Lonely in Your Nightmare
Rating: PG (maybe, just to be safe being as i am not sure where exactly we are going!)
Archive: Yes if you like, please ask. Telly and Obi you both know you can have it!
Feedback: Always welcomed, Siobhfirstname.lastname@example.org
Timeframe: This story takes place when Obi-Wan is about 20 years old. Dont all my stories take place around then, 20, 21 something like that.
Summary: Obi-Wan is cut off from Qui-Gon and they must find his Master before it is too late.
Disclaimer: All of these characters belong to George Lucas. I am just borrowing them for a little while and I promise to return them unharmed. No money is being made, only lots of fun!
Notes: All conversations bracketed by // are the Jedi talking through their bond. Many thanks to Tracy for this bunny (AGAIN), and for Robi for starting me on off on this tangent and the list for letting me steal the RR!
Lonely in Your Nightmare
As Obi-Wan Kenobi entered the dining hall of the Jedi Temple, an uneasiness came over him. This was most unusual. The hall was crowded as it usually was for the morning meal, but his fellow Jedi's attention was not directed at the plates of food before them. All eyes were on him. Padawans, Masters and Knights fell silent and turned to glare at the boy. Obi-Wan's stomach knotted and his pulse ran rapid.
He reached for the bond he shared with his master. //Master Qui-Gon? Master?// But there was no response. Unable to force himself to move, the young student let himself succumb to the fear.
Without warning, his knees gave out and he fell to the floor. The last thing he heard before he blacked out was the sound of Qui-Gon's panicked voice screaming in pain.
Fighting nausea, Obi-Wan struggled to waken. The room was dark and Obi-Wan realized that he was in the healer’s ward, with warm blankets all around him. He heard hushed voices from outside his room.
One he recognized as Master Yoda's, "Careful we must be. Shock the boy more, we must not."
Master Windu's serious tone came back, "We don't wish to shock him, but he should know what has happened. He may be able to help us."
A small thrill of panic sparked in Obi-Wan's gut, and in less then a minute, it had escalated to full blown terror. What are they keeping from me? What happened? What can I help with? Obi-Wan knew that whatever it was, it was not good. He started to hyperventilate.
Alarms in the room went off and the lights were turned on as healers raced in. Obi-Wan's eyes were wide and frightened as they looked at Masters Yoda and Windu.
Once again, Obi-Wan screamed over the bond, praying his Master would answer, //Master, where are you? Please answer me! Please help me!//
And once again he was met with silence. The bond he shared with his Master was constricted and closing, spikes of pain sliced through his mind where his Masters voice had once been. He couldn’t catch his breath and tears streamed down his face as he tried to find out what was wrong. The more he attempted to contact his Master the more the pain escalated, radiating through the force causing his fear to rise with it. He was caught in a vicious cycle and he couldn’t stop it.
//MASTER!!!!!// The tortured cry rang through the force touching everyone in the room as it rebounded inside the force containment walls of the medbay.
Healer Collran burst into the room and pushed up next to the bed. Obi-Wan turned huge fearful eyes on the man.
“He’s not gone.”
//Master!!// Despite the pain he tried repeatedly to touch the one person he needed right now. Wincing he drew his breath in a sharp hiss as the pain once more shorted through his system.
“Obi-Wan I need you to calm down.” The Healer shot a glare at the two Masters near the back of the room.
“I can’t find him.”
“I know. I need you to stop trying to.”
“I can’t.” The fear was escalating, touching everyone in the room. The medical rooms were force secured with containment fibers running the length of the small bays to keep such emotions and pain within their walls. It was a protection for those outside the Healers Wing but it was a precaution for others like Obi-Wan who were being damaged by the very same power.
Collran turned to an assistant as the Padawan tried again unsuccessfully to contact his Master, writhing in pain as the call went unanswered. “Get me a force sedative now!”
The Healer turned his attention back to the boy in front of him and placed his hands on either side of the young mans face, “Listen to me Obi-Wan. It is very important we stop the feedback that you are receiving from the force. Your bond with your Master has collapsed and if we don’t shut it down now it will hurt you even more.”
“Why? What happened?” Huge panicked eyes locked onto the man and begged for release. “Please, I heard them talking.” He looked towards the back of the room at the two Masters near the door.
“We’ll discuss it later.” An assistant placed a hypospray into the healers open hand. “Right now my concern is you.” He placed the end of the nozzle against Obi-Wan’s neck and depressed the trigger.
The touch of the hypo was cold and the shock of the injection caused the Padawan to flinch. The drugs in his system began to deaden his senses. The Healer placed an oxygen mask over his face as his breathing slowed hitching slightly as he calmed himself and felt a heavy peace begin to take over his mind. The bond with his Master was sealed from his touch and his mind let go of the force as the midichlorians in his system were blocked from the power they used for life. He realized the Healer was gently brushing his hand through Obi-Wans hair and talking softly to him but the words were hard to make out.
“Obi-Wan?” He understood his name.
“Yes”, the answer was slow and slurred.
“Good.” Quickly the healer hooked him up to the life monitors around his bed and sent his helpers and apprentices away. “Look at me Obi-Wan.”
It was so hard to focus and he really had no desire to do anything right now. “I want you to sleep young Padawan.” He smiled slightly, that he could do.
Nodding his head, his eyes closed of their own volition and blackness overtook him. It was peaceful there he would stay.
Collran let out a sigh removing his hand from the young boys chest and rounded on the two masters behind him.
“You are not allowed in here again, until I tell you so.” His eyes flashed with barely constrained anger. “Do you realize what you almost did to him?” He walked up to Mace and stared hard up at the tall Jedi. “The shock alone from the collapsed bond could have put him in an irrecoverable coma. Without re-establishment of the bond we could have lost him.”
“I..I didn’t realize he was awake.”
“That’s no excuse!” The smaller man snapped back, “You will not be allowed to endanger my patient again.”
“Sorry we are that the boy was hurt.” Master Yoda interrupted “Unintentional it was.”
Collran simply nodded and walked back to the side of the still boy. “Just find his Master.”
His head was pounding and it was hard to move, it felt as though his body were weighted down by an invisible hand. Obi-Wan swallowed hard as his mind fought to wake up. His mouth was dry and his eyes weren’t obeying him.
A cool hand touched his cheek.
“Yes”, his voice was hoarse and soft. The sound surprised him.
“Slowly.” He could tell that there was someone else in the room by the quiet sounds around him. A thrill of panic touched his heart and his eyes flew open searching the small med-bay.
“Who’s there?” The room was darkened and the sounds of the life monitors hummed and beeped softly. “I cant feel you.”
“I know.” Healer Collran stepped near the bed and leaned in close. Holding Obi-Wans head gently with one hand he flashed a small bright light into the iris of the young Jedi’s left eye.
The apprentice flinched and moved his face away. Carefully the Healer caught his chin and pulled him back to face him, once more touching his right eye with the same pinpoint of light.
Obi-Wan moaned softly and again jerked away. Sound, sight and touch were extremely painful and the light set off sparks of pain in his head. Collran placed his hand over Obi-Wans eyes, closing them and allowing them to rest. His hand was cool and the young Jedi welcomed the touch.
“Why cant I feel you?” He asked again allowing the Healer to continue his examination, keeping his eyes closed against the dimmed lighting in the room.
“We have dampened the midichlorians in your system young Padawan.” The voice that came back to him was distracted and quiet. The healer was well away of the pain that he could cause if he talked louder. “That is why everything is so painful right now. Your body is trying to compensate for the lack of the force. All the input you normally receive is heightened but the force damps the impact and filters the information. Without that aid you are still receiving everything at too high of a level for you take.”
He walked back near the bedside. “Open your eyes very slowly for me. I wont hurt you.”
Obediently Obi-Wan complied. “My head hurts.”
“I know. You must be patient with yourself as you re-adjust.”
“What do you mean re-adjust?” Panic hit his heart again hard and with it the instant realization that he could not feel his master. “Healer Collran, please tell me what is going on. Are you saying that I will be without the force for the rest of my life?”
The older man sighed and looked down into the huge questioning eyes. He could feel the panic and fear in the apprentice.
The silence scared Obi-Wan even more, “Please you can tell me.”
With a nod Collran grabbed a chair and sat down next to the bed. “Obi-Wan something has happened to your Master, Qui-Gon,” he forestalled the youth’s questions with an upraised hand. “We have given you a force suppressant. It will not wear off.”
The young Jedi’s eyes grew wide, he tried to speak but nothing came out. Fear of living forever without the force consumed him and his mind raced through the possibilities of why it would be even necessary – it had to be bad.
“It can and will be reversed when we find your Master.” The healer continued dropping his gaze down to his hands in his lap and continued unable to meet the others eyes. “Whatever has happened with your Master it has constricted and collapsed the bond you have with him on his end. He cannot or will not communicate with you. When you try to talk to him it is painful is it not?”
