Living A Lie
Chapter 6, According to Holy Ordinance
Master Obi-Wan's Quarters, the Jedi Temple
Anakin arrived at the Temple well before the time for their departure. He managed to avoid as much contact as possible. His memory of Padmé was a bubble of happiness in his soul, rimmed with resentment at the Order at large. His punctuality had cost him the sight of Padmé's eyes as she woke up in his arms.
Obi-Wan's disapproving gaze was a mockery of a substitute. There was no escaping the Jedi Master. Without preamble, he launched his attack the moment Anakin stepped into their shared chambers.
"Where were you last night, Padawan?"
Anakin felt the bubble tremble.
"I went for a walk, to clear my head." The Padawan's clear blue eyes looked everywhere but into his Master's gaze.
"A very long walk."
"My head needed a lot of clearing," Anakin said coolly.
"You were upset? And why, my young apprentice?"
This time, Anakin did look at Obi-Wan and his eyes were furious. "You've so soon forgotten how you humiliated me in front of the Chancellor, then Master Yoda yesterday?"
Obi-Wan started in surprise. "You're still brooding about that?"
"Forgive me, Master. I am to blame for letting my feelings get in the way of your reprimands."
"I won't take that sarcastic tone of voice from you, my very young Padawan," Obi-Wan snapped.
Anakin bowed his head, his angry glare now directed to the floor. "Sorry, Master," he said automatically and insincerely.
In front of him, Obi-Wan was inhaling sharply and Anakin mentally steeled himself for the long lecture that was about to follow. As was his usual practice, he raised his shields and deliberately targeted his mind towards a distraction. In the past, it would be a speeder or droid he was tinkling on. Now the image that rose in his mind was a great deal more organic.
Sweet, gentle Padmé.
Fierce, fearsome Padmé.
The memory of his wife filled his senses. Padmé in her demure white night-cloth, her hair in two chaste plaits down her back, a steely glint in her eye and a firing blaster in her hand. The fact that the blaster had been trained on him at that time made it all the more appealing.
Padmé's husband sighed deeply and failed to notice that Master Obi-Wan had stopped speaking.
Startled out of his reverie, Anakin looked into his Master's frustrated gaze and said on cue, "I promise to do better, Master."
And he meant it. Not for Obi-Wan as it had been in the past - Anakin was fast realizing that nothing he could do might ever please his Master - and not, he thought sadly, for his Mother. Not any longer.
For Padmé. In her eyes, he saw himself as she saw him - her beloved. The bubble ballooned within him and he felt as light as air. He was flying. Soaring.
He would be a hero for Padmé.
He didn't hear his Master's sad sigh nor did he see the worried frown on Obi-Wan's face as he led the way to the Temple hangar.
When Padmé woke, he was gone. The space where he had been was so cold that the whole night might well have just been a wonderful, precious but impossible dream.
Her heart burst into tears.
There was a discreet knock on the door.
"Come in, Dormé," Padmé said with almost-perfect composure. If her voice quavered a little, she chose not to dwell on it.
Nor did she dwell on the quick glance Dormé gave to the bed before she turning a respectful gaze to her mistress. "Good day Milady. We need to revise your schedule. Senator Organa's office called to cancel his appointment this morning. I took the liberty of contacting Senator Ask's office for an earlier hour…"
Padmé listened patiently to the timetable, voicing agreements and objections where necessary, and placing demands as they arose. And if on occasion, a sad gaze filled her eyes, or a deep blush rose in her cheeks or a wicked smile graced her lips, then certainly, neither she nor her handmaiden commented on it.
To Be Concluded