In the distance, a sandstorm was moving away, swallowing up the dunes and ravines laying in its path. Obi-Wan Kenobi stood on the edge of the cliff near his modest shelter watching the storm and voiced a loud "humph." For once, since coming to this despicable planet, something was going his way.
He hated this place and who could blame him? He had been forced to come here only to relive his failures over and over. Exiled to the very planet he had vowed never to return to.
Only the duty of watching over Anakin's son, Luke, and the occasional visit with the Force spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn kept him breathing, moving, and from going completely insane in this desolate place.
There were times that he wondered about his sanity. His isolation was still fresh, having only been living here a few months. In that short however, he had already established routines such as drinking a cup of hot tea while watching the twin suns of Tatooine fade away to reveal the deep darkness of the desert nights.
Now, was one of those moments of questionable sanity.
Just before the sun disappeared beneath the mounds of sand, Obi-Wan could have sworn he could see swirling lights on the horizon, in shades of blue, purple, red and green.
There were no gases on Tatooine to cause the phenomenon, at least that he knew of. It had occurred two nights in a row now, and he couldn't explain it.
When the sun set, the atmospheric hues disappeared, leaving only the stark chill of the starlit evening.
Obi-Wan wrapped his plain dark robe closer about him. Maybe Qui-Gon would know what those lights were. He should call upon him and ask him.
Obi-Wan dumped the cold remains of his tea upon the ground and turned to walk down the short incline leading to his small desert hovel.
Contacting Qui-Gon was new as well. It took great effort and concentration, and frankly, he was too tired tonight. Not that he had performed any daunting physical tasks this day. He found himself to be mentally tired. Tired of the 'what-ifs' that plagued his daytime thoughts as well as his dreams.
"If only…" he spoke aloud as he entered his modest shelter.
Obi-Wan spun around in surprise. Qui-Gon had never appeared without being requested to, but his glowing image stood in the corner of the common room nonetheless.
"You frightened me." Obi-Wan blurted out before a small smile appeared on his face. Whether his presence was requested or not, his Master was always a welcome sight.
"I apologize." Qui-Gon replied as his ghostly form moved to a small seating area built into the wall. Obi-Wan sat down opposite of him.
"You were saying, padawan?"
Obi-Wan's smile broadened at the reference. Having been knighted right after Qui-Gon's death and holding the status of Master for many years, others might have considered the term an insult, but to Obi-Wan it was endearing. In his mind, the term 'padawan' was another word for 'son.'
"Nothing important." Obi-Wan answered with a small sigh, relaxing into his seat. Communing with Qui-Gon this way always seemed to lift his spirits.
"Obi-Wan." Returned the somewhat stern response.
The Jedi ran a hand through his auburn hair now traced with silver and beard, leaned back against the wall and looked out the small window. "If only…" he began. "If only I had listened better to the Force, perhaps chosen the right path…things would have turned out differently."
"The Force directs us to many paths." Qui-Gon responded, his voice low and soft, but still holding the familiar mentoring quality. "You chose one of many paths and how can you say that the one you did choose was not the right one?"
Obi-Wan turned to face Qui-Gon with an incredulous look. "Not the right one? How can you say that, Master? Look at what has happened!" He shook his head in disbelief. "If I knew then what I know now."
The flickering blue eyes gazed at the knight steadily. "What would you do?" He prompted.
"I would do things differently." Obi-Wan replied without hesitation as he met his former Master's gaze.
"Like what for example?"
Obi-Wan swallowed the lump that had quickly formed in his throat. "Stop that murdering Sith from…"
But Qui-Gon halted his words with an upheld palm. "I have no regrets, Obi-Wan. My destiny was fulfilled."
Obi-Wan once more shook his head. He didn't wish to hear that. He refused to believe that the Force had willed that Qui-Gon would be taken from him, especially at such a crucial time – just prior to beginning Anakin's training.
Obi-Wan focused on the once-promising young man, now destroyer of the Republic and the Jedi Order. Darth Vader, he was rumored to be called, was indeed alive and well, and wreaking havoc all over the galaxy searching to destroy any remnants of the Jedi.
Obi-Wan's mind raced back to the duel on Mustafar. The outcome of that fight would definitely be one thing he would change.
Or would he? He couldn't kill him before. He had even tried to warn Yoda that he couldn't – that he wouldn't. Anakin was like a brother to him. He loved him.
No. He couldn't kill him, even if he did have the chance to face him once more on that firey pit of a planet.
Perhaps if he had done something different during his training...
Obi-Wan glanced back out the lone window and frowned. This line of thinking was a waste of time.
He chuckled at the thought. Time, it seemed, was the only thing he had plenty of out here in this wasteland. So why not waste it?
Qui-Gon looked at him peculiarly following his short laugh. "So tell me, Obi-Wan. What would you do differently?"
"Lots of things."
Mostly dealing with Anakin, Obi-Wan kept to himself. Maybe if they had never found the boy, things would be better.
"It is time, then." Qui-Gon replied, standing up from his chair, placing his hands deep within the sleeves of his robe.
"Time for what?"
"Time to show you how to visit the past in order to change the future, padawan."