Title: The Luckiest Man Alive
Summary: Yoda, Dooku, and a twenty four year old Qui-Gon go to the small planet of Omartia to pick up a force-sensitive infant. A normal mission leaves Qui-Gon with nothing but questions, riddles, and perhaps a glance at destiny. Non-Slash
A/N: Well… This is AU… It popped into my head randomly when I was working on school a few days back. Enjoy! (don't forget to review!)
Yoda hummed gently, putting a hand to his green chin.
"To be sent to Omartia, they are?
"Yes, Master." The archivist replied.
"A pick-up, Master Yoda."
Yoda hummed again. "Names, the parents have?"
"Well… I do not have any first names, but I do have a last name – Kenobi."
Yoda nodded solemnly, thinking, feeling. Something about this… It was big. He wasn't sure what it was, but he felt that his presence would be needed on this mission – for the protection of this infant and his future as a Jedi. He would go with them on this mission, no matter how people would stare.
After all, he supposed, surely his Padawan and grand-Padawan wouldn't mind a visit.
Qui-Gon smirked silently from behind one side of the doorway. From his vantage point, he could make out the tall, bent back of his Master, cloaked in brown, as well as a small, squirming bundle of white situated on his lap.
"No, no, stop that. My cloak is not a play-thing to be tugged on, young one. And my fingers are not for chewing, either. No no no, please don't cry…" The gentlemanly, baritone voice of Master Dooku floated to Qui-Gon's ears, the frustration and exasperation evident in his voice.
A muffled wailing soon filled the small room of the ship, and smiling was all Qui-Gon could do to keep from laughing at his Master's failed attempts to calm the child. He had only been on a couple missions of this type of with his master, and none of them had required the dignified Master Dooku to play nursemaid to a one year old child. Qui-Gon hid himself around the corner again as he thought back to earlier that morning. They had arrived on Omartia very late last night – or rather, very early that morning, he supposed, after being sent by the council to pick up a force-sensitive infant after the parents contacted the Jedi council upon discovery that their child was force-sensitive.
No one really knew how they discovered that he was force sensitive, but it was true enough, and so, after a lengthy, heavy discussion of the Jedi, a contract signed, and a good amount of tears on the parents' part, they were headed back to Corscant, a new addition to the Jedi family among their passengers. Qui-Gon smiled at this thought. Another little lifeform to populate the halls of the crèche, later to be chosen as a padawan and ultimately knighted.
Understanding the joy that this brought the padawan was hard for most, for his age and older, especially for those weak in the living force. Qui-Gon practically lived in the living force, and had to remind himself constantly that there was more to the force than the living aspect of it. But, Qui-Gon had, from a young age, earned a reputation among the Jedi as a living force protégé. Known to be gentle, sympathetic, and loving toward all life forms, no matter how big or small.
About two years ago, Qui-Gon had gone through a sudden, slightly belated growth-spurt, which sent his once lanky frame shooting up to a height of six feet, five inches - a good four inches above his Master. Since his rather unexpected growth, Qui-Gon had found, slightly to his dismay, that he was a very intimidating, and perhaps even scary figure. But his gentleness and loving nature stayed with him, and, in late months, had acquired the name of 'The Gentle Giant'. He wasn't particularly fond of the nickname, but didn't do anything about it. He supposed he would have, if he had known that the entire lot of senior padawans would use it by the end of his eighteenth year…
Qui-Gon shook his head, coming back to the present. He smiled as he again heard his Master's voice from the other side of the doorway, this time speaking soft curses. Qui-Gon would have to remember this time to use as defense the next time he let his tongue slip. Quietly peeking around the corner again, Qui-Gon briefly wondered what would happen if Dooku were to find out that his apprentice was spying on him. Of course, Dooku didn't have to know.
Just as this thought passed through his mind, a sudden, sharp pain in his shin made Qui-Gon double over to grasp his leg in pain and bite his lip to keep from making noise. Once he straightened up again, Qui-Gon quickly turned around, lightsaber in hand, ready to face whatever wished to harm him. But instead of an enemy, he was met by a familiar, smirking, mischievous little green face.
