to, but I don’t think I could live without you.”
He hugs her close to his chest and they rest there together for a long moment. She squeezes her eyes closed, pressing her face to his neck, and breathes.
“I’m proud of you,” she says.
There’s a jolt of surprise in the Force and Obi-Wan eases her back to look at her.
“What did you say?”
“I said, I’m proud of you.”
Edie smoothes his fringe off his forehead. “You never lost your Light despite losing almost everything. Your life was one disaster after another but you never dwelled on them and kept going. If that’s not something for me to be proud of, then nothing is. There’s no one I’d rather have as my master and I’m honored to be taught by you. Maybe it’s not allowed, but I love you as if you are my father.”
Her master watches her with wide eyes. More tears escape and fall down his flushed cheeks.
“I don’t know what to say,” he says softly.
“You don’t have to say anything. You deserve to have someone take pride in your successes. You do the same for me so it’s only fair I offer you some support as well. You’re an incredible man and Jedi and I’m so proud to have you in my life.”
Obi-Wan cups her face in his hands and tugs her closer to press a kiss to her forehead.
“You continue to amaze me, little one, and I am honored to be allowed to teach you,” he says. “Your support is invaluable to me and I love getting to spend every day with you.”
Edie hugs him tightly and he squeezes her back in return.
“I love you,” he says. “You’re an incredible Jedi, my darling.”
She leans back to kiss him on the cheek.
“So are you, master.”
A rescue mission.
Obi-Wan can sense Edie hiding outside the throne room. She’s gotten incredibly talented at masking herself in the Force and using it to distract or influence others. Her skills have served her well on this mission and he’s proud of her resilience. Nothing has gone according to plan and she’s adapted wonderfully to every new challenge.
Maul continues monologuing and Obi-Wan tries to create a plan to get Satine and Edie off the planet. He loses his focus on his padawan when Maul lifts Satine by the throat using the Force. Time seems to slow to a crawl but not nearly slow enough. The Darksaber is ignited and Obi-Wan moves to attack, but Maul, Savage, and their cronies are all tossed violently against the walls. The marble cracks on impact. Satine drops to the floor and Obi-Wan lunges for her. The doors to the throne room are thrown open and crash against the walls.
“Master, come on!” Edie calls.
He lifts Satine and sprints across the room to his padawan who is looking frantically up and down the hall. Edie is not a strong runner, but she manages to keep close as they search for a ship on the docks. The Force is on their side and they board an unaccompanied ship as blaster fire nips at their heels.
Obi-Wan leaves Satine and Edie in a bunk while he lifts off and sets their course. He dodges speeders attempting to keep them from escaping and flies safely out of the atmosphere. He sinks into the pilot’s chair for a moment once they enter hyperspace and pushes off the adrenaline. He closes his eyes, breathing deeply. His bond with Edie feels strange in his mind, but he will see to her shortly.
His eyes snap open and he lurches from the chair, dashing back through the ship at Satine’s hoarse cry. She is on the floor of the bunk, kneeling beside Edie who is leaning back against the bed. Obi-Wan sinks to his knees and cups Edie’s face in his hands. She’s trembling, breathing shallowly. Her eyes are glassy but she recognizes him.
“I’m here, little one. What’s going on?” He asks gently.
He smoothes her hair. “What do you mean?”
She flexes one of her hands, spreading her fingers wide, and there’s a tiny touch against his chest.
“I did it.”
A weak picture translates across their bond: Maul holding Satine in the air and Obi-Wan forced to the ground by the guards.
Obi-Wan’s eyes widen.
Of course, the only person able to do such a thing had been her, but Obi-Wan had been too distracted to realize. Edie successfully blasted a Sith Lord and several other people off their feet and into the walls behind them as a padawan only just old enough to leave on missions.
He gathers her in his arms until he realizes the armor he still wears.
“Satine, will you sit with her for a moment?”
“Of course,” she says, and holds Edie on the bunk while Obi-Wan strips out of the hard layers of armor.
She strokes Edie’s face, crooning to her softly, and Edie closes her eyes. He climbs on the bunk with them and Satine eases Edie onto his lap. He wraps her in his arms, opening their bond fully. Her fear is so stark he can nearly taste it, but it is tempered by his voice and his presence.
“It’s alright, my love. You’re in shock, but you’re going to be fine. I’ve got you.”
He kisses her on the forehead and nuzzles gently against her face. She sighs, love drifting across their bond, and he kisses her again.
