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
by Vere & Set
Rating: R. Contains mature content. Timeframe: Set immediately after the events and before the final scene in 'Crisis at the Heart,' Season 6 of The Clone Wars.
Summary: Anakin & Padmé deal with the personal aftermath of the invasion on Scipio. With the future of their unconventional relationship in question, they must both confront their doubts if their marriage has to overcome the odds.
Author's note: This was written out of my dissatisfaction with the way the story ended in 'Crisis at the Heart'. Despite their brief reconciliation, Anakin and Padmé; still had a lot of cracks in their relationship they had to address, and I imagine they would have had to have a long talk after the events on Scipio.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters. All property belongs to George Lucas.
Anakin stirred and rolled over to his side. The vast nightscape of Coruscant glittered with lights and cast a faint luminance over him as he stared out from his Temple sleeping quarters.
On any other night, he would doze into sleep very easily, even if his mind were constantly occupied with concerning matters. The well-being and safety of his men, for one. Revising strategies for battles to come, or what dangers lay before them in the lengthy tour ahead, to whichever post in the Core or Outer Rim he was stationed at. Restless thoughts that eventually would drift him to unconsciousness after fruitless attempts to find solace in the Force.
It had been a strange and climatic day for him and the 501st. Having just returned to Coruscant from their mercy mission on Scipio to secure the allegiance of the Banking Clan over the Separatists, they were successful in their directive. There were minimal casualties and military resources expended. Most importantly (in his mind), Senator Amidala was safely rescued. It wasn't too late, as Anakin had initially feared. A feeling of unease brewed and twisted in his stomach when news first reached that disgraced Senator Rush Clovis made the shock move to raise interest rates on the loans of the Republic. Dread followed soon after with Padmé concluding in her holoprojector message that she was trapped on Scipio.
Padmé. I nearly lost you today, he thought to himself.
Anakin closed his eyes and shook from his mind, the all-too-raw memory of pulling his wife to safety on the edge of the broken platform, and the hundred-foot drop below them that would have certainly spelled death for her, as the chaos of the conflict enveloped them. They'd had many close calls before. But this time it felt too close.
Understandably shaken from being near death, she let her guard down momentarily on that windswept platform as he held her and reassured her safety. But as soon as they were aboard the main cruiser, making their journey back to Coruscant, Padmé's demeanor visibly changed. She became, in contrast, distant again, and hardly spoke except to answer questions from medical droids observing her physical stats, and directed her attention to communicating with her Senate contacts on holoprojector. She retreated quietly into the resting chambers without so much as a nod or a glance in his direction after that. She looked bewildered and Anakin could sense she was defeated from the events that unfolded. There were traces of grief too. For Teckla, or Clovis, Anakin deduced, and this unsettled him, angered him even. He distracted himself and paid no mind at the time. There would be a time for him and Padmé to have a long discussion, but it wasn't then. He was needed on the main bridge for debriefing with Rex on his report. Anakin hated the obligatory paperwork routine after every mission, but it was necessary for the military logs.
The Chancellor and several members of the Senate, who were eager for the rescued Senator to report on the current state of the Banking Clan, met their return on Coruscant with a formal welcome. Surrounded by other politicians and a few troopers behind them, Anakin and Padmé were forced to don their Jedi and Senator masks once again.
With a polite nod, Senator Amidala turned to Anakin with a strained look on her face that spoke a thousand emotions to him but betrayed nothing to the others. "Thank you General Skywalker. To you and your men for your valiant efforts, the Republic is indebted to you," she said impassively. The strong political figure before him was a far cry from the tear-stained, vulnerable woman in despair that Anakin held in his arms earlier that day. For a few brief seconds, Padmé's gaze lingered on Anakin. He could sense conflict and anguish underneath her rigid exterior. Were it not for the Chancellor and the other people in their presence, he would have reached out and held her again. Instead Anakin returned a slight smile and straightened as he watched Padmé walk away with her company.
Now in his quiet sleeping quarters, Anakin struggled to settle into sleep, for once. His mind was no longer on the war, nor his men, nor the aftermath of Scipio. No, his thoughts dwelled on his wife, recalling their last harrowing conversation before they parted ways.
"I think it's best if we don't see each other any more. At least not for awhile. I'm sorry, Anakin."
The words had haunted Anakin ever since. He never saw it coming and when she uttered them, he felt as if his chest split open, the pieces of his heart falling apart into a thousand pieces and with it, his entire world. His worst fears realized. He was losing her, and he didn't know how to make it right.
