Title: Waiting for Spring Author: AngelQueen Timeframe: RotS, a little OT Characters: Sabé, minor Obi-Wan and the Naberries Genre: Angst Keywords: Sabé, death Summary: Her grief knew no bounds, but he had no answers to give her. Not at that time. My people called those days the Time of Sorrow - the days of the fall of the Republic and rise of the Empire. We saw the news holos, watched the people on Coruscant celebrated, cheered themselves hoarse at the enthronement of the new Emperor. There were no such celebrations on Naboo. Instead, we mourned the loss of democracy. We were not blind to the many changes made in the government. The Senate may still have existed, but it held no real power beyond its ability to scream and wail over anything that upset them. No, the new governors were in charge of the various sectors now, and they answered to no one save the Emperor. Men such as Palpatine and Panaka were no longer popular on Naboo. They had betrayed the principles our people had clung to even in the darkest days of the war, and the Occupation before that. We had only word for men like them - paksahara. Traitor. We would never speak their names again. We wept for the loss of Amidala, our great leader. The one who had led us through so much had been cut down in her prime, her child never allowed to experience the beauty of life. Those years were hard for everyone, including me, especially in the beginning. I had not been with my lady when she died, something I could never forgive myself for. I don’t know if I could have made a difference, I don’t know if I could have saved her, and that not knowing was perhaps the hardest thing to bear. I learned of her death not through the government, but through my lady’s parents, who begged me to come to their home without delay. I arrived to find the household in shambles. Sola was crying, clutching her daughters as they sobbed in mother’s embrace. Jobal was pale and blank as she led me into the kitchen. Ruwee was nowhere to be found. I did not want to believe Jobal when she told me. How could such a thing have happened? I had spoken to my lady only a few days ago. She had been stressed and worried, but still healthy. Dormé, who had arrived home only recently, could add little to what our lady had already said to me, but I still believed she might be withholding something. At the time, I thought little of it, dismissing it as something to do with the insanity of the Senate. It was true, though. Padmé Naberrie Amidala was dead. Senator Organa of Alderaan was bringing her home and would arrive within just a few hours. Initially, I had wanted nothing more than to hunt down those responsible for this atrocity. Who had dared to do this? All thoughts of revenge, however, died all too quickly in the face of Jobal’s quiet anguish. Biting my lip until I tasted blood, I pushed my rage aside and asked what she needed of me. In the end, it was I who informed my sisters, my fellow handmaidens. Most had retired from service, but I did not think for a moment that they would turn their back on our lady’s family during their time of need. Saché and Rabé had left our lady’s service when her second term as Queen had ended, but they did not hesitate to offer their help, even as they wept. Eirtaé, Yané, and Dormé all still served our lady in one form or another, and I was thankful that they agreed to coordinate with the government. There was one other task that needed the attention of one of us. I returned to Theed, to the palace, and found both places already in mourning. I saw women weeping in the streets. I saw men with their heads bowed and making eye contact with no one. Even the children knew something as wrong, and were quiet. When I found Ruwee Naberrie, I found a broken man. He sat in the palace gardens, staring at the plants without expression or emotion. I sat next to him, and for a time, neither of us spoke. When he broke the silence at last, it was only a whisper. “I cannot do this. I cannot see her like this. I… just can’t.” It was those words that sealed the decision for me. It would not be Ruwee Naberrie who would meet the Sundered Heart when it arrived on Naboo. It would not be Ruwee Naberrie who would gather my lady’s body from those who had brought her home. When the ship arrived, I stood alone as the ramp lowered to reveal Senator Organa. His face was pale with fatigue, but he extended all courtesy and his sincerest condolences. I thanked him as graciously as I could, but in truth I wanted only to shout at him to tell me who had done this to her, to Naboo. Who had taken our shining star? They had laid her out in their medbay. Thankfully, Senator Organa did not follow me as I entered, letting me see my lady alone. I had no desire for an audience. A sob rose in my throat as I laid eyes on her. My lady bore a peaceful expression, one I had not seen since we were children. Biting my lip to suppress my tears, I reached out and touched her hand. How could this happen? It was a question that kept repeating in my mind over and over again. Who would dare harm this woman? My eyes swept over her cold, still form, freezing on her stomach, which was still swollen by the child that had been growing there. It was then that my knees buckled beneath me, and