by Love and Rock Music. (TCW) The first half of "Destroy Malevolence," as Anakin and Padmé make their way towards each other.
FAN FICTION : THE CLONE WARS ERA
A New Heroine
The ground oozed water, overfilled with Nubia's autumn rain, dispelling it back to where the sun could soak it up when it did come out from under that thick mass of brooding clouds. In the meantime anyone under there had to make do with the almost swampy weather. Thankfully the only two wandering through its blue-green leaves were wearing boots, while the constant trickle of rain drops splattered off their hoods like annoying hammer taps.
"So much for the planet being under siege," Anakin Skywalker mumbled, staring at the mess they were sauntering through. "From water maybe, but after a week of combing the place there's been nothing."
Beside him Obi-Wan Kenobi said nothing, passing his younger friend a wicked, secretive smile. They both knew and felt the trap simmering beneath the planet's crisp surface. Of course that made little difference to them, a trap was just the normal everyday ball game to them and they enjoyed every second of besting it, especially when ordered to remain on Nubia until they found some trace of the Separatists' doings. To say that they were stuck up would not be fair at all, but that their middle names were 'trouble' would be completely correct. Danger was what they grew up on and because of it fear was completely lacking to any extent as it was there they found their joy and fun. That was not to say they enjoyed killing, far from it, and if one of them were in danger of being killed or injured the other would certainly be more than worried, but in a gigantic war against droids it didn’t really mean killing others anyway. If they were asked if they enjoyed the war, both their answers would be that they couldn't wait for it to be over, but out there together it was another story.
Nubia, so close to the deep core, had not been bothered by Separatists before and yet as the war continued those fiends grew steadily bolder. What Coruscant feared most was not the planet falling itself, but the sneaky move to attack the Republic's main supplier of war ships, Corellia. If that happened they would lose another foothold in this tottering war.
"Why does it seem that they are constantly sending us on the most bizarre missions they can think up?" Anakin demanded.
Glancing at that infuriated brooding look, Obi-Wan wondered, "If they do, what difference does that make to us?"
Quickly biting back his response about doing nothing when he could be home... with her, Anakin shrugged. "It is just proof that in reality they just don't want us to be around. They try to get rid of us if they don't have anything for us to do, wasting our time if they have to. Then they sugar coat it instead of saying it flat out."
Shaking his head, Obi-Wan explained patiently, "We are out so often because they trust us, not because of dislike. You can't say that of the Chancellor and he assigns us to things half the time." He lowered his voice, muttering, "Though I would."
Sighing, Anakin only shook his head, grinning sadly; he does have a point. They had only gone five more steps before the younger warned, "Hold on." The warning was unnecessary as Obi-Wan too had felt the background ringing burst into reality, and only a second after, that the trap was sprung.
No one had ever seen Jedi move so fast, and no one ever would, as the two that had been standing there quietly burst into action, the crossfire flying at them rocketing off bright, angrily humming blades. Blue and red lit up the gloomy turf for only the brief time it ensued. Anyone with brains knew that against those two the ending was one side or the other dead in seconds. When the attackers' first volley did nothing, they set off their buried detonators surrounding the area. Under safety they waited until the shaking died down, and cautiously crept to the two lumps on the ground. The mere fact that the Jedi were not millions of pieces scattered around with the nearby trees warned their attackers that they had felt it soon enough to shield themselves. They were far from dead, though injured and unconscious. The bounty hunters were forced to their second order.
Sitting in the Chancellor's apartments, Senator Padmé Amidala found herself only half listening to the drone of the senators' discussion, while she stared out at the setting sun behind the city turning Coruscant into a gigantic sea of crystal, as the sun's beams floated across it glinted farewell. She was jerked back to reality as someone mentioned the supposed attack on Nubia. For the past week and a half she had pulled every piece of information off that planet that she could to no avail. It was enough to start making her feel half insane that she knew only what everybody else on the Loyalist Committee did, that up to a week ago not a trace of Separatists had been seen and while clones searched the towns and cities those other two went to the wilder areas. Of course Anakin was with Obi-Wan and she had to at least trust him to take care of the other, or the other way around, she thought, hiding a smile. Still, her heart pounded with worry for reasons she could not explain and her hand automatically shot to where her japor snippet hung under her dress as the Chancellor confessed that he had not heard any word since the original message. The assigned contact the other night had been missed. It was the last piece to her odd restlessness that morning when Threepio had found her sitting on the edge of her bed running her fingers over the memorized carvings in her snippet. She could not have said why she had suddenly been struck with worry... until then.
Padmé only had just enough patience to sit through the rest of the meeting, hiding under composure only political training could give, and she was the first one out the door. She had to stifle it once again as Captain Typho drove her home, and only once home did she allow herself to race to her room. There, she yanked her three layers of gown and slip over her head and pulled on her white suit that she had repaired after Geonosis so long ago. Shaking out her hair she quickly coiled it into an intricate knot in record time. She slowed down only long enough to pull the snippet out, sliding it over her head. For a second she stared at it, praying that Anakin would be all right and that she could find him and Obi-Wan in time. She could remember her sister, Sola, happily showing off her ring after her marriage... but not Padmé. Padmé only had the snippet as a mark of her promise, but perhaps it was more than a ring anyway for it was a sign of his love and promise and it hung by her heart, forever hidden. Although this hurt them, it would hurt Anakin so much more if anyone ever found out.
