Title: Best Forgotten

By: Cassia

Email: cassia_a@hotmail.com

Category: Song-fic, Drama, Adventure, H/C, Angst... but mostly song-fic

Rating:  PG

Spoilers: Don't think so.

Disclaimer: All recognizable Star Wars characters are the

exclusive property of George Lucas.  All others belong to me.

I have no official permission to use these characters, and

if you think anyone would pay me to come up with this insanity, you're worse off than I am.

The song "Broadway" whose lyrics I use belongs to the Goo Goo Dolls (like where did they get their name anyway...? :D) and I'm not getting paid for using that either.

Feedback:  Yes Please! 

Time Frame: 7 years before TMP.  Obi-Wan is 18.


Things bracketed by *'s are *italic*.


Summary: A horrible accident leaves Obi-Wan sure that he can never face his Master again.  He runs away, but danger and adventure seem almost as intent upon hounding the young Jedi as Qui-Gon does...


Please forgive what is probably a very stupid and choppy little story.

It is the outcome of a sort of fic challenge that I gave myself.  The idea was to take a song and see if I could write a story to match all, or nearly all of the lyrics.  I didn't quite succeed, but I came close.  Not all the parts match in order though...

The ironic thing is I don't even really like "Broadway" that incredibly much, I just got that one line "See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar, waiting for his turn to die" stuck in my head and it wouldn't let me go until I wrote this.  Don't ask me what Sith-begotten planet that deranged plot-bunny came from, but here is the result.

I know it's really choppy, poorly thought out, got more holes than my dad's socks and probably should never have left my computer, or better yet, that addled space between my ears that I sometimes kindly refer to as my brain... but, it did, so I hope you can live through it! ;D



-Best Forgotten-






Broadway is dark tonight

A little bit weaker than you used to be

Broadway is dark tonight

See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar

Waitin' for his turn to die



*"Master Qui-Gon,"* Obi-Wan Kenobi sighed and erased the words.


*"Master Jinn..."* once more the apprentice stopped.  Running his hand through his short hair in frustration, he wiped the words from the flimsy a second time. 


The Padawan bit his lips and tackled the flimsy once more.  Dilly-dallying over the header wasn't going to make this any easier.  Nothing in the entire galaxy could ever make this any easier.


*"Master,"* he settled upon.  Qui-Gon would know the letter was addressed to him.


*"The five years I have spent with you have been the best of my life.  You have meant more to me than any father could have,"* Obi-Wan hesitated, but there was no way he could say it better, so he plunged ahead.  


*"I know I have failed you Master.  I failed the Merothian High Minister, failed the people of Meroth, failed code, failed the Jedi...  It heaps up to be a larger pile than I can keep track of, but of it all, my deepest regret is that I failed the trust that you put in me."*  The eighteen-year-old blinked back tears and tried to swallow around the painful lump in his throat.


*"I am so sorry Master!  So sorry.  I know that doesn't change anything, but I am.  Words cannot make up for what I have done... nothing can."*  Obi-Wan almost stopped writing as the guilt he was swimming in threatened to crush him.  Forcing himself to go ahead and get this over with, Obi-Wan hurriedly scribbled the rest of the letter. 


*"I realize that what I have done can never be forgiven, so I do not ask that you forgive me, but please, if you can... try not to hate me. 


By the time you receive this letter, you will know what has happened and understand, I hope, why I do what I do now.  I will not be a shame to you; I will not let my mistakes fall upon you.  I must leave.  Please do not look for me."*  Obi-Wan drew a deep breath.


*"I realize that this is no kind of way to leave.  I should stay, I should have said all this to you in person... but I suppose, in addition to all my other failings, I am also a coward."*  The apprentice could not stand to see Qui-Gon look at him and know he was responsible for the deaths of half a planet...


*"Good-bye Master.  May the Force be with you.


Obi-Wan Kenobi."*


Obi-Wan sealed the flimsy in a carrier.  Shedding the Jedi robes that seemed as natural to him as his own skin, he changed into a plain grey tunic with matching pants.  Standing in front of the mirror in the 'fresher, he studied himself. 


He looked different... strange.  It wasn't just the clothes either.  His face was drawn and there were circles under his circles.


Touching his hair gently, Obi-Wan recoiled.  Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, he picked up the cutters he had brought in and took hold of his braid.


The young Jedi positioned the cutters around the base of his braid, up against his scalp... but he couldn't do it.  He knew he wasn't worthy to wear that symbol anymore, but he could not yet bear to part with it.


With a heavy heart, Obi-Wan wrapped a black headband around his forehead and tucked his braid up in that.


Leaving the run-down hostel, Obi-Wan posted his flimsy with the desk staff and caught a shuttle heading for one of the surviving spaceports.






Qui-Gon had arrived to find what was left of Meroth in chaos.  Desperately he had searched the devastation for his Padawan, berating himself at every turn for letting the teenager take this mission alone. 


He sought the High Minister, only to find that he was dead, as was most of the Merothian Council.  Slowly, he began to piece the fractured picture together.


At last, after waiting for almost seven hours, he managed to get a meeting with the High Minister's daughter Aisha.  When she saw him, she immediately apologized for the wait.  The story she told him was tragic and Qui-Gon felt a creeping dread come over him.   


