In the beginning...
Story Type: ABH, Drama, Angst, AU
Rating: PG and R
Characters: Qui-Gon Jinn, Ardeth Fey and You--Chana
Disclaimers: Universal and some guy whose name I can't remember owns Ardeth Bey (Fey) and George Lucas dreamed up, conjured, created Qui-Gon and the entire Star Wars Universe <sigh> I only own Chana and those I created around her.
Archives: Temple Archives By Eiluned, Sith-Chicks, TBO, OFEB, WWOMB (if she wants it <g>), QJEB, A Place of Our Legacy and anyone else just ask-- I haven't said no yet.
Summary: You're asked out by a Jedi Master, then you wind up dating his best friend. How in the blue blazes did you get yourself in this mess?
Authors Notes: This is the first story in the series. Subsequent ones: Honeymoon, Performance Anxiety, A Change In Plans, A Spiritual Journey Home, The Competition, Family and An Old Friend.
In the Beginning...
"I am Master Qui-Gon Jinn," The sizable Jedi with long chestnut hair intones. He is handsome, his demeanor is warm and inviting as are his sapphire eyes. "This is my associate, Knight Ardeth Fey."
You sit across from them in a corner booth. The cantina stinks of dusky smoke, stale musk and drink. Your back is straight, face taut. You have to be back on base in 63 minutes. "Sirs, it is a pleasure to meet you."
You regard Ardeth Fey. He is just as handsome as his friend but his demeanor is less inviting. Shoulder length raven hair swirls around his caramel colored youthful face. Ardeth peers at you with obvious disdain.
//Why?// You decide not to care.
"You are a Sargent in the Security Forces?" Qui-Gon gestures to the chevron's on your shoulders. They are two months old, freshly tagged by your peers.
"Yes." A polite smile creeps across your face.
"Why did you kill Captain Acrisius?" Ardeth hisses, "Now his people will be without a leader. They need someone to provide direction for them this winter."
"He should have thought about that before he pointed his blaster at my men." You retort leveling a cool gaze at him.
"His death was senseless. You could have wounded him. The shot need not have been fatal." Ardeth asserts. His mahogany eyes scrutinize you.
"I did what I knew was right to protect my men. And I will do it again if I have to." You clench your jaw. This is going nowhere fast. "If you'll excuse me."
"No please. Sit down." Qui-Gon glares at Ardeth. He then looks at you and smiles warily, "I am sorry about my friend. We are just trying to ascertain a motive behind your behavior."
"It was not personal, if that's what you're asking." You move a strand of hair out of your vision. You make a mental note to take better care when braiding your hair. A sloppy appearance can set a bad example.
"On the contrary. It is very personal." Qui-Gon offers. "Death always is."
"In my line of work it isn't. It doesn't mean I find joy in it or that it occurs often but death happens."
"So your assignment was not to kill Acrisius?" Qui-Gon probes, "Originally."
"That information is classified. I'm sure if you speak to my superiors they will tell you everything you need to know."
"I don't believe her." Ardeth says in Titanese to Qui-Gon.
"I don't care whether you do or not." You fire back in Titanese and glare at the agitated knight.
A flash of surprise crosses his face. In the midst of silence, a conversation passes between the two Jedi. Ardeth shakes his head in disgust. He leaves the table without a word.
"Master Jinn I must return to base. So if you'll excuse me."
"Please, will you be my guest tonight for dinner?"
You chuckle and shake your head. What is this? Some really bad spy holo or something?
"I have no more information to tell you. Taking me to dinner won't accomplish a thing."
Qui-Gon leans back. He purses his lips and sighes. Sapphire eyes study you. "My dear, this is purely social. If I wanted more information from you I'd have it by now. So, where shall I pick you up?"
You think for a moment. This is true. Jedi are known for their empathic abilities. And they are also known to be fierce warriors. But then again, if you can survive two weeks in a Kessel Spice Mine, you can handle a Jedi. Besides, what harm can come of one date?
"I'll meet you."
Qui's embrace is tender yet strong. You two lean against a tree listening to a band perform on the gazebo. You're beginning to love the summer concerts on Yavin 3. Who knew Jedi could play music so well? Farther down the hill, others enjoy the concert. You and Jinn occupy a patch of greenery near the top of the hill. The spot is secluded just the way he likes it. Jinn has a thing about crowds. Outside of work, he prefers not to be around them.
You crane to kiss him. He responds immediately. His beard brushes your chin as his tongue caresses yours.
"You're right this is much better than meeting in Conjugal Heaven." You purr and begin to chuckle.
"I thought it was called the Spousal Visitation Center." He says fingering your tresses.
"It is." You lazily eye the band. "But everybody has taken to callin' it Conjugal Heaven cause--"
"I can imagine why." Qui interrupts pulling you into a firmer embrace. "So have you discussed your new Jedi boyfriend with your buddies?" He makes himself comfortable against the tree.
