Title: Five Deaths to Die

By: Cassia

Email: cassia_a@hotmail.com

Category: Angst, Drama, Adventure, H/C, character torture...

Did I mention ANGST?

Rating: PG 13 (violence, death)

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: 7 years before TMP.  Obi-Wan is 18.


Things bracketed by *'s are *italic*.


Summary: An enemy from Qui-Gon's past threatens to ruin his future.

With Obi-Wan's life at stake, Qui-Gon must try to end the time-continuum

he finds them both stuck in before it's too late. 

Will he succeed, or will he find himself facing a tomorrow without

his Padawan?




ANGST ALERT!  This story is a MAJOR tear-jerker.  At least, I think so.

I wrote parts of it with tears streaming down my face if that's any

indication... (pathetic, yes, I know)

It involves character torture and death (no, I'm not going to tell you

if they STAY dead, you'll have to read and find out for yourself).

but if this would in anyway upset, depress or generally bum you out,

stop now.  Otherwise...



-Five Deaths to Die-



The street was alive with the bustle of people as

Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi crossed the

busy intersection on the designated crosswalk, headed for

the Malti-Venba Embassy.  Separated slightly by the press

of the crowd, Qui-Gon reached the other side first and

turned to wait for his Padawan, who was only about halfway

across, to catch up.


Suddenly, the desperate shriek of a warning horn split

the air and Qui-Gon watched his life fall apart before his



The pedestrians scattered in terror from the street as

a huge, out-of-control public transport barreled down the

middle of the road, headed right for the intersection. 

Both Jedi were taken completely by surprise.  They had

felt no warning, no indication of what was coming.  A

sudden dread washed over Qui-Gon, but it all unfolded too

fast for him to move, think, or even breathe. 


Obi-Wan shoved the lady next to him, throwing her

clear, and then intended to jump out of the way himself,

but something went wrong.  Terribly wrong.


It was barely a second from the time the wailing blast

sounded to the instant it was upon the crosswalk, but it

should have been enough time for a Jedi, it should have, if

everything were right, but all was not right.  For a split

instant Qui-Gon saw a look of confusion and alarm spread

across his apprentice's face as something actually froze

Obi-Wan in place, delaying him from action for that

critical split-instant until it was too late.


The Transport streaked through the intersection,

plowing through everything in its path, including Obi-Wan,

before smashing into the side of a building on the other

side of the street.


"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon cried out in horror, his legs in

motion before the Transport had even finished its

disastrous course across the intersection.


The impact had knocked the eighteen-year-old Jedi

halfway across the street.


Qui-Gon knelt beside his Padawan.  "Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan!"

he said in soft alarm.  For a moment he hesitated to touch

the boy, not wanting to do more damage by moving the

apprentice before he was stabilized.  But when Obi-Wan

murmured Qui-Gon's name, reaching out weakly towards him,

Qui-Gon threw caution to the wind and pulled the injured

Padawan into his lap, holding Obi-Wan gently in his arms. 

The readings Qui-Gon was getting through the Force about

Obi-Wan's injuries filled the Master's heart with dread as

he cradled the young man close. 


Obi-Wan gazed up at Qui-Gon with shocked, pain-filled

eyes.  "Master," he whispered softly, his crushed chest

impeding his ability to speak.  "I don't understand... I-I

couldn't move..."


"Shh, shh," Qui-Gon stroked Obi-Wan's hair gently,

cupping the apprentice's head in his hand.  "It'll be okay,

the medi-teams are on their way," he tried to sooth,

pouring strength into his Padawan's failing body.  But Obi-

Wan's body was like a sieve, and his life was draining away

too fast to stop.


"I'm going to die, aren't I Master?" Obi-Wan whispered

softly as the realization of his own injuries pressed in

upon him. 


"No!" Qui-Gon shook his head, tears in his eyes

because he could not believe his own words.  "No, Obi-Wan! 

You're going to be all right, it's going to be all right!"


Obi-Wan smiled faintly and shook his head as much as

his injuries allowed.  "You've never lied to me before

Master," he gasped as his lungs shut down.  "Don't start



"Your focus determines your reality Padawan," Qui-Gon

said, his voice thick.  "You cannot die, you cannot!"

"There is no death," Obi-Wan said faintly, his eyes

beginning to glaze.  "There is the Force... I'm sorry,

Maste...r," Obi-Wan's voice trailed away and his eyes

closed in eternal sleep as his spirit fled away from his

broken body. 


"No!  No!"  Qui-Gon hugged Obi-Wan's lifeless body to

his chest, but it was no good.  He could not recall Obi-

Wan's spirit.  It had fled beyond the grave and he would

not see the boy again until he too, became one with the



The sirens of the medi-team wailed, announcing their

approach.  The lights on their vehicles flashed red as

emergency workers poured out of the doors, but Qui-Gon did

not notice.  He did not register the motion and noise

around him; it was all unreal, like a dream.  But it was no

dream; it was a waking nightmare. 


Obi-Wan was gone.  Qui-Gon felt as if a huge piece of

his heart had just been ripped out of his chest, leaving a

gaping hole inside him, the sheer emptiness of which

threatened to crush him. 


The medi-teams gently tried to take Obi-Wan's body,

but Qui-Gon would not let go, so they moved on to help the

other victims who could still be saved. 


Qui-Gon was reeling in shock.  This was all wrong! 

All wrong!  It should not have happened, he felt sure of

that.  It was not just his need to deny the reality of the

tragedy that had just taken place that made him feel so

either.  Something deep inside was telling Qui-Gon that

this was all terribly wrong.  It was not supposed to

happen.  After all the dangers they had faced together, all

the life-threatening situations they had survived, to lose

the boy this way, so pointlessly, was devastating.


"Sir, we can't leave him here in the street, I'm sorry

sir, I'm very sorry," the young paramedic was saying to

Qui-Gon, once more trying to get him to relinquish Obi-

Wan's body. 


Numbly, Qui-Gon let go, let them take the shell that

had been his Padawan only a few short minutes ago.  He rose

to his feet, amazed that he remembered how to do so. 


Qui-Gon stood still in the middle of the street, life

rushed by about him, but he seemed to have lost his grip on

the flow of it all and it passed him by too fast to

comprehend.  He felt numb with grief and was not sure what

he was doing or where he was going. 


"You seem lost Master Jinn," a deep voice made him

turn.  It spoke softly, but there was no compassion in its

tone.  "Could it be that you now see how painful it is to

lose someone you care for?"


Qui-Gon found himself facing the shadowy figure of a

tall man in a dark, hooded cape.  At least, it was shaped

like a man, but he could not see the fellow's face under

the hood.  The presence seemed vaguely familiar to Qui-Gon,

but he did not know why, and was in no mood to ponder



"What are you talking about?  Who are you?" Qui-Gon

asked, somewhat sharply.  "How do you know who I am?"


"We've never met before," the being said.  "But I've

watched you for many years Qui-Gon Jinn.  It should not be

so hard to figure out, I am a Dacca, and how many Dacca's

have you ever encountered?  Come now, don't tell me you've

forgotten Aminorthini?  It's unseemly to kill someone and

then forget all about it," bitter hatred seeped into the

being's tone.


*Dacca, Aminorthini...*  Qui-Gon's brow furrowed

deeply.  That was so long ago it took him a few moments to

remember.  Then it came back to him.  Aminorthini, a green

little planet in the Rim Territories.  He had not been

there in over thirty years, but he remembered what had

happened there well enough.  He had lost his best friend on



"Yes, you see?  You do remember," the being said with

cold satisfaction.  "My name is Rylos, offspring of

Benthon, whom you murdered Jedi."


Rylos' voice brought the memories rushing back to Qui-

Gon.  Benthon and apparently Rylos as well, were of a rare,

but extremely powerful race called the Dacca.  They had

abilities and powers beyond what even the Jedi had ever

seen.   Dacca had no male of female, but when they were

ready, they bore a single offspring.  Knowing their great

power was above that of most mortals; they had strict rules

about interference with other sentient life and for this

reason were rarely, if ever, seen.  Benthon was a renegade

who did not agree with the Dacca rules.  He saw no reason

why he could not use his great power for his own gain.  He

was the only Dacca Qui-Gon had ever encountered, and the

memory was entirely evil. 


Aminorthini was Qui-Gon's very first mission after he

became a Knight, which is why he had been paired with

Muuli, who was also a new Knight.  They had been best of

friends during their Temple, and Padawan days and both

thought it wonderful that they should share their first

mission together.  It would also be Muuli's last. 


No one had known that an evil Dacca was causing the

problems on Aminorthini, and by the time the Jedi found

out, it was too late.  There was a confrontation and Muuli

was killed.  Qui-Gon had faced the greatest challenge of

his life that day in overcoming the deep desire for revenge

that burned inside him because of his friend's death.  Yet

in spite of it all, Qui-Gon had conquered his hate and

subdued the Dacca by tricking Benthon into using his own

power against himself.  But Benthon did not want to be sent

back to his own people for justice and had turned on Qui-

Gon at the last moment, forcing the young Knight to defend

himself and kill the evil Dacca.


