The Queen Does Not Need to Know
Summary: She isn't the Chosen One, but she is the butterfly that allowed Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul to survive and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Count Dooku to become the legends they should have been. A developed Daisy Ridley character sans sequels. AU prequels with more EU content honoured. Time Travel. No fix it, no paradox, no slash. Because really, Qui-Gon living would have changed everything.
DYSLEXIA: Language disability, there will be spelling mistakes, missing words, and whatnot. I do the best I can.
Disclaimer: I don't own the world or characters, I do own my interpretation.
Chapter 1 - Pathetic Life Forms
Another day had ended, another scratch on the wall.
Rey had to believe her parents were coming back for her. She had to, or else she was nothing. Just a scavenger from nowhere destined for nothing.
Sighing, she laid back with a hand on her staff.
Exhaustion swept over her and if she dreamed, she dreamed of the sky falling down to sweep her away into a vast nothingness. She wasn't afraid, she felt as if she were being held in safe familiar arms.
She awoke, feeling as though she had been called from the deepest sleep she had ever known.
It wasn't until she rubbed the sand from her eyes, she realized she wasn't in the metal hull of her home. It wasn't matts on metal below her, but sand on stone. She scrambled out of the little cave she had wound up in.
The daylight dazzling.
Taking stock of her surroundings, she found the sand to be similar enough, but the horizon was different. And for some inexplicable reason, there were two suns in the sky.
"Alright," she said to herself. She had been kidnapped. No big deal. Nope, not a big deal.
At any rate, she wasn't being held captive and she still had her staff.
Which was more than most could ask for when being stolen from their home and planet.
She just needed to find someone, find a town, find work, and find a way back to Jakku.
And finding civilization wasn't too hard. This planet was a bit rockier, with the odd shrub here or there. And from the cave in the rock out cropping, civilization was only an hour or two away.
She supposed she should be grateful she hadn't been dropped on an ice planet as she pulled up her hood, the white cloth fending the heat off from her hair.
Upon entering the township, a swarming haven of distrustful and jaded eyes of the poor just trying to survive. She stopped to speak to a man slouched against a wall, chewing something black and smelly, "What planet is this?"
His gaze looked up at her lazily, but his gaze sharpened, thinking he had for an easy trick.
Rey held onto her staff, prepared for anything.
"Tatooine," he answered with a frown, losing interest when he saw she had nothing of value on her.
Her currency was traded parts and skill for food, she never had money, and suspected strongly, that she never would.
Tatooine? Great. A system that was only marginally less known than Jakku, and mostly for its crime rate.
She was still on a planet that was, or had been, run by the Hutts.
Sighing, she turned to the streets, determined to know them all before the suns set. She was a scavenger, but finding a buyer was necessary, unless she wanted to lug parts around from rustic shop to rustic shop. That was a brilliant way to get ripped off.
As she scanned the buildings and faces around her, trying to dismiss the panic of how she ended up here, parsecs away from home. A poster caught her attention. It was an edict that someone had promptly vandalized.
She approached it with a smile. Someone was clever, she laughed when she read the 'Republic Declares Slavery is Officially Forbidden.'
A woman with white hair and a kind face scowled up at her, "What ya laughing about, girl? Just because the Republic's rule doesn't reach here, doesn't mean it don't give us some manner of hope."
Rey opened her mouth to point out the obscurity of that statement. The Republic? They had fallen long before, and with the First Order picking up where the Empire left off, she couldn't think how looking back to the Republic would give anyone cause for hope.
She looked at the date, and turned back to frown at the woman, "What's today's date?"
The woman huffed, "That edict was released last week, if that's what you're asking? I just put it up this mornin', my master let me keep it up because he thought it was funny. I didn't think a girl like you would sneer at it too."
Rey shook her head, "Are you saying the Republic released this edict last week, as in the galaxy currently is being run by the Republic?"
The woman was starting to look disturbed, "Have you been living under a rock, girl, yes the Republic, do you know of any other galaxy reaching government?"
Rey gaped at her, then scanned the older posters. Some of the frayed and dirtiest were dated were still dated in the ATC After the Treaty of Coruscant, a time that should be marked in the BBY. If this was a sham, someone had wasted a lot of paper.
She wasn't just on another planet, somehow, she was in a different time.
"Off with you, girl, I don't need no half-wit scaring off customers."
Rey walked on, her mind reeling.
What did this mean? How had this happened? Why would anyone or anything bring her back into the past? She was as useless as she ever had been.
All her life, all she had had to hold onto was her parents coming back for her, but now? Even if she somehow made it back to Jakku, what were the odds her parents had even been born yet, much less coming to get some daughter their future selves would sell off for wage labour?
She had nothing now. Absolutely nothing.
What was she supposed to do?
Her stomach growled.
Rey closed her eyes, and for a moment, she felt as if some great sense embraced her, attempting to soothe her.
When she opened her eyes, she felt more grounded.
She was Rey, she was free, and she was not useless. With no more strings, she could go anywhere. She had skills, she could save up, she could steal, she could manage someway to get out of the Outer Rim. To see the galaxy.
She still had herself, her staff, and the mysterious sense that guided her forward.
Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn was getting increasingly frustrated with the flying junk seller who kept telling him his credits were no good here.
He was about ready to try influencing him when he felt the approach of someone.
He looked past the seller's wings to a girl dressed in white, a staff strapped over her shoulder, a pile of parts dragged behind her. "He's scamming you," she said catching Qui-Gon's gaze, her voice light, her hazel eyes bright.
"Rey, my dear, you're back," Watto greeted placatingly.
She levelled a stare at him, "I'm only here because you owe me."
"A simple misunderstanding-"
"No," she said coolly, "You sent a bounty hunter after me to try and sell me into slavery."
"I can't afford a bounty hunter," Watto lied.
Qui-Gon was amazed the girl seemed more exacerbated than angry. Rather than seeking revenge, the girl seemed ready to use it against the seller for an advantage.
Qui-Gon couldn't help but ask, "What happened to the bounty hunter?"
