Summary: Pre-TPM, non-slash. Obi and Qui are recover being trapped in an earthquake.
Archive: Please ask me first. Telly you know you can have it!
Feedback: Sure why the heck not, right Tracy?!
Disclaimer: No money is being made off this story, i own none of the people, places or things in this story. I have simply borrowed them for a little bit of angst. Star Wars and its universe belong to George Lucas.
Notes: Everything between // is Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon talking through their bond. And everything in * * is inner thoughts.
Thanks to the TPM Ramblers for keeping me writing!
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Healer Collran stepped back into the Bacta Treatment Room. A bio-med droid looked up casually and moved off to attend to its tasks. It had been over four hours since he had caught Councilmember Windu bringing Padawan Kenobi into this area to be nearer to his master.
His booted feet moved silently across the tile flooring until he was standing over the sleeping student. Carefully he placed his hand palm down on the young mans head and closing his eyes focused on the condition of the apprentice's body. He was sleeping deeply but had a very tight concentrated connection to his Master through the force. Opening his eyes the healer glanced at the Master floating in the bacta. Soon the older Jedi would awaken and as he gained consciousness his over-alert Padawan would pull himself out of his much needed sleep. A small smile touched his lips but did not reach his eyes. He remembered such devotion. He had had a Padawan at one time also. The renewed memories brought on the sorrow of loss and he closed them down quickly. He had work to do, his feelings were of no circumstance and they did not serve him well. The serious façade he wore fell back over his face and he slipped a draw to his left open, retrieving a hypospray and filling it with a force dampening sedative.
The Jedi Master stirred in the tank next to him, he was running out of time. Connected closely to his teacher the young student began to awaken drawing in a deep breath and blinking sleepily. Healer Collran quickly placed the hypospray against the youths neck and depressed the trigger sending the sedative straight into the jedi’s blood stream. With a slight moan Obi-Wan slipped into unconsciousness and his connection to the force was instantly cut off wrapping him in darkness and shielding him from the energy around him.
The Healer frowned as the body on the bed completely relaxed, his breathing became shallow and slow and his signature in the force dropped until it was almost imperceptible. He hated using that form of sedative but he knew these two, he’d had them both in here more times than he wanted to count. And this one was too young. He brushed the students hair back from his face and gently pushed him onto his back carefully positioning him so he would be more comfortable. Kenobi was the easiest one to sedate. He wouldn’t be able to work the toxin out of his system as quickly and it would be dangerous to sedate Qui-Gon so heavily after removing him from the bacta. The Jedi Master would not be coherent enough to give the Healer any problems for a few hours still but his Padawan would have been a different matter.
“You really do need the rest.” He spoke softly to the young man. “I’m sorry but it was best. You will wake up tomorrow and your Master will be better.” Stepping over to a comm unit on the wall he depressed a button and summoned help. “I need some help in the bacta treatment room quickly.” The mental activity of the Jedi in the bacta tank had risen and waves of disorientation and fear were beginning to permeate the room.
Pushing the medical bed away from the front of the tank, the healer began to work quickly to stop the bacta cycle and get the Master out of the restraints he was weakly fighting against.
* * * * * * * * * *
//Where?// He couldn’t speak something restricted his speech and held his mouth firmly shut. He felt like he couldn’t breathe, and panic touched him. Cool oxygen was immediately pumped into his nostrils in response and he jerked his head quickly back at the forceful touch of the air. His eyes wouldn’t open, they weren’t responding.
//Padawan?// Where was Obi-Wan, he could help him. Why didn’t he respond? He realized his hands were restrained and fear swept through him as the realization hit him; he was in a bacta tank! The familiar feelings of helplessness and fear of drowning overwhelmed him. They weren’t supposed to leave him in the bacta this long. It was in his records, they knew. He weakly pulled at the restraints and thrashed inside the clear glass tube. His attempts to reach the force were dampened by the drugs in his system and the lack of response from the energy around him only heightened his confused state.
