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LIGHT IN THE MIDST OF DARKNESS.
LIFE IN THE MIDST OF DEATH.

"Masters," Commander Cody's voice sounded choked, and not because of the trouble with the connection for once. Obi-Wan felt his heart instinctively clench as something inside prepared him for the truth that was to come. "Forgive this interruption, but we have grave news. General Grevious has killed Master Skywalker."

The silence which penetrated the Council room of the Temple after this announcement was overwhelming in both its intensity and shock at the news. No one had expected this result, not even those who had held doubts about the young knight's capability in under taking such a mission. Anakin always had a way of achieving the impossible.

Until now.

Obi-Wan blinked, his hand reaching up to wipe the tears from his eyes as he struggled to utter his thanks to Cody and request for him to bring the body home once they had finished liberating Utapau. Despite the loss of Anakin, the clone army had managed to wrestle the planet from the Separatist's grip, General Grevious having escaped off world after he killed the young knight. He fell into silence then, listening to the voices of those around him as they planned the funeral and when to break the news publicly. The loss of the Hero With No Fear would be a great blow, not just to the Order but the Republic. However, he knew of at least one other whom would take the news in much the same way he desired to react, save for his vaunted Jedi serenity. And he knew that she would not appreciate learning of the tragedy from a drafted statement upon the HoloNet.

Waiting for the Council to finish the meeting, he left word that he would be in his quarters, sending a look to the holo of the Grand Master, a silent plea that Yoda would direct that Obi-Wan was not to be disturbed. With a gentle nod Yoda acknowledged the request, a part of him understanding perhaps the need for deception; that Master Kenobi had somewhere else he needed to be.

He caught a taxi, lacking the energy to summon the focus needed for navigating Coruscant's traffic jammed airways from the Temple to Five Hundred Republica. The vehicle dropped him off at the entrance and he rode a turbolift up to the penthouse, allowing his arrival at her apartment to remain unobserved.

Threepio greeted him at the door, exclaiming at the hour and protesting that his mistress was not up for visitors. Obi-Wan brushed him aside, the sight of the droid that his former pupil had made the last thing he needed to see right now.

"But, Master Kenobi, I really must protest...."

"No, Threepio," his mistress interrupted then, "let him in."

Obi-Wan ignored the droid's blustering and swept past him, only to pause at the sight of the Senator from Naboo; still clad in her nightgown, a glorious shade of blue silk caressing her tanned smooth skin. "Forgive me milady, for disturbing you, but I had to speak with you."

She came forward, taking him in her arms for a greeting more deserving of their friendship; a kiss to both his cheeks which he gently returned. "No need. I am glad to see you, Obi-Wan. But why have you come this early?"

Instead of answering her, he drew back and walked further into the apartment, taking her hand at the last moment, gently but firmly leading her into following him, down the steps, into the lounge area, where he pressed her figure down into the plush furnishings. Gracefully he knelt before her, keeping hold of her hand and taking the other one into his clasp, as he gazed into her beautiful and puzzled brown eyes. "Padmé, brace yourself. I knew you should hear this news from me as opposed to the HoloNet." He paused as he struggled for composure once more, the reality of the news only just sinking into him. "Grevious has killed Anakin."

For a moment she doubted him; leaning back in shock as she returned his gaze. Then the full measure of what he had told her took hold and her composure fled. A half swallowed sob escaped her lips, then she let her tears fall as he rose upon his knees and took her into his arms, allowing her to take comfort in the crook of his neck.

Her grief echoed throughout the apartment, the tears shed damping the material of his cloak and tunic as she poured out her sorrow. He let her succumb to the loss without a word, remaining silent as he caressed her unbound hair, allowing his own sorrow to escape, the tears trickling down her long loose dark curls. In the privacy of her apartment their grief would not be questioned or examined, for both knew each other too well to wonder why a Jedi and a Senator would mourn so deeply for the lost of Anakin Skywalker. They were both human, such emotion was justified.

Eventually, she calmed, drawing in slow choked breaths as she withdrew from his embrace. He lowered himself back on to the floor before her, adjusting his position to prevent his joints from aching, letting go of her hands to wipe the evidence of their grief from their cheeks. She clasped them against her skin as he attended to her, causing his still glistening eyes to meet her gaze. "Thank you, Obi-Wan."

He nodded, knowing that she meant for him choosing to tell her first, before she found out in the Senate, where her reaction would have to be monitored. She understood without either of them saying a word, that he knew her and Anakin's secret, and had known for some time.

