Trials of My Heart
Summary: Padmé Naberrie and Anakin Skywalker are Jedi Padawans, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Their combined skills would make them a great team, but there is one problem…. They hate each other!
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars. I'm just borrowing George Lucas' characters for a bit.
Ten year old, Padmé Naberrie was the most popular Jedi Padawan in the Jedi Temple. She was very kind and always willing to lend a helping hand to her fellow padawans. She was also the best student in her classes except for combat and flying. No one held that against her for no one was particularly outstanding at either of those.
Most Jedi younglings join the crèche shortly after birth. This was the case for Padmé and the majority of the other younglings, but not Anakin Skywalker. Anakin joined their class when he was ten years old. No one knew the story of how he came to be in the Jedi Temple, but there was no shortage of rumors. Some younglings said he was a charity case the Jedi brought in, while others claimed he was greatly skilled. Their minds would not be made up until Anakin's first week of lessons.
Having grown up together, the Jedi padawans had their own set of friends and it was initially difficult for Anakin to find his niche. However, with time and the display of his natural abilities, Anakin was able to gain some admirers.
Padmé had always been kind to new or shyer padawans; she was friendly to everyone in the temple and initiated a conversation with Anakin on his first day of class.
"Hi, I'm Padmé." The young padawan greeted her blonde haired classmate, who was standing towards the back, assessing his classmates. "What's your name?"
Anakin jumped slightly in surprise before flashing Padmé a wide smile. He had not been expecting anyone to talk to him on his first day, but he was pleased that someone had decided to greet him. "I'm Anakin." Nervously, Anakin brushed at his Jedi tunic, trying to remove a non-existent wrinkle from the beige material.
Padmé smiled good naturedly. Brushing aside a long curling tendril of her brown hair that had fallen out of the intricate bun she had at the back of her head. "Welcome to the Temple! Is this your first day?"
"Yes." Anakin nodded. His heart had been pounding wildly in his chest as he waited in the hall for their first class to start. However, the mere presence of this girl seemed to quiet his nerves and allow him to relax.
Padmé nodded. "I'm sure you'll be fine, but if you want, you can sit beside me in classes today." Seats were not assigned in their Jedi classes and although Padmé had an immediate set of friends she sat next to regularly, she would often switch seats around so that she could sit next to different classmates. As Master Gallia said in their Diplomacy class, establishing a wide network early can help in any situation and Padmé applied the principles from one of her favorite classes to life at the Temple.
"That would be great! I was worried I was going to be completely lost." Anakin voiced his concerns.
Padmé waved his concerns aside. "I'm sure you will fit right in once you get the hang of things, but I can help you out while you get started."
"That… that's really nice of you." Anakin did not know what he had done to deserve meeting such an angel, but he was happy to have a friend.
Before more could be spoken, Master Yoda was ushering the padawans into a small room for their first class of lecture. Padmé gestured for Anakin to follow her and he settled himself onto a meditation pad beside her.
Anakin and Padmé's first class went well. Anakin was a little overwhelmed with all the new information Master Yoda threw at them, but with a friend like Padmé he was certain he would catch up. As they walked to their next class, lightsaber training, Padmé introduced him to some of her friends who all were commenting on the difficulty of saber class with Master Drallig. Considering that everyone said it was their worst subject, Anakin felt a wave of nervousness wash over him as he knew he would have to pay close attention to match his peers. He was glad that Obi-Wan had walked him through a few saber exercises, but he still had a horrible feeling that he was going to be dreadful compared to his classmates.
There was no time to talk to anybody once they were in Drallig's class. The Jedi Master handed each student a training saber and immediately showed them a series of saber forms, pairing each of them off so they could practice. Anakin was paired with Padmé and was surprised to find out that despite years of training, she was more awkward than he was. Anakin actually found himself holding back so he would not hurt his new friend. However, Master Drallig fixed this problem towards the end of class.
Calling his class to stop their actions, Master Drallig addressed his newest pupil. "Anakin, I sense you are holding back."
Anakin cast his eyes to the ground, staring at his shoes as he apologized, "I'm sorry Master. This is my first time and I do not think…."
Master Drallig shook his head, "Nonsense. I watched you and Master Kenobi working on more complicated saber forms last night. You have great natural ability. Come towards me and I'll show you." As Anakin took a few tentative steps towards Drallig, the Jedi Master addressed the whole class. "As for the rest of you, watch closely at Anakin's form and footwork, it will help all of you."
Hearing the praise from Drallig brightened Anakin's spirits and although he was still nervous, he squared his shoulders and took a deep breath, trying to display calm to his peers.
