Chapter Two

Falling

All were safe on board, including the young boy, Anakin, who was responsible for providing the money necessary to repair their ship. They were on their way back to Naboo. Padme was unsure of what she was going to do once they got there, but she had to do something. The Senate refused to help her and her people were suffering. She woud make the Federation and Nute Gunray pay, but she was not sure how.

Standing and looking out a portal, watching the distant stars flying by, her concentration was broken by the touch of a hand on her shoulder. Glancing up, she was met by a pair of beautiful blue-green eyes.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do, Obi-Wan." She confided.

"You will think of something, Padme." His hand lightly squeezed her shoulder.

"I like the sound of that...you...saying my name." She turned to face him, surprised to suddenly be a little unsteady on her feet.

All at once, Obi-Wan could not think clearly. The closeness of her, even with her traditional Nubian attire and make-up was too much for his senses. He had the strongest urge to place a kiss on each red symmetrical dot on her face.

"You are the bravest young woman I have ever known. Your people are depending on you. Use their faith to strengthen your resolve."

As Obi-Wan's hand came to rest upon the side of her face, Padme felt a rush of warmth move through her. It started where his hand was placed and slowly made its way through her body, like a wave lapping the shores of Lake Naboo.

"I have given you a gift of strength from the Force, but it's all I can do. The rest is up to you."

"Thank you, Obi-Wan." And before he could retreat, she had wrapped her arms around him and embraced him tightly.

The news of the destruction of the Federation droid ship and capture of Nute Gunray was soon overshadowed by other news. Master Qui-Gonn had fallen. Killed by a Sith Lord. Following Captain Panaka and three other security guards, Padme rushed to the area to find a grieving Obi-Wan holding his deceased Master. Her heart ached for him.

Captain Panaka and the guards soon were carrying out the body, but Obi-Wan still was kneeling on the floor. The room was deserted now, but the sense of death and despair hung in it like a heavy fog. Padme began to follow the Captain, but soon stopped and turned back to the huddled figure.

Obi-Wan was feeling more pain than he could bear. He had failed. Qui-Gonn was dead. His mentor, his father figure, his friend. He should have run faster, been more careful and stayed by his side to fight. It was too late. He was gone.

Tears blurred his vision, but as he blinked them away, he noticed a small pair of boots in front of him. Padme. She then knelt by him and began stroking his hair. Once again he felt himself being pulled. He didn't say anything to her, but blindly reached out and held her. She responded by embracing him in return, running her hands up and down his back. His sobs echoed throughout the room.

"It's going to be all right...it will be all right..." She consoled him as she rocked him in her arms.

Obi-Wan suddenly felt lost. He must focus, but all there was to focus on now was the guidance of the Force, and it was guiding him to her. He needed her -- especially now that Qui-Gonn was gone. The Force had known this. She was its gift to him. All he had to do was receive it. The acceptance of that knowledge brought a peace that began to flood through him and he was suddenly aware of the beautiful girl in his arms and his hands upon her back. That peace brought a boldness, as he began moving one hand, caressing her back, and the other began stroking her arm. His mouth moved to her neck where he nuzzled her warmth and inhaled her fragrance.

Padme felt the change in Obi-Wan. His sobs had stopped, his breathing was more stable and his hands...dear gods, his hands. They were stroking her back! Padme closed her eyes and tilted her head back, allowing his mouth access to her neck. Now, it was her breathing that had become erratic. He continued to nuzzle and kiss her neck. One of his hands was stroking her arm, and the other had moved away from her back. It was now touching her face. She opened her eyes and beheld the passion in his. Before she was aware of what was happening, his mouth was upon hers, softly at first and then increasing its pressure. She responded equally. A whimper escaped her lips as his tongue began caressing her own. A masculine groan soon escaped his own lips as she reached up and grasped his padawan braid, drawing him deeper into the recess of her mouth.

Padme's head was spinning and she felt the sensation of falling...helplessly falling...grasping onto the stability she held in her arms. The sensation of falling continued until the searing kiss had ended and when she finally opened her eyes, she saw Obi-Wan there...ready to catch her.