Obi-Wan hated his eyes when he looked in the mirror. Once he’d had a beautiful blue eyes. Now they were gold. They’d been gold for a while. But in his visions they were blue. He hated his visions. He hated his Masters. He hated himself.
It was one thing to know that you’d been meant for something more. It was different to see it whenever you closed your eyes. The visions were overwhelming. He’d always believed he should have been a Jedi. But not he really knew. The youngest Master in centuries. A powerful Jedi.
But he was a Sith. And Sith weren’t supposed to dream about being Jedi. But nothing his Masters ever did beat out of him that he shouldn’t be a Jedi.
He knew war was going to be hell. He’d walked onto battle fields before, dragged along behind Master Tyrranus, or even side by side with Maul. Maul just told him to just shut up and deal with it. But then, what did Maul really know?
A lot, actually. But he didn’t know about this. As much as Maul had suffered training with Master Sidious, he was still the chosen favored. He was truly the Master’s apprentice. The rest of them, even Master Tyrranus, were all second compared to Maul. And Maul was always second to Master Sidious.
They were early, early in the wars when Obi-Wan got to see Qui-Gon Jinn again. Obi-Wan hadn’t seen him since he’d been turned away from the temple. Years passed and then he saw him across a battle field. Obi-Wan had hidden himself, not able to face the man.
He’d been with Maul on that mission. Maul kept it to himself. Obi-Wan loved Maul for that. His loyalty was touching sometimes. As was his protectiveness. Obi-Wan was HIS friend and if Maul thought Obi-Wan’s weakness was allowed, then Maul wouldn’t let anyone else find out.
That had been almost a year ago, and Obi-Wan wished that Maul was there this time. This time there wouldn’t be any hiding. He was trapped in this Sith forsaken temple and Master Qui-Gon Jinn was trapped too. The man hadn’t found him yet, but he would soon.
Obi-Wan rubbed his hands over his face, scrubbing them against his beard. He was in his dark clothes, favoring purples and blacks because that was what Master Tyrannus had always favored. In his heart, Obi-Wan knew he wanted lighter colors, browns and tans. But like his eyes, it wasn’t to be.
He pressed against the cold stone wall of the temple. He could feel Master Jinn approaching, but Obi-Wan was certain he was hidden in a pocket of dark. He would be okay. Master Jinn stood out. Obi-Wan didn’t, not in this setting. He held his breath as Master Jinn passed. He didn’t let it out until he felt the man pass farther down the path. Then Obi-Wan moved out of the darkness. He was okay for now.
There was a bolt of distress in the Force, one which Obi-Wan practically felt down his spine. The temple was full of traps. Obi-Wan had to be very careful not to trip them and the temple accepted him as part of itself. But Master Jinn stood out too much.
Obi-Wan took off down the path as quickly as he could, keeping his steps light to not set off any of the other traps. He couldn’t help anyone if he was caught. He followed the feeling of blinding pain. It wasn’t hard to find Master Jinn.
The trap had dropped the floor. Master Jinn was in what was essentially a Sith training room. Obi-Wan found his way to the observation deck first. The training room was ancient, so there were actual slugs rather than just blaster bolts. And the old machinery had lasers and even some discarded Sith lightsabers. That was where the pain came from. Master Jinn had been slashed across the back. The pain had to be overwhelming, but still the man was still fighting. Lightsabers couldn’t deflect slugs. Instead it disintegrated them, which covered Master Jinn is what Obi-Wan imagined was a toxic black powder. And he couldn’t move as fast because of pain.
Obi-Wan slammed his hand on the control panel. Sith machinery often worked on will alone. Obi-Wan threw up the darkness and anger and pain he had in him. The Machinery resisted. Obi-Wan pushed more. He was the Sith, the man, not the machine and his will would be followed.
The training room shut off, and Obi-Wan overrode the controls so it would turn off the trap all together. Then headed down the stairs to Master Jinn. When he got into the training room, Master Jinn had collapsed to his knees and was breathing hard. Obi-Wan only got a few steps before Master Jinn realized he was there.
Master Jinn flipped his lightsaber on. He bared his teeth, a certain wildness in his eyes. Obi-Wan didn’t blame him. Master Jinn had probably been being dragged deeper and deeper into the temple for days before Obi-Wan showed up. Obi-Wan remembered when he’d been taken to the first Sith Temple. He’d still been a child then, and desperate to try and hold onto his light. He hadn’t been able to, and it had ripped him up in ways Obi-Wan had never healed from.
“I won’t hurt you,” Obi-Wan said quietly.
“So, you’re here to help me,” Master Jinn said in full disbelief.
“That powder is bad for your lungs, and that wound needs to be healed soon,” Obi-Wan said.
Master Jinn snorted. “Let me guess: you’ll help me if I do what you say.”
“No,” Obi-Wan said. “I’m as trapped in here as you are. Between the two of us, we have a better chance of making it out alive. Will you let me help?”
Master Jinn hesitated for a moment longer before he turned off his lightsaber. Obi-Wan cross the distance between them. He knelt down next to him and pulled the pouch from his belt. He didn’t have a lot of supplies with him, but he knew to bring a few things wherever he went. He had two water packs, two ration bars, a clean cloth, a little bit of gauze and an antiseptic spray. Besides that it was a bit of extra coin and a fake ID. Those last two things wouldn’t help them any.
He took behind examining his supplies, then he looked at Master Jinn, who looked so damn tired and very pale.
“How many days have you been here?” Obi-Wan asked.
“I’m not certain,” Qui-Gon said. “A few, I think. But this place-”
“Has a sense of timelessness. A lot of Sith temples do. You feel like maybe you could have been locked up for a millennia, or maybe an hour. You’re never certain.”