Qui-Gon had grieved for a long time for Muuli, but he

had thought that that whole, terrible episode was ancient

history, until now, when it came back to haunt and hurt him

all over again.


"I did not murder Benthon, Rylos.  He tried to kill me

and I defended myself," Qui-Gon shook his head, still

trying to figure out the connection between that and what

had happened today.


"You lie Jedi," Rylos hissed darkly.  "My parent would

never have done such a thing!  You were mistaken about him,

but even after you knew the truth, you still killed him out

of vengeance, murdered in cold blood while he was your

prisoner!  And after you murdered him, you spread your

filthy lies about him to cover yourself and sullied his

name until it may not even be spoken among my people!  For

this, I swore my revenge," Rylos' voice sunk low and

menacing.  "I swore that someday you would hurt the way you

made me hurt, I just wanted you to know that Jinn.  Wanted

you to know *why*."



All at once it made terrible sense to the Jedi Master. 

"You did this," Qui-Gon breathed, suddenly finding his air

very short.  "You kept Obi-Wan from being able to get out

of the way in time!"


He still could not see Rylos face, but he got the

distinct impression of a satisfied smirk from the Dacca. 

Incredible rage welled up in Qui-Gon's heart.  He tamped

the anger down, but the pain remained, threatening to choke

the life out of him. 


"You speak of murder Rylos, but you have killed an

innocent boy today!" Qui-Gon seethed.  "Obi-Wan had nothing

to do with any of this, he was not even born yet when it

took place!  If you wanted to punish me, why hurt him?!"


"Because it hurts you worse this way.  He was the

closest thing you have to a son and by Dacca law I may

claim his life to pay your debt.  Blood for blood Jedi,"

Rylos hissed with evil satisfaction.  


"Blood?" Qui-Gon asked, his voice dangerously low. 

"You have blood all right Rylos, blood of the innocent!  It

stains your hands like a curse!  What does Dacca law say

about that?  What does Dacca law say about interfering in

the lives of other sentients not on your level?!"


"It is justified," Rylos' voice was tight.  "But I am

not unfair Jedi, you say you want the boy spared?  I'm

going to give you a chance, no, five chances, which is more

than you gave Benthon, and more than you deserve!  You're

going to live this day five times, this was day one.  I'm

going to give you four more chances to relive these last 24

hours; the outcome of it depends on you.  If you can change

the way this day ends, I will renounce my claim to the

boy's blood and leave you in peace.  Save him if you can! 

If you cannot, if you fail, then when the sun sets on the

fifth day, whatever has happened, will be fact, and will be

the way it stands for all eternity. 

This is for you alone to know, the boy must know

nothing of what has passed between us or it is all forfeit. 

Four tries Qui-Gon Jinn, four more tries..." Rylos' voice

faded away and he vanished with it, like grey mist blown on

the wind, leaving Qui-Gon alone under the shadow of the






Qui-Gon sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes.  Next to

him, in the bed against the far wall, he felt Obi-Wan's

sleeping presence.  Sliding quickly out of bed Qui-Gon

crossed the room, laying his hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder to

assure himself that the young Jedi was really there.  Last

night, when he had finally drifted into a troubled, fitful

sleep, Obi-Wan had been dead, but this morning, here he

was, sleeping soundly. 


Qui-Gon realized that, true to his word, Rylos was

giving him the day to do all over again.  Qui-Gon's hand

tightened on Obi-Wan's shoulder.  He would not let his

apprentice fall prey to the Dacca's twisted sense of

justice again. 


The motion woke Obi-Wan up.  The teenager rolled over,

rubbing the sleep out of his eyes with a yawn.  "Master?"

he asked, slightly blearily.  Obi-Wan was not a morning

person, well, not if he didn't have to be anyway.  "Time to

get up already?"


Qui-Gon nodded, his heart tightening at the familiar

sound of his apprentice's voice, one which he had thought

lost to him forever.  "Yes, Obi-Wan.  Get dressed.  I am

calling a service-driver to take us to the Embassy."


"I thought we were going to walk," Obi-Wan said,

rolling out of bed and stumbling over to the 'fresher. 

"I've decided we'll take a cab," Qui-Gon said quietly.


"You'll hear no complaints from me," Obi-Wan flashed

Qui-Gon a bright-eyed I'm-still-waking-up smile before

disappearing into the bathroom. 


The cab ride was uneventful, except that Qui-Gon

insisted, much to Obi-Wan's puzzlement, that they take a

roundabout route to get to the Embassy, avoiding the main



"Master?" Obi-Wan asked as he held the door for Qui-

Gon to get out.  "Forgive me, but you seem disturbed, or

distracted, is anything wrong?"


"We must be attentive Padawan.  We must be careful,"

was all Qui-Gon said.  They had avoided the situation of

yesterday, but Qui-Gon was wary.  It had been too easy and

Qui-Gon doubted that Rylos intended to let him off so



"Yes, Master, of course," Obi-Wan nodded.  He was

still puzzled, but he attributed Qui-Gon's concern to the

volatile situation they were walking into here at the

Embassy, as well as to the fact that they had had to

relinquish their lightsabers because no weapons were

allowed within two miles of the Embassy, especially not



Today, the Malti-Venba Government was holding a

huge commencement to officiate the new order that had been

created on the planet.  The new order rose up from a

stained history of brutal warfare and genocide, promising

freedom from the brutalities of the past.  However, it did

not rise unopposed.  Since it's formation six months ago,

the leaders had been assailed with threats from dissenters

who did not want to see democracy come to Malti-Venba.  The

situation had grown so serious, that they had finally

called on the Jedi to oversee their commencement

celebration.  If ever there was going to be a terrorist

strike, it would be now. 


Qui-Gon knew it was both dangerous and yet vital that

with such a threat, no one carry weapons of any sort into

the Embassy today.  He had tried to see if he could have

their lightsabers excepted, but was refused because the new

leaders said that they must not show special treatment to

anyone, they had just fought a war against an old régime

who had done so unjustly and the wounds were too fresh.


As concerned as Qui-Gon was about keeping Obi-Wan

safe, he could not neglect their duties.  They must go to

the Embassy today, and they must go unarmed. 


Side by side, the two Jedi headed up the steps of the

huge Embassy building.  Nearby, the Governor's personal

hover-car pulled up and the soon-to-be-appointed head of

state got out.


Above them, on the roof, two Venbian dissenters lay

flat on their stomachs, long-range blaster rifles pointed

down at the stairs below.  One of them set their sights on

the Governor.


Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan both felt the prick of warning an

instant before the shot was fired.  Grabbing the Governor,

Qui-Gon pulled him down, making the shot miss its mark. 

The Jedi sorely missed his lightsaber.


At the same instant the second sniper fired.  This one

was not off mark and the blast headed straight for the

middle of the big Jedi's back, even as Qui-Gon pulled the

Governor down.  Qui-Gon felt it coming, but not in enough

time to change direction.   


"Master!" Obi-Wan cried, leaping in front of Qui-Gon

and pushing him out of the way at the last moment.  The

shot caught the young Jedi directly between the shoulder

blades instead, throwing him forward.


"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon shouted in anguished horror as his

apprentice crumpled to the ground and rolled down the

stairs, landing in a sprawl at the bottom.


The Governor's guard's opened fire on the roof,

driving the sniper's heads down.  Dozens of security

officers hurried to take charge of the Statesman, ushering

him safely into the building while Qui-Gon rushed down the

stairs, three at a time, to Obi-Wan's side. 


"Oh, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said gently, taking his

apprentice's hands in his.  He knew the boy had only

moments left.  *"You shouldn't have done it Obi-Wan!"* he

cried in his heart.  *"Why did you have to be so noble?"*


Not for the world however, would Qui-Gon taint Obi-

Wan's last moments with any word of reprove, it was the

same thing he would have done anyway if positions were

reversed, so the Master just held the young Jedi's hands

tightly, feeling the pain of loss all over again. 


"Are you all right Master?" Obi-Wan asked faintly, his

eyes closing. 


"I'm all right Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said, his voice

cracking despite himself.  It was hard to believe that this

could hurt so much again.  This was what Rylos had meant. 

It was not going to happen the same way each time, only the

outcome was the same.


"Good," Obi-Wan murmured.  "Good..." the young man

shuddered slightly and his hand slid out of his Master's.


It was quicker this time, but no less heartbreaking. 


Qui-Gon knew that, just like this morning, Obi-Wan would be

alive once more tomorrow morning, that was the way that

Rylos had set it up, but even that knowledge did not soften

the pain of watching his Padawan die again.


The attack and Obi-Wan's death shook the confidence of

the Malti-Venbian leaders and the ceremony was postponed

until the following day.  Qui-Gon took the news in grim

silence.  It mattered little to him, because this day had

not really happened.  Tomorrow, he would live it all over

again.  Only he would not fail Obi-Wan again.  He was going

to do whatever it took, but he would not let this happen






"Master?" Obi-Wan's voice dragged Qui-Gon up from his

exhausted sleep.  "Master?"


