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Title: Not While I'm Around
Author: SaraC
Summary: No one is going to harm the twins, not while two people are around.
Notes: The 4th part of my series. Previous chapters "Goodbye To You," "Distance," and "Hero" can be found at Fanfic.net under SaraC! Please bear with me, this children's lullaby (ironically from a very dark musical) stuck in my head and I thought it worked well for this story!
Spoilers/Time Frame: Post TPM.
Pairing: Obi/Ami
Rating: PG
Archive: Okay anywhere, just let me know!
Disclaimers: These characters are NOT mine. They all belong to Joss, the song "Not While I'm Around" belongs to Steven Sondheim and "Sweeney Todd."

~~~~~~~~~
Nothing's gonna harm you,
Not while I'm around.
Nothing's gonna harm you,
No sir, not while I'm around.
~~~~~~~~~~

She stared down at the twin bundles in her arms, feeling more love for them than she'd have ever thought possible.

Her children.

Luke and Leia.

Her babies.

How she loved them both! If only their father could see them. The pain that shot through her heart at the thought was enough to bring her crashing back down to reality. Anakin, her husband, was no more. Instead, a creature calling himself Darth Vader had taken his place. Her heart ached as she remembered the pure evil she'd sensed in him that final day. The day he tried to kill his Master and former friend. Her heart tore as she remembered the fear that had coursed through her as he'd taunted her in a cold, hard voice she hadn't recognized.

Telling her exactly what he intended to do to his former Master, now his sworn enemy. She had fought hard not to show her revulsion, everything inside her aching for the man she'd lost, the good hearted boy she'd known so long ago. He was her Anakin no more. But she had to believe that someday, someway, he would triumph over the dark forces ruling him now. That day, his children would finally be known to him, be loved by him. But until that day, if it ever were to come, she would not let her children near the monster Anakin Skywalker had become.

~~~~~~~~~~
Demons are prowling everywhere,
Nowadays.
I'll send 'em howling, I don't care,
I got ways.
~~~~~~~~~~

He caught his breath at the picture she made, staring up into the still dark Naboo sky. How many times had he arrived to find her like this? He smiled through the weary pain he now wore like a cloak, for a moment, remembering happier times. But all that had changed now. Since he'd been forced to fight his Padawan. His heart still ached as he remembered Anakin's fall, as if in slow motion, into that molten pit. The cry that was wrenched from his throat as he'd watched his former friend sink into the fiery mass. Remembered the look of pure, blinding hatred his Padawan had given him. He had failed. No greater proof was needed than the hate he'd seen in Anakin's eyes at that moment. He'd fallen to his feet, weeping for them both, feeling a pain greater than he had ever known.

He hadn't had the strength to return to the palace that night, knowing he needed to gather himself together and deal with his grief, his failure, before trying to explain it to the woman he loved above all others. His Padawan's wife. His heart cried out to her, knowing that she would feel great pain at the knowledge her husband was truly gone. That he could never know about his two beautiful children. At that thought, he came back to the present, his attention focusing on the bundles she held in her arms. His heart ached and his throat grew tight as he watched her whisper something to her son and daughter. Part of him ached at the knowledge these remarkable children would never know the man their father used to be.

The good-hearted boy, willing to risk his life for a group of strangers. Another part however, chilled at the thought that Luke or Leia might ever come in contact with the man their father had become. The pure horror of what could happen if they were to meet was enough to steel his reserve and determination. Darth Vader would never know of their existence. He would never touch them. He would die before he let them near the monster their father had become.

~~~~~~~~~~
No one's gonna hurt you,
No one's gonna dare.
Others can desert you,
Not to worry, whistle, I'll be there.
~~~~~~~~~~

She sighed, feeling his presence behind her as she always did. Her heart could not help skipping a beat as she felt his gaze on her back. Even after all this time, after all they'd been through, the simple touch of his gaze was enough to bring her to her knees and send desire streaming through her body. She remained with her back to him, knowing he would come to her when he was ready. She smiled as Leia cooed in her arms, a small fist rising to her mouth to be sucked on with apparent glee. His soft laughter was a balm to her troubled soul as he moved behind her, wrapping his arms lightly around her waist, resting his head on her shoulder so he could look down at the children. "They've grown since the last time I saw them," he whispered, heart healing a tiny bit as her soft laughter echoed over the breeze. It had been too long since she'd laughed. And too soon, there would only be tears. "It's only been two weeks Obi, they haven't grown that much," she replied, relaxing back against him, enjoying the feel of his strong arms around her, holding her up. For once, she did not have to be the strong one.

