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Obi-Wan’s feet sunk into the sands covering Mandalore over and over again, Satine’s hand grasped within his own. Death Watch was gaining on them and they needed to survive. Satine needed to survive to take the throne of Mandalore and usher in an era of peace. Hopefully. Obi-Wan had serious doubts about the success of such endeavors if people were so determined to prevent it that they were chasing two exhausted teenagers across a desert like it wasn’t likely that the conditions would do the job of killing them on behalf of Death Watch. Everything was exhausting and Satine’s complete lack of the skills necessary for survival any place but locations she deemed “civilized” were absolutely not helping matters. He just wanted to have the opportunity to not deal, meditate, and possibly take a nap. Or, wonder of wonders, get a full night's sleep in a bed. Running, running, running or sometimes briskly walking seemed to encompass the parts of his day that didn’t involve fighting, much to Satine’s horror. He was so, so tired.

Which was why, in his haste to get away, Obi-Wan missed the cliff he was running towards until it was nearly too late and scrambled to stop in time. Unfortunately, Satine lacked the same awareness and slammed into him, sending them both tumbling off the edge.

~~~

Obi-Wan woke to the early hints of dawn. He still felt exhausted and rubbed his eyes sleepily while he attempted to recall the events of the previous day. He was pretty sure it involved a lot of running just as the previous weeks had. He recalled that and… falling. What had happened after he fell? He was certain that Satine had fallen with him, so how was he in a camp with her, somehow appearing unscathed? How had they survived? Glancing around, Obi-Wan saw no one else besides Satine. But, something niggled in the back of his mind. The campsite looked familiar. Way too familiar. In fact, he’d call it the same campsite that they had departed the previous morning. But, Death Watch had been catching up to them, surely the campsite would have been combed over or razed in their pursuit. And yet, everything was exactly as it had looked when Obi-Wan had awoken the previous morning. How peculiar.

He hoped that Satine would be fine with ration bars, as they had eaten the last of the rest of their food yesterday, and Obi-Wan really did not want to listen to her complaints for the next few days. But when he went to dig them out of his pack, he encountered the food he thought they had already eaten. Maybe the previous day had all been a dream? Or possibly a vision? It hadn’t felt like a vision or a dream, though; it had all felt terrifyingly real.

He needed to meditate to sort this all out, however preparing food was his first priority. Their location was not secure and Obi-Wan did not want to still be here if Death Watch showed up like in his maybe-vision-dream. He also did not want to end up running towards the hypothetical cliff again. One death by falling, even a fake one, was one too many thank you very much. Nope, he would set out in a different direction than dream-vision him.

The rest of the morning proceeded strangely. Satine held identical conversations to those in the dream-vision. Hints of Death Watch catching up appeared at approximately the same point in the morning. The only difference appeared to be the scenery as Obi-Wan had, wisely in his opinion, chosen a different route. There was still so, so much running. When Obi-Wan returned to the Temple he was going to be the most skilled at endurance by merit of being forcibly unable to take a break.

The ground eventually turned from sand to bare, windswept rock, making them more difficult to track and providing an easier surface to walk across allowing quicker progress. Obi-Wan hoped that soon they’d be able to find some water or a cave for shelter overnight. They desperately needed rest and shelter where Death Watch couldn’t find them by simply looking down.

Obi-Wan and Satine continued traveling intermittently through the next couple of days, sleeping in short shifts and on the move whenever possible. It did not do anything to lessen Obi-Wan’s desire for a long, long nap. Finally, finally they managed to stumble on a small inlet in the rocks that could be used for shelter and a full night’s sleep. Exhausted, they collapsed, ate half a ration bar each, and quickly fell asleep.

Obi-Wan awoke to Satine screaming. “That thing! It bit me!”

As he blearily opened his eyes, he caught a glimpse of a long shadow slithering away. That probably wasn’t good. “Where? Where did it bite you?”

Satine thrust her leg out towards Obi-Wan’s face and successfully managed to hit him in the jaw. Obi-Wan tasted blood. “Ouch…okay. Leg. I can put a bandage on it, Satine, but if the creature that bit you was venomous we don’t have any of the medical supplies to deal with it or a comm to call someone that has access to medical supplies or expertise.”

“Just fix it!” Obi-Wan bandaged the bite with the supplies they did have and sent Satine back to sleep. She would either wake up or she wouldn't and there was nothing Obi-Wan could do about that. If Satine did die, Obi-Wan was absolutely not looking forward to returning to Master Jinn. He didn’t want to imagine the chastising lecture he’d receive for allowing his charge to die of an animal bite of all things. He’d probably be put on probation for the next decade if they didn’t just expel him from the Order entirely.

As the sky began to lighten, Obi-Wan watched as Satine’s breathing grew shallower and eventually came to a stop. There had been nothing he could do. Obi-Wan felt his own head become fuzzy, like his thoughts weren’t quite working. Maybe it was the grief, though he thought he had the ability to operate through it after the events of Melidaan. Well, it wasn’t like he had anything to do anymore. Satine was gone, Obi-Wan could lie down for a bit and sleep and then bury her when he had the ability to reliably remain standing.

Obi-Wan woke to the early hints of dawn.

