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Saga It Could Not Have Been Otherwise (Obi-Wan, Siri - bittersweet, vignette)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Valiowk, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Valiowk

    Valiowk Chosen One star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Title: It Could Not Have Been Otherwise
    Author: Valiowk
    Timeframe: Immediately after Jedi Quest: Path to Truth
    Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Siri Tachi
    Genre: angst, friendship
    Keywords: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Siri Tachi, Marina Tsvetaeva, “Mne nravitsya”, “I like it”
    Summary: An intermediate scene between the two halves of Legacy of the Jedi #2: Secrets of the Jedi

    They are not ready to give up their love, nor ready to admit their regrets. Not ready to resign themselves to a future without each other, nor ready to understand that what binds them is purer than attachment. That will come later. But for now, they can be kindred spirits.

    Author’s notes:
    1) I changed the timeline so that Siri leaves the Jedi Temple in 33 BBY (one year before TPM), when she is 22 and Obi-Wan is 24, and Path to Truth takes place in 31 BBY. This has the effect of fixing a few problems in the timeline (e.g. in Jedi Quest #1, Siri’s Padawan Ferus Olin is said to be “a few years older than Anakin”, but Anakin is 13 in Path to Truth, and we all know from Jedi Apprentice #1 that Jedi pupils need to become Padawans by their thirteenth birthday; also, if Siri supposedly left the Jedi Temple two years after TPM, then Anakin should have been acquainted with her prior to Path to Truth). This change is not significant to the story (the only place it appears is when I refer to the events of the first half of Secrets of the Jedi as “eight years ago”), but it will be significant in a companion vignette that I am hoping to write the companion vignette The Poem Of Those Who Wear Masks.
    2) The poem in this vignette, “Mne nravitsya” (“I like it”), was written by the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva in 1915; the translation here is my own. (*ducks from Russian speakers for butchering one of their most beloved poems* [face_blush]) The biographical facts are true, up to transportation onto a different planet; the interpretation…is the point of this vignette. ;)

    Many thanks to Estora for a fantastic job in beta-reading this vignette! [:D]

    It Could Not Have Been Otherwise

    Pushing open the ornate doors of the Jedi Temple Library, Obi-Wan Kenobi instantly felt his spirits lift as he surveyed the vast shelves of holobooks contained within the magnificent stone hallways. Despite being a frequent visitor to the library, the ginger-haired, clean-shaven Jedi Knight never failed to be awed by the impressive collection of documents and artefacts contained within. Several years ago, Obi-Wan’s late Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, had recommended the chambers to his Padawan after Obi-Wan had expressed his reluctance to bother the Jedi Master whenever he felt troubled. Qui-Gon had been sympathetic, stressing to his Padawan that he was always ready to lend him a listening ear, but simultaneously comprehending Obi-Wan’s desire to be more self-reliant.

    “Sometimes, Padawan, when I am desirous of a few words of wisdom that aren’t quite so cryptic or acerbic,” the Jedi Master had said with a glint in his eye, “I visit the library. There is much wisdom in the words of the ancients, even though they could themselves be misguided at times.”

    It was thus that Obi-Wan had begun frequenting the library, when affairs in the Jedi Temple, on missions, and in the galactic news troubled him. Often, reading a classic novel, a volume of poetry, a biography, or about a historical event related to the focus of his concern served to give him greater insight into the issue and let him become more understanding of diverse matters that the Jedi seldom came into contact with as a consequence of their atypical lifestyle. Initially, Obi-Wan had been apprehensive that Qui-Gon might be displeased by his Padawan’s increased independence, interpreting it as a sign of a developing rift between Master and Padawan, but Qui-Gon had swiftly dispelled his worries, assuring Obi-Wan that he was pleased by his Padawan’s growing maturity and increased perspicacity from his time in the library, and emphasising his confidence that his Padawan would approach him if he were unable to resolve his concerns on his own. After Qui-Gon’s untimely death at the hands of the Zabrak Sith Lord a year ago, Obi-Wan regularly visited the library as a source of guidance in training his own Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, and also as a venue for recreation. Despite his relatively young age, the Jedi Knight was already well regarded by his peers for his extensive cultural and literary knowledge.

