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Ani-Obi ficlet - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Ani-Obi ficlet
Shoot. I find there was a reason that I never finished "Beggar's Canyon." I'm lousy at writing races. I'll still work on it. I will eventually finish the four Luke stories to mirror the four Leia stories in Father's Heart, of which "Beggar's Canyon," in which Luke is almost arrested by the Empire for illegal Skyhopper racing (Ben saves him before certain names percolate up through Imperial law enforcement), was to be the third. But not today. I just don't feel like a Skyhopper race today.

I'm more in a mood to write about Anakin and Obi-Wan, ya know? I don't understand why you're supposed to like one or the other, or think that one is totally right and the other is totally wrong (and trust me, both have their partisans). The tragedy of their relationship was that it was mismatched--they simply didn't understand each other at all, and worse, they thought they did, so they never fixed it. So, I'll start from scractch.

"How far behind is he?" Obi-Wan asked, looking over his shoulder toward the classroom door, toward where Anakin was sitting in the corridor, looking at the toes of his boots. "I knew he'd had no training in the Force, or in lightsaber drills, but--"

"His math is fine, and he knows more about engineering than I do," Master Ismana said. "But he's never had a history lesson, except for some haphazard stories about his mother's homeworld. He has no idea what the structure of the government is, except for a notion that Tatooine is outside of its jurisdiction. He doesn't know where one world is in relation to another. He's never used a starmap. He's never used a library. And he hasn't the faintest idea how to question a text. He's baffled by the idea of doing so. He reads quickly and accurately--I can't imagine how he taught himself in that environment, and I must assume his native intelligence is rather impressive--but he has the responses of a Temple five-year-old, looking only at the absolute, concrete reality of the text."

"But I know he has an active imagination," Obi-Wan said.

"But a very literal one." Master Ismana sighed. "I have no choice, Master Kenobi. I'm going to have to place Anakin with younger students for his school lessons."

"I could work with him."

"Exactly how quickly do you believe you can make up for nine years with no education whatsoever?"

"Yes, of course." Obi-Wan muttered a farewell and went out to his padawan.

Anakin didn't look up. "I'm sorry," he muttered.

"What are you sorry for?"

"Embarrassing you."

Obi-Wan waved this off and sat down beside his padawan. "Why didn't you tell me that you'd never been to school?"

"I didn't think it mattered." He looked in the other direction, toward the far end of the non-descript hallway. "I met someone who went to school once, and he didn't know that much more than me. And my mom taught me reading and math, and Watto taught me machines. I bet I know more about engines than any of them."

"Of that, I have no doubt," Obi-Wan said. "But there are other things in the galaxy to know. A Jedi needs to have a grounding in history and politics, and a knowledge of culture. You never know what you'll need to know, so you have to make it your business to learn as much as you can."

"I know. I'll try harder."

"Master Ismana is going to put you with the younger students."

Anakin finally looked at him, something like horror in his eyes. "Master, I can do it!" he said. "Honest. I'll... I'll read more at night. I can learn anything. I memorized Watto's whole inventory in an afternoon. I--"

"It's not about memorizing. You simply need to become more grounded in your studies."

Anakin swallowed hard. "Yes, Master."

They didn't talk at all while they ate, and Anakin excused himself before he finished his second helping. The light went on in his cell, and Obi-Wan heard him rummaging for datachips. "Anakin?"

"I'm studying."

Obi-Wan looked in on him. He had one scanner laid out on his preternaturally neat desk (once out of Watto's junk shop, Anakin had become a bit fanatical about keeping his things in order), and a second one in his hand. The one on his desk displayed his history text; in his hand was a series of questions, over which he frowned. As Obi-Wan watched, he entered an answer. The scan light went green, and Anakin sighed with relief.

For the next two weeks, the routine remained the same--in the mornings, Anakin went to his studies while Obi-Wan performed his duties in the Temple, in the afternoons, they trained together, and in the evenings, Anakin shut himself away with a pile of simple books, and came out to wish Obi-Wan good night several hours later, looking drawn and weary. Obi-Wan began to wish that the Council would, in its wisdom, send them on a dangerous mission. Anything to break the routine.

But he could hardly complain about too much study, could he? Anakin had devoted himself to the problem and he was making headway. Ismana had reservations--he believed that Anakin didn't really understand the correct answers he was giving--but he did move Anakin up from the five-year-olds' class to the seven-year-olds'. Anakin responded to this by doubling his efforts, until Obi-Wan did have to put his foot down and insist that the boy get more sleep at night.

Three weeks after he'd been moved to the younger groups, he didn't appear in the meditation room for his daily training. It was the first time he'd missed an opportunity to handle a practice lightsaber. Obi-Wan went to Ismana's classroom, assuming that the lesson had simply gone on longer than anticipated, but Ismana told him that Anakin had never arrived.

Obi-Wan reached out with his senses, seeking out Anakin's dynamic presence in the Force. He was not, generally speaking, a difficult person to locate.

He found him in the Temple library, staring intently at a holoprojection of one ancient Senate proceeding or another.


He turned his head slowly.

"You missed your class this morning, and are late for training."

"I'm sorry."

"Explain yourself."

Anakin's gaze drifted back to the holo, where a pretty young woman was making grand gestures from her Senate box. "This is when they outlawed slavery," he said. "I read about it last night. I wanted to hear her say it. I only meant to come down before class."


Anakin looked at him with wounded eyes. "They argued," he said. "They argued about it for hours. They're still arguing here." He pointed at the holo.

