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Saga - Legends Life Among the Ashes (Obi-Wan, Sabé, OC) - Completed 20 February

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by taramidala, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Happy New Year everyone. Now that it's 2016, I suppose it's time to post this story here, too. After much coaxing by ginchy and JadeLotus here I am. I wrote half of this story two years ago and only posted it to FFN and Ao3. Since I've made a few additions in the form of two more chapters, I decided I was ready to post it here as well.

    If you've read it elsewhere, welcome back. I hope you enjoy these new additions. If you're reading it for the first time, I hope you enjoy it all.

    If you've read some of my other work here and elsewhere, you will find allusions and inferences to A Handmaid's Tale, Holiday Heritage, and The Best First Night.

    The former two stories do not belong to the same "Alternate Universe." The latter, however, does. (And yes, I know that when you read this and "Best First Night" together there's about 40 years of timeline missing. Yes, I'm working on it. ;))

    Instead of posting each of the four chapters in one fell swoop, I'm going to divide some of them in half because they're quite long. I'm also going to post the chapters in different orders than you may have read them elsewhere for the sake of experimentation.

    And now I'll shut up and let you start reading. Enjoy.

    Title: Life Among the Ashes
    Author: taramidala
    Rating: PG-13
    Time Frame: Immediately post "Revenge of the Sith." Inter-trilogy AU.
    Acknowledgements: Thanks to ginchy, JadeLotus, and serendipityaey for the beta reading.
    Disclaimer: All belongs to Lucasfilm and the Disney Corporation, except for two original characters briefly mentioned.

    Part 1: Obi-Wan. Chapter 1 (part 1).

    He finds her. In the shadows of the Theed streets at Padmé's funeral.

    Despite Organa's and Master Yoda's insistence that it is not safe for him – for any of them – to linger on Naboo any longer than necessary, he will not leave just yet. His personal code of honor demands it, to pay tribute to this young woman who risked everything for the love of his Padawan.

    Foolish, stubborn children. Both of them.

    Her deep brown eyes widen in fear and recognition. Even she knows that she is no longer safe in her own home. That the Senator's death was not right.

    He wonders how much she knew.

    How much any of them knew.

    In hushed tones he draws her further into the shadows, once the funeral cortège has passed.

    He promises her safety, such as it is.

    He will return, in two months' time.

    Can she settle her affairs by then?

    Give her one, she says. Two is too many.

    He turns to go, to slip invisibly into the streets and back to the spaceport, to where the others await him. Then he feels her elegant hand on his arm, pulling him into an embrace. He allows her this, this one moment of grief and release, before he tries to remove himself once more. She holds firm, taking his face between her hands; as she presses her forehead against his, he hears her whisper, "Thank you," before she, too, drifts off into the night.

    * * * * *​

    When he sneaks back to Naboo, one month later as promised, Theed is in chaos.

    The new queen, dead.

    Fugitive Jedi, dead.

    The city overrun with troops.

    The new queen a puppet to Palpatine.

    Where is she? Is she safe? Is she alive?

    He skulks around the city, trying every place he can think of.

    A memory comes to him, unbidden, of the first war here. That seminal battle that started the galaxy on this path of destruction, when he thinks about it. The Sacred Place. That Gungan haven in the forest that sheltered the Naboo's tiny resistance.

    Think. Take care of everything here, then find her.

    He books their passage, departing in two days' time. He hopes it will be enough. He hopes he is not too late.

    And there she is. Bedraggled and wet, hiding out in a makeshift shelter a few clicks into the trees.

    She's terrified, believed he wasn't coming. She'd only just settled her affairs when the troops came. To all who knew her, she'd resigned and left already. Roo'na, her own sister, doesn't know where she has gone.

    They stay the night in her shelter; he uses the Force to keep them warm, but her fearful shivering only stops when he takes her in his arms.

    * * * * *​

    They take their time, as the refugee ship meanders along the Outer Rim picking up and dropping off those who need a place to hide.

    Always looking over their shoulders.

    She cuts her hair; he dyes his beard. Between them they take a decade off their age.

    Before she left Naboo, Sabé found some old clothing of her parents' and tattered them up as best she could; in them, they look passably disheveled.

    At one of the last ports in the...Empire...they exchange the currency for hard trinkets, so they have something to barter with when they reach their destination.

    Neither knows how long it will take once they arrive on Tatooine, how long her stay will be before Senator Organa sends word that Alderaan is safe for her. She will be protected with the senator and his queen, and her skills will be of use to them.

    For most of the journey, she passes off an air of calm about their situation. Yet at each port they hear word of Palpatine's minions exerting violent control over every world, and her mask begins to crack. In the moments when she breaks he lets her see his own fear, and it's all he can do to comfort her.

    They will make it, he insists. Just a few more days.

    * * * * *​

    At last, they are back on Tatooine.

    As they disembark and the wave of intensely hot air blows their hair back, they share a look of remembrance, of an earlier, more innocent time. How young they were then, back when this all began.

    He breathes out a sigh of relief, that they've made it. For now at least, they are safe, on this hideous, lawless world.

    She turns to him with a grin that sets his mind spinning, and she hands him a supply list. "See if 'The Negotiator' can still handle a few purchases, eh?" she teases. With her handling the food and cooking half of the list, they should be set for a few months at least.

    Now for the bartering. She tells him not to be above a mindtrick or two, and he can hear Qui-Gon's voice in his head chuckling softly.

    A transport, check. A used but functional speeder will get them there.

    Multitools, blankets, a basic communicator, and a vaporator for water, check.

    A home, check. A dilapidated hovel, in the middle of the Jundland Wastes but close enough to where he needs to be, will suffice. Later, Sabé will assure him that together they will make it their own. Simple but comfortable. A good place to hide in plain sight.

