|“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” Obi-Wan’s scream ripped through the small room he occupied alone in the palace of Theed. He hadn’t been able to sleep since he’d seen his Master, his Father, Qui-Gon cut down by the evil Sith, Darth Maul. What sleep he did get was filled with dreams of “what if’s” If only he had run faster… If only the energy fields wouldn’t have been there. If it wasn’t for the boy, maybe none of this ever would have happened… but they all ended the same, with Qui-Gon dying in his arms.
The funeral was set for the following evening at sunset, as was the Jedi custom. The Jedi Council would be arriving today along with the new Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. How was he going to make it through this day? He was supposed to be this entity -- a powerful Jedi who shows no feelings and is impervious to personal pain. But he was in pain. All that he had worked for, fought for, had come to a bitter halt when Qui-Gon died. He and Qui-Gon had grown into each other, supporting each other through difficult times. He’d spent what seemed like his whole life looking up to this one man biding for his attention, hoping he was pleasing Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan had earned the respect of his master and the right to call him friend. Now half of that strength, his strength, was gone and Obi-Wan had forgotten how to stand alone. How could he go on? Alone. That’s something Obi-Wan hadn’t been since he was 12 years old and on a transport to a farming colony on Bandor.
He had to compose himself before he could deal with anyone else. Anakin had already come in three times that morning wanting someone to talk to and to give him comfort, but Obi-Wan wasn’t the one to do it. Rolling off the bed and to the floor he folded himself onto the floor in the lotus position trying to open himself to the Force to let it calm him, but all he could think of was the look on Qui-Gon’s face as the Sith’s saber struck him. Losing hold on his rationality, the tears started to fall, but he didn’t do anything to stop them. This was his worst fear and it had become so real that it was hard to block out the pain. He wrapped his arms around himself to ward off the sudden cold of loneliness and buried his face in the soft material of his robe. Crying wasn’t going to fix anything and he knew it, but he was too tired to fight anymore, so he let the tears fall from his chin and soak into his sleeve.
Obi-Wan couldn’t recall how long he’d been sitting in that position when he was called from him solitude by a quiet knock on the door. Obi-Wan wiped the tears from his eyes and regained his composure before opening up the heavy door. Queen Amidala stood there. She wasn’t dressed in the usual wardrobe that signified her office. He took in every aspect of her regal appearance. The site took his breath away. Dressed in white with a lavender cape hanging from her shoulders, she looked more human and less the Queen that he had come to expect, but then again he was still trying to get used to the fact that she was the Queen and not Just Padmé the handmaiden. Her dress had an empire waist and was cut into a flowing skirt that dragged gracefully on the floor. Her hair was braided behind her and looped up into a gold tiara but bareheaded otherwise, her earrings were long golden teardrops against the black of her hair trembling ever so slightly like leaves in the wind... A gold knot of a pendant lying against her collarbone on a thick, intricate chain. ‘How can she look so old and be so young, where does she get the strength her people need?’ Obi-Wan thought.
She stood motionless for a moment with something folded in her arms. Her wide, solemn eyes reflecting the pain Obi-Wan felt, in a face painted into a moon, an unhappy scarlet strike like a tear on the lips. She noticed his face was pale but composed as he bowed silently there before her. A light in his eyes had seemed to go out when the royal guards found him in the core with Qui-Gon in his arms.
“The people of Naboo owe you our gratitude. Your bravery and sacrifices do not go unnoticed. We feel deeply for your sorrow, Qui-Gon will be greatly missed by all of us.” The Queen knew that nothing could ease his pain but she reached out a reassuring hand and placed it on his forearm. “You will make a fine Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
The thought of human touch was almost euphoric to Obi-Wan as he had avoided all contact since Qui-Gon’s death, and now there was this beautiful woman reaching out to him in his need. Reaching out his own hand he touched her cheek smudging the red painted beauty mark on her with his thumb. Amidala leaned into the hand that was touching her then looked into his ice blue eyes for an awkward moment in confusion and fear not knowing what to do next. He wanted to hold her but knowing his place as a Jedi he couldn't... ‘What am I thinking...? I'm a Jedi ... she's a YOUNG Queen. But why does she tremble when I touch her? Why does nothing ever turn out like it should?’ But he wasn’t thinking. He took a small step towards her and she pulled away. "Goodbye, Jedi Kenobi.” Amidala said. Still looking deep into his eyes she handed over the bundle in her arms for him to have, and she quickly stepped away from him and turned to go.