"Oh, Force!" he breathed softly.  Obi-Wan must be devastated...  "Where is Padawan Kenobi now?"


"I'm sorry, but I do not know," Aisha said sadly.  "So much is going on now..." her sorrowful eyes regarded the Jedi Master.  "But, this was delivered here for you," she added, passing a sealed flimsy over to the Jedi.  "It bares no return address, but... Perhaps it is from him?"


As soon as Qui-Gon touched it, he knew it was from Obi-Wan.  Tearing it open quickly, the Jedi Master read the short letter, easily feeling his Padawan's anguished state when he had written it.


"Oh, Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon cried softly, forgetting for the moment that Aisha was sitting across from him.


"Is it bad news Master Jinn?" Aisha inquired with concern.  "I hope he is not hurt, he tried so hard to help my people..."


Qui-Gon pushed the letter across the desk for her to read.


Aisha's sad face turned even graver.  "Master Jinn!" she breathed in quiet horror. 


 "He blames himself for everything," Qui-Gon shook his head, disbelieving.  Rising quickly, ignoring the dull ache from the still mending back injury that had kept him from going on this mission in the first place, the Jedi thanked Aisha for her time and informed her that Republic aid for her planet should be arriving within the hour.


"What will you do Master Jinn?" she asked.


"I've got to find my Padawan."






Broadway is dark tonight

A little bit weaker than you used to be

Broadway is dark tonight

See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar

Waitin' for his turn to die


The cowboy kills the rock star

And Friday night's gone too far

The dim light hides the years

On all the faded girls


Forgotten but not gone

You drink it off your mind

You talk about the world

Like it's someplace that you've been


You see you'd love to run home, but you know you ain't got one

Cause you're livin' in a world that you're best forgotten, around here


Broadway is dark tonight

A little bit weaker than you used to be

Broadway is dark tonight

See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar

Waitin' for his turn to die



Qui-Gon sighed.  Three months he had been searching for Obi-Wan, but when a Jedi wanted to hide...  It seemed as if the galaxy had swallowed the teenager.  Still, Qui-Gon was relentless.  Doggedly, he sleuthed and searched, traced and tracked the runaway apprentice. 


The Jedi stared down into the warm cup of tea that his host had graciously provided and sighed.  Ironically enough, the holo news program that he could just hear running in the background from the next room mentioned the reconstruction program on Meroth.  How complicated simple things could turn!  Obi-Wan had gone to Meroth because the High Minister sued to the Jedi for protection against death threats that he claimed to be receiving.  The Minister was convinced that there was a vast conspiracy underway and the purveyors of it wanted to destroy the entire planet. 


Too late, the Minister's mental condition was revealed and it was discovered that he himself was the mastermind that the other half of his deluded brain feared.  Obi-Wan saw the chain of destruction swing into motion but never had a chance to figure out who had caused it.  His quick action had defused half of the bombs that the High Minister's henchmen had planted in every state-run power-plant on the planet.  If they had all blown at once, as planed, the planet would be nothing but dust and meteors. 


As it was, the explosions had destroyed half the population of the Meroth, including the High Minister, and apparently Obi-Wan could see only his failure to save them.


Qui-Gon was determined to find Obi-Wan.  The boy had to know the truth!  If he had to search from now until the day he died, he *would* find him!


Qui-Gon followed the young man to Malastare where Obi-Wan had apparently worked a succession of odd jobs that were nearly impossible to trace.  Eventually, Qui-Gon followed his trail to a machine shop where the Padawan had worked until an Kabrian diplomat took him on as a body guard after the boy thwarted an attempt on the Kabrian's life. 


That was why Qui-Gon was here on Kabria, and how he ended up sitting in the living room of Governor Paik Var. 


"Kenobi, hm?  Well, I don't know an *Obi-Wan*, but there is a *Ben* Kenobi who works for me that fits that description," Paik Var said thoughtfully, pouring his guest a drink. 


"That would be him," Qui-Gon said softly.  *"Ben..."* the Jedi Master mused.  So, Obi-Wan was using the name that a pirate captain had given him when he was fourteen.  The pirates had kept Obi-Wan captive for over half a year while Qui-Gon searched for them, just as he was searching now...


The Jedi shook himself back to the present.  "Do you know where he is?"


Var nodded slowly.  "Not precisely, but he's with my son Terrik," the Kabrian grinned wryly.  "Which means they're probably in a bar somewhere..." the Governor shrugged.  "Terrik's a good boy, but... he can get a little wild and his taste in company is not always the best.  Kenobi's such a quiet, sensible, yet good-hearted young man, I thought he might be a good influence, so I assigned him to Terrik full time.  First body guard my son hasn't been able to lose in years!" Var said with another rueful grin.  "Plus, he's about Terrik's age, so he's more like a friend, and less like a chaperone."


"When do you expect them back?" Qui-Gon was relieved to finally be at the end of his search and anxious to see Obi-Wan.


"See," Var grinned apologetically.  "That's another thing I really couldn't say..."


Paik Var's comlink buzzed.  "Excuse me," he said politely to Qui-Gon before answering the call.  "Hello?"


