Chapter Eighteen

"I discovered this while you were recuperating. You're not alone, Obi-Wan."

Displayed on the terminal in Padmé's office was a readout of the same information which Obi-Wan had downloaded onto a datadisk in her apartment, but hadn't had time to look at yet.

The archives were restricted, but Padmé had already taken care of accessing even the most private and secure documents. Before him was a history of the Jedi and Sith Wars, as documented by historians -- not by Sith-directed reporters and curriculum.

Obi-Wan stumbled into the seat, which Padmé vacated for him and read accounts of the numbers of Jedi which once protected the Galaxy. There were hundreds of them! They had been betrayed by the very government they had sworn to protect. Betrayed and murdered. Every single one of them.

For the past century, the Emperor and his apprentices had done their best to rid the Galaxy of every creature born with Force sensitivity.

Stunned with the report, and realizing it was at least twenty years old, Obi-Wan felt sick to his stomach and covered his mouth with his hand. The murdered younglings at that time numbered close to five-hundred.

He wasn't sure what Padmé meant when she said he wasn't alone. Looking at the statistics before him, he felt more alone in the Force than ever before.

"Don't you understand?" Obi-Wan heard Padmé say before switching the terminal off. He couldn't stand looking at the images which accompanied the data any longer. He turned away from the datascreen to watch Padmé kneel and take his hands. "With the Emperor and Anakin dead, you can find them. You can go out into the Galaxy and find Force-sensitives and you can train them."

"Me? I don't know the first thing about training younglings," Obi-Wan scoffed at the idea, although the thought warmed his heart. To be able to find others with the same gifts as himself, to help them learn how to use those gifts to better the Galaxy would be a wonderful opportunity.

And would make him worthy, would it not?

He still wasn't sure though. It seemed like a daunting task. "I don't know." Unless…"Will you help me?"

"Of course I will," Padmé agreed with a smile, immediately cocking her head in better understanding. "Oh, you mean, go with you? Obi-Wan, listen. With the Emperor dead, there's going to be a huge political upheaval here and a lot of instability. I was hoping I could stay here to help."

"How?"

"I don't know. Perhaps I'll run for office or something," Padmé joked, although Obi-Wan saw through her veiled humor and detected the serious undertone in her words. She would make a wonderful public servant. Maybe he should tell her that.

"I think you should."

"Really?"

"Absolutely. You've got the credibility and now the public support." Obi-Wan was sure every citizen in The Lowers would vote for Padmé in an election after today.

"You know…I think I will."

"Good."

Smiles were exchanged, but Obi-Wan's turned watery and his brow furrowed as new worries entered his mind. "What about us?"

"Well," Padmé purred, rising to place herself directly onto Obi-Wan's lap, grabbing his face in her hands, "while you're out searching the Galaxy for future Jedi, I'll be here helping to reconstruct Coruscant's political structure and waiting for you. For as long as it takes -- if promise me something."

"Anything."

"Promise me you'll always come back home."

"It's a promise."

And one that Obi-Wan kept for the next ten years. During that time, he managed to gather two-hundred Force-sensitive beings from around the Galaxy, and was given the Emperor's palace to house and train them in -- a fitting place, as further research into Coruscant's hidden past revealed it once served as the Jedi Temple.

With Obi-Wan's guidance, and study into Jedi archives once thought to be destroyed by the Emperor, the younglings thrived and the Jedi Order was re-established.

Padmé Amidala was elected Coruscant's Senator with a record-breaking Lowers Vote, and helped rebuild the Galactic Senate, ruling with honesty and democracy until her retirement.

She and Obi-Wan reside in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant where their two children have taken over Obi-Wan's duties.

They still live there to this day.

~end~