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Title: Affection
Author: Scatterheart (a.k.a. 2shy)
Started: April 16, 2000
Summary: Padmé, Obi-wan, and Anakin are at a party a week before Padmé’s marriage to Anakin. Things happen. Time period is Episode 2-ish.
Author's Note: This story is really not conforming to the “real” Star Wars timeline, and Obi-wan doesn’t have a beard!! Whoo hoo! Beware, this is and Obi-wan/Amidala fic, so if you despise it, don’t read ahead, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Rating: PG-13 for drama.
Disclaimer: It’s all George’s stuff. I’m just polishing them and making them the way he MEANT to write them. *Grins* Archive anywhere, in its entirety, please. Just make sure credit is given where credit is due.
Dedication: All you awesome Obi-wan and Amidala supporters out there! We’re the only people who aren’t afraid to face the truth…

“Do you think about me
Like I think about you?
Give me a sign
Show me you care
Am I so far away
In your thoughts not there?
Forget what you told me
It’s what didn’t get said.”
~Donna Lewis

The annual Second Winter gala was starting. It was still slightly chilly in the Palace reception room now, as the guests walked in from the big Palace doors, but not for long, Queen Padmé Amidala knew. The soft background music, the food platters, the bright colored streamers, all held the promise of a warm and festive evening. It just needed time. She was standing in the side of the room, toward a corner so that she could get a good surveillance of the gala. So that when he finally showed up, she would be the first person to greet him.

He had been gone for seemingly forever, and she was so thankful the Senate had left him take a vacation from his busy duties for some time to see her.

“You seem to be looking for someone, My Queen.”

The familiar voice tickled in her ear, and she felt a warm hand caress her bare shoulder. She jerked in mild surprise. “And a good evening to you, too, Obi-wan Kenobi,” she said, a smile growing on her face. “I wish you can stop sneaking up on me like that.” She didn’t need to turn around to know the Jedi Master was standing close behind her. He chuckled, and his breath smelled of ruby wine cakes. “What can I say? I’m a Jedi.” "A sneaky one. And a naughty one. You’ve been eating the expensive cakes again.”

“I remember you told me you didn’t like them at last year’s gala. You said they were too sweet for you,” he said. “True.” She marveled at his precise memory. “So you ate my share?” “Of course, Your Highness. But that wasn’t all I was doing. I was also looking for somebody.” She smiled knowingly. “Him. I’m looking for him too.” He was Anakin Skywalker. Her companion, her friend, and her soon-to-be husband by the next full moon. She was going to see him again at last, after a whole six months of him serving in the Galactic Senate. She scanned the crowd of unfamiliar faces pouring in from the massive, streamer decorated Palace doors. “But he’s late. Very late,” she noted with disappointment.

“He’ll be here soon, don’t worry,” Obi-wan Kenobi consoled. “He wouldn’t miss you for the world.” The Jedi Master gently spun her around to face him. “Especially when you are the intelligent, very lovely Queen that you are.” “You certainly know how to talk!” She blushed, and then her eyes widened as she gazed upon Obi-wan for the first time in the evening. “My goodness- you’re dressed up!” Instead of the plain Jedi garb she saw him wear every day, he was dressed in a silk dress shirt, crisp white pants, and polished boots up to his knees.

“I thought it would be appropriate to… ‘dress up’, as you put it.” He fidgeted self-consciously. “This is the first time you-” “Second. The first time was three years ago.” She laughed in amazement. “No, that wasn’t even it. This has to be the first. And even your hair is brushed.” “I wonder what Anakin Skywalker will think of me.” Anakin? Oh yes. She had been so caught up in the Jedi Master that she had forgotten about him for the briefest of moments. She immediately resumed her search across the vast reception room. “I don’t think he’s ever going to arrive,” she sighed. Obi-wan shook is head. “I wouldn’t say that, Your Highness, because there he is. Look.” He pointed to the figure that had just entered through the door. “Anakin Skywalker, I’m sure.”

Her heart soared as she saw him. Anakin. Even from so far away, she could see how much stronger he had become during the past six months, and how much more handsome. “Anakin!” she called, but her voice was drowned out by the background of music and talking. He didn’t take notice of her, and walked to the opposite corner of the room. She blanched. “He’s going away! He didn’t see us- no, we’re right over here!” She grabbed Obi-wan’s arm and squeezed it in excitement. “We have to go get him, come on!” She dragged him after her, but stopped after a few steps. “Wait, what am I doing? I don’t look presentable at all to see him!” “You look absolutely wonderful.” “No, no, no, Obi-wan! I look a mess. You go get him, please, please! I need to freshen up first.” She giggled nervously.

