"The Contest"

"The Contest"

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: Oh c'mon, you know the characters belong to George Lucas and that I'm not making any money from this, so why do I have to put it at the beginning of every fanfic I write? Sheesh.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I got the idea for this from a scene in the movie What Lies Beneath, though I have taken it farther than they did in the movie. As you read this, keep in mind the way the smallest sound seems louder at night and carries father than we think in the darkness.

It was late; the Queen's handmaidens had helped her off with her elaborate gown and headdress. Sabé had removed the Queen's heavy white make-up with deft, gentle strokes of a moistened sponge, then retreated to her own apartments down the hall. The Queen had perfumed her body and pulled on a short negligee of gold silk. She had dimmed the lights in her bedchamber, lighting a few scented candles for atmosphere. Now she went to the tall windows, sliding them open and watching as the cool spring breeze made the diaphanous window treatments billow into the room like gossamer sails. For awhile, she stood at the window, enjoying the sounds of the night insects and the fresh scent of the breeze, perfumed by night blooming flowers and the mist from the nearby waterfall. She heard the door to her bedchamber open, and footsteps behind her. She turned, and her lover caught her in his arms.

"I have waited all night for this," Anakin whispered huskily, his lips at her throat, his hands on her waist. He sighed as he breathed the delicate scent of her perfume, her hair, and her skin. "All through that boring reception, all I could think of was this…" Her arms were around his neck, her lips pressed against his chest where the cloth of his sleeping tunic parted to reveal bare skin. His hand moved down her body, under the hem of her short negligee… She moaned against his chest.

"Bed," she whispered. Wordlessly, he began moving backwards towards the huge, four-poster mahogany bed with its gossamer bed curtains that moved slightly in the breeze. He turned and lifted her onto the edge of the bed, sitting her upright. The bed was elevated, putting them eye to eye as he stood in front of her, kissing her face, her eyelids, her lips. He put a hand on her bare knee, slowly moving it up the inside of her leg… Her kisses became more frantic, her breath coming in little gasps.

A small sound drifted into the Queen's bedchamber. At first it was so low that it might have been part of the cool spring breeze that made the bed curtains move and the candles flicker. Soon, however, it grew louder… and louder….

"What the heck is that?" Anakin asked, lifting his face from Padmé's neck and cocking his head to listen.

"I don't know, Anakin," she said breathlessly. "Nor do I – "

"Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ahhhh!" It was a woman's voice, crying out in incoherent pleasure. Anakin and Padmé remained frozen, staring at each other in shock.

"Is that – " Anakin began.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" Sabé screamed in ecstasy, her voice carrying clearly on the night breeze. Lower, they could hear the unmistakable sound of Palpatine's voice, moaning with pleasure. Anakin and Padmé shared an astonished look; Padmé began giggling, bringing a hand to her mouth to stifle the sound.

"Oh my," she said, trying to contain her laughter. Anakin too was having a hard time remaining quiet.

"Maybe," he said, moving towards the open windows, "we'd better shut these." Padmé nodded, giggling madly, tears of laughter running down her cheeks. Suddenly, Anakin froze in surprise. The sounds had begun again.

"Aaahhhh, ooooohhhhhh…." Sabé moaned.

"Again?" Padmé whispered in astonishment. "So soon?"

"There's no way," Anakin told her. They listened for a moment.

"My gods," Padmé whispered, a huge smile on her face. "What is he DOING to her??"

"I have NO idea," Anakin whispered back, shaking his head and putting his hand on the first window, preparing to pull it shut.

"Ohhhhhhhh……" Sabé moaned. Anakin stopped, turning to look at Padmé, a glint of mischief in his eye.

"Think we can take them?" he asked, gesturing towards Sabé's apartments next door.

"What??" Padmé asked. Then she understood, and began laughing again. "Well," she finally said, "We can certainly try!" Anakin turned back to the window and pushed it even farther open, then repeated the process with the others. He strode purposefully back to the bed, stripping off his tunic as he walked. He gently pushed her onto her back, leaned over and began kissing her neck, her chest. He pushed the strap of her negligee down and kissed her breast.

"Remember," he whispered. "Vocalize!" She giggled. "And don't be shy about it!"

Moonlight flooded the bedroom; the silken curtains moved in the breeze. Palpatine lay on his back, his arm around Sabé, who was snuggled up against him on her side, her head resting on his shoulder. She trailed a finger down his chest, looked up at him and smiled. He smiled fondly at her and kissed the top of her head, smoothing her damp, tangled hair with one hand. Suddenly, a sound drifted in on the breeze.

"What's that?" Sabé whispered.

"I've no idea…" Palpatine replied. He listened for a moment, frowning. "It almost sounds like… oh my goodness!" They looked at each other.

"No…" Sabé said, her eyes wide in surprise. "No way!" She began to laugh. After a moment, Palpatine was chuckling in amusement. Sabé looked up at him, arching an eyebrow. "We're not going to let them top us, are we?" she asked, her hand moving under the covers.

"No, I don't suppose we are," he murmured, smiling.

Anakin and Padmé lay facing each other, their eyes glowing in the candlelight and their limbs tangled in the silken bedclothes. Anakin reached over and stroked Padmé's cheek.

"I love you," he whispered. She smiled.

"I love you, too," she whispered back.

"My angel," he whispered, kissing her. She sighed. Suddenly…

"What's that?" Padmé whispered. Anakin stopped kissing her and listened for a moment. He smiled and pulled her against him.

"You realize, of course, that this means war!"