They left on awful terms that night. Anakin himself was still coming to grips with what exactly happened. The memory of that night replayed in his head like a speeder crash scene. It all happened so fast, he could not, for the life of him, explain to himself what came over him when he caught sight of them both in that intimate moment. Not since he found his mother Shmi, at that Tusken camp all those years ago, had Anakin been so suddenly consumed by unquestionable rage and anger and allowed some unrecognizable beast inside him to overtake his body completely.
He felt betrayed. Enraged to fever point. He had no control over it. It terrified Padmé to see that side of him, Anakin realized. It terrified him what he was capable of.
He held out his human hand in the air in front of him and clenched his fist closed. "I don't know who's in there sometimes," Padmé's voice echoed in his head. "I just know that I don't feel safe."
His chest constricted at the memory of the pained look on her face. Padmé...
Just then, as if answering his unsettled thoughts, his holoprojector beeped at an incoming transmission. Anakin sat up in his bed, but didn't bother to put on his robe. He reached for the holoprojector disk on his bedside. The flashing beacon almost blinded him; he had to squint to focus.
It was Padmé.
He answered it immediately. Her small blue figure cracked to life in hologram form. She wore a silk robe that draped her slender frame, one hand clutching at the lapels of her neck opening. She had dark rings under her eyes. He could tell her slumber was disturbed just as his was. Her soft ethereal curls fell loosely over her shoulders.
"Did I wake you?" Padmé said softly.
"No," Anakin cleared his throat. The hoarseness in his voice surprised him. "I wasn't sleeping."
"I couldn't sleep either," Padmé said, half smiling. "Are you at the Temple?"
"Where else would I be?"
Padmé said nothing. She studied him as if trying to read his expression through the hologram.
"Are you all right?" Anakin asked, suddenly puzzled as to her reason for calling.
"Yes and no. It... hasn't been the best of days," she answered.
For what seemed like an eternity they both sat looking at each other's holograms, not knowing what to say. The silence between them spoke volumes, yet neither of them could make out the proper words.
"Can we talk?" Padmé was the first to break the silence.
"At the apartment?"
Anakin paused to consider this. He had a lot on his mind that he wanted to say to his wife, but he wasn't sure he was ready to gather his thoughts and address them yet. What if his temper flared again? What if this time she wanted closure? Would he be ready for it? Was this his last chance to salvage what they had left?
"I'll be over soon then. Wait for me," he decided with conviction. They ended their transmission; Anakin hastily shrugged on his tunic and robes and strapped his utility belt on, then left his quarters and made his way to the transport hangar. He hoped no one would see him on the way out.
Padmé was conflicted in her thoughts. She placed the holoprojector disk down as soon as Anakin cut off the transmission. What am I thinking? she scolded herself. Asking Anakin to come to the apartment in the early hours of the morning? Was it too soon to see him again? They'd both been through so much from the disastrous day previously. Padmé had yet to comprehend the events that took place on Scipio, and the scale of the consequences she would have to face the following morning. She was ready for anything that challenged her in the political arena. Her whole life had prepared her for it; that much was true. Why was she apprehensive about seeing her own husband? Padmé paced the open veranda and searched the depths of her tormented heart to find an answer, and found more uncertainty. Maybe that was it. For all her ideals about marriage, commitment, trust and what she perceived as love, how much did she truly know about this person she married and committed her heart to? She knew him best, yes, more than anyone in his life, besides his mother, rest her soul. But was it possible that her unbreakable love for him also made her ignorant to his faults?
Padmé didn't want to dwell there. She wanted to believe in the best of Anakin. He was larger than life. His compassionate spirit was second only to his commitment and loyalty to those he loved. And to goodness. How much he dedicated his life to the greater good, in service of others! And he was the man who openly gave his heart to her, and she to him in return. With hesitation at first, then with conviction.
She was a woman of logic. Every decision she made in her life was based on assessing the variables, considering the best possible outcome and making the best-informed judgment she could. With Anakin, it was different. He made decisions based on gut. He ignited the impulse in Padmeé that told her to jump first and trust that the net would appear when they landed. Of course, being so in tune with the mystical Force would give him this gift. But Padme´ trusted Anakin with her life. She would follow him to no end.
Yet Anakin's pleas regarding his distrust of Clovis fell on Padmé's deaf ears. "I don't want you working with Clovis!" his words rang in her mind over and over. How could she had been so naive to Clovis's true intentions? Remorse overwhelmed her suddenly. And guilt for her part in all of it. There were always going to be events in motion she could never anticipate or grasp in her control. Padmé felt deflated, and confused. She needed her husband. Yes, that was why she called him in his quarters.