“I’m certain it’s been more than an hour,” Master Jinn said with a weak smile.
Obi-Wan smiled back. He’d start with the powder. The Force could be used to move many objects, both big and small. It was more difficult to move the small, but not impossible, especially not after the three years of isolation Obi-Wan spent at a Sith Temple.
He made a brushing motion, but the Force was what brushed the black dust off Master Jinn’s person. Master Jinn closed his eyes and Obi-Wan got it off his face and off his clothes and moved it all to the far side of the room. Getting out of his hair was more difficult. Obi-Wan actually had to put his hands in Master Jinn’s hair, which Obi-Wan felt bad about because Master Jinn was so tense. But Obi-Wan knew the dust was toxic and it needed to be off Master Jinn before he could do anything else.
“I need you to take your shirt off,” Obi-Wan said.
Master Jinn didn’t argue, but it took both of the and eventually Obi-Wan just cutting the cloth with the Force before they could get him undressed. Master Jinn was slashed across the back, and Obi-Wan was certain Master Jinn had to be channeling the Force into the wound to be able to stay upright.
Obi-Wan pulled out the antiseptic spray. “This will hurt,” he said.
“Do it,” Master Jinn said through gritted teeth. Obi-Wan sprayed right down the wound. Master Jinn’s shoulders tensed and he let out a wounded sound, but he stayed still.
While the spray dried, Obi-Wan laid his hands on Master Jinn’s shoulders and began looking inwards. There was minor lung damage from the toxic dust, and then the wound. Healable, with Obi-Wan’s skills.
“I’m going to heal you,” Obi-Wan said. “But it won’t be exactly pleasant for either of us. And I’m going to need you to take care of me afterward.”
“Why?” Master Jinn asked.
Obi-Wan completely ignored the question. “Make sure to eat one of the bars and drink one of the water packs.”
He gave Master Jinn’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze. Then he started to work. It took maybe five minutes, but Obi-Wan felt like his insides underwent at least a year’s worth of fire and burning. It was only through his will that he finished. Then he lost consciousness.
He woke up slowly, his head pillowew on something soft, but not very thick, and laying on the hard ground. Though not cold ground. He realized someone had spread out his cloak and laid him on it. He turned his head into the soft something. The scent was familiar and comforting and for a half second Obi-Wan thought he was 12 again. And then he though it must be one of the visions he had where he’d been Master Jinn’s apprentice.
And then he realized it was real.
His eyes snapped open and he slowly sat up. He let out a pained groan. His body hurt all over. It would pass, he knew, but he hated the feeling. Maul always chewed him out for doing that. Obi-Wan didn’t do it much, but sometimes that kind of healing was necessary.
“Good morning to you, Master Sith,” Master Jinn said. He was seated on the cloak as well, and he was still shirtless. Obi-Wan started fumbling with his tunic. He pulled it off over his head and offered it to Master Jinn, who accepted it with a quiet thank you and slipped it on. The shirt had been a little big on Obi-Wan, but it fit Master Jinn’s larger torso.
“Good morning,” Obi-Wan mumbled.
“I want to know what you did to me,” Master Jinn said, there was a hardness in his eyes.
“I healed you,” Obi-Wan said.
“Sith healing requires sacrifices,” Master Jinn said. Obi-Wan was almost surprised he knew that much. But then, he also wasn’t. Master Jinn had been Master Tyrannus’s apprentice back when Master Tyrannus was still a Jedi.
“It does.” Obi-Wan spoke with caution in his voice.
“What living thing did you sacrifice to be able do that?” Master Jinn asked, tightness and a hint of anger in his voice.
Obi-Wan had one wild moment where he considered saying he’d killed some defenseless creature. But Obi-Wan knew that would make things worse. His visions told him Master Jinn loved helpless things. He would be angry if Obi-Wan said that. And he’d be more furious when he found out it was a lie.
“How old would you guess I am?” Obi-Wan asked.
Master Jinn considered him for a moment, cocking his head a little. “40 something.”
“I’m 36,” Obi-Wan said. “Sith healing requires sacrifice… a few of my years don’t really matter, I think, in the grand scheme of things.”
“You… you sacrificed your own life to heal me?” Master Jinn asked.
“It was only a year,” Obi-Wan said, shrugging, He winced, wishing immediately that he hadn’t.
“Only a year, he says,” Master Jinn said. “That is without a doubt the stupidest and least Sith like thing I have ever heard of.”
Obi-Wan found himself laughing, and then laughing harder at Master Jinn’s sour expression.
“What?” Master Jinn demanded.
“Nothing. It’s just, Maul said the same thing when I healed him. And I had to give him three,” Obi-Wan said. He wiped at his eyes. “Did you eat?”
“Yes,” Master Jinn said. “There’s a ration bar and a water pack left. You should eat.”
“Thank you,” Obi-Wan said.
They slipped into silence. Obi-Wan was fine with that. He ate the entire ration bar and drank the entire water pack. His pain faded slowly. His body hated the rapid aging process.
“You do look a little older,” Master Jinn said.
“I know,” Obi-Wan said.
“You said 36?” Master Jinn asked.
“Yes,” Obi-Wan said.
“I… you seem very familiar.” Master Jinn was looking at him very closely now. Obi-Wan averted his gaze.
“I was a Jedi initiate once,” Obi-Wan said.
“What happened?” Master Jinn asked.
“I was told I was too angry and sent to the Agricorps,” Obi-Wan said. He wouldn’t meet Master Jinn’s eyes. “And then pirates… Master Tyrannus picked me up within a few months… He thought I had potential.” He couldn’t help the bitterness in his tone.
“I… Initiate Kenobi?” Master Jinn breathed.