Obi-Wan nodded silently.
“What you are getting is feedback. The resultant backlash of the destroyed bond sets up a resonance in the force that has no release. When you entered the dinning hall did you notice anything odd?”
“Yes.” His voice was a whisper, “Everyone turned to watch me like I had done something wrong.”
“In essence what you did was refract your feedback into the force disrupting their connections. They were able to pick up on the static left in the wake of your collapsed bond; you were projecting. You had no way of knowing it. They felt your bond collapse.” The Healer was watching the young man carefully as he sifted all this information.
“Where is Master Qui-Gon?”
When the older man didn’t respond Obi-Wan touched his arm lightly drawing his focus back to the apprentice.
“Where is he?”
“I don’t know. But I believe the Council does.”
“Please send for Master Windu, I need to talk to him.”
Collran stood and stared down into the pleading young eyes; their pupils still dilated in an attempt to adjust to living without the force. “I will but not just yet. You need to allow your body time to deal with processing input without the aid of the force. You cannot push it, you will find that things are not as easy for you as they once were.”
The young man looked to be on the verge of tears. The ache in his head and the information that he was having to deal with were overwhelming. When he called to his Master there was no touch, no force, no answer.
Sensing his frustrated attempts Collran placed his hand on the young Jedi’s chest and spoke softly, “It is only temporary young Padawan. We will find your master and your access to the force will be re-initialized. Just be patient with yourself.”
Obi-Wan closed his eyes hard against the tears willing them to stop, without the aid and warmth of the force it was difficult and the emptiness inside won out. “Yes Healer Collran, I will try.”
The Healer pressed gentle waves of calm into the weary body beneath his hand soothing fear and stress in the overly tired mind.
“Give yourself at least until tomorrow evening and then we will see how you are doing.” He pulled the warm blankets up tightly around the young mans shoulders and turned quietly to leave.
“Thank you.” The whisper was soft but he had heard it. With a nod he stepped into the bright hallway and drew the door closed behind him.
Sometime during the night he gave up trying to contact Qui-Gon and gave in to the fear. An orderly entered the Padawans room to find him curled tightly into himself and facing the wall crying softly. He went to alert the Healer.
Collran walked into the darkened room and stood just inside the doorway. He sighed as he watched the young man lost in his own hell. He desperately wanted to turn and walk away. The Jedi apprentice reminded him too much of his own lost Padawan and he really didn’t want to care about anyone again. It suited him better in his profession to be cold and distant, but his heart wouldn't let him.
Quietly he walked up to the medical bed and gently touched the Padawan. Obi-Wan started and turned over. Red-rimmed eyes stared back at the Healer, “I didn’t feel…I couldn’t sense you.”
“I cant feel him.”
“I know.” He sighed deeply and sat down on the edge of the couch, “I told you that you wouldn’t be able to.”
Obi-Wan nodded, trying to get a hold of his feelings.
“Why aren’t you resting?
“I cant.” The young Jedi closed his eyes shaking his head, “I go to sleep when I am stressed by using the force to calm myself and anchoring my thoughts to our bond.” He opened overly tired eyes and watched the man in front of him, “They are both gone now.”
Collran mentally kicked himself. He hadn’t thought about the everyday little things that would be impaired by suppressing the force in the young man. The apprentice had grown up with the force as his aid and now he was having to deal with everything in a new and foreign way. “I didn’t think about that I am sorry.” He stood and moved toward a cabinet on the far wall, “But I think I can help you, at least for tonight.”
“It was something bad wasn’t it?”
“Hm?” The healer turned back to the youth.
“Only something bad could shut our bond off.” Obi-Wan held his gaze demanding an answer. When none was forthcoming he continued, “I heard him scream just before it was shut off. That was the last thing that I heard from him. I can still hear it in my head.”
Collran redirected his attention to the hypospray he had removed from its slot, filling the small gun with a sleeping aide. He walked over to the bed and gently held Obi-Wans arm in his hand as he depressed the trigger into the soft skin.
“Mace is heading out tomorrow to find your Master.”
“I want to go.”
“We knew you would. But you have to get some rest first. I should be able to release you tomorrow.”
“So I will be allowed to go?” Obi-Wans tone was hopeful, he was fighting the drugs in his system trying to stay awake long enough to get the answers he needed.
“Yes you will be able to go. Master Yoda has cleared it.” The Healer watched as the young man slowly lost his control to stay awake. He smiled slightly down into the sea green eyes.
“You never answered my question.” The words were slurred and soft as the student slipped into unconsciousness.
“I know I didn’t.” Collran turned somber as he brushed the hair away from the sleeping Jedi’s face. There were very few things that could sever a Master/Padawan bond and not one of them was pleasant. He only hoped they would find the Master in time but small impressions in the force kept telling him that time was the one thing they were running out of.
Rough hands jerked the Jedi up by his long unbound hair. The man was unconscious and his breathing was labored.
“Leave him. He’ll be of no use to us if he is dead.” A large man stood in the doorway to the small cell watching the proceedings. He motioned with his head for the others to leave.
“Maybe he doesn’t know anything just like he said.” One of the Jedi’s captors stopped in front of the guard.
“Maybe. Maybe not. But we have our orders.” The head guard dispassionately watched as they dropped the unconscious man in a corner of the cell. He had seen this same scenario played out too many times in his life to care anymore. He wasn’t even sure he possessed a heart any longer. Without a backward glance he slammed the door shut and threw the small red level to the side of the entrance activating the force dampening shield around the cell. Inside the cell a tiny light on the collar that the Jedi wore blinked red and he was injected with another shot of the poison that would keep him blocked from accessing the force.
They had finally left him alone. He fingered the metal collar around his neck shakily, there was no apparent way to remove it and with the injections of poison sent straight into his blood stream there was no way to touch the force fast enough for help let alone healing. They never allowed the drug to wear off.
Qui-Gon slowly sat up and wedged his back into the corner of the small dark cell, relaxing his head down into his hands. He pushed the strands of hair away from his face and simply worked on calming his breathing. It had been a long time since he had been in this bad of shape, without the aid of the force he couldn’t heal his body and his pain tolerance was almost zero.
He had landed planetside four days ago. It was to be a simple mission. Weren’t they all, the thought almost made him laugh, but he choked on the action and a fit of coughing racked his broken ribs and sore bruised muscles. Ventrifvon IV was an outpost settlement of the Ventrifvon system. It had been colonized centuries ago in the hopes that the fertile planet could bring relief to its sister planets. There had been a small uprising between the local ruling powers of Ven IV, as the colonists called it, and the Ven home world. Rulers of the Ven home world had requested Jedi intervention in the hopes of a peaceful solution. The mission had seemed simple and straightforward. Qui-Gon had volunteered to go alone as Obi-Wan was recovering from a nasty case of the flu that swept the temple every year. The young man had protested vehemently at being left behind but the Council had felt it urgent enough to send the Jedi out alone. Against his Padawans requests Qui-Gon had left.
In hindsight he was relieved that he had not allowed Obi-Wan to join him. Upon arrival his ship had been impounded and he had been taken into custody. A full-scale civil war had broken out on the planet. Suspicious and angry the populace of Ven IV was convinced that the Ven Home World had sent the Jedi as a spy and a terrorist. His reassurances had gone unheard and he had immediately been imprisoned and interrogated. At least that was what they had called the beatings and sleep deprivation. When he had attempted to escape they had caught him, beaten him and locked him in this cell. The cores of the walls were built with a fiberous wood from a local plant that was capable of disrupting the movement of the force and blocking it from being accessed. The collar that had been fitted to him had been extra protection against any attempts to contact other Jedi or to use the force to escape again. In his present condition even without the poison he was sure he wouldn’t have been able to do either.
He was almost positive that he had reached Obi-Wan for a brief second before they had shut him out of the force. It was too quiet without the thrum and warmth of the light and power that he was so used to. The cold and darkness alone were enough to wear him down to hopelessness without being able to access the touch of the power that normally pulsed through his system. He hoped that somehow his Padawan would get him help and yet at the same time he didn’t want the young man anywhere near the planet. The Ventrifvonians wouldn’t let him live whether he confessed to their trumped up charges or not. They couldn’t not now that they had imprisoned and beat him. If he were deemed a spy they would kill him, if they believed him and realized he was telling the truth about his mission they would kill him to cover up their mistake. Either way he was running out of time.
//Padawan?// The emptiness mocked him and hopelessness choked him. He let the tears fall silently down his face and prayed that someone would find him soon.
