Category: Short Story, Drama, a little Obi torture (always! :D)
Spoilers: Minor ones for the JA books
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, but
I'm not being paid for it either, so that's okay.
Feedback: Yes Please!
Time Frame: 9 years before TMP. Obi-Wan is 16.
Summary: A fellow Padawan disobeys and Obi-Wan ends up bearing
Things bracketed by *'s are *italic*.
Padawan A'lia Kedesh slid silently through the
flowering shrubs and bushes, practicing every Jedi secrecy
art that the eleven-year-old little girl had ever learned.
She dare not get caught here. What would Master Drenba
think...? She shuddered. Sticking her small, pointed chin
out straight to keep it from quivering she forced herself
onward. She was no coward! She would show those kids that
made fun of her back in the village! She wasn't afraid of
the Eeoa'lyn priests, or their holy ground!
In her heart however, she knew it was a lie. She was
quaking in her boots. Maybe in truth that was why she had
accepted the village children's dare, in an effort to prove
to *herself* that she wasn't afraid. After all, Jedi
weren't supposed to be afraid... She was beginning to wish
that she had not been quite so hasty.
"A'lia!" the soft voice behind her made the little
Correlian girl jump. Spinning around, she saw Master
Jinn's apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi behind her, a worried
expression on his face.
Master Jinn and Master Drenba had both been assigned
to the difficult Talteeri negotiations and so their two
Padawans had spent a lot of time together these past few
At sixteen, Obi-Wan was five years A'lia's senior and
had every reason to look at her as a mere child, but A'lia
had found him to be a very friendly, if also very quiet
young man. Truth to tell she had developed quite a crush
on him, but that was just the age she was at.
"Obi-Wan! You scared me!" she hissed, putting her
hand over her pounding heart. "What are you doing here?"
"That's what I was just going to ask you A'lia," Obi-
Wan said, keeping his voice low. "I saw you go over the
wall," he explained briefly. "Don't you realize you're on
Eeoa'lyn holy ground? Our Masters will kill us if they
find out we were here!"
"Then why don't you leave?" A'lia said stubbornly.
"I intend to, and you're coming with me," Obi-Wan
replied firmly, trying to take her hand.
A'lia's stubbornness was just a front. She was not a
headstrong little girl. She already knew she shouldn't be
here, so she abandoned the foolish dare to cross the entire
area and let Obi-Wan take her hand. "Okay Obi," she said
Suddenly they both ducked down behind a large shrub as
they heard someone approaching.
About six Eeoa'lyn priests in their flowing yellow and
purple robes came into sight.
Obi-Wan and A'lia both held their breath, hoping the
priests would pass by quickly, but it was not to be. To
the two Padawan's horror, the priests stopped about three
hundred meters away, took out gardening equipment and
started pruning the grove of fruit trees a little to their
"What are we going to do Obi?" A'lia whispered
quietly, looking to the older Padawan to take the lead.
Obi-Wan assessed their situation. The Eeoa'lyn
priests were very strict about their grounds, surrounding
them with high walls and considering them holy.
Trespassing was viewed as a serious transgression as well
as a crime.
The situation here on Talteeri was already so tense,
that even the Jedi were barely trusted. If he and A'lia
were caught here, it could badly damage, if not destroy
their Masters' chances of being able to negotiate
peacefully with the Talteerian peoples at the meeting this
"We're going to have to wait quietly I guess," he said
after a moment. "And hope they go away soon."
A'lia did not like his answer. "But Master Drenba
will start wondering where I am, She'll know something's
*"Master Qui-Gon too,"* Obi-Wan sighed inwardly,
wondering just how much trouble he'd get in for this. He
would never have trespassed here if he hadn't been going
after A'lia, but that didn't diminish the fact that he was
indeed there, in defiance, he realized a little too late,
of one of his Master's direct orders. "Can't be helped,"
he said softly. "I think they'll be sizably less upset
with us if we *don't* create a diplomatic incident by
"Can't - can't we make them go away?" A'lia asked
Obi-Wan shook his head decidedly. "No. We are not
supposed to be here. I don't know if it would be a miss-
use of the Force or not to use it to get us out of this,
but I for one do not want to risk it. Won't help anyway.
We're going to have to tell Master Qui-Gon and Master Fioni
about this when we get back anyhow," he sighed.
"Do we?" A'lia asked softly.
Obi-Wan looked at her sharply. "Yes, we do. A'lia, I
don't know about you, but Master Qui-Gon specifically told
me to stay off the Eeoa'lyn's estates. I'm going to have
to tell him that I disobeyed, and why."
A'lia's face turned very pale. "Oh, Obi, you
wouldn't! Y-you just can't tell him about the dare! He'll
tell Master Drenba, and, and she'll send me away!"
