Before - Legends The Light Inside. Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan. Final Chapter up 122205.

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Valairy Scot, Dec 15, 2005.

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  1. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    It was nearly Winter Solstice, and the days were short. Across most of Coruscant, lights burned more brightly than usual. In the more prosperous areas, the extra illumination came from seasonal lights and extravagant displays. In other areas, the light of the season shone in less visible ways: not blaring for recognition, but within the hearts and souls of those beings who had little else to offer but their time and small deeds of caring.

    With a hollow clang, some object of unknown origin battered against durasteel bars and skidded off down the street, chased by other detritus blown about by the wind. The boy turned his head to look, but saw nothing he needed to be alert to. He frowned a little, but had no other reaction. At his side, his adult companion appeared ignorant of the noise, with not even a twitch of a hand to note he had been aware of the noise.

    Elsewhere, not far from this quiet place of deepening twilight, cheery lights twinkled in festive apartments and ostentatious displays of seasonal extravagance decorated public buildings. From somewhere out of the mists of time, a tradition decreed that twinkling strands of light mark this season to brighten the long, dark evenings. Coruscant was never truly dark these days, with the lights of never-ceasing traffic and lights from the many buildings, but the tradition had continued.

    A tradition that was fading out was the exchange of small gifts: recognition of and cementing of social ties and family bonds, dating back to a forgotten time when the planet had been largely rural. Gift giving had almost a competition now - the more expensive, the better was the new way of thinking taking hold. As the Republic grew, so did its center of government, and the once pastoral fields had been replaced by one huge city that had grown to encompass the entirety of the planet.

    As the planet was increasingly paved over, built upon and up, it had become inhabited by the Republic?s richest and most powerful beings. Those earlier traditions of simple recognition of meaningful ties had become public displays or grandiose displays of wealth. The Senate Building was resplendent with imported displays; the Senators and staff harried with preparations for forums to gather prestige and gain influence ? these professional gatherings masquerading as holiday parties.

    It was less than a week before the Winter Solstice holiday, and most beings on Coruscant were either anticipating the joyful celebration or the release from its stress.

    The Jedi Temple held itself aloof from these newer traditions, foregoing the gaudy new traditions fast replacing the simple traditions of times fading away. Simple, homemade decorations adorned small spots and small lights or candles were placed in residence quarter windows by those so choosing. The Jedi celebrated with a festive dinner, and a day of freedom to do as one chose ? no classes, no meetings, and no duties to attend to.

    The season was one of extremes, depending where on Coruscant one lived, or merely existed. It was a time of exuberance and joy, or stress and bustle. A time of cheery lights or dark shadowed places. A time to celebrate, or a time for despair and hopelessness.

    Here in this forgotten and desolate section of Coruscant, the season?s festivities were something that belonged to another world and other beings. The wind howled with a keening moan of despair through the street canyons, dirty flakes swirling in the frigid air and scattered debris skittering across pavement and bouncing off dingy walls.

    This was a part of Coruscant that few beings, other than those unfortunate enough to live there, ever saw. It was bleak and uninviting, a world of gray and black shadows with few spots of brightness to break the gloom. Aging buildings were grimy with stains of unknown origins, and many were boarded up. Here, there was no true or false cheer, fantastic decorations, or parties. Yet here remained some of the earlier traditions amongst some of its less desperate inhabitants.

    It w
  2. Kestrel_Kenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2005
    star 4
    Very sweet and touching [face_love]

    I look forward to more!
  3. Healer_Leona Squirrely Community Mod

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Oh my, I think I'm going to be loving this story. I already enjoy the fact the Qui-Gon chose Obi-Wan so young and the relationship they already seem to share.

    I will have to watch for more! :) :)
  4. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    Can't wait for more! Five more chapters? Sweet! :D
  5. Stella_Ripple Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 3
    Beautiful! =D= Please post again soon, I'd love to see more of the relationship between Qui and little Obi, who is just too sweet!
  6. Just_Jill Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2002
    star 3
    This is an interesting little fic. I like it.

    I enjoyed the flash of how tired and hungry Obi-Wan must be...

    I also liked your comments about the Winter Solstice season. It's so true of this time of year. And I was sad that the tradition of giving gifts was going out of style. But that the Jedi Temple has continued with the simplicity of it - very nice touch.

