chelle

Phantom Menace

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Silence

chelle

Title: Silence

Fandom: Phantom Menace

Author's email: chelle@chelle.slashcity.org

Author's URL: http://chelle.slashcity.org/

Category: Slash

Pairing: Qui-Gon Jinn/Obi-Wan Kenobi

Archive: Ask first

Rating: PG

Summary: The boys return to Coruscant.

AN: Thank you to Kaly. She was both patient and supportive. And she gives good advice. And finds all of the missing commas. This one is dedicated to the Sith Chicks. One of the most supportive groups of women I've ever come across.

The journey back to Coruscant took five days. They spoke very little, each lost in his own thoughts. Qui-Gon made no effort to resume Obi-Wan's training and Obi-Wan didn't ask about it.

That place in his mind which had been bonding with Dar still ached. All of him ached.

The day before their arrival on Coruscant, Qui-Gon reminded him of the need to draft their respective reports for the Council.

"How much should I include?"

"We don't lie to the Council, Obi-Wan."

"I wasn't suggesting we should. I am more than willing to tell them of my actions with the negotiators, and with Dar's killers, but there are other things I consider private, and none of their concern."

Qui-Gon looked at him steadily for a moment, "You are right. Some things are none of their concern."

Qui-Gon focused his attention on his datapad, aware that Obi-Wan was watching him. Sensing Obi-Wan's need to voice his fear, he looked up.

"What will they do to us?"

"I don't know, Obi-Wan. I don't know."

***

Immediately after landing, they turned over their written reports and retired to their quarters.

Obi-Wan had hoped that home would provide some comfort, some reassurance. It didn't. He wandered restlessly about their rooms, removing items from shelves and examining them.

Qui-Gon did not comment on his odd behavior. Instead he went straight to the shower and stayed there for a very long time.

They dined separately that night, each catching up with his own friends. Obi-Wan found it an immense relief to be out of Qui-Gon's presence. His master had become like a black hole, sucking up his energy, consuming his thoughts.

***

Their Council appearance took place early the next day. Neither of them had slept. The night before it had been Qui-Gon's turn to wake screaming. Obi-Wan had gone to him and spent the night with his head on Qui-Gon's chest, awake and silent. He was beginning to hate silence.

There would be no silence in the Council chamber, of that he was certain. The doors slid open and they stepped inside. He remained a pace behind Qui-Gon, as tradition dictated. His master strode to the center of the room with certainty, as though their futures were not hanging in the balance.

"Read your report we have," Yoda began unceremoniously. "Disturbed we are."

"Was the threat of violence really the only solution Master Jinn?" asked Master Rancisis, without prelude.

"I came to believe so. Their hatred blinded them to all reason. The actual issues between them were rather straightforward. Land. Water rights. But their mutual hatred made any agreement impossible. Eventually I concluded that to save lives I might have to take some."

"But they acquiesced."

"Yes."

"And you took lives anyway."

"Yes."

"Why?"

Qui-Gon closed his eyes for a long moment before answering. When he opened them, he spoke with conviction, "I did it because of the friends she'll never have, the lives she'll never brighten." A pause, a glance in Obi-Wan's direction. "The promises she'll never keep. I did it because it was just."

"You are not a judge Qui-Gon. Nor are you an executioner. It is not your place to administer justice." This from Master Windu.

Obi-Wan could remain quiet no longer. "They would have killed again."

Twelve heads turned toward him. "We probed their minds to insure that we had the right men. They showed no remorse. Killing a child was nothing to them. They would have done it again, regardless of how many Republic soldiers patrolled the area. On some level they enjoyed it."

"And what of you Padawan Kenobi? Did you enjoy killing them?" Councilor Depi Billaba asked.

"No. I take no pleasure in death."

"But you wanted revenge."

"No. I wanted it to be over."

"What did you want to be over?" She pushed further.

"All of it. The corpses, the despair, the hopelessness. All of it."

"Did killing those men end it?"

"Nothing will ever end it. The things I saw. The things I did. Will haunt me for the rest of my life."

Councilor Ki-Adi-Mundi leaned forward in his chair. "What did you feel?"

"When I killed them?" A nod. "I felt nothing. I was past feeling."

"What of you Qui-Gon? What did you feel?"

