Chapter 18

Qui-Gon sat in the waiting room of the palace infirmary once again. He glanced worriedly towards the closed door of Obi-Wan's room. Obi-Wan was being released from the healers care today, much to the relief of the young man who undoubtedly used every charm in his arsenal to get his way. Qui- Gon was heartened to sense concern from both Garen and Amidala; at least he wasn't the only one who thought this release was a bit premature.

Master Yoda glanced at him knowingly, his expression serene as always. Yet he knew the little master was just as concerned for Obi-Wan's well being as the rest of them were. Obi-Wan was still very weak and tired much too easily. He was both physically and mentally exhausted from his ordeal with the Sith, not to mention the subsequent emotional breakthrough in his relationship with Qui-Gon.

Qui-Gon had told him everything - - well almost everything. Master Yoda was adamant that the true 'Chosen One' not be revealed. Obi-Wan had enough to deal with without that added burden, and Qui-Gon tended to agree. He had no doubt that Obi-Wan would fulfill his destiny.

In his attempt to repair all the hurt he had caused, Qui-Gon very humbly went all the way back in his apology, to when he first discovered Anakin - his reaction, his mistakes, his assumptions. He wanted to fully acknowledge his errors and take full responsibility for his actions. It was the only way he could move forward in his relationship with Obi-Wan.

His former padawan listened quietly to everything, and was very tactful when Qui-Gon made mention of Anakin's parentage and his very arrogant assumption about a certain prophesy. He was expecting a bit of a heated reaction when he told him about how Anakin had taken his braid and that the boy was no longer his padawan, but to his surprise Obi-Wan was more concerned than anything.

Obi-Wan told Qui-Gon about what he had sensed from the boy in the catacombs, the struggle between dark and light. . You were right, he must be trained. He must be kept to the Light. Obi-Wan was ominous in his certainty, and Qui-Gon was quick to reassure him that Master Yoda would be continuing the boys training. Though Obi-Wan had visibly relaxed, his eyes still held a visible uncertainty.

Sensing a rising irritation from Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon gently probed the bond. It seemed his final examination before being allowed to escape the infirmary was taking entirely too long in the young man's opinion. Qui-Gon could not help the small smile that tugged at his lips. Some things never change.

He felt Obi-Wan warmly acknowledge his presence, slightly embarrassed by the slip in his shielding. It had only been two days since their bond had been reopened, but it was as if it had never been blocked. Their link was as strong as ever, and Qui-Gon marveled at its resilience. Clearly, the little troll had been right all those years ago - theirs was a bond forged by the Force itself.

He felt Obi-Wan withdraw and return his attention to the healer. The last two days had been both wonderful and trying for Qui-Gon. To have his Obi- Wan back in his life, alive and well was more than he could have ever hoped for, yet the damage he had caused was all too obvious. Obi-Wan's access to the bond was tentative and usually very brief. He would reach for it, but allow himself only a few moments to enjoy whatever comfort was offered before pulling back. Qui-Gon suspected he was checking to make sure it was really there and that it was still open to him.

That mistrust cut him deeply, but he knew it was no less than he deserved. Yet he was determined to win that trust back, all he had to do was be patient. And patient he could be. Qui-Gon could tell that Obi-Wan was also a bit thrown by his more attentive and affectionate behavior as well. Their interaction with each other thus far was cautious at best, and Obi-Wan was endearingly shy at times. Qui-Gon just had to remind himself that it would take time to get back to the easy companionship they had once shared.

Finally the door to Obi-Wan's room slid open and Healer Okara exited, making her way towards the small group.

"He's getting dressed, then he's free to leave."

"Are you sure he's ready for this Healer Okara?" Amidala asked, her concern evident.

"He can rest just as well in his quarters as he can here, your Highness, that's what he needs most right now. He does not like being here, and that in itself causes undue anxiety. I've explained to him his restrictions and a course of treatment that I expect will be followed to the letter." She smiled as she handed a data pad over to Qui-Gon, though she addressed them all. "Here is a copy for you - - I trust that you will all keep him in line."

