So, a short prologue to a new story concept. It is a largely AU story. This chapter starts in the year 30 BBY, two years after the events on Naboo.
Oh and since most people are only concerned with who does what, this is not a slash story. Romantic entanglement is not the main focus and if Obi-Wan does end up with someone on a more permanent basis, it would be only a minor sub plot.
He had felt him long before he had even reached the planet. The Force itself had lead them back together, he was sure of it. Why else would he have felt him now, two long years after their abrupt separation? No, this was his chance to make things right again. Words had been said that were ill chosen, decisions had been made, whose long term consequences no one could have foreseen.
Yet he could also see the irony in this meeting. Here, of all places, where the reason for their quarrel had shown itself for the first time. Tatooine. Hot, dry and utterly barbaric Tatooine. If this was truly the will of the Force, then it had a strange sense of humor.
Qui-Gon slowly approached the ever pulsing presence of his former student, a cave, some five hundred miles south from Anchorhead. A former nest of a Krayt dragon perhaps. There was a time when these beasts had roamed this planet in great numbers. But that was long past now.
He relished the coolness of the dark cave, a welcome change, compared to the scalding heat of this planets twin suns. But the feeling did not last for long, as the heavy feeling of dread assaulted his senses. Nearly overwhelming, it flooded this place. Omnipresent, like the darkness in the corners of the cave.
"Suffocating, isn't it, Master Qui-Gon?"
Yes, this was him. No doubt about it. He had finally found him. Obi-Wan Kenobi, the first among many who had abandoned the Order and followed Count Dooku after the appearance of the Sith, during the conflict on Naboo.
Qui-Gon's former student knelt in the center of the cave, in front of a plain stone altar. Much to his relief, it was apparent that Obi-Wan was not the source of the looming darkness in this cave.
"This place is a tomb. A powerful Sith lies here, hidden in this plain sarcophagus. No ornaments tell of his exploits, no relics allow us a glimpse at his past. Maybe he has been betrayed and his remains were buried here as one last humiliation. Or he rebelled and got his due punishment. We will never know for sure," Obi-Wan said calmly. "It was likely a sad tale for everyone involved. Yet it makes me curious. I wish to learn this dead Sith's history, so we may understand his mistakes."
"You walk a dangerous path, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon cautioned him. "Studying the ancient Sith has been the downfall of many good Jedi in the past."
Obi-Wan chuckled dryly, as he heard his former master's words. "Funny. Master Fay said the exact same thing, before she accompanied me into the grave of Naga Sadow. Now her fervor to study the secrets of our ancient foes surpasses even mine."
Obi-Wan stood up from the ground. He stretched, before he removed the lingering sand from his robes. As he turned around, he allowed Qui-Gon the first good look at his student in years. A beard now decorated his face, his hair long and bereft of the Padawan braid. Obi-Wan had left his behind, as a farewell gift. Gone was the eager Padawan and in his stead there was a fully trained and capable Jedi. A fallen Jedi...
"You've grown old, Master," Obi-Wan said. "Trouble with your Padawan?"
No malice, no mockery. But a profound note of dislike. Yes, Obi-Wan would likely never forgive him for his decision.
"You know my reasons. The boy is the chosen one! He will bring balance to the Force." Qui-Gon replied insistently. By now he was just happy that he had not brought Anakin. He had left the boy with his mother instead. The council would without a doubt frown upon this decision, but all of them would rejoice, should he be able to return Obi-Wan to the Order.
"Balance... you say this word so callously, yet I have my doubts that you even understand its meaning." Obi-Wan smirked, "Or you just made a grave mistake when you tried to interpret the prophecy. There will be balance, light and dark, equally strong."
"Count Dooku's teachings have clouded your mind, Obi-Wan. The Dark Side is not an option. It is consuming, vicious and destructive. It's alluring call has tempted many, but none ever found happiness."
"Indeed. But the Jedi way is wrong. Or better said, the path the Order has chosen leads them directly to ruin. Don't deny it, you have seen it, too."
"Obi-Wan, come with me. Return to the Temple on Coruscant. There we can help you..." Qui-Gon almost pleaded. He had no intention to fight his former apprentice. But this chance was unique.
For years he had never managed to meet Obi-Wan. Other Jedi had hunted him, only few returned, always empty handed if they did. Sometimes he would appear on the news, when some of his exploits had gained him the attention of the masses. Like that second incident on Naboo, a year after the occupation had ended.
But for now Qui-Gon had to focus on the task ahead. Obi-Wan would return to the temple, if he wanted to or not. So the Jedi Master activated his Lightsaber, as he saw his former apprentice shake his head.
"I am afraid that we are not meant to share the same path again, Master. Neither is there any reason for me to return to the golden cage that is the temple on Coruscant." He looked over his shoulder once more, one last glimpse at the unadorned sarcophagus. He completely ignored his former master's drawn weapon.
"You will return home with me, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said much more forceful, "So I can right the wrongs I have done to you!"
"You misunderstand, master. Your actions have freed me. When I had been forced to watch, as the Sith struk you down, the barriers the Order had built in my mind had shattered. I felt anger, loss and above all utter hatred. Those feelings gave me the strength needed to defeat the monster. The rush of victory at the end... it was liberating. It opened my eyes. Control is the key, not denial." Obi-Wan explained calmly. "And when you rejected me in favor of young Skywalker, I no longer had any obligation to follow your teachings."
