The Faithful and Ferocious

BY : HatefulWitch
Category: Star Wars (All) > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1583
Disclaimer: I don't own the plot, characters, or creation of Star Wars, nor do I make any money off of it.

Obi-Wan was used to a random visitor once in a blue moon but in all the years he'd resided in his once abandoned home, he was never granted the company of a Lars family member. So, when he saw Beru Lars charging over the bluff as he hung out his laundry, he was rightfully alarmed. She looked disoriented as she staggered along with ruffled clothes and tangled brunette hair. He tossed his clean clothing aside and rushed to her, closing the distance in a panic.

"Missus Lars, what's wrong?" he grabbed the trembling woman's shoulders.

As Beru looked up into Obi-Wan's eyes, he caught sight of a couple of bruises forming along her cheekbone, "They took him, Ben, they took him! You have to help! They took him!"

"Slow down. Who took whom?"

"They took Luke!"

Obi-Wan's fingers tightened into the fabric of Beru's shirt, "Who took Luke?"

The shaken woman could only wad up the front of her shirt in her fists and wail, "I don't know!"

Obi-Wan released the Lars matriarch for a moment to turn away and try to collect himself. After taking a few deep breaths, he turned around once more, "Is there anything else? What they looked like? What they were wearing? How many there were? What they were flying?"

"There were a lot of them, I don't know how many, at least ten. One of them had a red eye and a blue eye, I think they were female. And- and I don't know what kind of bird they were on, it was too far away by the time I saw it. Some of them were bucketheads, but the one with the two different eyes, I- I don't know, there were red marks on her skin and she was wearing black. I- We didn't even hear them coming! They just bust through the door and knocked Owen into the wall, then they grabbed Luke! I tried to stop them!" she spluttered through sobs, grasping onto Obi-Wan's garments. Her head shook in shame, "But they knocked me down too, like I was a house of cards."

He gently placed his hands on her shoulders to offer some ounce of solace, "Missus Lars, there was nothing you could have done. I will find Luke and bring him home, I promise you. I'm glad you are out of harm's way. Is Mister Lars alright?"

"I was in such a rush I laid him flat on the floor, put a pillow under his head," she laughed in spite of everything. "He was still breathing, but he had a nasty gash on his forehead."

"Go take care of your husband. I am going to try to find Luke immediately. Thank you for coming so quickly and be careful," he spoke calmly despite his racing thoughts.

Without dealing another word to the battered woman, Obi-Wan sprinted into his home. He crossed the sitting room and leapt down the stairs, speedily making his way into the well-kept cellar. Moving past the neatly stored food, he maneuvered a medium-sized plasteel container from the back corner. The tumblers and bolts popped open after he punched in the numerical code on the container's old-fashioned lock-pad. He promptly removed his old robes and garments, his trusty leather boots, his lightsaber, and a small goldmine of credit ingots.

He didn't have the time to be repelled by the thought of donning his old garb again as he hurriedly changed. He held his lightsaber aloft for a moment or two, merely staring at it with some amount of resentment. However, Luke came back to his mind and he quickly got over himself. Now all he needed was transportation.

Good thing he knew someone with a ship.

::::

For a year, Ahsoka and Rex hacked through nearly every electromagnetic wave in the galaxy to find a way for members of the rebellion to freely communicate with one another. They never found frequencies to brave on the Empire's amplitude modulation because even the lesser used ones still sported too much traffic in their opinion. Encryption modules or not, the amplitude modulation seemed like a gamble.

In a stroke of desperation and ingenuity, the dynamic duo engineered their own system with a frequency modulation instead. It took about two years, but the rebels finally had their own communications system with limitless frequencies, pre-programmed encryption included. Ever since they established the modulation, static was a constant mainstay in Ahsoka's corvette. Like most spacers, she always kept her comm on which meant she was now used to a low-hum buzz. However, she wasn't used to demanding, anonymous calls. Therefore, when one came in on her crackling hypertransceiver to the tune of I need you to come to Tatooine she was understandably leery.

Her mouth moved closer to the comm, "Who is this?"

A rattle of static hissed through the speaker, "It's Obi-Wan. I need you to come back to Tatooine FTL."

"I was just there last rotation, you know," she mildly goaded, "and unless you've got more to say about-"

"Please, Ahsoka, this is a critical, cosmic-jet-grade emergency," his voice crackled against the static, making him sound even more worrisome. "I will tell you everything when you get back, but I need a lift as soon as possible."

