Life Goes On

by Lara Wilson

The world he'd taken refuge on was in the midst of a New Year's celebration that lasted for two weeks. Rather than get swept into the merriment, he mostly stayed at home, meditating and reading, trying to find his balance again. The last few years had been ones of turmoil and destruction. His entire life had shattered and he was finally beginning to rebuild it.

On this backwater planet, high in the snowy mountains, he'd found some measure of relief. He just hoped he wouldn't be forced to abandon it any time soon.

It was inevitable, though. The Empire was spreading its dark wings throughout the galaxy, a new system falling every day, it seemed. Eventually it would reach here, and, worse, he was personally being hunted, and Anakin--no, Vader--was very determined.

Rising from his mat and unfolding limbs stiff from long meditation, Obi-Wan moved to the cooking area and put on a kettle of water for tea. As it heated, he put away dry dishes and tidied. His Jedi training had made him fastidious in just about every way, and he liked things orderly. The sound of laughter and cheers drifted into the small house from the street outdoors and he moved to the front window to peer out.

A parade of children was passing by, tramping through the newly fallen snow, and the sound of horns filled the air as a band joined them.

He smiled.

Life really did go on.

The kettle whistled and he let the curtain fall back into place before returning to making his tea. Sitting at the counter, he watched it steep in a blue mug decorated with hand-painted stars, and drank in the fragrant aroma. When it had cooled enough he took a sip, then started as a knock sounded on his door. Wondering if it was revelers wishing him to join the festivities--and, if so, how he could politely refuse--he rose to open the door and a smile crossed his face as a presence unfelt for over a year made itself known.

"Qui-Gon," Obi-Wan cried happily, opening the door wide.

His former master was older, grayer, but still had that impish smile and they embraced. "Obi- Wan, it is very good to see you."

"What are you doing here? No trouble, I hope." Closing the door behind the older Jedi, he helped him from his cloak and then gestured to the kitchen.

"No. I was rousted from my latest hiding place a month back but no one has seriously given me chase. I just wanted to see you." They sat and Obi-Wan poured tea for Qui-Gon, sliding the jar of honey over to him as well. "You remember my habits."

"Sweet tea, your one vice."

Qui-Gon smiled, a light gleaming in his slightly faded eyes. "Not the only."

Flushing at the memories of carousing during their younger years--despite Jedi strictures that they remain aloof and celibate--Obi-Wan could only nod in agreement. They'd both had quite the reputations before time and circumstances and too much responsibility had weighed them down.

"So, why aren't you out there enjoying this festival, my former apprentice?"

"Very former, and I...I prefer the quiet these days. There's not much to celebrate."

"As long as there's life, there's reason to celebrate," Qui-Gon admonished gently. "We may have lost the biggest of battles, but I firmly believe the war isn't over. There is hope for the future."

"We may not be around to see it."

"True, but we'll be there in spirit, to shepherd those who'll carry on the fight." He sipped his tea and smiled as Obi-Wan began to nod in agreement. "Now, as I landed I heard word of a party in the town square tonight. Shall we attend?"

Obi-Wan smiled and raised is cup of tea to his master. "I'll buy the first round."

"It's a very good new year, Obi-Wan."

"That it is, Qui-Gon."

End

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