Saga The Bond [Qui-Gon/Shmi, Anakin AU] Chapter 15 2/15/13

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Alexis_Wingstar, Sep 29, 2012.

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  1. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Oh wow! Letting go -- :( [face_thinking] No matter how necessary and seemingly right it might seem, it's never easy or comfortable. One feels like Shmi is just going to have naught but goodbyes and loss ahead instead of a loving, warm connectedness - the latter is what she deserves and that kind of nurturing I believe would buttress Anakin as well. :)
  2. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Lovely sweet chapter with a caring Qui-Gon
  3. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    @Jade_eyes, I agree. Shmi deserves some TLC.@};-

    @earlybird-obi-wan Thank you. :)

    Okay, you all are gonna want to shoot me for this chapter. Keep in mind, that if you kill the author, you'll never find out what happens next! [face_devil]

    ~~~

    Chapter 7
    Revelations

    As they left the hospital, Shmi reflected how natural it felt to walk beside Qui-Gon with her hand gently resting on the crook of his elbow. This will probably be our last walk together, she reminded herself. She smiled down at her son who was holding her other hand, and realized neither of them were likely to set foot on Tatooine in the future. “Why don’t you go say goodbye to your friends, Ani?”

    “May I?” The young Padawan looked over at Master Jinn with hopeful eyes.

    A surge of jealousy rose within Shmi’s heart. He’s my son, damn it! I already gave him permission when I told him to go.

    Qui-Gon’s head lowered in a slight nod. “Do as your mother says. Meet us back at the ship in a half hour.”

    As she watched Anakin run down the street, she sensed Qui-Gon’s eyes on her. Blushing, she looked up at him. “I’m sorry.”

    He tilted his head slightly. “For?”

    She felt her cheeks burning even hotter with embarrassment. “I just...” she looked away from him as she hesitated. When she continued, her voice was barely above a whisper, “It bothered me that he asked for your permission when I told him to go.” Raising her eyes back up at him, she apologised once more. “I was angry at you, but, it’s not your fault. I mean, you’re... I... know I have to let go, but...”

    “Shmi,” he said softly as he shifted his arm so he held her hand. He reached up to cup her jawline with his other hand. “You don’t have to apologize to me for your feelings. I wish I could ease your burden.”

    As his fingers caressed her cheek, she stepped towards him to give him a hug. She felt his strong arms wrap around her shoulder, and a slight pressure as he kissed the top of her head. “Thank you.”

    “Is there anyone you wish to say farewell to?”

    She pulled away as she thought about it before shaking her head. “The friends I have here visited me in the hospital, and we already said our goodbyes.”

    In silent mutual assent, they resumed their walk toward the spaceport, with Shmi again taking hold of Qui-Gon’s proffered elbow. She studiously kept her eyes on the ground in front of them as she commented, “I’ll miss this.”

    “What will you miss?”

    “Walking with you.”

    There was a moment’s hesitation before he asked, “Do you wish to go check your old residence to make sure nothing important was left behind?”

    “I really didn’t have much of importance Anakin wouldn’t think to already pack.”

    “Okay.” He chuckled. At her questioning glance he explained, “I was trying to make our walk last a little longer.” Shmi laughed even as Qui-Gon put his other hand on top of her fingers that held his elbow. When their eyes met, he said quietly, “I’ll miss you, too.”

    The two walked the rest of the way to the ship in silence.

    ~~~

    Qui-Gon slowly turned the co-pilot’s seat around to look at Shmi as they waited for Anakin to arrive. “We haven’t spoken much about this, but now that we’re about to leave Tatooine, is there anywhere you wish to go?”

    “I’m actually at a loss as to where to go,” she replied quietly as she stared at her hands which were folded in her lap.

    “Sometimes, when we don’t know where to go, it’s time to go where we’ve been.”

    She glanced up at him with a confused frown.

    “Do you remember where you were born?”

    She shook her head. “I was so young when pirates attacked the ship we were on. I don’t know where we came from... or where we were going.”

    Qui-Gon’s lips thinned as he considered what she said.

    “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be a burden.”

    “You can stop that kind of talk,” he chided gently as he leaned forward and enfolded her hands in his. “You are not a burden, Shmi Skywalker.” He squeezed her fingers before adding, “Perhaps we could narrow the options down by eliminating the places you don’t wish to go.”

    A slow smile played upon her lips. “Any planet in the outer-rim territories can be ruled out.”

    “Well, that eliminates roughly three hundred worlds which are habitable to humans. You still have one thousand to choose from.”

    “Is that all,” she laughingly replied. “Well, if we eliminate the core worlds, then only the mid-rim worlds are left... do you have any suggestions?”

    “Hm... well, there is one planet that comes to mind. A place someone will welcome you with open arms.”

    Tilting her head in curiosity, Shmi asked, “Which world would that be, and who are you talking about?”

    He smiled slightly as he informed her, “I’m certain Queen Amidala of Naboo would be quite willing to return the hospitality you granted to her while she was on Tatooine a few years ago.”

    “Queen Amidala?” She shook her head in confusion. “I know Padme was her handmaiden, but...” she stopped in mid-sentence when Qui-Gon’s grin widened. She raised a questioning eyebrow at him.

    “Padme is Queen Amidala.”

    Shmi’s eyes widened in surprise. “Really? But, she was so sweet and... well, she didn’t act like a queen.” Her expression turned slightly suspicious as she asked, “Did you know she was the Queen when we first met?”

    “I... strongly suspected that was the case.” It was Qui-Gon’s turn to be curious. “Would you have done anything different if you knew?”

    “Well... not that I could really do anything different, but I’d have been a bit more... self-conscious about having her in my home.”

    “Then it was good you didn’t know. Padme would not have liked it if she made you uncomfortable under your own roof.” After a minute’s silence in which the information sunk in, Qui-Gon added, “As it is, she and the people of Naboo would graciously welcome you. Especially since your son is considered a hero there.”

    “What?” Surprise once more danced across Shmi’s features. “What happened?”

    “You’ll find out in detail from the Queen herself if you go to Naboo.”

    “Qui-Gon,” she scolded, “you can’t just drop this bomb on me and not elaborate!”

    There was an amused gleam in the Jedi’s eyes as he relented. “Well, the Jedi Council sent Obi-Wan and me to escort the Queen back to her homeworld. On Naboo, we had secured the hangar bay, and I instructed Anakin to stay in a cockpit of a fighter where he would be relatively safe while the rest of us went on to battle the enemy forces on the ground. He wound up taking off in the fighter and blew up the enemy’s droid control ship which deactivated all the droids on the ground.”

    “You told him to stay put in what is essentially a glorified pod-racer,” she commented dryly.

    “Well...” he paused to clear his throat, “... yes.”

    “And you really expected him not to do what came naturally to him?”

    “Well, I really didn’t think that over thoroughly enough,” he admitted and she closed her eyes as she shook her head. Qui-Gon hastily defended his actions, “We were in the middle of a battle, and it was safer for him there than coming with us... that is if he followed my orders... but then if he had done as I instructed, then he would have wound up in even more danger, and many more people would have died.”

    Shmi took a deep breath and slowly let it out as she reopened her eyes to quietly regard the Jedi.

    “So,” he broke the uncomfortable silence, “do you wish to go to Naboo? Even if you don’t wish to live there, it would be a good place to stay until you figure out where you wish to settle.”

    Instead of answering his question, she narrowed her eyes. “I thought Ani wasn’t supposed to go on missions until he completed the initiate tests. Why was he with you in the first place?”

    Qui-Gon quietly sighed. He had hoped to steer the conversation away from that detail. “At first, the Council had decided against training Anakin, citing that he was too old to begin training and they sensed fear in him. I defied them by saying I would train him on my own. This meant I would have no support in his training by anyone in the Order, and I had to take him with me when I was assigned on the mission.”