"Spying, you should not be, Padawn Jinn." Yoda said, a small smile on his lips. Qui-Gon quickly prayed Dooku hadn't heard him.
"Master Yoda." He acknowledged calmly, putting his lightsaber away quietly as he glanced at the small wooden cane in the ancient master's hand. He had no doubt in his mind that that cursed stick was the source of swollen bruise forming on his left shin. "I didn't hear you. Or sense you." At Qui-Gon's muffled surprise, Yoda chuckled.
"Hmm… Distracted, were you? Amused by your dear master's suffering, are you? Helping him, you should be, Qui-Gon."
Without further exchange, Yoda knocked the young man's heels with his cane and sent him into the room. Though surprised, Qui-Gon quickly regained composure and proceeded into the room calmly.
Before he could even get a full greeting out, Qui-Gon was cut off by his relieved master.
"Oh, Qui-Gon, thank the Force – Here, you watch him for a while." Dooku, in a very uncharacteristic flurry of undignified and decidedly ungraceful movements, promptly shoved the small infant into Qui-Gon's arms, which had instinctively sprung out to catch the being as he dropped from Dooku's grasp.
Before he could even think to respond, Dooku was gone. For a moment Qui-Gon simply stood there, trying to figure out what had just happened. But before long, he felt a pair of eyes on him. Brow still creased in confusion, Qui-Gon looked down at the tiny body in his arms. Two huge, greenish blue eyes stared back up at him, unblinking. The child had stopped crying, and was intently studying Qui-Gon's face with a tilted-head gaze.
"Hello, little one." Qui-Gon said, suddenly and unexplainably very curious about the child. The boy in his arms smiled a little, and Qui-Gon found his own lips quirking up in a grin. "You seem much quieter now." At this, the baby gurgled happily and snuggled closer to Qui-Gon as the tall padawan sat down. "I suppose it could just be my master. He's never done well with small children." Qui-Gon smiled, even though his comment had drawn no response from the baby, who was now strangely interested in playing with Qui-Gon's long padawan braid. The braid's owner studied the young face carefully, watching how the engrossed little boy would bat the band of hair this way and that, every time anticipating its return to the spot above his head. It didn't hurt, Qui-Gon mused. The small hands didn't tug on his hair, and he could barely feel it when they batted across his chest. Eventually, the spell was broken when Qui-Gon's braid fell up and over his shoulder, much to the confusion of the small Jedi-to-be in his arms. Chuckling, Qui-Gon shifted the baby onto his lap, the small head now coming to rest on his knees.
"Not to worry, little one. You will have your own braid, in time. Even though it will seem like an eternity to wait for." Qui-Gon watched with a content smile as the baby played gently with his large fingers, which appeared very dark in color compared to the smooth, pale skin of the infant. On impulse, Qui-Gon started to examine the boy with the Force, curious. What he found surprised him. It was strange, to say the least. Truthfully, he hadn't the slightest idea of what it was, but it was unlike anything he'd ever felt before. He'd examined many force-sensitive children before, but none gave him quite the same feeling as this one was giving him now. It was warm… Familiar… Loving, even. Respectful, yet affectionate at the same time. Qui-Gon, his brow creased into a frown, was admittedly becoming just as engrossed with the boy as the boy was with him. So much so, that he didn't notice when Dooku strode into the room.
"Qui-Gon, we're going to be arriving at Coruscant in about two hours. And do you know where Master Yoda is? That troll is so elusive… Anyway, I believe that they have our evening meal ready."
Qui-Gon barely recognized the fact that his Master was speaking – much less that he was speaking to him.
"Qui-Gon, are you even listening to me?" Dooku waited a moment or two, and, still getting no response, put a hand on Qui-Gon's shoulder. Qui-Gon didn't move, but instead asked a question.
"Master, does he have a name?"