Obi-Wan jumped when Master Windu touched his shoulder. He moved around the seated Padawan and pulled out a chair sitting down across from the young man in the spacious lounge. The stars streamed by outside the huge plexiglass veiwscreen. The young Jedi had been deep in thought when the Master had approached him. They had left Coruscant early in the day after Healer Collran had released him. Their destination was Ven IV. He had been quickly briefed on the situation that Qui-Gon had walked into and Master Yoda had given them an update on the state of the government at present just as they were boarding. It didn’t sound good. The ruling party of Ven IV would not respond to any communiqués and what little information they had gathered had been reported by the Ven home world.
"Don’t do that!" Obi-Wan let out a breath of air in exasperation as the Jedi Master seated himself at the table. "You scared me to death."
"Obi-Wan!", Mace started laughing at the startled look on the young mans face, "I practically stomped up behind you."
"Well that may be but I'm almost blind and half deaf like this." His frustration with the imposed force exile was beginning to show. "I can’t feel anyone. Everything surprises me and my senses are still out of whack. When I concentrate too hard on one thing I miss out on everything else that is going on around me." He turned and stared out the window watching the starlines as they elongated and wrapped the ship in brilliant colors.
"I'm sorry Obi-Wan, I keep forgetting."
"Its okay, I only wish I could forget. I was thinking about him, you know?" The young man closed his eyes, "I mean its stupid but I still find myself trying to contact him, searching for him." He let his gaze trace back slowly to Master, "It just hurts."
The Master nodded in sympathy unsure of what to say, "We know where he is. We'll be there in two days." He tried to be encouraging.
"Can you feel him Master Windu?" Obi-Wan turned hopeful eyes on the other.
Mace looked away from the pleading gaze. "No. Our bond isn’t as strong as yours. We just had a light one as friends. I can only semi-feel him and only when we are in the temple at close range."
"He's not okay Master Windu." The boys voice was quiet and sad. "I know he's not. I heard him scream before we were cut off."
"I know. Collran told me." Mace turned to watch the starlines again, letting their hypnotic movement lull him, "I don’t thin…"
The master’s words were cut off as a muffled boom rocked the ship. The two Jedi were thrown from their seats as the vessel bucked wildly in hyperspace, skewing sideways from the force of the explosion.
Obi-Wan braced himself on his hands and knees as another explosion shook the craft preventing him from standing.
"What’s going on?" He shouted to be heard over the klaxons blaring out their warnings.
"I don’t know, but I am going to find out." Mace caught the edge of the table and pulled himself up staggering under across the pitched deck to the comm unit on the far wall.
He depressed the button and shouted into the receiver, "What’s going on up there?"
The sounds of blaster fire could be heard over the connection, "We have been boarded, the ship has been breached. Get to an escape pod we are going to try to exit hyperspace." The sound of the pilot was stressed and they heard him curse at the controls as the ship again skipped, throwing itself hard to port.
"There’s no time! If you don’t get this ship under control she'll tear apart on exit! Hang on," Mace yelled back at the man, "We'll be right there."
Obi-Wan was on his feet and running towards the door his lightsaber in hand when Mace grabbed him and shoved the young man back.
"You stay behind me. You back me up!" He raised his hand angrily and cut off the others response, "No! You said it yourself you cant feel anything. I don’t need to loose you in some firefight and then have to explain it to your Master he will never forgive me."
The anger in Obi-Wan was evident.
"Do what I say! I am not going to jeopardize you!" With that the dark skinned Jedi ran down the hallway momentarily leaving the fuming student behind.
"Oh no you don’t!" In seconds the apprentice was right on his heels pounding down the metal corridor.
He could hear the sounds of blaster fire in the hallway ahead of them and obediently slowed behind the Jedi Master that he followed. He watched the others face carefully straining to hear sounds that would tip him off to their enemy anything that would give him the edge he so needed.
Mace placed his hand against Obi-Wans chest and pressed him back against the wall behind them. He held him there for the span of a second before the apprentice felt the other tap his chest lightly with his fingers and then the Jedi Master darted into the hallway.
The student stepped out behind him and straight into the middle of a firefight. Blaster fire erupted around them. Mace caught most of the bolts sending them arcing back at their attackers.
A group of men was clustered near the end of the hallway using the corners of the T-junction as a shield. They were ragged looking wearing various pieces of mismatched armor over parts of their bodies. Obi-Wan could tell that some of them had been in previous fights and this was just a part of a normal day for them; they were adorned with an assortment of bandages and eye patches as testimony to their occupation.
"Pirates." Mace ground the word out as he arced his blade down quickly and deflected a bolt back into the chest of the thief who had aimed it at him.
Obi-Wan brought his saber up in a defensive position and tried to catch the stray bolts that the Master missed. His movements were awkward and he caught himself missing many shots that should have been easy. It felt as though his body was inaccessible to his brain. ‘Like being blind’, he thought as he barely moved out of the path of a shot he missed. He could hear the bolt as it passed inches from his ear. Relaxing his stance and concentrating on the shift and flow of the energy bolts as they escaped from the blasters the young jedi tried to recenter himself. He found if he calmed himself enough he could actually see things that were happening in slow motion. He had a feeling that it was the adrenaline working through his system that gave that affect to the movements around him. But as his aided awareness heightened he was able to deflect more of the shots and miss them less. His return aim was poor but his skill and confidence of fighting without the force had just been boosted a notch.
Master Windu sidestepped a shot and turned to catch another one on the tip of his blade. As he moved Obi-Wan stepped into the gap and attempted to stop the bolt the other had missed. The green streak of energy sizzled by him as he brought his blade up, catching his upper arm burning through the soft muscle tissue. The force of the shot spun him around and the pain dropped him to his knees. Without the force he was unable to attempt healing let alone dampen the pain radiating through his system. His lightsaber rolled out of his grip and he threw himself behind the edge of the corner nearest him clutching his arm tightly to his chest.
Mace had felt the boy drop and called out to him but Obi-Wan didn’t answer.
The copilot ran up the hallway and crouched near the young man. The young Jedi remembered being introduced to him earlier when they had boarded.
"You okay?" The man shouted at the young Jedi over the sounds of the invasion.
"Yes." He lied through gritted teeth. "Help him stop them." He motioned into the hallway.
The man nodded and edged around the corner. He pulled a shock grenade from his overcoat pocket and yelled at the Jedi master as he flipped the switch and threw the small bomb down the hallway. Turning quickly back he covered Obi-Wan with his body. Mace dove for the opposite corner and crouched behind the wall.
When the grenade went off Obi-Wan could feel the concussion of the blast as it pressed them down and raced past them. Bright light expanded from its epicenter blinding anyone caught off guard. He pressed his eyes tightly closed and waited until the brilliance faded behind his eyelids.
A voice sounded above the Padawans head. Someone was speaking through the comm mounted on the wall but the speech was muted and dulled as though the young man was hearing through a tunnel. "Give it a minute it will wear off." The copilot explained seeing the odd look on the Jedi’s face as he shook his head from the aftereffects of the blast. He stood up to answer the call that was again repeated.
"Captain! I think we stopped them on level 3, they wont be able to reach the cockpit from here."
"Good work Dain, that’s what I wanted to h.."
Another explosion ripped through the ship and the vessel reverted hard from hyperspace with a bang. The forward motion of the craft was killed as the entry ripped the left ion engine from its bracing.
"They sabotaged the hyperdrive! We are back in real space!" The pilot was frantic, "Hang on!"
Blaster fire could be heard straffing the exterior of the ship. Mace chanced a look around the corner and found the hallway and adjoining corridors empty. "I think they left."
"They have detached and are attacking from their ship now!" The disembodied voice of the captain answered the masters unspoken question.
The Dain swallowed hard, "Then they’re not pirates, their slavers."
Obi-Wan stared at him wide eyed, "What?!!?"
"Pirates would save the ship. Slavers only want the occupants and it doesn’t matter how they get them. That would explain why they attacked us in hyperspace." He quickly explained the attack to the Padawan. "Come on let’s get to the cockpit!"
They rounded the corner at a dead run heading for the front of the ship when the exterior wall ahead of them bowed in and blew out. The decompression of the passageway sucked them toward the huge jagged hole in the ship. Obi-Wan grabbed for the copilot who had wrapped his arms around the rungs of an access ladder mounted on the wall near him. Mace was not so fortunate flying debris caught the Jedi off guard and unbalanced him. His hands fought for purchase along the length of the hallway. Gripping the edge of a door he slowed his forward motion and secured himself with the force.
The copilot palmed the emergency comm set into the wall near the access hatch. "Seal off level 3, section 71. Repeat there has been a structural breach seal off level 3 section 71 with integrity shielding before we loose atmosphere." Static answered his frantic calls.
Obi-Wan held on tight, closing his eyes and praying for relief soon. His arms ached and he was slowly loosing his grip.
A door from an entryway farther up was ripped from its hinges and sucked down the hallway. The edge of metal caught Mace in the head knocking the Jedi unconscious and ripping his grip away from the door.
Obi-Wan watched in horror as the unconscious Jedi tumbled toward the opening. Without the force he was helpless.