There was dead silence for a moment as Var's countenance went from grim to grimmer.  "Don't you dare...!  Yes, I understand..." he thumbed the comlink off with a dark look on his face that made Qui-Gon feel extremely uneasy.




"Very much so I'm afraid," the Governor said quietly.  "For both of us if I'm not mistaken.  The man on the 'link said that a group of radicals has taken over a bar full of people in the downtown area.  My son and Kenobi are among them.  They say that unless I issue a pardon for a criminal by the name of Hazor Madden, they will kill Terrik and everyone else in the establishment."


(Sorry about dropping that part about the pirates in there.  See, that's referencing another story... er, *epic* (70 pages and barely a quarter into it...) that I'm chipping away at.  But don't go looking for it anywhere in the near future.  That puppy is going to take me quiiiiet a long time yet!!)




Obi-Wan sat beside Terrik Var, his elbows leaning on the bar, his boots resting easily on the bottom run of the stool. 


The two young men could have been brothers.  They were both about the same height and build and Terrik's carefully gelled and slicked mane was only about three shades darker than Obi-Wan's shorter, ginger hair.


The young Jedi watched without comment as Terrik flirted shamelessly with the bar girls and made loud comments about the bola game on the holo.  On another holo on the opposite side of the room, a bad horror flick was droning on, scaring no one but annoying a few of the more noisy customers.


Obi-Wan remained silent, gazing down at the amber liquid in his glass.  He had been nursing the same drink since they got here, compared to Terrik's five, but then, they were not there by his choice. 


The young Jedi had spent some time as a bouncer for some bars on Malastare before he went to work in the shop, but they were not usually places that he chose to hang out. 


Terrik however, was an entirely different matter.  He had an assortment of favorites and would bar hop until Obi-Wan practically had to carry him home.  Obi-Wan just couldn't see the point to it.  But then, that was the case with so many things that Terrik did.  The Governor's son was a dare devil and a speed demon.  His passion for drinking and speed had ended up getting his vehicle permitter revoked.  Obi-Wan had to do all the driving for him, but that was fine with the younger teen.  It was definitely safer that way.


The dashing 19-year-old diplomat's son could be brash, boastful and bold, but after an odd fashion, Obi-Wan did like Terrik Var.  True, he was often unruly and lacking prudence, but there was more to him then met the eye and he had a good heart underneath his wild streak. 


Once he had stopped trying to ditch Obi-Wan, which he found was futile, Terrik had come to like the Jedi too.


"You *still* working on that one Ben?" Terrik asked for the sixth time.  "Gol!  Bring me another Alynda, gotta drink for two over here!  You've really got to learn to live a little Ben," the boy teased his companion.  "All this time with me, and you still haven't learned how to drink?  I must be losing my touch."


Obi-Wan smiled quietly and briefly.  "In this galaxy, I have seen that people either drink to get happy, or they drink to forget things Terrik," he observed.  "I don't need a chemical induced reaction to make me happy, and... well, running from pain doesn't make it go away."  The teenager made a face.  He knew what he said was true, but... Obi-Wan took a bigger drag from his mug.  Maybe he did want to forget after all.


"You talk about the world, the galaxy as if it was someplace that you've been," Terrik commented lightly.  "You could use a little shot of happy anyway," the boy mumbled good-naturedly.  "Makes the whole world go by a lot easier.  That my friend, is why people drink."


"But why do *you* Terrik?" Obi-Wan inquired, honestly curious.  "I know it's not for the after effects."


Terrik moaned as if not liking to be reminded.  Obi-Wan had apparently cleaned him up one too many times.


"You've got a nice dad who puts up with you remarkably well," the Jedi said somewhat dryly and Terrik laughed.  "You've got money, power, looks, friends... what more do you need to make you happy?  What pain would you have to hide?"


"Well maybe it's just the insane boredom," Terrik shrugged loosely.  "It's not like there's anything else to do.  Nothing exciting ever happens around here.  The real question Ben, is why *don't* you drink when you seem to have a lot of things you'd like to forget?"  Terrik's dark eyes, sharp despite the amount of alcohol he had consumed, gazed piercingly at his companion.


Obi-Wan wasn't sure what to say for a moment.  Terrik had never said anything like that before, never intimated that he was aware of anything Obi-Wan was thinking or feeling.  He often seemed as if he wasn't very aware of anything but himself...


"What makes you think that Terrik?" Obi-Wan asked, taking another large sip out of his mug.


"Oh come on Ben!" Terrik seemed exasperated by his friend's pretended incomprehension.  "Give me a little credit!  I've known you for almost a month and a half now, and you've got hurt written all over you mister.  Besides you've never once told me a thing about your past although you listen to me ramble on about my life for hours, and," Terrik grinned in that rakish, lopsided manner that always made the bar girls fill his glass a little fuller.  "It took you half hour to drink a quarter of that dreg, and you just finished the other three quarters in two gulps as soon as we started talking about this."


Obi-Wan looked down at his empty mug and realized that Terrik was right.  The young man sighed and studied the emptied tumbler quietly, avoiding meeting his companion's eyes. 


