The Strongest Bond

By Bloody Phantom

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars, but I did make up the character Lynn Using and Master Billus Tun

Part 1

The purple Twi'lek Jedi Padawan, Lynn Using, peered over the railing of the balcony overlooking the training area. Her violet eyes immediately noticed the pair sparring below her. She gasped as she watched the human pair battle with their lightsabers. They moved so in sync with each other it was as if they were one mind, one body, one spirit. She could hardly keep up with their quick movements. She wished she could have that powerful of a bond with her new Master someday. She wished she had that bond now, but knew, realistically, she was still much too inexperienced for that deep of a bond. Eleven years old was young in almost any species.

"There you are, Padawan. I was wondering where you disappeared off to."

She barely turned to acknowledge the ninety-year-old Epicanthix Master coming up from behind her. "Afternoon, Master. Sorry," she said without turning away from the still fighting pair. She could clearly hear the hiss of the lightsabers as they clashed into each other and could almost imagine the sound of the wind as they flipped over one another.

"What has caught your undivided attention, Padawan?" her Master, Billus Tun, asked as he reached her. She felt him at her side, peering down over the rail. "Ah, I see. Kenobi and Skywalker." He leaned against the railing, staring down at them.

Lynn glanced up at him in question. "Master? Do they have the strongest bond in the Order?" she asked curiously. She glanced back down at them as she heard them murmuring to one another. Skywalker suddenly chuckled, but didn't pause once in his attack. She glanced back at her Master when he didn't answer right away. He was staring at the pair below them in deep reflection. "Master?"

Master Tun finally turned his attention to her and nodded. "Yes. I do believe they do have the strongest bond in the Order right now." He turned back to them, but Lynn didn't look away from her Master, sensing he wasn't finished. "But…" he started to say. "…they don't have the strongest bond I've ever seen."

"What do you mean, Master?" she asked.

"Years ago, before the arrival of Skywalker, there was another team that had an even stronger bond. They were more than a team, than a master and padawan. They were…" He paused. "…they were father and son in the deepest sense. The padawan had such loyalty to his master, such blind devotion. He would do anything for his Master. It's anything a master would want in his or her padawan. And the Master…you should have seen him with his padawan. He was so protective of him and so proud. He was a man of few words, but you were able to see it in his eyes. Just the way he looked at his padawan spoke to every one of how proud he was of him and how much he cared for him. They were family. The Force seemed to have made them for each other."

Lynn eyes were widened with interest. "Who were they, Master?" she asked, wondering if she had ever heard of them before. Surely, she would have if their bond was as strong as her Master claimed it to be. Maybe it was Master Yoda. He was old, wise, and powerful in the Force. It made sense he would have had the strongest bond in the Order.

"Qui-Gon Jinn…" Master Tun nodded his head towards the sparring pair. "…and Obi-Wan Kenobi," he answered.

Lynn turned her attention back below them, watching the older male more closely. "Really?" she asked in wonder. She tried to picture the man as a young Padawan with great difficulty. She had, of course, heard of Kenobi's former Master. They were, after all, the team that first discovered the Sith after a millennia of thinking the Sith were long gone. She heard about that her Modern History of the Force class, which was a class on the history of the Jedi and the Sith in modern times. A class she absolutely loved and she managed to get the highest grade in. "How did they get such a strong bond, Master?" she asked.

"I can't claim to know, Padawan. Maybe going through a rocky start of the relationship helped or maybe it was just meant to be. The will of the Force. I just don't know."

"What rocky start, Master? And how come their bond was stronger than the Kenobi and Skywalker team?"

Master Tun gave her an amused look. "Quite a lot of questions you are asking, Lynn," he noted.

Lynn shrugged her shoulders. "I am just curious, Master."

"I understand, Padawan," he said lightly. "Before Kenobi, Qui-Gon had another padawan. He loved this padawan like a son…"

"Did they have a strong bond too?" Lynn interrupted.

Master Tun gave her a look and she sheepishly grinned at him. He shook his head. "No. Their bond was kind of weak, actually. Only Qui-Gon couldn't seem to see it. That boy was not right for him." He shook his head and frowned at the reminder of the boy. "Everyone was able to see it, but Qui-Gon. The boy was ambitious and cunning. He always wanted to be stronger and faster. He was manipulative. He strung his Master along, acting like he was the perfect padawan."

Lynn stared at him with wide eyes. "What became of him?"

