Author's Note: Here we are at the end of the story. I have enjoyed every moment of writing what is I hope to be the first of many in this fandom. I would like to take this moment to thank everyone who reviewed the story; among them Barbwire Rose, Noobian Rose, LupisNoctis, November9Noir, Storykeeper, Kenobifan, Briseis, Tiernery Beckett, Valiowk, Valariy Scot, HighCentaur-Lord Chorion III, Kicho14, spiritp, and many many others. I am more than grateful than words can say for your kind compliments, constructive criticism, and encouragement, as well as your constant inspiration and welcoming into this fandom. Enjoy.
Part 42: Long Ago...
"Tell us a story, please Grandpa."
Obi-Wan Kenobi looked up from his work into the big brown eyes of his eldest grandchild, Jaina Kenobi Solo. Her twin brother Jacen was standing on one side, and their younger brother Anakin on the other. In front of them were their cousins; Jinn and Cerasi Kenobi Kismavar and Ben and Padmé Organa Kenobi. All gazed up at him pleadingly, and as usual when confronted with such expressions, he found the request impossible to resist.
"Very well," he laid aside his work and rose from his chair, leading them into the living room of the house at Varykino. Gathering them around a comfortable sofa, he leaned back into the confines of the nerfhide and began. "Not so long ago, and near to home, there was a young being who..."
"No, Grandpa, you're telling it wrong!" Jaina cried.
Obi-Wan affected innocence. "Am I?"
"Yes!" the grandchildren cried in unison.
"I'm terribly sorry," he replied, changing his look to one of pathetic confusion. "I'm an old man, you know..."
"You're not old, Grandpa!" Jaina insisted.
Jaina nodded her head vigorously. Of all the grand children, she was usually the most vocal and outspoken. A natural leader, like her mother and grandmother before her.
"Okay, I'll try again. Once upon a time, there was a young woman who..."
"That's not it either, Grandpa!" Jaina cried.
"Isn't it?" Obi-Wan frowned. "I was sure that was it." He put his hand to his forehead and massaged the temples. "I must be getting old to confuse stories like this."
"You're not getting old, Grandpa," little Padmé assured him solemnly. With her mother's red hair and her father's,- and consequently her grandfather's -blue eyes, she was a complete contrast to her namesake, but when she spoke, it was as if her grandmother was in the room.
"I'm not?" Obi-Wan asked her in the same solemn tone.
"No, you're not," her namesake uttered now, causing the Jedi Master to look up as Senator Amidala walked into the room. Coruscant's governing body was currently in recess, allowing for the great leaders of the Republic to return to their home planets and spend time with their family. "But that doesn't mean you, Cerasi and Jaina can feed his ego. Your grandfather has enough beautiful women following him around as it is."
"Really, milady, I see only one beautiful woman, and I follow her around," Obi-Wan returned smoothly, causing his wife to blush before shaking her head and pointing her finger at the group imperiously.
"You owe our grandchildren a story, Master Jedi," she reminded him, before joining the group, taking a seat beside her husband. He lifted his arm and let it fall about her shoulders, smiling as she rested her head in the crook of his neck.
Outside the rain continued to pour down, clothing the lush green grass and stone walkways, denying the children the privilege of playing outside, and their grandparents a moment to themselves. Despite the recess, their parents were detained by duties; Leia in her capacity as Chief of State on Coruscant, her husband on Corellia as part of his Senatorial lecture tour, Luke and Mara at the Jedi Temple in their teaching classes, Cordé and Nwaé at Theed Palace advising the present Queen of Naboo. Obi-Wan and Padmé were the first to be freed from their duties to the Jedi and the Republic, and they took the kids off their parents' hands to spend some time in the Lake Country.
Many years had passed since that fateful day when the Emperor met his death in the reactor room of Theed Palace. The Republic had been restored to its full glory, somewhat less tarnished than it was before, with first Padmé, then Mon Mothma and then Leia as Chief of States. Gently each had guided the Republic away from the tyrannical tendencies of the Empire into the peace, freedom and liberty it stood for now.
The Jedi Order was flourishing, restored to the Core Temple, and, though it exercised more independence than in the days of the Old Republic, it still served the new body of that name with the same unswerving loyalty as before. Jedi marriages were more of a common practice too, with initiate intake age varying from crechling to youngling, even to teenager in some cases.
