Last chapter of Episode I! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I'm willing to piss off George Lucas, 'cause he killed off Darth Maul. But I don't have any money to be sued away from, so I'm going to say, 'I don't own Star Wars or InuYasha'. Take that, GL!

"speaking"

'thinking'

Chapter IX: Peace on Naboo

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"There is no death, there is the Force."

~ Line 5 of the 'refined' Jedi Code (reversed during 3996 BBY – 3964 years prior)

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Rows of Naboo officers waited patiently in the Palace Plaza, watching as the new Supreme Chancellor's red cruiser landed safely. Padmé, dressed as her status once more, and Panaka guarded the two Neimoidians, who looked as guilty as hell. Padmé was, of course, guarded by her handmaidens, who were donned in yellow robes. Obi-Wan stood nearby, with Anakin and Kagome standing behind him.

"Now, Viceroy," stated Padmé, "you're going to have to go back to the Senate and explain all this."

Panaka walked up to Nute Gunray and Rune Haako, saying, "I think you can kiss your trade franchise goodbye."

Then he walked towards the newly-arrived ship, leading the way for Obi-Wan and the officers. They passed several silent Republic guards, whereupon the new Supreme Chancellor approached Obi-Wan and the two children accompanying him.

Obi-Wan bowed, Anakin and Kagome copying him shortly after.

"We are indebted to you for your bravery, Obi-Wan Kenobi," said the new Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine.

Then the senator-turned-Chancellor turned to Anakin and said warmly, "And you, young Skywalker. We will watch your career with great interest."

He patted the boy on the shoulder, moving past the three standing before him. Then he caught the gaze of Kagome, who was staring coldly at him. Her face was not very friendly, to say the least. He might have been mortified, however, if her face had still been covered in blood; she had had her face cleaned and her wound stitched a day before.

Palpatine ignored her, and moved on. Smiling, he went up to the waiting Padmé, while the previous three greeted the Jedi Council. The Jedi had apparently traveled with the Chancellor to Naboo upon hearing that Qui-Gon had died.

"Congratulations on your election, Chancellor," said Padmé, giving Palpatine a welcoming smile.

"Your boldness has saved our people, Your Majesty," said Palpatine humbly. "It's you who should be congratulated."

Padmé's smiled turned into a frown as the Chancellor continued.

"Together, we shall bring peace and prosperity to the Republic."

Saying nothing at this, the young queen moved aside.

Giving an inviting gesture, she said, "Perhaps we should take our conversation in a more comfortable setting, Chancellor?"

Palpatine smiled and said, "As you wish, Your Majesty."

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Anakin and Kagome sat on the second set of steps leading directly down to the Palace Plaza, watching Panaka's troops scurry about. Since the arrival of the Supreme Chancellor himself, everyone had been busy trying to get everything in as much order as possible.

'There's not much order to make out of this, what with the mess,' thought Kagome, surveying the damage made during the Trade Federation's occupation.

Queen Amidala had invited everyone – including Palpatine, Panaka, Sio Bibble, the Jedi, etc. – in for a council session into her throne room minutes earlier. Obi-Wan, who was now their unofficial guardian in light of Qui-Gon's death, had requested that Kagome and Anakin – who were not allowed into the council session – go and play until the meeting was over.

But neither child felt like playing. Even with such a large palace, full of all sorts of nooks and crannies, nearby, Kagome and Anakin didn't want to go exploring and risk the wrath of Panaka's officers while doing so – annoying the guards could have been fun in different circumstances. Ever since Qui-Gon had died, the spirit had simply gone out of both of them.

Kagome snuck a glance at Anakin out of the corner of her eye. The sandy-haired boy's face was unreadable, his eyes focused somewhere between his feet. This was the sort of behavior Anakin had had ever since he had learned of Qui-Gon's death. Frankly, Kagome was worried for him.

Furrowing her brow, Kagome gave an annoyed glance at the huge statue currently standing near her. The statue was, Kagome presumed, of one of Naboo's past rulers and one of several lining the stairway up to the Theed Royal Palace. She found the blank face, void of any real emotion, and the blank eyes, void of any pupils, strangely infuriating.

