DISCLAIMER: *jumps Yoda and steals the Ring* FINALLY! My One Ring that allows me all copyrights to all great and not-so-great works of literature! Yes! *Master Drallig tackles me and runs off with the Ring* Aw, DARN IT!

So, as I suppose you have surmised, Star Wars ain't mine. Lucas owns it all... for the moment. I also don't own the song lyrics in the story. The song is called "Cut" by an amazing artist called Plumb. Check her out!

Thanks for waiting so patiently (or not so patiently...) for this update. My list of reasons for not updating sooner include: My LOTR story, work, writer's block, an original fiction I'm trying to write, and travelling halfway across Canada with my two hyper-active little brothers. That's enough of an excuse right there!

Warning: This chapter may be a tear-jerker. Major mush alert!! I am not responsible for any deaths resulting from the epidemic of "fuzzywarm" that will inevitably result from this chapter! You have been warned!

*ahem* On with the show!

Obi-Wan was in too much shock to do anything more then lie motionless, surprise stilling his entire body. His cold, aloof Master, of whom it was rumoured the fires of Mustafar couldn't melt his heart, was embracing him? Apologizing to him for something that wasn't his fault? Hoth must have melted.

Although, he couldn't deny that the feelings of warmth spreading through him were pleasant. He couldn't remember the last time that someone had hugged him this close, with this much care. He tenativley reached his right arm up around his Master's waist.

The grip around his back tightened. Encouraged, Obi-Wan pressed his face against Qui-Gon's chest, the cloth of the tunic scratching his cheek. He let the soothing rhythm of Qui-Gon's heart relax him.

Neither moved for several minutes, until Qui-Gon finally sat up, his embrace loosening. His gaze focused on Obi-Wan's grey eyes, seriousness in his own sapphire orbs. "Are you all right, Padawan?"

Obi-Wan thought for a moment, registering his body's condition. "I feel fine, Master." That was true, at least physically. His left arm still ached where the needle penetrated his skin, and he had a slight headache from blood loss, but those were details his Master wouldn't care about.

The questioning tilt of one eyebrow was enough to convince him otherwise. "My arm aches from the needle, and I feel a little dizzy. It's not bad though."

Qui-Gon shifted slightly on the edge of the bed where he was seated. "That is good to hear, Obi-Wan, but I wasn't referring only to your physical state of being." He touched Obi-Wan's shoulder. "What's going on in your mind? You scared even the Council in the gardens. There's something wrong, and I believe it's been hurting you for a long while now. Am I correct?"

Obi-Wan looked down at the sheet covering his lower body, not meeting his Master's eyes. How could he tell Qui-Gon, his distant Master, what was wrong? He would never understand. "It's not something you could help with" he mumbled, refusing to look up.

A gentle hand lifted his chin, forcing him to meet the older Jedi's gaze. Qui-Gon's Force signature radiated concern. "Why can't I help you, Padawan? I'm your Master. I need to know what's going on."

He was met with silence. Qui-Gon felt desperate to know what was hurting his Padawan so. His voice cracked slightly as he whispered, "Please, Obi-Wan. Tell me."

Obi-Wan's eyes lowered again, despite the fingers under his chin. "I don't know where to begin."

"The beginning is a good spot." Qui-Gon lowered his hand from Obi-Wan's chin, moving to rest an arm across the boy's shoulder. "Why don't you start by telling me when you first started feeling this horrible?"

{It may seem crazy; I'm painfully shy

And these scars wounldn't be so hidden if you would just look me in the eye

I feel alone here and cold here, though I don't wanna die

But the only anesthetic that makes me feel anything kills inside}

So Obi-Wan did. He recounted his pain in the months after Bandomeer, before the mission to Lavisar. He told of how he hadn't been able to eat anything during those months, and how he felt that he was unwanted. He spoke of his guilt in the deaths of the innocents resulting from his own stupidity, including Daran. He recounted how he had been made to feel like a failure by the bitter survivors, and his own emotions when Qui-Gon hadn't even listened to his side of the story. He told how the knife wound had alleviated the emotional pain a little bit. He talked about how tempted he had been to take his own life, and so relieve his Master and the rest of the Jedi Order from what he percieved to be the largest burden they had. He recounted the voices in his head, and how they had steadily encouraged him to give up. He spoke of how the cutting became an addiction, the impulse triggered by anything, ranging from stress in class to the slightest teasing, including Bruck's cruel taunt in the changeroom. He ended with saying how he hadn't meant to cut this deeply, but he had been startled by Zara in the gardens.

With his eyes focused on the blanket over him, he whispered, "I didn't think you would care enough about me to help, especially after Lavisar. I didn't want to give you anymore of a reason to hate me. I thought that if I just cut enough to release the stress, I would be able to live with this without you knowing."

Qui-Gon, who up to this point remained silent, softly whispered, "Is this why you didn't tell me? Because you thought I would hate you?"

