Warning: Story will contain a bit of corporal punishment of a defiant, stubborn fourteen year old boy. If this isn't to your liking, please feel free to move on to more appropriate reading material. Thanks.
Disclaimer: Sadly, as much as I keep trying to tempt him to come stay with me, Qui-Gon still doesn't belong to me. Neither does his padawan or any of his friends. Recognizable characters from the Star Wars franchise remain the property of George Lucas, Disney and whoever may have created them in the Legends universe. I'm just borrowing them and will happily return them in good working order when done. ...Well, I'll return Qui-Gon rather begrudgingly, but still...
AN: While a particular group of vampires continue in their attempts to elude my muse, I'm spending time with the Jedi. I thought it might make Carlisle jealous to think he's so easily replaced. ...which he isn't, but please keep that between us. Anyway, just a little tale of a naughty padawan learner who thinks he knows better than his master and is quickly proven wrong. It's really just an exercise to keep my mind working while I try to pin down those blasted Cullens, but the Jedi master does tend to be good company.
This was meant to be a one shot, but as the story continued to meander, I figured I'd make it a two parter.
Let's hope Carlisle and crew get their act together before I expand some more and end up writing up what I want to see in the next Star Wars film. It wouldn't take much for me to have a blast with Ben Solo, but for now I'll stick to the Master and his apprentice. Enjoy.
Obi-Wan hugged his pillow tightly as he lay on his stomach draped across his sleeping couch. He had been sent to meditate on his less than perfect padawan behavior, but his emotions were still too raw for him to effectively quiet his mind. He knew that he should feel remorse for having raised his voice to his master, particularly in the public training arena, but he didn't. What he felt was annoyed. The teen was tired of Qui-Gon's over protectiveness. He was fourteen, for Force's sake. He could handle himself just fine without his guardian's constant hovering.
Hot angry tears glazed his stormy gray-blue eyes, but he blinked them back in defiance. He wasn't some creche baby, and he would be damned if he was going to cry like one. He wasn't a child regardless of what his master thought, and he wasn't going to accept being treated like one; not anymore. Obi-Wan was ready to progress to the next form, and that was exactly what he would do, with or without Qui-Gon's approval.
His decision made, the Jedi apprentice pushed himself up and slipped off the sleeping couch. A tentative search along the bond he shared with his teacher made it easy to locate the man. The knight was in deep meditation out in the Serenity Gardens which was in the opposite direction of the practice arena. Perfect.
"What he doesn't know...," the boy muttered before strengthening his mental shielding to block his master out.
Attaching his saber to his belt, Obi-Wan strode purposely out of his room and towards the apartment door. As his hand reached for the locking panel, he paused. The sensible part of his brain screamed that he was about to make the biggest mistake of his young life. His master didn't suffer disobedience lightly, but then he didn't take kindly to disrespect either. It was almost assured that disciplinary action was already in the boy's future. He would probably be kept very busy with a month's worth of extra chores and meditations aimed to teach him to keep his temper and tongue in check. Unless they were sent on a mission, it was highly unlikely that he would see much outside of these walls, so what difference would a little disobedience really make? There wasn't much else his master could do.
A shudder raced up his spine causing Obi-Wan to nervously shift his weight as his subconscious recognized the lie. Qui-Gon could do much worse, and the lad knew it, but...well he was fourteen. He was nearly a man. That made a difference. Surely his master would realize that.
Drawing a deep breath he shifted his focus, allowing his righteous anger to squash his growing trepidation.
He would preform the kata flawlessly and prove his master wrong. Once he had accomplished that, it would be easier to reason with the older man. His master would have to accept that he was growing up. That he was no longer a child who needed his coddling... or discipline.
Determination coursed through the apprentice. He could do this. He would do this. He had to.
A soft beep sounded as the panel registered his palm print and the door opened with a hiss. Squaring his shoulders, Obi-Wan Kenobi, padawan learner to Master Jinn, raised his head high and headed down the hallway with his mind set. Soon he would conquer ataru and be as proficient as his master. Then Qui-Gon would have to acknowledge him as the man he had become.
Qui-Gon sat beside the waterfall allowing the sound of the cascading water to pull him deeper into his trance. With his conscious drifting along the peaceful currents of the Force he willed away the anger that had torn through his serenity.
Oh, Obi-Wan. Why? he thought before he could stop himself and fully purge the frustration from his system.
While the majority of his anger had long since dissipated, the older Jedi was left with a heavy heart filled with disappointment. His young apprentice hadn't just stepped over the line. This time he had trampled it like a herd of renegade bantha.
