Hanging On

By Bloody Phantom

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Lucas Film and, regretfully, Disney now.

Qui-Gon tossed and turned that night, but he thought nothing of it. He hadn't been sleeping well for over a week. His mind kept flashing back to that point in time when Xanatos gave him that glare, spoke angrily to him, and raised his lightsaber against him. He could still hear Xanatos disbelief at how his own Master struck down his father, the anger in his voice, the darkness clouding his senses. The image kept him from a full night's sleep. So, it was no surprise when that night was the same.

"…Mommy! Daddy!..."

Qui-Gon's eyes popped opened and he gasped at the sudden feeling of panic and fear. The Force whispered something to him. Something urgent. His heart began to race as the feeling washed over him. His breath grew heavy and he forced himself off his sleeping couch. His feet touched the floor when second urgent wave hit him.

"…Help! Help Me!..."

He stumbled back onto the sleeper. The voice sounded young, very young. Still young enough that he couldn't determine if it was of a young girl or a young boy. Qui-Gon closed his eyes. He let the emotion through him and then released it into the Force. He needed a clear mind. He needed to let the Force guide him to where he was needed. He stood up and quickly threw on some clean clothes. He pulled his bag out from the closet and filled it with his med-kit, clothes, and any other needed supplies. He rushed out of the room. He had no idea where he was heading, but he had faith that the Force would guide him.

He left the Jedi Temple, without reporting the Jedi Council first. He did not have the time to make a report.

Qui-Gon had taken a small ship from the Temple's hanger, realizing it was much too early for any pilots to be awake and didn't want to take the time to wake one up. He flew the ship off the planet and went into the hyperspace before realizing he should have contacted the Council before taking off. It was too late to do so until he got out of hyperspace. He leaned back in the pilot's chair. Outwardly, he showed no anxiousness, but, inwardly, he was tapping his feet on the ground impatiently and quaking with anxiousness. He could still feel the youngling's panic and fear. He could hear his/hers whimpering voice echoing in the Force. Couldn't this ship go any faster?

He looked down at his destination and sighed. He didn't know if it was a frustrated or a relief sigh. It looked like he was going to the Stewjon System, to the planet Stewjon. The system was in the Colonies Region, only a few hours away. Few hours, that was good, but he still wished it was closer. At least it wasn't in the Mid-Rim or the Outer-Rim.

There was nothing more he could do, but mediate. He closed his eyes and opened his mind to the Force, looking for its peace and guidance.

"…Pease, help…" The echo begged soberly, mispronouncing the world 'please' as younglings were prone to do at times.

Not knowing if the young child would hear him, Qui-Gon decided to try and calm him. He sent the smoothing waves of the Force towards the child. "Hang in there, little one. Help is on the way. Just hang in there," he sent mentally, hoping the child would, at least, know someone was trying to rescue him. He did not know if the child sensed him or not, but feelings of panic became milder and he was able to focus more on his task.

A few hours later, he was landing the ship close to a farmhouse. A desolate feeling overcame him, the feeling of loss and death. He sighed and took the feelings in to release it into the Force. He frowned as he stepped off the ship and drew his hood up over his head. Something terrible had happened here, but the farmhouse looked normal, a family home. He could not imagine what could have befallen the family. He began his walk towards the house.

He was near the walkway to the front door when he saw them. A couple by the broken front door sat against the exterior wall. Their eyes were closed and there was blood, a lot of blood. It tinted the air with its heavy odor. The woman was leaning against the man. Her face was pale, her lips were blue. Her red hair was a mess with red strains following out of her bun and into her face. There was a bruise on her cheek and a wound on her stomach. Her lifeless hands were covered in dry blood by trying to keep pressure on her wounded stomach. Qui-Gon could tell that she was as lifeless as her hands. The man was also pale. His spiky, short brown hair was coated in dry blood from the large wound on his temple. His lifeless hand lay at his side, close to a blaster. He had another wound on his right side, still bleeding heavily. Life still flowed in him, barely.