"SHH!" Obi-Wan pressed his finger urgently to his
lips, quieting the girl before she drew attention to them.
"She won't send you away, where would she send you?" Obi-
Wan shook his head a trifle unsympathetically. He liked
A'lia, but right now he was more than a little annoyed with
her for getting them both into such trouble. After he said
it, he regretted his harsh tone, because he realized A'lia
was trembling and there were tears in her large brown eyes.
"Back to the Temple. She'll send me back to the
Temple," A'lia said, the tears in her eyes overflowing down
her cheeks. "We've only been together for a few months,
and-and she's regretting asking me to be her Padawan, now,
now that she knows me better," the little girl's chin
quivered. "I'm not a good student and I don't learn things
quickly, I'm always messing up," all of A'lia's fears,
frustrations and hurts tumbled out of her in a soft,
sobbing whisper. "I-I've taken dares before, and, and she
forbade me to ever do it again. If she finds out I
disobeyed, she'll have a reason to send me back. No one
will take another Master's reject, I'll - I'll be stuck
with the agri-corps! And I'll be alone," she whispered the
last part so softly that Obi-Wan could barely hear her.
"A'lia," he took her chin gently in his hand. "You're
working yourself up over nothing. Yes, we'll probably both
get in trouble for being here, but it's not the end of the
world. Your Master won't send you back over this."
A'lia shook her head, terror in her eyes. "You don't
understand Obi-Wan, how could you? Master Jinn loves you;
you've been together for over three years. You don't have
to worry about him rejecting you. You don't understand
what it's like to live every moment in terror that you're
going to do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, and ruin
everything you've worked for, everything you want so badly!
I'd give anything if Master Fioni liked me half as much as
Master Qui-Gon loves you. If she could trust me like
that... but then I go and do something stupid like this and
blow it all!" A'lia was sobbing silently, but
*"You don't know what it's like..."* but Obi-Wan did
know. Reaching out he squeezed A'lia's small hand tightly.
"I do know what it's like A'lia. Things weren't always as
smooth with my Master and I as they are now. In the
beginning it was very easy for me to believe that I was
unwanted, and uncared for, but I was wrong, and you are
From their place behind the shrub, the two Jedi
youngsters saw the priests leave as suddenly as they had
"Come on," Obi-Wan said quietly, seizing the
opportunity. "We've got to hurry, they left their
gardening supplies behind so they'll be back soon."
"Obi, there's no reason our Masters have to know, is
there?" A'lia pleaded desperately with him. "I mean, now
we're getting out of here before we're missed, and - and...
Oh Please Obi! Promise me you won't tell!"
Obi-Wan was torn. He didn't feel it was right to hide
what had happened, but the look in A'lia's eyes cut right
through his heart. In her eyes he saw himself three years
ago. Every little bit of trouble he had gotten in had
cemented firmer and firmer his fears that Qui-Gon did not
want him and did not even like him. He didn't want A'lia
to suffer that way. He knew how badly it hurt.
"I can't lie to my Master A'lia," he said sadly.
"I-I'm not asking you to lie Obi-Wan," A'lia pleaded.
"Just don't say anything. Please Obi-Wan, please!"
Obi-Wan sighed, wishing he knew what the right thing
to do was. "Okay A'lia. I won't tell," he said softly.
"You promise?" A'lia brightened tearfully. "You won't
tell anyone that I was here or about the dare?"
Obi-Wan nodded. "I promise A'lia, but don't you
*ever* take another stupid dare, do you understand? That
is not the way a Jedi behaves and it is not how you prove
A'lia nodded. "I promise you Obi-Wan, no more dares,
ever. I'm sorry, but thanks, thanks so much!" She was so
happy that she stood up on her tiptoes and planted a quick
kiss right on his lips.
Obi-Wan smiled and squeezed her shoulder. "Okay,
okay, let's just get out of here. I'll be look-out for you
while you go over the wall."
So, while Obi-Wan watched to be sure they were not
spotted, A'lia scrambled back over the high wall. They had
to be careful because the priest mental discipline was such
that they could not be sensed in the Force. Before Obi-Wan
could follow A'lia, he saw the priest returning and ducked
behind some trees.
*"Obi-Wan?"* he heard A'lia whisper through the wall
after a few moments.
*"The priest are back. I'm going to have to slip away
and cross the wall somewhere else. You head on back, I'll
get out and be there soon,"* Obi-Wan whispered in response.
*"Okay,"* A'lia agreed and Obi-Wan felt her presence
recede as she obeyed.
Obi-Wan slid silently along in the shadow of the wall,
seeking to put some distance between himself and the
priests. Suddenly a firm hand closed on his shoulder and
Obi-Wan felt his heart drop down into his toes.