Obi-Wan winced. He forced himself to look up and meet Master Jinn’s horrified gaze. He put on a self-deprecating smile and forced a casual tone.
“It seems you were right about me, Master. I wouldn’t have made a good Jedi.”
“Force,” Master Jinn breathed out. He scrubbed his hands over his face.
This was why Obi-Wan hadn’t wanted to see the man. He couldn’t be farther from what he was supposed to be. In his visions he was a shining example of what a Jedi ought to be. In reality he was the worst Sith in history, kept alive because the greatest Apprentice Master Sidious ever had saw Obi-Wan as a friend.
“I shouldn’t have sent you away,” Master Jinn said.
“I think we can both see I’m not suited to being a-” his breath caught for a moment. Obi-Wan swallowed thickly. “A Jedi.”
“You saved me,” Master Jinn said.
“I used Sith magicks,” Obi-Wan pointed out dryly.
“You gave up part of yourself to save a Jedi, rather than kill or harm something else,” Master Jinn said. “Do you hate me for what happened?”
“Why would I?” Obi-Wan asked, laughing at the sudden question. “I… it wasn’t meant to be. I was wrong. I’m still wrong.” He muttered that last part to himself.
Obi-Wan winced again. He hadn’t realized he’d said that last part out loud. He laid himself back on the cloak and let out a heavy sigh.
“I have very, very strong visions. I… it’s like living two lives. One is reality and one is… everything I ever wanted,” Obi-Wan said. “I think the Force is punishing me for breaking all those years ago.”
“What are your visions?” Master Jinn asked.
Obi-Wan felt the bitter smile settle on his mouth. “That you changed your mind and picked me… and I became a great Jedi. One any Master could be proud of. That I became a council member and one of the greatest Generals the GAR had… that… that I was a good man.”
It suddenly felt hard to breathe. He pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes. “I should have just died in that temple. I should have just stop living. Then I wouldn’t be like this.”
A warm, gentle hand laid on his forehead. The swirl of pain stopped and for a moment Obi-Wan stilled. He didn’t lower his hands or open his eyes. In fact, his eyes felt very damp suddenly.
“How long have you been a slave to the Sith?” Master Jinn asked quietly.
“Since I was 13,” Obi-Wan whispered. His voice still carried, though. There was nothing else to break up the oppressive silence of the training room.
“So, most of your life, then,” Master Jinn said.
“Yes,” Obi-Wan said. He slowly lowered his hands. “If- No, when I get you out of here, will you promise me something?”
“What is it?” Master Jinn asked.
“I’ll give you all the information I have. I’ll give you all of it. But please, don’t send me back there. Even if you have to kill me to keep it from happening. Please.”
Master Jinn was still for a moment. “You have a death wish, then?”
“I know I’m too cowardly to do it myself,” Obi-Wan said. “I just can’t do this anymore. So please, I’ll be your prisoner. I’ll do whatever you say. But I can’t go back to them. I can’t do it anymore.”
Obi-Wan watched Master Jinn’s face, and all the emotions that played across it. He thought that Master Jinn would call him a fool, or possibly spit in his face. Instead, Master Jinn gave him a very sad smile.
“I promise, Obi-Wan,” he said.
Obi-Wan bit his bottom lip and looked away. It hurt deep in his chest, but finally he might be free of all of this. He knew he should apologize for passing the burden on to Master Jinn. But he was too relieved to try and take it back.
They rested for a few more hours before they got up and tried to find their way out. Obi-Wan wrapped his cloak around Master Jinn, since the tunic didn’t have sleeves. Master Jinn frowned, but didn’t argue about Obi-Wan’s mothering, and Obi-Wan was glad. Kindness was a weakness Obi-Wan indulged in whenever he could, but he was too trained to fear punishment if he was caught. If Master Jinn argued, Obi-Wan didn’t know what he would have done.
Escape, it turned out, wasn’t that hard. The Temple was on high alert because of Master Jinn. When Obi-Wan realized it, all he had to do was modify a force suppression collar to have a quick release lock so Master Jinn could get it off on his own. Then they were practically able to waltz right out of the Temple.
Master Jinn kept the collar on until they got in his ship and off the planet. Then the collar came off and was tossed full force against a wall. Obi-Wan had been dozing in the co-pilot’s seat. He offered Master Jinn a sleepy smile.
“Yeah, I hate those things too,” Obi-Wan said.
“You’ve worn one before?” Master Jinn asked.
“Yeah. Punishments. Really effective with the visions I have. Even wearing it for a week when the collar suddenly came off I’d get multiple visions at once. I’ve… Master Sidious found it useful, because when I was in that state they could tell me to do anything and I’d do it. They only stopped when Maul claimed me.”
“Darth Maul?” Master Jinn asked. “What do you mean claim?”
“Technically, I suppose I’m considered Maul’s um… catamite, I guess. We’re not like that, actually. He’s my friend, though. And he’s protective. At least they don’t put those collars on me anymore.” Obi-Wan rubbed his neck absentmindedly.
“I see,” Master Jinn said. But he didn’t really sound like he did see.
“He was taken by Master Sidious when he was a young boy. We’re not really too different in age. So we kind of leaned on each other,” Obi-Wan said. “I know what he’s like, but he can be very kind sometimes.”
“He tried to kill me,” Master Jinn said. “He nearly succeeded.”
“And you nearly killed him,” Obi-Wan said.
“Was that what the three years was about?” Master Jinn asked.
Obi-Wan felt his ears heat up. Of course Master Jinn would remember that. He coughed and looked away for a moment. But then he looked back Master Jinn was merely giving him an expectant look, quietly waiting for Obi-Wan’s answer. Obi-Wan let out a heavy sigh.
“Yes,” Obi-Wan said.
“He fell down a very, very long drop to what I was told an incinerator,” Master Jinn said.