    Thank you for recommending me this place, Master, Obi-Wan thought to himself. I feel you still by my side, imparting to me your wisdom through the books I read, whenever I am here.

    Obi-Wan swiftly made his way towards his favourite set of shelves, those containing volumes of poetry from across the Galactic Republic, but paused in his steps when he saw the figure seated at the capacious marble table before him.

    Siri Tachi.

    The tall female Jedi was once again dressed in Jedi robes, her short blond hair unbraided and neatly combed, a marked difference from the unisuit she had last been wearing and the greasy, braided hairstyle she had sported while working undercover to infiltrate the operations of the slave trader Krayn. Her face was pensive, her lips moving slightly as she read from the holobook in front of her. Obi-Wan’s first instinct was to move towards another area of the library, but he quickly stilled that impulse.

    After all, the Jedi Knight reflected, she’s the reason why you came to the library today, Kenobi.

    Since Obi-Wan and Siri had admitted their feelings towards each other and subsequently made the decision to bury those feelings, the friendship between the two Jedi had been strained. They continued to converse civilly with each other when obligated to by circumstance, but more commonly, they would simply turn in separate directions when one spied the other approaching. Obi-Wan had only broken from this pattern when Siri had left the Temple to go undercover, believing her to have abandoned the Jedi Order, and had attempted numerous times to contact her, but had received no reply from Siri at that time. On the starship back to Coruscant, however, the relationship between them had been more amicable, the two of them and Anakin working well together as they sorted out Krayn’s slave trading records. They had sat down to dinner together—something that Obi-Wan and Siri had not done together since they had parted company eight years ago—and Siri had even teased Obi-Wan in front of his Padawan about his dismal cooking skills. Their interaction had not reached the level of propinquity they had shared before, but it was a palpable improvement over their previous coolness towards each other. Nevertheless, Obi-Wan remained uncertain about the state of affairs between Siri and himself. After all, all their contact had transpired in Anakin’s presence. Perhaps Siri’s increased warmth was simply for the sake of his Padawan—she might simply have not wanted Anakin to feel discomforted in their presence. That had been the case when Obi-Wan and Siri had been together around their common friends at the Jedi Temple—the more friends whose presence they had been in, the greater an effort they had made to be jovial in each other’s presence. It was being alone together that was the true test of how things stood between them.

    Obi-Wan sucked in a deep breath and exhaled as he approached Siri’s table. Here goes, he thought to himself.


    The younger Jedi raised her head and, after a few seconds, returned his greeting with a smile. “Obi-Wan.”

    It was a smile he had not seen in a long time, Siri at peace with herself in his presence, and Obi-Wan spontaneously felt the weight on his heart lighten. The Force pulsed around them, steady and peaceful. Taking Siri’s response as a positive indication, Obi-Wan strolled towards her.

    “What are you reading?”

    Siri lifted the cover of the holobook from the table, and Obi-Wan’s eyes rose slightly in surprise as they took in the exotic curves of the Pyccian alphabet. Many hundreds of years ago, Pyccian had been one of the primary languages of the Galactic Republic due to the economic influence of the Pyc sector. Over centuries, however, its importance had gradually declined as Basic emerged as the lingua franca of the Republic. Nowadays, Pyccian was little used outside the Pyc sector, and even there, most communication with offworlders was conducted in Basic. It remained one of the languages that Jedi pupils could learn at the Temple, although most pupils, including Obi-Wan, Siri, and their friends Garen, Bant, and Reeft, had elected to study other languages such as High Galactic, Durese, and Bocce.

    The female Jedi stood up to meet Obi-Wan as he reached her side. “The poems of Marina Tsvetaeva,” she replied, aware that Obi-Wan was unable to read the words on the cover of the holobook.

