Part 3
~~~~~~~~~
Obi Wan sighed as he watched Padme talking to the Queen of Thaleel, marveling at how at ease the young woman seemed.

He'd spent a lot of time watching her throughout the day, and if he were honest, it wasn't just in hopes of keeping her safe.

She fascinated him.

He'd always thought her intellectual and charming the few times they'd talked over the years, and privately, considered her one of the most beautiful women he'd ever met.

Nothing he'd seen over the past day and a half had changed that impression, only strengthened it.

He found himself watching her every move, noting the way her shoulders tensed when confronted with an unpleasant task.

The way her chin lifted when she was challenged.

The soft smile that crossed her face when dealing with any issues relating to children.

The appealing way she licked her lips when she was nervous or uncertain.

Which seemed to happen a lot when he was around.

The thought made his heart flutter strangely.

Surely he couldn't be falling in love with her, not so quickly.

Besides, Jedi did not have time for love. While it was not expressly forbidden, he knew of far too few relationships that had lasted between other Jedi. The nature of the Jedi life did not lead to lasting relationships.

But all the reasoning in the world could not stop the pounding of his heart as he saw her excuse herself from her conversation with the Queen and move towards him.

Taking a deep breath, he tried to center himself, knowing he still needed all his wits about him.

Despite his attraction to her, he sensed danger in the air.

He knew something was going to happen tonight.

He had to remain alert.

"You look so solemn Obi Wan, this is a party, you should at least try smiling," Padme offered wryly as she came up to his side.

She caught her breath as she felt the warmth of his body so close to hers.

She'd been keeping him in sight throughout the night, almost finding she resented the fact she must do her duty and entertain her guests, when she really wanted to be talking with him.

Or better yet, dancing.

She was determined that want would come to pass tonight.

It was a large part of why she had excused herself from the Queen and wandered towards him, smiling at the deep look of concentration on his face.

She knew he was worried about her safety, and part of her thrilled to the fact that he cared.

But he was still too serious.

Security was high, he was there to protect her, she felt wonderful and the last thing she wanted to worry about was an attempt on her life.

She wanted to dance with her Jedi.

Now the trick was to get him to agree.

Her breath caught as he sent her a slight smile along with his reply.

"I am worried Padme. I sense a disturbance in the Force, something troubles me tonight," he mused, trying again to pinpoint the source of his unease.

His concentration was severely hampered by the scent of her perfume and the warmth he could feel from her body so close to his.

Padme sighed.

"Security is high, and I have you here to protect me, don't worry so much," she began, stopping at the wry expression on his face.

She sighed again.

"Don't look at me like that. I know you Jedi are an uptight bunch, but all that stress is not good for you, you need to relax, enjoy life a little bit, have some fun," she cajoled, watching as he forced back a smile.

"We are not all 'uptight' as you call us," he shot back, feeling slightly slighted at her words, even though he knew she meant them in jest. "We just take our responsibilities very highly," he offered, fighting back a smile as she huffed.

"So you feel that responsible for me and my safety do you Obi Wan Kenobi?" she asked, feeling her senses kick into high gear at the look she saw flash through his eyes.

"That I do Padme, that I do," he replied, staring deep into her eyes, wanting her to know he meant the words.

"So you would prefer I remain near you all night, so you can protect me if the need arises?" she continued, smiling to herself as she saw him begin to puzzle out the meaning behind her words.

"That would be nice," he offered rather lamely, knowing she was going somewhere with this, but not quite sure where.

"Good, then you should dance with me," she finished solemnly, hoping her nerves were hidden from him.

That was about as forward as a woman could be.

And she so wanted to be in his arms, even if it were only for a few moments, on a crowded dance floor.

"Dance with you?" Obi Wan asked, hoping he did not sound as panicked as he felt.

