NOTES: The song used in the dance club scene (it's not a song fic... it just happened to fit what I wanted to do) is "The Story of My Life," words and music by Neil Diamond. The poem, "As Dreams Are Made Of," which Qui-Gon quotes to Obi-Wan, is by Thomas Traherne (1637-1674).

Many, many thanks to Obi-Ki for her kind permission for me to borrow the title of one of her posts on the Master-Padawan RPG and use it here. Huge HUGS, Master... you're the best.


"The thunderbolt strikes on an inch of ground, but the light of it fills the horizon."

–Emerson, Journals, 1865

"He strikes fire, I breathe his flame. I am his, and he is mine."

–-Qui-Gon Jinn


His name was Knight Dagan Sharat. For three long and glorious years, he was my companion and lover. Unintimidated by the fact that I am a Jedi Master, his conversation and his passion were the most challenging that I have ever known.

He was a beautiful man, tall and slender and sleek; well put together with a quiet voice and austere features. His hair was well past his shoulders, the color of the sun and as full of light as he was. His mind challenged my own to dissect all topics with the best that was in me. And I craved him.

Two weeks ago, Dagan came to me with shadows in his eyes and hesitation in his voice. He didn't want to hurt me, he said, but he'd found someone. Someone else who made his heart sing, someone else who made him dance on the knife-edge of ecstasy in lovemaking. Made him feel all of the things that he had said he'd felt with no one but me. He didn't want to hurt me, but he'd found someone else.

Someone better? Younger?

"It has nothing to do with your age," Dagan protested, but he would neither meet my eyes nor let me touch him. He stood halfway across the room from me in his quarters. It may as well have been a universe away, with his stance and his distance saying what his words denied.

"It's just that my feelings have changed," he continued softly, in the voice that I'd come to love so well -- the voice that I had made grow rough with passion for too many and not nearly enough nights. Nights that I remembered far too clearly, whose memories seared my heart and made breathing difficult. "I love you, Qui-Gon, but...."

"But you've found someone else to love now," I said, thinking, I have given him everything, but it is not enough. I am not enough. I was amazed at how calm, how steady my voice sounded.

"I can't explain it, I didn't go looking for it." Dagan's brown eyes met mine, pleading, but without tears. Without regret. All that remained for him to be set free to enjoy his new lover was for this messy, albeit necessary, scene to conclude. "Please... at least try to understand. Being with him feels like being inside a supernova."

He smiled, his gaze distant, his mind back in the exploding stars with his new lover.

"Supernovas often burn out," I commented mildly. "In their wake, they leave nothing but cold and darkness."

He refocused his gaze. His expression grew cool, almost pitying, and his smile was thin. I clenched my teeth so hard that my jaw ached.

"We shared a peaceful passion, Qui. In the end, there was just..." He chose his words carefully. "We shared too many cups of tea. I need something more."

"I suppose you do."

I left him then, bowing and letting myself out of his quarters, smoothing my robes and lifting my hood in a silent bid for privacy as I traversed the temple halls back up to my own level. Dagan did not change his mind and follow me. I didn't expect that he would. It was a large temple; I imagined that we'd never see each other again once word had spread that we were no longer welcome in each other's arms, much less in each other's lives.

Ashes of memory were all that remained of the permanent bond I had hoped might be forming between our hearts and minds. Ashes and a depressing aloneness that I knew all too well from past experience; the sort of insurmountable distance between two former lovers that say, "I don't care about you anymore; you're just someone that I used to know."

Bowing my head, I surrendered to an all-encompassing feeling of despair that was far too familiar from past goodbyes. Xanatos... Mace... Tahl.... Lymahl... and now Dagan. Dead specters of past lovers rose in my mind, mocking my deep desire to be part of someone else. To love and to be loved in return.

Again and again I had fallen into goodbyes only to rise -- sometimes unsteadily and with far too many layers of sadness for me to penetrate them through simple meditation. I rose because I had to. I was a Jedi Master with duties to perform outside the walls of my own hurts, after all. I had missions to fulfill, a Padawan to train. And so, I ignored the layers and set them aside. I told myself a fairy-tale of hope, certain that my next lover would heal me of all sadness and shadows. My next lover would stay.