She smiled, "I made out pretty well on selling his weapons."
Qui-Gon blinked, reexamining the girl. She was extremely fit, but she wore no weapon but for the staff.
"You could have sold me those blasters."
She shrugged. "I bested him, he shouldn't have tried to enslave me, and you-" she said, turning back to Watto, "-owe me, both if you want me to keep trading with you and for keeping the bounty hunter from calling in his reward."
Watto huffed, crossing his arms, waiting, and offering up nothing. But still, that he waited told Qui-Gon that the seller valued her.
"What were you looking for from this old scum?" she asked, directing the question at him.
"My ship needs the hyperdrive repaired."
She looked at the droid, "Do you have the specs on what exactly you need?"
"I told him he would be better off buying a new one, the parts are specific, much less the labour," Watto interjected.
She shook her head, undeterred, she took a step closer to them, "What parts?"
R2-D2 beginning listing off parts, the girl nodded, turning to Watto, she said, "I'll take those parts."
Watto made an angry sound, "For what? I'll give you nothing for free."
"Naturally," she answered drily, "A trade, those parts for these?"
Watto looked at the pile behind her, his eyes alighting on something greedily. But still, he shook his head, "The parts will do him no good. Only you have the skill to fix a hyperdrive like that and all he has are Republic credits. Those are no good here, they won't keep you fed."
She looked at Qui-Gon, "Who are you?"
He had to fight to keep his face passive, shouldn't she have asked that before offering to help him?
She had a kind heart if she was willing to help an absolute stranger, even if it was partially to get back at someone who had wronged her.
"I am Qui-Gon Jinn. I'm on a diplomatic mission for the Republic."
Some emotion passed across her face that he could not decipher, and Qui-Gon stilled when he felt the Force itself alter around them, as if the Force were trying to sway her decision.
He had felt nothing quite like it before.
"I'll fix your ship," she was saying, "and in exchange you get me passage out of the Outer Rim."
"To where?" he asked.
"No!" Watto said, "no, Rey, darling, you'll never survive out there. Just think, with your skill set, you won't survive without going to jail. You're nothing but a scavenger. Stay here."
To give me business, went unspoken.
But Rey had already made her choice and the Force seemed to be rejoicing, brushing against Qui-Gon's senses like a welcome breeze.
Qui-Gon did not understand what was happening, but he trusted the Force, "Deal, fix our engine and we will grant you safe passage."
Her returning smile outshone the suns.
Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi hadn't really expected Qui-Gon to return with the necessary parts.
That wasn't to say he didn't have faith in his Master, far from it, but he didn't expect it to be an easy task either.
Which was why he was a bit surprised when Qui-Gon did in fact return with all the necessary parts and with an additional girl to the handmaiden in toe.
He crossed his arms, waiting for them in the shade of the ship.
"Why do I sense we've picked up another pathetic life form?" Obi-Wan asked as Qui-Gon approached.
Only his training kept him from flushing when he saw that the girl had heard him. But far from being insulted, she was smiling when her gaze met his.
"Everyone on this planet is a pathetic life form," she said without any menace, then her hazel eyes dropped to look at the ground he stood on.
Qui-Gon smirked as Obi-Wan gave her a chagrined bow of the head.
He held out his hand to her, "Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Grinning she shook his hand with a solid grip, "Rey, your new mechanic."
At her touch he felt the Force widen, as if some rightness has been fulfilled. He found as his hand slipped from hers that he hadn't wanted to let go, he wanted to explore that connection. Was she a Force sensitive? She made no indication that she had felt anything in turn.
His Master was watching them closely. At Obi-Wan's questioning look, he shook his head ever so slightly.
Answering a more expected question, Qui-Gon said, "Rey has traded fixing our ship in exchange for safe passage with us to Coruscant."
"Good insurance you will actually fix the ship then," he remarked drily.
She huffed, though she was not in the least bit ruffled, "If you would be so kind as to take me to what needs to be fixed so we can get out of this sand dune?"
"Running away from trouble?" he asked, fully expecting anyone from Tatooine to be a criminal of some sort. Well, unless they were moisture farmers. But she didn't look like a farmer.
Strangely, she looked like a Jedi. Her white robes were modest, not precisely the style the temple totted, but she wouldn't have looked out of place there.
He shook his head, confused as to where his thoughts were leading him, as she answered, "I have nothing here, I just want to see a world that isn't under the thumb of the Hutts."
He nodded, that was understandable. He motioned her toward the ramp, Qui-Gon, the Gungan, and the handmaiden having already started in.
R2-D2 stayed at Rey's side, however.
Obi-Wan was rather pleased when he saw the focus she gave the hyperdrive. She circled it, her mind clearly unravelling the mechanisms as she started directing questions at the droid.
He reached out to his Master's mind, Who is she?
Because clearly she wasn't just a mechanic.
But his Master ignored the subtext to his question, She is a scavenger, and as far as I can tell completely independent.
Independent, as in self employed, or in she had no family or friends? And since when are scavengers trusted mechanics?
She didn't look back when we left, and perhaps being a mechanic is a very useful set of skills for a scavenger, would it not be, my Padawan?
Obi-Wan had a bad feeling about his Master's phrasing.
One of the biggest reasons Jedi were initiated young was because healthy adults had family and friends. Attachments.
Almost everyone had someone in his experience. So it didn't bode well that his Master felt the need to highlight the girl's supposed independence.
Look at her staff. See her, his Master instructed him.
Obi-Wan was quiet for a time. He did look at her, but not with his physical sight. Closing his eyes and reaching out to the girl with the Force.
She cursed softly, almost losing hold of the wrench she was twisting.
He opened his eyes to watch her glance around, then shrug it off whatever she had felt, focusing back on her work.
Obi-Wan met his Master's gaze and narrowed his eyes, There's more to her than meets the eye.
Indeed, Qui-Gon sent back through their bond.
Obi-Wan's suspicions were rising higher as he saw his Master failing to completely suppress a self-satisfied smirk.
