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The worried timelord emerged into the brightly-lit control room running her fingers through her hair as a makeshift comb. She looked totally bewildered, not knowing what she was going to do or say. She felt like a kid who'd just got caught playing hooky from school and now had to face the principal.

Qui-Gon entered the room just in time to see a panicked Mika spin round to face the TARDIS' doors where someone was on the outside, pounding on them and shouting for the occupants to please come out quietly.

Qui-Gon stepped up to stand defiantly by Mika's side. "Whatever's wrong we'll face it together... and we'll be together afterward." he said to her, "I promise."

She looked up at him, love and fear coexisting in her hearts. "I hope you're right, Qui-Gon, by the Guardians I hope you're right."

Reluctantly, Mika reached out a trembling hand and activated the door control. Several armed guards in tight red suits with white trim and thick white helmets marched into the room.

"The Castellan's Guards," she muttered disdainfully.

The leader entered last and stood before the couple.

"Mikanostinocolai, Timelord of Mettulla Orionsis, I am hereby authorized to place you under arrest for violation of Timelord directive 77340 Zed Alpha, and countermanding a Supreme Council mandate. If you and the gentleman will come with me, I will show you to your holding chamber."

Qui-Gon placed himself between Mika and the guard, his height just as impressive as always as he drew himself up to face the man. "Before I will answer your orders, you will have to show me clear proof of your authority; I have seen elaborate deception before." his hands were on his hips, his right quite close to the haft of his sabre.

But the Guard Commander was too fast. Pointing his staser at the Jedi, he quickly removed the lightsabre and gestured towards the door. "This is my authority, sir. Now if you would kindly come this way. I would so much hate to have to harm you."

Qui-Gon, almost to Mika's surprise, simply folded his arms over his chest, and bowed his head in recognition of the man's authority. "I'm sure your... authority serves you well." the Jedi said, knowing that he could retrieve his sabre at anytime as long as the guard who held it was within range.

He then placed his hand at Mika's back ,and said softly to her, "Let's go. I doubt if they'll lead us to an executioner."

"No, that would be too painless," she muttered as she followed the Commander out of her TARDIS, Qui-Gon Jinn behind her, and flanked by the rest of the guards.

The entourage marched wordlessly through the Citadel. Hushed conversations ensued whenever they passed various berobed figures along the way. They were stared at and pointed out as Mika's skin grew paler and paler. Eventually the party came to a stop before a large double door, decorated with what looked like large gilded hubcaps.

The Guard Commander opened the door and ushered them in, then turned to the prisoners. "You shall remain here until such time as the Supreme Council of Timelords is ready to see you. My name is Andred should you .... require anything. I would suggest trying to catch a little sleep... if you can." He motioned for his men to leave then shut the door behind himself with a loud and solid sounding thud. Mika immediately sank into a nearby overstuffed chair in the quite elaborately furnished room. All the life and hope seemed to have drained from her tiny form.

Qui-Gon knelt at her side, "What is wrong, my dear ?" he asked, as if desperate for information. "Why are you so afraid. No harm will come to you."

Mika buried her face in her hands, seemingly oblivious to his words. "You don't understand, they have totally control over me," she began to sob. "All these years and it comes to this..." She reached out and pulled him to her, burying her tearstained face in the folds of his tunic.

They may have control over you, but they don't control me." he answered. "I promised we would come through this, and we will." he took her sobbing face in his hands and looked deep into her soft violet eyes. "I promise. I will not leave you." he said as if sensing her fears.

"I... I believe you," she sniffed. But she didn't sound convinced. "It's those stupid Cardinals on the Council. They don't understand what it's like ... out there, in the real universe. They don't see the pain and the suffering, the death and destruction. They don't know what it's like to fear and hate and ... love..." She looked up at Qui-Gon at her last word, her eyes full of her love for him.

"Together, we can make them understand." he replied in his most soothing tone, "Now, you need to rest." and he lifted a finger gently to her temple, caressing her face softly.