Sure there were moments when his stubbornness took over and he acted up like children testing their limits tended to do, but for the most part Obi-Wan was a respectful young man. Attentive. Hard working. Good hearted. The very definition of what a jedi apprentice should be. He was every master's dream, but back in the gym his teacher had barely recognized the child who insisted on trying to argue him down. He had behaved with a level of disrespect Qui-Gon had never witnessed from the boy before. Arrogance had bolstered his headstrong attitude causing their wills to clash. Obi-Wan refused to accept the limitations his trainer placed on him. Determined to to as he pleased, regardless of Qui-Gon's disapproval, left his master no other option than to banish him from the training area least he do something foolish and injure himself.
It was true that his apprentice was rapidly progressing through the various classic forms, but he still had a great deal to learn before he was ready to attempt more advanced maneuvers. He still needed to work on his Force abilities if he was going to be able to safely execute aerial moves. These things took patience, and patience was often in short supply during the teen years, even for Jedi.
Thankfully, the knight had learned long ago how to draw on a well of patience so he tended to have extra to spare when it came to dealing with defiant younglings. Admittedly, today's outburst had tested him, but his faith in his padawan remained unshakable. By now he was certain that Obi-Wan had seen the errors in his behavior and made the needed adjustments on his own. The boy was nothing if not responsible. No doubt there would be an apology waiting when Qui-Gon went home. For his part he would offer forgiveness and their lives would return to normal.
An unpleasant ripple in the Force brought a frown to the Jedi Master's face. Something was wrong, but he couldn't decipher it. Qui-Gon's consciousness chased after it like a panthac on the hunt, coming close but never quite reaching it. As he narrowed his focus to a laser like precision an image suddenly exploded through the Force that caused the master to break out in a cold sweat.
"Obi-Wan," he whispered, his ocean blue eyes flashing open in time to see Tahl approaching him from down the garden path. Leaping to his feet, he quickly closed the distance between them.
"Tahl, what's happened? You must tell me," the man pleaded while grasping her upper arms in his strong grip. "What happened to my padawan? Where is he?"
The Noorian couldn't see her friend's face, but she didn't need to. She knew the fear that would be etched in his features and could hear it in his voice.
"He's going to be alright," she calmly answered. "There's been an accident in the gym. He's a bit banged up, and it sounds like his ankle may be broken, but he should be with the healers by now. You know they'll provide him with excellent care. He's in good hands, Qui."
"I don't understand why he didn't reached out to me. He must be terrified. I need to go to him now."
"No, Qui-Gon. The first thing you need to do is calm down. If you run in there in this agitated state you'll only upset him further while getting in the healers' way. Remember, he takes his cues from you. I know it's asking a lot, but you need to take a breath and center yourself. Obi-Wan needs you tranquil and balanced."
"How can I possibly be tranquil at a time like this? My apprentice has been seriously injured, and I wasn't anywhere nearby to help him."
"Then how about being a little less rattled. Can we have a go at that?"
A gruff growl was the only response the woman received, but she felt his death grip loosen as the sound of several deep healing breaths reached her sensitive ears. When he spoke again the anxiety appeared absent from his voice, but his energy signature still buzzed frantically with it.
"At least tell me how this happened?"
"Apparently he was attempting a back flip attack from the third tier. Or that's what the witnesses have reported. He had no spotter and no safety rig."
Qui-Gon suddenly released his hold on the woman to rub at the pain blooming behind his eyes as he let out a deep groan.
"I take it you didn't know what he was up to," she said as she reached out with the aid of the Force and touched his shoulder.
"No. We had words during practice today. He wanted to advance to maneuvers he's clearly not ready for, and when I denied his request he became angry. After failing to make him understand my reasoning for forbidding him from trying aerial attacks, I gave up. I should have never done that. I sent him to his room for what I hoped was time to come to his senses and planned on talking this over with him tonight once we both had time to calm down. I should have known something was wrong. He's been shielding me ever since, but I didn't think anything of it. How could I have been such a fool?"
"You're not a fool, my heart. You're trusting, which is how it should be with your apprentice. The problem comes from him still being a young boy. Bravado tends to override common sense at his age. And as for the shielding, well it's only natural that he wouldn't want you knowing all his secrets. I doubt that would have set off an alarm in anyone mentoring a teenager. Surely you remember what it was like to be his age. You gave Dooku a number of sleepless nights if memory serves me correctly."