    He even manages to procure a map. Anchorhead and Bestine Township are close enough to their new home to ensure that they will not need to return to the city, hopefully, until it's time to send Sabé on her way.

    * * * * *​

    In those late nights, when there is little else to do but look at the stars, the bond that formed over ten years ago begins to re-emerge, back when she was a pretend queen and he an impatient padawan.

    She's the same as she was then: wry, witty, full of life. She radiates warmth and compassion.

    He finds himself the same, as well: timid and tongue-tied in her presence. He's uncharacteristically flustered when she smiles, like the schoolboy he never was.

    Yet he's as drawn to her as ever, and when the burden of their secrets and their grief – over all they have lost – overcomes them, he finds comfort in her arms and she in his.

    Physical comfort is nothing new for him, but this is different. This is more.

    Sabé makes him feel. She is here, real, and alive. And though she does not say it, she loves him. She shows it in every look, every touch, every comforting word. In so many ways, she is what he could not desire before.

    In moments alone, he shudders in fear. Is this what love – real, alive, romantic love – feels like? Is this what Anakin had wanted – what he had twisted in his sick mind?

    And do the old rules still apply? There's no one left but him. He is no longer what he once was.

    So when they fall together in passion, they are neither Jedi nor Handmaiden, but man and woman communicating on the basest of levels, living and breathing for only the present and for each other.

    It is a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless. For the moment, he relishes it.
     
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  2. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    wow. Elegant, lyrical and beautiful. How different things would have been for Obi-Wan if he had had a companion to help him through the hard, lonely days. (Or maybe he did - after all, how do we know what happened in those 19 years?)

    I really love the way you've shown them transitioning from their previous lives as Jedi and handmaiden to simple people, tow together against fate and the daily struggles.
     
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  3. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    You know I love this - it's so beautifully written, conveying so much about who Obi-Wan and Sabe are, how they have grown, and finally how they come together. You make me ship this pairing!

    I love the sense of urgency, the panic that must have set in on Naboo after the fall of the Republic, and then, the peace they both find in each other at the end, even if they know it's fleeting.
     
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  4. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Thanks so much, divapilot! I really like the thought of Obi-Wan having had a friend who knew as much as he did, who he could lean on during the "adjustment phase" of his exile. It just so happened that when I put them together like this they insisted on something else! Well, not really, but Sabé just always fascinated me (as obvious by all I've written about her!) and I thought she and Obi-Wan had potential. :)


    I would never have shipped them, either, but...it just makes sense for my purposes, you know? Even if you take the romance out of it, I think they would have been fantastic friends, and in my head they absolutely were. Thank you for all your help!! :)
     
  5. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    This is where I'm going to jump around a bit. I love non-linear storytelling, so bear with me as I experiment. If you've read this elsewhere, you'll recognize it as a later chapter.

    But let's check in with Sabé, shall we?

    Part 1: Sabé. Chapter 1 (part 2).

    When she meets his gaze in the funeral crowd she knows: Padmé’s death was not what they’re saying. The death of the Jedi was not what they’re saying. They’d been played for fools, all of them. Palpatine wasn’t human, he was a snake of the worst kind.

    He slips further into the crowd as the casket passes, gliding easily among the throng who shuffle along with the procession. She loses him for a moment and her heart begins to palpitate faster and faster –

    Where did he go? – until at last she feels his firm, warm hand pull her into the shadows.

    In his eyes she knows her home is no longer safe for her. She knows too much, she’s seen too clearly. She will be one of the Emperor’s next targets.

    What can she do? Where can she go? she asks.

    He cannot take her with him now, but he will return, he says, and he will get her to safety. Can she prepare to disappear in a short time?

    She smiles inwardly. Little does he realize, she’s been preparing for this since she was a girl of 18, first in Padmé’s service. To protect and serve, one must know how to act, and act quickly.

    The Jedi will give her two months? She’ll be ready in one. Any longer is too risky.

    His solemn grey-blue eyes twinkle at that; his lips curl into a smile, and with a nod he turns to go. Her heart pinches within her chest once more and she reaches out to his arm, one last time before he disappears into the night. His hands are warm as they grasp her arms, as she takes cups his face in her hands. She blinks back a tear and draws him closer, allowing their foreheads to touch gently.

    “Thank you,” she whispers, offering him a faint smile. Just when he returns it, she detaches completely, out of his arms then turning to slip back into the crowd.

    She doesn’t look back for him now. He will find her later. Again. Soon.

    * * * * *

    She cuts her ties. Her clothing, her belongings, all but the most sacred of her possessions hidden or given to her sister, Roo’na. The handmaiden training program she built from the ground up, turned over to another. Her entire life disappears before her eyes.

    On the outside, she’s hysterical with grief over the loss of her queen. She cannot bear to be on Naboo any longer, not without Padmé. They think her mad, and miss the methodical way in which she plans her escape.

    Inside, she does everything she can to not despair. She can fall apart later, once she’s on the other side of the galaxy from here.

    The burdens of her knowledge, however, haunt her waking and asleep.

    How had it all come to this? She wants answers, though she will receive none. It’s against custom to ask questions.

    The only answer she can give herself is this: she may never come home again.

    When word first came of Padmé’s death, she panicked. When would someone come for her? She knew too much, carried too many secrets to be left alive. If there was anyone left alive to come after her.

    Then she saw him, in that dark corner as the funeral march passed, and she knew. If anyone could soothe her mind and keep her safe it was him. She would wait, and hopefully he would come for her in time.

    * * * * *

    Waking with a start in their small berth on the refugee ship, Sabé’s eyes dart around in the darkness, seeking something familiar in this strange place. For a moment she forgets where she is and who’s with her.

    Her tattered breath cuts through the stillness as she slips her legs off the bed. She swears she still hears the rhythmic bootsteps that have haunted her dreams ever since…

    Only the ship’s guard passing by, he mutters softly. They’re still safe. It was just a dream.

