He wasn't sure when he first realized it. It wasn't some sudden, blinding revelation - more like a gradual acknowledgement of the truth. It crept upon him subtly, almost insinuating its forbidden presence into his mind.
He was glad of it nevertheless.
It was a strange feeling - this subtle joy, a confidence in something more. He had not possessed it before. It changed him, now, little by little. Sometimes, only sometimes, he would meditate and instead of focusing on the Force as was proper - he would focus on that feeling inside.
It made him tremble. It made him feel he was bursting with energy, ready to leap into song as if this was some ancient tale told by a fireside. It made him weak, yet it made him strong. He was vulnerable - so very vulnerable, in this regard. And yet, this feeling gave him a sense of complete purpose and contentment. When he dwelt on this emotion, restlessness became a thing of the past.
A feeling, a sense of knowledge recounted in many a tale - a feeling that engendered both rebuke and rejoicing. It had been described in every way - in the blooming of a flower, in the birth of new life, evident in everything. It was priceless beyond measure.
Dangerous, as well. He knew that. He was a Jedi; he could not help but know its dangers. It had been part of his training, part of the knowledge his Master had imparted to him. It was a driving force, a truly powerful thing. One would seek for an eternity, do anything to capture it, to feel it. For love, one would do anything. Die, turn - sacrifice.
For love, it was worth it.
The danger didn't matter. Love was a beautiful thing, pure and untainted. Love, in and of itself, was good. Only when it was tainted by obsession and never-ending desire did it become as the Jedi Council had proclaimed - a dangerous attachment.
Attachment. Such a simple word for such a complex, unknowable thing.
It was forbidden; he was a Jedi. He would hide his love; bury it within his heart and the very depths of his mind. He would treasure it; hold it in his mind's eye. He would never let go of it. It was his.
He would go on as he always had and be obedient to the Jedi Council. They would never suspect he carried such heresy in his heart. He knew that others saw it, at times - saw that look in his eyes and recognized the shadow of emotion for what it was, for they had known that feeling themselves. Yet they kept silent, seeing also what lay beneath the stillness, understanding that it went unspoken.
They were wise in it, those who truly knew of love. Love was knowledge that could never be found - only attained by some twist of fate. By some given grace.
He would remain silent and do his duty. But he would look. He would hold in his mind that strange, beautiful fluttering of joy. He would know in his heart the truth of it all. And he would hope it was enough:
That he, Obi-Wan Kenobi, loved Siri Tachi.
He would look upon her, the defiance she wore proudly along with the brown, leather unisuit that clung to her body. He would see the curve of her lips, the strong jaw line that spoke of her stubbornness. He would look into her eyes, into those blue depths that showed him so many things, even as he looked upon the world through the way she so subtly colored his vision. He would cherish that feeling, that color.
He had known her for many long, hard years. They had met when they were both Padawans, though she was two years his junior. He remembered how on their first mission together, they had managed to bring out the worst in each other. He could still see in his mind the moments that made that animosity turn to a wary respect - and then, friendship. Missions came and passed in the way of Jedi tasks, constantly moving, and over much time he grew to know her - the depth of her, the spirit.
He grew to know that spirit of fierceness, which constantly tested and sought more. She was never satisfied with good enough. Physically small, she made up for it in wiry toughness and a mental resilience he could only admire. He remembered her caustic bluntness and, just sometimes, that gentleness so few ever saw.
She, too, was a Jedi. Love was forbidden for her as well. And to cast such a burden upon her was not something he could bring himself to burden her with. She would never know how he felt, because he would not allow it. He would act as a Jedi, and only that. He had gone over this countless times, reassuring himself for the both of them that this was the right path. And . . . he would be with her sometimes, meeting her every few years in the nomadic manner of the Jedi. He would watch her, and be with her.
He would love her, and it would be enough.
Silently, quietly, Obi-Wan came out of his meditation, caused by him hearing of Siri's return to the Temple after a long mission. He was kneeling in the cool, wet grass of the Thousand Fountains, his favorite garden in the Jedi Temple. Physical sensations returned to his mind, and he heard the soft, constant rush of water. The gentle splashing, erratic yet soothing. The rich scent of the greenery and the exotic plants. His eyes opened to a new richness, green and blue in every shade imaginable with sparks of color, electricity in shades of orange and red, purple and yellow.
Knees wet and body uncomfortable from the long stillness, he rose, his dark brown robe falling around him. It was time to return to reality. Time to go back to Anakin, to meet with the fourteen year old for a lightsaber drill. Time to guide his young Padawan to the way he himself no longer completely followed. Time to return to the life of a Jedi.
