"I'll take you home," the senator said. "You're drunk. Come on."

"No," Obi-Wan said, yanking away, nearly falling out of the door and onto the street. "No," he told the sidewalk.

He felt strong hands lift him up, and looked up at the senator again. "Come on," the senator said. "My place is just around the corner."

Obi-Wan closed his eyes and passed out.

When he woke, his mouth felt like something had died in it, and his head hurt, and he was definitely not in the Temple. He rolled over and whimpered as it made his skull pound ferociously.

"I've contacted your Master," said a soft voice, and he pried one eye open and saw the senator that he vaguely remembered from last night. "I've taken responsibility for this. Said that I tried my fortune-telling trick on you. Should have remembered how it takes Jedi. Your Master will be here shortly to pick you up."

"Mmmf," Obi-Wan said. "Who're you?"

"Bail," the man answered. "Bail Antilles. And you're Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon's apprentice."

"How did you--oww, Force, my head hurts."

Antilles handed him a glass of water. "Boy, I've had to listen to stories about you for years. Qui-Gon and I met when he was a Padawan, and I was a Senate page. Drink that."

Obi-Wan drank.

"He loves you like a son," Antilles said. "Don't hurt him, Obi-Wan. Whatever it is, he can help you."

"The problem," Obi-Wan said, holding the cool damp glass against his face, "is that he loves me like a _son_."

"Oh," said Antilles, and glanced down at his hands. "You know, young Jedi, I think you should know--your master has been in a committed relationship for nearly thirty standard years. Even if he loved you as a lover, I don't think he'd jeopardize what he has."

The glass slipped from Obi-Wan's fingers. "You," he breathed.

"Yes," Antilles answered, and Obi-Wan buried his face in the pillow and let go, let everything go, everything he had hoped for except for one hope: that he was a Padawan that his Master could be proud of.

He heard a doorchime, and the rustle of Antilles's clothing as the man stood to answer it, and then the warm weight of Qui-Gon's hand on his back. "I told you not to do that trick, Bail," a familiar voice rumbled.

"It's been a long time," Antilles answered. "I forgot what it did to you."

"Hah," said Qui-Gon, and then Obi-Wan was lifted in those strong arms and let himself snuggle into the warmth of his Master's chest.

He knew it was all he would ever have, and he would treasure it..and learn, somehow, to let go.


The End

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