Qui-Gon stood in an observation room watching Obi-Wan take an exam. Next to him stood Masters Windu and Yoda, and all three were looking on with interest. Qui-Gon was contemplatively stroking his chin and watching through the one way mirror as Obi-Wan quickly answered question after question, given to him at random by an educational droid.
"He shouldn't be able to do this." Mace spoke suddenly, breaking the silence. "He's only fifteen. Knights twice his age haven't learned the answers many of these questions, and yet he's answering them without hesitation."
"You're surprised?" Qui-Gon asked, turning and looking at Mace with a raised eyebrow. "If he truly is what you both suspect-."
"Don't you suspect as well, Qui-Gon? You're his master. Surely you know him better than anyone." Mace retorted with curiosity.
Qui-Gon sighed heavily and turned to look back at his student. He crossed his arms over his chest and shrugged. "It seems that he already knows what I go to teach him. Every lesson he gets on the first attempt. Every form, every flip, every twist of his lightsaber. He's flawless; and you know I don't say that lightly."
Almost as if he were able to hear Qui-Gon's comment Obi-Wan hesitated with an answer. All three master's immediately perked with interest to see if there was in fact something Obi-Wan didn't know, but then a second later the young teen answered and the droid continued administering questions. Mace shook his head, impressed with Obi-Wan's performance, and then looked down at Yoda who was sitting on a hover chair next to him.
"We should pull him from classes. He'll only draw attention to himself and the last thing we need is to broadcast his origin. Who knows who may be looking for him." The councilor recommended and Yoda remained silent, keeping his gaze on Obi-Wan.
Then, pensively, the wizened master nodded. "Yes. Agree, I do. Kept safe, our young Obi-Wan must be."
"He won't understand." Qui-Gon said, his concern only for the feelings of his young ward, who may as well be his son for how much he loved him. "What am I supposed to tell him?" He asked the councilors as his eyes remained trained on his student.
"Kept busy, you will be. Away from the Temple, you will stay, away from prying eyes." Yoda murmured with a sure nod.
"Are you suggesting there is a threat from within the temple?" Qui-Gon asked incredulously, because as far as he was concerned the idea was preposterous. How could a Jedi represent a threat? Especially to another Jedi?
"Dark times, we are approaching. Uncertain of many things, I am. Hard to see, the future is. So kept safe, Obi-Wan must be. He is all that stands before the path of the dark. Certain, that much is." Yoda nodded a few more times as he linked his fingers together in his lap and looked over at Qui-Gon. "Obi-Wan's heritage, you must find. Know for certain what he is, we must."
"Where am I supposed to look?" Qui-Gon asked, knowing that this had always been a possibility since Mace and Yoda had told them their suspicions on what Obi-Wan was.
"To the Unknown Region, you must go." Yoda spoke decisively, though all three men were certain that the old Jedi was just as unsure as the rest of them. This was uncharted territory. Never in the history of the Jedi had they encountered someone such as Obi-Wan.
"What am I supposed to tell him? He can't know why we're there. It would put too much pressure on him, and he's so young…" Qui-Gon's heart broke a little for his apprentice. He knew that no matter where this search led, it would end badly for his Obi-Wan. And yet he didn't have the power to protect him from whatever lie ahead. However, he would do so to the best of his ability.
"Tell him what you must to convince him." Mace suggested and Qui-Gon furrowed his brow.
"You want me to lie to him? If he is…" Qui-Gon hesitated because he was afraid it would make everything that much more real. "If he is a Pratiri there is no possible way I can lie to him. There is no way I can keep anything from him."
"You can because he trusts you." Mace turned to him and looked at him tightly. "You're right, Qui-Gon. He can't know. Not yet. He may suspect, but he will believe you because you are his master and he loves you."
"And when he finds out the truth? That I've been lying to him? He will feel betrayed and used. By me! I will lose him." Qui-Gon predicted, certain he wouldn't be able to endure such a thing. Obi-Wan was the only thing that kept him going, he was the only bright spot in his life.
