|Family Matters Part 9
Written by Jemmiah
Obi-Wan re-read the letter for what might have been the hundredth time, for all he knew.
I am so sorry, but I have to do this. I’m slowly being driven mad by everyone staring at me like I’m some sort of rare exhibit in a cage. People don’t speak to me; they just point. And even if they did speak I wouldn’t know what to say back.
Do yourself a big favor and don’t try and find me. Just forget I was ever here. You’ll find someone better than me one day. I need to be by myself. I’m sick of everyone knowing what’s best for me and treating me like I’m some kind of neurotic mess. Actually, I’m beginning to wonder if they mightn’t be right.
I’ve only ever wanted what was best for you and I’m convinced beyond doubt that I don’t fall into that category.
I still would like you to know that I have always loved you. Even when I haven’t shown it or haven’t behaved as I should…and I know there have been many of those occasions. The fact that you have had the patience to overlook all the horrible things that I’ve done only goes to prove that I don’t deserve you in the first place. I will keep thinking of you. Even when I’m no longer with you.
Be happy, be well, and be safe.
He’d looked at the words so often that they had long ceased to have any real meaning. They were only shapes written in a somewhat hurried and slanting hand. Just scratches on a piece of flimsy plast. And above all else they failed to inform him of the one thing he needed to know.
Where the hell was she?
It was the end of day number three, and there had been no word at all regarding her whereabouts. Jemmiah had simply vanished. He couldn’t even sense her faint presence in the force.
He didn’t want to think what that might mean.
Obi-Wan rested his back against the wall, eyes looking up at the ceiling. It was twilight, his favorite time of the day usually. Difficult as it could sometimes be to relax on such a thriving, sleepless planet as Coruscant, Obi-Wan found meditation so much easier when the sun began to set.
Switch off, it seemed to say.
But he couldn’t. Not now.
He hadn’t heard his master enter the apartment; he was so wrapped up in his thoughts.
"Padawan?" The voice caused him to jump despite its gentleness.
Obi-Wan said nothing.
Qui-Gon regarded his apprentice for a few moments and then seated himself beside the young man. He was twenty-one years of age but had already experienced so much heartache… and it hurt Qui-Gon to see the sorrow that had etched itself on his youthful features over the last few weeks.
"Talk to me." He said simply.
Kenobi shrugged, looking down at the folded flimsy plast in his hand. For the first couple of days he would not have let anybody see this letter at the cost of his own life. It was deeply personal and to share its contents with even his master had been unthinkable…
Now he needed to talk.
Reluctant to pass the letter over he hesitated for a moment, and Qui-Gon watched as the need to discuss battled and won over his desire to keep his thoughts private.
"Are you sure you want me to read this?" Jinn asked, again seeing the wavering uncertainty on his padawan’s features. Obi-Wan nodded.
Qui-Gon read the letter in silence for a moment and waited for Obi-Wan to speak.
"How can she just leave like that?" He felt his anguish turn rapidly to annoyance. "Doesn’t she know how everyone is feeling? I mean, she must have guessed what this would do to Evla but it still didn’t stop her from going."
A muscle in his cheek twitched. "How can she say those things? Forget her? Find someone better?"
"She also says she loves you." Qui-Gon replied. "Doesn’t that mean something?"
Obi-Wan blinked as he considered his master’s words.
"She can’t mean it if she’s walked away from us. What could she have been thinking?" He mumbled.
"She’s not thinking at all." Qui-Gon put a comforting arm round Obi-Wan’s shoulder. "She’s tired, she’s confused and she’s been through a lot in the last few weeks. Depression is as much physical as mental. You’ve been through it yourself. You know what it is like."
Obi-Wan looked at him.
"For what it’s worth, I am immensely proud of you. This hasn’t been easy for any of us, especially for you and Jemmiah but you’ve handled this whole nightmare with great dignity and maturity." Qui-Gon lowered his eyes for a moment. "You’ve also made me feel very ashamed."
"Ashamed, master?" Obi-Wan’s confusion grew.
"Yes, padawan. Ashamed of my own behavior. I was convinced that your feelings for Jemmiah were not as strong as they have proven to be. I was certain that you would both argue and fight and break up."
"We did." Obi-Wan said dryly. "Many times. Just ask your vase."