"Of course he does.
"Well, what is it?"
"First name or last name?"
Qui-Gon resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Trust Dooku to make this complicated. "Either will do."
"Good. I can only remember the last. Ken-"
"Need to know his name, you do not."
At Yoda's voice, both Jedi looked up, or down, rather, at the small green being who came to stand beside Dooku. Dooku seemed happy that Yoda had finally showed himself, but Qui-Gon's gaze was still asking the question they had been – who was this child? Recognizing the question, Yoda waved a hand dismissively.
"Grow attached, you will, if a name you are given. Better for everyone, it is, if anonymous into the temple, the boy goes." Yoda explained. Qui-Gon nodded submissively, his Master doing the same, but with the quick curtness that always accompanied Dooku's rare submission.
"Master Yoda," He started, changing the subject, I would like to speak with you, if you don't mind."
"Walk with me you will, Padawan." Yoda said fondly, slowly walking beside Dooku towards the door. As they exited, Qui-Gon could hear his master's voice echoing back to him, saying something about the councils depriving him from 'real' field work. Qui-Gon pressed his lips together in frustration. His master never would understand what a privilege this was, would he? To bring a new Jedi to the temple? To bring a new member into their extensive family? Was Qui-Gon the only one who valued that? Was he the only one who cared when a yearling was brought into the temple to be trained as a guardian of the peace?
Qui-Gon was brought back out of his thoughts with a small, yet attention-drawing tug on his robe. His gaze was once again brought back to the infant, who still didn't have a name. Well, besides what his master had started to say.
"Well then. I still have to call you something… What had Master said? Ah yes, Ken. Well, I suppose I shall just have to call you that for now, Mr. whoever you are." Qui-Gon said, smiling. As he gazed at the baby, the baby in turn gazed back up at him, and Qui-Gon was filled with that strange, warm feeling again. It was nice, the feeling. It seemed hauntingly familiar, but Qui-Gon knew he had never felt it before. But somehow, he knew he would feel it again – he just didn't know when. He smiled. Best keep his eyes peeled.
"Well, my dear Ken," Qui-Gon said, looking around him. "I suppose it's just you and me. Again." Qui-Gon simply stared at Ken for a moment, just as Ken stared back up at him. Eventually, he gently wrapped Ken back up in his arms, and went across the room to a more comfortable couch with several plush pillows. Qui-Gon momentarily set the child down so that he had both arms free to form a pillow backrest at one side of the wide couch, and again brought Ken back to his lap. And, though they had already done it for nearly an hour, Qui-Gon and the newly dubbed Ken stared at each other again. Ken's gaze was full of wonder and awe. There was something about the depth of Ken's eyes that sent a shiver up Qui-Gon's spine. When he was filled with the strange feeling again, Qui-Gon quirked his head to the side, concentrating. Carefully, he gently reflected the emotion, whatever it was, back toward the infant sitting on his lap. Promptly, Ken smiled very large and crawled his way between the wall and Qui-Gon's left leg, and curled up under the padawan's arm, pressing close to his side. Qui-Gon followed his slow movement with intrigued eyes, until, that is, Ken was tucked beneath his arm. Qui-Gon sighed. Dear Force, he hadn't been with the boy for more than a day and he was already attached to him. He didn't even know his real name, and he was already loathing the time when he would have to part with his new friend. Looking down at the small, innocent face, Qui-Gon found himself smiling in a way he hadn't in a long while. And his smile only grew when Ken's large blue eyes started to flutter shut with a wide yawn. Picking the boy up under the arms, Qui-Gon moved the smaller being to the other end of the couch, making a safe 'crib' constructed of pillows. Qui-Gon waited until he was sure that Ken was asleep, and then, with a yawn of his own, retrieved a throw blanket from the back of the couch and went back to his seat, this time laying down.
"Goodnight, little Ken." Qui-Gon said, dozing off into a light sleep.
