Title: Meditative Retreat
Author: Aeryn
Rating: M
Era: Clone Wars
Characters/Pairing: Who else?
Length: ~2600 words
Summary: "I know a place far away from here where no one would recognize us... it'll actually be like we're husband and wife, instead of Senator and Jedi." Smut, fluff, wee dash of angst. I don't care what that Comic Con skit implied; as far as I'm concerned, A/P went off on that retreat together.
Spoilers: CW 1x22 "Hostage Crisis"

She'd scarcely believed Ani when he'd told her about this world, and even less when they'd actually arrived. Warm turquoise seas, kilometers upon kilometers of powdery soft white sand beaches that even he couldn't complain about, and best of all – parsecs from anyone who has ever heard of Senator Amidala and the Jedi war hero Anakin Skywalker.

The settlements on this planet are tiny, few, far apart, and care little for affairs of the outside galaxy. In the last one they'd stopped in before arriving here, even walking down the main street they'd been able to openly hold hands and exchange a few kisses, and no one had looked twice. The feeling was heady, intoxicating, and not quite real. She wonders if this is something akin to what it must feel like to be newly released from prison: you know you're free, the sky is bluer, the air crisper. But you're so accustomed to the opposite that you're waiting for any moment to, brutally, reveal it's not true.

She had given a start when she realized she was mentally cataloguing the dwellings nearby, the number of children and families. Wondering whether it would be possible for her and Ani to live in a place like this.

She'd felt a flush of guilt that part of her would consider leaving her whole life behind, coming here with Ani – but less than the last time she'd had thoughts like this.

She wonders when in the universe Anakin had the time to get so far from the Republic to find this place.

All this world's natural beauty is a washed-out reflection compared to what her eyes feast on now, however. As always, the sight of him makes it easy to forget all the burdens of her political station, and Padmé the woman surfaces like one who's been held under water far too long.

Former child of the desert that he is, he's still not quite as fond of swimming as she, but he no longer hesitates to dive in and give it a go. Anakin Skywalker has faced down Sith adepts and planet-rending armies; he's not going to be defeated by a little bit of water.

He's just emerged from the surface of the waves, shaking the water free from his hair. Her mouth goes dry as the sunlight catches the freed drops that trace the defined muscles of his shoulders and chest, his hips and tapered waist... and lower. Without thinking, she draws her tongue across her lower lip; she can almost taste the saltwater on his hot skin. The water just covers his low-rise swim shorts, and it's all too easy to imagine their total absence. Which, from the way he's looking at her now, won't remain imagined for too long.

Upon spying her watching him, he grins smugly. She doesn't break eye contact, even as she feels a blaze on her cheeks that has nothing to do with the sun. Without a word, he continues toward the blanket where she lies stretched out, soaking up the sun's warmth. She wets her mouth again at the sight of the muscles working in his legs as they wade through the water near shore.

He places a surprisingly chaste kiss on her lips before he settles in behind her, gathers her in his lap, and begins working his palms against her bare back.

"Miss me?" his voice thrums low in her ear just as she lets out a contented sigh, and she can almost feel his self-assured grin.

Padmé knows she should be more concerned about what's going on in the Senate in her absence. But by the Gods, it's so hard when you're this relaxed. When you're lying in the lazy heat of your husband's strong arms in the sun on a pristine beach kilometers from the nearest living person. When aforementioned gorgeous husband, whom you see all too rarely, is doing the things he's doing to your body right now.

She doesn't know whether he's using the Force to enhance the sensations he's inducing, and doesn't care. She lets her head fall back on his broad shoulder and sighs again as he kneads a particularly tense spot on her upper back, the tension melting away instantly. Hot liquid tendrils of pleasure spread from his fingertips all through her increasingly pliant body.

He continues to work his way along her shoulders. She suddenly gasps – though not in pain – at the feel of teeth nipping the side of her neck, and slaps the bare muscled thigh at her side. "That's not part of a massage," she protests.

