Title: Continuity

Author: nostalgia

Rated: G

Summary: "He missed the braid, a little."

Disclaim: Me no own, Lucasfilm own. They make money, me no make money. They big scary film people with lawyers, me small and vicious.

Etc: Languished for a while, finished now. Go me!

Feedback: ...is cllinically proven to make your hair grow faster.

**is italics**

- - - - - -

The braid was already gone, cut and burned and turned to memory. **Like Qui-Gon...** He remembered watching the hair fold in on itself, turning to smoke. His eyes had watered as the heat stung them.

He missed the braid, a little. He'd had a habit of calming his nerves by running the braid through his fingers, checking that it was still there and he was still a Jedi. That he was still Obi-Wan Kenobi, Apprentice to Qui-Gon Jinn. But he wasn't anymore and so the braid was gone. He wasn't used to the loss yet, kept expecting to wake up still braided and Apprenticed. He didn't have to sit carefully rebraiding it every morning, pulling wet hair into a tight string, replacing the coloured threads that signified the milestones. He didn't feel it slapping lightly against his shoulder when he completed a spin, didn't feel it tugging when it caught underneath him in his sleep. He envied Anakin, in a way.

He took the blade from the metal handle and carefully wrapped it in a cocoon of linen. He tied it with a thin, short thread and placed the bundle into the wastebasket. It rested on the bristle-like products of Anakin's most recent haircut, administered yesterday with sharp silver scissors that gleamed with the sunlight that poured in through the windows. Obi-Wan closed his eyes briefly as he remembered the boy's insistent cautions not to take the braid from him by accident. He'd had to keep guiding Anakin's head back round so that the child was facing forwards, in case he really did slip and take the wrong lengths of hair. That would have been embarrassing, to say the least.

He left the bundled blade to be thrown out and incinerated with the hair. He didn't need it anymore.

He ran a hand through his own hair, feeling the still unfamiliar length. It was starting to fall in his eyes now, but months would pass before it was long enough to tie back from his face. Red-brown tendrils grazed across his forehead and clung against the base of his neck.

**"Why can't I grow it?" Younger now, trying to hold himself still as scissors clicked and hair fell onto his shoulders. It tickled. **

**"Because you are a Padawan, and Padawans have short hair." Qui-Gon sighing the words for the hundredth time, silencing the complaints of one Apprentice after another. **

**"Don't get the braid, Master." An ever-present worry around sharp objects and open flames. Mild paranoia.**

**"I won't, Padawan. Now keep still."**

But he was Padawan no longer, now he would let his hair become free and flowing. He would fall into the pattern.

Because that was what you did, turned yourself into a poor reflection of the one who trained you. Which was why Obi-Wan would let his hair grow and why he had thrown the still-sharp razorblade into the wastebasket. He would model himself after the vision of Knighthood left in him by his dead Master. He would become, in some superficial yet entirely real sense, Qui-Gon Jinn.

He wondered if Anakin would ever do this. If things would be the same so many years from now when some newly-knighted young man modelled his appearance on his former Master. A sign to say that he had been trained by Anakin Skywalker, who was trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was trained by Qui-Gon Jinn, who was trained by Haran Dooku, who was trained by Yoda, who was trained by... on and on back to infinity.

This was the way things were. This was continuity, this was remembrance. He ran his hand over the stubble, felt the skin that would be red and itchy before he was made new.

He looked in the mirror and saw himself for what was, really, the last time.