A/N: There's no proof whatsoever FOR this idea…but I can't find any proof against it either. So, take that as you will.
Actually, I wouldn't call this a theory. I'd call it something I can easily attach to Obi-Wan to make his and Qui-Gon's lives just that much more difficult. Whenever I want. It's fun.
Song for this story: "Never Gonna Be Alone" Nickelback
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. They are the property of George Lucas. I'm just taking them and—as my brother put it—mutilating them.
Summary: Qui-Gon learns a lesson about listening when it's important the hardest possible way. Two-Shot.
From This Moment On
Qui-Gon groaned softly as the soft voice shattered the moment of peace he'd finally managed to achieve. It had been a long, harrowing mission for himself and his fourteen-year-old apprentice. Their contact had turned on the Jedi. The whole thing had been a trap. One that he and Obi-Wan had nearly fallen in to.
Their escape hadn't been clean, either. He'd been forced to put Obi-Wan into a healing trance—not a specialty of his—to keep the young boy from going into shock on their way off planet. Qui-Gon himself was currently sitting in a Republic-friendly medical center, his various cuts and burns swathed in bacta patches.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, Master Jinn," the soft voice of the healer came again as Qui-Gon forced his eyes open. "I know how important it is for you to rest, but we are having problems with your apprentice."
"Obi-Wan?" Suddenly hyper alert, Qui-Gon stood with the grace only Jedi could manage. "What's wrong with him?"
"Nothing, exactly, Master Jinn. We need to place him in the bacta tank. We had him all dressed to go in when he woke up. Now he is fighting us quite fiercely. Healer Quinn hoped that seeing that you're alright might calm him."
"Of course." Except that Obi-Wan could feel that he was alright, if he'd tried. Qui-Gon couldn't really lecture the boy about that, though, as he hadn't before noticed the feeling of panic his student was radiating his direction before.
If Healer Quinn was right, and Obi-Wan did calm down when Qui-Gon entered, there would be a serious lecture on attachment in the boy's future, that much was certain.
The room they entered was the largest in the facility, with a long row of bacta tanks. It was clear these people had seen war in the past, to have so many that would need to be operational at one time. His Padawan was stripped down to the standard undergarments, already with his breather mask on and strapped to the machine that would lower him in.
On all sides of him were their hosts. Arcturians were tall and thin, blue skinned, white haired, and all with a natural inclination to healing. They were of a calm disposition, with long arms and legs that gave them a look of gliding around, instead of actually walking that suited their personalities. Those limbs were surprisingly strong, however, and it only took two of them to hold down his thrashing Padawan, while the other six that had gathered tried to calm the boy.
"We fear he is only doing more damage to himself," the young healer that had escorted Qui-Gon here said, her large brown eyes half closing in sadness. With no mouths to speak of—Qui-Gon had no real idea himself how they created sound to speak with—it was their eyes that portrayed emotion.
Their fear was likely justified. Already the nasty gash that ran from Obi-Wan's right shoulder down to his naval had reopened; a wound from a force pike, that would have surely killed him if it had been more than a grazing. The way the boy was thrashing about, it could easily deepen and tear further. Worse, Qui-Gon knew quite well that Obi-Wan could little afford to lose even more blood.
The tall Jedi crossed the room in four strides, reaching the teenager's side almost immediately. "Obi-Wan," his voice was harsh, the command clear, "be still."
The boy did as commanded with surprising speed, instantly going limp under the Arcturian's hands. Green eyes clouded with pain and fear looked up and sought Qui-Gon's out. Healer Quinn had been right, at least partly. Seeing Qui-Gon there eased the boy slightly, but it did not calm his fear.
It was very unlike Obi-Wan to ever be afraid. The boy had many faults, but so utterly lacked fear that it was almost a fault itself.
Mindful of his injuries, Qui-Gon sat himself down in front of the boy. "Now, what's the problem Padawan?"
Unable to talk with his mask on, Obi-Wan's eyes instead flickered over to the tanks. The move was accompanied by a horrified shiver.
Of course. Bacta tanks. A common fear among young Jedi, who were unused to relying on chemicals to help them heal. That was another one of those things discouraged in the Temple, used only in extreme cases, but tolerated on missions. It helped those they were helping feel as though they were giving back, somehow, and really didn't hurt.
Usually, it was something trained out of them by the time they were Obi-Wan's age. They understood that the masks would help them breathe, and the bacta could only heal. For some, the fear was more stubborn, rooted in tougher things than the lack of oxygen.
