Disclaimer: I don't own any of the George Lucas creations and I only write for fun. So please don't sue me, I'm broke. :(
Takes place after the JA book 8 and I have NO CLUE where/time it ends. Its just general. Work with me here people. giggles I've been writing on this for awhile, and I finally got around to putting it on the puta.
A form emerged from the pool of acid, encased within a force shell. The acid bubbled and popped, exploding the dangerous substance and covering all that came near. The figure levitated to the pools' edge and fell exhausted on the shore, sputtering and gasping.
A large bubble hovered on the surface of the acidic waters, then exploded, sending the toxic waste in all directions. The figure on the shore was splattered everywhere and the acid instantly began to eat away at the material. It burned through to the flesh and a loud cry, mixed with the sizzle of skin burning away. The figure began to hurriedly undress and shed the acid clothing. Several loud hisses escaped the partially singed lips.
The acid ate through the clothes and destroyed a good proportion of the lower left leg, tendons and ligaments hung from the singed flesh and lulled around uselessly from the open wound. The hands were red from momentary exposure to the unforgiving vile, the wrist bone protruded through the broken skin around the left wrist. Several other, less severe injuries donned the muscular body and bled freely, staining the pale skin a deep crimson.
Wearing no clothing, the figure limped aboard a small vessel that was waiting and set a course to leave. Blood ran freely down over the figures' face, mainly from the deep hole on the right cheek, exposing the bone. The figure struggled to keep conscious during the flight, and reduced the loss of blood. A signal was sent to ensure speedy medical attention.
When the transport arrived at its destination, several robed people quickly boarded. They wrapped a long cloak around the figure and hurried towards the medical facilities.
An elderly gentleman motioned for the room to be cleared and turned to the figure now lying on the medtable.
"My lord, what happened?" The healer asked the man.
"If you must know, my backup plan had an unforeseen flaw." the blue eyed patient snapped. "See what you can do."
"Yes My Lord." the healer bowed and stepped over to begin treatment.
After several hours the exhausted healer sat down heavily on a chair next to the patients bed, "I've done all I can."
The patient sat unsteadily up in the bed and held out a shaky hand, calling a small mirror to its palm. He pulled back the thick mane of black hair that was obstructing his full view. The man looked reluctantly into the mirror and saw his new reflection staring back. He remained expressionless, looking over his destroyed face.
The large gash on his right side, exposed his cheekbone had left a small crater creating a crescent that accented the curve of the eye. The skin around his right eye was burned, still red from the acid and created odd dents over the skin, removing the previous scar that once marked that area of his face.
His lips sustained damage as well. The entire left side was gone, except for the little skin that the healer was able to salvage, pulled strangely from the cheek area. The flesh folded and contorted, splitting off in several creases. The healer was able to reform the misshapen features as best he could, given the extent of the injuries and minimal tissue to work with.
Not only was the patients' face destroyed, but the portions of his body that received the sting from the acid suffered the same disfiguring fate. Several sections of skin were eaten away along the forearm. Both hands were scarred, several of the nails were ate away, leaving hollow tips, resembling suction cups. Large and small crater-like scars marred his once soft smooth skin along his back. Part of his lower left leg was in a brace and covered in regenerative packs to help rebuild his damaged tissue. The acid ate away tendons and ligaments, rendering some muscles useless and immobile.
With a growl, the patient threw the mirror across the room, sending a cascade of shattered fragments in all directions.
The healer weakly raised up to address his patient, "Xanatos, my lord, I've done all I can for your physical appearance."
Xanatos sighed and returned to lying down on the medable. "I don't understand it. I should have been able to keep the force bubble intact to protect myself. I should have been able to sense the instability and been able to avoid all of this!"
"My lord, I believe I know what interfered." The healer began. "I found a small growth on your hypothalamus. It's interwoven throughout your brain, so I can't remove it. I haven't been able to determine if it's malignant or benign."
Xanatos rose up off the bed and glared at the healer, "So what am I supposed to do? Just wait around to see if it will kill me?"
"We will monitor the growth and see if we can find a treatment for it. Maybe if we can keep it from growing…." The healer explained.
