Chapter Eighteen

"Come in! It's great to see both of you! Ruwee and I are so pleased you could make it!"

Dorme was greeted with an exuberant hug, first from Padme's mother, Jobal, and then from her sister, Sola. Anakin was met with the same enthusiasm, but instead of feeling as uncomfortable as he thought he would, the kind gestures made him feel warm inside. This is what life was all about, he decided. Love and family. He was glad the Council finally managed to see the error of their ways. Of course, it had taken a bit of bargaining from the 'Chosen One', to finally change their minds, but it had worked out for the best. For him, at least.

"How was your trip? Not too long, I hope. Are you tired? Would you like to lie down and rest? How about a drink? The party isn't starting for another half hour, and we still have guests arriving, but if you'd like, you can take a seat on the patio or in the lounge; whichever you prefer."

Now he knew where Senator Amidala got her generous nature from. He and Dorme followed Jobal into the lounge side by side until Sola snuck up between them.

"You know, I wasn't sure what to think about the two of you as a couple. When Padme told me about it, frankly, I thought you were too young for Dorme, Padawan Skywalker. But now that I see you together, I've decided it works! You look cute as a couple!"

"Cute?" Dorme echoed, aghast.

"What's wrong with cute?" Anakin argued.

"I'm sure Sola meant to say 'well,'" Padme corrected her older sister as she entered the room. "You do look well together."

More enthusiastic embraces were shared, but this time, they were done so equally.

"Where's Obi-Wan?" It felt strange calling the man by his name instead of his title. Even after all this time, it was still taking some getting used to.

"He's outside battling with Jaran." A twinkle lit Padme's eyes as she pointed out the bay windows behind them before gesturing for them all to take a seat.

Facing the outside view, they could observe the young boy and his father engaged in a furious 'lightsaber' battle. Their wooden sticks clashed together time and time again, until Obi-Wan pretended to faint, taking Jaran's thrust into the chest, which brought him to the ground on one knee. The boy, obviously concerned, dropped his weapon, only to be surprise attacked by Obi-Wan and promptly wrestled to the ground.

An unexpected twinge of jealousy swept over Anakin as he witnessed the scene. That used to be him out there. He used to be the one on the receiving end of Obi-Wan's playfulness, though he didn't remember his Master being quite that happy. The man appeared to be bubbling with joy.

"How's everything going?" Dorme asked, drawing everyone's attention away from the window.

"You remember that position I told you about at the University? They finally offered it to Obi-Wan."

"That's great!" Dorme replied, knowing how excited Padme had been for the opportunity, before noticing the young woman's sudden lack of enthusiasm. "Unless, he's not happy about it."

"It's not that," Padme explained. "I'm just not certain how satisfied he'll be with a teaching position, even at the college level."

"What's the subject?" Anakin asked.

"Intergalactic xenobiology," Padme informed them, apparently surprised by Anakin's response, which was a loud chuckle.

"Oh, he'll be more than satisfied. During my third year as senior padawan, I had to take that course at the Temple, and let's just say, Obi-Wan got more than a little aggravated with me over my 'obvious indifference to the single most important subject I will ever study,' " Anakin quoted his Master.

"It's not the subject matter that worries me," Padme explained, "it's the students. Their ages, to be exact. I believe they make him melancholy. He misses you, Anakin."

"I miss him too. Believe me! I thought he was a strict master sometimes, but Mace Windu? Blast! That man can be tough! I was honestly surprised he allowed me to take this break, especially since Dorme was coming with me."

"I was shocked when Padme told me they had assigned him to be your Master!" Sola said. "What could possibly have motivated him?"

"I believe it was the decision of the Council as a whole. Since Obi-Wan and I had set forth this new precedent, there were certain rules which needed to be followed, and they trusted Master Windu to make sure I followed them."

During Anakin's explanation, he noticed Padme's countenance alter slightly. Even though the ruling had come after the council's decision to dismiss Obi-Wan from the Jedi, they had offered him his position back, but he had declined. Much to everyone's surprise, especially Anakin, Obi-Wan had announced he wished to have a life free from the restrictions of the Jedi Council and the Code. If he were to have a normal life with a wife and children, he wanted it free from restrictions.

As he had done for the past ten years, Anakin had wanted to follow him, but Obi-Wan had refused, telling Anakin his destiny lay along a different path.

It had been extremely difficult, but Anakin had finally agreed with his Master, and they ended up parting and going their different ways. And then his life had been turned upside when Master Windu entered it. No matter. It was only a few more years before he was a Knight, and then he would be on his own. Well, not entirely. He would have Dorme.

"All right everyone!" Jobal announced from the doorway. "Cake is being served in the dining room! Someone go out and fetch the Naming Day boy!"

"Oh, blast! Anakin, we forgot Jaran's present in the speeder."

"I'll go get it."

As the women watched the young Jedi hustle back through the door, Dorme took Padme's arm and together they strolled slowly to the dining area for the celebration.

"How are Jaran and Obi-Wan getting along?" Dorme asked.

"Jaran adores him, and Obi-Wan feels the same. Of course, everyone knows how much Obi-Wan loves children. And I can't tell you what a relief that is."

Dorme cast her friend a dubious look. "Why's that?"

"Because in about six months, we're going to have another."

/end


Author's Notes:

Thanks for the reviews! I had a good time. Hopefully, you did too! Next up is a story I came up with a long time ago. I recently started working on the outline. Will post chapter 1 soon!