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The Lost One: Part Five

They were boys again, playing in the river behind the Jedi Temple. All was well, and nothing could hurt or come between them.
Then one boy cringed in pain, looking down at a hole in his chest. “How could you do this Qui-gon? I thought we were friends?” The young voice of Jaron said hurtfully.
A young Qui-gon looked at his friend, frightened. “I’m sorry Jaron...I didn’t mean...please forgive me!” He pleaded.
But before he could receive an answer, Jaron fell. And the river carried him away...
Qui-gon woke with a start, bead of sweat trickling down his face. It had been a dream.
He sat up in the cabin’s bed. His wound had been bandaged, but had not healed.
‘If only this had all been a dream.’ He thought. But it hadn’t. Jaron was gone, killed at his hands. Obi-wan was hurt, perhaps not by his hands, but in a way it was so. The guilt that had never gone away had come surfaced again. How was he ever to forget it?
Just then the door opened and Mace Windu strode in. “How are you feeling?” he asked.
“Is Obi-wan all right?” Qui-gon asked, ignoring what Mace had just asked him.
Mace nodded, “He is stable. The injuries in his mind are more severe then the ones on his body.”
‘Obi-wan. This is all my fault.’ Qui-gon thought, his mind brimming with guilt.
Although Mace could not sense exactly what his friend was thinking, he knew what he was feeling. “You are a Jedi Master Qui-gon.” he said. “Jedi Masters know when they have made a mistake, then they act on it, ask forgiveness if it is needed, they may even feel guilty. Yet they shouldn’t do those things if the fault is not theirs.”
“Jedi Masters also shouldn’t get their Padawan’s into situations such as the one I allowed Obi-wan in.” Qui-gon countered, staring out the window at the purples and blues of hyperspace.
“No one could have foreseen what would happen. The Dark Side is hard to see, you know that as well as I do. Jaron was the reason for this Qui-gon, not you.” Mace comforted.
“I should have tried to save him long ago. I could have brought him back then, stopped this before it happened.” Qui-gon said painfully.
“He chose the path, he followed it to its end. You killed him yes. But in the end it was the path destroyed him Qui-gon, not you.” Mace said, placing a hand on his friends shoulder.
Yes, Mace was right he knew. Qui-gon did not lead Jaron to the Dark Side. The choice had been his, and Qui-gon could not have changed that. True there are things in the past that he would have changed, but those things were behind him, and they can not be recaptured. He was always telling Obi-wan to concentrate on the Here and Now. It was time that he start taking his own advice.
“All will be well in time, my friend.” Mace said, interrupting Qui-gon’s thoughts. “However may I make a suggestion?”
“Of course. Please don’t stop speaking your mind on my account.” Qui-gon answered in a playful fashion.
“Oh don’t worry I wouldn’t dream of it.” Mace said cheerfully. His cheerfulness suddenly vanished, becoming more serious. “I suggest you go see your Padawan.” he said, “He has been asking for you in his sleep. The darkness still has some hold on his mind.”
Qui-gon nodded.
“And give him this.” Mace added, pulling a lightsaber off of his belt. Obi-wan’s lightsaber.
Qui-gon stared at it, almost in disbelief.
“I found it before we entered the temple.” Mace said before Qui-gon could ask where he had uncovered his Padawan’s weapon. “It was on a stone table. Judging from the dried blood, it was where sacrifices were once made.” Mace said, looking at Qui-gon thoughtfully.
Qui-gon stared at Mace for a second, but said nothing. There was nothing to say.
Slowly he let his hand grip around the cool metal of the lightsaber. The Jedi gazed at the weapon; wondering what would have happened if things had not gone the way they had.
After a moment or to he remembered where he was, and what was important. Obi-wan needed him now. He stood and headed toward the door. Yet before he left he turned toward Mace. “Thank you, my friend.” he said. Then he made his way down the ship to where his Apprentice lay injured.

There was no where to run from it. It was all around him, and it would not leave him alone. There was no light, there was only darkness. It was holding him, speaking softly into his ear, whispering words of evil. All was lost.
“Obi-wan?” a voice said to him though the blackness. He recognized the voice.
“Master?” He said doubtfully. Because it couldn’t be his Master. His master was dead. He had seen him cut down by the darkness, as he did all of the people he cared for. Yet...
No, something wasn’t right. It was slowly coming to him. His master wasn’t dead. They had escaped. He had been in the light, the warm, beautiful light. The darkness had given up his hold on him then, but it had reclaimed him. But he would not let it continue. He had had enough of their words, their evil. He remembered the light, and remembered that he was a Jedi, and he would fight.
Then the darkness lifted like fog, and there was light once more.