"Get out!" Xanatos snarled.
The healer bowed and quickly exited the room, allowing Xanatos his privacy to digest the information. Xanatos called a datapad to his hand, and began to prepare instructions for every contingent. He was thorough, making sure every detail was within full comprehension. He hesitated with the burial part, and sat for a long time in deep contemplation.
************** 3 MONTHS LATER******************
Xanatos pressed the record button for seemingly the millionth time. He struggled to find the right words, and cleared his throat once again to begin his transmission. "Qui-Gon," Xanatos paused for a moment, glancing down at the floor. He raised his eyes and resumed. "Master Jinn, I know that you probably figured me for dead, but I guess I'm not." He grinned weakly.
Xanatos growled and grabbed his head in agitation, "What am I doing?" He sighed and began again.
"Master. I know you probably believed me dead, and I'm betting right now that you were wishing it was true."
Xanatos sighed and seemed to stare off in the distance. "Why does this have to be so difficult?"
Several hours passed with recording and erasing messages upon messages. Finally Xanatos was satisfied and sent his transmission to the Jedi Temple. With his fatigued body shaking, he sat down heavily on a chair and waited for a response. Secretly he doubted he would get a reply.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan entered their quarters and were arguing over another lightsaber duel they just finished. Obi-Wan was insisting that Qui-Gon had cheated, but the elder defended himself. Truth be known, he DID cheat.
Obi-Wan walked by the comm panel and yelled, "Hey Cheater, someone left a message for you."
"If you call me that one more time, I'll whip you like a stubborn bantha!" Qui-Gon laughed and joined his apprentice at the comm panel.
Qui-Gon clicked the receiver and a shadowed form appeared on the screen. Qui-Gon gritted his teeth and inhaled deeply, focusing on the transmission. Obi-Wan gasp and swallowed hard, anxiety swelling up in him.
The figure of what appeared to be Xanatos, showed on the monitor. The figure had Xanatos's shiny black hair, though it was hanging down over much of his face, making identifying difficult. One deep blue eye stared out of the mess of black with a penetrating stare. A dark circle underlined the hallow eye and the exposed cheek seemed sunken in. The pale waxy skin stretched tightly across the narrow pointed chin.
"Master Jinn, I know it must come to a shock to see me alive, but as I always told you, I have a backdoor." Xanatos voice filtered through. "But nostalgia is not the reason why I'm contacting you."
Qui-Gon just stared at the figure, his expression stony, unreadable.
Xanatos continued, "I ask that you meet with me. I'll be landing at the Temple's landing platform tomorrow at noon. You may have anyone you wish present, but all I ask is that you please hear me out. It's important to me that you and young Kenobi meet me to hear what I have to say. Please Master?"
Obi-Wan looked expectantly over at his master, and released the breath he didn't know he was holding. A sudden feeling of anticipation and fear began to well up in the young apprentice.
Qui-Gon stood silently, contemplating what to do. He finally broke the silence by contacting the council and filling them in on the situation. They agreed to give Qui-Gon whatever support he needed and set up the meeting. He sent a quick confirmation to Xanatos, containing only one word. "Agreed"
With a heavy sigh, the master turned and looked over to his obviously rattled apprentice.
"Not to worry Obi-Wan. We will have plenty of backup, and the temple is on full alert. Xanatos won't be able cause any harm." Qui-Gon assured his young charge.
Obi-Wan nodded, "I hope you're right about that. Like he said, he 'always' has a backdoor. He may just succeed in blowing up the temple this time."
"We'll just have to see to it that it doesn't happen. We've faced him before and defeated him. We can do it again." Qui-Gon said, staring at the frozen hologram. A strange sense of dread seeped into his mind, his heart reopening the wounds that emotionally scarred him, and set the force into chaos with the conflicting, heated, and mixed feelings about the meeting.
Obi-Wan instinctually stepped closer to the elders side, not touching, but alerting the master to the presence and to reinforce the unspoken truth.
Obi-Wan would remain by his masters side, no matter what he choose to do, and would support him through it all.
