Title: No Room for Doubt Author: UnderCoverJedi Characters: Obi-Wan, Dooku Timeframe: Immediately after Obi-Wan returns from Melida/Daan Written for the Prequel Rewrite Challenge #4 Challenge Four: "It's a pity our paths have never crossed before now, Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon always spoke very highly of you." No Room for Doubt Obi-Wan Kenobi was struggling that day as he knelt in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. He battled his own insecurity and shame, his fierce desire to please the Master he had disappointed so recently, and his own soul-shattering doubts. It was a young man in crisis who happened to be kneeling by the small, calm pond of water, wishing desperately that everything would make sense again. He was so wrapped up in his own misery that he did not sense the man?s presence until a deep voice interrupted his dark reverie. ?It does no good to dwell on these things overly much, you know.? Startled, Obi-Wan turned and looked up. He recognized the man immediately, though they had never met. Dark eyes met his, one brow lifted sardonically as the man seemed to wait expectantly for Obi-Wan to speak. ?I?m sorry sir, what did you say?? He was just stalling for time and the other man shook his head disappointedly. ?Really now, Kenobi,? the man replied easily. ?Let?s not play games with each other.? Stung, though he did not know why, Obi-Wan merely turned back to his useless contemplation of the water before him. ?I?m not very good company right now,? he murmured, hoping the man would get the hint and leave him alone. To Obi-Wan?s surprise and chagrin, the man folded his long frame and sat down beside him, though he wondered if such elegant clothes really ought to be subjected to the damp ground. Such attire was unusual among the Temple denizens; it was just one more thing that set the man apart. Dooku, his Master?s Master. Qui-Gon was a living bond between them, yet they had never set eyes on each other. Suddenly, that struck Obi-Wan as quite strange. Obi-Wan recalled old whispers, ancient rumors. Lorian Nod? It was a name he often heard linked to Dooku. There was some hint of scandal there, nothing that anyone would speak openly of around a Padawan in any case. ?I?ve been told that I?m never good company, my boy,? Dooku answered with a slight smile. ?I?m afraid you?ll not run me off that easily.? Shrugging as if to say he could not stop the man from keeping him company, Obi-Wan picked up a small pebble and tossed it into the water, watching the ripples with unwarranted attention. ?I know what happened on Melida/Daan,? Dooku said, tugging up a blade of grass and rubbing it between his long fingers. Obi-Wan stiffened in response. That should come as no surprise, of course. The whole Temple knew that Obi-Wan Kenobi had disobeyed his Master?s explicit orders and turned his back on the Jedi Order - only to come back, his head bowed in shame. ?I prefer not to discuss it,? Obi-Wan mumbled. There was a short bark of laughter from Dooku. ?I?m sure you don?t,? the man agreed. ?But I wasn?t going to ask you to talk anyway. I?m just going to give you a bit of advice. You are the Padawan of my own Padawan?I feel as if I owe you this much at least.? Turning to gaze at the man he had known only by reputation until now, Obi-Wan allowed his skepticism to seep into his expression. ?Why now? Why bother?? If the respect that was owed a Master was not in his voice, Dooku did not seem to notice or object. ?Why not?? Dooku countered. ?Besides, this might be my last chance,? he added enigmatically. Obi-Wan turned back to the pond and picked up another pebble. ?All right then,? he said. ?Talk away.? Dooku laughed more heartily this time, a big booming sound that seemed out of place in the quiet, contemplative atmosphere. ?You?re more like him than you realize,? he told Obi-Wan. Since Obi-Wan considered that the highest compliment, Obi-Wan smiled. ?I don?t think that?s a good thing, you know,? Dooku continued. ?Not if you want to live comfortably in your Jedi skin.