Bonds of Choice 9:
Duets and Duality: Homegoing

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Obi-Wan settled into the pilot's seat and guided the Fortnight Gannet out of planetary atmosphere. He plotted his course to Coruscant and checked the time. The Sith ship was in no condition to keep up with what the Fortnight Gannet was capable of, so the trip would take much longer than necessary. Obi-Wan ground his teeth in frustration, opened a packet of stim tabs and stuck a couple behind his ear. They hit his system with a rush, snapping him into hyperalert wakefulness.

He sent his focus in the direction of his master. **How are you doing?**

//M'fine. Howareyou?//

**Just fine, Master.** The med unit must have given him some pain relievers.

Obi-Wan let his body fall into the rhythm of spaceflight. Eyes smoothly monitoring the readouts while fingers did their dance of correction, redirection and guidance over the controls. When everything was good for cruising, he let his eyes rest on the speeding of the stars, watching the pattern shift as he made this desperate sprint for safe haven.

He let his mind drift back towards Corubia. **How you doin' there, Cor?**

::Leave me the fuck alone, Kenobi. Holy shit, what the fuck happened back there?:: She didn't seem to be doing very well.

**Don't know. I suppose the Council will get to the bottom of this.**

::She fucking ATTACKED you! You're a Padawan! She can't just do that!::

**Yeah, I know, Cor. You godda calm down a little so I can concentrate on getting us home. What do you say to a couple hundred rounds of Single Sand meditation?**

::Sounds good, Obi. How long?::

**Just do Single Sand until I come get you, okay?**

::Sure thing, big boss man.::

Obi-Wan hovered around her thoughts until he felt the calm joy that came of meditating the Single Sand. He checked his coordinates again then prepared himself as well as he could to reach for Master Torlamin.

The feel of her was both soiled and bloody. Her mind was a whirl of rage and hatred. She lashed out against him, chasing him until he baffled her with illusion and blind walls of nothing-thoughts. He withdrew behind his mental shields and slumped in the pilot's chair, panting slightly and not a little worried. Okay, it was time. He set the ship for temporary autopilot, slipped into the chair in front of the comm link and dialed in his personal emergency code. A sleepy-looking civilian answered his call. "How may I help you, Padawan Kenobi?" she asked.

"Um, I guess if you could let the Council know I'm bringing in an injured Master, an incapacitated Master, a slightly rattled Padawan and the remains of a dead Sith Lord with spaceship in tow, that would just about do it." Obi-Wan felt a sharp pain in his lower abdomen. "Oh, and I might be injured, too. Don't really have time to find out on that one just now."

"Why is it you never call us with something simple? Why can't you just be lost and drifting in hostile territory?" she was kidding with him, of course.

"If the problem was a ship malfunction, I could fix that. I wouldn't need your help." Obi-Wan was in no mood for jokes.

"Well, for you I guess that would be true. I've sent your message to all concerned parties. Are you coming in now?"

"On course and in route."

"We'll be waiting for you, then. Keep your comm link open, they may want to speak to you."

Obi-Wan nodded agreement and ended the transmission. No sleep for him. Although the Fortnight Gannet could be trusted to look after itself at this speed, he didn't much like the idea of being asleep at a time like this. Besides, the stimulants he'd dumped into his system weren't going to let him rest anyway. Might as well make good use of the time.

Obi-Wan strolled down to the meeting room, scooped up his files and made a quick detour to his room to grab his stack of datachips. He double-checked the autopiloting. All was good. He left the files and chips on the console and wandered off down the hall.

He paused outside of Corubia's room for a quick scan of her mental well-being. She seemed to be coming back under control fairly well. He couldn't blame her for freaking out back there. He'd done as much himself the first time he'd gone into battle without his Master to back him up. Of course, Qui-Gon had been there for him just moments later, while Corubia had nothing and no one but himself to rely on for comfort. He sighed, feeling the weight of responsibility coming down squarely on his shoulders. Reflexively he stiffened his spine. *I can handle this. No problem.*

It had been long months and years since he'd had to take care of one of his own, but the instinct and capabilities were just as strong as they'd always been. He went up a deck and into the medical center to check on Qui-Gon. He was sleeping easy while the med unit worked it's own form of magic, knitting the flesh together for healing. Well and good. He dare not look in on Torlamin, but the urge to do so was quite strong. Then again, the urge to slap some sense into her for hurting Corubia was just as strong.