Qui-Gon awoke with a start, still seated in the chair

he had sat down in last night before he apparently fell

asleep.  He had meant to wait up, he wanted to see what

exactly happened when the clock struck midnight and the day

started over again, but he had not been able to stay up,

whether because of his emotionally drained state, or

because Rylos would not let him, he did not know.


Obi-Wan was shaking Qui-Gon gently by the shoulder. 

"Master, didn't you go to bed last night?" the apprentice

shook his head in concerned reprove.  "We're going to be



"We are not going to the Embassy today, Obi-Wan," Qui-

Gon said calmly, rising out of the chair and stretching to

relieve the stiffness that sitting there all night had



Obi-Wan looked at Qui-Gon in surprise.  "But, Master,

isn't today the Commencement?" he asked, confused.


"Yes," Qui-Gon answered simply, heading over to the



"Isn't that what we came here for?" Obi-Wan was

puzzled to no end.  Qui-Gon was acting very strange.


"I have my reasons Padawan," Qui-Gon said softly,

looking at the boy with an intenseness and determination in

his eyes that Obi-Wan could not comprehend.  "Question me

no more."


"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan said obediently, but he did not



Qui-Gon did not know if what he did was right, but he

would do almost anything to keep the sad scene of the last

two days from repeating itself again, to break this vicious

circle.  If they did not go to the Embassy, if they did not

ever venture outside this room the whole day, then nothing

could happen to Obi-Wan, or at least, that's what Qui-Gon



Of course, once the cycle was broken, time, reality

and consequences would kick back into effect.  Neglecting

his duty would be a very serious charge to answer to, but

Qui-Gon was willing to risk it.  He was willing to risk

anything for Obi-Wan.


Unbeknownst to the two men, the Venbian Terrorists

were not at all pleased with the Jedi presence here on

Malti-Venba.  They knew the duo was here to support the new



"Wouldn't it be a good blow to this "New Democracy" if

it's Jedi puppet's strings were cut?" they asked

themselves.  The answer appeared to be yes.


The first, and last warning the Jedi had was the huge

explosion that blew all the windows out as the terrorist

bomb ripped the boarding house apart.  The horrendous blast

shook the earth, decimating the entire left side of the



The Jedi's room had been on the sixth floor, but when

Qui-Gon opened his eyes, he found that he was on ground

level now, surrounded by, and partially buried under,

jagged shards and huge chunks of debris that had once been

part of the ruined structure.  Breathing hurt incredibly

and his eyes refused to focus.  He had a severe concussion

at the very least. 


For a moment, he was too stunned and shocked to put

together any kind of coherent thought.  Then there was only

one that blazed through his head.  *Obi-Wan!*


Qui-Gon tried to move, but the ground shook

unsteadily, and the weight of the world seemed to press

down on him, crushing him against the rubble he lay on.  He

realized the shifting was all in his own head, as was most

of the crushing pressure he felt.


Emergency workers were already on the scene.  One bent

over Qui-Gon.  The Jedi could see the woman's lips moving,

but could hear no sound.  The explosion had shattered his



He must have looked dazed, because the woman and her

droid companion started administering hasty first aid. 


"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon forced his sluggish lips to form

the word.  "Obi-Wan," he rasped, wondering if he were

really speaking at all.  It felt like he was, but he could

not hear even his own voice, and the pain confused him.  He

searched for his Padawan, reaching out past the confines of

his battered body.  His sweep revealed that Obi-Wan was

quite close by, and he was not going to make it.  Qui-Gon

was not surprised.  Deeply disturbed at his repeated

failure, but no longer surprised.


The Medic and the droid tried to quiet him, but Qui-

Gon would not be stilled.  Rolling over, he crawled across

the rubble towards where he felt Obi-Wan, ignoring the way

the sharp surface cut his hands and knees and the way the

earth seemed to shake and heave below him. 


Somehow, Qui-Gon managed to find his apprentice in the

midst of all that destruction and death.  The young man was

almost entirely buried beneath a corner of the fallen

building.  Qui-Gon thought it was already too late, but

when he touched Obi-Wan's face with one, shaky hand, the

young Jedi stirred just a fraction.  His eyes opened for a



Obi-Wan was too crushed to speak, but Qui-Gon could

not have heard him anyway, so their eyes spoke for them



The world spun around Qui-Gon; floating black spots

and flashes of lighting clouded his vision and he could

barely breathe.  He knew Obi-Wan was going to die, but this

time, he wondered dimly if he was too.  Sinking down onto

the rubble beside his fading Padawan, Qui-Gon rested his

head next to Obi-Wan's as oblivion pulled them both under. 


The Jedi Master was dimly aware of being lifted off

the rubble and placed on a stretcher. 


"What about the other one?" he heard one of the

Medic's ask, doubtless meaning Obi-Wan.


"Too late for that one," someone responded somberly. 

"He's gone." 


"Well, there's still a chance for this one, get him to

the hospital."


The next thing Qui-Gon remembered was coming to in the

hospital ward.  His head throbbed unmercifully and for a

moment he thought he was seeing things, because the hazy

form of a man hovered above his bed.  Then he realized it

was Rylos. 


"Better be more careful Jinn," Rylos shook his head,

mockingly.  "You almost got *yourself* killed that time. 

But that won't do you any good.  You won't get off that



"Rylos," Qui-Gon rasped, strangely able to hear his

unwelcome visitor, but still unable to hear himself.  The

Jedi's unfocused eyes burned into the Dacca.  "Stop this! 

Punish me, take my life, but leave Obi-Wan alone!"


Rylos just smirked and held up a ghostly hand.  "Two

more tries," he said, indicating the number on his finger. 

"You've failed miserably so far Jinn.  But don't let

repetition dull you, the next few days won't be so easy,"

the Dacca threatened with icy amusement.  Leaning close,

Rylos whispered softly to him.  "Why don't you just give up

now, let me take him this way.  I promise you it will only

get more painful," the Dacca hissed menacingly. 


Qui-Gon's jaw tightened stubbornly.


"Good," Rylos grinned.  "I was hoping you'd chose that

way.  Keep trying Jinn, see how many times you can fail..."

Rylos disappeared and the room faded after him as

unconsciousness reclaimed Qui-Gon once more.





Qui-Gon's eyes popped open.  The sound of the air-

circulators and Obi-Wan's gentle snoring seemed deafening

after having been locked in complete silence.  For a moment

he just lay there, wishing he did not have to live this

day, again.  Never before had he so dreaded getting out of

bed, yet if he did not, something disastrous would no doubt

happen to them once more. 


Qui-Gon sat up with a sigh.  He could not hide from

this terrible game that Rylos had thrust upon him.  He had

tried that, he had let fear make his decision and it had

turned out terribly. 


*"Think Jinn,"* he told himself, holding his head in

his hands.  It no longer hurt from the injuries of ... the

last time it was today, but he could feel a headache coming

on quickly from trying to figure out what he was going to

do.  Forcing himself to be calm and center, he focused his

mind, driving away all the anxiety and fear. 


Calmer now, Qui-Gon rose to his feet.  They would go

to the Embassy.  He could not hide them from danger, he

would have to face it head on if he hoped to conquer it.


"Wake up Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon called gently, hoping he

was not rousing the boy for another day of death. 


They walked this time, because Qui-Gon was beginning

to see a pattern.  If he tried to hide, some new,

unexpected danger would find them.  But perhaps if he faced

the perils, they could be conquered. 


As they entered the huge doors of the Embassy, it

seemed to have worked.  He had been prepared.  He had been

ready for the accident and made sure the road was clear so

that no one was harmed.  He warned the Malti-Venbian

soldiers about the assassins on the roof and they were

apprehended without incident.


Qui-Gon sighed as he and Obi-Wan took their place

around one of the huge tables in the reception hall.  They

had survived the morning, now he just had the rest of the

day to worry about.


Obi-Wan felt Qui-Gon's prickling caution.  "It's all

right Master, after all the things that occurred this

morning, what else could happen?" he whispered in an

attempt lighten his Mentor's heavy mood.

"Let us hope that we don't find out Padawan," Qui-Gon

said wearily. 


"You sense danger?" Obi-Wan asked in concern, scanning

the area for himself but turning up nothing unusual.

"No," Qui-Gon shook his head.  "But that does not mean

it is not there."  Whatever Rylos had done had seemed to

dampen their ability to sense things before they happened,

or a least, to sense danger.


Qui-Gon was not usually given to paranoia, so Obi-Wan

knew that something was up.  "We will have to be on guard,

Master," Obi-Wan assured.


"Indeed," Qui-Gon nodded, scanning the room once more.

Qui-Gon sat tensely through the hours of talks and

speeches, hardly registering a word said.  He was, however,

very aware of everything else that was happening around



The soldiers, there to protect the gathering, were

fanned out around the room, guarding all the exits, or, the

thought struck Qui-Gon suddenly, was it *blocking* all the

exits?  A flash of apprehension gripped him.  Not a moment

too soon.  "Everyone get down!" Qui-Gon shouted.  Shoving

his chair back and overturning the table like a shield, he

pulled the Governor, seated beside him, down as well.  Obi-

Wan followed only milliseconds behind him. 


