morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
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Anonymous asked:

Is Chorus and Solo still in progress? I enjoyed it greatly and would like to see more, please.

I answered:

It is still in progress. :)

Like every other AU I have, it goes through cycles of writing and not writing, and it is currently not at the top of the pile of things to write. There will be more of it when it comes back around.

And there’s also the fact I go through cycles of writing lots and writing only a little, and it’s currently at a low ebb - writing will probably pick up again more in late August/early September, with more new stuff to snippet for daily stuff, and that high will last through late November, with December-late February/early March being another slow time, and mid-March to mid-May being another high point.
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It would be rude to destroy the room Amidala has so generously offered, but Obi-Wan doesn't think the Sith care. At the moment, he's not sure if he cares about it more than in the abstract. He thinks he'd regret it later, though, no matter what apologies or explanations he might give her.

We can save destruction for later. The female Sith rolls her eyes, and takes another look around the room. If you insist. There isn't much furniture in here to destroy, not that's worth saving.

"You mean, that's to your tastes?" Obi-Wan opens his eyes briefly, looking over the furniture long enough to fix it in his mind, then closing his eyes and decorating the mental image with it. He could move some of it from the main room to the bedroom, probably, though it will leave little room to move in there. Perhaps for the best, since he would really rather not have company.

Too late.

"I know." Obi-Wan shakes his head at the female Sith, and opens his eyes again. His cloak is in the hanger, and he doesn't particularly want it back right now. It's one less layer of clothing to shed before moving the furniture he can fit through the door on his own.

He leaves his tunics, sash, and belt on the bed, and begins with moving the furniture in the bedroom as far away from the door as he can manage. It's more tiring than he expects, even with the duel, ferocious and horrible as it had been. There's enough energy running through him, he would think he could manage this much.

If you used it, you might.

"And if I used it right now, would I do myself more harm than good?"

Probably. The female Sith sounds irritated. Are you going to completely exhaust yourself before you let us teach you anything?

Obi-Wan pauses, leaning against the couch he's planning to move into the bedroom, closing his eyes so he can see the Sith. "Is there a way to teach me anything you intend to teach me without risking destruction on some scale?"

She looks away a moment, a small frown crossing her face. There is more than one path to learning. More if you turn outward than if you turn inward. Destruction and death, or the pain of another. Pain of the self. Destruction of the self to incorporate new knowledge - fracturing of your mind and rebuilding the fragments into someone else. I do not recommend the last one. It's more often used on others, anyway.

He'd prefer not to shatter his mind more than he already feels it has been, either, but it had not been what caught his attention. "How does self-harm make it possible to learn how to control this?"

The female Sith watches him for a long moment, before she rolls up her sleeves, revealing twining black tattoos in an eerie echo of those on the Zabrak. Or you could draw blood, and learn the blood magics first, but I did say we were going to attempt to keep you sane.

Obi-Wan takes a step closer, fixing his attention on the tattoos, reaching out to try to touch before he remembers there is nothing solid to touch. Studying instead with eyes and Force, trying to figure out how the ink beneath her skin - the image of her skin - will help.

They're as much spell-work as they are ink, Jedi. The female Sith snorts, a small smile twisting her lips a moment. I'd ask if you had any such things, but I've never seen any Jedi with tattoos, so I expect not.

"Not that I'm aware of. How?"

Get someone to bring you ink and a needle, and I'll show you. I'd do it myself, but there are some things which are beyond even the best of us after we no longer have a body to manipulate things with.

He's not sure if he's glad the Sith cannot do anything he doesn't choose to do himself, or frustrated by knowing he'll have to manage it all himself with mirrors if he runs out of skin he can easily see.

You shouldn't, not before we're off this planet. And by then, you might not need the needle.

Obi-Wan opens his eyes a moment before closing them again to see the Sith. "Why won't I need the needle?" She hadn't said he wouldn't need ink, so he doesn't think it will be that he'll have moved beyond the pain. And to even think that makes him want to reach for the familiar Force, even as the familiar eludes him.

Not all tattoos use needles, and some don't use knives either. She laughs at what she sees on his face, and Obi-Wan turns away, not certain what to feel, or that he wants her to see it. I'll teach you how to drive the ink into the skin without needle or knife later. It's less useful for this purpose, anyway. She pauses, letting out a quiet sigh. Less painful.

