This repost is due to the interest of some readers who have contacted me recently about not be able to find this or its sequel Remnants in the Mind. Intending they would never again see the light of day, I pulled both stories last year for personal reasons: I had grown increasingly uncomfortable with the subject matter--a subject not to be lightly dealt with--and I would prefer to never again write about. But I suppose a story is meant to be read, and I'm not at all putting them up again for reviews. Read them if you want--or if you don't want to read them, don't. :) Both stories are up. No changes have been made; they are the same stories they were when posted in mid 2002.
TITLE: SILENT SHATTERING
TIME: 7 years pre-TPM, Obi-Wan is 18
RATING: R (Subject matter)
SUMMARY: Obi-Wan is totally devastated after a horrific attack. When will he tell Qui-Gon of the assault?
ARCHIVE: Please ask first.
DISCLAIMER: All recognizable characters are the property of Lucasfilm Limited. All the rest belong to me. I receive absolutely no profit from this.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is NOT a slash story. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are both heterosexual and will remain that way throughout the entire story. Dreams are italicized.
WARNING: THIS STORY DEALS WITH ATTEMPTED RAPE/SEXUAL ASSAULT. IF THIS SUBJECT BOTHERS YOU, THEN PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS.
I feel hesitant to post this because of the gravity of such a situation. But, I've tried to handle it in a respectful manner. So, please be nice.
CHAPTER 1 - MOURNING INTO NIGHT
A sable mantle of night slipped over the five colossal Jedi Temple spires stretching far into the atmosphere of Coruscant, bringing the entire Temple to a standstill for a brief pause - a nod to the gloom and doom that penetrates the course of life. It was not a night of joy, of peace, of celebration, or of anything that brightens the heart. Rather, it was a night of mourning and sadness, and of all the emotions that plague the soul - death's sobering knock demanding an entrance, never coy enough to wait. Claiming the last trailing vestiges of daylight, nocturne swept every corner that fought to retain the last evidence of the sun - and the brightness of day vanished.
In one particular place of the Temple, on this particular night, there was a grand assembly. All the esteemed Jedi masters and councilors and senior padawan's, and all those who had any respect for greatness gathered for one purpose - to pay final respect to a man in the style of a Jedi obsequy.
Crackling softly, flames flickered from the funeral pyre. All else fell silent - perhaps fearful of raising voice or mournful cry. As a mysterious haze settled over the ceremony of Dajer Quaykin, all those present silently came to terms with the man's passing.
He was not a Jedi. He had never been. But as well respected and loved as he was by them - especially Qui-Gon Jinn - it seemed very appropriate to honor the man with a Jedi funeral.
Eerie orange light glimmered across the face of Obi-Wan Kenobi - his hood-framed face strangely bright despite the fall of night. He could sense the darkling tendrils of death snaking through the crowd, hissing its vile threats. Yet, it was the sight before him that left him dazed.
He pulled his eyes from the leaping flames, to glance over the faces of those present, pausing over each one there - noting the solemn visages. Stopping on one particular - and one very familiar - face, the young Jedi apprentice felt his heart wrench. The man's midnight blue eyes, usually intense, now appeared hollow - darker than normal. His facial features were drawn and weary. The depth of the despair present there overpowered any impulse to destroy the image of the one that those feelings were reserved for.
But how could so many be so... wrong? A sudden nausea washed over the young man as he tore his eyes away, unable to comprehend this madness that had consumed his world. Perhaps he had entered his own hell, to suffer for what evils he had done. Even his pure heart must have some corruption hidden deep within. And now he would pay...
Offering a breathtaking view of the immense Coruscant cityscape, the transparisteel windows gleamed with the intense light of the morning sun - crisp and clear. Sunbeams broke through the windows, spilling across the floor in a quiet hush - sending shadows retreating, intimidated by the sparkling display.
Strolling along one of the Temple's observation decks, a master and an apprentice studied the waking world outside. Small transports, large freighters, transits, and hot rod speeders - among other vehicles - flew by silently, passively, catching and reflecting sunrays - flashing glistening, shining metals and alloys. A new day sprang to life outside.
