Silence That Speaks so Much Louder Than Words (Remixes Lead to the Dark Side)

~1000 words :: Star Wars :: Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon :: 4/3/06
All his life, Obi-Wan has been taught that no Jedi are stronger than a bonded pair; it’s not something he can easily let go of. (Note: This is a remix of Fox’s In Which Fox Meets Emu’s Challenge, written for Remix…Redux IV.)

Obi-Wan is drenched in sweat, his exercise pants sticking to him like a second skin. And yet after all that, after hours of practicing with Qui-Gon, they still don’t have the kata just right. Individually, they can each execute it perfectly; it’s just when they try it in tandem that there’s that sense of something being just a little bit off. If only-


Taking a deep breath, Obi-Wan forces himself away from that line of thinking. Nothing good can come of it.

“Obi-Wan?” Qui-Gon calls from across the training salle.

“I’m going to have a shower and then meditate.” He doesn’t invite Qui-Gon, doesn’t even turn around, just gathers his clothing and leaves without another word.

Meditating doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked in a while. After an hour in the gardens, far from having a clear mind, he feels as if his head’s more cluttered with thoughts than ever before.

How can he hope to pass his trials when he can’t even master a simple kata? At twenty-three, he is one of the oldest padawans, but Qui-Gon has remained silent on the subject of his trials. Obi-Wan is rapidly being left behind, but Qui-Gon refuses to discuss it.

Already so many of his peers have been knighted. So many have bonded. With each other, mainly, and some with older knights, but the ceremony Obi-Wan dwells on most was almost two years ago now. Siri was the first of his friends to bond, and hers was the only master and padawan bonding Obi-Wan had seen in a decade or more. Obi-Wan had never been so jealous.

Eyes still closed, he feels in the back of his mind for his own bond. Distance and disuse have left it weak, made it something he can’t feel unless he tries. But why try when this is all he gets? It’s like running into a wall.

Is this what’s been holding him back?

The next day’s no better, nor the next, and Obi-Wan begins to panic. He should be able to master this kata. By all rights, he and Qui-Gon should be moving as one, linked mind to mind by their bond.

At night, Qui-Gon pushes into him, Obi-Wan’s knees hooked over his shoulders, feet in the air. This they’ve perfected. In this they move as one. The room is filled with their harsh, ragged breaths, with the smell of their sweat. No different from the salle, really.

Obi-Wan lies awake afterwards, feels again in the back of his mind for the bond. After years of never touching it, it’s like wiggling a loose tooth; the more he pokes at it, the more aware of it he is.

As the days and weeks pass, he finds his his spare time entirely taken up with thoughts of Kellet, of the mission that started all this. When he should be meditating, he’s replaying the events of the ceremony in his head. He sees all the Jedi on Coruscant gathered together, even the youngest padawans, fidgeting in the front rows and whispering to their neighbors. Only Qui-Gon was nowhere to be seen.

A farce, he had called it, and refused to have any part. Obi-Wan’s “What do you want me to do? He was dying. It was the only way to save him” had been met with silence.

A bond was a bond and must be honored as such, Master Yoda had said. The same masters who taught that no Jedi were stronger than a bonded pair now wanted Obi-Wan to set aside what he had with Qui-Gon for a man he hadn’t seen in fifteen years, all because of a stupid mistake.

At no time in the history of the Order had a Jedi bonded with someone outside the Order, but Kellet Windrunner was not a Jedi. There wasn’t the slightest flicker of Force-sensitivity within him. Obi-Wan remembers following the bond to Kellet, feeling Kellet’s body, but that was where it ended. To Obi-Wan, he’d felt like a blind man, blind and deaf, and Obi-Wan had pulled back quickly, feeling ill.

Kellet couldn’t even sense the bond. He hadn’t sensed it when Obi-Wan had accidentally formed it, thinking it a simple healing bond, and he can’t sense it now, three years later, can’t know that Obi-Wan is pushing at it almost constantly.

It’s all he can think about anymore. If only he hadn’t gone on that mission. If only he hadn’t recognized Kellet’s name in the list of slaves. If only he hadn’t been so damned quick to try and heal the man. The mission would still have been a success if one of the slaves had died during the rescue, but no, his stupid perfectionist streak had gotten in the way and this is what he’s left with.

Breaking the bond would mean killing Kellet, the healers had said, and so Obi-Wan had done the right thing, the only thing he could do.

This isn’t what a bond is supposed to be, not this dead thing between two near-strangers. Kellet isn’t even on Coruscant; Obi-Wan hasn’t seen him since a few days after the ceremony. Qui-Gon is the one here at Obi-Wan’s side, who always has been.

Obi-Wan feels along the bond. How can he fulfill his duties as a Jedi with this dead-weight dragging him down? Almost without thinking, he clamps down on it, and the last thing he feels before it disappears is a brief burst of panic on the other end, the first thing he’s ever felt from Kellet.

Gasping, Obi-Wan sits bolt upright, staring straight ahead in the darkness. Qui-Gon’s hand is on his thigh, Qui-Gon’s sleepy voice asking what’s wrong.

“It’s, I,” Obi-Wan stammers, his heart trying to pound its way out of his chest. “Dead. Kellet. Kellet’s dead. I felt the bond break.”

Qui-Gon is silent, and when he finally does speak, his voice is low and steady, but his fingers are digging into Obi-Wan’s leg. “I’m sorry. I know you and Kellet were close as children.”

“Yes.” The room feels crowded with all the words they don’t say. “We were.”