Healer Okara was silent for a moment as she took in the worried faces before her. It was obvious the group before her required further reassurance. "Just make sure he takes it easy, he's been through a lot. He needs to be in a familiar environment and surrounded by familiar people right now. That'll do him more good than anything I can offer him here."

Obi-Wan exited his room then, an extraordinarily pleased look on his face. "Ah, free at last." He said. He was dressed in lightweight beige leggings and an ivory under tunic, on his feet were very worn, very comfortable looking tan suede slippers. Qui-Gon remembered seeing Amidala carry them in along with his clothing earlier. Obi-Wan looked very comfortable in both is clothing and his environment. Qui-Gon could not help the small pang of sadness at that thought.

This is home to him now, not me, not the temple

When Obi-Wan gave him a strange look, he wondered if his shielding hadn't slipped a bit. He was given no time to consider as Obi-Wan returned his attention to the group as a whole.

"Well? What are we waiting for? I don't know about the rest of you, but I've spent far too much time here recently." With that he moved past the group and started for the door. "I'm outta here." His gait was slow and purposeful, the soreness of his body evident.

Sensing the mounting concern of those present he stopped in the entryway, braced himself with one hand, and turned to the group. He would have smiled, if he weren't so determined. Qui-Gon looked ready to pick him up and carry him all the way back to his rooms, Amidala had edged ever so closely to a hover chair, and Garen looked ready to offer a shoulder or two of support. Obi-Wan raised his chin to his escorts, ever so slightly, signaling his determination to make the trip under his own power. Qui-Gon knew that stubborn look all too well. Thankfully, Master Yoda chose the perfect moment to step in.

"Hovering, you all are. Off with you. Speak with Obi-Wan, I must. Escort him to his room, I will." Qui-Gon knew enough to hide the small smile that wanted to tug at his lips. Everyone, including Obi-Wan was aware of the master's intent. Keeping pace with Master Yoda would not allow for any unnecessary pushing of ones limits. Obi-Wan smiled knowingly, humbly conceding to the little master. It was better than being forced into a hover chair.

Qui-Gon, Garen, and Amidala made their way past the knight, their relief evident, and promising to meet him in his quarters. Each offered a touch of comfort; Garen a hand on his shoulder, Amidala, a quick peck on the cheek and Qui-Gon a squeeze to the slightly fidgety hand closest to the door as he walked past. He was surprised when Obi-Wan gripped his hand tighter as he was about to let go. He turned to find Obi-Wan looking at him with a guarded expression. Qui-Gon squeezed his hand again, and he could feel Obi- Wan's shy pleasure at that small contact through the bond. Qui-Gon let the love he felt show in his smile as his hand was released.

It was a little step, but a step forward nonetheless.


They walked in silence for some time. It was a comfortable silence, each perfectly aware of the other but contemplating their own thoughts. After a time, Master Yoda finally spoke.

"How feel you?" He asked.

"Different." Obi-Wan said after a moments thought. "I feel different, as if nothing will ever be the same for me." It was an honest and insightful answer and went beyond his physical well-being, as did the nature of the question. His physical state being fairly obvious.

"Hmmmm. True that may be, for us all." Yoda did not expand on his ominous statement, moving right along he asked, "Trouble you, something does. Tell me, you will."

"Something has changed . . . within me. I can feel it, but I'm at a loss as to explain it." A pause then, as Master Yoda waited patiently. "Master . . ." the tone was hesitant. "I . . . I can't recall all that happened in the tunnels. I . . . sense that something important happened . . . that I did something."

"Afraid that something may have been wrong, are you?" The lack of any answer verified Yoda's suspicions. Yoda took the opportunity to steer them towards a small comfortable alcove with a window seat overlooking the spacious courtyard below. He noted that Obi-Wan seemed grateful for the small reprieve, from both the walk and the conversation.

"Learn to trust yourself, you must, Young One. Very important this is. When ready you are, remember you will." Yoda's tone was gently admonishing, but Obi-Wan sensed a deeper meaning behind it. He was about to question it when the master abruptly changed the subject. Obi-Wan knew the master well enough to know that once a subject was closed - - it stayed that way, until such a time as said master deemed to open it again.