Qui-Gon opened the gate and the noise seemed to have startled the dying man. His tired eyes popped opened and his hand immediately went to his blaster. Qui-Gon froze when the man weakly trained the blaster towards him. The man could barely lift the blaster far off the ground. His gray-blue eyes were dazed in pain, but his aim was right on. Qui-Gon raised his hands up. "I mean you no harm. I am here to help." He lowered his hood. "My name is Qui-Gon Jinn. I am a Jedi Master."

The man sighed in relief and his hand holding the blaster dropped back down on the ground as if the strength was taken from him. "A J—Jedi." He leaned his head back and Qui-Gon quickly approached him. "May-Na, a…a Jedi," the man said to his dead wife. "May-Na." A tear fell down his cheek when he realized his wife was not going to respond. "May-Na," he cried out silently in distress.

Qui-Gon knelt before him and looked at his wound. "It's deep and you lost a lot of blood," he observed. "What happened?" he asked as he pulled on the Force to help stop the bleeding while his one hand searched his robes for a bacta patch.

"D—don't," the man said. Qui-Gon looked up. "To…too late. I…I'm dying. Obi-Wan. M…m…must save my…my son, Obi-Wan Ken—Kenobi. They have h—him," he pleaded weakly. His strength was slowly leaving him and Qui-Gon knew he would be unable to save him, even with his permission. He had lost too much blood.

With a heavy heart, Qui-Gon nodded and turned his attention away from the wound. "What happened? Who has your son?"

The tired man shook his head. "C—couldn't pay them ba—back. Loaned me…me money for…for th—the farm. M…my fault," he sobbed. "All my f—fault. Tried to…to take Obi-Wan when…when th—they realized I d—didn't have the…the money. Re—refused. F…f…fought them. Sh—shot us. Th—they took him. Th-they to—took my son. Save him, p—please," he cried. "Take him to—to b…b…be trained as a J—Jedi. Three…three years…J—Jedi came to…to take him. Refused. T—take him now. P—please. He…he tur—turned…turned four," he begged.

Qui-Gon nodded. "I promise to find your son and take him to the Jedi Temple."

"B-Benjamin Ken—Kenobi," he introduced. "Te—tell him that I…I l—l—love him."

"I promise, Benjamin," Qui-Gon said.

The man, Benjamin, sighed in relief and his body slouched back as he willingly let go of his life. "Th—thank you, M—Master J—Jedi. I…I can g—go now," he managed to say before his eyes shut. He exhaled his last breath and his chest stilled.

Qui-Gon nodded solemnly. "Be at peace, my friend." He stood. He didn't feel right leaving the bodies of Benjamin and May-Na Kenobi out in the open like this, but he couldn't waste time. A little boy needed him at the moment.

The Force led him to the middle of a forest close to the farmhouse. He could hear angry voices up ahead and slowed his pace to sneak. He slid behind a tree and looked beyond it at the small clearing where a ship was landed. There were three big creatures arguing by the open door of the ship. One dark blue Herglic, a brown Nautolan, and a gray Sullustan. Luckily, for Qui-Gon, they were arguing in basic about the child.

"The brat is too young to sell!" the Nautolan snarled. "We should have taken something of more worth!"

The Herglic growled at him. "Like what? He had nothing! The brat was his most valued treasure to him! It pained him more taking the brat then taking the farmhouse!"

"The younger the child the more they wouldn't fight when they grow up. They will get use to slave life and will know better than trying to escape," the Sullustan agrued. "Someone might like that!"

The Nautolan glared at the two of them. "If he lives long enough to be of use to anyone!" He shook his head. "I am not going to be the one to watch the brat! I don't want to be anywhere near that fearful human! His emotions are all over the place! I can't stand it!" he snapped before stomping off into the forest towards the pond nearby.

The Sullustan looked up at the Herglic. "What?" the Herglic snapped. "I'm not looking after him either!" he shouted before following the Nautolan to the pond.