~~~

Obi-Wan went through the loop again and again and again and again attempting to keep both himself and Satine alive. Clearly, the Force wanted Satine alive as the loop reset every time she (and Obi-Wan) died. Obi-Wan was relieved when, on the twelfth loop, they managed to finally reach a spaceport and get off the planet. Unfortunately, the ship they selected that loop was the wrong one to choose. A fiery explosion was one of the better ways to go, at least it was quick unlike dehydration or starvation.

The next loop, Obi-Wan selected a different ship. That one left them on a jungle planet, and he placed being eaten by a cave creature firmly at the bottom of the Obi-Wan’s Least Favorite Ways to Die list. On the twenty-first loop, Obi-Wan and Satine managed to actually survive long enough to meet back up with Master Jinn, install Satine as the Duchess of Mandalore, and get on a ship back to Coruscant.

Obi-Wan was extremely upset when the next morning he awoke to a sandy dawn.

~~~

This awakening forced Obi-Wan to contend with the belief that he’d held for a time that likely amounted to a few years at this point. That once Satine was the Duchess he could continue his life in the expected, linear manner. Sure, the mission report would be interesting to fill out as the early parts had been so long ago that they were beginning to fade from Obi-Wan’s memory, but at least it would be over. The previous loop had destroyed such expectations. He supposed he’d simply try and stay alive as long as possible this time and then continue his process of elimination of ships to catch a ride on at the Spaceport. At least he could basically do the first week of the loop in his sleep now. Conversations required minimal effort to respond to when it was simply a repeat of numerous instances of the same exact conversation. Moving meditation had never been easier.

The next ship up for elimination from Obi-Wan’s Looped Adventures of Ship Elimination: Mandalore Edition was a Firespray. He just needed to get Satine aboard quietly, and then hide them well enough that they could sneak off at the next port with the owner none-the-wiser. He had even come up with a script, crafted after a few bouts of trial and error, to get Satine to go along with this plan without too much complaining. For some reason, it took a bit to get her to realize that not everyone would be open to her cause even if they weren’t affiliated with Death Watch. Not all sentients cared, others didn’t want to bring Death Watch down on their own heads, and still others were definitely willing to take any bribes or rewards for handing Obi-Wan and Satine over. It was not worth the possibility of shipboard bunks or giving their actual names as Satine truly needed to improve on her ability to lie about her identity.

Obi-Wan successfully coaxed Satine onto the Firespray and into an onboard storage closet and behind some crates. Their new home for the next few days. Hopefully the owner of this ship was just as unobservant as the owner of the previous one, which would allow them nearly free use of the fresher.

Unfortunately, Obi-Wan’s hopes were dashed rather quickly. They had barely settled in before a Mandalorian in silver and blue opened the closet and growled, “What are you doing on my ship?”

Multiple emotions ran through Obi-Wan at once. First, terror that they had been caught by an armored Mandalorian. Next, relief that the one who caught them did not appear to be a member of Death Watch and would therefore likely not want to kill them for political reasons. There were others dancing through his mind and the Force that Obi-Wan could not quite name but one of them felt like joy? He had no idea why anything would be joyful right now. They were about to die again and he really was not looking forward to it.

“Answer.” The Mandalorian stated again. Obi-Wan eyed the twin Westars the Mandalorian had holstered, he really did not want to test how quickly those could be drawn.

Obi-Wan decided to state the truth, or well, a vague truth. “Hiding, sir.” There were a thousand reasons that they could be hiding. Surely that was enough that they may simply get kicked back into the spaceport and not have to experience anything more unpleasant.

“Huh, well find somewhere else to hide that isn’t my ship. Grab your things and get out.”

Obi-Wan and Satine quickly grabbed what they had and scrambled off of the ship.

Obi-Wan steered them to the ship that had gone well the previous time around, maybe something went wrong there he could fix.

Attempting to travel to a different planet was a terrible plan Obi-Wan thought as he woke up at dawn.

~~~

When they got to the spaceport this time around, Obi-Wan was startled when they passed the Firespray. The Mandalorian was standing on their loading ramp, appearing to glare at everyone who walked past. No one else had moved from the previous locations Obi-Wan had spotted them in during previous loops. It had made dodging Death Watch exceptionally easy. The Mandalorian in the Firespray was an anomaly and Obi-Wan would have to ponder it. But for now, they needed to catch a ship going somewhere and he already knew that the owner of the Firespray was not going to warmly welcome them aboard.

Unsurprisingly, the next ship went terribly as well.

The next time in the Spaceport, the Mandalorian appeared to be looking for something or someone. Obi-Wan did not like that. At all.

