Title: Stranded (Parts 1-2/??)
Author: Sara
Author's Note: Okay to archive at Hidden Love, Obidala 4 Ever, Alternate Universe and wherever else wants it, just let me know!
Spoilers: TPM
Characters: O/A all the way!
Rating: PG-13 for now (will get higher!)
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. Trust me, I don't own them.


~~~~~~~~~
Coruscant


"What is my mission my Masters?"

Obi Wan Kenobi waited for an answer, noting the long looks the Jedi Council members were giving each other.

"To Naboo must go you, immediately," Master Yoda replied in his strange, stilted dialect.

Obi Wan stifled the quick thrill the words sent through him, conjuring up a pair of fine eyes and soft brown hair.

"The Senator has need of me?" he asked quickly, noting the raised eyebrows at his response.

"The Senator has received several threats on her life," Master Windu began in a solemn voice, noting the quick flash that came and went in the Jedi Knight's eyes.

"Protection she needs. Provide it you shall," Yoda offered with little preamble.

Obi Wan considered their words for a moment before speaking.

"Do you mean me to go to Naboo and act as her bodyguard?" he asked, a bit confused as to what they were asking of him.

"Among other things, you will also help seek out her enemy and bring him to justice before he follows through on his threats," Mace Windu finished quietly.

"If killed she is, the future gravely altered will be," Yoda offered cryptically as Obi Wan turned to him.

"She plays that important a role in the future of the Republic then?" he asked, wanting to make sure he understood.

"She does," was the only answer he received.

Nodding, pushing his excitement to the back of his mind, Obi Wan rose and bowed to the council.

"Then I take my leave of you. I will go to Naboo and make sure she is protected. Am I to take Anakin with me?" he asked, surprised again to see the strange looks passing between the council members.

"Remain here your Padawan will," Yoda offered, holding up a gnarled hand when Obi Wan began to offer a protest.

"His training is at a crucial stage. It must not be disturbed. Seeing Padme will only serve to distract him. And that cannot be allowed," Mace stated quietly.

"Keep about your mission secret from him you must, distracted must he not be," Yoda instructed, sending Obi Wan a long look.

After a moment of silence, knowing they were right, Obi Wan nodded his head in reply, then turned and left the council chambers.

Once he'd cleared the room, he allowed the smile to break over his face.

He was going to see Padme.

He suddenly frowned.

How in the world was he going to be able to keep this secret from Anakin?
~~~~~~~~~~~
Several hours later he was still puzzling over that dilemma when his Padawan burst into their chambers.

"Master, there you are, I thought you were going to come watch me spar with Tal Jilli this afternoon," Anakin offered, sprawling over the large sofa in the center of the main room.

At 18, Anakin Skywalker was a far cry from the small slave boy he'd first met on Tatooine.

Tall and muscular from hours of training, hale and hearty from several years of living among and learning the ways of the Jedi, Anakin Skywalker was generally thought highly of by his fellow Jedi.

But there was an elusiveness to him that gave one the impression he was not always there. A way his eyes had of shifting that spoke of things best left unsaid. A darkness that seemed to overcome him at certain moments, few and far between, but there nonetheless.

It worried Obi Wan at times, the darkness he sensed every now and then in Anakin.

But he always managed to shake off those worries, convinced they were simply the mood swings of a growing teenage boy.

Lord knows Qui Gon had suffered through enough of his adolescent moods.

"Master?"

Anakin's voice brought him back to the present.

"I'm sorry Ani, I was thinking about a new mission the council has for me," he offered as Anakin perked up.

"A new mission? Great, I'm ready to get out of here for a while, where are we headed?" he asked enthusiastically, eyes lighting up.

Obi Wan sighed, trying to figure out how to word things, knowing he could not tell his Padawan exactly what he was doing, and for whom.

If Anakin thought Padme was in any danger, there would be no stopping him from wanting to go along.

"Actually, it is a solo mission, one I have been chosen for alone," he offered quietly, watching the frown appear on his Padawan's face.

"A solo mission? We have never been sent on separate missions before, is there some reason you don't want me with you?" Anakin asked in confusion.

Obi Wan sighed and tried to smile.

