Enjoy.

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"I don't want another Padawan, Mace," Qui-Gon Jinn grumbled as he and his long-term friend strode down the corridor of the Jedi Temple leading to the training room where some Unguided Ones were waiting nervously to be observed fighting by the Jedi masters, "This won't help me 'forget' the boy - it will not help," he added stubbornly.

Mace Windu smiled at his companion. Knowing something Qui-Gon didn't gave him an extra twinkle in his dark eyes. "Gonni," he drawled, using the nickname that had annoyed Qui-Gon since they were eager young padawans themselves, "you need to get over Xanatos." He saw the familiar expression of pain flash across Qui-Gon's noble features and betrayal flicker in his deep blue eyes, Mace quickly continued, "And we need you to take on an apprentice. Not only do we have a dangerously large number of Unguided Ones but," at this point he stopped and grinned, his almost unnaturally-white teeth shining, "you're too good to be a loner."

Mace's jokes and smile usually worked in cheering his friend up, but Qui- Gon didn't return the smile this time, "Yes, so good, in fact, my last padawan wandered over to the Dark Side," he muttered gloomily.

"Look," Mace stopped walking and whirled suddenly so he was facing Qui-Gon, trying to get through to Qui-Gon what the lost Master had been told many times before, "Xanatos had something dark burning inside of him. He always did. He was not born that way, no, but his early experiences in life changed him, not you. *The Council* - not yourself - failed to see it. By the time we realised, it was too late; you had taught him so well, he was ready before his time. No one could save him from the Darkness, not even you. And now, if you will not take on another padawan, and you become a Wanderer, then an extremely capable young person will be relagated to the Agri-Corps, for no other reason than that Darksider," the words held disgust, and Mace had to take a deep breath before he continued. "And Xanatos will have won. He will rejoice in such a waste - a young Jedi who has not reached their greatest potential and who is forced to tend to land and crops instead of learning what they are destined to be taught, all because of him."

Qui-Gon glared at him, but only because he knew his friend was right, "Oh, that's right - play the guilt card again, Du," he grumbled. Windu had always done that to him, 'taking advantage of his generous heart' Mace called it.

Mace flashed him yet another wide, dazzling grin, "Yeah, I know. Seriously, though, we don't have enough Masters for padawans as it is... and you can't afford to waste yourself, man."

Qui-Gon smiled; his friend's natural syntax always shone through when he spoke of something he really cared about. He clapped Mace on the back and together they walked into the room, ready to face the Masterless padawans.

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Although it was extremely unbecoming of a Jedi, 12-year old Obi-Wan Kenobi was practically jumping up and down with both excitement and barely- surpressed terror.

This, he felt sure, was to be his very last chance at being picked for a padawan. He really needed to impress the unkown (but apparently very well- respected) Jedi Master who was coming to watch them, enough for the Jedi to consider taking him as their padawan. He only had a couple of weeks left before he reached the maximum age limit for an Unguided One. This would be one of the last observations - if he didn't get paired with a Master soon, he'd be sent to the Agri-Corps with all the other failures. Obi-Wan shuddered visibly at the thought.

"Come on, Obi, you'll be okay," seeing his nervous tremor, Bant, his Calamari best friend, had to reassure him, gripping his arm. She smiled as her kind do, her salmon-pink skin flushing red and her huge yellow eyes swiveling upwards.

Easy for her to say, Obi-Wan thought; she was almost 3/4 of a standard year younger than him - she had plenty of time. Outwardly, he smiled and said, "Cheers, Bant." But he wasn't so sure. He'd been passed over for apprentiship so many times before, why would this time be any different? He'd almost decided that he was doomed to tolling earth on some faraway Outer-rim planet.

*Almost*

The doors of the training room suddenly swung open and the two Jedi Masters strode in. One was a familiar face to everyone in the Temple; Master Windu was a Council member, a great Jedi in the Order and second in power and prestigue only to Yoda. The other was a hugely tall man with long brown hair that graced his shoulders, a very strong build and an expression of fierce calm upon his handsome face. They were both large and extremely intimidating for the group of 11 and 12-year olds. Silence instantly fell upon the dozen Unguided Ones as they all stood up a little taller and straightened their robes.

Qui-Gon smiled slightly as he watched the Masterless padawans stiffen and attempt to rearrange themselves as best they could when he and Mace entered. He surveyed the waiting group with a cool eye, taking in all their faces - they were all so tense, he noted. The head tentacles of a Millarian girl were standing on end and quivering slightly, the two Corellians of the group had their heads held so high they were in danger of straining their necks, the Calamari's large eyes were positively frantic as they rolled out of control in her head. Qui-Gon's midnight-blue gaze swept along the row, passing a Sethgrei, a Rission and an Uglor who were all actually trembling, and then came to rest on the only completely stationary figure in the room, a tall, slim boy with an extremely fair face, spiky but soft reddish hair that had highlights of gold streaking it and completely unique, large eyes. A child of the beautiful but troubled planet of Oceannia.