The warning gave the unarmed diplomats and guests the

moment's notice that they needed to hit the floor just as a

thick barrage of blaster fire tore through the room from

all sides as the Venbian terrorists, disguised as the

Malti-Venbian soldiers, opened fire on the helpless crowd.


The gunmen blocked the exits, letting no one out, but

more of their own in.  "Everyone cooperate, and no one gets

hurt!" one of the lead terrorists called out.  "We want

hostages, not dead people!"


The Malti-Venbians however, were not inclined to

believe the attacking gunmen and some of them rushed the



"No!" Obi-Wan tried to hold back the people next to

him.  The room was too completely surrounded; it was

suicide to attack the terrorists like that.


"Stay down!" Qui-Gon shouted, half to the people

making the foolish attack, and half to Obi-Wan who had

risen up in an attempt to stop the Malti-Venbians. 


Obi-Wan obeyed, the Malti-Venbians did not. 


Waves of terrorist blaster fire cut down the foolish

rush before it had moved halfway across the room.


Obi-Wan winced as dozens of people fell dead.  He

inched forward a little, peering around the table that he,

Qui-Gon, the Governor and several other diplomats were

taking cover behind.  Qui-Gon was inclined to pull him

back, but he stopped himself.  If he allowed fear to cloud

his thinking again it could be disastrous to everyone here.


"Nobody move!" the lead terrorist shouted, the veins

on his neck bulging in rage.  "I have a thermal detonator

here," he said, holding the rotund device aloft for all to

see.  "And I'm not afraid to use it!  I will die for my

cause and join the honored martyrs of my ancestors if I

have to, do you want me to do take you with me?!"


"Everyone be still!" the Governor barked firmly,

standing up and leaving the cover of his table.


The Jedi stood up as well, unwilling to leave the

brave Governor alone with no protection. 


"These are fanatics gentlemen," Governor Naheel said

softly to the Jedi on either side of him.  "They will do as

they threaten.  I myself would rather die and take them

with me," the man said quietly, his eyes speaking the truth

of his statement.  "But I would not take a room full of

innocent people with me," he murmured, glancing around at

all the guests who cowered behind tables and chairs.  There

had to be over a hundred people here. 


Qui-Gon nodded grimly.  He understood.


"I am Governor Vim Naheel," the Governor announced

calmly.  "If you are after someone gentlemen, it is me. 

Let these other people go," he addressed the terrorists,

gesturing to the frightened guests scattered about the



"You will not tell us what to do," the lead terrorist

snarled, walking over and pushing his the muzzle of his

rifle against the Governor's neck.  "We are in charge now. 

We decide what we will do!"


The terrorists grouped the civilian guests into one

corner of the room and put them under heavy guard with

orders to start shooting if any of them even batted an



Then they gathered the Governor, the diplomats and the

Jedi up onto the platform that was meant to have been used

for the commencement ceremony and forced them all to sit

down with their hands on the long table and in clear view. 

"If any of you even look at me wrong," the leader ranted,

"Ten people over there are gonna die!  Got it?!" he said,

indicating where his men held the civilian prisoners.


The twelve prisoners at the table nodded grimly. 


A comlink was shoved into Governor Naheel's hand.  "I

want this building evacuated, no one comes near this room

without my permission!" the leader demanded. 


The Governor complied quietly, giving the necessary

orders.  "Now," he said turning back to his captor.  "What

are your terms?"


"You don't beat around the bush, I like that," the

Venbian sneered.  "Our terms are simple!  Our terms are

freedom from your tyranny!"


"You wish me to step down?" The Governor inquired;

hoping it could be that simple.


"Oh, yes, but that is just the tip of the iceberg

Malti!" the man snarled.  "We already have you, Malti-Venba

is in our hands!  But the Republic will try to take it away

from us!  They back you, you filthy sons of waurmets!  Send

a message to the Republic with out demands!  Tell them we

demand that they step out of Venbian affairs!  That we

demand 500,000,000 dactaryies in exchange for your pitiful

lives.  And finally, tell them that we demand 5,000 ground

attack vehicles and 7,000 starfighters to rid our planet of

the cursed Malti race!  Venba for the Venbians!" he shouted

and his men picked up the cry until the halls of the

reception room rang with it.


"You are mad," Governor Naheel informed the man icily. 

"The Republic will never comply with such demands, they



"You'd better hope you're wrong big man," the leader

threatened.  "Or you're all dead men."


The Venbian terrorist's demands were sent to the

Republic officials, but Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan both knew that

the Venbians were dreaming to think that they could coax

those terms out of the Senate, or even get the Senate to

decide on anything as quickly as they wanted.


As the hours dragged by and there was still no

response, the head terrorist became increasingly volatile

and edgy.  He paced the length of the dais, sweating and

swearing heavily.  "Why don't they answer?!  They don't

think we're serious!" he growled, angrily snatching up the

comlink that was their connection to the outside world. 

"Tell them they have one more hour to meet our demands

before we start killing people!" he nearly screamed into

the mouthpiece.


"You must be patient, these things take time," the

negotiator on the other end tried to reason calmly.


"I have been patient!  One hour, do you hear me?" the

leader would have none of it.


Twenty minutes later, one of the terrorists brought

word that a squad of soldiers was trying to sneak up behind

the building. 


"Get those men away from here or I'll blow this whole

blankedy-blank place!" the leader cursed into the comlink. 

"You've just lost yourself forty minutes.  We start killing

people now!" he threatened. 


Everyone at the table tensed.


"This chamber is equipped for holo-transmissions is it

not?" the leader rounded on Governor Naheel.


Naheel nodded slowly. 


"Good," the Venbian sent some of his men to operate

the controls.  "We're going to send a message that the

whole blinking Republic will hear!" he stormed angrily. 

"Maybe *then* they'll take us seriously!"


The leader walked slowly around the table, sizing

everyone up. 


Eleven middle-aged men and a teenager.


On the second time around the table the terrorist

stopped behind Obi-Wan's chair, forcing the muzzle of his

rifle under Obi-Wan's chin.  "Get up!" he barked.


Qui-Gon felt his heart clutch up.


Obi-Wan obeyed, slowly rising out of his seat.  "You,

young spawn of a corrupt empire, how do you feel about

dying because of your government's stupidity?!" the

terrorist leader demanded, standing behind Obi-Wan with his

blaster pressed under the young Jedi's right ear, just

above the start of the Padawan's braid.


Obi-Wan's expression remained calm.  "It is the pledge

of every Jedi to be ready to die that others might live.  I

would not be the first to fulfill that pledge.  I am not



Qui-Gon's heart ached with both pride and apprehension

at Obi-Wan's brave words.  *"NO!"* he was screaming inside. 

*"NO!  Not again!"*


"Is that so, Jedi?" the leader sneered, knocking Obi-

Wan's head painfully to the side with a swipe of his

blaster.  "We'll have to see what we can do about that. 

You will be afraid of us!  The whole galaxy will learn to

fear us!"


The terrorists forced the other eleven men to rise and

move away from the table.  Clearing away the chairs, the

terrorist stripped Obi-Wan of his tunic and shirt and

forced him to lie down on his back on the tabletop.  As his

men bound the young Jedi's wrists and ankles to the legs at

the four corners of the table, the leader turned to address

the holo-recorder. 


"Hear me!  I am Macco Ry!  Leader of the glorious

Venbian movement!  Our planet is overrun by the evil

Maltis!  We demand justice and an end to this curse!  We

have been patient, we have given you time, but now you will

learn that we are not to be trifled with.  Watch and heed

well what you are going to see!" Macco ranted.


*"He IS mad,"* Qui-Gon thought in horror.  *"He's a

lunatic!"*  That lunatic had his apprentice tied down to a

table and there was nothing he could do about it.  The big

Jedi balled his hands into tight fists.


Macco pulled a gleaming knife out of his boot,

advancing slowly towards the helpless Jedi on the table.

Obi-Wan closed his eyes, trying to still his pounding

heart.  He was not afraid, he was not, he would not allow

himself to be!  Obi-Wan felt the cool metal against his

throat and unconsciously tensed.


Macco smiled, but instead of cutting Obi-Wan's throat

he moved the knife over and slashed the veins on the inside

crux of the young Jedi's elbow. 


Obi-Wan stiffened, but gave no other indication of



Circling the table, the insane leader slit the

apprentice's other arm in the same manner, moving the cruel

knife down to cut Obi-Wan's wrists and letting the

teenager's blood flow onto the table.


"Stop," Qui-Gon moved forward a step.  "Let him go,

he's just a boy.  Take me, it would make a bigger

impression on the Senate to kill a Jedi Master, would it

not?  Isn't that what you want?  An impression?" he

reasoned desperately.


"No, Master, don't!" Obi-Wan protested from the table.

