Rating: G

Summery: Qui Gon lives in the moment.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything recognizable from Star Wars. This story is

written without permission and not for profit.

Beta read by Kitty and Marnie, who were both a huge help.

Today is the greatest Day I've ever known. Can't live for tomorrow I might not

last that long.

* Smashing Pumpkins

Qui Gon Jinn left the forest and headed out into the grasslands, the tall

flowering stalks of dragongrass rustling against the tops of his boots as he

waded through them. He went slowly at first, making each step symbolic, an

effort to leave behind something he did not need. A step beyond stupid

quarrels. A step beyond the strangling chafing cord the Jedi order sometimes

seemed to bind him with. A step beyond the greed and cruelty that had

surrounded them the past few days. A smile at his own imagination as he

looked back and almost thought he could see those things leering spitefully at

him from the forest's edge. A step beyond the needful, deep, and subtle

chanting of the Force, the only thing he could not and would not wish to leave

behind forever. Then something inside seemed to snap and unravel and his

strides became longer, looser, almost coursing although he remained at an

unhurried walk, out into the grasslands.

Throughout his years of service to the Jedi he had learned to take his rest

when and where he could. This mission had tested him more than most, and

still was not over. And yet there was still a little time, they would not need him,

he could sleep undisturbed out here. He came to a low rise like a gentle wave

in the sea of green and lay down on his back in the tall grass on the far side of

it. Qui Gon stretched out full length on the earth, sinking into the crumpled

grass. He could feel the energy of the planes infusing him as closed his eyes.

War was about to break out, he knew that. People were going to die, and soon

this day would belong to ugly violence. What were now ordinary lives would be

destroyed by tomorrow morning. This planet would never again be as innocent

as it was now, and neither would he.

But there were still a few hours more. This time was precious; it must be lived

with the greatest reverence. Qui Gon's heart ached with love for this doomed

peace and life. He knew that the force of his will could not save it, so he let it

burn itself into him, everything, the pulsing rhythm of the grasslands, those

that were suffering and might be helped, those that were safe and might soon

suffer, the pathetic but precious innocence of a planet under siege and a Jedi

Master whose heart knew evil and pain. The immediacy of those things

resonated in every cell of his body, alive with the energy of the Force. He was

so close to everything around him, everything was so vivid it was like a

dagger's edge cutting right through to his soul.

Any need for sleep was driven from him. He got to his feet, and lifted his face

towards the bright sky, fiercely cherishing the life around him, the life within

him. The world was so full of pulsing light and warmth that only when he felt

reflexive tears streaming down his face did he realize he was staring full into

the sun. It was all so beautiful that for a moment he didn't care. He wanted to

stare until he went blind, till the tears turned to blood, just so this would be the

last thing he would see. Qui Gon finally tore his gaze away and laughed at

himself, the deep joyous sound shaking his chest, because even to his

dazzled, dimmed eyes the rolling green grassland, even the half trampled

stalks and earth at his feet seemed infinitely more gorgeous.

Qui Gon stood, a Jedi Master perched silently on the crest of a tiny rise in the

center of vast, soft, undulating plains, the breeze rustling the folds of his robes

around him and drying his face. He felt like his mind and body had been split

open, filled with the raw essence of the force, and made whole again. He was

still aware of tragedy coming, not through the Force but by hard experience,

but that did not make the moment bitter, somehow. Howling ache of sorrow.

Laughing song of joy. He was at peace with both.

He waited still, so still, raw and open untill Obi Wan came looking for him,

following the invisible path he had left through the grass. Their eyes met, clear,

but still a little fragile with a balance just rebuilt not for the first, second, or

even third time. A sigh escaped Qui Gon. Sometimes it seemed peace

between his apprentice and him was as miraculous as the harmony he had

just felt, and just as important.

"Master, the Queen is waiting. We have to move on the palace now."

The first rumblings of violence sparked through Qui Gon like an electric charge.

Empathetic pain through the force. He nodded. Yes, the twin battles were

starting; they would have to move quickly now. Today was living and dying as

they spoke, and could not be wasted. He would have to fight, with his

lightsaber and without, but he could do that. He left the grassy hill to rejoin the

others. Obi Wan found himself waiting, looking after Qui Gon for a moment,

and then followed him.

The End