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Blossoms In The Wind (Padawan Mine)

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Raxus, Outer Rim, 44 BBY.

One year later.

 

It was all so green. So peaceful.

Just grass and hills, tracing soft curves under the sky. And the river and the sky, calm and blue like Master Qui-Gon’s eyes.

Obi could hear the chirping of birds, the soft buzzing of the bees, the sweet song of the brooklet next to him. The rest of the world was hushed, and he closed his eyes, feeling the sun brush his nose softly.

Obi-Wan breathed out quietly, and gradually, shyly, he let his shields fall, allowing the Force to flow freely through him, and from him into the world.

He was seated on the top of a hill, alone, because that last afternoon on Raxus was idle, leaving him and his Master some time and space to meditate or simply enjoy their surroundings.

Obi had loved that mission, because it had been so peaceful. They had never needed to switch on their lightsabers, they were just there to witness the official admittance of Raxus in the Senate. The celebrations had been unbroken, and Obi-Wan thought back of the music he had heard, of the sound of the fiddle that had made tears rise to his eyes, because it was so pure.

He loved music.

It had made the people of Raxus smile at him, and a girl had taken him by the hand and they had danced, Obi-Wan trying to remember the complicated steps of the dancing sets, watching Qui-Gon join in with awe.

They had gone to bed tired and merry, and Obi had spent the afternoon here on the hill, drawing the nature before him, trying to hold down the music and the dance in the words of the journal he had begun, after his Master had come back from Hosnian Prime.

Master Qui-Gon had kept his promise, and Obi had been able to go with him on every mission ever since. Of course, it was not as dangerous as protecting Chancellor Valorum from assassins such as Rose Cimber, whose file Obi knew by heart, because she had somehow escaped her prison, and as such was a threat both to the Republic and the Jedi, especially Master Qui-Gon and Master Dooku.

Obi sighed quietly, because Master Dooku was a very, very difficult subject. Somehow, Master Qui-Gon and him did not meet anymore – because Master Dooku was often away on longer missions, and because Qui-Gon and Obi never seemed to be at the Temple at the same time.

But Obi had tried to find out more about him – he was his Grandmaster, and he was the one who had saved Master Qui-Gon from Rose Cimber’s poison. He had downloaded Master Dooku’s file from the Archives, and when Madame Nu had discovered that, she had told him that her and Master Dooku were old friends and that they had been Initiates together.

Just like Quin, Nara, Kit and Obi.

Master Qui-Gon never wanted to talk about Grandmaster Dooku – his eyes had gone all stormy and their bond all silent the one time Obi had dared to ask about him, and so Obi was left to seek some facts in Dooku’s file, and in Madame Nu’s memory.

Master Dooku had a blue lightsaber, just like Obi. Master Dooku liked music, just like Obi, but what he liked most, according to Madame Nu, was music that was played with an orchestra, involving many instruments. Master Qui-Gon, on the other hand, loved voices that sang in a very lyric way – that was the musical word for the way such voices seemed to vibrate and be very, very emotional in what Qui-Gon called opera.

Obi just liked songs. Soft songs that could be sung quietly, just like Owen had always done for him. It made Obi feel connected to the Cosmic Force and sometimes, it even helped him calm down, especially when he needed to concentrate on a difficult essay or when he could not fall asleep.

Sometimes listening to them also helped Obi release emotions into the Force. Ever since he was a Padawan, Master Qui-Gon had helped him realise that sometimes, he only pushed them down without acknowledging that he felt them. And then they stayed inside and made Obi anxious, and sometimes when it became too much, he would start walking during the night again.

But thanks to Master Qui-Gon, Obi had realised that he had to stop being lazy and relying only on his shields – and so, whenever he was not sure about what he was feeling exactly, Obi switched on the radio and listened to the channel Dex had shown him.

Sometimes Obi just sat there and fell into a light meditation, where no real thoughts were emerging, but where he could calm down. Sometimes the songs caused tears to rise in Obi’s eyes – and that was when he realised that he had felt sad, either because of people or things happening to people they tried to help. It helped to let the tears go. It also helped acknowledge that sometimes he had been afraid.

And sometimes the tears just happened because the song was beautiful. Because it reminded Obi of safety and love – of Owen’s voice singing to him, of Master Ti’s arms around him, the way her hand carded through his hair, of Quin hugging him, of Nara looking at him and of Kit laughing. And of Master Qui-Gon – but Master Qui-Gon was more complicated to link to songs, because he was just everything.

