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Before - Legends Before the Saga Scars of the Heart (A Multi-Chapter Story Featuring Hints of Qui-Gon/Tahl, Obi-Wan and Bant)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Scars of the Heart

    Author:
    devilinthedetails

    Characters: Qui-Gon Jinn; Obi-Wan Kenobi; Bant Eerin; Tahl

    Genre: General, Friendship, Hints of Romance

    Summary: Tahl won't open her heart to Bant, and Qui-Gon is determined to change that.

    Healing Wounds

    Obi-Wan had gone down to the Temple Archives so Qui-Gon was alone in the common room of the quarters he shared with his Padawan when the alert that announced a visitor chimed. Rising from the sofa, he pressed the access panel to reveal Obi-Wan’s Mon Calamari friend, Bant Eerin.

    “Bant.” Qui-Gon invited her in with a smile. “Come in.”

    “Thank you, Master Jinn.” Bant’s wide eyes flicked about the common room as she entered, the door panel closing automatically behind her.

    “If you’re looking for Obi-Wan, I’m afraid he’s gone down to the Archives.” Qui-Gon knew it would do no good to attempt to contact Obi-Wan to inform him that Bant had arrived to visit him. Jocasta Nu ruled her Archives with such an iron fist that nobody dared to keep their comlinks anything but off when in her domain of studious silence where technological interruptions were met with stern lectures and cold stares.

    “You are, of course, welcome to wait for him to return or I can let him know that you stopped by to see him when he returns.”

    “It’s not Obi-Wan I was hoping to speak to.” Bant appeared almost anxious, and the sudden suspicion that some of the moisture clinging to Bant’s beige robes wasn’t the dampness of a recent dip in the Temple’s lake but a nervous sweat flared in Qui-Gon’s mind. “It was you I was hoping to speak to if you have the time.”

    “Certainly I have the time.” Qui-Gon laid a gentle hand on her tense shoulder, trying to set her at ease. “I always have time for you, Bant.”

    “I have need of your guidance.” Bant twisted at her robes, a sure sign of adolescent discomfiture across species. “I know I should look to my Master for counsel, but...”

    “Any Padawan may seek out the counsel of any Master at any time,” Qui-Gon reassured her, noting inwardly that his own headstrong apprentice had the habit of seeking out Yoda for advice that would contradict his won seemingly for the sheer joy of being contrary. “I’m honored that you feel comfortable seeking my advice, Bant.” Sensing that this would be a long conversation best conducted with warm mugs of a soothing, herbal beverage in hand, he added, “I was just about to make myself a pot of Gatalentan tea. Would you care for a cup?”

    “That sounds perfect.” Bant was opening up–emerging from her shell–at even the promise of tea.

    As they stepped into the small kitchenette Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan could use when they didn’t want to head down to the Temple refectory, Qui-Gon gestured for Bant to slip into a chair tiny table that could accommodate two beings with elbow room and three in a pinch as he filled a kettle with water and placed it on the stove to boil. While he waited for the water to boil, he removed two clay mugs from a cabinet and tucked tea bags scented with many of Gatalenta’s most distinctive herbs and aromas into them. Once the kettle came to a hissing boil, he poured the water over the tea bags and carried the mugs over to the table where Bant was waiting for him.

    “Tea is ready.” Qui-Gon slid a steaming mug across the table to Bant as he took his seat across from her. “Now why don’t you tell me how I can help you?”

    “I sought you out because I have a question about my Master that I can’t ask her.” Bant stared into the dark depths of her seeping tea. “I know you’re close to her, so I hoped you might be able to tell me what I’m doing wrong–why she won’t trust me and open up to me.”

    “You must understand that it isn’t anything that you’re doing wrong.” Qui-Gon took a deep breath, inhaling the rich, herbal scent of Gatalentan tea, before trying to explain. “It’s simply something–some pain buried inside her that she might not even want to acknowledge–that makes it difficult for her to trust and open up to anyone. Her blinding on Melida-Daan left many wounds on her that haven’t healed yet, I’m afraid.”

    “Wounds I can’t heal?” Bant’s Mon Calamari eyes were wide as the oceans of her homeworld.

