Summary: If you don't know about Asajj capturing Obi-wan and using a Sith Torture Mask on him, I will summarize below, but you can also look it up on Wookiepedia. I recommend looking up the battle of Jabiim as well. If you already know, you can skip to the beginning of chapter 1.
For all intents and purposes, Jabiim was a planet that had a good deal of resources, but the people were split as to whether they should support the Republic or the Separatists. In the end, the forces of the Republic weren't adequate for the terrain on the planet and they ended up having to abandon it. During the rather long battle-period, Obi-wan was presumed dead when in actuality, Asajj Ventress was able to spirit him away when he was knocked out after an explosion. She was able to cut him off from the Force and tortured him. She didn't like the fascination that Dooku seemed to have with Obi-wan and felt that if Obi-wan would admit that she was better than him, Dooku might take her on as an apprentice.
For the general timeline of this fic, see the end note. Thanks!
Many people throughout history have somehow come to think that freedom is the ability to choose and not live with undesirable consequences. Freedom, however, is the right to make a choice, not necessarily the right to choose the results of your actions. Wise people choose their actions and words with their consequences in mind. Desperate people do as well, but with blinders on. It is difficult to make a wise choice when any result is undesirable. It is possible to be wise and desperate, but as far as I am concerned, the truly wise would never become desperate. I had hoped I had become wise during my time as a knight. I was wrong.
The worst part about the entire situation was the fact the he knew he could have succeeded in just about any other circumstance. It would have been difficult and he knew that he was breaking, but he could have pulled through if it hadn't been for Anakin. Not that Obi-wan could blame him. No, he knew where to place the blame.
The Jedi Knight didn't know how long he'd been held prisoner by the time Ventress decided to use that Force forsaken mask on him, but he had a will of durasteel and a goal in his mind and he refused to break. He didn't like the pain, but he could handle it, even as it grew worse and worse each day, never quite leaving anymore. The visions the mask brought to him were more difficult to deal with, and they'd begun to wear on him. He wasn't sure how long he could hold out as the despair, guilt, anger and all the hundreds of other negative emotions built, but he was determined to defeat it.
Then everything changed when, an indeterminable amount of time after he'd involuntarily donned the mask, the door opened, allowing a wave of stale air not quite so full of the smell of unwashed bodies and decaying excretions to brush past him. He squashed the longing he had for fresh air and sunlight, once again leaning on his not insubstantial reserve of patience. He'd been working on a way to touch the Force despite the pain the mask brought him every time he tried, but hadn't exactly had the most success. It would still be a while yet before he could escape.
With a resigned sigh, he steeled his mind and will to endure another few hours of torture. The darksider hadn't been able to turn or break him yet, and he had long since resolutely decided that today (that every day) would be no different. He was almost glad she hadn't been trained in interrogation so much as assassination. She didn't understand how to really break someone, she just liked causing pain. He was also grateful that she knew so little about his past. She hadn't been able to reopen old wounds and play on his weaknesses, at least not in anything beyond a general sense.
The mask, being in his mind, did extrapolate on those fears and memories, but he knew they were only in his head and refused to voice the horrible visions aloud. He would ignore images of Qui-gon leaving him on Bandomeer; of Qui-gon and Anakin—master and apprentice—walking away from him, Anakin with a new Padawan braid grinning happily up at his new master, never to speak to Obi-wan again; of the two women he'd loved and could never be with because of his convictions; of his absolute inadequacies in being a master to the Chosen One and hundreds of other scenarios that could have happened. And that was just when Ventress wasn't inflicting more pain in some new, previously inconceivable way.
He braced himself against the visions of killing her slowly that would surely come in the next few hours; of making sure she felt just as much torment as he'd endured. The mask tended to bring those out every time he saw the woman lately. He purposefully turned his thoughts away from those and pushed down the idea of never escaping and being left here to rot because he simply refused to fall. He was a Jedi Knight. He could do this.
Obi-wan took several calming breaths and was just about to look up at his captor when he heard the dull thump of a body falling to the floor, and he opened his previously closed eyes in surprise. Then his blood froze in his veins. The body on the floor was Anakin. The boy was dirty and worn, but he'd recognize his Padawan anywhere.