The two figures walked side by side. Their matching brown robes swayed gently with their gait, briefly revealing khaki, tan, and brown colored clothes beneath. Tall, with long brown hair graying at the roots, a beard, and intense, deep blue eyes set in a face of leonine features, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn's appearance was that of an ancient warrior poised to easily overpower any foe. His young apprentice, eighteen-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi, was average in height and build - and therefore dwarfed by his towering master. But the young man was not dwarfed in spirit - for Obi-Wan possessed a spirit of grace and quiet reflection, and his keen sense of purity of mind and sensitive heart drove his selfless actions. His aquamarine eyes were caressed by a handsome face - topped off with short, ginger hair and a long padawan braid snaking from behind his right ear.
Beckoned by the outside view, Qui-Gon steered toward the windows. He leaned upon the handrail there, staring out at the city the Jedi call home. Following his lead, his apprentice approached the windows. They stood there in silence, the dazzling light capturing them both.
"Obi-Wan?" the tall Jedi's voice strained, his eyes never leaving the view.
Turning to his master, Obi-Wan quietly said, "yes, Master?" He was not sure what Qui-Gon was about to bring up, but he had a good idea.
"Obi-Wan, how was Dajer... just before he," Qui-Gon paused, nearly unable to say the word, "before he fell," he quickly finished, stumbling over the last word.
Looking back out the windows, Obi-Wan tightened his mental shields, barricading them against any imposition his master might make. The young man's eyes turned dark. Closing them, he attempted to hide any clue as to what boiled beneath his exterior. If only it had not happened. If only it had been someone else besides himself. If only he did not have to keep his master from knowing what really happened. Then... then he would not hurt so deeply inside.
"Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon faced his padawan, staring at him - the young man's comely features illuminated unstained purity by the sunlight.
Glancing at his master, Obi-Wan saw the deep pain imbedded there in his eyes, knowing that he had contributed to - caused - that. "Master, please," came his voice, desolate.
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon's voice was more intent, yet serene. "You haven't said much about what happened." He turned back to the window, sighing. "Please. Tell me," he quietly pleaded.
Swallowing with difficulty, Obi-Wan started softly, "Master, Mister Quaykin..." he could not say it.
"Fell. I know," Qui-Gon interrupted. "You've already told me that. But tell me what else happened. He was my friend, Obi-Wan. I want you to tell me," he finished, almost begging.
Obi-Wan was sure his master suspected nothing. But why did he have to be so insistent? Running a trembling hand through his hair, the padawan reached to the Force for calm. It came with difficulty, feeling filtered and hollow.
"Master," he started again. "I was bringing Mister Quaykin from the spaceport's lobby. He followed me all the way to the speeder garage where the speeder was parked."
As he continued, his mind wandered, and he found himself adrift - his consciousness blanking out on him, leaving him like a programmed droid making a report. Where was his mind? Why did he blank out this way? It was not that he was unaware of what had happened, rather he remembered it all too clearly. And he told nothing new each time that Qui-Gon asked him about it. Nevertheless, his master pleaded with him to recount it over and over again - as if it were something new. But he could never break his master's heart by telling him that his precious friend tried to...
But what if he did tell and no one even believed him? What if Master Qui-Gon dismissed it as... exaggeration? lying? Why should anyone believe him? Why should Qui-Gon believe him? Dajer Quaykin was a great man... in their eyes.
It was not that the young Jedi could not have saved Quaykin. The man was dangling off the side of a railing with Obi-Wan standing over him. If he had been just a little faster, just a little more focused - rather than lost in the confusion that Quaykin's attack on him had caused - then Quaykin would be alive today. He felt responsible for that one death - that one death that brought such pain to his master. If there was anyway he could have traded his life for Quaykin's - to restore Qui-Gon's joy, to escape his own guilt - he would have done so without hesitation.
But what puzzled the padawan most of all was why this man was so esteemed by the Jedi. Obi-Wan had heard of the great deeds that Quaykin had supposedly done - and Qui-Gon backed it all up. But, how could this be the same man? The evil man that held a knife to Obi-Wan's throat could not possibly be the one that all the Jedi masters revered. But an autopsy confirmed beyond any doubt that it was.
