Title: What Dreams May Come|
Fandom: Star Wars (slash)
Summary: Obi must come to terms with losing Qui - dreams help him.
Series/Spoilers: no/TPM ending! (who guessed? ;D)
Category: Romance, H/C (in a way)
Disclaimer: I bow in reverence for the Great George Lucas who was kind enough to provide the Star Wars galaxy and characters for our enjoyment ;-). I intend no copyright infringement whatsoever. This story has nothing to do with the movie starring Robin Williams, but the title just fits so perfectly, I couldn't resist. No copyright infringement is intended.
Archive: M/A please, Haven-of-Fic please; my website (http://www.user.xpoint.at/e.lebic/default.htm)
Warnings: sad, sentimental, romantic, my usual stuff
Author's Notes: light-speed, thorough betaing by Darry, who is slowly but surely becoming absolutely indispensable to me; You rock, Darry!!! ;D
This e-mail address is absolutely safe to use :D, so feel free to send feedback along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
It was hot and humid. The air was filled with the spicy scent of the sea, whose waves were rolling against the bleached sands. The warm, soft colours painted a picture of serenity, of peace itself. Obi-Wan sniffed the air, the humid freshness of the lush jungle plants behind him still in his nose, while he buried his feet in the warm, golden silk of the ground beneath him.
Blinking against the sparkling sun, he looked out onto the ocean, heard the quiet murmur of the waves, broken by the roaring crashes when they collided with the jagged rocks a few hundred metres to his right - a soothing music echoing through him, drifting like a cool breeze across his hot skin.
He barely felt the softness of the cotton shirt he wore, all his senses focused on the silent figure coming towards him on the beach, smiling and stretching out welcoming arms. It was wonderfully right and he felt so incredibly safe when he ran forward, crossing the distance, his breath barely a whisper against the thunder of his beating heart.
Strong arms enveloped him, warm lips sought his and he almost drowned in his heartbeat when it touched upon another, familiar and intimate, a guiding star and homely comfort. He dimly felt the sand give way as he sank down upon it, his lover's weight on top of him, pressing him into the soft mattress as he was slowly caressed by a hungry mouth and fiery sparkles in deep blue eyes.
Suddenly, the warmth at his back receded, the sky above him dimmed to a cold, metallic hue, turned to steel - harsh, cold and forbidding -and the ocean became the hissing, reddish shadow of an impenetrable wall, fragile yet deadly, as red as the damned blade of the tattooed monster. He was separated from his Master by mere centimetres and yet it seemed he had never been farther away from him.
The fight continued, the sound of the blades hissing and clashing thundered in his ears, his eyes were glued to the movements of the two opponents in this deadly dance. And then, in one single moment, all his life was changed and broken when his beloved Qui-Gon fell after a well-aimed blow.
He was on his knees beside his Master, not knowing how he had gotten there in the first place and he wept, seeing his lover succumb to the cold hands of death, the bright light he was in the Force suddenly slipping away while his eyes darkened, the shadowy hue of loss descending on them and their brightness faded into nothingness and was extinguished.
Obi-Wan opened his eyes. He shivered. He no longer screamed when he woke every night - he was shaken, disillusioned and cold, but there was no panic, no fear that he hadn't felt before - he knew it was all past him, done away with and could not be amended, no matter how much he wished for the contrary. His chance at saving Qui-Gon had passed and this realization - though it tore his heart to shreds - gave him enough fierce, cold determination to face the recurring dreams, garish in their lonely splendour, again and again.
Still, Obi-Wan was grateful for the few moments in these dreams when he could live and breathe with the remembrance of his lover's arms and kisses. Perfection lay in moments. That was one of the things Qui-Gon had repeated most often, one of those teachings that had been chiseled into his mind. And as he had savoured every second of their being together, never taken a smile or look for granted - he knew he had to take these dreams as well. The fleeting happiness he relieved in them was his sole comfort now.
Oh - he had lived with his love, they had shared their life to the fullest, been all and everything for the other, not wasted what they had been given, offered by their fates.