“Thank you,” Obi-Wan whispered in a slightly horse voice. Not realizing that it was loud enough to hear Obi-Wan was surprised when Queen Amidala turned and smiled softly in acceptance. Silently cursing himself for his stupidity he stepped back into the room and the door swooshed shut in front of him. Obi-Wan looked to what he had in his hands and his master’s brown cloak slipped from his fingers. The sudden shock of everything that had happened threw him to his knees in a fit of sobs.. ‘Why? Why? Why? It should have been me… He should be here to train the boy.’ Leaning forward to rest his head on the cold marble of the floor he closed his eyes and tried to meditate.
Relaxing his body until he was nothing more then a lump on the floor he pictured Qui-Gon in his mind. His easy smile, his way of incessantly pointing out the Living Force to Obi-Wan, His tall solemn figure bringing a calm peace to any situation they were thrown into.
“Obi-Wan” Qui-Gon’s voice filled the room. Obi-Wan’s head jerked up at the sound, eyes open and fully alert, but there was no one there… He closed his eyes again giving himself to the Force. The Force pulsed through him like an unforgiving rhythm to a song not yet written, yet also as a gentle heat that surged through and around him, making him and the room he was in shrink to almost nothing in his mind. He needed the Force to wipe away the feelings of anguish he was dealing with inside, but above all else, he needed the peace that always came with the use of the Force.
“Obi-Wan,” Qui-Gon’s voice called out again. “Master?” Obi-Wan called back through the Force, “What do I do now?” There was no response. All that Obi-Wan felt was the emptiness left within from where their bond had once been… “Master” he whispered to the empty room “Why did you have to leave me?”
Obi-Wan was called from his chambers to meet the arriving Council in the courtyard, and he was to bring Anakin with him. He’d almost forgotten about the boy through all of this. Anakin was nothing more then a fleeting thought and a scapegoat for his pain. He wouldn’t mind if he could forget the boy completely and just get on with his life… but he had promised Qui-Gon that he would train Anakin.
Not long after Obi-Wan, with Anakin at his side and many of Naboo’s public officials standing with the Queen, watched as the large red Republic cruiser landed. The gangplanks lowered and people started filing out. Obi-Wan was surprised at the amount of Senators that had come to celebrate with Naboo. Among them was Supreme Chancellor Palpatine surrounded by his honor guards.
“Obi-Wan?” Anakin said pulling on his sleeve. Obi-Wan looked down at the boy and shook off the thought of telling him to go away. “Are they here for Qui-Gon or for me?”
“Both, I believe.” He said forcing a smile “They’re here to pay respects to Qui-Gon and to release his body to be one with the Force. You played no small part in saving Naboo too, I’m sure that they will want to see you.”
“I miss him.” Anakin said in a sad quiet voice.
“As do I Anakin, but death isn’t the end of life, it’s a continuance with the Force.” Obi-Wan stated as he placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Qui-Gon isn’t gone forever, he is now a part of the Force. Come, we must go greet the Council”
Walking across the courtyard to where the Council would be Obi-Wan was stopped by a smiling Chancellor Palpatine. “We are indebted to you Obi-Wan Kenobi.” He said as the Jedi bowed before him. “And you young Skywalker, we’ll be watching your career with great interest.”
For an instant Obi-Wan felt a dark tremor in the Force, as Palpatine patted Anakin on the shoulder in passing, but quickly disregarded it as a lack of control on his own emotions. He looked up to see a large majority of the Jedi Council coming towards them. As they neared, Obi-Wan felt strongly their feelings of grief, and of concern for him. He reached out to them with the Force finding comfort in their strength.
Obi-Wan bowed deeply to the two Jedi Masters that walked before the rest. “Great is our loss today.” Intoned Mace Windu, “we share in your sorrow Obi-Wan.”
