Title: "The Ties That Bind"

(2/?)

Written By: Shawn

 

 

Summary: Surprises abound upon Anakin and Padmé's arrival at the Lake Country for a ten day vacation with her family. The only question is who

will be shocked more? The Naberrie's or the Skywalkers?

 

Category: Drama/Romance

Rated: M

Ship: Anakin and Padmé Skywalker

 

Timeline: I've always believed the Clone Wars lasted about three and a half years. This story takes place at the two and a half year mark. So it's been

two and a half years since PA were married. None of her family know about the nuptials.

 

Disclaimer: GL owns everything.

 

Beta Read by: The Dark Lord of the pen, Master Anne *bows respectfully*

 

Authors Notes 1: At the end of the day life is all about family.

 

Authors Notes 2: I'm no longer sure how many chapters it will take to finish this story, but I doubt more than five. For now I shall leave it as a question mark.

 

 

 

~~~~~~

 

There are no secrets better kept than the secrets that everybody guesses.

-George Bernard Shaw

 

~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

******

 

 

******

 

 

"Varykino"

One of the Nabberie family home located in Lake Country Retreat

Newly built private starship landing platform

Evening time

Naboo

 

 

 

Naboo's three moons slowly revealed themselves in the darkening skies as bright daylight gradually waned into nightfall. The Naboo Royal Cruiser II, Padmé's official shimmering-reflective starship, extended its tri-landing gear onto a small deck, softly docking. A few feet away, the entire Naberrie family impatiently waited for sight of the last remaining member of their family that would make them whole again.

 

Sola stood with her husband Darred Janren, their two daughters, Pooja and her older sister Ryoo, eagerly rocking back and forth in front of them. She felt

such anticipation not only for seeing her dearly missed sister again but for the mystery she anticipated solving at long last. There were secrets

arriving with Padmé today. Secrets she intended to uncover the truth of, all the while enjoying her younger sibling's maneuvering around their parents and the questions to come.

 

Especially over her Jedi traveling companion and, in Sola's expert estimation, her sister's lover.

 

Yes, the next ten days were going to be so much fun.

 

When the landing ramp finally descended Padmé all but ran off the ship toward her family. She quickly bent down and scooped up both Pooja and

Ryoo, who had taken off as soon as they saw her. She adorned their cheeks with loving kisses. "I have missed you two so much; you have no idea."

 

"We missed you too auntie Padmé," Pooja was so excited to say, her arm looked around Padmé's neck. "Did you bring us presents?"

 

"Pooja!" Ryoo quickly admonished her younger sister. "Mom said we shouldn't expect presents just because auntie is here."

 

"Sorry," Pooja added in an apologetic tone, to which Padmé laughed and kissed the child again.

 

"I brought gifts for both of you," Padmé announced, causing both girls to cheer in her arms. "I would never come without gifts, but that'll be our

little secret, okay?" Both girls nodded as she sat them on the ground.

 

"Dear, you look stunning," Jobal declared upon holding her daughter again, clutching her tightly, and then pressing a kiss to her brow. "Coruscant for

once must be doing you well."

 

No, but Anakin sure was, Padmé confessed to herself and hoped she wasn't blushing. "I'm fine mother. Thank you. And you're as beautiful as ever."

Further laughter was heard behind them when R2-D2 exited the ship as the children raced toward the droid and actually hugged him. He made some beeps

and chirps they interpreted as a greeting and then graced a mildly perturbed C-3PO with the same.

 

"Father, how I've missed you." Padmé wrapped her arms tight around Ruwee, who returned the favor, so pleased to see her again. With the galaxy in such

turmoil and the danger surrounding her history as Senator, each and every time she was with him again he silently praised the Force as he did now.

 

Ruwee stood back to look at his daughter. She was far lovelier than he remembered, effortlessly conveying maturity, charm, and beauty. A new found confidence shone in her warm brown eyes, as if she were older than her years. She had changed, and yet he knew himself the days they lived in changed them all. "Padmé, my sweet," as he had always called her as a child. "I am whole again," he said upon caressing her cheek.

 

Padmé slipped back into his arms for another hug just to enjoy the feel of his embrace. Oh how she missed her family. To be reunited with them again was a blessing. "As am I, father." She stood before him, beaming. "You look well. In fact, it looks like there is less of you," she smiled over his shoulder at Jobal and Sola.

 