    “So he’s not officially a Jedi initiate?”

    “He is now. He proved himself on Naboo.”

    “By disobeying orders and blowing up a ship?”

    “Actually, it was what happened after all that which changed their mind.” Qui-Gon paused only slightly before continuing, guessing his audience would not yet be satisfied. “Master Yoda questioned Anakin while I was recuperating under a Jedi healer’s care. The lad apologized to the Grand Master for the rift he perceived between myself and the Council, and asked him for advice on where he could go after withdrawing his apprenticeship to me so I wouldn’t be in trouble.” The Jedi Master smiled slightly as he remembered how touched he had been by Anakin’s intended sacrifice on his behalf. “This led to Yoda speaking to the Council on the boy’s behalf, and they changed their decision.”

    Shmi remained silent for a couple minutes, her expression pensive. “Were you in danger of being thrown out of the Order for taking Ani as your padawan?”

    Qui-gon quickly shook his head. “No. The Council and I have often been in disagreement on various issues, but I have never given them reason to dispel me.”

    “Then why did Anakin feel he needed to leave you so you wouldn’t be in trouble?”

    “I believe he overheard a conversation between Obi-Wan and I, and he misunderstood what was said. Be that as it may, I have faith that Anakin has the strength to overcome any fears he has, and will become an extraordinary Jedi. Most of those on the council now share my belief.”

    “Thank you, Qui-Gon.” She lowered her eyes as she added, “I’m sorry.”

    “For what,” he asked, nonplussed at her apology.

    “For doubting you.”

    He reached out once more to take her hand, giving her fingers a reassuring squeeze. When their eyes met, he fought back the urge to lean over to kiss her.

    Slowly...

    Reluctantly...

    He pulled his hand away, his fingers stroking the back of her hand as he did so. He found it even harder to peel his gaze from hers. He swallowed before turning the subject of the conversation back to its original subject. “So, does Naboo sound like a good idea?”

    “Yes, at least temporarily until I figure out where I wish to settle permanently.” She shook her head as she added, “I... never thought this day would come.”

    “What’s that?”

    “I never thought I’d be deciding on where to go. I mean, it’s never been an option for me. Before I was a slave, my parents made the decisions, and then my masters dictated where I lived. Even though I was almost freed twice before, I had never had a chance to give much thought on where I would go once it came about.” She smiled at him. “Thank you.”

    Qui-Gon nodded wordlessly in acknowledgement of her gratitude. “So you came close to freedom twice? How, and what stopped you?”

    “Before Ani was born, one of my masters was going to free me, but she died before she could, and her relatives were not inclined to carry out her wishes. The second time was actually a couple weeks before you returned to free me.” Pain crossed her features, and she looked away from him as she continued in a subdued tone, “A moisture farmer befriended me, and he and his son were going to attempt to purchase me from Watto in trade for a tobal lens, planning to free me after the trade. However, when they were headed toward Watto’s shop, they were accosted by a street criminal who shot and killed...” Her voice broke, and she began weeping. Getting up, she ran from the cockpit.

    The Jedi was quick to rise and followed her. She stopped at the exit ramp, leaning against the wall beside the opening. “Shmi,” he whispered as he stopped behind her. He gently rubbed her back as her shoulders were wracked with heavy sobs. He held her when she turned and wrapped her arms around him, saying nothing as he continued caress between her shoulder blades.

    Once she stopped crying she pulled away, still sniffling slightly.

    “I’m sure Cliegg would be glad to know you’re finally free,” he said softly, hoping to encourage her.

    Shmi frowned at Qui-Gon. “How did you know his name? I didn’t mention it.”

    Before he could formulate an answer, a sudden disturbance in the Force brought him to his knees.

    A scream of anguish escaped his lips, “Anakin!”
    Last edited by Alexis_Wingstar, Dec 18, 2012
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  4. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Cliffie. Great backgrounds for Shmi
  5. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
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    Alexis! You were grabbing this mush fanatic with all the warm fuzzy when :eek: =D= Thank you for more edge of seatness. This story really is a great balance of sweet gentleness and on the brinkness with Q/S and also [face_nail_biting] ;) [:D]
  6. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    @earlybird-obi-wan, yep, I'm a big fangirl of Cliff Hanger. [face_laugh]

    @Jade_eyes, yeah, I'm evil that way... I actually enjoy giving those little jolts (kind of like how Darth Sidious relished using force lightening on Luke Skywalker :p ).

    On that note, here is the next chapter:

    ~~~

    Chapter 8
    Taken


    “Anakin!”

    The anguished cry cut through Shmi like a blaster bolt.

    “Qui-Gon!” She knelt in front of the Jedi, placing her hands on his shoulders. “What happened?”

    The faraway look in the Jedi’s eyes combined with his ragged breathing greatly alarmed her. She shook his shoulders as she repeated, “Qui-gon, what’s happening?” When there was no change in his demeanor, her voice rose in desperation, “Please, look at me!”

    Still, there was no response.

    “I’m sorry about this,” she said as she drew back her hand. She hesitated a moment before swinging full force to give his cheek a resounding blow which made her hand throb painfully. The smack to the side of his face only made his head jerk to the side slightly, but his expression remained distant.

    Tears came to Shmi’s eyes as she pleaded, “Come on, Qui-Gon, snap out of it.”

    Placing both hands on either side of his face, she leaned in to press her lips firmly to his and closed her eyes. She was surprised at the passion that welled up within her as she did so, yet she did not stop -- not until he pulled away.

    “Shmi?”

    The lost and confused look on his face almost broke her heart, but that did not distract her from demanding, “Anakin! What happened to him?”

    The Jedi’s expression suddenly became focused. Without a word, he quickly stood and went around her. “Stay here,” he ordered as he started down the ramp.

    “Qui-Gon,” she protested, “what’s going on?”

    He stopped briefly and turned to look up at her. “Raise the ramp and only lower it again when I come back.” With those instructions still ringing in the air, he turned and quickly ran out of the bay.

    Shmi watched until he disappeared around the corner then closed the ramp as he had told her. Leaning against the wall, she whispered, “Please be careful.”

    She tried to take comfort in the fact that he was hurrying. She thought, if Ani were already dead, there would be no need to rush, right? She pushed herself away from the wall and began pacing as different scenarios ran through her head that could have caused Qui-Gon’s sudden collapse while saying her son’s name, and none of them were good. In fact, many of them included a gory image of her child lying in a pool of blood.

    She stopped in mid-stride and ran shaking fingers through her hair as she muttered, “This isn’t doing you or anyone else any good. Get a hold of yourself and do something useful.” She began searching around the spacecraft and decided to do an inventory of the first aid kit. After emptying, tallying, and replacing everything in the box twenty times, she suddenly thought she sensed something. Frowning, she went to the cockpit to look out the window, and saw Qui-Gon striding purposefully toward the ship.

    Without Anakin.

    She quickly went back to lower the ramp. It was barely halfway down when the Jedi jumped onto it and quickly covered the distance from the end to the level floor. Shmi jumped slightly when he slammed his fist against the control panel to raise the ramp once more. She saw he was grinding his jaw as he went passed her, and swallowed.

    He pointed to the first aid kit as he went by it on the way to the cockpit. “Secure that, then buckle yourself in.” His voice barely above a whisper, but the tone brooked no argument.

    Sensing his urgency, she rushed to do as he said. Shmi mentally cursed her shaking fingers as she fumbled at the restraints. The hand she had used to slap Qui-Gon earlier ached as she redoubled her efforts upon hearing the ship’s engines start. Her eyes darted to the large frame of her Jedi companion. She was loathe to ask for his help. Though she was used to the outwardly rough demeanor of her past owners, and had become detached to the abuse dealt her by them, Qui-Gon’s atypical stormy mood disquieted her.

