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

Anonymous asked:

what do you think of the universal basic income scheme some countries are trying out?? Would you ever consider doing some variation of that in America???

[ profile] whitehouse answered:

I talked about my thoughts on UBI in a recent speech. Short answer: I don’t think it is the answer because too costly to give to everyone without a big and unrealistic increase in taxes and because the attitude behind UBI is giving up on work. Instead, I think we should focus on investing more to make college more affordable among other items.

#AnswerTime Jason

I added:

You have got to be kidding me.

I mean, yes, the issue about taxes I can see.

But “giving up on work”?

How is making sure that no one has to worry about whether or not they’ll eat, or whether not they’ll have a roof over their head, by ensuring that everyone has enough regular income to cover that “giving up on work”?

How is giving people the freedom to find a job that is suited to their abilities and skills and doesn’t destroy their physical and/or mental health by relieving them of the stress of not being able to meet the basic physical needs of themselves - and their families - “giving up on work”?

How is taking care of children, those who cannot work, and the elderly, “giving up on work”?

How is rejecting the classist, ableist, racist, sexist notion that only those who can produce to an arbitrary standard deserve to live “giving up on work”?
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
Older snippet, because I still haven’t gotten more written.

Padmé closes the eyes of the Bith who’d murdered their shared Master, studying him for a long moment. He’d never expected a tiny slip of a human to challenge him, much less be an actual danger to his life, the more fool he. As far as she could tell, he didn’t think of the Force as anything more than a source of power to be manipulated, either.

Stepping away, she narrows her eyes a moment before unleashing fire to consume the body - and the building as she walks away - and leave nothing of Tenebrous but ash floating on the wind of a desolate planet. This is not his stage upon which to act, and she will not have a rival for her control of the Sith, and ultimately, the galaxy.

Tilting her face into the wind outside a moment, she smiles, a small curve of the lips, and tugs the hood of her robe up to hide her face. Now, all she needs is a proper set of tools, and a place to build upon the plans she and her Master had made to bring the destruction of the Jedi, and the fall of the Republic they loved and served.

The ten-year-old girl meets Padmé’s eyes fearlessly, tilting her chin up as Padmé studies her. The body is very nearly perfect, an echo of the first body she’d called her own, the one she’d been born in, and trained in under her Master. Better than the aging male she appears to be, the nominal grandfather of this small child.

“You will do, child.” She rests a hand on the girl’s head for a long moment, forging the bond she needs to accomplish her desired goal. The girl will be sacrificed, but Padmé will live and continue to seek the goal she has her entire life. And her plans need a new face - her tools are suitably enthralled, and her apprentice is in position to further her plans. He, she worries about, ambitious as he is, but she has not taught him all her secrets, nor plans ever to.

The family of young Padmé Naberrie thinks her silence and her paleness a reaction to seeing her grandfather die, and though they will encourage her soon enough to take an interest in the world once more, she will never be the same again. Everyone thinks the same thing, and in the privacy of her mind, Padmé smiles with amusement.
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
[ profile] iamatinyowl:

No one actually thinks all men.
Just too many men.
Just enough men to be afraid.
Just enough men that all women have experienced it.
Just enough to make it a social problem not a personal one.
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
Nominally bedtime. I’m not ready to head to bed yet, but I’m putting this up now anyway.

Storms can just please get over and done with quickly, please, the thunder is not helping.

A good day, in that I got the counter cleaned and all my dishes done (and then got more dirty, because dinner, but I’ll clean those in the morning). Also got errands run.

Hugs for everyone, and I hope you sleep well!

Heads up

Jul. 19th, 2016 04:01 pm
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
Just as a heads up to people, I have figured out how to crosspost from my tumblr, which has a queue for once an hour while I'm awake, so there'll be regular posts of whatever I'm reblogging, with theoretically a story snippet and a bedtime post each day. At least so long as I don't decide to kill it, or tumblr doesn't go toes up.
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
This is an old piece, and not going to be finished, nor posted to AO3, so. Have it in all it’s messy, unedited glory.


Fandoms: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), Supernatural
Word Count: 2345
Characters: Dean Winchester, Ahsoka Tano, Rex, Fives, Echo

The hole in the sky is massive, and Rex is starting to wonder if they’ll get this fixed without loosing troops, no matter how certain he is that the Jedi Generals will close it up. It’s almost large enough to swallow a cruiser whole now, though he’s hoping it’s closing. At least they’d already pounded the clankers into scrap before this particular complication had shown up.

