Before you start to read, think for a moment about how you think Ani’s likely to have reacted to Ahsoka’s stand of the last chapter.
Thanks to Erin for reminding me about the japor necklace.
I’m glad you’re the first one home. Makes it easier, in a way. Although I said so to Snips, I couldn’t have confessed to Qui-Gon straight off. I think what makes the difference is knowing you can’t see me. It’s unthreatening. You’re confidant to the whole family, pretty much; you know all our secrets. Is it fun – the feeling of power?
Okay, I’ll get on with it. While you were all away, I hacked the door-code to your quarters and stole a letter out of Qui-Gon’s room. But that’s not the worst. I did it because I wanted to know that… someone else understood what I was thinking. The letter is signed ‘T’ and dated fifty-two years ago. It’s vague and allusive and nearly illegible in places, but I’m pretty sure T is a woman. She writes about a long and close friendship, about Qui-Gon being the only thing standing between her and insanity, and about someone who wants this friendship to end. She ends by saying that although to continue the relationship as before is impossible, her feelings for Qui-Gon will never change.
It’s you, isn’t it? T is you. You love him. And it’s mutual. You know, I’d never be able to tell you what I’m about to tell you, if I hadn’t worked that out.
I’m… married. The first day I met her, I knew: someday, she would be my wife. I love her more every single day, every hour. You can’t think how she makes me feel. I live for her, Tahl. I can’t imagine life without her.
Oh. Padmé Naberrie Amidala. We’ve kept it a secret so far – I know what Obi-Wan would say: get out of my sight. And she knew what the Queen of Naboo would say: more of the same. So nobody knows but us, and the priest who married us, in the Lake Country of Naboo. Telling you this spells the end of my life as a Jedi. I accept that. I can even live with that, if it means I can be with Padmé. She’s my soul, and a man can’t live without his soul.
A year. We’ve been married a year. And she loves me too, she does. I made a necklace for her out of a japor snippet, back on Tatooine. I was a nine-year-old kid, you can imagine what my carving skills were like. She showed me yesterday, she still has it, still wears it all the time. For no other reason than that I made it for her.
What am I going to do? I can’t do this forever. I hate telling a lie to Obi-Wan at the best of times: he sort of looks at me sideways until I feel like he already knows I’m lying, and it’s hurt him, and he’s just waiting for me to tell him why. I can’t bear living a lie to him. But I don’t have a choice. Padmé and I agreed that it would destroy both our lives if anyone knew, but it would destroy us each if we had to be separated.
No. I can’t tell Obi-Wan. He’d be devastated. You know him; he’s never put a foot wrong in his life. How can I possibly tell him the Council was right all along and he and Qui-Gon and Bruck and – all of us – were wrong? That I’m not meant to be a Jedi? What? Where’s Melida/Daan? Who the blue Wild Space is Satine Kyrze? What are you talking about?
Okay, Tahl, if those are the only options you’re giving me, then yes, I’ll tell him. Over a comm. Right here, right now, with you listening in.
Rex, I have to talk to General Kenobi. Oh… Look, I don’t care if he’s asleep. Tell him Anakin needs him. Come on, Obi-Wan, wake up, get on the line.
Obi-Wan, hi. I’ve got something to tell you. You remember Padmé Amidala from Naboo? You know her full name? Um, no. Obi-Wan, that’s – that’s not it. It’s Padmé Naberrie Amidala… Skywalker. She’s my wife. I married her a year ago. I… love her. And she loves me back.
Don’t just stand there, Master. You’re killing me. Tell me you never want to see me again, shout, scream, only say something! Please.
You what? How in the name of all things holy can you understand? Get out of here. You’re the coldest-hearted chosski in the Order and you understand love? I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’ve screwed everything up, but I love her. What am I going to do? What can I do?
No way. I can’t tell Master Windu. You can’t tell Master Windu. Master, please. Even your seat on the Council doesn’t require you to destroy my whole life. I’m on my knees here begging you, and Tahl’s watching. Well, she’s here, anyway. How much more do you want to degrade me? ‘Cause I will do literally anything for you if you’ll keep this to yourself. Okay, you can tell Master Yoda. And okay, I’ll tell Qui-Gon when he gets home.
Listen, Obi-Wan, traditionally we aren’t allowed to marry, I know that. But they make exceptions for Sentinels. And isn’t the point of the rule to reduce distractions? I’m not distracted – ask anyone. Ask Ahsoka, she’s my harshest critic. Ask yourself. I love Padmé. Is that so wrong? Didn’t you tell me once that sometimes loving another person can stop you giving in, because you don’t want to hurt them by dying if you can possibly avoid it? Didn’t Qui-Gon say it was you that kept him alive after the fight with the Sith? Love isn’t wrong, Master. Letting love take over from your duties, that’s wrong. But I’m not.
You’ll – did I hear you right? Did you say you’d talk to Master Yoda and try to get me a dispensation? I can stay married? I don’t have to lose Padmé? Thank you, Master! I know, I know, it’s not a sure thing. But you’re not mad at me? You still… love me.
Bye. I’ll see you when you get home. And – thanks, Obi-Wan. Skywalker, over and out.
Tahl, what? You’re not – T isn’t – you didn’t write – Okay, Tahl, I give up. Who the nine Sith hells is Taharat Weskar when she’s at home, and why was she writing to Qui-Gon?