Oceannia. Something in Qui-Gon's heart and mind stirred and he held his glance a moment longer, feeling something very familiar about this boy, he didn't quite know what. He'd visited Oceannia many years ago, hadn't he? There had been something there that he'd brought back, but what? Was it...? He shook himself. No - he would've remembered those eyes if he had met them

before, but then again, he had a strange feeling he had.

Mace watched with satisfaction as his friend stopped a little longer to look at the Kenobi boy, who was standing tall, but not strained, and looking straight ahead. He knew Qui-Gon had not yet realised.... but that he soon would.

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"Well, any one of them strike you, yet?" Mace Windu asked cooly, an eyebrow carefully raised in question, as the two Masters stood watching the smaller of the Corellians and the Sethgrei fight. One of them should have done, he thought.

"No," came Qui-Gon's distant but frustrating reply. Mace snorted in disbelief; he'd seen how his friend's dark blue eyes kept flicking back to the young Obi-Wan who, whilst waiting for his upcoming turn to fight, was talking rather animatedly with his friends. Bant, the gentle Calamari girl, Pk'Nito, an excitable Rodian and Kneanu, the unnaturally small and skinny Uglor. A couple of others, Garen, Reeft and Hirrasson, were all giggling to something Kenobi was saying.

It was true, Qui-Gon didn't seem able to take his eyes of the young boy who seemed to have so much spirit behind his passionate, chuckling laughter, kindness and light behind those fantastic eyes and.... clumsiness behind those long and rather awkward limbs, however unlike his usually graceful species this was. Qui-Gon held back a smile as he saw the young Oceannii knock the drink his Calamari friend was holding out of her hand as his arm swung whilst he described something in the story he was telling. Qui-Gon guessed that the boy had just had a growth-spurt and was still getting used to the new-found length of his limbs. The earnest young teenager looked horrified and, apologising profusely, quickly ran to get his best friend another belli-fruit squash. "Kenobi," Master Windu called unexpectedly, "It's your turn to fight."

This stopped Obi-Wan mid-run; he'd been waiting rather impatiently for so long, and now he actually wanted to do something, they call him up! Oh, perfect. He flashed Bant an apologetic smile as he turned and walked back, knowing she'd be okay about the clumsily spilt drink.

Obi-Wan's pleasant smile turned to an expression of horror as he saw who he would be fighting; Dougie, a horribly mean Corellian boy his age who took enormous delight in taunting Obi-Wan; the thug of a boy was in Bruck Chun's little gang of bullies. Dougie was about twice Obi-Wan's size and thrice as powerful. Obi-Wan groaned inwardly. He knew he was stronger and a lot more agile than Dougie, but the large Corellian had pure brute to his stance, which the rather lithe and lanky Obi-Wan had none of.

Ah, well, Obi-Wan thought, as usual taking the more optimistic approach on a situation - he'd just have to get on with it.

"Come on then, Oafy-Wan," the Corellian taunted as he and Kenobi squared up, ready for their wrestling match. Oafy-Wan - the Oceannii grimaced - Dougie had obviously taken a leaf out of Bruck's book.

Marvellous.

The other padawans looked on, stunned at the pairing; Dougie, because of his size, almost always got paired off with one of the larger species like an Uglor (not Kneanu, obviously) or a Hulkiorram.... but not an Oceannii who was rather lean anyhow. The Oceannii were renown as a race of slight but joyful, lively and, if need be, fierce people of a notoriously elfin beauty. They were often underestimated in many ways by the unwise - but even so, it was painfully clear this particular Oceannii needed to matched differently. Even Qui-Gon was rather startled by Mace's choice of padawans, "Du," he wispered hastily in his friend's ear, "the boy will be crushed!"

Windu smiled knowingly, "If the reports I'm getting about this boy are true, then I severly doubt it." He left Qui-Gon to wonder what in Sith he meant, and turned his attention back to the unfair butinevitable fight with a slight smile on his dark face.

Before Obi-Wan started, he took a moment to remember why he was doing this - he found that always helped him before a fight. He was going to fight to the very best of his ability and impress the tall, magestic Jedi Master whom he so desperately wanted to be asigned to. As if to remind himself that that Jedi was really there and taking an interest in him, he looked up. Master Jinn was there, and even though he held an extremely passive stance, Obi-Wan knew there was almost an unimaginable amount of power in the man. He was such a well respected Master... it would be an honor to fight before him. Just knowing Master Jinn was watching him gave Obi-Wan the motivation he needed to take part in the fight, and to win it. Kenobi snapped back to the moment suddenly and began.