"Now Anakin, I am going to come towards you in attack and I want you to defend yourself with the techniques you learned today." Drallig explained, taking a training saber for himself and moving into attack position. Anakin swallowed nervously, but raised his own saber in a defensive position. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, while waiting for Drallig's first move. Drallig was not the biggest or strongest Jedi Anakin had ever seen, but it was still intimidating to face an adult in a saber battle.
When the duel began, Drallig advanced on Anakin slowly, which meant that Anakin could methodically block and parry the Jedi Master's attacks. "You see class, that is how it is done. Now watch this…" Drallig called out before adding to Anakin, "Anakin, you can attack back now." The Jedi Master then charged at Anakin at full force.
Caught off guard by Drallig's sudden strike to his right side Anakin was barely able to move his saber in position to block the attack. Drallig then twisted his body and swung to Anakin's left, causing the young padawan to backpedal to block that attack as well.
"Attack, Anakin." Drallig encouraged as he feigned an attack at Anakin's neck before crouching low and swinging at the padawan's shins. As Anakin leapt over the saber to avoid being hit, he could hear several of his classmates gasp in surprise and a few people clapped in admiration. Although he was trying to concentrate on what he was doing, in the back of his mind he could not help but wonder if Padmé was watching.
Anakin continued to walk backwards as he continued to concentrate solely on what he had been shown in saber class today, unable to find an opening for an attack.
"Do not think, Anakin. Feel." Drallig instructed as he nearly hit the padawan. "Act on instinct."
Remembering an earlier lesson with Obi-Wan, Anakin stopped focusing on following the lesson. So far it had not worked to attack Drallig, so he tried something else. Blocking an attack to his head, Anakin spun right in order to hit Drallig's left side. The Jedi Master blocked this attack, so Anakin began to attack to Drallig's right, but immediately switched back to his left. The Jedi Master did manage to block the attack, and as he glanced at a chrono on the wall, shouted, "Excellent, with more training your speed will increase, and their might be a day where you can best me. I'm sure Master Kenobi will be pleased to hear about your progress, I will let him know. However, for now we need to call it a day for you have one more class to attend before joining with him.
Cheers erupted in the classroom as Master Drallig and Anakin split apart and several of his classmates clapped him on the shoulder.
"You are really good at that." A padawan that Anakin could not name stated as he came to Anakin's side. "I wish I could do that, I'm dreadful."
"We're all dreadful!" Another padawan called out, snickering as he spoke. "We'll just need Anakin to give us lessons."
Anakin glowed with pride at the praise he was receiving from his classmates. It made him feel less like an outsider and more like he truly belonged in this group. As his classmates started walking out of the room, Anakin looked for some sign of Padmé.
"Padmé!" He called out as he just caught sight of the intricate bun at the back of her head. However, she did not stop at the sound of her name and continued walking out of the classroom. Anakin shrugged, thinking the murmur of excitement, created by his classmates had drowned out his voice. Their next class was only a few doors down, so it would not take long for him to catch up with his new friend.
Anakin was a bit surprised and dismayed when he walked into Master Gallia's diplomacy class and found that Padmé had seated herself in the front row and that all the seats around her had been filled with other classmates. At first he thought she had just made a mistake, but when she glanced at him and then promptly turned away he knew something was wrong. He wanted to question her about it, but Master Gallia entered the room and he was forced to find a seat elsewhere. However, this was not as difficult as he thought it would be as many of his classmates from saber class gestured for him to join them.
Anakin struggled to keep himself awake during Diplomacy class, but the endless lecture and periodic interjections from Padmé, who answered all of Gallia's questions, was mind numbing and boring. Deep down he knew diplomacy was important, but he also knew that results could occur faster if immediate action was taken.
Anakin realized that this was Padmé's best and favorite subject as she answered all of Master Gallia's questions. However, Anakin did not care, all he wanted was the class to end so he could talk to Padmé and determine what had caused her sudden change in demeanor. Listening to the lecture meant that he could only dwell on his resentment at having been ignored by someone he thought was his friend. Although he was trying to repress it, Anakin's anger intensified with each correct answer Padmé gave in class. He could not understand how she could just leave him behind and not knowing the answer to this frustrated him.
Padmé did not completely understand why she was essentially lashing out at Anakin. It was not new that she answered all the questions in Diplomacy, but in the back of her mind she knew she was doing it in hopes that Anakin noticed. Ever since his display of prowess in saber training she had distanced herself from him, feeling jealous that someone could be better than her. Although she was hopeless in saber class, she had always been the best student compared to her peers.
Padmé had been the top student in all of her classes, so not only was she well liked, but also well respected and admired. Anakin's actions in saber class threatened her position and Padmé had not been ready to handle it. However, now that she had some time to cool down, she realized that her actions were due to jealousy and that she had to push this negative emotion aside, for it was the Jedi way. The hard part would be patching things with Anakin after class because she could sense that she had hurt his feelings.