"Well, your mother's been bugging me for some time to, as she put it, act my age in relation to eating and working out. It seems to be paying off," she smiled at his wife.

 

Padmé walked toward Sola, who seemed to be wearing something of a mischievous expression on her face. Before she could speak the elder

Naberrie sibling called out...

 

"Well look who we have here everyone. It seems Padmé has brought an old friend with her."

 

Something of a hush fell over the reunion as all eyes scanned the tall, striking individual standing at the bottom of the landing ramp. Anakin

seemed a bit apprehensive by such attention and gave a little wave of sorts. The children's eyes widened upon seeing "The Hero Without Fear" live and in

the flesh before them.

 

"Yes, Anakin is accompanying me on this trip," Padmé quickly noted, her voice filled with carefree mirth and calm. "My handmaidens and security have

been given time off to pursue their own lives. Anakin was given time away from the war, and he so loved Naboo the last time he was here. He offered to

provide security for me while I offered free room and board, as well as my mother's home cooked meals." Her explanation went over very well, eliciting

smiles and handshakes for Anakin as he walked forward with their bags in hand.

 

Sola simply smirked, vastly impressed by her sister as she hugged her husband.

 

Having not expected this, nonetheless Ruwee felt luck was on his and Jobal's side now that Anakin was here. Walking towards the Jedi, he extended a firm,

respectful handshake. My, how he had changed in two and a half years. He appeared taller, more world-weary, and more far more imposing than the young

man he met the first time. "It is my pleasure to extend our home to you, Knight Skywalker. I have the utmost respect for your efforts during these

trying times."

 

"Thank you, Mr. Naberrie. I appreciate your hospitality."

 

"Ruwee, my friend."

 

"Anakin, if you will." Ruwee bowed and then placed a hand on his back, guiding him behind the family as they left the landing deck behind.

 

Pooja glanced over her shoulder a couple times while keeping up with her auntie, who was carrying on a conversation with her dad over him growing

a beard. "Auntie Padmé, is Anakin your friend?"

 

"Why yes, dear. He's a very close friend." Children were far more perceptive than most adults gave them credit for. Padmé quietly hoped Pooja would be

satisfied with her answer.

 

"Is he your good friend?"

 

Padmé nodded, "Yes, he is."

 

"Does Anakin ever let you play with his lightsaber?"

 

While Padmé turned crimson red, Sola seemed to choke on something or burst out loudly while her husband looked on curiously enough. The good Senator

scooped up her niece again and began tickling her to ward off any more questions and remove any tension they might pick up from her. "Anakin's

lightsaber belongs to him. Jedi don't allow anyone to play with it."

 

Pooja looked at the object of her curiosity on Anakin's hip and then noted. "It looks almost too big for me to grab. Do you think it would be too big for

you to handle Auntie Padmé?"

 

Sola thought this was better than every movie the HoloNet ever aired as her sister, and a slightly snickering Jedi behind them, seemed caught in the web

of a child's innocence. Alas, this was more than enough evidence to satisfy her assumptions for the time being. "Child, hush. You can talk Padmé's ear

off tomorrow."

 

"Okay, mom."

 

Walking behind the women, Ruwee kindly whispered to Anakin out of their earshot, "I may have need of your particular talents in the way of

perception. I would not trouble you if I wasn't concerned."

 

Anything he could do for Padmé's father was a welcome task to Anakin as one day he hoped to have a close relationship with him when all the secrets were

behind them. This was a golden opportunity to perhaps build a bond with his unsuspecting father-in-law. "I am at your disposal, sir. How may I help you?"

 

"There are two surprise guests arriving tomorrow evening, and I am curious as to their true intentions. I do not possess the absolute faith in people as

my wife does, and I would greatly value your opinion on what you might pick up from them."

 

"I don't think that would be a problem at all," Anakin was pleased to offer, now looking forward to aiding Ruwee any way that he could.

 

"Thank you, Anakin. And I'm sure Padmé will someday thank you as well."

 

Anakin wasn't sure what he meant by that. Just what was he getting himself into?

 

 

 

******

 

 

The regal elegance of twin spiraling Norsa-marble pillars greeted Anakin, Padmé, Sola, and Jobal upon reaching the apex of the winding Kyslian wood staircase. Now on the fourth floor, they took a moment to gaze down at the newly built Garcian green-rose decorated interior stone courtyard, complimented by its bright glass mosaics and a majestic waterfall fountain.

 

