Never Going to be Alone
Qui-Gon listened carefully as the Queen told them her well-thought out plan while eyeing the projected outline of the Theed Palace. He looked up when Queen Amidala addressed him. "What do you think, Master Jedi?" She asked.
He nodded. "The Viceroy will be well guarded." He pointed out.
"That would not be a problem once we get inside." Captain Panaka said confidently.
Qui-Gon eyed him for a split second, wondering if the good Captain was being overconfident. Overconfidence could mean underestimating the opponent. They couldn't risk that. Deciding it was best not to point that out to him, he turned to Boss Nass. "There is a possibility that with this diversion many Gungans will be killed." He said.
"Wesa ready to our-san part." Boss Nass puffed out with courage. Qui-Gon, realizing it was Boss Nass's right to choose his part in the battle, acknowledged his willingness with an encouraging and understanding nod.
"We have a plan to knock out the control ship orbiting the planet." Queen Amidala said. "We will send what pilots we have to take it out."
"Master…" Obi-Wan started to say through their bond. Qui-Gon nodded, letting his student know he had already thought of the problem. "A well conceive plan. However, there is great risk. The weapons on your fighters might not penetrate the shields." He said.
"And there is even a bigger danger." Obi-Wan spoke up. "If the Viceroy escapes, Your Highness, he will return with another droid army."
Qui-Gon eyed his padawan at the corner of his eye with hidden approval. His mind flashed to the dream he had last night. He rarely had visions of the future, but he knew one when he saw one and he had one last night. He was going to enter into the Force soon. He didn't know how soon, but he might not make the year, if that. The idea of his death had him thinking of those he would leave behind. Mostly, he started to think about Obi-Wan, his padwan. He realized he had never told Obi-Wan what he meant to him. He did not know how to tell him. He wasn't the type of man who spoke often of his feelings. He hoped Obi-Wan knew how proud he was of him, but, lately, they have been at odds with each other. A tension between them that they hadn't had since the very beginning of their relationship…and he could only blame himself for that.
"We'll start first thing in the morning." Queen Amidala said, closing the meeting. Qui-Gon blinked, realizing he had missed what was said, but he did not worry about it. "We best get a good night's rest." She said before walking off with Captain Panaka to meet with the rebellion leaders he found while checking out the town and the Palace.
Qui-Gon placed his hands on Anakin's shoulders. "Come, Ani. Let's get you settled before Obi-Wan and I do some training."
"Can't I watch?" He asked as he let Qui-Gon led him to the ship.
Qui-Gon chuckled, but did not respond. He was aware of Obi-Wan walking next to him quietly. Qui-Gon's heart skipped a beat as he realized he couldn't possible do Anakin's training. He was going to join the Force soon. Would it be asking too much of Obi-Wan to take him as his padawan? Whatever the case may be, he wanted Obi-Wan and Anakin to bond. So, when Qui-Gon was gone, both of them would have someone. Whether or not Obi-Wan would be Anakin's master. When he had lost Xanatos, it was Obi-Wan that helped him live again. He could only hope Anakin would be able to help Obi-Wan get through his death. "Obi-Wan, why don't you take Anakin to get settle while I find an open spot to spar?" He asked, hoping the two would bond on the way to the ship.
He sensed Obi-Wan wanting to protest. "I…Of course, Master." His padawan said obediently. "This way, Anakin." Obi-Wan led Anakin away.
Qui-Gon did not move for a moment. Just watching them walk away and pondering on his padawan. Obi-Wan grew up so fast. It felt like yesterday when he accepted Obi-Wan as his padawan. Where did the time go? He had always meant to tell Obi-Wan how he felt about him, how proud he was of him. Time was just going by so fast, too fast. He sighed in regret. He had to let Obi-Wan know before he left him to join the Force. He knew Obi-Wan would take his death hard.
Obi-Wan was walking farther and farther away from him, literally and figuratively. He was getting older, getting more independent. Soon, very soon, he would not need him. Did he even need him now? Obi-Wan had always been a little insecure of himself and his place in Qui-Gon's life. He would always want him, but he won't always need him. He needed to know that Qui-Gon would never leave him, despite death. But how? He always kept his feeling buried inside him. He never found it easy to tell Obi-Wan how proud he was, how much he loved him. He was the son Qui-Gon never had.
Qui-Gon finally turned away and headed for the clearing to find a spot to spar, his mind still centered on Obi-Wan.
