Before Growing Things (Qui-Gon)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jane Jinn, Sep 9, 2003.

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  1. Jane Jinn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 5
    Title: Growing Things
    Author: Jane Jinn
    Rating: G (non-slash)
    Time Period: Pre-TPM
    Archive: QGJDL only
    Summary: Qui-Gon stops to smell the roses, and thinks about growing things.
    Disclaimer: Everything here belongs to George Lucas; I?m just borrowing with no intent to profit
    Feedback: Yes, please! Constructive criticism welcomed, in fact, I'm begging you on bended knee for it. :)

    Note: Does not follow the JA books
    *****


    Qui-Gon exited the transport with slow, weary steps. It was still night here on Coruscant, and the lighting in the hangar was dimmed, reflecting his own diminished mood. Despite his physical exhaustion, however, Qui-Gon entered the lift and pressed the button for the floor where his favourite garden was located.

    He didn?t need to see to find his way to the spiny little bush; he?d been there often enough. It was set far back from the path, close to the inside wall of the Temple, in an area that others rarely traversed. Besides Qui-Gon, perhaps only the gardeners knew that it was there, and Qui-Gon wasn?t even sure about them. He himself had come across it several months ago when, wounded in both soul and body, he?d been seeking a private place to meditate and heal.

    As Qui-Gon approached, he became aware of a scent he hadn?t noticed at his last visit. He reached out carefully with one hand, brushing gently over the spines, and came in contact with something soft ? a flower! Smiling to himself, he bent his head and inhaled deeply, concentrating on the sweet florid odour. At length, however, his lungs were filled to capacity. He exhaled, then reached out to the Force instead, feeling the connection between it and himself first, then extending his entire awareness to the little bush.

    He could literally feel the difference, and it cheered his own exhaustion away. The Force signature of the bush was no longer muted, but normal, even a bit ? enthusiastic? In the grey light of the approaching dawn, he could also see that the bush wasn?t so little anymore. It had grown both upwards and outwards since he?d been away, and its branches were more upright now. Qui-Gon smiled, echoing that enthusiasm, and rejoicing that he?d been able to help it.

    ?Uff.?

    Qui-Gon glanced up, startled, and the dark shape that had plopped down at his side caught its breath in surprise as well.

    ?I?m sorry, I didn?t think anyone else would be here, this early in the morning,? the boy said.

    ?It?s all right,? Qui-Gon replied.

    ?Are you working on this bush?? the boy asked.

    ?Just checking its progress, now,? Qui-Gon replied, reminiscing slightly. He couldn?t remember if it had been the oddly diminished Force signature of the bush which had caught his attention first, or the uneven way in which it had grown. The bush had not sported any of the aromatic flowers which were typical for its species, and the growth of some of the branches had been stunted. In contrast, many of the other branches had been starting to go wild, sprouting excessive growth in every possible direction.

    ?I wish I were a plant sometimes,? the boy suddenly blurted out. ?Then everything about me that?s not Jedi-like could just be ? pruned away. One quick snip and it?d be gone.?

    Qui-Gon regarded the boy thoughtfully and waited. After a moment, the boy explained, ?Master Yoda says I?m too impatient. And reckless. I came here to meditate about it, but ? it?d be faster to just cut it all away.?

    ?If you cut something away, what is left?? Qui-Gon asked, looking back to the bush. The spotlight above it came on, and he could see that the flower was a bright coppery colour. There was also a second one on a lower branch which was just opening from its bud.

    ?What do you mean?? the boy asked. As he moved, the light caught his hair, and Qui-Gon noticed that it had some coppery highlights of its own.

    ?These flowers weren?t here several months ago,? Qui-Gon said. ?Part of this bush was growing wild, so I did some pruning. A few quick snips ? just as you said. And what was left??

    ?Not much
  2. imzadi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 4
    Great start, Jane! I enjoyed your perspective on Qui-Gon. Looking forward to more! :D
  3. Jane Jinn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 5
    Uh, whoops. I see I forgot to add two very important words.

    The End.

    Yes, it's just supposed to be a tiny little fic. It was written for a fan fic contest and had to be under 3500 words.

