Fandom/Pairing: Star Wars/Obidala
Previous Chapters: Can be read here.
Characters: Obi-Wan, Padmé, Anakin
Word Count: 5,980
Summary: Padmé recovers physically from the miscarriage, but as she and Obi-Wan find out, healing mentally can be much more difficult.
Author's Notes: I'd be lying if I said writing this chapter was fun, but unfortunately it had to be done. "Death is a natural part of life," as Yoda would say. I did a lot of research on miscarriage and the psychological effects it can have on women and men to write this, and so I hope it's an accurate portrayal. (If there's one thing I hate about some fics, it's authors who quite clearly have not done any research before writing about certain topics. So I definitely didn't want to activate one of my own pet peeves. XD) I also listened to some pretty sad music while writing the last little bit, and I think it helped. Rest assured that from now on, happy stuff will mostly be the norm, although all bets are off when it comes to the events of Revenge of the Sith. That'll be a little while, though.
“Master? … Master!”
He grumbled and turned over. It wasn’t morning yet, so why was he being woken?
Obi-Wan started, nearly falling out of bed. “ANAKIN!” he roared, more surprised than anything else. He saw his Padawan leap backwards in alarm. “Sorry, it’s just … you scared me. What in the galaxy is the matter?”
“Well, it – it’s Padmé,” Anakin said hesitantly.
Obi-Wan was instantly alert. “Padmé? What about her?”
“I had this dream. Like … like I sometimes used to have about my mother.” In the dim light of their quarters, Anakin’s face was white and sweaty. “Padmé was screaming … like she was in pain or something. And … and … there was blood. A – a lot of blood.”
“Force,” Obi-Wan shuddered. “What a terrible nightmare. I’d have been frightened too.”
“The thing is, I think the dream might have been telling the future,” said Anakin, turning whiter still. “Or – or maybe even the present. When I had those dreams about Mom, they were trying to tell me something was going to happen to her. And then … as it was happening … they got even more intense.” He shifted from foot to foot. “Obi-Wan, I think Padmé’s in danger. Can we comm her and make sure she’s all right?”
Obi-Wan sighed and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Part of him agreed with Anakin and wanted desperately to do exactly that, but … “Anakin, it’s the middle of the night. If we comm her now, well, she’ll be furious at us for disrupting her sleep, for one thing. Wouldn’t you be angry if someone woke you needlessly at three in the morning?”
“Not if my life was in danger and they could save me,” Anakin said defensively. “You don’t have those dreams, so you don’t know what they’re like. I – I can’t just sit here and wait to hear if something’s happened! I have to know! I have to make sure!” He plunged his mechanical hand into the pocket of his sleep trousers and withdrew a comlink. “I’m comming her, and you can’t stop me!”
Fuming, he stomped out of the room.
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. “Fine. On your own shoulders be it, then.” He certainly wasn’t going to chance waking Padmé this early. Particularly in her current condition. But if Anakin wanted to, well, that was his own business.
He rolled back into bed and was just drifting off when –
Anakin had returned.
“For Force’s sake, what is it now?”
“Well – it’s just … Padmé isn’t answering her comlink,” Anakin said, and he sounded close to tears. “I called four times. And she didn’t answer.”
“Oh, and it couldn’t possibly be because she’s sleeping,” said Obi-Wan sarcastically.
“Very funny,” Anakin snapped. “Look, you know what happens whenever Padmé’s not around to take comlink calls. One of her handmaidens always has her comlink, so they can answer it and take a message. And there’s always a handmaiden on security duty. So if the comlink’s not being answered, that means there’s no handmaiden on security, and that means …”
“Oh, Force,” Obi-Wan gasped as the chilling realization stole over him. “We need to get over there. Now.”
Anakin was already hurrying out the door, and Obi-Wan got the distinct impression his Padawan had been planning to do just that all along. It didn’t matter now, though. Padmé’s safety was paramount, and the apparent inability of either her or her staff to answer comlink calls was very worrisome indeed.
In under five minutes, both Master and Padawan were fully dressed and ready to leave. They took one of the speeders designed for personal use from the Jedi Temple’s hangar and flew off into the night.
Obi-Wan had insisted on piloting the craft, since Anakin seemed to be moments away from having a complete breakdown. He was white as a sheet, shaking violently and kept muttering, “Not Padmé … not Padmé, please not Padmé … first Mom, now Padmé … please, no …” over and over. The last few months had given Obi-Wan reason to suspect that something had happened with Padmé and Anakin’s friendship – perhaps motivated by her having told Anakin that she didn’t love him – but it was clear that he cared no less for her.
