Fifty years later...

Obi-Wan looked at his long time mate Kurg as they made their descent into the atmosphere. It was that time of year again -- time to visit his old master. About ten years earlier, Qui-Gon had finally retired to the Jedi Retirement Home. It was in a rem ote part of the galaxy and off all the regular, and even not so regular, trade routes. Senile Jedi Masters were dangerous things around space ships. Home to about two dozen masters right now and about a hundred thousand felinoids, it was perfect for tho se Jedi that actually managed to live into old age.

Obi-Wan had really doubted that Qui-Gon would retire after Anakin's ascension to knight. He had even occasionally doubted that Anakin would survive to ascend. But Skywalker had managed to acquit himself fairly well after all. After a rather troublesome start, Anakin hadn't really had an outstanding career one way or the other. The only noteworthy event had happened early on in his apprenticeship, which had resulted in the revoking of his pilot's license. The details were fuzzy; something about a sk yhopper and the Senate building; there had only been one casualty and it was someone of importance, but he couldn't remember the name anymore. Anakin was serving on the council these days, and took turns with Obi-Wan visiting the old man. He was trainin g up his third padawan, and his last to judge from his comments about it.

He and Anakin had had a brief fling some decades back, but they had decided it wouldn't work and they went back to their respective mates. Him with his soulmate, Kurg, and Anakin to his true love, R2D2. The romance had never worked out between Anakin an d Amidala. She'd fallen for the Gungan and never really gotten over it. The tongue, she had insisted. . . That was enough for Obi-Wan and he had stopped asking.

Finally they had landed and Kurg was resisting getting off the ship. "No, the last time he threw a plate at my head. I'm not going back in there."

"But, he's harmless."

"Obi-Wan, you don't believe that. You can't even look me in the eye when you say it."

"He didn't mean to."

"Right. I'm staying here." Kurg just looked at him levelly, the faint stirring of a Jedi Master Not Gonna Do It You Can't Make Me Force Stare in the back of his remaining good eye.

Obi-Wan sighed and gave in. After so many years together he knew when to keep arguing and when to give in gracefully. He also knew when to look pleadingly and get a foot rub.

Right now, it was time to face Qui-Gon. Checking through his pockets he made sure that the low calorie cat treats were in one pocket, the plastic flowers that Qui-Gon like so well, and had gotten four times now. The nurses that checked on him periodical ly would take them and send them back to Obi-Wan for re-gifting. "Wish me luck."

"Nope. There is no luck, only the Force. Think of this as a training exercise...."

Obi-Wan stuck out his tongue at Kurg and went down the ramp. Gathering his courage that had seen him through long council meetings and two padawans' adolescent frenzy, he walked down the short path to Qui-Gon's house and rang the bell to Qui-Gon's fron t door.

It opened and there stood his master. Long white hair flying everywhere, his blue eyes were as bright as ever, even if the mind behind them wasn't. Wearing the loudest boxer shorts that Obi-Wan had ever seen, along with a ratty blue bathrobe that he was sure he'd thrown away on a previous visit, and slippers, his master peered at him. "Padawan! Where have you been? We have to get ready to leave to go to Naboo."

"Yes, master. I brought you some flowers."

"You're such a good Padawan, taking care of me like this." Gently pushing past the demented old man, he stepped around the twenty or so felinoids that followed Qui-Gon everywhere he went. One of them warned Obi-Wan that the old master was no longer safe around sharp objects, and could he please take the knives they'd hidden in the back of the cupboard with him?

He nodded and kept on moving, keeping out of reach of Qui-Gon's grasping hands. "How are you doing Qui-Gon?"

"Excellent, excellent! Did you bring the cat treats?"

"Of course, master." With that he began edging towards the door. He'd visited his master, it was time to go. Qui-Gon was getting a disturbing look on his face.

Qui-Gon stood in front of him with a serious expression. "Obi-Wan, there is something I need to tell you."

"Actually, I need to be going. Missions, people...lots of things to do. Laundry to do. Bad guys to hunt down and kill." He was backing away towards the door.

Undaunted, Qui-Gon followed. "No, my beloved padawan. There is something I must tell you. I should have told you years ago."

"Yes, master. I understand, master. Next time will be great. Really." He was fumbling for the door release now. Qui-Gon took the opportunity to pounce. For an old guy he could move fast when he wanted to. Felinoids scattered everywhere. "Master!" he squeaked.

"I love you, Obi-Wan. I've always loved you."

"That's great, master. I love you too." [Kurg! Help!]

[No way, no how. If you make it to the ship, I have the engine running.]

[I hate you.]

[I hate you too, dear. Hurry up, we have grandchildren to visit.]

Qui-Gon's voice impinged on his consciousness, "I know I should have told you years ago. I was never brave enough to say it...until now. Tell me Obi-Wan, is it too late?"

"I'm sorry, master. This is really a bad time for this. Could we talk about this later?" Obi-Wan had the door open, by this point, and stepped backwards out of Qui-Gon's grasp.

Qui-Gon nodded solemnly, and let him go. "Of course, Obi-Wan. I understand."

Without so much as another squeak, Obi-Wan turned and ran.

[Tuna.] Qui-Gon stepped away from the door, and headed towards the kitchen, felinoids following eagerly. Obi-Wan would be back, and then they would talk. They would work everything out, and then they could spend the rest of their lives together, happil y, as fate had intended. [And cream. Then Intergalactic Wheel of Fortune and a nap.]

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

"Well?"

"I thought you said you'd have the engine running."

"I lied. How did it go? You lasted nearly a minute less than last time."

"It took him a minute less to get to the groping."

Kurg made a face.

"The declaration of love he got to almost immediately. He did like the flowers, though. Oh, and I've got some knives...."

Kurg just raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. He did head towards the cockpit, however, to Obi-Wan's relief. Obi-Wan settled into the co-pilot's chair, relieved. He was beginning to suspect that he should find a reason not to repeat this visit in six months' time. If he did, though, Master Yoda would lecture him on the kindnesses shown to one's teachers and yadda yadda yadda until Obi-Wan ran screaming. If anyone needed to get senile and forgetful, it was Yoda.

"You know what I don't get," Kurg said, interrupting his thoughts of Yoda shuffling about a tiny house, cackling madly and stealing trinkets from strangers, "Is why you never jumped him when you had the chance."

Obi-Wan grinned. "I did."

The End

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