Title: Journey to Nashta
Author:Ticklesivory
Summary: Following the death of Master Jinn, several acquaintances of Obi-Wan's become concerned that he might not be handling things so well.
Genre: Romantic Drama
Rating: R for adult sexual situations

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I'm worried about Obi-Wan. I understand that Jedi are supposed to keep their emotions in check, but his reaction -- or should I say, lack of reaction to the death of his Master is quite alarming.

I tried to talk to him about it, but he was less than responsive.

This can't be healthy.

And now I've discovered that the Jedi Council has made him a Knight, and have already given him a Padawan!

It's too much too soon.

And even though Obi-Wan is the bravest and most intelligent man I know, I still can't help but wonder what will happen to him when he leaves Naboo.

I can't help but worry about him.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I don't know what's wrong with everyone. I'm fine! I know they're only concerned about me, but honestly, I'm okay. I wish I could make the Council see that.

Qui-Gon's death was sudden, but not completely unexpected. Death for a Jedi can come at any moment, on any mission. We discussed its inevitability on many occasions. As well as the fact that there is no death, only the Force.

It's something I have been taught since I was in the creche. I understand that. I believe it.

Then what's with all the concern over my mental health all of a sudden?

I haven't allowed myself to grieve, they say.

Well frankly, I don't have the time! I have a Padawan now. A boy too old to train, already too set in ways that need to be drastically altered. He's my responsibility, and I just don't have the time for anything else right now.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I had a dream last night about Obi-Wan.

He was older, bearded and gray, very sad, and very much alone. He wandered a desert searching for something until suddenly a black beast leapt out of the ground and devoured him whole.

My mother has never been one to take stock in such nightmares, but her father -- my grandfather, who was a psychiatrist and who had an office in Theed while he was alive, taught me that although dreams are sometimes the result of an irritated digestive system, one should never overlook the possibility of some higher power trying to convey a message.

Since, when we are asleep, it is the only time that we are quiet and still enough to listen.

This was one of those dreams.

I fear something terrible is going to happen to Obi-Wan. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday.

And I also can't help but think that somehow I can help him.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I think I've figured it out.

It's not me they're worried about, it's the boy!

They think I'm going to terminally screw up the damn kid. Their precious Chosen One. It wasn't about me! Never about me.

I'm a ticking detonator, the healers have told me; repressing a natural reaction to an extreme situation, and although I'm not aware of it, I'm suffering from some type of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Yeah, right.

If I'm stressed, it's because the Council is insisting I see the damn healers in the first place! They are the ones casting doubts on my already-shaky confidence!

I just wish everyone would leave me the hell alone!

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I contacted the Jedi Temple on Coruscant today, and although I did not get to talk to Obi-Wan, I was informed that he and Anakin are doing fine.

Master Yoda told me that Obi-Wan has been visiting the Jedi Healers in order to help him deal with some of the emotional after-effects of his Master's death, and that the new Knight is handling his responsibilities as expected.

I have always trusted the ancient Jedi Master. His wisdom and insight are known throughout the Galaxy.

So, why was he lying to me?

I don't know how I know, but Obi-Wan isn't doing well.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

Something happened today. I can't explain it.

I was training Anakin in the north sallé on the catwalks like my own Master had taught me.

I've never noticed before how the criss-crossing balancing platforms resemble those outside of the generator room in the Theed Palace.

(long pause)

Anakin fell.

I should have been able to help him, or at least slow his descent, but my thoughts were distracted and the Force was muddled.

Thankfully, another Master walked into the room in time to reduce the speed of his impact on the mats below, or else things could have been much worse. A sprained ankle is bad enough, but what's more troubling is that his injury is entirely my fault.

As of a little over a month ago, I quit going to see the Healers.

I have an appointment with them this afternoon.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

My financial analysts and security advisors have informed me that we have now completely recovered from the devastating effects of the Trade Federation occupation of Naboo and the subsequent war.