When Qui-Gon had been a child he had almost died in a shuttle accident. It had been necessary to immerse him in a bacta tank just to keep him alive. The face mask he had worn had been faulty and had filled with bacta. Unable to breathe or communicate he had nearly drowned before the droids could summon a healer and remove him from the tank. The nightmares had finally stopped years ago but the medications that they administered before they immersed a person to aid in the healing still caused the old feelings to surface, his connection with the force was weakened because of the necessary sedatives and the resulting confusion brought the old fears back.
He had never been able to consciously stand being submersed in bacta since then.
Healer Collran knew this and cursed himself softly as he rapidly tapped on the tanks monitoring keyboard overriding the automatic system and ordering the apparatus to shut off and raise the Jedi out of the fluid.
“Come on dammit, come on.” He hit the override as the Jedi’s fear escalated, he was going to hurt himself if he kept it up. He was frantically twisting his hands in the cuffs that held him in the harness. The metal cut into the soft flesh of his left hand and blood leaked into the tank.
Apprentice healers flooded into the room and Collran began barking orders to them.
“Remove that Padawan back to the recovery room now!” he yelled as he grabbed a darkhaired man and shoved him towards Obi-Wan.
Turning on a pair of helpers, he thrust them towards the tank, “Help me get that Jedi out of there now, he’s not supposed to be left in this long. Its in the charts why wasn’t someone watching him!” He turned back to the tank and watched as the harness holding the Master was raised slowly out of the tank and lowered over the side for easy access.
A medical bed was pushed underneath the distressed man, as he was placed onto it his restraints were quickly removed. Healer Collran pushed an attendant out of the way and placed his hand gently on the Jedi’s forehead wiping the long strands of wet hair from his face. He leaned down close to the teacher and calmly spoke to him as an apprentice healer loosened his wrists and began to tend to the cuts and abrasions he had sustained.
“I cant breathe.” The words were panicked and breathless as Collran removed the breather apparatus from Qui-Gons face, his words ending a choked cough.
“Yes you can. You’re alright, you are out now.”
“Too long. Not supposed to be in so long.” His eyes flicked open and locked onto the healer's, his breathing hitched as he tried to deal with all the emotions and stimulants fighting in his system. He was wet and shivering. The cold had begun to set it. This was the part he hated. It was always so cold in the room when he was pulled out of those damn things. Fear, anger, confusion swept through him and heightened one another.
“Yes I know, and I am sorry. But you are fine now.” The Healer smiled down at him trying to dispel the drug induced reaction. “We’ll get you cleaned up and into some warm clothes and then you can rest. How does that sound?”
“I cant feel Obi-Wan.” He searched around the room with his eyes as his mind scoured the force for any sign of the boy. “Is Obi-Wan alright? Where is he?”
Collran took a warm towel and began to dry the man's upper body careful of his still healing wounds while he talked. “Obi-Wan was given a force suppressing sedative. You cant feel him right now because your system is not working right yet. He is there in the force but his signature is weakened.”
“Why?” The possibilities scared him and he really wished his Padawan was with him.
Picking up on his worry the Healer stopped what he was doing and concentrated on the man. He laid a large hand on the Jedi’s chest, the warmth and contact grounded the master and he looked back up into the eyes staring down at him. “Obi-Wan is just fine. Now, I need you to relax. I know you hate this and you never should have had to endure that. Padawan Kenobi was sedated for your own good and because he desperately needs the complete rest that he wont give himself while he is worrying about you.” Collran pushed a wave of the force into the body beneath his hand, “We are almost done here and then we’ll put you in a room next to his okay?” The man focused on him nodded slightly, “Now you sleep while we finish. You’ll wake up feeling better I promise you that.” The force suggested command hit Qui-Gon's confused brain and gently pulled him down into peaceful darkness.
Looking at the attendants around him the Healers eyes turned hard. “Don’t ever let this happen again do you understand me?” He threw the wet towel in his hands into a corner and moved back to recycle the tank and clean the blood from the healing fluid.
* * * * * * *
Collran watched wearily as Qui-Gon was wheeled out of the treatment room. His wrists were bandaged and his leg was elevated. He had been given a light sedative to keep his body at rest for the next few hours.
