DISCLAIMER: I own nothing in the Star Wars universe. Everything belongs to that mastermind George Lucas.
TITLE: Conversations at the Intersections of Time
AUTHOR: Sentimental Star
SUMMARY: What happens when a thirteen-year-old Anakin Skywalker and his twenty-eight-year-old Master get snatched back in time, only to come face to face with a fifteen-year-old Obi-Wan…and a very much alive Qui-Gon Jinn? (ObiAniQui Bonding) (NO Slash)
SERIES: None (yet)
CATEGORY: AU, H/C, Angst/Drama, Family
TIME PERIOD: 4 years Post-TPM, 10 years Pre-TPM
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Just my attempt to rectify a little mishap known as Qui-Gon's death (and, of course, everything that follows ::winks::). I may not be updating this as frequently as I'd like, considering I've committed myself to several other different fics, as well (not to mention job apps), but I'll be posting whenever I'm satisfied with a chapter I've finished. Please R&R!
Conversations at the Intersections of Time
Chapter One: Conduit
The Force works in mysterious ways. That is one of the earliest lessons the younglings in the Crèche are taught, by none other than Master Yoda himself. And it is repeated often over the years that follow, in exasperation, in amusement, in reprimand...
But not even Master Yoda truly understands all the Force's intricacies.
The Force is rather like a sentient being—it has no tangible form, but it has a will and (some say) a mind of its own. Those who follow it, like the Jedi, are granted extraordinary powers and enhanced senses. In turn, however, they must give in to its every whim.
And it has many.
Thirteen-year-old Anakin Skywalker silently leaned in the threshold of the balcony, unobtrusively studying the fifteen-year-old version of his Master. This younger Obi-Wan seemed so…so…different from his Master, in a way that was painfully obvious.
Life and vibrancy sparked around his fellow Padawan. An energy and a joy, a simple love of living that endeared him to the older boy far faster than a sparring match ever could. Endeared him to this older boy who would one day become his Master.
"Are you just going to stand there? Banthas move faster than you do," came the quiet call. Obi-Wan turned to face him, sea-change eyes dancing with mischief.
And Anakin felt a stab of anguish. Had his Master ever looked like that after Qui-Gon's death? But he grinned in return, stepping out to join the other boy on the balcony. "Maybe so," he retorted warmly, "but they're clumsier."
And Obi-Wan laughed, a wonderful, happy sound that Anakin had barely ever heard, and it went straight to his heart. He stood shoulder to shoulder with the taller Padawan at the balcony's railing.
They both were silent a moment, just gazing down at the small, private garden that every Master/Padawan pair had. Then Anakin stiffened slightly, straightening as he perceived his Master's presence and the older version of Obi-Wan stepped out into the small plot of land.
The teenager at his side also stilled a bit, eyes on the grown-up version of himself. Anakin's Master made his way to the center of the garden and there stopped, sitting on an ornate bench and pulling his robe more tightly around him.
Anakin bit his lip, wanting to perhaps comfort the older man somehow, but not knowing if he could. Or even should.
"Why am I so sad?" the fifteen-year-old murmured. He glanced at the thirteen-year-old at his side. "Anakin, what happened? I mean no offense, but…aren't I a bit young? To be a Master, I mean."
Anakin shut his eyes tightly for a moment, then opened them and squarely met the younger Obi-Wan's gaze. "You are," he acknowledged quietly.
The other Padawan shook his head, confused. "But surely Master Qui-Gon could have…" He trailed off at the look on Anakin's face. Cold, sick dread clenched in his stomach and invaded his heart. "He's not there, in this world of yours, is he? He's…he's…oh, Force…" He paled 'til he was almost white.
Anakin had to shut his eyes again and turn away. "No," he answered dully, "he's not. Only one thing could do…that…to you." He nodded to where his young Master had remained sitting, head bowed. "You're only twenty-nine," he whispered.
