A/N: Sorry it's been so long! I started another story and decided that I had better finish the one I had forgotten about first! Please keep the reviews coming, I really appreciate it!

Chapter Nine

Kai stood over Padme with a wicked gleam in his eyes.

"I know that wasn't much fun, but you drove me to it. I'm so sorry, but I just had not choice. You should have known better. I warned you," His face darkened as he stroked her battered face. "You're mine. You promised me and now you've broken it."

Padme moaned softly and desperately tried to pick her head up. When she realized it was hopeless, she closed her eyes in defeat.

Kai bent down lower to whisper in Padme's ear. Just as he reached out again to touch her, Anakin burst through the door.

Anakin froze and stared in horror at the broken figure lying several feet away from him. It was Padme. Oh gods! It was Padme. She looked barely alive, barely breathing. Her face…oh gods…her face…her right eyes was bruised shut…she wasn't moving…Kai. Kai was standing over her. He felt his anger rise yet again as he shifted his penetrating gaze to the man that had beaten his love.

"Kai, step away from Padme. If you don't step away right now, I swear, I'll kill you. I won't hesitate."

"What makes you think I did this to her? I just got here and found her like this."

Anakin's anger flared and he ignited his lightsaber in one swift motion.

"I meant it."

The two men stared viciously at each other while Obi-Wan rushed to Padme's side.

"Fine, you win for now, Skywalker." He took several steps towards Anakin and Anakin quickly grabbed him.

"Master, will you get him out of here before I kill him?"

Obi-Wan looked up and didn't need to use the Force to recognize his padawan's fierce anger and hatred. He quickly got up and took Kai out of the room.

Anakin's hard eyes followed Kai and Obi-Wan as they exited the room. His eyes softened as they focused on his beloved's battered form. He hesitated for a moment then immediately rushed to her side. He knelt down and carefully stroked the bruises on her face.

"Padme, I'm so sorry. I should have been here, I should have stopped him. I love you…I'm going to take care of you. No one's ever going to come near you again. I promise. Padme…can you hear me? I love you." He whispered softly into her hair as he held her.

Slowly, he stood up with Padme in his arms. He was immediately bombarded with handmaidens and guards. But he kept walking, as if in a trance. He didn't answer any questions, he just drew Padme closer to his chest and continued to the infirmary. Only one thought managed to sink into his brain: Kai will pay.

Padme tried to open her eyes, but painfully discovered that she could only open her left. Once her eye gained focus, she quickly realized that she was in a strange room. After a moment, a doctor and a droid entered the room.

"M'lady, I see you've awakened. First of all, you're in much worse shape than the last time my services were needed. Your right eye has swollen shut and you have two broken ribs. You need rest, your majesty. The pain medication I have prescribed should help manage the pain and help you sleep. Stay in bed for at least four days and then send for me."

Padme nodded politely and tried turning on her side, only to find that the pain was to great to move. She suppressed a lone tear and quickly told herself she was lucky to even be alive at the moment. Suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door.

A somber Anakin entered silently. She watched his slow movements as he made his way to the chair next to her bed.

"May I sit?" He asked, sounded ghost-like.

She nodded slowly, nervous and grateful at the same time for his presence.

He stared silently at the ground, contemplating the easiest way to start. He realized, however, that there was no easy way. Not with this situation. He would just have to say everything he needed to say point-blank.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

His soft voice startled her. Immediately, tears began to form in her eyes. She knew this conversation was going to happen eventually, and now, she knew that everything that had happened was her own doing.

"I was scared." She began softly.

Anakin didn't respond. He decided it was best to let her explain before saying anything else.

"I was scared and I didn't want him to hurt you. I thought that you would be safe if he only took it out on me."

He was silent for a moment, contemplating what she had said.

"Padme, you should've told me. I could've helped you! I'm a damned Jedi for god sakes! Why didn't you trust me enough?"

"It's not that I didn't trust you. I was scared because he was threatening me. I don't really know why I kept it from you. I guess I wanted to pretend that it wasn't happening. I especially couldn't let you see me, well, like I am now."

He felt his heart breaking at the sound of her scared voice. He felt his own voice shaking as he tried to speak.

"That's why you wouldn't let me see you that day, isn't it? That's why you told me to come back in two days. Oh Padme, I'm so sorry this happened to you. I should've found some way to find out what was going on. I should've never let it happen. This is all my fault." He put his head in his hands and tried desperately to stop the tears that were threatening dangerously to fall.

"No, Anakin, no. I realized that I had to tell you, that you could help me. That we could tell the Senate together and then the engagement would be off. But I never had the chance. If I had just been brave enough to tell you sooner, none of this would have happened." Suddenly her demeanor broke and the tears fell mercilessly.

Anakin reached out to brush away each tear, then pulled her to his chest.

"Ohh, ouucchh!"

"Oh gods, Padme. I'm sorry, I didn't even think about…"

"It's ok, Anakin. Just a few broken ribs, nothing serious." She tried to laugh, but ended up grabbing her side in pain.

Anakin was at her side within seconds. He stroked her face and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.

"But Padme, it is serious. He hurt you, and he's not getting away with it. I'll kill him before I let him walk away from this."

Padme nodded in understanding. She didn't want Anakin to kill anyone, but she understood his anger.

"Padme, as soon as you're well, you need to identify Kai as the person who hurt you. I know it will be difficult but you have to."

"Will you be there?"

"Of course."


"Listen, I should let you rest. You need to rebuild your strength. Call for me if you need anything."

She nodded and watched him walk towards the door.



"Thank you…you've done so much for me. Not only for being there for me and stopping Kai…but for loving me."

Anakin shifted nervously, not really sure where this was going.

"Anakin, I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused you. But…I love you. I always have. I just couldn't admit to anyone, especially myself or you. But now, we're free. I love you, Anakin." She smiled through her tears as she watched his face transform from shock to utter joy.

He sprinted over to her bed and locked her in a gentle, yet passionate kiss. The kiss lingered for several moments, and when Anakin reluctantly broke it, he placed a tender kiss on her forehead, then one on each of her cheeks.

"I love you, Padme. Now, get some rest. I'll be back in a little while."

"No, Anakin. Stay, please…I don't think I can sleep if you're not here."

He smiled faintly before sitting back down in his chair. He took her hand and kissed it softly before replying.

"Anything for you, m'lady."