And pain is part of Sith training. Obi-Wan opens his eyes, staring almost blindly out the wide window he's facing. He doesn't want this. He doesn't want to dive deeper into the darkness. And yet if he fights it, if he tries to ignore it, the Sith has assured him it will drive him mad - and he can feel her certainty in the Force, can almost feel that end trying to reach out with greedy fingers for him.

Warmth on his shoulder makes him lean a little into Qui-Gon's familiar touch, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes to the outside world again. "Is there anything that can be a brief lesson without the pain? I don't know how long it will take to get ink and needles."

Or a knife, though which would be easier, he isn't certain.

If you're willing to destroy at least something in here, rude to your hostess or no. The Sith lets out a frustrated little sound. Does he always dither like this?

No. Qui-Gon squeezes Obi-Wan's shoulder. I don't think he's dithering now, either.

"I'd prefer not to destroy anything, but I can more readily justify destroying furniture than anything else. And I need at least some small measure of control before I dare ask Her Highness for anything, even something as small as ink suitable for tattoos. Especially if I have to explain any of it to her."

Why... no. Never mind. You're a Jedi still, in thought, if not in fact. The Sith is silent for a long moment, chill radiating from where she stands. What do you plan to tell her?

Obi-Wan shrugs. "The truth."
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What spell? Qui-Gon is at least able to ask a question. Obi-Wan is still trying to decide if he wants to believe this makes everything more real, or if this is just his mind fracturing further.

The Gift of Bane. It's a spell to tie the consciousnesses of all Sith to the current Sith Master. The female Sith smiles, the expression razor-sharp. So there can only be one Master. He hadn't figured out how to modify it to ensure there would only be one Apprentice.

How does it designate Sith?

I'm not sure if it does. Not the dead, anyway. The living, by killing a Sith. The female Sith shrugs, tilting her head as she looks at Qui-Gon. And perhaps I was wrong about how it caught you up, though I do wonder if it would have if you'd been a proper Jedi. Proper and willing to give up everything you were in life to be one with the Force.

Obi-Wan snorts, drawing their attention to him. "My Master never was terribly good at proper."

He watches Qui-Gon, the details of him as clear in this mental projection as they had been in life. That the female Sith is equally as clear and detailed is something he's not quite certain of. She looks like no one he knows, living or dead, and it nudges him a little closer to the idea that this isn't his mind fracturing, but real. And that is terrifying in its own right.

"Do you think your exploration of how to keep a consciousness intact after death is what made this happen?" He has no idea what would do this, why his Master is trapped by something otherwise populated by Sith. Why Qui-Gon is so wrapped up in this darkness when he should be free of it. It's Obi-Wan who'd sprung the trap all unwitting, he should be the only one to pay for the mistake.

It's possible. Qui-Gon shrugs, squeezing Obi-Wan's knee even though all it seems to do is pass his fingers through flesh, leaving a strange tingle in their wake. I won't know until we know more about this Sith spell that has entangled us both.

"If there's any source of information about..."

Obi-Wan is cut off by a quiet rap on the door he's leaning against, and he freezes, words drying in his throat.

"Hello?" The voice is female and vaguely familiar, and it takes an embarrassingly long moment for Obi-Wan to place it as one of the handmaidens who'd been with them on the ship. "Obi-Wan, are you in there?"

It seems she remembers his name better than he does hers, and Obi-Wan takes a deep breath, swallowing as he tries to summon up some semblance of calm. The stillness he'd found earlier has been deeply cracked by the interruption, and the niggling thought that he has spent the last unknown amount of time talking to himself.

Qui-Gon's hand is still warm on his knee, and Obi-Wan takes another deep breath, trying to hold onto the hope that it's real, no matter what his eyes say when he opens them to nothing but shadows and vague shapes.

"I..." It's all he can get out, and Obi-Wan feels a sense of panic welling up in him. What is he supposed to tell her? Tell any of them?

The door opens behind him, toppling Obi-Wan out onto the cold stone of the floor, blinking against the sudden light. One of the handmaidens is indeed there, looking down at him with a worried expression that he's not sure he warrants.

"We found Master Jinn's body in the power station, and the Zabrak you were fighting. Her Highness told us to find you, to make sure you hadn't fallen deeper into the station."

Obi-Wan shakes his head mutely, not quite being able to find the words to reassure her when he's not confident of his state of mind. Not certain, even, that he wants to, though that feels almost foreign, as if it's not entirely his own thought.

