Title: On The Eve of Battle
Summary: On the night before the battle for Naboo Padmé finds herself unable to sleep and decides to take a walk to clear her troubled mind, as she wanders through the forest she finds herself unconsciously drawn to a clearing where to her surprise she finds Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story or the world in which they belong to that honor goes to Mr. George Lucas.
Author's Note: Hello everyone! It's been a while since I wrote my last story and I found that I missed it, writing ff is addicting and very enjoyable so here I am with my 5th story. This is just a random story that popped into my head one night while I was reading the Matthew Stover novelization of Revenge of the Sith. In a particular part of the novel Padmé realizes that the Jedi she most trusts is not her husband but in fact Obi-Wan, which I found really intriguing. I felt that there has to be a back story in which this unique and interesting friendship started that would lead to her placing all her trust and hope into the hands of a certain Jedi Master. So here is a short one-shot in which the beginnings of a long, strong and ultimately tragic friendship is started. Hope you enjoy and comments, critiques and/or reviews are always welcomed and appreciated. A special thanks to those of you who have read and reviewed my past stories :) your comments and support make my day! Well anyways sorry for the long note now on to the story...
Padmé lay there restlessly on what was supposed to be a sleeping cot, but was little more then a few blankets piled together. However, it was not the uncomfortable sleeping conditions which kept her awake on this particular night.
Rather it was her own troubled and restless mind that did not allow her the much needed and desired sleep. Still her apprehension was well founded. After all who could blame her for worrying about the dawning of tomorrow. Not only would it decide her fate and that of her heavily out numbered resistance fighters and Gungan army, but of her people and her beautiful home world.
With a frustrated sigh she pushed off the slim blanket and rose as quietly as she could to her feet. With little noise she made her way to the entrance of the tent. Just as she pulled back the flap to exit a gentle touch on her shoulder startled her. Quickly turning around she came face to face with her handmaiden.
"Sabé you scared me, you're supposed to be asleep" she whispered to her body guard and friend.
Sabé's eyebrow rose as an ironic smile lit her features, so similar to her Queens' yet so different. "I could say the same about you Milady." she replied softly. Padmé sighed and looked at her friend pleadingly.
To everyone else she had to be Queen Amidala, the young but stoic and wise sovereign of Naboo. However, among her handmaidens and Sabé in particular she was just Padmé; a fourteen year old girl mature beyond her years but with hopes, dreams and fears of her own.
"I know, but I couldn't sleep. I just wanted to take a quick walk to...clear my mind" she said looking away from her friends sympathetic gaze. Sabé clasped her shoulder gently.
"I understand Padmé, but I do not think it is wise for you to wander off alone even surrounded by all these soldiers..."
Once more meeting her friends gaze Padmé gently took her hand.
"I won't go far and I won't be long. I promise, also I have my comlink if I do run into something I can't handle. Please Sabé, I just need to get away for a few moments..." she pleaded.
It was Sabé's turn to sigh as she regarded her friends face. Smiling kindly at her she inclined her head. "Very well Milady, but please do be careful and do not take too long for you need your rest for tomorrow."
Padmé smiled sadly at her friend; "Too well do I know this...Thank you Sabé, I will be fine and back before you know it" she replied before turning and making her way out of the tent.
Padmé walked silently through the surrounding vegetation. She had no clear destination in mind yet something pulled her to a specific location and she followed without hesitation. Though she didn't know where she was or where she was going, she knew she was not lost. Slowly the vegetation began to clear and before she knew it she was at the edge of a small clearing.
It was beautiful.
The moonlight reflected off the small pond casting an ethereal glow to everything in the clearing. However that was not what her focus was currently on, for kneeling a few feet away from the edge of the pond was Obi-Wan Kenobi.
He knelt completely still, not even the gentle rise and fall of his chest to indicate that he was breathing was discernible. Despite his stillness, there was a lack of tension and rigidity to him. Instead he seemed to be exuding a calmness and serenity, which to Padmé's surprise seemed to be beckoning her forward.
Before she could really think about what she was doing, she began to walk towards the kneeling knight. As she came closer she continued to observe the young man. His eyes were closed and a small barely perceptible smile graced his handsome features. His hands were folded gently in his lap and his whole countenance and posture was relaxed.
But what caught her eye was the soft glow which surrounded him. At first she thought it was from the reflection of the moon in the pond, but as she neared him she realized it was more then that. This glow was almost tangible, something that seemed to encase him, possibly even come from within him.
She came to a stop inches away from him, yet still he hadn't moved or acknowledged that she was there in any way. Without thought she began to extend her hand, intent on touching him to ensure herself he wasn't just an illusion brought on by her tired and stressed mind.
Then without warning his eyes flashed open halting the descent of her hand which was just centimeters from his cheek. Several things happened at once as his even gaze meet hers. The glow which seemed to envelop him vanished leaving everything slightly duller then before.
