Turning Point

Chapter Four

Disclaimer: See chapter 1

Summary: Well, the JA books mentioned Xanatos' betrayal, and Qui told Obi about it, but there wasn't anything in depth…. at least, not to my liking. So this is MY version of what happened, and I tried to be as true to the storyline/recollection that Qui told. There was no mention of Xanatos' mother, so I put her in here to add a dramatic twist and the name of the planet the Telosian people were going to go to war over wasn't named, so its a figment of my imagination.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Xanatos stirred, slowly raising his head to sit up on the bed. "I feel terrible. What happened?"

Qui-Gon placed a small bowl of soup by his padawan's bed. "You got a little more than drunk. You made a spectacle of yourself and disrespected me. Mouthed off about not wanting to be a Jedi. You were really out of control."

Xanatos took a deep breath, leaning against some pillows, 'It's true."

Qui-Gon stared at his apprentice in disbelief.

Xanatos explained, "I'm sorry master. I wanted to tell you sooner, but things happened and I forgot." Xanatos looked pleadingly at his master, his blue eyes full of sorrow. "I have told you several times that I'm not happy with the Jedi. There is so much I want, and being a Jedi isn't one of them. I want to be by my father's side, like I should have been all along."

Qui-Gon stopped breathing. He couldn't believe his padawan would give up everything, especially being so close to taking his trials. "Xanatos, are you sure? You've worked hard all your life to be a Jedi. It's your dream."

Xanatos shook his head sadly, "No, I only trained hard so you would be proud of me. Being a Jedi isn't my dream, it's yours."

Qui-Gon's blue eyes searched his padawan. He felt heartbroken at Xanatos' change of heart. He just couldn't let Xanatos destroy everything he worked for. "Look, you're almost a knight, maybe then you could…"

Xanatos interrupted, "No. I no longer wait to take my trials and become a knight. I've made my decision, I'm staying here to be with my father. Master… Qui-Gon, please understand."

Qui-Gon sighed, "I will step back. I won't intervene with the relationship you have with your father, but know this. I will always be here for you, and want what's best for you and your future."

"Thank you" Xanatos smiled. He looked shyly at Qui-Gon, "Does this mean you have to take my lightsaber?"

"I'll tell you what." Qui-Gon started. "We will be here awhile because of the negotiations, why don't you keep it, and maybe when it's time to leave, you'll change your mind."

Xanatos shook his head, "You just don't give up, do you?"

Qui-Gon grinned, "Nope. I have a very stubborn padawan. So I have to be relentless."

"Had" Xanatos corrected. "Had an apprentice."

Qui-Gon's face looked remorseful and sad. He faked a smile and recited Yoda's favorite saying " 'Always in motion the future is.' I'll give you some space to allow you to make a decision. So don't go giving up your saber and braid just yet, you may want to come back."

"That's all I ask. Now, can you help me? My head hurts and the room is spinning." Xanatos said, clutching his head.

"It's a hangover. And after the way you acted last night, I should let you suffer with it." Qui-Gon half teased.

Xanatos looked pleadingly at Qui-Gon, "Please?"

Qui-Gon sighed and shook his head, "Oh alright. But just this once, then you're on your own."

For 2 hours Qui-Gon focused on Xanatos, calming his headache and dizziness. When Xanatos had better force control, he focused on his stomach, trying desperately to quell the sickening feeling.

After Xanatos had sufficiently recovered, he dressed and followed Qui-Gon

out the door. Crion would be making his announcement soon, and both wanted to get there early, each for different reasons.

Qui-Gon and Xanatos entered the throne room. Crion was standing, surrounded by guards and his advisors. The advisors were rambling on, trying to get the Governor to listen to reason, which he ignored.

Crion looked up from a datapad and beamed, "Xanatos! Mr. Jinn! Just in time! The people will feel more at ease with two Jedi standing with me when I announce our war preparations."

"One Jedi." Qui-Gon corrected, his face showing sadness.

Crion looked over at Xanatos, surprised. Xanatos said softly, "I told him. He's allowing me some space to make up my mind. My final choice is when it's time to leave."

Qui-Gon spoke up, "I won't hold Xanatos back. He's free to make his own decisions and I will respect them."

Crion bowed his head, "Thank you Mr. Jinn."

One of the advisors interrupted the sorrowful exchange, "Mr. DuCruet, it's time."

Crion acknowledged and took several deep breaths, and looked directly into a small hovering recorder. A small light blinked, showing that it was in sending mode.