What would be the point of reassuring her that you're fine when you're not. Even that Force-blind child can see it!

The female Sith's voice is not entirely welcome or reassuring, but it's becoming at least familiar.

"Her Highness has arranged for a room for you for as long as you need it." The handmaiden holds out a hand, and after a moment, Obi-Wan takes it, letting her help pull him to his feet. "And as soon as communications are restored, she'll make sure you can contact the Jedi Council."

He can't manage to hide his shudder at the idea of facing the Jedi Council right now, though he at least manages not to recoil. And that, he's certain, is all him. There's too much he isn't sure of, too much risk, to face the Council right now.

The handmaiden takes his shudder in a stride, giving him a small, sympathetic smile, letting go of his hand easily. "I'll show you where the room is. It's better than a maintenance closet, I promise."

She doesn't say anything else as she escorts him through the palace, showing him rooms which are as large as any diplomatic suite he's used, and larger than many. He can feel the approval from the female Sith, and the disdain from the Zabrak, as well as Qui-Gon's steady presence, as he has the entire walk here.

"Thank you." He manages to at least quirk the corners of his mouth up for a moment, though Obi-Wan thinks the expression is less reassuring than he was trying for. At least the handmaiden smiles back, and leaves him alone with his thoughts and voices.

This is a nice enough place to begin from. Might even be enough room to start teaching you at least a little about what the Dark Side actually is. The female Sith is prowling the edges of the main room when he closes his eyes, a smug smirk on her face. And keep you from fracturing.
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Oh, you'll need to leave sooner than that. What are the Jedi going to do when they hear one of their own has died here?

"Expect me to return to Coruscant." Obi-Wan doesn't say that they'll expect him to return with Qui-Gon's body. Saying it makes it more real, and he isn't certain he's ready for that. "They might want to knight me. For killing a Sith."

That provokes amusement from both the Zabrak and the woman.

Do they have any idea what they're inviting?

There is precedence. Qui-Gon sounds contemplative, and Obi-Wan turns his head slightly, as he would have before the fight with the Zabrak Sith. From before the Ruusan Reforms. A Padawan who faced a Sith and survived would be knighted, with the fight treated as their Trials.

So the Jedi have always been fools. The Zabrak smiles, baring sharpened teeth. No wonder my Master thought it time to reveal our continued existence to you.

"It didn't save you." Obi-Wan bears his teeth at the Zabrak in return, a fierce rush of satisfaction running through him. Even if he has been graced with some strange mental breakdown, he had at least taken down Qui-Gon's killer.

Oh, that is good. Now you just need to learn to use that. The woman smiles approvingly, and Obi-Wan leans away from her, the satisfaction draining away to leave a sick feeling in its wake. And to keep it. Enjoy it. You're not a Jedi anymore; you don't need to adhere to their foolish dictates about serenity and putting aside emotions.

"Jedi are allowed to feel. We're encouraged to understand our feelings. And to let go of anger and fear, so they don't lead us to hatred or darkness." Obi-Wan wishes he could let go of any of his emotions right now, but they keep roiling, refusing to be examined or released into the Force.

And when anger is the difference between action and passive destruction? When fear means survival? Do they discourage those as well? The woman scowls, her eyes flashing with banked passion. Do the Jedi even care about anything outside their own precious Temple?

"If the Jedi didn't care, we wouldn't be here in the first place." Obi-Wan lets his head thump back against the closet door. "Compassion is part of being a Jedi."

Compassion. The woman snorts. Compassion does as much harm as it ever does any good. Compassion keeps a family together only to destroy them. Compassion kills indiscriminately, and doesn't care for the grief it leaves in its wake.

Obi-Wan turns his head toward her, frowning. "What do you mean?"

If you saw several members of a species driven mad would you kill every one of them as a perceived mercy?

"Not unless it were necessary to defend myself and others, and then only if those afflicted were actively violent." Obi-Wan's frown deepens, and he tries again to reach the Force, to see if he can find anything to guide him through this. It's still all murk and shadow, impossible to see through. "Is this just theoretical?"

No. And you make a poor Jedi if you let them live. The woman sounds bitterly angry, and Obi-Wan wonders who she is - and what had happened that she believed that.

