Title: Interludes Author: K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Characters: Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, K'Tai, Kur-Cot, Bus'cai, T'lor, Donal, De'vona, Jen'sai among others. Disclaimers: An-Paj is the creation of Jane Jinn, and Rani is the brainchild of of Rani Veko. Disney owns the GFFA. I just play here. Summary: In between the letters of "Getting to Know You", Obi-Wan and K'Tai actually got to spend time together. These are those times. AN: Just like "Getting to Know You" was sparked by a comment by Nyota's Heart, this one is also her fault spurred on by a request from Gemma and encouragement from Findswoman and Chyntuck. Thank you to Charity Rose for beta-reading. I will be tagging in future posts, so let me know either in a comment or by PM if you want to be added to the tag list. I will do my best to update regularly, probably every two weeks. Part 1: Beginnings Chapter 1: Falling Hard "Master?" "Yes Padawan?" Qui-Gon quickly glanced over at his protege. The young man was climbing ahead of him, his focus on finding the next hand-hold on the rock face. Obi-Wan paused a moment, drawing in a breath and pushing off the rock face as he simultaneously reached for the next hold above him. Catching it with his fingertips, he planted his feet against the cliff. "How is it that when we go on holiday, we still end up working?" The teen pulled himself up, toes finding purchase on a small ledge. Qui-Gon chuckled under his breath. "I assume you refer to our little escapade in the market this morning and not our present circumstances." "I was actually referring to both, but we can start with the market place." His muscles were starting to burn with the exertion of climbing. "After the chase we gave this morning, I thought something a bit less taxing might be on the agenda for this afternoon." "I thought you wanted to see the Vespian Moon Flower." "I do." "Then quit talking and climb." Qui-Gon stretched for his next hold. "And the answer to your question is the Force works in mysterious ways." He felt his padawan's raised eyebrow in response. He didn't dare look at it just then, as he needed to focus entirely on the rock in front of him. They were climbing almost free-hand. There were occasions when climbing this high completely free-hand was necessary. Today was not one of them, and Qui-Gon had insisted that they take the extra precaution of using their grappling guns as a back-up. Tied to their belts, they provided a small but not insignificant margin of protection against losing a hand hold, particularly since the cliff was pocked with areas of what looked like solid rock that crumbled under the pressure of a body hanging from it. Qui-Gon felt the flare of danger in the Force just before Obi-Wan's hand slipped as the hold he had been using gave way. "Padawan!" For his part, Obi-Wan did not panic at the sudden sensation of plummeting to the ground. He had the good presence of mind to kick away as soon as he felt the hold go, so he was clear of the cliff face. After a moment the line in his grappling gun pulled taut and his decent stopped abruptly. That was close he thought. Another flare of danger in the Force caused him to look up. The sudden weight on the grappling hook caused its hold to crumble. His grappling hook pulled free from its purchase, and he was truly falling. Icy fear ran up his spine as he processed what this meant. Shoving the feeling away, he flipped himself so at least he could see the ground rushing up to meet him. They had been over 50 meters up. He watched the vegetation that clung stubbornly to the cliff wall flit past him. As he closed in on the ground, he exerted a Force push, trying to counter his downward momentum. He could feel Qui-Gon reaching out to try to slow him as well. It worked to a point. He slowed enough that he was sure he wasn't going to die upon impact, but not enough to keep from injuring himself. This is going to hurt. The ground rushed to meet him, a lover's embrace after a long absence. There was a loud crash and then a scream. Obi-Wan's world exploded into a kaleidoscope of pain and color as he rolled briefly before coming to a stop. His vision dimmed and then went black as he lost consciousness. Qui-Gon descended the cliff face as fast as he could. Obi-Wan had hit the ground hard and let out a scream that was followed by silence. He ruthlessly suppressed the fear that threatened to overwhelm him. Let him be ok... His feet touched the ground, and he quickly detached his grappling wire. He ran to his padawan. The boy was on the ground in a crumpled heap on his side. Qui-Gon could see his leg was bent at an unnatural angle, probably broken. Moving closer he could see that an arm was likely also broken. He bent down and gently touched his padawan. "Obi-Wan? Can you hear me?" Blue eyes fluttered open and stared back at him. "Ow," came the droll reply. Qui-Gon chuckled a little. At least Obi-Wan's sense of humor hadn't been hurt. That also meant that a head injury, at least anything more serious than a mild concussion, was unlikely. "Let me take