Italics indicates Yoda's train of thought, so to separate it better from Obi-Wan's which comes as indirect speech...
(c) JEL 1999
Hard it has been for him. Hard to come to me. Hard to admit. Help him I must if I can.
Obi-Wan kept his gaze on the floor, kneeling in front of the venerated Jedi Master. Overcome by guilt, by fear and grief he had asked for help. It was hard on him, his pride... yet it needed to be done. He was in no condition to train Anakin. He felt useless, insecure and this just would not do.
"Accept it you must. Dead Qui-Gon is. One with the Force." Nod he does. But accept he will not. "Look at me - stubborn you are. Hurt it does. Miss him, you do."
Obi-Wan nodded, tears stinging in his eyes. Damn it, not even that much control. He was a failure to be sure. And he was only now beginning to realise how much he still had to learn. How much he had never been taught. How much he had really lost.
"Shield yourself, you do. Keep to yourself, locking people out."
"I...I should not have bothered you, Master Yoda. I'm sorry. I can't..."
"Open up, you must. Soon. Or too late it will be. For you and for your apprentice." Go he will now...
Obi-Wan drew in a deep breath. Master Yoda was expecting him to chicken out, to leave. He sure felt like it. But...there was still a warning voice in his mind, telling him not to make matters worse, to simply stay, to let go. He owed Qui-Gon at least a sincere try. No try! A sincere...session...with Yoda then. He would open up, no matter how much it hurt, he needed to fight his demons, his fear, his loneliness. If he succeeded there was still the chance he could fulfil his promise to his Master and train Anakin. He had to give all he had. There was no turning back now.
Stay he does. For Qui-Gon's sake. I must wait. Speak first, he must. Not me. The listener I am, the teacher, the student he is.
"I...miss..." Force, it hurt so much. He couldn't even say his name. "We were...very...close..." He stumbled over the word. Close? He had loved him with heart and soul - why couldn't he just say it, his feelings hadn't changed, they were still there, he had to let them go... "I...I...loved...my master..." Tears ran down his cheeks.
Admitted it, he has. Broken and lonely, he feels. Yoda's heart ached just looking at the young man kneeling in front of him. So young... So much pain. No time to cope. Hard it will be to comfort him. He laid his hand on the short, dark-blonde hair. It had grown a little since he had severed the Padawan braid, but he still looked like an apprentice, with his tear-chained face even more like a little boy who had lost everything, and didn't know where to turn to.
"Accept it you must. Dead, your master is. Dead, your lover is. Gone his body has - mingled with the Force. With you he is. In you he dwells. Keep him in your heart you can. Lose him you never will."
Grey-blue eyes fixed on the Jedi Master. "He is in my heart. But..."
"Time it will take. Let him go, you must. Accept his death. Understand it you will. In time." The words were older than the Jedi themselves, some said as old as time and they sounded somewhat comforting, though Obi-Wan could not yet believe them. "No death there is, only the Force."
The young man was still crying pitifully. There was no way he could have stopped the tears. His control was shattered. He had told Yoda his deepest, most intimate secret, the core of his troubles. Losing his teacher, mentor and fatherly friend had broken his spirit, losing his lover had cost him half of his soul.
The little creature in front of him patted his head and, leaning on his cane, whispered in his ear. "Much to learn you have. But a Knight you are. Proud of his student Qui-Gon can be."
It was too much. Being praised so unexpectedly, in such sincere tones broke all of Obi-Wan's fragile control. He sobbed, clutching at the Jedi Master's robes like a toddler, letting go. His tears washed his pent up anguish away, letting his repressed anger flow with it, releasing tension to the Force.
Cry you must, Obi-Wan. Better you will feel after it.
Yoda's voice echoed softly in the young man's mind. Why was he helping him? Why was he so damn understanding? He was beginning to be desperately annoyed with himself, his insecurity came back. He was not yet ready to be a knight, much less have an apprentice. He had promised... His body shook with the strength of his sobs, even as they subsided and he settled to pulling back from the Jedi Master, trembling unsteadily.
"Meditate you must, Obi-Wan. But first, deal with your fears you must." Help you, I will, if you let me. A soft mental remark. Helpful and sincere.
"I'm...not ready. Anakin...is strong...I...if I fail..."
"Fail Qui-Gon you will ?" Obi-Wan nodded, his eyes on the floor, shame creeping into him.
He was absolutely helpless, just a heap of misery. Drowning in fears. Why, by the Sith did Master Yoda think him worthwhile of his attention at all ?
"My apprentice Qui-Gon was. My friend. Knew him I did. Know you, I do. Understand you both. Talented you are. Passed your trials you did. Made your master proud. Made him happy." Grey-blue eyes all but pierced the ancient Jedi Master at the last sentence. "Knew of you I did. Ask for advice, Qui-Gon did. Light of his life he called you. Part of him you were. Part of you he remains."
Where did he only get his insights from. Yoda sure knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, hoping.
"The truth it is. Look at me, see it you will." The truth? Had he lost so much more than he knew?
Though he might attempt to deny it - he felt better. He had lost his love, his friend, his master...but he was still with him - in his heart, his mind. One with the Force. The Force all around him. His beloved always near him... Yoda's eyes shone in the equivalent of a brilliant smile as he felt the young man grasping the concept. "There is no death, there is the Force. I think I understand now, Master Yoda."
Comprehend he does. Good. Insecure he still is... "Fear the boy you do."
A simple statement. Seemingly nonsensical, but, he had to admit there was truth in it... "He is strong. I...at times I don't know how to control him, what to say, how to...react. I'm...afraid of failing in his training."
"Always in motion is the future. Before you the path lies. Chosen to honour Qui-Gon you have. Keep your promise you will. Face destiny you must. Accept the future when it comes."
Obi-Wan silently turned the words in his head, again and again. Yoda was right. If he gave up Anakin he would slight his lover's last wish, his master's request. He couldn't do that. So he had chosen already. He had to train the boy, give his best. There was nothing else he could do.
"No more expect of you we do. No more Qui-Gon asked of you."
The young man nodded. Give your best. Don't try. Just do it. Move forward. He still didn't believe he could do it. "I...Master Yoda, I know what I must do, what I will do eventually, but...I feel like a Knight in my...fighting skills. I'm sure of them, know that I'm capable of teaching Anakin in these...I...wish I had learned more...in other aspects..."
"Be here I will. Ask me you can. Teach you what you think you missed." All businesslike Yoda shuffled to his chair. "Good start you have made. Stand behind you the council will."
Obi-Wan bowed, still on his knees. Though he still wasn't sure he deserved all this kindness he felt like a great weight had been taken from him. "I... Thank you. I would be honoured to be taught by you, Master Yoda." He could rely on him. He wasn't alone. There was someone who understood, who cared. He had friends, he chided himself. Queen Amidala, or Padme as he preferred calling her, Captain Panaka, Jar-Jar, Bail Organa - he was not alone, never had been. All he had to do was reach out and they would be there. A slow smile spread across his face.
"Thank you, Master Yoda." He lowered his shields, projecting his gratitude, as he was unable to put it in words.
The Jedi Master's countenance glowed with friendly mirth. "Welcome you are, Obi-Wan. Meditate now. See you at dinner I will." The young man smiled, bowing silently and leaving the council chamber.
"Thank you, Master. I wish I had been able to..."
"Wait, you must. Not ready he is yet. Heal he will in time..."
Qui-Gon nodded. Standing beside Yoda in the vast room he wondered what the future would hold in store for his beloved. But he would be there, waiting, standing by his side... There is no death, there is the Force. He smiled. Wise words indeed...