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Saga Forcestone: Guardian of Light (Obi-centric AU, updated 10/22) This week: Obi-Wan goes solo at last

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ForceForGood, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    Forcestone: Guardian of Light

    Summary: The stone Qui-Gon Jinn found in the River of Light is as remarkable as the men and women destined to bear it. It begins with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
    This is a novel-length Obi-centric AU that begins during Episode 1 and spans the gap to Episode 2. This is the first part of my Forcestone series, which will continue all the way through to the original trilogy.

    Genre and rating: Mainly drama. Rated PG for moderate violence and mild language. Contains no sexual content or slash.

    Characters: All the main Star Wars characters will be touched on, but my focus will be on Obi-Wan Kenobi, with supporting roles by Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, an OC to be introduced, Siri Tachi, Padmè Amidala and Shmi Skywalker.

    Inspirations, disclaimers and thanks: I drew from many official Star Wars sources for inspiration, including George Lucas' six films and their novelizations, Jude Watson's "Jedi Apprentice" books, Greg Bear's "Rogue Planet," and several comic books. Since this is AU, my story may or may not contain spoilers to these works. I, of course, do not own the rights to any of these works, including the characters and plots therein, and I swear on my lightsaber that I gain no profit from my story. This is a hobby for me and I've enjoyed every moment of it! I hope you do, too.

    Dedication: This story is dedicated to my husband, who is not only my first beta reader, but also my own personal knight in shining armor.


    Hanna walked slowly toward the dim outline of her husband standing on the banks of the starlit river behind their home, taking care not to disturb the sleeping infant in her arms as she moved.

    She had gone into the house to put the baby in his crib, but when she had him dressed warmly, fed, and wrapped in a blanket, the moment came and she found she could not bear to put him down, not even for a few hours to sleep. Because she knew that the end was drawing near.

    In the morning they would give their son away to a stranger, never to see him again.

    Ben-Jiro turned slightly as Hanna came to stand with him by the water, and he saw that she was still holding the baby. He said nothing, but cleared his throat gruffly as he took the edges of Hanna's cloak and wrapped it more tightly around her and the baby, and she thought she saw his eyes glittering suspiciously as he tipped his face back up toward the starry sky.

    A long silence stretched out between them, but it was a comfortable one. They had always been enough at ease with one another to enjoy silence together, even before they married. It was one of the reasons Hanna had known Ben-Jiro was the one, although their parents had been concerned about how young they were to get married. But that was nearly two years ago, and they were still as happy as ever - more happy, in fact, since they found out their family was going to grow from two to three.

    And now they were going to tear their family in two- but Hanna cut herself off from that line of thinking. Their decision was made. It was the right one. No sense in spoiling their last hours together with tears. That was what Hanna told herself, although she had to wipe her eyes on a sleeve as she did so, and then she was angry at her heart for not listening to what her mind had to say. She laughed a little at herself. She had always prided herself on being the logical, steady type. Not prone to emotional outbursts. But that had all changed the day they were told their son was... different. Special. Hanna had thought at first that it was a euphemism, that it meant there was something wrong with little Obi-Wan, and cold tendrils of fear had twined around her heart. Then, when she understood more, she realized that something was wonderfully, gloriously, tragically right with him, and that if she and Ben-Jiro chose to do their duties as good citizens of the Galactic Republic...

    They would have to let him go.

    "It should be visible in a few minutes," Ben-Jiro said, breaking gently into Hanna's thoughts. He pointed at the dark shape of the mountain to the east.

    Hanna nodded, and hugged the warm bundle against her chest a little more tightly as a cool wind blew against them. It was late spring, and the nights were still a little chilly. She had been looking forward to the summer, when it would finally be warm enough to take Obi-Wan out on their early-morning excursions. It was a tradition in Hanna's family for everyone, young and old, to go out in the early morning and paddle their boats in the river before the heat of the day hit and they all went back to the daily routine of working and teaching and caring for children. It had been a tradition in her family for as long as they had lived here on Otaku, and that had been for generations beyond count.

    And now she would be coming with empty arms, to watch her sisters and cousins play with their little ones in the shade by the river, while her own child was raised in the grand, austere Jedi Temple on Coruscant, knowing nothing of his homeworld or his family and all their traditions.

    Oh, Hanna knew it was a great honor, that Obi-Wan would grow up to give great service to the Republic, and she knew that she and Ben-Jiro could not help him develop his gift like the Jedi Order could. Her mind knew these things, but her heart didn't feel them. Not yet. Maybe someday, but not today.

    "There it is," Ben-Jiro whispered.

    Hanna looked up toward the mountain. Yes, there it was, just emerging from behind the mountain: Inori, the comet that crossed paths with Otaku every century. As they stood and watched, it appeared to be sailing straight up into the heavens, a great pulsating sphere of light with a tail of glittering dust trailing down to touch the peak of the mountain.

    Most Otakuns only saw the comet once in their lifetimes, and it was said that if you made a wish, it would come true before the comet returned.

    Ben-Jiro moved closer to Hanna and put his arm around her shoulder, and together they watched the comet burn in the black night. Hanna wondered what her husband would wish for. That they would see their son again, if only for a moment on the HoloNet as he earned some award for a heroic deed? That Obi-Wan would have a long life? That he would be a good Jedi? A great Jedi? Or even just a good person?

    For that matter, what should she wish for? What was the one thing she wanted, more than anything else?

    Hanna looked down at little Obi-Wan, his eyes shut tightly so that his eyelashes stood out against his fair skin and his tiny warm body utterly relaxed in her arms. She gently brushed the wispy hair on his head with her fingertips and blinked back the tears that threatened to come again. She leaned into Ben-Jiro's embrace and, suddenly resolute, she looked up at the luminous comet and directed her thought at it with all the strength that she had:

    Wherever he goes, and whoever he becomes, let him be loved. Let him love, and be loved. That's all I ask.

    The comet streamed across the void, and the debris it left behind sparkled and shone like a trail of tears across the midnight sky.

    Hanna bent down and kissed her son's forehead, his nose, his dimpled chin, and felt his soft breath against her cheek.

    Just let him love, and be loved.

    Author's note: The story begins near the end of Episode 1. Although my story will turn AU, you can assume everything that happened prior to Chapter 1 occurred like it does in "The Phantom Menace" film.