“You were so brave,” he whispers. “You did so well.”
Satine reaches out and carefully strokes Edie’s hair. She peers out at her blearily and smiles at the duchess.
“What did she mean?” Satine asks, voice quiet.
Obi-Wan looks at her. “Edie used the Force to get Maul to release you.”
Satine’s eyes widen and she looks at Edie, who has pressed her face into his chest. Her breathing is still shallow and a sense of dizziness is evident on her end of the bond. He smooths his hand along her back.
“She threw them all against the wall like that?” She asks. “I didn’t think she was old enough to do such a thing.”
“She’s not,” he smiles humorlessly.
“She has a very high midichlorian count that allows her to more easily access the Force than Jedi with lower counts. She’s only recently learned how to utilize this skill and we’ve been practicing slowly, but nothing to the extent of what she did in the throne room. That is a feat only masters are capable of with focus. Her body couldn’t handle being the conduit for that much strength from the Force and now she is feeling the effects,” he explains.
Satine brushes her hand along Edie’s arm. “Thank you, Edie. I will be forever grateful.”
Edie tilts her head to smile at her. “My pleasure.”
They laugh and Obi-Wan ducks his head to kiss Edie’s temple.
“Silly girl,” he coos. “Just rest. You’ve earned it, my love.”
Edie succumbs to exhaustion shortly and her mind is nearly silent as she sleeps. Obi-Wan loathes to put her down just yet so he settles back against the wall, cradling her to his chest. He searches through the Force for any injuries and finds her psychic shock as well as several minor burns and a sprained wrist from a fall. The presence of any injury saddens him, but he knows she got away relatively unscathed and is relieved for that.
“You seem sad,” Satine says quietly.
He looks at her, emotions laid bare in his eyes. “I didn’t want her first mission to be this way. I wanted to keep her from the violence as long as possible, but I took her straight into it.”
Satine cups his jaw in her palm.
“Darling, you protected her as long as you could and you kept her as safe as possible. She was able to save me because you taught her so well. I know you were terrified to be separated from her, but she rescued us both because of your training. Once this war is over, you can take her on ten safe missions to make up for this one, but I know she will not hold this against you. She demanded to join you, did she not?”
“She wanted to be by your side because she knew that was her place, no matter where you were headed.”
He dips his head and Satine strokes his cheek.
“She’s safe now, darling. You’ve got her in your arms. Focus on that,” she says.
Obi-Wan leans into her hand and then picks his head up, resolved. He moves to lay Edie on the bed and retrieves the medkit from the cabinet above. Her burns are superficial so a thick bacta patch will get them well on the way to healing. He gives her a small dose of pain reliever in a hypospray to keep her comfortable until she is able to release her pain into the Force again. He covers her with the sheet and blanket and leans down to kiss her firmly on the forehead.
“There is another bunk next door,” he says, “with an adjoining refresher, if you want to clean up.”
“And what about you?” Satine asks.
He shrugs. “I don’t want to leave her.”
A soft hand returns to his face. “Why don’t we trade off, hm? You go get cleaned up and then drag that mattress in here. I’ll watch over Edie.”
She makes a good point. He acquiesces after a moment but places another kiss on Edie’s cheek before he leaves. She is sleeping deeply, completely drained. As he leaves, Satine sits at the foot of the bed, watching Edie with her usual intensity.
The water shower does him a world of good and the sonic clothes washer is a blessing. He pulls the mattress off the second bed and hauls it into the other bunk. Satine stands from her place at Edie’s feet and helps him settle it against the wall opposite his padawan. He sinks down onto it, exhausted. Satine leaves them after stroking his clean hair back off his forehead.
He starts when his shoulder is touched. Satine kneels in front of him, hair curling at the ends as it dries, and watches him with a fond look on her face.
“Is something wrong?” He asks.
“Not at all but you fell asleep sitting up,” she says.
He straightens and looks over Satine’s shoulder at the other bed. Edie is still sleeping and has curled up on her side.
“She’s fine,” Satine says, running her fingers through his hair. “You should sleep as well.”
He shakes his head. “I’m alright.”
“No, Obi-Wan, you need to rest. You’ve done enough for now.”
If Satine was a Jedi, those words would hold a powerful Force suggestion. As it is, only her narrowed gaze convinces Obi-Wan of anything.
“I will take first watch,” she says softly. “For old times’ sake.”
He smiles wanly.
“If you insist,” he says.
