Fiction, that we're not together.
Mistaken for a vision,
Something of my own creation.
"Obi-Wan," she whispered.
He leaned in closer to her, vaguely aware of his arm tightening the grip about the babe he held, but most of him was more focused on the woman that lay before him, whose last strength it seemed was being summoned in order to convey an important message.
"There is still good in him," she uttered.
A part of him sighed at her steadfast faith in spite of what they both had witnessed, but he did not reply. She deserved such a comfort just now, trying to convince her to believe otherwise could result in her undoing. Yet he could not deny that a part of him felt the same, or hoped that her conviction would prove to be true.
He heard her repeat the words, more faintly this time, and he moved to speak to her, to urge her to stay with him, to live for the twins just barely born, two innocent souls about to lose both their parents. But the grief of impending loss was rising within him, his voice felt too quiet to compete with the sound of his pounding heart, which was close to breaking.
Suddenly everything seemed to be following his voice, fading away from his senses, as though he were in a dream or his strength was failing him. He had a vague sense of someone calling out to him, or perhaps it was him calling out to them, he could no longer distinguish the tone to recognise the difference.
A darkness descended upon him, all around fading to black.
When he woke, he heard a voice calmly calling out to him, asking him to wake. He opened his eyes to find her gone, along with the babes, and everything else that was familiar and dear to him from that moment in time.
There were men about him, close at hand, their stance on alert, as if he needed restraining, or had been, before. The owner of the voice was some distance away, seated on a chair by a table, upon which several devices were arrayed, too far away for him to properly identify their usage.
He felt a panic growing within him, at a loss as to his surroundings, his whereabouts, what had happened to her, or to him that had now resulted in this. Where ever it was, nothing about it seemed friendly or familiar, and he made the decision to listen to his instincts and escape from it. Silently he reached out to the Force, preparing to create some distance between himself and the men about him.
Nothing came. The ancient energy was quiet, almost non-existent. He drew a breath, clearing his mind, calming his emotions, before he reached out once more. He could sense presence of the men about him, the calm authority of the man who sat some distance away, but he could read nothing of their thoughts or their emotions, nor could he feel the force flowing through him, as once it did, giving him peace whatever the situation.
In its absence the need to escape became profoundly more urgent and he made a move, striking out at the men about him. They were ready for him however, their hands reached out to place restraining clasps upon his arms and legs. He cried out as they drove him further away from safety, backwards to a bed which his body was pressed to settle upon, despite all his struggles to resist such a fate.
He felt a sharp pain stabbing him in his upper arm, then the darkness descended upon him once more.
When he woke, it was to the same room, but this time without the men, or the restraints. He felt a calmness within him which had been lost before, a better hold on his self-discipline, his emotions, his mind.
The room in which he lay no longer seemed so alien to him, yet it was still unfamiliar, though not quite so threatening as before. There was a large window to his left with a view of pleasant green lands, a bright blue sky above, the sun a faint but resonant yellow, casting a glow over the countryside.
Inside there were several pieces of equipment stationed near him, monitors, he soon discerned, reading his heart rate, and whatever else that was required to keep him alive. Further away stood the table he remembered from earlier, arrayed with yet more equipment, beside which was a chair, along with the man from before, still seated, with the same air of calm authority about him.
"Ah, you're awake," he stated, turning his gaze from the equipment to face his patient. "How are you feeling?"
"Unsettled," Obi-Wan answered carefully. "Yet better able to deal with it than I was."
"Good, very good," the man replied. "You are making progress. I was worried that you had taken a turn for the worse."
"Where are the men that were here earlier?" Obi-Wan asked.
"They have returned to their usual stations," the man answered. "You need not worry about them, they are used to such outbursts."
"Was I violent?" Obi-Wan queried. "I would like to apologise if I injured them or you."
"No, no, not at all," the man assured him. "Rest easy, it has been a long time since we have been required to restrain you. Until yesterday you were making sound progress. I was even considering letting your wife in to see you."
"My wife?" Obi-Wan echoed, startled.
