Mood music for this story: Orinoco Flow (Enya), Silence (Delerium with Sarah McLachlan), Fear (Sarah McLachlan)
Death...didn't feel like I thought it
would. I didn't die so much as
I transformed. I could feel the Force thrumming through my
phsycial body, gathering me up into itself. When the ruin that was
my former Padawan dealt the killing blow, I was already halfway to
another place. No pain, not even much surprise, though a pang of
regret went through me when I heard Luke cry out. This was a hell of
a time to leave Amidala's children...but my time was over. The
future belonged to them.
The physical world I'd lived in faded
almost entirely from my
perceptions. I knew it was still there, like background noise. If I
wanted to, I could force a part of myself back into that world,
weaving myself a visual image from the Force itself. I didn't.
Something else called to me, another place drew me along.
Color and light, all around me, tints
and shades I had never seen as
a living man, that I'd never imagined existed. A small storm of
color danced before me, a glittering array of blues and greens. The
storm stabilized, and my Master stood before me, younger than I had
ever seen him outside of Master Yoda's holos. I searched for a
voice, found something that would do.
He smiled, that dazzling full smile that
I'd seen so rarely in life.
He opened his arms and I found myself gathered into the warm embrace
of the spirit I'd loved for over half my life.
"I am sorry you had the death you did," he said softly.
I managed a short laugh. "Shouldn't that be my line?"
"I wasn't killed by my own Padawan."
I shook my head in violent denial. "That thing isn't Anakin!"
My surroundings dimmed, Qui-Gon's features
blurring in my sight.
Scratchy voices rasped in my ear. In the growing dimness, I thought
I recognized faces, twisted with anger and hatred. Fear spiked
The space around us stabilized once more.
Qui-Gon wore a familiar
expression, the quiet sorrow that meant I had disappointed him
"If all you bring here is your hate,
Obi-Wan, you will have a hard
time of it."
"I don't understand."
He sighed. "No...it's not something
the Order explored in much
detail--at least, not after we became more martial than
contemplative. Walk with me. I will try to explain."
Our surroundings blurred again, like paint
washing away in the rain.
Qui-Gon remained a warm, constant presence as we shifted through a
bewildering landscape that I half-recognized, though I had never seen
its like before. Gradually, the brightness returned and the colors
stabilized. We stood on a black sand beach, a bright sea washing
against the shore. Slender, arching trees stretched upwards,
providing shade from the golden sun. I could feel its warmth, gentle
as a caress after so many years under Tatooine's harsh double suns.
The air felt cool against my face, smelling of salt water and growing
I looked up into Qui-Gon's face, meeting
his eyes. Some of the
aching strain that had weighed me down since that darkened day on
Naboo began to ease. I relaxed into his arms.
"I've missed you," I said at last.
"And I, you. You did well with your life, Obi-Wan."
"Not well enough." Bitterness
rose up, nearly choking me. Anakin
had turned. The Republic, weakened after the devastation of the
Clone Wars, crumbled before Palpatine's "New Order." The Jedi were
broken, killed in hundreds of horrible ways--though none so terrible
as Amidala's lingering death. Alderaan was now a spreading belt of
debris in the spacelanes, the "Empire" had a focus of Darkness in the
aptly named Death Star. How could he say I had done well?
"You stayed true to the Light, despite
the flood of Darkness. You
kept the teachings of the Jedi alive in your heart when they lived no
place else. You saw to the safety of Amidala's children. Do not let
what you could not do blind you to what you did accomplish."
I tore myself out of his arms, refusing
to be comforted. How could
he be so calm, so accepting? Didn't he feel this pain, this rage?
"The Light is all I stayed true to," I spat at him. Force help me, I
wanted him to hurt like I did. Like I had ever since Naboo.
"You mean your time with Adri."
Of all the possible responses, I'd never
imagined that one. Perhaps
I had forgotten much about Qui-Gon, if I thought I could predict
"He's here, you know. You can see
him, if you like. He'd like to
I shook my head in confusion. "You're not angry?"
