Chapter Four

Qui-Gon grumbled as he sat on the table in the exam room for the second time in a week. He dangled his feet. He hated being poked and prodded and he didn't wish to get his master in trouble with the Council. His stomach churned rapidly wondering just what would happen if the council found out what his master had done.

Han'yaie walked in slowly, gazing at his medical file on a datapad. "Well," the Healer said in an amused tone, "You've beaten your own record, Qui-Gon, for coming to see me in a month." Then he glanced up...and his smile died on his face when he saw the obvious hand print on his face. "Who hit you?"

Qui-Gon looked away. "I'd prefer not to say."

Han'yaie very gently moved Qui-Gon's face so the young man was staring at him. "Qui-Gon, I am a Healer and whatever you tell me is in confidence if you wish it so. Tell me who did this to you."

He swallowed and in a very quiet whisper he mumbled, "Master Dooku."

Han'yaie was very shocked, but was extremely careful not to show it. He nodded, once, briskly. "All right. Let's check and make sure that your cuts are going to heal since some of them have been reopened, shall we?"

He nodded once. "Yes Master Han'yaie." He sniffled a little. He hated having to tell the Healer what his master had done. Guiltily he glanced at the floor. If only he hadn't caused trouble in the first place his Master might not get expelled.

Han'yaie could feel the guilt rolling off this boy in waves. Looked like he needed to do a little inward healing before he worked on the outside. He keyed a seat to appear from out of the wall and sat down. "Qui-Gon, listen to me," he began. He waited for Qui-Gon to meet his eyes before continuing.

Qui-Gon very slowly dragged his eyes off the floor and looked up. He hoped his eyes weren't red like the rest of his face.

Han'yaie smiled encouragingly at him. "None of this is your fault. I mean, yes you crashed into the Council window, but I talked with Kyran Josel. He told me that you were trying to get to Mace Windu because he was scared. THat is the mark of a true friend. You just accidentally missed. You accepted the blame for what happened. That takes courage. Granted, you are headstrong and willful, but I have known that the greatest Jedi Knights are exactly the same way as you are. Your Master is still trying to adjust to you. He's only had meek padawans until now. You try his patience, but in a way, that is a good thing too. He learns as much from you as you do from him."

"If I hadn't pushed him, he wouldn't have gotten stuck on the ledge in the first place." Qui-Gon said in a very small voice.

Han'yaie thought for a moment. "Yes, but Kyran also told me that you were trying to help Mace overcome his fear of heights. It is not good for a Jedi to have fear--it's a weakness that could be exploited by the dark side. So you were only trying to help. Sometimes, when we help others, they need a little push." There was a twinkle in his eyes. "Literally as well as figuratively."

Qui-Gon blushed slightly at that making his face turn an even pinker shade than it already was. "He screams like a girl."

Han'yaie burst out laughing; he couldn't help himself.

"Well! he did!" Qui-Gon snickered. "Then he got stuck so I had to go get him. I just .. miscalculated a bit."

Han'yaie nodded. "Well, that doesn't really sound so bad. You were trying to help your friend--very noble of you."

"Yeah. I suppose so. " He sighed a little. "It didn't feel very noble when I got glass stuck in my feet."

"Even the best Jedi have trouble," Han'yaie reassured him. "Life is full of the unexpected. We just have to make sure we can roll with the punches it gives us."

He nodded slowly. "I guess. My face isn't permanently damaged is it?"

Han'yaie stood again. "I pretty sure it isn't. Let's take a longer look, shall we?" He gave the small Jedi a reassuring smile, hoping that his little pep talk helped settle his guilt.

Qui-Gon made a face. "If we must."

Han'yaie chuckled.

Master Yoda was deeply troubled as he walked back to the Jedi Council chamber. Not about the broken glass--that had been quickly fixed the same day Qui-Gon had accidentally broken it. He was troubled about how his padawan had snapped and struck Qui-Gon. He had always known that Dooku had a dark streak through him, but had never seen it come to the surface. Now he was older, and now it began to be seen. Worse yet, he couldn't tell if the future held a light or a dark path for his former padawan--it was shifting continuously. One thing he did know was that Dooku must stay Qui- Gon's master. But how to convince the Council of what he himself knew the future held? Slowly, he entered the council chambers and the buzz of conversation halted among his peers.

"Something troubling you, Master Yoda?" Master W'Go remarked from his chair, his lekku twitching slightly.

Yoda twitched an ear toward the Twi'lek Jedi Master. "Yes, news for the Council I have." Quickly, he told the other Masters what had transpired with Dooku and Qui-Gon. "Action needed there is, but separate the two we should not."

"With respect Master Yoda I disagree." W'Go said calmly. "Young Jinn does not need to be trained by someone who clearly is demonstrating tendencies towards the Darkness. " He glanced to his fellow Council Members for support.

Yoda glanced around him as he took his seat. The Council seemed divided-- half shook their heads, while the other half nodded. "Seen the future I have," Yoda responded firmly. "Stay together they should."

"Always in motion is the future," Master Rhy'ul shot back. "The events of the future are not set in stone blocks, Master Yoda. I think we should separate Yoda was not moved. "Sense dark in separation I do, for Master and apprentice. Avoid that we should."

Master Rhy'ul frowned a little. "Then how do you suggest we take care of this problem, Master Yoda? How is Dooku to teach his padawan not to strike others in anger if he can't do it himself?"

