The Jedi padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi stood before the de-activated astromech droids in the holding unit and sighed. He tossed his padawan braid off his shoulder impatiently and folded his arms. Everything was fine, nothing was untoward, and all the droids were perched in a row – completely stationary.
He leaned on the work surface, narrowly missing Jar-Jar Bink's big orange feet, and drummed his fingers impatiently. The tapping of his nails against the hard surface almost echoed throughout the whole hanger, and Jar-Jar's animated snoring was the most exciting event of the night so far.
That very day, his Jedi master, Qui-Gon Jinn, had returned from his two day stay within the 'villages' of Tatioone, Mos Espa, with the fumbling gungan - Jar-Jar, Queen Amidala's overly-keen handmaiden, and the latest recruit; Anakin Skywalker. But all Obi-Wan had done was hang around the ship to check up on the droids, try and fix the engine, and look after the Queen. He was proud to be part of such an important mission, and had the greatest respect for Qui-Gon, but he truly despised being left with the boring jobs all the time.
His thoughts strayed to Anakin; the "pathetic life-form" as Obi-Wan had described him. He bit his lip guilty, knowing that Anakin was only a little boy and that Qui-Gon had the best intentions at heart when he offered him the chance to become a Jedi. There was something, just a tiny something that made him uncomfortable though. He could sense emotion and anger within him that his master could not.
Suddenly, he heard a beeping noise coming from the chamber that led off from the holding unit. He stood up straight and listened out for the noise again. He heard it once more, quieter than before, and strode towards the chamber entrance. Leaning his head around the wall, he peered into the darkness.
"Hello?" he whispered. When nobody replied, he slowly crept forward; almost certain he could sense a life-form in the room. "Is anyone there?" he asked, stiffening.
The beeping noise sounded again, loud and clear. This is silly, he thought to himself. I'm sure it's only an astromech droid, but… where's the light? He swiftly turned on his heel and ran his hand over the wall, looking for a switch to turn a light on. He found one, and pressed it hard.
A single light in the corner of the room flickered on. His assumptions were confirmed, when an anxious droid became visible, rocking its metal dome with obvious worry.
"Oh, what are you doing here?" Obi-Wan asked it, feeling slightly foolish to be asking a utility droid questions, like it was a human. "I remember you, you're the R2-D2 droid that saved the ship the other day," he added, his memory jolting. The droid gave a low whistle, and its top span slowly to face the back wall where blue seating ran along it.
Obi-Wan tip-toed over to the seat, which resembled a ten-foot-long blue bench, and searched along it with narrow eyes. The lighting was appalling, but he didn't want to get his lightsaber out as a source of light in case he scared whatever or whoever was down there.
The droid gave another beep and whistle, sounding more alarmed than ever. Obi-Wan cleared his throat, and called out into the darkness. "Who's down there?" he asked, loudly and clearly. The silent reply made him feel uneasy.
His keen Jedi-instinct told him it was not an enemy, but he could not sense who it was. He reached for his utility belt, and pulled out a tiny metal tool. With a light tap, a piercing white light shone out of it. R2-D2 whistled and whirled in admiration, and switched his own light on, casting a blue ray over the back wall.
There was somebody there alright. He knocked off his torch, and marched over to the seats, where a distorted shape lay upon it. If Obi-Wan listened hard enough he could just hear its breathing. He leaned close to it, still trying to work out who or what it was. R2-D2 kept his light to help.
He reached out his arm, and touched what felt like it might be a shivering shoulder, when the figure jerked in shock. He backed away instantly, but the figure sat up and gasped. R2-D2 beeped in alarm.
"Who is that?!" came a female voice. Obi-Wan took a close look at the figure, and recognised her as one of the Queen's handmaidens – incidentally, the one who went out to Mos Espa. Her eyes darted around in the darkness, looking for whoever had disturbed her.
"Sorry," Obi-Wan replied, holding his hands up in the air, "I didn't mean to frighten you." The handmaiden eyed him cautiously, straightening her orange gown and lifting up her hood. He gingerly stepped closer to her, and she curled her legs up towards her.
