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Title: Alone : You Don't Have To Be
Author: Tariana Adren (jedi_knight_tariana@yahoo.com)
Archive: m_a, please. If anyone else wants it, please ask.
Category: Anakin/Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan, Hurt/Comfort, Pre-Slash, Angst
Rating: PG
Warnings: No
Spoilers: No
Summary: Outside the wind seems so cold; your heart is frozen like the snow...
Feedback: Yes, please.
Thanks: Kain, for always being around. Us freaky losers gotta stick together. Thanks for the Ben & Jerry's Joshua, for the music. I love you, my boy. Yes, sometimes I could cheerfully strangle you, but mostly I'm blinded by your passion and talent -- when I'm not deafened by that whine of yours, that is. *evil grin* Thanks to the wonderful beta-readers who responded to my request and graciously donated their time: Hellsmouth-Oncidium, thank you for your help rearranging some things and making them flow better. The Rose, thank you for your help with a few grammar issues and your enthusiasm in general. Jedi Rita, thank you for your thorough reading and very helpful advice. And Sheyen, thank you for reading over the almost-final version for me.

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Anakin Skywalker was chilled to the bone. His heaviest wool robe and the extra undertunic he'd put on this morning were currently not doing much to ward off the frigid wind that howled around him, sweeping snow up into his face, making it hard to see where he was going and peppering his face with icy granules.

There was a fire in the small sitting room of the visitors' quarters Anakin was sharing with his Master on this trip. He'd have liked nothing more than to walk into that room and immediately feel the blast of warmth hit him. He'd remove the robe that would soon be too warm, then the boots dampened from the slushy melting snow in the gutters of the streets he had traveled since taking his leave earlier that afternoon from the negotiations where he and Obi-Wan had been mired.

Anakin knew Obi-Wan had gone back to their quarters to mourn the man who now existed for Anakin as only a vague memory of a few days ten years ago. On this, the tenth anniversary of Qui-Gon's death, Obi-Wan had spent the evening alone, with his memories and his thoughts. He had done it every year on this day, no matter where he was; no matter what was happening around him.

Anakin himself mourned Qui-Gon's death not so much because it was Qui-Gon who had died, but because of the pain Qui-Gon's death and the remembrance of it caused Obi-Wan. In Anakin's mind, the memory of Qui-Gon Jinn had dimmed, leaving him with only a few concrete remembrances -- a few words, spoken softly, wistfully --

'I wish that were so.'

-- and the touch of large hands on his shoulders, claiming him.

Anakin had once been foolish enough to think that Obi-Wan might get over Qui-Gon's death; that Obi-Wan might move on. But as he grew a bit older and grew to understand exactly the circumstances of the relationship Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had shared, he came to realize what had truly been lost on Naboo when the Sith struck Qui-Gon down.

A person cannot lose half their heart and go on living. Obi-Wan had lost half his soul, and he was not the same for it. Anakin had tried to replace what was missing, to fill that void in Obi-Wan's life, but he was sadly lacking in what Obi-Wan needed. He was not Qui-Gon Jinn, nor could he bring back what the Sith had taken away from Obi-Wan that awful day on Naboo. Anakin had not had the power to make Qui-Gon's heart beat again, to make him breathe, to make him live.

Anakin glanced at his chrono, and decided that enough time had passed. He would go and tend to his Master now.

It was indeed quite warm in the small room when Anakin opened the door and stepped quietly inside. Obi-Wan lay in front of the fireplace, head resting on a dark brown pillow that, if unfurled, would reveal itself to be Qui-Gon's robe. Anakin removed his robe and boots, placing both where they would dry by morning, and retrieved a blanket and pillow from his bed.

Then Anakin prepared for an uncomfortable night, curled next to Obi-Wan on the hard stone of the hearth. Obi-Wan's dreams would be full of pain. He would suffer. He would grieve.

But he would not do it alone.

-end-

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