"It was the council's decision, not mine," he replied. "They believe your training is at a crucial stage and must continue. You are not to be disrupted. So they are sending me alone, but it should not take more than a few weeks at the most," he offered, noting his Padawan still looked confused.

"But I want to go, I'm tired of training and learning only at the Temple, I want some adventure, some intrigue," Anakin enthused as his Master sighed.

"Trust me, there is no danger involved in this mission. It is more of a fact finding one, and I know you would grow bored," Obi Wan offered carefully, seeing his Padawan deflate a bit.

"It's not adventurous? Then maybe it will be better to stay here," he mused, still not looking happy.

Obi Wan smiled.

"On the bright side, you'll get a few weeks free of your demanding Master," he teased, smiling again as the young man's eyes crinkled with laughter.

"A benefit to be true, but I think I will miss you," he offered almost wistfully.

Obi Wan fought down his emotions as he looked upon the boy he'd trained from childhood.

The boy who was fast growing into one of the most powerful men he had ever known.

The boy he'd grown to think of as his son.

"I'll miss you too Ani, but you can't tell me that aside from your studies, there aren't some 'distractions' around to ease your pain," he offered slyly, seeing those eyes light up again.

Anakin, like his master before him, had quite a reputation with the ladies, Jedi or not.

"Very true, a new one arrived this week," his Padawan shot back, his eyes brightening.

"I'm sure you will keep busy. Mind your studies and do not fall behind," he offered, lightening the mood as Anakin rolled his eyes at him.

"Yes Master, whatever you say Master," he whined, the affection in his eyes bellying the sarcastic tone in his voice.

Obi Wan couldn't hold back a smile.

"You sound a lot like me when Qui Gon would tell me the same thing," he mused as Anakin burst into laughter.

"If he could see you now, he'd probably say you're only getting what you deserve," he shot back, as Obi Wan smiled.

"That he would Ani, that he would," he replied as he headed for his quarters to pack.

"Don't get into any trouble out there, I'd hate to have to come rescue you, Master," came the lilting call from the main quarters as he entered his bedroom.

He was still smiling several hours later as he boarded the shuttle he would be piloting to Naboo.

As soon as he'd successfully left the Temple, his mind turned to the mission at hand.

He had to find Padme's enemy and keep her safe at the same time.

A challenging task no doubt, one that meant working closely with the young woman he'd had sporadic contact with over the past few years.

It was a challenge he found himself eagerly anticipating.

At the moment though, he refused to examine why.

As he flew off into the night sky, he never noted the two figures, one tall, one small, watching his craft disappear.

"Think right this is do you?" Yoda asked his companion.

"I don't know," Mace replied quietly, "I just don't know."

The two Jedi Masters remained silent as they watched the ship's lights disappear from view.
~~~~~~~~

Part 2
~~~~~~~~
Senator Naberrie's  Residence, Naboo


"Senator, Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi is here to see you."

Naboo's Senator forced down the little skip her heart did at hearing the familiar name.

"Send him in," she replied, in what she hoped was a casual voice.

It really would not do for her aides to see that she was rattled.

And relieved.

She had only been able to hope as to whom they would send.

She caught her breath as he entered the room, for a moment, not recognizing him with a beard.

Then again, they had only seen each other sporadically over the past few years.

"Senator, it is good to see you again."

If she hadn't recognized his face, she could not have mistaken that voice.

It starred in most of her more vivid dreams.

"Jedi Kenobi, it has been too long," she replied as she rose from her desk and moved forward to meet him.

Obi Wan forced down the surge of pleasure that swept over him as he watched her small figure moved towards him.

She was even more beautiful than he remembered.

The past 10 years had allowed her to mature into a beautiful young woman, a far cry from the girl he had rescued so long ago.

He had seen her several times since she had become Senator, but only for a few moments in passing here and there. Time enough only to exchange greetings and updates about lives, but no more.

But each time, she managed to take his breath away with her beauty and grace.

Now was no exception.

He only hoped he could remain composed as he reached out to take her hand.

Both caught their breath at the shock that ran up their arms as their hands touched.

