Author: Disco Shop Girl PM
ROTS AU: Anakin is woken from his dream before it can warn him of his fate. Without that fear hanging over him he feels a disturbance in the force, and chooses to leave before it can manifest itself. Anakin–Padmé, Obi–WanRated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Anakin Skywalker & Padmé Amidala - Chapters: 18 - Words: 118,147 - Reviews: 380 - Favs: 490 - Follows: 206 - Updated: 06-14-08 - Published: 10-19-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2625104
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author: Disco Shop Girl
Summary: ROTS AU: Anakin is woken from his dream before it can warn him of his fate. Without that fear hanging over him he feels a disturbance in the force, and chooses to leave before it can manifest itself. Anakin–Padmé, Obi–Wan
Disclaimer: They're not my characters, or my worlds, and half of it isn't even my situations. I just put (some) of the words in their mouths.
"Will you be home soon?" her voice came quietly from the darkness that now concealed her face.
Anakin's mind flashed forward to just what they would be doing once he got home. His body couldn't help but jump unhelpfully at the arousing image of being tangled up with her. In his chest his heart pitter-pattered a little louder at the prospect. He ached to be with her.
Not bothering to restrain himself he quickly dipped deep into her cloak and gave her a further brief kiss. Sighing he pulled away before she could complain. Oh to be able to kiss her once more. The warmth of it filled him pleasantly, set his fingertips tingling.
"I hope I'm not more than a few minutes behind you. Go."
Her hand reached out and brushed against his chest. The gesture was simple, but meant the world to Anakin. It conveyed her love, her unwavering trust and faith in him. And it also conveyed her possession. He belonged to her. He had no reason to deny it, he didn't even want to, he rejoiced because he belonged to the most fulfilling feeling in the galaxy. Padmé.
He didn't stand and watch as she slipped behind a column, moving away from him with stealth. He turned back to his duty and caught up with the senators for whom he would play Poster Man once more.
Obi-Wan cleared his mind as he relaxed back against the shuttle's utilitarian bench. Being back in the calm of Coruscant could almost unnerve a man. Sieges, battles, daring rescues, battles with Sith Lords, the recent past had had it all. It had been…exhausting.
Even Anakin, who only needed to hear mention of a battle to light up had seemed to tire. In fact, the boy had been longing for some time to be back in the peace of the temple. Perhaps it had been wrong to abandon him to the gossip mongers. The politicians and the news crews.
He felt a little guilty. Even as he sat there, letting his aching body take pleasure in the almost foreign feeling of complete stillness. It niggled at him like the twinge in his lower back. Not entirely at the forefront of his mind, but there and on his conscience. He should have been standing shoulder to shoulder with Anakin now, as in all their confrontations.
Shrugging it off Obi-Wan told himself he was being ridiculous, that if the boy could pass his trials, decapitate a Sith Lord after such a short time as a Knight, then he could surely face a few questions from holocrews.
He stood up as the shuttle drew close to the temple. Yes, of course Anakin could handle it alone. Surely it would take twice as long, as Anakin did the work for both of them, but he was a Jedi, he could handle anything. Fair enough, Anakin had been desperately longing for a return to Coruscant for weeks, his focus dwindling as time had continued to pass, but a few more hours would not hurt him.
The doors parted in front of Obi-Wan, and he tried to be light-hearted as he stepped off the transport. Unfortunately, guilt doesn't allow one to be light-hearted, no matter how inconsequential the matter.
Grunting at himself about going soft in his old age, Obi-Wan crossed the plaza. Begrudgingly he stepped into the open doors of an identical shuttle which pointed in the direction he'd just come from. Apparently today it was to be Poster Men.
Anakin's face did not register the shock he felt as Obi-Wan appeared at his side and diverted some of his attention. Thankfully, he drew some of the questions to him too and left Anakin a little freer.
He continued talking of the spectacular crash landing, the battle, the war – all to the rescued Chancellor as a handful of hovering camera droids watched on. But he had to wonder why his fellow Jedi had returned.
Anakin's eyes briefly drifted to where Padmé had not long ago pressed herself behind a column, waiting for him with her breathtaking news. Surely Obi-Wan did not suspect?
"No I'm afraid Grievous lives to fight another day," he was appropriately contrite as he allowed the impromptu, highly visible press opportunity to continue.
It droned on without his full attention, however. Obi-Wan had ensured that. He could not have returned simply to relieve Anakin of his burden? Had he seen Padmé? Had Obi-Wan felt the spike in excitement the mere second eyes had been laid on the senator?
