“I take Obi-Wan Kenobi as my padawan learner.” The words echoed through the council chamber as large gentle hands embraced a small boy’s shoulders. The boy before them was eleven, not too young to be a padawan, but earlier than most picks. He had been eligible for selection for almost a year, a year that had been wrought with schemes by one short green meddling troll. Mace had watched as the grandmaster of their order had manipulated situation after situation to push a broken man towards a talented young boy. It was a volatile situation that he had seen play out a thousand times with a different ending each time, none pleasant for his old friend or the innocent young man.
“Take him you cannot.” Yoda glanced around the room, his ears raised in contempt.
“Take him I will, if he will have me. This young boy is meant for so much more. We all respect your words of wisdom, but your feelings of attachment for your old padawan must be called into question.” Mace stood tall before the council, knowing he was giving up his council seat, knowing that he was taking on a responsibility that would change his life. “No one loves Qui-Gon quite like you do, but we all see what he’s become. We’ve all tried to reach out to the empty shell and breathe life into him. Yes, this boy may be that life, but at what cost? We cannot push them together in hopes of bringing back our Jinn just to lose such a spark of life.”
Adi Gallia looked at the tall dark-skinned man before her and felt awe at the force radiating around him and the boy, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was speaking the truth and they were about to let Master Yoda push his will upon them. “Master Yoda with all due respect, Master Windu is correct. We have all seen Master Jinn walk the halls without a soul since the loss of his last padawan. Do you truly wish to sacrifice one of our precious younglings in hopes that Jinn will do the right thing?”
The oldest among them stood unsteadily, his ears drooping at the harsh words. “Padawan he is, wish no ill I did, but together they should be.” Mace kneeled before the boy and his hardened look softened. “This is your choice, Obi-Wan. Will you be my padawan?”
The young boy was confused at all the by-play but he struggled to stop the smile that painted his face. “Yes, Master Windu.” The red-haired youngling glanced once more in the direction of a morose older master. The sad look upon his face almost broke his heart, but he was immediately wrapped into the folds of a robe, arms embracing him in a deep hug. “I vow to be the very best master I can be, Obi-Wan. This I promise.”
Obi-Wan hugged the man before him, but looked over the shoulder to watch Yoda walk away. He suddenly looked older. “Meant to be they are, hope there still is.” Yoda whispered to the force before disappearing through another door. “Let us go home, Padawan. We have much to do.” Mace smiled down and clasped a large hand around the small smooth skin of his padawan learner. He still couldn’t believe he had dared to take on Master Yoda, but he followed the will of the force. It was not time for them yet, it wasn’t meant to be this way.
“Master!” The words were torn from his lips as he watched his master of fourteen years succumb to fatigue as he fought the monster with red and black tattoos. The sand whipped around in a frenzy as the two danced back and forth upon the surface of a planet he was coming to loathe. The ship started to take off as he rushed to open area, he would not watch his master die. Mace Windu jumped onto the ramp and promptly fell over leaning against some cargo boxes. His pulse was racing and his adrenaline was pumping. He had almost lost everything. He had never encountered something so vile and evil in his long life, it had to have been sith. “Padawan, I have you to thank for my life. That was quick thinking. Did you…Did you feel the darkness?”
“Master, I was so afraid for you, I could feel your fatigue. He was feeding off my fear. I’m sorry for my failure.” Mace lifted his chin. It was so like Obi-Wan to always take things so hard. Yes, he felt fear, he was human after all. “Obi-Wan, I know you do not need the fear exercises any longer. You felt fear but you did not let it overcome your duty. You thought quickly on your toes and saved not only those on board, but your decrepit old master.” He rustled the copper spikes and looked over at the blond boy that accompanied him. “You are not OLD master.” Mace chuckled and looked over his shoulder.
“Anakin Skywalker, this is my soon to be Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
“Pleasure to meet you Anakin.” Obi-Wan felt the pride radiate from his master and couldn’t believe the words. He knew his trials were not far off, but this was the first time that his master had spoken of them being imminent. “Will he be ok? Will you be ok?” The small boy’s eyes were full of fear.
“I’m ok, Ani. Did you get your mother settled in?”
“Yes, she couldn’t believe you talked Watto into letting her go.” Obi-Wan chuckled as he thought about his master’s negotiating skill. As much as he adored him, he was never one for gentle speech, negotiations tended to end up on the aggressive side with lightsaber drawn.