Such a small word. So simple and stark when it is whispered into a barren room in the middle of the night, yet filled with depths of longing.

None of my lovers have ever stayed. I have tried for hours, on my knees, to make peace with the distinct possibility that none of them will ever stay.



Turning off the water, I groped for a towel from the stack that always waited outside the common showers and wiped my eyes. The hard saber workout I'd just completed with a couple of other senior Padawans had left me feeling relaxed and contented, not to mention just a little cocky. I'd managed to best both of them. Given that I was apprenticed to the man some considered the best swordsman the Order had seen in 800 years, I'd better at least come close to besting them. Otherwise, I'd surely suffer the wrath of Jinn when word of my incompetence reached him. At the moment, I had absolutely no worries about what the temple grapevine would carry.

My companions were long gone from the showers, eager to reach evening meal before the best dishes were gone, still I lingered. Chances were that my Master's and my next mission would be lacking in the basic comforts of home, but I was good at making a decent meal out of practically nothing. My luxury of choice was hot water and lots of it. Evening meal could therefore wait while I savored the endless supply of heated luxury available right here.

Tucking my wet braid behind my ear, I rubbed hard at my hair and padded down the long line of deserted lockers toward the one that, years ago, I'd claimed as my own. I was just climbing into my leggings when an unfamiliar male voice drifted over the bank of lockers.

"Have you heard about Jinn and Sharat?"

"No. What?" asked an unseen companion.

"He dumped him."

"Jinn dumped Sharat?" The second voice was incredulous.

"No. Sharat dumped Jinn."

A snort. "Bad luck, that. But it leaves the field open for the rest of us. I've had my eye on Dagan for quite some time."

"Too late, he's taken up with Knight Zabet, who's been mooning after him for months. The Council assigned them to a mission together a few weeks ago, and I guess that was it. Knight Sharat came home and broke off all relations with Qui-Gon Jinn."

Locker doors slammed. I didn't move, scarcely dared to breathe. /Keep talking,/ I thought.

"It's obvious what happened," the first voice obliged me. "Dagan wanted a younger lover. That, or he got to know Jinn and realized that the man simply doesn't live up to his legends. No Jedi could, after all. We've seen it happen before, and it'll happen again with some stripling knight who's looking for romance and decides to cut his teeth on Qui-Gon."

"That's hardly fair to Master Jinn."

The voices were moving now, away and out of the changing room. Too far away for me to hear any additional commentary. But that was all right, I'd heard enough.

/So that's what's been wrong with him over the past two weeks,/ I thought, throwing my towel into a nearby receptacle and staring after it without seeing a thing. /My Master and Dagan Sharat have been lovers for what... three years? And he just dumps him? That's rotten./

I finally thought to pull my leggings up the rest of the way and finished dressing with all haste. Dressing chambers weren't the best meditation chambers, and I wanted to get somewhere where I could really think about what I'd overheard. Pulling my tunic over my head, I yanked my braid free and absentmindedly noted that it was scruffy and fuzzy and needed refraining.

Diving into my boots, I clipped on my belt and lightsaber and gave a quick glance in the mirror to make sure I was presentable before I left. Weaving my way through the Padawans and knights warming up on the edge of the still-busy training salle outside of the dressing chamber, I thought back to when I'd discovered I was in love with my Master, back when I had just turned eighteen and about the time he'd taken up with Knight Sharat.

I knew he'd had affairs before that -- most notably with Knight Tahl and Master Windu. Windu had come into the picture months after Tahl had died, when Qui-Gon had finally managed to climb out of the chasm of pain her loss had caused. I remembered the resentment I'd felt when my Master had chosen to let another help him leave his mourning behind and rejoin the world of the living. He'd chosen Windu as a lover then, and while I'd known that I was being unreasonable at fifteen, wishing he'd turned to me, that didn't help the indignation and bitterness I'd felt.

