Fandom/Pairing: Star Wars, Obi-Wan/Padmé
Previous Chapters: Can be read here.
Characters: Obi-Wan, Padmé, Anakin
Word Count: 4,760
Summary: He had fought the war for moments like this. Moments when he could slip into Padmé's apartment as Coruscant's orbital mirrors rotated to their evening setting and she stood on her balcony.
Author's Notes: And so it begins. *sigh* My muse is starting to balk at writing this, mainly, I think, because it knows exactly what's coming. Stupid, stupid, stupid Palpatine. Get your whacking materials (baseball bats, canes, sticks, assorted furniture) ready, because you'll soon need them. We're still into the Obi-Wan/Padmé fluff here, but this is Revenge of the Sith, after all. You know it can't be happy and idyllic for long.
This was why Obi-Wan had fought the war.
He had fought the war for moments like this. Moments when he could slip into Padmé’s apartment as Coruscant’s orbital mirrors rotated to their evening setting and she stood on her balcony. Already prepared for bed, wearing a soft blue nightdress, Padmé brushed her hair and hummed softly to herself.
Or perhaps not to herself. Perhaps to the children.
He caught his breath at the thought, and leaned against the balcony’s entrance to watch her.
Obi-Wan had done his duty during the long months away. He had followed orders, he had won battles, and he had been appointed to the Jedi Council in recognition of his services. When focus was needed, there was no Jedi – no man – who could focus better. When strategy was needed, he applied himself dutifully and completely to the task. He had never been one to let outside influences colour his perceptions, and during wartime this was a crucial skill to possess.
But he had never let himself lose sight of precisely what, and who, he was fighting for.
She had helped him in many ways, although in all likelihood she was oblivious to this. In his tent at night, alone or perhaps with Anakin, Obi-Wan had pictured her face. He’d imagined her voice, and recalled their last encounter. And, concentrating hard, he’d entered the Force and spoken to her.
Padmé, darling, I’m here. I’m all right. I’ll see you again soon, I promise.
I love you.
When Obi-Wan had been captured by Asajj Ventress, captured and made to endure the torture she inflicted, he drew upon the only strength he had left to survive the pain and the hopelessness: Padmé.
Sometimes he pretended that she was with him, comforting him as wave upon wave of agony broke through his body, sponging the sweat from his brow, telling him that he must go on and that he could not die there. Sometimes when a little strength returned to him, he pretended he could hear her voice speaking to him. Sometimes she reminded him of the future they had planned together. Sometimes she just said his name, over and over, in that wonderful way.
Ironically, Obi-Wan was behaving precisely as the Jedi had been taught to during situations of extreme torture. All Jedi had learned that in order to survive those circumstances, they must choose something to fixate upon, never letting that fixation slip from their minds. Of course, they were also taught that the “something” must always be the Force. Only through sinking into the Force could they survive.
But Ventress was intelligent as well as brutal, and she knew precisely what survival techniques were typically employed. She fitted Obi-Wan with a mask that severed his connection to the Force. She was sure that this would break him – that if Kenobi, the consummate Jedi, could no longer access the energy field that calmed him and gave him strength, he would be lost. And he would be hers, to remold into a Sith warrior.
She had not bargained on his possessing an alternate form of strength.
And although Obi-Wan’s memories of his time with Ventress were fuzzy at best, he knew exactly what – who – that strength had been.
Padmé moved the brush through her hair, concentrating on the back now.
“Good evening,” Obi-Wan said softly.
She jumped, but only a little, and her smile was radiant as she turned. “When did you get here?”
Obi-Wan swallowed against the emotion suddenly clogging his throat. “Just – just a few moments ago. I’m sorry I couldn’t get here sooner.”
“Please, darling, don’t worry about it,” Padmé replied. She came to him then, bringing her hand up to caress his cheek softly. Concern creased her face. “Are you all right?”
He’d forgotten that she was often as sensitive to his moods as he was to hers. He took her hand in his, gently kissing each finger. “I was just thinking about how happy I am to be home.”
