Obi-Wan stands on the elevated walkway in the Temple's
Great Hall, looking down at the small contingent of non-Jedi. He
is too far away to hear the words they
speak, but he can feel the presence of the young Queen radiating in the
Force. She is so like her mother.
brings an unexpected wave of melancholy and
Obi-Wan turns away. Looking over his
shoulder, he sees the approaching figure, shocked he did not sense him
Obi-Wan says with a grin, “it’s been too
immediately reply. He looks at Obi-Wan and then over the
walkway’s railing to observe the small group he and his former Master
will be escorting. His vision still fixed on the visitors, he
says, “The Council’s summons was unexpected.”
his former apprentice carefully. He isn’t sure if he forgot or if
chose to pretend he forgot how much Anakin has changed. For so
many years, he counted on Anakin to be
the reckless one, to charge headlong into any experience with far too
abandon and enjoyment for a Jedi. Despite
knowing it was not admirable for a Jedi to conduct himself in such a
Obi-Wan couldn’t help but marvel at the boy’s boundless enthusiasm and
what happened to that boy. For the man standing next to him bears
resemblance to his former self. There
are no echoes in the Force, nothing to hint at Anakin’s past. He
controlled, quiet, solitary and if Obi-Wan is not mistaken,
These days, Anakin chooses to live in
seclusion, shunning the companionship of even his Jedi brethren.
Obi-Wan has not seen him in many long years.
attention back to the conversation, Obi-Wan
says, “Unexpected, yes, but not unprecedented.”
For the first
time, Anakin turns to face Obi-Wan. His features are perfectly
no emotion. “Indeed,” he says softly,
once again looking down at the young Queen surrounded by several
wonders at the Council’s wisdom in this
matter. He does not know why the Council
chose the odd action of requesting Anakin’s presence on this
To Obi-Wan’s knowledge, the Council has not
requested Anakin’s presence on any other mission in more than a
The timing is odd. The subject of the mission even more so.
“I have not had
the pleasure of meeting Queen Amitabha,”
Obi-Wan says, looking at the young woman at the heart of the current
in the Senate. He glances at Anakin and
sees his attention is still riveted on her.
“Have you?” he asks.
It’s a moment
before Anakin reacts. He shakes his head and replies, “No.”
He looks up at his former master, his
expression once again perfectly bland.
“I have not met her.”
Obi-Wan nods and
motions for Anakin to walk with him. Anakin falls into step, his
behind his back. “I thought you might
refuse this mission,” Obi-Wan says. When
Anakin doesn’t respond, he continues. “I
thought it might be difficult for you.”
Turning his head
to look at Obi-Wan, Anakin asks, “Why would
you think that?”
at his friend. “Come now, Anakin,” he says seriously. “I
may have done my best to ignore it, but
I’m not completely dense. I know that
you and Senator Amidala were close.”
Anakin does not
deny the charge. “That was a very long time ago,” he says
flatly. “Before this.” He reaches up, running a hand along
vicious scar that takes up most of his left cheek. It starts
millimeters from the corner of his
mouth and curves upward in a crescent, across his left eye which is an
sightless blue several shades lighter than his right eye.
Seeming to shake
himself out of his thoughts, Anakin
continues. “Before Sidious’ death. Before the Order took
control of the Senate.”
birth of Padmé’s children,” Obi-Wan adds.
Anakin looks at
his former mentor, holding his gaze for
several long moments. “Yes,” he says
quietly. “Before that.”
how much the birth of Padmé’s children helped
push Anakin into seclusion. Despite
knowing it was frowned upon by the Order, Obi-Wan was very close to
Anakin. They were like brothers. Because Obi-Wan could no
more betray Anakin
than he could betray the Order, he chose to largely ignore his
involvement with the beautiful and charismatic Senator from the
that Anakin’s feelings for Padmé ran far
deeper than they should have. He knows
that those affections were returned to at least a small degree by
Padmé. The two managed to maintain a friendship
through the Clone Wars. Yet shortly
after the Clone Wars, Senator Amidala abruptly resigned her seat in the
and fled to her homeworld. Later,
Obi-Wan learned she had given birth to twins, a girl and a boy.
Obi-Wan suspects that Anakin loved Padmé and
that her giving birth to another man’s children was what truly broke
exchanging words, Obi-Wan and Anakin descend the
curving set of stairs and make their way across the Great Hall to the
enclave of people. The group turns as
they approach and Senator Organa steps to the fore, holding out his
Senator Organa says, his grip still quite
firm despite his age.
Obi-Wan replies with a deferential nod of his
head. He looks from the Senator to the
young woman, Leia is her given name. Rumors
have flown in the Senate for years that Senator Organa is the girl’s
father. However, as Obi-Wan’s gaze traces her face,
he can see nothing in Leia’s features save Padmé.
Obi-Wan says with a bow to Leia.
Leia replies, curtseying gracefully. “I am most honored to make
help but smile. Leia is so like her mother was at this age,
self-possessed and shockingly serious.
“I assure you, the pleasure is mine,” he replies with a quick grin.
That manages to
elicit a small smile from the young Queen
and she looks away quickly with a blush.
attention back to Senator Organa, Obi-Wan says,
“I believe you know Anakin.”
features harden though he is careful to
keep his tone pleasant and his words polite.
“Of course,” he says, inclining his head. “Master Skywalker.”
His tone isn’t uncivil, but there is no warmth or familiarity in
at Anakin and Anakin meets his gaze
unflinchingly. Again, Obi-Wan wonders if
Organa is Leia’s father and if Anakin was on the losing corner of a
Skywalker,” Organa says tightly with feigned cheer. “May I
present Leia Naberrie, Queen Amitabha
For the first
time today, Anakin’s mask of indifference
fades. He looks at Leia with an
expression that is a mixture of wonder, joy and sadness. Obi-Wan
assumes that Anakin is as struck by
Leia’s resemblance to Padmé as he was himself.
Taking her hand
gently in his own, Anakin bows over it. “Milady,” he says with a
bearing falters and she looks at her hand grasped
in Anakin’s. Her brow furrows, though
not in alarm. She looks from their
clasped hands to Anakin’s face, her head canted slightly to the side as
is listening to music no one else can hear.
It lasts only a moment and then it’s gone so quickly Obi-Wan thinks he
may have imagined it.
Skywalker,” Leia replies.
steps forward and Anakin releases Leia’s
hand, taking a step back. His face is
once again perfectly placid, but his vision is fixed on Senator Organa.
“Though I defer
to your judgment,” Senator Organa says,
nodding more to Obi-Wan than to Anakin, “I believe it would be best if
course,” Obi-Wan replies and they all turn and head
for the Jedi Temple Hangars and their waiting ship.
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