    From his makeshift bunk on the floor below her feet, Obi-Wan slips a hand around her ankle; his calloused grasp is light and warm, soothing as his thumb brushes across her skin. She can’t see him – his hair now as dark as the room – so she reaches out and grips as the bristles of his beard fill her questing hands. As his face tilts upwards to her, her eyes finally adjust to the low light and she catches a glimpse of his expression.

    Her fear matches his own.

    Wetness streams down her cheeks as he rises to his knees to her. She buries her face in his shoulder, allowing her this moment of tearful release, of trembling in his strong embrace. He rocks back gently on his heels, cradling her against him with one hand on her back, the other in her shorn hair.

    They’re not alone. They have each other.

    * * * * *

    Nostalgia is there, welling in her heart as they step off the transport at last. They seem like halcyon, carefree days now - the pretender and the padawan cooling their heels in the desert while their queen and master efforted their escape.

    His hand grasps her elbow as they enter the market. Her eyes dart to it, then to his questioning face. What did I do? she sees him ask. The gesture is kind, but unnecessary.

    She slides one of their packs off her shoulder and onto his arm. In it are trinkets she hopes will pay for all they need. Her eyes track his form as he hoists the pack onto his back; her hands shake a little as she helps him to adjust his cloak, to ensure that his lightsaber is secured well beneath the back of his robes.

    “Let’s meet back here in one hour,” he says. “Will that be enough time for you?”

    “Of course,” she says. His answering grin sets her heart aflutter as she hands him the list she’s made. Their fingers touch lightly at the exchange, and she surprises herself - and him - when she brushes her lips against his cheek. “Do what you must,” she whispers, and she hopes that he understands.

    He needs to realize he’s a Jedi no longer.

    On this barren world, neither of them are what they once were.

    He is now Ben. She is Sabéa again.

    And they will survive.

    * * * * *

    Their nightly tea rituals celebrate what they lost, and from there they spend hours reminiscing about what was, and imagining what might have been. Ben’s not overly prone to sentiment, but in their talks she feels that she makes headway in making him understand this new world of theirs.

    In turn, he does the same.

    Sleep doesn’t come easily or often for them, try as they might. Some nights, they don’t bother an attempt, for fear of the hauntings within them both.

    Yet he remains the strongest man she’s ever known. His calm in the face of his fear and the unknown are what she loves best about him.

    Yes, love. The thought of it makes her smile, privately, in her quiet corner of the home they’ve made together.

    There are moments, when he lets her touch him – a hand on his cheek here, fingers through his hair there – that she wonders if he feels the same. If he’s felt this way as long as she has. In those quiet hours, lying at his side in the stillness of the desert, when she yearns to see her love for him reflected back at her.

    And when she takes him inside of her, his warm skin pressing against hers, harried breath tangling with hers, thirsty lips drinking from hers, whispered voice breathing her name, she believes it.

    If not forever, for now. It’s enough.
     
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Sheer utter breathtakingness. =D= His and her POVs were eloquent, poignant, and full of the immediate need of flight to safety and settling in a place of obscurity more or less, not to attract attention. Their feelings about the past, the future, and each other - =D= there is a tangle of regret with resolve, grief with hope, but overriding everything - their true caring for one another. :)
     
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  7. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    I love this - so much has changed since those days, they are the pretender and the padawan no longer. They have evolved but Tatooine has stayed the same.

    [face_love] This is beautiful - and you know I love the nightly tea rituals!
     
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  8. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Oh, so beautiful. I love this. There's hope and desperation, fear and love.

    This is so complex. She has to be the weeping handmaiden, wailng inconsolably for her lost queen. She must present this front so that no one will question her ability to think logically; she must present a facade of total emotionality and grief-stricken paralysis. This is the mask she wears while she methodically, logically begins to implement the escape plans she lay down years ago.
    And yet, she has lost her dear friend and she is in mortal danger. She's heartbroken and terrified. She must hide her true heartbreak and present this artificial one, pretend to be incapable of action while planning the single most important thing of her life.

    I also love how you've developed the love affair between her and Obi-wan. They are both refugees, fleeing for their lives, and they are allies, but they are both tender and compassionate people. They naturally turn to each other for comfort and to express the compassion that they need to share with another.
     
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  9. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Thanks so much!


    Tatooine will always stay the same. And yes, there's the reference to Handmaid's Tale. I think it's become a fanon thing that Obi-Wan enjoyed his tea, so somewhere along the way it became a thing for them to do together. So civilized. ;)

    I'm glad the playacting makes sense; it's probably one bit that's always made me nervous. I'm glad the romance played well to you, too. Thank you again for the lovely comments! :)
     
  10. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Thanks again to everyone who's reading and commenting, and reading and lurking. We're going to check back in with Obi-Wan now, and this is where the Alternate Universe part comes in. Again, if you've ever read The Best First Night (which is not a requirement), you'll know that I added a couple of characters to the universe. The first one appears here.

    Part 1: Obi-Wan. Chapter 2 (part 1).

    It’s certainly not what they were expecting. When she tells him, it doesn’t process. His brain turns to clay – thick and slow and opaque. When it hits him – a child – he just says “It’s not possible.”

    She laughs, and assures him that it is.

    Then, in a voice just barely above a whisper, he curses their recklessness, says they’re no better than...he can’t bring himself to name them now, and he isn’t sure how to be happy about this news. He wants to trust the Force, his instincts, but how can he? When they have failed him so?

    Sabé rejects his frustration and overcomes his shock with pragmatism, declaring the child a blessing in disguise. Their child is no accident, no error of fate. Their child will have a purpose, and will be loved.

    It is a dangerous time, indeed, but because of that shouldn’t they all take some measure of comfort and joy where they can?