The little gesture, so full of meaning, was acknowledged by the tall master, who put his hand on his apprentices' shoulder and smiled, feeling he could face whatever Xanatos's evil constructed and defeat it with his padawan at his side.
The next day, true to their word, the council arranged for all available Knights and Masters to surround the landing pad, some hidden in the shadows, others standing out in plain view. Though the assisting Jedi could easily overpower an opponent, Qui-Gon felt as if there wasn't enough help. They were still vulnerable, especially to a conniving mind, like what Xanatos possessed.
Qui-Gon stood in the middle of the landing area, Obi-Wan one step back and to the right. Their eyes were watchful of all transports, their senses heightened through the force.
At the designated time, a small transport began its approach and sat down clumsily on the pad. The ramp extended and the door retracted to reveal two figures, one cloaked. The figure that wasn't cloaked assisted the other down the ramp. At the bottom, the cloaked figure motioned for the other to remain and approached the two Jedi waiting.
The figure stopped a few feet from the two and pulled the hood back to reveal Xanatos, staring out a mass of long black hair. The hair obscured his features, except half of the left side of his face. His pallor colored skin almost had an unearthly glow.
Obi-Wan subconsciously put his hand on his lightsaber, and glared at his enemy.
Xanatos noticed Obi-Wan's posture and held up a gloved hand, "I didn't come to fight young Kenobi."
"You'll understand if I don't believe you!" Obi-Wan snarled.
Xanatos bowed his head slightly, "I take no offence. I would be wary too if my old enemy wanted to meet me under strange circumstances. Course you realize, you two 'were' my enemies."
"What do you mean by "were" Xanatos?" Qui-Gon asked.
"That's why I asked you two to be present. I want to put all our sorted pasts behind us and call a truce." Xanatos said shakily.
"Yeah right!" Obi-Wan bit back.
"Why would you want to do that?" Qui-Gon asked candidly.
Xanatos said bluntly, "Because I'm dying."
Obi-Wan looked from Xanatos to his master, confusion and doubt clouding his mind. Qui-Gon narrowed his eyes down to his former apprentice. Feelings began to swirl, mixing and distorting each other into a frenzy of unstable emotional tidal waves. Obi-Wan's senses became heightened, and he couldn't tell if his master was sensing or projecting the sense of dread, fear, and pain.
Xanatos stepped closer and put his hand under his cloak, the long black fabric billowed over his movement. When he retracted his hand, he was holding the silvery handle of his lightsaber.
In a split second, Obi-Wan had jumped back, detached his saber and ignited it, standing at the defensive. Qui-Gon's hand was on the hilt of his saber, but he didn't not move into attack stance. His eyes remained fixed upon the partially obscured face of his former apprentice.
Several knights emerged from the shadows, startling Xanatos as they took up a tighter defensive pattern, sucessfully enclosing the renegade within a circle.
Xanatos watched, a sad expression etched on his face, "Don't worry. I won't attack. I haven't the strength anymore."
"Don't act like you didn't know that I would have backup waiting. I know you all too well." Qui-Gon leered, not taking his eyes off his adversary.
Xanatos merely sighed, turning the weapon towards himself and handing the hilt towards his former master.
Qui-Gon looked down at the weapon, scanning with his eyes and the force. Both showed that it was safe, and that it was indeed Xanatos's real weapon and not a decoy.
"What do you REALLY want Xanatos?" Qui-Gon demanded, his piercing blue eyes rising to meet the icy blue of his former charge.
Xanatos looked his former master straight in the eye and without flinching, and answered, "I want to die here."
Obi-Wan's jaw dropped and he stared blankly at his enemy.
Xanatos extended his lightsaber closer to his master and bowed his head slightly. "I realize I was wrong, and I'm giving my lightsaber to my master in surrender. Like I should have done years ago on Telos."
Qui-Gon apprehensively grabbed the weapon and quickly threw it to a knight that was concealed in the shadows.
Qui-Gon stared down his former padawan, a worried frown creasing his brow, "Why this sudden change of heart?"
"IF he has one!" Obi-Wan retorted.
