jwbalways

JEDI WARRIOR BOND

-- ALWAYS --

By

GM


ST:TPM -- Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan dealing with Anakin, the Warrior Bond, and Qui-Gon's death.

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Rated -- PG -- intensity -- SUPER ANGST -- plot-lite

Comments -- send to:mfuff@crosswinds.net

Find more of my fanfiction at my websites

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The Canon according to Lucas -- based on the universe provided in the movie Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. All characters copyrights and legal details belong to George Lucas -- the highest Master Jedi of all.

ORDER OF STORIES IN THE JEDI WARRIOR BOND SERIES:

. . . every saga has a beginning . . .

Secrets

The Path of Bonding

Connecting

Sanctuary

The Heart of Existence

Edges of Darkness

The Sorcerer and the Apprentice

Shadow on the Warrior Path

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Always

The Last Hope

The End of the Warrior Path


Distance was never an existence between them. Until Anakin.

Forces had been trying to weaken and destabilize the Republic for years. Yoda knew they needed to bring balance. Anakin would do that. It still didn't make this easy. Why did Qui-Gon have to be the one to find the boy, to see the importance of the child? Why did Destiny demand the pain this was causing his apprentice?

Through the Warrior Bond Qui-Gon Jinn could feel the hurt, betrayal -- abandonment -- permeating his Padawan's emotions since the Council meeting. When he offered to train Anakin he felt Obi-Wan stare at him, more deeply felt the tremor of painful sensitivity shooting through him from his apprentice.

How was Obi-Wan supposed to feel? Publicly, impulsively dropping his apprentice of over a decade, for the young boy who was not eligible to enter the Jedi Temple as a student. No consultation, no preparation. Coldly, Qui-Gon had pushed Kenobi away in favor of the child.

It was true that there was little else he could teach Obi-Wan. For the last few years the Council had implied they were ready -- again -- to consider Qui-Gon as a member of the vaulted Council after his apprentice became a Knight. Most considered Kenobi very nearly ready to take his trials. They were right. Kenobi had grown up to be a noble, valiant, dutiful Jedi. Qui-Gon could not think of him without warming with pride. Yet, Jinn had been hesitant to offer Obi-Wan for the trials. In truth, he wasn't sure he, or Obi-Wan, were ready for the separation. It would be like losing part of himself, perhaps the best part, and Qui-Gon did not want to hasten that break.

Not that the change would separate them spiritually - emotionally -- that would never happen. Forever and always they would be connected through their Warrior Bond. Without even trying he could sense that strong, Force-cord was still attached, but now strained. The turbulent emotions of rejection and hurt were so clear from his Padawan.

With a breaking heart Qui-Gon forced himself to believe it was necessary. Anakin had changed everything. If he didn't train the boy no one would. The child needed a champion and only Qui-Gon seemed to sense the importance -- the certainty -- that Anakin was the one to bring balance to the Force. Anakin was special, yet, there was no connection -- it would never be the Warrior Bond he shared with Obi-Wan. Nothing could replace that. Happily, there seemed to be no way to break their bond so they are stuck with each other in some degree forever -- always. Even when Jinn acted in this cruel manner.

So many years ago Qui-Gon had experienced an abrupt severing with his second apprentice. After the young man was seduced by the Dark Side Qui-Gon had felt betrayed, wounded and guilty from the disloyalty. The only difference now was that he was the betrayer. It was a dishonor to the strong young man Kenobi had become. It was foreign to everything Qui-Gon felt in respect and regard to his Padawan. Yet, seeing it as his duty, Jinn defied everyone, even the one closest to his heart, to shepherd the boy.

Looking across the cabin of the ship, Qui-Gon stared at his apprentice. Obi-Wan's face was a hard, cold mask. Emotions, turbulent and raw on Coruscant, were now closed to Jinn. Through the Warrior Bond he could feel the unsettled pain, but nothing more specific. Kenobi had expertly shielded those details from him and Jinn did not want to intrude. He did not want to feel the depth of anguish again. How was his devoted and loyal son supposed to feel when his Master pushed him away in favor of another?

