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Title: The Other Side
Author: JK
Author's Note: Up late one night I read a fic called 'Please Remember Me' by Kari Raines. I got the sudden urge to write. Having the song in my head, I got out the lyrics to Savage Garden's 'Crash and Burn' (Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones). I wrote this that night. I dedicate this to my friend Queen Amidala, and to Kari Raines.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, places or
events of the Star Wars universe. They belong to George Lucas, and he should be proud of them. I am making no money from this story, I promise!!!

The Other Side

I don't know what it is that wakes me. I lie in the darkness
staring around my room. I am home at last. I am home,
and my planet is free. I let the memories come flooding
back to me, memories of my plan, of speaking to the
Gungans, and of today's epic battle.

Then... The joy I felt as the reports came flooding in. The
Droid Control Ship was destroyed. We had won! Joy fills
my heart once more as I remember our victory. Suddenly,
I no longer wish to sleep, only to enjoy the beauty of the
palace at night and appreciate its liberation.I throw on an
elegant cloak over my nightclothes and slip silently out of my
room, searching for a place to rejoice in Naboo's freedom.

The long, thick braid of my hair brushing against my back, I
make my way to the palace gardens that overlook the city.
There would be no better place to relish the beauty of
Theed and be glad of its liberation than in sight of its lights
and waterfalls.

The palace is so peaceful at night. When I was first elected
Queen, I found the cavernous rooms disquieting. The
shadows seemed to oppress me. Now I find the shadows
just another part of the beauty of the palace. At night it has a
whole new mood.

At night, with moonlight filtering through the windows, the
magnificence of the place is different. It takes on a
mysterious, ethereal quality. I love it. I take some time to
roam around the palace, enjoying the freedom to do so, and
to not have to sneak around my own home.

I pause to stare out a window at Theed. The crystal waterfalls
shine, ever changing, in the moonlight. I am filled with joy. My
elation makes my feet light. I walk some more, perfectly
happy in the freedom of my home. I step outside, and the
sentries smile at me, understanding my joy, even sharing it. I
meander happily, enjoying the cool night air.

Before I realise it the roar of the waterfall makes itself heard,
and I find I'm almost at the hangar. Surprised, I turn to go back
to the gardens. As I start walking away, a faint sound catches
my attention, barely audible under the noise of the rushing water.
I stop and turn slowly around. I look around me, and seeing
nobody, creep silently towards the entrance.

I'm in the middle of the hangar before I hear it again. It's a sort
of soft, whimpering sound. I turn to face the source of the
noise. I think it came from the corner. I realise I'm not armed,
although whoever or whatever it is doesn't sound
dangerous.

I weave around and between the ships. Hidden in the
shadows I can just make out a figure. Putting on a regal air, I
move towards the shape.

"Who's there?" My voice seems to cut through the still night
air.

The figure raises its head at looks straight at me.

"Your Highness!"

It's the voice that tells me who it is. I only know one person
with that accent. That, and the uncanny way he knows exactly
where I am and looks straight at me.

"Jedi Kenobi." I do my best to keep surprise from my voice,
but I think I fail. What is he doing in the hangar at this time of
night? Or any time of night? Did the sentries let him out?
They must have. Why didn't they inform me?

He scrambles to his feet, stepping forward to acknowledge
my presence, and something falls to the ground. It's Qui-
Gon's cloak. Suddenly my joyous heart feels icy cold.

Obi-Wan is no longer masked by the shadows. Dread
creeping through me, I study his face. He seems
uncomfortable under my gaze. There are traces of tears on
his cheeks. His eyes shine just a little too brightly in the
moonlight. There is moisture in them.

How could I have forgotten? Yes, we won. Yes, my planet
is free, but the price was Qui-Gon Jinn's life. And to Obi-
Wan...Qui-Gon was his closest friend, his father figure, his
Master. The sentries know of Obi-Wan's grief of course. T
he whole palace does. That's why they let him out.

