"I want to take the boy."

These were not the lines he'd planned to open with, not the ones he'd rehearsed while he waited for his fingers to stop shaking long enough to operate the comm. Still, there would be little point in beginning with anything else. He could have asked 'What happened?' but he already knew what had happened, had felt it, had felt it long before…hadn't wanted to feel it again for a long, long time.

How was an irrelevance. How was already in the past, immutable, but the future was ever in motion, and he wanted to be in a position to shape it.

He had not expected the council members to be completely impassive throughout his call. They, he was sure, were as exhausted and sorrowful as he. One could not expect perfect decorum in the face of such sudden tragedy—even from Jedi Masters. Still, he was unprepared for the strength of their reaction to his words. Surprise, confusion, even alarm flitted across the holographic faces in front of him.

Feemor was puzzled. What about his request could provoke such a response? It seemed the most logical arrangement, not to mention the most compassionate. He would be a most qualified guide to the doubtless bewildered young man. Did he not know also what it was to lose a Master? Did he not, now, know what it was to lose Qui-Gon Jinn? He could think of no reasonable obstacle unless, of course, Master Dooku aimed to assert his seniority?

Feemor drew a deep breath, repeated his request: "I want to take the boy. Please allow me to complete the training of Obi-Wan Kenobi."

The mood in the far off council room changed instantly, like a dissipating ion storm. The member's relief was almost palpable, even from many light-years away. A wholly unexpected sound drifted over the comm. A deep, fatigued laugh from Master Windu. "That," he said, "will not be necessary."