The small ship landed on Alderaan under cover of darkness. The landing platform was circled by guards, cloaked in dark outfits and standing watchfully at attention. Bail Organa was with them, waiting eagerly, a little nervously for the ship. It wasn't long before he thought he saw a silvery speck against the pitch black sky. It was hard to make out, but it was definitely there. In a few minutes, it had landed, its lights dimmed so as not to draw too much attention to its arrival.

Slowly, the hatch open, and Bail approached the figure walking down the ramp. "Greetings Obi-Wan. It's so good to see you, old friend," he said with a smile as he shook hands warmly with the former general.

The Jedi returned the gesture enthusiastically, allowing himself a smile as well, despite his inner grief. He truly was happy to see the Senator. "I'm eternally indebted to you for this service," he said solemnly.

Bail shook his head. "I'm more than happy to do it. Padmé and Leia both need a safe home. I only hope I can live up to that expectation."

"There's no where else they'd be safer, I'm sure," Obi-Wan replied. And indeed, he was being completely honest. He had thought the situation over long and hard. Senator Organa was completely trustworthy and Obi-Wan had full confidence that he would do everything in his power to protect Padmé and her daughter. After the death of Bail's own wife left him without a family, he was more than happy to take the Skywalkers and the handmaiden into his care.

The two men both turned at a sound to see Sabé struggling to carry a large bag down the ramp. Bail immediately strode over and took the luggage. "Here, let me get that," he said as he took the bag.

"Thank you," Sabé replied, following him to the speeder he had parked at the other end of the landing platform.

Obi-Wan glanced at the retreating forms, then slowly turned and walked back up into the ship. Padmé was sitting down with Leia strapped into a small seat next to her. In her arms, she held Luke. Obi-Wan stood at the edge of the room, not wanting to disturb her, but knowing they couldn't linger out here for long. "Milady," he said softly.

Without looking up from her son, Padmé replied in a choked tone that indicated she'd been crying, "Just another minute, please."

"Of course." He shifted his weight and clasped his hands behind his back, waiting. After a moment, he decided it would be best if he left the room to give Padmé one last chance to be alone with her son. But as soon as he started to turn, she spoke to him.

"No, please stay." She looked up through glassy, reddened eyes. Tears were freely dripping down her cheeks. After locking gazes with Obi-Wan for a moment, she looked away, back to Luke. "I'm such a mess," she admonished herself.

"It's alright to cry, Milady." He approached her hesitantly and took a seat next to her.

Padmé looked at him with a weary smile. "But you never cry."

"Of course I do. I am, after all, human," he said. After a second, he reddened a little, and hung his head in shame. "Padmé, I truly am sorry. for what happened," he said softly.

"Please, Obi-Wan," she said, lifting his chin with a finger. "It's in the past, and we're both at fault. But please, please put it out of your mind. I couldn't bear to have you out there on that Force-forsaken planet for who knows how long dwelling over it. I know you well enough to know you would." He nodded slightly, and she turned her attention back to Luke. "It's just almost impossible to believe that I might never see him again," her voice was full of sorrow and regret. She locked eyes with Obi-Wan. "You will take good care of him, won't you?"

"I will do my best, milady, for what it's worth."

She smiled faintly. "Then at least I'm reassured in that. If I can't see my son grow up, I'm glad you can. And if it's his destiny to become a Jedi, then who am I to get in the way." Her voice held a bit of uncertainty, but she was amazingly well composed given the situation.

"If he has half your solidarity, he will be a great Jedi," Obi-Wan said respectfully.

Padmé looked down at the small child in her arms. His blue eyes and downy yellow hair constantly called back Anakin to her mind. Part of her felt that, in giving him up, she was also truly giving up her husband at last. But she also knew, deep in her heart, that she would never fully be able to give up either of them. She gently kissed Luke on the forehead and murmured, "I love you. I will always love you." After lingering a moment, she turned to Obi-Wan, holding out the child to him.

With great care, Obi-Wan took the boy and held him gently in his arms. The boy was so small, and yet Obi-Wan felt certain that his care was a tremendous responsibility. But it was a burden he gladly carried, and knew was rightly his. He looked at Padmé as confidently as possible. "I will do my best not to fail you, milady," he said sincerely.

A hint of a smile touched the Senator's lips. "I know Luke will be safe with you."

Obi-Wan was flattered and encouraged by her faith in him, his faith in himself having long since been torn down. But the confidence Padmé had in him reassured him a little. And the child in his arms gave him a faint, but definite hope. He smiled back slightly.

"I suppose it's time I got on my way," Padmé said hesitantly as she unbuckled a sleeping Leia from her seat. She stood and slowly made her way down the ramp. Pausing just at the edge of the darkness, she turned back. "Obi-Wan," she said, getting the Jedi's full attention. "May the Force be with you."

"And with you, milady," he replied softly. He held Luke in one arm, and palmed the close button with his free hand. The ramp slowly turned up; Padmé and Leia disappeared behind the cold metal door. For a moment, he was frozen. He knew he'd most likely never see either one of them again. Padmé was perhaps the only friend he had left in the galaxy, and now she was gone too. But if this was the will of the Force, he resolved, who was he to argue with it? He was a Jedi, and would always be one. His duty was above himself. Carefully, he strapped Luke into his small seat. For a moment, he stared at the boy's innocent face, so full of potential. What he saw in the boy gave him a glimmer of hope for the galaxy, and a small solace for himself. --- THE END

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