“Don’t try it,” Obi-Wan said. The heat from the lava was all around him. Sweat was running down his body, and his mind was only half-working, but he knew. He knew what he would have to do. And he knew in his bones, whether it was the Force or just knowledge, that it would destroy him to do it.
Anakin — no, Darth Vader, Anakin is dead and gone and will never come back — stared him down, eyes shining yellow. “You underestimate my power.”
A ripple flowed through the Force, and both of them reacted to it, turning their heads at the same time. Padmé. Obi-Wan had a minor precognition talent. Most Jedi did, though his was slightly stronger than most. And now he knew that if he didn’t leave now, Padmé would die.
He made his decision.
“I’m sorry,” he said. He pushed with the Force.
Anakin — Darth Vader, Darth Vader — let out a scream of fury as the piece of metal he stood on flew backwards several meters and he almost lost his footing. The flow of the lava began to pull it away from the shore, and downstream.
At the landing platform, he picked up Padmé, near-paralyzed with terror. It wouldn’t take Anakin too long to get back onto land, and once he did... well. It would be best if they were gone by then.
Padmé began to wake up as he carried her onto the ship, one arm under her knees and the other under her back. She blinked up at him, eyes unfocused, and then fully woke up a moment later. “Obi-Wan?” she said, voice raspy. She tried to sit up.
“Careful,” said Obi-Wan as he laid her down on the floor of the ship. He thought there might be beds somewhere, but he didn’t know where and time wasn’t on his side. He spotted R2-D2 near the cockpit. “Artoo, get us out of here. Now,” he said. Artoo chirped a positive response and rolled away. Obi-Wan turned his attention back to Padmé. “Can you stand?”
She sat up, one hand on her back. “I… I don’t know. Give me a second.” She closed her eyes, and Obi-Wan saw the bruise-like shadows under them. She clearly hadn’t been sleeping recently — or, at least not sleeping well. The war, he guessed; it had been in its most desperate throes, and even the Senate had to notice as sheltered as they were.
The war was over. He hadn’t even had time to process it. The Force only knew if this was a good thing. Palpatine’s new empire hardly seemed like it would be restoring the peace destroyed by the war.
Padmé reached one hand up to brush her throat, coughing softly. “How badly did he hurt you?” asked Obi-Wan, already dreading the response. The way Anakin’s fist had closed around her throat with the Force was a horrifying image, one that would be burned into his mind forever. Anakin had loved Padmé more than anything, enough to betray his vows.
And he’d almost killed her.
“It feels a little bruised, but the inside of my throat isn’t sore. I think I’ll have some bruises, but no real damage.” Obi-Wan touched the side of her throat, and though he was no healer or medical droid, he thought she was right. Anakin had been very lucky not to kill her. He’d hardly caused any real damage, which was a practically a miracle. The ship began to lift, and he lost the slightest bit of tension. For the moment, they were safe.
Padmé seemed to have realized this too, because the calm mask suddenly dropped off her face, and she pressed her face into Obi-Wan’s shoulder. His robes were burnt there, and probably smelled like smoke, but she didn’t seem to care. She let out a sob and Obi-Wan wrapped one arm around her.
For a few minutes they sat there, Obi-Wan holding Padmé as she cried. When she finally pulled away, eyes red and face tear-streaked, she felt a little calmer in the Force.
“Are you okay?” asked Obi-Wan, leaving her to interpret the question however she liked.
“I think I’ll be fine,” she said quietly. “Help me up?”
Obi-Wan complied, and they made their way to the cockpit, his arm supporting her.
Artoo was plugged into the ship, and at Obi-Wan’s request, gave over the controls to him. He had an idea where to go.
Obi-Wan met Yoda and Bail Organa at a base on Polis Massa, an asteroid located in the Outer Rim.
Padmé had begun contractions during the flight, despite not being due for another two months. Obi-Wan guessed that it had to do with the trauma of Anakin — Darth Vader — choking her, but he wasn’t a medical expert. Once they had arrived, she was transferred to a medical room.