Xanatos sighed and explained, "After our last encounter, I found out that I have a growth on my brain. It started out small and inconsequential, but steadily grew, and began effecting my mind and bodily functions."
"If your asking for sanctuary after all you've done, I'd say it's effecting your mind!" Obi-Wan quipped.
Xanatos laughed a little, "Not in that sense young one. It began to effect my ability to use the force, until I lost all of my force ability. Then my body started to fail, one system and organ after another. You can scan me if you want, I'm telling the truth."
Qui-Gon took a deep breath and opened his senses up, searching Xanatos's mind and body. Several minutes were spent in silence as the master scanned every inch of his former apprentice.
Xanatos couldn't resist even if he wanted to. His mind barely registered the brush of the Jedi's mind. He remained quiet and allowed Qui-Gon to scan him.
Qui-Gon's eyes grew wide and he whispered, "I can sense the tumor. It's shutting down his bodily functions and he has lost his force ability. He's telling the truth."
Xanatos nodded, a sad smile contorted on his deformed lips.
Qui-Gon took a deep breath, "The temple healers could take a look, but I don't know if there is anything they can do. I won't promise anything."
"It's most appreciated, though I have been told it is not removable." Xanatos tried to bow, but as soon as he inclined his head, his equilibrium was lost and he toppled forward.
Qui-Gon's quick reflexes allowed him to catch Xanatos's fall and eased him to the cold launchpad floor. He held Xanatos up, cradling his head in his arms and noting that his former padawan seemed very light. Xanatos's hair fell away from his pale face, allowing the Jedi Master to see the extensive scarring. Qui-Gon noticed the broken circle scar was gone, replaced by a crater-like scar running along the cheekbone. Xanatos's sallow skin was pulled tightly across his face, his features resembled a living skull, with dull, icy blue eyes.
"The scar from your fathers ring is gone." Qui-Gon noted softly.
Xanatos weakly exhaled, "An acid bubble on Telos exploded and covered my face. It was a scar of what I once was. In a way, it renewed me." He frowned and his breathing began to become shallow and he shuddered.
"What's wrong?" Qui-Gon asked, the force swirling and telling the master that the form in his arms was in distress, their life ebbing away.
"I can't feel my legs." Xanatos whispered. "Not yet…. I still have so much left to say!….. It's time, isn't it?….. I just need a few more minutes!" He asked looking over to the attendant. Xanatos' eyes were wild, vivid blue against his ghostly skin and darted around, pleadingly.
"I'm sorry. But it seems that the tumor has progressed further." The attendant said softly. "I feared that you waited to long." The assistant bowed his head solemnly.
Xanatos weakly clutched at Qui-Gon's collar, "Please, forgive me for everything I've done. I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering I caused."
Qui-Gon seemed lost and uncertain, "I don't know if I can. You destroyed lives for your own personal gain and greed. How can I forgive something like that?"
Xanatos put his hand into his cloak and pulled out a datachip, "I have divided up Off-World and created new benefits for the miners. This is a list of all the new programs and protocols. Please see to it that the miners are well compensated and my final wishes are carried out. You're the only one I trust."
Qui-Gon could only stare into the deep blue eyes of his former padawan. His mind screamed of the terrible things Xanatos had been responsible for, and how many people he destroyed. But his heart cried out to the younger man's plea. They had afterall, been like father and son. Xanatos was asking for forgiveness, something not a lot of people would have the courage do to, especially from an enemy.
Obi-Wan kneeled down beside his master and gazed upon the man that had nearly ended his life on many occasions. He scanned Xanatos's mind, sensing the tumor and realizing everything Xanatos had said was true. He also looked into his heart and found remorse and regret. All of the hate, anger, and destructive tendencies were gone, or very well concealed, he couldn't tell. He put his hand on his masters arm and said slowly, "I sense he's telling the truth and feels remorse. But can we trust him?"
"It's ok Obi-Wan. I understand your distrust and anger towards me. But please know that I am sorry for all the things I did to you. I just hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me one day." Xanatos said, his face contorting with pain and his breathing becoming raspy.