Unfortunately for Padmé, the Diplomacy class did not seem to last long enough for her to clearly formulate what she would say to Anakin. All too soon, she found herself facing him in the hall outside of their classroom.
"So are you going to tell me what that was all about?" Anakin stated irritably as he caught up with Padmé after class. A few classmates had shouted a farewell to the two of them as they headed to meet with their respective Jedi Masters. Anakin had intended to keep calm when he addressed Padmé, but sitting through a long torturous hour of Diplomacy was enough to destroy what little patience he had left.
Padmé bit her bottom lip in trepidation as she replied, "I'm sorry… I shouldn't have…"
"Shouldn't have what?" Anakin spat out vehemently. "Pretend to be my friend and then just leave me with no explanation."
"Look." Padmé pleaded. "I shouldn't have done that, I didn't mean too. I was jealous and I'm sorry."
Anakin quirked an eyebrow skeptically as he asked, "Jealous? Of what?"
"You." Padmé admitted. "You were amazing in saber class today and I was not ready to handle that. I have always been the best student in all of our classes."
"So what does that have to do with me?" Anakin replied with a sneer, too worked up to accept Padmé's compliment.
Padmé tried to look remorseful as she explained, "Everyone is awful at saber class, so it was never an issue. I should have known that someday someone with skill would come along, but it never occurred to me that would happen. My friends always come to me for help and advice that I readily give, but when you amazed them in saber class they started talking about going to you and I could not help the feeling of loss."
"Couldn't handle losing your spotlight? Everyone has to be your friend and no one else's?" Anakin did not understand why he could not hide the sarcasm in his voice, but that Diplomacy class had given him time to let his anger at Padmé's "betrayal" bubble and fester.
If he had taken a step back to think about all this, Anakin would have realized that he barely knew Padmé. He had only met her that morning and had not spent enough time with her to know how she was feeling. All he was aware of is that he was angry and hurt at her brush off and was determined to hurt her in turn.
"No, that isn't true. I'm glad the others are being friendly with you. I just wasn't prepared to find someone that is equal to me in skill." Padmé's tone was soft and her brown eyes continued to beg Anakin for forgiveness. Unfortunately, Anakin's stubborn pride refused to relent his tirade.
"Equal?" Anakin scoffed. "You are not my equal. I do believe I surpassed you in saber class today. You are nothing compared to me."
Padmé took a step back as if slapped. A part of her had been prepared for Anakin's anger, but not to this extent. She had apologized to him, but now he was brazenly gloating about his abilities. The softness that had been in her eyes dissolved into a look of stiff resolve as Padmé's own anger bubbled within her. "There is more to being a Jedi than fighting." Padmé paused and took a deep breath before continuing. "I noticed you did not answer any questions in today's Diplomacy class." Padmé wanted to take back her statement once she had said it knowing it was unfair to call Anakin out on that since it was his first day.
Anakin shrugged with disdain. "Why would I be interested in that rubbish?"
Padmé's eyes widened in shock and her voice rose as she responded. "Because you are a Jedi! A peace keeper! Fighting is not always the answer. Sometimes fighting can do more harm than good."
"Only for those who are hopeless in saber class." Anakin goaded maliciously.
Padmé's eyes narrowed in anger. Anakin had thrown her apology back in her face and insulted her. Now was not the time for patience and compassion, instead she had to cut his ego down to size. "I can't believe the Council has decided to make you a Jedi."
"Their judgment has improved since they selected you." Anakin retorted causing Padmé's eye to flash dangerously.
"I apologized for my earlier behavior, but after listening to you, I am not sorry!" Padmé shouted at Anakin. "You are arrogant, full of yourself, and…"
"And you…" Anakin interrupted Padmé before she could continue. "Can't handle the fact that you aren't perfect."
A momentary silence fell between the two young padawans as they glared at one another. Padmé was the first to break the silence, "You will never be a Jedi if you can't get over yourself."
Anakin shook his head, "I do believe you are speaking about yourself."
"There are alternatives to fighting!" Padmé spoke. At the exact same time, Anakin added, "Talking won't work if someone is trying to kill you!"
"You don't get it!" Padmé and Anakin shouted in disgust, throwing their arms in the air and turning from each other.
Both shook their heads while muttering. "You are a fool." The sound of these mutual declarations caused Anakin and Padmé to whip around and face each other.
"I'll find a way to make sure the Council is aware of your lack of skill." Anakin replied, his hands clenching into fists at his side.
"And I'll be sure they are aware of your arrogance. If I have my way…." Anakin spoke up during the last part of Padmé's statement, the two of them saying the same thing before they stormed from each other's presences. "You will never be a Jedi Knight!"