Title: For Better, For Worse II|
Fandom: Star Wars TPM, Slash
Summary: a twist on the ending of "Episode I" and the ensuing consequences
Series: yes - it's another take of the events depicted in "For Better, For Worse" (no need to have read the story to understand this one though)
Spoilers: a few for Episode I (is there anyone who hasn't seen it yet?)
Category: POV, Romance, AU
Disclaimer: the characters depicted here belong to, guess who, George Lucas!!! No copyright infringement is intended.
Archive: M/A; my website (http://www.user.xpoint.at/e.lebic/default.htm); Haven-of-Fic please
Warnings: might be considered as kind of a dark story at times - violence and turbulent emotions mostly. Notes: This story is dedicated to Phil who asked me to let Qui-Gon live for once.
A special thank you goes to Darry who betaed this for me with the speed of light :D.
Comments and feedback are, as always, gratefully received and very much appreciated.
Italics indicates telepathy
FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE II (c) JEL, February 2000
It was the hardest fight of my life. And if I had known of it before I would have dreaded it. As it was, I was totally unprepared. Even my meeting the Sith on Tatooine hadn't given me any idea of what this was like.
I parried more than I attacked and soon I felt myself growing weary. I was ageing after all - but never have I felt it more acutely. Then I had a vision. For a split second, when Obi-Wan fell off the walkway I foresaw that one of us would have to die. As my Padawan would take a few moments to collect himself before he could come after us, I decided to do everything in my power to take down the Sith - no matter at what cost.
My gaze swept around the steel-dominated structure in between thrusts and parries and when I saw the laser beams in the walls I began to ruthlessly drive the Sith there. I didn't care about the draining of my strength, I knew my concentration was falteringg and that I wouldn't be able to hold out for very much longer - yet I pursued the creature.
At the back of my mind I felt Obi-Wan running towards me - then he was halted in mid-way by a laser beam. I knew he was safe then. No way he could possibly join me once the walls rose again. I had trained him and I could judge his abilities almost better than my own. I sank to my knees to meditate, ignoring the nasty sneer from my opponent. A few seconds to make my peace with this galaxy, a fleeting touch to my Padawan's force signature, a caress he wouldn't feel, a token of my love he'd never known of.
I don't remember much of the next few minutes. I was weary, my muscles leaden with exertion and my parries came too slow - the Sith saw the opening at the exact same moment I did - it was too late for me.
A searing pain shot through me, it took my breath away, and darkness overtook me instantly. I must have fallen, for I dimly remember a dull thud at the back of my mind. Though my body was dying I still felt a connection with the Force, a soft tendril of light that refused to let me go. Obi-Wan's despairing anger washed over me briefly at some point, and I was too weak to even open my eyes, to reach for him, tell him not to give in to the Dark Side.
The next thing I remember, though dimly, was a warm touch on my clammy skin, I somehow managed to force my eyes open and hazily took in my Padawan's beloved features. He had never looked more small and lost than at this moment, and he held onto me with all his might. He surely didn't know how hard he tugged at my life signature in the Force, how steadily he clung to it.
It must have been a mere instinct, hoping against hope, for he must have known there was no way to save me. I used my last strength, all my training supporting me as I breathlessly made him promise to train Anakin. Someone had to, and Obi-Wan was the only person I knew I could trust with my latest charge. He would find a way to honour my last request, of that I was certain.
I must have passed out, then. I drowned in swirls of darkness and haze, shimmering greys in the black of eternity, sudden sparkles dawning at the edges of my consciousness. It was too turbulent to be thought of as peaceful and I felt no more serene than I did when facing the unanimous disapproval of the entire Council.
I wanted to get away, to be left alone, the pain was beyond anything I had ever known, my mind refusing to leave my aching, broken body behind and end my life.
Suddenly, a spark raced through me, hot and cold at the same time, chilling me, then burning me in its intensity. I screamed, though I believe it was only a mental scream, for though I hadn't then left my body behind, my physical condition wouldn't have allowed me to give any sign of life at all.
