"Necessary to return to Valon, it may be," stated Yoda firmly.
"No," Qui-Gon Jinn replied, equally as adamant.
Mace Windu sighed with elaborate patience. The Jedi Masters had been debating on how to restore Qui-Gon to his natural state after he had been partially transformed into a demon of the night on a recent mission to his mother's homeworld. The discussion was not going well, and all four of them were getting restless.
"We simply do not enough information to help you. Valon has not provided any information on the subspecies or genetic mutations of the dominant humanoids, that these 'demons of the dark' must be. The healers cannot accurately determine how the transformation occurred, much less how to reverse it," Mace Windu finally admitted.
"Master..." Qui-Gon looked at his apprentice, who had been watching the flow of the argument, but had kept quiet in front of his elders up to now. "Have you considered contacting your parents?"
"A good idea this is. Your mother must know more of her lineage," the peaks of the green Jedi's ears twitched upward.
"I haven't seen my parents since I joined the Jedi Academy as an infant. I have never even considered meeting them." Qui-Gon did not appear thrilled at the idea, but at least he did not reject it immediately. He had been flatly refusing to return to Valon for research, unwilling to risk the life of his apprentice. The two had been lured by a diplomatic request to Valon and as far as Qui-Gon knew, if he was ever driven by passion and anger to kill Obi-Wan, his demonic transformation would be completed.
"They may not even be alive, but it's a good idea. I will have the necessary research on your personal records done and let you know." Master Windu was relieved that this logical tactic that could end the stalemate and he leand back in his chair, steepling his long fingers to signal the end of the discussion.
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon rose from their seats, bowing to the two Masters before leaving. They walked slowly along the corridors of the Jedi Academy, nodding casually to other Jedi they encountered. The two had formed a light mental bond when they had become Master and Padawan, but Qui-Gon's physical transformation had substantially increased Obi-Wan's awareness of him. He could tell when his Master simply needed to dwell on his own thoughts and allowed him that peaceful silence.
They reached their room as twilight cast purple shadows through the large windows. With Qui-Gon's change came a sensitivity to light, and the two were existing mainly during the night, rising in late afternoon and retiring to sleep by dawn. Qui-Gon said only his padawan's name softly, but Obi-Wan knew what he needed. Dropping his cloak over a chair, he leaned his back against the window, stretching his throat and closing his eyes. The last rays of sun highlighted the gold in his spiky hair. Qui-Gon stood close to him, his booted feet between Obi-Wan's spread legs. One hand drifted up, stroking the pale skin of his throat, lengthened fingernails lightly scratching.
"We have to cut your nails again," Obi-Wan murmured, determined to retain a level of amusement in their situation.
Qui-Gon didn't respond, leaning in to press his fangs into the arched skin. Obi-Wan felt the rush of his blood through his veins, entering Qui-Gon's feasting mouth. Their bodies pressed together, solid muscles hardened by daily physical exercises, covered by soft fabric. The silkiness of Qui-Gon's hair draped against the sides of Obi-Wan's face, as the rough beard pressed against the skin revealed by the open neck of his tunic. His Master's power and passion drenched his senses.
The elder Jedi drank thirstily for long minutes before stopping himself, afraid to weaken his apprentice unduly. Pulling his fangs gently out, he licked the few glittering drops of blood from young throat before resting his forehead against Obi-Wan's. One hand caressed the hollow of his throat, feeling the beat of his apprentice's blood. The two stood together for ageless moments, feeling the serenity of their hearts pulsing, breaths intermingling.
"We need something to soften your beard," Obi-Wan said wryly to break the depth of the stillness. "A lotion, perhaps. It scratches my face and throat."
Qui-Gon smiled faintly, encouraged by his apprentice's steady acceptance of the situation, an acceptance reinforced with humor and loyalty. He placed one hand on the small punctures, gathering the Force and sending healing energy into the wounds. Qui-Gon was not a healer by nature, but he had enough talent for simple injuries and that skill had allowed them to hide the daily feasting from the other Jedi, who believed Qui-Gon was surviving on blood-based protein fluids. "Maybe I should buy you a fancy neck band. It would give you time to let your wounds heal naturally."