"Sadness. For Dar. For the Jedi she would have been. For Obi-Wan. For everything he lost." He met Mundi's gaze. "I was not angry. Nor did I hate. But I had been. Until the moment of Dar's death I lived every day with more anger and more hate than I had ever imagined. It paralyzed me. I was incapable of acting, because I feared any action I took would be of the dark."

"Are you sure your actions were not of the dark?"

"No. I am not."

It was Master Windu who brought the interview to a close. "The two of you will be temporarily removed from active duty. You will remain here on Coruscant until such time as we can determine your fitness to return to the field."

The two men bowed their heads, then turned to leave.

"Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan," Master Yoda called to them. "Look inside yourselves you must. Heal from this you can. But only if each other you trust. If hide from each other you do, doomed you will be."

They bowed again and left the Council chamber. Obi-Wan pondered Yoda's words, very nearly convinced they were both doomed. Maybe, he thought, maybe Qui-Gon would heed the advice of his former Master, would finally break the silence that was swallowing them.

***

After the confrontation with the Council, their lives returned more or less to normal.

Obi-Wan trained, taught some of the younger students and spent some time with friends currently at the Temple. Qui-Gon did likewise. Neither of them, to Obi-Wan's knowledge, discussed their most recent mission with anyone outside of the Council. As far as the other Jedi were concerned this was another unmitigated triumph for the legendary Master and his apprentice.

Obi-Wan tactfully avoided all questions directed his way about how Qui-Gon had pulled it off, how he had ended one of the most notorious wars in the galaxy.

Even in the privacy of their quarters they did not speak of it. None of it. Not even on those occasions when Obi-Wan woke from a nightmare to find his Master's arms around him. He dreamed of Dar nightly for the first two weeks, saw her death in his mind, felt it, over and over again. Qui-Gon was always there, offering comfort, and nothing else.

Obi-Wan could not decide how he felt about that. Their sexual involvement had ended as abruptly as it began. Part of Obi-Wan missed it, missed the feel and taste of Qui-Gon. Another part was relieved. To continue the relationship would have involved searching feelings he was not prepared to face. Feelings he knew Qui-Gon would not be able to handle.

To everyone else, Qui-Gon appeared his usual calm self. To Obi-Wan he appeared to have shut down. The increased intimacy of their link remained and he could still sense Qui-Gon's emotions with no effort. The only problem was that there were almost none to sense. No guilt, no rage, nothing.

And what few conversations they had were desultory affairs, consisting of small talk about their various activities.

One evening, a month after their return, Obi-Wan finally found that he could take the silence no longer. He was preparing, ironically enough, for his class on the Republic judiciary. Qui-Gon was reading something, but his concentration was poor. Obi-Wan watched him re-read the same page three times.

"Master."

"Yes, Obi-Wan."

"Don't you think it is time we spoke?"

"What is it you wish to speak about, Padawan?"

"Don't be obtuse. You know what I wish to speak about." He gave Qui-Gon a hard look. "This silence is smothering me. And it isn't doing wonders for you either."

Qui-Gon sighed, tried to look away, but found he could not. "Very well, Obi-Wan. What is it you wish to say?"

"I don't wish to say anything. I want to have a conversation. You remember those don't you? Where two people discuss things, each listening to the other, seeking to understand and to be understood in turn."

"What is there to understand Obi-Wan? We both know what I did."

"What we did."

"What I did."

"Damn you," Obi-Wan nearly shouted. "How dare you take responsibility for my actions, for my choices?"

"I am your Master. Your actions are…"

"No, they are not. I may be a Padawan, but I am also an adult, fully capable of making my own decisions and accepting the responsibility for them. You have no right to claim them. They are mine." Obi-Wan glared at him, lowering his voice, which had been increasing in volume with every sentence. "Accept responsibility for your own actions Qui-Gon Jinn. Leave mine alone."

"I intend to. As soon as you pass your trials I will be resigning from the Jedi."

Obi-Wan just stared at him. When he finally found his voice, he shocked himself with the word which came out. "Coward. You self-pitying, self-indulgent coward."

Qui-Gon rose and walked to the window. Obi-Wan just stared at his back. "So Padawan, you believe me a coward."

Obi-Wan opened his mouth to speak but before he could respond, Qui-Gon continued. "It is a kinder assessment than I deserve. I am a traitor. I have betrayed the Code, the ideals around which I built my life."

He paused for a moment, his voice softening still further. "I betrayed the Jedi. I betrayed myself, and, worst of all, I betrayed you."