When he awoke, Qui-Gon noted with a grimace the tingling pain in his left forearm. He must have layed on it. With a sigh, Qui-Gon tried to move his fingers, trying to assess just how 'asleep' his arm was. And he could move his arm, but what made his brow turn down into a frown was the fact that his back didn't register any touch. He moved his hand again, and, again, he didn't feel anything against his back. Now that he thought of it, his elbow was in a position that would make it impossible to lay ontop of his arm. Opening his eyes, he turned to look at his arm. He smiled.
There, curled up half-on top of Qui-Gon's arm, thumb in mouth, was Ken, still sound asleep. He looked so innocent. So sweet. Qui-Gon briefly wondered what Ken would be like when he got older. Suddenly, Qui-Gon shut his eyes. No. He couldn't think like that. Force! Why did he get so attached to things so quickly? He would probably never see this boy again. Well, probably not, anyway. The Temple was a large place. And besides, they would be on Coruscant in – Qui-Gon glanced up at the chrono on the wall – fifteen minutes.
As if on cue, his comlink buzzed. Qui-Gon reached for it and answered.
"Ah, Qui-Gon. I was wondering when you might wake up."
Qui-Gon blushed. "I apologize, Master."
"Try to time your sleeping hours past sunset next time, Padawan."
"Yes Master." Qui-Gon said submissively.
"We will be landing in ten minutes – I suggest you make yourself presentable enough for a council report. Have the child ready also."
As Dooku cut off the transmission, Qui-Gon looked back down at Ken. He didn't really want to wake the child up. Qui-Gon carefully removed his arm out from under the boy, and then reached for his cloak, using the semi-reflective windows as a mirror to straighten out what little of his hair could be straightened out. He shrugged on his cloak, and then reached for Ken's still sleeping form, making sure not to disturb his sleep as gathered the tiny form in his arms again. He smiled down at the infant face for what could very well be the last time.
"I do hope we meet again, dear Ken. But until then, May the Force be with you, young one." Qui-Gon paused then, wrapping the infant's blanket tighter around him. "Whoever becomes your master, young one," Qui-Gon prophesied quietly, "Will be the luckiest man alive."
With that, Qui-Gon proceeded down the corridor to the exit ramp, a still-sleeping Ken in his arms.
Sixteen years later, Qui-Gon sat in his small living area, going over some last documents that needed sorting through. Reports, missions, Obi-Wan's grade reports… They were all jumbled together in a heap that Qui-Gon had decided to tackle in one fell swoop.
And, after hours of perseverance, his efforts had paid off. All the information that he needed records of was now neatly sorted, all stored on one datapad. Smiling, pleased, he glanced up at the chrono. Force, was it that late? Slowly, he rose to his feet and turned off the holo-lamp that he had been using for light. But his brow creased when there was still light in the room. Following the beam to the source, he was surprised to see Obi-Wan's door open. Slowly, he walked into the room, careful not to disturb the sleeping apprentice. The light was coming from a dimly glowing datapad that was sitting on Obi-Wan's bed, just beyond the boy's fingertips. Smiling, Qui-Gon reached over and turned it off. He drew a blanket up around Obi-Wan, and sat down on the bed next to him, watching the boy's chest rise and fall as he took slow, even breaths in his sleep.
Qui-Gon watched Obi-Wan sleep from time to time, and each time that he got the chance to do so, he was amazed at the innocence and boyishness that revealed itself on his apprentice's sleeping face. With a fond smile, Qui-Gon remembered a time when he thought he would never see that innocent face again. Was he ever in for a surprise. Qui-Gon shook his head. Oh, the irony of it all. Of course, irony was the way of the Force. Smiling in remembrance, Qui-Gon bent to gently kiss Obi-Wan on the forehead. Indeed, he was the luckiest man alive.
A/N: Yaaay! Aw, how sweet… Sure, it's not my best work, and it only took a few hours, but hey! I rather like it. I have an itching feeling that I either spelled something wrong, or didn't use right grammar, or… Something. Please tell me if you find anything! D And please, REVIEW!