    Just Jill
  7. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Wonderful start, Valairy Scot! [face_love]

    I loved how Obi became Qui's Padawan so young, I wish that was the way it happened in the JA books. Darn that Xanatos! :mad:

    But I digress... I loved Qui and Obi's father/son relationship too, so mushily sweet. [face_love]

    And that was so sweet and sad how Obi wanted to help all those homeless people he saw, but he didn't know what to do. :( Poor kid.

    ?Were all the beings happy where the lights where?? he asked, nodding gently in agreement as Obi-Wan shook his head. ?You see, my young Padawan, having lights or not doesn?t make one happy or not. It?s what light shines in here,? and he touched the palm of his hand to the boy?s heart, grinning as the boy looked down with wide-eyed wonder.

    ?There?s light in there?? he blurted out.

    Indeed there is, Qui-Gon thought, the bright light of your heart amplified by the Light of the Force shines brightly in you, my young one, but all he said was, ?Don?t you feel it??

    The boy nodded slowly and pointed to Qui-Gon?s own chest. ?It shines in you, too, Master,? he said solemnly.
    [face_love] *contented sigh* Oh, so sweet!

    He hoisted the child to his shoulders and Obi-Wan wrapped his arms around his neck and snuggled against him.

    Once again, Qui-Gon felt a little thrill of pleasure go through him. He had had one Padawan before this, and he had not as quickly touched his heart as this young boy.
    *another contented sigh* [face_love]

    Definitely looking forward to parts 2-6! Can't wait for more! :D
  8. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    Chapter 2.

    Over the last half year or so, Qui-Gon had hung around the Temple at Yoda?s behest, looking over the initiates, but prepared to wait another year or two before making any decisions as to whether or not he would take another Padawan. From the beginning, Obi-Wan had charmed him. He had not been awed by the several adult Jedi there to look over the young initiates, as the other initiates had been.

    Qui-Gon remembered the young initiate as a small child of four or so, walking up to him one day and announcing that one day soon he was going to be the Jedi?s ?padwan.? His current Padawan had been with him, and given the child a dismissive stare that had amused Qui-Gon at the time, one reason he had remembered the incident. He was sure that Toklas remembered it, too: he had been the recipient of a light lecture about his lack of courtesy. Toklus had been quite embarrassed at his possessiveness of his master when gently reminded of his need to be civil to all.

    The boy seemed just as solemn as he had years ago, though the Initiate Master had whispered to him that the young boy could be a bit of a handful of times. The way she had chuckled and looked fondly at the boy told Qui-Gon much about his temperament.

    The boy had been practicing a lightsaber drill with another initiate, forehead creased in concentration and lips pushed out. He was trying hard, that was very apparent, too hard in fact. He reached so hungrily for a connection to the Force, that he squeezed it away from him. Qui-Gon wanted to go over to him and tell him not to try so hard, to relax and let the Force flow through him, but instead watched with a grin on his face and his arms crossed across his chest.

    Yoda had come into the room and watched the exercise, turning to glance at Qui-Gon. His ears curled and he let out a small grunt, preparing to say something, when the match ended as the other initiate took advantage of Obi-Wan?s loss of concentration when the boy had looked to the side as he became aware of Qui-Gon standing with Yoda.

    The lightsaber instructor gave a gentle reminder with a slight clearing of her throat, and Obi-Wan turned back to the other initiate for the obligatory bow marking the end of the match. There was a slight flush of shame on his face for his loss, for he had been ahead on points until he had lost to the other initiate. Catching the instructor?s smile and tacit permission, he had bowed to the two Jedi, then come right over to Qui-Gon and said with quiet certainty, ?You?re going to be my Master.?

    Yoda had ?hmmphed,? and quietly slipped away, his Force presence radiating quiet approval.

    Qui-Gon had grinned at Obi-Wan?s unusual approach and asked the child what made him think that. Without hesitation, he said, ?You?re supposed to be. I know that.? His eyes, so trusting, looked deep into Qui-Gon?s with a strange mixture of joy and sureness. Even the Force shone through him at that moment.

