They were married. In every sense of the word.
He tilted his head back, peering at her from the top of his eyes as he stroked her upper arm with his mechanical hand.
"I didn't know it would be like this..." he said.
Padme smiled. "Nor did I."
He raised the other hand, and stroked her other arm, both of his hands caressing her skin at the same time.
"Let's do it again," he said, with a devilish smile.
"Anakin!" Padme wailed, face ablush.
"Did I say something wrong?"
"No, of course not, I'm just..."
"Embarrassed still? You should probably get used to this..." he suggested in a matter-of-fact tone.
Padme groaned and covered her cheeks with both hands.
"I still... can't believe..."
"We're here..." he grumbled, finishing her sentence.
"It's not you, I love you, I'm glad we're here together."
"ah huh..." Anakin replied.
"It's just so surreal," she explained. If I close my eyes for even a second I have a flashback of ... well... everything... Is this normal?"
She pulled his head back and looked at his face. Anakin was already fast asleep.
Static laughter rang through the receiver. He could hear them talking and there was no way to turn it off.
And how it tortured him.
He tried to transmit a message to Anakin but the comlink went dead for several minutes, then clicked on again, the button apparently crushed in the "talk" configuration.
"Oh my, Anakin... what have you done?"
Unable to bear it any longer, Obi Wan slipped into his brown cloak and left his room for the temple hall. There, he ran into the little golden protocol droid, See-Threepio.
"Threepio? What are you doing here? And where is Anakin?" he asked. He prayed the little droid would tell him something different. That it all was just a big misunderstanding. Would Anakin take advantage of Senator Amidala?
Would she let him?
"Oh! Master Kenobi, I'm not at liberty to say."
Obi-Wan grimaced. "Then perhaps I might say it for you. I understand Anakin is at Senator Amidala's apartment. Is he not?"
"Senator Amidala..." Threepio mused...
"Yes. That would be, the senator whose apartment you've taken residence in." Obi Wan's mouth compressed into a thin white line.
"Ohh, that Senator Amidala. Well, respectfully sir, if I were there, then I might have a better sense of whether Anakin is there also. But since I am here, I have no way of telling."
Droid logic, Obi-Wan thought. "I shall be there soon enough to find out. Thank you, Threepio, I'm sure Master Skywalker appreciates your loyalty."
"You're going to Senator Amidala's apartment? Oh! No no no! Master Kenobi, please don't. They... love each other."
He didn't know what love was, but knew from his own impersonal artificial experience, that love must have been something worth having if it were anything like that which he had been programmed by Master Skywalker to long for.
Threepio tried to assume the begging position, but forgot his knees were not made to bend... gold plates and all.
Obi-Wan rubbed his beard and paced the hall. Turn him in to the council? Have him expelled? What would Qui Gon do? Qui Gon once told him, some rules should be broken, if it would benefit the greater good. Anakin was the chosen one. If he left the Order... then how would he bring balance to the Force?
Obi-Wan retreated, walking back to his little lonely room in the Jedi Temple. He slipped out of his cloak, then sat on the edge of the bed.
He knew all too well what Anakin was going through.
A ring of children surrounded Anakin. It was dark, with flickerings of light, a three-dimensional hologram of several systems in orbit over their heads. But not even the cute, angelic little faces of his toddler-aged padawans were enough to stop him from thinking of Padme.
Their night of passion played over and over again in his mind. How surreal it was, to think of his "boss" that way.
The Jedi reported to the Senate. And Padme was a powerful Senator with direct connections to the Temple. In fact, she was there... a few rooms away, in a meeting with Yoda and several members of the council. How odd it was to walk by her...to pretend that they were little more than polite acquaintances. To nodd, and feign distraction when all he wanted to do was kiss her.
Suddenly acutely aware that the children were watching, some even prying into his thoughts, Anakin pointed to Geonosis. "And there, is where the evil bad guys trapped the heroes."
"Did they kill the queen?" came the soft voice of one of the padawan learners. It was a little girl with long red pigtails...
"Oh no, the heroes were confident that the Force was with them. Just before the evil droid army opened fire, the other Jedi arrived to save the day."
"Did the queen give the heroes a reward?"
"Well...she wasn't a queen anymore. But a senator. And the only reward to be had, was that she was safe, and the mission was a success."