    * * * * *

    The months pass.

    Sabé contracts a midwife and her pregnancy progresses well. She is strong and healthy, as is the child within her.

    He’s never been around a childbearing woman before, so at first he’s a little tentative with Sabé. What few pregnant women there were in the Temple were sequestered from the rest of life there. Something about not wanting to unduly influence the padawans. And, of course, once the children were born the mothers were taken back to their homeworlds, while the newborns became crechlings.

    When he tells her this by way of apology for some perceived slight, Sabé just looks at him with raised eyebrows and he doesn’t need her words to know exactly what she’s thinking. She’s said them before. Because that worked out so well.

    She’s bitter. He knows she’s bitter. To her, the Jedi stole her best friend – her sister, in duty if not in blood. She does not understand the Jedi philosophy and never has. She never will. They’ve discussed it endlessly and he’s well aware by now where she stands.

    Yet what else can he do? He knows nothing else. And he must keep something of their traditions alive. He’s the only one. There is nothing left. There is no one left.

    In the quiet corner of his mind he can hear Qui-Gon’s voice admonishing him: Perhaps she’s right, Apprentice. Perhaps it’s time to alter the rules.

    She’s so lovely. He may not understand these changes she’s going through, but he does his best to keep her comfortable, keep her happy. There’s a corner of his heart that wants her to be happy here. That may one day dare ask her to stay.

    Those hopes end, however, on an errand trip to Anchorhead, where he hears from Senator Organa and sees young Luke for the first time in months.

    The good senator reveals that all is prepared and ready whenever Sabé is. Their time is now short.

    And in the arms of his guardian, his aunt, a one-year-old Luke Skywalker demonstrates more raw power than any crecheling he ever encountered.

    His errant padawan’s son has put Obi-Wan’s child in danger.

    Yet another thing Anakin would have to answer for at the gates of hell.

    * * * * *

    Parting is not what he wants. Not really. Yet he sees no other way. When he first broaches the subject with Sabé, leaving this life of theirs behind, it’s a frank discussion. The pros. The cons. His duty. Her safety. Their child’s safety, and that of the boy.

    Talking turns to fighting, and though he knows she knows he’s right, she argues until the end.

    To her, their child deserves a family.

    He can’t think beyond the boy, however, and for the safety of them all. From birth the other child showed too much innate, untapped potential to have another sensitive infant nearby. The incident in Anchorhead simply proved it.

    Isn’t Alderaan too dangerous as well? she asks. The Princess is just like them.

    No, he says. At birth, the girl’s potential was muted, demonstrating a natural ability to block; it should be enough. If not, he will send Ferus to attend to the children, to train them in the most rudimentary of shielding techniques. Olin can train their child to hide herself if necessary, if he can remain to stay alive.

    All he wants, he tells her, is for them to live. To be happy. That is not possible here. The Organas will keep them safe. The Senator never failed him before, and he was a loyal friend to Padmé, and the Jedi.

    In the end, one day when this is over, the risk of being a family might be one he allows himself to take.

    * * * * *

    When the midwife places this tiny, red-faced, squawking being in his arms he’s not sure what to do. She is so small, so fragile. The crechelings at the Temple were never this size.

    Then her big baby grey eyes open and her crying stops, and he understands. To feel such love, without pretense or condition, swell in his own heart for Sabé and this tiny creature in his hands.

    This is what Anakin longed for.

    In his mind’s eye he can see her grown, strong and beautiful with her mother’s grace and his ironclad sense of honor, all honey hair and a grey-blue gaze. What will she do? What will she be? Never before has he felt such possibility, certainly not of his own making.

    He looks over at Sabé, still breathing heavily after her effort but looking more beautiful than ever. Handing the babe to the midwife, he helps Sabé to sit upright.

    As she reaches out her arms for their daughter, he presses a kiss to her cheek and together they simply sit: quiet, reflective, hopeful. Yes, he thinks. I understand now.

    * * * * *

    All duty. Ever duty.

    They knew it would come to this, that their affair would end one day. They had discussed it and agreed. Perhaps in another time their lives could have been different, but they cannot live with those regrets.

    They have a gift, a child, that will sustain them throughout this permanent separation. Their special kind of love will live on in her and when the day comes that they join the Force in eternity, they will be together again.

    With a final vow, Sabé promises to keep him with her always. When it’s safe, when the time is right, his daughter will be part of his life.

    The child will always know where she came from, who her father was, and that he loved her.

    It’s imperfect, but Sabé’s word is enough.

    * * * * *

    A long kiss goodbye, a soft touch to the tuft of honey-hued fuzz on Taryah’s head, a final squeeze of her hand, a final kind word, he sends them on their way.

    Neither looks back.
     
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, what a difficult decision but a necessary one. Obi-Wan never lost sight of the bigger picture although of course he was torn. :( I happen to hold sabe's opinion about the whole Jedi code/philosophy thing on attachment. Yup, that kind of dichotomy only leads to grief and impossible choices! :eek: Still even at the end there, with the most inexprresibly hard thing they had to do, you can feel each of them resolved to do what they must. @};- Very telling that neither looked back. =D=
     
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  12. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Lovely, beautiful writing as always - a mix of happiness and bitterness winding through every line. Obi-Wan and Sabe are in such a terrible position, and as always they fall back on duty even though it has cost them both so much.

    But that moment when he holds Taryah for the first time! Even that beautiful moment is tinged with sorrow, although there is hope as well, and Sabe's promise. I love this fic so much.
     
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  13. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    I think Obi-Wan and Sabé are pragmatic. While the love for each other was real, they also know there's a higher purpose. Thank you!


    You're always too kind. [:D] Thank you for all of your help and for pushing me. :)
     
  14. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Part 1: Sabé. Chapter 2 (part 2).