He frowns as he watches, flipping down his rangefinder scope. There isn’t supposed to be anything in the air near the rip, and once he fixes on the object he’d thought he saw, he grimaces, activating his comlink. “General Skywalker, Commander Tano, there’s someone falling out of the tear! They don’t appear to have any means of slowing their fall.”

“I see him, Captain Rex.” Tano is the one who responds, and he watches as the figure slows, cushioned from splatting on the ground by the Jedi.

Rex signals two of his men. “Fives, Echo, take two of our speeders and report to Commander Tano under the rip.” Until the rip is closed, they need to make sure the Jedi are kept safe, and aren’t distracted by anything that comes out of it - though they haven’t had to worry about that until now. He just hopes that whatever - whoever - has come out of the rip, they don’t prove a dangerous distraction before his troopers can take them off Tano’s hands.

Ahsoka steadies the falling man - a human, she’s pretty certain, and not dressed in any particular planetary fashion. A spacer, probably, though why he’s the only one falling out of the rip, and not a whole ship, she’s not certain. Something they should probably ask him later.

“There you go, a safe landing.” She smiles as she makes sure he lands gently on the ground, keeping an eye on him as she hears the whine of speeders approaching. Rex must have sent some troopers to get the civilian out of the fallout zone, and away from the rip.

The tear in the world showed nothing but blackness through the rip. Whatever it was, eternal emptiness or something worse, it made Dean’s skin crawl.  It had opened only inches from where he lay sprawled and bruised on the ground.  He’d hit his head on a tombstone, and everything seems somehow foggy now.  He looks over at the vampires who are responsible for all of this. They’re watching the tear in the world, and none of them so much as blink as Dean pulls himself to his feet.  He’ll never know if one of them noticed him and tripped him up, or if he simply staggered the wrong way thanks to the fog in his head, but suddenly he’s falling through the nothiningness behind the rip in the world, falling at a sickening, gut-wrenching speed.  No matter what he lands on, he’s going to die – if he lands at all.  Maybe he’ll just fall, forever, alone in the darkness.

It takes him a moment to realize that there’s light below him.  He’s going to die, then, and he takes a moment to hope that Sam will be okay, and closes his eyes, waiting for the end.  

It never comes.  Instead, he feels himself beginning to slow, until his feet come gently to rest on the ground.  He barely hears the – the whatever it is – when it speaks, but it does get through to him that it means him no harm, and that he  should put his gun away before someone decides to shoot him for holding it.  Tucking it away at the small of his back, he manages a smile.  It’s automatic, the smile he uses on the civilians he deals with when the job has him up to the elbows in blood but he has to pretend that everything is okay, to preserve their ignorance even though he both scorns and envies them.  

“Thank you,” he says, and means it,  He’s not sure what the hell is going on, but good manners are probably in order.  He manages to catch himself before he sways more than a little bit.  He can feel the blood, sticky and wet, at his temple, and his head is pounding, but he knows his expression gives nothing away.

“You’re welcome.” Ahsoka smiles back at the civilian, trying to be reassuring despite the rip above their heads, and the probability he’s far from wherever he calls home. She doesn’t recognize his accent, though he at least speaks Basic clearly enough. “Where were you before the rip swallowed you up?”

At least she can get some idea where the other end of the rip is, so maybe they can get a message out to Outer Rim Command, or the Council if necessary, to dispatch someone to the other end. Sending the civilian home might take a bit longer, especially since she can see the blood at his temple. An injury will mean a side-trip to a medical frigate, along with a debriefing once there’s someone to do so.

“Iowa,” Dean answers, the response almost automatic as he looks around him, staring at the unfamiliar everything and trying not to panic.  His breath is coming too quickly, his chest tightening until he’s almost gasping for air.  As he struggles to slow his breathing, the dizziness makes him stagger again.

Ahsoka has no idea where Aiowuh is, but she hasn’t memorized every planet and station and moon in the galaxy, so that doesn’t mean a lot. And it could well be the name of a ship, to add to the complication. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you patched up and back home in no time.”

