Acrid smoke burns
her eyes as she cradles Cordé’s lifeless form close. Yet another life
lost. It’s all so pointless and unfair. Cordé was so young. It’s such
To Serve in Heaven
"You did your job. Cordé did hers. We need to leave now."
Padmé looks up through tears at the grim set of Anakin's jaw. Next
to him, Typho clearly agrees with his protégé.
Reluctantly, she nods, taking the hand Anakin offers and rising to her feet.
Padmé looks back at Cordé's body one last time and then focuses
her attention on doing as directed by her security detail. She follows Typho,
her vision flitting from side to side as they enter the hangar. It's unlikely
that a second attempt on her life will be made so soon, but not impossible.
Anakin is directly behind her, one hand at the small of her back, his fingertips
barely touching her. His other hand is clenched tightly around his blaster.
Moments later they are in a shuttle with Anakin behind the controls.
Anakin guides the shuttle gracefully through the high traffic air lanes.
Padmé feels safe and she knows that is foolish. She may never be safe
He is unhappy. Ironically, she is relieved to see some things never change.
Anakin was never adept at hiding his displeasure.
When Anakin arrived on Naboo two weeks ago, she was overwhelmed with how
the young boy she knew had matured into an unsettlingly handsome young man.
Anakin the man is far different from Anakin the boy. He is quieter, more
solitary. He is slower to smile and laugh. Yet as she watches him pace the
length of her living room with his long, even strides, she cannot help but
be reminded of how Anakin the boy used to pace the hallways of the Naberrie
household like a caged beast on those few days when weather or circumstance
kept him confined indoors. Anakin Skywalker was never meant to be confined
Padmé leans against the doorjamb, watching him silently. He stops
pacing and stares out the window. Absently, he bites down on his lower lip,
an oddly immature gesture that tugs at Padmé's heartstrings.
“Do you disagree with Captain Typho’s decision to consult the Jedi?” she
He startles, visibly upset she was watching unbeknownst to him. He clasps
his hands tightly behind his back, puffing out his chest and rising to his
Padmé smiles. The trappings of a man.
She steps closer and he unconsciously steps back, maintaining the distance
between them. It wounds Padmé slightly. For many years, Anakin lived
in the Naberrie household – along with his mother, Shmi. Padmé has
always been a bit jealous of that. For many years, he was closer to her parents
than she was herself.
On Padmé’s rare trips home during her terms as Queen, Anakin was her
constant shadow. While he was annoying at times, she was genuinely fond of
the boy and missed his companionship when she resumed her official duties.
Those official duties, however, did finally come to an end. Unsure of her
next steps, weighing a life in academia with the idea of making a run for
the Senate seat, Padmé returned to her childhood home and was welcomed
in by both her parents and the Skywalkers. Anakin, by then, was thirteen
and much more a brooding teen than a precocious child. He had this unnerving
way of watching Padmé. And then, literally overnight, he disappeared.
Padmé’s father, Ruwee, later informed her Captain Typho was able to
secure Anakin admittance to the Naval Academy on Coruscant, with the help
of Chancellor Palpatine. Since that day, she has seen Anakin rarely. It is
not often he is able to make the trip from the Core to spend holidays with
his mother, who still lives with the Naberries. And though they both spend
the majority of their time on Coruscant, their paths do not cross.
Anakin is barely twenty, yet he has made quite a name for himself as a pilot.
Padmé knows his skills are in high demand. She assumes it was a personal
request from Gregar Typho, Anakin’s long time mentor, that brought Anakin
back to Naboo. Outfitted in the uniform of the Royal Naboo Security Forces,
Padmé reluctantly admits to herself that Anakin looks quite dashing.
The leather tunic is pulled tight across his chest, accentuating that though
she may think of him fondly as a little boy, he is physically a man. His
shirt and pants are a dark brown the same color as his boots. His hair is
too long, but Padmé think it lends him a roguish charm.
“I am certain the Jedi will offer many insights,” Anakin replies carefully.
Padmé gives him a wry smile, noting he did not correct her earlier
statement. “Is it difficult for you?” she asks quietly. “To be around the
Jedi, I mean.”
He looks at the ground and then angles his eyes back up at her, smiling.
“No, Senator,” he says. “I was not meant to be a Jedi.”
She watches him closely. “That isn’t what Master Jinn thought,” she says.
Anakin turns away, shrugging. “Joining the Jedi Order would have meant abandoning
my mother on Tatooine, pledging myself to a life free from personal attachment.”
Silence hangs in the air for several moments and he eventually turns back
to face her.
“Do you have many personal attachments?” she asks, shocked to hear the words
issuing from her lips. What is she doing engaging in such a discussion with
He smiles, easily reading her unease, taking the opportunity to go on the
offensive. “Are you asking me if I have someone in my life, Senator?” he
asks, grinning broadly.
She swallows thickly, trying to muster bravado. “Yes, I suppose so.”
His smile eventually fades and he shakes his head. “No.”
She can almost feel his spirit withdraw, his earlier levity gone. He watches
her with unreadable eyes.
Padmé hears someone behind her and turns to face Typho.
"Senator, the Jedi have arrived."
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