"There you are!"
Obi-Wan speaks to the boy meditating in the field of wildflowers amongst the ashes of the dead Master who barely had time to teach him to meditate. Anakin opens his eyes, but says nothing.
"This is only the second place I looked," says Obi-Wan, "I went to your house. It's all boarded up. I was there for a few days--I needed some time to heal, anyway--but you never came around."
"I'm never going back there again," Anakin says flatly, "There's nothing left for me there."
"Well, I should have known better," says Obi-Wan, looking around at the cold grey day, "This is a much better thinking place. You'd want to be alone."
"I AM alone, Ben."
"Not so much as you think." The Master joins the boy cross-legged on the ground. "The Council has given me permission to pick up where Qui-Gon left off. I am to be your new Master, if you will have me."
"What about that drug you gave me, to remove my powers? I'll take some of that instead, if you've got it."
"Anakin, you can't really mean that..."
He stands up brusquely, raising a cloud of ash that blows off in a chill wind.
"All my life, I knew I was special, better than everyone around me. I dreamed of getting off this planet and visiting each and every one of the stars, because I knew I could. I knew I had it in me to do great things. But now that I've had a taste of greatness--Ben, what I wouldn't give to be normal!"
"Nobody's normal, Anakin," says Obi-Wan, "Everyone's different. And each of us is called upon to do great things in our time, no matter our power. No drug will change that."
"And what if I hurt people? What if my great thing is a bad thing?"
"Well, no drug can change that, either," says Obi-Wan, "We all make mistakes, and the bigger we are, the harder we fall." He locks eyes with Ani. "But that is why we train. That is why we work so hard to learn to approach the universe with compassion and forgiveness, rather than judgment and condemnation. We will each need forgiveness ourselves, in due course."
Ani looks off in the distance, in the direction of Theed. "I don't want things to change."
"You can't stop change, any more than you can stop the moons from setting," Obi-Wan sighs regretfully.
"I thought I could figure this out on my own, but...I think I found out that using my powers is a lot more complicated than having them."
"This path has been placed before you, Ani. The choice to take it is yours alone. Listen to your feelings. You know what's right."
Anakin nods. "I want to be a Jedi, Ben." The Force ripples with the truth of his words. "I want to do what's right."
"And so you shall, my young padawan."
Obi-Wan pats the ground next to him, and Anakin seats himself once again. As they shut their eyes and sink deep within the Force, they do not see the figure of Qui-Gon meditating beside them. But he is there.
The sun shines down bright on the main street of Theed on the day when the Gungans march to the palace to claim their place as citizens of the Galactic Republic. Naboo humans and alien spectators from across the galaxy squeeze into the sidewalks to get a better view, waving a rainbow of colored cloths in celebration. They cheer not only for the Gungans but for themselves, their Queen and their victory over the invading Federation forces. This parade marks the culmination of a month of rest and festivities declared by Queen Amidala.
The Gungan army marches in formation, but it is not weapons that they bear. Though their attempted explanations are unintelligible, it appears they have reforged their weapons of war into instruments of joy. Their armor is now played as horns, their helmets beaten as drums, their slings string lutes and their spears fly banners. As they dance and make merry along the street, they seem created for mirth as much as they were ever created for battle, and Naboo babies squeal with delight when they pass.
The Gungan priests sing a wordless song with the voices of children, one that captures the spirit of hope and freedom so perfectly that Chancellor Palpatine goes home humming it, and later insists that it be formally arranged as the official anthem of the Office of the Supreme Chancellor.
Beside Palpatine, on the steps of the palace, Queen Amidala stands in a resplendent gown of white trimmed with gold, grinning like a young girl. Captain Panaka smiles as well, even as he tries to look serious and ever attentive. C-3P0 is also there, and he waves to R2-D2, who is parked at the front of the crowd with his maker.
Anakin stands in his new Jedi tunic and robe with his arms folded and his shoulders back, trying his hardest to be a shorter reflection of his Master. His hair is cut in the style of a Jedi student, buzzed short with only a small tail of hair in the back, a reminder (as Obi-Wan explained) that no slate is ever truly clean. Together, he and Obi-Wan cast an intimidating presence, both of them smirking and ready for a fight, though confident that no fight will find them today.
The Gungan procession approaches the palace steps, their newly elected leader at the forefront on kaadu. Mighty Boss Binks, hero of the battle, nods and smiles and waves politely to everyone as he passes.
"I am glad to see my coaching on etiquette paid off," Threepio says to nobody in particular, "We'll make a gentleman of Master Jar-Jar soon enough!"
Jar-Jar trips as he dismounts, but recovers gracefully enough and ascends the steps. He kneels before Queen Amidala, who takes his hand and lifts him to his feet. Together, they hold a sparkling boomer above their heads. It floats upwards like a balloon, and bursts into brilliant fireworks.
"PEACE!" proclaims Queen Amidala, her thought echoing through the mind of every child of Naboo.
"PEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSS!" yells Jar-Jar, leaping into the air with joy.
And so there is peace on Naboo, for a time.
The story continues in...