Liz (amidala_thrace) wrote,
Liz
amidala_thrace

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To Ignite the Stars: Chapter 12 - The Paths We Choose

Title: The Paths We Choose
Fandom/Pairing: Star Wars/Obidala
Characters: Obi-Wan, Padmé, Anakin
Word Count: 5,802
Rating: PG-13 - there's some mature themes, but that's about it.
Summary: Obi-Wan and Anakin return from their first mission in the Clone Wars, and Obi-Wan has a decision to make with Padmé.
Author's Notes: I actually didn't expect to end this chapter where it finished, but there you go. My muse got to the end of the last sentence and went, "Right, that's it, this is a good place to break off, and hey! You can give those nice people waiting to read Chapter 12 an update!" And so I can. XD By the way, in case you're wondering about Padmé lying on the cold floor and saying it helps her nausea - that comes direct from Katie, who insists that during her most serious bouts of "morning" sickness when she was pregnant with my goddaughters, her cheek coming into contact with a cool tile floor was the only thing that helped. Strange, huh? But she swears it's so. Not much else to say about the chapter itself, except that this didn't turn out to be the sad chapter, or the chapter in which I kick my muse into submission ... that's coming up next time, alas. *le sigh* The astute among you may be able to guess what's happening from the ending, however. *whacks muse* *whacks and whacks and whacks*



PERSONAL RECORD: OBI-WAN KENOBI
I feel very irrational at the moment.

Anakin and I are returning to Coruscant for the first time since the Clone Wars began, and I’m surprised he hasn’t said anything about my excitement. I haven’t been able to stop smiling since we boarded the troop ship, to the point where Commander Cody asked (not entirely jokingly, mind you) whether I’d been partaking of the Wookiees’ wine. How embarrassing.

It’s true that my mood is jubilant, moreso than it has been for – well, the past two months. Some small part of me, that I’ve tried to suppress, whispers that this is because I’ll see Padmé again. Obviously, this will only be in a capacity of friendship, but somehow this doesn’t make a difference to my overall mood. Seeing her will be enough, just as the memories of our last encounter have been sufficient to sustain me during the mission.

The mission itself went as well as could be expected, though I am growing more concerned about Anakin’s attitude. We worked mainly in concert during the fighting, and when we were separated my Padawan’s actions did nothing to assuage my worries. He repeatedly acts as though every battle won was won because of him, and insists upon regaling anyone who will listen with dramatic accounts of his actions. These days the only accommodating audience is made up of clones, but he doesn’t appear to mind. They seem to delight in his retellings, showering him with praise.

I’m not entirely sure what I should do about this. Anakin is not breaking any written rule I can think of, but it’s generally considered not very like a Jedi to brag about one’s exploits. Jedi do not revel in combat; we are in fact taught to abhor it, and employ physical measures only when diplomacy has failed. When negotiations don’t work and we must fight, we work as part of a team, unified within the Living Force. The success or failure of a campaign does not rest on one being’s shoulders alone, nor should it. Anakin seems not to have grasped this concept.

I try to think of what Qui-Gon once told me after he’d caught me showing off to a friend in sparring practice: “Padawan, when a tree creates a leaf, it does not boast as though it has achieved galactic peace. Nor should you.” I’ve always remembered that saying, and yet I don’t think it would mean much to Anakin. He deals in concrete terms, not with principles and concepts.

I shall have to meditate on this.


“Coming up on Core World perimeter defense systems,” Anakin murmured, his fingers flying across a keypad. “Transmitting deactivation coordinates … now.”

“Did you remember to input the new scramble code?” Obi-Wan asked nervously.

Yes, Master.” Anakin all but rolled his eyes. “Why would I forget something that crucial? Besides, you’d know by now if I hadn’t – we’d be getting blasted to smithereens.” He snickered.

“This is not a laughing matter! It only takes one time, Anakin, one time, and there won’t be enough of you left to fill a Corellian ale mug! If I were –”

“Okay, okay, okay,” Anakin exclaimed, holding his hands up in surrender. “No laughing. I promise!”

They sat in silence for several moments. Obi-Wan took the opportunity to double-encrypt his personal record, storing the latest entry in the special file where he had saved all notes about his encounter with Padmé. He knew Anakin wouldn’t intentionally search his datapad for personal information, but after all, it did only take one moment of carelessness for a disaster to happen. Obi-Wan did not intend to take that chance. When he thought what could happen if his Padawan discovered it … he shuddered.