"What the slag is going on?" she attempted to clarify. Her query was only met with that familiar low hum. She turned around right away.

Luckily, she'd remained in the Outer Rim after Rex comm-ed her back up about some strange behavior happening around Geonosis. She tried to investigate, but that basically consisted of her drifting a few hundred kilometers above the planet's atmosphere, peering through some electrobinoculars at what might be a construction site of some sort. To say she was getting nowhere was an understatement. She'd eventually return to get a better look at this bizarre discovery and explore the strange feeling of loss the planet brought her but right now, a raving Obi-Wan Kenobi needed her assistance.

::::

She could spot Obi-Wan's sandy head of hair a mile away. She couldn't help the minute grin on her lips when she realized he was pacing. Although she didn't know what had gotten his robes up in a bunch, she was glad to see a more engaged Jedi Master than the disconnected, heartbroken one she witnessed the day before. It was headed towards sundown by the time she planetfell the corvette a couple hundred meters from her old friend.

As soon as the Togrutan stepped off her ship she was met with an onslaught of thanks, "You will never know how much I appreciate this. I am fore-"

"I'll hear none of it. You know if you need me, I'll be there," she smiled sincerely. "Want to tell me where I'm going?"

"I'm still working on that."

"You don't know where you're going, but you got to get there fast," the Shilian laughed heartily. "Well, get in, let's figure out where we're going."

The two Forcefuls made their way into the corvette and although it was somewhat small, they only found unmentioned comfort in the familiarity. The renounced Jedi swiveled the driver's seat around so she could look Obi-Wan head on without craning her neck to the side.

Their eyes locked as she kicked off the conversation, "Tell me what's going on."

He replied without delay, "Luke has been abducted. From what his caretaker told me, I believe Darth Sidious and possibly a new apprentice is behind it."

Her teeth clenched as soon as the words left the jade-eyed Jedi's mouth. With great toil, she swallowed the lump in her throat, "Do you expect me to readily buy into that?"

"Buy into what?"

"I come here to see if you know anything about my old master, since nobody else, not even Organa, has the guts and you have nothing to say. Then you bleep me back here twelve hours later to tell me there's another apprentice, one that's not Darth Vader. What are you trying to achieve here, Obi-Wan?" she huffed in blatant irritation.

The older Forceful seemed to regain the saucebox nature he was notorious for when he sniped, "The sole thing this has to do with him is preserving the only piece left of him. I must find Luke and bring him home. Everything else is immaterial."

Oh, Obi-Wan. Ahsoka sat back in her chair and crossed her ankle over her knee, her tone altering straightaway, "I see. In that case, I'm at your disposal. Once we recover Luke, I have to rocket back to Geonosis, but you have to answer me one thing before we go. If we find Luke and the only thing between us and him is Darth Vader, what will be your course of action?"

His eyes lowered towards the floor, but he did not hesitate in his response, "If Darth Vader is an obstacle at any point while retrieving Luke, I will cut him down."

Ahsoka did not push the matter any further. She knew Obi-Wan's word on such matters was as good as gold. Her foot bounced against her knee in anticipation, "Where we gunning?"

"Go to Malastare." This directive earned him a look of incredulity, but he persisted, "I don't know where they've gone, but I just realized I think I know a way we can find out."

::::

There were many times in Ahsoka's life in which she threw caution to the wind. She had been Anakin Skywalker's padawan, after all. She'd fought in battles; she cost others their lives by her rash decisions; she once made an alliance with Asajj Ventress. Still, for some reason she felt like Obi-Wan was playing a little fast and loose.

She should have never gone to Malastare, especially when Obi-Wan didn't explain to her what he was planning to do once the corvette came to a stop. Malastare was infamously within the Galactic Empire's iron fist, supplying fuel and hosting the integral communications stations. That they got into the stratosphere without detection of any kind was nothing short of a miracle. However, as per requested, she flew to this heavily-guarded world and landed them smackdab in the middle of its southern hemisphere.

It was unclear to her if the Stewjonian somehow visited Malastare again within the last five years but if he hadn't, he possessed an incredibly useful internal compass. It seemed they set down exactly where he wanted and he was on his toes near the hatch before they even completely landed.