The economy and governmental infrastructure is stable, which leaves my mind free to focus upon other matters.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, specifically.

He sent me a message the other day, congratulating me on being elected for a second term; an amazing accomplishment for someone who had just turned nineteen, he had said.

It was good to hear his voice. It's been almost a year since I had. I was disappointed that he couldn't make it to the inaugural celebration, but as he said, training Anakin has kept him rather busy.

I hope that was his real reason. I would hate to think that he is avoiding me for any other.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

Six straight months of therapy. Six months! And still the Healers cannot tell me what's wrong with me. I've been checked for every virus known to the Galaxy, poked, prodded, and sniffed; every decision scrutinized and my every thought analyzed, by not only the Healers, but the Jedi Council as well.

Withdrawn and too stoic I have become, they have said.

I'm just acting the way they expect me to. The way the Master of a Padawan should. The way my own Master does….

(long pause)

But maybe it's more than that. It has to be, considering the Force-shielded room I've been thrown into.

I don't remember what happened. I was having another dream. A nightmare was what it was. But I've had them before, and they're always the same.

I'm battling the Sith again. Sometimes I win, sometimes he does.

I always wake up panting and sweating in my bed, the terrible memory of that day retreating slowly from my mind, leaving behind it a wake of terror.

But never before have I done what Master Yoda claims I did.

He told me that darkness had invaded the Temple. Darkness that was centered upon my room, and when he and Master Windu arrived, they found me standing over Anakin with my lightsaber. And it was activated.

Apparently, I was sleep-walking. I don't remember anything.

They've taken the boy away from me, as they should, and told me to take an extended leave of absence.

I am to go somewhere and work on my Force sense, meditate, and try to resolve the issues that I apparently have not yet dealt with.

Somewhere remote and quiet where I can reflect in peace and solitude, the healers suggested.

Well, as usual, stubborn as I am, I have another idea.

If I am to figure out what is wrong with me, then I must go to where it all began.

I must return to Naboo.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

He's coming.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I don't know what I was expecting when I arrived. I may be a bit foolish, but I'm wise enough to know enlightenment doesn't transcend upon one quickly or easily.

All I know is that my answers are here. Somewhere. They have to be. I'm not sure how long it will take me to find them though.

In the meantime, I am to make myself at home, I was told. Enjoy the luxury that the Theed Palace and my hostess provide.

Padmé has always been generous and friendly toward me. I suppose having gone through what we both did, we have something in common and have developed a kinship or friendly bond of sorts.

A friend is what I need right now. Someone outside of the Jedi Order to help me maybe see things differently.

I think Padmé may be that friend. She's an honest, caring, and intelligent young woman. And even if she can't help me, I'll at least get to enjoy her company.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I'm avoiding reality. I realize that, but after a few days of Padmé's attentiveness, I also realize that the healers may have been correct after all. Finding a place of peace and tranquility has helped me. And Naboo is abundant in both.

Maybe it's the atmosphere, which is strong in the Living Force. Or maybe it's just Padmé.

I'm not sure.

I've been on-planet for three days now, and during those three days, she has kept me extremely busy . The Healers would be disappointed. They wanted me to spend my away time in meditation. There's little time for that.

Between the tours of every nook and cranny of the palace, visits to many of Theed's businesses and factories, I have to wonder about the queen's motives.

Padmé and I are friends, yes, but surely, she has better things to do than entertain me.

I suggested as much today and was promptly informed that she gets very few visitors, and she is happy to show me the Naboo that I hadn't had the chance to see before.

Honestly, I'm thankful for her attention. I'm already beginning to feel better.

(soft laughter)

At least she hasn't taken me to meet her parents.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

He laughed today and the sound of it was like sunlight piercing through a blackened sky, illuminating the air around us and causing a smile to blossom upon my own face.

I have done my best to keep Obi-Wan as busy as possible, in order to keep his mind off his troubles.

