Well, hello there. My regular readers may be wondering why I'm writing this instead of my long overdue Naruto chapter (WHICH WILL BE UP BY SATURDAY), but hey, it's summer and I did a Star Wars movie marathon. Which brought on all the feels from when a read the JA books a long while ago. And then I watched The Clone Wars. And finally, I got a feel for what the Star Wars fanfiction community is like…
And Obi-angst. Muahahaha.
So, with no further ado, I give you The Silent Song. Featuring an adorable –if silent – Obi-Wan, Uncertain!Qui, lyrical angsty stuff and angsty lyrical stuff (there's a difference! Believe me!) and my love of Obi!
Thank you all. Enjoy.
The main training salle is a gleaming arena of paradoxes, ordered chaos, an arena divided by thin lines of restraint and desperation. There is vergence in the Force, to be sure. To the initiates that twirl and dance about each other, cloaked in tongues of sapphire and emerald flame, today is a crossroad in the Unifying Force; a day in which an age-old tradition among the Order may be honoured, the bond between that of a Master and Padawan forged; or a day of disappointment, at the end of which pain would dissipate into the flowing currents of the Living Force.
Perhaps a divergence, after all. Two paths. That of a Padawan, a path-seeker, or the other – unthinkable. Unbearable, failure.
Master Cin Drallig's sharp voice snaps an order, and eighteen blades hiss back into their hilts like hot iron in seawater, sending frustration, battle-joy and focussed energy dissipating into the air, leaving the Force glowing, heated, like the fumes in a sword-forge after the completion of a blade.
A murmur sweeps though the knights and masters gathered on the observation platform as the breathless hum of two lightsabers remain, as discordant as their wielders.
"Initiate Chun! Initiate Kenobi!" Master Drallig's bark is as cutting as any whip. "Cease!"
One of the two boys, one with as rich red-brown hair as the other's is white, flings a glance at Master Drallig as he flips backwards to dodge his opponent's wild swing. Sky-blue eyes hold a mix of desperation and measured control.
Cin Drallig's eyes narrow in understanding. "Initiate Chun," he calls, voice dropping dangerously low.
But it is unlikely the boy called Bruck Chun can hear the Jedi master's voice over his own battle-cries.
"Pick up your feet, Kenobi," the white-haired twelve-year-old snarls at the boy opposite. "Since you're so eloquent with a lightsaber, why don't you open that mouth of yours and say something back?"
Shocked affront radiates from the observation platform.
Kenobi's lips press into a thin line, and while his movements had been entirely defensive following Master Drallig's orders, his wrist twitches, betraying an urge to strike even as his Force-presence blazes with incandescent light.
Mutterings of approval spread like forest winds through the gathered audience as the initiate sinks deeper into the Force, its very eddies seeming to cradle every parry and block as he moves through the light, biding his time in a slow dance of patience until a quick movement disarms his opponent, sending two halves of a training saber's hilt skidding across the marked floor.
Obi-Wan Kenobi retracts his saber and gives the merest of bows to his opponent, before pivoting seamlessly and sinking into a deep and apologetic bow to Master Drallig.
The Battlemaster-to-be regards him keenly for a moment, then favours him with a wry smile. "Well fought, Initiate Kenobi."
The boy nods his thanks, and files out of the salle with the rest of his age-mates, too tired to notice the spectacle of several Jedi masters heading towards Bruck Chun with thunderous expressions on their faces.
"Done well, you have, Obi-Wan," Master Yoda humphs at him by the exit.
Obi-Wan manages an exhausted bow, then turns to leave.
Throughout it all, the sparring match, the taunts, receiving praise, he has not said a word.
Up on the now-empty observation balcony, Mace Windu turns to his old friend. "What did you think, Qui-Gon? Any caught your eye?"
Qui-Gon Jinn folds his hands into opposite sleeves, the very epitome of the grave Jedi Master. "None, Mace," he replies. "I have told you before, have I not? I will not take another padawan. But," he relents, "I am interested in something else entirely. That Initiate…Kenobi, was it? I'd like to speak to him."
