Rating: K+ (Probably won't go to T, but don't be surprised if it does)
Summary: It's Obidala, of course, of course! Takes place one year before 'The Second Wedding,' details how Padmé and Obi-Wan first became involved as more than friends. Title was because I couldn't get that Alicia Keys song out of my head, and it seemed to fit...
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the lint in my pocket and my fingers that churn out this stuff on a (sometimes) regular basis.
A/N: I've had this sitting my documents folder in my account for, I believe, well over a year. You see, I like to be finished with a fic before I start posting it, or it gets rather messy (see: the still unfinished "Love Is Futile"). Then I realised that 1. I only have, at most, a chapter left to write on this story, and 2. I'll have to rewrite most of the chapters before it. So I decided to stop being pathetic and just post. Not to mention, I need to get back into my Obidala groove. Oh, and by the way, this is in military time, with 24-hour days and everything. I just got tired of trying to figure out what galactic time was in Star Wars, let alone adpating it to Alderaan. Sorry. One more thing: I recommend you read the stories on my list of Obidalas that can be found on my bio, because I'm not sure how well you'll be able to follow along without certain background like "No Comfort" and "The Second Wedding."
Chapter One - Politics and Training
Padmé Naberrie flopped onto her bed, exhausted. She looked at the chrono on her bedside table. It was only twenty-one.
The comm beeped. Sighing, she hit the audio-only button.
"Sola Organa," she said, giving her alias, which was a combination of her sister's and Bail Organa's name. "Who is it?"
"Padmé, it's Obi-Wan."
"Oh, hello." She smiled. His voice was calming, and she was too tired to be calm right now...she'd fall asleep... "What's going on?"
"I was just wondering if we could finish our discussion about Leia's training. It ended rather abruptly this morning."
"I'm sorry, I had things to do. But, sure." She stifled a yawn. "Go ahead."
"We should probably talk about this in person..."
"Fine, come over."
"Thank you. I'd have asked you to come here, but I know you don't have anyone to watch Leia..."
"Don't remind me." Padmé didn't like relying on anyone else to take care of her young daughter, even when the girl was sleeping, like she was now. Leia spent her days at the court, learning the Organa family business. Little did she know that Bail wasn't her true uncle...
"I'll be over soon, then."
"Goodbye." The tone indicating that he disconnected sounded and she sighed again. Now she'd have to make kaffe and she'd be up all night. She needed to be awake while she was talking with Obi-Wan. She knew he had Leia's best interests in mind, but, well, Padmé was scared. She didn't want what had happened to her husband to happen to her daughter. She couldn't lose Leia. It was bad enough that she'd lost Luke...
Luke. Padmé tried not to think about him a lot, because it hurt too much. She had missed everything in his life, except his birth. What did he look like? Did he resemble his father, or did he look like her and Leia? And what was Yoda teaching him? She trusted Yoda even more than she trusted Obi-Wan, at least in terms of training, but still she wondered...
That wasn't fair. She couldn't blame Obi-Wan for Ani's shortcomings.
Gods. Ani. She couldn't deal with thinking about him this close to the anniversary, so she did what she usually did to get her mind off the darkness--she occupied herself. She went into the kitchen and pulled fresh kaffe beans out of the refrigerator, grinding them. Pre-ground would have been fine, but the motions calmed her mind. She continued to make the kaffe, as painstakingly as she could, trying to achieve perfection with every step. Then when she'd poured the hot liquid, she decided that she should probably make some for Obi-Wan too, and was just about to put more beans into the grinder when she heard the door buzz and answered it.
"Hello, Obi-Wan. Come in. I was just making kaffe, did you want some?" She moved back to the kitchen, hearing him follow her.
"Oh, no, thank you, I'm fine." She was a little disappointed, but gathered her own cup.
"Do you want anything?"
"No, thank you. But we should probably sit down."
"Of course, of course." She walked out the open kitchen into the living room, sitting on the couch. Obi-Wan sat next to her, perched on the edge and with a straight back.
"Padmé, I'm concerned," he said, starting off right away. "Leia is strong in the Force, there is no doubt. Yoda choosing to train Luke doesn't mean Leia doesn't need to train also."
"I just..I can't let her. I didn't really want Luke to go, but it all happened so quickly..." She looked at her cup. What she really wanted to say was that she felt like she'd been coerced into giving up her baby, and in a traumatic period when she didn't have enough energy or will to fight for him.
"I'm sorry you have to go through this." She felt his hand on her arm. "But you must let me train her. If her powers go unchecked, the galaxy could pay."
"She'll never know about her powers if she doesn't train."
"She'll find out. As strong as she is, it would be impossible for her not to know at some point. But there's an even greater risk than untamed power. What if Palpatine were to learn of her and capture her, raw and untrained? He could turn her easily, and she'd never know. I can teach her to resist, to go against the dark, to at least put up a fight."
"It's just so...difficult to let go."
"You must, Padmé. She needs you to." His voice was firm, but his eyes were kind and even pleading.
"Train her." She sighed. "Train her. I can't fight you, I know you're right, and I want what's best for Leia. I trust you." She looked away, wiping at a little tear in the corner of her eye. Both of them were silent for a long while before Obi-Wan removed his hand from her arm and looked away from her.
"Thank you. I...I won't let it happen again." He was looking straight forward at the blank holoscreen a few meters in front of them, purposely avoiding eye contact.
"What are you..." Her eyes widened in realization. "No, Obi-Wan! It wasn't you, It was all him!"