    “Perhaps some of them.” Qui-Gon lifted his mug to his lips and sipped, reflecting on how it had once been his own unhealed wounds caused by Xanatos’s betrayal that had made him rebuff Obi-Wan, keeping the eager, brave boy who had become his erstwhile Padawan at arm’s length until he could no longer deny Obi-Wan’s courage and integrity, the fundamental traits that distinguished Obi-Wan from Xanatos. “Perhaps some of them nobody–not you, not me–can heal. Perhaps some of them only she can heal. Perhaps some of them only time can heal. What I do know is that there are some we can heal through patience and forbearance. Tahl needs you to be patient with her. Can you do that for her, Bant?”

    “I can.” Bant’s tone was soft and serious. “I promise I’ll be patient with her.”

    “Very good.” Qui-Gon nodded his approval of her pledge. “I’ll speak with her about how important it is that she learn to trust you and open up to you.”

    “That’s more than I could ask for. Thank you.” Bant seemed to glow at this, and, after that, they made companionable conversation about Bant’s progress in her training until they had finished their tea, at which point, Bant rose to take her leave.

    Bant had barely left and Qui-Gon begun to clean the mugs when Obi-Wan entered their quarters laden with an imposing stack of holobooks.

    “I hope you left some holobooks in the Archives, Padawan.” Qui-Gon’s glance rose from the mug he was washing to the pile of holobooks Obi-Wan had unceremoniously dumped on the table nearest the entrance to their quarters.

    “Jocasta Nu would hunt me down to slit my neck with her lightsaber if I didn’t.” Obi-Wan sniffed and must have breathed in a whiff of Gatalentan herbs. “Did you have Gatalentan tea without me, Master?”

    “Yes, I regret to inform you that I did.” Qui-Gon assumed a mock somber voice as if imparting grave news on his apprentice.

    “And you didn’t save me any?” Obi-Wan asked with more than a trace of indignation.

    “It would’ve been cold by the time you got up here to enjoy it.” Qui-Gon chuckled.

    “I could’ve made it iced tea and enjoyed it very much, Master.” Obi-Wan sniffed again. “Was Bant here?”

    “Yes, she was.” Qui-Gon nodded.

    “And you weren’t going to tell me about that either, Master?” Obi-Wan shook his head.

    “No.” Qui-Gon tapped his apprentice’s wrinkling nose. “I wanted to see if you could sense she was here.” The way Qui-Gon could always sense Tahl’s presence, and Tahl could always sense his...The idea was disconcerting, and to distract himself from it, he went on, “She was seeking my wisdom, Obi-Wan.”

    “Seeking your wisdom?” Obi-Wan echoed with unmistakable surprise.

    “Seeking my wisdom.” Qui-Gon arched an eyebrow. “Is it so impossible for you to believe that someone might seek out my wisdom, Padawan?”

    “I plead the seventh.” Obi-Wan raised his palms in surrender, referring to the amendment in the Republic’s constitution that allowed a being to remain silent rather than to admit to anything incriminating.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :) :D

    I love Bant's worries, how this reflects her caring and sensitivity. Qui-Gon's warm assurances, with a strong dollop of wisdom, are just what she needed.

    There is definitely a parallel between Bant's and Tahl's rocky situation and his and Obi-Wan's, which time and patience can hopefully heal. @};-

    The banter at the end, too fun and lightens the mood splendidly!
     
  3. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting! :DI really enjoyed being able to show Bant's caring and sensitivity in this chapter as well as how Qui-Gon can offer that combination of warm reassurance and wisdom that she needs so I'm happy to hear that part of the chapter resonated with you so much.

    I agree that there is definitely a parallel between Bant and Tahl's rocky situation and Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's. That parallel should get more development as the story continues...