“We must operate quickly if we are to save the babies,” said the medical droid. Obi-Wan hadn’t been paying much attention to it — he’d been watching Padmé through the glass, as she sobbed and cried out Anakin’s name — but he immediately focused on the droid.
“She’s having twins,” said the droid. Obi-Wan didn’t know how to feel. He just looked back at Padmé.
“Tell her, did you?” asked Yoda.
“About Anakin? No, not yet,” said Obi-Wan. He had to fight to keep his voice steady, which Yoda likely noticed. “I let her make her own assumptions. After — after the babies are born, I’ll tell her.”
“Survive this, she may not,” said Yoda quietly. “Visions, your former padawan had. Her death, they predicted.”
“I won’t let that happen,” said Obi-Wan. And he wouldn’t. He owed that to Anakin — his apprentice, the man who was now dead.
Yoda looked up at him, eyes far too old, even for him. “Try, you will. Succeed, you may not.”
Obi-Wan looked away and back at Padmé. She wasn’t crying anymore, but pain radiated off of her in the Force. “She will live,” he said, because she had to. If she didn’t, he had nothing left. After Qui-Gon, and Ahsoka, and Anakin. After all the friends he’d lost during the war. He only had Padmé.
He wasn’t going to lose her too.
The birth was over in less than an hour.
After, Padmé was set up in a bed. She held a baby in each arm. Luke and Leia, she’d named them.
“What about middle names?” asked Obi-Wan, sitting at the end of her bed. She’d asked him to stay with her. She hadn’t wanted to be alone.
“I’ll think about it a little more,” she said, looking down at Luke and Leia. Her face was red, damp with sweat, and her hair was falling out of its braid, but she looked almost happy. Content at the very least. And she felt the same in the Force. Obi-Wan envied her. He’d put on a smile, but he could still see Anakin in his mind’s eye. The glow of his yellow eyes, the madness and rage that surrounded him in the Force like a dark cloud. The lava around him, hellfire red, only made the image worse.
Padmé touched his hand. “Obi-Wan?”
He blinked, and forced himself to smile more. “Congratulations, Padmé. You’re a mother now.”
She smiled, and looked fondly down on her children. After a moment, her smile faded. “I didn’t want to do this alone,” she said quietly. “You know, Anakin was going to leave the Order.”
Obi-Wan took a deep breath and looked down, fighting back the flood of emotions. He had known, logically, that Anakin had cared for Padmé. But he was a Jedi. Jedi weren’t ordinary beings. They saw the world differently, and most wouldn’t leave the Order for anything. There were exceptions, of course — Count Dooku, Ahsoka — but there were usually only a handful of Jedi who left the Order every millennium. He’d known that Anakin’s life as a civilian before becoming a Jedi made him see things differently — known, but never really understood — but leaving the Order? He’d considered it before, and for Anakin, he would have… but it still shocked him.
“After the war. He had a feeling that it would end soon.”
“Well, he wasn’t wrong,” said Obi-Wan quietly. Padmé smiled ruefully.
“And… well, because we’re — we were married.”
The word bounced around in Obi-Wan’s mind, over and over, but he still didn’t understand.
“We were married.” Padmé looked uncomfortable now. “We got married after the beginning of the war, on Naboo.”
“But — but why?” Obi-Wan couldn’t make sense of it. He’d known they were sleeping together very early on. He’d been surprised that his awkward padawan had gotten into her good graces so quickly, but he hadn’t given it much thought. Jedi were allowed to have casual relationships, as long as they didn’t get attached. He’d figured out, a little later on, that they were in a real relationship. He’d decided that he wasn’t going to tell anyone. The war was still going on, and Anakin was one of the best generals they had. He’d planned to talk to him about it once the war was over.
He couldn’t — he wouldn’t ever understand that. He’d grown up as a Jedi, and the Order was his only family. Of course, not all beings had that, but he couldn’t understand needing more — for himself, or any Jedi. The Order had cared for him, raised him, protected him. It had given him purpose in a galaxy that didn’t grant that to every being.