“I… my visions are really accurate,” Obi-Wan said.
“You saw me strike him down?”
“No. I saw him kill you. And then I saw me slicing him in half and cradling you while he died,” Obi-Wan said. He could see the shock in Master Jinn’s eyes.
“Hmm, well, I suppose that helped you get past whatever ill you felt toward me,” Master Jinn said with a touch of humor in his voice.
“No.” Obi-Wan’s voice was little more than a whisper. Master Jinn became very serious.
“It bothered you?” Master Jinn asked.
“Very accurate and vivid visions, Master Jinn. You were my teacher and someone I treasured. It’s the one good thing that came from my capture. You survived,” Obi-Wan said. “I think it’s probably better this way.”
Master Jinn turned away, murmuring curses under his breath. Obi-Wan politely pretended not to hear.
“So,” Master Jinn began after a moment. He was changing the subject. “This doesn’t explain how you knew where Maul was.”
“In my vision I saw Maul alive. He didn’t die even when I cut him in half. But he went mad from it all. And it was many years before someone found him. Even Master Sidious though he was dead. He suffered much. I couldn’t do that to him. I didn’t want to see him become the desperate creature I saw in my visions. Even when he got his sanity back he was never the same… I care for him deeply. No, I love Maul. He’s my friend. I couldn’t let that happen to him,” Obi-Wan said.
“So what? You were there waiting?” Master Jinn asked.
“No, it was in the vision slew. They had me in the collar for a month. I saw so much of him. I saw myself nearly killing him so many times. And I watched him lose everything tracking me down because he needed revenge more than anything… so I made a plan and I slipped away from Master Tyrannus and I stole one of his ships. It wasn’t hard to find him because I had a good idea of where he would be.”
“So you found him. Was that the first time you’d used that type of healing?” Master Jinn sounded so serious, Obi-Wan wondered if Master Jinn was angry at him for saving Maul. But really, it would have been so much worse if he hadn’t.
“No,” Obi-Wan said, speaking clearly. “But it was the largest I’d ever tried. Master Tyrannus made me hurt creatures and then use the life of others to heal them. After the second time… well, I would only nearly kill them. Then I would give them my own life to heal them and secretly let them go. I was supposed to dispose of the bodies anyway, so what did it matter. And I mastered the technique faster than any of them. Not even Master Sidious is as good at this type of healing as I am.” Obi-Wan was proud of it. He understood how it worked because of using it on himself. He knew intimately how it burned and ripped and how the Force moved from one living creature to another.
“Would you like to learn how Jedi heal?”
The question made Obi-Wan’s heart stop. He knew the painful hope that must be on his face. Stupidly he still wanted to be a Jedi.
“I’m afraid that time is long past, Master Jinn,” Obi-Wan said. “I’m a Sith.”
“I bet it’s not,” Master Jinn said. “After you’ve saved me and after everything you’re offering to give up, I can’t imagine it would be too against our teachings to show you how to heal without having to give up your own life for others.”
“I… to use the Light side I’d have to be centered,” Obi-Wan said.
“That’s what meditation is for,” Master Jinn said. “And that, at least, I can help you with before we get to Coruscant.”
Obi-Wan knew how wary he must look. His greatest wish had been to be taught by this man. Even after he’d fallen, sometimes he would dream that Master Jinn would find him and see potentials and bring him home to the Temple, rather than kill him because he was fallen and Sith. And then the visions started coming and Obi-Wan had wished with all his heart that he could have had that other life he saw in his visions.
He should turn Master Jinn down. He knew the other man still wasn’t over the effects of the temple. He hadn’t had time to meditate or center himself. Obi-Wan might keep him from the light. But Obi-Wan wanted to be selfish. He wanted to learn this. He wanted to be able to heal Maul without killing himself a little. He wanted to be able to pretend even for a little while that he really was supposed to be a Jedi.
“I would like that very much, Master Jinn,” Obi-Wan said.
“The autopilot is on,” Master Jinn said. “Why don’t we begin now?”
“Can we?” The longing in his voice was pathetic, but Master Jinn just offered him a kind smile.
“Yes, we can. Come, up.”
Obi-Wan stood and followed Master Jinn back to the sleeping quarters. He blinked in confusion when he saw not bunks but one large bed. Instead of durasteel floors there was soft carpet, which muffled the sounds of his boots when he stepped inside. And it was nicely decorated too, like a civilian room, not like a military cruiser.
“A bit silly, isn’t it?” Master Jinn asked. Obi-Wan whipped around to look at him.
“It’s… something,” Obi-Wan said. “Why?”
“Undercover transport,” Master Jinn said. “Most of which had been converted for military reasons. I believe this was what they used when they needed to have a couple of honeymooners.”
“So, this is the bed,” Obi-Wan said. He wondered if any of the other rooms were carpeted. He could probably curl up there.
“I imagine we’ll sleep in shifts anyway,” Master Jinn said. “And I’m not particularly worried about my virtue.”
Obi-Wan stared at him for a moment. Master Jinn was smirking. Obi-Wan felt his face heat up.
“You’re a very bad man,” Obi-Wan said. Master Jinn laughed, which was a surprising and wonderful sound that made Obi-Wan’s heart clench.
Obi-Wan lowered himself onto the floor and pulled off his boots and then assumed a kneeling position. He turned and looked up at Master Jinn, who just looked so much taller since he was still standing. Something ugly whispered in Obi-Wan’s mind that this was his place, that kneeling at the feet of others and belonging to another was all he was good for.
A small, soothing voice whispered back that his thought was right. Jedi lived their lives in service of others, on their knees in meditation and humility. It was not painful for them, not the way Obi-Wan had lived with Master Tyrannus. So yes, that was the life he was good for and deserved.