The tall, robed priest turned the young Jedi slowly,
but firmly around.
*"Blast!"* Obi-Wan thought miserably. He wished the
priests were not invisible to him in the Force, they never
could have caught him if they weren't. Now he didn't know
what he was going to do.
There were suddenly four or five other priest present
as well, Obi-Wan had no idea where they all came from.
"You are trespassing here, child of the Jedi," the man
who held Obi-Wan by the shoulder said in a low, calm voice.
"I'm sorry." What else could he say?
"It is a crime to touch the sacredness of our holy
ground, know you not of this?" the priest questioned, his
tone neutral, but his eyes sharp.
"No, I-I know," Obi-Wan admitted truthfully. "I came
here looking for a friend. I did not mean to trespass."
"But trespass you did," the priest said. "And
punishment must follow such a transgression."
Obi-Wan bit the inside of his lip, but remained
outwardly calm. He wasn't afraid of the priests, well,
maybe just a little. What really had him worried was that
this was going to wreck their mission.
"W-what will you do?" he asked slowly.
"That choice is up to you," the priest told him. "If
you wish to insist that there is a justifiable reason for
your crime, we can take you to the magistrate. He would
try you and if you are found guilty you and your guardian
will fined and have a censure placed upon you for the
remainder of your stay on Talteeri."
Obi-Wan felt a surge of panic rise in his heart.
Whether he was found innocent or guilty, such a trial would
destroy everything they had worked to accomplish here!
Once this became public knowledge, the thin trust that the
Jedi had managed to earn would be shattered and the entire
negotiations would fall to pieces. "Or?" he asked
"Or," the priest continued, "If you admit your guilt,
we will punish you ourselves and send you on your way."
Obi-Wan considered this. "If I chose the second
option, no one else needs to know?"
The priest inclined his head slightly. "There is no
need, we do not wish public attention."
Obi-Wan took a deep breath. "Then that is what I
chose. I admit that it is wrong of me to be on your sacred
grounds without permission, and I accept whatever the
penalty is for trespassing."
The priest nodded. "Remove your tunic and lie on the
ground child of the Jedi," he ordered quietly.
Obi-Wan obeyed. His heart was pounding but he forced
himself to be calm as he unfastened his belt and removed
his outer tunic. Pulling his inner shirt off over his
head, Obi-Wan knelt down on the grass. *"What happens
now?"* he wondered. Then he wondered if he really wanted
One of the priests pushed him the rest of the way down
until the young Jedi was lying flat on his stomach on the
Obi-Wan felt the priest's hands close tightly around
his wrists and was momentarily struck by the strength of
the older man's grip. The Eeoa'lyn knelt in front of Obi-
Wan; holding the Padawan's wrists pinned to the ground on
either side of his head in a surprisingly secure manner.
There was several moments wait as the priest that had
caught Obi-Wan stopped to cut a thick switch from one of
the bushes nearby. He paired off the branches, but did not
try to make it entirely smooth.
The ground pricked Obi-Wan's bare chest and the side
of his face as he waited. The apprentice's mouth felt dry
and his heart was still pumping too fast. He wasn't afraid
really, but he could not seem to help the body reaction he
was having. If only they'd hurry up and get it over with,
waiting like this was terrible.
Obi-Wan would find that the Eeoa'lyn priests did
nothing in a hurry. It seemed like an eternity from the
time they made him lie down, until the time when the first
Obi-Wan tightened and jerked a little as the rough
switch came down across his shoulders. The priest
delivering the beating worked his way slowly and
methodically down the young Jedi's back, laying stripe
after stripe from Obi-Wan's shoulders to his waist.
It stung like everything and Obi-Wan fought to blink
back the tears that gathered in the corners of his eyes.
A low moan escaped him as the priest moved back up to
his shoulders and went over the smarting area again, and
again. By the fourth pass Obi-Wan had started squirming
and unintentionally pulling against the iron grip on his
wrists. His struggles had no effect. The priests held him
down firmly as the rod smacked his raw back again and
again. Tears the apprentice could no longer hold back wet
the earth beneath him and he wondered how long this could
Obi-Wan's struggles grew desperate as the fifth set of
blows drew blood. Choking back a sob and pressing his eyes
shut Obi-Wan tried to remain calm, but he couldn't.
The priest stopped after the fifth set and they
released Obi-Wan's wrists.
For a moment Obi-Wan just lay on the ground, sobbing
for breath and sobbing in pain. He didn't want to ever
have to get up again, but he knew he must. Pushing himself
up to his knees, Obi-Wan grimaced at the way the movement
made his burning back screech.
"You will leave now," the priest said calmly, as if he
had not just beaten the teenager bloody. "And you will not
return, or the penalty is doubled."