“Thank you, Master.” Obi-Wan said straightening before the dark skinned Jedi Master, “it is good of you to come, there is much that needs to be discussed.”
“Yes discussions there must be, but the council first calls Anakin Skywalker to stand before us.” Master Yoda said, looking towards where the boy was partially standing behind Obi-Wan. “Made a decision needs to be.”
“Yes Masters.” Obi-Wan bowed again and signaled Anakin to follow after the Council as they went up the stairs and entered the Palace of Theed.
“Good Luck, Anakin.” Obi-Wan said to himself halfheartedly. Once they had passed through the doors and out of sight Obi-Wan searched out the Queen in the crowd of people that were still loitering in the plaza. When he caught sight of her he still couldn’t believe that she was so young. She had changed since that morning and was wearing a high necked black dress with gold threads shimmering here and there. Her headpiece was rather elaborate and held her hair back from her painted face with beads that hung past her shoulders. She looked at him, a blank unreadable expression on her face.
Bowing to Amidala, Obi-Wan turned and went the direction of the Jedi Council. He frowned at himself for wishing that she would give some sign that he hadn’t over stepped his boundaries earlier, but there was none.
Amidala stood watching the Jedi go. Her heart beating wildly. She’d never felt this way about anything in her life and frankly it scared her. She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts, but she saw those pure icy blue eyes that held so much sadness. She had thought she’d gotten to know Obi-Wan in the many long hours she’d spent with the Jedi since her leaving Naboo. He’d seemed so cold and aloof she’d almost been afraid of trusting him, but she’d seen another side to him now. A side of him that screamed for help under the quiet Jedi exterior. In that brief moment in the hall she not only looked into his eyes, she’d seen his soul.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Anakin’s meeting with the Jedi Council lasted for hours, or so it seemed to Obi-Wan who was left to pace the hall outside. The light through the grand windows of the palace was fading fast and the time for Qui-Gon’s funeral was drawing near. Obi-Wan wanted to cry again but had long since exhausted all of his tears and was now resigned to fighting his inner battle. He knew the Council would raise him to the level of Jedi Knight, and grant him permission to train Anakin those were both the obvious ends to the situation here on Naboo.
Obi-Wan hated to admit it, but he was jealous of the boy. Qui-Gon had tried naming Anakin his Padawan with little consideration to Obi-Wan’s feelings. He hated Anakin at that moment. If Qui-Gon thought the Boy was better then Obi-Wan then so be it. “This is ridiculous.” Obi-Wan thought, “I cannot hate the boy if I am to train him.” He stopped pacing and closed his eyes. Opening himself to the Force he let it fill him and surround him, completely engulfing him in it’s light. “Master?” Obi-Wan called through the Force, “if anything you ever taught of the Force is true, I know you can hear me… Master help me.” He let an image of a meditation room where he and Qui-Gon would go for lessons at the Jedi Temple fill his minds eye. Everything was so clear to him the wine colored tiles beneath his feet and the sound of birds and the fountains bubbling in the background awakened his senses, and there, at the window looking out over the expanse of Coruscant stood Qui-Gon.
“Forgiveness is the essence of the code.” Qui-Gon said in his familiar lecturing tone without turning from the window. “It is not given that we should hold resentment for another and let it fester. It causes more damage then good," turning from the window Qui-Gon gave Obi-Wan a knowing look, "and self doubt, Obi-Wan, can do the same.”
“Yes, Master.” Obi-Wan said pushing back the wonderment at seeing Qui-Gon alive again. He wasn’t expecting this. So many times through his childhood at the temple he was told that those who were strong in the Force never really died they just moved on to a higher state in which to guide those that would come after. Obi-Wan never truly believed this and he had berated himself for telling Anakin the same thing that morning. “Why did you choose him before the Council, Master? Was I not good enough anymore?”
“Nonsense Obi-Wan. You were the best I ever taught. But I sense in Anakin the Living Force. You miss that in your observations. He is strong in the Force, and trained precisely he will be an asset to the Jedi and to many in the future.”
“But Master, I know so little of the Living Force. How can I teach Anakin?” Obi-Wan argued with him. “You should be here to do it. You’re the one who believed in him, not me.”