Thinking back to that day, Obi-Wan remembered vividly how the man pulled the knife on him, pushing him down on the duracrete in the speeder garage. And then held him down with the knife to his throat. Taken completely by surprise, the young Jedi was quickly overpowered, unable to put up a defense until too late. Under the man's power, his mind was set adrift - clouded and numbed. Sometime after the man started talking to him and touching him, he regained his senses and managed to grab the man's hand that held the knife and send it clattering across the ground. Then there was a brief struggle, during which Quaykin lost his balance - because of a Force-push - and slipped over the edge of the speeder garage's railing. However, he was able to grab the railing and hold on for a moment before plummeting far below to lower levels.
"He was such a good friend," Qui-Gon said distantly, after Obi-Wan finished - not - telling Qui-Gon everything. How it broke the young man's heart every time his master said something like that.
Initially, Obi-Wan told the authorities that Quaykin fell, and no more. His mind was in such a state of shock, that he could tell no more. And the authorities asked no more. No one suspected anything out of the ordinary. Then when he arrived back at the Temple, he was questioned and questioned until he was so exhausted that Qui-Gon sent him to bed. And still no one knew.
It seemed that the events were immediately locked up deep inside him - he was unable to talk about them or even to open up his shields so that another could look within to see what had really happened. As the days passed it became increasingly difficult to bring up the subject. He felt that he would never be able to release his feelings or thoughts about that nightmare. It would forever remain buried deep within.
Unsure of how much longer he could bear this burden, Obi-Wan tried to not think of anything - but to empty his mind completely and make it through each day as it came. As difficult as each new day was, the padawan managed to make it... somehow. But he could not help but feel like he was becoming less himself each day, torn and weathered inside, where his heart was... silently shattering - mutely screaming for rescue.
A large hand fell on his shoulder abruptly, breaking him out of his pondering. He turned his eyes to the man beside him. Qui-Gon stared intently at him.
"Obi-Wan," his voice was gentle. "I need to speak with Dajer's family concerning his death. I want you to accompany me to his home planet."
Obi-Wan's breath caught in his throat. No, he did not want to go there. He did not want to ever have anything to do with THAT man ever again. Realizing that his hands were clutching the window railing tightly, he dropped his eyes to the floor, grappling for the Force to calm his unsteady nerves.
Qui-Gon was left facing the sun-kissed, golden silk of his padawan's hair, with the young man's face hidden from sight. Sensing his padawan's uneasiness, he reached down, tipping Obi-wan's chin up with his hand, lifting the young man's face into view. Now, Qui-Gon could see his face - but his gaze remained downcast. "Obi-Wan," the Jedi master whispered. "What is bothering you?"
"Nothing, Master," Obi-Wan answered quietly, closing his eyes completely. He checked and rechecked his shields, but they were bolstered beyond appeal. But, he knew that even if he tried to open them, throwing open every floodgate to let every secret out, there would still be that one thing lying there, rooted deep within, smoldering, growing, until it consumed that innocent soul that was chosen as its host - its victim. That one thing he himself could not release - could not show to anyone - was a weed slowly sucking out the life of a precious, beloved flower.
Reaching out to touch Obi-Wan's mind, Qui-Gon bumped unexpectedly into the young man's barricaded shields, unable to enter his mind. "Is it Dajer's death, Obi-Wan?" he questioned, unsure. Perhaps, Obi-Wan was still upset about Dajer's death, Qui-Gon reasoned. The young man knew his master loved Dajer as a brother and felt bad for him, and Obi-Wan was with the man when he died.
"Yes, Master," the padawan lied. Opening his eyes, he forced air into his lungs, to quell his lightheadedness.
"We all still hurt from it, Obi-Wan. But time will heal our wounds." Letting go of his padawan's chin, Qui-Gon turned away from the windows. "We will leave tomorrow, Obi-Wan," he said, starting down the corridor, assuming his padawan would follow. "Jaross is not far from here. So, it won't take long to get there. We'll take a commercial liner, since this is not official business."
Numbly, Obi-Wan trudged after his master - his mind nervously spun adrift, searching for... something... to save it from itself.
"Where were you when this happened?
"At the speeder garage, bay 16, n-near the Western spaceport."
"Alright. We'll file a report. Do you need a ride back to the Jedi Temple?"