Of course, this meant that the Mandalorian spotted them and started walking towards them. Obi-Wan urgently muttered, “We’re being followed,” to Satine. Running would draw more attention than they could afford. They just needed to manage to slip out of sight and move onto the next ship and hopefully be out of the system or at least the spaceport soon.

Since this was Obi-Wan’s life, things did not go that smoothly. The Mandalorian seemed to be irritatingly skilled at tracking, never losing sight of Obi-Wan and Satine as they slipped between people and cargo in an attempt to break off the pursuit. Additionally, because the Mandalorian could walk in a straight line and wasn’t weaving all over the place in an attempt to be confusing, they were gaining on Obi-Wan and Satine and would soon catch up, and Obi-Wan still couldn’t afford to cause a scene.

And catch up they did. They came right up to Obi-Wan and, as Obi-Wan was considering the merits of grabbing Satine’s hand, they spat out, “What did you do?”

Obi-Wan had no answers for the rather unspecific question, but he came up with a response anyways. “What do you mean what did I do? My friend and I here are simply attempting to get to our ship in order to depart.” Satine glanced between Obi-Wan and the Mandalorian, attempting to figure out what was going on. Obi-Wan did not possess any answers. There was no way the Mandalorian should be able to recognize them, no one remembered the previous loops besides Obi-Wan. And they hadn’t done anything different this loop up to this point that should have drawn any additional attention to them, therefore the Mandalorian had no reason to talk to them. Yet, here they were.

The Mandalorian scoffed, “I rather doubt that, seeing as I recall you attempting to stow away on my ship not so long ago. Now, what did you do?”

Satine interjected, “I have never seen you in my life! How dare you accuse me of such subterfuge you–”

Obi-Wan cut her off. “You remember that?”

“What do you mean, remember?” Satine sputtered. “We’ve never seen this person before, much less stowed away on his ship!”

The Mandalorian shot Satine what Obi-Wan assumed to be a completely unimpressed look. The helmet made it difficult to discern facial expressions, at least to Obi-Wan's inexperienced eyes. “Yes, I do remember that. Two people managing to successfully sneak onto my ship without being eviscerated is quite memorable. Now, do you care to explain how it is that same date again when I remember quite a bit of time passing before ending up back here?”

Obi-Wan eyed the Mandalorian curiously, “What made you think it was us?”

“Besides myself, you were the only thing in this spaceport that changed, ge’tal. It wasn’t that difficult of a leap to make. Now, we can keep talking here, or we can move elsewhere. Your move.”

Obi-Wan pondered for a moment. “Elsewhere. Better to have this conversation away from curious passersby.”

If it went poorly, the loop would reset and Obi-Wan could simply go further out of his way to avoid the Mandalorian. Satine may complain, but, based on past loops, she wouldn’t recall anyways. He’d have to be extra careful though, evidence seemed to point that this Mandalorian was now remembering and if they turned out to be hostile and continued to remember, Obi-Wan would have to do everything he could to avoid them in the future versions of the past.

“Let’s go to my ship. No one should be able to overhear us there.”

“Obi-Wan, are we simply going to trust this man? What if he’s working for Death Watch?”

“They’re wearing the wrong colors for Death Watch. Also, based on past encounters, they’re much more in a shoot now no conversations mood regarding us. As we’re still alive, I doubt they’re Death Watch. Also, if they give us a ride out of the system, being an invited guest on their ship is drastically superior to sneaking on one and being left with questionable access to the fresher.”

“But we don’t even know his name!” Obi-Wan had to concede her that point, but continued to defend his decision. “Nor does he know ours. Names are not safe out here. Just mentioning yours could bring down the entirety of Death Watch on us if the wrong person were to hear it coupled with security footage of our appearances. They could be in the same ship.”

Satine did not look happy with Obi-Wan’s decision but came along as Obi-Wan followed the Mandalorian back to their Firespray. Once aboard, Obi-Wan spoke, “She did have a valid point earlier. Who are you?”

“Names Fett, Jango Fett. He/him. And how about you get’al?”

“Ben Kenobi. Also he/him.” Obi-Wan was not going to give his actual name. Turning to Satine, Jango said, “And based on the news, I assume you are Satine Kryze, Adonai’s ad. Let me reassure you, Death Watch hates me more than they hate you. Or at least they would, if they knew I was still alive.”

Well, that was mildly reassuring. At least Jango wasn’t Death Watch and was therefore automatically less inclined to murder them for existing. Probably. Obi-Wan was still a Jedi and many Mandalorians disliked Jedi. Which was valid, historically, however he would prefer pleasant conversation as opposed to death threats followed by actual attempts at killing.

“Now,” Jango continued, “we were talking about how it is somehow the same day again and your part in it. Please do elaborate as I did not sign up for this.”

“Neither did I,” Obi-Wan grumbled back.

Satine did not like that she was apparently missing something vital to this conversation. “What in the galaxy are you both talking about? You keep making references to things occurring again yet I only recall this day happening once. This makes absolutely no sense!”