The necessity some beings felt for marriage was not something he’d ever understand.
“We loved each other.” Padmé looked down at Luke and Leia. They were both sleeping; she leaned down and pressed a kiss to Leia’s forehead. “At least, that’s what I thought.”
“He loves you,” said Obi-Wan quietly. “He turned to the dark side for you.”
“That’s not love.”
“Yes, it is.”
Padmé looked back up at him, eyes narrowed. “No, it isn’t. Love is selfless. Any being who would kill for love doesn’t know what love is.”
“It’s not like that. The dark side—”
“The dark side!” She laughed, but there was nothing warm or humorous about it. Luke woke in her arms, and began to cry. She paused, shifting her arms to hold Luke closer to her. Without being asked, Obi-Wan picked up Leia and held her in his arms.
Padmé looked back at him a moment later, when Luke quieted. “The dark side? I don’t even know what that is. Isn’t it just what the Sith use?”
“No,” said Obi-Wan as gently as he could. “The dark side is another part of the Force. Every Force user is at risk of falling into it. It’s triggered by strong emotions — fear, anger. It’s why the Jedi can’t have attachments. When we get attached, we’re at risk of falling into the dark side."
Padmé was staring at him, lips pressed tightly together. Luke was crying again, tugging at the collar of the medical gown she was wearing, but she wasn’t paying attention. “So it’s my fault.”
“No—no,” said Obi-Wan immediately. “Padmé, you couldn’t have known.” In the last few hours, he’d blamed everyone. Himself. Palpatine. Yoda. The entire Jedi Council. Dooku. And Padmé — but only for a moment. He knew, logically, that she was as blameless as anyone else, but he’d been in denial of the truth. It was his fault — his, and Palpatine’s. He had accepted that now.
She finally looked down at Luke, and ran her hand over his head. He quieted slightly. “So it’s Anakin’s fault. He loved me, and turned to the dark side because of that.”
Obi-Wan didn’t know what else to say. She’d laid it out more succinctly than he had. “Yes,” he finally said. “I’m sorry.”
She closed her eyes, dropping her head to her chest. “I thought — I thought nothing could be worse than knowing that the man I loved almost killed me. But it’s worse, because it’s partially my fault.”
“He hurt so many people. He became a Sith,” she said. “And it’s my fault. He killed younglings. Because of me.”
“I’m sorry,” said Obi-Wan again.
Obi-Wan suddenly realized, with a feeling of sickly dread, that she’d been talking about Anakin in the past tense for their entire conversation. Oh, Force. “Padmé, he’s not dead.”
Her head snapped up. “What?”
“He’s — he survived.”
What little colour remained in her face drained away. “How? How could you leave alive?”
Obi-Wan looked down at Leia. She was asleep, ignorant of the galaxy in upheaval around her. “I realized that if I kept fighting him, and didn’t get you onto the ship, you would die. So I delayed him, and left.”
“He’s alive,” she repeated. She looked down at Luke, and then at Leia. “He’s going to come after me,” she said, voice quiet. Resigned.
“That’s… very likely.”
“He’s going to come after my children.” Her voice had grown steely, her eyes still on the younglings. “I’m not going to let that happen.”
“What are you going to do?”
She looked at Obi-Wan. There was fire in her eyes now. “I’m going to hide, and I’m going to protect my children.”
A day later, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Bail Organa, and Padmé sat around a table, onboard the Sundered Heart. They had just entered hyperspace; no destination set yet, but heading indirectly towards the Outer Rim. The farther from Coruscant, the better.
Padmé, dressed in casual spacer’s clothes that were far too big for her slight frame, held Leia in her arms. Obi-Wan, next to her, held Luke. They’d spent the last standard day taking care of the twins. Obi-Wan had never spent much time around younglings, but the last twenty-four standard hours had given him more than enough experience. He counted himself lucky that both Luke and Leia were Force-sensitive — that, he knew how to deal with. He’d actually noticed it earlier, during Padmé’s pregnancy, but he hadn’t told her. It was never easy for a new parent to discover that they had to give up their child to the Jedi after the first few years. He’d wanted her to have her few months of happiness before she knew that there was a limit on the time she would have with her children.