"No, sir. I have a speeder."
"Know you, how Dajer Quaykin fell? Hmmm?"
"He... he lost his balance as he was leaning over a railing and... he fell."
"I can't believe Dajer's dead. He was such a good friend."
"I'm sorry... Master. I... I'm sorry."
"I can't believe he's... dead."
Turning onto his back, the padawan opened his eyes, seeing the room was dark. It was still night. He took several deep breaths to slow his racing heartbeat. The nightmares came every night, not always the same, but they were always there - intruding, demanding entrance. The nature of the dreams changed, too. Sometimes they entailed the aftermath of the ordeal - answering questions, seeing Qui-Gon's saddened face - or sometimes they were terrorizing relivings of Quaykin's assault - all too real, too personal. He would feel the man's hands all over him - touching, abusing, threatening - and hear the ripping of his tunic.
Closing his eyes again, Obi-Wan reached to the Force for comfort. He rolled onto his side, curling into a fetal position, grappling for any sense of security.
Knocking on the bedroom door, the tall Jedi master waited patiently for any sign of his padawan moving about. He pressed his ear against the door. There was no sound, so he reached out with the Force to touch the young man's mind, finding it blissfully adrift in slumber. Looking at his wrist-chrono, he wondered just how late his padawan would sleep. It was past time for their morning workout. Surely the young man was not going to sleep all day. Qui-Gon had waited in the training rooms nearly an hour for Obi-Wan to show up. When he decided he would go to his padawan's quarters and see what was keeping him, he did not expect to find his padawan still in bed.
With determination, Qui-Gon opened the bedroom door and marched to the side of the sleep couch. Obi-Wan was curled up on his side, sheets twisted possessively around him, with his face nearly concealed from view - his short, spiky hair tousled and strikingly soft and silky against the pillow.
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon gently said. He did not want to rudely awaken the young man, but it WAS late. "Obi-Wan," he called again - slightly louder.
Stirring faintly, Obi-Wan mumbled something imperceptible. His face turned towards Qui-Gon, his eyes remaining closed - dark eyelashes soft and feathery upon his cheeks.
Gripping the young man's blanket, Qui-Gon gently tugged it down to Obi-Wan's waist. With that, the young Jedi mumbled something else while creasing his forehead. Qui-Gon, then, gently shook his padawan's shoulder several times, until the young man turned his back towards him. Now the master was beyond gentility. Qui-Gon rested his hands on his hips, planning his next attack against the sleeping padawan.
With a new revelation, he crouched down at the side of the sleep couch. Taking hold of the crisp sheet that covered the couch's mattress, the Jedi master loosened it all around. Next, he gripped generous amounts of the sheet firmly in each hand, and took a slow, deep breath, preparing himself. Then, he quickly yanked the sheet back as sharply as he could, managing to pull the sheet, the blankets, the pillow, and the padawan all off on the floor - landing in a dull thud... and a moan. Finally emerging from a horizontal position, Obi-Wan sat up weakly - his eyelashes fluttering.
"Didn't you sleep well last night, Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon beamed cheerily, feigning innocence.
Glancing up into his master's bright eyes, Obi-Wan quickly looked away. "No, Master. I didn't," he admitted, annoyed by his master's not very subtle way of waking him. Quickly, he reached out to the Force to release his un-Jedi-like emotions before he regretted what he might say.
"You're late for practice," Qui-Gon said, a slight amount of scolding coming through in his tone.
He watched as the young Jedi freed himself from the knots of blankets and sheet. Very deliberate in his actions, Obi-Wan finally stood up and met his master's gaze. "I know," his voice was heavy in irritation. He looked away again, silently berating himself for his rebellious attitude toward Qui-Gon.
Sensing the inner battle, the tall Jedi backed off of his deprecation, allowing Obi-Wan to cool down. "Get ready to leave for Jaross. We'll leave as soon as you're ready," Qui-Gon informed his padawan. Then, he turned and silently left the room.
Catching himself rolling his eyes after the departed master, Obi-Wan reached again to the calming, tranquil waves of the Force. He needed to lose himself in it right now - before he went off on that very tall, very calm Jedi in the other room. He knew that even if he did break into a tirade, Qui-Gon would simply stand there patiently, until he had exhausted himself, then would tell the padawan why he was wrong - all the while keeping a serene demeanor.