"If Obi-Wan is a Pratiri then we must keep him safe no matter the costs." Mace had spoken those words before, six years earlier.
Qui-Gon took a deep breath and thought back to that morning when his whole life had been turned upside down, and everything he thought he knew was proven wrong.
Six Years Earlier.
"Come on. He'll be asleep for a while yet and the Council is in session. We can work out the whole Padawan situation. Also, there is something else we need to discuss concerning Ben." He said and Qui-Gon looked up at him confused.
"Concerning him how?" He asked, sensing the seriousness of Mace's statement.
"Not here." Was all the councilor offered before stepping back and motioning for Qui-Gon to come with him. Qui-Gon nodded in agreement, though disentangling himself from the boy proved to be difficult he managed to stand from the bed without waking Ben. He then made sure all of the tubes and lines attached to Ben were still where they were supposed to be, covered him with a blanket, and then followed Mace out of the room.
The two turned and Master Windu looked over to Qui-Gon turned as they began shutting the door. "Welcome back, my Old Friend."
In a comfortable silence the two walked to the council chambers. Qui-Gon's prediction about it being his least argumentative talk with them had been proven correct. They agreed he should be the one to train Ben but that Ben needed time to catch up to his age-mates. So, it was decided Ben would study as an Initiate until his twelfth birthday, when Qui-Gon would then take him as a Padawan. Admittedly Qui-Gon was a bit disappointed he couldn't begin training Ben right away, but he knew the wisdom behind their decision.
After the meeting was over the council filed out while Mace asked him to linger behind to catch up about Xanatos and how he might be feeling. Sensing it was a personal topic the rest of the councilors quickly filed out save for Master Yoda.
Qui-Gon was no fool and knew it was just a rouse to get them all alone, so he stood patiently waiting to hear what Mace had to say about Ben.
"Yoda had a vision while you were rescuing Ben." Mace began and stood as he began pacing, clearly worked up. Qui-Gon watched in shock because he knew there was very little that could get the implacable Mace Windu frazzled.
"Concerning him?" He asked concerned and both councilors nodded.
"Based on the vision we suspect Ben is not who he thinks he is." Mace said as he came to a stop in front of Qui-Gon. Confused and concerned for his dear friend, Qui-Gon looked past him to Yoda who was watching impassively, seemingly only there to observe. Qui-Gon turned back to Mace and shrugged to convey his confusion.
"You mean an orphan?" He asked slowly.
"I mean a human." Mace corrected and made Qui-Gon at a loss for words.
After opening and closing his mouth a few times he finally did manage speech. "Not human? I'm sorry, I'm not…I took his blood sample myself. It clearly stated he was human."
"Because that's what the Force wanted you to think." Mace stated as if that explained everything.
"I'm still not following you." Qui-Gon murmured and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Honestly he was beginning to feel as if this was either some kind of practical joke or Mace had gone off the deep end.
"Yoda saw the Pratiri." Mace explained and then motioned to the door. "And he saw Ben among them."
"Pratiri? Mace, the Pratiri are myths! Jedi folklore. Stories to tell children in the crèche. They don't actually exist." Qui-Gon stated emphatically, now certain that Mace had in fact lost his mind, and yet Yoda didn't seem to be correcting him.
"Will you tell him?" Mace asked, turning to look back at Yoda.
Yoda sighed and pushed himself from his chair and approached Qui-Gon, his cane thumping on the council floor with every step. "Kings, I saw. A lineage of nobility. At the end of the line, Ben stood. Still a child, he was, in my vision. Laughing with a man, his father, the king of the Pratiri."
