Ah, so here we are. The final chapter. :D This has been fun to rediscover, and after I post this I'm going to be working on another Star Wars fic that just won't leave me alone. It's your standard "what if Qui-Gon hadn't died?" fic. xD Once that is complete, I'll be going back and editing all of the chapters of this story. My writing has changed quite a bit in the last two years, and this story could use more than a few upgrades.
Dare You to Move
Part VIII: Nothing But Blue Skies
Qui-Gon sat in the hard, metal chair next to his padawan's bed in the same position he'd been in for hours already. He held Obi-Wan's limp hand in his own, praying that he would wake up soon. Slowly, through the training bond, he sent his apprentice his energy. He could feel Obi-Wan getting stronger, the flow of energy from his body diminishing to the point where it became less than the flow of Qui-Gon's energy into it.
His padawan's cry startled him greatly. I'm going to die. Qui-Gon himself had panicked at that. Not even at the words themselves, necessarily, but at the way Obi-Wan's own panic had been pushed aside by feelings of calm and acceptance. It sent chills down his spine to think of his innocent Obi-Wan acknowledging the fact that he was going to die with more grace and serenity than many full-fledged Jedi Knights. But that wasn't all that surprising when he really thought about it. His padawan had, for a time, lost the will to live and had even welcomed the idea of his death.
But then he had found a reason to survive again, in Qui-Gon's loving words. So what had happened? Qui-Gon could feel him getting stronger, even after the acknowledgement of his impending death. It wasn't that he had lost the will to live again. Maybe, Qui-Gon thought, too much damage had already been done and there was no way for him to avoid death. Maybe they had been too late, and their help had done nothing more than bring his hopes and expectations up… Both of their hopes up…
Qui-Gon sucked in an uncomfortable breath at that idea. Was it true…?
"Dwell on this, you should not," he heard Master Yoda say. "Live or die, he will. Support him, the only thing you can do." Qui-Gon closed his eyes again.
"Yes, my master," he answered quietly. He redoubled his efforts, sending energy at a much faster pace. At this rate he would tire quickly, but he couldn't bring himself to care. If Obi-Wan died… he didn't know what he would do. He wasn't sure he could withstand the pain of losing yet another apprentice. After all, Obi-Wan had been the one to pull him from his grief after Xanatos' turning. If he were to lose him, too, then…
The thought was forced from his mind as he suddenly felt a stabbing pain come from his apprentice through the bond. He hissed in pain, and heard a Healer cry out in alarm. He tightened his hold on Obi-Wan's hand and opened his eyes.
There was a burn on his padawan's neck. One that had not been there a moment ago… It looked like a saber burn—a bad one. And it was far too close to Obi-Wan's veins for comfort… Had one of them been hit?
"How…?" he said softly. Yoda let out a "hmm" and furrowed his brow.
"Though in his mind, this fight is, believes its effects are real, he does," said Yoda. "Tricked his body, his mind has."
Qui-Gon growled softly, and tried to release his anger into the force. He had been so close! He had finally convinced Obi-Wan that he had a reason to live and now he might die anyway…
"Over, the fight is," said Yoda. "Nothing more can you do, Qui-Gon. Let the Healers work, you must."
"Out of the way, you will get, or put you in force-sleep, I will," threatened Yoda. Though he was loathe to leave his padawan's side, he had no choice. Giving Obi-Wan's hand a gentle squeeze, he stood and let go. Moving his chair to the corner, he watched the Healers begin their work.
He closed his eyes again, and focused on sending Obi-Wan more strength and comfort. He did not know how much time passed as he thought. Qui-Gon felt like crying again. He hadn't felt that much despair since he had been forced to fight Xanatos back on Telos IV two years ago. He had lost an apprentice and gained a new one, then. And though he had been too despondent at the time to realize it, finally agreeing to take Obi-Wan as his apprentice had been one of the most intelligent things he could have done, especially under those circumstances. Had it not been for Obi-Wan, he might have slipped away. In his grief, he may have lost his hold on reality. He may have lost the will to live, and quietly given himself over to his grief, joining with the force. Or worse—he could have succumbed to his anger at his apprentice's failure and followed him to the Dark side.
