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Memory of You, Part Two

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nine years ago

Obi-Wan was here.

He had not sensed his nearness at all, something that he had to admit surprised him. Obi-Wan had always been... very present, in his mind, their bond always so strong. Persistent. Almost irritatingly bright.

But Qui-Gon had not known the younger man was going to be at the Chanrdrilan gala, mingling with Senators and royalty by choice as Qui-Gon was by duty.

He swept out of the crowd unexpectedly, resplendent in a crisp uniform of pristine deep grey, a cape of a familiar blue swinging from his shoulders. There was a Pantoran woman on his arm, wearing the same shade of striking blue, decorated with purples and golds, and she was smiling up at him as if he were the nearest sun.

“Ah,” said Obi-Wan, drawing to a gentle stop. “Master Jedi.” He smiled, and Qui-Gon took in the shoulder-length hair brushed back, the slight shadow of a beard hiding the dimpled chin from view.

“Kenobi,” Qui-Gon said, folding his arms in his sleeves to hide his discomfort.

“Ah, it’s Lord Kenobi,” the younger man said with the perfect degree of poise and humility. “It’s been some time since we last met, there’s no offense taken.”

The Pantoran woman smiled at him again, and he started with what Qui-Gon recognized with disdain was false surprise. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” Lord Kenobi said to her, raising her hand from his arm to press it to his lips.

Qui-Gon actually felt a surge of anger at the sight. He wondered at it, but there was little time to figure it out.

“—Master Jinn, one of the Republic’s more famous diplomats,” Kenobi was saying. “Master Jinn, I’m delighted to introduce you to Aoi Chí, Pantora’s Senator to the Galactic Republic.”

Senator Chí greeted Qui-Gon warmly, but it was clear that under her charming facade she was eager to be moving on, the allure of speaking with a real Jedi Master somehow overshadowed by the company of Lord Kenobi.

Obi-Wan was in full flow about the Senator’s work, but Qui-Gon interrupted. “It’s true that we haven’t spoken in a few years. I would be interested to hear of your career. You are a Lord of...?”

The Senator’s smile tightened at his obvious gaffe. Obi-Wan, however, merely chuckled. “Master Jinn and I were once well acquainted. This is simply his way. My dear Senator, I’d hate to bore both of you by juggling two such separate attentions. Shall I summon a new chaperone for you while I wrap up here?”

She laughed at his antics. “Oh very well, but don’t leave me with him for too long. Humor doesn’t seem to run in the family.”

In the—?

“Adan,” called Obi-Wan, turning his head to the side to peer into the mass of swirling, dancing, talking people. “A moment?”

Count Dooku of Serenno stepped into view as if he had been waiting just out of sight, just as resplendent as Obi-Wan in robes of the exact same cut and style but in shades of black and maroon, the traditional colors of his family line. “My lady Senator,” he said calmly, offering her an arm which she took with a teasing glare back at Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had the audacity to wink at her. Dooku nodded politely to Qui-Gon and swept off with Chí without another word.

The whole affair had taken less than ten seconds, and Qui-Gon reeled, stunned.

Dooku.

Dooku and Obi-Wan.

Who had addressed him as Adan, an old Serenno term for father, by adoption or by blood.

Lord Kenobi. Lord of Serenno. Undoubtedly endorsed into his position by the Count himself.

Qui-Gon looked at the young man in all his finery and felt a swell of pity inside him. Regret for what could have been, for the potential he had seen in him that had been thrown away in exchange for titles and social power.

Obi-Wan looked him full in the face.

And sighed. “Yes, that’s about what I expected from you,” he said.

And turned to walk away.

“You left without saying goodbye.” Qui-Gon felt the words burst from his lips and had no control over them, nor apparently over the way the blood roared in his ears and heated his face. “I had no idea you were making such a monumental decision as to abandon the Order until a week after you had left.”

Lord Kenobi paused. He glanced back over his shoulder with a raised brow. “Yes, Mace told me it took you that long to realize. Frankly, I was surprised. I hadn’t expected you to notice, much less care, at all.”

And then he was gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

present

Qui-Gon paced up and down like a Farlek in a cage.

Days were difficult to keep track of in this place, closeted as he was in a suite of about six rooms adjoined to one another, all of them with the same deep black walls, soft carpets and polished stone floors, and narrow windows looking out on the same vista of amber sky above a sea.

But he knew Obi-Wan — Darth Renovan, as the rumors called him, although he had never once used that name himself — had been gone for well over a week now.

It was unprecedented.

He had left before. A few days at a time. Each time with practiced grace that reminded Qui-Gon that the Sith knew what he was doing, that he was manipulating his captive, making him miss him.

But he couldn’t help it, despite knowing.

Obi-Wan was company, at least.

And strange, elusive, exciting company. His anger burned always just below the surface, a controlled but potent flame, and yet it did not burn Qui-Gon. He had felt its heat, yes, but not even in the midst of his fury at their shared history with all its twists and turns had Obi-Wan actually hurt the Jedi.

Gloved hands used him forcefully but gracefully. Clenching in midair to use the Force to shunt him through doorways or pin him to walls. Reaching out to cradle the side of his face or grip his hair in warning.

Settling one against his hip, one on his throat, just below his chin, fingers resting over his pulse point, as Obi-Wan spoke casually about his day or about the people who had fallen before him.

Qui-Gon shook away the memories and resumed pacing, his teeth grit.

