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Summary: In an AU where Anakin ended up in slavery again following a rescue mission gone wrong, this is a glimpse of what might be happening in his life about the same time Padmé is preparing to vote on the creation of a Grand Army of the Republic.

Notes: Title from Matchbox 20's "Bed of Lies."

all that i'll ever be when you lay your hands over me

It's good, sweet and slow and he just can't think any more, lost in the rhythm like a drug. In and out, in and out, mindless in the moment ... this is all he wants for now. Thought and pain, uncertainty, are out there somewhere, still circling like vultures, but they can't get in, held at bay by the completeness of the circle they're making –– no beginning, no end, as long as they're moving together in perfect unity.

It can't last forever, and it doesn't, but Anakin holds that thought off as long as he can, shutting out awareness of anything except this, the haven they're making together. When it's over –– too soon, he's never ready to give this up –– he drops his forehead against his wife's sweaty shoulder and shudders through one hard breath, then another. "You okay?" he asks her shakily.

"I'm fine." Her voice sounds a little tight, like her body under him; maybe there's something wrong there, but he shies away from tracking it down, from destroying the fragile peace they've gained in the wake of sex, the sense of relief, or absolution ... whatever it is. He kisses the curve of her neck instead, and rolls away when she tenses under him.

It feels like too much distance, so he pulls her with him, curling his body around hers in a protective gesture of affection, settling his arm into the curve of her waist. "Mmm," he mumbles into her hair. "Good." That's not a response to her I'm fine, but to what they've been doing together, and he knows she gets it when she relaxes a little and wriggles to link arms with him, tracing light circles on the back of his hand with her fingertips.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it." She sounds amused now, instead of upset, and Anakin figures that's a good sign.

He doesn't have the words to thank her for this hard-won moment of peace, eked out in the teeth of their fate, so in the end he just tightens his grip on her and loosens his shields a little so she can feel how much he appreciates it, this awkwardly managed gift, before he falls asleep.

In the morning they don't talk about it, but she kisses his shoulder before letting him go back to the drudge, and he thinks that maybe she understands.