Chapter One

Fourteen –year-old Qui-Gon gulped a little as he looked down from atop of the Jedi Council chamber roof. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking. Literally. He frowned realizing part of the source of his annoyance was right next to him. His friend, 13-year-old Mace Windu, was whimpering. "Would you shut up shiny boy? It is NOT that bad. See, the view's beautiful!"

Mace briefly glanced up from where he had buried his head in his hands to block the view. He caught enough of the long distance to the ground before his heart leaped within his chest and he quickly covered his eyes again. "Wonderful," he muttered. "Can you hurry up and tell me what it is that you wanted us to come up here for?" He risked a glance at twenty-year-old Kyran Josel, who seemed to be having no difficulties with the distance to the ground.

"So we can help you get over your fear of heights of course. We're just trying to be a little more creative than the soul healers would be. Relax. Nothing will go wrong. I've got an air taxi waiting to pick us up when we're done." Kyran said as he leaned over the side admiring the view.

Mace would have crawled to the transport that got them up here so he could escape, but he didn't know where it was--they had blindfolded him. "Go suck a guut egg," he mumbled.

"Sure. " Qui said cheerfully. "Problem with that genius. Cafeteria's that way." With an almighty push he shoved Mace off the spire, grinning.

Mace screamed, sounding ironically like a girl, as he dropped down off of the spire. Frantically, he focused into the Force and managed to grab on to the roof's edge. He locked his fingers tightly. "Why did you do that?!" He yelled up at his two friends. "Come help me!"

"Why are you stuck? It wasn't THAT bad, Mace!!! But if you're going to be such a wimp, hang on just a minute and I'll be right down." Qui-Gon said grinning at his friend Kyran. He made sure his rope was tight and then leapt off the edge.

Mace's eyes widened as his friend sailed right past him, out of his line of sight. The rope near him tightened, and then swung inward. Suddenly, he heard breaking glass. He winced. Kyran's eyes grew round. "What happened?" Kyran called down. Mace tried to pull his body up onto the roof, but soon gave up. Finally, he said, "I think he crashed into the Council room." Kyran closed his eyes and groaned. "Help me?" Mace pleaded. Kyran sighed and used the Force to help his friend back up to where he was. "Now let's get down here before someone catches us. Qui will need us for support once the Council gets through with him..."

Qui-Gon groaned as slammed into something solid. He lay still for a few minutes assessing the damage. He had numerous cuts all over him from where he'd slammed into the glass window. He panted trying to regain the air that had been knocked from his lungs. With a huge amount of effort he concentrated and used the Force to undo the cord from around his waist. He slowly sat up and his face went from red to green faster than a set of neon lights on Coruscant's underground seeing that he'd just plowed into his own master in the Jedi Council chambers...

Master Yan Dooku's face was beet red as he gazed at his disheveled Padawan. In a very low, very dangerous voice, Dooku started, "Padawan..." His voice failed him and he stood up, brushing off his pants and trying not to look at any of the Masters.

In a very high pitched voice most unlike his own Qui-Gon replied, "Thanks for breaking my fall, Master."

Dooku's eyes widened so much that it seemed as if his eyes would pop out of his head. In a tightly controlled voice, he said, "I trust you have a very good explanation for swinging yourself into the Council chambers?"

"Um. Well. " Qui-Gon stammered backing away from Dooku. " We were just trying to help Mace get over his fear of heights. But he got stuck on the ledge. So I swung down to help get him off.. and I missed." Qui-Gon squeaked out.

Dooku followed his padawan as he backed toward where Master Yoda was calmly sitting on his small, bubble-like chair. "The roof is restricted, Padawan learner. How did you get up there?"

Qui-Gon fidgeted a little. The last thing he wanted was to get his best friend in trouble. He swallowed. "I'd prefer not to say."

Dooku hissed two words at him and left absolutely no room for argument in his tone. "Say it."

Qui-Gon swallowed hard feeling like he was going to throw up. "Kyran and I hired an air taxi to fly us up and then pick us up when we were finished. We used the last of our credits that we had been saving for almost a year."

Dooku quite calmly reached down and grabbed Qui-Gon's braid. He used his leverage with the hair to pull his padawan to his feet. Only then, still not letting go of the braid, did Dooku face the twelve, silent Jedi Masters. He bowed. "If you Masters will excuse me, I need to go have a little talk with my padawan. That is, if the rest of our business can wait?"

Qui-Gon whimpered in pain as he was pulled hard to his feet wincing as his master nearly pulled his braid out of his head. He quaked inwardly. He was in so much trouble. He swallowed and then let out a small, terrified squeak wondering what his Master would do with him.

Master Yoda accessed the situation with his eyes and his powers. Finally, he said, "Finished with business we can be. Kill your padawan, you should not." A gleam of mirth shined in Yoda's wise eyes. "See you both tomorrow we will."

Dooku bowed again. "Yes, Masters." He spun on his heel and pulled his padawan out of the room by his braid.

Qui-Gon yelped in pain as Dooku pulled him out of the room by his hair. "Master! Ow!!"