She didn’t seem fooled. “But you look upset.”
Obi-Wan gazed out towards the Coruscanti skyline, lit by the thousands of buildings dotting the planet’s surface and, tonight, the many fires that still burned from flaming debris. The city looked like he felt: torn and broken inside, but striving to recover.
“This was probably … the most difficult set of missions yet,” Obi-Wan admitted. “Physically and emotionally. I just want to move on, I just don’t want to have to think about any of it. All I want …” His voice shook, and Padmé wrapped her arms around him for support. “All I want is for it to be over, for us to go back to Naboo or wherever and have the children and … finally live that life we keep talking about, without war.” Obi-Wan looked into her eyes almost pleadingly. “Is that so much to ask?”
“Of course not.” She kissed him softly, and he began finally to relax at her touch. “Obi-Wan, we will have that life. I know it. It’s not just a dream.”
He exhaled shakily. “How do you know?”
“I want to have the babies back home on Naboo,” Padmé said. “There’s probably only a month of my pregnancy left, if not less. I want us to be ready then.”
“But, but if the war isn’t over –”
She smiled. “If the war isn’t over, apply for shore leave. You said it yourself earlier: you’ve given the Jedi Order so much. Your service record speaks for itself. You don’t owe them anything more. You’re already going to leave, right?”
“Yes, after the war. There’s a difference,” Obi-Wan insisted. “There’s a difference between leaving the Order after the galaxy is secure and walking out on them right in the middle of a war, when they need me the most. I can’t refuse a mission that might bring an end to the conflict, however much I might want to.”
Abruptly Padmé dropped her arms back to her sides, an emotionless mask clamping into place over her delicate features. “You must do what you think is best, of course,” she said, picking up the brush from the table where she’d left it and beginning to run it through her hair again.
Obi-Wan felt guilt twist in the pit of his stomach. This had often been a point of conflict between them – how torn he felt about his dual role as Jedi and lover, and now, father. To her credit, Padmé tried to cope as best she could, but sometimes, as now, the strain showed through. The pregnancy, too, did not allow for much emotional flexibility. I shouldn’t be so hypocritical, saying one thing and then a second later saying another, he thought.
He went up behind her, running his fingers gently through her hair. “Darling, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. Of course I want to be with you when the twins are born.”
It was Padmé’s turn to draw a shaky breath. “I’m sorry too,” she whispered. “I forget, sometimes, how important the Order is to you. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. It’s very selfish of me.”
Obi-Wan wrapped his arms around her in one of the backwards embraces she loved so much. “You’re not selfish. You’re one of the most unselfish people I know. And I promise you, I will do absolutely everything within my power to be with you and the children.”
She kissed him again, murmuring a soft “Thank you” against his lips.
Obi-Wan reclined in their bed, sighing softly as her fingers wound through his hair. They snaked down his neck, caressing carefully, occasionally drawing him in close for a kiss. He savoured the gentle intimacy, so absent in the last few months.
Neither were his hands idle. He moved slow and deliberate fingers over Padmé’s chest, slipping them beneath her nightgown to cup her milk-full breasts. She moaned a little, nipples stiffening under his touch, and Obi-Wan slid his hand lower and onto her stomach.
He was jolted abruptly from his daydream by a hard kick, aimed directly at his palm.
“Mmm,” Obi-Wan mused. “Someone apparently wants me to share you.”
Padmé laughed. “It’s not just you, actually. They always do this. Whenever I’m trying to settle down and sleep, that’s when the babies seem to become the most active. Maybe they’re just happy their father’s home.”
“But – would they even know –” He broke off; the idea seemed absurd.
“I’d like to think it’s possible,” Padmé said quietly. “Given who their parents are, it’s probably safe to assume they’re Force-sensitive. Perhaps they can feel your presence, even if they can’t see you.”
