Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through – John Denver
Kampher sighed as she shuffled one pile of flimseyplast to another. She had always hated doing paperwork, even for her late husband Schurke, but these files were far too sensitive for the regular receptionist eyes (at least until Leia Solo's personal appointee returned from her sojourn to her home-world in a few days) and she wanted them in order.
"Madam Canaille?" a stranger's voice caused her to look up, so intent on her work, Kam hadn't even sensed the woman's presence. "Your son – the blond one – Healer Toa, thought you'd like something to eat."
"Oh… why thank you…" Kam's voice trailed off, looking for a name. The woman was one of the few non-Force Sensitive volunteers that had come to the Healer's center that Kam hadn't met.
"Oh," the woman smiled, her green eyes sparkled. "My name is Nua-Leibé Athas, but please, just call me Leibé…"
Kam extended her hand lightly, and returned her smile. "And I'd rather you just call me Kam." Just as suddenly, her smile disappeared. "And what of my other son? Master Kay'leb?" She had to ask, although she had a pretty good idea.
Now Leibé blushed to the roots of her long, blond hair. "I'm afraid he's… preoccupied with one of the other ladies. 'private lessons' he said…" Now Leibé began to giggle nervously. "I guess I'm fortunate to be too old and curvy for him – too many soft places! He seems to like the boney ones, he does."
Kam sighed, and rolled her eyes, visibly annoyed. Not only did she despise the disloyalty to Toa, but also to make a spectacle of himself, even in the sanctuary of the Healer's domain was unacceptable. She would have words with him later…
Thinking Kam's annoyance was directed at her, Leibé stepped back, her eyes lowered. "I'm sorry, M'lady," she said suddenly. "I didn't mean to overstep…"
Kam waved her off. "No, please don't worry," she said gently, reaching for Leibé's hand. "My son… well… unfortunately he has a lot of his father in him, but the difference is, Schurke grew up."
"Is this him?" Leibé asked, picking up a small holo from the desk. "He's quite handsome! And who's the long lock of curls? Your daughter?"
"My granddaughter," Kam replied, a touch of sadness in her voice. "That was taken not too long before he passed into the Force…"
Leibé's face fell. "Oh by the stars! That's twice in as many minutes that I've stepped in it! Tenjer – he was my late husband – said if there was a pressure mine field, I would find every one! I tell you what, Kam, let's blow this place for now and let my buy you lunch somewhere nice, after all, you can see I know where the best places to eat are! What do you say?"
Now Kam laughed, fully and heartily. Perhaps, she realized, that she was actually lonely for the company of someone close to her own age. Without hesitation, she swept the flimseyplast sheets into a locking drawer. "Lead the way then, Leibé," she said, a genuine smile lighting her face at last.
Over the next few weeks, Kam and Leibé spent many lunches and other times together. They spoke of experiences in refugee camps during the Rebellion, and many other things that their shared generation had in common, including children and family. Eventually, conversation turned to more general things such as the state of the galaxy, the future of the Healer's center and Kam's son-in-law's rebuilding of the Jedi Order.
"When I was a blushing bride," Leibé began over a steaming cup of caf. "The Jedi had a strict 'no attachment' thing going on, yet your son-in-law seems to be changing the rules…"
Kam nodded absently, wondering if Leibé would touch on the subject of love between Jedi. She knew that the subject had been on her mind a lot lately, she could sense it. Probably infatuated with one of the handsome Jedi Masters that had made a point of stopping by her desk daily…
Leibé stirred her caf slowly. "So what do you think, Siucra?" She asked, using the nickname she had given Kam. "Love between Jedi? Or even love between Jedi and, well regular folks?"
"I think it's fine," Kam said absently, pushing down a twinge in the pit of her stomach. Was she jealous that her dear friend had perhaps found love? It was a feeling she didn't want to consider too closely. "We should get back," she said suddenly, looking at the chrono. "My son will be needing assistance this afternnon…"
Leibé seemed crestfallen. "Oh, of course…" she said, and they made their way back to the Healer's center in an uncomfortable silence.
The next morning, Kampher arrived at the Healer's center early, determined to apologize to Leibé and wish her all the happiness in the world with her Jedi Beau, even if it meant losing her newly found friend to someone else. To her surprise, Leibé's desk was empty.
"Kay, have you seen Leibé?" she asked her son, the Master Healer. "Did she go out with one of the Masters this morning?"