    But thanks for the cheerful response, Imzadi! :)
  4. Jedi_Humaira_Blaine Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2003
    star 5
    Hullo my dear fan fic master. ;)

    Aaah, what a beautiful story... :)

    "If you cut something away, what is left?"
    Got me thinking too, Jane! ;)

    "Growing takes time, just as much time as becoming a Jedi.?

    Trust Qui-Gon to explain things in such a wise fashion. You have brought out a wonderful side of the Jedi Master here, Jane. :cool:

    Not stupid...Just...impatient.

    :)

    And yet, what is a Jedi master but a gardener of padawan souls? A little trimming of bad habits here, a little support in the right direction there, and ? always ? encouragement to strive towards the light.

    What a lovely paragraph Jane. And how true. [face_love] Likening the padawans to plants needing the loving care of an attentive gardener is so apt and so original. :)

    The principles of growing things are the same, whether they are bushes or boys.

    I loved that! [face_love] Perfectly put and so sentimental too. [face_love]



  5. Shaindl Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2002
    star 4
    How wonderful to see Qui-Gon as something more than a blundering idiot. This was a beautiful look inside his sould, Jane - I wish there were like this out there, which means I very much hope you write more.

    Great work,

    Shaindl
  6. Xanatos_son_of_Crion Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2003
    star 2
    I agree. This was short and good. More please. :D
  7. female_obi_wan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2002
    star 3
  8. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    A Qui-Gon story???? You know I'd get here eventually Jane. :D

    I liked the way the lights in the hanger were dimmed, reflecting his own diminshed mood-- fabulous description there and the way the boy opened up to him so easily. Instantly made me wonder if it was becasue the boy thought him the gardner and not a Knight and I picture it helping that Qui-Gon wasn't standing... less inimidating to a boy. Loved the way he compared plants and padawans, as a previous reply stated very original.

    The only criticism I can give is that you ended it making me want more. I want to know for sure, was the boy Obi-Wan? Was Qui-Gon about to ask him to be his padawan??? You had me literally growling with resigned frustration. LOL!
  9. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    I have to agree with Healer_Leona Was that Obi-Wan or not?

    Loved this "little" fic. The interaction between the two characters, the fact that Qui was not intimidating because the kid thought he was a gardener and could act more normally - wonderfully done.

    And the analogy about pruning was so sweet. My husband used to grow rose bushes before the deer destroyed them and your pruning discussion was just right. Of course, Qui didn't have to contend with black spot and mildew and deer!!! So sweet that the kid thought that if he could just be pruned enough, he would make a good Jedi when it is the other way around - not pruned but nurtured and guided to become the Jedi he is meant to be.

    Lovely.

    When the OC contest is done...please...please write more!
  10. imzadi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 4
    It's a very clever ending, Jane! It ends in just the right spot for the purpose of the fic. Well done!
  11. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    Oh, wow, that was fabulous, Jane! (And so sneaky; you never told me you were working on this!)

    I have to agree; refreshing to see Qui-Gon portrayed as a Jedi Master, rather than just the usual bad guy/comic relief.

    I'd point out my favorite bits, but everyone else already did... the wonderful gardening analogy.

    :)
  12. Jane Jinn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 5
    Humaira Thanks for reading, my fan fic padawan!

    Trust Qui-Gon to explain things in such a wise fashion. You have brought out a wonderful side of the Jedi Master here. That's how I see him, as wise and wonderful. :)

    Shaindl Thank you! This was a beautiful look inside his sould, Jane - I wish there were like this out there, which means I very much hope you write more. :) I hope that inspiration strikes again soon. I need a good plot to show more of Qui-Gon's soul.

    Xanatos It was short, but I'm glad you thought it was good. Thanks for reading. :)

    female_obi_wan Excellent? Well, thank you! :)

    HealerLeona I see I forgot to write that Qui-Gon actually knelt down at some point. Yes, that would make him less inhibiting to a small initiate. And yes, it really is Obi-Wan. I thought that the coppery highlights in his hair would be enough to confirm this, but perhaps not. Sorry to hear you growling in frustration. Do you think I need another clue or two?

    dianethx A lot of the boy's impatience is something I've seen inside myself -- if I could just stop x, then I would automatically be better -- and it's only with age and maturity that I'm seeing that growth isn't just the absence of bad stuff, but actual work!

