Qui-Gon looked up as his Padawan entered their quarters. It was late, but Atian had stopped by and warned the Master that he would be. Qui-Gon had said nothing when the Padawan had tried to apologise for Obi-Wan's late night out -- Qui-Gon knew his apprentice had had much on his mind lately, and knew from experience that a distaction as this one was just what Obi-Wan needed.

Whatever serious thoughts Obi-Wan was having, they would be hard pressed to withstand a party with his friends and age-mates. Qui-Gon was not worried, and after Atian had stopped by, he'd gone to bed and slept easily until he'd felt the faint rustle of his Padawan approaching their door.

His Padawan came into the room looking exhausted, slightly drunk, and exceedingly cheerful. Qui-Gon was careful not to show his amusement. The smell of alcohol was strong -- it must have been a successful party.

"Good evening, Master," Obi-Wan said brightly, his face breaking into a wide smile as he saw his Master waiting for him.

"Good morning, rather," Qui-Gon corrected.

"Ah. Yes, so it is." Obi-Wan grinned the grin of someone who had truly partied the night away. "Am I too late for a nap? Is it time to be up, yet?"

Qui-Gon did not hide his smile, then. "You have two hours for a nap, Padawan. Though I suggest you take the time for a shower, first."

The younger man nodded, glancing down at himself. "Yeah. I'm all icky." He pulled at his outer robes, frowning at some dark stain. "What a waste of good wine," he mumbled.

Qui-Gon watched him go, then shook his head, bemused. The tension which had filled his apprentice in the recent weeks had been alleviated. Time would only tell if they would return, of course. For now, he turned and went back to his own room and his own bed. Tomorrow they would have the saber drills they had missed last night. Qui-Gon looked forward to them, as he did every lesson with his Padawan. Thoughts of Obi-Wan filled him, as he drifted to sleep. Someday, he whispered to himself as sleep caught him. Someday.

***********************************

Obi-Wan stood under the shower, glad to be rid of the fouled tunic. His robe had covered the stains of sweat and blood, and the spilled wine had covered the remaining scent of them which he'd been unable to get rid of with his cursory cleansing back at the Senator's quarters.

He'd had liked to have discarded the robe all together before returning to the Temple, but that would have engendered more questions than he needed to answer. But now all his clothing was safely in the refresher, where mechanical devices would clean without a thought for the origins of the stains.

Senator Palpatine's plans were in ruins, now. Not only with the Sith Lord's death, but with the havok Obi-Wan had wrecked in the hour after their battle. He had gone into the Senator's personal files and changed, re-routed, and deleted various files until the machinations in place to take over the Republic were in complete disarray. It hadn't been difficult; the Senator had barely begun to do more than allow his Trade Federation to make things difficult for a few scattered systems.

Within a few decades he would have been Emporer. No longer. His body, destroyed beyond remains, would provide the Republic quards with a mystery never to be solved. His politcal plans for the rule of the galaxy would not come to pass.

As it need be. There was no way for a Jedi to use such political means, not without drawing undue attention. Obi-Wan would have to find other ways, and other goals. Rule of the galaxy sounded nice, but Obi-Wan had other things in mind.

Perhaps a seat on the Jedi Council would be the place to start. He would need his Knighthood, of course, and possibly train a Padawan or two before they let him have the seat. It would take time.

But Obi-Wan had patience. He had all the time in the world, now. The Sith Lord smiled, and ducked his head beneath the water.

the end

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