It's the last chapter! Wow it's gone quickly but it seems like ages ago when I posted the first chapter (having just read over it and reminded myself what happened at the beginning!) A huge thank you to everyone who reviewed, read and enjoyed the story- it has been more successful than I could possibly have ever imagined! Of course- I've had help along the way and you reviewers have been awesome with your encouragements and suggestions. Love you all!
And just for you - the fourth story is in the works and the first chapter may be up soon so keep your eyes peeled!
Disclaimer: for the last time...I own nothing. Except Tarin. He's mine :D
Enjoy! And Happy Easter!
Qui-Gon watched as Obi-Wan slept, untroubled now by hallucinations or nightmares. Through their shared meditation, the Master had glimpsed a few of the terrible things that had haunted the boy. Many had sent shivers down his spine.
Now at least, Obi-Wan slept peacefully and soundly, much to the Qui-Gon's relief as he sat beside the bed. Those blackened circles beneath Obi-Wan's eyes were slowly disappearing and he was beginning to look healthier again as the antidote and healing salve continued their good work. Qui-Gon leant forward and brushed a lock of hair out of his Padawan's eye as the boy turned in his sleep.
"Mastah?" Obi-Wan mumbled in sleepy tones, eyelids cracking open. "W-wh-"
"Sleep Obi-Wan. Everything is fine," Qui-Gon assured his tired apprentice, gently lacing his command with a light Force suggestion wrapped in with peace and love. He watched as Obi-Wan nodded slowly in agreement, eyes slipping shut and gradually falling back on his pillows.
"L…love you Master," Obi-Wan sighed as he slid back into sleep.
Qui-Gon could only watch as his Padawan slept peacefully, utterly amazed at the young boy's capacity to give his whole heart.
The Jedi spent a further week on Sytenar whilst the final agreements where decided on in the Vendovian Treaty. For much of it, Obi-Wan had to be content with staying in his and Qui-Gon's quarters, having requested to leave the medical wing. Qui-Gon had agreed, reluctantly at first, but as his Padawan had persuaded him, all he needed now was bed rest and he did not have to be in the medical wing for that. Promising that he would remain in bed, Obi-Wan had very little to do. However, help was on hand in the form of Tarin, who visited Obi-Wan still, relaying the day's events and discussing various points of interest that arisen.
By the middle of the second week since Obi-Wan and Tarin had been found, a formal ceremony was held for the signing of the Vendovian Treaty. Leaders from all the planets arrived and stood beside their representatives, pressing their own seals in agreement. There was a feast in celebration for the system's unity and the two Jed- Obi-Wan was definitely well enough for food- attended and sat with Tarin and a few of the representatives.
"Obi-Wan, our transport is leaving soon," Qui-Gon called through to Obi-Wan's room in their joint quarters where the boy was finishing off packing.
"Coming Master," Obi-Wan replied, slinging his bag over his shoulder. His sleeve rode up slightly on his left arm, revealing the faded black lines still encircling that surrounded his wrist and disappeared up his arm until his tunic and the Padawan paused, brow furrowing. The marks were fading, but Obi-Wan felt the memories, however much he wanted, would not leave as quickly.
Tugging his sleeve down, Obi-Wan re-joined Qui-Gon as the two left for the hanger. Tarin was waiting for them beside their ship, a couple of attendants beside him. The delegate greeted them with a smile as the two Jedi approached him.
"Your ship is prepared," Tarin informed them as both offered him greetings. "I wish you both a safe trip back to the Jedi Temple."
"Thank you," Qui-Gon nodded to the delegate. "I also see congratulations are in order, Senator Tarin of the Vendovian System."
Tarin's cheeks flushed. "Thank you. I'm not worthy of it but the delegates all voted on it last night. I did not expect…It seems I have many more responsibilities now and people's rights to fight for, which I will do to the best of my abilities," he assured them. "I am to report to Coruscant and the Galactic Senate within the next month."
"Congratulations," Obi-Wan smiled sincerely at his friend.
Behind them, the Jedi ship's engines fired up, roaring before becoming a throbbing hum in the hanger as various mechanics waved their coloured rods at the pilot who nodded and saluted from his cockpit as he made the final checks. The ship was ready to take off.
Tarin nodded. "I hope to see you sometime in Coruscant when you are not too busy studying your Jedi texts and saving other far off worlds?"
Obi-Wan smiled. "I would like that," he said. "Goodbye Tarin."
"I believe the expression is- May the Force be with you?" Tarin said, slightly hesitant.
Both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon shared a smile, as they slipped their hands into their robe sleeves and bowed together. "May the Force be with you, Senator Tarin," the Jedi said. Qui-Gon was the first to move away; Obi-Wan and Tarin watched as the Master strode calmly up the ramp to their ship, boots clanking on the metal as he did so.
"You two are well suited," Tarin said as Qui-Gon disappeared into the depths of the ship.
Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow. "Perhaps- in our stubbornness. Thanks again Tarin," he nodded as he stepped onto the ramp.
