Bonds of Choice 9.99:
Satori, Vin-Dit, Tsunami: The Future
by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file
Obi-Wan swallowed the last of his cav and checked the crono. Obream hadn't changed his habit of sleeping in when he could, which served Obi-Wan's purposes quite handily. If he could just distract the Knight from considering what might have happened before he woke, the subject might never come up at all. He sighed, grabbed his lightsaber and resigned himself to playing dirty. Nothing for it, really. He shucked off his tunics and boots, blinked his eyes and let them widen in a sham of hopeful anticipation, then padded down the corridor to Obream's room. He tapped on the door and waited.
The Knight answered a moment later, pants on but unfastened, showing just a little bit of fuzz. Obi-Wan let his eyes travel slowly up his shepherd's body, then met his gaze with an almost audible snap. "Oh! Uh ... spar?" he offered, as if distracted.
Obream gave a little half smile. "Sure. Meet you outside?"
Obi-Wan nodded mutely and turned to go, as if reluctant. The door slid shut behind him and he sighed in relief. Play young and dumb. That had been his master's advice on more than one occasion. He hated it. If it had failed, even once, if someone, anyone had even once seen through the façade, it would have been bearable. But no one ever had. He hated it all the more for its reliable, constant success. He shook his head, smiling. At least he didn't have to wear hot pink stretch pants this time.
The flagstones of the courtyard were well-warmed under his feet. *Better than freezing toes, I guess,* he thought, surveying the area. He looked up when Obream disembarked from the transport, boots ringing on the stone. "Ready?" Obi-Wan called.
"Sure," the Knight replied, unhooking his saber.
"I usually start with one of the Falling forms, but I'm feeling loose today. Wanna go for Erata Sel?"
Obream blinked at that, then nodded.
Obi-Wan wondered about the blink. Qui-Gon would have wrinkled his nose, more or less, at something that simple for a morning workout. He would have probably given out some pithy remark about showing off. Then he would have put Obi-Wan on the attacking form and run him to within an inch of his life. Well, best to honor the wishes of the Master. Obi-Wan fell into the attacking posture.
Obream took his place opposite him and their sabers ignited simultaneously. Obi-Wan stepped in, taking the first pass slowly to get the measure of his partner. He couldn't help but think Obream would push him, this first time, but the Knight made no move to do so. Obi-Wan brought himself up to full speed for the second pass, ready to engage and get warmed up. He fell back, came forward, executed the overhead flip, landed neatly and had his guard in place.
Obream's blade met his some two seconds later.
*Oookay ... * Obi-Wan completed the turn and fell into the circular attack-retreat-attack, relaxing into the familiar rhythm, letting the Force fill and enhance his every move, body alive with the joy of pure living. Obream's eyes were hooded, wary, but his form stayed true, in beat and in place for each exchange. Now would be the place of Obi-Wan's testing. He took a running step forward, tucked his knees up in a side-jump, released and brought his saber around in a lighting-fast arc, pivoting on one toe before his momentum could carry him that single, fatal step forward. His eyes focused on the lead edge of his lightsaber and he froze, appalled.
He hit the power on his saber and dropped out of form, staring at the scorch mark on Knight Trydal's tunic. "Where was your guard?" he demanded automatically.
"I ... it was ... " Obream gestured helplessly. His blade was a good four inches away from mark. He powered down. "You were so ... so fast, Obi-Wan ... I've never ... "
Obi-Wan's mouth drew into a thin, hard line. "You should have said you weren't up to this today. I might have hurt you, Shepherd."
The word hung between them. It was the first time Obi-Wan had used that temporary honorific, and he hadn't meant for it to sting. But clearly it had. Obream's eyes registered shock, then affront. "I'm not accustomed to working with a partner so much younger than myself," he defended.
Obi-Wan bowed his head contritely. "My apologies, Sir."
"I'm also unaccustomed to being questioned in such a tone. Especially by a Padawan," Obream continued, picking up steam.
Obi-Wan tucked his hands behind his back and steadied his breathing. Might as well get comfortable. Wounded pride blew the hardest gales.
Obream began picking Obi-Wan's performance apart with the most delicate care. He brought footwork, placement, style and strength into question, as well as form and interpretation. Obi-Wan said not a word. There was nothing to say. He was faster than Obream, dangerously, devastatingly faster, and all the bitching in the world wasn't going to change that. Neither would all the apologies in the world. When Knight Trydal finally wound down, he cleared his throat. "Get your slate and start counting down the living quarters. We've wasted enough time."
