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22 February 2006 @ 06:57 pm
Fic: 'To What Depths.'  
Title: To What Depths.
Fandom: Star Wars
Rating: (G)
Time Period: RotS: Immediate before Obi-Wan's mission to Utapau.
Summary: Obi-Wan comes to see Padmé at the Nabooian embassy.

Author's Note: This is the conclusion of the 'Behind You' trilogy. Special thanks also goes to emiv, for the icon - thank you very much!

Disclaimer
All characters contained herein are the intellectual property of Lucas; I am not affiliated with nor endorsed by him.

_______________________


Only a small window of opportunity exists in which to see a friend before I depart. A friend changed by this conflict as we all have been – there are none whom have been left unaffected. Not even those systems who stated their neutrality for there exists the concern – the fear – that at any time, warships will enter their system, remain at the edges of the planet’s atmosphere and threaten to bring the war to their planet unless they capitulate or choose a side. For too many planets, this has been no idle menace and often, no choice has been given by the Confederacy. Too much life has been lost, too much blood shed needlessly.

Our innocence is irrevocably lost. In the darkness that shrouds us all, the light seems, despite the Supreme Chancellor’s assurances to the Republic, unreachable.

Not all hope has been lost. If the Force wills, my mission will be successful and this war ended. If not, then my hope is for Anakin to be sent in my fallen stead, away from the quagmire Coruscant has become, enmeshed as he now is by political manoeuvring and the mission with which he has been charged – to spy on a friend, a mentor. Anakin’s loyalty, I had argued, was to people, not ideals despite his Jedi training. This task weighs heavily on his shoulders. I should have argued harder against the decision, for it to not fall to Anakin. I …

… should not have asked him to betray a friend. Palpatine has been like a father to him. A kindly uncle who has watched over him since Anakin came to Coruscant. It is too late, for such thought and regret. What has been done is done and I will continue to hope Anakin is strong enough for this task.

With these thoughts, I enter the Nabooian embassy; Captain Typho had informed me the Senator was in attendance in her offices. I had hoped she would be in her quarters at 500 Republica: a private audience away from prying eyes and security cameras that would record our every word and gesture.

“Master Kenobi, how good it is to see you!”

A smile is managed, barely curving my lips, as my gaze meets the photoreceptors of the protocol droid. “I am here to see Senator Amidala,” is the even and calm announcement.

“Senator Amidala is not available for visitors, Master Kenobi. If you would like to make an appointment, I would be more than de—”

Patience, Obi-Wan. The irony of the chiding reminder is not lost.

“3PO, allow him in.”

“Senator Amidala, you specifi—”

“I will see Master Kenobi.”

“Yes, m’lady.”

“You are to power down, 3PO.”

“Thank you, m’lady.”

Turning, a respectful bow as the droid leaves. “I promise this shan’t be long.”

Luminous, her hair is captured in a Senatorial style, her gown heavy and formal. “I apologise, Master Jedi, for the inconvenience 3PO caused.”

There is distance; our previous conversation is recalled, and vividly. “I wished to see you before I left.” To ensure there were no harsh feelings between us after the words that had been spoken of Anakin. Of prophecy. Of how Anakin mustn’t leave the Order. It had been during that exchange the news of Grievous’ location had been received and due to my earlier departure, she will realise why I leave now.

“He will kill you.” Our former discussion now forgotten in the glaring reality of Grievous’ reputation. The distance is now closed, by concern for my life.

“I am ever cautious, Padmé.” A salve to alleviate her fears. For the first time in our long friendship, I sense fear and not boldness, not the courage which sent her to my rescue at Geonosis, that fuelled her actions when she saved Naboo from the Trade Federation. “As I have always been.”

“I know,” a soft reply given after a momentary hesitation. Unspoken is one word. One name. Jabiim. A lapse in caution not forgotten. “Promise me, Obi-Wan, you will be careful,” quietly urgent despite my assurances. Jabiim hovers closely in both our minds as does the reputation Grievous has earned in this war: Jedi killer, and an effective one.

“Padmé,” my gaze doesn’t flinch, “trust I will be careful. It will be as the Force wills.” Gently, I clasp her hands. Delicate, yet there is strength. I have seen these hands wield a blaster dispensing death to battle droids, on Geonosis and Naboo.

