BALANCE TO THE FORCE
A post-TPM AU
Lincoln Six Echo
Naboo, Royal Palace, medical Ward.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Padawan, was sitting at his master's bedside, his blue-grey eyes fixed on the white sheet that covered Qui-Gon's chest, rising and falling at the rhythm of his breath.
The royal healers had reassured the young man his master was doing well and would recover, but still Obi-Wan felt the need to reassure himself that his mentor, friend and father figure was alive.
The image of Qui-Gon collapsing in the melting pit, his body passed through by the Sith's red blade, would be forever etched in his memory, a constant reminder of how he had failed his master. If only he had been quicker and less impulsive; if only he had not allowed the Sith to separate them, if only-
Obi-Wan closed his eyes and rubbed his smooth chin, as he tried to release his feelings of regrets into the Force. Qui-Gon was always saying him to live in the moment, to focus only on the present.
But if Obi-Wan was somehow able to let go of the past, he could not do the same with the future.
The elusive feeling that had assaulted him on the Viceroy's ship a few days before had returned and was now stronger. The Padawan was not able to tell exactly what it was or to pinpoint its origins. He just felt the Republic was in danger.
Was it because of the Sith's return? Even if the Council members that had come to examine the body of the red-tattooed warrior Obi-Wan had killed had yet to express their opinion, the young man was sure the Zabrak had been a Sith, and that he had been the apprentice, not the master.
The master, the Dark Lord, was somewhere out there and Obi-Wan could almost feel him and sense his rage directed at him. Calling at him.
The Padawan shivered and shifted his weight on the chair, as he tried to banish that haunting thought, blaming his sense of guilt for it.
Obi-Wan was aware that he had been very close to the Dark Side the day Qui-Gon had been wounded.
The rage he had felt toward the creature that had slain his master had made him powerful, giving him the strength to resolve the dangerous situation he had fallen into, and kill the Zabrak when everything seemed lost.
The desperation he had felt when he had held Qui-Gon in his arms had given him the skills to start a deep healing trance that had allowed him to keep his master alive until medical rescue had arrived. Or at least he thought it was his desperation, because he could not exactly remember that moment.
Whatever the case, Obi-Wan knew he had touched the darkness not one, but two times—and yet he did not feel tainted. To the contrary, the light seemed to shine brightly in him, even more than before.
But that is only your opinion, Kenobi, he told to himself. Wait and see what Master Yoda and Master Windu will say about it.
As if on cue the door opened, and Mace Windu appeared on the threshold.
Obi-Wan stood up at once, and bowed his head in salute, "Master Windu."
"Come with me, Padawan Kenobi; Master Yoda wishes to talk with you."
The younger man nodded and after giving a final glance to his sleeping master, he moved to the door and left the room.
Obi-Wan followed Master Windu to a large room with a marble pavement and tall windows, through which the sunlight entered, creating plays of shadows and light over the scarce furniture.
Yoda was sitting on a low chair in the middle of the room, and Windu indicated Obi-Wan should take one of the two remaining empty seats.
The young man obeyed, although he found it a bit surprising. Padawans did not sit in the presence of Council members, especially when they were going to be questioned or reprimanded, as he sensed was going to happen.
"Viewed the records of the fight, we did," Master Yoda began. "Questions for you, we have."
Obi-Wan nodded, "I am here to answer, Masters."
Yoda and Mace Windu exchanged a glance, then the korum master asked bluntly, "We want to know what you felt when you saw your master being wounded and collapse."
Obi-Wan swallowed hard; the moment of truth had come. He did not hesitate, however, and with a clear and calm voice told the masters what they wanted to know.
"I felt powerless, Master. Distraught. Worried. Angry." A pause. "I felt hate toward that creature."
"What you did? Did you release these emotions to the Force?"
Obi-Wan lowered his eyes. "No, Master. I draw strength from them. They made me quicker and stronger as I fought the Zabrak, and in the end they helped me to overcome my opponent." Another pause, before the Padawan pushed bravely ahead. "Then, I once again draw power from them and from my desperation to start a healing trance on my master."
"The Dark Side of the Force, no healing power has. Destroys life it does; preserve it cannot. The power used you did to heal Qui-Gon, from other source it came."
Obi-Wan raised his head, and his wide eyes met the older master's calm ones. "Then I didn't imagine it…" he murmured.
"Imagine what, Obi-Wan?"
"When I was about to start the healing on Qui-Gon, I knew I would need strength to do it, because my healing skills have always been scarce. So I centred myself and prepared to call for the powers I used before—but somehow it didn't seem right to use them again. So I decided to let the Force guide me. I felt a new rush of energy fill me, a power much alike before--and yet stronger. Different…" Obi-Wan's voice died, as his memory returned and his wonder along with it.
"What happened, Obi-Wan?" Mace Windu prodded him, his voice urgent, as Yoda stared at the Padawan with unblinking eyes, apparently not wishing to lose a single expression of his face.
"A flash of light, Masters. Inside me. I now realize it not only gave me the power I needed to sustain and replace my master's depleted life force, but it also dispelled the shadows still lingering inside me." Obi-Wan shook his head slightly, then stared straight at Yoda and added, "I-I have never felt something like that before. I felt like being the only one in the Force…to be the Force, if this did not sound so blasphemous."
"Blasphemous it is not, Obi-Wan. Not for you. For many years, waiting for this moment we have been. Now, arrived it has."