"Commander Cody will bring ...." he swallowed hard, "the body back after they have finished liberating Utapau. The funeral will probably take place in the Temple, though Palpatine might request a more public memorial." he paused, taking another breath. "I'll see what I can do about getting permission for you to come," he added, for funerals at the Temple were usual private, Jedi only affairs. But she had more claim than he or anyone else to take part in the ceremony.

"Thank you," she repeated, stroking his hands as they withdrew from her face and rested in the small space between them. "I don't what I should do," she murmured, her mind travelling beyond that event to another she soon had to endure.

"Where were you planning on having them?" he asked her softly, causing her eyebrow to rise as she took in the meaning of his query.

"How long have you known?" She asked him.

"Longer than you, I think," he replied. "The Force has a way of telling you such things."

"It was going to be on Naboo," she answered, her thoughts quietly awed by how the Force had been able to tell him, not just of her quickening, but also that she was expecting twins, yet another secret she had kept from Anakin. "My family have a house in Varykino, private and remote. I was going to retire from the Senate and raise them."

He nodded, running his blue grey gaze over her figure, taking in the swelling revealed by her position and the folds of her gown, more prominently displayed than when he had first entered the penthouse apartment. "Did Anakin know?"

"Yes," she smiled, despite her grief, "he was happy about it, at first." Her brow sobered as she remembered some of their last conversations. Even when he had parted from her to go to Utapau there had been worries evident in his face.

"At first?" Obi-Wan echoed.

"He had nightmares," Padmé replied, "that I would die in childbirth." She shook her head, "it was all his fears of course, but nothing I could say would shake him." she raised her eyes to meet his again. "He saw you there in his vision once, and from the way he questioned me, it was almost like he knew. But then he became determined to find a way to save me."

Obi-Wan bowed his head, before steadfastly rising to meet her gaze once more. "Despite our betrayal," he remarked, "I do not regret that night, I never could."

"Nor I," she revealed, surprising him, "for it brought me light in the midst of darkness. Life in the midst of death."

He stilled, for her words implied something so significant that he had to pause, hesitant to hope, to wonder at their meaning.

"Anakin never stopped to realise how long we had been apart compared to the progress of my pregnancy," she added, "and I didn't think you needed another burden in your life."

Shocked by this confirmation of his involvement in the conception, he blinked at her presumption. "Padmé, children are not a burden, they are a gift, a precious gift."

"I didn't want you to think you were bound to an obligation I had no right to ask of you," she continued. "It was just one night ... the happiest night of my life ... I could not risk his fury by breaking his heart, yet ..."

Abruptly he cut her off, brushing a hand across her lips. "Padmé, you are not an obligation. You never could be. You are the woman that I love."

Now it was her moment to still as the declaration was spoken. Suddenly this morning had travelled far beyond expressing grief for the passing of a husband. "I never thought you would. Even when we had that night, I didn't voice what I wanted, for I knew I could never ask it of you."

"Yet you could of Anakin?" he asked her, and she flinched, causing him to take her hands once more. "Forgive me, I have no right to ask."

"You do," she protested, bowing her head, fixing her gaze on their joined hands as she spoke to him of things she had never dared confess before. "I care for Ani, not as much as he cared for me, but enough to believe that in marrying him, I might save him from himself," she laughed, the sound still tainted with grief, "I was conceited enough to believe that I could keep him from falling, when in fact I only accelerated the descent." Raising her eyes to his, she continued. "I love you, Obi-Wan, I have for a long time. But I knew that if I ever told you, you would leave the Order, and I could not ask that of you. The Jedi cannot lose you, for you are the best of them."

"Did it ever occur to you that I might dare to argue our case before the Council?" he queried gently, the warmth in his tone erasing whatever harshness might have laid within the inquiry. "True, I follow the Code more than most, but there was one thing on which Qui-Gon and I agreed; that the Council had no right to dictate over whom you loved, especially if the Force blessed the union." He stroked her hands reverently. "I would have never given myself to you, unless the Force granted me permission to commit such adultery. I knew you were married, I knew it the day you left for Naboo all those years ago."

"Why did you never argue your case to me then?" she asked him. "You could have done, when we quarrelled, that day before I left with Anakin. Why did you never tell me how you really felt?"

"Because I never thought you felt the same," he replied. "And when that night came, you were married, and I did not want you to break that vow for me. Or Anakin, for that matter." He left his suspicions about what the Knight might have done if he had ever learned of the news unspoken.

"What shall we do, then?" she asked him nervously.

He smiled at her, squeezing her hand to calm her. "We shall go to the Temple, where you and I shall have a nice long chat with Masters Yoda and Windu. Then, after..." he paused to gather his composure, "the funeral, we shall go to Naboo, and take things from there."

THE END.