Montepulciano

Hey guys! I actually thought of this story last summer but it escaped me when I wrote 'Legacies Die Hard' so now I decided I rekindle this story, and now I'm officially starting this one. It will be longer than the others, and VERY COOL. As always, review :).

--

Padmé walked up the pristine steps of the Naboo Palace, as Anakin walked slightly behind her, carrying their dusty bags, his clothing tattered in random places, for dramatic effect, of course.

"I even heard they tried to amend the constitution so you could stay on as Queen," Anakin said, continuing their conversation.

"Well yes, but I still think I was bit too young," Padmé replied, her skirts heavy in her small hands as she reached the top of the stairs. She dropped the skirts and waited for Anakin to open the solid doors for her, to where the meeting was being held.

They entered quietly, the meeting having about to start, and quickly made their way to the front of the room.

The Queen smiled warmly when she recognized the former Queen and rose from her seat, "Welcome, Senator Amidala. Please, have a seat," her hand gestured over to the plush chair on her right.

Padmé and Anakin bowed, "Thank you, Your Highness." She sat down and Anakin took his place behind her.

"And now," said the Queen, still standing, "does anyone know of the whereabouts of Senator Kamali?"

Various ideas circulated the room, but no one seemed entirely sure. Anakin leaned in close near Padmé's ear, "Who is Senator Kamali, milady? I remember there being no mention of him in my briefing."

Padmé laughed quietly, "Oh, don't worry Ani, Senator Kamali is my old friend, Palo. He's quite the gentleman," she told him, "He has just returned to politics after a brief stint in the artistry world. I am most excited to see him again."

Anakin grumbled something, but returned to his post behind Padmé.

The Queen shook her head slowly but sat back down, "Then I suppose we shall have to begin without him. Now, the reason I've called you all here—"

"Sorry I'm late!"

The ancient doors at the end of the hallway burst open. In strode a young man, in his late twenties. He had thick curly brown hair, and brown eyes to match. About an inch shorter than Anakin, he made it up in bulk. He wore a rich gray tunic and a black button-up coat over it. A servant boy ran behind him, carrying a case that was far to big for him, stumbling over the cracks in the weathered floor. He was careful not to jostle the iron-clad case to much.

In a matter of seconds, Palo was in front of the Queen.

"Forgive me your Majesty, I had pressing matters to attend to," he smiled a charming smile, waiting her reply.

The Queen sighed, but smiled down at him, "That's alright Senator, but don't let it happen again. Now, please, take your seat and we may begin, yet again."

Palo bowed again and turned to his seat next to Padmé, making eye contact with her. He winked and sat down, glancing a suspicious eye at Anakin, who returned the cold stare.

--

Hours later the meeting ended without any final solution. Padmé and Anakin walked out into the crisp night air, the stars twinkling above them.

"Padmé! Padmé!" Behind them, Palo was running to catch up with them. His servant boy far behind, the case still clutched to his side.

Padmé laid a hand on Anakin's arm, Anakin's eyes meeting the contact immediately, "Wait up for me, Anakin," she said, "I'd like to speak to Palo for a moment before we go home."

Anakin's head bobbed down, "Of course milady."

Palo reached them and bowed before Padmé, "Hello, Senator Amidala," he said, "It is so nice to see you again."

He took her hand and lightly kissed the top, his lips lingering a moment longer than politely necessary. He stood up again, smiling that charming smile, then sighed, carelessly, "Roberto, please hurry."

Roberto hurried up to Palo's side, panting, "Sorry, my Lord."

Palo ignored him and waved his hand to the small garden to their right. Padme took his outstretched hand and followed him.

Roberto started out after them and turned back to Anakin, who was still standing there silently, "Now, we follow…um…." Roberto looked at a loss.

"Anakin," he offered.

"Yes, Anakin," they started out across the bridge, Palo and Padme a few feet ahead. Anakin's eyes followed Padme's feet, the soles creating small imprints in the dark soil. His scowl grew deeper at each giggle Palo ensued.

"I do remember that!" Padme laughed. Anakin's footsteps slammed into the ground.

"So, have you been Senator Amidala's servant for very long?" Roberto asked, nonchalantly.

Anakin's eyes burned a deep blue, " I am not the Senator's servant! I am a Jedi Knight sent here to protect Senator Amidala!"

