Save the Last Dance

Summary: Missing Scene from the Clone Wars. Song is "Save the Last Dance," by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. When I was writing this, I was thinking of the version of the song sung by Michael Bublé, but it's a standard, so pick your favorite version.

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars. I'm just borrowing George Lucas's characters for a bit. I also don't own "Save the Last Dance."

Padmé waved her handmaidens out of her room while she finished applying her make-up for the Senatorial ball. Tonight was guaranteed to be filled with mind numbing chatter as the politicians praised themselves over the Republic's recent victory in the war against the Separatists. As Senator from Naboo, Padmé was required to attend, but she did not feel like celebrating for a war she did not feel was necessary. For the last few months she had been working in committees to bring both the Republic and the Separatists together for peace talks, but neither side could agree to terms. This frustrated Padmé for she felt the needless bloodshed a great tragedy, and she feared that one day her husband would join the names of the fallen.

"Anakin." His name left her lips on a sigh as she fumbled for the remote to her holo projector. With a flick of a button the news came on and a picture of her husband's face appeared before her as a reporter rattled off his latest exploits. It had been months since she had seen him last and every day that war continued to ravage the galaxy, only intensified the fear that she may never see him again. The news was the only time she got to see him lately and was the reason she asked her handmaidens to leave her alone.

The Senator would have liked to confide in her handmaidens about her marriage to Anakin, but that was not possible. No one could know about her relationship with Anakin Skywalker, the galaxy's "Hero with No Fear." If the galaxy knew about them, their careers would be over. Padmé did not fear for her own career, but she worried about Anakin's. Even with her biased view, she knew no Jedi could top her husband's skill and that the galaxy would need him in this time of turmoil. So, although it pained her to be apart from him, she also knew she had to let him go if peace would ever return to the galaxy she served.

Exhaling a deep breath as she reflected on the decisions that had led them to where they were today, Padmé flashed one last sad smile towards her husband's image on the news. Reluctantly she tore her eyes away and turned the holo projector off to remove the temptation of simply staying home tonight. It would have been easy to lose herself in stories of what her Anakin was up to, but her duty to her people was calling. Her blissful retreat of being Padmé Skywalker would have to be pushed aside for the evening as Senator Amidala's presence was required during the night's festivities.

You can dance

Every dance with the guy

Who gives you the eye

Let him hold you tight

Padmé arrived at the Senatorial ball a little late having dawdled at home watching the news. However, any news on her husband was certain to give her pause. The room was filled with Senators, dignitaries from the various planetary systems, and a small contingent of Jedi. Unfortunately, the Jedi she most wanted to see was not there in the flesh, but his face was displayed on the large holo screen situated in the back of the room that continuously fed the galactic news. Years ago, the holo would have been turned off for such a social gathering, but given the current state of affairs, the news was left on so that all would be aware of any changes in events. Padmé cast a wistful glance at the television before she was surrounded by a group of her colleagues and other guests vying for her attention.

She had hoped that her late arrival would allow her to fade into the mass of people, but Padmé never seemed to be able to hide. Her mere presence seemed to draw people to her whether it was her fellow senators to discuss the day's events or some male dignitary trying to ensnare her heart. Padmé plastered a smile on her face for all of them, telling herself by enduring this she may bring about a peaceful solution that would lead her husband home to her. She would even act cordially around the line of suitors that followed her as it would turn the Jedi Council away from any rumors they may have heard about her and Anakin.

Suitors did not concern her. She noticed that they tried everything they could to win the prize that was her heart, not knowing that it had already been given to another. For her part, Padmé never promised her suitors anything more than a professional relationship and any Senator or Ambassador that overstepped their bounds had to answer to her security team. Therefore, when a charming Ambassador from Corellia, whom she had never met, had asked her to dance, Padmé accepted in the hope that by building friendships today, the war would end tomorrow so that during the next ball it would be Anakin at her side.

You can smile

Every smile for the man

Who held your hand

Neath the pale moon light

Padmé forced a smile as she allowed the Corellian Ambassador to steer her onto the dance floor. He rattled off a litany of praises for Padmé's charm and beauty which the young woman graciously accepted. However, Padmé barely heard anything the Ambassador murmured in her ear as she spun with him across the floor, for her eyes were fixated over the man's shoulder and on the far holo screen where her husband's image was displayed.

But don't forget who's takin' you home

And in whose arms you're gonna be

So darlin' save the last dance for me

Anakin's image helped Padmé endure the night. It was a reminder of everything that was right in the galaxy and why she served it. She even managed to crack a smile as the upbeat mood in the ball room lifted her spirits.

Oh I know that the music's fine

Like sparklin' wine, go and have your fun

Any woman would probably have been happy to share an evening with the Corellian Ambassador. He was tall, broad shouldered, and had she been interested, Padmé might have noticed the defined muscles that flexed as they moved across the floor. His dark hair was cut in a neat style, but was still long enough to run ones fingers through it. His striking green eyes politely smiled back at her, trying to engage the young Senator in conversation.