While admiring the many renovations her father's been working on for quite some time, Padmé felt so at home being here again. Many of her most cherished memories as a child could be traced to this estate. Sharing secrets with her sister by candlelight when they were supposed to be asleep came to mind with a fond smile. Chasing her father across the beautiful seemingly-endless rolling plains and the small island she would swim out to everyday with her friends just for the fun of it. Yes, she was home again. And with Anakin by her side, never mind their veiled circumstances, this was absolutely perfect.

 

Coming around his side, Jobal gently brushed Anakin's forearm, drawing his attention. "Knight Skywalker..."

 

"Please, call me Anakin," he offered in a polite tone while carrying Padmé's bags and the small satchel he traveled with.

 

Jobal gave an appreciative nod. "Anakin, I know little of what you've seen during the war and can only imagine what things of that nature can do to a person. I just want you to know that I am sincerely honored to have you in my home as I hold such respect for the Jedi, and for you in particular. Your reputation for bravery and service to the Republic precedes you."

 

The ghost of a prideful expression flashed over his beloved wife's face. If only he could acknowledge it now with the brush of his hand over her soft cheek, rightfully shifting the praise towards her as she inspired all that was good and brave within him. "I am only one of many Jedi performing our sworn duties."

 

His humble reply spoke well of his character. No wonder her daughter held him in such high regard. "For the duration of your time here I want you to push the war as far from your thoughts as possible and enjoy yourself. Unless an absolute emergency occurs shut your eyes to the goings-on outside Naboo. Take this time to recharge your spirit. And rest assured you are most welcome here with our family."

 

A family he was a part of, though Anakin pushed that slight ache aside to accept her graciousness. Jobal's aura was genuine as she reminded him of his own mother, giving beyond reason. "Thank you, milady. I shall try to relax while keeping a close eye on your trouble-attracting daughter."

 

Though a young Jedi raised by the strict code of the Order, Jobal sensed a rebellious spirit in this one. He was sharper than she gave him credit

for while throughly unafraid to teasing Padmé in front of her. "Thank you," Jobal half-laughed, striking a knowing look towards her clearly appalled daughter.

 

Padmé met Anakin's sidelong smirk with the same. "I'll have you know that I do not attract trouble, Knight Skywalker." The use of his official public address was on purpose as she sought to pay him back for his not-so-subtle dig. Sola and Jobal seemed to fade gently into the background.

 

"What would you call the numerous attempts to silence your voice in the Senate?"

 

"Of nor more importance than the numerous starships you've crashed."

 

"I was shot down."

 

"I was shot at."

 

"It's because you attract trouble like a moth to a flame."

 

"Do you think I flew the rest of the way here because I wanted you to rest your piloting skills?"

 

"Now what is that supposed to mean?"

 

"Its means the Jedi have replaced your starfighter and repaired poor R2 numerous times."

 

"Says the good Senator who travels with several heavily armed bodyguards despite the lack of trouble she attracts."

 

"Enough, children," Jobal affectionately proclaimed, shaking her head when they stopped at the end of the hall. These two obviously had a close friendship, which meant a great deal to the mother of a daughter she feared let so few people get close to her. "A Senator and a Jedi Knight should not remind me of my grandchildren when they bicker."

 

"My apologies, milady," Anakin offered.

 

Suddenly Padmé felt twelve. "Sorry mom."

 

Having marched quietly behind the trio, Sola not only enjoyed her mothers utter ambivalence at seeing a dear friendship that was clearly far more than

that. The alluring way Anakin shadowed Padmé, nearly falling instep with her as they made their way down the hall should have told her mother everything she needed to know. Alas, her dear mother forever saw Padmé as an innocent girl who had accomplished a great many important things in her life, but not yet a woman who knew the touch of a lover or how to properly handle a man.

 

Sola was not so blind to her sisters abilities, though she kept her mouth shut... for now. There was more fun to be had in three... two... one...

 

"We didn't have the servants prepare your usual room, dear," Jobal addressed Padmé, with Anakin standing just over her shoulder. "I know that you could be called back to the Senate at any time so I had a room prepared with an adjourning door in anticipation that Dormé or Motee might be traveling with you. Now under normal circumstances I might not be comfortable with this, but as it stands..." she cast a curt nod towards Anakin and quietly the fact that he was a Jedi, "I see no reason to change your room unless you have an objection."

 

