okay so i was having thoughts this morning about how i believe that obi-wan was probably t h e best master for anakin under the circumstances (and a few others) and how as much as i hate predestination, if you accept anakin as (one of?) the chosen one(s), then he is fated to bring about the fall of the Jedi - cos you can’t have balance when the lightside outnumbers the darkside by as much as it does. and i started thinking about how what if the universes where obi-wan is his master greatly delays him fucking off to the darkside and bringing about the end of the Order? well, he was all of 23 when that happened, which means in other universes, where obi-wan is not his master, he probably abandons the order much younger than that.
okay, so - an au where.
an au where qui-gon lives. despite reasons why it probably wouldn’t happen, he becomes anakin’s master, obi-wan fucks off to do Knight Things and Grow As His Own Person. anakin has his canonical crisis of faith and great realization that being a jedi is difficult and not actually all that he thought it was going to be. he fucks off from the order - say around the age of fifteen?
qui-gon, despite everything, goes off to hunt him. despite this “betrayal”. after all, anakin is the chosen one, right? so he even goes so far as to call in obi-wan to help him find anakin. meanwhile, anakin is employing every last trick in the book to remain out of reach. he won’t go back - he won’t. he can do more good out there in the galaxy, instead of tied down by the (hostile, tbh) jedi order.
it just so happens that obi-wan finds him. rather than try to arrest him or anything (leaving the order is not a ‘take into custody’ offense, as obi-wan well knows) and actually talks to anakin about the reasons why he’s fucked off. he finds the reasons understandable. besides, becoming a jedi is not being conscripted. anakin has the right to leave if he feels like it. obi-wan tells him that it’s fucking dangerous for a half-trained force sensitive out there in the wild galaxy, but when anakin doesn’t change his mind (because he’s hella stubborn tbh) obi-wan is just like “welp” and lets him go. he tells qui-gon he never found anakin, but that it’s really unreasonable to hunt the kid down for fucking off. it’s another thing that qui-gon and obi-wan don’t see eye-to-eye with.
so that’s that, right? they’ll never see the chosen one again.
but wait, there’s more. So of course the Sith find anakin. he must bring balance to the force. Dooku and Sidious play bad cop/good cop until anakin is firmly under Sidious’ thumb. (presumably, Qui-gon would have found nine hundred different ways to keep anakin away from palpatine, who might even have been the one to plant the idea of running off into anakin’s head on the few times when he was allowed to speak with the kid). anakin goes corrupt, as you do when siths are fucking with your head, and the story proceeds.
here it is, the fall of the jedi order, and order 66.
ymmv what happens to qui-gon. does he live through even this? or is he shot down protecting obi-wan? in either case, obi-wan survives as he tends to, trying to regroup with the rest of the surviving Jedi. of course, you have this wretched sith lord, Darth Vader, hunting them all down. his skill with a blade is unparalleled. no jedi who has faced him has survived.
when he finds them, obi-wan stays back, sacrificing himself to save the others. and yet, to his surprise, darth vader does not kill him. darth vader himself does not understand entirely why, only that once when he was very young, a jedi heard him out and let him go.
he does not let obi-wan go, but neither does his blade fall.