Obi-Wan bowed and turned back to the transport. He'd never heard a teacher call training of ANY sort a waste of time, no matter how well or poorly it had gone. *No wonder he's still a Knight. He'd drive a Padawan nuts the second the kid did something better than he did.* For once, Obi-Wan had to admit there must be some wisdom on the Council. They'd clearly seen to it that this one was kept from students and now Obi-Wan knew why.
Scratch poked his head out of the cockpit as Obi-Wan headed back out of the ship towards the Temple. "What happened?"
Obi-Wan waved for him to follow. He didn't answer until they'd reached the silent resident's hall. "I whupped up on him. He didn't like it."
"What? How? You're just a student!" Scratch was shocked.
Obi-Wan shrugged. "It was an accident. I didn't keep rhythm with him, so ... I came through the form too fast and ... "
"You're better than him with that glowstick of yours, aren't you?" Scratch surmised.
"I shouldn't have ... "
"Kenobi ... did you do anything wrong? Really? 'Cause I don't know what you were up to, but you're not convincing me you did anything wrong."
"I didn't. I just didn't do it right and that's worse," Obi-Wan tried to justify Obream's tirade.
"What would your master have said about what happened?"
Obi-Wan shrugged and shook his head. "Dunno."
"Obi-Wan, kid, listen ... "
"I'm not a KID, damnit! I'm not a Knight, but I'm legal in most systems and can kick most peoples' asses around any room you name, so stop with the KID stuff, okay?" Obi-Wan growled, then stopped, appalled. "Oh, man ... I'm sorry ... "
Scratch crossed his arms. "A Jedi just lost his cool because I called him 'kid'. Now you TELL me nothing's wrong," he challenged.
Obi-Wan sighed. "Yeah. Master says I'm not supposed to make excuses for people that don't do right by me."
"Now you're talking sense. Odd how a lot of your 'sense' starts with 'Master Says'. I've got to get back to the ship. If you need to talk, come find me." Scratch turned back towards the egress and Obi-Wan turned to his task. A thought kept running through his mind as he counted furniture, linen, flatware, all the furnishings and provisions that had been left behind in the evacuation. He tested plumbing and electrical systems, tagged rooms for refurbishment, items for replacement, lost himself in the monotony of cataloging the Temple's goods. As he worked, the thought nagged at him. *What WOULD Qui-Gon say about all that?*
Obi-Wan smiled as he realized what the answer was. Qui-Gon would say "Padawan, you are forgetting the scope of this exercise." It was quite obvious that this particular mission, with this particular Knight, was supposed to be moving Obi-Wan closer to his own Trials. Shepherding was truly a proving grounds, a place for a Padawan to find out about his own problems and deal with them in as controlled an environment as could be found within the daily life of a working operative. In such a situation, one must deal with one's self and others without a teacher there to support one. In this, Obi-Wan had failed. By deferring to Obream's fit of pique, he had not behaved as a Knight of the Order.
Obi-Wan sighed and shut down his lightslate. Best to deal with this, ALL of this, before much damage could come of it.
He found Obream in the storage area, popping storage crates and cataloging the contents. "Hey," Obi-Wan opened.
"Done with the resident's hall already?" the Knight asked, surprised.
"No," Obi-Wan replied. "I thought we should talk."
Obream sighed and put his slate aside. "Yes, I suppose that is past due, isn't it?"
"There's a nice garden ... " Obi-Wan suggested.
Obream shook his head. "I don't think you've seen the upper walk yet, and I'd like to show it to you. Perhaps there?"
Obi-Wan nodded and followed Obream outside. They were silent as they made their way up the stairs and onto a long walkway outside the third floor library. Obi-Wan folded his hands in front of his belly, letting his fingers soothe the bare skin there. The tiles were warm under his feet, and he quietly enjoyed the play of sunlight upon his shoulders.
Obream was not so calm. He fiddled with the hem of his sleeves, then forced his hands to be still at his sides. "Obi-Wan ... I ... apologize for my words this morning."
Obi-Wan nodded, accepting. "The last time I saw you on Coruscant," he began, but Obream cut him off.
"I was horrible to you then, too. I've so often wanted to apologize for my ill treatment of you. So often. If, in that moment, I could have had the barest inkling of the Jedi you would become ... my words would have been those you so wanted to hear. You offered me something powerful and precious. I was a fool to push it aside so readily." Obream turned to the railing and looked out over San Saloor.