"We gave him some sleepless nights," he corrected with the slightest hint of humor seeping into his tone before bitterness replaced it. "And I always paid heavily for it the next day. That's not how I train my padawan, but it looks like I may have been too lax with him of late. If I were sterner, he may have not be so willing to defy me."
Unable to find the words to reassure or provide comfort to her friend, Tahl held her tongue. That silence hung heavily between the companions until Qui-Gon finally cleared his throat as he took her by the hand.
"Come. I have to get to Obi-Wan," he stated with conviction as he began to lead the blind woman along the pebbled pathway. "He must frightened half to death. He hates being in the hands of the healers."
"Oh, he's scared alright."
Her tone made him pause as he turned to her with head cocked and brow raised.
"What does that mean?"
She shook her head and softly sighed.
"He asked that you not be notified, but it's not for the reason you think. He's afraid, Qui-Gon; afraid of what you'll think of him. I believe he knows you'll be upset, and rightfully so I may add, but Obi-Wan was more worried that you'll view him as a failure."
"What? Why that's preposterous. I don't expect him to be able to pull off a move like that. It's the reason I forbade it in the first place."
"I know that, but he's an adolescent boy trying to prove his worth to his master. Young boys don't always think clearly."
"He has nothing to prove. He's a bright talented young man with a huge heart. I couldn't be any more proud of him than I already am."
"Um hmm, but when was the last time you told him?"
Tahl heard her friend suck in a breath and could feel his distress as clearly as if they shared a bond. Reaching up she stroked his bearded cheek.
"He needs to hear it," she counseled. "Remind me again. How long has it been since Melida/Daan?"
"Nearly two years," he quietly answered.
"His confidence will continue to build as you work together, but your rejection wounded him deeply. That's slow to heal. He needs reassurance from you that he's wanted. It doesn't have to be a constant reminder, but often enough to quell his questioning. He needs your approval, Qui. He needs it like he needs nourishment or air. He needs to know that he's accepted and loved."
"I love him beyond measure, and I've been blessed to have him as my padawan, but I don't see how I can offer my approval today. Not after what he's done."
"Of course you can. You can approve of him, just not his actions. As you've said time and again, he's a smart one. He'll know the difference."
After a moment's thought, Qui-Gon shook his head then leaned over and gently kissed her cheek.
"When did you become so wise?"
"It's a hazard of being stuck in the library too often with Master Yoda."
"Oh, Force!" the knight exclaimed as he pulled away from the woman and redoubled his efforts to leave the peace of the meditation garden and rescue his padawan from the sick bay. "Has he been informed about Obi-Wan's condition?"
"Mace let him know right away," she answered while keeping pace with his quick long strides.
"That little troll is not going to be very pleased."
"I should think not. I'd stay out of cane distance if I were you," Tahl said with a grin. "He's going to want to know why you didn't do a better job of supervising your apprentice. You know how much he likes your boy. I shouldn't be surprised if that gimer stick doesn't come into play to smarten you up and make you pay more attention to your masterly responsibilities. "
"This day just gets better and better."
The medical attendant glanced up at the sound of the pneumatic door opening.
"Master Jinn," he greeted with a curt nod.
"How is he? Can I see him?"
"Master Niathoxz is still with him, but naturally she's been expecting you. I'll let her know that you're here."
"Thank you," the man replied with a brief bow.
"But I'm afraid your friend will have to wait in the lounge area," the young man added as he keyed his pass code into the door pad.
"She's family," Qui-Gon insisted, but Tahl stopped his argument with a touch to his arm.
"It's okay. He needs you. Not me. Not Master Yoda. Just you. He needs his master at his side."
"And what if his master has need of some friendly advice or a shoulder to lean on?"
"You know where to find me. Call me at any time, but right now just stay focused on Obi-Wan. He needs your strength, my brave knight, and your understanding. Don't forget that."
Leaning into him, she embraced Qui-Gon and whispered in his ear, " And keep out of Master Yoda's way. I would hate to have to make a return trip to sick bay to check on your own healing progress."
Despite the seriousness of the situation, the man chuckled .
"I'll do my best."
"See to it that you do, and call me later. Let me know how Obi-Wan makes out. He's a very brave youngster. He's going to outdo us all one of these days."
Qui-Gon released her and watched as she made her way out of the bay and disappeared down the hallway. He was blessed with her friendship, and swore that was something he would never take for granted. If they weren't forbidden from forming attachments...
"Master Jinn," the Mon Calamarian healer called as she made her way towards the towering Jedi.
"Is Obi-Wan going to be alright?" Qui-Gon asked, concern and fear apparent in his voice as his thoughts returned to the boy he had come to think of as a son.
