EXCERPTS FROM THE AUDIO JOURNAL OF QUI-GON JINN, JEDI KNIGHT

Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 13:11:20

Almost forty days have elapsed since I learned of my son's death.

Since I last felt our bond pulse with life.

Since I have meditated for the last time.

I have never spent so much time without meditation, not even after Xanatos' turn, not even when Obi-Wan was taken away from me as a baby.

I have always believed that everything has a purpose, that there is always a reason behind any event, and that we have just to listen to the Force to understand what it is.

Now…now I am not so sure. It seems like I am questioning the beliefs of a whole life, but how can I really do it if I don't really meditate? I ask questions but I am not willing to search for the answers.

I know Mace and Yoda are concerned about me. They have offered to meditate with me, but I have declined.

I don't feel like doing it. Not yet, that's it.

Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 13:11:23

Today I accompanied Lianne to her weekly check up.

The healers have found her and the baby in perfect health. She is scheduled to give birth in fifteen days or so and today she asked me to be with her when the time comes.

Of course I will be with her. I will do it for her, for my son and for Obi-Wan.

Yes, Obi-Wan. Lianne has decided her son will be named after his father and not after Ben J'Ray, Obi-Wan's late master, as they had agreed.

I confess I look forward to the child's birth. I hope that holding a part of my son in my arms will help to dispel the anger and desperation I keep inside myself.

And then maybe, when the time is right, I will find again my centre. I will return to listen to the Force and perhaps I will hear the echo of Obi-Wan's laugh in its whisper.

Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 13:11:28

This night I had a beautiful dream. I dreamed of Obi-Wan…he was alive and smiling, walking in a green meadow with his son riding his shoulders, his little legs firmly grasped in his father's hold.

Lianne and I were there too, sitting nearby and I then realized I knew that meadow. It was on my home planet, near the river where, oh-so-many years ago, I found the black and red Force sensitive stone my son always carries near his heart…

My son carries…present tense.

Is this why I can't feel him in the Force? Because deep inside I have not yet accepted he is dead?

It must be so.

There has been a moment yesterday night that I even imagined to sense our bond come to life again…but it was only my wishful imagination. Today everything is as it has been for the past month.

My son is dead and nothing can change this reality.

Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 13:12:2

An old saw says pure perfection does not exist. It is probably right.

However, I can swear that today, my life went very close to archive perfection.

Obi-Wan is alive.

My son is alive.

He did not die on Jabiim and he is now back at the Temple, currently resting in a room in the Healer's wing, near Lianne and their newborn son.

Oh yes, Ben has been born today…he decided to come to the light sooner than predicted… impulsive boy…

Listen to me, I am babbling…but as I told Obi-Wan many years ago on Naboo, when he was the one stammering at my bedside, I think I am entitled to it. In fact I think it is a miracle I am even able to say a coherent sentence so emotionally upside down I am.

All started this early morning…well, yesterday morning, for it is past the twelfth hour, when, just after breakfast, I went to visit Lianne.

I had just stepped inside her living room when I heard her voice come from her bedroom.

"Qui-Gon?" she called.

"Yes, Lianne?" I answered peaking from the open door and seeing she was still lying in bed.

"Can you call the healers? I think it is time," she said, sounding impossibly calm.

"What? Now? Isn't it early?" I confess that, even if only for a second, I felt on the verge of panicking. However I managed to regain my composure quickly and I hurried to do what she had asked.

Once it was done I went to her bedside and knelt. "Are you in great pain?" I said her.

"Not yet…" She grinned, before a contraction made her grimace. She panted and then murmured, "I retract what I have just said…"

I could not help but laugh softly. "When did it start?"

"About two hours ago."

"Why didn't you call me?"

"Because it was not so bad, and because I know you are not sleeping enough in these days…"

My heart constricted. There she was, in pain, mourning her husband and all what she was thinking of? Of me, of my health.

"Lianne-" I started, but whatever I wanted to say was silence by the healers, a master and a padawan team, arrival. They carried a stretcher and after a brief examination they moved Lianne on it, and we were soon on our way to the Healers' wing.