But his heart remained free - and as he walked from the garden, for once even the Jedi could see the love that shone from within.
He Kissed My Ankle
I fell in love with him when he kissed my ankle.
Yes, I know it sounds weird, but it's true. Let me explain.
Telgar 6 is a rocky place. While certainly not as bad as some places I had been over my travels as a Jedi, it was bad enough that I had to release my feelings of ambivalence to the Force. Good example to the young ones and all that.
We were sent to help a group of settlers evacuate to a higher place. When the settlers - a group of human and Devonrians - came to the planet, they were not aware that it had regular flooding seasons every eight years. The company that had scouted the planet, which was located on the Outer Rim, had not done a thorough enough job and had released the planet for settlement long before it should have. But the settlers were desperate to make a home of their own, I suppose, even a place with such rocky mountains. They settled in an empty basin that hadn't received any rain for years.
Eight years, to be precise. The nearby river, once convenient, became a threat when the colonists realized what was going to happen. Fortunately the colonists had managed to scrounge up the money for a satellite, which was able to forewarn them, or this planet and its people would have been just another tragedy. The council that ruled the small mining town asked for Jedi help to organize the evacuation to higher ground.
Organizing the evacuation wasn't as difficult as I would have expected. The colonists were practical minded people, and were willing to bring along only the necessities of survival. In the end, we chose to have the heavy equipment and supplies that they needed driven up by landspeeder to higher ground. The people would have to walk, and would go in two droves, one Jedi team - a Master and Padawan - leading each time. I led the first time, and the other Jedi team led the second time. So I decided to watch for any stragglers who didn't go up with the last group. All very reasonable.
However, even Jedi Knights aren't immune to attacks of stupidity.
Feeling I was capable of dealing with any stragglers, I sent my Padawan with the other Jedi pair, who were guiding the last group up the mountain. I watched his golden brown head bob away and felt that I was doing the right thing. We had cut the evacuation schedule closer than we had planned, and I wanted him to be safe. I was also perfectly capable of dealing with any people left behind on my own.
After finding no stragglers, I guess it figures that I sprained my ankle on the way up to the temporary settlement.
Of course, it was my fault. Even Jedi make mistakes. Not wanting to take the long, winding path up the mountain, I decided to test my climbing skills and admire the view in private. Telgar 6's mountain vistas were something to see, beautiful and unique. If there is one thing that I have learned from the nomadic life of a Jedi, it's that there is always something you haven't seen. Telgar was a stark landscape, full of harsh edges in shades of gray, with a few sweeping plains in the distance. I admired it for a moment, then reached up for another rock, shifting one of my feet.
The thing about the Force and its warnings is that you aren't always touching it. The awareness isn't always constant and complete, even for Jedi Knights. And in that moment, in the beauty of my surroundings, I had let my awareness slip.
And my foot.
No longer having a firm base, I came crashing down, tumbling at least a few meters. The sharp rocks cut into my skin and realizing my inability to stop myself, I went limp rather than cause myself further harm. Finally, my impulsive travel to the bottom of the mountain stopped. I hadn't gone very far, I noticed, perhaps fifteen meters total. I sat on a wide ledge that curved around the side of a large rock.
Sighing at myself, I examined the state of affairs. I had numerous cuts in my brown, leather unisuit that I always wore instead of Jedi robes. My own little way of rebellion, I suppose. I knew the Jedi Council didn't approve of it - or my attitude, at times.
My skull wasn't cracked, thankfully. I checked for blood, and found none in my blond hair. It did feel a bit tender, though.
Finally, I turned my attention to the part that was painfully asking for it. My ankle. It was lodged beneath a heavier rock, loosened in my fall. Hissing, I nudged the thing off of me, which was about the size of man's head. I carefully felt through the Force to see how badly I had hurt my ankle.
"Siri?" a familiar voice called out.
For a second I hoped it was my Padawan - my wonderful, talented Padawan Ferus - but no. It was Obi-Wan Kenobi, the other Jedi on this mission. I had known him since the both of us were just Padawans, doing our best to reach the goal of being a Knight. We had been rivals, actually, even as our Padawans were now. Didn't get along terribly well. Of course, we were young then. It's just friendly banter now.
"I'm here," I called out, giving in to the practical, Jedi part of me.
I heard some rocks shifting, and then he was coming around the corner. He gave me a concerned look, and quickly stepped closer. Trying not to muse on my injured - and somewhat embarrassingly so - state, I focused on him.
