A Quarrel

Anakin was not quite sure how he had got home. Or what used to be ‘home’ before Shura had left. He cringed and slammed his fist on the kitchen table. – What was he doing in the kitchen?
He slumped down on a chair rubbing his face. Hell. What a night! Why did he have to meet Shura, meet her when he was feeling grotty and pissed off anyway. How could they ever have ended up shouting at each other like that. Damn. He opened the bottle of Kahy standing in front of him, not even wondering how it had ended up there. No glass. He took a mouthful of Kahy and swallowed. He probably should not drink more alcohol, he was drunk enough. No, either he was too drunk or not drunk enough. He would only be drunk enough when he passed out. His stomach recoiled as he drank a couple of large gulps. Given his present condition he would probably throw up before he reached the stage of sweet oblivion. Not that it really mattered. Nothing mattered any more.
Shura. Damn. She had been scared, scared of him. And all because of his stupid Jedi powers. Why had he stopped the bloody train? Perhaps it had been for the best, he had been so angry he did not know whether in the end he would have hurt her. Hurt her and make Obi Wan’s prediction come true.
Obi Wan. It was all his fault. The stupid bastard. How could he do that. Poisoning Shura’s mind against him. Telling her all the silly lies and exaggerations about the Dark Side of the Force, no doubt. Dark Side-Shit. Making Shura afraid. – Obi Wan told her to leave!
Downing another gulp of Kahy Anakin got back onto his feet. Well, Obi Wan would not get away with this. He might think he had the right to ruin his pupils’ lives but he, Anakin, would stop this. Obi Wan who said he knew the difference between right and wrong, who was such a good person. Damn him! And just like that he made Shura leave, as if he had a right to judge whether Anakin deserved her or not. Anakin stumbled over the leg of an upturned chair. Obi Wan, master of his pupils’ fates. Not for much longer. Where were his stupid keys?
“Fuck, stupid idiot.”
Obi Wan and his tales of how this dark side would take over your life. How this was possible he had never cared to explain, or had been able to explain more likely.
“Forever it will dominate your destiny. Like hell.”
Like some … wicked witch who would come and live inside his head? Forever, as if anything would last forever. In the end all was ashes. Anakin pulled open some drawers. The keys had to be somewhere. Instead he found his light-saber.
Shit. He switched the blade on, staring at the blue light humming gently in the dark of the living room. He had been proud of this once, Obi Wan had commended him on his work. The weapon of a Jedi. The noble warriors who only used it in defense. It was deadly nevertheless. Just ask Vigee.
He raised the light-saber in a mock salute and swung it in a wide arch around him, cutting neatly and effortlessly through the back of one chair and the top of the table. Whatever Obi Wan said, Anakin was still a Jedi. “A dark Jedi?”
Switching the light-saber off he hooked it to his belt. He was looking for the keys. With a thought he flicked the light on, and was momentarily blinded by the brightness flooding the room.
There they were, right in front of him, on the chair without a back. Anakin picked the keys up and shoved them into the pocket of his trousers. Patting the bulging pocket he returned to the kitchen. He just hoped the damned city-wing was working. That would be stupid, if he could not reach Obi Wan’s place because his fucking c-wing had broken down. He stared blankly around, wondering why he had gone to the kitchen.
There had been something. If he could just remember.
He drank the last of the Kahy and threw the bottle through the window. Glass splinters flew through the kitchen. Good. Obi Wan did not understand, but breaking things did give enormous satisfaction when one was in a bad mood.
Anakin pressed his fist against his forehead. How could Shura do this! Hell. How could she just leave without saying goodbye just because Obi Wan told her some stupid lies? How could she leave without talking with him first? Because she could not bear it any longer, as she had said? But why, why had she not talked to him, told him what bothered her. Not all the vague things she had said in the shuttle train. What was so wrong with him? He was not that scary, was he? Even the young man in the shuttle had not thought so. They had had a nice conversation after Shura had left.
Sliding with his back along the wall he sat down on the floor, face buried in his hands. Why had she left? If only he could die now. Have it over with. If only he could lose himself completely in black desperation, wail like a lost child, but he could not.
Not even drunk as he was. Not even now could he stop himself from envisioning what other people would think if they saw him now. What a pathetic creature, all sorry for himself. – But what else could he do?
