Feb. 17th, 2016

morgynleri: darth maul in bright light with his hood up, three-quarter view of his face (maul)
Bugger it, I'm just going to post the next bit, since this thing isn't going to get divided up into actual chapters of similar length until I'm done with it and can go through and edit.

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He's not sure how he gets to his feet, or what happens between being crouched on a catwalk in the power station and closing the door of what he thinks is a closet so he can slump against it. Only that he has the familiar weight of a lightsaber on his belt, though he doesn't think it's his. A little too heavy, the resonance in the Force wrong. Qui-Gon's, picked up from beside his body.

Body.

Not alive, no longer there to be a reassuring presence, no matter what tricks Obi-Wan's mind is playing on him. Just a corpse and a vibrant, beloved presence lost to the Force and a Sith's red blade.

Obi-Wan can feel Qui-Gon's arms around his shoulders, can feel the helpless worry from the bond that should feel shattered with Qui-Gon's death, as if his Master isn't gone. But he'd seen the body. Taken the lightsaber from beside the corpse to have it at his side. Must have told someone where to find it, before he came here. He must have, or he left Qui-Gon's body to cool alone with nothing but a bisected Sith corpse and the hum of the power station to keep it company.

A snort answers that thought, the newly-dead Sith as present as Qui-Gon, if less welcome. Radiating anger that keeps Obi-Wan's own rage simmering, and feeding the darkness he can't seem to fight his way out of. How can he know the Sith is there, how can he imagine that presence as well as he is imagining Qui-Gon?

There is no death, there is the Force.

That sounds like Qui-Gon, quiet and calm and comforting despite the worry his Master is feeling for him. Would be feeling for him. Is feeling for him.

Obi-Wan lets out a bark of half-crazed laughter, fisting his hands in his hair as he leans forward, trying to sort something free from the noise. There's more than Qui-Gon and the Sith, a constant chaos of voices that all jeer and call, overlapping so much he can't tell what language they're speaking, much less what they're saying. Only the feel and the tone come through, battering at his already turbulent emotions.

Just let go, little one. It hurts less if you do.

That voice is utterly unfamiliar, feminine and amused and cold as the depths of space. But it's new, and Obi-Wan latches onto it with all the desperation of a drowning man grabbing a piece of flotsom.

"What did you do to me?"

Laughter greets his words, the chorus of voices now blended amusement that leaves Obi-Wan feeling cold in a way Qui-Gon's ephemeral arms cannot warm.

I didn't do anything to you, little one. You did this to yourself.

It makes no sense, and Obi-Wan wonders why he thought some figment of his imagination given voice by his swiftly eroding sanity would make sense. He lets out a strangled laugh, taking a shuddering breath before tilting his head back against the door. Trying to let the still-roiling rage and grief and pain into the Force, and finding no peace, only smothering darkness.

"How?" he whispers, staring up at the shadow-shrouded ceiling. "What is this?"

What you are.

He thinks Qui-Gon - whatever fragment of him he's imagining is Qui-Gon - interposes himself between Obi-Wan and whatever figment is speaking. There's a sense of protectiveness, the arm gone from around his shoulders, and instead a solid bulk standing half over him in his mind.

It's the Gift of Bane. That's the Sith he killed, Obi-Wan thinks, and he blinks at the words, which aren't angry or amused or biting, just. Matter-of-fact and solid in a way nothing else quite feels besides Qui-Gon. Every Sith before Bane who still has a Tomb, every Sith who followed after Bane.

Obi-Wan's face goes cold, his hands heated brands at his temples. "What?" That can't be right. Every Sith? How could anyone have that much Darkness surround them and stay sane?

It isn't much different from growing up.

That comes from both of the figments who've spoken, their voices overlapping, and Obi-Wan groans, tightening his hands in his hair a moment. He can't imagine growing up steeped this much in the dark side, can't imagine feeling this cold in his bones so deeply he'd never be warm all his life.

Qui-Gon's hands are cupping his face, warmth soaking into Obi-Wan's skin just from the formless contact. It isn't enough to banish the ice that is still trickling into his bones, but it makes it easier to bear. He's not sure if he cares if it's real or not, so long as it means he can keep holding onto something of his Master.

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Morgyn Leri

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