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Qui-Gon watched as the teen centered himself, and glanced up at the Jedi Masters with startling strength and vigour in those bright, turquoise eyes. No, they were no longer turquoise; they seemed to change with the boy's moods; for they were now a stormy grey colour. The boy gazed at him for a second, then suddenly dove into the fight with the unexpected fierceness akin to his race.

Qui-Gon looked on in something like awe as he watched the two Unguided Ones fight. Though the Corellian had, literally, a huge advantage on the Oceannii, the smaller boy put up such a brave and determined fight that he actually drove his opposer back, gaining ground. He had an agility and elegance that Qui-Gon had never before seen in a padawan, and he would certaintly not have attributed to the clumsy youth he had seen just moments before had he not witnessed the graceful and practically fluid movements the teenager was making now. Kenobi spun and leapt more like a dancer than the extremely skilled fighter he was, and he fought the Corellian for all he was worth.

"You see?" Mace grinned at him, "He's pounding ass out there!"

Qui-Gon smiled; his friend obviously thought very highly of the boy. So, he realised suddenly, did he. He had not known it before, but he watched the teenager with pride, rejoicing inwardly when he saw his triumph. Something very deep was connecting him to this boy....

The Force.

His smile faded instantly.... the Force, the Force had connected him to Xanatos and look where that left him. It had left him broken and betrayed, and he'd almost never recovered from it. He could not allow himself to open up in that way again, even if the connection this time, with this boy, was stronger - it would only lead to a larger pain if Kenobi failed him, which he almost certainly would. Something clicked inside his mind, shattering the tentative beginnings of the bond he was sharing with this unknown boy, and he stood up abruptly, turned to Mace and said, "I have seen enough, and I will not be taking a padawan."

Windu's proud grin turned to a frown of puzzlement, "But... the Kenobi kid- " he started.

"No, he does not strike me as particularly talented," Qui-Gon stated cooly. This was a blatant lie; the boy was the most talented padawan he had ever seen. But he needed a reason other than Xanatos to explain why he wouldn't let another soul into his heart, for the Council would not accept an ex- apprentice long-gone as a good enough obstical for Qui-Gon's teachings, and this seemed the easiest route, and probably the least painful, for him anyhow. If he could keep putting off getting a padawan, maybe the Council would give up on him. *Yeah*, an annoying little voice in his mind - near where a training bond was formed - sounded, *and nerfs may fly*. Qui-Gon grimaced as the voice started up once more, *Tthe easiest route, eh? We all know where that will take you....*

Mace's expression grew dark, "How can you say that?!" his voice rising, "That boy beat up on the other guy, who was, like, 5 times his size! How can you say he ain't talented?"

"Mace," Qui-Gon growled, a little dangerously, "If I am going to pick a padawan," *which I am not*, he thought silently, "they will have to be dramatically superior to anyone in this group, no matter how 'talented' they may have been painted to be!"

The uncharacteristic sarcasm in his voice suprised both Masters. They glared at each other: but it was Qui-Gon who dropped his stare first to glance at the now completely silent and motionless group of Masterless padawans. They looked shocked; it was rare for things to become so heated between Masters, especially ones as respected as himself and Mace. But one face caught his eye, and it almost broke his heart - though why it should was beyond him. It was Obi-Wan.

The boy stood stricken, pain evident in every line of his face, every shuddering breath he took. Those far-too expressionate eyes projected the agony he felt in their, now sea-green, depths to the whole room.

All his dreaming, hoping, damned hard work - it was all for nothing. Obi- Wan's mouth opened, but he found he could not say anything; the lump of emotion in his throat almost cut off his breath, let alone any words. He closed his mouth quickly, aware that every eye in the room was on him, either jeering or, much worse, pitying him. He lowered his head, shame and humiliation drumming down upon him from all sides; he wasn't good enough, and he'd really tried his hardest. He'd been a fool to think that he'd ever be good enough, worthy enough, to become a Padawan, let alone a great Master's like Qui-Gon Jinn.

"Obi... " an ever-empathetic Bant was the first to speak, to move, as she placed a gentle webbed-hand on his shoulder. He shrugged it off, shaking his head. He could bear it no longer; he turned and ran from the room.

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Qui-Gon couldn't believe what he'd done. How could he have been so cruel to the boy? It wasn't Obi-Wan's fault that Qui-Gon had been betrayed before; *this* boy had done nothing to hurt him.

