Disclaimer: Don't own StarWars or BtVS. Never will, unfortunately for my bank account.
Air all but wheezed in and out of his lungs. If not for his opponent's rather noisy breathing apparatus, Obi-Wan knew it would be clear to Vader also that the old Jedi Master was about to fall over.
Obi-Wan desperately tried to regain his balance and cursed himself for having let his physical training slide. Vader may have been all but crippled so long ago, but the Sith Lord had an advantage that Obi-Wan could not match: prosthetic arms and legs did not depend on mere biological processes. Obi-Wan would lose this battle, that was a surety. If nothing else, Vader would simply outlast his old teacher.
Indeed, the Sith was only moments from doing so.
From the corner of his eye, Obi-Wan caught sight of a group of Stormtroopers making their way to the door to the landing bay. And then, beyond, Luke! Unknowingly charging beside his younger twin to the ship, the smuggler and droids in tow.
Obi-Wan's mind raced. He was done, and Vader was fully capable of stopping Luke from escaping.
An old, familiar feeling swept over the Jedi. It was time.
Raising his blade vertically in salute, Obi-Wan surrendered himself to the Force. Vader's attack sliced nothing but air and empty cloak.
Obi-Wan . . . blinked. At least, he thought he did. It was so different here, in the Force. He felt like he was twenty-five all over again, in the flush of health and strength. A glance about revealed that he was still sort-of in the same area as the Death Star. A moment's focus, and he was watching Han and Luke blast white-armored troopers while Vader kicked the discarded robes, wary of a deception of some sort.
Only, how did he know that? Obi-Wan dismissed the thought for a moment; he had more important things to do. For one, Luke's escape was not assured, and the young man was firing his blaster, determined to stand his ground in grief over losing an old man that he'd barely known.
The dead Jedi could not allow that.
A surprising glimpse at Solo revealed something interesting: though the man professed no belief in the Force, he had a startling awareness of his immediate surroundings. No Force-sensitivity, merely the honed observational skills of a man who knew that not paying attention could get him killed; though it could lead him into trouble: Obi-Wan experienced an odd sensation of time reordering itself, showing the smuggler chasing a group of Stormtroopers, only to have them turn the tables when they realized that there was only one man behind them.
In any event, it was enough. A whisper of intent, and Solo was yelling at Luke to blast the door controls.
The immediate draining sensation was a surprise. Just like that, Obi-Wan felt himself weak again as he had been in that last moment of physical existence.
Desperate to hold together for one more moment, he managed to urge Luke to run before everything dissolved into light.
Obi-Wan drifted. His thoughts moved so slowly he almost imagined he could sense the movements of electrons around atoms. And he was tired.
He hadn't felt this tired even when trying to recover on Tatooine after the fall of the Republic. But he'd eventually recovered, and this time there was a major difference, besides being dead.
Even at his worst while on Tatooine, there had been a core of strength that had slowly rejuvenated him. And now it wasn't there.
That, more than anything, worried Obi-Wan. He'd had so little time to begin Luke's training, and there was the Death Star to consider. Something was whispering to him that he was just a hairsbreadth from being done. Just one, critical thing, that would turn failure into success.
And he didn't have the strength to reach for that one last effort.
Luke was going to fail. Leia was going to die. And the last hope for beginning to repair the damage caused would be snuffed out.
Then, a touch. A gentle hand on a forehead he no longer had. And cooling strength eased away his exhaustion.
Obi-Wan experienced the odd sensation of standing in light as a figure appeared, one hand still on his forehead. It was as though his temperature was being checked.
Then, recognition. And quiet joy. "Hello, old friend," Obi-Wan murmured as his vision cleared.
The blonde woman grinned, drummed her fingers on his head before letting her hand fall away. "The beard looks good, but the wrinkles, Obi-Wan?"
"Wrinkles happen, Siri," Obi-Wan shrugged. "It comes with growing--"
He snapped his mouth shut, traitorous thing had run off on him!