Not a good idea.

The thoughts he was having about her would only intensify if he took her in his arms and held her close on the dance floor.

Not good if he needed his senses alert to protect her from harm.

Then again, everything inside him was screaming that he might be her biggest danger tonight.

"What, Jedi do not dance?" she teased to hide her nervousness at his response.

"It's not that, it's just, " he began, but she cut him off by grabbing his hand and tugging him towards the dance floor.

"I will not accept no for an answer, "she urged, knowing she was being forward, but noting he was following her willingly.

"Padme, I don't think this is such a good idea," he began again, but stopped as all words fled his mind as she slid her arms around his waist and smiled up into his eyes.

She felt wonderful in his arms, as if they were made to fit together perfectly.

Even if there was the proper amount of space between them.

He felt his heartbeat quicken at the soft look in her beautiful eyes as she looked up at him.

"Still think this is a bad idea Obi Wan?" she asked, finding her voice was huskier than she would have liked.

The raspiness of her voice sent a shiver down his spine as he instinctively tightened his hold on her waist.

"It is not the worst idea I've heard," he teased, realizing there was no place else he wanted to be at the moment.

He'd spent so long serving others, just this once, he was going to do something for himself.

He was going to allow himself to feel.

Dancing with a beautiful woman certainly qualified for that.

Smiling, he began to sway with her to the romantic ballad the orchestra had launched into.

Padme caught her breath again as their bodies brushed against each other as they moved.

He was holding her at a proper distance, they were barely touching.

It was still the most heavenly sensation she had ever felt.

Obi Wan was marveling at the fact that he felt so close to her, could feel her warmth and vibrant life force as if she were pressed tightly against him.

It was the most incredible sensation he had ever felt.

Padme was thinking the same thoughts as she let her body drift closer to his as they slowly swayed to the music.

Sighing, she let her head drift towards his shoulder, as she moved closer to him, uncaring of who might be watching.

Obi Wan swallowed hard as her head came to rest lightly against his neck.

Unconsciously, he brought her up against him, their bodies touching as he'd only imagined.

She fit perfectly against him, her head falling naturally into the curve of his neck. Her soft breath against his skin sent licks of fire running through his body as he struggled to remain in control of the emotions swamping him.

Padme was reveling in the feel of his body against hers. He seemed to anticipate her every move as they swayed, bodies pressed tightly together.

She had never felt like this before.

She wanted to feel more.

She needed to feel more.

Raising her head, she let her gaze find his.

The banked emotion she read in his eyes set her body on fire.

"Obi Wan," she whispered, sensing he was about to kiss her as his head moved towards hers.

Obi Wan knew he was lost the minute those beautiful eyes met his.

"Padme," he whispered, closing the distance between them until he could feel her breath against his lips.

Knowing this was wrong, but realizing nothing had ever felt so right, he let his lips brush hers in the gentlest of kisses.

And at that instant, as he felt her soft lips against his for the first time, he sensed the blaster fire before he heard it.

Without stopping to think, he broke the kiss, pulling her to the ground, covering her body with his as the blaster's shot rang out through the courtyard.

He was oblivious to the screams of terror that erupted around him, all he could feel was the terror flowing through the young woman beneath him.

"Padme, are you all right?" he asked when his heart had stopped pounding long enough for him to breath again.

Her scared white face looked back up at him.

"I'd be better if you'd let me breathe," she tried to joke, the fear coursing through her system nearly overpowering her.

Obi Wan sensed this as her rolled off of her, still keeping his body in front of hers protectively as he looked quickly around to make sure the danger was gone.

He felt the evil presence no more.

But he now knew what they were dealing with.

It was dark.

It was evil.

It was all too familiar.