    She started slightly when he suddenly turned in his chair and reached out to fasten her restraints. When he just as quickly returned his attention to the control console, she felt embarrassed at her timidity. He would never harm me. Still, she could not bring herself to voice the questions she so longed to ask...

    Where is Ani?

    Is he alive?

    Where are we going?

    What the HELL is going on?

    She tightly grasped the arms of her chair as the ship suddenly ascended with the nose sharply angled upwards. Her chest tightened alarmingly as they gained speed, and she had trouble breathing. Her vision became blurry, and just as she feared she was going to pass out, the trajectory eased and released the pressure on her chest. Her ears popped though, and she suddenly felt queasy.

    “Are you alright?” Qui-Gon turned his head to look at her.

    Shmi nodded and made a feeble attempt to smile even as she fought the urge to vomit. She was relieved when she felt the ship slow slightly. She then noticed a drastic change in the cockpit’s viewport. The blue sky gave way to a vast blackness that was broken by tiny pinpricks of light, and she realized they had left Tatooine’s atmosphere. Ahead of them was another ship, sleek in design and a little smaller than the one in which they travelled. They were coming upon it rather quickly, but then the small craft suddenly lurched ahead and disappeared. Qui-Gon’s concentration was almost palpable as his hands flew over the controls, and the stars became silvery-white lines that streaked past at impossible speeds.

    “Was Anakin on that ship?”

    Without turning to her, Qui-Gon nodded.

    “Please, tell me what happened.”

    “He was kidnapped.”

    “By whom and why?”

    “Hold on, Shmi,” he replied distantly as they came out of hyperspace. The other ship was just ahead of them, and they had only approached for a few moments before it disappeared once more.

    Again, Qui-Gon’s fingers flew over the control panel, and they were once more shooting through hyperspace.

    “How do you know where they’re going? Did you put a tracer on them?”

    “Not exactly,” was the Jedi’s taciturn reply.

    “Qui-Gon, do you know who has my son?”

    She saw his back stiffen and heard him take in a deep breath and slowly release it before he spoke in an overly controlled tone, “Shmi, I’m trying to concentrate, please.”

    “I’m sorry,” she whispered in a stricken voice. Tears burned her eyes as she worried that by distracting him she may have made them lose her son.

    Once more, they came out of hyperspace. Qui-Gon quickly pressed a button and lasers quickly shot out toward the small ship, missing by a narrow margin.

    “What the...?” Shmi put a hand to her forehead and her fingers grasped the front part of her hair as her eyes widened in horror.

    The front viewscreen was suddenly filled by the visage of a frail looking man with a distinguished bearing. “I confess disappointment in you, my apprentice. You do not actually think I believe you would actually shoot my ship out of the heavens while your own padawan was on board.”

    “What have you done to him?” Qui-Gon’s voice sounded hoarse.

    “He has not been harmed.”

    “Let me speak to him.”

    “Patience, Padawan. Meet me, alone,” the man’s gaze looked past Qui-Gon’s and straight into Shmi’s as he spoke. Even though he was the man who kidnapped her son, the haunted and tortured look in those eyes made her feel compassion for him. She said nothing, though, as those eyes returned to the Jedi’s. “I’m sending you the coordinates as I speak. I cannot stress enough
    that you must come alone.”

    ~~~

    Master, what happened to you?

    The transmission ended in the middle of Qui-Gon’s unvoiced question, and the Jedi’s shoulders slumped as he and his companion watched the small ship escape once more into hyperspace. He reached up to rub the back of his neck as weariness flooded him. Something was very wrong. The last time he had seen his former master was in the healers’ ward in the Temple when he was recuperating from the severe injury he had incurred during the duel with the Sith apprentice almost two years before. Dooku had come to visit him briefly. The elderly Jedi was pensive, and Qui-Gon had a sense that his master was giving him a final farewell, but at the time, the Master looked in good health.

    Not like he did now.

    Master Dooku appeared almost as emaciated as Shmi, and there were dark circles under his eyes. Though the elder was shielding himself, Qui-Gon could sense through their tentative bond that his soul was tortured and conflicted. Once I know Anakin is safe, I will do what I can to help you, my Master.

    He felt gentle hands begin to massage his tense shoulders and closed his eyes. “Are you alright?” Shmi’s soft voice was as soothing to his soul even as her fingers excited his flesh.

    Qui-Gon swallowed as he reached up to stay her hands as he replied, “Yes, thank you Shmi.” He slowly turned his chair around and stood, still holding her hands. “I’m sorry for how I treated you earlier. I was so focussed on trying to get to Anakin, I pushed you aside. You deserve more respect than that.”

    She pulled one hand from his and reached up to cup his cheek. “You did what you had to do. I don’t expect, nor do I want you to coddle me. I meant what I said on Tatooine. You cannot take care of both Anakin and me. Ani comes first. Always.”

    He turned his head slightly to kiss the palm of her hand. He in turn stroked her cheek with his fingers as he looked deeply into her eyes. “I understand that, but I still could have been more polite about it.”

    “What’s done is done, Qui-Gon,” Shmi said as her fingers traced his face along his beard line. Her light touch tingled pleasantly and he fought the urge to lean down to kiss her as she added, “Don’t worry about my feelings. I’m a big girl.” A smile played about her lips as she said the last, and the fact that her torso was leaning towards him so that her feminine curves were slightly pressed against him became very much the focus his attention.

    “Shmi,” he whispered huskily as he pulled back. He cleared his throat before continuing in a more normal tone, “We need to go to Naboo before I rendezvous with Master Dooku.”

    “You mean before we meet with Master Dooku.”

    “No,” he said firmly, “you will stay on Naboo while I go get Anakin.”

    Shmi stepped back from Qui-Gon, her eyes flashing with anger and determination. “I can’t stay hidden away while my son is in danger!”

    “You’re not hiding, you are ensuring your son’s safety by doing as I say,” the Jedi reasoned. “Master Dooku told me to come alone. If you come, he may kill the boy.”

    “I’ll stay on the ship, he doesn’t have to know I’m here!”

    “Shmi, please listen to me. I understand your wish to come. But even if you stay on the ship, Master Dooku will still sense your presence and it could put both you and Anakin in more danger. You have said it yourself, I cannot take care of both you and Anakin. I cannot concentrate on freeing Anakin if I have to worry for your safety as well!”

    The former slave crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I hate it when my own words are used against me.” She closed her eyes tight as she lowered her head.

    “Shmi,” he said softly as he took a step toward her and placed a hand under her chin. The next moment, she was leaning against him, and he could feel her body heave as she took in a deep, shuddering breath.

    “I know you’re right,” her voice was muffled in his robe. “I don’t mean to be difficult.”

    Qui-Gon enfolded her in his arms and leaned down slightly to kiss the top of her head.
    Last edited by Alexis_Wingstar, Dec 18, 2012
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  7. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Wow for Anakin's plight [face_nail_biting] and SQUEE! for the rest LOL [:D]
  8. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    WOW that's "Taken" indeed with the unexpected turns.
    benknobi1 likes this.
  9. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    @Jade_eyes I'm glad you're enjoying this. I believe Master Dooku's plight may be more precarious even though he's the kidnapper.

    @earlybird-obi-wan Wow indeed.

    I'm sorry this chapter is pretty short... I was going to switch back to Shmi and Qui-Gon near the end, but it just didn't feel like it fit right.

    ~~~

    Chapter 9
    Lost


    Anakin felt very groggy as he slowly opened his eyes. As he stretched out, he noticed how cold and dark it was. He felt more than heard the thrum of engines, and knew he was on a ship. Funny, I don’t remember getting back here. He scratched the top of his head as he sat up. He felt something was very wrong. He reached out into the Force and frowned. The darkness in the room was more than the mere lack of visual light, but there was a murky shroud that threatened to smother his spirit.

