Notes: AU where Anakin and Padmé do not fall. Birthday fic for my dear friend atomic89. Unbeta'd and a trifle haphazard.


'It would have destroyed us.'

'~'

She pushed the sandy hair from her face and dry skin scraped against open wound. Anakin's face was like paper, wrinkling in the heat. His sunken blue eyes were the only things that looked alive in it. The blood, for all its redness, already looked dead.

"Am I supposed to thank you for saving my life?"

"No."

They sat in identical positions: facing each other, knees pulled up to their chest, backs to the wall, wounds scarring. Their clothes were even almost identical – his Jedi robes tan and worn, the beige uni-suit she had been wearing for the past three nightmarish days, turned brown by the sandstorm.

'~'

'We let the kisses become scars.'

'~'

For months, she had thought him dead.

The soldiers milled around them but they might as well have been in their own world. He stood before her, blocking the sun, and for the first time, she let the tears fall.

He caught them with his finger, held her chin when she would have looked away.

The triumph she had half-expected to see was not there, only regret.

"I will not leave the Jedi."

Padmé closed her eyes against the stupid tears. "I know."

'~'

'We would have been living a lie, one we couldn't keep even if we wanted to.'

'~'

The night the Temple burnt, taking the last of the Sith with them, she had known he would come.

She stood in her balcony and watched his ship descend like a metallic predator. There had been no words when he swooped her into his arms, or when he carried her into the bedroom.

She was already robed and knitted into the stiff Senatorial gown when his blue eyes opened to the morning.

There were no words. She didn't tell him she had never stopped loving him and he didn't tell her he would never love anyone else.

He didn't tell her that he had almost fallen for her sake.

She never told him when she bore his children.

They kissed for the last time.

'~'

'And so we decided not to fall in love.'

fin.