The Sullustan narrowed his eyes at the direction his two comrades had gone. "Great!" he snapped angrily. He stomped back into the ship.

Qui-Gon waited another moment before slipping out from his hiding spot. He pulled out his lightsaber and turned it on. The green laser buzzed quietly as he carefully headed inside the ship. It was a small two room ship, the cockpit in one end and the storage with seating in the other. When he entered, he found himself in the storage area. The door of the cockpit was opened and he could hear the whimpering of the child inside.

"Shut up, you brat!" He heard the Sullustan yell at the youngling. There was a smack sound and a thump on the ground. He heard Obi-Wan start to cry. "I said, shut your trap, brat!" There were quick footsteps on the ground and a whimper.

Unable to stand anymore of it, Qui-Gon quickly stepped into sight at the doorway, his lightsaber buzzing in front of him in an offensive position. It only took a very brief moment to look around. A small boy with spiky, auburn hair was huddled under the ships controls, hugging his knees fearfully to his chest. His gray eye's were filled with sparkling tears and, on his right cheek, was a huge bruise. His bottom lip was cracked and bleeding. The sight of the innocent, scared youngling had Qui-Gon struggling to remain calm and not let his anger control him.

The boy saw him first, as the Sullustan's back was towards him. His eyes widened with bright hope at the sight of him. They were begging for him to save him. Qui-Gon spared him a quick comforting glance. He sent smoothing waves to the boy through the Force. Obi-Wan's body relaxed in relief. New tears formed at his eyes, tears of happiness.

The Sullustan was close to the controls. He spun around and was staring wide-eyed at Qui-Gon. His fear and anger was apparent in his black eyes. "Who are you? Where did you come from?"

As much as Qui-Gon would like to use the Sullustan's fear against him, he knew his first priority was the boy. Plus, he was a Jedi. Jedi didn't go after revenge, even in the face of such disgrace. "Hand me the boy unharmed and I will go on my way."

The Sullustan laughed at him. "I'm not stupid, Jedi," he sneered. "I am not here by myself. You are outnumbered."

Qui-Gon nodded his head. "I am aware of that. I am also aware that your two friends are busy at the moment and cannot come to your immediate aid." He lifted up the hand that wasn't holding his lightsaber and waved. "Now, you will hand the boy to me unharmed and let us go." He said, enforcing the Force into his speech.

The Sullustan's eyes gazed over and nodded. "You may take the boy and go, Master Jedi," he said as he knelt down to Obi-Wan's level. "You may go, boy."

Qui-Gon gave the boy a kind smile and waved the boy over. "Come, Obi-Wan. Let's go, little one." He shut of his lightsaber, but kept it in his hands, just in case.

The boy stared at the Sullustan fearfully for a split second before standing and running towards Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon quickly knelt down and the boy went right into his arms. Obi-Wan held tightly to his neck and sobbed into his shoulder. He could feel the child's tears running down his neck and getting soaked into his robes. He wrapped his arms around the boy, patting his back comfortingly. He gave the Sullustan a careful nod of appreciation. He kept his eye on him as he back out of the ship with the boy. "Shhh. Shh, Obi-Wan. Hang on. I got you. You're safe." He repeated into the child's ear. He made for the forest, trying to go as far as he could before the others returned and found Obi-Wan missing.

It didn't take long for him to hear them coming. One of them yelled angrily and he swore he felt the ground shake as they started to rush after him. Obi-Wan whimpered as he tightened his grip and buried his head into his shoulders. Finding it wrong to fight with a distressed child in his arms, Qui-Gon increased his speed, knowing he was much farther ahead of them. He might just make it back to his ship before they caught up to him. He would use the cover of the night to help him hide.