    Chapter 1
    Obi-Wan Kenobi had a bad feeling.
    There was nothing new about that, but he never seemed to get used to the prickling sensation from the Force that told him something unpleasant was coming his way.
    He knew he should still be resting in the cabin Captain Panaka had assigned him on the Naboo royal starship. Tomorrow was going to be a long day, and a difficult one, but tonight sleep was elusive. Fleetingly he thought of young children he'd seen sleeping in the arms of their parents, blissfully unaware of any noise or chaos or drama surrounding them, and he envied them.
    Pressing the button to open the door to his cabin, Obi-Wan slipped into the narrow corridor, moving as silently as possible in case the crewmembers and handmaidens in the cabins adjacent to his were already asleep. All was quiet now, but just a few hours earlier, the recycled air of the starship had been thick with tension after Queen Amidala had presented her plan to reclaim the Theed Palace from the droid armies of the Trade Federation.
    The Naboo were loyal to their young Queen and were ready to follow her anywhere she led them, but they were a pacifist people by nature and there was not a hardened soldier among them. They knew they would be hopelessly outnumbered in the fight that was coming, and there was sure to be bloodshed. Obi-Wan shuddered as he pictured the Queen and her slender handmaidens in the thick of a battle with blaster bolts flying everywhere, and he hoped they were tougher than they looked. He and Qui-Gon were ready to protect them as best they could, but they could not be everywhere at once.
    Obi-Wan walked quietly into the main hold – and paused in surprise.
    Apparently he was not the only one battling insomnia tonight. Huddled in a far corner of the hold was young Anakin Skywalker, shivering noticeably despite being wrapped in Qui-Gon's robe, which looked absurdly long on the 9-year-old boy. Anakin's eyes were fixed on a red-cloaked Padmè Naberrie, who was sitting cross-legged on the carpeted deck close beside him, speaking to him in low tones. Both seemed oblivious to Obi-Wan's presence. He could not quite catch what Padmè was saying, but it sounded like she was telling a story.
    Not wanting to eavesdrop, he cleared his throat quietly to announce his presence. Anakin and Padmè both looked over at him and he asked, "Am I interrupting?"
    "Obi-Wan!" Anakin said, his blue eyes lighting up with pleasure just as they had the moment he'd met Obi-Wan and discovered he was a Jedi like Qui-Gon Jinn, whom Anakin already adored. "Come sit down with us! Padmè's telling me about King Narmale the Explorer." He patted a spot beside him.
    "Yes, you're welcome to join us," Padmè said in her soft voice.
    Obi-Wan smiled. "Thank you for your kind offer, but I just came in here to meditate."
    "We can leave-" Padmè started to say.
    "No, no need," Obi-Wan quickly reassured her. "I came out here because my cabin was too quiet. You can make as much noise as you like." He settled himself into a chair and closed his eyes, and after a few moments, Padmè resumed the story.
    Opening his eyes a crack, Obi-Wan studied the intensity of Anakin's gaze on Padmè's face and began to suspect the boy was not entranced by her words as much as he was by her deep brown eyes and appealing smile. He smiled wryly, thinking of how taken Anakin was by the "handmaiden," and how intimidated he was by "the Queen." He had a feeling Anakin would be in for the shock of his life by the end of the mission.
    But his smile faded quickly, and his thoughts drifted back to their previous troubled course.
    "Don't worry so much," his friend Siri Tachi had said to him more than once, but Obi-Wan couldn't help it. There was plenty to worry about, and sometimes it seemed he was the only one who did. It was Qui-Gon's way to leap with both feet into any situation and he often seemed to know, almost without effort, the correct course to take. But Obi-Wan frequently found himself filled with doubts, and as a result he tried to foresee every possible consequence to his actions and sort out which were the best choices. In short, he aimed to take the long view. It was a natural consequence of his close connection to the Unifying Force, yet Qui-Gon was constantly prodding him to pay more attention to the currents of the Living Force. Obi-Wan tried hard, but sometimes he met with limited success. How could he be mindful of the now, when his Jedi senses were being assaulted by one of his many vague and foreboding "bad feelings" about something that was to come? It was a constant source of disagreement between himself and Qui-Gon, although in recent years that debate had become more of a long-standing joke between friends than a true argument.
    That is, until their return to the Jedi Temple after rescuing Queen Amidala and meeting Anakin, the latest in a long string of "strays" that Qui-Gon tended to pick up at the most inconvenient times. Until Qui-Gon's confrontation with the Council over whether Anakin was the prophesied "Chosen One."
    "I take Anakin as my Padawan Learner. Obi-Wan is headstrong and he has much to learn of the Living Force, but he is capable."
    Obi-Wan squeezed his eyes shut more tightly, and he could not stop the wave of self-pity that swept over him. Capable. Faint praise and an abrupt dismissal, coming from the man he had spent the last 13 years trying to please. Padawans were not supposed to have pride, but Obi-Wan had to admit his had been damaged.
    But even worse than Qui-Gon's sudden rejection was his own reaction to his Master's words. He had not behaved like the almost-Knight that he was, skilled in diplomacy and experienced in controlling his emotions, but like the undisciplined 12-year-old boy he'd been the day Qui-Gon had taken him as an apprentice. He had lashed out in anger at the easiest target he could find: Anakin.
    "The boy is dangerous. They all sense it, why can't you?"
    True words, perhaps, but he shouldn't have said them. Not until Qui-Gon had asked for his opinion. That was the way of things in the Order; Padawans were to show the utmost respect to their Masters. And usually Obi-Wan did not defy that expectation.
    But everything had been topsy-turvy on this mission, since the beginning when Chancellor Valorum had dispatched Jedi without the knowledge of the Senate, an unusual move. Events had escalated from there, with the surprisingly aggressive attack on Naboo by the Trade Federation, the hyperdrive breakdown and the emergency stop on Tatooine, the appearance of a boy with more sensitivity to the Force than should even be possible, and last but not least, an assault on Qui-Gon by a Zabrak who may or may not be a Sith, who were supposed to have been eradicated a thousand years ago...
    It was a lot to worry about.
    Instinctively, Obi-Wan slid his hand inside the inner pocket of his tunic and drew out his river stone, the one Qui-Gon had given him as a gift on his 13th birthday during their first official mission. He had acquired the habit of holding it when he was particularly worried about something, turning it over and over in his hand to study the irregular glassy black surface, shot through with streaks of red.
    Thirteen-year-old Obi-Wan had been puzzled that his Master would give him an ordinary river stone for the most important birthday in a Padawan's life, but he had accepted the gift with good grace, assuming that Qui-Gon had his reasons.
    Soon after, Obi-Wan had been captured by members of a crime syndicate who attempted to perform a memory wipe on him. As the guards activated the equipment, Obi-Wan had summoned the Force with all the strength he had in an effort to protect his mind. To his great surprise, he thought he felt the stone growing warmer against his chest, where it was hidden in the inner pocket of his tunic, helping him channel the Force.
    And when he was free of his captors, he was convinced the stone was Force-sensitive and had somehow helped him retain his memories, although when he told his Master this, Qui-Gon merely smiled and said, "I thought it was just a pretty rock."
    For years, Obi-Wan believed that the stone held some secret power, although he never was able to get it to do anything remarkable again. Still, he always kept it with him, just in case. It was only when he left his teens behind him that Obi-Wan was finally able to admit that he had only imagined the rock had Force-powers. It was just a pretty rock after all, albeit a rock with plenty of sentimental value.
    "Why didn't you tell me?" he had asked Qui-Gon then.
    "You believed the stone was special, and so it is," Qui-Gon had said. "Who am I to destroy the faith of a child?"
    Now, listening to the hum of the newly installed hyperdrive on the Queen's ship, Obi-Wan sighed and turned the stone over in his hand again. He was no longer a child, and it was time for him to behave like the man he was. Scanning the room, he saw that he was alone; Padmè and Anakin had left as he brooded, no doubt to their respective sleep couches. The fatigue in his body told him it was late, at least by Coruscant time.
    Resolute, Obi-Wan stood and went straight to the quarters Qui-Gon had been given, and gently probed through the Force to see if his Master was still awake. He felt an immediate responding pulse through the Force-bond he shared with Qui-Gon, and then the door slid aside to admit him.
    Qui-Gon was sitting at a small desk, still fully dressed and studying a handheld datapad. He glanced up. "Obi-Wan. Come in, sit down."
    Obi-Wan hovered uncertainly near the doorway. "Am I disturbing you, Master?"
    "No." Qui-Gon set down the datapad. "I was just reviewing the Queen's plan for retaking Theed."
    "Do you think it will work?" Obi-Wan asked hesitantly, although his mind was far from the details of the coming battle.
    Qui-Gon lifted a shoulder noncommittally. "The Gungans will not be easily swayed, and we cannot use our power to help her."
    An awkward silence settled between them.
    "Master," Obi-Wan said with an effort. "I'm... I'm sorry for my behavior earlier. It isn't my place to disagree with you about the boy. And I am grateful you think I'm ready for the trials."
