Summary: Many months before the action of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin has returned to Coruscant and Padmé after a long absence, with a special mission of dire importance to the Republic and The Jedi Order.

Disclaimer: I do not own, nor claim too, any Star Wars characters or locations. All are creations of George Lucas and belong to him. I am borrowing them for a little while, to indulge some of my own fantasies.

The Homecoming

Padmé paced the floor. She was nervous yet she was excited. Her hands wrung themselves together, unconsciously. She took several deep breaths, as she turned at the wall and started towards the other side of the room. Her deep violet robes rustled with the movement of her feet within their deep folds.

She heard the lift outside her senatorial apartment arrive; the door sliding open, almost silently. If she hadn't been so intent on his arrival, she wouldn't have heard it. She stopped, her heart climbing into her throat, her breath catching in her chest. She stopped and stared at the doorway, the anticipation more than she could bear.

There were quick footsteps coming closer and before she knew it Padmé was staring at her husband after three long months apart, the longest yet. She stopped herself from crying tears of joy as she crossed the room to meet him.

They embraced and for the first time in three months Padmé felt safe, and home.

They didn't speak, as words weren't needed. Anakin loosened his grip and Padmé stepped back, looking at him. She saw the desire in his eyes and knew she had it too. Then she noticed the scar.

"You were hurt!" She said softly with worry as she reached her hand up to his face.

He stopped her before she touched him, intercepting her hand and bringing it to his lips. He smiled that mischievous, goofy smile that she fell in love with back on Naboo.

"I'm fine," he replied softly.

She nodded, letting it go for now. Anakin slowly lowered his head to hers, and their lips met. Padmé released all her worry and fear.

Awhile later, the secretly married couple lay in their bed, wrapped in each other's arms. The homecoming all it had been expected to be. Padmé stirred, and woke. She breathed contentedly and looked lovingly at Anakin's sleeping form, slowly raising her hand to trace the scar on the right side of his face. Her gentle touch roused the exhausted Anakin, and as his eyelids fluttered open Padmé gave him a soft smile.

"I'm sorry if I woke you," she said softly, smiling like the young lover she was.

Anakin pulled back, and sat up in the bed. Padmé followed suit, sitting up and leaning her back against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her, and laying his cheek against her head he inhaled her scent.

Padmé furrowed her brow in concern. "Anakin, what's wrong?"

Anakin gave a soft smile as he thought, she really should have been a Jedi, she has great intuition.

"I have to meet with the Jedi Council about our next mission," he said flatly. "Obi-Wan's expecting me within the hour." He tightened his grip on her, being mindful not to hurt her with his mechanical hand.

"Do you have any ideas what the Council will be asking of you next?" Padmé asked, her eyes closed, trying to hide the dread she felt at another long absence from her beloved.

She felt Anakin shrug his broad, muscular shoulders. "I'm not sure, I think the Council has some ideas about where General Grievous has run too since Master Ki-Adi-Mundi faced him on -----------."

Padmé suppressed a shudder. She hated the thought of Anakin out there in space, alone, battling this war, a war that could have been avoided if the Galactic Senate hadn't given up so easily. And the dangers of facing this cyborg General she could only imagine, but she tried not too.

Anakin sensed her emotional turmoil, but said nothing. Truth be told, it comforted him to know that she worried so, and that his well-being was as important to her as her well-being was to him.

Suddenly there was a chirping from the commlink Anakin carried on his belt. He closed his eyes in slight annoyance and releasing Padmé, he leaned over to grasp the communication device from his utility belt which lay in a heap on the floor.

"Anakin, come in Anakin," Obi-Wan's voice belched tinny from the tiny device as Anakin answered.

"Yes, Master," he replied as calmly and nonchalantly as he could. He worried when Obi-Wan contacted him when he was with Padmé. That she might speak, or that C-3PO might come into the room and say something; then the past few years of living in secret would have been for naught. Anakin glanced up as Padmé silently lifted herself from bed, draping her pale, ice blue robe across her shoulders. She walked to the windows, which were open, but provided privacy nonetheless, as they were on the top floor and all traffic lanes were at least 30 stories below them.