    I really had fun writing the ending banter and I was hoping it could lighten the mood after some of the heavier conversation earlier in the chapter so I'm so pleased that change in mood worked well for you:)
     
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    I love how you are bringing the Jedi apprentice series to us
     
  5. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @earlybird-obi-wan Thank you so much for the kind comment! I really loved the Jedi Apprentice books so I'm really enjoying being able to write about those characters and it makes me so happy that there are other Star Wars fans out there who want to read more about those characters:D
     
  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    But you write your stories with so much more espirt and depth. Plus you hook me up all the time because you write Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan so well. There is always that wink in Qui-Gon´s eye... :D
     
  7. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @AzureAngel2 Thank you so much! I'm insanely flattered that you think I write my stories with such depth. I hope you'll continue to enjoy my takes on Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's characters:D

    A Million Memories

    “You should open up more with Bant.” Qui-Gon leaned forward on the sofa in the common area of the quarters Tahl shared with Bant, hoping that Tahl, seated in a chair across from him, would be able to feel the movement she couldn’t see. Bant had gone to the lake for one of her daily swims, and they had the quarters to themselves to speak privately. Qui-Gon could only hope that would make Tahl more apt to listen to him even though she had never been one to welcome his or anyone else’s guidance, and being blind had only made her more prickly prideful about accepting advice or assistance from anybody.

    “You’re one to talk.” Tahl’s sightless green-and-gold striped eyes rolled. “For years, you refused to take a Padawan after Xanatos, and then when you finally did take a Padawan, you pushed him away and refused to trust him again because he got confused by his own good intentions on a war-torn world.”

    Qui-Gon bristled at this accusation. Then, determined not to respond to Tahl’s caustic comment with one of his own, relaxed his muscles until he could reply levelly, “That experience of opening up to Obi-Wan even though it was so hard that it felt impossible to do and the reward I get every day for doing that is why I am one to talk, Tahl. Oh, and I recall that you were the one who spent years advising me to take a Padawan after Xanatos fell and were the first to encourage me to take Obi-Wan back when he wished to return to the Jedi. Now why won’t you follow your own advice? That is the true question, my friend.”

    “Is the answer not obvious to you?” Tahl gave a chuckle that sounded more bitter than amused. “Funny. They say I’m the blind one, but you give me a run for my credits.”

    “Your blindness doesn’t prevent you from being a good Master to Bant.” Suddenly and painfully aware of how her blindness might have hurt her ability to see the rich wisdom she could impart on a Padawan. He longed to reach across the space between them and squeeze her shoulder, but he was afraid that she might misinterpret this gesture as too close to the reassurance a Master might offer an apprentice and twist away from him. He couldn’t bear the idea of her pulling away from him, so he remained still, aching with the abrupt and strong desire to touch her. “You have much to teach Bant. I know it. So does Bant.”

    “I should never have taken her as a Padawn.” Tahl shook her head, and Qui-Gon could sense the incredible act of will it took for her to resist the urge to shed a tear. “Due to my blindness, I can’t protect her on a mission as a Master should. It’s one thing to risk my own life on a mission. Quite another to risk hers.”

    “Every Jedi accepts the risk of death with every mission but we believe that a life spent in service to others–even dangerous service–is more fulfilling than a life spent cloistered in the Temple.” Qui-Gon found it incredible that he had to explain this to Tahl when she had chafed at the bit for months when her blindness had restricted her to the Temple. “Bant wants to go into the galaxy and begin her broader life of service. It’s not fair to deny her that opportunity for reasons that have nothing to do with her.”

    “I’m Bant’s Master.” Tahl’s tone was sharp and cutting as a dagger. Qui-Gon tried to tell himself that was a good thing because it might mean that she would finally start truly treating Bant as her Padawan now that she had been forced into this defiant declaration, but that didn’t stop her voice from slicing into his heart like a careless surgeon’s scalpel. “I’ll decide what’s best for her. It’s none of your business how I train my Padawan.”

    “Oh?” Qui-Gon arched an eyebrow. “Much as it’s been none of your business how I train Obi-Wan?”

    “I have a special interest in Obi-Wan.” Tahl’s lips cracked in a smile. “His stubbornness reminds me of myself. His determination is unique even among the Jedi.”

    “And I have a soft spot for Bant.” Qui-Gon’s mouth curved into an answering grin. “She has a gentle spirit not seen often even in Jedi.”

    “I will think about what you said.” Tahl leaned back in her chair, folding her arms across her chest. “I can’t promise that I’ll take her on my next mission, but I do promise to consider it. That’ll have to be enough to satisfy you, Qui-Gon.”

    “So it will.” Qui-Gon, torn between fondness and frustration at her intractability, found speech difficult through a tightening throat. “You’re the most headstrong Jedi in the entire Temple, you know.”