She sits on the end of the mattress and he lies down beside her, both of them facing Edie. His padawan is relaxed and safe for now and he can only protect her if he is strong and well-rested. He is asleep in moments, deeply and soundly.
“How is Edie?” Satine asks.
The Duchess is being housed in the Jedi Temple for safety as Republic Forces move on Mandalore, Mace and Plo leading the charge against Maul’s tyranny. She was distraught over the idea of the Republic interfering but she confessed later that seeing Edie struggle to stand after over-exerting herself to save her convinced her to allow the occupation.
“Mandalore will survive,” she said. “We always survive.”
Obi-Wan smiles. “She’s doing much better. The healers still have her restricted to our quarters and shielded them to allow her mind to heal without any interference. Master Che was equally impressed and horrified to learn of what Edie did.”
“Similar to how your Council reacted,” she says with a smile of her own.
“Master Kenobi, can you repeat yourself?” Mace asks flatly.
Obi-Wan shifts and tilts his chin up, proud. “My padawan successfully utilized the Force to free Duchess Satine from Maul’s captivity. She used the Force to push him and his subordinates into the walls and incapacitate them long enough for all three of us to escape to the landing pad and commandeer a ship.”
“Your padawan that turned thirteen two weeks ago?” Plo asks.
Someone valiantly attempts to smother their laugh from behind him and he smiles.
“Stars, Kenobi, you can’t give us a break, can you?” Mace covers his face with his hands.
“Come now, everything was perfectly calm for the first two years of Edie’s apprenticeship,” he teases.
“We had to handle you and Skywalker swanning around the galaxy and causing a ruckus every three days,” Ki-Adi says, smiling.
“Your padawan, where is she?” Master Yoda asks, his ears pushed back with concern.
Obi-Wan sobers. “I took her directly to the Halls of Healing upon arrival, Master. She was evaluated by Master Che and put into a healing trance to recover from her shock. She is still there and her other wounds are being treated.”
“Other wounds?” Mace asks.
His worry warms Obi-Wan. He and Edie have formed a tentative friendship from their connection through Caleb and Obi-Wan.
“She sustained minor burns from the ship’s explosion and a sprained wrist from the fall. Her injuries and the subsequent overuse of the Force caused her to settle into physic and physical shock shortly after we escaped. I had to carry her from the ship,” he says, voice lowering as he talks.
Thinking of his padawan in such a weakened state brings up his feelings of guilt.
“We wish your padawan a swift recovery,” Kit says. “She’s done an exemplary job on her first mission.”
Obi-Wan smiles at him. “Thank you, Master Fisto.”
“We will send a team of Jedi and their troops to Mandalore now that Satine has specifically requested aid. Maul will answer for his crimes. Take care of your padawan and allow us to handle this matter now,” Plo says kindly.
“Yes, master, thank you,” he says, bowing low to him.
Obi-Wan wished Edie had been there to see it.
“Will she have any long-term effects?” She asks.
Obi-Wan shakes his head. “She’ll make a full recovery. Utilizing the Force for Jedi is similar to working a muscle. You can strain a muscle, even tear it, but it will heal. Edie strained herself, but her mind will heal and she may be even stronger for it.”
He smiles at Satine tightly.
“She told me even if she never healed from this, she would never regret it and do it again happily.”
Satine bristles at the statement and Obi-Wan laughs.
“We are Jedi, Satine. We are raised from birth to aid those in need. Edie is the best of us and she takes her job very seriously. Allow her that choice,” he says.
She grimaces. “I know you will keep her safe.”
He nods. “With my life.”
“Don’t let it come to that,” she says, reaching out to cup his cheek in her palm.
They share a smile.
“I will do my best, Duchess.”
“Of that, I am certain, Master Jedi.”
Edie discovers foul play in the Temple bombing.
The biggest shoutout in the history of all shoutouts to scarletjedi for looking this chapter over for me and giving me some much-needed confidence. You're the best!
The Temple, where Edie has spent all of her life, feels tainted, unsafe, and Council thinks Ahsoka is responsible. The Force fairly screams with the inaccuracy of that idea but no one seems to hear it except Edie and Anakin. Her master is torn between his loyalty to the Council, his loyalty to his family, and his loyalty to the Force. Edie doesn't envy his position in the slightest.
Determined to do something for her friend, Edie seeks out the only person in the Temple Ahsoka is closest to besides their little group. She’s been through a lot with her and they seem to be friends. The Temple directory gives her Barriss Offee’s room location and she sets off for the padawan dormitory. She loves living with her master and is endlessly grateful he didn’t make her live alone. The padawan rooms are nice enough, but they leave much to be desired and do nothing to encourage community. Living with Master Obi-Wan allows her to meet his friends and colleagues.