“You’ve relaxed,” Master Jinn noted. He had removed his boots while Obi-Wan was thinking and lowered himself to the ground to kneel as well.
“I had a good thought,” Obi-Wan said.
“Do you mind sharing?” Master Jinn asked, laying his hands on his knees.
“It’s the perspective that matters,” Obi-Wan said.
“I don’t disagree, but you’re going to need to elaborate.”
Obi-Wan smiled at Master Jinn. “Master Tyrannus and Master Sidious have told me that my weakness means that I am only fit to live on my knees and in service of others more powerful. But when I was a boy in the Crèche, I was taught that I was supposed to live my life on my knees and in service of others. But it’s the perspective. Kneeling is centering to self, not just for humiliation. It is for humility. My service should be for those weaker, not directed by those who was stronger. It never occurred to me until now how similar the philosophy was. But the interpretation is so different and therefore the actions are different.”
“This is a wise thing to realize,” Master Jinn said. “It’s harder to lose yourself to darkness if you can define your own principals to yourself.”
“Well, it’s a little late for that,” Obi-Wan said, putting on a wry smile.
“You were still a boy when you last meditated?”
“Yes. I tried, but they kept me so busy and sleep deprived that whenever I tried, I would fall asleep,” Obi-Wan explained. “Especially in the beginning.”
Something passed over Master Jinn’s face. Obi-Wan couldn’t identify it, but he decided not to worry about it. Master Jinn wasn’t angry at him, so it would likely not result in a punishment or pain.
“I’ll walk you through your breathing, and we’ll go from there,” Master Jinn said.
Obi-Wan closed his eyes and allowed himself to be guided. The breathing came back in a rush. It felt so easy that Obi-Wan was surprised he hadn’t always had that information at his fingertips, that he had ever struggled to remember. Master Jinn talked him through the relaxation. It was like he was a child in the Crèche again. Master Jinn’s voice was soothing and Obi-Wan slipped right in and under.
He had so much pain and sadness and hatred that lived and breathed in his body. He couldn’t work through it all in one session. But he quieted his mind. He picked one instance to focus on, when Maul nearly died. He allowed himself to feel his fear. He feared losing his friend. He feared being alone and under his Masters’ wrath without help. He feared that his visions had been wrong, or too much was different. He feared punishment. He feared that he couldn’t help Maul. He feared what he would give up.
He let himself feel all that fear, and each particular facet. Then he let it go. He brought up his sadness. There was loss there. He hurt for Maul. He hadn’t allowed himself to mourn the loss of his own life. That was an overwhelming thing to feel. He couldn’t deal with it all. But he allowed himself to feel some of the mourning and then set it aside.
Then there was anger. There was so much anger at Maul for getting hurt, at Master Jinn for hurting him, at Master Tyrannus and Master Sidious for their expectations and for the plan that had failed so badly. And then came the anger at himself. He gave up so much for Maul and because he was afraid of being alone. It was stupid and selfish. If Obi-Wan hadn’t, maybe he could have proven himself as a worthy apprentice.
But he didn’t regret it. He would lay down his entire life for Maul in a heartbeat, not just a portion of it. Maul deserved to have someone love him. Maul said more than once that Obi-Wan was his light. He was proud of that. He was proud of himself for saving Maul. He was proud that he’d brought his friend back when no one believed he was alive.
And Maul had taken him as his catamite soon afterwards, which protected Obi-Wan from the worst of himself. Obi-Wan had regrets, but he wouldn’t change what he did for anything.
Obi-Wan let it go. It was resolved. It was okay.
“Obi-Wan?” Master Jinn asked.
“Yes, Master?” Obi-Wan asked. He hadn’t opened his eyes yet. He felt just a little floaty, just a little lighter.
“It’s time to come back up,” Master Jinn said.
“I am,” Obi-Wan insisted.
“Then open your eyes, Initiate Kenobi.” Master Jinn was teasing him and sounded so amused. Obi-Wan could die happy.
“You’re a smartass when you want to be,” Obi-Wan said, opening his eyes. Master Jinn looked more at peace than he had when they first settled to meditate. “You got to meditate as well?” A touch of anxiety colored his words.
“You are not difficult to guide,” Master Jinn said. “And I am old enough to know how to make the most of the time I have.”
“I would not want to cause you harm,” Obi-Wan said, shifting off his knees to sit instead.
Master Jinn snorted. “I believe you giving up a year of your life for me is good indication that you want to take care of me.”
“Um, yes,” Obi-Wan mumbled. He scratched the back of his neck.
“I think it’s time you tried to rest,” Master Jinn said. He pushed himself up and stretched. “I’ll give you a ration bar and water pack. Use the bed. Sleep.”
“Yes, Master,” Obi-Wan said. He pushed himself up and got on the bed. He watched Master Jinn walk out. The he stretched out on the bed and closed his eyes.
He woke up to the ship rocking in an uncomfortable way. Obi-Wan got up and pulled on his boots. He handed his lightsaber to Master Jinn when they left the temple. He regretted it because if they were under attack he wouldn’t have a weapon.
He could feel Master Jinn’s light. He rushed toward it. He was in the cockpit. And he was seated.
“Are we under attack?” Obi-Wan demanded.
“Only from the inside,” Master Jinn said. The ship jolted. Obi-Wan stumbled and then quickly dropped into the seat.
“What’s going on?”
“The ship’s nav and engines are shutting down. I’m just trying to get it somewhere that someone can find us before-”
The ship jolted violently, dropping out of hyper space. They were stalled in the middle of a trillion stars, with no planets or moons or even asteroids anywhere nearby.
“Well, shit,” Master Jinn said.
“Now what?” Obi-Wan asked, picking himself up off the floor.
