Tears stung at the back of Sabé's eyes as she watched the sleeping figure on her bed. The day's events had finally caught up to her in this moment of quietness, and she felt exhausted both mentally and physically. She had been trained to put others before her though, so she went to the side of her bed once more. Obi-Wan's breathing was even, and she knew that he was asleep, but he was restless, and his Force signature was laced with pain. Tenderly, she stroked his cheek. She wanted him to be at peace. The pain he was going through nearly broke her heart, and she knew it was doing much more terrible things to him.

Though she didn't know full details, Sabé understood most of what had gone on. The demon that they had left Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan with had killed the Jedi Master. Sabé remembered the moment of pain, loss, and anguish and how it turned into rage and anger. That would explain parts of it. She assumed that since the demon's body hadn't been found, Obi-Wan had disposed of it in a fit of rage after the death of his Master. Once he had killed it, he had gone to Qui-Gon's side. Sabé speculated that it had been almost an hour since she felt the hitch in the Force. That meant that for at least an hour, Obi-Wan had been rocking Qui-Gon against his body, mumbling the Jedi's name and crying tears for the loss of a father.

When she found him, it had been difficult to get him to let Qui-Gon go, but she had assured him that the Jedi Master's body would be in the best care, that nothing of disrespect would happen to it in the time it took to arrange a proper funeral. After the body had been taken away, Sabé had stayed in that room with Obi-Wan for a long while, holding his body against hers and attempting to soothe him. Yané had come in, interrupting her comfort, and inquired what they were to do with Obi-Wan. Sabé had assured her that she would take care of the Jedi, and as soon as Yané had left, Sabé managed to talk Obi-Wan into following her to her bedroom. Though it might ruin her reputation, Sabé hadn't cared. She had instructed Obi-Wan to lay down on the bed, and the emotional turmoil along with the phsyical exertions he'd gone through that day had caught up with him. He was sleeping within minutes.

Sabé jumped in surprise when the doors to her bedroom opened. She jerked her hand away from Obi-Wan's face and brought it up to her lips to silence the figure that was standing in the doorway. With a quick gesture, Sabé led the woman into her small common room and turned on the light. She recognized Padmé's features, her brown eyes full of sorrow and compassion.

"Is he all right?" Padmé whispered, her voice somber.

Sabé felt the stinging behind her eyes again. She wanted to just break down and cry. Not for herself, but for Obi-Wan. She felt his anguish as if it were her own, and it was affecting her deeply. "He hasn't woken yet," Sabé whispered in response, purposefully keeping her answer vague.

Padmé nodded, understanding. "I'm sorry to disturb you, I really wish I didn't have to, but it was either Captain Panaka or me. We have contacted the Jedi Temple with news of Master Qui-Gon Jinn's death. The whole Jedi Council is coming out here to see that his body be honored properly."

"Thank you, Padmé," Sabé said simply but meaningfully. She truly was thankful, but she felt empty, tired, and broken.

Padmé put a gentle hand on Sabé's upper arm, concern in the Queen's eyes. "Sabé, I want you to try and get some sleep as well. You can't accomplish anything by worrying over Obi-Wan, and you're exhausted, I can tell." Padmé moved away from her without another word, and Sabé followed her back into the bedroom. At the doorway, Padmé gave Sabé a reassuring smile with a quick promise to contact her again in the morning. Sabé felt guilty for sighing in relief as the doors shut.

"Is she gone?"

Sabé jumped for the second time that night, startled by the unexpected voice. "Obi-Wan!" Sabé cried, rushing to the bed. The figure in it sat up, and she crawled beside him to put her arms around him. "Oh, are you all right?"

"No," Obi-Wan said bluntly. He lay stiff in her arms.

Sabé let him go slowly, surprised at his reaction. She felt embarrassed, and she quickly got off the bed to put distance between them. "I'm sorry," she quickly apologized.

"Where are we?" Obi-Wan asked, looking around warily.

Sabé blushed the slightest bit as she answered. "My bedroom in the Palace of Theed."

"Where is my Master?" Obi-Wan asked, his voice wavering just slightly.

"His body is in a room designated for war heroes' funerals," Sabé said softly, emphasizing "body" lightly. She wasn't sure how Obi-Wan was going to react.