    That, he added mentally, was really saying something, since he had to deal with Obi-Wan on a daily basis...

    “That’s ironic.” Tahl’s lips quirked. “I was just about to say the same thing about you.”

    “What a pair we make.” Qui-Gon couldn’t contain a snort.

    “What a pair we’ve always made.” Tahl’s arms uncrossed, and, as if drawn by the heat of his skin, her right hand stretched out to find his. Their flesh met and their fingers curled around one another. “The proverbs of a thousand worlds say that opposites attract, but that’s never been the case for us, has it?”

    “No.” Qui-Gon allowed his palm to linger in hers, thinking that he would be happy to sit like this for an eternity. Her hand wrapped around his would be all the meaning, purpose, and happiness he would never need to fulfill him. It was an odd feeling for a man who had dedicated his life to the Jedi Order and universal service of the galaxy, but not a troubling one. Certainly not troubling enough for him to let go of her hand. “That’s never been the case for us. For us, it’s been birds of a feather flocking together.”

    The thought of birds carried him back in memory to a training exercise they had embarked on together after Xanatos betrayed him and left the Jedi Order. With her then keen eyes, she had pointed out a beautiful but cannibalistic species of bird that would eat the parents who nurtured them so diligently in their nests when they came of age only for the cycle to perpetuate itself in an endless story of carnage.

    He had, he realized, a million memories of her, one for every situation that had arose in life that they had overcome together. Together they would find a way to overcome this challenge as well. Tahl would open up to him and Bant. They would just have to be patient with her as he had told Bant. With a flash of chagrin, he thought that perhaps it had been him, not Bant, who needed that advice.
     
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @devilinthedetails -- You continue to amaze me with your deliciously insightful and candid dialogue! =D= Wonderfully caring and honest discussion! :* [face_love] Qui-Gon's POV is, as always, incredibly endearing! [:D] :)
     
  9. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I wish Qui-Gon could have taught little Ani. Then Galactic history would have had a much better outcome.
     
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting! :) Dialogue was the heart of this chapter for me, so I spent a lot of time trying to get it right, so it's awesome to hear that you found it both insightful and candid since I definitely picture Tahl and Qui-Gon always being very candid with one another. I always imagine Qui-Gon and Tahl being very caring and honest with one another so I'm so happy that shone through in this chapter and that you continue to enjoy Qui-Gon's point of view since I just love writing from his perspective as he is one of my favorite Star Wars characters ever.

    @AzureAngel2 Thank you so much for commenting! It's always one of the most interesting what-ifs in Star Wars to think of what would have happened and how things might have been different if Qui-Gon had been the one to train young Anakin...
     
  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    I love the discussion between Tahl and Qui-Gon
     
  12. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @earlybird-obi-wan Thank you so much for commenting! I really enjoyed writing this conversation between Tahl and Qui-Gon, so I'm happy to hear that you loved reading it:)
     
  13. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Thin Walls

    Was it the Temple’s thin walls, a Jedi’s sharp senses, or just his own boundless curiosity that made it impossible for him not to hear the murmured conversation between Bant and Obi-Wan in the next room over despite the gently burbling little fountain he had turned on in meditation corner in the common area of the quarters he shared with his Padawan? Qui-Gon wondered as he sat cross-legged on a mat, trying and failing to focus on anything except the conversation in the next room.

    “Your Master said he would speak with my Master about opening up with me and trusting me more, and it seemed to work. She seemed to be trusting me more, letting me into her life more, but now she’s leaving on another mission without me, and I’m left waiting at the Temple for her to come back to me as I always am.” The sorrow was heavy in Bant’s tone, making it impossible for Qui-Gon to keep his attention on the flowing fountain in the corner beside him.

    “You’re being very patient.” Obi-Wan paused, and Qui-Gon could feel his apprentice fumbling for words of comfort that were never his forte. “Your patience will be rewarded one day. It has to be.”

    “Perhaps I’m not being patient enough.” Bant’s sigh was soft but somehow Qui-Gon could still hear it. “Master Yoda says we should expect nothing and trust in the Force from moment to moment. Maybe I expected too much of my Master, and that’s why I’m disappointed now. It’s just I didn’t feel like I was expecting anything. It felt like I was just hoping, and that’s not the same as expecting, is it?”