He was hard on the Jedi Master most of the time. Hell, he was hard on them on all. They took their padawans for granted too often, put them at risk too much. Too often he had tended to young small broken bodies and always they reminded him of his own Padawan lost to him years ago in an Rumalian fever epidemic that had swept the Temple while he himself had been off planet on a mission. They had had such a strong bond that he had felt the young man slip away even across the lightyears, had called to him through the force had almost lost his own life sending all he had to the young boy through their connection only to loose him anyway. It had taken him years to recover from the heartbreak. And when he had his heart had simply shut down. Qui-Gon had helped him through the worst of it, having known the pain of losing a Padawan himself. He owed the man and what had happened here today had angered him and left him feeling guilty.
Quickly he followed the gurney carrying the prone Jedi and stopped the young man that was steering him down the hallway to a waiting room.
"Let me." Nodding in ascent the attendant moved aside.
"I'm sorry old friend. I didn’t mean to scare you by separating you from your Padawan." He turned a corner and pushed the bed to the end of the corridor. The door way of darkened medical bay stood open. "Dammit," he cursed again softly, "doesn’t anybody read the charts around here?" He reached inside and palmed the lights up until they glowed dimly. Padawan Kenobi was not to be left in the dark like that, he hated waking up in the dark in this place - well who wouldn’t thought the healer darkly as he steered the medical bed against the far wall opposite the other occupant.
With help from a recently arrived attendant he moved Qui-Gon onto the more comfortable sleep couch situated underneath the life monitors and hooked the Jedi Master up to the equipment. Collran walked back over to the sleeping Padawan and checked his status. His system was still severely suppressed; it would be hours before he woke up. Looking between the two of them he nodded in satisfaction and left the room pulling the door part way shut behind him for privacy and marking the room off limits to visitors.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
He was drowning. It was dark again. *Of course it is* he thought sarcastically *it always is when I get in these messes.*
The thoughts hit his foggy mind again – I’m drowning.
*You cant be drowning Kenobi* he berated himself working through the thoughts and sounds slipping into his awareness as the drugs in his system released their hold on him, *you’re breathing. You are NOT drowning. You are however being very difficult to wake up* He focused hard on opening his eyes and moving his sluggish body. It felt like he was wrapped in warm soft bindings that wouldn’t allow movement. He calmed himself and sought out the force allowing it to slowly fill him again and speed up his recovery from the induced sleep. He barely remembered the Healer giving him that hypospray just as he was waking up and smiled slightly. Next time he would be ready.
//I’m drowning! I cant breathe! Where are you?!?//
Obi-Wan stopped trying to waken his body and listened. He relaxed into the force and attempted to touch the bond he had with his Master. The thoughts he was hearing, they weren’t his own?
//Obi-Wan!// The shout through the force brought the Padawan fully awake. “Master!” His eyes flew open and he quickly readjusted his vision to the dimly lit room he was in. Looking wildly around he saw that the sleep couch opposite his contained a body. His vision was still foggy and he couldn’t focus well but the shape looked familiar.
//Obi-Wan, help me// His Master was caught in a nightmare. “Wow, I thought only I had those.” He mumbled to himself as he stumbled out of the bed and padded quietly over to his Masters side. //Cold….its cold…I’m drowning//
Obi-Wan carefully looked over his Master. His wrists were bandaged. What happened to them, they weren’t hurt like that from the earthquake. The older mans leg was elevated slightly and tightly wrapped. The fear and nightmares were emanating from the sleeping man.
//Master, its okay// He touched the teachers shoulder trying to wake the unconscious man. He tried to recall what Qui-Gon always did to wake him from his nightmares. The Jedi Master moved stiffly as though fighting some restraint, his thoughts were jumbled and incoherent and he kept calling to Obi-Wan.
The Padawan gently began to push the older Jedi closer to the wall thinking if he could get up onto the bed he might be able to calm him down a bit more just like his teacher always had done when nightmares had gripped him. He had just begun to sit down on the edge of the couch when he felt another presence in the force and turned quickly towards the partly open door. The fast movement caused him to wince as his still healing leg protested and buckled causing him to loose his balance.
“What are you doing up? You shouldn’t even be awake yet.” The reprimanding voice was sharp in his ears as strong hands caught him under the arms and eased him into a standing position. He looked up into the dark eyes of Master Collran and swallowed hard. The Healer was not fond of the two Jedi in Obi-Wans opinion and he was suddenly at a loss for words.