"No…" he heard himself whisper despite his resolve.
Anakin shouldn't be here! Why was he here?! Anakin was supposed to rescue him or at the very least stay out of harm's way, not get himself captured!
A triumphant cackle had him looking up at Ventress. She'd wizened up somehow and realized she would have to attack one of Obi-wan's weak points—one of his attachments—to get to him. He knew he had too many of them, no matter how he tried to fix it; to hide and ignore the knowledge, desperately working to release such feelings to the Force multiple times a day. It had never worked completely, even before the mask, and now he couldn't even do that. It had been all he could do to hold to his convictions before now. And, of all his weaknesses, Anakin was probably the most obvious and the one he was the most deeply attached to, if he were honest with himself.
The mask immediately brought up images of the torture Anakin would go through because Obi-wan had been caught, because he'd been too weak to take what was his, embrace the darkness and gain the power he needed.
He forced the thoughts aside and glared up at Ventress.
"Anakin has nothing to do with this," he said, upset that his voice had been sharper than he'd intended. "Leave him out of it!"
The woman regarded him with a smirk. "No. Now that I have both of you within my grasp, I'll make sure to break him worse than I'll break even you."
Obi-wan felt a surge of panicked anger shoot up like a geyser inside of him and he was about to snap a scathing retort when a groan from his apprentice stopped him.
"Wha…? Where am I?"
"Anakin," Obi-wan croaked in a voice that had been all too used to screaming recently. Anakin blinked and looked up. From the look on his face, he barely recognized what must be nothing but the form of a man with barely enough skin drooping over his skeleton to classify him as 'alive' hanging from the ceiling in what was left of the cloak Ventress had shoved him into so long ago. She hadn't bothered to change the rags since just after he and the clone he'd been captured with had arrived, and the dirty tatters were only marginally better than being completely naked (which she'd subjected him to multiple times as well). He suspected she only put the rough cloth on him at the end of their sessions so as to aggravate his wounds.
Anakin's eyes widened when he realized just who was hanging before him. "M-master?" he asked warily before a relieved grin broke onto his face. "You're alive? I knew it! I told everyone, but no one would believe me."
And that hurt more than he thought it should. No one was even trying to rescue him from this nightmare? They'd just abandoned him to this? He didn't want anyone else to put their lives in danger for him, and yet he had to suppress the resentment that boiled at the thought. He couldn't release it to the Force, but that didn't mean he had to give into the feeling either. No matter how much he wanted to.
"I never gave up on you," Anakin said with a weak smile before glancing angrily over his shoulder at Ventress.
"Aw, isn't that precious," she said in a sickeningly sweet, condescending tone that really only showed her disdain. "Too bad no one will come looking for either of you now." With that she leaned close to Obi-wan and whispered harshly in his ear. "You're mine. Both of you."
Obi-wan tried to quell the growing dread in his gut, but he couldn't. He could only wait and see what would come.
And he hated it.
She didn't touch Obi-wan during the next two hours, except to tear off the filthy cloak from his back, thus opening all of his scabs again. After that, she had Anakin hung up across the rather small room in a similar style to Obi-wan, stripped and tortured.
Every slash and punch they made towards the boy tore at Obi-wan's heart. It would have practically killed him without the mask, but with the mask on…. He quickly reassessed Ventress' ability for torture. Either she did know more about it than she had let on, or she learned quickly. Hurting Anakin got to Obi-wan far more than anything she ever could have done to him.
If she had tortured anyone else he would have felt horrible about watching what they endured, but it was a hundred times worse with his Padawan. And that brought out his shame. He shouldn't think like that. Jedi—real Jedi—didn't think like that.
Despite the burns inflicted on Anakin by her lightsabers along with the punches and the beatings they seemed to enjoy, Anakin didn't so much as whimper. He only glared (with a little too much anger and hate in Obi-wan's opinion, but he was still proud of his Padawan for enduring it) at them.
Then, on Ventress' command and with little warning, they simply left both of the Jedi hanging there and sauntered out the door, the Sith Acolyte whispering a promise that she would return to continue her tender administrations soon enough. It bothered Obi-wan more deeply than he cared to admit that he felt a far greater relief when the door finally closed than he normally did.
