AN: This is a story I wrote last Christmas, and since it isn't really Christmas-y (except for the presence of snow and a gift), I figured I would post this now. This story is the result of a challenge and for the first time in my life I wrote a Qui/Shmi story. Just for some background info in this story Qui-Gon never died and took Anakin on his padawan. I hope you guys enjoy this!

A Pleasant Surprise

Qui-Gon Jinn glanced at his young padawan, Anakin Skywalker, amused. The twelve year old boy's face was concentrated and to the outsider the boy looked as if he exhumed calm. But Qui-Gon knew better, he could sense how tense Anakin was and how the boy longed to please him. The master was also fully aware of just how much his Padawan still suffered daily because he longed to see his mother again.

Being the thoughtful Master that he was, Qui-Gon was planning a surprise for the young boy. They were on their way to a mission in the Outer Rim but they weren't required to be there for over a week. Anakin was unaware of this, and so Qui-Gon decided that they would make a stop on the way. Roon was a small planet with a temperate climate, and made the perfect setting for a long sought reunion.

"Master," Anakin said suddenly. "We're going to Roon?"

Qui-Gon smiled gently to his Padawan. "Yes," he said. "I have an errand here first before we head to Ryloth."

Anakin nodded and expertly navigated the craft down towards the planet and carefully avoided the asteroids in the way. Only a few minutes later they pulled in at the landing dock and they exited the craft in only a few minutes. A few minutes later they were easily moving through the crowd in the planet's major settlement.

"This way," Qui-Gon said leading Anakin towards a park set in the middle of the city. Anakin gave him a quizzical look, but followed without a word. Qui-Gon wrapped his robe closer around his shoulders because a chill wind was just starting to pick up.

When they arrived at the park, Qui-Gon stretched out with the Force trying to sense the life forms in the close vicinity. She was here. He led the way and then he saw her.

"Anakin," she called when she could see the boy.

Qui-Gon watched as he took in Anakin's reaction. First confusion swept him, then surprise and finally a joy so great a grin stretched from ear to ear.

"Mom!" he exclaimed running to her and embracing her as soon as he got close. "Mom, I've missed you so much!"

"I missed you too Ani," Shmi Skywalker said looking fondly down at her son. "You've grown so much."

"But how did you get away from Watto?" Anakin asked with confusion.

"I have been freed," Shmi said. "And when Qui-Gon called me I managed to catch a ride to Roon so I could see you."

For the next several hours Qui-Gon watched from a distance as mother and son caught up. Anakin was so overjoyed, his eyes held a new brightness, and the boy that Qui-Gon met threes before on Tatooine returned. No longer did Anakin wear the mask he always wore to hide the fact that he was always pining for his mother. Finally when the sky started to turn to a vibrant pink did Qui-Gon and Anakin go to a local inn and book a room. Anakin crashed right away, the excitement of the day draining his energy.

Shmi stood by the door of the inn waiting and thinking. She was still so overcome with emotions, and she was so grateful at the opportunity to see Anakin. If her son had to be apart from her she was at least happy that Qui-Gon was looking after him. She really didn't want to imagine what dangers Anakin faced as a Jedi, but the Jedi Master would take care of him.

And then she looked up to see Qui-Gon striding toward her with a serene look on his face.

"Thank you," Shmi said. "Though I could never really thank you enough for all that you've done for my son and I."

Qui-Gon smiled gently. "Really it was my pleasure," he amended. "Would you like to go for a walk?"

Shmi smiled. "Of course."

Together they walked enjoying each other's company even if they didn't talk very much. Shmi always cared a great deal for the kind Jedi and to be quite honestly she'd always though him to be quite handsome. Though he towered over her and some could see Qui-Gon as intimidating, she saw him in quite an opposite way. For her it was hard to imagine that he faced hardened criminals on a fairly regular basis.

It took Shmi a moment to realize that they were back in the very same park. She shivered suddenly which seemed so strange to her since she'd lived on a desert planet almost her entire life. Qui-Gon noticed this right away and he pulled off his robe and set it around her shoulders.

"Are you going to be cold?" Shmi asked, looking at him surprised.

"I'll be fine," Qui-Gon promised.

"I have a question," Shmi said suddenly.

"Yes?" Qui-Gon said, eyebrows raised in curiosity.

"Why?" Shmi started, not sure how she wanted to say this. "I always wondered why you helped us on Tatooine. I know Ani was a highly talented nine year old at the time, but even so you went above and beyond to help us. Anakin told me that you tried to free me too, and what I'm trying to say is what particular reason did you have for saving me? We were strangers and that didn't matter you, and I was wondering why."

Qui-Gon was silent for a moment. "I was in love once," he said softly. "Her name was Tahl and she died because she was helping people who really betrayed her. You always reminded me of her because you would do everything in your power to help Anakin. I respected you then and I still do now. You sacrificed much for him, and it was the least I could do to help you then and now."

Shmi suddenly reached up and kissed Qui-Gon gently on his cheek. He looked at her in surprised, but then he chuckled looking up.

It was then that Shmi noticed that large snowflakes were falling.

Qui-Gon chuckled again and Shmi looked at him questioningly.

"Anakin," Qui-Gon started. "Loves snow. Prepare yourself for a snowball fight of epic proportions when he wakes."

Shmi then laughed now, before grinning at Qui-Gon excitedly. "I can't wait."

And then he kissed her…

The End