Anakin pointed to an area on the hologram. "Can anyone tell me where this is?"
"Naboo," a little blue alien padawan answered.
"That's where the senator lived... happily ever after."
Nanomagi, a five-year old padawan raised his hand. Anakin pointed, signaling to the child to ask his question.
"Did the hero go with her?"
"Excuse me?" Anakin replied, his face suddenly red.
"Did the hero go with her?"
"Well...the heroes are Jedi. So, they went back to the temple. But the senator went to Naboo and lived happily ever after them."
Suddenly, the children laughed. For the life of him, Anakin couldn't figure out why the children found the end of the story so funny, but found himself smiling.
With a wave of his hand, the hologram was off and the lights were on. "That's enough for the afternoon. Please, have lunch, we'll resume when the Xatne and Crothro 30 degrees east."
In unison, the children replied:
"Yes, Master Skywalker."
A servant droid entered the training room almost on cue to escort the children to the eating area. Obi-Wan Kenobi stood in the doorway, watching with his arms folded across his chest.
"That was quite a story," the master said. "And quite an ending," he added somewhat bitterly. .
Anakin turned and regarded the master, his senses probing. He looked at him with unassuming crystal clear blue eyes. Obi-Wan couldn't help but think how innocent those eyes used to be.
"Is something wrong, Master?"
But now those eyes have seen more action than he did. And he didn't mean out on the battlefield...
"Come along, Anakin. The Council would like to have a word with you."
The tone of Obi-Wan's voice was ominious. Anakin shuddered. He wondered if somehow, the Council had found out about him and Padme.
"Did I do something wrong?" Anakin replied.
Obi-Wan looked over his shoulder. "The Council will decide."
Anakin entered the Council meeting room, his hand folded before him, head declined. Padme Amidala was there, chewing her bottom lip, watching as the investigation unfolded. Seeing her made the hair on his neck rise.
The Council members sat in a circle, chairs cusping their broken battle weary bodies, their faces stern... Yoda banged his gimer stick onto the floor.
"Young Skywalker... disturbing news received I have."
Anakin could barely bring himself to look at the Master, for he feared his eyes would give everything away.
Mace Windu, eager to move the proceeding ahead, spoke next. It often took Yoda several moments to compose his words - he was ever conscious of choosing them wisely.
"The Council received a report regarding an incident which took place at Senator Amidala's apartment. Why was the council not apprised of this event?"
"I'm sorry, Master...?"
"Anakin..." Obi-Wan interceded. The Council would like you to recount the events that took place at Senator Amidala's apartment last night.
Obi-Wan watched him intently. He hoped Anakin would do the right thing. Tell the truth. Tell the truth about his affair with Padme, there was still time to undo their mistake. At least, that which could be undone.
"There was incident involving Senator Sien last night. I understand you were responsible for saving Senator Amidala from several inappropriate advances."
Anakin swallowed. "Yes, uh... Master... I arrived at Senator Amidala's apartment. Senator Sien there. He behaved in a manner unbefitting a gentleman and so I came to her aid."
"The Chancellor has submitted a report -- Senator Cobra Sien has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation. Your cooperation..." Mace drawled... "would be greatly appreciated."
"Have I done something wrong?" Anakin asked.
"No. You did everything right. Your job, as a Jedi, is to protect the Republic. We serve the senate. Although, corruption and poor behavior from those we are here to serve, will not be tolerated. We will submit our findings to the Chancellor, and he will determine Senator Sien's fate. Thank you, Anakin."
Anakin bowed, grateful the matter had not been explored any further. He turned on his heels, catching a disappointed look from Obi Wan and a gleam in Padme's eye.
Suddenly, Master Windu spoke again:
"One more question... how did you know that Senator Amidala was in trouble?"
Anakin paused in his stride, turned, and regarded the hardened Jedi... "I sensed it, Master."
"Again, thank you, Young Skywalker." Then looking around, he spoke to the room: "Meeting adjourned."
Anakin swept into the hall, dark brown robe whirling about him. He caught Padme's signal to meet him in the garden near the capital -- their secret meeting place -- far away from the prying eyes of the Jedi Masters. He was eager to see her, eager to touch her, relieved their love would remain a secret... for now.