Qui-Gon shuddered at the thought. How close he had been to doing so he now saw, and it frightened him, in a way, to know that he would be capable of turning. But he hadn't, he reminded himself forcefully. He had managed to drive those negative emotions away, though not without help and motivation. The help had come from many sources: his own master, Yoda, his friend Tahl, Mace Windu, one of the Temple's mind healers, a man named Olev Shem and his then new padawan. The motivation, however, had come strictly from Obi-Wan. The boy had been extremely obedient, complying with Qui-Gon's every whim, and very attentive. He always minded everything his master said, and tried as hard as he could to better himself and please the older Jedi. It took several months, but Qui-Gon eventually came to see what an extraordinary apprentice he had found in Obi-Wan. He began to invest himself in the boy's training, and the spark he had that had made him such an effective—if sometimes quarrelsome—Jedi slowly began to return.
And then it had all come crashing down around them. Almost a year ago they had been assigned a mission to the troubled planet of Melida/Daan. That was where Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had had their first real disagreement. It still hurt Qui-Gon remember the betrayal he had felt as Obi-Wan looked him in the eyes and handed over his lightsaber, resentment shining in the blue-grey depths. Qui-Gon had been angry, almost to the point of rage. He remembered comparing Obi-Wan to Xanatos, thinking that it had been foolish of him to take another padawan so soon after his departure from the Order.
It had hurt, Obi-Wan's actions. He hadn't seen it as Obi-Wan trying to follow what he interpreted as the will of the force; instead, he had seen it as a betrayal. The boy who had, up until then, been a near-perfect padawan disobeying him had been quite a shock.
But was that the only reason he had been so unwilling to attempt to work things out with him? No, Qui-Gon admitted to himself. It wasn't.
With a start, he realized that he hadn't trusted Obi-Wan. Not in the way he should have, anyway. He had allowed Xanatos' actions to taint his perception of his new apprentice. He had been subconsciously waiting for Obi-Wan to betray him just as his last padawan had.
Had Obi-Wan sensed this? Had he realized that the reason their training bond had remained mostly inactive that first year bad been because of his master's lack of trust?
Qui-Gon made himself a promise then: if—no when Obi-Wan was well enough to talk, he would apologize. He had no right to be his master. He was too damaged to guide such a wonderful, bright young boy. Judging from what had happened already, he was doing Obi-Wan more harm than good.
"Too hard on yourself, you are." His master's voice broke through his thoughts. The room was empty, aside from the small, green Jedi standing in front of him.
"Where is—" Yoda must have caught the alarm in his voice, because he spoke more gently.
"In surgery, young Obi-Wan is," he said. "Almost finished, the Healers are. A close call, it was, but in time, fine he should be."
Qui-Gon's eyes filled with tears, but he managed to stop them from falling. He felt so relieved. Carefully, he smiled at the older Jedi.
"When can I see him?" he asked.
"In a bacta tank, he is," Yoda told him. "Out tomorrow, he will be. Take him to your quarters then, you can." Qui-Gon nodded. He felt exhausted; emotionally, mentally and physically. He stood, intending to return to the apartment he shared with his padawan, but he swayed and found himself too dizzy to move.
"Gave much of your energy, you did," said Yoda. "Stay the night here, you will, for observation."
Qui-Gon did not have the strength to protest as his aging master used his wooden walking stick to push him onto the bed. He laid down willingly, quickly falling asleep. It was blissfully dreamless.
When Obi-Wan woke, he was in a different room than he had been before. There was no sign of his master, and he felt a stab of disappointment at the man's absence.
"Resting, Qui-Gon is," Obi-Wan heard Yoda's familiar voice say. The small master was standing near the foot of the bed, not far from the door. "Took much of his energy, it did, healing you."
"Oh," Obi-Wan said quietly. He looked down at his hands, clasping them together in his lap. He was not sorry to have survived, but he was sorry that his master had had to use his own power to make it happen.
"Sorry, you should not be. Glad to help, Qui-Gon is. Fine, he will soon be, padawan," Yoda said, fully aware of Obi-Wan's shifting feelings. He nodded and gave the master a small smile. Focusing on the force around him, he slowly released his feelings of disappointment and worry into the vast, swirling mass of energy.