Obi-Wan joined him. "That day, it has shaped so much of my life. Not because of the hurt, or, not entirely, but because of something that happened after I left your quarters. I learned about love, that day. I learned that I could feel love and never need for it to be returned."
Obream bowed his head. "When they told me you would be my partner on this mission, I thought they had gone mad. I was ... quite angry, to be honest. I'd heard about your doings, of course, of all the things you've done in service to the Order in the years between then and now. I simply couldn't imagine why under the skies they would send you to do something so ... trivial."
Obi-Wan shrugged. "It was the task given me."
Obream seemed not to hear. "Then I found that you had requested permission to join my team. Then I knew ..."
The silence stretched between them, a tension that gathered in Obi-Wan's belly like a trembling wire. "I am no more than what I was then, Obream. I offer nothing to anyone, anymore, that I am not willing to see broken or taken from me in an instant of betrayal or fit of disharmony. I've had a lot of time to think, during the last couple of days. I think, perhaps, the time has come in my life to make peace with my past. I know the time has come for me to look at another being and learn what it is to be loved, trusted with the love of another. Do you think, perhaps, I have it within me to properly honor such a gift?"
Obream was silent for a long time, then he chuckled. "This isn't about me at all, is it, Obi-Wan?"
Obi-Wan shook his head no.
"I might have guessed. My opportunity passed long ago ... I suppose I shall always regret the loss. Well. Let me then advise you, my sheep, as is my duty in this place, and my honor. I'm not a wise man, never will be, but learn this from what I have experienced: if someone loves you honestly, take it. Don't dash their heart or their hopes because of your own wants. If there is any way possible for you to make room in your life for love, do it. Whatever it takes, whatever you might be required to give up ... the exchange will be worth it." Obream stretched, then turned to face Obi-Wan. "Blood spilled from a broken heart can never be washed away."
Obi-Wan bowed his head in consideration. "What if the person offering it ... is very much of a different class, holds a very different status?"
"Then let that person do what they must, to accept your love. It is the smallest thing one person can do for another. Don't make the decision for them, it is theirs to make. I made the decision for you, because I thought it was my right to do so, to impose my will upon someone beneath me in the hierarchy of the Order. That is no one's right, not even yours, and especially not in matters such as this." Obream put his hand on Obi-Wan's. "I hurt you, I know I did. Don't make my mistake over again, Obi-Wan."
Obream squeezed once, then turned to go. After a moment, Obi-Wan called out "If I were to come to you now?"
Obream didn't move to face him, and Obi-Wan could barely hear his reply. "There is nothing in this universe that could make me turn away from you."
Obi-Wan watched him enter the Temple, listened as he walked away. The wind was sweet, and he breathed it deeply, wanting to remember this moment, this place on this world where hope changed to possibility. He let his fingers play across the planes and edges of the charm around his neck, then closed his hand over it. He raised his fist to his lips, touched the warm stone to them. In his heart he fervently prayed that this would not turn out to be the greatest mistake of his life.
Qui-Gon lay back on the sofa and let his spine relax into the well-worn furniture. The holovid was still playing whatever channel Jenji had been watching before she left for an afternoon study group. He watched the animated figures intently, trying to figure out what under the skies was going on. Something about a bunch of teenagers trying to catch a zombie with the help of a large, frightened dog.
It seemed to Qui-Gon that the dog had the right idea. Get out, while the getting was good. Trouble would find a body without one going out to look for it. It certainly wasn't a situation for a bunch of kids to be meddling in.
His comm link chirped and he dug through his pockets to find it. "Jinn."
"Master? It's Obi-Wan! Are you busy?"
Qui-Gon smiled. "No, I was just waiting for Master Paje to come meet me. We have a bit of closure to achieve with Master Torlamin, so I'm just relaxing."
"You? Relaxing? I must mark that in my records. Listen, I was thinking about some things while I was away ... do you suppose we are going to be assigned a new mission any time soon?"
"Not likely. Arjet has any number of things that need doing before he can make good his escape again. He's asked that we stay and help with that, and I'm inclined to believe the Council will give him his way yet again. Why?"
"That, dearest Master, would be telling. I've got to speak to Corubia about it all first. Did you say you were going to see Master Paje soon?" Obi-Wan asked.
"Pretty soon, I should think," Qui-Gon was suddenly suspicious.
