Qui-Gon had always been a morning person. It was beautiful to feel the Force at the beginning of a new day but even been up a long before dawn was excessive. There was a reason, though. It had been another sleepless night. There had been five years since he got himself a good night sleep, thanks to nightmares. Five years ago, his apprentice had turn against him in hatred, and said that his turn to the dark side were Qui-Gon's fault. Since then, he got up at indecent hours to try to release the Force his pain and guilt, searching for a little of peace.
That particular day, his sorrow was just too much to bear. He was thinking a lot about his lost padawan and his grief was overwhelming. Meditating didn't do anything to make him feel any better. He just needed to focus in another thing. It was extremely early for a breakfast, so he decided to go to the training rooms. He warmed up and got through his katas steadily but he ended far too quickly, so he decided to start a very basic exercise. It was one of the first balance exercises a padawan learned. Slowly, he stood up on his hands getting his world upside down. He closed his eyes as he raised his left hand and moved his right leg to prevent him to falling. It was an exercise that required his whole mind to focus and to keep a close eye over his body supported only by his right hand. He could almost hear Master Yoda in his ear saying to get focus and only to let the Force in his mind…
Qui-Gon sighed in surprise and he struggled to regain his balance. He felt himself becoming red, it had been a long time since he had forgotten completely to be mindful of his surroundings and someone had been able to sneak his way around. But then, he focused in the sneaker and he felt trap in a pair of curious, innocent little eyes. The bluest, sweetest eyes he had ever seen.
His recently revealed companion was a little one who was standing in his two tiny hands (as initiates do) upside down as the master was. The young Jedi was giggling quietly and Qui-Gon felt himself smiling. He had always loved children, there were such sparkling little things full of Living Force. He used to spend a lot of time in the crèche without the need to leave, but not anymore. At least not in the last five years and that was the reason he didn't know his five-maybe-six year old little friend.
-Sorry for scaring you, I didn't want to- said the boy with a smile.
-It's okay. You just surprised me.-
The boy laughed again and Qui-Gon felt himself fall for the contagious sound. He examined the child through the Force and he was stunned again. It was the brightest Force signature he had ever seen in his entire life. It was almost painful to his eyes; it was really a very bright boy. Right now all he was able to think was that the boy was absolutely lovely, with or without the Force.
-Does your crèche master know you are here? -he managed to ask.
-Na ah - the boy moved his head in negation, still smiling but had to reinforce control over balance.
-You shouldn't run away like that, she's probably very worry right now.-
-Master Saory doesn't like it when I do. – The child said nodding
-Then, why did you do it? -the kid frowned before he answered.
-I don't know. I wanted to be first in the line for breakfast but I felt like coming here. Master says it's the Force saying something to me so I came.-
-Very nice, then. –Qui-Gon said- and now, what do you have to do?-
The young Jedi suddenly scowled making him look comically serious. Carefully he asked to the master.
-Why are you so sad?-
Qui-Gon stared at him in shock. His shields were perfectly in place. There wasn't a chance for someone to feel his emotions.
-Why do you say that? How do you know that I am sad?-
-I know that you are very, very, very sad. -Said the boy- I don't like that. I would like to see you happy; to feel you happy. Why are you so sad?-
Qui-Gon was still astonished. A baby boy had sensed him. A Jedi Master with his whole shields up and the little one had just surpassed them.
-What is it so bad that make you so sad? - The boy asked, his blue eyes narrowed in confusion
Qui-Gon cleared his throat. The boy was determined and he then knew that the boy wouldn't let it pass. And he had the feeling that if he didn't answer, he would hurt the youngling.
-Something really bad happened to a friend of mine- he began vaguely- and it was my fault.-
He was surprised again, this time about his own last words. He hadn't meant to say that. The boy was reflecting about it.
-Maybe it wasn't your fault…- Qui-Gon smiled softly a little skeptical.
-Well, you don't know what happened, baby boy.-
-But the Force it's sad because of you being so sad. That's why it's raining today. Because of you being so, so, so sad. The Force can't handle that no more.-
Qui-Gon looked at him incredulously, surprised about his words.
-A lot of people get sad when it rains, baby boy. It's not related with me.-
-No- the boy shook his head- It's raining because you are sad, so the Force is sad and it's crying with you. I wanted to cry when I woke up. The Force is scared for you, because it wanted to sooth you, as Master Ali does, but you didn't let it. It wants to see you happy too!-
Qui-Gon arched his eyebrows. It was incredible that someone so small could speak in such a mature way but then, it always happened with Jedi children. And also, the boy had a huge knowledge of the Force.
-The Force is worry about you; it really, really loves you. Did you know that?-
The Jedi master was unable to say a word. There was a thing in his throat that made it hard to make even a little sound. The boy just looked at him and decided to continue with his task.
-It wants you to know you to don't worry, that it loves you and that you didn't do anything wrong. - the little one stopped and continued slowly, like trying to find a good way to say what he wanted to say- You may have lost a friend but I can be your friend. I like you!-
Qui-Gon tried to hold his unshed tears. He could see the Force trying to pull him out of his guiltiness, to take away his sorrow.
-I like you too, baby boy- he managed to whisper.
-Do you feel better? -the kid asked with a big, sparkling smile.
-Yes, thank you. You helped me a lot. -said Qui-Gon with a smile as big as the boy's
-Great! -the child glowed in happiness, and Qui-Gon was able to see the Force's happiness too.
Elegantly, Qui-Gon inverted his position. The boy tried to mimic the master's moves but he fall in his back at the end. But it didn't matter to him. He rubbed his back as he stood up and turned around to face the big Jedi. Qui-Gon got down getting to the child's height that saw it as a permission to jump into the master's arms. Qui-Gon happily returned the hug. He loved hugs but he didn't get one of those as often as he should.
-Obi-Wan! -a distressed voice broke their bubble. It was Master Saory who was in border of hysteria.
Obi-Wan gave a smile to Qui-Gon.
-I got to go.-
-I understand- Qui-Gon kissed the little forehead- see you later, my friend.
Obi-Wan smiled delightedly and went jumping toward the crèche master who was completely in shock. Obi-Wan had done what no one had been able to do. He had pulled out Qui-Gon of the black hole he had fallen. No one, from Master Yoda to Master Windu, had been able to do that, not even Master Tahl. The crèche master saw, for the first time in years, Qui-Gon's face illuminated with a smile. Cheerfully, she was able to feel the strong Force signature glowing in happiness.
Obi-Wan suddenly turned around startled.
-What's your name?-
-I'm Qui-Gon, baby boy.-
-That's nice! -said the child in response making Qui-Gon to smile "Such a sweet little boy" he thought
The master looked as the pair walked away, still with a big smile at his face. A very little kid had turn up the lights on his life again. Suddenly, he discovered something that wasn't there before and he thought in disbelief…
-Is that a bond?-