Live and Die With Grace
by Rana Eros
This is the one that was a surprise. It was inspired by a comment Vera left in my LJ that wasn't even really related to the stories, but there you have it. She graciously agreed to beta the end result, as did Eliza and Emerald. Fifth in the Some Blissful Dream multi-fandom series. This one is for Vera, for the inspiration, and for my fellow Ponies of the Apocalypse.
"If you kill me," he says, "I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."
He knows it, understands it as he did not when he was young and afraid and his master died before his eyes. Under the merciless suns of Tatooine, his master returned to him on a gust of humid air, a gust like the one that stirs his robes now in this sterile space station. There is no death, and he is not afraid of what lies before him on the other side of crude matter.
Vader's lightsaber engages with a hiss, and he brings up his own to block the downward swing. He has seen the ending of this battle, but the time is not yet.
He holds Vader at bay, staying watchful until Luke and his companions burst through one of the bay doors, racing toward their battered freighter. The boy pauses, seeing him, and he has to smile at the memory of an Anakin just as young and eager. Before he allowed the darkness to swallow him whole.
But Luke cannot linger here, and Vader cannot be allowed to note the boy as more than a troublesome rebel. There is only one solution to both problems, and now it is time, at last.
He raises his lightsaber before him, in an ancient salute to the power of the Force, and steps into the next swing.
There is a moment of blinding light, and when he blinks it away, he is standing on the white sand of an island in the Kopara Archipelago, the site of his favorite mission as Qui-Gon Jinn's apprentice. The breeze is warm and balmy around him, and Qui-Gon is up to his bare ankles in the surf, not five feet away. Obi-Wan moves forward enough to wet his own toes as Qui-Gon watches him fondly and shakes his head.
"To see your death is a blow to the boy, my Obi-Wan," he says.
"It cannot be helped." Any more than it could be helped when he witnessed Qui-Gon's death. He moves to join his master in the water, admiring the sun-kissed planes of Qui-Gon's chest, and Qui-Gon bends down to give him a long, welcoming kiss. It's startling, but certainly not unwanted for being so unexpected.
Obi-Wan decides to let go of his puzzlement, and bask in the moment. Qui-Gon's skin is warm against his own, the fabric of Qui-Gon's native wrap soft against his belly, and it tastes like Qui-Gon ate leka fruit and honeycake just before he came. Obi-Wan could not get enough of either while on their mission.
"Does the Code no longer apply?" he asks, when they break apart to breathe. Qui-Gon only looks at him, and he elaborates. "'There is no passion, there is serenity.'"
"Do you not feel serene?"
"Yes." Obi-Wan grins, shifting a little against Qui-Gon. "But I do not think you need to ask if I also feel passionate."
"The code can be interpreted a number of ways, Obi-Wan." Qui-Gon returns his smile, reaching out to card his fingers through Obi-Wan's hair. Now that it is thick and long once again, he will have to see if this Force-drenched place is capable of producing a thong to tie it back. "When serenity encompasses passion, is it truly passion you feel, or merely another facet of serenity?"
"Perhaps it is not a matter for discussion so much as demonstration, master."
Qui-Gon's hand sinks to the nape of his neck, and he raises his own arms to encircle his master's waist.
"Ah, how I have missed you."
"I know." It is not the nature of Jedi to rail against the Force, but Obi-Wan still wishes things had been different. It is a wish he knows Qui-Gon shares. "Still, I am here now, Qui-Gon, and there is hope. The balance may yet be found."
"As the Force wills," Qui-Gon says, and his mood lightens once more. "It has certainly done well enough for us."
"So it has," Obi-Wan agrees. "Shall we take advantage of its doing?"
"You have learned to live in the moment well, my Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon says, leaning down to kiss him again.
"I have found it is the best way to ensure the moment lasts," Obi-Wan whispers, just before their lips meet.
This moment he would gladly live in for a long, long time.
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