Edie comes to Barriss’s room and raises her hand to ring the chime. There’s a voice inside her room. A niggling thought in the back of her mind has her setting her secondary comm to record. She leans a bit closer to the door.
“Three levels up there seems to be an abandoned warehouse where they used to build munitions that Letta visited during the time she was getting access to the nano-droids.”
“How did you find this out?”
That’s Ahsoka! Edie is relieved to hear her voice and know she’s at least relatively safe.
“I told you I would do some checking.”
She’s never gotten many warnings from the Force but these words leave Edie’s heart racing. How could a Jedi padawan know of an abandoned warehouse used for munitions? Even if that information was public Barriss accessing it makes Edie nervous.
She’s only trying to help Ahsoka.
Edie wants to walk away and put this whole thing behind her, but the Force offers a soothing lull and insists she stay. For the first time in her life, Edie considers ignoring the Force and seeking out her master, allow the Council to handle everything. They're more powerful, more equipped to deal with treasonous padawans than a newly thirteen-year-old girl. She steps back to head out of the hall when the touch of a hand on her back halts her. She whirls around to find only empty space. That couldn't be possible. She'd felt that pressure against her spine, warm and firm and nudging her forward.
You are stronger than you know.
The voice is deep, familiar, but Edie cannot place it. If the Force and this new presence believes she must be the one to save Ahsoka, then she'll do it. Ahsoka deserves that much.
She reaches for the chime on the door when it opens and Barriss almost knocks her over. Edie is only slightly shorter than the other padawan but the Force moves strangely around Barriss and it sets her on edge.
“Can I help you?” Barriss asks.
“I’m Edie, Master Kenobi’s padawan. I know you’re friends with Ahsoka and I thought she might have spoken to you or at least sent you a message,” she says. “Have you heard from her?”
There is no hesitation before she says, “No, I haven’t spoken to her.”
Edie wonders if this is what Master Obi-Wan experiences when he has a vision: the Force shouting so loud it seems to rattle through your entire body.
This is a lie.
Do not believe her.
Barriss looks as if to maneuver around Edie, to escape. She puts her arms behind her and ends the recording on her secondary communicator, an insistence from her brother padawan. Redundancy saves the day. She activates her primary to connect to her master, then mutes his end of the line.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought I heard you speaking to Ahsoka just a moment ago,” she says.
Barriss shakes her head. “I wasn’t speaking to anyone.”
Edie pauses, considering.
“I don’t think I am.”
She plays back the recording, watching as Barriss’s face darkens.
“Why would you lie, Barriss? Don’t you want to help Ahsoka just as I do?” Edie asks.
“What I want is for the Jedi to realize they are the villains in this war,” Barriss says, anger buffeting Edie in the Force.
“‘They’?” Edie asks.
She gets her lightsaber up just in time to catch Barriss’s blue one.
Master, please be on your way.
Edie doesn’t make much use of the actual Soresu forms but does her best to block the attacks Barris swings wildly. She slides Barriss’s saber away several times and uses the opening to try to disarm her, but the older padawan is just too skilled. They move along the hallway, scorching marks on the walls and floor. Edie jumps away from a particularly close swipe, breathing hard.
She’d only been back from Mandalore two weeks and out of her quarters one. Her use of the Force isn’t yet back up to par and she’s feeling the effects rapidly. Deciding against any form of attack or disarming, Edie works to keep her strength on defense. If she can keep Barriss occupied until her master arrives, then they have a chance of getting to the bottom of Ahsoka’s framing.
A hard slash of Barriss’s saber causes Edie’s arm to buckle and their sabers slam into her shoulder. She screams, her vision swimming with the pain, and Barris snarls as she pushes harder. Edie kicks out and succeeds in shoving Barriss away long enough to catch her breath for a moment.
“Barriss, stop,” she says. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes, I do,” Barriss snaps. “The Jedi won’t learn unless someone suffers from their ignorance.”
“There are ways to end the war without killing more people and ruining an innocent person’s life,” Edie shouts.
Barriss doesn’t reply and simply raises her saber. Edie parries as best she can now her dominant arm is nearly useless. She sinks into the Force like her master showed her and allows it to guide her movements. Barriss screams, enraged at her refusal to rise to her bait.