He hurried to the landing dock and climbed into a waiting starfighter. The trip to the capital was short, close to where he and Padme lived at 500 Republica. But to meet there in broad daylight was too risky. There were shades, trees, and wooded areas and gazebos to hide under at the garden. It was Padme's favorite place. The flowers and green grass to her, was like a little piece of Naboo.
He made it to the garden first and paced the grounds, back and forth until the ground that remained in his wake was a patch of dirt. After waiting there for a while, he looked to the sky. The planets had aligned, it was almost time to go back to the temple. Suddenly a figure moved near the bushes, fruit dropped from the branches.
"Anakin!" Padme called in a hushed voice.
Anakin raced toward her, wrapped his arms around her waist, then swept her off of her feet. He spun her around, planting kisses on her face. But Padme was unresponsive. He lowered her to the ground, looking into her eyes. "What's wrong?"
"Anakin," she whispered, her body quivering... "I... I can't do this. I can't live this lie."
She was in full panic attack mode. Tears welled at the corner of her eyes.
"What happened?" he asked in a flat voice.
Padme gulped, looked toward the ground. "I'm a senator Anakin..." a tear fell from her eye... "I should have known better... I can't do this to you. I'm ruining your life."
"What about yours?"
"I don't care about mine! Anakin, you've only just begun."
"I don't care," he answered. He grabbed Padme by the shoulders. "Why are you saying this? What changed?"
"Of course not!" she gasped.
"Then why are you doing this to me?"
"When I was spoke to the council... the way they looked at me." She pushed her hands into her temple... "The way they tried to read my thoughts --- I couldn't handle it," she cried.
More tears fell.
"They know nothing," Anakin said in a harsh voice. "You're a senator. You've been in situations like this before."
"I don't want to ruin your life!"
"These are just excuses."
He let Padme go so suddenly that she snapped back. She looked around, to see if anyone was watching. But Anakin was already near her again, wrapping his arms around her waist. "I'm sorry, Padme. I just... I don't like when you talk that way."
"I have no one but myself to blame. I was weak."
She met his eyes, tears spilling from her own.
"This has to end."
"What if I don't want it to end?" he replied.
"Anakin!" she wailed. "It's hard enough...just-" her voice trailed. Anakin brought his face to hers and kissed her. Padme pulled away. "Anakin...it's over."
He met her eyes, a hardened look in his own:
"You might be a senator and I a Jedi... but I am your husband. At home you do as I command. Not the other way around."
He turned, pulled a branch from a nearby tree and fleeced the leaves from one of its stems, then fell into his thoughts. Padme gave him a blank stare.
There was something different about him now. He was no longer the doe eyed boy with a crush... but a man with a swagger about him. Newfound confidence that her love had given him.
After a few moments he turned and looked at her. "I know why you're saying this. You're feelings betray you. You're afraid. I can sense it."
He laid a hand on her arm, then placed the other on the small of her back. "I love you Padme. I don't want to lose you. Everything I have ever done, I did to win your heart. I cannot lose you now." There was a look of desperation in his eyes, and suddenly, her heart melted. She was afraid. Afraid of what might happen to them, should their secret become known. But, she couldn't let a thing like fear take the man she loved away from her, and her from him.
If she were anything like Anakin, she would be braver, willing to accept the consequences for their actions. Their love was more than that. They were more than their careers and bigger than the obstacles laid before their paths.
Padme laid her head on his chest. "Oh, Anakin, I'm so sorry! You were right. I was afraid."
He sighed. Suddenly relieved. "Then let us be together," he answered. He brought his face forward, and kissed her on the lips.
Padme stood on the veranda. The suns were setting and the sky was purple with striking hues of gold lighting the horizon. But Padme's eyes were locked a starfighter. Her husband's starfighter... which was flying toward her from a spire atop the Jedi Temple...
The ship circled 500 Republica, then came around and landed safely on the docking bay. The hatch opened, and Anakin climbed out. The wind assailed Padme's dress as she raced toward him and wrapped her arms around his neck. He squeezed, his hug lifting her from her feet.
He set Padme down, and she grabbed him by the ears and kissed his cheeks. Anakin smiled, then slipped out of his cloak.
"How was physical therapy today?" she asked.
"I didn't go."
Padme gave him a weary look. "Anakin...you missed another appointment? They'll begin to suspect us."
