Fandom: Star Wars
Spoilers: Tells of past events, some from the Jedi Apprentice series
Warnings: Not even remotely canon
Qui-Gon cursed softly, under his breath, as the energy fields blocked him off from his Padawan. /Go, Obi-Wan. Don't wait for me./ He trusted in Obi-Wan's abilities to fend off Darth Maul. They had already pushed him into a separate room, and Qui-Gon couldn't wait to tell the Council about the skill of his Padawan. As he waited for the energy field to disengage, he couldn't help but think of the surprised looks of the Council when he said Obi-Wan was ready for the trials. Now he was proving it.
The electric field disengaged and Qui-Gon's focus was brought back to the present. Together, he and Obi-Wan worked in tandem to fend off the dark Jedi. They could anticipate the other's movement, and worked together like a finely tuned machine.
Then it happened: in a rough twist of fate Qui-Gon was forced over the edge of one of the catwalks, leaving Obi-Wan to continue the fight. He was able to join the duel in a short amount of time, but he could tell that Obi-Wan had wearied. Apparently, Darth Maul noticed as well, since he seemed to use little energy on Qui-Gon and far more on Obi-Wan.
After one well guided Force push, Qui-Gon was cast to the side. He saw Obi-Wan miss the parry, as if in slow motion. Then, before his eyes, he watches as Maul's red lightsaber pierced through Obi-Wan's chest. As Qui-Gon scrambled to catch up with Maul, he fled through a secret door.
Running to Obi-Wan's side, he assured his Padawan that everything would turn out well, and that he would get him to safety.
Dullness had already started to fill Obi-Wan's eyes. His breath came in gasps, as he looked at his panicked Master. "Shhh...," he said, trying to calm Qui-Gon. "My first gift to you will now be my last. All is as you wanted it. Please..." He swallowed thickly and forced himself to continue, "Thank you... for training me... now, train the boy..." Obi-Wan's whispered breath cut off suddenly, and his eyes fluttered open and closed. Qui-Gon hugged him close and entwined their fingers together. But, the time their transport found him, it was too late.
Qui-Gon awoke with a yell and drenched in sweat. Quickly, he called for Obi-Wan. When Obi-Wan didn't answer, he rushed into the boy's bedroom. He was met with the sight of packed boxes and an empty bed – just as he had every night since the night his Padawan died.
He swallowed hard. He could hear Obi-Wan, his voice thick with sleep, asking him what he wanted and if he needed anything. But, the voice was a memory. Everything he held dear was now a memory. Mostly.
For the first time in weeks, Qui-Gon ventured outside of his chambers. People nodded respectfully in the hallways, but nary a word was said. Nobody mentioned Obi-Wan. It was as if he had never existed at all. He tried to release his grief to the Force, but there was too much of it. Tears welled up inside of him. 'My first gift to you will now be my last. All is as you wanted it. Please...Thank you... for training me... now, train the boy...' Obi-Wan's words echoed in his head. They had haunted him nearly as much as the death itself. His words were confusing to Qui-Gon. He understood the 'first gift' was supposed to be his life – since he tried to give that on Bandomeer.
"Master Qui-Gon!" a young, expressive, happy voice called to him. Anakin... 'the boy' that Obi-Wan had referred to. But, 'all is how you wanted it'... Qui-Gon had never wanted this. Not ever.
Qui-Gon turned towards the small quickened steps, and caught Anakin in a hug as the boy plowed into him. "Good morning, Ani. How are you today?"
"I'm good! Are you feeling better, Master?" the boy asked.
"Qui-Gon," Qui-Gon corrected him. "Master Qui-Gon. And, I am doing better. Thank you for asking."
Anakin looked at him skeptically. Anakin was not unobservant. Qui-Gon knew that he was assessing whether or not to mention the tears which were still brimming in his eyes. "Good," was all that Anakin said. "Would you like to join me for breakfast?"
Qui-Gon looked around the hallway. "You didn't run away from the crèche master did you?" He recalled being told that Obi-Wan had done that frequently. And, he remembered how that used to annoy him.
'What trouble that boy is. I'm glad I'm not his Master,' he used to think. His heart pulled with guilt. How many years had been wasted by his closed mindedness? But, he reasoned with himself, when Obi-Wan was this young he was still training Xanatos. He shivered at the thought: while he was training Xanatos and defending him to the other Masters, he was also putting down Obi-Wan and saying things like how he wouldn't wish him on the Sith.