Siri Tachi laughed. "Only you, Obi-Wan, would feel bad for growing old!"
Obi-Wan looked around the lighted eternity around them. "Where . . . no, this can wait. I need to, I need to," Obi-Wan's voice trailed off in confusion. Needed to what?
Siri grinned, green eyes glowing with amusement. "You just died, Obi-Wan. You'll be a little confused for a bit until you settle in from being alive to being "one with the Force," which usually takes about a year, real-time. But you need to be over here," she murmured, gesturing to the side.
The light shifted, forming shapes and depth, and suddenly Obi-Wan found himself sitting on the wing of some fighter, screaming down a metal canyon at a speed far beyond any safe speed!
The dead Jedi yelped and desperately grabbed for the wing beneath him, only to have his hands pass right through the metal. A silvery laugh shivered past his ear.
"Silly Obi-Wan," Siri's voice teased. "No body, remember? Now, pass your message – there's things I need to show you."
Obi-Wan muttered a few of the more vile curses he'd picked up over the years on Tatooine, and looked around him.
Below and to his right was the cockpit in which Luke sat. Obi-Wan's perceptions suddenly expanded, and he saw the Rebel fleet beginning to take off as it must have some time before. Luke's past self was decidedly more nervous. Obi-Wan reached."Luke, the Force will be with you."
Siri's giggles sounded in Obi-Wan's mind again. "Never could resist meddling, could you?"
Obi-Wan opened his eyes and looked over his shoulder, to see Siri reclining against the engine housing of the X-wing, wearing nothing like he'd ever seen his friend wearing.
Heeled boots, skin tight blue leggings of some sort. A white top with cream jacket.
And instead of a lightsaber at her waist, a curious bladed weapon rested beside her. What appeared to be a sharpened wooden shaft connected to a black handle and silver upper reach. Obi-Wan couldn't repress a shudder at the crimson axe with silver edging. The weapon seemed . . .
Siri's gaze followed his, and she chuckled. "It's called the Scythe, Obi-Wan. And it looks ugly because, as I learned at the end of the life I found it in, it was created to destroy fighters on the side of good. But one of the Champions of that world sacrificed herself willingly to prevent its final consecration and a very high-up Power – with the Champion's blessing – used that sacrifice to instead consecrate it as a weapon against evil in all forms.
"And since it's been constantly used in rather bloody violent battles against beings who see all life not-them as either food to eat or playthings to torture, it's kinda dark."
Obi-Wan took a breath, and suddenly saw past the outer edging of darkness to the dedication of the warrior Siri spoke of. A simple girl, suddenly changed one day from just above ordinary to a Champion.
A Champion, he saw, that Siri had also been.
"How?" he asked, even as he reached to Luke's past as the boy began his descent on the Death Star. "Luke, trust your feelings!"
Fatigue swept through him; the metal canyon of the Death Star blurred.
Siri smirked at him even as she grabbed his shoulder, somehow sending more strength to replenish him. "Champions of the Light," she mused. "The Light is an odd thing to try to explain."
"The Force," Obi-Wan shrugged. "The Light side, anyway."
Siri shook her head gravely. "The Force simply is. It's not light, or dark, even. It's the user who determines what is happening. Here's the thing, old friend," she continued, clapping a hand over Obi-Wan's mouth to keep him silent. "The Light side – the Jedi – were so sure that they couldn't be overthrown, that they would be eternal, that they blinded themselves when the future began to turn to the destruction of their Order. The Order could not ever fall, hence no vision that reached them with that event looming could ever pass their eyes. And Palpatine is just as bad: he doesn't believe he can be taken down anymore, which is why he's starting to have the future cloud up on him."
Obi-Wan peeled the hand from his mouth. "When did Siri Tachi, hot-headed Padawan, barely controlled Knight, ever get such wisdom?" he gently teased as Luke suddenly found himself flying alone down the canyon as Biggs Darklighter became one of those shooting stars the Tatooine boy had always spoken of with Luke.
