Author Notes: I've always wanted to write a story along this ilk, and after watching TPM yesterday with my beta, this idea just kinda sprung to me out of certain thoughts like 'why did they do that'? So I made a reason. Because I love Obi-Wan :D So, yes, this flits between pre-TPM and right in the middle of the film's action. I hope you enjoy!


The moment she saw him, she knew instantly. There had been times, countless times in their long friendship when he had looked similar to how he did now, but only once before when he had mirrored himself exactly. She sighed softly, nodding silently to him in understanding, before going over to the Master Healer to politely excuse herself. Then she returned to him, not even trying to offer a weak excuse for a smile, knowing that any attempt would have been a poor reflection of their bond. They walked, side by side, shrouded in silence, through the grand halls they knew so well – too well. Legs acted on instinct, minds blank save for the comforting lull of the Force that always remained.

And then they treaded in lesser touched, yet infinitely private territory. A shadow, a space, once big enough for four initiates, now a closed cocoon, just enough for them.

A beat passed, but Force knows it could have been a day, a week, for all the difference that distinction made, before he spoke, "He did it." There it was, that hollow echo of a voice, that dead sound she swore to herself she would never let him sound like again, "It's done. He-" His voice cracked, a rare fissure in the normally calm façade he was so good at conjuring.

Carefully, she reached forwards to take his hand in hers, "Then we know what needs to be done." She did not even try to patronise him into saying that all would be okay in the end, because they both knew that it would have been a lie.

He shook his head, dead grey eyes staring into nothing, a flat colour against the vibrant afternoon sun, "I don't think that I can."

"You've made it this far. Just a little while longer. Do you know how you'll get him to bring the child along?" She wished his eyes would connect with hers.

"Anakin." The name rolled off his tongue in half wonderment, as if he could hardly believe the boy was real.


"It's his name." There. A tweak of a half-smile. So fleeting, that it might never have ghosted across his face at all. "Anakin Skywalker."

Bant cocked her head to one side, letting the name roll off her tongue, "Anakin Skywalker. The child from Tatooine. Our Chosen One." Her voice slipped with a bitter inflection she could not prevent with the last sentence.

Obi-Wan's eyes jerked to meet those of his best friend, "Don't. Please don't. This is hard enough as it is."

She smiled sadly, resting her hand against his cheek in an unconscious action rooted in long ago, "I'm sorry, Obi-Wan. I just...I want to watch you come back from a festival next week. Not a funeral."

"There was always a festival." He pointed out wryly.

"Of course there was. But I would like it to be one where you smile. An alive, smiling, happy Padawan." She emphasized his station as only she could. That elusive title he had so longed for, and now one that held so many webs of fate.

"I can't promise that. You know I can't." He regarded her sadly, the fear of long ago now a dull resignation in his gaze.

Bant closed her eyes in defeat, before leaning forwards to press her forehead against his, "Then don't promise him either."


She nodded, "Sorry. I know, I know. It's just not fair. All you ever wanted to be was a Jedi."

"And I am. I have been, and so I will be."

"But you shouldn't have to pay this price."

"Would you have rather I sat in ignorance, and let Qui-Gon order the Queen's ship to Axxila rather than Tatooine?"

"You know that's not what I mean." Bant admonished softly. She shifted slightly so that she was leaning against his shoulder. Human and Mon Calamari. "You need to get going, or else you risk Anakin not coming with you both."

"I know." There it was again; the resignation laced in that horrible hollow tone.

"Force stay with you, Obi-Wan." He voice lilted over a variation of the common Jedi farewell, a variation invented by a secretly scared initiate, for her best friend, all those years ago.

She felt his cheek against the top of her head as he smiled sadly at her words. Neither of them moved. Neither of them said another word.

There was nothing more to say.

"We should tell a Master." Reeft shifted uncomfortably in their secret den. They had happened across it many years ago, long before any of them had become Padawans. Bant, Garen, Reeft and Obi-Wan. Four initiates ill equipped to cope with what was to come.

"You're over reacting." Obi-Wan refuted dismissively. "It was nothing"

"Nothing?" Garen repeated incredulously, "Obi-Wan, there was no way you could have known! Ever since I've known you, you've been convinced you would never be picked as a Padawan in this Temple. On top of that, you've always said you would land up on Bandomeer. And now look at you."

"A Padawan." Bant smiled softly at their friend, "I guess you picked the right fork in the road."

"Don't encourage him!" Obi-wan sighed exasperatedly, "I didn't do anything!"