I'd spent hours in meditation while my Master had been with Windu. The probable reasons why Qui-Gon would never want me as a lover still burned in my mind:

1. I was his Padawan.

2. I was too young, he saw me as a child, a surrogate son. He'd never see me as a lover.

3. He was far ahead of me in sheer life experience. In my inexperience -- I refused to call myself innocent even at fifteen... regardless I was -- I couldn't please him as a lover even if he had wanted me.

4. He liked two types, and I was neither one of them. First came the warrior type, strongly built and dark and overwhelmingly physical as was Mace Windu. Second came the Elven type, tall and slender, blond and poised and beautiful. I couldn't compete on either level.

Tahl had died when I was fifteen; Mace came after that until he had joined the Council. A boisterous knight named Lymahl competed for and claimed my Master's attention after that. Another warrior-type and constantly looking for battles emotional or physical, Lymahl seemed an exhausting companion. I noticed that he didn't last very long with my Master, who craved peace as much as passion. Lymahl's energy level probably proved too much. In any case, he had volunteered for a mission to the outer rim, met and took up with a civilian lover, resigned from the Order and never returned to Coruscant. A short time later had come the radiant Dagan Sharat, newly knighted and disgustingly perfect, twenty-five to my eighteen.

To Qui-Gon's credit, he pretty much kept Dagan and their lovemaking away from me. They'd meet occasionally in our quarters, but Dagan had never stayed the night from what I'd observed. I was grateful for my Master's discretion, which I felt had more to do with him than with Dagan. My over-active and fast-maturing imagination had provided enough torture over the past three years without the additional stimulus of seeing them together in our quarters.

Additional torture had been provided by my wanting to observe my Master and his lover outside of our quarters at every opportunity. I flattered myself that the jealousy I felt made my observations all the more sneaky and keen, but the fact is that I was only fooling myself. Instead of seeking them out, I actively avoided them whenever possible. When we did cross paths, it was usually when I was out with a group of my own friends at the private club frequented by most of the Jedi, or when we happened to attend the same lecture at the temple's cultural center. A glancing nod, a slight bow was all my Master and I exchanged then, while Dagan ignored me, tugged on Qui-Gon's sleeve, and quickly took him elsewhere. In short, I knew next to nothing about my Master's love life and preferred it that way as long as Knight Sharat was in that life. Obviously, Qui-Gon agreed.

One thing I had learned along the way: my Master did not take lovers lightly, nor did he take more than one at a time. Even as I filed this information in the back of my mind, my heart cried out that I wish he'd take me. Dream on, Kenobi.

Taking my cue from my Master, I offered him the same respect he offered me and did not use our rooms as a point of rendezvous with my own lovers. From the start of my apprenticeship, Qui-Gon had insisted that I stay in quarters with him, but the quartermaster had still assigned me a Padawan suite well away from the Masters' Tower. That bare, sterile suite served nicely for my early assignations. I was never so grateful for the privacy those rooms afforded as I was on the afternoon that my teenaged hormones decided that I simply had take to bed two other male Padawans and begin my sexual experimentation in earnest. We'd laughed and groped one another more than we'd made love, but it was the start of a pattern: at home, I was the chaste, dutiful Padawan, attentive to my Master's every need and focused on my lessons. Once off of the Master's leash, however, I usually headed first for the local club, and then back to my quarters with a willing partner.

Qui-Gon had come home damp from a morning shower a few times, but I'd never known him to come home smelling of sex. Always, his dignity and his privacy were intact. I made sure that mine were as well. Of a consequence, I knew next to nothing about his preferences, his habits, his deepest desires, or how to satisfy them. I came to know well enough how to satisfy others, however -- knights and even a couple of obscure Masters, as well as numerous Padawans. If the opportunity ever arose, I told myself, I'd know how to please Qui-Gon Jinn.

Who was I kidding? Only myself. After all, he was out of reach, unattainable. Far out of my league, no matter how experienced I might delude myself into believing I'd become.

In the end, my fantasies made me miserable. Crying for the too-distant moon that was Qui-Gon Jinn only gave me headaches. Years spent at his side had taught me nothing so well as to face reality, it seemed. So it was that, somewhere around my twentieth birthday, I set aside my hopeless desires, released my yearnings to the Force, and counted myself lucky that I was allowed to be his Padawan and serve missions with him. After all, I spent far more time with him than any lover ever would. I settled for loving him as best I could, rather than wishing I could reveal that I was in love with him.