Obi-wan’s eyelids felt like they weight a ton, yet he forced himself to keep them open. His vision was blurred, and could only make out the faint lines of the objects around him.
“Obi-wan?” he heard the voice beckon him again. He turned his head to the direction where the voice came. His vision was still clouded, but he knew who the voice belonged to without having to see the face.
“Master?” he said weakly. He felt Qui-gon place a hand on his forehead. Moments later his vision cleared, and he was able to see what was happening around him. He was on a ship, moving quickly through hyperspace. To Coruscant? To home? And there was his master, standing over him, always watchful. But his eyes, they seemed different somehow. They were distant, and sorrow filled.
“Are you all right, my Padawan?” Qui-gon asked him, his hand moving from Obi-wan's forehead to his hand.
“Yes,” Obi-wan said, his voice not as curtain as he would have liked it to be. “I think so. Are you all right Master.”
Qui-gon’s eyes looked deeper into Obi-wan. He knew that all was not well with the boys mind. “Are you all right, Obi-wan?” he asked again, his voice stronger than before.
Obi-wan closed his eyes, not able to keep his master’s gaze any longer. “There much darkness.” he said quietly with a hint of fear that he dare not show. He did not want fear to bring them back, the voices, the whispering, the darkness.
Qui-gon must have sensed this. His hand griped tighter around Obi-wan’s. “I know.” Qui-gon replied comfortingly. “And I am very proud of you.”
Obi-wan looked at his master, surprise written all over his face. “Proud of me?”
“There comes a time in the life of every Jedi when they must face a place filled with darkness.” Qui-gon began. “At times it is a test that the master will give to an apprentice. Other times it is unexpected, and unprepared for. The darkness sends forth images of evil, images that will sway a person from the Light Side of the Force to the Dark Side.
“Many times the person will give into their anger, and use that to fight the images. Not realizing that this is what the darkness wants, until it is to late. They give into the darkness. Even if it is only for a few moments.” The Jedi stated, he said calmly and purely “But I did!” Obi-wan cried, his voice straining. “I was angry. I called to the darkness. I wanted revenge, I wanted it to feel pain for what it had done. And it spoke to me...” He closed his eyes again. Afraid that if he talked of it any longer the voices would return.
“But you pulled away, Obi-wan. Even in the mists of all that darkness, all of the anger and evil, you were able to remember the light and call on it. You succeeded where many have failed. Where I once failed.” Qui-gon smiled down at him. Then said in a softer manner, “And because of that we are alive. You saved us both, Obi-wan.”
The weary Apprentice turned to his master and smiled slightly, yet it faded quickly. There was still something in Qui-gon’s expression, in his eyes, that told Obi-wan that not all was well in his master’s mind. He saw the bruise on his Master’s jaw. The realized then what it was. “I’m sorry Master.” he said with regret.
Now it was Qui-gon who was barring a look of utter surprise. “For what?”
“For Jaron.” Obi-wan said simply, yet his voice remorseful.
Qui-gon’s composure changed at the sound of the name. “There are many things,” started the anguish filled voice, “in the past which we would go back and change were we given the chance.”
The heartache that was written on Qui-gon’s face made Obi-wan want to burst into tears. He listened on though. Not wanting to miss one of his master’s words.
“Things always seem different when we look back on them. Jaron had been a good friend, and that was what I looked back on. Our friendship. But that was not the Jaron who I knew in that room. The Jaron I remember would not have taken someone who I care about to make me suffer.” The Jedi said.