"I don't want to talk about it Terrik," he said quietly.  The pain was all right there... Obi-Wan knew that he would never be able to move past it.  No drink or drug could mask it and no amount of new life and new friends could take it away.


"Come on, don't be such a wimmi," Terrik taunted, unwisely.  "What happened, your girl dump you?  Your old man kick you out?  Law trouble?  Gol Ben!  I've spent hours unburdening my soul to you; you know things about me no one else does.  So spill a little, huh?  Don't be such a stranger!"


"Terrik!" Obi-Wan's voice was surprisingly firm.  "I - don't - want - to - talk - about - it, - okay?!" he ground out with some irritation.


Terrik immediately backed off.  He had never seen Obi-Wan react that way before.  Man, whatever had happened to him must really have hurt.


The bar they were in, known as Broad Way, after the wide street of the same name on which it was located, had seen better days.  Once a local hotspot, it was now mostly a gathering place for the older spacers and zrelt miners.


The dim light of the room acted as a sort of shield for the occupants, hiding the years of cares and sorrows that Obi-Wan could feel hanging upon the bar girls, their beauty definitely there, but slowly fading somehow, as if life were wearing them out. 


Sitting there, Obi-Wan could feel the mixed emotions of everyone in the room swirling around him and it seemed that everyone was looking for some kind of mask or another, struggling to see where they really fit into this life... and was he any different?


Obi-Wan did not refuse when Terrik ordered him another drink, but metered it carefully nonetheless.  He may want to forget, but ending up dog sick or dead, since he was the pair's driver, was not how he wanted to do it.


On the holo behind the bar, a bola player made a great play and Terrik cheered.  On the other holo, the crazed Mangali cohwboi killed another victim, a five-pointed Idullian stone creature, or rock-star and the rowdies booed at the bad acting. 


Obi-Wan watched both with a sense of profound detachment.  The young Jedi felt strangely life weary, as if at 18 his guilt and failures had already made him older than Master Yoda.  Terrik was right about how much he hurt.  Sometimes Obi-Wan could not sleep at night for the crushing sadness that sat on his chest and slowly suffocated him.  He felt lost and alone.  He wanted to runaway, but already had runaway... yet that didn't help.  He wanted to run home... but he didn't have one anymore.


 He lived in a forgotten world now, one of life's castaways, destined to drift from place to place, job to job, without ever really knowing the meaning of why he was there.  The young Jedi cringed inwardly, unable to imagine a more purposeless future. 


Suddenly, Obi-Wan's senses pricked up.  Something was not quite right here.  "Terrik, I think we should leave..."


"But Ben, we just-" Terrik never got a chance to finish his complaint.  A rapid burst of blaster fire tore through the room, bringing plaster raining down from the ceiling and shattering the glass behind the bar.  Half a dozen men with masks and repeating blaster rifles stood in each of the two doorways, firing wildly over the heads of the terrified customers.


Instinctively, Obi-Wan pushed Terrik down and his hand dropped to his hip.  It took only a moment to remember that he needed to drop a little lower to grab the handle of his blaster instead of the grip of his lightsaber, which he still owned, but no longer carried.  Secretly, the Jedi did not like blasters at all, they were so clumsy and random...


Several of the bar's patrons, including Obi-Wan, hid behind tables and counters while returning fire until one of the gun men grabbed Alynda from where she cowered behind a table and held his weapon to the young waitress' head. 


"Stop or she dies!" the man screamed and the room fell silent. 


"Which one of you is Terrik Var?" the gunman demanded.  A black mask covered his face.


Terrik started to rise from their hiding place, but Obi-Wan shoved him back down quickly.  "Stay put!" he hissed.


"I am Terrik Var," Obi-Wan said, himself rising.  "What do you want?" the teenager took the chance that these people did not what Terrik looked like.


"Ben are you crazy?!" Terrik hissed from behind the table and Obi-Wan threw him a sharp better-shut-up-right-now look.


Fortunately, the desperados only had a general idea what their quarry looked like and Obi-Wan fit close enough. 


"Throw aside your blaster, and that goes for all of you!" the masked gunman added. 


"I want everyone sitting down in front of the bar, now!" the fellow ordered once they had complied with is first command.  "But not you Var," he added to Obi-Wan.  "You and your friend back there come over here."


Obi-Wan and Terrik obeyed, keeping their hands up.  It would not pay to make these men any more nervous than they already were.


"Who's this, the lead gunman demanded, poking Terrik in the ribs with his rifle. 


"My body guard," Obi-Wan answered without missing a beat, nicely reversing his and Terrik's positions.


"Lotta good he'll do you now," the man sneered.


Forcing all the people in front of the bar to raise their hands, the gunmen tied their wrists (or equivalent of in some cases) to the railing on the bar above their heads.  Herding Obi-Wan and Terrik to the very end of the line, they made them sit and be similarly bound at the far left end of the bar. 


"Who are you?  What do you want with us?" Terrik demanded.


The lead gunman kicked the teen in the stomach.  "Shut up boy, you irritate me!" he warned.


It didn't matter, for they were to learn soon enough.


Flipping open a comm channel, the man patched through a call to Paik Var. 