If Rey ended up being part of one of his Master's pursuits of prophecies, he was going to throw the Gungan off the ship while in space.
Speaking of the Gungan…
Rey turned on Binks before R2-D2 could sound a warning, her staff slipped off her shoulder. She cut in arch in front of the Gungun's hand as quickly as Obi-Wan could have drawn his saber.
"Don't touch my tool box," she said, her voice not hostile but firm.
Binks backed up, babbling.
"What are you anyway? I've never met someone with ears like yours."
He straightened, "Missa Gungan."
"Never heard of you," she said, ducking back down to pull on a grouping of wires.
"That's because Nabooins don't like us, no, not at all."
"Why?" she asked.
Obi-Wan had to bite his tongue from saying if Binks was any example, it was because they were too annoying to not be despised. That wouldn't have been a proper Jedi sort of thing to say.
"It's because wez'sa have a grand army. Humans don't like that."
Padme straightened in her seat, "The Gunguns have an army?"
"A grand army!" Binks said, waving his arms around.
"If you'll excuse me, I must check on my queen."
Obi-Wan watched the handmaiden' retreating form, the thought crossing his mind that with a bit of make up, she would look like the queen.
Binks, who seemed incapable of staying still tripped over some of the parts Rey had laid out on the floor.
"Can you all go, please?" she asked, "I should be done in an hour or so."
Obi-Wan nodded, and Qui-Gon said, "If you require anything more, just let us know."
Binks trotted off into the cockpit, singing to himself as he went.
Obi-Wan dearly wished to leave him here. But he was glad to be given time to talk to his Master in private.
Qui-Gon of course, didn't say much as he made himself busy preparing tea in their narrow room in the ship.
"Well?" Obi-Wan prompted.
Qui-Gon raised a brow, "Hmm?"
"What are you thinking?"
"I don't know what you mean, Padawan of mine. She bought parts we could not afford and is fixing the ship that we would otherwise not have been able to do. All she's asking in return is that we take her with us."
"Take her to Coruscant, you mean."
"Master, she's too old, even if you believe she's the Chosen One."
Qui-Gon sipped his tea, "I never said she was the Chosen One."
"But that's what you're thinking."
He was quiet for a time, then he said, "Perhaps, hope, is the better word." His Master's eyes pierced him, "but then you feel it too."
Obi-Wan pulled on his Padawan braid, a bad habit that he willed himself to stop, "No, I suppose not. When she touched my hand… it was like the Force was -happy."
Qui-Gon let out a long sigh, and Obi-Wan felt his relief, "Yes, I felt the same. The Force guides us, if we listen. But it's as if the Force is taking her by the hand, leading her about without her conscious awareness of it."
"Do you think she has any type of training? Do you think she even knows she's a Force user?"
"I do not believe so. Nor do I believe she has even realized yet that we are Jedi."
"I know the Jedi are fairytales to some people. But when I reached for her in the Force earlier, she noticed something."
Qui-Gon nodded, "She has much to learn."
Obi-Wan sat down, taking the cooling tea his Master had poured for him, "You can't take her to Coruscant."
"We made a deal, it is right that she be paid, Obi-Wan."
"No, I meant before the Council. They will never accept her, you know that. What purpose would there be in getting her hopes and then humiliating her."
"You felt her potential, Obi-Wan, and I have not trained you to gauge another's powers, though strong in the Force you yourself may be."
That was true. Obi-Wan could certainly identify another Force user, but not tell if they were strong or weak unless he sparred with them.
But he knew Rey was strong, he just knew it.
Qui-Gon finished his tea, "I will meditate on this, I suggest you do as well."
Obi-Wan sighed, drinking his tea more slowly, his thoughts though were already mulling it over. There was no doubt that his Master believed the Chosen One prophecy would happen soon, and Obi-Wan worried that any powerful Force user they came across might fit the bill.
But even Obi-Wan couldn't deny there was something different about the girl. He had met powerful Force users before. Heck, he had grown up with a few, but the spark between them when they touched...
It wasn't dissimilar to the bond he felt connecting him to his Master. And for the Force to- to for a lack of a better word, express, positive emotions or strong intentions was an anomaly all on its own.
In all the visions, adventures, and meditations he had, he rarely felt the Force give such concrete instruction.
If they listened to the Force, which he knew his Master would do until the day he died, then Rey was good. Rey going with them pleased the Force.
The Force was informing them that they were on the right path.
The only hesitation was that the Force had never been that explicit, at least not to Obi-Wan before.
With one last gulp, he finished his tea, and joined his master cross legged on the floor.
An hour later, Padme knocked on their door to inform the Rey had the ship up and running again.
Obi-Wan rose to meet her, "So we're off to Coruscant then?"
"No?" Qui-Gon asked.
And Obi-Wan felt his Master's trepidation that their trust in Rey had already proven to be misplaced.
But the handmaiden answered, "No. We are headed back to Naboo."
"What?" Obi-Wan asked, "But it is our job to escor-"
"It is your job to keep her safe. She has a plan. Besides, the last thing the Trade Federation will expect is for us to turn back."
Yes, Obi-Wan thought, especially as we only escaped this morning.
But the handmaiden had already gone.
"This is foolishness," Qui-Gon said, standing, "I'll talk to her."
"You don't sound hopeful."
"That's because the Queen of Naboo is the most stubborn politician I've ever met, and she's only fourteen."
Obi-Wan grinned, "Your track record with teenagers isn't great, is it?"
Qui-Gon ruffled his hair as he passed, "Keep an eye on our scavenger, Obi-Wan."
Obi-Wan sighed, Force help us, this is going to be another mess.
Rey felt the ship take off and was sad not to be in the cockpit for her first journey through space. But she contented herself that wherever they were going, it wouldn't be Tatooine or Jakku.
Nevertheless, she was glad to see Obi-Wan when he entered the back of the ship.
"What planet are we going to?" she asked, unable to curb her enthusiasm.