a look at you." Qui-Gon reached out a hand to gently feel along Obi-Wan's spine for a break. Obi-Wan writhed in pain. “Be still, Padawan, and let me see,” Qui-Gon said. Obi-Wan did his best to obey, but the breaks in both his arm and his leg were too much for him. He let out a loud groan. Neither master nor padawan heard the girl approach until she was beside them. “Here, let me,” the girl said. "What the...?" Qui-Gon stammered as she elbowed past him. She ignored his protest and pushed Qui-Gon aside. The girl circled Obi-Wan, crouched in front of him and touched Obi-Wan’s chest. He quit moaning and stilled. She worked quickly, using the Force to ease his pain and gently set bones. She then took a slow breathe and felt for additional trauma. As the girl finished, her eyes met Obi-Wan’s. A spark flashed between them. She looked away and back to Qui-Gon. "I've done what I can for him here, but he's hurt internally. We need to get him to the House of Healing. Stay with him. I will go for help." Before Qui-Gon could reply, the girl was up and running through the wilderness. He looked back at Obi-Wan. His padawan was still in pain, but he was considerably more comfortable than he had been before. "Master, who was that?" "I have no idea, Padawan. How are you feeling now?" Obi-Wan sighed. "I hurt, but not as badly. It felt like she was using the Force, sort of. What is a House of Healing?" "Some sort of medical center I think. Kress is home to a sect of Force-sensitives if I remember correctly. I do not for the life of me remember what they are called. Perhaps the House of Healing is akin to their Halls of Healing." Obi-Wan groaned. "Great. Just how I wanted to spend my holiday...with healers." He coughed, trying to catch his breath. "Breathing hurts. I think I broke a rib or two." He closed his eyes. And punctured a lung in the process, Qui-Gon thought to himself as another cough showed red spittle on Obi-Wan's lips. "Save your breath. Can you focus enough to go into a healing trance?" "Ung..." was all the response he got. Qui-Gon put a hand on his padawan's head. The boy had slipped back into the void of unconsciousness. Qui-Gon hoped that the help the mysterious girl had gone for would arrive soon. Just then, he heard the unmistakable thrum of a transport making its way to a clearing to his left. As it landed, the girl jumped out, pulling an adult behind her. "Here he is," she said pointing to Obi-Wan. "He fell from up there. I was out gathering herbs for the House when I heard the fall. They are Jedi. I'm certain that is the only reason he's in this good of shape." The man, in his late 30's or early 40's by appearance, bent over Obi-Wan. He spoke to Qui-Gon while examining the boy. "My name is Kur-Cot qel Tanku-Beden. I'm the senior Adept at the House of Healing. We are Tal'shari." He held his hands over Obi-Wan for a moment and then turned to Qui-Gon. "Your apprentice?" Qui-Gon nodded affirmatively. "Obi-Wan is my padawan learner. I am Qui-Gon Jinn." "Well, Master Jinn, your padawan needs immediate medical attention. There is internal bleeding that we need to stop. We're going to transport him to the our main medical facility, the House of Healing outside of Tendel City. He's going to be out of commission for a few weeks at least." Qui-Gon stood back as others approached with an anti-grav sled. The girl placed her hands on Obi-Wan's head as Kur-Cot and the other healers gently levitated him onto the sled. Qui-Gon felt Obi-Wan slip into a light healing trance. She stayed in position, walking with the sled back to the transport. Qui-Gon followed. The sled was loaded into the transport, and the transport lifted off. When it landed at what Qui-Gon presumed was the House of Healing, he did his best to stay out of the way and let the healers attend to their tasks. Obi-Wan stirred as the anti-grav sled was maneuvered into a treatment room. Peace, padawan, Qui-Gon said through their bond. The boys eyes fluttered as he fought against the healing trance. Qui-Gon moved closer and laid a hand on Obi-Wan's arm. Don't fight it. Let them help you. A groggy hint of animal instinct, to fight with all one's being, wafted through the Force. The healers aren't your opponents, my young friend. Notes of being unconvinced tinged with panic followed that thought. A fragment of coherent sentiment - I can't move - reached Qui-Gon. The girl returned then and placed her hands upon Obi-Wan's head. Her touch and whatever healing technique she employed seemed to do the trick. Soon Obi-Wan was in a deep healing trance. She looked over at Qui-Gon. The girl said something to Kur-Cot and then came to Qui-Gon, gently steering him out of the treatment room and to a chair just outside the door. "Your padawan is in good hands. Let's give the trauma team room to work." She studied his face as if deciding how much to tell him about the boy's condition. "There is temporary paralysis due to his bruised nerves. It will subside in a few days with the healing trance. In the meantime, what should I know about him?" she asked. Qui-Gon breathed a sigh of relief and thought