"Now, how feel you here?" Yoda said as he gently placed one clawed hand on Obi-Wan's chest, over his heart.

"Better." Obi-Wan paused, acclimating himself to the new topic. "It doesn't hurt so much anymore." He said with a tired, but genuine smile.

"Loves you very much, Qui-Gon does. Never allowed himself to show it before, but always there it was."

Obi-Wan said nothing, but a flicker of uncertainty flashed in his eyes. Yoda's eyes were sad as he spoke, but his voice held a certainty that was hard to belie.

"Prove himself to you, he will. Stronger you will both be." Yoda placed his hand atop Obi-Wan's and looked deep into his eyes. "Stronger, you will both need to be."

"I know." Obi-Wan's voice was certain, but it was obvious that he wasn't quite clear on how or why he knew this. Yoda smiled to himself, remember he may not - -but good instincts he still has.

"All will be clear in time, young Obi-Wan. Time to heal, it is now. When ready you are, face your destiny, you will."

Usually such a statement would sound cryptic to Obi-Wan, now though, for some reason he felt the surety of it. He'd always felt it was his destiny to become a Knight, no doubt that is why he fought so hard for it. Yet exactly what that destiny entailed, he was never sure. He still wasn't, but he felt that he was truly on the brink of that destiny. It was both alarming and exhilarating at the same time, but he did not fear it. Instead he felt a strange sense of purpose and determination. He wasn't sure of what awaited him, but he would be ready to face it. And he would not be alone. That in itself was a comforting thought that warmed him immeasurably.

Yoda watched the young man before him, silently satisfied with what he was sensing. There is strength and power in you that you haven't even begun to tap into, young one. Confidence to access it, is all you need. Sense a change in you already, I do. Ready to see it, you are not. When ready you are, a force to be reckoned with, you will be.

"Come, young one" Yoda said, leaving his thoughts, and breaking Obi-Wan from his. "Your loved ones await."


Qui-Gon, Garen, and Amidala busied themselves in Obi-Wan's quarters. Each had set out on a task to prepare for Obi-Wan's arrival. Food had been ordered, pillows fluffed, and small talk was becoming increasingly strained as they all wondered what could possibly be taking the knight so long. Qui- Gon strolled around the pleasant sitting area in the common room taking in details here and there. The color scheme was in earthy browns and greens in various shades, dotted throughout those tones was an occasional splash of a bright but non-intrusive color. It was all coordinated very well, and various candles of both size and color dotted the room.

Yet what caught Qui-Gon's eye was the numerous holos placed all around the room, most of them featuring Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan and Amidala formally dressed, dancing at what appeared to be a formal ball or event. Obi-Wan and Amidala in the midst of some extreme horseplay, both laughing and looking into each other's eyes. One of Garen and Obi-Wan, both stripped to the waist, caught in a graceful position from the 18th kata. A very prominent one displayed of the three of them, Amidala in the middle, flanked by the two handsome men who both had their arms around her.

There were also various holos of Obi-Wan alone. In some he was looking directly into the holocam and others where he was seemingly caught unaware. It was in these that Qui-Gon noted the predominant sadness in the young mans eyes. There were flashes of it in the other holos as well, but it was muted. Qui- Gon was so caught up in his perusal of the holos that he didn't sense the queen's approach.

"Those were my idea," She said quietly. "To remind him that he is not alone, that he IS loved." There was no recrimination in her voice any more, just a wary acceptance.

"I can't tell you how grateful I am for what you've given him, your highness. You offered him a love and acceptance that I was not capable of - - until now. I can never thank you enough."

Amidala was mildly shocked at Qui-Gon's words, but recovered quickly. "Your gratitude is not necessary." A little ice had seeped back into her tone, but was gone with her next words. "I assure you it was no hardship, Master Jinn. Obi-Wan is very easy to love."

Any further comments were forestalled as the door to the knights quarters finally slid open to reveal a pale and slightly trembling Obi-Wan. Before Qui-Gon could move forward, Garen who was closest to the door went to the knight. He placed Obi-Wan's arm about his shoulders and wrapped his own arm around the knights waist, leading him to the sofa. Obi-Wan was too exhausted to argue. Master Yoda followed them in, the door sliding shut behind him.

