Author: rhonderoo
Title: Keep Me Here
Genre: A/P, Mild Angst and… Oh yeah, mush. Definite mush.
Status: Complete
Timeframe: pre-ROTS
Summary: Anakin and Padme's last morning together before he leaves for the Outer Rim sieges. Just plain old much needed A/P mush (for me).

A/N: I have been away from my 'ship way too long. They were beating down my door with plot bunnies and they just wanted to be together.

Padmé turned over in bed, moving her arm against the empty space that had held her sleeping husband. She sat up and swallowed down the empty feeling of dread it brought her. Anakin had to leave this morning to join with Republic forces in the Outer Rim and last night had past too quickly. She blushed when she thought of how she and her husband had spent the entirety of the night, into the dawn hours.

Time with him was so precious. She felt she should neither eat nor sleep nor do anything mundane when he was at home. The war had done this to her. To them. She never passed up an opportunity to touch him or hold him or be with him when he was with her. During these all too brief visits home, she couldn't get enough of the sight and feel of him. She did her best to soak up every glance at his golden hair, every brush of his soft lips, every smoky gaze he saved only for her, even the cold, metallic touch of his cybertronic arm.

Her husband had matured over their three years of marriage from the shy Padawan to the confident Knight, both in Jedi abilities and husbandly matters. The war had hardened him slightly, more than slightly if she was honest with herself, but with her he was always her Ani. She watched as he sat on the side of the bed and fastened his pants, his shoulders and feet still bare. He turned to look at her when he felt her eyes on him.

"Good morning." He leaned back to offer up his lips for a quick kiss. "I was going to let you sleep for a little while longer. I have a little bit of time."

She drew his head to hers and deepened their kiss, hot tears stinging at the back of her eyes as she reluctantly let him go.

"If you keep kissing me like that, it will make only that much harder to go," he said jokingly. He then caught sight of the misery on Padmé's face.

"I promise it won't be long," he said as he brushed stray strands of chestnut hair from her face with his flesh hand. He tucked the errant hair behind her ear and leaned in for another kiss, this time drawing her to him and wrapping both arms around her. He felt the wetness of her tears against his bare chest and tightened his hold. "Come on, Padmé. Let's not make this harder. You know I cannot stand to see you cry. It breaks my heart. The Chancellor swears that we are close to catching Dooku and ending the war. I promise I will do everything in my power to bring the end about that much quicker. I promise."

He held her small frame out away from him and wiped her cheeks with his thumb. He brought her forward and kissed both cheeks. "Better?" He asked, pushing another wayward strand of hair away from her face. At her reluctant nod, he tucked her head beneath his chin and kissed the top of her head. "I love you."

Padmé lifted her head and cradled Anakin's head between her hands. "I love you too, Anakin. Please, please be careful. I could not bear it if.."

She couldn't finish the sentence. The thought occurred to her more and more here lately as the battles got more dangerous and more and more soldiers were sent off never to return home. She literally could not think of her Anakin dying. I don't know if I could bear it, she thought. She did not know when he had captured her heart so completely, as it had snuck up on her from behind. Knocking her senseless with its gravity, but there it was. She loved him more than life itself, she sometimes thought and that wasn't like her. Or at least it wasn't who she thought she was. These days she didn't know anymore. She didn't intend for her life to make a major turn when she married, but her love for Anakin grew past what she ever had thought love could. Of course, she had never really been in love before Anakin, so the feeling was that much more overpowering and new to her.

In a tiny corner of her mind now, the thought of giving up everything and moving away with Anakin had settled and made its home. It had never occurred to her before. She had always turned a blissfully blind eye away from the implication of their love and their marriage. Now it took root in her and became part of what she was. Anakin's wife. Mrs. Anakin Skywalker. The name both thrilled and scared her.

There was sadness, too. She only let herself think of her real name when she was at her weakest. When she missed him terribly or when she passed the Jedi temple. When she held her treasured snippet or when the holos of his wartime efforts were bandied about. When she wanted to shout from the rooftops her pride in her husband and what he was doing for her beloved Republic.

"Nothing will happen to me. I'll be all right. I have too much to live for," Anakin said. His eyes bore holes into her, such was his intensity. "Remember that, Padmé. I will always come back to you. Until then, always keep me here." He placed his hand over her heart. "Please?"

He reached down and kissed her again and disengaged himself from her embrace. He walked over to the dresser and gathered his tunic and tabbards and returned to sit on the edge of the bed. Thinking to prolong the time they had, he leaned towards her and placed his right arm across her thighs on the bed, tilting his head up for another kiss. "I'm sorry I don't have much time this morning. But I'll make it up to you the next time, I swear."

"It's fine, Ani. I'm just moody and miserable because you're leaving this morning. We both knew it would be like this. It doesn't stop it from hurting, though," Padmé said as she stroked his jaw and moved her hand up to brush his blond locks from his brow.

He grasped her hand and brought it to his mouth for a kiss, and then returned to getting dressed. "How much longer will you be on Naboo?"

"Only a couple of more days. I will send you a holo, through R2, when I get back to Coruscant. I have a few more items to clear up before the Senate break, and then I'll be coming back to Naboo on the break. After that, I suspect the Senate will go full swing and it's back to the same old tired arguments," she said with a sigh. She got up and drew her robe around herself and went to the dresser for her hairbrush.

"Should I go see about breakfast?" She remembered with a frown that they had not taken much time to eat the previous evening.

"No. I'll be okay, but you should probably eat," he said as he looked up to her from the bed. He smiled and winked. "I think you probably used up all your energy stores last night."

She pretended to throw the hairbrush at him. "Overbearing husband."

"Mother hen."



She opened her mouth in shock, clearly mocking him. He picked up a pillow from the bed and threw it at the top of her head, just enough to muss her hair.

"That's it!" She ran over and launched herself on top of him knocking him to the bed.

"Ow! I think you hurt something!" He said breathlessly through laughter.

"I will hurt something," she said mischievously.

"Oh, but see…then what would you do?" He raised his brows knowingly, and laughed.

"You're right. There are parts of your….anatomy…that I would rather like to keep around," she said playfully.

She got up and pulled him off the bed for an embrace. He wrapped his arms around her waist and bent down for another lingering kiss. "I really will miss you."

Reluctantly they stopped and Anakin drew her closer to him, placing his chin on top of her head.

"I guess I should leave and let you get ready. Maybe I'll take a look at my datapad and get some work done. I'm sure there are communications I should be making," Padmé said with a sigh.

He drew back and looked at her sadly. "Only if you want to."

"I don't want to do anything but stay here and soak up this time with you, Ani." Her eyes were somber and sad once more.

"Then stay. I wish we had more time to do other things, but I have to hurry." He rocked their bodies back and forth.

"I know," she said, her heart starting to break anew.

"Stay and talk to me. Keep me here as long as you can. Stay here and keep me here," he said wistfully. He drew her to him again, laying his cheek across the top of her head and closing his eyes. "Talk me through all of this, and promise me you'll be here when it's over."

"I will, Ani. I always will."

The End