That thought brought him up short.

"When did I start wanting to smack Masters around?" he murmured. The thought of standing up to Qui-Gon, to any of the Knights or Masters in the Order should have set painful woobles through his belly. In fact, those woobles did exist in the other cases, nerves clawing at him to shut up, sit still, be quiet and not rock the boat. But he knew what those were ... unworthiness. And they didn't assert themselves when he thought of Torlamin.

"Because she hurt Corubia and Qui-Gon. Because she doesn't have the right," Obi-Wan murmured.

*But she hurt me, too. She tried to kill me first,* he reminded himself. If she'd helped, held herself together, he might not have had to kill that Maul person. He certainly wouldn't have had to push a branch out of his unconscious Master's shoulder or knock his best friend out to keep her from snapping under the strain of a battle situation. *She hurt ME and she doesn't have the right.*

Obi-Wan leaned against the wall and sighed. He'd gotten a lot out of reading his files earlier. There might be more there ... to help him get a grip on himself, his perspective. *Qui-Gon seemed to think they'd help with this whole Enemy thing.* He nodded once and returned to the cockpit. There were just too many things going wrong all at once for him to even begin sorting them out, so he had decided to go back to the beginning. Qui-Gon had wanted to show him something, so he would look at it. He picked up the Rate and Rank reports.

He skimmed the sections for Knights and Trainees, basically looking for anyone he recognized before flipping back to the section that listed the Masters. He drew a deep, cleansing breath, released it, then did it again. Now, where had Qui-Gon been placed this year? He ran his finger down from the top of the list. Okay, higher than he was last year, but there had been that whole thing with the Malastarian bribery scandal that had wrapped him up in politics for a month solid and had no outcome possible that might have been called good. He'd gotten extra points for preventing interplanetary warfare, but still ...

So, back in the top ten. Nothing Obi-Wan hadn't figured out for himself. He didn't need a readout to tell him Qui-Gon Jinn was one of the finest masters to serve the Temple. Obi-Wan was surprised to find Master Torlamin not listed nearly as high. And there was Arjet Paje just above Qui-Gon. Interesting.

He slid one of his datachips into the reader and hit repeat. Music filled the cockpit, slow and soulful with the sound of falling rain. He loved this band and the music was so appropriate to his situation.

Riders on the Storm
Riders on the Storm
Into this world we're born, into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone, an actor out alone
Riders on the Storm

He set that report aside and looked at the last section. Padawans. The Trainees and lower ranks of Padawans underwent yearly testing, but Obi-Wan had never been called upon to test since Qui-Gon had taken him. It wasn't something he had really thought about before. He had only been grateful that he had been excused from yet another duty to fit into his schedule. *Stop procrastinating and find your name, Kenobi.*

He flipped the cover sheet back and turned a couple of pages before beginning a sincere search. When he hit the midpoint he stopped. If his name were any lower on the list he would surely have been tested this year. He sucked in his breath and turned back to the third page. No. Second page. No. *Oh skies above. Qui-Gon was serious.*

First page. Number six. Obi-Wan Kenobi.

He let the pages fall from his fingers. *Not the best, no. Not that. But one hell of a lot better than 'good enough'.*

He grabbed the pages up and began turning them furiously. Corubia, number nine. Swed, fifteen. Jenji in at nineteen but with lots of interesting notations. All of his friends were in the top twenty. All of them. Out of thousands of Jedi, everyone he was friends with were high in the rate and rank. And he held the highest of them all. He turned back to the first page, looked at the other names in the top ten. None rang any clear bells. What the hell?