“Are you sure you don’t want to see him first?” “I look horrible! You go.” “All right, stay here.” He leaned over and planted an encouraging kiss on her mouth that tasted of ruby wine cakes. “Don’t faint, Your Highness.” “I won’t. Now hurry! Go, go, go, go, go!” She almost pushed him away, not taking her eyes off of the younger Jedi in the distance. She was going to see him again! After six long months of service in the Senate, he was finally coming back, and was going to marry her at last. She touched her hair with trembling fingers, noting that every strand was in place. She adjusted the thin straps of her dress and her simple pearl necklace. Heavens, she was so nervous! She was never this nervous with any man before. Of course, he wasn’t any man, he was her fiancé.

And now he was walking toward her, alone, and Obi-wan Kenobi was nowhere to be seen. For a second, she did feel ready to faint, just as Obi-wan had predicted. So nervous about meeting her own fiancé! She admonished herself for being immature, and called out, “Ani! I’m here!” “Padmé, darling!” He rushed up to her, sweeping her up in his arms. “I’m so glad to see you.” “Me too, Ani!” She hugged him tightly. “I’ve thought about you every day. Finally, I’m back.” “I missed you so much.” “So did I, my darling,” he said, and took her face between his hands and kissed her. Her heart skipped a beat as she felt his lips moving hungrily over hers. She wrapped her arms around him and tried to melt into him.

This was their first kiss in six months! She noticed that his breath tasted slightly bitter in her mouth, like cigarettes or smokepipes, but she didn’t want to care. Even Supreme Chancellor Palpatine smoked on occasion. It would just take some getting used to. Suddenly, his hot tongue thrust into her mouth, taking her off guard. She shivered involuntarily at the act. What kind of a strange kiss was this? His affections promptly became too rough, too demanding, and too soon, for the first meeting in half a year. She pulled away from him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, confusion evident in his eyes. “Nothing,” she said dismissively. She realized that she had not enjoyed his ravishing kiss at all. What was wrong with her? “There’s so many people here,” she stuttered, trying to believe the excuse. “We- we shouldn’t. I don’t feel comfortable here.” He nodded and cuddled her playfully. “Or maybe you feel this way because you ate too many wine cakes.” She frowned. “I didn’t eat any wine cakes, Ani. You know I think they’re too sweet.” And even as the words left her, realization dawned in place. Obi-wan… he had kissed her just moments before with those sweetened lips.

But it was a kiss that meant nothing, of course! He had always kissed her. A quick touch on the mouth, on the forehead, on the cheek, it didn’t mean anything at all. She knew she shouldn’t be thinking about it too much, and yet once her mind flashed to that small kiss, it wouldn’t leave. “You are such a funny girl. I wonder what you’re thinking?” Anakin mused. All of a sudden, she wished he would go away. His gaze was probing into her eyes, searching for her innermost thoughts, and that one wee secret she held.

“Anakin, no mind reading, remember?” she chastised him, forcing a humorous tone into her voice. “It’s not fair to me.” “I would never read your mind, darling,” he replied, “when I could see how… sexy you are tonight.” Sexy? She automatically murmured something grateful to him and looked down at her feet. She didn’t want to be sexy, like a flower that could whither just as quickly as it had blossomed. She wanted to be intelligent and lovely like Obi-wan had told her she was. And then she was unwillingly thinking of Obi-wan again, about the little kiss that meant nothing to him. How empowering it was. How comfortable and dear. Now, she looked up into an unknown face belonging to an unknown person that had returned after six months, and a wave of nausea rippled through her body. He had put his bitter tongue inside her mouth! All she could taste were the traces of smoke, and foreign dust. The spice of the wine cakes left her.

The lights were flashing, and the gala streamers that hung from the walls twisted and convulsed inside her mind.

The room spun. Spun. Spun.

“Anakin, I feel woozy. I think I need to go lie down,” she said unsteadily. “What? Now?” “Look, Anakin.” She was losing her patience. The lights could never stop dancing! And the damned music! “I ate too much. Surely you can miss me for one night. We have a whole lifetime ahead of us.” “Uh, yeah.” He shrugged. “But Obi-wan was going to come back and meet us in a few moments. He went to attend to some quick business with the Governor.” He was coming back? Gods, just the mere thought of him brought redness to her cheeks. “I’m sure he won’t miss me,” she told Anakin Skywalker, and turned on her heels to leave. And ran into the last person she wanted to see.