"Says the Padawan of Qui-Gon Jinn." Reeft snorted sarcastically.

"I never thought in a million years that Master Jinn would pick me!"

"No, but you knew that if a Master did pick you, that it would be on Bandomeer." Bant pointed out quietly. "And you're not dead either."

"Force, Obi-Wan, you have to tell someone! Master Yoda would listen, even if Master Jinn wouldn't believe you." Garen pleaded with his friend.

"I know they would both believe me. I know that they would help me." Obi-Wan rubbed his face in exhaustion.

"Then why-"

"Because if they know, then it will all go wrong. They'll make the wrong choices."

Bant blinked, "What do you mean, 'choices'?"

"There's more than one fork in the road now. Before it was live or die. Padawan or nothing. it's like I've entered a maze, and if I take the wrong turn..." He looked beseechingly between his close friends, "I'm sorry I ever worried you with it all in the first place. You shouldn't have to deal with this."

Bant whacked him sharply upside the head, "Stop being an idiot Obi-Wan. If you don't want to tell the Masters, then fine. We'll work out what it all means. We'll help you. Right guys?"

Garen nodded firmly, "We're with you Obi-Wan." He grinned, "Even if you are a freak."

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, but smiled, an odd sense of guilty relief washing over him, as Bant stubbornly turned the conversation away from the thing that scared them all the most, the thing that should not exist.

Because everyone knew that while Jedi of the unifying Force were prone to visions, prone to prophetic dreams...

...Obi-Wan just shouldn't be possible.

"The boy is dangerous. They all sense it. Why can't you?" The words dripped off his tongue, leaving behind a foul taste. But he knew he couldn't risk it. Qui-Gon had to bring Anakin with them, and he couldn't risk his Master rethinking the idea as too perilous. The only way to do that was to kick up even more of a fuss, and get Qui-Gon to stubbornly dig his heels in further. If he thought it petty jealousy, or a reaction to rejection, then so be it, but Anakin had to come with them to Naboo.

"His fate is uncertain, but he is not dangerous." Qui-Gon replied in clipped tones, "The Council will decide Anakin's future. That should be enough for you. Now get on board!"

There was the dismissal. It stung, but Obi-Wan knew that it was infinitely better than what would happen should Anakin not accidentally bring down the droid control ship. He pinched the bridge of his nose, for a moment letting the world fall away as he tried to dispel the coil of doubt that lodged as a lump in his throat. Please let this be the right action.

Please let this lead to the right path.

A remembered image splashed painfully across his mind's eyes, making him choke on his breath and catching him off guard. But then a strong hand grasped his shoulder, thankfully washing the twisted memory away, "Master." How was his voice still so calm?

Qui-Gon had apparently not noticed the slip in his façade, and was gazing serenely at him, "Come. We have an audience with the Queen once we take off." There was a simple unspoken apology in the tone, a broad brushstroke of love that could only come from Qui-Gon, and only from a partnership as long-lived as theirs.

Obi-Wan nodded with a serious smile, "Of course, Master."

Qui-Gon moved off, automatically expecting Obi-Wan to accompany him.

Of course, as long-lived as their partnership was, Qui-Gon never knew. Must never know. Or the web would shatter, and all he and his friends had sacrificed for would be for nothing.

It was the only way he could justify the lies. The only way he could protect Qui-Gon from never seeing what he had to see. The memories of it all.

It had been the initiates that time. The initiates in the council chamber, with a pair of yellow eyes.

A sixteen year old Obi-Wan Kenobi awoke in his bed gasping, his skin crawling, shadows clinging to his body like tar. He couldn't catch his breath. It had been so long since he had been plagued by one of his nightmares. And Force...

He rolled out of bed, carefully stretching out his senses to make sure that he hadn't woken his Master. They had only returned from a particularly gruelling mission late the night before, and he didn't want to add to Qui-Gon's exhaustion.

He took a deep breath, forcing his mind to focus and wake up fully from his sleep. It wasn't very effective, but it was enough to order his thoughts into remembering who was currently in the Temple.

Bant was still away on a classified mission with Master Tahl – had been since before he and Qui-Gon had left.

Reeft was apparently en route to Ilum to get a crystal for his new lightsaber, the last one having been completely destroyed on his last mission.

Garen...Garen was in the Temple. He had left a message for Obi-Wan, suggesting a sparring match on his return.