“The Force knows the way of all things, my young Padawan, it is all around you, let it guide you. Train the boy he is the chosen one. Forgive and forget, Obi-Wan.”
“Yes Master.” Obi-Wan let a tear slide down his cheek as he gave his anger to the Force, it pulsed through him matching the beat of his heart and let the heat of it melt the hatred he held for Anakin.
“You will be a great Jedi Knight. May the Force be with you. Always."
Qui-Gon's voice faded into the recesses of Obi-Wan's mind as he released the Force when he heard the heavy door of the Council's chamber opened. "May the Force be with you Master." Obi-Wan sent back before he turned to see Anakin emerge from the room. He looked tired and a little mad. His blond hair seemed a ruffled as Obi-Wan had noticed lately that he ran his hand through it in a nervous gesture. It must have been hard for him to face the Council again after what had happened the last time. Obi-Wan bowed to him as he passed and then looked back to the door to see Yoda waiting there for him.
"The boy is to be trained then?" Obi-Wan asked as he knelt before the small Jedi Master.
"So certain are you of the Council's decision young Kenobi?" Opening his sleepy eyes a little more and cocking his ears forward a little bit inquisitively. "Confer on you the level of Jedi Knight the Council does, decided the boy's future is. The chosen one the boy may be, but agree with you taking him as your Padawan learner, I do not."
"Qui-Gon believed in him, I gave him my word. I will train Anakin, without the approval of the Council if I must."
"Qui-Gon's defiance I sense in you. Need that you do not. Decided the Council is, Skywalker your apprentice will be."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Night came and silently the procession of mourners entered the dome where Qui-Gon’s body lay, lining the walls and surrounding Obi-Wan offering what comfort they could.
Queen Amidala stepped forward and stood at the head of the pyre her dark eyes misted with unshed tears, she spoke, her voice unwavering. “We gather together this night not only to pay our respects to a fallen Jedi, but to remember all those that have lost their lives in defense of our planet.” She reached out with a delicate hand, her white painted nails glimmering in the torch light of the darkened room, placing it lightly on Qui-Gon’s chest and whispering a prayer of thanks to the man who had fought so hard to save her.
Obi-Wan stood watching the service in silence not hearing much of the words spoken over his Master’s body. Opening himself to the Force Obi-Wan reached out for Qui-Gon’s spirit to be with him taking comfort in it, knowing now that as long as he had the Force he was not alone. Lifting his eyes from where he’d been looking towards the pyre, but not really seeing it, he saw Captain Panaka walking towards him with a torch. His heart stopped beating. He was the one to light the fire that would release Qui-Gon’s body to the Force. Bowing before Obi-Wan, Panaka offered the Torch to him. Knowing his duty he took it and walked to the center of the room with torch in hand. In his mind he could see Qui-Gon, their conversation they had hand just an hour before, but now, here was the only father he’d ever known lying before him. He held his breath as he slowly lowered the torch to the wood below, his emotions fought to over take him. He didn’t want to show weakness before the Council, but he figured it was already to late for that. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t light the fire that would take his Master completely away from him. He forced the tears away and took the flame back away from the sizzling wood. He turned looking back over his shoulder at Panaka, hoping the man would understand his need for help.
Queen Amidala took a step forward wanting to help him, but made no other move to come closer. Not knowing exactly what to do Captain Panaka hesitated for a moment before moving next to the young Jedi. Resting his hand on the wrist that held the torch and taking it away with the other. Taking step back he allowed Obi-Wan a moment to say good bye.
“May the Force be with you, Qui-Gon.” He whispered as he leaned down placing a kiss on his Master’s temple. Lingering for a moment in the closeness that their relationship had embodied since the day he had been taken as a Padawan. Turning away from his friend Obi-Wan pulled up his hood to hide his emotions nodding to Panaka in passing letting him know that it was all right to proceed. He walked back to where Anakin was standing alone away from the rest of the crowd. The boys face showing the agony that Obi-Wan struggled with inside.