Two tears slipped down his cheeks. How wrong he had been – about all of it. Obi-Wan had been the positive influence who had saved him, not only from Bandomeer, but from himself and his grief, countless times.
"I'm sorry you're sad, Master Qui-Gon," Anakin stated softly. "I did not run away. I was told that I could get a datapad from the library. I was on my way back when I saw you. So, I took a slight detour."
Qui-Gon smiled. "Of course," he said forcing a smile. 'Maybe the boy's influence will help me get past Obi-Wan,' he thought, as he wrapped his had around Anakin's small one. He paused. Had he really thought that? Did he really think he needed another person to get past Obi-Wan? Did he want to get past Obi-Wan? No. The answer was no. But, he didn't have a choice. He knew that in order to do his job, he would have to move past Obi-Wan. But, he wasn't ready. And, he didn't want to.
"I've learned a lot," Anakin said. "I keep wanting to visit you and tell you about my lessons, but the crèche master said that I have to give you time. I'm glad I don't have to give you any more time."
The last sentence knocked the wind out of Qui-Gon as if Mace had punched him in the gut. "I'm not over the loss of Obi-Wan," he stated more harshly than he had meant. Obi-Wan's last thoughts were of the boy, and this child didn't even seem to mind that he was gone.
"Oh. I suppose the loss of a Jedi is a big deal then. On Tattooine people die all the time. I got used to it." He looked thoughtful for a moment and said, "I will miss him though. He was a good friend."
Qui-Gon digested that. The initiate had seen so much hatred and death that one more barely etched a mark in his psyche. Qui-Gon had been in battle, seen his fellow Jedi cut down senselessly. And, every time it took him weeks, sometimes even months to move on. Xanatos' betrayal had taken years, and he was still alive. He was not sure if he would ever make sense of Obi-Wan's death. "Obi-Wan was my apprentice," he explained. "I loved him the way one would love a son. Think of it as if something happened to your mother Ani."
Anakin's face darkened immediately. "I would not be kind to someone who hurt her. I ... I think I understand now, Master. I'm sorry for my earlier comment."
Qui-Gon noticed that he had forgotten to call him 'Master Qui-Gon' or 'Master Jinn' again. But, this time, he would let it slide.
They sat down in the cafeteria. Anakin joyfully ran to the line to get them something to eat. A few people waved at Qui-Gon. Master Adi Mundi commented that it was good to see him out and about. Master Windu offered to sit with him, but left him be when he found out that Anakin was there as well. "Don't forget Obi-Wan too fast, Qui," he said as left.
The statement made Qui-Gon angry. How was one meal out of his chambers forgetting his Padawan? His ex-Padawan, he made himself remember. He couldn't help, but think of Obi-Wan as his Padawan. It had taken years for him to get over Xanatos, and that was a betrayal. Obi-Wan was good, and snatched away from him – his life snuffed out before his time. Again, he couldn't see how he would ever move past this.
He quickly picked up a paper napkin. "Huh-Wuffa!" he sneezed suddenly into it.
"Bless you, Master Qui-Gon," Anakin said, appearing with the food. "I hope you're not getting sick."
"I'm sure it's just stress, Ani. Thank you." He looked around intently, and waved at the crèche master, gesturing at Anakin. When he was certain his point had been made, he turned back. "You know, you really should have told the crèche master that you would be eating with me."
"I was going to. But, I got breakfast first," came the innocent reply.
Qui-Gon smiled. He could see the logic in that. Quickly, a memory descended upon him. One of him berating Obi-Wan for not telling him that he and Bant were going out for dessert after evening meal. Instead the boy had left both an electronic and a hand written message. Both of which Qui-Gon had missed entirely. He remembered how Obi-Wan had cried, and begged him for his forgiveness. He didn't remember if he ever told Obi-Wan that he was forgiven. But, knowing what a dark time of his life that was, he guessed not. The realization made him nauseous and he pushed his food around his plate.
"No good?" Anakin asked, his small voice sounding hurt.
"It's fine, Ani. I'm just not hungry. Actually, I feel very tired all of the sudden."
"Maybe you are sick, Master. Would you like me to take you to the Healing Dome?"
Qui-Gon smiled. "Okay. Maybe they'll have something I can take." He guided Anakin with a hand on his back. He didn't want to risk getting the boy sick, if he was falling ill.
As they walked Anakin was abnormally silent. "Master Qui-Gon, sir, can I ask you a question?"
"Of course, Anakin. Anything."
"Did Obi-Wan not care about you?"