"Keep an eye out. If you see anyone approaching, get out of here," Obi-Wan instructed over his shoulder.

"Wait, hold up!" Ahsoka hopped out of her seat and hustled towards the man. "You can't go out there by yourself."

He reasoned with a stern countenance, "As I said, if anyone spots the ship, it'd be checkout time. This will only require one pair of hands anyway."

"I won't let you go out there without anyone to watch your back and I sure as Sithspit wouldn't fly out of here without you because there's no shot I can get out and come back with the same lucky lack of detection we've been granted so far. And you know I would come back to get you, period," the strong-willed Shilian argued passionately. When he turned back towards the hatch with a sigh, she decisively asserted, "Either both of us go or neither of us do."

Knowing they were sacrificing precious time arguing, he took only a few seconds to relent, "Then let's be on our way."

She didn't deal another word as she pressed the hatch release and they exited the corvette. She remotely closed it up and they set out into the deadened terrain. An expanse of logged, rotted trees littered the land, intermingled with concrete, steelstone, and foreign structures. Fuel refineries and plants had infamously taken the place of Malastare's once luscious timberlands, but the refineries and plants weren't the dominant structures on the southern hemisphere- the communications stations were.

Passing one obviously defunct communications station, the Force-sensitive pair tread across more destroyed woodland, the ground uneven and barren. It was some distance before they reached more concrete and steelstone buildings. They were evenly spaced out and boasting colossal silver and gold antennas. Obi-Wan was worried the corvette would be noticed if they didn't hurry, so he settled with this group of buildings. He determinedly marched towards an unguarded titanium door at the back of a one-story station.

For the first time since stepping foot on Malastare, Ahsoka spoke, "What's the target?"

She wasn't even spared a glance, "Central apparatus."

"Oh, well, of course," she scoffed, "that explains everything. A little less skinny please, it's overload."

Unable to stop the thoughts of Anakin from bombarding his mind after such a cheeky response, Obi-Wan felt a shadow of a grin on his face. He did not elaborate on his two-worded answer as he intently steamed ahead. Within a couple minutes engulfed in silence, they came to the dirt-dusted door of the communications building. He snatched the lightsaber from his belt and slammed down the activation stud. With more fluidity than he expected from himself, he jammed the lightsaber through the door and neatly dragged it until he trimmed a circular aperture in the middle. He cut off his lightsaber then kicked the loose titanium that he'd carved out, inciting it to fall inwards.

He'd expected sadness and alienation were he to wield his lightsaber again, yet for the few moments it'd been ignited he felt a contented numbness. The longer he stared at it in his hand, the guiltier he felt.

Ahsoka lingered behind him, unable to decipher why he was stagnant, as the back of his head offered no clues. In another setting, she perhaps wouldn't have been so antsy but considering they were on Malastare, breaking into an Empire communications station building, her restlessness got the best of her, "What's wrong?"

He was unable to face her during his heart-wrenching confession, "The last thing I did with this lightsaber was take my best friend's legs off."

She closed her eyes and bowed her head then walked to him to place a hand on his shoulder as she did the day before. There was no way she could address this directly without giving it some thought, so instead she encouraged, "Come on. We've got to get to the central apparatus. Whatever the kriffing hell that is."

He nodded, grateful for the silent acceptance of his strange behavior. He led the way into the building, grasping his lightsaber tightly in case they ran into any trouble. Ahsoka followed without uttering a word, never questioning his directional intuition. The building wasn't a maze fortuitously and more than that, it wasn't overly populated. They heard voices on a number of occasions, but they came from behind closed doors Obi-Wan didn't seem to hold an interest in. When they came to an open-doored room located at the end of a protracted hallway, on practically the opposite end from their entry point, there was more chatter. Droids, no doubt.

Obi-Wan slowed down and Ahsoka came to a stop behind him. Less than a minute passed listening to what seemed to be trivial banter between the droids before he tossed a glance over his shoulder and perilously traipsed towards the doorway. His accomplice couldn't fight back a smirk as she unclipped her lightsabers from her belt. She didn't know how he deduced this was the central apparatus, but he sure seemed confident.

