Title: Confessions of a Jedi Master: After Bandomeer
Author: Jadyn
Author's E-mail: jadyn@inorbit.com
Archice: 99% of the time yes. Just tell me where.
Category: Reflection
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: JA #1 and 2
Summary: After the events on Bandomeer, Qui-Gon contemplates the future.
Disclaimer: Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan belong to George and Lucasfilm; JA plotlines belong to Scholastic, Dave Wolverton, and Jude Watson. Nothing's mine, no profit made.
Author's Notes: My first published Star Wars fic, unbeta'ed, some feedback would be nice. Continuation of this series depends on reader reactions. If you want more, you have to tell me. Second, I know the idea isn't original, but I'm writing these as warm-up of sorts, trying to get into the characters' heads for more complex fics in the future. Hope you still like these writing exercises.

**********

He is sleeping now, peaceful features half-lit by the stars streaking by the port window. The distorted rays of light dimly highlight the copper in his hair, the smooth forehead, and the skin of his closed eyelids. The effect somehow makes him seem even younger than his years.

While watching his deep slumber, a distant part of me announces that it is a Sithly hour and that I should be in my own sleep couch. All Jedi are taught to conserve and replenish energy whenever possible. Jedi Masters should acknowledge the advantages of doing so more than anyone else. But I know that even if I lay down, I will only toss and turn all night. No one can be expected to rest peacefully with a mind on overdrive. Not even Jedi Masters.

Instead, I choose to remain in this armchair and sort through my thoughts and decide on my future. Force knows I have much to do in that department.

Only days had passed since my transport last touched down on Coruscant. And yet if someone had come up to me then and told me that, by the end of the week, I will have a bright young man shadowing my every step for the next decade and more, I would have deemed then mentally impaired. Who would have thought that I, of all people, would take another Padawan Learner?

I, have a Padawan.

Every time I utter that phrase to myself, I cannot help but feel the surrealism of my predicament. This enormous change in my life is so sudden, so disorienting, so...

*... right.*

Yes, I have heard that proclamation in my mind before. In fact, I have heard it so often since exiting those dreaded mines that I'm no longer astonished by its presence. It is from the Force, this I know. No amount of vehement protests could deny it, nor do I wish to rebel against this fact. The opinion of the Force is adamantly clear. But this knowledge does not ease my troubled mind at all.

The Force might approve of this partnership, it might even rejoice in it, but it would be foolish to mistaken this affirmation as a permanent blessing. The future is perpetually in motion, nothing is set in stone. If there is one reliable constant in this universe, it is the certainty that things will always change.

I also believe that wariness should be allowed on my part. After all, my bond with Xanatos had also provoked this song of rightness.

And then he betrayed me.

My own Padawan, swinging the lightsaber I helped him construct down in a deadly arc, intent on severing my head from my shoulders. It is only natural for me to resist the possibility of a repeat performance, isn't it?

Oh, I know that Obi-Wan is not Xanatos. At first glance, they may both have struck others as strong, eager, and bright. But upon a closer look, the subtle variations revealed beneath are the ones that make all the difference.

Even when I first laid eyes on Obi-Wan, I could sense the energy and potential radiating off of him in intense waves. His immense abilities and promise were reflected in every block, every parry. He demonstrated his skill time and again, when he sparred with Bruck Chun, when he defended the Arconans from swarming draigons, and especially when he fought Xanatos on Bandomeer. On the other hand, I had witnessed similar displays by my fallen Padawan years ago.

But while Xanatos had taken a dangerous amount of pride in his accomplishments, Obi-Wan's attitude was much different. That is not to say that pride was completely absent. It is only natural for youth to feel that way, as long as it doesn't become excessive. Obi-Wan tends to regard his achievements with a quiet contentment. He's happy that he has done it right, but his joy does not fuel arrogance in him. Instead, he is willing to listen to any additional suggestions, hoping to further improve his actions should the same situation arise again. Granted, he might not agree with every pointer that he's given, but at least he does not allow success to give the illusion of invincibility. He seems to naturally possess the humility that I tried so hard to encourage in Xanatos.

Both of them are undeniably eager in their studies. But while Xanatos selfishly seek knowledge to elevate his own status, Obi-Wan wishes to excel for the exact opposite reason. The boy works hard not to gain personal power, but to become a better Jedi, to better serve those in need of his help. Even in the beginning, Xanatos had harboured a streak of darkness in him, something I had always seen but refused to acknowledge. But in Obi-Wan, all I could ever see was light, no matter how hard I tried to believe otherwise.

Intellectually, I am willing to accept all this, I even welcome it. But more often than not, the heart is slow to catch up to the brain. While my mind is declaring that Obi-Wan Kenobi will be everything that Xanatos wasn't, my heart still stubbornly clings to the shields that I've been building since Xanatos left. My last apprentice had hurt me badly. My reluctance is a direct reflection of how deep that hurt is.

The problem is mine, not Obi-Wan's no matter what the boy might think. But unfortunately, shadows of the heart cannot simply be dispelled by a single thought. I know that everyday I let this overshadow me is another victory for my former Padawan. But...

The words are easy to say. Action is so much harder.

As I refocus my eyes and continue to watch Obi-Wan sleep, I become aware of how our future will unfold.

I will train him, of that I never doubted. I had given him my word, and he had more than gained his place through the trials of the past few days. I will teach him the ways of the Jedi; he will become a Knight. I will instruct him, guide him, and care for him.

But I will not fully trust him.

That realization brings an ache to my heart, for I truly know that Obi-Wan deserves better. And suddenly I fear that because of my inability to trust, I have already created an irreparable rift between us.

I have already failed him.

Force, no, I cannot fail him. The boy carries so much potential, so much goodness. I cannot bear it if I were the one responsible for polluting this bright light.

Gazing at the stars streaking by, I resolve to do my best to connect to Obi-Wan. I will strive for the link that should bind Master to their Padawans. But trust is so difficult when all you have left is a broken heart.

*He will heal you.*

Again, it was that voice. Was it from the Force? Or was it just my wishful thinking? For the longest time I thought my heart would bleed for an eternity, never to mend, never to become whole again.

In my mind, I can see his bright eyes, hope and determination evident in their oceanic depths. Is it possible, that while I teach him katas and negotiation tactics, he will teach me to trust again? Obi-Wan Kenobi will not only be my student, but my salvation?

Perhaps. It might just turn out that way.

END