Entering the 'fresher, Obi-Wan locked the door behind him. There he fell to his knees in the middle of the room. As he sank into meditation a silent tear slid down his cheek.
The 'Starstreamer' left no room for those without reservations. That is... unless you were a Jedi master with connections to rival a Hutt. And Qui-Gon Jinn had one such connection in a very good friend of his who just happened to own the spacious luxury liner. Outside, the ship exhibited sleek design and cutting-edge mechanics. Its main hull glistened a pale, metallic blue with light lavender glimmering accessory panels. On the inside, the passenger liner flaunted wealth and a taste for over-extravagance. But its ostentatious style never fell to gaudiness or vulgarity. On the contrary, it spoke of fine, cultured elegance - a trait that made it very highly regarded within the circles of the rich.
Qui-Gon and his padawan, Obi-Wan, followed a valet droid, who had insisted on carrying their rather light luggage to their guest suite. The rolling droid pulled a long cart behind it, having more than enough room for the two Jedi's small travel bags - a frivolous gesture of the etiquette of the wealthy, but, nevertheless, genuinely polite.
After the droid left the suite, Obi-Wan looked the place over, enamored by its beauty. The main room displayed finely-crafted furnishings - regal purple upholstered chairs, richly-carved tables, floral-splashed lamps, all dripping with golden accents. Two side rooms splurged with large, canopied beds - sheer, light, lavender trimming streamed down each bedpost. And an azure-marble adorned 'fresher rounded out the suite.
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon's voice carried from one of the bedrooms.
The padawan left the main room, entering the bedroom claimed by his master. "Yes, Master?" he answered, seeing Qui-Gon pulling down the bed's lavender silky covering.
"I'm going to take a short nap," Qui-Gon informed him. "You may do as you wish."
"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan replied.
"I'm glad you're with me on this trip, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said as he turned to him, resting his large hand on his padawan's shoulder. The tall man stared into Obi-Wan's attentive eyes, his sincerity evident. "I... need you to help me. This will not be easy. Dajer's family has been informed of his death, but they need to be told the details in person."
Obi-Wan's gaze fell to the floor. No, he did not want to have to tell about it again. Master Qui-Gon would not make him, would he? He silently pleaded to the Force to prevent that from happening.
Qui-Gon ducked his head slightly, trying to keep his padawan's eyes focused on himself. "Obi-Wan?" he prodded.
The young man's eyes lifted to meet his master's again. Only now, pain clearly shone in their luminous depths. There appeared to be no way to escape this life of torment. His weary heart still ached from the never-ending misery of that one, dreadful night only days before. And every day brought a fresh struggle to escape the stinging tentacles of doom wrought from Hell's pit.
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon's voice grew compassionate. "I know that you are tired of talking about it, but..." he paused, seeing Obi-Wan's eyes tear up. "Dajer's family deserves to hear what happened just before he died. Please... do this for me... one last time," he asked. He had seen the weariness in his padawan of having to repeat the story again and again. And he knew - belatedly - that he had pushed the padawan to that.
Nodding his head, the padawan quietly answered, "yes, Master." He would do what his master wanted - whatever he asked of him, no matter what it may be, no matter how painful. Obi-Wan would honor Qui-Gon's request to the best of his ability - even if he were destroyed inside. The vile darkness rooted deep within cruelly - and clearly - sought to suffocate the pure heart that housed it, and there seemed no way to prevent that. So, he would walk through the torment to his death, if need be.
Qui-Gon gently squeezed the young man's shoulder before releasing it and turning back to the bed.
Wandering back to the main room, Obi-Wan left his master to rest. He sat heavily on a plush sofa there - his mind trapped in that one moment, mercilessly held captive. "It never happened," he whispered to himself.
It was easier to deny what happened than to face it. To pretend that the whole, dreadful episode was only a nightmare, and that the things he was going through now were only his imagination seemed the only way that he could sanely cope with it.
"It never happened," he repeated over and over until he found himself lying across the sofa. Then, he finally drifted off to sleep.