"Nope. They don't care actually."
"Do you discuss your new girlfriend with Ardeth?"
"He doesn't care actually." The Master mocks you.
You poke him in the chest. "I don't sound like that."
"I beg to differ."
You two playfully tussle under the tree.
You nod politely to Ardeth as he steps into his speeder and drives away. You swear each time he drops off Qui-Gon, he seems more pissed off. However, the Master constantly assures you that Ardeth's attitude is merely "his way." You accept it for now.
Qui-Gon kisses you firmly on the lips in front of the guard at the gate breaking rule number one for the Security Forces. No Public Demonstration of Affection or No PDA for short. You've explained this to him many times but he won't stop.
"I have missed you." Qui's eyes scrutinize your face as if trying to set every inch to memory.
"And I you." You hear the guard behind clear his throat, "Shall we go?"
Qui glances at the young man who is more than ten years his junior. "Yes."
Though the master is by no means aged, it seems the weight of his life's duty have placed heavy burdens upon his body. It is obvious he has seen much.
"My place is not too far from here." You gesture for him to follow.
"Little one, we must talk about your job."
"Sure what do you want to know?"
You lean over the guard rail staring at the red almost coppery colored water. You know the water's color is affected by unique sediment of Titan but still it's give the water an eery look. Like blood. Even in the Pa'ered-- the Watery side of the planet--life still maintains a desert feel in spite of the lush plant life.
Music, dancing and drinking carry-on behind you inside the Cantina. Talked into going here with your buddies during leave, this once exciting place holds no interest for you.
//I wonder if he's okay,// You slide a toothpick around your mouth.
"Uh-oh. I know that look. Kenobi is hooked."
You grimace hearing Sgt. Russell Garr's voice. He's your best friend, running buddy and fellow point walker. You two always volunteer to walk point together because there's no doubt you'll have each other's back.
"Garr what are you talking about?" You quip taking another swig of an exotic drink you've forgotten the name of.
"I know that look." He leans on the rail next to you. "It's the look of the silent killer." Garr hiccups, "Love."
"I have no idea what you're talking about. You're drunk Garr."
"That maybe true Kenobi," He slurs, "but I'm still quite observant."
You continue staring out over the moonlit water watching waves crash against a distant shore.
//Mrs. Chana Jinn// You ponder and take a sip.
You notice his face inches from yours.
"You haven't been listening to a word I've said." He grabs your glass and finishes your drink. "I said for the hearing impaired...who is he?"
"You don't know him."
"Is it that guy from the 33rd battalion?"
"What about the one in second infantry?"
"Hell no. You're so off." You smirk
Garr scrunches his eyebrows, "Not that chick in supply?"
"No." You frown, "Give it rest."
"Tell me. If you can't tell me....who can you tell?"
You sigh knowing he's right. "It's a Jedi."
You wince as the glass crashes to the floor.
The evening chime rang within the dormitory of the Jedi Contemplative Temple on Yavin 3. Qui and Chana paid no attention deciding to pull each other closer as their panting breaths filled the room. Chana moaned as he kissed her, ravishing her mind and body. Qui-Gon loved feeling her petite body beneath him.
He reveled in the openness of her mind and spirit. The master tentatively reached his mind out to hers wanting a deeper connection. He was trained to be a very sensual being living beyond his finger tips now he wanted to experience it with her. Qui-Gon wanted to touch the very essence of her conscience.
"Mmmmmm." Chana purred beneath him as he opened her shirt exposing her pert breasts. She allowed him access to her true feelings. Qui's conscienceness flooded Chana's, surrounding her senses.
Even more aroused, the master stopped momentarily to remove his outer tunic. On his way back down, he opened her legs. She responded awkwardly but willingly. Jinn paused to admire her semi-exposed body. Flesh peeked out from his tunic she wore.
"Little One," He whispered in between kisses caressing her soft skin.
"Qui." She responded lifting her hips to receive his wandering fingers.
He wanted her now. Badly. The first time he laid eyes on Chana there was an attraction that was more than physical. Her very existence gave his mind no respite. In her, he found a friend and now a lover.
"Unnnngggghhhhh." She wailed her climax from the motions of his fingers on her clit.
She shimmied up his tunic and began nipping his stomach and chest driving him insane.
"Gods Woman!" His raging hard-on bulged through his leggings.
Chana yipped as his fingers tried entering her hole. Fearing he hurt her, Qui stopped.
"Chana?" He whispered trying to move aside.
Undaunted she continued. The master's aroused body betrayed his mind under her erotic machinations. //Incredible.//
"Shhhh." She assured him allowing her mouth to explore the slightly salty taste of his skin.
Qui's hand explored her mound once again coming upon her secure hole. He remembered she had never been with a man. The *moment* began to slip away as he realized this could be her first time.
