by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: This is really more of a scene than a fic. And the moonrise services is inspired by a personal experience. Thanks to beth for giving this a quick beta.

For Kerby, because she needed cheering up. I hope this does the trick.

Obi-Wan sat cross-legged on the warm, smooth stone of the temple and let his eyes fall closed. He basked in the gentle rays of the sun, enjoying the peace of the moment. The wax in his hands was soft and smooth. Others sat around him. Some worked alone, as he did; others sculpted in quiet pairs or cheerful groups.

Earlier in the day those present on the steps had made plain white candles. A long row of people had wound through the temple and down the steps, each person dipping the wick they held into a tub of wax before moving on to dip again. Thus the white candles were made by hand, but quickly. They would be burnt in the public service this evening, at moonrise.

The candles that were made now, by hand winding warmed wax about the wick, would be uneven and probably a little lumpy. Most of them would not stand up. But they were made by hand and with love in mind and heart. They would be burned at midnight, and only those invited would share the flame with the maker.

Obi-Wan rolled a ball of wax against the temple stone with his palm, watching with quiet satisfaction as it lengthened into a long, thin cylinder. He repeated the motion with two more blobs of wax, creating a silver cylinder and a red one in addition to the first, which was blue.

Carefully, the young Jedi braided the three strips of wax about the wick. His task complete, Obi-Wan carried the limp creation over to the shadows, where it would harden into a proper candle. Returning to his place within the pillars of the temple, he stretched out on the stone and allowed himself to drift slowly off to sleep. It was hours yet until moonrise, and Qui-Gon was still in talks.

The chime of bells woke Obi-Wan, and he found that it was nearly moonrise already. Night came fast on this world, though the thickness of stars in the sky made it nearly as bright as day and the climate kept it just as warm.

Looking around, Obi-Wan spotted his master speaking to one of the delegates. The younger man caught Qui- Gon's eye, and the other Jedi made his farewells to the diplomat and joined his Padawan inside the temple. Few spoke, but it was hardly an oppressive silence. Rather, Obi-Wan felt embraced by it. Welcome.

The service began without fan fare. The high Priestess simply raised her arms, opened her mouth and allowed a pure tone to emerge. One by one the crowed joined her, adding their voices at different pitches and octaves, holding the note only as long as they wished to and repeating it as often as they liked.

After a few moments, Obi-Wan found himself joining the chorus, and he was a little surprised to find how cleansing its simplicity was.

Then, in the midst of all the dozens of different sounds, a moment of perfect unity emerged. It was fleeting but beautiful, and shortly after it faded back into the individual voices the crowd fell slowly silent.

That was the extent of the service, and as the people began to drift away from the temple, Obi-Wan turned to his beloved and shared a smile with him. In that brief moment of unity the temple had been stronger with the Force than any of the elaborate celebrations of other worlds.

Eventually, the temple stood empty of all but the priests, priestesses, and the two Jedi.

Obi-Wan retrieved the candle he had made and seated himself, placing it carefully before him. With a gesture, he invited Qui-Gon to join him. The Padawan struck a match and lit the candle as his Master sat.

"Blue for the Force," Obi-Wan began, quietly explaining the colors he had chosen. The flickering flame cast out a sphere of light that just barely embraced them both. "Red for love. Silver for eternity."

Qui-Gon smiled tenderly at his beloved and cupped Obi- Wan's cheek with one hand. "I love you, my Obi-Wan."

"And I you, Master," Obi-Wan murmured, and settled into his lover's arms to watch the candle burn.