Qui-Gon superficially consoled himself by recalling that Obi-Wan was anxious to prove he was worthy to take and complete the trials to advance to Knight. For months they had both sensed the time was near for the young man to progress and become independent. Neither wanted it but both longed for the inevitable -- the proof that their partnership had been an unparalleled success and that Kenobi would be the strong and brave Knight everyone expected of him. The triumph would show the Council Obi-Wan was a talented man, that Jinn was a great Master, opening a place on the Council for the remarkable and powerful Master that deserved the seat.

Qui-Gon glanced at Anakin, head down on a table, apparently asleep. The boy had changed everything. For the sake of the Force, for destiny, Qui-Gon had killed the most precious connection to him, had damaged the one he loved most.

Again glancing at his Padawan, proud of the strong, capable, skilled man he had become. Qui-Gon flinched at the hurt he had caused. Obi-Wan glanced at him, their eyes meeting, their connection snapping into place without volition.

'Master, I am sorry --'

Through the sorrow, the penance was a deep ache, tempered with the warmth that consistently flowed between them since they became Master and Padawan.

'No, you are not at fault, my Padawan.'

Contrition was still in the stark, green eyes, but the sentiment -- the ever-present affection was still intact. In these swift, precious years Obi-Wan's impatience, impulsiveness and youthful intolerance had thinned, refined by the inherent strength and purity within him. Noble was the Force coursing inside his Padawan. And even though they would soon be Master and Knight, he would always regard -- with pride -- this passionate youth that would ever be his Padawan.

Crossing the room, Qui-Gon placed his strong, large hands on his apprentice's shoulders, squeezing slightly, communicating the respect, the love that had not changed between them.

'I must do this, my Padawan. We have lived our lives directed by the Force. I know this is too important to ignore. It baffles me to see no one else understands . . . .'

'As you say, Master.'

Obi-Wan refused to glance at his Master. Even now, when Jinn could feel his hurt, he ignored Kenobi's pain, still focused on the boy -- the remarkable Anakin. A stab of regret, of bitterness flared. Obi-Wan had too much respect for him to oppose him more, but the doubt, or the hurt, still remained. Qui-Gon was a fervent man -- inside an inferno of formidable Force, justice and passion. Outside, calm, strong and centered. A complex, incredible man. Perhaps the fault here was Obi-Wan's. Blinded by jealousy and resentment, Kenobi could not feel what Qui-Gon could within Anakin. Obi-Wan could only feel the isolation of being pushed aside. If he was not noble enough to overcome that, at least he could admit his failing to Qui-Gon's expectations.

Taking a breath, swallowing his wounded pride, again he apologized. 'I am truly sorry, Master.'

Jinn's face twitched, acknowledging the unmentioned, but obvious sense of betrayal. Whom had been betrayed? Qui-Gon for demanding to train Anakin? Or had Obi-Wan betrayed his Master with pride and jealous rebellion?

In the end, the young apprentice fell back on what was in his heart. He didn't always agree with his Master, but there was no element of disloyalty within him. He had supported his Amster in front of the Council even through his bitter anguish. And nothing could ever diminish his love and respect for Jinn. 'Whatever it is you need of me I will not fail you.'

The complex, convoluted emotions still swirled between them, but some things were clear and unmistakable above the confusion and hurt. As was his duty, Jinn stepped forward, for what could be the last time, to reassure, lead and guide his Padawan. If he could leave nothing else with his soon-to-be-Knight son, he would leave him a certainty of their bond.

Kneeling beside his Padawan he rested a hand on the younger man's muscled arm. 'This bond will assure nothing ever changes between us. I have never desired another apprentice. Perhaps it will not be my destiny to have one, even in Anakin. Whatever happens, there will never be another Warrior Bond with anyone else. You will always be my Padawan.'

'As you will always be my Master.'

'Always.'