No one had really seemed to notice, of course. It was well known that they were a couple, but it was never talked about, politely hushed, simply accepted and left aside as their private affair. Not that they ever indulged in their feelings while on missions! Too much of the Jedi in them for that! But even then - a sparkle in Qui-Gon's eyes, the brilliant blue that seemed to open up for him, let him into the other man's soul, a portal to a world more beautiful than any other, over-flowing with unconditional acceptance and affection.
Looks stolen, glances exchanged, soft mental caresses through their bond - though they would probably have been deemed insignificant by most others, these little things had bound their souls even stronger and now. Obi-Wan didn't truly feel alone. It was strange, but there was still some shadow of Qui-Gon's presence in him, lingering and sometimes it was even warming him.
It had taken them all their life together, more than ten years it had been, to establish a closeness like the one they'd shared, to form a bond of such richness and depth. It had been hard to achieve; they had had to cross many stony paths, countless obstacles that rose against them in their quest for togetherness.
But they had persevered and made it. They had lain in each other's arms in the aftermath of whispered declarations and panted 'I love yous' in the height of passion. They had shared almost everything. It had been a complete surrender of their minds and souls, hearts and bodies.
Their love had eventually conquered every doubt and shadow. And now, just three years since they'd first shared their most intimate feelings and longings with each other, Qui-Gon was dead.
There was a silence that wrapped itself like a cloak around Obi-Wan. He was getting on with Ani, teaching him as best he could, and though he knew Qui-Gon was always at his side someway or other - it was one thing to feel the ghost of his lover's presence within and another to get through each day.
He managed, in fact he did better than most of those who knew what his Master had been to him had expected he would. Still - the emptiness in his heart was there and couldn't truly be filled by any other.
That was why he somehow cherished even those dreams, those visions that haunted him - they were all he had, his only chance to give in to his memories, to his feelings and indulge himself in make believe for a little while. His days sometimes were no more than endless toil and strife not to give in, to while away seemingly endless hours and to fulfil his duty by Anakin.
Depressions - that was what the Healers had so professionally called it. 'Your state of mind is still a little...' - he loathed the conversations he had had with them. They did their best, hoped to convince him to open up, to share his grief - but that was one thing he couldn't do. It was his life and it were his decision and his way to cope they wanted to influence.
Master Yoda understood him. Though the little ancient Jedi was more than concerned about the loneliness and despair that at times emanated in clouds from Obi-Wan, he always stood up for him. He had been the one to call back the Healers, telling them to leave him alone.
"Make his peace with his memories, he must. Help him now, we cannot. If need us he does, come to us, he will."
And how he loved Yoda for this! He knew he could find a way to accept and cope, all he needed was time. Time that he didn't have right now, being immersed in training Anakin, making the boy understand that he was wanted and safe. Not an easy task - but one he held on to as his constant reminder that he had to make it through his pain, that he couldn't give up, no matter how sweetly oblivion beckoned to him. It would have been so easy to end his life, there had been so many possibilities to join Qui-Gon...and yet he still lived on.
It was unbelievably difficult to never be completely separated...and yet always so far away from the man he had loved with an ardour unmatched by any he had believed he could ever feel. Divided for ages to come from the other part of his soul.
"I love you." Warm blue eyes gazed down into his, a smile glowing deep within their endless oceans. A hand reached out to caress his cheek, drawing his face upwards for a soft, tender kiss. Arms pulled him close to heated skin and the sun painted the planes of Qui-Gon's body in whites and yellows and dipped reddish shadows into the hollows of his muscles.
Obi-Wan curled up to his lover, moving closer, eagerly pushing away the few remnants of cotton clothing that remained between them, touching, running his hands along strong arms, stroking the long hair that tickled his neck and shoulders, brushing it away from the beloved face to stare into those wonderful eyes again, trying to lose himself, become one with him.
"NO!" It wasn't his voice he dimly realized through the haze - and there was a flash of pain as if the searing red blade he saw out of the corner of his eye had touched his own body, cut through him.