Fumbling in the darkness, Obi-Wan retrieved a tiny communicator box from a drawer near his bed, and clicked it once. It would make all corresponding boxes in the Temple – three to be precise – beep once. Reeft had suggested them as a way for Obi-Wan to call them together in emergencies. The boxes never left the Temple.

The box in his hand beeping in response, and he sighed in relief, throwing it on the bed and quickly pulling on some clothes before quietly padding his way out of the apartment he shared with his Master.

He stole through the shadows of the Temple. His home. He tried not to think about it. He tried not to remember...but images like that were never forgotten easily.

He slipped round a familiar corner, hoisting himself up into their hidden space. Garen was already there waiting, legs folded neatly under himself.

Obi-Wan sat down heavily, looking tiredly at his friend, "Sith."

Garen cocked an eyebrow, "Better not let your Master hear you cursing like that, Obi-Wan. You'll ruin your Perfect-Padawan persona."

Obi-Wan shook his head, a blank shock now clouding his features, "No. Sith. They're coming back."

Garen stared at his friend in unmasked horror, "You're certain?"

Obi-Wan nodded, his voice barely croaking around the words he never wanted to say, "I watched the Temple burn. In fifty futures, we all died. In more than I could count, you all died."

Garen swallowed harshly, before nodding once, "Okay. What do we need to do?"

Obi-Wan just stared hopelessly at his friend, "I have no idea. Force, I've never seen a web this tangled. One wrong move, and we spiral off the knife edge. Garen, I don't know what to do."

Garen recognised that tone of voice. It was the same one Obi-Wan had used when he had told his friends that he was being sent to Bandomeer. He gripped his friend's shoulders tightly, keeping his voice calm, "We'll take this one knot and fork at a time, okay?"


"We'll start with things that cannot be allowed to happen, and then work our way towards the grey areas. It'll be okay, Obi-Wan, I promise."



"We go to Axxila, the Republic falls within the year, the Jedi with it. We go to Tatooine, and the Temple burns...but we could have thirteen years to try and stop it. The Republic might go to war. Or..." He trailed off. Garen didn't like the look on his face.

"Then we go to Tatooine."

"And we find the child." The cold dread in Obi-Wan's face did not instil Garen with confidence, but he didn't let his worry show.

He needed to be a friend. He needed to keep Obi-Wan sane. And Force, when did that get to be so hard?

One step at a time. One step at a time. One step at a time.

Oh Force, please let this all be okay.

"Anakin, you will stay here with the Gungans who won't be fighting." Qui-Gon's voice sliced through Obi-Wan's increasingly anxious mantra, successfully putting yet another boulder in the path they needed to take.

"Awww! But I want to help! Master Qui-Gon, please, I promise I'll be good!" Anakin tried to wheedle his case. Obi-Wan could see that he was failing from Qui-Gon's all too familiar expression.

Suppressing a smile at the memories that had sprung to mind with his Master's stern gaze, Obi-Wan intervened, "Master, if we leave him here, there will surely be more of a risk of him getting...involved." He was rather proud of his subtle hint of Anakin's rash and hyperactive habits, subtle enough to go over the boy's head, "There will be less fighting at the palace, and more places for him to hide. You did promise Master Yoda that you would keep him as your ward until we were back at the Temple." Okay, so that last one had been a rather low blow, but he could tell from Qui-Gon's passive Force-signature that he was seriously considering his Senior Padawan's argument. Perhaps because for once it wasn't about Anakin's short-comings, but rather his safety.

"Very well, but- But- " He cut firmly over Anakin's joyous 'yippee', "You will remain next to me and Obi-Wan at all time, and do everything I say, when I say it. I tell you to run, you run, I tell you to hide, you hide. Understood?"

"Yes Master Qui-Gon, sir." Anakin nodded as solemnly as a boy his age was able, before running off to find Padme and tell her the news.

Qui-Gon grinned with a reflection of Obi-Wan's own brand of danger-driven humour, "Force help us."

"Force help us all." Obi-Wan echoed. He hadn't meant for a slight slip of hysteria to leak into his otherwise hollow voice, and had it been anyone other than Qui-Gon he had been with, it would have passed unnoticed. Well, maybe Bant...

"Padawan?" Qui-Gon frowned, more serious. The journey from Coruscant had allowed them to patch over the unrest for now, but Obi-Wan had been too preoccupied to realise that his Master suspected something had been amiss with him since they left on their Ambassadorial mission to Naboo the first time around.

"Master?" The inflection was gone. Masked under his Padawan's too-good discipline.