“It was because of his master’s death.” Obi-wan said before he even knew he was speaking. “He wanted revenge on you, the Jedi Council, everyone who didn’t help him. He felt betrayed.” Obi-wan didn’t quite know why he was saying these things that Qui-gon already knew.
“And what do you think, Obi-wan? Did I make the right choice by refusing to help the person who was my most trusted friend?” Qui-gon asked, knowing his Padawan’s answer before it came. And it came quickly.
“Of course.” Obi-wan said without a thought. “You could not do what he asked you to do. You could have helped him work though his feelings of his master’s death. But he didn’t want that. He only wanted revenge. He made the wrong choice, not you.”
Qui-gon smiled at his Apprentice’s words. “Jaron forgot a great deal.” Qui-gon stated. “Such as how his master would live on in death.”
“Because he went back to the Force.” Obi-wan replied.
“Yes, Obi-wan, but in another way as well.” Qui-gon explained, staring at his Padawan who looked genuinely confused. “One day you will become a Jedi Knight, and you will take on a Padawan as all Jedi do. You will train them with the best of your ability using the teachings which I have taught you. Then when your apprentice is a Jedi, they too will take on a Padawan and teach them. And so on and so forth. So you see Obi-wan, we do not die, because we live on in others.
“And even though Jaron never took on an apprentice, his master still lives on because he is remembered. He is remembered by those who cared for him, who will not let his memory die.” Qui-gon paused, his smile fading slowly. “Which is why that I hope that the memory of the Jaron I remember from our childhood will live on, not the Jaron who was consumed by the Dark Side.
“That man in black was not a friend, was not my “brother” from long ago.” The Jedi Master said. He looked warmly at Obi-wan. “He was a man who was trying to steal my son from me.”
At those words, Obi-wan felt a tear roll down his cheek. Obi-wan sat up and embraced his Master, who returned the gesture.
“These are hard times, my boy.” Qui-gon said to him softly. “But we will get though them. Not only as Master and Apprentice, but as Father and Son.”
A few more tears slid down Obi-wan’s face. The embrace seemed to last for a lifetime. It was broken when the sounds of footsteps which entered the room.
“Forgive me, Obi-wan.” The familiar voice of Mace Windu said. “But your master needs to rest as do you.”
“Yes, Master Windu.” Obi-wan said while wiping his damp cheeks with the back of his hand.
Qui-gon helped Obi-wan back down to the pillow. “Rest now, my Padawan. I’m curtain that by the time you awaken we will be home.” Before standing to leave Qui-gon placed Obi-wan’s lightsaber beside him on the bed.
Obi-wan’s hand found his weapon which he had thought was lost for good. Glad to know that it was with him once more.
His Master smiled down at him, then turned to leave the room.
“Rest well young Apprentice.” Master Windu said, then he too left the room.
Obi-wan closed his eyes, but did not sleep. After all that had happened, being on a ship on his way back home seemed so unreal. Being back in the apartment in the Jedi Temple would be a welcome gift. But once they were there, would things return to the way they were? Would things ever be the way they were ever again?
His mind wondered to thoughts of Jaron, who was dead, gone back to the Force. He truly believed that Jaron was not a bad person. Just someone who had gotten lost. Obi-wan still wished things could have been different. But it could only be that, a wish.
Not wanting to think anymore for the moment, Obi-wan quieted his mind. After a short time he was deeply asleep.