But I know this is only a temporary fix. Obi-Wan is going to have to face his demons sooner or later. I realize that. Just as I realize that I'm going to have to be the one to help him do so.

He's in denial right now. The first step of the Journey to Nashta, the cycle of grief and recovery.

My grandfather wrote a book about it. I keep it my personal study and have read it through many times. Especially recently.

But before Obi-Wan can move on, there are a couple of things I need to do.

I need to make sure he trusts me for one. And I want to introduce him to my parents.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I met her parents today. I'll try not to read any implications into that, since I think I have met every single citizen of Theed within a week's time, but if there was an ulterior motive, I can't say that I would mind.

I like Padmé. A lot. And I like being with her here on Naboo. And even though the palace holds some rather painful memories for me, when she's around, all of that doesn't seem so important. Not any more.

I wake up in the morning and my first thought is of what she has planned for us, and what gown she will be wearing today. I already have a favorite.

And I wonder how long Sabé's patience will last. The poor handmaiden has been standing in for Padmé for over a week now although her duties have not been of any significance. The young woman is simply creating a needed symbol of stability for the public eye.

But I don't really see the need. Naboo has rebounded successfully in all matters. If I hadn't known any better, I would be hard-pressed to believe a war had ever taken place here.

It's a beautiful planet, and I feel so comfortable on it. So…at home. I'm beginning to regret ever having to leave. Especially when I think of having to leave….her.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

The time has come.

Obi-Wan kissed me today. It was sudden, but most certainly not unwelcome. In fact, it was quite wonderful.

We were watching a flock of migrating fowl winging their way over Lake Naboo. The sun was setting and I commented on how beautiful the scenery was. Obi-Wan agreed, but he wasn't looking at the horizon. He was looking at me.

And although I shouldn't have, when he kissed me, I not only allowed it, I encouraged it.

But he felt so good in my arms, and has the most exquisite mouth.

I smoothed my hand across the stubble on his cheek when the kiss was over and gazed up into eyes that were full of hope and tenderness.

But then he spoke my name and before he could utter the words -- words that I thought he may someday regret -- I stopped him with a finger pressed to his lips.

"It's getting dark." I said. "Let's go inside, dine, and then tomorrow we'll return to the palace. There's something I need to show you."

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I can't believe I kissed her! What was I thinking? I guess I was overcome with the beauty and serenity of the lake…and the beauty of her.

I didn't expect to feel anything more than friendship for Padmé, but the taste of her lips has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.

I had thought that being a Jedi was the life I wanted. I had never considered anything else.

But here, on Naboo, I've found something just as important.

I don't know if I'm in love or not. It's too early to tell, but there's a good chance I might be, I think.

We're leaving the Lake Country in the morning to return to the palace. Padmé says she has something to show me, although I can't imagine what it would be. Our early days together were spent in a rather thorough tour.

I suppose I'll just have to be patient and hopefully get a good night's rest tonight. If only I could get the memory of that kiss out of my mind….

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

It may be too early, and it may be too drastic, but I don't have a choice.

Obi-Wan hasn't spoken of his Master since his arrival. I was giving him time, thinking eventually he would, but apparently he's not.

I'm being forced into action, and though it worries me, I know it's for his own good. I just hope that I don't lose his friendship in the process.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

After mid meal today, Padmé led me down a hallway vaguely familiar, although we had not traversed this path before. This part of the palace was mainly for staff and support personnel, communications and security. Not a whole lot to see, but it made me curious.

Especially when Padmé asked me to close my eyes and follow her blindly.

"Do you trust me?" She had asked.

"Of course I do." I replied, taking her hand in mine.

Several steps, through several doors led us into a room that sounded vast and empty. Our footsteps echoed about us.

To the right, I could make out a distinct humming sound, and as I searched my memory to identify it, I was filled with a feeling of dread.