He was the soothing voice in Obi’s head, the one guiding him through the Force, the one helping him to understand the world and the Way of the Jedi. He was the one guiding his moves, as they practised katas and lightsaber techniques together – and Obi had decided he wanted to be just like him, and help Master Qui-Gon defend himself against people like Rose Cimber, and had abandoned Soresu for Ataru.

Ataru in sync with Master Qui-Gon.

Because they were a team. Because if they were shielding the other and fighting together, they were keeping each other’s back and would stay strong.

Master Qui-Gon had told Obi that the Force was very mysterious, and that sometimes dreams never came true. That they could also just pass, and never become real, and that Obi should tell him about the dreams and feelings he got, but not rely only on them – because they could lead to fear and paralyze him. They all needed to live in the moment and listen to the Living Force and their instincts, not only their intuitions, and Obi thought it very wise.

He was still dreaming – sometimes he was still walking around, but he had not drawn in his sleep ever since the terrible Rose-dream. He still got feelings, though – like that day he had decided he would discard Soresu. It did not feel right, not at Master Qui-Gon’s side.

At Master Qui-Gon’s side. Together.

The Force had been very loud inside Obi, and he had known then that it wanted him to stay alongside Master Qui-Gon, even while fighting. Soresu had been wonderful as an Initiate, and sometimes Obi missed the calm, quick moves that always reminded him of running with Owen, somehow.

But Ataru was a way to let out steam, to be bolder and to become stronger, more defined in the Force. It forced Obi to show himself,  to develop attacking moves and not just defend himself – and though it still felt foreign somehow, it made him closer to Master Qui-Gon.

It linked them together, and that was what the Force wanted – so Obi followed, gladly, thanking the Force for its guidance, and for leading him to his Master.

It had made Quinlan frown, the first time he had faced Obi and noticed the difference in his sparring moves. Quin was even taller now, while Obi still had to grow and stop looking like a little boy, and Quin had made a show of displaying a lot of Ataru moves while fighting against him – forcing Obi to fall back to defensive moves, Quin almost grinning when he saw him switch to Soresu once more.

Master Tholme was training Quin well, though, and this time Obi had not felt Quin’s emotions in his very being. What had been clear, though, was that Quinlan felt very grown up, and thought that Obi was still a baby who could not decide for himself.

Quin was so tall and strong he was talking to elder Padawans and spending much time with them, just like Kit, who was still nice to Obi and asked him about his missions, but who was always busy too.

The only one Obi still talked to like before was Nara. Nara still liked to sit with him in the Room of Thousand Fountains, or simply on a bench in the Temple. Sometimes they did not talk, they just sat quietly together – sometimes Nara told him about her missions, sometimes they just learned their lessons.

Nara managed to stay a bridge between Obi and Kit and Quin – and one day Obi had asked her if she was not bored to stay with him. That had made Nara raise her eyebrows and shake her head.

“Why would I, Obi? You’re my twin moon.”

It had made him blush, a little, and Nara had taken his hand.

“You are my friend, Obi. I’m never bored when I am with you. I like how you feel in the Force, Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

She had smiled at him, and he had blushed even more.

“You are my friend too, Nara.”

I miss Quin and Kit, though.

“They will come back, Obi. Just let them grow.”

Quin and Kit were grown, though. The only one among them who still looked like a little kid was him and sometimes it made Obi sad and angry at himself.

Master Qui-Gon was very clever and very good at sensing that, though, and on those days, he always made sure to spend some time with Obi, making him tea or sitting with him on the couch. He talked to Obi like a grown up, and helped Obi feel less like a little child. Somehow on these evenings Obi still ended up in his Master’s arms – and one time, Qui-Gon had managed to make him spill about Quin or Kit.

“They don’t want me, Master. Because I’m too small.

- You’re not too small, little one”, Qui-Gon had replied, softly. “You are a bit younger. And most of the time, it does not matter, at all. But in those years right after childhood it can become difficult. Yet it passes. You will see.”

He had pulled Obi on his lap, resting Obi’s head on his shoulder, and he had rocked him, gently, carding his hand through his hair, thumb wiping the single tear that had rolled on Obi’s cheek.

“I’m sorry, Master…

- Don’t be, little one. Some hurts reach deep. They pass, though. I promise you. One day your friends will come back. They just need to grow.

- I need to grow.

- You will, Padawan mine. But it has nothing to do with height. Growing means realising what matters, and what does not. And what matters in friendships is relying on the other, trusting them, and knowing they do the same.

- Like… like us, Master.”

Qui-Gon had smiled at that.

“Yes, Obi-Wan. Like we do. And I do not want you any different as you are, Padawan mine. You are all blossoms in the wind. You will all bloom and make us proud.”