Shivering, he stood, pulling her to her feet next to him.

"You're sure you are all right?" he asked quietly, brushing a strand of hair from her forehead as some color began to return to her cheeks.

"I'm fine, are you okay?" she asked in concern, eyes checking him for injuries.

"Fine, I felt his intention to fire just before he did. It went right over us," he replied, turning to make sure those around them were okay.

"Senator! Senator, are you all right?"

Padme straightened as she heard the voice of her security chief, turning to see him rushing through the crowd.

The now very agitated and confused crowd.

"I am fine, but our guests? Was anyone injured?" she began, immediately falling into her Senatorial mode.

"I am not sure, but the King and Queen are shaken up, perhaps you might go to them," the chief responded as she nodded, turning to glance at Obi Wan.

"See to them, attend to your duties, I am going to take a look around to make sure he is truly gone," he offered, reaching over to take the outstretched hand she offered.

For a moment, their hands linked and their eyes met, the echo of their kiss lingering between them.

"Be careful, please," she whispered, fear not only for herself, but for him, now entering her heart.

"Always," he replied, squeezing her hand in reassurance, smiling at her as she nodded and turned to follow the chief through the shaken crowd, no fear evident on her lovely face as she began offering words of reassurance.

He had never been more impressed in his life.

An attempt had just been made on her life, yet despite her fear, which he could feel surrounding her still, she held herself proudly as she went about the task of reassuring her guests.

But he was far from reassured.

Someone had tried to assassinate her.

And he was lucky he'd sensed it at all.

He shuddered as he realized what could have happened.

He should have been alert, on guard, aware of the danger before the blaster was even fired.

But he had been too wrapped up in her scent, her touch, the feel of her in his arms and her lips against his.

That distraction could have cost Padme her life.

He could not afford to make that kind of mistake again.

But staying here, so close to her, he wondered if he could stop himself.

Sighing, he reached for the comlink, knowing he had to inform the council of what had happened.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nearly an hour later the party had dispersed and an emotionally and physically exhausted Padme found herself sinking gratefully into an empty chair.

"Padme, are you okay?"

She smiled as Obi Wan's concerned voice penetrated the fog that seemed to be gathering around her head.

"I'm fine, just tired, and a little tense," she offered wryly as the Jedi came to sit beside her.

For a moment, they sat in silence, simply absorbing the comfort of being next to each other.

The echo of their kiss lingered as well as they shot surreptitious glances at one another when they thought the other was not looking.

Obi Wan was the first to break the silence.

"I am sorry," he began, stopping her as she made to speak. "I should have been more aware, more alert, I should have sensed this before it happened," he offered morosely.

Padme sighed.

She had figured out from his looks about a half an hour ago that he was feeling guilty, as well as scared.

While she was battling those feelings too, she knew she did not regret kissing him.

She could still feel his touch, and it was enough to send shivers running through her body.

She forced the thoughts down as she saw his head turn to her, his eyes speculative.

She'd forgotten he could read minds.

"You saved my life Obi Wan, you have nothing to feel sorry for," she offered quietly, reaching to clasp his hand tightly, willing him to sense her thoughts and know she meant the words.

Obi Wan sighed, her sincerity shining like a beacon in the dark night.

She did not blame him.

But he blamed himself.

And he knew the council was not happy either.

Which was why they had made a decision.

He wondered how she would take it.

"Thank you for that Padme," he began quietly as he looked into her eyes. "Unfortunately, the Jedi council does not feel the same. They are determined you be removed from Naboo while this matter is thoroughly investigated," he began as she tried to object.

"Nonsense, this is my planet, my people," she began, but he cut her off.

"Your attacker was a Sith Lord," he stated quietly, watching as her words trailed off and her eyes reflected her shock.

