Title: Crowned with Consolation Author: VaderLVR64 Characters: OC, Ben Kenobi Timeframe: about 8 years post ROTS Genre: Short story - I cannot begin to guess how many posts because every time I do, I'm wrong. Crowned with Consolation ?For grief is crowned with consolation.? - William Shakespeare Chapter One He arrived one evening, dusty and weary, grateful for the cold ale I placed in front of him while he glanced at the menu. ?Greetings, sir,? I said, wiping off the table absently. The dust was ever present and my efforts would not banish it for long, but it was already a habit. ?And to you,? he replied with a slight smile that did not quite reach his blue eyes. ?You?re new here, aren?t you?? It might have sounded like a line from another man, but from him it was merely polite curiosity. I knew my smile trembled, for I had come to Tatooine to forget, but I was discovering that my pain had followed me across the galaxy. ?Just arrived ten days ago,? I told him. When the silence grew awkward, I took refuge in my work. ?What?ll you have?? I asked, clearly changing the subject. The man?s eyes were compassionate, but he did not say the words I could almost see in his eyes. I?m sorry for whatever has caused your pain. I was grateful that he did not speak of it, but his sympathy was a gift as well. He ordered a simple meal and nothing more out of the ordinary occurred. ?I?ll have that right out for you,? I told him as I gathered up the menu. A few moments later, I brought him his food. It was busy and the next time I looked up, he was gone and credits were on the table. A decent tip, I thought. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was a month before I saw him again and he sat at the same table. ?Good evening,? he said politely, a slight smile tugging at his lips. ?I remember you,? I said in surprise. After a while, all the faces seemed to blend together, but for some reason this gentle man stood out in my memory. ?I?m honored,? he said. ?I?m usually quite forgettable,? he added with a self-deprecating smile. At first glance, I could see where that might be true. His hair was brown with streaks of white lacing through it, his face was weather-beaten and worn, and his eyes were a warm blue. Nothing extraordinary upon a casual look. A closer inspection, however, told me that he would be a very difficult man to forget if one was allowed the privilege of knowing him. I felt reassured just being with him, though I had no idea why that would be so. I smiled and shook my head. ?I hardly think so.? Later, after he had left, I asked one of the other servers about him. Binnie was an older woman, aged quickly by a hard life and the harsh climate of Tatooine. She was kind, however, with a heart as big as her ample waist, and she had taken me under her wing. She had children but they lived far away, and so I was the focus of all her maternal instincts. I knew how strong the drive to mother could be, and I indulged her even when I sometimes grew weary of her solicitous attentions. ?Do you know the guy who was at my table?? I asked. Binnie smiled widely. ?Oh sure, that?s Ben. He?s been coming here? Oh, about ten years now, I?d say.? ?So what?s his story?? I asked curiously. There was something about the quiet man that intrigued me. He so clearly did not fit in here, and yet he moved among them with utter assurance. It was a strange combination. ?Ben,? my friend replied and then she frowned. ?Don?t know his last name, come to think of it.? ?Ben,? I whispered. ?It?s a nice name.? Binnie laughed, misunderstanding my interest. She had no way of knowing that my heart had already been given to a man and it was no longer mine to give. That part of my life had been swept away months ago and it was not going to return. ?And a pretty pair of blue eyes to go with that nice name, huh?? She nudged me with her elbow. She could not know that the warmth of a man?s arms was something I never expected to feel again. That part of my life was over.