*"Don't worry! I won't be coming back here again!"*
Obi-Wan thought ruefully. "Yes, sir," was all he said
aloud. Struggling to his feet he gathered his shirt, tunic
and belt and took his leave.
Once outside the Eeoa'lyn walls, Obi-Wan stopped to
collect himself. Leaning face first against the rough bark
of a tree he calmed himself until his heart rate and his
breathing returned to normal. Breathing deeply and leaning
his face against the back of his hands, Obi-Wan tried to
figure out what he was going to do now.
There was no way he could hide this from Qui-Gon.
Well, maybe he could, but he didn't think he should. Yet,
then Qui-Gon would want to know what had happened, and
after the promise he had made to A'lia, what could he tell
Obi-Wan sighed. Why did this have to be so
complicated? How had he gotten himself into this mess? He
supposed he could blame A'lia for starting it all, but he
knew he probably had no business making a promise like the
one that he had made in the first place.
Slowly and painfully putting his clothes back on, Obi-
Wan headed back towards the housing facilities that the
Jedi were staying in. He still did not know what he was
going to do.
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon greeted when the apprentice slipped
into their rooms. "I was just going to look for you. The
owners of this establishment inform me that the gym is
empty today due to some cancellations and I have arranged
that we have some time to use it to do a little sparring.
It's been too long since we've had the opportunity and I
don't want your physical training to suffer," the big Jedi
Master said cheerfully, he knew how Obi-Wan loved doing
anything with his lightsaber.
Obi-Wan usually jumped at the invitation to a mock-
duel, but in his current condition the thought made him
cringe inside. "Yes, Master, I'll go get changed," he
said, trying to sound enthusiastic.
He almost hoped that Qui-Gon would notice something
amiss about him. He almost wanted his Master to ask him if
anything was wrong, because then his decision was simple,
if Qui-Gon asked him, Obi-Wan was bound to tell him the
truth, or at least, as much of it as he could without
breaking his promise to A'lia. For once however, Qui-Gon
seemed to notice nothing unusual, or if he did, he did not
chose to comment on it as of yet.
Obi-Wan sighed as he went to change into his workout
tunic. It was ironic, he supposed, Qui-Gon sure noticed
things well enough when the apprentice *didn't* want him
Going into the 'fresher and locking the door, Obi-Wan
pulled off his tunic once more and found that he was going
to have to wash it. The inner, rear side of his under
shirt was lightly stained with his blood. Looking at
himself in the mirror, Obi-Wan winced at the sight of the
welts that striped his back like a Furr'arr's coat. If he
didn't get medical attention for those, they could very
possibly leave scars.
Wetting a cloth with cold water, Obi-Wan ran it
lightly over as much of his hurting back as he could reach.
It did nothing to sooth the injuries, but the coolness of
the water helped bring down the heat of the flaming
sensation he was feeling and wash away the remaining blood
so that it would not stain his workout cloths like it had
his normal tunic.
Qui-Gon knocked on the door.
Obi-Wan jumped slightly in surprise. He hadn't
realized he was so on-edge.
"I just need to get a towel," Qui-Gon's voice was
muffled by the door. The handle rattled as Qui-Gon tried
to turn it.
"Just a minute!" Obi-Wan called, quickly wadding up
his cloths rinsing the blood out of the washcloth. Sliding
gingerly into his workout tunic, he tied it loosely in an
attempt to minimize its contact with his throbbing back.
He knew it was foolish to try to hide his injuries from his
Master, but the young apprentice did not yet know what else
On the other side of the door Qui-Gon smiled in mild
amusement. He knew that Obi-Wan was growing up, but his
sudden desire for so much privacy was a little puzzling.
The boy was only changing his shirt for goodness sake...
The Jedi Master shook his head. Who could fathom the
quirks of youth? Especially during the teenage years.
"Obi-Wan are you planning on taking up residence, or do you
want to let me get my towel and come out here so we can
practice?" Qui-Gon called through the shut door.
Obi-Wan hurried out, blushing slightly. "Sorry,
Master," he mumbled an apology for making the elder Jedi
Qui-Gon nodded, and retrieved his towel. Then the two
Jedi made their way down to the gymnasium on the ground
level of the temporary housing unit's complex.
Easily sliding into his own workout tunic, Qui-Gon led
Obi-Wan out into the middle of the large gym's floor.
After running through their stretches and warm-ups Qui-Gon
initiated the training duel.
Blue and green blades of light buzzed and tangled as
Master and Padawan sparred.
Qui-Gon decided that it truly had been too long since
their last match. Obi-Wan was not performing at the level
that Qui-Gon knew him capable of. The boy moved stiffly
and actually seemed to be avoiding the more ariobatic moves
that he usually favored.