"It's okay," she whispered, shakily, "You just gave me a fright, that's all." She pulled her hood further over her head, hiding her face to conceal her blushing cheeks. She sat up properly and bent her legs so that they she could wrap her arms around them and hold them.
It was freezing cold down in the chamber – even colder than the holding unit – and she was shivering violently, her teeth chattering loudly. Despite the all the floaty layers of fabric in her gown, they were only thin, and did not hold the heat well. Obi-Wan sensed her chilliness, and felt slightly guilty as he stood there in his multi-layered tunic and thick brown cloak.
"May I ask what you're doing down here, miss?" Obi-Wan queried, slightly confused as to why she had been curled up down in the loading bay when the warm handmaiden's quarters were higher up in the cruiser. She looked to the floor, and did not reply at first.
"Oh, well…R2 needed cleaning up again. I was in the middle of scrubbing him down, and the hologram message of governor Sio Bibble showed up…I couldn't help but watch it over…but then I saw poor Anakin shivering, so I went to get him some blankets." her voice trailed off, hoping that she hadn't said too much.
Obi-Wan gave a soft laugh. "Well, it looks like you ran out for yourself," he replied. The handmaiden looked at him and he paused. "Blankets, I mean," he added.
"Oh," she barely whispered. She watched Obi-Wan briefly leave the room and rummage around a compartment behind the wall. She craned her neck, but she couldn't see. R2-D2 gave a low whistle.
Finally, he reappeared, holding a soft bundle in one of his arms. "Here," he said, tossing it to his new handmaiden friend.
"Oh! No, you didn't have to…" her voice trailed off. He had found her some more blankets. She was touched by his notion of kindness, but she was unable to express any gratitude because her head was hurting after laying on search an uncomfortable surface in such freezing cold conditions.
He perched the left of her on the seating, and looked curiously at her. "Why aren't you up in the handmaidens' quarters?" he asked, "I expect it's warmer up there than it is down here." He looked around the chamber, taking in the dark empty walls and the droid hatch in the corner that led to the air lock on top of the ship, and even he shuddered.
"I must've fallen asleep and lost track of time," she replied, still shivering. Her teeth gave a final chatter, before she unfolded a blanket and draped it over her, pulling it up to her chin. For a few seconds they both sat silently – even R2-D2 ceased his beeping. She looked back at the Jedi to her right. "You're Obi-Wan Kenobi," she said.
He turned his head to face her and smiled. "Mm-hm," Obi-Wan replied, "and you're Padmé." She smiled back at him, her cheeks delightfully flushing pink on hearing her name leave Obi-Wan's lips.
"How did you remember that?" she asked, unfolding the second blanket and arranging it over her legs.
"You were mentioned in the on-board briefing when we landed on Tatioone – you went to Mos Espa with my master and Jar-Jar," he said. R2-D2 beeped proudly to the right of them both. "And R2," he added, suppressing a grin. Padmé laughed. "What made you want to go? I don't doubt that you can take care of yourself, but a derelict space-port isn't quite what I pictured to be a handmaiden's ideal surroundings."
"Her highness wanted me to explore the planet – she trusts me to tell her my findings, and it's all for her own safety," she quickly added. Obi-Wan nodded, but didn't pursue the matter further- she wouldn't want to hear him sit and complain about how he wanted to go, since she was right when she said it was all for the queen's safety. He suddenly felt over-come with guilt for ever thinking of her as overly-keen or too eager.
The three of them fell silent again, but the atmosphere was certainly warmer and more comfortable than before. In truth, Padmé had been pining for some human company for hours since the morning when she had been left to take care of the droids, and the pilots and guards were not exactly in the mood for chit-chat.
Obi-Wan watched her for a moment, as she gazed out of the window behind her out to the stars. As they were in hyperspace, the scene beyond the window was very repetitive and not really engaging to somebody who travelled space regularly; but Padmé looked out to it as if it was a completely new world. As he watched her, he felt an indescribable smile creep onto his face, but he could not think why.