“Yeah, doesn’t make sense to either of us as well apparently,” Jango snapped back, clearly possessing no patience for Satine’s digging for information. “Now as you apparently have nothing to offer this conversation, please just listen while we attempt to figure out what’s happening between the two of us who actually have information!”

Obi-Wan probably should have defended Satine. But truly, Satine probably wouldn’t end up remembering this conversation anyway, as he doubted that they would both get through this loop alive. After all, it had only happened once before and it had reset anyway. Better to hold this conversation now and deal with the consequences later, they were temporary. Probably.

Obi-Wan motioned for Jango to say his piece, he was the one who decided to initiate this interaction after all. “So, this your second time living this day too?”

“My twenty-third actually.” Jango tilted his helmet at that piece of information.

“So you’ve been doing this longer than me then. Wonder why I get to remember the last time and not any of the ones before that.”

“I posit that the last loop was the first time we interacted. Though I guess if that’s the reason, I am technically at fault for you recalling that this day has occurred multiple times. Though I suppose you can count yourself lucky you don’t recall doing the same exact day twenty-one times with no variation. That sounds quite boring.”

“Yeah, well, at least now I know not to go to some planets. For your own reference get’al, Geonosis is not a fun planet.”

“I shall add it to my list of places not to go then, though which planet I end up on is not always my choice. May I enquire, when did the loop reset for you? Mine typically ends after I die, you see. But one time it ended a year from now after I fell asleep.”

Jango paused a second before responding, “I remember up to a few weeks from now. Fell asleep, and when I looked at the chrono, the day was wrong and I had magically changed planets.”

“Well, at least you didn’t get your head chopped off or something.”

Jango replies to that remark with silence. Apparently he disliked the concept of his head getting chopped off, Obi-Wan didn’t blame him. That sounded like unpleasant business.

Obi-Wan awkwardly continued, “So, what’s our plan going forwards? Clearly since we both remember we need to work together or something. Probably.”

Jango tilted his head in a slight, agreeing nod at that, “In that case, I suppose we should stick together for now. But be aware get’al, if you betray me in any way or do anything that brings harm to me or anyone I care about, I will spend the rest of eternity hunting you down.” “I shall endeavor not to,” Obi-Wan replied. They had made a pact, now all that was left was to ensure Satine understood that they would travel with Jango for the foreseeable future and then go somewhere else on the ship away from her. Obi-Wan wasn’t quite sure what the Force wanted overall, but he was certain that it wanted him to do it alongside Jango.


Apparently, traveling alongside Jango meant jumping between clan halls that Jango was mostly certain were not associated with Death Watch and hoping for the best. Jango had grumbled a few times that he was missing out on money he could be making from bounties as apparently Jango was a bounty hunter. Obi-Wan was thankful that he despised Death Watch otherwise he and Satine would have been screwed, dependent as they were on Jango for everything at the moment.

Jango seemed to dislike Satine for some reason. He had started warming up a little to Obi-Wan after a bit, but he remained firmly closed off to her. Conversations when they were in the same room were awkward, confined to the smallest pleasantries and mentions of their destinations. Obi-Wan knew that Satine held grand plans for the future of Mandalore, ones that did not seem to be welcomed warmly by many of the clans they had visited. Satine was vocal about her opinions, and even if she wasn’t, she was a recognizable enough figure that those they encountered and stayed around long enough to talk to were able to piece together who she was and what they stood for. And they did not like it. In their eyes, Satine was stepping away from history and tradition and taking away their way of life. They had no reason to welcome her.

Jango on the other hand was greeted warmly. Initially, Obi-Wan assumed that was because they were already familiar with him as he was the one to contact the various clans seeking temporary shelter for the small group. But as Obi-Wan observed longer, he felt that they may be more to it. Some of the clan leaders appeared to defer to Jango at times, placing him in a position of authority that Obi-Wan thought would have been filled by Satine as a potential leader of the planet. There were so many tangles to Mandalore's political situation and culture that Obi-Wan simply didn’t understand, and Jango and Satine were deeply wound within them and seemingly in conflict.

Obi-Wan had no idea why Jango was so important. Of course, he had no way to research Jango due to his lack of access to a datapad and the fact that he always seemed to be accompanied when he left his rooms at the various compounds they visited. It would have been very awkward to research the person he was traveling with while under the hospitality of those who accepted him under the backing of said person. At least he mostly knew where he stood with Jango, the rest of the population of the Mandalore sector he was much less certain in his standing. Jango’s threats were at least clear and direct, everyone else was unknown or wanted to kill him for being associated with Satine.

Overall, it was one of the better loops. They had stable food, shelter, and people were mostly not attempting to kill them as the individual members of Death Watch seemed disinclined to mess with them while they were with Jango and the people Obi-Wan suspected were Jango’s allies. Allies for what, he didn’t know. Probably nothing Satine would like as she seemed to withdraw and become more contemplative as they spent longer and longer with Jango.