The thirteen-year-old whipped his head around in startlement when a rather pale-faced Obi-Wan suddenly grabbed his sleeve, looking incredibly unsteady. "What happened, Anakin?! When?! Please, you have to tell me!" he quite nearly begged.
Anakin, admittedly very frightened and very concerned, quietly related the battle to reclaim Naboo detail for detail as he remembered it. By the end, a very shaky Obi-Wan had sunk down onto the ground. "A Sith," he choked, a tear trickling down his cheek. "That monster from my dream…" He glanced down to where his older counterpart sat. "Oh, Gods, I must be beating myself up for this!"
"All the time," Anakin muttered, eyes with his Master.
Obi-Wan looked sharply at him when he heard that. "Why do you not go to him?" he asked softly.
"Because I don't know what I can do," came the even softer reply. He felt tears rush to the back of his eyes. "When you get like this I never know what to do. I see you like you are now, and then I see you as my Master. You're not the same anymore, Obi-Wan. You never laugh, you hardly ever smile. It…it hurts." He shut his eyes and hugged himself, as if against the cold, tears squeezing out from the corners of his eyes. "I feel Master Qui-Gon's death a little, I know. But you were his Padawan for over twelve years. I want to help you, but I don't know how. It seems that no matter what I do it's never enough."
Obi-Wan smiled sadly. "I understand more than you think," he advised softly.
Anakin frowned slightly at him through tears.
The fifteen-year-old nodded, sad smile still in place. "I don't know if I've told you this, yet, but Qui-Gon…he lost a Padawan to the Dark Side. Xanatos, his name was. He still hurts over it, still becomes depressed, especially around the anniversary of his death—which will be two years come next month." Younger Obi-Wan sighed and bowed his head, copying Anakin's actions. "I help him as much as I can, but there's only so much I can do. If I could, I would take away that pain—all of it—but I can't. And I never feel it is enough." He raised his head and again gave a small smile to the other boy. "So you see, we aren't all that different, you and I."
"At least Qui-Gon chose you," Anakin murmured. "And at least he wants you."
Obi-Wan glanced at him, before shaking his head. "He didn't choose me, Anakin, the Force did. And he did not always want me, you know. I'm not sure if he does, even now."
Anakin glanced back at him, aghast. "He loves you!" blurted. "And he still loved you when we first met!"
The other teenager looked suitably baffled and astonished at that. "What?"
"The…the way he looks at you…anyone can see how much he cares about you. You only have to enter a room and his eyes just…light up!" the younger boy exclaimed. Force, he had never known that his Master thought this about himself! He glanced back down at the garden. And now…what must his Master be thinking? "He looks at you like my mom looked at me." He shook his head. "I've never seen my Master's eyes look like Qui-Gon's when he looks at you."
The fifteen-year-old blushed softly, but insisted, "You don't know that, Anakin. Perhaps you've just never been watching me. Even if I am hurting, I doubt I could ever not care about you."
Anakin looked startled. He supposed…he supposed that was possible. After all, he was still trying to get to know his Master. Perhaps there would be a time, a day when he would notice that same look in his teacher's eyes.
Obi-Wan must have seen or sensed his doubt because he smiled sadly. "Think of it this way, Ani: your Master made a promise to Qui-Gon while he was dying. Your Master could have very well chosen to disregard that promise in his grief. Yet, he didn't. He let you in, chose to care about you, in spite of that pain. It's probably not easy," he gave a second faint smile, "I've never been able to deal with grief all that well. I doubt many people can. But to train you and look after you, and to continue training and looking after you, even though he's clearly still hurting…I think you might just find that he cares a great deal more about you than you think. Ask him. You might be surprised by the answer you receive. And it will be the truth, Anakin—I could never tell a proper lie, except to save my life, and even then, it's by the skin of my teeth."
The other boy snorted, swiping irritably at a final tear on his cheek. "You could do the same, you know."
Younger Obi-Wan shook his head, weak smile still on his lips. "I'm not that brave, Anakin."