She sighed and shivered slightly. "You aren't still cold, are you?" he asked her, more seriously this time. She looked to his face, his blue eyes still bright and intense even in the poor light, and shook her head.
"No," she breathed, "just tired." She yawned and shuffled so that her knees were not so bent. Her top blanket got kicked onto Obi-Wan's lap, and he tucked it away back over her foot. She had to fight a sudden rush of giggles. R2-D2 merely whistled cheerfully.
They both smiled at the droid, and then at each other. Obi-Wan sensed that the Force was strong between them; he felt an unexplainable bond between the two of them, almost as if the Force was telling him she was special. He looked into her eyes, as if searching for a clue as to what the Force was telling him, but he couldn't really concentrate when she was looking back at him with those soft, shiny brown eyes.
"What's the matter?" she whispered, leaning closer to examine him. Obi-Wan held his hand to his head, and then shook it.
"I'm fine," he replied. He put his hand back down on the seat, but accidentally laid it on top of Padmé's. He jerked it off, both of them pretending not to notice. They lost eye contact yet again, and R2-D2 beeped impatiently at them. They both looked at him, almost in surprise, and then smirked at each other.
"I must say, it was very brave of you and Master Jinn to save us the way you did on Naboo-jumping down out of nowhere and knocking all those droids down," Padmé said, laughing as she recollected the incident. "I was – well – my queen was most grateful for your actions…" She heard her voice go quiet under Obi-Wan's gaze – he looked so serious and meaningful. "Well, yes actually, I suppose I was grateful too," she smiled.
Obi-Wan smiled back, and Padmé felt her temperature rise, desperately wanting to melt. In truth, she had developed a slight crush on Obi-Wan, though she had denied it up until now. Any form of love would completely ruin the tight schedule everyone on board had to follow, and she was certainly not wild enough to risk getting tangled up in the realms of romance – especially not with a Jedi who was probably too old for her anyway. She knew full well it was a custom for royalty to marry partners older than themselves – her father was eight years older than her mother - but she thought that until she could confirm that it was love and not her hormones talking; eleven years might be pushing it.
Yet behind her teenage physique, Padmé was a strong young woman. It was common for the young girls of Naboo to emotionally mature to by the age of sixteen anyway, so she could finally pull off being a proper young lady, and not just a little girl anymore. She didn't want to grow up too fast – she still felt young at heart – but she was proud and willing to take up all her responsibilities as a young woman now that she was queen.
Obi-Wan had already sensed her maturity and strength. He had no idea about the 'Queen of Naboo' title, but he knew in his heart that there was more to her than met the eye, despite her initial youth.
From the very first moment he laid eyes on her, he had noticed her obvious beauty – even behind the handmaiden hood. The Queen and the other handmaidens were all grand and glamorous, but he had to admit – she had stood out.
It was the Force again, drawing him to her, and visa versa. Hew knew there was a significance to it all, but with his senses being slightly less attuned than his master's he could only assume things would become clear in the future. Even once he and Qui-Gon had discovered the mystery behind the Trade Federation's movement and settled the Queen back at Theed on Naboo; he felt, deep down within him, that he would see her again.
The whole complicated wave of thought had awakened something within him he had never felt before, and he suddenly felt as is this was the last chance he'd get to properly see and talk to her again – or at least for a very long time. He had to fight the incredibly powerful urge to take her in his arms and hold her close to him like she was the most precious girl in the galaxy. He had never experienced anything like that before at all; it didn't unnerve him, it simply made him wonder what the future really had in store for them.
However, he abandoned his thoughts for the moment, for Padmé was looking right into his eyes, looking rather concerned.
"You look troubled," she whispered, jet-black lashes fluttering around her dark eyes, which were so full of worry for him.