He hid behind a tree and looked down at the whimpering small form huddling against his chest. His tiny fists were clinching tightly to his tan Jedi tunic. His face was buried into Qui-Gon's neck, looking for warmth and comfort. He could feel the wet, salty tears against his neck, tickling slowly down to his shoulder. Obi-Wan's body was shaky from fear and cold. Qui-Gon placed a hand on the boy's back and rubbed. "Shh, young one. Time to sleep. You to need to sleep, little one." He needed to make sure Obi-Wan would not utter a sound. He used a slight Force suggestion. "Sleep, little one. Sleep," he commanded softly as he led the boy to a Force induced sleep. His whimpering slowly stopped as he fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

"He couldn't have gotten far!" One of the boy's kidnappers shouted from somewhere nearby. Too close for Qui-Gon's comfort. He could hear the leaves crunching under the pursuers feet as they rushed closer to his hiding spot. He couldn't fight them, not with a youngling in his arms.

He turned around to face the tree and looked up. The lowest branch was too far up for a non-Force user to jump to, but, luckily, he was a Force user. He gathered the Force around him and jumped up. He flew pass the first branch and landed gracefully on top of it, using the Force to balance himself. He used all his patience and training to remain still. He knew he might be stuck there for several hours before risking the rest of the trip back to his ship.

He heard them arguing some distance from him. "Sithspit! I can't believe you just handed him the brat!" one of the kidnappers yelled.

"For goodness sake, Torden! He was a Jedi! I didn't exactly have much of a choice! He used his freaky powers on me!"

"You weak minded fool!"

"Shut it, you two! If there is one Jedi, there might be another. Most Jedi travel in pairs. We don't stand a chance against them. We should go before they come back for us. The brat is not worth dying for."

"This whole thing wasn't worth it! We never should have taken the brat!"

Soon their voice disappeared as they unknowingly put more distance between them. Qui-Gon didn't risk leaving, though. He wanted to be sure they were gone before heading back to the farmhouse. He leaned against the trunk of the tree and closed his eyes in mediation, holding the child securely to his chest. He felt the boy shift in his sleep, coiling up closer to his body, as if that was possible. He didn't let the sleeping child's movement distract him from his mediation.

Several hours later, Qui-Gon slipped out of the tree, gracefully landing on his feet. Obi-Wan was still sleeping peacefully in his arms. The forest was quiet. The kidnappers were long gone and the sun was about to rise. He glanced around, looking for any sign of the three kidnappers. Everything was still. He could hear a bird chirping somewhere in the distant.

The small body shift in his arms and he heard the boy groan in his sleep. Qui-Gon glanced down at him and his mouth quirked into a small smile at the sweet sight. Obi-Wan's babyish face, small and pale, was pressed up against Qui-Gon's shoulders. He was such a small four year old boy and weighed next to nothing. Obi-Wan's little fingers remained clinched into his tunic. Qui-Gon briefly wondered if he was informed correctly to his age. The boy looked younger than four.

He moaned in his sleep again, his face forming a frown. Sensing the boy was about to wake, Qui-Gon sent another Force suggestion to him, reducing him back into sleep. He knew he would have to walk pass the farmhouse to get to his ship. It would be best if Obi-Wan remained asleep for that. He shouldn't have to see his parent's dead bodies. This reminded Qui-Gon that he needed to inform the proper authorities about the incident at the farmhouse. He couldn't just leave the bodies there. They should have a suitable funeral. He would do that as soon as he returned to the ship.

With that in mind, Qui-Gon started to cautiously make his way through the forest.

Qui-Gon was on his way back to Coruscant when Obi-Wan woke up. He was staring, tiredly, out the port window, with the boy on his lap. The ship was in hyperspace, on autopilot. He hadn't expected to be taking a child back to the Temple with him, so, did not have any place to put the sleeping child. Forcing him to keep Obi-Wan on his lap for the ride home.

"Daddy…?" A young voice interrupted his thought process sleepily.

Qui-Gon looked down and saw the bleary blue eyes of the youngling trying to study his surroundings. He shook his head at the child and gave him a pity look. "I'm sorry, little one. I'm not your Daddy. My name is Qui-Gon Jinn. I'm a Jedi Master."