“You’re awfully grouchy all of a sudden,” remarked Anakin.

“Hmm?”

“Yeah. When we got on the ship you were smiling so wide I thought your face would crack open. Now you’re biting my head off because you think I might have forgotten to input one of the codes. What’s going on?”

“A disturbance in the Force,” Obi-Wan said tersely.

He had only begun to feel it as they approached the Core Worlds, and Anakin was right: it was affecting his mood more than he cared to admit. Why? Because it has to do with Padmé, he thought, and that frightens me. It shouldn’t, but it does.

Obi-Wan couldn’t pinpoint it any more than as a vague, distressing sensation. But he got the feeling that wherever Padmé was, whatever she was doing, she was very worried about something. Something that had to do with him.

Wait a moment, why are you thinking about this now? he scolded himself. Until you’ve landed back on Coruscant, Anakin and the clones on this ship are your only priority. So focus!

He faced front, entering the copilot’s clearance for the descent into the Coruscanti atmosphere.

***

“Dormé, did you pick up the latest news feeds yet?” Padmé called wearily. “About the Scadden Report?”

“In a moment, m’lady,” her handmaiden replied. “I’m reading a different feed right now.”

Groaning, Padmé pulled herself out of her chair and stretched. “If you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself,” she said impatiently, picking up a nearby datapad and scrolling through the files. “Which feed are you looking at?” she asked.

Dormé appeared suddenly in the doorway, holding out a small projector. “The HoloNet. I think you’ll find something to interest you … Knight Kenobi and Padawan Skywalker are returning from the front.”

Padmé almost dropped the datapad in shock. “They – really?” she exclaimed. “Where did you read that?”

“Says so right here in this article.” Dormé smirked as she passed the projector to Padmé. “They landed on Coruscant an hour ago and gave a briefing to the press. Doesn’t he look handsome?”

“Oh, stop it,” Padmé muttered, swatting her handmaiden away. “Although …” She accessed the file on the projector and a small hologram of Obi-Wan sprang to life. He was speaking in his clipped accent about the mission, nodding and smiling at the journalists asking questions. Involuntarily, her face relaxed into a wistful grin.

“Are you going to tell him?” asked Dormé softly.

Padmé sighed. “What choice do I have? The news will get to him sooner or later whether I want it to or not, so it’s better he hears it from me. I just hope he doesn’t try to complicate things.” She ran a hand over her face and sat back in her desk chair. Standing up tired her easily these days.

“Complicate things? I’m not sure I understand.”

“Dormé, when we agreed to spend the night together, we also agreed that it would be no regrets. He just wanted to have one night where he didn’t have to be a Jedi, without consequences. This is a consequence I’m not sure I’m prepared to burden him with. I mean, what can he do? He’s a Jedi. He can’t renounce everything and drop out and marry me just because of the baby. I could never put that on his shoulders. But if I know Obi-Wan, he’ll insist on doing exactly that.”

“So what will you do?” Dormé said.

“I have no idea,” Padmé confessed.

There was a buzz from Dormé’s comlink, and she spoke into it quietly for a few moments before turning back to her employer. “Well, you’d better think fast. Knight Kenobi is on your landing pad, and Eirtaé just let him in.”

***

Obi-Wan wandered lazily around Padmé’s landing deck, examining her sculptures and other artistic pieces but not really seeing anything for what it was. In the Force, the apartment hummed with nervousness, worry and anticipation. There was also … if he concentrated … a thinly-veiled joy, prone to burst forth at any moment. Well, that’ll be from my arrival, he thought. I just hope I can contain myself.

Next second, any hope of doing so fled his mind as Padmé came lightly down the stairs, smiling broadly. Before they knew it, they were in each other’s arms again, just as they had done after Geonosis.

“Obi-Wan, I’m so glad you’re safe,” Padmé whispered, her voice trembling. “When the first casualty reports started coming in, I was so worried …”

“It’s all right, I’m here,” he soothed, stroking her hair. “And all I could think about, in the moments when I wasn’t fighting, was you.”

“I thought we were going to end this after our one night together,” she admonished lightly.

“We were. But someone forgot to send my brain the memo,” Obi-Wan admitted. “Either that or it ignored it completely. I suspect the latter, since I’ve been meditating on this every day.” Involuntarily he leaned down to nuzzle her.