"We cannot learn everything there
is to learn about love with just
one person, in one lifetime."
I stared at him. I heard, I understood--but
I didn't want to
"I've spoken with Adri," he
continued. "He is a good man, and loves
And he wanted to see me, Qui-Gon had said.
The idea of meeting with
him, in Qui-Gon''s presence, disturbed me on no small level. In some
part of my mind, I'd clung to the romantic notion of eternal
fidelity. Odd, since I'm not usually a man prone to romanticism.
Still, that notion had carried me through many bleak years. When all
of my world had shattered, that sense of fidelity had endured. If I
could remain true to that, I felt, I might be able to do all I had
yet to do. And then Adri...
"Where is he?"
Qui-Gon raised a hand, gesturing towards the water. "Here."
A slow ripple of color, blues, purples,
and reds rose up from the
surface of the moving water. They expanded upwards and outwards,
coalescing in the shape of a stocky, dark-haired man with gray eyes,
pale, perfect skin, and a sweet smile.
"Obi-Wan," he said, and held out his hands to me.
I hesitated, not wanting to let go of
Qui-Gon. The last time I'd let
go, he'd left me. Died. Qui-Gon's hand came to rest on my shoulder,
giving it a warm, quick squeeze. If I were still alive, I would have
taken a deep breath to steady my nerves. I let go. He didn't
Adri's smile widened as he caught my hands
in his own. "Welcome," he
said, leaning in to brush my cheek with his lips.
I tried to speak past the knot of confusion
strangling my words. I
didn't know what to say, my emotions veering from one state to
another. He drew me closer, reached up to comb his fingers through
my hair, soothing me as he had done so often in the past. I let my
head rest on his shoulder. The water lapped and swirled around our
ankles, tugging at the hem of my robe.
Qui-Gon's death had shattered me, Adri's
death had scattered the
pieces of myself. The little bits I'd had left I had hoarded like a
miser, turning myself into a husk on Tatooine, waiting for a moment I
no longer fully believed would come.
"I'm sorry," I whispered into
his hair. I'd said it before, when I'd
gone to identify his body after the shuttle accident. Adri had been
one of the shuttleport's crewmen on the ground killed in the
explosion. "I'm sorry."
Sorry our last words were spoken in anger.
Sorry I'd left you there
alone. I might have sensed the danger, had I gone with you. I lost
Qui-Gon because I wasn't fast enough. I lost you because I wasn't
able to see past my own ire. His soft chuckle sounded in my ear. He
gave me a quick squeeze, and stepped back. He looked past me to
"You're right, he still tries to
carry the entire galaxy all by
Qui-Gon's answering laugh made me twist
around to stare at him. Being
one with the Force was supposed to bring one wisdom, perfect peace
and serenity. So why did I feel like a fifth year Initiate in a
Senior Padawan competiton?
Seeing my confusion, Qui-Gon drew alongside
us. "He just got here,
Adri. He has a lot to adjust to."
"He can hear you quite well, thank you very much," I snapped.
Qui-Gon brushed his hand along my arm
in apology. Adri's mouth
quirked up in that droll half-smile I adored. "Sorry, Obi. I've
gotten used to life as it is, here. I've been waiting for the moment
when you would reach this place."
I hesitated again. Eternity with all
of my past loves? The idea
was... a little overwhelming. And then there were my lost
friends...and Amidala... Adri laughed again.
"Relax, Obi, we're not going to pounce
on you. But I leave
instruction to the Master," he said, sweeping a bow to Qui-Gon and
I turned to Qui-Gon, more baffled than
anything else. This was
nothing like I had thought the afterlife to be. Qui-Gon seemed to
follow my thoughts.
"Perhaps because this is not an afterlife," he said.
"'There is no death,' Obi-Wan,"
he reminded me gently. "And so there
can be no 'afterlife.' There is only Life, albeit different from what you knew before. You are still alive--in a new place, in a new form."
I struggled to integrate this concept.
The Order, home to several
hundred different species and countless sub-species, had very
carefully never selected a particular template for spiritual models.