"Governor Var?  My name's Talon Madden, leader of the Red Claw resistance movement!" he shouted, loud enough for everyone within ten meters to hear him.  "Brother of the man you wrongfully imprisoned!  My men and I want him back Governor and you'd be wise to oblige us!  We've got a bar full of hostages and if you don't sign that pardon in twenty minutes, your son and everyone else here will die, do I make myself clear?!" Talon closed the connection abruptly.


Dead silence reined for a few instants, then Talon turned back to Obi-Wan.  "You've got twenty minutes to live boy," he sneered. 


"You don't want to do this," Obi-Wan said persuasively, focusing on the gunman's mind.  "You should let these people go and turn yourself in."


Talon laughed out loud and cracked the young Jedi across the face with the butt of his rifle.  "You've got quite an imagination Var!"  A few well-placed kicks to Obi-Wan's ribs doubled the boy over as far as his bound hands would allow.  Talon hit the teenager with the blunt end of his gun again, making blood trickle from Obi-Wan's nose and mouth.


The young Jedi shook his head to clear the ringing from his ears and sighed.  He had run into a stone wall.  Talon and his men obviously had implants that kept their minds safe from suggestion or mind probes and truth drugs. 


The sound of sirens was heard outside as security officers circled the building.  Talon screamed at them to keep back and stormed away to position his men at the doors and windows.


"Are you nuts Ben?" Terrik whispered when Talon's attention turned away from them.  "What did you think he was going to say?  *"Yeah that sounds like a good idea?"*  And what's this nonsense about being me for Sith's sake?!" the boy demanded, concerned by the blood that was dripping off his friend's chin.


Obi-Wan shrugged, licking his bleeding lip.  "It was worth a try," he whispered back simply.  "And it's much better for them to think that I'm you.  It will give you a better chance to escape."


"Yeah, but what about you?" Terrik didn't like this at all.  He may have been a little self-centered at times, but he wasn't about to let anyone take a rap like this for him.  Especially not a friend.


"Damn it Ben!  I am not going to let you die for me!  I don't care what your job is, I won't have it!" he hissed vehemently. 


"Quiet!" Obi-Wan hushed the other boy.  "This isn't just a matter of my *job*," he shot back quickly, firm but calm.  "If I can get you out of here they lose a good deal of their leverage-"


"Yeah, and they kill you when they find out how you tricked them, I don't think so!  I let you take the rap for me in Mulenbrook, I *won't* do it again!"  Terrik argued angrily.  A month or more ago, back when he was still trying to escape from Obi-Wan's watchful eye, he had inadvertently left the young Jedi in the middle of a gang war with a bunch of people who had reason to vehemently hate Terrik and anyone associated with him.  Terrik had never meant for Obi-Wan to get seriously hurt or injured, but the 18-year-old spent three days in intensive care just the same and everyone said it was a miracle that he lived.  Terrik would go to hell before he'd let Obi-Wan get killed, or hurt like that again because of him. 


"Shh!" Obi-Wan glanced worriedly at Talon, but he was still busy screaming at the security officers outside and none of his men were paying attention.  "Like you think they wouldn't kill me if they found out now?" he whispered. 


Terrik fell silent; his friend had a point.  Talon would doubtless kill Obi-Wan for deceiving him if Terrik told the truth... Once started, this charade would be deadly to put down.  Like it or not, Terrik was going to have to trust Obi-Wan and go along with his plan.


"What will your father do?" Obi-Wan asked quietly after a moment of silence.


"Get good and drunk after my funeral and when he sobers up he'll go to the temple for a while to forget..." Terrik was half-mocking, but half-serious.


Obi-Wan shot his companion a withering look.


"He won't go along, he can't," Terrik whispered, serious this time. 


Obi-Wan caught the faintest glimmer of fear in his friend's dark, roguish eyes. 


Terrik sighed.  "Hazor Madden is a terrorist and mass murderer, besides..."


"If he bends on this issue they'll just keep pumping him for all they can get," Obi-Wan finished quietly.


Terrik nodded.  "And probably kill us all in the end anyway.  These guys are psychos."


*"Oh Joy,"* Obi-Wan thought dryly. 


"I hope you've got a good plan," Terrik shook his head.


*"I hope so too!"* the apprentice couldn't help thinking.  "Plan?  What plan?" was what he said to Terrik.


For a moment, Terrik looked alarmed, then he saw the faint twinkle in his friend's eye and kicked Obi-Wan softly.


"Ben...!  That's not funny!"





Broadway is dark tonight

A little bit weaker than you used to be

Broadway is dark tonight

See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar

Waitin' for his turn to die


You choke down all your anger

Forget your only son

You pray to statues when you sober up what fun


You're anger don't impress me

The world slapped in your face

It always rains like hell on the loser's day parade



Talon Madden refused to speak with negotiators, said he would stand for no stalling and the security forces had not yet come up with a way to get into the building without causing mass slaughter of innocent people.  All in all, things did not look good.


Qui-Gon and the Governor reached the place of the standoff exactly five minutes before the deadline and joined the Security forces pooled across the street from the Broad Way bar.  Night had fallen completely in the past ten minutes and it was not easy to see.  Usually brightly lit and bustling with nightlife, both the pub and the street were bathed in darkness per Talon's demands. 


