Disclaimer: It's George's sandbox; I'm simply destroying the sandcastles.

Title: Tension

Author: Jade-Max

Genre: Mush – humor (Quote Challenge fic)

Timeframe: Shortly after "Smuggler's Price" - Post RotS AU (Padmé as a Smuggler)

Characters: Padmé Naberrie, Anakin Skywalker

Summary: "Prayer...the last refuge of a scoundrel." -Lisa Simpson

Notes: Smuggler!Padmé fic

Tension

"You're not serious."

"Deadly." Padmé crossed her legs, her hands gripping the armrests of her chair casually. It was a pose Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Master, had become accustom to over the last week.

"I have no desire to go back to Ansion, thank you."

"Well I do; my contact is there and he's got a lead on a Jedi that's not on our list. A woman by the name of Barriss Offee."

The Jedi's name had a reaction Padmé hadn't expected, kicking her female instincts into overdrive.

Anakin's eyes widened fractionally. He knew her. She regarded him casually, but assessed his reaction analytically. He'd known her alright, and not just in a platonic way.

His hands had clenched, only to unclench and rub his palms absently against his thighs. His posture had changed, subtly but enough that Padmé wondered exactly how much was allowed to go on between Jedi. They weren't celibate by nature, simply not allowed to form attachments. Yet, Barriss' name had triggered a reaction that spoke of an attachment, no matter how slight.

"Do you know her?"

He took a deep breath before answering, his nod even, though Padmé could detect something in his voice that hadn't been there before. Anticipation. "She disappeared on a mission on Ansion last year. I haven't seen her since."

"That's not what I asked."

Anakin regarded her shrewdly. "Jealous, Captain?"

Padmé smirked. "I'm woman enough to admit it; yes. It would seem that this Jedi has gotten further with you than I have; despite my charms. I'm curious; what kind of woman appeals to a Jedi Master?"

"I was a Padawan at the time, Captain." His look became pointed, closed. "The matter is not open to discussion."

"Oh ho, a Padawan!" Padmé delighted in ribbing him. "I bet you were reckless, in the throes of first passions. You blush! It must be so."

Anakin's eyes narrowed. "I've changed a lot since that mission."

Padmé arched her eyebrows. "Oh really?" She slid from her chair, her posture deliberately sultry as she sashayed to his chair, her eyes glittering dangerously. "I would venture to say it's not for the better."

Anakin didn't rise to her bait. Instead he leaned back in his chair. "Then it's a good thing I'm not interested in your opinion, Captain."

Padmé felt the barb but didn't so much as blink. "You should be, Master Jedi." She felt his whole body stiffen in surprise as she slid her hands around his neck; the electric feeling she had when standing too close to him returned immediately. It made her rash, bold; it drive her to lengths she hadn't before imagined. It was the driving factor in her quest to have him.

His came up, gripping her wrists as if to throw her touch away and she laughed at him softly, seductively, sliding forward to straddle his lap. "Surely a big strong Jedi Master like you isn't afraid of a little... contact sport."

Anakin looked down into her face, his vivid cerulean eyes flickering with something that resembled desire. "I'm not interested, Captain."

Padmé slid forward, watching his face as she did. It tightened, his whole body tensing in response. She pressed herself bodily against him, sitting almost nose to nose, her arms about his neck. She could feel his response against her, silently thrilled in it even as she purred; "I think you're lying to me, Master Jedi."

His nostrils' flared as her scent enveloped him. Cloying, seductive; dangerous. She smelled of engine oils and spices with a hint of lilac; a heady combination. "I suggest you think about flying the ship, Captain."

"I'm more interested in flying you."

Anakin's hands tightened on her wrists, pulling them back and away before bringing them down between them. "I'm not interested, Captain."

Her hands had formed half-fists and she looked at them for a moment before lifting her gaze back to his. Her voice was soft, pained, her expression deliberately disarming. "You're hurting me."

His grip relaxed immediately.

Padmé broke it, twisting her hands and gripped his wrists in response and, in a move he hadn't anticipated, pinned them against the arm rests. She leaned forward, as if to kiss him, stopping but a hair-breadth away and staring down into his eyes. He made no sound of protest but his eyes flared with anticipation.

Padmé spoke, her breath feathering across his lips, her own feeling the taste of his. "I could have your surrender right here, Anakin and I don't think you'd object in the slightest. An affair with a Jedi indicates you like your women strong." She paused and then pulled back, a crooked, charming smile crossing her lips. "But I think I'll wait until you come to me."

He watched her, barely suppressing a groan as she slid from his lap, all business once more, and back into her pilot's chair. She checked their course, pausing only when he spoke.

"You'll be waiting a long time, Captain Naberrie."

She flashed an impish smile at him before going back to her job. "The thrill of the chase is often better than the prize, Master Jedi. Though, in your case, I'm certain the Force will grant me an exception."

"Prayer, Captain?"

"The last refuge of a scoundrel. Mark my words, Skywalker, you'll be mine before we find this Barriss of yours. By then, she'll be little more than a memory."

"Rogue."

Her dimples flashed once more. "Better check your course, Skywalker, or you'll fly us into that sun."

Anakin turned back to his instrument panel, his body humming from the close contact, his sitting position uncomfortable. He controlled himself, carefully and with effort, to subdue his treacherous body. As he did so, he silently vowed it'd be a cold day in hell before he chased after her despite the silky feel of her skin, or the tantalizing fullness of her lips.

He resolutely pushed those images away and focused on his task. They were going to investigate a lead about Barriss. A lead that could possibly lead to a reunion with the woman he'd been in a very serious - but discreet - relationship with. A relationship that had been both physical and emotionally challenging. One he'd hoped to renew one day.

Yet, somehow, the thought wasn't as thrilling as it had been when Padmé had first spoken her name. In the silence of the cockpit, broken only by Padmé's breathing, he didn't dare examine why.

fin