"How, Qui-Gon, how?" Obi-Wan was walking toward him. "How did you betray me?"

Obi-Wan was standing next to him now. "By taking me into your bed? I went willingly." He put a hand on his Master's shoulder, turning him so that they faced each other. "I went eagerly."

"I know that Obi-Wan." Qui-Gon's voice was both quiet and rough. "Willing or not what I did was wrong, a violation of the trust between us, a gross abuse of my position as your Master. But I did worse Obi-Wan. I led you to commit murder. I took us both to the dark side."

Obi-Wan just stared at him.

"We killed for revenge."

"We killed to save lives," Obi-Wan countered.

"Do you really believe that?"

Obi-Wan inhaled deeply, then turned from his Master to look out of the window. "It is what I tell myself."

"Do you believe it?"

"No."

Qui-Gon put an arm around his shoulders. "I am sorry, Obi-Wan. You deserved better."

"I have had the best. In more ways than one." Qui-Gon laughed. Obi-Wan could find humor in the damnedest places.

"I am serious, Master." Obi-Wan gave him an appraising look. "Do you honestly think that any of the others could have done better? We ended the conflict Master. We gave them a chance at peace."

"But at what cost?"

"One hand."

"Very funny."

"The negotiators lost nothing, except for the hand. And their people gained peace."

"But what of the cost to you?"

"I am a Jedi. My sole purpose is to serve. The cost to me is irrelevant."

"What if this brush with the dark taints you? Prevents you from becoming the Jedi I know you capable of being?"

Obi-Wan raised his head to meet Qui-Gon's gaze, felt Qui-Gon's arm drop from around his shoulders. "Why must a brush with the dark doom us? Why can't it strengthen us? Teach us more about ourselves, about our own limits and weaknesses? I've never understood the rigid insistence on avoidance of the dark. Far better to look at it, to haul it out of ourselves and examine it in the cold light of day."

"Ahhh, so my Padawan is a heretic."

"Like teacher, like student."

Qui-Gon laughed bitterly.

"Don't even think it."

"Think what?"

"That you failed me yet again by encouraging me to think for myself."

"I would not think that. Although others might."

A few moments of almost comfortable silence were broken by Obi-Wan's whispered plea, "Do not leave the Jedi, Master. They need you. The galaxy needs you."

Qui-Gon looked down at him. "We can work through this. You can work through this. Don't allow one instance of doing bad to prevent you from doing more good. That would be," he paused, searching for the right word, "illogical."

"Illogical? I don't ever recall logic being part of the teaching of Jedi."

"Perhaps it should be."

"Perhaps. I will think about it."

Feeling things were going his way, Obi-Wan pressed further. "And no more silence. Share with me what is on your mind. Let me help. Help me."

Qui-Gon gazed into his eyes for a long moment. "Very well, Padawan. No more silence."

There had better not be, Obi-Wan thought fiercely. Or I will be forced to threaten you again.

I sleep lightly these days Obi-Wan. You'd never be able to shave off my beard while I slept.

That wasn't the threat to which I was referring.

Padawan, Qui-Gon warned.

Obi-Wan grinned at him. "Good night, Master."

You do realize I'll be a knight soon, and able to threaten you with anything I please? he thought at his Master as he left the room, was rewarded when he sensed Qui-Gon flush with pleasure at the thought.

***

Obi-Wan had just started dressing when it hit him. Guilt. The guilt of someone who believed the fate of the universe lie in his hands. Hastily fastening his pants he headed for Qui-Gon's room.

His master was on the floor in a meditation pose. Gracefully he dropped to the floor in front of him. Master? For an instant he thought Qui-Gon would not respond, but his master surprised him.

"You suggested hauling out the dark and examining it in the cold light of day." Qui-Gon attempted a reassuring smile, failed to achieve it.

Obi-Wan, however, did manage a slight grin. "So I did. Shall we examine it together then?"

Qui-Gon hesitated for a long moment, studying his padawan, then nodded.

"Whose guilt shall we examine first, yours or mine?" Obi-Wan was trying to keep this light.

"Mine is already out there."

Obi-Wan closed his eyes, concentrating on Qui-Gon's emotions. "It is pretty immense, Master. This could take most of the day."

Qui-Gon snorted.

He opened his eyes and looked directly into Qui-Gon's piercing blue gaze. His next words were serious, "I thought we had come to an understanding last night. I am responsible for my choices not you."