Uncharacteristically, Padmé wanted to do a couple of back flips and cartwheels like she did as a child in these halls. Ever the poised politician, she deftly painted on a smile of indifference, all the while conscious of carnal delights she might not be denied after all. "I do not see a problem having a room attached to Anakin's so long as there is a lock on the door and the walls are thick enough to shield me from his incessant snoring."

 

"Now how would you know Anakin snores?" Sola could not help but to ask, arms crossed her chest in a daring pose. Jobal seemed curious as well.

 

Padmé didn't flinch an inch, "I try to have lunch with Master Obi-Wan Kenobi at least once every couple of months and he often regales me with tales of my good friend Anakin that are far less glamorous and heroic than the jubilant fanfare he enjoys on the HoloNet."

 

As badly as Anakin wanted to defend himself lady luck has shined so bright just now thoughts of verbally sparing with his wife evaporated. With an adjourning door they wouldn't sleep even one night apart, much less miss out on a chance to make love. "I'll do my best to keep my snoring to a minimum, milady."

 

Echoes of her husbands amorous thoughts filled Padmé with such longing as he obviously had the same ideas she did. "I appreciate the effort in advance."

 

Sola was thoroughly impressed with her sisters ability to hide the truth in plain sight. But if her younger sibling was riding a small wave of secret enthusiasm it would have to end as there was a final nugget of news she was most pleased to report. "The walls are actually not that thick, but I doubt you would hear Anakin's snoring anymore than you would hear father's," she quite enjoyed explaining to a suddenly wide-eyed Padmé. "Mom and dad are on the other side of your room, dear sister. So unless we engaged in our time honored tradition of jumping up and down on the bed for some strange reason I think all four of you will be able to sleep quite peacefully." 

 

Just as high as Anakin and Padmé's spirits had soared into the clouds, that was how far they fell upon hearing that.

 

"Hopefully Anakin won't mind the giggles of little girls as Pooja and Ryoo's rooms are on the other side of his. But if they ever get to loud just let me or my husband know and we'll silence them quickly." It almost touched Sola how crestfallen Padmé appeared for a brief second before she caught herself, appearing as if nothing of real importance had been said.

 

"I don't think I will even know the kids are there, milady. I am a very deep sleeper," Anakin smiled despite the disappointment he hid.

 

After pressing a small kiss to Padmé's cheek, Jobal offered a friendly hug to Anakin. "You two had a very long flight from Coruscant. I suggest you both unpack and unwind for a bit. Dinner will be served in an hour and a half so take your time." 

 

"Thank you again, Jobal," Anakin bowed, and then placed Padmé's bags by her door.

 

"Think nothing of it, Anakin. If you are dear to Padmé then you are dear to us all." Jobal offered a bow in return, as did Sola, who gave an interesting wink to her sister.

 

After exchanging a solemn glance. Padmé and Anakin walked to their respective doors as Sola and Jobal traveled back down the hall.

 

 

 

******

 

Twenty Minutes Later

 

******

 

 

While brushing her long curly hair in broad strokes before an open window, Padmé admired the gorgeous shimmering lake that surrounded the Lake Country, now lit beautifully by moonlight. A warm, gentle breeze softly caressed her skin, so unlike the manufactured atmosphere of Coruscant. Naboo was a completely natural environment, an unspoiled paradise, the fresh air surrounding her once again and offering a peacefulness her soul had almost forgotten.

 

She closed her eyes and simply breathed in the joy that the bickering and corruption of the Senate would be silenced for the next ten days. She'd worked so hard and sacrificed so much of her own personal happiness that she'd nearly forgotten what she was fighting for. Being with her family again would clarify why her efforts were so important, but none of those things included her Anakin.

 

The woman whose true name was Padmé Amidala Naberrie Skywalker wore a mask of shadowed secrecy, forbidden to reveal her true self.

 

By day she was a focused, opinionated, hard-nosed Senator fighting to find a peaceful solution to ending the war while battling the ever increasing influence of a calculating and far too powerful Supreme Chancellor. One whom her beloved husband considered a valued mentor, which only added to her stress. The daily grind of banding together those Senators and bureaucrats brave enough to speak against Palpatine, even if it were only behind closed doors, proved very demanding and even dangerous to say the least.

 