The Force slips out of her grasp as Barris slashes randomly and the grip on her saber weakens. Edie stumbles backward, holding her saber in front of her to keep Barriss as far away as possible.
“The Jedi deserve to die!” Barriss shrieks, arms raised.
“Enough!” Edie screams.
The Force bends to her whim and Barriss freezes mid-swing, eyes wide.
Edie breathes heavily, lungs and throat stinging, and shifts her weight to avoid collapsing to the floor.
Master Obi-Wan slows to a stop several feet from them followed by Masters Tiin, Windu, and Fisto. They all take in the scene with poorly hidden shock.
“Did you get my message?” She pants.
Obi-Wan smiles gently. “Yes, my dear, I did. Master Plo has been sent out with Anakin to find Ahsoka. You can let her go now.”
Edie steps back to lean against the wall and slides to the floor. She’s already trembling before she hits the ground. Her lightsaber remains lit and clutched in her hand. As Master Tiin restrains Barriss, Master Windu touches Master Obi-Wan’s shoulder.
“Go to her.”
He turns and sinks to his knees at her side. His hand is careful where it touches hers.
“Can I take this from you, little one? The fight is over. You did very well,” he says, voice low.
She releases her lightsaber with some difficulty only because she had gripped it so tightly for so long. Master Obi-Wan extinguishes it and clips it to his belt beside his own saber.
“Can I lift you?” He asks.
She nods though it’s a jerky motion. She’s too weak and out of breath to speak. Master Obi-Wan gathers her into his arms and stands. Edie lets her head fall to his shoulder.
“I’ll—” He starts to say to Master Windu.
“Go,” he says again with a gentle smile.
Master Che is waiting for them at the entrance to the Halls of Healing when they arrive. Master Obi-Wan follows her back to a room.
“Master Windu commed to let me know you were coming. He gave me a quick rundown but said you’ll have more information,” she says.
Before Master Obi-Wan can place her on the bed, Master Che has a chair pushed up to it for him to sit in. After the debacle of Mandalore, they discovered Edie recovered more easily from this overexertion with her master nearby.
“Tell me what you know, Obi-Wan, and we’ll let Edie catch her breath,” Master Che says.
She eases an oxygen mask over Edie’s nose and mouth and moves to cut Edie’s tunics away from the burn on her shoulder. The bacta she covers the wound with soothes the burnt skin and the hypospray siphons away the stinging pain and allows Edie to finally relax. Edie drifts as Master Obi-Wan explains what he knows occurred. He strokes her hair as he talks, occasionally drifting down to stroke loose hair behind her ear.
Even as her breathing seems to even out, the trembling persists. Edie reaches for her master who leans in immediately to soothe her. He opens their bond and she relishes that connection to him.
“Do you think you can tell Master Che what happened?” He asks, smoothing her hair back from her face.
She nods, pulling the mask off, but keeps hold of it in case breathing becomes difficult again.
“I knew Ahsoka and Barriss were friends,” she says. “So I went to Barriss’s room to ask if Ahsoka had contacted her. Before I could ring the chime, I heard her speaking. The Force seemed to tell me to set my comm to record so I did. Barriss was talking to Ahsoka and told her to go to an abandoned warehouse to find evidence of the munitions Letta used. When Barriss answered the door, I asked her if she’d spoken to Ahsoka and she told me no. When I played back my recording, she got angry. Before she attacked me, I had set my comm to transmit to Master Obi-Wan’s so he’d hear what was happening. I could barely hold her off and finally used the Force to hold her immobile until help arrived.”
“And now you’re feeling the effects,” Master Che says, tilting Edie’s face up. “Does this feel similar, better, or worse compared to what you felt after Mandalore?”
“Better,” Edie says, though her teeth chatter lightly.
“We’ll keep you here and see how you progress. If everything calms down, I’ll send you to your quarters for more rest.”
She nods and looks to her master. He smiles gently, brushing the backs of his fingers across her cheek.
“Sorry,” she says.
“Whatever for, darling?” He asks.
She shrugs. “Causing trouble.”
He laughs. “You manage to cause trouble in the best ways and help others in the process. I’m very proud of you.”
Edie sinks down into the bed, exhausted, and Master Obi-Wan smoothes her hair.
“Can I give your comm to Master Windu so the Council can hear the recording you took?” He asks.
She nods and lets him take it from her wrist.
“You have to give it back or Anakin will be mad,” she says, and he laughs again.
