The following morning brought a sense of dread. It's gleaming bright sunshine beamed into their window, and beckoned them to face the inevitability of separation. Not merely the daily separation their careers brought them, but a separation that meant they were never to see each other as husband and wife again.
When Anakin first proposed, she told him it wouldn't work. Their ranks, careers, and personal obligations would get in the way. The sad part, was that everything seemed to matter more than they did. But this was life. And if anyone were to survive the dangers facing the Republic, their relationship would need to fall to the wayside. Anakin was needed.
Anakin kissed her on the forehead then left the bed for the shower. Padme followed, somewhat numbly, and prepared herself for the day. What else did she have to look forward to but work?
When Anakin was done he collected the few belongings he owned, then walked toward the door.
"Promise me you'll eat something," Padme pleaded.
"Eat?" he said as though it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. "At a time like this?"
The truth was, he was sick to his stomach. He couldn't leave Padme...there had to be another way. "I don't want it to end," he muttered.
"Nor do I, but there's nothing we can do to change it... unless," she added coyly... "you leave the order."
"And you can't leave the senate?" he barked.
"Whether I am still a part of the senate or not, I am still allowed to marry. But you are not. Not as long as you're a Jedi..."
Padme laid a head on his arm and pressed her head against his shoulder.
"You know I can't do that," he said.
"Then there is nothing we can do."
The secret was no longer a secret as far as Obi Wan was concerned. Lying and sneaking about didn't work. If there was any chance of being together at all, what could they do but leave their careers behind and run away? But Anakin was wholly committed to his role as "the chosen one". He wouldn't leave until his work was done. Or until his remains were scattered about on the battlefield and he was dead. Padme put her face into her hands and wept.
"I gather the situation we discussed last night has been cared for."
He studied the Padawan learner, and sensed he was telling the truth. There was a Melancholy look in Anakin's eye, for which Obi Wan was truly sorry. Someday, he decided, Anakin might have his wish when the war ends, or perhaps a bit later when the prophecy of the chosen one has been fulfilled. Whichever came first.
Obi Wan laid a hand on Anakin's shoulder. "Thank you, Anakin. I'm proud of you."
Anakin seemed to shirk the master's hand away. "Thank you, Master."
"And, please send the Senator my apologies."
"How will I do that when I'm not supposed to see her again?" Anakin balked.
"True enough," Obi Wan replied.
"I must go now, Master. I'm late for class."
"Wait Anakin, there's something I need to tell you."
The training class has been canceled. We're needed in the Outer Rim territories. The Republic is losing the war."
"Losing? How can this be?"
"The Confederacy of Systems are mass producing droids at an alarming rate. We can take them, but the Clone Troopers need direction. The Council is asking the Jedi to lead the war."
"When do we leave?"Anakin asked, his face suddenly dark. Finally, an escape! On the battle field, he didn't have to think about his problems... he didn't have to worry about anything but ending the war so he and Padme could be together.
"We leave before dusk," Obi Wan answered. "We'll meet at the landing bay."
The blood in his veins raced. Just when his world had gone dark, alas! There was light at the end of the tunnel. Anakin turned on his heels and raced out of the door. He didn't care about who saw, he was going to see Padme. He couldn't leave without saying goodbye.
The rain pouring down in sheets all over Coruscant couldn't have been a good sign. Why now? Anakin groaned as he pulled the hood to his robe over his head and jumped out of his starfighter. Hours had passed since he'd seen Obi Wan last, and still no Padme. He tried her apartment but she wasn't there.
He tried Congress Hall, he tried Senator Bail Organa's office, even Chancellor Palpatine. He even searched the library and even the market. Where is she? he whined. Anakin knew she couldn't have gone far because he sensed her there on Coruscant. After circling over the capital and using his senses to dodge the bolts of lightening streaking through the sky, he hovered over the nearby Garden, and saw a lone cloaked figure sitting on a park bench, the rain pouring on her like buckets.
She saw him walking toward her and pulled the hood from her head to confirm that it was indeed, her. They raced toward each other. Anakin pulled her into an embrace.
"I looked everywhere-" he started.
