Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; George Lucas owns "Star Wars" and related characters; I own nothing.~*~*~
Faith was quiet over dinner, still thinking over Skywalker’s offer. She’d been thinking about it all afternoon if she wanted to be honest with herself. It sounded too good to be true, and like most things that sounded that way, there probably was a catch that she just wasn't seeing. Especially if she wanted to try to shoe-horn her newest batch of Slayer dreams into this Jedi business.
“Are you considering Skywalker’s offer?”
Faith started slightly at the question. She'd been so caught up that she'd forgotten about her companion. "Kinda," she answered with a shrug. "Still not sure about it though."
Owen Antilles smiled at her from across the table. An older man, somewhere around seventy, what little hair remained on his head was pure white, with a full mustache to match. Despite his age, he'd done most of the tasks involved with running his repair shop for years, even after taking Faith under his wing. He was stubborn, occasionally foul-mouthed around uncooperative machines, and treated those he considered not worth his time with deadly sarcasm. But he could also be warm towards those he liked and fiercely protective of them. He was like the grandfather Faith had never known.
"Anything in particular?” Owen asked, setting aside his plate and leaning back in his chair.
Faith shrugged again, poking at her food with her fork. Nobody here knew the full story of her past, not even Owen. Sure, he knew bits and pieces, enough to know that she had fucked up and was trying to keep on the straight and narrow.
“Last time something like this walked into my life, I let the power screw with my head,” Faith finally said, not looking up from her plate. “What’s to say that it doesn’t happen again? ’specially if this Force deal as as powerful as everybody seems to think it is.”
“Those who don’t learn from history are damn well sure to repeat it,” Owen replied. “Of course, those tend to be idiots and politicians, and you aren’t either of them. At least, in the time that I’ve known you.”
“Thanks for that vote of confidence,” Faith said, somewhat sarcastically, looking over at him. “Other than that original fortune cookie worthy quote, anything else you want to offer up?”
“Look both ways before crossing the street and tip your waiter, even if it is a droid,” Owen offered as Faith shook her head in mock resignation. Owen smiled and the conversation lapsed again.
Faith turned her attention back to her half-eaten food, going over Skywalker’s offer again in her head. She figured she wouldn’t knowingly fall again, but it was a slippery slope thing. All it took was one misstep and everything could come falling apart again, only worse than before. She didn’t have Angel waiting to catch her and help her rebuild herself again.
“My brother was a Jedi, you know.” Owen’s voice interrupted her thoughts for the second time that evening.
“My brother. He was a Jedi right before Palpatine declared himself Emperor,” Owen replied, leaning forward. “One of the better known ones, too. Couldn’t go anywhere without seeing his face on the holos.”
“Who?” Faith asked, surprised in spite of herself. Owen had never mentioned a brother before. His ex and their kids and grandkids, yeah, but nothing about any siblings.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Negotiator himself. My name wasn’t always Antilles, you know,” he added, seeing Faith’s confused look. “Changed it after the Empire decided that the Jedi should die to protect my family. I didn’t want Intelligence to start looking at us funny.”
“Did it work?”
“Well, never had anybody directly come up and ask if we were hiding any fugitive Jedi,” Owen said after a slight pause. “The Jedi worked differently then from what I understand Skywalker’s doing now. Jedi were taken in pretty young, not much older than three.”
“How old was your brother?” Faith asked, trying to keep her voice calm. The fact that the whole thing kinda mirrored the before and after of how the Council treated Potentials and Slayers as a little too close for comfort.
“Two. We saw him once more for a ritual we have for younglings, but after that, didn’t see him again except in the holos once the Clone Wars started and he became one of the Jedi’s poster boys.” Owen’s voice was gruff, gruffer than usual like he was rehashing an old hurt. “But from what Skywalker said when I talked to him about what he’s up to, he’s running a different show.”
“Why are you telling me this?” One thing Faith had learned about Owen in the year that she’d known him was that he didn’t do anything without a reason, even if you couldn’t see it right away. Manipulative could be one word for it.
“Two years after the Jedi Order was outlawed and Vader started that purge of his, a young man showed up at my door,” Owen replied, getting to his feet and walking over to a metal shelf on the other wall. “Said my brother had sent him with something I was supposed to keep safe. I don’t know what shocked me more: the fact that Obi-Wan was still alive even though he was on top of every wanted poster in the galaxy, or that he remembered that he even had a brother.”
Owen ran his hands along the shelf until he pressed a button and a panel popped out. “The man gave me two things: an encrypted datapad and a cube. The datapad was a message from Obi-Wan, saying that he was giving me something for safekeeping, and that I would know when to pass it on.” Putting his hand into the compartment, Owen pulled out a small, glowing cube.