"I cannot allow this to continue, Obi-Wan. Dooku has tried to corrupt you, but I won't allow him to turn you to the dark side," Qui-Gon replied hotly, as he heard his former Padawan's words. He had never wanted for things to happen like this. He had expected the council to knight Obi-Wan after all that had happened on Naboo... but they didn't... maybe because they felt his brief connection with the dark side. Qui-Gon knew he was to blame for this, so he would right the wrongs he had done.
He stormed forward, to subdue his apprentice as quickly as possible. But this was no longer the Obi-Wan he had known and trained as a child. This man was a stark contrast to that innocent boy. Qui-Gon had to accept this unpleasant truth, as his Lightsaber collided with that of Obi-Wan and the light of the green and blue blades highlighted the younger man's face, the stoic face of a battle hardened man.
"I have no desire to fight you, master. But should you try to interfere with my quest for knowledge, I will be forced to stop you."
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon growled.
With trained ease the former Jedi forced his opponent back. A feigned attack against the shoulder exposed Qui-Gon's mid section to attacks. The Jedi Master had to step back, lest he would have risked a dangerous injury.
They traded a few more blows, but neither one of them gave in. But unwilling to kill or relent, they quickly found themselves in a dangerous pat situation. After a few minutes of pointless attacks, both were back where they had begun. But they were silent this time. Only the humming of their Lightsabers could be heard, as they watched each other, searching for an opening.
A beeping could suddenly be heard from Obi-Wan's belt. A communicator? The last thing Qui-Gon needed was that more of the fallen Jedi appear.
"It would seem that I no longer have the time to play with you, Master Qui-Gon. Please forgive this rudeness, but I have to leave you now," Obi-Wan said. Then he smirked, as he used his free hand to call something to him.
Qui-Gon's eyes widened, as he recognized the spherical object. A thermal detonator. And Obi-Wan wasted no time to use it. The older Jedi had to jump to the side, in a desperate attempt to shield himself from the devastating explosion.. But it did not come. Instead Obi-Wan ran past him, the Force itself in use to quicken his steps. Qui-Gon quickly struggled back to his feet, but as he ran past the fake grenade, it exploded. A blinding light erupted from it, stunning him for some moments, before he could rid himself from the effect with the help of the Force. He ran after Obi-Wan, but it was no use. When he got outside, he could only watch as a small shuttle left the surface, followed by an escort of fighters. All bore the same emblem, that of Count Dooku. He had lost his apprentice again. Only with great difficulty he could rid himself of the overpowering feeling of anger and frustration. He doubted that he would get another chance like this.
But on the ship, Obi-Wan was in a much better mood than his former master.
"So, you got what you came for?" The pilot asked him.
Obi-Wan did not answer, until he had reached the front and sat down in the co-pilot seat next to her.
"Yes," he rummaged through his robes, until he procured a small device. "The Holocron was here after all."
"And you got a chance to say hello to that pesky Jedi that hunts you," the woman added, before she let out a malicious laugh, "You should have killed him and be done with it, though. A predator kills its prey once it is done playing with it."
"We are not animals, Komari. Remember that lesson." Obi-Wan chastised her. "And Master Dooku would not have approved. Qui-Gon Jinn had been his student, many years ago. He still has some hope that he might convince him to join us."
"How foolish. Those Jedi who truly understand us are already on our side. The new academy will open soon and then our time for revenge has come." Komari told him.
He did not show her any sign of approval or disapproval. Instead he just watched her. She had been exposed to the Dark Side for far too long. Master Dooku had had his doubts that she could be saved. But Obi-Wan would not give up that easily. But in moments like this, he had to realize just how vicious and dangerous this woman still was. He would not underestimate Komari Vosa any time soon.
"So, back to Serenno? Or maybe somewhere else. I yearn for a fight. You should have allowed me to fight that old Jedi. Dooku already hates me enough. Jinn's death would not have made any difference, but at east I would have had my fun." Komari whined.
"Enough," he said forcefully, "I tire of these insane ramblings. We will make one more stop, before we return home."
"And where do you wish to go, my not so humble master?" Komari mocked him.
"You know the place. Time to visit my favorite Bounty Hunter."
Her smirk widened. Of course she would be happy about meeting him. Every time she met Jango Fett, she had ended up in some big fight. Oh well, maybe a good brawl would cool her blood enough before they return to Serenno. Obi-Wan was no in the mood to put up with her attitude at home.
Yet at the same time his thoughts revolved around his former master. Deep down there was still the young Padawan, who wanted to be accepted by a master. The boy who desperately hoped, until Qui-Gon Jinn came and took him in. But that was long ago, in another life. He had chosen a different path and despite the dangers and the sacrifices, he would do what he had to. Balance... maybe it was really more than just the prophecy of an insane old man... sooner or later he would find out.
A/N: So this is not meant as the usual dark Obi-Wan kind of story. He firmly believes that he does the right thing, his intentions are good. But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The idea behind this all is that Qui-Gon survives and takes Anakin as his Padawan. But Obi-Wan does not receive his knighthood, mostly because he had a brief struggle with the dark side, when he fought against Darth Maul. Dooku sees Obi-Wan's struggle and convinces the Padawan to leave the Order with him...
Oh well, the next chapter is already finished and it is much longer than this brief prologue. If there is enough interest in this story, I will upload the chapter soon.