Qui-Gon and Xanatos took up position behind the Governor. Soon Crion's face was on every holoscreen and projector, broadcasting his speech all over Telos.

Crion cleared his throat and began, "Fellow Telosians. No doubt you have heard about the Chetol bringing an explosive device to a diplomatic meeting. I have listened to your requests, and I am officially declaring war on Chetol."

Outside, loud cheers filtered up to the room. Millions had gathered and surrounded the manor, awaiting to hear their leaders answer to the assassination attempt. They roared in approval, happy at the prospect of war.

Qui-Gon thought now was as good a time as any to inform the population of Crion's deception. Qui-Gon closed his eyes, knowing once he stepped forward, there would be no turning back. He took a deep breath and stepped forward, addressing the recording device.

"People of Telos. I am Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Knight. I was sent to mediate the treaty renegotiations. Without going into details, the bomb was a false alarm. Governor DuCruet arranged for it to be brought by one of his own people, in hopes that you would be outraged. He has been planning to invade Chetol, and needed you to provide him with the extra troops he needed to carry out his plot." Qui-Gon despised his position, wishing it wasn't his responsibility to alert the people of Telos. "I suggest you return to you homes until Governor DuCruet settles this affair on his own."

Crion stood shocked, completely taken by surprise at the Jedi masters actions. The advisors looked stunned, and stood perfectly still, unsure how to react.

Xanatos snarled, "SHUT UP! You're ruining everything!" He jumped, igniting his lightsaber and slashing the recording device in half to prevent Qui-Gon from continuing. The remote fell to the ground, sparking and hissing. Xanatos glared at his ex-master.

The people outside began to yell chants, and break down the gates that surrounded the manor house. The guards and droids were firing at them, trying to subdue the angry mob.

Crion rushed to the window, "YOU FOOL! The people are rioting! I hope you're happy!"

"The people had to know that you were the one responsible for the sabotage. I don't regret telling them the truth, I do however worry about what consequences these actions will produce." Qui-Gon stared the Governor down.

"Now they will rise against me! Congratulations Jedi, you just cost people their lives! I hope you're proud of yourself!" Crion stormed out, followed by his advisors.

Xanatos stared at Qui-Gon, his hatred clearly shone. "This is all on your head Qui-Gon!" And left the Jedi master to maul over his decision and emotions.

Qui-Gon sighed, his conscious starting to debate the consequences all over again. Part of him wanted the people to calmly choose a new leader and forget about the war with Chetol. He doubted they would. A part of him wished he had remained silent, and yet, if he did remain quiet, how would the Telosian people know of their leaders deception? What about the lives that would be lost because of Crion's crusade? How could he live with himself knowing he had the power and opportunity to stop it?

Qui-Gon went to his room and informed the council on the recent events. He was ordered to remain on Telos to try to get the people to listen to reason. Without blatantly saying it, they accused Qui-Gon of the situations. Yoda even went as far as to rebuke the Jedi master by indirectly pointing out how he thinks with his heart, instead of his head.

Qui-Gon argued that he was only looking out for his padawan and the people of Telos. He was reminded that Xanatos no longer was his responsibility, and he was in on the deception with his father. Xanatos was just as guilty. Qui-Gon fumed, eventually disconnecting the transmission during another disobedience speech.

Later, after a cool down time from the council's upsetting transmission, a more passive master made his way to Xanatos' room. He knocked and heard a muffled voice on the other side, and opened the door.

Qui-Gon burst out laughing at the site that greeted him. Xanatos was laying on the bed, wearing a silk black ensemble, and a seductive grin. A bottle of wine was chilling on ice, and soft music lightly played in the background.

When Qui-Gon entered, Xanatos jumped up, startled, and grabbed a robe to wrap around himself. "Master… I mean, Qui-Gon, what are you doing here?"

Qui-Gon closed the door, and leaned against the wall, trying to steady himself. He gasped between deep laughs, "My goodness Xanatos. I didn't know you cared."

Xanatos furrowed his brow, "This isn't for you. I was expecting someone else."

Qui-Gon got his laughter under control, "Oh, thank the force! I was going to say, all this is unnecessary. I've seen you naked." Qui-Gon laughed again at seeing Xanatos' embarrassed face.

Xanatos flushed a deep red, then put his hands on his hips. "What do you want? Make it quick! I have plans and they DON'T include you."