    Obi-Wan nodded briskly in recognition of the name. Marina Tsvetaeva had been one of the most outstanding poets of Pyc’s Silver Age. A radical poet, her poems were considered extraordinarily innovative for her day. Yet, for all the fame her poetry had enjoyed and the esteem that other distinguished poets of her era had held her in, she had committed suicide in Yelubuga, a small town on the planet Pyc, unable to cope with the cleft of her family and the tremendous destruction that the civil war which had erupted on her planet had wrecked, and had been buried in an unmarked grave in Yelubuga, the precise location of which had since been lost in the sands of time.

    “You learnt Pyccian while undercover?” Obi-Wan enquired.

    Siri pursed her lips, her eyes taking on a distant look. “A Pyccian slave girl taught me the language,” she replied after a short pause. Returning her gaze to the open page of the holobook, she continued, “This poem was a gift from her to me. A gift from a teacher to her student, she said. It was her way of turning the tables on her situation.”

    Obi-Wan glanced down at the open page, its words incomprehensible to him. Turning back to face Siri, he requested, “Would you translate it for me?” In that moment, their eyes connected, navy against blue-grey.

    They regarded each other wordlessly for several moments, until Siri forced a trembling smile to her face and nodded almost imperceptibly. “Yes, I will.” She turned her gaze back to the holobook, and Obi-Wan, discomforted by what had just passed between them, did likewise.

    Siri’s dulcet tones rang out melodiously beside Obi-Wan.

    I like it, that your thoughts dwell not upon me,
    I like it, that my thoughts dwell not upon you,
    That never shall this planet’s heavy sphere be
    Careening from beneath our feet without cue.
    I like it, that I can be funny, silly,
    Play fast and loose—though not with words before you,
    And find no wave of blushes smothering me,
    When with unruly sleeves I brush against you.
    ” —A swallow.—

    I like it too, that in my very presence
    You so composedly embrace another,
    And cast me not in brimstone fire as vengeance
    To burn in hell, for having kissed some other.
    That I possess, my tender, the assurance
    That not by day nor night my name you’ll utter…
    That never
    ”—here Siri’s voice shook, but rapidly steadied itself—“shall a choir—amidst the silence—
    Above us sing in chorus: Hallelujah!

    I thank you with my heart and hand sincerely
    For—though this sentiment you’d never construe—
    So loving me: for my reposing soundly,
    For twilight rendezvous that number too few,
    For non-walks under the full moon’s glory,
    For the bright sun, that shines not on me, nor you,
    For that your thoughts
    ”—her voice held only the faintest hint of a tremble—“—alas!—dwell not upon me,
    For that my thoughts—alas!—dwell not upon you.

    An acute silence descended upon the hallway, and Siri closed her eyes briefly, mutely willing the discomfort between Obi-Wan and her to dissipate.

    “Siri.” The female Jedi opened her eyes, certain that she could hear a grin in Obi-Wan’s voice. “You didn’t translate that on the spot, did you? The Jedi Order would have done the galaxy a great disservice, depriving it of such a talented poet as you.”

    Glancing at Obi-Wan, Siri perceived him trying to repress a tentative upward twitch of his lips. She stared at him for several seconds, dumbfounded, before a few giggles escaped her at the absurdity of Obi-Wan’s assertion, the tension between the two Jedi diffused.

    “No,” Siri admitted. “I laboured over the translation over several meetings that degenerated into Krayn, Rashtah and some of the other slavers discussing their choices of lady Twi’lek companions the next time they were off the ship.” The blond Jedi rolled her eyes. “They probably thought—with some misdirection on my part—”—Siri winked at Obi-Wan—“that I was watching vids of male Falleens performing in the Chancellor’s Choice Cantina here on Coruscant or something.” Obi-Wan’s eyes had gone wide and the two Jedi shared a few snorts of laughter before their gazes fell upon the holobook again. “The girl who taught me Pyccian”—Siri glanced at Obi-Wan, her voice having turned serious again—“she was a true connoisseur of poetry.”

    “It’s an exquisite poem,” Obi-Wan commented. He was looking into Siri’s clear navy eyes again, and his throat had tightened. His next words slipped out before he could control them. “Did Marina and the one she loved—”

    Oh, Force, Kenobi, what have you said? You promised never to remind her!