When he staggers, she reaches out to steady him, listening as the speeders come to a halt behind her. She frowns worriedly, looking at the human again a moment. She doesn’t think he’s supposed to look quite that pale, and there is a lot of blood from whatever wound he’s sustained.

“What’s your name?” she asks as she beckons the troopers over. They’ll make sure he’s out of the way of potential harm, and where he has the best chance of getting home safe.

“Dean,” he says.  He backs away from the whatever the hell those things in the white plastic suits are as they come closer.  "What’s yours?  For that matter, where the hell am I? And what are they?“ He points at one of the white plastic men.  "What are you, for that matter?”  His hand is itching for his gun, but the white plastic men are armed, and he doesn’t know how fast they are.

“I’m Ahsoka Tano. I’m not going to hurt you.” She frowns when he doesn’t recognize the clones for what they are, wondering just how far out of the way Iowa must be for Dean to have been insulated from information about the war. That he doesn’t recognize her for togruta is equally as confusing. Even the worst Outer Rim planets at least provided enough of an education for someone to recognize most species. “The troopers will make sure you’re safe, and receive medical attention for your wounds.”

“I’m fine,” Dean says shortly.  The fog in his mind is still there, but he tries to push it to the side, to push through it and *think*.

“Where am I?” he demands again.  "And what are you?  I don’t need medical attention.“  He touches the wound at his temple, then looks at the blood that stains his fingers.  "I’ve had worse plenty of times.” He’s still functioning, so the injury can’t be too bad.  "What I need are answers.“

"Is Aiowuh the most backward planet in the Outer Rim?” Ahsoka rolls her eyes, gesturing for the troopers to come forward to take charge of Dean. “You need to go with the troopers, and out of the fall-out zone. Now.”

If she has to, she’ll order the troopers to stun Dean and carry him out. They’ve managed to take this planet without civilian casulties, and she’s not going to see even a weird dirt-sider get killed because he thinks he’s entitled to answers in a war-zone.

“Planet?” Dean can feel the blood drain from his face. “Please. Just tell me where we are.”

“Orders, sir?” Fives glances at Tano a moment before keeping his attention on the civilian. This isn’t good, when the guy looks like he’s about to fall over, between the head wound and the sudden shock he’s apparently taken.

“I can’t tell you where we are. This is a war-zone, and you shouldn’t be here.” Ahsoka wants to groan with frustration, but keeps the sound from escaping before she addresses the troopers - Fives and Echo, from their armor. “Take Dean back to the perimeter, Fives. If he doesn’t want to go, stun him and carry him back. We need to get the information about where the other end of the rip is to the Council as soon as possible.”

“Don’t you dare stun me,” Dean tells the plastic guys.  "I’ll cooperate,“  There’s nothing more he can learn here; perhaps one of the medics will be chattier.  All he wants to do is to go home, and to do that, he first needs to find out where he’s ended up.

Fives isn’t sure he believes the civilian, but he’ll accept his word for now. Biggest thing is to get him back to the rest of the squad, and report to Captain Rex, and relay any information they can back to the Jedi off-planet.

"Tell them the other end of the rip is on a planet called Iowa. Maybe if someone goes there to help with the rip, we can close it faster.” Ahsoka glances up at the dark slash across the sky, feeling how slowly knitting it back together is happening in the Force. Going, but slowly. “It’s going to take weeks to close this otherwise.”

“Yes, sir.” Fives nods, before coming up to herd the civilian toward the speeders. “I’ll take the civilian on my speeder, Echo. You keep an eye out for stray clankers.”

It’ll be easier that way, and Fives hopes the Jedi have someone they can send to this Aiowuh place. He doesn’t want to spend weeks grounded, not with the way the front lines fluctuate. Being trapped and killed here by clankers doesn’t feel right.

If the place weren’t so obviously a war zone, Dean would think he was dealing with a bunch of larpers again.  As things stand, however, he seems to be farther away from home than he’d ever imagined possible.  The rip seems to be his best chance at getting home again – but not if they close it up.

“The planet’s called Earth, not Iowa,” he says. “And you can’t close that rip!  How am I going to get home?  Besides, if you people show up on my planet, the whole place is going to go nuts.  We’ve never seen aliens before.”

Ahsoka stares at Dean, wondering if he really is as human as he appears, or if he’s just some near-human species that developed parallel to humans. Or maybe a lost colony that’s forgotten about space-travel. She waves Fives and Echo on, not even trying to answer Dean’s question, or explain just how stupid the idea of leaving a rip like that open is.