“I’m setting the distress signal… and then one of us is going to have to crawl around on the inside and see if we can get any of this fix.”
“And by one of us, you mean me,” Obi-Wan said, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, you are smaller.”
“Not that much smaller,” Obi-Wan muttered.
Obi-Wan still allowed himself to be steered toward the panel. They got it off and Obi-Wan began poking around. He’d never enjoyed working with ships or droids. But that didn’t mean he didn’t know a few things. Looking around he figured out pretty fast what the problem was.
“You said this ship was old?” Obi-Wan asked
“I didn’t,” Master Jinn said. “But it’s not new.”
“Well, the wiring needed replacing eons ago, and the planet itself didn’t help. Basically they’re fried and this ship isn’t going anywhere,” Obi-Wan explained.
“Great,” Master Jinn muttered. “While you were under there I checked the Communications systems. They’re working, so we can contact Coruscant with our location.”
“Not easily,” Obi-Wan said. “The planet we were on doesn’t exactly have a fixed trajectory. At least not one we’ve figured out. I’m 100% certain that you got on the planet at a different location as I did. And I don’t know what we were near when we left. Do you remember off the top of your head?”
“Fucking Sith,” Master Jinn cursed.
“So, contact the Temple and otherwise put out a distress beacon and hope for the best,” Obi-Wan said.
Obi-Wan lowered himself into one of the chairs and watched while Master Jinn pulled up the comm system and called in to Master Windu. It was odd but not unpleasant to see Master Windu, even in a hazy, blue form.
“We were about to send out a search party,” Master Windu said.
“Well, I took an unintended detour,” Master Jinn said.
“I hopped a few systems and ended up on a yet unknown Sith planet with a wild course and only got out yesterday, apparently in a vastly different place than it was when it landed… and I landed an indeterminate number of days ago. How long have I been gone exactly?”
“About two weeks,” Master Windu said.
“Lovely. Looks like that place really does mess with time,” Master Jinn said, glancing back at Obi-Wan who shrugged.
“So you’re on your way to the temple?” Master Windu said.
“My ship had a grave malfunction,” Master Jinn said.
“Which means?” Master Windu’s eyebrow was twitching.
“The Nav and Engine are shot and I have no idea where we currently are.” Master Jinn’s tone was far too cheerful for the situation. Obi-Wan suddenly had a memory scream to the front of his mind. It seemed that Master Jinn had been aggravating the Council even in the real world. It was just like all his visions as well. Obi-Wan rubbed his forehead, willing his mind to stay clear and not get the real world confused again.
“Only you,” Master Windu said in a tone that was just acceptance. “What do you mean ‘We’?”
“Initiate Kenobi, here please,” Master Jinn said.
Obi-Wan hesitated for a moment. No, ‘hesitation’ wasn’t the word. He froze with a certain amount of fear. He hadn’t realized he’d have to face the Council so soon. His childish fear of them had warped into something rather darker under Master Sidious’s poisoned words. He stared at Master Jinn in abject terror.
But Master Jinn just offered him a kind smile and his hand. Obi-Wan rose slowly on jelly legs and made his way over slowly to Master Jinn. He extended his arm, placing his hand in Master Jinn’s as soon as he could. Master Jinn gently guided him close and laid a hand on his shoulder.
Obi-Wan had to resist snuggling into the older man’s side, especially when he looked up and met Master Windu’s icy gaze.
“You remember Initiate Obi-Wan Kenobi,” Master Jinn said as a statement, not a question.
“Initiate Kenobi?” Master Windu asked, shock coloring his words.
“Yes, Master?” Obi-Wan answered on automatic.
“Where did you find him?”
“It turns out he was captured by pirates and then claimed by the Sith after he was sent from the Temple. And believe me, Mace, I will be having words with the Council about not following up on children who don’t arrive at their intended destination.”
“I see,” Mace said. Obi-Wan had to fight to keep meeting his gaze. “He doesn’t look like your prisoner.”
“He’s not.” Master Jinn had such a hard edge to his voice that Obi-Wan jumped. He remembered that tone from when he was a boy. He felt shame hit his gut. He shouldn’t have jumped like that. He was a man, an adult, not a child.
“He rescued me. He healed me, using a Sith technique that demands a sacrifice and gave me a year of his life. Then he got me out of the Temple I was trapped in and back to my ship. He’s offered to give every bit of information he has so long as we won’t allow him to be returned to his Masters.”
“Is this true, Kenobi?”
“Yes, Master.” Obi-Wan was proud that his voice didn’t sound weak. He did lean into Master Jinn a little. But then, Master Jinn had shifted to put his arm around Obi-Wan’s shoulders. So it should be okay.
“Alright. We’ll come find you. See if you can find any recognizable constellations or any information from the nav system before it broke to send us. And for Force sake, leave your distress signal on,” Master Windu said.
“Yes, Mace,” Master Jinn said. Then he turned off the comm.
Obi-Wan nearly collapsed against the older man. But Master Jinn just gathered him into his arms and held him up. Obi-Wan barely resisted hiding his face in Master Jinn’s chest, which was broad and strong and very appealing for hiding in, along with other things.
“Why are you so afraid?” Master Jinn asked. “You aren’t afraid with me.”
“It’s… I was scared like all the Initiates were of the Council… Master Sidious just made it worse. He used to say things. Things I know aren’t true, but it stuck anyway.” It was so shameful. Obi-Wan dropped his head a bit. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t need to be sorry, Obi-Wan,” Master Jinn said. “Is it alright if I call you that?”
“Yes,” Obi-Wan whispered. He looked up at Master Jinn. “Thank you… but I don’t know why you didn’t tell him I would be a burden.”