"Yes, she has been worried about you ever since this happened." The man paused, taking a reading of Obi-Wan before he continued. "Perhaps I should explain. Your wife has had a difficult pregnancy, causing many a trip to this hospital in order to monitor the safety of her and the twins. One of those trips almost resulted in labour, but fortunately we were able to save her and prevent the birth until the proper due date. This event caused your anxiety to reach profound levels, resulting in your stay here."
"How long have I been here?" Obi-Wan asked.
"About a month," the man answered. "At times you have seemed quite lost in a world of your own making. You would refer to people by other names, give them relationships to you which were quite different from reality. Even your wife you would claim was nothing more than a close friend, belonging to another, your protégé." He paused to take another glance at the monitor before him, then continued. "Yesterday you were back at that moment when your wife was close to going into labour. You were pleading with her as if she were with you here, begging her to hold on, afraid that you would lose her. The memory of that time seems to be what caused your outburst, resulting in your loss of consciousness, and the subsequent panic attacks, forcing us to sedate you."
Obi-Wan nodded slowly, though nothing of what the man had recounted to him seemed familiar. He wanted to be free of this place, though it seemed less of a threat than it had before, to be wherever Padmé was, her presence hopefully providing him with a better understanding of his current predicament, allowing him to regain the sense of time and recollection of where and when he was. Seeming acceptance, he hoped, would be the first step towards gaining such a feat.
"Relax," the man remarked, rising from his seat as though to leave, "some disorientation is common. Give yourself time to recover and your memory will return to you. Your mind has been under great stress, it will need time to adjust."
He was vaguely away of the hours passing, but it was not a pressing concern. The Force was still beyond his reach, its absence disconcerting, though not as terrifying as before. He could still meditate without it, and the comforting familiarity of that retreat allowed him to gather his faculties and digest what the man had told him.
In this room, the troubles which beset the galaxy seemed light years away, nor so insurmountable as once they had appeared, even if they still remained to be overcome. He felt shut off from them, almost as though he was within the Temple, though this facility seemed nowhere near as familiar or as comforting to his senses. He felt that there was a pervading sense of grief cast upon him, as though he was dealing with a loss of something or someone dear to him, yet according to the man, such was far from the case.
He yearned to escape, though that need to flee was less instinctive now, yet still present, lingering in the recess of his mind. Now that he was alone, he felt he could move from the bed and try to open the door, but after one attempt he realised it would not be so easy, for the lock was not only set, but on the outside, facing the corridor. Nor did the window yield a catch or release for him to take advantage of, though he would prefer escaping by the door, as it would give him a chance to take a measure of the facility, to see if there was anyone else he knew was detained here, perhaps someone who had a better understanding of the circumstance which had befallen them.
Knowing that securing his escape by himself was currently unobtainable, he returned to meditation, hoping that further time spent in such a state might enable the ancient energy to return to him, or further thought provide a solution to escaping from this place. He took the precaution of placing a book upon his lap, open some pages in, a weighty tome that he found lying on the table beside his bed, the title and dust jacket unfamiliar, but the words not incomprehensible, though he paid little attention to them, even if with his head bowed down in their direction, he appeared to do so to those who might be passing by.
Outside the sun was slowly descending, the day changing into night, a gentle gathering into evening when he was disturbed from his meditation, by the sound of the door being unlocked and opened to allow someone admittance.
He looked up, making a show of marking his place within the book by folding the flap of the dust jacket over the page before closing the volume. His movements were rehearsed and prepared, though the entry and identity of the intruder proved so startling as to render him at a loss for words.
"Hello," she said, her slight and elegant figure dwarfed by her pregnancy, which was no longer hidden to him or the galaxy by heavy concealing garments. She wore a light yellow flowered gown instead, with soft comfortable low heeled shoes, her dark hair drawn back in a simple plait.
"Hello," he returned, unsure as to how to address her, refraining from calling her by the name with which he thought of her, in case it was different from what it should be. He had no desire to discompose her, or cause further confusion for both of them, especially now that she was with him, alive and well, a perfect contrast to the nightmare which seemed to have started all of this, whatever this was.
"How are you?" she asked, drawing near to him, coming to a halt beside the bed, before the window, allowing the soft glow of the sunset to flow over her beauty.
