Now I'm going to make evryone hate me, but I had to do it. You'll know what I'm talking about if you read the reviews. It's what everyone's been asking me not to do, but I had to. Please don'thurt me!

Chapter 17 Holding On

Jesse walked exhaustedly down the stairs. They had gathered all the droids into one room, and arrested any others from the Trade Federation. All he wanted to do was collapse. He entered the main hall and saw Padme talking with Obi-Wan Anakin, Captain Panaka, and Bibble. Jesse froze. Then he took an inventory again. Padme, her handmaidens, six soldiers, Anakin, R2, Captain Panaka, Bibble.

Padme looked over and noticed him. The sympathetic look in her eyes told him what he dreaded. Without saying a word, he turned and ran. Tears blinded his vision as he dashed out the door into the courtyard. He slumped against a pillar and didn't even try to stop the onslaught of tears that flowed freely. He didn't know how long he sat there, all he knew was an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach.

"It can't be, it just can't." he whispered. "Qui-Gon's the greatest Jedi ever, he wouldn't... he couldn't..." Jesse paused to take a ragged breath.

Why, why, why?

He felt a hand on his shoulder, but he didn't turn around. Padme sat down next to him and wrapped her arm around his shoulders.

"He can't be dead." Jesse choked on the words. "I still need him. He's my friend, role model... he's... was..." Jesse buried his head in Padme's shoulder.

Padme sat with him, stroking his light blonde hair while he sobbed.

Jesse felt numb, but he kind of liked it that way. He held back the grief, letting it leak in little by little instead of hitting him all at once. Every time he looked into Padme's deep brown eyes, so full of compassion and understanding, he felt like breaking down in tears again, but he fought back. It helped though, to know that he wasn't alone. When the Jedi council had arrived along with the newly elected Supreme Chancellor Palpatine he hung back.

"Congratulations on you election, Chancellor. It is good to see you again." Padme greeted Palpatine warmly.

"It's good to be home. Your boldness has saved our people, Your Majesty. It is you who should be congratulated. Together we shall bring peace and prosperity to the Republic." Palaptine replied.

Other greetings were exchanged, but they seemed almost hollow. Everyone was mourning in their own private way. Jesse had to clench his jaw and bite his lip to keep the sobs back at Obi-Wan's knighting ceremony. Even then, tears rolled down his cheeks. Qui-Gon should be here. Jesse took a deep ragged breath. All he had to do was get through the funeral, then they would be on their way home. All he wanted to do was get home.

When Qui-Gon's body went up in flames there was a drum roll and several doves were let loose. Jesse looked over at Obi-Wan and Anakin, his hair cut padawan style, standing next to each other. A sharp feeling of loneliness cut into him.

If only Qui-Gon were here, they could be left out together. He thought.

No, He realized. That wasn't right. Qui-Gon would be the one standing with Anakin instead of Obi-Wan if he was alive.

So Obi-Wan would be the one to join the left-out club. But not really, after all, he had everything to look forward to. He was a knight now.

And, when Jesse thought about it, he had a lot to look forward to as well. In another year, he would be apprenticed to Master Kuinnaad, or whoever, and then he would become a knight, then a master with his own padawan. Then someday he would die, just like Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon had fulfilled the Jedi's life and mission and given himself up as the ultimate sacrifice.

Jesse looked up. One of the doves had perched on the top of the archway. Jesse stared at it. Maybe he could go on, after all, he had his whole life ahead of him, and Qui-Gon was still with him. What Obi-Wan had said now made sense. The truly important things in life, you never lose because you hold on to them. Forever.

The End

Well? What do you think? FYI, I totally didn't realize how much the conversation with Obi-Wan lined up with the end until it hit me as I was writing this last chapter. Anyway, I might do Attack of the Clones, I have a couple ideas I'm noodling. Thank you so much everyone who reviewed! Especially Salrianna, who's pretty much reviewed on every chapter I've put up and JediWizard. Thanks guys!You really boosted my confidence. (Oh, by the way, I forgot to put this at the beginning, so I'll reveal the truth now: I don't own Star Wars. I know, big disappointment. Actually, pretty much everything in this story except Jesse belongs to George Lucas.) So anyway, may the Force be with you.