“Your Highness!” Obi-wan Kenobi jumped back with his instant Jedi reflexes to avoid collision. “Nice to see you again. You too, Anakin.” She smiled rigidly. He was enticing her, slowly but surely, and he was unaware of his actions. She began to grow angry with him. “Welcome back, Obi-wan,” she said. “Anakin and I were having a conversation about things in the Senate.” “Ah, good.” His soft blue eyes knew of her lie immediately. “What did he tell you?” Ask him yourself she thought. “He didn’t say much. The conversation just started, you see.” “But you were leaving,” the older Jedi countered innocently. “Right. I was, uh, going to get a drink from the refreshments table over there,” she said. He laughed. “Funny, because there’s one right behind you, Your Highness.”

Oh. “I. Didn’t. Notice.” She tried to look happy, but he was embarrassing her in front of her future husband. And he didn’t realize at all that he was doing it. Anger suffused her. She was thinking about him too much. She wanted to leave again. The room was warm… too warm for the Second Winter season. Her mind still felt light and unsteady, and when she closed her eyes to calm herself, the only image she saw was that of Obi-wan’s.

In truth, he was very handsome. She had never thought of the fact before, strangely. She had grown so accustomed to seeing his face that she never paused to think about how he appeared. Gods, he was so incredibly beautiful, even more than Anakin. He had crystal blue eyes that didn’t laser through your soul when you looked into them, and barely visible laugh lines at the corners. She stopped herself in mid-thought. Why was she even thinking about this? She was engaged to Anakin. He was the one she was supposed to be dreaming of. Obi-wan Kenobi was her friend, her mentor, her confidant. She had known him seemingly all her life, and no, she wasn’t in love with him. She wasn’t! And then she wasn’t so sure anymore, and she was furious at her uncertainty. “Anakin?” she said, possibly a little too loudly. Both heads turned to her.

“I was hoping you can go to the, uh, kitchen,” she began. “I have a pet parakeet and I’m not sure if I fed it today.” She was lying more in the past evening than she had been her whole life. “Nonsense, Your Highness.” It was Obi-wan who spoke. “Anakin just came back from the Senate, and you need some time together with him. Stay here while I go check.” “No, no, no, Obi-wan, I’d rather go with you if you were to check. You don’t know how much food to put into his bowl. It has to be mixed perfectly. Anakin, darling, I’ll be back in ten minutes. Look, there’s Captain Panaka. He couldn’t wait to see you after you returned. Goodbye for now.” She pecked him on the cheek, and grabbed Obi-wan’s sleeve and dragged him through the crowd.

“What are you doing?” he whispered, as soon as Anakin was far behind them. She remained silent. She didn’t know what she was doing. She just needed to leave the room crammed with people, and breathe. She reached a side door to the reception room and opened it. Instantly, the cool night air greeted them. “Your Highness, what has gotten into you?” She led him through the door and locked it behind her. They were in a familiar part of the Palace Gardens. Roses framed the pebbled walk, and two giant sunshade trees rose above them like a canopy. It was so dark, and all they could see were shadows, but she knew this place so well she didn’t need the daylight to guide her. She took him down the path, distancing herself from the gala as much as she possibly could, walking, walking in silence, until she came to the small pond at the very end of the gardens. And it wasn’t until then did she stop walking. She let go of his sleeve and glared at him.

“I am trying to figure things out, Amidala,” he said. He had never called her by name before, unless he was extremely concerned about her like that time when she had fallen off her eopie and broken her leg. “You’re acting very strange.” “I’m acting very strange?” she demanded. Thankfully, they were out of earshot to the palace, so she let her anger fly with reckless abandon. “You’re saying this to me, Obi-wan! You- you kissed me! You ruined my whole evening because of it! Was it some sort of a joke, because I don’t find it very amusing!” He was speechless for a long time. In shock, no doubt. Damn his innocence! It just made her love him even more. “Your Highness,” he said carefully. “I was- it was- about the kiss, I really didn’t mean it-” “You could say all you want, Obi-wan. You and your wine cakes! All you possibly know how to do is make my life miserable!” “I can explain if you would let me.”

“No, Obi-wan, I won’t!” She wanted to slap him and make him lose his temper, so that he would do something she would hate him for. The thought of her future wedding bells sounded like death tolls! And all because of him, all because of him. She shoved him down onto the grass. “Your Highness!” He reached out to steady himself, but grabbed her arm instead, and down she went, on top of him, and she breathed in his musky scent mixed with the sweet cake smell as his body softened her landing.