Once there, I was told to wait as the healers took Lianne inside a chamber to run some tests and ascertain her condition.

About an hour later I was allowed inside the bedroom and it was then that the real wait began.

My daughter-in-law had decided to have a natural birth, with no drugs to speed up the labour and just a little dose of painkillers.

I don't know if she would have made the same choice had she known she would have to labour for eighteen hours, but I have to say her courage and her determination impressed me. She did not scream, she did not curse…she just repeated Obi-Wan's name again and again and gritted her teeth like a soldier.

She screamed only in the end, when with a last effort she pushed her son to the world. And then all the pain she had to endure was forgotten when the healer who had helped with the birth put her child in her arms for the first time.

As I watched my grandson, my memory returned to another newborn and just as I had done thirty-five years ago, I lowered my shields, wanting to bask in the child's strong Force signature.

It was in that precise moment that the bond inside my mind sprang to life again. It was such an unexpected, incredible sensation that I stood there, immobile, speechless, as near me, Lianne adjusted her grip on her child and said, "Welcome to the world, my son. Welcome-"

"-Ben Qui-Gon Kenobi," a low, cultured voice completed from the door and I whipped my head around.

Obi-Wan, my Obi-Wan was standing there, leaning against the doorframe, his blue-grey eyes wide as he stared at his wife and son.

He looked terrible. He was pale, thin, his hair and beard unkempt, and his face bore several scars—but he was the most beautiful thing I ever saw.

He left his place against the doorframe and crossed the room his eyes fixed on the red haired bundle pressed against his wife's bosom.

Then Obi-Wan raised his head and his face broadened in a dazzling smile as his eyes danced from Lianne to me and back again.

"Lianne…Father…" he murmured.

It was then that I circled the bed with Force-enhanced speed and I pulled him in my arms, hugging me as strong as I could as I experienced my moment of sheer perfection…

Shortly afterward, a healer dragged Obi-Wan and I away from the room as Lianne prepared to feed Ben for the first time.

I followed my son to another room, unwilling to let him out of my sight for a single moment as he was checked by the healers.

We have not talked about what has happened to him today. We just basked in each other's presence, our shields lowered, until the healers decided that Obi-Wan needed to rest and that it was time I went to bed to.

It is exactly what I plan to do. I am tired and my bed is beckoning me. There are still many questions I need an answer to, but it does not really matter now.

The only thing that matters is that Obi-Wan is alive and has returned home.

Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 13:12:3

I went to visit my son and his family in the healer wing and was somehow amused to see that while Lianne was awake and reading, her two men were sleeping.

I know it is too soon to say it for sure, and that my opinion might not be that impartial, but I am ready to swear Ben has taken after Obi-Wan, not only in the colouring. They had the same expression while sleeping…

ADDENDUM- evening

In the afternoon I received a message from Anakin. He is on his way to the Temple. He will be on leave for at least one month.

I have informed him that he is now an uncle, and I have seen his eyes brighten with joy when he realized Obi-Wan has arrived home just in time to name his child.

I gather that my Padawan and my son had not the time to talk privately after Obi-Wan's rescue, but I trust everything will be between them.

Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 13:12:4

Obi-Wan was released from the Healer's wing today, for the only thing he really needs is to recover from his ordeal is plenty of rest, good food and light exercise.

We went to the gardens together and it was where that my son told me what happened on Jabiim.

He told me how he was able to leave the walker before it exploded, how the force of the explosion thrown him and a clone trooper called Alpha in the air and how the hard impact with the ground knocked him unconscious.

He revealed me how Asajj Ventress found him and Alpha and transferred both of them on her hiding place on Rattatak, where she tortured both of them for other a month, until they were found a way to escape.

He described me the horror of spending endless days chained, prisoner of a Dark Lord torture mask that made practically impossible for him to access the Force, that prevented him from touching our bond and thus let me know he was alive.

After Obi-Wan concluded his talk, there was a moment of silence, then he turned to face me and murmured, "And you Father? How have you spent the last fifty days?"