"A Sith Lord? They exist? I thought they were only legend," she whispered as he sighed and rubbed his forehead.

"They exist," he offered wearily. "And they are growing as the Republic grows darker," he finished sadly.

"You are sure it was a Sith Lord?" she asked, watching as he nodded. "But why would one be after me? I am only a Senator, I have no real power, as the Senate has proven," she finished bitterly.

Obi Wan sighed.

"Nevertheless, you are the target of a Sith Lord, so the council would like you to return to Coruscant with me where a formal investigation will be launched, now that we know what we are looking for," he finished, sighing as he read the annoyance in her eyes.

But then again, what had he expected.

He would have been disappointed if she hadn't offered a protest.

"I must not leave my people, especially after tonight," she began, but this time was cut off by her security chief.

"Senator, with all due respect, I think Jedi Kenobi is right. It is not safe for you here. Your people would understand, they love you and want you to remain safe," he offered quietly.

Padme bit her lip, knowing her chief had a point, but still feeling as if she were deserting her people.

"You are not deserting them, you are helping them," Obi Wan whispered softly, reading her mind as her head turned to his. "By staying safe, staying alive, you can continue to fight for them," he finished quietly, seeing the resolution finally dawn in her eyes.

He breathed a sigh of relief.

Padme knew what both men said was right.

She needed to stay alive to do her job, to help the people she'd sworn to protect and fight for.

She just hated feeling as if she had no choice in the matter.

"You always have a choice Padme," Obi Wan whispered, for her ears alone. "The difficulty is in choosing what is right," he finished softly as her eyes rose to his.

She sighed, knowing he was right.

What other choice did she have?

"I will go with you to Coruscant. We will get to the bottom of this and then I will return home," she stated quietly as Obi Wan nodded.

"An investigation is already underway, we leave on a transport in several hours," he offered quietly, getting to his feet and holding a hand out to help her rise.

Padme smiled slightly as she let him pull her to her feet, still able to feel the charge that zinged up her arm at the contact.

Even through her fear she still wanted him.

At least she would get to be with him on Coruscant.

She smiled, deciding to make the best of the situation.

After all, if she had to be in a safe place, the safest she could think of was with him.

Obi Wan smiled as she slipped her arm through his as they walked from the courtyard.

Once they arrived in Coruscant, she would be safe, in the Jedi Temple.

He would also have other Jedi to help protect her.

Which meant he might just be able to explore whatever it was he felt growing between them.

He sensed Padme was hoping the same.

Of course, there would be Anakin to deal with.

The thought sent a pang of guilt through him as he realized his Padawan would be angry at not being allowed on the mission.

But he would have his Angel safe and sound on Coruscant.

The thought sent a bolt of jealousy through his system.

He was disgusted at the emotion, knowing it did not become a Jedi.

Jealousy and anger led to the dark side.

He would not give in to it.

Besides, from the way Padme had responded to him earlier, he had little doubt she was interested at all in his Padawan as more than a friend.

Which could pose another problem.

Anakin's attachment to her remained strong, even though he had seen her even less than Obi Wan.

If something were to develop between them, no doubt Anakin would feel betrayed. He knew his Padawan too well to think otherwise.

It made him uneasy.

But he couldn't deal with that now. He had to make sure he got Padme safely to Coruscant.

But the sense of unease stayed with him, even as he left Padme in her room to gather her things.

Forcing the unease down, he set about making sure their transport was secure and ready to go, his mind still dealing with the effect bringing Padme to the Temple would have.

But the Masters had been adamant.

She could not be lost, or the future would be gravely altered.

So said the Masters.

Obi Wan wished they would say a little more in this case.

But he knew that was not going to happen.

Shrugging off the sense of doom, he set about preparing for their departure.
~~~~~~~~