Anakin wasn't in the state of mind to talk much for a while after the relative darkness had returned, leaving only some very dim light for Obi-wan to see Anakin by. He wished he could help his apprentice, and seeing Anakin that dazed (probably from a concussion) worried him greatly, but the only thing he could do was keep talking…and that hurt his scratchy, raw throat that probably hadn't really healed from his own awful sessions in the past months.
Despite this, he kept up a constant litany, probing Anakin to respond as often as he could and usually only getting a vague grunt in recognition. Still, Obi-wan would take that over nothing.
When Anakin finally seemed to wake up enough that he could talk to Obi-wan, his words weren't nearly as composed as usual…which said quite a bit. 'Composed' wasn't the word most beings who knew the Padawan would use to describe him and the fact that he wasn't even trying to put up a front that approached his usual, cocky standard had the older Jedi holding his breath just to hear the younger one breathe.
"So glad you're 'live, Master," he managed to slur out. "I 'as so scared. Thought you left me, like Mom did."
Obi-wan flinched at that for two reasons. Anakin was never this straight forward with his feelings and that did not bode well for the boy's state of mind. Also, Obi-wan still felt a great deal of guilt for not putting more stock in Anakin's reoccurring dreams. He hadn't been happy that Anakin had gone to Tatooine, and it hadn't been too difficult to figure out why he'd gone. After Obi-wan had confronted Anakin, the boy had finally snapped and yelled that it was Obi-wan's fault his Mother was dead. If he'd been allowed to go earlier, he could have saved her.
The mask, of course, pounced on that with a vengeance, driving his guilt through the roof. It took a great deal of effort to focus on his Padawan again.
"I'm so sorry, Anakin. I never wanted to leave you."
The young man smiled then, a sort of dopey, half-delirious smile. "I know, Master. Mom didn't either, I don't think. She didn' look 's bad as you though…. It's really you, right? You're really here, aren't you Master?"
Obi-wan sighed. "Yes, Anakin, I'm really here."
"This in't a dream?"
He cocked his head to the side, an effort that hurt judging from his wince. "You sure?"
"Are you in pain, Anakin?"
The boy seemed to think about that for a moment before he nodded his head. Obi-wan suppressed the surge of anger at that and spoke as calmly as he could manage.
"Well then you can't be dreaming."
"It could be a vision though."
That didn't bode well. "Anakin," Obi-wan started slowly, "do your visions hurt you?"
Anakin moved in such a way that suggested he'd tried to shrug and failed with his arms chained up as they were. "Sometimes."
A niggling, sick feeling started in Obi-wan's stomach. As far as he knew only visions from the Dark Side of the Force hurt. Why would Anakin be getting visions from the Dark Side?
Well, he doubted anything he said right now would get through to the boy so he filed that away for later. Then he focused on his Padawan again. Just having someone else there to focus on was helping him immensely. He could almost ignore the terrible visions the mask brought him.
And yet, they somehow seemed worse too, more personal and focusing on little things that he'd never realized he'd had a problem with…or big things he'd thought he could control.
"I'm so sorry, Anakin.," he finally said again, giving up all pretense of his normal reaction to his Padawan's pain. Usually he would stand strong and try to show his charge what a true Jedi should do…but he didn't feel like a Jedi right now, not with the thoughts he'd been having and not with how he'd felt recently, even before the blasted torture device covering his face. But right now, when Anakin probably wouldn't even remember, when he felt so low and broken and beaten, he just didn't have the will to say anything but what he truly felt. "I'm sorry I didn't listen to you. I'm sorry I'm not an adequate mentor and I'm sorry that I'm the only one who would train you. You deserve better."
"What're you talkin' 'bout?" Anakin asked, eyes confused from what Obi-wan could see of him. "You're the best, Master."
"If I was the best, we wouldn't be in this position right now," Obi-wan returned tiredly. "If I were the Jedi I was supposed to be…" Qui-gon would have lived to train Anakin and the boy would have had a proper Master, not some up-start, tainted Padawan who really wasn't ready to be a Knight, let alone take an apprentice.