Ginger hair. Beard. Blue-gray eyes. Stern expression - like he was chastising me. I gave him a half-hearted glare.
His mouth shot up into a smile and the corners of his eyes crinkled. Yes, Anakin Skywalker had definitely given his poor Master lots of trouble, I noted as I saw the fine lines. His eyes laughed, but wisely he didn't say anything. Instead he gracefully stepped over to my side and knelt, shifting his robe out of the way.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" he asked, giving my cuts and bruises a quick glance and then dismissing them as inconsequential. He touched my shoulder.
"My right ankle. I think I can walk on it, if you help me," I offered. He glanced up at me, then looked at my ankle. I held out a hand so he could help me to my feet.
"No, we had better take off the boot first," he replied, a thoughtful expression on his face. He stroked his beard, then scrambled on the sharp pebbles I was sitting on, moving to my feet.
I sighed, letting my hand fall. "I would prefer to have this dealt with sooner rather than later. Can we get moving to where they actually have medical supplies?" I snapped. "Why are you here, anyway? I thought you were guiding the last group in." I was irritated at him, but I'm not sure why. Chivalry irritates me, I suppose. And Obi-Wan is definitely chivalrous. Even though I know he respects me as a Jedi and would never let that influence his personal feelings, he still manages to act that way.
"I was," Obi-Wan replied mildly, giving me a mild look of almost rebuke. Mild, that's Obi-Wan. Ever since he temporarily left the Jedi Order on Melida/Daan, he's tried to be the perfect Jedi. "I felt the Force call me here," he added.
I sighed again, at myself this time.
He gingerly touched my ankle, and I flinched, letting out a hiss.
"Sorry," he said.
"Just get on with it," I snapped. I knew he should take it off; it would only be more difficult later when it swelled up, but I wanted it over and done. Quit coddling, I wanted to say.
"Sorry," he said again. Then he grabbed the heel and toe of my boot and pulled. Hard.
I had prepared myself for it, braced myself with the Force, but it still hurt. I think I made some kind of faint noise, but I would rather not recall if I did or not. I felt the cool mountain air hit my ankle, and let out sigh of relief.
"You couldn't have been gentler?" I snapped, more out of irritation than lingering pain. Never let it be said that Jedi don't ever allow our emotions to influence our actions. Jedi are definitely not perfect, nor all seeing. Not that I would change this.
He gave a look of exasperation that quickly gentled to one of amusement. "Were you expecting me to kiss it to make the hurt go away?" he teased, nearly grinning. Then, before I could even react to that uncommonly light statement - especially for the ever reserved Obi-Wan - he leaned down and kissed my ankle.
It was a feather light touch, just a passing of his warm lips across my sweaty, swelling ankle. Then he glanced up at me, from his position at my feet, and gave me a slight, amused smile, with perhaps a touch of embarrassment over his impulsive action.
And I knew I loved him, simple as that. It wasn't like a blinding realization - I just knew. It felt startling right - like something within had settled into the spot it was always meant to be. It felt right.
It felt wonderful.
He stood and came to my side again as I just gave him the best neutral look I could manage, taking hold of one of my arms. I leaned my weight against him, and lifted myself with my good foot. He wrapped one arm around my waist after I stood, and grabbed my boot. I put my arm on his shoulders, and let his strength carry most of my weight.
Then we began the walk up, using the trail this time.
I didn't say much, still analyzing what I felt. If he ever sensed what I was feeling, he didn't give a sign. I just leaned against his shoulder and breathed his scent in. I smelled sweat and a masculine smell I didn't normally associate with Obi-Wan. Sometimes I still pictured him as the boy I had known, who was so eager to please his Master, instead of the reserved and dedicated Jedi Knight I knew him to be now.
The love I felt was a strange thing. Overpowering, like nothing I had ever known. I had thought that nothing could be stronger than the Force; that nothing could affect me as it did. I was wrong. Love is so much different from the Force - it doesn't calm and soothe, it excites and changes. The Force is always the same. Love doesn't seem to be that way, not for me. I can feel it moving in me, wild and chaotic.
Yet it wasn't a bad feeling at all. It wasn't like something truly uncontrolled, it simply seemed like that attitude never even came into it. I felt energized, like some part of me was now complete and I didn't have to compensate for that missing hole anymore.
I loved that feeling. Simply experiencing it was - a gift.