When he dropped his hands to the floor, one of the glass splinters scattered everywhere embedded itself in the back of his right hand. Damn. Blood started to trickle and then to flow when he pulled the small shard free. It had to be his right hand. With a sign he regained his feet and stumbled to the sink. He should disinfect this somehow, after all he would not want to have his hand fall off. Alcohol would probably do the job. Good thing he had so much of the stuff inside. This should help.
He found a small bottle of rum in one of the cupboards and after allowing himself a swig poured it over the cut. That hurt! Which was probably a good sign. Thanks to Shura’s tidiness he had not problem finding a sticking plaster – she had always insisted of keeping some in the kitchen.
Now. He was going to pay Obi Wan a visit, wasn’t he. He had his keys, his light-saber and his blaster. All set and ready to go.
Holding the bottle of rum in his injured hand he left the apartment. The hall was empty and dark. No chance of bumping into any of his neighbours, they would be all abed now as good citizens should. Obi Wan would be sleeping the sleep of the just as well, not knowing that vengeance was coming his way. The lift was still there, not having been in use since Anakin had returned home. He remembered the young man asking him, whether he would be alright when they had parted at the lift. Right, he had accompanied Anakin home after their short stop at the local bar. Or had it been so short? Anakin remembered he had drunk two pints of ale with the young man from the shuttle-train. They had had a good rant about women and life; hell he had not had such a good rant since the last time he had been out with the Senator. Senator Diam Palpatine who Shura disapproved of; who Obi Wan disapproved of because he criticised the Jedi.
The lift reached the roof of the building and Anakin stepped out into the cool night. C-wings and other ships were parked in neat rows on the roof. Their own was on the edge of the roof. Anakin turned on the internal lights as he walked over, opening the door to the cockpit from the distance.
Was it all about this? About he and Diam having the same objections about the Order? Was this the reason Obi Wan had persuaded Shura to leave? Anakin climbed into the c-wing slamming the door shut.
“Jedi. Ha.”
Shura had said she couldn’t trust him because he was a Jedi so why was she opposed to his and Palpatine’s plans to curtail the Order’s influence on the government and in the military? Because Obi Wan had told her that.
Anakin fumbled the key into the lock and pressed the ignition. For a few seconds in which Anakin swore quietly nothing happened, then the engine started to hum. Hitting the acceleration he let the c-wing jump vertically into the air. Shura hated it when he did this. And of course he had not repeated this performance when she was aboard after she had muttered something about boys showing off. Not that anybody would see him now in the dark. He switched the headlights on.
The city was gliding past, a web of lights spreading out under him. In the distance darkness indicated the edge of the settlement. Only a few other ships were flying over the city, hardly any traffic at all. Hell, what was the time? The clock in the c-wing illuminated briefly showing that it was well past midnight, nearly half one. Damn. He had left the pub with Lee at ten. Swerving wildly he avoided a slower c-wing trundling along over the main street. What were they doing? Sightseeing? After cutting across a lower building he could see his destination appearing.
The house’s terraces were built against the slow slope of a hill giving each level its own wide garden on top of the lower level. The landing platform was at the edge of the building, where the highest floor was built to the edge of the cliff which formed the other side of the hill. Those were the most exclusive apartments in the city, where the rich and the famous were living. Obi Wan did not own one of those, but his flat on the second top floor did show his position as a Jedi master to the world.
The c-wing skidded across the roof when Anakin set it down. “Oops.” He had been going faster than he thought. Turning the c-wing around he backed it into the gap between a small ferrier and a posh c-wing.
Up here the wind was quite chilling. Anakin wondered briefly what happened to all these ships when there was a real storm blowing. Shivering he took a last drink of rum and threw the bottle over the edge of the platform into the night. Now it was time to confront his nemesis. The lift took him to the next lower level. The corridor was as empty as the one in Anakin’s house, the rich and famous were sleeping as well. There. He sighed at the closed door wondering what he should do once Obi Wan had been roused from his sleep and opened the door. ‘’Scuse me, I just wanted to tell you how I detest you messing up my marriage. Please refrain from doing so in the future.’ Yeah, great words. He should not worry, things would take care of themselves.
Anakin could feel Obi Wan’s presence in the aparment, muted as he was indeed sleeping soundly. Not for very much longer!
