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Title: Memories
Author: Sara (silk1023@aol.com)
Summary: Ben Kenobi reflects on how his past led him to his future
Author's Note: My first attempt at an Obi/Ami type fic. While it's not quite romance, I think it's the whole 'depth' of feeling thing. Please let me know what you think of my first try!
~~~ ~~~ indicates thoughts/memories
Setting: The Rebellion
Spoilers: ANH
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Not mine. None of these characters are. They belong to George Lucas.

***********

~~~Take care of him Obi-Wan. You're his only hope.~~~

Ben Kenobi sighed as he stared up at the double moons of Tatooine, Amidala's words echoing through his mind. Words uttered the last time he'd ever seen her, or Leia. Funny how those words seemed to haunt him lately.

~~~You're his only hope.~~~

Each night for the past few months, he'd awaken in the darkness, only to hear her soft words, to see her beautiful face gazing at him with stunningly beautiful eyes. Eyes so much wiser than her young years. Eyes filled with the glowing joy of new motherhood, but not quite bright enough to mask the soul deep pain that lay beneath. Eyes that had broken his heart as she'd placed her son in his arms, fighting to hold back her own tears of anguish as she'd said goodbye. Ben closed his eyes, still able to feel the pain of that parting down to his soul. It was an ache that had begun as he'd watched one of the few women he'd admired and loved, forced to give up her child. An ache that had stayed with him to this day. He knew he'd never forget the look in Amidala's eyes as she'd looked at her son for the final time. But his beautiful, courageous queen had simply forced a smile as she'd fought back tears and placed Luke in his arms. Because there had been no other choice. No other way to protect both Luke and Leia, should their father ever discover their existence. His actions had given her no other option.

~~~Oh Ami, how did it come to this?~~~

The guilt was still powerful enough to take his breath away, a sharp jab of pain that stabbed just under his heart. Like the proverbial thorn in his side, that guilt was always there to remind him of the consequences his actions had brought about for the people he loved. He knew, somewhere deep inside, that Amidala truly did not blame him, had never blamed him for Anakin's turning. But he blamed himself. If only he'd been a better Padawan to Qui-Gon. If only he'd been a better Master to Anakin. If only he'd done things differently, maybe things wouldn't have turned out this way. Maybe Amidala would not have been forced to separate her children. Maybe she would not have been forced to watch her husband turn to the dark side. Maybe Luke and Leia would have had a happy childhood, with a mother and father who loved them, and each other. Maybe this entire damn rebellion would have been over with if he'd only managed to keep Anakin from turning.

~~~This is NOT all your fault Obi-Wan Kenobi!~~~

Amidala's passionate words suddenly arose from the depths of his mind. He could still picture the fierce expression on her face as she'd looked him in the eye and refused to let him fall deeper into the pool of self-recrimination and guilt he'd been drowning in. Even then she'd been so remarkably strong, telling him over and over that nothing could have stopped Anakin's descent to the dark side.

Not his master and friend.

Not even his beloved wife.

She'd been so strong during those dark times, strong for them both. And several months later, strong for her two unborn children. He smiled as he remembered her fierce cries as she'd labored to bring her children into the world. He could still hear her soft cry of happiness as he'd laid Luke, then Leia in her arms. She'd been flushed and tired with the pain of her labor, nearly unconscious in fact, but the expression of joyful hope on her face as she'd held her children for the first time would live in his mind for the rest of his life.

~~~They will save us Obi-Wan. They will bring balance to the force.~~~

Her words, even now the faintest echo in his mind, sent a shiver down his spine. He'd known she'd spoken the truth. He hadn't questioned her words then, and wouldn't now. He'd known the force had prompted them. She'd felt it as strongly as he did. But oh how there were times over the past fifteen plus years he'd doubted those words! Years spent watching as Vader and the Emperor took on more and more power, using the dark side of the force to conquer and control those around them. Watching the hundreds of thousands of innocent people slaughtered daily by men who simply enjoyed the kill. Watching from afar as Luke grew up, the traces of his father becoming more and more evident as the boy grew older.

A facial expression.