"But you always got back together. Like you will on this occasion. You’ll survive this and be stronger for it, both of you." He met his padawan’s gaze once more.
"There’s nothing to forgive." Obi-Wan looked at the floor, as silence intruded into the room again.
"We have got to get her back." He said finally, watching the shadows in the wall spreading down towards the floor.
"We will, padawan." Qui-Gon squeezed his shoulder. "We will."
Family Matters Part 10
Written by Jemmiah
Jemmiah half-woke to almost total darkness.
Her eyes refused to open properly and it was making things very difficult to see exactly where she was. The sweeping lassitude that had stricken her was still holding her body in an almost vice like grip.
Give in, she thought. Don’t fight it. Just…sleep.
On the verge of succumbing again to the powerful impulse to sleep, she tried a last time to make sense of her strange surroundings. She just couldn’t remember…
I’m in some sort of apartment, she thought. Why is it so dark? And why am I on my own?
She pulled herself upwards so that she was sitting on the couch instead of lying across it. Instantly she regretted it.
"Sith…my head hurts." She moaned to herself.
Nothing was making any sense to her. She hadn’t the faintest idea where she was but she knew she didn’t belong there. Jemmiah wanted to go home…but how could she find her way back? And what the hell was wrong with her, anyhow?
Try to find a light source, she told herself. See what’s what.
As her hands slapped about for the light, her thoughts turned to Ben. What she wouldn’t give to be back with him right now….
But I wrote him that letter, Jemmiah remembered groggily. Forget me, I said. You’ll find someone better. He’ll never speak to me again.
The effort of locating the light source was proving too taxing and Jemmiah slumped over onto some sort of desk. The whole thing was beginning to frighten her. It was like some surreal dream…only it was becoming more of a nightmare.
Nightmares. Yes, they’d been plaguing her again. They had been ever since she’d woken up in the infirmary when she’d-
Damn! Where WAS she?
Shaking, her hand struck what appeared to be a comlink, sending it skittering across the desk. Maybe, if she could get her head to stop spinning long enough to think clearly, she could place a call to the temple… Jemmiah stood for a moment, trying to recall the frequency that would put her in touch with Qui-Gon, but it just wouldn’t come to her.
Stay calm, stay calm. This isn’t as scary as you’re making it out to be.
Liar! Her inner voice replied. You’re terrified.
She just wanted to sleep. Just wanted to drift off again…
Come on girl! Think! Master Jinn’s com-frequency… Jemmiah frowned in concentration although it hurt her head to do so. All the time her head was telling her it didn’t know the answers her fingers were working on instinct, proving her wrong.
Please gods, let this work…
Obi-Wan tossed and tossed uncomfortably on his bed, as he had been for the past few sleepless nights. He desperately tried to allow much-needed sleep to take him, knowing that his master would be aware of his lack of relaxation. He didn’t want a repeat of last night when Qui-Gon had made him a hot herbal drink to help him sleep. Only a combination of respect for his master and a lack of hatred for his Florizan Tea plant had stopped him from pouring the foul substance into the soil filled pot.
And then if Qui-Gon ever caught him hugging Jemmy’s re-patched stuffed cuddly Nargot toy he would just die from embarrassment…
It was no use brooding, he realized. Face it, she’s not coming back. She told you. She doesn’t want to be with you.
Well, fine. If she wanted to throw nearly two years of their lives away, so be it. Obviously it had all meant nothing to her in the first place.
He’d known about her many little assignations with some of the other padawans before they had gone out, and not a few that had gone on whilst they had just started to see each other, but he’d forgiven her all of that because he’d wanted to be with her. Eventually his patience had paid off and she’d stopped her many dalliances. Because she had wanted to be with him. Or so he’d thought.
Now he wasn’t sure about anything.
He hugged the toy with its stitched-up wound even closer, and felt damned silly about it when he pictured how he would look. Jemmy would laugh herself silly…
No. They had to make certain she was all right, even if she didn’t want anything to do with him. They shared a past that went far beyond their years as lovers. They’d grown up with each other. Even if they were finished he’d always want to make sure she was safe.
She’d said she had loved him. He hadn’t actually heard her say that to his face before. Maybe she couldn’t. Jemmiah had also said she would think of him even when they weren’t together. Was she thinking of him now, somewhere?