That is not a Jedi ideal, nor has ever been. Qui-Gon moves, settling where he can easily talk to both Obi-Wan and the female Sith. It's happened as an expediency during periods of war, but those were not actions that would have been condoned by the Council. He pauses, looking thoughtful. Or should not have been, even in a period of war.



And when would have the Jedi who committed that genocide have cared to even tell their Council, much less heeded any censure they might have given? Any punishment?



"What good does censure even do?" Obi-Wan isn't sure he wants to agree with the Sith, but in this much, as least, he's terribly familiar with what effect censure from the Council could have on a Jedi. Or rather, the lack of effect. "Those who care about the Council's opinion aren't going to do anything they're likely to get a censure for, and those who are willing to do things the Council are likely to censure are unlikely to care about it."

It's not just about the person who goes against the decrees of the Council. Qui-Gon reaches out to rest a hand on Obi-Wan's knee a moment. It's also about those around them, who might have a greater chance of changing the behavior of the one censured.

"About me, as much as it was about you." Obi-Wan bares his teeth, surprised at the anger that wells up at the thought that the Council was punishing him as much as they were Qui-Gon, even when he'd argued against whatever action had driven them to distraction this time, and ultimately had no authority over what Qui-Gon did.

You've earned the disapproval of your Jedi Council? The female Sith tilts her head, studying Qui-Gon. Perhaps that's how the spell caught you up with it.

"What?" Obi-Wan asks the question almost in unison with Qui-Gon, turning his head to stare at the female Sith.
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Perhaps not every Sith, the feminine voice concedes, her voice dripping smug satisfaction. I had no use for keeping Bane, and there have been some... less sane ancients who have gone silent.

That doesn't help.

Obi-Wan's eyes fly open as he thinks he hears Qui-Gon speak. Not just a presence between him and the Sith, but someone to talk to as well, to tell them to leave him be. Except that can't be possible, it can't, everything he's been taught says there is nothing past death, just the Force.

The feminine Sith snorts, and Obi-Wan has the distinct impression that she's rolling her eyes. Than what do they call holocrons? Sith Tombs?

"Force-imbued artifacts and tools, and dangerous places no one is to go." Obi-Wan doesn't think anyone's actually attempted to go anywhere near the Stygian Cauldera in his lifetime, much less to Korriban itself. Though he wonders if it would be any more dark than what he's surrounded with right now.

Oh, it would be. And you are in no way ready to go to Korriban.

He can feel the agreement radiating from all three of them - and, too, from the rest of the otherwise silent Sith. If nothing else, that much his mind is in agreement about. Obi-Wan hadn't been particularly thinking about going there, just curious. He thinks. If the thought hadn't been something whispered by some insidious corner of darkness in his mind.

What would be the point? A sane Sith is far better than an insane Dark Jedi. And less boring.

If he didn't know better, he'd think the feminine Sith is settling down to sit next to him. Carefully leaving distance between them, a respect to him and to Qui-Gon's protective bristling, but there, nonetheless. Obi-Wan draws a deep breath, letting it out slowly. He can't let his emotions go with it, but the old breathing exercise at least helps him to find a small, stable center to the whirling chaos. A tiny spot of stillness, even if it's not calm.

"What's the difference? How can I not go insane with this," Obi-Wan frees one hand from the death-grip he has on his hair to gesture around himself, the darkness eddying as he does so, "all around me?" He lets out a brief laugh. "And that's assuming I'm not already insane, talking to figments of imagination and empty air."

I don't think even your imagination is enough to dream up everything the Sith know. Why do you think you're struggling? You have all the knowledge, but not a shred of idea how to use it. And you need to learn, or you will go insane.

There's a brief moment of someone almost touching him, but not quite. Obi-Wan isn't sure if he'd welcome whatever comfort the Sith is trying to offer him, or he'd just go over sideways avoiding her.

Warmth radiates from the other side, Qui-Gon wrapping one arm around his shoulders, and if he didn't think he would fall over, Obi-Wan would lean into the welcome sensation.

She's right about that, at least.

There is agreement humming through the Force, and Obi-Wan closes his eyes. He can't learn to be a Sith, how to use their knowledge, and still be a Jedi. And all he's ever known to be is Jedi. How can he give that all up, and become something else, something he was taught is wrong?

Because if the Jedi find out, they'll kill you, and someone else will have this gift, and you'll be a part of it. A perhaps insane part of it, but part of it regardless.