His heart no longer held the malevolence for the boy that he had been harboring earlier but envy still remained, he hoped that would fade with time. Obi-Wan thought of how the boy had not only lost his mother, but he’d lost his home and friends, and Qui-Gon all within such a short time. They stood together in silence as they watched the flames engulf Qui-Gon’s body as sparks and ashes were picked up in the wind. Everyone felt the impact of Qui-Gon’s death, but none so much as Obi-Wan. He took deep breaths trying to remain calm. He was the Master now, he needed to show Anakin the way of the Force. He knew nothing of the Force, or of the Jedi. Anakin would rely on Obi-Wan for all of this. Reaching out with the Force he touched Anakin’s mind hoping that together they could get through this. Anakin looked wonderingly up at Obi-Wan with a curious look on his face. “He’d felt it,” Obi-Wan thought. “That will make this easier… on both of us.”
Anakin spoke to Obi-Wan quietly, “what’s going to happen to me now?”
“The Council has granted me permission to train you.” Obi-Wan said looking down at the boy. “You will be a Jedi, I promise.” Anakin half smiled at the words but his sorrow shown so clearly on his face. Obi-Wan wondered if this was the right place to have told him, but now was as good as ever. He placed a comforting hand on Anakin’s shoulder adding his strength to this small boy.
After the fire had burnt down to nothing. Obi-Wan pulled from his belt a small knife and took his Padawan braid in hand cutting it cleanly from his head. Folding it in half again he split it in the center putting half into his belt pouch. He held the second half in his hand for a moment watching it unwind in his hand. Obi-Wan placed his other hand on the warm stone amongst the ashes where his Master had been wishing for a moment that he could have gone with him.
“Do not pursue the past.” Yoda’s voice came from behind him, “The past no longer is and the future has not yet come. Unexpectedly death comes, how can we bargain with it? We must be diligent today. Go on with life Obi-Wan, a Padawan you must train.”
He turned to Yoda hoping that the diminutive Master would have some other wisdom to offer him, but all he saw when he turned was Yoda’s retreating form. Knowing the words Master Yoda spoke were true he let the remaining braid in his hand fall and rest amongst the ashes.
Obi-Wan walked back to the palace slowly in the dark of night, working out in his mind what he was to say to Anakin if her were still awake. He had to speak to the boy, ask him to forgive him for being selfish and stubborn. Asking him to be his friend and allow Obi-Wan to teach him. Obi-Wan had always dreamed that the day he took his own Padawan, Qui-Gon would be there beaming with pride helping him along the way. Qui-Gon was with him now, he could feel it, but it just wasn’t the same.
Coming upon the door to Anakin’s quarters sooner then he’d expected, he pause out side the door not wanting to wake the boy. He could feel Anakin’s life Force flowing from the room and heard crying coming from behind the door. The sound broke his heart and he entered with out knocking going directly to where Anakin was curled up on the bed shaking in his tears. He pulled the boy into his arms holding him as Anakin’s small body was wracked with sobs.
Anakin clung to Obi-Wan Kenobi seeking the comfort he needed, wishing for his mother but knowing she could not come to him. His was the life of a Jedi now. He didn’t know what that meant, or if it would ever allow him to see his mother again. Qui-Gon had told him to stay close to him and he’d keep him safe. He was gone now though and he wondered if he could have that same trust in Obi-Wan. This man who was holding him now as he cried gave him the hope that it would all be fine as long as they stuck together.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The day of celebration dawned on Naboo clear and glorious wiping all thought's of the past nights sorrows as Obi-Wan opened his eyes and realized he was still leaning against the wall of Anakin's room with the boy still quietly sleeping in his arms. He had slept. He'd stopped counting the days since he was last able to do that without nightmares of Darth Maul coming after him. Anakin would be good for him.
Rousing the boy from sleep Obi-Wan smiled when he opened his eyes. "We have a long day ahead of us Anakin. We must prepare for the Celebration. Quickly now."
Obi-Wan Went to his own room and changed then walked slowly back to Anakin’s room. Obi-Wan knocked on the metal door and listened as Anakin gave him permission to enter. Anakin had changed into a new Jedi tunic, which had been prepared for him and brought to Naboo with the Council. Obi-Wan had guessed that by their coming so prepared that they had made the decision long before arriving on Naboo. He stopped just inside of the boy's room and watched as Anakin strapped on his belt and then turned to face Obi-Wan.