“Anakin, it’s all right,” Obi-Wan said, patting Anakin’s arm in what he hoped was a comforting way. The younger man had turned an interesting shade of green and was keeping his lips tightly clamped. “I’m sure we’ll get there and find that everything is just fine, and this has all been some big mistake.”
Anakin shot his Master as withering a glance as was possible under the circumstances. “Dreams – aren’t – like that,” he managed to squeeze out. “They … predict … stuff.”
Truthfully, Obi-Wan felt just as queasy as Anakin looked, and now believed that his dream had most likely foretold something, but he wasn’t about to admit that either to his Padawan or to himself. The thought that something had happened … to Padmé, or to his child … was too much for him to bear.
They pulled up to Padme’s apartment and Anakin leapt immediately out, lightsaber ignited. Obi-Wan was right behind, but held out a hand to stop him. “Wait,” he whispered. “If it’s an assassin or someone similar, they could still be here. We must use caution.”
“If it is …” Anakin spat, clutching his lightsaber so hard that Obi-Wan could hear the mechanical servos in his right arm whining.
“Rescue, not mayhem,” Obi-Wan insisted. “Control your emotions. Rushing in will do no good whatsoever.”
Anakin took several deep breaths, and when Obi-Wan reached out to him in the Force, he was calmer.
They crept into the apartment. The very fact that they could do so was another blow – the security field had been deactivated and not brought back online. Everything else looked normal – sculptures on their pedestals, statues on their plinths, the curtains fluttering lightly in the night’s breeze. Stretching out in the Force, Obi-Wan could sense no life-forms in the immediate vicinity, except …
“There’s someone on the upper floor,” he whispered to Anakin. “Quietly, after me.”
The Jedi tiptoed up the stairs, coming up and into Padmé’s living area. Once again, no signs of anything unusual were present … aside from the small, hunched form sitting on one of her couches.
“Padmé?” Anakin asked.
The figure snapped to attention, and in the dim light provided by the buildings outside, Obi-Wan could see it was Eirtaé, one of Padmé’s handmaidens. Her eyes were red and swollen, and she seemed to have been crying.
“Master Jedi!” she gasped, clutching at her heart. “What in the galaxy are you doing here?”
“We tried to comm Padmé about four times, and no one was answering,” Obi-Wan explained. “So we just wanted to make sure everything was all right. … Is it?”
“You tried to comm her?” said Eirtaé blankly. “Oh – yes, I turned it off. The press, you know … conclusions are drawn when reporters see a Senator leaving her apartment at such an unusual hour, in that sort of state –”
She stopped short, seeing the stricken looks on their faces.
Anakin, looking as frightened and upset as Obi-Wan felt, finally thought to shut off his lightsaber. “What – what happened?” he asked in a hushed voice.
“We’re still not sure,” Eirtaé admitted. “Senator Amidala seemed to be feeling all right, if a little tired, when she went to bed. She’s been a little off-colour for weeks, you see. Then a few hours after she had retired, Dormé’s comm sounded. It was the Senator, and … she was in a terrible state. There was so much pain, and blood. We thought at first there had been another assassination attempt, but the room bore no signs of forced entry, and there was nothing to indicate any energy weapons had been fired. So I called Her Lady’s private physician, and a group of medical technicians were summoned. They took her to the Coruscant MedCenter. And … and that’s all I know, at this moment.”
Anakin was already heading for the stairs, but Obi-Wan lingered a moment, thoughts spinning through his head. “The medical technicians, did they say anything about, erm, the Senator’s physical health?” was the first question that came to him.
“Nothing other than that it appeared to be an internal hemorrhage of some type,” said the handmaiden nervously, and Obi-Wan could tell she was becoming uncomfortable. “But they said they would need to do more diagnostic tests at the MedCenter. There are … rumours, Your Grace, among some members of Senator Amidala’s staff that she is in a delicate condition, but of course that’s a preposterous assertion.” (Obi-Wan nodded fervently.) “We guessed simple stress, the pressures of her work in the Senate, which is rather intense at the moment. But this … this is obviously something much more serious.”
A single tear tracked its way down Eirtaé’s cheek. Obi-Wan had to work hard to ease some of his own desperate fear, releasing it into the Force.