Suddenly Mika's eyes felt heavy and she felt as if she could not hold her head open. In seconds she was asleep. A deep sleep. And Jinn picked her up and carried her to a long, wide couch nearby, lying her down so she could get some much needed rest.

Qui-Gon stood and watched Mika sleeping, under the influence of his Jedi powers. He could make her sleep, but he could not control whatever the stresses of her day put into her mind to trouble her sleep.

The tall man turned and began to pace, his heavy boots making no sound on the carpeted floor. His hands on his hips for the most part, his mind wandering in thought.

He began to search the room for a way out, only to find there were no doors, outside of the one they had been let in by, and one that lead to a small washroom; and no windows at all.  But the room was almost wall-to-wall furniture, comfortable and ornate. "No matter how gilded it's still a cage." he remarked aloud.

After some time of pacing he knelt on the floor, beside the couch where he had placed Mika. He pulled his robe over his knees and rested his hands on his lap, the fingers laced. Closing his eyes he began to search his inner mind for a solution to their problem.

He saw only a black murkiness, as if he was "out of tune", until a vague vision came into view. Images began to form that Jinn recognized.

He saw Naboo... the castle. And a ceremony was taking place. There was Jar Jar... yet he looked older somehow, and his childlike expression seemed more careworn. And the face of Obi-Wan was all too familiar, though in the Master's mind it was now bearded, and his braids had been replaced by one long ponytail.

There was a woman standing next to Kenobi and Qui-Gon realized that this was Amidala, Naboo's Queen. Older, taller, and even more graceful than she had been as a 14-year old matriarch.

He saw Kenobi's mouth move, and could not make out the words. Then another figure came into view. Tall, and trim; taller even than Qui-Gon; with blondish hair worn short, and an almost cynical smile on his face.

And Jinn realized this was the boy, Anakin Skywalker. Grown. Fully grown; at least 10, and maybe more years had passed since he had.... left. He saw Kenobi place Padme's hand in that of the man Anakin had become....

And the vision broke.

Almost frustrated, Qui-Gon sprang to his feet. "Whatever was to have happened, it is happening. I'm sure of it. That's the purpose of the vision. History's playing it's course, true to itself." he looked back, and down at Mika, stirring in her sleep.

"You've done no wrong, little one; and whoever these Cardinals are... I will convince them of this... no matter what it takes."

As Qui-Gon Jinn pondered over their situation, Mika slept restlessly on the sofa. In her weary mind she relived those final horrific moments on Naboo, with the two Jedi Knights battling the evil Darth Maul.

In the vision she stood helpless, tied to the wall unable to move. Her hearts leapt, feeling the searing pain as the Sith plunged his weapon clean through Qui-Gon's heart. She heard the dull beat echo through the air as it slowed then ceased. She screamed in silence as a dull numbness settled over her body. Writhing for her freedom she wept openly for though she knew she could save his life, she was trapped, forced to watch the man she loved as his life ebbed beyond even her grasp. And as if that weren't bad enough, she felt wounded to the core at the pained look in Obi-Wan's eyes as he looked up from where he knelt at his fallen Master's side, openly accused her, wondering why she didn't do anything... as if it were all her fault.

Outwardly, her fitful sleep belied her nightmare, tiny gasps and moans of pain and terror escaping her pale lips. Suddenly her eyes flew open, huge and dark like a frightened deer's. Mika sat up quickly, her hearts pounding, gasping for breath. She clutched a tiny fist to her chest as if to hold her hearts in place.

Mika's eyes soon filled with the face of Qui-Gon Jinn, as he leaned over her, concern in his wizened blue eyes. "Mika.... are you all right ?"

Struggling to catch her breath, her fore head beaded with perspiration, Mika slowly placed her hands on his shoulders. "Just.. just a nightmare. I'll be all right," she said hesitantly.

"I'm sorry, dear heart." Jinn said, "But I'm not surprised. Would it help if you told me your dream?" he gave her a kiss on the head as he asked.