Obi-Wan nodded, then sank slowly into the current of the Force, feeling the energy field flow around and through him. He could see Padmé’s signature as it had always appeared to him, a bright, shining, comforting presence. And if he reached inside her, if he became one with her … he could feel the beat of her heart, he could become her breath as it cycled in and out. And he could feel the children. It was a kind of life he had never imagined, thoughts and feelings cascading through him faster than he could measure, tiny arms and legs kicking and squirming and beating at Padmé’s womb. Obi-Wan knew, just as surely as he knew that kindness was good and pain bad, that these babies were his. That he had created them with Padmé, and created them out of love.
Hello, little ones, he whispered into the Force. I love you, and I love your mother … so very, very much.
He let go of the current, allowed it to float on without him, and blinked. His cheeks were wet with tears.
Padmé was smiling broadly. “What did you do?” she asked. “They were kicking hard, and then all of a sudden … they seemed to quiet down. Did you do that?”
“Well –” Obi-Wan found his voice choked with emotion, and he had to clear his throat before he could go on. “Yes. I was just – sometimes, if you’re in close proximity to a person with whom you feel a special connection, you can … well, become part of them, in a sense, through the Force. I wanted to see if I could reach the twins, and …”
She brushed the wetness from his cheeks. “And you did.”
Obi-Wan nodded. “Yes. I did.”
Padmé pulled him close, and they held each other, not speaking, for a long while.
“I wasn’t crying because I was upset,” Obi-Wan said gently.
“I know. Neither was I.”
She stroked his hair as they drifted to sleep.
“Watch me, Uncle Anakin!”
The little girl giggled as she approached the shaak, moving up on it as one might approach a frightened bantha. Her brown curls, tied in a braid hanging down her back, bounced as she walked.
“Are you watching me?” she called.
Anakin laughed; it was a laugh of pure joy. “Yes, my dear. I’m watching.”
The boy was sitting in his lap, one thumb tucked securely in his mouth. His eyes were wide as he watched his sister take one final step towards the shaak, then with a sudden leap, land on its back.
“Hey, little one, you want to join her?” Anakin asked, ruffling the child’s hair. “I could show you how, if you like. I did it once myself.”
The boy shook his head. “No, thanks. I wanna stay here wif you.”
“Watch me, Uncle Anakin!” the girl trilled, and he quickly turned his attention back to her.
She stood up shakily, arms held out wide, and balanced carefully on the creature’s back. “I’m doing it! I’m really doing it!”
“Ahh, but can you ride him?” Anakin asked.
The girl blinked. “Ride him?”
“Yes. I’ve done it. You’ve got to be real careful, but as long as you calm him with the Force, you can do it!”
“Anakin Skywalker, you aren’t teaching my children to ride shaaks, are you?” Obi-Wan’s voice rang out behind him.
Anakin shrugged. “Well, hey, it’s better than teaching them to pilot starfighters,” he said sheepishly.
Obi-Wan stretched out on the grass between them. “Yes, I suppose so.”
“How do you ride them, Uncle Anakin?” the girl called out.
“Well, like I said, you’ve got to calm them first,” Anakin replied. “Reach into the Force and sort of … pretend like you’re petting him. Tell him everything’s going to be okay, that you aren’t going to hurt him. And then, tell him to go forward.”
“Okay.” She giggled and he could see her reaching, eyes closed, hands still held out. Slowly, the shaak began to move forward, walking, then trotting, then cantering. “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!”
The creature bucked violently, and its rider suddenly pitched forwards. Her mouth opened wide in a scream, Anakin dove towards her …
The image swirled, and suddenly it was Padmé screaming.
She was lying on a bleak white table, surrounding by beeping instruments and equipment. And she seemed to be in terrible pain, tears were streaking down her cheeks, and she opened her mouth wide to scream again. Anakin could only watch, horror-struck.
“Obi-Wan, help me!” Padmé shrieked. “Obi-Wan, please … I love you, please, help …”
She was going to die, and there was nothing he could do to stop it … she was going to die, just like his mother …
Anakin awoke with a jolt, gasping for air. Sweat trickled down his face and stung his eyes, but he paid no attention.
