Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padawan Anakin Skywalker walked side by side to the meeting room of the Jedi Council. There had been rumors that Anakin was next in line to be Knighted, and he was well aware of the fact that the Council was about to give him his first mission alone.
Anakin took a deep breath and followed Obi-Wan into the meeting. He nervously glanced around, hoping to find a familiar, friendly face, but found none. He knew that many of the Council members didn't have much faith in him. It was such a relief to have Obi-Wan there for him because he wasn't so sure he could do this on his own just yet.
Anakin stood a little straighter as the Council began to give its orders.
"Padawan Skywalker, as you know, Senator Sabe Amidala of Naboo has had numerous attacks on her life as of late. You and Master Naberrie will travel to Naboo with the Senator and protect her there until we give you further instructions."
Anakin froze in disbelief. He cast a quick glance around the room in search of her and when their eyes met, he flashed her a weak smile.
"Do you have any questions, Padawan Skywalker?"
Before Obi-Wan could stop him, Anakin blurted out: "Why is Master Naberrie coming as well? I was under the impression that I would be given my own assignment soon."
Master Windu chuckled at the headstrong Padawan and quickly answered. "You have been given your own assignment. Your Master is not coming with you. The Council has decided, however, that it would helpful to have two Jedi protecting the Senator instead of one and Master Naberrie is also from Naboo and is acquainted with the Senator."
Anakin nodded disappointedly. "When do we leave?"
"You will meet with the Senator immediately and then escort her to Naboo."
With that, the meeting was concluded and each Jedi rose to leave. Obi-Wan placed a comforting hand on Anakin's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Anakin. I know you wanted to do this on your own. But you and Padme get along well, so you'll at least have some company on this mission. I know I'm not always the best company sometimes."
That got a hint of a smile from Anakin so Obi-Wan continued. "I wish you luck, my friend. I have faith that you will succeed in this mission. Just think of this as the first step to getting rid of me."
Anakin chuckled at that and they embraced. Then, Anakin's sense of security was gone.
He searched the room again and once he found what he was looking for, he carefully walked over to her.
"Please, Anakin, call me Padme. You know that."
"I know, it's just that I guess I'm still trying to get used to your new title, it's almost hard to not use it all the time."
She smiled and even laughed lightly at his words. "Well, I think it's about time we see to the Senator, don't you?"
He chuckled and they left for Senator Amidala's chambers.
Once Anakin and Padme arrived at the Senator's chambers, they were quickly shown in. Within minutes, Senator Sabe Amidala was sitting across from them.
"Thank you both for assisting me. I have full confidence that my safety is in very capable hands. Master Naberrie, I have yet to congratulate you on your Knighting. It's such a shame it had to derive from your own Master's death."
"Yes, thank you Sabe." Padme quickly looked away after that, causing Anakin to turn to her in concern.
"And you, Padawan Skywalker, I've heard wonderful things about your abilities."
Upon hearing the Senator speak, Anakin forced his eyes away from Padme to answer.
"I'm trying to live up to them."
"Well I've heard you're doing a good job with that." She smiled politely but her eyes lingered on him which made Anakin suddenly uncomfortable. That feeling didn't pass until Sabe retired for the night.
Once Sabe had left, the two Jedi found themselves alone. Anakin found his way to the veranda and within seconds, he was surprised to see that Padme had joined him.
"It's kind of cold out here. Maybe you should go back inside and keep an eye on the monitors."
She smirked and laughed melodiously. "Why? And let you have all the fun out here?"
He smiled back at her as she began to lean against the edge. He watched her as she looked over the edge of the veranda and sighed deeply. She seemed so sad, like the world had suddenly come crashing down on her without any warning. And it had. He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder which made her turn her gaze towards him.
"I'm truly sorry about Shaak-Ti. I can't even imagine what that must have been like for you."
She smiled faintly through her fresh tears and nodded. "Thank you. I think I would do anything if I could just have her back for one moment. She was really all I had. She was my family."
He nodded sadly and rubbed her back soothingly. "Well…uh…should I change the subject?"
She smiled and urged him to do just that.
"Well…how do you know Senator Amidala? I know you're both from Naboo, but so are a lot of people."
"We grew up together. We were neighbors actually. We even went to the Youth Political Academy together. You know, everyone thought that I would be the queen and Senator one day. But then my midiclorians were tested and I had to leave."
"Yeah. You were the probably the oldest padawan the Order has ever had."
