The boy was excitable, but he knew meditation and how to release his emotions into the Force, that was clear as he lead them along to his home.
“Ben and Mother is home so that’s good!”
“Ben?” Padme questioned as the wind started to rub sand up around them.
“My brother.” He beamed up at them before biting his lips. “Watto doesn’t like to have him working at the store when he’s sick so he usually stays at home with mom or me while one of us is at the store.” He frowned a bit. “Its good that Toydarians frown upon separating families, or he might have sold Ben for not being useful. Or that’s what Ben says.” The blond shrugged a bit before perking back up, beaming at them. “We’re here!”
Qui-Gon blinked a bit, focusing his eye on the small quarters as the boy ran to his mother and explained that he had brought home guests, quick to offer the rations he had. It was nice enough that Anakin was offering them shelter, they didn’t need to be a drain on the few resources a slave had and Qui-Gon had already seen Jar-Jar eat.
The Gungan could pack away a good load.
“Mom, where’s Ben? I wanna introduce them to Ben.” Anakin looked around, blue eyes focusing on the couch first, then a worn but squishy chair before looking up at his smiling mother.
“He’s in bed Anakin, go fetch him would you? Give him a bit of time to wake up.” Shmi stroked her blond son’s hair with a gentle hand. One of two suns, just like Tatooine had, her twin sons.
Anakin beamed and ran to do so.
“I know that your son has already offered us space but thank you, we weren’t sure where to go and it is much to far to the ship with a sandstorm coming in.” Qui-Gon offered peacefully and Shmi looked up at the tall Jedi who’s head brushed the ceiling.
She gave a small smile. “Its an honor to have revered Jedi in the home if I’m honest…but I knew you were coming.”
Padme blinked from behind Qui-Gon and even the Jedi looked surprised.
“Yes. Ben said you were coming sometime this week. Ben is never wrong about things like that, its why Watto keeps him. Ben is good at guessing who wins the games.” Qui-Gon blinked at that and would have asked for more if Anakin hadn’t returned with a chaotic presence.
He turned quickly and stared at the redhead who stood a bit smaller then his brother, the pale skinned child so at odds with the tan of his brother as he leaned on the blond. Around his neck a little japor carving rested and there was a wealth of freckles covering his skin as he looked up, blinking green eyes at the guests before his eyes rested on Qui-Gon, familiarity and surprise in his eyes. “You have a eyepatch, I didn’t see that happen.”
Anakin and Ben had no father.
Both Ben and Anakin were strong in the Force though Anakin was stronger then his brother with a slight knowledge of meditation.
Ben however knew more, there was more to Ben and his chaotic Force presence. And Ben was sick and was missing a hand. Shmi said he lost it during a brawl where she had lost sight of both kids and only found them again with Ben lacking his right hand, screaming and crying as blood poured from him with Anakin wrapped around his brother. She’d almost lost him that day from bloodloss.
“You should be careful about Watto. He doesn’t like losing.” Qui-Gon turned quickly in surprise, blinking down at the child who reached him no more then to his waist.
“I see little one. You know what I’m going to do.”
Ben shuffled a bit and leaned on the wall, wearing his sleep clothes as he moved further out into the night of Tatooine. “You’re not going to be able to bet enough for him to let us all go. The ship isn’t worth all of us.”
Qui-Gon reached out and helped the boy sit up on the wall with him, gentle with him. He felt frail, sick…but warm in the Force despite being chaotic.
“Would I win Ben?” He questioned lightly as he settled the child, wrapping his own robe around the shivering shoulders.
“Uhu, you take Anakin with you.” The redhead smiled at him before peering at the eyepatch.
“…My former apprentice did that.” Qui-Gon smiled at him when he didn’t ask outright for answers. ‘Such a curious but polite child.’
“I’m sorry.” Ben offered solemnly.
Qui-Gon watched him and the child watched him in return, a calculating look entering Qui-Gon’s eyes.
“Ben…if I were to offer up myself as part of the bet…what would happen?”
“I still can’t believe it.” Shmi whispered, watching her two boys while Padme set down a cup of tea for the older woman. “I…Ben said we might go. Not that we were. Just…” She shook herself and took the cup, giving the disguised Queen a small grateful smile.
“Ben sees a lot of things doesn’t he.” Padme asked softly, smiling in return.
“He always has. He’s always been a sickly child compared to Anakin but he’s always known things too. I used to worry about it.” She looked back at Ben and Anakin, the redhead tucked underneath his brothers head. “But if he said something would happen, it happened. I learned to listen. Sometimes it was so simple as to not be closest to the doors or not say certain words. Sometimes it gave me enough time to pack our meager things for when we were sold.” She played with the cup she was sure was more expensive then anything she owned.
Padme hesitated before carefully taking the older womans hands. “Would it be possible for the Queen of Naboo to perhaps speak to Ben? If he sees thin-”
“You shouldn’t trust him.” They both looked over to the kids.
Ben’s eyes were open to little slits as he peered at Padme tiredly. “He wants power, not the best for Naboo. A vote of no confidence won’t help Naboo. The Senate controls the Jedi, not the other way around. Be careful of snakes wearing a peacocks disguise.” He shuffled a bit and tucked back, falling asleep again.
Padme stared at him before looking at Shmi, who shrugged. “Best put those words to mind. It might not make sense now but it will eventually. My best guess? Listen for the man who wants a vote of no confidence.”
The two stared quietly at each other before Qui-Gon stepped out from where he and the pilot had gotten the hyperdrive fixed, the older man looking around before bowing to the ladies when he saw them.
He took note of the kids moment later, his blue eye softening a bit as he picked up his robe and tucked it around both shivering children before he joined the ladies.
“Is there anymore tea?” He questioned lightly and gratefully accepted a cup from Padme, taking a small sip. “Thank you, we should reach Coruscant in a timely manner now.”
“I’ll inform the Queen.” Padme smiled and stood, heading to the royal quarters.
“…You know she’s the Queen, right?” Shmi questioned softly.
“Of course, but the handmaiden routine is useful for them, it keeps the queen equipped with invisible bodyguards.” Qui-Gon chuckled and looked at the other. “You have questions.”
“Yes, I…Anakin and Ben, you said you want both to become Jedi?” She blinked at him and Qui-Gon took a sip of tea to think about what to say.
“Anakin is strong, he can become a Jedi. Ben…” He hesitated.
“He’s frail.” She whispered, hands clenching on the warm cup. “What…”
“He may still become a Jedi though. Just not one who leaves the temple for missions. He can be an Archivist or even a healer. But perhaps our healers can help Ben frailty. His illness seems not to have any reason so perhaps it can be fixed.” Qui-Gon pondered before shrugging. “But regardless, he may have a place with us.”
Shmi looked back at her two twin sons. “…Will you train them?”
“A Master, a teacher, may only have one student. But I can train one of them. Yes.”
“…Thank you.” She whispered.