Qui-Gon seen Xanatos become stern, and explained, "I came to tell you the council ordered us to stay here, and try to smooth out this situtation."

Xanatos raised his eyebrows in surprise, "Us? I'm not a Jedi anymore, remember? I want nothing to do with you or the stupid council!"

Qui-Gon stopped laughing, slightly taken aback. He just though Xanatos would realize that deep down he was a Jedi, but evidently, the Master was wrong. "I'm sorry to hear that. I really hoped that this was a phase, and you'd realize where you belong."

"I AM where I belong! I wish you had never found me! You took me away from the only family I ever knew, away from all the power and wealth my father had. You deprived me from all the things that I was to inherit!" Xanatos was yelling, his midnight blue eyes flaring. "But I'm home now, and you can't take me away again!"

Qui-Gon could only stare, his face falling. Extreme pain wenched his heart, and he wanted to curl up into a ball and die. He stuttered, "Xanatos, how can you say such things? I loved you like a son."

Xanatos scoffed, "Some father you were! You have nothing! No wealth, no power, no status! You have nothing to offer a son! You wanted me to fill the void your pathetic existence has left!"

Tears began to streak down Qui-Gon's cheeks. He whispered, "How can you say that? I offered you all I have. All my love, support, wisdom, hoping that you would pass your trials and be a knight."

"Some legacy!" Xanatos spat. A soft knock came to his door, and he crossed the room to answer it.

Xanatos stepped aside as his servant entered the room. She was wearing a long, white gown that hung around her body, and her blonde hair spilled down over her shoulders. She looked stunned to see Qui-Gon in the room, and bowed her head to him, then turned to face Xanatos.

Xanatos glared over at Qui-Gon, "If you'll excuse us, Qui-Gon."

A guard rushed quickly to the open door, panting, "Mr. DuCruet! Your father needs you immediately! It's about the war."

Xanatos cursed as grabbed his clothes, putting them on hurriedly and rushed out the door. "Stay here!" He ordered as the door slammed shut and clicked, signifying they were locked inside.

The servant girl nodded quietly, and flinched when the chamber door was slammed. She completely forgot about the Jedi Master standing behind her.

"Looks like we're stuck here." Qui-Gon joked softly.

The young lady jumped, and turned around to face the Jedi Master smiling pleasantly at her. She faked a smiled and bowed her head. Her hands trembled as she reached for the straps on her dress, and eased the fabric down, exposing her upper body.

Qui-Gon flushed and quickly added, "You don't have to do that. Please. Put your clothes back on. Really, this isn't necessary."

She stared blankly at him, the material falling completely off and pooling on the floor.

Qui-Gon noted that she was shaking and her body sported marks and bruises. Her wrists, forearms, and breasts were discolored with bruises, and bite marks marred her neck and upper thighs.

Qui-Gon stepped close to her, calling her clothes up onto her body with the force. "Not to worry young one. You are safe. Your body and wishes will be respected."

Her watery eyes spoke her happiness and relief. She bowed her head and a muffled "Thank you" was heard.

Qui-Gon smiled sympathetically at her. He knew what would happen if Xanatos came back, so he thought it best to hide her. He focused on the locking mechanism on the door, and used the force to open it. "If you like, you may wait in my room. It's the last door on the left."

Quickly scanning the hall, she hurried to Qui-Gon's room and disappeared.

Qui-Gon frowned. // Had Xanatos taken advantage of that little thing? Why would he want to? I taught him better than that.// The realization hit, and the heartache from Xanatos' words cut through his soul once again.

Xanatos wasn't a Jedi anymore. He wanted to stay on Telos, with his father. Share the power and glory that came with the title of being the planets leader. Qui-Gon knew that Crion had to be stopped with his plans.

Qui-Gon made for the throne room, his long strides covering the terrain quickly. When he entered, he saw several armed guards inside the room, with backup protecting the outside. Crion was leaning over a large, portable table. Several men flanked him as he gave directions.

"Take the squad and defend this road, keep it safe just in case we have to get out of here in a hurry." Crion ordered. "Have the pilots to take off, and go ahead with the plans to attack Chetol. Now go." The guards saluted and scurried out of the room to carry out their orders.

"Crion!" Qui-Gon's voice echoed in the large room.

Crion glanced up, startled. "What do you want, Jedi?"

Qui-Gon stormed in, standing in front of Crion, "You have a civil war on your hands, and you're STILL wanting to wage war on a neighboring planet? How many lives do you want to endanger, before you realize it's wrong?"

