Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own imagination.
Summary: After a mission on a frozen planet Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan face deadly injuries in a perilous climate. With their bond being traumatised to breaking point on one end, can they hold on to each other and escape this death trap without breaking apart forever?
Ice Shards and Snowflakes: 1 Breaking Bonds
The overland transport zoomed steadily on its way to the spaceport over the frozen wastelands.
Their mission to resolve the potential uprising of two political opponents had gone well. Eventually after many lengthy discussions and the occasional skirmish or riot, the two leaders had agreed on a tense, but bearable treaty.
Qui-Gon did not doubt that sooner or later he and Obi-Wan would be called back to resolve the minor issues that would undoubtedly arise. But for now he was just glad to be leaving.
They had been away from Courascant and the temple for nearly three weeks, and the mission had been a trying one. Both mentally due to the politics, and physically due to the freezing climate. He was sure that they had both lost weight. This planet's food didn't seem to agree with him, and Obi-Wan hadn't eaten very much either.
Foolish of them, Qui-Gon knew, what with the climate they were immersed in, but since Obi-Wan had grown up, Qui-Gon had ceased to reprimand him in his eating habits, and had therefore stopped being impeccable with his own diet. He chuckled internally and once again marvelled at how far he and his padawan had come.
Speaking of, Obi-Wan was walking towards him from inspecting the transport for the third time. For some reason the young man seemed unable to sit still, and was unnaturally silent. The Jedi Master saw the slight crease between his apprentice's eyebrows. Gently he probed their bond, sensing the anxiety that Obi-Wan was feeling.
"What is wrong padawan?" He questioned softly as Obi-Wan sat down. The young man turned to him, and opened his mouth as if to speak before closing it and frowning with a smile.
Qui-Gon was surprised to feel a wave of humour from the other.
"Well, Master, I know that you won't want to hear this, but I have a bad feeling."
Qui-Gon chuckled at his apprentice's favourite saying, never ceasing to be amazed by how sensitive Obi-Wan could be to the future.
The only problem about Obi-Wan's foresight however, was that rarely did he have an idea of what the Force was warning him of, and it ranged wildly from sudden ruthless attack to eating a bad goutta fruit.
"It is important to be aware of things to come, but also important to be in the moment Obi-Wan. You should try to master your emotions." The familiar reprimand rolled easily off his tongue, with no real harshness behind it. Sooner rather then later though, he should probably either do yet another Living Force exercise with his apprentice, or talk to Yoda about the boy's premonitions, which had increased in frequency over the last year in particular.
Obi-Wan spared him a swift glance and apologetic smile, his tension however only increased.
"I am trying Master, but this feeling has been growing since we left on this mission. There have been countless opportunities of it to be the cause of but as yet it hasn't happened. And its stronger then usual too."
Qui-Gon was no master of the Unifying Force himself, yet he had been with Obi-Wan and his 'bad feelings' long enough to recognize the strange behaviour of this premonition. Usually, the event would occur fairly swiftly after the feeling, the longest being a few days up until now, and usually they remained fairly steady. As Obi-Wan had never experienced a vision, there was no real way to tell of what the danger was until it was over.
Though Obi-Wan was trying to deflect to the Force and block his anxiety from his master, Qui-Gon didn't have to pry into the bond to sense it. Obi-Wan was fidgeting, looking around sharply to identify a source of the tension.
Now he felt the Force pushing him to pay attention to his padawan's senses. After all, the mission was over, he no longer had to focus as sharply on the present.
He reached out and placed his hand over Obi-Wan's arm, causing the younger to jump. Now he felt a prickling of worry, Obi-Wan should have sensed that coming, he really must have a bad feeling.
He caught Obi-Wan's confused gaze and tried to focus the young man.
"Let me feel it." He commanded gently, Obi-Wan seemed confused for another moment, before relaxing as he grasped his Master's meaning.
