Title: Balance of the Force

Author: Katharine

Rating: G

Summery: After the Battle of Endor, the Force is balanced, and Obi Wan and Qui Gon reconcile.

Disclaimer: Any recognizable names belong to George Lucas. I have no special permission to write this story and am not making any money from it.

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Yoda and Anakin had gone on before him, but for a moment Obi Wan remained. As he watched Luke in the firelight, he felt himself growing lighter. A sense of harmonious, completeness, rightness spread through him. He hadn't felt like this since the old Republic and the old Jedi had fallen. No, that wasn't even true; he realized as the resonance expanded, he had never in his life felt this way. Was this what it felt like to become one with the Force? Was he finally leaving the physical world behind? He thought he was, but that couldn't be all of it.

Part of the lightness was a massive release of fear, fear seeping out of him into the thick shadows between Endor's huge trees. He hadn't known he had been afraid. He had faced unimaginable pain and betrayal bravely and alone, but he had always had fear with him. So had Yoda, he realized, even the great Jedi teacher had had fear. They had both hidden, not like patient camouflaged creatures or hibernating stormcats, but like vrelts in holes, hording remnants of the galaxy's light. They had expected, hoped for, so very little. It was hard to hope after seeing the purge, after seeing Anakin become Vader. They had tried to protect Luke, controlled his training, and taken no risks with their last precious chance. They had tried to save what they could, but they had planned for only being able to destroy the Sith and not rebuild the Jedi if they had to. They would have called that victory, leaving the galaxy with no tradition of force users, good or evil.

Anakin's redemption had been like a miracle, an impossible gift. The reconciliation and fading fear was exaltant, dizzying to Obi Wan. He hadn't known his old soul was large enough for that kind of hope realized. By the time he had sent Luke off to confront Vader and earn his knighthood, or fall, or die, he had thought he had seen nearly everything. Now, years past the end of his own life, he realized he had been all but blind.

But it wasn't even the relief of so much unrecognized fear that made him feel more whole and at peace than he ever had before. The sense of rightness, growth, life, and harmony, was rippling through everything. The trees, the celebrating rebels and ewoks, the fire the earth, the planets, even those that were still Imperial atrocities, the very stars and space between them. The balance spread. The balance of a prophecy they had certainly stopped hoping for. Matter and spirit were ringing together like a chord in true, and it crashed through all the defenses Obi Wan had built, first to live under stagnating Republic, then to live under a brutal Empire. Light and dark in a natural symbiosis of birth and death, not an empty morality or an evil all devouring maw. But once again, so much more than Obi Wan had expected, a spiraling union of dynamic and static, now and forever, life and unity. Light, dark, living, and unifying all fused and balanced in a grand ring cross.

He was rising from the world now, the fire and trees and people and stars that were all binding together so much more closely and powerfully were starting to fade from him. His senses perceived spirit and energy now. He thought back over the long years as a General, on Tattooien, resisting the call of the force to guard Luke. He had not been ready to rest. He had not been able to let himself. The fear had been with him even after his death. He couldn't have entered the Force, not until he had paid, not until he had learned. He had been so worn, so tiered, so hurt, now he felt younger than he had as a Padawan. Purified. Vader wasn't the only one who had rediscovered his true self tonight. Every second of his life seemed to intensify, and he knew himself as he never had before.

Suddenly Qui Gon was with him, blazing like cool verdant fire. The last time Qui Gon's spirit had come to a living Obi Wan, he had known he was growing weaker, that he would become one with Force forever when he left. Obi Wan had never seen him again, not even in his oven wanderings in the spirit world. But now they were drawn together like binary stars, united as spirits of the living and unifying force. They were together, purely themselves, and it was all right. There was no tension, there was understanding. There was forgiveness. For all the times they had hurt each other unwillingly, for all the times their natures' had been set against each other. The environment, the imbalance, the ignorance that had made true peace between them impossible was gone. The cosmic imbalance that had made love for the other a thorny burr in the heart was gone, and here, as luminous beings there was nothing to stop their empathy. Freed, they merged with the force.