Xanatos gazed up to his former master, his breathing broken and raspy, his eyes partially closed and steadily becoming more unfocused, "I realize I let you down. I let power and greed destroy the trust of the one person that was more important than my own life. Please forgive a blind fool that was lead astray, and be allowed to die in sanctuary. I'm sorry I didn't make you proud. If I could go back and change everything, I would. I was so blinded, I only wish I could correct my mistakes, and make you proud of me."
Qui-Gon blinked several times, completely taken by surprise. "I lost you once and grieved like a father. Even when you threatened me, I just couldn't bring myself around to kill you. It would have been like killing my own child. But then you threatened to kill Obi-Wan, who was innocent. You tried to kill us both out of hatred and revenge."
"I'm so sorry I betrayed your trust and caused you to suffer. Please master? I don't want to die knowing that you haven't forgiven me." Xanatos pleaded, his shaking hands were clutching at Qui-Gon's robes, his eyes fighting to remain open and alert.
Qui-Gon looked at Obi-Wan, deep in thought. Obi-Wan could tell that his master was actually thinking about forgiving Xanatos for what he done. The thought of Xanatos getting out of this made the apprentice angry.
"Master?!" Obi-Wan spoke up. "You couldn't possibly be serious about forgiving this..this… Monster?!"
Though Qui-Gon couldn't completely forgive the terrible things that Xanatos did to others, his compassionate nature took over and felt deep sorrow for the man that was like a son to him at one time. Qui-Gon closed his eyes momentarily, exhaling slowly, "You need to learn compassion, Obi-Wan, even to an enemy."
Obi-Wan glared down menacing at Xanatos.
Xanatos's eyes began to pool with tears, "My hatred destroyed a lot of people, but it destroyed me as well. I hoped that I would be able to make amends for the terrible things I did, but the tumor progressed faster than anticipated. I ran out of time before I was able to make restitution to the people I wronged. I used what energy I had left to come here, to make right the worst pain of all."
Qui-Gon looked at Xanatos sympathetically. He could sense the vitals of the man in his arms slowly declining. He left a surge of pain rip through Xanatos's body and looked around to the attendant who was nearby.
Xanatos gasped through the pain, tugging on Qui-Gon's clothes. "Please Master! Forgive me. I have to hear it! Please!"
Qui-Gon put his hand on Xanatos and smiled. "I forgive you for what you've done."
Xanatos smiled, a lonely tear falling down his sunken, scarred cheek. He grabbed at Qui-Gon's clothes, gasping and began to convulse. His eyes rolled back into his head and gave him the appearance of a haunting specter. The seizures shook his body violently and the Jedi Master held onto him to prevent further injury. A knight called for the healers.
Seconds crawled by like years, until several healers arrived with a hoverbed. They quickly and efficiently secured Xanatos's body to the bed and rushed him to the medical area.
Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and the attendant followed behind. Some of the Jedi that were there as support, returned to whatever they were doing, thinking they were no longer needed. Others followed the trio to the medical ward, just as a precaution.
The healers ushered Xanatos into a private room. Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and the attendant entered and stood in the back, allowing the healers their much needed space.
They healers began to disrobe Xanatos and bring in monitoring equipment. When they removed Xanatos's shirt, Qui-Gon felt his heart fall. He could only stare in disbelief at Xanatos and then reality set in, and he felt a tight constriction in his chest.
There on the table was his former apprentice. Over half of his body was scarred to some degree or another, most of them, large, showing the destructive substance took its toll on the frail human form.
Once strong, well defined muscles that made every graceful move fluidic, were withered away, showing the spindly bones. The skin was tight across his chest, outlining every curve of the protruding ribs. His once flat stomach was now sunk in and showed his bony hipbones jutting up, creating a morbid valley.
"How long has he been like this?" Qui-Gon asked the attendant.
"He's been ill for some time, and only recently has it been taking its toll on his body. He's lost nearly half of his weight." The attendant answered.
"Why didn't he come sooner?" Obi-Wan asked, now feeling pity for the skeletonized person under the healers care.
"He was afraid."
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan looked over at the attendant, dumbstruck and surprised.
