Body Not a Boy Anymore--- Chapter 12, The End of the Beginning

Author: valsolo

* I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have. :) Enjoy!*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"I have to do this, Padme," Anakin Skywalker whispered from behind Queen Amidala.

"I know," she replied flatly without turning to face him. She was afraid if she saw his eyes that she might begin blubbering like a child.

A child, she mused. That was what they had both been when they first met, but now.... now they were both adults, more or less. The events of the past month had forever bonded them together, so close ,in fact, that just the thought of him leaving made her feel like half of her heart had been ripped right out of her chest. Now there before them was the shuttle that would carry him off of Naboo and light years away from her.

"I promised her I'd be back, and I shouldn't have waited this long." Anakin moved in front of her and took her chin in his hand, forcing her to look at him. "When I thought I had lost you to that Sith, I wanted to die. And when I got you back..... well, it made me realize that life is too short. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow, so you've got to seize the day."

Amidala fought the lump forming in her throught and the tears welling in her eyes. "I know," she managed to squeak out, swallowing hard. The past two weeks of Anakin's recovery had given them time to learn so much about one another, and it had only served to plunge her more deeply in love with the young Jedi.

And now he was leaving.

"As soon as I free my mother, I'm coming back," he stated firmly. A single tear escaped and wound its way down Amidala's cheek before Anakin tenderly wiped it away. "I promise," he whispered. Amidala forced a smile and nodded her head. She believed him. She knew he would be back. Somewhere in her secret heart, she knew. But that still did not lessen the pain of losing him for the moment.

Anakin took the simple carved necklace she was wearing in his hand. "I made this so you could remember me," he said, reminiscent of the first time he had offered the gift.

"I don't need this to remind me of you," she replied in kind. Then, unable to hold them in anymore, a flood of tears fell from her eyes.

"Please don't cry, Padme," Anakin pleaded, his own heart being torn asunder at the sight of her sadness.

"I'm trying," she sniffled. Anakin took her face in his hands and placed his forehead on hers.

"I love you," he said, and she managed another weak smile. "And when I get back, I want-----" He looked deep into her eyes. "When I get back, I want to build a life with you, Padme-- IF you'll have me," he added. "Will you wait for me?"

"Until the end of time," she whispered back. Then, their lips met in a passionate kiss..... a kiss that sealed the promise between them. All of the others standing nearby made lame attempts to look away, but were overwhelmed by the apparent love between the queen and the Jedi.

"Anakin, it's time to go." Obi-Wan's voice was the bearer of bad tidings for the young twosome, and they unwillingly pulled their hungry lips apart.

"Yeah.... okay," Anakin said still looking at the woman who held his heart in her hand. "The council is sending someone to be stationed here to watch over you until I return. I know they don't condone what I'm about to do, but they do agree that you need to be guarded from the Sith. You know I wouldn't be leaving you if I thought you were in danger. Whoever they send will protect you... because they know they'll have to deal with me if they mess up!" His attempt at humor brought a chuckle from Amidala. Deep down she pitied anyone that crossed him the wrong way. She knew he would protect her to the death..... his or someone else's. In a way, it was strangely reassuring to be loved so strongly.

Anakin pulled her close and kissed her once more before slowly boarding the transport. As the ramp was closing, she caught him mouthing "I love you" one more time. Then with a loud hiss, the door was sealed, and he was gone. She had no idea how long his mission would last. All she did know was that she would wait for him as long as it took.

'I'm going to marry you someday,' the strange little scruffy boy had said years ago inside an old junk dealer's shop. Amidala smiled at the memory as it found its way into her thoughts. Watching the fleeting shuttle fade into space, she knew in her heart that indeed that little boy had been right.


I can't wait until Episode 2!!! Please review. Thanks for your time! MTFBWY :)