“Master, wait!” Obi-Wan shouted, watching with growing horror as the red and black creature, the Sith, sneered, spinning his light staff in what could only be described as a taunting motion. Qui-Gon did not seem to hear him, focused only on the Sith that was separated from him by the same red ray shield currently keeping Obi-Wan from his Master’s side. Not for the first time, Obi-wan pounded on the training bond between them, but the mental shields his Master had raised remained rock solid and intact. The hurt and confusion that Obi-Wan had felt upon their discovery had long since been replaced with frustration, which was quickly turning into anger and fear. What was his Master thinking?! He knew Qui-Gon wanted to take the boy he had found (Anakin, his name was Anakin. Don’t deny him that, even if he’s-), and yes, they had argued, but to cut off the bond, to cut off Obi-Wan, at a time like this?!
Obi-wan snapped out of his thoughts as with a whirr of mechanics, the ray shield in front of him flickered and dropped and then he was in motion. He ignited his lightsaber as he ran, trying to close the distance between himself and his Master, but Qui-Gon was moving as well. Green met red as the Sith blocked strike after strike, and Qui-Gon returned the favor, backing the Sith further down the passage and into a larger chamber.
Almost there, he was almost there. The thought had barely formed in Obi-Wan’s mind when the shields snapped back into place, and he was forced to skid to a halt. Panting, he watched his Master face the Sith, head on and alone. Around him, he could feel the Force whispering, murmuring warnings. This was bad, something was wrong, but-
The world seemed to slow, every breath lasting a lifetime. One moment, Qui-Gon was holding his own, and then in the next the Sith feinted, smashing the grip of his staff into Qui-Gon’s forehead. Obi-Wan’s Master stumbled, taking a step backwards. The Sith lunged, blade stretched out.
Obi-wan poured all his strength into the mental scream and Qui-Gon lurched, startled, the shields blocking their training bond crumbling.
Still off balance Qui-Gon raised his blade in an attempt to block the Sith’s strike, and the force of the blow sent him careening backwards― over the edge of the melting pit.
It took Obi-Wan a moment to realize the scream ringing in his ears was his own. Desperately, he reached out through the link. It was just a pit, just a fall, his Master couldꟷ Qui-Gon couldꟷ
/Master! Master! MASTER!/
There was no response, no warmth, no subconscious touch, and then, suddenly, it was gone. It felt like the breath had been ripped from Obi-Wan’s chest. His end of the training bond hung ragged in his mind and his Master was gone. In front of him, the Sith had turned from the pit, a smug look on his red and black face. Rage boiled up in Obi-Wan, and he was moving before the ray shield had completely dropped.
Later, when prompted by the counsel to describe the events on Naboo, Obi-Wan would struggle for the right words to explain that last battle with the Sith apprentice. In that moment, his mind was the clearest it had ever been, all his focus, all his energy aimed on one thing; the Sith. His lightsaber sliced the creature in half, and then he was alone.
Obi-Wan’s whole body was heaving, shaking from exertion and repressed sobs. Qui-Gon’s lightsaber, snatched from the floor by the edge of the pit where it had been dropped, slipped from his fingers, hitting the durasteel floor with a clatter, his knees following close after. He curled in on himself, and let his grief break free.
There was no body to burn at the pyre, but they had a fire never the less. It was silent that night, but for the crackle and snap of the flames. Queen Padmé Amidala cried silently, tears sliding down her cheeks, and there was something in Obi-Wan that wanted to do the same. The presence of Anakin standing next to him, and the figures of Masters Windu and Yoda across the fire were all that kept him from doing so, reminding him that he was a knight now. He could not cry, not now, not yet.
There was a sniffle, and Obi-Wan looked down to see Anakin viciously rubbing at his face with his sleeve. Without a word, Obi-Wan wrapped an arm around the boy’s shoulders, pulling him closer to his side. Anakin sniffed again, but did not look away from the flames. Obi-Wan could feel his grief and worry buzzing in the Force around him.
/What will happen to me now?/
/Will I be sent back?/
/I don’t want to be a slave again./
A spark of protectiveness flared in Obi-Wan’s chest, and in that moment he decided that he would do what Qui-Gon would have, he would make sure Anakin was trained. That was what Qui-Gon would have wanted. Obi-Wan only hoped he would be able to make his Master proud.