He had regretted what he'd said as soon as the harsh words had left his mouth, as soon as he saw all hope flee from the boy's deep-green eyes. He had felt the waves of despair and shame roll off the boy and he knew that he'd caused them. He was causing the teenager the uttmost pain. He would be the sole cause of the beautiful Oceannii going to the Agri-Corps.

Qui-Gon sighed and rubbed his beard in frustration. He'd lost almost all respect from everyone in that room after the boy had fled, even the padawans. He remembered, he'd first looked at Mace, who had been staring at him. The dark-skinned Jedi shook his head, disbelief in his mesmerisingly- black eyes, but had refrained from saying anything until he'd left, when he'd thrown an 'I hope you're happy, Qui," as he exited the shocked room.

Qui-Gon had looked to his feet, feeling a slight sense of unfamiliar shame wash over him. Another set of smaller boots had joined his and he'd looked up. There had been Bant, the friendly Calamari girl, with Pk'Nito, Kneanu, Reeft and a couple of others standing behind her. They all looked furious.

"Forgive me, Master Jinn," Bant's voice had trembled as she tried to offer her anger to the Force - something she was finding extremely difficult, "but that didn't strike me as being fair at all. Obi is the best Jedi-in- training around; he always gets top marks, he's way ahead of everyone. He tries really hard. No one his size can fight Dougie! But *he* managed it. And now he's going to the Agri-Corps; you were his last chance!" He had seen similar nods of heads and accusing gazes in the small crowd behind her. Even the large Corellian, Dougie, had grinned when his name was mentioned and agreed, however reluctantly.

Qui-Gon didn't know what to do. He was angry at himself for treating the boy in such a hurtful fashion, and longed to make it better, but..... he didn't know how!

He suddenly felt really lonely. He was sitting in his favourite, over- stuffed chair, in his apartment - but it felt empty. The solitude he'd demanded as a constant after Xanatos's turning had really isolated him from.... well, emotion. Jedi were supposed to release his emotions to the Force, yes, but only so that they wouldn't conquer one's judgement or cloud one's mind. And not all emotion was dark or hurtful. There was no joy in his life anymore. No pride, no amusement, no happiness. Only barely- balanced contentedness. He had been living a strange half-life. He longed suddenly to share the cold, empty apartment with someone. Someone to share himself with, someone to bring life back to him, the way Xanatos had before.... No, this boy was not Xanatos, he was *not*, and never would be.

Qui-Gon inhaled deeply, stood up, and left his quarters.

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Obi-Wan sighed and threw another stone in the Meditation Garden's pool. He knew he shouldn't be doing it, he was disturbing the peace of the Gardens with his emotions as much as the tranquility of the pool's surface with the pebbles, but right now, he didn't care. He was lost in a world of bitter hopelessness. The almost uncontrollable grief had left him now, he was now just filled with despair. He made no move to wipe away the trail of tears from his cold cheeks, why should he? He wasn't going to be a Jedi anyway, so he could let his emotions take hold of him, for once.

It was so unfair! He was a bit wild sometimes and was usually too cheeky for his own good (Yoda had told him that all his life), but he had realised how much becoming a Jedi meant to him from very early on, so he'd always worked hard and fought for his place in the Temple, only to be turned away. By Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Obi-Wan wanted so much to be his padawan, how could anyone not? Master Jinn was almost a legend in the Temple; he was the best swordsman in hundreds of years, he was dignified but friendly, extremely polite and well-mannered yet determined, he was one of the greatest Jedi around. But Obi-Wan felt that he'd really had a chance - something, he felt sure, had passed between him and the respected Jedi Master when he'd been waiting in line, and again before he started to fight. He had been so sure he could really make it happen. But he couldn't.

Obi-Wan hung his head in shame; nobody wanted him, he was worthless and unworthy of becoming a Jedi. Bruck had been right. Bruck Chun had been picked as a padawan weeks ago by the red-skinned Millarian Master, Od'Nalro and, as he was about the same age as Obi-Wan, delighted in showing off and telling Obi-Wan how he'd never get a Master of his own. He'd tried not to let Bruck's taunting get to him, but as the weeks wore on, he started to believe the snide comments. And now he'd gone and proven it!

The grief welled up inside of him again, and this time, Obi-Wan felt no desire to keep it inside, or release it to the Force. He thought that if he tried to keep a hold on to his emotions, control them, he might explode, and the Force was elusive to him at that time. So he let the pain take hold of him, let it rush through him and let it go, but not to the Force. The result was a loud, desperate moan - a sob of misery, shame, fear and anguish. It came from deep inside him, grating at his throat, making it rugged and broken.

