“STOP!” She was too weak to stand and leaned against Asajj’s shoulder. Her robes were filthy, her carefully braided hair in wild, disarray. A streak of red stained her jaw where the bounty hunter had smashed it.
Yet the power and authority in the Guardian’s voice froze all three Jedi in their poses.
The sabres that had been about to sever the Sith’s head from his body hummed motionlessly but menacingly inches above his bowed hair.
The Sith seemed frozen as well, his head bowed and his shoulders unmoving.
It was Asajj that first regained her composure, “M-my lady?” The confusion in her voice was reflected on the faces of the other two Jedi.
“Stop,” the Guardian repeated. Her gaze fell on each of the Jedi in turn. “You cannot do this. You cannot kill an unarmed man in cold blood.”
Without lifting his sabre or his eyes from the Sith, Kenobi retorted, “My lady, he is a Sith.” His sabre wavered a bit, coming dangerously close to singeing the Sith’s pale hair. “His blood will always be cold.”
“It’s his weapon I see in your hand,” the Guardian said sternly. “If I were a stranger to you three coming upon this moment, I would have thought that you were the Sith and he the Jedi. I see three warriors overpower the one. I see murder.”
Kenobi recoiled as if slapped. Xanatos looked from one to the other, clearly confused. Asajj cried out in outrage, “With all due respect, my lady! All we’ve done here was in your service!”
The Guardian’s hand pointed to the Sith who was almost bowed over his knees. The little of his skin that they could see was waxy. He had lost a lot of blood. He was probably slipping in and out of consciousness by now. “That you kill a man when he is no longer a threat to you? Not in my service. Never in my service.”
“He’s a Sith. His very existence is a threat,” Asajj hissed.
“And so would yours be,” the Guardian said with equal passion, “all three of you, if not for the grace of the Force and my Grandmother.”
Silence fell, thick like shame, amidst the three Jedi.
Kenobi lifted a hand from his two-handed grip on the Sith’s sabre hilt and touched his own face. To all appearances he was merely whipping off the blood on his cheeks; in reality, he was trying to heal himself, both mind and body. He was weaker than he looked, having been wounded badly by his own brethren when Vader used his body as a shield; his proximity to the Sith had hampered his drawing on the Light Side for healing. The accursed Sith was all but dead at his feet now and Kenobi should have been able to draw on the Force more strongly. But for some reason he couldn’t.
In the tentative bond he had with his brethren, he could tell that they faced the same difficulty. It was the Sith, poisoning the Force with his very existence. Their very existence. They had trapped him, all but killed him. And they had done it in rescue of the Guardian. What nobler cause could there be? This was - should be - a moment of great victory for the three Jedi, and for every Jedi in the known galaxy.
The Guardian took a step away from Asajj, limping slightly as she walked towards the Sith.
“Stay back, my lady,” Kenobi said quietly, still not raising weapon or focus from the creature that lay cowed before him.
The Guardian paused, a stride away from the trio of warriors. “He is dying. If you’re going to do something, Obi-Wan, then do it quickly.”
Kenobi did raise his eyes then and something that was a mix between irritation and affection twisted his mouth. “Of course, milady,” he said curtly. The red blade in his hand flickered and died.
There was a pause, and then Xanatos did the same.
“No!” cried Asajj.
Kenobi carefully put the cylinder in his belt. “It is the right thing to do.” He bent to squat beside the Sith. Despite the fact that the Sith appeared unconscious, Kenobi’s senses were alert for any deception. He needn’t have been: Vader’s skin was cold, his pulse weak, and his mind quiet. He was minutes from his death.
“It is almost dead,” Asajj spat as Xanatos imitated Kenobi, laid a hand on the wound he had made in the Sith’s stomach. “You might as well put it out of its misery.”
The others ignored her. Between the Jedi men, they stretched the Sith out on the ground so that he lay flat on his back with his arms close to his side.
“Can you save him?” The Guardian asked, stepping closer.
“Stay back, my lady,” Kenobi said sharply. He had his hands on either side of the Sith’s face. Xanatos had placed the second hand on the Sith’s knees. There was a long silent pause. Then as one, they exhaled softly and closed their eyes.
Asajj felt it when it happened. The Force, somewhat dampened during the fierce battle, thickening, rising, growing, binding them all. She and the others were forced out of the boundaries of their own consciousness and into each other’s. Asajj could feel the Guardian’s fortitude and fierceness as well as the ache in her jaw from her scuffle with the bounty hunter. Xanatos could feel the slow knitting of the wounds he had given Kenobi as well as the other’s characteristic serenity, and unflinching obedience. They could all feel the Sith’s lungs knitting, the bone marrows doing double duty to compensate for the enforced anaemia; the Sith’s soul was a swirling, conflicting pool of darkness and evil. None of them wanted to touch it any more than they had to. But the Force seemed to like this soul - the Force seemed to like it. It flowed through and around him more strongly than anything the Jedi had ever seen and it forced them to meld with him… to heal him. Suddenly it was no longer their choice - but the very will of the Force that demanded the Sith to be saved.
And as the last sinew of muscle was knitted in the open wound in his stomach, he let in a sharp gasping breath and his eyes opened.