Also the nightly noises which she had just noticed had been absent since she entered the clearing, suddenly sounded throughout as though someone had just turned up the volume. The serenity and calm which had pervaded the area had also disappeared leaving her feeling slightly disoriented and uncertain, as her worries and fears came flying back to the front of her mind.
For the first time she seemed to notice that her hand was suspended above his cheek. With a swiftness that surprised herself she pulled her hand back as though she had been burned. Turning her attention back to him she met his gaze.
His eyes shown a clear blue with a hint of green swirling in their depths as he regarded her quietly. There was a seriousness and a lingering echo of weariness in his gaze but she saw no reproach or anger in it. In fact she could have sworn she saw a brief flash of amusement twinkle within his eyes as he continued to watch her.
Suddenly realizing that she had just walked in on and disturbed a deeply private moment and was now standing inches away from him clearly invading his personal space all the while she unabashedly stared at the Jedi, she quickly lowered her gaze and stepped several feet back as a flash of color rose to her cheeks. Looking at her hands she cleared her throat. She could still feel his gaze.
"I'm sorry...I mean please forgive me Knight Kenobi, I did not mean to intrude. I apologize for my behavior as well I do not know what came over me...I will take my leave..." she said trying to regain her composure as she turned and made to leave.
His voice halted her, his cultured Coruscanti accent cutting through the night.
"I am not a Knight yet Milady just a Padawan, besides Obi-Wan will do in any case. You need not apologize you were not intruding I assure you. You are more then welcome to stay, please do not leave on my account." he said gently offering her a small smile as she looked back at him.
She returned the smile hesitantly. "You are too kind, thank you but I feel I have disturbed you enough. Good night Jedi Kenobi."
He continued to look at her his gaze turning thoughtful as a small frown graced his features.
"You are troubled." It was a statement rather then a question. His keen eyes seemed to be seeing straight through her.
Before she could stop herself she began to speak. "I do not know if I've made the right decision. Many people will be hurt tomorrow, even die because of the choice I've made. What if I'm wrong? Everything will be lost!"
He regarded her evenly, "And what if your right? Either way many will be hurt, some will die, and some things will be lost whichever course of action you decide to take. But think of what is to be gained. You have chosen the best path you can think of, and no one can fault you for that." he told her, not unkindly.
Padmé took a step closer to where he still knelt. "And what is your opinion on my intended course of action?"
He regarded her steadily before answering. "It has its merits, as well as possible failings. Like any and every other plan it has equal chance of success or failure." he replied evenly.
Raising an eyebrow in exasperation at his lack of a straightforward answer Padmé frowned. "And how do you intend to justify your and your Master's involvement in this whole affair, for if I remember correctly your mandate does not include fighting a war."
Obi-Wan smiled wryly at her. "Indeed you are correct Milady. However, my Master and I have no intention of fighting a war. We merely accompany you in order to protect you as mandated by the Jedi Council and the Supreme Chancellor."
Padmé was tempted to laugh at the shrewdness of his answer but she merely leveled him with an incredulous look.
"So from a certain point of view you will be involved in our resistance effort without actually being a part of it. How ingenious." she said a little more coldly then she intended.
Sensing her frustration Obi-Wan offered her a sympathetic smile. "You will find that many of the truths and beliefs we cling to and tell one another are from a certain point of view Milady."
Sighing Padmé shook her head ruefully. "Indeed they are. Tell me, do all Jedi possess such political cunning or are you an exception?" she asked jokingly, but curious at the same time.
It was Obi-Wan's turn to frown.
"Hardly, every Jedi must be politically savvy and competent to some extent in order to perform whatever task is required of them in whatever arena. It is merely unfortunate that many times we must deal with politics and politicians in order to resolve an issue." he replied dryly, "As a rule based on prior experience and interactions I find politics and most politicians unpleasant, current company excluded of course."
At this Padmé did laugh. She had been around him and interacted with him enough throughout their journey to know that even though he possessed the skills, cunning and shrewdness of the best politicians she had met, he had little love for them.
She couldn't help but agree with him as she noted the current position her world was in.
"Well I suppose I am relieved that I am excluded from your uncanny dislike of politicians. I cannot fault you for your attitude toward the majority of my comrades, but I pray you not judge us all alike for there are still a few good ones left." she replied lightly.
He chuckled at this. 'Of course Milady, I wouldn't dream of it."
She smiled at him and without thinking she knelt by him. Not meeting his gaze she began playing with the grass. Put at ease by his kind and gentle manner and their lighthearted conversation her confidence had returned.
"Jedi...I mean Obi-Wan, I just want to thank you for the services you have rendered me and my people up to this point, and for the ones you will no doubt render us tomorrow." she said quietly.
"I was and am merely doing my duty, but you are more than welcome Milady."