Sighing, she locked the snippet away in a small coffer she stored in the closet, grabbing a shawl and meeting Threepio in the short hallway. "Mistress Padmé, will you be all right?" the droid asked politely.
"Please don't start," the senator warned, "I'm going to have to argue my way into leaving with Typho or I'll never be able to go." She paused, wondering how he knew her trouble, and yet jumping over that fact she mentioned, "Why don't you come, as a matter of fact?" Threepio was only to glad to oblige.
Padmé arrived at Nubia several hours later. Although Typho hadn't been happy about it, he had finally relented to her determination. Both clone commanders were relieved to see her and Cody instantly informed her, "We can't reach General Kenobi or Skywalker and the Jedi refused to help."
Shock rippled through the senator, but, sighing, she defended, "They are spread so thin, who knows what is happening at this time. I don't doubt they would rush to the rescue if they could." After all they had, long ago, regardless to the fact that they would entice war. This time it was up to her.
"We picked up several indications of explosions not far from here." Cody shrugged off the Jedi, going straight back to their search. "I was about to check it out."
Nodding, Padmé softly ordered, "Lead me to it." She had to figure out and although her heart pounded in fear for the two Jedi, she would take whatever sight was there to find. Following the clone she tried to ignore the persistent whisper that said so many Jedi had died already in that war, why couldn't Anakin and Obi-Wan be the next?
The place wasn't really visible except that everything that had once stood there had been completely blown away to a brown, muddy hole in the earth. In the center something glinted softly. Padmé did not approach, standing next to Cody as he inspected the ground. Ten pairs of footprints went in and returned, disappearing in the loam beyond. Two pairs returned heavier than when entering.
Slowly the senator went forward, stopping at the glittering objects: two lightsabers. Trying to calm her racing heart, she reassured herself that the explosion did not kill them; they had been carried off somewhere. Beside her, Cody somberly picked the weapons up. "We will..."
His comment was interrupted by another clone racing up. "Sir," he panted, "one of the natives informed us that the Separatists were never here. They were forced into saying so by bounty hunters. The ship left last night with their captives..." Padmé gasped but the clone continued, "Thanks to one of the Nubians their hyperdrive stalled and they stuck a tracking beacon on them. If we hurry we can catch them before the fiends can fix it."
"Let's go," Padmé stated, already rushing back to her ship.
They found the opposing ship shortly thereafter and while most of the clones engaged it in combat Padmé took five of them with her into the enemy ship. It wasn't too hard, with Artoo, to find the right spot in which the captives where held and one clone warned, "Stay back, M'lady, the room's poisoned." Her look said without even having to know her that she would not be bothered by such and holding her breath, she stepped in with the clones.
Two battered, unconscious heaps were sprawled across the floor and all six of the rescuers were instantly beside them. Oh, my Ani, Padmé thought, watching the clones hurriedly pull the Jedi out of the contaminated area before checking over them.
"They're still alive," the clone checking them over informed her. "The toxin wasn't around long enough to kill them. The bounty hunters probably only turned it on when we attacked. We only have a short time to take them back to Coruscant though."
Taking charge once again, while forcing herself to remain calm, Padmé directed, "Help me take them back to my ship. You will all need to stay to arrest the captors. Let us hope we can actually learn something of the enemy's movements this time. I will cover on the way there."
Leaving Threepio to fly after they had safely jumped to hyperspace, Padmé went back to where the clones had placed her charges. Experimentally, she gently returned one of the lightsabers Cody had given her for safe keeping to Obi-Wan's side. Even with her slight touch, he didn't stir and with a small sigh and slight relief, she sat down next to Anakin, slipping her hand into his lightly curled fist. His pale features were blackened in spots from the explosion and his cloak was torn, and although his breathing was shallow and slower than it should be, she knew he would make it.
My Ani, she thought in half scorn and half sadness, tenderly kissing his lips, he's not mine, he's the Republic's, and they only try to kill him in gratitude. There was no response to her actions and not wanting to be there if Obi-Wan did gain consciousness, however slight, she slipped back to the cockpit.
The Naboo cruiser landed at the Temple and after the two injured were gone, Yoda slowly walked up to Padmé, thanking her. "Senator Amidala, owe you our gratitude, we do."
She nodded politely, "Thank you, Master Yoda, I know you needed help. The gratitude is unnecessary; you have done the same for me before." Turning back around, she took her ship back to its place and went home.
Count Dooku knew that once again, they had failed to kill General Kenobi as ordered and he paced, waiting for the reply he knew was coming. There was a crackle from the hologram, and the Sith Lord appeared. Strangely, his only response was reassurance. "The bounty hunters can tell them nothing and one way or the other the Sith will win," he rasped softly. "The death of Kenobi will happen; for now, I want you to begin landing troops on Corellia..."
It was a week before Padmé spotted a familiar ship halt by her private docking bay and a lone figure jump out, before the ship turned back to the Temple. She eagerly rushed into his arms, her fingers finding his unruly curls as she kissed him in welcome. "Oh, Anakin, you're healthy."
His boyish grin lit up his countenance, but his only reply was to kiss her again. She was his guardian angel and always would be, even when she herself would be no more.