Crion commanding voice rose, "It's because of you and your stupid Jedi ethics that I'm put in this position. The deaths from the civil war are on your head, since you were the one that enraged the people!"

"I'm not the one that deceived these people!" Qui-Gon drew himself up to his full height, towering over Crion. "You're letting greed rule over your judgement. It's going to compromise your position. If you don't stop this now, its going to kill you and your son!"

"MY son! My son is leading the army to wipe out the leaders of the civil war, and put this foolishness to rest!" Crion smirked, knowing that Qui-Gon thought of Xanatos as his own son. It stabbed at the masters heart to hear Crion say Xanatos was his.

"But what about your wife? When you attack Chetol, she will be killed in retaliation." Qui-Gon was outraged at Crion's actions.

Crion smiled evilly and snickered, "Well then, I guess they will just have to kill her. I could care less. One less burden."

Qui-Gon felt like he was going to be sick. "You would allow them to kill your wife? What would Xanatos think about that? You think he will want to fight with you, knowing that You were the one responsible?"

"Oh, he'll be busy avenging his mothers death." Crion said as a matter of factly. "He will fight beside me because he is my son. His knowledge and cunning mind will be invaluable to me. You Jedi trained him well."

"He won't listen! He is a Jedi, NOT a pawn in your sick game!" Qui-Gon was nearly shouting.

"He's my son! When he learns of his poor mother's death, he'll be outraged, and will do anything I ask him to." Crion snapped.

"You're insane." Qui-Gon gasped. He scolded himself for not having seen it earlier. His eyes drifted down to Crion's waist, where the hilt of a gold lightsaber hung. Without taking his eyes off the weapon, he asked, "Where did you get that?"

Crion sneered, placing his hand on his weapon, "Oh this? I've always wanted a gold saber, like you Jedi carry. Xanatos was kind enough to make it for me."

"Only Jedi can carry such a weapon. Xanatos was wrong to make you one. Hand it over." Qui-Gon reiterated.

"Just try and take it!" Crion shouted, his hand drifting down to where his lightsaber was hanging.

With a quick flick of his wrist, Crion held his lightsaber in front of himself, and the golden blade sizzled in the air. "If you leave now, I'll allow you safe passage to a ship. You have nothing in this, Jedi!" He spat the name like a curse.

Qui-Gon's saber was already at the defensive, "When it concerns my padawan, I have every right to be involved. Stop this insane war and peacefully step down as Governor."

The commlink on the table sounded, startling the two combatants. "Governor DuCruet? Sir? The Chetol anticipated our attack. They have killed your wife in retribution. Your son is coming to escort you to safety."

"You may go, but MY son stays with me. We will win this war, and crush the Telosian rebels!" Crion fumed, beginning to fidget with the sabers handle.

Crion grinned at Qui-Gon, showing the Jedi master the evil he had concealed from everyone, "You see Mr. Jinn? It's all working in my favor. Xanatos will gladly help his father avenge his mother's death, and his Jedi training will help me wipe out my enemies!"

"You can't have him!" Qui-Gon snarled. "Don't be foolish! You know I've had more training. Just give me the saber. Don't do something drastic that we both will regret."

"Something like this?" Crion asked nonchalantly, then lunged at the Jedi Master. The gold blade slashed through the air, not making any contact.

Qui-Gon had sensed Crion's intentions, and sidestepped the blow. It hissed dangerously through the air as Crion retracted to a defensive posture.

Crion handled his weapon skillfully, and taunted Qui-Gon, "I won't be an easy victim, Mr. Jinn. I have had extensive training with swords."

"Crion! This is futile! Just hand over the lightsaber and I won't kill you." Qui-Gon shouted, ducking a swing to the head.

Crion swung at Qui-Gon's head, then spun, dropping low to clip the Jedi's legs. Neither blow made contact as Qui-Gon ducked and backflipped out of the way.

Qui-Gon's saber rose up, blocking an attack to his left side, then somersaulted high over Crion's head, landing a safe distance away. "Crion, this is stupid. I will not attack my padawan's father!"

Crion was getting tired of Qui-Gon evasive maneuvers and grinned, "But I have no problems killing my son's teacher!"

In that moment, Qui-Gon knew that Crion's evil would destroy everything around him. It Qui-Gon didn't stop him, Crion would even destroy his son. "If Xanatos knew the monster you have become, he wouldn't have anything to do with you, or your war. He would help me to stop you!"