    Qui-Gon studied Obi-Wan in silence for a moment. Then he said, "Padawan, sit down." He pushed another chair across the floor toward Obi-Wan, who sat down stiffly on the edge of the chair.
    "Obi-Wan, ordinarily you are a much wiser man than I am," Qui-Gon said, "but in the Council chambers you seemed to be under the impression I was recommending you for the Trials simply to make way for my next Padawan, and I feel I must correct you." He took a deep breath. "The truth is, I've known for some time that you were ready, I just... didn't want to admit it. You were ready to go, but I wasn't ready to let go."
    Obi-Wan was frozen with surprise.
    "I never meant to spring it on you so suddenly," Qui-Gon said, rubbing his forehead. "But I thought I would have more time to do it right. I never dreamed the Council would refuse to train Anakin, and the Living Force was so insistent on it that I felt I had to ensure his training myself, right then and there. You know how single-minded I can be. I'm truly sorry, Padawan. It should have been a proud moment for you, and I spoiled it."
    Obi-Wan was already shaking his head, overwhelmed with gratitude. "I don't care about that, Master, at least, not anymore. I was mostly... afraid I had displeased you somehow. Thank you- thank you for telling me this."
    Qui-Gon smiled a little sadly. "You've been a good apprentice. I foresee you will become a great Jedi Knight. Despite my training, I think."
    Obi-Wan returned the smile. "No, Master, because of it." He looked down and absentmindedly began fingering the river stone he still held in his hand. Another silence, this one more comfortable, settled between them.
    "I never told you the story of how I found that stone," Qui-Gon said after several minutes.
    "Yes, you did," Obi-Wan said. "You told me you found it in the River of Light on your homeworld."
    Qui-Gon shook his head. "I never told you the whole story. Did it never occur to you that it doesn't look much like a river stone?"
    Obi-Wan rubbed a rough patch on the stone with his thumb thoughtfully. "I always figured it wasn't in the river long enough to get completely smooth." The one thing he had always wondered about was why Qui-Gon had been on his homeworld to begin with. Many Jedi never returned to their homeworlds. Obi-Wan himself had never even looked up his birth records, although he'd had moments of curiosity, because he worried the knowledge could become a distraction from his training.
    "That stone was in the river less than a minute," Qui-Gon said. "But I should start the story at the beginning." He leaned forward, lacing his fingers together and resting his elbows on his knees. "About 15 years ago, the Council took me off duty for a time."
    Fifteen years ago. That was before he had met Qui-Gon, when Obi-Wan had been just 10 years old and still learning the fundamentals of the Jedi arts from Yoda and the other teachers at the Temple.
    "This was just after I... lost Xanatos," Qui-Gon continued, "so you can imagine the state of mind I was in. The Council felt I needed time to recover, to ponder what had happened so I could move on."
    Qui-Gon had Obi-Wan's full attention now. It was rare enough for Qui-Gon to talk about his personal feelings, and even more rare for him to mention Xanatos, the Padawan he trained before Obi-Wan. Xanatos had betrayed the Jedi and fallen to the Dark Side just before he was to be Knighted. Not long after Qui-Gon accepted Obi-Wan as his new apprentice, they had encountered Xanatos during the course of a mission, and Qui-Gon had been forced to fight the Dark Jedi. Defeated in the end, Xanatos chose to commit suicide as his final act of spite against his former master.
    "After Xanatos left the Order, I felt utterly alone," Qui-Gon continued in a quiet voice. "Yoda - and others - did everything they could to help, but I looked into my future and saw only emptiness. I had no Padawan and no intention of ever taking another one. I had built a close connection with Xanatos, and the loss of that connection left a hole in me that would not heal. I took to walking the streets of Coruscant, just walking and thinking and watching all the beings come and go. I saw them traveling everywhere with their spouses and their children and for the first time, I recognized the strangeness of the Jedi Order's policy of discouraging us from contacting our birth families. For everyone else in the galaxy, their families are the first ones they turn to when something goes wrong in their lives.
    "I started to wonder about my own family. I had no memory of them, but I wondered if they still thought of me and - more importantly - if they would be open to meeting me again. I decided to look up my birth records and travel to my homeworld to see what I could find out.
    "When I arrived, I went to the medical facility where I was born and asked a medic there to look up my parents' records for me. When I told her my name, her jaw dropped open. 'You're the Jedi baby,' she said."
    "She remembered you?" Obi-Wan said.
    Qui-Gon nodded. "She had attended my mother during the birth. Apparently the circumstances were rather unusual. My parents were what you would call... transients."
    Transients. A polite term for beings who chose not to settle down on a planet, instead opting to wander from place to place, catching passage with any ship willing to take them to any destination, never staying more than a few months in any one place or working for any reputable businesses. Obi-Wan had run into his fair share of them in his travels throughout the galaxy, and while some seemed harmless enough, others richly deserved the reputation transients had of being shiftless, or worse, thieves. Obi-Wan refrained from asking Qui-Gon which sort his parents had been.
    "My parents had landed planetside intending to stay just long enough for my mother to give birth," Qui-Gon said. "But it didn't take long for them to see that I was different, and my parents agreed to let the medics send a transmission to Coruscant to invite the Jedi to come examine me. A Knight came within a matter of days and offered to take me for training.
    "The medic I spoke with remembered that my mother was an older woman, old enough that she had thought she was past her childbearing years. They hadn't planned to have me in my first place." Qui-Gon exhaled slowly. "They chose to give me up, and then they moved on. They didn't tell the medic their next destination, saying only that the Force would lead them as always, which she took to mean they didn't know or perhaps even care where they went next."
    "A dead end," Obi-Wan murmured.
    "I was surprised at how disappointed I was," Qui-Gon said. "I thanked the medic for her help and told her I needed to return the Temple, but she stopped me as I was leaving and told me I should stay until morning. I asked why, and she said there would be a spectacular meteor shower that night as the planet intersected a trail of debris left by the comet that had passed through the system about ten years before. 'It's said to be good luck to see a falling star,' she said. I told her, 'In my experience...'"
    "...there's no such thing as luck," Obi-Wan finished with a grin.
    "You know me well," Qui-Gon said, smiling. "I'd seen many meteor showers before, of course, but I wanted some time to think, anyway, so I went out to the countryside, away from the city lights, and stood on the banks of the River of Light. I closed my eyes and opened myself up to the currents of the Force."
    Qui-Gon's voice grew quieter. "The Living Force was very strong in that place. I felt a serenity there I hadn't felt in a long time. I waded out into the river and let the current of the water move around me in concert with the Force. I lost track of time, and it seemed the life around me and even the land itself were holding their breaths... waiting. For what, I couldn't tell.
    "Suddenly, although my eyes were still closed, I could sense the light growing and I thought that dawn was approaching - until I realized the light was pulsating, and getting brighter much too quickly. I broke out of the meditation and opened my eyes just in time to be blinded by a flash of light that struck me on the chest, hard enough to knock me back a step. I looked down and saw a black scorch mark on my tunic."
    Obi-Wan sat up straight. "Someone was shooting at you?" he exclaimed.
    "It was a shooting star," Qui-Gon corrected mildly. "I was hit by a meteorite."
    Obi-Wan's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "A meteorite? Are you certain? The odds against getting hit by one are..."
    "Astronomical," Qui-Gon confirmed. "I'm sure. I looked down and I could see a glassy black stone just under the surface of the water, standing out against all the gray river rocks. It was still hot to the touch when I pulled it out."
    Obi-Wan absorbed this new information for a long moment.
    "So what you're saying," he finally said slowly, "is that my stone tried to kill you?"
    Qui-Gon chuckled lightly. "I don't think it was trying to hurt me. It just wanted to get my attention."
    "It's a stone, Master," Obi-Wan said. "It can't want anything."
    "The Force surrounds us and binds us," Qui-Gon began quoting one of Yoda's favorite speeches. "You can feel it all around you. Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Even between the land and the sky." He stroked his beard thoughtfully. "I don't fully understand why, Obi-Wan, but that stone was meant to come to me. I carried it with me for several years. As strange as it sounds, it brought comfort to me. And then I met you, and I began rethinking my vow to never again take a Padawan. When I decided to ask you to be my apprentice, I held the stone in my hand, and all at once I sensed that it wanted to leave me - and go to you. And so I gave it up."
    Obi-Wan swallowed against the lump that suddenly tightened his throat. "Then... it is even more precious than I thought."
    Qui-Gon smiled, and rested his hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder for a moment.
    "It's late," he said. "You should get some sleep."
    Obi-Wan stood, tucking the stone back into his tunic pocket, and bowed to Qui-Gon. "Good night, Master. And thank you."
    "Good night, Obi-Wan."