    Ben’s initial denial cuts deeper than it should. She should have realized, she should have known…

    His comparison of their situation to hers – she dares him to say the name – to Padmé’s, earns him a well-deserved (in her mind) slap.

    How can this man go from completing her heart to shattering it so quickly? How could this be anything but another chance? How could this child be anything but a blessing in disguise?

    She will not regret this, or him.

    Her child. Their daughter. Suddenly, she has something to fight for again. Ben won’t take that from her.

    Later, in the aftermath, he crawls in beside her, an apology on his lips. In his eyes, his true feelings are clear. Gone is the impassive, courageous knight and in his place is an awestruck, frightened man about to bring a child into a dangerous, uncertain world. Had Anakin looked at Padmé this way, before the end?

    She kisses him softly, coaxing him into her state of tremulous joy.
    * * * * *

    She thinks the frantic kicking will split her in two. Her hands instinctively clutch at her stomach, a flush flooding through her veins, hot underneath her skin. Next to her, Ben grips her shoulder and presses a hand over hers. The baby's kick picks up the pace, if that's even possible, forcing a groan to pass between her lips. He presses harder and shifts her away from the growing crowd, whispering something incomprehensible, making her again long to understand the miracles he can do. The tightness and spasms ease under his touch, whatever it was he’s doing, and she finally catches her breath.

    A soft whimper brings their attention back to the cause of her distress. The little blond boy wriggles in the arms of his guardian, reaching towards her, his face wrinkling as though something was taken from him. Ben's face furls into a frown as he reaches out and brushes the boy's hair.

    When the child stills, he says, "We must go."

    He’s stony and silent all the way back to their home. She winces in the heat from the extra body mass she carries, slipping over the side of their speeder and into his arms. His frame bears her weight into the house gently, aiding her to a seat for a cup of cool water and a damp cloth for her forehead.

    She tracks him as he moves about. Ramrod-straight in posture, avoidant of eye contact, he rushes about their home storing their packages and supplies – doing all he can to pay her no mind until she catches his hand and draws him to her.

    He slips into her arms, mindful of the blessed barrier between them. Their daughter shifts again between them as he sighs into her shoulder, hands stroking her hormone-heated arms. The trail his fingers tread burn her skin, as though he’s trying to imprint himself onto her memory.

    She pulls her lip between her teeth and feels her face grow pinched as he draws back to look at her. His stare penetrates down to her soul and she wonders what he’s trying to say. If she had his powers they wouldn’t need words. Most of the time they don’t. But now...after this...

    Their shared gaze lasts several moments until barely audible, in a broken whisper, he mutters, “It’s over.”

    * * * * *

    The remaining weeks of her pregnancy are mired in conflict. They rage with the suns from dawn to dusk until they fall to bed in mutual exhaustion.

    Sabé wonders if she has any more tears to shed, or if she’s run dry like the desert that surrounds them. If she’s cried enough for both of them, Ben doesn’t say, though he curves his body around her as always. His mouth brushes across her bare shoulder, tickling her skin with his breath as he whispers, “What I want, Sabéa, is for you both to live. Someday, when this is over, perhaps…”

    She knows the risks. She doesn’t care.

    Why does he have to?

    Why is it so wrong to want her child to have what she had? To hell with Vader. Her daughter deserves her mother and her father.

    Why does it hurt so much to know he’s right?

    “Is that enough to hope? To keep fighting?” she asks, squeezing her eyes shut against fresh heartache.

    He slips his arm around her, landing next to hers on her stomach. She twines her fingers through his and squeezes at his response. “Yes.”

    A sob escapes her lips, and he shifts to kiss her. His face hovers into view, soon to be a specter only in her memory.

    She wants to keep fighting, but she is just so tired. “I know,” she says, because what else can she say?

    * * * * *

    She is small and perfect and he’s a natural. In the aftermath of birth, all Sabé can do is watch in wonder at his interactions with their child, how his eyes track every aspect of the girl as if to memorize her features so he’ll recognize her in the future.

    What should be a moment of immense possibility is instead one of bounded reality, harsh in the face of something so beautiful.

    She wonders if Padmé’s grief felt like this.

    She wonders how Padmé could have given up after this.

    The midwife takes the child from her father and he helps her upright. His hands press lightly against her back and shoulders, and that magical, refreshing sensation floods her veins. The intimate connection renews her body, and with that returned strength she finds new determination in her soul.

    The midwife returns with the babe, freshly cleaned and swaddled. Sabé reaches out to cradle her against her breast, against her heart.

    The Darkness may come to kill them yet, but as long as she has hope she’ll keep on fighting. For Ben, for their daughter.

    Taryah. Her mother’s name.

    She’ll fight for the day the girl can proudly add Kenobi to that, too.

    “It’s not fair,” he sighs against her temple, the vibration of his lips buzzing into her hair.

    "It never is."

    * * * * *

    It’s almost strange to put on her old clothes again and strip out of her desert garb.

    It’s downright unfamiliar to think about starships and flight plans and weapons and protection.

    It’s unnatural to plan for hiding her child.

    Yet duty has called, and duty is what she’s always done best.

    Now, she’s just doing it for two.

    Three?

    “It’s the right thing to do,” he reminds her once more. “The girl...the girl is...she's not weaker, but she doesn't...radiate. If you only knew what this boy feels like. You will be well cared for. Both of you."

    “I know,” she whispers.

    Ben receives her into his arms with a sigh; she drinks from his lips like one who is water-starved, wanting to drown in him for the last time.

    They part after a long moment, but Sabé holds him firmly, trailing her hands over his cheeks and beard. His eyes search hers with a twinkle, and she says the words she’s held onto for so long.

    “I love you. We love you.”
    * * * * *

    “We could have drowned in our rage,” he says. “We could have perished from sorrow, but we didn’t. Be strong, ‘béa. For Taryah, and for me.”