Qui-Gon thought Obi-Wan would warm up to the fight as
it went on, but the Padawan's performance did not improve.
Obi-Wan's shoulders felt as if they were on fire as he
forced them to move. The pain was distracting. Too
distracting. He missed an obvious feint and Qui-Gon's
elbow caught him squarely in the face, flinging him to the
There were no mats on the floor to help absorb his
fall and the Padawan's injured back slammed into it at full
force. The sudden jolt of searing pain that that caused
made Obi-Wan cry out. He was too stunned and breathless to
rise, and in too much pain to try. Rolling onto his side,
Obi-Wan curled into a tight ball, biting the side of his
fist to choke back any further sounds and struggling
desperately to rein in the pain that was surging up and
down his back as if he had fallen in an open lava pit.
"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon said in concerned alarm as the boy
curled up on the floor, obviously in a great deal of pain.
No doubt the blow Obi-Wan had caught had hurt, but it
shouldn't have hurt the apprentice *that* much. Qui-Gon
was kneeling by Obi-Wan in an instant.
Obi-Wan's nose was bleeding from the impact of Qui-
Gon's elbow, but that could not account for the waves of
pain he felt rolling off the teenager.
*"What did I do to him?"* Qui-Gon thought, laying his
hand on the boy's shoulder and trying to look into Obi-
Wan's eyes. When he caught them, Qui-Gon saw the
glistening sheen of unshed tears sparkling just below their
turquoise surface. Had he so badly misjudged his own
strength and Obi-Wan's lack of practice?
"Padawan," he said gently. "What's wrong? Did I hurt
you so badly?"
"N-no Master," Obi-Wan tried to force the pain away
and rose to a sitting position. "I-I'm sorry Master."
Obi-Wan was talking about more than just his reaction to
Qui-Gon's brows were knitted in a frown of concern as
he hooked his hand under Obi-Wan's armpit to help him up.
Obi-Wan stiffened slightly and drew a sharp breath in.
Something was not right here. Not right at all.
Before Obi-Wan could react, Qui-Gon pulled the Padawan's
tunic up, getting a good look at the red, blistering welts
that heavily striped the young Jedi's back from his
shoulders to his waistline.
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon's voice was concerned and pained,
but also firm. "What happened?"
Obi-Wan hung his head. "I was beaten Master," he said
softly, his voice almost a whisper.
"That much is obvious," Qui-Gon undid Obi-Wan's shirt
and the Padawan dutifully removed it, allowing his mentor
to see the extent of what the Eeoa'lyn priests had done to
him. "But who, when, why?" the older Jedi probed, gently
touching one of the stripes on Obi-Wan's shoulder.
The young Jedi grimaced. "The Eeoa'lyn priests caught
me on their holy ground," Obi-Wan replied honestly, his
eyes glued to the floor. "I-I thought it would minimize
the possible repercussions on our mission if, if I just
took the punishment quietly and didn't let it go to the
"That was a worthy decision Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said
quietly, and he meant it. Obi-Wan's concern for the
success of their mission, even at cost to himself was
commendable. "But what were you doing on the Eeoa'lyn holy
grounds in the first place? Didn't I specifically warn you
to stay away from them?" the Master's voice became very
Obi-Wan swallowed hard, but was not sure what to say.
"Yes, Master," he whispered.
Qui-Gon sighed. "You weren't going to tell me about
this, were you?" The disappointed edge in his voice cut
Obi-Wan understood very well A'lia's fear of
displeasing her Master. It was worse than physical pain
when Qui-Gon was disappointed in him. At least Obi-Wan
knew that his Master still loved him. Even if Qui-Gon was
sorely disappointed and upset with Obi-Wan, the Padawan
knew he was always loved.
"I-I don't know," Obi-Wan answered miserably. "I
wasn't going to lie to you..."
"But purposefully concealing something is a lie of
omission Padawan," Qui-Gon pointed out.
Obi-Wan battled back tears. "I'm sorry Master. I'm
"You haven't yet told me what you were doing there
Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon could tell that Obi-Wan's repentance was
sincere, but the Master's voice still had an edge to it.
Direct disobedience and lying to cover it up was a pretty
serious offence. One he had hoped to never have to deal
with from Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan bit his lip. What was he supposed to say?
What *could* he say? "I... I can't tell you Master," he
"Can't?" Qui-Gon said sharply. "Or won't?"
"Can't." Obi-Wan was truly miserable.
"Obi-Wan..." the Jedi Master started, his tone a
"Please Master, I-I really can't tell you. I would if
I could. B-but I promised..." his voice trailed off,
wishing now that he could take the promise back, but what
was done was done and he was going to have to be true to
"Someone else was there and you promised them you
would not tell," Qui-Gon surmised for him, folding his
Obi-Wan nodded mutely; he could not speak.
