Title: Especially Jedi

Author: pronker

Era: Jedi Apprentice

Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, OCs

Disclaimer: I make no profit on Star Wars stories, set in George Lucas' creation and I am not George Lucas.

a/n Happy May the Fourth!

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The tantalizing stream on the other side of the hedge led the way straight into the Force itself, thought the tired and hot young man. Fourteen weary kilometers of highway, dotted with dust clouds and shimmering in the afternoon heat, lay between himself and the spaceport which would whisk him away to his Temple home. Behind him, conquered at much sweaty cost, were fourteen more kilometers, stretching back to the village where not even a swoop could be hired on Rest Day. Rather than spend the day in that sour abode of rectitude, he had fled on foot, his business completed, the accord duly notarized, and this little creek, mocking, irresistible, was the only bit of cheer on which his eyes had rested in that whole stifling trek.

Even this had a drawback. He glanced up again, with a frown creasing its way between his brows, at the queer sign smirking down at him from the darkling hedge. It was the fifth one of the sort in the past half-klick:

TRESPASSERS

are warned from these premises under penalty of law

ESPECIALLY JEDI

He turned away, licking his lips. Dust, dust, dust! He could feel it coating his tongue, gritty on his lips, grimy on his face. It had stiffened his hair, clotted his nostrils and settled into his boots. It was everywhere and pervaded his sense of tradition, normally a source of great comfort. I disagree with the Council on this matter. Those of us with Masters who know their home worlds should not have to undertake a solo mission on that same world. What did I just accomplish here? I feel no closer to Qui-Gon than I did before. Our bond is the same.

The forbidden creek suddenly bubbled into a bar of pattering song - an ecstasy of crystal notes - than as suddenly died down, babbling and gurgling, and flowed smoothly on, whispering to itself of delights to come in the heart of the cool woods. Just here, with a scimitar sweep between mossy banks, the stream turned its back to him and hurried away among the trees. The trees reminded him of his fellow crèche mates and their dips into the surprisingly deep pools in the Room of a Thousand Fountains.

How wonderfully chill those boyish swims had been and how he relished the thought now, Bant joining him in her shy way, playful in the water with an ease she hid when she was dry. Yoda at the head of the spilling water, nodding and chortling to himself, eyes taking them all in and Force perception attuned to fany Clanmate's fatigue which would mar their enjoyment. The splashes, the icy drops on his cheeks when he surfaced, the soft yielding of the water and then, the buoyancy that made his spirit soar. He wondered how long he could stay under, and if he could hold his eyes open while he dived and if he could swim like a nek pup, then flip himself over to float and stare up at the artificial lights and untrustworthy sky.

This place held no such artifice; it was cool and shady and restful. Just before the creek turned behind a clump of greel trees, a patch of sunlight lay on it, shooting down as if through mists of twilight, and the surface of the water laughed and flirted at him before it slid into woodsy quietude. He could no longer resist. He gave up the struggle. The white hot road could wait.

"Here goes the 'especial Jedi,'" he said, looking up at the sign as he forced his way through the hedge. Its green lips of close-set leaves kissed him as he allowed them to swallow him. It was as pleasant as he thought it would be.

What a coquette stream that was, leaping merrily down tiny, rock-strewn inclines, showing him how light-hearted it could be; it flowed sedately between narrow banks to mimic propriety; it peeped a smile at him from behind graceful reeds; it danced brazenly into the open and dashed across clear spaces in haste to escape him; it slowed to tempt him, then raced on, until at the last it plunged straight at a wall of underbrush and, with a giggle, vanished under low sweeping caresses of leaves without even so much as a farewell.

The young Jedi was not to be put off. He fought his way through the green lips and found himself, blinking, in a natural clearing that was a bright climax to all the tantalizing artistry of the creek. Encircled by drooping, long-leaved trees that he could not name that were themselves guarded by stately trees ten meters tall, lay a deep pool, as clear as Coruscant's skies were crowded, with one side carpeted with velvety grasses and screened with the greenest of draperies. The smiling blue sky was as true as his Master's heart. With a cry, the young man hastily threw off his robes and every stitch beneath them, whooping to the small furry creature which peered at him from the far side of a limb. He plunged into the pool.

One by one he tried all the old boyish tricks and when at last he lay floating peacefully on his back, looking up at the clouds shaped like Aurebesh characters when he was not scouting the river stones for anything Force-sensitive, he forgot the kilometers of weary distance yet to walk. This was his way of celebrating Rest Day.

There was a rustle among the trees. Two nek dogs bounded to the edge of the water and ruffed at him. He froze in the middle of the pool, teeth suddenly chattering. Nek dogs, such as King Frane had used in his hunts, had cybernetic implants to render them controllable; he spotted the blinking implants on each pointed ear. They would not hesitate to attack him in the water, he knew. He was going to have a rough time of it. Automatically he reached towards his lightsaber, nestled atop his discarded clothing. It flew to his hand and Obi-Wan waited for battle.

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