"Keep your concentration on the now, Padawan. We cannot dwell on what might be, especially not now." He fell back on the familiar echoing banter that had always nestled at the core of their relationship.

Obi-Wan had never failed to appreciate the bitter irony and futility of Qui-Gon's constant reminders. He smiled. A true smile, however dulled it was by the cloying air of a battle to come, "Of course, Master."

Reeft dropped it onto their table with a clatter, before plonking himself down with a grin, reaching across to pinch some of Bant's dinner. The three friends just stared at the metal cylinder, before Bant finally spoke, oblivious to her rapidly diminishing dinner plate, "What is that?"

"My new lightsaber."

"Your new... Reeft, have you got bantha dung for brains?" Garen stared incredulously at the long lightsaber handle, "It's huge!"

"It's double-bladed." Obi-Wan said quietly.

"Yep. My Master's always complaining that my reach is too short when we spar, so I decided to make things more fun this time. It's surprising really. I didn't expect it to work so well with my style; I only did it so we could practice."

"Practice." Bant repeated flatly.

"Well, there are so many ways the fight could go that Obi-Wan's really going to need the training." It had been a year since Obi-Wan had first begun to have nightmares of Naboo and the Zabrak. "Right, Obi-Wan?"

It was the first true grin they had seen on their friend's face in more than a few weeks, "Thank you, Reeft."

"Just give me that Uj'ala of yours." He gestured to Obi-Wan's plate, "And we'll call it even."

Run-run-run-run-run! His feet pounded harshly against the metal of the walkways. He had been careless; how many times had he gone over this? And yet he still got caught off guard to get a kick in the face and a fall from the fight.

His blade buzzed in a blue blur as he ran with it activated, cutting through the air in his peripheral vision, but all he could see was the pink sheen of the energy barriers, already separating Qui-Gon and the Zabrak.

Just one. He just needed one-

He leapt forwards, smelling singed cloth as he barely made the closing of the last barrier, his feet skidding ungracefully to prevent a collision with the second barrier as he landed.

Force...he didn't want to be here. He couldn't do this! He watched as his Master deactivated his lightsaber and sank into light meditation; all he could do was try and catch his breath as he deactivated his own blue blade, tension in his body bleeding back into the comforting waves of the Force.

There was a swell in the waves, and he reactivated his blade as the barriers began to wind back again. Qui-Gon had already sprang forwards, and then Obi-Wan was running too. Running flat out. Running, because he would not, could not watch.

It took another leap, but he made it, and then the blades began to clash once more. On the edge of the pit. On the edge of a knife. On the edge of Fate.

He had done this so many times. But where he had began with over two hundred scenarios for this fight, he was now down to five...four...and then two. Two choices. One or the other.

Right or left.

Obi-Wan hissed as the low-set blade of Reeft's lightsaber connected with his side, but still forced his arms to bring around his own blade in a single sweep to his friends side. A blow that would have cleaved Reeft in half had they been fighting with fully powered blades.

They deactivated their lightsabers, and Obi-Wan offered Garen – who had been standing in for Qui-Gon for this training exercise – a hand up from the floor where he had been pushed. By Obi-Wan.

"What was that?" Bant came up to them crossly, her arms folded.

"Well, you killed me." Reeft offered lamely.

"And I didn't get touched." Garen noted grimly.

Bant turned Obi-wan to the side forcefully to inspect where he had been hit, "And you just lost your left lung, mister."

Reeft sighed, "So that's another no go. How do you want to try the next run, Obi-Wan?"

"No. We'll try this one again. I think I can get out of the way in time."

So despite Bant's protests, they did. Again, and again and again. Along with countless others. What if they did this? What if they kept away from the pit altogether? How would this work?

It was hard. They were only four Padawans, mimicking from Obi-Wan's instructions the styles of a Sith, a Jedi Master, and an Obi-Wan far above their current one's skill level. Slow going, but they were determined.

Later that evening, when Garen and Reeft had left, Bant pulled Obi-Wan to the side. "It's not an either/or situation, Obi-Wan. It's not you or him. You know that, right? We'll get it right. The perfect possible outcome. I know we will."

"How do you know?"

"Because I refuse to believe that the Force is doing this to you without a reason."

Obi-Wan sighed, "Not this again..."

Bant folded her arms with a soft smile, "Harp on about the child of Tatooine all you will, Obi-Wan Kenobi, but all I know is that you've never had a nightmare about you burning down the Temple."