“Seal off level 3!” He listened as the copilot shouted his request again.
Suddenly the air around them charged, the hair on his neck stood up and a sizzling sound filled his ears. The stars outside the hull wavered and grew fuzzy and the air that was escaping stopped its mad rush into space. The two men fell with a thud onto the floor of the hallway. The breach in the ship had been sealed. Obi-Wan pushed the copilot off of him and ran for the still form of the Council member.
“Level 3 has been sealed, repeat Level 3 has been sealed.” The copilot turned from the comm and watched as the young Jedi gently turned the unconscious master onto his back. “Get a med team down here as fast as you can.”
“Give us a few minutes Level 3 we still have slavers to deal with.” The static disrupted voice came back.
Obi-Wan looked up when as the other man knelt next to him. “How is he?”
“I don’t know. I cant even help him.”
“Arent you a Jedi”
“Yes!” Obi-Wan’s frustration mounted, he couldn’t help Mace, how would he ever be able to rescue his Master. “I just cant access the force right now.” He looked back down as the man in his arms stirred slightly.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Obi-Wan sat in the med room on a cot across from Mace. The technician attending his arm was gentle but the young Jedi couldn’t damp down the pain as the man worked on the blaster burn. He winced when the bacta bandage was applied and held his breath until the medication numbed the wound.
The pilot entered the bay and looked over his passengers.
“How’s he doing?” He nodded towards the unconscious Jedi Master.
“Not good.” The medic turned away from Obi-Wan and worked the monitors over Maces bed. “He needs better medical attention than I can give him here.”
Nodding the pilot walked towards Obi-Wan. He thrust his hand out to the young Jedi and introduced himself, “Name’s Cale. I’m the pilot of this vessel.”
“Obi-Wan.” The Jedi returned the greeting, “Are we going to make it to Ven IV?” The question had been uppermost in his mind since the attack had ended.
Cale let out a deep sigh and leaned against the doorframe of the small room. “Don’t think so Obi-Wan. We were lucky; a transport from Galenetria was passing near us and heard our distress call. They ran the slavers off and offered to tow us to one of Galenetrias docking moons for repairs. This ship isn’t going anywhere and neither is your friend.”
Obi-Wan was shaking his head vehemently. He brushed the medical technician aside and stood from his seat on the med-bed.
“I have to go. I have to get to Ven IV.” He could feel the panic rising inside of himself, he knew he was running out of time. Force or no force his Master was in trouble and a small voice in his head kept telling him it was almost too late.
“Sorry kid.” Cale shook his head and calmly replied but his voice was firm. “We lost an engine on our exit from hyperspace and we aren’t going anywhere. The quickest we can patch her up is probably a week or so. And from the looks of it your friend needs some medical attention fast.”
The young Jedi was belligerent. “I must go you can’t keep me here, Master Windu will be fine. Contact the temple and let them know what happened, they will send someone for him. But I have to go on. Don’t you have some type of alternate transportation?”
The captain didn’t answer him looking instead to the medic for help.
Obi-Wan turned quickly and moved away from the man, “Do not try to stop me. My Master is out there and he needs help, he’s the who we are trying to find. With or without your aid I will go.” He turned imploring eyes on the tall man near the door, “Please, loan me your shuttle, on a ship of this size, I know you have one. I will return it to you.”
“Kid you don’t have a chance in hell of rescuing that man alone from Ven IV.”
“That’s fine, then I will die there with him, but I wont leave him there.” The defiance and resolution in the young man was unmistakable, “You are not responsible for my life, you were only responsible for getting me to Ven IV. I relieve you of that responsibility now. On my word as a Jedi I will see to it that your shuttle is returned to you or you will have a new one.”
Sea-Green eyes locked hard onto the flint grey ones that watched him carefully.
“Oh hell kid,” the captain smiled and shrugged, “if you want to get yourself killed who am I to stand in the way.” He motioned out the door, “Come on I’ll show you my escape shuttle you can use that. It’s big enough to get you and your master off that rock and small enough to give you an edge getting in. Its equipped with a radar, sonar and id blockers no one will notice you landing.”
Obi-Wan let his breath out with a sigh, “Thank you sir. I owe you.”
“No you don’t. You just bring my ship back and we’ll call it square.” Cale walked him down the corridor to the escape shuttle explaining its idiosyncrasies to the boy hoping to give him the edge he was going to need if he were to make it into Ven IV and out alive again.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The door to the small cell banged open hard causing the Jedi Master to jump and move away from the light. The sudden brightness hurt his sensitive eyes. He found himself pressing deeper into the corner and hoping they weren’t returning to question him anymore. The latest session of interrogation had depleted what little strength the Jedi had left and he couldn’t stop the fear that swept through him; he didn’t believe he could survive another round with the guards.
The soldier who had opened the door stepped aside and gruffly barked an order to someone out of Qui-Gon’s vision. He was beginning to tremble from the shock and stress of his imprisonment and without access to the force his emotions swept over him.
A small dirty boy stepped into the light of the open door and cautiously walked toward the prisoner. His eyes were huge and reflected his own fear.
“Hurry up, make it fast!” The boy jumped slightly at the rough command from the man outside and turned to watch as the guard stepped away from the door and began to talk to someone farther down the hall.
His large eyes refastened on the man cringing in the corner and he slowly walked toward the frightened prisoner.
Qui-Gon watched the boy; he couldn’t have been more than eight years old, the small child was dirty and unkempt, he must have been a slave. As he drew closer the Jedi could see that he was carrying a jar full of water. The older man relaxed somewhat and tried to smile hoping to set the child at ease.
Small hands stretched out towards him and handed him the glass. When the mans trembling hands spilled some of the water the child moved closer and held the glass while Jedi drank.
“Thank you.” Qui-Gon whispered roughly. The boy nodded and quickly dug his hand into a pocket on the over large shirt he wore. Glancing swiftly at the doorway he grabbed one of the prisoners manacled hands and pressed a piece of bread into his palm.
As he turned to leave the Master whispered once more, “Tell me little one,” the child turned at his voice and stepped back towards him, “have there been any transports of any kind landing on the planet since I was brought here?”
The young boy shook his head slowly, “I’m sorry.” His voice was soft and Qui-Gon almost missed it.
“That’s okay. You better go.” The child nodded again and ran out the door as the guard stepped back near the opening. He cuffed the young boy on the head and slammed the door shut behind him.
//Please Padawan. Please come for me. Hurry.// The darkness of the cell reflected the torment of his soul and he fell into the emptiness of the despair.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Obi-Wan landed the small ship on the outskirts of TretraVen, the capital of Ven IV, in the dead of night. It was raining and the storm that he had descended through only helped to hide his approach. True to his word Cale had equipped the shuttle with blackout devices and the Jedi had touched down undetected. His trip had been uneventful, they had been hijacked only a days hyper travel from the Ven system.
He cut the engines and damped down his heat signature reducing the ships functions to life support and detection. Sweeping the area of the city with the ships scanner he found the main concentration of people to be located in the capital city. Movement was scarce and the town had been locked down for the night. He looked over the reports scrolling down the screen in front of him. Without the force entering the city would be like walking blind, but it was also his best opportunity to scout the area with as little resistance as possible. Shrugging his robe on and pulling his hood down over his face he went out into the stormy night and headed for the center of town.
There were still a few bars open on the outskirts of the government District. His exploration of the Capital had taken him less time than he had expected. He realized he would need different clothing if he were to fit in with the populace as he watched the locals entering and leaving the bar he was surveying. The dark alley he was standing in hid him well and he was able to catch snatches of conversation from the people who came and went.
Two large men stumbled out of the bar supporting one another and laughing, their conversation was loud and rough and they were enjoying one another’s company in their drunken stupor. Their bragging echoed down the street. They looked like guards or the local version of law enforcement.
“Did you see him break today?” The one with dark hair clapped the other on the back and bent over laughing.
“I thought they could take more pain than that?” His comrade asked giggling at the other as he stumbled slowly down the road.
“Oh right,” the dark haired man shoved his friend in jest causing him to loose his balance, “you take away their powers and they aren’t any different from the rest of us.”
Obi-Wan’s blood ran cold and he pressed himself tightly against the wall as they passed by his hiding place. He had no doubt they were talking about his Master.
“I bet you he doesn’t live through the night.”
“I’ll take that bet, what are you wagering?”
“Another round on me!” Their coarse laughter echoed in the Padawans ears and closed his eyes tightly against the pain in his heart. He had been right; he was out of time.
“Think Kenobi!” He hissed the words softly to himself. He had no way to rescue his Master without the force he would have to rely on street smarts and deception. Quickly he followed the drunken soldiers shadowing them back to their barracks near the center of town hoping to come up with a plan. He had been here earlier and had thought the large square building looked like a prison. His assumption had been correct.
“Wanna go check on him?” One guard taunted the other.