As for the Kenobi family, they too flourished under the new regime. Padmé retained her seat in the Senate, while Obi-Wan rose to- as far as he was concerned -the astonishing height of leader of the Order after Yoda's passing. Cordé was a important member of the Nubian government, after working in the legislature, where she met her husband Nwaé, who would one day run for governor. Luke did become the youngest knight of the Order, rising to a position on the Council and a teacher.
Despite knowing each other since their youth, he and Mara endured a long and sometimes rocky courtship before marrying a few years ago. Leia and Han were the first of the family to grant grandparent-hood upon Obi-Wan and Padmé, marrying when Leia was twenty-eight. Leia reigned as Queen of Naboo for two terms before joining the Senate as the junior Senator from the Chommell sector, where her husband, much to the surprise of all concerned, soon joined her when Garm Bel Iblis suggested his name for the junior seat from Corellian System.
Noémié Organa was expected to succeed her parents, but for now she was the junior Senator for the Alderaan sector, while Mara pursued her Jedi ability as a teacher and Councillor of the Order. She was still a prominent member of Republic Intelligence, although now her time was more focused on Padmé and Ben, whose gift with the Force was a stunning combination of their gifted parents. The Force ran strong in the Kenobi family Yoda had once said, and each generation was continuing to prove this rule, with Anakin's namesake the most advanced in his training.
Anakin. Obi-Wan still grieved for the boy, although a great deal less than he used to. He held a special place in all of the family's heart, even though only Cordé had known him, and barely remembered him at that. Leia and Han asked for his and Padmé's blessing to name their youngest son, just as Cordé and Nwaé had regarding Jinn and Cerasi. The prophesy of the Chosen one had been fulfilled, though there was still disagreement over his identity. It was no longer a fiercely debated topic of the Order however, for the Sith were gone. No new dark apprentices or masters had emerged from hiding for years, and the cloud of darkness which hung over the Order as long as Palpatine was alive dissipated with his death. The Jedi were wary, but relieved that no such darkness threatened their existence anymore.
Qui-Gon Jinn. Obi-Wan couldn't help but wonder sometimes what his mentor would make of the Republic now. He died as the old one died, fighting amid the clones they engineered to save the Order. Chances are, he would not have lived to see the death of the Empire, his illness was determined to be in its last throes, and his master had never been one to accept death quietly. But there were times when he could hear his voice, almost see his eyes looking fondly upon him, and the life he lived and shared with his family.
Before Yoda became one with the Force, he mentioned of teachings, a way to commune with one who has passed from the land of the living into the realm which belonged to that ancient and revered being. He was the last of the old, Mace dying some years before him, the last living key to the old wisdom. While he was head of the Order, Obi-Wan would seek to keep the memory of all they taught him alive, for it made the Jedi what they were now.
The future was before them, one content to remained shadowed, the Force assuring the being it adored that there was nothing to fear from it. Obi-Wan trusted the answer, but it did not stop him from questioning, the Unifying sense strong within him. The ancient being allowed and accepted the inquiry, for it had made the man this way, and held no desire to change him now. He was content to wait for the future to unfold in its own way, the philosophy his mentor once taught him applied to so many aspects of his and his family's life.
Conclusions were there to be drawn; his grandchildren would continue to grow and flourish under their family's, the Order's and the Republic's teachings. Eventually they would reach knighthood and marry, granting him and Padmé the title of great grandparents, if the Force allowed them to live that long. Or perhaps they would see them as Qui-Gon or any of the other old Jedi now one with the Force did.
From above, looking down below, with blessing.
He glanced at his wife, knowing she would speak to him soon, prompting him into telling the story he had pretended to begin telling their grandchildren. A life time and more had passed since they first met each other on this very planet, when he leapt out of a raised cloister above an archway and saved her life. Neither of them had known back then how many times they would be called on to rescue one another, to deepen a relationship of kindred spirits, seeking pieces to themselves they did not know were missing.
Countless things had brought them together, and just as many could have easily led them down another path, away from the joy they would find with each other. Obi-Wan did not care to wonder what would have happened to either of them had they ignored their initial attraction, along with the whisperings of the Force, prompting them to take note of one another, to realise a future union and what bliss awaited them from following through in such a proposed motion. Sadness lay that way, and he would not wish that upon their lives, when so much joy surrounded them now.
"A long time ago," he began, in a richly cultured voice, "in a galaxy far far away..."