Chapter Sixteen

Padmé stood in the throne room looking once more out the window, staring down onto the busy streets of Theed. Outwardly, she appeared quite calm, but underneath the layers of velvet and satin, she was fighting a fierce and painful battle with herself.

The Jedi were leaving Naboo. And not only was she not seeing them off, she had actually resfused to see Obi-Wan earlier this morning when he had come to her quarters, thinking it would be easier this way.

But now she was beginning to change her mind. What was she doing? He was leaving! Perhaps this very minute and she didn't even have the nerve to face him and say goodbye?

Without giving herself another opportunity to change her mind, she quickly kicked off the ridiculously high-heeled boots she was wearing underneath her extravagant royal gown and took off running through the throne room, heading for the hangar at top speed.

She arrived just as the loading platform of their ship was beginning to rise, barely catching the sight of a fluttering brown robe entering the vessel.

"Obi-Wan!" She screamed, ignoring the odd looks thrown her way from various service personnel and the yells of her quickly pursuing, ever-present handmaidens.

She caught her breath and sighed as the platform began lowering. Disappointingly, Qui-Gon was the first person she saw approaching, but Obi-Wan quickly stepped up alongside him, turning a curious look her way before looking to his Master.

"Go ahead, padawan." Qui-Gon then turned and entered the ship with a small smile.

Obi-Wan walked down the ramp toward the young woman who now stood alone at the foot of the platform, the handmaidens having backed politely away to allow them some privacy.

"Padmé? I thought you didn't wish to see me."

"I didn't. I mean…I do. I…I don't know what I want, Obi-Wan. But I couldn't let you go without saying goodbye."

"I'm glad." Obi-Wan smiled down at the beautiful face staring up at him.

Their eyes locked together, each searching for words of comfort and meaning, but none came. The blast of exhaust from the ship's engines starting up broke their mutual fixation and Obi-Wan could feel the urging of his Master to board the ship.

"Padmé..." He began, before feeling the sudden warmth of Padmé's lips pressed against his own, her small hands firmly grasping ahold of his.

"Don't say it." She whispered as she embraced him tightly. "We will see each other again." And with another soft kiss to his mouth, she turned and left, followed by her entourage of handmaidens.

Once she had moved out of his sight, Obi-Wan looked down and opened his hand to see the golden chain and heart pendant she had just placed there. He gazed back up to the doorway through which she had passed, released a sigh, and turned to enter the ship where Qui-Gon was waiting.

Epilogue

Obi-Wan pulled the hood of his robe up over his head and stepped up beside his Master. Naboo was once again filling the viewport of the vessel he was on and the vision of it was causing a mixture of emotions.

He had a bad feeling about this mission, but maybe his personal feelings were getting in the way.

The Trade Federation had taken it upon themselves to set up a trade blockade outside of Naboo's orbit and Queen Amidala had called upon the Senate for assistance. Chancellor Valorum himself had requested that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan be sent as ambassadors to settle the conflict.

He and his Master had been in this position many times before on many missions, but for some reason, the Force was tugging at his mind. Something was going to happen. He just hoped it wasn't going to happen to Padmé.

"Captain."

"Yes, sir?"

"Tell them we wish to board at once."

"Yes, sir."

The young female captain of the diplomatic vessel began to relay Qui-Gon's message to the Viceroy aboard the Federation ship coming into view, but Obi-Wan was not listening to her. His mind was on the darkness he felt surrounding the blue and green planet occupying the space beyond, while his hand slipped beneath his tunic to grasp ahold of the heart pendant that hung there.

Be brave Padmé. We're coming…

End


Author's Notes:

Sorry if this one disappointed any of you die-hard ObiDala romance fans out there. You can blame Jude Watson for this one. I'm still reading through her wonderful Jedi Apprentice novels.

I find I am still challenging myself as a writer and this time around, I wanted to step out of the AU realm a little bit and try to stay more canon. I was also curious to see if I could write a story in which Padmé and Obi-Wan met prior to the events of The Phantom Menace.

And then there's the fact I absolutely adore Qui-Gon, and as someone noted in an earlier review, I haven't had much of a chance to write about him. Well – here was my chance. I hope I did him justice.

Thanks for the reviews. I know this isn't the type of story Obidala fans necessarily want to read, but it was what I needed to write – if only to get my pestering muse to SHUT UP and LET ME GET SOME SLEEP! ; )