"Do you think you are doing them a favor by protecting
them from the consequences of their actions Padawan?" Qui-
Gon considered the bowed head and contrite countenance
"I-I really don't know Master," Obi-Wan shook his
head. Lifting his eyes to meet Qui-Gon's, the apprentice
pleaded for the wisdom to deal with the complicated problem
he found himself facing. Disappoint Qui-Gon, or betray his
promise to A'lia. Which was the right thing to do? "I may
be wrong, I don't know. I wish I could talk to you about
it, I wish you could help me..."
Qui-Gon sighed. "But you promised."
"Yes," Obi-Wan nodded miserably. "I promised." He
glanced fearfully at his Master. "Master, you - you aren't
going to - to order me to tell you, are you?" Obi-Wan
could not disobey a direct order, yet he could not break
his word either...
"No, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said sadly. "I know the kind
of position that would put you in and I will not order you
to break your word to anyone. But I fear it was a foolish
promise to make Padawan."
There was silence for a moment.
"Was the other party also beaten by the priests?" Qui-
Gon asked after a moment.
Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, Master. Just me."
Qui-Gon's eyes softened slightly. "Then it seems to
me that you got the short end of all this Obi-Wan."
Obi-Wan said nothing. What was he supposed to say?
"But that does not excuse you for trying to conceal it
from me, and unless the circumstances of your disobedience
clear you, which it seems there is no way for me to know,
it does not excuse you for that either," Qui-Gon's voice
became firm again.
Obi-Wan flinched. "What are you going to do Master?"
he asked softly.
Qui-Gon sighed again. "If you mean do *to* you
Padawan, nothing. It looks as if you have been punished
quite enough already. If you mean do about this
situation..." Qui-Gon paused. That was a very good
question. His father's heart wanted only to help Obi-Wan
heal and put it behind them. Obi-Wan was obviously
repentant about whatever had taken place and Qui-Gon had
already forgiven him. But he felt that duty dictated he
could not let this go that easy. He had suffered the
consequences of glossing over a Padawan's faults before,
and although he knew Obi-Wan was nothing like Xanatos, it
had been a painful lesson to learn, and one that was not
"You are restricted to our quarters for the remainder
of our stay here. You will not leave them for any reason
until we leave for Coruscant."
"But-" Obi-Wan's eyes widened.
Qui-Gon held his hand up to silence the Padawan.
"Yes, that includes not accompanying me to the meeting with
the Talteerians. Obi-Wan, what you did was serious. I
forgive you, but I cannot excuse your actions."
"I understand Master," Obi-Wan said softly, his heart
breaking at the thought of Qui-Gon going to the dangerous
meeting alone. If anything happened... Obi-Wan shuddered.
It would be his fault. If something went wrong and
anything happened to Qui-Gon because he was not there, he
would bear the blame forever.
"No, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon shook his head, clearly reading
the young man's thoughts in his face. "You must not think
that. I will be fine." The Jedi Master allowed a small
smile to pull at his lips. "I will have to be fine now,
because I could never punish you so severely as to have
such a guilt hanging over your heart," he ruffled Obi-Wan's
short hair fondly. He couldn't stay stern with Obi-Wan for
too long. He just couldn't. "Now, let's go get that back
of yours treated."
Qui-Gon took Obi-Wan to the clinic but was called away
shortly thereafter, so he left Obi-Wan with strict
instructions to go straight to their rooms when the medics
On his way out, Obi-Wan bumped into A'lia.
"Obi-Wan," the other Padawan grinned hello. "Master
Fioni sent me to run a message to the head medic. What are
you doing here?"
"Um, getting treated," Obi-Wan did not meet her eyes.
"What for?" the young Correlian's dark eyes showed
"Nothing important," Obi-Wan hedged. He did not wish
to tell her what happened after she left, it would make the
younger girl feel terrible and it couldn't be changed
"Okay, then after I'm done we can go get a fizzly or
something. I can pay," she said proudly. "I've got a few
credits saved, and after this errand I've got some free
time..." the eleven-year-old invited hopefully. She wanted
to thank Obi-Wan for not tattling on her somehow.
"I can't A'lia," Obi-Wan shook his head.
"Oh," the girl's face fell. "You have work to do?"
"Not exactly," Obi-Wan sighed. She was going to find
out eventually anyway. "I have to go straight to our
rooms. I-I'm being disciplined," he admitted with a touch
A'lia's already large eyes went even rounder. "B-
because you trespassed on the holy ground? Master Jinn
found out about that?" her hands began to tremble in
"Shh, don't worry," Obi-Wan shook his head wearily.
"I didn't tell him about you."
A'lia looked at him with such relief and gratitude
that Obi-Wan wondered if it really had been the right thing
to do after all. "Thanks Obi, you're a real friend! W-
What'd he do...?" she asked timidly.