"He turned." Lynn gasped. "He became a fallen Jedi. It was his trial mission. He turned on his own Master and tried to kill him. Qui-Gon blamed himself for being blind and for allowing it to happen. He believed he didn't teach the boy right. He swore to never take on another padawan again after that day and he didn't for years. He became well known for his maverick ways and his consent arguments with the Council. They wanted him to take on another student and he would not hear of it."

"But he did, Master, didn't he? He trained Master Kenobi," Lynn said, getting caught up in the story.

Her Master grinned at her. "As I said, Lynn, I believe Jinn and Kenobi's strong bond was helped by getting through a very rocky start. Kenobi was close to his thirteenth. He was losing what little hope he had to find a Master when Qui-Gon came back to the Temple."

Lynn tilted her head. "Came back?"

"Oh, yes. Qui-Gon would leave on long missions after his first padawan. The missions would sometimes last years. Two years at the most. Anyway, when Qui-Gon came back, Kenobi was losing hope. Qui-Gon did not want him. He rejected him without a second thought, like many young hopeful initiates before Kenobi. I don't know the full story, but I do know that Kenobi was shipped away to join the AgriCorps soon after."

Lynn gasped again and glanced at the Jedi Master circling Skywalker, waiting for his former padawan's next attack. His blue lightsaber was at his side, but Lynn knew he wasn't being lazy. He was tense and waiting. "How did he end up with Master Jinn if he was at the AgriCorps?" She glanced back at her tall Master.

Master Tun chuckled. "It so happened, Qui-Gon had a mission on the same planet Kenobi was going to and they were traveling on the same ship." He shook his head. "I don't know all that happened, but they left together and came back together. Though, I hear they did run into Qui-Gon's former padawan. That didn't mean they were close right away. The next year or so proved very challenging for their relationship. At some point, they went on a mission and Qui-Gon came back without Kenobi."

Lynn eyes widened. "What happened to him, Master?"

Master Tun shook his head as his own disbelieve, despite being there himself and knowing it was the truthful. "Kenobi left the Order." Lynn gasped. Master Tun couldn't blame her shock. Leaving the Order was like leaving family. It just wasn't done that often. "Qui-Gon took that very deeply. He had started to really care for him and took it as sign of betrayal. It didn't help that he was looking for something like that since the moment he met the boy. Xanatos, his former padawan, had really damaged his ability to trust."

"Obviously, Master Kenobi came back. He is here now and a Master," Lynn said, with an underlying question in the statement.

Master Tun nodded. "Yes, he came back on his own freewill, guilt-ridden and willing to take whatever the consequences were. He was placed under suspension and Qui-Gon eventually took him back under his wing. Their relationship got much better after that. The fact Kenobi came back to face the consequences of his actions gained Qui-Gon's admiration. Kenobi helped him trust again and he became the man you hear about in history. Without Kenobi, I am almost positive, Qui-Gon would have become bitter and may have been lost to us, whether he fell, died, or became one of the Lost Twenty."

Lynn gazed at the pair below them as the fight momentarily stopped. Master Kenobi and Knight Skywalker were speaking in low tones as they wiped the sweat from their brows with a cloth. "How come they don't have a strong bond like Master Jinn and Kenobi did, Master?" she asked again.

"Anakin!" The voice of Master Kenobi below them took Lynn's attention. Master Kenobi was standing in the middle of the room facing the entrance of the training room. Skywalker had his back to him and was heading out of the room. "You wanted me to teach you a little of Form III!"

The Jedi Knight turned around, but didn't stop his way out of the room. He shrugged his shoulders, gracefully walking backwards without fail. "How about we do it tomorrow?" he suggested.

"That's what you said yesterday and the day before that and last week," Master Kenobi said sounding too passive for Lynn's ears, almost tired.

Skywalker shrugged his shoulders. "Sorry, Master," he said, not sounding apologetic at all. "I have somewhere to be soon. I'll talk to you later," he said before leaving the room.

"What appointment can you possibly have that I don't know about?" Master Kenobi yelled out to him.

"Sorry, Master!" Skywalker shouted back before he walked out of hearing distance.

Master Kenobi merely shook his head and pulled out his lightsaber again. He began going through Forms that were much too advanced for Lynn to identify on sight.

She heard Master Tun sigh from above her. "That would be why, Padawan." Lynn glanced up at him, her eyes begging for clarification. "Kenobi had a loyalty to his Master that Skywalker just doesn't seem to have…never seemed to have," he corrected. "Kenobi was more devoted and eager to please his Master, but extremely humble and polite. He would not have passed up a chance to practice with his Master for anything. If his Master asked him of it, he would do it. He reminded me of a pet sometimes when he was younger, following Qui-Gon around, looking for his approval in everything he did. Every time I saw Kenobi enter the refectory, his eyes would immediately seek out his Master. He took comfort being around Qui-Gon, just being near his Master seem to calm him."

