Harlequin's Slash Fic

What Must Be, Shall Be

Title: What Must Be, Shall Be
Author: Julien
Universe: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Characters featured: Obi–Wan/Qui–Gon
Category, Word count: Short story; 2537 words
Rating: R
Summary: Obi–Wan resents Qui–Gon’s interest in Anakin, and is provoked into at last confronting the man with the truth about his love.
First published: 10 August 2000 in Espresso 3

What Must Be, Shall Be

It had come to this:

‘I didn’t know your taste ran to small boys, Master.’

‘Take care, Obi–Wan.’ And it seemed Qui–Gon thought so little of his Padawan’s dignity these days that the admonition was merely absent–minded.

Beset by resentment, Obi–Wan glared at his Master’s back. ‘You have always encouraged me to speak the truth to you.’

A moment passed while Qui–Gon checked the last of the telltales on the ship’s new hyperdrive generator. The persistent hum of the machinery around them as they powered towards the planet Coruscant echoed Obi–Wan’s jangling nerves.


Qui–Gon turned to him, expression as peacefully composed as ever. ‘You are revealing more than you know, my Padawan. When the truth is nothing better than possessiveness and envy and fear of loss, there is no honour in speaking it.’

Stung, Obi–Wan turned away, wondering why on earth he had chosen the engine room for this confrontation. After a moment, though, he collected himself enough to murmur, ‘Is that all you think this is?’

‘Can you assure me otherwise?’

‘Why must you always answer my questions with more questions?’ The words, both spoken and unspoken, had become an endless ache in Obi–Wan’s throat. ‘You are my Master; you are supposed to teach me.’

‘You know better than that, Padawan. Your learning has little to do with any statements made by me.’

‘Humility now…’ Obi–Wan grumbled, ‘when I had hoped for your pride. Your honour.’

‘Is my honour in question?’ the Jedi asked with the mildest amusement.

Obi–Wan ground on regardless. ‘I want to talk to you about the boy, Master.’

‘Anakin Skywalker.’


‘I believe not.’

‘What?’ Obi–Wan was reduced to glaring again. Qui–Gon had been obtuse before, of course, on many occasions – it was expected of one so venerable – but this was not proceeding at all to plan.

‘I believe this is not about Anakin; I believe this is about you, Obi–Wan.’

He was forced to admit, ‘Yes. But it is about you as well, Master.’

Qui–Gon nodded once, and then stood there implacably waiting for further truths or half–truths or whatever lies Obi–Wan felt he must tell.

‘I sense the boy will come between us,’ Obi–Wan confessed.

‘Go on.’

Obi–Wan drew a deep breath and searched for courage. When none was forthcoming, he made do with bursting out, ‘He will come between us, and the tragedy is that we’re not done yet! Youand I, Master – we are not done yet, and you know it.’

‘Ah,’ said Qui–Gon, more enigmatic than ever. His gaze dropped, and the Jedi appeared to be contemplating the metal floor panels. A silence passed; the ship fled closer to Coruscant and whatever destiny awaited them there.

When Obi–Wan could bear it no longer, he asked, ‘Is that all the response I am to have from you?’

‘What kind of response does possessiveness deserve?’

He felt a scowl disfigure his face. ‘Can you not honour me by calling it love?’

‘Is that truly what it is?’

‘By the Unifying Force, what do you think?’ Obi–Wan stepped forward, and stepped forward again; and suddenly he was within arm’s reach of Qui–Gon, and pleading with him. ‘You have been my life, Master. You are my entire life. Everything of worth in me is due to you. Of course I love you. I love you in every way there is to love.’

Silence greeted this declaration.

‘Please, Qui–Gon…’

‘Anakin will not come between us,’ the man quietly replied, ‘unless the Force requires it. Is that all you wish to hear?’

I love you! In Obi–Wan’s mind the words were a scream; but they did not disturb the busily humming peace of the engine room. It seemed clear that Qui­–Gon’s silence was in lieu of outright rejection. Obi–Wan turned towards the access hatch, head bowed, trusting that – no, knowing that this would never again be spoken of between them. I love you…

Qui–Gon stopped him with a whisper in his mind’s ear. It is that way for me, too, as you well know.

‘Such a difficult admission,’ Obi–Wan complained as he turned back around to look at Qui–Gon. But the lingering resentment soon melted.

It is that way for me… Qui–Gon’s words coalesced and caressed and coloured Obi–Wan’s mind, accompanied as they were by the naked honesty of wanting and loving. Yes, it is that way between us… There was turmoil along with the peace and the joy – this was not an easy love to bear, and never would be. The feelings mirrored his own. And the thoughts did, too. ‘The Council has a law against it,’ they both said.