Obi-Wan nodded, but he didn't speak. Sabé wondered if he was struggling with tears. He had barriers up tightly, and she couldn't see what was going on under the surface. "Padmé told me that they've contacted the Jedi Council. They're sending the Jedi Council down to help with the funeral. This way you can properly heal fi--"

"I don't need to heal," Obi-Wan said harshly. His blue eyes were dark and flashing. "Did you think I was too incompetant to--"

"No, Obi-Wan," Sabé interrupted, her voice full of emotion. "I thought . . ."

Obi-Wan didn't say anything. He turned away from her angrily. Sabé felt helpless. She didn't know how to deal with him. This wasn't the Obi-Wan she was used to. "What happened?" she blurted out. She winced afterwards, realizing that it was the wrong thing to ask.

Obi-Wan shuddered. "I don't really want to talk about it."

Sabé felt a trickle of anger creep up her spine. Having found that every other method didn't work, she decided to use force. "Obi-Wan, despite what you think, I am not some naive girl who is here merely to make sure you are comfortable. I'm your *friend*, and I want to help you. You're shutting yourself off, and no one can deal with so much pain on their own. Can't you just try to let me help you?"

Obi-Wan looked up at her blankly.

Sabé almost threw her hands in the air in frustration. Instead, she kept her cool and turned around, her back to Obi-Wan. "I'll be in the next room if you need me," she said scornfully.

Just as she reached the doorway, she heard his deep voice, laced with regret and pain. "I killed him."

Sabé turned around slowly. "Who? Qui-Gon?" she asked, keeping her voice low in case she might break the spell that had been cast over them.

Obi-Wan shook his head. "Not directly, but that might as well be my fault as well." He took a shaky breath. "I killed the Sith."

Sabé kept quiet, but she slowly began to move towards his bedside to offer any comfort if he broke down.

"I've never felt like that before," Obi-Wan whispered. He was looking down at his hands, his eyes dead and empty. "I *hated* that thing. I was blinded by revenge. The only thing I could think of was murdering him in cold blood like he'd done to my Master."

"Obi-Wan, that's perfectly nat--"

"Natural, right," Obi-Wan scoffed. He shook his head and looked up at her. The pain she saw made her heart ache. "Not for a Jedi. A Jedi knows no anger." He paused again, gathering his thoughts. When he spoke, there was a bitter smile on his face. "That's not even the worst part, though. The worst part was that I relished in it. I was using the dark side of the Force, and I liked it. I was more powerful than I'd ever been before."

"But you're okay now," Sabé said in vindication. "It was a true test of wills. You were tempted by the dark side and you resisted."

"After giving in," Obi-Wan reminded her. He closed his eyes tightly. "I haven't gotten over the temptation yet. I'm haunted by the memory of that power, flowing through my veins like a drug. It was like nothing I ever experienced before, and I have to fight the urge to experience it again."

"You want to know what I think?" Sabé asked.

Obi-Wan opened his eyes. They were shiny with unshed tears. He nodded the slightest bit, keeping his gaze unwavering on hers, waiting for her to speak.

"You're not going to give in to the dark side. You're weak and tired at the moment, confused and disoriented. You're blaming yourself for Qui-Gon's death and therefore naming yourself worthless. Now that you think you're worthless, you don't think that you even deserve to be a Jedi. You wonder if you ever were even designated to be a Jedi. What would have happened if Qui-Gon chose a different Padawan? Would he have survived this ordeal? Would he be alive today?"

Sabé kept quiet for a moment, wanting to see his reaction. His face was showing emotion, and she took this as a good sign. "The truth is, those questions are pointless. The Force wills everything in the direction of their destiny, of the greater destiny of the galaxy. Qui-Gon was meant to die today, just as you were meant to be his Padawan. Your brush with the dark side is something that was inevitable. No matter how learned you are in the Force, no matter how much you meditate on the Jedi Code, you're reaction was the only reaction I would expect of you. Your love for Qui-Gon was so deep and pure that the desire to avenge him was to be expected."

Obi-Wan's barriers were slowly coming down, and Sabé ended her speech with one final question. "Do you think you are the only Jedi who came in contact with the dark side?" Sabé shook her head, answering her own question. "This was a final test of wills, the final step that will lead to your Knighthood. You may have given in to the dark side, but just as quickly you let go of it. If it is tempting you now, you must remember that you are a strong person as well as a strong Jedi. It will not overcome you, no matter how weak you feel at the moment."

Obi-Wan was breathing heavily by this point, tears were slowly rolling down his cheeks. Sabé felt his barriers lift once and for all, and she felt all of his emotions as if they were her own. Acting once more, she ended up on the bed beside him, pulling his head against her breast and stroking his hair while rocking him comfortingly. This time he didn't resist or try to push her away; he collapsed against her body, his chest heaving in heart- wrenching sobs.