He still felt cold, and like his chest had been hollowed out, but Anakin was a pulse-point of warmth next to him. Letting out a shaky breath, Obi-Wan pulled himself up straighter.
He could do this.
Eleven Years Later
“Master! Obi-Wan!” Obi-Wan gritted his teeth as Anakin’s voice came over his comm, crackly and full of static. He brought his lightsaber down in a sharp arc, bisecting a battle droid cleanly in two and blocked a blaster shot before he found the opportunity to respond.
“Anakin, this is really not a good time!”
“Where are you? Your shuttle never made the landing point!”
“Did it not? I hadn’t noticed.” Obi-Wan grunted, ducking a fresh volley of blasts and cursing as one grazed his shoulder. “As I said, we are a little busy!”
Off to his right there was a warning shout and Obi-Wan’s head snapped up as with a noise that shook his bones, one of the massive golden leafed trees that made up the dense forests that cover most of Trasundron’s surface pitched forwards. Flames roared in the branches, light dancing off the metallic leaves. It must have been hit by a canon blast. The Jedi cursed; in the shadow of the falling goliath, a clone stared up, frozen. He was on the ground, one leg bent at an unnatural angle, and it was clear he could not run even if he wanted to.
Reaching into the Force, Obi-Wan darted forwards, diving at the fallen man and rolling them both out of the way just as the burning tree would have crushed them. They skidded, coming to a stop against another tree. Footsteps pounded towards them and Obi-Wan pushed himself up, off the clone. “Are you alright, trooper?”
The man pulled off his helmet. He was pale and clearly in pain, but he nodded, giving Obi-wan a tight grin that was almost a grimace. “I’ll make it, sir. Leg’s only a little broken. Thank you for stopping that tree from turning me into paste.”
Obi-Wan nodded, helping the injured man up and taking his weight. “I need a medic over here!” he shouted, ignoring the soldier’s protests and handing him over to two other clones who had come running at his call. “Broken leg. Take him to the shuttle― yes, I know it’s lost all power, but a wreck is still more shelter than the front lines. Now go!”
They retreat without further protests, and Obi-Wan turned his attention back to the fight at hand.
Things weren’t going well. They had been caught off guard on route to rendez-vous with Anakin, Master Plo Koon, and their troops, and had been shot down. At least, Kenobi mused, igniting his lightsaber and sending a blaster bolt right back into the droid that had fired it, they had landed on the right planet, if on opposite side, in the middle of a giant forest.
A giant forest that the Separatist forces were in the middle of trying to burn to the ground, effectively destroying the eco-system and making the planet inhabitable for the natives. What was meant to be a three pronged surprise attack on the Separatist base of operations had become a full frontal attack without backup. Just another day then.
Obi-Wan hit his comm. “Anakin, Master Plo, we have engaged the enemy, but we are being forced back! We need reinforcements! Can you lock onto our signal?”
“Affirmative.” Plo Koon’s voice was steady, if slightly distorted by the comm. “We are on our way, Master Kenobi.”
“What happened to the plan?!” Anakin griped, and Obi-Wan rolled his eyes.
“As you are so fond of saying Anakin, the plan changed. Kenobi out.”
At some point during the conversation, Cody had made his way over to Obi-Wan’s side. He never stopped firing on the steadily approaching droids, and spoke without taking his eyes off the chaos. “General, we can’t keep this up for much longer.”
Obi-wan nodded, moving to stand back to back with the clone commander. “I know. I have contacted Anakin and Master Plo. They should be arriving soon.”
Cody grunted, “They’d better. These damn clankers just keep on coming!”
A blast went off somewhere behind them, and Obi-Wan spun, trying to locate the source of the explosion as yet another tree fell to the ground, burning fiercely.
“There! Charges in the trees!”
Cody cursed colourfully and another explosion shook the forest around them. Obi-Wan agreed whole-heartedly. If they had been struggling before, they were really in trouble now. They had no way of knowing how many charges there were, let alone which trees they were in, or even if they were confined to the trees. He swore and turned to Cody.
