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Where he is, time and space are points of view, not absolute truths. The senses are what you make of them. He doesn't really have a body, just an unwavering band of light. But he can tell that the words he hears are addressed to him.

"I'm sorry." The words hang in the air for a minute. "I know Yoda said sorry wasn't enough, but I had to start with that, because it's true. I'm sorry I was such a bad Padawan. I'm sorry I was so angry with you. I'm sorry I never knew how much you loved me. I'm sorry I- I killed you." He swallows, fighting back the rising tears.

I'm sorry I was such a poor Master. I'm sorry I never knew what to do about your anger. I'm sorry I never said how much I loved you. I'm sorry we ever had to duel. But at the end, I gave my life willingly. My time was over; Luke's had just begun.

"I'm not sorry for loving Padme, though." This is said with just the slightest edge of fierceness.

You shouldn't be. In fact, I'm sorry the Order required you to choose between her and your Jedi duties.

"I am sorry for forcing all of you into hiding. I'm sorry I never knew the twins. And I'm sorry I stopped knowing you. I missed you, Obi-Wan. Really, I did. I tried not to admit it, because I wanted to be angry with you, but I did miss you. I missed Padme, too."

He feels, more than "sees" in any visual sense, Anakin start crying again. He tries to say We all missed her, but all that he conveys is a vague sense of comfort.

"I came back for Luke, though. He believed in me, like you did, all those years ago. And he was right. I didn't think it was possible, but he was right." He smiles through the tears at the thought of his good boy, insisting he had to save him.

"And now I talk to him. He wants me to train him, Obi-Wan. He *trusts* me to train him. How could you do it? How could you take on a Padawan, knowing you had to teach them everything? Knowing that one wrong word or wrong action could cause so much harm?"

Because I made a promise to Master Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan thinks. And because I knew that if I hadn't agreed to train you, I doubt any of the Council would have done. And the thought of someone with your power, not being under Jedi training... What if Sidious had scooped you up then and there, to replace the apprentice I slew?

"He scares me, just a little. They all scare me. Val, Luke, Peter...they look up to me. I don't know why. How could they? They know what I was, and they still call me Daddy, Father, Teacher. I'm so afraid of doing it wrong, Obi-Wan."

So was I. I worried all the time that I wasn't handling matters the way I should. When all else failed, I spent a lot of time trying to be Qui-Gon or Yoda. It seemed easier, and less dangerous, than being myself.

"I don't deserve them, either. I don't deserve any of this. I caused so much pain, and yet I have friends and children and students. I thought I lost my only chance at those when I fell. I keep thinking none of this is real, that I'll wake up trapped in my armor again, unable to escape."

You may not deserve it yet. But from the sound of things, you're trying.

"I'm afraid, Obi-Wan. I'm afraid of falling again. I don't want to. I feel like a Jedi again. Peter says I never stopped being one, but I hadn't felt it, not until I saw Yoda. He smiled at me, you know. He smiled at me, and told me to fix myself. He didn't curse me, or hate me, just scolded me like I was a Padawan again."

The second time Anakin has mentioned Yoda appearing to him. Obi-Wan wonders if the greatest Master really did. The answer he gets back, from another unwavering band of light, is confusing, and involves changed morphic fields and subquantum resonances.

"I wish you were here. I want to talk to you. I want to sit with you and talk about Luke, and Leia, and have it be like old times again. I know I can't, I know I don't deserve it, but how I wish...."

Yes. I wish too. And then the strain of awareness becomes too much, and he fades away.


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February 2005

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