"It isn't that simple. You are my apprentice. I was supposed to protect you, support you, keep you safe in mind as well as body. Look at what I did instead."

"Needed me?" Obi-Wan suggested. There was a pulse of recognition from Qui-Gon. "You once told me that when the master learns from the apprentice it is a sign that the match is a good one. Can't you extrapolate from that? When the master is able to rely upon the apprentice then the bond is a good one."

"Rely upon you to guard my back, yes. Rely upon you to keep me standing, no."

"Why not? How are the two so different?"

Qui-Gon didn't answer.

Obi-Wan pushed further. "Why is it wrong for you to need me? To depend upon me?"

No response.

"You can't answer me because it isn't wrong and deep inside you know that. This is just an easy explanation for your guilt. It's true source is a little deeper."

"You feel guilty that you didn't stop it sooner. You feel guilty that Dar is dead."

"And you Padawan, why do you feel guilty?"

It was Obi-Wan's turn to look away. He was quiet for several moments, before saying quietly. "I was supposed to protect her. I promised her I would be her knight. I promised her I would keep her safe. I didn't."

"Because you were with me. Caring for me. You blame me."

Obi-Wan's voice was choked, the words barely coming out. "Yes. You shouldn't have needed me, but you did. And I can deny you nothing. My love for you cost Dar her life."

"Padawan." Qui-Gon didn't say it, he breathed it.

"I tell myself it was the right choice. That you could bring peace. That you were their only hope." His voice trailed off. "But that little girl is dead because I chose you over her."

"No, " Qui-Gon's voice was firm. "No. You had no way of knowing. You could not guard her every minute."

"I could have. I should have."

"Should I guard you every minute?"

Obi-Wan looked up at him. "It isn't the same. I'm an adult and a Jedi."

"You weren't always. There were many times when I had to choose not to protect you. To put my duty to others ahead of my duty to you. And just because you are now an adult that doesn't mean that I don't want to protect you." He paused. "Leaving you at that camp every day was one of the hardest things I ever did. I knew how badly it was hurting you and I wanted nothing more than to take you away from there. But I had a duty. We had a duty. And you no longer wish my protection."

There was nothing Obi-Wan could say to that.

"She did not die in vain Obi-Wan."

"I know."

Qui-Gon reached out with the force, feeling for the remnants of the bond Obi-Wan had been forming with Dar. He resisted for a moment, then let his master in. Qui-Gon gathered the shredded parts of the bond together and held them. Waiting.

At long last Obi-Wan reached out to him and together they wove those remnants into their own bond.

They were silent for a long time, both adjusting to the alteration in their link. Finally, Qui-Gon broke the quiet. "You did not fail her Obi-Wan. You had no way of knowing."

"I know."

"Let it go."

"You must do the same."

"I should have ended it sooner."

"You were doing everything you could."

"Not everything. I should have jammed that treaty down their throats earlier."

"The threat of violence is not exactly an approved negotiating tactic. And it wouldn't have worked until you were ready to carry it out. You weren't ready before. And I wasn't ready to support you. As you said, she did not die in vain."

Qui-Gon thought it over. He knew Obi-Wan was right. He inhaled deeply, centered himself, and let the guilt go. Obi-Wan smiled in approval.

Breakfast. You're cooking. Obi-Wan rose.

"Why am I cooking?" Qui-Gon asked as he followed his apprentice from the room.

"You owe me."

Yes, Padawan I do. He placed a hand on Obi-Wan's arm. When Obi-Wan stopped, he drew him into his arms, enveloping him. You truly are the best friend I have ever had. And far more than I deserve.

Not more than you deserve, Qui-Gon. Never more than you deserve. The words were becoming rote.

As Qui-Gon released him, Obi-Wan spoke. "Tomorrow we'll discuss your fear."

"Perhaps you should remember which of us is the master."

"At this point does it really matter?"

"No, Obi-Wan, it doesn't. So you think we should do this on a schedule, one dreadful emotion per day?"

"I think we should do whatever works. Master Yoda was right. We need to do this together."

"Yes, we do." Qui-Gon rested a hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder. Sensing his padawan's relief at his acquiesence, Qui-Gon smiled at him. "But for now let's just eat."

***

The next morning Obi-Wan joined his master for morning meditation.