Her eyes move from mine, briefly downcast. “You will need to take especial care, Obi-Wan,” as she glances upward. “I cannot come to rescue you, this time.”

“That was some rescue, the last.” Geonosis, I recall with vivid clarity as I remark dryly. Before this war. Before what had been asked of Anakin.

Of Padmé.

One hand rises, freed from my grasp. “It was,” an admittance as her fingers brush my cheek. “This time, I must stay on Coruscant.”

She must? A deliberate choice of phrase and one that invokes curious concern.

There is no time to probe further, to discover what is meant. “Be careful.” It is as dangerous on Coruscant as it is on the Outer Rim. The difference between the two is simple. On the Outer Rim, one knows where the enemy lies. On Coruscant, no such distinction exists as the basic rights and freedoms of the Republic are eroded by draconian security measures. I know she would not sit idly and allow these to merely happen, unopposed. Such is my hope, that she fights in her arena as I do mine for our common cause.

“I will be.” An assurance that fails to reassure, with the faintness of her smile. “I will watch for your return and pray you are successful.” A deeper undercurrent than I first suspected to her words.

To what depths have we plunged?

Or, more correctly, to what depths are we being plunged? We follow a path that has been orchestrated by the Sith. The dark side grows ever stronger and clouds everything. Sidious is still free.

Both hands are caught, again, in mine as I lean forward; to the eyes of a casual observer, it would appear I kiss her cheek in fond farewell. “Remember, Padmé,” my breath brushes her cheek warmly, “you hold my faith and trust.” Still. “Let me do the same now, for you.” Straightening, I release her hands. “May the Force be with you, Senator.”

“And with you, Master Jedi.”

A half-bow before I turn to depart. I need to speak to Master Windu before I leave. He has fought Grievous – and survived. Any information gives an advantage. There is no ignorance, as the Code tells; there is knowledge.

As I walk, sensing Padmé watches until I am out of sight, a single thought recurs as each footstep brings me closer to my mission and the end of the war should the Force will my success in capturing Grievous.

To what depths are we being plunged?
 
 
 
Armchair DM: Igor: Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!armchairdm on February 22nd, 2006 09:49 am (UTC)
3-PO!
That just rocks.

I know he wasn't in there much, but you nailed him - which is actually quite hard.

Needless to say, your Obi and Padme are as sweet - and realistic - as always. But knowing that this was the last time they saw each other on good terms considering the movie? Brings a tear to my eye. Damn you.
F. J.: lantern & candlesmorethanacandle on February 22nd, 2006 09:57 am (UTC)
Re: 3-PO!
Pleased to know that you think I nailed 3PO. He just popped in there, unexpectedly, when I was writing and despite all thoughts to contrary, kept him. It's a decision I'm not altogether certain was a good one; however, it was good practice to write for him. After all, I've written previously for R2; I had to complete the droid ensemble.

Thank you, for the kind comment. I'm pleased that this worked for you as I'm not altogether certain that it has, on any particular level. This might simply be my bias, of which I'm fully aware I have in abundance. I'll provide tissues next time.
(Deleted comment)
F. J.: Three candlesmorethanacandle on February 22nd, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you very kindly for the wonderful comment; it touches me that you have enjoyed this trilogy. I wasn't certain it would work, overall, which was why each story had been approached to have the ability to stand alone as a complete story in itself or to be part of this trilogy.

You have a true gift for writing, and I do hope you continue.
Thank you. For me to stop writing would require myself to stop breathing. I'm pleased that you have been enjoying my work.

Obi-Wan is a challenge - and will, I feel, probably remain so. If he's been realistic for you in any way, that pleases me since I'm never entirely certain (and will likely never be certain) that I'm writing him correctly. It's one thing to be able to understand him but quite another to write him.

I'm glad 3PO seems to be working for people - as mentioned to armchairdm, he simply popped into the story and then just didn't. Want. To. Leave.
(Anonymous) on February 22nd, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
Darth Sydious Here
Good job, you are an excellent writer, very good!
F. J.: lantern & candlesmorethanacandle on February 23rd, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
Re: Darth Sydious Here
Thank you kindly, for your comment. I'm pleased that you enjoyed this.