I fell against her bed, wailing like a heartbroken child. Padmé, my most treasured friend, my sister, my lady… gone. Her child… gone. Naboo’s greatest hope… gone. “Sabé.” I barely heard his voice over the sound of my own sobs. It was only when he knelt beside me that I really noticed and looked up at him. He hadn’t changed overly much since I’d last seen him, not physically in any case. Still, it was his eyes that gave away just how different things were. His sorrows had aged him, and I could see the weariness in his eyes. Though still fairly young in years, his grief had made Obi-Wan Kenobi an old man. I was shocked to see him, truthfully. The reports of the Jedi being hunted down were on the lips of many. There was no word of any survivors, but I suppose that if anyone was to survive a galaxy-wide manhunt, it would be Obi-Wan. I reached up, touching his cheek. Our paths had only crossed intermittently over the years since the Blockade Crisis, but for my part, I had always considered him a friend. Whenever I remembered brief conversations during cold Tatooine nights - not to mention that highly embarrassing rescue from the planet’s violent natives - or the silent tears he wept for the loss of his master with my hand on his shoulder, my heart was always filled with a quiet, comforting tenderness. As someone who did not let people close easily, it was a significant feeling. “Obi-Wan…” I cried even more. My grief swept away what little control I had left, and I bowed my head and wept into my hands. So much pain. So much loss. In the years that followed, I could never remember whom reached out for whom first. All I knew was that, in the space of a moment, we were in each other’s arms, clinging to one another as we both wept. I remember that he was warm, solid. His arms were around me, holding me, and his hand stroked the back of my head even as he buried his face in my shoulder. I could feel his tears soaking into the cloth of my cloak. I don’t know if he drew strength from our shared grief, as I did. In all the years that I’d known him, Obi-Wan had been a mystery to me. Still, I hoped I was able to provide him some kind of solace, some help. Slowly, we regained control of ourselves, and in that time, my questions began to return. Who had killed Padmé and her unborn child? Who was behind the massacre of the Jedi Order? How had a man of the Naboo, the great advocates of democracy, formed a dictatorship on the ashes of the shattered and broken Republic? However, as I came to stare into Obi-Wan’s eyes once again, my words left me just as they came to the tip of my tongue. I could read the horrors in his eyes, horrors that he could never put into words, not then, perhaps not ever. In the end, I was only able to touch his cheek in farewell as I followed those who bore my lady’s hastily constructed bier off the ship. I did glance back over my shoulder and saw Obi-Wan watching us from the hatch, watching us bear away our fallen heroine. Then the door of the hatch slowly lowered, blocking my view of him. Although, even though I could no longer see him, I somehow knew that Obi-Wan did not move from where he stood for some time. I never saw him again. He left with the Sundered Heart, to again walk in places I could never see or even imagine. In that, all I could do was hope he found a safe place to hide from the paksahara who had no doubt had a great hand in destroying his people. Years passed us by. The Empire’s reach grew, as did its power and its heavy-handedness. There was no room for debate, no power to question. Those who did often paid for their questions with their lives. Even we of the Naboo were not exempt from this. Again, the palace was stained with the blood of Jedi, and then too the blood of a Queen. There was nothing left for us to do but to submit, submit and endure. Our time would come again, we but had to be patient. And it did. In the space of days, horrors were unleashed upon the galaxy again. Alderaan was destroyed, that other bastion of idealism and democracy. The Emperor had unleashed a monstrosity upon the galaxy, and had placed it in the hands of that wild animal, Tarkin. Then just as quickly, that thing was gone again, destroyed. Pictures then appeared all over the Holonet, promising rewards for information or the delivery of a single man. A man with Padmé’s face combined with a head of sandy blond hair and blue eyes. A boy named Luke Skywalker. A name of the Naboo, combined with a name of a little boy who had once saved our world. I stopped believing in coincidences long ago. There was so much I still did not understand, so much still missing. Without those missing puzzle pieces, I would never have a complete picture. I only knew that Obi-Wan had only ever spoken one word in that entire time we shared on Bail Organa’s ship - my own name. He had explained nothing, answered none of the questions I could not even bring myself to ask. Perhaps now I knew why. I would say nothing, of course. It was not my place to. Years had passed, my lady was dead, but I still viewed my place as that of a handmaiden, the guardian of my lady’s secrets. She had taken the secret of her child’s survival to her grave. I would not betray that. I would keep quiet. Until the time was right.