The gentle breeze teased the petals of the red carnation plants, drafting their fragrance in circles of melancholy around the silent couple at the balcony as it played its bittersweet tune on the waters of the lake.
She was incandescent in white, her pale skin glowing against her dark hair, her tiny frame dwarfed beside his imposing height; his dark robes were almost indistinguishable from the surrounding night and his golden hair glinted against his tanned skin.
They held hands, fingers as intertwined as their souls. Blue eyes stared into brown, a gaze filled with such poignant expectation that the breeze quieted, stilled, the very air seeming to hold its breath for them.
She finally spoke.
"You have the chance to fulfil your destiny, to be great and glorious, and to use your gifts to do much good in the galaxy. I cannot take that away from you."
The words were said with love, and it echoed in her eyes, in the tears that stood in them.
He swallowed, forcing down the lump of panic. When he spoke, his voice was harsh.
She smiled sweetly.
"It means 'flower'."
The mundane answer startled him.
"My name. It means 'flower'in Naboo. I come from a planet whose symbols are the earth and the sea. Your name is Skywalker. You were born from the air. You were meant to walk the skies." The tears slipped, fell and her fingers were free of his.
He grasped for them but they flew out of his reach and hid in the refuge of her throat. He would have grasped for the woman herself but he knew that like her hands, she had already slipped away from him.
"Why are you saying this?" He gasped. He wanted to grab her shoulders, draw her to himself, make her feel the mortal lesions that her words were breaking open in his soul, even as she refused to acknowledge her own wounds, her self-inflicted pain.
She pulled her hands from her throat, letting one fall and reaching for his with the other. For a moment, he dared hope she had come back to him and his fist closed desperately over her palm. Then he felt the rough thread resting in softness. He looked down. He could feel his ribs closing over his heart.
"I am a Senator. You're a Jedi." Each word was enunciated with the precision of arrows aimed at a target. "It was a dream, Anakin, nothing more."
The tears were rivulets of silver on her face. Her gaze fell to their hands, to the piece of japor that hung from the worn thread.
"This belongs to you."
Like the release of an indrawn breath, the air broke its stillness. With the gentle softness of a sigh, it touched the couple, stroking their hair and lifting it, and tracking a path of pain through the tears on their cheeks.
He forced his heart to keep beating, even as he felt the despair closing in around him. Carefully, clinging desperately to the methodology of motion to give him sanity, he rested her palm against his right hand and closed her fingers around the necklace with his left. Then he released her. Their hands fell apart as their gazes returned to each other. Her eyes were brown and his were blue, but the sea of sorrow that swam in their depths sprang from the same rain.
His mouth twisted into a bitter smile.
"It was a gift. Keep it."
She walked away first, taking his soul with her, leaving him where he stood, an almost invisible figure in the empty darkness of the surrounding night and his own desolation, the same darkness that filled the hollow in her chest as she left her soul behind with him.
And still, relentlessly, the fragrant breeze whistled its sad melody.
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