The Korun master's expression folds into a grimace. "Ah, Qui, now that's just the thing…"
Obi-Wan lingers on the overgrown path of the inner solarium, basking in the late afternoon warmth. The Force drifts lazily here, but clearly, like the quiet but steady crystal of the meandering brook at his feet. This garden is a cloister, a hidden paradise sequestered away in an oft-forgotten corner of the Temple. It has not the chuckling water of the Room of a Thousand Fountains, or the cacophony of muffled murmurs that are the Archives. Here, there is silence.
Obi-Wan can almost hear himself speak.
He has often imagined what his own voice would be like. Having never had the chance to vocalise that wish, Obi-Wan can only dream. I'd like a nice voice, he muses. Not as deep as Master Bondara's…but not as gruff as Master Piell's. A singing voice! For a moment, Obi-Wan is not under sun and sky but rather in the sleeping rooms of the crèche, soothing Bant's nightmares from her with a lullaby.
But the dream fades as quickly as the soaring in his heart, and all is silent once more.
But perhaps that is for the best.
Here, in the heady air where even the Force lies wordless, Obi-Wan is one with the Force, welcomed, cherished. He can speak to the twisting branches above and shivering leaves below, for they are silent, and so is he. Here there is a peace deeper than meditation can offer.
Obi-Wan folds himself onto his knees, closes his eyes, and listens.
The barest of breezes catches the last of his cold sweat from his sparring match and brushes it away, refreshing him in the scent of freshly crushed leaves. There are flashes of bright life in the Force – a napping dormouse with its litter under a tree there, sudden birdsong thrumming the network of silver-limned boughs above – small sounds that do not disturb the silence. Obi-Wan is not meditating, not exactly. He centres himself, but not in the manner that he has been taught. He is the centre, for there is no centre. The galaxy seems to halt in the flow of time and suck in a breathless gasp of wonder as for a moment, a young boy merges with the Force and finds in its iridescent depths the music of the spheres.
The sharp clack of a gimer stick jerks Obi-Wan out of his trance with uncharacteristic lack of aplomb.
Yoda's gimlet eyes hold measured mirth. "Brooding, are you, young one?"
Obi-Wan shakes his head rapidly, only to still himself in mortification when he realises the lack of control in the motion. A blush creeps up his cheeks.
"Humph. Brooding, you were not. Brooding, you are now."
A shift of surprise, followed by a slow dip of the head. Yes, master, comes the silent reply.
"Back to the crèche with you," Yoda huffs, the Force around alight with suppressed glee and hidden knowledge. "Dwell not on trying."
Acknowledgement shines in two grey-blue eyes as Obi-Wan makes first one bow, and then a second towards a seemingly empty wall, before scurrying off. As the red-brown mop of hair disappears around the corner, Yoda finally lets his amusement bubble forth in quiet chuckles. "Thoughts have you, Master Windu?"
Mace Windu sports a contrite grin of his own as he emerges from the shadows. "How in nine hells did he sense me? I kept my Force-signature tightly furled."
Yoda's stick raps a line across the Korun master's shins. "A good match, is it not?" he mutters gruffly.
Mace has the good sense to ignore the ache in his calves as he replies. "It certainly seems like the will of the Force. We just have to convince that old desert djinn to choose the boy as his apprentice. Then the two of them could brood up a dark hole in the Force." He bites back a curse as Yoda's stick lands across his knees again in a solid thwack.
"Interfere too much, we must not!" A clawed hand tightens on the knobbly wood. "If will of the Force it is, then decided, it shall be."
Master Windu feels every bit the padawan again as he makes a deep bow to the most revered head of the Jedi Order. "Yes, Master."
"Hmmph. Good." Yoda's tone suddenly changes, as abruptly as the topic. "Late, it is. Tea, padawan?"