"Blood is thicker than any Jedi bond." Crion snarled, then faked a swing and thrust his saber at Qui-Gon's stomach.

Qui-Gon spun to avoid being impaled, but Crion followed through with a slash, the blade cut through Qui-Gon's clothes and singed his side.

Qui_Gon flinched and brought his saber around, slicing downwards and lightly touching Crion's arm.

Crion's shirt burned and the skin welted up from the sting. He hissed and clutched his wrist in pain. With his head down, he panted, then, like a wild animal, he snarled and lunged at Qui-Gon.

Qui-Gon parried Crion's attack, knowing that the only way this confrontation would end, when one of them dies.

Jumping up to avoid the deadly blade, Qui-Gon landed, crouched down and slashed upwards, searing Crion across the chest.

Crion cried out, staggering back. A shadow was growing closer towards them, the shadow was of Xanatos' hurrying form.

Noticing the shadow, Crion seen Qui-Gon advance towards him, saber ready to deliver the killing blow. Crion could feel his life draining away with the blood that stained his midsection. He threw his saber to the corner and put his hands up in front of himself, showing surrender. He screamed out, "Please! I am unarmed!"

Qui-Gon's blade was already soaring through the air, slicing diagonally, cutting deep into Crion's body. Qui-Gon's saber left a trail of carnage behind it. Severing fingers on Crion's left hand, opening up his ribcage, exposing the ribs, and severing the right arm at the elbow.

Crion's body fell to the ground, blood gushing out of several wounds. He sputtered, gasped, and finally his lifeless body relaxed on the cold floor.

Xanatos entered just in time to see his master strike down his father. Xanatos screamed, "No! Father!"

Xanatos rushed to his father's side, tears streaming down his face. He knelt beside his father's now cooling body, whispering, "Please. Don't die. Please father. I love you." Xanatos cradled Crion's head in his lap, fighting back the sobs that so desperately wanted to escape.

"I'm sorry Xanatos, but he left me no choice." Qui-Gon softly apologized, deactivating his saber.

"YOU!…" Xanatos glared up at Qui-Gon, his eyes now clouded with hatred. "He was unarmed! How could you?"

"He wanted you to stay with him and use your Jedi training to wage war on Chetol, and to kill the Telosian rebels. I couldn't let that happen. He had to be stopped." Qui-Gon bowed his head sadly.

Xanatos looked down, fighting back the tears and pain. He spotted his fathers severed fingers, and the ring that still glowed red from Qui-Gon's saber. Xanatos removed the ring, the underside fairly cool from the attack. He pressed the C against his right cheek, directly under his eye.

Xanatos didn't even flinch as the broken circle marred his once smooth cheek. A single tear escaped the corner of his eyes, dropped and sizzled away on the scorching surface.

Qui-Gon could only stare in disbelief at his padawan's actions. He cringed, hearing the flesh under the ring sizzle away. Looking directly into his master's eyes, Xanatos said, "This is a symbol of what You have taken away from me. First my home, title, inheritance, and now my father. You will pay for what you have done."

Qui-Gon felt pain and hatred decend upon him, shrouding him in darkness. His mind screamed of revenge and malice. Qui-Gon inhaled sharply, wincing at the dark emotions he was sharing with Xanatos through their still existent bond.

Qui-Gon cut the training bond, allowing his senses to regain their composure. He stuttered out, "Xanatos, please. It was necessary. Your father was dangerous and had to be stopped."

Xanatos got a firm grip on his lightsaber and jumped igniting the blade. "Don't think I don't know the real reason you did this!"

"Xanatos! What are you talking about?" Qui-Gon asked, shocked that his apprentice could draw his weapon on him.

"I knew you were jealous of the relationship I had with my father. You hated seeing him wealthy and powerful, knowing that I would inherit his position! You tried to hold me back!" Xanatos lunged at Qui-Gon slashing wildly.

Qui-Gon parried Xanatos' thrusts, spinning to avoid contact. Qui-Gon was reluctant to retaliate, but then remembered the disturbing emotions that filtered through the training bond. Opening himself up to the force, Qui-Gon sensed, for the first time, the evil that embodied his padawan.

"What's the matter, Master?" Xanatos sneered out the last part. "Finally opened your eyes and seen what I've become? What You created?"

Qui-Gon got over the shock, suddenly the force pulsed around him, warning him that he had to forget the past. His once ally, was now his enemy, and had to be stopped.