A sniff from Anakin's direction made Kagome snap out of her reverie. Surprise etched on her face, she turned in her adopted brother's direction, only to find that his face was turned away so that she couldn't see it. Another sniff sounded from him, though it was evident that he tried to conceal it.

"Ani…?" said Kagome, leaning towards him and touching his arm.

There was no response from the boy. He gave no indication that he had heard her or even felt her touch him.

"Ani? What's wrong?" asked Kagome, shaking him gently on the arm.

"Why did he have to die?" asked Anakin quietly, his voice quavering.

Kagome said nothing, knowing that he was talking about Qui-Gon.

"He was so kind to us, wasn't he? Even when we first met," said Anakin thickly, his face still turned away from Kagome's.

"Yeah…" said Kagome, not knowing what else to say.

"And now he's gone," said Anakin, turning to look at her.

Kagome saw tearstains on his cheeks, his eyes red and watery. How long had he been crying, or on the verge of crying?

"What do you think will happen to us?" asked Anakin, sounding lost.

"I don't know, Ani," said Kagome sadly.

Tears started afresh in the younger boy's eyes, and Kagome blinked with surprise when Anakin simply leaned his face against her shoulder, crying quietly.

"I already miss him a lot," came Anakin's muffled, saddened voice (2).

Kagome turned so that he was leaning against her chest and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Anakin's crying increased, his sniffles turning into sobs. The girl holding him, however, was taken off guard at the potency of his grief.

'I wonder… Did Ani see Qui-Gon as a sort of father figure…? Is that why he's so upset?' mused Kagome, rubbing circles into the boy's back.

Anakin continued to cry, his hands fisted in Kagome's shirt tightly. Kagome let a couple of tears fall as well, not because of her sadness for Qui-Gon's death, but because it pained her to see Anakin in such pain.

'I don't get it,' thought Kagome, frowning over the top of Anakin's head. 'I saw him die. I saw Qui-Gon die. But why is it…that I have the feeling…that he isn't really gone?'

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It was early afternoon, and the sun shone through the windows of the Turret Room of the Palace. The sound of birds had returned to the recovering city, while the waterfalls that Theed had been built on continued to wear away at the cliffside.

Built nearly eight hundred years before, the Turret Room had been established by King Jafan of Naboo as part of the tradition of every newly-elected monarch to add a new section to the Theed Royal Palace. And the Turret Room was a misnomer; it was actually a series of rooms, decorated with great taste, used by visiting VIPs. At the moment, the Turret Room was being occupied by the Jedi Council.

Inside of the lavishly-decorated chambers, Obi-Wan was kneeling before the Grand Master of the Jedi High Council, Yoda. The little green Jedi was pacing back and forth busily in front of the other, using a polished walking stick to support his aged body.

"Confer on you the level of a Jedi Knight, the Council does. But agree with your taking this boy as your Padawan learner, I do not," said Yoda with authority.

"Qui-Gon believed in him," said Obi-Wan, an argument unto itself.

Yoda sighed heavily.

Gravely, he said, "The Chosen One the boy may be. Nevertheless, grave danger I fear in his training."

"Master Yoda," protested Obi-Wan quietly. "I gave Qui-Gon my word. I will train Anakin."

"Ohh!" said Yoda with exasperation, beginning his pacing again with more vigor than before.

"Without the approval of the Council, if I must," continued Obi-Wan with determination.

"Qui-Gon's defiance, I sense in you. Need that you do not," said Yoda with distaste (3).

Obi-Wan ignored the Master's tone and waited.

Yoda finally took a deep breath and said, "Agree with you the Council does. Your apprentice Skywalker will be."

"And the girl? Is she to become a Jedi?" prompted Obi-Wan.

"Yes. Training, she must have. Too much knowledge of the Force she has, to go freely without learning control. A ward of the Jedi Temple, young Higurashi will become," stated Yoda, nodding at Obi-Wan.