Anakin suspected something had tipped his master off, though he wasn't sure. He would be doubly careful to protect against revealing their secret in the future. Still, his natural curiosity could never be repressed it would seem – why was Obi-Wan here?
A half hour of grateful appreciation and hero worship later and he finally got his chance to ask as the two of them were left alone.
"I thought you could use some help. You've seemed quite tired," Obi-Wan explained with a smile.
Anakin's mind whispered a quiet blast as Obi-Wan automatically led the way to where the regularly timed transport back to the Jedi temple was just lowering itself to the pavement.
So long for his few minutes he'd promised Padmé. At this rate he wouldn't return to her for a number of hours. It was like Obi-Wan had a sense for when he was about to once again break one of the very tenets they lived by, and had showed up to prevent his transgression.
He stepped up into the transport, momentarily ducking his head against the doorway then sinking gratefully into a seat beside his friend. He wanted to be going in the exact opposite direction – away from austerity and rational calm and the Jedi temple to the luxurious passion that awaited him in a large apartment midway up 500 Republica. But he took comfort in the chance to be off his feet.
Today had been a very long day with a very bad start. The four hours in hyperspace before blasting into the battle above Coruscant had been considerably more taxing than usual. Perhaps because of the delights that awaited him on planet? And he hadn't even then known of the added surprise she held inside her.
Whatever the reason, he relaxed in the comfort of a brief respite and allowed his mind to form a quick plan.
"I know how much you've been looking forward to returning," Obi-Wan noted beside him.
Playing right into Anakin's hands. Things could not be more perfect if he'd just pulled a mind trick on the weakest of beings and put the words into his mouth himself.
"I need some time to myself, to meditate and refocus. My connection to the force has been out of balance for quite some time," he fluidly replied to the Jedi master.
Obi-Wan faced forward thoughtfully but seemed to take Anakin's words at their face value.
"Perhaps we can share a meal before I return to my room? I think I need to eat first and foremost, but after that it could be some days before my mind is clear."
"Very well. I would enjoy a meal, and shall spread word that you're not to be disturbed until you emerge on your own," Obi-Wan kindly offered.
He sent Anakin the briefest curious look, but turned away again. Anakin decided it would probably be best to ignore his friend. After all, he was lying, what did he have to defend himself against that questioning look?
A brief meal and then he would take the long way to his chambers, making sure to be seen by as many Jedi as he could. After that he would sneak out without being seen and hopefully leave the impression that he was meditating, and wished to be undisturbed.
Yes, it would buy him a handful of days, at the very least.
Half an hour after being left to his own devices, Anakin set the lock on his door and crept away.
It was mealtime and the bulk of resident Jedi would be eating in the large halls on the far side of the building. With this in mind Anakin tried to keep to the corridors near the meditation rooms which should be abandoned.
Should. Of course Obi-wan had to appear out of one just after he'd walked past it.
"Anakin?" he questioned in surprise.
Blast. It is like he literally has a homing beacon on me Anakin's mind protested as he froze then turned.
"Obi-wan," he greeted calmly.
"I thought you were going to meditate?"
If he was going to do this, he was going to do it right. Far too many months he'd been away from Padmé. He should at least have a few days to re-energise in her presence before the Jedi could claim his attention once more. Up to a week's solitary meditation wouldn't seem out of sorts for those returning from the battle front. To those who were more familiar with Anakin it might seem suspicious, but he had been gone five months.
No, he was going to do this properly.
"I couldn't settle and decided I needed a walk to calm my head and relax. I'll be back in a few hours," Anakin fluidly informed his friend.
Obi-Wan nodded, standing to watch him leave.
Knowing that he needed to spend his time with Padmé before he exploded from not being with her, he continued his walk.
He would have to return in a little while and make an appearance. But then he would get his time with her. And for every moment Obi-Wan insisted on delaying it, he would add another day.
With that thought happily in mind he hurried for her apartment.
"M'lady," Anakin greeted her formally as he stepped off the turbolift, nodding his head.
He looked past her warily, like he always did, trying to gauge if anyone else was in the apartment and, more importantly, listening in.
"No one's here. Where have you been?" she greeted happily.
Her hands immediately drew him down for the long kisses she had denied him earlier. His feverish hands sought to clasp her tight with a new care that had not existed previously. He didn't pull too forcefully this time.
Although he did continue to grin as he feasted on her mouth.
The baby her heart sung to her joyfully. He doesn't want to hurt it.
"Obi-Wan came looking for me. I had to distract him. Padmé I've missed you."
She started stepping backwards with her kisses, drawing him to follow her.