His friend wavered on his feet slightly, “Nah,” his words were slow and slurred, “I think I’m going to go throw up.”
The dark haired guard laughed at this and slapped his friend on the back, “That sounds fun too! I am going to go check on him first though. I bet he’s dead.” He stumbled off to the left as his compatriot quickly headed for the barracks to their right. Obi-Wan slipped into the compound and followed the drunk man.
He couldn’t believe his luck, here was his perfect chance to get inside the prison.
The soldier fumbled with his keys dropping the ring and swearing repeatedly as he tried different keys in the lock. Finally connecting the right key he pressed the large doors in and stalked down the concrete empty halls.
The Jedi apprentice slipped in behind the guard keeping to the shadows and remaining out of earshot. He tried to remember all the passages and turns they took, hoping he could back track his way out of the building.
Finally the guard stopped in front of one of the many doors that lined this particular junction. He pounded hard on the door, “You still alive in there?” Laughing at his own joke he jerked the door open and retrieved a flashlight from his belt. Before he stepped inside he palmed a small red lever to the right of the door. The young Jedi wasn’t sure what the device was for but he made a mental note of it. A small cry could be heard from inside the cell and Obi-Wan’s heart caught in his throat.
The soldier walked in and kicked the man in the corner. “You are alive, well I’ll be. Kenger was right, you are a tough one. But not to worry they said they don’t care anymore if you live or die so we can do what we want with you.” He laughed at himself and grabbed the man off the floor slamming him hard into the wall behind him.
The movement elicited a groan and a quiet plea, “Please.” The voice was rough and worn.
Before he had thought his actions through Obi-Wan ran for the opened cell.
He grabbed his lightsaber from his belt but instead of activating the weapon he turned it around and slammed the butt of the saber hard against the base of guards skull. It made a sickening crack and the large man dropped soundlessly to the floor. His flashlight rolled into the corner and the prisoner he had been beating slid slowly down the wall.
Obi-Wan pushed the guard away from the Jedi Master and bent down near the wounded man. Qui-Gon flinched and moved away from the dark figure that was crouching before him, his mind couldn’t grasp what had just happened and the injection of force sedatives that the guard had activated where wreaking havoc with his stressed out system.
“Please.” He held one hand up to forestall any more abuse, “Please don’t hurt me.”
Tears formed in the apprentices eyes as he looked at the beaten man, his hair matted and unkempt, his hands shaking as he tried to ward off any more pain. Gently the young Jedi reached for the older mans trembling hand and held it in his own.
“Master?” He touched the mans face tenderly wiping away the tears and brushing the hair back from the bruised eyes. “It’s me. It’s Obi-Wan.”
The Jedi Master stared at the young man unrecognizing for a few seconds. Thinking quickly the apprentice grabbed the discarded flashlight and shown the beam into his own face wincing against the bright light. “See it’s me. I need to get you out of here quickly.”
“Obi-Wan?” Qui-Gon reached back towards the boy.
“Yes.” The apprentice glanced out the open door anxiously, “We have to go. I have a shuttle waiting I am getting you off this planet tonight.” He wrapped his arms gently around the others waist and helped him slowly stand, “Can you walk?”
“I think so.” The man turned his eyes on the boy still unable to believe what he was seeing.
Obi-Wan leaned the Master against the doorframe and knelt back next to the guard. He searched his pockets and relieved him of his keys and vibroshiv. Stuffing these into his own belt the young Jedi steered his Master into the corridor and closed the door behind them. He locked the door and started to palm the red lever when Qui-Gon grabbed his wrist.
“No, Padawan. No more.” He touched the collar around his neck indicating the blinking red light on the side of it. Obi-Wan hadn’t seen the offensive constraint before in the darkness of the cell.
“Force sedatives.” The Master whispered wearily. “They cut me off from the force.”
The confession constricted the young Jedi’s heart in sympathy; no wonder their bond had been severed so abruptly. He knew exactly how the older Jedi felt. Quickly Obi-Wan placed his hands around the metal band but nothing he did released the catch.
“I already tried. Lets get away from here and then find another solution.” Qui-Gon was starting to get dizzy and lightheaded, he wanted nothing more than to lie down and rest but dared not loose consciousness just yet. Their escape depended on him being able to move on his own. Something bothered him about the way Obi-Wan was dealing with their situation but he couldn’t think clear enough to pinpoint it.
The apprentice held the wounded Jedi close to his side, letting the weight of the taller man rest on his shoulders as he maneuvered them back out into the exterior court between the prison and barracks. His memory had served them well and in no time they were outside.
It was still dark and early enough in the morning that no one was up yet. The storm had not abated and he dreaded taking his Master out into the cold and damp wearing only the pants and over tunic they had left to him. His feet were bare and he had already begun to shiver. Quickly Obi-Wan stripped out of his robe and wrapped it around the older man. There was no other choice they had to get out and they had to escape tonight or they would surely be recaptured in the morning. Without the force the boy would be no help if they were caught.
The roads were muddy and water pooled over their surfaces. Qui-Gon stumbled on the slippery surface and fell pulling the young Jedi down with him.
“I can’t go on.” He looked into the face of the other. He was right there was no way they would both make it.
“I can’t leave you. I wont.” The student’s tears mingled with the rain falling onto his face, he had come too far to give up now and he couldn’t leave the teacher behind.
“You have to.”
Obi-Wan desperately looked around them for a solution, wracking his brain for alternatives.
“Take this,” Cales words came back to the Padawan. He had pressed a keyed remote into the young mans hand before Obi-Wans departure, “She has a slave remote. Hit this button here and no matter where you are she’ll be there in under two minutes. This is hover control, shielding, weaponry. She’s made to protect you. Use her for it if you have to.”
“I am not going to leave you here!” He pulled the remote from an interior pocket of his tunic. “I can get us out of here. Hang on.” Thumbing the slave control he activated the ships remote.
Pulling the Jedi master back up to his feet again the Padawan half dragged the man into a nearby alleyway. Within seconds they could hear the thrum of the crafts engines as it cruised to their position and hovered meters above their heads.
“You have to hold on!” The young Jedi shouted to be heard over the roar of the engines as the boarding ramp lowered and a rope ladder descended from its edge. “You can do this!”
Unsure of his capability to accomplish even this small task the Master stumbled towards the underbelly of the ship aided by the Padawan.
Blaster fire sprayed into the pools of water at the young mans feet as he helped the older Jedi get his footing on the rope rungs. He swept his eyes quickly around and was surprised by a contingent of guards blocking the street behind them, taking cover as they aimed at the escaping Jedi.
“Hold on Master!” Slapping a button on the remote the ladder began to retract pulling the Master to safety.
The apprentice dropped into a defensive position and ignited his blade. He only had to buy them a few seconds. If Qui-Gon could get into the ship and re-lower the ladder they would be okay.
His movements were slow and sluggish, the cold and rain impeded his defense. His arm throbbed with a dull ache where he had been shot and he was beginning to wonder about their chances of escape.
A blaster bolt caught the Padawan in the leg and he dropped to the ground with a cry. Qui-Gon had been watching the firefight from the hold of the ship as he lowered the ladder once more. It was obvious to him that something was wrong with the apprentice, the boy wasn’t fighting well. He was awkward and unsure as he tried to turn the bolts back on their attackers.
The Jedi Master was frustrated with his inability to help his Padawan. He reached out to the force trying to grasp it as the drugs in his systems began to wear off. The sight of his Padawans struggling below him was too much. The Jedi's body was weak but his mind was strong and the urgency of the situation overrode the pain that radiated through him. Concentrating hard he grasped the barest edges of the force and drove the poison from his system. The flood of light spiked through his awareness and surged through his blood momentarily blinding him.
The Master pressed the power down through the bond he shared with his Padawan in an attempt to aid the boy, only to find the connection cut off and constricted. Below him the young Jedi cried out again as he reached over his head for the rope ladder to escape and was struck to the ground as a bolt grazed his shoulder.
Obi-Wan's head swam his ears rang and an odd pressure began to build behind his temples. He knelt in the mud panting trying to regain his composure as the force built within him trapped by the force-block unknown to the Master who was pressing the waves of power into the weakened boy. It felt like his heart was going to burst as his pulse raced with the power surge. The block broke inside his mind like a dam and his system was shot through with the force. The impact of the power and the awareness that came with it brought a cry of pain from the apprentice as his senses shorted out from the overload. He raised his hands and pressed them flat out towards the men who were advancing on him in an attempt to shunt some of the force that swelled in and around him. The usual comforting touch of the force was like hot pricks of fire and he couldn’t contain the energy or the pain. The force wall that he pushed towards the Ven guards threw them into the surrounding buildings and blew out several windows as it swept through the street.