"I don't understand…You're saying that Ben, my Ben, is some mythological prince?" Qui-Gon was now suspect that both councilors had lost their minds. However, clearly in full control of their capacities, both masters nodded to him. "Ok…" Qui-Gon said firmly, now believing he needed to talk them down from insanity. "Let's say Ben is the prince of the Pratiri. How did he end up on Ne'Arna, orphaned and alone? If he is the crown prince of possibly the most powerful race of beings throughout the galaxy, why wouldn't they go and find him?"
"Know that, I do not. Ended there, the vision did." Yoda explained and Qui-Gon looked at him a moment and felt a niggling in the back of his mind.
He closed his eyes and listened to what it had to tell him. His connection to the Living Force had always been strong, and it allowed him to hear its messages clearly. It was telling him they were speaking the truth. At least as far as they knew it.
Qui-Gon's skepticism lifted slightly due to his belief in the Force, but part of it remained due to his common sense. Pratiri were not actual beings…They couldn't be.
"What would that mean?" He asked slowly, looking between the two, and wondering what conclusions they had come to.
"The Force sent him here to us for a reason. You found him on Ne'Arna for a reason. We thought it was for you…To help you move past Xanatos. But now we believe his presence is far more reaching. If Ben is in fact a Pratiri then he could be enough to stop the darkness encroaching around us." Mace spoke hopefully.
"Darkness?" Qui-Gon responded, once again confused.
"Don't tell me you haven't sensed it. You have one of the strongest connections to the Force in the entire Order. Wars are breaking out all over the galaxy. There is a demand for more Jedi than there has ever been in our entire recorded history. There is something out there, waiting to strike. And Ben may be our only chance to survive when it does." Mace spoke and Qui-Gon adamantly began shaking his head.
"You're basing all of this on one vision! Ben is a boy! He's eight years old and I'll not have you putting the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders. Pratiri or not, he is a child. Up until this point his only concern was finding his next meal." Qui-Gon insisted and tightened his fists. "There isn't anyone after him."
"If Ben is a Pratiri then we must keep him safe no matter the costs." Was all Mace answered with.
The room fell into silence and Qui-Gon ran his hand over his face. He turned away and walked over to the window to overlook Coruscant. He crossed his arms over his chest and then sighed. "I need to get back, Ben could wake any minute." He murmured and slowly looked back to the other two. "I'll…think about this." He said firmly and gave them a nod, and then turned and left quickly, his mind racing with confusion.
He walked back to the healer's ward and returned to Ben's room. He pulled up a chair and sat at the side of the boy. He then leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees and rested his chin on his thumbs. "You look human to me…" He whispered with a slight smile and then reached out and gently moved aside some of Ben's hair from his forehead.
Qui-Gon had never looked at Obi-Wan the same way since. He hadn't decided if he believed Yoda's vision, or his interpretation of it, but the thought was always in the back of his head. It didn't help that Obi-Wan seemed capable of anything.
Not only did he excel at their physical training, but Obi-Wan had done the same in his academics. Everyone had thought he'd be behind his age-mates for a significant amount of time, perhaps years. However, once Knight Drenick began tutoring him the Knight had trouble keeping up with how much Obi-Wan soaked in. Within months he was in classes with his agemates, and then classes above them, and then classes above them.
Eventually they had gotten to this point, where Obi-Wan had to be quizzed by a droid because he started knowing more than the teachers themselves. No one knew where Obi-Wan drew his knowledge from, and Qui-Gon supposed him being a Pratiri would be an answer, but that would mean that Pratiri actually exist and that is something Qui-Gon cannot accept easily. What was easy to accept is that his padawan was remarkably gifted; the reason he was didn't matter.
Qui-Gon sighed again as Obi-Wan continued answering the questions, alone, in an empty room. Life hadn't been easy for Obi-Wan since getting to the Temple. Once his skills became known Qui-Gon would venture to say Obi-Wan had been ostracized by the other padawans. They just didn't understand why Obi-Wan was so much…well…better than they were.