    “No, it’s not the same as expecting, and anyone would’ve hoped in your position. It’s not a crime to hope.” Obi-Wan was quiet again, and Qui-Gon could sense his apprentice searching for words of traditional advice–the kind of guidance Obi-Wan was most likely to give a friend. “The Force is with you and your Master, Bant. It’ll get you both through this time and bring you closer together.”

    “Yes, the Force is with us”–There was a rustling of robes in the next room that could only mean Bant was rising to take her leave–“and with you, Obi-Wan.”

    Bant emerged from Obi-Wan’s quarters wearing such an expression of one determined to put a brave face on things that Qui-Gon had to comment, “Stay patient, Bant.”

    “Thank you, Master Jinn.” She bowed to him and then departed.

    “You heard the whole conversation, didn’t you?” Obi-Wan asked as soon as Bant was gone, and Qui-Gon supposed his Padawan had spent too many years living in the Temple to be unaware of the thinness of the Temple’s walls.

    “That depends.” Qui-Gon kept his voice serene as the fountain music beside him.

    “Oh.” Obi-Wan folded himself, cross-legged, onto the mat on the side of Qui-Gon that wasn’t occupied by the fountain. “On what?”

    “On if you wanted me to hear.” Qui-Gon smiled slightly.

    Obi-Wan snorted but answered seriously, “I haven’t decided yet.”

    Silence settled between them as Qui-Gon allowed his Padawan to decide, sensing all the while that Obi-Wan would indeed confide in him. At last, Obi-Wan continued, “Master Tahl is leaving on another mission without Bant.”

    “I could convince her to consider taking Bant with her on her next mission, but I couldn’t persuade her to promise it.” Qui-Gon stared at the water trickling in foamy white streams down the stone fountain, contemplating whether it was wisdom or pain that flowed like water from one generation of Jedi to another in a seamless stream, a cycle as unbreakable as it was endless.

    “Yes, Master.” Obi-Wan nodded and straightened an invisible wrinkle in his robes. “If I ask a question and promise I’m not trying to be rude, will you promise not to get mad at me?”

    That was the hesitant, vulnerable side of Obi-Wan that was so often hidden behind his stubbornness talking. Responding to it, Qui-Gon draped an arm around his apprentice’s shoulders, assuring him, “I promise to never get mad at you for asking any question. How is that?”

    “Better than I bargained for, Master.” Mischief flared in Obi-Wan’s eyes, and Qui-Gon had a second to ruefully reflect that his Padawan would no doubt take advantage of this promise to pose a countless amount of sarcastic inquiries during the course of their partnership before Obi-Wan went on more somberly, “Do you think Master Tahl was ready to take a Padawan after being blinded?”

    “Perhaps she wasn’t.” Qui-Gon kept his arm around his apprentice’s shoulders, holding the boy close. “Then again, I’m not sure any Master is ever ready to take on a Padawan.”

    “That’s an appalling thought, Master.” Obi-Wan sounded as scandalized as he looked.

    “Is it?” Qui-Gon gave Obi-Wan’s braid a teasing tug. “If we only ever did things when we were ready for them, I’m not certain we’d do anything at all. We definitely wouldn’t do anything meaningful.”

    “So, you’re saying the meaning of life is chaos, Master?” Obi-Wan had a knack for distilling any statement to absurdity when it suited him.

    “Am I?” Qui-Gon arched an eyebrow. “Well, it sure sounds absurd when you say it like that, doesn’t it?”

    “I suppose it’s not my place to question your methods.” Obi-Wan dipped a finger in the fountain, interrupting the water’s flow. “Just like it’s none of my business how Master Tahl trains Bant.”

    Thinking that the last sentence made Obi-Wan more like Tahl than he would ever know, Qui-Gon pointed out mildly, “It’s hard for it to be none of your business when your best friend comes to you for help.”

    “Yes, it is.” That was all the concession Obi-Wan was apparently willing to give to the temptation of breaking Jedi customs he held so sacred. “Still, I should follow the Jedi rule of non-involvement in the affairs of other Master-Padawan teams, shouldn’t I?”

    “That would seem to be the standard to which you hold yourself.” Qui-Gon could only guide his apprentice to follow the feelings that were often so different from his own.