"He was afraid you wouldn't help and would cast him away to die alone. He wanted your forgiveness, and was afraid you wouldn't give it, or even hear him out. He wanted to die in the only home he has ever known." The attendant explained.
"I seen the estates his father had on Telos, trust me, he always had a home." Qui-Gon said.
"That's where you're wrong Master Jinn. Xanatos had a "house", but not a home. He never felt safe, protected, at peace, anywhere but here. The Temple was his home. It's where he always felt safe. Sheltered. Loved." The attendant corrected.
Obi-Wan felt a sudden surge of sympathy and understanding towards Xanatos. The Temple HAD always been home, regardless where they journeyed. He had gone astray before, and couldn't find the same atmosphere of being nurtured, taken care of. The Temple was the only place that was a sanctuary to the lost ones, broken hearts, wandering spirits. It seemed odd that Xanatos found his way back.
A healer walked over to the trio and gave her report on Xanatos's condition. "A tumor has spread throughout his brain and destroyed the motor center of his mind. He's in a coma now. We've done all we can to stabilize him, but there is nothing more we can do. I'm sorry."
The attendant nodded and turned to face the two Jedi beside him, "Well, I lived up to my part, I brought him to you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a family to go see."
Obi-Wan snapped out of his sympathy, remembering the kind of person Xanatos was and how he operated things. He sarcastically snapped, "Let me guess, Xanatos had them captive until you did his bidding? Good chance they are already dead."
The attendant glowered at Obi-Wan. "For your information, CHILD, Xanatos had rescued me from a condemned ship. I was on my way home to see if my family survived an invasion from an alien army. Xanatos funded a search and when my family was found, he arranged to have them taken to one of his safe houses on Telos!"
Obi-Wan flinched as if he had been slapped. His voice seemingly died in his throat, and escaped in a soft hiss. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."
The attendant huffed and stormed out the door, leaving the apprentice at a loss of words. Could it be that Xanatos had changed his ways and tried to make things right before he died?
Obi-Wan doubted it.
The healers began to leave, returning to the other patients in the medical ward. After they all left, Qui-Gon went to stand beside his ex-padawan. He looked down at the pale, frail shell of a body that was hooked up to machines and cables. Monitors were set up around the bed, giving constant readouts and statistics. The heart monitor softly beeped in a slow, steady rhythm, and Xanatos's chest rose and fell in a slow rate.
Obi-Wan stood quietly behind his master, watching the elders reactions to get a sense of what he was going through emotionally. Qui-Gon rarely showed his feelings, and any visible emotion was somewhat of a breakthrough.
Ever so slightly, Qui-Gon's lower lip began to tremble, and he took several short breaths. "Obi-Wan, please inform the healers that I'll require a portable sleepcouch in here."
"Master?" Obi-Wan stepped forward. "You're staying here? With HIM?"
Qui-Gon nodded and turned his eyes towards his apprentice. The once vibrate blue eyes now seemed tired and haunted. "Yes I am. He's scared and doesn't want to die alone."
"But...still.." Obi-Wan stammered.
"Obi-Wan, there is a lot you need to learn. A person can change, for as long as they are alive. There is always the opportunity. Xanatos wasn't always bad, he was just lead away from the light for a time." Qui-Gon's face became saddened and he looked back to the figure in the bed. "He was always a bright, vibrant child."
"And instead grew to be a destructive tyrant that killed countless lives for his own greed and personal gain. I'm sorry master, but he deserves this and much more for his crimes." Obi-Wan showed Qui-Gon a sudden streak of defiance.
Qui-Gon was taken aback by the sudden relentlessness in Obi-Wan's tone and attitude. "And who are you to judge him? You've disgraced yourself before, you've killed, you have taken someone else's life in your hands and done what YOU thought was right."
Obi-Wan paled, his breath seemed to stand still, his heart hitched up into his throat, and his stomach felt like it just fell to the floor. He stared unblinkingly at his master, still in a state of shock.