The blind Healer turned to her, a wry smile touching his lips. "She commed this morning, mother," he said. "She said something about being unwell but she'd be in to help out this evening…"
Kampher was crestfallen. "But the Govener's Ball is this evening," she said. "We… we were going to go to dinner and then stop in together…"
Kay'leb strolled over, and cupped his mothers chin in his hand, his white sightless eyes meeting her brown ones. "I think someone broke her heart, mother," he said softly.
"Who," Kam asked weakly. Suddenly, she knew… "Oh Kay…" she whispered. "I… I couldn't! Your father…"
"Would want you to be happy, mother," he said gently. "And no one has seen you this happy since before he died…"
"But… but…" Kam stammered, at a loss for words. "Kay, she couldn't be…"
Kay'leb encircled her in his arms, holding her close. "Why not?" He asked, his voice tender. "You are charming, and beautiful… and as old as the stars!"
"Kay'leb!" Kam cried, pulling away. "Are you trying to say I'm too old for love?"
"No," came the soothing reply. "But you seem to think so…"
"It's not that!" she protested feebly. "It's just…"
"You are in love with her, aren't you mother?" Kay'leb asked pointedly. "You have been for weeks now. Everyone seems to know it but you!"
Kam sighed. "All right," she admitted. "Yes, I am… but Kay, I need to think…"
"Go home, mother," He told her with a smile. "Everything will be all right…"
Once settled into her apartment, Kam tried desperately to meditate but it took far longer to slip into the self induced trance than usual. When she finally reached that state, her mind took her far back into the past, and to her first love, Gris.
"I never told the children about us, Gris," she said, whether aloud or in her mind, she didn't know. "You've always just been 'Auntie Gris' to them."
"Does it matter?" came the reply. "That was a lifetime ago – surely you must realize that even families keep secrets from each other?"
"I'm not ashamed… of us… of you," Kam murmured. "I just never knew how to tell them…"
In her mind's eye, Kam could see Gris Chavel standing before her, resplendent in her ethereal Jedi robes, her long silver hair shining from within. "It's not important, Kam." The apparition said. "What's important now is that you go on living and loving…"
"But I'm afraid!" Kam cried, choking back a sob. "Oh Schurke, what would you do?"
"Well, both of you at once, if I could…" came the cocky reply. Kam opened her eyes and there stood the shimmering form of her late husband, Schurke Canaille. "But Kam, don't do this to yourself – to us! If you're unhappy, how can I be?"
"Oh… Schurke, Gris…" Kam whispered. "I love you both so much!"
"Then go and love some more…" Schurke said gently, a familiar smile touching his lips as his form began to fade. "Love doesn't diminish when its shared… never forget that my love… never forget…"
An hour later, Kam was awakened by a hesitant knock, and only briefly pausing to wipe away the last remnants of tears, she fairly raced to the door. She opened it without hesitation to find Leibé standing there, her eyes red and swollen despite a halfhearted attempt to cover it with paint.
"Oh, Kampher…" she said quietly. "I was down at the Healer's Center, speaking to your son when I had the overwhelming urge to come and speak to you… I just… just couldn't help myself! I had to come…"
With infinite tenderness, Kam took Leibé's hand and lead her to the couch, with Leibé trying desperately to explain how she just had to come to her. Inwardly, Kam alternately cursed and blessed her son for his blatant manipulation, but that would be dealt with another time. After securing Leibé on the couch, she set about to brewing tea, knowing it would be a long night.
After a few moments, with a cup of lukewarm tea in her hands, she calmed down enough to speak. Leibé took deep breath, "I can only say this once, Siucra," she said, "but I love you…"
"As do I," Kam replied softly, but Leibé shook her head.
"You don't understand," she said, her hands beginning to shake. "I mean, I love you… in… as in…"
With infinite gentleness, Kam removed the cup from Leibé's hands, then held them in her own. "I understand, Siucra Leibé." Kam said softly, and kissed her fore-head. "And I, you…"
Leibé's eyes flew open. "You do?"
Kampher smiled at her. "Yes…"
"And you… you don't mind?" Leibé asked, still in disbelief. "I mean… you do?"
Slowly, Kam placed her arm around Leibé, and rested her head on her shoulder. "Yes… I do…" she echoed, closing her eyes and smiling. "And I think we're going to make each other very, very happy…"