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Title: Distance
Author: SaraC
Summary: Distance is hard to keep
Author's Notes: A Sequel to my fic "Goodbye To You" (also on Fanfic.net under "SaraC") It probably won't make much sense unless you read that one first. And yes, it's an Obi/Ami angsty piece, to forewarn those who might not want to read it! Enjoy!
Spoilers/Time Span: Post TPM
Rating: PG
Disclaimers: Not mine. The characters belong to George Lucas. The song "Distance" belongs to Evan and Jaron.

~~~~~~~~~~~
The sky has lost its color,
The sun has turned to gray,
At least that's how it feels to me,
Whenever you're away.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once again he found himself standing on a balcony overlooking the lush Naboo countryside. It had been two months since he'd been here last. It seemed no more than two hours. It seemed like only yesterday that he had been waiting here for her. To say goodbye. It had been the worst two months of his life. He had thought he could handle the distance. Thought he could handle knowing the woman he loved was married to the man he had come to regard not just as his Padawan, but as a friend and brother. Thought he could handle the pain by staying away from here and from her. Told himself over and over that he'd done the right thing, that things were as they should be. But the nights told him otherwise. The nights he lay awake, remembering her smile, her laughter, the touch of her skin against his that one forbidden night. Memories that refused to fade, but only grew clearer and more painful as time passed.

~~~~~~~~~~
I curl up in the corner,
As I watch the minutes pass.
Each one brings me closer to,
The time when you'll be back.
You're coming back.
~~~~~~~~~~~

She felt a welcome sense of déjà vu as she stood watching him from the darkness of the room. Had it only been two months since she'd last seen him this way? Silent and strong and handsome, staring up at the night sky over Naboo in contemplative thought. Looking more beautiful than the last time she'd seen him, touched him, let him claim her as his, even if it had been for only one night. She felt a twinge of guilt as those thoughts swept over her. She should have forgotten them. Forgotten what it felt like to feel his skin against hers, his breath hot against her ear as he whispered of his love. Forgotten how completely and utterly safe she had felt wrapped in his arms as sleep claimed her happily sated body. Forgotten the fierce longing that swept over her body as she had met his eyes from across the reception hall on her wedding day. The guilt gnawed at her now as she remembered her husband of two months, and the sweet way he would hold her after they made love. The whispered words of love that brought a smile to her face, but an ache to her heart. She loved her husband. But she was in love with his Master, his teacher, his friend. Time and distance could not change that, no matter how much she wished it could.

~~~~~~~~
I can't take the distance,
I can't take the miles.
I can't take the time until the next time I see you smile.
~~~~~~~~

He sensed her watching him from the shadows. Even after two months, he could feel her as if she had never left his side, as if she had been with him every day. She was always in his heart. Even the miles that separated them, the marriage that separated them, could not force her from his heart. He went to bed each night and woke each morning with thoughts of her, her name on his lips, her face starring in every one of his dreams.

~~~~~~~~~
I can't take the distance,
I'm not ashamed,
That I can't take a breath,
Without saying your name.
~~~~~~~~~~

He knew he'd done the right thing, that they'd both done the right thing. She was married to Anakin now, as the Force had decreed. His Padawan was just as in love with her as he had been years ago. It should have made things easier. Anakin should have been happily involved in his Jedi duties and his life as a husband. But something was wrong. He wasn't sure what, it was just a feeling. A feeling that crept up his spine at odd moments. A feeling that all was not right with his Padawan. For a few moments, he wondered if Anakin had sensed what was between his wife and his Master. He had buried his emotions deep inside, determined that Ani must never even suspect his true feelings. He had stayed away from Naboo, and from her. He felt confident that he had let nothing escape. But something in him sensed Ani was going through something unrelated to his new marriage and wife. That was what had him worried. The sense of darkness that seemed to constantly surround his Padawan of late. It would not be obvious but to one so close to him, one so attuned to the living Force around them. The uneasiness grew a little more each day. And he was not the only one to notice. Which was why he was here tonight, by her worried call.

~~~~~~~~
But I can brave a hurricane,
And still be standing tall when all the dust has settled down.
But I can't take the distance.
~~~~~~~~~

She sighed as she moved towards him, noting he did not immediately acknowledge her presence. She had tried. Really, she had. She had done everything she could to put that night out of her head. To bury her emotions deep inside where her husband could not sense them. She had respected his need for 'distance' and forced herself to concentrate on giving her husband the kind of wife he deserved. She did love him, in her own way. But it was nothing compared to the feelings that coursed through her when she saw his Master, standing tall in the moonlight, able to melt her resolve with one look from those beautiful, hypnotic eyes.