Padme quickly pulled back, hoping she didn't look as rattled as she felt.

For his part, Obi Wan was struggling to do the same, more affected than he'd thought by the simple touch.

"I only wish your visit could be under more pleasant circumstances," she managed as she moved back towards her desk, hoping the distance would allow her to regain her composure.

Obi Wan struggled to push down his emotions and answer in a normal voice.

"We will get to the bottom of this matter Senator. I promise you I will keep you safe until we do," he offered, feeling his heart skip a beat at her smile, small though it was.

Padme forced herself to compose an answer instead of getting lost in eyes she'd dreamed about for far too long.

"Did you come alone, I haven't seen Anakin," she offered, watching as his eyes crinkled as he smiled.

"I arrived alone. Anakin is in the middle of an important training sequence and it was thought best he remain on Coruscant," he offered as Padme smiled.

"I do hope he is doing well, it seems so long since I have seen him, or you for that matter."

Obi Wan sighed.

"We have been traveling the galaxy far and wide these past years, hardly ever in one place for more than a few months at a time. It seems there are always matters and important dignitaries needing our presence throughout the galaxy," he responded.

A niggling worry that had been hanging at the back of her mind surfaced at his words.

"I hope it is not an inconvenience for you, having to guard a mere Senator," she replied stiffly.

Obi Wan smiled, clearly able to sense her worries.

"Not at all, your safety is of high importance, I am honored to provide and protect it," he replied with a smile, glad to see her tense stance relaxed slightly.

"Thank you," she replied quietly, smiling at him in return.

He forced himself to center on his mission, not on the way his heart sped up at her smile. Taking a deep breath, he focused all his concentration on the matter at hand.

"Now, I need to start by knowing everything you do about the person threatening you," Obi Wan replied as the two settled down to business.
************
Several hours later found Obi Wan conferring with the Jedi Council via an in-house comlink on the matter.

"At this stage, I really cannot say what we are dealing with. The initial information is sketchy, just a few voiced threats, a distorted voice, easily accomplished with a special device," he offered when asked for a progress report.

"You sense nothing else about the messages?" Mace asked with concern.

Obi Wan sighed.

"I do not sense a great evil, but again, it could be masked, if someone powerful is behind it. I do not know. I must do more research before I can say," he replied.

"Great evil you do not sense, hummm, trap that could be," Yoda offered in reply.

Obi Wan sighed again.

"It could be Master Yoda, but I cannot say for sure," was all he could reply.

"Very well then, continue you must, updated you keep us however," Yoda replied as the others signed off.

Obi Wan sighed as he offered his goodbyes and ended the connection.

He really wished he knew what they were facing here, but as he'd told the council, he just did not know at the moment.

All he knew was the chill hearing that mechanical voice threatening her life sent down his spine.

The soft door chime broke him from his reverie.

Rising, he moved to the panel, his Force sense telling him who was on the other side.

"Senator," he greeted as the door slid open to reveal a much less formal looking Padme, dressed in a simple violet gown, hair down and flowing over her shoulders.

"Please call me Padme, it is so much less formal, even after all these years," she replied with a nervous smile.

He thought it was charming.

"Then Padme, come in, and please call me Obi Wan. I think we've earned that right, even if was nearly 10 years ago," he replied, glad to see her smile become more natural.

"Then Obi Wan it is. It has been so long, I thought we might catch up properly," she offered, trying not to sound nervous as she forced herself to remember to breathe at the sight of him after so many years of dreaming.

He smiled and motioned her inside, feeling a slight surge in his heartbeat as her singular scent imprinted itself on his mind as she passed him.

Spicy yet sweet, it seemed to suit her perfectly.

He'd never forgotten it.

Motioning for her to take a seat on the sofa, he settled next to her, smiling into her eyes.

She wondered what to say.

She had hoped he would respond to her need to talk and invite her in, but now that he had, she wasn't sure what to say.

The Senator would know, she always did.

Padme however was at a loss.

Obi Wan hid his smile at her nerves.

His weren't doing much better at the moment.

"From everything I hear, you're doing a wonderful job for your people," he began, trying to ease the awkward silence between them.

She smiled, breathing again.