* * * * *

They must have fallen asleep like that, because the next thing Sabé knew she was waking up to the sound of her comm unit going off. She disentangled herself from Obi-Wan gently, careful not to wake him up. She climbed out of bed with a large yawn. Her brain felt fuzzy and muddled. Of course, she hadn't gotten much sleep the night before.

Padmé's face was watching her worriedly when Sabé flipped the comm on. "Are you all right? You did get sleep, right?"

Sabé nodded. "You woke me up," she said a little accusingly.

"How's Obi-Wan?" Padmé asked.

Sabé felt a small smile creep up her lips. "He's much better. He woke up after you left, and I got him to talk to me."

"The Council is expected to arrive later this day. I'll comm you when they're ship is in sight. Do you think Obi-Wan is ready to greet them?"

Sabé shrugged. "I don't know, honestly. We'll take it as it comes, I guess. I'll be there no matter what though."

"Good. I'll leave you to it then. Do you want me to send a droid up with something to eat?"

Sabé nodded. "That's a good idea. If he doesn't eat it willingly, I can always force it down his throat. He needs to eat. He's still weak from the fight yesterday."

Padmé looked ready to ask more information, but she must have decided it was none of her business. She smiled softly at Sabé. "You should eat too, Sabé. Don't focus on recovering Jedi Kenobi so much that you can't take care of yourself."

"I'll be sure to eat something," Sabé promised. She wasn't the least bit hungry, but she knew Padmé was right. "Is there going to be a celebration?"

"A parade in honor of all of the great warriors," Padmé said, a gleam in her eye. "It's going to be wonderful. Qui-Gon's funeral is first and foremost though, and it will take place as soon as possible."

Sabé smiled at that. Good, Obi-Wan needed to heal, and the sooner he saw his Master's body honored the sooner he could lick his wounds. "Thank you for everything, Padmé. Are the holo-reporters terrible?"

Padmé sighed. "Somehow word got out that Qui-Gon Jinn died. People have been piling in for the funeral already, and I'm sure more will come. At least half of them are reporters."

"Don't let them in to his funeral."

Sabé whirled around to see Obi-Wan sitting on the edge of the bed, listening intentively. "I don't want to dishonor him in that way," Obi-Wan continued.

"Good morning, Jedi Kenobi," Padmé said in a formal tone. "How are you faring?"

Obi-Wan grimaced at the tone of her voice, but he smiled just slightly for her. "I'm doing well, Your Highness. How has the Senate reacted to the battle?"

"Quite well," Padmé answered. "The Newly Elected Chancellor Palpatine is on his way to participate in the ceremonies we will have honoring those that died. He has formally apologized for the entire Senate for delaying to act and leading us to war. He knows we are a peaceful people, and he blames the Senate for every death of our people."

"Surely you corrected him," Sabé said. "He is too kind and compassionate to feel for our people so greatly. We must have a reception to welcome him."

"You're sounding like the handmaiden, Sabé," Padmé said, wincing. "I hate it when you do that."

"Sorry," Sabé mumbled.

"You must remember, Sabé, that first and foremost you are my friend. Always treat me as such unless otherwise indicated." Padmé gave her handmaiden a bright, brilliant smile. "I'll leave you to Jedi Kenobi now, and I to my own tasks. Good bye to both of you."

"Bye," Sabé said softly as she turned off the comm unit. She felt Obi-Wan's eyes on her, and she turned around slowly. "Are you all right?"

"I'm better than I was," Obi-Wan admitted. He looked a little bit uncomfortable, and he cleared his throat in a very Obi-Wan-like fashion. "Thanks for that."

"I was only trying to help," Sabé said. She studied Obi-Wan openly. "Is there anything else you want to talk about? I'm always here to listen and take some of the burden onto my own shoulders."

Obi-Wan smiled slightly. "Thank you for that as well. I've never . . ." Obi- Wan looked down, and his eyes seemed unusually shiny. "Except for Qui-Gon, I've never met anyone like you, Sabé. Thank you for being a true friend, someone who does not and will not give up on me; someone who would give their life just to keep me safe . . ." Obi-Wan trailed off again, obviously thinking about Qui-Gon. "I just hope that you can see me in the same light."