"The Chancellor told me you were being sent to fight in the Clone wars." A look of worry filled her eyes. She held tight to his robe, her face and hair wet with rain as she waited for him to answer. Her deepest fear had been realized. Anakin pulled the hood from his head and looked into her eyes.
"Don't look so sad, my love. This is good news."
Padme gave him a confused look.
"I can end the war and we can be together."
Padme pulled him close and laid her head on his wet cloak. "The war has spread to other parts of the Outer Rim territories. You can't end the war on your own Anakin. It's even worse than it was before."
He cupped her chin then leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. "I'm doing it for you. For both of us."
There was a determined gleam in his eye. Padme thought of something her great grandmother told her when she was just a little girl. She said, the worse thing a woman could ever do, was fall in love with a Jedi. For there would be no greater love than that of his to the Order.
Padme in turn, asked her how she came to know such a thing. But her grandmother's reply was simply too much to fathom. Not now, she told herself. The story would make her cry...for it ocurred to her, never had gradmother's words been truer.
Anakin gazed at Padme, a thoughtful look on his face. "You're so beautiful," he said.
He pulled a flower from a nearby bush and pushed it into her hair which, because of the rain, fell in tendrils from the elaborate coif she had worn earlier. Padme blushed and pressed his hand to her cheek. "I thought we decided to end it."
He pressed his lips against her forehead and closed his eyes. "I couldn't even if I tried."
"But Obi Wan-" Padme objected.
"I don't want to hear about Obi Wan. I'll make it easier for us all and leave the Order."
"So... you won't go to fight in the Clone Wars?"
"I'll leave the Order when I come back. When the war is over."
"I won't stop you," Padme said. Not that she could anyway.
Anakin pulled Padme by the waist and drew her closer. They held each other. Streams of sunshine slowly broke through the clouds and the rain that fell in buckets upon them only moments earlier, suddenly began to dissipate. The air soon smelled of dew, which rose from the drops of rainwater that slowly permeated the leaves and grass.
Anakin held Padme's hand as they walked to the starfighter. He opened the hatched and she climbed into the passenger seat. He followed, then closed the hatch behind him.
The ship climbed to the sky, and flew to Padme's apartment, where he would leave her for a length of time unknown.
Theirs was a love that trascended time, space, reality, and even the ugliness of cold blooded war. For them, what felt like the end was a new beginning. One, HE would give them through sacrifice. It was the only way they could be together.
They might have made love before he left, but there was no time and they didn't need to anyway. There were no words before he left. They didn't need that either.
He simply left her on the veranda. Had he stayed too long, he might not have left at all. They had already said all that needed to be said.
As he flew to the Jedi Temple, he recalled a conversation they had in his ship. Padme had laid her head on his shoulder. She wept, and demanded he return soon.
He was back already, he told her. All she needed to do was close her eyes. One must see the darkness to know when there is light.
She then demanded he return in one piece.
Already done, he answered.
Their love...was destiny.
To linger further, would have deepened their grief.
There on Jalane, he lived as they lived, slept as they slept, ate as they ate... meals which consisted of slimy green bugs the size of a foot. Insects who gladly sacrificed themselves for the good of the ecosystem and planet. A circle of life, Chatatchi being the highest of their order. There, he remained for six long months.
At night, Anakin laid in his bunker and dreamed of Padme. Just as he had dreamed of her when he was a little boy. And when he wasn't thinking about her comforting arms, the warmth of their bed, her gentle smile, or wise words... he thought of Obi Wan. He hadn't seen him since the day he last saw Padme. The two most important people in his life - and somehow, he managed to survive. How he managed was beyond his knowledge.
But even as he thought fondly of his master, he couldn't resist the jealousy that crept into his heart. How oddly suspicious it was that Obi Wan Kenobi seemed to get all of the exciting missions while he was there, watching the Separatists, spying from a mound of dirt like a coward as they built manufacturing plants capable of mass producing droids and other weaponry that would further endanger the Republic. How many times had he begged the Council to let him lead an attack against the plant? To let him destroy it brick by brick? Now was not the time, they answered. And when it was, it was not he, that invaded and destroyed the Separatists, but Obi Wan Kenobi - now GENERAL KENOBI, his Master.