    Author's note: I am eager for your feedback! Good, bad, or indifferent: hit reply and review. You know you want to!
  2. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    OH, you're going to post it here, too! =D= I like the give and take of feedback here much better.

    Wherever he goes, and whoever he becomes, let him be loved. Let him love, and be loved. That's all I ask.

    The comet streamed across the void, and the debris it left behind sparkled and shone like a trail of tears across the midnight sky.

    Hanna bent down and kissed her son's forehead, his nose, his dimpled chin, and felt his soft breath against her cheek.

    Just let him love, and be loved.]

    What's so sad is Obi-Wan never gets the love he deserves, at least in my opinion.

  3. Gkilkenny

    Gkilkenny Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2004
    Very nice beginning and I like your version of the stone finding its way to Obi-Wan, and I hope that things change and Qui-Gon lives a little longer but if he doesn't at least he told Obi-Wan how he feels about him.=D=
  4. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    He doesn't, he really doesn't! Something I hope to rectify with this story... but you'll have to be patient! [face_mischief]

    Thank you! I'm hopeful the stone will make a good device to tie my whole story together.
  5. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    Chapter 2

    It was a face from the darkest nightmares of the children in the Jedi Temple.

    A black-hooded face, crowned with horns and marred with jagged red and black tattoos. Yellow eyes, burning with hatred and the unnatural strength of the Dark Side. Blood-red lightsaber blades, extending from both ends of the hilt and moving too quickly to follow with the eyes.

    Locked in combat with the mysterious Dark Lord of the Sith, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were being tossed around like flotsam on a sea as they attempted to penetrate the defenses of the horned, tattooed Zabrak who had silently confronted them as they escorted the Queen of Naboo and her Royal Guard to the throne room. The others had pressed on, hoping to capture the viceroy of the Trade Federation who had taken control of the Theed Palace, leaving the Jedi to deal with the Sith.

    Now, the three of them battled across the catwalks crisscrossing the plasma generators that powered the entire city of Theed.

    Obi-Wan had once thought there was no foe he and his master could not defeat together. But within the first minute of the duel, he and Qui-Gon had both been centimeters from death more than once.

    Although he was experienced at releasing fear into the Force during life-and-death situations, Obi-Wan could feel a sickening kind of panic settling into the pit of his stomach as he fought. Qui-Gon was a Jedi Master, ranked among the best swordsmen the Order had produced. Obi-Wan was the most skilled of his age group in the Temple, and brought to the fight all the energy of his youth.

    It wasn't enough.