This was too long. Obi-Wan must know he had slipped up. This wait was making him despise his captor, not — not love him —

The door opened as if his inner railings had finally been heard, and the man himself entered the room. But not in his usual confident, leisurely stroll, but stumbling, wheezing for air, falling.

Qui-Gon rushed forward without thinking and caught the red-haired Sith in his arms, holding him upright. Obi-Wan coughed, and blood scalded across the Jedi’s tunics, staining them.

“Gods, gods, what happened?” Qui-Gon demanded. “What do you need?”

“Water,” gasped Obi-Wan, leaning into his arms, his head resting on Qui-Gon’s shoulder, his bearded lips a millimeter from the Jedi’s neck. “Water. And sleep.”

“Yes, but you’re injured,” Qui-Gon protested. He hauled Obi-Wan upright and half-walked, half-carried the man to the bed in the next room, setting him carefully on his back on the silken sheets. Obi-Wan’s back arched and he coughed again, rasping for air.

“Congratulations... on your keen... observation,” he wheezed.

“Damn it!” Qui-Gon shouted, resting one hand against Obi-Wan’s pale face. “Tell me what to do!”

“...I... I need...” Obi-Wan rolled on to his side and coughed up more blood. “I can... heal myself... if I have enough... energy. Water. Sleep.”

“You’ll die in your sleep!”

“No.”

“Yes you will!” Qui-Gon snarled back. “There has to be something I can do!”

“Leave me be, Jedi,” snapped Obi-Wan. “I... will be fine. Let me... do what I must.”

He squirmed against the sheets again, his head tilting backwards as he desperately tried to control his coughing, and Qui-Gon acted without thinking.

He climbed onto the bed, straddling Obi-Wan’s knees with his own, and leaned down over him, pressing his hands over the younger man’s abdomen, feeling the heat of his skin through his ridiculously fine clothing. Qui-Gon lowered his face until he was almost nose to nose with the Sith, his long hair hanging down to brush the man’s pale skin.

“Tell me how to help you,” he whispered. “Tell me. Show me how to heal you.”

“You... can’t. It’s not of... the Light Side... what I do,” Obi-Wan said urgently, his breath ghosting up into Qui-Gon’s face along with the scent of tea and blood and something he couldn’t put his finger on, something sweet but dark.

“Then let me lend you energy,” Qui-Gon begged. “You’re dying, Obi-Wan. Please!”

The amber eyes fell closed.

Then they opened again, and Obi-Wan stared up into pained blue eyes and nodded.

Qui-Gon exhaled forcefully as relief flooded his veins, and then he pressed his forehead against Obi-Wan’s, positioned one hand over the man’s heart and the other at the base of his throat, and began.

Sharing energies was a difficult and incredibly risky undertaking. Not something taught so much as it was theorized about, and learned only under dire circumstances. Qui-Gon brought his whole mind, his whole body, his entire being under his control, harnessing every inch of life and Force in him to achieve one goal. Not too slowly, or it would fail. Not too quickly, or they would both perish.

Obi-Wan’s mind felt as close to his as his body was physically. Hot and light and dark.

Dark and sweet.

Like chocolate. Like fire.

Obi-Wan groaned as power flooded him, and he struggled to siphon it carefully towards healing, repairing the damage that Sidious had done to him in a fit of glee and rage.

His back arched up again. This time, as he tilted his head back, his lips met Qui-Gon’s.

Qui-Gon kissed him.

Obi-Wan gasped against his lips, and Qui-Gon growled, moving his hands from Obi-Wan’s chest upwards to his shoulders, pushing down as if he could hold the Sith in place forever, like trying to trap fire.

Obi-Wan was consuming him from the inside out, his darkness and his fire drinking the Jedi’s light like a dying man upon water, his hands rising up to grip Qui-Gon’s waist with bruising strength, holding him in place. In return, Qui-Gon’s lips consumed Obi-Wan’s, tracing motions where he hadn’t the strength or clarity of mind for words. A thousand words, a million, things unsaid or said wrong between them for over twenty years.

The heat rose and rose and rose and all that existed in the galaxy was Obi-Wan, the sweet darkness inside him and the fire of his eyes and the heat of his hands and the warmth of his lips, and although Qui-Gon’s hands were pinning Obi-Wan’s shoulders to the bed, it was the Sith’s hands on his hips that locked them both in place, writhing in an inferno of their own creation.

Then it was over. Obi-Wan sat upright, pulling away, and pushed Qui-Gon neatly aside with one arm as if he were pushing an oblivious child out of the way.

“Well then,” he said, rising to his feet, running a hand casually through his golden-red locks, smoothing down his tunics. “I think that did it. Well done, Qui-Gon, you may return to your peace and quiet.”

He walked away without a backwards glance, pausing only to lift a glass of water from a nearby table as he went, downing it in one.

Washing away heat with water.

Qui-Gon remained alone in the rumpled bed, his body drained of energy, his clothing and hair in disarray.

His eyes wide as, for the dozenth time, he watched Obi-Wan Kenobi walk away from him.

“But...” he whispered.

Obi-Wan glanced back at him as he exited the room, already halfway out the door. His amber eyes glittered like jewels in the half-light, and his lips sparkled with drops of his drink, and Qui-Gon had never in his life been so envious of something like beads of water.

“What?” he asked. “Is there some reason I should stay?”

And Qui-Gon knew there wasn’t.