His cloak slipped over his shoulders and fell to the ground with a heavy thud under the guidance of her practised fingers.
"After, we need to talk," he mumbled into her mouth as he stopped to draw her in closer.
To put his hands on her small waist and kiss her as even he had not dared to out in the open. Like a husband home from the war about to join his much-missed wife in her bed.
A kiss from which she tugged away.
"About what, is it serious?" she wanted to know.
She didn't have much will to fight him as he sunk to her neck. She let her hands drift over his back and continued to slowly move back towards their more private quarters.
"Yes and no. About the baby."
"What about the baby?" she immediately demanded, suspicion filling her.
She froze in his arms and pushed him back so that he was forced to look at her.
His soft laughter did not allay her fears. So instead he took her hand in his and more speedily led her to their bedroom.
"Don't be afraid – it's not bad Padmé! I just want to talk about how our lives are going to change."
He wasn't helping. She was for the first time in her life starting to really fear something. The unknown. Their lives could not possibly continue as they did now once the baby was born. And she couldn't foresee even one possible path they could take. This hadn't been a problem before he came home because she'd been so focused on telling him. But now…
"How do you think our lives are going to change?" she asked him doubtfully.
He stepped through the doorway and his face lit up in a grin at the sight of their bed. Ready and waiting.
His pulled her into his arms and started kissing at her unresponsive lips once more.
"I think everything will be alright and we'll be together. I haven't thought about it beyond that. Because all I can think about is you," he told her honestly.
She relaxed a little in his arms at his response. Then curled her hands over the strong muscles outlined beneath his shirt. His hands wandered her body amorously and she took the opportunity to savour his strong embrace.
Her months of missing him seemed to all come to naught as she cherished the rough skin of his chin with her lips.
"Padmé," he groaned under his breath as she reached for the clasp on his utility belt.
Then she understood his hands weren't simply reacquainting themselves with her body, they were searching for the hidden access seam. And they'd just found it.
Long after the afternoon sun had sunk below the horizon, Anakin crept from her bed to return to the temple. He purposely stopped to talk to as many acquaintances as he could in a path that vaguely led towards his quarters. It took over three hours, but once he'd done it he felt satisfied with his cover.
This time when he snuck back out he kept his feelings stretched well out in front of him and, by some miracle, managed to avoid Obi-Wan. It was with a sigh of relief that he stepped outside the Jedi temple and hurried away towards a public transport, without a single glance back.
Evading any querying eyes tonight didn't seem to be as easy as usual. Maybe it was because more people recognised his face. Or maybe it was because concentrating on making them forget they'd seen him was that much harder with something else on your mind. Something big. Huge. Wonderful.
A baby. Padmé was going to have a baby.
He forced himself to take a deep, calming breath as he slipped into the turbolift unnoticed. A quick punch of a security code and it was heading uninterrupted for Padmé's apartment. Now if only he could calm down.
There were so many questions in his mind, quieted somewhat by spending the afternoon with her, but still there. He understood very little about what was going to happen, and now felt hopelessly inadequate. Padawan gossip provided his uneducated mind with the absolute basics of how she suddenly had the beginnings of their family inside her. It made his mind shields shoot up lest anyone nearby catch the graphic images. But should he ask her about the rest?
She'd said it was about five months old, the same period of time he'd been away. And with thoughts of being away from her Anakin's mind turned from what they'd created, to where it lived. In Padmé's swollen belly. Padmé.
He grinned as the doors slid open, her presence already washing over him. It calmed his thoughts, relaxed him. And filled him with visions of her, though she was nowhere to be seen.
It was easy to track her down though.
He leant up against the wall, feeling the slightly cooler night air once more. Waiting for her to notice him while he stood and watched her. She was so beautiful. Already in her nightgown and taking down her hair. Perhaps he'd lingered a little too long at the temple. Missed this wondrous site.
His lightsaber made a small banging noise as he leant in the open doorway. She didn't turn but he could feel her smile and it caressed him softly.
"Tell me about when you were gone," she asked, her back still to him.
Finally every hair was free and it tumbled down her back. She reached for a tie and started pulling it back to wear to bed.
But try as he might he couldn't remember much of anything from the last five months. Save
"I missed you," he lamented.
And it was true. Five months. It was the longest time they'd been apart yet. Since they'd been married. And it had hurt like he wouldn't have believed. It almost started to hurt again now, thinking about how much had been happening at home that he'd been missing out on. Not politics, or Jedi business, or even scandal, but this baby. It had totally transformed her while he'd been away. It had started its life and grown so big already. It was so special and his life had changed without him there, and he'd missed it all. And for what – defending Outer Rim settlements? Oh yes, he'd missed her terribly.