Should it be this way? Inside the Jedi Temple on a weekend getaway? Should it be with him?
//Am I ready for this?// That question resounded in his mind causing him to reel away from her.
Jinn's body grew rigid. He's unsure about whether to continue or not.
"mmm..Qui don't stop." She purred in his ear.
He began pulling away.
//This has too much meaning. Isn't she saving herself?//
Chana flipped him on his back and mounted him. Her lips wandered over his beard, mouth and chin. She made her way down his neck suckling his flesh.
"I thought you were saving yourself." Qui said with some distress.
"I was." She lifted his tunic and ground into his organ.
"I changed my mind."
//I can't do this. This is too big of a step. No.// He jostled Chana aside.
She looked on with bewilderment as the refresher door closed and heard a painful grunt as the faucet came on.
"Qui-Gon what's wrong?"
"So he stopped before all the fun started?" Garr asks checking the i.d. of another vehicle then allowing it to pass.
You sit on a stool inside the guard house recording the night's activities into a datapad.
"Yep. I think it's because he's not attracted to me. That's got to be it."
"Nah. That's not it." Garr leans against the door, "If that was the case, he wouldn't have asked you out in the first place."
"It has to be my body. Why else would a guy pass up the opportunity?"
"I don't think that's it either. I bet you it's the big one."
"You know. The one thing that can insight fear even in the bravest of men." He gestures for another vehicle to pull forward.
You eye the passengers. A young couple obviously in love. "Rejection? Cause--"
He shakes his head, "Worse than that. The c- word."
"What?!" You scowl, "I didn't ask him to be my life-mate. I thought we were going to have a little fun."
"Yea. Well..." He steps away to handle another vehicle, "You know that. And now I know that. But if all three of us knew this before going in, things maybe would have turned out differently. You didn't tell him you were a virgin?"
"We discussed that a long time ago."
"You discussed what?" He frowns at you mockingly. Garr knows you all too well.
"That I was saving myself for Bonding. But I have since changed my mind."
"You maybe arbitrary on your stance about virginity, apparently he isn't."
"That's ridiculous. I have not put any pressure on him whatsoever."
"Do you love him?"
You look away and wiggle your shoulders trying to work out a sudden stiffness, "That's classified."
"Hmmm. I thought so. Well he's probably trying to decide whether he loves you or not."
"I thought guys never turned down a free piece of ass."
"News alert Chana. Some males have evolved. And you got yourself hooked up with one of 'em."
"So you think he's gonna dump me?" You ask weakly
"It's hard to say."
"But if you were to put your money on it?"
"Don't make any long term plans with him. He's scared."
"Great." You mutter dejected because you do love Qui-Gon.
Your gait is slow as you walk back to the table in a smoke filled cantina. It is the same place where he asked you out several months before. At least then he seemed to be interested in you, unlike now.
Qui and Ardeth sit in a booth talking quietly. You straighten your dress and slide in next to the Master. His conversation is undisturbed by your movement. A server droid ambles over to you.
"Nectar please." You decide unwilling to give into your temptations for wine. You're not a drinker, you've only been truly indulging since you began dating Qui-Gon.
"Back so soon?" Qui turns to you.
"I got tired of playing." You say feeling Ardeth's cool gaze upon you. In recent weeks he quietly offered a cease fire you gladly accepted. No more terse comments or snap remarks just cool gazes. "The arcades get a little boring after experiencing the real thing."
You inwardly wince at that remark. The common consensus among the two is that they hate your job.
Ardeth sighs loudly shifting his position.
Why are you even here if they have so much disdain for your job? Jinn.
"We are talking business right now." Ardeth responds with all the warmth of a binary lifter.
You sip the nectar. Too sweet, "I see. Perhaps," You swallow your sorrow feeling coolness from Jinn, "we should call it a night."
"That is a good idea." Jinn nods.
"Right." You answer awkwardly staring into your nectar. Where did this go wrong? "Well. If you'll excuse me. I must be going. Next time we can pick a time when you don't have to talk business." You say mustering what's left of your self-esteem.
They attempt to stand.
"No please. I know the way from here."
Your high heels crackle on the gravel road. You feel foolish. A jedi and a soldier. Right. Why did you even hope? Because you liked-- no loved him so. In him you found so many things that were lacking in the males around you, compassion, understanding, faith in something bigger than the Security Forces, a future...
No wait. One bad date does not a relationship make. You shake your head.
//I'm over assessing the situation.//
"Chana." Jinn says running up behind you. "I'm sorry I was unable to spend time alone with you."
You smile, "I understand."
"No. You don't." Jinn's sapphire eyes study you. In them you see-- fear, "My work will not allow me to give you the life you deserve."