The warm turquoise eyes shut softly as Obi-Wan focused on his premonition and allowed their bond full access to his mind.
Qui-Gon let the emotions in, each one of them singing with the familiarity of his padawan.
Immediately Obi-Wan's feeling of anxiety was swamped by the Force premonition. Rather then any images or noises that would usually accompany a vision, Qui-Gon was consumed purely with a sense of danger.
He didn't know how Obi-Wan had withstood this, the feeling was all consuming, screaming at him to run!
But run away from what?
"Obi-Wan, this may be difficult, but I need you to try and see what you are being warned of." His padawan twitched slightly as his focus dropped before speaking through the bond.
'I don't think I can do that Master.' The elder Jedi had been expecting this response, and smiled sadly at his Padawan's ongoing lack of confidence.
'I know you haven't attempted this before, but if you are capable of having premonitions then you must also be capable of having visions. Do not worry, I will guide you.'
Obi-Wan still seemed unsure, but nodded none-the-less, eyes still closed in concentration.
Qui-Gon himself wasn't really sure that he would be able to assist Obi-Wan, he had never been trained extensively in premonitions, but with a little nudge in the right direction with what he remembered Obi-Wan would hopefully just pick it up. He had faith in Obi-Wan where the young man did not.
'Okay, clear your mind of all emotions, let it fall completely blank.' This in itself was an easy trick for even youngling Jedi to master, and swiftly Obi-Wan released his worries into the Force, retreating slightly back into his own mind as he did so.
"Now slowly let the Force fill you, give yourself over to it completely, let it show you the way." Qui-Gon spoke out loud as the bond shut off at Obi-Wan's end.
Obi-Wan let his head fall back slightly, a relaxed expression on his face as he summoned the Force.
Qui-Gon felt the feather light swirls of the mystic energy, still unsure of how to prompt Obi-Wan into having a vision.
Words that a small green Jedi master had once spoke to him echoed in his mind.
"Once you are completely given to the Force over your own emotions, interpret its will you can." Qui-Gon hadn't meant to say it in the riddling way of his old master, but the familiar speech pattern seemed to do the trick. With a soft sigh Obi-Wan went completely lax.
Qui-Gon swiftly caught and supported his apprentice before he collapsed. Holding him around the shoulders with one arm, and his head with the other, Qui-Gon gently brought Obi-Wan to lean on his chest before scanning the thankfully empty apartment of the transport.
"What do I do now Master?" Obi-Wan's soft voice was barely above a whisper, and Qui-Gon was shocked he was talking at all, he had thought the collapse would have meant he was having a vision.
"Um, Well…" He flustered slightly, and a small relaxed smile graced Obi-Wan's face for a moment. Qui-Gon sighed, and decided to try and prompt the premonition.
"Do you sense danger in this apartment?" Obi-Wan frowned slightly and turned his head away, but gave no response.
"In this transport as a whole?" Qui-Gon reached a hand out to steady Obi-Wan as he jolted in an entirely abnormal way. He shuddered for a moment before his head lurched forwards and then back suddenly with a yelp.
Qui-Gon could only blink as Obi-Wan raised a lax hand to rub absently at his head.
"That's going to hurt." He murmured in a slurred voice.
"Are you alright?" Qui-Gon could feel no pain through the bond, but his padawan evidently had.
"I think you should stop now, we know the problem." Qui-Gon suggested, but Obi-wan didn't seem to hear him, he was frowning slightly.
"Obi-Wan what is happening?" Qui-Gon ordered, growing worried when his apprentice's face became relaxed again.
"Are you coming back to me now?" The master queried gently. He was swiftly deciding that this had been a bad idea, they may have discovered that the transport was in danger, but now he had lost his apprentice to the whims of the Force.
He was opening his mouth to try and wake Obi-Wan when the slim frame lurched forwards with a cry. Qui-Gon grabbed hold of Obi-Wan's shoulders as his hands jumped to cling onto his head.