"Could you let him know his message is on its way?"
"What message?" Qui-Gon demanded.
"Well, he ... hold on a sec ... "
The comm went quiet for a long moment, then Obi-Wan came back. "I'm sorry, Master. I have to go. We're almost done with the counts for the report and I'm trying to wrap them up so we can get out of here."
"Obi-Wan, wait. What message?"
"Look, ask Master Paje. I really have to go now ... sleep well, my Pantreti."
"And you, Koateleu," Qui-Gon clenched his fist hard around the comm link as the line went dead. *What the hell have you done, Arjet?*
The door to the outer room opened and Qui-Gon went to get his answers. "Arjet, I've just received a message from Obi-Wan to give to you. He says your message has been sent. Now, would you like to tell me what thrice-damned scheme you've mixed my student up in, or do I start peeling you from the inside out?"
Arjet stopped, eyes wide with shock.
It was only then that his own tone and words registered on Qui-Gon. He clenched his hands and slowly relaxed them, relying on lifelong reflexes to bring himself back to center. "Well?" he demanded.
"I asked him to do me a service at San Saloor, that much is true," Arjet allowed.
"His mission was apparently successful."
"You bastard!" Qui-Gon all but screamed. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???"
"NOTHING!!! It's not what you think, Master Jinn! On my life, I swear he was never sent into any danger of my making ... "
"Too many words in that, Arjet. Too many qualifiers. Honest truth, or I drag you up in front of the Council and start reading a list of your darkest secrets. Don't think I won't!" Qui-Gon was across the room and bracing Arjet against the wall before the last word was off his lips.
"He send a message to the Solos! That's all, I swear!" Arjet gasped, hands seeking purchase on Qui-Gon's larger body. Qui-Gon simply lifted him off the floor and held him there.
"Go on," he invited.
"His pilot brought him into contact with some spacers who had news out of Eab Nanoorn and Ero Phelian. I DID NOT tell him to look for it. It just fell into our laps, Quigs! He contacted me with the information. No, I don't know why he didn't call you first. Then I couldn't get in touch with our people in Eab ... so I asked him to send a couple of these spacers looking for them and that is ALL! He went to a bar, he paid a price, he came home. End of story." Arjet sighed as his boots met the floor once again.
"Arjet ... I ... I don't know what to say. I'm sorry ... " Qui-Gon drew a shuddering breath.
"From what you know of me, I'd say you had a perfectly logical reaction," Arjet managed a weak smile. "I'm lucky you didn't beat the shit out of me first and ask questions later. I overstepped my bounds here ... I should have spoken to you before I sent that order. I apologize, Master Jinn."
"Accepted, my friend. Don't do it again, though. Make no mistake, Obi-Wan is *my* student, *my* responsibility and mine to order, not yours. You'll come through the proper channels in regards to him, or you'll find out just how good a student I was, all those years ago," Qui-Gon stepped back, giving Arjet his space.
"It won't happen again. Honor's oath," Arjet gripped one fist in his other hand, making the truth-swearing sign. "Now, do you want to tell me what has you thinking you're *not* in control, where he's concerned?"
"What?" Qui-Gon whispered, confused.
"You. Kenobi. Power issues. Something not well in the bower of amore?" Arjet pressed.
"You've lost your mind," Qui-Gon scoffed.
"Oh really? Double dog dare you to look at me and say that," Arjet put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "You were angry, Qui-Gon. Angry and scared about him doing something you didn't give him leave to do. That's not normal for you."
Qui-Gon shrugged and pulled away.
"Qui-Gon ... you have to do the Ceremony tonight. I need you balanced before I can let you get involved with that. It would endanger you, otherwise. Let me help, please. If for nothing else, to make up for frightening you. I've seen you like this ... before. I thought you'd gotten a handle on this thing. Didn't we cover it all, years ago? Drawing lines, setting rules and boundaries, safe places and safe people and safe words. We even talked about likely partners, their probable tendencies, tastes, everything ... "
Qui-Gon looked down. "Not everything."
"Oh, Quigs. Did you end up with something ... bad for you?"
"No, no. It's just ... lurid."
Arjet frowned in thought. "Ah. Good, then, is he? Experienced? And you weren't expecting that?"
Qui-Gon shrugged. "I mean, I knew he wasn't cloistered or anything. Far from it. I was just surprised, is all. Arjet, he ... I think his first time was with a prostitute."