Roberto's eyes flashed down to the lightsaber clipped to Anakin's belt, "I'm terribly sorry, sir! I meant no harm!"

"Ani!" Padmé stopped, her hand reached out to Anakin, "What are you doing?"

Anakin dismissed Roberto coldly, "Nothing, milady. Just sorting some things out," he stomped up closer to the pair and folded his arms across his chest.

Palo cleared his throat, "Well…well…well….Roberto! Please bring up the Montepulciano!"

Roberto scurried up the path, "Right away my Lord! Right away!" He steadied the case on a rock and clicked in the intricate code to unlock it.

"Always carry some good wine with me. Can never go wrong with a glass of Montepulciano," Palo explained as Roberto got out two glasses, "And one for the Jedi too, Roberto, no sense in being rude."

"Of course, my Lord," Roberto covered up, grabbing an extra glass.

Anakin kept his arms crossed, "You carry wine in that case?" he asked, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

Palo didn't let it faze him. He grinned at Padmé, "Why, yes, yes I do. Only the best wine, of course. From the far reaches of my home planet of Alland."

"Alland, yes. Yet you and Padmé were close friends she told me?" Anakin asked, sipping at the amber colored wine.

Palo swirled his glass, leaning back on the railing of the bridge, "Well, yes, I was born in Alland, but it was still very rural at the time. I had such a keen interest in politics though that my parents sent me to the youth program on Naboo, where I met this beautiful young lady in front of us right now," he smiled at Padmé.

"Oh Palo, you always did know how to make a girl blush," Padme set down her glass, "I think it's time Ani and I went home. My mother is making dinner for us, and she hates when I'm late."

Palo signaled for Roberto who removed their glasses and poured out the excess wine, carefully placing the crystal glasses in the case, snapping it shut, "Then perhaps I could interest you in an after-dinner dessert?"

Padmé glanced at Anakin, "That should be alright, yes, Anakin?"

Palo laughed, "I never took you for one to listen to others' orders," he said, cocking an eyebrow, "Padmé. But of course the young Padawan is welcome as well."

Padmé touched Anakin's hand, "I'm sure that won't be necessary, will it Ani?"

Palo looked at Anakin with big eyes, "I'm certain it won't. After all, I only have the Senator's best matters at heart. And, what's an after-dinner drink?"

Anakin looked form Padmé to Palo. Padmé looked at him with longing eyes and he caved, "Alright, milady. But I expect you home no later than 11:30, or I'll be forced to come looking for you. The Council does not take to those who abhor from their policies."

Padmé looked aghast, "Anakin! How dare you say such a thing! I am not abhorring from any policies. I am simply having a night out with an old friend," she turned from Anakin and offered her hand to Palo, who kissed it lightly and told him she would meet him by the bridge at nine o'clock that evening.

She brushed past Anakin and began walking towards her childhood home.

"Milady," Anakin called, but she neither heard him nor cared. He hurried after her, his cloak fluttering in the wind.

Palo drank deep from his glass then smiled in their direction, "Oh do be careful, Anakin," he said, "Would hate to see Padmé at odds with you."

--

"Senator!" Anakin caught up with her, grabbing her hand from her skirts, "Padmé!"

Padmé attempted to pull her hand away, but Anakin held on tight, "Let go, Anakin," she said tightly.

"Padmé, please forgive me," he said calmly, "I am sorry. It's just…something about him, I don't trust."

Padmé rested her other hand lightly on his and looked him earnestly in the eyes, "You have nothing to worry about Anakin, Palo is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Really. You can trust him," she paused here, thinking her next words through, "And you can trust me too. I can take care of myself."

A door above them was thrown open, and out came an elderly woman, a dark green apron tied around her black frock, "Padmé! You're here!" she started down the steps to greet them.

Padmé squeezed Anakin's hand and dropped it, turning and embracing her mother warmly.

"Mother," she said after they greeted, "This is Anakin. He's to be a Jedi Knight soon and is here to protect me. Chancellor Palpatine thought it wise for him to come with me until the mystery surrounding my assassin became clearer. I think he is over-doing it though," she explained, smiling at Anakin.

"Well, coming from a mother's point of view, I am eternally grateful to the Chancellor to going to such lengths," she eyed him, "I trust you'll keep my Padmé in good hands?" she asked, speaking to Anakin.

Anakin nodded formally, "Yes of course, milady. I would never let anything harm the Senator," he said, his eyes burning into Padmé's.

