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The Jedi Way

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Obi-Wan replayed the moment over and over in his mind. The exhilaration of the fight, the pleasure, somehow, beneath all the tension, of battling alongside his master. Their moves in perfect sync with each other, pulling the little tics and details from each other's minds with no hesitation. Effortlessly.

Until they were separated. Until it was no longer effortless. Until Darth Maul's lightsaber pierced through Qui-Gon's abdomen. He whispered dying wishes to Obi-Wan, to train the boy, that Anakin was the chosen one. Obi-Wan ignored the words as best he could, trying to feed every bit of life through the Force into Qui-Gon. His stubborn refusal to accept his master's death meant nothing. Or everything.

The only organ that had been completely destroyed was a kidney, and it had been easily removed. The more pressing matter was the damage done to Qui-Gon's spine. Qui-Gon spent two months in hospital, with the best care in the galaxy.

And he still could not walk.

"It is not the ability to walk with my legs that makes me mobile," Qui-Gon said, "but my ability to move within the Force. It guides everything, Obi-Wan. Even this."

"So you will still train Anakin," Obi-Wan said. His padawan braid had been cut and his hair was in that funny point where it either needed another month to grow, as he staunchly intended, or mercifully cut. He could train Anakin, as Qui-Gon had told him to, but now there was no death. There was only life.

Qui-Gon considered him for a long time, and Obi-Wan said nothing. Finally, Qui-Gon said, "It may be best for him to learn from us both."

"That is not the Jedi way."

At that, Qui-Gon smiled. "Since when have I cared so much about the Jedi way? Two teachers are better than one. A boy with no father now has two. You have learned much from me, Obi-Wan, but you bring your own perspectives. What makes a great Jedi is not how closely they adhere to the Jedi way, but how they use it in their lives, in their way."

Obi-Wan wasn't sure that Master Yoda would agree with that, but Qui-Gon had a point. He never had cared to do what the council told him. He was headstrong, and he encouraged that in Obi-Wan. He could encourage that in Anakin as well.

"I am no longer a padawan," Obi-Wan said. "You don't have to keep teaching me."

"We're always learning. The galaxy never stops teaching, and a Jedi never stops learning."

Obi-Wan smiled. If he'd had any doubts that Qui-Gon was not his complete self, even without the use of his legs, it had faded. "You are full of tired clichés, Master."

"And you would have it no other way, my young padawan."

Obi-Wan didn't correct him, to remind his master that he was no longer a padawan. Qui-Gon had been in hospital for a long time. But perhaps it didn't matter. Perhaps he would always be a padawan to Qui-Gon, and that wasn't a bad thing. But it was also not how Obi-Wan wanted to be seen.

He reached over and took Qui-Gon's hand. Qui-Gon raised his eyebrows at the contact, but did not pull away.

"Then we will train him together," Obi-Wan said.

Qui-Gon nodded and placed his hand over Obi-Wan's. "Together."