"So how deep of the bond depends on the padawan?" she asked, feeling horror settle inside her. That seemed like a heavy duty to carry. What if she couldn't do it or if she failed?

Her Master shook his head. "No, no, Padawan. Both parties must work on it with aid from the Force. Kenobi had always been passive towards Skywalker. He was not the disciplinarian he should have been, but he started out so young. He was unsure how to handle the child and he was still grieving the loss of his own Master. He just became a Master far too early. It also doesn't help that Skywalker was not raised in the Temple. He knew life of attachment and he never learned to release his emotions into the Force. He was a wild child and Kenobi was a passive and calm young man. He was just not ready, not ready to be alone without his Master or to raise and train a wild boy." Her Master glanced down at Master Kenobi with a pitiful gleam in his eye. "Sadly, I heard they ended on bad terms," he said quietly, almost to himself.

Lynn titled her head in confusion. "Master Kenobi and Knight Skywalker?" she asked.

Master Tun blinked and glanced down at her, seemingly realizing she had heard him. He shook his head. "Sorry, Padawan. No, I was talking about Qui-Gon and Kenobi."

"What happened?" she asked in curiosity.

He shook his head. "I don't truly know, but rumors were it was Skywalker that caused a rift in their relationship. Qui-Gon died before it could be mended. It caused Kenobi such guilt and pain. You should have seen him those first few months back at the Temple after Qui-Gon's death. He threw himself in his role as Master with grief and pain in his heart. He would not talk about it to anyone, not even Master Yoda. I don't believe that pain ever left him completely. He never healed from it."

Lynn watched the Jedi Master. His whole being radiated calm and serenity. He was completely composed and graceful with his movements. Centered and focused. He looked to be at peace. The prefect Jedi. She glanced up at her Master. "Can I talk to him, Master?"

Her Master raised an eyebrow in surprise. "I don't see why not. Come, child." He led her away from the balcony and down the corridor. "Is there a particular reason why you desire to speak with him, Padawan?" he asked. "You don't wish to replace your Master so soon, do you?" he teased.

Lynn chuckled. "Of course not, Master. I just want to talk to him," she answered, walking pass other Jedi Masters with their padawans.

Master Tun nodded and patted her shoulder. "I know, Padawan."

They continued down the corridor, dodging pass a few younglings as they rushed to their class, and into the lifts. "Will he still be there when we get there, Master?" Lynn asked as the lift started to go down. It made a slight hum sound as it headed down to the floor with the training rooms. She looked behind and blinked blindly at the sun reflecting inside the glass of the circular lift. She turned away and glanced at her Master for his answer.

"I'm sure he will, Padawan," her Master reassured just as the lift came to a stop.

It took only a few minutes after walking off the lift to make it to the training room. The doors were opened and they were able to see the flash of blue from a lightsaber whizzing pass the open doorway. The closer they got the louder the buzz of the lightsaber became. They paused at the doorway and watched as Obi-Wan Kenobi worked on his Form III. He finished quickly and faced them, having had sensed their presences. "Master Tun," he greeted warmly. His blue eyes flickered over to Lynn curiously.

Lynn's Master stepped forwards. "Master Kenobi," he greeted back. "You are improving everyday on the Soresu."

Master Kenobi acknowledged him with a simple nod. "I fear I will need it more than ever now that war is on our front door. Is there something I can help you with?" he asked, shutting off his lightsaber and placing it back on his utility belt.

"My padawan and I were watching you and Skywalker spar from up there," he said, indicating to the small balcony they came from. "And she wanted to talk to you." He waved Lynn over and she shyly came forward. He placed a hand on her shoulder. "Master Kenobi, this is my padawan, Lynn Using. Padawan, this is Master Kenobi."

Lynn nervously bowed in respect to the well-known Jedi Master. "Master Kenobi."

He nodded his head towards in acknowledgement. "Padawan Using. You wished to speak to me, young padawan?"

She nodded. "Yes, Master Kenobi," she answered meekly, throwing an uncertain glance at her observant Master.

"I suppose I can use this time to practice my own forms," Master Tun said with a nod before heading off to the middle of the training floor, pulling out his lightsaber as he went.