Sabé felt a wave of emotion beginning in her heart and spreading throughout her body. She closed the gap between them and laid a hand down on his shoulder. He looked up at her, and their eyes met. "Of course I look at you in the same way, Obi-Wan. You are a true and dear friend. I believe that you would also lay down your life for me."

"I would," Obi-Wan agreed strongly, his eyes turning the brilliant shade of blue that she recognized as him feeling particularly happy or joy-filled.

The tender moment between two friends was broken as the comm unit went off again. Sabé rolled her eyes and walked back to the screen to turn it on again. Instead of Padmé, a little boy with lost, blue eyes was looking at her hopefully.

"Hello, Anakin," Sabé said softly. She heard a rustling of sheets behind her. "What may I help you with?"

"Is Obi-Wan there?" Anakin gulped, his eyes bright. "Padmé told me that he was staying with you, and I . . . I wanted to talk to him."

Sabé turned around to call to Obi-Wan. She realized what that rustling of sheets had been. Obi-Wan was underneath the blankets, breathing evenly, obviously faking sleep to keep from speaking to the boy. Sabé felt a little angry at him, but she didn't let that show up on her face when she turned back to Anakin with an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, Ani, but he's still asleep. He had a terrible fight yesterday, and I don't want to wake him."

"The one with Qui-Gon?" Anakin asked softly, his voice trembling.

Sabé nodded. "Yes. Perhaps if you try comming here in another hour or so he'll be up and about. If not, I'm sure you can see him when we greet the Jedi who are arriving today."

"Okay. Thank you, Sabé," Anakin said.

"Good bye, Ani," Sabé said, turning the screen off. She whirled around and strode heavily to the bed. Obi-Wan had sat up by this point, but she poked him hard in the chest. "You're a lousy excuse for a man," she spat. "That little boy was in *tears*. Couldn't you have taken at least a minute out of your time to comfort him? He obviously needed to speak to you."

"Comfort *him*?" Obi-Wan repeated incredulously. He shook his head. "Why should he need to be comforted? He knew Qui-Gon for a week, I've known him for over a decade."

"Anakin grew up with only his mother caring for him. He was ripped away from her and his home, thrust into a new life full of blasters. He was rejected by the Jedi Council, and he was rejected by *you*. The only people who have made him feel welcome are Padmé and Qui-Gon. Now Qui-Gon is dead."

"Really? I'd forgotten," Obi-Wan bit sarcastically.

Sabé sat down on the side of the bed, feeling guilty suddenly. "I'm sorry, Obi-Wan," she said softly. "I know that Qui-Gon was like your father. You shouldn't be expected to comfort anyone right now."

"It's okay," Obi-Wan said quickly. He gave her a crooked half-grin. "I know how women are about little boys with wide, innocent eyes. Even I find myself sucked into them at times. Completely against my will, of course."

"Of course," Sabé agreed, a twinkle in her eye.

Obi-Wan sighed and raked a hand through his hair. "Sabé, do you know what Qui-Gon's last words were?"

Sabé shook her head but kept quiet. She knew this was something extremely important. She put a hand on top of one of Obi-Wan's, hoping she was offering him at least some comfort.

"He wanted me to train Anakin. I promised him I would," Obi-Wan said. The hurt in his deep blue eyes was apparent as he looked up at Sabé. "I'm not going to break that promise, but . . . it hurts. I mean, I never expect Qui- Gon Jinn's last breath to be something childish such as 'I love you', but . . ."

Sabé nodded, understanding. He didn't need to say anymore. She crawled the rest of the way on the bed and curved into Obi-Wan's side, rubbing his chest soothingly with her free hand. "I know. You feel as if he doesn't care about you. As if he truly did replace you with Anakin. He never could have though. Even if Anakin became his Padawan in your place, that bond of true companionship and love could never be replaced. Not even by a little boy with wide, blue, innocent eyes." She smiled slightly to herself, wondering if Obi-Wan realized he often appeared the same way.

Obi-Wan chuckled softly at her lame attempt at humor. "I feel as if I keep blundering 'thank you's, but at the same time I wonder if I'm getting it across how truly thankful I really am."

Sabé used the hand on his chest for leverage, and she pulled herself up to look down at him. "You're getting it across. I don't deserve to be thanked anyway, I'm only doing what I should do as your friend."

"About that 'friend' thing," Obi-Wan began. Their eyes met, and Sabé felt the familiar gravitational pull that always led her into Obi-Wan's arms, helpless and desperate for his touch.