"Xanatos fought by my side and was just as loyal as you are now. He was an excellent pupil, and excelled in everything that he did, but he strayed. He strayed away from the light, away from his training. But he can come back to apologize and to gain absolution from at least one of his victims. It's a shame you can't see that, and do what is right." "Qui-Gon turned back to face Xanatos lying on the bed.
"Master? Are you condoning what he did?" Obi-Wan snapped out of his semi-shocked state and asked, though he was afraid that he may hear the wrong answer.
"I never condone taking lives for personal gain. I do however condone his actions to set things right, and try to make amends for some of the things he has done." Qui-Gon sighed, his weary eyes shining with unshed tears as he looked at Obi-Wan.
"So he can kill and plunder all he wanted to, but as long as he said he was sorry in the end and tries to set a few wrongs right, then he's supposed to be forgiven for the terrible things he's done?" Obi-Wan's brow furrowed in frustration and not understanding why his master was doing what he was doing.
"Obi-Wan, its not that simple. If you recall, you left the Order too. But you had a change of heart, and came back to us. Xanatos has done the same thing, only he took a lot more time to do so." Qui-Gon explained to his young charge, trying to clear up the confusion he knew was prevalent in the apprentices' mind.
Obi-Wan nodded slowly, trying to comprehend what his master was trying to explain. "I don't know if I could ever have your patience and caring for other beings as you do Master. I will try to work on broadening my horizons, but as for Xanatos." Obi-Wan paused, then sighed heavily. "I don't know if I could ever forgive him for what's he's done."
"I hope that you do, someday Obi-Wan. When the time is right, you will find forgiveness in your heart." Qui-Gon smiled slightly.
Obi-Wan frowned and glanced at Xanatos on the bed. He really didn't know what to think of this situation, or how to handle the emotions. Here was his worst enemy, completely helpless and dying. Part of him wanted Xanatos to suffer, but the other half felt sorry for the once promising Jedi.
"Please Obi-Wan, inform the healers." Qui-Gon asked again.
Obi-Wan snapped out of his reverie, bowed his head and left to find the healers. He couldn't understand why his master would forgive Xanatos for all his evil ways, and stay with him so he wouldn't be afraid. It seemed fitting for Xanatos to die alone somewhere, at least, Obi-Wan thought so.
Qui-Gon pulled a chair close to the bed, keeping a close eye on the beds occupant. The monitors showed a decline, and he could sense the life ebbing away. He sighed heavily and put his head in his hands. He mentally sorted through the jumble of emotions and the recent events.
Xanatos had betrayed him, left an empty void in his life. One that was slowly suffocating him. Then Obi-Wan came into his life and turned everything upside down, eventually healing the wounds left in Xanatos' wake. Then Xanatos tried to kill them both, and destroy several worlds for his own personal vendetta. Millions had suffered and died at his former apprentice's hand.
Just the knowledge that he could have prevented all of that by killing Xanatos when he first turned, but couldn't bring himself to do it, haunted the Jedi master. Now Xanatos was dying and asking for repentance from the one person that he had caused the deepest sorrow and regret. How was the master supposed to deal with that kind of turmoil? Qui-Gon allowed his tears to fall, unable to control them and his heart wrenched at the situation. He had always hoped Xanatos would find his way back, but he never expected these complications.
Obi-Wan returned to see his master's melancholy. He never saw him so emotional before. He cleared his throat to alert the elder of his presence.
Qui-Gon jerked his head up to stare at his apprentice with tears stained his cheeks. He didn't even bother to hide them, explain them, or even wipe them away.
Obi-Wan went to his masters side and put his hand on Qui-Gon's shoulder. He said sympathetically, "I don't think I could forgive him for what he's done, but oddly enough, I do pity him."
Qui-Gon looked up at his padawan curiously.
Obi-Wan took the hint and explained, "Well look master. He had all the wealth in the galaxy, yet he had nothing. He has fought and killed many enemies. Some more cunning, stronger, intelligent. Yet, a small growth is defeating him. All the best science and healing money could buy, but no one who actually cared enough to stay until the end."
"True. But he came to the one place that sheltered him, where he would be surrounded by people who could care for him, and not leave him to die alone." Qui-Gon added.