"Today is a very important day for you Anakin. Today you become my Padawan and we start our training together." Striding to the Anakin's side he placed his hand on his shoulder and directed him to a chair. "First off we have to do something with that hair." He pulled a pair of small scissors out of his belt pouch and started cutting.
Anakin watched as the locks of his golden hair fell to the floor around his feet. Wondering what his hair would end up looking like, and what it was going to be like having Obi-Wan as his master. He missed Qui-Gon, but he missed his mother more. He had sworn to himself that he would become a Jedi and go back and save her, and now his hopes were coming true. He wanted to talk to his new master, but Obi-Wan kept silent trimming his hair to perfection.
Obi-Wan's mind was reeling. He was trying to concentrate on Anakin, but he was thinking of the Queen. The fate of an entire planet resting on her shoulders. He was so much older then she, and yet she looked to him as an equal. He wondered if she remembered when he touched her, and he puzzled at the look he had seen in her eyes. So many times over the years he'd had his chances to fall in love. Why should one girl cause him so much confusion? He couldn't wait to leave Naboo, he hoped that once they were back on Coruscant that he could forget her and go back to the life of a Jedi, and yet, he needed to speak to her before his ship left the next morning. If he didn't, he felt as though he'd be leaving a part of himself behind.
Rousing himself from his thoughts Obi-Wan snipped off the last bit of Anakin's hair making it look a lot like his own hair cut, with a tail in the back and a long strand of hair hanging just behind his left ear. He then walked around to kneel in front of the boy. Anakin looked on him with his curious blue eyes that held wisdom beyond his nine years. Obi-Wan felt a surge of pride in thinking of him as his Padawan. Perhaps Qui-Gon was right. Anakin may be the chosen one, and He would have the privilege of training him. He had overcome his resentment for the boy. He now felt the calm assurance of the Force letting him know that this was the right choice. He had tasted of the dark side when he'd hated Anakin, a tempting power, but noting in comparison to the true Force.
Pulling the other half of his braid from his pocket he held it up so that Anakin could see it. "This Anakin, is a piece of me. When I became Qui-Gon's apprentice he took a lock of his own hair and wove it into mine. I give you this now showing that we are one. In thought, in soul, and in purpose." Obi-Wan skillfully braided the strand into Anakin's hair fastening it with a small piece of red cord near the top and another at the bottom of the braid. "I, Obi-Wan Kenobi, take you as my Padawan learner. In the Darkness, find the Light. In despair, find the hope. In the confusion, find the calm. In yourself, find the Force."
"I shall try my best, Master." Anakin said as seriously as he could trying to hid a smile.
"Master Yoda always taught, 'Do or do not, there is no try.' wise words from a wise man." Obi-Wan smiled as he stood up ruffling the boy's hair. But inside Obi-Wan struggled with being called Master. That was something he'd have to get used to. "Come on, Anakin, before we're late."
Obi-Wan led the way out of the room and down the long corridor leading to the front of the palace and the grand staircase where the Gungan parade was to end. Waiting there on the dais was Amidala dressed in white reminding him of the Angels he had seen on the moons of Iego. Her collar made of lace stood high above her head forming a halo that only made her seem more beautiful. Her Face painted the stark white with the marks of remembrance upon her cheeks and the slash across her bottom lip. Sio Bibble standing just behind her with the orb of peace that she was to give to Boss Nass, Obi-Wan took the open place to her left. Fanned out behind them stood the Jedi Council surrounded by dignitaries. Before them, lining the streets for as far as Obi-Wan could see were the people of Naboo dressed in their finest clothes awaiting the arrival of the Gungan's.
Music blared in the distance and soon the procession entered the square. Boss Nass leading them perched atop a Fmabaa. Jar Jar and General Ceel right behind him riding a pair of Kaadu and the entire Gungan army following behind. Coming to a stop not far from where they all stood Boss Nass dismounted and sauntered up to where Queen Amidala waited for him with a slight smile playing on her lips. This was a historic day for the people of Naboo and the Gungan's. After hundreds of years of indifference towards each other at last they could be allied and share the planet peacefully.