I opened my eyes to stare blankly at the generator room. The place where my Master had died.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I don't know what I was expecting, but I was disappointed when Obi-Wan turned on me, confusion and what seemed to be anger clouding his expression.

It was the one place he had avoided, he had told me.

"I know. That's the problem." I replied, holding onto his arms, afraid that he would bolt.

"Obi-Wan, you need to move through the Anuit, the denial phase of mourning, or you will never begin to heal."

"Just who have you been talking to?" His question was harshly spoken, almost accusatory and quite loud. "Master Yoda? Healer T'Pal? There's nothing wrong with me! And the sooner you all get that through your heads, the sooner I can get on with my life!"

"Obi-Wan, please. I care about you and…" My words were interrupted by a cynical laugh.

"Sure you do. That's why you tricked me into coming here! To try and force me into thinking about something I'm doing my best to forget! To cause me pain? Is that what a friend does?" He asked me, pulling away from my grasp.

"In this case, yes." I answered.

"Well then." He responded coldly. "A friendship such as that is one I can do without. Excuse me."

I watched him go back through the door through which we came on the opposite side of the pit from where Master Jinn had been murdered.

I had played my hand possibly too early and risked losing Obi-Wan as a friend.

But if my plan worked, then he would be restored to the beautiful and confident man that he once was.

The man I'm in love with.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

It must have been seeing that room again that caused the nightmare. I haven't had one like that since I arrived on Naboo.

Damn her! Damn her for taking me there! Just when everything was going so well. And to think I almost told her I loved her.

(long pause)

I supposed I should leave now. What I thought would help me is only hurting me. It was wrong of me to come here in the first place. I should've listened to Yoda and gone to Dagobah instead.

That's exactly what I'm going to do.

(pause)

But I'll give it a couple of more days here. Just in case I'm wrong.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I was honestly surprised to discover that Obi-Wan was still on-planet the following day, although I didn't see him. Captain Panaka had said Obi-Wan had gone to Otoh Gunga to visit Boss Nass and Jar-Jar Binks. When I asked the Captain how he looked, Panaka told me 'pretty much the same.'

That's what I was afraid of. I may not be helping him at all.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

Going to Otoh Gunga wasn't such a good idea. Everything about the place reminded me of my Master and our last mission here.

I was as cordial to the Gungans as I could manage, and then quickly bid them all a good day.

Now, here I am back in my guest quarters, alone in the middle of the day, and all I can think about is sleep.

I'm so tired.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I don't know what to do.

Apparently, Obi-Wan has chosen to stay in his rooms. I was going to leave him alone and allow him to work out his problems on his own, but the staff has informed me that he has refused two meals in a row.

It is almost mid evening now, and perhaps I should have checked on him earlier in the day. However, I decided that if he doesn't come out for first meal tomorrow morning, then I will definitely be going to him, whether he wishes to see me or not.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I was awakened at about third hour this evening by Sabé, who informed me that Captain Panaka was monitoring our Jedi guest. Apparently, Obi-Wan was wandering around the palace dressed only in his sleep pants.

When the Captain had approached him, Obi-Wan had asked where his Master was. The Captain was wise enough to recognize the young man was in a sleep trance, and so he didn't disturb him.

I wanted to go to him myself, but Sabé said the Captain strongly advised against it, because although Obi-Wan didn't appear to be a threat, he was carrying his lightsaber. And even though it was unlit, Panaka didn't want to take any chances. He would simply monitor him from a distance.

The difference was that I knew Obi-Wan. I trusted him. I loved him. He would never hurt me. Even unintentionally.

After I had convinced Sabé that I could help, I opened the door to my quarters, only to find Obi-Wan standing there with a stricken look on his face, gripping the hilt of his lightsaber tightly.

He didn't say a word, but just brushed past me, walked straight through the common room, dropping his weapon on my bedroom floor, and fell onto my bed.