"I don' want 'nother master. They tried to give me one. It was stupid. I hated it 'cause he wa'n't you." Anakin said, far more bluntly than usual.
"Oh, Anakin," Obi-wan said, both grateful and sad. "Please don't do that to yourself."
The Padawan frowned. "Do what?"
"Hate. Especially not here. It will eat you alive and you won't come out the same as when you entered." Obi-wan knew he wouldn't. Would he ever be able to view himself as clean or worthy again? He doubted it. "It's almost destroyed me."
Anakin frowned. "You never hate anything, Master."
Obi-wan felt his shame grow at that. "Oh, I do. I hate what Ventress is doing and I hate this planet and I hate being here and I hate the state we're in and I hate the situation…" Okay, that was a little more than he had wanted to say. It was more than he realized he'd wanted to say. Still, he took a calm breath and did his best to ignore the encouragement of the Mask. But the last thing on his mind slipped out before he could stop it.
"And I hate her."
Anakin looked confused again. "No, you don't, Master. You can't hate. You're a perfect Jedi."
Obi-wan snorted derisively. "If you think I am a perfect Jedi, then I have obviously not taught you well enough. You should look up to Jedi like Master Yoda and Master Mundi and Master Windu. I am a prime example of what a Jedi should not be."
The confusion still remained and more than a little worry had crept into the expression. "You're…not perfect Jedi?"
The mask suddenly seemed to bring up every single thing he had ever despised about himself in a second. Every flaw and every mistake flashed through his mind in an instant. He saw everything a true Jedi would never have done. "No, Anakin, I'm not. Far from it. Very far from it."
"But…you always follow the code."
Obi-wan snorted again. "If I always followed the code, I wouldn't have taken you on as a Padawan. If I always followed the code, I wouldn't argue against the Council's decisions. I wouldn't have fallen in love—twice, I might add—and I wouldn't…I wouldn't care about you the way I do." He turned his eyes up to bore into Anakin's, even through the darkness. "Please, don't be a Jedi like me. Be a true Jedi, Anakin."
The boy just stared at him in open shock. Then he opened his mouth and closed it. Then he scrunched his face up as if he were thinking hard and having difficulty doing so.
"You…fell in love?"
Obi-wan sighed. Of all the things for Anakin to latch onto it had to be that? Still, he felt relieved to have it out in the open, but at the same time, the shame and embarrassment and guilt…it was smothering, and the mask was working overtime to drive every single emotion deeper into his already fragile soul.
"To my shame, yes."
Anakin frowned. "It's not shameful."
"It is for a Jedi."
After that, Anakin seemed to think for a moment. "Maybe I'm no' cu' out to be a Jedi."
Obi-wan felt his insides grow cold and he looked up in shock at Anakin.
"Anakin, don't say that!"
"Why not? Jedi can' love? Tha's poodoo. I want to love. Is that so bad?"
He wanted to say yes and argue and bring up the points he already had so many times before, but he just felt so tired, like his soul sported a weariness that would never dissipate.
"I don't know, anymore, Anakin." Then he changed the subject. "I think I am going to try and get some sleep. I suggest you do the same."
Anakin seemed to watch him for a few moments. "Okay then, Master," he finally said. Obi-wan sighed and tried to urge his body into rest with success born of days—weeks—of doing so in this position. He hoped Anakin would be alright. He'd been awake for what felt like hours now, so surely it wouldn't be dangerous to let him sleep with that concussion. Obi-wan hoped so, because at the moment, he wasn't sure he could stay awake to watch him.
Ventress came seven times after that before she got impatient. At first her routine varied little. She and her muscle man, Adius, would come in, beat Anakin, burn him with lightsabers, leave him bruised and breathing hard all while taunting the older Jedi. Then the darksider got particularly angry at Obi-wan's seemingly endless tolerance.
That was the day Anakin screamed for the first time. That was also the day they broke his legs and left him to dangle where both appendages would scrape the ground and aggravate the wounds. Ventress' cackles and the guard's chuckling did nothing to drown out the sharp crack of bone breaking as they used the large hammer they'd brought. After that, Anakin refused to do more than whimper until his body had finally taken enough and he'd fallen into what Obi-wan hoped was a blissful unconsciousness.