    “It’s not the standard to which you hold yourself, though, is it?” Obi-Wan shot Qui-Gon a keen glance, obviously already taking advantage of the blanket permission to ask any question.

    “I do what I believe is right whether it’s in keeping with Jedi rules or not.” Qui-Gon didn’t flinch from the philosophy that so often brought him into conflict with the Council and his own apprentice, but that this time he sensed would bring him into conflict with Tahl because he had to confront her about Bant even if it irritated every fiber of her being to have him nosing into what she defined as her private affairs because there was nothing private in a relationship as deep and challenging as his and Tahl’s. “I can’t promise that I won’t confront Tahl about leaving Bant behind, if that’s what you’re asking.”
     
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic bit of honesty and warmth and caring in both conversations. You can really sense the openness between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, being able to share their feelings about a tricky, sensitive situation.

    Bant's frustration is also clearly portrayed and understandable, and I know Obi-Wan's support made her feel good or as much as the circumstance permits. It is encouraging that Tahl is letting down her guard somewhat but is it enough? Qui-Gon doesn't want to intrude or push, but he and Obi-Wan care about Bant's feelings and want to nudge the relationship into something warm and more like a partnership.
     
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  15. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    love the discussions between Obi-Wan and Bant and the care of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon
     
  16. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for your kind comment! :) I was definitely trying to capture a sense of both honesty and warm caring in each of the conversations, so it's so nice to hear that came through in this chapter. I like to picture Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon being at an open point in their relationship so I tried to make it clear that they were comfortable sharing their feelings about a tricky situation with one another, and I'm so happy that worked for you.

    I definitely sympathize with Bant's frustration, and I agree that Obi-Wan's support made her feel as good as possible in the difficult situation that she is dealing with at this point. It is certainly encouraging that Tahl is starting to lower her guard, but to Bant that understandably isn't enough. It certainly is a case where Qui-Gon had a delicate balancing act between not wanting to intrude and trying to nudge Tahl into a warmer relationship with Tahl. So much drama for sure.

    @earlybird-obi-wan Once again, thank you so much for commenting!:) I enjoyed writing the discussion between Obi-Wan and Bant although it took some time for me to get it right to the point where I was satisfied with posting it, so it's nice to know that you loved it and the caring displayed by Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. I hope you'll like where the story goes next!
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  17. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 4, 2017
    Part one:
    I used to love Jedi Apprentice, so I like the setting and your take on the characters' relationships. I wonder what Obi-Wan could have been working on to pilfer the archives to such a degree?
    Part two:
    AW, I love the Qui-Gon/Tahl here! It's understated, and all the better for it! I enjoyed the discussion of their apprentices - it's a good example of friendship in my opinion, to be close enough to point out a flaw, but not in a maliced way, just to give another perspective. Iron sharpens iron, you know?
    Part three:
    "if you wanted me to hear" and "an appalling thought" were funny. Qui-Gon's teaching methods were very in-character.
    I really liked this story, thanks for writing and posting it!
     
  18. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @BookExogorth Thank you so much for commenting! :D I used to love the Jedi Apprentice books too. They were the first Star Wars books I read when I was in late elementary school and middle school. What fun reads they were. I'm so glad that you love the setting of this story and my take on the relationship between these characters. I admit that in my head canon Obi-Wan is a big reader who just likes to pilfer the Archives whenever possible...

    So glad that you love the relationship between Qui-Gon and Tahl in the second chapter. They were a couple that warmed my heart in the Jedi Apprentice books but I wanted to keep their romance understated and sort of unacknowledged by both of them. I really enjoyed writing their discussion about their Padawans, so it makes me smile to know that you enjoyed that section as well as a reader. I definitely agree that it can be a sign of a good, true friendship to be close enough to someone to be able to point out a flaw in a way meant to help the other person, not in a cruel way. Honesty can be so key to the best friendships, and I like to imagine Qui-Gon and Tahl being very honest with one another all the time.

    It makes me happy that you loved the "if you wanted me to hear" and "an appalling thought" since those parts made me grin as I wrote:) and that you felt Qui-Gon's teaching methods were so in character.

    There should be more of this story coming (hopefully soon if my muse is kind...) and I hope you'll continue to enjoy it!
     
