Authors: The Lascivious LuvEwan and the Peppy Perky McSkittles
Timeframe: Between TPM and AotC. Anakin is 16.
Summary: The Duel of the Fates went a little differently. Both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon survived. This changes a few things.
A/N: This is going to be a longer fic collaboration between the two of us. We posted a vig we co-wrote a while back and found we worked well together, so this came next. This was all done on google docs, which is awesome. Yay google! Thanks for reading!
Standing on a balcony in the Jedi Temple, Obi-Wan Kenobi looked out on the ever changing skyways. Speeders buzzed from place to place like distant insects swarming a succulent Muja fruit. Next to him stood his Padawan, who was already taller then him. Obi-Wan reached out and patted his Padawan's hair, which was worn in the standard style, trying to calm some of its unruliness.
"Master, it's fine," the younger man smirked and ducked away from his hand.
Obi-Wan sighed and straightened his own tunics. He was a little surprised the Council was summoning them for another mission, so soon after their return from that mess on Kaldonia, but every assignment was an opportunity for growth. It was a lesson he himself had learned, long ago, not to question.
Obi-Wan was about to make a comment to whither his Padawan's smirk. He had told his Padawan that a smirk was not appropriate on the face of a Jedi, but the boy never listened. His thoughts were interrupted as the council chamber opened.
"Master Kenobi, the council will see you and your Padawan now." The voice belonged to a young Twi'lek who was working for the council that day. Obi-Wan thanked the youngling and lead his Padawan into the chamber of High Council of the Jedi Order.
He walked to the middle of the room, Padawan in tow, and was impressed, as always, by the opulent grandeur on display. As one of the few places in the Temple seen by outsiders, it had to uphold the image of the mighty Jedi Order. Obi-Wan personally preferred the simple and functional areas of the Temple, such as his living quarters.
The two of them bowed, then stood in silence, eleven pairs (and one group of four) eyes staring at them. The proper procedure was do not speak unless spoken to, and Obi-Wan had drilled enough protocol into his wayward apprentice so that he was fairly confident in his ability to stay quiet.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Master Yoda said, "Master Obi-Wan, Padawan." He nodded to each of them. "Disturb your solace, I hope we have not."
"Of course not Master, we serve." Obi-Wan replied.
"Hmmmmm. Injured a Padawan has been. Complete their mission a team can not. Replace them, can you?"
"Of course, Master."
"Good. Rendezvous with Master Jinn and Padawan Skywalker on Mandalore you will."
"Master Jinn? Master, perhaps there are more suitable teams to go on this mission." Obi-Wan said. He could feel his Padawan's white eyes on him, wide with shock. Obi-Wan tried to close off their bond, slightly. He knew his emotions were tumultuous, they always were when his old Master was mentioned. That was the reason that Obi-Wan made sure to mention him as little as possible.
"More suitable?" Yoda chuckled. "Perhaps. Better suited? No. Go you will."
"Master, please. I am sure there are others who know more about the local culture or --"
"Excuses, you make?" Yoda interrupted. "If wish you not to go, speak the truth you should."
Obi-Wan closed his eyes briefly. Of course he did not wish to go. He would rather recite a mission report before the Council stark naked than work side-by-side with Qui-Gon Jinn again. He had eluded contact with the man for seven years, and successfully steered his Padawan clear as well. Force knows he needed to live as an example to Den, which meant avoiding situations that threatened his calm. Obi-Wan could think of no bigger threat to his serenity than Qui-Gon Jinn.
But a Jedi did not blatantly reject the mandates of the Council, especially in the name of personal squabble. A headache settled in his temples as he spoke, "I wish to serve the Republic, as the Council deems fit. If that means traveling to Mandalore, than my apprentice and I shall prepare to embark at once."
Master Windu steepled his fingers and stared intently at Obi-Wan, eyes hooded. Yoda gave a slow, satisfied nod.
