Detailed Summary: Sabé and Obi-Wan become close during TPM. Obi-Wan meets a lowly handmaiden on the Queen's transport. She appears strong in the Force, so Obi-Wan thinks it's his duty to train her as best as he can. Unfortunately, being so close with Sabé makes Obi-Wan feel things that he never imagined. Things that are forbidden to Jedi and can only lead to heartbreak. (Companion piece to The Right Path Again; takes place sixteen years beforehand.)

Author's Notes: This is an alternate universe series. I have manipulated various facts to fit in with my story. Any mistakes I make are purely my fault, and I apologize beforehand.

* * * * * * * * * * Chapter One

Obi-Wan clicked off his comlink, and he felt a wave of loneliness wash over him almost immediately. His master was supposed to have gotten in and out of Mos Espa within a day, but now it wasn't clear how long Qui-Gon would be gone.

Obi-Wan had been okay with this from the beginning, but he missed Qui-Gon's presence terribly. On the Queen's transporter, the silence seemed consuming, and most of the time he was left to occupy himself. Once he had done the little repairs he could do for the ship without spare parts, he had settled for long meditations, wishing to strengthen the bond with the Force. Although meditation was a necessity, and Obi-Wan very much enjoyed the exercise, it eventually got to be . . . well, Obi-Wan hated to admit, *boring*.

Obi-Wan winced slightly as if he would be punished for thinking so. He always felt vulnerable with the Force; it took away all privacy unless you were good at mind blocks. Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tried, Obi- Wan could never completely shield Qui-Gon from his mind; their bond was too complete, too powerful. Obi-Wan had the strange feeling that Qui-Gon could pick up on his thoughts no matter how far away the Jedi Master was. Obi-Wan knew that a lecture would be deserved had Qui-Gon heard meditating being refered to as "boring". Whenever any Jedi thought of things in a different light, it was always frowned upon, and a lecture was usually in order to pound into a Jedi's brain the ways of the Force and the rules of the Council.

As Obi-Wan grew and matured, observing things carefully, keeping mindful as Qui-Gon always instructed, he began to think that the Council did not always go about things the right way. He would never admit this to Qui-Gon though, he had spent too many years trying to tame his master from the same thoughts.

As a child, though, Obi-Wan had thought that the Jedi Council was perfect, that there could be no flaws in such carefully planned training or in laws the Council was justified in making. Now that he thought back on it, he had been naive his whole life, up until the point where he began training under Qui-Gon Jinn.

Obi-Wan shook his head, subconsciously trying to literally "shake" his thoughts away. When he was alone and had a chance to ponder such things, his thoughts betrayed him. Never, under any other circumstances, would Obi- Wan insult the Council or insinuate that it was not at the highest standard it could be.

Sensing turmoil and confliction that he didn't know how to rid himself of, Obi-Wan closed his eyes and began meditating without a second thought. The welcome feeling of blankness and the Force flowing in and out smoothly soothed Obi-Wan's troubled thoughts.

Deep in such a trance, he did not realize he had an intruder until something touched him lightly on the shoulder. Obi-Wan reacted defensively, jumping from his seat with one hand at his belt and the other in the general direction of whoever had interrupted his trance. He relaxed when he recognized one of the Queen's handmaidens, and his cheeks flushed with embarrassment. "I'm deeply sorry, m'lady, for scaring you," Obi-Wan stuttered, feeling stupid as he looked downwards to keep from seeing her amused gaze.

"You didn't scare me, Jedi Kenobi, be assured," the handmaiden answered in her self-assured drawl. "I should be apologizing for startling you. I felt your loneliness and came to see if it was true that I had found a kindred spirit. I did not realize you were sleeping."

"I wasn't sleeping," Obi-Wan replied. He felt confused by her words and lifted his head to peer more closely at her. "You *felt* my loneliness?"

The girl pulled back her hood at his gaze, and he saw her wrinkle her brow in contemplation. Obi-Wan didn't mean to, but he began to think that her fair hair and skin was very becoming. He barely finished the thought before pushing it away, back into the dark corners of his mind where he would never be able to think them again.

"I don't know exactly how to describe it," she explained, looking confused herself. She shrugged as if in apology. "I only knew that somebody in this room was lonely. You can be sure I was shocked when it was you I found. You seem so in control most of the time. I didn't know you were aching so much for company."

Obi-Wan recoiled a bit at her correct speculations of him. This girl whom he barely knew could characterize him so easily that he felt a little bit unnerved. "Can you always feel what others are feeling?"

She nodded hesitantly, as if she wasn't sure if she should be sharing this with just anyone. Obi-Wan felt his suspicions rise. "It is a gift I have had as a small child. Sometimes I can sense people's feelings and moods. It's handy when you work in security."

Obi-Wan was surprised at this revelation. "If you can feel others so strongly without training, you must have strong Jedi traits."