"Oooh, that's nice." Obi-Wan said as he sat down and leaned back into the pillows, closing his eyes as he placed his feet on the low table in front of him. It was several moments before he realized that no one was saying anything. He cracked open one eye to look at the worried faces that were literally hovering above him. He sighed and was about to get testy when something else caught his attention.

"What's that smell?" He asked as he lightly sniffed the air. Amidala moved towards a small serving table off to the side.

"Ah, that would be Cook's infamous spache stew, warm homemade yeast rolls, and for dessert . . ." Amidala trailed off as she reached for the lid covering the dessert, stopping short of actually revealing it. She smiled at the curious yet hopeful look on Obi-Wan's face.

"Don't tease me, Dala" He said mock warningly.

She lifted the lid to reveal a full tray of the tarillian chocolate tarts that Obi-Wan loved so much. A look of exaggerated longing crossed the knight's face.

"Oh, that looks gooood."

The kitchen staff was as fond of Obi-Wan as anyone, and often kept a supply of his favorite dishes readily available. It didn't take them long to realize that the knight was an absolute pushover for anything chocolate, but tarillian was his favorite. It was sinfully rich, incredibly light and fluffy, and all but melted in ones mouth. They obviously felt the knight deserved a special treat.

"Hungry?" Amidala asked, pleased with his reaction. She had thought she might have to cajole him into eating.

"Well, I wasn't, but I think I've changed my mind. Mmmmmm, smells wonderful." He said as he sat up, placing his feet back on the floor. He was about to get up when Amidala indicated that he would most certainly stay put, she then set to putting together a tray for him. When the tray was set in front of him, he grabbed the linen napkin and placed it on his lap. He was about to dive in when he noticed eight pairs of eyes on him. He merely raised his eyebrows and cocked his head and everyone seemed to get the hint.

"So, where is Anakin this afternoon, Master Yoda?" Amidala asked taking to focus off Obi-Wan.

"Visiting with his mother, he is." Yoda said as Obi-Wan bypassed his stew and bread and went straight for the tart. Everyone noticed, but conveniently pretended not to. "Shopping in the plaza they are, new experience for both of them it is. A freedom together, they were never allowed."

"Yes," Amidala said sincerely, rising from her seat. "It's wonderful to see them both so happy." Without missing a beat in the conversation she moved to Obi-Wan and popped the half eaten tart out of his hand, setting it out of his reach, and pushing the bowl of stew towards him. "He is adjusting well to the change then?" She said as she returned to her seat.

Qui-Gon and Garen gave each other a smirk at the mutinous look Obi-Wan threw the queen. She turned and looked at him then, only a glance really, but the byplay was obvious. She playfully dared him to challenge her and he graciously conceded with only a slight pout, picking up his bowl of stew as she returned her attention to Master Yoda.

Obi-Wan finished off his stew and rolls along with two of the tarts before declaring he was stuffed. When his tray was removed he plopped his feet back onto the low table, his eyes now heavy. The conversation continued around him, deliberately low and soothing, and eventually the knight's head began to ease back against the pillows. When a light snore could be heard, the others in the room gave up the pretense of not watching the knight, turning to give him their full attention.

Each seemed lost in their own thoughts, content just to watch Obi-Wan sleep, grateful it was a natural sleep and one he would wake from. Once Qui-Gon was sure Obi-Wan was deeply asleep he moved the young mans legs from the table to the sofa, adjusting him and the pillows accordingly, draping a soft throw over him. Obi-Wan stirred only once, snuggling into the softness of the pillows and giving a soft sigh.

The evening was just beginning and Garen and Amidala made their way to Obi- Wan, each saying goodnight in their own way before excusing themselves, opting for some time alone. Qui-Gon excused himself long enough to make some tea, returning to find Master Yoda still observing the sleeping knight. He fixed a cup of tea to his masters liking, setting it in front of him, while he waited for his master to break the silence.

