Title: "Beyond This Crude Matter...."

Author: Aeshna (aeshna@kelmaith.demon.co.uk)

Genre: Romance (slashy)

Rating: PG

Spoilers: ANH

Summary: my lover waits for me....

Disclaimer: not mine, alas, no matter *how* many toys I buy. Everything here belongs to George.

Notes: so some of us were talking and it occurred to us that while Obi-Wan losing Qui-Gon was tragic, it would be even more tragic if he never found love again in his long life. Loss hurts, but life goes on. And past joy should not preclude future, and possibly greater, love....

Thanks, as ever, to Dee for looking this over for me (and the summary!) and to Jen for the title.

* * = italics

***

It was over.

The realisation came out of nowhere, a sudden certainty followed by a wave of purest relief as the futures revealed themselves. Times would be hard... but the Light would prevail. A part of him mourned that he would not be able to guide the boy through what was to come, but the Force demanded balance, a Master and an Apprentice, and it was time to cede his place to Luke. Yoda would see to the rest of his training when the time came.

He had always wondered what it would feel like to die, to surrender his physical existence to the Force. He had known so many deaths, taken so many lives, seen so many friends and comrades go before him.... It felt strange to be facing this moment so calmly, after so many years of fighting for survival, and yet he was glad that he had some choice in the manner of his passing. Of his transition, he reminded himself firmly. There was a life to come beyond this, in the Force, a chance to be reunited with those who had gone before....

A chance to be reunited with the one he had missed most of all.

He felt no fear as he raised his 'sabre in the final salute, taking control of the fight at the last and denying his opponent the thrill of victory. Anakin had always hated that. In truth, he could probably win this fight if he so chose -- the nimble boy he had once known was lost in the lumbering cyborg body, strong in Force but not in form. If he so chose, he could be back on the patchwork freighter and away... but he was tired and old and so instead he chose *this*, feeling the subtle approval of the Force as the red 'sabre swung towards him, the crimson glare reminding him of another blade so very, very long ago....

A flash of *sensation* -- not pain so much as the shock of metamorphosis, of being elsewhere, elsewhen. Hands caught him, pulling him back into an embrace that he knew and had missed, had missed oh-so-*much* in the long lonely years. Lips pressed against his temple and he heard himself laugh, joy and relief mingling as his fears receded. "Oh love, I never knew that we'd be able to touch...."

"I'm still getting used to it myself," the beloved voice said, the words choked with emotion.

"I know. I... I felt you die."

A soft chuckle. "Well, at least I got to be here to greet you. You're safe now, Obi-Wan. No more running or hiding. No more pain. It's over."

Smiling, Obi-Wan opened his eyes to find himself surrounded by people he had known, their expressions welcoming in the faint blue glow even as they stood back to allow this most important reunion. Raising his head, he looked into the warm brown eyes he had dreamt about endlessly during his Tatooine exile and ran careful fingers down an olive face as unlined as he remembered from their first times together. "We get to be young too?"

"Oh, yes."

"Good." Sliding his hand into black hair, Obi-Wan pulled his dearest lover and most trusted friend in for a searing kiss. "Gods, but I missed you, Bail Organa," he murmured as he pulled back, still a little shaken by his transition into... this place. Was this the Force? He didn't know.

And he didn't really care any more.