The spell was broken as the door opened, and Sabé jerked away, as if afraid to be caught. She landed on the floor, but she was scatheless.

"Oh dear, oh my . . . I'm so sorry!"

Sabé smiled reassuringly at the protocol droid with a tray of food. "It's fine. I was just surprised, that's all."

"You're sure you're okay?" Obi-Wan asked. He had climbed out of the bed to help her up, and his brow was furrowed in worry.

"I said I was fine," Sabé said. She flashed him a quick smile. "It's gonna take more than falling out of bed to hurt me. You should know that."

"I was requested to bring you this tray of breakfast. Do you have a specific spot in which you would like me to place it?" the droid asked.

Sabé rolled her eyes at its choice of speach. "Yeah. There's a table in the next room that should do fine."

Sabé looked up at Obi-Wan and attempted to find the remains of the moment they'd been about to share moments before. "What was it you were saying about friends?"

Obi-Wan smiled at her and took a step closer. His hand moved to her waist. "I--"

"There you are!" the droid said with enthusiasm as it walked back into the bedroom. "I'll be sure and let Her Royal Highness know that you received your food and all is well. I do hope that you en--"

"We will," Sabé interrupted reassuringly. "You're free to leave."

"Oh, my!" the droid cried in shock at her rudeness. It quickly scattered out of the room, its hands moving wildly.

Sabé noticed with disappointment that Obi-Wan's hand was no longer at her waist and that Obi-Wan was already moving to the next room. Apparently his growling stomach was more important than that kiss they'd almost shared. Sabé sighed deeply and followed after him.

* * * * *

"Tell me what you think of this formation," Saché said softly to Sabé, gesturing to the holovid she was studying.

Sabé obediently watched the formation of pretend Gungans. Saché, being more creative than the rest of the handmaidens, was putting the final touches on the parade they were to have the next day. "It's simple enough for them to understand," Sabé remarked dryly.

"Oh, I don't know. If all of them have the natural grace that Jar Jar possesses, we might have a problem," Padmé said, smiling.

Saché looked horrified. "I have him leading the group!" she stated, pointing to the single Gungan that was walking in front, arm around another. "With Boss Nass."

"I'm sure he can handle it," Padmé said soothingly. "He--"

"Excuse me, Your Highness," a disembodied voice broke Padmé in mid- sentence.

Padmé picked a comlink off of the arm of her chair. "Yes?"

"There's someone here who says he wants to see Sabé," the man continued.

"Send him right in," Padmé said politely. She turned it off and grinned at Saché and Yané. "You're going to meet Sabé's Jedi."

"How do you know that it's Obi-Wan?" Sabé said defiantly. "A *number* of men come to see me all the time."

The doors buzzed open, and Obi-Wan stepped into the room. Sabé frowned at Padmé. "It was a lucky guess."

"Obi-Wan Kenobi, I presume," Yané said, a bright smile on her face as she held out her hand.

Obi-Wan slid the hood of his robes to his shoulders so that a bright, lovely smile could be seen on his face. He shook her hand lightly, but his gaze was on Sabé.

Sabé felt a smile permeate her own face. "You just got back from Master Yoda, didn't you?" she asked.

Obi-Wan nodded eagerly.

"Does that smile mean what I think it means?" she continued.

Obi-Wan nodded again. Sabé let out a small shriek and rushed to him, forgetting about how she should act around royalty. Obi-Wan caught her around the waist, and she buried her face in his neck. "Cogratulations!"

Reluctantly, she pulled away from Obi-Wan, aware once more of the other handmaidens and Padmé watching the scene. "What happened?"

"Jedi business," Obi-Wan said a little gruffly. "But I am, officially, a Jedi Knight." He lowered his voice. "You were right, you know. The Sith Lord was my final test."

"And you passed with flying colors!" Sabé announced. She saw the flicker in his eyes, and she cupped his cheek gently. "If there was a way to have prevented Master Jinn's death, you would have found it."

"I know," Obi-Wan said softly. He turned his head and kissed the soft, sensitive skin of her wrist, keeping his blue eyes on her own. "Thank you for getting it through my thick skull."

"It is rather large, isn't it?" Sabé commented, eyes twinkling.

"Excuse me, Master Kenobi," Padmé said, interrupting the couple. Obi-Wan's gaze left Sabé's rather reluctantly, and he nodded at Padmé to continue. "Do you know what is to become of Anakin Skywalker?"