“Master, what are we waiting for?” Anakin demanded, one foot on the top step. “Let’s go! I want to see how Padmé is.”
Obi-Wan turned back to the handmaiden. “Would – would that be all right?” he asked tentatively. “I mean, do you think they’d let us in?”
“Given you are Jedi, and well-known to my Lady, I suppose they might,” Eirtaé replied. “Please ask Dormé to comm me on the handmaidens’ link if she knows anything more.”
“I will,” Obi-Wan promised. “Thank you for your time.”
He followed Anakin down the stairs and back into the speeder. This time, he felt nauseated, while Anakin seemed calmer.
“They’ll sort her out,” he said confidently as he took the controls of the speeder and piloted them away. “The Coruscant MedCenter can fix almost anything. Like the other day, I heard there was a clone brought in and both his arms and legs were sliced clean off. He survived, though, and he’ll get prosthetics and stuff and be back in service. And besides, at least it wasn’t an assassination attempt.”
Obi-Wan nodded mutely. Yes, the fact that there had not been another attempt on Padmé’s life was certainly good news, but that did not stop the sick, swooping sensation in his stomach when he remembered Eirtaé’s words: “… she was in a terrible state … There was so much pain, and blood.” Pain from what? Blood from where? Had the medical technicians been able to identify the problem? Was Padmé still hurting? And the baby … oh, Force, please let the baby be all right …
He faced forwards, more frightened than he had ever been.
The lake was wide, and blue, and she was floating upon it. No, floating in a boat. They had rented the boat, and were on their way to Varykino. She, Obi-Wan, and a small dark-haired boy Padmé did not know. Obi-Wan had wrapped both his arms around her, and she was reclining in his lap while the child splashed the water alongside the boat.
“Let’s have another water fight, Daddy!” he exclaimed, looking expectantly at Obi-Wan. “Bet I can beat you this time. See?” He used the Force to lift a small amount of water and bring it splashing over Obi-Wan’s head.
“Hey, hey, I haven’t even agreed yet! No fair starting!” laughed Obi-Wan.
“Best two out of three?” the boy begged.
“In a moment,” his father promised. “When we get to Varykino we’ll have the Water Fight to End All Water Fights. Right now, I just want to be with your mother. I want to reassure her that there will soon be days like this in her actual life.”
The choice of words struck Padmé as very odd, but before she could ask for clarification, the scene dissolved, swirling into colours. When things became clear again, she was standing on a wide green field. She recognized it as the same field where she and Anakin had picnicked.
Several shaaks were grazing nearby, and the dark-haired boy stood in front of her. He reached for Padmé’s hand, squeezing it lightly.
“Mom, I’ve got to go now,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
She blinked. “I’m afraid I don’t understand. Who – who are you?”
“I’m inside of you,” the boy said. “I’m you, and Daddy. But … but something’s happened, and I have to go. I don’t know why. I just do.”
“Inside of me,” Padmé echoed. “So … so you’re …”
He nodded. “Yeah.”
She moved to hug him, but he pulled away.
“Please don’t,” he said. “It’ll just be harder that way. I have to do this.”
Padmé could feel the tears starting to come, but she squeezed his hand back. “Why?”
“The will of the Force,” the boy said simply.
He walked away as the scene dissolved once more, and she felt herself being pulled down … back …
“Padmé? … Padmé, darling, can you hear me?”
She did not want to answer. She was back, she could sense she was back, and there was a heaviness about her body that had not been there before.
Someone took her hand, kissed it lightly. Padmé could feel a tickle of hair against it, and it was that, perhaps, which finally motivated her to open her eyes.
Obi-Wan was sitting beside her, his head bowed as if in meditation, his hand now clutching hers. He looked as she had never before seen him look – like a man who did not know where he was or what to do. His eyes were red-rimmed, and he seemed utterly defeated.
“Are you okay?” she whispered.
He jumped and nearly toppled off his chair at the sound of her voice. “Padmé … thank goodness,” he whispered.
Two tears slipped down his cheeks.
“What’s wrong?” Padmé asked.
Obi-Wan ran a weary hand across his face. “No, I suppose you wouldn’t know …” he murmured, almost to himself. “Padmé … darling, you’re in the Coruscant MedCenter. You were brought here early this morning, after taking quite ill overnight.”