    The red and black Sith controlled the fight, knocking them down repeatedly, rebuffing their every thrust and slash, leading them into a corridor so narrow that Obi-Wan was forced to step back and let Qui-Gon take the brunt of the attack. Just then, a warning surged through the Force. With a snap-hiss, multiple red energy screens flared into life behind them, bisecting the corridor like gates.

    Obi-Wan leaped, just in time to get trapped with Qui-Gon in the space between two screens, the Sith also trapped just one thin red screen away from them. The Sith tapped his saber against the screen, to no effect. The three of them switched off their lightsabers.

    Qui-Gon dropped to one knee, inhaled deeply and relaxed his shoulders, slipping into meditation. Obi-Wan stood quietly, focusing on the Force so he would have warning before the screens dropped again. The Sith paced back and forth like an animal, eying them malevolently.

    Obi-Wan looked down at Qui-Gon's serene countenance and felt an irrational hope flare inside him. We can do this, he thought. The Sith is strong, but together, Qui-Gon and I can defeat him.

    Qui-Gon's eyes popped open. Abruptly, he stood.

    "I don't belong here," he whispered. Surprised, he turned to look at Obi-Wan. "This isn't my fight."

    Obi-Wan's brow creased in confusion. What was Qui-Gon talking about?

    Then Qui-Gon suddenly went rigid, his eyes unfocused as though he were seeing something far-off.

    "Anakin's in trouble," he said.

    Obi-Wan frowned, failing to see what they could do about that right now. But not Qui-Gon. Turning toward his Padawan, he dropped his large hand gently on Obi-Wan's shoulder.

    "I must obey the will of the Force," he murmured to Obi-Wan. "You must fight on."

    "What?" Obi-Wan felt a spike of fear shoot down his spine. "Master..."

    Behind them, the row of screens began snapping open. Qui-Gon took a step back.

    "Master, I can't..." Obi-Wan said, fighting the panic that rose in his throat.

    "You can, Padawan."

    The last of the screens behind them opened. Qui-Gon left.

    Obi-Wan turned back toward the Sith just in time to see his smirk. The screen between them dropped, and the Sith advanced in a flurry of red sabers.


    Qui-Gon Jinn raced along the catwalks of the Theed power generators toward the hangar bay, a warning in the Force pulsing in his veins. Anakin Skywalker was in danger. Qui-Gon hadn't yet learned the nature of the danger, but he knew there was no time
  6. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Yikes :eek: . But an Obi-centric story either has Obi-Wan - or his ghost, right? And lots of h/c [face_praying] - though I suppose Qui-Gon will be too wrapped up with Anakin and praising him to give much /c to Obi-Wan.
  7. Gkilkenny

    Gkilkenny Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2004
    Oh My Force! and here I was thinking go Obi-Wan, and now he has been abandoned and he may have even given his life. Oh no I cant bear to watch, but I will wait patiently for Obi-Wan to realise he ran into a wall and knocked himself unconscious, not run through with a sith sabre.[face_praying]
  8. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    Ran into a wall? [face_laugh] Oh, just you wait.

    Clever girl. =D= You're right, I'm not done with Obi-Wan yet. Mwahahahaha!
  9. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    Chapter 3


    Sinking down.

    Floating up.

    Unending movement.

    Obi-Wan was carried as if on a gentle breeze. He was weightless, untethered, insubstantial.

    He was also hearing a strange noise.

    It was rhythmic, repetitive. Whoosh, hiss. Whoosh, hiss. Whoosh, hiss. It sounded a lot like his own breathing had sounded as he swam underwater to Otoh Gunga with a rebreather in his mouth.

    Obi-Wan held his breath. The sound stopped. Then he heard a muffled beep-beep-beep sound.

    Odd, Obi-Wan thought. This wasn't at all what he'd imagined the netherworld of the Force would be like, and suddenly he wondered: If I'm dead, how am I holding my breath?

    Suddenly he was jerked upwards, something cutting painfully into his flesh under his arms. Obi-Wan felt the shock of cold air against his bare, dripping wet skin, and then a cold and hard surface against his back as he was laid down.

    "What's wrong?" a voice asked, the sound distorted through the fluid clogging Obi-Wan's ears.

    "He stopped breathing, sir," a metallic voice said.

    A heavy weight was lifted off Obi-Wan's face. Blearily he opened his eyes in time to see a medical droid set down a bulky breath mask, and then a metallic hand pried his mouth open.

    Obi-Wan coughed, and then he couldn't stop coughing. He became aware of a roiling in his stomach, and suddenly he gagged and started to vomit. Droid hands rolled him to his side, but the hands holding his head were human -- warm and calloused and familiar. Qui-Gon.

    After the fit passed, they laid him gently down on his back again. Obi-Wan began to understand what was happening to him. Over Qui-Gon's shoulder he could see the bacta tank he had just been pulled out of, the liquid still lapping in small waves against the glass.

    Another medical droid bustled over and pushed Qui-Gon away from the table, then pulled a curtain around Obi-Wan. The droids efficiently rinsed the pungent bacta out of his hair and off his skin, patting him dry and dressing him in a white undergarment. They helped raise him to a sitting position, and a droid pulled the curtain open again. Qui-Gon stepped back to his side, concern in his eyes.

    "How are you feeling?" he asked.

    Obi-Wan thought about that. He felt a dull ache in his back, and he felt a bit light-headed, but was otherwise fine. He started to tell Qui-Gon that -- when he remembered. With a start, Obi-Wan looked down at his chest, then rubbed his hand over it in disbelief.

    "What's wrong?" Qui-Gon asked, getting ready to summon the medical droid back.

    "I jumped on his blade," Obi-Wan said, stunned. There was not a mark on his body.

    "I ... can't imagine why you would have done that," Qui-Gon said. "But you must have missed."

    "So... you finished him, then?" Obi-Wan said.

    "No, you did that," Qui-Gon said. "We found him in two pieces on the catwalk, with your lightsaber nearby, still ignited. I didn't see you anywhere; I thought..."

    Qui-Gon broke off and swallowed.

    "We found you on the bottom level. Your back was broken."

    "I couldn't possibly have missed," Obi-Wan said, returning to his original line of thought. "I ran straight at him."

    "Captain Panaka is recovering the security holograms from the area," Qui-Gon said. "You can come and see for yourself, when you're up to it."


    Qui-Gon tried to be patient as the medical droids checked over Obi-Wan before releasing him, but he felt strangely agitated. The Sith was dead, the Viceroy of the Trade Federation was captured and the droid army destroyed, against all odds Anakin had survived his first space battle, the Queen was safe and Obi-Wan was healed... yet something was missing. Something was wrong.

    The droids finished helping Obi-Wan dress, and Qui-Gon pushed his thoughts aside and led his Padawan from the medical facility toward the throne room, walking slowly since Obi-Wan was still weak from the ordeal.