"It is when I do them," Anakin rumbles low in her ear. Then she feels his teeth graze her shoulder – a thrill shoots down her spine – as he uses them to untie the flimsy strap of her suit's halter top, followed by the sensation of the flat of his tongue drawn down her neck. She inhales a shuddering breath as his flesh hand slips away the loosened top and covers her breast, squeezing, slowly circling. As a virgin newlywed he'd at first been uncertain, hesitant to make a first move for fear of disappointing or offending her. Much of the time – despite her own relative inexperience – she'd had to take the lead, guiding him to pleasure along with her. He's learned well. The man working his charms on her now, while still sometimes left trembling at the sight of her body willingly displayed before him, is no longer afraid to initiate encounters, and is so acutely aware of every part of her by now that he often knows exactly the tone and touch to elicit the most pleasurable reactions. Then again, when it comes to Ani, especially as infrequently as they're together, she's not exactly picky. A beach, a bed, a carpet, or on one memorable occasion a supply closet on the Twilight – it's with him, and that's all that matters.

Still massaging her breast, he plucks the hardened nipple between forefinger and thumb, rolling it, shooting bolts of ecstasy into her very core. A whimper escapes her as she arches against him.

"And to think you didn't even want to go away with me," he teases, drawing his other hand slowly down her side, ghosting over her rib cage.

"Wanting..." she shudders and tries to gather her breath, "was never the problem." It never has been.

She feels him grin. "I'm glad we're in agreement."

She turns her head to nip his neck. "What have I told you about talking?"

His hands stop kneading, and she opens her mouth to protest before one hand cups her face, turning it to him. And then her breath disappears again as Anakin's mouth covers her own. Not ceasing this new angle of attack, he turns her in his arms, lying her back on the wide blanket spread beneath them, his taut body stretching above her. He breaks the kiss for a moment to simply watch her, run one hand through the length of her hair.

She knows she's certainly not unattractive. But never does she feel more beautiful – more sexy – than when Ani looks at her the way he is now. If she didn't know she looked the same way at him, it would almost be terrifying in its unveiled intensity. And even if she weren't in love, she knows she's never seen a more stunning man – inside as well as out – in her life.

And he's mine.

The sand is warm on her back through the blanket; the sun is hot on her exposed flesh. But it's no match for the heat of his body so close above her own. She is wet and aching simply from awareness of his proximity. She suspects he knows it, too. From the look in his eyes, he seems to be considering how best to devour her. For once she can confidently say there'll be time for whatever either of their wildest fantasies can conjure; for now, all she wants is the delicious indulgence of pure, primal lovemaking with her husband on a hot sunny beach.

He resumes his assault of her lips, to which she retaliates by invading his mouth with her tongue. He sifts one hand through her loose curls as he works his mouth furiously down her throat, gently biting and sucking on the soft flesh; it will look like a relief map of Alderaan tomorrow. By the time his lips reach her breasts she's undulating almost unwillingly beneath him. She drags her fingers through his own luxuriantly soft hair and down his back, moaning at the feel of the warm, firm muscles tensed under her touch. Her hands have nearly reached his own tiny bathing suit when she feels his hands sliding the bottom piece of hers down her hips, soon casting it aside too.

He pauses his advances for a moment to again rake his eyes over the curves of her body, now completely exposed to him. There's no disguising his approval – and certainly not his arousal. She feels it pressing into her abdomen, straining through the thin cloth of his suit. She knows Anakin would look at her this way even if she were covered head to toe in a grain sack, but it's never any less satisfying and arousing for that.

"Don't I get mine too?" she manages, surprised at how breathless she sounds. Brows furrow over perplexed blue eyes. She takes advantage of the momentary lapse of focus and pushes off on one leg, rolling them and quickly pinning him under her. He's surprised, but hardly disappointed or chastised at her aggression. She tugs at the waistband of his shorts, teasing her fingernail along the ridge of oblique muscle that disappears under it. She drags her eyes back from there to look up at his eyes through her lashes as she slowly bites down on her bottom lip.