Your voice escapes you as your heart explodes in your chest. He stares at you with melancholy and leaves. You want to call out to him but you can neither speak nor walk.
//What did I do?//
You adjust your tunic. Still in uniform, you wait for Jinn just inside the Temple Gardens on Yavin 3. Long nights and short days were spent wondering what went wrong. Desperate messages and wistful coms sent to the Temple on Coruscant finally achieved their goal. You reached the Master. Reluctantly he agreed to see you once more. He laid out his time constraints immediately, even then he said he could promise you nothing. You agreed.
Without hesitation after your last shift, you hopped a transport to the Yavin moon. Now you wait on a stone bench for him to arrive. A hooded figure approaches. Your hopes rise but then fall as you recognize Ardeth.
"Where is he?" You look around the man who stood as tall as Jinn.
"Sgt. Kenobi," He bows slightly with persed lips, "Jinn sends you this message-- Friendship only and best wishes."
Your conscience leaps out your body. Not wanting to hear it, you know it has to be true.
//Over?// Your eyes are glassy.
"Did he say anything else?" The quivering voice must be coming from you.
"No." Ardeth answers coldly and walks away.
The realization of his rejection overwhelms your system. The plants in the garden wave in a unexpected breeze. You hunch over and tightly shut your eyes as your hurt is magnified ten fold. Clutching your chest, you desperately try to block the pain of emptiness and rejection.
Sobbing freely into your palms, you wished your life was over.
An arm pulls you tight to a strong chest. You embrace it. And cry even harder.
"Shhh." Ardeth strokes your hair. "Release your sorrow into the Force. It will heal you."
Delectable morsels of steaming meat and fresh vegetables sit on your plate uneaten.
"You must keep your strength up." Ardeth offers pushing your plate closer.
You can barely see it through your sensory haze.
"No. Thank you." You reply quietly staring at the food. //Why did he not want me? Perhaps I am not good enough.//
Ardeth sighs and places his fork down. "Chana some times we cannot second guess our own thoughts to discover a reason for another's actions."
"I am right though," You say knowing he can read your feelings and thoughts. Your attention wanders to the intricately designed white table cloth, "a person's best friend often sees what they cannot. You hated me from the beginning. And umm...it just took a little time for him to realize why."
You choke on those last words and run out the restaurant.
The next morning, you sit on the same bench in the Temple Gardens. You know he will not come. No one will be here but you decide to stay here one last time. With each sigh, the plants around you move making you feel a little bit better.
"I must go." Ardeth says next to you. Of course you didn't hear his arrival. "I wish you well in your endeavors. May the Force Be With You."
You nod and lick your lips. Your gaze is glassy.
"I did not hate you from the beginning." He says.
You notice he has a Titanese accent.
"Don't worry about it Knight Fey. It is-- inconsequential."
Ardeth sighs, "I feel I have wronged you."
"Nope." A strangled sigh escapes your lips, "It's just one of those things. Well I know you have to go so..." You turn to him and smile weakly. In his mahogany eyes you find the gaze of a different man.
"You tracked down your entire family?" You munch on a green crunchy vegetable as the stalwart knight across from you regally drinks tea.
"Yes." He says replacing the porcelain cup.
"Is that where you learned to speak the language?" You ask in Titanese.
He grins broadly, "Yes. I have always been a quick study of languages."
"Unlike me," You continue in his native tongue, "you don't speak it with an accent."
"I tried harder to lose mine. My mastery of my native tongue has affected my usage of others but the trade was well worth it."
You two smile at each other.
"I bet you made your parents proud." You grin slyly.
He blushes, "Yes I did."
You mouth a blade of grass as Ardeth escorts you back to the hotel.
"You were born in wild space?" He says with a hint of disbelief.
"Yes. My father was a trader for the republic. He had a sense of adventure and a very loyal companion in my mother. They were bonded for at least twenty years when they had me. It was then they decided to settle down near the core of the republic."
"Are they still alive?"
"No. My dad died first and then mother a few years later. The family dissipated after that. I have two sisters--whom I barely know and one brother. They are scattered really." You gesture skyward. "We haven't kept in touch much. They like to travel a lot."
You wince checking the bandages around your midsection. Cracked ribs are more painful than you remembered. Slowly you lower yourself on a stool next to Garr's cot. He and the room smell like the bacta that's been stuffed into the many gashes you have.
"Shit." He grits as a nurse sticks another needle in him. "Okay Kenobi spill it."
"The clusterfuck that is your love life." He jostles around in the cot moving the various tubes going in and out of him. "Right now my life is looking a lot like shit and your screwed up antics are the only thing that entertains me. So spill it. Did you see him again?"
"The one with the temper."
"Ardeth is a Jedi. He does not have a temper."
"The way you describe him he does."
"No he doesn't. A Jedi with a temper is a Sith. And Ardeth is no Sith. And yes we see each other regularly or whenever we can. Same thing."