"Surely you did more than miss me?" she asked, turning around to smile at him.
He bored his gaze into her with no refuting reply forthcoming. Which made her smile all the brighter.
"Be serious Ani," she laughed.
He watched her hands reach up to tug her hair into its final place. And told her of the torture of having to spend every second thinking about her. She picked up her brush and continued to smile. Last time he came home she would have tried to drag the truth out of him, of dangerous undercover raids and fiercely fought battles that ended with permanent scarring.
But not this time. This time she just smiled serenely up to the stars and continued to brush her hair. Even as he trailed off she didn't force him to continue.
His eyes travelled down from the eyes that always held his attention to the change in Padmé's form. So desperate had he been to stop missing her, when they were together all afternoon, that he hadn't taken the time to truly look at the transformation. And when she had greeted him upon his return, her form had been well-concealed, out in front of prying eyes. Now, all alone, in the safety of nothing but his presence, she wasn't hiding it, and he was paying attention. Her soft, thin nightgown showed that she bulged. Obviously. Low on her body, and prominent to a point that it looked abnormal. All in all she bulged quite perfectly.
Padmé looked down from the stars momentarily, needing to remind herself once more that Anakin was really here.
Safe, well, and he loved her still. Nothing made her happier.
Although the thought of their baby came pretty close. His immediate acceptance, his enthusiasm when she'd forced herself to tell him earlier had finally eased her nerves. Previously she'd only thought of the negatives. How they could possibly hope to hide the small creature. But now that he was so delighted, it was like all her own pent up happiness had been released. Everything she'd been refusing to allow herself to feel was escaping from a dam. And plans bubbling with joy for the near and further future could not be stopped from racing through her.
"I want to have our baby back home on Naboo," she told him, almost dreaming the idyllic scenario in her mind.
As she paused in the brushing of her hair she imagined life coming full circle in one retreat. The naivety of her childhood when she'd enjoyed the simple pleasures of the lake country – nothing more than swimming and relaxing in the sun. To fighting so hard against falling in love with her very young Jedi protector. To marrying the same Padawan who by then could not keep his eyes or his mind from her. To having her own baby, starting her own family, secreted away where no one would know amongst the vast lakes that were so removed from the outside world.
Yes, it would be the perfect place to have their baby. She immediately thought of one of the smaller rooms on the far side, where she'd once hid quietly for hours during a game. The doors that opened onto the young gardens.
Though Anakin had spoken of the need to capture General Grievous, and would not likely be free much longer, she knew he would come to her. He may have to fight, and defend the republic, but he would be there when the baby's time came. And she would be there waiting for him.
"I could go early," she mused gently, her hand passing through her hair with the expensive brush.
Detangling the knots her afternoon locked in the bedroom with Anakin had created.
"And fix up the baby's room."
Yes that smaller room with the herb garden right under its windows was perfect. She could see it now. The curtains opened in the early morning sunlight, vines softening the harshness. In her mind it had already been picked out.
Across the hall there was a handful of larger bedrooms, if memory served correctly. The two of them could change rooms and sleep down there, near the baby. And the ornate furniture of the intimate study would, for now, make way for a nursery. Just like in her own life politics may need to leave her be for a little while.
"I know the perfect spot."
She thought of the sweeping paths and lush plants that twined around each other, connecting the ground floor rooms and eventually leading to the lake. Of the trees that grew tall perfectly, without overbearing. That shaded without blocking the light. Her hand briefly caught once more as she thought of the beauty.
"Right by the gardens," she mused to him.
Her eyes unfocused for a brief moment, and it was almost as though she could see it in front of her. That she was there already.
"You are so beautiful."
Anakin knew that most people, for some reason he didn't quite understand, didn't say such things – but he only spoke the truth. She was so beautiful.
She kept moving, refusing to allow his eyes to settle on one spot. In consequence, his gaze danced over her fervently. Reminding him that his imagination had not gotten out of control while he was away. How he remembered her was nothing compared to how beautiful she was standing in front of him. Right here, right now. Her mind far away and dreaming of such details as where her baby would sleep.
His gaze flicked down to her belly again. It was so odd to see it there. And was part of the reason why his imaginings had not lived up to expectation. Because his imaginings had never though to add such a physical manifestation of their love to her body.