It took even more convincing to get Panaka and Sabé to go and allow Obi-Wan to stay, and only after hiding Obi-Wan's weapon and making sure he was asleep, did Panaka agree to leave, assuring me that he was just a comm away.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I was running down a dark, narrow hall, opening doors one after another, knowing that I had to get through them or someone I cared about was going to die.

The doors were red. As red as blood. As red as the lightsaber that struck down my Master.

But every time I would reach the end of the hallway, it would suddenly and mysteriously lengthen, and another door would appear.

I ran as fast and as far as I could, but I was never able to reach the end of the hall. No matter how hard I tried, I could never save them.

I awoke with a shout, my body trembling, with the word "Master" falling from my lips, only to find myself cocooned in the warmth and security of arms about me, holding me, rocking me gently, words of reassurance being cooed in my ear.

It was Padmé's voice. I didn't know how I got in her bed, or if maybe she was in mine, but I borrowed upon her strength and peace to finally drift back to sleep, as I had none left of my own.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

He trembled in my arms, even opening his eyes once, but he didn't speak.

I lay beside him on my bed, wrapped my arms about him, and held him tightly. I whispered words I thought would comfort him. I may have even told him I loved him, but he didn't respond. Eventually, he drifted back to sleep.

I remember thinking I would stay awake to watch over him, but after his shaking and murmuring ceased, he fell deeply asleep, and soon, so did I.

However, after just a couple of hours, I woke up to the sensation of something warm close to my face, and a buzzing sound reverberating in my ears. I opened my eyes slowly, only to be blinded by a bright blue light.

I immediately recognized it for what it was: Obi-Wan's lightsaber, and it was hovering right over me.

I held myself very still. I should've been frightened, but I wasn't. I knew Obi-Wan would never hurt me.

Eventually, the deadly blue glow moved out of my line of vision, and I looked up into a glassy-eyed expression. It was the same look Obi-Wan had worn just hours before when he had come into my room.

There was no recognition of me there. No friendly emotion or tenderness. Just pain, longing, and sorrow.

The vacant stare moved away from me then as Obi-Wan strode toward the door, deactivating his saber as he left my room. Quickly donning a robe and slippers, I followed him.

Captain Panaka met us about halfway to the throne room, but I motioned him away with my hand and a stern glare. If Obi-Wan was headed to where I thought he was, I wanted no interference.

I discovered I was right when his quickening steps led us past the main hangar and across the catwalks leading to the generator room.

I watched in concern as Obi-Wan rushed ahead of me, but I did my best to catch up as he paused, activated his lightsaber and then began swinging it to and fro, moving forward in increments. I realized by his movements that he was apparently fighting someone: An enemy that only Obi-Wan could see.

Soon, he was moving through the energy gates, and I found myself cut off from him. I helplessly watched as he fought the invisible foe, only realizing then what was occurring. I had seen the security footage of the battle that had taken Master Jin's life many times, rejoiced in Obi-Wan's victory, and mourned over his subsequent loss. But what Obi-Wan was doing now was not re-enacting his fight with the Sith, but his Master's.

Obi-Wan was taking Qui-Gon's place and I, his.

I was standing at the exact same spot where the young Padawan had been forced to watch while his Master lay dying.

Obi-Wan parried relentlessly as the imaginary dark lord drove him back around the perimeter of the pit, until suddenly, the young man's head snapped back and then he fell to his knees, collapsing upon the floor, his weapon skittering out of his reach.

I was frightened that something had happened to him. I didn't know the ways of the Force. Could he deliberately induce death in his trance?

I yelled out his name while I waited impatiently for the fields to recycle and allow me to pass.

When they finally did, I rushed to Obi-Wan's side, immediately pulling his head onto my lap.

"Obi-Wan? Can you hear me?"

There was no response and panic seized me.

"Obi-Wan! Don't you do this to me!" I yelled, pounding onto his chest. "Come back! I love you!"