“Alright, little one, I’ll be sure you get it back.”
He stands when Master Windu arrives at the door to the room. Master Windu smiles at Edie, but he holds something just outside of the doorway and the effects of the room’s shielding.
“Edie, Caleb heard what happened and wanted to check on you but he’ll understand if you don’t feel up to any visitors,” he says.
Edie smiles. “He can come in.”
Master Windu lets his arm fall to his side and Caleb appears around the door in an instant. His collar is tugged lightly and he looks up at his grandmaster.
“Remember what I told you,” he says sternly.
“Shield really hard,” Caleb says.
Master Windu laughs. “Close enough.”
Master Obi-Wan moves to speak with Master Windu as Caleb darts to Edie’s bedside and smiles.
“Hi,” he says brightly.
“Hi,” Edie echoes quieter.
“I heard what you did. Everyone’s talking about it. I wish I could have seen it.”
“Caleb,” Master Windu says.
“Sorry.” Caleb gives her another smile. “Are you okay?”
“I will be,” she says. “I always end up using more of the Force than I can actually handle.”
“That’s wizard,” Caleb says softly, and Edie laughs.
“Am I shielding okay?” He asks.
Edie nods. “I can’t even feel you.”
“Good. I didn’t want to make you feel worse. I wanted to come to see you because I was so worried when someone said you had collapsed after the fight. We haven’t seen each other lately and I was—”
He hesitates until Edie reaches out and squeezes his hand. He drops his voice.
“I was scared I wouldn’t get to see you ever again.”
Edie pushes herself up unsteadily and Master Obi-Wan moves to help, but Caleb beats him to it.
“May I?” He asks, holding out his hands.
He’s careful as he helps her sit up on the bed, eyebrows furrowed with concern. Then he grabs her oxygen mask and offers it to her. She takes it gratefully, taking deep breaths. He watches her with blatant worry, blue eyes flitting over every inch of her. Edie smiles.
“I’m okay,” she says.
“I’ve never even heard of this before,” he says, and his shields tremble.
Master Windu steps forward but Edie shakes her head. She sets the oxygen mask down before pulling Caleb onto the bed with her. He comes willingly, staring at her all the while.
“I’m going to be fine. Look it’s already better.” She holds her hand out to emphasize the decrease in trembling, but instead, it shakes violently. “Okay maybe not, but I will be fine in a day or two.”
Caleb gives a nervous laugh.
“Caleb, let’s leave Edie to rest and regain her strength,” Master Windu says. “We need to take this recording to the Council.”
“Yes, master,” Caleb says, standing up from the bed.
Edie catches his hand and pulls him closer, leaning up to wrap her arms around his neck. He slides his arms around her waist without hesitation and squeezes her gently. She tugs on his padawan braid as they part and he scowls.
“I’ll see you later,” she says.
“I’ll hold you to it,” he replies.
Edie confronts the Council and earns herself a reputation.
Edie follows Anakin and Ahsoka into the Council chamber. Her master's surprise translates across their bond, but she ignores him. The rest of the Council watches her with widening eyes and confusion evident on their faces. She stands beside Ahsoka and sets her shoulders back.
"Padawan Kenobi, you were not called to this meeting," Master Windu says kindly.
She folds her hands in the sleeves of her cloak like she has seen her master do countless times and straightens her back, standing tall. She levels him with a hopefully neutral gaze.
"I have a statement to make on the accusations against Ahsoka Tano."
Several masters look between each other and then back at her. Her master once again prods at her, but she shields her end of the bond.
"You will not leave until you have made your statement," Master Koon says.
"That is correct."
Master Windu gives a soft sigh. "You may speak."
"How dare you?"
Shock bleeds into the Force around her and she's glad.
"You sit here in this chamber and demand obedience from the Jedi Order and yet you offer no protection to us. You’ve become a threat to us just as the Senate has and that is the most frightening result of this war. The moment Ahsoka was falsely accused of sedition you bowed to the wishes of the Senate without thought. You offered no support or advocacy for a child. I don’t know much about the Order’s procedure when Jedi are involved in court proceedings, but I can’t imagine it would involve turning our backs on them and seriously considering expelling them from the Order."
Surprise and anger color the faces before her and the Force in the chamber. She doesn't care.
“I don’t speak for the whole of the Order but I do not feel confident obeying this Council when they do not have my best interest at heart. Yes, we are in the midst of a bloody war, but that doesn’t mean we toss out our morals and sacrifice the kindness and goodwill we used to be known for. If anything, we should hold tighter to them and refuse to budge because if not, what are we even fighting for? What is there to come back to once the war is over?