Anakin pulled his blaster and blew the lock away. He smiled satisfied at the smoldering hole in the door. Sometimes a good old-fashioned blaster was still the best of all weapons. Obi Wan did not sleep any more. In the next apartment a woman had roused from sleep as well, listening intently now to what was going on. Anakin sent her back to sleep. He did not want to be disturbed by neighbours – or security called in to arrest a burglar. He kicked the door open and stepped into the flat. The door, pushed by his thoughts, slammed shut behind him. A few sleepers stirred but none woke up.
Obi Wan was standing in the living room when Anakin entered it, dressed in his usual gown – no, this was a dressing gown. Not that it made any difference. In his right hand he held his deactivated light-saber. He was standing sideways to the door, feet slightly apart, one at a right angle to the other; a defensive position. He expected to be attacked.
“Ts, ts. My master, I thought fear was one of the paths leading to the dark side.” Anakin walked to the hard sofa and sat down on it.
“What do you want?” Obi Wan turned to face Anakin, but his light-saber was still in his hand, his finger only millimeters from the switch.
Anakin put the blaster on the table in front of him, next to the empty mug which would probably have held Obi Wan’s nightcap of herbal tea. He patted the barrel. “I wont shoot you.”
“What do you want?”
“An explanation?”
“About what?”
“Guess.” Anakin stared at Obi Wan, taking in his former master’s gaunt face surrounded by thinning and graying hair, the short beard and those doe eyes. How this man had ever managed to inspire respect in Anakin was now beyond him. He was such a pathetic creature. Pathetic but dangerous. He had persuaded Shura to leave. Somehow he had been so persuasive that Shura had believed him.
Obi Wan looked startled. “I don’t know.”
Anakin’s hand slammed on the table, making the blaster and the mug jump. “Don’t give me that shit.”
Obi Wan’s finger had twitched but he was still only holding on to his light-saber. “I met Shura today.”
“Oh indeed.” Anakin slipped his fingers through the handle of the mug, letting the smooth surface rest against his hand.
Obi Wan stepped from one foot on the other. “How is she?” was all he finally said. The mug made a nice bang when it hit the table. Obi Wan jumped.
“I don’t know. – I did not get round to asking her. We were too busy shouting at each other.”
Obi Wan continued to stare silently at Anakin.
“It was quite an interesting little shouting match. Shura told me a few things you probably would not like me to hear.”
“I did not say anything …”
Bang! The sound was duller now and when Anakin slammed the mug on the table again it broke into pieces.
Obi Wan jumped again. Then, his voice sounding strained, he asked again. “What do you want?”
“An explanation.”
“About what?”
Anakin jumped off the sofa and was through the room before Obi Wan had time to react. Grabbing him by the lapels of his gown he pushed the older man against the wall. He stared down into Obi Wan’s eyes, ignoring the humming sound of the now activated light-saber in Obi Wan’s hand?
“I want to know whether you have an explanation for why you told my wife to leave me. Tell me, Obi Wan Kenobi, do you have a reason for why you ruined my life? Or did you just do it to spite me.”
“Let go.”
Anakin could feel Obi Wan’s thoughts flickering through his brain trying to make him loosen his grip. Well, he could do the same. With as much strength as he could muster he sent the order to drop his light-saber into former master’s mind. Obi Wan resisted, not surprisingly. But his grip on the light-saber loosened, the blade started quivering.
Stop that! You’re hurting me. ” Obi Wan’s voice was whining.
Anakin grinned at Obi Wan. Like hell he would. “Make me.”
Panic flooded Obi Wan so much that Anakin could sense it too, then something hit him, threw him away from Obi Wan, just as Anakin had pushed Shura away earlier. He knocked one of the chairs in the room over, falling on the floor over its legs. For a moment he stared at the ceiling then he started to laugh. His great master, Obi Wan the holy man, had struck out at him.
“Beware the dark side of the force.” He sat up. “Anger and agression, the dark side they are.”
Obi Wan was still standing against the wall, light-saber humming in his hand. Finally he switched it off and shoved the handle into the pocket of his gown. He looked thoroughly shaken but Anakin was not in the mood to pity him. With a sigh Obi Wan stepped to the low table and sat down on it.