Master Qui-Gon was not just one thing or one memory. Master Qui-Gon was safety and love and everything Obi needed, somehow. So that day he had just nestled in his Master’s arms, and allowed him to take his pain and sadness away. 

One of these mornings… You’re going to rise up singing… Yes, you’ll spread your wings… And you’ll take to the skies…

Qui-Gon had begun to sing softly, and it had made Obi recover, gazing at his Master in wonder. Qui-Gon had smiled at Obi and had finished that song Obi loved to sing as well, deep voice ringing in their small living room.

But till that morning… Nothing can harm you… Yes, with your old Master standing by…

- That’s not what the song says, Master”, Obi had giggled through his remaining tears, wiping at his cheek once more and facing Qui-Gon.

“Oh yes, little one? And what does the song say?”, Qui-Gon had asked, playfully.

And Obi had sung it to Qui-Gon, with the real lyrics, watching his Master’s smile spread, slowly, feeling his warm palms on his back.

“You’re good at the man’s voice, though, Master”, Obi had said. “It’s so deep. And very warm. Not funny, but… happy.

- He was a great, great trumpet player, a very long time ago”, his Master had told him, softly. “And she had one of the most beautiful voices of her time. That is why we still love to listen to them and sing along with them. I think it was a song from a musical – telling a story and drawing a picture for us.

- It’s comforting, is it not, Master?

- And why do you think so, little robin?”

Qui-Gon’s hands rubbed small circles into Obi-Wan’s back, and he had nestled back into his arms.

“Because… if it was so long ago, and we still love the song… then it means that some thoughts and emotions and stories never change. That we will always feel some things deeply and endure, and that if we create beautiful things like this song, it will make people happy even after we are gone.

- That, my sweet robin, is very true. And very wise.

- I think that’s what the Force loves most. To link us together like that.

- Perhaps, little one… Most certainly.”

That evening, Master Qui-Gon had wrapped his arms around him, and had stroked his hair, very lightly.

“Do not change, Padawan mine. Do not lose that faith you have.”

Obi had nodded. And now he was thinking back of those words, gazing at the nature before him, thinking he had rarely felt so at peace.

It filled him with quiet joy, like the song they both knew, like Master Qui-Gon’s words – it made Obi believe. So, when he heard footsteps approaching and realized it was his Master, he simply smiled.

Waiting for Qui-Gon to join him.

 

*******

 

A year had passed.

A year since Hosnian Prime – a year with Obi-Wan at his side, learning to get used to his quiet, unobtrusive and yet essential presence.

Qui-Gon had never told him, but he had feared comparison. Had dreaded to be reminded of Feemor, whenever he would try to build his bond with Obi-Wan. To crush his little robin with the ghost of his former Padawan – but it had not happened.

It had not happened, because Obi-Wan and Feemor were very different, and because Qui-Gon had begun to discover how infinite the Force was. It could harbour sadness, loss, regret – and also love, wonder and joy, often at the very same time.

And though he remembered the cheerful, boisterous green-eyed boy who had become such a fine, caring Jedi and still thought of him every day – there was another one now, grey-eyed, thoughtful and sensitive, calling for his heart and mind, filling their bond with light.

Obi was still small, and had yet to leave childhood completely. Feemor had been a bit elder when Qui-Gon had chosen him, and had already left that age where dreams and fantasy still ruled, making room for doubts and wills of independency.

Of course, his little Padawan’s mind was running fast enough to make a lot of rooms for doubts – and Force knew that Obi had always been fiercely independent, struggling with the very notion of asking for help and opening up. But he was still a boy – notwithstanding his fighting skills and the seriousness with which he took his studies.

And sometimes, Qui-Gon was reminded of it very suddenly – on missions, when Obi would behave absolutely perfectly, making researches, helping him along with notes, getting their things ready and co-piloting the ship, until they reached hyperspace and headed home.

Then, his little robin would curl up in his seat and gaze at the silver-ribbons the hyperdrive would draw against the window, and Qui-Gon would sense small words through their bond - a comet, a flower, a flame… - and realize Obi-Wan was guessing out shapes.

Sometimes it was in the simple gestures as well, those that were still not quite Jedi-like. The one time Obi-Wan had clasped his hand, when Qui-Gon had been yelled at on a crowded market, and where he had sensed the old-forgotten, long-buried terror of a three-year-old boy forced to run.

The small moments where Obi still giggled, whenever Qui-Gon cracked a daring joke or tried to make him laugh. The trusting way his Padawan cuddled against him, whenever they had to sleep outside, and was asleep within minutes, as long as Qui-Gon held him against him.