‘Why?’ Obi–Wan asked in genuine confusion. ‘Why would the Jedi, of all people, prohibit love?’

‘Because it is too much on top of everything else. As my Padawan, I have every other influence over you. You have told me that I am your life. It is too much to add this to the whole.’

‘But that is what I want, Master,’ Obi–Wan said with all the determination and precision that he was capable of. He took that last step. ‘I want too much. I want everything from you.’

It had come to this at last:

I want that from you, Obi–Wan, as well.

Everything. We must do everything.

Obi–Wan had rarely known such energy within himself, such intensity, such focus. They were in Qui–Gon’s chamber, Qui–Gon’s bed, naked, connected. And the man was passionate, of course, as Obi–Wan had known he would be, no matter his age. Profoundly passionate. Why else would Qui–Gon need to maintain such incredible discipline?

Everything. Yes.

Qui–Gon gnawing at the back of his neck, and the almost–pain reduced Obi–Wan to surrender as unadulterated pleasure could never have.


Afterwards, there was tenderness, just as profound. The brush of fingers down Obi–Wan’s cheek. The whisper of the name he’d been given by parents he’d never known. The sharing of words, and flesh hard and flesh yielding, and sensations.


Obi–Wan ran fingers through that mane of silvering–gold. Qui–Gon customarily wore his hair tied back, forever tamed. Restrained. But he never cut it, Obi–Wan had noted in fascination, he always left his hair long and full, hinting at a passion and a yearning for freedom that Qui–Gon could acknowledge in very few other ways.

I love you. ‘In the languages of the galaxy there are thousands of words to describe different kinds of love. I could say them all to you, and my declaration would still fall short of reality.’

Qui–Gon continued looking up at him in that direct way of his, merely commenting, ‘Such extravagance.’

Obi–Wan knew the man was deeply affected by all this, even though his expression did not betray as much. ‘Tell me it is not true,’ Obi–Wan challenged.

‘I cannot. It is an extravagant love.’

Deep in the ship’s night they dimmed the lights, but still they did not sleep. Pressed too close, too damp and hot and tired and tangled, and fraught with the release of a long–held energy.

Obi–Wan murmured the man’s birth–name; and then declared, ‘I want Mastery over you in some things, Master.’

‘Then make it so,’ Qui–Gon quietly replied.

Everything, Master. Please, there is yet one more thing…

‘I have darkness in me, Ben. Take care not to rouse it.’

‘You are too severe on yourself…’

‘There can be no compromise. Not for me. And not, I think, for you.’

Obi–Wan pressed his bruised–tender mouth to Qui–Gon’s. One more thing, Master, before I can let you go…

‘You were asleep, you were restless.’ It sounded as if Qui–Gon had good reason to think Obi–Wan needed reassurance. ‘But you are awake now, and you are safe.’

‘Yes. I had a dream, Master. A sad dream – I dreamt we would part.’

‘And so we will one day, Obi–Wan. But you and I will be done, and you will be ready to part from me, you will be ready to stand alone.’

Obi–Wan couldn’t respond.

His grief must have been betrayed, though, for Qui–Gon softened yet further. ‘Was it a vision, my Padawan?’

The iron control returned soon enough.

‘This can never happen again.’

‘Of course not,’ Obi–Wan murmured. They were cleansed and dressed, and everything but their faces and hearts had recalled a Jedi’s discipline. Which was necessary, as Queen Amidala was on board the ship, along with the boy Anakin – and for a few hours Qui–Gon had cared nothing for them or for their mission on Coruscant. Obi–Wan knew that such a state of affairs would not be permitted to continue.

‘Darkness lurks somewhere down this path, my Padawan.’

‘Yes, Master.’ Obi–Wan bowed his head in submission – but could not prevent himself asking, ‘Why do you fear darkness will come of love, Qui–Gon? Surely love belongs to the light.’

‘There is a law against it.’ Qui–Gon spoke in his best teaching voice, patient but very firm. ‘The Council has imposed a good rule for a good reason, and we would need to dissemble and lie, and our darkness can escape our control through a lie.’

‘Yes, Master.’

‘The Jedi Knights are the guardians of peace and justice, and each of us needs to embody those principles. But you and I couldn’t lead a peaceful and just life together, Obi–Wan.’

‘Forgive me, Master, but those are the easy answers.’