    "Senator Palpatine -- or, rather, Chancellor Palpatine -- has just arrived," he told his Padawan. "He wanted to verify with his own eyes that the
  10. The1stJediPrincess

    The1stJediPrincess Jedi Master star 2

    Sep 20, 2010
    Very good read. I'm always a fan of AU where Qui-Gon doesn't die. =D= If you have a PM list, I would like to be on it.
  11. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Hmm, did the Force sever the bond when Obi-Wan gave up "everything"? What will be the Council's/Qui-Gon's reaction when Obi-Wan "confesses" to his rage?

    I like how you brought in random bits of dialogue from the various movies and made them work here.
  12. Gkilkenny

    Gkilkenny Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2004

    With one exhale, he released the rage...
    the grief...
    his attachment to his Master...
    his jealousy of Anakin...
    his fear of death.

    Ah I think he let the bond go when he released his rage.[face_thinking]

    Ok so maybe he didn?t run into a wall but he ran into a force push that sent him flying. Kinda like a wall.

    Qui-Gon gently probed Obi-Wan through their Master-Padawan bond, and was met with silence.

    Because there was no bond. It was gone.

    There were only two ways to sever such a bond. Qui-Gon could end it ... or Obi-Wan could. Qui-Gon knew he hadn't.

    They walked to the throne room in silence.

    "You would have given your life for mine," she said simply. "Somehow, 'thank you,' seems a little inadequate."

    And of course Bratkins was watching, I hope he?s jealous

  13. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    It really is amazing, all the possibilities that are opened up when Qui-Gon doesn't die on Naboo!

    I don't think Obi-Wan will have to confess - they could see for themselves! And any Jedi worth his salt has been in that situation, too. They know the important thing is that in the end, he resisted.
  14. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    Chapter 4

    It was a crowded journey home to Coruscant, with the entire Jedi Council on the Chancellor's ship, plus Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Anakin, and all of Palpatine's guards and aides.

    Obi-Wan spent most of the time in the cockpit with the pilots, stubbornly determined to keep his distance from Qui-Gon. He was horrified by how close he had come to falling to the Dark Side. He never could have dreamed that his attachment to his Master would leave him so vulnerable, and he knew that no matter how painful it would be, he had to make the break between them quick and final. He felt that he ought to return the river stone to Qui-Gon, but the very thought of doing so made him break out in a cold sweat. Maybe he would have the strength to do that... later.

    The ship landed at 500 Republica first so the Chancellor and his aides could disembark, and then headed for the Jedi Temple.

    The ship landed in the hangar bay of the southeast spire, and through the bulkhead Obi-Wan heard the others gathering their things and exiting, but he stayed where he was. After powering down the engines, the pilots left the cockpit to perform a flight check. Obi-Wan just sat there, reluctant to leave the ship and face all the curious stares. Did the other Jedi know by now that Anakin was Qui-Gon's Padawan? What would they think had happened to Obi-Wan? He could just imagine the possible explanations the other Jedi would come up with. Had he been dismissed as Qui-Gon's Padawan? Had he passed the trials? Had he been knighted, ready or not, just to make way for the Chosen One to be trained?

    The door to the cockpit slid open. Obi-Wan turned, expecting to see a pilot, but was instead surprised to see his old friend Siri Tachi standing there, her shoulder-length blonde hair neatly framing her face.

    "There you are!" she said. "I was waiting for you out in the hangar. Adi called me and told me you might like some company right now." Adi Gallia was Siri's Master, as well as a member of the Jedi Council.

    "That was kind of her," Obi-Wan said, surprised.

    Suddenly Siri's eyes locked onto his right shoulder, where his Padawan braid usually hung.

    "Oh, Obi-Wan!" she exclaimed in wonderment. "Have you been...?"

    "Yes," he said. "I was knighted on Naboo yesterday."

    "That's wonderful! Congratulations!" she said. "Although I will never forgive you for getting there first."

    She waited for him to smile in response, and then looked uncomfortable when he didn't.

    Just then, the pilots came back into the cockpit, and Obi-Wan got up to get out of their way. He and Siri walked through the ship and down the gangplank.

    "Hurt your leg?" Siri asked, noticing his limp.

    "My back."

    "So, it's to the Healers then?"

    "Yes, but first I need to stop in my quarters."

    Siri seemed to have caught onto his mood. "Is there anything I can do to help you?" she asked. Obi-Wan made the mistake of looking into her eyes just then. They were a beautiful shade of blue and were filled with concern for him.

    He quickly looked away, reminding himself that it was a bad idea to have too much eye contact with Siri. There were still moments when he looked at her and wanted ... something he couldn't have. It had been seven years since they had realized they loved each other - and that if they wished to remain Jedi, they would have to reject that love. Their first kiss has also been their last. Siri had forbidden him to ever remind her of what had happened.

    Obi-Wan didn't regret the choice they had made, but he did very much regret the cooling of their friendship that had resulted. They didn't exactly avoid each other, but the old intimacy of their relationship was gone. They were comrades only.

    "Yes," he answered her. "You can keep everyone else away from me. I really don't want to talk to anyone right now."

    "Consider it done. Scaring people is what I'm best at."

    True to her word, Siri shot a vicious glare at anyone whose gaze lingered too long on Obi-Wan as they walked, and no one approached them. Soon they reached the residential area of the Temple and Obi-Wan opened the door to the qua
  15. obimom

    obimom Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2010
    Just found this story, and I loved the prologue and first chapter.

    "Just let him love, and be loved." What a sweet sentiment, He does love deeply, even as a Jedi, and he deserves all the love he can get.

    Looks to be a wonderful Obi centri story - I'll add this to my list of stories to keep up with...:D
  16. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Oh,:_| at "Farewell" rather than "May the Force be with you." Obi-Wan is just cutting himself off from some of what he needs...but at least he has Bant and Siri on his side.

    Dooku was a ___!
  17. obimom

    obimom Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2010
    Now caught up.

    Obi-Wan seems so alone - and by choice it seems. I'm glad he has forgiven Qui-Gon, and that he is close to Siri and Bant (even though keeping himself at arms length), and I guess I do understand his need to "break" from his attachment to Qui-Gon, but I can't help but feel sad for him.

    And I agree with Val...Dooku was an a**.

  18. darth_treyvah

    darth_treyvah Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 26, 2005
    You know, it is more than understandable why Obi-Wan cut his Bond. He basically wants to fulfill the Jedi way by having no attachments. The problem is that I can see this extending even further: where he just focuses on the dangers in the Force and cutting everyone else out of his life ... including his friends. He seems to think that without connections, he will somehow operate more efficiently or not have weaknesses. The thing is: I suspect even the Jedi are wary of this happening to them: of spending more and more time by themselves ... even if the Force is always there.