"Recovering," he replied cautiously, not wanting to cause her any further concern. "I'm sorry to have caused so much trouble."
"There's no need," she assured him. "I'm just glad you're okay. This has been a worrying time for all of us."
"How are you?" he asked her, his hand reaching out her.
She took hold, using his support to sit down carefully upon the bed. "I am well, no further scares. The physician has assured me that there should be no more dangers until the birth, perhaps even none then."
When he had been to visit her to see if she knew of Anakin's whereabouts and transformation, he could sense the lives she carried beneath the concealment with which she disguised them, their heritage from their father vibrant and strong through the Force. In the absence of the ancient energy however, there was nothing to reassure him that what she said was the case, save her outward appearance. He reached out with their clasped hands to her abdomen, his fingers touching her in a gentle caress.
A soft smile came over her. "I have missed your touch," she murmured. "As have they," she added as two thuds sounded beneath his hand.
Obi-Wan hid his surprise. He could not remember doing this before, yet she spoke of it as though it were a frequent motion of his. Nor could he recall feeling the movement of the twins either, aside from that within the Force. His behaviour with her had always been what was considered to be proper, as far that could be, between the supposed secret wife of his apprentice and himself. As always, Anakin defied convention with everything, though whether he had the sense to realise that Obi-Wan knew all too well of the marriage, was another matter. He believed Padmé pondered confiding in him, but withheld from doing so because of Anakin. Despite everything, the boy had never entirely trusted him.
He wondered where Anakin was, who he was in whatever this place was. Given what the man had said, it was clear that Padmé was his wife, and Anakin a protégé, whatever that term might mean. So much of this still remained unclear to him, too much like a dream which he would wake from soon.
As for Padmé, whilst his behaviour had always been proper, his feelings were another matter. She was someone who he admired, respected and cared for, perhaps more than he should. Here though, it seemed that he had the freedom to show how much he cared for her, even receive such from her in return. The mere idea, let alone the knowledge of this, was very attractive, yet he restrained himself, concerned that if he tried to act upon feelings which he had withheld for so long, he would wake from this place to another, one with a far less pleasant reality.
She seemed to understand his hesitancy, leaning forward to make the move he could not, initiating the touch first, tilting her head to let their lips meet. It was a kiss he dared not hope for, only dreamed of in fevered imaginings, tenderness and purity somehow combined, producing a multitude of wondrous sensations, all too numerous to be immediately understood, yet each one was savoured intently.
When she withdrew he held his breath as he waited for the world to end, for her to fade from his vision, leaving him alone in this desolate place.
It was a profound relief that she did not. Instead she touched her abdomen again, laughing alittle.
"That was Leia," she explained away the thud he had felt beneath his still caressing hand which had broken the intimacy of their kiss.
"How can you tell?" he asked her, as he inwardly stored away the significance of the name. As that was the same, perhaps he could use names as a touchstone for the rest of his memory. With caution when it came to some more obscure ones, of course.
"Mother's intuition," she replied with a smile. "And we Naberrie breed strong women."
"Just as well," he remarked, "as my own strength failed you, landing me here."
She shook her head. "You must not blame yourself, you were under tremendous pressure, and these are our first. This has been difficult for both of us, not to mention the concerns you have over Anakin."
He tried not to flinch over hearing the name, even though it was spoken without any of the usual feeling from her lips. "How is he?"
"I think your collapse touched him where all else has failed," she replied. "It caused him quite a scare."
Obi-Wan wanted to ask what it was Anakin had done in this world, but he knew that now was not the time. He did not want to lose her belief in his recovery, not when it might affect her pregnancy. If this was truly his reality now, there would be time to learn about everything else later. For now, he must focus on reconciling himself to staying here, in a world without the Force, but with the love of a woman he had always loved in return, along with the continued existence of a boy who still had much to learn, as opposed to the molten grave which their duel consigned him to.
Here's where you get to choose which ending you want to read, all of them, or none of them, if you prefer. Each one is darker than the one before, the last darkest of them all.
Ending 1. Go to Chapter 2
Ending 2. Go to Chapter 3
Ending 3. Go to Chapter 4