Qui-Gon leaped over Xanatos' head, swinging his lightsaber in his wake. He heard Xanatos curse as the blade made contact on his shoulder and slice into the skin and bone.

Xanatos anticipated Qui-Gon's move and tried to spin to evade the weapon, but Qui-Gon extended his reach and made contact. Qui-Gon's foot came up, meeting Xanatos' jaw, and knocking the younger man back.

Qui-Gon huffed, "Stop this now Xanatos! Your father isn't worth turning to the dark side for!"

Xanatos grinned, pivoted and swiped low, aiming to make contact with Qui-Gon's legs. Qui-Gon jumped, but Xanatos followed through, spinning completely around, intending to decapitate his former master. Qui-Gon didn't duck in time, and Xanatos' saber burned a line on his head, the heat of the blade cauterized the wound. The smell of burnt hair filled the air.

Qui-Gon retaliated, swinging left to right, and backing Xanatos into a corner. "Please Xanatos, come back home. Forget about your father, he isn't worth this heartache."

Xanatos snapped, "I Am home! But my father was all I had left, and you took him away! We would have taken our revenge on Chetol for killing my mother!"

Xanatos swiped Qui-Gon's legs out from under him, but the Jedi master rebounded, and flipped several times, coming to rest on the opposite side of the room. He was able to take a couple of deep breaths, before Xanatos advanced towards him, saber rose high above his head.

"Your father told me he sent her there hoping they would kill her!" Qui-Gon shouted back, his green saber clashed with Xanatos' red one. The air was becoming electrified and sweat poured off the two locked in battle.

"LIAR!" Xanatos screamed, thrusting the saber at Qui-Gon's midsection. The saber made contact on Qui-Gon's left side, the ribs deflecting the blade away, and a huge wound gushed bright crimson.

Qui-Gon gasped and clutched his side, trying to reduce the bleeding. He backed up, trying to compose himself to muster up enough energy for an attack.

"I swear to you Xanatos." Qui-Gon panted, calling on the force to aid him. "He explained he sent your mother to Chetol in hopes they would kill her, to make you want to stay and fight with him."

Xanatos' deep blue eyes regarded his former master, then malevolence shown. "You'll say anything to keep me from killing you! You'll cover up the truth with your jealous lies, hoping I'll come back to you. Well, I won't! You'll just have to kill me!"

Qu-Gon thrust his saber at Xanatos' head, then swung low, hoping to make contact with Xanatos' leg. Xanatos ducked, then swerved, bringing his knee up and impacting the Jedi master in the ribs on the uninjured side. Qui-Gon lost his breath, but used the momentum to put all his weight into a hit, and followed through with a low chop. Xanatos' cried out as his wrist snapped, his saber flying across the room.

Xanatos back flipped over Qui-Gon's head. He didn't have to regain his footing before Qui-Gon's saber made contact with his hip, cutting deep into the muscles. Xanatos stumbled backwards, tripping over his father's body and toppled to the floor on his back. His head hit the floor, temporally dazing him. His hand fell on his fathers side, and rested on a dagger hidden among the fabric.

Qui-Gon only meant to cripple Xanatos, hoping to take him back to the Temple, for rehabilitation if possible. He heard a dull thud and Xanatos moan, his body becoming limp. A deep gash poured bright crimson freely, the blood beginning to form a puddle under the fallen padawans hip.

Qui-Gon stood over Xanatos, his saber drawn for the killing blow, but a part of him screamed at the thought of killing someone who was like a son. He remembered all the good times, the laughs, the heartaches, the long talks, all the pride he felt when Xanatos accomplished a goal. Qui-Gon lowered his saber and deactivated it. A tear slid silently down his cheek. His heart ached at the thought of ending it this way.

Xanatos' head started to clear and through cloudy eyes, he saw Qui-Gon put his weapon away. Qui-Gon was seemingly fighting with the guilt of killing his apprentice. Xanatos knew how to play on that, and began to groan. He rolled over on his side, towards his father's body. His hand quietly pulled the dagger from its hiding place. He groggily called out, 'Master? Master where are you?"

Qui-Gon knelt down at Xanatos' side, placing a hand on the young mans shoulder. "I'm here padawan." The force swirled, warning him of danger.

Xanatos shot up, swiping the dagger at Qui-Gon's throat. The force warned Qui-Gon ahead of time, and he was already moving out of the way. But he wasn't fast enough, and the dagger slashed a deep cut along his lower jawbone.