Upon reflection, I realized that only our sexual lives were private from each other. In all other ways, I knew him intimately. How could I not? I knew which side of the bed he preferred and how he fell asleep. The weather he hated, his previous injuries that still ached whenever it rained. I knew how he wanted to be massaged and where his hair snarled the fastest. I knew his foibles and his faults, what angered him, saddened him or made him smile. What made him weep, what wounds he could tolerate and those he dreaded. I knew his favorite foods and how quickly his feelings could be revealed by the barest tension in his stance, regardless his voice remained steady and smooth. I could predict his reaction in any given situation, knew which direction he'd go in a fight. I could even quote, almost word for word, the serene, decorous refusal he would make whenever a stranger tried to seduce him. I knew his impatience and his interests. The books he chose to read and those he only pretended to like. I could predict perfectly when he'd rebel against the Council, the things he'd compromise on and those he would not.

I knew the temperature at which he liked his tea, what to put into it, and how enthusiastically he wiggled his toes whenever he let them escape his boots. I knew what a sybarite he really was at heart and how much he loved to savor comfortable textures -- like flannel blankets on his bare skin and a cool breeze in his hair -- and beautiful things, like beautiful men.

I knew all of these things far better than Mace Windu or Tahl had ever known, for I was the one who had lived with him through every rotation of Coruscant and its moon from the time I was thirteen. Others may have known Qui-Gon all of his life, but I had been with him far longer in terms of trials and missions, living with him day in and day out.

Long ago, I had convinced myself that I loved him better than they did, because I took better care of him. I didn't reveal those thoughts or feelings to anyone because I felt a superstitious fear that if my Master ever found out how I felt, he'd somehow put an end to my taking care of him. I realized that I'd have to leave him once I'd passed my trials and attained my knighthood, but I also harbored the hope that, by then, I'd find a way that we would stay together. I'd find a way to make him want to keep me around. Somehow.

Dagan had come into our lives when I'd learned all that Qui-Gon had to teach me about aerial gymnastics. At that point, he went looking for a new instructor for me, "Someone that you can't fly into the ground, Padawan," as I had him... poor gravity-bound, landlocked Master that he was, given his sheer size. Dagan had been the senior Padawan Qui-Gon had come up with. Elegant and fast, Padawan Sharat was obviously not bound by the same laws of gravity as the rest of us mere mortals. So advanced was he in the defiant aerials that I wanted to do, I felt like a short, stubby Dagobahn after watching him perform.

To his credit, Dagan soon dissuaded me of that image. I craved the lessons he shared with me twice a week whenever we were in temple, and Qui-Gon always accompanied me to our sessions. In hindsight, I think he came so that he could watch Padawan Sharat more than me. Even then, I think he had his eye on him and waited only for his knighting to make his move.

And yes, the thought makes me jealous. I suppose that the novelty wears off once a Master has watched his Padawan for a few years. Perhaps the Master stops seeing his apprentice as anything other than an apprentice. I understood Qui-Gon's attraction to him; I wasn't immune to Sharat's beauty, either.

"Force, but I want to fly like that," I murmured softly, the first time I saw him practicing on the second catwalk in the senior dojo, taking the aerials in a routine that seemed this side of suicidal.

"You will, Padawan," had been Qui-Gon's quiet, confident answer. When it came to my training, he seemed to think that I could do anything.

Dagan had flown to the ground then, nailing a landing on the mat that made me think he was indeed Elven; no human could land that lightly. My Master stepped back with an nod. I stepped forward and bowed. I am certain that my face reflected all of the slack-jawed awe and craving that I was feeling in that moment.

"Teach me, please?" I managed to choke out.

Even then, Dagan's smile was for my Master. Even then, Qui-Gon may have been echoing me in a hungry mental variation, 'Touch me, please.'

There's no doubt about it: Dagan taught me and he certainly touched my Master. And then, he left. But not before I had left Dagan.