Arjet shrugged. "So was mine. So what? As I recall from your tales of woe, your first time was nothing to immortalize in song."
Qui-Gon smiled weakly. "It wasn't all bad ... "
"But not all good. I can tell you this much: he's never had to worry that he'd disappoint his partners. I'd lay credit, good credit, he approached the whole thing like he'd be tested on it later. Wait. That isn't the problem, is it?" Arjet took Qui-Gon's hand and squeezed it gently. "What did he do to you?"
Qui-Gon shook his head. "Not now, Arjet."
"You'd better, and be done with it. You've got," he checked the crono "twenty minutes before you need your center. Go."
Qui-Gon smiled. This had been one of the most useful things Master Sarafel had ever taught him, the ability to purge himself of emotional baggage on command. It was the source of the legendary Jinn serenity, the key to his rigid self-control. Arjet knew of it, though he chose not to use it himself. It was a very simple technique, really, though entirely ruthless on the dignity of the user. Total honesty, acceptance, release. Very basic. "He fucked me like I was a whore."
Arjet's eyes went wide with shock. "No. No way."
"I wasn't asking your opinion, Arjet. I'm telling you the facts. I saw it in his mind. He was fucking me, but it had absolutely nothing to do with how he felt for me or who I was. You tell me that isn't how you fuck a whore. That's how *I* fuck a whore, in case you're interested."
"Okay, okay ... but do you think he meant it like that?" Arjet's hands clenched in a way that Qui-Gon recognized with alarm. He answered quickly, to still his friend's urge to throttle and/or maim.
"No. I don't think he realizes he was thinking on those terms. I don't ... well, to be honest, I only know for sure of one person he might NOT have fucked like that, at a total remove. And that affair ... turned out rather badly." Qui-Gon drew a calming breath. "He just doesn't want to get involved emotionally with sex."
Arjet nodded. "And how does that make you feel?"
"Um ... dirty old man? Vapid slut? Take your pick. Betrayed. Ugly. Oh, I forgot. He bruised me from shoulder to ass," Qui-Gon shrugged. "And no, I didn't ask him to."
"You don't seem particularly upset," Arjet noted.
"I believe the term is 'denial'," Qui-Gon explained.
"I see. Well, so ... are we still up for this?" Arjet asked, meaning Torlamin.
Qui-Gon shrugged. "Why not? This isn't something I can actually deal with by myself. Call it on hold for now."
"That's not good enough, Quigs. You know that."
Qui-Gon sat on the sofa again, breathing slowly for a long moment. "I can't do it again, Arjet. I can't ... I want more, need more. If he can't give me that ... I think I'd better stop."
Arjet studied his fingers for a long moment, then started tugging his hair. "What about being patient, waiting for him to want you?"
Qui-Gon rubbed his brow and eyes, then sighed. "Well, I thought about that ... and it seems to me that waiting isn't necessarily a passive thing. I think I might want to consider a course of active pursuit. Or quit. Either one. I just don't think I can go on, with things as unbalanced as they are."
"That is a problem, one you'll find throughout the Order. You know that. So, decide. Make peace. Are you going to seriously court your Padawan, or just give up?" Arjet put an elbow to Qui-Gon's ribs. "I'd lay you better odds at winning him than giving him up, if you want my opinion."
Qui-Gon chuckled. "You're right, of course. Either way would be hard. Might as well take the path that leads to what I want anyway, right?"
"It's the only logical choice," Arjet assured him. "Just ... do it quickly, before you forget why you want to. I told you years ago: remember yourself. Remember who you are and the nature of your desires. Stay true to that, or you can't expect anyone else to do it."
Qui-Gon nodded. "Yeah. Okay. I think ... I think I'm ready now."
"Okay. I'll bring her up to the West Tower. You want to wait there for me?"
"Sure. Thank you, Master Paje."
"Thank you, Master Jinn."
Qui-Gon made his way back to his rooms and laid out his formal robes. With care and precision, he dressed himself, drawing on the mantle of his calling and power with each article he donned. The traditions and lessons that had brought him to this place came to him easily, helping him to calm serenity. With a practiced flick and shrug, he drew his dark brown cloak on over all. As an afterthought, he pulled the hood up and covered his hair. Tucking his hands in his sleeves, he set out to do his duty as a Jedi Master.