"Precious time, we have been given. Use it wisely, we must. When again the Sith acts, ready the Chosen One must be."

"What have you foreseen?" Qui-Gon asked steadily, though he felt anything but.

"Still in need of an apprentice, the Sith is. Find one, he will." Yoda said with certainty. "Many things will come to pass, before reveal himself again, the Sith will. Count on one thing however, the Sith did not."

"What's that?" Qui-Gon asked, his stomach in knots.

"Know his true identity, young Obi-Wan does." Yoda paused when Qui-Gon gasped. "Aware of this, the Sith is not, or left alive the boy would not have been."

"Advantage that will alter things greatly, this is." Yoda held up his hand to Qui-Gon to silence the question that was sure to be coming. "Conscious of this knowledge, he is not. Come to realize it on his own he will, when happens that does - - ready he will be. Doubt himself on this, he MUST not."

"You know something. What is it you're not telling me?" Qui-Gon asked.

Keep his suspicions to himself for now he would, but the master would be keeping a very close eye on a certain chancellor. Obi-Wan's reaction to Palpatine in the infirmary had started the master thinking, and hours of meditation had offered some interesting conclusions. A Sith master not only commanded great power, but demanded great power as well, it only made sense that a position of great power would also be sought.

Palpatine had been behind the vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum, if he was indeed the Sith Lord, he could have easily orchestrated the trade federation's blockade of Naboo in attempt to gain sympathy - - and a chance at the office of Supreme Chancellor himself. Too many things were starting to slide into place; the Chancellors current visit to Naboo, and his rather hasty departure - - all coinciding with Obi-Wan's recent capture and subsequent escape. Yes, Chancellor Palpatine always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

"Suspicion only, right now, it is. To myself I will keep it." He did not add that he would be starting is own private little investigation into the supreme chancellor of the republic. Take no chances, he would. When time of confrontation comes, no place for him to run, there will be.

Yoda looked to Qui-Gon, who was watching Obi-Wan in sleep. He noted that the normally serene master was looking quite unsettled. So much was being placed on the young shoulders he loved so much.

"Trust in him, you must. For if not, trust in himself, he will not. So much depends on this, it does. Let him down, you cannot."

"I will not fail him again, my master. I give you my word." Qui-Gon's words were quiet, but rang with steely determination. Yoda watched him thoughtfully, recognizing the truth in the words.

"Given to another, your word should be. Waste it on me, you will not." Yoda said as he lowered himself from the chair to the floor. It was clear that he was readying himself to leave, but he could not resist a final comment.

"Love him well, you will." It was given as an order. " Draw on that love when the darkness again strikes, he will." With that Yoda bid him farewell, retiring for the evening; finding a peace that had been elusive since Anakin Skywalker had pod-raced his way into his life.

Darkness still loomed on the horizon, but it was not the all consuming, desolate darkness that so often plagued his visions. There would always be darkness, just as there would always be light - for you cannot have one without the other. A balance between the two must exist. So often the prophecy had been misinterpreted, meant not to bring balance was the Chosen One - - but to maintain it. A gift from the Force, at a time when the darkness was threatening to swallow the light.


It had been at least an hour since Master Yoda left, and here he still sat. He couldn't bring himself to move Obi-Wan to his bed, he looked entirely too comfortable to disturb. He nursed his tea thoughtfully, replaying his discussion with Yoda, as he watched the even rise and fall of Obi-Wan's chest.

It wasn't long before his own lack of sleep began to catch up with him. He set his tea down and closed his eyes, intending only to rest them. He was pulled from his light sleep by a soft moan, the sound immediately calling him to Obi-Wan. Sitting on the edge of the sofa, he tried to soothe the young man. A light sheen of sweat had covered the knight's face, and small sounds of distress accompanied the restless movements. Through the Force, Qui-Gon attempted to redirect the nightmare, with no luck. When that didn't work, he tried waking Obi- Wan with a soft shake. After several moments of trying, Obi-Wan finally woke with a start, surging up from the sofa.