    When he had looked into his own heart, he knew it, too, and before he quite recognized what he was doing, he was committed to his second Padawan, and indeed, quite content that events had played out as they had.

    For the next several weeks, he had gone around the Temple with a big goofy grin plastered across his face, for which he took quite a bit of good-natured teasing from his friends. He endured it all with good cheer, and took delight in getting to know his new Padawan. Toklus had made a point of dropping by to greet the boy, and charmed him with stories of his time with Qui-Gon and made up stories that had Obi-Wan?s eyes wide with wonder, though he had sneaked a grin at Qui-Gon during some of the stories to show he saw through the more fantastical stories.

    Qui-Gon had settled back in his chair and watched with great humor as his former Padawan ?taught? the new one ways to circumvent his master?s wishes. Obi-Wan had glanced over at him several times, eyes half afraid that his master would be disapproving. When he saw Qui-Gon?s huge smile, his bashful grin exploded into a brilliant smile th
  9. Magenta_Moonshadow Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2005
    star 3
    That was lovely! Can't wait for more![face_love] [:D]
  10. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Hooray, an update! :D

    Qui-Gon remembered the young initiate as a small child of four or so, walking up to him one day and announcing that one day soon he was going to be the Jedi?s ?padwan.?

    Catching the instructor?s smile and tacit permission, he had bowed to the two Jedi, then come right over to Qui-Gon and said with quiet certainty, ?You?re going to be my Master.?[face_laugh] Obi doesn't beat around the bush, does he?

    I'm glad Qui's former padawan warmed up to Obi. [face_love] Can't wait to see Qui try to teach Obi some moderation. :D
  11. Aya-Na_Bashu Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2005
    star 2
    Qui? Teaching moderation? I didn't know the word was even in his vocabulary. This ought to be good.
  12. Stella_Ripple Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 3
    Great stuff! So, Xan never happened hmm? Interesting, I can definately see how close Qui would become with Obi then. I loved the little bit about Qui walking around with a goofy grin :) I can so relate- thats prolly whats going to happen to me after reading this!!
    So,moderatione, eh? I wonder how mr pot is going to teach yong master kettle that particular lesson?! ;)
  13. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    Well, I hadn't anticipated carrying this story forward, so I don't have to worry about Qui-Gon teaching Obi-Wan moderation. But, hmmm, plot bunny anyone?

    Ch 3 up Monday and each day following.

    And yes, this story ignores JA and Xanatos and all that.
  14. dianethx Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    This was quite adorable. Loved that Obi-Wan informed Jinn about becoming his padawan. Nice that he was so certain. Loved that Qui-Gon had a big goofy grin on his face. I can just picture it.

    Good job. Keep going!
  15. Gkilkenny Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2004
    star 4

    "Youre going to be my Master"[face_dancing]

    For the next several weeks, he had gone around the Temple with a big goofy grin plastered across his face, for which he took quite a bit of good-natured teasing from his friends. He endured it all with good cheer, and took delight in getting to know his new Padawan.

    I cannot imagine Qui-Gon with a goofy grin, sounds like he has
    found his match in Obi-wan[face_dancing]

    lovely story=D=
  16. PadawanKitara Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2001
    star 5
    What a cute story!

    I want more :)
  17. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    Ch 3.

    Several days after that outing, Qui-Gon took Obi-Wan back to the bowels of Coruscant, his less than affectionate nickname for that part of town, to meet a friend of his.

    ?Is he a Jedi?? Obi-Wan asked with interest, when informed of this.

    ?No, not at all,? Qui-Gon laughed. ?Though his heart is as big as a Jedi?s, he?s a bit of a reformed rogue and genuine good being.?

    Obi-Wan absorbed this information with a small frown that Qui-Gon had learned meant his apprentice was deep in thought. Qui-Gon watched, amused, as Obi-Wan looked up with a bright smile and nodded. The boy was quick; he understood the implicit lesson intended: that beings could change and should be judged on their heart and not past actions.

    In the flat gray light of a cheerless day, with cold rain splattering against the pavement and all color washed from the air, the two walked down the street, huddled within their cloaks and hoods pulled close around their heads. Qui-Gon half expected his young apprentice to complain of the cold and wet, but he had forgotten the simple delight a young boy took in stomping through puddles and splashing about.