That night, Qui-Gon had the dream again. He awoke with a gasp, the dream slipping from his mind right away. The only knowledge that stayed with him was the fact he was going to die soon. He wiped the perspiration from his forehead and sat up. He was wasting time. He needed to let Obi-Wan know what he meant to him, how much he cared.
He suddenly felt the urge to see Obi-Wan. He stood up, a bit unsteadily. He stood still for a second, letting sleep leave him and getting his bearings before putting on his robes. Once on, he headed out of the room. He quietly walked to the door next to his and hit the button. The door swished opened and he walked in.
Obi-Wan was in a deep sleep on the bed right across from the door with his back facing him. The light from the corridor was the only light in the room. He kept the door opened as he entered the room. Right next to the bed, just like his room, was a desk. Qui-Gon pulled out the chair and sat down, facing Obi-Wan. The younger man shifted in his sleep, moving over to face Qui-Gon. He muttered something incoherent in his sleep. His padawan braid was in his face. Qui-Gon slowly reached out and picked up the padawan braid. A braid that should have been cut off a year ago, if Qui-Gon wasn't so attached to the younger man. Did Obi-Wan even see how attached his old Master was to him? Did Qui-Gon show it enough? He touched each bead delicately, remembering each of them, remembering putting them in with his heart filled with pride. Proud of his padawan, something he couldn't remember ever telling him.
He moved the braid away and stared at the young man's face. How young he looked when he was sleeping. He looked so young and innocent. How, the Force, could Qui-Gon ever think this pure figure could ever turn to the Dark Side? Before accepting him as his padawan, did he really think Obi-Wan would be just like Xanatos? How could he ever think that? Obi-Wan was just so filled with light. He was strong in the light. The Force seemed to love the child above all else. He was hope, Qui-Gon's hope. His legacy. Obi-Wan would not take his death well. That, Qui-Gon knew. How to help him get by his death?
Qui-Gon looked away with a heavy heart and saw a pen and flimsiplast on the desk. Hit with sudden inspiration. He moved the chair back to the desk and picked up the pen. He had no idea what to write or how to write what he needed to write, but the tip of the pen touched the flimsiplast and words started to show as he moved the pen. It only took a few minutes. Once he was done, he read through it and nodded in satisfaction. He folded the flimsiplast and put Obi-Wan's name on the front. He placed it in his robes, determined to give it to Obi-Wan after the fight tomorrow. Satisfied, Qui-Gon gave Obi-Wan one last look before standing up. He stood over his sleeping padawan and couldn't help, but reach down. His hand cupped Obi-Wan's check affectionately. His padawan leaned into his touch and sighed in contentment. He smiled affectionately at the younger man before stepping away and heading back to his room.
Obi-Wan knelt there long after they took his Master's body. He felt so cold and numb inside. He couldn't tell how much time passed; he had no knowledge of time. He just stared at the spot where Qui-Gon had fallen, where he said his last words. His last words centered around Anakin Skywalker. Where Obi-Wan's heart had shattered.
Obi-Wan felt so alone. How was he going to move on from this? How was he going to do anything at all? His mentor, the man he had always thought of as his father, was gone. He left him alone. So alone. He shook his head. He always felt closer to Qui-Gon where Qui-Gon never seemed close to him. He knew Qui-Gon better than anyone. He knew Qui-Gon wasn't the type of man to talk about his feelings, but there were times when Obi-Wan wished he would. When he didn't, it made Obi-Wan feel like a burden.
He needed him. His heart felt broken without his Master with him.
He finally pulled himself up and distractedly walked out of the Theed Generator Complex. He missed him already. So deeply missed him. His life was surrounded by trying to make Qui-Gon proud of him. Now what? Take on the boy and pretend he didn't feel so alone? Did he ever make his Master proud?
He was obvious to the pity stares he was getting from the Naboo people as he passed. He hugged himself, trying to get some form of warmth to him. His robe. He should get his robe. He thought as he headed back to the hanger. He felt so cold. No extra layer, a part of him knew, would warm him. The cold was from inside, from the snapped bond that once been full of life and warmth, from the numbness over losing someone so dear to him. That did not stop him from going to the hanger for his robe…and Qui-Gon's robe.