The boy glanced up at him, not moving from his comfortable position on his lap. His eyes were now clear of sleep. He did not cry, nor was there any tears, but he gave Qui-Gon the most disheartening look. It almost made Qui-Gon want to cry. "Daddy hurted and Mommy, sad," he spoke as if he didn't hear him. "They hurted Mommy and Daddy. They hurted me too. Are they better? They with Daddy's daddy and mommy and Mommy's daddy and mommy?"

Realizing this was Obi-Wan's way of asking if they were no longer in pain because they were dead, Qui-Gon nodded his head. "Yes, little one." He reached over and touched the boy's cheek tenderly. His skin still had that baby softness to it and his callous, tan hand stood out against the pale cheek. His fingers brushed Obi-Wan's hair back. "Your Daddy asked if I can take you to a different home. Is that alright with you?"

Obi-Wan leaned into his touch and stared at him with bright blue eyes. "I be with you? You be my new daddy?"

For a second, Qui-Gon was unsure what to say. He couldn't even tell what he was feeling in the moment. Him, be the child's new father? The idea was preposterous. He couldn't even teach a student about the rights and wrongs in the galaxy. How would he ever be a father to someone, such a young someone at that? "We will be living in the same building, but I will not be your new daddy, Obi-Wan," he said as lightly as he could.

Obi-Wan frowned before sitting up. He glanced around the ship and stared out the window at the stars as they flew pass them. He shifted around until he was sitting on Qui-Gon's lap, facing him. His face was right up into his and Qui-Gon fought against the urge to lean his head back away from the sudden intrusion into his personal space. He watched Obi-Wan study him very closely, using the Force unconsciously. Qui-Gon could feel his Force signature brush up against his and instantly tightened his shields around his mind. He had no wish for a four-year-old to find much about him. His past wasn't something for a youngling.

Two tiny hands cupped his cheeks and Obi-Wan tilted his head slightly as he studied him. "What are you doing, young one?" Qui-Gon asked softly.

"You hurt." The boy shook his head. "Not like Daddy hurted. He bleded outside. You bled inside." The boy gave him a frown. "I want to help." He pouted and shook his head. "Don't know how. M'sorry."

Qui-Gon reached up gently and took the boy's hands off his cheek. He was amazed at Obi-Wan's perception. He was so young, yet, so in touch with the Force. "It is not something you can help with, little one. No one can help."

"But you be my new daddy if not hurt."

It took a second for Qui-Gon to interrupt what Obi-Wan was saying. He shook his head. "I still would not have been able to be your new daddy, Obi-Wan."

Obi-Wan eyes filled up with tears. "Don't go bye-byes like Mommy and Daddy. Mommy and Daddy went bye-byes without hugs and kisses. They hurted. They gone. They went bye-byes without me." Big fat tears rolled down his cheeks. "I want Mommy! I want Daddy! Don't go. No alone! No!"

Qui-Gon pulled Obi-Wan against his chest and patted his back. "It's okay. It's okay. They loved you, Obi-Wan," he whispered comfortingly. Obi-Wan clinched tightly to him and his body shook as the tears flowed.

"Mommy!" Obi-Wan cried out. "Daddy!"

It took a few minutes for the tears to stop as the boy drifted back off to sleep.

Obi-Wan woke again as Qui-Gon set the ship in the Jedi Temple hanger. He didn't make a sound as he woke. The only indication that he was a wake was the change in his breathing. Qui-Gon looked down when he noticed the change and saw the blue eyes staring into space, a frown on the boy's face.

Qui-Gon tried to set the boy on the ground to walk out of the ship himself, but Obi-Wan wouldn't allow it. He groaned and clinched tighter to his neck. "No! No, no, no!" he snapped as he shook his head in refusal.

Qui-Gon sighed and stood up with Obi-Wan hanging on to him. The boy lay his head on Qui-Gon's shoulders and wrapped his small legs around his waist. "You are not making this easier," Qui-Gon muttered to himself as he lowered the ship's ramp. He opened the door and groaned. Mace was waiting for him on the ground and Mace did not look pleased. Knowing there was no way to avoid this, Qui-Gon took a brave step forward.