There were a few words passed between Amidala and Boss Nass and she turned to Sio Bibble who handed her the orb. She then handed it to Boss Nass and he held it above his head for the masses to see. Trying to be heard above the roar of the crowd he shouted, "PEACE!" Obi-Wan watched everything taking in all that was around him and enjoying the feeling of peace. He looked down to Anakin at his side and then to the Queen who looked back to him without a glimmer of remembrance in her eyes, but when she looked to Anakin a brilliant smile lighted upon her face.
Obi-Wan sighed and realized that he'd been thinking of her again, hoping that perhaps someday he'd have his chance but the Force told him that it was not meant to be, that somehow Anakin and Amidala belonged together and who was he to stand in the way. He pulled his feelings back into himself and smiled to the passing Gungan’s waiting for the end of this day where he would be safely on a transport ship back to Coruscant, leaving Naboo behind.
They all adjourned to the dinning hall and had a feast that seemed big enough to feed an entire planet. Obi-Wan had grown accustomed to the extravagancies of royalty, spending his life on peace missions and as ambassadors to many planets throughout the Republic, but this was Anakin’s first gala event and Obi-Wan found himself seeing it all in a new light.
The room had been hung in tapestries of red and gold with the afternoon sun shining in through the large windows that surrounded the hall giving it a very open and welcoming look. There was music playing in the background as they sat to dine Obi-Wan occupied a table with the Jedi Council and the Queen. The conversation was light and joyful, all seemed well in the world out side, but Obi-Wan was struggling to keep the pleasant smile on his face. His mind kept wandering to Anakin and the way he had called him Master. Obi-Wan wasn’t sure if he could live up to that title. He had been taught and trained all his life for this moment, when he would have his own Padawan. He was going to try his best, he knew that, he just didn’t see things the way Qui-Gon saw them. Obi-Wan still didn’t see the potential in the “chosen one” but he would.
Amidala watched Obi-Wan, his easy smile had returned but she wondered if it were real or if it was just a cover. For being so young she hadn’t had much of an opportunity to learn of the Jedi, but from what she did know they didn’t show emotion, at least none she had seen except Obi-Wan. She had become fond of Qui-Gon and his serious ways as they had traveled together. Amidala had wept when she had heard of Qui-Gon’s death. She missed him too and although she would like to spend some time mourning him she had to be queen. Obi-Wan was a mystery to her, and she wanted to learn all she could about him before he went back to Coruscant.
The music droned on and the happy melody was conflicting with Obi-Wan's mood so he Stood and bowed to the Queen and the Jedi Council, "If you'll excuse me your majesty, Masters." Obi-Wan said with great respect for all of them. "I would like a few moments to meditate before leaving."
Amidala nodded to him and Master Windu waved his hand in dismissal saying, "May the Force be with you." Obi-Wan turned and casually left the room trying not to run from everyone and everything behind him. He should feel bad for leaving his Padawan behind but right now he just needed time alone. Naboo had become an unforgettable part of him and he needed to find some peace with it before he left. Walking towards the gardens he tried to convince himself that it was Naboo that he needed to come to terms with and not the beautiful brown eyes that could pierce his very being.
There was ivy growing up over the arches that led into the garden. It hung down creating a screen that he had to walk through to enter. Sighing he walked through. The afternoon sun shone down and glinted off of a large fountain in the center that was surrounded by trees of all kinds with blossoms of every color and size. The beauty of it was unsurpassed by anything he had seen in a very long time rivaling even the most well kept meditation gardens at the Jedi Temple. Obi-Wan sank to his knees, closing his eyes he retreated into his mind and let the force sooth his troubled heart.
Obi-Wan took deep even breaths putting himself into a state of total relaxation. His mind and body sailing with the pulse of the Force. He could feel the Living Force flowing through the world around him everything had a place in the Force and through meditation Obi-Wan could see it all in a pattern, like a weaving of all life balancing itself on each thread creating a beautiful tapestry of the universe. Within the confines of the garden Obi-Wan's senses were heightened and he could feel even the slightest stir in the air, that's how he knew that someone was there watching him.