"What a pity," Ventress said as she regarded Anakin's limp form. Then she seemed to shrug and turned to Obi-wan. "Can you see how selfish you are? You're leaving your Padawan to suffer simply because you refuse to swallow your pride and submit to me."
"After which point you'll kill us both," Obi-wan said, his voice colder than he would have thought possible.
At that, the witch just laughed and put a hand almost lovingly on Obi-wan's cheek. "Right now, wouldn't that be a mercy? And isn't that what you Jedi preach? Mercy and hope and faith…and where has it gotten you? Just admit it, Obi-wan. Admit that I am superior and bow to me, and I will end your suffering."
And for just a moment, he considered it. And it galled him to no end that he did. He refused to open his mouth, though. He'd gone beyond seething what felt like forever ago. Now he had snapped into a sort of uncaring (vindictive even) iciness that kept his head clear despite the rage and guilt that had driven him to this point. His mind registered this strange, new state, and he knew that knowing he could reach such a condition at any other time in his life would downright scare him, but at the moment he could only seem to focus on the Sith witch in front of him and Anakin's broken form. In addition to the two broken legs dragging on the floor they had left him with several broken fingers, a multitude of bruises and sluggishly bleeding cuts on various places all over his body. They hadn't bothered to clothe him again since the first day.
Seeing his Padawan like that finally pushed Obi-wan further than he'd realized was possible. He thought he'd hated before. He'd had no idea, because what he felt now went so far beyond hate that he didn't even know if there was a true classification for his complete and utter loathing.
"You do know, this is all your fault, Obi-wan," Ventress reiterated with mock admonition. "I wouldn't have even gone after your precious Padawan if you had simply acknowledged the truth—that I am superior to you, although taking him away from the war was probably a blessing after the Republic's horrible defeat at Jabiim. After all, everyone else died."
Obi-wan felt as if she'd socked him in the gut and guilt shot through the cold numbness that had blanketed his mind, soaring ever higher, despite his best efforts not to give into her taunts. Jabiim had been lost, and so many lives with it, although his still strangely clear mind brought up the idea that she could very well be lying, no matter how honest she'd sounded, but that didn't change the fact that he should have been there!
His mental shields had already taken more of a beating in the last two weeks (or however long it had been since Anakin had come) than it had in the last two months of torture, and the mask immediately jumped on her words to continue to pound at the shattered remains of his defenses.
Suddenly, as if she'd driven a spike into his very soul, the words hit home. If he'd been more aware during the battle where Ventress had captured him…he'd been too focused on rescuing everyone, and he hadn't been paying attention as he, both a General and a Jedi, should have. If he'd been a little more vigilant, a little more intent on winning the battle as he should have…but wasn't it presumptuous to think that his presence could have made a huge difference? And yet, his mind nagged at him that at least he may have been able to save more people if he'd just been there...he should have been slogging through the rain-soaked mud and leading his clone troops into battle instead of here in Ventress' tender care.
Every single life lost on that planet fell onto his shoulders joining the weight of Anakin's pain and he felt as if his entire spirit would simply crumble under it. He couldn't seem to breathe and it felt strange that his mind was still analyzing all of this with a cold, truthful accuracy that didn't seem to associate with the rest of him. So much responsibility, so many lives; it almost felt as if the weight on his spirit was spilling over, leaking into his physical form because it had nowhere else to go. Visions of Anakin screaming in pain played over and over in his head, and he realized how much he truly despised her—this evil witch.
He hated her almost as much as he hated himself. And the mask wouldn't let him forget it. He tried to banish the realization with the knowledge that she was doing this because she herself was in pain, but it didn't help nearly as much as it had before.
She'd chosen this path. No matter what her past was, she had chosen to turn into…this.
"Have a pleasant rest remembering everything you've failed at tonight," she said as she closed the door, cutting off most of the light yet again.
Obi-wan focused as hard as he could. He was eventually able to banish the pain and anger, even with the mask on, and he did it out of sheer will, but he could not touch the guilt, no matter how hard he tried. After all, there was no arguing with truth.