"Milady, may I…" Her Correlian dance partner paused their rotation across the dance floor as he addressed the woman in his arms.

"Yes?" Padmé asked her dance partner, her attention focused on him for the first time rather than the holo images that tried to pull her away.

"I do not want to seem forward, but I would be honored to spend more time with you. Perhaps we could have dinner sometime this week?"

Laugh and sing, but while we're apart

Don't give your heart to anyone

Padmé frowned at her dance partner, prompting him to offer some sort of quick reply. "Or we could do something else. Is there something you would like to do? I'll do anything that you ask."

A slight gasp escaped Padmé's lips in reaction to her would-be suitor's last sentence, as a memory of an evening sitting beside the fire at her Varykino Lake Retreat crossed her mind. Reflexively her eyes moved away from the warm and hopeful eyes of the Ambassador and to the eyes of her husband displayed on the holo. Anakin had said those words to her once. Before Anakin Skywalker walked back into her life, ten years after their first meeting, she might have taken up the Ambassador on his offer, but she could not do that now. Polite her dance partner might be, but he was not Anakin.

And don't forget who's takin' you home

And in whose arms you're gonna be

So darlin' save the last dance for me

"I am sorry. I have other engagements this week." Padmé provided her answer.

"Then perhaps, the following week?" The Corellian Ambassador asked, a glimmer of hope and steely determination alight in his eyes despite his hurt from Padmé's previous rejection. He would not give up on the Nubian Senator easily.

"I…" Padmé's answer was cut-off as the lights in the hall dimmed and the volume on the news rose to give all in attendance a special report. Now Padmé's eyes were not alone in scanning the holoscreen.

Baby don't you know I love you so

Can't you feel it when we touch

I will never, never let you go

I love you oh so much

A reporter appeared on the screen with a serious expression. "Breaking news. Separatists and Jedi forces have agreed to a temporary cease fire. Both sides claim intentions of brokering a peace deal that would end this war for good. Only time will tell if these negotiations are successful." A loud cheer erupted at this news, even Padmé could not stop the wide smile that spread across her face, her spirits lifting at the prospect that peace could be near.

"On a more somber note…." The reporter's next words were hard to hear over the lingering crowds, but the noise gradually died down as everyone refocused their attention on the reporter. "Before the ceasefire could be reached, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker was undertaking a mission on behalf of the Republic. The crew to his Star Destroyer lost contact with him during the mission and it is our sad duty to report that he is presumed to have been killed at this time."

You can dance, go and carry on

Till the night is gone

And it's time to go

The ballroom fell silent at the sound of the news and the eyes of Senators and Jedi alike focused on the news of the tragedy that had unfolded. Outwardly Padmé tried to keep up a silent façade, but inside her mind she cried out in anguish. Jedi died in the course of battle all the time and Padmé and the rest of the Senate mourned each loss, offering the respect their champions deserved. However, no one knew how significant this loss was to her. To the rest of the galaxy, Anakin was just another Jedi. He was a great Jedi whose loss would be more pronounced than others, but no one knew he was also her husband.

Padmé's chest tightened in pain and she took in big gulps of air as she fought back the cries that wanted to leave her. Mourning was a justified reaction for deaths, but something told her she could not display her grief for all to see. Her marriage to Anakin was a secret that even with his death she felt she could not reveal, but the pain of losing him was almost too great to bear. Succumbing to the ripping of her heart, Padmé began to sway slightly in her spot next to her Corellian dance partner.

If he asks if you're all alone

Can he walk you home, you must tell him no

"Milady?" The Corellian Ambassador caught the pale, pained expression on Padmé's face out of the corner of his eye. He put a reassuring hand on her elbow to steady her as he noticed her sway in her spot. "Are you all right?"

"What?" Padmé mouthed softly, her eyes wide and stunned as she turned to her dance partner. She blinked unseeingly at him several times, her eyes unable to take in what was going on with the tragedy her mind was working through.

"Are you all right, milady? You are looking rather pale, perhaps you should sit down." He scanned the room for somewhere for Padmé to sit.

"No!" Padmé almost shouted, causing the Ambassador to jump slightly at the vehemence in her voice. She winced slightly in response and softened her tone as she replied. "No. I… I'm f… fine." The stutter in her speech voided her claim.

"Senator Amidala?" The Corellian started again.

"No." Padmé shook her head to clear the fog from her mind. She had tears that she wanted to shed, but she somehow held things together to address the Ambassador. "I am fine, really. It was just a long day. I think I will leave now and get some rest. I am sure I'll be all right in the morning." She swallowed a large lump that had formed in her throat while she eased out of the Ambassador's grasp and went to make her escape.

"I'll take you home." The Ambassador insisted.

"No, thank you."

"I insist."