The hanger doors opened and there, right by the door, were two brown robes. They hadn't moved since they were dropped. Obi-Wan couldn't move forward. He just stared. Qui-Gon's robe. His Master would never wear it again. Did he know that he would never return to pick up his robe? Almost unknowingly, Obi-Wan's feet dragged him over to his Master large robes. He knelt down and picked it up. It was cold as he was. The warmth from Qui-Gon's body was long gone. He refused to let the tears drop. Disregarding his own robes, Obi-Wan put on Qui-Gon's. It was much too big for him but it was like wrapping himself in Qui-Gon's arm. He hugged the robes around him, trying to sense his Master's presence. It smelled like him. That same earthly smell and tea, black tea. Qui-Gon never went a morning without his black tea, not if he could help it.
He looked around the hanger. He was alone. All of the pilots had returned and he knew they were now celebrating their victory someplace else in the Palace. Anakin was with Padmé somewhere. He was alone, completely alone. He knew, even if there were others around, he would still be alone. He stood up and pulled the robe tighter around him. A crackling sound from one of the pocket's pulled his attention.
Confused, Obi-Wan reached into the pocket and pulled out a folded flimsiplast. He turned it over and his eyes widened when he saw his name written on the front. His tried to swallow the lump in his throat as he nervously held the flimsiplast. He glanced around for a place to sit. There were crates all around the hanger. Obi-Wan went into a corner and sat on top of a crate. He stared at the letter. He was suddenly afraid to open it. His Master's last words to him. His late Master's words. He closed his eyes to block the pain of his lose. He opened them again and stared at the letter anxiously. With shaky fingers, he opened it and began reading.
Time went by so much faster than I thought possible. And I'm starting to regret not spending all of it with you, regret not talking to you as much as I should. I regret not telling you what you mean to me. Now, I'm wondering why I've kept this bottled deep inside me. I should have told you this years ago. I am sorry I didn't tell this to you then. I feel regretful that I am writing this down when I should tell you face-to-face. So, if I haven't yet, I have to let you know.
Obi-Wan, you're never going to be alone. From this moment on, now and forever, if you ever feel like letting go, I will never let you fall. I'll hold you until the hurt is gone.
And now, as long as I can, I'm holding on with both hands, because I believe that there is nothing I could need more then you. You are my pride and joy. My legacy.
You are not going to be alone, ever. I'll never leave you, even in death I'll be right there beside you. I'm never going to let you fall. When all hope is gone, I know that you can carry on. You are strong. You are ready. I'll hold you when you need me. I won't let go until you hurt no longer. I'll be right there next to you. Always beside you. Watching over you.
Back in the Jedi Council, when I told the Council you were ready, I meant it. I was not throwing you aside. You are ready. You've been ready for years. It was I that was not ready. I did not mean to hurt you the way I did. From now on, I will never make that mistake again. I'll be there for you and support you.
You've got to live every single day, like it's the only one. What if tomorrow never comes? Don't let it slip away. It could be your last one. Your life is just beginning. You are young, yet, but you are strong and you're growing up every single day. I see you learn new things every single day and you will continue to learn new things even when I'm gone.
I'm going to be there always, Obi-Wan, my son. I am proud of you, always. You are never alone.
Tears started to slip from Obi-Wan's eyes as he read. "But you're gone now, Master. You're gone." He whispered quietly. "And I'm alone."
"You are never alone. I am always there." A familiar voice whispered from around him.
A feeling of warmth filled his chest. Obi-Wan gasped and looked up from the letter. "M…Master?" He breathed out, not daring to hope.
"Never alone, my son."
Obi-Wan glanced back down at the letter with fresh tears. The warmth filled his body. He felt Qui-Gon's presence. It felt like arms was wrapped around him. He closed his eyes and imagined Qui-Gon was hugging him. He smiled and opened his eyes again. He looked down at the letter again. Although, the letter did not literally say it, Obi-Wan knew it was his Master's way of saying he loved him. "I love you too, Master. You were my father." He didn't feel so alone anymore. He relished the feeling of Qui-Gon's caring presence. He was one with the Force and the Force was always around. Qui-Gon would always be there, with him. "I will not fail you, Master. I'll train Anakin Skywalker the way you trained me." He promised.
He put the letter back in the robes and got off the crate. He picked up his robes and left the hanger to find Anakin. He could still feel Qui-Gon's presence around him, giving him the comfort he needed.
Based off, if you haven't guessed, "Never Gonna Be Alone" by Nickleback...Got most of the words of Qui-Gon's letter from that song...