He stumbled back, feet tripping on themselves, eyes wide.
His assailant's hate-filled voice cut through the silence. "Yoda should never have sent you back here to Kronos, Qui-Gon. Because now, I am free to kill you...." Raising his scarlet saber high a vicious look burned on the pale young man's face, and his blade swept down in a mighty arc.
Qui-Gon used his training to fling himself aside with lightning reaction. He was no match, he knew, for the older, taller boy. What had he done when fighting older kids at the temple? The only advice he could conjure up to give himself was to use defense and defense only as his black haired foe turned on him once again, striking with a series of brutal slashes. Qui-Gon barely avoided the powerful blows, sparking his green blade against red in what seemed like a futile action. Leaping backwards for a brief moment of rest, his mind churned with thought about the eerie prediction Master Yoda had made. His thoughts tumbled back to that earlier meeting....
Yoda stood before him and sighed.
"Return to your home world again, you shall."
Qui-Gon smiled, and a longing he had always felt suddenly grew much greater. He would go home! Wait till they saw how much he had grown! He was thirteen now... And he hadn't seen his family in five years. He grinned.
"For pleasure this is not! Great evil at Kronos, there is." The Jedi Master frowned. "Your greatest trial, this shall be."
Qui-Gon felt the smile leave his face. "What am I to do there, Master?" he asked, cautiously.
"Face your past, you must... And gain your future, you will." Yoda nodded.
"Yes... and face him."
The red blade snapped Qui-Gon back to the present. "Why are you doing this?" he cried, jumping back and landing defensively with his blade upright in front of him.
The attacker did not press forward, but instead sneered at Qui-Gon. "I believe that you know, Qui-Gon," the dark voice chided him, with a rumbling taunting tone. "Think back five years, when you were on break from the Temple."
The teenager did as instructed, recalling his visit home....
He had returned to his home world of Kronos after years of training. Yoda had granted him this one time off to see his family... and celebrate.
"Oh, Qui-Gon," his mother said, ruffling his hair, as Qui-Gon tried to duck out of her reach, still smiling. "It's so good for you to be home again. But why?"
Qui-Gon felt himself fill with pride. "I'm not just on break from the Temple, Mom. I have to tell you all something." This was it! He got to say it! "I've been taken on as Yoda's Padawan!"
"That's incredible, honey..." his mother cooed, sweeping him into a hug.
"And at only eight!" his father said, obviously filled with just as much pride as Qui-Gon.
"Master Yoda says I have a real touch with the Living Force and-"
A crystal goblet flew across the room and shattered against the wall, exploding into glass shards that went flying everywhere.
"Oh, dear...." his mother said.
Qui-Gon's eyes widened in horror.
"Ah good, so you remember!"
Three quick strikes! Block! Block! Duck!
His Force-instinct threw him down just in time to miss the path of the deadly scarlet beam.
Growling in anger, his opponent lashed out at him with a booted foot, catching Qui-Gon off guard as he scrambled to get back up. He careened and was painfully knocked on his shins. He fell forwards, connecting his chin and the floor with a sickening thud.
A deep laugh echoed mercilessly as he fell. "I would've killed you then, had I the chance. Well, your mother is not here to keep me away from you this time!"
A disoriented Qui-Gon felt weightless as he was wrenched from the floor to float in the air, held captive by the Force, with a growing tightness at his throat. Eyes starting to bulge, he struggled to concentrate and focus on something, anything to save him....
A discarded metal control unit flew up from the floor to connect with the dark Jedi's head, breaking his invisible grip. Qui-Gon dropped onto his feet, using the Force to deaden his fall, his instincts honed in practice. He had to do something; otherwise he would be merely toyed with at his rival's whim before ultimately being destroyed. He would not die like that. If need be, he would die proud, with his chin up. But he did not intend to die.
He decided to do the one thing that was unexpected -- attack. As he drew his energy together and pulled the Force around himself he was also trying to fight a shock that covered all his body, and a dark fear that twisted his stomach.
"You can't! You just can't! Come back!" the boy cried out, swinging with his lightsaber, pleading, as if his voice could break the mold of anger cast around the man.
Blocked forcefully, the depths of his sneering enemy's eyes seemed like dark pits. His voice rose maniacally. "You could've been anything. Anything! And you chose to ruin me, instead!"
But the boy could only cry "Come back... come back..."