Qui–Gon watched him for a moment, not taken aback or even flustered by this impertinence. ‘Then this can never happen again, Apprentice, because there may come a time when I cannot bear to do what I must for the sake of the light. There may come a time when I love you too much to sacrifice myself. To sacrifice you. There must be nothing in my life that I am not prepared to lose, except faith in the Living Force.’

‘Yes, Master.’ He was so used to obeying this man, and he had known all along, of course, that it would come to this. So Obi–Wan almost walked out the door.

But at the last moment he stepped back inside, and let the door slide shut behind him, and said, ‘I cannot. I do not want to let this go.’

‘Find the strength,’ his Master told him. It was an order.

‘I cannot. We are not done, Qui–Gon. Perhaps we will never be done.’

The man turned away for a moment, visibly gathering himself. Obi–Wan was almost shocked to have caused such an effect.

And he did what he hadn’t dared try before while persuading this man to become his lover: Obi–Wan sent all his loving and wanting and yearning and needing and worshipping; he wrapped it all up and hurled it at Qui–Gon with every atom of his own matter, with every wave of the Force’s unifying energy…

The Jedi Knight staggered back as if subjected to the worst of blows. But then he gradually slowly straightened, strengthened, standing upright now like the tallest proudest oak, his roots feeding deep in the darkness but the best of him growing in the light.

Obi–Wan lost the edge of his righteousness somewhere, lost the utterness of his conviction.

And Qui–Gon of course sensed the lapse, slight though it was, and levelly said, ‘If we are everything to each other – then we can be enemies, too.’

The hurt of that punctured him, but Obi–Wan stood his ground –

– Qui–Gon drew his lightsabre and advanced, the green glow eerie in the dim room.

‘Leave!’ the Master cried. Another order. ‘Find the courage to leave, insignificant one, or I’ll end it all now.’

For a moment, Obi–Wan didn’t believe him. But the man kept advancing, and there was ferocity on his face. The lightsabre hissed.

‘Leave me now or leave me forever!’

Obi–Wan stood a moment longer, but then – having never before been on the wrong end of a Jedi’s attack outside of the training hall – fear overcame him, and he wasn’t too proud to retreat. In his alarm he misjudged, and staggered back against the storage containers near the door. Qui–Gon continued to advance.

Master, please! I can’t believe you’d –

No. Qui–Gon slowed, then sagged as if the rage had suddenly drained from his veins and sinews. No, of course not. The lightsabre was deactivated; the hand that held it seemed almost lifeless. ‘Of course I would not harm you, Padawan.’ The Jedi sounded sad now. Sad and… broken. Defeated. He turned away. ‘Go now,’ the man whispered. ‘Obi–Wan, leave me. Leave me be.’

It was worse than his rage. Obi–Wan fought down the urge to love and comfort, to insist on his claims, to see Qui–Gon made whole again. Instead he turned tail and strode out of there. Too proud to weep or plead, and knowing it would do no good anyway against this most stubborn of men.

Qui–Gon’s private, desperate wish seeped into Obi–Wan’s mind even as he walked down the corridor: This must never happen again…

When next they met – in the ship’s chambers that the Queen and her handmaidens were occupying – it was as if nothing had changed between Qui–Gon and his Padawan, unless it was that Qui–Gon was more austere than ever. Obi–Wan bowed his head in true humility, and accepted what must be.

There was a return of the tenderness in Qui–Gon’s last moment, though. There was concern voiced for his new Apprentice, and a promise extracted – a promise freely given. Obi–Wan would become Anakin’s new Master, whether the Jedi Council approved or not. And there was the brush of fingers down Obi–Wan’s cheek for the sake of Qui–Gon’s love, and the mental caress of their chosen vow: You have been my life…

Obi–Wan allowed himself a few tears as his Master breathed his last, permitted himself a last despairing embrace, but then he put love and grief and darkness aside, and shouldered the burden of life alone.

He could feel his face become the familiar mask, perhaps a little grimmer now, but no one would guess that anything significant had changed. Qui–Gon had trained him all too well.

The mask slipped a little as Obi–Wan guarded the funeral bier through the dark night. ‘I feared we would part,’ he found himself whispering to the man who lay there cold as stone. ‘I didn’t think it would be death parting us; I thought it would be the Council. The boy.’

Control and defiance and strength. They were the qualities Qui–Gon had taught his Padawan. As Obi–Wan would now teach his own Apprentice.

He stood there staring at those beloved features until they were at last consumed in flame. Gone.

It took Anakin to say what Obi–Wan couldn’t: I miss him… What will happen to me now?

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