The Boy With a Thorn in His Heart

Disclaimer: Star Wars is the sole property of George Lucas. I am just borrowing the characters.

Background: Total AU, but set around time of ATOC/ ROTS. Fluff, fluff, angst, & more fluff. Anakin is 16, Padmé 17 Romance/ Angst

Rated M (just to be safe)

Summary: Destiny brings Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala together again six years after the Battle of Naboo. Anakin is 16, Padmé 17.

xxx

Chapter One: On Naboo

Anakin Skywalker kept his long stride in pace with Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The two exited the hangar and walked down the cobble stoned streets of Theed toward the Palace. The majestic architecture loomed above them. They passed artisans and vendors; spied ponds and manicured gardens just teeming with colorful blossoms. A temperate climate with an abundance of water made the surroundings lush and verdant; it was hard not to admire the idyllic setting. It had been years since he had set foot on Naboo, and, to Anakin, it felt like light-years.

Agonizingly long light-years, he thought morosely.

But he'd somehow survived and thrived those lonely years at the Jedi Temple.

Despite the alienation he felt and the whisperings behind his back of being 'The Chosen One', he'd managed to make friends among the Padawans and Younglings.He had matured from the frightened little boy from Tatooine into a self-confident Padawan Learner.

Perhaps a bit overconfident at times, thought Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The sandy blonde lad had matured into quite a handsome young man, if one could judge such a thing by the eager and adoring eyes of the smiling maidens who followed Anakin Skywalker around whenever he was outside the confines of the Jedi Temple. And the same effect was happening on Naboo. It was like being followed by a tittering gaggle of colorful fynocks.

Fortunately, Anakin is oblivious to all this and completely without vanity, as well a Padawan should be, Obi-Wan thought ruefully, because such nonsense would only serve to swell the boy's head to an even greater mass than it already was and make Anakin even more difficult to train.

Obi-Wan exhaled a long-suffering sigh.

What Obi-Wan did not know was that Anakin could not have cared any less about what the moon-struck girls thought about him. To Anakin, there was only one that mattered: Padmé. He had thought of her every day since he had last seen her. He wondered if she'd changed at all…and whether she was even more breathtakingly beautiful (it could not be possible!) as the last time he had seen her. He was clearly and hopelessly besotted with her, and desperately trying to hide the fact from his Master.

It had been six long years since Anakin Skywalker had seen the object of his affection, and he was most eager to see her. The last time he had seen her was when he was being honored for ending the Trade Federation siege of Naboo. He had single-handedly destroyed the Federation droid command ship, which had, in turn, disabled the invading droid army and allowed Queen Amidala to capture the cowardly Federation Commanding Viceroy Nute Gunray and end the Battle of Naboo.

Unfortunately, with all the pomp and formalities of the celebration surrounding them, they'd not had much time to talk once the festivities had begun, but she'd made sure that she was able to bid him a personal farewell before he set off with Obi-Wan to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. However, Anakin did get a private goodbye hug from the very young Queen and saw her wearing the Japor ivory wood pendant he'd carved her.

He had given her that pendant when they were on her Royal Starship on the trip from Tatooine back to Naboo. He'd carved it for her so that she would never forget him. He blushed in embarrassment at the memory. She had smiled and told him that she didn't need anything to remember him by because she could never forget him.

At this very moment, he hoped that what she had said those years ago was true.

Since then, he had become Obi-Wan Kenobi's Padawan and was progressing quickly in his quest to become a full-fledged Jedi Knight. It was difficult training, but that was not a problem for him; the hardest thing was that he missed his Mother. She was still on Tatooine…and a slave. His heart clenched at the thought. He was allowed no contact with her, and he worried for her safety. Life was hard on that hard-scrabble backwater desert planet, and even harder for slaves. One day he knew he would free her and all the slaves on Tatooine.

Besides the high goal of becoming a Jedi Knight, he other bright spot in his life was Padmé. He had thought of her every single day since they last parted.

Did she look the same? Would she recognize him?

Gods knew how he'd sprouted up over the years

And Obi-Wan joked that he'd not finished his growth spurt, too.

What if I become too tall? Anakin shook his head at that absurd thought. He wondered if Padmé would remember him. He could never forget her.

Once again, the Jedi were here on the planet to oversee negotiations with the Trade Federation and the sovereign system of Naboo. The trade embargo and blockade had ended years ago, but the tensions did not cease. Senator Palpatine had requested that an impartial body, the Jedi, to oversee these new proceedings.

"We shouldn't be here long, no more than seven standard days is long enough for any negotiation, and then we can return back to Coruscant and more intensive training for you." The Jedi Master explained to his silent apprentice.

At least he wasn't fidgeting too much. In fact, to Obi-Wan, Anakin seemed to be in sort of a daze.

"This should be a very easy assignment," Obi-Wan good-naturedly murmured to his daydreaming Padawan.

There was no response from the preoccupied young man. That mildly irritated him. He didn't want to have to repeat him self over and over to the moody man-child.

"But pay attention, Anakin, this will be quite a good lesson in diplomacy."

Anakin nodded respectfully, only half listening to his Master's lecture. His thoughts had, of course, turned back to Padmé. His eyes turned dreamy.

My Padmé...

He imagined himself walking with Padmé by the lake. She was beautiful and wearing a lovely gown, but none of that awful ceremonial face paint. She took his hand in hers and smiled up at him.

Obi-Wan suddenly noticed a change in his Padawan and turned to him incredulously.

"Anakin, you're sweating."

Completely mortified, Anakin tried not to look as nervous as he felt, especially since his Master had pointed out his perspiration problem.

"Be mindful of your thoughts, Anakin; they betray you."

Instead of wishing the ground would open up and swallow either him or Obi-Wan, as he usually did when his flaws were so thoughtfully pointed out to him, Anakin allowed calmness to flow through him, effectively cloaking his other chaotic emotions.

Obi-Wan seemed to relax as he sensed a marked change in his Padawan.

Perhaps he is maturing; Force knows it's about time…Obi-Wan thought with satisfaction.

He sure hoped so, because sometimes he thought that his Padawan was going to be the death of him.