The Queen, struggling to hold onto a planet fast being captured by the enemy. The woman worried about raising her children, keeping them secret from their father, lest he try to destroy them, or worse, turn them to the dark side. In Obi-Wan's arms, her children wrapped in hers, she finally allowed the burden to ease, knowing there was someone else who shared her pain. Shared her happiness. Shared her love. The two stood in silence, the soft coos of the babies the only sounds in the dark night. She did not want this moment to end.

In his arms, she felt loved, protected and safe from the evil surrounding them.

~~~~~~~~
Demons'll charm you with a smile, for a while,
But in time, nothing can harm you,
Not while I'm around
~~~~~~~~

"The transports will be here in a half an hour," he finally spoke, hating to break the moment, but knowing they did not have much time. She sighed, feeling the pain return in one great wave as she looked at her children. "Will he remember me, do you think?" she asked wistfully, trying to hold back the tears building behind her eyes. He felt the lump in his throat grow as he held her tighter. "I cannot say, but I believe he will," he replied quietly, feeling her tremble in his arms. She closed her eyes, wishing once again that things could be different. That she could have a normal life, with Obi-Wan and the twins. But her life was anything but normal. Their lives were anything but normal. She had known that from the start.

And now, she must give up the one chance left at that happiness, at that dream she'd once dared to dream. "Where will you take him?" she asked, knowing he had made all the arrangements, knowing it would have been too painful for her. He sighed, resting his chin lightly on top of her head. "Luke will be raised by my brother Owen and his wife Beru, on Tatooine," he replied softly, feeling her jerk at the words. "But that is so far away, nearly a galaxy," she whispered, unconsciously clutching her son closer to her. He sighed against her hair. "But it is the safest place for him," he whispered, knowing she would hear the truth in his words. "No one will think to look for him there, least of all Anakin," he finished, his voice breaking on the name. She leaned back against him, feeling him absorb her strength, and her love. Despite the ache inside her at giving up her child, she knew he was right. Fate had set them down this path long ago. For Luke and Leia's safety, for their future, they must be hidden. "Promise me you'll watch over him, promise me," she whispered suddenly, turning to face him, the twins giggling at the quick motion.

He looked deep into her eyes, brushing a strand of hair off her cheek, letting her see he meant every word. "I promise. I will watch over him, be there for him, until it is time for him to know his past, and his future," he answered quietly, brushing away the single tear that had escaped her tight control. "I believe you. I am holding you to that promise Obi-Wan Kenobi," she whispered as she rested her head against his chest, sighing as his arms wrapped around the three of them, bringing them into a tight embrace.

~~~~~~~~~
Being close and being clever, ain't like being true.
I don't need to - I would never hide a thing from you.
Like some.
~~~~~~~~~

He held them close, the only family he had left. It did not matter that they were not legally his, that she did not wear his wedding band, that the twins were not biologically his. In his own heart, and in hers, he knew they belonged to each other. They always had, and always would. Nothing could change that. It was simply the will of the Force. She rested in his embrace, marveling that even in such turmoil, his arms could soothe her pain, could make her believe that things would be all right in the end. After all, they loved each other. And that was worth everything. No matter how much it was going to hurt to say goodbye. "Obi-Wan," she whispered, pulling her head back to stare into his eyes. "What is it my love," he replied, meeting her gaze straight on. "We will never see each other after tonight, will we?" she asked, a hollow feeling in her heart as she saw the pain flicker in his eyes.