Scenes flashed back to her … blood … screaming … a voice, shouting for medical technicians to be called … blinding pain …
“The baby!” Padmé blurted. “Oh Force, please tell me the baby’s all right!”
He lowered his eyes, apparently unable to look at her.
“Obi-Wan … please,” she begged.
“The technicians … did everything they could,” he began, “but by the time you were brought in … they said it was already too far gone. They rushed you into surgery, and – and – couldn’t find a heartbeat.”
“No!” she cried. “No, that’s not possible! Everything was fine!”
The baby was okay … the medical droid had said so … how could this be happening to me? her mind screamed.
Besides her, Obi-Wan was crying quietly.
He wouldn’t be so upset if it wasn’t true.
She swallowed hard, tears beginning to slip down her cheeks, thinking suddenly of the dream she’d had. Was it a dream? Mom …the child had called her Mom. Something’s happened … I have to go, he’d said. The will of the Force.
Padmé began to cry in earnest now, for the loss that could never be recovered.
She passed the next days in a haze of grief and pain. Medical technicians visited her almost constantly, confirming that she had suffered a miscarriage at nearly three months’ gestation. Testing found that the child was male, but did not provide the reason for the failed pregnancy. Padmé could not help but feel a sense of comfort at the news that she had carried a boy – perhaps the dream really did mean something, then. Perhaps her son had been trying to tell her goodbye, even though she hadn’t understood.
It was only a small comfort, however. Her body was still recovering physically from the trauma, and every three hours the technicians appeared to administer a strong pain medication that, more often than not, put her to sleep. This left little time for conscious thought, but in her more lucid moments Padmé told herself firmly that once she was sent home to finish her recuperation, she would deal with the cascading thoughts and emotions she sensed were struggling to break free.
She had a steady stream of visitors, and her handmaidens organized shifts so that one would be with her or nearby at all times. This was necessary not only for Padmé’s emotional stability (or what remained thereof), but also to fend off the increasingly curious members of the press. The HoloNet stationed a reporter outside whose job was to watch the MedCenter entrance at all times for people connected to Padmé or Padmé herself, in an attempt to discover the reason for her having suddenly been hospitalized.
Padmé had originally thought that it was for this reason Obi-Wan didn’t come to see her after his initial visit. It was understandable that he might not want to be seen to be involved, especially since rumours were floating around the HoloWeb that Senator Amidala’s medical problems were gynecological in nature. (How they had gotten this information, Padmé had no idea, and truthfully she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to know.) But Obi-Wan’s lack of visitation wasn’t related to the media swarm, as a rather shifty-looking Anakin informed her when he came on the second day.
“It – it’s happening again,” Anakin said, refusing to look Padmé directly in the eye.
She had just been given a dose of pain medication, so her mind was beginning to slip in and out of focus. “What?” she said, her tongue feeling thick in her mouth.
“What happened two years ago,” he explained. “After you stopped writing to him. He’s shut himself up in his quarters and won’t come out. Not even for meals. The Council’s starting to get worried again.”
“Do they … do they … know?” Padmé asked. She had to concentrate very hard to surmount the fuzzy-headed sensation the medication was creating.
“That you’re in the MedCenter? I think so. But … well, you’re not going to die or anything, are you?” Anakin looked worried.
“No. Not going to die. Just a minor thing,” Padmé answered. She had agreed to the cover story Dormé had come up with, which was that she had suffered a burst appendix and was taken in for emergency surgery from which she was now recuperating. Nevertheless, many in the media were refusing to accept it for some reason, and the rumours persisted.
“Yeah, it was in the HoloNet News today that you’re in here,” Anakin told her. “But … Padmé, if you’re not going to die, then why is Obi-Wan so upset? I mean, I’m assuming he’s upset about you. I don’t know what else would be wrong. Unless he’s just really preoccupied with meditation before our mission, but I don’t think so, because …”
His voice sounded as though it was coming from a badly-tuned radio, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to stay awake for much longer. “Ani, can I ask you something?”
It took an extraordinary amount of strength just to say that.
Anakin stopped short. “Sure,” he replied, sounding surprised.
“Well, during the time we had on Naboo, I felt like … like we drifted apart a little,” Padmé managed, “and I don’t … I don’t like that. I want us to be friends, still. My feelings for Obi-Wan shouldn’t change that, and neither … neither should yours for me. I’ve known you for – for ten years now, and I think it would be a shame to let our friendship just … die. So … so can we still be … friends?”
