This repost is due to the interest of some readers who have contacted me recently about not be able to find this or its prequel Silent Shattering. 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. I'm not 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: REMNANTS IN THE MIND
TIME: 7 Years Pre-TPM, Obi-Wan is 18
SUMMARY: While Obi-Wan is still struggling to put the assault behind him, he and Qui-Gon are sent on a mission where he faces a threat that could send his hopes of recovery spiraling into the depths of despair.
NOTES: This is a sequel to SILENT SHATTERING. It is recommended that you read it first. This is not a Qui/Obi slash story.
WARNING: If references, insinuations, etc. of rape/sexual assault bother you, then please do not read this.
ARCHIVE: Sites who have previously archived any of my stories may archive any of them that they want. All others please ask.
DISCLAIMER: All recognizable characters are the property of Lucasfilm Limited. All the rest belong to me. I receive no profit from this. All I get is your wonderful reviews, so thank you for letting me know somebody's reading this.
DEDICATION: This is for shan.
REMNANTS IN THE MIND
(a silent shattering sequel)
CHAPTER 1-WILTING DAWN
There was no light. Not even a pale sliver or a faint ray. He stretched a trembling hand out, searching for anything that might be there, but there was nothing but a cold, cloying darkness, vile and insatiable. A chilling shiver passed through him, and he slowly turned around in a circle, with outstretched arms, groping for any touch. The wild thudding of his heart the only sound other than the distant, haunting clangor of a chorus of bells - the deep tones, stark and flat. He released a ragged breath and took a hesitant step forward, despairing to find any way out of the clinging dark.
Abruptly, a pale glow sparked to life, and he turned toward the source. It was a small, ivory candle, with a thick glob of wax oozing down one side. The candle hung there, radiant and suspended in the air, a source of rescue from the fathomless shadows.
But there was a hand holding it.
A wisp of wintry air drifted through him, and he vaguely noted the bells fading, falling deathly silent. The heavy thud of his heart increased in the stillness, now racing in earnest, and a wash of nausea descended quickly upon him.
He held his breath.
The candle slowly rose upward, its light trailing up the length of a body swathed in dark shades. Sickness boiled in the pit of his stomach, and he wanted to turn away, to turn and run, but found he was paralyzed by the escalation of unbearable fear. Unable to move, he stood frozen, a mere spectator to the twisted introduction of the adversary rousing to his misfortune.
The candle finally traveled to the man's face, wickedly exposed by the hushed lumen. The dark, leering eyes threatened and sent his mind spiraling into torment. With a strangled cry that escaped his throat, all coherent thought fled, and he struggled for air, gasping as he caught a faint breath. He quickly regulated his breathing, but it came labored and harsh to his own ears. Longing to escape the clutches of the man before him, he stumbled backward on legs now unsteady, and with a heart faint from the sheer terror pounding in his chest.
But he was not fast enough.
Lurching forward, the man crashed into him and pushed him savagely to the hard floor. He fell with his head painfully striking the unyielding surface, and the heavy weight of his ruthless assailant settled upon him. The room was dark now, hurled into a fog of obscurity by the fallen candle, at once snuffed out. In the grip of darkness, he desperately cried out, fighting against the strong, brutal hands that quickly captured his slender wrists and pinned him helplessly to the floor.
His mind reeled, tossed about by desperate fear, but held captive by the wanton sensations committed against him. Conceding that he had been overcome, his struggles ceased as he gave in to the inevitable conclusion of desolation. Then he squeezed his eyes shut in a mock attempt to escape the visual images, which were already lost by the want of light, and drifted aimlessly in a sea of filth.
Screaming, he jumped awake, his eyes wide and quickly scanning the room. It had only been a dream - a terrible dream. He shuddered and tamped down on the queasiness left from the nightmare, but he remained in a daze, staring at the ceiling until he slowed his breathing and soothed the mad pace of his heart.
Turning on his side, he stared blankly at the top of the dresser on the other side of the room where his collection of rocks resided. It was a myriad assortment he had found on Lorminth, composed of all different forms, sizes, and colors - but all were beautiful in appearance. Sometimes, he thought he could see shapes and images curiously hiding in the sparkling, gleaming stones. Sometimes, they held the mysteries of the universe, pulsating with the rhythms of the Living Force. And other times, they were only rocks.
He considered their inherent beauty, while he gripped the end of his braid for security. A childish gesture, he admitted - but one that he had adopted on his return from Lorminth. A rock is only a rock, he concluded. And a dream is only a dream.
But why did the assailant look different this time?
Perhaps there was no reason. Perhaps he would never know.
Or perhaps. . . he did not want to know.