"Not if I approach the right Jedi first." He thinks. He hopes. Though how can he be certain of who would take the time to listen to him?

If you learn how to use it first, they never need know you're Sith. No longer a Jedi, perhaps. Left their Order, certainly, but if you know what you're doing, you can hide being a Sith.

The female Sith doesn't sound entirely happy about that idea, but the suggestion is sound. Even if it's not one that Obi-Wan likes.

We can begin now.

Obi-Wan lets go of his hair to scrub his hand through it instead, rubbing at his abused scalp, and keeping his eyes shut. It's easier to imagine the Sith and Qui-Gon if he doesn't see the empty room. Easier to believe they're real. The pacing Zabrak whose anger seems leashed for now, and is laced with vicious amusement. The human woman sitting on one side of him, eyes amber-gold and a small smile on her face. And Qui-Gon on the other side, close enough to touch, even to lean against, if he had substance.

The sooner he learns, the sooner he can crawl out of this closet and rejoin the rest of the galaxy.
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.
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
This is what happens when I contemplate a song and its relevance to Star Wars, and am encouraged by multiple people. Thanks to dogmatix, hamelin-born, and the anonymous whose asked questions on tumblr for making this plot bunny the actual beginnings of an AU.

Enjoy!

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The Sith is waiting for them when the hanger doors open, clad in black and wearing an aura of menace like a dark cloak, one deep enough that Obi-Wan doesn't doubt it can be felt by anyone near by. It's curious neither he nor Qui-Gon had sensed it before the doors opened, though, as if the Sith had been waiting for them to find him before he let them feel just how much danger awaited them.

The Sith is patient enough to let Amidala and her entourage clear out of the way, focused entirely on Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. He even gives them a moment to shed their cloaks, so they won't get in the way of the fight. His is still the first saber lit, a double-bladed staff that makes Obi-Wan hide a wince. This is not a weapon they've trained to encounter, though he has hopes they'll prevail regardless.

When he strikes the first blow, vaulting over the Sith's head and nearly losing his saber-hand for it, Obi-Wan wonders how deeply they've underestimated the Sith. The ferocious attack is hard to keep up with, and they can't keep the Sith between them despite trying.

Obi-Wan thinks he hears a crack when the Sith kicks Qui-Gon's wrist, and Qui-Gon goes down with a hiss of pain, if only for a moment. It's long enough for the Sith to push Obi-Wan several feet across the hanger, toward another pair of massive doors that lead, if he remembers correctly, to Theed's power station. Not an ideal place for a fight like this, and Obi-Wan tries to circle around to push the Sith back into the hanger.

The heat of the Sith's lightsaber singes his hair as Obi-Wan has to tuck to avoid having his head cut in half, and he falls back a step, leaving the way open for the Sith to take several steps closer to those doors. Not a retreat, but a lure onto ground he's chosen, and Obi-Wan has a very bad feeling about what will happen if they are drawn beyond those doors.

Panting, he lunges, drawing on the Force and his own worries to push himself harder as he re-engages the Sith. Qui-Gon is there beside him again a moment later, showing no signs of injury, though Obi-Wan suspects he's using the Force to hold off pain and to keep any cracked bones in place.

A piece of debris goes flying through the air, only barely missing Obi-Wan before it crashes into a control pad, the doors opening easily behind the Sith, giving him a chance to move them into the huge open space of the power station, criss-crossed with catwalks that Obi-Wan can only think of as death-traps.

They're barely inside the door when Obi-Wan is kicked, and the taste of blood floods his mouth as his teeth catch his tongue. He stumbles and falls, rolling away to get back to his feet, and spitting out a mouthful of blood as he does so. He doesn't stop, can't stop, just darts back to where Qui-Gon is fighting with every bit of speed and strength he can wring out of his body and the Force.

It won't be enough, not here, and Obi-Wan catches the Sith's staff before it can carve into Qui-Gon's shoulder, pushing him back with a Force-shove. Only a fraction of a second of breathing room, though, before the Sith is back on them, blocking their blows as they try to end this here, now.

Qui-Gon prevents another would-be decapitation, and Obi-Wan doesn't have time to even give him a smile of thanks, pushing forward and toward one of the smaller console-platforms rather than the catwalk itself. The Sith smiles, retreating to the lit edge, spinning his staff once as he waits for them to attack him this time.