"It.. it was your battle with the Sith ... back on Naboo," she began. "I keep reliving your.. your death. It haunts me whenever I close my eyes. I felt.. feel so helpless..." Her eyes sank, fearful of what she must say.

"Well, you weren't.. you saved me. You saved my life." he smiled at her, "And for that... and everything else, I'll always love you."

She shook her head as tears began to fall. "No, no I didn't." She brought her eyes to meet his, her hands trembling on his shoulder. "You .... died ... and I just stood there and watched, keeping my distance like a good little timelord. Only...."

"Only what ? Darling, it was just a dream.... and there is nothing good about allowing a death that can be prevented." Jinn soothed, "Especially a death at the hands of a Sith."

"Don't you understand?" her voice rose in desperation as she tried to confess her 'crime'. "It wasn't a dream. You died. Only I couldn't stand it ... and the look in Obi-Wan's eyes as he looked at me, blaming me for letting you die.... So I went against every law of time ... and went back. I changed history so that you might live..." By now the tears were streaming down her face. "That... is why we're here. To answer for my crime," she concluded in a whisper.

Jinn took her chin in one powerful hand and lifted her face to look him in the eye. "I'll never believe, no matter why you did it, that what you did was wrong." he said, "And, why would it be ? Because you would have changed history ? Mika, listen to me... I've had a vision. I saw the future.... or what may well be the present now, and I saw those I left behind. All is well... and as it should be." he sat up on the couch and took her in his arms, holding her close.

"You did no wrong. I know. Nothing happens by chance." he gently twirled one strand of her hair around one of his fingers, "You were moved by your hearts, and by the eyes of my apprentice, and you acted. If we can't listen to our hearts, our eyes, and our feelings... then what good are they. And I can't believe that."

Again he was looking into her eyes. "You did no wrong, and I'm going to prove it to these.... cardinals. I swear it on my love for you."

Mika held him close. She loved him more than ever. His unswerving faith in her gave her strength. But it was not for herself that her tears fell. "Oh, Qui-Gon, I love you so much. But I did break the rules in what I did and I would do it again if I had to. But I am not afraid to face the consequences of what I did. The worst they can do to me is take away my regenerations. But I have lived a long and full life and have no regrets. It is for you I am fearful..." She heaved a great sigh and buried her face in his massive chest, her tears soaking his tunic.

He stroked her hair ash he spoke, trying to ease her tears. "I might not earn the respect of Master Yoda, or Master Windu; but I've often found rules are made for breaking, or at least fracturing severely. Justice does not deal in absolutes. And you have no reason to fear for me. I will do all right... as long as I have you."

Mika looked up at him. "No, you won't. Because you won't have me. You won't have anything. Don't you see? These are timelords. They hold the power of space and time in their hands. If they decide to punish me, not only will they take away my regenerations, but they will put things back the way they are supposed to be... before I interfered." Her chin quivered as she spoke the next words, struggling to keep her words coherent. "That means that you will be dead. Totally and irrevocably dead. I'd rather die than let that happen..." she whispered.

Qui-Gon held her eyes with his own. She could feel a power in him that one who was not on the Jedi's "good side" would find daunting and frightening. "That will not happen. These cardinals may hold all the power of the universe... but they are still living breathing beings like you and I." he said, "You've shown me how feeling and compassionate a Timelord can be. We will simply have to find these qualities in these Cardinals."

Just then the door opened and Commander Andred strode resolutely into the room. He confronted the lovers with a cold, unfeeling stare. "The Council summons you. If you please..." he stepped back and indicated that they should follow. Four armed guards also entered and surrounded them as if to reiterate the Commander's request.  

Mika searched Qui-Gon's eyes for strength, hoping beyond all hope that he was right in what he said. Though somehow she doubted it. She rose unsteadily and made to do as she was bade, never letting go of the Jedi's strong hand. "Good luck," she snorted as she passed out of the room.

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