"You worry too much," he said with a smile.
"Someone has to," Padme replied.
Anakin followed her to the dining room, where dinner sat on the table. He slid the black glove he wore from his mechanical hand, sat, then laid it across his lap. Padme sat at the other end, a plate of vegetables before her, and proceeded to eat.
"Have you spoken to Obi-Wan?"
"Is he well?"
Anakin frowned then looked at his plate. "I suppose."
"And the chancellor? Is he well?"
"What? You can ask about Obi-Wan but I can't ask about the Chancellor?"
"The Chancellor is the last person on Coruscant that I wish to talk about much less think about when I'm with you."
"Now you know how I feel."
"I thought you loved Obi Wan."
"He's like a father to me. Well, more like a brother, now."
"Then what's wrong?"
"Nothing," Anakin replied in a flat voice. He didn't mind talking about Obi Wan. He just didn't like talking about him with her.
"He stopped by today. He said he was looking for you."
"Looking for me? Here?" Anakin's eyebrows were raised a bit high, Padme could tell she had taken him by surprise.
"We shared a cup of tea. He was kind enough to run an errand for me."
And now, Anakin was done eating. He rose from the table and walked to the bedroom. Padme took a sip of water, and another bite of food. When she was done, she followed him to the room, and found him sitting in the dark, sulking.
"Anakin? Is something wrong?
Padme leaned against the doorway, her hand against the panel.
"What kind of errands did you have for Obi Wan to do?"
When was the last time Obi Wan ran an errand? A long time ago, he might have called his Padawan to do it for him. But Anakin sensed that Obi Wan was trying to keep him and Padme apart.
She gave him a strange look.
"Well... he delivered a message to the chancellor... and took the chancellor's reply to Master Yoda... Have I upset you?"
Anakin looked over his shoulder, his eyes meeting hers.
"You didn't ask me."
"Of course, not. Sometimes, I think you want them to catch us," Padme chided. "I suspect, the council is waiting to see us together again. Why draw more attention to ourselves than necessary?"
Anakin smiled. "You suspect? Or sense? You should have been a Jedi."
Padme walked across the room and sat on the bed beside him. "I married a Jedi. That's good enough for me."
She smiled. Anakin pushed her back against the bed then climbed over her.
"I wouldn't have it any other way," he replied.
"Why do you love me?" she asked.
"Who couldn't love you?"
Anakin's hand met her underarm and Padme laughed.
"Please don't tickle me Anakin, I'm much too old for that."
"Too old for this?" he asked, kissing her neck.
"Not old enough," she countered.
He pressed the weight of his body against her. "Has the shock worn off now? Do I have permission to make love to my wife?" he unbuttoned her dress.
Padme smiled and caressed his cheek with her hand. "The shock will never wear off, I can't believe I married you Ani."
He held her gaze. "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
"It's a beautiful thing," she laughed. "When the war is over, I hope you retire so that we might celebrate our love openly."
"I don't care one way or another. My love is here whether the world knows or not. "
"What if we were to have children?"
"Who wants children?" Anakin laughed. "I want you to myself."
"I want lots of little Ani's running around the house. I think you will make a wonderful father."
"Do you really?" he asked. Anakin seemed rather surprised.
"The Jedi may try to steal them," he replied in a serious tone.
"They might. If they can find us," Padme smiled. "We'll move into a villa on Rea and live by the ocean..." she said. "No one will find us. No one will know where we are..."
He rubbed a hand across her belly, and sensed...knew, his child would someday be nestled there. Just as he knew he would marry her.
"Now?" he asked.
"When the time is right, my love."
Anakin's face adopted a desirous look as he gazed upon her. His hand traveled up her leg to settle on her inner thigh. Suddenly, he leaned forth and kissed her belly, then let his mouth trail to her neck.
Padme opened his shirt and let her hand slide down his chest to his muscular abdomen. Her hand rested at the top of his pants. Anakin threw the covers back then peeled out of his shirt. They escaped beneath the covers, tossing their clothes to the side of the bed.
Suddenly, Padme's comlink buzzed, lights flickering madly.
"Don't answer it-" Anakin said, catching her hand.
"Ette is calling me about an important proposal, I have to take it."