Filled with relief, Obi-Wan bowed his head in acknowledgement. Yoda sighed and shook his head at the new Jedi Knight's stubbornness.

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A sad congregation was gathered in the Turret Room at dusk, standing around a pyre set up in the small temple connecting to the lavish rooms. It was here that the current monarch of Naboo went to pay tribute to their predecessors.

On the pyre lay the body of Qui-Gon (4), slowly being consumed in flame, cremating him into ashes. The Jedi and the politicians watched gravely, not letting any of their feelings show. Panaka and his guards stood to attention, while Boss Nass and several other Gungans watched silently. Jar Jar, who had arrived earlier, whimpered; Qui-Gon had saved his life, and had been indebted to him. R2 beeped mournfully.

Obi-Wan, his hood drawn over his head, turned towards Anakin. The boy was standing on a pedestal behind a low wall in the temple with Kagome, so that they were level with the adults.

Seeing the Jedi Knight turn to face him, the boy asked, "What will happen to me now?"

"The Council has granted me permission to train you. You will be a Jedi, I promise," said Obi-Wan, his face steeped with shadows from the darkness of the room and the fire.

"And Kagome?" asked Anakin, causing Kagome to snap out of her mournful stupor.

Kagome peeked around Anakin to look at Obi-Wan, who noticed her curious glance.

"Kagome will become a ward of the Jedi Temple, and take her place amongst the younglings there," said Obi-Wan, giving Kagome a nod.

Kagome blinked and nodded back at the Jedi. Then she turned back to the fire, her face carefully concealing her shock. She hadn't expected the Jedi Temple to take her in at all. And what were 'younglings'?

Meanwhile, Mace Windu was speaking to Yoda.

"There is no doubt that the mysterious warrior was a Sith," said Windu quietly.

"Mmm," agreed Yoda. "Always two there are. No more, no less. A master…and a apprentice."

"But which was destroyed?" asked Windu rhetorically, "The master or the apprentice?"

Kagome glanced at the two Jedi Masters, wondering what they were speaking about. Figuring that it none of her concern, she turned to face Qui-Gon's cremating body once more.

Then she felt something a cool breeze on the back of her head, and shivered despite being near the hot pyre. Glancing back to see if there was some sort of window or door open, she froze when she saw who was standing behind her, smiling as if there were nothing wrong.

Qui-Gon Jinn stood against the wall of the temple, his form faded out into hues of grey (5). Nothing of skin tone remained, or the brown and tan of his clothing. An aura of bluish-white light surrounded him, casting him with a tint of the sea. His hands were folded neatly, almost ridiculously polite, in front of him, and all he did was smile in that gentle, good-natured way of his.

Mouth dropping open, Kagome's head whipped around back towards the pyre. She could see that Qui-Gon's body was still there, getting eaten away from the flames. Looking back behind her, she saw the other Qui-Gon was there, a hint of amusement on his face.

Kagome's mouth worked, trying to speak. Her shock was so profound, that nothing would come out. How could Qui-Gon be standing there, smiling at her, if he was lying dead on the pyre?

She looked up at Obi-Wan, opening her mouth to tell him what she was seeing, when she saw Qui-Gon – the grey one – shake his head quickly. Seeing that he had her attention once more, Qui-Gon smiled sadly and shook his head at a slower rate. Then he put a finger against his lips, silently indicating for her to remain quiet. His eyes twinkled secretively.

Kagome swallowed and allowed a hesitant smile to twitch at the corners of her lips. It was a relief to see some form of Qui-Gon, even if it was his ghost.

Lips curling into a happy smile, Kagome watched the ghost Qui-Gon laugh quietly. Then, perhaps satisfied that someone knew of his current state, he faded away, leaving darkness in his stead.

Kagome turned back to Qui-Gon's burning body, hiding her happiness from the rest of those gathered there. It wouldn't do for them to see her smiling; it would be disrespectful.

'I knew you weren't gone, Qui-Gon-san…' thought Kagome happily.

A couple of seconds later, perhaps due to her imagination, she thought she heard the old Jedi chuckle.