Anakin’s face relaxed into the biggest smile she had seen for a long while. “Oh, Padmé, of course. I don’t want to lose your friendship either. You’re one of my best friends, and …” He blushed a little. “And you bring me comfort. You keep me centred. Whole.” He reached over and squeezed her hand.
Padmé squeezed weakly back, then sighed softly as her eyes fluttered shut. “Stay … stay with me until … I fall asleep?” she asked.
“I would love to, Padmé.” And he did not release her hand, long after it had gone limp.
Padmé was released from the Coruscant MedCenter two days later with a list of instructions to promote healthy recovery, enough pain medication to fill a battle cruiser, the comm numbers of several grief counselors in the area and strict orders not to return to the Senate for one week. Dormé and Eirtaé sheltered her from the media for the most part, although a few reporters did manage to shout questions at her and shove recording devices into her face as she climbed into a speeder. Overall, though, it was agreed that the homecoming had gone as well as could be expected.
Anakin was waiting on her landing pad, and he grinned as the speeder pulled up and Dormé helped her carefully out. She was immediately wrapped in a fervent, but gentle, hug by Anakin.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, obviously concerned.
“All right,” she managed. “A little tired, but better. Thank you.”
“Why don’t we sit down, then,” Anakin suggested, and led her slowly over to one of her couches. He moved a small holobook that had been lying on one of the cushions, and watched anxiously as Padmé lowered herself onto the couch.
“I’m okay, Ani, really,” she assured him. “You’re looking at me as though I’m going to break any second. I promise you, I won’t.”
“Really?” he asked, and they both laughed.
Laughing … it felt so strange for her.
Anakin turned over the holobook and looked curiously at its title. “1,001 Galactic Names for Your Baby?” he read aloud. “What’s this for?”
It happened unexpectedly and abruptly. Padmé opened her mouth to explain, but instead of formulating an appropriate excuse, she began to cry. Hating herself for doing so in the very next instant.
Anakin looked rightfully startled, and drew back a little. “Padmé, what’s wrong? You don’t have to tell me about it if you don’t want to, I was just curious.”
She turned away from him, attempting and failing miserably to marshal her emotions. Weighing the risk of telling him against the risk of keeping it secret. Deciding that there could be no other reasonable explanation for her tears.
Padmé wiped them away, took a deep breath, and turned to face her friend.
“Ani, I … I haven’t been entirely truthful with you,” she confessed. “I’ve allowed you to believe the cover story in the media, and – it’s not true.”
“What do you mean?” asked Anakin, puzzled.
“The truth is … the truth is that I was pregnant,” Padmé explained, unable to meet his eyes. “I found out almost three weeks ago now. And the other night, I started bleeding and having some really bad pain. Dormé took me to the MedCenter, and they told me …” She swallowed hard. “They told me I’d had a miscarriage.”
“Oh, Padmé.” Anakin looked stricken. “I – I’m so sorry. That’s awful.” He laid a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“Thank you,” she whispered. “And there’s something else. Anakin … Obi-Wan was the father.”
“He – what? But how could he – when did you – but –” he blustered. “How – how is this possible?”
“Please don’t let on that you know,” she begged. “He tries to be such a good role model for you and it would devastate him if he knew I’d told you. I only did because I hated lying to you like that. It’s not fair. You’re supposed to be my friend. Friends don’t lie to each other.”
“Friends don’t keep secrets from each other, either,” Anakin pointed out.
“I know. And I hope you can forgive me. There’s no excuse for what I did. I just wanted to protect you. I felt I shouldn’t burden you with another secret you might not be willing or able to keep.”
Anakin sighed. “I don’t suppose the Council knew.” His tone was neutral.
“Only Yoda,” Padmé told him, swiping again at her tears. “Obi-Wan thought that it was important to tell him well in advance of the news getting out. If … if the pregnancy had continued …” She took several deep breaths, willing herself not to cry again. “If the pregnancy had continued, it would eventually have been very difficult for me to hide it. Heavy robes do only so much. So Obi-Wan suggested, and I agreed, that Yoda should be the first to know.”
“I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that particular conversation,” murmured Anakin.
“By all accounts I think it went quite well, actually. Of course … it’s all academic now.” She turned away again. I can’t cry again now … I just won’t!
“Padmé, you need to go to him,” Anakin said suddenly.
She was momentarily startled out of her tears. “Excuse me?”
