A/N: I'm a week behind, but I watched episode two and decided to just... add more angst to the final scene.
"He's alive, Obi-Wan. Anakin Skywalker is alive."
Impossible. He can still see him. He can see his brother, broken and burning, hate pounding with nigh physical fists. His screams haunt his waking moments and stalk him in sleep.
"I hate you!"
The tiny voice pierces his thoughts, flinging him back to the small, eager blue eyes peering up at him under a dirty mop of golden hair. His first padawan. He had promised Anakin, promised Qui-Gon-
Small fingers wrap around his. Obi-Wan flinches away with a gasp that catches in his tight throat. He coughs and hot tears pour from his eyes, clearing away the blur of blue eyes to Leia's intricately knotted hair and serious brown eyes.
"Ben, what's wrong?"
Obi-Wan opens his mouth, an automatic denial on his lips, but the words catch. He jerks forward, panicking when he can't find air. Chills race up and down his frame, settling in a ball of ice in his stomach. His body spasms and his forehead hits something hard. Leia is screaming something, her voice lost in the ringing in Obi-Wan's ears.
"Anakin Skywalker is alive."
"He can't be," Obi-Wan thinks numbly. "I killed him. I killed him! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, Anakin…"
Heat pierces the ice in his chest, loosening his lungs enough for him to drag in a ragged gasp. His body jerks at the sudden air, then relaxes when a second shaky breath follows.
Obi-Wan shakes his head slowly. Still disoriented, it takes him some seconds to realize the little bit of heat is spreading. Body-wracking shivers fade to a light twitch, then disappear completely. He blinks, sending more tears trailing hotly across his temples.
He's on his back, Obi-Wan realizes distantly. His whole body aches, but the soothing warmth is spreading.
Obi-Wan lifts his head.
Leia is kneeling beside him. Her eyes are on his face and her lips tremble as tears track down her cheeks, but her little hands are splayed across his stomach.
Obi-Wan's stomach clenches again and he can feel the cold rising. But then Leia bites her lip and clenches her eyes, and the warmth again attacks the cold.
"Leia," Obi-Wan breathes.
Leia peeks at him, then removes her hands to shuffle closer to his head. As she gazes down at him, Obi-Wan is again struck by the earnesty on her childish face. Almost thoughtlessly, Obi-Wan lifts a hand to wipe away the tears.
"Did I ever tell you that you remind me of someone?" Obi-Wan murmurs.
Leia's face pinches, then her expression shifts to satisfaction. She nods, a silent decision made, and Obi-Wan again smiles.
"What happened?" Leia asks, suddenly all wide-eyed with worry.
Leia looks far from convinced, so Obi-Wan makes himself sit up before she can argue otherwise. He coughs at a breath rasping his throat, but otherwise, he does feel normal. The raw panic is practically gone, only a whisper of worry at the back of his mind, nothing more than Obi-Wan is used to.
Obi-Wan looks at the girl Bail tasked him to find. The girl he watched be born, the girl he gave over to Bail to raise as his own. The girl Obi-Wan had been so hesitant to go after, afraid of leaving Luke unattended.
The same girl who felt the things Obi-Wan couldn't -didn't- say, who had turned back the cold, dark fear with only a touch.
And Obi-Wan knows.
"Oh, Princess," Obi-Wan breathes.
Leia's lips purse, slipping into a manner more suited to a ten-year old. "I told you to not call me that."
"I'm sorry… Leia."
Leia shrugs. "It's okay."
Obi-Wan looks at the ceiling. No, it really isn't, he knows. All this time, how could he have ignored her?
A light touch brings Obi-Wan's gaze down. Leia's hunched up close, so she's almost touching him. Her gaze is deep and piercing, and Obi-Wan again feels as though Leia can see his very thoughts. He very gently pushes back, not with his hands, but with a mental touch that's rough with disuse.
Leia tilts her head at him. Her mouth purses, then she nods to herself. She turns and plops down beside Obi-Wan, then puts her little head against Obi-Wan's shoulder.
"It's okay, Ben. Really."
Obi-Wan looks down at Leia, then very carefully puts one arm around her. Leia hums happily and leans under Obi-Wan's arm to snuggle against his side.
The two sit like that for a long time. Obi-Wan closes his eyes and tries to reach out. Somewhere out there… is Anakin.
Obi-Wan can feel Leia, under his arm and in the warmth filling his body. His arm unconsciously tightens around her body, feeling suddenly exhausted. But while Obi-Wan feels himself shrinking, Leia is there.
And Obi-Wan wonders if the little Force-sensitive girl under his arm even realizes that she just saved him. In more ways than one.
A/N: I'm a big fan of the theory that, if Order 66 hadn't happened, Leia would have been Obi-Wan's padawan.