She looked up at him and smiled a little shyly. "Padmé is what my friends call me." He smiled back slightly, "Very well Padmé."
Not looking away from his unwavering gaze she asked: "Are you...nervous about tomorrow?"
His face became suddenly blank as he stared at her. She could read nothing in his countenance or in his eyes that might give her some clue as to what he was thinking.
"It does one no good to dwell on the possibilities of tomorrow or to cause oneself undue worry about what has not yet come to be. It is best to remain centered and focused on the present." he replied tonelessly and a little curtly.
Surprised at his change in demeanor Padmé regarded him carefully. He was completely closed off and she noticed that look, she had seen it before on him and his Master...Jedi. "Oh, I see. I'm sorry I asked" she said softly looking away from him.
They sat there for a few moments in a tense silence before Obi-Wan broke it with a soft sigh.
Turning back to look at him she noticed that his previous mask of impassivity had disappeared to be replaced by a guarded and very controlled weariness. Moving for the first time since she arrived Obi-Wan raked a hand through his shortly cropped hair.
"No I apologize Milady that was unfair of me, you do not have the same upbringing as I so what is natural for you to do is something that from a very young age we are warned against. We are taught to not focus on our anxieties or fears and to let them go, to release them into the force through meditation because to do otherwise would be dangerous."
She looked at him curiously for a few minutes. Despite being more than ten years older then her she couldn't help but notice how young he looked. However, regardless his youthful features she was smart enough to notice that in wisdom and experience he was anything but young.
"Is that what you were doing when I found you? You were meditating?" she asked genuinely curious.
A slight smile briefly graced his features. "Yes it was. Meditation and Alchaka exercises, which you have seen before," he added with a twinkle of amusement in his eyes, "are some of the ways in which a Jedi communes with the force and releases any...unwanted feelings."
Remembering the strange yet athletically beautiful exercises she had witnessed him performing on the ship during their journey to Coruscant when she had inadvertently stumbled across him in the cargo-bay, she couldn't help but blush. It seemed she was always interrupting him during private and deeply personal moments.
Bringing herself to the present she nodded her head in understanding. So that explained why he seemed to be surrounded by some surreal form of light, it was because he was connected to the force.
Pondering his words her brow furrowed in question, "Unwanted feelings?" she found herself asking.
With another sigh Obi-Wan turned away from her, his gaze falling on the small pond in front of them. "Truth be told I was meditating because I, like you, was having some apprehensions about tomorrow. I had a bad feeling about it if you will..."
Slightly alarmed Padmé echoed his words questioningly, "A bad feeling?"
"As Jedi the force speaks to us differently and more clearly. Some of us have even been known to receive visions of the future. I did not get anything as concrete as that more a long the lines of a warning or a sense of foreboding that something unpleasant awaits us tomorrow."
At that Padmé couldn't help the incredulous laugh that escaped. "Unpleasant? Of course something unpleasant is awaiting us tomorrow. War is unpleasant no matter the cause, I would have thought you of all people would know this."
A mirthless smile answered her statement. "I do, but the sense I got was something more, something darker than even war." he said softly the tone of his voice driving chills through her. Pausing briefly as if to examine his own thoughts Obi-Wan continued to look out into the pond, his eyes far away. With a conscious effort he brought himself back to the moment turning his focus once more to her.
"Still as I said before, such thoughts are unhelpful and serve me no purpose, besides always in motion the future is." he said quietly as if repeating a frequently used mantra.
As she looked at him his eyes seemed to bear the knowledge of ages and she could see the lingering uncertainty in his stare no matter what he said. A prick of fear shot through her as she continued to regard him and his telling eyes. The image of a darkly clad warrior locking deadly sabers with Qui-Gon outside the Queen's transport on Tatooine flashed through her mind. Something dark did indeed wait for them tomorrow even if he could not tell what, and it was not just the battle.
Schooling his features once more his eyes became inexpressive so quickly that she thought she had just imagined everything. "I'm sorry I did not mean to add to your anxieties Padmé."
Giving him a small smile that did not reach her eyes she tried to reassure him that he had not, but she knew she could never fool a Jedi especially not this one.
"So do you really think that it is hopeless, is our failure certain?" she asked after a moment.
His countenance softened as he regarded her kindly. "There is always hope Milady, we must leave it to the will of the force." he said, then adding for her benefit, "However, for what its worth I do not believe you will fail tomorrow in your endeavor."
At this she smiled gratefully at him, "You mean we will not fail."
"We shall see..." he replied, his look becoming wistful as a sad smile graced his face.
At his words a sense of unease settled on her heart. Throughout their journey they had interacted occasionally when time and duty permitted, but during that time she came to rely on his steady and calming presence. She did not know when or how but somewhere along the way this often times quiet and reserved young man had become something more then an assigned protector...he had become her friend. For Padmé that was something that did not happen quite often.
