Tsum-Tsum T-shirt, by Disney

by Grant Gould (for

by master--burglar
by master--burglar
by Love and Rock Music. (TCW) The first half of "Destroy Malevolence," as Anakin and Padmé make their way towards each other.

The Anakin and Padmé Gallery

Desktop Calendar // March/April 2015





by Cindé of Naboo


The sun was just beginning to rise as she woke, pouring gold across the bed. She became aware of its warmth on her face long before fully gaining awareness. The feeling reminded her of some pleasant, half-sorrowful moment that she couldn't quite place.

Slowly, she opened her eyes. Here. On her bed, in the bedroom in her apartment in Theed. Disorientation still cluttered her thoughts. She stared at the ceiling, then down again. Her covers were rumpled; her legs had gotten out from under the blankets. Blearily, she pulled them back under. It was warm and comfortable in bed, but she really ought to get up; there was something -

To her left, movement. She blinked. The sunlight still hadn't touched that corner of the room, but there was definitely something - someone lurking around the dresser, pulling something over his head.

In a rush, she remembered. Ani. She almost laughed at herself. Had a few hours sleep made her forget the most important choice of her life? As the last of her drowsiness drifted off, her mind cleared, and she remembered. The decision they had both come to without having to ask each other, carefully seeking out the holy man in Lake Country, making vows that were so beautiful and painful they brought tears to her eyes, coming to her apartment hand in hand that evening - she blushed, still feeling shy at the thought of it.

She called his name as she sat up in bed, smoothing the sheets and straightening the straps of her thin gown. Thinking, from force of habit, that she to ought to get her dressing robe, then thinking better of it.

"You're awake." Ani came to the bed and sat on the edge, taking her hand. "I'm glad I didn't have to wake you; I hate to disturb your sleep." He smiled. "Good morning."

"Good morning." She looked at his clothes. He was half-dressed, trousers and tunic, no boots yet, no robes - though he had already put his lightsaber at his belt. He had pulled the sleeve down tight over his mechanical arm; the metal fingers barely peeked past the cuff.

He clearly understood her gaze, and looked apologetic. "Obi-Wan expects me back today," he said, his lips twitching as if fighting a frown. "He'll already be suspicious when I come back a little late."

Padmé simply nodded. There was no justification for asking him to stay longer. He would oblige, of course, just to please her, but she would feel selfish for it afterwards. "I suppose this is something we should get used to," she said aloud, though she hated bringing in more unpleasant thoughts.

Anakin's frown finally had its way. "I guess." He looked at her, worry creasing his forehead. "You're... you're not regretting this already?"

"No," she said with all the force she possessed. "I had my chance to decide against this - more than one chance, as you well know. I'd rather take my chances with you." She laid her hand, deliberately, on his false one. "When it came right down to it, when I was faced with the prospect of dying without ever telling you - then I knew all the trouble in the galaxy was worth having you."

He smiled, a little sadly, and drew back his mechanical hand with a twitch. "I don't deserve you. But I'm glad you took me anyway." He took her in his arms. He was warm, and had taken some of the smells of her room into his skin - perfume, soap, Nubian flowers - there was a vase of them on the dresser. She buried her face in his chest and breathed deeply, hoping she could keep some of his smell with her as well.

Anakin pulled away reluctantly, apologies playing in his eyes again. "I need to finish dressing. But let's keep talking." She understood. He needed memories, the sound of her voice, her laugher, as she needed his.

She curled up her legs and watched him put on his boots. His movements had a certain unusual grace to them; she wondered if all Jedi moved like that. She had never really observed one so closely before. "I've always like the look of you in Jedi garb," she said aloud, lightly. "It suits you well."

"Better than other aspects of the Order," he said with a reserved bitterness. Padmé bit her lip, and he sighed. Straightening from his boots, he changed direction. "I've always liked the look of you in anything you wear." He laughed suddenly. "Although, for the life of me, I could never imagine how you got all those complicated dresses and headpieces on. It must take you all morning."

