Chapter One

The smell of burning electrical wires, charred human skin and clothing filled the nostrils of Senator Amidala who lay on the metal landing platform after being thrown several feet by the impact of the explosion. Her immediate thoughts were not of herself, but of her dear friend and personal bodyguard who had been acting as a decoy aboard her ship.

Padme summoned her body to move, casting aside a burning piece of plastic that lay across her belly. She rushed to the side of her beloved friend and gingerly turned her over to determine the extent of the young woman's injuries.

"Cordẻ?"

"I failed you, Senator."

"No."

Every sense in Padmẻ was numb as she sat next to her now deceased bodyguard. "I shouldn't have come back." The words tumbled from her lips.

A voice reached her ears that seemed a mile away. "Senator, you're still in danger here." Focusing on the voice, Padmẻ consciously reached out to it in order to grasp onto the nightmarish reality surrounding her. "Senator Amidala, please."

What had she done? Her stubbornness had now cost her the life of someone who did not deserve death.

She followed Captain Typho as he led her toward the Senate building. Once secure inside, Padmẻ searched for a way to escape. She had to see him and soon.

After assuring Captain Typho and Dormẻ she was okay, Padmẻ shut the door to her bedroom and quickly opened the window. Her apartment was on the 102nd floor but the determination within her outweighed the logic of safety and Padmẻ was soon out on the ledge of the building. I have to see him! Her mind locked in on that thought and her body responded. Shimmying along the two-foot ledge, Padmẻ gasped as a strong hand reached out to grab her wrist.

"I've got you."

The hand pulled her around the corner of the building and onto a wide, flat area of the roof, its location blocking out the passing traffic and building's many windows.

Padmẻ didn't speak to Obi-Wan, but immediately threw her arms around him, pulling him tightly against her. The horror of the incident released itself through the tears that fell unabashedly from her eyes. Obi-Wan simply held her and let her cry.

After her sobs lessened, heplaced a tender kiss on the top of her head. "It's all right, I'm here."

Wiping the remaining teardrops from her reddened eyes, Padmẻ spoke softly. "Cordẻ is dead. There was an explosion. She's dead Obi-Wan and it's all my fault!"

"No it isn't. Listen to me. She knew what she was doing. She knew the risks of her job and she was willing to take those risks." His hands were now on her shoulders as he attempted to get her to look into his face.

"I shouldn't have come back here. It's that stupid vote! Why must everything be so important to me? The Senate is split over this vote. My opinion won't make a bit of difference!"

"You're wrong, Padmẻ. They listen to you. It is important. You've worked too hard against this Military Act to give up now. Don't give up. You're strong."

" No I'm not. Not any more. I can't do this any more Obi-Wan. I'm going to resign."

Obi-Wan had never seen her so distraught before. On the journey from Tatooine when they first discovered their feelings for one another, he knew she was worried about her people suffering on Naboo, but she was not as upset then as she seemed to be now.

"You do what you think is best, Padmẻ, but I think you would making a mistake. The Senate needs you. Naboo needs you. Why don't you go back inside and rest? Things will be better in the morning."

"Thank you." She sniffled. "Thank you for being here." She placed her arms about him gently, thankful for the small amount of intimacy he had only recently decided to allow.

"I will always be here for you, although I do think we need to find a more appropriate meeting place." Obi-wan tried to lighten her mood as he brushed a bird dropping from the sleeve of his robe.

If she resigned the senate, it would be the biggest mistake of her life. Obi-Wan felt the Force reaffirm his beliefs. Being a member of the Senate was her destiny. He was sure of that. A frown creased his brow, as Obi-Wan realized what he had to do.

Standing in the now empty Jedi training center, Obi-Wan watched dusk fall and the nightlife of Coruscant burst into action. He closed his eyes and Force focused in on the young senator. After assuring that she had indeed fallen asleep, he lightly trespassed into her dreams. He felt a slight pang of guilt upon his entry there, but his determination to strengthen her resolve and give her some comfort from her grief justified his actions. He had intended to be there shortly and to only ease her pain, but what he found there stunned him, and he could not pull himself away.

Padmẻ tossed in her satin sheets, the nightmare of the day's events replaying in her mind. Her body suddenly stilled and her eye movements slowed and steadied. There was a presence here. It was blurred at first, but soon came into focus. Obi-Wan. A smile splayed itself across the young woman's face, even as she slept.

He was approaching her, his countenance glowing a soft white. The words, guardian angel, came into her mind. A perfect description for him, she thought.

He came to her then, speaking words of reassurance, comfort, strength, and...love. Without warning, their bodies came together quickly, their mouths crushed together. His hands rapidly removed her clothing as she grasped at his own. They were swirling in a vortex of colors groping and grasping at each other, smiling, familiar faces advancing in and out of view – her mother, Cordẻ, and Master Qui-Gon. The vortex soon released them gently down onto a bed of soft green ivy, where their bodies joined intimately, the vines wrapping themselves around their intertwined bodies, securing their unity. Her dream then changed from a greenish hue into a glowing red, their bodies engulfed in flickering flames that did not burn, reflecting the passion and lust that was now burning through them.

Obi-Wan gasped as he retreated from her subconscious. His eyes darted back and forth and he decided he had better find a seat before he fell down.

Back in the Senator's bedchamber, Padmẻ slept quietly and peacefully, a small smile still displayed on her face.