Author's note: Thanks to all my reviewers and readers! You can also find more of my stories on yahoo groups. Just search for CalaisKenobi (since I can't seem to paste the link successfully).
The hissing and sizzling as the emerald and azure blades met again
and again added a cadence to the beautiful but deadly dance evolving between
the two Jedi Masters- one an older man with long flowing hair and a beard, the
younger with short, spiked hair and a wide grin on his face. The dance seemed
to flow back and forth between the two, sometimes with the older pushing, but
more often with the younger in the lead. The battle continued until a terrific
leap by the younger placed him at the other's back. A quick kick to the jaw,
and the dance was over.
Offering a hand to his former Master, Obi-Wan helped Qui-Gon regain his feet. "That's quite an impressive move," the elder Master commented with a wry twist to his lips.
"Well, I can't honestly take the credit for it," Obi-Wan answered, a shadow seeming to cross his face as he spoke. Leaning down to grab the two towels the two had laid out earlier, Obi-Wan tossed one to Qui-Gon. "All I can say is that the move is just as effective in an actual battle."
Reading the expression on his former apprentice's face, Qui-Gon sobered. "I take it I should learn the counter to that move then?"
Answering with a quirked smile, Obi-Wan went back to mopping the sweat from where it had gathered on his forehead. "My Master always advocated learning…" he replied as he finished with the towel and tossed it back on the bench.
"Sounds like a wise man," Qui-Gon stated as he too finished with his towel. Pausing to take a draught from the water bottle, the older Master surreptitiously watched his former apprentice. Only a few days before, Master Jinn had been raising a young, headstrong, Jedi Apprentice. Today, Qui-Gon stood before his fellow Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Handing the bottle to Obi-Wan as he finished, Qui-Gon spoke softly. "It mustn't have been easy…"
Taking a drink from the bottle, Obi-Wan hesitated, considering how best to answer his former Master's carefully phrased opening. As the cool water washed down his throat, Obi-Wan was enveloped by a sense of peace. Glancing carefully around for the source of the tranquility, he smiled softly as he recognized where it was coming from. Although Obi-Wan could still clearly see the arena where he and Qui-Gon were exercising, he could also see the form of Natira interposed over the matted floors. Her hair flowing gently behind her as if she stood in a light breeze, Natira stood with one hand raised in a clear gesture of farewell. A soft smile lit her face as she nodded to Obi-Wan, as if congratulating him, before fading away once more.
Lowering the bottle, Obi-Wan suddenly knew how to answer his Master's inquiry. "It wasn't easy," he began. "However, I can honestly say that the chances I have been given and the things I have lived through have taught me one very important lesson."
Noticing the change that had seemed to overcome his former Padawan as he began to speak, Qui-Gon remained silent. Master Jinn may not have felt any change in the Force, but it was clear that some conflict had been resolved within the younger Knight. It was almost as if Obi-Wan's eyes were suddenly filled with some inner light- a brilliance of knowledge and serenity.
Smiling almost serenely, Obi-Wan turned his full gaze on his former Master. "Everything that I have experienced, every wrong I tried to undo, every major event I tried to change… it really meant nothing."
Opening his mouth to protest, Qui-Gon halted as Obi-Wan raised his hand gently in a quelling gesture. "I don't mean to say that I take what I have been given lightly, but rather, I've realized that it wasn't the major events, or the cataclysmic changes that were meant to teach me. Instead, I think I was meant to learn one of the most important lessons of all: life isn't a series of big events interspersed by little meaningless tasks. The universe can't be changed by one major event, nor can one man really affect it."
Turning to set the water bottle down on the bench by his towel, Obi-Wan almost missed the somewhat bemused expression on his former Master's face. "I'm not sure I understand," Qui-Gon stated after the younger Knight stood up once more and quirked an eyebrow in question.
Smiling enigmatically, Obi-Wan reached out to take the towel from Qui-Gon's lax hand. Tossing it down behind him, the younger Master again removed his 'saber from his belt and settled into the opening position. Waiting until his former Master had assumed the reciprocal position, Obi-Wan finally spoke. "The only way we can really change the universe is by changing our own perspective of it. Nothing I do, or you do, or even anything that the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic does, can really change the universe if we don't let it. Evil doesn't suddenly spring into existence with one major event, instead it creeps up on us every time we allow suspicion or anger or even duty to override the sheer joy that life gives us everyday. A man who truly loves life, and enjoys it to the fullest extent possible can make a greater difference than one who sets out to change the universe."
Igniting his lightsaber as he spoke the last words, Obi-Wan leapt immediately to the offensive. As the azure and emerald light beams crashed once more, the younger Knight smiled mischievously. "And now, old man, if you're ready, I believe we have a duel to finish."
Smiling in kind, Qui-Gon Jinn once more engaged Obi-Wan Kenobi in the beautiful and deadly dance.