It took only sixteen months for me to Master the then-knighted Sharat's techniques and surpass him. I was then handed over to his former Master, who offered new challenges and truly taught me how to fly. But never, not once, did I see the light shine in Qui-Gon's eyes when he watched me, as I saw it shine in his eyes when Dagan simply walked into the room.

Dagan's Master told me once that his Padawan had been light, whereas I was fire. It was meant as a compliment, but it wasn't a comfort, since I knew all too well that Qui-Gon craved the exquisite shining soul he had in his bed. My Master wanted nothing to do on a sexual level with the flame that I was learning to be.

Too young, too late, not enough. Not nearly enough.

It was then that I realized it wasn't enough for me to be in love with him; the simple truth of it was that I was not his type, and he'd never give me a glance. How could a small, steady and far too young fire compete with the blinding light of a beautiful blond knight, after all?

That light had hurt Qui-Gon now. My devoted, devotional and totally committed, very much in love Master had been thrown aside, rejected and abandoned by the magnificent beauty he'd found.

Once, I would have been ecstatic to hear that news. Now, I was only stunned. My hands trembled and I didn't seem able to wrap my mind around the idea that Dagan had the unmitigated gall to hurt the man who loved him so deeply.

I knew now why my Master had been so sad recently. I'd recognized the signs and knew that another cycle of mourning, most resembling depression, was beginning. The first I'd witnessed had come with Tahl's death; it had lasted for months, to the point that I feared my Master would never recover. Though I'd been only fourteen, I'd known instinctively not to confess my fears or Qui-Gon's state of mind to anyone. With Mace Windu's help and affection, Qui-Gon had eventually worked through his pain.

My Master's second bout with depression -- though not nearly as deep nor as lengthy as the one he'd suffered after Tahl's death -- had come when Master Windu accepted a Council seat. Almost overnight, their relationship shifted from private and sexual to public and intellectual, because a Council member can't be suspected of having any close emotional ties, and therefore bias regarding anyone in the Order. Windu had chosen ambition and isolation over love. To this day, I don't think Qui-Gon understands why. I certainly don't.

And now, Dagan had chosen someone else over my Master. However blessed my Master has been as a Jedi, it seems that he is incredibly unlucky in love. I have wondered if this pattern began before Xanatos entered his life, but have no way of finding out. From what I've observed, from the puzzle pieces I've managed to put together over the past few years of his relationships, he always ends up walking alone.

I know that he has been feeling distant, aloof and melancholy -- the training bond we share has been telling me that much. Very recently, he's taken to slipping out of our quarters alone, without a word to me as to when he'll be back. It isn't long before he returns, his hair damp and his leggings stained at the knees from meditating at night in the gardens. The signs of aloneness and his trying to come to terms with that aloneness again have been there, but I thought it had to do with some of our more harrowing missions. There are always decisions made that he needs to make peace with, things he wishes he'd done differently. Always, he's meditated afterward, to find peace in the Force and reassurance that he did the best that he could do, without insertion of his personal ego or will.

From what I've observed as a Padawan, all Jedi Masters are alone somewhere inside of themselves, even those with a bondmate. The Force as well as the Council -- not to mention we Padawans -- can ask too much of them. The constant mantle of responsibility is more than the rest of us can understand. Until I went looking for it, I hadn't a clue that it was there.

My Master's loneliness was one of the first things I sensed about him after he established our training bond. It's strongest when his shielding is less than normal, most often just before he falls asleep. He's never spoken of it to me; I just know it's there, as I know how he likes his tea. It's been a part of him for as long as I've known him, perhaps the result of his life's events and his reactions to them.

I still can't believe that Sharat has just thrown him aside. that. If Qui-Gon had shared himself with me like that... Gods, but I'd never let him go. My Master is all that I've ever wanted, all that I think I'll ever need. I'm at peace only when I'm with him, and I've never felt that with any lover, before or after sex. I'm sure it wouldn't make sense if I told Qui-Gon so, but that's all right; I can deal with our not being lovers as long as he's somewhere in my life.

Every time I've let a man touch me, I've known that it's only been because my Master won't. If Qui-Gon would, just once, I don't think I could stand anyone else touching me after that.

Force, but how could Dagan leave him behind?


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