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Qui-Gon Jinn was walking past the Meditation Gardens, about to go and look for that Bant girl, the one Mace had taken a shining to. As the boy's best friend, he assumed she'd know where to find Obi-Wan, when he heard something that stole his breath from him. It was a cry filled with so much sorrow, so much pain, that he stopped in his tracks. The sound was a howl, a burst of emotion, it was gut-twisting and spine-tingling; it sounded other-worldly to Qui-Gon.

The Jedi Master turned into the Meditation Gardens, for that was the wail had come from, searching intently for the poor creature, the thing that was in as much pain to make that noise. He came to the place the moan had come from, and the sight that greeted him stopped him dead in his tracks. Obi- Wan.

Qui-Gon felt his heart stop and crack as he saw the Masterless padawan sitting on the edge of the Meditation pool, his head thrown back, a look of pure agony mutilating his beautiful face. Obi-Wan had his eyes screwed shut, yet tears were escaping through the long, sodden lashes to run down his thin cheeks, his mouth was open as if screaming, but no sound came from it. His narrow shoulders were shaking with the silent sobs that wracked his small body. Qui-Gon stared open-mouthed at the young Oceannii - had he caused this? As he watched, the boy's sobs again broke free, but this time they were hitching breaths and high keening noises made in the back of his throat, and that was far worse than the full-bodied cry Qui-Gon had heard before, the one that had drawn the Jedi Master there in the first place. These sobs seemed so helpless, so desperate. Qui-gon had seen the devastation wars caused, the pain of someone about to die, the lamenting of those they left behind them, but he had never seen anything like this. He, stood watching, felt as though he'd been kicked in the gut.

Obi-Wan looked, and sounded, as if his heart was being ripped out of his chest.

Qui-Gon felt utterly helpless. Also like the lowest person in all the galaxy; a 12-year old was on the verge of complete hopelessness all because of him, because of something he'd said to hide his own cowardice. The fearless Jedi Master wanted to run, run away from this broken shell of a boy, run away from responsibility, but most of all, run away from the monster he himself had become.

Instead, he walked cautiously towards Obi-Wan. The young Oceannii heard him approach and spun round, misery glinting in his vividly-coloured eyes framed by thick, black lashes, clumped together by his tears. His lean hands quickly came up to his face in shame, desperately trying to wipe away the marks of sadness from his cheeks and eyes.

Oceannia. That flicker of recognition was back again, but this time it was stronger. The eyes, he *had* seen them before, just like now, full of tears. Qui-Gon suddenly realised what he'd missed, the implications hit him like a Gundark. It was *this* young boy - it had to be! That was why he was connected so deeply with Obi-Wan. What a fool he'd been, he could have almost hit himself over the head! "Padawan," Qui-Gon tested softly, feeling the ease at which the title roled off his tongue, bringing strength to his shaky whisper of a voice.

But Kenobi's pain-filled eyes turned a cold, steel-grey and the harshness in his croaking voice was sound, "I am *not* your padawan," he rasped thickly, his strong Oceannii accent coming through in his passion, the one he always took so much care to hide. "You made it clear that you don't want me and never will. I'm not good enough," his eyes took on a distant look, "....I never am," he added in a whisper.

Oceannia again. The pleasant lilt of Obi-Wan's young voice calmed Qui-Gon's slight questions of the boy's home planet, confirming even more what he knew to be true. "Obi-Wan, I am *so* sorry," Qui-Gon knew now that he *had* to take this boy as his padawan, "please, please forgive me and let me take you as my apprentice".

Obi-Wan's expressionate eyes grew wide, and the experienced Jedi Master saw hope burning strong behind the film of tears. But all too suddenly, the bright flame was snubbed out, only to be replaced by denial as the boy looked away. "No." Kenobi stated calmly, not meeting Qui-Gon's eye again, "I can't. You don't really want me, you... you just want to help yourself out of whatever guilt you're feeling or to get the Council to stop pestering you or, or something...."

Qui-Gon was shocked by how perceptive the boy was for his years - but that wasn't why he needed the boy. Well, maybe it had been at the start, but now... now he'd remembered something huge that had almost changed his life years ago, and he had to make the boy remember, too. He had to. "Obi-Wan," he tried again, "what is the planet of your birth?" as if he needed to ask.

A look of confusion crossed Kenobi's face, a small, practised line appeared between his slightly furrowed brows. "Oceannia," he said, wondering why in Sith Master Jinn wanted to know that. But the Jedi Master just nodded, as if he already knew that.... but how could he?

"And what happened to your family? Your parents?"

Obi-Wan's heart was aching more than he'd thought possible, he flinched as he thought of his family and home planet, and what'd happened to them. "They were murdered. All my family is dead. I'm the only one who got away."