"Ah, but if I had to take it off to exercise..." Obi-Wan grimaced, letting Qui-Gon grasp the logical, unpleasant conclusion.
"Mace would have my head if he realized I was endangering you so." Apologetically, Qui-Gon continued, "Please believe me when I tell you that I cannot exist without the sweet taste of your blood. Synthetic protein cannot quench my thirst for your spirit."
Obi-Wan's hands rose to clasp his Master's upper arms, fingers digging in to emphasize his point. "No one needs to know or shall ever know what occurs between us, Master. I am yours and you are mine and I shall do *everything* necessary to help you."
A light rap on the door interrupted the intensity of his declaration. Obi-Wan let his hands drop away. "It must be Ayala. I promised to celebrate Sezon's birthday."
"Then go. Have a good time."
"How could I not? Thanks to your schedule I'm going out to party barely two hours after breakfast." Obi-Wan gave his Master a fast kiss, which Qui-Gon lengthened before letting his apprentice pick up his cloak and leave.
Standing on the Academy's practice grounds, Qui-Gon took calming breaths, breathing heavily and expanding his lungs to their fullest capacity. He felt the air in every cell of his body, energizing him, the power of the Force permeating every blood vessel. Snapping on his lightsaber, he began an elaborate kata, moving smoothly through the intricate steps. Gracefully, he thrust, parried and deflected invisible opponents, sometimes bending deeply, at other times leaping and twisting.
The kata ended; Qui-Gon's headed bowed in respect to a worthy, albeit invisible, opponent. When he looked up, Mace was standing in front of him.
"For old times' sake?" Mace said, raising his lightsaber.
"It's been so long since we sparred."
Qui-Gon reignited his saber, raising his right arm in a classic fencing pose, left arm back, balance evenly distributed over both feet. Mace matched the pose and the lightsabers clashed, sending out a shower of brilliant green and grey sparks.
The battle was hard and bitter. Mace and Qui-Gon had been in the Academy together, separated by only a few years and they had practiced together enough during their youth to learn each other's weakness. Now they each instinctively sought those gaps in the other's defenses, each testing what the other had learned over the decades. For a Jedi, his skill with a lightsaber was often the only talent that saved his life, and both men had that lesson well reinforced from harsh experience. Every sparring session was a demonstration of survival skills in their minds.
Other Jedi had been practicing exercises, though most had been preparing for sleep by performing routines more meditative than Qui-Gon's. Since Masters rarely fought in public, a small crowd soon gathered, relishing the chance to watch such skill, the deadly lightsabers at full strength, touching constantly but never landing.
Qui-Gon's superior speed and strength was the ultimate winning card. Through his transformation, Qui-Gon's reflexes had sharpened to an uncanny, inhuman degree. Mace's saber went flying, ripped out of his hands by the power of Qui-Gon's swing and the lightsaber halted a bare centimeter from Mace's neck. Mace remained absolutely still, noting a depth of madness entering Qui-Gon's eyes and wondering if his old friend had been pushed too far.
But Qui-Gon muttered, "Obi-Wan" before he was gone in a flash too swift to follow.
Obi-Wan was having a miserable time. In his opinion, Sezon had picked the seediest club in the seediest corner of Coruscant to celebrate his birthday. Every space with filled with seedy people, drinking cheap and potent liquors and gyrating to the noise of pounding music. His friend seemed to be happy, so Obi-Wan strenuously forced himself to keep smiling, only sipping his own weak brew.
Feeling uneasy, Obi-Wan glanced around, studying the other patrons, seeking some problem. His three friends failed to notice that anything was wrong, giggling and laughing and sharing stories of their recent missions. Sezon was slapping his palms on the table with glee, shoulders shaking in convulsions. Ayala and Laeatha were still reasonably sober, but even they showed a tendency to sway. And giggle.
Excusing himself, Obi-Wan headed to the bathroom. The uneasiness he sensed grew stronger. A trace of panic registered as he approached the back of the club. Using the Force, he hurried through a door, following the fear like a scent. Just beyond the threshold, a young woman was struggling with one of the club's seedy patrons in the manager's office, a squalid room furnished with a cheap desk and chair.
Obi-Wan yanked at the man's arm, wrenching him away from the woman who sobbed and with a brief grateful glance at her rescuer, fled out the door.