Obi-Wan tugged on his braid, sitting down on the same bench seat, "Naboo."
He didn't sound happy about it.
"Naboo. That's a jungle planet, isn't?"
He nodded, "Green and lots of water."
She grinned, "Perfect."
"Don't get too excited, it is currently under siege and the people are starving."
She crossed her legs under her, edging closer to him, "Then why are we going, I thought this was a diplomatic mission."
"It was, now the queen is planning to start an uprising."
Obi-Wan was watching her closely, she didn't mind because she had nothing to hide. The time travel notwithstanding. Aside from the history lessons and the planet transfer, Rey's life hadn't changed much.
Well, she had to do a lot more fighting then she would have liked in the last few months. Tatooine had more money exchanging hands and the slave trade here was bit more aggressive and profitable.
"Wait, the Queen? This ship is carrying the queen of a planet on it?"
"Yes, Queen Amidala of Naboo."
Rey thought about it, "The handmaiden?"
"She's the Queen's decoy."
"How do you know?"
"What?" he asked, looking a bit affronted.
"How do you know who the decoy is? Whoever they tell you is what you would believe, and if they were really good body doubles, would you even be able to tell them apart?"
He seemed to think it over, and Rey found herself pleased that he was thinking about what she said rather than brushing off her words as most people did.
"I suppose not. We aren't her normal bodyguards, we were simply assigned to her for this mission."
Rey looked him over, "You and Mr. Jinn? Neither of you wears a blaster."
He chuckled, "We're Jedi, we don't need blasters."
She blinked at him, and for a moment her brain blanked.
She had to bite her tongue from saying, Like Luke Skywalker, the last known Jedi in the galaxy who brought down the Empire?
Because of course, if she said that, they would kick her off board, deal or no, no one wanted a crazy person around.
"Jedi?" she repeated, fighting to keep herself from bouncing in her seat. Her excitement rising further, she asked, "Is the Force real then? I mean everyone talks about it, but it's belief, but then it's tangible for Jedi, right?"
He smiled at her, "Most people ask about the lightsabers first?"
"Do you have one!? Can I see it? Can you answer my first question? Can you lift things with your mind? Can you convince people to do stuff by just saying it? Is Mr. Jinn stronger than you? Ca-"
Obi-Wan waved his hands in front of him as if waving her off. Laughing, he said, "One at a time. Yes, the Force is real. Supporter of the Jedi, are you then?"
"Isn't everyone?" she asked, then flushed, "Don't answer that, I know they aren't, but I- I don't know, believing that the Jedi were real was like believing that there was more to the galaxy, that even on a planet on the Outer Rim, we were still connected to a bigger reality somehow."
Obi-Wan had lost his smile, he gazed at her as if he was trying to identify some never before seen species.
She didn't like it, "What's the matter?"
His expression shifted to something more natural, "Nothing, just… well, as for your other questions, yes I have a lightsaber, yes I can lift things, with my mind, and yes, persuasion can be done, though the Council discourages it. Master Jinn is certainly more powerful than me. I'm his Padawan as it happens."
"He's your teacher?" she asked.
He frowned at her, "You know of the Jedi and some of their powers, but you've never heard about a Master Jedi before?"
"I've never heard the word Padawan before, no. Have you always been a Jedi? You have to be born as one, right? I heard it was a family thing."
"Not necessarily. Force sensitives can be born from any race and families, although if your parents were Force sensitives that increases the chance of their offspring being gifted also. I was brought to the temple when I was very young and trained as an initiate. Being a Jedi is more about following the code-"
"There's a code? Was Master Jinn the one to raise you?"
Master Jinn walked in then as if summoned, "No, I did not become Padawan Kenobi's Master until he was thirteen."
He gave Obi-Wan an affectionate, if exasperated look.
Rey's enthusiasm dimmed a bit, she could almost feel the history between them. A father and son, not blood related.
She still believed her parents had loved her once, but she had no living memory of anything close to what these two shared.
Obi-Wan touched her hand, "Are you alright, Rey?"
She stilled under his touch, his fingers, harmless on the back of her hand, but that sense that she had felt strongest when she had first woken on Tatooine filled her senses. She thought she had felt something when she was working on the hyperdrive earlier today as well.
She looked at Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Padawan, the Jedi.
Was this the Force she was sensing? Was it coming from him?
She looked at the Master who was watching her carefully.
"Rey?" Obi-Wan called.
She turned back to him, shaken deeper than she wanted to admit to herself.
The Force was real.
The Jedi lived.
She desperately wanted to see it, for the first time in her life she felt lucky.
Luke Skywalker was one man, one legend.
But Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn were real people, and that made them, at least in her mind, infinitely better.
Even if Skywalker had helped bring down the galaxy with a ragtag team of exceptional Rebels.
"Can you show me?"
"Show you what?" Obi-Wan asked as Master Jinn sat down across the table from them.
For a moment she thought she had offended him, but then he exchanged a look, or perhaps something more with Master Jinn. Because Obi-Wan nodded, and held his hand out to R2-D2, palm up.
And then R2 proceeded to rise off the floor as the Jedi lifted his hand.
Elation filled Rey.
It was real!
She heard Master Jinn's chuckle even over R2's protests.
"That is amazing," she breathed, as Obi-Wan lowered the upset droid, "how do you do that?"
"The Force," he said smartly.
She almost tugged on his braid, but it was Master Jinn who reprimanded him with a stern, "Padawan."
He arched a brow at his Master, but Obi-Wan turned back to her and said in a dry tone, "To be one with the Force, means to be a part of the Light that connects all living things. Jedi have the ability to speak with that Light, which with training can allow us to manipulate the world around us."
"But how do you train for it?" she pressed, "I mean lightsabers, I get, that's like training for anything else and Jedi are supposed to have super senses."
"Our super senses," Master Jinn said ruefully, "as you put it, are aided by our mediations also. Our instincts with wielding a weapon are not so different from telekinesis, it just takes different levels of focus and direction."
Meditation and focus?