Dooku glared back at him, ignoring the looks that the pair of them were getting from other Jedi as he tugged his padawan along by his braid. "You are going to be grounded so long that you'll forget what the suns look like. You'll see your friends again when they have beards and are gray! You'''ll..." And he sputtered to a stop, but glared at his padawan again.

Qui-Gon squeaked out , "But my cuts and the glass stuck in me will be really infected by then. Don't I get to at least pull them out before I'm locked away?"

Dooku skidded to a halt. He had been so angry at Qui-Gon that he hadn't even noticed the cuts from the glass or the pain his padawan was in. He narrowed his eyes for a moment, and then changed direction toward the Healer's wing. "Fine!" He spat out. "But this will be the last place you'll see in a very, very, very long time!"

He whispered meekly. "Yes Master. I'm sorry master."

Chief Healer Han'yaie frowned as he slowly pulled Qui-Gon's right boot off. Fat droplets of blood immediately splattered onto the floor, catching his and Qui-Gon's attention. The healer gazed at Qui-Gon. "What exactly," he asked, "did you do?"

"Um. I'd rather not discuss it ..." Qui-Gon said as he squirmed on the table wincing at the pain of glass being in his foot. "Just get it out.. please.."

Han'yaie sighed and began to slide an antiseptic on Qui-Gon's foot. The antiseptic also had numbing qualities--he didn't want Qui-Gon to feel any of this. One large piece of glass was protruding out of his foot and would cause serious damage if he didn't get it out of there and healed quickly. "Now, you should feel your foot and maybe even your leg to numb soon. Let me know when you do, ok, Qui-Gon?" He chatted with his patient.

Qui-Gon waited for several very long minutes. "Is it supposed to go numb this quick? " he wiggled his toes and didn't feel the shooting pain he'd felt so far.

Han'yaie nodded. "Yes. I need to take this glass out of your feet so I need to make sure that you won't feel it when it happens. Is your foot totally numb?"

He wiggled his toes again. "How can I check? Shall I bang it on something to test it?"

Han'yaie chuckled. "Well...just tap it lightly against the wall beside you and see if you feel it."

He lightly tapped it against the wall. "Can't feel a thing."

Han'yaie nodded. "Good." Without another word, he reached down and grabbed the largest piece of glass with his tough fingers. Swiftly, he pulled it out, then held it aloft to show it to Qui-Gon.

Qui-Gon's eyes widened at the huge piece of glass. "No wonder it hurt to walk."

Han'yaie smiled. "Now I have to get three more, smaller, pieces, so just hold still." Swiftly he got to work. Once the glass was out, he stuck a bacta patch on the bottom of the padawan's foot. "Stay right there," he ordered as he walked out. He needed to find out from Dooku what had happened to Qui-Gon.

Qui-Gon dangled his feet over the side of the table. He swallowed hard as he thought about how much trouble he was in. He whimpered as Han'yaie ran off and buried his face in his hands. He wondered vaguely if he would even be let out of his room to go to classes.

Dooku was sitting quite calmly in the waiting area of the Healer's wing. In actuality, he was focused tightly into the Force in order to keep himself from killing his unruly padawan. How embarrassing to be talking to the Council about how much better Qui-Gon was behaving, and then have the boy crash through their window! He buried his face in his hands as he heard footsteps approach.

"Master Dooku?" Han'yaie frowned slightly as he came out to the waiting area. "Are you alright?'

Dooku glanced up, and his eyes said it all. Controlling his voice, he asked, "How is he?"

Han'yaie held up the very large pieces of glass that had been stuck in Qui- Gon's foot. "These were stuck in his right foot. He'll have to stay off his feet for a day if he wants those wounds to heal properly. There was quite a bit of bleeding."

Dooku frowned. He hadn't even thought to check his padawan's feet, as angry as he had been. "But he'll be alright?" He asked, some of the anger fading in genuine concern.

"Eventually he will. If he stays off them. Otherwise the wounds might reopen. It was in fairly deep. The tissue needs a chance to grow back."

Dooku groaned. Now he'd have to think of a new punishment for his errant padawan. He was going to have him go to a nearby planet that has a military youth program, but that was out of the question now. "What about the other cuts? On his face and arms?"

"He'll be alright. He needs to rest and take it easy for a day or so. There was glass in several of those cuts. The ones on his face were the ones I was most concerned about other than the ones on his foot. But luckily it didn't get very close to his eyes. He will have some scarring though."

Dooku thought for a moment, trying to picture his boisterous padawan sitting still for more than an hour. He gave up and burst out laughing. "Do you have any sedatives? I'll never get him to stay in one place long enough to heal without them."

Han'yaie snickered. "Sorry Master Dooku but you might get addicted to him having them, so I'm afraid that's out of the question."

Dooku scowled. "Oh, all right. When can he leave to go back to his quarters?"

"He can go back to his room now but he'll have to stay in his bed for awhile once he gets there and no running or fast paced walking until his foot is healed. I want him back in another day or two so I can take a look and make sure it's not infected."

Dooku nodded but inwardly cringed. Han'yaie should have just asked for Coruscant's moons...he was more likely to get a better response that way.