    She forces a smile and nods, taking his hand and squeezing tightly. He kisses the baby’s golden hair and steps away. “Go with my gratitude, for your friendship and your love.”

    He turns away, bounding down the ship’s ramp just as it begins to rise. She allows herself a moment of reflection on the past, the present, and the what-might-have-been.

    Then, the baby fusses against her breast and it’s time to move on. She tucks her memories away for her heart’s safe keeping. She’ll never forget, and she’ll fight to be with him again, but for now her child comes first.
     
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  15. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Sabe's heartbreak and happiness are so intertwined but always she remains strong. Her love for Obi-Wan and Taryah are so beautifully realised, and her thoughts on Padme so sad (but so right!).

    :_|
     
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  16. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 25, 2005
    See, I never shipped Obi-Wan until I read your stuff, gal. What have you done to me?? hahahahaha Anyway, you know I have long loved this. I love how lyrical it reads and poor Sabe. I love how she reflects on her ability to perform her duties. And I love the line questioning how Padme could have given up in the face of two babies who needed her. I hate that she and Obi-Wan must be torn apart, but mostly I hate it for Taryah--she won't know what she has missed. I'm *so* glad you're putting more of this universe out there--the readers don't know what they're in for!!!! [face_love] [:D]
     
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  17. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Thank you!! I'm glad it all came together for me, and rather quickly. I was concerned because I didn't really know at first how to make it different from Obi-Wan's POV, but I'm glad you seem to think it worked! :p


    I couldn't do it without you! [:D] Thank you for everything - including being my reader when no one else would. ;)

    As for getting you to ship Obi-Wan...among other things...all I can say is...Mission Accomplished. [face_mischief]
     
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  18. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    I have no idea how many folks are out there lurking, but if you are: Hello! Please don't be shy. :)

    If I'm posting this into the void...I regret nothing! [face_devil]

    I'm going to post both points of view here since they're related. We'll start with Sabé here in Part 2. Enjoy!

    * * * * *​

    Part 2: Sabé. Chapter 3 (part 1).

    Four Years Later (14 BBY)

    There had been an incident with the children, so now she stands in wait for a transport that carries him back to her.

    This wasn’t the way she wanted to meet him again. But the Princess, and ‘Ryah…the Queen and Senator had begged her to ask for his help. He was the only one. Olin had long disappeared and any others, if there were any others still, remained rightly hidden from view.

    So now, it’d be up to ‘Ryah’s father to ensure that she and Sabé’s charge remained safely anonymous.

    The throng of refugees that disembark passes by her shadowed hiding place, and there’s no sign of him. Her fists grasp and twist in her skirts until, at last, he is there, cloaked and hooded in the crowd. Darting into the swarm, she seizes him in silence and whisks him away to the palace. There’s no official greeting from the royal family, no formal audience to be held. A secret visitor in a public space.

    The door to her quarters slides closed and they are alone. His presence hangs heavily behind her, his uncertainty bleeding into her heart as if her own. In the silence she almost hears him whisper her name, just as he’s done in her dreams.

    “’béa…”

    His eyes shine with that familiar twinkle as she enters his arms, and when he kisses her all her fears wash away. She pretends that his visit wasn’t prompted by danger with the children, but by his need to be with her and ‘Ryah.

    The sad truth brings them back to reality as they fall together to divan, but neither says a word. For the moment, all she wants is to rest in his arms a moment. Let the troubles outside her door wait a while longer.

    It’s not trouble that interrupts the soothing silence but the cheerful cry of “Mamai!” from ‘Ryah who bounds into Sabé’s lap. Sabé eyes Obi-Wan as he observes the scene, pouring over every inch of the girl he left behind. His eyes widen in wonder and his face blossoms to complete openness and love. And when ‘Ryah greets him in Sabé’s native tongue, “Hello, Ah’da,” Sabé’s heart clenches with pride.

    Later, when she takes him to bed beside her, they speak in hushed tones of the Force, the children, and the reason for his visit. Between lingering reintroductions of hands, lips, and bodies, Sabé details the terrifying moment ‘Ryah and the Princess joined minds and toppled a totem in a palace courtyard. ‘Ryah believed they’d done it together, for she’d ‘felt’ the princess ‘in her mind.’ Queen and Consort covered for both girls, thankfully, dismissing the incident on faulty fixtures, however it had set fear deeper into their hearts for Leia, who had no apparent knowledge of what she’d done. Since then, they’d had the children separated and monitored constantly, but even that was not a deterrent. The Princess and ‘Ryah were unconsciously connecting in ways they couldn’t control. In another lifetime they could dismiss the mischief as typical childhood behavior, but now…

    Obi-Wan sighs heavily at the news. He’ll have to reinforce the Princess’ natural shields, he says, and explain to Taryah her “little games” are not for sharing. Sabé wonders how he’ll manage that to a child of four; he kisses her fears away for the moment, and his trademark calm and care wash over her as they drift off into sleep. Their worries can wait until tomorrow.

    * * * * * * * * * *​

    Part 2: Obi-Wan. Chapter 3 (part 2).

    Four Years Later (14 BBY)

    Sabé meets his public transport, but doesn’t say a word to him on the way back to the palace. Her body language isn’t cold so much as tense, as if she’s not sure what to do with him; as if she’s afraid that anything more than this stiff, warrior stance - one foot in front of the other - will betray him.

    She leads him through a servants’ entrance and up through a winding series of secret passageways until they alight in a vast, airy suite of rooms; the alabaster walls glimmer in the sunlight that streams in from the windows. He stands frozen in the entryway, awaiting her next move, as the door hisses closed behind him. It’s then that her shoulders relax and she turns to him with one of her brilliant smiles that makes his heart lift.