Garr chuckles weakly.
"I still can't believe you're seeing Jinn's best friend."
"So? This is a free galaxy. We can do whatever we want."
"There are several things you learn not to do in life: talk to a politician, take money from a Hutt and never get involved with best friends. You just don't do it." He coughs and winces.
"It shouldn't matter I haven't talked to Qui in months."
"Just because you haven't talked to him doesn't mean he isn't through with the matter."
"I think the pain killers have distorted your judgment."
"They haven't kicked in yet. You're heading for a blow-up and a whole bunch of people will get hurt. Get out now while you can."
"Cause I love him." You say softly.
Garr groans and falls asleep.
"Why didn't you tell me you were a virgin?" Ardeth snaps slipping his tunic over his well-defined chest.
In a mass of crinkled bed sheets and disheveled clothing you sit up. Feeling the onset of an anxiety attack, you try not to hyperventilate. "I didn't think it would be an issue."
Ardeth frowns and continues dressing, "No. It is not that. I love you and I'd rather your first time be special."
You are amazed at what slips through his defenses. Did he say what you think he said. Sliding over to the side of the bed, you stand on the edge and pull him close.
"Say it again." You smile.
He blushes and scowls a bit, "I'd rather your first time be- -"
"No the part before that."
Ardeth hesitates and repeats quietly, "I love you."
You pull him into a strong embrace, kissing him passionately, "I love you too." Your mouth never leaves his.
"Put on some clothes," His eyes dart down to your bare flesh.
Ardeth's parents wave to you as you and he dash away in a speeder. You like them a lot. They are wonderfully warm people who seemed to like you instantly though his father was a bit gruff at times. No matter, their hospitality was immeasurable.
"How long will you be away?" You ask caressing his leg as he manuevers the stubby speeder he borrowed from a friend.
"I am not certain. The truce has broken down again and a Jedi must be present at the negotiations. Though my duties will be ceremonial the council asked that I remain until all parties agree. Unfortunately, if there are any disputes I will not be allowed to interject. Hopefully they will come to a just accord quickly."
"And if they don't."
Ardeth glances at you briefly giving you the I-can-not-tell- you-more-look. It is the same one you give him at times. These past few months have been wonderful, it is a shame it has to come to an end.
"We're up for rotation again, I too will be leaving." You sigh.
Ardeth shifts uncomfortably and sighs.
"Be careful." He says curtly.
"I will." You lean against him, careful not to disturb his driving.
Qui-Gon's majestic leonine figure is silouhetted in the background of lit stars inside the Temple Map Room. The planet Titan rotates before him. He sighs shaking his head.
"You're hair is getting longer." Mace says standing in the doorway, "I still think you should go for the shaved look."
"No thank you. I'm not as radical as you."
"That's funny coming from you Jinn. Is there not a time when you don't butt heads with the council?"
"Yes. When I am asleep."
"Yoda would beg to differ. He can see our dreams you know." Mace stands next to his old friend and observes the spinning hologram. Patches of lush green are interspersed with long patches of light brown. "You know when I take my seat on the council, you can not expect me to cover for you."
"My friend we will broach that subject when needed."
"Well, it's either that or the girl."
Qui studies his friend.
"Don't look so shocked Jinn. You're emotional shields may hinder my empathy but I know the expression. I have experienced it myself. So is she a native?"
"She dumped you."
"No." Qui motions for the planet to recede into the starfield. "Things didn't work out. It was not the will of the Force."
"Ah. I take it you have meditated on this." Mace smirks knowingly.
"For some time. Our lives are so separate there would be no fruitful future."
"Then why do you long so?"
"I do not know."
"Probably because the emptiness is eating you alive. Do you think of her?"
Qui sighs with anguish, "All the time. And the last time she requested to see me, I could not say good-bye." Embarassed he chuckles, "I sent Ardeth."
"Where there is one, there is the other."
"Yes well not as of late. Our lives have kept us very much separate."
"Is she the one?" Truly intrigued, Mace's brown eyes study his friend.
Qui nods, "I'm afraid so."
"Then you must confront this fear or live with regret for the rest of your life."
You and Ardeth stroll through the gardens of
the Contemplative Temple. It has become your special place. He has
informed you that the force-sensitive plants and flowers inside the garden
intensify any motion that a person is feeling.
"Even carnal ones?" You curl your arm around his tightly and grin slyly.
"Yes." He smiles at you, "And we will discuss that after the ceremony."
You nod. Ardeth has asked you to bond with him and you said yes. Of course it's sudden but you love him and he loves you. And that's all that matters. Right?
You both sit on a bench. He snakes your arms around him pulling you close. Ardeth's firm lips press into yours and opens allowing his tongue into your mouth. He floods your conscience with his, surrounding your mind completely. As he kisses you fervidly you sense the strong passions he battles with on a daily basis. His warrior spirit bubbles underneath slipping into your conscience laying claim to you.