“Do you still need an explanation after this little demonstration of yours.” He did not look at Anakin but started to play with the pieces of the mug.
That took some time to sink in. Anakin clambered back to his feet.
“What do you mean? You told my wife to leave me because I attacked you? Did you have a vision about this and wanted it to come true, or what?”
Obi Wan looked at him confused. “Do you really think that?”
“Why can’t you give a clear answer? Dammit, you behave as if you were a fucking oracle. I think I can get your drift. But that still doesn’t give you the right to mess up my marriage.”
“You are a dangerous man. Anger and hate are the path …”
“My marriage is still none of your business.”
“Shura came to me and asked me, that makes it my business.”
Anakin felt as if somebody had wipped the floor from beneath him. This could not be true. Shura asking Obi Wan of all people… “Why did she come to you and not to me?” he yelled.
Why had she not talked to him? Anakin felt a lump rise in his throat. He wished he could simply let go and cry.
“Anakin, she’s afraid of you,” Obi Wan said.
“How could she not be?” Obi Wan asked. “She sses you using the Force to hurt people. To kill. How long will it be beofre you use the Force against her?”
For a moment Anakin was too shocked to reply. Use his abilities to hurt Shura? Did she really think he would ever, ever hurt her?
“I wouldn’t hurt her. Ever. She knows that,” he protested feebly.
Obi Wan looked at him with an expression on his face, as if he had to tell a child that it had failed a class. He seemed to feel sorry for Anakin, and that was the last thing Anakin wanted, Obi Wan’s pity.
“Does she?” Obi Wan asked, “How? Do you know it? Without any question?”
But there was something else in Obi Wan’s expression, something else he was feeling. Anakin could sense that.
“Yes, I know,” Anakin answered Obi Wan’s question. Somehow Anakin had the impression that there was another reason behind Obi Wan’s action that just his worry for Shura’s safety. Something that had nothing to do with what Shura thought of Anakin’s use of the Force and everything with Obi Wan’s disappointment in his pupil, Obi Wan’s worries about his own teaching abilities.
“You’re lying,” he said, “This isn’t about me, is it? It’s you. You still can’t forgive me for walking out on your precious school.”
“That’s not it,” Obi Wan contered all to quickly.
“Do you know, it isn’t,” Anakin continued, “Without any question?” He saw Obi Wan flinch back from his words. “I spoiled your dream, didn’t I? You can’t be the great Jedi teacher as long as I’m around to remind people that sometimes your pupils leave. If I’m doing well, it proves you can be wrong. You don’t have all the answers.”
“I never said…,”Obi Wan began, but Anakin cut him short, “But if my life gets ruined, you can say it’s all because of the Dark Side, and everybody’ll think you’re perfect again.”
Obi Wan backed off from him. “Anakin, please, you’ve had to much to drink. Just go home,” he pleaded.
“Did I prove that you can’t teach? Is this your revenge?”
“No!” Obi Wan shouted, shocked that he was accused of wanting revenge. “Not revenge. I just thought it would be safer if Shura left. Safer for both of you."
“It is certainly not safer for you.” Now it was the light-saber in Annake’s hand that was humming. He raised it in a salute while taking another step towards Obi Wan. His former teacher pulled his hands out of the pockets of his gown, lifting them, palms open. “Anakin. You don’t want to do this. You’re drunk.”
Anakin lowered the point of his light-saber. “So what.”
Obi Wan swallowed. “Anakin, there is still time. If you attack me now, your fate will be on the dark side of the force forever. Now is your last chance to return.”
A strange calm replaced the fury in Anakin. Now that he had made the choice to kill his former teacher the future seemed so much easier. “Now you tell me. Now, when it’s too late. You have failed.”
He raised his light-saber and struck at Obi Wan, not caring that he was about to kill an unarmed man. But Obi Wan was not unarmed and instead of cutting through his middle, Anakin’s light-saber hit against Obi Wan’s. The blades, slightly different shades of blue, fizzled and sparks flew. Twisting his hand around, Anakin tried to get past Obi Wan’s light-saber but his former master imitated his movements, pulling his own weapon free, struck upwards at Anakin’s face. Damn he was fast. Anakin had just enough time to bring his own light-saber up, both blade sputtering so close to his face he was nearly blinded by their light.