Collran glanced over Obi-Wan’s head and watched as Qui-Gon still moved feverishly under the influence of his drug induced nightmares. With a sigh the Healer helped Obi-Wan onto the Jedi Masters cot much to the youths surprise.
“Don’t be so surprised young Kenobi. I owe your master a lot.” He stared hard at the Padawan letting his gaze shift to the teacher. “Its my fault your Master is lost in his nightmares. When he was a child he almost died in a bacta tank.”
Obi-Wans mouth dropped open. He hadn’t known, he always believed his teacher was fearless. His eyes dropped to the man next to him.
“I imagine he will tell you about it later. But right now I think you need to help him wake up so he will know that he is okay.” With that the Head Healer simply turned and left.
“Thank you.” Obi-Wan whispered after the retreating form.
It was cold in the room and he leaned down and grabbed a blanket from the end of the bed wrapping it around his shoulders. Gently he moved the distraught man next to him and pulled him into his arms just like Qui-Gon had done for him so many times. It felt odd to have the roles reversed like this.
He smoothed the mans hair away from his eyes and spoke softly to him talking him out of his sleep. “I need you to wake up Master, you are safe now.” The body he held stilled and he felt his teacher reach out to him through the force.
//Yes and you are safe//
//I couldn’t find you//
//I know I’m sorry I was drugged. Healer Collran.//
//He left me in the tank too long//
//I need you to wake up. You’re okay now. But I need you awake. Can you do that for me?//
There was a long pause before he responded but Obi-Wan let it be, allowing the man time to calm himself.
//Yes Padawan I think I can.//
There that sounded more like the man he knew. He smiled and nodded resting his chin on Qui-Gons head and relaxed closing his eyes. He knew when the Jedi Master opened his own and looked slowly dazedly around the room they were in. He made no attempt to move allowing the youth to continue to hold him.
“Are you alright?” Obi-Wan spoke softly, his words a mere whisper.
“Yes Obi-Wan. I will be.” The body in his arms drew in a deep breath and the Padawan eased up on his hold of the man.
“Do you want to tell me about it?” He let the question hang in the air for a few minutes. “You always tell me when I wake up that it helps to talk about it. Maybe it will make it go away.”
The head below his chin shook in a negative response. “Okay we don’t have to talk.”
“No that’s not it young one.” A large hand covered his smaller one. “That’s not it. Its just that it wont ever go away.”
“Well not if you believe it wont, then no you are right. Is it something that you always want to remember then?”
Qui-Gon shuddered involuntarily and Obi-Wan pulled the covers up around him closer.
“Its actually stupid that I still get this way.” The words were quiet but resolved and the Padawan waited the other out.
“When I was young Master Yoda and I were on a shuttle here on Coruscant that lost its repulsor lifts and fell stories into the underground. Several travelers were killed in the incident. The transport wedged in between two lower level buildings and it took them several hours to rescue us. Master Yoda wasn’t too badly hurt but I was crushed under the left wing panel as it folded into the body of the shuttle. They really didn’t think that I would make it and if it hadn’t been for Master Yoda I probably wouldn’t have. When I was brought back to the Temple I was unconscious. When they had done all they could they immersed me in a bacta tank. I was small for my age at the time,” he laughed lightly, “that didn’t last for long as you can see. But they didn’t have the proper equipment to handle a small child in the tanks.”
His voice trailed off as he lost himself in his memories. Obi-Wan shifted slightly his leg had begun to throb from his healing injury and the tingling sensation in it warned him he had stayed in one place too long. The movement brought Qui-Gon back and he continued his voice softer as he relieved the fear that held him every so often.
“It had been a long night for the shift on duty and so they had left. I should have stayed in the bacta for hours if things had gone as planned. But the breather mask that they placed on me was faulty and didn’t fit quite right. Bacta leaked into it slowly at first, I think that was what woke me. I couldn’t breath right. Actually I was inhaling the stuff and starting to drown. They restrain you in those damn things…..” he touched his bandaged wrist with the fingers of his other hand.
Obi-Wan reached down and touched his hand gently, “Is that what happened? I wondered how your wrists got cut like that.”