    Then there is Obi-Wan's awkward relationship with Siri. I suspect that he might become even more distant from her too: to the point of simply eliminating their friendship. The problem is, most Jedi do not know the difference between attachment and connection and knowing someone enough--or one's self enough--to do their duty. No matter what a Jedi chooses, they will always face pain like anyone else and isn't it better to have someone in your life than not? And all of those platitudes ...

    I do think that Siri knows Obi-Wan keeps her at a distance and doesn't want her close again after she rejected him. You can say it was mutual, but I seem to read from his perspective that this is what happened. Also, you would think that Dooku would be more fascinated with someone who actually defeated a Sith and was the student of his old Padawan.

    I have a feeling, though, that Obi-Wan's world is going to continue to get rocked and that some connections will not leave him alone.
  19. Gkilkenny

    Gkilkenny Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2004
    Farewell! sounds so final.:_|
    I wonder if Qui-Gon can see past his chosen one and realise what he is losing.[face_shame_on_you]
    Dooku needs a swift kick and I hope Siri or Obi give it to him down the track.[face_laugh]

  20. ForceForGood

    ForceForGood Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 17, 2010
    Author's note: Well, here I am, back after a long intermission due to the forum being down for revamping! I notice my earlier chapters are all cut off, but supposedly they will eventually be restored. I have no idea when. Should I wait for it to get fixed, or just start reposting the first four chapters? Anyway, for now I'm going to try to post this next chapter and see what happens. As always, I love to hear your thoughts about the story!
    Chapter 5
    Obi-Wan couldn't count the number of times in the last year of his apprenticeship he had stood just behind and to the side of Qui-Gon on missions, silently wondering what it would be like to be the one in charge.

    Now that he was, he wondered why he had been so eager. For many years, Qui-Gon had not hesitated to send Obi-Wan off alone to handle some aspect of a mission while he was otherwise occupied. Obi-Wan thought he'd done a good job with each assignment and had been confident he could do an entire mission on his own, from start to finish.

    It wasn't nearly as simple as he'd thought it would be. The pressure was incredible. Obi-Wan had never realized before how often he'd taken risks, blithely confident that Qui-Gon would be there to rescue him if needed - or how much he had counted on Qui-Gon for advice, or even just silent observation and support. As the months passed, he struggled to adjust to flying solo. He began to realize that one of the biggest challenges of being a Jedi Knight would be coping with the loneliness. As always, he made any number of friends as he traveled from world to world, but after a few weeks or a few months he said goodbye to them, never to see them again. And few understood his unique lifestyle and devotion to the Force.

    He was grateful for the messages he got from Siri every few weeks. He didn't unload his problems in detail to her, and she didn't try to give him any profound wisdom, but reading about her adventures during her missions with Adi Gallia had the power to take his mind off things for a while.

    Qui-Gon sent him messages too, short messages that kept him informed of the doings of their mutual friends at the Temple. He didn't say much about Anakin, but from what little he did say, he knew Qui-Gon had his hands very full trying to cram nine years' worth of training into Anakin's head in a short amount of time.

    Obi-Wan didn't answer any of his former Master's messages. He also accepted all his missions back-to-back, going straight from the conclusion of one mission to the beginning of the next. He could have taken a few weeks' respite at the Temple from time to time, and after six months had passed Yoda began to drop gentle hints that he should do just that. But each time he sent a final mission report to the Council, he always included a request for a new mission. He didn't want rest. He didn't want to go home. He just wanted to work. Yoda would have to respect that.

    Qui-Gon leaned against the balcony outside the waiting room of the Jedi Council Chambers, watching the continuous lines of ships crisscrossing the afternoon skies of Coruscant. It felt strange not to have a Padawan standing at his elbow. He and Obi-Wan had always tried to come to their appointments early so they could watch the traffic in companionable silence for a while before braving the pressure-pot that was the Council Chambers. It was a tradition he was carrying on with Anakin, but Qui-Gon had not even informed his Padawan that he would be speaking with the Council today. Anakin had accompanied Qui-Gon the last time he had made this particular request, and the boy had been so devastated by the Council's denial that it had been months before Qui-Gon could get him to properly focus on his studies again.

    The thing he was asking for seemed so simple, but it was like trying to pull teeth from a rancor to get the Council to even consider it. Qui-Gon wanted permission to free Shmi Skywalker and bring her to the Temple to live.

    Qui-Gon rubbed at his face tiredly. Although not many suspected it, he dreaded his clashes with the Council as much as they did. But he couldn't let his personal feelings get in the way of doing what was best for Anakin. It was almost certainly useless to ask again, but Qui-Gon was nothing if not persistent.

    He knew all the reasons for the Council's reluctance, and could even sympathize with them. A Jedi's family could become a distraction, especially to Padawans who needed to keep their full concentration on their training. They could even influence a Jedi to abandon his service to the galaxy in favor of more materialistic pursuits. Qui-Gon knew this on a personal level, since his first Padawan, Xanatos, had reached the end of his training only to be seduced away from the Order by the wealth and power of his father Crion, the governor of Telos.

    But Anakin was not Xanatos and, more importantly, Shmi Skywalker was not Crion. She held no wealth or power to tempt Anakin. She was determined to see her son become a Jedi Knight. Qui-Gon was convinced she could remain an influence for good in Anakin's life. But the Council would not hear of it.

    The most frustrating part of the situation was that, two thousand years ago, the Jedi Council of that time would not have blinked their eyes at such a request. The Order's ban on familial attachments had only been enacted after the end of the New Sith War, a century or so before Yoda had been born. The Council of that time began to take potential Jedi from their families as infants and sequester them during training, hoping to prevent them from being exposed to forbidden Sith knowledge. An overreaction, Qui-Gon privately thought, but he knew better than to share that opinion with the Council. They already thought of him as a radical, and their disapproval had only deepened when Qui-Gon had informed them he would take Anakin as a Padawan, with or without their approval.

    Most Jedi Knights didn't think much about the worlds and families they left behind as infants. Many had no memories of their homeworld at all, and those who did were far too busy with their work to think or care about people and places that no longer held any meaning for them.

    But Anakin was not like most Jedi. He remembered his mother. He missed her. If any situation warranted an exception to the rule, Anakin's did.

    If only he could convince the Council of that.

    A soft chime sounded, and the door to the Council chambers slid open to admit him.

    Qui-Gon vented his displeasure with the Council by pushing the button to the turbolift more forcefully than he needed to.

    Yoda and the other Masters had patiently listened to his request to free Anakin's mother and bring her to Coruscant, then patiently reiterated all the reasons they had refused his first request, and patiently informed him that their answer was still the same. No again.

