A First Time for Everything
Anakin Skywalker stared moodily out the window of the palace. They'd be leaving Naboo soon, he knew. He hated the thought of leaving Padme and Jar Jar and all the other people he'd met since they'd been here. It seemed like he was always leaving people these days… Or they were leaving him. He threw a sideways glance at Obi-Wan and tried not to frown. He was nice enough, Anakin supposed, but he wasn't Qui-Gon.
He turned back to the window and scowled at the dark clouds forming on the horizon.
"It's gonna storm," he said with dull certainty.
Obi-Wan looked up absently from the trade agreement he'd been studying. "Yes," he agreed. "Shut the window. You'll get wet."
Anakin turned to blink at him. "Wet?" he asked. "Why would I get wet?"
Obi-Wan blinked at him in return, focusing his attention on the boy at last. "It's not a sandstorm, Anakin. It's going to rain. You do know what rain is, don't you?"
"Of course, I do," Anakin gave him an offended frown. "I've seen it rain *twice* on Tatooine."
Despite his preoccupation Obi-Wan had to smile at Anakin's indignant tone. He realized that Anakin knew as little about the worlds outside his own as he had at that age and was just as loathe to admit to any gaps in education or experience. He quickly hid his smile, knowing that the boy would likely take offense.
Anakin's frown faded into a thoughtful expression. "So, this is going to be a *rain* storm?" he asked.
Obi-Wan nodded even as a low roll of thunder drew the boy's attention back to the window. When the rain began Anakin stared in wide-eyed fascination as it pelted the window and the streets below.
"Does… does it hurt?"
"Rain? No." Curiosity got the better of him and Obi-Wan rose to stand at the window beside his young charge. "Not usually."
"Then why is everyone running away? They're hiding from it."
"It doesn't hurt," Obi-Wan tried to explain. "It's just… inconvenient, being wet."
Anakin studied the scurrying people carefully. Obi-Wan could see that he was trying to decide which one to believe – the reassuring words of the Jedi or the proof of his own eyes. Well, there was one simple way to solve that, Obi-Wan thought.
"Come on, then."
Anakin stared at him. "Come where… master?" he added as an afterthought.
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes and suppressed an exasperated sigh. Sometimes the boy could grasp a concept before Obi-Wan was halfway finished explaining it, and other times he could be maddeningly dense.
Anakin stood on the portico staring at Obi-Wan with a great deal of concern. The Jedi Knight stood in the rain staring patiently back at him.
"Come *on*, Anakin. It won't kill you. I promise."
Taking a deep breath Anakin stepped out from under the overhanging balcony. His pale clothes were immediately spattered with dark spots. Droplets beaded on his skin. He darted quickly back to shelter.
"It's *cold*!" he protested.
"It isn't bath water," Obi-Wan said. "But you'll live."
As Anakin stood wavering between the protection of the portico and the novelty of the rain Obi-Wan felt the strange sense of unease. There was no connection between them, he thought. No trust, no understanding. He had felt a bond with Qui-Gon even before the man had accepted him as padawan. With Anakin, however, he could only feel something slipping away every time he tried to grasp it.
The Council had agreed that he was ready to become a Knight. The Council had agreed that he was to train Anakin. The Council knew what it was doing… right? Surely if a master and a padawan were unsuited to one another the Council would know, wouldn't it? He wondered briefly if all new Knights felt as ill-prepared as he did to take on their first padawan.
"Anakin," he tried again. "Do I look like I'm melting out here?"
The boy studied him thoughtfully for a moment then gave him a lopsided smile. "Not much."
Padme sighed. Things were slowly getting back to normal in the palace. Although there was a comforting familiarity in the proceedings, there was also a certain amount of tedium. The dreary grayness of the day did nothing to improve her spirits and the steady rhythm of the rain merely made her tired. She tried to focus on the reconstruction report that she intended to review before her afternoon meeting with her advisors, but she found her mind wandering instead. A sharp shout from the courtyard beneath her windows roused her immediately. The voice, she was certain, belonged to the very object of her distraction.
She hurried to the window in alarm and was confronted with a sight that left her speechless. Anakin stood in the middle of the courtyard, arms stretched wide and face upturned to the rain as he spun in dizzying circles. Leaning against a nearby pillar Obi-Wan seemed oblivious to the water that was streaming down his back. He was watching Anakin with undisguised amusement. At last Anakin stopped spinning and lurched unsteadily toward a large puddle. He crouched beside it and stared at his wavering reflection. Padme needed no Jedi premonition to foresee what would inevitably occur next.
Obi-Wan, a man she had considered to be one of the most serious people she had ever met, wore a startlingly brilliant grin of pure mischief as he planted his boot firmly in the middle of the puddle.
Anakin rocked backward in surprise. Even at that distance Padme could see the shock in his expression. With lightning quick reflexes the boy was on his feet again, however, with a bright light in his eyes. He pounced with both feet into the same puddle, successfully splattering his new master. Obi-Wan promptly stomped back and soon very little of the puddle remained on the flagstones. Padme could only gape as the two raced around the small courtyard. The years between master and padawan seemed to have melted in the downpour.
The young queen smiled at the sound of Anakin's clear, pure laughter and the sight of the first genuine smile that she had seen on Obi-Wan's face since Qui-Gon's death. Perhaps they will be all right after all, she thought hopefully.