Anakin woke with a sharp intake of breath a few hours later (at least Obi-wan thought it might have been a few hours, it was difficult to tell time in this place), but despite the obvious agony, he still managed to lock gazes with his master, eyes bright with pain and fever as he said through clenched teeth:
"Don't give her what she wants."
Obi-wan couldn't answer him. He could only look on with pity and shame. It took far too long for the Jedi Knight to force himself to talk to Anakin, and once he did he focused on trying to distract the boy from the anguish, no matter how it tore at the older man's dry, swollen vocal chords to do so. It didn't help much and Anakin seemed to be a little too out of it to really think normally and respond. Thankfully, the boy passed out again not too much later, leaving Obi-wan alone again.
He watched his Padawan in the dim light he suspected Ventress had left on just so he could see the evidence of what they'd done to the person who meant the most to him, and he knew he couldn't let it happen again. He couldn't watch the boy he considered his brother—his son—in pain. Next time they might do something irreparable…and it was his fault, well, his and Ventress'. Perhaps he could also assign some blame to Dooku and his Sith Master for starting this useless war to begin with as well, but most of Anakin's pain had come into being because of his Jedi Master and the Sith Acolyte who had captured them.
It wasn't Anakin's fault. He shouldn't be here, and Obi-wan realized that he would do anything to get him away from here. Now.
As he had done an innumerable amount of times before, he tried to grasp at the Force, but the pain that lanced through his head refused to allow him access. He felt the last of his control slipping as his frustration grew. Jedi strived for a mastery of self, and he had worked so hard to accomplish that very goal, but the shame for what had happened, for his failures and his shortcomings, seemed to stomp out all of his hard-earned mastery.
You could escape, if you took what is yours, what belongs to you, the mask seemed to whisper. You could take your Padawan, your son, and leave this place.
And he could. The idea of what he was contemplating made him sick, but it would only be this once. Just this once. And he would do it for Anakin because it was the only way.
"I'm sorry, Anakin," was all he could whisper. Then he took a deep breath and felt a single tear leak from his eye. He was surprised he had enough water in his body to allow that; his final tribute to the light he held so dear.
And then he stopped fighting the darkness.
He was surprised at how easily the twisted coldness came to him, still only in trickles because of the mask, but it was there none the less…and it felt good. Not the healing, warm goodness of the normal Force, but this coldness gave him something he couldn't have had just moments before, a power that made him feel as if he could do anything.
He had to draw on that power through the shame and guilt, had to practically order it to follow his wishes, but it seemed to want to eagerly comply once he demanded, and the negative emotions that had built inside of him recently only helped him to draw on that power.
His first thought went along the lines of, 'This isn't so bad.' He'd been expecting himself to somehow change irreparably the moment he touched the darkness, but he didn't really feel any different, only stronger.
Still, he knew enough to be wary of such thoughts. He'd seen the damage the Dark Side could do, and he may feel he had no other choice at this point, but that didn't mean it would be a permanent thing. He already felt ashamed of his decision, which in turn fed the darkness, the cold fire that would allow him to get Anakin away from this nightmare.
The manacles that held him were Force resistant, but the link of the chains on the ceiling weren't. They came down with far more effort than he would have liked, but the awful restrictions that had held him up for so long still clattered loudly to the floor. He fell into the pile of his own waste that the guards hadn't so much as bothered to clean in weeks and immediately slumped shakily to the ground.
The weakness in his body frustrated him, building his connection to the darkness even more and he shuddered. It may not have been so bad, but he still felt tainted and unworthy somehow. He'd drawn on the Dark Side, so he was no longer a Jedi, but he could live with that if it meant getting Anakin away and healed.
He finally forced his hand to move and ripped the mask from his head, reveling in the small amount of freedom that brought him. The Force flowed around him and he sighed in relief at the feeling. Then he turned his focus on Anakin and had tore at the chains on the ceiling. He was horrified to realize that the power reacting to his call of the Force had not gone back to the normal warmth, but no matter how he focused, no matter how he tried to calm himself, the fleeting tendrils of light would not answer his call. He hesitated for only a moment, then realized that he would probably need all the strength he could get anyway, and the darkness filled him in a way nothing else could—he felt he could do anything.
