Summary: Padmé can tell at precisely what moment Obi-Wan abandoned the Code. AU. Obi-Wan/Sabé through a Padmé lens.
: Obi-Wan/Sabé
Author's Note
: Nothing to report. Obviously the nature of this AU oneshot will be revealed in the telling. Feedback would be much appreciated.
: I don't own Star Wars.

The trees are torched and dead, or tossed into great pools formed when roots holding the earth are gone and sucking landscapes of mud emerge in their place. The once-vast jungles of southern Naboo are now reduced to this, with only tiny pockets of forest remaining.

In five years, they've all had to make adjustments.

Padmé has gone from being a pampered, sheltered Queen to the leader of a beginning-to-fail resistance, that was never really all that vital to begin with. Silk and velvet are replaced by wool as the material next to her skin. She has killed, and killed again, and no one would recognize her as the pacifist she used to be.

Gone is the white lacquer used to adorn fingernails reduced to stubs. She threw away all semblance of traditionalism when her village was razed to the ground and her family marched out in front of a gleaming line of blasters. She has no village, no heritage anymore. Gone too is the pristine white and stark crimson makeup of the Queen of Naboo; she stopped being a Queen, realized the folly of being a remote, distant leader, the day she last saw Eirtaé's blue eyes, almost bestial in panic, before the explosion came.

There is no longer within her a regal Queen of Naboo. But also gone is naïve Padmé Naberrie, who thought that words held more weight than weapons. She's an amalgam of both, Padmé Amidala, and somehow neither of them. Neither Queen Amidala nor Padmé Naberrie were ever capable of leading a war.

Obi-Wan Kenobi has had to adapt as well. His Master died in the Royal Palace in Theed (now a smoking, charred-out ruin, being reshaped and refashioned to fit the tastes of the Trade Federation), and being dead rendering him capable of turning the tide, Qui-Gon Jinn's death proves the downfall of Padmé's invasion force.

But Anakin survived.

In the early days after they are forced to flee into the wilderness, Obi-Wan seems to live only for Anakin. He throws himself headlong into Anakin's training, instructing Anakin to use Qui-Gon's lightsaber. And nowhere in this training, Padmé notices, does Obi-Wan say a word to Anakin about the Jedi's well-known stricture against attachments.

Padmé and Obi-Wan are not close, but she has to raise an eyebrow when one day she observes that he has removed his Padawan braid. She says nothing, though; Obi-Wan has more than earned the right to remove it, and he doesn't stand out as much without it.

Obi-Wan and Sabé run missions together, often; in fact, they are not often out of each other's company these days. No one takes especial notice; they work and fight well together. Padmé doesn't find it surprising that they are so close; though Sabé's humor is at times nonexistent, it is there, and she helps to keep him stead in dark times.

Sabé has grown into a tall, slender woman of twenty. Warrior and soldier as she has always been, she is not Padmé's decoy anymore. And she is not a child anymore.

Obi-Wan is a Jedi, still. But Padmé knows that he has abandoned the Code the day he leans down and kisses her handmaiden's hollow cheek.