Qui-Gon watched as Obi-Wan's eyes moved frantically about the room, his breathing ragged. He didn't say anything, just waited for Obi-Wan to get his bearings. Once Obi-Wan recognized where he was, his breathing began to slow and he calmed almost immediately. When Obi-Wan finally looked at him he asked, "Bad dream?"

"Not exactly," Obi-Wan said as he combed his fingers through his hair in attempt to get it out of his face. Qui-Gon noticed that his hands trembled slightly.

"A vision?" Obi-Wan nodded affirmatively and looked away. "Would you like to talk about it?" Qui-Gon asked softly, already sensing the likely answer.

Obi-Wan shook his head, not meeting his eyes, and turning slightly away. Qui-Gon watched as he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. It was obvious that whatever Obi-Wan saw that it disturbed him greatly. Qui-Gon debated on not saying anything, but his earlier discussion with Master Yoda was too fresh, and it encouraged him to press forward.

"I realize that I've still got a long way to go to earn your trust, Obi- Wan. But I want you to know that I'm here for you- - whenever you need me." Obi-Wan glanced sideways at him from beneath lowered lashes. "I will be here, when you trust me enough to tell me."

"You're not leaving? With Master Yoda?" Where in the suns had he gotten that impression? Then he remembered their earlier discussion when Obi-Wan was so valiantly fighting sleep. Master Yoda had announced that he and Anakin would be returning to Couruscant tomorrow.

"I'm not going anywhere, Obi-Wan. We've got a lot of catching up to do." He said with a smile, and a lump in his throat at Obi-Wan's hope filled words. "If you would like to do that here, that's fine by me. If you'd like to return home to the Temple, we could do that also."

Qui-Gon noticed the shadow that passed over Obi-Wan's face at his last words.

"What is it? Did I say something wrong?" He asked.

"No, not wrong, just . . . ." Obi-Wan trailed off. Qui-Gon gave him an encouraging look, urging him to continue.

"It's just that," Obi-Wan paused again, and Qui-Gon noted that some of the shyness had returned. "I've never really considered the Temple my home. Even when I was really young, in the crèche, it always felt . . ." A pause while he struggled for the right word. "almost clinical. I mean I was well cared for and all, but there were so many of us and I kind of always felt out of place."

Qui-Gon listened intently. Though he and Obi-Wan had talked about many things over the years, Obi-Wan had never really opened up to him the way he was right now. Most likely because he had never given him the chance. That saddened him greatly, but he quickly pushed it aside, focusing his full attention on Obi-Wan.

"It was the same in the initiate quarters. And when you finally took me as an apprentice, it seemed we were rarely in Temple at all." Obi-Wan had stopped and Qui-Gon, thinking he was done, started to speak.

"That was my fault I'm afraid. I thought the experience of fieldwork would be a better approach to your training. I never meant to deny you . . . . ." He trailed off as Obi-Wan interrupted him.

"No, no, you don't understand." Obi-Wan said quietly as he placed his hand over Qui-Gon's. "I had a home, it just wasn't your typical home, with walls and all." Another shy smile and Qui-Gon looked at him questioningly.

"You . . .You were my home." Obi-Wan looked away, suddenly self-conscious. "It never mattered what planet we were on or how many missions the Council sent us on. As long as I was with you . . ." His voice grew quiet as he finished. "I was home."

Qui-Gon was floored, stunned - and unbelievably moved. It took him a moment, but through his shock at Obi-Wan's words, he suddenly realized the young man was avoiding his gaze in evident uncertainty. Filled with such tender emotions at the soft admission, Qui-Gon reached for the dimpled chin and firmly but gently turned the young face to his view. His large hand cupped the smooth cheek and his heart swelled when Obi-Wan trustingly nestled into the warm palm.

Never had his heart been filled with such love as it was this very moment. His smile was as tender as his touch, his voice noticeably emotional as he finally found the words to respond to such a declaration.

"Welcome home, my Obi-Wan." He urged the youth forward and took him in his arms, so thankful to have this very special child back in his life. "Welcome home."


