A one post story that takes place the night after the Battle of Naboo where Obi-Wan tends to the future as a spirit of the past looks on.
Disclaimer:The usual disclaimers apply. George Lucas owns it all. I am not making any money on this.
A Calm Knight
In the waning hours of the Naboo night, a powerful silence held claim to the residential wing of the Theed Palace. Far from the committees that were dealing with the newly defeated Trade Federation and the world's recovery from the blockade, soft footfalls traveled over the patterned tile floor.
Obi-Wan Kenobi passed as if a ghost from one corridor to the next. He had been glad to find himself alone upon leaving the Queen's throne room that had become the command center for all efforts.
In the hours since the blockade's collapse, his presence had been required to speak with Jedi objectivity on a variety of subjects. Duties, which he fulfilled to the best of his abilities, after all, that was what was expected of him. After communications had been restored, he had contacted the Jedi Council giving a verbal report of the events. In the hazy blue images of the council member's, their faces carried the unspoken knowledge that Qui-Gon Jinn was dead.
With that last thought came a pause in his stride, the reddish-brown hem of his cloak swept out over the cool marble surface like gentle wings. His master was dead and he had yet to find the respite to grieve. Pulled so quickly into the details of the battle's aftermath, he had been unable to tend to his master's body. Even now, he did not have the time to seek the place the older Jedi now rested, other duties pressed. The mourning pushed to the edges of his weary mind, the young Jedi twisted about the corridor as if searching for something.
The faint echo of a familiar presence.
Allowing the thought to drift and fade behind other demands, he heaved a soft sigh in the presence of no one and returned to his journey. Another turn led him into a hall lined with tall arching windows and the perfect view of the brightly lit city that surrounded the northern edge of the palace.
Through the Force, he sensed a variety of activity emanating from the city beyond the palace gardens. It would take time to recover from the occupation and the shaken nerves of having their peaceful world invaded, but right now, the search for answers and the application of aid was paramount.
His hand lightly brushed against the solid shape of a lightsaber at his hip. In an instinctive action, Obi-Wan grasped the weapon and held it out for examination. The sleek design and intricate details did not fit his grip. It had been made for larger, more battle worn hands. Pale blue eyes danced across the silver and black cylinder. He remembered how easily the Force had spoken to him, guiding him when he had needed it.
Shifting a step to the center of the wide corridor, the emerald green blade snap-hissed to life. With a grace and ease accomplished only by a lifetime of honing his skills, he stepped through a complex warm up exercise. The blade hummed, slicing mere centimeters from walls and floors as it arced about the calm hallway. Green flashed as the blade swept back over the Jedi's shoulder as he completed a series of agile turns within the tight space ending with a slight flourish as he and the weapon moved forward as one. Dancing lithely over the floor before coming to an easy halt, the Jedi then extinguished the lightsaber and returned to its place at his side.
The pent up mixture of emotions ached to be free of the invisible walls the orphaned apprentice had boxed them into. He needed some time to himself to sort it all out. Time to meditate. Time to–
Turning sharply, the Jedi stared into the corridor behind him. Lightning quick reflexes had once more brought his hand to the weapon clipped to his utility belt, but stopped. Reaching beyond the limits of his vision, he searched the surroundings but found that he was still alone. The Force moved in gentle currents around the young man, offering only the comfort that it was there. No warnings, no threats, nothing to disrupt the eternal tides.
Passing it off as merely an after effect of the long day, he pulled his cloak close and finished his journey, arriving at a large ornamented doorway that opened into a simple sitting area shared by several guest apartments. Leaning against the red stained yarel wood doorframe, he offered up the best smile he could.
The soft crack of the wood caused nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker to twist about in surprise. The myriad of objects clutched in his small fists were quickly jammed behind his back. A look of childish embarrassment flushed his cheeks a healthy pink. "Obi-Wan!" the pajama clad boy called out in a startled tone. After a moment of silence passed between the boy and the Jedi, he added, "I couldn't sleep."
Sensing the restless energy shimmering about Anakin, Obi-Wan said, "I suppose it is to be expected after the day's excitement."