"The Council has requested our presence prior to the meeting. How soon can you be here?" Obi-Wan's hollow voice asked. Anakin had managed to avoid telling Obi-Wan where he was going when they had parted ways, and Obi-Wan had not pressed the issue.

"I'll be there immediately, Anakin out," Anakin responded, sighing heavily as he deactivated his commlink and swung his legs over the side of the bed. His elbows rested on his knees, and he studied his mechanical hand with sudden interest, flexing and extending the metal fingers. It boggled his mind at times, how technology had melded with flesh to create this extension, to replace this missing piece of himself. His mind returned to the present when he felt the air shift around him. Padmé sat next to him, laying her cheek against his bare shoulder.

"Is it selfish for me to want you to stay," she whispered softly.

"Is it selfish for me to want to stay?" Anakin responded.

"We must both do our duties, as much as it may hurt. We will see each other again, of that I am certain. I promise I won't leave Coruscant until I say goodbye," Anakin spoke strongly, with resolve.

He turned to face Padmé, and they shared a tender, sweet kiss.

A few minutes later, a fully dressed Anakin made his way towards the elevator. As he approached it suddenly started to open in front of him. Anakin made a quick, silent dash behind one of the decorative pillars just as the doors opened fully and Bail Organa, the senator from Alderaan, stepped out.

Padmé rushed into the hall, barely getting herself dressed in her normal clothes.

"Senator Organa, this is a surprise," Padmé said, her eyes quickly moving, checking for Anakin. She spotted him and smiling she guided Bail Organa towards the sitting area.

Anakin silently slid into the vacant lift, and was gone.

Bail smiled confusedly. "We had plans to meet this afternoon, don't you remember?"

Padmé's face clouded for a moment as she thought, than she nodded with a sigh. "Yes, I do remember. I'm sorry, something come up earlier that distracted me from our plans."

"That's alright, I'm early anyways. I wanted to get here before the others so I could talk to you about something," Bail looked at her earnestly.

Padmé motioned for him to sit.

"Can I have Threepio get you anything?" Padmé offered, playing hostess. Bail shook his head as he sat on the lounge sofa. Padmé waited for him to be seated then sat herself.

"What's the matter?" Padmé asked, honestly concerned.

Bail offered a half-smile as he shook his head slightly. He cleared his throat and looking up at Padmé, his expression became apologetic. Padmé had a feeling she knew what he was going to say.

"There are…rumors, in the Senate, that a Jedi Knight has…" he paused long and squirmed in his seat, "has become close to a senator; closer than the Senate rules allow, and closer than the Jedi Council would allow."

Padmé stared at Bail, her expression neutral, but her mind and her heart were in a state of panic. She gathered her wits, and smiling she tried to think of something to say that wouldn't betray her thoughts, fears, and emotions.

"Does anyone know who these rumors surround?" She tried to ask casually.

Bail looked at her closely. "Padmé, I know you are involved with Anakin."

Padmé felt the panic heighten, and her heart which had been beating so fast all but stopped as the implications of her and Anakin's actions came rushing towards her. Her expression faltered as her eyes fell in guilt.

"So it is the end, then," she said softly, her eyes involuntarily welling with tears. Tears of joy that maybe she and Anakin wouldn't have to hide their love anymore, but tears of sadness for she would certainly lose her position in the Senate; and Anakin…Oh, Anakin, she thought, you will be expelled from the Jedi Order.

"Padmé," Bail's soft voice brought her back. She raised her head to look at him, a single tear sliding down her cheek.

"I am the only one who's knows, as far as I know," he added. "I deduced the situation the last time Obi-Wan and Anakin were back here on Coruscant. I haven't told anyone, I wanted to talk to you first."

Padmé nodded as she regained her composure and professionalism. "I appreciate the discretion, Senator."

Padmé stood and walked across the room. Her mind was working, trying to figure out how to explain. Love wasn't something a person could excuse away. Her feelings towards Anakin were more than any existing words could even define.

Bail Organa sat patiently on the sofa, watching Padmé struggle with her thoughts. But he had to know the truth. If this relationship put more stress or danger on Padmé or the Senate, he would be forced to expose them both-which he didn't want to do.

Padmé stopped pacing. Her back was to Bail. Her voice was soft. As she spoke the words, Bail had to process the information in slow motion. The words echoed loudly in his mind.

"We're married."