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 trip back to Coruscant would be long, so Anakin had decided to spend most of it sleeping. He certainly hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and even before then he had had several days' worth of exhaustion weighing on him. The ship's beacon was loud enough to awaken him when it was through hyperspace, and he had learned to fall asleep in just about any position, so the thinly-padded pilot's seat wouldn't be a problem.

Only one problem, really - he was several hours into the journey and still wide awake.

He should have known it was pointless to try. He had never been able to sleep well when something important occupied his thoughts. And nothing that had happened in the past week hadn't been deeply, painfully important. He couldn't settle on a single thought. From his tightly-clenched memories of Padmé and the fulfillments that had come to him as to a starved man, his mind would fall into the inevitable worries of keeping it hidden, of what he would tell Obi-Wan and how Obi-Wan would glare at him for being late, would fall deeper still into other things he still hadn't told his master, the nightmares of his mother's plight that had burst into an ugly, hideous, shameful reality.

His emotions lunged up and down alongside his thoughts. To know that Padmé loved him, that she was his and he just as fully hers, turned him so giddy with joy and incredulous delight that he even smiled. And the smile slipped away just as quickly when he thought of the desperation that had been as tightly woven into their union as any joy or pleasure. That same desperation had pervaded their single night together, and nearly pushed him to rage against whatever gods or Force or destiny denied him an ordinary way of having his life's wish. To give him a sweet taste of it, and snatch it back with a cackle, taking pleasure in his deprival.

He shook his head, sitting up straight, deliberately pulling his sleeve tighter around the thing that hung in place of his arm. Now he was just letting his imagination out of control. Half-bitterly, he supposed he ought to be grateful for the memories he had been allowed. The feel of Padmé's soft hair and skin, the smell of her that still lingered on his clothes. The smiles she freely gave, her sweetest laughter that was reserved only for him.

And the startling revelation that she was not some distant dream-woman on a high pillar, gazing down at him magnanimously like a queen looks at a pauper she has decided to humor. She was still, in a sense, the figure he had allowed to dominate his daydreams, kind and warm, but then she was something else more than that, of feelings and motivations and convictions that a boy would not understand. He understood now. He had seen her at her lowest and her highest; she had seen him face his own depths and heights. They walked together now, not on levels so separate they could never hope to be reconciled.

Had they really been reconciled? Anakin found his worries rising afresh, insistently. Had their wedding merely been a hopeless grasp for something impossible? With Padmé, he could always count on her reassurances, always count on her to quiet his fears, even when, he well knew, she held those very same fears. But he was alone now.

Not completely, he insisted to himself. Never completely. There was nothing she could give him, nothing he could possess to remind him of their vows, but it was enough to know that she wore a token from him. He smiled again, thinking of the childish exchange so many years ago. He had been so solemn, determined to make her like him, making an offering like a supplicant. It'll bring you good fortune, he added, as if that would convince her where nothing else did. I'll bring you good fortune, he might have said. It didn't matter. He already had her friendship, had already charmed her. Queens don't play with slave boys unless they're charmed by them. Years and worlds later, and the charm had held. What about the good fortune, though?

About halfway to Coruscant, he finally succumbed to sleep.


Obi-Wan was standing to meet him when he finally arrived at the Jedi temple. By then the sky was mottled with oranges and reds, the sunset at its most glorious. He let his thoughts wander briefly to Naboo, wondering what time of day it was for Padmé, then forced himself back. As expected, his master did not look pleased.

Instead, of a reprimand, however, Obi-Wan greeted him with a look of worry and a hasty glance over him, as if looking for injuries. Anakin noticed him glance at his... "mechanical attachment"... and realized with a jolt that his master felt guilty about the loss.

"Are you all right, Anakin?" Obi-Wan touched his shoulder with real concern. "When you didn't return on time, I feared something might have happened on Naboo."

Something did happen, Anakin thought wryly, humorlessly. "No, master," he said aloud. "I'm fine. I guess I just... felt reluctant to leave. It's so peaceful there."

"I see," Obi-Wan replied with a hint of a frown... oddly, more sympathy than displeasure. "I don't know that I can blame you. We could all do with a rest right now."

Somewhat relieved, Anakin considered his master's demeanor. It was true that Obi-Wan had been gentle with him when he came out of his ordeal with the medical droids... more inclined to be indulgent, no reminders about his failings on Geonosis. It was probably why he had let him take Padmé back to Naboo.

And if Obi-Wan ever learned what Anakin had done with that indulgence, he'd be sure to never indulge his padawan again.

"Having said that," Obi-Wan was saying, "I did ask you to return several hours ago, and you disobeyed. I'm afraid that means a bit of discipline."

"Yes, master." Anakin repeated the chorus over and over to himself. It's all worth it, it's all worth it, it's all worth it. He would have encouraged the thought with a pleasant memory of Padmé, but he feared it would be a little too transparent in his features. Obi-Wan was already beginning to raise his eyebrows.

"Well, then, what are we waiting for?" he said with forced lightness. "Back to our quarters." He nodded down the hallway. "I suppose a little tidying up before we go to sleep ought to be punishment enough."