The boy's face lit up as he was about to launch into another retelling of the space battle and how he had accidentally on purpose blown up the droid control ship. Then just as quickly, sadness glossed over his youthful features and his shoulders sank. He opened his mouth to say something but paused. Hidden hands fell to his sides revealing a small compliment of tools. Sandy blond hair tumbled forward as he looked down at the devices in his grip. "I got them from one of the pilots, he let me borrow them," Anakin chattered. "I was going to fix–"
Taking off, the boy motioned Obi-Wan to follow through the large gathering room and into the small apartment that he had been given to rest in.
Inside the sleeping quarters, the ginger haired Jedi found a small cleaning bot crumpled on the floor like a broken toy. Kneeling next to his find, a proud Anakin Skywalker placed the tools on the floor and began opening yellow panels. "I think it has a bad motivator but the maintenance chief says he just replaced it and it still doesn't work," he bubbled happily. "I was going to test–"
"It is late. You should be asleep," Obi-Wan gently interrupted.
Anakin paused and spoke slowly, "I know. I just wanted to get this fixed first."
"There will be time to work on it tomorrow. You need your rest. Tomorrow will be another big day."
The words went ignored as the energetic boy focused on pulling the droid's yellow casing apart.
Obi-Wan sighed and decided to let Anakin wear himself down. He would check back in after a while.
"I miss my mother."
The hushed words brought the young man to a stop. Shifting his weight to one foot, he looked back at the uncertainty clouding Anakin's face.
"It's hard to go to bed without hernot being there."
Nodding in silent understanding, Obi-Wan approached the boy and held out his hand to him. "I miss my master."
Anakin grasped the roughened hand and took the aid helping him up off the floor. His shaggy, sun streaked hair shifted about revealing bright blue eyes beneath the uneven tips. "I'm sorry about Qui-Gon. I really liked him."
"He is with the Force now." Obi-Wan was unsure whether the words were meant to comfort Anakin or himself. And yet, they sounded as empty and hollow has he felt. Accepting that was the grief speaking, he released what he could to the Force and focused on his young charge. A guiding hand led Anakin to the large bed that dominated the room. "The Supreme Chancellor of the Republic–"
"Is he important?"
"Yes, he is. He was the Senator from Naboo. The one Queen Amidala went to meet with on Coruscant when she appealed to the senate for aid."
"He will arrive to meet with the Queen and to participate in the coming celebrations."
"What will he do the Trade Federation?" Anakin eagerly asked as he kicked off the slippers covering his feet.
"They will be dealt with by the Senate."
The confusion was heavy in that single word but Obi-Wan did not want to launch into a lesson on Republic politics. Anakin would learn soon enough should the High Council honor his master's dying wish to have the boy trained. Even if the Council refused, he would find a way, he had promised. He prayed though that it would not come to that.
"The members of the Jedi Council will be here as well for Master Jinn's funeral and to investigate the Sith attacker," the Jedi continued.
"That horned guy?"
Anakin nodded dully as he crawled up on the large bed planting himself in the center before looking around curiously. "This bed is bigger than my whole room back home." The point was highlighted with flailing arms.
The spoken wonderment brought a weary smile to Obi-Wan. "Things will be larger everywhere you go."
"Yes," he said as he unfurled the rolled down covers. "You will see amazing things you never imagined to exist."
"I will visit every world in the galaxy," the boy announced.
"I am sure you will."
Heavy eyelids drooped and Anakin yawned as he sank into the mound of fluffy pillows that had been placed there just for him on Padmé's orders. "Feels like I am floating," he dreamily said.
Pressing a hand to the small shoulder, Obi-Wan offered up a simple Force compulsion that sent Anakin off into a needed sleep.
After adjusting the covers and lowering the lights in the small apartment, the apprentice paced to the doorway. Stealing a final glance back into the darkened room, his gaze briefly focused on a pale blue light from the large windows that splashed across the sleeping boy.
Heavy footsteps carried him through the sitting room to his own small apartment. Palming the door open, he entered but paused allowing his fingers to linger at the edge of the interior controls but chose to leave it open for Anakin's sake.
Inside the small sleep chamber, he slipped his cloak free of strained muscles and carefully laid it across a simple chair stationed in the corner. Striding the short distance across the room to the window, he pulled back the elegant lace curtains revealing a clear, star filled sky.
"It has been a long day for you too, my padawan."
Obi-Wan folded his arms across his chest and shook his head unhappily in answer to some internal dialogue.
"I am proud of you, Obi-Wan. You did what I could not. You were strong."