"Obi-Wan! Cease this this instant!" Qui-Gon ordered sharply, horror piercing him at the sight of his apprentice doubled over in apparent pain and shaking like a leaf. Yet he could feel no imprint of discomfort through their bond.
"I'm cold, it's cold, Force I'm so cold!" Obi-Wan's voice was quiet and strained, he seemed to be fighting crying out. "I can't even think I'm so cold, ah my head!" He ground out through gritted teeth.
Qui-Gon's heart stopped at the sound of Obi-Wan's pained whimper. He had to get his padawan out of that trance, now!
"Obi-Wan! Listen to me, you are safe, you are not injured, you need to stop this vision now! Don't let me loose you padawan!" Obi-Wan flinched in response but seemed unable to shake the vision. There was only one way he knew to stop the vision, but it wasn't pretty.
Qui-Gon reached up and pulled Obi-Wan's clenched fists from his hair.
"Look at me Obi-Wan! I am not going to loose you! Come back to me!" He shook the young man roughly and his pinched eyes opened, looking at him through an uncomprehending haze of pain. Qui-Gon couldn't stand the look, it shot right to his core. Very gently he moved his hands from the trembling shoulders to hold his padawan's face.
Obi-Wan was locked in his own mind by the vision. Qui-Gon couldn't get him conscious to the world without opening Obi-Wan's mind so that the vision stopped, much like waking someone from a nightmare. Except that with the bond closed off, he would have to break into his apprentice's mind. Qui-Gon almost cried at the thought. There were few worse pains then having your mind violated, sometimes there was no recovery, and the person would slip into a coma like existence. At best there was usually some contamination that resulted in mental trauma. Qui-Gon wouldn't consider attempting the dangerous tactic if it weren't for their bond. The imprint they already had on one another's mind would make the breaking in more bearable. And Obi-Wan was a Jedi, his mind was stronger then most.
Oh but he was a fool for trying to prompt a vision for the first time in such a place! What knowledge did he have of premonitions anyway? At the temple a host of masters and healers were usually at attendance for the first time a vision was prompted, if the individual did not begin having them naturally. They had methods of preparing the mind for visions that Qui-Gon had never learnt. Once again his pride of his apprentice's abilities had overshadowed his better judgement, and now he had to run the risk of breaking his padawan's mind!
"Come back to me." Qui-Gon coaxed. Looking directly into the pain laced eyes he begun slowly opening their bond, Obi-Wan winced slightly at the intrusion into his shields.
"Let me in, let me help you." His voice sounded amazingly calm considering how fast his heart pounded. He thought Obi-Wan might be trying to help, the walls he came across in he young mind broke down easily with his prodding.
Obi-Wan tried to shy away from him as he attempted forcing open the door to the younger's mind. Having your mind broken into could be excruciatingly painful, as Qui-Gon shared a bond with Obi-Wan though, the pain was greatly lessened as their mind's recognised each other's presence.
"Hold on Obi-Wan, this is going to hurt." He felt Obi-Wan's hands automatically come up to grasp at his arms. Being as gentle as he could possibly be for this to work, Qui-Gon ripped his way through Obi-Wan's remaining shield, forcing the familiar bond open. Obi-Wan's scream was immediate and cut through him as hands grasped tightly at his arms.
The instant the bond was open Qui-Gon felt the secondary sear of pain that Obi-Wan was experiencing. He pushed the pain out with the Force and tried to flood Obi-Wan's mind with reassurance and love, pulling the healing nature of the Force to help him sooth the burning mind he'd become so fond of.
The damage was already done, but hopefully it wouldn't be too severe, that they had a bond would have numbed some of the pain and horror of having your mind broken into, the healing he had sent in would have helped too, and he had retreated his will immediately after breaking in so as not to further damage Obi-Wan, only keeping up the flow of soothing emotions.
The fact remained however, that he had violated Obi-Wan's mind, and even when the pain subsided, there may still be some side affects. He just didn't know what they would be. As soon as they got back to the temple, their bond could be analysed and repaired if necessary.