She drummed her fists into his chest, feeling tears well up in her eyes. “Damn you, damn you,” she whispered. “Stop this.” He tried to hold her still. No, she wouldn’t give in to his embrace. She fought with him, tears streaming down her face, until at last her body gave up on her and she huddled against him on the soft grass like a waterlogged bird. And still, he hadn’t lost his temper. He stroked her hair with his fingertips and murmured soothing words into her ear.

“Why?” she asked. “Why?

“Because I care about you.” His arms encircled her and gave her warmth in the chilly night.

“Why did you leave me with Anakin by ourselves when you fetched him for me?” “Why else? I would be such a boring person to talk to.” She knew that wasn’t the reason. He had wanted them to be alone… but he had no idea!

“Anakin kissed me,” she whispered. He nodded. “Obi-wan, I was scared of it,” she said. “It felt very wrong.” “You were just nervous.” “No, I wasn’t.” She buried her head into his tunic and cried. “He felt like- the wrong person.” Obi-wan held her tighter. “Padmé, he is not the wrong person for you.” How she wanted to believe him. But she couldn’t, because her mind flashed back to the countless times she had been saved from despair over and over again, and each time it had been Obi-wan who saved her. And in the end, she was going to marry Anakin Skywalker. He tempted her too easily! His presents, his kisses, and his promises of sweet nothings led her into a dream world where she hastily believed the lie.

Then the veil was lifted from her eyes as the six months of his absence passed, and she could finally see the one she was going to lose… Obi-wan Kenobi.

She couldn’t lose him.

“Obi-wan, I want to call off the marriage.”

“What?” His disbelief was evident. “Call off the marriage, are you crazy?” “Shouldn’t I? He isn’t the one for me.” “Your Highness, you were so sure before. And now you just want to call it off!” “Do you actually want me to marry him?” she demanded. “Is it what you want?” Oh, she should have known! He didn’t feel the same way about her at all. The kisses were just a meaningless gesture. Everything meant nothing!

You don’t care if I marry Anakin or not! “I do care!” he said. “I do!” He had read he mind through the Force. Either that, or she had projected him the thought. “I care. I care so much. I want what’s best for you, Padmé. Not me.”

She sobbed. Oh, Gods, please don’t take him away from me. “You can’t leave me. Ever!” “We don’t belong together. I am not for you,” he said, and kissed her sorrowfully on the forehead. “He loves you. Be with him.” And she loved not Anakin Skywalker, but Obi-wan Kenobi. “I love you… I’ve always loved you. Since we met, I’ve loved you, and I’ve just taken you for granted.”

“Padmé, my heart.” His words floated on an ocean of sadness. She nestled beside him on the soft grass, and they were miles and miles from civilization, with only the trees and silence to bind them together. They lay there for as long as they could, five minutes, two hours, she couldn’t tell. All she could feel was his body next to hers, comforting her. Then Obi-wan murmured into her hair, “You need to get back. Anakin will be worried.”

“But when I go back, will we ever be together like this again?” she asked desperately, looking up to his face. The moonlight glittered in his eyes, unnaturally bright. He had been weeping. “Only time will reveal this to us, Your Highness,” he said, touching her lips with a finger. “Maybe.” She couldn’t even cry anymore. A maybe.

She was sure tomorrow, when she woke up, she would never see him again for the rest of her life. He’d be gone to some other planet for the Senate, leaving her with her husband and taking away any of her feelings of disloyalty toward Anakin. The Jedi Master was selfless. He would never change no matter how much it hurt him. “Come on, Your Highness,” he urged. “Don’t waste any more time here.”

She felt herself being eased to her feet, and gently dusted from head to toe. And then, Obi-wan Kenobi smoothed out her hair and wiped the tearstains from her cheeks.

“You go now.”

“Won’t you come with me?”

“No… go without me.” He turned her around and guided her to the pebbled path. “Save some wine cakes for me on next year’s gala?” “Of course,” she responded. This meant they would see each other again… right? And she suddenly knew that she would never completely lose him, no matter how much they were separated. He would always be there in the back of her mind, steadying her.

He was her touchstone.

She felt his hands on her back lightly pushing her forward, toward the white, crystal palace that held her future. And the feel of his hands of her back left him and she was on her own, walking away from him without turning back.

Alone.

Finis.


“It’s only forever
Not long at all
Lost and lonely…”
~David Bowie “Underground”

Finished 9:52 PM, April 16, 2001

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