Her beauty didn't come from the fact that she was his though. Her beauty came from her. How such simple thoughts could please someone who had lived all her life surrounded by opulence and wealth. How the thought of being hidden away in Naboo's lake country once more made her happy. Even though every time he'd accompanied her there, it was because they were forced to hide something. Her body from attackers, their precious marriage from Obi-Wan, and now their baby from Jedi. Through all that it still represented peace and tranquillity for her.
Even though she'd have to leave and hide from everything she worked her life for. The senate, the chance to help the galaxy's defenceless, peace. She would give all that up to hide her baby, and let it start its life sleeping in a perfect room.
Yes, she truly was beautiful.
"It's only because I'm so in love," she tried to work around his compliment.
She turned to smile at him, that brush finally nearing completion and his heart swelled at her confession. Love did not make her beautiful. The way he felt about her made him want to clasp his head in agony sometimes, it was so utterly consuming. That she could return his love was what brought it from something akin to infatuation on his part, to overwhelming passion.
"No it's because I'm so in love with you," Anakin insisted, his face lighting up.
I love you his heart sang out in silent joy. She stopped brushing the silver through her hair but had turned her full attention to him now. He was nothing, if not in love with her.
"So love has blinded you?" she trapped him.
He paused, caught. Was she so beautiful because he loved her so? It was hard to separate the two notions, they'd always been one in his mind. She was beautiful even in the dark when she lay softly sleeping by his side. She was beautiful when he was on the Outer Rim, as far from her as he could be. Her presence in his awareness when his eyes were closed in meditation was beautiful.
Was that his love manifesting itself instead?
It was impossible to understand, he decided. But she was beautiful. Had his love blinded him? He would not be able to tell, because he'd never stop loving her enough to see if she was beautiful without being in love with her.
"Well that's not exactly what I meant," he conceded, giving neither option the chance to triumph.
"But it's probably true," she forced upon him and they both laughed.
She collected up her hair things and started to return inside. Even as she was moving towards him, she couldn't help but notice how handsome he'd become. How handsome he'd been when they were married, but even more so as the years had passed.
And now, here, all alone with her, on the verge of starting their family, she had truly never beheld anything more stunning. Though she didn't pretend to understand the force, she could understand how Anakin must feel to sense the feelings of others. Because looking at him right now, casual against the doorway yet his entire focus seemingly centred on herself, she could feel nothing but love. From inside herself and emanating from him.
It was love: pure, and untainted. Innocent in that way Anakin had, where nothing had come between them yet and he truly believed that nothing ever could. Not one thing would stop them from loving each other.
She let herself slow down as she reached him, just as he righted himself and unfolded his arms to hold her.
There were no more words that needed to be said. Right now everything was as he'd said it should be, as she'd refused to dream of. Wonderful.
On their wedding day they had both been plagued by the inherent fault in a Senator marrying so secretly to such a scandalous figure. And a Jedi marrying at all. And the fact that their wedding night would be the last time they saw one another for an unknown amount of time.
But here, now, there was none of that regret. No sense of wrongdoing, no impending sadness. Unlike their wedding day this truly was the happiest day of her life. Though she wouldn't admit that to him at the moment – it would puff him up far too much.
Did it matter if he thought she were beautiful only because he was in love with her? Not one bit. Because the fact remained – he loved her. Just as she loved him. And just…wonderful.
"I'm going to retire," she told him when she finally pulled away and started heading towards her bedroom.
Without having to turn and look she pictured him carrying out a familiar routine. That of the 'first night back'. His hand waving to lock all the doors and set the security systems because he couldn't bare to trail that far behind her that he stopped to do them all manually.
Murmuring a pointed "good night 3P0," which the droid had suddenly started understanding after the first time he'd come to awaken Padmé and been confused by Anakin's presence in her bed. She had a feeling he'd tinkered with the droid's programming, because the command seemed to be limited to Anakin's issuing it.
She turned and saw him lock her bedroom door behind him. Smiling peacefully she settled herself near her pillows on the edge of the bed and bent somewhat awkwardly to slip off her soft house shoes. To be suddenly brought back to his gaze by his hearty laughter.
"It's not that easy anymore," she grinned at him, depositing both shoes on the floor and fumbling with the covers.
"You look so funny!" he continued to laugh.
Hilarious. She looked hilarious. She'd been so lithe and athletic when he left. Now she had trouble reaching her feet with her grown middle. It was hilarious.
And though he laughed at her she just took kindly to his teasing and didn't try to rebuke him. Because she must know how odd it looked to him. That's when it struck him.
She was happier now. Than she'd ever been. All he had to do was love her. And she didn't care that it had made her sick, she didn't care that it had distorted her body. It had obviously made her happier.
Because they'd loved recklessly one night on his last trip home.