Padmé – NO –
It couldn’t be true, it just couldn’t, Obi-Wan was with her and if something was going wrong, he would know –
But maybe, said a small voice in the back of Anakin’s mind, maybe the dream wasn’t about something that’s happening right now. Maybe it was about something that’s going to happen.
But what could happen to Padmé in the future? What could happen to make her scream like that, to make her beg for help, to kill her –?
The answer came to him in a flash.
Padmé was going to die in childbirth.
He had seen it before, on Tatooine. One evening when he was six years old there was a frantic knock on the door of the slave hovel he shared with his mother. Jira, Anakin’s friend from the market, was half-supporting and half-carrying her daughter Ahsana, who was in the advanced stages of labour. Shmi did what she could to help the woman, using the various herbal preparations she had on hand, but it was no use. Ahsana and the baby died on the kitchen table, while Anakin peered out from his room.
He couldn’t let that happen to Padmé. He couldn’t.
Anakin scrabbled for his comlink, quickly keying in a level ten privacy code. A moment later, the shimmering form of Obi-Wan appeared. He was bleary-eyed even through the hologram.
“Anakin?” he mumbled, turning over in bed. “What – what’s the matter, what time is it?”
“I don’t know, Master,” Anakin said wildly. “But – but I just needed to – where’s Padmé, is she all right?”
Obi-Wan blinked. “Well – yes, of course. She’s right next to me.” The hologram panned to the left and Anakin could see her coming into wakefulness, turning over to see what was going on.
He wept with relief.
“Ani?” Padmé’s voice was coming through the comlink now. “Is something wrong?”
“Padmé, are you okay?” Anakin choked out.
She, too, looked confused. “I’m fine. Are you okay?”
“I – I don’t know,” he stammered. In his heart he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be okay again. “I – it was a dream.”
“Bad?” Padmé asked gently.
Conscious that Obi-Wan was listening, Anakin said carefully, “Like the ones I used to have about my mother, just before she died.”
She accepted this. “And?”
He could barely bring himself to say the next words. “It was about you.”
Obi-Wan sat up a little straighter and seemed to be about to get out of bed, but Padmé stopped him with one touch of her hand. “Tell me,” she said softly.
“You die in childbirth,” Anakin said desperately.
Padmé’s hand found her abdomen, clasping it tightly. “And the babies?”
“I don’t know.”
“It won’t happen, Padmé,” he assured her, though he still felt far from sure himself. “I won’t let it. I could have saved my mother if I’d just – this dream will not become real.”
“I didn’t think it would,” Padmé replied.
Anakin blinked. “You didn’t?”
She seemed to have sensed his previous thoughts. “This is Coruscant, Ani, not Tatooine. Women don’t die in childbirth on Coruscant – not even the twilighters in the downlevels. And I have a top-flight medical droid, who assures me I am in perfect health. Your dream must have been … some kind of metaphor, or something.”
“I – my dreams are literal, Padmé. Remember the one about the miscarriage? That one came true!”
“But your dreams have always been about things that were happening in the present,” Obi-Wan spoke up. “I’m not trying to pretend that this isn’t important, or frightening for you, because I know it is. But do you not find it strange that you would suddenly begin dreaming of events in the future?”
Anakin thought the matter over. On one hand he did agree that it was strange, but on the other … how could he afford to take this chance, if Padmé really was in danger?
“Maybe it’s just – maybe it’s just different for some reason, I don’t know why,” he said, trying to keep his voice as steady as possible. “But I can’t – I can’t just ignore it, you know I can’t! What if it is true, and Padmé is going to die?”
“Ani, would it make you feel better if you sat in on one of my medical appointments?” Padmé asked. “My next one is just two days away. You could ask the droid any questions you have, and I’m sure it will be glad to give you statistics on how unlikely it is for a woman to die in childbirth these days.” The corners of her mouth lifted. “And you could see the babies on hologram. I’d love for you to be there. Wouldn’t you, darling?”
She was addressing Obi-Wan now. Anakin felt an unexpected knife twist in his stomach at hearing Padmé refer to Obi-Wan as “darling.”
