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First Steps On A Long Road

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“Come in, little one” Qui-Gon Jinn encouraged his new Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi to step into his apartment.

The kid, an 8-year-old, pretty small and so cute Qui-Gon just wanted to cuddle him all day, still seemed insecure. He glanced up at his new master, hugging a plush kitten tight to his chest, then into the room again. Qui-Gon had no idea what could be the problem; perhaps Obi just missed his old environment, but he couldn’t help it. Padawans had to move in with their masters, that was the tradition and the rule as well.

“Don’t worry, Obi, there’s nothing here that could or would hurt you. Or if there’d been I wouldn’t let it hurt you. It’s a perfectly safe place.”

“Okay” Obi said and walked in.

Qui-Gon closed the door and turned to his Padawan, thinking hard about what to do next. Taking Obi was a pretty sudden decision on his part, not that he’d regretted it, but it wasn’t originally in the next-five-years plan for him. But when he discovered that Obi was bullied in his class, he instinctively wanted to do something about it; so he asked the kid if he wanted to be his Padawan. Obi said yes. That was two hours ago.

Since then they had spoken with the Council, taken care of the administration, got Obi’s new Padawan equipment, and Qui-Gon helped the kid to carry his belongings into his new room. They just had dinner, and Qui-Gon had nothing particular in mind about what he wanted to do in the evening; however, a cup of hot tea sounded really nice.

But first, he wanted his Padawan to feel a bit more secure around him and in their home. So he kicked off his shoes and sat on the carpet in the common area of the apartment, calling Obi to him. Obi came obediently, and Qui-Gon could barely suppress a grin when he saw that that’s how they were more or less on the same eye-level. But it had the benefit of Obi being less intimidated by him; Qui-Gon was freaking tall, and if one didn’t know him well enough, he could look like a scary person. He had long, dark brown hair, stunning midnight-blue eyes, and a face which had a strong resemblance to a big predator cat. He was attractive, almost maddeningly, but in a somewhat dangerous way.

“Listen to me, Obi. I know that all of this was pretty sudden to you, it was to me as well, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out with time. But in the meantime I’d like you to be a happy little Padawan, okay? Don’t be afraid of asking anything you need, anytime. I’m here to help and protect you; I wouldn’t hurt you, ever.”

To confirm his words Qui-Gon reached out and stroked gently Obi’s soft hair and face. His reward was a tentative but genuine smile, and Qui-Gon smiled back. He really wanted Obi to be happy for a change. The poor kid didn’t have too many reasons to smile with all of the bullying he had to suffer in his class.

“Well, little one... what if I told you I have some chocolate cookies which I want to share with someone? Would you like it?”

Obi’s big grey-blue eyes brightened up and he nodded enthusiastically.

“Yes, master!”

Oh, Force... Even his voice is cute, Qui-Gon thought as he stood up, took Obi’s small hand – with the other one he still hugged his kitten – and led him to the kitchen. It was barely big enough for two people so Qui-Gon usually used the place only for making tea; for meals he went out.

While Qui-Gon searched for the cookies Obi made himself comfortable on a chair, waiting patiently for his treat. Qui-Gon noticed that he still didn’t want to let go of his plush toy.

“Who’s this little fellow?” he asked smiling when gave Obi the cookies he promised.

“Softy” Obi answered, as if it was a perfectly legitimate name for a plush kitten; Qui-Gon guessed it was. “He’s a good kitten, I promise. Can he stay with me?”

“Why couldn’t he?” Qui-Gon asked back, a bit stunned.

Why would Obi think he’d take away his toy?

“Well... Can Padawans have toys?” Obi muttered, ashamed a bit; it was obvious he had some pretty misled idea about being a Padawan; perhaps his bullies told him some bullshit.

“Yes, they can have” Qui-Gon answered patiently, and scratched a little the kitten’s soft ears. “And he indeed looks like a good guy.”

Obi smiled up at him and ate his cookies. Qui-Gon left him alone to take a shower, and when he was finished he found Obi in the common area, curled up on the couch and yawning.

“Looks like someone’s sleepy” commented Qui-Gon on the sight, and sat down beside his little Padawan. “Do you have the strength to have a bath or you want to sleep instead?”

“I want a bath” Obi answered; he liked being in hot water, it felt good.

“Then go, little one.”

Obi collected his pyjama from his room first then disappeared in the bathroom. Qui-Gon used the time to make some tea for himself then he got comfortable on the couch with a book, already in his T-shirt and pyjama bottoms which he used to sleep in.

About 15 minutes later Obi walked out from the bathroom, yawning relentlessly; the hot water made him even sleepier. Qui-Gon grinned at the sight.

“Come ‘ere before you fall asleep right on the spot.”

His Padawan obeyed, crawling to him on the couch and curling up into a little ball at his side. Qui-Gon hugged him, stroking his back slowly, which made Obi smile up at him.

“I don’t want to sleep alone...” the kid admitted shyly, snuggling closer to his master.

At first he saw Qui-Gon as a big, heroic Jedi who was scary and who could beat any enemy, but in the few hours he spent with him Obi realized quickly that his master was indeed a big Jedi but a very kind man as well. Obi learned to trust him fast. Qui-Gon wouldn’t hurt him; he promised it, after all.

“Fine... But just for the first night. You can sleep with me” Qui-Gon offered.

Soon they went to sleep, at least Qui-Gon decided to put Obi into bed because the kid dozed off beside him on the couch.

“Wait, I want Softy” Obi complained and went to his room to retrieve his toy.

When he had it he followed Qui-Gon to his master’s bedroom. It was bigger than his own, but Obi supposed it was all right that masters had nicer rooms than Padawans; and his room was perfectly fine as well.

Qui-Gon had a big and very comfortable bed, Obi instantly got a liking toward it. He crawled under the warm blanket and curled up, hugging Softy tight. Qui-Gon tucked him in carefully, stroking his hair in the process.

“Sweet dreams, Obi!” he said smiling, and soon Obi fell asleep, feeling perfectly safe for the first time in years.

 

The End