He smiled at her, shaking off his irrational emotions. "I'm fine – it's just cold down here, that's all," he replied quietly. She gave a light laugh in response, lifted the second blanket from over her legs and tossed it over him. But when it landed on his head, she let out such a shrill laugh that it echoed all the way through the droid holding unit.
She clasped a hand to her mouth, looking shocked that such a noise could ever come out of her. "Gosh, I haven't laughed like that for a long time," she gasped, clutching her chest. R2-D2 beeped indignantly at her, but Obi-Wan couldn't help but chuckle.
"It wasn't that funny," he laughed, straightening out and rearranging the blanket over his lap. Padmé simply giggled and beamed at him.
"It was funnier because you just sat there for, like, three seconds without even responding or taking it off your head! You just sat there," she replied, neatening it around the edge closest to her. He felt her hand brush his leg, but stayed still. She looked up to him again to see him smiling, but she could still sense that he had something pressing on his mind.
"Are you sure you're okay?" she whispered, barely even audible after the loudness of her laughing before. He began to nod, but before he could properly reply, he felt Padmé's hand find Obi-Wan's hand, and lightly touch it. He saw her looking just as surprised as him, like she couldn't really stop it, but she did not hasten to remove it.
"Sorry, Obi-Wan," she began, feeling flustered and suddenly light-headed. But Obi-Wan took hold of it and held it in place with his free hand before she could move it away.
"Don't be," he whispered softly. Padmé simply gazed at him, unable to tear her eyes away from his. She was suspended in a strange but beautiful moment of magic, and didn't dare to escape.
It was as though the young man before was hardly even a Jedi anymore, and she was no longer the secret Queen of Naboo – it was like they were both just people, seeing into the depths of each other's very hearts and souls at a single glance. She was not scared, but entranced; wondering what in space the fickle dealings of Fate had in store for them.
Obi-Wan felt himself falling deeper, second by second, into the intoxicating atmosphere surrounding them, and was worried that he would lose control of himself. It was as if magic, or the Force, or maybe something even more special, was pulsing through the air and capturing him as it went. He and Padmé could have been the only people on board – maybe even the only life-forms in the galaxy – but it didn't matter – just as long as the two of them stayed together, joined hand in hand.
He continued to look deep into Padmé's eyes, not even blinking. If she dared to look away, she could shatter the entire bond they shared and never find it again. But she felt her eyes wanting to stray from his eyes to his lips, and before she could stop her imagination, she wondered what it would be like to feel them on hers. She could have sworn they were getting closer.
They certainly were coming closer; slowly and carefully. But Padmé did not back away; instead she tilted her head towards Obi-Wan. R2-D2 whistled with wonder, but rather than running off, he stayed and switched the light off at the controls.
Apart from the droid, it was only Obi-Wan and Padmé, sitting close to each other in the dark, with no other light source except for the dim glow from the droid holding unit, and the shimmering stars out in space. R2-D2 gave a final beep, before slowly turning its dome and scooting away up to the holding unit to live them with some privacy and check everything was quiet – for just an astromech droid, he was certainly thoughtful.
He could have been the most thoughtful, intelligent utility droid in the galaxy – Obi-Wan and Padmé barely noticed him leave. All Padmé cared about was that Obi-Wan's face was barely two inches from hers.
Maybe she should have backed away and apologised; perhaps she should have pushed him away and ran for the Queen's quarters; and maybe it would have been better if she'd never fallen asleep in the lower deck in the first place. But there was no turning back now – she was caught in a moment, and she was not going to let it go.
Obi-Wan lightly touched Padmé's cheek. It was soft under his fingertips, and he brushed it with his hand as he lowered her hood. Padmé fed her arm through the sleeve of his robes and tunic and held onto his arm, suddenly worried that she would fall backwards. Their other hands were still clasped together, their fingers locked.
"Obi-Wan," she whispered, her eyes closed and her mouth so close to Obi-Wan's he could feel her breathing. "What are we doing?"
He simply looked at her, their eyes shining like never before, even in the darkness. "I have no idea," he replied, his eyes closed, barely even whispering.
