Summary: While struggling to come to terms with recent events, Obi-Wan discovers that his life is being threatened by dangers both within and without. Indirect sequel to "Finding Grace" - expands on a minor point in that fic. Pre-TPM – Obi is 18.
Category: Angst, h/c
Disclaimer: The old part: this wonderful universe belongs to George Lucas, perhaps the luckiest s- ah, human being in our own reality. I choose to call this a tribute to his genius. :D The new part: the title of this fic is taken from the Joan Baez album "Gone From Danger" and belongs to the artist and The Grapevine Label.
Feedback: Very much appreciated, and big hugs to all who reviewed my last fic – it really meant a lot. Thanks guys!
Archive: If you want it, take it…just give me the credit, okay?
Spoilers: References to "Finding Grace"
Gone From Danger - Part 1/?
Obi-Wan Kenobi floated helplessly in clinging, suffocating darkness, adrift in a haze of agony and fear that threatened to consume him completely, his only anchor the dull thud of his own heart thumping irregularly and the distant sound of shallow, laboured breathing. He was vaguely aware of other stimuli around him: the hard metal surface of a chair beneath him, warming as it slowly leached his body heat; the stench of blood and sweat that permeated the faintly metallic smell of recycled air; the clamminess of long-congealed blood trailing down one side of his neck from a collection of gouges across his jaw.
In addition, he was also conscious of the relentless pain of similar injuries, both internal and external, although the former appeared to be minimal. The left side of his face was the initial cause for concern: above the deep scratches on his jaw, his cheek was badly swollen and split open just below his eye, the bone beneath the bruising more than likely fractured, and he could feel a gash across his temple, stretching past his ear, the short hair surrounding it matted and clumped in spikes from drying blood.
However, the physical pain mattered little - the mental agony that pounded through his head eclipsed even these sensations, shattering all coherent thought and gradually destroying him from the inside out. The ragged breathing that somehow kept him focused was punctuated now by a broken voice which he distractedly recognised as his own, sobbing for relief, although there was no one to hear his cries. The moans quickly escalated into a harsh scream as the pain mounted intolerably, the sound forming a single word that was shrieked in utter desolation:
Lurching upright, Obi-Wan woke with a sharp, choking gasp, his hands pressing instinctively to his temples even while his body was racked with a bout of fierce, spasmodic coughing as he struggled to draw a breath. Fortunately, his reeling mind quickly regained control and his breathing relaxed into a steadier rhythm, the last remnants of panic dissipating; groggily, he slumped back onto the bed and passed a hand across his eyes before rubbing it through his hair in agitation, deeply unsettled by the intensity of his nightmare.
"Force, what's wrong with me?" he whispered, his hand dropping to fidget with the braid trailing across his chest as he contemplated the question.
Since the attack that had very nearly cost his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, his life two months ago and the subsequent events that had followed, Obi-Wan's dreams had adopted a sinister, recurring theme of imprisonment, torture, even death. But while these often varied, the element of overpowering darkness remained a disturbing constant; recently, it had spread beyond his dreams, invading his consciousness during meditation, and it had also begun to cause acute nausea, especially after a particularly harrowing nightmare.
As though prompted, a sudden wave of queasiness disrupted his thoughts, and he rolled off the bed, hurrying from his room to the 'fresher where he sank to his knees and vomited, retching convulsively. After several minutes, the nausea abated and he slumped back into a sitting position on the floor, his pulse and breathing rapid yet again. Wearily, he dropped his head back against the wall, trying to summon the energy to get up again - the distance back to his bed suddenly seemed impossibly far. However, the sound of movement in the living area galvanised him and he rose on trembling legs, stumbling out of the 'fresher to see Qui-Gon entering their quarters; the Jedi Master looked at his apprentice in surprise, his forehead creasing slightly in concern.
"Padawan? Are you all right?"
Obi-Wan nodded automatically, a frown of his own darkening his expression as he noted that his Master, although dishevelled as though he himself had only just risen from bed, was fully clothed. "What's happening?"
"The Council has summoned me for an emergency mission," Qui-Gon replied, striding into his room. "I am to depart with Master Sansaro immediately."
The mention of Ruya Sansaro, one of the most experienced Jedi in the Temple, distracted Obi-Wan briefly. Ruya was a long-time associate of Qui-Gon's from their early Knighthood days, when they had frequently been assigned missions together. It was a partnership that worked well, mainly due to the fact that both were unusually sensitive to the Living Force and therefore exceptionally attuned to each other's state of mind. In the same respect, they shared a significant character trait: both were men motivated by their instincts and emotions, a drive that often seemed contradictory to the teachings of the Jedi.
Even as Obi-Wan considered this, the wording that Qui-Gon had used began to register, and he hurried to the doorway of his Master's bedroom in alarm. "You're going without me?" he demanded, watching the elder Jedi place items into a travel pack with a feeling of distinct unease. While he had not spoken of his dreams, the knowledge that he had the choice to turn to Qui-Gon should the situation worsen had helped him to detach himself from the frightening reality of his nightmares; without Qui-Gon's proximity, Obi-Wan was unsure whether he could maintain that distance.
