Obi-Wan cocks his
head to the side, looking at Anakin intently as Anakin, Padmé and
Typho greet the two Jedi in the foyer. "Anakin Skywalker?" he asks with a
To Serve in Heaven
"Yes, Master Kenobi," Anakin replies, several degrees cooler than Obi-Wan.
"Ah, so good to see you," Obi-Wan replies jovially, grasping Anakin's hand
in greeting. "I didn't realize you were part of Senator Amidala's security
"It's a temporary arrangement," Typho interjects quickly. Padmé assumes
he must be feeling overprotective of his protégé. "At the Chancellor's
request. Anakin was granted emergency leave from his post with the Republic's
Obi-Wan's eyebrows shoot up, but he says nothing. He turns and smiles at
Padmé. "It seems we're all concerned about your safety, Senator."
"I appreciate the sentiment, Master Kenobi," Padmé replies, "but I
feel the Jedi presence here is unnecessary." She looks pointedly at Typho
who meets her gaze unapologetically.
"The Chancellor obviously does not agree with your assessment, Senator,"
"The Jedi Council, too, believes you need additional protection," Obi-Wan
"She doesn't need Jedi protection," Anakin counters. "We are more than capable
of protecting Senator Amidala. What she needs is the Jedi to track down Count
Dooku and bring him to justice. Only that will stop these attacks."
Obi-Wan scoffs. "I'm afraid it's not possible that Count Dooku is involved
in the attacks on Senator Amidala's life. Never forget, he used to be a Jedi."
"We're well aware he used to be a Jedi," Anakin counters dryly.
Obi-Wan frowns. "Senator Amidala, I was instructed by the Council to protect
you, not start an investigation."
Anakin opens his mouth, no doubt to argue, but Padmé cuts him off.
"Please, let's all have a seat and continue this discussion civilly."
"Of course," Obi-Wan says, grateful to delay the hostilities.
He and the second Jedi, his Padawan, Padmé supposes, follow her into
the living room and take seats. Padmé sits on the couch and Anakin
sits next to her, his body tense. Obi-Wan takes a chair opposite as does
his Padawan, a female Mirialan with deep blue eyes and distinctive tattoos
across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose.
"Forgive me," Obi-Wan says, "this is Padawan Barriss Offee."
"Your apprentice?" Padmé asks Obi-Wan while nodding in acknowledgement
"Actually, Barriss is apprenticed to Jedi Master Luminara Unduli."
"It's good to make your acquaintance, Padawan Offee," Padmé says in
Barriss nods in reply.
"Back to our discussion," Anakin says abruptly, staring at Obi-Wan. "Investigation
is implied in the Jedi mandate. If you're not here to track down Dooku, you're
of no use to us."
"Anakin," Typho says quietly, but firmly.
"No, dammit," Anakin continues. "I will not hold my tongue. The Jedi are
so accustomed to everyone swooning in their presence that they expect these
feeble excuses to pacify us. The Chancellor obviously believes there is an
imminent mortal threat to Senator Amidala. The Jedi Council agrees, yet these
Jedi come here and tell us they intend to resolve nothing. It's absurd."
"Anakin, I don't believe Master Kenobi intended any insult," Padmé
counters, turning to face him.
As soon as she looks at him, she knows he will not soon forget this exchange.
She can see his jaw muscles flex, see him fighting to remain calm. No doubt
she has deeply offended him by defending Obi-Wan's actions. Yet, it had to
be said. She knows Anakin has a long, sometimes bitter, history with the
Jedi Order and she knows how difficult it is for him to remain impartial
in his dealings with them.
"Perhaps Anakin is right, Senator," Obi-Wan offers quietly. "Perhaps there
is more intended for us here than simple protection."
"You're angry with me."
"No I'm not."
She sighs and looks at him. "Anakin, do me a favor and never consider a career
in politics. You're not made for it."
"Because I'm not adept at lying?" he counters crossly.
She frowns. "Because you betray yourself with every word and every action."
He snorts, turning away to stare out the window. Padmé crosses her
arms over her chest and glares at him. He pretends not to notice.
"You're not staying in here, Anakin. This is my bedroom."
He replies without turning to face her. "And I'm your bodyguard at the Chancellor's
"You can guard my body quite sufficiently from the living room with Obi-Wan
He shudders slightly and says in a near whisper, "I don't like being near
"Others?" she asks, venturing closer.
He looks over at her. "Force users."
She studies him for a moment, watching the light from the window play across
his face as he turns back to stare out at the traffic lanes. The hour is
late and there is only a small lamp providing illumination in her bedroom,
but the enormous billboards and traffic provide ample light. "I thought when
you didn't join the Order that you abandoned those abilities."
Shrugging, he looks over at her again. "It's part of who I am. I can't abandon
Stepping closer, she looks at him, holding his gaze. "What's it like being
He looks away, fidgeting uncomfortably. "Like being around someone who knows
you too well, but who is also a stranger."
"Ah," Padmé says. He turns and looks at her and she smiles. "It's
like how I feel being around you."
He smiles, but it's not a light-hearted expression, though there is a certain
wolfish joy to it. "I certainly hope not," he says. "Because I damn sure
don't want to know either of those Jedi the way I want to know you."
She blushes and turns away. It's late. While necessity has somewhat inured
her to the presence of security personnel, none of them have ever succeeded
in provoking her to the extent (or, if she's honest, in the same manner)
as Anakin. This is a situation where she is a Senator and he is her bodyguard.
It's commonplace and innocent. But it doesn't feel that way. It feels … scandalous.
It feels like she's a woman and he's a man. A man who seems to want to make
no pretense of his attraction to her.
She's a Senator and as such, is usually afforded a great deal of respect.
Anakin respects her, she knows that. But unlike most other people, he doesn't
treat her as if she is interchangeable with her office. He never fails to
make her feel like a woman – to make her feel desirable, even when that feeling
is decidedly uncomfortable.
She pushes these thoughts away. These are not things she can afford to be
thinking. Especially not now.
"You already know me, Anakin," she says abruptly. "You've known me for years."
"Not well enough."
She looks at him and frowns. "You need to leave. I need to change for bed."
The look he gives her is unmistakably predatory. "Go ahead and change. Your
dad can't send me away this time."
She cocks her head at him. "What?"
He smirks. "You didn't know?" When she shakes her head, he laughs. "That's
how my illustrious naval career started. When you returned to your parents
home after you stepped down as Queen but before your Senatorial career …
He caught me peeking in your bedroom window. The next morning, I was in the
Her jaw drops and she stares at him. "My father sent you away for spying
He shrugs. "Well, he was fair about it," he admits. "He gave me a choice.
I could stop watching you, or I could leave."
She grimaces and gives him a pained look. "And it was worth it to you to
He smiles. "I wasn't going to stop looking. I was thirteen."
"It's so nice to see that you've matured," she says wearily.
He rakes his gaze over her body. "You too," he says with a wink.
"Oh … my … " she makes a strangled noise and grabs one of the pillows off
her bed and throws it at him. "Get out of here right now!"
He laughs, but grudgingly complies. "Sleep well, Senator."
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