Sabé smirked slightly, but she buried her face in Obi-Wan's shoulder to hide it. Padmé was more concerned with the little boy from Tatooine than she normally would be.

"He is to become my Padawan," Obi-Wan said. "I promised my Master that much, and I will not fail him again."

Sabé felt the color drain from her face. She took Obi-Wan's arm and tugged gently. "Let's go into the next room. Nobody's there, so we can talk privately."

Obi-Wan looked down with a glimmer in his eyes that made Sabé's face flush. She ignored it and pulled him towards the door. "I'll be just a minute, Padmé."

"Take as long as you want," Padmé called out just as the doors slid open. Sabé felt her face go even redder, and she shut the door as fast as she could behind Obi-Wan and herself.

"Do you think it is wise to take Anakin as your Padawan?" Sabé asked bluntly.

"What do you mean?"

"You do not feel comfortable with the boy," Sabé explained. "You feel . . . resentful towards him."

"I can change that," Obi-Wan said defiantly.

"I believe you can, if you are determined enough," Sabé said. "But you must remember that you haven't been the friendliest person to Anakin. You have to build a bond of trust with him before you can ever expect to take him as your Padawan. You should know from your experience with Qui-Gon that to say Padawan is wrong. He will become your adopted son, and you will become his adopted father. The bond you must share can't be based on uncertainty."

Obi-Wan sighed, listening to her words. "You're always right," he murmered. He raked a hand through his hair impatiently. "I'm going to talk to him on the way back. I want to make him feel comfortable. I know I'm going to be the only person he knows for a long time now."

"When are you leaving Naboo?" Sabé asked softly, trying to hide her hurt.

"After the celebrations. The Council thinks it wise for us to stay in honor of Qui-Gon's death," Obi-Wan said. He stepped closer to Sabé and cupped her chin gently, tilting her head upwards to look directly at him. "You and I both know that we have to part. We are work-oriented people, Sabé. We work to make this galaxy a better place. We can't pretend that isn't so because of a minor attraction."

"Minor?" Sabé echoed indignantly. "A minor attraction?" She narrowed her eyes, and snaked her hand to his neck. Without another word, she pulled his lips down to her own and kissed him with as much passion as she could muster. When she felt she had shown him, she let go abruptly and stepped out of his grasp. "You call that minor?" she asked shakily between deep breaths.

Obi-Wan smirked. "I might need a little more convincing."

"Well get your convincing somewhere else. You've offended me," Sabé said, keeping her back to him.

"Somewhere else, eh?"

"Don't even think about it, buddy," Sabé warned. She turned around, a smile on her face. "I'd like to keep you all to myself."

"I think I might be able to arrange that," Obi-Wan said softly.

"Mmm . . . really?" Sabé murmered. She walked into his embrace again, her hand tracing an unkown pattern on his chest as she gazed up at him. "I think I'd like that."

Obi-Wan leaned down and caught her lips with his own. This kiss wasn't like the passion-frenzied ones they'd shared before. It was slow and luxurious. Sabé felt it all the way down to her curled toes. The kiss inevitably ended, and Sabé broke away gently.

"Obi-Wan . . . what were you going to say to me before?" Sabé asked. "When you found out that I wasn't the Queen."

Obi-Wan frowned. "Sabé, I'm leaving in a few days. Do you really want me to . . .?"

"Yes," Sabé said firmly.

Obi-Wan nodded. His hands clenched tightly at her waist. "I think you know I'm interested in you as more than a friend."

"No, really?" Sabé said sarcastically.

"I think . . ." Obi-Wan leaned down and kissed her softly. He seemed to contemplate something. Then he kissed her again. This time he left his lips against hers so that they brushed together with his next words. "I think I might be in love with you."

Sabé felt her stomach do a strange dance, and she felt happier than she knew it was possible to be. Without any hesitation, she pressed her mouth against his. This time she knew the feeling that was behind the kiss; that pure, utter devotion that nearly brought tears to her eyes. She pulled away from him abruptly.

"You've got to stop doing that," Obi-Wan groaned, closing his arms around her to bring her closer again.

Sabé put two firm hands on his chest, keeping her lips just out of reach. "You don't even want to hear what I have to say?"

Obi-Wan shook his head stubbornly. "No."

"I love you too, you know," Sabé said, ignoring him.

Obi-Wan smiled at her. "I know," he replied in a voice full of male pride. Sabé brought her hand up as if to hit him, but he caught it and used the leverage to pull her close against his body once more. This time she came willingly and went limp against him as their lips met not for the first or the last time.