    Their earlier joking mood had loosened his tongue disgracefully. Obi-Wan’s voice trailed away, unable to continue. That soft look on Siri’s face—he knew exactly when he had last seen it: eight years ago, right before she had uttered the one sentence that he could not obliterate from his memory: “And I hope that we don’t meet for a long, long time.”

    “It’s not a love poem, Obi-Wan,” Siri asserted softly.

    Obi-Wan stared at her, uncomprehending. “It’s not?” he finally cracked out, his mouth open in disbelief. “But the words…”

    “It’s not a love poem,” Siri repeated. “Tsvetaeva dedicated the poem to her brother-in-law, M. A. Mints. There was nothing between them,” she said clearly. “What she wrote in the poem—that she was glad that they could be comfortable with each other without all the awkwardness arising from having feelings for each other—she meant it literally.”

    “It’s not a love poem,” Obi-Wan echoed, trying out the words against his tongue. Siri nodded faintly.

    Obi-Wan gazed at Siri, taking in each of her features. Her bright navy eyes, which shone with a wisdom she had gained over the years. The gentle curve of her lips, now calm and serene, yet, Obi-Wan knew, ever ready to make a quip at a friend. The way she held herself, the dignity and nobility of the Jedi coming so naturally to her. Siri would make a fine Jedi Knight. Now, Obi-Wan understood Qui-Gon’s wisdom when he had advised them to continue on the Jedi path.

    “Were they friends?” Obi-Wan finally asked after an extended pause.

    Siri nodded. A tiny smile made its way to her face. “They were not just friends. They were kindred spirits, persons who shared a close affiliation in mind and soul, who spoke the same language and treaded softly on each other’s dreams, because they shared the same. It could not have been otherwise.”

    “Kindred spirits,” Obi-Wan repeated softly. “Kindred spirits,” he reiterated, nodding to himself. “I like it.” He regarded Siri again and let a smile come to his face, a smile that, it seemed, had lain quiescent for eight years, that Siri returned with a luminous one of her own. No matter what happened in the future, Obi-Wan knew, he would forever remember and treasure this moment, when Siri’s face was soft and their souls were light once again.

    Behind Siri, a chronometer on the wall chimed the hour. “It’s time for me to accompany Master Adi to the Hall of Knighthood,” Siri said. “Would you do me the honour of attending my Knighting Ceremony, Obi-Wan?”

    “Of course,” Obi-Wan replied with a grin and a firm nod. “How could it be otherwise?”

    The two Jedi Knights replaced the holobook and exited the library side-by-side, chuckling together as Obi-Wan advised Siri to enjoy her time as an unfettered Knight while regaling her with tales of his exasperating Padawan. Their sleeves brushed against each other’s, and they did not blush.

    I like it, that I can be funny, silly,
    Play fast and loose—though not with words before you,
    And find no wave of blushes smothering me,
    When with unruly sleeves I brush against you.

    It could not have been otherwise.

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
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  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Lovely to see Obi-Wan and Siri together as great friends and a lovely poem.=D==D==D=
    Kahara likes this.
  3. Harpalyce

    Harpalyce Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 19, 2010
    This is wonderful. :) Beautifully crafted, with lovely descriptions and pacing. You have a very clear literary voice that makes reading your work very easy but simultaneously makes them feel extraordinarily lush, if that makes sense. I love the poem included, I'd never heard of it before and it's quite lovely. You wove it into the universe as a whole very well. The characterization is spot-on as well... absolutely wonderful story!
    Kahara likes this.
  4. iceaffinity

    iceaffinity Jedi Knight star 1

    May 23, 2010
    This is beautiful. @};- I love how you tied the story and their relationship into the poem, letting them be friends and kindred spirits. Wonderful piece! =D=
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  5. Valiowk

    Valiowk Chosen One star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank you for your review! I think Obi-Wan and Siri would have matured tremendously during these eight years and have realised that it would be foolish to give up their friendship because they cannot be together. And what better Knighting gift for Siri than for them to be friends again? :) Glad that you enjoyed the translation of the poem!