Of course, their luck didn’t hold. Eventually, Qui-Gon managed to finally comm and inquire about Obi-Wan and Satine’s whereabouts. He wasn’t quite pleased that they were the guests of a bunch of armored Mandalorians on Concord Dawn on the behest of a different armored Mandalorian. In fact, Obi-Wan could feel extreme frustration radiating down the master-padawan bond. He was in for it whenever Qui-Gon managed to catch up to them. Either Qui-Gon would hate Jango, Jango would despise Qui-Gon, or they would both dislike each other. Either way, Qui-Gon would accuse Obi-Wan of developing an attachment to Satine because Qui-Gon had abandoned them to fend for themselves for months without his direct supervision since he was ensuring that it was safe for Satine’s pacifist government to take the throne and rule over a peaceful Mandalore. Based on their various places of residence over the past few months, that government was going to anger many people.

Nothing was going to go well in the long term if Satine’s rule was established. Obi-Wan would posit that was likely why the Force was interfering in his life and forcing him to relive the same period of time numerous times. Jango was instrumental for the future of Mandalore. Probably. Apparently he couldn’t get visions when they were helpful and he just got to stumble through this. Fixing things the difficult way.

Qui-Gon and Jango meeting went about as well as Obi-Wan expected it to. Meaning that Qui-Gon got attacked by a group of angry Mandalorians and Obi-Wan ended up dead.

~~~

This time Jango was waiting for them at the entrance to the spaceport. “So, you’re a jetii, get’al? Why should I help you?”

Obi-Wan was too tired for this, plenty of sleep in the previous loop did not carry over to feeling at all rested in the new one. “I don’t know. I’ve never done anything to you and you were the one who got me killed last time so why does it matter.”

Satine was looking confused again. Oh well. She could pick up hints and put pieces together like last time. It would at least serve as entertainment for her.

“Obi-Wan, how do you know this man?” Satine asked.

“He’s a friend.” Obi-Wan replied. Jango Fett tilted his head towards Satine before stalking towards Slave 1.

“And why are you friends with one of them?” Satine inquired harshly. “You know they’re trying to kill us!”

“He’s not Death Watch, Satine. He hates them as much as we do. We’ll be safer with Jango than we would be alone. Let’s go before anyone recognizes us.”

This time was very similar to the previous one, but they skipped some places they had visited and met with others in their place. Obi-Wan guessed that Jango probably had negative interactions with them the previous loop and was avoiding repeating those.

Eventually, he had to ask. Satine was attempting the same tactics she had previously and they were going about the same as they had before. Obi-Wan could offer her no advice without advising her to majorly adjust what she was asking of the Mandalorian people and he knew that she would not do so. Therefore, all Obi-Wan could do was figure out what Jango was aiming for.

Jango was not immediately forthcoming. “Why do you need to know?”

“Because we’ve been traveling with you everywhere and I want to know what mess I’m getting tangled in before it ends up getting me killed this time.”

“It was your jetti master that made things go poorly last time. If he had just stayed away, we could have met with everyone and it would have been fine.”

Obi-Wan felt uncomfortable asking the next question, “What happened after I died?”

“We cleaned up. Your master killed a lot of good verde. And then I went to sleep and was back in the spaceport. Apparently after you died, whatever thing decided we get to relive this however many times determined that I can’t do this without you present.”

Well that was unfortunate, Obi-Wan was hoping that Jango could get more information without him present. He hesitated on asking his next question, “What happened to Satine and Master Qui-Gon then?”

“The jetti,” Jango spat out the word, “grabbed the dar’manda duchess and fled. They just left your body there.”

“Oh.”

Jango seemed unable to stop talking then, “Why would they leave you there? He just grabbed your jetii’kad and the Duchess and left? Did he not care that you stood in between him and us and attempted to protect him? He just left you there lying in the dirt Obi-Wan! Left us to deal with your body! And then they were asking me what to do with it, what you would prefer! I don’t know!”

Obi-Wan’s brain stuttered to a complete halt. Jango was upset because he didn’t know Obi-Wan’s preferred funerary ritual? How peculiar. Why would Jango care? No one else ever had. Jedi burned their bodies, but sometimes they fell on a mission and it wasn’t possible. Whatever happened, happened, the deceased was one with the Force.

Quietly, Obi-Wan said, “We cremate our deceased.”

“That still doesn’t excuse him for leaving you to fend for yourself!”

Obi-Wan didn’t understand why Jango was still upset, he had gotten the information he was missing and Qui-Gon left him alone on missions all the time. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Obi-Wan spent the rest of the loop confused about that one conversation with Jango. His friendship with Jango seemed stronger afterwards, but Jango also seemed to get more protective of Obi-Wan for some reason. On one hand, it opened up numerous opportunities for Obi-Wan to learn more about Mandalorian culture which he enjoyed, but it also placed a firm barrier between him and Satine who he was supposed to be protecting. Jango knew that Obi-Wan could protect himself and had a lightsaber so why was he always attempting to cram Obi-Wan into beskar’gam? It messed with Obi-Wan’s sense of the Force and his movement while fighting. He didn’t need it.

Unfortunately, Obi-Wan figured out Jango’s concern was justified when he died from a lightsaber searing across his chest rather painfully.

