Beta: A huge thank you to Cariel for beta reading this for me! =D
Also to be noted the title of this fic comes from the Pink Floyd song of the same name.
Padmé Amidala was the last person Rush Clovis ever expected to hear from. She was the first woman who had broke his heart, and left him longing for more. Others called him a player, a cad, someone who broke women's hearts, and never got his own broken. For Rush, there was a small grain of truth to that. Life was not the same without her. Padmé was more than his lover; she was his confidante and best friend. There was a time when she knew him better than he knew himself.
It had been three years, yet not a day went by when he did not think of her. She was the reason Rush no longer served the Republic, the reason he now associated himself with the Banking Clan. Her message was one of hope at rekindling their friendship, yet the message was both of hope and a warning. His subconscious warned him of trouble, but who was he to refuse so innocent an offer?
It was not her actions he cursed, but the corruption of the Viceroy, now turned Supreme Chancellor. Palpatine's influence on his old friend marked the end of their relationship. It also marked the end of Clovis's loyalty to the Republic.
His hands shook slightly as he struggled to prepare an answer. How long had he waited for this opportunity, for this chance to prove himself, to show her the err of the Chancellor's ways? His words only hinted at the joy felt by her invitation.
Padmé looked stunning. There was no question in his mind that his old friend had grown more beautiful with time. The exchange of pleasantries paled to the memories of friendly debates and the long conversations in times past. It was a start and Rush would not begrudge her hesitation. Things had not ended well between them.
"How have you been?"
Clovis could hear the weight of time in her voice; he knew better than to ask. A soft sigh and a smile later, the two were lost in a discussion that was worthy of the past.
There had never been a need to keep anything from Padmé; in the past, he had always spoke honestly and freely. Yet, circumstances demanded that he keep some secrets now. As Padmé hinted at her concerns about the Supreme Chancellor's abuse of powers, Rush almost confessed to the truth. He refrained only out of the need to protect his contacts and ultimately to protect her.
When their lunch was served, a comfortable silence had fallen between them. The meal was the finest in Naboo cuisine. It was not his personal favourite, but the company made it well worth it.
"I want to apologize--" Padmé began, breaking the silence with all the grace and poise that only royalty could achieve. It was a silent reminder of her past as queen. Rush could not help but wonder when or how she had ever found time to be herself, or if duty had robbed of her what everyone else took for granted.
"I have been thinking about how things ended between us and what had happened. It was not fair to you--to us--"
She paused for a moment.
"I want--I would like very much if we could start over."
Clovis was speechless by the announcement. No words could describe the rush of hope felt. Desperation was not a word suited to his person. Rush was mindful to contain the true extent his joy. "I would be honoured."
Her smile brightened the room. It reminded him of the smile she had worn the day they confessed their feelings for one another. His fingers intertwined with her own. Her hands were both strong and feminine.
The rest of the luncheon went by like something out of dream.
It was not long after that when he learned it had all been a lie, a ploy to both damn and clear his name. Even if he had known, Rush knew he would not have believed it. The heart always did have a way of ignoring the truth when it needed it most.
The discovery should not have surprised him. It should not have hurt either. There was a reason the Naboo had called her The Warrior Queen. He never imagined he would learn firsthand why.
His allies, now turned enemies, aimed their weapons at him as Amidala's ship made its escape. Clovis knew his time had come, but he was not afraid.
Falling back on the years of military training, which was mandatory for all natives of Scipio, Rush swiftly released the electronic nullifier bomb he had brought with him in the event that things fell through. The droids were rendered inoperative as Clovis made his escape.
It was not the ending he had imagined, but it could have been worse. Padmé was safe, healing, and now on her way home. In the end, for Rush Clovis, that was all that really mattered.