~~~~~~~~
I still believe in feelings,
But sometimes I feel too much.
I make believe you're close to me,
But it ain't close enough.
Not nearly close enough.
~~~~~~~~

"You sense he is troubled, changing from the man we know." She sighed at his words, no greeting, knowing it was best this way. Get straight to the reason she had summoned him, ignore things past. But it was one of the hardest things she had ever done. After all this time, all the distance, here he was, standing in front of her, hands clenched into fists at his side, a sure sign he was holding his emotions in check. She wanted nothing more than to throw herself into his arms, to lose herself in his embrace, his touch, his love. To push aside her doubts and fears and suspicions, even if just for one night. But that they could not do. She must focus on the bigger purpose. She must help her husband. "He has changed so much, even in just these past two months," she whispered softly, turning her gaze to the heavens as well. "I know," came his quiet reply. They continued to stare into the sky, neither saying a word, neither needing to. They had always best communicated when they were silent. After a few moments, he spoke again. "Have you noticed anything strange about his habits? People he has been seeing or meeting?" he asked, still not looking at her. She sighed, feeling the pang that always hit her heart when she remembered how secretive her husband had become.   "I don't know," she answered in a low voice, hands clenching tightly on the railing in front of her so they would not find their way around his waist. "He is almost never home at night anymore, and he won't tell me where he goes or who he meets," she went on quietly, feeling the tears so close to the surface now. "But when he does return, I sense such a great darkness within him. It is always strongest then, I can feel it. But he tries to hide it from me, and we often argue," she trailed off, a tear finally escaping her tight control. He found his gaze drawn to that tear as it slid down her cheek. He hated seeing her in pain. Hated even more that it was himself, and his Padawan, that had put that pain and grief in her lovely eyes.

"So you have not been able to get him to tell you who he is with or where?" he asked again, hating to make her dredge this up, but needing to know everything in order to assess the situation properly. She sighed, turning to pace the balcony as she talked. "There have been rumors of course," she began hesitantly, as she forced herself to give voice to her worries. "Rumors that the Queen's husband has been seen walking through town with a tall figure in black. Rumors that he has been attending secret meetings with certain Senators who are inclined to express their displeasure with the current state of the Senate and Republic," she whispered, trailing off at his sigh. "It is as I feared then," he answered quietly, turning his gaze to her pacing figure. "Feared? What do you fear? What do you know?" she asked, nearly pleading as she returned to his side, gazing deeply into his eyes. He sighed, knowing what he must tell her would most probably hurt her deeply. He knew she loved her husband in her own way, which was why he dreaded telling her his suspicions. But she had summoned him here, and he must tell her the danger she could be in. "For several weeks now, I have sensed a great darkness about him," he began slowly, turning his gaze from hers again. "Our Master/Padawan bond has been blocked, by Anakin, more than it is open lately. He never used to block me before. Now, it as if he is hiding something. Something that he cannot tell me, or the Council, and that is what worries me," he murmured, looking back up into the sky. "What do you think he is hiding?" she asked hesitantly, watching his eyes cloud over. "The darkness is strong around him. I suspect he is being wooed by the dark forces, by a Sith Lord perhaps, in hopes of turning him to the dark side," he finally admitted, startled to hear his deepest fear emerge from him. She remained silent, watching him as she let his words sink in. "Not Anakin. That is not the man I married, nor the boy I knew, the boy who trained at your knee and calls you friend," she replied, but found conviction lacking in her voice. He simply sighed.

"How I want to believe that Ami, I wish I could believe that with everything in me," he whispered, turning to face her, making sure she could see his eyes as he spoke. "But the darkness around him is too great, I fear things have already been set in motion that cannot be stopped," he finished, seeing the pain in her eyes as she truly listened to his words. They remained silent for several moments, simply looking into each other's eyes. "What do I do?" she finally whispered, an ache inside her as she realized nothing would ever be the same. He sighed, turning from her to stare once again at the sky. "I don't know," he whispered, sounding helpless and frustrated. She was scared now. She had never seen him like this before. So lost, so helpless. "But you always have a plan. You are always the strong one, the one to lead the way and guide us all through the darkness," she whispered, watching as his shoulders slumped. "You paint me too noble Ami," he whispered, still refusing to meet her gaze. She sighed, giving in to her emotions and stepping behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist. "You are the noblest man I have ever known, and if you say my husband is being steered towards the dark side, I believe you," she whispered against his back, feeling his body relax against hers. "You have always told me the truth, and I know you would not lie to me now," she continued, shifting as he tuned to face her, his arms coming to rest lightly around her waist. "I wish it were a lie," he whispered, letting his forehead rest against hers for a moment, losing himself in the soft feel of her skin against his cheek. It had been far too long. But she was another man's wife. He could not do this.

Sighing, he lifted his head, but was unable to release her from his embrace. "We cannot dwell on why this happened, we need to figure out what to do from here, I'm scared Obi-Wan," she whispered, tears filling her eyes as she collapsed against him. He sighed, holding her tightly, letting her sob into his chest. How he wished he had the right to do more than hold her. To comfort her and try to make her believe things would be all right. To once more feel her touch, to help them both forget the fears and doubts plaguing them about one they loved. How he wished he had the right to tell her he would always be there for her, no matter what. That he would protect her until his dying day. That he would love her throughout eternity.