Xanatos had been that way. He had disliked the lack of control he experienced in the tank. His reaction had always been similar to Obi-Wan's. Foolishly, Qui-Gon had allowed him to take off the mask and seek alternative treatments, instead of teaching the boy that things could not always be in his control. Another sign he'd missed; another way he had failed.
Not again. Obi-Wan and Xanatos were not the same person, but they had some of the same flaws. This was a lesson the teenager would just have to learn. "Obi-Wan, it's just a bacta tank. It can't harm you."
The boy shook his head, blind terror settling into his wide eyes and the back of Qui-Gon's mind. The headache it caused was almost instantaneous.
This unseemly behavior could not be allowed to continue. He had made that mistake before. "Fear is the path to the Dark Side, Padawan, you know that. You must face your fear and release it. It is childish to do otherwise."
Hurt flashed briefly in those eyes, as well as pleading. Couldn't Obi-Wan see this was for his own good? Only an hour and two and he would be back to normal.
Qui-Gon sighed, trying to send calming feelings towards the boy, but they were lost in the chaos of his fear. "This is my final decision, Obi-Wan. You must go in the tank. Now, be still and let the Healers see to you."
Something that might have been a protest came out; muffled by the mask, as the machine holding his Padawan lifted him to place him in the tank. The boy still struggled, his green eyes pleading, but they were weaker than before. He was trying to obey the command to be still, though his terror only increased with each passing moment. Qui-Gon could appreciate that, at least. Had he ever had the heart to force Xanatos, he would have only doubled his efforts to get loose.
"Are you sure it is wise to force him, Master Jinn?" Healer Quinn, the head of the unit here, made her way over to him. Her manner was serene, but her dark eyes seemed troubled. Distant. "He is obviously not comfortable with the procedure."
"It is a lesson for him." Why did he feel the need to justify himself to this woman? "Sometimes a Jedi must endure."
"This is so," Healer Quinn muttered softly, her eye's drooping in sorrow, "yet it breaks my heart to see a child suffer so. You did not even ask him why he was afraid."
"It matters not. Fear is something a Jedi must not have." Particularly when there was nothing to fear.
The machine whirred as it lowered the boy down into the tank. Once Obi-Wan's toes touched the liquid, his fear shot up, becoming almost blinding to the Jedi Master. Qui-Gon could not remember ever experiencing this kind of feeling with another Jedi. This was terror.
Obi-Wan was fully submerged in a matter of moments; the teens thrashing and terror increased with each passing second. His hands reached out, grabbing for something to hold on to, but finding nothing. The fear his Padawan was experiencing was unpleasant to watch, and no matter how often Qui-Gon repeated to himself that it had to be done, he still found he had to look away.
"Healer Quinn," the Arcturian male who was monitoring Obi-Wan looked up from the screen. His voice was calm, but that didn't mean anything. Arcturians always sounded completely at peace. "Padawan Kenobi's oxygen intake is depleting."
"For what reason, Koven?" The serenity in Healer Quinn's voice contrasted greatly with Qui-Gon's suddenly hammering heart.
"The reason is unspecified. His breathing rate has increased, but intake has not."
"Is he hyperventilating?"
"No, Healer Quinn. I would say it more resembles choking. It seems his airway has closed itself off."
"I believe," Qui-Gon detected a hint of haste in Quinn's tone, and had to clamp down on his own feeling of uneasy, "that it is best we remove him from the tank, Master Jinn."
The terror had washed away into a static white swirl. Obi-Wan was unconscious. "Yes, Healer Quinn; it best be done swiftly."
Qui-Gon had never seen Arcturians move so quickly. The mechanism used to remove Obi-Wan was immediately activated, while other healers prepared a cot nearby and a collection of other medical machines.
When the mask was removed, Qui-Gon could see that his Padawan's lips, his skin, had taken on a bluish tone, and the boy, though unconscious, was gasping violently for air.
The other healers rushed around, gathering necessary medications and other things that Qui-Gon could never hope to understand, but Healer Quinn stayed by his side, placing her hand gently on his shoulder. "It seems you Padawan has an allergy to bacta, Master Jinn."
His always active Padawan looked far too still, lying there without even twitching. And so young. Helpless and young. "Bacta allergy? That's possible?"
"It is possible to have an allergy to many things, Master Jinn." Healer Quinn said softly as one of the others started washing the boy off. "All symptoms currently point to a severe allergic reaction. What I find strange is that you did not know."
It was strange. No one had told him. Not even Obi-Wan. But then…he hadn't given the boy a chance, had he? He'd let his own feelings, his fear, of repeating past mistakes take control, and in doing so he had put Obi-Wan in serious danger.
What kind of Master did that?