~~~

Qui-Gon had killed Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon had killed Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon had killed Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan thought that maybe if he repeated this fact to himself enough times, it would sink in. Unfortunately, Obi-Wan still could not believe it. Qui-Gon had killed him for standing between Qui-Gon and Jango, for getting in the way to Satine’s ascendency to Mandalore’s rule. Because apparently Jango Fett was the leader of the Haat Mando’ade, the True Mandalorians, the third faction that could challenge both Satine and Death Watch for control. And Obi-Wan and Jango had become rather close due to Jango’s constant hovering over Obi-Wan. Maybe he would accept the armor this time.

At any rate, Obi-Wan knew he would never fully trust Qui-Gon as his master again. He could never go back to a time where he didn’t remember that Qui-Gon had killed him in order to get what he wanted, even if everyone else did. Obi-Wan had no idea how he was going to explain his need for a new master to the Jedi Council. At least, if he ever managed to get the opportunity to meet with them again. At this point, it was looking doubtful.

Upon reaching the spaceport this time, Jango didn’t even say hello before scooping Obi-Wan up and walking towards Slave 1 leaving Satine to either run away or follow. As Obi-Wan wasn’t struggling against Jango’s grip, she elected to trail cautiously, reassured when Obi-Wan gestured for her to follow.

Jango waited for her to board before tossing Obi-Wan onto a chair and looming over him, and leaning down towards Obi-Wan’s face and roughly whispering, “You are not allowed to die like that on me again.”

Obi-Wan knew that Jango was going to be even worse about his hovering than before. He distantly wondered if Jango would even allow him to leave once they escaped the loops as it looked like Obi-Wan currently wasn’t even allowed to walk to the ship by himself. But that was a future Obi-Wan problem, right now they were trapped by an overprotective and concerned Jango in a chair while Satine looked on confused.

“I have no plans on dying like that again, I found it rather painful to be honest,” Obi-Wan responded. Jango didn’t move, apparently intent on inspecting Obi-Wan’s face for the foreseeable future. Obi-Wan had no idea why; Jango had seen him like this multiple times and everything reset to exactly how it was at the beginning of each loop. It’s not like Obi-Wan would have any shiny new scars for Jango to examine.

Eventually, Jango spoke again, “As soon as I can get you to a goran we are getting you into armor. After that, you don’t get to leave this ship without it on. If you try, I will tie you to the bed until you agree to put it on.”

Obi-Wan breathed out, “Fine.” He ignored the part where even if Jango tied him to the bed, he could still escape using the force. That would just encourage Jango to pull out the force suppressing cuffs Obi-Wan knew he had here somewhere. And possibly sit on Obi-Wan. Jango knew that Obi-Wan liked him too much to risk injuring him by tossing him off using the force. In other words, Jango had trapped Obi-Wan into either wearing armor or being tied down for the foreseeable future. Armor was definitely the better option as Obi-Wan preferred to only be tied down for other, more enjoyable reasons. At least he’d need to put less effort into dodging blaster bolts in situations where it was better that his lightsaber not be seen.

Obi-Wan was not surprised when Satine protested Jango giving Obi-Wan armor. Her protests seemed to go along the lines of “too much” and “not at all subtle.” Obi-Wan replied that they were already lacking subtlety with Jango wearing full armor and Satine wearing none wherever they went so why did it matter. The look Satine gave him while Jango laughed in the background seemed to state that Obi-Wan was missing something very obvious. Obi-Wan had no idea what though.

While he was getting measured for the armor, there was something about how the goran looked at Jango and then him that started hinting that Obi-Wan was definitely missing something, but he still had no idea what. Then, Jango sat there and talked Obi-Wan through paint colors: green for duty, blue for reliability, gold for vengeance, black for justice, red for honoring a parent, orange for lust for life, white for a fresh start, and gray for mourning. It wasn’t just about which colors Obi-Wan liked, but the statement they sent about the person wearing the armor. So much could be said without using any words at all.

After thinking for a bit, Obi-Wan picked up blue, black, and green and a little bit of white. He could always repaint later if it no longer fit. Jango was also eyeing the paints. So much had happened since they began these loops together and Jango definitely was not in the same place where he had begun. Neither was Obi-Wan. Too much had happened.