~~~~~~~
I can't take the distance,
I can't take the miles.
I can't take the time until the next time I see you smile.
~~~~~~~

"You must be brave. Ani must not see how much this upsets you, or me," he whispered against her hair, closing his eyes as he breathed in her light scent. She slowly felt the sobs ease, until she was simply resting quietly in his embrace, letting his whispered words and soothing strokes on her back calm her. "How can I hide it from him?" she whispered, leaning back to look up into his eyes. Her breath caught at the pain she could see reflected there. Pain mixed with an overwhelming love that she knew would never die. "You must. Your safety, your life, may depend on it," he whispered, the urgency in his voice getting through to her as nothing else had. "You cannot believe he would hurt me?" she asked, almost incredulously. She felt the denial rage through her system as he turned his gaze from hers. "You think my husband would hurt me? I cannot believe that Obi-Wan," she whispered, reaching up to turn his face back to hers. "He loves me, and no matter how tempted he may be by the dark side, I cannot believe he would hurt the woman he loves," she finished. But her voice lacked conviction. And they both knew it. He sighed as he looked deep into her eyes. "The dark side is powerful. It is so seductive, I believe anything is possible. And while everything inside me screams that Anakin would never hurt you, I have seen too much to totally rule it out," he replied, almost apologetically. She pulled out of his embrace, heading to the balcony, staring up into the night sky. "What can I do?" she asked in a whisper, sighing as she felt him come to stand next to her. "Be alert, be careful. Try to show him that you are there for him, that you love him," he whispered, choking on the final words. She felt the tears fill her eyes as she turned to face him. "What if it is not enough?" she whispered, watching as something sparked in his eyes. "Ami, it has to be enough, you know that," he whispered, reaching to brush a strand of hair off her cheek.

"But it's not, and I'm tired of this charade," she whispered, finally letting her guard down and letting him see the agony she was in. "Every night I try not to worry about where he is, or what he is doing. I tell myself he can have no clue that his wife still dreams of another man, feels another's touch the few times he touches her," she whispered, watching his eyes spark. "I try not to let the guilt I feel at not being able to love him as he loves me, consume me," she whispered, her gaze never leaving his. "I feel the guilt that somehow it is me that is turning him away, that he senses my feelings and turns elsewhere. That kind of guilt can kill a person, make each day a living hell," she continued in a ragged voice, turning into his embrace. He held her tightly, feeling her shudder against him as she fought back more tears. "I share that guilt, it is a cross I will always bear," he whispered against her hair. "But I cannot regret it, not for one moment. No matter what happens, where things lead, I will never, ever regret loving you with every breath of my being," he finished, moving back so she could see the truth in his eyes.

~~~~~~~~
I can't take the distance,
I'm not ashamed,
That I can't take a breath,
Without saying your name.
~~~~~~~~

The love in his eyes was enough to give her hope. The pain in his eyes was enough to break her heart. But she knew he spoke the truth. So would she. "I cannot regret it either, I love you Obi-Wan, no matter what, I will always love you," she whispered, her eyes conveying the sincerity of her words.

~~~~~~~~~
But I can brave a hurricane,
And still be standing tall when all the dust has settled down.
~~~~~~~~~

They stared at each other, acknowledging that no matter how they might fight their feelings, the truth would always remain. It would cause pain and heartbreak if it were ever known. Therefore, they must bear the knowledge alone, hiding it from all around them, especially Anakin. "You must be strong for him, whether it is enough to save him, only time and the Force will tell," he whispered, seeing the acceptance in her eyes. "You must be too. He is still your Padawan, he still loves you, I know it," she whispered, seeing his eyes cloud. "I only hope you are right. I fear a great darkness coming, and despite my concern for him, it is you I am worried more about," he whispered, pulling her close and hugging her tightly. She sighed, letting herself relax in his embrace for a moment. But the moment soon passed, and she knew if she did not let him go right now, she would never be able to.