As she regarded him something within her stirred and she realized that though their acquaintance had started only a short time ago this man would play a pivotal role in her future. Already she trusted him implicitly and she respected him as well and the advice he offered which she often sought out.
She was not in love with him, she knew this, but the well of affection that surged up within her for him only proved what she had just figured out. He meant something to her and without really knowing how, she knew that not only now but later along the way he would be an important part of her life...he would be like family.
"Obi-Wan can I ask you a favor?" she began hesitantly. At the inclination of his head she continued, "Tomorrow during the battle, if at anytime you get a...warning from the force...please heed it. I appreciate that you and Master Qui-Gon are there to protect me, but just make sure you keep yourself safe too. After all friends are hard to come by if you're a Queen, especially good ones that you can trust." she finished looking at him adamantly.
Obi-Wan seemed taken back by her words and stared at her in surprise. After a moment of hesitation a small but genuine smile appeared. "Indeed they are" he replied seriously despite his smile.
It wasn't exactly a promise, but with Obi-Wan she had come to realize that nothing he ever did was obvious at first sight, rather it was always unspoken and implied through small gestures and simple words. So she accepted it.
With a small nod of acquiescence she stood up. Following her lead Obi-Wan took to his feet as well with an effortless grace that belied the hours he had been kneeling there.
They stood facing one another for a few moments before Padmé moved closer. Drawing his hand from his side she gently infolded it within her two small delicate ones.
Regarding him evenly she smiled, "Thank you Obi-Wan."
His eyebrow rose in confusion. "Milady?"
"For allowing me to burden you with my troubles and not treating me like a child." she stated simply.
Obi-Wan smiled ruefully, "You did not burden me I assure you and I'm glad I could off my assistance. Besides despite your youth you are hardly a child and anyone who thinks so is a fool. You have the maturity, wisdom and sense of many twice your age and perhaps more."
Padmé smiled at him appreciatively. She gave his hand an affectionate squeeze before letting it fall from her grasp.
"I take my leave of you Obi-Wan. May your rest be peaceful my friend. I will see you in the morning." she said the smile never leaving her face as she regarded him.
"Milady" he replied bowing slightly. As he straightened she turned to leave but before she could his voice once again halted her.
"May the Force be with You, Padmé."
Inclining her head she replied, "May the Force be with You, Obi-Wan."
They smiled warmly once more at each other, but there was a trace of sadness hidden behind their smiles. With a final look into the clear and steady eyes of her friend Padmé turned and made her way out of the clearing.
As she walked away something compelled her to look back before the clearing became obscured from her sight. What she saw brought a brief smile to her face. Obi-Wan had once again resumed the position in which she had found him. He was only feet away from her physically but she knew by the look on his face and his posture that he was already light years away.
Turning once more to view the path in front of her she found it strange how she could befriend a young man whom she had met a relatively short amount of time ago. Yet, something about him inspired confidence in him and one could not help but be drawn to him. Despite the obvious differences between them, they had more in common then they realized.
Whatever it was, she knew that something had taken her to that clearing and it was also responsible for bringing the two most unlikeliest of people together. It must have been the will of the force, she supposed and for some reason that comforted her.
Though they found themselves on the eve of a battle which had the potential to destroy everything she had worked so hard to preserve and beyond that there seemed to be an even darker cloud lurking on the horizon, there were still the simplest of things that produced the possibility of success, brought her comfort and gave her hope.
After all how could she not be hopeful...with people like Obi-Wan, little Ani, Qui-Gon, Sabé, and Jar Jar Binks who were willing to stand beside her and support the young Queen during one of the most trying times in her young life.
The force itself seemed to be with them and the Gungans as well as her brave and courageous people, who willing to give everything they had in order to win back the peace they had spent their whole lives cultivating. She had to believe for not only her sake but for the sake of them all that it would all work out in the end.
As if waking from a trance she found herself outside of her tent. With a renewed sense of determination and hope she re-entered it. Not surprised, she found Sabé sitting on her own makeshift bed waiting for her. Without preamble Sabé stood and walked over to her. Taking in her appearance she smiled at her friend.
"I see the walk did you some good Milady?" she stated rather then asked.
Padmé smiled and nodded her head. "It was just what I needed."
"Good" Sabé replied leading her over to her bed, "now please get some rest Padmé you took longer than you said you would." she chastised lightly.
"Sorry" Padmé replied a little sheepishly, "I lost track of time."
"Hmm,...indeed and might I ask what had you so engrossed as to lose track of said time Milady?" she asked her friend teasingly as she returned to her own bed and settled into it.
Laying on her back staring up at the dark canopy of the tent through which the light pinpricks of the stars above could be seen, Padmé smiled. With a content sigh she let her eyes drift close.
"I was talking to...a friend."