    ?Don?t get too wet, Obi-Wan,? he cautioned the boy. ?I don?t want you in wet clothes all day. Maybe we can find a big puddle for you to splash in back in the Temple gardens later, where you can dry out afterwards.?

    ?Yes, Master,? the boy agreed, and with a quick glance upwards with mischievous eyes, he walked with exaggerated caution through the next puddle, to break into an impish grin as Qui-Gon merely shook his head, wry amusement quirking up the corners of his mouth.

    ?Here we here, my young one,? the Jedi put a hand on the boy?s shoulder as he was passing by a storefront.

    ?A diner? Dex?s Diner?? Obi-Wan?s eyes were big as he registered the sign on the window of the building that his master indicated he was to enter. He turned his face up to his master?s in puzzlement, to be met by his master?s amused grin.

    ?Go on in,? he indicated to the boy, holding the door open. ?Hey, Dex!? he bellowed as he followed.

    A huge head poked out of the kitchen, and the mouth opened in a wide grin of welcome, showing a mouthful of teeth. Dex was a Besalisk, a huge being with four arms and a large head. Large jowls hung below a wide, mouth spanning the width of the face, and his eyes were set wide apart under big brow ridges on the creased face. His head rose to a narrow point.

    ?Qui-Gon, no surprise to see you!? he roared, and as he noted the small boy next to the big Jedi?s side, he lowered his voice from a roar to a growl. ?Got a new apprentice with you, eh? Come on in, boy, come on in and make yourself comfortable. I?ll be right out in a minute.?

    Qui-Gon pointed Obi-Wan to a seat on a tattered though mended seat just as the big being pushed through the swing doors and enveloped Qui-Gon in a huge hug that could have broken his bones if the intent were hostile. To Obi-Wan?s amazement, his master was pounding the big being on the back in return. He had never seen his master so demonstrative before this and stared in wonder.

    ?Dex, you old reprobate!? Qui-Gon was greeting his friend, before pulling away and directing his attention to the wide-eyed boy. ?Dex, this is Obi-Wan Kenobi, my new Padawan as you?ve already guessed. Obi-Wan, this is Dexter Jettster.?

    ?Pleased to meet you boy,? Dex tried unsuccessfully to lower his roar into something less intimidating, and offered one of his four hands gently, prepared for the boy to recoil at the sight of that huge, beefy hand coming at him. To his surprise, the boy let the big being grab his hand without fear for a quick shake, and then quickly bowed as his hand was released.

    ?Pleased to meet you, Dex, sir,? he said in a child?s high voice, with no trace of anxiety or fear.

    ?Ho, ho, you?ve got yourself a brave one there, my friend,? Dex remarked to the Jedi. ?Are you here to help, too??

    For the first time, the boy looked uncertain. ?Help with what, sir??

    ?Dex ? call me Dex,? the being corrected him. ?Help with
  18. Stella_Ripple Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 3
    Adorable [face_love] I loved Obi's innocence- you're doing a wonderful job on writing a little kid and the way he's reacting to everything. Poor Qui, I guess he must have been disappointed when he first realised a Jedi can't do everything he'd like them to- sweet of him to allow Obi's innocence to remain, without actually trying to hide how things really are.
    I love that obi had been drinking qui's tea without saying anything- cute scene.
    Oh dear, be careful obi, I have a really bad feeling about this stepping into inky darkness business. And I think qui would agree! [face_worried]

    Great work! =D=
  19. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    =D= Children are hard to write, but you've managed it quite well! =D= A wonderful update! :D
  20. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    I'm glad the kid thing is coming through okay, ;). It's been a few, um, decades since I've been one :eek:, and I haven't been around kids since I was one.

    Just a hint...this is inspired by O Henry's Gift of the Magi. It's nothing like that story, just inspired by, so it's a holiday tale, but not all bright and cheery. Nobody gets hurt in this one.
  21. AnakinGirl05 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2005
    star 3
    What a wonderful gift you have for writing yong Obi! I am loving this story so much so far. And I have to tell you that The Gift Of The Magi is my favorite short story so I like where you are going with this. Can't wait to read the updates.
  22. Gkilkenny Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2004
    star 4

    ?Master, master?? he thought with some anxiety. ?What should I do, Master?? He couldn?t be sure, but he thought there was no reply through the Force.