The girl's eyes widened as if she knew this was a great honor. There was a flicker of doubt and confusion in her eyes as well. "I'm afraid I don't fully understand the Jedi and their ways, Jedi Kenobi, we touched only briefly on your religion in--"

"It is not a religion, but a way of life," Obi-Wan said more sharply than he intended. He saw her take a step backwards in self-defense at the aggressiveness of his voice. He tried to calm his sudden anger at her comment that had unknowingly insulted him. "The Force is something that can not be denied. I do not have the tiniest doubt of its existance. Those who choose to ignore the Force are naive and stupid."

He felt the girl's anger flare up in turn. "Naive and stupid?" she repeated disbelievingly. Her jaw clenched stiffly, and she laughed at the absurdity of that statement. "Just because you believe something to be a certain way doesn't mean that it's right. I have my own beliefs, and that does not make me naive or stupid in any way. In fact, I could say the same for you simply because I'm sure you wouldn't agree with everything from my point of view."

Obi-Wan was surprised and impressed by her response. He folded his hands inside of his robes and stood a little straighter, trying to appear intimidating. The girl didn't flinch. He let his face light up in a friendly smile, and he held out his hand. "Obi-Wan."

The girl raised her eyebrows at the gesture. She took his hand unhesitantly, and he felt the firmness of her grip and noticed the cool calmness of her face. "Sabé," she repled, her voice softening in just the slightest way, bringing a warm, small smile to her face.

Obi-Wan felt something spread in his heart, and as he pulled his hand away from hers he sat back down in his seat, gesturing for her to sit across from him. "You mentioned earlier that you were lonely as well. Don't you have the other handmaiden and the Queen for your company?"

Sabé's eyes flickered, but the emotion that had shown briefly was gone before Obi-Wan could decipher it. "Rabé and Eirtaé are wonderful companions," Sabé said quickly. She bit her lip. "I have not known them for very long, and they are bonded deeply together in the same way that I am with Padmé. It is as if I am . . . a third wheel."

Obi-Wan nodded understandingly. "I'm sure you must be very worried for Padmé then."

"Yes," Sabé said softly. She met Obi-Wan's eyes. The soft blue she was used to had turned to a bright, brilliant aqua. She felt nervous under the intense way he was looking at her. "I am even more worried after reading Master Jinn's brief biography." She looked shocked that she blurted such a thing out, and her hand went quickly to cover her mouth.

Obi-Wan chuckled. "Don't be worried, I'm not offended. I am relieved that you checked out his background as well as mine, I'm sure. It shows that you do not trust just anyone. That is the key to surviving in this world." Obi- Wan realized that he sounded like Qui-Gon, and he quickly changed the subject, wanting to steer away from the appearance of lecturing. "My master does have a very . . . interesting background, I'm sure. From the short time I've been training as his Padawan I have witnessed the many projects that he makes for himself."

"Projects?" Sabé inquired, resting her chin on her hand, her gaze unflickering from his face, not hiding her interest in the least.

Obi-Wan tried to chuckle again, to keep the mood light, but instead he felt a wave of darkness overcome him, and the need to complain and rant to this handmaiden was strong and insistant. "Pathetic life-forms," he spat out, shaking his head to indicate his dislike for what he was saying. "My master has the peculiar habit of picking them up on every planet. He seems to think that meeting anybody is the will of the Force and not just a chance encounter. I'm sure if he had the space, he would round up the occupants of an entire planet simply for speculation." Obi-Wan sighed, calming down his voice a little. "I can't help but be annoyed. The Council explains again and again my reasonings to Master, but he is not one to follow rules."

Sabé smiled. "I noticed," she said blandly. She smiled encouragingly at him. "It seems to me that you two compliment each other perfectly. From what I have observed and heard, I think that your weaknesses are the other's strengths. You should be grateful for having such a mentor. He will teach you of the things he is strong in, and at the same time you can teach him. If you are blind to this opportunity, you are wasting a good deal of knowledge."

Obi-Wan listened to her words, replaying them in his mind. "You are a very wise woman," he murmered to her. He had always been so annoyed and concerned with the differences between him and Qui-Gon that he never thought about embracing them, about accepting them and using them to further his knowledge of the Force.

Sabé flushed a little under his praise, and mumbled an incomprehensible thank you.

"It is well-deserved, and merely an observation, not a compliment," Obi-Wan returned.

A comfortable silence surrounded the two, and Obi-Wan began to go over the conversation again in his mind, trying to figure anything out about the girl through body language and words. She seemed to be just out of his grasp -- as though no matter what he did he could not understand her character. Instead of pondering this uselessly, he brought up the subject of her senses once more.

"Naboo is of the Republic," Obi-Wan said, thinking aloud and breaking the quiet, "I'm sure that you would have been tested for midi-chlorians as a baby. Do you know if somehow you were skipped?"

Sabé looked confused once more as she shook her head.

Obi-Wan sighed. "The Force is strong with you, I can tell. Stronger than some Jedi I know. I'm just not sure about why you weren't sent to the Academy."

Sabé shrugged helplessly.

Obi-Wan eyed her, unsure of how to approach her in his next request. Finally, he went for just blurting it out. "Would you like me to test you?"

"Test me?" Sabé repeated questioningly.

"Your midi-chlorian count. It will be easy to do, I'll just need a drop of blood."