He closed his eyes for a moment, everything in the Living Force around him telling him she spoke the truth. This would be their last meeting. His heart cried out at the thought, wanting to sweep her away from everything and everyone, ignore duty and responsibility, and simply run. Hide from everything, raise the children together, far away from the hate and distrust permeating the galaxy. But he knew that was not to be. They, each of them, had a destiny. And it was not to be with each other. She watched the emotions flicker across his face, knowing he was trying to find a way to reply. "You don't have to tell me Obi, I can sense it too," she whispered, another tear slipping down her cheek. "I don't want to let you, or the children, go," he whispered, the longing in his voice making it crack with emotion. She swallowed the lump in her throat as she tried to smile at him.

"I don't want to let you go either. How am I supposed to go on without you?" she whispered, cuddling Luke and Leia closer as she gazed into his eyes, pouring her heart into the words. "You have always been there to save me, to help me, to guide me, and more than all that, to love me," she whispered, tears filling her eyes, threatening to overflow. "I cannot go on without you, how can I?" she finished, more tears beginning to slip down her cheeks. His heart ached as he wiped those tears away, leaning down to brush a gentle kiss across her lips. "You are strong Ami, you always have been. That is why the Force chose you to bear Anakin's children, to bring hope to a weary world. You will survive, you do not have it inside you to not," he whispered, heart aching with every word.

"But it will be without you, and without Luke," she whispered, clutching her son closer to her breast. He closed his eyes, drawing in a sharp breath. "I will always be with you Ami, in here," he whispered, placing a hand over her heart. "No one can ever hurt you, no one will ever hurt you. I will always be with you, if not physically then mentally, I will never leave you," he whispered, pulling her against him as she finally gave into the sobs wracking her small body.

~~~~~~~~~
No one's gonna hurt you,
No one's gonna dare.
Others can desert you,
Not to worry, whistle, I'll be there.
~~~~~~~~~~

When all the tears had been shed, she again rested her head quietly against his chest. She could feel the gentle rays of the morning light beginning to creep over the horizon. The night was at an end. As was her life as she had known it. "It is time," he whispered softly, still holding her and the children tightly against him. Luke and Leia must have sensed the importance of the moment, for both were quiet and still in their mother's arms, watching with wide eyes. She sniffed, trying to smile as she pulled back, determined not to have her son's final memory of his mother be one of sadness and tears. "We are ready," she whispered, leaning heavily against him as he slipped his arm around her waist and guided her into the bedroom. His heart ached as he saw the small bags waiting for them, the few things they were able to take with them. So much would be left behind. "Obi-Wan," she whispered softly, handing him the children as she moved towards a larger bag, containing all that she wished to take with her.

How little it was.

How much was left behind.

"Yes my love," he whispered, feeling his heart tear as he realized he would no longer be able to call her that, except in his dreams. She smiled, forcing down her sadness as she pulled a leather bound book from her bag. "I want you to hold onto this," she replied, moving towards him, the book clutched tightly to her chest. "What is it?" he asked, surprised to see her blush. "It is a diary I have kept these past two years, with all my feelings and emotions, for you and Anakin, and the children," she whispered quietly, seeing his eyes soften. "Their history," he whispered as she nodded. "Their legacy," she replied, stroking the soft cover almost reverently. "Keep this with you, read it and know my heart," she whispered, a tear falling as she read the desire and love in his eyes.

For her.

"Always," he whispered, leaning down to kiss her gently. She sighed, relaxing into the embrace, knowing she might never feel it again. The bittersweetness of the thought only served to sweeten the moment. When they finally pulled apart for breath, she looked first at her children, then at the man she loved. "When the time is right, I want you to show this to Luke and Leia, so they understand their history, who their father and mother were, and why we all made the choices we did," she whispered, seeing the understanding dawn in his eyes. "I will cherish it with my life, and when the time comes, will show them it with all the love and pride I feel now," he whispered softly as she nodded, taking the children from his arms and replacing them with the book. The low knock on the door startled them both. "We must hurry, the sun is almost up," he whispered, still reluctant to leave this sanctuary that had seen so many of their pivotal moments. Forcing back her tears, she nodded, holding her babies tightly as he picked up their luggage and they quietly followed Sabe through the long palace halls. She looked around her, seeing the years of Naboo history, of her family, of her life and her loves.