"Qui-Gon will trust him. By going to Tatooine, we're committing to making sure the child is trained by the Temple." He sighed, not wanting to get into the same argument his friends always brought up. Considering how much a part of his life it was, he really hated prophecies. "I should go – Qui-Gon will be back from his sparring with Master Windu." He made to leave, but Bant caught his arm.

"I never said he shouldn't be trained. I just don't believe your Master's future conclusions. Our Chosen One would never burn down the Temple in a nightmare."

Obi-Wan flinched at the double implications of her words, "Goodnight, Bant."

Despite the incredible increase in pain, Obi-Wan still did nothing more than hiss through his teeth as a red blade came to his side, missing his lung by a fraction. He flowed through the overly practiced movement, and then the Sith was rent in two by his blue blade, the halves falling with the rustle of heavy fabic as they were driven backwards into the pit with momentum.

But this time, it was not Garen or Bant on the floor. This time, Obi-Wan did not help them up.

This time, his knees hit the floor with a dull thud, and his lightsaber clattered harmlessly to the floor. But unlike how Qui-Gon would have if Obi-Wan had not made the barriers, he did not collapse sideways. His breathing was jerky, shallow and caught. His hands shook as much with shock as with pain as he clutched his side; a charred gash just above his hip, half across his stomach.

Qui-Gon was at his side as Obi-Wan found himself blinking rapidly against stars, trying to stay focussed and awake. Larger hands pressed over his own, and he felt his Master's breath against his cheek, "Obi-Wan, stay awake. It will be okay, Padawan. It could have been worse. Please, please, Obi-Wan, just stay awake for me!"

As the stars danced across his darkening vision, Obi-Wan detachedly wondered if he had ever heard his Master sound so uncontrolled in his voice. Without even realising it, words tumbled painfully from his lips, "I didn't want to promise you, Master..."

Qui-Gon couldn't even begin to work out what his Padawan was rambling. He shook Obi-Wan hard enough to make his head jerk, "Stay. Awake. Obi-Wan – stay awake!"

"Sorry Master." Obi-Wan stuttered through unsteady breath. He blinked more forcefully, determined to obey. Pain laced through him, only slightly diluted by the strong presence of his Master and the Force combined.

Stay awake. He could do that. Didn't sound too hard...

Raised voices bled through into Obi-Wan consciousness, voices that he knew. Sluggishly, he found himself rising slowly through the layers of enforced sleep, until his blue-grey eyes blinked open to a ceiling far too ornate for the Temple. He shifted against the dull ache in his side, thoughts slower than he would have liked, "You're awake." Despite the level timbre to Qui-Gon's voice, the relief to Obi-Wan was palpable in his Master's words.

Gently, and with Qui-Gon's help, Obi-Wan propped himself up on his elbows, succeeding in sitting himself up slightly, "Apparently." He couldn't help keep the confusion from his voice. And then he remembered. The paths. The webs. The Sith and the Choice.

And then it was as if the Force was crashing over him in a tidal wave, just like it had after Bandomeer – but that time he had been alone. So many new paths, so many new choices. Silver webs and knots and twists and turns. His sight of his Master was stolen, and he might have clutched his head, but he couldn't have been sure. The web surrounded him, encompassed him; the Force insistent that he see what his choices now gave him. What choices now needed to be made. Because balance must be achieved. Light and dark, and the tipping of the scales.

Qui-Gon, for his part, was panicking for the second occasion in a very short space of time. His Padawan was not in pain, but short of that distinction, he could get no more from their shrouded bond, "Obi-Wan!"

His cry drew in the owners of the voices that had woken Obi-Wan in the first place – the fastest of whom was a young Mon Calamari Padawan, closely followed by two more Padawans; a human and a Dressellian. An infuriated Master Windu was only prevented from holding the three back by a sharp look from the diminutive Master Yoda.

Upon seeing what was happening, Garen and Reeft held back. They knew that there was nothing they could do but let things take their course. Bant proceeded with less of an urgency, and more of a sad resignation. She carefully sat on the bed next to her friend, on the opposite side to his Master, gently taking one of his hands from his head, to hold in her own. She then raised her silver eyes to steadily meet those of a confused Qui-Gon Jinn, "Just let him know that you're here. It's all we can do."

Nodding, Qui-Gon mirrored the young woman's action. After what seemed like an age, but was in reality only a minute, Obi-Wan's whole body seemed to slump, and his breathing evened. Dazedly, he looked up, "Bant?"

