Chapter Seven

Anakin's hungry gaze devoured the site of Padmé as she wandered the street two stories below him.

"Did you say something?" Obi-Wan's voice interrupted his thoughts.

Shaking his head was the only response Anakin gave. She's here! he was gleefully telling himself over and over again. It didn't make any sense, and he had no idea why, but she was here! They hadn't seen each other in over three months; it was almost too much to believe.

Obi-Wan's gaze seemed to follow him to the now covered Padmé and Anakin quickly whipped his attention away from her and onto a figure a few paces further away. He didn't want to face an interrogation from Obi-Wan. He just wanted to get down to her as quickly as possible.

"Do you see him?" his partner asked again.

Hurriedly Anakin returned his gaze to scouring the crowd. They needed to find their informant and soon, if only to divert Obi-Wan's interests and allow the younger Jedi time to capture and be alone with Padmé.

His eyes settled on someone out of place in the streetscape – someone who hadn't made the effort to blend in as well as Naboo's Senator had.

"There," he quietly gestured with his head.

A pair of Jedi watched as that figure weaved stiffly between people milling about, shooting glances behind his back every few seconds as if he expected to be attacked.

"Confront him alone so we don't overwhelm him. I'll hang back," Anakin murmured.

"You confront him," Obi-Wan challenged.

Anakin turned, lifting his eyebrow to his mentor.

"You are the Negotiator," he teased.

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, once again making his dislike of that particular nickname clear. Anakin did not mind in the least, as long as he was left free to find Padmé. His face threatened to light up once more without his consent, and he quickly turned his attentions back to the township.

"Off you go."

Grumbling good-naturedly about disrespectful Padawans, Obi-Wan nevertheless crept back across the rooftop and a moment later, Anakin was alone. He counted to five in his head forcing himself to wait, his eyes desperately locked to his beloved. Once he could be sure Obi-Wan was gone he hurried to follow her, leaping from rooftop to rooftop until he was just ahead of her. With a soft jump he landed in another deserted laneway, his hood falling back and a thick cloud of dust springing up as his feet silently hit the ground.

He reached out into the force once more carefully feeling for the two people around him he was most concerned about. Cautiously he pushed himself against the building wall, concealing himself in the dark shadows while Obi-Wan walked past, hot on the heels of their contact. A breath later he snapped his hand out and snagged Padmé around the waist, tugging her into him.

---

Padmé crinkled her brow as she caught sight of what looked to be Obi-Wan, hurrying away from her down the street. Where he is, Anakin must surely follow her mind quietly mused. She only needed a split second to make the decision to follow him. With precise footsteps guiding her she still kept her distance, intent on keeping her presence hidden from him at all costs.

Unfortunately she was entirely focused on the need to see Anakin, and not the world surrounding her. With a sharp tug she was yanked out of the sunlight and away from the bustling crowds.

Idiot! she chastised herself, struggling against her assailant. The strong arm pinned her hands to her sides, severely restricting her movement. Her last avenue for help went against her 'staying quiet and out of the spotlight' pledge but it had to be done. Opening her mouth she got ready to scream her lungs out. A glove clamped over her lips before she could make a sound, effectively ending any chance of freedom.

"I have no idea why you are here, but I'm so glad you are," a breathy whisper caressed her ear.

Padmé went rigid as she heard the sound, felt the brush of his lips against her earlobe. A heartbeat later stubble rasped against her the creamy skin on neck. His arms loosened just a little and it was all she needed. With a sharp breath she spun to face him, drinking in his features hungrily. She was greeted by the most uplifting sight of her experience – Anakin's bright eyes.

"Oh Anakin," she thankfully murmured.

With a bounce she propelled herself onto the tips of her toes and encircled his neck with her hands. His rough jaw scraped against her cheek, murmuring a soft "hello Padmé," as they took a moment to savour each other. Finally Anakin pulled back just a little and stared into her dark eyes, losing himself in their familiar loving warmth.

Padmé turned her cheek into his hand as three fingers came up to caress her. In the silence between them Anakin inclined his head down towards her. The world disappeared until he wasn't even breathing anymore, just brushing against her mouth with his own. The exhilarating feeling that shot through him was the spark that had been missing from his life for weeks. The heavenly tug of her insistent lips brushed everything else from his mind but the need to coax her tongue into his mouth and tangle around it. His palms braced against her back, eagerly pulling her even closer, intent on just disappearing inside her essence altogether.

Minutes were lost between them as they kissed, Padmé's fingers sifting through his hair as they made soft moaning noises.

When they pulled apart some time later she was surprised to find her back pressed up against the mud-rendered wall and her young husband's unceasing caresses bringing vivid joy back into her life.

"Mmm, Padmé," he mumbled as they separated.

His eyes were still half closed in a dopey haze, still lost in the sensation of her body in his arms again.

"Please tell me you're here to see me," he begged.

The dark glove she remembered so well came back to trace the edges of her face in reverence.

"Of course. We're in recess, and until we go back I would rather be on this poverty-stricken planet with you than anywhere else in the galaxy."

There was obviously nothing else she could have said that would make Anakin happier. His expression softened even more, until she could no longer restrain herself and had to reach up to kiss him again.

"Did you come alone?" Anakin breathily murmured.

As he cuddled her deeper into his arms she was more than happy that the answer to her question was "yes."

With a small laugh she slipped her arms from around his neck and began caressing the firm muscles of his strong chest. Padmé rolled her shoulders, finding the press of the wall against her back increasing each second as Anakin pushed closer. His lips kissed a slow, moist path across her cheek, over the curve of her jaw. Beneath him she shivered as he brushed his nose against hers before meeting her mouth again with the whispered words

"Where is your ship?"

"The main port. An hour away," she returned.

They distracted one another with wandering mouths until Anakin forced himself to pull away.

"I'll meet you there. Tonight I'll get away from Obi-Wan so we can be together," he quietly planned, swallowing as her gentle fingers tugged his hood back up.

"Are you sure it's safe?" she asked seriously.

"I don't care if it's safe," he told her resolutely.

His hips pinned her to the wall as he suddenly ducked his head. Padmé quietly groaned, her hands coming up to hold him still as he ravished the swanlike column of her neck with small love bites that peppered the pale skin.

When he released her she was panting heavily, his lusty gaze telling her there would be much more of that when they were alone tonight.

Swallowing, she nodded and gathered all her strength to stand without the support of the wall.

"Tonight," she agreed.

His hand clasped hers and pulled her back into him for once last kiss. Their soft caresses meant the world as they stood in the abandoned lane, touching as only husband and wife could. Finally Padmé pulled away and promised "I'll be waiting."

It took all his restraint to keep his feet planted exactly where they were and simply watch Padmé remerge to Threepio's harried "oh there you are Miss Padmé I was so terribly worried!"