  19. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Promises and Purposes

    The next morning as Qui-Gon and Tahl breakfasted together in the refectory—-Obi-Wan in a sign that he was perhaps growing in the Living Force had guided Bant to a seat several tables away so that Qui-Gon and Tahl could have some semblance of being alone in a crowded room—Qui-Gon confronted Tahl about leaving Bant behind at the Temple while she went on this latest mission.

    “I thought you promised that you’d consider taking Bant with you on your next mission.” Qui-Gon cut into his gartro egg omelet, watching the molten jerba cheese slide out of the neat folds of egg onto his platter.

    “I did consider it.” Tahl’s eyebrows drew close to each other in a warning not to discuss this topic further. “Then I decided to keep this mission a solo one. If you remember, I didn’t promise to take her on this mission. I’m not a liar, and I don’t appreciate the implication that I am one.”

    “You aren’t a liar.” Qui-Gon ignored the warning offered by Tahl’s eyebrows as he forged on with his argument. “You’re just stubborn to your own detriment about allowing Bant to accompany you on missions.”

    “Ah, now the truth comes out under duress.” Tahl jabbed a fork laden with scrambled hawk-bat egg at him in clear accusation. “You aren’t worried about Bant. You’re worried about me being alone in the field due to my blindness. You think I’m weak and in need of Bant’s protection. Do you deny it?”

    “I think you’re one of the strongest people I know.” Qui-Gon could feel his temper mounting in the fierce way he chewed his garbro egg omelet, which tasted flavorless to him despite the Felucian glasscap mushrooms and Ferroan spinach harvested from the Temple gardens that had been added to his dish. “But of course I’d feel more comfortable if Bant accompanied you to help you overcome certain obstacles associated with your blindness.”

    “Certain obstacles associated with my blindness?” Tahl made a scornful click of her tongue against the roof of her mouth as she echoed Qui-Gon’s attempt at diplomatic phrasing. “See. It’s not about Bant’s need for training or about my weakness, not really. It’s about you and your protectiveness. You’ve transformed your insecurity into a belief in my weakness and Bant’s neediness.”

    Qui-Gon was tempted to inform her how her Padawan had sought him and Obi-Wan out on separate occasions for comfort and counsel, but ultimately decided that would be too much of a betrayal of Bant’s trust. He decided that he would let Tahl believe she had won this round of the debate.

    “Please pass the salt.” Tahl held out her hand for the salt shaker when Qui-Gon didn’t respond to her argument. “These scrambled hawk-bat eggs are remarkably bland without it.”

    “Do you really need salt?” Qui-Gon couldn’t help but ask her as he passed the salt shaker, noting inwardly that she had seemed salty enough for both of them this morning, though perhaps she was thinking the same of him…

    “Now the great Qui-Gon Jinn questions my dietary decisions.” Tahl sprinkled a generous amount of salt over her scrambled hawk-bat eggs, and Qui-Gon wondered if she was being so petty as to pour an excessive amount of salt over her breakfast just to spite him. In her current mood, he wouldn’t put it past her. “Does the great Qui-Gon Jinn imagine I can do nothing right without his guidance?”

    “I only thought you were salty enough without adding more to your meal.” Qui-Gon rose, abandoning his half-eaten garbro egg omelet to be cleared away by a refectory droid.

    “You should be more worried about my blood pressure after enduring another infuriating conversation with you,” Tahl volleyed back, and Qui-Gon strode away from her without offering the traditional Jedi well-wish of “May the Force be with you.” Doubtlessly, Tahl was confident that the Force would be with her regardless of whether Qui-Gon wished it would be or not, so Qui-Gon figured he wouldn’t waste any more of his breath on this doomed conversation with her.

    He took the turbolift up to the quarters he shared with Obi-Wan and enjoyed precious minutes of quiet meditation where he had limited success in calming his racing heart and pounding pulse—Tahl should’ve made her caustic comment about his blood pressure rather than hers unless her heart was racing and her pulse pounding like his after their breakfast encounter—until Obi-Wan entered the common area.

    “Master.” Obi-Wan settled on the meditation mat beside Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon could sense that without opening his eyes. “Bant says Master Tahl will be departing from the hangar bay in five minutes if you want to say good-bye to her.”