He grinned in slight embarrassed remembrance at his own thoughts as he unbuckled his utility belt and placed it on his chair. His chair – just for his clothes. Always empty when he wasn't half naked in her bed. Something that was just for him, in the most intimate space of Padmé's life – her bedroom.
He quickly stripped off as she watched and he felt the warmth of nothing more than her company fill him. No wonder he missed her so much when he was away.
Without needing to be told he slipped into her dressing area and opened the draw full of her nightgowns. Soft, rich fabrics from many worlds. Crafted by top designers whose names he couldn't even fathom. And one rough pair of Jedi sleep pants, tucked in its own place on the side. Where it lived much of the time, unworn.
The nature and habits of their pyjamas spoke of their own lives a little too closely. He yanked the soft, simple, dark clothing from its place and pushed the drawer shut, refusing to think further.
He quickly pulled them on beneath his unbuttoned shirt, a small guard against the cooler night.
"I know I say it every time, but this is so different," Anakin murmured quietly to her as he pulled back the covers and quickly slipped between the blankets.
She didn't reply, just rolled onto her side to study him.
Her fingers came up to caress his cheeks and he sighed, covering them, holding them to him.
"Right here, everything is perfect," he whispered, closed his eyes and suddenly turned his head to place butterfly kisses on each of her fingertips.
She continued her silence and he opened his eyes to her, only to find her in his immediate vision. He let his eyes close again, feeling intensity in one of her simple kisses that outdid anything he'd felt in the last five months.
Unlike all they'd shared that day, this kiss was soft, held no desperation, only the culmination of tranquil love from both. It continued on as thousands of speeders passed by outside, unhurried by anything at all. Eventually Anakin brought a hand up to cup her face when the sweetness got so much that he briefly lost his equilibrium. The feeling of her fingers on his chest and along his scalp was incomparable bliss and he loved it so.
There was not the hunger of their earlier kisses, when both had been so full of deprived lust they'd barely had time to secure the door. But the longing to be joined was always there.
Briefly, Padmé sighed in his mouth then pulled away, rolling onto her back.
Sad though she was to give up Anakin's precious lips, it had to be done. What had been uncomfortable had transformed into pain.
"What is it?" Anakin asked throatily, his eyes not opening beyond half-lidded when she disengaged.
Wriggling around on the bed she moved onto her back.
"Not you. It hurts being on my side," she explained to him.
She could tell that was one justification he did not understand. Sometimes she had to wonder if Jedi masters taught their younglings anything. Because her husband was as naïve as Pooja, more than just some of the time.
"The weight is different, and my back hurts," she clarified softly.
She turned her head slightly to watch his reaction. And briefly had to ponder what he was going to do when this baby decided to make its entrance into the world. His innocence had astounded her on their wedding night, and she was starting to feel that his inexperience there was nothing compared to what lay ahead of them. Especially if he couldn't conceive that simply carrying more all of the time would eventually begin to stress her body.
But above it all she loved him. And his response to the growing niggles, aches and pains just reaffirmed that when he said
"Oh…well can I still kiss you?"
You are so sweet Ani her mind sighed.
"Of course you can still kiss me," she whispered back, threading one hand through his hair and pulling his lips over.
They murmured unthinking words as their kisses became more intimate. But now Padmé wanted more than just to kiss him. The desire that had been put to rest earlier in the evening was back full force. Having Anakin here in person, after so many months – months – without him was far too…intoxicating. She slipped one hand over his hard chest and round to his sculpted back, letting the fabric of his open shirt caress her forearms as she held him. Pulled him closer.
Anakin groaned as he seemed to release control and even as he was moving closer to her, on top of her, she was pushing the shirt from his shoulders. Revealing his broad chest and back to her eagerly wondering hand.
She murmured back to him to not get so excited, as his shirt briefly tangled in his mechanical arm before being tossed across the room.
"I can't help it. I love you," his words seemed to come back as he cupped her face hungrily.
Which she more than reciprocated. Both her arms now wrapped around him and pulled him in a half-roll so that he could lie on top of her. So that she could kiss him even more deeply, and be free to run her hands up and down his back. Put them in his longer hair and tug his head in even closer. Touch him everywhere possible.
Feel him against her once more. She had an insatiable appetite for him, and the odd perception that perhaps, were the separatists to be brought around and the Jedi order vastly expanded, then just perhaps they could do this forever.
So having him say "Mmmmm, wait Padmé," was not exactly top of her list of things to hear at that very moment.