Of course, now there was no more Jedi Order to give her children to.
“Hide the children, and the Senator, we must,” said Yoda. Bail nodded in agreement.
“I’m not a Senator anymore,” said Padmé. “An — Darth Vader likely thinks I’m dead. I can’t be in public anymore. Even if I felt safe revealing that I’m still alive, there’s still the twins. I can’t let the Emperor know they survived.” Obi-Wan felt a little sick at her automatic correction of Vader’s name. He hadn’t even drilled it into himself yet — the fact that Padmé was already doing felt like a blaster bolt to the heart.
“Good point,” said Bail. “You should go into hiding.”
“I can go with her,” said Obi-Wan. “I have to hide anyway, since there’s a kill order on the Jedi. I can find an Outer Rim planet, off the beaten track, and hide Padmé and the children.”
“Make contact with Master Luminara, you must,” said Yoda.
“Luminara? She’s alive?” Obi-Wan hadn’t expected this.
“Lucky, she was. Away from her troopers, she was — under light guard. Managed to escape, she has.”
She killed her own men, thought Obi-Wan. He instantly wanted to forget the thought. He hadn’t thought very hard about what had happened, and he didn’t want to. To think that his troopers, his men, could try to kill him—
Yoda frowned at him, disapproval radiating through the Force. Padmé looked between the two of them, brows raised. Leia tugged at Padmé’s loose hair, and she focused her attention on the baby. Obi-Wan tried to pull himself together.
“Do we know what happened to the clones? I don’t think they would just turn on us, Master Yoda.”
Yoda fixed his steely gaze on Obi-Wan, his frown deepening. “Overestimate the clones, you may, Master Obi-Wan.”
“With all due respect, Master, I don’t think they would just turn. We’ve been through hell together. Something must have happened to them.”
“Know this, you do?”
“I feel it in the Force, Master.”
“You do not.” Yoda’s gaze had hardened. “Want to believe it, you do. Know it, you do not.”
“I’m sorry, Masters, but I feel that we’re getting off-topic here,” said Bail. “The question is: how are we going to hide Senator Amidala and her children?”
“What planet is Luminara on?” asked Obi-Wan.
“Umbara,” replied Yoda.
“Why?” Obi-Wan had a lot of bad memories there. It wasn’t somewhere he wanted to go ever again, but he didn’t seem to have a choice.
“Not important, it is.”
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. Normally he was more respectful of the Grandmaster, but he wasn’t feeling particularly charitable today. “Alright. How long will it take to get there from here?”
“Two days it will take, if adjust the coordinates we do now.”
Padmé nodded at Artoo, who was standing by the door. He chirped a response and rolled away. She looked back at the others at the table.
“Will we be safe? From Vader?”
“Perhaps,” said Yoda. “Move frequently, you will need to. Purchase a ship, you must.”
“We don’t have any credits,” Padmé pointed out. Obi-Wan opened his mouth to answer her, but then glanced down as Luke grabbed the front of his shirt. Blue eyes were blinking up at him, more intelligently than any infant should have.
“Credits, the Jedi Order has still,” said Yoda, picking up on what Obi-Wan had intended to say. “Connect to our accounts, you can. Know how, Master Obi-Wan does.” Obi-Wan nodded in confirmation. Padmé relaxed marginally.
“Is that all?” said Bail. “If so, we can drop Master Kenobi and Senator Amidala off on Umbara, and I can make my way back to Coruscant. I’ll invent a story about your death, Padmé.” He looked a little ashamed of the last part of his sentence. Padmé picked up on it.
“Don’t worry, Bail. If the public needs to think I’m dead for my children’s safety, so be it.” She lifted her chin a little, and Obi-Wan caught a glimpse of the senator that had served through the war without wavering or breaking. She was strong — stronger than him, he thought sometimes. Under these new circumstances, stronger than Anakin.
“Settled, it is, then,” said Yoda.