With the Separatists finally out of the way on Jalane, Anakin returned to Coruscant. To brief the masters on the assignment... who had he seen on Jalane? Who were they talking to? "Rest" they told him. He was going to need it. Three days was more than enough time to recover. Never mind the fact that he hadn't seen the sun in ages... for his missions allowed him to leave bunker, but only at night. Never mind that his skin had gone deathly pale, and that his eyes had almost taken a greenish color, having spent the past few months eating the little green bugs that the Chatatchi gave him.
If there was any consolation at all, it was seeing Padme again. Though, there was little rush to get to their apartment like before. If it was one thing the mission had taught him, it was patience. Padme would not be there til much later anyway, he determined. The day would be spent with the Senate, writing bills and doing what politicians do.
He pulled his cloak to his head and entered the apartment. Threepio was there to greet him - with a clattering of noise and exhuberance. More than that, the droid seemed happy to see the little Astromech, R2-D2. who had disengaged from the starfighter.
When all the happy greetings were done, the first order of business was to have Threepio send the servants away. For it was still early in the day and Anakin couldn't take the risk of anyone seeing him there.There were too many gossip mongers on Coruscant.
Threepio did as instructed, happy to be in charge of humans ... for a change. "Senator Amidala has sent a message. Alien and human servants alike, must leave at once!" he said, with a clap of his hands.
When the task had been cared for, Anakin, grateful to have the apartment to himself, took a shower. When was the last time he had one of those? He went into the fresher and washed six months of grime and dirt from his body. When he was done, he went into the bedroom. He decided, the second order of business was a nap. And right there on top of Padme's soft blue bed, was a fresh change of clothes. Jedi Clothes. Clothes he had ever seen before.
"Please, Master Skywalker! I believe my internal components may have defaulted to self-destruct, please do, find something to wear."
Surprised to see the stark naked Jedi out of the fresher, Threepio covered his eyes. Anakin laughed heartily at the protocol droid as he stumbled blindly out of the room, almost as quickly as he had entered.
Anakin wrapped a towel around his waist and stared at the clothes again. They didn't belong to him. The laughter he felt only moments earlier suddenly dissipated. He sat on the bed, a storm brewing in his heart, and waited for Padme.
He promised to come back, she thought. Anakin always kept his promises. He was only ten years old when he promised to marry her one day. And as sure as dawn, ten years later, they were husband and wife. Who was she, to be of so little faith?
She missed him. And nothing made her happy anymore. There was a time when work was all the reason she needed, to rise in the morning.
Not anymore. Not since Anakin.
The path to misery, is in the arms of Jedi, her grandmother told her.
"How do you know, nana?" Padme had asked her.
"I walked down that road once. It was a dead end," the old woman griped.
Knowing this, Padme resisted Anakin at first. But unlike her grandmother, she had no regrets. Their ending, would be a happy one. She deserved an happily ever after.
Padme walked to 500 Republica from the Senate offices at the end of the day. Another lonesome night to contend with. Another lonely night, hoping, wishing, and dreaming that Anakin would be there waiting for her.
She took the elevator to the top floor, and opened the door. Everything was the same. It was always the same. Everything in its place... meals already prepared. The apartment still dark.
Padme was in no mood to eat. She slipped out of her Senatorial robe and walked to the bedroom. Where were the droids? She wondered. Threepio was always the first to greet her. He was an unusually chatty little droid. Threepio was good company. Especially in her darkest hours, especially when she was at her loneliest.
Padme reached into the darkness. Her hand felt something warm, like flesh, where the light switch should be. But this was no light switch, it was a hand.
Then she felt another. It pulled her into an embrace. This one, was mechanical. She didn't need a light to know that it was her husband who held her. Anymore than he needed light, to find her lips in the darkness. She found herself against the wall - wanting of air, their passion - suffocating. His groin pressed against her, grinding. He whirled her around, pushed her on the bed, then collapsed on top of her - the weight of his body heavy. The weight of his mechanical arm, even heavier. His body was all muscle...
She kissed him, pulled him closer, pulled him into her...
Soon, Anakin didn't care about the clothes. He didn't need them.