There was so much to face tomorrow, and Padmé would ready herself for it. But tonight, her vulnerable spirit was troubled and wanted comfort.
As if on cue, Anakin's starcraft appeared in the distance. With perfect maneuvering skills his vehicle veered onto the landing deck, going swiftly from speed to zero. His piloting skills were unmatched. Padmé didn't move immediately and remained in the dark shadows of the stone pillars. She took a moment to take in the sight of Anakin climbing out of his craft onto the balcony, scanning his surrounds for any signs of her. Anakin was a towering figure among most men. He carried an air of intrepidness in his gait. It was a walk that bespoke of leadership and inspired others to follow him.
Before Anakin could call out to her, Padmé stepped into the light in his line of sight. Their eyes met and she immediately felt the fire in her heart kindle with his presence. She hoped that she would have the same effect on him. The last time they both stood in this veranda, she made the agonizing suggestion of a trial separation. The words came out of her mouth before she even contemplated them, and she knew they cut him deep. Had she broken his spirit? Had they come this far only for it all to mean nothing? Was this what she really wanted? She never had so much doubt in her life.
The electricity between them was palpable. Impulsively, she motioned towards him, pushing back her reservations. She pulled his face down to hers and their lips met. Anakin stiffened at first, confused by her sudden ardor. Then, fighting his hesitation, he returned her kiss. This pleased Padmé. He craved her touch as much as she craved his. They were joined, there in the open veranda, underneath the luminous moonlight, the vast open Coruscant nightscape before them. All of her doubts, her uncertainty were silenced in this moment of embrace.
"Stay tonight," Padmé breathed against him. "Stay."
Anakin didn't answer. She could sense he was hesitating, but then he pressed his mouth to hers again. The desperate quality to his kiss mirrored how she was feeling inside, and she needed no answer.
Desire brewed in her lower belly. She didn't care what they had to say to each other. There would be questions for her. And she had more questions than she had answers. But at this very moment she was asking him to bare his soul with hers. He reciprocated without question.
They were all hands, touch, and sensation until they reached the bedroom. Abruptly, Anakin lifted her and lowered them both onto the bed and began fumbling with the ribbon on her silk robe. Padmé aimlessly reached for his buckle and unfastened his utility belt, loosening his tunic in the process. She got the impression that he dressed with little effort before he came here. There weren't many layers Anakin could peel off Padmé before she felt his cool bionic hand travelling upwards along the bare skin of her inner thigh. She gasped at the cool exchange of metal against her flushed, sensitized skin.
"Ani..." she said breathlessly. Pinned beneath him, Padmé ran her hands down his long and bare torso. She could feel coarse battle scars beneath her fingertips, and momentarily agonized for his wounds. His breath quickened and his lips were on her ear, her throat, back on her mouth. Sitting up briefly on his knees, pulling her up with him, Anakin frantically tugged her silk nightgown over her head and tossed it on the floor beside his boots, leaving her bare to him. He pressed himself to her against the mattress and hitched her leg around his waist, while she planted eager kisses on his jawline. Not wasting another second, Anakin reached between them and yanked his sweatpants down with one hand to free himself, and with a single, firm thrust, he was inside her. Padmé cried out at the joining sensation, tilting her head back and arching her body towards him. Gazing up at him, they slowly began moving as one.
He pulled back and then thrust into her again, and again. Padmé moaned at the feeling of fullness. Abruptly, they both twisted and rolled over so that she was saddled on top of him. He placed one hand on her hip and the other massaged her breast, slowly moving her up and down and forward. Padmé missed this, being desired and loved by him. They were a universe away from everything outside this space of theirs, no war, no politics, no rules. They were not Jedi and Senator, just a husband and wife worshiping each other's bodies. Her lower regions quivered and she knew she was close to the edge, so she quickened her pace. Anakin sat up so that they were nose to nose, their breathing hard. He braced one arm around her waist, and the other around the nape of her neck. The rhythm of their thrusts became wild and desperate to find its peak. Clutching his solid, lean arms, Padmé reached her climax first, throwing her head back and crying out, lost to complete abandon. The sight of her unraveling aroused Anakin to boiling point. Burying his mouth to her throat, he gasped silently and found his release.