I feel ashamed of myself. I forgot. I grieved for Qui-Gon
today, but in my joy, waking up in the night, I forgot that the
battle had a cost. I forgot about the Jedi, about Obi-Wan's
pain. How many others have lost someone they care for?

I feel my regal air melting away at the pitiful sight of the Jedi.
My heart aches for the young man.

"Obi-Wan, I..." I'm lost for words. I have no idea what he's
going through. The Jedi Master-Padawan bond is strong and
unique. The closest thing to it would be the bond between
father and son. I can't remember where I heard that, but now
I know it's true.

How can I comfort someone who's just lost all the family they
have?

"Your Highness." He starts to speak, his voice trembling just
the slightest bit. He's trying his best to appear strong, like he
always does.

"You can call me Amidala." Will he accept the offer of
friendship? I hold my breath, then let it out, disappointed, as
he begins again, rejecting my offer.

"Your Highness. I really should..." He turns his head and
won't look me in the face. I've never known him do that
before. I think he's afraid I'll see the grief in his face, the tears
in his eyes.

He's having trouble speaking. I can see him trying to control
and collect himself, to fortify his illusion of strength, but he can't. I
reach down and pick up Qui-Gon's cloak. I hand it to Obi-
Wan. He nods slowly at me and takes the garment in one
hand. He seems preoccupied, like he's not quite here.

"Thank you." He sighs, and his free hand falls to his belt. It
touches Qui-Gon's lightsaber which is hanging in the place of
his own lost one. Startled back into reality by the cold metal,
he looks down and sees it. It's too much for him. His facade
crumbles.

Obi-Wan's face contorts in agony and he just seems to
collapse. He steps back, hits the wall, then slides down it
until he's on the floor. Tears are streaming down his face.
He's trying to control himself, but he can't. His grief is too
great for that.

My heart wrenches to see him like this. Never before, not
even when he told me about Qui-Gon's death, have I seen
him without his habitual strong facade. When he told me
about his Master's death, the sadness was there in his eyes.
But he was still strong, even a little cold.

I realise now that he was afraid to let the facade down, for
fear he would break down. Because of his strong exterior, I
never really thought of his feelings. I knew that he must feel
emotions, but he never showed them. He was just strong
and quiet. I remember wishing that the Jedi would show
emotions. I curse myself for that now.

Now...it hurts to see the calm, restrained Jedi reduced to this.
He's sobbing uncontrollably into the soft fabric of Qui-Gon's
cloak, shoulders shaking wildly. I don't know what to do, how
to help him. I've never had to console someone who has
lost someone that close to them.

Suddenly I realise he needs to cry. If he doesn't, if he keeps
his grief inside, behind an illusion of strength, it'll build up until
it overwhelms him. That's just the way he is. he tries so hard
to be strong, to be dedicated, that he doesn't release his
emotions. He doesn't need the Queen of Naboo. He needs
a friend.

I gently sit beside Obi-Wan and slowly put an arm around
his shoulders to comfort him. He stops crying and looks at
me with a stricken expression, as if he'd forgotten I am here
and is ashamed to have lost control in front of me.

I pull him close to me and hold him.

"It's all right," I whisper gently into his ear. "It'll help to cry."

He gently rests his head on my shoulder.

Yet I know my soothing words aren't enough. For mine is not
the voice he longs to hear, the hand he longs to feel on his
shoulder. He yearns for reassurance from the man he loved
as his father, as he has had in the past. And he will never
again have that reassurance. All he has now are memories.

"His last words," Obi-Wan says quietly into my ear, as if he knows
what I'm thinking, "were about Anakin." His voice is full of
pain.

I know that there are very few people he will ever tell that to.
I feel touched by his trust, and my heart is rent by the sorrow
in his words. I cannot imagine how he feels. It must be a
great burden to him that Qui-Gon's last words were about
Anakin, not him. Not the man he loved as a son, who cared
about him more than anyone in the galaxy, but the boy he
had only known for a few days.

"Oh, Obi-Wan..."

