There were whispers of a Black Knight in the land long before he appeared. When he did, he was believed to be the heart of evil. But all was not as it seemed. A woman came who had learned the knowledge of the White Knights and the courage of the Red. She learned them from a Master who had been among both and learned to balance their ways. But he could not teach her the wisdom to know her own heart. How would she learn it? Who can say.
— Excerpt from The Saga of the Red Knight by Inalia Kenobi, Chronicler of the Ch'lliear
After they had gotten Anakin to sleep, Padme took Obi-Wan for a walk in the Royal Gardens. It was a warm night, but comfortably so, and the air was filled with the familiar, musical hum and chirping of the insects and nightbirds. Fish splashed in the ponds along the path, and together with the tinkling of the nearby fountains, the water provided a gentle harmony to compliment the song of the birds and the patient, rhythmic whirrs and clicks. They walked in companionable silence for a while, content to breathe the rich, green, flower scented air, and she smiled as he tentatively reached for her hand.
Feeling a bit nervous herself, she laced her fingers through his and hoped that he wouldn't notice the slight tremor she felt passing through her hands. He didn't seem to, and she drew in a deep breath, then slowly let it out again, letting her mind drift between the sounds and smells around them and the combination of soft skin and rough calluses that she remembered as the feel of hands. It seemed to her that their first, tentative touches like this on Tatooine had happened moments ago and in yet another life. There was both excitement and fear in the fact that he was here now, relief and fresh anxiety.
"What are you feeling?" he asked quietly.
"Can't you tell?" she turned to him in surprise.
"Some," he nodded. "Your feelings are very…"
"Yes," he said, tensing slightly.
She turned to touch his cheek, caressing softly with one finger. "I'm glad you're here, Obi-Wan. It's just that everything is happening very fast. There are so many questions, and I don't know the answers."
"I know. But we can find them. We have time," he said.
She nodded in agreement, then told him, "Mostly, I'm just happy. So happy it's scary."
"Quite," he agreed.
"What made you decide to come back?" she asked hesitantly.
"I missed you," he replied, so simply and plaintively that she felt her throat tighten. "I tried not to, but it was no use. You were there whether I wanted you to be or not. I could see you; I could hear you. Sometimes I could even sense you, but we could never touch. And…"
"Anakin whines. A lot."
She laughed and ducked her head. "I'm not sure whether to be flattered or offended."
"Be flattered. Just know he thinks the world of you. He told me that if being a Jedi meant hurting you then he didn't want to be one any longer. After a while, I realized he was right," he smiled.
"Thank you," she whispered.
He nodded and glanced toward the fountain they were nearing, which had a wide, octagonal base of rough stone with high sides and a sculpted pillar in the center. A fluted spout on each side of the pillar sent a stream of clear water down into the pool, which then gurgled pleasantly through the drains and added to the musical interplay around them. They wandered over to it, and he half sat on the edge, still keeping his hand in hers while his other arm lightly encircled her waist. Her fingers slipped softly through his hair, their motion light and easy but with a hint of possessiveness that surprised her even as she acknowledged it
"Anakin would like it here," he observed.
"Plants and flowers fascinate him. Flowing water makes him a bit uneasy, but I think he'd get used to it," he explained.
"We can bring him tomorrow," she suggested.
He nodded. "So. What happens to Cinder-Wan tomorrow?"
She smiled. "You're not being very patient."
"Well, there's a prince…or...a princess," she corrected herself. "It's a little confusing to change everything around like this. I'm sort of combining stories to make it more interesting for him. Cinderella's just a romance. The girl lived with a wicked step-mother and ugly stepsisters and was forced to act as a servant. The prince held a ball and she wasn't allowed to go, so a fairy-godmother comes to help her."
"A fairy-godmother," she laughed. "My mother says they're magical beings who live close to nature. Sometimes they help people, but usually they have their own agendas—don't make any comments about politicians."
"I didn't say a word," he looked at her with consummate innocence.
Stifling a laugh, she nodded firmly and replied, "Good."