"Thank you, Obi-Wan," Tarin emphasised, raising a hand in goodbye. Obi-Wan copied the gesture and turned away, heading up the ramp after his Master. The ramp then slid slowly up with a hiss, closing the entrance to the ship. The engines thrummed as the ship slowly rose off the ground and left the hanger, leaving only the mechanics and a Senator behind.
(A few months later)
Obi-Wan yawned, slowly waking up, arms stretched out in front of him as his brain shook off the fog of sleep. Sitting up in bed, he kicked off the covers, swivelling round and rubbing his eyes as he stood up and padded across the floor of his room in the Jedi Temple. Glancing at the chrono on his desk, he realised it was almost the 8th standard hour. Two hours after he was expected to be awake and preparing for the new day. In shock, Obi-Wan stumbled to gather his tunic and pants together before nearly falling out of his room and heading to the fresher.
However, to his surprise, there was no disappointed looking Qui-Gon standing in their common area, ready to remind his Padawan of the time. In fact, Obi-Wan was quite sure now that his Master was not even in their quarters, thanks to a quick Force sweep of their home.
Obi-Wan frowned slightly, sagging a little. Had his Master simply allowed him to sleep in? That didn't seem very much like Qui-Gon at all. And where was his Master anyway?
And on this day in particular…Obi-Wan sighed. Had his Master completely forgotten in his hurry to leave that morning? A small whisper of hurt sprang up in the Padawan's chest before he pushed it down. There was no way. Was there?
It was a few months now since he and Qui-Gon had returned from the Vendovian System, a successful mission tucked under their belts and their Master/Padawan relationship stronger than ever. Obi-Wan had been given a clean bill of health by the Temple Healers- at Qui-Gon's insistence – and the two had settled into an easy routine now they were back at the Temple for a more permanent time, Obi-Wan attending the classes he had missed whilst being on missions with Qui-Gon.
But this wasn't normal. Obi-Wan scratched his head, tugging absentmindedly at his braid to straighten it. There was no note either and nothing on the comm. unit. A strange feeling of déjà vu struck the Padawan as he headed to the shower and he thought back to see why the situation felt so familiar.
Yes! All those months ago, before he and Qui-Gon had gone to the Vendovian System on that treaty-signing mission. Obi-Wan had woken up one morning to find his Master mysteriously gone, no note, almost exactly like the situation now.
Now being dressed and having eaten breakfast, Obi-Wan sat at the table in the small kitchen area, twiddling his thumbs. He was alone. That thought did not sit particularly comfortably with him. Not on this day. He had no classes today. No work to do. He considered going to see if any of his friends were free. Bant probably would be able to spend some of the day with him and he had not seen much of Garen or Reeft having been so busy the last few weeks.
Standing up, Obi-Wan pulled on his boots and made his way over to the door, picking up his cloak as he went. Just as he approached the door, it slid open and lo and behold, Qui-Gon Jinn stepped into the apartment. The Master stopped short as he noticed his Padawan standing a few feet in front of him, a confused expression on his face and cloak tucked under his arm.
"Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon asked.
"Master," Obi-Wan said slowly, not knowing what to make of the situation. "Where... were you?" he tried to keep his tone light. It could not sound as though he was reprimanding his Master after all!
"I was sorting out a few things," Qui-Gon said as he moved into their apartment, shedding his cloak carefully as he did so and folding it over his arm as he took it to his bedroom. "Are you going out Padawan?" The Master raised his voice slightly so Obi-Wan could still hear him.
"I…I was Master," Obi-Wan began. "I, I thought…well…" he trailed off.
Qui-Gon reappeared in the common area. "I believe we are about to have some company," he remarked. "Will you let them in Obi-Wan?"
Perplexed and even more mystified as to what was going on. Obediently, he moved towards the door and hit the switch, watching passively as the door slid open. When he saw who was on the other side, he blinked rapidly in surprise.
Several of Obi-Wan's friends from the Temple stood in the doorway, Bant, Reeft and Garen included.
Obi-Wan swivelled on the spot, his eyes flicking between his Master and his friends standing in front of him. "What is going on here?" he asked at length, a bit suspiciously. Not that he wasn't delighted to see his friends who he had had little contact with in the last few weeks…but something was up.
"Obi-Wan you didn't forget did you?" Qui-Gon said, gazing at his very muddled apprentice with a little concern. "After all, who can forget their own fourteenth birthday?" the Master raised an eyebrow.
The Padawan's jaw nearly dropped. His Master…not only had he remembered…he'd organised something? "Um…no Master, I hadn't forgotten," he mumbled, cheeks flushing slightly. "But…"
"Happy birthday Obi-Wan!" Bant chimed as she walked in, holding out a silvery wrapped present for her bemused friend. Reeft and Garen walked in after her, followed by a few others from the various different classes Obi-Wan attended in the Temple.
"Bant…thank you," Obi-Wan smiled at her, hugging her as Garen clapped him on the back. "When did you guys…?"
"We've known about this for ages Obi-Wan," Reeft said. "Master Jinn informed us months and months ago of your birthday and we planned a secret party- even before you went off on that mission! Now...is there any food?"