    Harpalyce: Thank you very much for your lovely review! [:D] Marina Tsvetaeva is one of my favourite poets and this poem is a classic in the Russian language. I very much encourage you to check out her poetry, even if it is just in translation!

    iceaffinity: Thank you! When rereading Secrets of the Jedi, I thought to myself that this was just the poem that Siri and Obi-Wan would read to themselves if it existed in the Star Wars universe, and the rest of the story evolved from there. :)
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  6. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005

    ?Kindred spirits,? Obi-Wan repeated softly. ?Kindred spirits,? he reiterated, nodding to himself. ?I like it.? He regarded Siri again and let a smile come to his face, a smile that, it seemed, had lain quiescent for eight years, that Siri returned with a luminous one of her own. No matter what happened in the future, Obi-Wan knew, he would forever remember and treasure this moment, when Siri?s face was soft and their souls were light once again.

    Not to repeat myself from the other site, I'll just say how wonderful this is on so many levels.
    Kahara likes this.
  7. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    What a beautiful little piece! =D= I'm not much in Obi/Siri stuff (or PT), but this was universal, wonderful! Very well balanced and mature! And great work with weaving the (lovely) poem into the story! =D= @};- =D=
    Kahara likes this.
  8. Sara_Kenobi

    Sara_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Sep 21, 2000
    A great insight to Obi-Wan and Siri. Well done! =D=
    Kahara likes this.
  9. TheMacUnleashed

    TheMacUnleashed Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 2, 2009
    =D= Well done! You captured the friendship between Siri and Obi-Wan perfectly here, and I loved the poem.
    Kahara likes this.
  10. Gkilkenny

    Gkilkenny Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2004
    I always like hearing about Siri and Obi-Wan and you've captured their friendship very well.

    Good writing.=D=
    Kahara likes this.
  11. Valiowk

    Valiowk Chosen One star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Valairy_Scot: Thanks again! I replied on the other site. :)

    kataja: Thank you! Maturity is one of the traits I think good Jedi, even young ones, would possess, and I felt that this was a good way to illustrate how Obi-Wan and Siri have grown, not only in terms of abilities, but also in terms of wisdom.

    By the way, I seem to be the opposite of you - I'm not very much into OT-material - but I'm nevertheless enjoying your story Quagmire very much! :)

    Sara_Kenobi: Thank you for your review! I'm glad you liked the vignette! :)

    TheMacUnleashed: Thank you! :) I like this poem so much that I'm contemplating writing a companion vignette that would also feature it; the vignette would centre on Siri and the Pyccian slave girl, and we'd see what Siri thinks when she reads this poem for the first time (it might be quite different from what she tells Obi-Wan here!). I really hope that I will have the time to write this vignette, but no promises as yet!

    Gkilkenny: Thank you! Obi-Wan and Siri are two of my favourite characters in Star Wars, so it was a great pleasure for me to write this fic, and I'm glad that it was able to please some other fans of the pair too. :)
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  12. LadyLurker

    LadyLurker Jedi Youngling

    Dec 13, 2009
    Heeey, I read this over at FFNet! Sorry I didn't review, though. XD What can I say? I thought this was quite beautiful. A lovely small character study of Siri and Obi-Wan. Beautiful interactions. Great job!

    Kahara likes this.
  13. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    :)"Re your a/n, I'm glad you're tickling the time line and fixing the discrepancies --- you're not the first to say, "Hey, what? regarding that glitch. And this is truly wonderful to see, a paean to their relationship at this point of the game. It would have fit in well with the Obi-Wan and Siri who we learn about in the Jedi Quest series, comrades with isolated moments of tenderness to speak of things in the past. And that poem! I'd be interested to read the continuation of this, in the vein of her ongoing thoughts about the translation, as languages are so fluid that they take different shapes as time goes on. Excellent work and thanks for posting.
    Kahara likes this.
  14. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 12, 2005
    How did I not see this before? :oops:

    Their discussion is eloquent and intelligent. Great writing! Great dialogue! Great poem!
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  15. Veloz

    Veloz Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Aug 30, 2004
    Aww this was just lovely. I loved the poem and i loved the interaction between Obi-Wan and Siri. It felt very natural and real.