Sabé wrapped her arms around herself instinctively. "What test do you mean? I've never heard of midi-chlorians," Sabé said suspiciosly.

"They are . . ." Obi-Wan struggled for the words. He understood the concept of midi-chlorians perfectly, but he wasn't sure how to put it into words. "I suppose you could say they are everything. There are midi-chlorians in all living things. The more you have, the stronger you are with the Force."

"You can be stronger in the Force than others?" Sabé asked, unable to hide her interest on the subject. "I'm sorry," she said quickly, embarrassed. "I don't know much about the Jedi."

"I can explain it to you as best as I can," Obi-Wan offered. He chuckled. "That might not be so well, considering. I'm not sure exactly how to put it into words, but I know exactly what . . ." Obi-Wan trailed off, a sudden idea striking him. "You could allow me to do a Force-link."

"What's that?" Sabé withdrew into herself once more, looking more cautious with each of his new suggestions.

"I will open up my mind completely and let you feel as I feel."

"I can already feel what you feel."

Obi-Wan felt frustrated. He didn't know what to say. "It's not the same! It's . . . it's almost as if we become one with each other. One mind. I can explain it easier that way."

Sabé arched an eyebrow. "And how exactly do we do this 'uniting' thing? I'll have you know ahead of time any compromising situations are out of the question."

Obi-Wan flushed at her suggestion. "No, nothing like that!" he assured her. "It will only take holding hands at the most. We have to establish a physical connection to begin the emotional connection."

Sabé held out her hands on the table. "I'm always up for a new experience."

Obi-Wan smiled at her bravery and the trust she was displaying. "This won't hurt, but you may be overwhelmed," Obi-Wan warned as he carefully took her small, silky hands in his own roughened, calloused ones. He waited until he saw her nod, then closed his eyes. He let his mind brush against her own just briefly. She seemed surprised at the feeling it gave her, and she tightened her grip just slightly. Taking a deep breath, Obi-Wan slowly but surely began to seep into her mind, letting his own become one with hers.

Sabé jerked at the sudden ambush, but she kept her hands locked tightly in Obi-Wan's, strength reverberating from her essance. It took a while for the connection to be complete. Obi-Wan had to sort through the images her own mind was sending while carefully keeping a steady pace at uniting with her.

The pace built fast, and Obi-Wan was left breathless by the feelings he felt coming from her, by the deep connection that penetrated his soul. The unity became complete with a final gasp on both parts. Obi-Wan was astounded by the freedom he felt all of a sudden, the lightness that overtook his brain. It was as if he and Sabé had become one, their hearts one, their minds one, and their bodies one. He'd united with Qui-Gon before, to help pass along information, but this was different in the most wonderful way.

Careful to keep on track, Obi-Wan pushed aside his feelings of wonder, mixed with the awe that Sabé was sending out. He let the carefully stored memories of his Jedi training out, pulling each one by one for Sabé to have. She took each with the correct vibe, letting herself adjust before pulling them in, wanting to go through them later.

It took quite a long while for the memory exchange to be complete. Obi-Wan finished, but neither he nor Sabé broke away from each other. He let himself bask in the white light that seemed to surround them as they became more a part of the Force than ever before. It seemed to flow through them, circulating and building around them, heightening his senses and leaving him with a feeling that he couldn't place.

Obi-Wan brushed against her with his mind, letting the unknown feeling surround her. She was overwhelmed by the intensity, and she finally did break away from him. Obi-Wan snapped open his eyes, trying to slow down his heart beat. Whatever had just happened between him and Sabé was completely out of the ordinary.

Sabé seemed to realize this too. She opened her eyes slowly, and she met his with the same amazed look in her eyes that he was sure reflected in his own.

Sabé rose gracefully from her seat across from him, gently breaking their intense eye-lock. "I should probably return to bed before anyone comes looking for me," she murmered.

"That's a wise decision," Obi-Wan whispered in response, feeling unsure.

Sabé also looked uncertain. She brought her hand to his shoulder and squeezed just slightly. "Thank you for sharing, Obi-Wan."

"It was my pleasure, Sabé," Obi-Wan said softly as she left the room, the woosh of the sliding door compelling him back to reality.

He fought against the urge to go after her, to start another connection. He felt new and alive suddenly, strengthened even more in the Force than he'd ever been before. He let out a contented sigh and began to go over the images that had come to him from Sabé's mind as they had joined.

Obi-Wan felt his stomach drop in shock when he saw images of Sabé being dressed in the queen's attire. He stopped searching through the memories, his jaw dropping just slightly.

Sabé the handmaiden was really Queen Amidala?

Obi-Wan shook his head, closing his mouth, the shocking revelation bringing on a sense of dread. He should not have been speaking to her in such a manner. He should not feel the utter desire to see and speak to her again, to spend time with her. He was captivated by her. She was a beauty, he could not deny, but most of the beauty lied inside of her, in the light and confidence that she radiated.

Obi-Wan groaned softly. Things were thrown into such a different light with this newfound information. He shook his head once more, this time much harsher. He really needed to get some sleep, to meditate and gather the Force to soothe his troubled thoughts.