    He lets out a ragged sigh as she approaches. His hands tremble he takes her in his arms. Those dark eyes shine with shyness as he dips to kiss her cheek. “It’s so good to see you,” he murmurs in her ear.

    The hug Sabé grips him in takes his breath away, and as her hands start to wander over his shoulders and his frame, the memory of her touch setting him on fire wakes him from his tired state. He responds by kissing her fiercely, and for a few moments they lose themselves in shared remembrance.

    When they part, breathless, she leans her forehead against his and sighs. “It’s good to see you, too,” she says with a light laugh. As she extricates herself she takes his hand and leads him over to a lushly cushioned settee. She leans into his side and hugs him around the waist and they sit a few silent moments, relishing the simple comfort of each other’s company until the soft creak of an opening door breaks the silence.

    “Lady Sabé?” a voice calls from the chamber’s entry.

    “Send her in, Minha,” she replies with a nod.

    The door opens a bit wider and then he sees her.

    Wild honey curls, skinny legs and arms akimbo as she runs to Sabé with a cry of “Mamai!”

    She’s beautiful.

    For a moment he feels like he can’t breathe, watching his child bury herself in Sabé’s thick skirts and warm arms, giggling as Sabé tickles her gently.

    His daughter. Their daughter. How she’s grown so. How did that happen?

    “Hello, Ah’da.”

    That greeting in particular startles him; he’s not sure what he was expecting her to say, but it was not that. His response catches in his throat, so he glances at Sabé with eyebrows raised.

    “I promised you,” is all she says.

    A nod, a smile, and then, “Hello, Taryah.”

    She grins all the way up to those grey-blue eyes, and as her tiny feet shuffle her body towards him, he greets her with outstretched arms.

    Sabé leans over and glides her hands over the back of Taryah’s head as she kisses his cheek and rises to leave. It’s an unspoken signal. He’ll have some alone time now with his daughter; she’ll get him later.

    There will only be a few weeks to renew this bond. They’ll all have to make the most of it.
     
  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Marvelous! I love the parallel POVs full of poignancy on each side, of relishing each second. Whew, that was a not unexpected thingy there with the girls meshing their nascent untrained skills that way. Certainly enough to draw unwanted attention. :oops: Love the warmth and the as if we were never apartness of it all. :)
     
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  20. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Great writing, it was interesting to see Obi-Wan with a companion for the start of his exile, and they make a great couple. I love that Qui-Gon's influence allows him to question the rules and be open to new possibilities. Obi-Wan's uncertainty around her pregnancy is also a lovely touch, and his reaction to having a child brings him to a better understanding of Anakin.

    The reference to events Battlefront II was also pretty cool right at the start, it sucked me into the story!
     
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  21. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    This is lovely.

    It's such a difficult situation; they are both trying to build a new life out of the debris of the old, and yet they are still bound by the responsibilities from a past that they can't acknowledge. But Sabe and Obi-wan are intelligent and patient, and they will do what they must. The knight and the handmaid still follow their call.
     
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  22. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    I love seeing both Sabe and Obi-Wan's povs so close together - the exact same events but seen through different eyes, although their love for each other and Taryah shines through both.

    And Taryah calling him Ah'da! [face_love][face_love]
     
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  23. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 25, 2005
    I love that they have a little time together, even if it is much too little. If only Taryah and Leia didn't have to hide their abilities! Just imagine the two of them gaining up on little Luke!!! I love Taryah with her father. [face_love] Lady, this is excellent. [:D]
     
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  24. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Thanks very much!

    LOL what reference was this? I'm not a gamer so whatever reference you caught was 100% unintentional, as I have no idea what you're talking about. [face_laugh] Nevertheless, I thank you kindly for taking the time to read and comment!

    They do indeed. And how will that affect the other little person in their circle now? Only time will tell... ;) Thank you for checking back in!


    Points to you for catching that reference! (although I have no idea in which story I originated it...if it's even published...8-}) Thank you!


    Man, those two girls ganging up on little Luke would have been nothing but trouble. :p Cue up the Adele: "we could have had it alll..." Thanks, lady!
     
  25. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Part 2: Sabé. Chapter 3 (part 3).

    Four Years Later (10 BBY)

    Sabé looks down at the child draped head-to-toe in lightweight wraps, who whines softly, “Mamai, I’m too hot.” She tells herself - again - that this is a bad idea, that they shouldn’t be here. Yet her heart, which breaks every time ‘Ryah cries for her father in the dead of night, compels her to find him.

    She prays he’s where she left him. If only they can get there.

    “Soon, dearest,” she says, as much to her daughter as to herself. “Come.”

    They make their way from the docking bay where they’ve left the ship through the crowded port streets. It’s as seedy as Sabé remembered, and she clutches ‘Ryah’s hand a little tighter as she tries to find the dealer from whom Ben had purchased their speeder years ago. She doesn’t have much to barter with this time ‘round, all her money being Imperial credits which won’t go far on this barren removed world.

    After three stops, she resigns herself to the fact that the first dealer has disappeared, and offers what she can to the next one she sees. The creature snickers and rakes its eyes over her, filling her gut with revulsion at the slobbering and slithering. She’s about to open her mouth to protest its indecisiveness, when –

    “Where you come from, girl?” it asks.

    When she lies and says “Mos Espa,” she’s quickly caught, for her stated destination – Bestine – lie halfway between the two ports. The menace circles them, sniffing. Sabé yanks a shaking ‘Ryah against her, hugging the little one to her chest.

    There’s an offer – a speeder! for ‘Ryah! – that sends her into a rage as hot as the desert sun itself.

    “Never,” she spits.

    “Mamai?” ‘Ryah whimpers.