"Awake now, Qui-Gon is," said Master Yoda. "Get him, I will."
"Thank you, Master," said Obi-Wan. He was alone for less than a minute. Right after the Jedi Master left, a Healer came into the room.
"How are you feeling?" the man asked gently.
"Alright, Master," Obi-Wan answered automatically. It was a habit of his, one he'd developed to save what he thought of as unnecessary time telling his master how he really was. He had thought it unnecessary simply because he had assumed Qui-Gon didn't care.
He knew better now.
When he came out of his thoughts, he found the Healer looking at him with a patient and gentle, yet demanding expression. Obi-Wan knew that he was not fooled by his response. He paused and took stock of his true condition.
"I have a small headache and my neck stings a bit," he admitted. "But I'm fine, other than that." The Healer smiled at him encouragingly. Obi-Wan felt at ease with this man, though he didn't know why. It seemed that the force around him was soothing…
"Master," he said quietly, seeing Qui-Gon standing in the doorway. He was given a smile as his master stepped into the room.
"Good afternoon, padawan. It would seem that we both slept in quite late today," Qui-Gon said, making his way to the bed. He sat down on it, the gentle, reassuring smile still in place. His eyes twinkled with happiness and good humour. "Then again, I think we've both earned the rest."
"Y-yes, Master," Obi-Wan said, a smile of his own threatening to break free. "I suppose we have."
"How are you, Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon asked abruptly.
Without thinking, Obi-Wan responded, "Fine, Master."
"Obi-Wan." Qui-Gon's tone was stern, yet encouraging and strangely gentle for him. His padawan dared not argue or push his limits when that kind of voice was used. "The truth, if you please."
"Yes, Master. My head hurts a little. My neck, too." It was almost exactly what he had told the Healer. Remembering the man, he looked around for him. He was standing in the corner, watching the two interact. Qui-Gon saw that his padawan's gaze was no longer directed at him and followed it.
"Thank you, Obi-Wan," the Jedi Master said. "I see you've met Oleve Shem."
"Not formally," he answered. He gave the man a small nod of the head which was returned.
"Master Shem is a Mind Healer,' Qui-Gon said. "He helped me sort through my negative impulses after the… the events on Telos IV." Obi-Wan blinked in mild surprise. He hadn't known that his master had been seeing a Mind Healer…
Once Qui-Gon felt that he had his apprentice's attention again, he continued. "The two of us will be seeing him often for a while." Again, Obi-Wan looked surprised. "If that is agreeable…?"
"It's fine," he assured his master. He received another smile in return. His eyes widened marginally as he saw Qui-Gon's eyes begin to fill with tears, though they did not fall and the smile remained in place. "Master…?"
Suddenly he was pulled forward until his head rested on Qui-Gon's shoulder. His master's arms wrapped around him tightly in a rare embrace.
"I was so worried," he whispered hoarsely. "I thought… you…" Obi-Wan wrapped his arms around Qui-Gon and grasped his tunic.
"So did I," he agreed. "But… I didn't, and I'm fine now. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere."
Without warning he began to cry, burying his face in his master's shoulder. If he was surprised when Qui-Gon joined him, he didn't show it merely tightening his hold on the older man in a silent promise never to leave.
One month after the whole ordeal was over, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were well on their way to becoming one of the best teams in the Temple, if not the best team. Their bond grew stronger with each passing day, as did Obi-Wan's confidence in himself. He no longer doubted Qui-Gon's love fro him, but his feelings of self-doubt were harder to shake. With the help of Master Shem and Master Yoda, they began to grow closer to each other.
They had bad days, of course, and there were times when they bickered, but those were easily overcome. Things that had seemed momentous before now seemed merely trivial, and not worth their attention.
It wasn't perfect—nothing ever is—but it was good, and it worked. And that's all that the two asked.
do you live?
love is a place
where are you from?
She says, ask yourself ask anyone
what's holding up her face
nothing but blue skies
passage ways the mind's eye
-Metric, "Love is a Place"