Collapsing in the mud from the drain and shock to his system, Obi-Wan let the cold rain pelt down around him as he tried to regain his breathing. His body hurt and his mind was numb. He knew he needed to move but it was impossible to do so. Someone dropped down awkwardly beside him and hands lifted his shoulders up. He stood slowly to his feet and allowed himself to be positioned on the rope ladder. A body wrapped around his own holding him to their route of escape. The person was speaking but he couldn’t understand the words. A hand reached into his inner pocket and retrieved the ships remote commanding the vessel to retract the ladder and start hyper calculations for a jump as soon as the craft cleared the well of the planet.
Once aboard he dropped to the decking and closed his eyes. His body was beginning to respond to simple commands and he had a good grasp on his breathing. Qui-Gon sat down hard next to him. He had reached his limit, even his newly re-established link to the force couldn’t damp down all the pain his body felt.
Obi-Wan looked up at him as though seeing him for the first time, "Master?"
Qui-Gon nodded and tried to smile. Consciousness was fading fast for the Jedi.
The sight of his Master snapped the Padawan out of his stupor. He set his lightsaber down and moved next to the hurt Jedi.
"How did you do that?" Glazed blue eyes tracked him dully, "Never mind we have to get you to the med bay." The thrum of the engines beneath them signaled their escape from the well of the planet. Obi-Wan reached for the remote and made sure the autopilot was in control. The pitch of the drive changed and the small craft made the jump to hyperspace.
"We'll be followed."
The youth looked up at the other and smiled softly, "No we're safe. I'll explain to you later." He took the Masters face in his hands and tenderly pulled the man against him, wrapping his arms around the lost Jedi. "You're safe now." He rocked the older man slightly "I don’t know what you did Master but thank you."
"You're hurt." The sound of the quiet voice was muffled against Obi-Wan's chest.
"I'm hurt?" The Padawan pulled back and looked into the dazed eyes, "You have been tortured and you're worried about me?" He smiled at the other in relief.
"I knew you would hear me Padawan."
Obi-Wan didn’t correct the teacher but slowly stood and pulled the other up with him. "I need to see to your wounds." He walked with the man down the corridor to the med bay supporting the tall Jedi’s frame on his good shoulder. When they had almost reached the room Qui-Gon collapsed into unconsciousness. The Padawan half dragged half carried the wounded man into the medical bay and placed him on a monitoring bed.
His access to the force was back, but the pent up explosion of power had shorted his senses, he found that although he could feel its warmth he could neither use it nor control it. He was as blind and as deaf as before.
Tested every key on the guards ring that he had stolen before finally finding the right one to open the collar around Qui-Gon’s neck. Gently he removed the metal ring from the man and threw it angrily across the room. Tiny bruising pin pricks ringed the Jedi’s neck where he had been repeatedly injected with the force sedative.
The young Jedi quickly removed the cold wet clothes his master wore and replaced them with warm sleepwear. He tended the bruised and torn feet and tenderly dressed the gashes left on the man's back and chest from the unknown torture he had endured. With gentle careful hands he brushed the long tangled hair and pulled the strands away from the teacher's face securing them with a catch behind his head. Gently he propped pillows behind the man and covered him with a mound of self heating blankets adjusted to the Jedi's specific needs.
Tears silently coursed down his cheeks as he looked into the unconscious bruised face of his Master. The older man’s lip had been cut and was swollen. Several smaller gashes around his eyes and cheeks were treated with bacta before the apprentice sat wearily down in the chair next to the teacher’s bed. Shakily he searched out the mans large hand and held it between his own, warming it with the heat from his hands.
"I'm sorry I didn’t find you sooner." He spoke quietly to the sleeping man. He stood over the prone Jedi and pressed his forehead down against the others, "I can't even help you heal. I'm so sorry."
A small pinging sounded from the cockpit and he gently replaced the Masters hand beneath the blankets and moved stiffly to see what was wrong.
His own wounds were beginning to scream for attention as he dropped into the pilots seat and tapped the flashing red button on the screen calling up a display of the surrounding system they were passing through. It was pirate and slaver country and he immediately activated the devices that would hide their passing from any would be attackers. He closed his eyes meaning only to rest them for a moment before returning to Qui-Gon's side. It was all his body needed to shut his consciousness off and escape to the darkness of rest.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Qui-Gon awoke to warmth and low comforting light. It was such a change from his previous awakenings that he simply laid there and allowed his body to slowly wake up. He realized he was dressed in warm clothing and covered with soft blankets, his wounds had been dressed and there were socks on his feet. The Jedi gently touched the tender parts on his face near his eyes and his lips where the deepest cuts were and found they too had been bandaged and cared for.
His throat was parched and he looked about him for something to quench his thirst with. He was slightly surprised to find himself in a small med-bay lying on the monitor bed hooked up to life systems, the machines quietly watching over his systems functions. Slowly Qui-Gon sat up and took in his surroundings.
His head swam when he moved too fast and his whole body protested the shift in position. But there was something wrong with the bond he shared with Obi-Wan. He could feel the boy but there was no response from the Padawan. The Jedi swung his legs over the side of the sleep couch and moved towards the door.
//Padawan?// An odd emptiness echoed his question. He ignored the pain that throbbed dully through his body. Damping down the ache with the force he grabbed a blanket and wrapping it around himself left to find Obi-Wan.
His search brought him to the cockpit of the small shuttle. The boy was leaning back in the pilots chair his feet resting on the console in front of him. He must have just woken Qui-Gon surmised as watched the young man. Raising his hands above his head the young Jedi stretched and yawned wincing mid stretch as his injured muscles were pulled taught. He quickly shifted his arm back down against his chest and examined the blaster wound.
//Padawan?// Qui-Gon stood quietly in the doorway to the cockpit watching the young man. There was no acknowledgement that the Jedi was even aware of the masters presence. //Obi-Wan!//
Still the odd echo rebounded through their bond. Qui-Gon approached the apprentice and gently laid his hand on the boy’s head.
Obi-Wan gasped in surprise and turned quickly in the overlarge chair. His eyes were wide and it was obvious the Jedi Master had frightened him momentarily.
"Oh Master I didn’t hear you." The young man stood and helped the other sit in the copilots seat, "You shouldn’t be up. You need your rest. You've only been sleeping for a few hours." He glanced quickly as his chrono.
Qui-Gon watched the young man cautiously. //You cant hear me can you Padawan?//
Obi-Wan noted the odd glance and immediately became worried, "Are you all right? Do you hurt?" He kneeled next to the older Jedi searching his eyes for any sign of pain. "Can I get you something?"
"You can’t hear me can you Padawan?" Qui-Gon repeated the question staring hard into the eyes of the boy at his side.
Obi-Wan opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. He couldn’t feel the man next to him in the force, he couldn’t hear him, he couldn’t reach his mind or even help the other heal. Dropping his eyes guiltily he answered, his voice a mere whisper, "No Master I can’t hear you. I can’t feel you. I can’t even help you heal." He couldn’t look at the other, couldn’t stand the thought of what he would see in his Teahers eyes.
Gently Qui-Gon reached out and tipped the apprentices chin up until their eyes met. "What happened?" He could see the unshed tears in the young mans eyes. The smaller Jedi looked suddenly tired and incredibly young.
"Healer Collran gave me a force blocker that is permanent." The tears spilled down the young cheeks as he explained what had happened over the past week and how he had been purposefully restricted from accessing the force. "I heard you scream just before our bond was cut off." The Padawan was shaking his head his eyes pressed tightly shut with the memories and emotions that he couldn’t control. "I thought I had lost you. I thought you were gone. When I woke up in the healers wing I thought they were going to tell me you had died. I have never been so scared." He stopped, trying to take a shaky breath and control himself, "I miss not feeling you."
Qui-Gon pulled the boy into his arms and held him gently against his chest. His voice was soft and soothing a comforting rumble beneath the Padawans ear as the older man talked quietly to him. "Padawan I am so sorry. I didn’t realize that my being cut off from the force collapsed our bond and created a backlash. Did I hurt you when I pressed the force into you while you were fighting to free us?"
"It hurt but I know you didn’t mean to. I couldn’t control it. It was like a dam breaking inside of me. And for a brief moment I could feel the force again but it must have overloaded my senses because I can barely feel it at all now. Its okay though." The words were whispered through hitched breathing, "I was just glad I got to you in time. I am sorry I cant help you heal, I am sorry I cant take away some of your pain."
"No it’s not okay." The Jedi pulled slightly back from the youth and looked over the burns on the young mans shoulder and arm. "But we need to see to your wounds first Padawan. They must hurt you a lot without the aid of the force."
Obi-Wan shrugged slightly. He had been trying to ignore them. He deserved them, he couldn’t get out of the way fast enough or even defend himself. What good was a Jedi who couldn’t even act like one.
"Don’t blame yourself Padawan. You did the best you could under the circumstances."