“You cannot defeat me.” Obi Wan’s smug voice kindled the fury in Anakin again. “We will see.” Taking a sudden step backward he disengaged his light-saber and struck at Obi Wan again. He might be fast, but sure as hell, he was neither as strong as Anakin nor had he as much stamina.
The blades hit against each other again and again, each unsuccessful strike stirring Anakin’s anger. Obi Wan seemed completely calm now, he was only defending his life, as he no doubt had convinced himself. Ha, he needed no convincing. Missing Obi Wan’s shoulder by a hair’s breadth Anakin’s light-saber cut instead through the top half of a antique chest of drawers made of slithi bones. This stupid thing was an heirloom from Obi Wan’s great-grandmother or something and he was proud of it. Good. Anakin whipped around, savouring the expression of horror on Obi Wan’s face.
He was so shocked he hesitated a moment and nearly, nearly Anakin’s light-saber would have cut through Obi Wan as well. Unfortunately, his former master collected his thoughts quickly enough to bring up his own blade. His next strike just missed Anakin’s head, it had been close enough to singe some of his hair.
“Are you going to kill me?”
Obi Wan’s next strike hit the table, cutting it in half, it collapsed with much rattling on the floor. He did not, however, answer Anakin’s question. Instead he spun around, striking again. He would. And he would feel justified. They glared at each other over the glowing light-sabers.
The fight went on. For now, both remained silent and the only soud filling the room was their increasingly loud breathing and the static, frizzling noise of the clashing lightsabers. A pair of chairs fell over as Anakin’s light-saber, aiming at Obi Wan’s legs, cut theirs off instead. For ages, it seemed, their light-sabers struck against each other, sputtering sparks as they did.
Anakin felt light-headed, his vision was blurred occasionally and he had to concentrate to keep from stumbling over the bits of broken furniture now littering the floor. Perhaps he should have sobered up before coming here. But, fuck it, Obi Wan deserved to be cut to pieces. What if he could not overcome Obi Wan? He had been his teacher after all. But then, if he was right about the dark side, Anakin would win as he was willing to let his anger rule him. He would kill this stupid man, he would take revenge for this man ruining his life.
Seizing hold with his mind of a fat book lying on the sofa he had sat on earlier he threw it at Obi Wan, trying to hit him while his attention was diverted but his former master simply dodged the flying book, stabbing at Anakin’s middle. Anakin slipped as he stepped aside. Gods, he was drunk. Less drunk than earlier because now he realised how the alcohol slowed him down.
Perhaps if he could make Obi Wan really angry, he would make a mistake, give Anakin a chance to get through his defences.
“I think, my master, that you are only afraid that people might find out that you are human after all. That you might fail, that your teaching abilities are not as grand as you want them to believe.”
A muscle twitched in Obi Wan’s face. His lightsaber severed the foot of a elaborate floor lamp which crashed to the floor. Anakin sent the shivers of the glass lampshade into the air, a cloud of sharp particels, sending them straight for Obi Wan’s face.
Anakin knew he was on the right track.
“Maybe the only reason why you insist being a Jedi is the greatest thing in history is that you did not find another place where you belong. That you need to feel suprior to the rest of the world in this respect because you failed to have any sort of social life.”
Obi Wan had to turn around, shielding his face with his gown. He threw a huge plate which once had been sitting on the now dissected side table at Anakin. It had been a present from a random government, an ugly thing, but Obi Wan had been proud of it. He must be getting angry when he threw whatever he touched with his force first.
Anakin cut the plate in two.
“Perhaps,” Anakin heard himself saying. “Perhaps you were just jealous. Jealous that I have found a woman that can bear to live with me, and you haven't.”
And Obi Wan was angry. He turned around, his face was so distorted it was hardly recognizable. The aspect was so strange that Anakin involuntarily took a step back, nearly saying: I didn’t mean it. But his anger was stronger than his surprise. He did not care what happened now.
Obi Wan next stroke missed Anakin widely, hitting the screen dividing the living room from the kitchen instead. Anakin stepped aside to get a better aim at his target. Only the fact that he stumbled over the edge of the upturned table prevented him from killing Obi Wan, or hitting him at least.
A strange wrenching noise emerged from behind Anakin. A dark, huge shape came flying from the kitchen and for a second Anakin felt transferred into a comic holo-show when he realised that the object racing towards him was Obi Wan’s refrigerator, torn loose by its owner and with the cable and connections trailing behind it like a weird tail.
