title: Connection
fandom: Star Wars
characters/pairings: Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Qui-Gon notices something odd about Obi-Won after a mission.
notes: for laura, her Mother's Day ficlet. *snuggles her* too long again...

He noticed it right away, though he wasn't sure what it was. His padawan's fingers still flew over the controls with the same grace and precision. His flying was still completely perfect. His manners were still impeccable.

But there was something off about Obi-Wan. Something was bothering him, but he was now too old for his Master to fuss over him. Qui-Gon remembered fondly the days when his padawan depended on him totally. Obi-Wan was such a precocious and energetic youth, ready to take on the universe, with just his saber and his Master. Qui-Gon hated to admit it, but he missed those days. Somehow, Obi-Wan had grown up into a refined, formal young man.

How that could have happened with Qui-Gon as his Master was a mystery, but Obi-Wan was clearly growing up to be very unlike Qui-Gon. This could not fail to make his Master melancholy, no matter how proud he was of the young man.

The course set, the autopilot engaged, and the ship's controls all functional, there was little for Obi-Wan to do. His fingers flexed over the various switches and buttons, his eyes searching for something with which to occupy himself.

Qui-Gon scolded himself internally. Here he was, indulging in memory when his padawan was in pain!

"Master," Obi-Wan's cultured voice piped up. "May I be excused to meditate?"

"Anything you wish to discuss?"

It was clearly not something Obi-Wan wished to discuss, but he always had a hard time with refusing his Master. "It's... nothing. I require... focus."

Qui-Gon nodded slowly. "A lack of focus can be quite serious. Do you know when you lost it?"

Obi-Wan looked quite disturbed, and Qui-Gon wished he had phrased his question in a more positive manner. "I do not believe that I have lost my focus, Master, but the mission was very taxing."

Qui-Gon tilted his head to the side. It had been a fairly routine mission, a delivery for all intents and purposed, which was only moderately sprinkled with a spat of violence. There was only one injury in their party, and it was minor. "Padawan?"

Obi-Wan slumped his shoulders. "I'm sorry, Master. I seem to be... fixating on something trivial. Please forgive me."

"You have nothing to apologize for, my Padawan." He reached out to take Obi-Wan's hands. They felt solid and warm in his grip. "Tell me."

Obi-Wan did not respond right away, sighing and avoiding eye contact. "Jing Kah... when he was injured..."

"It wasn't your fault," Qui-Gon quickly assured.

"I know," Obi-Wan nodded. "His mother was so attentive and kind. There was such a connection between them... I could feel it, even. It was even stronger than a Master-Padawan bond."

"Yes," Qui-Gon nodded, uncertain. "There is an undeniable genetic bond between children and parents. It is the living force flowing through them."

Obi-Wan looked away, biting the corner of his lip endearingly. "Do you ever miss it? The... genetic connection? We... sacrifice a great deal to be Jedi. And... it's all that I want. But I saw Jing Kah and his mother, and I... ached for something."

Qui-Gon put his hands on his Padawan's cheeks. "My Obi... We are asked to sacrifice a great deal, but we are given a great deal as well. If you reach out to the living force, it will embrace you utterly, a thousand times over."

"I know," Obi-Wan pulled away, his gaze drifting away again from Qui-Gon apologetically. "I am trying, Master, but..."

Qui-Gon pulled Obi-Wan into his arms abruptly, stealing the breath from his lungs as he did. He held onto his Padawan tightly, letting his feeling bleed through the force, for once, not holding back. "Embrace it, my Obi. The living force flows from us all."

Obi-Wan remained stiff in his Master's arms, and then relented. He let his own feelings bleed through as well, until there was a well of emotion enveloping them, as if they were swimming in their mutual love. They did not speak of it when they parted, but Qui-Gon could already see the cloud had lifted from Obi-Wan.

He longed for those early years painfully, before he had realized how much Obi-Wan meant to him. It was so much simpler then.