The distant muffled humming of speeder traffic outside the apartment was soothing to Anakin. He'd lost track of time. Lying in a state of half-sleep on his back, listening to the sounds of a sleepless Coruscant, he was vaguely aware of Padmé's fingers lightly tracing circles on his bare chest. She was nestled under his arm, resting her head in the crook of his neck. This was always her way of eliciting a response from him to see if he was awake. He responded with drawing invisible half moon shapes in the small of her naked back. He felt her soft lips purse into a smile against his neck.
Strangely, they barely spoke a word since he set foot on the balcony, even less so after their passionate lovemaking. Anakin rather hoped it would stay this way until the morning, but Padmé was the first to break the silence.
"Will it always be this way?"
"Will what always be what way?" He asked.
"This, what we do," she clarified. "We part ways. Then we can't stand to be apart and here we are again."
Anakin shrugged. "We seemed to be doing alright before."
"Most people wouldn't call that a functional marriage, Ani."
"We're not like most people," Anakin countered. Something in the Force told him this conversation was going places he didn't feel comfortable going to. "It's late. Try to get some sleep," he muttered into her hair, trying to end the subject.
"We're not going to talk about this?" Padmé lifted her head this time, indicating she was serious. Her soft loose curls fell over his chest.
Anakin sighed. He reclaimed his arm from around her neck. "I got the impression you changed your mind about talking the minute I got here." He sat up and reached for his sweatpants at the foot of the bed, slipping them on. This was a mistake, giving in to their impulses without thinking through the moments of tension to follow.
The tone in Padmé's voice changed. "So this is how it's going to be? You come here, you sleep with me, and then you sneak away like nothing happened?"
Anakin frowned and half turned to face his wife. She was now also sitting up, clutching the lavender sheets to her chest to cover her modesty. He was annoyed that she made it sound as if they were doing something abhorrent. "Weren't you the one who wanted this? After suggesting we should spend time apart? I'm not the one playing games here."
He anticipated his temper beginning to flare. Fearing where it would lead, he abruptly stood and made way for the main room.
"You wouldn't have come here if you felt you had nothing to say," Padmé pleaded, her voice softening. "Please, is it so wrong that I just needed you to hold me tonight? After everything that happened yesterday?"
Anakin stopped in his tracks. She was talking about the mercy mission on Scipio. It was already an archived memory in the back of his mind. After two and a half years in the war, tour after tour, Anakin was used to compartmentalizing his thoughts. He had to, in order to move forward. He held the rank of Military General. The lives of his men depended on him to be focused, and not dwell on what was. It never occurred to him that perhaps Padmé wasn't as resilient as he. Didn't he want answers from her too? Wasn't that why he came here?
"Ani?" Padmé interrupted his train of thought. He turned around to face her from across the room. Even in the dark, half-lit by the city lights outside, Padmé's pale skin was almost luminescent like the angels on Iego. She was as lovely as the day he first met her long ago. Those times were just as unforgiving, but their young hearts had been untarnished just yet.
"I know I've made mistakes," she continued. "I'm not always sure of myself, believe it or not. But I was wrong to think pushing you away was an answer. I want you to know that." She looked at him hard, as if to stress the weight of her words. "Things are happening now in the Republic that I have a responsibility to serve as voice for, but even I feel helpless to what's happening around us.
"This world isn't the same place it used to be when you and I were children. We -" she waved a hand between him and her - "are not the same people anymore. I want you to admit that. That person, who nearly tore this whole apartment floor in half that night? He frightened me. I don't know who he was."
Anakin took in every word. He flinched at the last part, and hoped she couldn't read his pained expression in the dark.
"Talk to me," she pleaded.
With a sigh, he finally broke his silence. "I lost control. I can't explain it and I'm ashamed that you had to see me that way. But what was I supposed to think, when I saw you with him like that?"
The mere thought of Clovis made his blood boil. "You said you didn't have feelings for him, but why don't I believe you?"
Padmé's expression looked anguished.
"Did you have feelings for him?"
He braced himself for the answer. Padmé closed her eyes for a few seconds, and then looked up. "There was a time when I did, long ago. But that's in the past. I'm sorry you had the impression that there was something more, but you have to believe me when I say it was strictly professional between me and Clovis. It always was."
"It didn't look that way when I walked in on you," Anakin leered. "I can't help but think that if I hadn't, it could have gone further than that."
"Yes, he tried to make advances on me, but it didn't go further than that. I wouldn't let him."
Anakin didn't reply, studying her warily.
"Anakin, you have to believe me. Whatever Clovis' intentions were, everything I did was with sole intention to get to the bottom of the corruption."