"So, I assume this…fairy-godmother gives her a dress and helps her get to the ball?" he asked.
"Mmm-hmm. She has to be home before sunrise, so she runs away, but she loses her slipper, and so the prince searches the kingdom for the one girl whose foot will fit inside it," she explained.
"Isn't it a bit unlikely that he'd find the right girl that way?" Obi-Wan tilted his head.
"She had very tiny feet. No other woman in all the kingdom could fit in her shoes," she said.
"Oh, I see," he frowned, looking down at his feet. "I don't think Cinder-Wan losing his boot is going to work."
"It wouldn't have been very interesting for Anakin that way either. I think that the Sith find him at the ball," she said.
"And he defeats them?" asked Obi-Wan.
"Yes, but he loses his lightsaber, and he doesn't have time to get it back because it's too close to sunrise," she said.
"So, the princess finds him and marries him when she learns whose lightsaber it is?" he asked.
"Yes, I think so."
"But he still doesn't know who he is," he frowned.
"That's my problem," she nodded.
"Well, what about the first story? Can't you take more elements out of that?" he suggested.
"I don't think so. In that one, the hidden prince pulls a sword from a stone to become king," she told him.
"If someone tried putting a lightsaber in a stone, they'd have two stones," he laughed. "Or at least, a stone with a hole in it."
"I know," agreed. "I guess I'll just have to find another story."
"You know, you're very good at that," he said.
"So, you like Cinder-Wan?" she asked teasingly.
"I was rather hoping that you'd tell him more about Princess Leia," he shrugged. "But Cinder-Wan is all right. He liked it."
"I told you, there isn't any more," she reminded him, giving his cheek a light tap with her fingertips.
"You could make something up. Look what you just did with Cinder-Wan," he prompted.
"Well, let me see," she frowned. "There was one about a princess who was lost in a storm. She knocked on the door of a castle and was allowed inside. The queen was searching for a bride for her son, so when the girl said that she was a princess, the queen tested her."
"How?" he asked, tilting his head curiously.
"She took a pea and put it under the princess's mattress. Then she piled more and more mattresses on top of it until the bed was so high it almost reached the ceiling," she explained. "Then when the princess went to sleep, she tossed and turned all night and even had bruises in the morning. The idea was that only a real princess could have felt the pea under all that."
"My love, a pea would have been mashed long before the princess laid down for the night," he said with a sigh.
"Fine," she told him with a mock-stern glare. "So we can a pebble then."
"Fine," he agreed with a nod. "That's far more logical. But we still have a problem."
"Leia can't marry this strange prince. She has to marry Han."
"You're a romantic," she laughed.
"Well, it's only fair. He went through all that in the other story to rescue her," he raised an eyebrow.
"So, she should marry out of gratitude?"
"No, she should marry out of love for Han, not out of some perceived duty to marry a foreign prince," he said.
"Well, maybe Han rescues her again?" she suggested thoughtfully.
"Perhaps she could rescue him this time," he mused.
"I don't know…wait. The dungeon," he said.
"The prince's dungeon?" she asked.
"What's he doing there?"
"I don't know. Maybe the prince's mother imprisoned him for something."
"Maybe he's a smuggler…"
"A princess and a smuggler?"
"Some girls don't like nice men," she shrugged.
"Oh, I see. Well, I'm rather glad that you like nice men," he told her.
She laughed. "So, Leia refuses to marry the prince, and they throw her in the dungeon too?"
"Sounds good to me?"
"How do they get out?"
"Maybe she uses her hair clips to unlock their binders?"
She tilted her head in consideration. "All right. And then I assume they have to fight their way of the castle?"
"Mmm-hmm. Narrowly escaping with their lives," he nodded.
"There now. You see? We still have a happy ending."
"But not for Cinder-Wan," she bit her lip.
"Cinder-Wan has his Queen. What more does he need?"
He shook his head, bringing their clasped hands up to his lips, and kissed her finger. "Only this, my love. Only you."