Master Kenobi turned his attention back to her and smiled kindly. "Come. Let us step to the side. It would be best not to get caught in the middle of your Master's training session. It might not be a pretty sight," he said with a playful gleam in his eye. Feeling the nervousness leave with his delightful teasing, Lynn chuckled.

She let Master Kenobi lead her to the benches that lined the outer walls and sat down. He sat sideways to face her better, his one leg resting on top of the bench. She quickly went into the same position. "Tell me, Padawan Using, what can I do for you today?" They heard the hiss of a lightsaber as her Master started going through his forms.

Lynn started to stroke her violet lekku absentmindedly as stumbled over her words. "My…my Master was telling me about…about you." Master Kenobi raised a brow in silent question. "And…and…well, Master Kenobi, I know it's a painful subject, but…but I was curious and I truly would like to know. But, of course, if you don't want to answer, you don't have to. But, I am curious…."

"What do you wish to know, Padawan Using?" he asked, not unkindly.

Lynn started at his calm and wise blue eyes and paused in her stroking. "My Master told me you and…and your late Master had the strongest bond he had ever seen." The only indication that she had surprised him was the quick blink of his eyes and the subtitle way he leaned away from her. She quickly glanced down at the wooden bench, feeling like she was about to pry too deep into the famed Jedi Master's life. "I was just wondering how…how you got a strong bond with Master Qui-Gon Jinn." She glanced up hesitantly at him and he stared back.

After a few seconds that felt like minutes, he spoke. "I'm sure your Master was exaggerating, Padawan Using. My Master and I did have a strong bond, but it was nowhere near the strongest bond, that, I am sure."

Lynn blinked, knowing her Master would never lie to her. She then remembered her Master had told her of Master Kenobi's humble nature. She brushed aside the older man's words. "But how did you get the strong bond that you did have?"

He chuckled and sent her a knowing glance. "I'm sure you used the will of the Force excuse in class when you were tardy or forgot to do some homework." Her bashful look was enough of an answer for him. "Yes, every initiate and padawan uses that excuse at least once to try and get out of trouble. I was no different and I'm certain your Master used it. However, when Qui-Gon said it, he meant it with every fiber of his being. If he was here right now, I could imagine that would be his answer to your question. We had a strong bond because it was the will of the Force. It was as simple as that." He had a fond, yet, bittersweet smile on his face as he gazed off into the distance. Talk of his former master, Lynn could tell, was not something he did often it seemed.

Lynn pulled her legs onto the bench and hugged them to her, as she was a youngling getting ready for story time. "Can you tell me about him, Master Kenobi?"

He leaned back in surprise again. "Why would a young one like you want to learn about a late Jedi like Qui-Gon?"

Lynn shrugged her shoulders and much to her surprise Master Kenobi chuckled. She gave him a confused look.

He shook his head in his amusement. "You wished to know more about him?" She nodded her head, her eyes flashing with interest. "Had I shrugged my shoulders in his presence, he would have given me a stern look that stopped me cold and place his hands on my shoulders, to keep me from doing it again. Qui-Gon knew how to get his point across without words, a gift that didn't pass down to me, I'm afraid." He looked away with a wistful look on his face. "He was a much stronger man. Intimidating, but had a warm heart. He was very wise. He was a great negotiator, when he did use his words."

"How did you keep from having an attachment to him, Master Kenobi?" she asked, showing a hint of the real fear she felt deep in her heart. Having a strong bond with their masters was every padawan's dream, but how did one have a strong bond, yet, not form an attachment? She cared for her Master deeply already and feared if she cared for him any deeper it would become an attachment, which was against the Jedi Codes. Her eyes flickered over to her dark haired Master as he moved gracefully across the training room, his dark eyes narrowed in concentration. She glanced back at Master Kenobi. He stared at her with a knowing look before giving her Master a quick glance. It seemed his sense her thoughts as if she had no shields around her mind.

He shook his head. "I was unable too," he whispered quietly.

Lynn stared wide eyed at him in shock. A Jedi Master had broken the Codes? A revered Jedi Master? She could hardly believe it.

"I had felt a connection to him the moment I first heard his name," Master Kenobi started to explain. "I wanted to please him almost instantly and not just because I wanted to become a padawan." He shook his head. "I don't know how to describe it. I wanted to be his padawan. I had this loyalty to him that I couldn't explain. I was willing to sacrifice my life for his and I nearly did before I became his padawan."

"But, Master Kenobi, isn't attachment against the Codes?" she asked, already knowing it was.