    Thanks for sharing it with us! =D=
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  16. Valiowk

    Valiowk Chosen One star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    LadyLurker: Thank you for reviewing here; I really appreciate it! I don't seem to be capable of writing long stories, but I enjoy doing character studies, especially ones that illustrate how characters have developed and learnt from their past experiences over the years. Thank you for the praise!

    pronker: Continuity errors have always annoyed me, and my solution is usually to come up with a patch for them, even if it's only my own unofficial version. I'm glad that I was able to write what I think is a satisfactory patch to the discrepancies between Secrets of the Jedi and the Jedi Quest series while exploring the relationship between Obi-Wan and Siri at this intermediate stage in time.

    I've begun working on the companion piece to this vignette, although it might take some time before it's completed as I've been fairly busy lately. It will probably focus more on the relationship between Siri and the Pyccian slave girl and less on the poem, but we'll see where the muse takes me.

    Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed the vignette! :)

    darksideyesplease: Thank you for your review! One of my goals when writing this vignette was to bring out the wise, serene side of the Jedi when they were not embroiled in a dangerous mission or in a war. I'm glad that came through!

    Veloz: You're welcome! [:D] Tsvetaeva's poem was a great inspiration to me in writing this story, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to share it with all of you! :)

    I would like to extend a massive thanks to the readers who nominated this story for the FanFiction awards. I'm very touched by this gesture and really appreciate it! [face_love]
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  17. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005
    This is a truly beautiful vignette, Valiowk. I do not read much fanfic about Siri (never read any canon stories with her, so I never truly knew much about her character), but you have done such a wonderful job with how I think she would act. Your writing is gorgeous and lyrical - which is awesome! @};- And I love bittersweet stories, so this was quite up my alley anyway. Thank you so much for sharing, it's a wonderful read! :)
    Kahara likes this.
  18. Valiowk

    Valiowk Chosen One star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Idrelle_Miocovani: Thank you for your support! [:D] One of the things I love about fanfiction is that it gives one an opportunity to be better acquainted with characters who occur in a part of the series that one may not have seen before, or gain a better insight into characters who may not have caught one's attention before. For instance, most of my knowledge of events beyond the saga actually comes from reading fanfiction and referring to Wookieepedia - I've read very few EU novels set post-ROTJ - and then looking up the relevant novel if I was really interested in the event concerned. So, no worries even though you've never read any canon books about Siri; I'm glad I was able to write something that made her accessible even to those who haven't read canon stories featuring her before. :)

    Bittersweet seems to have been my default writing style for several years, although I personally prefer conclusions wherein characters whom one would think would have earned a happy ending after all the trials and tribulations they have been through actually do have one. I'm not sure why there's this difference between my writing style and what actually I prefer to see happen - I wonder if other writers have encountered the same phenomenon?
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  19. serendipityaey

    serendipityaey Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 24, 2004
    Just found this - truly a beautiful vignette. The details are impeccable and the entire description of Obi-Wan and Siri's relationship is poetic in itself and spot on :) Wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it [face_love]
    Kahara likes this.
  20. obimom

    obimom Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2010
    Very nice. I always love Siriwan stories, and the poem fit perfectly for them. I love seeing them together, whether it's as close friends (in canon) or as more in AU :)
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  21. Valiowk

    Valiowk Chosen One star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    serendipityaey: Thank you! Poetry and writing lyrically were not strong points of mine formerly and only came to me more recently, so I'm glad that you liked the writing style.

    obimom: Thank you! I don't seem to have the ability to write AU stories (although I enjoy reading others' very much), so this was the best compromise I could imagine for Obi-Wan and Siri - after all, we authors and readers all hope that our favourite characters had their moments of happiness. :)
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