They calmly entered the room and met a handful of KX-series security droids. Computerized commands and roars of blaster pistols resounded through the enormous room right as Ahsoka engaged her two white lightsabers. She didn't have to look to Obi-Wan to know his lightsaber was engaged before hers were. They deflected the shots with ease, ricocheting some back on the shooters. Only three security droids remained standing by the time she pressed her way forward and speared her lightsabers through two of them with precision. She swiftly withdrew her weapons, using one to deflect a blaster shot from the last droid left and using the other to take off its head.

With all opposition eliminated, he moved undeterred across the room. It was clear when he took one of the leather seats in front of a highly-sophisticated machine that they found the central apparatus. The blonde took only a second to look over what appeared to be the mainframe then started to bang away on its keyboard.

She leaned forward to press her palms against the edge of the console to try to get a better look at the screen, "Anything you'd like to share, Captain Cryptic?"

Obi-Wan flashed a brief smile though he never took his eyes off the screen, "If anyone thinks the amplitude frequency is anything less than a mass surveillance system, they're deluding themselves. Any individual utilizing the Empire's frequencies are being tapped."

To prove this point, the man reached to his left and twisted one of many marked, shiny knobs. The room was suddenly filled with a male's voice arguing about a bad loan. After only a few seconds, he turned the volume back down and digressed, "I would conjecture there is a central apparatus in every communications building on Malastare. The stations take up most of the southern hemisphere and a portion of the north. Judging by what we see here, there's about five-thousand recorders per building, though there could always be less or more I suppose. By what I've been told, there's probably more than a few million buildings across the planet."

Ahsoka sucked in an ample breath, "You happened to stumble onto this off-the-record intelligence where?"

Determined fingers kept tapping away on the keyboard, "You'd be surprised what kind of info is spread on Tatooine. The rise of the Empire did not interfere with the Hutts and their underworld cesspit. It helps when everyone thinks you're a harmless, weak-minded hermit."

She didn't bother suppressing her chortles, "You're still full of surprises. Here we all were thinking you were taking a vacation. Now, feel free to scold me in that belittling way only you can, but if I'm adding this correctly, we are trying to access the frequencies' recordings?" The muted nod she received prompted her to continue, "What if the communications buildings don't share a network? If you can only access the recordings made in this particular building, we're fucked."

"That," his eyebrows shot up as his eyes stayed focused on the screen spouting off miniscule green letters, "is my only concern. I am shifting through all the files now. It appears a recording starts and stops automatically. I don't see why the files wouldn't autodirect to a shared folder in order for some miserable superiors to listen through. Endlessly. These droids obviously weren't listening here."

"Can you imagine the resources they use, the amount of people they employ to spy on everyone like this?" She joked, "It's probably half the galaxy. People probably spy on themselves at some point." She didn't wait for a response before urging, "Caraya's soul, please tell me we are not going to listen to all these files! Obi-Wan, even if you do find a shared folder, there would be trillions of recordings!"

Obi-Wan retained his calm demeanor in spite of his friend's chiding, "As I hypothesized, these recordings have a time and date stamp, as well as imprints of transmission coordinates. We might have to listen to a few but certainly not trillions."

"What if the recording we seek has already been dusted?" the Shilian stressed. "There's no way they have a cloud computing device, or even an external device, that could store all the transmission recordings. It would take a data storage system with a gargantuan capacity- as in there-is-no-such-thing-that-gargantuan-which-exists. I'd even give them multiple clouds and drives and they still wouldn't have enough space. The people tasked with going through the daily folder, assuming there even is one, probably ghost all the files they don't intend to keep. Then they pass-"

"You answered your own question. I don't see what your concern is. Obviously, they have a storage system with enough capacity to hold trillions of files every day, but the capacity can't be limitless. It most likely wouldn't be enough to store the daily files amassed over say, three years' time. Probably not even a year's. Therefore, each station's daily recordings are autodirected to a storage system via a shared folder, a team of superiors sorts through the folder to delete undesirables, and only the marked files are saved. What we seek is newer. There's no chance they've listened to all the recordings made within the last forty-eight hours. I am confident there is enough lag time to get us what we need."

She groaned and collapsed on a nearby burnt sienna leather chair, "Work your Jedi magic then, Obi-Wan, my Kenobi."

::::

"We got in with no problems, he said!" she yelled to herself through heavy pants. "Getting out will be a cinch, he said!" she screeched as she sprinted towards the corvette with her lightsabers shining through the night.

"I make one misjudgment…!" Obi-Wan shouted from a few steps behind.