    Thank the Force he hadn't brought Anakin with him this time. He didn't want Anakin to learn to think of the Council as his enemy. Qui-Gon respected them all a great deal, but they had a tendency to resist change, and if ever there were a time to adapt to a changing galaxy, this was it.

    Now what?

    If Anakin was denied his birth family, Qui-Gon realized, he would have to do his best to provide a substitute family for the boy. Qui-Gon was already adapting his teaching style to include more affection than came to him naturally, but that might not be enough. He needed to remain an authority figure to Anakin, and that limited what he could do as a friend and confidante.

    He thought again of Palpatine's offer to admit Anakin into his office at 500 Republica for a visit anytime the boy wanted. Qui-Gon had yet to puzzle out the Chancellor's motive in doing so. Was it just gratitude for Anakin's help in liberating Naboo from the Trade Federation? Did he want to be a mentor to Anakin? Or, Qui-Gon thought more cynically, did he hope forming a friendship with a Jedi would give him influence over the Jedi Order? If that were the case, he should have chosen a different Jedi. Someone like Obi-Wan, who stood a good chance of sitting on the Council in the years to come.

    On the other hand, Obi-Wan distrusted politicians as much as Qui-Gon did and wasn't likely to let himself be used in that manner.

    Still, thinking of Obi-Wan sparked another idea in Qui-Gon's head. Anakin looked up to Obi-Wan. Perhaps he could join Anakin's "family" as a sort of older brother. Someone Anakin could confide in without judgment. Someone Qui-Gon could trust to be a good influence on the boy.

    It was the perfect solution, except Obi-Wan had clearly been keeping his distance from Anakin during those weeks after his knighting, before he'd left the Temple on his first string of solo missions. Was it because he still feared the boy was dangerous? Or was it because of a lingering jealousy? Both explanations seemed equally unlikely, given Obi-Wan's apology before he left the Temple. Perhaps he simply needed time to adjust to his new independence. The Council was apparently keeping him busy with missions - Obi-Wan hadn't even had time to respond to Qui-Gon's correspondence.

    A hum announced the approach of the turbolift at last, and the door slid open to reveal Siri Tachi. Qui-Gon nodded a greeting to her. Siri and her Master, Adi Gallia, had teamed up with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan on several missions many years ago, though none recently. Not since the mission to protect Talesan Fry. Not since Yoda had determined, with Adi and Qui-Gon's concurrence, that it was best to keep the two Padawans apart as much as possible, for both their sakes. Qui-Gon still felt it had been the right decision, although he felt a sting of guilt each time he saw Siri. He did his best to shield that particular emotion from her now, as always.

    "Master Jinn," Siri said with a polite nod as she stepped out of the turbolift and held the door for him.

    "How are you, Siri?" he asked.

    "Fine. A bit worried about Obi-Wan, but I suppose you are too."

    Qui-Gon paused in confusion. "Worried? Why?"

    "It sounds like he's a little lonely," Siri said. "He's never sent me holograms so often before. Garen and Bant say the same thing, too."

    The door to the Council Chambers slid open and Mace's voice called out: "Siri Tachi. Come in."

    "Time to face the firing squad," Siri whispered with a wink before she disappeared into the Council chambers.

    Qui-Gon stepped into the turbolift and touched the button to descend, but the sinking sensation in his stomach had nothing to do with the downward motion of the turbolift. At last, he understood the significance of what Obi-Wan had said as he left the Temple: "Farewell." It wasn't Anakin he was avoiding, after all.

    It's me.

    Qui-Gon thought he knew when the rift had formed. It all stemmed from the moment he had left Obi-Wan to fight the Sith alone while he rescued Anakin. That was when Obi-Wan had severed their Master-Padawan bond, and nothing had been the same between them since.

    The two of them had had several serious disagreements during Obi-Wan's apprenticeship and always before, his Padawan had forgiven him. He thought Obi-Wan had forgiven him after his eloquent apology in the hangar bay. Could he have been lying? It wasn't as difficult for a Padawan to deceive a Master as many thought. Xanatos had successfully lied to him any number of times. Sometimes it was easier to fool those closest to you.

    Qui-Gon felt sick thinking about it. It was bad enough that he'd been betrayed by one apprentice. Not Obi-Wan, too. He refused to believe it. There was only one explanation he could believe. Obi-Wan had forgiven him, but he simply had no desire to maintain ties with his former Master. After such a tumultuous apprenticeship, so often at odds with his Master, it must have been a relief for him to escape at last.

    Qui-Gon thanked the Force that Obi-Wan was too pure of heart to let his dislike for his former Master corrupt into hatred. Obi-Wan was a Jedi Knight now, and a good one, and he would not let personal feelings get in the way of his duties. Nor would Qui-Gon. He had lost his connection with Obi-Wan, and it hurt, but he would have to move on. Yoda always cautioned his students that mourning those who were gone was the shadow of greed, and so he would not mourn Obi-Wan.

    But he mourned the loss of all that the river stone represented. He had no doubt that Obi-Wan no longer carried it with him.


    The messages from Qui-Gon suddenly stopped coming. Obi-Wan thought he should have been relieved by that, since he felt a jolt of discomfort every time he received one, but the lack of messages bothered him just as much. Try as he might, he could not help wondering why they had stopped coming. Was Qui-Gon just too busy with Anakin's training to think of it? Or had he finally realized that the contact was unwelcome?

    At least he still had Siri's messages to look forward to.

    Siri stopped sending him messages.

    In her last message, she was full of trepidation about the mission she and Adi had just been assigned: to investigate reports that slaves were being forced to work in the spice mines of Kessel. The mining operation on Kessel was sanctioned by the Republic, which meant the use of slaves would be a serious violation of contract. As months went by with no word from Siri, he began to fear the worst. Finally, he contacted Adi directly and asked if he could speak with Siri.

    And when Adi told him that Siri had left the Jedi Order in a fit of rage after the two had a serious disagreement during that mission, it felt like a physical blow. He had never dreamed Siri was capable of such a thing. But as the shock wore off, he remembered that once he had never dreamed he was capable of leaving the Order - and yet he had, for a time. When he was a brand-new Padawan, he had become too close to the conflict on Melida/Daan and had deserted Qui-Gon when his Master refused to stay and help a group of teenagers - Obi-Wan's friends - fight a battle. Because Obi-Wan had been so young and inexperienced, the Council had placed him on probation and eventually permitted Qui-Gon to re-apprentice him. But there could be no such forgiveness for Siri, who was nearly old enough to take the Trials and should have known better.

    Obi-Wan slowly accepted the fact that he would never see Siri again.

  21. darth_treyvah

    darth_treyvah Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 26, 2005