Chapter Eleven

The assault ship of Obi-Wan Kenobi shuddered as it lurched into lightspeed, carrying its crew of eight pirates, a slightly wounded pirate captain, and one Nubian princess. The pirates manned their control centers, but were silent in their duties. The death of Jarell filled the room like a fog.

Padmé approached Obi-Wan who was standing in front of the main viewport, apparently in deep concentration, his eyes staring off into the blur of the rapidly passing stars. Offering what love and support she could, she reached for his hand, relieved that he grasped it firmly in return, but did not turn his head. She would not disturb him further with words.

Obi-Wan indeed was pensive, but his thoughts were not of Jarell. He recognized the sacrifice his first officer had made and he was eternally grateful, but not surprised. Jarell had fulfilled his oath as his first officer and his friend. Obi-Wan would have done the same.

What his thoughts were dwelling on now was the immediate future. What would happen would they reached Naboo? Would Padmé simply return to her people? True, they needed her leadership, especially now. Now that the Emperor would be seeking his revenge for the murder of his second-in-command. He didn't want her to leave. But what right did he have to ask her to stay? Could he bind her to a life of dangerous piracy, of fighting and hiding? She deserved more. She would have to return to Naboo and prepare her people for the impending retaliation of the Empire.

Padmé was lost in her own thoughts, but hers did not parallel those of Obi-Wan. She knew she needed to return to Naboo and inform the governing body of what had happened and what they could expect. It was a dreaded but necessary step in order to proceed with her plan, which was to be with Obi-Wan, in whatever way possible. She had no right to ask him to give up his life and join her on Naboo. Being a pirate was all he knew. Besdies, his crew needed him, but she also knew that she needed him too. She belonged with him, and she was willing to give up everything she knew and loved, to even give up Naboo in order to stand by his side.

"Jarell was a good man." She said suddenly, deciding to break their silence.

Obi-Wan turned to gaze into the beautiful face now looking up at him. "Yes, he was. A good friend too."

"He said he owed you his life."

"He owed me nothing. Any one of us would gladly give his life to save the other. It's part of our oath."

'Our oath,' Padmé repeated in her mind. She would gladly take that oath if only he would let her stay. But how could she ask him? He had immediately given the order to set a course for Naboo when they had boarded the vessel. It was obvious that he intended on taking her back there, back to her people, back to her duty, and then leave her there. What could she say to change his mind? She had to say something,

"Obi-Wan, I..." was all that she got out before his mouth descending on hers, quickly, but gently, his arms pulling her into a strong embrace. She returned the kiss and deepened it somewhat, her small hand reaching up to run fingers along the long thin braid that swept down over his chest.

As he slowly withdrew from their embrace, Obi-Wan reached up with his own hand to clasp onto hers as it held onto the braid. The kiss had completely undone him and altered his decision. He was about to do something he thought he would never do, but the voice in his head was telling him it was right. He was about to turn his back on his men, his ship, his life and offer his oath to the petite and beautiful young woman who stood in front of him -- the princess who held a firm grip on his pirate braid, but also his heart.

Pulling her hand away, Obi-Wan reached to his belt and withdrew a daggar. He reached up with both hands and without hesitation, cut his braid off. Going to one knee, he offered it to Padmé as a symbol of his allegiance and loyalty to her. She was obviously stunned, her brown eyes widening in response, but she recovered quickly and smiled, reached out and accepted his gift.

"Princess Amidala, I forsake my life and oath of piracy and offer it to you, if you will have me."

Her voice shaking slightly, Padmé responded. "Obi-Wan Kenobi, I accept your oath of loyalty and hereby proclaim thee Knight. Rise."

Unable to keep the formality in her voice or actions any longer, Padmé flung herself into Obi-Wan's waiting arms. "Yes, I will have you. I love you...I love you." Her murmured words were lost in kisses that furiously rained down upon her face and mouth.

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The blue flickering holographic image of a council of representatives from several planetary systems came into focus in front of Obi-wan and Padmé, but it was Princess Amidala who stepped forward to address the group.

"The Alliance appreciates your loyalty, governors."

Obi-Wan's chest heaved with pride as her voice commanded authority and respect amongst the group of beings who had chosen to join their rebellion against the Empire.

"We must act quickly to stop the Emperor and his tyrannical rule. I am sending the coded coordinates for the location of the rendesvous point now."

Obi-Wan nodded to the communication officer on board who quickly conveyed the message.

"We will meet you at these coordinates in three days. Thank you gentleman."

Several governors nodded before retreating from view. Governor Bibble of Naboo however, stayed and addressed them both. "Princess Amidala, Knight Kenobi, it is our pleasure to serve the Alliance." The governor hesitated and then continued. "And Knight Kenobi?"

"Yes Governor." Obi-Wan stepped forward to Padmé's side.

"Take care of her for us."

"Oh, I will. Trust me." Obi-Wan smiled as his hand reached across and was instantly met with a soft but firm grip.

A returning smile lit the elderly man's face and then the holo image flickered out.

Hands still entwined, Obi-Wan and Padmé walked forward to look out the viewport of the assault ship, unsure of what the future would hold for them, the dangers they would face. But one thing they were certain of, they could face anything as long as they were together.

- FIN -

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Thanks for all the KIND reviews. This one was a lot of fun to write. I hope you enjoyed reading it.