Yoda nodded. He had expected the question. "Dooku to see the Soul Healers, he shall. Keep under surveillance we should. Another chance we should give."

Master W'Go narrowed his eyes slightly. "What of young Jinn?"

Yoda felt a tug in the Force at W'Go's question. He frowned slightly as he gazed at the Twi'lek. "Stay with his Master he should," Yoda repeated slowly. What was the Force trying to tell him about W'Go?

"Should he see the Soul Healers?" W"go persisted. "Or should he meet with a Council member for guided meditation?"

Yoda nodded. He liked the idea of a Council member having personal meditation with young Jinn. "Guided meditation he should have," Yoda answered. He waited a moment as he thought, then said, "Help him I will."

W'Go frowned taken aback. That wasn't what he had expected Yoda to say. He stared at the other Master for several long minutes then sighed in resignation. "As you wish, Master Yoda."

Yoda kept his frown as he stared at the Jedi Master, then very obviously dismissed him as he turned to the others. "Other news or suggestions have you?"

W'Go tuned out the conversation. He was still miffed at the idea that Yoda didn't want him to meditate with young Jinn. He would at least speak to the young boy and make certain he was alright. Or see if he needed another master's care after all.......

Dooku was waiting for Kyran to bring Qui-Gon back to their rooms. He needed to talk to his padawan about what Master Yoda had just informed him from the Council chambers...what they had decided.

Qui-Gon punched his friend lightly on the arm. "The way you drive this thing I might as well walk."

Kyran grinned. "Hey, you haven't run into any windows, so you're good."

"Not in the past week or so no." He smirked.

Kyran raised his eyebrows. "Oh? I seem to remember a little thing you did just two days ago..."

"Well I didn't run into it then. I kind of smashed. That's different."

Kyran snickered. "Sure it is..."

Qui-Gon frowned a little at the look on his master's face and he slid off the hoversled once they reached their rooms. "Have I done something wrong Master?" He looked down at the floor hoping he wasn't in trouble again.

Dooku shook his head. "No, Padawan." He then looked at Kyran. "Josel, I need to speak to Qui-Gon alone, please..."

Kyran nodded and left quietly. Tell me what happens,he sent to his friend.

Of course. Qui-Gon glanced at his master apprehensively and stood a few feet away from him. "Yes Master?"

"Sit, Qui-Gon. No need to put too much weight on your feet just yet," Dooku invited, gesturing to the couch.

Qui-Gon sat on the couch and propped his still bandaged feet on the footstool. "Yes Master. " he said meekly.

"I just talked to Master Yoda. The Jedi Council has decided to have me on a probation of sorts."

"I'm sorry Master." Qui-Gon said as he stared at the floor. Guilt welled up inside him. If only he hadn't caused trouble. Han'yaie's words to him earlier flew right out of his mind. He'd gotten his master in trouble after all.

Dooku shook his head quickly as he sat down. "Don't do that to yourself, Qui-Gon. This is my fault, not yours. The Council is not separating us, but Master Yoda will start seeing you twice a week to help you work through this...and any other matters you may need. You have no fear of being hit again. It will not happen again."

Qui-Gon frowned a little bit. "But Master I don't need to meet with Master Yoda. I'm alright. Really."

Dooku sighed, though he felt no anger. His padawan was very confused right now and it was his fault. "You, and I, have no choice. For us to stay Master and Padawan, this is what we must do. That is," he thought to add, "if you wish to remain my padawan." He didn't look at Qui-Gon. This decision was his alone.

Qui-Gon blinked. "Why would I not want to stay? It was my own fault that I made you upset that you got mad enough to hit me. I should've just told Kyran to leave. I shouldn't've jumped off the roof starting this whole mess in the first place. I never will again, Master , I swear."

Dooku sighed. What had he done? "Nothing--NOTHING, Padawan, gives me the right to hit you. Absolutely nothing. Do you understand that?" He peered at him quizzically.

Qui-Gon stared at his master and frowned. Haltingly he said , "even if I deserved it?"

"Not in anger," Dooku clarified. "Never in anger. See the difference?"

Qui-Gon stared at the floor. In a very small voice he whispered, "Then why did you?"

"I did it in anger, which is exactly why I shouldn't. And...Padawan look at me..." He waited for Qui-Gon to meet his eyes again.

Obediently he raised his eyes. He would never dare disobey Dooku again. "Yes Master?"

Dooku looked wretched. "I'm sorry," he said simply, and in his tone was genuine sincerity and a depth of regret.

"I know." Qui-Gon sighed deeply. "I'm sorry too. I didn't mean to make you so angry."

Dooku smiled wanly. Wordlessly, he held out his arms, inviting Qui-Gon in for a hug.

After what he did to his padawan, he wouldn't be surprised if Qui-Gon refused to come near him again.

Qui-Gon buried his face in Dooku's tunic sniffling. "I'm sorry master. " He said again, hiccuping.

Dooku felt tears gathering in his eyes. "I'm sorry too, my boy," he whispered. "I'm sorry, too..."

In the corridor, a lone figure stood right outside the door, listening to master and apprentice learn to trust each other again. He scowled. He would find his chance to get young Jinn as his padawan yet...Dooku couldn't be perfect forever. He could bide his chance. He would bide his time. He smiled. He could wait. Some things were just worth waiting for.