"How did you know?" Obi-Wan was trying to access their bond from his side, “How did you know that was what I was thinking?”
The Jedi Master stared hard at the apprentice his forehead creasing in a frown, "I…I could feel it from you."
"You did?" Obi-Wan searched his eyes hopefully. //Can you hear me? I cant hear you.//
He waited for a response from the older man who was concentrating on his end trying to re-establish contact with the separated Padawan.
"You didn’t hear me did you?"
"No. But I can sense flashes of emotions from you." He smiled down into the sad eyes locked onto his own, "Lets get your wounds tended to and then we shall see about that force blocker that Collran gave you."
Obi-Wan nodded and stood to his feet helping the older Jedi to stand. He wrapped his good arm around the masters waist and allowed the older man to lean on him. "You really should be resting."
"I am fine."
"Sure you are. You've been imprisoned for a week. Beaten, don’t say it wasn’t that bad I saw the cuts and bruises for myself and when was the last time they fed you?" The smaller Jedi looked accusingly at him, "And don’t tell me you are fine!"
Qui-Gon laughed at the rebuke from his apprentice. "Yes Padawan. Whatever you say Padawan."
"That’s better." The light answer was more like the Obi-Wan the Jedi was used to.
"But you are right I am hungry, I cant remember the last time I ate."
"Then we get you something to eat first." Obi-Wan palmed the light as they entered the small med-bay. Qui-Gon moved away from him and turned down the sheets on a medical couch propping pillows near the head of it.
He turned toward the young man and motioned towards the bed, "Not until I see to your burns." The argument died on the lips of the apprentice when his masters eyes grew hard and he continued, "Obi-Wan those wounds will become infected. I will not have a sick Padawan when there is something I can do to stop it. You will come over here now and lie on that couch or I will pick you up and put you there myself."
The threat brought a smile and a small bark of laughter to the young Jedi. Crossing his arms he stared hard at the older man, "I'd like to see that."
Immediately the apprentice was wrapped in the steel bonds of the force as cords of invisible energy coiled about him and picked him up off the floor. His eyes went wide and he cried out in surprise as his body was turned horizontal and laid gently down on the soft blankets of the med-bed.
"Anything else you want to challenge me on? Qui-Gon smiled wickedly down at the youth.
"No sir!" His laughter filled the small room and energized the Master. The older Jedi had missed the young man. There were a few nights he hadn’t even been sure he would ever the boy again who had come to mean more to him than a son.
Obi-Wan let out a sigh and closed his eyes as Qui-Gon moved next to the bed and began to strip away the torn tunic exposing the burns on his body. He rolled onto his stomach so that his arm and shoulder were more accessible and let himself relax into the softness beneath him. The young Jedi tried to keep track of the quiet conversation the Master was carrying on with him but before too long the pain from his wounds and the weariness of being separated from the force overwhelmed him and he fell into a deep sleep.
Qui-Gon stopped his ministrations and brushed the boys hair back from his face. He placed his hand on the young mans forehead and carefully pressed down with waves of the force sending the youth into a deeper peaceful rest.
"Sleep my Obi-Wan. When you wake we will talk more then."
* * * * * * * * * * *
There was pressure inside of him. It was building; he couldn’t contain it any longer. He couldn’t breath and his heart was about to explode. The pain from the power that choked inside of him broke him and he cried out begging for it to stop.
A cool hand touched his forehead and his brain grasped the softly spoken words.
“Padawan? You are all right. Wake up, you’re dreaming.”
Slowly the young Jedi opened his eyes locking his gaze on to the man that sat next to his bed. He worked on controlling his breathing allowing the adrenaline in his system to wear off.
“Are you okay?” Obi-Wan nodded in response.
Qui-Gon let him rest him for a few minutes before pressing his questioning. “What were you dreaming of?”
Obi-Wan rolled stiffly onto his side and propped himself up on his good elbow. “How do you feel?”
A soft smile reached the blue eyes staring at the boy, “I feel better, much better. But I have the force to aid in my healing.” His smile turned sarcastic, “Now that I can access it again and have some time to let my body rest.” The older Jedi reached out and ruffled the spiky hair of his Padawan, “I know how it feels to be shut off from the force.”
The gaze of the young man dropped to the blanket beneath him, his fingers worrying the ragged edges of the warm fabric.
“I think I know I how to get rid of the blocker.” Qui-Gons face and tone were serious as Obi-Wan hopefully looked back up at him, “But Padawan it may hurt.”
“I don’t care.”
“I have to access the force again. I don’t want to live this way anymore. I…I,” his face reddened in embarrassment, “I cant sleep at nights without the force. I hate not being able to feel you or talk to you. I cant think right. I cant do anything right without the force. It’s like being blind and deaf!”
Qui-Gon laughed at the tirade, “Alright, alright.” He stood and pressed the youth back down onto the medbed. “I need you to relax. Whatever happens, don’t fight me.”
The sea-green eyes shut as the boy nodded and let out a deep breath calming himself. His masters hands wrapped around the sides of his face, the mans thumbs resting on his temples. Involuntarily Obi-Wan felt a spike of fear.
“Relax young one.” The words were a whisper and they seemed to come from inside of him as well as echoing in his ears.
Qui-Gon grabbed the light and warmth of the force he drew the power to him and wrapped it around them both. He used the energy to pressed the boy down onto the bed and hold him there, a small gasp of surprise escaped the youth.
“Relax.” He whispered the words as he worked enfolding the young Jedi in the power that swirled around them, “Trust me Padawan.” He softly rubbed his thumbs against the apprentice temples trying to get the boy to calm down.
Obi-Wan swallowed hard and concentrated on releasing his fears, breathing deeply as his senses were pricked and brushed by the warmth of the force. The bands of energy around his body constricted and the pressure inside of him built once more. This time it was no dream as his Master pressed carefully but forcefully down on the block that the healer had administered to the youth.
His heart rate increased and he was on the verge of hyperventilating when a sharp stabbing pain struck deep in his mind. He cried out at the intrusion and struggled weakly in the warm coils of the force as the panic rose inside of him.
“Padawan.” The voice was muffled by the roar in his ears as the power flooded through the young Jedi’s closed off mind. The heightened sensations overwhelmed him as his system tried to cope with the influx of information and feelings. The energy grasped him and pulled him into its vortex, he thought he would drown in the light as it infiltrated every cell in his body. The maelstrom of the power caught him and he cried out into it as it consumed his mind.
The body under the Jedi Masters hands convulsed and went still.
//Padawan?// Qui-Gon could feel the young man through the force, he waited as the bond re-established itself and opened the apprentices mind to his own.
//Padawan!?// Opening his eyes he looked down into the still face of the boy. There was no answer. He dropped the coils of force from the young man body and placed his hand above the still Jedi’s heart. Obi-Wan stirred slightly, moaning softly.
//Padawan?// Obi-Wan searched blindly for his master through the force, reaching out with his hand to touch the older man.
//Mas..// The attempt to communicate was weak but Qui-Gon had heard him. //Hurts//
//Shhh…. I know. Let it come back slowly.// He grabbed the smaller hand in his own. He brushed the boys hair back from his face with his free hand.
//Yes, yes. I can.//
A sigh of relief echoed through the bond and he felt the young Jedi slip into the warmth and light of the force
“I’m sorry I hurt you.” Qui-Gon sat heavily down in the chair next to the unconscious Padawan. He reached across the boy pulled the blankets onto the sleeping youth, wrapping one around his own shoulders as his body began to protest the extensive workout he had given it. He was tired and aching. His body was screaming for rest. Settling into a comfortable position he laid one hand on the Obi-Wans chest and cradled his own tired head in the crook of his arm. The Jedi Master monitored the apprentice’s senses through the newly re-established bond checking for any damage or pain that the youth might be suffering. He had hoped it would work when he had pried the blocker from the boys systems using the power of the force to eradicate the drugs. He remembered seeing it done before when he was younger and out on a mission with his master. He had remembered how much it had hurt the knight that his master had saved.
Obi-Wans mind was completely unshielded and he accessed the young mans memories of the previous week. He would have words with Mace when he got back about the way they had handled the boy when his bond had collapsed. The hell he had lived through didn’t even compare to the boys emotional torment. Qui-Gon gently took the boys small hand in his own and wrapped his signature around the students drawing the young man into a sense of peace of safety. It was good to be free, it was better to have his Padawan whole again. His eyes closed of their own volition and he fell immediately into a deep healing sleep.
* * * * * * * * * *
A soft beeping sounded in his ears. He was really too tired to acknowledge it. Light and warmth shifted around him and he shrugged off the coils of his Masters signature as he began to register his surroundings. It was then that the realization hit him, sending his reeling – he could feel the force again. Obi-Wan touched the bond he shared with his Master and found the man to be asleep. He explored the ship with his refound senses and realized they were on the verge of exiting hyperspace.