* * * * *

Later that same day, Obi-Wan found himself in a room so utterly quiet it nearly hurt his ears. The only sound was the cackling of the flames, devouring his Master's body in a symbol of high honor. Obi-Wan felt proud of his Master, proud of the fact that so many people had come to honor him. Everyone's eyes were on the old man's body, immersed in flames. The air was one of hurt and pain, but there was also respect and a promise of healing in there.

He heard a sniffle beside him, and Obi-Wan looked down to see Anakin, crying softly. Obi-Wan placed a hand on his shoulder. He thought about what he had said to Sabé and decided that now was as good a time as any to start a bond with the small child. He needed comfort, and Obi-Wan was finally at a place where he could offer it. "He is one with the Force now, Anakin. You must let him go," he said softly, hoping that they weren't disturbing anyone nearby.

Anakin shook his head against the words, stubbornly refusing to accept them. "I miss him," he whispered brokenly.

Obi-Wan nodded. He understood more than Anakin could comprehend. "I miss him too. And I will remember him always. But he is gone."

Anakin wiped the tears from his face. He seemed to listen to Obi-Wan now, and he looked up at the Jedi Knight with a mixture of fear and . . . wonder. Obi-Wan felt a little guilty. He really had given the boy reason to think he disliked him. "What will happen to me now?" Anakin asked.

Obi-Wan's hand tightened on his shoulder. "I will train you, just as Qui- Gon would have done," he said softly, finding an odd sense of peace with the words. "I am your new Master, Anakin. You will study with me, and you will become a Jedi Knight, I promise you."

Anakin straightened, looking stronger and more at ease. "Thank you, Obi- Wan," he whispered softly.

Obi-Wan squeezed his shoulder again, then let go. He was smiling at the boy, glad that he had done the right thing for once.

Very well done, Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan's smile grew as he searched for Sabé in as subtle a manner as he could. One of the handmaidens with Padmé had moved her hood for just a second so that he could see the proud smile, granted in his direction. Do you think we're going to be all right?

Yes, I do, Sabé replied. You have proven to me in the past few days that I will never meet anyone as strong as you are. Anakin is lucky to have you as his Master.

Thank you, Sabé, Obi-Wan said, letting his emotions travel to her through a Force tendril. Not just for encouraging me with Anakin, but for everything you've done in these past days. I don't know what I would be like if I didn't have your strength . . . not to mention your knack for saying exactly what you think.

It's a good think I'm a pretty smart lady, huh?

I wouldn't go that far . . .


Obi-Wan chuckled softly in his head. We'd better go back to honoring Qui- Gon. I doubt he'd appreciate us joking around at his funeral.

Somehow I doubt that too.

* * * * *

The celebrations carried out smoothly, and Obi-Wan was so caught up in them that he barely had any time to speak to Sabé alone. At a ball late into the night, he was granted a dance with the woman he loved, but with the risk of the Council becoming suspicious, he tried not to let his feelings show.

The next day, the Council had already left on a special ship. Obi-Wan had spoken to Mace Windu alone, asking if he could return with Anakin on a seperate ship, explaining that he needed to extend the bond between him and the boy. The Council had agreed, and the Nubian government kindly offered Obi-Wan a ship to take.

Obi-Wan and Anakin stood just outside of it, waiting for the Queen and her handmaidens to arrive for a final farewell. Just when they were getting tired of standing stiffly, the doors to the main hanger opened, and Queen Amidala walked down the length of the hanger, her handmaidens trailing behind her.

"Jedi Kenobi, Jedi Skywalker," Padmé began, smiling when she came across Anakin's new title. "It has been a great honor to have had you in my security, and my life is forever in debt to you."

Obi-Wan snorted just slightly. "Do you have to be so formal?"

Padmé burst out laughing. "Of course not. I'm sorry." She smiled first at Obi-Wan. "I'll thank you here and now so that you can take Sabé away for a few private minutes."

Obi-Wan flushed, but he nodded his gratitude.

"And, you," Padmé said, looking down at Anakin. She leaned down on her knees and threw her arms around Anakin's small body.

Before Obi-Wan could witness anymore, he was dragged off to the side by Sabé. She had a sad look on her face as they hid on the side of the ship, using it to shield their presence.

"We'll meet again," Obi-Wan said reassuringly. He couldn't bear to see her so sad. "I promise you that."

"I hope you're right," Sabé said. She smiled slightly. "Remember what you said about staying mine and only mine."