"I trained him. He turned because I failed."
"And I loved him. He turned because he wanted to save me. But I know it's not my fault, because every way I could have done something differently, the end result never changes in my mind. Deep inside, you know you didn't really fail. Don't you? Oh, Obi-Wan, have you stored this all these years?" He nodded silently and turned to face her with eyes wet from unshed tears. Her heart broke for him in that moment. She hadn't known he honestly still blamed himself for Vader!
"I failed," he whispered, voice breaking. Padmé couldn't help but pull him down into a hug, letting him rest his head on her shoulder.
"No, you didn't. No, no," she said gently. She was stricken by the thought of how similar this was to the flight from Coruscant to Mustafar five years ago, with roles reversed. It was Obi-Wan's turn to have a breakdown; perhaps this was just what he needed. She stroked his hair, rubbing his back. What he needed was to be held. He didn't allow himself enough leeway to grieve every once in a while.
She felt warm moisture on her shoulder but couldn't hear sobbing. Well, it was strange to see him crying at all, she shouldn't expect him to be practically in convulsions the way she had been. She'd never seen him have a good cry, even after Mustafar...yes, this was definitely what he needed. She continued to move her hand over his head, stroking his hair, until he finally pulled away.
"I'm sorry, Padmé. I should have more control over my emotions. Regret...regret leads down a dark path."
"Control doesn't mean suppression. It's alright to mourn. You may regret things that you did, but when you mourn, you learn to let go of some of those things."
He nodded. "Thank you." He smiled weakly as she continued to brush the hair back from his face.
"Don't mention it. You've been such a good friend all these years, I'm just returning the favor." She smiled and he returned it. Then he took her hand, rather quickly, in both of his and placed it in her lap, withdrawing quickly. She sighed and picked up her kaffe. It had cooled to room temperature. She made a face at the cup.
"I'm going to make some more." She got up and walked into the kitchen. "Do you want any?"
"Actually, I should probably get going soon." Padmé frowned and checked the kitchen chrono.
"You've barely been here at all." She pulled out the pre ground kaffe. "You've got to stay longer." Please stay longer, she begged with her mind. If he left, she'd have to take her own advice, and grieve for Anakin. She didn't want to do that tonight. Is that being hypocritical? she wondered. No, it wasn't, she decided. She had mourned for Anakin many times--she just really didn't want to right now.
"Well, I suppose it's not that late."
"Great." She grinned, pouring the bag into the kaffe machine. "What will you have?"
"Whatever you're having."
"Okay. I'm actually only making it because I'm so tired, and I was almost falling asleep..." she started to babble on, to fill the quiet spaces in the lack of conversation. She stopped herself.
"I'm sorry, am I keeping you up?" He started to rise.
"Oh, no no no. I just had a lot of political reports to review today. I was feeling a little frazzled, but I'm much better now."
"Bail works you too hard." Obi-Wan looked at her, concerned.
"Bail wants me to work less. I think I should work more. We can't take Palpatine down unless we work harder." She realized what she had said and put her hand over her mouth as Obi-Wan's eyes widened.
"Padmé! Don't tell me the rumors are true!" She didn't answer at first, still a little in shock at what she had just revealed, and still gauging how he was taking it. Then, carefully, she began to argue her case.
"Obi-Wan, you can't honestly think a rebellion has no merit."
"How deep are you in? How deep is Bail? I can't believe this!" He leapt up and started pacing, heels of his hands on his forehead. She heard him muttering. "Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Anger is of the dark side..." She knew he must be truly furious if he was reciting that to himself.
"It's not as bad as you think."
"Yes it is! Do you know what could happen if Palpatine finds out? He'll investigate! And you, and Leia, and even Luke..." he began muttering again.
"Of course we know. Shouldn't it be a testament to how strongly we believe in this that we even risked it?"
"Padmé, it will never work." He looked at her seriously. The kaffe machine beeped behind her and she turned to tend to it.
"Not right now. Not today, or tomorrow, or even in five years. But one day, it will work. And then it will have been worth the worry, to rid the galaxy of its Empire." She regarded him just as seriously.
"You're still the idealistic senator. After everything, you're still optimistic. How do you do it, Padmé?"
"I look at the bright side." She picked up her cup, gave him his, and sat down again. "I could have died. You could have died. My babies could have died. But we all survived, and that's reason enough for optimism. And I feel like I survived for a purpose. This is it."
"You're serious, aren't you?" He sat back down too.
"Yes. Look, we've got representatives from Bothawui interested."
"Bothawui? Bothans can't be trusted--they're too self-absorbed."
"We're being careful, and we're using logic they can't refute. The group is growing, slowly but surely. Once Palpatine shows his true colors even more, we'll have an influx of supporters. We can do it, Obi-Wan! We just have to work secretly and precisely."
He sighed, seemingly resigning himself to the fact that she wasn't goign to be talked out of this. "Who else do you have?"
"Right now, it's mostly Bail, Mon Mothma, and me. We've got a few others, but we're the main ones." He looked at her for a few seconds before speaking again.
"I can't tell you what to do. You know the risks, and you know I object. Just...don't drag Leia into it, please."
"I wouldn't dream of it! She's just a child," she replied quickly, and he looked at her uneasily. It seemed that his faith in her won out over his other doubts, though.
"I guess there's no more I can say. No wonder you were a queen."
"I did train in debate..." It took a few moments, but he began to laugh, and then so did she. Smiling down into her kaffe, she thought that that hadn't gone half as badly as she'd feared.