“You think your Jedi brother saw that I’d magically land on my ass in Stewjon, that the last Jedi in the galaxy would show up, and that I wouldn’t be able to make up my mind about it?”
“Hell if I know. I just figure if anybody needs it right now, it’s you,” Owen replied, tossing her the cube, which she neatly caught. “Go. I’ll clean up.”~*~*~
Faith studied the cube in the privacy of her room, it’s faint blue glow bright in the dim light.
“How does this work?” she muttered, turning it over in her hand. In the back of her mind, in the place she was now starting to associate with this Force stuff, she felt a gentle presence, almost like it alive, but was asleep. “Open, sesame?” she muttered, focusing on the cube with her mind.
It didn’t work. Faith closed her eyes and did her best to relax. Her breathing slowed as she started to sink into that meditative state that she’d used a few times back in her home dimension. Picturing the cube, she tried again. She felt... something
. She didn’t know what, but something changed, shifted in her perception of the cube.
“My name is Obi-Wan Kenobi,” a crisp, very British-sounding voice said. Faith opened her eyes to see a hologram emitting from the top of the cube. The hologram showed a bearded man, arms folded into the sleeves of his robe. “How may I be of service?”
“What the hell is this?” Faith asked the first question that came to her mind. She didn’t know what she had been expecting with trying to open the cube, but it wasn’t this.
“This is a holocron, a vessel used to store the knowledge of the Jedi Order. Only those who are sensitive to the Force may access them,” the hologram of Owen’s brother explained. “I am the gatekeeper, here to guide the user along the path of knowledge, wherever it may lead.”
“So, if you’re this holographic librarian, what can you tell me about the Jedi?”
“The Jedi are keepers of the peace throughout the galaxy,” Kenobi replied, spreading his hands wide. “We are guided by the Force to aid those in need, to maintain balance throughout the galaxy.”
Faith listened as Kenobi outlined the history of the Jedi up until their fall. About how even though they trained as warriors, they only drew their weapons in defence of themselves or others when attempts at negotiation had failed. How their lives were given in duty of serving the galaxy. Not that different from a Slayer, but a hell of a lot more complicated. Shit, that was an understatement. But even with that, something about what Kenobi was describing sounded right. Like something she could do if she put her mind to it. There was still one thing on her mind, though, and it was the big deciding factor of all of this.
“What about those that screw up? That lose their way?” Faith asked after Kenobi had finished what she was sure was a Cliff Notes version.
“Do you mean those that fall to the dark side?”
“Sure,” Faith said, adjusting her seat on her bed. “What about them?”
“The dark side is a temptation for all who use the Force,” Kenobi said, a sadness coming to his face. “While it may present itself as the quick way to power, it is ultimately self-destructive to those that use it.”
Preaching to the choir there, but yeah. She got what he was trying to say. She opened her mouth to hurry him along when he continued on his own.
“Those who do fall to the dark side, however, may still be redeemed, such as Bastilla Shan. Although she became the apprentice to Darth Malak, she was ultimately redeemed, as was Revan.” Kenobi smiled, but there was still an edge of sadness to it. “My own good friend Quinlan Vos and his apprentice, Aayla Secura, both fell to the dark side but returned to the Jedi Order and continued to serve until the Order fell.
“The dark side leaves a taint on those who use it, but if a Jedi is aware and acts accordingly, they may avoid falling a second time,” Kenobi continued, tucking his arms back into his sleeves. “Is there another question you wish to ask?”
“What can you tell me about your friends?” Faith asked, leaning forward and propping her head on her hands. “How did they come back?”
She listened long into the night as Kenobi started telling her about his friends, before switching to the legends of Revan and Bastilla Shan, about how they had been tempted by the dark side of the Force before being redeemed. It was the story of Vos that interested her the most, though. She asked Kenobi to return to him and tell her more. By the time he had finished, she was trying her best not to yawn from exhaustion.
“That’s all, thanks,” she answered when Kenobi asked her if she would like to hear any more stories. He smiled at her, but there was no lingering shadow to it.
“Until next time.” The cube flared brightly for a brief second before dimming back to the gentle glow it’d had before she started using it.
Faith picked it up and studied it before placing it back down, a smile on her face. She didn’t know if Kenobi had seen her or something like that, but he’d been right in sending it to Owen. She’d finally made up her mind.
A few hours later, as the sun was rising, Faith stood outside Skywalker’s door, a small bag slung over her shoulder with everything that she owned plus the cube that Owen’d insisted she take with her. She and Owen had said there goodbyes before she left, and she didn’t have any other accounts that needed settling. It was a little startling how few ties to this place she really had.
She didn’t even need to talk before the door slid open to reveal a tousled haired Skywalker, looking like he’d just woken up. Before he could say anything, Faith spoke up.
“I’m in. When do we start?”