Chapter One

Padmé sat at the porthole, eyes focused at the stars streaking by outside, but her mind on something beyond. Her long chestnut brown hair was tied at the nape of her neck, but several strands had come loose and they stuck to the damp skin at her neck and face. Blood stained her white flightsuit and her hands. Blood that belonged to the broken man sitting not far from her. She could feel his eyes on her but she did not turn to meet them. She looked outward into the void, hoping against hope, wishing to see another pair of eyes she knew she had lost forever.

"You're sure he's dead?" she said finally, with a voice that was weary and broken.

Obi-Wan unconsciously put a hand on his bandaged forearm. His face contorted with pain, more from his emotions than his injuries.

"Yes. He fell into the pit. There was no mistaking it," he answered flatly. "I saw him fall."

Padmé turned in time to see Obi-Wan take a deep, steadying breath. It did not take the Force to see how affected the Jedi Master was by the death of his student-and friend. He seemed to have aged decades since the battle and now that all was quiet, he could do nothing but think of where he went wrong. He relived the last few minutes of Anakin Skywalker's short life in which Obi-Wan felt nothing but pure hatred come from his old student, and then that final horrible moment when Anakin's light in the Force, once so bright and warm, was darkened. But it was the hatred he saw on the younger man's face that saddened Obi-Wan the most.

Padmé wanted to go to him, to tell him that things would be alright, but she knew it would be a lie. Anakin's betrayal had cost too many people their lives-including theirs. As she looked down at her bloodstained hands, Padmé felt her calm seep away like so many dreams.

Not now, she thought, stemming back a flow of tears. Not in front of Obi-Wan.

"Go, Padmé," Obi-Wan said quietly, his blue eyes soft as he looked at her. He rarely said her name and when he said it now, a chill ran down her spine. "I will be alright."

She reached out and put a gentle hand on his bearded cheek and with shaky steps retreated to the rooms she had shared with her husband only a week before. Obi-Wan watched her go as he drew in another breath.

Anakin, how could you do this? He demanded silently, desperately.

Rubbing his eyes wearily, he leaned back in his seat and began a calming technique. There was still much to be done. Later, he would meditate on actions past, but now he had to stay sharp in order to protect the Senator. Anakin's Sith Master was still out there and the Jedi Council had to be warned.

Coruscant glowed like a jewel and Obi-Wan had never been happier to see it. During his Padawan days, he wanted nothing more but to leave it and find adventure, but now, it was a safe haven. The Senator and her handmaidens would be safe here for the time being while he spoke to the Jedi Council about their next course of action.

The three days they spent going to Coruscant were spent putting themselves back together, and when Obi-Wan and Padmé found themselves standing at the hatch as she ship landed, they were, for all appearances, as formal and staid as they had always been. Padmé was in a long black gown, hair artfully arranged in swirls at the back of her head. She was sickly pale underneath her make-up, but Obi-Wan admired her strength. He had changed into a fresh tunic and pants, and was hiding his turmoil well, drawing on the Force to keep the darkness at bay.

"I have to meet with the Council as soon as we get off, and I want you to stay in your staterooms until I return," he said in her ear. "There will be guards posted outside your door and they will not be letting anyone other than myself in. Not even the other Jedi Masters can see you without my permission."

Padmé's eyes narrowed. "Your permission? Obi-Wan, I am can take care of myself. And in case it has escaped your attention, I have my own bodyguards and Captain Typho is perfectly capable at doing his job."

"None of them are any match against a Sith Lord."

Before she could respond, the hatch opened, and they were met by Jedi Master Mace Windu, and Senator Bail Organa. Bail offered his arm to Padmé which she took, after throwing Obi-Wan an unreadable glance. Obi-Wan glanced at Sabé, silently telling her to keep an eye on the hardheaded Senator. He fell into step with Mace Windu, hands clasped behind his back.

"We felt him die," Mace said without preamble. "Even from this distance, we could feel the disturbance in the Force."

"I cannot even describe to you the changes that I saw in him. It was as if…it was as if he'd never been a Jedi Knight, never been taught by a Jedi. He had embraced the Darkside quickly, Mace."

"But we are fortunate that you were able to defeat him. If Anakin had the victor, this universe would have been lost. He is the One, Obi-Wan."


They entered the lift that would take them into the main government building and the two Jedis lapsed into silence.

"There are many who wish to speak to you, Senator Amidala," Bail said.

Obi-Wan and Padmé exchanged a glance. She hesitated, wanting to defy him, wanting to show him that she could live her life-but something inside stopped her.

"Have them make appointments with my handmaiden, Erté. I'm afraid I will be indisposed for most of my stay here, Senator Organa."

The older man nodded slightly. "As you wish, Senator."

They walked out in the corridor, and the Jedis went in one direction and the Senators in the other without another glance.

"They await you, Obi-Wan," Mace said, as they stopped at the Council Chamber doors. "Go ahead."

The doors slid open, and Obi-Wan stepped through.