A mannerism.

A look.

While he didn't see Luke often, he kept a careful eye on him, knowing that someday they would meet, when the force deemed the boy ready. Someday when the time came for Luke to fulfill his destiny. Something told him that time was near. Maybe it was the increasing frequency with which Amidala's words were haunting him. Maybe it was the strange energy he could feel building in the force around him.

~~~They will bring balance to the force.~~~

Still, there were times he doubted Amidala's prophetic words. Especially after so much suffering. So much time. So many forever partings. He felt hot tears fill his eyes as he remembered the expression on his Queen's sweet face, stiff with pain, a single tear falling down her cheek as she'd held Leia in one arm and Luke in the other that parting day. Feeling the emotions stirring inside him, he closed his eyes and let the memories take over.

***********

"My babies, they're so beautiful, aren't they Obi-Wan?" He simply nodded through the lump in his throat, unable to utter a word. The pure courage that shone through in her actions, sobered by the pain radiating from her eyes as she prepared to say goodbye to her son would haunt him forever. "Take care of him. You are his only hope." He knew at that moment, as did she, that they would never meet again. That she would never see her son again in this lifetime. The pain and acknowledgement of those truths in her eyes nearly broke his heart. Then, without a word, she suddenly wrapped her free arm around him, pulling the four of them into a hug, Luke and Leia laughing as they were squeezed between the two adults. He caught his breath at the love and pain that shone in Amidala's eyes as she held onto them for dear life. "Take care of our family." The words nearly broke the last band of control he had over his emotions. Their family. Despite the insanity surrounding them, despite the fact that her husband was now one of the most feared Sith Lords in the galaxy, despite the fact they could be discovered and killed any moment, they had somehow formed a family. "I will protect our family." It was all he could whisper back as she leaned up to place a gentle kiss on his lips. He shuddered at the feel of her warm lips against his. The way they lingered against his, speaking of things they would never be able to say.

Words that must never be uttered.

He knew he would never forget the sensation or that moment, for as long as he lived. "May the force be with you Obi-Wan Kenobi. I only pray that someday we may all meet again, in a happier place." With those words, and one final, heart wrenching squeeze to his shoulders, she leaned over her son. Placing her lips gently to his forehead, she kissed the soft skin, her heart in her eyes as she slowly pulled away. Her gaze never leaving her son, she wrapped both arms tightly around Leia, her heart in her eyes as she watched Luke smile happily and wave his arms from the security of his arms.

*************

Ben sighed as he came back to himself, not surprised to find a tear had slipped down his cheek at the memory. The hardest thing he'd ever had to do was to turn and walk away from her that cool, dark morning. But he had. There had been no other way to save them all. He felt another tear fall as he remembered reaching the top of the ship's walkway. He'd turned back once more, needing one final look at all that remained of whatever family he'd had left. Amidala had stood there, a stiff smile on her face, a single tear glimmering on her cheek. He'd known it had taken all her effort to smile, but knew she was determined that both of them would be left with the image of her smile, even though her heart was breaking. He'd managed a smile as well, sending her one final message, hoping she could see it in his eyes if not hear it in her heart.

~~~I will protect him. On the oath of a Jedi, I will not let the dark side take him.~~~

As the ship had carried them further from her, he'd known he would never see her again, and something had told him she would not have long left on this earth. He'd thought he'd been prepared for it. Prepared to live a solitary life alone, atoning for his mistakes by making things right by Anakin's son. But even that knowledge had not lessened the pain of Bail Organa's gently worded, encoded note explaining that Amidala had been taken ill only four months after they'd parted. She'd never recovered from her unnamed sickness, though the Senator had implied she'd fought for a short while to survive. For her children's sake. But in the end, Bail said she had simply been too frail, too weak, her body long having given out on her still active mind. He remembered staring blankly out at the dark night sky, allowing the tears to fall, allowing himself to grieve as he'd clutched the note in his hands. Wondering once more how it had all come to this. Wondering who else that he loved he would lose before this was over. Wondering what he could have done to prevent it. If he could have done anything at all. Ben sighed, feeling the final rays of the sun on his face, knowing the time for regrets was long past. He'd made his mistakes, he must now pay for them. Fated to remain alone in the desert of Tatooine, watching over young Luke from a distance, cut off from all he knew, wishing the boy could have known his mother and sister. Hoping they would all be reunited one day. But tonight, all those regrets were drowned out by the echo of Amidala's words, which seemed to fill the air around him. By a feeling in the force that surrounded him. An energy, a power inherent in the force that was changing and shifting around him.

