By Vicki Vance
Obi-Wan has an atypical vision while training with Qui-Gon. Links the new to the old. Purely foreshadowing.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars; I am therefore making no profit from this.
"Stay light on your feet," Qui-Gon Jinn called, watching his Padawan battle fervently with the six of the training droids the Jedi Temple used to educate initiates in the art of combat. The stinging bolts of the droids continually came close to hitting him, which would mean failure to a Padawan his age, but Obi-Wan Kenobi managed to somehow deflect the bolts at the last moment, keeping Qui-Gon nerves on end as he watched from the relative comfort of his seat nearby.
Obi-Wan twisted hard to block a particularly fast bolt coming from an odd angle below him and then jumped in a corkscrew just in time to block another from an airborne droid. Sensing his Padawan's fatigue and feeling a spell of disappointment, Qui-Gon keyed in the code in his remote to call off the droids. His Padawan, startled by the sudden cease of action, gaped inquiringly at his Master, gasping heavily.
"You are sluggish, Padawan," Qui-Gon observed.
"I've been doing this," Obi-Wan paused to gulp a lungful of air. "For an hour."
"No excuse," Qui-Gon said. "You are not nearly as nimble as you usually are."
"I've been sick, Master," he said defensively. "I'm not yet up to speed."
It was a reasonable enough justification. When he and Qui-Gon had traveled to the planet Sullust to investigate the multiple assassination attempts on a senator's life, they had both consumed poisoned food, preventing their intestines from absorbing metal nutrients. It went unnoticed for approximately five weeks but after two months they became dangerously anemic and needed to remain at the Jedi Temple for complicated and time-consuming treatment for hypoxia.
"It's been two weeks since our treatment began," Qui-Gon said. "We're recovered."
"If you're healthy enough to spend time with your friends, you're certainly healthy enough to resume training."
"Being with my friends requires no such strenuous physical work," Obi-Wan growled, his fingers squeezing his hilt more tightly.
Qui-Gon stared hard at his Padawan, who still panted for air. "Fine." He said, defeated. "But you'll do one more round. Then we're finished with this and you can work on your studies."
"Yes Master," Obi-Wan replied automatically. Qui-Gon started the droids up again and Obi-Wan resumed his fight, lightsaber burning in his hands. His Padawan was doing very well after the short breather. He was faster, more agile, more focused. Yet his weariness was apparent in his pale face and his sweat-soaked clothes. His bare arms shone and he bared his teeth against the exhaustion that accompanied his vigorous work.
Qui-Gon called off the droids when he was satisfied. "Well done, Padawan."
Obi-Wan stood up straight and grinned cockily. His lightsaber slipped from his hand and thudded to the padded floor. He teetered on his feet, his smile melting slightly. A moment later, he was flat on the floor.
A flash of panic ripped through Qui-Gon. This had happened before two weeks ago when they had learned what was happening to them. They had been aboard the starship Twisted Helix, making their way home to the Temple when his Padawan had collapsed and though he had been taking huge breaths of air, lack of iron in his blood made him unable to absorb any of it. It had been a terrifying and exhausting experience for Qui-Gon, who had been suffering the same illness at the time.
He was not unprepared for this. The Jedi Healers had suggested that during the first three weeks of their recovery they should have pure oxygen at the ready, just in case they ever felt short of breath. Now seemed as good a time as any.
"Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon called, rushing to his student with an oxygen mask in hand. He pressed the mask over his nose and mouth and released the valve. As the gas hissed, Obi-Wan's eyes met Qui-Gon's and he smiled dreamily.
"The man in the snow will not die," he said knowingly.
"What?" Qui-Gon asked. Obi-Wan's gaze was one-sided and detached from reality.
"The man in the snow will not die," he repeated in the same softly triumphant tone, as if this revelation were the most important yet least exciting statement ever made.
Qui-Gon frowned and his Padawan did not react to his change in emotion.
"I don't understand," he said. "Can you stand up?"
"Of course not," Obi-Wan said, some firmness in his mild voice. "I'm dead."
Caught by surprise by the last sentence, Qui-Gon shook his head. "You're not dead, Padawan." Despite the fact Qui-Gon was sure his Padawan was alive, he knew he might be in serious trouble. Lying prone and mumbling nonsense was not common practice among Jedi. Besides his pallid features, Obi-Wan appeared physically all right, but Qui-Gon knew full well that appearances were deceiving.
"His friend will save him," he continued. Then he wrinkled his nose, as if smelling something foul. "But it is not pleasant…"
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said, bringing a cleansing wash of the Force over his student in an effort to bring him back to reality. Obi-Wan shivered, his back arching slightly.
"They are cold," he said, resisting Qui-Gon's aide. "I can feel it."
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon repeated, sending another wave through Obi-Wan. Again, he resisted.
"No," he said through gritted teeth.
"Do not utter that name!" he suddenly snapped, his eyes wild with sudden fear. He raised himself up several centimeters, every muscle rigid. "I left that name years ago."
He suddenly went limp and flopped flat onto the training mat beneath him, eyes shut. Qui-Gon wasted a few moments trying to make sense out of what his student had been talking about and waiting to see if Obi-Wan would do anything. Frustrated and confused, he shook Obi-Wan's shoulder.
"Obi-Wan?" he called cautiously.
Much to his amazement, Obi-Wan took a breath and blinked his eyes open as though he had been sleeping. He stared up at Qui-Gon, slightly confused.
"Did I faint?" he asked, taking the gas mask from his face. Qui-Gon was too mystified to have initiative.
"I think so…"
"What do you mean, 'I think so'?" he asked, shooing Qui-Gon away enough so he could sit up. "You're either conscious or you're not. And judging from the fact I'm not standing up…"
"I think you had a vision," Qui-Gon said.
"Really?" Obi-Wan inquired. "Strange. I usually don't end up on the floor because of them."
"And you usually remember them," Qui-Gon added. "Are you all right?"
"I believe so," he said, checking his body for injury and finding none. With a helping hand from Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan got to his feet. "You really think it was a vision?"
"It had to be," Qui-Gon said. "You were talking about events that haven't occurred… not yet, at least."
"What was I saying?"
"You thought you were dead," Qui-Gon said. "But you didn't seem afraid. And there was something else about snow, and a person in it."
Obi-Wan frowned, thinking.
"I haven't any idea what that was about," he said. He pondered over it for a moment, his thick eyebrows tugging toward each other, creasing his forehead.
"Maybe we should quit lessons for today and meditate on this incident," Qui-Gon suggested.
"I don't think we'll uncover anything," Obi-Wan said. "I blacked out."
"Perhaps it was a vision obscured by your weariness," Qui-Gon suggested. "But we won't worry about it. Were it important, the Force would show you the vision again. And if you were meant only to see it once, it will make itself plain in due time."
"I was dead?" Obi-Wan said, a hint of worry in his voice.
"Yes, but I think you were much older," Qui-Gon assured. "You seemed wiser, calmer, more mature."
Obi-Wan went pink. "I am already wise, calm and mature."
Qui-Gon allowed himself a smirk. "If you say so, Padawan. But you do understand what I mean?"
As they returned the training droids to their posts and prepared to leave, Qui-Gon paused over his cloak which he had removed for the duration of the practice.
"Obi-Wan," he called to his Padawan, who wiped a towel over himself. "If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?"
Obi-Wan frowned at the odd question and said, "If I had to, it'd be Ben. I have an uncle named Ben whom I resemble very much. Why do you ask?"
"No reason." came Qui-Gon's reply.