He nodded. "Yes, Padawan Using, it is. That was why I never spoke of it as a boy. I never told Qui-Gon just how much I cared for him, how much it hurt when we never had the chance to…" Here, he paused. Then, started again, changing his words. "…how much it hurt when he died."

She was able to see pain in his eyes and guilt. Remembering her Master's words of the rift between Master's Qui-Gon and Kenobi, she kept her mouth shut and pitied him silently. She couldn't imagine having such a painful end to a relationship. "I believe he knows, Master Kenobi. Your Master is in the Force now and the Force knows everything. So, he knows," she spoke, trying to comfort him.

He gave her a half grin. "I could see you becoming quite a wise Master, Padawan Using. Your words ring true." Lynn grinned at him, pleased to have his praise. "But he should have had the opportunity to hear it from my own lips and not learn it after passing into the Force."

She struggled to find a right response, but didn't get the chance to before she was distracted. Something blue flashed from the corner of her eye and she frowned as she looked over. She gasped and her eyes widened. Not a meter from them stood a blue, hazy man and she could see straight through him. He was tall and broad. An intimidating figure. He wore the traditional clothing of a Jedi, tunic, loose-fitting trousers, boots, a utility belt around his waist, and, lastly, an open robe around his frame. He had long hair that was partly pulled back and a short beard. She immediately recognized him from the holo-images in her modern history class. It was the late Master Qui-Gon Jinn. He was staring at Obi-Wan, his face expressionless, but his eyes were drawn. "Wha…? How…?" she started to ask in confusion.

"Padawan Using, what is it?" Master Kenobi asked as he followed her gaze.

She turned her attention to Master Kenobi, expecting him to react in some way, tensing up, call to his former master, gasping in surprise, anything. However, he glanced towards where Qui-Gon stood and turned his attention back to her. His face confused and concern. "What is it, Padawan Using?" he asked again.

She blinked in surprise. "You don't…?" She couldn't finish her question. How would she be able to ask him if he saw him without sounding insane? Her eyes flickered back over to the ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn.

Master Kenobi followed her eyes again and shook his head. "I don't what, young padawan?" he asked, turning his confused attention back to her.

"I…" She didn't know what to say. She watched as Qui-Gon Jinn walked silently over to the pair until he stood right next to his former padawan. She glanced over at her Master, wondering if he saw the ghost of a long dead Jedi, but Master Tun had his back to them, still practicing. She glanced back at the blue ghost. She watched as Qui-Gon lifted up a hand and hovered it over Master Kenobi's shoulder. She glanced at the man's eyes and suddenly understood what her Master had meant. One glance was all it took to see how proud the man was of his former padawan. She felt a tingle down her spin at the care and love in his eyes. To have a bond like that would be the most wonderful gift the Force could grant and it granted it to the pair before her. Qui-Gon suddenly looked at her and she froze. He smiled at her, his face as kind as his former padawan. He glanced back down at Master Kenobi with pride, a tender smile on his face. He then faded away, pride still in his eyes and a warm smile still on his face.

"Padawan Using? Lynn!"

She blinked and turned back to Master Kenobi. He looked at her worriedly. "I'm sorry, Master Kenobi. I was just…just thinking." Her eyes briefly flickered over to where she last saw Qui-Gon Jinn, wondering why she had been able to see him in the first place and how. She then remembered the love and the pride in his eye. Master Jinn wanted her to give a message to him. She felt a warm glow in her heart and knew she was correct. She smiled at Master Kenobi. "You shouldn't fear, Master Kenobi." He raised an eye brow in question. "Your Master loves you too. He is very proud of you. Nothing, not even an unsealed rift, could change that. He wants you to know that he never left you. He is still there. You have no need to feel guilt for his death. He does not blame you, Master Kenobi. He loves you and he wants you to be guilt free and happy," she said. Master Kenobi blinked and he leaned back slightly in surprise. He stared at her. She stood up. "May the Force be with you, Master Kenobi," she said as she walked away. She could feel Master Kenobi's eyes on her back. "Master!" she called out.

Her Master stopped in the middle of his exercise and faced her. "You finished talking, Padawan?" She nodded. He turned off his lightsaber and placed it on his belt. "Let's go mediate."

She nodded. "Yes, Master. That sounds good." She, after all, had a lot to mediate on now.

Together they headed out of the room, throwing back a goodbye to Master Kenobi, to which he didn't respond. He was too lost in thought and Lynn smiled, knowing she wasn't the only one that needed to mediate.