He let his lips graze her nose softly. "Can it wait? I want to be inside of you."
He drew her arm back into the blanket, the darkened tent they had made for themselves."I can't. If I don't have this report done..."
He slid low, letting his tongue trail down her body until he tasted the clammy moisture below. He licked her lightly, effectively, til all concerns of business had fallen aside. Then climbed atop her writhing body again, then leaned into her, stroking deeply. His muscular body like a wave of pleasure. His mouth eveloped hers in rapturous kisses. He loved the feeling of being inside of her. The soft puckering of her body around his staff.
Their love making would last, until Padme was asleep. Yes, he thought with some satisfaction... he was now putting her ass to sleep and not the other way around.
Anakin slept as sound as boca dragon in hibernation. His snores seemed to rise to the heavens, while Padme laid beside him, now soundly awake! Her legs shook violently, in the aftermath of their lovemaking. She stared into the darkness, her mind on the future... focused on a time where their lives would no longer be a secret, and they could rejoice in the love they had found in each other.
Suddenly, Anakin jolted upright. As though someone had doused him with a bucket of water.
Padme turned and looked at her husband, reaching out to place a hand on his arm. Drops of sweat poured down the side of his face.
"He's here," Anakin said. There was a twinge of worry in his voice. Then suddenly, a loud knock upon the door.
"Do something, hide!" Padme exclaimed.
And let her suffer the consequences for their actions alone? What kind of husband would he be? Anakin swung his legs to the side of the bed.
"It's useless. I better face him."
Padme shrunk beneath the covers. Unsure of what might happen next. Would he storm into the bedroom? Demanding the truth of them both? She reigned her emotions in, gathered the bed sheet around her, and walked across the room. She found a gown and matching robe, then slid into it while Anakin slipped into a pair of black pajama pants.
Anakin walked across the room, then paused before the door.
Anakin walked across the apartment to the front door. And with a wave of his hand, it opened. Just as he sensed, Obi Wan was on the other side.
He stared at Anakin, a look of disappointment and pain on his face as he took his padawan in... he seemed quite comfortable, standing there, half nude, shirtless in a pair of pants. There was something in his eyes that was unapologetic, as he moved aside, to let his master in.
"You could be at no loss, in knowing why I'm here."
"No, Master," Anakin replied, lips tight.
"Anakin... it has to end."
"Why?" Anakin barked.
Obi-Wan flung his hands in the accusingly. "After all I've taught you, you can honestly stand there and ask me such a question?"
"I love her."
Obi Wan sat on the sofa and hung his head. "I know, Anakin... but you took a vow. You have responsibilities... and you, must honor them. Unless of course, your wish is to be expelled. That would come as a great disappointment to many, as you are known as the chosen one."
"I love the Order, I can't leave," Anakin pleaded.
"And yet, you cannot stay. Not as long as you carry on with this affair, with Senator Amidala. This affair could ruin her life... her career as well as yours. If you love her, you will give this relationship up. I have no reason to believe Senator Amidala would cause this to happen. I knew how you felt about her. I knew because it was never a secret. But I never thought you would act on your fantasies." Obi Wan sighed.
"I've disappointed you. Haven't I, Master?"
"No, Anakin. I'm the one who failed." Obi Wan stood then walked toward the door. "You must make a choice. I sincerely hope, for all of our sakes, that you make the right one."
Anakin's eyes fell to the floor. No matter how old he was, Obi Wan always managed to make him feel like a boy.
And with one last disappointed look, the Jedi Master was gone.
Anakin returned to bed, unable to meet Padme's eyes.
"He doesn't know that we've married. He's asked me to end it. To walk away."
"I understand," Padme said, nodding her head.
Anakin pulled her close and wrapped his body around her. He was like a warm, soothing blanket.
The ache in her heart was heavy. Lead heavy. Hours ago, she was like a bird soaring through the air, the wind beating against her wings... and now, it was as though someone had shot her out of the sky and she was in a freefall...away from the clouds, away from the heavens...away from her husband.
She wasn't mad at Obi Wan. She considered him a friend. She was grateful that he had spared her the embarrassment of Confronting her, and that, he only had their best interests at heart. But why did it have to be that way? Why was she in tug of war for Anakin? If they both could have him, it would be a win-win situation.
Best of all... It would make Anakin happy.