"CHANA!?" Qui-Gon yells
You pull away shocked beyond measure. Ardeth remains cool. He holds your hand.
"Master Jinn." You squeak.
Jinn blinks his eyes rapidly as if hoping everything will disappear.
"What are you two doing?"
You cling to Ardeth, Qui sees this and quakes.
"No. No. This is not happening. You two?" He stammers as his chest heaves up and down.
Suddenly you feel awful, "I--"
Ardeth's grip keeps you from moving. He flashes you a look that tells you to be silent. You swallow hard as the plants rustle around you.
"What did you do to her?!" Jinn accosts Ardeth.
Ardeth stands eye to eye and challenges, "Everything you were unable to."
Jinn looks to you, "Has he influenced your mind?"
You shake your head slowly recognizing the pain in his eyes. Did he come back to reconcile?
"I would never do such a thing!" Ardeth hissed.
"Chana?" Qui says with overwhelming hurt.
"Leave my betrothed alone." Ardeth warns pushing you behind him.
Qui stares at Ardeth. His expression hardens.
"Yes. She has agreed to be my life-mate."
You see pure hatred flash upon the master's face.
//This isn't how things are suppose to go. What's happening?,// You fold your arms unsure of what to do.
"NO!" Qui pushes Ardeth out of the way and yanks you to him, "Come with me. I must speak with you."
Ardeth prys you away, "She is mine!" He grips your arm tightly to the point of pain.
"Bastard you betrayed me, get away!" Qui uses the Force to pull you to him.
The Master clutches your waist and starts to haul you away. Shocked, scared and confused you begin to tear.
"NO!! SHE LOVES ME!" Ardeth yells and you are knocked from Qui-Gon's arms by a force stronger than a blow from a transport.
Qui dashes to Ardeth drawing his lightsaber from its sheathe and Ardeth responds. Their hissing blades clash.
"NO! You must stop this instantly!" Jedi Knights shout running to stop the commotion.
Trembling, you rub your temples inside a sitting room. You lean against a wall staring at the darkness outside. Two hours have passed since the three of you were brought in doors.
//I hope they are all right.//
"They will be." A man says behind you.
"I am Master Tsi."
"Where are they?"
"They are meditating. It is important that they release this hostility immediately. Their place in the Force depends upon it."
You know he speaks of the dark side. Qui has told you many times that once a knight begins a path towards the dark side it is hard for him to stop. It is what all Jedi dread. Your bottom lip quivers.
//I may have driven them to it.//
"Umm... can I see them?"
"No." Tsi eyes you sympathetically.
You nod and leave for the spaceport. There is a chance you can catch a shuttle back to Titan.
Qui stands quietly against the wall. You stare at the floor feeling like you just slapped his mother. Outside the tiny office, you hear voices chattering as a typically busy day begins inside Conjugal Heaven.
The Jedi Master has been silent ever since you arrived. He set up this meeting and you felt obligated to come though it seemed like a betrayal to Ardeth-- whom you have not heard from.
"Why?" Jinn asks softly
"I don't know. It just is." You sigh. A lump grows in your throat.
"I don't accept that. He was my best friend."
You lick your lips fighting back tears.
"I don't know." You sniffle, "You didn't want me."
Qui turns to face you, "So you ran to him because I did not want you?"
"No, it wasn't like that. I mean, I didn't intentionally..." You fall silent.
"At any time while we were together did you--?" The master closes his eyes unable to finish.
"No. You were the only man I wanted."
You say nothing and stare at the floor. "I'm sorry. I didn't--"
"I came back to tell you that I loved you. And that I wanted--." He stops and shakes his head. "But it seems you are already betrothed. My loss is his gain."
You fold your arms protectively. He said those three little words that you've longed to hear but now... Yes, you still need to hear them.
"Qui I love--" He stops you.
"NO!! If you can't say it in front of him then I don't want to hear it!!"
You shake under his anger.
Four days later you hurry into Conjugal Heaven, clawing your way passed love sick couples. The desk sargeant waves you back to your assigned room. You knock briefly and enter. Ardeth awaits as promised.
"What took you so long?" His back his to you. The knight's brown robe is freshly pressed.
"I got off duty as soon as I could." You near him.
Ardeth turns around and holds out his palm.
"Please do not come any closer."
Stopping in your tracks, you look at him imploringly.
"You still love him."
"I love you."
"I am right." He asserts with his back to you.
"TELL ME!" He turns and closes his eyes and calms his breathing. "You are still in love with him."
"Ardeth I want to spend my life with you."
"Then tell him. You can not have us both."
You stare at the floor.
"I thought so." He comments softly, "Thanks for nothing."
"Have you seen him?"