Qui-Gon took his time on the stairs to the West Tower. With each step, he separated himself from another aspect of his own, personal life and drew himself closer to the concerns and needs of the Light. He was nothing, no one, a tool, a servant, a conduit for the Will of the Force. He went to the pyre and laid out the coals and supplies. He kept himself firmly detached from the proceedings, let his training and instincts take over. Finally, he knelt facing the west and opened himself to the Living Force as he rarely had call to do, these days.
The Force flowed through him, making him aware of his place in time, causing him to feel the connection and motion of events and future possibilities. He was a thread in the tapestry, a drop in the river, a mere strand in the web of existence. This time, these actions must occur just so and it fell to him, this responsibility to assure that it happened in the proper way, in the proper time. All future events rested upon this, as the upper layers of a stone wall relied on the surety of their foundation.
*I am the Foundation and the Terminus,* he mentally chanted. *Unto me did all things build. From me shall all things grow. Around me are my support and my responsibility. I am the Foundation and the Terminus ...*
He let his eyes close as he floated in the drifting serenity that was Oneness with the will of the Force.
Qui-Gon opened his eyes as Arjet led Torlamin into the West Tower. She looked ... calm. Ready. Qui-Gon waited for Arjet to exit before he began. "Good evening, Master Torlamin."
"Good evening, Master Jinn. Master Paje said we had some business?" She sat down on the floor across from him, receptive to his words. Arjet had done his part well.
"We do," Qui-Gon smiled. He gathered the Force up around him and channeled it, just so, through his voice. "This is your final bit of business, you know."
"Yes. I'm very tired. I would like to rest soon." She touched her head, sensing a ... wrongness, but Qui-Gon gently deflected her thoughts from that path.
"Rest you shall, as soon as this work is done. Open yourself to me."
She nodded and obediently began dropping her shields. Qui-Gon looked up at Arjet, pointed at the door with his chin and waited for him to be gone. "Did you have anything you wanted to speak about?" He deftly wove himself into her mind, calling up all concerns, desires, wants, pulling them out to the forefront of her mind.
"Corubia ... my Padawan ... I don't want to leave her untrained," she began uncertainly.
"She will not be left untrained. Her bond and training are in the hands of another, someone you trust." Qui-Gon blended the lie with truth, making her believe as he pushed that idea into her mind. He felt her let go of that desire, the one that held the most power for her, in this moment.
"The Jedi ... they must be destroyed. Their Light grows too strong, you know ... " and again she sensed a wrongness in that, but a different kind than before.
"Gently done, that should be. You are tired. There are other hands to do that work. You need not trouble yourself," Qui-Gon assured her.
"I wanted to learn about the Dark, you know. As you have learned. As others have learned, here in the Temple. I studied, researched when I could, but it never seemed to be enough," she sighed and looked past him.
"Master, the Darkness is nothing to be understood. Only seen and let go of. Let it go," Qui-Gon felt this desire fade from her as well, guided that release most carefully, made sure it was absolutely dissolved.
"Anakin. I was supposed to do something for young Skywalker. Do something ... to him, I can't really recall ... "
Qui-Gon filed that bit of information away. "Anakin will be seen to. I will accept that for my own work," he promised her.
Her eyes wandered around the room. "I'm tired, Master Jinn. It seems like a long time has been spend in hard labor."
"It has. You should lie down," Qui-Gon gestured towards the pyre, blocking the strangeness of his request from her perception.
"Thank you, I will," she got up and lay down upon the coals there. Qui-Gon took a long, deep breath. *Almost done. Almost there.*
"Here, I've brought you your lightsaber. I thought it would be for the best." Qui-Gon put the weapon in her hands, positioning the live end just under her chin. "It's time to go. Go on, the Force is waiting for you ... "
She closed her eyes in perfect peace, perfect calm and pressed the power switch. Qui-Gon closed his eyes in that moment, felt the flux and eddies around her, around him, around their actions and reactions. When he opened his eyes, she was gone. Nothing left but clothes and saber, laid out neatly on the pyre.
"Thank you, Rue Torlamin. Thank you for making this easy on us all," he whispered. "I'm grateful, really." He struck a match and held it to the coals, to her clothes, watched as the flames spread across them, lighting the Tower for the Evening Watch. With a sweep of his hand he pushed back the heavy curtains and opened the upper windows. As he moved towards the door, he triggered the Western Bell, sending the sounds of its chimes down into the Temple. It sobbed the mournful signal *One of us is lost, is gone into the Force. Be mindful of the Moment, one of us has joined the Force.*
Qui-Gon let the door close behind him and began the long trek down the tower stairs. As his feet touched the first steps, he let the tears fall. Tears for a Master who could not be saved, for all those who would never know her sacrifice, for the life and laws that made that sacrifice a necessity. *I will Watch the Eastern Wall,* he pledged himself. *I've had enough of death for a long while yet.*
He locked the lower door, pulled his hood up and turned himself towards his evening destination, ready to meditate and let all things go, to become one with the Moment and himself once more.