Qui-Gon nodded again, trying to ignore the extra pain he was causing the young Unguided One. He continued, desperate to make the boy see what he had, "Do you know what happened? How were you brought here? Why did you live while everyone else perished?"

Obi-Wan drew in a large, shaky breath, reliving that horrible day back at his home. He spoke almost as if Qui-Gon wasn't there, he gazed into the Meditation pool, "The Sk'Rahs' came. They t-told our people that they were sick of us feeding off of them, stealing their oceans, taking over their b- beautiful planet with our spawn and des.... d-destruction."

Qui-Gon nodded, the Sk'Rahs and the Oceannii were symbiont races, both sharing the mainly-water planet of Oceannia. The Sk'Rahs, many thousand of years ago, did live on the planet alone with solitary claim upon it, but they allowed a race of people to colonize it, needing the trade and also believing their planet too beautiful to be hoarded. The trade between the people who lived on the shores and the race who swam in the sea thrived, and the species got on extremely well. But about twelve standard years ago, no one else in the galaxy knew why, but a group of Sk'Rahs began protesting that the planet was truly theirs, and theirs alone, claiming the Oceannii to be parascites. They did not appreciate that, without the Oceannii, their economic system would fail. They began spreading words of hatred against the Oceannii and, steadily gaining power, they were eventually elected leaders in the Sk'Rahs democratic society. A few raids on the Oceannii took place, a couple of killings, but nothing too serious, not bad enough to have any notice taken. Then, nine years ago, things came to a head. Nearly all the Sk'Rahs had all come to believe that the Oceannii people were to blame for all their problems, and a huge massacre took place, the Sk'Rahs called it The Purge.

Nearly all of the Oceannii were murdered by the Sk'Rahs, all except those off planet and about 800 hidden underground were wiped off of the world's surface. A hideous disaster. Jedi were dispatched immediately to try and calm the civil war, as the normally peaceful Oceannii attempted desperately to fight back. The Republicans failed, only managing to stop the Sk'Rahs and reason with them after the initial Purge had taken place, and by then it was too late.

Qui-Gon Jinn had been one of the Jedi who travelled there, first to aid the peace negotiations, and then to clear the towns and roads of the Oceannii corpses, as there were none of their people in the cities remaining to do so.

It had been a nightmare, a living hell. All the Jedi who had gone to that tortured world had to be referred back to Soul-Healers once they got back to the Temple, that's how bad it was. The planet was hit with a depression, one so terrible it was nearly destroyed. The Sk'Rahs had been wrong, misguided, and their race's trade and way of life suffered. Only with help from the remaining Oceannii were they able to get their world back on its economical feet. Oceannia was just, eight years later, beginning to forgive itself for letting that terrible day happen. But treasures had also been found in the Purged Oceannia.

Qui-Gon had been sent to Oceannia's capital settlement, Mariiennaa. He had left his nine-year old apprentice, Xanatos, at the Temple, knowing what horrible scenes he would be facing if he came, and wishing to protect the boy from them. He'd come across a house. A pretty standard-looking house, but with something extremely precious inside. A child.

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"They attacked our home," Obi-Wan said, "My Father had gathered us all into the back room, my Mother, Rose, Kariinna, Lily and me. Tethys, Owen and Naiaad were on Tatooinne, staying with our Aunt. My Dad was.... was holding a chair as he stood in front of us. He said that it was a shame, really; he didn't want t-to break our lovely furniture." Obi-Wan smiled sadly at the familiar memory.

He'd only been three at the time, but the Force allowed him to recover the memories he would otherwise have forgotten. He remembered his dad - tall, very thin, with blonde, messy hair, eyes the colour of emeralds and an amazing laugh that Obi-Wan still heard in his dreams. He remembered his mum - small and compact, solid-looking and loving. Her hair was all curls in a rich red colour, her eyes matched Oceannia's waters. He even remembered cuddling into her and smelling her familiar scent of roses. Roses only grew on Oceannia, and he missed their wonderful smell. He missed her. He missed his dad. He missed his sisters and his brothers. He missed having a family. Tears started to stream down his face once more.

"Lily and Kariinna started crying; they were only one. Rose held on to me even though she was six and older than me. Mum was telling us that everything was going to... to be all right, and that it'd be over soon and if we were good, and kept very quiet, we could go see Owen, Naiaad and Tethys on Tatooinne," Obi-Wan was crying freely now, everything he'd locked away deep inside himself was breaking free.

"The door broke down and... and..." Obi-Wan could say no more, the terror was reliving itself inside his head.

"Show me," Qui-Gon said gently. Obi-Wan held out a shaky hand and touched the Master's temple. Qui-Gon gasped at the intensity and horror of the images he was recieving from the young boy.