The baby. He didn't want to hurt the baby. And something so small it could fit into such a small region as her belly surely wouldn't take too kindly to being crushed by the weight of a large Jedi Knight.
Luckily she seemed to understand as he hovered over her, looking down towards where it nestled inside of her nervously.
"You won't. Just–" she propped herself up on her elbows and looked down for a moment. "Rest your weight on your knees."
He followed her gaze and rearranged himself once more, half straddling her hips. He would have laughed again – their passion had never been interrupted by practicality before. Except he was far too focused on returning to that passion as quickly as possible to be laughing.
"Now I can't feel you at all," she led him.
And he was happy to follow. He quickly rejoined his mouth back to hers, lowering his body gently so he could feel her but not hurt her. Resting his weight on his elbows so he could tease her soft cheeks with his palms.
His hunger for her was starting to consume him in its entirety.
Anakin twitched in his sleep. Although unconscious, the force never stopped speaking to him. Right now it was whispering something. He strained to hear, not able to make out the words.
For just a moment, it was as if his eyes were being opened up. Padmé was somewhere, in pain. Crying out.
Anakin suddenly popped his eyes open and reconciled the beginnings of a dream with reality.
He could hear Padmé, and she was in pain all right. Throwing up. Extremely worried he quickly climbed out of bed, tugging his shirt back on. He hadn't noticed she was sick. She was fine just this evening, maybe it was something she'd eaten. Did the baby suffer when she did?
With all these thoughts on his mind he found her momentarily. In silence he caught the rest of her hair and swept it back behind her. Lovingly running his fingers over her scalp but not saying a word. Alarmed, he watched on as she must have emptied the contents of most of her stomach.
No, this definitely couldn't be good. For her or their little one. He ached to see her unwell, it made him feel useless as she bent over in pain. To feel her discomfort throbbing in the force made it even worse.
Finally she settled back on her knees, leaning her head back tiredly. He let her soft curls fall away from his hands, back to their original position. Luckily she'd tied some of it back before she went to sleep.
Without a word he rinsed a cloth out then tenderly applied it to the back of her sweating neck.
"You must feel terrible," he murmured sympathetically, sinking to the floor beside her.
His hand reached up to the counter and drew a glass of water, handing it over to her.
"Thank you," she whispered, sending him a sad smile.
Anakin watched on tenderly. She rinsed her mouth out as best she could, then collapsed back to the floor. She was so obviously exhausted, poor Padmé. After their rather taxing hours together, they both needed their sleep. His fingers itched to trace her cheeks, flushed and sweating. But he kept his hands from her, she was obviously too hot as it was.
"It was probably something you ate," he reasoned quietly.
Not actually knowing what she'd had for dinner he couldn't be sure. However, it had come on after she'd gone to sleep, so it had to be something she'd ingested just before he returned. Satisfied with his own logic he didn't see her eyes widened at him. He felt her disbelief though.
"Anakin it's morning sickness," her hoarse voice informed him.
Frowning, he stared at the wall in front of him. It wasn't morning. Her incredulous tone brought feelings of inadequate naivety bubbling back up to the surface. He loved her so much, but when he was with her she left him feeling like he'd missed a single class while he was growing up that explained the simple facts of life. Of course they were facts a Jedi had no use for, but he did. And he assumed whatever this one was, it was baby-related.
He wasn't wrong.
"It's too much of a hormone in my body, I think. The baby's doing it to me," she explained quietly.
Reaching out, she took his hand and gave it a brief squeeze.
He feared the near future for them. Padmé was going to need someone who understood, and that was definitely not him. He was going to be a terrible father.
As he watched her climb to her feet and start to clean up, he made a silent vow. Tomorrow, he would find out as much as he could about human pregnancy. Because it was becoming obvious just how much knowledge he lacked. And he disliked the feeling of being a youthful adolescent who still didn't understand how the world worked.
Right now, his eyes settled on Padmé as she started returning to bed. Without a word he followed her, tracing his eyes over her. Middle of the night, having just thrown up, she was still the most beautiful person he had ever laid eyes on.
No man would ever be so lucky as he was, he acknowledged that. No other man would ever receive the love of Padmé Amidala like he did. And he would never give her cause to stop loving him. He would worship her all her days.
"Come to bed," she entreated when he stood admiring her too long.
He hurried back under the covers and back to his lover's side. While she quickly fell asleep again he lay back, pondering the warning in the force he'd begun to feel before. It lingered, even now. He wondered if it been there just since his dream, or if it had been there before that. There was a vague notion that nothing had been right since his encounter with Dooku. Or had it been making planetfall on Coruscant?