"I was rejected for what I failed to be, and then you did the only thing which could have further devastated me... You-" The elder boy paused, tightening his lips. "You succeeded." Lunging forward he glared evilly as his black cloak swirled around him, like a mist of repulsion at the boy in front of him.
"Succeeded in destroying my life. Succeeded in destroying me."
"It's not my fault you were kicked out of the Temple!" Qui-Gon yelled.
An invisible fist formed by rage, once again assaulted Qui-Gon, knocking the air out of him and pinning him to the ground. He felt his body go numb, paralyzed by the Dark Side of the Force and his lightsaber shut off, as it dropped to the ground, with his leadened hand. Struggling even to breathe, a single tear rolled down his face involuntarily.
"I am not the one who you once knew." His opponent paced around him, like a nek battle dog circling its prey. "I grew stronger. Stronger than you. And now, I can prove that I am the greater! "
Looming above him, the longhaired figure twisted and examined Qui-Gon as one would examine a specimen in one of the Life Biology classes at the Temple. He walked away for a moment, seemingly about to leave him there, when he turned smoothly on one heel, quivering with bottled rage. There was no chance to block the victorious hatred, or the man as he pounced.
Qui-Gon had arrived alone in a small ship the council had granted him. He was surprised when he reached his home, that no one was there to greet him.
He left the ship, confused. He held his lightsaber, as he entered the dark house that he had once called home.
As he stepped into a darkened back room, he felt a dark presence.
"Your parents are dead...." a dark voice said. A scarlet blade cut the enveloping darkness with a hiss. "And you're next."
Qui-Gon didn't know what to do as he ignited his lightsaber, preparing to defend himself.
With arms above his head holding his weapon of destruction his enemy dived in for the kill...
...Only to be impaled by the boy he thought he had rendered helpless.
Qui-Gon scrambled out of the way as the older boy dropped noisily to his knees, eyes widened in shock. His saber clattered to the ground as he grasped at his chest in disbelief.
"You...they always liked you better...you were the true Jedi...." He gasped for breath, bracing himself on the floor, with one dark gloved hand.
"But you ...will learn of your weaknesses soon...."
And with one last, cold look of hate, the pale man breathed a final horrible message of a future revenge the Dark Side would have on him...
"You will learn...."
Qui-Gon held his breath.
Qui-Gon was barely four when it happened. Such a mental anguish that he had never felt screamed in his mind. He knew who it was instantly.
Rushing to the infirmary, he saw the crowd of healers around a 9-year-old human boy with long black hair and a pale complexion.
"What happened?" the youngster asked a nearby healer.
"It appears that this boy has been in a dangerous fight with another student," she said, her voice tinged with a slice of disgust.
Qui-Gon stepped up to the bedside, after wading through the sea of legs and taller people.
The boy turned to him, seemingly glad to tell someone what events had transpired.
"Pla'an got the Apprenticeship over me... but I deserved it! He taunted me...." The boy paused, recalling the painful memories. "So we fought...the last I knew...we were falling off the high precipice...."
Qui-Gon stared down at the boy's leg. He could tell it was shattered, broken in several places from the fall.
He hadn't noticed Yoda there, until he was leaving the room and overheard him whispering, "Room for such a dangerous student, we have not..."
But then the defeated fell silent and dropped as his eyes faded and his body shuddered, blue lightning showering outwards, as he was consumed by the Dark side of the Force.
Qui-Gon felt more paralyzed, more made of lead at that moment than when the Dark Side had trapped him before. Only he knew he wasn't, because his heart was pounding as hard as a bucking tauntaun in his chest.
The boy's one thought echoed throughout his mind, although he knew that his brother, the only family he had left, was gone forever. The man he had killed today was not his brother. The Dark Side had truly taken him from his family. Qui-Gon would never see his brother again. He could only wish that the brother inside the... creature he had just fought was somehow freed in its destruction.
"Good-bye," he whispered somberly.
Looking at the rumpled black cloak and lifeless lightsaber, the boy kneeled. And then with a look towards his future, he rose, and left- a Jedi.
Author's Notes - This is my first fanfic, first attempt at flashbacks, and was written in a very short period of time in a moment of inspiration (Sounds like I'm batting 1000 right?). Done basically as an experiment, I don't know how well it will be received into the Star Wars fanfic community. Don't rank on it too bad, but I really want genuine reactions! THANKS! Also- HUGE THANKS to my beta-readers, THANKS Valeda Kor and Quiller!
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