"Yes, master." It was, in fact, a very light sentence in comparison to past disciplinings. The worst punishment, as Obi-Wan would hopefully never guess, was the prospect of sleeping alone instead of with Padmé.

They walked in silence, their footsteps ringing broadly in the high-ceilinged corridor. Occasionally another pair of master and apprentice passed by, nodding in greeting. Anakin caught one or two of the younger padawans glimpsing at the metal glinting at the end of his sleeve. Eventually he folded it into his other arm, squeezing the false fingers into a tight ball. The sensation still felt wrong to him, like his skin had been turned inside-out and his vessels filled with cold water instead of blood. But there was no skin at all, nor blood - just metal and circuitry, the arm of a droid. A machine.

If he had been one of those padawans, he would have been staring too.

"We've really become heroes, you know," Obi-Wan ventured, a hesitant, self-deprecating laugh in his voice. "The Jedi who were there at the very start of the battle, braving wild beasts and who knows what other dangers. And then the duels with no one less than a lord of the Sith, fighting alongside Master Yoda himself, the story gets bigger, and less true, with every telling," he finished with a chuckle.

Anakin shrugged. He had already, from the very beginning, had enough attention being marked as chosen. "You were already a hero, master," he pointed out. "No one needs to say that for it to be true."

"Well, that's wisdom," Obi-Wan said with a smile. "Adulation never did much for anyone."

"You always turn everything into a lesson," Anakin replied, pretending to grimace. Internally, he welcomed the return of their comfortable old interactions. If only it would last for a while. "You don't need to worry about me seeking glory or fame."

"No," his master acknowledged. "You don't need anyone to tell you that you're extraordinary. You already think you are."

Anakin protested, not entirely in jest. "That's not fair. You don't know how hard it is to stay modest when everyone's always saying you're the fulfillment of a prophecy."

Obi-Wan looked at him for a moment, his face deep in thought. "I suppose so," he said at last. "And I'm sorry it's been so difficult for you, Anakin."

Padmé, Anakin thought suddenly, didn't care whether he was the Chosen One or not.

They had reached the door to their quarters. Anakin waited for Obi-Wan to enter, then followed. He glanced at the bare, dull-colored walls and sparse furnishings. No flowers on the dresser, no scent of fresh grass floating in through an open window, no artistry to make the walls more than just a necessity. And no Padmé. Restraining a sigh, he came to his bed and sat down. Through the thin window, they were afforded a mundane view of the Coruscant skyline. Most of the light had vanished from the sky by now, though enough remained to paint the horizon a vivid purple. Its loveliness was forcefully obscured by the harsh vertical lines of the city's myriad buildings.

"Well, Anakin." Obi-Wan had removed his cloak and placed it neatly on its proper hook. "Did you eat on your way here?"

"A bit." On his way to the ship, he had been accosted by a small girl selling fruit. He hadn't any money to pay her, but she insisted that he take at least one, since it was the Jedi that had saved the Naboo in the great war. Strange history they taught there, he thought to himself, but he accepted the fruit and devoured it soon after departing. The sweet juice ran down his throat like the scant delights he had shared with Padmé.

"You should at least have some rations." Obi-Wan went to the food storage cupboard and brought back a package of the Jedi idea of food. Anakin held back his disgust.

"I'm really not that hungry," he managed.

"And you probably don't want to sleep either," Obi-Wan replied with an eye roll, "but you need it anyway. I don't want you wasting away, young Padawan."

Like a boy who won't eat his dinner. Anakin relented and took the food.

After he had finished, Obi-Wan set him to work on his punishment. Tidying up was hardly an ordeal when their quarters were so small and scanty, and the cleaning droids had already done most of the work, but Anakin had enough work to satisfy his master. They had tramped a bit of dirt or dust from their boots onto the floor, and that needed to be taken care of. Then there were the crumbs that had fallen from his package of rations, and the door and walls that were smudged where they had been touched. Nothing was ever too clean for a Jedi.

It was sheer drudgery, but Anakin allowed himself to be relaxed by the routine, setting his thoughts in a safe, soothing motion that wouldn't give him away to Obi-Wan. He had Padmé, every memory of her, every laugh, every caress, locked carefully away where no one would find them. And if this was the only way to have her, it was infinitely better than not having her at all.

The sun had vanished entirely by the time he was done. The lights in the room had adjusted accordingly, though they would soon be dimmed when Anakin settled down to sleep. His master was already in his bed, lying absolutely straight like he always did, his hands resting peacefully across his chest. He stayed in that position all night, as Anakin knew from his own occasional sleepless nights. He had long wondered why his master never needed to roll over or toss and turn.

Padmé, sprawled out on her bed with her delicate limbs just peeking out under the blankets. Now that Obi-Wan was asleep, Anakin allowed the image to fill his mind, smiled in momentary contentment. He turned out the lights and got into his own bed, made himself imagine that he lay beside Padmé.

But his body rejected what his mind tried to believe, and he spent the long night alone.


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