Macco seemed to consider this for a moment, but then

shook his head.  "People have an innately protective nature

towards the young," he said coldly, holding up his bloody

knife.  "Let's see if his suffering can move them.  I warn

you!" he turned back towards the holo-cam.  "I am not a

patient man!  Do you know how long it takes a man to bleed

to death?  Fifteen minutes!  Answer me, or this boy has

fifteen minutes left to live!" he threatened.


Turning back to Obi-Wan, Macco deliberately opened a

long gash across the boy's chest. 


Qui-Gon realized stonily that the madman was not just

going for veins anymore.  He was going for nerves.  He

wanted a reaction out of the teenager and was determined to

get one. 


Obi-Wan steeled himself.  Pressing his eyes shut, he

tried to close out the pain and focus on his body, willing

the dangerous bleeding to stop.  Qui-Gon felt what his

apprentice was doing and reached out to help him, urging

the cuts to clot and the veins to seal off. 


Minutes dragged by and Macco grew more vicious as his

anger and aggravation mounted.  He slashed Obi-Wan's wrists

again and again, frustrated by the way the obedient Jedi's

body kept sealing the injuries off.


Obi-Wan outlasted his fifteen minutes, but he could

feel himself weakening dangerously.  His head was beginning

to swim from blood loss and the world became hazed in



Qui-Gon desperately wanted to stop them, but what

could he do?  If he tried anything it would cost the lives

of dozens of innocent people.  He could not sacrifice the

many for the one, no matter how dear the one was, or how

badly he wanted to do it.


Macco, enraged by the Republic's continued stalling

and Obi-Wan's obstinate refusal to give in to his torture

decided he had let it drag long enough. 


With a sudden downward thrust he stabbed Obi-Wan in

the chest. 


The move caught the young Jedi by surprise.  Obi-Wan

gave a startled, gasping cry as white-hot pain knifed

through him.  Macco stabbed him several more times and the

world began to fade around the apprentice.


"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon cried in anguish as blood began to

trickle out of the corner of the young man's mouth.


Only Governor Naheel's hand on his arm brought the

incensed Jedi back to his senses enough to keep him from

charging up to the table and ripping the knife out of

Macco's bloodstained hands. 


Naheel caught Qui-Gon's eyes and shook his head sadly. 

"It's too late," the statesman mouthed, his eyes betraying

the depth of his sorrow.


Macco too seemed to know that Obi-Wan was dying, so he

cut the cords that bound the teenager to the table.  Some

of the terrorists hauled the bleeding boy off the tabletop

and dropped him at Qui-Gon's feet. 


Obi-Wan could not support his own weight and crumpled

to the ground when they let go. 


Qui-Gon was holding him in an instant, cradling the

Padawan close as Obi-Wan's blood stained his tunic red. 

Obi-Wan melted into Qui-Gon's embrace, coughing

fitfully as his punctured lungs filled with blood and his

ruptured organs shut down.  It seemed to be a race to see

which would kill him first.


"My Padawan," Qui-Gon held him tightly, wiping the

blood from Obi-Wan's face with the corner of his robe and

trying to warm the boy's cold body.  "My brave Padawan," he

shook his head.  "My poor, brave Obi-Wan."


Macco was ranting again, but Qui-Gon was not

listening.  Right now, his whole world revolved around the

bleeding, dying boy in his arms.  He could not keep Obi-Wan

alive, he knew that, but reaching into the boy's failing

body he did his darndest to relieve Obi-Wan's pain as much

as possible.


Obi-Wan reached up, holding onto Qui-Gon's arm and

leaving a bloody handprint on the big Jedi's sleeve.  "I'm

so cold Master," he whispered. 


Qui-Gon held the boy closer in his arms, wrapping him

in both his body warmth, and the warmth of his love. 


Obi-Wan smiled faintly.  "Master," he murmured,

burying his head against Qui-Gon's chest and sounding for

all the world like a little child.  "I'm tired Master," he

lisped distantly.  "I can't see you..."


"Then rest Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon soothed gently, running

his hand over his Padawan's short hair.  "Rest, and I'll

see you in the morning," the big Jedi's voice choked.


The morning.  One morning left.  One last chance.  He

had failed so far, would he do so again tomorrow?


Slowly, Obi-Wan's hand slid down Qui-Gon's arm.  The

apprentice was not dead, but he was going.


Qui-Gon reflected somewhat bitterly that if Rylos

wanted to punish him, he could have done it in no better

way than to force him watch his beloved Padawan die in his

arms, not once, but five times. 


Qui-Gon sat on the floor, cradling Obi-Wan's body long

after it grew cold and lifeless.  The hostage situation

dragged on for hours, but Qui-Gon no longer noticed what

happened.  It didn't matter.  Obi-Wan was dead.  Nothing

else mattered. 





Qui-Gon woke up long before the dawn and sat in a

chair by Obi-Wan's bed, watching the young man sleep.  He

had the horrible feeling that this was the last time he was

going to be able to do so. 


Obi-Wan had grown so much from the sometimes awkward,

but always eager child that he had met nearly five years

ago, but he was still so young.  Too young to die because

of a dark enemy from his Master's past. 


*"I don't want you to die for my mistakes Padawan,"*

Qui-Gon agonized.  *"I want to protect you, but I don't

know how!"*


Morning came too soon.  Much too soon for Qui-Gon.


Obi-Wan found his Master strangely quite as they

prepared for the day and when Qui-Gon looked at him, it

seemed as if the older Jedi's eyes were haunted with a pain

the apprentice did not understand.


"Master?" he ventured on the way to the Embassy. 

"Have I done something wrong?"  Obi-Wan had noticed the way

Qui-Gon kept looking at him and was beginning to think that

there must be something amiss.


"No," Qui-Gon shook his head quickly.  "No, Obi-Wan,

you have done nothing wrong.  You must forgive me, I am...



"I noticed.  Do you want to tell me why?" the young

Jedi asked sensitively. 


Qui-Gon just sighed. 


"Can I do anything?" Obi-Wan wanted to know. 


"Just, be careful," Qui-Gon said at last.  "I don't

want to lose you Padawan," he said softly.


Obi-Wan laughed.  "I'm not going anywhere Master!" he

assured and Qui-Gon tried to smile back, but his heart was



Once again, the familiar string of events was evaded,

the accident, the shooting, and this time, the terrorist

take-over was prevented as well. 


Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon sat through the ceremonies as

Governor Naheel was sworn in as Malti-Venba's new Head-of-

State.  Afternoon shadows were lengthening when the two

Jedi left the Embassy and Qui-Gon was beginning to hope

that they were going to make it this time.  His senses

probed every corner before they turned it and he cross-

examined every movement that stirred on their way back to

the hotel. 


Crossing the lobby they entered the lift shaft.

Qui-Gon breathed a sigh of relief as he punched the

button for the sixth floor.  He could not wait for this day

to be over.  It had seemed years long to him.


The moment after the doors slid shut in front of them,

the hair on the back of his neck stood on end at the sudden

surge of trepidation that washed over him.  It turned into

a cold lump in his stomach as the elevator took them *down*

instead of up.


"Master," Obi-Wan asked hesitantly.  "Aren't we

supposed to be going *up*?" 


It was the last thing either of them remembered before

a heavy stun beam radiated throughout the confined space,

rendering both Jedi unconscious.


When Qui-Gon woke up, it felt as if a Bantha had

stepped on his head.  He tried to move but found that he

was chained to the cold, damp wall behind him. 


Obi-Wan hung next to him, still unconscious.  He tried

to probe, to see if the Padawan was all right, but he found

only blankness.  With a start he realized that he could not

touch the Force.  It was as if he were locked inside



The door scraped open and several of their captors

entered.  Qui-Gon would have bet anything that they were

Venbian loyalists.  He would have won too.


"Wake him up," a tall man with a scar on his right

cheek motioned towards Obi-Wan. 


A shorter man touched the apprentice's bare side with

a shock bar. 


Obi-Wan jerked and moaned, rudely awakened from his

stun-induced slumber.


"Okay," scar-face said, looking back and forth between

the two Jedi.  "Let's get down to business right away shall

we?  I need to know where the government is going to move

the new munitions factory, and one of you are going to tell

me.  Are you going to cooperate, or are you going to make

me get nasty?"


"Only the Governor and his council members would know

that," Qui-Gon shook his head.  "It was not discussed at

the meeting and neither of us are privy to that

information.  You are wasting your time," Qui-Gon was

actually able to tell the truth.


Scar-face scowled.  "I have it from a very reliable

source that it *was* discussed at the meeting.  You want to

be difficult about this?  I can oblige."  He twisted a

cruel looking three-tongued device in his hands.  "Who

wants to go first?"  He seemed to ponder for a moment

before pointing at Obi-Wan.  "Hmm, him I think," the man

said casually.  "Youth can sometimes be weakness.  Either

for him, or for you," Scar-face said pointedly to Qui-Gon

as his men unchained Obi-Wan from the wall and switched him

to a set in the middle of the chamber.


Qui-Gon pulled against his bonds ineffectually as they

clapped Obi-Wan into a set of chains that held his arms

crossed at the wrist in front of him. 