His eyes wide, tears on his cheeks, Obi-Wan sat up in bed. The warm air in his room was choking him and he crawled out of bed, stumbling blindly towards the window, opening it to let in the chill of the night. He shivered slightly in the breeze, unable to move away, to tear his gaze from the thousands of buildings crowding upwards into the skies above the planet. He knew he wouldn't find sleep again that night.
Obi-Wan sat on the window ledge, looking out over Coruscant. He had never seen anything in particular in these skyscrapers, the silver towers and grey spires that rose into the clouds high above the maze of interwoven buildings that formed the planet-wide city. Never had he considered their magnificence or their beauty.
Yet today he looked at all this with other eyes. It seemed to him as if he saw this cityscape for the first time ever.
His dream of last night had disturbed him - It had most likely been a vision, maybe of the future...his own? He didn't know and if he was honest with himself, he didn't really care. Dying - that would bring him closer to his lover, back to the warmth he missed every second of the day and every moment of the night. 'And you wouldn't even be blamed for chickening out of this life.' a small voice at the back of his mind stated calmly.
He gazed at the silvery surfaces that sparkled in the few, delicate rays of the morning sun that broke through the thick cloud cover and they suddenly reminded him of the streaks in Qui-Gon's hair, twining in the long strands that fell across his shoulders like silken bands, weaving their way along the strong chest and back.
A few tears escaped his eyes, and he shook his head, brushing them away, fighting the urge to let go and cry. His Padawan would be back from his lessons soon and he had to be there for him. Extensive grieving was not an option for him these days. Maybe, in a few weeks, months he'd have more time to himself, maybe even a little while away from all his responsibilities.
That would be enough to come to terms with all that was bothering, assailing him. Enough to find the solitude he needed.
It would be good to visit Naboo again. Ani might stay with Amidala and he...he could wander about at will, straightening his thoughts, brushing the embers of his being together and forming a new, stronger self that might withstand the torture of living without Qui-Gon for some time longer than he, his one-time lover could.
Months had passed and still Obi-Wan had had no time to come to terms with the great loss that wouldn't allow him to rest peacefully for even one night. So now, on his formal, polite request, Master Yoda had relieved him of his duties at the Temple for a few weeks and he had taken Ani with him on a journey to Naboo. Having left the boy at Theed with Amidala, he had done what he had hoped to be able to do for so long.
He had walked alone for days, hardly sleeping, letting the overflowing, seemingly boundless living Force of the Naboo woods crowd into his mind, driving every other thought away, giving him complete and utter peace for a while. It took the young man quite some time to find the exact spot where he had last kissed Qui-Gon, just before they'd returned to Theed where they had faced their last battle together.
Nature had quickly erased every sign of human intrusion, he wondered that even the sight of the Gungans' battle had been overgrown and almost nothing was left to remind a passing creature of the bloodshed and despair that had come to pass on the very spot.
Some bits and pieces of the droid army were still there, but they were obscured by foliage. He remembered how he had helped to carry the fallen Gungans from the field, and how he had watched their funerals from the distance, respectfully. Ani and he had been the only Jedi invited. Apart from them only the young Queen, her handmaidens and Captain Panaka had been asked to witness the ceremony. It had been a great honour as he well knew...and one of the saddest sights he'd ever seen.
His heart had ached, had gone out to the families and friends of those killed - for their loss was like his and he understood their grief. Every fibre of his being called to him to comfort them in some way, any way so they would not have to feel the sharp pangs of loneliness, despair and pain that crowded in his mind and soul.
Weary with his wandering and the turmoil in his mind, Obi-Wan at last settled down in the long grass, leaning back against a huge tree trunk, closing his eyes. The sound of the forest creatures, the leaves rustling on the breeze and the singing of the birds soon lulled him into a quiet slumber.
...the beach, warm sand beneath his feet, a sense of freedom and happiness cursing through his veins as Qui-Gon's silken hair tickled his chest. His lover's body close to his, feeling his heartbeat, breathing the salty smell of seawater on damp skin.
He drew his Qui-Gon into a tight embrace, kissing him fervently, endeavouring to hold on, knowing he could only be dreaming, that this perfection would end, had to end, as soon as he had tasted a tang of content and serenity.