“You need to go see Obi-Wan,” he clarified. “I don’t want what happened to him two years ago to happen again. He’s doing all his duties, getting us ready for our mission, but I can sense … he’s about to crack. If he doesn’t release some of that pent-up emotion soon …” Anakin shrugged helplessly. “I can’t think about what might happen.”
“But Ani, what good will that do?” Padmé whispered miserably. “It will only remind us of how much we’ve lost.”
“Sometimes it’s easier to grieve with another person,” Anakin insisted. “When you came to talk to me after my Mom died – well, I couldn’t have gotten through that without you. And I don’t want my Master cracking up on a mission.”
He began to laugh.
“What’s so funny?” asked Padmé, bewildered.
“Nothing,” said Anakin between chuckles. “I just realized how much I’m starting to sound like him, that’s all.”
Impulsively she reached for his hand, squeezing it tightly. “There’s more of him in you than either of you realize. And more of you in him.”
“I know that’s true,” Anakin replied. His attention was focused on his lap, at their clasped hands. “It’s just hard to remember sometimes.”
“I’m sure it is.”
“Padmé, go see Obi-Wan. Please.” Anakin was suddenly serious again. “He needs to let out his grief. And he’s not going to do it with me because of what you said, about him being my role model. That’s another thing we have in common, we both feel comfortable around you. Able to be ourselves. And right now …” From his expression, it looked as though it was costing him dearly to say those words. “Right now, you need each other.”
Padmé gazed past him, towards the spires of the Jedi Temple. Was it really true, was Obi-Wan slipping into himself as he had done when she stopped writing to him? If so, how could she help? What good would it do, when they had both agreed to be just friends?
But Anakin is your friend, and when he was grieving the death of his mother, you helped him, she reminded herself. You love Obi-Wan, so why do you owe him anything less?
“All right,” she said finally. “I will.”
Obi-Wan’s room was dark. That was the first thing Padmé noticed. All the blinds were drawn, making it seem gloomy and depressing even though the sun was shining brightly outside. Obi-Wan was lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, a stack of untouched datapads tottering next to him. He looked reasonably well-groomed, although there were dark circles under his eyes and he appeared to have lost some weight.
“Knock, knock,” said Padmé softly, peeking around the doorjamb.
Obi-Wan jumped and nearly fell off the bed. The datapads rocked violently and toppled over, scattering on the floor, but he made no move to pick them up. Instead he rubbed a hand wearily over his eyes and said, “Padmé, what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see how you were doing,” she said honestly. “When I last saw you in the MedCenter … well, I was pretty drugged at the time, but not so much to notice that you were upset.”
“There is no emotion, there is peace,” Obi-Wan mumbled, listlessly levitating the datapads and piling them back onto his bed. “I’m fine, Padmé.”
“Anakin doesn’t think so,” said Padmé softly. She hated to bring him into it, but neither did she feel she could lie.
“Force, what is he, my Padawan or my mother?” snapped Obi-Wan, slamming the last datapad onto the pile in an uncharacteristic display of temper. “It’s not up to him to say how I am or am not feeling!”
“Perhaps not,” Padmé acknowledged. “But sometimes … sometimes I think he knows you better than you know yourself.”
Obi-Wan sank back onto the bed and resumed staring at the ceiling, but made no reply.
Impulsively, Padmé sat next to him. “I know you too,” she said. “And the Obi-Wan I know doesn’t slam equipment around out of anger. Nor is he so lackadaisical in his use of the Force. Something’s wrong. And we need to work it out together, because this time it concerns both of us.”
He bit his lip and suddenly seemed to be trying to hold back tears. Her hand snaked out and clasped his.
“Tell me,” Padmé whispered.
“My – my fault,” he muttered.
“It’s all my fault. Everything’s my fault. Everything. Would’ve been better if … if I just never got involved … never was born, never was. I’ve ruined everything. Everything I ever did … was just wrong.”
Padmé resisted the urge to tell him no, it wasn’t, as she had so many times before. She had a sense that it would be better to probe deeper into his feelings. “What do you mean?”
