The Nexus

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: I don't use betas, so all mistakes are mine. This wee little fic was the bunny that grew strong enough to dig me out from under my homework. Of course, now all the other bunnies can get to me...

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to kaly for reading this over.

The Force is not a god, and the Jedi are not a religious sect, although it is sometimes easiest to explain them that way. Yet we do have our pilgrimages, and now I take Obi-Wan on his.

Esolc is a world powerful with the Force. The richness of life of all kinds on the surface is a balm to the soul, but we do not come here for the living Force. Instead, we descend into the heart of the planet. We walk a path that becomes a tunnel which slopes gently towards Esolc's center. We walk for hours, days perhaps, because we stop to eat when we are hungry and to sleep when we are tired. There is no indication of time, so we follow the rhythms of our bodies.

It grows hot as we descend and the tunnel, which at the beginning rose well above my head, shrinks under the pressure of overlying earth. My Padawan and I are quiet as we walk. He doesn't know why we are here, but I can feel his curiosity growing. We grow close to our goal, and I feel it is time to speak.

"The Jedi have always come here. When we were no more than philosophers, we came here. The first Jedi to touch the Force came here, and every Padawan comes here when they grow close to knighthood. It is a part of our history, a part of what makes us Jedi. It came to me, mere days ago, that is was time I bring you here. I informed Master Yoda, and our next mission was given to another Jedi." I smile at Obi-Wan's raised eyebrow. "Yes, Padawan. This is that important."

"What is this?" he asks, and I can not help but compare his rampant curiosity with the reverence I felt upon walking this path years ago. I smile again.

"Near the heart of this world there is a place were the living Force and unifying Force come together in what we call a nexus. To our knowledge, there is no other place like it. Not in our galaxy."

"What will we find there, Master?"

"It varies from person to person. Some find peace. Some find a challenge. Some find enlightenment. You will know soon. We are here."

We have stopped walking, for before us the tunnel ends in a blue-green shimmer. Obi-Wan looks questioningly at me. "You must go alone, my Padawan," I say, and motion for him to step through the curtain.

He nods and strides forward, and though I have not moved the curtain swallows me as well. On the other side we find ourselves in a large cave, larger than should exist at these depths. The Force is so strong here than I can actually see its currents in the air, rivers of power and of peace.

Obi-Wan looks at me, his brow wrinkled with confusion. "I thought I was to come alone?"

"So did I," I say. I am transfixed as the Force in the room amplifies our emotions until they are a dance of light that, though far beyond my experience, I understand completely. It isn't possible for Obi-Wan to doubt my honesty or my surprise when he can see them. Not that he would doubt. My confidence and trust in my Padawan ripple into the room and draw pleasure and pride from him.

We are startled from the dance of emotions by a voice.

"Welcome Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon." The speaker is a young woman...or a young man. It's hard to tell. It hardly matters what sex the apparition is; it matters only that this is a manifestation of the Force. There is no way for me not to be aware of this, though such a manifestation can only exist in this place.

"Why am I here?" I ask, though I had intended a greeting. I should have remembered that this is a place for truths, not for diplomacy.

"Because it is time," the figure says simply.

I nod, remembering, and turn to Obi-Wan to explain. "When I came here, with Master Yoda, both of us passed the curtain. I was told that it was not time for me to be there, that I must return later. I was crushed, fearing that my knighthood would be indefinitely delayed. It might have been, if my Master had not thought to ask. He was told that I was ready to be a knight, and that my life would set many people on Force willed paths. My trials were held that day and I was knighted the next."

"And now it is time you return," Obi-Wan says, and I nod. "Should I be here, then?"

"Of course," the Force manifestation says. "The time was not right for Qui-Gon because you were not there to be with him." My surprise and Obi-Wan's mesh in the ocean of the Force around us, and the other smiles kindly. "This is not a place for hiding or for fear," they say, reaching out and touching the place over my heart, "what you have in your hearts must be shared." They touch Obi-Wan in the same place.

It is as if they have drawn all the secrets out of my heart. Perhaps they have. I watch my love for my Padawan light up the room and it saddens me to see that bright and beautiful thing tinged by the insecurities of a man much older than his love and the guilt of a Master whose emotions have far overstepped those permitted by the Code.

And then...something changes. Obi-Wan's heart is laid open as mine has been, and I am astounded to see the light of his love for me. That light also has it's dark places, but none more heart-wrenching than the despair of a young man who feels his love with never be returned.

I have to say it, to hear it.

"I love you."

Obi-Wan's voice blends with mine, and as our lips meet all the dark places in our love vanish and the room is filled with a single light. I have never felt such peace as I feel now, with our love wrapped around each other and my Obi-Wan in my arms.

I know, now, that I will have this until the day I die.