“Mmm …” Padmé leaned into his touch, wrapping her arms around him. “I’ve missed you so much.”

“I’ve missed you too.”

Suddenly, they were kissing.

“No.” She knew she had to stop this before it went too far, before it turned into something they could not control. “We – we can’t. We said Geonosis was it, remember?”

“I remember,” he said huskily, pulling very slightly away. “I just … it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other, and at the front, you were my warmth, Padmé. When it was cold or lonely or I was tired of talking to Anakin, I could just think of you, and remember our last night –”

“Obi-Wan … I’m pregnant,” Padmé whispered.

He stuttered to a halt and froze, feeling as though a bucket of ice had just cascaded into his stomach. A part of him, the part that always resided in the Force, was nodding with understanding, was smiling and saying Yes, it’s clear now … this was the nervousness I sensed when I entered. The rest of him – the part his brain seemed to be listening to, at any rate – could not register an emotion other than shock.

“You – what?” he said blankly. “But, but how can you be pregnant?”

She turned away, seeming to gather her composure. “Trust me, I’ve had it confirmed and reconfirmed. It’s a fact. And we did have … an encounter. Several, if I recall correctly. It’s really not all that inconceivable.”

“I know, I know.” Obi-Wan ran a weary hand over his face. “I just – I suppose this wasn’t exactly the news I was expecting when I came to visit you. It’s a surprise, that’s all.”

“It was a surprise to me, too,” Padmé said, smiling ruefully. “And I want you to know …”

Her voice trailed off as the full implications of what she was about to say hit her. She had rehearsed it for a full week, but now could not seem to summon the courage. You MUST, she reminded herself. There is no other way. If you love him, you will do this for him.

That last thought gave her the strength she needed, and she continued. “I want you to know that if you’d like to walk away … if you want to absolve yourself of all further responsibility, because you’re a Jedi and because of what it would mean for Anakin and your chance at Mastery and all those other things, then it’s okay. I understand. We said no regrets, and I don’t want you to have any. I don’t. My pregnancy shouldn’t change anything. We’ll just – go on, as we have done. And no more will have to be said.”

Padmé offered a wavery smile.

Obi-Wan said the first thing that came into his mind. “Padmé, I couldn’t.”

“But think of the Jedi! Think of the disgrace you’d be subjected to when we’re found out! It’s easy to keep it a secret now, but once I start getting bigger …” She shrugged helplessly. “There’s only so much heavy robes can conceal.”

“I know,” Obi-Wan said, moving to lay his hands softly on her shoulders. “You will be subjected to disgrace no matter what, when the press finds out. Remember what happened when Mon Mothma announced her pregnancy?”

“Yes,” Padmé said miserably.

“I can’t let you go through that alone. I bear just as much responsibility for this as you do, so it’s not fair for me to walk away. I could never live with that sort of guilt. You’re my best friend, and … I love you. No matter if we’re together or not.”

Padmé began to cry in earnest. “But the Jedi … the Code … we can’t keep this a secret …”

“I think,” Obi-Wan began, “that the time has come for me to talk to Master Yoda.”

“Oh Force, you’re actually going to tell him we –” Padmé looked revolted and sat quickly down on one of her couches.

“Well, think of it this way: would you prefer Yoda know or the whole galaxy know?” Obi-Wan asked sensibly.

She swallowed hard. “To tell the truth, the levels to which those two choices disgust me are about equal. But I suppose … if I were forced to choose … I’d tell Yoda first.”

“Exactly. He’ll be able to advise me, at least, on what my options are, and will probably be more amicable if I come to him before this becomes public knowledge. He’ll see it as taking responsibility for my actions, which is definitely – Padmé, where are you going?”

For she had suddenly leapt up and streaked for the stairs. Obi-Wan hesitated for a moment, then hurried after her as he heard the sounds of retching.

“Padmé?” he called.

The sounds abruptly ceased, but Obi-Wan could sense her in the Force. He crept along a corridor and peered into the smallest room, a refresher. Padmé was hunched over the toilet, gasping and coughing. Immediately he went to her, pulled her hair back from her face. “You’re sick …” he ventured.

She looked at once embarrassed and pleased that he had followed her. “The baby,” she managed. “Medical droid said … this is common. Sola … my sister, she was sick through both of her pregnancies.” She leaned over the toilet and coughed some more. “I’m sorry.”