“It’s better to have me executed then have my Masters killing Jedi to get to me,” Obi-Wan said.
“Ah… yes. That’s something it’s better to explain in person,” Master Jinn said.
Obi-Wan nodded. “I understand. Um, do you think I could call someone?”
“Maul,” Obi-Wan said. Master Jinn instantly became tense. “He’ll come looking for me. He’ll cut through anyone in his way, unless he knows this is my choice. Then he’ll keep his distance and help to keep Master Sidious and Master Tyrannus off my trail.”
Master Jinn let out a deep and put upon sigh. “Alright, but I’m monitoring this communication.”
“I expected you would,” Obi-Wan said. He pulled away and pulled him to the Comm. He plugged in Maul’s comm number.
Maul appeared in the comm the same way Master Windu had. The serious look on Maul’s face melted as soon as he saw Obi-Wan.
“I know you’d make it out.”
“I had a bit of help,” Obi-Wan said.
Obi-Wan grabbed Master Jinn’s sleeve and tugged him into the view. A number of creative Sith curses began spilling out of Maul’s mouth. Obi-Wan smiled.
“I’m fine,” Obi-Wan said before Maul could start listing off the violent tortures he would visit on Master Jinn’s head. “I never really wanted to be with the Sith to begin with. You know that.”
Maul paused. Something pained crossed his face. “I do know,” Maul admitted.
“The temple knows I’m coming, and that I surrendered. You may want to distance yourself from me a bit.”
“Understood,” Maul said stiffly. Obi-Wan didn’t know if he would do what Obi-Wan suggested or not. But it wasn’t up to Obi-Wan to decide that. “You.” Maul was suddenly addressing Master Jinn. “If I find out anything has happened to Obi-Wan, I will bathe the walls of your precious temple in Jedi blood.”
“No, Maul,” Obi-Wan said firmly. “If Master Sidious or Master Tyrannus are closing in, I asked that they kill me. I can’t go back there. I simply can’t. This is my choice. I don’t want any more bloodshed on my account.”
“Perhaps, if you kept the Sith off of Obi-Wan’s trail, you wouldn’t have to worry about his safety too much,” Master Jinn said. “I have no real interest in causing Obi-Wan harm. He was one of us at one point.”
Maul hesitated and then gave a firm nod. “I’m going to have to destroy this comm. Anything else I should know?”
“Miss you?” Obi-Wan said with a little half smile.
Maul smiled back. “We’ll see each other again.” The comm went dark.
Obi-Wan moved back to his seat while Master Jinn turned the comm off. Obi-Wan had a moment where he considered sitting and then pulling his knees up to his chest; but he was too old for that. He settled for dropping into his seat with a really tired sigh.
“The ship is stocked with water and ration bars,” Master Jinn said. “I think it’s about time for some food.”
“I do too,” Obi-Wan responded. He was inordinately grateful for the distraction, even if it was only temporary. His life had taken a radical change. He needed time to adjust.
For every morning that followed, Obi-Wan found it hard to get out of bed. Even though he slept at the edge of the bed, trying to not invade Master Jinn’s space (despite the other man’s best efforts, Obi-Wan couldn’t bring himself to call him Qui-Gon). Being so close to the man he’d lived an entire other life with in his visions was like a dream. Obi-Wan was afraid of waking up from it. And he was afraid of losing reality. Also, Master Jinn kept the bed very warm, and Obi-Wan didn’t particularly like leaving such comfortable accommodations.
They kept a schedule, even if it didn’t really line up to a normal day schedule. When they woke they would meditate. They would meditate for about an hour. Master Jinn still guided Obi-Wan through meditation, but Obi-Wan was certain he’d be able to do it on his own soon. He was slowly working his way through the past years of his life and the emotions that had overwhelmed him since the beginning. He felt better after meditation.
Next on the schedule were katas. Obi-Wan knew the katas well because Master Dooku still favored them himself. Even though Obi-Wan was well versed in Sith styles of fighting, he still maintained that portion of his Jedi training. He was very proud of that when he and Master Jinn sparred. Also, the level of trust Master Jinn showed him during those sessions was incredible. He never worried about Obi-Wan having his lightsaber. Obi-Wan was very protective of it.
After about three of their cycles he admitted that he kept his old crystal from his old Jedi lightsaber in the hilt. He didn’t have it connected to anything, but it kept the crystal close and hidden. He’d stolen it from his initiate lightsaber before he’d left to be a farmer, not ready to give up on his dreams. The look on Master Jinn’s face had been very sad then.
Master Jinn looked sad a lot. Obi-Wan knew he was the cause of it, but there wasn’t much he could do to fix that, so mostly he tried not to think about it.
After katas was their first meal. The ship was well, well stocked with water and ration bars. There were even some fruit and vegetables that had been frozen. It wasn’t hard to prepare. And there were dried grains and tea. It didn’t make for the most exciting meals, but they had food for a while.
First meal also included discussion time, mostly about philosophy. Obi-Wan didn’t have a general Jedi education, but Master Tyrannus had seen to it that Obi-Wan, Maul and even Asajj all received a solid education. Master Tyrannus said it was so they could go undercover. Obi-Wan had a good education in languages and protocol, better than Maul and Asajj who took to the vicious fighting styles and philosophy of the Sith with great gusto.
Obi-Wan was pleased that he could generally keep up when it came to philosophy discussions with Master Jinn. He didn’t know all the texts Master Jinn referenced, but Master Tyrannus had quickly found that Obi-Wan had an easier time learning Sith philosophy if he could take Jedi philosophy and show Obi-Wan where it was wrong.
Obi-Wan admitted to Master Jinn that he’d figured out how to parrot what Master Tyrannus wanted for the most part, so he could keep having those kinds of lessons. The look on Master Jinn’s face was an odd mix of mirth and pride that Obi-Wan kept revisiting when it was time to sleep.