Qui-Gon stopped walking and turned Anakin to look at him. "What would make you ask such a question?"
"It's just... It's just that you have been ill in the past – the other initiates have spoken of it. But, they always say that Obi-Wan never took you to the healers. Was he abusing you?"
Qui-Gon wanted to cry in rage. To think the boy who had saved him, the one who had taught him to live, was being accused of abuse. And, that others had thought of this long enough to inform a new addition ripped his heart out and splattered it against the wall.
They were right, in part. Qui-Gon hated the Healers Dome. Healers would come to see him. Or, Obi-Wan would get him what he needed. But, Obi-Wan respected his wishes enough not to make him go unless all other options had been exhausted.
He remembered the first time that he had gotten sick. Obi-Wan was nearly fourteen and their bond was still starting to form. Qui-Gon constantly felt drunk and like he was on an amusement park ride. He was having trouble walking and even sitting. Alarmed Obi-Wan had suggested that they go to the Healing Dome. He complied, but passed out along the way.
When he first awoke, Obi-Wan and the healer stood at his side. He remembered railing against Obi-Wan for his irresponsibility and inability to connect with the living Force, to be sure that Qui-Gon was well enough to get to the Healing Dome, before making him make the trip. In hindsight, he could see Obi-Wan pushing himself as far up against the wall as he could – making himself as small as he could. The healer was torn about which man to aid first, and decided on Qui-Gon, leaving Obi-Wan to deal with his pain in his own way. By the time the healer was ready for him, Obi-Wan was apologizing to Qui-Gon for his incompetence.
And, when Qui-Gon awoke later than night, drenched in sweat from the fever, it was Obi-Wan who stood over him with a cool wash cloth. It was Obi-Wan who calmed him and helped him change into fresh sleep clothes. It was Obi-Wan who held him close and sent the Force suggestion to help him sleep again.
He wondered if he had apologized to Obi-Wan for belittling him. His Padawan hadn't deserved such treatment. He sort of remembered apologizing to him, through the fever and the delirium. Obi-Wan had replied that Qui-Gon was his Master, and he would always be there for him. How he wished that the memory of his apology was real and not just part of the delirium.
"No, Ani. It is not because he was abusive to me. And, I never want you to think that way again. Obi-Wan didn't bring me to the Healers Dome unless it was an emergency. It was a request of mine that he honored."
"Oh. Okay." Anakin shrugged and continued to walk to the Healer's Dome.
When they got there, the medical droid asked them to state the nature of their business. "My Master is coming down with a cold and needs something to take the edge off," Anakin stated plainly.
Qui-Gon stood there, dumbfounded. Anakin had quite plainly said, "My Master." But, he wasn't Anakin's Master. He was Obi-Wan's Master. "Hah-Wuffah!" As if on cue, another sneeze exploded out of Qui-Gon. He was able to aim it into his sleeve, but only barely.
The droid lead them into a private room. "Your Healer will be with you shortly. The Healer assigned to you is Lisa. She has 2 patients ahead of you."
Qui-Gon smiled. Lisa was Master Adi Mundi's Padawan. She was one of the most natural healers that the Temple had ever encountered.
He turned to face Anakin. "Ani, why did you call me your Master?"
Anakin looked confused. "Because you are. I know I was only in the crèche because Obi-Wan was still living with you. But, now that he is gone, his room will become mine, right?"
Qui-Gon didn't have time to answer before Lisa walked in. "Master Jinn!" she exclaimed wrapping her arms around his neck. "How are you faring?"
"Huh-WufFAH!" The sneeze was more violent than the other two. "About as well as can be expected," he answered politely. He cleared his throat to rid it of the gravelly sound.
"And, it sounds as if you are catching cold as well." She shook her head. "I've never known anybody like you two. Always seeming to pick up what's going around." She paused, as she realized what she had said. "Master Jinn. My most humble apologies."
Qui-Gon's stomach had clenched. But, the guilt that wafted off of the girl was far worse. "Lisa, it's okay. It's been many years of thinking of us as an 'us'. It will take everyone some time to change their way of thinking." He could tell that she didn't feel any better. There was a bitterness that was aimed at herself. But, no sooner had he felt it than it was gone.
"Long sleeves?" he asked her, looking at her garments. Healers tended to wear shorter sleeves – they got in the way less. And with the warmer weather coming, long sleeves were becoming more scarce throughout the Temple.