"Perhaps he will tell me, or perhaps you will for his

sake, it makes no difference," Scar-face said in an overly

cheerful voice.  He was obviously enjoying this. 


"There is nothing to tell!" Qui-Gon protested

vehemently, trying to make his words carry into the

Venbian's mind, only to find once more that he could not

get past whatever was blocking him.  


"Ah, now, none of your tricks!" Scar-face said.  "Do

you think I am stupid enough to attempt to take a pair of

Jedi prisoner and not take some precautions?" the man shook

his head.  "Your powers will not work in this room Jedi, my

pretty pets here assure that," the man reached through the

bars of it's cage and petted the neck of one of the Yslami

that Qui-Gon now realized surrounded the room. 


"You cannot use them on us, and you cannot use them to

help yourselves.  One last chance before I start on the

boy, are either of you going to tell me?" he asked, holding

the multi-pronged device ready in his hand, taking his

place behind Obi-Wan.


"We cannot divulge what we do not know," Obi-Wan shook

his head.  Squashing the tremors of fear that tried to

clutch at his heart.


"Have it your way," Scar-face shrugged, raising his

device and letting it fall sharply across Obi-Wan's back

and shoulders. 


Obi-Wan tensed, but remained still.  Of course, the

chains on his wrists made sure of that anyway.  The Padawan

bit his lip as the Venbian continued to flail him. 

Fiery tendrils of pain crisscrossed his shoulders and

each cruel touch of his torturer's many-tentacled device

added three new ribbons of agony to the unfortunate young

Jedi's hurting body. 


Obi-Wan stifled a cry, determined to take this in

silence.  The device being used on him was insidious.  It's

three tentacles resembled the thongs of a whip, only they

were soft, almost gelatinous.  Whatever the substance was

that it was made of burned like fire upon contact with the

apprentice's skin.  The harder the man behind Obi-Wan

struck him with it, the worse it hurt.


Obi-Wan grit his teeth hard, the pain wracking his

body.  Twisting his wrists in the tight, iron cuffs that

held his arms crossed in front of him, Obi-Wan attempted to

bring the Force to bear on his chains, but found that Scar-

face was unfortunately telling the truth when he said that

they could not touch the Force here.  He was cut off from

it, and he was on his own to withstand this torment.


The Venbian struck him a particularly savage blow and

Obi-Wan moaned softly between his teeth.  Clamping his lips

shut tight, Obi-Wan resisted the urge to do that again.  He

*would* be silent.  He would not cry out.  He would not do

that to Qui-Gon.


Qui-Gon struggled against the chains that held him

until his wrists bled, but it did no good.  He could not

get free.  He was forced to stand there against the wall,

forced to watch as the merciless man tortured his



The Jedi Master's heart throbbed as raw as his wrists. 

Cut off from the Force as they were, he could not feel his

Padawan's pain, but he could see Obi-Wan jerk as the blows

fell and hear the silent hiss of the air between his teeth. 

He could see the nasty red welts beginning to spread across

Obi-Wan's young back and the agonized tension in his

shoulders.  Yes, Qui-Gon could see the pain, which the

apprentice was trying valiantly to hide, and it broke his



Scar-face beat Obi-Wan until the young Jedi's blood

ran, then he changed methods, stabbing tiny needles into

precise points on Obi-Wan's body he sent horrible jolts of

pain through them that made the boy convulse spasmodically. 


Through it all, Obi-Wan remained stoically silent.

But as the hours dragged by and the torture grew more

and more intense Obi-Wan started making sounds he couldn't



Scar-face was no longer amused, now he was growing

annoyed, and as he did, his methods of torture became

increasingly brutal and damaging.  Obi-Wan should have

passed out hours ago, only the stim-shots they kept giving

him kept him alert enough to continue receiving the cruel

treatment.  It was dangerous to administer more than two

stim's every four hours.  Obi-Wan had had over six already.


When the pain finally broke Obi-Wan to screaming, Qui-

Gon thought he was going to die.  Each anguished cry from

his apprentice stabbed straight through his heart like a

vibro-shiv, ripping it to shreds.


"Stop it!" Qui-Gon cried in anguish.  "If I knew,

don't you think I'd tell you, just to put an end to this?"

he half-shouted when he could take Obi-Wan's screams no



"I don't know what you'd do Jedi, so until I hear what

I want to hear, I'm going to do whatever I please, got it?"

Scar-face threatened, jerking Obi-Wan's limp head up by his



Obi-Wan's throat was raw from screaming and his voice

hoarse.  He dangled from the chains in a terrible half-

consciousness.  His body could not take much more and he

knew it.  After this, death would almost seem a release.


He felt Scar-face jab a needle into his arm, only this

time it was an injection.  *"Mind drugs,"* was all Obi-Wan

had a chance to think before his thoughts scattered and his

mind started whirling dizzily under the effects of the



Obi-Wan had resisted mind probes before, but it was

not even a matter of resisting this time.  He knew nothing

of value to his captors.  He had nothing to betray.


"The munitions factory, where is it to be?"


Obi-Wan's pale face wrinkled in confusion.  "I don't

know..." he mumbled hoarsely.


Scar-face struck him with a shock-bar, making Obi-Wan

cry out.


"No more games, where is it?!"


Obi-Wan shook his head vigorously, his eyes blank and

distant due to the drug in his system.  "I don't know."


Scar-face's lips clamped tightly shut.  There was no

way in the boy's condition, and without the use of his

precious Force powers, that Obi-Wan should be able to

resist the effects of the truth serum, yet he still told

them nothing.  The Venbian began to doubt whether the Jedi

knew after all, and that thought made him angry.  He did

not like to think that he had wasted his time here. 


"Double the injection," he ordered one of his men,

holding out his hand to receive the hypo.


Qui-Gon's eyes grew large in horror.  "You can't do

that!  You'll kill him!  He doesn't know!  He has nothing

to tell you, can't you see that?!" the Jedi demanded.


Scar-face just glared at Qui-Gon coldly.  "If he truly

doesn't know, then he's of no use to me anyway," the

Venbian said heartlessly, pressing the hypo against Obi-

Wan's shoulder and flooding his system with a deadly dose

of the potent drug. 


Obi-Wan sobbed for breath as the drug raged through

his system, disrupting his normal body functions.


"Where are the munitions factories!" Scar-face nearly



"I don't know, I don't know," Obi-Wan moaned,

beginning to tremble uncontrollably.  He gave a gasping cry

as the drug wreaked havoc on his body.  "Oh God, I don't

know!" he cried desperately.


Scar-face shook his head, at last convinced that the

boy truly did not know.  He had made a mistake.  A costly

one for all involved.


"Unchain them, lock them up in one of the holding

cells.  I'll decide what to do with them tomorrow," the

Venbian declared, stalking away disgustedly. 


Obi-Wan had to be carried out of the room.


It was dark in the cell when the door slammed shut,

but there was still enough light for Qui-Gon to see the

extent of the horrendous damage that had been done to Obi-

Wan's young body. 


The Jedi Master's heart felt as heavy as a lead

balloon as he once more found himself holding his bloody

apprentice in his arms.  This could not be!  He would not

accept it!


Obi-Wan was shaking; his body trembling uncontrollably

from the drug over-dose that had been forced upon him.  The

apprentice's mind was still hazy and he was only half-



Even without the Force, Qui-Gon knew his Padawan was

dying.  Only this time, there would be no tomorrow for them

to be together again.  Qui-Gon had failed for the last



Rylos had known all along, Qui-Gon realized bitterly. 

This was no fair contest; the Dacca had stacked the deck

all the way along.  He never intended to let Qui-Gon beat

him at his own games, he merely wanted to torture the Jedi

by forcing him to watch Obi-Wan die five deaths, each

crueler than the last. 


Well, he had succeeded.  Rylos could have devised no

more cruel punishment than this, no better way to break

Qui-Gon's heart.


"Master," Obi-Wan moaned softly, his voice shaky and

raw.  "Master!" he held onto Qui-Gon with trebling hands. 

"Don't leave me Master," he begged softly.  "I can't do

this alone... don't want to be alone..." Obi-Wan was

mumbling incoherently, still under the effects of the mind



"I won't leave you Obi-Wan.  I promise, I'm right

here," Qui-Gon soothed, tears gathering in the corners of

his weathered blue eyes. 


"But they sent me away," Obi-Wan murmured sadly.  "You

didn't want me, nobody wanted me..." the drug had left Obi-

Wan's soul wide open to all his worst memories, all the

things that had ever hurt him. 


Qui-Gon's heart tightened painfully.  He knew what

Obi-Wan was talking about. 


"Obi-Wan," he said hoarsely, shaking his head, but

Obi-Wan did not stop.


"Then, then you didn't want me back..." Obi-Wan's

voice was plaintive and distant.


Qui-Gon pressed his fingers gently to Obi-Wan's lips. 

"Shh, Shh," he hushed quietly.  "That was a long time ago

Obi-Wan, and it was never *you* I didn't want.  Taking you

as Padawan was the *best* thing I ever did, and I haven't

regretted it for a moment," he assured tenderly.