Padmé couldn't help her mouth curling into a smile just for a second, and she leaned her head a fraction closer to Obi-Wan's. He swept a spiralling strand of hair from the side of her face and moved his face closer still, feeling his nose brush by hers. He didn't even pull her closer to him; they were so close, he simply came half an inch closer until he felt his lips gently touch hers.
The moment Obi-Wan kissed her, her heart skipped a beat and fluttered wildly beneath her chest. His hand was still touching the side of her head, and she felt him run his fingers through her hair. His arm was so warm under all the robes, and desperately wanted to be pulled closer to him.
He broke his lips apart from hers just for barely a moment, and Padmé gladly took a quick snatch of air, before he kissed her again. The feeling of his lips brushing so softly over hers was over-whelmingly wonderful, and loosened her hold of his hand and arm to wrap her arms around his neck.
He brought his arms around her waist, and kissed her more. Padmé felt light-headed and over-come with emotion, but she pulled him closer to her. She had nothing to lean back on but the wall and the window – but there was hardly going to be anyone on the other side of the window watching. Obi-Wan leaned against her, careful not to squash her, but she brought him closer still.
It was also innocent and loving, yet beautifully intimate. Padmé could feel Obi-Wan's warmth against her body, and kept hold of him, willing him to be pressed closer to her. Her back had already met the wall, and she was running out of air, but she could have died on the spot- she was already in heaven.
Their lips parted again. Padmé let out a breathless "Obi-Wan", but he pressed his lips back against Padmé's just before she could complete his name. He ran his lips from hers, across her cheek and to her neck. She could finally draw breath again, but it all felt so insanely beautiful to her freshly awoken senses that she could barely function enough to breathe normally.
A soft moan left her lips as he kissed he neck. Her skin was so smooth beneath his lips that he couldn't bare to lift then from it. For a split second he didn't dare explore lower than her neck, but she held his head to her, almost as if she wanted him to.
Padmé unhooked Obi-Wan's arms from his Jedi robes surprisingly easily; they had been getting in the way, and were just unnecessary layers of fabric cruelly separating her from him, and she tossed it behind them. She wanted to feel just him against her and nothing else. Her subconscious mind warned her it was just her hormones racing at light speed, but she didn't care – she was losing control of her conscious mind and loved every moment of it.
Obi-Wan's hands found the sash that kept Padmé's top layer of handmaiden robes fastened, and couldn't help but loosen it. She helped him along the way and bent her own arm behind her to pull them down.
Padmé felt her back slipping, and felt the wall and window pass behind her as she slid downwards with Obi-Wan kissing her all at the same time. Obi-Wan held her tightly so she couldn't fall, and eventually she felt her back lightly bump against the seating. She had already lain in that spot before that night, but it was a million times softer and comfier with Obi-Wan over her. She loosened her arms from around his neck and back, and ran her hands across his chest, willing his tunic to loosen.
Their lips had been separated for three seconds as she slid from the wall to the seats, but it was two and a half seconds too long. Obi-Wan tore his tunic off by himself, and leaned over Padmé, desperate to kiss her again. He carelessly kicked his heavy boots off and Padmé practically flung her handmaiden slippers off her feet. They clattered somewhere on the floor, but that was the least of their worries.
With her over-layer of robes, Padmé lay on the seats in a long terracotta dress with Obi-Wan over her. She could feel his bare skin on her, and stroked her hands across his back, feeling every slope of muscle and smooth skin. As he felt Padmé's hands travel over his skin, he pressed his torso closer to hers.
The two newly-realised lovers might have gotten further; they may have gotten completely carried away, or they may possibly have simply kissed the endless night away. But they had to tear themselves apart in panic.
They froze – Obi-Wan right over Padmé, the two of them tangled up in each other – and stared at the entrance to the chamber in mortal fear.
Footsteps were echoing, and they were coming louder.
Somebody was coming.
They'd get caught.
And who ever it is wouldn't think this is a denied love evoked merely by an act of kindness
They'll think it's a catastrophic scandal