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The Jedi Master saw a brave young man weilding a chair, he saw the man's family huddled in the corner. The door was broken down and a group of five Sk'Rahs leap into the room, jaws open, exposing their two rows of sharp, jagged teeth. After a breif fight, the Sk'Rahs ripped Elysian Kenobi apart without mercy, telling him in their language that he should be honoured; for he was the first of the household. They then turned on the fallen man's family.

The Sk'Rahs killed the youngest first. The two beautiful baby twin girls with blonde hair and saphire-blue eyes died before their screaming family. Then they killed who Qui-Gon assumed was Rose, they dragged her away from her brother by her curly red locks and he saw her die in the manner of her sisters. And as her sea-green eyes rolled up into the back of her head, Qui- Gon heard her brother scream.

Obi-Wan had screamed as if he were being murdered himself; Rose had always protected him, made him feel happy when he was sad, made him laugh, she had taken him everywhere with her. She had been the baby of the family until he'd come along, so she taken it upon herself to personally see that he was all right. Even when Lily and Kariinna arrived, Rose had almost been like Obi-Wan's personal big sister.

His scream attracted the attention of the Sk'Rahs and they advanced upon him. His mother had shielded him from them with her body, she had known that he was special, that he was destined for the greatest of things. She refused to move away from or give him up, Ariel Lorelei-Kenobi died defending her child, protecting Obi-Wan. Her body slumped back against the wall, pinning the terrified boy beneath it. The Sk'Rahs were about to throw her corpse aside to reach the child underneath, when they heard their leaders calling them back, "Jeddaii!" And they had fled, leaving Obi-Wan untouched.

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Obi-Wan sat back, exhausted he slumped down. Qui-Gon was astonished the boy had had enough power to share his memories.... very few padawans could do that, and even then they had to be extremely powerful and strong in the Force. But he knew Kenobi was strong in the Force, and always had done. "What happened then?" he prompted, realising Obi-Wan had not yet made the connection.

Obi-Wan turned wearily to the Jedi Master, why did he want to know? But, too tired to argue, he carried on with this almost forgotten part of his story. Normally, when Obi-Wan waded through this horrible memory, he was so upset and miserable by now, he gave up. But thinking about it, the next bit was extremely important. "I stayed... there.... for ages; I-I couldn't move. I heard this noise across the room, I thought it was the Sk'Rahs again, so I kept quiet."

Qui-Gon nodded, that he had. "When I felt mum b-being..... lifted.... off of me, I looked up and there, there was this man, looking down on me. It turns out the man was a Jedi...." Obi-Wan stopped suddenly, and image flashing inside his mind.

He whirled to face Qui-Gon and took in his appearance. The tall, at-first- glance intimidating figure, the long, dark hair, the crinkly,

deep-blue eyes.... "It was you!" he breathed. Qui-Gon nodded again, a smile spreading slowly across his face.

The boy had remembered.

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Qui-Gon had been searching a house when he'd come across a particularly devastating scene. A whole family that had been Purged. They all lay, unmoving. All except a young, beautiful woman with red curled hair, she was slumped against the wall. He had moved towards her and gently taken hold of her shoulders, meaning to lay her flat in respect. He'd slid the woman away from the wall, only to find a small boy. The little child was sitting shivering, his small arms wrapped tightly around his knees. The boy's hair was a golden colour with red streaks, curling around the ears.

At the noise the large Master had made, the child had looked up and a burst of the Force had almost knocked Qui-Gon out as he looked onto the beautiful little toddler's face. The boy's cheeks were thin but cherubic, his skin seemed to glow faintly with the amount of Force the child was emanating in the dimness of the house, the large freckles and blemishes dotted about his face were endearing, but it was the boy's eyes that made Qui-Gon stop in suprise. They were large and stormy and full of misery. Sea-green, ice- blue, turquoise then emerald, they changed constantly behind the film of tears. Qui-Gon now saw that the child had not lost those eyes.

He had had to fight hard for the boy to come back and train to be a Jedi, first the Council and then the boy's remaining family on Tatooinne. The Council had been easy to convince once they'd seen the boy and felt the absolute power of the Unifying Force that flowed so freely through him. It was thought that both his parents must've been highly Force-sensitive for the boy to be so strong with it. Their only reservations were that he was too old, but Qui-Gon did insist that there were exceptions to the rules of the Jedi. They also thought that the boy's family would be reluctant to let go of such a precious child.