"I know," Obi-Wan whispered softly.  "I know, Master,

I-I just can't seem to control... don't know what I'm

saying..." for a moment there was a flicker of clarity in

Obi-Wan's eyes, then they clouded again and a look of pain

crossed his face.  "Don't know..." he mumbled.  "Don't

know!  I don't know!  Leave me alone!" he thrashed

deliriously, reliving the torment that Scar-face had put

him through. 


Qui-Gon held him tightly until the fit passed and he

could see a touch of Obi-Wan behind the Padawan's glazed

blue eyes again. 


"Sorry..." Obi-Wan apologized weakly, miserably. 

"So sorry Master... I wanted to, to be silent.  Didn't

want to let them make me... Didn't want to hurt you..."


"Obi-Wan, you didn't hurt me," Qui-Gon's voice shook. 

"You don't need to apologize, you were very brave.  I'm the

one who's sorry!  I failed you Obi-Wan.  I failed you." 


Tears slid silently down Qui-Gon's cheeks, falling down to

mingle with Obi-Wan's blood.  "I wanted so badly to save

you, I was desperate to save you!" Qui-Gon shook his head

in misery.  "I'm sorry Padawan, I am so sorry!" he

whispered, his voice choked with the sorrow that devoured



"D-don't cry Master," Obi-Wan brushed Qui-Gon's face

with trembling fingertips.  "Not your fault."  The young

Jedi smiled wanly.  "I guess, guess I'm going to have to go

after all Master," he coughed weakly.  "But don't grieve,

you haven't lost me... it's - it's just going to be awhile

- awhile 'til we see each other again." 


Obi-Wan knew how deeply losing Xanatos had scarred Qui-Gon's

sensitive heart.  He did not want his death to do the same

thing that Xanatos' betrayal had.  "Please, Master, for me...

Don't - don't be afraid to - to take another Padawan," Obi-Wan

gasped.  The apprentice's breathing was racing rapidly out

of control, making his injured chest heave painfully and

his already blurry vision swim.  "Somewhere out there,

there's another very lucky child for you, who needs you

like I did..."


Qui-Gon wanted to scream that he would never, ever

take another Padawan.  He would never open himself to such

heartbreak again.  But for Obi-Wan's sake he did not. 


"I don't want another Padawan Obi-Wan," he choked out

instead.  "I want you.  I need you.  There's so much I

never told you, so much I thought we would have time to do

together... I love you Obi-Wan.  I've never said that to

you, but I do!  I love you," Qui-Gon whispered, his heart



Obi-Wan smiled, somewhat dreamily.  "I know.  You

didn't have to say, you said it by your actions..." the boy

coughed, his already white face going a shade paler.  "I

love you too Master, and I always will."  Obi-Wan searched

weakly for Qui-Gon's hand.  When Qui-Gon gave it to him,

Obi-Wan entwined their fingers and squeezed the Jedi

Master's big hand as hard as his shaking body and failing

strength allowed him to.


"We will always be together," the Padawan whispered



A spasm seized Obi-Wan and he tensed, moaning quietly. 


"Master," he choked softly, nearly sobbing in pain. 

All Qui-Gon could do was hold Obi-Wan, hold him and



"It hurts Master..." Obi-Wan was sliding towards

delirium again, his fingers tightening around Qui-Gon's,

his other hand clutching at the Master's arm.  "It hurts so



Without the Force, Qui-Gon could not even ease his

dying apprentice's pain.  This was what Rylos had meant

about it being worse.  Qui-Gon didn't want this to be the

way it stood for all eternity.  Did not want Obi-Wan to die

such a horrible death, but there was nothing he could do to

about it.


Swaying gently back and forth, Qui-Gon rocked Obi-Wan

in his lap like a little child who was afraid of the dark. 

With no other comfort to give the dying teenager, Qui-Gon

started singing a soft Twi'Lek lullaby that he had learned

years ago from a little girl on a sun-kissed world far away

from this dark place. 


Obi-Wan had never heard his Master sing before and it

had a soothing effect on him.  As the soft, strange words

of the alien lullaby filled the small chamber, Obi-Wan

relaxed in Qui-Gon's arms and his breathing slowed.  Qui-

Gon's voice cracked with emotion, but it seemed to help

Obi-Wan, so he kept singing. 


            "Nu ba ta ruul'k,

            Fa be le, na tuura,

            Nu ba ta haynah

            Shii la tay da suura,"


He sang softly, cradling his apprentice close and

rocking gently as Obi-Wan's eyes began to close in a sleep

from which there was no waking.


The meaning of the words in the lullaby twisted inside

Qui-Gon's heart like a dagger.


            "Hush, hush little one,

            Don't cry anymore.

            Hush, hush my child,

            Sleep's at the door.


            When you open your eyes

            The darkness will flee.

            And as the night dies

            I'll see you smile at me."


As he sang, Qui-Gon felt Obi-Wan slip away quietly,

leaving only his body behind in Qui-Gon's strong arms.


Tears rolling down the big Jedi's cheeks, he clutched

the lifeless boy to his chest and choked out the last line

of the lullaby around the huge, raw lump that had formed in

his throat.


            "Hush, hush and sleep,

            Hear the twilight drums.

            Hush, hush, my dear,

            Then the morning comes..."


Then the morning comes, but it would not find Obi-Wan. 

It would not find him ever again.  Qui-Gon bowed his head

over the lifeless boy, his broad shoulders shaking with

silent sobs.


Somewhere outside the last rays of the setting sun

sank below the horizon, plunging Malti-Venba into a night

almost as black as the one that Qui-Gon felt surrounding

his soul.  The fifth day ended and it was over. 


This time there was no waking, no reprove.  Obi-Wan

was gone for good and a large part of Qui-Gon's heart had

died with him. 


Qui-Gon had no idea how long he sat in stunned, heart-

broken silence, holding Obi-Wan for the last time, but it

must have been nearly morning when a movement to his right

made him raise his blood-shot eyes. 


One word echoed through the Jedi's stupefied, grieving





Rylos looked down upon the pair in grim satisfaction. 

He looked more solid, more corporal this time than he had

on any of their previous encounters. 


"Game over Jinn, you lose," Rylos said with a smile.

"I guess you've failed him for the last time.  Oh, I

brought you something," the Dacca smirked, dropping Obi-

Wan's lightsaber carelessly on top of the deceased young

Jedi.  "Tell me, will this burn with rest of his pitiful

body?" Rylos mocked cruelly.


It was a challenge and Qui-Gon knew it.  Rylos was

tempting him, but right now he didn't care.  Blind with

grief, Qui-Gon grabbed the weapon and leaped to his feet,

feeling an incredible rage and hatred swell up inside of

him.  Sheer hate pounded in his veins and pulsed in his

temples as the blue blade sprung to life in his grip.


Rylos was making no move to stop the angry Jedi, no

motion to defend himself.  It would be so easy for Qui-Gon

to cut the sneering Dacca in half.  So easy...


The soft blue glow of Obi-Wan's lightsaber in his

hands brought Qui-Gon back to his senses.  *What was he

doing?!*  Giving into his hate this way would neither bring

Obi-Wan back, nor honor his memory. 


He was a Jedi, and to kill Rylos in anger, no matter

what the Dacca had done, would destroy him.  It would turn

him to the Dark Side and Evil would devour him.


His body trembling with the depth of the emotions he

was feeling, Qui-Gon flicked the blade off.  For a moment,

only the sound of his own ragged breathing filled the small



"Get out of here Rylos," Qui-Gon said at last, his

voice raspy, but no longer filled with hate.  Now there was

only heartbreak and pain in his deep blue eyes as the Jedi

Master sunk down again, beside the still body of his former



Qui-Gon gently folded Obi-Wan's lifeless hands around

the handle of his lightsaber, letting it rest on the boy's

cold chest.  "You've done your job," he said sadly, gazing

down at Obi-Wan's pale face as he spoke.  "Revenge is

yours.  You can hurt me no worse; nothing you could do

could hurt me any more than you already have.  Let the dead

rest in peace now Dacca.  I never want to see you again." 

Qui-Gon did not look at Rylos, but continued to stare down

at Obi-Wan's body with eyes that could only look back, and

remember what had been.


Rylos stared at the Jedi in puzzled shock.  He knew

Qui-Gon had wanted to kill him, he had been driving him to

do it, but he *hadn't*.  "You wanted to kill me Jedi, why

didn't you?" the Dacca asked in confusion.


"I am a Jedi," Qui-Gon said hoarsely, looking up at

Rylos with pain-filled eyes.  "Despite what you think I did

all those years ago, Jedi do not kill for revenge.  We

cannot, it is wrong.  I wanted to kill you, yes, but it

would not have been right to do so, just because I wanted

to.  I *loved* Obi-Wan, Rylos.  What kind of honor would I

be paying him if I let his death destroy me?  He would not

wish it, I do not wish it," Qui-Gon answered with numb



Qui-Gon's answer shook Rylos to the core of his being. 