    The creature slinks close once more, wrapping it’s claws around ‘Ryah’s arm. On instinct, Sabe begins to pull away, but the dealer also holds firm. Her heart’s in her throat now; her mind racing to fashion an escape. Panic sets in, and there’s no one who would help them, not in this place, and –

    “You will let them go,” a soft, firm voice resonates from behind her. “You will walk away, and you will never speak of this to anyone.”

    He doesn’t wait for her to exhale, but spirits them both away to a nearby alley. His anger is palpable through his silence, yet his visible disbelief at her reason – that Taryah simply wanted to see him – only strengthens her resolve.

    “She dreams of the desert and she calls for you at night. Am I to ignore that?” she asks.

    She’s waiting for his answer when ‘Ryah interrupts their argument. “Ah’da…” the girl trails off softly. They both track the girl’s eyes to the distant figure she’s spotted: a child, a boy, stone-still and resisting the tugs of his guardian. Even from where she stands, his bright blue eyes blaze at them, at ‘Ryah, whose face widens in wonder.

    "Mamai, who's that?" ‘Ryah asks.

    He stifles a gasp and her eyes flick over to his. Oh, no… "No one, dearest,” she says. “Why?"

    The girl rubs her head the way she first did when the Princess unknowingly discovered her power. "He feels like me. Up here.”

    Obi-Wan drops to his knees and takes ‘Ryah’s hands between his. All the distress and ire wash away the moment he meets the girl’s eyes, so like his own. “Taryah, I need you to listen to me. This is very important. Do you remember what I said to you about your brain games?”

    She nods.

    “You mustn’t play them, not ever. Do you understand?”

    She nods again.

    “It is dangerous. You could be hurt, and your mother and I would be very sad. Do you understand?”

    Another nod.

    “Good. Now focus on me and clear your mind. Release your thoughts and think them no more. We should go.”

    “Where, Ah’da?” ‘Ryah asks.

    “Home.”

    Sabe smiles at that, and takes her daughter’s hand while Obi-Wan takes the other. As he leads them to the outskirts of the city, where he’s parked the same speeder they’d bought so many years earlier, she watches ‘Ryah take in the sight of her birthworld. Its golden dunes match her hair, some of which has escaped her headwrap. As they settle ‘Ryah into the seat between them, Sabé reaches out to brush back a stray blonde curl.

    ‘Ryah’s face seems to turn reflective as her father starts up the vehicle. “Ah’da, does anything grow here?” she asks.

    "Of course, but it's very difficult,” Obi-Wan says.

    "Why?"

    "Because it requires a great deal of patience. Time. And hope."

    “I hope something grows here soon. It’s awfully yellow.”

    Something did, Sabé thinks.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Part 2: Obi-Wan Chapter 3 (part 4).

    Six Years Later (8 BBY)

    With a sigh he runs his hands through Sabé’s smooth, unbound hair and pulls her tightly against his chest. Only the glow of the moon lights the room, its beams streaming through the translucent drapes of her bedchamber. For a moment they lay very still and relish the warmth of each other’s skin after a six year absence. He marvels at how familiar she still feels, even after so long without her.

    Yet everything has changed.

    It’s been two years since he saw them last, since Sabé recklessly brought their girl to Tatooine. She’d known the risks, and had done it anyway. Anything to soothe the tears and fears of their child. Taryah had dreamt of the desert – of the father and the Force that hid there. Sabé’s indulgence of the child’s need had very nearly endangered them all.

    They’d stayed with him for a week after that. It was a brief moment of play-pretend, as he and Sabé settled into roles of parents while he instructed Taryah’s “brain games” away. The girl was growing in power, and her dear mother was helpless to stop it. And without any other Jedi to protect her, she’d been taught to hide by people who couldn’t show her.

    Bury your curiosity, he’d all but told her. Hide yourself, lest you show others your deepest heart.

    The girl hadn’t understood, but had been so eager to please. Her easy smile and bright eyes had filled his heart and kept him awake at night, wondering about her welfare and happiness.

    He never dreamed of the girl he saw today. Taryah’s no longer the open, happy, bubbly girl he remembers. Something in his words the last time became ingrained in her memory, and now, she’s quiet. Reserved. Willful, if her mother’s tales are any indication.

    There’s an edge to her now, both in the Force and in her words. When he arrived, her wary reaction to his presence felt like a cold slap across the face. So unlike the first time, when she ran to his arms without hesitation.

    It’s takes prompting, but Sabé finally says that yes, Taryah’s personality has changed. In a rush of heat and anger, she blames him, of course, for taking the girl’s personality and stripping it of “anything unique.” From afar, he’s forced their daughter to become “one of them,” and without anyone to answer her questions, Sabé is helpless but to watch. She calls him a monster, accuses him of retreating into his old ways while secluded, forgetting all the progress he made as a human in their time of joint exile.

    He’s not sure he ever achieved her version of humanity back then. If he had, perhaps he’d have let her convince him into staying together.

    That separation has caused this, has turned his daughter into someone she shouldn’t be. Everything would be different had they risked their safety to remain a family. Sabé wouldn’t be fighting to keep Taryah a child, to encourage her mind and heart’s desires until she had responsibilities of her own.

    A child with such reservation will be a great asset, controlled and powerful. Yet a Jedi without emotion, will she be as effective as one who understands her own humanity?

    Isn’t that what Sabé has argued all along?

    She will be fine, Sabé says by way of apology. The time for their family dream is over. He was right: the children are safe and thriving, despite what he’s seen that day.

    He has his duty, she has hers. She’s a woman of action anyway, and between mentoring the Princess and her companions, raising her own child, and other errands for the Organas (she does not elaborate, and he does not ask), she is surviving.

    “No regrets,” she says. “We promised.”

    His fingers clench then release in her curls, causing her to lean up for a kiss. “I know,” he whispers.

    He does know.

    He also knows that he’s not sure it’s a promise he should have made, no matter what Sabé now says.
     
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