Back at Coruscant, things still were not as they should be.
They had been home for three days now. Although the healing proses should have already begun, it had not.
Qui-gon’s wound had not healed, and the pain was still there as well. It had been made with evil and such things take longer mend. As was true for the pain in his mind.
Obi-wan had not gotten a full nights rest since their return. He would thrash in his sleep, pleading with the darkness in him to leave him and the one he cared for be. He would awaken in a cold sweat, taking quite awhile to remember where he was. Or he would not awaken, and Qui-gon would have to take the boy by his shoulders and send him warm and caring thoughts through the Force. At those thoughts he would wake in a frightened start. Qui-gon would hold the stiff figure then. Reminding him that he was safe, that the darkness couldn’t touch him, because he was stronger than it, that *they* were stronger than it.
But Qui-gon wondered, if they were stronger than it, why wasn’t it going away? Even with the hours of peaceful meditation they put in to clear their minds. With the work the healers had done to help their bodies recover. And the work the Masters had done to help put their spirits at ease. Nothing seemed to be helping. A worried thought crossed Qui-gon’s mind. ‘Something is still in us both, something that wont quite let go. What will help it let go?’ He could only wonder.

Night had fallen, and the lights of the capital of the Republic had come on like that of a star filled sky.
Qui-gon sat in the comfortable chair in their apartment in the Jedi Temple. Watching his resting Padawan.
Obi-wan had tried to stay awake as long as possible. Although he did not admit it to his Master he didn’t want to fall asleep. He knew that once he was in that state, the darkness would return as it had for the past two nights. But his weariness soon caught up with him. And there was nothing he could do but shut his eyes and let the sleep take him.
Qui-gon stared at Obi-wan minuet after minuet; half expecting the boy’s nightmares to begin once again. Qui-gon would have to pull him out before he got to far into the dream. But his Padawan seemed to be sleeping soundly for the time being. Yet that may change at any given moment. So he sat watchfully, not paying attention to how exhausted he was. The guilt was still there, still the thought that he had done this to his ever eager apprentice. Therefore his pains could wait.
Perhaps it was his tiredness, perhaps it was the pain that still wracked his body, or perhaps it was his state of mind. Whatever it was, it made him turn his head to the back of the room. What he saw had him in a state of shock.
For standing in the corner of the room was Jaron. His body was transparent, with a slight green glow around him. He wore off white trousers and tunic, brown boots, and a brown Jedi Robe. His hair was caught up in the style of a Jedi Padawan.
Qui-gon realized then that this was not the same Jaron that he faced on Randon. This was a younger Jaron, the way Qui-gon remembered him.
A vision through the Force.
The figure moved across the room and stood beside the Jedi Master. “I have come to say goodbye Qui-gon. And to thank you.” The spirit of Jaron said to the still stunned Jedi. “I was not able to let go just yet. That was why you and Obi-wan have remained somewhat in the dark since what happened on Randon.” He explained. “But I know now that I must move on. It took me this long to understand that, but I finally did. You never betrayed me, my friend. If anything I betrayed you.”
“No Jaron, that is not true. You were consumed by the Dark Side. That's not your fault.” Qui-gon soothed.
“Never the less, I was wrong. You were right long ago when you offered to help me move on, but I refused. But you were right now as well. I am at peace now. More at peace than I believe I have ever been. I will have to pay for what I have done, but I am prepared for that.
“But you were right Qui-gon, about a great many things. You always believed in me, even up till the end. There was still some good in me, you were the only one who saw that.” Jaron said.
“Honestly I had my doubts.” Qui-gon said truthfully. “I couldn’t believe what you had become.”
“And I don’t blame you. Looking back, I can’t believe what I had become. But even after all of that. After my taking your apprentice, filling him with darkness, injuring you. You still wished me peace when I felt the life draining from me. You saved me Qui-gon, by saving me from myself.” The spirit explained.
“I only wish I had done so sooner.” Qui-gon said while shaking his head.
Jaron smiled at him and said. “It was not to be. I would not have let it go in that directing. I had chosen the path before I asked you for help that day. I had already taken those fateful steps.
“Your Padawan was right. If things had been turned around I would have made the same decision you did. The fault was by no means your Qui-gon. And now it is time to move on. I have, and I am at peace. Now you must do the same.” Jaron placed a transparent hand on Qui-gon’s shoulder. “But I must ask one more thing of you, my friend.”
Qui-gon nodded. “Anything.” he said.
“Please forgive me. Even if you don’t blame me, just forgive me.” Jaron pleaded.
“I do not forget the times we had Jaron.” The Jedi said gently “You were not always an agent of evil, and that is not how I plan to remember you. You were a good person, and a good friend. And I forgive you.”
Jaron smiled at the words. “Thank you.” he said softly. He then looked down at the sleeping figure of Obi-wan. “He is an extraordinary boy.”
“Yes he is.” Qui-gon agreed, smiling.
“Train him well Qui-gon. He will become a great Jedi some day. This I am sure of.” Jaron said affectionately, a warm smile creeping across his face.
“It is time that I go. You must rest now Qui-gon. You are weary and wounded and you must heal. I will see you again.” The figure said, slowly fading and becoming more and more transparent.
“Yes.” Qui-gon replied. “Some day.”
“Until then, I bid you farewell Brother.” The spirit of Jaron bowed, then faded into the night.
Instantly Qui-gon was asleep.


In the morning Qui-gon woke, feeling strangely calm. He had not forgotten the conversation with Jaron’s spirit.
He had no more guilt, no more regret. Jaron was at peace...and so was he.
He put a hand to his midsection, but there was no pain. He saw that the wound was gone.
And then noticed that Obi-wan had slept peacefully though the night.

The End

Author's notes:
Just a few people I’d like to thank. The people who are kind enough to post my fanfic on their page. Thanks so much! To my sister who gave me the idea for the invisible lightsaber. She’s always thinking. To Gorge Lucas for making the characters Qui-gon and Obi-wan. Because if he hadn’t I would have had much of a story now would I ;D
And finally to all of you who took the time to read my story. Thank you all!

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