Slowly Obi-Wan's breathing calmed from strangled hisses to laboured breaths, Qui-Gon kept up a stream of comforting phrases. He held onto his padawan's head still as hands dug into his arms. Obi-Wan's face was a mask of pain and he was shaking badly, but the fact that he was conscious alone was a good sign.
"Obi-Wan, can you hear me?" Qui-Gon asked eventually after some of the tension had left the smaller frame.
Slowly one of Obi-Wan's hands uncurled from his arm and came to rest supporting his head. Qui-Gon waited with baited breath as Obi-Wan's eyelids flickered weakly to try to open.
Pain laced turquoise met his gaze briefly as heavy eyelids struggled to remain open.
Qui-Gon ran a hand through the short spikes of hair, letting out a deep breath.
"Thank the Force." He muttered before returning his gaze to Obi-Wan, who was squinting at him with a haze of confusion and pain, his eyes were slightly bright from pained tears threatening to fall. Through their now exposed bond Qui-Gon could feel the flicker of conflicting emotions, pain, shock, gratefulness, and underneath a hint of betrayal, and the smallest shiver of fear.
Qui-Gon looked deep into blue eyes that turned away from him in shame, unable to defend what he knew his master had felt. The betrayal Qui-Gon had expected, it was no less then he deserved after trying such a dangerous stunt, but the fear hurt, scared him even.
"I, Obi-Wan I…" Hazed turquoise eyes turned to him, and begun squinting again as if to see straight. "I-I had to…" He trailed off, cursing himself internally at being unable to apologise.
It nearly broke his heart that Obi-Wan attempted to smile for him even though in pain, but then the weak smile faltered as he winced and rubbed at his eyes before squinting at him again.
"Are you alright?" A stupid question, but Obi-Wan knew what he meant.
"I can't see you very well." Qui-Gon had to listen to hear the strained voice, it was too quiet.
"Let me see," Gently he turned Obi-Wan's head to him, looking deeply into the beautiful eyes. Their pupils were contracted into pinpricks that dilated slightly bigger and shrunk again too quickly to be normal.
"Your vision must have become slightly damaged when I reopened our bond." He could not bring himself to say 'when I broke into your mind'. "I don't doubt that your sight will heal soon."
Obi-Wan's immediate fluttering of panic died down slightly, though he remained slightly scared and unsure.
"Obi-Wan, look at me."
Ever faithful the tortured eyes swung to him again.
"You are going to be fine, do you understand me? We leave for Corascant immediately and it only takes a day to travel there, we'll arrive at the spaceport in a couple of hours, nothing will harm you." Obi-Wan searched his eyes for a few moments, before letting out a deep sigh and releasing some of his troubled emotions into the Force.
Qui-Gon sent reassurance through their bond and Obi-Wan laughed softly at his own smile.
Qui-Gon felt the surge of warning in the force a second before Obi-Wan did. They swung around just as an almighty screech filled the apartment and the transport jerked sickeningly, sending them to the floor.
Qui-Gon grabbed Obi-Wan as the transport swung in an arc, he managed to haul himself and his padawan to his feet just as with a crash the transport hit a rock face and swung back the other way.
As he fell to the floor again, Qui-Gon saw the horizon tilt and fade into the steep side of a cliff face.
With a thud he hit the floor and felt gravity start to pull him into a slide along with the transport.
"Obi-Wan! Gather the Force, things are about to get bumpy!" He grabbed onto the leg of the fixed chair he had previously been sitting on, gathering a cushion of Force around him, but did not feel the same coming from his padawan.
Turning his head as the machine tilted nearly onto its side, he saw Obi-Wan slide out of reach, a bloody trail seeping from a wound on his head.
"NO!" He cried, and reached desperately for the fallen Jedi, but the transport had started turning.
