Mister Qui-Gon is the one Anakin trusts.
Anakin doesn't really trust too many people, because that's not the way it is when you're a slave. He trusts Mum, of course, and he trusts kind Old Willamy, who's also a slave. Old Willamy helps Mum sometimes, and when Ani and Mum were really sick with desert fever, she looked after them. Ani trusts her.
He can't trust Watto, though, and Threepio's just a droid, after all, and the other slaves are just friends, not people you can trust. Anakin wishes it was different, but everyone mostly just looks after themselves, that's how it is.
But still, Anakin trusts Mister Qui-Gon, now.
Mister Qui-Gon's really, really tall, and there's wrinkles at the corners of his eyes when he smiles, and he walks like nothing, no-one can stop him going where he's going. And his hands are big and warm and when he lays one on Anakin's shoulder, it's a little bit like when Mum does it. Not really, but a little bit.
Mister Qui-Gon trusted Anakin to win the podrace and save his ship. He betted on it to free Anakin, and tried to free Mum too. And he was nice to Mum. He talked politely to her, not like men mostly talked to a slave woman.
It was good. Everyone should talk to Mum nicely, like that, everyone, because she's beautiful and brave. Anakin hates it, hates it, when people leer at his Mum, as though – as though she can just be bought and sold and looked at when they want, because she's a slave.
And Anakin's scared, deep in the bottom of his stomach. Because now – now that he's going to Coruscant, to be a Jedi, Mum's all on her own.
But one day Anakin will be strong. He'll be a Jedi! And then, no-one will ever look at his Mum the wrong way, ever again.
Anakin looks up, and Mister Qui-Gon looks down. He smiles – calm, reassuring.
Anakin swallows. 'My – my Mum,' he says pleadingly. 'Will she – will I…?'
Mister Qui-Gon goes really quiet. He's still looking down – his smile fades to an after-echo of laugh-lines at the corners of his eyes. It's like he's thinking what to say. Then he drops down on one knee next to Anakin, and puts his arm around his shoulders.
'Anakin,' he says, and his voice is very quiet. 'I do not know what will happen. The future moves in response to the present… and, though the Living Force guides me and allows me to sense many things, it cannot – show what will be.'
Mister Qui-Gon takes a deep breath then, and bows his head down a bit. 'But I promise you this. If I am able, and as soon as I am able, I will return to Tatooine and purchase your mother's freedom. I swear it, Anakin.'
'Tru – truly?' Anakin whispers, but he already knows that it's true, because Mister Qui-Gon wouldn't say so if it wasn't. So he turns round and tries to smile at Mister Qui-Gon, but his eyes are all watery and his smile won't come properly.
Mister Qui-Gon smiles, a very little bit, and rubs Anakin's shoulder with the palm of his hand. And then – Mister Qui-Gon's hugging him, and Anakin's trying really hard not to sniffle into his shoulder. He smells safe, like wool and ash and growing things, and he holds on to Anakin firmly and pats his back.
Everything will be all right. It will, as long as Mister Qui-Gon's there. Anakin will see Mum again, because Mister Qui-Gon promised, and soon Anakin will be able to protect her from anything, because he'll be a Jedi.
Mister Qui-Gon said so; and Anakin trusts him.
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