"Look, pretty padawan wants to protect pretty dancer." The man cooed, the sweet sarcasm of his words at odds with his appearance; he was huge, with a broad chest, massive arms, and a height to equal Qui-Gon's. Summoning the Force, Obi-Wan began to wave his hand.
"There's no trouble - " but the man snatched at Obi-Wan's hand, squeezing his fingers in a sudden explosion of pain.
"Don't play with *my* mind, little Jedi. Are you cowardly as the rest of your kind?" he demanded, slamming his other fist against Obi-Wan's jaw. Caught off guard, Obi-Wan absorbed the blow. He felt another presence behind him, fists clenched together, smashing into the small of his back. Obi-Wan twisted and saw the woman raising her hands together to smash them into his body again. She was smiling ferally, tears and hysteria gone. /Damn/ he thought in painful realization. /A set-up./ In normal circumstances, Obi-Wan could have taken two opponents easily without breaking a sweat, but tonight, weakened from blood loss and distracted by thoughts of his own situation, Obi-Wan had already lost the advantage. When the attacker landed a roundhouse kick into his jaw, the Jedi went down, barely registering the flurry of blows and kicks.
Slumped in the corner of the room, he regained consciousness moments later to the sound of a fist hitting flesh.
His Master had not ignited his lightsaber but had chosen to fight hand-to-hand, striking the attackers twice for each bruise they had given Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon's style lost its typical elegance in favor of crushing blows and devastating impact; his lips drawn back to reveal his fangs and the wildness of the beast within him was demanding retribution. His padawan had been injured and the vicious scum who had done this would pay with their lives. On a whiplash of icy anger, his lightsaber flashed out and bisected them in two.
Striding to his apprentice, Qui-Gon knelt down to check his injuries. Most of the blows had landed on Obi-Wan's torso and Qui-Gon pressed his fingers on the firm chest and abdomen muscles to feel if ribs had been broken. The padawan recoiled when fingers probed the blood trickling from his mouth--his Master was still drawn too tightly. The fight had released some of his tension, but the deaths had not satisfied Qui-Gon's rage and a ferocity still pounded through his veins.
Reluctant to risk more blood loss, Obi-Wan pressed against his Master, forcing him to back away and stand up. Unsteadily he rose on his knees, instinctively knowing an alternative way to calm the fire. Easing breeches down Qui-Gon's hips, Obi-Wan drew the other's erection into his mouth. Qui-Gon breathed harshly, fingers clenching his padawan's shoulders, flexing his hands repeatedly as desire slammed through him, dissipating the rage; the feel of his apprentice's mouth circling his cock was unbelievably exciting.
Obi-Wan had loved men before in this fashion, and thought of every technique he had ever performed or experienced. He sucked forcefully, then backed off, rolling his tongue around the tip and tasting the drops of pre-ejaculate as if it was the finest candy to be savored. He licked down the length, alternating between the slippery caress of his tongue and a tantalizing nibble from his teeth. Burying his face in Qui-Gon's groin, he grew dizzy from the musky essence as he teased the crisp curls with his nose.
Qui-Gon buried one hand in Obi-Wan's hair, tugging it, forcing Obi-Wan to look up into his burning eyes. //You also// Obi-Wan slipped one hand to his own erection, knowing that his Master needed the devastating release of a joint explosion. His mouth enveloped Qui-Gon's penis again as Obi-Wan pumped himself, creating a rhythmic link between his sucking mouth and caressing hand. The dominance of the position mesmerized Qui-Gon as he sensed both his padawan's obedience to his commands and his desperately furious arousal. Balance cannot last forever on the edge of a knife, and as both of them erupted, Qui-Gon's salty seed filled Obi-Wan's mouth as he swiftly swallowed every fluid drop.
With one arm around his shoulders, Qui-Gon guided Obi-Wan out of the office and into the club, their cloaks tight around their bodies. Qui-Gon would have kept walking out of the building, but Obi-Wan stopped, staring in amazement. The formerly crowded club was deserted, flimsy chairs and tables overturned. Lightsaber marks had been sliced into several of the room's decorative columns and the heavy fake wood plastic of the bar.