Which was good because he still had to get Anakin down.
He went to tear the chains down again, but paused again as a thought occurred to him. If they were to escape, he couldn't just rush into this. Anakin was in pain. Anakin needed his help and that filled him with more guilt and anger. What she'd done to Obi-wan was one thing, something he could hate and despise but live with. What she'd done to Anakin was unforgivable. He would not let her do it again.
Which meant he had to come up with a plan. It would have worked out better if he'd been able to hide his Force presence right away, but he'd been unable to do so immediately after the mask had come off. She had to know something was up, despite the fact that he'd only allowed that flare in the force for a fraction of a second. He'd hidden his presence as best he could as quickly as he could, but she would come anyway. He could already sense Ventress' dark (although not as dark as it had seemed before, but he refused to dwell on that implication, if only for his own sanity) presence coming towards them. If he could just draw her attention away for a few seconds…
Analytically he studied the situation, taking a mental step back and looking over the predicament as a whole. Ventress had undoubtedly felt his presence and would be here shortly. In his state right now, no matter how he felt about it, he really couldn't expect to put up a decent fight. He might be able to hold her off for a few minutes, but that would do him little good. He'd have to take her by surprise and end things quickly.
Fortunately, he had two weapons in the form of chains strapped to the manacles around his wrist. They wouldn't do much against a lightsaber, and truthfully he could barely lift them without help from the Force, but if he could get the jump on his captor, maybe he could somehow get one or both of her lightsabers. At least then they'd have a fighting chance.
He glanced around the room again, figuring where he could attack from that would give him the most chance of success. If he could lure her into the room, even if she was on alert, it would do a lot to even the odds.
So what could he use as a distraction?
And then a thought came to him. He glanced over at Anakin's limp body, checking through the Force to make sure he was still unconscious. Yes, this would work, and Anakin shouldn't remember any of it.
He ignored how muddled his thoughts suddenly felt, pushed aside the horror in his soul at the very idea he was contemplating, and stuck to the facts as best he could. Then he tore Anakin's chains from the ceiling with the Force. He couldn't do much to physically catch the boy as he fell, but was able to stop him from collapsing completely with the Force. From the strange angle of his Padawan's legs, it couldn't be comfortable.
He concentrated and lifted Anakin higher, moved him and the chain through the Force—a little more violently than he would have liked, but it got the job done—to the spot Obi-wan had been hanging from not minutes before and secured the chains above as best he could.
Then he forced himself to his feet, struggled out of the harsh cloak, ignoring the pain from his scabs being torn open yet again, and placed it over Anakin's head. Then he reached down to where he'd thrown the accursed mask and picked it up. He looked at the thick, dirty material in his hands for a few moments, fingers brushing over the thing with disgust. Then he turned to Anakin.
"I'm so sorry, Anakin," he whispered, and then shoved the mask onto his Padawan's head. He'd be able to get it off again soon, after all. As long as Anakin wasn't awake…Obi-wan just hoped that it didn't affect Anakin's dreams like it had affected his. He ignored the increase of guilt. After all, this would help them both in the long run.
Fortunately, Anakin didn't respond to the mask, and Obi-wan breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't know if he could forgive himself if Anakin were to suffer as he had. He already couldn't forgive himself as it was.
That brought up the deep rage that burned so cold inside of him and he clenched his own disfigured hands angrily. Fortunately, it only made him feel more powerful, more like he could actually do what he had planned.
He walked to where Anakin had hung previously and levered himself onto the filthy floor. Now all he had to do was wait.
Beginning of 22 BBY – Attack of the Clones
End of 22 BBY – Battle of Jabiim and capture of Obi-wan and Anakin
Mid 21 BBY – Ahsoka comes into the picture
21 BBY – 19 BBY – Subsequent battles
End of 19 BBY – Revenge of the Sith (which will play out very differently…not necessarily for the better—you have been warned)
Messing with the timeline a bit, but I had to get both the comics and Clone Wars in here, so yeah.