If what the Jedi said was true, then it was not possible

for Qui-Gon to have killed Benthon for revenge back on

Aminorthini, and if that were not possible, then it might

mean that Benthon had, in fact, been the perpetrator of

everything the Jedi claimed he had been.  Rylos shook his

head.  It could not be true.  It could not!


But it had to be true.  He had given Qui-Gon far more

compelling reason than Benthon had for the Jedi to want him

dead, but Qui-Gon had stayed his hand, even while his

beloved apprentice's body grew cold on the floor below

them.  Qui-Gon had not struck.  He was not guilty.


"I was wrong about you Jinn," Rylos said slowly.  "And

I was wrong about Benthon," the Dacca's voice was soft and

sad.  Rylos understood now why his people had the laws they

did.  It was too easy for the Dacca to play God in people's

lives and hand out judgement as they saw fit, but they did

not always see everything.  "I see now, that it was as you

said.  I'm sorry, sorry for everything," Rylos apologized

stiffly.  The door to the cell swung open.  "You are free

to go Jinn, but better go slowly," the Dacca said, a

strange, almost soft smile spreading over his face. 

"There's someone here who'll need your help."  With that,

Rylos dematerialized, vanishing for the last time.


Qui-Gon was glad that the Dacca finally accepted the

truth, but did not understand what he had meant by that

last statement...


A movement below him made Qui-Gon start.


Obi-Wan stirred, one hand tightening on the hilt of

the lightsaber Qui-Gon had placed on his chest, and the

other going to his head.  *"Ohhh..."* the boy moaned



Qui-Gon's heart swelled with hope.  "Obi-Wan?" he

asked, barely daring to dream...


"Master?" Obi-Wan asked groggily.  "Where are we?  I

feel *terrible*!"


"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon exclaimed in joy, hugging the boy



"Oh! Ow! Ouch!  Easy, please!" Obi-Wan gasped as Qui-

Gon's strong embrace scrunched his sore body.  The life-

threatening injuries were gone, but he had still been

pretty well worked-over. 


Qui-Gon eased up, but he was still smiling.  Helping

Obi-Wan to his feet and supporting the unsteady teenager

with an arm around his shoulders Qui-Gon helped Obi-Wan

walk out as they made good their escape.



It took several days for Obi-Wan to completely recover

from his ordeal, but everyone said it was a miracle that he

survived at all.  Scar-face, who turned out to be Macca's

brother Dithe, and the leader of the entire Venbian

Supremacist Terrorist movement, was apprehended, and with

both leaders in custody, the dangerous group was

essentially quashed.


In the days that followed, Obi-Wan noticed a

difference in his Master.  Qui-Gon smiled at him more and

seemed to be making a special point of letting Obi-Wan know

how much he cared for him.  Obi-Wan did not mind that, but

Qui-Gon was also being, he felt, a trifle overly protective

of the younger Jedi.  Obi-Wan knew it had been a close

call, but the apprentice had been through other close calls



"Master, I won't *break*," Obi-Wan protested when Qui-

Gon's handle-with-care attitude finally got under his skin,

on his second day back from the hospital.


"I didn't say you were going to break," Qui-Gon

pointed out.  "I just said you should get some rest.  I'll

have dinner brought in to us this evening."


"Okay," Obi-Wan nodded.  "I'll go place the order."


"I'll take care of that, you just tell me what you

want," Qui-Gon said patiently.  "In the meantime, I've had

a hot bath made for you, I suggest you avail yourself of it

before it gets cold."


"Master..." Obi-Wan grinned in half-annoyed amusement,

folding his arms.   


"What?" Qui-Gon asked innocently.  "You're not

completely well yet.  Allow me to spoil you a little."


*"Spoil me?"* Obi-Wan thought he must have heard

wrong.  Qui-Gon was a good and fair Master, but indulgent

was not exactly a word that could generally be applied to



"Who are you and what have you done with my Master?"

Obi-Wan asked incredulously.


Qui-Gon took a swat at the apprentice with one of the

hostel's towels, which Obi-Wan easily ducked, grinning

impishly and flopping back onto the bed behind him.


"You keep that up and you'll find out!" Qui-Gon

growled with a twinkle in his eye.  "So keep quiet, unless

you would rather spend the evening doing push-ups..."


"Ah, now *that* sounds like my Master," Obi-Wan said,

grinning up at Qui-Gon as he tucked his legs up onto the

bed and folded them. 


"Impertinent brat," Qui-Gon said affectionately. 


A surprised look crossed Obi-Wan's face, then he began

to squirm slightly.  "MAS-ter!" he said clutching his sides

as his face started to flush.  "Stop!" the boy gasped

through the giggles that were fighting with him to come



Qui-Gon grinned maliciously and Obi-Wan collapsed

sideways onto the bed, wriggling and giggling

uncontrollably as Qui-Gon tickled him through their



The big Jedi didn't need to physically *touch*

the apprentice to send him into fits of laughter.


"Stop it!  That's not fair!" Obi-Wan laughed, trying

in vain to catch his breath as Qui-Gon's teasing made him

laugh until his stomach ached.


"You KNOW I can't do it back!  Master!" the apprentice

whined playfully.  It was true; tickling his Master in the

way that Qui-Gon could tickle him was one thing that the

Padawan had never been able to do, Qui-Gon's control was

too good.  "Oh, oh, oh, stop!" Obi-Wan gasped, nearly

convulsed in laughter.


"No more cheek from you tonight?" Qui-Gon asked,

letting the Padawan squirm a little longer.


"Okay, okay!  I promise!" Obi-Wan giggled.  "I

promise, stop!"


Qui-Gon released his apprentice and Obi-Wan rolled

onto his back, wiping the tears of laughter from his cheeks

and attempting to catch his breath.  "That's really not

fair you know," the boy pretended to complain, the smile on

his face belying his words.


"Mm," Qui-Gon cocked an eyebrow.  "And whoever said

that life was fair?"


"Ohhh, ow," Obi-Wan sat up, holding his aching

stomach.  "I think you set me back two weeks," he teased.


"Since you've only been recovering for four days that

would be an interesting trick Padawan," Qui-Gon said dryly. 


Obi-Wan felt the tendrils of Qui-Gon's touch brush

against him and quickly back-peddled his statement.  "I

take it back!  I take it back!" Obi-Wan giggled, starting

to double over again.


Qui-Gon smiled and pulled away once more.  "That's a

good Padawan," he patted Obi-Wan's shoulder.  "Now go take

your bath.  Dinner will be up by the time you're done."


"That's a dirty rotten trick is what it is," Obi-Wan

mumbled under his breath.  Unfortunately for the Padawan,

his Master heard him. 


Scooping the apprentice up in his arms before Obi-Wan

had a chance to react, Qui-Gon carried him across the room

and into the 'fresher. 


"Hey, wha- wait!" Obi-Wan started fighting his

Master's unexpected action, but it was too late.


Qui-Gon dropped the struggling teenager, clothes and

all, into the bath, creating a rather huge and rather messy



Obi-Wan sat in the tub; spluttering in wide-eyed

astonishment and looking for all the world like a drowned



"Enjoy your bath Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said.  His tone was

about the only thing in the room that was dry.


The boy opened and closed his mouth wordlessly,

reminding Qui-Gon of a fish out of water, only Obi-Wan was

definitely *not* out of water... 


"Is this a new efficiency technique?" Obi-Wan

recovered himself enough to say, wiping away the water that

was dripping in his eyes.  "To wash myself and my clothes

at the same time?"


 Qui-Gon laughed, he couldn't help it.  "You may have

hit upon something there," he chuckled.  "Dinner will be up

in about fifteen minutes," he said, heading for the door. 

"I'll lay some fresh night-clothes out for you.  Unless,

you want to keep those..."


"Umm, no, thanks," Obi-Wan shook his head, plucking at

the drenched material. 


"Fifteen minutes, or the food will be cold," Qui-Gon

warned with a smile, pulling the door shut behind him.


"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan grinned, beginning to shed his

soggy clothes. 


Qui-Gon closed the door behind him with a smile. 

Someday, he knew, time, space, or death would eventually

part he and Obi-Wan, but it would not be forever.  Nothing

could separate them forever.








See?  I couldn't ever have a story with a sad ending! :D (it would

depress me too much!)


I'd like to acknowlege the wonderful writer (who I cannot remember)

and their story (whose title also escapes me --- sheez, me and my

leaky brain...) who came up with the tickling idea that I kinda

borrowed for the end.  After all that angst and tension, I sure

needed SOMETHING to lighten the mood!


I would also like to thank my sister Kaylla without whom this story

probably would have stayed in the back corners of my mind forever.

(what's that you say?  Maybe it should have?  Ah, well...)


Now you all know what we do while decorating our Christmas tree

at 4:30am on Dec. 25th after getting no sleep for the past two days.

Absolutely lost for anything of plot and sense, we go: "Hey, let's

see how many different ways we can kill poor Obi!  Without making it

permanent of course..."


Okay, now you all think we are both incredibly twisted.  Know what?

You're probably right! ;D


Oh well, that's what we get for not sleeping...


Next story will be much happier and lighter, I promise.



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