Don't fight me. I want to help.
A voice echoed in my head as if it were a vast valley in the mountains, endlessly deep - somehow this voice reached the core of my being, it dragged out every bit of will I had and set it to survival. I didn't want to, but I couldn't resist - someone was brutally breaking into my mind and yanking even the slightest thought of death away, focusing every nerve, every cell in my body to healing my deadly wound.
You've got so much to live for. Remember it.
I remembered. I saw the sun bright on the horizon and Obi-Wan smiling up into it, his eyes closed, arms extended. I couldn't put my finger on the time or place, but I felt how dear he had been to me then, and how much more I cherished him now. The love I had so long held for him was blossoming and soothing tendrils wrapped around my overly sensitised nerve endings and cooled the fire the red sabre had ignited there.
Remember. You must live.
The voice spurned me on, forced me to see the past, the moments of joy and pain I had lived through and with every memory, a thin thread was born that held my body together and slowly wove itself into a pattern that was burned inside my brain, continuously reminding me to breathe, to force my heart to beat, to live.
It seemed only moments later, when this sensation was suddenly cut off completely and I relapsed, falling towards the dark again and I couldn't hold myself in the light, couldn't hold onto life...until I felt Obi-Wan's presence glow in my mind, touching me, taking up the work just begun.
I didn't try to push him away as I had the other presence, his was comforting. It seemed to have always been there and I collapsed against it, grasped the warmth and the light it gave to me and together we drew out the time I had before dying, stretched death to the limits and finally broke through its hold -I lived.
I was in no way conscious of anything around me or even in me, only at times I felt that it wasn't me breathing, that the healing energy, the power that held me in this world was not mine, that it emanated from another person.
I was warm and sleepy, a little drowsy even. And then I fell asleep. IIt might have seemed more like a coma to others, but I know that I fell asleep at one point.
I woke after a seemingly endless sleep, to stare into my Padawan's grey-blue eyes above me. I cannot describe what I felt - after the hazy picture of his tear-stained face it was wonderful to see him as he always was - so controlled, so serene, if not for the sometimes mischievous sparkle in his eyes.
I wanted to ask him so many things, hug him, hold him, lose myself in his gaze, but I was too weak. I couldn't summon up the strength to speak, so I concentrated my thoughts on the training bond that was so close, so easy to reach and even easier to use all of a sudden.
Obi-Wan's expression changed, he paled and cried "Stop!" as if he were in great pain. My head felt as if it had just been blown up -but I thought it was a sign of my injury, my illness. I didn't suspect until a few moments later that something had changed and that I was not aware of it.
It was so easy, so reassuring to touch the training bond, to be able to communicate, to finally feel my Padawan's presence within me.
I'm too tired to talk and...the training bond is so strong I thought I might as well give it a try...ah...you know what I mean.
He answered me in kind and I was surprised. It wasn't usual for him to pick up my thoughts that quickly. Though we had always had a strong connection, it still took us some time to process every word we spoke to each others' minds. "Life-bond" suddenly echoed in my mind, bearing the resonance of Obi-Wan's voice. It was intriguing and scary as well.
A life-bond? What's all this, Padawan?
He sighed and sat down by my bedside before he began to tell me what had happened since the duel with the Sith.
While Obi-Wan told me of everything he remembered in the greatest detail, I became aware of how real the life-bond was. Whatever shields we had erected before had crumbled, and our thoughts and emotions lay open. I didn't mean to pry, but my Padawan's stray thoughts flowed by me like a drizzle and I couldn't help seeing them. One intrigued me so much I simply had to ask him about it, no matter what the consequences would be.
You love me?
He seemed embarrassed by my question, though he didn't deny it. Not that any verbal assertion of his not loving me could have ever persuaded me otherwise - his feelings were too clear to me. So there was nothing to do but to put him at ease with a declaration of my own.