a moment before answering. "Obi-Wan is not fond of healers." "Why?" Why indeed, Qui-Gon thought to himself. "He might tell you something entirely different, but from my experience, he dislikes the loss of control and what he sees as the invasion of his person." She looked at the boy through the open doorway thoughtfully. "Ok, he goes on the no droids list. Horrible bedside manners, the lot of them. What else?" Qui-Gon thought a moment more. "He'll deny he is in pain because he strives for perfection in all things and believes it reflects badly on him as a Jedi to admit to the needs of the body." When her eyebrow rose a bit in surprise, Qui-Gon offered a bit of explanation. "I've been working on correcting this, but his connection is stronger to the Unifying Force, so it is slow going." The girl cocked her head to the side at that. "Unifying Force? As opposed to..." Qui-Gon smiled. "The Living Force." "Ah," she said, obviously not comprehending the difference. "He is naturally attuned to the entire forest and it's connections, so he sees them more easily than he sees the beings that are connected." A light of understanding dawned in the girl's eyes. The girl thought for a moment. "Would you characterize him as introspective?" Qui-Gon thought about all of the times he had told his padawan to release whatever he was cogitating over to the Force and not brood. "Yes." "How does he feel about meditation?" "He's a 16 year-old boy. He's old enough to appreciate its place in his life, but he would rather spar, preferably with lightsabers, when given the choice." The girl nodded thoughtfully. "Do you find he responds well to moving meditation?" "Yes. I think he finds the katas we use for lightsaber training to be useful when he's having difficulty centering." Qui-Gon studied the girl before him. "What does all of this have to do with stopping internal bleeding and healing broken bones?" "Healing is very rarely just a physical process. If I am going to help him, I need to know how he is likely to respond to things when he can't think clearly or is in pain. Right now, he's terrified beyond just what I would expect for not being able move. Understanding where that might come from or what might make it worse is important if we're going to help him heal." "I didn't feel anything." "I'm not surprised. He shields amazingly well in the Force. His empathic projections are a different story." Qui-Gon looked at the girl with a new appreciation. "You are an empath." She blushed and nodded. He gestured to the controlled chaos around them. "This must be difficult for you at times." She chuckled a little. "It can be overwhelming, but at least here I can do something with the knowledge that I end up with. Like maybe make this experience a bit more pleasant for your apprentice." She rose and turned to go. "Wait. I didn't get your name." "K'Tai." "Thank you K'Tai. I sense that this is going to be a far different experience from our usual encounters with healers. I will warn you that once he starts feeling better, you might have your hands full. Oh, and bacta makes him a bit goofy." K'Tai smiled. "Bacta equals goofy Jedi. Got it. I think I can handle whatever he throws my way. Would you like a cot? I can have it set up in the room we are going to move him to. Having you close these first few days will help him." Qui-Gon was a bit taken back. An-Paj usually chased him out of the Halls of Healing. "Yes, thank you." "You are welcome, Master Jinn." As she left, Kur-Cot appeared and took her place. "Your padawan is stable for now. We have stopped the bleeding. We plan on keeping him in the trance for at least the next three days. K'Tai told you about the nerve inflammation and paralysis? It is temporary. He should be able to move the things he didn't break when he comes out. "You are welcome to spend as much time with him as you wish while he is in a private room, which will be the next week or so. After he moves to the wards, I will have to ask you to following the visiting hours out of respect for the other patients. If you would be more comfortable staying as a guest of the Tal'shari rather than in your accommodations in town, I can arrange that. Just let me know. Regardless, you are welcome to explore the House and associated facilities at you leisure. If you make your way to our Archives, I'm sure our head archivist will be thrilled to have a chance to talk with you. We haven't had much contact with the Jedi in recent years." "Thank you for your generous offer. I would like to be closer to him while he heals. I look forward to getting to know your tradition better." “I will go make the arrangements.” Kur-Cot put a hand on Qui-Gon’s arm. “He’s hurt seriously, but he will recover.” Then he stood and left. Qui-Gon looked back at the boy who was supposed to be just his student but wasn’t. Usually, he longed to be back in the Temple when Obi-Wan needed serious medical attention. This time though, he was glad they were where they found themselves. It was nice not to be challenged for following the will of the Living Force to stay by his padawan’s side.