“Where will you go, Master?” asked Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan had never been there, but as far as he knew, it had no sentients that made it their permanent home. It was all swamps and wetlands and — and the Force. Of course. It would be a good place for a Jedi to hide. But not for a senator.
Obi-Wan knew he was risking his safety, as well as theirs, that even his presence might put Padmé and the twins at risk. But it was better than leaving them unprotected. As strong a woman as Padmé was, as smart and cunning and ruthless, she wouldn’t survive on her own in the galaxy with two babies. Alone, maybe. Probably. She’d proved resourceful enough for that many times during the war. With the twins? That would be much, much harder — maybe even impossible.
Obi-Wan had no choice.
“How will you get there?” asked Bail, pulling Obi-Wan out of his thoughts.
“Take an escape pod, I will. Go now, I should. Faster, it will be.”
Obi-Wan opened his mouth, and closed it again. He wanted to protest — but really, how could he? It was purely logical. There was no real reason for Yoda to accompany them to Umbara. But part of him wanted that anyway. He wasn’t a youngling anymore, nor a padawan, nor even a Knight — but he had just lost the Order. His family. And he wished that Yoda could stay with him for just a little longer.
As if hearing his thoughts, Yoda nodded at him, kindness in his eyes, but still firm. Obi-Wan stood at the same time as the Grandmaster did.
“Thank you, Master,” he said. “I’ll come back to you.”
“Thank you, young Obi-Wan,” said Yoda. Obi-Wan nodded, and watched as Yoda left. There was nothing more to say.
Umbara was just as unpleasant as Obi-Wan remembered. The darkness was just as nerve-wracking, the local language still grating on his ears. He hoped they didn’t stay here long.
They were in a bar now, mostly filled with Umbarans, along with a few other species. They didn’t blend in, but they didn’t stick out, either. Obi-Wan wore spacer’s clothes that made him look like a smuggler. Padmé’s clothes were slightly different, closer to what a bounty hunter would wear — though with considerably fewer weapons. She was sipping her drink — a weak, tasteless alcohol — and had Luke and Leia strapped to her chest with a baby harness. Obi-Wan might have been worried that she was drinking again already, but he had bigger concerns at the moment. Padmé’s use of alcohol, while sometimes verging on alcoholism, was very low on his priority list.
The bar was dark, and Obi-Wan wasn’t happy about being unable to see, though he didn’t need sight to find Luminara. The Force would do just fine. They’d sent her a coded message as soon as they’d come out of hyperspace, and received a response for which Obi-Wan had been profoundly grateful. He wasn’t especially close to Luminara anymore, but they’d know each other as younglings, and it would be nice to see a Jedi — any Jedi. He’d felt so many of them die in the last few days and the Force felt murky and wrong. This many Jedi dying at once had caused shockwaves that Obi-Wan doubted would fade for years, or even decades.
Something alerted him in the Force and he turned. Padmé put down her drink and looked over his shoulder to see Luminara crossing the bar.
She was dressed neutrally, in dark blue civilian clothes. Her head was bare. For maybe the first time Obi-Wan could remember since they were padawans her dark hair hung loose and came down to her shoulders. Her clothes didn’t have any similarity to the Mirialan dresses she usually wore, nor were they Jedi robes. Obi-Wan had seen many Jedi in civvies before, but it was always surprising. Even though the Order didn’t have a specific uniform that all Jedi wore, they all dressed in the same style — neutral colours, similar shapes. Seeing Luminara — especially Luminara, who’d never gone undercover in his memory — wearing civilian clothes was just another reminder that the galaxy had turned upside down.
She sat down in the third chair at the table, and nodded politely to Padmé. “Senator.” She turned to Obi-Wan. “Master Kenobi. I can’t say I’m surprised that you survived, though I’m surprised that you seem to be one of the only ones.”
“As far as I know, only three Masters survived,” said Obi-Wan carefully. He didn’t know how much Yoda had told Luminara so far. “Yoda. You. And me.”