"It was more than hours. This was the culmination of years of arguments."

"They talked about people being born to be slaves, and about compensating owners for losing money, and... all kinds of stuff."

"Yes. But they did ultimately abolish it."

A pained frown creased Anakin's face. "But then, look." He switched the projection to another Senate meeting. By the clothing, Obi-Wan deduced that it was several hundred years later. "They're arguing again," Anakin said. "People are being taken as slaves on the trade routes, and there were people saying that the Senate shouldn't do anything about it."

"There were questions of jurisdiction, as I recall..."

"My mom was taken on a trade route. By pirates. They killed the rest of her family." He glared at the holo. "If they'd just done it..."

"It might have caused a civil war."

"They'd have gotten used to it. The other guys, I mean." He pointed to to a man now standing up to make an argument. "I mean, they're wrong, right? If the Senate had gone ahead and been right, they'd have had to see it, wouldn't they?"

"The Senate, quite unfortunately, is not often populated by altruists and idealists, and when it is, their altruism and idealism aren't always in the best interest of the galaxy."

"Stupid system," Anakin muttered.

Obi-Wan smiled. That, if nothing else, was a questioning of a text. He'd learn.

Eh, not great. But it felt pretty good to slip back into Jedi-land.

I feel a bit...: cheerful cheerful
Soundtrack: TPM Soundtrack

9 comments or Leave a comment
sreya From: sreya Date: September 24th, 2004 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Fernwithy, can I just say how much I adore your young Anakin and Obi-Wan?

I'll take that as a yes. I ADORE your young Anakin and Obi-Wan!!!!!!!!

Wish I could offer something constructive to help you get to finished form, but I can't really see anything. I love the characterization of Anakin's ambition, his determination, and his absolutist thinking. You can really see how that would have later developed into his adult thinking.

Okay, wait, I do have a bit of constructive crit. It might help round out the story if we get to see or hear a bit about how Anakin interacts with the younger children he's placed with. Does he isolate himself from them, get irritated with them, does he share the knowledge that he has in non-traditional subjects? I'm guessing from his frustration and determination it's one of the first two or something akin to them, but it'd be interesting to see.

Though maybe I have an ulterior motive. I've had a fic idea for a while about a little girl who basically "fangirls" Anakin in the Temple, because he tells fairy tales to the children, and she thinks he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. :~P It's a weird one, but one of my pet plot bunnies, and so I'm always interested in how people see Anakin interacting with the other children at the Temple.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2004 08:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I think as he gets more comfortable, that's exactly what he'd do--in "Autopilot" (I think), I have him in trouble for doing that, as the younger kids are supposed to learn to trust their masters when they're frightened, but Anakin is always in the creche getting them calmed down and making them happy by telling them stories.
sreya From: sreya Date: September 24th, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, boy, here I was thinking the idea had been from one of Julie the Tall Terror's stories, and now I'm wondering if it was yours. :~P

Well, regardless of the original idea, this new ficlet of yours got me running again on the story, and this morning while I was waiting for the train, I pulled out my PDA (this thing is turning out to be GREAT!) and started typing up a fairy tale for Anakin to be telling the little girl. So either way, looks like I'll have to be crediting you in an author's note... if I ever finish this one, of course.

So if that's what Anakin would be doing once he gets comfortable, how do you think he would act before then? I'm trying to think about him in TPM, and I'm leaning towards just sort of hanging back, keeping to himself.
From: illmantrim Date: September 24th, 2004 08:21 am (UTC) (Link)
A very grand story in the heart and spirit of the series. bravo!
the_jackalope From: the_jackalope Date: September 24th, 2004 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)

love it

I like it. In fact it captures the way I thought their relationship would be. I haven't been in the SW fandom for a long while, maybe I'll go back in.

Would you mind if I friended you. I love your stories, and your rants.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2004 10:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: love it

Sure, I like friends.

Glad you enjoyed the story.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: September 24th, 2004 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't understand why you're supposed to like one or the other, or think that one is totally right and the other is totally wrong (and trust me, both have their partisans). The tragedy of their relationship was that it was mismatched--they simply didn't understand each other at all, and worse, they thought they did, so they never fixed it.

Can't make up my mind which is cooler - that little bit of honest as buttered bread Star Wars philosophy or that little bit of good as molten gold Star Wars fan fiction.

Eh, not great. But it felt pretty good to slip back into Jedi-land.

Eh not great? :O :O :O

We'd love you to stick around Jedi-land some more... Pretty please
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: September 26th, 2004 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
::lazypadawan applauds::

Not great, huh ;)? This vignette manages to capture so much about both Anakin and Obi-Wan. Given that I watched ROTJ this morning, it made the story that much more poignant.
espresso_rabbit From: espresso_rabbit Date: September 30th, 2004 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
So, I lurked around here a bit when I discovered you were in the HP fandom as well (I first discovered you in SW) but I left when I realized how much of a Remus/Tonks shipper you are (no offense...it's great writing, just not my prefered pairing).

Then, just today, I decided to look around for more opinions on the new SW dvds. Cause the fan wanks are amusing (and you're right, they are the wankiest wanks around). And I thought "hmm...Fern might have something up."

And boy, am I glad I came. I really like this little ficlet. I don't get why people would take only either Anakin or Obi-wan's side, either. I think the relationship between them is one of the most interesting in the series, and I like what you did with it here. So thanks for sharing. :)
9 comments or Leave a comment