He managed to locate a folder inconspicuously labeled Daily Files Here, subsequently unveiling the shared storage system every communications building used to submit day-to-day recordings. He was then able to input a day and time to search recordings made on and near Tatooine. He listened intently to numerous recordings, quickly skipping over blatantly unrelated ones. Ahsoka shifted through a series of restless positions in her chair while waiting on her determined friend to find a clue. The longer she sat there, the more unsettled she became. It all seemed so easy and she wanted to get the lead out before a hat dropped.

That hat came in the form of stormtroopers. Many, many stormtroopers. They both heard the tell-tale noise of clanking footfalls hustling down the hallway. She looked at him and saw the exasperation on his face then stood up. She let him know she would take care of it. She held off round after round of stormtroopers, unable to turn her lightsabers off for nearly fifteen minutes straight. The troopers stopped coming in due time, but she stood guard at the door until her friend found what he was searching for some time later.

They didn't encounter anymore stormtroopers as they made their way out of the building, to which Obi-Wan dryly declared they'd been scared off by Ahsoka's ferociousness. However, as soon as he assured her getting back to the corvette would be a cakewalk, they stepped out of the hole in the titanium door and were surrounded by a sea of white. They battled their way through the congregation of stormtroopers while dashing across the woodland they'd trekked to reach the communications building. By the time they approached the corvette, they were, for the most part, rid of the pursuing troopers. A few stray blaster shots fired into the night sky, but they were pretty much home-free.

Ahsoka released the activation stud on one of her lightsabers. She speedily clipped the weapon and jabbed a button on the corvette remote on the same side of her belt. The hatch dropped down and she hurdled onto it, bounding straight for the controls. Obi-Wan boarded the ship only seconds later and slapped the lock button to close the hatch. The pilot started the engine and didn't even bother entering coordinates or asking where they were going before hammering the fuel.

He found he was only able to hold his disengaged lightsaber tightly in his hands and stare at it with labored breath. He'd once more used the same tool that dismembered Anakin. It felt traitorous to hold this lightsaber. Every time he used it, it became an extension of himself and he became one with the Force. How could the bringer of such unfathomable pain to Anakin bring him so much serenity?

A good amount of time passed before she wondered where he disappeared to and glanced over her shoulder. Seeing his lightsaber on the receiving end of an evil eye, she intervened, "Your nervous system still functioning back there?"

His head popped up and his hands dropped, one hand taking his lightsaber with it. He clipped it onto his belt and walked to the cabin. Without looking at his friend, he sat down in the co-pilot's seat, crossed his arms, and peered out the windshield without uttering a sound.

They hightailed it away from Malastare.

It was a very long time before either one of them spoke.

When the silence was broken, it was not necessarily welcome.

"You did what you had to."

"No, I didn't. I should have killed him. Instead, I maimed him."

Satisfied with the distance between them and the planet they committed a capital offense on, she slowed the corvette until they were all but drifting and turned in her seat, "Fine, you should have killed him, but you didn't. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to become a harmless, weak-minded hermit who stares at his lightsaber in horror while the galaxy goes to shit around him? You can't keep going like this."

Obi-Wan turned burning eyes to his companion, "This is how I survive."

"This is how you survive?" she skeptically surveyed as the white marks over her browbones arched. "You can't even say his name, Obi-Wan. It's him, he, my best friend, you can't even say his name."

He closed his eyes to regain his composure. When his eyelids peeled back, a coldness lurked in the depths of those emerald jewels. His fingers squeezed the fabric of his tunic in only the slightest of manners, but Ahsoka caught it. He declared with a stabilized voice, "Set coordinates for Naboo. We are going to Theed."

She let a steady stream of breath steam through her nostrils as her head shook. She turned in her seat and manually punched in the coordinates then pressed her flat hands against the dash. With one final look at her passenger, she acknowledged, "Me leaving the Order pushed him closer to the dark side. It helped germinate the seeds of doubt Sidious placed in his mind. You know it and I know it. Maybe if I didn't leave…I have to live with that every single day. So, I do and it gives me the will to fight. To stand up against anyone and everything that not only took Anakin from me but used me as a pawn to do it. If you ever want to show how much Anakin meant to you, and give his memory a sliver of dignity, start by acting like he was a real person, not some nameless shadow of the past."



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