“Sir, we have to go.” Fives swings a leg over his speeder, waiting for Dean to get on behind him before taking off, dust kicking up behind him and Echo as they race for the perimeter.

Within seconds, Dean knows he’s going to hate this universe.  Flying makes him sick enough when he’s just on an airplane.  This is worse.  Way worse.  Maybe if he were driving it wouldn’t be so bad – the lack of control is what he hates most about flying – but he’s not.  Instead, he’s trying to control his stomach, since he doesn’t think Fives – and what kind of a name is that? – would appreciate being puked on.  When the vehicle finally stops, he dismounts as quickly as he can, desperately glad to be on solid ground again.

Rex watches as the civilian on the speeder behind Fives takes several steps away from the vehicle once they’ve landed, pale as a shiney’s armor. The man looks human enough, though the report from Tano while Fives and Echo had been inbound had indicated he might not be entirely so. Dirt-sider with no off-world contact, no matter what else he might be.

He steps forward with the medic, his helmet tucked under his arm so the civilian can see Rex is as human as he is, at least as far as the civilian’s likely to understand it. “Commander Tano tells me you’re from a planet called Earth, Dean. Do you have coordinates for your planet, if it’s not in the database?”

“No.”  Dean shakes his head.  "We haven’t done enough space travel to need coordinates.  The only place we’ve ever been in space Is the moon.  I know what galaxy it’s in, but I don’t know what you guys call that galaxy.  Is there some reason you guys can’t just shove me back through the rip the way I came?  I made it here; I’m willing to risk trying to make it back.“

Which means someone will have to search the database and hope Dean’s planet is in there. Rex doesn’t touch the idea that Earth is outside the galaxy - he doesn’t think even a rip in space could bring someone from that far away without adverse effects. "We’ll find your planet, and get you home without putting a civilian into harm’s way.” Rex pauses, looking at Dean a long moment. “You said your planet has one moon? Any other planets in the system?”

The more information he has about the system and planet Dean came from, the easier it should be to locate it if it’s known to the Republic.

“Yeah.  There are eight more, or maybe seven.  I think they stopped counting Pluto or something.”  Dean shrugs.  "I’m not a scientist.“

Notes: Written in January 2015, collaborative work with auberus (AO3). It was not returned to after the second writing session. I am not sufficiently familiar with Supernatural (nor care to watch enough to be) to continue this, and my coauthor is not reliably online enough to continue.

If anyone wants to take this and run with it, just please link back to this post for where you got the idea, and send me a link when you post it!

To-Do List

Jun. 1st, 2016 10:55 am
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
Because it will be easier for me to keep on here. Easier to find again.

Cut for length )
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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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"... entire galaxy mourns with Naboo over the loss of their beloved Senator Amidala." Anakin catches the tail-end of the holo-cast as he walks into the small galley and lounge space, Leia sleeping on his shoulder again. She'd woken soon after they'd left Polis Massa, and fussed until Anakin had picked her up off the bunk she and Luke were resting on.

Padmé is sitting on one side of the small table, Master Windu on the other, both watching a news holo-cast with frustrated expressions.

"How far does that holo-cast reach?" Anakin slides onto the bench next to Padmé as she scoots over to give him room. "Will we even be able to go to Tatooine?" He doesn't want to go back there, but the only other places he considers safe may not be. Serenno, Belkadan, Yavin.

"I don't know."

Padmé thumbs the projector back to the beginning of the holo-cast, letting Anakin see all of it. The coverage of the funeral for a corpse that could barely be seen under the stiff, formal garb it had been dressed in, and a face that was artfully made-up to appear like Padmé's face. Anakin hopes they didn't kill Sabé just to create a corpse for this staged horror show. When the segment is finished, she pauses it again, watching Anakin.

"I don't think it's safe for us to go to Naboo, even if the Queen doesn't believe that to be me." Padmé glances down, her emotions uncertain. "And while Tatooine is ruled by the Hutts, I know they still get at least some holocasts in the major settlements. I don't know how much anyone else would know. Or even if it would be safe for us to go to anyone else on Tatooine."