Qui-Gon Jinn professes no little embarrassment for his so obviously uncentred state as the turbolift deposits him in front of the tenth-level crèches. Well, by professes, it remains that the knowledge is contained within a cool mask of perfect Jedi calm.
His determination wavers, however, when faced with a once-plain door lettered in lurid colours, The Dragon Clan/Jedi Master Ali-Alann. It wavers even further when the shrieking of a dozen sugar-fueled force-sensitive younglings stab into his ears through solid durasteel.
Qui-Gon grimaces as he remembers that tonight is the one night of the week in which the crèchelings are given dessert. Thoughts dart through his mind. The voice of reason wars with the voice of excuse. A negotiator knows when to withdraw, he muses. Only by conceding a momentary retreat can one push forward at a later time. With his thought happily in place, Qui-Gon pivots on one booted foot, turns, and–
The door slides open behind him, and the booming voice of Ali Alann assaults his eardrums. "Qui-Gon! To what do I owe the pleasure, old friend?"
With an efficiency born from years of practice, Qui-Gon plasters a convincing smile on his face and reverses his direction smoothly. "Good evening, Ali," he says, pleasantly enough.
"Come in, come in," Ali replies brusquely, waving Qui-Gon in with a broad hand. Qui-Gon and Ali Alaan are of about the same height – tower-like – but Master Alaan is built much more stoutly. Qui Gon hides his amusement at the notion that his friend could herd younglings simply by wading though them.
As the crèche master insists on bustling into the next room to make tea, Qui-Gon finds himself sat rather uncomfortably on a play bench far too low for his long limbs. He faces the younglings. And sucks in a slow breath. Patience.
There might as well be twelve krayt dragons in front of him instead of twelve Jedi Initiates. Proper Jedi Initiates are calm, reserved; these unholy terrors must surely belong to some other Order. A bolo-ball rebounds between the children like some demented ballistic missile. The metal surface of the sphere never really touches hands or feet or tunics, but must be subject to immense g-forces as Force pushes explode at it from all directions. Force-bolo is listed in the Archives as a common Force-control exercise for younglings, but the long-held and greatly humoured rumour within the higher ranks is that the game was invented during the Great Sith Wars to prepare younglings for battle.
Qui-Gon snorts. It certainly looks like it. Dragon Clan, aptly named.
But he is wrong, apparently. For while it first seemed that this particular crèche is home to twelve krayt dragons, in reality, there are only eleven. The twelfth, and somehow separate, is Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Qui-Gon had at first thought that the screams of exhilaration issued from twelve hoarse throats, but Obi-Wan's lips are tightly shut, a thin line of concentration. Sweat beads his short spiky hair, runs down the one longer tress that could, someday in the future, be twisted into a padawan braid. For a sudden, clear instant, Qui-Gon almost fancies he sees a vision. Almost, because he is a Living Force user, through and through. Could I be the one to braid that lock of hair? Qui-Gon leans forward abruptly, piercing azure eyes fixed on Obi-Wan's movements.
Obi-Wan's leaps and twists in midair are as excited and joyous as the others' around him, but in those seemingly innocent movements, Qui-Gon observes more. A Soresu stance here, Ataru backflip there, melding perfectly into a precise Force-push that lances into the bolo-ball and whips it in a perfect trajectory past six other small heads into the waiting goal-box.
Qui-Gon feels a grin tug at his lips even as a stray thought darts into his mind: the boy must be taught restraint. That Force-push had flair, certainly, but it could also easily have broken the nose of another initiate. He notices Obi-Wan's eyes are already darting over the floor, undoubtedly plotting another path to victory. Another lesson to be taught – victory is not the sole pursuit of a Jedi.
But it does not escape Qui-Gon that while his age-mates run, Obi-Wan dances.
A sweet cup of honeyed tea appears by his elbow. You've come to take away one of mine, I see," Ali Alann sighs, his voice a mixture of pride and a slight touch of sorrow. "What can I say? The Code forbids attachment, but I love them all anyway. They're just so precious."