I held my breath as bloodshot eyes fluttered open and then darted around before landing on my very relieved face.

"Padmé? What happened?" He rasped. "How did I get back in here?"

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

After Padmé explained to me what had happened and what I had done, things started to make much more sense.

I had been experiencing a dream. But it was more than that. It was more like a vision.

At first, I was looking for Qui-Gon. We were back on Naboo, in the palace. Only the hallways and pillars had transformed into a maze. I wandered through it calling out his name, knowing that he was in danger, and I had to find him. I would occasionally bump into a palace guard or one of the queen's handmaidens, but no one could tell me where my Master was. In fact, no one would help me at all.

I finally gave up and sat down, only to fall asleep. However, when I woke up, I realized something was different.

The boots I were wearing weren't my own, but I recognized them, as much as I recognized the hands I held out in from of me. I stood and marveled at my sudden increase in height, only to discover that I was my Master.

And I knew what I had to do.

The Sith was here. I knew of his power. I had tasted of it on Tatooine. He was after us. After me and my Padawan. He could have one of us, but not both.

I had to keep it away from my apprentice. Obi-Wan's destiny had not yet been revealed to me, but I knew he would be a great Jedi one day. He would not die on Naboo. I would make sure of that.

I rushed ahead of him purposefully. I knew I couldn't defeat my opponent, but perhaps I could wear him down, or possibly take him with me when I fell.

I lasted for as long as I could, but was soon overpowered.

I didn't see the blow coming, the lightsaber hilt that struck my chin; nor did I see the red blade that thrust through my chest. But I did hear my Padawan's mournful cry, and see the future that lay ahead of him.

There was little time left. I could feel my life force slipping away, but before I went, I had to ensure that Anakin be trained. If he was not, the Galaxy would suffer and darkness would dominate once more...

The sound of Padmé's voice brought me out of the surreal vision, but I was confused by the experience and frantically searched for an anchor to reality, to discover the smiling, beautiful Padmé above me, holding me, keeping me safe.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

We sat on the edge of the pit, our feet dangling below us as Obi-Wan began telling me of his initial insecurities of becoming Qui-Gon Jinn's Padawan, his struggles to understand and follow the man that would eventually would become more to him than just a Master or a mentor. To Obi-Wan, he was like a father.

"I loved him."

"Of course you did. You shared more than any parent and child ever could. You shared a bond that allowed you to feel one another's emotions and to know each other's locations. It's no wonder that after his death, you feel lost."

"That's it. I do feel lost. I don't know who I am any more, or what I'm doing."

Obi-Wan's head fell into his hands as I ran my own hand soothingly over his bare back, sticky with sweat from his previous exertion.

"You're finally doing what you need to do Obi-Wan." I assured him gently. "You're on a journey of recovery."

"A journey?"

"Yes." A journey that involves the numbness of loss -- the Anuit; yearning for what was lost, called the Vatulé; despair known as the Vishta, and the final phase called the Nashta -- the re-definition." I explained my grandfather's research as best I could, using the terms in the ancient Nabooan, which brought a small smile to his face.

"And at which point am I at?"

"Yearning, I'm afraid."

"That's great. Next comes despair, right?" He joked, to which I nodded my head before throwing my arm around his shoulder and pulling him tight.

It was going to be a long and difficult journey, but in the end Obi-Wan Kenobi was going to be just fine.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

The actual stage of despair was thankfully short-lived. It seemed that this particular phase, in Obi-Wan's case, had overlapped into the yearning one.

Loss of appetite was present, as well as spells of mourning that usually occurred throughout the night.

I would hold Obi-Wan and reassure him, insisting that he eat something, and basically became a complete nuisance by being his constant companion.

He never complained, except for the time that I removed all of the shaving implements from the 'fresher. It had been after one rather harrowing night that had broken him down. I was aware that suicidal tendencies were most common during this point of the grief process, and although I doubted Obi-Wan would ever take his own life, I wasn't taking any chances.