His heart constricted when he felt the chill in the room, the bleakness of the metal that seemed to twine around his senses, invading them, taking away his breath. And then...he was fighting the Sith. Dimly, he noticed that he was tired, burned out, he was anxious, fearing for his Padawan's life...his Padawan? Anakin? What would he be doing here, in this scenario that he hadn't even witnessed?
His lightsabre was heavy in his hand, the soft greenish glow a stark contrast to the fiery red of his opponent's weapon.
The bluish gleam of his Padawan's lightsabre, the soothing mental presence of his Obi-Wan in his mind.
Suddenly it dawned on Obi-Wan that this time, he was likely reliving the fight from his Master's point of view, seeing the sequence of events as Qui-Gon had seen them, tapping into his lover's heart, disclosing all that he had felt in these moments.
It was a highly uncomfortable sensation, strange and ghastly, yet intimately familiar and soothing at the same time.
He had to be strong, had to drive this creature away, and keep it from hurting his lover. There was only one way and the Force was pulsing around him, letting him know that he had to decide soon, for one of them could not leave this fray alive.
The little part that was Obi-Wan inside Qui-Gon's mind gasped, screamed an anguished "No!" Yet the body and brain of the man he was trapped in wouldn't respond; Qui-Gon Jinn just kept going, running, pressing forward.
His Padawan was knocked off the walkway. Good. It was highly unlikely he would be hurt by the fall, but it would take him a few moments to collect himself, to catch up - time enough to end this once and for all. Pursuing the Sith, letting himself be lead by his instincts...approaching his destiny.
"No!" Again and again Obi-Wan screamed, cursing in every language he knew, praying, hoping against hope that this was a chance, that he might yet turn the tide and save his lover from the course his life had taken, that he might at least save Qui-Gon in his dreams.
The green blade parried, though his sinews were burning, his mind clouding with exhaustion. Without his Padawan, his loving partner, he was no match for the Sith...not at his age. But there was no other way - the only possibility to protect the man he loved more than his life was to give himself up to the Force in hopes of dispersing the threat, to let go and join its patterns if he had to.
The strain wasn't to be borne very much longer. He had hoped too take the creature down with him, yet it seemed he had underestimated the Sith's power and miscalculated his own strength...for the first time in his life.
A blow to his face, he stumbled backward, one second of letting his guard down...a piercing stab, his stomach was burning, he doubled over in pain, fell.
A scream, raw and hoarse, as if someone's heart had been torn out of his body...Obi-Wan! How to reach his Padawan, soothe him, plead with him to let the Force guide him? He must not give in to anger, not now, not because of this, of him...and how hopeless it seemed when he lay there, aching, unable to touch the training bond, to give even the slightest sign.
Obi-Wan's movements were a blur, the contours of his body distorted as his eyes would no longer obey his commands...his Padawan was gone from view, as if...the demonic creature suddenly towered, menacingly, at the edge of the pit, sneering as if it had won.
A streak of motion...the hiss of an igniting lightsabre...the Sith fell.
The warmth of a body beside him, strong arms wrapping around him, mental pleas, a soft voice, so dear. So much still remained to be said - hardly enough time for it and he reached out brushing a tear from his lover's cheek. "Promise me you will train the boy."
Not what he ought to have said, not what his lover had every right to hear. His voice failed him. It was too late, he felt his mind slipping away from Obi-Wan's fervent grasp, his sight was dimming, darkness descended, the black hole pulled at him as oblivion neared.
Once again, Obi-Wan sat up, gasping and sweating. He was trembling, his emotions open and raw, his shields down for long moments as he tried to regain his composure, pull himself into some semblance of calm. He realized that, for the first time since coming to accept these dreams, he had been carried away and lost all of his hard gained control - his throat was raw, he must have been screaming, and the hush in the forest around him confirmed that he must indeed have been very loud to scare all the animals into this eerie quietness.
This dream...it had been the most vivid and disturbing he'd had until now. He had seen into Qui-Gon's heart, been able to follow his every action, feel his pain. If what he had experienced was truly what his lover had gone through.