Padmé looked away quickly, "I think it's almost time for supper, yes Mother? Anakin, you can bring those bags upstairs. I'll show you where."

She linked arms with her mother and sauntered up the stairs, clearly happy to be home, "Oh, Mother, the best thing has happened," she told Jobal, "I've run into my old friend Palo. He's come back in politics and is here for a while. We're to have an after-dinner drink later this evening."

"Oh, how wonderful! Palo was always such a joy to have around!"

Anakin grumbled, picking up the suitcases and following Padmé to her bedroom overlooking the meadow.

--

Padmé started to peel the potatoes for dinner when her sister Sola jumped up beside her, her eyes bright, "So, Padmé, who's that gorgeous guy you brought home? Do I hear wedding bells?" She joked, her eyes bright.

Padmé chuckled, "Sola, where do you get these crazy ideas? You know perfectly well that Anakin was sent here by the Chancellor to protect me."

Sola sighed and picked up another potato and peeler and began peeling, "I know, but he's so cute! I'd marry him," she stated matter-of-factually.

"Sola! You have a husband!" she defended her brother-in-law, then added, "And he's a Jedi. The Jedi are forbidden to marry. Or even have any attachments as it is. Do not go tempting Anakin."

Sola pointed the peeler to herself, "Me? Have you seen the way he looks at you, Padmé? His eyes follow you everywhere. It's like tuned in to your…. to your very…being. It's odd," she smiled, "but slightly romantic too." She looked out the window at Anakin meditating in the garden and sighed.

"Just keep peeling," Padmé laughed.

--

"Dinner was great, Mother! You don't know how much I missed it," Padmé said, wiping her mouth.

Anakin nodded, "Yes, it was very good. The Temple never has food like this."

Padmé's father leaned back in his chair, "Ah, yes, the Temple, do tell us how your training is going."

"Well, Obi-Wan still says I have a while to go before I can take the Trials to become a Knight, but I think I'm ready."

"And why is that? I've heard much about you and Master Kenobi."

"Obi-Wan…Obi-Wan is an amazing mentor, friend, and Master…." Anakin trailed off.

Ruwee stared at Anakin, "But….what?"

Anakin shifted in his seat, "But…he thinks I'm 'reckless' with my abilities. I think he's just holding me back," he swallowed, "I am ready for the Trials," he said definitely, more to himself than Ruwee.

Padme stood up and the rest of the men at the table, Anakin, Ruwee, and Darred, Sola's husband, followed suit.

"It's about time for me to go meet Palo. Anakin, you'll walk me to the park?"

--

Padmé and Anakin walked silently from the table down the stairs and out into the gardens, "I know a shortcut," Padmé told him, going a little ahead.

They ambled on, neither on saying a word, until finally, Anakin spoke up, "I'm sorry about earlier with Palo's manservant."

Padmé nodded, "And I'm sorry about my father at dinner," she slowed down and soon was walking next to Anakin again. He grinned to himself and lightly touched her hand with his. Padmé loosely grabbed his hand and gave it a small squeeze before dropping it and rushing ahead to where Palo was already waiting.

--

Palo watched the two's cold shoulder treatment of each other from the unseen shadows and smirked. It was soon wiped off his face when he saw the truce gesture they had shared. He glowered as he took another sip of his wine.

He set down his glass, the montepulciano swaying precariously on the angled slope of the bridge railing, and stepped forward into the light so that Padmé could see him.

"Padmé," he said embracing her freely, "I'm so glad you could make it."

Padmé nodded vigorously, "Of course, Palo. I wouldn't have missed it for the galaxy." Both laughed at the remark, "My mother says hello too. She wants you to come over for dinner sometime before you leave."

"Yes, certainly. I would love a sit-down dinner with your family. Your mother makes some of the best air cakes on this side of the Naboo. Some wine?" He held out another glass to her and she grasped it in her hand and took a small sip.

Padmé looked up from her wine and Palo and glanced at Anakin, "Thank you, Anakin, you can go now."

Anakin stepped back off the bridge and stood at the end, crossing his arms.

Palo handed Padmé his glass and set down to the end of the bridge, Palo still standing on it, Anakin on the other side, the small strip of land between them acting as a barrier.

Palo crossed the barrier and smiled a sickeningly sweet smile, "Thank you Jedi, you may go now."