From the Audio Log of Obi-Wan Kenobi

I had lost track of time and any awareness outside of my own despair until one morning I woke up, and for the first time in what seemed like ages, I heard the birds outside of Padmé's window singing their songs to welcome the day. I heard the rush of the waterfall that ran past the palace right underneath the queen's balcony, and then I noticed the queen herself.

She was lying on the bed next to me, fully dressed and sleeping soundly, but I could see the signs of weariness through the lines of tension about her eyes, and the darkening underneath them.

Only then did I realize how truly selfish I had been, and what a sacrifice she had made for me. To tend to my every need, hold me during my night terrors and seemingly endless episodes of despair. And what had she asked for in return?

Nothing.

I didn't deserve her kindness, but I was so very thankful for it.

Almost as thankful as I was for the Living Force that beckoned to me just outside of her balcony door.

I answered its call, rising with the dawn to commune with the Force in meditation, ashamed that I had neglected to do so for so long.

From the Diary of Padmé Amidala

I awoke to my own sense of loss. The loss of a warm body nestled against me.

For as long as I could remember, I had slept alone. I'm amazed to discover that in just a few short weeks I've grown accustomed to Obi-Wan being here, accustomed to the sound of his breathing, and the weight of an arm that was slung lazily about my waist.

I knew it wouldn't last. I had known it from the beginning. Once he had recovered, once he had achieved Nashta, he would leave me.

But the knowledge brought me little comfort.

I rose from my bed to search him out, finding him at the edge of the balustrade outside, his hands clasped behind his back, his eyes closed, his countenance peaceful.

I waited a moment, appreciative of the way the early morning sun's rays played against the coppery highlights of his hair, and then took in the blue-green gaze that suddenly settled upon me. A gaze that finally had relinquished itself from its haunted appearance.

A small smile turned up the corners of his mouth.

"Thank you." He said softly. "I don't know how to repay you."

"You don't owe me anything."

He nodded his head in understanding, even as a tear ran down my face. He would be leaving now and he realized I understood that.

"Don't cry Padmé. We'll see each other again soon. I promise." He said with another brief smile.

"But there is something I'd like to do for you." He continued. "Rather, something I'd like to show you."

"What?" I wondered aloud as his arm snaked out, his hand gliding to the small of my back, drawing me closer to him.

"Before I go, let me show you how very much I love you."

Obi-Wan lowered his head slowly, pausing just above my mouth, his kiss beginning first with breath, then lips and finally tongue.

I could not contain the whimper of desire that was immediately swallowed up by him, nor could I control the shaking of my limbs. Obi-Wan must have felt it too, for just as my knees threatened to buckle beneath me, he lifted me in his arms and carried me back to the bed.

For the next two hours, Obi-Wan indeed showed me the depth of his love, and I was truly amazed by the tenderness of his caress, and by the attentiveness he paid to every aspect of my body. From the tips of my ears to my smallest of toes. Every inch of me was nibbled upon, licked, kissed, and sucked.

I reached orgasm as his mouth stimulated me, and I reached out to hold onto his head, bucking wildly against his mouth. I could feel the blush of my passionate reaction rush across my chest, but Obi-Wan paid no heed, immediately settling back to the task of exploring my body.

By the time he entered me, I was nearly sobbing, weakened by an overwhelming desire to feel him inside me. His strokes were slow, but powerful, and his eyes never left mine as he cradled my head in his hands and panted my name softly against my mouth.

Even later, when his erection had subsided, I held him tightly against me, as well as inside of me. I didn't want to let him go.

But a new day was dawning, and a new life had begun for Obi-Wan.

A journey that I would have to trust that one day I would share.

He had promised.

-END-

Author's Notes: The Jesuit have their own grieving process labeled the Aninut, Avelut, Shiva, and Shanah. I sort of borrowed and played with those terms. (...and you all thought it was just my own imagination...)