Obi-Wan squeezed his eyes shut, tightening his hold on Qui-Gon. The vivid images from his vision, danced across the darkness. He held on tighter, wanting to make them go away. If only it were just a nightmare, if only. Always in motion the future is, always in motion. Maybe if he said it over and over again he would begin to believe it. It was the end that had disturbed him, for felt the certainty of what was to come he did.

The battle had been long, and well fought on both sides. His adversary had tired, but refused to back down. The glowing red blade of his saber trembled with the suppressed rage that reverberated throughout the Force. His opponent meant to kill him, of that he was certain.

Block, strike, spin, parry, over and over again. Finally, there, a weakness. A slight opening on the left side. Yes, there it was again. He was ready when the slip once again presented itself, thrusting his saber deep into the left side of his opponent's chest. A surprised gasp was followed by a strained gurgling sound as the man dropped to the steel deck below him. His face now visible and contorted in pain, Obi-Wan stood above him. There was no other way, he told himself. The man was young, but familiar somehow. Did he know this young man? He knelt next to the dying man, and asked him "why?"

His hatred shown through whatever pain he was feeling as the young man replied, "Mine. Should have been mine." There was something about those eyes, a quicksilver image flashed before his minds eye, and then was gone. The image of a small boy crouched on the deck of a Nubian cruiser. "Pleased to meet you," the boy said as he shook his hand. "You're a jedi too?" It was the first time he'd ever laid eyes on Anakin Skywalker.


Obi-Wan squeezed his eyes tighter, fighting the image from his vision. He felt a wave of calmness descend upon him, a gift from his master, sensing his distress. He allowed himself to relax, opening himself to the bond and the comfort being offered. He was not alone, he did not have to deal with this by himself. He was not ready to talk about it yet, but someday, maybe.

So tired. He was falling asleep again. He really should move. Even as the thought crossed his mind he unconsciously burrowed deeper into the warmth being offered. It had been such a long time since he'd felt so comfortable, so safe, so . . .loved. The comforting presence at the other end of the bond lulled him gently towards sleep and he surrendered peacefully, his head resting on Qui-Gon's shoulder. He was unaware of the kiss to the crown of his head, of being lifted easily and carried to his room, of the watchful gaze that lingered long into the night to ward off anything that may disturb his dreams. He was home.


Anakin Skywalker sat fidgeting in his seat. He had been back on Couresant for over a week now, and this was the first time he'd managed to get out from under his new master's thumb. Not that Yoda was all that bad, but he was much more interested in how he spent his spare time than Master Jinn had been. The thought of Qui-Gon firmed his resolve; he had started to doubt his decision to come here. No, he was doing the right thing. He would have all of the things he was meant to have, he would not be denied.

Still, he could not stop his doubts from surfacing. He wanted it all, but was he willing to get it at any price. He thought of his mother, his former master, and the young queen that was meant to be his. Yes, he would pay any price to have what Obi-Wan Kenobi had taken from him. His mother's freedom, his master's love, and his queen's devotion - - all of that was HIS, and he would have it. He spared Knight Muln barely a passing thought; he would be easy to overcome. The arrogance of that thought was lost as a young Twi'lek approached him, eyeing him curiously. Undoubtedly, there were not many jedi padawan's that made such a request.

"The chancellor will see you now, padawan Skywalker."

The End.

A/N Before any one has a conniption - - this is a happy ending! You may have to read between the lines a little for it, but it's there I promise. That said, I have a request of you. This is THE last post before this fic is lost in the pages here at ff.n I would ask that you all please review this last chapter, especially if you've never reviewed at all. I really want to know what you think, about the fic as a whole, as well as this last post. And for those of you who don't check out the review page, there is no sequel planned. The only thing left to write would be the final confrontation, which is years away - - your own imagination would do it more justice than I.

Thanks again o'faithful readers. I will miss this fic, but I'm glad its done! Woo-hoo! I hope you enjoyed it, it would never have been finished without the positive feedback you all provided. I sincerely hope you've enjoyed this fic, and if you are still reading - -I will assume that you did. I only ask that you please leave a review. Feedback is a rewarding experience and the only form of payment the authors on this site receive. Whether it is 2002 or 2022 - - please leave a review! Thanks - Hope to see you at the end of the next fic ;)