    When the OC contest is done...please...please write more! I thought for a long time that I was finished with JA fics, but after writing this, I see that the door is not completely shut. But like I said, I'm looking for the right plot to showcase more of gentle, wise, and caring Qui-Gon.

    imzadi Thanks! I think the ending was one of the first things that I had visualised in my mind, and then I had to write the fic and guide it towards that ending. Glad it worked. :)

    Mistress_Renata Yes, I get impatient, too, with the portrayal of Qui-Gon as a buckethead (or worse) or comic relief (which usually translates to my mind as "idiot".)

    And, me, sneaky? I'm sure I mentioned that I was working on a fic for the contest, but that was probably the time you were just getting ready to go on vacation.

    Thanks again for reading, everybody! :)

  13. jodiwent Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 11, 2000
    star 4
    This great story almost snuck by me!

    I like the fact that you kept the boy's idenity ambiguous, even though you gave clues ;)
  14. imzadi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 4
    I agree Jodi (great to 'see' you btw). In some ways it's not necessary to know that it's Obi-Wan and it gives it more impact that it's ambiguous. It means that the most important part of the story is Qui-Gon's beliefs and discoveries, not his interaction with Obi-Wan. It's also not the traditional "Qui-Gon learning a lesson from Obi-Wan" story.

    I feel like I'm in a literary criticism class! :D
  15. Jane Jinn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 5
    I feel like I'm in a literary criticism class!

    Okay, class, please discuss the author's use of light in this story.

    *giggles*

    Hey, Jodi, great to see you again! It's been a while! Thanks for reading. :)

  16. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Jane, I don't think you should change a thing. It was the whole idea of the story not specifically stating the boy was Obi-Wan. That made me all the more desire to know for sure. As far as growling... please take that as the compliment it was meant to be. :D You've no idea how happy I'm am to hear you may be writing more Qui-Gon!!
  17. PadawanKitara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2001
    star 5
    Don't change a thing. Not only was it a charming story, but I thought you did a wonderful job showing his personality through his thoughts and actions.
  18. Jane Jinn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 5
    Thanks, Padawan Kitara! :)
  19. Jenny_The_Jedi_Girl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2001
    star 4
    thats it? no more story? WAAAAAAAAAAAAA
  20. Tahi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 5
    Arrh! Thundering typhoons, Jane, what a story. Made this old pirate shed a sentimental tear. Don't tell the cpt'n, though. Don't want to have to walk the plank. ;)

    Seriously, I loved it. I like old Qui-Gon, although I must admit I haven't really got into the JA books at all. This had a lovely "parable" sound to it, and I liked the idea of Qui-Gon being open-hearted enough to learn from a child. Very enjoyable. Thanks. :)
  21. Xaara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2002
    star 3
    This is truly a jewel of a vignette. Though I missed it the first time around (and evidently forgot to reply to it when I reviewed it for the challenge), I still feel compelled to reply.

    The moment you chose to describe - Qui-Gon's encounter with a "boy" (and who could that be? ;) ) - was sweet and touching. Qui-Gon was always the Jedi who, like Jacen, could feel plants and animals through the Force, so his characterization here is quite appropriate and well-done. His musings on the meaning of gardening and the idea that a gardener must nurture as much as prune in his efforts to aid the growth of bushes...or young padawans.

    I loved this bit, mostly because it reminds me of what I've heard young children say, in one way or another, for my entire life: ?I wish I were a plant sometimes,? the boy suddenly blurted out. ?Then everything about me that?s not Jedi-like could just be ? pruned away. One quick snip and it?d be gone.?

    And then this little thought of Qui-Gon's struck me as particularly true to him - you captured perfectly his wise but slightly wry voice: The principles of growing things are the same, whether they are bushes or boys. If only all "gardeners" were as understanding and patient as Qui-Gon! :)

    An enjoyable and insightful vignette!

    EDIT: I seem to have forgotten how to spell Qui-Gon... [face_blush]
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