“I mean everything.” Two tears rolled down Obi-Wan’s cheeks. “Qui-Gon’s death … Anakin’s failures … the miscarriage … everything. It’s all my responsibility. I was never good enough. I made too many mistakes. I … I continue to make too many mistakes. And it will never be good enough, no matter how hard I try. Every time, I say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing.” His shoulders shook as he began to cry, but he continued to speak. “My life is a series of ifs. If I had only been able to reach Qui-Gon in time … if I could be a better Master to Anakin … if I hadn’t told you that we couldn’t be lovers … if, if, if. So … many … mistakes …”
She lay beside him with her arms outstretched, and he melted into her touch. She clasped him to her chest, allowing him to cry, wanting him to let it out, wishing there was some way to lift the weight of guilt from his shoulders. Padmé had never quite realized how crushing it must be, nor how difficult his life had been. But to hear him speak of it, of all the opportunities that had been denied him through, he felt, his own errors, was heart-wrenching.
“Oh, Obi-Wan,” Padmé murmured, softly stroking his hair. “You can’t keep this all inside. It’s eating you alive.”
“Can’t … let go.” His voice was muffled in her dress. “Tried. So many times. ‘There is no emotion, there is peace …’”
“But you can’t recite that to yourself forever,” she insisted. “You need to deal with the emotions instead of burying them. I know it goes against everything you’ve been taught. But if you don’t allow yourself to grieve … you’re no less of a person, or a Jedi, for feeling sadness.”
“But the Code …” Obi-Wan whispered.
“Somehow, I don’t think turning its followers into mindless, emotionless automatons was what the Code had in mind,” Padmé said.
“The miscarriage … it was my fault,” he replied, turning to look at her. “I told you … just before it happened … that we couldn’t be together. It must have upset you so much that –”
“The miscarriage was no one’s fault,” she corrected, feeling a choke of her own grief return. “The medical technicians at the MedCenter were very clear on that. They told me it was one of those things. I suppose you could say … the will of the Force. You weren’t responsible any more than this button on my dress.”
Obi-Wan blinked, and reached a hand up to wipe the tears from his cheeks. “I lost so much, Padmé,” he said, and his voice was stronger now. “When I heard that you had miscarried, it was only then that I realized it. I realized I’d lost the chance to be a father, which is something I’ve always wanted. I didn’t know I wanted it until you lost our baby. Then … I realized exactly how much I want a child. And what a damned fool I’ve been to keep telling you that we can’t be involved as lovers. The Force is trying to tell me something. It’s trying to tell me that I’m running out of chances. That if I want to love you, if we want to be in love, the time to begin is now.”
It was Padmé’s turn to blink in confusion. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying … please, Padmé, forget everything I’ve ever said about the Code. Forget everything I’ve ever said about treating you only as a friend. Forget all my assertions that love is not the Jedi way. And … I want to love you. As a woman, as my best friend, and perhaps – eventually, as the mother of my child. Please, darling.”
She stared at him uncomprehendingly. Was this it? Was this what she had been waiting for for so long? Obi-Wan, gazing at her beseechingly, desperate to love all of her? Finally understanding how much his love meant to her?
Padmé nodded wordlessly. Yes.
And in a corner of the room, unseen to the couple as they embraced and kissed, the blue form of Qui-Gon Jinn wore a wide smile.
PERSONAL RECORD: PADME AMIDALA
It’s been such a whirlwind week.
Obi-Wan and Anakin left this morning for their next mission to Muunilinst. No one knows how long they’ll be away, nor what precisely their mission will entail. Or at least, none of us civilians know. I’m upset about this, but I understand that it is necessary for the war effort.
Not for the first time, my emotions are conflicted. This is a different type of conflict, though – a kind that, if conflict is necessary, I am in some ways happy to have. A significant part of me is still grieving the loss of my child, and I plan to consult some of the counselors whose numbers were given to me by the MedCenter. Talking to Obi-Wan, too, helped immeasurably. During the times we visited each other this week, we’ve cried over what was lost and discussed the future. I’m recovering, in a way I didn’t think would be possible.
Obi-Wan has made it very clear that he intends to become involved romantically with me upon his return – with, I might add, the full consent of Master Yoda and Mace Windu. They agreed that since he has served the Jedi in exemplary ways through his career, and has followed the Code as well as any Jedi could, he is to be permitted this small pleasure. Anakin is not to know, for we fear it would provoke jealousy.
While I’m sad about the circumstances under which this has happened, I am nevertheless happy and amazed and sometimes even giddy. Something I have wanted for six years is finally a possibility, and if I learned nothing else from the events on Geonosis, it’s that life is fleeting, and opportunities such as this must not be wasted.
I cannot wait until Obi-Wan returns.