“Give the order. We have to fall back.”
Cody nodded sharply and they both took off in separate directions, bellowing the order to fall back and regroup.
It was chaos around them. Two more explosions had gone off, and the air was filled with a thick black smoke and pieces of burning leaves and branches. The order to retreat was spreading quickly as more clones joined the call. Obi-Wan kept his lightsaber up, deflecting and stabbing, trying to do as much damage as he could, even in retreat.
The forest grew denser the further they ran, the trees closer together, their trunks thicker and covered in a deep blue moss. It grew dimmer too, the thick foliage blocking the pale light of Trasundron’s sun from reaching the forest floor. Obi-Wan twisted his head, checking over his shoulder for any stragglers or wounded.
That was a mistake. The Force trilled a sudden warning, but it was too late. His foot caught on a thick tree root, and Obi-Wan pitched forwards cry of surprise, hands flying out in front of his body to catch himself. His hands connected with nothing but empty air, and he found himself falling through a large hole at the base of the tree as the ground gave way. With a noise of frustration, he twisted in the air and landed solidly on his feet, knees bent and arms out. A moment later his lightsaber, dropped during his initial fall, landed in his outstretched palm.
Clipping his weapon to his belt, Obi-Wan peered back up the way he had come and groaned. The fall had clearly been longer than it felt, because he could see only the smallest pinprick of light above him, and the sounds of the battle were whispers in his ears.
“Sith fucking hells. Just what I needed.” With a sigh, Obi-Wan looked around, taking in his surroundings. He was underground, in some sort of large cavern. Large crystal-like rocks sprouted from the walls, glowing softly and providing enough light that he could easily enough. The same blue moss he had seen on the trees was here too, growing on the walls and carpeting outcrops of rock. Here and there, tiny silver-white flowers grew from the moss. It was oddly peaceful, and Obi-Wan felt some of the tension in his shoulders inexplicably soften.
Not only that, the presence of the Force was incredibly strong. The plants and rocks were practically singing with it. It was amazing, and Obi-Wan walked slowly, trying to take in as much as he could. The Force moved in waves around the cavern, pooling and flowing. It whispered in his ears, calling to Obi-Wan to follow. Cautiously, Obi-Wan followed the pull, making his way down the passage way that lay before him.
It was all but silent here underground, and Obi-Wan’s footsteps echoed in his ears. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end, and he shivered slightly. Something felt strange, but he could not put his finger on what, let alone why.
The passage way grew smaller, and Obi-Wan found himself hunching over to keep from hitting his head as he walked. It was becoming harder to see as well, crystal outcroppings appearing less and less often.
“Where are you taking me?” He murmured, under his breath and directed at the Force, crouching lower, before the passageway suddenly widened, opening up into another cavern. This one was smaller than the space Obi-Wan had landed in, with the opening to another passage across from where the Jedi stood. Turning his head, Obi-Wan’s eyes widened in shock.
In the far corner of the cavern, thick, golden veined tree roots reached out from the earth and stone walls. They twisted and twined, forming a massive and hollow, twisted knot. Within the cage-like formation there was a humanoid, with long hair floating around their face, suspended in glowing amber-gold light. The whole thing had the Force practically shouting for Obi-Wan’s attention. He had never seen anything like it before, never heard of such a thing. It took his breath away.
He approached slowly, wondering if it could some sort of elaborate Separatist trap. Except there was no way someone like Dooku could create anything so…so purely Light. Reaching out, he placed a hand almost hesitantly on a root. The entire thing gave a shiver, vibrations that ran up Obi-Wan’s arm and down into his bones. Then the roots fell away, and he darted forwards to catch the man before he fell.
The man looked human, with tanned skin. He was heavy in Obi-Wan’s arms, and his robes – Jedi robes, Obi-Wan realized with a start, were worn and dusty. That was when he saw the man’s face, and promptly dropped him. Long, dark hair shot through with sliver, especially around the temples. Stormy blue eyes, lined and blinking in bleary confusion as consciousness returned, that were oh so familiar. Mind reeling, Obi-Wan gaped down at Qui-Gon Jinn.