Qui-Gon assessed the situation carefully.  The security forces informed them that the Red Claw forces had night vision goggles and had threatened to shoot a hostage if anyone so much as set one foot on the street. 


The Jedi Master did not need to see their defenses to know that they had the little pub well guarded.  With the strange implants they all had, he was not sure that even he could slip by them unnoticed.


Var stepped forward to address the darkened bar and Qui-Gon laid a hand on his arm.  "What are you going to do?"


Paik Var looked incredibly sad.  "I want to say goodbye to my son."


"You mustn't give up yet!" Qui-Gon shook his head.  "We'll find a way!"


"Like what Master Jinn?" Governor Var said, choking down the anger that rose in his throat.  He wasn't upset with Qui-Gon, it was Talon and the others that he wanted to throttle... "I cannot comply with their demands.  Terrik is already lost to me, I must forget him..." Var was trying desperately to put into practice the ancient Kabrian discipline of separating, but it did not seem to do him much good.  "But I must at least say goodbye."


Qui-Gon understood the Kabrian way, but that didn't mean it was his way.  He was not about to give up yet!  Not by a long shot!


"Madden, this is Governor Var!  I want to see my son!" Var called out.  There was silence for a moment.


"All right, but no one moves.  Your time's almost up Var, and you've got to choose!" Talon agreed. 


A few moments later a floodlight flicked on and revealed the shape of a teenager with bound hands and a bloody face.  Paik Var was surprised, but that was nothing compared to what Qui-Gon felt.


"Be quick Var!" Talon shouted.  "The boy hasn't got much time unless you sign that pardon!"


Obi-Wan blinked, momentarily blinded by the glare of the floodlight.  "Don't give in to them!" he called out as the governor started to come into focus.  "Everything is under... control," Obi-Wan's voice faltered as he made out the shape of the man beside his employer. 


*"Oh no, no, no..."*


"Shut up!" Talon slammed Obi-Wan in the stomach with his rifle butt, dropping the teenager to his knees. 


Qui-Gon tensed.


"So what'll it be Var?" Talon demanded coldly, holding Obi-Wan's head tipped up by his ponytail and pressing the muzzle of his blaster against the boy's forehead.  "Think fast!  You've got two more minutes!"


"That was not my son," Var breathed softly as Talon's men dragged Obi-Wan back inside and the street went black again.


"I know," Qui-Gon said softly.


"Kenobi must have tricked them, taken his place..." Var was glad, but torn. 


Qui-Gon nodded.  That sounded exactly like something Obi-Wan would do.  "We've got to act fast," he said.




You see you'd love to run home, but you know ain't got one

Cause you're livin' in a world that you're best forgotten

When you're thinkin' you're a joke and nobody's gonna listen

To the one small point I know they've been missing around here


Broadway is dark tonight

A little bit weaker than you used to be

Broadway is dark tonight

See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar

Waitin' for his turn to die




Talon's men dragged Obi-Wan back towards the bar.  Just as they got there, Terrik, who had worked his hands free, sprung up and punched one of them in the face. 


"No don't!" Obi-Wan cried, but the damage was done and all he could do was spring into action as well. 


Blaster fire exploded around them.  Pulling Terrik over the bar, Obi-Wan grabbed the barkeep's spare blaster from under the counter and returned fire to keep them back.


This was no good...


Seeing a low door behind them, Obi-Wan pushed Terrik through and followed quickly.  The two found themselves in a large storage area filled with stacks and stacks of boxes.  The low ceiling did not allow them to stand up, but they scrambled behind some of the crates, their hearts pounding.  There was no way out of the storeroom but the one through which they had come.  They were trapped.  Any moment the gunmen would threaten one of the hostages and the teenagers would have to surrender...


"Listen to me Terrik," Obi-Wan whispered urgently.  "I have a plan.  I'm going to dash back out there and jump over the left end of the bar and give covering fire, they'll all be looking at me.  Then you run out and jump over the right end and run for the door as quick as you can!"


"They've got the street covered!" Terrik protested.


"Don't worry about it!  My Master's out there, once you're out of this building Terrik, you'll be safe, just go!" Obi-Wan urged.  He knew that the Red Claw gunmen had not counted on one small thing; they had not counted on running up against a Jedi. 


"Your *Master?*  What, you were a slave?"


Obi-Wan was in no mood for one of his friend's questions or jokes.  "Terrik!  This is not the time-"


"We have you covered, come out now and save yourselves a lot of pain later!" Talon's voice threatened.  Obi-Wan turned desperately to Terrik.


"No, Terrik not a slave, I was a Jedi.  Something horrible happened and... well it doesn't matter.  We've got to act now!"


"I won't leave you to take my place!" Terrik was stubborn.


"Terrik please!" Obi-Wan begged.  "Or we'll both die here!  The reason I left the Jedi was because I made a horrible mistake that cost thousands of people their lives.  Let me do one thing right!"


"You want to die, don't you?!" Terrik accused.  "You ran away and now your Master-or-whatever is here and you'd rather die than face him, isn't that it Ben?  Isn't it?!" the teenager demanded.


"Come out of there or we'll start blowing heads off!" Talon screamed from outside.