    “Master Jinn,” he whispered, “where are you?” He could barely sense the bond. Shivering, he folded his arms in front of his chest and rubbed vigorously from elbow to shoulder. He closed his eyes even though he could see nothing with them open, and reached out further. Master? Are you hurt? Where are you?”

    Though there were no words, he sensed an acknowledgement of reassurance that felt like the man he had grown to love as much as he loved his mother. Though their bond still seemed attenuated, he sighed with relief. That is until he discerned another shadowed presence close by.

    “Hello?”

    “There is much fear in you, young one.”

    The deep, resonant voice sounded somewhat familiar, but Anakin could not remember to whom it belonged. Instead of asking the obvious question, he shrugged, “Yeah, that’s something I have to work on.” As he spoke, he mentally worked to release the aforementioned anxiety. “My master is helping me, but he says it’s mostly up to me to face my fear and overcome it.”

    “Fear can give you strength.”

    “Maybe,” Anakin answered thoughtfully, “but, acting out of fear can make you do some mighty stupid things, too. It’s like smashing a hornet with a sledgehammer and breaking through a wall to let the whole hive come buzzing in your house.”

    The young Jedi heard the person chuckle softly. “Only the young can speak such wisdom with so much naivety.” The dark voice sounded both wistful and bitter. Anakin could feel a great deal of pain from the unseen man.

    “Sir, are you injured,” he asked as he stood. He walked toward the sound of the voice.

    “Stay where you are, child.”

    Stopping in mid stride, Anakin reached out with the Force as he gently replied, “I won’t harm you, I just want to help.”

    ~~~

    “I won’t harm you, I just want to help.”

    Master Dooku fought the urge to sob. The words backed by such pure compassion shamed him. “It is too late for me, young padawan. I am lost.” He turned to press the pressure plate to open the door.

    Though the glowpanels in the corridor beyond were dim, they let enough light in that his shadow was silhouetted against the floor behind him. “Qui-Gon will come to get you shortly. We must prepare for his arrival.”

    He walked down the corridor to the ship’s cockpit, sensing the boy quietly following. When they arrived, he indicated the pilot’s seat as he sat in the one next to it. “I have heard you are an accomplished pilot. Do you wish to demonstrate your prowess by landing at the coordinates on the display?”

    Anakin favored him with a puzzled frown. “You aren’t afraid I’ll pull the ship around and go somewhere else, Master Dooku?”

    “So you finally recognize me.” Before the boy could respond, he answered the question, “If you do, you may never see Qui-Gon again.” It was a lie, but the elderly Jedi was good at hiding his inner self, so was sure the youth could not tell.

    “But if I don’t, you’ll be leading him into a trap, right? I won’t help you hurt my Master, sir.”

    “I have no intention of harming you or your master,” he spoke truthfully, “though Dar... AHH!” Excruciating pain coursing through his body stopped his words. It eased after a few seconds, but left him breathing heavily from the exertion to overcome the agony. “Someone else wants me to kill Qui-Gon, but I would rather die than carry out that wish.”

    He could see in Anakin’s expression that he was trying to piece things together. “Is it the Sith Lord?”

    A smile quivered on Dooku’s lips. “Yes.”

    “Who is he?”

    Just the thought of the man’s name brought torment to the elder’s slight frame, and he fell to his knees with a scream of anguish. He felt small hands on his shoulders.

    “Stop, please stop! Don’t think about him.” Anakin’s plead broke through the agony, and the man’s head slumped forward as his body trembled. “I’m sorry, I won’t ask any more questions.”

    Dooku could hear the quavering in the boy’s voice and looked up to see youth was crying. He reached out and patted the boy’s shoulder. “Anakin,” he panted breathlessly, “just land the ship, please.”

    The boy swallowed as he pulled back his hands and wiped his own tears from his cheeks. “Yes, sir,” he said as he got up and turned toward the pilot’s chair.

    Dooku was slower to rise from the floor and settle into the co-pilot’s seat. He is so much like Qui-Gon, he mused, in so many ways. Maybe there is hope after all. If not for me, for the Jedi Order.
    Last edited by Alexis_Wingstar, Dec 18, 2012
  10. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Awesome post. Glad to see Dooku is trying to withstand his version of an implanted command ;) =D= And Anakin is very insightful and courageous @};- :)
  11. CmdrMitthrawnuruodo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2000
    star 6
    Ooo... I'm hooked. I took your bait and fell into your trap! :p Yep I should have listened to my feelings sooner and looked at this fic. Love your Qui-Gon and Shmi is growing on me.

    And Dooku... What have you done to him? :eek: The guy can never get a break can he? ;)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  12. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    Well, let's just say his ending will be different from cannon.
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  13. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love to see Dooku and Anakin is very compassionate
  14. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    @Jade_eyes, Yes, he's fighting it, but how long he can do so without giving in... well, we shall see. [face_thinking]

    @CmdrMitthrawnuruodo, hehe, writing a story is much like spinning a web. I promise your entrapment won't be too painful. Bwahahahaha. [face_devil]

    @earlybird-obi-wan yay, you're back! [face_dancing] I hope I can give Dooku the proper treatment in my story he deserves. He isn't easy to write.

    Okay, on to the next chapter:

    CHAPTER 10
    Confession

    “It’s my fault.” As Qui-Gon pulled away from her, Shmi cast her eyes down to the floor, unable to match his penetrating gaze. She closed her eyes as he gently lifted her chin.

    “What’s your fault,” he inquired with a puzzled frown.

    “I told him...” she paused to take a shaky breath, “... if I didn’t tell him to say goodbye to his friends, he’d be with us now.”

    “Shmi...”

    She interrupted him with a shake of her head and backed away from him as she glanced up at him. “No, don’t tell me it isn’t my fault, because I know it is. I sent him to say farewell because I wanted a little more time alone with you!” She blushed and looked away. “He’s in danger because I was selfish.” Folding her arms across her chest, she lowered her head as she whispered hoarsely, “I hate myself.”

    “Shmi,” Qui-Gon said softly as he reached out to cup her cheek with his calloused hand, “please look at me.” Taking a deep, shuddering breath and slowly releasing it before looking into his eyes, she felt a hot tear streak down the side of her face. His thumb gently brushed the moisture away as he continued, “By your reasoning, then I’m equally guilty. He looked to me for permission to go, remember?”

    Nodding, she answered, “Yes, I remember, but...” He forestalled her by gently pressing one of his fingers against her lips.

    “Aside from the fact that I sensed there would be an argument between us I did not wish to have if I’d said ‘no’,” he paused with a slight grin lighting his eyes, and the corners of Shmi’s mouth trembled upward slightly in response, “I also wished to spend just a little more time with you.” He shifted his hand so his fingers traced her jaw line as he spoke, and he leaned toward her slightly. “I enjoy your company, Shmi. Since it may be a long time, if ever, we would see each other again once we parted, I just wanted a few more moments to...” He paused once more, his face now inches from hers. Shmi felt his warm breath caressing her lips, and she was sure her heart was going to leap out of her chest before he finished by whispering, “... to enjoy you a little more.”

    Qui-Gon’s eyes widened as he suddenly pulled away, and to her surprise, she saw his face color slightly with embarrassment. “I’m sorry,” he said as he shook his head, “that didn’t come out as I intended.”

    “But, I like the way it did.” Her own cheeks grew warm as she heard the flirtatious tone in her own voice. Swallowing, she reached out to take his hand. “I know neither of us are to blame for what happened,” she said softly as she stepped closer to him. She placed another hand on his chest, feeling the strong pectoral muscles through his tunic, and noticed the rhythm of his heartbeat was the same as hers. “I... just...” She stopped speaking because she lost her train of thought as she gazed into his eyes.