"How could I forget? You've tainted me; I haven't looked at another woman since I first kissed you," Obi-Wan said in a gently teasing voice. He brought his hand up to her hair and frowned. "When we *do* meet again, can you stop hiding your hair in these ridiculous head pieces?"

"I'll try and remember," Sabé said. She leaned up and kissed him softly. "I'm going to miss you."

"But you have things to do, and I have things to do. Like we promised, when the time comes that there are no restrictions holding us back, we *will* find a way to be together. Now just isn't that time," Obi-Wan said.

"Give me a kiss to tide me over until then, okay?"

"Do you even have to ask?" Obi-Wan muttered. He used the hand at the back of her neck to pull her in closer, dragging his other to her waist to keep her pressed against him. Obi-Wan kissed her gently at first, but it quickly became more passionate. Minutes must have passed by, and Obi-Wan ticked the seconds off reluctantly. He never wanted to leave Sabé's arms, but he knew that they couldn't stay there forever.

Obi-Wan pulled away slightly and placed a few pecks on her lips that he couldn't resist. He rested his forehead against hers. "I do love you, Sabé. Don't forget that."

"I won't. Even if we meet in fifty years, I won't ever forget it," Sabé promised.

"Good," Obi-Wan replied. He kissed her lightly again, and they retreated from the side of the ship to see everyone waiting patiently for them.

Padmé stuck her hand out gracefully as Sabé returned to her place beside Yané. "Thank you once more, Obi-Wan. You must remember that the Naboo welcome you graciously whenever you need a place to stay."

"I'll keep that in mind," Obi-Wan said dryly. "Good bye, Padmé."

"Good bye," she said. Her eyes darkened suddenly, and she grabbed onto Obi- Wan's arm, keeping him from following his Padawan into the ship. "Take good care of Anakin for me, okay?"

"I will," Obi-Wan agreed softly. He placed a hand over Padmé's on his arm and squeezed reassuringly. Then she let go, and he walked up the ramp into the small ship they were in. The ramp closed behind him, and he saw that Anakin was the one who had done it. A proud smile lit up Obi-Wan's face. "You learn fast, don't you."

Anakin beamed under the praise. "The pilot, Ric, taught me some things when we were flying back to Naboo," he confided.

"You're going to be a great pilot someday, Anakin, even better than you are now. I'm prouder than you can imagine to be the one chosen to train you."

"It's going to be really wizard to train with you too, Master Kenobi," Anakin said in a true boyish fashion.

Obi-Wan smiled and placed a hand on his Padawan's back, leading him to the front of the ship. "You can call me Obi-Wan, Anakin. I may be your Master, but I'm also your friend."

Anakin smiled at Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan found himself smiling back down at Anakin. He reflected on everything that had happened since they were requested to protect the Queen. It seemed a lifetime ago; his life had changed so much. He thought back to Sabé's words on the trip back to Naboo. **I have a feeling that things are going to change considerably in this battle, and I'm not sure if all of the changes will be for the better.** Obi-Wan glanced over at Anakin again. Maybe not all of the changes *had* been good, but they had lead to an outcome that was more than Obi-Wan could imagine. He felt content with his life, and instead of hurt at Qui-Gon's death, all he felt was peace and happiness. He should be celebrating that his Master had become one with the Force.

"Obi-Wan, the ship is ready," Anakin said meaningfully.

Obi-Wan realized that he had been staring stupidly for a minute or so while Anakin scanned the ship's controls.

"Do you want to try and start it up?"

Anakin's eyes lit up. "Really?" he asked in awe.

Obi-Wan smiled. "Really," he confirmed. He gestured to the controls. "Come on. Let's go home, Ani."

The End

* * * * * * * * * *

Author's Note: First, I must thank lt_ketch09 for helping me with plot and characterization. There were a few major holes that might never have been filled if it weren't for her, so everyone give her a big hand. Second, I want to thank all of you who have reviewed. I really enjoyed writing this series, and it makes it all the more worth while that you enjoyed reading it. And, just as a side note, if you liked this, I have a sequel that I should be posting soon. Look out for it if you enjoyed this one. The next one has my own plot, instead of taking TPM and adding extra little scenes, so it might be a little bit more fun to read. The title will be Chained to You - Book Two: Pieces of the Puzzle if you needed to know. Thank you once again -- all of you!

~Haley J. The Bat

P.S. This chapter was proof that I *can* finish a series. ;)