“You’ve made detrimental mistakes in the past, and my lineage has suffered through them, but that doesn’t have to be the case this time.”
She allows her anger to whip around them like a riptide before releasing it into the Force. The Council, whether they believe it or not, took Obi-Wan’s master from him and her grandmaster from her and they should know it.
“Protecting our people should not be seen as an opposition to the Senate. If it is, then maybe we should rethink serving a government that sees us as expendable pawns in its games for power.”
She resettles her hands in her sleeves and squares her shoulders, tilting her chin up.
"If you expel Ahsoka from the Order, I will leave with her. I won't remain behind to serve a Council who will hand me to the Senate as soon as they find me an inconvenience."
Master Koon clears his throat. "What would you like from us, padawan?"
"You owe Ahsoka more than an apology, but that's a good place to start. You must refuse to allow the Senate to take control of investigations of Jedi even if Republic citizens are involved. We do not ask to be given preferential treatment, only to be represented and supported by our Order. You must prove yourself to be trustworthy if you want Jedi to follow your orders. Be the Jedi you want us to be and set an example we want to emulate. I don't know a single Jedi who would throw their padawan out of the Temple and into the hands of a military tribunal without a fight, but I get the feeling you were more than willing to do just that. If you are so quick to toss a skilled and decorated padawan out of the Order without a fair, internal investigation, I don't know what you expect the rest of us to do. If we cannot trust you, where will that leave us all?"
She shifts her stance and bows to the Council. "Thank you for your time."
She clasps her hands together to keep them from shaking. She's surprised her voice did not tremble. Her master touches their bond gently, asking for her attention, and she steals a glance over at him. He smiles gently and inclines his head toward her. She'll likely get a lecture later on proper Council etiquette but at least he isn't angry with her.
The Force in the chamber shivers and roils as the Councilors discuss silently between themselves. Edie watches the intricately designed floor, terrified she will be expelled from the Order now. But hadn't she offered to leave with Ahsoka? If she is on her way out, at least she can go out memorably.
Ahsoka shifts beside her and Edie looks up. She holds her hand out and Edie takes it with a tight grasp. Ahsoka squeezes back.
"A majority of this Council has decided Padawan Kenobi was within her rights to speak her mind to us on our recent conduct," Ki-Adi says finally. "We would also like to extend our deepest apologies to Ahsoka Tano for failing to stand with a fellow Jedi in the face of such a disturbing accusation. She will have all the assistance the Jedi have available in this matter until it is resolved."
Master Windu looks from Obi-Wan to Edie and she meets his gaze.
"The Council will take into consideration Padawan Kenobi's requests and implement them as we see fit, but we do promise to set a better example for the Jedi in the future. It is unbecoming of us to expect things from our people that we are not prepared to give. We thank her for her insight."
Edie bows shortly.
"You are dismissed," he says.
Ahsoka envelopes Edie in her arms once they are safely outside the chamber and Edie presses her face into Ahsoka's neck. They hold each other tightly and Edie isn't sure which of them is trembling or if it's both of them. Ahsoka strokes her hair, breath hitching in her ear.
"I don't know what you were thinking," Anakin says, "but you were incredible."
Edie laughs but her face remains buried against Ahsoka's throat. She doesn't want to let her go anytime soon. Ahsoka pushes her back only to take her face in her hands and rest their foreheads against one another. Edie closes her eyes, relishing the closeness to the person she sees as her sister.
"Thank you, Edie. I don't how I'll ever repay you," she whispers, voice thick with tears.
Edie touches Ahsoka's hand and leans into her palm. "You don't have to repay me anything. It was the right thing to do."
"You threatened to leave the Order!" Ahsoka cries. "How would you be able to leave Master Obi-Wan behind?"
Edie looks her in the eye steadily. "He would follow me."
"Has he said that to you?"
"No, but I know he would."
They make their way to Edie and Obi-Wan’s quarters and settle down to wait for the Council meeting to end. Edie makes tea for them and sits close to Ahsoka on the couch.
“I know the Council turned their back on you,” she says, trying to keep the tremor out of her voice. “I can’t imagine what that must feel like but I hope you don’t decide to leave. I don’t have the right to ask you to stay if you can’t trust them anymore. I just—”
Ahsoka takes her hand and smiles.