Xanatos sneered, "You weak fool!" and rolled over gingerly to his knees.

Qui-Gon fell back, grasping his jaw trying to stop the bleeding. Xanatos buried the dagger into Qui-Gon's knee, ensuring the master would be immobilized while he made his escape. Xanatos painfully pulled himself to his feet and started towards the door. He called his saber to his hand and laughed over his shoulder as he left. "You should have killed me when you had the chance! You will regret this! Until we meet again, Master."

Qui-Gon gritted his teeth, pulling the dagger out of his knee. Pain shot through him as the dagger severed tendons and ligaments. The blade scrapped across bone, earning a deep growl from his throat.

Heat began to build within him, and his hands started to shake uncontrollably. He called on the force and unsteadily rose to his feet and made for the door, knowing there will be no hesitating this time. He WOULD kill Xanatos. He called Crion's dispensed lightsaber from the corner, to his hand, and attached it to his belt.

Focusing the force with all his might to ease the pain, Qui-Gon hobbled down the hall, following the trail of blood that Xanatos left behind. An occasional bloody handprint was on the walls, signally Xanatos resting his battered body.

Qui-Gon followed the trail to the hanger bay. The blood suddenly stopped, as if Xanatos has disappeared into thin air, and Xanatos' padawan braid laid in the floor, from where he hastily sheared it off. Qui-Gon knew it was a statement, and seen the marks left behind from a transport that had been waiting. He sighed in defeat and remembered Xanatos' words from earlier, "I always have a backdoor."

The room began to spin and the Jedi master collapsed to the floor. A pain in his chest, not physical, but emotional, kept him from drifting down into unconsciousness. It felt like his heart was torn from his body, but somehow, by the force, he remained alive. Suffering with the emptiness that shrouded him, a hallow echo of the man he once was.

Qui-Gon became aware, a few hours later, of being surrounded. His head felt like it was filled with cotton, his hearing warping in and out. Some words he understood and heard clearly, others seemed to fade and be faint. His head lulled on the docking bay floor, the coolness unnoticeable compared to the coldness in his heart.

One of the Telosian fighters ordered for a healer, which came immediately to the fallen Jedi's side. The healer informed the gathered crowd that the Jedi had been poisoned, and the fighters began to help the healer stop the bleeding and counteract the poison.

Soon, Qui-Gon felt his mind clear, but pain alerted him to his condition. When he was able, he sat up, looking into the faces that saved his life. "Thank you for your help" Though silently he wished they would have let him go.

"You are welcome." A younger man said. "I'm sorry, but our medicine isn't very advanced. I stopped most of the bleeding, but that dagger was poisoned, and you still have the majority of its toxins in your system. I've only slowed it down some, and bought you some time."

Qui-Gon was helped to his feet and a stout young man help support him on his bad side. "I need to return to Coruscant. The Jedi healers can take care of the poison, and heal my physical wounds."

"I can take him." A tall woman kindly spoke. "It will take a little over a day to reach it, even with our fastest transport. But the sooner he gets there, the sooner he'll be cured."

"But he can't survive the trip." The healer said. "The counter agent I gave him will only retard the chemicals for so long. They will wear off before you get there. He needs medical attention as soon as possible."

Qui-Gon interrupted the exchange, "I can use the force to stabilize myself until I reach Coruscant. Please. I must leave immediately."

The woman added, "He's right. He's stabilized as much as we can get him, and we can't cure that type of poison. He needs the Jedi Healers."

The young leader nodded and two of the rebels helped Qui-Gon board a transport. Soon the small vessel was leaving Telosian airspace and headed for Coruscant.

Qui-Gon was settled into a bed and constantly watched over by the Telosian rebels that accompanied him. He put himself into a deep meditative trance, slowing down the poison in his system. Truth be known, he wished it would speed its way along and allow him to pass into the force.

When Qui-Gon awoke, he found himself surrounded by Temple healers. The pain in his body was relieved, but there was still the emotional void in his soul. One of the healers smiled and said reassurances, "The Telosian rebels filled us in on what they knew… if it wasn't for them, you'd be dead…" but Qui-Gon looked blankly ahead, staring sadly into nothingness. The support healers left, leaving the senior healer to deal with the patient.