He was still unsettled by the frightening dream, but he pushed himself into a sitting position, and slipped his feet to the plush carpeted floor. Only the soft lilac drift of sunlight filtering through the slatted windows lighted the room, bathing it in the watery silk of failing light. It was nearing evening. His nap must have lasted longer this time. Usually, he woke much earlier, with time to spend dinner with his master before his appointment with Healer Pasheso.
He looked at the brass chrono glistening in the fading light on the night table beside the bed, noting it was only half an hour before his appointment. Qui-Gon must have already eaten.
His eyes shifted to the metallic cylinder gleaming on the table beside the chrono. His lightsabre. Scooping it up, he felt the sense of protection that the weapon afforded. It felt good in his hand - the weight perfect, the grip fitting comfortably in his palm.
He stood and crossed to the dresser, turning on all of the room's lights. Removing his sleep pants, he slipped into a pair of loose-fitting sand colored trousers, and then found a tunic and under-tunic to wear. He left his room, turning on lights as he walked to the kitchen, dressing on the way there.
"Master?" he called quietly, searching for Qui-Gon's Force essence, but there was no trace of the man in their shared apartment. He checked the apartment, feeling that he was not alone. But there was no one there. He was alone.
After making sure all the apartment's lights were on again, he returned to the kitchen and filled the tea pot with water, to make a cup of hot spiced tea before he had to leave to see the healer. Then he set the pot on the burner and turned it on.
Still in a bit of a daze, he wandered back to the common room, to wait for the water to heat, and found himself standing in front of the computer terminal.
With a slight hesitation, he sat down at the screen and punched in his personal security code. There were unread messages left for him, but he passed them over, instead, opting for the Temple's criminal files.
He called up the search function, pausing with a heart now thumping viciously, and entered the name 'Nim Tarren'. Within a second, the file appeared onscreen. He ran a trembling hand through his hair and swallowed convulsively before opening the file. Hoping there was no reason to be upset, and sending a quick prayer to the Force for him to be wrong or for him to have the strength to bear it if he was not, he tapped the key to open the file. The picture immediately popped up. He sat in dawning horror, staring at the picture and unable to look away as the realization sunk in.
"No." His denial was a desperate whisper.
His eyes grew desolate, their aquamarine depths clouded. Wrapping his arms around his midsection, he hugged himself tightly.
The sudden whistle of the teapot jolted him, but he remained in the chair and continued to stare with desolate eyes at the face on the screen. The scream of the teapot continued for several minutes as the trembling youth rocked himself in the common room.
There are some things that can never completely be forgotten. There are some things that he dearly wished could. Like the look of desolation and utter despair in bleary eyes that used to shine with the radiance of a tropical sea.
A heavy ache blossomed in his heart as he remembered the reason the world had shattered. The boy with the sea in his eyes and the sun in his hair - who had become his legacy, his son - had been touched by the greedy hands of depravation. But he intended to let nothing harm the boy again.
He was never given to backing down easily, and where his padawan was concerned, that trait was even more pronounced. But when the little green master Yoda had first informed him of the Council's decision, Qui-Gon was stricken speechless, and given his propensity for debate, that - in itself - was an accomplishment unheard of, even among the curtained whisperings within the Temple's halls.
How could anyone be so blind? How could anyone be so stupid? How could. . . .
He gave up searching for appropriate words, and instead demanded, "why?" as he turned eyes of vexation to Yoda.
With equal annoyance, Yoda banged the end of his gimer stick on the tiled floor of the empty Council chamber room, its echo reverberating in the stillness that followed. Yoda looked up in the adamant face of Qui-Gon, knowing it merely reflected the inner protective drive of a Jedi master for his padawan, but even that knowledge gave no easy release for the shared tension in the room.
"Obey, you will. Or disciplined will you be," said Yoda, brooking no argument.
Through the windows behind the little Jedi master, the endless traffic of Coruscant's skies crept by in a continuous stream, while darkening, purplish clouds billowed angrily in the far distance. The luminescent glow tinted the silver strands in Qui-Gon's hair and hued the entire circular room in a pale of purple.
Master Yoda had summoned Qui-Gon's presence here for a formal request. 'Order' was more like it, the tall master thought.
"But, Master," Qui-Gon began, his emotion in a semblance of control. "Obi-Wan is not ready. The healers-"
"The healers, you say?" Yoda interrupted. "The healers it was who advised this, not the Council as assumed you have. Now, accept this mission you will."
Eyes wide with the new knowledge, Qui-Gon folded his hands within his robe. "So it is Healer Pasheso who has requested this." He smiled grimly. "He thinks Obi-Wan needs to go on a mission, not the Council," he stated in accusation.
"Agree the Council does," the little Councilor added in defense. His large, luminous eyes half-concealed by heavy lids peered up at him.
"But not you," Qui-Gon quickly concluded in irritation.
