He had only meant to tease her. Because intimidating though a creature she may have been to a thousand worlds, to him she was just a girl too young to be caught up in all of this political nonsense, stuck acting older than her age because men who didn’t even care for her all that much had ushered her toward the throne. It was unfair and ruthless, really, and all he had wanted was to lighten the mood with a little humor. But he realized now what a mistake he had made, and his expression softened as he heard her voice waver with unshed tears.
“Milady,” he called after her as she stormed away, hoping to stop her. Something in his voice had changed. It had all the formality she had asked of him, but none of his humanity. He would give her the posturing if it was what she really wanted, but it would never be conducive to any real sort of warmth. In the event that she turned toward him, he offered a low bow. “As you wish,” he finished, but the words were cold and meaningless.
At his cold words she turned, her hand resting on her chest just below her throat. The tears ran down her face, but there was no waiver in her voice as she whispered. ”Please, leave me alone.” It was not a demand, it was a request, and they were not the words of a duchess, but of a girl. Of a girl who had seen too much and been held responsible for too much and who had simply no idea what to do with Obi-Wan Kenobi. ”We each have our duty. Leave me to mine and I will leave you to yours.”
It was easier to deal with him being cold than it was to try to comprehend his warmth. She could trust no one but the four girls who were her handmaidens, but upon them she could lay no share of her responsibilities. They were not paid for such things. She had perhaps spoken harshly to him, but she had also spoken the truth. A few short months earlier she had held her father’s bleeding head in her lap and tried to put his brain back in his skull. The death of her parents had hardened her heart against those who used violence as a tool so easily wielded.
He still did not like her in the slightest, but he couldn’t deny that his heart went out to her in her agony. He had struck a chord somehow— he wasn’t sure where or when, but something he had done had stirred something deep within her, and he wasn’t sure just how to fix it. The woman standing before him was just a heartbroken, defenseless girl, and though he usually knew just what to do, something about her left him clueless and floundering. His gaze dulled and fell at her request, and he folded his arms behind his back, bowing his head to her in acknowledgment.
She had won this round— he didn’t have the heart to prod at her further in this state. But this was far from the end of it. He knew it, and somewhere deep down, he knew she knew it too.