***

Racked with convulsive, desolate sobs, Obi-Wan held his Master in his arms, clutching to the person most important to his existence. Through the panic Kenobi had been unable to punch through the anguish to do anything effective. Why didn't he use their Warrior Bond to save Qui-Gon? The injuries were fatal even before Obi-Wan had been released from the power shields. He had felt his Master dying even then. But his anger and pain had blocked out the Force and kept him from saving his Master.

When he had been hanging in the pit, certain of his own death, he had felt that connection still. The warmth and strength of his Master -- the ever-present devotion from Qui-Gon that assured that Obi-Wan could defeat the Sith. Kenobi felt an incredible power-surge of the Force, definitely from Qui-Gon specifically to Obi-Wan to lend him strength. In that instant he had clutched to his Master's energy. That unique calm and confidence saved his life and enabled him to call his Master's sabre into his hand and cut down the murderer who had destroyed two Jedi in a single thrust.

Then the anguish and panic had taken over again. No ability to call on healing powers. It was as if he had been blocked from using the Warrior Bond. He had felt only the warmth of the connection -- no thoughts, no power. Pressing his face to his Master's cheek he wept inconsolably, uncontrollably. He had failed in the most crucial test of his life. Why had his Master died? He would have traded his life a hundred times over to save his Master.

'You have never failed me, my Padawan.'

The thought was clear, but the residual trauma was too great for the young man to sort out or comprehend the message.

'Obi-Wan, release the guilt and pain. Never blame yourself. This was not your fault.'

Pulling slightly away, through his tears, he stared at the still face, touched the cool skin now damp with his weeping. His Master had not spoken.

'I am in your heart, Padawan. Can you feel me?'

Trembling, Kenobi drew in breaths, shuddering. 'Master.' His throat too tight to speak, he mentally reached for the connection and -- and it was there. Insulated, faint, different -- but the warmth, the love, the voice was there, anchored as deep as his soul.

'My Master . . . .'

'I am with you still. That will never change. Our bond is too strong, too old. Sometimes I wonder if it has ever been. I know it will ever be.'

The fondness in the tone broke his heart anew. 'I am so sorry --'

'You could not save me, Obi-Wan. You tried. I felt you throw your Force to me and I could not accept it. So I gave my strength to you -- that I could do for you one last time.'

'Why? Why could you give of your strength and I could not save you?'

'It was my time to leave you.'

'No.'

'All things -- even the best -- must change. I am away from you now as part of your world, but we still share the Living Force.'

The air tingled around him and Obi-Wan glanced up. Shimmering, bright, there stood the image of his Master. Glancing at the dead body in his arms, Obi-Wan stared back in wonder at the vision before him.

'It is not my destiny to train Anakin. It must be yours.'

A wave of jealous anger swept over him and the image of Qui-Gon faded. Desperately he vanquished the negative emotions and cleared himself of everything but the love he felt for his mentor.

'Don't leave me.'

'I did not do this to hurt you, Obi-wan.'

'I know. It is the will of the Force.' His inner mind-voice empty, flat. 'The will of the Force to train the boy. The will of the Force for you to die.'

'Did we question the Force when it so clearly indicated we were to be Master and Padawan?' Obi-Wan shook his head. 'Then we must not question it now.' Tenderly, he whispered, 'It doesn't mean we like it very much, but we accept what we can not change.'

'I will train the boy.'

'And I know you will do it well. You will be a great Jedi, my Padawan.'

'I can't do it alone, Master. Will you return to me?'

"I will always be here when you need me. The Force, in some ways, is constant as well as changeable. You will be my Padawan. Always.'

'As you will be my Master. Always.'

The vision faded. Shaking with residual emotion, Kenobi gathered his strength, swept his Master's body in his arms and started the long trek back to the main corridors of the Naboo Palace. Still he could feel his Master's presence in his heart, in the farthest corners of his mind. The bond was still there. Qui-Gon was on the other side of the Force but would still be a presence for Obi-Wan -- like being far away but not really gone. They would get through this together, just as they always had.

'Always.'

THE END


For more stories by the same author check out these websites:

Man from UNCLE FanFiction Classic Site -- http://www.crosswinds.net/~mfuff

Hawaiian FanFiction -- http://www.qnet.com/~martin5/