"He should be fine in a few days," the woman replied while motioning the man to take a seat before settling down across from him. "He's taken a very nasty fall. Luckily the scrapes and contusions are already responding nicely to the bacta treatments, but I'm afraid he has fractured his ankle. That's going to take little more time to sort itself out. After talking to him, I take it that healing talents are not his forte."
"It's something he's been working on, but no, he's not very strong when it comes to meditative healing," the master replied. "Is that going to badly complicate his recovery?"
"No, it shouldn't, but it would be prudent for you to lend your skill and help lead him along. The bones will mend more quickly, cleanly and easily with help."
"By all means. My energy is at my padawan's disposal."
"Excellent," she answered with a smile. "Now, Master Jinn, there's one more thing. Your apprentice took a blow to the back of the head. He's showing no outward signs of trauma apart from some localized swelling, but I'd like to keep him overnight for observation. If he shows no further symptoms, he can be released in the morning."
"He's not going to like that idea," the knight remarked with a faint shake of his head.
"His objections have already been voiced," the healer said with a quiet laugh. "Quite emphatically I should add."
"I'm afraid Obi-Wan has never taken to confinement with much grace, and he appears to have a mild phobia of the medical ward. He was taken ill in his youth and has developed a healthy respect for needles. Whenever I drag him in for a check up, he fears the worse. It can become quite the battle of wills."
"That's very common, I assure you. We'll do everything in our power to calm him and help him rest."
Qui-Gon nodded before taking a soothing breath.
"May I see him?"
"Of course. It will do him good. Please come with me," she said while standing. "He's in bay five. Just down the hall."
The Jedi master obediently rose and followed the healer down the short corridor.
As he walked along, Qui-Gon probed the bond he shared with his apprentice but found his inquiry rejected by his padawan's strong shielding. Respecting the boy's wish for privacy, the elder Jedi withdrew his reach and focused inwardly instead. He was worried about his apprentice and mildly upset that Obi-Wan had felt the need to tack disobedience to his early bout of disrespect. A mindful breath helped reduced those feelings to something manageable which he easily removed to the back of his mind. In this moment, his padawan needed support, not chastisement. There would be plenty of time to discuss the error's in the youth's decisions after he was back on the mend.
"Here we are." The healer indicated the curtained bay as she eased between the pale gray sheeting with Qui-Gon on her heels.
The knight thought he was mentally prepared for the sight of his injured apprentice, but what met his gaze stopped him in his tracks. His padawan was turned away from the curtain, laying on the thinly covered cold metal table on his side. His position exposed a ragged gash running down his shoulder and a large bruise that peeked out above his waistband at his right hip. His swollen ankle had been immobilized in a brace that leaked bacta onto the otherwise pristine white sheet.
The injuries drove home the point of how much danger his padawan had put himself in. A realization that made the Master's blood run cold, but he quickly distanced himself from that thought to focus on the present.
"Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon called softly before placing a large hand very gently on the boy's damaged shoulder. The elder noticed his apprentice stiffen at the sound of his voice seconds before his touch elicited a faint shudder.
"Master," the youth acknowledged before rolling over onto his back to face his teacher.
"How are you feeling, padawan?"
"Like I've been dragged behind a speeder, but it all looks much worse than it is."
"Master Niathoxz says that you're going to be back on your feet in no time."
"At least on one foot," the boy answered with a glance towards his encased ankle.
"We'll have you on both in a few days," the Mon Calamarian said while checking the various monitors for any irregularities. "You're on the mend, my boy. Your vitals look good. I shouldn't be surprised if that ankle can take some weight by morning."
"Does that mean I can go home?"
"I'm afraid not, padawan," his Master answered. "It looks like you bought yourself a night of rest and relaxation in the care of the medical team. I've been informed that your head isn't quite as hard as I've long claimed. The healers want you to stay overnight as a precaution."
"But I don't want to stay," the boy complained in a near whine. "Please don't make me. I promise you that I'm feel better. I don't need a sitter, and I really don't need to stay here."
"Head injuries are very serious matters," Qui-Gon said as he ran his long fingers through the youth's spiked hair noting the sizable egg just behind his left ear. "Anything could happen. It's better for you to be monitored just in case."
"Please, Master, don't leave me here. I won't get any rest. There's too much noise and it smells funny. I'll heal faster at home. I won't be any bother."
"Oh, Obi-Wan, this has nothing to do with you being an inconvenience. It's about your well being."
"Then I promise to be well. Just don't make me stay."
