Title: Death

Author: nostalgia

Rated: PG

Summary: After all the good has gone, Obi-Wan feels comfortably numb.

Disclaimatastic: George Lucas...blah...blah...cultual imperialism...blah...Lucasfilm.

Etc: You know why this took so long? Padme, that's why. I therefore dedicate this to everyone who finds her bland, tedious and unwriteable.


* * * * *


"It was my fault."

She turned from the window at that, and looked up at him with something that wasn't quite surprise. Over her shoulder he saw his own reflection in the glass. The window drew its own two-dimensional portrait, turned him into a ghost amongst the stars, something caught between states. Half dead. He looked away hurriedly.

"Your...fault?" Padme's voice was a cracked whisper. Her eyes were red, but her expression was as composed as ever. It had always reminded him of a mask, an impassive sculpture of skin to protect the real face beneath. He remembered the thick white make-up she had worn when they had first met, how she had used the conspicuous anonimity to execute an elaborate bluff. Had he, after all, stopped to wonder what she actually looked like underneath?

"Anakin. It was my fault he turned. My fault that any of this happened. I'm so sorry." He realised as he said it that he didn't really mean the last part. What was the point? He could never be sorry enough. He felt empty, and numb and whenever any emotion surfaced it was guilt or something like it. He simply didn't feel that he could apologise anymore. The words sounded right though. They were probably what she needed to hear.

She didn't say "Yes, it was your fault. You've killed us all." But she could have. He wanted her to, to see if it would hurt. Instead she shook her head sadly and dropped her eyes slightly. "It was no one's fault," she whispered, "It was Anakin. It was all Anakin." He flinched as her fingers closed around his forearm. Padme frowned and reached to push up his sleeve. He pulled away.

"Show me," she demanded in the voice that had ruled a planet.

"No, it wouldn't do any good."

"Show me." And he let her take his arm and roll the cream fabric over on itself until his arm was bare to the elbow. He felt the pressure of her gaze.

She looked at the red lines that covered his arms. Saw the fine white scars underneath them. Strata, marking time by colour. She felt a chill start to spread under her skin as she stared at them. It reached her brain and made her shiver.

"I can't feel anything anymore, Padme." Except this. Except cold metal slicing through his skin, except blood welling up in the wound and running in slow, thick trickles down his arms.

"How long?" Somehow the scar-tissue upset her more than the fresher cuts. The paler-than-white skin contrived to flaunt its secrets while keeping them hidden.

"I don't remember. It doesn't matter." He pulled his sleeve down again in the hope that she'd forget. "It doesn't hurt." Liar, he thought, you wouldn't do it if it didn't hurt.

Padme looked up at him with dark, glistening eyes. "It hurts me."

"Then I'll stop. I've hurt you enough, Padme. I've brought you nothing but pain." And death, and loss, and suffering.

* * * * *

"Could I be alone for a few moments, please?"

She complied and he suspected that she was glad to be rid of him. Dull, penitent Obi-Wan, always so calm and apologetic. Was his comfort supposed to mean something?

He watched the stars and thought of nothing.

* * * * *

"It's time."

He looked up and saw Padme, back straight, eyes wet.

This isn't actually happening it's all a dream you'll wake up and Anakin will be staring at you wondering why you look so upset and then you'll remember all this and you'll be glad that you woke up and you'll worry about it all day but it'll be alright because it isn't real it's just a dream and it isn't actually happening.

She was holding the younger twin, the boy. She didn't look the child as she placed it carefully into his arms. Don't look back or you'll never leave.

"Is there anything..?"

"No."

"He'll be safe, Padme. I promise." What are your promises worth these days, Obi-Wan? How do you plan to keep them?

He realised he looked heartless, taking the child from the mother so calmly. He wanted to remember how to cry, so that she wouldn't be ashamed to do the same. He wished he wasn't dead.

You'll be the death of me, Anakin.

"He'll be safe." If in doubt, repeat.

She nodded at that, of course. Would she be able to do this if she believed otherwise?

He will be safe, I will take him from you and hide him with myself and my shame.

* * * * *

He stood before the ship that would take him to obscurity. A simple, unmarked ship, but fast and silent. A sharp-toothed beast that hid its true form.

"Luke."

He turned at that, looked at her for what would turn out to be the last time.

"His name is Luke."

He nodded and repeated the word to show he had understood. This is Luke, he is the future, he is alive.

He turned back to the ship, stepping through the hatchway in silence.

The door slid shut and he remembered how to breathe.



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