Part 4
~~~~~~~~~~~
Somewhere in Space

Three hours later found Obi Wan and Padme streaking through space, headed directly for Coruscant.

Padme sighed as she stole furtive glances at the man in the pilot's seat.

He really was handsome.

It was kind of unfair when she thought about it.

No one deserved to be that good looking.

She quickly averted her gaze as she saw Obi Wan turn to smile strangely at her.

Blushing, she focused on the matter at hand and what would be done about it when they arrived.

"What will happen when we get to Coruscant?" she asked, curious to see if he had thought that far ahead.

Then again, he was a Jedi, so he'd probably been thinking that far ahead before he'd even been sent to protect her.

"You will be safe Padme, hidden away in the Jedi Temple until we can capture and destroy the Sith Lord that is after you," he replied seriously, worry seeping into his voice as he remembered how close she'd come to dying a few hours earlier.

"Would you stop that?" she asked in frustration as she picked up on his fears. "I am fine, I am going to be fine. I will be surrounded by plenty of Jedi, not to mention you and Anakin, I hardly think any Sith Lord would brave that much wrath," she offered, surprised at the quick flash that came and went in his eyes.

She couldn't tell what it was, but it perked her curiosity.

"We will keep you safe, I won't let anything happen to you, I promise," he replied softly, unconsciously switching tenses.

Padme felt her heart rate accelerate as she heard the possessiveness in his words.

To her surprise, she found she liked hearing it.

Liked knowing he was feeling possessive of her.

Which was saying something for a powerful, independent senator who liked being in control of every situation.

Forcing her mind to calm before he read her thoughts, she closed her eyes and settled back into her seat, falling into sleep with a small smile on her lips as she remembered the feel of his lips on hers.

Obi Wan stole a glimpse at her as she relaxed into the seat next to him, easily able to tell when her breathing evened out and she dropped into sleep.

Sensing she was oblivious, he let his gaze wander unabashedly across her peaceful features.

Her skin looked nearly translucent in the ships soft light. There were slight signs of strain around her eyes and mouth, but they were slowly smoothing away as she relaxed. Her hair fell in lose waves to frame her shoulders, and showcase her heart-shaped face.

He felt his lips go dry as he watched her small pink tongue unconsciously emerge to wet her full lips, making them glisten in the soft glow of the ship's instrument panels.

If he closed his eyes, he could still feel those lips against his, feel the slow heat that seemed to simmer between them whenever they were around each other.

Could still feel the way her body felt pressed to his, every curve merging with his angles and planes as if they had been made for each other.

If the Sith Lord had not chosen that moment to fire, Obi Wan could not say where things might have gone.

But his body certainly could, and was clearly making that obvious if she happened to awaken and look over at him.

He forced his body to calm, knowing he must master control before they reached Coruscant.

If he could not regain control of his emotions, he would certainly give them away to his fellow Jedi, not to mention his padawan.

Who most definitely would not look approvingly on the situation.

He sighed as he rubbed his forehead, realizing things were only going to get more complicated from here on out.

What he wouldn't give for just a little more time alone with her before having to deal with everyone and everything else in their lives.

He sighed as he turned back to the instrument panel and began to calculate their position and how long it would be before they reached Coruscant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The lurch of the ship brought Padme suddenly awake several hours later.

"Obi Wan?" she asked in confusion, her gaze going to the tense figure sitting beside her.

"Hold onto something Padme, something's wrong with the ship's generator. I'm trying to locate the problem so I know what to fix," he muttered, frantically working through the charts and diagrams in his head to figure out what was happening.

Padme simply strapped herself into the seat, the jerks and bumps literally banging her against the heavy metal of the seat back.

She remained quiet, knowing he needed silence to sort things out.

Strangely, she felt no fear.

She trusted him.

She knew he would keep her safe.

That was all that mattered.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Obi Wan sighed in frustration as the computer's diagnostic program flashed the same information at him over and over.

Nothing seemed to be working and the ship was fast losing altitude, the bumps more frequent and jarring.

"Padme, we are going to have to land somewhere. I need to actually go look at the generator myself, but we can't stay airborne," he finally offered, noting she was pale, but did not look afraid.

"Is there a planet near-by?" she asked, pulling up the star charts on the screen in front of her.

"I think so," he mused, pointing to a small dot on the chart. "Jarka is closest, but all our research says its uninhabited."

"Well, we'll just have to find out, won't we," she muttered as he nodded and turned back to the controls.

"Strap yourself in, this is going to be a bumpy ride," he offered, grabbing the control shift and maneuvering the ship towards the planet looming in front of them.

Thank God he had sent a holomessage to the Temple before they left. When they did not arrive as scheduled, a rescue crew would be sent out immediately.

Padme clenched her hands into the armrests on either side of her as the ship dropped rapidly through the planet's atmosphere.

Her stomach was churning, but she forced the nausea down, sending a quick prayer heavenward that Obi Wan did indeed know what he was doing.

"I've done this several times before Padme, relax," he replied with a tight smile.

She blushed, quickly closing off her thoughts, embarrassed he'd picked up on that one.

Obi Wan smile slightly as the ship broke through the crowds and into the sunlight.

He frowned as he noted the heavy wooded area below them.

He scanned the ground frantically, knowing he needed space to land.

"Obi Wan, right there," Padme motioned as she spotted a sparsely populated area of land.

"Hang on, this could be quite an impact," he muttered, bracing himself for a crash landing.

"Obi Wan, I trust you," Padme whispered, heart in her throat as the ground loomed nearer.

Quietly, she reached over and placed her hand against his arm in silent support.

"I won't let anything happen to you Padme," he replied quietly, turning to look into her eyes as he squeezed her hand, conveying in that look everything he knew he could not say at the moment.

Nothing more needed to be said.

Turning back to the control panel, he made some final adjustments as they sped towards the earth.

A few moments later the screeching sound of metal impacting the ground was all that could be heard for miles.

