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Leap of Faith

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"At least there are no bombs, Padawan," Qui-Gon Jinn offered, making Obi-Wan Kenobi just stare at his Master with incredulity. His Master rarely referenced the trials they had faced at Xanatos's hands.

"There is that. It doesn't change that the tunnels are cramped for me… which means you are barely fitting at all, my giant of a Master," the young man quipped back, rather than let the levity fall flat.

"This is also true." Qui-Gon offered a smile in the faint light of the luminescent sphere they were using to light the way. "The air is growing fresher as we move, though, which offers hope."

"Hopefully, it's not just a large cavern with a bottomless drop," Obi-Wan replied, shaking his head as he moved ahead again, taking advantage of his smaller size.

"Ever the optimist, my Padawan."

They quieted then, following the air currents. Qui-Gon preferred to take heart in the fact the air was warming, and he was fairly certain they had been moving up for some time, given the pull in his leg muscles. He did not like the tears and rents in Obi-Wan's tunic that suggested some of the rocks had made it through to the boy… young man… despite their attempt to keep the Force between them and the jagged missiles.

Obi-Wan's pessimism proved itself true to the moment, though, as the tunnel they were in opened out on a chamber aglow in liquid fire. A pool of magma waited below… and the ledge on the other side looked narrow indeed.

"Room to stand at least," Obi-Wan offered cheerfully as they moved to the open ledge, which seemed sturdy beneath their feet, giving them a spectacular view of certain death below and a slender thread of hope in the form of that ledge across the way. "I see ironworks on the other side, Master. If we can but make it across, we should be back in the worked portion of these tunnels."

Qui-Gon looked, seeing the railing Obi-Wan had spied, and then judged the chasm's width. He was fairly certain he could do it, but Obi-Wan's control of Force-aided leaps might not be up to the task.

"I believe I can make it, my Padawan. I could go for help from there." Qui-Gon did not want Obi-Wan to risk it. A look at the younger face told him his Padawan disagreed.

"I can make it, Master. I don't want to be here if another tremor shakes the rocks again," Obi-Wan told him.

Qui-Gon started to argue, but he looked at the edges of the tears in the tunic and realized that his Padawan was injured, and likely worried he would not be able to hold the effects at bay long enough to be rescued.

"As you will, Obi-Wan."

The Master knelt down beside Obi-Wan's legs… and without asking, the younger man mirrored him. Qui-Gon took his Padawan's hands, closing his eyes. With all of his will, he reached for his center, taking the bond between him there, and felt his Padawan's presence join him. Carefully, the Master loaned some of his own energy to the Padawan, reinforcing the light healing Obi-Wan had been maintaining in their attempt to escape this place. It could hold the pain at bay, slow the seeping blood even further, and give Obi-Wan the energy to boost his jump.

When he opened his eyes, he met Obi-Wan's with resolve. "I will jump first," Qui-Gon said, and Obi-Wan nodded.

The Padawan stood and moved to one side, letting Qui-Gon back up on the small ledge as far as he could, before he flung himself across the chasm, landing on his feet on the other side. He turned, his eyes focused intently on the younger man. He watched, refusing to let his heart fly into his throat, as Obi-Wan backed up, crouched, and leaped.

The trajectory was just short, Qui-Gon knew in that moment, and he flung himself full-length on the ledge he had gained, stretching his arms and his grasp of the Force out.

Obi-Wan's hands smacked into his, and by weaving their manipulation of the Force together, the grip held. Pulling his Padawan up was an effort, but soon the pair were lying side by side on the rock, safe from the magma below.

"I may have erred on my ability, Master," Obi-Wan sheepishly admitted a few heartbeats later. "But I never lost my faith in you."

Qui-Gon could not help but pull the young man close, embracing him protectively. "We'll work on your distance when we return to the temple," he said gruffly, so relieved that he had lived up to that faith one more time. The day he did not would likely tear what remained of his heart from him, leaving him an empty husk.