She could do those things, couldn't she? She had been alone most of her life, the sanctuary of her own mind and the control of her own focus were about all she had to her name.
She looked around the room for something she might try that wasn't an angry droid, because despite looking silly in front of the Jedi, she wanted to try. Obi-Wan's explanation had chimed a bell in her mind.
The whispers of legends made somehow real. The promise of inklings she had all her life offered to her.
Besides if time travel was real, and the Force was real, then all things were possible.
Or she had legitimately gone insane, in which case, why not embrace it?
Rey's thoughts came to the tool box resting in the corner. She knew those tools now, learned a functioning, if short, working relationship with them.
She let her senses explore, breathing evenly, and she tried not to jolt when she felt Obi-Wan beside her and Master Jinn across from her like warm lights. But she reached beyond them, trying to mentally lift the box from the bottom.
As the box was not alive, it was more unwieldy, but then she couldn't really wrap her mind around lifting light. She also knew that something unfortunate would result in her trying to prod at either Jedi with the Force that they could likely sweep her away with.
So dismissing the rapid tangents her thoughts wanted to chase down which seemed to rise faster with her new awareness, she focused all her attention onto lifting. Closing her eyes she pictured it, praying to the Force to help her.
She heard Obi-Wan's soft gasp, and slowly she opened her eyes, keeping her breath steady and coaxing the toolbox that was indeed floating to the table. She didn't let her concentration waver, even as she felt Master Jinn's light lean closer toward her. Carefully, ever so carefully, she brought the box to rest on the table.
She pulled herself back, like breaking the rhythm a jogging pace held for a great distance to a walk. It left her a bit winded but she looked up, a smile growing on her face, "I did it!"
Master Jinn granted her a close-lipped smile, kindness and academic interest warring in his blue eyes, "Well done, Rey, well done."
She grinned, and turned to Obi-Wan who was staring at her open mouthed.
"Is that the first time you've done that?" he asked.
She nodded, "Yes, but I've felt the Force before I just didn't know that's what it was, nor," she grinned at him again, "how to use it."
Obi-Wan just shook his head, "The box didn't even shake. Your concentration is impressive."
"You know, Padawan Kenobi, you would make a pretty good teacher, once you get over yourself."
At that Master Jinn let out a short burst of laughter, the sound rich and joyous.
Obi-Wan blushed, ducking his head, "One day, I still have much to learn."
Master Jinn, however, seemed to think differently because he said, "No, my Padawan. Rey is correct, I believe you would be ready to take the tests to be knighted. Though of course, there is much we all have to learn as there will always be."
"Knighted?" Rey asked.
Master Jinn explained, "There are initiates, children who are raised at the temple. If they are then able to pass their initial training and wish to pursue further training, they are considered by individual Masters who train them as their Padawans. After years of training, they can take the final tests to become a Jedi Knight if they prove capable, as Padawan Kenobi has done."
Children? So she had probably missed her cut off to become an initiate. Oh well, she would always be grateful to Obi-Wan and Master Jinn for sharing their knowledge in how to connect with the Force.
That connection was hers now.
She asked, "So how do you become a Master then? And are you still a Jedi Knight or just considered a Master Jedi?"
"Qui-Gon is still a Jedi Knight," Obi-Wan confirmed, "But he's a Master because he has already trained a Padawan who was Knighted."
"Oh, so I guess becoming a teacher then is the goal." There was something wholesome in that pursuit, much more than trying to become legendary.
Master Jinn smiled, "Not necessarily, there are plenty of Jedi who simply don't wish to take on a Padawan, and there is no shame in that. We all have our own paths to follow."
"Plenty?" Rey asked, her mind spinning. She had grown up with the idea that there was exactly one Jedi in the galaxy. Hence, why meeting two herself had been such a wonder. No one had ever mentioned to her growing on Jakku how many Jedi existed in the Republic. "How many Jedi are there?"
"Across the galaxy? Thousands," Master Jinn said easily, as if he wasn't stating the impossible.
"Thousands!?" she repeated, suddenly wishing she knew her history. It hadn't mattered much before now, but she couldn't comprehend how the Jedi could have been wiped out in under a hundred years if they were truly as powerful as she was beginning to understand them to be.
What could have possibly annihilated the entire Jedi Order?
She looked to Obi-Wan, suddenly sad. He was young, maybe just a bit too old to live to Rey's time, but surely he would have known younger Jedi who wouldn't have survived the fall of the Republic.
There was something deeply tragic about that, something she couldn't fully express or have put into words.
Qui-Gon was frowning at the incredibly gifted girl who had been ecstatic about her incredible show of telekinesis just moments before. Now she was looking at his Padawan with such a sombre expression one might have thought he had told her Obi-Wan's entire family had died.
But no, what Qui-Gon had told her was that there were thousands of Jedi in the universe, and to someone like Rey who seemed enthralled by anything Jedi or Force related, he was finding her reaction nothing short of disturbing.
"Are you alright, Rey?" Obi-Wan asked.
She smiled, though it didn't reach her eyes. "Yeah, I'm fine, just thinking."
"Thinking what?" Obi-Wan pressed.
She straightened, "Nothing, just realizing how little I know about the galaxy."
It wasn't a lie, Qui-Gon determined, but this was the first instance since meeting her that he thought she might be hiding something.
Which was to be expected he supposed, they were strangers after all.
You would have thought you just told her all the Jedi died, not that there are thousands of us, Obi-Wan remarked in his thoughts.
Qui-Gon thought back, I was thinking the same.
He was also thinking he would be willing to take Rey on his next Padawan with or without the Council's permission.
This, however, he did not share with Obi-Wan who had a tendency to wage an internal war with himself every time Qui-Gon actively disregarded the Council.
But for the Chosen One, for a chance of inciting real changes in the galaxy, in reaching some true balance in the Force? Qui-Gon didn't care what the Council thought or didn't think.
What was more, Rey herself intrigued him, regardless of the Force that seemed to be tugging the three of them together.
