Qui-Gon woke to the sound of somebody talking rather animatedly.
“-and like, Master Dooku is still insisting Obi-Wan should switch to Makashi, but all his pushing ever does is make Obi-Wan’s Soresu the most ‘passive-aggressive way of non-aggressive combat’, at least that’s what Master Windu said and-“
There was a blonde boy sitting at Qui-Gon’s bedside. He struggled to make out his features at first, his eyes were heavy as if he hadn’t opened them in a while. The boy was young, barely a teenager, and a Padawan going by his braid.
“-but it’s so boring. I think the others are a little jealous I kinda have two Masters, but it’s also double the work-“
He was blonde and his features familiar. Beyond that though, Qui-Gon recognized his Force-signature much more easily.
He tried to say “Anakin”, but all that escaped his throat was something akin to a low hum. It was enough to catch Anakin’s attention as the young boy immediately dropped his datapad in shock.
“Qui-Gon! Kriff, you’re awake- oh, heck, medic!”
Over the course of the next weeks, Qui-Gon gets reacquaintance with the world of the living. His muscles had deteriorated severely as he’d apparently been comatose for almost three years. He had missed his Padawan’s first steps into knighthood, hadn’t been there to show the not-so-little-anymore Anakin how to tie his braid or been present to welcome his Master back in the temple.
It was almost surreal to see Dooku back in the temple after so many years of absence, wearing almost traditional Jedi robes again, especially since his visits were usually accompanied by his Padawan.
“Honestly, Qui-Gon,” his Master sighed. “What were you thinking making Obi-Wan promise to teach Anakin?”
He’d been a little occupied by the wound in his gut to think about repercussions of asking his Padawan to train Anakin. Obi-Wan had been ready for Knighthood for a year already at least when they had dropped down on Naboo. He would have done right by Anakin, of that Qui-Gon was sure, but perhaps it was for the better that he didn’t have to step up.
“How is it that you, who swore to never take another Padawan, ended up with one then?” Qui-Don countered instead of replying.
Dooku crossed his arms, a hint of arrogance and anger carrying along. It was almost a relief to see that even after so many years, Qui-Gon could still read his Master so well.
“Obi-Wan is just as stubborn as you, he wouldn’t let anybody else train the boy, given that most Knights were only offering because they didn’t want Obi-Wan’s potential to go to waste, not because they actually cared about Anakin.”
Anakin had told Qui-Gon quite extensively about Obi-Wan’s stubbornness. Apparently, in the years Qui-Gon had been comatose, he had developed a habit of talking to Qui-Gon he now couldn’t quite get rid of. Qui-Gon didn’t mind, he enjoyed hearing about how Anakin was doing and how Obi-Wan had grown. Switching Ataru for Serosu, that was something Qui-Gon hadn’t ever expected.
“I was just here to check up on you, but seeing the sorry state you left your Padawan in and the fact that nobody had apparently thought to sit Anakin down with a mind healer…”
Qui-Gon frowned. Why would they-
Dooku huffed. “He was a slave, Padawan mine. They were lucky Obi-Wan’s brief stint with the Galaxy’s most unsavory trade let him recall that Anakin might need counseling and support of some kind, but he didn’t know exactly how. Honestly, you can’t just pick up a child from the Outer Rim, put them here and expect they know how to handle themself now that they have some autonomy.”
Qui-Gon had to admit that he hadn’t thought so far back then. He’d been occupied with their mission and Anakin’s sheer potential. The boy had seemed fairly well adjusted to him all in all, as he was now. But his Master would know better. His distaste for the corrupt Senate had led to Dooku taking quite a lot of missions in the Outer Rim and more often than not, there had been discrepancies in the amount of money his Master had spent during his time away. Enough, in some worlds, to help people. Nobody in the Council had ever said anything as far as Qui-Gon knew. They couldn’t, not with the Senate and the Galaxy’s careful balance of powers breathing down their necks.
“It was just a matter of proving myself trustful to the two. As you might have noticed already, Anakin and Obi-Wan are quite attached to one another.”
The healers had not yet let Qui-Gon out of the ward, so Anakin had recorded a match between himself and Obi-Wan. They moved with a much higher degree of synchronicity than most Master and Padawan pairs did after five years together, and they had only spent two at one another’s side; less than that even, considering the weeks Obi-Wan had spent away from the Temple for his own missions given that he was not actually Anakin’s Master.
“They will be remarkable,” Qui-Gon said. He could almost see it, they would move the Order forward.
“They already are.”
Qui-Gon smiled. “Master, have you become soft with your age, giving praise so easily?”
Dooku rolled his eyes and smoothed over his robes. “You were a menace to teach, always so lazy and complaining about your tasks. Anakin is a much more eager student than you ever were.”