She inhaled sharply, and closed her eyes. Her skin was a little pale — he’d thought it was just the light, but no, her tattoos were definitely standing out, dark shadows against her green skin. She was feeling the aftershocks in the Force as well.
“No one else?” she said quietly. Padmé looked away. As much as she might have sympathized, Obi-Wan knew that she could never really understand. This wasn’t her people.
“Not that we know of. I left a message broadcasting, warning any survivors to stay away. But no one who was onworld survived. It’s likely that no one who was with a battalion of troopers survived. Anyone who was undercover had a chance, but the Force knows if they’ll get the message before they run into any clones.”
Luminara looked down. A grief as strong as the Force itself was radiating off her; Obi-Wan knew that he probably felt the same way. A thought came through as well: We’re the last. The last of the Jedi. Twenty-five thousand years of protecting the galaxy, and when our children were slaughtered and our temple burned, no one saved us. We’re the last. We’re all that’s left.
Obi-Wan wasn’t sure how much of the thought was Luminara’s and how much was his, but it seemed like it hardly made a difference. Any surviving Jedi likely felt the same.
If there are any more.
Obi-Wan picked up his glass and drained it, the brandy burning down his throat.
Luminara frowned at him, and he shrugged. He’d never claimed to be perfect.
“So what do we do now?” asked Luminara.
Obi-Wan nodded towards Padmé, who raised a brow in return. “Protect the Senator. Find any survivors. Live.”
Luminara looked at Padmé, and back at Obi-Wan. “May I speak to you for a moment, Obi-Wan?”
They stood, and walked a few feet away. Padmé glanced at them, and then brought her attention back to the twins.
“Why are we protecting the Senator, Obi-Wan? None of your messages mentioned her. Why is she safer with two Jedi — both of us with a death price on our heads — than in the Senate?” asked Luminara. “You didn’t say in your message. You aren’t saying now.”
Obi-Wan closed his eyes for a moment. He wasn’t sure how much he wanted to tell Luminara, but he realized that he didn’t have much of a choice but to tell her most of it. “Her younglings,” he finally said.
Luminara glanced back at Padmé. “The twins? What about them?”
Clarity dawned on Luminara’s face. “Of course. I knew I could feel something — it wasn’t just you. They’re Skywalker’s?”
Obi-Wan nodded, and smirked. “As the entire Order was aware, they were sleeping together.”
Luminara half-smiled. “Quinlan owes me ten credits. He thought you were sleeping with him. I figured you wouldn’t sleep with your padawan — not for a few years, at least.”
“Thanks,” said Obi-Wan drily.
Luminara’s smile fell off her face. “He’s dead, isn’t he?”
Obi-Wan ignored her query. “They weren’t just sleeping together, though. They were — they were married.”
Her eyes widened. “Married?”
“Jedi don’t get married.”
“Anakin did. I don’t want to talk about it.”
She studied his face, coming closer to him until she was only centimetres away. “What happened to Anakin?” she asked, barely whispering. Obi-Wan could feel her breath on his face. It was a bad time, but he suddenly remembered the last time they’d slept together — after Barriss, and Ahsoka. She’d come to him, her mind bleeding rage and grief and regret, and they’d shared a bottle of Corellian brandy. He’d woken up with her in bed with him. It wasn’t the only time, but the most recent — and the most emotional.
He swallowed. “Anakin is dead.”
She moved away from him slightly, eyes narrowed. “He isn’t.” She didn’t have to say that she’d felt the lie in the Force.
“He is. He was murdered by Palpatine. By Darth Sidious.” If Obi-Wan said it enough times, it would become true.
“I don’t believe you, Obi-Wan.”
“You have to.”
She looked at him, and didn’t speak, but gently pressed against his mind in the Force. After a moment, Obi-Wan let her in. He didn’t want to say it, but Luminara needed to know. She probed gently, and fell into his memories. He saw them as she did, blowing past like leaves in the wind.
Fire — lava, heat, red waves of blistering heat
You killed them!