From there, they were once again hopping across the system, making connections that benefitted Jango while Satine was just there. She attempted to convince numerous clans to follow her ideals, but Obi-Wan knew Satine was only here because Obi-Wan was in charge of keeping her alive. Otherwise, Jango probably would have left her somewhere and kept only Obi-Wan with him. How Jango would cope when Obi-Wan had to return to the Jedi was a problem for later. Of course, this loop ended poorly as well.

~~~

Again and again and again. Jango ensured Obi-Wan received armor every loop now and he was sure it meant something but no one would explain to his frustration. None of the loops were the same either. Sure there were similarities, but Jango took them to different clans as he gleaned more information, relying on some network he had been feeling out and putting together through the loops rendering some visits unnecessary through existing alliances and comm calls due to Jango’s apparent pre-existing relations that still held strong even after a period of absence. Once these were confirmed, there was no reason to visit some clans multiple times even if they didn’t recall the initial visit due to the timeline resetting. Simply being able to talk with Jango was enough for them.

Jango’s political base was definitely stronger than Satine’s and Obi-Wan knew it would go poorly once they encountered Qui-Gon again. Not that Obi-Wan had seen Qui-Gon in numerous loops. He was fairly certain Jango had people keeping track of Qui-Gon’s movements and was keeping them far away in order to avoid a repeat of the last time they had encountered the man.

Linearly, it had been years since Obi-Wan had seen him. He may have been on the Mandalore mission longer than he had been in Temple his entire life. There was still so much Obi-Wan didn’t know because Jango was keeping it from him. Why, Obi-Wan didn’t know. Did Jango think Obi-Wan would disapprove or something? Obi-Wan already knew that this would probably end with Jango as the stable ruler of the Mandalore system, as they had established quite early on that the desired end result was not Satine being in charge while Obi-Wan returned to the Jedi Order. He had already voiced such to Jango and was already dreading how he would explain this on his mission report. The initial stages of the mission were so long ago that they had become distant in Obi-Wan’s memory and while the desired outcome of a stable Mandalore would be achieved, it would be without the Republic friendly government the Senate had been hoping for.

His relationship with Jango had also changed over the loops. Sleeping arrangements had changed from everyone separate to Obi-Wan and Jango sharing a bed because Jango only had two rooms on his ship and he had gotten tired of Obi-Wan sleeping on the couch. Most days, Obi-Wan woke up cuddled in Jango’s arms like the man’s personal stuffed tooka. Obi-Wan even had his own armor stand in Jango’s room. Jango had lost all concepts of personal space and privacy when it came to Obi-Wan, having lived so close to each other for so long. Jango usually helped Obi-Wan out of his armor each night and allowed Obi-Wan to do the same for him eventually.

Okay, maybe Obi-Wan and Jango were currently more than friends. Especially since sex had become involved at some point. Jango was an attachment, one Obi-Wan knew that he’d have to leave behind at some point and that was okay. Jango was going to accept it. He respected Obi-Wan and his decisions and had begun including Obi-Wan in his own decisions, slowly. Obi-Wan was well aware of Jango’s powerbase as he was a participant in many of the meetings Jango held. Not all of them, but enough to know a lot of what was going on.

Jango would rule Mandalore and Obi-Wan would go back to the Jedi and afterwards they’d simply have fond memories of time spent together.

The loops blended into each other as Obi-Wan trusted that Jango would be there and take care of him. He had gleaned over time that Jango giving him armor was something highly significant, as once people heard that the amount of distrust aimed towards him due to his escorting Satine decreased significantly. Jango’s approval and Jango’s armor meant something to people. They were willing to listen to Obi-Wan and sometimes even defer to him about things. It was strange. Obi-Wan wondered who would replace him as Jango’s confidante when he left.

He was pretty sure everyone who observed them for some length of time knew that they were together. Jango was very affectionate. (Which really confused Satine everytime she met Jango anew and saw him with Obi-Wan.) Here and there, Obi-Wan caught snatches of conversation about Jango’s ven’riduur and Obi-Wan hoped whomever they set Jango up with after he was gone the best. He wouldn’t begrudge them a relationship with Jango when they managed to build one, ruling a system was hard and that required trust between partners. At least he could be confident that it wasn’t anyone Jango was with now seeing as the vast majority of his time was spent at Obi-Wan’s side.

They determined the best way to build alliances, the best places to whittle down Death Watch’s forces, and the best way to keep Satine safe but out of the way. It was a carefully structured plan that they slightly adjusted as needed to ensure the smoothest path forward and minimal casualties, specifically their own deaths. It was all rather the same.

That is, it was all the same until one loop, Obi-Wan felt his bond with Qui-Gon break. He had nearly forgotten was there, not putting much effort into maintaining it following the loop where Qui-Gon had killed him and he hadn’t seen the man in what added up to years. It was still a shock. The sudden snap and empty space in his mind that the bond had inhabited. Sure, Obi-Wan had no plans to keep the bond following this mission, but it was still one thing to let it dissolve purposefully as opposed to the sudden snap of death.

