They lay side by side in the finely-ground sand of the Mandalorian desert, his right hand and her left barely touching, a raw and longing connection. Neither slept.

Barely to be heard above the beating of their own hearts, Satine whispered, harsh and vulnerable, "If I asked you to stay…" She paused, dropping her voice impossibly lower, "…would you be happy?"

Obi-Wan's hand twitched at her side, but he made no other movement. Just as she despaired of an answer, he exhaled in a long, slow breath, more controlled than a sigh, and hissed,


She shuddered but stiffened, for he continued with a kind of anguished precision, "But it would be wrong. I was never…meant…for happiness."

Any other listener would have balked at such a statement. But Duchess Satine Kryze of Mandalore knew Jedi Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, and, what is more, she knew herself. She rolled to her side, facing Obi-Wan and breaking the strange, beautiful tension between them to grasp his hand—not with the intertwined fingers of a lover's tender hold, but right palm to right palm, fingers locked behind his thumb—the grip of comrades dragging each other back into the fight.

His hand tightened around hers almost painfully, and they hauled themselves to their feet. Staring into his eyes, she saw pain and relief and the strength of kyber crystals.

"We were neither of us," she said, in a voice of beskar steel and infinite gentleness, "meant for happiness."

A/N: The title is from the second stanza of "I Vow to Thee, My Country," which describes a Christian's relationship with his eternal home:

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

I thought it fitting for the "higher loyalty" that both Satine and Obi-Wan display when they choose Duty and Obedience above temporal pleasure.