Anakin killed younglings
Anakin Skywalker is dead
Anakin Skywalker is a Sith
No! He’s dead, he’s gone
The boy you trained, gone he is
I name you… Darth Vader
She pulled out of his mind with a soft gasp. Her skin was even paler now, the diamonds on her chin dark as charcoal against it. “Force, Obi-Wan,” she said softly. Her blue eyes were wide, and glistened with tears. Jedi didn’t weep for the dead, for they were one with the Force. But to become a Sith, to lose one’s self in the dark side — that was a fate worse than death.
Obi-Wan had cried. He had cried until he had no tears left. He was in mourning now.
“I’m so sorry,” Luminara said, and she wrapped her arms around him. Obi-Wan was so surprised that his arms raised automatically. For a moment, they simply stood there, taking comfort in each other’s warmth. When she pulled away, her eyes were still damp; she wiped her sleeve across them.
“Should we go back now?” she asked. She was clearly trying for levity, but her voice was thick with unshed tears. Obi-Wan nodded.
That night, Obi-Wan and Padmé got a room together at the motel that Luminara was staying at on the other side of the city. Luminara was across the hall.
The chrono by the bed said that it was almost midnight. Obi-Wan sat by the door, holding Leia. Luke was asleep in one of the two cribs on the other side of the room. The room was small, cramped, and only had one bed, but it was still better than sleeping on a ship again. Obi-Wan always preferred sleeping onworld if he could.
Padmé stepped out of the refresher, her hair in two thick braids. She looked exhausted, dark circles under her eyes, and Obi-Wan knew he probably looked the same. Being on the run and looking after two infants was no easy task. He already knew he wouldn’t be getting a lot of sleep for the next few months.
It was surprising that his life had come to this. Jedi didn’t take care of younglings on their own — the younglings stayed in the crèche and were taken care of by minders on shifts. Obi-Wan doubted that very many Jedi had experienced taking care of a child on their own, or even with just one other person — padawans aside, of course, though that wasn’t exactly the same. When you trained a padawan, they weren’t exactly like your child; close, maybe, but your main goal was not to raise them until adulthood. It was to prepare them for life as a Jedi.
Padmé sat down on the bed, holding Luke. He’d woken up, and it sounded as if he was going to cry. Obi-Wan sighed, and shifted Leia in his arms. She was asleep, mouth slightly open, and feelings of warmth and contentment came through the Force from her. Obi-Wan appreciated it. He felt like he might be needing that.
“Obi-Wan?” Padmé said, voice drained and exhausted. “I’m going to sleep. Can you take Luke?”
He nodded, and crossed the tiny room — with three steps — to put Leia in her crib and take Luke from Padmé’s arms. “I’ll take first watch.”
“We don’t need watches, Obi-Wan.”
“We have no idea who could be looking for us.”
“Everyone.” She was exhausted, mentally and physically; the Force was full of it, even though she was Forceblind. Obi-Wan didn’t want to think about what it meant that he was so attuned to her.“If they find us, they find us. There’s no point in going without sleep.”
Obi-Wan considered this. It was true, but he’d been fighting a war for three years. He wasn’t sure that inaction would suit him. Of course, keeping watch wasn’t exactly active, but it was more so than just giving in and sleeping.
“Come to bed, Obi-Wan,” she said, laying down and pulling the covers over herself. She dimmed the lamp by the bed and rested her head on the pillow.
Obi-Wan realized the situation suddenly. There was only one bed. He’d been assuming they’d take shifts, but if they weren’t—
“Padmé, I can’t.” This was Anakin’s wife.
“I’m not propositioning you, Obi-Wan. You need sleep just as much as I do. Calm Luke down, and come to bed.” She closed her eyes, resting her cheek on her hand and facing towards the two cribs.
After a moment, Obi-Wan started rocking Luke gently. Luke’s face, which had been red and twisted up, relaxed marginally. Obi-Wan sent feelings of warmth and peace through the Force, and after a few moments, Luke was asleep again. He laid Luke in his crib and turned around.