"Not to worry. The poison is neutralized and we were able to heal your injuries. There is a problem however…" The healer didn't know if Qui-Gon was even listening, but continued. "The poison has a side effect. It discolored the skin and made healing difficult. You will always have the yellowish-gold color around your knee and jawbone, and a small scar, where the skin was trying to heal itself before you got here."

Qui-Gon nodded his understanding and rolled over, putting his back to the healer. The healer sighed sympathetically and left Qui-Gon alone with his demons.

Master Yoda meet the healer at Qui-Gon's door, "Fine will he be?"

The healer shook her head, "The physical wounds are healed, except for the poisons effect on coloring his skin. But I don't know if he will emotionally heal. Right now, he needs to sort through everything that's happened and get some rest."

"Turned to the dark side, Xanatos did. Attacked his master and shunned the Jedi, he did." Yoda sighed softly.

The healer glanced over to the form in the bed, "That means he shared Xanatos' mind when he turned. I can't imagine the mental anguish he's going through right now."

"Recover he will. Strong and stubborn, he is. Very stubborn, yes." Yoda looked into his former padawan's room.

"It will be about two weeks before I release him from my care. He needs to rest and rehab his broken body. And spirit." The healer said.

"Return tomorrow I will. Needs to know someone is here to help, he does. Take care of my padawan once again, I will." Yoda informed the healer, then started down the hall. His gimer stick making the familiar tap on the floor.

The healer watched as Qui-Gon's shoulders began to shake, and soft sobs filled the air. Tears ran down her face, sharing the heartache with the vulnerable master. She closed the door to give him some privacy, and left the weeping master to his grief.

Over the next two weeks, Qui-Gon made steady progress and his strength was returning. Yoda visited everyday, keeping Qui-Gon company with stories and updates about everything that went on in the temple.

Qui-Gon never spoke, and rarely ate. Most time was spent sleeping or looking out the window as Yoda droned on and on during his many visitations. A soft beard grew out and covered the masters face, hiding the scar and discoloration along his jawbone.

The healers tried several times to get him to speak, but the master only nodded his answers and looked away bewildered. They reluctantly released Qui-Gon from the medward, arguing with Yoda that Qui-Gon needed to talk to a soul healer. But Yoda insisted that Qui-Gon would be fine, and ordered everyone to leave him alone, allowing Qui-Gon the chance to decide when it was time to talk about what happened.

Qui-Gon bowed his head to the healers to thank them for their help and kindness. He even managed a weak smile and started down the hall to leave.

Turning the corner, he accidentally bumped into two young initiates, knocking one to the floor. The one on the floor was a small humanoid male, and the other was a small Calamarian female, that was helping the boy up. Both looked to be about 3 or 4 standard years old.

Qui-Gon nodded, wanting to get away as quickly as possible, but a sniffle drew his attention back to the children. Upon closer inspection, revealed the little boy holding his arm protectively. Deep bruising marred the forearm, and a welt was centered amongst the bruise. Bright blue eyes stared back at the master, one eye partially swollen shut. It was obvious the kid had been beat up.

Qui-Gon felt sadness and fear coming from the little boy. He smiled and kneeled down to be eye level with the youth. "I really am sorry little one. I didn't mean to hurt you."

The little initiate sniffled again, tears streaming down his face. The Calamarian girl put her arms around him to console him and addressed Qui-Gon, "Everyone teases him for being so small. He gets hurt. But no one ever said they were sorry before."

Qui-Gon smiled and caressed the boys tears stained cheek, "Don't worry. One day, you'll be as big as me, and no one will be able hurt you again."

Qui-Gon rose to leave, but the little boy reached out, and touched the master's face. He said in a low voice, "Just because you're big, doesn't mean you can't be hurt. You hurt too, don't you?"

Blue eyes looked deep into blue eyes as a silent exchange went on.

Qui-Gon slightly nodded and whispered, "Yes."

The little boy frowned, then wrapped his arms around the masters neck, being careful of his injured arm. Qui-Gon was shocked, but nonetheless, allowed the youngster to embrace him. The little boy released Qui-Gon and started back down the hall with his companion.

Qui-Gon rose, a sense of peace overcame him. A part of him felt better, and he left the medical wing with a new sense of purpose. His troubled mind seemed renewed and a feeling of hope arose in him.

When they were far enough away, the girl looked at her young friend, surprised. "I wonder who that was?"

The little boy smiled, though it hurt his bruised face. "That was my master."

A healer seen the two enter and the condition of the small boy. She exclaimed, "Kenobi! Now what happened to you?"

The end