And it was the moment. Obi-Wan felt it surely as he'd known when it was his time to leave the worlds and join the Force. He reached into Luke's cockpit and touched the boy, his apprentice for such a short time. The young man turned a knob, trying to fine-tune the targeting computer."Use the Force, Luke."
Luke flinched away from the display before him. The empty canyon before him streamed past as he shook his head and repositioned to monitor the computer."Let go, Luke."
Again, Luke pulled away from the viewer. He cast his eyes about even as he jinked the X-wing this way and that, obeying an as-yet-unnoticed thread of Force awareness to keep himself out of Vader's targeting sights. Obi-Wan spared a moment to observe awareness from the perspective of the Force itself, before gathering himself for one last missive."Luke, trust me."
Luke hadn't even bothered to try to go back to the viewer at the second urging, Obi-Wan noted. Now, he simply switched it off without a second thought and relaxed himself into the Force.
The aperture Luke needed to hit neared, and Solo's timely entry sent Vader spinning away into space. Obi-Wan blinked as Luke focused, suddenly seeing Force guidance in a new light as figures of streaming light gathered around the small fighter.
Absent nods to Obi-Wan were about all the astounded Jedi received. All over the fighter, helping Luke to perfectly align his craft for successful shooting and escape, were well-known faces.
Mace Windu and Kit Fisto were at the sensor nose-cone. Alongside the body were Ki-Adi-Mundi, Luminara Unduli, Plo Koon, Aayla Secura, and Cin Drallig with his apprentices Serra, Whie, and Bene covering the wings.
It was at the cockpit itself that Obi-Wan had the greatest surprise: Ashoka Tano resting a gentle hand on her Master's son as Luke fired the torpedoes that would destroy the Death Star.
The X-wing pulled out the second the torpedoes fully cleared the launch bay, guided by the clustered Jedi whispering into Luke's awareness at just the right time to maneuver. As Luke flew clear, the attendants faded from Obi-Wan's view with farewell waves.
He stretched out a hand, only to have Siri catch it. She shook her head gently. "There's things you need to learn before you come back here to send Luke on to Yoda. Give the kid a see-ya and we'll go."
Obi-Wan looked at Luke, the Death Star exploding behind them. "Remember, the Force will be with you . . . always."
"So pedantic!" Siri jeered. "You need some beach time!"
"Beach time?" Obi-Wan blurted. "What are you talking about?"
Siri grabbed the Scythe and tucked it away somewhere behind her. "Come on, old man," she teased. "I'll show you one of the other lives I've lived as a Champion. You'll learn something, I guarantee it. And I'm not talking about the abominable name I got saddled with there."
"What name would that be?" Obi-Wan asked as light blurred around them to reform into . . . some sort of memorial site?
"I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer!"
The shouted voice caught his attention, and Obi-Wan saw . . . Siri, again. Only this Siri was rather provocatively dressed. And clearly impulsive, judging by the progression of the fight she was in.
Obi-Wan glanced at the woman to his side. "Impatient, headstrong, and aggressive. You don't change much from life to life, do you?"
"Oh hush, you."
Postnote: inspired by a picture of Siri Tachi on Wookiepedia. I swear, the artist's rendering looks just like Sarah Michelle Gellar!
Also, I would like to blame Obi-Wan for hi-jacking my fic. I was going to write about when they were both Padawans and had a relationship that they mutually broke off, leading into Buffy recalling memories from "long, long ago" but then he just started on about his death.
Prima donna . . .
Aside from that, every name I give as being present at Luke's X-wing in the trench is a confirmed Jedi, and all of them guaranteed dead aside from Ashoka, but we haven't seen the end of that story and I'm wondering if Ashoka even died, as it's been established that a few Jedi escaped Vader's Purges, but I figured that Ashoka would be one of those names that Vader just wouldn't let slip past without seeing the body himself.