Qui-Gon formulates an answer while he sips the warm brew. "Rest assured, Master Alann," he chuckles. "At least for now. I am simply obliging a whim."
Ali Alann raises an eyebrow. Crèche master he is, but Jedi master, also. He is not so easily fooled. "Of course," he replies, nodding graciously at his friend. He allows a pregnant pause to give his following words as much bruising strength as possible on Qui-Gon's ego. "…I assume this is about Obi-Wan?" Ali asks. Or states. There really isn't a difference.
His face wiped carefully blank, Qui-Gon reflects that Ali Alann is probably more suited to a career in politics and peacekeeping. That perceptive Sithspawn. "What can you tell me about him?" he murmurs into his teacup. He will not concede defeat by directly replying to the question.
"Well, he's perfect. Or very near to perfect, as far as an Initiate goes," Ali Alann mutters, idly swirling his tea. "He's whole light-years ahead of his age-group in 'saber skills – he's mastered all the basic required forms for Shii-Cho and is moving on to specialising in some of the more modern forms. According to masters Drallig and Boondara, he's chosen Ataru, with some Soresu on the side." A sly grin. "You could teach him plenty."
Qui-Gon waves the loaded question away as he does the steam from his tea. "Force-skills?"
Ali Alann flicks a finger at the holo-ball match. Qui-Gon nods. No further explanation needed.
"And then there's his proficiency in academics." Master Alann's tone has taken on a world-weary air of parental pride. "He would spend the whole day, every day in the Archives if Madame Nu would let him – she's got a soft spot for him, you know that? – And when he comes out, he usually has an armful of holo-books. Politics, History, Philosophy – he quotes Chakora Seva in his writings. I could give you some samples if you want."
Qui-Gon doesn't know whether to laugh or to stare incredulously. "That would be appreciated."
A pause, in which the tea is nearly all consumed and distraction nearly spent.
"He's very, very strong in the Unifying Force. I know you think it doesn't really matter whether we belong to the Living or Unifying, but he has visions nearly every night. I don't think he's had a normal dream since age three. This is when his Force-skills are but a shadow of what they could be – try dealing with it in the field."
Qui-Gon winces. "That is unfortunate."
Ali Alann begins to speak, and then catches himself. He takes a quick breath. "Qui, he's–"
The crèche master sets down his tea with a tired movement. "It shouldn't interfere with his life as a Jedi… but given the nature of most of your missions, I don't know whether…"
"I'll think about it." Qui-Gon knows he has just admitted outright to his interest in Obi-Wan to be his Padawan, but the problem of negotiation remains. What padawan of a peacekeeper and mediator could not debate?
A voice breaks into his thoughts.
"They'll enter a food-coma soon," Ali Alann observes dispassionately as the children's movements slow. "Thank the Force. I need a full night's sleep for once."
"I'll give you five minutes with him. You can come back tomorrow if you want."
A grateful nod. "You have my thanks."
Ali Alann gathers the empty cups. "Qui-Gon. I know I can trust you to be tactful." Something in his voice belies worry.
"Lessons are not taught by tact alone."
For a moment, the crèche master sounds suspiciously like Master Tahl Uvain. "Don't give me that negotiator drivel. I get that often enough from Obi-Wan."
A small laugh from Qui-Gon. A rarity, nowadays, ever since Xan–
He breaks off the thought and spends the next few minutes in half-meditation.
And all too soon, Ali Alann ushers him into the crèche's sleep chamber, where huge blue-grey eyes stare expressively at him.
As he opens his mouth to speak, a small part of Qui-Gon grieves for this boy who will never do the same, and fears for himself, for pity is a path to attachment, and attachment the path to Dark.
I know, I know. I'm evil to leave you there. I just wanted to get this up and some opinions on whether you all think this is worth pursuing as a long epic story. I've done mid-length stories before of about twenty chapters, but I want to go above an beyond that here. Tell me what you all think! Obi-angst, fluff and Daddy!Qui to follow! MUAHAHAHA!