Title: Somewhere in the Middle

Author: bek

Genre: AU - Drama, some Angst

Characters: Obi-Wan (15), Qui-Gon, OC's

Summary: During a class assignment, Obi-Wan manages to somehow relate his life with that of someone else's, coming up with the question of "What if that's me?" While he worries over the possibilities and what it could mean, Qui-Gon worries over the consequences of the outcome if it turns out to be true.

Disclaimer: The characters (Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, etc…) belong to Lucas or Watson. I make no profit from this. It's just a hobby.

Author Note: The characters (Rayfe, Nyla, Jace and Ty Abram) are my creation. [I will update with more names as needed.]

I can't promise a regular posting schedule, but know that this fic will be completed.

I hope you enjoy it!

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

"Somewhere in the Middle" - by Casting Crowns

Chapter 1

The article for the day's assignment hadn't changed no matter how many times he read over it. Laying the datapad aside, he looked at the computer terminal in front of him. He had purposely chosen a workstation near the back of the archives, one where he wouldn't be disturbed.

Entering the information he sought into the Republic's databanks, an abundance of resources for the time period sought was now displayed on the screen. Scrolling through the links, he found what he had been searching for. He clicked on the source and read the editorial before sending a copy to his datapad and then closing out the terminal.

His thoughts were going a mile a minute. Most of his friends had either already taken the Current Affairs course he was enrolled in or were not yet old enough to participate. He wondered if Garen had had this particular assignment last year and if he did, did he question the content. He hoped not. It was common knowledge that the articles used were recycled each year as new events occurred in relation to the topic.

Gathering his things, he hurried back to the quarters he shared with his mentor and entered his room. He once again opened the file and stared at the screen. He shook his head, turning the device off. There was no reason to be anxious about it; what happened, if it happened, occurred many years prior.

"Obi-Wan?"

Upon hearing his master calling him, the young man's mind suddenly snapped back to the here and now and the breath he had been holding was finally released as a contented sigh.

When the door to his room opened, Obi-Wan stood from where he was seated at his desk. Reaching over, Qui-Gon placed his hand on his padawan's shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. "Is everything all right?"

"I'm fine, Master. Didn't you have a meeting?"

Turning from the small bedroom, he guided his apprentice into the common room. "I did. But then I sensed that something was disturbing you, so I thought I'd come check on you."

"Oh. I'm sorry, Master, I didn't mean to broadcast."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

The young man was silent for some time. When he felt a soothing tendril through the bond they shared, he looked up at his mentor. "I have to write an argumentative essay."

The elder man tilted his head to the side and cocked one eyebrow, a knowing smile on his face. "What's the topic?" He motioned to the sofa and the two sat down.

Sensing his master's earnest desire to help, Obi-Wan thought that maybe Qui-Gon would have some answers to the questions circling his mind.

"In my Current Affairs class we talked about political agendas, which then circled around to include some of the high profile families of various planets. We've been given articles and other resources to extract information from; we have to represent both view points whether we agree with them or not."

When Qui-Gon nodded that he was following, Obi-Wan continued. "When we came to the planet of Tarmas, it was a rather sad story, and just so happens to be the news worthy subject dropped onto my desk. One of the ruling families lost their middle child at the age of two and that child was never recovered."

"I think I understand now why this is bothering you." When the young man's eyes met his, Qui-Gon half smiled. "Your compassion and need to right an injustice is well known, young one."

Obi-Wan returned his master's smile with a humble one of his own. "The event took place thirteen years ago and in the news today, there was an outdated picture of the boy." He looked away briefly before focusing on his mentor once again. "They're still trying to find him."

"Oh," Qui-Gon replied, his tone saddened by this revelation. "I see."

"Master, if that child is still alive, what would happen if they did find him or her?"

Rubbing a hand over his beard in thought, Qui-Gon replied, "If the child is found, the family could petition the courts to reinstate their parental rights. And given the circumstances, the court would most likely side with them."

When his padawan's brow pinched in thought, Qui-Gon waited him out.

"We have to present opposing viewpoints. My first thought would be that it wouldn't be fair to that child. If the child is happy in his or her new life, regardless of how it happened, would it be right for someone to ruin that?"

Shifting his position on the sofa, Qui-Gon turned sideways to better view his student. "And what if the child were in a dangerous or inhumane situation, would you feel the same?"

The young padawan immediately shook his head 'no.' "Of course not. The child would then need to be returned to a more stable environment and professional help sought. But what if the child's situation was the opposite? How could someone determine what is best for that child without taking into account what the child would want? Would they even consider the child's wishes?"

"Try looking at it from a different point of view. Imagine being an average citizen with a family. And then imagine that a member of that family was taken. If found many years later, would you be able to walk away?"

The youth had to admit that his master had a point. "No."

"I thought not." The Jedi reached over to his padawan and placing a finger under the youth's chin, raised it until their eyes met. "You see, in that circumstance the court system has a very hard decision to make. Having been in a different environment for most of his or her life, would that child be able to be unbiased in determining what is or isn't in his or her own best interest? Or would that child be acting from attachment to the new situation regardless of the family who gave the child life?"

He could almost see the boy's mind working as the padawan turned the words over in his mind. "I know you don't like writing essays, Obi-Wan, but why is this one in particular weighing so heavily on your mind?"

The boy was quiet for so long that Qui-Gon thought he might not answer. When the whispered words finally came, they were not what he expected.

"Because I think the child in the article might be me."