I had always been an aggressive person, though it was sometimes hidden beneath Jedi calm. I preferred action over dialogue. Very much like Obi-Wan, as well, in some respects. Very rule-bound and reserved, or at least I used to be. My two-year undercover mission changed that. I didn't have to act like a Jedi then; I couldn't act like a Jedi. And in doing so I learned that some impulses and feelings are to be cherished, not folded beneath studied calm. Obi-Wan, though, cherished that way still.
That aura of calm - and that utter dedication to good and the Jedi Order that I knew lay beneath it - was one of things I loved about him, I realized.
I could never tell him how I felt. I could not burden him that way, could not force him to decide whether or not tell the Council. I would not do that to him. How can a person hurt who they love? Love was forbidden for us. I have always known that. I accept it.
So instead of professing my newfound feelings, I was silent. I curled up against Obi-Wan - for the support, one could assume - and breathed in the scent of him. And I let my love lie inside of me, to exist as it may. I would hold it inside, and that feeling of completeness would be enough.
And oddly, for the smallest of moments, I thought I felt the whisper of a kiss on my head.
Falling Off the World
The word brings to my mind an image of an endless waste, barren and harsh. A complete and utter absence of life, of anything that speaks of it.
But that's really not true. Life is so determined, and it will scrabble for a hold anywhere. Tatooine is one such place. Rocky cliffs mixed with endless plains of sand. That's my great view for my retirement. Sand.
It's really not so bad, though. As I said, life scrabbles for a hold. I would find lichen beneath rocks and little scavenger animals feasting off of insects I didn't know existed. At night, the desert comes alive. I would go out beyond my little garden, protected from the suns by a clear dome, and kneel in the coarse sand, listening.
I would hear the gentle chirp of tiny mammals and insects, hunting or scavenging. I would stretch my senses out, beyond my little domed home, and feel.
It gives me hope, that feeling. Life is persistent. Life goes on. Before Anakin's secret marriage, before his turn, before the Jedi Order fell - I would have thought that a depressing thing to say. Get over it. But that's not what it is, not what it means. It means there is always hope, because life goes on.
It was such a night when I felt the Force stir, like still air shifted by a breeze. I opened my eyes. My cliff dwelling was behind me, blending into the rocks. Reasonable, since that's what it was made of - rocks, and shaped with my lightsaber. An elegant weapon turned into a simple carving tool. There was no danger in my going out, since I knew that the Tusken Raiders had long since left for new scavenging territory. It was that and the fact that I had frightened them, using my Force abilities to make them think I was some powerful entity not to be fooled with.
The night sky was bright with stars. There isn't much light on Tatooine when the suns aren't up, which makes it easy to see the stars. And there are many, many stars - I could even see a heavy sprinkling of them, far enough away that it looked like a swathe of bright dust. The rest of the galaxy, beautiful and untouchable.
I was wearing my Jedi robes. It's no longer necessary, of course. I need not be recognized as what I am, and it could even be dangerous. Though I don't really think that most of the denizens of Tatooine would care, beyond what amount the bounty on my head is.
I rose to my feet, slowly and achingly. My knees had begun to ache, sometimes, in the cold of the night. Whether it was age or my endless meditations on guilt and despair, I don't know. It doesn't really matter. It was usually gone by morning, soothed away by the heat.
I looked to the distance, trying to figure out what that slight stirring was caused by. It was not an animal - their presence is not so focused, so serene and calm as that. It could be a very calm Tusken Raider, I supposed, but that was unlikely in the extreme. Ridiculous. Tuskens are brutal creatures. As Anakin found out - and the rest of the galaxy, in his subsequent rage.
Deciding not to let the strange individual come to me and find my home, I wiped the sand off my pants and began walking, my worn and comfortable boots making no noise in the nearly silent night. I wrapped my dark brown robe around me, to disguise my presence further. It was a tad ragged, but one couldn't tell that in the dark.
One of the few things I treasure about Tatooine is the space. It has truly endless amounts of it, going farther than the eye can see. Sometimes I go out in the night, and lay on my back, staring up at the endless sea of stars. My surroundings are so empty, it seems at times like I was falling off the world.
That night was such a night. My breathing felt loud and harsh to my ears, though I knew it was not. I felt the slightest breeze touch me gently, coming from nowhere. Only the ground kept me in the harsh contact with reality. I could have floated off and not realized it.
When I finally saw the individual with my own eyes - and not through the current of the Force - I stopped walking. The individual was walking slowly towards me, and I could tell that he or she was wearing a robe, as I was. I folded my arms within my robe, and waited.
