Chapter 34

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Ben sat cross-legged, focusing his mind on his breath, melting everything into In, Out. In, Out. In, Out. Meditation gave him the distance he needed to see everything in perspective, and if there was ever a day he needed perspective it was today.

He had napped for twenty minutes, hoping that he would awake to a mythical Force epiphany. Instead he awoke to a headache.

Hoping to ease his mind, and his head, he sat to meditate a few minutes more. Only there his mind went again. He needed to meditate, not think about meditation. In, Out.

A faint tune from a guitar wafted into his ears. He expected everyone to be asleep by now. No matter. In, Out.

Yet try as he might, the twang of the guitar penetrated his mind. The more he let his mind relax, the more it lighted upon the sad, wistful tune. So much for the hours and hours of meditation in Jedi Temples, he smiled to himself. Ben uncrossed his legs and went in search of the musician.

He carefully picked his way through the composite halls of the Halcyon, not wishing to disturb the reverie. The closer he approached the music, the more and more he felt like an intruder. Yet he also felt like a man listening to his favorite singer, in his own lonely corner of a small, intimate night club.

Gazing inside a room, Ben was surprised to see Daniah playing the guitar. Without realizing it, or without admitting it to himself, Ben had traced the path back to Daniah's quarters.

She sat there, strumming melancholia, so different from the spacer thrash bands he had seen her play in before. He was close now, close enough to hear the words as Daniah's voice lifted from her chest and floated to his ears:

"It's 1am, I'm all alone, I'm out of breath, I'm tired and I'm fighting

back the endless dark and the loneliness that claws at my soul

It's me again, let's make-believe, and then pretend

we can be more than this, more than us, longing for these words to be yours

And so I keep, keep, keep dreaming on,

fight, fight, fighting on, knowing

You'll chase more and more and more and more

And you'll chase more and more and more and more

And I'll chase more and more and more and more

I'll chase more and more and more and more

But we won't chase each other..."

Daniah played on, following the music down, through its winding path, riding the melody into the distance. The emotion ebbing out of her, she glanced up from her reverie and her eye caught Ben's.

Was that water in her eyes? No. Daniah had never been the crying type. Don't get mad, she liked to say, get mad and get even.

"How long have you been there?" Daniah asked, her usual guard down.

"Just got here. I was meditating, expecting everyone else to be in recovery for several more hours, when I heard music."

"Oh." Daniah let a few moments slip away.

"It was, it was a very moving melody - the part I heard," Ben stammered.

"You were expecting more of the spacer thrash chick from me, eh?" Daniah flashed a wicked grin and shredded a quick, furious riff on the guitar.

"Something like that." A few moments passed between them.

"I never needed to sleep much after going under," Daniah volunteered. Ben gave her a worried look. "I know," Daniah continued, "they say you can get brain damage from not resting enough. But I had myself checked once and I'm OK. Just wired different I guess. A quick nap, and I'm good. I figured I'd use the time to work this tune out that I've had in my head."

She sat her guitar on the bed and walked up to him. "Something bothering you, Obi-Wan?"

Obi-Wan felt his heart beat faster and his skin grow hotter. He nodded. And then tried to recover. "Y-Yes. I'm struggling with what to say to the team. Our last sim, was...less than satisfactory."

"It was a bust wasn't it," Daniah said bluntly, staring deep into his eyes, inches from his face.

Close, closer. He wanted to be closer to her. To hold her, to feel her warmth mix with his warmth again. To tell Daniah that this could be even though it could never be.

Daniah smiled and gently put her hands on his chest. "Am I too much of a distraction, Jedi?" Her fingers brushed his chest ever so slightly, and then she lightly pushed him away. "Go meditate some more on that, Kenobi."

Flushed, Obi-Wan stepped back slowly, trying to gather himself. In a stupor he turned, following her words out the door.

Daniah called after him, "You're a true believer, Ben, and the Republic is lucky to have you."

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