Not that he had ever doubted that Qui-Gon had thought of protecting him at least at one point in their fight with the Sith, namely when he'd been pushed off the walkway, but that his lover should have entertained a plan to keep him out of danger at all costs almost from the beginning was disconcerting. As was the fact that he seemed to have known he would die...how long had he shielded this knowledge from Obi-Wan?
What was hardest to accept for the young man was the fact that he hadn't picked up on this. After all, having spent so much time with this man, knowing him in so intimate a way, he ought to have seen even the things Qui-Gon meant to hide from him.
Not that it wasn't good to know how much he was treasured and loved, how precious his life had been to Qui-Gon...but the way he had chosen to show it was.
Obi-Wan shook his head. If only he had been able to say "I love you" one last time before Qui-Gon had died in his arms. So many moments lost in between their last declaration and this bitter end.
Yet wasn't that what they had known from the start? Their fate was to be Jedi, their love just ran along, almost a shadow in their lives -a constant, a truth that never left them, though it had to be put aside again and again for the sake of others, of planets, of the Republic, a galaxy they'd sworn to serve and protect to the best of their abilities.
Obi-Wan rose unsteadily, stumbling on once again. This time he didn't know where he was going or what he sought and he didn't care. So much was on his mind and there was little he could do but give his utmost to bear the grief, the hopelessness, that he had pushed aside since that fateful duel and that now assailed him in their full force.
The days passed and Obi-Wan kept wandering around aimlessly in the woods of Naboo, past swamps and huge trees. Now and then he'd take a break, doze or eat a little. Sometimes he even slept deeply and peacefully for a few hours.
With every day that went by he sorted out other emotions, turned them around, dealt with them as best he could. Qui-Gon would have been proud of him, he thought now and then, given the fact that he was progressing, though he hardly knew what with. Understanding? Acceptance? Of his Master's leaving him alone? His lover's death? The fear that he had been too slow in catching up with Qui-Gon, that his own inadequacy had caused the Sith to win?
Each evening, as the shadows grew longer, the young man found himself a place in the forest where he stretched out beneath the branches of the trees, all but hidden in the fresh, soft foliage around him. There were no more haunting dreams during these nights, only emptiness, palpable and burning in his heart.
The waves crashed against the shore, their roaring lost in the distance, so far beyond the stretch of white, clean sand Obi-Wan was running along. The wind battered him, and he fought against it with every step he took. The words of pain he tried to form were torn from his lips as was his breath, yet he stumbled on.
He kept his eyes closed, reaching out with his hands blindly, stumbling along. The beach seemed endless while he ran and he let go, allowing the waves and the winds to draw him into their song, to lull him into a state of blissful nothingness.
He no longer noticed the chill that crept over his sweat-damp skin, nor the tears that slowly dried on his cheeks. He knew his lover was dead, that he could never regain his former self. It had been dimmed and shadowed by his great loss, and though his heart broke with this knowledge, though his soul bled and his mind shattered, he was as determined to go on as never before.
"I won't give up." he whispered.
Suddenly all sounds around him faded away to a low murmuring whisper, and when he opened his eyes he stared straight into Qui-Gon's. Interminable blue depths, raging like the ocean waves, glowing with love.
"I'm proud of you, my heart. You have proven yourself stronger than everyone expected you to be, including myself. Even now, you do me proud."
Obi-Wan wanted to say something, anything, yet all he managed was a croak, then he was wrapped in his lover's strong embrace, kissed; Qui-Gon's hands wandered lower, touching him, caressing his skin, warming him to the core.
It was early morning when he woke, alone in the woods, his body still glowing, sated in the aftermath of loving. Yet this time his dream had been no illusion, it had been real. He felt secure in the knowledge that he had finally found what he had set out to look for since Qui-Gon's death - the serenity and acceptance he needed to move on with his life and fulfil his destiny.
He returned to Theed a few days later, having cleansed his soul and mind in long meditations, cementing his new-found strength and determination. The woods where he had last embraced his Qui-Gon had become the source of his inner peace...a last, unforgettable present from his lover.