Stretching out with the force, Obi-Wan closed his eyes. Well, it didn’t seem to be doing much good…
The com-link chirped quietly from the living quarters.
Obi-Wan sat bolt upright with the sheets wrapped round his middle. Had he imagined that or…?
He listened for a while, straining his senses to pick up the tale-tell sound once more, hardly daring to breathe.
There it was again.
Flinging the stuffed toy to one side, Obi-Wan raced through to the holo terminal where Qui-Gon’s comlink lay. The sudden thought struck him that it might be bad news and almost caused him to falter.
He had to know…
"Yes?" He asked anxiously into the comlink.
There was a brief pause.
"B-Ben. Is that you?" replied a rather slurred and scared sounding voice at the other end.
"JEMMY!" Yelled Obi-Wan. "Where in Sith are you? We have been going crazy looking for you…" He paused and for a few worrying moments received no answer.
"I..I don’t know where I am." The mournful voice replied. "I don’t have any idea. I just wanna come back but I don’t know…"
"Listen to me, stay talking. I’m going to fetch my master, do you hear me?"
"Gods, I am so tired. And the room won’t stop swimming."
Qui-Gon was already on the way from his room, and snatched the comlink right out of his padawan’s hands.
"Jemmiah? Where are you?"
"I’ve already said." It came out as a wail. "I don’t know…I don’t know how I got here."
"Describe your surroundings." Qui-Gon said urgently.
"I can’t really see too well." Jemmiah answered in a sorry voice. "It’s dark and I can’t find a light source. It’s really scary Master Jinn."
"Are you alone?" Qui-Gon persisted.
"I…I think so yeah." Jemmiah answered.
Qui-Gon sucked in a quick breath. He didn’t have a lot to work on here.
"Are you all right?" He asked.
"Can’t keep awake for two seconds." She said in an exhausted tone. "I dunno what’s wrong. Please, please come and get me…"
"Don’t panic, Jemmiah. We’ll find you." Qui-Gon replied. "But you’re going to have to help us. I need more information. Try and find that light source and get a look round where you are."
"I’ll try." She sounded unsure.
There came a loud banging noise, followed by a thud and a curse.
"Jemmiah? What was that?" Qui-Gon frowned. "What’s going on?"
"I fell over something wooden and grazed my chin on the floor." Jemmiah groaned into the comlink. "It might take me a while to get back on my feet. I’m not feeling at my best at the moment."
Obi-Wan bit his lip, and restrained himself from snatching the comlink back off his master.
"Take your time." Qui-Gon tried to reassure her. Look for the…"
"Light source, yeah. I know." She said bleakly.
Groping around with sightlessly again, Jemmiah’s hand caught the light source almost immediately.
"Success!" She said, relieved. "Why couldn’t I have done that before?"
"Look around." Jinn instructed. "What do you see?"
"Err…blood. There’s blood all over my chin. Who in hell has a bark floor surface like this…" Her voice trailed off. Something was coming back to her through the foggy haze of forgetfulness. "Wait a second." She slurred. "I’m gonna try something."
"What?" Obi-Wan asked anxiously.
The silence was interrupted by another brief thud.
"Made it." Jemmiah gasped.
"Made what?" Qui-Gon asked.
"I managed to stagger over to the blinds. Might help if I take a look outside…"
The sound of blinds being pulled followed and Qui-Gon wondered yet again what was happening. She sounded distinctly drunk.
"Speak to me Jemmiah. I can’t see you." He reminded her.
"I can see the temple from up here." She sounded surprised.
"How far away?" Qui-Gon frowned.
"I dunno. But I’m very high up. Must be the top floor or something. Hell, my head feels awful. Please get here soon," she wheedled, "or I might collapse on the floor again."
"I still need more help." Qui-Gon repeated.
Jemmiah looked round the room and her eye was caught unexpectedly by a holo on the wall. A holo of…
The features of this particular Wookiee gave her pause for thought. It certainly looked awfully familiar. Something to do with drinking and cantina’s and…
Flint. That was the name!
She was in Flint’s apartment.