His grin widens; he's all too willing. Before she can even think, he's just as naked as she; she doesn't even see where he tosses his suit. He shifts and the early afternoon sun falls perfectly on his tanned, muscled flesh and golden hair, and more than ever she's struck with the thought that even the fairest of Naboo's gods could not hold a candle to her husband. Not that it matters – he would own her regardless.

Their eyes lock once more, and Padmé lowers herself onto him. Her cry as he fills her seems to echo unnaturally loudly on the empty beach, and she barely has time to silently give thanks for the isolation of the spot before he's pulling out and driving forward in a seamless rhythm. She arches, bringing him even deeper, and she nearly goes over the edge when he hits her core again, and again. All this while his hands are moving in circles up and down her sides, rendering her lower body even more pliable with their heat. She grips his chin and crashes down on him for another kiss, tasting salt and sun and that cocktail they'd shared earlier. His scent fills her nostrils, more heat and sun and most exhilarating of all, him. Even if she were blind she would know him anywhere. He locks one arm behind her back and she speeds up the pace of her thrusts against him, as they continue to drive wildly into each other. The sound of the waves falls to a distant background rush as he overwhelms her senses.

"Padmé," he gasps, eyes falling shut, and it's her undoing.

The climax rips from her, her wordless cry nearly drowning out the crash of another wave. Moments later, the rush of warmth inside her and his own shout marks his arrival. She collapses atop him, and soon feels strong arms encircling her, shifting their bodies so she's spooned against him.

Once their breathing subsides, Padmé is composed enough to simply relish the warmth of her husband's body, one long arm looped across her waist, cradling her against him. Her shoulders nestled to his chest, her hips to his, one leg twined with his. For a long while the only sound is the soft rush of the waves, and between them and the perfect warmth around her, she almost falls asleep.

She hardly dares to believe they have ten more days like this. That's the most consecutive time together they'll have had since they married. Not only that, they have an absolutely airtight cover. The Chancellor had ordered two weeks of leave for all Senators directly affected by the Bane incident, and the Council had been willing to enforce Anakin's existing leave upon learning of what he'd endured at Bane's hands. Not that Padmé was able to accept Palpatine's apparent compassion completely without reservation – her constituents had needs regardless of what happened with Bane, and the timing of this all so close to the planned vote on the privacy bill niggled at her... but in the end, she certainly wasn't going to turn down the prospect of two free and clear weeks alone with Anakin. Especially after everything that had just happened.

She watches him stretched beside her, eyes closed and – for once – utterly content, and is still almost immediately struck with that horrible image, the one she wishes she could use this sand to forever scrub from her memory. His young strong body completely slack, head lolled uselessly to the side as Bane's minions dragged him and tossed him in front of her like garbage. Her having to stand there as if her heart hadn't been yanked from her rib cage. Thinking that at that very moment he could be lost to her – to the galaxy – forever, and it would be because of her. An entire future of potential – a life after the war, the children they only occasionally dared to dream openly about, perhaps the very future of the Republic itself – suddenly evaporated all for the sake of another one of Anakin's overly grand gestures.

This weapon is my life, he'd told her mere hours before. And it very nearly had been. No matter how she protested, she never seemed able to get through to Anakin that he never needed to do anything to prove himself to her.

Just come home to me. That's all I need.

She leans over and places a kiss on his forehead. His eyes flutter open.

"What?" he asks, those beautiful blues tracing her expression with a mixture of suspicion and concern.

She shakes her head, takes a moment to just look at him. Alive, beautiful, and in her arms. What would she do if she were never able to see this face again? "I've got everything I need."

The flicker in his eyes seems to indicate he doesn't quite accept her dismissal. But he smiles anyway, and presses his lips to her crown as she falls into blissful slumber.