"Ironic huh?" Obi-Wan asked in a low voice. "The one place that would offer compassion is the place he tried to destroy. And now, enemies are the ones that care the most."
Qui-Gon looked back at Xanatos's marred features, "You are learning young one."
For many hours the two Jedi kept a constant vigil over Xanatos. The monitors would signal a drop in his vitals, reminding them constantly of the eventual outcome. Night and dawn of the next day passed without either Jedi moving from Xanatos' bedside.
Feeling his legs stiffen from lack of movement, Obi-Wan left to grab a quick bite to eat and to have a shower. After his shower, he placed his masters things on his bed, preparing everything for his master's turn for a break.
Though he remained passive on the outside, on the inside, the padawan was struggling to fathom all the changes that had occurred, breaking down once to cry uncontrollably for no reason apparent to him.
He went back an hour later to the medward to relieve his master.
Qui-Gon was still sitting in the chair by Xanatos's bed, reading a datapad, occasionally glancing over to the withered form on the bed.
"Any change?" Obi-Wan asked, though he knew the answer.
"No. He's still in a coma. His vitals dropped again right after you left, the healers thought they lost him. They said that he can go at any minute." Qui-Gon whispered, glancing over to Xanatos's body. The monitors showed the slow heart rate, and Xanatos's breath was so shallow, it barely registered.
Obi-Wan nodded his understanding, "You need a break. I'll watch over him while you're gone."
Qui-Gon started to protest, but the aching in his legs warned him of their pain from lack of movement. "Perhaps I'll walk around a bit. Just to stretch my legs. I won't be far."
Qui-Gon rigidly rose to his feet and walked slowly out the door. Obi-Wan called after him, "I'll inform you if there is any change." Qui-Gon turned back and gave Obi-Wan a small, sad smile.
Obi-Wan waited until his master had left and plopped down on the chair. He looked over to Xanatos lying on the bed. Weak, frail, dying. Through all the torment and suffering that Xanatos had caused, Obi-Wan felt a tinge of remorse for him. He whispered, "I'm sorry for my behavior. I guess I couldn't let the past go and except the fact that you could have changed. If you can hear me, I do forgive you."
Xanatos's eyes fluttered open, the scarred flesh contorting his lips into a crooked smile. "Thank you padawan Kenobi."
Obi-Wan jumped up out of his seat, shocked. "You're awake!?"
"It appears that I am." Xanatos said, his lungs desperately straining for air. "I am glad to hear that you forgive me. It really means a lot."
"I'm sorry it took so long to say it. And I'm glad to see that you're making a recovery." Obi-Wan exclaimed.
Xanatos smiled weakly, his voice raspy and shallow, "Promise me something kid?"
"Anything." Obi-Wan said.
"Promise me you won't ever let the dark side win."
Obi-Wan looked confused but agreed. "I promise."
"Your journey is just beginning and I know that you will be a great Jedi. Master Jinn was wise in taking you as a padawan." Xanatos rasped out.
"He wanted me to alert him as soon as there was any change. Hold on, I'll go get him." Obi-Wan ran out the door.
Xanatos watched Obi-Wan's retreating form and whispered, "Take good care of my master young Kenobi."
Obi-Wan ran down the hall, calling for his master. Qui-Gon emerged from one of the healers offices and asked his young charge what the problem was.
"Master! He's awake!" Obi-Wan said enthusiastically.
"He's awake?" the healer asked. No one heard of course, the duo was already rushing down the hall to Xanatos's room.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rushed into Xanatos's room and gathered around his bed. All the monitors showed no activity and his chest was still. Qui-Gon placed a large hand over the bony chest. No heartbeat was found.
Xanatos was gone.
"I don't understand." Obi-Wan whispered. "I just talked with him."
Qui-Gon closed his eyes, fighting the tears that threatened to fall. He leaned down, putting his arm under Xanatos's head and shoulders. He pulled Xanatos's now limp form into a tight embrace, cradling his head against his body, seemingly trying to console him. Clutching Xanatos closer, the Jedi Master began to weep. Grieving for the son twice lost.