Summary: The Jedi could control their fate. Future-fic, of sorts. Experimental - for me, anyway.
A/N: Huge, huge thanks to Pallas-Athena for beta'ing. You're amazing, beta'ing for me all the time and doing it so quickly, too. :p And then doubly thanks for partially inspiring this with your totally amazing WIP.
And read carefully. ;)
I stare at Coruscant’s wild
jungles, resisting the urge to close my eyes and imagine this landscape as it
once was, in old stories and meaningless tales. Hard, blocky metal structures
spotted the green reaches, but they look lost and out of place.
I feel rather than hear Jehiel come up beside me; he moves quietly, within the moment and not against it, not forcing an unnatural silence. He says nothing, and I make every pretense of ignoring him. No doubt he is expecting that, however, and he merely studies me. I know I am expressionless, utterly stilled; it is a skill I have treasured and wrapped myself in often.
I suspect he doesn’t realize how often he falls into my habits. Ah, my Padawan, I feel like an old fool when I look at you and see my marks.
“Do you feel any regret?” he asks at last, but I do not turn away from the vista.
“No,” I answer immediately. “None at all.” I turn to him, smile and let him see my pain. “Sadness, yes. As you do, Jehiel.”
He doesn’t ask more of my doubts, or mention any of his own. The time for that is past now – more than past. Yet there is something that makes us turn back and reflect, wonder over our decision, as we feel more of us pass away into the Force. Able to touch just ever so lightly, and even I wonder, will that light touch be enough? Or too much?
It is foolish to feel afraid of acting, of what to do and how to guide, when the time for it has not yet come.
“The thing I wonder, Master, is why we wait, with our already decision made.”
I smile slightly. “Old ideals, that’s all. As long as we breathe, I feel like we should make the effort to continue doing so.”
“And merely live?”
“Do you wish for death so soon, Jehiel?” I ask, looking into his eyes, and he turns away almost immediately.
“No,” he says. “No. But it is a struggle to find meaning. I want meaning, Master.”
“Meaning,” I repeat. “You wish for something we all do. I’ve never had meaning, Jehiel; just belief and love.”
“Your family, you mean.”
“My family, my extended family – the Jedi, really, at this point. I was never one to fight for ideals and principles, Jehiel. People. People are my passion,” I say matter-of-factly. “Some of the others consider it my great flaw.”
“We’re all quite flawed,” Jehiel replies very perfunctorily.
I laugh. “Quite, quite true. The passing of said flaws is the root of all of this, after all. I’ve definitely inherited mine, in certain undeniable ways.”
The gentle breeze wafts my faded red hair out of my face, and Jehiel watches me with an odd carefulness.
“I’ll miss this,” he says suddenly.
I cock my head silently.
“It’ll never be quite the same. Touching, feeling …”
“Awkwardness,” I add. “It will be the Force, Jehiel. I’m not running towards it, but I won’t run away either.”
He looks at me for a long moment, then nods decisively and, as simple as that, I know he’s put this all away in his head, neat and organized.
“More people have been arriving at the Temple, wishing to be taught. Nearly a hundred yesterday.” I look at him, and he continues. “I didn’t think you knew it had become so many, since you’ve been in meditation with the Council so often.”
Ah, yes, my three equals. We have been in frequent contact with our kin who have passed on. “That’s good,” I say softly. “More than reason enough to merely live, Padawan.”
He doesn’t correct the old title. “Some have requested to learn more,” he adds.
“And they were refused, I assume,” I say, raising an eyebrow.
He nods. “Of course. They just – even after everything, I think they find it hard to imagine a galaxy without Jedi. They don’t understand why we have done this, why we teach them to touch the Force and nothing more.”
“Children, students, apprentices, all are the future. They see us abandoning ours, and it disturbs them on a level they can’t even speak of,” I say, because I know it’s the truth. Regardless of their mixed hate and love for us, this disturbs them.
“I hardly remember a time when we had children here, Master. We’ve all grown up,” Jehiel says quietly.
“I know,” I say gently. “I watched.”
He looks at me, startled, and I place a hand on his shoulder. “I was proud to do so, I hope you know.” He is the child I never had.
He doesn’t quite meet my gaze, but he nods nevertheless. I am content to leave it at that; neither of us is particularly openly affectionate. He was one of the few to easily accept my lack of emotion in battle, another flaw perhaps, that was passed on.
“What do you think they will create, Master?”
A suspicious flick of his eyes. “Our students, Master. We’ve taught them to touch the Force and little else; not even of the Code. But they can’t stop, I couldn’t – I always had to reach for more.”
“As did I,” I reply. “I suspect they will hold to what they know of us, by public knowledge. But we are training no more Padawans, no more initiates, and they’ll never reach that far.” I pause, and look once again at Coruscant’s horizon. “They’ll create something new, Jehiel. Something we can’t imagine.”
Because that is our flaw. We were reborn, but we were born dying, tethered to what we know.
“I think, Master …” Jehiel’s voice trails off, but I gesture for him to continue. “I think when we join the Force, it will be like that day, when I was just a child and you were newly the head of the Council. When we sat in the Hall, and meditated; when we were one, and our decision one.” He smiles suddenly, a full smile, and I am startled.
But I nod. “Yes,” I say. “I feel the next step is greater, not lesser.”
“It’s a comforting thought,” Jehiel adds.
My mouth quirks despite my control. “I hardly think our honored, quite dead kin would lie to us about what it’s like, anyway.”
Jehiel almost blushes. “Of course, Master.”
“You can call me by my name, you know,” I tell him. “You have been a Master for years now, and you hardly need stand on ceremony.”
“No,” he denies, eyes full of amusement, “I think you’ll always be ‘Master’.”
And so I am. As I feel my
body weakening, this crude flesh which fails so easily, he calls me that.
“Master.” Just that word. “Master,” and his eyes are full of tears. “Master
Skywalker, I’m going to miss you.”
“Not for too long,” I say, struggling to smile. “I’ll always be with you, even if we can’t touch.”
He takes my hand.
Then I begin to fade and become separate, and this isn’t what dying is supposed to feel like at all.
He takes my hand. “Hello, Ben,” Jinn says to me. His eyes are warm with affection, this man I hardly know, this man that made this possible. He smiles, and it almost blurs into – I feel his smile, I don’t see it. He has my hand …
And I take a greater step into the unknown and known. I have missed you, my family – Mom, Dad, Aunt Leia and Uncle Han, and I see …