**Corubia? How are you feeling?**

::Like I got smacked with a speeder. You?::

**Haven't had time to check yet. I got a question for you, though.**

::Lay it on me, brother.::

**Who else was in the top ten on the rank last year?**

::Thought you weren't into that, brother.::

**Master assigned me. Give me a hand here.**

::Weeeellll—okay. You were eleven last year, and I was seven. I counted you then because of that whole Malistair thing. Um, beyond that, I think maybe Rilsa was in there last year, too. But not the year before. We're the only ones in there consistently.::

**Okay, well, do you have any friends that aren't listed in the top one hundred?**

::Yes. Of course. Don't you?::

**No, and that's what I'm worried about. Why is that? I have a lot of friends. **

::I think you're stressing over nothing. You're thinking about close friends. That's me, Swed and Jinji. We've known each other since our time getting bounced around training. Think about all those folk in the Common Room. What about everyone who came to your nameday party? You're not thinking clearly.::

**I guess I'm jumping at shadows. But if it's not conspiracy, what is it?**

::Coincidence. Look, you were in a rather intensive, very selective training program with us. There were only four of us getting that training at the time. Of course we got thrown together a lot. Sure that made lasting friendships. Big deal.::

** I think there's something more. I'll think on it, though. Back to your meditations, Cor.**

He withdrew from contact with her and checked the controls again. Corubia, Jinji, Swed and Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan thought back to his time in training and realized they were the only consistent thing in his life then. No. There had been Rue Torlamin, for a while. Then Knight Elan. Torlamin had been on top of him every day of the week, twice on Fridays and he had never liked her, never respected her, never trusted her. He hadn't disliked her, that hadn't seem quite possible, somehow. It smacked of the Dark Side. Still, he had known that she drove the others just as hard and that had made it more bearable.

There's a killer on the road,
His brain is squirmin' like a toad
Take a long holiday, Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride, Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road, yeah

He watched the stars for a while, trying to remember the first time he had seen her. He had been about five. He was excited, because they had moved him out of the general quarters and into a room with children a little older than he. There had been a word on a sign at the end of the corridor that had taken him a little time to work out. "Potentials". He knew it, sort of. It was what made him different from the other trainees his age. Some of them, well, most of them seemed to not understand things quite like Obi-Wan did. He often found himself alone because he didn't enjoy the things the other children liked. He had asked the Masters about this and they had told him "You have great potential, Obi-Wan. That sets you apart from the others. With time, you will understand why things are the way they are. It's not something you can control right now."

So Obi-Wan knew that having potential meant being lonely.

Three other children were already there when he arrived. They were gathered around a hologram projector. He went over to have a look. The colors eddied and roiled in a not-quite-random pattern. "Wow. That's beautiful. Look, you can almost see the math that makes it do that, but not quite. Where did you get that?"

The girl that held it was of Noridian origin. She had green hair that grew in a stripe all the way down her neck, violet eyes and rich, dark skin. Obi-Wan understood the need to room like-needs species together, but he had been hoping to be put near someone a little more ... different. Still, he was a humanoid, so it wouldn't do to be rude just because they all were, too. "I made it," the Noridian girl informed him.

"REALLY? Wow. Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Obi-Wan Kenobi."

"I'm Jenji Sharoum, me and Swed are just across the hall. Aren't you that one from the level fives? You did that neat thing with the plascrete project, that little float-dam, right?"

Obi-Wan nodded. "That's a really excellent holo. How long have you been doing them?"

"Um, couple years. I guess I started in level five art class."

"Yeah, but that doesn't necessarily follow. How old were you when you took level fives? Oh, I'm Corubia Nall, your roommate. Welcome."

"You know they don't alter training until level five's complete. You went through it same as the rest of us. Hello. Swederantari Bvroukala. Call me Swed."

A bell chimed on the vidunit and Corubia went over to answer. "Nall."

"Did the new one arrive?"

"Yes, Knight Torlamin."

"Why don't you take him down for some benburi? I'll clear the credits on your cards. Get him settled in, but don't tell him anything about the program until I've had time to talk to him." Obi-Wan could see the sharp features of the Knight that was now in charge of his life. She didn't look too bad.