He'd never felt emotions so strongly from the force before. Change was coming. It was in the air. He wasn't sure if he liked it. But he was more than ready for it, whatever it might be. The echo of a human cry, so foreign to ears that had long ago learned to distinguish between human and animal sounds in this barren desert, suddenly reached him on the wind. His senses perked up as the force swelled around him.

Luke Skywalker was near.

He could sense Anakin's son's presence more strongly than he'd ever been able to before. It shimmered around him, setting his force sense on high alert. There was so much power in the boy. Exactly as there had been in his father. Perhaps even more. Power that could send young Luke down the same destructive path as his father. Ben shook off the chill the thought of his former padawan always brought on. He thanked the Gods that Luke, Leia and their mother had been spared a life with Vader. He only hoped the twins would never learn of their heritage. Too much danger lay in that route. Another soft cry had him pulling the hood of his cloak over his head, moving quickly across the sands, letting the force guide him. As he rounded the dune, he saw the figure lying prone in the sand, the remnants of a golden droid of some form scattered around him. His heart quickened, but quickly calmed as he realized the boy wasn't seriously injured. Although Luke Skywalker was a boy no longer. Sighing quietly with relief, he approached the figure, stopping as the soft whine and beep of another droid caught his attention. Turning his head, he noted a small, white and blue dome shaped droid staring at him from a nearby crevice.

A very familiar looking droid. Ben's eyes suddenly teared up as he remembered seeing the droid standing proudly next to Anakin, what seemed like ages ago. It had been far too long. "Artoo?" he asked quietly, surprise and delight appearing on his face as the little droid beeped excitedly and moved towards him. "It's been too long," he managed as the droid reached him. Ben smiled and patted the unit on the head with affection, listening carefully as he tried to make out the droid's jumbled explanations. Suddenly, a slight movement in front of him drew his attention back to the prone figure, lying helplessly in the sand. As he drew closer, his breath caught as he clearly saw the strong face seemingly at peace before him. Anakin had looked just like that at that age, so intense while awake, but peaceful as a child when asleep. His heart ached once again for his padawan and the path he'd chosen. But that was the past. This boy, this young man, Anakin's son, was the future. And while he wasn't sure how, he knew that Luke would play a major part in bringing this rebellion to its end. Despite the powerful forces working against him, including his own father.

~~~They are the galaxy's new hope.~~~

Amidala's words again whispered and echoed around him as he looked at the body of her son. His family. Their family. The galaxy's future. Shoving off a shiver at the remembered words, he moved towards Luke, knowing he could worry about those thoughts later. Right now, he needed to get the boy safely out of range of any further danger. The force would carry things from there. He smiled as he leaned down to shake the young man's shoulder gently. And as he slowly woke, as his eyes fluttered open, Ben Kenobi saw so many things reflected in those dark depths. The courage and strength of his mother. The drive and determination of his father as Anakin had been in those early years. The compassion and love of the twin sister he'd never met. But most of all, in the boy's eyes, he saw a spark of hope. That spark was enough to light a small ember in his heart.

~~~They will bring balance to the force.~~~

As he watched the boy slowly gain his bearings, he felt the strong presence of the force surrounding them both, Amidala's whispered words of so long ago, soothing him like a warm cloak. This young boy and his twin sister would bring balance to the force. They would bring peace to the galaxy. He would not be there to see it, but he knew, deep inside himself, that it would happen. The force shimmered and ebbed around him, secure in that knowledge, wanting him to be secure in it as well. And for the first time in the last fifteen years, the man known first as Obi-Wan, then Ben Kenobi, felt at peace.

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