He didn't know what to think. There was an honesty to her claim here that he didn't doubt, though it did little to ease his anxiety. At times it frustrated Anakin how extremely dedicated Padmé was to her profession. She always left personal feelings out of politics. Though it bothered him in that this case, their relationship took a backseat in order for her to do her job, perhaps he should take it at face value for what it was: just simply business. Did it matter now that Clovis was dead? Was he being melodramatic about the whole thing? He scowled at himself. He was being petty and he knew it.
Padmé studied him, wary that he wasn't responding. She got up from the bed, robed herself and walked over to him to close their distance. Gently, she placed a hand on his heart.
"Ani," she spoke softly. "You have to put your faith in knowing that I chose to commit to you, and you only."
Anakin sighed, relenting. He decided to change subject. Now would be a good chance to address the bigger issue at hand.
"Then... why the separation?"
Padme´ was taken aback by his change of tact. She dropped her hand from his chest. She deliberated, choosing her words carefully. "I suppose because, I don't know whether to call this a marriage anymore or just... an arrangement between two acquaintances who have no other choice. Is this even a marriage if our jobs take priority over each other? We can't even walk in plain daylight on the street together without being seen; we don't share a living address, and we spend more time apart than we do together..." She trailed off, looking anguished.
The truth of this saddened Anakin. Sorrow overtook him. "We don't have much choice, Padmé. I wish circumstances were easier, but they're not."
"Then why should we continue living like this?"
"I don't know..." He was flustered, looking around the room. "We live in precarious times. How about companionship? Stability? Or the solidarity to see this through?" he went on. "I don't ask for much. I can't tell you how long this war will stretch on for, or how much more of our lives it's going to consume, but I want to believe there's something for us on the other side. Isn't this enough, for now?"
She softened at these words, clearly affected by his earnestness. Tears formed in her eyes. "Oh, Ani..." Gently taking his hands between hers, she spoke softly. "I want that too. I really do."
Anakin exhaled. He was glad she felt the same way.
"But if we're in this for the long run, you and I need to work on our trust in each other, or this is never going to work," she added.
"Padmé," Anakin shook his head. "You mistake my caring too much for lack of trust," he countered. She pulled back and studied him, trying to understand what he meant.
"You're my wife," he continued, stressing the word wife to emphasize its significance. "I'm always going to be concerned about keeping you safe. It's a dangerous universe out there, and I've lost too many people I care about in my life. Mother, Ahsoka... the men under my command. There are people who are always going to want to try and hurt you. And I've come close to losing you too many times. It's not that you don't have my trust, I just know you don't know your own limits when you put yourself in dangerous situations."
Padmé looked like she was considering every word carefully. She had to know it was true. She had many strong qualities he appreciated in her: her resoluteness, strength, and determination being few. Her judgement of character, on another hand, was different. She believed too much in the best of people. Compassionate to a fault. Time and time again people sought to use this trait against her. Even indirectly. Was this why he despised Clovis so much? That scum senator claimed to love Padmé, yet he placed her in harm's way more than once to serve his own agenda. Yes, this was what put Anakin in fundamental conflict with Clovis. Anakin would never, not if the fate of the universe depended on it, place ideals before the well-being of his wife. He loved her too much to risk her life like that.
"Anakin, I can be many things but reckless isn't one of them. I know how to take care of myself. You can't protect me from the world. You'll go insane trying to stop everything from happening to me."
She rubbed his arm. "But there's more, isn't there?" She asked. "What's really scaring you? Is it that I'd leave you, like Ahsoka?"
Anakin stiffened, surprised by her forwardness. He shrugged, trying to look nonchalant, but it was as if she saw through him. He was quiet for a long time, but Padmé didn't speak. She waited patiently, her eyes questioning.
Finally, he exhaled and gathered his words. "I never told you what she said to me when she left."
Padmé tilted her head to one side sympathetically, leaning close. "You didn't say much at all, for days."
"She told me she had to figure out her life own her own." Anakin recalled that fateful day his former Padawan turned her back on her Jedi life, walking away into the unknown. "No matter what I said to try and change her mind, it didn't stop her. And then I understood.
"Ahsoka did what I wasn't strong enough to do on my own," Anakin admitted. So many emotions swirled. Regret, failure, uncertainty. "It made me wonder if I could imagine a life outside all of this. For us."
He looked up at Padmé to see her pained expression. She didn't know what to say.
"You and I were thrown into this war together and if we survive it, I want to know that you're going to be there with me when it's all over." He decided with conviction. "You're all I have, Padmé," he said, speaking from the depths from his soul.