I love you too.
I've never seen him grin like this before, as if a great load had been taken off his shoulders. I must have held out my hand to him, for he gripped it and when I tugged at it, he followed the motion straight into my arms. I've never been more sublimely happy in my life - everything I'd ever felt was there for Obi-Wan to see and I knew that I need not hide it - he would accept my faults and shortcomings as I had accepted his. Knowing how deep our love ran would strengthen the bond we had forged somehow in the past weeks even further.
Some days later I was finally deemed fit enough to leave the infirmary - and never have I been happier to do so - those continuous check-ups the medical droids made were tearing at my patience.
On the way to our quarters, Obi-Wan and I met Amidala and Anakin. -He threw himself at me and though I had been told he could no longer feel the Force, I bundled all my gratitude for his gift into my embrace...and somehow it even found its way into his mind - I knew he felt my happiness and joy in this new life he had given me. But still I wanted to tell him what it meant.
"I'd like to talk to you alone, Ani, sometime."
"Sure, Master Qui-Gon, sir."
He let go of me then, racing towards Obi-Wan who lifted him off the ground, smiling.
I would like to do something for Ani, you know, give him something special. I thought we might see what we can do about his mother's freedom.
I was touched by Obi-Wan's idea - it was just what would make him as happy as he had made us.
Excellent, love. We'll ask Yoda for a little vacation and drop by.
I would have liked to stay with the two a little longer, but Yoda was waiting, so we excused ourselves, leaving Amidala and Ani laughing merrily behind us.
It's good to see the Queen's got some spirit in her...she's a born leader - but at fourteen she shouldn't be forced to live an adult's life.
She's got Ani round now, I doubt she'll be very dignified when he's near.
I'm glad they're both so happy, after all they had to go through.
When we reached Yoda's quarters to face the assembled Council, we stopped for a moment before entering. Even in the confines of a Naboo suite, the Council looked dignified in its customary circle. Yoda had us sit down and then we spent the rest of the afternoon answering question over question about our life-bond.
I'm sure it wouldn't have been necessary to dwell on all this so long; it was clear that we wanted to be together and no matter what the Council could have come up with - I wouldn't let Obi-Wan go anyway. I felt the same determination from him, so I put on my most patiently serene face and answered as shortly and precisely as possible. I personally didn't see the need to make this whole session any longer than it had to be.
Our life-bond was accepted unanimously. I admit I was a little surprised. I had expected a long list of detailed advice as to how we could incorporate our life-bond in our Master-Apprentice relationship, but there was none of that.
Surprising, isn't it?
We'll see whether we're really talking about a bond between Master and Apprentice here - Yoda said there was to be a surprise for me.
I don't know, it's just a feeling, and their accepting our life-bond without preamble...
It's not as if they had a choice here, love.
Yes, I know there was nothing they could've done, but...
Yoda stopped us in the middle of our conversation. I noticed the sparkle in his eyes and knew something pleasant was about to happen.
"Stop whispering you should. Surprise we have for you, Padawan Kenobi. Guessed it you have. Knight we will make you. Deserved it you have. Won against the Sith you have. And saved your Master you have."
Obi-Wan stood facing the Council, and I saw from the slight furrowing of his brows that he didn't quite agree with Yoda on having saved me. I could hardly conceal my smile when he burst out, as I had expected.
"I...I can't take credit for saving Qui...my Master's life. Ani..."
Yoda shook his head, the equivalent of a grin on his face. I expected him to start giggling every moment. But he composed himself, then hit the floor with his stick to emphasize his next words.
"Saved him you have. Saved him Anakin has. A Jedi Knight you will be. A future, the boy will have."
I saw the shock on Obi-Wan's face, I believe I wore much of the same expression. Ani having no future - that was not possible. I couldn't have been so deceived!
"You foresaw his death?"
"Foresee his doom I did."