Obi-Wan flinched and sat down clutching his head. Jango was immediately by his side. “Is everything okay, cyare?”

“My bond with Qui-Gon snapped. Head hurts.” Obi-Wan immediately found himself cradled in Jango’s arms. Armor was not the most comfortable thing to lie in but at least Jango supported him physically. Otherwise, Obi-Wan would probably just be lying on the floor while everyone stared. Instead, they’re staring while sending out feelings admiring Jango’s devotion to Obi-Wan. Much better than just staring at Obi-Wan by himself on the floor.

“Is your ven’riduur going to be okay alor?” Someone asked.

“Yes,” Jango responded. “Just a sudden, severe headache. I’m going to take him to rest, we can finish this meeting once he’s settled or tomorrow if necessary.”

Obi-Wan felt confused. There was no one except him here besides him who the question could be about, but he hadn’t agreed to marry Jango, that would be an attachment, a permanent one. Then he couldn’t return to the Jedi. Did he want to return? Did he want to leave Jango? Would they even take him back without his master?

Obi-Wan knew he had never wanted to work with Qui-Gon again, but he hadn’t given up on the thought that he would achieve the rank of Jedi Knight one day. Yet, all these Mandalorians were apparently walking around expecting him to be their future rid’alor. Spouse to the ruler of the Mandalore system. Obi-Wan’s head still hurt too much for all these realizations. He needed to evaluate his shields and sleep. Jango and it all would still exist in the morning. Probably. Death Watch was nearly extinct so it was more than likely.

Jango carried Obi-Wan to their room and placed him gently on the bed. He then started to methodically strip Obi-Wan out of his armor and kute before carefully tucking Obi-Wan under the blankets. “Sleep cyare, I’ll sort everything out and hopefully be here when you wake up.”

Jango remained there, stroking Obi-Wan’s hair until he fell asleep.

Obi-Wan awoke bundled in the warmth he associated with being cuddled up right against Jango. It was peaceful, exactly what he needed to sort through the previous day’s revelations. Obi-Wan felt rather sure that Jango was hoping Obi-Wan would remain after they had achieved peace, staying alongside him ruling Mandalore. If Jango had stated such to others, it would explain a lot about how people had been interacting with him and many of the whispers and glances that followed him around.

Obi-Wan thought on it a bit and recalled when he received his first set of armor from Jango and the goran kept looking at him strangely. Everyone had a small, surprised reaction when they heard that Jango had purchased a full set of beskar’gam for Obi-Wan, but he thought it was because he was a Jedi and an outsider. Now, Obi-Wan had to consider that there was something more than just words Jango had said, something more that had given impressions and made a statement without the words. All Obi-Wan could think of was his beskar’gam.

Beskar’gam represented the soul of a Mandalorian much like a Jedi’s kyber crystal was their soul. What did it mean that Jango had given Obi-Wan his soul? Why couldn’t Jango just talk to him about these things?

Jango clearly cared for Obi-Wan, he had purchased armor for him numerous times not to mention that they were in some type of relationship that Obi-Wan appeared to have misjudged the permanence of. Because while Obi-Wan continued to insist that he would return to the Jedi eventually, everyone else was certain that he would be staying and assisting Jango. That they would rule Mandalore together. And Obi-Wan wasn’t opposed to the idea.

Leaving the Jedi didn’t mean he could never talk to any of his friends again, he had all their comm codes memorized - an important skill when one’s comm often meets unfortunate ends. He knew how to listen to the force and helping the people of Mandalore was still helping, even if it wasn’t everyone in the galaxy. Obi-Wan had spent so long on Mandalore, living amongst the people alongside Jango that staying wouldn’t be strange. It would simply be a continuation of the life Obi-Wan had been living for what amounted to the past many years. Though hopefully it would be more interesting than repeating the same process over and over in a loop. Yes, Obi-Wan could stay. At least, Obi-Wan could stay if Jango told him the actual meaning behind the armor. That was a conversation for when Jango woke up.

~~~

Jango told Obi-Wan that he hadn’t told him the significance of the armor because he was afraid that if Obi-Wan knew, he would immediately try to leave and well, Jango wasn’t wrong. Jango then continued on to explaining the riduurok and the exchange of armor that occurred with it. If Obi-Wan chose to stay and marry Jango, they would be carrying a piece of each other with them at all times.

Mandalore was at peace, Death Watch was no longer a threat, Satine had accepted her lack of power within the Mandalore System and gone to peacefully live elsewhere, and Obi-Wan stood encompassed in Jango’s arms. If he was going to return to the Jedi, now would be the time. But as they stood there, Jango leaned down and whispered “Will you say the riduurok with me?”

“Yes,” Obi-Wan whispered back and with that, a happy wave flowed through the force reassuring Obi-Wan that he had made the correct choice.

Jango slowly rested his forehead against Obi-Wan’s and then shifted his hand to lift Obi-Wan’s face and capture his lips in a kiss. Obi-Wan leaned into it eagerly. They would stay together and discover what it was like to live on a peaceful Mandalore. One where they could possibly coax life to grow again outside the domes, and where traditions could be safely passed down through generations. Mandalore was theirs and Obi-Wan was Jango’s.