Qui-Gon resisted the urge to reach out and grab his padawan by the shoulder.
Instead he kept his eyes on the old man standing beside him, examining him as best he could. The man was fifty five, the same age as Qui-Gon himself but he looked closer to a hundred, especially with how he moved too.
Pure salt and pepper hair and beard was cut short and wrinkles lined the aged face in a manner that told of stress and pain, not laughter. That alone would tell Qui-Gon that this man had not lived a happy life. But more disturbing was the broken soul he could feel slumbering inside the man, a soul that he could faintly recognize.
This was a aged Obi-Wan Kenobi and once again Qui-Gon had to resist the urge to grab his twenty year hold padawan by the shoulder and hold him close.
Obi-Wan…Ben had appeared in a wave of Force, falling over in the temple garden in full confusion, looking around as if he wasn’t sure anything was real and perhaps to him it wasn’t. There was a broken madness to this older man, as if age and loneliness had taken much from him.
If it wasn’t for the muted aura in the Force, he wouldn’t believe that this man was the same as his padawan, only older by a scant thirty five years.
After confirming that the man was no danger to the temple, indeed he had only seemed lost and a bit confused, he had been taken to the healers and Qui-Gon swore he could still hear Vokara Che yelling echoing through the temple as she examined Ob-Ben.
Early onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
Sjogren’s syndrome which had lead to dryness of mouth and eyes.
Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Several infections in major organs and joints.
Malnutrition which had lead to anemia coupled with dehydration.
There was even a slight hitch of breath that told Qui-Gon that the other could no longer breath as deeply as he used to as a young man and the idea of the other being able to spar or do the more strenuous katas seemed far out of the question at least for now. Sith hells, Qui-Gon wasn’t exactly young anymore but so far his only issues were some aches and pains in his knees that came with being overly tall.
The healers would be keeping a close eye with his padawan for the future and by the speculative look in Healer Che’s eyes when they left, he was due for several tests the healer could expose him to and Qui-Gon would make sure he attended.
The man had been given fresh clothes, the ones he had were rough and worn down by age, several of them patched and close to falling apart and told to take as long a shower as he wanted before he’d be brought before the council. The older man had mulled over that and then done as told, tired resignation in his aura.
“Master Obi-Wan?” Qui-Gon shifted as Mace tried to get the other mans attention, frowning and glancing at Yoda when the man showed no sign of recognition to the name and continued staring out at the sunset of Corescant as if he hadn’t seen anything as fascinating as it ever.
Yoda sighed and tapped his cane lightly. “Master Ben?” He tried, his old voice kinder then when the other had appeared earlier that same day.
This time Ben reacted and looked at Yoda with a strange kind of bemused puzzlement. “Yes? I’m sorry, I was…come to think of it, I’m not sure what I was doing.” He smiled a bit and despite the wrinkles, Qui-Gon could see the dimples that came out each time the younger man beside him smiled.
This time he didn’t resist and grabbed Obi-Wan by the shoulder, pulling him a bit closer to him. Not that anyone seemed to blame him.
“Questions we have, but answers we do not think you’ll have. Obi-Wan Kenobi we know you are though older you are.” Yoda eyed him. “But not as old as you seem.”
“No…hmm, this is all very strange.” Ben mused.
“Strange Obi-Wan?” Shaak questioned, keeping her voice even and Ben shot her a look. “Well yes, this is the strangest kind of Force vision I’ve ever had.”
“A vision you think this is.”
Slow shoulders shrugged and the man glanced about again. “Well, if not then I must have lost my mind fully or I’m really in the council chambers next to my old master and a young version of myself…and that’s strange even by my standards.”
Yoda fingered his gimer stick. “And if real this is?”
Ben blinked slowly at him. “Then I don’t know.” He looked lost again and Qui-Gon squeezed Obi-Wan’s shoulder tightly, causing his padawan to shot him a worried smile.
Yoda jumped of his chair and moved to Ben, staring up at the human while the human stared back.
And then the green troll slammed his gimer stick into Ben’s legs.
“AH!” Ben almost toppled as everyone stared at Yoda in stunned surprise.
“Grandmaster!” Mace half stood.
“Feel that you did. Real this is. Know that you do.” Yoda ignored them as Ben wobbled a bit before bending painfully to rub his shin and Yoda prodded the man in the chest with his stick, gentling. “And in pain you are, Obi-Wan.”
“You did ju-”
“Soul pain. Shattered you are Obi-Wan. Pained you are. Touched by darkness though not dark yourself. Much has happened to you.” Yoda continued before reaching out and touching the other mans leg gently with his clawed hand, channeling healing energy to it in apology.
“Real this is Obi-Wan. Real you are. Here you are among friends. Perhaps put together again you can be.”