“Should I wake Ben up?” she asked, looking at the man asleep next to her.
“Not tonight,” he answered. “I believe you wanted to speak to me alone. I thought it would work better for us to talk in this way.”
“Will it cost you much?” Months since she’d learned of his inevitable departure, and she didn’t want to be the cause of his having to leave any sooner.
So Padmé untangled herself from Ben and threw on a tunic-his, she thought, and went to sit at the table in the middle of the house. Qui-Gon sat down next to her, or least gave a very convincing impression of doing so.
“It’s Luke,” she started. “He’s been having nightmares. Had the first one the night the three of us were first together, in fact; that’s why he was up so early that morning. He wanted to tell me then, but he lost his nerve. He finally told me a week ago.”
“Did he say what was in them?”
“Not as much as I would have liked to know. He was embarrassed, ashamed, and I didn’t know what to do about it. He made me promise not to tell Ben; that’s why I had to talk to you like this. He did say he fought the Emperor, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. And he thinks his father speaks to him.” It was easier to speak about Anakin than it would have been once, but Padmé still felt her heart grow heavy, if only for the sake of the son whom she didn’t know how to help.
Qui-Gon must have sensed her guilt, because he said gently, “You done the best you can so far.”
“But I don’t know what to do now.”
“What have you told him?”
It took her a second to comprehend the question. “The best answer for that would probably come from Ben. From what he’s told me, he’s pretty much told them who their father was, leaving out the last day or so of his life, letting them know only that he’s dead, and that the Emperor was responsible for his death. I think both he and Leia suspect there’s something we’re leaving out, though.”
“You need to tell them the truth sooner or later, Padmé.”
“Why?” she demanded. “Why do they need to know exactly how their father died? He’s dead. That’s all.” That had to be all. She couldn't deal with it otherwise.
“If’s Luke’s dreams are true, he will be involved in his future in some sort of form.”
“Luke’s dreams can’t be true,” she said quickly. “When Anakin had prophetic dreams, they always went the same way. Luke’s don’t.”
“Padmé, dreams are not consistent things, not even premonitions.”
“Well, how can they predict two opposite outcomes? Sometimes he defeats him, sometimes he doesn’t.”
“Not all premonitions are real. Anakin continually imagined you dying in childbirth, and you didn’t.”
“I should have!” Padmé was stunned by how loud her own voice was, equally so by her words, even as they spilled out. “I should have died. He shouldn’t have died. I think he was supposed to have won that duel on Mustafar-”
“He was not,” and Qui-Gon spoke so vehemently that Padmé knew instantly it was true. “I don’t know what was supposed to happen, if indeed anything was ‘supposed’ to happen, but it was not that.
I think you need to tell Luke and Leia both the truth. I understand why we might have preferred to wait, but there may well be nothing for it. And I don’t think the four of you can stay here any longer. If Luke is being driven towards something...”
“How are we to travel? Where are we to go?” asked Padmé desolately. “It was easier for just Ben and the twins; time forgot him eventually. I’m far more recognizable, and I probably have higher price on my head than he does too. I’m the reason we’ve been here for so long.” They had never said such a thing out loud, but they'd all known it.
“I have been off planet and out in the galaxy on occasion. I went out but a couple of days ago. And the Rebellion is getting stronger, more united. Five years will see it united completely. And I have located many people friendly to it in Anchorhead. When Luke and Leia were younger, there was a limit to what Obi-Wan could do, but of course he wants to be involved again. He worries if they are old enough for it, but again, that question may have been taken out of your hands. I am aware you two have not talked about it, but let me assure you, I know you both to be of the same mind, with the same concerns. You need merely speak to him of our conversation tomorrow morning, and he-”
“He will be quite unhappy about being unnecessarily left out of an important conversation.”
Her startled, and him clearly less so, Padmé and Qui-Gon turned to where Ben was standing, wrapped up in the blanket, and looking less than pleased.
“I’m sorry, Ben,” said Padmé, “but I couldn’t, because, well, because...”
She groped for a way to explain, but Qui-Gon said, “Because she needed to tell me something that she couldn’t tell you, because she had promised Luke she wouldn’t. However, not only had she not promised him she wouldn’t tell me, but I haven’t promised anyone not to tell you anything.”
“Luke doesn’t even know you exist,” Ben pointed out grumpily.
“And how many times have either him or Leia demanded to know who you were talking to, or what was distracting you, my Obi-Wan? To hear of the existence of someone like me would not surprise either of them, I imagine.”
He related to Ben the conversation they’d been having, and when he had heard it all, he said, “From what you told me about returning from the Force, it should seem odd that someone like Anakin should manage it. Unless there’s more than one way to do it. Or perhaps he was indeed the Chosen One after all? If he has some part to play yet...”
“That Luke does is beyond doubt. That Leia does likewise is more likely than not.”
“No,” said Padmé softly, “it's beyond doubt for both of them. I’ve lived with them for a little over a year now, and that’s enough time for me to know that. One way or another, we can’t keep them hidden here forever.” Her maternal instincts rebelled in her, but she quelled them as best she could.
“Perhaps we should ask them about it,” mused Ben. “They’re hardly children now. We should talk to them tomorrow. And I think we should tell them everything: about you, Qui-Gon, as well as about Anakin. As things are now, they don’t even know it’s possible for someone dead to come back. Agreed?”
They both agreed, but Padmé kept silent about another dread which now stole on her. For if Anakin was truly back, and he and Luke were to cross paths, that meant she could not put him away as gone anymore.
She was silent until they returned to the bed, at which point she pinned Ben down and kissed him hard. She felt Qui-Gon’s concern in her head, felt him read her fear as she whispered to Ben, “Make love to me, please. I’m yours now, not his.”
“Shhh,” he whispered back, tenderly removing his tunic from her, but she saw his eyes travel to Qui-Gon and she knew where his heart still lay. Let it, she thought. He may love me when he can. Just let me love him now. But even then, she wasn’t sure if she ever could.