Obi-Wan sat back in his seat as the transport jumped into hyper. He sighed, glad he was on his way back to the Temple. Home. He'd left his first mission behind him, a somewhat bittersweet parting. He was saddened, partly at the events that had highlighted this outing. But he was also saddened that it seemed for the best. It hadn't really been the 'simple survey' that he'd expected ... but when had anything ever really been simple? He didn't have mystical armor to protect him from the trials of a Jedi's life. But he had Qui-Gon, the most compassionate, peaceful man Obi-Wan had ever met, always ready to guide him. He might never have a mother, but Corubia had convinced him he might not be missing much. Though if insights, or even gentle comfort was needed from someone other than his master, Obi-Wan felt certain Master Paje would willingly substitute.
So, no. No family still, and perhaps never to have one. Yet, Swed would be at the Temple, presiding over keyboards at every opportunity, pouring his soul into music that would make angels weep. Jenji would have some new sculpture or design to amaze him with. And if he really thought he needed a sister, Corubia would fight anyone who said she wasn't his.
Children, daughters and sons, he would probably never have. Though for all that, it seemed more than settled that Obi-Wan would be knighted. If so, he could take several Padawans and apparently Qui-Gon felt he would be a fine teacher to them. A husband or wife, though...
Well, for anything a partner could provide, he had Qui-Gon. For now at least, and probably for as long as he wanted. A work-partner might not be the same as a spouse, but they were pretty close. No wedding, though...
Obi-Wan scrubbed at his hair. *What's got me thinking like that? The Order has never prevented Jedi from having life-partners.* The question remained, however, as to whom Obi-Wan might join in that bond. Not just a partner, but a companion, a lover, someone to teach, someone to learn from and share with as an equal. A friend. *The Force seems to have some very definite ideas about that, though ...*
Well, that would be Qui-Gon, too, wouldn't it?
Obi-Wan froze at the thought, then slowly relaxed. Well, that would definitely seem to be an option, at least, a future consideration. He'd certainly proven himself on this mission, kept his composure, didn't buckle to the desires of others, no matter how much he wanted to help them. He'd never once felt inferior to the people around him and only strove to do better when he honestly felt he wasn't doing as well as he could have. Even when Obream had cut him down he'd simply let it roll off him, had remained steady in his knowledge that he'd done nothing wrong. He'd been true to himself, his beliefs. Corubia's words to him sprang into his memory.
"You think I didn't get pressure from my family? I did...but I stood strong for what I believed to be right. I held on and kept coming back to the Temple, because I'm Jedi. It's what I am and what I was meant to be. You'll be fine, because you're Jedi too."
And it seemed she had been right. He was Jedi, to the bone. And being Jedi was the finest thing he could be, in this life. The Order might not be perfect, but nothing is. To its credit, the Order held the finest minds and personalities Obi-Wan knew. Though all were flawed in some way, every Jedi was a honorable, worthy being.
*Well then. I must be, too.*
Obi-Wan closed his eyes, picturing all the people that would be waiting for him when he got home. Home. There were still issues to be faced, dealt with, in his little family, but they'd work through them. And Qui-Gon...it was time to have a nice, long talk with his Master. Yes, he'd chosen to walk away from the myriad lives available to him. Yes, he'd chosen to break those options off. The loss was not that great, all things considered. He hadn't lost the family he'd chosen for himself, bonded to by his own free will. He'd just look to them and theirs, as they had always looked after him. After that, he'd start working on the salvation of the Galaxy.
For now, he was just going to take care of his own little world.
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Bonds of Choice 9.99: Satori, Vin-Dit, Tsunami: The Future
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
38 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written February 20, 2000 by HiperBunny
Setting: Star Wars Episode 1
Primary Races: Human
Contents: Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Angst, Fraternization, Sex (First Time)
Pairings: Obi-Wan/ Qui-Gon
Blurb: Qui-Gon accepts his destiny, makes a choice and prepares to face the future. Meanwhile, elsewhere Obi-Wan does the same.
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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