"Yep. Just not in the mood to wear short ones lately. I feel very cold all the time. Master Adi Mundi says it has to do with recent events," she said, not looking up from her equipment.
She ran the rest of the diagnostic without another word. "Yup, that's what I thought," she finally said at the end. "It's nothing for you to be concerned about, Master Jinn. Just a normal run of the mill cold. It'll settle in your head for a while. Then possibly your chest. You know the drill: lots of rest, lots of liquids." She gave him a soft apologetic smile. "If you need to talk... about anything..."
He smiled and nodded. "Huh-WUFFtch!" He sneezed into his sleeve and tried to stifle the end of it.
She handed him a handkerchief. "Really, Master Jinn. You should know you don't have to stifle those. Especially not in front of me."
He nodded as he blew his nose. "I'm aware." He cleared his throat.
He remembered the first time Obi-Wan had brought her to his aid. She was so giving and caring that he hardly knew that she was there. All he remembered was feeling cared for. In his delirium, he had lashed out at her – blaming her for her past situations. She had surprised him by taking it in stride and forgiving him for it when he was well enough to remember. It started them on a pleasant relationship, and into a friendship that surprised them both.
"Well, I know you don't want to stay here. So, why don't you head back to your chambers. Tell Obi-Wan I said... hi... damn..."
She ended the sentence so quietly, Qui-Gon could barely make it out. But, he smiled instead of feeling sad. Finally, someone who was having the same difficulty getting over Obi-Wan as he was.
"Why do you keep doing that?" Anakin's petulant voice was too loud and too high pitched for the Healers Dome.
She looked at him and smiled. "Do what, little one?"
"I'm not a little one, I'm a Padawan. Don't treat me like an Initiate!" Anakin nearly shouted back at her. His anger was apparent in his voice and his features.
"I'm sorry," she said, using soothing waves of the Force to dissipate Anakin's anger. "What has you so upset?"
"You keep bringing up Obi-Wan. Don't you know? If you're a healer, aren't you supposed to be able to tell that he's in pain? Your hurting him."
She looked at if she had been slapped, and the blood rushed from her face. "I meant no harm. It's just going to take me a while to -."
But, Anakin cut her off. "Qui-Gon's my Master now. People are just going to have to get used to it."
She stood before of them, awestruck. "Qui-Gon? Really? I mean..." She knew it wasn't her place to say. But, it all seemed to be happening so fast.
"Anakin!" Qui-Gon snapped. "First, apologize to Padawan Orick. She has done nothing which calls for that kind of rebuke."
Anakin mumbled an, "I'm sorry," but it was obvious he didn't mean it.
"And," he coughed harshly. "What makes you think that I am your Master?"
"Qui-Gon?" Lisa's voice cut in. "If you're not up to it..." Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were not only frequent patients, but two of the very few people who she could call friends. She knew, just from looking at him, that Qui-Gon was in no condition to take on more mental anguish. He was distressed enough as it was.
He sniffed and shook his head. "No, Lisa. He's said that a few times today. I need to know."
"You are my Master," Anakin said forcefully. "You said so! In the council chamber before Obi-Wan died. You said that you would train me and that Obi-Wan was ready for the trials."
Qui-Gon was on the verge of another sneeze. The cold was upon him. That much was certain. "Ho...hold on... Ani. Hek-ChaHOO!!" The force of his sneeze made his head bob back into the handkerchief.
"Blesses," Lisa said. She was tempted to reach out to touch him: push his hair back, rub his shoulders, something. But, that was his Padawan's place...if he had a Padawan.
"Ani, you are not my Padawan," he stated firmly. "I'm sorry if I gave you the impression otherwise. But, I want to train you – yes. But, I have... I had a Padawan." 'My Padawan,' he thought as the memory came rushing to him. All is how you wanted it. That's what he had said. 'Is this what he was talking about?' He took a shuddering breath. 'Oh no, my Obi-Wan. No, please tell me you knew I cared about you more than that.'
"You lied Master Jinn. And I don't like that." With an impertinent stride Anakin walked out of the room.
Qui-Gon's head dropped to his chest and his shoulders started to shake with sobs. "My Obi-Wan... I'm so sorry... my Obi-Wan..." he repeated over and over.
Filled with a healer's compassion, Lisa went to his side. He leaned into her touch, as she let him release his emotions. Generally, she thrived on this sort of work. However, this time, she felt hard pressed not to join him. Obi-Wan had several friends, but she didn't. She had just lost her best friend.