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A day or so later, Kagome was in the guest quarters that Padmé had supplied her. She jumped with surprise when she heard a knock on the door.

"Coming!" she called, jogging over to the door and pushing the 'open' button on the control panel.

The door hummed open, revealing Kagome's adopted brother standing just beyond the doorway, holding a bundle of neatly-folded clothes in his arms.

"Hey, Ani–" began Kagome.

Then she blinked, taking in Anakin's current appearance. He had swapped his Tatooine clothing for a small overtunic worn by Jedi, connected around the middle by a leather and cloth belt. He also wore the khaki pants and leather boots of the Jedi. But what Kagome noticed right away was his hair.

Anakin's sandy-blonde locks were gone, cut away to a sheer fuzziness an inch or so long. Hanging down from behind his right ear was a small braid (6).

Kagome burst out laughing, her eyes dancing with amusement. Anakin gave her an irritated look, wrinkling his nose in distaste.

"What– What in Nal Hutta happened to your hair!" snorted Kagome at last, her chest heaving from her laughter.

"Ha ha ha," said Anakin sarcastically.

Kagome burst into fit of giggles.

"Aww, Ani! Your hair's so fuzzy! It's cute!" she said teasingly, rubbing the younger boy's hair affectionately.

"Get off," grumbled Anakin, pushing her arm away.

"Hmph, fine. Be that way, you grouch," muttered Kagome, crossing her arms and frowning at him.

"I brought you some clothes," said Anakin, lifting up the clothes in his hands. "Master Obi-Wan said that they might not fit, but that you can get some in your size once we return to the Jedi Temple."

"Thanks," said Kagome gratefully, taking the clothes from him.

"So," she continued, grinning at Anakin, "it's 'Master Obi-Wan' now, is it?"

"I have to call him that. I'm his apprentice now," said Anakin, crossing his arms and glaring at her defensively.

Kagome nodded and said, "Right… Speaking of the Jedi Temple, do you know when we'll be going back?"

"After everything gets sorted out here, I think," said Anakin, scratching his newly-cropped hair.

"Yeah, everything needs some kind of repair…" sighed Kagome, before shrugging and continuing. "Well, hopefully we'll enjoy the celebrations next week (7)."

Then she hesitated, before breaking out in a wide, mischievous grin.

"Especially since we get to stand near Padmeeeé," she added teasingly.

Just before she had the door shut, she had the pleasure of seeing Anakin's face go pink.

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Gungan trumpeters and drummers, clad in blue, marched under the Triumphal Arch in the Palace Courtyard, letting all know the sound of their instruments. N-1 Starfighters zoomed overhead, the sound of their engines hardly heard in the sound of the cheering crowd. Along the roadway of the Courtyard, stoic officers were lined up to prevent the Naboo populace from getting in the way.

Flower petals fell, filling the air with their heavenly scent as laughing children threw showered them down onto the smiling faces of the Naboo. The crowd waved multicolored flags as they watched the Gungans enter the Courtyard. Everyone was excited for the momentous day.

Boss Nass, who was riding a highly-decorated falumpaset, was on his way to make the new treaty between the Naboo and the Gungans official, a first among the two sentient beings on the planet. The difference in their ways had kept them apart for millennia, but Padmé Amidala had changed all of that.

Jar Jar Binks and Roos Tarpals rode on their kaadus in front of Boss Nass, waving at the cheering crowd.

Jar Jar seemed delighted, since he kept saying, "Hello, everybody! Hello everybody!"

Boss Nass, who waved at the Naboo as well, chuckled at Jar Jar's antics.

On the top of the last set of stairs near the Theed Royal Palace, Queen Amidala waited for Boss Nass to arrive. Next to her stood Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, waiting expectantly. Sio Bibble, to Padmé's right, was holding a large, glowing booma that represented the peace between the two peoples of Naboo.

