Title: First Kill
Author: Aelan Greenleaf
Rating: PG, K+
Category: Drama
Summary: Killing is never an easy thing to do, especially for a Jedi Padawan. Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon vignette

First Kill
He'd been sitting here for ages, silent and numb, unseeing and yet taking in everything. Some part of him knew that it was shock that held him now, that numbed his senses but did not dull his mind. Shock of what he had done, of the atrocity he had committed. Shock that had pierced his heart.

It had happened so very fast, even by the standards of a Jedi. It hadn't been an accident; he'd known from the beginning that it would end like this, it had been conscious and deliberate thought that had seen him through. Spur of the moment, he had been confident and sure, believing that what he was doing was what was good and right and true.

Now though, as the tears slid slowly and quietly down his cheeks, he honestly did not know what to believe.

It was escalating too fast, too quickly. The man was clearly unbalanced, delusional and confused. Obi-Wan wanted nothing more than to calm him down, to protect the frightened bystanders trapped between the man and the room's only exit.

"Please, sir," soothed Obi-Wan, imposing more than just a little Jedi will into his words, "Just sit down. I'm sure we can sort this all out."

Whatever the man might have been, it wasn't stupid. Obi-Wan's suggestions bounced right off the other and did absolutely nothing. Time for another strategy.

The teenaged Padawan straightened himself, drawing himself up, hoping that he might look taller than he actually was. 'Sir, just let these people leave. There's no harm in doing that, and then after we can discuss your problems with the government." Involuntarily, Obi-Wan cringed, knowing that the word 'problem' might not help at all.

His suspicions were correct, and the man's eyes burned fiercly as he glared at the young Jedi. "Problems? Problems? Look, Jedi, you're just another pawn! You're just another piece in the grand conspiracy!" His arms were flailing widely, and from the corner of his eye, Obi-Wan could see a young boy clutching his mother's hand whimper in fear.

"How about I buy you a drink, sir, and we can talk all about the 'conspiracy'." Obi-Wan tried to offer a comforting smile, but the confidence and bravado that had first fueled his mediation with the man had all but run out. The sensation of anxiety began to creep up his spine, and he wondered what exactly he'd gotten himself into.

"Look, friend, all we want is to leave!" An emerald Rodian in the back of the hall called out, frustration and the beginnings of an irrational fear evident in his face and eyes.

Obi-Wan knew now that the situation had begun much more dangerous. If the man didn't move, if he continued to block the exit and rave of conspiracy theories against the Republic, the rest of the room's occupants would grow angry and afraid, and could possibly start a riot. The young Jedi was not prepared to let that happen.

"Sir," he began, more forceful now, trying to ignore the anxiety that had now lodged itself deep within him, making him shake slightly, nervous. "Sir, please step away from the door."

There was something deranged now in his eyes, as the man paced in front of the single exit. "Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you, Jedi?'

"Please." said Obi-Wan, simply and softly, hoping against hope that some sort of rationality was still within the other human.

"No.' breathed the man, and in a single second of madness, he drew out a Type IV blaster, pointing it straight at the sobbing boy. The man laughed, and Obi-Wan tried to ignore the latent fear at the back of his mind.

"Drop the blaster." Obi-Wan just wanted to go now; he wanted nothing more for that man to drop the weapon, to let everything be.

"No!" screamed the man, and as he started to pull the trigger, Obi-Wan moved forwards, pushing the man to the side and deflecting the shot up into the ceiling. They scrambled on the floor, the other human much larger and taller than Obi-Wan, pinning the Padawan to the ground.

"Jedi." hissed the man, before he pointed the blaster directly into Obi-Wan's face.

A split second later, the man was on his back, gasping for air, a gaping hole in the center of his chest. The Jedi was crumpled beside him, panting and clutching an already deactivated lightsaber.

"No..." breathed Obi-Wan, but any regrets or changes of mind had all but past. On his left side, the man took his last breath, and the Padawan collapsed to the ground completely, realizing as shock overtook him that he, Obi-Wan Kenobi, had just killed another living being.

He had felt his master approaching through their bond, but he was too tired and too shocked to make any move or action about it. He decided to simply wait for Qui-Gon, for the punishment that was sure to follow, and the speech about other ways to have ended it.

A tall, imposing Jedi emerged from around the edge of the garden, and strode over to his young apprentice, seating himself on the stone bench beside him. Saying nothing, he waited, knowing that when he was ready, Obi-Wan would speak.

What seemed like an eternity passed between them, while Obi-Wan tried to think of the right words to use and say.

"I'm sorry." he said, simply, but he meant it with every iota of his heart.

Qui-Gon nodded, as if agreeing with his Padawan. "I know you are, Obi-Wan. I can feel it from you; giant waves of remorse. I know what it is you feel."

Obi-Wan said nothing, recognizing that clenched feeling at the back of his throat, knowing that if he tried to speak it would only result in very un-Jedi-like tears.

His master turned to him, and Obi-Wan could see true understanding in his father figure's eyes, grasping exactly what it was in a glance that was agonizing him. "It is never easy to take a life, my Patin. Sometimes, however, there is no other course of action to take. And I know that you made the choice today."

"I... I acted too harshly, too quickly." Obi-Wan argued, even as a fraction of his conflicting emotions started to fade away. "He didn't deserve to die."

"Very true, my apprentice: he didn't deserve to die. However, did the other people deserve too? Did you?" There was comfort in his master's eyes, if only he could take it.

"No." conceded Obi-Wan, as the shock began to seep away, releasing him from its' grasp. Guilt, however, still weighed heavily upon him, like a cloak that was slowing taking his breath away.

"Sometimes, Obi-Wan, a Jedi must make those hard choices. Sometimes, my dear Padawan, you will have to draw your lightsaber with the intent to kill. It is one of the most difficult things in our lives, Obi-Wan, but the choice must still be made."

The young apprentice nodded, knowing rationally that what he said was the truth, but irrationally, still feeling the raw, overwhelming pain. "It hurts, master." he whispered, not caring if it sounded weak or pitiful or soft.

Qui-Gon reached a comforting hand across to his Padawan, bridging the gap between them. "I know, Obi-Wan, but it is that that makes you great. It is that pain that makes you a Jedi."

Obi-Wan nodded, as he blinked away the last vestiges of his tears, and stared off into the recesses of the garden, slowly but certainly coming to terms with the repercussions of his first kill.