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DISCLAIMER: The following story is a non-profit, amateur effort not intended to infringe on the rights of George Lucas, Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox, Industrial Light and Hocus-Pocus, Skywalker Sound, Guybrush Threepwood, Haggis MacMutton or anyone else affiliated with George Lucas and other assorted copyright holders. I make no claims to these copyrights, this story was merely the will of the Force.
Take Nothing For Granted
by: The Brat Queen
Spoilers: TPM, minor Jedi Apprentice
Archive: WWOMB, SWAL and my own page
Summary: After Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's first appearance before the Jedi Council in TPM, Mace Windu ponders Obi-Wan's past and future.
Author's Note: So I watched TPM for the fourth time and really started to look at how Qui-Gon treated Obi-Wan. I noodled it over and came up with this POV. Somehow, this works for me. Lemme know what you think.
Obi-Wan Kenobi strode down the darkened halls of the Jedi Temple. His robe flared out behind him and his boots tapped out a rough staccato on the floor.
He was upset, although he did his best to hide it.
Mace Windu, watching him from the shadows, could feel it.
He hid his emotions well, that much had to be granted. Quite possibly this was due to years spent with Qui-Gon as his Master. Qui-Gon had something of a habit of acting on his emotions, constantly interacting with the Living Force. It made sense that Obi-Wan would need to become more stable by comparison.
Or at least that Obi-Wan would learn to cultivate the semblance of stability.
The shields broke, occasionally.
They'd broken earlier in the Council room. Just a little, but for Mace it had been enough. It had happened after their initial report, when Qui-Gon had stood back and introduced the idea of the boy. Qui-Gon had stood back, Obi-Wan had stood aghast.
Qui-Gon was acting alone again. Mace could see that clearly and he knew, although it had not been mentioned, that Yoda, at least, had seen it too. Whatever Qui-Gon's plans were for the boy from Tatooine he had not divulged them to Obi-Wan.
It stood to reason that Qui-Gon had even further plans up his sleeve that he had not yet shared with anyone else, but that remained to be seen.
Mace's lips thinned as he thought of this. Qui-Gon's failing was always his independence. Which, upon consideration, he could not truly blame upon the man. Considering his past, particularly his past with Padawans like Xanatos, it was understandable that Qui-Gon would cultivate a heady sense of self and not rely on the input of others.
But all of that should have been irrelevant when it came to training Obi-Wan.
Mace remembered Obi-Wan when he was younger. Mace had had a Padawan of his own back then but even still he'd noticed the boy. Noticed him and noticed when the boy fell due to the jealousy of his peers.
It had been Mace and Yoda both who had urged Qui-Gon to go after Obi-Wan. Yoda had done it directly, Mace had worked in the background.
It made sense, at the time. Obi-Wan needed to be trained. It was obvious he would become an exceptional Jedi. And there had been no one but Qui-Gon who could have done it at the time.
Which was good, all things considered. Qui-Gon was a good teacher, his poor student choices aside, and he needed to come out of his self-induced shell.
Mace just hadn't realized what this would do to Obi-Wan.
Now, years later, watching Obi-Wan baby-sit Qui-Gon's latest charges with a clearly waning patience it was obvious that something had failed. This was not a partnership, not a true teaching experience. Qui-Gon relied on Obi-Wan too much. Mace could see, now, that the only reason why the Council had not heard more from these two was thanks to Obi-Wan constantly moving to catch Qui-Gon when he fell and helping Qui-Gon with his mistakes.
It should have been the other way around.
Not that Obi-Wan had complained. On the contrary, he'd formed a strong bond with his Master, defending him at every turn and even rebuffing the slightest suggestion that Qui-Gon had faltered somehow. Certainly Master Qui-Gon had his faults but so did everyone, right?
Keeping quiet, Mace moved down the corridor to peer around a corner and watch Obi-Wan as he stood by one of the balcony railings. A frown had appeared over Obi-Wan's face, wrinkling it in a way that could be seen even when he was not so pensive.
Obi-Wan was too young to have such wrinkles.
What happened? What could have happened between the two of them to result in this? What could have happened to turn his friend, Qui-Gon, into such an impetuous loner? And what could have convinced Obi-Wan to go along with it?
Mace remembered Obi-Wan from his youth again, remembered the thirteen year old who had been sent off, he thought, to be banished to the life of a farmer, his entire dreams of the future crushed in one swift blow.
Mace tried to imagine what it had been like for Obi-Wan when Qui-Gon had turned to him and finally accepted him as his Padawan learner. What it had felt like to have Qui-Gon give Obi-Wan his dreams back again.
That was right. That is what both Mace and Yoda had wanted for Obi-Wan. Just enough of a lesson for the boy to learn to control his temper but not so much that he had been totally crushed.
Or perhaps it had been too much.
A breeze was stirred up by a passing taxi and Obi-Wan's robes flowed around him. Oblivious to the presence of anyone around him he toyed absentmindedly with his braid, his fingertips flipping it over and over again in his hand. As late afternoon turned into twilight, Obi-Wan's face was bathed in a deep, orange glow.
It made him seem calm again, more at peace.
Mace wished that he had more skill with the future Force. He'd been tempted to ask Yoda but in the end decided not for fear the other Jedi would ask - or discern - the reason why. But he wished, more than anything, that he could see the future for Obi-Wan. See what, if anything, lay ahead of him.
He wanted it to be for the best. He wanted, somehow, for Obi-Wan to no longer have this burden. He wanted to erase the anxiety that had put wrinkles on the face of such a young man.
He wanted Obi-Wan for himself.
An impulse, back when he'd seen Obi-Wan as a child. Just an instinct which had told him that in that boy something special lay. But he'd had a Padawan of his own and could not take him. So he did the next best thing and pushed him into the arms of his companion and good friend.
And then Obi-Wan had grown.
Mace had been startled to see it. Obi-Wan had left at thirteen and Mace had not seen much of him until years passed and suddenly Obi-Wan, little Obi-Wan Kenobi, stood before the Jedi Council with Qui-Gon and was very much his own man. Gone was the emotionally charged youth who'd been sent to the AgriCorps, in came a strong, wise and emotionally mature Jedi.
Arguably a Jedi more mature than his teacher had been.
Did Qui-Gon notice any of this? Had Qui-Gon realized what a remarkable thing he had raised? Did he see Obi-Wan for what he was, or did he think of him only as the young Padawan he'd chosen long ago?
Or had he noticed, and realized, and seen, and taken Obi-Wan for himself?
It would explain a lot. It would explain their closeness, despite Qui-Gon's impetuous forays into foolish acts. It would explain Obi-Wan's devotion, despite Qui-Gon's shamelessly taking advantage of him.
It would explain why Obi-Wan had flashed such quick feelings of hurt at Qui-Gon's current obsession with the boy from Tatooine.
It would explain why Obi-Wan currently stood out here, alone and unhappy because his Master had rebuffed his attempts at communication.
Mace sighed, taking one last look at him before turning away.
It did not matter, he knew, what went on between them. Obi-Wan had been chosen by Qui-Gon. They had been together for years. There was nothing, now, which could truly change that.
It didn't keep Mace from hoping, however, and admiring from afar.
For whatever it was worth.