The way small things still played such an important part in Obi’s life: what a teacher had told him, the way a friend would react… Qui-Gon was not prying, and Obi was still a terrific shielder, but he had opened up and Qui-Gon was able to sense more often what Obi-Wan was thinking.

And it filled him with wonder to be able to be reminded, perhaps for the last time, what it was like to be a child. To trust, blindingly, to believe in love and safety. To dream. To be absolutely happy with the smallest things.

His Padawan had his struggles, of course. Obi-Wan was quiet, but Qui-Gon had realised that he was not always calm, processing many things at once, his mind seemingly never tired – and yet… Sometimes he still woke up to the sound of his Padawan’s bare feet on the floor, in the middle of the night, and found the little one standing in their living room, shivering slightly.

He would go to Obi-Wan, and take him gently in his arms, mindful not to wake him, looking at those grey eyes that did not really see him. And Obi’s Force-signature felt like a little bird, struggling wildly with too-strong emotions that made him tremble but stayed unvoiced.

“Shh… little one… It is okay… you can release them…”

Qui-Gon wrapped the Force around his Padawan on those nights, until Obi-Wan’s eyes closed, until his small body went warm and loose once more in Qui-Gon’s arms. He never seemed to remember it in the morning, and Qui-Gon did not push him – but he made always sure to probe gently at their bond, watchful for signs of distress or anguish.

Those nights had become fewer, though, and Qui-Gon had realised that Obi-Wan was talking a bit more, and even seemed eager to share his thoughts with him. His Padawan was also growing in the Force, making huge progresses in levitation and sparring – and Qui-Gon could not really remember how it had been without him.

Without Obi’s humming, whenever he thought himself unwatched and was bent on his work – the little one had a very good ear for music and melodies and was truly chirping like a robin.

Without the almost obsessive way his little Padawan cleaned and tidied their quarters – keeping a wide berth around Qui-Gon’s room, but always making sure they both had space enough to live along.

Without the clear, organized notes Obi was storing on his data-pad, whenever they left for another mission – Madame Nu had truly trained him well, and Qui-Gon was baffled at the way his Padawan willingly spent a huge amount of time behind holobooks and screens, just to get a clear idea of things, Master.

Without the sense of peace and light Obi projected into the Force, without being entirely aware of it yet, and that Qui-Gon could sense whenever they meditated together or whenever his Padawan opened up fully into the Force.

Like now.

Obi-Wan was sitting cross-legged on a flat stone, at the top of the green hills of Raxus, and was watching him arrive, auburn hair gently kissed by the breeze and freckles even more apparent in the warm sun.

“Enjoying the view, little one?”, Qui-Gon asked, quietly, and Obi smiled at him.

“Yes, Master. Very much.”

Qui-Gon sat down cross-legged next to him, and for a while, none of them spoke. The birds were chirping around them, and one of them left the trees to draw a few flips into the azure sky, perching itself on a nearby bush once it finished.

And Qui-Gon smiled, silently, when he realized that of course, it was a robin.

Almost Ataru. Well done.

The thought came from Obi-Wan, and made his smile widen even more, heart filling with affection – because of course his Padawan was talking to his little namesake, acknowledging it fully in the Force like the Jedi he was.

“Pine trees”, Obi-Wan said softly, and Qui-Gon turned towards him, raising an eyebrow, watching the boy extend his arm towards the bush.

The little robin soon perched itself on Obi-Wan’s wrist, and his Padawan added:

“That is what I remember, from Stewjon. High pine trees. And grass. The sky. And Owen.”

Every word felt shrouded. Sacred. And so Qui-Gon stayed silent.

“It feels the same here. But the people are friendlier. It feels… right. Grass, and trees, and the sky.”

Qui-Gon nodded, watching the little robin pick at Obi-Wan’s sleeve, small head tilted, letting out a chirp.

“It feels right, Obi-Wan. It is what I love most as well.”

Green… like your blade. And blue… like mine.

The soft words were not uttered, this time, because his Padawan was still shy about the most important things. And Qui-Gon had learned that, though Obi-Wan cared a lot about words, about naming ideas and labelling thoughts correctly, it was the gestures that truly found the way to his heart.

So he extended his arm and placed a hand on the little one’s nape, fingertips carding through his hair, playing with his braid.

“Like us, Padawan mine.”

On Obi’s wrist, the little robin chirped. And then, in an eyeblink, it was gone, pirouetting in the sky with a last chirping trill. Expanding his wings just as his Padawan would, very soon.

But not yet. Not quite yet.

Qui-Gon closed his eyes, allowing himself to meet Obi-Wan’s presence in the Force, and let the sun warm them.

 

FINIS.