Disclaimer: Not one thing belongs to me. Title and lyrics are from Stevie Wonder's "They Won't Go When I Go."

A/N: In honor of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" being released today. . .

And My Soul Will Be Free

ø

Since my soul conceived, all that I believe

The kingdom I will see, 'cause they won't go when I go

And I'll go

where I'll go

No one can keep me

From my destiny

ø

It is the will of the Force and the way of the Jedi Order. The Master trains the Apprentice, the Apprentice becomes powerful enough, and the Master makes way for a new leader.

This is the natural order of succession; Obi-Wan has known it since childhood. But he can't help but curse such an order now, as he cradles his Master in his arms the way he was cradled as a youngling. It seems unfair that such a powerful, free-spirited Knight should be made to perish at the hands of evil in a cold, metallic tower so far from home. Obi-Wan always pictured being Knighted with Qui-Gon at his side, helping him train that boy from Tattooine, negotiating peace all over the galaxy for years, growing older and wiser together. And, perhaps arrogantly, he's always assumed he'd have eternity to tell his Master what he means to him. Now, all he has is a few precious moments.

He tries to pretend there's a chance, but Qui-Gon was never one to beat around the bush. "It-it's too late," he rasps, his eyes fluttering.

"No!" Obi-Wan whimpers, willing his Master's eyes to stay open. They are blurry and swimming in tears, but by some miracle they manage to land on the scared blue eyes above.

"Obi-Wan. . ." His voice is still gentle, even in its weakness; Obi-Wan bites back tears. "Promise. . .promise me you will-"

Never forget what I've taught you.

"-train the boy."

The warm voice is his head almost overpowers the feeble voice in his ear. Obi-Wan blinks rapidly as his force ears perk and his human ears take a backseat. In his grief, there is still some focus; Qui-Gon can't say everything before he dies, but he can still tell something.

"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan obeys both commands with trembling lips, and yet sends back a pathetic plea, Please don't leave me.

Qui-Gon's eyes sharpen at that, staring up into Obi-Wan's face, still round with youth and the echo of innocence freshly tarnished. His shaking fingers lightly brush Obi-Wan's cheek, catching a stray tear.

I will never leave you. . ."He-is-the Chosen One. . ."

I could never be as good a Master as you!

Yes, you can. . .

He needs you! I need you!

I will never leave you. . .

"He-" Qui-Gon's voice is but a whisper on the wind now-"will-bring balance. . ."

I'm so sorry Master, I'm so sorry I couldn't save you-

You already have.

"Train him." They both know it's the end. Those are the last physical words Qui-Gon will ever speak into the air. But Qui-Gon is a stubborn man, and he will not waste his last chance to speak into the Force. His other hand grips his Padawan's arm tightly.

You are. . .always. . .loved. . .my Padawan. . .my son.

Obi-Wan is melted into speechlessness, a speechlessness he will live to regret as the eyes below him roll upward and disappear under wrinkled lids, every muscle slackening as the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn is freed from its human shackles and joins the Force in peace.

Abandoning all pretense, Obi-Wan cries silently into the nape of his Master's neck, buried in the only scent that ever felt like family. His tears are bitter with anguish and loss, shame and regret. But they hold another emotion, too. He's too scared to define it yet, but he latches on to it and it relieves his suffering, if only a little.

It will take some years for Obi-Wan to admit to himself what his heart was filled with that day. He will have grown a beard and a mullet by the time he finds his heart filled with the same thing for his own apprentice. And he will stand on black sand in a fiery planet when he finally utters the name for it: this emotion that spilled over thirteen years ago at the revelation that he had been somebody's son. Somebody who loved him.

ø

A/N: In the Phantom Menace, I got the feeling that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were much closer than their dialogue would admit. Qui-Gon was so friendly to the uptight Obi-Wan, who was clearly devoted to him despite their disagreements over the Council. Qui-Gon death was sad but also incomplete. From my point of view there should have been a little more closure for the Apprentice who obviously loved his Master. So this drabble came to me this very night, and I had to get it out of my system. I appreciate all feedback, and I hope you enjoyed this little story! May the Force be with us all!