“No, no, it’s not your fault,” Obi-Wan replied. He was intrigued, having not had much cause to be around pregnant women. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Padmé swallowed hard against another wave of nausea. “Just … just hold my hair back the way you were doing before.”

Gently he took her hair in his hand and held it back from her face as she leaned downwards, surrendering her lunch, breakfast and probably last night’s dinner as well. He had a sense of awestruck admiration for her. Was this what she’d coped with for the last two months? Yet, because she was Padmé, she would never complain. He knew that. And it made him love and respect her all the more.

She raised her head slightly and ran her fingers across her mouth. “Force … I can’t go back to the Senate today. Not … not like this.”

“You should be in bed,” Obi-Wan said softly, stroking her cheek.

“And you should be back at the Temple.” Padmé lay against the cold tile floor, digging in her pocket for a comlink. “What – what are you even doing here?”

“I sensed a disturbance in the Force,” he explained. “Having to do with you … and I was worried. So as soon as we landed, I made up an excuse and came here. I wanted to make sure you were all right.”

“I’m fine. Nothing that won’t go away in nine months.” Involuntarily, she chuckled, then grimaced. “Wow. Can’t do that. Can’t laugh.”

“I can’t help feeling entirely responsible for this,” Obi-Wan sighed. “I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to go through this for two months already.”

“Stop that.” Padmé swatted him away. “Stop blaming yourself, we have an equal take in this and you know it.” She took several deep breaths, then spoke professionally into the comlink. “Eirtaé, I’m not feeling very well, so I need you to move my afternoon appointments to tomorrow morning. And let the authors of the Scadden Report know I’ll meet with them as soon as possible. Thank you.”

She stuffed the instrument back into her pocket and pressed her cheek to the floor. “I could stay here forever.”

Obi-Wan blinked, slightly puzzled. “Really?”

“Yes. So tired … and the floor feels good. Nice and cold. Helps me not to feel sick.” Padmé’s eyes fluttered closed.

He couldn’t help but smile. “You should be in bed.”

Her voice was muffled against the tile, but he thought he could detect a hint of amusement. “Make me.”

“If you insist, m’lady!” Obi-Wan chuckled, and in one smooth move he picked her carefully up, cradling her in his arms. She reclined, a wide smile spreading suddenly across her face.

“Actually, no, I retract my earlier statement,” Padmé murmured. “This … feels much better than the floor.”

“Yes,” agreed Obi-Wan absently. He was thinking of the last time he’d held her in his arms, in bed aboard the hospital ship, when they had created the child she now carried within her. The child … his child. He had not thought of that before. He was going to be a father, though he had little concept of precisely what that meant in familial terms. The closest man to a father he’d had was Qui-Gon, and Qui-Gon was gone now.

He sighed.

“Credit for your thoughts?” Padmé asked as Obi-Wan set her gently down on her bed.

“Mmm?” He sat next to her, pulling the covers carefully upwards. “Why do you ask?”

“You look as though you’re a million parsecs away,” she remarked.

“Force, I was. I was thinking about Qui-Gon, I guess, and how he was the only man I really knew as a father figure.” Obi-Wan let his hand drift towards Padmé’s belly, hoping that if he concentrated just hard enough, he would feel the life signature of the baby inside. “There was Yoda, of course, but he could never be mistaken for a real father. He was … is … more of an advisor. A teacher. Qui-Gon was that and so much more.”

Padmé nodded. “You two were very close. Even as an outsider meeting you for the first time, I could see that. I knew his death would hit you hard.”

“Is that why you came to me after the funeral?”

“Yes … and no,” she said, considering. “I mean, I knew you would miss him as a father, but I think I also felt that you needed someplace safe to grieve. Forgive me for saying this, but the Jedi aren’t exactly experts at letting their feelings out. And yet you can’t keep something like that bottled up inside. It hurts too much. It ends up destroying you from the inside out.”

“You sound like you’ve had some experience in this area,” Obi-Wan said.

“Yes … I suppose I have,” Padmé admitted. “When I was thirteen, my grandmother – her name was Grace – died. She was one of the most special people in my life. She encouraged me to go into politics, helped me to see that the best way to make a difference was through the political system itself. Nana Grace, that’s what I called her. She was so happy when I announced that I was entering the race for Queen.” She paused, sniffling a little. “Nana Grace was very sick, though. We all hoped she’d make it until after the election, but she just couldn’t hold on. She died about a month before the conclusion of my campaign. I dedicated my coronation to her … she would have loved to see it.”