She grinned. "One hour. No longer. Of course," she added wryly, "I usually had a few handmaidens to help me."

Anakin raised his eyebrows. "I thought they were really your bodyguards and protectors."

"Well, you've been taking care of that job pretty well yourself," Padmé said teasingly. She quirked her eyebrows. "Would you like to try a hand at the other side of it?"

Anakin started. "What, you mean hairdressing and all that?"

"Why not? It's much harder for me to do it alone. Any help would be welcome." Silently she was asking, against her better judgment: Stay, just a little longer.

He recognized the plea. "I don't know. Another hour?"

"Never mind." Padmé felt foolish, like a child asking her friend to stay and play longer.

Anakin, however, was shaking his head. "No, you're right. What's another hour? A few more minutes' lecture from Obi-Wan, maybe. But on the other hand, another hour with you." He strode back across the room to her bed.

She had to admit she was glad. "Maybe it won't take that long," she suggested.

Firmly, he said, "I hope it does."

She pulled back the covers, then immediately, as if by instinct, drew herself up tight, turning bright red. Of course Anakin had already seen her in her nightgown, and less - but she had more than a dozen years of strict training in propriety behind her, and it was not easily ignored. Anakin, who would well remember her bashfulness last night, reached for her robe hanging on its hook near the bed, but she shook her head and climbed onto the carpet, letting the sheer skirt fall down over her legs.

"First," she said, picking up her royal diction without even thinking, "there are the undergarments." She walked across the floor to her dresser, enjoying the feel of the thick carpet under her bare feet. Opening a drawer, she selected a full-length underdress and stretched it out to show Anakin. He was watching in amusement.

"Why would you need another layer under all those heavy dresses?" he asked, laughing. "To keep warm?"

"Naboo doesn't still seem cold to you, does it?" she asked in her regular voice. "Certainly Coruscant isn't any warmer - colder, I think."

"Every other place will always seem cold to someone from Tatooine," Anakin declared. "But go on."

Padmé nodded. "The undergarments are actually to protect my skin - see, the dresses aren't usually made of the most comfortable material; it usually itches or scratches." She held out the underdress for a moment, then put it down, flushed. "I guess I'll change now." Anakin simply smiled - gently, really. In every way he was quite gentle, and patient, Padmé mused as she finished sliding on the underdress. He had waited ten years, after all. He would have to have learned patience. She did love him for keeping up hope that long.

"Now for the dress," Padmé went on in her queen's dialect. "Everything in its proper order." She selected muted colors; greens and tans, fairly simple design. Still, Anakin looked rather bewildered as he took the skirt, bodice and blouse.

"Which goes on first?" he wondered.

"The blouse," she said, and pointed when he still seemed confused. There were at least twenty buttons running down the back, and Anakin fumbled to fasten all of them after he had slid the blouse over her head. She could hear his metal fingers clicking against the buttons.

"Jedi garb is much more practical," he grumbled when he had finally finished.

"Next the skirt," she instructed primly. Anakin obliged, pretending to grunt with the effort of lifting it.

"What is this thing made of?"

"Surely a Jedi is strong enough for something mere handmaidens can handle," Padmé said with feigned mocking.

"My respect for handmaidens has been renewed," Anakin said with a pretended wince. He hefted the stiff skirt over her head and pulled it down to her waist.

"It needs to be fastened too," Padmé pointed out.

Anakin groaned. "More buttons?"

Finally, the bodice. Anakin had an easier time with that - it was much like a simple vest, for all its brocaded patterns and jeweled buttons. He finished with the last button and ran his fingers - she noted that they were flesh, not metal - along the base of her neck.

"Perfect," he murmured in satisfaction.

"The clothes or me?" she laughed, knowing the answer. "Well, we're only half done." She pulled her hair out of the simple knot she had tied before getting dressed. It fell down in waves, sweeping her arms, finally settling near her waist. "Let's go to the bureau."