A soft sigh accompanied the little master bowing his head; his long, pointy ears drooped in sadness. "Believe Obi-Wan to be ready I can say not. Nevertheless, stay hidden away in the Temple forever he can not."
"I know that. . . Master," Qui-Gon added the title, careful to keep from losing control. "But when he's ready."
"And decide this who will? Hmm?" Yoda asked. "Hold no trust in the judgement of the healers do you?"
"I know Obi-Wan - better than any healer," Qui-Gon explained. "And I believe he is not ready to leave the Temple yet - not on a mission," he pressed.
Yoda sighed, turning away toward the doors, and paused, calling over his shoulder. "Hear your concerns I have," he said in weariness. "Tomorrow at the ninth hour, report to the Council you and your apprentice will. No more will I hear your defiance."
Qui-Gon sighed heavily, watching with indignant disappointment as the little Councilor hobbled out the doors.
It was soft and satiny, and if he had allowed himself, he would have drifted asleep there. But the strong desire to leave as soon as he could, kept him from giving in to that sensation, no matter how strong it felt. So he lay there with his eyes open, staring up at the polished ceiling tiles of peach, slate, and cream arranged in some indecipherable pattern, while the healer sought another question. All was silent, save a distant fan whirring gently.
Healer Famu Pasheso studied the boy's face. His patient was young - too young to have experienced such horror. Silky spikes of ginger colored hair framed a smooth face of innocence. Too bad that innocence had been disturbed, he thought sadly.
Troubled aquamarine eyes traveled restlessly over the ceiling. The boy's slender body tensed and relaxed periodically, fidgeting with apprehension.
Pasheso leaned forward, closer to his patient. The little man's wrinkled face relaxed, losing some of its lines. "Tell me, are your dreams still the same, or have they changed?" he asked in a clinical voice, and watched as the boy's brow creased, his eyes blinking back unpleasant thoughts or images in his mind.
When the patient spoke, his accented voice was soft and speculative. "They. . . they changed." His clasped hands tightened nervously.
"Changed?" the healer replied, devoid of emotion.
"Yes. It was different last time." The padawan's eyes never left the ceiling.
"How was it different?" Pasheso shifted his weight, eliciting a rude creak from the large, overstuffed chair he sat in.
After a moment, the patient replied in a quiet voice. "Today," he swallowed nervously, "in my last dream, the face was different." He fell silent, closing his eyes.
"How was it different?" the healer prompted calmly, intensely observing the boy's actions.
"The face is," his eyes opened briefly before closing tightly again, "the man's real face."
"The man's real face? What do you mean by that?" Pasheso asked, thinking he knew.
"His face before he had it changed," answered the padawan quietly. His hands grabbed the end of his padawan braid that trailed across his chest, and painfully pulled on the woven strand.
With caution, the healer concluded, "do you mean, it's Tarren's original face you see now, and not Quaykin's?"
He was well aware of his patient's case. How the padawan's assailant had had surgery to appear like another man, in order to be involved in a conspiracy. How the man had arrived at the spaceport incognito. How the man had attacked the padawan out of lust. And how the frightened boy had accidentally Force-pushed his assailant over the railing, causing him to fall to his death levels below.
"Yes," came the whispered reply.
With a huge exhalation of breath, Pasheso sat back in his seat, typing a few notes on a data-pad.
"I didn't know what the man looked like before," the youth added, tremulously.
Pasheso frowned. "Then how do you know it was Tarren's real face that you saw?"
A shaky breath. "I looked it up in the criminal files after I awoke."
Pasheso returned to typing a few notes, sorting through the new data. This was certainly something new. But what did it mean?
"How did I know what he looked like?" the padawan lightly whispered, in a voice tinged in despondency.
Deep in thought, the healer barely heard the soft question. When he was quite sure he had heard correctly, he peered back at his patient, and was surprised to see the boy staring directly in his eyes. In that moment, he felt his heart break by the despair watering the boy's eyes.
"I don't know," said Pasheso, unable to keep the emotion from his voice. He choked back the tingling sensation that threatened to pull him into the well of devastation that the padawan would have sent him to by his eyes alone, and detached himself from his patient again.
He returned to his data-pad, making more notes. Then he looked back up and asked, "is this the only time you've seen the face in your dreams?"
"Yes," said the boy, staring at the ceiling again. His eyes, awash now with tears, fluttered closed.
The healer watched as his patient made no move when streams of tears flowed down both sides of his face. Sighing, Pasheso grabbed a box of tissues nearby, handing one to the boy and taking one himself to wipe his own face dry.
"That's enough for tonight, Obi-Wan," the healer said in an unsteady voice.
Sitting up slowly, Obi-Wan dabbed his tears away, and shakily reached for his discarded robe. Surely tomorrow would be better… he hoped.
Yes. Things were getting better.