"Why would you think to go there, anyway?" Anakin can feel the same faded grief he had earlier, and he's curious now. "Did Vader ever go back there, once he'd gotten free?"

"Once." Padmé's grief is visible on her face, and she closes her eyes, letting out a soft sigh. "He'd been having nightmares about his mother. He wanted to save her. She was taken by Tuskens, and killed by them."

Anakin reaches the hand not supporting Leia out, and Padmé grips it, letting him share her grief - and his own, to know that here, his mother is dead rather than missing. He had hoped that maybe there was this one small thing, but perhaps that is a constant, no matter where he might go, that he has lost his mother too soon in every universe.

"Tuskens don't raid the larger settlements. Had Watto sold her?"

Padmé nods. "And she'd been freed. She married a moisture farmer, Cleigg Lars. She was on the farm when she was taken."

"She died free." Anakin smiles a little, a fierce joy running through his grief. "Free, not still a slave."

Master Windu is watching him with a small frown on his face. "That's important?"

"Always." Anakin looks between Master Windu and Padmé, though Padmé seems less confused. "If you die free, you die your own. On your terms, not those of the master. You're allowed to die."

And if his mother had died free, someone had done what he'd promised he would do one day. What he would have done if she'd been alive and in need of that rescue now, what Vader had failed as much as Anakin in doing.

"My mother isn't free. I don't know where she was sold to, beyond into the Empire. I would have gone looking for her, if I hadn't ended up here."

"Oh, Anakin." Padmé squeezes his hand. "I wish I could have told you something better."

"I know." Anakin squeezes back, sending her a gentle wave of reassurance. "So, have you and Mas... Mace, had any luck deciding where to go, since we can't go to Naboo or Tatooine?"
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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.
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
None of the WIPs was working today, including the two prompts I still am working on filling. But I wanted to write something, and... well, this is what came out. Thank you to [Bad username or unknown identity: lferion​] for cheerleading and for the inspiration for the AU in #4.

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Five First Meetings - Finis Valorum & Qui-Gon Jinn

AU: A Wealth of Shadows, Last Stand of Valor, We Are Defiance, AU NOS, and Emperor Dooku
Word Count: 2000
Characters: Qui-Gon Jinn, Finis Valorum, Magistar Aridi Karrel, Ruzalk, Dooku, unnamed Senator, Chakel
Timeframe: All of these are when Qui-Gon is 17-25, and Finis of similar age.

A Wealth of Shadows

"And this is Senator Valorum. A promising young man, much like yourself, Knight Jinn."

Qui-Gon keeps a smile on his face from practice under Dooku's watchful eye, though he's increasingly disgruntled by being at this gala. If he weren't certain this was where they needed to be, he'd have suggested to Ruzalk they leave at least an hour ago.

"Knight Jinn." Valorum gives him a practiced politician's smile, bowing slightly in greeting. He turns his head to their host. "Thank you, Magistar, for the introduction."

"Oh, it is nothing." Magistar Karrel smiles brightly and with all the sincerity she's had all night behind it. Qui-Gon isn't certain how she manages to be so enthusiastic after so many hours of absolutely stultifying conversation and constant flitting around to make sure of her guests. "I just think you two will get along splendidly."

Qui-Gon raises an eyebrow, but Magistar Karrel just winks at him before bustling off in a whirl of silks and perfume, already focusing on someone else with a cheerful call of greeting.

"Has she been like that all evening?" Valorum draws Qui-Gon's attention back to him, and the Senator smiles, this time a little more genuinely.

"It is apparently a gift of hers." Qui-Gon shakes his head, a rueful smile on his face. "I'm sorry, I was rude earlier."

"If you've been here for longer than I have, I can't blame you." Valorum keeps a polite smile on his face, but his voice is low, and there's an undercurrent of bored frustration in the Force when Qui-Gon reaches out to sense what the Senator is feeling. Well camoflagued, but still present.

"I believe there's a garden, though I don't know how interesting it is at this time of night."

Valorum chuckles, tilting his head for Qui-Gon to lead the way. "Mostly interesting to those seeking assignations, I'd expect. It could be entertaining to find out who is meeting with who."

Entertaining, and useful. Qui-Gon sends a queary along the bond he's built with Ruzalk, getting back lazy amusement tinged with curiosity. He lets her see his thoughts, the idea that it might be welcome for her to join them, if she wants. He gets back laughter and indulgence, and a sincere lack of desire to interrupt his fun.

