Chapter Twenty-Three

"Are you all right?" Anakin asked as Padmé's sobs finally began to subside.

"Yes, I'm…" she responded quietly, but her speech faltered as the room suddenlyfilled with a soft blue light and they both turned toward its source; beholding a sight which brought a bright, albeit sad smile to the young woman's face, and fresh tears to her eyes.

"Obi-Wan." She whispered to the angelic appearance standing in the center of the glowing radiance.

He looked absolutely perfect. Exactly as she remembered him in her dreams. As he was on Naboo. He even still wore the long padawan braid that she had loved to wrap around her fingers. The Jedi tunics he wore were glowing a bright white, not the least uncomfortable to gaze upon, and Padmé's gaze was held there as she rose from the floor and walked over to meet the ethereal vision. A glowing hand reached out to her and Padmé accepted its embrace readily, moving into the light and presence of Obi-Wan.

"I'm proud of you." He said softly, his brilliant blue eyes expressing the depths of emotion he held for her. "Both of you." He added, looking up toward the suddenly shy-appearing Jedi Apprentice, reaching out his hand to him as well. Anakin hesitantly stepped up and shook the offered hand firmly.

"Thank you." The young man stated in awe.

"No. Thank you." Obi-Wan smiled and turned his attention back to Padmé as her glistening tears crept down into her radiant smile. "Before I go Anakin, I have to ask you to do me a favor."

"Anything." The apprentice vowed moving outside the light.

"Take care of Padmé for me."

The young man's face flushed as he bowed his head. "Yes sir." He answered before turning and leaving the couple alone.

A darker blue flashed in a horizontal beam across the stream of light and Obi-Wan turned his head to heed the calling.

He turned back around and reached out his handto run his fingers down the smooth skin of Padmé's cheek, wiping away a lone tear coursing there, returning her small smile, his eyes closing momentarilyat the sheer pleasure of the feel of her skin beneath his hand. "I have to go."

She nodded silently and courageously in that knowledge.

Obi-Wan leaned forward slowly, eliminating the annoyance of space between them, the ethereal light softly crackling as his lips met Padmé's in a gentle and final kiss of souls. Lingering as long as he could, the pull of the Force strengthened and he withdrew reluctantly, sweeping his hand in a caress along her cheek, his fingers filtering through her long, dark hair.

Once his hand was free, Obi-Wan backed away into the glowing Force aura, its blue light enhancing the outline of his spiritual image.

"I love you." He mouthed in silence before stepping across the threshold and into the Netherworld of the Force.

Padmé watched him go with a tear-filled gaze, mouthing her reply, "Always."

She then let out a ragged sighed and grasped tightly onto the physical hand of the young Jedi that reached for hers, finding the strength in a friendship that she knew she would need in the days to come.

-FIN-


A/N: Okay…okay. It wasn't too happy. Sorry about that. And Anakin, Anakin. What can I say? I TOLD YOU the plot bunny that bit me for this story was RABID! You just didn't believe me! ; )

For those of you who guessed – you were right. I'm on this movie theme kick right now and this story was heavily inspired by the movie "Ghost." (Obvious now, isn't it?)

Now onto better things. After I finish up "Time of Reckoning" (only because I think it deserves it) - I'll be starting another story along this current theme of mine. And for all of you Anakin-haters out there… "Haters" is kinda strong isn't it? Uhm…for all of you Anakin-dislikers out there – I PROMISE that in my next story he will be eliminated entirely. You can bank on it. : ) It will be called "Unity Day." Be watching for it. In the meantime, I will meet you over at "Time of Reckoning." (Obi-Wan has been suffering way too long already…)