    Qui-Gon gently grasped the hand Shmi had placed against his chest and cleared his throat before speaking, “We... need to get you to Naboo so I can go rescue Anakin.”

    Blushing, she slowly pulled away. She tried to say, “Yes,” but no sound emerged from her mouth so she swallowed and nodded.

    ~~~

    As they parted, every fiber of Qui-Gon’s being ached to hold Shmi, and he struggled to think clearly. He forced his gaze away from hers as he turned away and sat in the pilot’s seat. What is wrong with me? I’m a Jedi Master, not some hormonal teenaged padawan. He smiled slightly as he thought of what his old friend, Sian Ny, would say: ‘You may be a Jedi by choice, but you’re a man by birth.’ He was grateful his robe covered one particular aspect of his manhood, at the moment. He blankly stared at the control console for a moment, and shook his head to clear his mind. He tried to put his awareness of Shmi, who settled in the chair next to him, away as he entered coordinates for Naboo. He triple checked the settings before pressing the final button that would pull the ship into hyperspace. Once underway, he glanced over at her, careful not to make eye contact. “We should be there in a couple hours.”

    “Qui-Gon,” she spoke softly, “please help him.”

    The Jedi blinked and regarded her with a puzzled expression. “Anakin? Of course, I’ll help him.”

    “No, I mean that man... your former master... after you make sure Ani is safe, help him. I’ve seen that look he had in his eyes in a mirror before.” She lowered her gaze to her lap. “He’s lost, and needs help.”

    Touched but not surprised by Shmi’s compassion, he reached out to take her hand and gently squeezed. “I will.” He swallowed as he lifted her chin with his other hand so their eyes met. “What was it that hurt you so bad that you had that look?”

    He allowed her to pull back from his touch as she closed her eyes. “This isn’t about me,” she whispered. She smiled shakily as she gently grasped the fingers that had lifted her chin. Reopening her eyes, she continued to speak at a more normal volume, “You were close to him.”

    “Master Dooku was not only my mentor, he was like a father to me, and I will do everything I can to help him as a son would for his father.”

    “Are you sure,” she asked with her head slightly tilted downward and her fawn-brown eyes looking up into his, “I can’t come along?”

    Qui-Gon chuckled as he shook his head. “Shmi.”

    “I know, I just had to try once more.”

    Standing, he held out a hand out to her and said, “Come, it will be more comfortable in the main cabin.” She took his hand as she rose from the chair, and he slowly lead her aft.

    ~~~

    Shmi watched Qui-Gon as he made tea for the both of them, noting the Jedi’s movements were a perfect meld of grace and efficiency. She found herself imagining how it would be to have her body moving with his. Blushing, she shook her head and looked away.

    Damn it, Shmi, stop it, she mentally chided herself, are you looking for a broken heart? Still, she felt her heart speed up as she saw him come over with the two steaming cups and smile at her as he placed them on the table. She was disappointed, however, when he sat across from her instead of next to her on the small bench.

    As she sipped the tea, she could not keep her eyes from peering over the rim of her cup at the handsome man before her. Perhaps it’s better this way, all the easier to look at him.

    “Is the tea to your liking? It’s not too hot, is it?”

    Lowering the cup so she could answer, she smiled over at him. “It’s perfect.” Just like you. She was not sure if it was her imagination, but she thought she saw a slight coloring to Qui-Gon’s cheeks as he broke his gaze.

    The Jedi placed his tea on the table as well, and Shmi noticed their fingers were mere centimeters apart. “Thank you for your compassion toward my Master,” he spoke softly.

    “When someone’s been fortunate enough to come through whatever horror that made one’s eyes look as his did, they can’t turn their back on one who is going through that type of hell.”

    Qui-Gon’s fingers released their hold on the cup to gently trace the line of her hand against her own cup. “There are some who become hardened by those experiences, but others have the strength to sympathize.”

    “I...” she looked into the light, reddish-brown liquid as she tried to compose her thoughts. “There was a time when that wasn’t so. There were times when I closed myself off so they couldn’t steal everything I was. The problem is, when you close yourself away for long enough, the way out gets blocked and you're trapped behind that door with a broken key in the lock... and sometimes you don’t even remember that part of yourself is there, and couldn’t find it even if you did.” She saw a drop of liquid splash into her tea and realized it was her tears. Next thing she knew, Qui-Gon was beside her, holding her in his strong arms. “I was lucky,” she began speaking once more as she laid her head against his shoulder. “Pi-Lippa, the master who tried to free me, was very kind and treated me as though I was her own daughter rather than just a slave. When she learned I was pregnant, she didn’t judge me or ask who the father was. The first thing she said was, ‘Well, I’ll have to hurry up to free you then. We can’t have your child born in slavery.’ Her love pulled me out of my self-imposed prison, and when Ani was born, my love for him kept me from going back. I did all I could to shelter him from the worst of the horrors of our life as slaves... mostly all I could do was teach him to help others, because caring gives worth to even a slave’s life.”

    Shmi felt Qui-Gon lean in to kiss the top of her head. She pulled away slightly so she could look up at him. Resting one hand on his thigh, she said, “Thank you for the tenderness you’ve shown me. I became so used to not having it, that I didn’t even realize how much I longed for it.” She lowered her voice to a whisper as she confessed, “I would choose to give you as a free woman what others forced from me as a slave.”

    Suddenly feeling vulnerable, she removed her hand from his leg and looked away.

    The Jedi caught her her hand in his and whispered in her ear, “Shmi...” His warm breath caressed her neck, sending tendrils of bliss coursing through her. “I’m sorry I can’t be all you need me to be.”

    Though delivered with gentleness, his words were a blade in her heart. She quickly stood and walked a few steps away, silently cursing the fact that there was no place she could run to on the small ship. She held her arms across her chest and bit her bottom lip, determined not to cry. Without knowing how, she sensed Qui-Gon come up behind her. Before he could put a hand on her shoulder, she said, “Don’t. Please, I need to be alone.”

    “As you wish, my lady.” The reply was barely above a whisper.

    She closed her eyes tight as she shed unwanted tears and heard the Jedi’s footsteps fading when he retreated to the cockpit.
    Last edited by Alexis_Wingstar, Dec 18, 2012
  15. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Lovely touching post. I hope Shmi and Qui-Gon will stay together.
    Alexis_Wingstar and Jade_eyes like this.
  16. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    You write their emotions and the dialogue between them so beautifully. Shmi's character is really blossoming under your deft skills. =D=

    And Qui-Gon's -- appeal ;) to her and to the rest of us is coming through superbly as well LOL Yums!

    ****


    Not only does she deserve happiness and the pleasures of love in all its facets, but so does he. And what she says about self-imposed prisons and locking yourself away until you stultify =D= that could and does apply to the "rule" on no-attachments. Silly, unrealistic, and unhealthy that is. :rolleyes: :(
    Last edited by Jade_eyes, Dec 3, 2012
  17. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    =D= Excellent series of chapters I just got caught up on. Brilliantly done.
  18. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    @earlybird-obi-wan Thank you... and I won't give anything away as to their future involvement or lack thereof. [face_whistling]

    @Jade_eyes I'm glad you like how I write them. Shmi is one of the characters I identify with most (Jar Jar Binks is another one I identify with because I'm a consummate klutz [face_laugh] ).

    @Valairy Scot Thanks you.

    ~~~

    Chapter 11
    Drawn

    Qui-Gon’s hand hovered mid-air just a couple millimeters from her shoulder as he replied softly to Shmi’s request, “As you wish, my lady.”