Grinning, Qui-Gon leads Valorum out into the gardens, and murmurs to the Senator where to find the first couple to interrupt.

Last Stand of Valor

"Hello, gorgeous."

Qui-Gon blinks at the tall young woman who has attatched herself to his side and grabbed one of his arms to wrap it around her waist. She's very pretty, but he hadn't intended to make any assignations while he was here, and especially not when his Master is somewhere else on the planet waiting for him to do the investigation he can do that Dooku couldn't without looking desperately out of place.

"Just pretend for a little while that you know me. Very well." She smiles up at him, leaning in to kiss him soundly on the lips, and lingers close. "I am going to throttle an idiot if I don't have a distraction, and a Jedi makes for a very safe distraction."

"What makes you think I'm a Jedi?" Qui-Gon keeps his voice as low as possible, though that's barely less than a shout in the noise of the club. He will be very glad to get out of here.

"Even in civvies, you Jedi have this... something." She shrugs, resting her head on his shoulder, and tracing his lips with one finger. It lets her get close enough to his ear that she's not actually shouting.

Qui-Gon leans in to press a quick kiss next to her ear. "I don't even know your name."

"Finis Valorum. Senator's aide, currently wishing my Senator didn't have a taste for loud clubs and pretty young women, preferably those who don't have much choice in letting him paw over them if they want a career in politics." The woman's mouth twists in a wry smile. "As I said, an idiot in need of throttling."

He blinks, and tightens his arm around Valorum's waist. "Qui-Gon Jinn. Your Senator wouldn't happen to be the current one from Lytton Sector?"

"Now how would you guess that?" Valorum nips at his earlobe, and he can feel her vibrating with amusement under his hand. "Let's get out of here. Somewhere quieter, more private."

Qui-Gon doesn't need much encouragement, and he pulls Valorum with him, grinning and giggling, to the exit. The street immediately outside isn't much quieter than inside, but it's not far to a hovercar, and the waiting frown of his Master.

"Finis Valorum, Master Dooku. Master, this is Finis Valorum, senator's aide for the Lytton sector." Qui-Gon slides into the back, drawing Finis with him. "I think you should listen to her."

We Are Defiance

He knows what rises around him, in a deep and rich lapis streaked with silver that creates the impression of great wings and a bird that he remembers in tales from his youth. He never expects to see anything around anyone else, and to see some antlered beast in dappled greens and bronze surrounding a Jedi, of all people... well. Never let it be said Finis Valorum doesn't know when to take a hint.

"Finis Valorum, Senator for the Lytton Sector." He introduces himself as soon as it seems polite to do so, giving the Jedi a smile that's several shades warmer than the politician's smile he gives everyone else.

"Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Knight." Qui-Gon is watching him with a curious expression, and Finis glances up slightly, as if to meet the gaze of the creature that surrounds the Jedi. It makes Qui-Gon raise his eyebrows, and smile.

Finis tilts his head to the side, and lets Qui-Gon lead the way to one of the alcoves that line the room for a little extra privacy.

"You can see it, can't you?" Qui-Gon isn't one for diplomatic subtlety, and Finis rather likes that. "No one should be able to."

"I've never seen one around anyone, and never expected to. A politician cannot afford to get close to many people, if they can afford to get close to anyone." He's always heard to see someone's soul is an indication they'll be the deepest love of a person's life, but he'd begun to doubt that when he was still little more than a youngling. "And the rumor is that no Jedi has one, because Jedi have no souls."

That he has never believed, though he's always been curious why that tale is told. Maybe to warn people away from Jedi, to keep them from hoping a Jedi will fall in love with them. At least at home. Here, who knows?

"A carefully cultivated belief." Qui-Gon looks a little uncomfortable saying those words, but whatever the cause, it doesn't stop him. "I've never known anyone outside the Jedi who could see what we hide."

"The will of the Force, perhaps?" Finis shrugs, smiling briefly. "What do the Jedi say about those who see the soul of a person?"

"Of those who aren't Jedi?" Qui-Gon echoes Finis's earlier gesture. "Nothing. Among the Jedi, only that there is a connection between those who see each other."


