The Bright Shinies by ? p_stotts Category ? JA, angst, Obi-Wan is 15 Summary ? When Qui-Gon seemingly disappears during a rescue mission, Obi-Wan must convince the locals that all is not lost ? a difficult task when those same locals view him only as a child in need of their protection. Prologue Carmac watched the team of Jedi check their gear. Wind moaned in the mouth of the cave that yawned behind them ? a mournful sound. Stalagmites and stalagtites visible just inside the entrance gave the appearance of a monster about to devour its prey. He shivered at the thought and returned his attention to the Jedi? a master and his young apprentice. Both dressed similarly right down to their boots and lightsabers. Having finished the inventory of their supplies, both now faced him with their hands hidden within the sleeves of their brown robes and identical looks of polite attention on their faces. According to information sent to him by the Jedi Council, the apprentice was barely 15 standard years old but had a remarkable record of success on field missions despite his young age. Carmac admired much of what the Jedi stood for, but he strongly disagreed with their nonchalant attitude regarding exposing children under their care to dangerous situations. This boy should be laughing and playing with his friends, not carrying the weight of the galaxy on his slender shoulders. He had to try once more. ?Master Jinn, I implore you, these caves are treacherous. Surely you don?t wish to expose this child to that? Allow me to accompany you in his stead.? Jinn inclined his head. ?Once again, I thank you for you concern. Let me reassure you that Obi-Wan is more than capable of handling any situation that might arise.? Obi-Wan?s eyes widened a fraction, the first indication of emotion Carmac had seen on the boy?s face ? although he couldn?t tell what that emotion was. The master looked over at his apprentice. The boy looked back at his master. They stared at one another for a moment. The corner?s of the boy?s mouth twitched in a grin, an expression that quickly morphed back into one of calm readiness ? its appearance so fleeting that Carmac questioned if it had been there at all. Carmac drew in a deep breath and pushed his frustration down deep inside him. ?Master Jedi, I think you underestimate the danger of this situation. Fifteen citizens from this province have disappeared into those caves over the past standard year? including my own wife and son. Do you wish this child to become another victim?? Jinn bowed his head. ?My sympathies for your loss, Minister Carmac. I pray the Force will show us a way to return your family to you along with your other citizens. Please let me reassure you that Obi-Wan?s exposure to the danger will be minimal. As his master, it is my duty to protect him as much as circumstances allow, and I shall do so now to the best of my ability. Carmac realized the futility of furthur argument. He stepped back and crossed his arms watching the pair hoist their packs and disappear inside the cave, the apprentice two steps behind and to the right of his master. ?I pray you are right, Master Jinn, but how can you protect him from something you can?t detect until it?s too late.? TBC A/N - I won't be able to post to this as regularly as I'd like. I still haven't worked out all the angles. This is just a teaser to peak your interest.