Obi-Wan shook his head and brought himself out of the reverie. He concentrated on the controls. So much of his early training had been forgotten or simply unthought-about for years now. He flipped his training file open and began looking at the contents. It was clear to him now that he had been singled out for special training, but why had he never been told about it? Why had then-Knight Torlamin constantly insisted that he was on the edge of being expelled?

And when had it stopped?

Girl ya gotta love your man
Girl ya gotta love your man
Take him by the hand, Make him understand
The world on you depends, Our life will never end
Gotta love your man

He thought hard, tried to remember what might have caused such a change. He turned the pages of his record, searching for a clue.

There. "Subject's Councilor has been assigned to field duty. New Councilor assigned: Rendian Elan. Subject's project work has revealed a serious breach in training protocol."

Obi-Wan skimmed the report. He had been assigned an essay in a level fourteen writing class. He had answered the question "What is your calling?" in a way that had disturbed the teacher enough to take the essay to the Council. Obi-Wan remembered the essay clearly because he had been called upon to defend it. "Like a debate," Knight Elan had explained. "They just want to talk to you about your essay."

Obi-Wan had nodded, accepting the explanation. Sometimes people got really excited about something he said or did. Sometimes grownups wanted to talk to him for long hours about this bit of math or that science experiment. He tried to be as helpful as he could. This was the first time anyone had asked him about anything from a language class, though. He loved languages and they let him study as many as he wanted. He had never done anything special in them, that he knew about. Maybe he'd done something very clever.

He walked into the council room and knew he was mistaken. If ever a Jedi Master could be said to be angry, this was a whole room full of them. Not anger like the civilians in the Temple felt, but the sense of having found injustice and disorder, coupled with the need to correct it. Obi-Wan knew about anger, had come to learn it well from Knight Torlamin. He sank to his knees in the center of the room and put his forehead to the floor. His fingers twined on the back of his neck for good measure.

No one said anything for a long moment. Then Obi-Wan felt someone touching his hair. He turned to see who it was. Knight Elan was kneeling beside him, cheek resting on the floor. "What's wrong, Obi-Wan?"

"They're not happy with me."

"How do you know that?"

"I can feel them." Obi-Wan reached out and touched Rendian's chest. "In there. They're not happy."

"Why are you on the floor, Trainee?"

"That's what Knight Torlamin wanted me to do when she felt angry with me," Obi-Wan explained.

"And was she angry with you very often?"

"Um, I don't know. How often is often?"

"A good question. But the Council doesn't want you to do this for them or anyone ever again. Okay?"

"Yes, Knight."

"Let's stand up together, okay?"

"Yes, Knight."

"If you want to use a title with me, call me 'Sir'. That is how you address a Knight."

"But you're my Councilor."

"I see. I prefer 'Sir'."

"Yes, Sir."

The Council had questioned him carefully, thoroughly and thoughtfully. Obi-Wan had answered with as much thought as he could. They started asking the same questions with different words and he answered them in the same manner. Did Obi-Wan want to leave the Temple and go home? No, he loved the Temple and hoped to serve in some useful capacity. The Temple was his home. Did Obi-Wan want to be a Jedi Knight, like Rendian Elan? Yes, please, as long as he didn't have to be like Knight Torlamin. Why didn't Obi-Wan want to be like Knight Torlamin? She's cranky. (That got a laugh from the Council.) Had Knight Torlamin ever touched him in a way she wasn't supposed to? No, Obi-Wan would have told the Training Master if she had.

Then the big question. Why did Obi-Wan feel it was his calling to be a farmer? Because Knight Torlamin said he might be put out of Jedi training any day now and he liked plants.

"How old are you, Obi-Wan?" Master Paje asked. He was not seated with the Council, but rather stood behind them nearer to the windows. There were two other Masters standing with him, but Obi-Wan didn't recognize them.

"I turned nine last month, Master."

Obi-Wan saw the three Masters turn and discuss this. "A bit too young, yet. At least, too young for me."

"And me. Someone will have to claim him."

"Let us ask Master Yoda. He may be the only one who can help this one. "

"If only we knew when Qui-Gon might be ready."

"We don't have much time. The Potential is too great to wait very long."

"Let us guide him ourselves, together and with Master Yoda. We have seen what should be done. He will be ready when Qui-Gon is."