But come nightfall she was a wife praying to the Force that she never became a widow, glued to the HoloNet before bed, desperately seeking any news on Anakin and his well-being.

 

His whereabouts were unknown to her during times they were separated, which were unfortunately quite often. Sent from one end of the galaxy to the other, her husband was always on the move risking his life fighting a war she worried had lost not only its purpose, but the ability to leave the Republic in a better place than it was in before the war began.

 

Lonely, worry-filled nights spent away from her husband were heartbreaking, as were the cold mornings of waking up alone without him by her side. Was he missing her as badly as she missed him? Was he hurt? Was he fighting for his life? Padmé struggled with such thoughts for weeks and months at a time. She kept busy, buried her feelings, and bullied her way toward her goals despite the heartache she'd come to accept as part of her life.

 

But not for the next ten days.

 

Despite their secretive circumstances Padmé looked forward not only to reconnecting with her family but spending precious time with her husband. She intended to be near him each day, by his side, watching over and taking care of him as often as was possible. All else be damned.

 

To be perfectly honest, she considered with a knowing smile, she kind of enjoyed sharing a secret with him alone.

 

And then there was a noise...

 

The sound instantly drew Padmé's attention, though she kept her gaze fixed on the serenity of the moonlit lake. The knob on the adjourning door to Anakin's room was in her own, so when she heard it slowly turning she smiled accordingly. He had such a devilish way of using the Force to his own means, only adding to his charming rebelliousness.

 

The door slowly opened, signaling Anakin had entered the room.

 

Sighing with delight, she felt his utter adoration and arousal, as well as approval of the backless, white evening dress she wore tonight. Following his footsteps from the door, the bed creaking when he sat at the end, now watching over her as he often did when she brushed her hair. Forever beautiful in his eyes.

 

"Love," Padmé called out to him while still facing the window, her brush dangling from her fingertips. "I know that we could have spent our vacation alone and wouldn't have had to hide our marriage or how we feel about each other. I also know how badly you needed to get away from the war, and I'm mentally and physically exhausted as well. I know how you abhor hiding our relationship and how my reasons for keeping it a secret still from my family frustrates you greatly.

 

"I recognize that this is a huge sacrifice for you coming here where we will have to keep up pretensions that we are only friends and no more. We won't have nearly the privacy or intimacy we'd have if we'd gone to another world under assumed identities, and I'm sorry for that. I just want you to know how appreciative I am that you're going along with this for my sake. I love you so much for giving me this time with my... our family. And I swear to you one day I will make all of this up to you."

 

The tender smile that curled her lips when his feelings swept over her were breathtaking. The connection they shared through the Force, or simply because they were so in love, gave them such profound access to one another. His frustration over the lies and secrets kept were understood, but so was his dear appreciation for her need to spend time with her family after so many months apart. Especially since he had none left after his mother's death The sad ache of missing never faded, though his complete love for her healed his troubled heart.

 

"I love you too, Anakin. More than my own life," Padmé quietly declared and then received the same in reflection through her soul as his feelings were crystal clear to her. She felt an absolute freedom with him, as if her burdens and worries were lifted by his presence alone. What truly was there to fret over so as long as they were together? Nothing and that was the point.

 

Padmé had the entire galaxy so long as she had Anakin by her side. And she knew he felt the same.

 

"After dinner tonight what would you like to do?" No sooner than the words passed her lips the zipper on the back of her dress began to slowly fall, even as a tingling, ethereal warmth bathed the back of her neck.

 

"Ani, I've warned you in the past about undressing me with the Force. It makes me feel uncomfortable," she half-laughed when she heard him snicker from the bed. "I would love to take a walk with you through the gardens. How does that sound?" Her zipper fell a bit more... Men and their one track minds. "Ani!"

 

When she raised her voice it greatly amused him. The sound of her laughter a balm to his weary spirit. With a subtle wave of his hand her zipper ascended.

 

