It felt like he could breathe again. Breathe because his Padawan can.
With a grunt, the boy tried to take off the little apparatus that covered his mouth and nose. Qui-Gon did it for him, using the movement to also touch the boy's cheek. It was warm.
"The Queen," Obi-Wan muttered. "Is she-?"
"She's fine. You saved her life."
"And the baby?"
"Alive and well," Qui-Gon smiled then. "They named it after you."
It was Obi-Wan's turn to smile and the Jedi Master realized how much he missed it. "Really?" He chuckled weakly. "What a great name for a boy."
"It's a girl."
"What a horrible name for a girl."
A snort of laughter rose from Qui-Gon's throat and he did a poor job of keeping it down. He sobered. "Obi-Wan… why didn't you tell me about the vision? Why?"
Obi-Wan shifted uncomfortably in the bed. "I'm not going to be angry," Qui-Gon assured him.
"It's not that," Obi-Wan began slowly. "It's… I wanted to tell you in the beginning but… something Master Windu said in the vision stopped me."
Qui-Gon immediately brought up the conversation in his head, quickly filtering through the words, trying to pinpoint a significant word or phrase.
"Obi-Wan died as a Jedi," Obi-Wan rasped to him. "That meant I died doing something…right. I saved somebody or stopped something from happening. And if I stopped the vision from happening, that meant the person I saved dies," Obi-Wan shook his head. "I couldn't let that happen."
"Padawan," Qui-Gon sat on the bed, refusing to let his hand stray from the boy's face. "There is no guarantee what you saw in the vision would come true. The present is constantly changing- the vision you had was one of many possible futures. You should have told me."
Qui-Gon didn't like the look in the boy's eyes as his words seem to take hold. Nothing in his tone was harsh and unforgiving but he could feel the guilt his words installed drift through the bond. "Sorry Master."
Qui-Gon shook his head in disbelief. "Is that…" He swallowed a breath. "Is that why you've been allowing me to treat you so harshly for the past few days? Because of the vision?"
Confusion ran across Obi-Wan's face. Qui-Gon continued. "I have not been the best of Masters to you. My feelings towards Xanatos blinded me and as a result, I took my anger and frustration out on you. But what upsets me the most Obi-Wan, is that I practically assaulted you and not once did you protest or ask why. Why did you allow me to treat you like that?"
It was Qui-Gon's hand that stopped Obi-Wan from turning his head away from him. The boy licked his dry lips and said, "Because I deserved it. I can't expect my enemy to be honorable in a fight or… a lawyer to keep his word. You were right in your reprimands."
Qui-Gon mentally swore. Gods, what dribble has he been filling his Padawan's brain with? "It is my job as your Master to teach you," He said, keeping his eyes directly on the boy's. "To guide you and to protect you. I should never raise my hand to you, my voice to you. It's true that I will strike you while we are dueling but that does not mean I should cause great physical pain. You shouldn't have fallen asleep during the signings but I should have noticed how tried you have been and excused you. And when you are having a nightmare," He came close and as gently as he could stated, "I should be the one to keep them away. You should never carry such a burden Obi-Wan. And as long as I am your Master, I will protect you to the best of my abilities. Do you understand?"
The boy's blue eyes were wide and a little fearful. But Qui-Gon needed to put that point across. If Obi-Wan thought his cruel treatments were considered normal… gods, he doesn't know how the consequences could play out. The idea scared him.
Qui-Gon allowed Obi-Wan to digest that. And even if the boy didn't believe him, then Qui-Gon was more than willing to show him.
They had time.
"There is something I do need to know," Qui-Gon said after a few minutes of silence. "Exactly what did you do to the Queen? You Forced healed her, but that sort of wound should have been beyond your help."
Obi-Wan smiled knowingly then. "I wasn't sure what I suppose to do until that very moment… I helped because Obi-Wan yelled for help."
Qui-Gon blinked in confusion. Then it hit him. "You mean…the princess?"
"She's very strong in the Force, Master. She knew something was wrong with her mother and she cried out to me. It took a little more effort on my part but together, we were able to stop the bleeding."
Now it was Qui-Gon's turn to be wide eyed. "That's…incredible. I have never heard such a thing."
"I wonder if the Queen will allow the Temple to train her."
Qui-Gon chuckled. "I don't think so. The Queen is quite possessive with her children and you know our code prohibits attachments. I think the best we can do is allow a tutor to teach the Princess a few basic techniques."
Obi-Wan groaned into his pillow. "Yes, I forgot about the Queen's… motherly instincts. Did you know while I was meditating, one of the Princes grabbed me, threw me over his shoulder and brought me to the royal chambers?"
Qui-Gon smirked. "Well, I know somehow you ended up in the children's bed, but I hadn't heard the whole story."
"At first I protested," He breathed. "Telling his highness that you were expecting me to meditate. He wouldn't hear of it. He threw me on the bed with the younger ones and all of them practically attacked me. Pulling on my braid, asking a million questions about the Jedi…" A blush exploded on his cheeks. "Then the Queen came in and I when I tried to tell her I had to go back, she ignored me and started to read a bedtime story. By then I couldn't leave because one of the princes had my braid in a death grip and one of princess' hugged me as if I were a stuffed animal."
Qui-Gon was trying very hard not to giggle. "So you thought the next best thing was to give up and sleep?"
Obi-Wan cast his eyes down. "I'm sorry-"
"Don't be. One lesson you must learn as a Jedi is to know when to give up. Sometimes it's best to walk away and wait for another opportunity to rise. Besides, you needed the sleep."
"The contracts!" Obi-Wan suddenly gasped. "Did-"
"All finished thanks to Master Noda and her Padawan. There'll be no backlash because of what happened. Kulain Win is a very reasonable person."