Qui-Gon smiled as he stared into his apprentice's large pleading eyes.
"Padawan, what am I going to do with you?" he softly asked with a shake his head before turning his attention on the healer.
"Master, is there any chance that I could be responsible for monitoring his condition?" the Jedi inquired.
"It's rather irregular, but if you're willing to sit up with him and track his progress through the night it is possible. However, you must bring him back at the first sign of any sort of distress. Confusion. Dizziness. Headache. Vomiting. Anything of that nature and he has be seen immediately."
"Absolutely. Even if I have to strap him down to get him here."
The healer considered the man for a few more moments in silent contemplation before nodding.
"I think it's safe to release him into your care. I'm sure he'll receive far greater attention from you. Let me get you a supply of bacta so you can attend to that shoulder and bruising. I'll need to see him at some point tomorrow to check the ankle and replace the dressing."
"Understood," the knight replied as he inclined is head in a slight bow.
The healer shifted her gaze towards the boy.
"You're lucky to have such a diligent master, Padawan Kenobi. Had you served under anyone else, you most certainly would be staying put. You owe him a world of gratitude."
"I am grateful," Obi-Wan said.
"Then let your actions show it. Don't take such ridiculous risks in the future. I'm sure you added a few more gray hairs to your master's beard today."
"That he has," Qui-Gon affirmed with a humorous glint in his eyes. "I shall be white as snow by the time he's knighted."
The healer chuckled as she patted the large man's arm.
"We will have to last laugh when the tables turn and they have to take care of us in our twilight years," she said with a grin before turning away. "Now, let me get those supplies and Obi-Wan will be free to go."
"Thank you, Master Niathoxz. We both appreciate this."
With a dismissive wave of her hand, the woman quickly departed leaving master and padawan to their own devices.
As soon as they were alone, Obi-Wan found it increasingly difficult to match his master's steady concerned gaze. Lowering his eyes, he busied his hands by nervously plucking invisible lint off the sheet as he gathered his courage to speak.
"I'm sorry, Master," he finally offered in a near whisper. "I'll accept any correction you deem acceptable."
Qui-Gon quietly sighed before reaching out to cup his apprentice's chin and raised the child's head until their eyes locked.
Obi-Wan expected to find anger in those clear blue orbs, but what he saw was something much worse. There was disappointment, frustration and fear shining out at him from behind his master's soft expression. It made him want to look away, but he knew he had no choice but to face the pain he had caused.
"There will be time enough to discuss your actions later. Right now I want you to concentrate on recovering. That is the most important thing at the moment," the Master Jedi stated in a low, determined voice.
"Are you very angry?" the boy inquired.
Qui-Gon rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he took inventory of his raging emotions then shook his head.
"No, my young apprentice. I'm not angry," he finally answered. "I was furious, and very frightened, but now I'm mainly relieved." Sitting down next to his charge on the edge of the stretcher, the knight rested his folded hands in his lap and bowed his head before continuing in a soft tone tinged with disappointment. "I thought you were shielding because you were upset with me. It never occurred to me that you would disregard my orders and then shield your intent to deceive me. I'm not sure what to think of all of this, Obi-Wan. I feel...betrayed."
"Betraying you wasn't my intention."
"Padawan," he called as he looked up at boy with a piercing gaze. "Don't compound your errors with lies."
"But I'm not lying, Master. Once I was able to perform the next stage flawlessly I would have alerted you. I just wanted to prove that I am capable of completing them. I wanted you to be pleased with my progress."
"I know you're capable, and I am pleased with how much you've accomplished, but you still have much to learn, young one. This isn't a sprint to a finish line. Learning is a lifelong task. You have time to progress through your training. You just need to learn to trust me and my teachings."
"I do trust you, Master," Obi-Wan declared in a voice that cracked with emotion.
"You have an odd way of proving it."
"I'll do anything to make this right, Master. Anything at all. I swear it."
The elder Jedi looked up to see tears pooling in his padawan's eyes. Extending his arm, he wrapped it carefully around the boy's slight frame and drew him close.
"I know you will, but like with all healing this too will take time," he said as he hugged the lad then dropped a kiss on the top of his head. "Our first priority is to your health. Everything else will be worked out as the Force wills it."
Leaning into Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan whimpered softly. He had failed in his training. He had failed himself. Worse of all, he had failed his master. This was officially the worse moment of his life, and he couldn't imagine how he could make it better.
Tightening his grip on his master's tunic, the young boy buried his face against the man's broad chest and let his long withheld tears freely flow.