"So…you all knew?" Obi-Wan hazarded, looking at each of his friends in turn who nodded, smiling guiltily. "And nobody told me?"
"It was a secret," Qui-Gon said over the bubble of noise where he was standing with Tarin. "Happy birthday Padawan," he smiled.
"Thank you Master," Obi-Wan grinned sincerely back at the older Jedi. / Thank you Master- for everything / he sent through the bond, along with a quick pulse of gratitude and affection. He felt his whole body warm when the Force wave was sent back along the link, his Master's force signature all over it.
/ You're more than welcome, my Padawan / Qui-Gon replied fondly. / Enjoy your day /
Obi-Wan's friends stayed all day and well into the evening, chatting, watching holo-vids and eating to their hearts content, a whole array of sugary concoctions that had been arranged for them. At length, most had disappeared, thanking both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon for a wonderful day.
When the last one left, Obi-Wan glanced over at his Master who had just entered the common room, having spent most of the day in his room, allowing the teenagers to enjoy themselves. "Thank you again Master," the fourteen year old smiled as he began to clean up.
"It was my pleasure Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said sincerely. "But there's one or two things left. Happy birthday, Padawan."
Obi-Wan looked up at his Master, who he realised was holding something out. It was a small semi-circular object, big enough to sit in Obi-Wan's palm. Simple in its design, it looked to be made of a very smooth, reflective metal, etched with beautiful patterns and swirling deigns. It had a small hole directly at the top. Carefully, Obi-Wan took it in his hands, it was heavier than he had expected, turning it over curiously. "Thank you Master," he said quietly as he examined it, smiling shyly up at the older Jedi. "What is it Master?" he asked at length.
"I believe the 'on switch' is at the bottom," Qui-Gon directed lightly. "Hold it out like this. You'll soon see."
Obi-Wan nudged the small switch as his fingers found it and immediately an image appeared, hovering above the rounded bump of the device. It was of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, not long after they had become a Master/Padawan team. Both Jedi were smiling broadly, Qui-Gon's hand was resting firmly on Obi-Wan's shoulder. Obi-Wan could still remember how he felt at that exact moment and his heart rose.
Qui-Gon watched as his Padawan's face lit up in delight as he watched the images change, some of Obi-Wan alone, others with his friends and numerous ones with him and Qui-Gon together. His heart warmed at the feelings of contentment and happiness positively radiating through the bond. It made the Master thank the Force for everything.
Gently, the Padawan set the device on the table where the images continued to change. "Master….thank you," Obi-Wan surprised his Master by throwing his arms around the older Jedi's waist and hugging him tightly. "Today was amazing."
"You deserved it Obi-Wan. I'm very happy you like your present," Qui-Gon said, returning the hug with just as much love as his Padawan was pouring out to him.
"Master- what's this image of?" Obi-Wan asked, glancing down as the familiar faces disappeared and were replaced by a city the Padawan did not recognize. It was approaching late evening and Obi-Wan could see three different sized crescent moons hanging off to the left of the picture. The buildings fairly glowed under their bright light, the architecture was nothing the Padawan had ever seen before, the skyscrapers were lithe and expertly crafted.
"That is a city on Kambah," Qui-Gon said. "But I'm not the person to ask."
There was a quiet knock on the door. Obi-Wan looked at his Master, already guessing without the use of the Force, who their new guest was. Qui-Gon smiled.
"Tarin!" Obi-Wan said, greeting the Senator warmly as Tarin entered their quarters after the Padawan let him in, looking around the Jedi's quarters with interest.
"Happy birthday," Tarin announced, eyeing the present which Obi-Wan was holding very carefully with a smile. "I can't believe you only fourteen. I took you for much older. To think of all the things you did…" he trailed off. "You like the present?" he gestured to it.
Obi-Wan nodded as Qui-Gon greeted the Senator. "Very much- my Master said these photos are of Kambah?" he asked.
Tarin nodded. "I told you, you could not appreciate the beauty of my planet just by describing it. Qui-Gon asked me for some of the photos so you could see it for yourself- but I hope one day you will visit it. Seeing as I have now visited your home, the impressive Jedi Temple," he smiled, looking around at Obi-Wan's home. "You did not do justice to this place either. Every time I travel to Coruscant I'm immediately captivated by this building."
Obi-Wan grinned. "It's the best," he shrugged. "Would you like something to eat- there's plenty of food left over. And you can explain the photos."
Tarin agreed to the plan and followed the Padawan to the sofa as Qui-Gon took the chair opposite and the three began to talk, discussing the photos, the memories all swirling around in Obi-Wan's birthday present from his Master.
And neither Qui-Gon nor Obi-Wan could have been more content with life at that moment.
Awww. Hope you enjoyed that :) It felt a bit...well bit-y at the beginning but hopefully towards the end it got better. I wanted to get this up before I go back to uni tomorrow (argh!) and spent a while trying to get it right.
Hopefully it is right.
Thank you again for reading and supporting this story :) I am very grateful as a writer! See you soon for the 4th story- which promises to be very different from the last two!