He didn’t think he had been asleep that long, they shouldn’t be reverting yet. Something had to be wrong. The Padawan shifted slightly and moved out from underneath his Masters hand. The older Jedi didn’t stir when the youth reached out and placed his hand on the teachers head sending waves of peace and rest into the mans weary body. He had wanted so badly before to help the Jedi heal and with the block eroded from his system he eagerly pressed the much needed power into the wounded man.
Slipping quietly out of the room he headed for the control center of the ship and slid into the pilots seat checking and rechecking the autopilots navcomputations. They seemed right, so why was the ship being pulled out of hyperspace so early. Silver starlines outside the cockpit shortened and became pinpoints of light. He raised the shields and boosted the weapons systems for any surprises, scanning the immediate area.
The comm crackled to life and a familiar voice filled the cabin.
“Hey kid, is that you?” Cale’s voice called out.
Obi-Wan began laughing and depressed the communication button, “Cale. Am I glad to see you. How’d you get fixed up so fast?”
“Well I ran into a spice trader on Galenetria who owed me a few favors and I cashed ‘em all in. I recognized my shuttles heat signature, of course I knew what to look for so I activated the slave and dropped you out of hyperspace.” He laughed lightly, “Hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.”
“You get what you were looking for?”
“Yes I did.” Obi-Wan smiled as he touched the Jedi Master again through their bond, “Thank you for your help.”
The young Jedi heard Cale speaking to someone inside the cabin of the ship, “How the heck did he do that without access to your force, I thought that was impossible?”
A familiar muted voice answered, “Never underestimate the love of a Padawan.”
“Master Windu? Is that you?” Obi-Wan leaned into the mic trying to hear better.
“Yeah Obi-Wan its me.” He laughed and the sound was deep and welcoming.
“How are you? Are you okay?” The Apprentice worriedly asked.
“I’m doing good. What about the two of you?”
“We’ll be fine.”
“This is a nice little reunion and all,” Cales voice interrupted the conversation, “but I need you to do me a favor kid, drop the shield and disengage the weapons systems I am going to tractor you into the hold. Oh and one more thing I have one very uptight Healer that is interested in seeing you.”
“Understood. Dropping shields now.” Obi-Wan laughed tapping in the code to override the shields and power down weaponry. The ship rocked slightly as the tractor beam wrapped the hull and began to pull the vessel into the special hold that had been built for it in the belly of the transport.
The docking clamps attached to the exterior of the craft and held it in place as it bumped to a stop held tightly inside the hold.
Cales voiced sounded tinnily in the cockpit. “Obi-Wan hang on a minute. We are having some trouble with atmospheric pressure down there, this thing still isn’t back up and running.”
“That’s not a problem I need to go see to my Master anyway.” Obi-Wan cut the conversation and moved back into the med bay Qui-Gon was still where he had left him, sleeping soundly leaning on the sleep couch.
Obi-Wan kneeled in front of the Jedi and gently touched the older mans face with his hand, reaching through their bond he pressed into the teachers awareness.
Qui-Gon moved in his sleep pulling away from the intrusion.
Again the touch, again the call //Master we are docked. I need you to wake up.//
Why couldn’t he just sleep, why was someone calling him now? His brow creased into a frown as he tried to pull himself awake. A surge of power crested through the bond he had with his Padawan and refreshed his mind. His Padawan…
He opened his eyes to see the boy kneeling in front of him smiling.
//How do you feel?// the question echoed happily through their connection.
Quickly sitting up he took the boys face in his hands and stared hard into the sea-green eyes. They were bright and clear and he could feel the young man in the force next to him. //Can you still hear me?// He asked hesitantly.
//Yes I still can.// The face in his hands nodded.
“But how are you doing?” Obi-Wan looked worriedly at the other. He closed his eyes concentrating through the force to see for himself how the teacher was. He could feel the pain, the weariness, the still healing bruises and the overextended muscles. He could sense the dark lonely places that still held tinges of fear from the Masters imprisonment.
“I am fine young one, don’t worry yourself with me. You will need to rest, you body has gone through an incredible shock.”
“You are not okay Master, but you will be.” Obi-Wan opened his eyes and refocused on the man. “Let me help you.”
Qui-Gon dropped his gaze and was about to protest when Obi-Wan touched Jedi Masters temples. The teacher let his hands fall into his lap and leaned back in the chair as the command to relax echoed in his ears.
Obi-Wan drew the power of the force to himself and wrapped the room in it sealing them off from the rest of the ship. He felt alive. He channeled the healing touch of the living power into the man seated in front of him. The light raced through their bond tracing out the pathways and synapses in Qui-Gon’s brain touching all the dark recess and driving away the fear and sorrow. The young Jedi bound the wounded muscles in the warmth and rhythm of the flood and with a final push of energy he chased the weariness from the other.
Satisfied he rocked back on his heals and looked into the open blue eyes. Qui-Gon smiled at him testing his own strength, checking his body for the ache of the wounds he had sustained. The weariness was gone and the thrum of the force pulsed in its place.
Cales voice crackled over the intercom, “Okay Obi-Wan we have the problem solved. I am sending your medic down right now, hang on.”
“There wont be a need for that,” Qui-Gon stood and stepped near the intercom microphone, “We are both fine and we’ll join you shortly.” The Master smiled at the boy who was gaining his feet slowly. Pulling the youth into his arms he held him tightly against himself.
“Thank you Padawan.” Obi-Wan sighed deeply and relaxed for a moment. “I told you to go slowly.” Qui-Gon reprimanded the boy, “You wore yourself out didn’t you.”
“Its just good to be back in touch with the force. Thank you for freeing me from the block Master.” The young man moved within the circle of the arms and looked up into the others eyes.
“I had wanted to tell you earlier that it is good to have you back young one.” Qui-Gon smiled down at the boy.
“I think we will surprise the healer when he takes a look at us.”
“I think we will indeed. Let’s go meet your friends and see how Mace is doing.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
Healer Collran frowned at the readings on the scanner. He glanced at Obi-Wan and reran the test.
The young man sighed deeply, “I already told you the blocker is gone from my system. Master Qui-Gon removed it.”
Collran placed a large hand on the youths chest and held him in place on the medical bed when he tried to move. “You leave when I say you leave. I am not especially pleased that your system was run down soon after regaining the connection. That was not wise.” He glared at the Padawan. “You Jedi should leave the healing to us.” He muttered and reset the gauges on the monitor above Obi-Wan once more.
“Please Healer Collran can I go? You can run that test a hundred times and it will still say the same thing.” The apprentice was getting tired of being made to hold still. “What if I promise to take it easy?”
The door to the med bay swung in and Qui-Gon entered. “Are you still tormenting my Padawan, Collran?”
The healer rounded on the smiling man. His inattention was all the distraction Obi-Wan needed as he quickly jumped off the couch and circled behind his Master.
“I did not tell you you could get up!” Collran barked at the youth who simply pressed closer to the open door. Qui-Gon reached around behind him and drug the Padawan in front of him, wrapping his arms around the young mans shoulders and allowing Obi-Wan to lean back against him.
“Collran,” Qui-Gon laughed at the frustrated look the other wore, “You cannot change what happened no matter how many tests you run him through. Obi-Wan has full access to the force now. He is overly tired and I did allow him to get run down but it wont happen again.”
“It had better not. Access to the force like that shouldn’t be possible, it was dangerous what you did and you know it.”
“Perhaps and possibly it shouldn’t have worked but it did and he is fine.” He ruffed the boys hair and shoved the student quickly out the door. “Now if you don’t mind we have some preparations to make and I have need of my apprentice. Cale has graciously agreed to take us all back to the Ven Home World in order to try to bring peace to this interplanetary war. Besides if you need someone to mother I believe Mace is still nursing a headache. Now if you’ll excuse us.” The older Jedi quickly bowed and headed out only to run into Obi-Wan who was standing just outside the door trying to conceal his laughter.
“Master Windu will get you for that one. He doesn’t get along well with Healer Collran.” The young Jedi allowed himself to be steered down the hallway. “They have had run ins with each other before.”
Qui-Gon draped an arm the laughing Padawan and headed him for the aft lobby shaking his head and smiling to himself. “Well that sounds like something they will have to work out on their own! As for you and I Master Yoda has indeed sent us all back to Ven, being as we have all checked out healthy. So we need to be ready. Ven IV has agreed to talks as long as they are held on the home world and we are to mediate them. Cale said we should arrive within the next couple of days and I want to be prepared.”
“Are you sure you want to go back Master?”
“Why you don’t want to come?” He teased the young man.
“Just try and stop me this time.” The Padawan seated himself across from the Jedi as he called up a map of Ven Home and began to explain how the negotiations would work. The two were soon lost in the protocols of mediation, their newly established bond stronger than ever before. It would be an interesting assignment and the Padawan suddenly found himself looking forward to it and many more to come.