Suddenly it all came flooding back. A promise made to look after her apartment whilst her Wookie acquaintance was holidaying on Kashyyyk. Just to make sure that nothing was burgled or interfered with. She’d gone there to be alone…
And after day one had decided to return to the temple. Running away was for cowards, she’d realized. And besides, she wanted to be with Ben.
It didn’t explain why she had woken up however many days later unable to walk or think straight.
"Jemmiah?" Qui-Gon had been talking to her and she hadn’t heard him. "Are you still there?"
Sith, he sounded frantic. They must have been worried stiff, with the letter and her being missing without a word for so long…
"I’m really, really sorry." She sobbed. "I’m at Flint’s apartment. Just come and get me, please."
"Do you know where that is?" Qui-Gon asked Obi-Wan.
The padawan nodded, already shouldering his way past his master.
"We’re on our way." Qui-Gon followed him out of the door. "Just stay where you are, do you hear me?"
"Yeah, I hear you." Jemmiah sighed as she slumped sown on the sofa again.
Don’t fall asleep now, she begged. Not ‘till you’ve let them in, anyway…
By the time the doors swung open to admit the two anxious Jedi, Jemmiah was virtually out on her feet. It was a good thing the turbo lifts were in order, otherwise Qui-Gon would have to carry her down on his back, she thought sleepily.
A large, brown cloak engulfed her, followed shortly after by another of similar color.
"What possessed you?" Qui-Gon groaned. "We have been looking EVERYWHERE."
"We couldn’t even sense you in the force." Obi-Wan said through a face full of her hair.
"I didn’t mean it… I was coming back, I swear. I’d already decided to go home but I felt so tired…"
Qui-Gon put a hand to her head.
"When was the last time you had something to eat?"
"I dunno. How long have I been missing?" Jemmy asked. "I must have fallen asleep. I kept waking up a little but then drifting off. I didn’t know how much time had gone…I didn’t even know where I was."
Qui-Gon spotted the little vial of tablets held tightly in a shaky hand.
"I borrowed some of Evla’s sleeping tablets. I’ve been having such bad nightmares again. I just wanted to blot them out for a bit."
"It seems they were stronger than you had anticipated." Qui-Gon replied, still with his arm around her. "We’ll get that cut on your chin seen to when we get back. There’s going to be a lot of relieved people, I can tell you."
"I’m sorry." She looked crestfallen.
"Now isn’t the time for discussing that." Qui-Gon said gently. "Can you make it to the lift?"
"I think so." She nodded slightly.
"Good." Obi-Wan smiled. "Let’s get you home then, shall we?"
Obi-Wan sat quietly beside Jemmiah under the old tree in the temple gardens, in the favorite spot.
"So." He said.
"Do I try and find someone better and forget you or do you still love me?" He asked bluntly.
Jemmiah looked shocked.
"I’d hoped that you would tear up that letter." She said eventually. "I mean, if you want us to continue…oh, I’m sorry. I’m not saying this well. I’m not doing anything at all well, lately." She said.
"And do you love me?" He asked with a slight smile.
"Of course." She said.
Obi-Wan regarded her in silence. "I thought you would hate me." He said.
"For putting you through everything…"
"I could NEVER hate you. Remember that. Even when I’ve smashed a vase over your head or stuffed one of your socks in your mouth when you were sleeping."
"Is that right?" His grin widened. "In that case, I’m keeping the letter." He pointed to his heart. "Right here, for all eternity."
"Ugh, how hopelessly romantic." Jemmiah groaned. "I s’pose that’s to remind you of how I admitted that I loved you?"
"No." He smirked. " It’s to remind me of how patient I am at forgiving all the horrible things you’ve done!"
"Ben Kenobi!" Jemmiah screamed. "That’s despicable…you rat!"
"That letter never leaves my side." He laughed.
"Rat." Jemmy repeated, pulling his braid.
"Qui-Gon says we should have time to ourselves. How about you come with the masters and padawans on the away trip this year?"
"That’s hardly by ourselves." Jemmy smiled.
"Still, I’m sure we’ll find something to do." Kenobi’s eyes glinted.
"Won’t it be a bit overcrowded?" Jemmiah asked.
"I’ll have to share my room with you…AND my stuffed Nargot." Jemmiah’s lips curled up wickedly.
"Qui-Gon tells me you’ve taken quite a fancy to him!"