"Sorry Terrik," Obi-Wan shook his head.  "But I just ran out of time to argue with you.  You *will* jump over the bar and run for it while I distract them."  The young Jedi waved his hand ever so slightly.


"I will jump over the bar and run while you distract them," Terrik said blankly and Obi-Wan repressed a twinge of guilt.  It was for Terrik's own good.


"It's not that I want to die Terrik," Obi-Wan said softly.  "I just want to be able to do my duty, do something right, one last time.  Now let's go!"






Broadway is dark tonight

A little bit weaker than you used to be

Broadway is dark tonight

See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar

Waitin' for his turn to die...



A rolling peal of thunder split the starless sky.  A storm was brewing.


"There's something going on in there," Qui-Gon said suddenly, hesitating, and a few moments later, blaster fire from inside the pub confirmed his intuition.  The security, reacting quickly rushed the door, and for about five seconds an all out firefight ensued. 


Qui-Gon sprung into action, pressing for the door. 


Suddenly through the chaos, a figure tumbled through the doors and out into the street.  One of the snipers from the bar would have felled him, but Qui-Gon was there in time to deflect it.


"Call off your men right now or I'm going to torch this can of methyl and blast us all into the next galaxy!  I swear I will!" Talon screamed, holding his blaster in one hand and a red canister in the other.  "And there's another man inside with another canister.  Even if you get me, he'll blow the hostages sky high, got it?!"


The Security officers backed off.  So did Qui-Gon, he had no choice.


The Jedi turned to find Paik Var clutching his son to his breast and crying.


Terrik, who would usually have scorned such a scene, did not pull away, but hugged his father tightly with an ashen face.  He had come much too close to dying tonight.


"Dad, Ben..." he shook his head, looking back towards the bar in agony.  "They'll kill him Dad and it's all my fault!  I didn't want to leave, but I just suddenly found myself doing it when he told me to, I don't know why..."


"He used Force persuasion to get you to cooperate," Qui-Gon said softly. 


Terrik turned.  "Hey, you're that-that Jedi-guy Master thing, Ben's Master.  Look, I don't care what Ben says he did, he's a great guy and I'm sure he didn't mean it..." Terrik's words tumbled all over one another.  "You've gotta save him!"


"I intend to," Qui-Gon said quietly.





The Red Claw gunman leaning out the far window never knew what hit him and the four remaining men who had not been taken out in the fire fight were so intent on recapturing Obi-Wan inside that they never noticed as their comrade's limp body was pulled quietly out the window.




Obi-Wan stifled a cry as the angry Red Claw soldiers pounded the teenager mercilessly for the trouble he caused them.  Tying the Jedi firmly to the bar once more, Talon backhanded him across the face.  "If you weren't so important to me I'd kill you now brat!" he seethed, but the young Jedi was emotionless.  He had spent the past thee months feeling as if the world had slapped him in the face, Talon's anger did not impress him.


"All right you've asked for it!" Talon shouted out the door, his voice nearly hysterical.  "We start killing people now!  Your son will be the last Var, but he will get no easy death!"


The girl on the far right end of the bar was untied and dragged outside.  There was a blaster shot and a scream. 


Obi-Wan cringed and pulled against the ropes that bound him until his wrists bled, but he could not get free. 


Talon leveled his rifle with the Jedi's head.  "Better sit still kid.  Your turn comes soon enough," he said coldly as another person was dragged outside. 


Another booming crash of thunder rang out as the heavens opened and it began to pour outside.


"Hear that?" Talon grinned maniacally.  "They always say it rains like hell on losers day.  Well boy, it's raining now."


Another blaster shot and a scream.


Obi-Wan's heart cried out, why didn't the people outside stop this?  Couldn't they see that these men were going to kill them all anyway?!


Resignedly, Obi-Wan leaned back against the bar and waited for his turn to die.




Outside, Qui-Gon, dressed in the Red Claw uniform he had taken off of guard passed another hostage to safety, firing his blaster into the dirt and having the person cry out accordingly.  With their full mask obscuring his features, the others inside never knew what was going on.


"Now, boy, you're mine," Talon said, aiming his blaster at Obi-Wan's legs as the last prisoner was hauled outside.  He intended to see just how long he could drag it out before the boy died.


Suddenly, Talon was thrown backward and a big man, dressed in the clothes of one of his own men pinned him to the floor.  "I believe you would be mistaken about that," a familiar voice said.


Security officers poured into the room and the remaining gunmen gave up without a fight.


Qui-Gon pulled the mask off his face and handed Talon over to Security.  Bending down, he gently untied his Padawan's bloody wrists.


Obi-Wan did not meet his eyes; he could not.  After he was free, the teenager rose stiffly to his feet.  "Thank you," he almost whispered.  "I-I am indebted to you for saving my..." but his voice choked and his diplomatic words disappeared. 


Qui-Gon's heart ached.  It hurt to have Obi-Wan talking to him as if he were a stranger like that... "Obi-Wan," he said softly, laying one large hand on the boy's rumpled shoulder.