    He turned and walked swiftly to the cockpit, pausing just inside as he contemplated whether or not to close the door. He decided to leave it open, hoping to let Shmi know without words that she could come to him if she needed to talk. He settled heavily into the pilot’s seat, shoulders slumped. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, “the last thing I wanted to do was hurt you.” He felt a hot tear roll down his cheek. Taking a deep, shaky breath and slowly releasing it, he rebuked himself, Damn it, get a hold of yourself!

    The Jedi closed his eyes as he began the usual mental exercises to enter meditation, but Shmi’s face kept appearing as though pictures of her were glued to the back of his eyelids. Sighing, he opened his eyes and gave up on meditating for now. He could not deny he was attracted to this woman, and she to him. He also could not deny he cared deeply for her. Who am I trying to fool? I love her. After Tahl, I never thought I could love another... I didn’t want to love that way again.

    He glanced back toward the main cabin where he could hear the whisper of Shmi’s movements. The urge to go to her was strong, but he fought it. I can only give her a moment’s pleasure. My Jedi duties won’t allow more than that. She deserves so much more than I can give her. The thought occurred to him that he could leave the Order to be with her. But where would that leave Anakin? I can’t abandon him. Sure, another Master could train him, and he’d probably benefit from other tutelage besides mine, but I can’t break our bond. That would be unfair to the boy, and Shmi would not allow that.

    Ani comes first.

    Always.

    Qui-Gon took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The thought about the bond he had with Anakin made him realize that he also now had a bond with Shmi. He thought back through the past week and the time he spent with her, and saw how it grew. The two were drawn together by this bond, he could not disregard this. It feels as deep and strong as my connection to Anakin... only with him it’s more a father/son relationship... with her... He smiled slightly at the turn his thoughts were going, then sobered quickly as he wondered just when their souls were linked, for he had not consciously formed a bond with this woman. Thinking back to how he had known the name of the moisture farmer who had tried to free Shmi even though she had not spoken it, he frowned. “But, that would mean it was forged almost two years ago,” he whispered to himself. He closed his eyes as he thought back...

    The first time he saw Shmi was when Jar Jar, Padme and he followed Anakin into the small hovel that the slaves called home. He was struck by the unadorned beauty and grace of their host. Her weariness of strangers was not lost on him, even as she extended her hospitality and generously shared what he knew she could barely afford. He also noted how reluctant she was to let her son enter the Boonta Eve classic. Qui-Gon knew Padme wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect, either. Truth to tell, neither was he, but there was no other way to raise the money needed, and he had a feeling the boy would be victorious. Anakin pointed out to his mother how she had always told him that they should help those in need, convincing her to let him enter the dangerous race.

    ‘She didn’t much like it back then when Anakin threw her words back at her, either,’ Qui-gon thought with a smile. All through that day, after the sandstorm had passed, the Jedi had taken every opportunity to speak quietly with Shmi.

    Though he knew the bond had not formed that day, he had been attracted to her. Did I subconsciously initiate this, he wondered.

    That night, after he had said goodnight to Anakin, he spotted Shmi quietly watching him. She had blushed and turned away. When Qui-Gon came back inside, she apologized as she avoided eye contact with him, “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.”

    “What did you overhear?”

    “Not much, just that someone named Yoda didn’t have that high a count, and that no Jedi did.” The woman glanced up at him as she tentatively asked, “You were speaking about Ani, right?”

    Qui-Gon nodded. “He has much potential.”

    Shmi bit her lip before saying, “I don’t have the right to ask you this, but please, if there is any way...” With embarrassment coloring her cheeks once more, she looked away before adding, “I don’t ask it for myself, but if you could free Ani and take him with you... help him reach that potential...” She stopped, swallowing nervously.

    He took a step towards her and placed a hand gently on her shoulder. “Shmi, I’d like to help you both, but...”

    “Qui-Gon,” she whispered as she turned and grasped the hand that was on her shoulder, holding it between her slender fingers. “I’ll do anything you want if you could take my son away from this Force-forsaken life!” Though she spoke softly, her tone held a desperate intensity that surprised the Jedi. She drew his hand down to her bosom as she continued, “I will pay you with the
    only thing I have if you free Ani.”

    “Shmi,” he began as he gently pulled his hand away.

    He was jarringly interrupted by the entrance of a certain Gungan with a singular gift of such disruption.

    Shmi took advantage of the distraction to quickly retreat, but not before Qui-Gon noticed the tears in her eyes. Sighing, he let her go as he sensed her embarrassment. He accompanied Jar Jar into the main room. A few minutes later, their host came out with blankets. As she handed one to the Gungan then to the young handmaiden, she apologized, “I’m afraid I don’t have extra pillows.”

    Padme smiled kindly. “You have nothing to apologize for. Your generosity is beyond what we expected.”

    “Meesa agree!” Jar Jar Binks said expansively, “Yousa muy muy a blessing to us.” In his expressiveness, he spread his arms wide and wound up backhanding a glowlamp, knocking it over. In his attempt to right it, he knocked over the small table it rested upon. When Qui-Gon came over and helped the Gungan to prevent further destruction of their host’s living quarters, the long-eared being turned to Shmi. “Mesa sorry mesa so clumsy.”

    Shmi smiled reassuringly at him. “You’re alright.” As she gave the last blanket to Qui-Gon, she avoided eye contact with him.

    The Jedi caught her hand before she could pull away, and bowed slightly so that their eyes met. “Thank you,” he said softly even as she turned her head and pulled away her hand.

    “Good night.” She turned to include her other two guests as she added, “I hope you all sleep well.”

    The next morning, Qui-Gon rose early. Jar Jar Binks was already awake, and the two left for the arena just as Padme began to stir. When Anakin and his mother arrived soon after he had made the bet with Watto, he could hardly wait to tell Shmi the good news. He felt his grin spread from ear to ear as he greeted her. “Good morning!”

    The fact that she did not quite make eye contact did not bother him in the least as he helped her down from the eopie young Kitster was handling. Gently but firmly, he took her hand and led her slightly away from the others. “I have good and bad news,” he told her.

    “What’s that?” She finally looked him in the eye briefly before blushing and looking down.

    “I made a wager with Watto that Anakin would win the race. When he wins, Watto will release your son to me.”

    Shmi’s eyes widened with delight as she looked up at the Jedi, the smile on her face was the most beautiful thing he had seen on Tatooine. “Oh, Qui-Gon, really?” No sooner had he nodded in affirmation, she wrapped her arms around his waist in a tight hug that almost hurt. Just as quickly, she pulled away. Embarrassed, she wiped her eyes. “What’s the bad news?”

    This time, it was Qui-Gon who looked away. “I... I’m sorry I couldn’t include you in the deal,” he answered in a quiet voice.

    “Qui-Gon,” she said as she took both his hands and squeezed. When he met her eyes, she smiled up at him. “Thank you... I...” She stopped as her lips trembled slightly, and she took a deep breath before adding, “What counts is Ani. He doesn’t deserve this life.”

    “Neither do you,” he replied as the pads of his thumbs caressed the back of her knuckles.

    She shook her head. “No regrets.” She then tilted her head as she asked, “What did you barter with?” Looking at where she knew he wore his weapon, she gasped, “Not your lightsaber!”

    His lips creeped up in a slow grin and she laughed as her cheeks reddened. “No,” he said with amusement coloring his voice, “the podracer.”

    “Good.” She suddenly looked sad as she glanced down at the ground. “About last night...” her voice trailed off.

    Qui-Gon placed his fingers under her chin and lifted it until their eyes met. He said nothing, but with a small smile, he hoped she could understand he did not judge her. He gently wiped a tear from her cheek. “Perhaps you should secure a viewing pad for the race before there are none left.”

    She nodded, and as she walked away, he allowed himself a moment to enjoy watching the sway of her hips before going over to where Anakin and Kitster were talking with Padme.