Qui-Gon's tear streaked hand found hers. He gazed into her worried eyes, with a pleading look. "Lisa... do you think he knew? Do you think he knew that I didn't replace him? That I loved him?"
Lisa took a moment to consider her position. Was it her place to say that Obi-Wan had felt betrayed and lost without his Master's support? Or, should she let him take that conversation to the grave? Which was more important: teaching Qui-Gon what his opinion means to those around him, or letting the Master heal properly?
"I know he knew you loved him," she answered. She decided to keep the rest of that statement, "until Anakin came into your life," alone. Obi-Wan was dead. They would have to deal with that. But, there was no reason that she had to cause the living Jedi more pain than he was already in.
"Did I hurt him? Did he ever tell you if I hurt him?"
"I know the beginning of your relationship was difficult. But, he grew very fond of you. And he grew confident in your relationship."
Qui-Gon knew she was holding something back. "Lisa... be honest. My comments about wanting to train Anakin..."
If there was one thing she could not do, it was lie to a Master Jedi.
An expectant look crossed Qui-Gon's face. First, because of his question. Then because of a sneeze. Quickly, he picked up his handkerchief. "Hah-WUFFA! Heh-Tchwhoossh! Hah-WuffAH! Ketcchhuuhh!" Or four.
Qui-Gon grabbed his head in pain, and blew his nose until he was certain his brain was coming out next.
"Master Jinn. Perhaps this should wait until you're well rested."
He nodded. He was exhausted, but didn't believe that he would rest well until he knew the answer to his question.
Feeling his hesitation, Lisa offered a suggestion. "How about you stay in the Dome? That way, when you are ready to talk, you can summon me – no matter what the time. And, you will have the proper care, to make sure your condition doesn't worsen.
Lisa sat in alone in the cafeteria. Generally, Obi-Wan sat with her. But, Obi-Wan was dead. 'No,' she told herself. 'He's just running late, is all.' Her head fell into her hands and she sniffed back tears.
She heard the scrape of metal on the floor.
"Seat's taken," she mumbled.
"Hey," a soft feminine voice offered.
Lisa looked up. "Bant," she said. The two of them worked together in the Healing Dome. And, while Obi-Wan was Lisa's best friends, Bant was his.
"Look, we – the other Padawans and me – we know that you usually eat...um...ate with Obi-Wan. But, you're welcomed to eat with us."
Lisa smiled. "Not today. But, thank you."
Bant nodded. "I know how you feel," she said as she got up to leave.
Lisa nodded. "I know." She put her head back in her hands.
Moments later she heard a scrap of metal against the floor.
"Really, Bant, I'm just not in the mood today," Lisa said. But, when she looked up, the sight of a pale, pinked, Qui-Gon.
"Master Jinn," she nearly whispered. "You should be nursing your cold."
"It's a cold. I've been through worse."
She smiled. "You're right." She righted herself. "What can I do for you Master Jinn."
He coughed. "Tell me the truth. Just the truth."
"About what?" she asked, as if she didn't know.
He sighed and sniffed wetly.
She wasn't sure if he was going to sneeze or cry. Either way, the cafeteria was not the place he should be. "How about we go to my chambers? We can talk more privately there," she offered.
He nodded once. He pushed himself up from the table. Slowly, he raised his handkerchief to his face. "HuCHuffa!"
"Bless you, Master Jinn. Come. The sooner we get you somewhere comfortable, the better off you'll be."
She settled him on her couch and mentally berated herself for not bringing him to his own chambers.
He shivered slightly, but she didn't see the need for a blanket. She hoped he wouldn't be staying long anyway.
"What is it you want?" she asked as tactfully as her depressed state would allow her.
"Obi-Wan's last statement to me... he said that everything is how you – meaning I – wanted it. Why did he think I'd want him dead?"
"You should ask Bant. I know she'd tell you."
He sighed. "I know. But, Bant and I never really got along. You and I... it's different. I don't want her views of me to color her comments."
Lisa sighed. She knew that he wouldn't let this go. "Before the Council, you renounced him for another. He felt replaced. He felt unwanted. He felt ... just... unloved."
Qui-Gon hung his head and started to sob. "I was afraid of that," he choked out between sobs. "I did so many things to him that he took in stride. Things I never apologized for. And, he died thinking that I wanted it that way. Thinking that I'd be happy without him. And, I can never apologize."
Unsure of how to respond, she sat next to him and listened.
She fingered the scars on her arms. And swore that she would etch another notch on them, for her ineptitude, as soon as Qui-Gon left.
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