Even Obi-Wan's own friends couldn't understand him and eventually they filtered away until Obi-Wan didn't have anyone his own age. As a result, his fifteen year old Padawan spent more time than usual with members of the council, who were the closest to understanding him, and other masters, who would not judge him. No one his own age…
And now they needed to tear him away from what few friends he had. Who knew how long they would need to stay in the Unknown Regions. They may never return to the Temple.
But he knew that no matter what happened he would support Obi-Wan. He always had, and he always would. Not only was Obi-Wan his padawan, but he was the son he never had. Qui-Gon loved him just as much as he would love any blood child, were they allowed in the life of a Jedi. He had tried to protect Obi-Wan from the pains of being different, but he knew that leaving wouldn't sit well with the boy.
He would question. He would demand to know why. He would have a right to know…
But Qui-Gon wouldn't, couldn't, tell him.
"They're finished." Mace spoke and jarred Qui-Gon from his disjointed thoughts. The droid powered down and Obi-Wan remained sitting in the room for a few moments longer. "What is he doing?" Mace asked, curiously.
The three masters remained silent until Obi-Wan turned and pushed himself to stand a full ten minutes later, then quietly left the room. Qui-Gon watched him go, wanting to immediately go to him, but there was still more he needed to discuss with the councilors before he left.
"When do you want us to leave?" He asked and Mace glanced to Yoda slightly.
"As soon as possible. We aren't certain the Temple is safe for him. So many people know he is different as it is. If someone came looking for him he'd be a sitting target." The councilor slipped his hands into the sleeves of his robes and gave a sympathetic look to Qui-Gon. "We know this will be difficult for him, but believe us when we say we only have Benjamin's best interest at heart." Mace's words were emphasized by the use of Obi-Wan's birth name.
"I know you do." Qui-Gon assured them and continued looking into the room Obi-Wan had vacated. "It just comes at a price." He lamented. He then drew up his shoulders and turned to face them fully. "I should get back. Tell him what we'll be doing." He said and then gave them a bow. "I know I sound ungrateful, but I am aware of the care you're trying to give my Obi-Wan. I thank you for it." He spoke and then rose and left them.
Mace and Yoda looked to each other, neither of them happy about what Obi-Wan has gone through, and what still lies before him.
When Qui-Gon walked into their apartment he found Obi-Wan lying on the couch and staring up at the ceiling. He slowly drew off his cloak and tossed it nonchalantly over one of the chairs. "How did it go?" He asked for pretense. As far as they knew, Obi-Wan was unaware he was monitored throughout his sessions.
"You were standing there watching me the whole time." Obi-Wan pointed out without emotion as he continued looking up at the ceiling.
Qui-Gon felt his heart grow heavy. Obi-Wan was no longer the care-free boy he once was. In fact, Qui-Gon couldn't recall the last time Obi-Wan smiled. He walked over to the couch and sat on the edge next to his student. He sighed and rolled his lips into his mouth as he thought about giving Obi-Wan the news of their imminent departure to the unknown regions.
He reached out and put his hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder. "Come with me." Qui-Gon said, and stood. Obediently Obi-Wan stood as well and looked up at his master curiously. "We're going out."
"Out? Of the Temple? For what?" Obi-Wan asked as he linked his arms behind his back.
"Fun, Padawan, for fun." Qui-Gon told him, forcing a broad smile as he gently took Obi-Wan's shoulders and started directing him to the door.
"Fun. Surely you remember how to have fun."
So, do you all remember how I said these were written already? Well, they were, until my computer decided to die...a sad, sad death; and take all my files with it. So, I've started the process of re-writing them because it seemed unanimous that everyone wanted to see where the story was going. But, you'll have to be patient with me as I try to get it written again.
But, all that aside, part two! Here we go...Prepare for a lot of made up lore, but a hopefully interesting story. Please let me know what you think of the beginning. Comments are love. I'm even going to work on my reticence at answering them...Maybe that will give you more motivation? :)