“I’m not going anywhere, Edie,” she says confidently. “The Council will get my forgiveness once they’ve earned it, and not a moment sooner, but I’m not leaving. I can’t fathom giving up your friendship and Master Anakin’s teaching. Don’t worry about me and the Council. Besides, if they do anything stupid, then I’ll just release you on them and that should straighten them out really quick.”
Edie laughs, tears sliding down her cheeks.
“Come here,” Ahsoka says, opening her arms.
Edie curls up against her side and rests her head on Ahsoka’s shoulder.
“We’re in this together,” she murmurs to Edie, smoothing her hair. “Who else is going to keep our two knuckleheads from getting into too much trouble?”
“Hey,” Anakin whines.
Edie and Ahsoka laugh, holding each other tighter.
When Obi-Wan returns an hour later, Edie loses the confidence she'd carefully cultivated before the Council meeting. Her stomach turns and she's no longer interested in the tea she'd been enjoying. She avoids his gaze as he speaks with Anakin, and Ahsoka notices the change.
"You can stay with me tonight if you want," she says. “We’ll have a pillow fight and everything.”
Edie smiles and gives a little laugh.
"Edie," her master calls.
She cringes without meaning to but turns to face him, facade crumbling. His face is smooth and calm; no strong emotions pass across their bond. He is unreadable.
"Can I speak with you for a moment?"
She follows him into his bedroom and stares at the floor. He turns and the toes of his boots come into her line of vision. He shifts again but she doesn't look up. Then he reaches out, palms up, for her. He's never once raised his voice or struck her, but she still hesitates to place her hands in his, to put herself at his mercy.
"Darling, I'm not angry with you," he says quietly. "I'm proud of you."
She glances up at him and finds him sitting on his bed, at her eye level.
He smiles. "I might have liked a warning prior to the meeting, but I can't fault you for not telling anyone. Someone might have tried to stop you, and I know you wouldn't have stood for that."
She nods, looking down at their hands where he holds hers so gently.
"You were incredibly brave standing up for Ahsoka, and the Council saw that. They were annoyed you had changed their plans, but you made them rethink their decision. They were going to expel Ahsoka from the Order before you discovered Barriss had orchestrated the whole thing and you made them change their minds. You brought the repercussions of their decisions to their feet before they'd even made it and they hated it, but they knew you were right. You saved Ahsoka and I couldn't be prouder to call you my padawan. You did what you knew was right and not what was expected of you.”
He squeezes her hands, tugging her closer.
“My master would be so incredibly proud of you for sticking up for someone who needed it despite the consequences that could affect you. I know it's hard to disobey rules you've been taught since childhood, but you went about it in the exact right way. You were assertive but not aggressive and you got the Council to listen to you. I can't tell you how proud I was to hear them call you Padawan Kenobi."
Edie sobs, but she's filled with a strange amalgamation of joy and fear. Obi-Wan releases one of her hands to wipe her tears away.
"I know that was hard for you, and you did so well. You were amazing, little one."
He draws her into the calm circle of his arms and she buries her face in his shoulder.
"You are the epitome of a Jedi, my dear, and I'm so very honored to be your master."
He holds her until she's exhausted all her pent up emotions and he fusses over her, wiping tears from her cheeks with the sleeve of his tunic. His signature in the Force wraps around her, warming her from the inside out and holding her in his love.
“What if they don’t change?” She asks.
Obi-Wan cups her face in his hands. “I can’t promise you everything will be fixed, but I am going to fight for the Council to come back to what it once was. We’ve lost our way and you helped us realize that. You have the Councilors talking already and most of them agree with you.”
He looks away momentarily, releases a sigh.
“You shouldn’t have had to do this, Edie. We should have governed ourselves better and never allowed the situation to become so dire. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” she says softly.
He shakes his head. “It’s not, but we are very grateful to you for forcing us to realize our errors. I promise I’m going to make it so that you or any other youngling never has to call on us like that again. It’s not fair.”
She nods, unsure of what else to say.
He ducks his head to kiss her hand. “Let’s invite Anakin and Ahsoka to join us for dinner.”
“Okay.” Edie smiles.
While Anakin and Obi-Wan are distracted arguing over whether to eat in the dining hall or cook in quarters, Ahsoka catches Edie’s hand and puts herself between Edie and her master.
“What did he say?” She asks intensely.
“That he was proud of me,” Edie says.
Ahsoka grins. “Oh good. I was worried he’d finally chosen the Council over you.”
Edie shakes her head. “Never.”
That’s right, little one.