Time travel is insane.
Obi-Wan looked down at Anakin on the hot, black ground of Mustafar, his body mangled, his eyes gleaming gold like the tongues of flame that were crawling up his clothes, and the Jedi felt nothing but peace. There was something like a rush of pride in him: he had achieved everything that a Jedi could possibly aim for. Here he was, at the end of his world, the Jedi as a people gone, he had failed as a teacher and as a Jedi and as a being, and he felt at peace.
There is peace.
Anakin was screaming, because he was dying.
Obi-Wan frowned in contemplation. Was it really the Jedi way to watch as the enemy died? Should he leave? Should he speed along the process of Anakin's death?
He approached Anakin with his lightsabre lit. Anakin was brighter in the force than in body. His body was merely aflame, while his spirit screamed in loss and pain and anger.
How utterly irresponsible.
Such attachment to life.
Obi-Wan wanted to teach him the kind of calm that had settled over himself. If only he could teach that to Anakin, but there was no time. He had only just discovered it. He had lost Anakin. And now, it was time—
Anakin had been such a bright child.
Obi-Wan found that he disliked the way that the flames were eating Anakin. He could feel them in the force, and he calmed them, cooling their reaction. They smothered themselves at his direction.
Anakin screamed louder.
Obi-Wan gathered him in his arms, and began looking for Darth Vader's medical facilities.
Obi-Wan was at peace.
He was at peace with Anakin. He was at peace as he directed the droids to tend to Anakin. Nothing could touch him, and with that peace and calm, he could hear, touch and feel everything. He sat near Anakin's unconscious body, knowing that Anakin would receive care. And without even trying, he felt the approach of—
The Sith Lord. Anakin's Master.
A droid approached him and informed him that Anakin was conscious and wanting to speak with him. Obi-Wan followed the droid to Anakin's bedside, and slowly Anakin began to relate a tale to him.
The tale, what little of it Obi-Wan was able to understand in his state of peace, was about Anakin allowing himself to be blinded, and about Anakin having a plan – hatching a plan – to take down the Sith. Palpatine. Darth Sidious.
Obi-Wan listened, and felt Sidious approach in the force. He did not respond to Anakin. There was no need, because everything was at peace – he was at peace. He could sense the future and the past meeting at the present, and everything had been as it was, and was as it should be.
The future was changing, as it should be.
Everything was as it should be.
Anakin asked him questions that didn't need answers, then demanded a response from him. Obi-Wan's tongue felt thick in his mouth.
"I… know," Obi-Wan said.
"No you don't, you don't know anything, you can't even tell what's happening right now can you?"
Sidious was approaching in the force. Luke and Leia were safe. The force presences of the Jedi were leaving. Anakin's apprentice, Ahsoka, was biting into a ration bar somewhere. Obi-Wan knew everything.
Obi-Wan shook his head. "I know, Anakin."
"Excuse me," one of the droids said, and continued when Obi-Wan waited for it to continue. "If I may. You appear to be in a great deal of shock, if Master is making more sense than you right now, what with his… missing. Bits."
Anakin waved a furious metal hand at him.
Sidious was on-planet.
Through his pain, Anakin grinned at Obi-Wan.
"I'll tell you what's going to happen."
And then, the peace left.
Obi-Wan was buffeted by a gale – a foreign force presence that insinuated itself within him. He fought against it, only to realise he was fighting himself. The gale was himself.
But how – he had never had this strength before. This was the kind of strength that Anakin held. He looked about him, trying to discover source or reason. The universal knowledge which he had had only a moments ago was replaced by sheer confusion.
Anakin was dead, Obi-Wan realised. There was no presence on the operating table, only a body. There was no force presence in this room other than himself.
What had Anakin done?
What had Anakin done?
A red lightsabre interrupted his thoughts and he ducked away. His own lightsabre came alight in his hand and he blocked the blade. Behind it, Darth Sidious' golden eyes gleamed with ruby highlights.
The Sith chuckled.
"So the boy betrayed us both," he said, a strangely wistful note in his voice. "And now he has incorporated his presence into yours. How inconvenient of him."
Obi-Wan was a gale, a storm. His actions were his emotions – and they were fast and deadly. They launched themselves at the Sith Lord with movements of his feet and his lightsabre. The Sith matched every one of them, delighted.
"What a creature he created!" Sidious said, delighted. "And you will kneel before me as well. I know—"
But it was Obi-Wan who knew.
At some point, when he had been at peace – what he now recognised must have been a state of shock greater than he had ever heard of – he had known of Sidious' weakness. It was not one he could have exploited with his own strength, or his own skill – but Anakin had been powerful.
The storm found its way behind Sidious' attack and pierced his body with its light. Sidious' heart smelled like burning flesh.
Obi-Wan's victory began to ripen.
But creatures as strong in the force as Darth Sidious did not die instantly from mortal wounds, and Sidious cracked a smile.
"Interesting. In fact, I'd say this is your most fascinating victory yet, my apprentice."
There was a strobing flash of light, and Obi-Wan sat up in a bed, panting.
The mattress was soft, and the room was dark. There was a window with artificial light seeping underneath. Obi-Wan stepped off the bed and stumbled towards the window, and crouched down at the gap.
Outside, there was a lit corridor.
The rush of the fight was still with him. In his mind, he could see still see the blue glow of his lightsabre reflected in Sidious' cruel eyes. Without the dark storm of Anakin's life force, his own body felt like a soulless puppet. He tapped his fingers against the windowsill, but even that movement felt disconnected.
The fingers were small, and they didn't look like his at all.
He ran his hand through his hair, and it felt short and strange. His fingers touched something hanging from his head, and tugged at it only to feel pain. A snake or leech? But it had the feeling of hair – it felt like a braid.
A padawan's braid.
Obi-Wan breathed, slowly, smelling dust, and city pollution artificially cleaned, and plastic and metal, with a hint of wood. This place smelled like Coruscant.
Children. Dead. Anakin, alive.
The grief/shock smacked into him like an electric baton and his breath caught in his throat. The peace had abandoned him. The storm that took over his emotions felt wrong – tiny compared to what it had been when Anakin had—
What had Anakin done?
A quiet squeak left his mouth, and he turned back to the bed. This place looked like his room in his Master's quarters, and his body was shaped like it had been as a child. The world made no sense. If he could only fall back so far into shock that he could find the peace—
But he was his own miniature storm now.
The world around him was not real. Its smell was authentic, but fundamentally fake. His mind had touched a galaxy's worth of awareness, and in doing so, had lost the ability to perceive the world as it was.
He felt a child's callouses against the soft, smooth skin of his cheeks as he rested his palms against his cheeks and twisted his fingers in short hair.
He put his head in his hands, and grieved for his sanity.
The mind is a complex tool designed to interpret the world around it – and, through that interpretation, guide the self in interacting with that world so that its existence may be prolonged, or its tasks may be accomplished. It does this through the interpretation of senses.
Obi-Wan gazed a roof that could not exist and knew that he had taken leave of his senses.
It was so unfair.
But that was a selfish thought. Sidious was dead. Anakin was dead. Anakin had – somehow – used the last of his strength to strengthen Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan had, through the destruction of the Jedi order itself, been thrown into a shock deep enough to have known all things – for a brief moment.
And now, if his scrambled mind could no longer interpret reality, who was he to complain, really?
(Did he? Did he really? Were the nerves in his cheeks working? Was his brain sending those signals – was it really receiving them?)
He didn't know.
Insanity was going to be a real pain in the neck.
Of course, his mind then decided that it was time for Qui-Gon Jinn to walk through the door.