“I’m sure she would have.” Obi-Wan grasped Padmé’s hand, almost without knowing it. “There’s … er, there’s a lot of things I wish Qui-Gon could have seen.”

“Such as?”

“My Knighting ceremony, I suppose. Some of the things Anakin has done, both good and bad. I wish he could be here now, to offer guidance about the war and to see what the galaxy is becoming. And … well, this probably sounds foolish, but I wish I could go to him and tell him I’m going to be a father. He would have appreciated it.”

“No.” Padmé shook her head. “No, it’s not foolish at all. He was the closest man you had to a father; you just said so yourself. It’s natural you’d want some guidance. I’ve had to physically restrain myself from comming my mother on several occasions.”

That distracted Obi-Wan slightly. “You haven’t told your family?”

She sighed. “No, I haven’t. I only found out two weeks ago, and I thought you should be one of the first people to know. The only other person who does know is Dormé, and that’s only because I’ve been sick a lot lately. She practically had to bribe me to see a medical droid. And she was there when the result came in. I’ve wanted to tell my parents, but … Force, it would be so hard to explain. I obviously couldn’t tell them who the father is, because they’d disown me. But they know I’m not the type to go to pleasure clubs, either. And with it being so easy to monitor comlink transmissions these days, I’ve just been too afraid that the news would fall into the wrong hands. I had a sense I was pregnant before the medical examination, but … I put off contacting a droid for so long. I was afraid for you.” Padmé ended on a whisper.

“Afraid of what it would mean for my life as a Jedi?” he asked.

“Yes. You know, it’s silly, but all I could think about was your little – lecture – about the Jedi Code, and about how being a Jedi means so much to you. I don’t want to be responsible for you being expelled from the Jedi Order.”

“You won’t be,” Obi-Wan promised. “That’s why I’m going to tell Master Yoda about this. And please, Padmé … forget everything I said about the Code. It’s true, being a Jedi does matter to me, but … it’s not everything. Some things in life are more important.” He massaged her belly gently.

Her smile was wide and full of emotion. “Oh, Force, I love you.”

“I love you too,” he whispered, and bent forwards for a kiss.

They remained that way, reveling in closeness after being separated for so long, for several minutes before Obi-Wan reluctantly pulled away. “I should let you get some rest. I need to talk to Yoda anyway.”

“Mmm.” Her eyes were fluttering closed again, but she suddenly opened them wide. “Obi-Wan? Can I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“Are you … happy about this?” she said tentatively. “About the baby?”

He only had to think for a moment before smiling broadly and answering, “Padmé … I haven’t been this happy for a long time. Not since the hospital ship, returning from Geonosis.”

***

Obi-Wan swallowed hard, breathing deeply and trying to centre himself in the Force. It would not do for him to enter Master Yoda’s private meditation area flustered and nervous, but he was finding it very difficult to clear his mind.

“Come in!” called Yoda’s soft voice.

“Here goes nothing,” Obi-Wan muttered. He pressed the button and the door slid open, revealing the dimly-lit, comfortable room.

Somehow, it was easier to relax within. The calm, smooth eddies of the Force that he remembered surrounding him even as an infant were ever-present. He had become closer to Yoda since Qui-Gon’s death, and was more likely to consult him on matters from military strategy to the latest difficulty he was having with Anakin’s training. Yoda always listened, and his advice was excellent.

This, though … this was something much more delicate.

“Obi-Wan,” Yoda said evenly, gesturing for him to sit down. “What help to you can I be?”

“Master, I …” Obi-Wan bit his lip, unsure how to proceed. “I have something to tell you,” he finished lamely.

“Proceed.”

“I suppose I’d better start at the beginning,” Obi-Wan said, as much to put off the inevitable confession as anything else. “I … I haven’t been a very good Jedi, Master Yoda.”

Yoda’s ears flattened slightly, but he betrayed no other reaction.

“A few years ago, the Jedi Council recommended sessions of extra meditation for me, because they felt I had withdrawn from many activities central to Jedi life.” Obi-Wan hesitated slightly before continuing, “Through those meditations I realized that I had begun to develop … inappropriate feelings for Padmé Amidala. We used to write to each other, before she stopped sending letters about two years ago. It was through those letters that I realized I had fallen in love with her. But I never acted on those feelings. I buried them beneath the surface, tried to meditate them away, as I’d been taught. As you know, many on the Council praised my ability to pull myself out of the depression I seemed to be in.