She punched him lightly in the shoulder and he quickly retorted with: "You're probably the youngest Master the Order has ever had too."
She looked down sadly, then looked back up at him with new tears in her eyes. "You know that doesn't really matter to me, right? My becoming a Master cost Shaak-Ti her life."
"I'm sorry I brought it up again."
"It's alright. Besides, I haven't finished telling you about Sabe and me. At first, my parents wanted to stop the Order from taking me. I begged and pleaded with them to let me go but they wouldn't listen to me. It wasn't until Sabe talked to them that they began to understand that maybe becoming a Jedi was something I wanted to do. After that, Sabe helped with all the arrangements for leaving for Coruscant. She was even there to see me off. She was a really good friend to me."
"We were ten, Anakin. And that was ten years ago, too. Since then, I've only really seen her briefly and haven't really had a good conversation with her since we were children."
He nodded and then they both fell silent, each looking out into the bustling of Coruscant, grateful for a little peace and quiet.
Suddenly, something popped into Padme's mind. "Anakin, I'm sorry that I had to come along with you on this assignment. I know how much you wanted to do this by yourself."
He smiled and shook his head. "Don't worry about it. I think the Council is close to doing that. But they probably want to see how I am without Obi-Wan first, before they give me my own assignment. Besides, we haven't really talked in a while, you know? It's nice to catch up with you."
She returned his smile but it quickly faded.
Anakin nodded to her. "Yeah, I felt it too."
They took off for Sabe's bedroom and threw open the door. Padme quickly ignited her light saber and killed the venomous worms that were crawling on Sabe, while Anakin managed to grab the bounty hunter before he jumped out the window.
"Who sent you?"
The bounty hunter remained silent so Anakin raised his light saber to the bounty hunter's neck. "Who sent you?"
Before Anakin could stop him, the bounty hunter raised his blaster to his chest and fired.
But it was the bounty hunter that slumped in Anakin's arms. Sabe ran to Anakin and threw her arms around him which he had to politely remove from his body. But Sabe clung to him and began to sob into his chest.
"Oh, Anakin! I thought you were dead! You saved my life! You saved my life!"
Padme frowned and walked over to them and despite the situation, almost burst out laughing when she saw the look of desperation on Anakin's face, begging her to help him get Sabe away from him.
After a few tortuous moments, Padme gently led Sabe away from Anakin and helped her back to her bed. Anakin sighed with relief that the Senator had finally released him and quickly fled the room.
Sabe watched him go and began to cry again. "Why is he leaving, Padme?"
"He's just going to alert security. He'll be back shortly."
Sabe nodded and bit her lip in despair. "I want him to come back."
Padme frowned at her and suddenly, it dawned on her. "You know, Sabe, Jedi have to live by a Code. This Code says that Jedi are forbidden to have attachments, which means that Anakin can't return your feelings for him."
Sabe's gaze snapped to meet Padme's. "I don't have feelings for him."
Padme nodded quickly before answering. "Alright, I just thought you should know that."
Sabe's gaze began to harden and she pointed to the door. "You can leave now, Padme. I don't need you here anymore."
Padme nodded respectfully and quickly left the room to search for Anakin.
She found him again by the veranda and sighed. "Anakin, did you alert security?"
"Yeah…just a few minutes ago."
She walked closer to him and found herself laughing. "I'm sorry you had to see Sabe like that. She really hasn't changed that much."
He simply ran his hands through his hair and turned to face her. "Well, I don't really think that's what it was."
She shrugged and walked a little closer. "I just told her that you can't return any feelings she has for you."
"Ah yes, the Code."
"Yes and that Code will protect you from Sabe's clutches."
He began to smile at that and soon, he was laughing hysterically. "I think you've got a point, there."
She couldn't help but join in his laughter. They laughed for longer than either had really expected but they had always enjoyed each other's company and this time was no exception.
Once the laughter subsided, Padme checked her watch and sighed. "I should probably go back and check on Sabe. You want to come along?"
He quickly shook his head, which caused her to laugh yet again.
"Alright, suit yourself. I'll see you later."
He nodded to her and watched her as she turned to leave. There was something about Padme that got to him every time he saw her. She was intelligent, graceful, and extremely gifted in the ways of the Force. Yet there was something else there that he couldn't quite put his finger on. No…he shook his head firmly. Thoughts like those would lead him down a dangerous path.