Resigned, Padmé sighed and nodded to say that she understood. "Okay," she whispered, "Okay." She rested her head against his heart and held him closely. Anakin wrapped his arms around her.
After a flooding of truth and admissions, it was as if they'd finally broken down a large barrier between them, like a river bursting through a dam. He let out a deep breath, relieved somewhat. The discussion could have gone several ways. He could have easily lost his temper and had a reenactment of that night against Clovis. Or Padmé would have let him walk out the room and he would never know when to come back. His impatience knew no bounds, he admitted that to himself. But neither outcome came to pass. He was here, holding his wife who mattered most to him, meeting her halfway in the huge void of uncertainty that stretched between them. He tightened his arms around Padmé and held her close, thankful that she appreciated his openness and was patient enough to let him show it.
Reluctantly, Padmé opened her heavy eyelids to the bright light filling the bedroom. It was finally morning but it seemed like only minutes ago she drifted off to sleep. She and Anakin held each other for awhile after their long ordeal. They even made love again, but the second time was more sweet, slow, and sensual than the last. It was them appreciating what was almost lost and holding onto it once more with conviction. Images flickered in her mind back to it. Her skin against his, holding each other a little tighter, their hands memorizing one another, noses always touching, and finally climaxing together with their eyes intensely transfixed on the other. It was cathartic. They'd found each other again.
Padmé smiled at the sensual memory. Then she felt the bed move beside her. She rubbed her eyes and looked up to see Anakin sitting on the edge of the bed, looking down on her with a half-smile. He was semi dressed, wearing his tunic loosely but his chest was still bare. He held a cup of caf in one hand and the other rubbed her lower leg soothingly, bringing her slowly towards consciousness. "Morning," he said.
"Morning. How long have you been up?"
"Awhile. Thought I'd fix the faucet in the scullery for you. It was leaking water. Also made you some caf." He motioned his chin towards her bedside table. Padmé looked up and inhaled the invigorating smell coming from the mug.
"Mmm. Thank you." Padmé sat up, sipping from her mug. She smiled. This was nice. A husband at home fixing her broken taps, greeting her in the morning with massages. She recalled him saying that he didn't need much. For this marriage to survive, perhaps she didn't either. Just these moments. They were real enough.
"Will you be leaving soon?" She asked him.
Anakin's eyes widened briefly and she suddenly felt bad for interrupting his train of thought. He was enjoying this peaceful moment as much as she was. "I'm not sure. There's talk of sending a task force to Saleucami. We've had intelligence discover activity of cloning facilities on the system. Master Vos would be leading the mission but there's a chance I might be called out with reinforcements. And after that, who knows? I'm here on standby, for now."
"Well, it's a good thing I suppose," she smiled at him. "That you'll be ready if they need you." That, and she could see him for a bit longer.
Anakin nodded, his attention elsewhere. He was checking his comlink for any missed signals from the previous night. These days he was a busy go-to figurehead. Someone, Obi-Wan, the Council, or Rex, always needed to speak to him. "What's on your schedule today?" Anakin turned the question on her now. He finished the last of his caf.
"The Chancellor's going to address the Senate today about the status of Republic finance." Padmé sighed. "I have a feeling it's not going to be good. Then I think I might spend some time with Teckla's family, pay my respects. I contacted her sister Nandi last night and she's here on Coruscant, for Teckla's children." Padmé thought of Teckla, and her heart became heavy.
Anakin, ever the sensitive Jedi, perhaps sensed her sorrow. He rested a hand on her cheek. "Do you want me to be there at the Senate address? I can't come with you of course, but I can meet you there."
Padmé raised a smile. "Are you worried that I'll get up to no good again?" She joked, trying to lift the mood. Anakin smirked and shook his head.
"After what you pulled in the banking vault? I'd say, always." He leaned over and kissed her chastely. His lips were surprisingly warm. Then he stood and pulled his tunic over his head, revealing his chiseled torso.
"What can I say? I learn from the best." Obviously referring to his influence. Padmé took in the sight of him, liking what she saw. Smirking, he kicked off his sweatpants to the floor and offered his hand out to her. "Shower?"
She disentangled herself from the sheets and stood to join him for 'round three' in the refresher. Smiling, she reminded herself again that maybe she didn't need everything ordinary people had in a marriage after all. She had these moments of respite from the world. And she had his heart, which was no small feat in itself. Perhaps Anakin was right. If there was any good left for them in this world, it existed in each other. It existed in him, and she would fight fiercely to protect it, as she knew he would do for her.