Qui-Gon had even taken it upon himself to travel to Tatooinne and meet the boy's remaining family. Indeed, they had not wanted Obi-Wan to be taken from them. Qui-Gon had not only spoken to the boy's aunt and uncle, Undinne Lorelei-Larrs and her husband Martin, but Obi-Wan's brothers, a red-headed, blue-eyed Tethys and a blonde-haired, green-eyed Owen, and his sister, Naiaad. It had been Naiaad, the girl with the long, poker-straight strawberry-blonde hair and her mother's eyes, who had had the final say. She'd said that Rose would've wanted Obi-Wan to go. Qui-Gon hadn't understood what that meant at the time, but it had ended the discussion extremely quickly.

The Jedi Master had had to look after Obi-Wan until the Council made the necessary arrangements. Qui-Gon grinned faintly as he remembered Mace coming into his apartment one day to find him covered in yoghurt. He'd attempted to feed "the little one", only to have been bombarded with the contents of an full upturned bowl. It'd clung to his long hair, had made him smell of strawberries for the rest of the day, made a mockery of his infamous Jedi dignity, and had made both Mace and the little one laugh hysterically. Mace had claimed Jinn was going soft in his old age, something Qui-Gon had agreed with.

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He saw now the absolute joy that raced through the Obi-Wan's expression after the shock and bewilderment had left his face. No words were uttered as the boy promptly flung his arms around Qui-Gon's waist - the closest part of him; Obi-Wan couldn't reach his shoulders - and hugged him with all his might. Qui-Gon felt extremely awkward, he hadn't been hugged like this in over ten years. Xanatos had been the last person to hug him like this.

A wave of panic crashed into him, Xanatos.... Xanatos had betrayed him.... had hurt him. He could *not* allow that to happen ever again; it had almost destroyed him. No one must ever come close to him again, they would just betray him and damage his scarred heart beyond repair.

His stomach clenched uncomfortably and he reached down intending to dissengage Obi-Wan's small but deceptively strong arms from around himself, when he stopped. The boy was looking up at with those eyes. Such hope, awe and happiness in the eyes that were now the deepest green, flecked with shards of blue and grey jewels, rounded with joy. Qui-Gon was instantly dissarmed; this child *trusted* him. He had turned the boy away in the most cruel and heartless manner, and yet the boy still gave him his complete trust. It was this trust that stayed his hands.

He suddenly felt the emotions flowing and whirling between them, some were like electricity, shocking him with their intensity, some were like many suns, beating down upon him with their warmth. He was bonded with this thing attatched to his waist, a bond deeper than even he could fathom. Obi- Wan was not Xanatos. This dear, genuine child was nothing like the dark- haired, dark-hearted apprentice he'd once had.... his ex-padawan who had attempted to murder him while he slept. He pushed the images of those ice- blue, almost silver, eyes, burning with hatred, away from his mind, and instead he focused on the warm, green eyes of the Unguided One clinging onto him, sparkling with light and love. And Qui-Gon realised what he had to do.

"Obi-Wan," he directed downward towards the being at his mid-section, it was taking all his strength to say this, but he now knew his destiny, "would you do me the honour of becoming my padawan learner? I will promise to teach you to the highest of my ability."

Kenobi couldn't believe his ears. This was it, this is what he'd worked for, what he'd dreamed of. He gasped and stuttered, trying to regain control of himself and answer properly, "T-t-thankyou. I... I can't think of anything I would rather do. It.. it would be my privilege to call you Master."

Qui-Gon shook his head and smiled. In his formality the boy had taken on that awful Coruscant accent Jedi were expected to maintain if they possibly could, Qui-Gon liked Obi-Wan's own Oceannii way of speaking better. The lilt of the race's speech was unusual and unique, with there only being a small fraction of the once huge population's people off-world at the time of the Purge, a true Oceannii accent was a rare find. But Obi-Wan had one. "Please, Little One, speak normally," he implored.

Obi-Wan's young face cracked into a dazzling grin as Qui-Gon used the name the Master used to call the boy. Qui-Gon's heart warmed, he realised he'd never been on the recieving end of a true Kenobi-smile before, he wished he had discovered this trait sooner. It was truly spectacular. He smiled back down at the boy.

No, the coldness that had hold of his heart was not gone, but the pain was beginning to ebb away. This child may be my saviour, he thought. My saviour, not my death.

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Mace Windu watched as the pair of Jedi walked off, young Obi-Wan still attatched to Qui-Gon's waist, heading for the Council chamber to seal their new bond officially. He smiled to himself. Man, I *knew* those two were supposed to be together, he thought smugly.

He was glad his friend had found someone. And, though he sensed there would be many more trails along the pathway, he foresaw that that particular Master and padawan team were going to be one of the stongest and most loving the Order had seen in many a millennia.

There was one less Unguided One.

Now, if only I can find that Bant girl....

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The End