Without thinking Anakin threw himself on the floor, under the flying fridge, grabbing at it with his force and giving it a further push towards Obi Wan. Somewhere in his mind he reasoned that a fridge was too large an object to be dealt with with a lightsaber, that was why Obi Wan had torn it loose. Now Obi Wan had to reel back to let the monstrosity fly past him. Its momentum carried the fridge through the large window and it disappeared outside.
Anakin, scrambling back onto his feet, had a strange vision of a passerby being killed by the fridge plummeting down from the window, never knowing what hit him. Obi Wan’s next stroke nearly hit him, reminding him to concentrate on the fight. Still the scene had sent Anakin into a near hysteric fit of laughter, throwing with fridges was definitely not the style of a noble Jedi knight.
“So there is a human under your sanctity after all! A human who is occasionally ruled by hormones.”
Obi Wan’s next strike sent sparks of pain up Anakin’s arm. His former master was angry now, hell. But he did not seem to lose his concentration, his aim. It just made him strike harder, now he was really trying to kill Anakin. Up to now, he still had played the noble Jedi, only defending himself.
Anakin heard his own panting as his light-saber took blow after blow. He had not time or breath to bait his old master anymore – and he doubted that it had been a good idea in the first place. Coming here had not been a good idea. Each stroke made him back off a bit, each blow let his fingers, his arms go more numb. He could see how this would end, the light-saber would slip from his fingers and the next stroke would split him as he had split the table.
These were not his thoughts! They were Obi Wan’s! He did not merely leak thoughts, he was broadcasting them, and he did not care if Anakin should pick them up, because Anakin would be dead anyway. He did not care if Anakin knew that he had been right, that Obi Wan had wanted his pupil’s wife. That he was attracted to Shura. Shame on his own weakness filled Obi Wan, merging with his anger, making it even fiercer, wilder. He would never have her.
Anakin was stunned with disbelief. He had never thought that this might actually be true. He could not believe that his marriage had been ruined by petty jealousy. However absurd Obi Wan’s ideas about the dark side and all of that had been, Anakin had always believed that Obi Wan did believe in them, and had told Shura to leave, because he was concerned. Not this! Not just because he had wanted to sleep with her, because he was envious and wanted to make his pupils life as miserable and lonely as his own.
Obi Wan screamed in fury, his light-saber cutting a flashing arc through the air, cutting through Anakin’s wrist and deep into the floor.
As if in slow-motion Anakin saw his hand being severed from his body, falling on the floor. His light-saber slipped from the now life-less fingers, a thin stream of blood gushing out of the hand.
His own scream mingled with Obi Wan’s as he fell down on his knees. Blood was pulsing out of his wrist. Obi Wan seemed to loom over him like a vengeful god, his light-saber raised high above his head to finish what he started, to wipe out all knowledge of his own shame.
Anakin jumped up, throwing himself against Obi Wan, diving under the descending light-saber, his shoulder and the stump of his right arm hitting against Obi Wan’s chest, hurling him backwards.
The pain flashing through his arm nearly made him pass out, but somehow he managed to remain on his feet, while Obi Wan toppled over the upturned chair, falling heavily on his back. But he had regained his feet before Anakin had time to do anything. The light-saber rose again, once more aimed at finally quenching Anakin’s life. His own scream ringing in his ears Anakin turned and ran.
The small entrance room was empty but the door was closed. Then it burst into a thousand pieces spraying Anakin with splinters. The lift! Anakin prayed that the lift would be still there. He could hear Obi Wan behind him, running after him. Stairs, he would use the stairs. Vaguely he noticed somebody staring at him then he ran through the open door and onto the staircase. Cradling his wrist against his chest, he could feel the blood soaking his shirt. He had to get away, away from this madman, whose panting he could hear behind, following him, gaining on him.
The wind on the roof was howling like a wild animal. Anakin lowered his head and with a desperate cry ran across the landing platform to where his c-wing was standing. He could feel Obi Wan’s fury behind him, he could feel his thoughts, wanting him to stop. Every moment Anakin expected the to feel the final, all finishing stroke of Obi Wan’s light-saber.