“Then Anakin and I were assigned to guard Senator Amidala from her assassin, and she was sent to Naboo. Before she left, she … she gave me a letter.”

“Have you that letter?” Yoda asked.

“Yes, Master.” Obi-Wan pulled Padmé’s letter out of a pocket in his robes. He had carried it around ever since she had given it to him, even on all his missions and battles in the Clone Wars, and he now regarded it as a sort of talisman, a part of Padmé that kept him whole and happy even though he couldn’t be with her. The flimsiplast was wrinkled, and it had lost that wonderful perfume smell, but still he carried it. He couldn’t let it go.

“Mmm,” murmured Yoda, scanning the letter. “This letter she sent you, but act on your feelings, you did not. Correct?”

Obi-Wan swallowed hard and blushed again. “Not – not until we were on the hospital ship on the way back from Geonosis. I went to her room, intending to talk with her about the letter, and … well, we, we had, erm … intimate relations. I told her that it had to be the first and last time, that after that night we could only see one another in our capacity as friends.”

“To make love to another, permitted it is under the Code,” Yoda reminded him.

“Yes, Master, I know, but … she’s two months pregnant.” He bit his lip. “I visited her today, after Anakin and I returned from Kashyyyk. That’s when she told me. She said … she said I’m the father. She had it confirmed by a medical droid two weeks ago.”

Yoda’s ears flattened further and he closed his eyes, sinking for a moment into meditation. Obi-Wan could not ever remember feeling so embarrassed and ashamed, but at the same time, he sensed that his Master was not angry with him. Disappointed, perhaps, but not angry.

“Well, I suppose I’d better go prepare my resignation letter,” he said helplessly, and stood to leave.

Yoda shook his head, though his eyes remained closed. “No. A resignation letter you do not need.”

“No? But – but you’re expelling me from the Order, aren’t you? I fathered a child, which constitutes disobedience of the Code in the extreme!”

“Sit down, Obi-Wan.” Yoda gestured to the vacated seat.

Obi-Wan sat.

“Long have I wondered how this situation should be handled,” Yoda murmured, finally opening his eyes. “An exemplary Jedi you have been until now, when violated the Code you did. But unfair it would be to expel you. Much service, much service, have you given the Republic and the Jedi Order. Followed the Code precisely have you. A credit you are to the Order.”

Obi-Wan felt himself blushing again, but not out of embarrassment this time.

“Yet broken the Code, you have. What to do, with someone such as yourself?”

“With all due respect, Master, is that not for you to say?” Obi-Wan offered politely, unsure whether it was really appropriate for him to decide his own fate.

“For nearly eight hundred years have I trained Jedi,” Yoda replied. “For those years, a few such as yourself there have been. Earned more privileges they have, by virtue of exemplary service. Silent on this matter, the Code is. But long have I believed matters should be different. Jedi such as yourself, punished they should not be, if stick to their beliefs they do.”

Obi-Wan blinked. “I … I’m not sure I follow.”

“Adhered to the Code as a model student you always have,” said Yoda gently. “But afraid you are not to stand up for your beliefs when contravene the Code they do. Such as now. Abandoned Senator Amidala, you did not. Attempt to hide the truth, you did not. Deny your role in her pregnancy, you did not. Instead, told the truth you did, even though you knew that cause you trouble it might.”

“It’s just – it’s just the right thing to do, isn’t it?” Obi-Wan shifted uncomfortably. “I care about Senator Amidala very much. I wouldn’t just abandon her.”

“That,” Yoda said proudly, “is what I mean.”

Obi-Wan sighed, running a hand nervously through his hair. “Right, well, even if I’m not going to be expelled, what should I do? I appreciate the compliments, Master, really,” he added hastily, “but I need to figure out what to do. I want to do my duty to both the Jedi Order and Padmé.”

“Decide that for you, I cannot,” answered Yoda. “Need you, the Jedi do, but so does Senator Amidala. Faith I have that you will make the right choice.”

“Understood, Master,” Obi-Wan sighed. He rose once more to go, then turned back. “Master Yoda … you haven’t said anything about the fact that – that I love Senator Amidala. Surely I should at least be disciplined for that?”