"I try, but it is a difficult job in these days and times, as I am sure, no doubt, you know, guessing from the few conversations we have had over the past few years," she replied as he sighed.

"Every mission we see more and more chaos, things are going downhill fast as the corruption spreads throughout the Republic," he answered in a troubled voice.

"It is getting so I don't know who to trust these days," she replied as he nodded.

"Sadly, the Jedi are the same. There have been reports that some have aligned themselves with the opposing forces, turning to the dark side," he answered softly.

Padme sighed, realizing how dangerous and dark a world they really lived in.

But enough depression and talk of work for the night.

It had been far too long since she'd last seen the man she dreamed about nightly.

She wasn't going to waste this opportunity.

"Enough of this depressing talk, tell me how Ani is doing," she inquired, watching as his eyes sparkled as he began to fill her in on his Padawan's exploits.

Obi Wan watched her laugh as he told her about one of Ani's more daring stunts, refusing to analyze the relief he felt at sensing she only inquired about his Padawan as a friend would.

Padme was enjoying hearing tales of the former boy she knew, though she probably could not call him 'boy' now.

But in her mind, that was always what Ani would be.

A boy.

In front of her sat a man.

A man she'd wanted to get to know better for some time now.

"He would have loved the reception we are having tomorrow night for the visiting royalty of Thaleel. From what you say, he would have loved the party," she offered, watching the concern appear in the Jedi's eyes.

"A reception here tomorrow?" he asked, getting a sudden sense of unease.

Padme sighed.

"Required really, we must show them the Naboo hospitality. I usually dread these things, but with you here, it seems more bearable," she offered, hoping she didn't sound too daring.

The thought of a dance with him was enough to set her heart racing.

Obi Wan was more concerned with other matters however.

"I wonder if it is such a good thing to have you attend, considering there is a threat on your life. What better place than a crowded party for an assassination attempt?" he worried quietly.

She sighed, familiar with this argument. She'd heard it enough from her own security personnel.

"Security is at an all time high and I will take no unnecessary chances, besides, I have you here to protect me now as well," she offered, reaching over to squeeze his hand in reassurance, glad to see a smile crack his serious features.

She loved when he smiled.

It might have been years since she'd seen it, but his smile still had the power to take her breath away.

She was also fast finding she loved the feel of his hand in hers.

"I only hope it is enough," he murmured, as he met her gaze. "I would hate to think of anything happening to you," he finished, surprised to see her blush.

He was also surprised at how wonderful it felt to hold her hand.

Her skin was so soft to his rougher touch.

Padme forced her racing heartbeat to slow, despite knowing that as a Jedi, he was probably well aware of it anyhow.

"I know you will protect me with your life, and that is all I need to know," she whispered as their gazes locked.

For a few moments, they simply stared into each other's eyes, hands clasped tightly.

Both simply absorbed the feelings flowing through them.

But neither was ready to acknowledge, much less admit to them.

Padme was the first to break the silence, knowing it was time to leave.

Before she did something really stupid, like ask him to fulfill some of the more vivid fantasies she'd had about him over the past years.

Shoving that thought down, praying he hadn't sensed her conflicting emotions, she struggled for words.

"I should go. I have a long day of meetings tomorrow, not to mention the reception to prepare for," she began, rising gracefully to her feet.

Obi Wan followed, stretching as he straightened to his full height.

Padme fought to regain her breath at the sight of his beautiful body in motion.

"I will join you in your office tomorrow morning to go over security plans, if that is all right with you," he offered as he followed her to the door.

"Why don't we start with breakfast first? I could have the chefs make some of your favorites, if you tell me what you want?" she offered, biting her lip as she realized how forward the words sounded.

Obi Wan bit back the reply he was tempted to give.

It would probably shock her senseless if he told her what he really wanted.

"That sounds fine to me, around 9 or so?" he offered, feeling a tug at his heart as she smiled.

"I will see you then, sleep well Obi Wan, I am truly glad that you are here," she replied softly as she left.

For a few moments, he remained silent, staring after her.

"Not as glad as I," he whispered to himself as the door slid shut.

"Not half as glad as I."
~~~~~~~~~

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