Obi-Wan was an extremely dedicated acolyte, and his dry sense of humour was one that Qui-Gon could appreciate. But in Rey, he saw a kindred spirit.
He had a feeling that if he took her hiking through the jungle to find rare flowers or walking the length of an ocean for a day she would find the worlds around her (a task Obi-Wan treated as meditation practice rather than an activity in its own right) to be just as fascinating as being able to lift an object with her mind.
Then there was her connection to the Force which was in itself outstanding. He had gleaned no deceit when she said she had never used telekinesis before. Qui-Gon might be able to insist on her being trained, with power like hers it would be foolish to not give her formal training.
As quite clearly she could be dangerous without it. Or that could backfire, the Jedi had an unofficial tendency to ignore, imprison, or kill what frightened them.
'I've felt the Force before,' she had said, which was interesting, very interesting. Considering even on a planet like Tatooine, most Force users would have been sorted out. Perhaps not by the Order, but lesser Force users had a lot of options, and there was little that was lesser about Rey.
"I'll make us tea," Obi-Wan said, giving Rey a worried look as she pulled her legs up to her chest.
She's alright, Qui-Gon assured his Padawan. He could feel her emotions through the Force, she was contemplative and had thought of something sad. He sensed that compassion had been the cause, not a personal loss.
"You would be welcome to stay with us on our return to Coruscant. I can't say how long we will be on Naboo, but our stay will not be permanent," Qui-Gon offered.
"Return with you?" she asked, tilting her head, clearly inferring he meant more than simply returning to their planet.
"You said you wanted to travel the galaxy. Naboo is one planet, unless you like it enough to build a life there, you would be welcome to join us on Coruscant."
"By join you, do you mean at your home?"
Powerful, kind-hearted, and intelligent.
Yes, Qui-Gon no longer cared if she was the Chosen One or not, he wanted her to become a Jedi. And he wanted to be the one to help her get where she wanted to be, wherever that was.
"Yes, you would be my welcome guest, the Jedi Temple is grand but the rooms are mod-"
"There's a Jedi Temple?" she asked, her previous enthusiasm returning with another smile.
Obi-Wan came back then with tea, Rey took a cup with sincere thank you, crossing her legs and sitting up straighter.
"You will make a good Jedi if you like meditating as much as you like tea," Obi-Wan noted, tone playful.
She looked at him sharply, "I could become a Jedi?"
"Uh, no," Obi-Wan said, backtracking quickly, "you're too old."
Qui-Gon thought that this would elicit another drop in her mood, but Rey seemed to have been troubled by something else entirely because at Obi-Wan's response she only smiled, "I thought as much. Oh, well maybe in the next life."
"It doesn't hurt to ask," Qui-Gon noted, receiving a suspicious glare from his Padawan who knew him a tad too well.
"Did you both grow up at the Jedi Temple then?"
Looking relieved, Obi-Wan began to recount bits and pieces of his childhood.
Qui-Gon didn't always approve of the way the initiates were brought up, thinking that they should have been allowed more of a childhood, more freedom to make mistakes, and question their teachings, but listening to his Padawan, he knew it wasn't all bad.
He couldn't help but think though, if he could train an older student like Rey, and if she did well, then perhaps other Force users could be brought to them. Perhaps the way they taught at the Temple might be adapted. Qui-Gon saw too many faults in the current system for change to not be actively discussed.
And yes, he was well aware that he had turned down a Council seat when he could have been placed in a position to mandate change. But that had meant giving up being Obi-Wan's teacher which he hadn't in the end been able to do. Here, with Rey was another opportunity to change the fates, he could feel it in his bones, and unlike in his decision whether or not to take the Council seat, he was certain.
The Force was certain.
As they were landing, they let Rey into the cockpit.
She gasped at the sight before her.
"What is it?" Obi-Wan asked her curiously.
"I didn't know there was this much green in the whole galaxy."
She thought she could feel Master Jinn smiling, but when she glanced at him his face was stoic. Turning back to the glass, she was somewhat disappointed when they flew out of the reach of Naboo's sun.
The Queen and her handmaidens trooped out first with Master Jinn beside them. Obi-Wan was walking with Rey behind the rest of the entourage.
The rich soil was soft beneath her feet and the giant leaves above her should have felt utterly foreign.
But Rey felt as if she had been here before.
Flashes of memory.
A woman calling her name, ducking behind a tree.
But the memories dissipated quicker than they appeared, whispers of long-forgotten dreams.
But they couldn't be memories, could they? Could she have originally been from a planet like this? From Naboo itself? And how could she not remember it?
Of course, the likelihood that there was something deeply wrong with her was almost assured.
She couldn't remember anything about her past except that she loved her parents. She also thought that she was from the future.
An ironic combination to be sure.
"Relax, Naboo isn't known for its roaming forest monsters."
She gave him an exasperated look, "I lived in the middle of the desert with roving groups of Sand People, trust me, I'm not afraid of the forest."
No, she was much more afraid of the reason her parents had brought her to Jakku if they had been Nubians.
She could think of no reason to bring her there, it wasn't like there had been anyone rich enough on Jakku to make it worth anyone's while, not like the current bargains someone might scrape from Tatooine. And if they were Nubians who didn't want money, then why hadn't they given her up for adoption if they came from a prosperous planet?
Unless her parents had needed to hide her for some reason.
But hide her from what? Or from whom?
She pushed it from her mind. She knew nothing for certain, she couldn't prove that she was born here, and she had no way of divining the future.
So she put it aside, enjoying the chirping of insects and the density of the foliage.
Rey still couldn't quite believe she was travelling with Jedi and the Queen of Naboo. Nor that she herself had been born gifted with a connection to the Force.
They came to the shoreline, and in the distance, the illuminated domes of a palace reflected on the water.
It was beautiful.
Again, she felt Master Jinn looking at her, this time she caught his smile and she smiled back.
There was something infinite about Master Qui-Gon Jinn, a feeling like no matter what, he would always be there for her. She didn't exactly trust that feeling, but she wanted to.