I watched the person approach, and quickly realized I was dealing with a female. The sway of her walk, the way she moved across the sand, it all told me that. Her hood was down, covering her face. I shifted my weight subtly, checking the comforting weight of my lightsaber. The woman made virtually no ripple in the Force, which could only mean she was Force-trained. It could certainly be a Jedi, even with as few of us as there now, but why a Jedi would come here I did not know. And how the Jedi would know of me being here was also a puzzle.
She stopped a mere ten meters from me, and threw back her hood. I think I stumbled back, gasped a bit in surprise. My legs felt unsteady, and I was no longer ready for anything, be it attack or not.
It was Siri. My friend - and sometimes rival - when we were mere Padawans, and an even closer friend in Knighthood and through the raising of our Padawans. We grew to know each other well, in the manner that one does in harsh times, and even though we rarely saw each other over the years - as our Padawans grew and the galaxy grew more factious - we remained good and steady friends. And more than that, even.
I loved her. To this day I'm not sure when it began, but begin it did, and slowly but surely it crept its way into my heart and soul, keeping residency. I didn't mind, not by the time I became aware of it. Love is too precious for that. I cherished its presence, and what it gave me. But I kept it hidden, safe within my heart. Simply to have that feeling was enough. Not once did I regret being a Jedi, and forbidden to acknowledge such things, not even then.
Sometimes I wondered if Anakin had regretted it.
For the first time in five years, I looked at Siri Tachi. Her face was pale and ghostly in the starlight, her cheekbones more pronounced. Her hair was a little longer than I remembered, no longer in the short, rebellious cut. It curled around her ears, falling into her eyes. Her blue eyes were the same. They shone with the peace and acceptance of a Jedi - of a Jedi who has seen horrible things. Her lips - I couldn't tell their color, not then - uplifted into a small smile and she sighed softly.
Her hands fell loose from her robes, and she walked forward, keeping eye contact with me. I could only look into her eyes. A Jedi's eyes. I didn't know what she was thinking. Her eyes shone with a mysterious light, and I couldn't tell if that slight smile was ironic or not.
I finally spoke, stuttering slightly as words struggled past my frozen lips. "You're alive and . . . here." That she was alive was precious news to me. I had not known since I came here three years ago, with young Luke, if she yet lived. I would ponder on it often, usually along with my meditations on guilt.
"An accident, really," she whispered, her voice not sad but somewhat bemused. "I came here for repairs to my ship, of all things." Her voice decreed its irony, and I silently agreed. It was on such a mission for repairs that Anakin had been found. And that turned out disastrously, to say the least.
"You felt my presence?" I asked quietly. I felt strangely awkward, as if she and I were strangers, come in into the desert in the middle of the night to speak on some forbidden matter.
She nodded slightly, her eyes flickering away.
"How?" I asked. I had to know, for Luke's sake. What if Vader happened by someday and felt me? Or even worse, a young Luke Skywalker. I had to think of Luke first. Luke. Not Siri's beautiful eyes, or how I loved her sense of humor.
She looked up for a moment, searching my eyes. "I simply did," she said softly. Then she raised her chin, and spoke with more force. "It's not something Vader will ever feel," she said, her tone practical.
"I see," I said, feeling somehow off-kilter. Like the conversation had taken a strange edge that I was simply not grasping.
"What is?" I asked, politely.
She gestured in a vague manner, indicating our general surroundings. "All of this. This . . . wasn't how I pictured us meeting again."
"Well, I must confess I didn't really think we would ever meet again," I replied pragmatically.
"Ah," she said simply, looking lost for a moment. I felt horribly uncomfortable. Then she looked up at me and took brisk steps forward to meet me. She grabbed my shoulders and I tensed. I could never be sure what Siri would do or how she would react. She had been very rule-bound when younger, but after she was Knighted she grew a rebellious streak, often disregarding Jedi tradition. She became unpredictable, and that was only one of the things I loved about her. Even if it was slightly unnerving at times.
"Obi-Wan," she said fiercely, "I love you. I have since you jokingly kissed my ankle when I sprained it on that mission with our young Padawans, all those years ago."
She searched my eyes. I was not capable of speech, but she must have found something there because she went on.
"I'm not sure why it was that moment, Obi-Wan. I wasn't even sure why I loved you - it surely couldn't be your irritating adherence to tradition." She halted momentarily, and gave me a teasing half-smile. "Maybe it was . . . those other things. Your quiet strength, or that sarcastic sense of humor honed by years of having opportunity to use it." She paused thoughtfully, her eyes becoming more serious. "Perhaps it was simply meant to be. Whatever it was," she added with almost amused look in her eyes, "I know that it seemed to make everything right, everything in its place. Rather unnerving, actually - the feeling was that strong and that sure." She smiled.