Obi-Wan's eyes filled with tears.  "I w-wish I could be glad to see you..." he choked out, only realizing how that sounded afterward.  "No, that's not what I-"


"Shh, shh," Qui-Gon placed his finger against Obi-Wan's swollen lips.  "Be glad Padawan, be glad," he said kindly, willing Obi-Wan to look up into his face.


"I'm so sorry Master, so sorry..." Obi-Wan cried, still not looking up.  Suddenly he stopped.  "...what did you-"


"Padawan," Qui-Gon said with a soft grin, tipping the teen's chin up on and making the boy look at him.  "Because that is what you are Obi-Wan.  I love you, I've missed you and I've come to take you home."


Obi-Wan's stoicism and pride crumbled and he slumped, sobbing into Qui-Gon's arms at this sudden, unimaginable grace that he found himself confronted with.


Qui-Gon held the apprentice close and stroked his back like a little child.  He was so glad to have Obi-Wan back.






"So you see, it really wasn't your fault Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon explained.  "You couldn't protect the High Minister because it was the High Minister who had planted the bombs, and who set them off.  No one knew it, but his daughter Aisha told me that she found out, too late, that he had a mental condition that just flared up and he snapped.  It was only due to your quick action and intervention that the entire planet wasn't destroyed."


Obi-Wan nodded slowly, trying to absorb all this while the med-droid tended his injuries, which were mostly superficial save for two broken ribs. 


"Hey, you were beating yourself up for nothing Ben, I mean, Obi-Wan," Terrik put in helpfully.


"Yes, but... I still should have known, I should have seen that he was unstable, I should have stopped it..." Obi-Wan was not yet able to forgive himself, even if everyone else had.


"Maybe, maybe not," Qui-Gon told him.  "But even if you made a mistake, it was just that, a *mistake*.  It wasn't intentional, and Force knows Obi-Wan that none of us are perfect."


"Yes, but when most people make mistakes they don't destroy entire planets..." Obi-Wan murmured.  "I don't see how you can forgive me, how anyone can..."


Qui-Gon sighed, this was not working.  The boy seemed intent on feeling guilty.  "Obi-Wan, you like Terrik, I mean, he's your friend right?"


Obi-Wan nodded.


"Well, from what Governor Var told me, early on in your relationship Terrik caused you to be hurt pretty badly, almost killed.  Yet you still like him?" Qui-Gon asked pointedly.


Terrik looked slightly sick at being reminded.


"Well yes," the young Jedi was quick to defend his friend.  "But Terrik didn't mean for me to get hurt that bad, he didn't realize..." Obi-Wan trailed off.


Qui-Gon smiled.  "So, he made a *mistake*,"


"Story of my life," the young Kabrian mumbled.  The Jedi ignored him completely.


"And you forgave him," Qui-Gon finished.  "It's not so hard, is it?"


"I guess not," Obi-Wan said softly.  "But, Master?  It still hurts."


Qui-Gon patted Obi-Wan's shoulder.  "I know it does Obi-Wan, but that too will go with time, if you let it."


Obi-Wan nodded slowly.


"Hey, Ben, I mean Obi," Terrik said, trying to bring some levity back in.  "When you're all better I found a great new bar I want to take you to..."


"Oh, no!" Obi-Wan shook his head, holding up his hand to stop Terrik.  "Uh uh, no way.  You are never getting me inside another bar with you.  Bad things always happen."


"Always?" Terrik took mock offence.  "You call once always?"


"Once?" Obi-Wan cocked an eyebrow.  "What about that time down in Tuga when we left the bar *in flames* or how about that little place in Marbi when you *swore* that all you'd done was say hi to that woman, or how about-"


"Okay, okay," Terrik threw up his hands in surrender.  "So no more bars.  Actually, I really don't have any burning urge to either... my life has been, um... exciting enough lately.  Hey, maybe your Master will let me hang around with you two for a little while, I'm sure my Dad would love that.  His boy spending time around a couple of Jedi... only I know you're not as boring and straight as you appear," Terrik winked at Obi-Wan.


Obi-Wan grinned.  "You don't know Master Qui-Gon."


The Jedi in question harrumphed loudly.  "I suppose that might be arranged, for a little while," Qui-Gon nodded, sensing that Terrik, despite his attitude and bluster, had an uncanny ability to cheer Obi-Wan up, and the apprentice was in need of that after all this.  "We would appreciate your company."


"Alright!  Hey Ben," Terrik gave up trying to use Obi-Wan's real name.  "Did ya hear that?  You're Master's okay."


Obi-Wan grinned wryly.  "He simply doesn't know what he just got himself in for."




Two Weeks Later

Aboard a Ship headed for Coruscant:




Qui-Gon stepped quickly into the starship's main bay.  "What in the galaxy was that-" He stopped short at the sight that greeted him.


"Nothing!" Obi-Wan and Terrik said in unison, despite the fact that both teenagers were covered in purple dust and green slime.


Qui-Gon just stared at the wreck the two had somehow managed to make of the area and turned right back around for the cockpit.  *"By the Force,"* he thought wryly.  *"What have I gotten myself into?"*






'kay, there it is, short, sweet and stupid.  But hey, have you ever tried to find a plausible Star Wars story excuse for a line like "The cowboy kills the rock star"?  !!!


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