Obi-Wan looked incredibly sad. Despite what Qui-Gon
said, he was still gravely anxious about his Master going
to the talks alone. "I don't want to talk about it right
now A'lia. I'm supposed to go straight to our rooms, so
I'd better get moving. I'll see you later."
"Okay, and Obi-Wan," she said, catching him before he
left. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry you got in trouble
because of me..." her eyes spoke the truth of her words.
Obi-Wan shrugged, and then winced at the pain that
caused his still healing shoulders. "Forget it."
A'lia delivered her Master's message to the head
medic, then paused to ask one of the nurse-droids a
question. "Excuse me, but I just met my friend Obi-Wan
Kenobi coming out of here. What was he being treated for?"
"Abrasions and lacerations of the epidermal tissue on
his upper and lower-"
Kali, the daughter of the medic who had treated Obi-
Wan stopped the droid's confusing explanation, seeing the
perplexed look on the other girl's face. Kali was only a
year or so older than A'lia, they had met before and were
on friendly terms with one another. "In plain basic, that
means that Mom applied bacta to some really nasty welts on
his back A'lia," she said, rolling her eyes at the droid's
"Welts? Like, like he was hit with something?" A'lia
Kali nodded. "A lot," she said with a shudder. "His
Master brought him in. I don't know what happened exactly,
I'm not supposed to hang around when Mom's with patients,
but I think I heard something about his being punished-"
A'lia's soft eyes were wide with horror and she dashed
out of the room, waiting to hear no more. The only thing
she could think was that Master Jinn had beaten Obi-Wan for
his part in their little misadventure earlier and that's
why Obi-Wan wouldn't talk to her about it.
Her feet flying, she ran all the way to Jinn and
Kenobi's rooms and pounded on the door.
Qui-Gon opened the door and found a nearly hysterical,
out of breath little Padawan facing him.
"Shouldn't have - shouldn't have hurt Obi!" she shook
her head, tears beginning to spill down her cheeks. "It
wasn't his fault Master Jinn, it wasn't!"
"Shh, shh, A'lia, calm down and come in," the big Jedi
ushered the frantic child inside and sat her down on the
couch. "Now, what are you trying to say?"
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry Master Jinn!" she sobbed.
"This is all my fault! I didn't want Obi-Wan to get in
"So, you're the companion he wouldn't tell me about,"
Qui-Gon said softly as the pieces came together. He had
suspected as much.
The little girl nodded miserably. "I-I know I
shouldn't have been there Master Jinn, but-but those kids
dared me..." her voice trailed off, she knew it was a
stupid excuse. "Obi-Wan followed to try to stop me, he
didn't do it to disobey, I did. It's my fault, not his.
I-I begged him to promise not to tell... I-I didn't know
you'd beat him for it..." she was sobbing so hard now that
her words were barely legible.
"Hush, child, hush," Qui-Gon soothed softly, pulling
the sobbing Padawan into his big arms. "I'm glad you have
come forward and confessed, but you have things a little
turned around. I did not beat Obi-Wan; I would *never*
beat Obi-Wan that way, no matter what he did. He was
beaten by the Eeoa'lyn priest for trespassing, apparently
after you separated. So, yes, he did suffer because of
your wrongdoing, but you must not think that I could ever
do such a thing to him, no more than Master Drenba could to
Obi-Wan had heard the commotion in the other room and
now stood quietly in the doorway, watching his Master and
little A'lia. He was glad that A'lia had come forward. It
was better this way he was sure, and besides, the secret
had been wearing on his conscience.
Qui-Gon motioned for Obi-Wan to come in and the
Obi-Wan was not wearing a shirt now, for comfort's
sake, and A'lia averted her eyes from the sight of the
cruel marks that the bacta had not yet finished taking
"I'm so sorry, so sorry," she murmured miserably.
Obi-Wan gave her a quiet smile to let her know that he
forgave her and sat down cross-legged on the floor by his
"A'lia," Qui-Gon said, gently, but with a firm tone.
"You knew what you did was wrong, yet you tried to hide it
from your Master, and even got Obi-Wan to try to hide it
from me. This got Obi-Wan into trouble he did not deserve.
I know you know the need for taking responsibility for your
actions, so why didn't you tell Master Drenba about all
"I-I know it's the wrong reason," A'lia stammered,
starting to cry again. "B-but I was afraid. I want so
much for her to love me, to want me and accept me... now
she won't. She's told me not to accept dares before, but I
did anyway. Now she'll - she'll send me back to the
Qui-Gon shook his head, smiling sadly at the needless
terror that was tearing A'lia apart. Now at least he
understood why Obi-Wan had agreed to silence for her. His
Padawan knew far to well the feeling of anxiety that came
when one thought their Master did not want them, or did not
care for them.