Ardeth walks by you to the door, "I don't want to see him."
It slams behind you.
You hiccup into the shoulder of a tall man with more ribbons than you. He holds you tightly swaying to the soft music of the band on stage. His hands wander down to your ass. You let them stay there.
"Why don't we go somewhere more private."
You look at him through hazy vision and hiccup.
"Come on." He leads you off the dance floor nibbling on your neck.
"All right pal." Garr interrupts with his date in tow, "she's had enough."
Hiccuping again, you grab a drink from a passing tray. You swig it instantly and place it on another passing tray.
"Who the hell are you?" The man demands
"Her guardian angel, now back off!" Garr stares the man down.
You spy the crowd for another drink, still clutching the man's arm.
"Okay Chana, you're coming with me." Garr prys your hands off the man. You don't even know the guy's name.
"But--?" You gesture to the hazy figure receding in the distance.
"No. You've had enough, now it's time for you to go home." He turns to his date and mumbles something. She nods and walks away waving coyly.
"Nope, nope can't let you do that." You saunter away from him, "You go on with your date, I'll be fine."
"No you won't. I'm taking you back to the barracks."
You lean against Garr as the taxi sways because of turbulence. Your head is beginning to spin and you don't feel so good.
"Chana this has got to stop."
"Yea, I don't think I'm gonna make it." Your stomach rumbles.
"You have to. This happens to people all the time. You still have to drive on and live your life."
You frantically look around the taxi for a container.
"Don't let this consume you. So you made a mistake! Move on, but don't' make a bigger one with that ass!"
Feeling you can't hold back any longer. You hurl on the floor in front of you just as the taxi comes to a stop.
Ardeth pressed the chime to Master Yoda's quarters. He had no idea why he was called to the see the Master but he dutifully came as requested. With a long sigh, the knight entered the quarters. Stepping into the spartanly decorated sitting area, Ardeth saw Yoda calmly watching him.
Most of the furniture within the room was of standard size and height with only a few exceptions.
"Master." Ardeth bowed deeply removing his hands from the recesses of his sleeves.
"Knight Fey, grateful I am for your prompt reply." Yoda said sitting in his chair while tapping his walking stick.
Ardeth knew that it was a sign of the Master's great agitation.
"It is my wish to serve you fully."
"Knight, you serve the Order not me." Yoda continued tapping his stick.
Ardeth complied. His lanky legs curved over the plush red sofa.
"Consider yourself a child do you?" Yoda leans forward, "Hmm?"
"Then why do you behave as one? For years I have over looked your temptuous emotions. Up and down are they. Constantly like waves in an ocean. But overlook I have, for such a good Knight you are and great one you will be."
"Thank you master." Ardeth said softly eyeing the plush carpeting.
"This foolishness with you and Qui-Gon must end now!"
Ardeth's gaze darts to the diminutive Jedi Master. Yoda's ears move forward.
"Ahh. Surprised you are that I know." Yoda scowls, "EVEN A CHILD IN THE CRECHE COULD SENSE THE ANIMOSITY YOU TWO HAVE FOR ONE ANOTHER!"
Ardeth's jaw tightens as he takes a deep breath.
"You have been best friends nearly your entire lives...do not destroy such a precious gift." Yoda grows silent.
"What have you to say?" He asks finally.
"Nothing master." Ardeth answers trying not to sound disrepectful.
"Why any woman would ever want to put up with you two is beyond me," Yoda straightens, "QUI-GON COME HERE!"
Qui steps out of the bedroom normally reserved for an apprentice. Ardeth knew all too well that it used to be Qui's old room. He'd visited it many times as a child.
"We are not leaving until this is resolved." Yoda glares at the two and motions for Qui-Gon to join Ardeth on the sofa.
"Hehehe," Mackleby gargles and spits into the washbasin, "Droids. Can you imagine being replaced by droids?" The burly man in his early twenties inspects his face in the mirror. Too many missions and harsh weather have taken its toll.
Chewing on a toothpick, you continue cleaning your weapon. You've heard this talk before, the higher ups threaten to replace people with droids. It'll never happen. Droids maybe cheap but they're not skilled warriors. No c-p-u can replace a living mind.
The door to the NCO lounge slams. You move your legs briefly so your buddy, Sgt. Russell Garr, can get by. Sandy blonde hair and hazel eyes give him an innocence he has long since outgrown.
"So which one of you clowns is going on training detail?" Garr unholsters his blaster and begins inspecting it.
"Not me." Mackelby swears, "I'm staying out in the field. Leave the princess' to the little girls. No offense, chief." He remarks to you.
"Up yours Mackelby." You usually ignore the comments of your subordinate. Censoring his opinions before he speaks isn't one of his strong points. You finish scraping away the last bits of carbon deposits and begin reassembling your rifle.