    Obi-wan is being a typical child
    rushing off to do whatever without thought.
    I hope he will be alright[face_worried]

    Excellent story=D=
  23. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    Chapter 4

    As Obi-Wan?s eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw that the small street he was entering was more like an alley. It stank, of old garbage and urine, of alcohol. Obi-Wan wanted to gag, but he resolutely pushed the feeling away. He probed with all his senses, a doorway to his left, boarded up, a trash container to his right overflowing with things he?d rather not try to identify. Ahead, and to his left, a tangled mass of discarded crates ? and in them, he saw a flash of human flesh.

    Reaching for his courage, Obi-Wan crept forward and peered inside. With a defiant cry, the boy he had been following shrank away from him.

    ?I?m not going to hurt you,? Obi-Wan said quickly. ?You stole food from Dex?s. Stealing isn?t good.?

    Slowly, the boy?s arms lowered, and he looked ashamed. ?My mama told me never to steal, but I?m so hungry. I haven?t eaten in several days.?

    ?Several days?? Obi-Wan exclaimed in amazement, and his anger quickly dropped away. He noticed the boy was shivering in badly mended clothes and his feet might as well have been bare, his footwear was that worn, tied together with bits and pieces. At this look, the boy curled into himself and stared at Obi-Wan with a challenge flashing in his eyes as he wolfed down the last of the food from the plate.

    ?You?re a Jedi kid, aren?t you? Live in that Temple of yours, all pampered and happy, right? Well, life?s not so good for everybody else. Maybe I should let you turn me in to the local authorities ? at least I?d get warm shelter and food if I was arrested.?

    ?What do you mean?? Obi-Wan was confused.

    The kid looked Obi-Wan up and down and his lips curled in scorn. ?Some of us don?t have such a nice life as you, kid. Welcome to my home, such as it is. I?d share my dinner with you, but I?ve eaten it all. Sorry.? He didn?t sound sorry at all.

    ?You?you live here? Why? Where?s your family??

    ?I have no family,? the boy muttered. ?Mama died a few months ago. Here?s where I live now.?

    ?Oh,? Obi-Wan said softly. He didn?t know what else to say, until he got an idea. ?There?s a group that finds homes for, ah, kids without a family. Until they find homes for them, they take care of the kids. Haven?t you heard of it??

    ?Don?t need no one to take care of me,? the boy muttered angrily. ?I take care of myself.?

    ?Yeah, by stealing and living like this,? Obi-Wan retorted. ?Look, there?s help out there if you ask for it. Just ask anybody ? any Jedi, any security person.?

    ?I don?t trust anyone,? the boy blurted. ?Not even the Jedi.?

    ?Hey, why not!? Obi-Wan protested, hurt at this slight. ?We help people.?

    ?You help the rich, not us ordinary folks,? the boy spat. ?You Jedi in your big Temple, fed and clothed by the Republic, at the Senate?s beck and call ? what do you know of the real world? You ignore us folks here, just like them politicians.?

    Obi-Wan drew back, a little hurt and a little angry at the accusation. He tried to remain calm. Trying to sound reasonable, he asked, ?Then why was my master and I helping at Dex?s? I admit, I didn?t really know folks like you existed until now! I?m just a kid, still, and the Jedi do care.?

    The boy?s eyes dropped, and he muttered a rude apology under his breath. ?Okay, maybe some of you Jedi ain?t so bad, but most of you don?t ever come around here where some folks could really use their help. None of you helped my mama and she?s dead now; no one even cares. What killed her is still around, killing other folks.?

    ?I?I?m sorry,? Obi-Wan muttered. ?Maybe my master can help.?

    There was no question about the scorn in the boy?s eyes. ?Mama wasn?t killed by no man, Jedi boy. She was killed by hard work and too much spice. I told her to stay out of them places?but she said she would do ? even that ? if it kept me fed.?

    Obi-Wan kept silent. He didn?t know what to say, and the boy seemed to be releasing pent up feelings. He ignored the comlink trying to get his attention, this was too important to interrupt. He hoped Qui-Gon would understand.
  24. Jedi_Tigris Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2005
    star 4
    Aww, Obi is so sweet and innocent. [face_love] He's learning about the world outside, but finding ways to help. Love the relationship between him and Qui too.

