Living A Lie

Chapter 4, In Sickness and in Health

Ambassadorial District

The routes in Coruscant were best suited for air travel but there was a complicated maze of walkways and turbolists that connected all but the most secure buildings in the city planet. The route Anakin followed was a complex join of lifts and corridors and paths through public arenas but he knew it so well that he could have walked it in his sleep. Instead he ran with super-human speed, passing pedestrians like a wind-causing shadow. When he finally reached the restricted Ambassadorial District, he slipped into the Alderaan Private Botanical Park, shimmied his way up a riser and jumped to the nearest low-rise building. He landed on his feet and quick as a wildcat, he was running across the roof. After that, the rest of the journey was a series of runs and jumps as he made his way to the centre of the District, climbing steadily from one elevation to another. He finally reached the high roof 500 Republica and he shimmied his way down the building, finding impossible footholds and handholds in the smooth durasteel wall until he was peering down at the balcony that opened out of the apartment of the Naboo Senator. He made one last drop and then he straightened up to stare at the transparisteel before him. He nudged the closed blinds with his thoughts and they opened before him. He slipped through the open window and stepped into the darkness of the room.

Anakin almost did not make it to his wife's side. No sooner had he landed on the balls of his feet, than a shrill beep came from the corner of the room and the click of a blaster being set filled his ears.

He had barely tucked into the roll before the laser hurtled towards him, missing the tip of his ear by micro-meters.

The bright beam tracked him as he rolled across the room.

"Don't move!" His wife's voice had never sounded deadlier. Nor had he realized how deadly her aim was.

Don't move? Why? So I can be a sitting duck? He wondered, still rolling. He came to a stop behind the tall column where she hung her cloaks, and never was he so grateful to Naboo fashion and architecture. The laser beam bounced off the edges.

Not quite catching his breath, he bellowed: "Padmé, how are you going to explain my corpse if it's found it in your room!"

There was a sharp gasp. "Anakin?"

"Not quite. Your other husband. Will you stop shooting?"

Padmé gasped again, and the barrage of missiles stopped. He felt strangely bereft. Apparently, near-assassination-by-wife scenarios were disturbingly sexy.

"Anakin!" she cried again, and his heart tightened at the wonderful mixture of surprise and joy and horror. He could hear her getting to her feet – did she sleep with a blaster under her pillow? – and he wanted nothing more than to run to her arms but…

"My lady!"

Dormé burst into the room, blaster drawn and ready to shoot.

For a moment all three were frozen. Padmé in her white gown, poised on the balls of her feet, one hand still holding a blaster, even though her arms were wide open. Anakin, peering cautiously around the column, and Dormé, weapon arm outstretched and pointed dangerously at Anakin's head.

Dormé broke the silence first. "Jedi Skywalker!"

The spell shattered and Padmé dashed to the handmaiden, pushing away the weapon. "Keep that thing away!"

"My lady… I heard shots…"

From beyond the door, there was the sound of running steps.

Padmé spun to stare at her husband with desperate eyes. "Captain Typho… the security detail…" She felt faint. If anyone were to find Anakin here…

Anakin seemed to have read her mind perfectly. With one quick nod, he moved. Fast. One moment, he was standing by the column. The next, one leg was loped over the edge of her window. "Excuse me, ladies."

He jumped.

A heartbeat later, the two women screamed.