Brushing fingers through thick spiked hair, the Jedi apprentice twisted about and stared into the empty room. His gaze shifted about then thick lashes brushed over his cheeks as he closed his eyes.
Great sadness welled up within Qui-Gon Jinn. His very spirit ached at the sight of the haunted blue eyes. As he had in life, the Jedi master reached for the young man, wishing only to place an understanding hand on a slumped shoulder but phantom fingers could no longer touch the living. The psychic pain grew unbearable when his beloved padawan turned back to the dark night and cold stars above.
Obi-Wan whispered, "I should have been quicker."
"I rushed ahead of my own choosing." The words went unheard. In the familiarity of dream, Qui-Gon folded phantom arms. The gestures were real even if nothing else was. "You did well." He reached out again but the action drew no attention.
The apprentice shifted and turned about staring into the room again as diffused lighting glittered in his eyes, the usual staid expression missing. Pushing whatever thoughts that plagued him behind a mask of Jedi serenity, he withdrew from the window and from the unfelt presence of his master. Pacing softly in the narrow space between the wall and the large bed, the younger man occasionally glanced to the open door that led to the sitting room and a choice of paths. One leading to Anakin, another would take him to the morgue where his master lay, while another would lead him anywhere in the galaxy he chose.
Remaining at a distance from the pacing padawan, Qui-Gon tried to reach out with words that he hoped Obi-Wan would allow himself to hear. "How do you put a lifetime of feelings into a few moments, a few dying words? I certainly could not. I hope that through years of trial and difficulty that you know I cared even if I was not always the best at showing it."
Breaking away, Obi-Wan walked the short distance back to the chair his cloak was draped over. He lightly fingered the material then sank to the edge of the seat. His elbows resting upon his knees as he buried his face in his hands.
"It has been a difficult day," the Jedi's ghost whispered. "Take this moment and rest. You may not get it again." Lacking any response from the apprentice, Qui-Gon moved close, hoping his mere presence would soothe the young man's wounded spirit. "Where will this path take you, that I have set you upon? I do not know. Anakin needs someone, as do you now and I hope that in time you will discover the same joys in training a padawan that I did. And while you do not believe this now, it was the will of the Force that I go. There is nothing else that I can teach you, what is left, you must learn on your own. I have faith that you will take each lesson to heart. You will be a great Jedi." With a gentle laugh, the master added, "Far wiser than I was."
Leaning back in the chair, Obi-Wan's empty gaze moved about the room focusing on nothing particular. Finally turning his attention to his hands, he twisted them about studying the callused palms before reaching to his side and taking his master's lightsaber in hand once more.
"Will you carry it, Padawan? Or will you place it on a mantle for memory and reflection on a foolish old Jedi that joined the Force too soon?" He waited hoping his words were getting through. "Carry it only until you return to the temple. You must build another lightsaber with modifications in the design to reflect the Jedi you are now."
The specter laughed, thinking what a silly old man he was, Obi-Wan would be all right and he should not worry. The young man was still in shock. Only a few hours earlier, the older Jedi had been cut down in battle. It would take time to recover from it, but he would.
Obi-Wan was on his feet once more. Quick strides carried him to the door with great determination.
"No, Obi-Wan, stay!" the Jedi master called out, eliciting a pause from the younger. He knew the apprentice well enough to know what he was about to do would bring no peace to a troubled soul. "It will accomplish nothing standing next to my body and grieving my loss. It is an empty shell, nothing more. My spirit is here with you."
Reaching out, willing the Force that swirled like a sea around him to obey, Qui-Gon called to his padawan. With a focus and discipline in life that could have brought giants to their knees, he reached for Obi-Wan. "Do not go. The night grows short and you need your rest."
The ginger haired Jedi remained motionless. Fingers gripping the doorframe as if the only thing keeping him from continuing his journey.
"Listen to your own advice," the spirit pressed.
Shuddering from a mixture of grief and exhaustion, Obi-Wan reluctantly retreated back into the room and returned to the chair.
"I am sorry that I cannot be the one to declare you a Knight of the Order. Nor will you be able to seek my counsel in knighthood. But that does not mean I am not here for you." The spectral Jedi paused, "I will always be here."
"I know, Master," came a soft sleep slurred voice as Obi-Wan offered a dreaming smile before drifting into sleep.