After meals were general ship maintenance and star charting to try and help the Temple figure out where they were. Unfortunately, neither of them were experts in charting stars. It made the process slow and tedious.
That was probably why after hours of charting they were go back to the katas. They needed to be able to move around and just do something else. Obi-Wan also liked the extra practice hours. He was certain he wouldn’t be allowed such things once they were found and taken back to the temple. But he took joy in the moments he had. He absorbed what he could while he could and held it in his heart.
They ended the days with another round of meditation. Obi-Wan mostly tried to sort through his day during the quiet time. He felt more and more in control every day.
After about two weeks of this they ran into their first real problem. Since they weren’t traveling there had been plenty of fuel to keep the ship’s life support going. But after two weeks Obi-Wan noted that the fuel levels had dropped considerably. It took two days to find the leak, and after that they had to start rationing power.
They sorted out which rooms they never used and locked them up, shutting off power to those rooms. They shut down more heat to the kitchen, which mean the temperature dropped enough that they could use considerably less power to the cooler units. The general temperature of the ship was taken down a few degrees as well. They were maintaining, but both men knew they needed to find rescue soon.
The worst life support issue for Obi-Wan came at sleeping time. Sharing a bed became a necessity, since they turned the heat down more at night. The body warmth of both of them and the extra blankets meant they could conserve a bit of energy. And Master Jinn seemed to have no qualms wrapping around Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan didn’t exactly have qualms either. The versions of himself he’d lived in the visions had been deeply in love with Master Jinn. Their weeks together had proven to Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon Jinn was easy to love. He was friendly, intelligent, kind and beautiful. They spent all day around each other and Obi-Wan felt like he still wanted more.
Laying there sleeping so peacefully, wrapped completely around each other, Obi-Wan had a hard time not wanting to touch where he shouldn’t. He wanted to stroke Master Jinn’s brow and kiss the little crooked part of his nose. He wanted to run his thumb over Master Jinn’s bottom lip and tangle his fingers in his beard.
Sleeping became very difficult.
It didn’t help that Master Jinn was free with his touch. Even with Maul, Obi-Wan wasn’t used to friendly touches. He had never realized how much he craved touch until Master Jinn kept laying his hands on Obi-Wan’s shoulders or back, or ruffling his hair. And maybe it was Obi-Wan’s imagination, but it seemed like he would catch Master Jinn’s eyes lingering on his body. But that was probably just wishful thinking on his part.
But he couldn’t help but hope that it really wasn’t.
Three and a half weeks after the ship broke down, Obi-Wan had decided to turn the temperature at sleep time down another two degrees. It might be colder, but he was starting to wonder if they actually would make it in time for rescue. He’d taken his free hour and begun writing up notes for the temple. Maybe they would help a little anyway.
Master Jinn was already in his sleep clothes and under the blankets. Obi-Wan was pulling on Master Jinn’s sleep shirt. He hadn’t brought any of his own clothes except what he’d had on his back when they boarded the ship. He’d been wearing Master Jinn’s clothes so much that he started to think of them as ‘their’ clothes. He finished pulling his shirt over his head and found Master Jinn was staring at him.
“What?” Obi-Wan asked, his mouth quirking into a half smirk.
“I would like to ask you a question, Obi-Wan,” Master Jinn said, pushing himself up on his elbow.
“And you must understand that if you do not want you, you aren’t obligated.” Master Jinn sounded so worried.
Obi-Wan found himself laughing. “Just ask your question, Old Man.” That, at least, amused Master Jinn. He pushed himself up the rest of the way and patted the spot on the bed next to him. Obi-Wan climbed into bed, sticking his legs under the blankets.
“Obi-Wan, do you want me?” Master Jinn asked.
For a moment Obi-Wan’s heart stopped. His mouth became very dry. Obi-Wan opened his mouth but no sound came out.
“The way you look at me, sometimes I think you do,” Master Jinn. “But I can’t be certain if it’s just my own mind. It’s just occurred to me that we may not have many days left. There’s no reason to regret not asking until it’s too late.”
“It’s… yes, I want you, Master,” Obi-Wan said.
Master Jinn frowned. “Obi-Wan, can you understand why for this conversation it would be better if you called me by my first name?”
“Yes, of course, Qui-Gon.” The words tasted so sweet and so strange in his mouth. Obi-Wan shivered. Qui-Gon clearly misunderstood the shiver and put his arm around Obi-Wan, tugging him close for warmth. They’d done that many times now.
“I don’t want to make you feel forced about this,” Qui-Gon said.
“I don’t,” Obi-Wan said quickly. “I didn’t want to burden you with my feelings.”
Qui-Gon’s face molded into that sad look again. Obi-Wan’s stomach dropped out a bit. He didn’t want to see it now, not during what may be the most important conversation of his life. He leaned over and kissed Qui-Gon, just trying to make the look go away.
It shocked him how warm Qui-Gon’s lips were, and how his moustache was a little scratchy. And he was surprised by how warm it made him feel. It was just a short kiss. Short, closed lipped and chaste. But Obi-Wan felt warm down to his toes when he’d felt cold for weeks now.
“Does that answer your question?” Obi-Wan asked, quirking a brow.
Qui-Gon sat back a bit and licked his lips. Obi-Wan’s eyes closely followed the path of his tongue. He saw when Qui-Gon’s mouth set into a smirk. When Obi-Wan looked up to meet Qui-Gon’s eyes, he saw that the older man looked very smug.
“Yes, I believe it does.” Qui-Gon was practically growling. Obi-Wan felt that sound right down in his stomach. Shortly afterwards he felt Qui-Gon’s lips on his own.