~~~~~~
I can't take the distance,
I can't take the miles.
I can't take the time until the next time I see you smile.
~~~~~~

"I am Queen, I must be strong for my people. I must carry on, never letting them suspect their beloved Anakin is anything more than my happy husband and a great Jedi warrior," she whispered, pulling back to look into his eyes, willing him to believe her words. "He loves me, and whatever happens, I know that will not change. Maybe I can help him change, maybe if he knows what I'm only beginning to suspect," she whispered, stopping as she realized what she had been about to say. He tensed at her words, something shimmering in the Force around them. "Beginning to suspect what?" he whispered, lifting her chin to gaze into his eyes. She bit her lip, not sure how to say it, but knowing he needed to know. "I think I'm pregnant," she whispered, watching as his eyes flashed. "You know this for certain? You have seen a healer?" he asked anxiously, scanning her eyes for the truth. She smiled through her tears. "I am a woman. We know these things," she whispered, watching as his eyes closed tightly. She felt her heart ache as she realized what he was thinking.

He let the knowledge sink into his bones, knowing the Force had ordained it, that this was what was meant to be. He just hadn't realized it would hurt so much. Even in the midst of his worry for his Padawan, he could not help but feel jealous that it was his friend's child his love was going to have. How he wished it could have been his. She watched him, able to easily read his emotions. Part of her ached with him, wishing he were the father as well. But that was not to be. And she had responsibilities and duties. "You haven't told him then?" he asked quietly. She shook her head. "He has not been home long enough for me to talk to him. And I wanted to be sure before I said anything," she whispered, surprised to feel his hands grip her arms tightly as he turned her towards him. "You must not say anything to him," he whispered, putting a finger across her lips as she tried to protest. "If you are carrying his child, yes, it may help him face and defeat the dark power I believe calling to him," he began as she stilled underneath his touch. "But if he is being seduced by the dark side, if he were to find out you were pregnant, and how powerful your child would be, he could easily turn him to the dark side as well," he finished softly, hating the pain his words caused to appear in her eyes. "He would never harm his child, or me," she whispered, praying deep inside that those words were true. She felt something like panic attack her system as she watched him lower his head.

"I wish that were true. I want to believe it is true, but we cannot take that chance, not yet. He has become too powerful," he replied softly, turning anguish filled eyes to hers. "So what do you suggest I do? Keep it a secret? Keep his child a secret from him?" she asked harshly, feeling frustration coursing through her system. "For the moment," he replied, turning to place a hand on her cheek. "Only for the moment. We must see how things develop and judge things as they go. Who knows what the next few months will bring," he whispered, seeing the unwilling understanding dawn in her eyes. She sighed, turning from him to face the night again. "I hate this, I truly hate keeping this from him. I hate secrets and lies and everything our lives seem to have become," she whispered fiercely, feeling the tears threaten again. He felt her pain, wishing with everything inside him that he could take it away. "I hate it too," he whispered as he stood next to her. "Ani is my friend as well as my Padawan, and it kills me to keep things from him. But we have no choice, if he were to find out, things would only get worse," he whispered, staring into the night alongside her. "I know," she answered softly, leaning against his side as he slipped an arm around her waist. For a few moments, they reflected silently on their situation. "If only it could have been you," she finally whispered, turning to gaze into his eyes. He felt a lump in his throat as he looked down at her. "If only," he whispered, leaning down to plant a soft kiss on her forehead, forcing himself to stop there. His nerves were already stretched too tightly and he couldn't trust himself much longer. She closed her eyes, leaning into his soft kiss, wishing it could be more.

Wishing for so many different things.

"I must go, it would not do for Ani to return home and find me here with you," he whispered against her forehead, feeling her arms tighten around his waist. "I don't want you to go. I don't want to be alone again," she whispered, burying her head in his neck. He sighed, resting his head on top of hers for a moment before pulling back. "You know I must," he whispered, pulling away to brush a strand of hair from her cheek. She looked at him for a long moment, letting him see her love for him reflected in her eyes. "I know, but you will be here, if I need you," she began as he nodded, placing his fingers across her lips. "Distance is nothing Ami. If you need me, for anything, anything at all, I will be here," he whispered, his love shining from his eyes. "I know, and because of that, I will be brave. I will do what I can to help and love my husband and maybe between us we can keep him from this dark path he seems to be headed down," she replied, hugging him tightly one more time. "We must Ami, we cannot lose him to the dark side," he answered as he held her close for one more moment. Reluctantly, they parted. "I love you Obi-Wan, always, no matter what happens, never doubt that," she whispered. His heart mended and broke at her words. "And I you Ami, always," he replied, brushing a finger down her cheek before forcing himself to turn from her. "Be careful," she called out to him, her heart in her eyes. He turned back and gave her the special smile that made her melt. "May the force be with you my love, always as am I," he whispered, heart breaking again as he turned and strode from the room. She felt a lone tear slip down her cheek as she watched another man she loved leave her. "As I am with you, always," she whispered to the empty balcony. Then, with one final glance at the starry night sky, she turned and headed back into the palace.

~~~~~~~~~~
I can't take the distance,
I'm not ashamed,
That I can't take a breath, without saying your name.
I can't take the distance.
The distance.
~~~~~~~~~~

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