Standing just a few feet away from him, Amidala lingered in the vines of ivy hoping to not be seen and to have a chance to observe the Jedi without him knowing that she was there. He had dropped to his knees and she watched as his body relaxed. His strong shoulders slumped from the weight of all that had happened to him. This was not the time to bother him, she thought but as she turned to go she was stopped by the sound of his voice.
"You are here now, Your Highness, you might as well join me." He turned towards the entrance and stared into the shadows with those ice blue eyes and Amidala could do nothing more then obey him.
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you Obi-Wan.” Amidala said as she stepped into the light. “I never got to personally thank you for saving my life.”
“It was nothing really,” Obi-Wan said swiftly rising to his feet. “It was never really you that was in danger.”
“Yes, you’re right, but I believe that if you hadn’t have come I would be dead, and this planet would belong to the Trade Federation.” she now stood directly in front of him. Looking into his eyes studying them and looking for a hint of what his reaction might be to what she was going to do next, “From the bottom of my heart Obi-Wan, I thank you.” Amidala wrapped her arms around him and hugged him. Resting her cheek on his chest she held on and listened to the beating of his heart. She closed her eyes so as not to cry when she felt Obi-Wan’s arms go around her and hug her back.
Obi-Wan wasn’t surprised by her actions, he was surprised by his own. He hadn’t meant to wrap his arms around her but she was holding onto him when he felt that his world was spinning out of control. He leaned down and let his cheek rest on the top of her head and they both just stood there in the solitude they had found together.
He couldn’t say how long they stayed like that, whether it was a few hours or only a few minutes but it was comforting to have her so near. Gently taking her shoulders Obi-Wan took a step back from her and looked her in the eyes, “I believe, Amidala, I should be thanking you for saving my life.” He reached into his cloak then and pulled something from his pocket. Holding it in his hand he hesitated for a moment before taking Amidala’s hand in his and placing a smooth round stone into it.
“My Master gave this to me years ago, as a birthday present. Qui-Gon had had it since he was a child, he’d found it in the River of Light on his home planet.” Obi-Wan stared at the rock Amidala was holding examining it in the light. It was shinny and black, where it caught the light it contained deep red streaks. It had been the most beautiful thing his Master ever could have given him. “I believe it’s force-sensitive, but Qui-Gon went for years giving me the impression that it was just a pretty rock.” Obi-Wan smiled at the memory of his Master. “It saved my life on Phindar when Xanatos tried to erase my memory and abandon me on another planet…..” He sighed, “I want you to have it now.”
“But Obi-Wan, why? It’s your link to him.” Amidala tried handing it back to him but Obi-Wan refused to take it.
“Take it as my promise to you, that if there is ever a time when you need a Jedi, or a friend, I’ll come for you.” Obi-Wan took the hand that held the stone and looked into her eyes. “I’ll always come for you if you ask.”
Amidala nodded and then looked up into Obi-Wan’s blue eyes, seeing in them the weight of his promise. She was just a 14-year-old girl with a crush on an older man, but here he was sharing the same feelings for her. He would come, she knew it, and she would keep his rock close to her heart.
"I must go now," Obi-Wan said. "They are probably all waiting for me, Coruscant is a long way from here." Stepping past her he turned one more time and took her in his arms. "Thank you." he said and leaned down kissing her on the forehead. Looking into her eyes one last time he strode away lighter then he had been in days leaving a stunned and silent Amidala behind.
Having followed Padme from the dinning room, Anakin watched from the shadows as Obi-Wan held her in his arms. Jealousy flooded through his small body and he wanted to run to them and tear them from each other’s arms, but he didn’t move. The life of a Jedi was one of peace and Anakin wanted to be the best Jedi ever. He would bide his time and wait for the right moment to have Padme for himself. She did care for him, and in time perhaps she could love him. Anakin had seen his future when he first set eyes upon her in Watto’s shop back on Tatooine. He would marry her, and Obi-Wan wasn’t going to stand in the way of that.
Obi-Wan left the garden walking right past Anakin who was pressed against the wall using the undergrowth as covering. Anakin’s heart was racing and he couldn’t understand why he should have cause to worry. Could Obi-Wan truly be a threat to his standing with Padme? Shaking his head he blocked the thought from his mind as he reminded himself that this was neither the time nor the place to be questioning his new Master.