"She will not send you away A'lia, and she will not
stop loving you," Qui-Gon assured. "She will be distressed
by your actions, naturally, and may find it necessary to
discipline you, but that does not mean she does not love
A'lia shook her small head sadly. "You don't
understand Master Jinn... I know..."
"A'lia, look at me," Qui-Gon caught the young girl's
eyes. "I know that Master Fioni Drenba is a strict woman,
but you've got to look deeper than her outward appearance
and actions. She loves you A'lia, I know this."
"I-I can't face her," A'lia cried, holding on tightly
to Qui-Gon and burying her small face in his tunic.
"Obi-Wan and I will go with you," Qui-Gon said gently
but firmly, picking the little girl up and placing her on
her feet. "But you have to tell her the truth."
"Yes, Master Jinn. I know," A'lia said with a
resigned sigh. Drying her tears, she tried to muster a
bravery she did not feel and let Qui-Gon take her to hers
and Master Drenba's room.
Fioni listened in silence as A'lia told her the whole
story through a stream of controlled, but unstoppable
tears. "Go to your room A'lia. I will discuss this with
you further in a moment," Fioni said sternly when she
The little girl hung her head and obeyed.
"Thank you for your help Master Jinn," Fioni said to
the big Jedi. "I am sorry that A'lia got your Padawan into
trouble. I shall deal with her about this."
Qui-Gon nodded, but stopped Fioni with a hand on her
arm. "Master Drenba," he said, his eyes soft. "Do what
you feel is right, but... be sure to tell her that you love
"She knows that," Fioni said factually.
Qui-Gon shook his head. "No, Fioni, she doesn't.
Maybe she should, but you must remember that she is just a
child still. She is insecure and admitted to me that she
is afraid that you will reject her if she does not please
you. I know you care for her Fioni, but *she* doesn't."
Fioni looked shocked at the thought that A'lia would
think she could be so harsh and petty.
"It's not a reflection of what she thinks of you,"
Qui-Gon put in. "She respects you and loves you with all
her little heart, that's why she so badly craves the
assurance that you feel the same. Obi-Wan and I went
through much the same thing in the beginning. I thought
that *of course* he should know that I cared, but I was
looking at him as an adult, not as a child. And children
need to be *told* they are loved."
"Thank you Qui-Gon," Fioni nodded slowly. "What you
say is true."
"Then we will leave you to talk with her," Qui-Gon
said. He and Obi-Wan both bowed, and left.
"A'lia," Fioni said softly, looking with pity upon the
downcast, trembling girl who sat upon the sleep-couch in
the other room. "What you did was wrong. It is foolish
and dangerous to do something you know is wrong simply
because someone else goaded or dared you to do it. That is
not the path to true courage. True courage is in standing
*against* such people."
"Yes, Master," A'lia whispered, her face pale.
Fioni sat down on the sleep couch beside her student.
"But A'lia, before we discuss this any more, there is
something I need to tell you. Something I should have told
you before this."
A'lia stiffed. This was it. Fioni didn't want her
anymore, she regretted taking such a worthless Padawan...
"I love you A'lia," Fioni said gently, wrapping her
arm around the little girl and drawing her close. "That is
why I want you to learn to be the best Jedi you can be."
A'lia melted into her Master's arms, sobbing out all
the pent up emotions and anxieties that had been balling up
inside her for months.
Fioni held her close, stroking her short hair and
letting her cry. "It's okay honey, it's okay."
"Thank you Master," Obi-Wan said quietly as they
walked back to their own rooms. "For helping A'lia. I
tried to tell her that Master Drenba wouldn't reject her,
but she wouldn't believe me."
"She'll believe it from no one but her Master
Padawan," Qui-Gon said softly. "Obi-Wan," he asked as the
door swished open to admit them. "If you knew that Fioni
would not do as A'lia feared, then why did you agree to not
tell what happened?"
Obi-Wan chewed his lip thoughtfully. "She - she was
so scared Master, and so sad... I just didn't want her to
hurt anymore. I suppose I went about it in the wrong way,
but I knew how she felt and I..." Obi-Wan's voice trailed
off as he realized he had just admitted that he had once
felt that Qui-Gon did not care about him.
Qui-Gon laid one big hand gently on the boy's
shoulder. "I know Obi-Wan," he nodded softly. "I'm just
glad you know how I feel now."
Obi-Wan nodded. So was he.
"Well, Padawan," Qui-Gon said presently. "I think
you'd better get changed if you're going to accompany me to
the meeting with the Talteerians," he said with a twinkle
in his eye.
Obi-Wan's face lit up brightly. "Yes, Master! Right