The older Jedi was flung from his grasp on the seat as faster then he could imagine the transport swung from the earth to the sky with juddering crashes as it hit the ground.
The window beneath him smashed and cold wind entered the chaos. As he was somersaulted into a seat the transport hit a ledge and lifted into the air still spinning.
Desperately he swung his gaze around for Obi-Wan as he was thrown into the air. He saw Obi-Wan's unconscious body fly through the apartment towards the smashed window.
"OBI-WAN!" Qui-Gon reached out with the Force, but the wind had already claimed his padawan, and sent him flying through the window. Without a second thought Qui-Gon used the Force instead to throw himself out the window after his apprentice. He would not loose him!
But there was no sign of Obi-Wan outside, the snow was swirling with the transport's smoke and the wind catapulted him straight into a steep snow covered slope.
The impact was muted by both the Force and the snow, but still jarred his body, and he was still spinning down, down the slope in a sickening flurry of snow and wind and flailing limbs.
Slowly grey begun to intrude the black miasma of his mind, bringing with it the nauseating feelings of deep bruises and twisted limbs. After some of the fog had dispersed Qui-Gon was able to determine that nothing was broken, he thanked his body for alerting him to the pain, and sent it on its way with the Force.
Clambering disorientated from the large snow mound he had found himself in he saw the burning carcass of the transport fifty meters from him, burnt beyond recognition with most of its outer casing strewn haphazardly across the ground.
Horrified, he swiftly cast about with the Force for signs of life from the vessel, there were none.
Sinking to his knees, he tried to let go of the furious grief and guilt he always felt when there was pain of innocents; there was nothing he could have done. He sent a prayer to the Force to welcome their life back into its eternal circle.
Sitting for a few moments he collected his thoughts. Flaring into his mind came the image of Obi-Wan's unconscious body, how could he have forgot!"
Furious with himself and sick with worry Qui-Gon desperately cast out for Obi-Wan's force signature, swiftly through the bond he ascertained that he was alive, but through the faint trace in the force he felt muted and distant.
Of course being unconscious would dull both his Force signature and their bond, but this felt different, sluggish.
He felt for the direction and let the Force tug him in the right direction. Ignoring his aching limbs he stumbled hurriedly through the snow towards where he knew his padawan would be.
Soon he was encountered with a slope of jagged rocks exposed from snow. The slope fell about five meters in staggered outcrops to a large rampaging flow of water that crashed over and around the rocks imbedded in it.
There, slumped half over a shallow jagged rock, was Obi-Wan. The water must be well below freezing and the flat-ish surface of the rock to which Obi-Wan clung was covered in ice.
He began climbing down the slope frantically. Obi-Wan's hands weren't holding onto the rock as much as frozen into a clinging position over a ice rim, what was mostly keeping him in place was the torrent of ice-water pounding him flat against the rock, locking him in place by shear pressure.
Reaching a more stable ledge to perch on, Qui-Gon desperately scanned the water and rocks for some way to reach the far out rock Obi-Wan was stuck to.
A jutting outcrop a few meters downstream that hung over half way over the water caught his attention. It was solid and would easily take their weight, even though the water passed underneath it rapidly through the overhang. Qui-Gon scanned grimly for other options, but found none.
This would be the third time today that he asked for his Obi-Wan's unfailing and complete trust in him, whilst Qui-Gon risked his life.
First though, he would have to wake Obi-Wan up, and hope that the water would hold him steady whilst he explained his tenuous plan. Knowing Obi-Wan would never hear him over the roaring of the river, he once again sought their precious bond.
:: Okay, I have to be honest, I'm testing the waters here, I'm not sure if this is any good or not! I will try to update whenever I can if you like this, but I am juggling several things at once, so please be patient. I'm inspired at the moment so I'm going to give this one the best shot I can, 'cause who doesn't love these two?
:: Oh and pst…does anyone here know how to spell Courasant? I think I got it wrong!
:: Thanks for reading, Shadowtheo.