"Get that Mackelby." You direct not looking up. You love your rifle. It has saved your life and the lives of your buddies many times in battle. The connection between you and it gives you peace.
"What?" Mackelby asks behind the door.
"Message for Tech. Sgt. Kenobi."
Mackelby hangs on the door.
"Who is it from?" You attach the last section.
"Doesn't say. Visitors, diplomatic I believe." The person answers.
You shake your head, aim the rifle and shoot. The trigger and empty barrel respond perfectly.
"She ain't in." Mackelby slams the door.
"You know that could have been important." Garr eyes you warily.
"It's always important." You answer flatly.
You collect your belongings and leave. You're tired and weary. Life have has been complicated as of late and after the fiasco with Qui-Gon Jinn and Ardeth Fey, you've decided to simplify things. The first way is to not date two men at the same time, the other is to rededicate yourself to your work. You are the youngest Tech Sargent in the history of the Security Forces, you've got your own squad and division may send you to Coruscant to train at the Academy. There's so much to be concerned with and your love life doesn't have to be one of them.
Hearing a voice, you pause on the corner. The base is almost closed for the night with the exception of a few VIPs at the tavern down the road.
"I must be tired." You shake your head, "No matter, I'm going to bed anyways."
You continue heading towards the bachelor quarters.
//Turn right. Then enter building C.// The voice compels.
You find yourself complying without hesitation. You enter the Spousal Visitation Center. Your friends like to call it Conjugal Heaven. You have no idea why you're here. You have no spouse. You skirt passed the remaining visitors.
Your heavy boots echo in the empty corridor. The lights dim as you near the end of the hallway. Coming to your senses, you sense a presence. Unholstering your weapon, you cautiously stand outside the door.
//Chana enter.// the voice says sounding familiar.
You wonder, //Could it be?//
The door creaks open. Qui-Gon Jinn patiently sits at a table. His expression softens upon seeing you. The blaster clicks in place back on your belt.
"What are you doing here?" He is the last person you expect to see after the row you and he had.
"Chana?" Ardeth Fey says exiting the shadows.
You frown unable to fathom this situation. "What is going on?"
"We need to talk." Qui says quietly.
Your eyes dart between the two, "We've done all the talking that needs to be done. You were right. It was a betrayal and I'm sorry. I will never see either of you again."
Hurt flashes on the Master's face. He purses his lips. Ardeth sits across from him at the table.
//At least they are able to be in the same room again//, you note. //It's an important step.//
"I am sorry for the harsh words. I was hurt." The master says trying to mask his anguish.
You shake your head and glance out the only window in the room, "Nope. No need for apologies." To love both men, best friends, was a costly mistake.
That date made in the cantina blossomed into a wonderful romance which Qui-Gon quickly dropped after realizing he'd be unable to nurture it fully. He said, "My work will not allow me to give you the life you deserve." And he left.
You sent message after message to the temple begging to speak with him. You even set a date for a meeting. He acquiesced saying,"I can make no promises." The very day you were to meet, you saw Ardeth instead. You couldn't begin to understand why. He seemed to dislike you with every fiber of his being. After a curt greeting, he gave you Qui-Gon's final departure message. "Friendship only and best wishes."
You turn stoically and head for the door. Ardeth's hand keeps the door from opening.
"Please stay." He whispers.
Ardeth talked with you for hours on that fateful day. All that leave you saved up and took to spend with Qui-- and he never showed. Morose, melancholy, these words couldn't begin to describe your mood. Fortunately for you, Ardeth's typical jedi compassion kicked in and he stayed and talked.
Nothing happened at first. Just talking really. Dinner. Lunch. Flowers. A trip to Coruscant. A day trip to the temple on Yavin 3. Holding hands, a tiny kiss. You spent your entire leave with Ardeth. The man you discovered was no where near the droideka you'd originally met. Love was inevitable.
NO! You've got to stop this.
You pull yourself together. //I've seen my buddies lose limbs and I toughed it out. I can handle this.//
"All right speak." You lean against the wall facing them.
"We have talked." Ardeth nods to his best friend, "We acknowledge that we both love you. But we do not know, do you love us?"
You sniffle and swallow the lump in your throat. //I'm tired of crying over this.//
"We've covered this." You growl, "There's no in need picking old sores."
"Little one--," Qui begins, his face full of worry.
He calls you by your pet name. Your heart melts.
"--please. Do you?"
"Yes." You answer quietly. "And that's why I won't see either of you. I can't have you both."
It's definitely time to go. Feeling the urge to drown yourself in a bottle of whiskey, you close your eyes and sigh. The damn tavern is closed due to a private party.
Qui-Gon approaches you, "Says who?" He kisses you chastely on the lips.
Ardeth smiles weakly. His eyes search yours for approval.
"Can we try?" He finally asks.
~*~ Updated 3/4/00 ~*~