The Light did not prefer one form over another, and the Dark took
whatever it could.
"'There is only the Force,'"
I murmured. This all sounded vaguely
familiar, as if I had studied it, or heard it before, but I couldn't
pinpoint when or where. The more I tried to bring it into focus, the
dizzier I got. The colors and light around me began to swirl and
clash together, fading into a muddy drabness.
The voice cut through the haze. When I
could focus again, I found
myself kneeling in the water, Adri and Qui-Gon on either side of me,
"What--what is happening?" I gasped.
"Your focus determines your reality,
moreso in this state than in
just about any other," Qui-Gon said gently, rubbing my shoulders.
I leaned into the touch automatically,
soaking up the comfort. "Then
what you said...about hate..."
It was Adri who answered that unspoken
question. "All you can bring
to this place is what's in your heart. The strongest feelings
manifest first, but while you are here, you'll undoubtably encounter
others as you adjust." He grinned again. "Surprised the hell out of
me the first time. I was a shuttle jockey, not a mystic. I didn't
have time for the Great Unseen."
"Time is something I have plenty of."
The three of us fell into an odd silence,
not quite awkward, but not
precisely comfortable, either. Qui-Gon continued to pet me, as if I
were some wounded creature that had crawled into his lap for succor
and protection. That image, I thought, wasn't too far off. After a
while, Qui-Gon began to speak.
"The Order taught us to always seek
to improve ourselves. It's not a
mandate limited to the Jedi alone. Every soul must take its journey.
That journey takes you to many people, sometimes to learn, sometimes
I flinched. My teaching "talents" had spawned a monster.
"And hope," Qui-Gon said softly.
"Or have you forgotten Luke
I couldn't find anything to say to that.
"The journey also takes you to many
different places as well. This
is one of them. It's strange, I know," my former Master continued.
"But your spirit will remember, if you allow it."
"And you, Master?" I asked, not looking at him.
"I remember you, Obi-Wan."
A sweet stillness lay over us, like that
most delicate moment just
after a sunrise, right before the birds burst into song and welcomed
"And I absolve you," Adri said
softly. "My physical death was my
own, and nothing of your making--and certainly never your fault. I
forgive your anger. Will you forgive me for your grief?"
"Adri--" I couldn't say anymore. I caught him in my arms, pulled him close. He had warmed a part of my heart I'd thought frozen over forever. And he wanted my forgiveness?
"Yes," I whispered. "Oh, yes."
Brightness danced around us, light from
the water. Adri held me for
a long time, then drew away.
"I'll see you again, Obi-Wan, but
other souls call me, and I need to
go to them. I stayed here to speak with you once more--but now I
have to go."
Letting go was a little easier, this time.
The seperation was only
until we saw each other again. He grinned at me, the wicked "let's
try this" glint that had drawn me to him. "I think I'm leaving you
in good hands, though."
Qui-Gon laughed and put his own arms around
me. Adri nodded to us
and--faded. For a brief moment, the blues and purples around us
seemed brighter and richer, then they, too, faded. We were left in
the quiet, with only the sound of water.
"Qui-Gon?" I asked finally.
"Will you be fading also?"
"Not if you want me to stay. I've been waiting for you."
I thought about that for a moment. "If
we can't learn all of life
and love from just one person, does waiting for me mean I'm holding
"Some souls travel together, though
they might part for a life or
three. They always return. I have seen such pairs, here. Their
Light is blinding--and humbling."
I had never heard such awe and wonder
in his voice--not since the
night I'd told him I loved him as well.
I twisted around so I could look up into
his face. "And you think we
are like that?"
He smiled. "As I said, Obi-Wan, your spirit will remember."
And he bent his head and kissed me.
by Emily Bronte
Cold in the earth--and the deep snow piled
Far, far, removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?
Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
Thy noble heart for ever, ever more?
Cold in the earth--and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring:
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!
Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget
While the world's tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!
No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.
But, when the days of golden dreams had
And even Despair was powerless to destroy;
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.
Then did I check the tears of useless
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.
And, even yet, I dare not let it languish
Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?