Qui-Gon nodded. “I know its necessary but..anyway I couldn’t get the breather off, I couldn’t get to the top I was held under by the harness and I couldn’t yell for anyone. I panicked. When I finally reached Master Yoda through our bond the breather was flooded and I literally drowned before they got me out and resuscitated me.”
Obi-Wans arms tightened around his chest, “I’m sorry.”
“Its alright Padawan, it happened years ago but for some reason if I wake up in a bacta tank all the old fears flood back in. Its too hard to focus on the force because of all the drugs they pump into your system so I cant control the reaction.”
“No. I’m sorry I wasn’t there this afternoon. Healer Collran gave me a sedative. I was concentrating on you through the Force I felt you begin to wake up.”
Qui-Gon laughed softly, “Yes he told me he had done that to you. Said you weren’t resting.”
“So that’s why he thought it was his fault you were having nightmares, he didn’t get you out of the tank in time.”
“Did he say that?”
“Yes.” He caught me trying to wake you.
The Jedi Master shook his, “No. Its not his fault, its something I have to deal with.”
“Yes Master, but you no longer have to deal with it alone.” The Padawan rested his cheek on top of the head lying on his chest. His eyes were heavy and he was warm and comfortable.
“mmm…yes.” He breathed in deeply, “aren’t you?”
“I think I will stay awake for a bit.”
“I think you should sleep. You are safe now and your body needs it more than mine.”
“Really?” the sarcastic light tone of the teacher caused the student to laugh softly.
“Yes. Really.” He placed his right hand on his Masters forehead, “Sleep Qui-Gon.” He pressed down on the man with the force command. His Masters laughter caught him off guard.
“It is I who should be telling you to sleep and not the other way around young one.”
“What didn’t it work?”
“You have a strong touch in the force Obi-Wan,” he yawned and settle deeper into the soft blankets around them turning his head so his ear lay against the youths chest, the strong heart beat soft through his tunic, “Oh yes Padawan it worked just fine.” And closing his eyes he drifted off to sleep.
Obi-Wan smiled in the half light and readjusted his head on the pillows that he had placed behind himself, allowing the soft hum of machinery and the peace in his Masters mind to lull him back to sleep too.
* * * * * * * * * * *
“Two weeks and I still have to use this thing.” Qui-Gon muttered under his breath as he walked stiffly through their dwelling with the aid of a cane.
“Master are you mumbling again?” the Padawans voice sounded from the fresher.
“No Obi-Wan,” he growled back dropping into an overstuffed chair, “I am loudly voicing my displeasure.” He let the cane fall to the floor. “How does he hear me when I don’t want him to and never when I need him too.”
“I heard that!”
“Oh yes I am sure you did!”
Obi-Wan walked into the common room. He still had a slight limp but was doing much better than his Master and no longer needed the aid of a cane. He knelt and picked up the discarded implement and handed it back to his teacher. “We are going out.”
“You may. I am not.”
“Yes you are.” Obi-Wan looked down at the man who continued to stare at the far wall. “You can be so stubborn.”
“And you would know about this.”
“Up.” The Padawan hooked his hands under the others arm and helped him stand to his feet.
Qui-Gon stood to his full height and looked down on the younger man. His eyes were weary not angry as the student handed him the cane and move to the other side.
“It shouldn’t hurt anymore.”
“Says who?” Obi-Wan palmed the door open as they slowly made their way out into the bright afternoon.
“Says me, that’s who.”
“Master you had a compound fracture, there is only so much a bone knitter can do and only so quickly. Look at least you are out of bed.” The past two weeks had been difficult convincing Healer Collran that the Jedi Master would do better in his own home.
The two of them walked slowly through the winding paths of the garden area, the weather was pleasant this time of year and the sounds of the busy Temple where hushed by the lush greenery around them. Voices of children playing and laughing floated to them through the clear evening air.
He was right, thought Qui-Gon, its good to get out and walk. His leg stretched and moved more easily as he exercised it, the ache fading as his mind became preoccupied with other things.
The sounds of the children grew louder as they moved into the interior of the garden. The laughing singsong of their voices caused the older Jedi to smile.