Nearly impaling himself on the Sith's staff isn't Obi-Wan's intent when he lunges, and he doesn't like that he has to hastily throw himself backward to avoid that, leaving the Sith room to backflip and land on the catwalk itself. Time for the Sith to be ready when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan follow, and for him to catch both of their lightsabers on one blade of the staff.

The fight gets no better from there, chasing the Sith down the catwalk only for him to leap up to another, forcing them to follow him higher and higher into the station. Until there's nowhere to go up, and they're fighting close to one of the great columns of plasma that terminates above their heads in the collectors.

Obi-Wan feels a tiny whisper in the Force only a split-second before the Sith twists and spins, delivering a vicious kick to Obi-Wan's ribs that pushes him off the catwalk, and cracks at least one in the process. He fails to catch himself on the first catwalk he hits, and rolls off it to drop onto another one, barely grabbing onto the edge to keep himself from falling another level. The jolt sends pain screaming through Obi-Wan, and he barely clamps down on that enough to look up.

Qui-Gon is retreating, step by step, and barely keeping up the green blur of defense. It falters a moment, and Obi-Wan reaches out with the Force to yank ferociously at the back of the Sith's robes. It gives Qui-Gon enough time to barrel into the Sith, shoving him further off-balance before Qui-Gon backhands him, sending him careening off the catwalk.

Obi-Wan can hear the thud from where he's dangling, and he struggles to contain his pain long enough to pull himself up. It only leaves him in more agony as the motion pulls at his ribs, and he pants, listening to the sounds above him. The Force is screaming at him that something is wrong, that this is going to go badly and soon, and he wants desperately to stop that.

Trying again, he draws on the Force to leap back onto the catwalk he's hanging from, and looks up in time to see Qui-Gon land near the Sith - and the Sith's saberstaff to come up and carve into Qui-Gon's side before he yanks it upward savagely.

Not enough to kill immediately, but Obi-Wan can feel the searing pain along the bond with Qui-Gon, and he hears someone screaming in negation. Anger sings in his veins as he uses the Force to direct his leap again, landing just out of reach of the Sith's saberstaff. Power follows the anger, strength enough to ignore his ribs and charge at the Sith with his saber - he can't remember picking it up - lit and at the ready.

The Sith matches him blow for blow, though he keeps retreating. Toward another door that Obi-Wan can't recall now if it leads to another level of the hanger or somewhere else in the palace complex, and doesn't entirely care. All he wants is to see the Sith fall, to die before he can kill someone else, and best that he dies at Obi-Wan's hands.

Qui-Gon is still in the back of his mind, and Obi-Wan can feel his Master's concern and worry weakly beneath the pain that is most of what he feels from him. He shouldn't be worrying about Obi-Wan, only about living long enough to get a medic to him.

He lets himself sink further into the Force, using the anger - rage - at the harm the Sith has already done feed him more of that same power. Drawing it into himself and pushing it into the battle. Moving fast enough that he's distantly aware the sabers will look like nothing more than blurs of blue and red to observers, though he can see it all as if time has slowed.

Block and parry and duck and leap. Strike and lunge, and there. An opening, almost too brief and too small to catch, but enough. Just enough to slash through the hilt of the saberstaff, and past it to cut through black robes and the flesh beneath. Carving bone and organs with equal ease, severing the spine at the same time he slices through the Sith's heart.

His world explodes with pain and sound, and Obi-Wan drops to his knees, his lightsaber skittering away from him when it falls from nerveless fingers. Obi-Wan doesn't know what the Sith did in his dying seconds, but it feels like he's suddenly surrounded by a crowd that is jeering and shouting. Loud enough that he can see phantom shapes out of the corners of his eyes that vanish when he turns to look at them.

Obi-Wan only realizes he's folded over with his face nearly against the floor when he feels a warm hand on his shoulder, familiar and welcome, and he gasps out relief that quickly becomes terror when he looks up to see nothing. He can still feel Qui-Gon's hand on his shoulder, can hear him trying to speak comfort that Obi-Wan can't make out past the rush of blood in his ears, but there's no one there.

Shaking his head, Obi-Wan knows he needs to bring himself under control, to let the fear and pain and anger out into the Force, but he can't think with the cacophony in his mind. Can't focus past the churning in the Force itself, the darkness that swamps his senses, except to know he needs to move. Move, run, hide.




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