    Wonderful job!
  25. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    Chapter 5

    ?Obi-Wan?? the Jedi called softly, insistently into his comlink. This time, there was a reply.

    ?Master?? the boy said. His tone was hesitant, as though he expected a tongue-lashing.

    The Jedi?s heart gave a great leap of joy and he smiled with relief. His voice harsh with worry, he asked, ?Where are you, Obi-Wan? I?ve been worried about you. You took off without a word and didn?t contact me.?

    ?I?I?m sorry, Master. I didn?t think I was gone long. I don?t know where I am, exactly, but I know how I got here, so I?ll retrace my steps.?

    ?Keep in touch with me, Obi-Wan,? the Jedi warned gently. His Padawan was certainly dutiful, reporting each corner he went around, when he was going up a stairwell, across a roof, down a ladder. At each report, Qui-Gon waited anxiously for the next report, or the arrival of a small boy he had come to care for very much. He didn?t know if he would shake the boy in exasperation, or hug him in relief when he showed up.

    Finally, the Jedi?s pacing ceased as he heard soft steps coming towards him. He whirled, dropping to one knee to greet the boy. One look, and any lecture he was going to give the boy for running off went out of his mind.

    ?Obi-Wan, you?re shivering and you?re all wet. Come here, child,? Qui-Gon insisted. ?Padawan, you?ve lost your cloak again.?

    ?No, Master,? his teeth chattered.

    ?Jedi don?t lie, Obi-Wan. You?re always losing your cloak, so it?s no big deal if you have lost another one, other than leaving yourself unprotected in the cold. It is a big deal to lie, if you have.?

    The boy shook his head, turning beseeching eyes to his master. ?But I truly have not, Master Qui-Gon.?

    ?Then where is it? And where were you and why didn?t you answer the comlink?? The Jedi stooped down and searched the boy?s face, for the answer was not immediately forthcoming.

    ?I gave it?to a boy who had no coat,? Obi-Wan confessed shakily, looking up through an errant lock of hair that had fallen over his eyes, seeing if Qui-Gon was angry. But the Jedi was surprised, not mad.

    ?That was kind of you, Obi-Wan, though perhaps not well thought out. What if you catch a cold in this weather?

    ?Then I am sick for a few days in my comfortable room. But that little boy could spend all winter outside with no protection. He lives in crates in an alley and has to steal for food. He stole a plate of food from Dex and I wanted to make him give it back. A cold would be a small price to pay to save just one life, would it not?? His eyes were pleading for acceptance of his decision.

    Touched deeply, Qui-Gon scooped the boy into his arms and straightened as Obi-Wan tightened his arms around his neck and smiled contentedly. As he stood upright, he saw the boy?s bare feet swinging free.

    ?Oh, Obi-Wan, your boots! Did you give them up, too?? he asked with a mix of dismay and pride. The boy nodded and buried his face deeper against Qui-Gon?s shoulder, mumbling something that Qui-Gon interpreted as, ?not sorry, even if they weren?t mine to give.?

    ?I?m very proud of you, child,? Qui-Gon whispered in the silky tousle of red-blond hair tucked under his chin. ?You gave what you had to give without thought of yourself. I?m sure your teachers will be very proud of you, too.?

    ?, Master Qui-Gon, I didn?t do it for credit. Don?t want? praise,? he trailed off as he yawned and snuggled deeper into his master?s warm embrace. ?Did it, ?cuz I could.?

    Qui-Gon carried the boy into Dex?s, and laid him on a bench, removing the plate in his hand.

    ?Dex, I?ve got him,? he shouted. ?Will you bring him something hot to drink? He?s wet and cold from being outside in the rain.?

    ?Right away,? Dex boomed back, and shortly strode out of the kitchen, a mug of cocoa looking very tiny in his huge hand. He stood over the two Jedi, as Qui-Gon rubbed Obi-Wan dry with towels.

    ?Hey, Obi-Wan, glad to see you back, kid, you kinda had your master worried there for a while.? He winked at the boy.

    ?Are you mad, Master? I?m sorry.?

    ?I?m upset th
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