Obi-Wan nodded.

The Master sighed. "Obi-Wan, I have never hated you. I have been upset with you, disrespectful of you, even angry, but I would never, ever hate you. I wish you had come to me earlier, so that I could help you. Did you tell anyone that this was happening?"

Obi-Wan continued his inspection of the blanket, not daring to meet his Master's eyes. "No. I.. I felt as though no one would understand." He suddenly looked up at Qui-Gon. "Is there something wrong with me? Am I going to be locked up or put on medication? Is this normal for kids like me to... to cut?"

Qui-Gon squeezed the boy's shoulder. "No, Padawan. This isn't normal, for you to hate yourself so much that you would attempt suicide. However, you are not to blame." He touched his apprentice's face. "This is my fault, and my fault alone, for making you feel this way. I should have been aware of the bullying from Bruck, as well as others. I should have listened to your pain after Lavisar and helped you through it. I should have made you feel loved and accepted in the beginning when I first took you as my Padawan. I am the only person to blame for everything you've gone through since you became my apprentice, and for that I beg your forgiveness."

Obi-Wan remained still, unable to accept his Master's words. He'd heard them, but their meaning was lost. Only yesterday, in his eyes anyways, his Master had despised him, had regretted taking him as his apprentice, yet now he was apologizing for every cold word spoken, every attempt at friendship brushed away. I must still be unconscious from the blood loss. I'll wake up and realize this was nothing more then a dream. Qui-Gon will still be the heartless Master he was yesterday, and the day before that, all the way back to that sithly tournament before I got shipped off to the Agri-Corps. However, he had forgotten to erect the mental shields meant to keep his thoughts private, and every emotion he felt was coming through the weak bond he had with Qui-Gon, worrying the Master.

Qui-Gon reached his hand up to Obi-Wan's temple. He concentrated the Force within him before sending a wave- no, an ocean- of love, acceptance, and genuine sorrow to Obi-Wan, hearing a soft gasp in return. The boy's shock resonated through the room, followed by a faint feeling of disbelief, mingled with hope and love.

Tears began to stream down Obi-Wan's face as he felt the depths of acceptance his Master had to offer him, sensed the sincere apology, and accepted the older Jedi's offering of love. He was vaguely aware of Qui-Gon's arms encircling him in a tight embrace. Not heeding the intravenous needle still in his left arm, Obi-Wan returned the hug, burying his head in the Master's chest. He could feel the moisture accumulating on the crown of his head, could sense his Master's shoulders shaking. The quiet sobs above him encouraged him to let go, and he did just that, pouring his pain out into the rough tunic into which he had nuzzled his face.

They remained still for some time, communicating through their newly-strengthened bond, sharing love, strength and peace with each other. When they finally broke the embrace, the faces of both were tear-streaked, but peaceful and content. Qui-Gon smiled gently as he released Obi-Wan. "How about we see if the Healers will let you out, then we head to the fountain gardens to meditate?"

Obi-Wan smiled shyly. "I would enjoy that, Master." A loud growl sounded from his abdomen, startling both Master and Padawan. The teen glanced down guiltily at his stomach for a moment before looking back up, a quirky grin on his face. "Of course, meditation is good and all, but feeding your Padawan is important as well."

Qui-Gon laughed out loud as he wiped one final time at his eyes. "There's the Obi-Wan we know and love! I think a trip to visit a friend of mine is in order. His name's Dexter, and he is undoubtedly the best cook I know. Wait for a moment, I'll call a Healer to check you over." He rose to his feet and gave Obi-Wan a soft squeeze on the shoulder as he stepped to the doorway, where he knew a Healer would be lurking.

Obi-Wan relaxed against the pillows, returning his Master's smile. Things would be all right now, he was sure of it. He knew his Master truly did love him, and wasn't the cold, heartless person he had feared.

He pushed the blankets off his body. He had a Master to become better acquainted with.

Is it... could it be?... I FINISHED a multi-chapter story! Woot! Go me!! *ahem* Albiet with a short chapter, but finished nonetheless!

Thanks to all the readers/reviewers who have stuck with me from the moment the first chapter made an appearance on the site, you guys ROCK! And for those of you who didn't jump on the bandwagon until now... Hope you enjoyed it! I don't care when you end up reading this; if you liked it, send me a review, anytime within the next millenium! I will probably answer it!

Thanks again, guys, you are epically amazing! You motivate me to write! Without your encouragment I probably would have said, "Screw this" after the first chapter. Honestly, you are the bread and butter to writers everywhere, as I'm sure most of you know firsthand!

Y'know the drill, read and review!

(Ooh! Kinda random, but if anyone has some good creative hiccup cures, give me a holler via PM! Hint: it has to do with a SW one-shot that I'm thinking of writing! Anyways...)

Later, peebs!