"How're you feeling?"
Padmé turned her head with a smile at the man standing in the doorway to her - to their - quarters. "Better; thanks to you."
Anakin settled himself on the edge of the bunk, his hand sliding into hers and twining their fingers together. He didn't say anything as he simply looked at her. There was a wealth of information and affection in that look; a speaking look that meant they needed to talk.
Padmé shifted, using her uninjured arm to pushed herself into a sitting position. Anakin moved, as if to help, but she shot him a look that said he'd better not interfere. He settled back, waiting until she'd adjusted herself comfortably, her right arm draped in a sling across her chest. "Took you long enough to get back to me. I hope you're not abusing my ship."
He laughed softly. "No more than I do her captain."
"Then I'd better make a full recovery and soon, or she'll never fly again!"
He squeezed her fingers. "Now, now, Captain; is that a nice thing to say about the man who saved your life?"
"Nope." Her grin was positively unrepentant. "But I'll say it anyway. We make a good team, you know."
"I know." His thumb gently traced the backs of her fingers. "Padmé..."
She cocked her head at him. "Something you wanted to tell me, Skywalker?"
Something flickered in his eyes. "I take it you're not going to use my first name again anytime soon?"
He nodded. "You warned me about Hulgar's strike; he's dead by the way."
Padmé felt a slight twinge at the loss and pushed it away. Something told her Hulgar wouldn't be the last to turn their back on her. Not with the Empire's unlimited fund to back them. "Good; he was a traitor and got what he deserved." She shifted again, adjusting her arm in the sling. "And I used your name because it would get your attention; and it worked."
"Is that the only reason?"
She met his intense, quizzical gaze. "Isn't that enough?"
His lips twitched. "I was hoping for more, Padmé. I meant what I said; you're going to marry me."
"I don't take orders well, Skywalker."
"I've noticed." He shifted closer, lifting his free hand to brush her bangs back from her face. "I like the hair, by the way; it's an interesting disguise."
Her lips twitched. "Nightwing Klatt at your service, Master Jedi. Though, I think I have to retire her since Hulgar sold me out."
Calloused finger tips traced the curve of her cheek bone. "I wouldn't just yet. The space port authority and various transports suffered critical mishaps, including a complete erasure of their records just after we lifted off. Whatever information Hulgar gave them is going to be subject to human memory and error now. I think it's safe to say Nightwing's career is simply on hold temporarily."
"You bombed the place?" She arched en eyebrow. "Was that a very Jedi-like thing to do?"
"I set an ion bomb." His correction was smug. "Harmful to the immediate surroundings only and powerful enough to wipe any computer within range clean. Including datapads, rods and disks."
"Devious. I never knew you could be devious, Master Jedi."
"When I have to be. Which is why you're confined to quarters."
He stroked her cheek with the back of his index finger. "You're confined to quarters, my love, until such a time as I can convince you to marry me."
He nodded, leaning forward to brush a gentle kiss across her cheek bone. "Whatever it takes and however long it takes."
"What about your mission?"
"The Jedi aren't going anywhere." He shifted closer, his lips trailing down to trace the line of her jaw and back up towards her ear. "And I think you owe me something after this trip."
"Getting you out in one piece isn't enough?"
"And saving your life isn't worth anything?"
She turned her head, giving him better access to the curve of her neck. "I concede; it's worth a lot."
"Good; because I'm claiming it as mine."
He pulled back, staring at her in surprise.
Her lips tilted. "I can't very well keep calling you Skywalker if it's going to be my last name too."
His smile was slow, spreading across his lips even as an answering flame of desire spread from the pit of her stomach. "No. I guess you can't."
She grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him back towards her, grinning into the pools of iridescent fire and love that shone from his eyes. Their lips met, a silent proclamation of love and loyalty as he joined her on their bunk.
It took Padmé several days to recover enough to walk, and by that time they were pulling up the ship Bail had sent coordinates for. She watched as Anakin's hands flew confidently over the Blue Skies controls with a feeling of proprietary pride. He was good, both for her and for her ship.
"You know, if you treat all your women the way you treat us, it's no wonder Barriss didn't want to give you up."
Anakin's laughed echoed through the cabin. "Surely you're not still jealous?"
"I won," was her smug reply. "I have no reason to be jealous."
"So that was just an observation?"
Padmé nodded. "What are you going to tell the other Masters?"
"All of it?"
The look he slanted her was sly. "The truth they need to know. That Barriss has done her part for the next generation of Jedi and prefers to remain in isolation."
"Why, Master Jedi, your deviousness is showing again."
"I get it from my soon-to-be wife. She's a bad influence."
"You haven't seen bad yet, Skywalker."
He chuckled. "Ah, ah, what are you going to do when you can't call me that anymore?"
"I'll think of something." She watched the ship as the Blue Skies approached, Anakin sending her in like a gentle leaf falling from a tree. "You sure have a delicate touch with my baby."
"And with other parts."
"No argument here."
They fell silent as Padmé considered his profile for a long minute. "Anakin?"
"You know this isn't just some... casual fling for me, right?"
He froze for a fraction of a second, tension radiating across his shoulders before melting away. His blue irises were soft, almost glowing when they met hers. As if he knew it was as close as she was going to come to putting a name on her feelings. "I know. It's why I couldn't stay on Ansion, no matter how much I wanted to. Karrin has her mother, you only have me. I wouldn't marry you if I didn't love you."
"Love..." Padmé looked away. "I'm not sure if I really know that that is anymore."
"You do." His response was easy and confident. "You might not know what to call it, but I know you love me; you don't have to say it."
"I..." Padmé hesitated for a moment. "You don't mind?"
"Don't get me wrong, I'd like for you to say the words, Padmé; but simply calling me Anakin is a good start."
Her lips twitched. "It will take some getting used to, but I'm game." She studied his features. "You're going to tell them about us, aren't you?"
"Strategic truth, my dear Captain. I will tell the other Masters what they need to know and while we search for the rest of the Jedi on your list, we can enjoy one another." His grin was mischievous. "If you've no objection, that is."
"No objection, Master Jedi. No objection at all."
Author's Note - Finished!! *does the happy dance* Yay! Hope ya'll enjoyed it! Big thank you to leia naberrie who put on the roulette over at the force boards which spawned this series and the ensuing chaos. I hope you all enjoyed the little trip into Smuggler!Padmé's life. Thanks for reading :)