Anakin, apparently rendered speechless, just nodded. Padmé hid a smile. She had never been terribly vain - most of her life she had learned to take compliments as what they really were; political flatteries, insincere and hollow. But with Anakin's frank praise of her beauty, she could see herself becoming quite in danger of acquiring a swelled head.

She seated herself in front of the mirror, opening drawers in search of the appropriate hairpiece. At last she decided on a metal clip to her put her hair up, and a jeweled comb to keep it in place. She instructed Anakin on how to brush her hair, sweep it up into a twist, and properly secure it. He pretended to be - or perhaps really was - overwhelmed by it all, stopping now and then to simply stroke the hair that still hung free. His false hand felt cold on her head, but she didn't say anything about it.

He finished at last, with work that was, if not quite as skilled as her handmaidens', at least passable. Meanwhile, they had managed for some time to avoid the unpleasant fact that Anakin had to leave, but inevitably it would have to come up again.

Padmé was rummaging through her drawers again, searching for some sort of jewelry to complete her outfit. Anakin picked up a brush from the bureau, turning it over in his hands. The handle was made of some fine material; precious stones encrusted the base.

"What's it like to own things like this?" he asked quietly.

Surprised, Padmé said, "I don't know, really. None of this actually belongs to me, Anakin - it's all just part of my position. When I'm done being a Senator, I won't take any of this with me. You've seen my parents' home, Ani, where I grew up. That's the sort of life I really have."

"Still." Anakin put the brush down and looked at her reflection in the mirror. His eyes seemed to be starving. "That's more than I've ever had. And this..." His hand swept her bedroom, her whole apartment. "This is quite nice for a temporary position."

Padmé shook her head. "You don't really want this, do you? I never thought you cared about... things."

"Not things, no." Anakin's voice shook. "What I think of as possessions, no. But there are some who believe..." His real hand fisted, and he looked away from the mirror. "Who believe that loving a person is the same as having a possession."

"Ani." Padmé rose, took his hand until it loosened. "You have me. You love me. It's enough."

"For now," he amended, but he allowed her to put her arms around him and gentled at her embrace.

Padmé glanced over Anakin's shoulder at her drawers, having come all at once upon a faint hope. Squeezing his hand again, she drew back, pulled out a drawer, dug through it. No. She tried the next, and the next. At last, the bottom drawer, the very back. She remembered now. When she had finished her time in the palace and packed her things, it had been among her jewelry as if it, too, were made of gold or rubies. She recalled turning red at the sight of it, then wondering why it should affect her so, and tossing it hastily to the back corner of her bureau. And now here it was, brought back to life like her long dormant friendship with Anakin, more beautiful now that the friendship had taken new life.

It was the little pendant Ani had carved for her out of a japor snippet, a child's handiwork that she cradled now in her hand like a fragile trinket of glass or porcelain. "You kept it," Anakin breathed, warmth coming back to his eyes.

Padmé could not speak. She said enough by pulling the cord over her head and letting it nestle around her neck. The pendant rested against her chest with a familiar, comfortable weight.

Anakin pulled her to him for a long, soft kiss. When they came apart at last, he sighed, now in calm resignation. "I'll miss you."

Padmé nodded, hot tears flooding her eyes.

It was well past dawn now. She would have liked to watch the sunrise with him - and the sunset, and every other time of day. But this would have to do. Silently, Anakin pulled on his robes. They had already decided that he should go to the ship alone - no use risking the chance of raising more suspicions. She hated that reasonable, logical decision right now.

"We'll probably see each other the next time I come to Coruscant," she said, as much to reassure herself as Anakin.

"I hope so." He stood near the door, his arms hanging uselessly at his side. His artificial arm jerked as if he had been about to wave, then thought better of it. Heavily, Padmé came to him for a final embrace. "My heart goes with you," she whispered, her lips at his ear.

"That's one thing I can have without the Jedi knowing," Anakin smiled wryly. "Padmé-" He could find no words. Finally, he said, "May the Force be with you." And then he was gone.

Padmé wondered, as she sat gloomily on her bed, if that phrase had ever before been uttered with such passion and hidden meanings beneath the words.


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