Mace smirked at him, knowing well where the thoughts were going. “Why don’t you see to your mother, Anakin? I need to see to my master. The small boy once again looked at Mace and then back to Obi-Wan. “It’s not dark anymore.” Mace looked up suddenly with worry. “The future, it doesn’t feel so…wrong.” The boy turned quickly and ran back towards the mess area, in search of his mom.
Five years. It had been five years since he had been back to the temple, five years too soon. He didn’t seem to understand why his master had called him back home. There were too many memories in these halls that he didn’t want to relive. “Too long it has been. Older you have gotten.” The tall, greying master looked down at the green troll that made it his life to meddle in his affairs. “Not long enough it has been and I am not that old master, just tired.”
They started to walk the halls, slowly, side by side. “Enough sulking you have done. It is time to come home and work with other Jedi. Alone you’ve been.”
“Master, I’m not in the mood for this discussion again. I thought once you stopped trying to push a padawan on me almost fifteen years ago, that you would just leave me be. I do my job and cause no problems for the council.” Yoda stopped in his tracks and let out a loud cackle. “Oh, Oh! No trouble you cause? Hair I have loss at your antics over the years.”
“Humph, well I try to not cause trouble, but you know I listen to the will of the force.”
“Listen you should to your heart as well as the force. Lonely you are, feel it I do.” Yoda’s ears lowered as Qui-Gon Jinn lowered himself next to the wizened master. “I know you worry for me, my master. I have not given into dark thoughts, please know that you are one of the reasons I continue on.” Qui-Gon knew he had worried the master after his padawan had turned, but he was doing the best he could. “Returning is Mace, darkness on the horizon it is. Need you we may.”
This piqued his interest. “I understand. How is Mace, I don’t think I’ve spoken to him since.” His words trailed off slightly. “Since he took a padawan.” The words were almost choked out. He was so against taking another young life in his hand that he had distanced himself from his oldest friend.
“Well he is, well they are. A knight he has almost raised. The boy is a bright spot in our numbers.”
“I’m sure he is. I’m going to head to my quarters. I’m very tired.” Yoda looked at him with bright eyes, knowing he was avoiding a subject that they had often fought over. Obi-Wan Kenobi was once thought to be his next student. The force seemed to radiate around them both anytime they were near each other, but he refused. He would not ruin such a light. This light was nurtured by a worthy master and he would not be jealous, he refused.
He felt a whack at his shins suddenly as he was ripped from his thoughts. “Jealousy and sulking not the Jedi Way.”
Qui-Gon closed his eyes and smiled. He had missed his master. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a bad trip back home. “Yes, Master. I shall see you soon.”
Turning down the halls, his thoughts were still of his old friend and his almost padawan when a small bundle of energy ran straight into him and bounced off. “I’m so sorry!” This was not a prim and proper youngling from the creche, but he couldn’t help but smile. “It’s ok young one; you might want to take the halls a bit slower.” Just as the boy nodded he once again turned and ran off. “I’m sorry Master. He’s just a bit excited.” Qui-Gon turned and suddenly went dry in the mouth. The beautiful blue-green eyes seem to radiate warmth that pierced his soul. “Kids do tend to be that way, especially if they are not Jedi children.”
“I am beginning to wonder if the boy or my trials will be a tougher obstacle.” The long braid slung over his left shoulder, painted a picture of a perfect padawan. One again the older master ached from the past, his eyes shadowed with the pain of the past. The padawan felt the ache in the force and suddenly regretted his words. “I’m so sorry, Master…?”
“There is nothing to be sorry for, just long past regrets. I’m Master Qui-Gon Jinn. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Padawan?”
“Kenobi, Obi-Wan Kenobi.” The words seemed to stop time for a moment as their eyes met once again.
“I’m so sorry Padawan Kenobi. I just realized I have some place I must be. Good luck with your young ward.” Qui-Gon turned abruptly, he would not run away. He would walk, he wouldn’t look back, and he would make it to the gardens before he collapsed in shock and fear.ok
Obi-Wan watched the older man walk away, his beautiful grey streaked hair flowing down a strong muscled back. He had heard the name Jinn many times from his master and realized that the broken man before him was not him. Something had happened and he ached to reach out to ease his pain, but it was not to be. His comm immediately chimed, he was summoned to the council chamber. He would have to set aside the puzzle that was named Qui-Gon Jinn.