Qui-Gon has never been off his planet in his life, though there are plenty of chances to leave if he wanted to. He's never wanted to leave, never needed to leave. Now he's driven to leave, and he follows that push, taking passage to another world, one he doesn't recognize the name of. He doesn't need to know that, only needs to know what to do to fix what feels wrong.

Afterward, he's not terribly interested in staying and being cheered for doing what needed done, but the instincts he's trusted all his life say stay, so he does. Uncertain why he's to stay, but this is where he needs to be still, and he hopes it's worth the raucous celebrations that are very different from the quieter things at home.

When officials come from Coreward, he contemplates slipping away for only a moment, before he straightens, lifting his chin as they approach him and those with him.

"Finis Valorum, I was asked to come here to mediate a dispute." Valorum looks over the group Qui-Gon stands with, and a small, wry smile crosses his face. "I see I was mistaken?"

"We did ask for help from the Republic, but the Wizard came sooner." Chakel widens their eyes, their crest puffing up with pride. "There is no more need for a Republic negotiator. You are welcome the night, and to see what the Wizard has done, but you need not worry there shall be too much for you to accomplish."

"I am glad you were able to find assistance, and I apologize for not arriving sooner." Valorum bows his head, spreading his hands politely, before looking up again, studying Qui-Gon. "If it is not too much a burden, I would ask to learn how you managed what I was told would be a very difficult, if not impossible task."

Qui-Gon shrugs, a small smile quirking his lips at the feel of Valorum. He likes how this person feels. "I just did what needed to be done. Nothing more, nothing less."

Valorum smiles, amusement coloring his presence a bright and happy green. "Perhaps we can discuss what was the right thing over dinner, if that is acceptable to you?"

This, or something more, and Qui-Gon thinks he might enjoy whatever something more Valorum might have in mind. He tilts his head, beckoning Valorum to come with him. This should be fun.

Emperor Dooku

He is seventeen, and on his first mission alone while his Master takes personal time. Qui-Gon has no interest in what is probably happening, and he's glad there was something that shouldn't take more than one Senior Padawan. Even if this is making him quite certain he doesn't like politics, no matter how much playing them is important.

"It helps if you imagine them in someone else's robes." A young man - one of the Senators' aides, and Qui-Gon wishes he'd paid a little more attention to the names - has sidled up next to where he's hiding near the buffet table. "At least it's more amusing than listening to them pontificate on nothing."

Qui-Gon slides a look over at the young man, raising an eyebrow. "Aren't you going into politics as a career?"

"Yes." The young man shrugs, picking up a piece of fruit off the table, popping it into his mouth with a small grin. "It means I know what I'm talking about when I say they're pontificating on nothing. More than most politicians, at least the worst of them." He pauses, fishing a handkerchief out of a pocket to wipe his hands before offering one to Qui-Gon. "Finis Valorum."

"Qui-Gon Jinn." Qui-Gon takes the offered hand with a smile of his own. "Jedi Padawan."

"I know." Finis reaches out to gently tug at the end of Qui-Gon's braid. "I studied about the Jedi as well as about who's who in the Senate before I came to Coruscant."

Qui-Gon feels his cheeks heat, and Finis grins at him again, tugging the end of the braid once more.

"How much longer are you supposed to stand here and look decorative?" Finis glances out at the senators and aides and sychophants, drawing Qui-Gon's attention to them as well. They're not nearly so interesting as Finis.

"Until the end of the gala." Qui-Gon keeps from making a face, if only barely.

"I'll stay with you then." Finis grins again, taking a step closer to lean a shoulder against Qui-Gon's a moment. "Come to my place after?"

Qui-Gon blinks and thinks a moment before he nods. "Yes."

He doesn't make it back to the Temple before morning, but it's worth the frowns from some of the Council over his failing to make a report immediately after the Senatorial gala. He smiles to himself after he's shooed out of the Council chamber. Very worth it.
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"I told Padawan Jukassa to get some sleep on board the Senator's ship. Easier if you don't have to wake him up in order to leave." Master Windu breaks the silence first, and moves to sit in the seat Yoda had occupied a few minutes ago. "Something I would recommend if you're able to, Senator Amidala."

"Please, call me Padmé." Padmé smiles briefly, before looking down at Luke in her lap, tracing his face lightly with her fingers. "We've been here long enough that I don't know where to go. I don't know enough about what's happened while we've been out of touch with the rest of the galaxy."