His doom. Force, this was worse than anything. I could hardly grasp what my old Master had just told us. Ani would have been doomed...to what I didn't even want to begin to imagine.
I'm so glad Ani's future will be different from what Master Yoda has foreseen for him.
I perfectly agree, love.
Yoda pounded on the floor with his stick once more, making sure he had everyone's attention. I rose, laying my hands on Obi-Wan's shoulders. It was comforting to know we'd always be together - and this day marked the beginning.
"Accept the responsibilities of a Jedi Knight you do?"
"Relinquish your Padawan status you do?"
"Sever the braid you will, Master Qui-Gon?"
I took the small knife Mace offered me and smiling cut the thin Padawan braid.
"Yes, and in so doing I release my apprentice into knighthood."
Now you can wear your hair any way you like, love.
I don't much care what my hairstyle is, as long as it's practical. I guess I'll keep it just long enough for a ponytail.
"Welcome to the order you are, Knight Kenobi."
"And I'm honoured to be a part of the order, Master."
Fortunately, the Council took mercy on us and didn't keep us any longer after we had shaken hands all round. I have to admit I was a little tired, but most of all I wanted to be alone with Obi-Wan. I had so long waited for this, and now I was growing impatient. Yoda walked alongside us, and after having seen the sparkle of mirth in his eyes during Obi-Wan's knighting ceremony I had no doubt he still had some things to tease us about.
"Beautiful night this is. Plans you have I believe."
"I have requested a ship from the Queen. We have some business, some private business we would like to take care of before we."
Trying to change the subject, Obi-Wan?
He blushed slightly, and I'm sure Yoda noticed. He seemed to take mercy on us though, as he continued with my love's line of thought.
"A holiday you can have. Tell me where you go you will?"
"We would like to give Ani the one thing he wants most in the world. We - I owe him more than I can ever repay."
"Understand you I do. May the Force be with you." He chuckled. "Enjoy the night you will - I trust."
I was somehow glad to know that Yoda didn't mind our going to free Ani's mother. I hadn't expected any resistance on his part, but his acquiescence assured me of his having had much the same thing in mind. When he finally shuffled away, chuckling merrily to himself, Obi-Wan took my hand with an exasperated sigh.
Was he always that good at embarrassing people?
You've never seen him when he's in good humour, love.
And I'm not sure I want to.
But he was right about one thing.
And that would be?
That we'll enjoy this night...how about a hot bath?
As long as we're sharing it I have no objections.
We've now been sharing everything with each other for twenty years. I hardly noticed the passage of time and I surely don't feel any older than I was the night we first made love...or maybe it's just my imagination.
Many things have come to pass. We waged our hardest battle only recently. It was a battle of the mind, fought between the adherents of the Light and the demon that had come from the Dark - Senator Palpatine. To think that this man was the Force-forsaken Sith we had been looking forever since the Battle of Naboo.
Now we can rest safely in the knowledge that peace will continue for a while longer. Ani and Amidala have just come to pick up their kids. They often stay with us, and they enjoy every minute of it. Luke and Leia are incredible; they are the first of the new generation - and Force sensitive. We were all surprised by this, but now...it's really hard to tame them, they love throwing their building blocks at Obi-Wan and me with the Force - and their aim is improving!
What are you writing there, love?
I'm just finishing my story, mentioning Luke and Leia.
We don't pamper them? Liar.
I'm doing my best to tell a story here, love.
We pamper them, and we spoil them. And you enjoy it just as much as they do.
Ah. That's my Obi-Wan, never losing that humour of his - or that mischievous sparkle in his eyes when he grins suggestively at me.
A little...how about...hey, since when can you read my mind?
Ever since we bonded, love...care for a nap?
ImmortalityThe song "Immortality" is copyrighted by the Gibb brothers 1997 and sung by Celine Dion (on the album "Let's talk about love", Sony 1997). No copyright infringement is intended.