"Didn't see that one coming, did you?" Reeft grinned. Garen hit him on the arm.

Bant smiled softly, holding her best friend's gaze, "So? Do we have a chance now?"

Obi-Wan blinked in confusion, "But I told you not to come..."

"And we told you that your little 'saber stunt was a bad plan." Garen said ruefully.

"So, naturally, we assumed you'd try it." Reeft shrugged, "We borrowed a transport and got Bant here in time to heal your sorry hide. Our Masters busy to check in with beforehand..."

"Borrowed?" Obi-Wan quirked an eyebrow at his friend.

"Semantics." Bant waved a hand impatiently, "Answer the question."

Obi-Wan nodded slowly in shock, "I didn't die, but I'm still a Padawan. I didn't make the promise..." The one, tiny thread, and they'd caught hold if it. An unsteady, disbelieving smile that bordered on hysteria spread across his face, "We've got a one in five thousand shot. Give or take."

Garen smiled, "Well, seeing as we started with one perfect possible outcome in eight million seven hundred and four, so I'd say we're onto a winner here guys."

"And I'd say that an explanation is in order." Qui-Gon's voice cut into the four's bubble.

Obi-Wan flinched almost imperceptibly, and opened his mouth to try and explain how that just could not be possible, but then Bant squeezed his shoulder to catch his attention, "Garen's right. We've got more of a chance than we ever had. I don't think any of us really had too much hope that both of you would be sitting here breathing today – a Master and a Padawan, with the child from Tatooine sitting happily outside. One in five thousand, Obi-Wan. If we're still going to war, if we're still going to stop the darkness, it's time the Jedi walked around with their eyes wide open. You owe your Master that much."

And finally, after so, so long, Obi-Wan nodded. And three Jedi Masters finally heard the truth from four Padawans who had handled much more than they should ever have been expected to, all for the good of their beloved Order and the Republic. For his part, Qui-Gon could hardly believe how he could have been so blind. It was so much to take in, and yet here was Obi-Wan, talking about it with the same stoic manner that he always placed on responsibilities that should never have been his burden in the first place. But then, with every word, the hollow, tentative lilt of his Padawan's voice began to fade, replaced with a definite relief. A relief born of telling the one person he always wished he could.

It was long past sunset on Naboo when they were finished. Obi-Wan was asleep, and Master Yoda was sitting with him meditating. Mace had taken the three runaway Padawans with him to contact their Masters. Qui-Gon knew that any punishment would be cursory. If Padawan Eerin hadn't been there...well, his healing skills were passable, but even a half-baked Padawan Healer was better than no help at all.

"Master Jinn? Are you okay?" Qui-Gon turned placidly to greet the young Mon Calamari Padawan. She was clearly very skilled at avoiding Masters when she wished it.

"Padawan Eerin." He nodded to her, before turning back out to face the cool evening air.

"I know it's a lot to take in, but you have to know that Obi-Wan loves you. He would never..." Qui-Gon held up a hand to stop her, and she trailed off.

"I do not need convincing, I can promise you that. I was just...thinking."

"Then if it is any use to you, Master Jinn, I can tell you that we all think the same. Obi-Wan is just too much of a naive, humble idiot to see the truth. All the more absurd when one considers what he sees every day."

Qui-Gon frowned, which only caused the young woman's smile to grow, "Obi-Wan sees the future in the present, and the present in the future. While he might be as grounded in the unifying Force as a Jedi might possibly be, it is only because, to him, the living Force is everywhere. It is what allows him to weave through the webs and paths as he does, and help try to achieve the perfect possible outcome, regardless of what he must sacrifice for himself." She smirked, "He strikes quite the balance, don't you think, Master Jinn?" And then she bowed, excusing herself with the action.

Qui-Gon blinked after her, thoughts whirling and spinning with her words. Words that had already been ghosting across his mind.

It was against all odds that he was standing here. That Obi-Wan became, and still is, his Padawan. That they picked up Anakin. The list went on.

One in five thousand. One in five thousand, and a fight for the Order and the future of the Republic itself.

It was a chance, but the best odds yet. Qui-Gon smiled, the living Force buzzing and laughing around him.

Live in the moment. And at that precise moment, Obi-Wan was his Padawan. He was still the little boy he had sworn to care for. To teach and to protect.

So be it.


Author Notes: Wow. Longest one shot ever. But I enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! I'd love to hear any thoughts and feedback you've got for me, so please review!