"If they think you're dead?"

"I've been in the public eye for much of the war, Master Windu." Padmé looks up again, a small smile crossing her face. "A week without anything at all will have people concerned for me. I want to know what they think happened before I simply show up somewhere in public."

"If I'm to call you Padmé, Senator, please call me Mace." It's a mutual courtesy, and Anakin is glad Master Windu is willing to extend it to Padmé. "You both should. It will be easier to avoid using potentially dangerous titles or names in public if we do not do so in private."

"Of course, Mace." Padmé looks up at Anakin, and he nods in response to the unspoken question, feeling her curiosity down the bond. He will try to remember to call Master Windu Mace in public and private, though it feels strange to do so with someone who he has barely known for long at all.

"Once we're away from Polis Massa, it should be easier to get information." Master Windu leans forward enough to rest his elbows on his knees, lacing flesh and cybernetic fingers together. "I still think we should have a plan for where we are going before we leave. Better to have to change it later than take time to think about it if someone starts firing on us."

And they can't trust either side of the war not to do so. Anakin shifts, hitching Leia a little higher against his shoulder, trying to think of anywhere he'd remembered as neutral from home, though nowhere comes to mind very well. Belkadan, but that's far from anywhere, and on the far side of the galaxy, besides. Not exactly a place easy to reach without being caught somewhere.

"Naboo, if we can. The Queen will help us, and there are places that are secluded enough no one would look for us there." Padmé picks Luke up, glancing at Anakin a moment as she settles Luke against her shoulder, one arm under him to hold him as she uses the other to help her shift her weight. "If Naboo isn't safe, Tatooine."

Her voice catches a bit as she says that, and Anakin feels a mix of worn grief and fresh pain surge down the bond. He'll have to ask what the grief comes from - it feels too worn to be about Vader - later. The pain, at least the physical, is more concern at the moment. "Careful."

"I'm fine, Anakin." Padmé smiles at him a moment, though Anakin doesn't think she's fine. The pain is still echoing at him, though she seems determined to ignore it. "I need to get up. We can talk about where we're going as we walk back to the ship."

That catches the attention of the medical droids, who'd been hovering at a distance, and now they float closer, one of them braver than the rest voicing concern about Padmé trying to walk that far when she still needs to heal further from childbirth. There is only so much they can do to speed the process.

"Bring me a hoverchair if you insist I shouldn't walk." Padmé glares at the medical droid, and Anakin turns his head so she can't see his grin. "And if they can't bring me a chair, Mace can carry Leia and Luke, and you can carry me."

Anakin blinks, not quite certain what to do with the idea of carrying Padmé - someone he's never thought of as needing any assistance, at least not from him - to the ship. He's glad when the droids are able to bring a hoverchair, and he helps Padmé settle in it with Luke.

Master Windu walks in front of them, making sure they get to the ship safely, and he takes Leia from Anakin once they're on board, so Anakin can make sure the hoverchair is placed out of the way, and close up the ramp behind them. The sooner they're away, the better.
morgynleri: A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't quit (Default)
Messing with ages, among other things. Because Reasons. This was not meant to become a full-fledged named AU. I did a lot of world-building with [personal profile] lferion, who is awesome, and now have vague ideas through to the Clone Wars.

Written for [ profile] hamelin-born, for the prompt: Star Wars, Anakin/Obi-Wan/Padme. Dragon, Phoenix, and Unicorn.

The First Steps

AU: We Are Defiance
Word Count: 4124
Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Padmé Amidala, Qui-Gon Jinn, Artoo, Obi-Wan Kenobi; background Watto, Jar-Jar Binks, Sabé, Panaka

The air shimmers around her like heat rising off the sands, swirling and glittering red and gold in the corner of his eye, the phantom impression of wings and crest and tail that are gone when he looks directly at her. It's like nothing he's seen around offworlders before. He certainly doesn't even see it around the man who Watto sends on his way without the parts they came for.

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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.


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: Imagination is intelligence having fun (imagination intelligence)
This is the fault of this post I added to my plot bunny fodder tag, and this one just a moment ago does not help. I am not sure if this is supposed to be part of my Dark Lady Padmé AU, or if it’s something else.

Crossposted: tumblr

Warnings: implications of mind-wiping and summary execution.

cut because warnings )
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.


on tumblr

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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