    Pulling his thoughts to the present, the Jedi shook his head. It had to have been after the race, he decided. Then he remembered how he had used the Force to bolster Shmi’s inner strength after they had told Anakin he was free. The boy had gone to pack, and Qui-Gon had put a hand on her shoulder while asking if she would be okay. That was when it started, he realized. Then he frowned. “But, I didn’t mean to form that bond,” he whispered.

    A beeping sound pulled his attention to the pilot’s console. They were coming out of hyperdrive.
    Last edited by Alexis_Wingstar, Dec 18, 2012
  19. benknobi1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2002
    star 6
    I love [face_love] how you have written Qui and Shmi... there's the whole noble jedi bit I'm a jedi, and I care about you so much but it can't go any further so I guess we'll have some slightly awkward farewell which seems to be overshadowed by something more real, natural, and thought-provoking ; leading the reader to believe that one day, the strength of their relationship/bond may decide for them the path they must take. Not to mention the relationship tug-of-war that keeps it interesting and is deeply appreciated. :)

    Everything should go as planned on Naboo, but then you never know ;)
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  20. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love how Qui is reacting to his feelings. And him bonding with Shmi would be nice
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  21. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    =D=


    The flashback fit seamlessly and snugly into the chapter and accentuated and heightened the sense of how and when the bond between Qui-Gon and Shmi had formed [face_thinking]

    I love and agree with how @benknobi1 expressed it. I too think a bond that forms so naturally - almost without (can I call it) volition? :D is destined, and would harm the parties involved more by being denied or worse yet :_| shattered from within or without. No one dares hinder it. There must be a way Qui-Gon can honor and embrace the blessings of both bonds, with mother and son. :) :)

    [:D]
    Last edited by Jade_eyes, Dec 11, 2012
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  22. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    @benknobi1, I hope this farewell wasn't too awkward. I'm glad you like how I'm writing Qui/Shmi.

    @earlybird-obi-wan, yes, it would be nice.

    @Jade_eyes, Geesh, I'm beginning to feel like Mara here... "Get out of my mind, Skywalker!" :p

    This is rather funny... ever since chapter 3, I had the wrong chapter numbers up. So, I thought I was writing chapter 13, but now it's chapter 12... what's even more funny is, I had the correct chapter number in the title subject line. :oops:
    ~~~


    Chapter 12
    Farewell

    Shmi had been in deep contemplation for the couple of hours after Qui-Gon had gone back to the cockpit. She had calmed down a few minutes after she had been left alone, and was about to go up front to talk him, but did not feel ready to do so. The embarrassment of having been turned down by him was too strong. Instead, she sat down and finished the tea he had made for her. She looked at her fingers that were wrapped around the cup. Repulsed, she closed her eyes. No one could love a scrawny old slave woman. I’m making a damned fool of myself. Then she shook her head. No, I’m not going to feel sorry for myself! With that, she thought back to when she first met the Jedi and smiled fondly. Then she remembered this was not the first time she had offered herself to him and been rejected. Perhaps I need better pick up lines, she thought with a wry smile.

    She was still thinking about him when something she could not explain changed. There was a some sort of shift, like she had been moving, but suddenly stopped or slowed. Then she heard a beep that sounded like it came from the cockpit. We must have come out of hyperspace. Did I really waste two hours just sitting here thinking? Sighing, she stood up and headed to the front of the ship.

    When Shmi reached the portal to the cockpit, she paused as shyness overcame her. She listened as the Jedi spoke to someone she thought was a port official.

    “I am Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and request permission to speak to Queen Amidala on an urgent matter.”

    “Of course,” the man said with a surprised look upon his face, “I’ll put you through to the royal palace.”

    When the com went silent and the hologram of the port official disappeared, Qui-Gon turned to look at Shmi with a gentle smile.

    “May I come in,” she asked, her cheeks coloring slightly as she looked down to avoid eye contact.

    The Jedi stood as he answered, “Of course!” He turned the co-pilot’s chair around to face her and bowed.

    When she still could not bring herself to look him in the eye as she sat down, she mentally scolded herself. You’re being silly. Glancing up at the Jedi, she he saw his blue eyes regarding her with concern. “Qui-Gon, I...” She looked back down at her fingers as she folded them in her lap. “You have done so much for me. I... I’m sorry. I had no right to ask anything of you, especially not...” She stopped, feeling even more embarrassed as she looked back towards the main room.

    Feeling the slight weight of his hand on top of hers, she looked back at him. “Shmi,” he said softly, “please don’t feel embarrassed for wanting to be loved.” He swallowed as he looked down and shifted his hand, bringing the other over so that her fingers were sandwiched between his. “I’m sorry for my own cowardice.” One corner of his mouth turned up slightly as he glanced back up at her. “You were brave enough to open your heart to me, but I hid behind the fact that I’m a Jedi and am not supposed to have attachments.”

    “Qui-Gon,” she said as she looked down at their hands, “You don’t have to explain yourself. I understand.”

    “Let me finish, please.”

    Blushing, she quickly apologized. “Please, go on.”

    “Aside from being a Jedi, I am a man... you may have noticed.”

    Shmi’s eyes widened in surprise, and looked up to see Qui-Gon’s eyes twinkling as he grinned. She could not help but laugh. Then she blushed and pulled one of her hands away to lift it to cover her mouth. “Please, don’t tease me,” she scolded while still giggling slightly, and lowered her hand to cover his.

    “Sorry, I didn’t really mean that to tease you.” He shook his head as he confessed, “I’m not exactly practiced at... this.” He swallowed and took a deep breath before pressing on in a more sobered voice, “I only loved one woman before, a Jedi, and I was lucky enough that she returned my feelings. However, she was murdered before we could decided what to do with our mutual... affection.”

    Gasping, Shmi squeezed his fingers. “Oh no! I’m so sorry!”

    With a sad smile the Jedi shook his head. “It was several years ago. Still, I never wanted to feel that way again. Never planned to love again. Yet, the past week I’ve spent with you... you’re a beautiful woman.”

    Shmi looked away. She knew how skinny she was, and was quite aware the raggedy dress she wore was not in any way designed to show off what little femininity her bony frame held. She certainly did not feel beautiful.

    Qui-Gon’s fingers gently touched her cheek, and she allowed him to guide her head around so their eyes met once more. “What I’m trying to say is, I love you, Shmi Skywalker. As a Jedi, I shouldn’t, but I do. I’m sorry,” he said as he pulled his hands away and sat back in his chair.

    Nonplussed, she stared at him before asking, “Why are you apologizing?”

    The Jedi chewed his bottom lip for a moment before responding, “Because I’m know I’m about to hurt you again.” He closed his eyes as a pained expression crossed his features as he added, “Nothing can come of this.”

    “Is it because you’re not supposed to love,” she guessed as she leaned forward to reached out and lightly touch his knee.

    He took a hold of her hand as he opened his eyes and nodded. “Not in this way, anyway. Compassion is something that is encouraged,” he stared at their clasped hands as he explained, “and friendship is not forbidden, but love between a man and woman is taboo.”

    “Why,” she wondered.

    “It can lead to jealousy, or the loss can cause anger, and in some cases vengeance, which are paths to the dark side.”

    Though Qui-Gon’s voice was calm, the look in his eyes saddened Shmi. “Is that what happened with the woman you loved before? You said she was murdered. Did you take revenge?”

    “I would have. I hunted the man who killed her and would have killed him if she hadn’t stopped me.”

    “She?”

    Qui-Gon took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Tahl... my love... she spoke from the netherworld to stop me.”

    Shmi remained quiet for a few moments as what he said sunk in.

    “Qui-Gon...”

