A Second Chance
A mysterious mission regresses Qui-Gon to the age of one...can Obi-Wan forge a bond with the man who was once his master? This is sort of a sequel to "When We Meet Again" so you might want to read that first to fully understand.
"Problem this is," Master Yoda keenly observed. His gimer stick gently prodded the bundle before him. The bundle let our an ear-shattering cry, causing all Jedi Masters within the region to find some way of politely covering their eyes.
"What do you think we should do?" Mace Windu asked warily, leaning closer to the wailing child. "We could hand him over to the Initiate housing. They could bring him up again..."
"This is ridiculous," Adi Gallia murmured, "Just a week ago, Qui-Gon was complaining to me about the nuisances of getting old. And now...looks like he won't have to worry about that particular problem for quite awhile."
All the council members stared at the baby. Qui-Gon Jinn.
Regressed to the age of less than a year old.
Mace let out a resigned sigh. "It is ridiculous."
"Hand him over to initiate housing, we should not," Yaddle spoke up quietly. "Know, we do not, what caused this. Need special attention, Master Qui-Gon does." Her ears lowered. "Sure it is Qui-Gon, are we?"
"So the blood tests would indicate," Ki-Adi-Mundi said.
"Call Obi-Wan," Adi suggested.
Mace Windu turned a baffled look towards his former apprentice. "Obi-Wan Kenobi? The boy has just been reentered into the Jedi Order! He isn't capable. He has a duty to serve to his Queen, not the Jedi."
"He is the only one Qui-Gon trusted," Adi said simply.
"He is the one who broke Qui-Gon's trust."
Yoda rapped his gimer stick, breaking the argument. "Summon Obi-Wan, we shall," he said flatly. "Decide what shall happen, he will."
The object of their concern was pacing furiously outside the Council room, wondering furiously why exactly he had been called to Coruscant during the crack of dawn on Naboo. He had been preparing to accompany Queen Amidala to her 16th birthday celebration when his comlink had signaled. He had been ordered to return to the Temple immediately.
As a Jedi Knight, he had been required to fulfill that order.
So here he was, after a whole morning of traveling, missing the celebration he had looked forward to attending for so many weeks. With a sigh, Obi-Wan groaned audibly. He knew his feelings were not proper for a Jedi.
Knowing something and actually doing it were very different things, Obi-Wan argued.
The doors whooshed open, breaking Obi-Wan's thoughts. With a quick glance inside, he saw the entire Council present. And in Master Yoda's arms was a child! A baby! Closer inspection showed it was a human. An initiate then?
Mace Windu cleared his throat. "Knight Kenobi, if you would please step inside."
Feeling a blush rise up his neck, Obi-Wan nodded and stepped inside, attempting to hide his embarrassment. Closer now, he stared at the young child, seeing the baby focus bleary eyes on his face.
"H – hi there," he said nervously, seeing the child stare at him with lightning intensity. "Masters, I was called this morning – "
"Recognize this child, do you?" Master Yoda asked succinctly.
Obi-Wan peered closer. With a delighted cry, the child burped in Obi-Wan's face. Startled, the young Jedi rocked backwards. "Uh, no, Master Yoda. Did you want me to take the child down to Initiate housing?" he asked, puzzled.
"No, Knight Kenobi," Mace sighed. "Look closer."
Sighing, Obi-Wan focused his gaze on the child again. There was a shock of brown hair, cool gray eyes...almost like...Qui-Gon's. No way. It was impossible. Tilting his head to one side, Obi-Wan offered the child his index finger, gasping when the child grasped it with inhuman strength.
"Qui-Gon Jinn, it is," Yoda said.
Obi-Wan gasped and automatically pulled away, but let out a gasp of startled pain when the child refused to let go. "Qui-Gon?" he asked blankly, seeing the child again. "No. No, it's impossible. This isn't Qui-Gon."
Mace sighed. "Do you need to see the blood tests?"
"No, Master." Obi-Wan struggled again, this time managing to free his finger from the iron grip. The child immediately began to cry. "Oh for Force sakes," Obi-Wan muttered, surrendering his finger again.
"What think you?" Master Yoda questioned, his ears crooking forward in interest.
"About what, Master?" Obi-Wan asked respectfully, hiding the pain as the child gleefully twisted the proffered finger.
Yoda pointed with his gimer stick towards the child. "Take him down to initiate housing, should we?"
Qui-Gon immediately began to cry, clinging fiercely to Obi-Wan's finger. The Knight winced. "If this truly is Qui-Gon, I don't think he'll belong there," Obi-Wan said, "But this can't be. Qui-Gon was 60 when I last saw him, on Naboo, two years ago..."
"We cannot explain it, Obi-Wan, but the tests show this is Qui-Gon Jinn. We are unsure about his current age or how he will age as time goes on. That's why we need someone, someone available and who knows Qui-Gon very well, to help take care of him." Adi.
Obi-Wan's eyes darted suspiciously. "How am I supposed to take care of a baby?"
"It's only temporary," Adi said, "And besides, he won't let go of you."
"Kinobi!" the child gurgled, causing all eyes to flash to him.
It was Obi-Wan who spoke first. "Masters, ah...are you sure the child isn't one yet?"
"He's growing," Ki-Adi-Mundi sounded fascinated. "Growing at an advanced rate." Obi-Wan could see traces of steam rising from his ears as the Jedi Master worked through all the laws of science known throughout the galaxy.
"Well that settles it," Mace said heavily. "Obi-Wan, he's yours."
"Don't I get a say in this?" Obi-Wan asked desperately. "Ow!" he cried out as Qui-Gon jerked hard on his finger. "That breaks, you know!" he said to the child, feeling his anger melt away when tears began to form. "Oh all right," he sighed.
The child giggled gleefully.
"At least someone's happy," Obi-Wan sighed.
"All right...Qui-Gon," Obi-Wan said uneasily. Housing had brought up some furniture for the child, who Obi-Wan now assumed to be exactly one year old. And now Qui-Gon was sitting in a crib, giggling happily as he played with a spoon.
"Listen, Qui-Gon, I'm not exactly equipped for kids. Hey!" Obi-Wan ducked as Qui-Gon flung the spoon at him. He held his hands pleadingly. "Okay, you win. Is your goal in life to hurt me?"
Qui-Gon didn't respond, but wailed as he pointed at the discarded spoon. With a groan, the young Jedi Knight stooped and picked it up, holding it a few feet from Qui-Gon. "No throwing," he said sternly.
"No throwing," Obi-Wan repeated, again startled by Qui-Gon's growing vocabulary.
"MINE!" Qui-Gon's voice rose in pitch.
"Good grief," Obi-Wan muttered, handing the child the spoon. A moment later it struck the opposite wall. Qui-Gon began crying. "Listen," Obi-Wan said, "I am not going to play fetch with you all day!"
"Mine!" Qui-Gon sobbed, holding his hands towards Obi-Wan. "Mine, mine, mine!"
"Master, if you're in there somewhere, now would be an excellent time to come out," Obi-Wan said, offering the spoon out again. The tears disappeared instantly as Qui-Gon grabbed it and hit Obi-Wan's hand with a tiny fist.
"Ow!" Obi-Wan blurted, capturing tiny hands with his own. "Listen, Master...Qui-Gon, this feels strange enough already. You don't have to make it any worse. Do you understand?" He looked directly into those impassive gray eyes.
Nothing reflected back at him.
"Oh, I give up," Obi-Wan said, turning away.
The spoon hit the back of his head.