The trio came and spoke to Master Yoda. "He needs to be cared for, raised gently, Master Yoda. Will you take him?"

Yoda closed his eyes and considered. "This one is not for me. Too full of life. Stuck in the Temple he should not be. The one he is for, ready he is not. Qui-Gon, convinced must he be."

Master Paje smiled at that. "Allow me to undertake that task, Master Yoda. Until then, will you watch over him?"

"Hmm. Backup plan, I will be," Yoda decided.

"And nothing will draw Qui-Gon's attention faster than your involvement," Master Paje smiled a calculating smile.

Knight Elan had taken Obi-Wan back to his room then and collected Corubia. They had never spoken of it.

Riders on the Storm
Riders on the Storm
Into this house we're born, into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone, an actor out alone
Riders on the Storm
Riders on the Storm

Elan had taken over his training at that point, as well as Corubia's. He had encouraged their friendship with Swed and Jenji, assigned them to projects and classes as a group when he could. Long hours had been spent in debate with the unflappable Knight, regarding Obi-Wan's suitability for the Order. After a time, he had accepted the idea as a possibility, but it hadn't seemed real until the Council had made it so, until Arjet Paje had stood with him and Qui-Gon, forging the bond between them, making them Master and Apprentice. Creating a new being, Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Even under Qui-Gon's often-hectic tutelage, he had maintained his friendships from the crèche. They had gone to concerts together, been on missions that their teachers had been paired on and the like. Obi-Wan had cared for Jenji and Corubia after both had come down with a virus from some planet or another. He'd proven to be immune from the effects and stayed with them until the worst of it had passed. Swed had come to him when his innate nerves and depression drove him into a state of sleep deprivation that not even the Masters had been able to solve with Forced-sleep periods. Obi-Wan had simply sung and held him as he rested, used different techniques to induce REM dream patterns on him, even if he wasn't actually asleep. All these things had simply come and gone, keeping them close over the years.

Within the last couple of years, though, things had changed. Qui-Gon was no longer paired with other Jedi. Obi-Wan had learned enough to be a proper partner to him. Their assignments had begun to tend towards more complicated, dangerous missions unsuitable for a large party of operatives. The four had simply fallen out of touch. The others no longer brought their problems to him, for lack of time together. Even when he and Jenji had entered into a short, though pleasant, period of dating things hadn't been easy to arrange.

And when they were together, Obi-Wan had been less and less comfortable with them. He was younger than the others, had been taken as a Padawan last of all. He had assumed they would always be ahead of him in training. More and more, this was not so. It had taken him several months to work out what had happened and until now had no explanation for it.

Well, things made sense now, sort of. At least, that part of the puzzle was much clearer. Other parts ... he sighed. *I need more information. I'm theorizing without data on too many points now.*

Obi-Wan checked the crono. Long hours yet to Coruscant and he was only a little closer to the answers he sought. With Qui-Gon sleeping through his medical treatment, Obi-Wan was alone with his thoughts. He stilled them with an effort, making the piloting calculations a sort of meditation. Once again he was alone in his head.

*Alone. Not nearly as good as it used to be.*

Go to Part 1         Part 2         Part 3         Part 4         Part 5         Part 6         Part 7         Part 8         Part 9         Part 10         Part 11         Part 12         Part 13         Part 14         Part 15         Part 16         Part 17         Part 18         Part 19         Part 20         Part 21         Part 22         Part 23         Part 24        

Bonds of Choice 9: Duets and Duality: Homegoing

NC-17 for M/M
Het Level is None
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Low
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

27 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written October 20, 1999 by HiperBunny

Setting: Star Wars Episode 1

Primary Races: Human

Contents: Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Angst, Fraternization, Violence

Pairings: Obi-Wan/ Qui-Gon

Notes: "Riders on the Storm" is copyright to whoever ended up owning the Doors. Possibly a leather manufacturer. Lyrics used here without permission, but with reverence and love. went to visit the doctor. He says that case of panache is clearing up now.

Blurb: Obi-Wan gets time alone to think. And think. And remember.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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