"I said, no thank you!" Padmé's tone was harsh and rude, but it was the flash in her eyes that had the Corellian backing away from her. Instead of upset, she looked crazily agitated and as if she might strike him if he did not back away now. He had thought that she was distressed by the news on the holo, but now he thought this might be her way to give him the brush off and he had failed to see the signs. He did not like it, but if it was what she wanted, he would let Senator Amidala go.

'Cause don't forget who's taking you home

And in whose arms you're gonna be

Save the last dance for me

Tears streamed down Padmé's face as she turned away from the party and escaped into the Coruscanti night. There were anonymous passersby on the crowded streets, but they seemed engrossed in watching the latest news on the large holo screens plastered across the city and not on the distraught Senator. On a normal day advertisements would have flashed before their eyes, but in mockery to Padmé's pain, it was her late husband's face that graced their surface.

Oh I know that the music's fine

Like sparklin' wine, go and have your fun

Some people had the nerve to cheer at the news on the screens concerning the cease fire. Before his death, Anakin was able to bring that victory to the Republic. However, Padmé could not justify a celebration for the price her heart had to pay now. Through her haze of tears all Padmé could focus on was the desire to get home, collapse on her bed, and wait for her own death that would allow her to be with her Anakin again.

Laugh and sing, but while we're apart

Don't give your heart to anyone

Distracted by grief, Padmé never noticed the figure lurking in the shadows, following her every move. The figure was stealth-like in his movements and waited for the right time to strike at the Senator. It was not until she passed by a small darkened alcove near her apartment complex that he lunged for her. Grabbing her by the shoulders and pulling her into the darkness, a firm hand clamped over her mouth to prevent her scream.

"How many times must I tell you not to walk the streets alone, my Angel?" Padmé's assailant murmured before removing his hand from her mouth and replacing it with his lips.

And don't forget who's takin' you home

And in whose arms you're gonna be

So darlin' save the last dance for me

For a moment panic gripped Padmé as she struggled in the arms of her captor. However, as the sound of his voice and the feel of his lips against hers processed in her brain, her panic turned to disbelief. Pushing firmly against her captor's chest, Padmé let out a gasp as her eyes locked onto the deep blue of her husband's. "Anakin?"

Anakin smiled down at his wife, his arms squeezing her tighter out of reflex. "Who else would kiss you like that?" Thinking her tears were from happiness he brought a hand up to gently brush them away. "I missed you." He murmured once her tears were gone, he leaned in for another kiss.

Padmé pressed firmly against her husband's chest once more halting him. "How? I thought you were dead!"

Anakin rolled his eyes. "How many times do I have to tell you that you do not have to worry about me?"

Padmé shook her head, her brow furrowing in the pain of her recent memories. "The holonews said you were dead. They said your crew had lost contact with you after your last mission."

A look of recognition dawned on Anakin's face before turning into a slight scowl. "Ashoka was supposed to fix that."

"Fix what?" Padmé asked.

"The press release, she was a bit premature in reporting my demise. She saw a ship crash that looked like mine, but my clones were flying it." A frown crossed Anakin's lips as he recalled the loss of his clones. He hated losing anyone in battle and his frown persisted as he continued his story. "R2 and I were leading an attack in another location. She was supposed to get the holonews to fix the press release before it aired. I am sorry it worried you."

"I was not worried." Padmé stated with a shake of her head. "I was heartbroken at the thought of losing you."

Anakin's frown deepened. "I'll make sure Ashoka is reprimanded for her tardiness when she returns here tomorrow. The Council has ordered us to return while Obi-Wan brokers the cease-fire."

"Don't be too hard on Ashoka, I am just glad you are here." A small smile spread across Padmé's lips as she leant up and pressed her lips against her husband's while her fingers tangled in the hair at the back of his neck. It was easy to forgive his padawan knowing that Anakin was safe. The frown on both Anakin's and Padmé's lips vanished as they clung to one another, glad that they would have this time to spend with one another.

So don't forget who's taking you home

Or in whose arms you're gonna be

So darling, save the last dance for me

"Let's go home, my Angel." Anakin whispered as he gently pulled his lips away from hers and drew her up into his arms.

"Yes." Padmé whispered, snuggling into his chest. "However, I must ask. If your Jedi padawan is not here yet, why are you not with her?"

Anakin flashed a roguish smile at his wife and pecked her playfully on the lips. "I heard there was a Senatorial ball tonight and I wanted to have the last dance of the night with the Senator from Naboo." His face turned more serious as he added, "That could have happened if Ashoka had cleared up her error in time. I was on my way to the Senate building when I saw you." He gave a shrug. "Guess I missed it."

Once again Padmé shook her head flashing a wide smile at her husband before leaning in, her lips lightly kissing his ear as she whispered, "Take me home and I'll show you that I always save the last and best dance for you." She chuckled merrily as Anakin used the Force to speed them away to her apartment so she could spend the night reveling in the fact that he was alive, and properly welcome him home.

Oh, baby won't you save the last dance for me

Oh, you'll make a promise that you'll save the last dance for me

Save the last dance, the very last dance for me.