The ancient Jedi had closed his eyes in meditation again, and did not open them as he spoke. “No. No discipline. … Need each other, you will.”

And with that enigmatic reply, he bowed Obi-Wan from his office.

***

Padmé had been sleeping for several hours when she was roused by the buzzing of her comlink. “Amidala speaking,” she said, hoping she wouldn’t sound as though she had just woken up.

“Padmé, it’s Obi-Wan,” came the musical Coruscanti accent. “You sound like you’ve just woken up.”

She rolled her eyes at the ceiling. “As a matter of fact I did. But I was hoping it wouldn’t be that obvious.”

“Sorry about that. Just my Jedi senses, I suppose. I’ll try to restrain them. In the meantime, I wanted to tell you … I’ve just come from speaking with Master Yoda.”

Padmé swallowed. “And?”

“Well, it was strange,” admitted Obi-Wan. “I told him everything, and he seemed almost permissive of our relationship. He didn’t seek to discipline me as the Code indicated he should. He just … he said I should consider the fact that both you and the Jedi need me in equal measure. He urged me to consider all the factors involved, and make a choice.”

“A choice?” Padmé sighed. She didn’t want to belittle Obi-Wan’s Knighthood – they’d had that argument before, after all – but she was genuinely tired of losing out to the Jedi Order. Part of her, the part that was Senator Amidala in attitude as well as in name, understood her love’s dedication completely and wanted to do all it could to support him, even if that meant sacrificing her companionship and his interaction with their unborn child. But a smaller part of her, a selfish part, a part that she pretended did not exist, longed for him to tell her that he had left the Order to marry her and raise the baby.

Padmé knew how unrealistic that was, but she couldn’t help it.

“Padmé …” Obi-Wan’s voice was hesitant. “You know how important I am to the war effort.”

Here we go again, thought Padmé. But all she said was, “Yes, I know.”

“And, for that matter, to Anakin. Imagine what his reaction would be if I told him I was leaving the Order because I loved you and had fathered our baby.”

“He’d be angry, and jealous,” she agreed.

“So … right now … I wish there was another way, any other way … but I’ve got to stay with the Order. That doesn’t mean I can’t see you … and the baby … but we can’t be involved romantically. Not publicly, and not privately. I’ll support you throughout your pregnancy, and I will help to raise the child. I won’t walk away. But … but we can’t live with each other, nor can we be seen to be in love. I’m sorry.”

She paused, trying to regain composure. It’s always like this, always. I get my hopes up only to see them dashed. But this time it’s not only me, this time it’s my child. Why, Obi-Wan, why?

“I’m sorry,” he said again, and he sounded close to tears.

Padmé took a deep breath before raising the comlink to her lips once more. “I’m sorry too,” she said with as much composure as she could manage. “I wish … with all my heart … that things could be different.”

“As do I.” That same tearfulness, and suddenly she knew that this was just as hard for him as it was for her. He wasn’t doing this willingly. He was doing it because it was his duty.

It made her heart ache all the more for both of them.

And it made her love him all the more.

“So. Um, when are you leaving for your next mission?” Padmé asked lightly, hoping to deflect attention from both their feelings at that devastating moment.

“In a week, most likely.” Obi-Wan sounded more upbeat, as well. “But I’ll try to talk to you again before then. I don’t want to leave without saying goodbye.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t let you!” she promised. “Well, we won’t let you.”

“Padme … I love you,” he said.

“I love you too.”

When their conversation had ended, Padmé sobbed again for what was impossible. She had lost count of the number of times she had done so.

***

Pain.

Blinding pain.

It was a dream. But she woke, and the dream became reality.

The pain pierced her, stabbed her, ate her alive. She was wet, and when she pulled her hand away, she saw blood.

My womanly trial, she thought, before remembering that this was impossible. And the pain … she couldn’t think for the pain.

“The BABY … oh please no please no don’t let there be anything wrong please no save him please …”

The thoughts screamed through her head. Her vision darkened.

“Save him save her please please don’t let her die …”

She might have screamed the words; she might have whispered them. She was no longer certain.

“Obi-Wan! Please!”

Those words, she had screamed.

She screamed them as Dormé held her, screamed them as the medical technicians hurried into the room.

Screamed them as unconsciousness claimed her.


Tags: fic: to ignite the stars, obi-wan/padmé, pg13 ratings, star wars
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