~~~~~~~~~

Her head hurt.

That was the first thing to register as Padme's eyes fluttered open, squinting in the harsh light of the sun.

As things slowly came into focus around her, she noted that she was slumped over the control panel in the otherwise still intact cockpit.

Other than the splitting headache, she seemed to be in one piece. Moving slowly she tested her limbs as she untangled herself from the seat, wincing at the aches and pains that radiated through her body. But while she was sore, nothing seemed broken.

A low moan drew her attention to Obi Wan, who himself was slumped over the controls.

"Obi Wan, are you all right," she managed, forcing down her fear as she struggled to reach towards his prone figure.

Obi Wan winced as his eyes squinted open, only to face the harsh glare of the morning sun.

His head hurt, most probably from where it had knocked into the control panel, but overall, he sensed nothing was broken.

He moaned low in his throat as he struggled to move, the pain in his temple jabbing at him.

Suddenly, he remembered his passenger.

Fear coursed through him as he immediately reached out to find her life force.

He breathed a sigh of relief as he felt it, strong and steady, if filled with pain.

Her soft voice reassured him again.

"I think so," he managed, lifting himself from the seat and turning to see her small figure working its way towards him.

He winced as he noted the cut on her forehead and the stiff way she was moving, knowing she must be in pain from the bumps and bruises. But a quick sense told him she was not seriously injured.

Still, he couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief as she reached him, her presence strong and warm around him.

Padme caught her breath as she noted the slash of red across his forehead and the wince of pain he couldn't hide as she reached up to gently touch the tender skin.

"You're hurt," she whispered, feeling a wave of something she couldn't identify sweep over her as her fingers brushed against his forehead.

Obi Wan forced himself to ignore how wonderful her soft touch felt, even through the throbbing pain.

"You are injured as well," he replied, noting the cut on her forehead was bleeding. He couldn't stop his own hand from rising to brush across her skin.

Padme caught her breath as her eyes locked with his.

Finally, assured the other was all right, they broke apart, turning to look at the damage around them.

"Well, it looks like the body of the ship is still intact, I'm hoping the control systems aren't damaged," Obi Wan murmured as he moved towards the door, pressing the panel and breathing a sigh of relief when it opened automatically.

"The circuits don't seem to be damaged, that's a good sign I guess," Padme murmured as she allowed him to help her out of the craft.

The two squinted as the heat of the planet's sun beat down on them as they took their first good look at their surroundings.

"It's beautiful," Padme whispered in awe, hearing Obi Wan's agreement in his soft sigh.

The tall trees surrounded the small valley they'd managed to land in, their green leaves blowing gently in the soft breeze. The grass they'd landed on was a deep forest green color, a brilliant contrast to the blue sky overhead. Wildflowers dotted the landscape, their colorfulness adding just the right touch to the already picture perfect setting.

Obi Wan let the peace and serenity of the area seep into his system, immediately feeling a sense of calmness flood over him.

Padme too felt a sense of serenity as she breathed in the crisp air, glad this planet wasn't a dull barren place.

"I have heard tales of Jakar, but none described it as this beautiful," Obi Wan murmured as he gazed around him.

"Well, if we had to crash somewhere, at least we found someplace nice," she offered with a small sigh.

Obi Wan suddenly realized the brevity of their situation as he turned back to survey the ship.