Obi-Wan nodded. “I think it would be wonderful, Anakin. I haven’t even seen them myself yet. Sharing this with you … well, I would love to as well.”
“Wait, wait a second,” Anakin blurted. “Did you say – them? And - babies?”
“Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you this afternoon,” Padmé laughed. “We’re having twins, Ani.”
“Double the trouble,” Obi-Wan added, “but after you, I’d like to think I’m prepared for anything.”
They all laughed, but to Anakin, the noise sounded false and mocking.
“Well,” he replied, “well, congratulations. Again.”
Obi-Wan and Padmé smiled at each other, and laughed again. This time, Anakin did not join in.
“So are you coming?” asked Padmé.
“Sure. I guess. It could be fun.”
I only said that to reassure them, Anakin reflected as he clicked off the comlink. It doesn’t matter how many medical droids see Padmé before the birth. My nightmares always come true. Always.
A darker thought entered his mind, and he paused in the act of putting the comlink back on his bedside table.
If I know in advance she’s going to die, maybe … maybe I could save her.
Jedi lore taught that the art of prophecy-making was an imprecise use of the Force, and that there were many ways it could go wrong. Anakin had heard them all at least a hundred times. By believing a vision to be true, a Jedi could be driven to the Dark Side through obsession with preventing the event from occurring, and that in that obsession, they would actually cause the event. But in this particular situation, the very idea seemed laughable to the point of absurdity. How could Anakin have killed his mother by going to rescue her? And how – how in the galaxy – could he end up killing Padmé himself in the act of saving her?
Yes, that was absurd.
Anakin stood and began to dress. Although it was early, he couldn’t think of going back to sleep when every second that passed might mean one less second Padmé had to live. He had no clue how he might go about the task, but he was sure he’d find a way eventually. He always did.
For Anakin Skywalker, impossible was just another word.
She woke once more to the feel of his fingers on her back.
But this time, she knew, he would not have to leave her.
Padmé was pleasantly surprised at how happy that thought made her.
She kept her eyes closed as she felt Obi-Wan’s fingers moving to her shoulders, stopping to squeeze and then lacing gently through her hair, moving it back from her face. Unconsciously Padmé leaned further back into his touch, and was soon rewarded with a grunt as her buttocks grazed his nether regions. He drew her closer, this time wrapping his arms around her and planting soft kisses on her neck.
“Good morning, darling,” Obi-Wan whispered.
“Good morning,” Padmé whispered back, finally opening her eyes.
A bright Coruscanti morning greeted her, sunlight peeking through the blinds beyond which thousands of speeders were already passing. Padmé was grateful that those blinds were closed; it would hardly do for some gossip-happy journalist to capture her in nothing but a nightgown with Obi-Wan’s arms around her. Force, the scandal …
Then again, a sizeable scandal will erupt anyway when he leaves the Order to marry me, she reflected.
“Did you sleep well?” Obi-Wan asked presently.
Padmé grinned. “Better than I have in months. You?”
Turning to face him, she noticed that his blue eyes seemed troubled.
“Fine,” he said hastily.
“Obi-Wan, you’ve never been very good at hiding your feelings.”
He hugged her more tightly. “It’s silly, but … I keep thinking about Anakin’s dream last night. Most likely it’s nothing, although you do wonder.”
“What I told Ani was true,” Padmé countered. “No one dies in childbirth on Coruscant anymore. Medical technology has advanced beyond that point. I could understand his concern if I was ill, or if there was some special risk factor, but there isn’t. The medical droid says I could not be healthier.”
“But – but you had been talking about going to Naboo to have the babies,” Obi-Wan pointed out. “Varykino is rather isolated, I suddenly don’t like the idea of us being up there alone without any kind of medical assistance.”
“Women have been giving birth as long as civilization has existed. And plenty of them survived; otherwise there wouldn’t be any civilization. I’ll be fine.” Padmé turned to face him, her expression vehement.
“I don’t want anything to happen to you. Or to the children.” She could hear the unspoken pain in his voice.