Padmé’s eyes were closed, but she wasn’t asleep. Slowly, Obi-Wan pulled off his boots and outer layers. When he couldn’t delay any longer, he moved around to the other side of the bed and got in. He tucked his lightsaber under his pillow and lay down.
Padmé was facing away from him, and the bed was large enough that they weren’t touching, which Obi-Wan was grateful for. He faced the wall, his back to Padmé, and tried to relax. With the Force, he turned off the lights, leaving the room in darkness. Padmé let out a sigh — contentment, he thought, though he wasn’t entirely sure.
It only took him a few minutes to drift into sleep.
Padmé didn’t know where she was when she woke.
She sat up quickly. The roughness of the sheets, the unevenness of the mattress, the strange feel of the air. She rubbed her eyes, and looked around. It was still pitch black. She reached for the table by the bed, feeling along the wood until her fingers hit plasteel. She turned on the lamp and looked around the still-dim room.
Two cribs on her right. A refresher door on the wall across from her less than a meter away from the foot of the bed. And on her left, Obi-Wan, still asleep with one arm under his pillow. For a moment she simply stared in shock — and then she remembered.
She dropped her hands to her stomach. Not pregnant. The cribs — of course. She didn’t know how she’d forgotten. There was a faint sound of a baby crying; that must have been what woke her. Glancing at the chrono on the table — 0422 — she swung her legs out of the bed. She stood, rubbing her eyes, still half-asleep, and looked into the cribs.
Luke was crying again. She picked him up and sat heavily back down on the bed.
This wasn’t how she’d expected her first days of motherhood to go. She’d expected to have Anakin with her — well, not expected. Hoped, maybe. If not, she still had some handmaidens who could help her, and maybe let her get a full night’s sleep. That didn’t seem likely for a while.
Even in the worst possible situations she’d imagined in bad moments, she’d never imagined a situation like this. Living in a motel on an unfamiliar planet, with only Obi-Wan to help her, sleeping in a room hardly larger than the refresher in her Coruscant apartment. She supposed that she still had Threepio and Artoo, but they weren’t with her now — “Only medically necessary droids”, the sign on the outside of the motel had said. She supposed that she could have made a case that she needed them for the twins, but she’d been too tired to put up a fight. And they wouldn’t have fit into the room anyway.
The bed shifted slightly as Obi-Wan sat up. “Luke?” he said by way of greeting. She nodded. “Let me take him,” he said, standing and walking around to her side of the bed. She handed over Luke gratefully. Obi-Wan sat down beside her, rocking Luke in his arms.
While he looked down at Luke, Padmé studied him. She’d never expected to see him like this — sleep-bleary, hair mussed, clothes rumpled. Of course, she’d thought about it before — he’d been her first big crush as a teenager, coming into her life as her planet was being invaded and helping to save it. It hadn’t hurt that he was incredibly good-looking, too. Of course, he was a Jedi, so nothing had come of it — they’d just been good friends, and had stayed in contact for years after Qui-Gon’s death and the liberation of her people. He’d even been assigned to bodyguard her, once, before she’d stepped down from the throne. That had been interesting. But of course, she’d met Anakin for the second time, and her feelings for Obi-Wan had become a distant memory — just a teenage crush.
Now, though, exhausted and lonely and farther away from the Republic and her own life than she’d even been, everything seemed different.
Obi-Wan looked up. Padmé had a moment of worry — what if he’d heard what she was thinking? — but he just said, “You can go back to sleep. I’ll put Luke back to bed.”
She nodded and lay back down as Obi-Wan put Luke back in his crib. Sighing, she rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling, eyes still open. In a few moments, her mind wandered again.
Anakin, who was a Sith. Anakin, who was likely looking for her — if he didn’t think she was dead.
She hoped with all of her soul that he did, but she couldn’t know for sure.
She closed her eyes, a tear rolling down her temple. She wanted the man she loved — had loved — to think that she was dead. That was what her life had come to.
She rolled over and pressed her face against the pillow, stifling her sobs. When Obi-Wan came back to bed, he didn’t say anything, but extended one hand on top of the covers. An invitation.
After a moment, she took it.