Prologue/Chapter One

Never before had Master Yoda's words of wisdom been so significant to Jedi Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi than this very moment – the moment his fellow Jedi and friend, Siri Tachi, lay her sweat-dampened blond head against his bare chest, breathing deeply to slow the rate of her respirations.

As always, making love with Siri was as strenuous as a two-hour 'saber drill. She was as active in bed as she was on the training mats, and Obi-Wan enjoyed her company.

He and Siri hadn't always been friends, though. In fact, as junior padawans, they were often forced to work together on missions and spar or even compete against each other during lightsaber tournaments. Because of the close proximity of their ages and talents, their Masters always seemed to pair them.

During their early teens, Obi-Wan had thought she was pushy and bossy, and it had taken all of his training to maintain a serenity only the Force could provide, to even get along with her.

At some point, about their sixteenth standard year, something changed. Suddenly, the way she twisted her golden hair between her fingers when she was bored wasn't as annoying, and the way she said his name wasn't nearly as irritating. Somehow, both had turned into romantic advances.

Their first kiss was initiated by Siri, and after that, it was easy to follow the natural course of any relationship.

A year after confessing their mutual desire for one another, they had made love, and a year after that, not much had changed.

Which was where Obi-Wan found himself this evening. In Siri's bed, feeling the weight of her body against him, and the weight of the inevitable in his mind.

She was his first serious romantic relationship. Obi-Wan had always assumed they would bond – that the Force would connect them together through their minds, as it had done all Jedi for hundreds of years before him, including his own Master.

But as the oldest Jedi in the Temple had reminded him, "assumption, the root of disappointment it is," Obi-Wan was resigned to face the obvious and no longer ignore the facts.

He and Siri were obviously not meant to be together.

"What's wrong?"

If she had asked him the same question earlier in their relationship, it would've given the young apprentice hope that perhaps they were finally developing the bond that was required, that she was able to read his emotions. Time, however, was the best teacher, and Obi-Wan understood her probe for what it was: The simple intuitive concern for a friend.

When he didn't answer, Siri propped herself up on his chest, her blue eyes dulling with his unspoken reply.

"This isn't going to work out for us, is it?"

Obi-Wan gazed at her attractive face. She looked disappointed, but not hurt. He felt the same. They had grown close in their two years together and during that time, he had come to respect her mind as well as her physical talents. He would miss her, although he knew he wasn't in love with her. And she wasn't in love with him.

Obi-Wan smiled to ease any possible worry she may have and shook his head.

"It was fun while it lasted. I don't regret a minute."

"Neither do I." Obi-Wan agreed, pulling the smiling face to his for a kiss of farewell.

"I suppose I should be getting back home. It's almost curfew, and Qui-Gon will be worried."

Along their training bond, Obi-Wan could sense his Master's concern. He had never missed curfew before and he wasn't about to now. He was having enough trouble meeting the requirements to become a Jedi Knight as things were. He sent his intentions along the bond and felt his Master's pleasure and relief in return.

That familiar presence in his mind was a comfort to the young man, but along with it came the troubling thought that the bond he shared with his Master was the only one he possessed, and his time to discover the other was growing increasingly short.