"Master Noda? She…she was your first Padawan, wasn't she?"
Qui-Gon grinned widely, thankful for a second chance. "Do you wish to meet her?"
Although Obi-Wan insisted that he was fine, Qui-Gon (And Queen Humu alike) subjected him for a week's worth of bed rest. Qui-Gon took the time to reestablish the bond that he so regrettably ignored. Queen Humu decided the best course of recovery was to feed Obi-Wan within an inch of his life. Noda showed him a few tricks to help hide his Force signature and Obi-Wan became fast friends with her Padawan, Egrin- mostly because they relied on each other to hide from Queen Humu's overzealous children.
Even though much had been resolved, Qui-Gon knew the road ahead was rocky and uncertain. Unlike Noda and Xanatos, Obi-Wan for some strange reason had very little self-esteem. Qui-Gon wasn't sure if it was because Obi-Wan had been rejected as a Padawan once before or if there was another factor involved. The boy expected way too much of himself. And Qui-Gon mused, perhaps, that was a little of his fault.
Queen Humu stood by her husband Pua'a, both of them smiling like the proud parents they were. In her arms Princess Obi-Wan stared around silently, her wide brown eyes sparking in the light. Behind them were all sixteen heirs, dressed in their royal finery. Some were even sporting braids, courtesy of Qui-Gon Jinn.
Standing in front of a readied ship, were all four Jedi. Although they did not look as impressive compared to the royals in terms of dress, the looks on their faces were the same: at peace.
"You have my deepest gratitude," King Pua'a bowed his head to them. "You all have a permanent home here on Noven."
The Jedi bowed back. "It's been a pleasure to serve," Qui-Gon said, squeezing Obi-Wan's shoulder. "And you have my gratitude for all you have done for me and my Padawan."
"We have one last gift," King Pua'a brought out a little brown wrapped package and gave it to Qui-Gon. "I hope it'll help to remember this day always."
Obi-Wan threw a suspicious look at Qui-Gon, who suddenly smirked as if he already knew what the gift was. "Thank you, your highness."
They bowed one last time, turned and walked up the ramp into the ship. As the hull door slowly closed behind them, Obi-Wan could hear the Princess beginning to wail.
The ship's engines vibrated softly and soon they were airborne. A quick jolt of energy and they shot off into space, leaving the small planet Noven far behind. Qui-Gon sat quietly in one of the pilot chairs, ripping off the brown paper from the present King Pua'a gave him.
From where Obi-Wan stood, he could only see the back of it. It looked rather like a large data disk. But the way Qui-Gon so gleefully smirked at it brought Obi-Wan to believe that it was not a data disk.
Noda leaned over the chair, her tentacles pooling over Qui-Gon's shoulders as she stared. "Master, why don't we have any photos like this?" She said rather insulted.
"It's a photo?" Obi-Wan asked.
Egrin joined to look. He snorted and said, "Master, I'm not sure you want such a photo. It's a bit embarrassing."
"Embarassing?" Obi-Wan came to his Master's side. Qui-Gon cheerfully tilted the frame towards him, allowing him a better look. Obi-Wan's face paled.
Qui-Gon had almost forgotten about the photograph he took of Obi-Wan sleeping with the other children. Although there were quite a number of bodies in the bed, limbs thrown about, stuffed animals pressed against chests, Obi-Wan was easily distinguishable and he was the very first thing to zoom on when looking at it.
"I think I'll be hanging this one up in our kitchen," Qui-Gon stated happily, holding the photo high.
"Master, you wouldn't," Obi-Wan tried to grab the frame out of his hands.
Qui-Gon easily dodged him. "I would."
"That's…cruel! You said you wouldn't be!"
"My dear, dear Padawan… This isn't cruel. Cruel would be duplicating this photo and then handing them out to all your friends."
"You've gone to the Darkside, haven't you?"
"Oh no, going to the Darkside would be duplicating this photo, handing them out to your friends and to all the Council members. And trust me, Master Yoda would love to have this."
It wasn't the start of their relationship, but it certainly wasn't the end. And as the small grey space ship made its preparation to jump into hyperspace, inside four Jedi laughed and smiled in their content, living in the moment.
All was well.
A/N: It's over! Yay! I wanna thank all of you guys for being such cool people and agreeing with me that mean-abusing- Qui-Gon is a good read. Wait, would that make us sick, deprived people? Ha! Anyhoo, I am thinking of making a sequel to this, but I am still going over plot bunnies in my head so there is a fifty-fifty chance I may/may not make one.
(This is just rambling now, no need to read further unless you want to know what's in my head) In the beginning, the original dream Obi-Wan had was of Qui-Gon dying. But so many people knew it WAS of Qui-Gon's death, I felt so unoriginal. So I spent three days going over options over in my head. What kind of dream can I make so I wouldn't have to dramatically change the chapters I already wrote, but still be shocking and unexpected? And voila!
Noda was never expected to make an appearance except in the dream. But I knew Qui-Gon wouldn't leave Obi-Wan's side just to sign a bunch of contracts and thought the Council might send another Master. Who though? I wasn't in the mood to make another OC…and Voila! Noda and her Padawan. Whose name I only just came up with in this chapter. I wonder if Egrin feels so pissed that my attempts on his name is so half-assed…
Originally there were supposed to be a few chapters from Obi-Wan's POV. But after doing them in Qui-Gon's, I just kept trekking down that road. I am pleased with the results.
One idea was Qui-Gon kept hurting Obi-Wan so badly in saber practices, that there had to be intervention from Mace. Wait, that's not a bad idea. Hmmm…
Anyhoo, thank you for reading my little fic. Loves you loads! R/R peeps!