She knew it would be her last look. She would never come back. She was grateful for the arm he slipped around her waist, sensing her sadness and pain. "Someday, I promise you, someday, we will return," he whispered against her hair. She smiled, liking the thought. "I shall hold you to that promise as well my love," she replied, snuggling just a little closer, smiling as Luke yawned in her arms. If things had been different, she might have thoroughly enjoyed this moment of peace, of family, in their crazy, mixed up world. But all too soon they had reached the hangar. She felt the aching pain of loss growing as they approached the two small ships that awaited them. She felt him hesitate as well, reluctant to part, to leave the only sure thing either of them had ever known. Without a word, they turned to each other, eyes speaking more than words ever could. Taking a deep breath, she looked at Luke, smiling happily up at her. Part of her heart was torn out as she leaned down and placed a kiss on his forehead. "I love you my son, I always will, wherever you are, know that and never forget it," she whispered, unable to hold back the tear that slipped down her cheek. He felt his own tears nearing the surface as he watched her say goodbye to her child. He knew it was the hardest thing she had ever had to do in her life. He couldn't help the tear that escaped his tight control as she turned her gaze to his, keeping eye contact as she placed the precious bundle in his arms. "Take care of him, protect him, he will need you," she whispered hoarsely, seeing the pain and love reflected in the eyes she knew and loved so well.

"Always my love. As you will protect and care for his sister, she needs you just as much," he replied softly, leaning over to place a gentle kiss against Leia's forehead. Then, their gazes returned to each other. For a moment, both remained silent. They had always been better at expressing emotions without words. She knew, at that moment, that giving them up was the hardest thing she would ever have to do. But she would do it. For the safety of her children. For the safety of the man she loved more than life itself. "I will always love you Obi-Wan, never forget that," she whispered, leaning up to place her lips on his. With a soft cry, he pulled her tightly to him, barely remembering the children they held between them, as he devoured her lips. He knew he would never see her, touch her, or feel her again in this life. How he hated that knowledge! But it was the will of the Force. Nothing could change what was already determined. When they finally parted, tears were falling from two pairs of eyes. "As I will always love you Amidala, forever," he whispered hoarsely. "No matter what happens, we will be together again, in this world or the next, I promise my love," he whispered, holding her tightly to him once more. Again, they simply held each other, absorbing the strength and love the other would need to go on. Finally, they parted, feeling the sun's ray's break over their faces. She knew she must go now, before she could not leave at all. "Goodbye my son," she whispered, placing another soft kiss on Luke's cheek. He smiled and waved at her, making her heart lighten just a bit.

Then she turned her gaze to her beloved. "Goodbye my love," she whispered, placing one more kiss against his lips, tasting the salt of his tears. "May the Force be with you both, my love, forever, as will I," he whispered, as she simply nodded and stepped back. Eyes still locked, they moved apart, each heading for their separate shuttle. Her heart was breaking, but she forced the pain down, knowing there was a long and difficult journey ahead of her. As she reached the ramp to the ship, she could not resist one final look. Her breath caught as she saw her love and her son poised at the same spot, gazes connecting across time and space. Then, with one final look of love, longing and pain, Obi-Wan and Amidala boarded their ships, separating for the final time, to face a destiny pre-determined long ago by Forces too ancient to name. But in their hearts, each knew they would never be far from the other, or the children. No matter what fate might befall them, nothing would hurt them, not with the other around, even if only in their dreams.

And Luke and Leia's memories.

~~~~~~~~~~
Demons'll charm you with a smile, for a while,
But in time, nothin' can harm you,
Not while I'm around.
~~~~~~~~~~

Previous Chapters: Goodbye To You / Distance / Hero /  Not While I'm Around /  Next Chapter: Arms of His Angel

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