I made to speak - but she silenced me with a movement of her hand.
"I never told you because love is forbidden for us. For the Jedi, and that is what we were. But that didn't matter - I knew I loved you, and to have that feeling is the most precious I have ever felt. And I don't really know why I am telling you now, except the Force wishes it so -"
"Siri," I interrupted, and she fell silent. Then I stopped. The words had seemed to come so easily to her, but for me it was different. How could I express my love for her? That I simply held my love for her as a gift, and had not acted. That having that love within me was enough. That I was at peace, in that sense. I didn't know what to say. I reached out with a shaking hand and touched her cheek, a simple caress from a broken, wordless man.
"My Padawan is dead," she said simply, staring into my eyes. Her grip on my shoulders loosened, but she didn't let me go.
I felt like a knife had been slipped into my ribs. "Vader?" I gasped out.
"Bounty hunters," she replied simply, shaking her head, her eyes still meeting mine.
"I'm sorry," I breathed. I remembered her Padawan. He had been a few years older than Anakin, a bright and talented young man with dark hair and serious eyes. He and Anakin had often been rivals, but I could see then that he would be a great Knight, like Anakin. I suppose neither reached their goal.
She blinked, her eyes bright. "Yes," she said simply, agreeing. She looked down, then again met my eyes, her grip on my shoulders loosening. "My duty to him is gone."
And that look in her eyes - that mysterious look - returned. But I saw what it was now. I understood what that look meant. It meant attachment. Love, given and returned. She had seen, somehow, my feelings for her. I took one of her hands and enfolded it with my own. "I love you," I said simply. There was no need to say more.
The Force entwined us, granting a sharing of souls that otherwise could never be attained. Its stillness in the desert had not changed, but it had become deeper, stronger in the intensity of our feelings.
"I saw the boy," she added softly. I knew she was speaking of Luke, and I knew that she knew who he was - had probably known instinctively. And having sensed my presence, she knew why I in turn was there. I could hear her thoughts like a gentle caress across mine; I could sense the fierceness and beauty of her spirit. "Let your duty be mine, as well," she said, her words faint. Her hand came to my face, and touched my brow, sliding down the side of my face.
I could have said it was forbidden. I could have said it was wrong of us. I could have said that two Jedi would attract more attention than one. I did none of those things.
Guilt has its own kind of darkness. It touches ones' heart with self-recrimination, then evolves into self-disgust and hate. Even as the dark side does, it consumes a person's soul until there is nothing else but that misery and the emptiness that is darkness.
I knew of all of this, and yet it didn't stop me from going over it. I could not conquer the feeling within. Over years of meditations, lasting hours upon hours, I had discovered that I just didn't have the strength. I was tired. So very tired.
It's hard to explain love, or its effect. It's a beautiful, precious feeling. It gives me confidence. It makes me feel as if my world is tilted just right, as if everything is settled within its proper place. It was a confidence in a thing that went beyond what could be comprehended. It made me feel weak and dizzy from the intensity, but it made me strong with its never ending beat.
We reached out to the Force in that moment of decision. We felt the tiny lives of insects and scavengers on Tatooine, and we felt the harsh and brutal existence of Mos Espa and Mos Eisley. And we felt the majestic sweep of the two suns, circling each other endlessly in a beautiful dance of inevitability.
We felt the future like a dozen streams reaching ahead. Some were dark as the deepest night, and some twinkled with light of hope. They rushed ahead in the speed of time, and in those streams, we saw ourselves.
We saw many paths. Too many to comprehend, not all at once. It was an inspiring and terrifying vision of the future, and we tasted among those streams to find the right path. For us, once Jedi and now more, it was a simple matter to ask the Force. And to do as it willed.
With the night silent and the Force swirling to the pounding of our hearts, we kissed.
It was the gentlest of things, so soft as to be the gentle touch of a breeze. Her lips were dry and warm against mine. I pulled her tighter to me, and my lips grazed her soft cheek. Her arms came up around me, and I felt their solid heat against my bent back. One of my hands touched her hair and another her waist.
"And there is our answer." And as her words rang softly in her ear, I realized that sometimes, happy endings, or rather happy beginnings, really do come to be.
Original cover art by Cosmic. HTML formatting copyright 2003 TheForce.Net LLC.