While it was scratched up pretty badly in some places, there didn't seem to be any structural damage. He walked around the ship, noting dents here and there, but no leakage or breakage of any kind.

"I suspect the ship is intact, but I am willing to guess something in the generator is not," he murmured as he managed to open the panel that provided access to said part.

Padme watched him examine the ship, wondering if they would be stuck on this planet for a while.

She sighed and frowned sharply at herself when she realized she wasn't exactly adverse to the idea.

It was a beautiful place, far away, it seemed, from all responsibility, all people and by that thought, all attempts on her life.

More importantly, it was simply her and Obi Wan.

No distractions.

Nothing but each other.

A shiver slid down her spine at the thought of being alone with him, on their own little section of this planet.

She smiled as she moved towards him.

~~~~~~~~

Obi Wan sighed as he realized several of the wires were shorted out and snapped in half. It was nothing that couldn't be repaired, if one had the right tools and parts.

Tools and parts that could only be found in a mechanic's shop.

And from what he'd read about Jakar and what he'd observed so far, there were no mechanic's shops in the near vicinity.

He sighed, rubbing his forehead as he realized they were stuck here until help arrived.

He felt his heart quicken as he realized that in some deranged way, he had gotten his wish.

Time alone with Padme, before having to face the reality of their lives.

Part of him was ashamed he could be thinking about being alone with her, when they could be trapped here for he knew not how long.

Another part of him was jumping up and down for joy.

"Well, can you fix it?" Padme asked, coming up behind him, smiling as he turned and offered a sheepish smile in reply.

"Yes, it's a simple fix," he began, feeling his heart rate accelerate at the flash of disappointment that shot through her eyes. "But only if you have the right tools and replacement parts, which I don't," he finished, trying not to smile as he noted the frustration mixed with happiness in her gaze.

Obviously, her mind was running along the same track as his.

"So we're stuck here until someone realizes we did not arrive as scheduled and comes looking for us?" she asked, fighting down the insane urge to giggle and dance for joy.

"It looks like it," he replied, running a hand through his hair. "I sent our flight plan to the Jedi Temple, and when we do not arrive, they will begin searching. They know the course I set, so they'll search until they find us," he offered, hoping he sounded reassuring.

Padme sighed.

While she was looking forward to time alone with him, the Senator in her could not help but surface.

"Do you think it will be long? I hate to leave my duties unattended," she offered quietly, thinking of what could happen if she were reported missing.

Obi Wan sensed her worry and immediately sought to assuage it.

"Trust me Padme, the search will begin and they will keep it quiet. No one will know, and I suspect we will be rescued within a few days," he replied, glad to see the relief dawn in her eyes.

That worry off her shoulders, Padme decided it was time to make the most of the situation.

"Well, if we're going to be here a while, maybe we should explore a little to see what our surroundings are like," she offered, getting an enthusiastic nod in return.

"That sounds good, but first we need to take care of that cut on your forehead," he began, disappearing back into the ship for a few seconds, only to emerge with a first aid kit.

She swallowed hard as his gentle fingers applied salve and a bandage to the wound.

Even the light brush of his skin against hers was enough to send a tremor through her body.

His face so close to hers was another distraction.

Reminding her of their dance, and the way he'd leaned down, ever so slowly, until their lips met.

She blushed as he pulled back, a knowing glint in his eyes.

Obi Wan knew what she was thinking, because he was thinking it himself.

He wanted nothing more than to lean down and kiss her, but he had to concentrate, to figure out a way to keep them both safe for however long they were here.

The talking and anything else that might arise from it could come later.

He smiled as he pulled back, watching as she turned to him and began to doctor the cut on his own forehead.

He swallowed hard as her soft breath brushed over his cheek as she carefully applied the bandage, her lips pursed in concentration, her scent nearly overwhelming him.

Padme forced her traitorous body to relax, knowing there would be time for these feelings later.

Right now they needed to figure out other things.

"Good as new," she stated as she smiled into his beautiful eyes which were locked with hers.