“Anakin’s dreams have always been about things happening in the present,” Padmé reminded him. “And clearly, this isn’t. I’m not in labour, I’m not dying. There’s no risk to me personally. I don’t understand why he would suddenly be able to predict the future.” She reached up, caressing his cheek softly.
“Predictions of the future are a rather imprecise use of the Force,” Obi-Wan admitted. “And the fact that the vision is set in the future is a departure from his usual abilities. I shouldn’t allow myself to become so concerned.”
“We love each other,” she objected. “It’s only natural for us to worry about the other’s welfare.”
“No, Padmé, it is not,” said Obi-Wan firmly. “At least, not for me. I’m a Jedi. I must be prepared to allow things and people to pass out of my life. It’s all very well for me to be concerned about you and to love you, and to want the best for you. But if it is the will of the Force that you should pass on before me, or I before you, it would be selfish for me to cling to you or to life for my own purposes and desires. That is a path of misery; the Jedi do not walk it.”
“You have to do whatever you feel is best,” Padmé said, and though her words were similar to those she had spoken last night, these were said out of love and affection rather than anger. And they were accompanied by a kiss to his cheek.
“I love you,” he whispered, brushing her hair back from her face.
“And I love you,” was the soft response.
PERSONAL RECORD: PADME AMIDALA
I have not written for quite some time, which is ironic because there is so much happening in my life right now. Perhaps we only write in our personal records when we want to remember how exciting our lives can sometimes be. I’m sure there’s a philosophical message hidden somewhere in that pronouncement. But I have a special reason to write now: I want to leave a record for my children. I wish to bestow a clear account of precisely what events transpired in the month leading up to their birth, and perhaps the months after. I have a sense that many historical documents will one day record the events taking place now, but historical documents are always written with a clinical eye and without a desire to tell the stories of ordinary people. That untold story is what I want future generations to consider as they read these words.
So, my darlings, as I prepare to begin another day’s work at the Senate, this is where things stand.
Your father has returned to the Jedi Temple to attend a mission briefing with Masters Yoda and Windu. While there, Obi-Wan will talk to Anakin about his dream of last night. Neither your father nor I are setting much store by the nightmare, especially not while we have so few details about it. Anakin seemed to panic so badly when he contacted us early this morning, so surely whatever he witnessed must have been horrifying. And yet, we all have nightmares. They are endemic to every being, in every culture. I doubt there is anything to worry about.
I myself feel different today, whole, complete. It’s only Obi-Wan’s close presence that has made me realize how much I’ve missed him over the past months. And I have missed him terribly. But it isn’t only that. It’s the knowledge that at some point in the future, we will pledge our lives and ourselves to each other, that we will marry, and that we will do it in sight of and with the blessing of at least my family. I’m hoping some of the Jedi can be involved too given that they have been such an integral part of your father’s life. I know they will be upset at him for choosing to leave the Jedi Order, but unless they are willing to rescind their rule about marriage, he hardly has a choice. But I think it would be wonderful for Obi-Wan if Yoda was there … perhaps Master Windu … and most especially Anakin. Ani has been such a large part of both our lives. I couldn’t leave him out of such an important day, even though I recognize it may be difficult for him.
Today in the Senate I will meet with the Loyalist Committee and listen to a speech Palpatine has apparently written about the attack on Coruscant that happened yesterday. I’ve no doubt this speech will include an announcement that our civil liberties will continue to be tossed aside in favour of more security reforms. But so long as there are those of us opposed to these dictatorial policies, the galaxy still has hope. We can still fight, even if we must do it in more insidious ways.
And tomorrow … tomorrow I will see you both, because I am having what will likely be my final holoimaging session before your birth. I can’t wait. Neither can Obi-Wan. I’ve seen you several times before, and I have a few holoimages of you kicking and sucking your thumbs, but still holoimages do not compare to the real thing. Your father has never seen you. Nor has Anakin. I suspect they are both anxious to so, Obi-Wan in particular.
I must end off now, for Captain Typho has arrived with my speeder. Rest well, my darlings. I will write once more tomorrow.