    “I’ve already said good-bye to her at breakfast.” Qui-Gon didn’t think he could bear to see Tahl again so soon after their heated disagreement in the refectory.

    “That wasn’t a good-bye between friends.” Obi-Wan’s matter-of-fact manner left no doubt that he had noticed Qui-Gon and Tahl arguing from a few tables away. “That was a heated disagreement. Do you really want the last words you said to Tahl before she leaves on this mission to be angry ones, Master?”

    “When did you become so wise, Padawan?” Qui-Gon opened an eye to study his apprentice appraisingly, marveling at how much a boy could grow in sensitivity without him being fully aware of it.

    “Around the time I realized that if you and Tahl parted on bad terms, you’d be irritable and impossible to deal with until you saw her again,” answered Obi-Wan dryly.

    “So altruism had nothing to do with your wisdom?” Qui-Gon smiled slightly as he stood from his meditation mat, Obi-Wan copying him.

    “No, only enlightened self-interest.” Obi-Wan’s reply was if anything more ironic than his previous one had been as they left their quarters and headed down the corridor to catch a turbolift from their residential level to the hangar bay.

    When they reached the hangar, Qui-Gon would have to have been cut off from the currents of the Force not to detect the wariness with which Tahl stared at him with her sightless eyes as he approached.

    “I’ve come to say good-bye and may the Force be with you.” Qui-Gon hoped his gentle words would disarm her as he gripped her elbows in an affectionate farewell.

    “We’ll see one another again.” Tahl’s voice was soft, and she felt equally soft beneath his grasping fingers.

    “Missions can be short, you know,” Qui-Gon murmured the inside joke between them since their Padawan days before stepping back to allow Tahl to finish her good-bye to Bant.

    As Tahl boarded the ship, waving final farewell as she climbed up the entry ramp, Qui-Gon rested a palm on Bant’s shoulder, assuring the girl, “She’ll come back, Bant.”

    “I know.” Bant lifted her large, earnest gaze to his. “She always does, doesn’t she? And my place is to wait for her until she comes back.”

    “You won’t wait alone.” Qui-Gon patted her shoulder, thinking that it was also his place to wait for Tahl’s return and always would be. They were bound together more intimately than any Master and apprentice pair could be. He didn’t know why or how that had happened. He only knew that it had, but that knowledge was enough to drive him for the rest of his life, he was certain deep in his bones where unalterable truth dwelled.

    Author's Note: This marks the end of this story. Thank you so much to all my readers and reviewers. I could never have finished this story without your kind and patient support. Enjoy the holidays!
     
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  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Qui-Gon's omelet filling sounds delicious. ;)

    Jinn's talk with Tahl - ouch! She is quite touchy isn't she?

    Obi-Wan's urging that they part as friends is a very good bit of advice to follow, because if the mission went awry and their last words were angry ones ... [face_thinking]

    Fantastic and insightful from start to finish. =D=
     
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  21. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for your kind and supportive comment!:) Qui-Gon's omelet filling was making me very hungry as I wrote. I definitely wanted to taste Qui-Gon's omelet.

    Yes, Tahl is definitely showing her prickly side in her conversation with Qui-Gon. She can certainly be touchy but Qui-Gon loves her anyway.

    I agree that Obi-Wan had good advice about parting as friends so that if the mission went awry, the last words wouldn't be angry ones. Always best to part on as good terms as possible so as to have no regrets.

    Thank you again, and I'm so flattered you found this insightful and fantastic from beginning to end[face_blush]
     
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  22. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 4, 2017
    Another good chapter! Makes me want to dig up all of the Jedi apprentice books I can.
    Let me know if you ever explore this era again! You write the main characters’ voices well.
     
  23. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @BookExogorth Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this chapter! I'm so glad I could inspire a desire to dig up the Jedi Apprentice books. Recently I re-read the Jedi Apprentice series, and it made me feel very happy and nostalgic so I'd definitely recommend a re-read at some point if you have the time since the Jedi Apprentice books are such an enjoyable series.

    I'm so flattered that you think I wrote the main characters' voices so well, and I'll do my best to remember to send you a PM if I write more about the Jedi Apprentice characters in the future!

    Thank you again for your kind comments and support:)