The Jedi master rested upon the bed in his private quarters of the Jedi Temple at Coruscant. His gaze was fixed upon an indeterminate spot on the ceiling above him. His mind had begun to wander again--drifting off to another place, nearly a year earlier... He saw before him a beautiful, strong woman: the mother of a remarkable boy. She smiled at him and his spirit soared as he followed the
woman into a modest home. A modest feast was spread out upon the table and mother, son, and guest sat down to eat...
The vision continued and as it did, the Jedi was unaware that another of his order had entered the room and was now watching him closely and with great concern. Instead, the man on the bed was aware only of the scenes in his mind. The sandy-haired boy had finished eating his supper and scurried from the table to prepare for sleep. As he left, he paused to hug both his mother and their guest, throwing his arms around one and then the other in childish joy... Now he was alone with the beautiful woman. She also rose from the table and began to clear away the crockery, taking it to the sink. The Jedi followed her with his
eye, watching her every graceful move with anticipation. When she passed by him again, he caught her arm and pulled her into his embrace...
From the doorway, the other Jedi cleared his throat for a third time, louder this time. The sound jolted the figure on the bed from his deep thoughts.
"Obi-Wan..." he said in a soft, whispering voice. "What brings you here?" he asked, pulling himself to a sitting position on the bed.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, Master Qui-Gon," Obi-Wan replied, "but Master Yoda has asked me to stop in and see how you are doing today."
"So formal, my friend," Qui-Gon commented. "Please, sit." he waved his hand in the direction of a nearby chair. Obi-Wan sat obediently. After close to a year of being a master himself and having his own padawan to train, the younger Jedi still deferred to his teacher. If it weren't for the seriousness of Obi-Wan's demeanor, it would have been amusing. "Something troubles you, Obi-Wan. Will you tell me what that is?"
Obi-Wan hesitated, as if trying to frame his next words carefully. "I don't understand, Master... why are you still so ill? Your wounds have healed, but still you seem to suffer from some malady. Has... has the Force left you,
The concern in Obi-Wan's was voice was heart-warming, but his words were very disturbing. In Qui-Gon's mind, he relived the moment where his Sith opponent struck him down. Again he felt his aging body tire under the stress of combat, seeming to weaken as his much younger adversary seemed to grow in strength. Then came the blow which should have killed him. Somehow, however, it did not.
As Obi-Wan fought their dark enemy, Qui-Gon felt the Force flowing through him. But he was weakening, as well, and he felt the power of the Force struggling to turn aside his body's desire for release. Then Obi-Wan was kneeling beside him.
Qui-Gon shook the painful memory from his head. "No, Obi-Wan, the Force has not left me, but I am very, very tired."
"Why?" asked Obi-Wan, the admission stunning him. He'd never known his Master to be this way.
Qui-Gon sighed. "I... I was saved from death, Obi-Wan. My body wanted to die; I was so tired and sore that death would have been a joy. And yet, it wasn't to be... it was as if the Force wanted me to live, and so I lingered on in agonizing pain until healers could be sent to tend my wounds."
He paused, his eyes glazed with remembrance. "You say that my wounds healed, Obi-Wan, but know that not all wounds heal so quickly. My body healed, but my soul is old and tired and its wounds take much longer to heal."
"You're not old," insisted Obi-Wan. "How can you say such things?" When Qui-Gon did not answer save to heave a deeper sigh, Obi-Wan sighed in resignation. He knew there was little use in arguing with Qui-Gon. "Master Yoda bade me to tell you... he wishes to see you immediately," he told Qui-Gon at last.
A chuckle escaped Qui-Gon's lips, surprising his former student. "I knew there was more to this visit than you let on." He rose from the bed and stepped behind a dressing curtain.
As his master began pulling on his robes, Obi-Wan turned to leave. When he reached the door, he heard Qui-Gon say, "Tell me of your padawan. Tell me of Anakin."