“You’re it!” a tiny voice squealed to their right as a blurr of motion slammed into the two men. The small form was followed haphazardly by two others who joined in the melee. Qui-Gons cane was knocked from his hand and he careened into Obi-Wan. The Padawan taken completely off guard stepped back to balance himself and tripped over a small child trying to evade the falling men. His hand caught in Qui-Gons sleeve and tipped him back farther off balance dragging both he and his master down in a tumble. The three children wild eyed and trying not to giggle stared at the men that had interrupted their game.
Obi-Wan righted himself and reached out to Qui-Gon who was holding the knee of his injured leg tightly against his chest. His face pinched with the pain that was shooting through the newly healed bone.
The brush to their left exploded as a Junior Creche Master burst out of the undergrowth.
“Jarmin, Shazmaign and Tal’ondi! What have I told you about playing outside the restricted boundaries.” She quickly shooed them off with stern warnings and threats of punishment before turning back to the two Jedi.
“Master, Padawan,” the Creche Master bowed low and immediately moved to help them stand, “I am so sorry please forgive me for not keeping a better a eye on the children. Are you hurt?”
Qui-Gon waved off the help and stretched his leg out slowly on the green grassy carpeting beneath them. Obi-Wan was kneeling next to him and trying to determine how badly he had been hurt.
“It is alright Etiak, the children were having so much fun and besides,” he cast a smile at the young man next to him, “we were just getting ready to find a place to sit down. This will do as good as any.” Laughing Obi-Wan settled himself next to the other. “Thank you for the help though.”
Unsure of the validity of their statements Etiak quickly bowed and excused herself to go find her young charges.
The small hill they were sitting on truly was a nice place to rest thought Obi-Wan as he glanced to his left into a bowled out valley below them where a herd of tarses were grazing.
“Are you really okay?” He glanced back at Qui-Gon, watching as the older Jedi gently massaged the tender part of his leg where the bone had broken.
Looking up the Jedi Master smiled and nodded. “Yes my Obi-Wan I really am and in more ways than one.”
The Padawan looked at him questioningly.
“I had the nightmare again last night,” the Master continued, “Only this time in my dreams when I started to drown you were there and you stopped it and we walked away together.” He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the young man, “After that I fell into a deep sleep and didn’t wake up until this morning. And the funny thing is, that even when I was drowning I wasn’t afraid because I knew you were coming.”
Obi-Wan was staring straight ahead nodding slowly and smiling. The lowering sun was fractured and glinted beautifully off of the odd building landscape of Coruscant.
“You were right my Obi-Wan. I just needed someone to talk to about it, needed someone to share it with and help me overcome it.”
The Padawan turned and stared into the others eyes. “I am glad I could help you. You were the one who told me that it is best to talk about fears and nightmares and let others help you.”
Qui-Gon laughed as his oft spoken words were thrown back at him. He reached over playfully and roughed up the spikey hair of his student causing the young man to duck out of the reach of his touch.
“So you think the nightmare is gone?” Obi-Wan’s eyes turned serious.
The Jedi master broke his gaze with the young man and focused far into the distance his attention directed inside to that dark retractable place where the soul goes to hide, that room with no doors in and no way out where fears are kept and vulnerability lives. And as he approached it he saw it had changed. The formless dark place now had a door carved into its solid walls and Obi-Wans signature was all around it.
The Padawan was watching him curiously, patiently waiting him out.
“Yes young one, the nightmare is gone.” He pulled the youth towards him and hugged him tightly to him. “Gone for good.”
They sat there for a bit side by side before Obi-Wan groaned softly and straightened his leg out. “I think the cold is starting to bother in again. My leg aches.”
“Shall we go then?”
“Race you?!” Obi-Wan smiled wickedly at the older Jedi who burst out laughing.
“Sure Padawan and the first one to reach our quarters gets to clean that kitchen you made such a mess of!”
“Oh well in that case,” he laughed leaning down and helping Qui-Gon up, “I think I’ll just walk home with you.”
“That would be nice young one.” Taking hold of the offered cane he steered his student away from their apartments, “And why don’t we take the long way?”
With a nod Obi-Wan stepped in beside his Master and enjoyed the slow paced stroll home.