    She was interrupted by a beeping sound coming from the console. She nodded in response to him politely excusing himself. The sigh she breathed was nearly inaudible as she watched the Jedi turn in his seat and press a green, flashing button. If only I hadn’t been moping so long in the back, we could have had this conversation uninterrupted.

    A holographic image of a young woman in ornate robes and a very painted face appeared above the console. “Master Jinn, it is good to see you again. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

    “Queen Amidala,” Qui-Gon bowed his head toward the image as he returned the greeting, “the pleasure is mine.” As he spoke, Shmi could hardly recognize the young girl who had spent a night in her house a couple years before. Is this really Padme, she wondered, or is it one of her handmaidens who is doubling for her? “However, I have urgent duty to conduct, but must ask a huge favor of you before I can carry it out.”

    “Whatever help I can give you is yours, of course, my friend.”

    “I have in my company a very special person who is in need of asylum. If you could take care of her until I can return I will be much obliged.” Shmi felt her cheeks turn very warm at his description of her and knew she must be blushing.

    “May I inquire of whom you speak?”

    Slight amusement colored Qui-Gon’s voice as he replied, “You may know her.”

    As he spoke, he adjusted some controls, and the young queen turned her head to gaze directly at Shmi who smiled shyly and dipped her head. “P-Padme?”

    The regal bearing of the stranger transformed into the girl the former slave recognized. With a delightful smile spreading across her face and her eyes brightening, the queen exclaimed, “Shmi Skywalker? Oh, by the gods, it is so good to see you! Are you freed then?”

    The older woman could not help but smile just as widely at the younger’s enthusiasm. “Yes,” she said as she looked over at her Jedi benefactor, then blushed to see him staring back at her with a warm expression on his face. “Qui-Gon freed me,” she added as she turned back to Padme.

    “That is wonderful news. I was so sorry we had to leave you like that. I...” the young woman paused a moment as though she was about to say something else, but seemed to change the subject, “You can be my guest at the royal palace for as long as you need.”

    “Thank you, Queen Amidala.”

    Shmi thought she saw signs of blushing even under all the makeup, and was astonished to see her bow slightly at the middle. “You are most welcome.” The young queen turned to speak briefly to someone outside the range of the holo image, then returned her attention to Qui-Gon. “Is there anything else we may do to help you in your mission?”

    ~~~

    “Thank you, but this is something I must do alone.” The Jedi could see Padme’s eyes dart around as though she were trying to see someone else before her.

    “Alone? Then Ani isn’t with you?” The Queen’s eyes glanced at Shmi who swallowed and looked to Qui-Gon. “Oh... he isn’t in danger is he,” she asked anxiously.

    “He’ll be fine, but we must hurry, “ he said firmly.

    “Of course! Just go to the co-ordinates we’ll send you. I shall meet you there personally!”

    Once communications were ended, Qui-Gon turned his head toward Shmi and reached out to take her hand. “Anakin will be okay,” he promised.

    “I know.” She squeezed his fingers, and he heard her soft voice in his head, I have faith in you.

    He swallowed as conflicting emotions coursed through him. At the same time her complete trust in him made him feel really good, he felt it was misplaced, and feared he would let her down. He took a deep breath and released his insecurity into the Force as he slowly exhaled.

    He also wondered if she could hear his thoughts as well.

    “Shmi,” he said softly as he caressed the back of her hand with his thumb, “even though...” he stopped, unsure if he should proceed with the line of thought.

    “Qui-Gon,” she whispered as she leaned forward to gaze into his eyes, then her voice rose slightly as she continued, “I know we can’t be together, but I want you to know I will always love you. You are a good friend, and I am grateful for every moment we’ve spent together.”

    He felt his lips tremble slightly as he smiled at her. “I feel the same way,” he whispered hoarsely.

    “Can... may I give you a hug?”

    He gave a shaky laugh before answering, “Only if I may hug you back.”

    Shmi’s lips trembled as well when she responded, “Please do,” and rose from her chair.

    No sooner had he stood than their bodies were pressed together as they embraced. “Shmi,” he breathed heavily into her ear as he felt one of her hands softly trace his spine. The touch made him tremble. He groaned, “I want you.” Qui-Gon could feel her body pulse with the same passionate desire that coursed through his. He closed his eyes as he moved his lips from the back of her ear and across her cheek, then he pulled away just before their mouths met. He shifted his arms so that he took her hands and stepped back.

    Every fiber in his body ached as they parted. He fought to think clearly as their eyes locked.

    “Shmi, we can’t do this.”

    “I know,” she whispered and stepped back as well. “Why do you have to be so damned sexy?” She quickly looked away as she blushed.

    He grinned as he felt a momentary surge of masculine pride. He was going to say something to tease her and make her laugh to break the mood, but instead, he said truthfully, “I can’t help it. It’s the way you make me feel.” He blushed as she looked back up at him, but held her gaze. “You’re going to make some lucky man very happy someday,” he said as he brought the fingers of one hand up to tenderly stroke her cheek. “I hope you allow yourself to be happy with him.”

    ~~~

    A half hour later, as Qui-Gon deftly flew the ship towards the landing platform that held the Queen’s personal spacecraft, Shmi saw five figures standing in wait for them. One was unmistakably Queen Amidala. She supposed three of the people were her handmaidens, and the fifth her bodyguard. The Jedi brought the craft to a soft landing. Suddenly feeling unaccountably nervous, she folded her arms in front of her as she shivered.

    Qui-Gon turned and looked at her with a tilt of his head. “Are you okay?”

    “Yes... I’m just...” She shook her head as she tried to smile. She was sure it came out more as a grimace. “I know she’s a sweet, kind person, and on Tatooine, she treated me with nothing but respect, but... I’m feeling nervous meeting her once more. I feel like we’re both very different people somehow... back then, she was Padme, and now she’s Queen Amidala.”

    He smiled in understanding as he stood. Holding out a hand to her, he said softly, “Come, my lady.”

    She took his hand, and he gently helped her up as she felt her knees shaking. Their fingers entwined as they walked together to main room and the door which was the portal to her new life. The two stopped before it and faced each other, their eyes meeting once more.

    “Once Anakin is safe and I’ve helped my master, I’ll bring your son here so you can say a proper farewell to him,” Qui-Gon promised.

    “No,” she shook her head. When the Jedi looked at her in surprise, she explained, “I’m not strong enough to say goodbye to both of you again. It’ll tear me apart. Just... contact me to let me know when he’s safe.”

    “As you wish.”

    “Qui-Gon.” Shmi lifted her free hand and placed it on his chest. “Be happy, okay?”

    He quickly leaned down as he put one hand behind her neck and firmly kissed her. Her mouth opened slightly in acceptance of his show of affection. She moaned with pleasure as her tongue slowly caressed his parted lips.

    As one, they pulled away, their eyes searching each other’s as they breathed heavily. Inexplicably, she started to laugh.

    Qui-Gon’s lips pulled up in a hesitant smile. “What’s so funny?”

    “So much for that hypothetical man whom I’ll make happy. You think I could love another after that kiss?” The two laughed briefly, and Shmi pushed the button that lowered the ramp.

    Qui-Gon proffered his elbow. “One last walk, my lady?”
    Last edited by Alexis_Wingstar, Dec 19, 2012
  23. CmdrMitthrawnuruodo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2000
    star 6
    Qui-Gon is a doof. Has he forgotten every lesson from his master concerning the rules? Or is he actually paying attention to that very last lesson Dooku tried to convey to him prior to his trials, afraid of being hurt from loss again if he allowed himself to be happy with Shmi? Hopefully the Living Force will smack him in the head real soon. :p
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  24. benknobi1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2002
    star 6
    Lovely Qui/Shmi scenes[face_blush] And nice Padmé dialogue.

    The ending was perfect[face_love]
  25. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Lovely scenes. And Qui[face_not_talking] following the Jedi rules to the last point
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