by Famira Damaris

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
Author's Notes: Wrote this for an RPG application writing sample, it kind of blew up to be bigger than expected, ah ha. Could be read as Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan.
Summary: During the last few minutes of life, there is clarity and there is purpose. Unfortunately, there is little room for much else in Qui-Gon Jinn's final hour, besides regret and one last act of denial.


Qui-Gon Jinn knew he was regarded as a bit of a rebel by his peers, but when he stepped forward in the Council Chambers and offered to train Anakin Skywalker himself, despite the fact he already had a Padawan, he knew he'd toed some line right there and then. He'd toed a lot of lines in the past, too many to count, but judging from the frowns and darkening looks on the assembled Masters' faces, this was going too far.

Judging from the faint scowl Obi-Wan Kenobi was trying his best to hide, he'd definitely gone too far. Stepped on too many toes and ruffled too many feathers.

He still stood by what he'd said before the Council, but he felt that he had to say something to his Padawan as they filed out together. He tried, out on the vista overlooking Coruscant's numerous air lanes the next afternoon; he told Obi-Wan that he foresaw him becoming a great Jedi Knight and truly, truly meant it, with his heart and soul. Obi-Wan smiled one of his little small, tight smiles and the air between them seemed to clear as they shared the fiery sunset descending on the endless stretch of city.

But Qui-Gon realized now that hadn't been what Obi-Wan expected to hear from him – or wanted to hear.

Strange time to come to that conclusion, but when you were dying, he supposed, things just suddenly seemed to fall into perspective. Not that dying didn't hurt – it did, quite a bit, especially when you got run through the stomach with a lightsaber – but Qui-Gon was so busy coming to grips with his newfound understanding of everything he'd ever known that the lances of agony stabbing up from his chest and lower down seemed to be distractions. For example, as he lay there, drifting in and out of consciousness, listening to the angry hiss and snarls of lightsabers clashing, he perfectly understood how cold and hard the floor of the reactor room was, understood the minute vibrations that could be felt through his scorched tunic.

He was most certainly going to die before any help arrived.

Hardly surprising, Qui-Gon thought in a daze, seeing as being skewered tended to do that to people.

The next thing he became aware of was being slowly lifted to rest on someone's lap, being cradled intimately – too intimately, he hadn't ever been touched like this before – and it took him a long second to realize that it was Obi-Wan who was doing the touching and another second later he realized that his Padawan had fulfilled and surpassed even his wildest expectations by slaying that Sith Lord.

But of course he would, Qui-Gon thought, as he struggled to focus on his apprentice's face. This was Obi-Wan and he sensed Obi-Wan was destined for something greater: killing that Sith was only the beginning of a shift in the Force, larger than Qui-Gon, larger than the Jedi, and certainly larger than the Republic. The galaxy was changing now; Obi-Wan would be there to witness these changes even if his Master would not. Somehow little Anakin would play a part, a major part, and that thought gave him strength even as it seemed to bleed right out of him with each struggling breath.

He trusted Obi-Wan. Above all others, despite the rough spots over the years in their roles as Master and Padawan, Qui-Gon in the end trusted Obi-Wan completely and without question.

There was so much he wanted to tell Obi-Wan, some of it that he knew his Padawan waited years to hear, but unfortunately time wasn't on his side. And even to the end, he was still a Jedi – he had one last duty to perform.

Qui-Gon made Obi-Wan promise. He made him promise to take Anakin.

It was the last thing Obi-Wan expected to hear.

Darkness was closing in, but Qui-Gon could see the betrayed disappointment clouding Obi-Wan's eyes despite himself, even as the young Padawan clutched his fallen Master closer and tried to convince him that help was on the way. The last thing Qui-Gon remembered, before he slipped away, was thinking that this was the last betrayal he wanted to put his Padawan through, and then the cold realization that it wouldn't be the last, not by a long shot.

Then there was nothing. There was only the Force.