Obi-Wan touched her shoulder, "Here, you'll need this to reach the Gunguns."
She took it, finding it to be some type of small respirator.
"I can't swim," she said.
Obi-Wan nodded, "I didn't expect you to be able to, you can hold onto my shoulders and either kick your feet or simply hold on. Carrying people underwater isn't all that difficult."
Seeing as she had never been submerged in so much as a water trough, she would have to take his word for it.
Binks started protesting, "Missa not going back in there!"
"Quiet," the Nubain captain hissed.
"You will bring us to see the Gungans," the Queen intoned.
"No, missa ain't goin' back, missa almost didn't make it back last time."
"I'm confused at him surviving this long," Rey muttered, only half joking to Obi-Wan who nodded his agreement.
"I can lead you, Queen Amidala," Master Jinn said, "I doubt they will be pleased to see us so soon, but I remember the way."
"Good enough," she said, holding her hand out for a respirator.
Rey was sort of amazed the woman didn't take off some of her layers, her headdress alone looked like it would drown her.
"Missa not going back," Binks said, crossing his arms, then before anyone could say anything, he made a mad dash into the forest.
No one called out to the renegade Gungun or tried to follow him.
The Queen with Qui-Gon descended below the quiet surface of the water.
Rey waited with Obi-Wan who was ensuring no immediate dangers were trying to follow the Queen when they heard an animal roaring and a Gungun wail.
"I thought you said Naboo didn't have forest monsters."
"No, I said it wasn't known for them," He was quiet for a moment longer, listening. "Come on, I don't think we were followed."
"No tears for the Gungan?" she teased, thinking she should have more compassion for the once living being.
But Obi-Wan seemed to be in agreement with her way of thinking, "Some people are just too stupid to survive."
He walked into the water, and held his hand out to her. She stepped in cautiously after him.
"Afraid?" he asked, putting the respirator in his mouth.
She took his hand, shaking her hand, "No, I just feel like I'm dreaming, and I'm dreading waking up."
Rey's hold was firm around him, but she didn't cling. She wasn't a bad swimmer either when she remembered to kick, but the closer they got to the underwater palaces the more he could feel her stunned appraisal.
Qui-Gon and her were going to get along well.
His heart sank a bit, he was honoured to learn that his Master thought he was ready to take the trials. He had been working to become a knight his entire life after all. But in moving on that meant fewer adventures with Qui-Gon.
And in knowing his Master, he knew Rey would be his next Padawan.
The Force was literally willing it so, and even Obi-Wan thought she had potential. Aside from being unnaturally powerful and almost freakishly connected to the Force, she also had the right mindset and morals.
Sure, they had both joked about the Gungan's demise, but Obi-Wan knew she wouldn't have stood by if they could have helped. Rey wasn't the sort of person who could watch an innocent get hurt. He knew it.
He also thought that living on Tatooine, surrounded by constant crime must have been incredibly difficult for someone like her.
Yet, somehow, she remained strong enough to be kind to strangers, to hear stories about Jedi and delight in the very existence of the Force.
Obi-Wan knew he had been won over by her as much as his Master when she showed more interest in his adventures at the Jedi Temple than any possible lightsaber duels he had competed in.
By the time they got to the negotiations, Padme the queen's body-double was announcing herself the true Queen of Naboo and was bowing before the Gungan leader, pleading for their help. Everyone mirrored her example.
Rey followed Obi-Wan in taking a knee, she smirked at him.
His lips twitched as he remembered that she had guessed at this possibility.
In a low voice, audible only to him, she said, "She could still be lying and we still wouldn't know."
He had to bite back a laugh.
Brushing his thoughts across Qui-Gon's mental shields, he thought, You and your new Padawan are going to drive the Council mad.
Qui-Gon glanced up, an apology in his eyes, his response was apprehensive, I do not seek to replace you, Padawan of mine. I truly believe you are ready to face your trials.
And I thank you for that, but I agree with you. I am not convinced that she is the Chosen One, but Rey deserves a chance to become one of us. It is right.
His Master didn't reply to that, but Obi-Wan felt his flash of excitement.
For someone who studied archaic languages and prophecies, Qui-Gon Jinn was probably one of the most unconventional Jedi in the Order, and one of the most ready for change.
Obi-Wan didn't always agree.
Alright, most of the time, he didn't agree, but he couldn't deny that his Master had an uncanny ability to do what was needed, even if his methods were as unconventional as he was.
Obi-Wan glanced at Rey who was gazing around as if she would try to remember everything.
He supposed he could only hope one day he would find a Padawan as hungry for knowledge and life as she was.
"Sleep," Qui-Gon urged in a quiet tone.
Obi-Wan shook his head, I'm younger, I'll stay up. Besides, you have been tapped.
Qui-Gon cocked his head at him, then seemed to realize the dead weight at his side.
Obi-Wan smirked at him, You've been nominated as a pillow. I'll sit with the queens and meditate to conserve my strength. You should sleep if you can.
His Master sighed, but he was as unwilling to move Rey as Obi-Wan would have been.
The girl had had a lot thrown at her in the last twenty hours. She had a right to be worn out, and Obi-Wan could feel Qui-Gon's emotions through the bound.
He was honoured that Rey trusted him enough to fall asleep at his side.
She's going to be a lot of trouble, Obi-Wan warned.
You could take her as your apprentice, Kenobi.
That took Obi-Wan by surprise, You and she are a good fit, the bond is forming between you both already.
As it begins to bind you as well, Padawan of mine.
Obi-Wan reached out with his senses, feeling both his master and Rey like warm flames. Though where his Master was a hearth, Rey shone more like a candle of white flame. She was impossibly bright, yet she wasn't what she could be.
And between the three of them, the Force sang like an instrument in the midst of being tuned.
How is this possible?
She is the Chosen One.
Obi-Wan shook his head, You can't know that for certain.
Because I chose her and the Force has chosen us. Can you not feel that?
Master Yoda has been complaining about the Force becoming less clear for years.
Is it not clear now? Qui-Gon asked.