"I could feel you, but I couldn't locate you. I'm afraid I got a little . . . ah . . . agitated until your friends pointed toward the back." A touch of chagrin entered his words.
Obi-Wan shook his head in wonder and the two continued out. Sezon, Ayala and Laeatha were waiting outside, unwilling to leave until they were reassured of their friend's safety.
"Padawans, I told you to leave," Qui-Gon chastised them sternly.
"We were afraid for Obi-Wan, Master. We wanted to be here in case he needed us." Ayala's glance left unspoken that they were unsure whether Obi-Wan needed protection from his attackers or his Master.
"You should have thought of his safety before you brought him to this den of dissolution," Qui-Gon growled sarcastically, an unusual action for him. "I will be speaking to your Masters in the morning. Return now to the Academy. Obi-Wan and I will wait for the civilian authorities to arrive."
Obi-Wan turned to Qui-Gon as his friends dejectedly walked away. "You are a hypocrite, Master." The Padawan's words were deliberately biting. "After all, you can't seriously scold them for bringing me to a nightclub after I sucked you dry in the office." Obi-Wan's hard tone forced his Master to accept the reality of the evening's activities.
"You are mine, Obi-Wan. I will do what is necessary to protect you." Qui-Gon muttered angrily.
"These daily repetitions are becoming tedious. Yes, I am yours. I am yours to fuck, to love, to cherish, to kill if you must. You can do anything you want to or with my mind and body. But I *won't* have you reprimanding my friends simply because you won't learn to control yourself around other people," came the determined hiss.
Qui-Gon's hand cupped Obi-Wan's chin, the fingers sinking deeply into one cheek. "Don't defy me, Padawan,"
"Then don't force me to take a stand both of us will regret." Blue eyes clashed with hazel in the dark as the two men measured the strength of their wills. Obi-Wan was exhausted but sheer determination kept him steady. By now, Qui-Gon's inner beast had calmed and he reluctantly acceded.
"Padawans." The three Jedi halted and returned fearfully to face him.
"Padawans. You must forgive my anger. You may have heard of my recent difficulties." Their lack of response indicated that the rumors had spread throughout the entire Jedi Academy about Qui-Gon's condition. Mace's battle loss to Qui-Gon had undoubtedly heightened the fear among the Padawans and young students. "I have been somewhat--irrational--on the subject of my apprentice's well-being. I realize that you are not to blame for what occurred here. We will not speak of this again."
"Yes, Master." The Jedi left, grateful for the reprieve while Qui-Gon turned to face his love. Obi-Wan reclined against the wall, in much the same position as he had stood in front of the windows in their quarters mere hours before. Qui-Gon bent to flick his tongue lightly on the traces of blood dripping from the padawan's mouth, cleaning the maddening elixir from every inch of his skin, then pulled him into a hug. The difference in their heights allowed Obi-Wan's head to rest easily in the hollow of Qui-Gon's chin and neck as they cuddled together. He gave a contented sigh.
"Master, can we go shopping after we report to the civilian authorities?"
"Shopping?" Qui-Gon almost laughed at the incongruity of the question after their confrontation.
"I asked Ayala and she recommended a store on the fifth level that sells wonderful hair softeners. For your beard." Obi-Wan ran his fingers freely through the long strands.
"Yes, Obi, we can go shopping."
"Good. She also recommended a jewelry store. You can buy me a neck band."
Qui-Gon smiled, and then grew serious, his lips twisting into a frown. "Obi-Wan, I have to stop drinking your blood." It was the hardest truth Qui-Gon had to face. "You were endangered today not by your friends' choice of place to celebrate, but by my demands on you--we both know this. You were too weak to feel the nuances of the living Force, otherwise that pair could never have defeated you."
Obi-Wan tilted his head up to stare fiercely into his Master's eyes. "I won't accept that, Master. You need me too much. If I've been weak lately, well . . . I'll just have to eat more and exercise less," he mocked to defuse the tenseness. He held his counsel on his own belief that the attack had been orchestrated to drive his Master insane, forcing completion of the physical transformation.
Qui-Gon pulled him even closer into a grateful hug, acknowledging once again the courage and tenacity of the soul he adored. "Shopping, then, Obi-Wan, shopping."
The End (for now)