He starts to cry again, but this time his tears aren't the wild
tears of earlier, but instead a gentler, quieter sobbing. I sit
with him and let him cry into my shoulder.

"It's all right," I whisper again, running my fingers through his
short hair. "It's all right."

Holding him, his trembling body seems so fragile. It feels
strange to be comforting someone so much older than me.
Older than me, but still young. I never realised before how
young he actually is. He can't be much older than twenty, yet
the seriousness of his face and the maturity he shows make
him seem far older. Now he seems so young, so
vulnerable.

I don't know how long we sit there, together. I am tired, but I
stay. What Obi-Wan needs most now is a human touch,
someone to be there for him if he needs to talk, someone to
let him know he is not alone.

Finally his sobbing subsides. He rests his head on my
shoulder for a while, then slowly raises it. The moon is gone
now, but the stars shine brightly enough for me to see the
exhaustion in his face. I realise suddenly that he probably
hasn't slept at all tonight.

"You need rest," I say gently. He nods silently and stands
up. I help him back to the palace, to his quarters. This time,
as we walk through the hangar, I notice with a pang of
sadness that there are several ships missing. Who will
comfort the families of those lost in the battle?

The magic of my home at night is lost on me now. I have
been greatly sobered since last time I was here. It seems
so long ago, although it was only earlier tonight.

When we reach his room we stop.

"Will you be all right?" I ask him gently. He nods his head,
then looks me in the eye.

"Thank you, Amidala." Obi-Wan's face shows his
appreciation, but his use of my name rather than my title is
the greatest expression of gratitude he could give. He has
finally accepted my offer of friendship. I smile sadly at him.

I feel guilty for rejoicing in my victory, when so much has
been lost. I have lost a friend, even if I have only known him
a few days, and Obi-Wan's loss has been far greater than
mine.

Obi-Wan looks at me thoughtfully.

"It's all right to rejoice," he says quietly, as if he has read my
thoughts. Which, I realise, maybe he has. The thought
startles me at first, and I feel indignant for a moment,
but I realise I don't really mind. "You have won a great
victory."

"It's all right to grieve," I reply, with sudden insight. "You have
lost a great friend."

He smiles wisely, sadly, at me.

"I know."

Looking into his sea-blue eyes, I see that a great load
has been lifted from him. The pain has not gone from his face,
but in the red-rimmed, tear-washed depths of his eyes,
mixed with the sorrow and hurt is a spark of hopeful optimism.

After I leave him I check on Anakin, in his quarters next door,
to make sure that we have not disturbed him. He is sleeping
peacefully, and although his face is marked with tears, he
smiles in his sleep. He will be all right. So will Obi-Wan. It
might take a while for the young Jedi's grief to ease, but it
will. When it does, he will be stronger and wiser. His life has
been changed by that of a great man. I smile at Anakin,
sleeping calmly, and turn to leave.

Hopefully Obi-Wan will sleep as peacefully as Anakin. It will
be a long, hard day for him.

I do not wish to sleep again just yet, although I am tired. This
has been the longest day of my life.

Instead, I walk around the palace again, this time pondering
what I have seen and learned. I know now that every victory
has a price. I was foolish to rejoice so heedlessly. If I am to
be a kind, compassionate ruler, I must see the other side of
things. For victory, there is loss. Today, well yesterday
really, I won my planet. Obi-Wan lost his Master. For
sorrow, there is hope. For pain, there is joy. For strength,
there is weakness.

Holding him, letting him cry into my shoulder, has shown me
the other side of Obi-Wan Kenobi. For his dedication,
strength and coldness, there is weakness, love, and even
shyness. His outer strength makes him weaker inside,weaker
emotionally. He is shy of sharing his feelings, of needing
help, rather than helping. Maybe his emotions are even
stronger than mine, because he keeps them to himself,
unsure about sharing them.

I regret not having seen his other side earlier. It touches me,
and reminds me that everything has another side. I know
now that in Obi-Wan I have found a lasting friend. Reflecting
on this, I make my way back to my chambers.

I return to my bed a changed woman.


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