"It isn't the first time, Padawan," Qui-Gon reminded him mildly, glancing at him without pausing. "I won't be gone long."
"That's not the point." Obi-Wan folded his arms and hugged himself nervously, the nausea from before returning with abrupt severity until he gained control of it and forced it away.
Qui-Gon did pause now, raising an eyebrow at the younger Jedi's almost petulant tone. "Oh? And what would the point be, exactly?"
"What if something goes wrong?" Obi-Wan asked without hesitation, letting his arms drop back to his sides, where his hands promptly clenched into fists. The memory of Dareela rose unbidden in his mind. They had been fortunate to survive that mission together; what if it happened again, and Master Sansaro was as unable to prevent it as Obi-Wan had been?
Sighing, the noise tinged with impatience, Qui-Gon returned to the travel pack and sealed it before focusing his attention on Obi-Wan. "There is always that possibility, Padawan. Your presence will not alter that."
He lifted the pack and settled it on one shoulder, moving toward the doorway; for a long moment, Obi-Wan remained in place, physically preventing his Master from leaving, but he reluctantly stepped back after a harsh look of reproach. However, he reached out and caught the sleeve of Qui-Gon's robe as he passed by, halting the older man and forcing him to turn and face him.
"Master, please," he pleaded softly, unable to keep a tremor from his voice. "Tell the Council you've changed your mind." The force of his emotions succeeded in filtering through his control, transforming his expression into one of intense, desperate fear.
Qui-Gon's own expression softened and he placed a reassuring hand on his distressed apprentice's shoulder. "Obi-Wan, I am grateful for your concern over my well-being, but you know I cannot rescind this mission simply because you have a few misgivings. The Council would not allow it, and neither would I."
"Padawan, enough!" Qui-Gon snapped, and Obi-Wan blinked in shock at the other Jedi's raised voice. "Your reservations are misplaced and, frankly, not completely unbiased. What happened on Dareela was unfortunate, and I'm sorry that you had to go through what you did, but there is no need to take it upon yourself to protect me, Obi-Wan!"
Flinching, the teenager lowered his head, gaze downcast. "I'm sorry," he murmured, struggling for calm, finally looking up at Qui-Gon with misery in his eyes. "I'm sorry that you can't understand how much you mean to me."
Qui-Gon floundered momentarily for a response, completely taken-aback, then cast the travel pack on the floor and drew his Padawan into a tight hug. "I didn't intend to sound insensitive, Obi-Wan," he explained quietly. "I do understand your feelings, although I admit that at times I underestimate their strength." His arms tightened unconsciously around his apprentice as he spoke, and Obi-Wan sagged against him, his distress receding slightly. "However, I'm afraid that your desire to protect me might lead you to sacrifice your own personal safety, and that I cannot condone, because of how much you mean to me."
At that point, before either could say anything more, the door chime sounded and Qui-Gon looked round toward the noise; panicking, Obi-Wan pressed his face into his Master's tunic, clutching at his robe as though he could keep the man there by sheer force. Smiling wistfully, Qui-Gon pressed a kiss into his Padawan's hair and gently eased him away.
"I can't stay, Obi-Wan," he apologised, moving to answer the door, and nodded in greeting to Ruya, who stood expectantly in the hallway beyond.
The slightly older Jedi Master, a formidable Toorkan whom Obi-Wan had met on several occasions, was darkly tanned, his shoulder-length auburn hair pulled back into a short braid that was pinned in an 'S' shape on the back of his head. Shining violet eyes and a ready smile softened the sharply delicate face, but what drew most attention was the spiral tattoo that adorned one side of the Jedi's neck, detailed in black and the same violet hue of his eyes, tendrils of each colour fanning out from the main pattern to spread downward, disappearing beneath the man's tunics, and upward across his right jaw and cheek to a second, smaller spiral at his temple.
Obi-Wan mustered enough composure to bow respectfully to Ruya and summoned an empty smile of reassurance for Qui-Gon as his Master turned back to look at him. "Have a safe journey, Masters," he said in farewell.
A sudden expression of regret flickered across Qui-Gon's face, and for a few moments Obi-Wan dared to believe that he might have reconsidered his decision to undertake the mission; however, whatever doubts that had arisen apparently subsided, and Qui-Gon stepped out into the hallway.
"I'll contact you soon, Padawan," he called, then hurried away with Ruya, who hesitated long enough to direct a questioning glance in Obi-Wan's direction, his eyes narrowing almost indiscernibly, and the apprentice could have sworn he felt the briefest of touches against his mind, but the sensation disappeared before he could fully discern it.
Obi-Wan watched his Master's companion until the Toorkan moved out of sight and the door shut automatically with a quiet hiss that seemed deafening in the abrupt silence of the room. Sighing, Obi-Wan dropped into the nearest chair and hugged his knees to his chest, shivering as nausea roiled through him once more yet unable to find the strength to return to bed or the 'fresher. Instead, he slumped further into the chair and drifted into an uneasy slumber, haunted by monotonous, overbearing darkness.