And you trust this, completely, no doubts?
I trust in the Force. We are one with the Force and the Force is with us.
A Gungan soldier came around with blankets, taking one Obi-Wan laid it over his Master and Rey, remarking only, The Council is going to exile you one of these days.
Qui-Gon rolled his eyes, I have no fear, Dooku would take us in.
It was Obi-Wan's turn to roll his eyes as he walked away. He hadn't had a chance to meet his Master's Master, but he had no doubts that Count Dooku would indeed take them in.
On this he meditated for a while, the Force seemed neither to rejoice nor despair, it remained perfectly natural on the thought of Count Dooku being involved in Rey's future.
And that neutrality was the most normal thing to happen to Obi-Wan all day.
The revolt started at dawn.
Obi-Wan was caught between his orders to protect the Queen and Rey as they fought through guards of droids in an attempt to capture the Viceroy.
Lucky for Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, neither lady seemed to require much guarding.
Queen Padme was a force to be reckoned with as she reclaimed her home. And Rey? Someone who had never used a blaster before, had spectacular aim.
Obi-Wan wanted to know if she would enjoy flying as much as he did.
Of course, if Rey's aim was remarkable, she was a menace with her staff. And Obi-Wan knew of a number of Padawans, and Masters for that matter, who would have envied her stamina as she gleefully took down droids.
In any other circumstances, Obi-Wan would have been concerned about an initiate's overt show of violence.
But these were droids, with about as much sentience as stones. Besides they had the set intention of doing harm.
Even still, Obi-Wan was pushing himself to keep up with her.
She had to be unconsciously using the Force to not even have been grazed by blaster at this point.
Qui-Gon was at the Queen's side down the corridor, fast approaching the door the Viceroy had held up behind.
That's when their smoothish plan began to break down.
The Gunguns attacking the water-front palace from the water had caught the Trade Federation completely wrong footed.
But reinforcements were being sent down.
"The courtyard!" one of the Queen's guards bellowed unnecessarily.
At least Obi-Wan mused, he was going to be prepared for his trials when he got back to the Temple. 'Diplomatic mission,' by the Stars.
"Obi-Wan!" Rey called.
He flipped over a droid, slicing it as he went and reflecting blaster strikes, "What is it, Rey, I'm a little-" he twirled, taking down three, "busy."
"How big is the Force?"
"How big is the Force?" she repeated, jabbing her staff into the neck of a droid, then flipping over it, letting the momentum of the motion flip the droid with her, bringing it smashing down on another.
Rey was quickly disillusioning him on any mystery about how she managed to survive on her own so long.
"It's infinite," he called to her, "it's everything."
Which wasn't strictly true, not exactly, but he was busy, Force take it.
"Cover me!" Rey told him as she lowered her staff.
Obi-Wan cursed as he sprinted back toward her, trusting his Master to be fine without him. In the nick of time, he reflected a blaster shot that would have killed her.
She was facing the courtyard her back to the firing droids, having lost her blaster somewhere, she held an open hand out to the sky.
"Re-" he began but stopped when he felt the connection that had been steadily growing between them blown wide.
He continued to cover her, but his senses were heightened to whatever it was she thought she was doing.
And then he felt her power and her intention.
She was a crazy person.
And a powerful crazy person at that, because when Rey reached out to the Force, it answered.
Obi-Wan had felt powerful Masters call on the Force, but Rey wasn't pulling on the Force, she was beckoning it. There was no subsonic drop, no wresting the Force from its ever present naturality.
Rey directed and the Force breathed.
And the descending carrier ship of battle droids began to descend.
Obi-Wan pulled her away from the open arches as the ship exploded in the courtyard. The crash stopped all the fighting momentarily, even the droids had frozen, trying to comprehend the source of the damage.
Down the marble hall illuminated by the early morning sun, the Viceroy began protesting before the barrel of Queen Amidala's blaster, as well as her body-double's.
Qui-Gon caught Obi-Wan's astonished gaze.
Obi-Wan mouthed, Chosen One. Saying it and thinking it for the first time without any irony.
At which his Master gave him a self-satisfied smirk.
Obi-Wan sighed, he was never going to live this down. Figures that his Master would be the one to unravel the mystics insane claims from a millennium ago. Because lifting a toolbox from across the room was one thing untrained, pulling a ship from the sky was another.
One overly ambitious droid fired at him, and he easily redirected the blast back at the droid by angling his still ready saber. Then all of the remaining droids dropped, having been deactivated when Viceroy admitted his failure over a transmission to his ship in the planet's orbit. While the ship in the courtyard grew into a bonfire of sorts.
"That was fun," Rey said, her voice breathy.
"How di- Rey!" he caught her around the waist as she clung to her staff in an attempt to stay on her feet.
"Why am I so tired?"
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, bending his knees to get his shoulder under her arm, "Oh, I can think of a few reasons."
"Apprentice! Answer me," Darth Maul's Master commanded.
"They captured the Viceroy, the droids are deactivated," he said into the comm.
"How did they gather an army? You told me they were stranded on Tatooine yesterday," Darth Sidious complained, "Retreat, my Apprentice, this is not our time."
Darth Maul leaned against the marble wall, glancing around the corner to see the Jedi Master go to the other side of the girl with the staff. Together, Padawan and Master held up the girl who looked like she had been salvaged from the junkyards of Tatooine.
He didn't know who she was, nor had he ever heard mention of her before. There were only supposed to be two Jedi on this mission. And yet, she didn't feel like a Jedi, though she was someone with enough strength to forcibly crash a ship in the middle of a fight. He had felt the Force respond to her, like an ocean wave rising to greet a moon.
That was not something Darth Maul had thought they taught at the Temple.
The girl looked up, and Darth Maul rolled back against the wall, certain the girl hadn't seen him, but believing she had perhaps sensed him.
Which was impossible.
Into the comm he growled, "We have a bigger problem."
AN: If you would like more, please, please review with reactions, thoughts, desires, or shiny Kyber?