Title: Alone
Author: Sarah
Email: gower@unbounded.com
Fandom: SW: TPM
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Obi's thoughts a few nights after the Duel on Naboo.
Spoilers: End of The Phantom Menace (denialdenialdenial)
Disclaimer: These are Lucas' toys - I'm just playing with them. And I'm not getting paid for this - like it would ever happen. So, no big nasty lawyers, 'k George? You can have Obi back when I'm done. :)
Archive: Haven Of Fic; The Place of Our Legacy
Warnings: Angst! And this is not a 'Council of Denial' fic!
Notes: This came to me just as I was dropping off to sleep one night. The bunnies pounced on my head until I got out of bed and started writing. So, nyah, Brenna. :D I have proof that they aren't as precious as you proclaim. And I now declare open season on your 'poor little dears'. *snicker*
This is dedicated to Brenna and Ally for their continued support and friendship, and to my dear betas (the aforementioned two, and Shana), who make it all better. *g*
And on to the fic! :)

Flashes of light. Heat. The smell of burning ozone. A tattooed warrior. Panting breaths. A heartfelt cry of "Noooooooooo!"

Gasping, I awake abruptly, a cry still on my lips. I'm wound tightly in the bed covers, perspiration plastering them to my body. The past two nights I have had the same horrible nightmare - reliving the event which irrevocably changed my life. The duel Qui-Gon and I fought against the Sith Lord.

Unbidden, the horned demon's sneering face comes into my mind's eye, as he so coldly plunges his double edged lightsabre into Qui-Gon's middle...

I slam the palms of my hands into my eyes, trying to banish the picture my mind has created.

"No," I whisper, tormented. "No..."

Alone. Empty. That's all I feel now. The one person who meant most to me in the world is dead. He was my father, brother and best friend. My Master is gone and all that's left is a hollow space. We were on so many missions together. He was by my side for the best part of my life... but now he isn't and I don't know what to do...

I can hear Ani crying softly in the next room. His sorrow is palpable... it swirls around him in the Force. He's lost two of the most important people in his short life in a brief period of time, and there is a deep pain in him that I can feel even through the tentative link we've formed. I have to be strong for him... Qui...

I choke on a sob at the mere thought of his name.

Qui-Gon would want me to be strong... told me to teach Ani... train him like he would have... but it's so hard, so very very hard. I'm trying to do what's right, keep a brave face, but how can I do it when my insides feel like they're tearing into a thousand pieces?

Only now, alone at night and in bed, can I put the calm veneer to the side and face that grief that makes my heart ache. Hot tears slip down my cheeks as I think about the unfairness of life, that it should take my Master from me.

"Why him?!" I whisper angrily, hurting unbearably. "Why Qui-Gon?! The 'will of the Force'? He didn't deserve it! It shouldn't have been his time!"

Crumpling under the misery which consumes me, I sob uncontrollably into the pillow, my tears dampening the pillow. I just want the despair I feel to leave... the pain to release it's constant hold on me...

I pull myself upright to a sitting position, blinking my bleary eyes, and perch on the edge of the bed. Queen Amidala has provided us with guest rooms in Theed Palace while we prepare for Qui-Gon's funeral. That will be tomorrow evening, and I will have to say goodbye to my dearest friend and mentor...

Just the thought of having to say goodbye is enough to start my sobs anew. Feeling more tears prick at the back of my eyes, I hastily rise to my feet and walk over to the balcony. My hands grip the railing, the knuckles turning white, as I focus on a point not far away and gulp deep breaths in an attempt to calm the internal chaos I feel...

After slow, tortuous minutes of this, my eyes close in temporary relief as my centre of calm gradually begins to come back to me, but never fully returning. And it won't. A part of me is missing and it won't be coming back.

I slowly open my eyes to take in the view. A river. Forest. And nearer, the outer edges of the city. So full of the Living Force. Qui-Gon would have liked it here. He revelled in the Living Force, and was constantly telling me to keep my thoughts and concentration on the moment... like he did only days ago, as we waited aboard the Trade Federation vessel.

I take another deep breath and release my feelings into the Force. But despite my best attempts to avoid it, one question still plagues me, nagging at the back of my mind...


Why did it have to be Qui-Gon? Why should it have been him? Why couldn't it have been me? Almost automatically, I turn it on myself. It must be my fault. I didn't do something. I didn't do enough! I could have saved him! It was my responsibility, and it's my fault he's dead! If only I had run faster, fought better! If I had been a better padawan...

"STOP!" I hiss at myself, under my breath. Playing 'if only' won't get me anywhere and, much as I may want it to, it won't bring back Qui-Gon. All that I can do is try accept his permanent absence from my life and try to move on...

All of a sudden, the weariness which has been accumulating these past few days overtakes me and I stumble back to my bed, desperately hoping for a respite from my troubled dreams.

My head hits the pillow, eyes closing tiredly. I may dream it, but the last thing I hear before I fall into a blissfully dreamless sleep is a familiar voice whispering "Sleep now, Padawan, and know that I will be with you always."