Characters: Obi-Wan, Anakin
Word Count: 1386
Written for: imadra_bluePrompt: I loves me some Obi-Wan, but everyone knows this. XD I'm open to anything, from birth to death (and beyond), but I'd be especially curious to see how you might interpret his background or childhood versus Anakin's background or childhood.
Author's Notes/Summary: Third birthdays, in the
The day after Obi-Wan turned three, Master Tooirya gathered all the younglings in Crèche Four together on the story mat, even though story-time wasn’t until after play-time.
“I have a very special announcement to make, younglings,” she said, with a big smile.
Obi-Wan liked her smile. He liked her long green hair, too. She was pretty. The last time they’d had an announcement, it was that they were getting an extra treat for desert because they were being so good. And before that, they’d gotten a new youngling, Aalto. Obi-Wan hoped they were getting dessert, ‘cause Aalto wasn’t nice.
Master Tooirya was looking at him. He hunched his shoulders at being caught day-dreaming while their Master was talking. She smiled again, this time just at him, and he smiled back. Master Tooiya was very nice.
“Today you will get a new Master,” she said. “His name is Master Namik. He’s a good master, and I’m sure you’ll all like him very much.”
“What about you, Master?” Obi-Wan asked. Were they going to have two Masters?
“I will be leaving for my next assignment, Obi-Wan,” Master Tooirya said. “I will miss all of you, and I know you will miss me. But this is the way of things. You will come to love and trust Master Namik just as you trust me. He knows lots of stories, and he loves swimming and playing with younglings.”
“But he’s not you,” Obi-wan said, trying to hold back tears.
“No, he isn’t me,” Master Tooirya said. “But he will take care of you just as I do now.”
Obi-Wan felt a light brush across his mind, warm and comforting—he wasn’t good at sensing the Force, yet, but Master Tooirya was good at touching them with the Force, even the really new ones who couldn’t sense hardly anything at all.
“Now, it’s time for breakfast,” Master Tooirya said, standing up. “After breakfast, we will play and have story time. I will introduce Master Namik then. I will stay for the rest of the day, and speak to each one of you before you go to sleep. When you wake up tomorrow, I will be gone and Master Namik will be your master.”
Obi-wan played with the hem of his pajamas. They were the best pajamas ever, with lots of starships all over them. He liked it when he got these pajamas. Last night he’d had the bantha pajamas, which he didn’t like. Too scratchy. Aalto had them tonight.
He looked up. “Master Tooirya!” he said, wrapping himself around her legs. “I got starship pajamas tonight. Can we play starships tomorrow?”
“I don’t know, Obi-wan,” Master Tooirya said, gently taking his arms so he had to let go of her legs. “That will be up to Master Namik.”
Obi-Wan made a face. “But I want you,” he said.
“I know you do, youngling, but this is the way of things. A Jedi can’t be too attached to any one person.” She lifted him up so he was as tall as she was, and looked at him seriously. “We have to be ready to serve whenever and wherever we are called. It’s hard, but if we let ourselves get too focused n the needs of one person, we wouldn’t be able to see the needs of anyone else. We wouldn’t be Jedi any more. Do you understand?”
“No,” Obi-wan said, sniffling. He threw his arms around her neck.
“Well, you’re very young now,” Master Tooirya said. “You’ll understand when you’re older.” She rubbed his back. “Right now, it’s time for you to go to bed,” she said, walking towards the bunk room. “You’re a very good youngling, Obi-Wan. I’ll be talking with Master Namik, and I want to hear that you’ve been good. Can you promise me that?”
“I’ll be good,” Obi-Wan said. “But I’m not sleepy.”
Master Tooirya laughed. “I think you are, youngling,” she said, placing her hand on the back of his head. Obi-wan yawned. “Sweet dreams, Obi-Wan.” She settled him in his bed and pulled the covers up.
Years later, Obi-Wan will remember this lesson, though he won’t remember her face.
Ani huddled in the corner, arms wrapped around himself, and tried not to cry. He was a big boy now—three—and not a sissy. He knew he was three because Mommy gave him a little extra food yesterday, as a present. Banja cake wasn’t his favorite, but he hadn’t had anything to eat since, so even the thought of it made his tummy rumble.
The door to the slave hold slid open. He flinched back deeper into the corner. It was Deerik and Evo, and they were dragging someone between them—he couldn’t see who, over the other slaves crowded into the hall. He stuffed his hand into his mouth to choke back a whimper as Deerik glanced around the hold.
I’m not here, I’m not here, he thought as loudly as he could, hoping the man wouldn’t see him. He was the cleanest human Ani had ever met, much cleaner than any of the slaves, but he felt dirty somehow. Not that Ani had ever touched him—that was why Deerik had taken Mommy. He’d wanted Ani, but Mommy hadn’t let him. She’d broken Rule 1—don’t make the slavers angry—and they’d taken her away. Ani didn’t know why, but he knew it was his fault, somehow. Nobody had been willing to talk with him since, not even the Peripleen who’d shown them where the freshers and stuff were when they’d first been brought in.
Deerik frowned, but didn’t see him, and turned to leave with Evo, leaving the slave they’d dragged in behind them. Ani wanted to see if it was Mommy, but he didn’t dare leave his corner. Not until he was sure Deerik was gone.
After a while, Ani stood up. He grabbed Mommy’s bag and his own bag. They were heavy, but he had to take them both because Rule 2 was always take stuff with you so it won’t be stolen, and he wanted Mommy to know how good he was being.
It took him forever to make his way through the crowded hold. The bags were heavy and it was hard to keep them from knocking into things and people—he didn’t want to make anyone angry, because they were all a lot bigger than he was and most of them were aliens and all looked scary. That big Twi’lek over in the corner had thrown him into a wall the first day when he’d fallen onto the guy’s bag, even though it had been an accident. Ani’s leg was still sore. He kept thinking I’m not here, I’m not here, the whole time, as loudly as he could. He had to pass a whole large group with sharp claws, and that was really scary, but they didn’t notice him.
Finally, he reached the hold door, and it was Mommy! Her face was all bruised and her arm looked funny, but she was alive. He knew what dead bodies were like. She was alive. She’d moved out of the way of the doors, but not much farther than that. He almost dropped the two bags, but he remembered Rule 2 just in time. He trudged up to her and set the bags behind her, between her and the wall, where they’d be harder to steal.
Ani shook her shoulder. “Mommy?” he said. “Mommy?”
She opened her eyes and looked around, frowning before she saw him. “Ani?” she said, her voice funny like she’d been crying a lot. Or screaming.
“I’m here, Mommy,” he said.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Don’t worry about me, Ani, I’ll be fine.”
“Good,” he said, though he didn’t quite believe her. He curled up by her side and thought about what he’d do to Deerik if he were big and strong enough. He couldn’t do anything now, but when he was bigger he’d make sure nobody ever hurt his mommy again. He’d take care of both of them, because nobody else was going to. He doesn’t like being this helpless.
Years later, Anakin will remember this lesson, though he won’t remember Deerik, or the slave hold, or his mother being taken away and beaten. Except in his nightmares.