No, I haven't abandoned my other story, Remnants in the Mind. This idea just came to me last night, and I had to write it while the inspiration was there. :o)
TITLE: ONE SMALL CHILD
TIME: 5 years pre-TPM, Obi-Wan is 20
CATEGORY: Drama, Non-Slash
SUMMARY: One winter night, Obi-Wan learns about sacrifice . . .
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story has implications to the Christian faith. If that bothers you, then please do not read this. No flames, please.
FEEDBACK: Yes, please!
ARCHIVE: Please ask first. Sites who have previously archived any of my stories may archive any of them that they want to without asking.
DISCLAIMER: All recognizable characters are the property of Lucasfilm Limited. All the rest belong to me. I receive no profit from this.
If a world had ever needed love, it was Coruscant. Enamored by the passion of politics, and sometimes the selfish desire for power, it had dressed in a flimsy cloak of leadership - a facade of all that is right and pure and noble; an illusion of concern for the less than fortunate.
Among the fanciful spires and shining domes that covered the planet, deep in the chasms that sunk into the long-forgotten places, dwelt the weary, the unheard, the forgotten, and the discarded that had accumulated from the harsh vagaries of time. How Obi-Wan had wound up here at this hour of night was not important. What was important was that he knew how to get out . . . and that he could.
There was a carpet of crisp snow upon the duracrete pavement, and the chill of winter stung the air as he crunched through the falling, clinging snowflakes to the nearest lift that would take him to a proper level. He rounded a corner and, in his haste, tripped over something and fell to the ground.
"Please, sir. We are sorry," said a worn voice.
Arms reached out and helped him up, dusting off the snow that had packed upon his clothes from the impact, and he saw a young human man and woman. They were dressed in a single layer of functional clothes and huddled together as if to share body warmth. The woman held a bundle cradled in her arms.
"No," the padawan said, "it was my fault. I wasn't looking where I was going."
The woman smiled kindly, her deep sable eyes twinkling. "You aren't from around here. Are you?"
"No," Obi-Wan answered. "That's why I was in such a hurry." Then he winced inside, thinking how degrading that had sounded.
"That's fine," the young man replied in a gentle tone.
Intent on getting back at the Temple before Qui-Gon sent out a hunting party, Obi-Wan was about to excuse himself, when he felt a gentle tugging from the Force. He was a bit confused, but knew that it was trying to tell him something. His gaze dropped to the small bundle the woman held, and it moved.
"Oh," the young woman said, looking down at the thing in her arms. "My baby's waking up." She pealed back the layers to reveal the head of a tiny child, so small it must have been a newborn.
Both parents peered lovingly down at the baby, and Obi-Wan noticed how inadequate was the barrier of fabric against the cold of winter. The child must be freezing, he thought, horrified.
It was not that the mother or father could have sacrificed some of their own clothes to save the child, either, for they wore only what covered them.
There was a stab of sympathy in Obi-Wan's heart. "He's cold," the padawan said, hoping they would take the hint and get the baby to a warmer place.
"Yes," the mother replied softly, pulling the baby closer to her bosom.
"Shouldn't you take him home, where he'll be warm?" Obi-Wan asked, growing concerned by their apparent misunderstanding.
The young man looked at him with eyes steady and calm. "We have no home."
All the padawan could do was stand dumbly, his mouth open from shock. Gathering his scattering thoughts, he spoke, "but there is a homeless shelter a few levels up. Surely you could-"
"No," the young woman interrupted with serene grace. "It is full. There is no room."
"But," Obi-Wan's gaze fell back to the small child, and he suddenly felt selfish. He had never considered himself fortunate, but to think that some never have the luxury of a place to sleep or a place where they belong was beyond justified.
The child was freezing to death, and he had nothing to give them. No daktaries. No free room at a hostel. And he could not take them to the Temple, for outsiders were forbidden entrance.
He blinked back a tear at the evils that the galaxy glossed over. Perhaps there was one thing he could give. Shrugging out of his robe, he shook it and watched a cascade of flakes fall from it.
"Here," Obi-Wan offered, holding the heavy robe out to them. "Your baby will freeze if he stays so cold."
The young couple blinked in surprise, then exchanged a look.
"Are you sure?" the man asked with uncertainty, still making no move to take the warm cloak.
Obi-Wan smiled. "Yes," he whispered, as joy filled his heart.
Both the young parents' faces lit up, and the man took the robe. Together, they wrapped the child in the voluminous warm folds.
"Would you like to hold him?" the woman asked, hefting the now warmly bundled baby with careful hands.
"Uh," Obi-Wan's gaze was drawn back to the child's face.
Its round eyes, azure as the crystal seas of The'anama, peered from beneath tiny lids and met his, and the padawan found that he could not look away. There was a knowing, an ageless wisdom, in the beautiful orbs. And as Obi-Wan pulled the baby into his arms and nestled the tiny head against his chest, he saw the odd glow that seemed to radiate from the child.
Now he knew that this was no accident. The padawan had been sent here, to reach out with relief to those who needed. But then a strange thought crept into his mind. Maybe it was he who needed. Maybe the child was meant to help him.
"My child is happy now," the mother laughed. "See, he is smiling."
And indeed, the baby was.
Unable to keep his emotions from showing, Obi-Wan felt the pooling of tears in his eyes. His hands were full now with the child, so the droplets of joy trailed freely down his face.
"Here," Obi-Wan said hoarsely, indicating the child with a nod. "I think I need to get going. If I'm missed much longer there will be someone looking for me."
The man nodded, and the woman gratefully took the baby back into her arms.
"Bless you, son," the man said to the padawan, with a smile.
After a polite bow, Obi-Wan turned and walked away, feeling a bright new happiness bubbling deep in his heart. He realized as he trampled through the snowdrifts that the chilling temperatures were cold to his skin, but that sensation could not defeat the warmth that flooded his heart.
He knew that he had done the right thing. Today, he had saved the life of a child, and that was worth more than anything else that the Force could have sent him to do. A life saved is a life that would live on.
Up on the higher levels, Obi-Wan lifted his face to the silken dome of the sky. There, one large star shimmered like a pendant drop overhead, outshining all of the rest. He had never seen one so bright before, almost as if it had just been born and was announcing it to the universe.
He turned back to the snow on the pavement before him and imagined what the baby would be like when he grew up. Perhaps he would grow up to be a senator, or a great leader . . . or a king.
Or perhaps one day the favor would be returned . . . and the child would save him.