"Notoriously militaristic, the Mandalorians are. Sense darkness coming, they do. Dangerous, it would be, for them to break our treaties. Act as diplomats, the Jedi must. Prevent this at all costs. The Mandalorians as an enemy, we do not need. Easing relations with them, Qui-Gon and Anakin were. Touring the capital, when a street gang attacked and struck by a stone, young Skywalker was."
"A stone?!" Obi-Wan's Padawan, Den Pasar, blurted with a laugh. Every eye in the room glanced at the Padawan who suddenly looked embarrassed. Obi-Wan sighed and put his hand over his face.
"Perfect, no one is, young Padawan. Remember that, you should."
"Yes Master." Den dutifully said.
"Imperitive that a team replace Qui-Gon and Anakin. Weakness to the Mandalorians, we must not show. Leave at once, you do."
"Yes Master." Obi-Wan and Den bowed and exited the chamber.
The sky had gone gray during the meeting and a burgeoning wind whipped their cloaks. On the walk to the hangar, Obi-Wan avoided the questioning looks of his student. He focused on exhaling his turmoil, breathing in peace. A simple mission would meet a simple end. Perhaps the...other team would take their own transport back to Coruscant afterward. He had already made a point to avoid all unnecessary interactions. The entire mission is unnecessary. Or should I say, our presence is.
Release. Breathe in peace, breathe in--
"So are you going to tell me what's going on?" Den asked, voice edged with annoyance, or excitement. "I thought I was going to see a bantha fly past the window, Master. You, you, my Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, were one step away from defying Master Yoda?"
Obi-Wan shot him a sharp, correcting look. "I would not defy the leader of the Jedi Order, Padawan. I was simply," words left him and he sighed, aware of how quickly he had allowed the frustration to needle at him, "caught off guard."
"Yeah, but caught off guard by what? Master, this has got to be one of the easiest missions we've had in months. I mean, Skywalker got sidelined by a rock? What's the big deal about a kriffing rock?"
"Language, Padawan." Obi-Wan chided wearily. Who knew where the boy picked up the more...colorful aspects of his vocabulary. He did not approve of cursing, but of course he did not approve of half of Den's habits. Sometimes when he saw his Padawan he saw only the contrasts between them: Den was a head taller, his skin and hair a bleached-cream white, his eyes colorless but luminous. He said things that Obi-Wan would not even dream of thinking and carried confidence as assuredly as he did his lightsaber. Den believed himself anyone's match, including Anakin Skywalker's.
With Den, it was easy to tell where his thoughts were. He wore his heart on his robes, and he had a look on his face of boredom. "Well, Master?"
"Later, Padawan." Obi-Wan knew the moment he said it that he sounded harsh, the brief feeling of hurt from Den in the Force confirmed it and he sighed and kept walking in silence.
Several hours later, the tiny shuttle was flying in hyperspace. Mandalore was almost three days away, which was part of the reason for leaving so soon. In such a cramped vessel, the cockpit was the most spacious area to rest comfortably.
Den arranged his long limbs in the co-pilot seat. "Master?" Obi-Wan could hear the caution in his voice.
Another of Den's attributes was his ability to bounce back quickly. Most of the time this was a welcome trait but sometimes, such as now, it was annoying. "Yes, Den?"
"You didn't answer my question earlier about Skywalker and that rock."
Obi-Wan sighed. "Den..."
"Oh come on, Master. We are going to be in this ship for the next three days. You'll tell me eventually. Just give up now."
Obi-Wan turned to glare at his Padawan, but he knew Den was right. Once again he sighed. He needed to stop doing that before it became a habit.
"Very well. Its hard enough living with you normally but I know the next three days will be unbearable if I try to ignore you."
"You know me so well, Master." Den said with a teasing smirk.
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes and began talking. "It started, I suppose, when I was a Padawan. I was close to being knighted and my Master and I were sent on a mission to a planet in the Mid-Rim called Naboo..."