Qui-Gon had already begun when he arrived. He watched quietly from the doorway, waiting for Qui-Gon to acknowledge his presence. He studied his master's face. He appeared to be in quiet repose, but years of long acquaintance enabled Obi-Wan to see that his master was not as relaxed as he appeared. Still they had made progress yesterday and he was confident that more would be made today.

Padawan. Qui-Gon's voice in his mind was remarkably gentle.

Master. He responded, his own affection echoing that sent to him.

"Shall we discuss fear?"

Obi-Wan smiled and moved into the room to sit in front of his master. "Yes. I fear it's pretty much unavoidable."

Qui-Gon just shook his head slightly.

Obi-Wan waited, choosing to allow Qui-Gon to take the lead this morning. He was, after all, the master.

"You're just going to sit there waiting aren't you?"

"Yes, Master."

Qui-Gon sighed. Reaching out with the force he opened his mind to Obi-Wan, inviting his apprentice inside.

The sheer intimacy of the act surprised Obi-Wan. He hadn't been expecting this. But he went willingly, wanting to see whatever it was that Qui-Gon had chosen to show him.

There was more fear in Qui-Gon than he had believed. Most of it was focused on his loss of control. This, at least, was not a surprise. Qui-Gon valued his control, and as much as his lack of it had frightened Obi-Wan, it had frightened him even more.

Unlike the day before Obi-Wan had no words of comfort. Qui-Gon's guilt had been unmerited, his fear was not. So he simply acknowledged the emotion, sent his support and understanding.

You fear my loss of control as well.

Yes, Master.

Why?

Because I almost lost you.

Qui-Gon waited. When Obi-Wan did not elaborate. He was forced to ask, "How did you almost lose me?"

"You retreated from me into this silence I thought I would never penetrate." He took a deep breath. "And I feared that your despair would drive you to the dark. I feared what you would do."

"You felt you could not trust me."

"No," his voice was adamant. Then, "Yes. I don't know. Maybe."

Silence descended upon them as Obi-Wan thought. "Trust wasn't the problem. I know you. I know your heart. But I feared what that place was doing to you. How it was affecting you. The lengths to which it might drive you."

"I am sorry, Obi-Wan."

"For frightening me?"

"Yes."

"Don't be." His eyes sought Qui-Gon's. "The truth is that I liked being the strong one for a change. It felt good to return some of the caring and support you have given me."

Qui-Gon smiled. "The truth is that it was nice to be taken care of. I have not allowed myself to rely upon someone else like that since my own early days as a padawan." A short pause, "And it made you more my equal. You enjoy that as well."

"Yes, Master, I do. As, I suspect, do you."

"Yes." There was discomfort lurking beneath the response.

"But," Obi-Wan prompted.

"But I find it hard to depend on you. I find it hard to depend on anyone."

He looked away. "Need frightens me."

"Because it threatens your control."

"You know me far too well."

"There was a time when I wondered if I would ever understand you."

"When was that?"

"Right after I became your apprentice. When you denied knowing that the rock you had given me for my thirteenth birthday was force sensitive. You have to admit that your sense of humor is a little peculiar."

"Peculiar? I don't know whether to be amused or insulted."

Obi-Wan smiled. "We've strayed from the subject at hand."

"So we have. What else do you wish to say about fear?"

"Do you really believe that fear leads to anger?"

Qui-Gon thought on it. "For me at least it was always the reverse, despite what my Master has to say on the subject. Anger frightens me."

"Other people's or only your own?"

"Only mine. What of you Padawan? Do you believe fear leads to anger?"

"Sometimes. Maybe. Looking back on it I wonder that I did not get angry with you for frightening me."

"Why didn't you?"

"Because I couldn't hurt you."

"You were angry with me the other night."

"I was exasperated."

"And angry."

Obi-Wan relented, "And angry. Your silence infuriated me."

"Because it frightened you."

"I suppose the little green troll is right after all."

Qui-Gon burst out laughing. "The little green troll. You refer to my Master as the little green troll."

"You think it too sometimes. When he's being particularly trying. Admit it."

"I'll admit no such thing."

Obi-Wan shrugged. "Suit yourself, but I know you think it."

Qui-Gon was still smiling. "Breakfast. Your turn to cook."

"Can't we just eat in the dining hall?"

"Did you see today's menu? Ravlyna eggs."

Obi-Wan almost shuddered at the thought. "I'll cook."

***

That evening Obi-Wan returned to their quarters to find Qui-Gon reading. He looked, in Obi-Wan's opinion, delectable. Best not to think that way he reminded himself, at least not now.