Anakin let a small smile creep up onto his lips as Padmé's eyes opened sleepily.
"Hi," he whispered, the soft light of the rising sun drifting across her tangled hair.
She gave him the barest of grins then reached out for his hand without a word.
He lay beside her in silence, fixing her with an intense stare that was powerfully returned.
"I should get up and," she finally started but he raised their entwined hands to her lips to hush her.
"I want us to go back to Naboo. Now," he said quietly.
Her eyes widened in alarm but he continued before she could interrupt.
"Something is brewing. Something elsewhere, elusive. Like a faarlij"
he murmured, referring to a Nubian children's treat they'd once shared, that continued to grow once exposed to air if you did not slurp down the sugary bubble fast enough, until it exploded over you in a gooey mess.
"I feel like its here, but if we leave it won't explode all over us."
She smiled sadly, kissed his knuckles and drew their tangled mass of fingers away enough for her to speak.
"The war isn't over and Palpatine is asking for executive power over the budgeting committee's heads. I can't leave now, and since when have you wanted to run from a fight?"
He grinned and tugged their hands to his own lips. She got a long, slow, open-mouthed kiss that made many promises on her open palm.
"If we were to leave everything else behind, someone else would start eating until it was all gone. If we stay, we could never eat fast enough."
Her eyebrows turned down at him and he knew he'd perhaps taken the metaphor a little to far. But it accurately described what he felt. In the force, and in his heart.
Something larger was happening, surrounding the Senate, the Jedi – the attempt to kidnap the Chancellor was too ridiculous in its inception, he was amazed Count Dooku had let it get as far as it had. Although he didn't know what it was, he understood the feeling inside him. The one he'd felt in pod races just before the speeder in front of him exploded and sent shrapnel flying his way. The one that said duck now! Get out of the way!
In his heart he also knew this to be the truth. His feelings as he'd taken Dooku's life had been conflicted in a way they hadn't been for quite some time. Continuing his own involvement in the war would be dangerous until he took the time to understand what was happening inside himself.
And then there was the baby. The swelling Padmé's belly now had held so much promise. She should be somewhere beautiful, homely, safe. Where he could love her unconditionally. A soft sense at the back of his mind he'd never quite heard before told him she was going to need that for a little while to come. That devoted and undivided attention only his fondness could give her.
"Is this just first night home over-eagerness or do you truly believe something ominous awaits us?" she asked carefully.
Her eyes bored into his, demanding his truthful answer. Because she didn't want to hear what he knew to be true in his heart.
"For our safety we should leave," he reiterated quietly.
She rolled onto her back and turned her eyes away from him. Obviously trying to gauge her own options. She didn't want to leave just yet, that was clear and somewhat understandable. Her obligations to her people would always be her first priority. To serve the interests of the people who had elected her, because they trusted her unfailingly and she would never abuse that trust.
But he could also see she liked the idea of the two of them. On her home planet, tucked away, perhaps up at the lake but then again maybe elsewhere, just waiting for their baby to arrive. Doing all the things they had never got a chance to do because of the war, their positions in the public eye. The demands of their respective lives.
"What about the Jedi, those that are in need of protection?" she asked quietly.
"Dooku is dead, Grievous will soon be dealt with, already the Jedi are returning to strength."
Her hand slipped under the covers, and for a moment he eyed her very curiously. His eyes followed the progress of her fingers, as they created moving lumps under the blanket. From his position tucked up on his pillow he finally he saw them come to a stop, right over her stomach.
Lighting up, he sat up and threw the covers back, making her shriek in surprise as he bounced.
"And then there is baby Skywalker to think of!" he babbled, grinning up at her.
"Baby Skywalker?" she smiled indulgently, though her attention seemed to drift in a pleasurable haze at the sound of it.
He hesitated a moment, eyes focused on her perfect, still hand. Then he took a deep breath, reached out his right hand, and lay it on her stomach, covered her fingers.
With that contact he could feel nothing but overwhelming love for everything that was right here. Padmé. The way her belly swelled with the assurance of hope growing steadily inside. Padmé. Padmé. He was complete in her presence.
"What's gotten into you?" she smirked up at him.
Her other hand came up to cover his and he couldn't help but light up.
"I'm going to Naboo and life is going to be very perfect for a little while."
He looked at her meaningfully and waited for her response. Desperately hoping that it would be for him. Praying that she wouldn't put duty first. Not this time, he didn't think he could bare it this time. Because he truly sensed nothing good for them if they remained here much longer. That something elusive was almost becoming more tangible by the minute.
"I'll go with you."
To be continued...