Title:  It's Harder Than It Looks

By:  Tirya King

E-Mail:  Tirya56@hotmail.com

Category:  Humor, pointless fluff…

Rating: G… oh, so G!

Spoilers:  Nope

Feedback:  Why not…

Disclaimer:  Darth Maul's saber is red.  Obi's is blue.  I don't own Star Wars.  So please don't sue!

Summary:  Sometimes, it's just so hard to focus…

A/N: Yeah, I know it's just pointless rambling, but I couldn't help it.  Thanks to my favorite cousin Laura for keeping me up 'til the wee hours talking about nothing and everything.  It's her fault I had this bunny!  I swear!  Maybe someday I'll write up all our cute little 'Jedi Shorts' and post them.  They are somewhat similar to this one.

It's Harder Than It Looks

Obi-Wan sat next to his Master on the mats with no small amount of apprehension.  They were preparing to do a difficult exercise to increase the mental strength of both Master and apprentice as well as cultivate the bond of the fledgling team.  The Padawan would have to lift his Master while being resisted from the other end.  This was the first time they were attempting this, so they needed to use all of their focus to make it productive.

Seated calmly next to each other, they were the perfect image of calm.  Qui-Gon, a noble figure reflecting age and wisdom.  Yet his leonine body betrayed a gentle strength that hardly wasted away with his years.  Giant hands rested upon his knees, hands that have killed, hands that have spilled blood.  Yet, they too were hands that would cradle an orphan creature and hands that would harm only to protect the helpless.  Lines marred his face that betrayed his age and his hard life.  But it was a life that he would not trade for anything.  Even at rest, sitting so relaxed in his living area, he was perfectly aware of everything that was going on around him.  Ready at a moment's notice to fight for his life and the young life that sat so trustingly beside him

Next to him, the young Obi-Wan.  Small for his age, dwarfed by the giant of a man next to him, the boy too betrayed hidden strength.  Barely 13 years old, the child could disarm and defeat grown men twice his age.  He had already proved his worth as a Jedi, even during his brief time as a farmer.  Yet, his face was smooth and soft, not yet ruined by the harshness of life.  It was open and honest, perhaps too innocent at times and capable of much mischief.  He was a boy beyond his years, but a boy still.  And this young 13 year old, like most his age, would find sitting still the most brutal of tasks.

After about twenty minutes, Qui-Gon opened one eye.  He could sense that his apprentice was not focusing his hardest.  Neither expected the Padawan to be able to overpower his Master's will, especially on the first try, but that did not mean he should not try his hardest.  The boy in question was, to the casual observer, a model child.  His face was smooth and serene in the golden light of the sunset, his body motionless… motionless except for the quite obvious twitching on the hard mat. "Padawan, would you stop fidgeting?"

"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan said trying to calm himself.  He settled down and took a deep breath, determined to focus this time.  Sitting still never was his strong point.  He was an active boy, one who was just itching to go spar with Garen and Reeft right now.

Still, he sat still at his mentor's side, starving for his affection.  Any praise from the stern Jedi was cherished, and he would not fail if he could help it.  He was among the better of his peers.  He knew this and accepted it with a modest heart.  Yet, he also knew that being above his expected level meant nothing to Qui-Gon.  It only made the Master more eager to drive the boy's education forward.  Lessons became harder, criticism more common than approval.  Therefore, he was determined to do well in this lesson.

Another five minutes passed without much change in the Master's position in the room.  Qui-Gon opened an eye again.  He knew what to expect and the boy did not disappoint.

"What is it now, Obi-Wan?"

The 13-year old boy's eyes were following a fly that was buzzing around his head.  "Huh?" He finally noticed Qui-Gon's eyes on him and flushed.  "Oh.  Sorry, Master."

They centered themselves again.  Or at least Qui-Gon did.  Obi-Wan was still doing everything but focusing.  Qui-Gon didn't even need to open an eye to know that his Padawan was distracted again.  To the boy's credit, the Master knew he was really trying.  Contrary to popular belief, he was not the stuffy miserable old Master that he was often perceived as.  He did remember what it was to be 13 and he knew that sitting still was an acquired skill for any growing boy.

"Obi-Wan, why aren't you doing this?" Qui-Gon asked, more amused than angry.  He may understand the child's predicament, but that didn't mean he could get away with it.  This was a skill he needed to learn.

"My butt hurts, Master," the boy said bluntly, "I'm sick of sitting."  He cringed, knowing that remark just landed him twenty extra push-ups tonight.  Oh, why couldn't he just do one exercise well without earning his Master's disapproval?  Why did he have to sound so much like a whining 8th Year Initiate right then?

"Pain is only an illusion.  As is physical matter.  Now focus."

"Yes, Master." 

A few more minutes passed.  Obi-Wan concluded that this was a doomed lesson from the start.  Perhaps even fated before his birth to end in disaster.

"Master?"

"Yes?"  Qui-Gon said through gritted teeth.  He didn't even try to hide his amused annoyance.  He could remember a time when Master Yoda had him running laps all evening for his own lack of focus.  He knew his student tried nonstop for the smallest sign of approval from him.  He knew that he was sometimes too hard on him, a leftover reaction from a man still smarting from another boy's betrayal.  And it was for these reasons alone that he let Obi-Wan get away with this just this once.

"My butt still hurts."  But oh, could the child try his patience!

"It'll hurt even more if you don't do this.  For the last time, please focus."  They both knew the threat was an empty one, but Obi-Wan sighed and returned to the exercise.  He was nothing if not obedient.  Five more minutes passed.

"Master…" The boy's voice was tentative.  He knew he was asking for it, but…

"What is it now, Obi-Wan?  What could be so important that it can't wait another half-hour?  What could possibly upset my Padawan so much besides insects and sore backsides?!"

"I have to go to the bathroom."

*          *          *

"Master?"

"Yes, Ani?"

"My butt hurts…"

Obi-wan sighed and mentally smiled.  He could almost hear his Master's warm laughter in his mind.  [Well done, Padawan.  Now you know how I felt.  You'll make a Jedi of him yet.]

Obi-Wan could feel the fatherly embrace of the Force around him.  Only this time, it no longer ached his healing heart to welcome it.  It filled him with an immense love, making him smile despite himself.  Anakin felt the warmth from their fledgling link and knew it was not he that had caused this change in his usually serious Master and could not place the source.  However, he too felt a sudden change in the air, making him smile alongside the young Jedi Knight.

A hand, featherlight and gentle, despite age-old calluses softly traced Obi-Wan's cheek, erasing any heartbreak that remained in the young Master.  Approval that he had fought so hard to gain surrounded his being, giving him no misgivings about his place in an old man's heart.  A fly came and landed on his nose.  The soreness came of twenty extra push-ups.  A 13-year old itch crawled up his spine causing an uncharacteristic fidget.

[Well done, my Obi-Wan…]

FIN