"Good evening, Master."

Qui-Gon looked up, smiled. "Good evening, Obi-Wan. How was your visit with Bant?"

"It was her first mission to Correllia. She had some interesting observations."

Qui-Gon chuckled. "I am sure she did."

Obi-Wan moved to join him on the couch. "What are you reading?"

"A treatise on ethics."

"Which one?"

"One I never made you read."

"Really? I didn't think there was a single word written on the subject which you did not make me read. Who wrote it?"

"I did."

Obi-Wan's face showed his surprise. "When?"

"About fifteen years ago, when I was arrogant enough to believe I had something of value to say on the subject."

Obi-Wan's eyes flashed. "You have a great deal of value to say on a number of subjects."

"Maybe. But my knowledge of what constitutes ethical behavior is certainly suspect."

"Because we killed."

"Because we killed in cold blood, with forethought."

"They would have killed again."

"Yes," Qui-Gon agreed. "But there was no immediate danger."

"We couldn't very well hang around waiting for them to try and take a life."

A smile. "No, I suppose not." Then Qui-Gon turned serious. "How do you judge our actions? Did we do the right thing? Was what we did of the light or the dark?"

"Licia and I had a lengthy conversation about the nature of evil."

"You told me some of it."

Obi-Wan adjusted his position on the couch, pulling his legs under him to sit cross-legged. "It occurred to me then that the Jedi may be wrong to deny the possiblity that evil may be done in service to good."

"Do we deny that possiblity?"

"I think so."

"But the Code says that we must always act to prevent evil. Evil should never be allowed to occur as a result of our inaction. If our actions prevent evil, are they not, by definition, good?" Qui-Gon responded.

"In practice the amount of evil in the galaxy outstrips our ability to stop it. We necessarily allow evil to occur because of our inaction. We constantly choose to fight what we hope is the greater of two evils."

Qui-Gon nodded. "You still haven't said how we deny the possiblity that an evil act may serve the greater good."

"Sorry, I got sidetracked. I don't think we ever explicitly deny it. But the emphasis throughout our training is on the dichotomy between dark and light, good and evil. No middle ground. And certainly no effort to understand the dark, only training in how to control it. How to deny it."

"And such training leaves us unprepared for situations such as the one we faced."

"Yes," Obi-Wan smiled. "Joining me in my heresy?"

'I think most of the Order would believe it to be other way around."

"If it makes you feel better, we can pretend."

Qui-Gon smiled softly, but brought the conversation back to its origins. "You believe we did evil in service to the good."

"Yes. Neither of us acted from anger. I didn't kill them because of what they had done. I.."

"I did," Qui-Gon interrupted.

Obi-Wan looked up at him. There was desperation in the eyes which met his, a plea for understanding.

"They hurt you."

Obi-Wan was at a loss. His master, his Qui-Gon, had just confessed to killing for revenge. For him. "You did it because of me," he said, his voice barely audible.

"And because of Dar. She was a beautiful child."

She was that, thought Obi-Wan. "Were you angry?"

Qui-Gon shook his head. "I was resolved. I, too, did not wish to see them kill again. But I must be honest with myself. Why these two out of all of those who had murdered? The answer is simple. Because they hurt someone I love."

Obi-Wan started at the word. He knew his master loved him, but it had never before been mentioned openly. He forced his mind to focus on the subject at hand. "Maybe it was those two because they came to your attention."

"Maybe."

Obi-Wan was quiet, lost in his own thoughts.

His master's voice drew his atteniton. "Obi-Wan, it is getting late." He rose. "I'm going to bed. I'll see you in the morning."

"Good night."

"Try not to worry too much, Padawan. I am beginning think this is not insurmountable." A soft smile. "Thanks to my heretic apprentice."

Obi-Wan smiled back. "Pleasant dreams, Qui-Gon."

"And for you. Although your nightmares provide me with a convenient excuse to hold you."

"You never need an excuse." He rose and hugged the other man tightly.

Qui-Gon held him for several minutes before releasing him and retiring to his bed.

Obi-Wan watched him leave. Maybe it will be all right after all, he thought. He focused on his link with Qui-Gon. His master was calm, the only emotion Obi-Wan sensed was affection, for him. He smiled softly to himself as he made his way to his own bed. Maybe it will be better than all right. One can always hope.