Mace' eyes immediately caught sight of Obi-Wan in his arms, but hid his confusion. Qui-Gon reached him and stopped. Obi-Wan poked his head up and tightened his grip when he saw the stony expression on Mace's face.

"What is going on, Qui-Gon?" Mace asked, giving him a look. "You left without proper authorization in the middle of the night and return with a youngling." He gave the boy another look.

Qui-Gon pulled Obi-Wan closer to him without realizing his protectiveness. "I did not have the time to consult with the Council, Mace. He needed help. There wasn't time."

Mace sighed in frustration. "You can't just do this, Qui-Gon."

"Now is not the time to talk about this. I need to get Obi-Wan into the Halls of Healing and put him in the records."

"Qui-Gon, you are doing it again! You can't just put him in the records. You have to consult the Council about this and I believe you have time for that," he said almost sarcastically in frustration. He sighed to calm himself. "It's the Council's job to put people in the records."

"I know, Mace." He fought the urge to roll his eyes. "Let's talk about it later. You are scaring the poor youngling." He couldn't help the grin at the blank look on Mace's face as he glanced down at Obi-Wan's wide eyed scared look.

Mace took a deep breath to hold back his frustration and nodded. "But we will talk." He promised…or threatened. Qui-Gon knew it depended on the point of view, but it sounded like a threat to him.

He nodded and walked passed him. Light footsteps behind him told him Mace was following him. He felt him come up next to him. Obi-Wan flinched away, eyeing the large Korun Jedi Master fearfully.

"Who is he, Qui-Gon?" Mace finally asked as they paused in the middle of the corridor.

Qui-Gon looked down at the boy and brushed back his short hair. Obi-Wan glanced up at him and gave him a toothy smile. The smile lit up of his face. His eyes shined, showing a tint of green in those usually blue eyes. He felt himself lightened at the sight. "This here, Mace, is Obi-Wan Kenobi." He looked at Mace and found him staring at him. He felt uncomfortable under the stare, but didn't let it show. He turned his gaze back to Obi-Wan. "Obi-Wan, this is Jedi Master Mace Windu." It was then that he realized he should retell the boy who he was, since Obi-Wan didn't seem to hear him before. "And do you remember who I am?" he asked.

Obi-Wan put his head back down on his shoulders and nodded. "Jedi too," he whispered.

"I'll go inform the Jedi Council. We'll comm you when it's time to come in," Mace interrupted.

Qui-Gon nodded and they went their separate ways. "How would you like to become a Jedi, Obi-Wan?" he asked quietly as he dodged pass a pair of Jedi Initiates running through the corridor.

Obi-Wan lifted up his head. "Me be a Jedi too?" he asked in awe. "What about Daddy and Mommy? They want me to be a Jedi too?"

Qui-Gon nodded. "Your Daddy asked me to bring you here to become one."

Obi-Wan nodded. "Okay. I'll be one too. I'll be the bestest Jedi ever. For my Mommy and Daddy," he said, making up his mind.

Qui-Gon chuckled. "It's a hard life. Do you think you can hang in there until the end?" he asked, wondering how such a small child could become a fierce peacekeeper and warrior.

Obi-Wan placed his head back down on his shoulders. "Don't worry. Hanging on is what I do best. Okay?" he said, sounding very cute in his attempt to seem like an adult. He wrapped his arms around Qui-Gon's neck, as if to prove the point.

Qui-Gon chuckled again. "Okay, little one. Just don't hang on to tight."

"I won't let go." Obi-Wan said stubbornly.

It took a while to get Obi-Wan off him once they reached the Halls of Healing, but the Healers managed to pry him off and calm him down before Qui-Gon was called to the Council Chambers. After informing the Council about what happened, they assigned him to a year-long mission. After that mission came others. It took many years for Qui-Gon to see Obi-Wan again. He was proud to see the little boy was still hanging on.

The End