The door of the c-wing burst open into his face, nearly knocking him over. He jumped onto the pilot’s seat, frantically searching for the key in his pockets. But all of them were flat, empty.
He could see Obi Wan running across the roof, his light-saber still glowing in his hand, only a few steps behind him now. In the door to the roof, somebody was standing, outlined against the lights of the stairs. The keys! Anakin stared desperately at the lock and there! He had not taken them out!
Irrationally he was relieved that nobody had stolen the c-wing while he was away. He pressed the ignition, awkwardly, with his left hand, slammed the acceleration forward and released the break.
The c-wing lurched than jumped into the air, just escaping Obi Wan’s outstretched hand. Anakin could see the wild expression on his former master’s face, the furious scream erupting from him as he realized that Anakin would get away.
Anakin slumped forward, his head resting on the dash board. He had made it. He had escaped. Blood was pooling around his feet, he should try to stop it, otherwise he would pass out. He stared at his wrist, curiously aware that it did not hurt. The blood pouring out of the stump slowed to a trickle, then stopped.
The c-wing was soaring vertically into the air. It seemed to be bound to hit the stars which glittered coldly in the sky. For a moment Anakin just stared up through the roof-panel of the c-wing admiring the stars. Beautiful. And he spent so much time among them he hardly ever noticed them anymore. But he had to get home, get somebody to help him do something about his hand. Shura could take him to the hospital.
He gripped the steering rod awkwardly with his left hand, remembering Shura’s usual complaints about how nobody ever considered left-handed people when constructing ships. He cautiously tried to ease the thing forward, lowering the nose of the c-wing back towards the city. Pushing against the ‘resistance’ preventing accidental movements. All he wanted to do was go home and hide, cuddle against Shura and tell her what happened. But she was not there. She had left. She was gone.
Despair flooded over him, drowning out any other emotion, even that of relief at having escaped the mad man, Obi Wan. He had lost her. For now and for ever. She would not be there to take care of him or even shout at him for being such an idiot and having his hand chopped off – once should have been enough for anybody. Tears streamed down his face, blurring his vision. Where was he to go to now? And all because Obi Wan had been jealous, and Shura had not trusted him, but had believed all the o-so-well-meaning lies of Obi Wan. Why, why?
The steering rod finally slipped forward, the c-wing dipped down and nose-dived towards the city. Anakin fell forward against the controls, the acceleration, he had forgotten how fast he was going. “Fuck!” Pushing himself back onto his seat, he pulled the acceleration back to him, but the ship did not stop. By now it was in free fall. He had to stop it, somehow. Brake, turn around, reverse. Something!
Pushing the shift into reverse with his left foot he hit the brake with his right. But the engine just howled angrily, loud enough to drown out the whistling of the air as the ship plummeted down. He could see the security over-ride light flashing in front of him. This was not his ship, he had not disabled the stupid security program because they had only rented the c-wing.
Fuck! Damn.
He pressed down the brake again, swearing as his foot glided off, his boot slippery with blood. His hand missed the steering rod, and as he nearly fell off his seat again, the stump of his right hand hit against the console, pain flushing over him. His left hand was holding his right arm, not the steering rod. He had to move. But when he finally managed to disengage his fingers he was shaking so hard he could not make it close around the steering rod. His foot found the brake again and he slammed it down as hard as he could, shifting into the smallest gear to slow down. But the ship did not obey, lights blinked frantically around him. Was he imagining things or was there a waft of smoke, coming from the engine behind?
No matter now. When his fingers finally clutched the steering rod and he tried to pull the ship up again, the steering refused to move.
Anakin stared out of the window, there was a building right in front of him. He was going to crash. His ship would smash through the walls and he would be dead. He did not care anymore. All of a sudden, he even felt relieved that all would be over, that he would not have to think anymore or feel despair or anything. Perhaps Shura would cry at his funeral. She’d look splendid in mourning. The thought made him smile. He could imagine her so well standing alone and tall among the crowd. That would be a nice thought to die with.
The building raced towards him, square and solid, his left hand was still gripping the steering rod, trying as if of its own will to avoid the unavoidable, and then his ship crashed into the wall. Everything around him turned into a wild chaos of sound and heat and pain. He could not distinguish any more what he heard, or felt or saw. Pain seared through his body and he knew that he was going to die.

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