I knew what my son was really asking and thus I lowered my shields and showed him everything he deserved to know.

I did it without hesitation, for I know Obi-Wan would never judge me, would never repute me weak. We may argue on several things, but there is always absolute trust between us.

When he finally retreated from my mind, Obi-Wan was silent for a while, lost in thought. Then he cleared his throat and spoke quietly.

"I think you have no reason to feel guilty, Father. You have not let your pain cripple you. You did your duty to the Order and looked after Lianne. You did not betray the Jedi ideals as you believe."

"Somehow I don't think Yoda and Mace would be of your same opinion," I answered bitter. "I held on my pain and regrets. I have not meditated since I was informed of your death and, worst, I have been angry—angry with the Force."

Obi-Wan's pursued his lips before saying, "I think father, that you did not let me go because, deep inside yourself, you knew I was not dead. You could no longer feel the bond because the mask blocked our connection, but the bond was still there, intact. Even if unconsciously, you knew it was still there. That's why you could not move on."

I listened intently to my son's words then nodded slowly.

Obi-Wan might be right. Maybe I could not accept he was gone because part of me knew he was not still here. And that's of course the reason I could not sense him in the Force. The only time I felt him was when I dreamed of him…I guess it was just after he freed himself from the mask and before he tightly shielded again to avoid Ventress might sense him. That's why I did not perceive him until he arrived at the Temple…The more I ponder this, the more I sense this is the truth.

I cannot deny a big weight has just been taken off my shoulders. I have come to accept my actions and the reasons behind them and now…now I can feel the Force call at me—and I am eager to answer. To lose myself in it and listen to her will…the need to meditate is getting stronger by the moment…and I do not intend to resist it a single moment more…

Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 13:12:9

This morning, Ben Qui-Gon Kenobi was officially accepted to the Jedi Temple as trainee. The child's midi-chlorian count is not as high as Obi-Wan's, but it is above average all the same.

It has been agreed that he will live with his parents but also spend some time every day with the other younglings in the Crèche. Then, when he is old enough, he will start his basic training under Yoda and other masters' tutelage, until the day Obi-Wan will take him as his padawan and complete his training as my son reputes best.

I have the feeling Ben will grow up to be a blend of Sith and Jedi teachings, and I must say I am very pleased by this idea.

It feels so good to think about the future, a future without a war, where the Jedi and a Sith will train together what I hope will be the first of many padawans raised in this way.

This openness in the Council, this willingness to accept Obi-Wan's child, makes me hopeful that one day Anakin will be able to appear in front of the masters and announce he is married with no fear of being expelled. Times are changing and I think the Jedi will have to change with them—but not now. For the time being Anakin will have to keep his marriage a secret.

My son and my Padawan will have to return to the front in the immediate future but, at least, this time they will leave being at peace with each other.

Yesterday night Anakin and Obi-Wan had a long talk. I was not present, I know for sure that Anakin apologized for having been a "despondent brat" (his words), and told my son how much he loves him.

In turn Obi-Wan apologized for having been to harsh in some occasions and reassured Anakin he too loves him as a brother. He said my Padawan that all of his reprimands are dictated by his affection.

Then Anakin confessed me he had burst in tears as they embraced, and that even my stoic son's eyes had looked suspiciously moist and too bright, even if he was sure Obi-Wan would adamantly deny it.

As I watched Obi-Wan and Lianne introduce little Ben around to my son's closest friends, Knights Muln, Eerin and Tachi – Knight Tachi's expression when she was handled the squirming bundle was priceless – I felt my heart fill with the hope it had been missing for too long.

The war is still raging, the Dark Lords are still out there, and the prophecy of the Chosen One and his Guardian is still looming over us, but I feel confident that the future will be bright for the Jedi and the Republic.

The war will be won. The Dark Lords will be defeated. I will grow old watching my son training his boy as Anakin will help him…until the moment he too will have his young ones to look after.

This is a really priceless image, one I will hold dear in my heart until the moment it becomes reality.

THE END