Obi-Wan, who was now missing his Padawan braid (8), stood next to Sio Bibble, his new apprentice at his side. Kagome, now dressed in dark-khaki Jedi clothes with a plain leather belt, stood on Anakin's other side next to R2-D2. Standing back from the Queen was Ric Olie and the other pilots, dressed in their orange robes. Sabé (9) stood behind Obi-Wan and Anakin, while Panaka was off to the left with some of his officers. The Jedi High Council watched with patience, as they always did.

While they waited for Boss Nass to arrive, Obi-Wan and Anakin exchanged uncertain looks, wondering how they were going to get along.

As the Gungan flagbearers finally made it to the Palace, Jar Jar attempted to get down from his kaadu, only to get his foot caught in the reptavian's stirrup. An attendant led the creature off to the side once the young Gungan had gotten his foot free. Roos Tarpals presumably made it off his kaadu without any trouble.

Boss Nass, despite his large girth, managed to make it off his mount without any trouble whatsoever. One of Panaka's troops had broken from the line to assist him, but it was unnecessary, since Nass had landed neatly on his feet.

With Tarpals and Jar Jar flanking him, Rugor Nass made the climb up the long set of steps towards the Naboo queen. All three walked in their funny gait, Jar Jar most of all (10).

Seeing the leader of Otoh Gunga ascend, Padmé, dressed in light pink with a pink fan attached to her back, stepped forward with a small smile. Then she turned to where she could face Sio Bibble, Boss Nass stepping up beside her. Jar Jar and Tarpals got into line with the other heroes of Naboo.

Sio Bibble placed the Globe of Peace neatly into Padmé's hands, before stepping back neatly out of the way. Padmé turned to Boss Nass and presented the booma to him, who accepted it with a nod.

Turning to the cheering crowd, Boss Nass held the Globe of Peace high over his head.

"Peace!" he declared in his loud, booming voice.

The cheers became even more extravagant, especially from Jar Jar, who shook his old friend Tarpals on the shoulder excitedly. Padmé (11) glanced at Anakin and smiled, who smiled back. R2 chirped happily (12), and Obi-Wan smiled slightly down at his Padawan learner.

And all the while, Kagome tried to hide the fact that she was staring at Obi-Wan, smiling shyly and blushing prettily.

End of Episode I

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Author's Notes

(1) It looked about mid-afternoon when Padmé captured the Viceroy, but it looks like morning when Palpatine arrives. Plus, it takes time to travel across the galaxy, even in hyperspace.

(2) Anakin didn't seem that broken-up about Qui-Gon's death in the movie, so I put this in to make him not look like an ungrateful little bastard.

(3) I would've been pissed, if I were in Obi-Wan's place. "Don't you talk about my master in that tone, you little green bastard!" LOL

(4) Did anyone else notice that Qui-Gon isn't burning very well?

(5) This is what is known as a 'Force ghost'. For thousands of years, the art of being able to make oneself into a Force ghost upon death was lost. Then Qui-Gon rediscovered it and taught it to Yoda and Obi-Wan – several decades after Qui-Gon's death – who then taught it to Anakin once he died. That is why Obi-Wan's and Yoda's bodies disappeared, though the body doesn't necessarily have to disappear in order to become a Force ghost.

(6) His braid is too long to have come from his original hair. Methinks the costume artists made a mistake?

(7) The celebration was in the next week because Padmé had to free and reestablish everyone that had been put in camps, clean up the mess, prepare for the celebrations, etc.

(8) He had it removed with a lightsaber in an official ceremony by the Jedi Council. Kind of like 'knighting'. ^.^

(9) The only way you can tell that she's Sabé is because she is very clearly Keira Knightley.

(10) Jar Jar looks like he's trying to be a gangsta… LOL

(11) I love Padmé's dress and makeup in this scene. Natalie Portman is so pretty in it.

(12) A happy R2 makes me happy. He's just so cute!

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Dun-dun-DUN! End of Episode I: The Phantom Menace! Drinks all around, me hearties, yo ho! Next I'll be writing a little in-between piece about what happens to Kagome before the second movie, but after the first. Many thanks to all of my reviewers!

Until next time (me hearties), ja ne! ^.^