Master Yoda had always said once a Jedi had been tainted by the Dark Side, they were tainted for life. There was no pardon, no reprieve. Once a Jedi touched the Dark, it placed a mark upon their soul that could not be erased, not with time, training. Not even by forgiveness.
Is that what had happened to him? Even though he believed the experience had taken place during a dream, it was the popular belief amongst Council elder's that Jedi don't dream.
Had his visit to Lamaria been a vision then? Of the future? Or the present? What if he arrived at Padme's apartment only to find he was at the beginning of his nightmare? That his apprentice was unconscious on her bed and she had slipped out in the middle of the night to return to that awful place?
If indeed that was happening or was about to, there were several things he would do differently, and one was to ensure Padme left Lamaria and another that he avoided the Estri at all costs! He was sure the healers at the Temple could help her, once he explained to them what was happening. Afterwards, Lamaria would be declared a Dark planet, off limits to the Jedi. He would make sure of it.
By the time he had reached the Senator Complex and parked his speeder, Obi-Wan had agonized himself into a frenzied state. Worrying where his serenity had disappeared to only added to his concerns. Perhaps he was tainted after all.
When he lifted his hand to the chime activator outside her door, he noted his digits were shaking. In his dream the door had been opened, but he simply couldn't check to see. If it was, then his greatest fears would become realized.
So, when the door slid to one side and revealed her lovely face, it was if the weight of the entire galaxy was lifted from his shoulders and he fell into Padme's arms, grasping her head between his hands and raining kisses upon her upturned mouth.
"You're here, you're here," he heard himself muttering as he pulled her into a firm embrace.
Stars above! What had happened to him? Should she ask or as Master Jinn used to say, live in the moment? Padme decided not to push her luck, and take the deceased Jedi Master's advice. She responded with joyful abandon to the attentions Obi-Wan was paying her. It was a dream come true, even though she was confused as to what brought it on, other than he seemed very happy to find her home.
"Where's Anakin?" he asked, still holding her as if he were afraid she would disappear if he let go.
"Over there," she nodded her head in the general direction of the sofa and was promptly released as Obi-Wan rushed to the young man's side and began shaking him, quite vigorously.
"Anakin! Wake up!"
Was he really that angry with his apprentice? If so, she was going to suffer more guilt than she had initially thought.
The Jedi Padawan mumbled, stirred and opened one eye to see his worried mentor hovering over him. "Master! What time is it? I dozed off. I didn't mean to... "
Padme hurried to add to the young man's apologies. She had to take her share of the blame. "It's my fault Obi-Wan, I should've woke him up. I'm sorry."
She was hoping their combined efforts would result in his forgiveness, but apparently they had nothing to be concerned about. In fact, he didn't even appear upset any longer. Quite the contrary. He was doubled over, shaking with laughter.
"Padawan," he said, wiping away an errant tear. "Take my speeder back to the Temple. I'll meet you there shortly."
"Yes, Master." The youth bounded up from the sofa to do as his Master had said, but doubled back to retrieve the datatext he had dropped. "Master, you're going to love this next story. If you don't mind, I'm going to try and finish it when I get home. I can't wait to find out if she survives having the baby!"
"No thanks, Anakin. No more vampire stories for me. You go ahead and enjoy it, though."
Padme was grateful Anakin was not going to suffer his Master's wrath, but she wasn't surprised. Not really. Obi-Wan was a fair and just mentor, as well as a good friend.
She took that back. She was surprised, stunned actually, though not by his actions, but by the smoldering gaze he turned on her once his apprentice had gone.
He said her name in a way that entered her ears and carried a shiver all the way to her toes. But that was all he said before he took her, swept her up in his arms and carried her to the bedroom.
Padme had never allowed herself to imagine what it would be like to make love with Obi-Wan. She had envisioned holding him and kissing him, but not lying as they were now, skin to skin, eye to eye, bodies and emotions exposed. She had never imagined it because she hadn't believed her fantasy could do the act justice - and she had been right. And even though he had told Anakin he would be home shortly, he stayed with her afterward, holding her tightly against him, the warmth of his breath caressing her neck.
Heaven. She could think of no other word to describe the experience.
Just wait until she told Dorme!
Which reminded her; she needed to talk to Dorme in the morning and have her postpone that return visit to Lamaria. At least until she was sure she had Obi-Wan for keeps.
Author's Notes: I warned a few of you this was going to be weird, and I didn't lie, did I? As far as the obvious questions - Is any of this really happening? Is Obi-Wan awake or dreaming again? Did he ever wake up? All I can say is...I'm not telling! LOL Let your imaginations run with whatever conclusions you feel comfortable with. You have my permission. ha ha Now...onto the next!