Suddenly, she felt an impulse to do something she'd wanted to for what seemed like forever.

Smiling, she pulled his forehead down to hers and lightly kissed the bandage.

"There, a kiss makes it all better," she whispered, pulling back to smile into his surprised eyes.

Obi Wan forced himself to remember to breathe, the feel of her lips against his skin, even through the bandage, burned into his soul.

He suddenly smiled.

Turnabout was fair play after all.

Smiling into her eyes, he leaned forward, cupping her face in his hands as he brushed a tender, lingering kiss across her own bandage, feeling her breath hitch in at the contact.

Padme forced her eyes to remain open as she felt his lips against her heated skin.

She couldn't help the sigh that escaped as he pulled back.

"Now that we're 'better,' what's say we go exploring," he offered, knowing they needed to get moving before it got any later.

Besides, he needed to walk off some of the desire he could feel growing for the young woman smiling back at him.

"I'm ready when you are," she replied, laughing as he pulled her to her feet.

The two slowly wandered towards the trees, talking quietly about their surroundings and what they would need to find to survive however long they might be here.

Padme breathed the scent of the forest in as they moved through the trees, the sunlight still bright enough to guide their way. It really was a beautiful planet, the sound of birds alive in the trees above them.

"I have not heard birds in ages," Obi Wan murmured, delightedly looking around him as several of the aforementioned creatures fluttered through the treetops above them.

"It is a shame so many have become extinct in these times," Padme murmured quietly as they moved.

"It is nice to know they still can find a home somewhere," he replied.

Several minutes later the duo stopped, staring in awe at the sight before them.

A huge waterfall streamed down into a large pool, lit up by the rays of the sun as they filtered through the trees. Flowers of all kinds and colors grew around the natural pond, giving the scene an almost unrealistic quality.

Padme sighed, never having seen a natural waterfall before.

"It is so beautiful, I never dreamed anything could be so beautiful," she whispered in awe, unconsciously gripping Obi Wan's hand.

Obi Wan was also impressed with the sight, amazed that there could be such natural beauty in such a manufactured world.

"It is almost like a dream," he replied as he tightened his grip on her hand.

For moments, they simply stared, absorbing the serenity and beauty around them.

Obi Wan was the first to break the silence.

"At least we have fresh water and in all likely hood, dinner," he mused, motioning to the fish swimming around the pond. "We can also bathe," he murmured delightedly, missing the blush that crept across Padme's face at the words.

She forced her mind to stop picturing the Jedi without his clothes, frolicking in the water.

She had to swallow hard at the image those thoughts evoked.

Struggling to come back to herself, she forced her brain to start thinking rapidly.

"We probably should find some wood or something, I have a feeling it is going to get cold tonight," she offered as he nodded.

Carefully, they began to make their way back through the forest, hands still linked.

When they reached the clearing again, Obi Wan immediately went to the ship, looking around for whatever provisions might be on board.

"We're in luck," he crowed, emerging from the ship with a huge smile. "There are a few food items stored on board, and I bet with some ingenuity, we could catch some fish for dinner," he replied, glad to see her face light up.

"Fishing, how wonderful! I've never done that before, but always wanted to," she admitted, smiling at his strange look.

"My grandfather spoke highly of it, though he did not get to do it often," she offered in explanation, feeling her heart skip a beat at his smile.

"Then I will have to show you. I'll let you catch our dinner," he teased, glad to see her eyes light up.

"Just you wait, I'll catch us the best fish you've ever seen," she boasted, smiling as he burst into laughter.

"I've no doubt you will Padme, but if we're going to have fish for dinner, we'd better find some wood to make a fire to cook it over," he offered, laughing with her as they moved back towards the woods.

Padme smiled, feeling relaxed and free for the first time in months.

They might be stranded on an uninhabited planet, but they were together.

That made it all worthwhile.

Obi Wan smiled to himself as he sensed her thoughts loud and clear.

He felt the same.

While they were stranded, they were together, and maybe now they could explore what they'd started last night on the dance floor.

Smiling, the couple laughed and talked as they began to gather what they would need for the night.
~~~~~~~~~~~
TBC

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