"Thank you." Padmé resumed brushing her hair, ever mindful of his quiet appreciation of her feminine form. The smart girl with the smart mouth who failed to entice many of the crushes of her youth now enjoyed the fiery, wild desire of a powerful Jedi. The Chosen One had chosen her, and while she reached for the respect her education and mind had earned, the knowledge that her husband longed for her body didn't only make her feel like a woman, but such a woman indeed. "Are you going to say anything, love? Or am I supposed to talk to myse..."

 

The plush ruby-red rug beneath her bare feet stiffened and then began to move backwards, curving around the bed without her consent. She stood perfectly still holding her brush until the rug stopped in front of her wildly grinning husband. "You think this is funny, don't you?"

 

Reaching for her slender waist, Anakin hauled her off her feet onto his lap and quickly covered her soft, pouty lips with a hungry caress. When one arm circled her, his flesh hand tangled in her thick hair, winding into the curls. Their mouths were ravenously hot, melding and merging in a mastered decadent rhythm.

 

Shifting them onto the bed, Anakin settled over Padmé, his flesh hand now ghosting warmth up and down her bare thigh underneath her dress. Her reply to his sensual touch was soft sigh against his lips. She quivered from the heat of his thick arousal pressing against her center and longed to be filled with it... with him utterly. She suckled his agile tongue in her mouth, causing him to throb powerfully where their lower bodies met, now rocking against one another. Her right hand combed through his sun-streaked hair, while the other admired the muscles over his back.

 

Force be praised, the heavy weight of him felt so good pushing her into the bed, her leg curled along his thigh, their hands roaming freely for the flesh they longed for.

 

Anakin aroused Padmé with such possessiveness she purred into the side of his neck when his mouth assaulted her neck, dragging his tongue methodically over her pulse. Each time his hips lowered, gliding roughly against her center she longed to be rid of their clothes and making passionate love. Alas, current circumstances and another little factor were against them.

 

Groaning, as this was the last thing she wanted to do, Padmé gently pulled Anakin from her neck, his breath panting heavily over her face. "Love, as badly as I want you we can't do this with people, much less my parents next door." She recognized his non-caring expression. "They're my parents, and it would make me feel icky."

 

"Icky? I didn't even know you knew that word."

 

"I have a fabulous vocabulary. I thought you'd figured that out by now."

 

Lowering over her soft lips, Anakin smiled despite his frustration. "Who taught you that word?"

 

"Ryoo," Padmé told him while tracing the handsome features of his face. "Her pet Voorpak couldn't get outside the house to relieve itself and one day did it on her bedroom floor. She said it was icky over and over and over."

 

"Children are the best teachers." Kissing his wife once more to soothe the ache he felt in his lower regions, Anakin understood how anyone wouldn't feel too comfortable making love with his or her parents next door. He tried to imagine if Obi-Wan were next door... better not go there.

 

Padmé watched him roll over onto his back beside her, his face wearing a scowl she thought was more than a little cute. He wasn't getting his way. She surmised that perhaps every now and then that was good for a man. "Should I say that I'm sorry?"

 

"Only if you mean it." Turning on her side, Padmé arched a brow and waited. Anakin knew what that meant. "No, you don't have to say you're sorry. It's alright... for now. But I refuse to go ten days being near you and not touching you the entire time. Trust me, we will find a way to be together. Even if I have to put every single member of your family to sleep using the Force."

 

The funny thing was he actually might. Smiling, Padmé tenderly kissed his forehead, her hand lying over his chest. "Could you put Teckla and Nandi to sleep as well? When they saw you again they were practically drooling while whispering to each other. They couldn't keep their eyes off of you."

 

Even the merest hint of jealousy from Padmé made Anakin feel like he'd mastered the Force. Of course she knew he had no interest in their attentions, but she was still a wife and as he was, possessive. "You shouldn't take offense with them, milady. I am a very popular and dare I say, handsome Jedi." Daring to glance sideways at his understanding wife, he found a far less than understanding glare staring back at him.

 

"Guess who's going to be sleeping alone tonight? Go ahead, guess?"

 

Anakin kissed her that very instant until they began laughing around kisses. "My heart, soul, and desire belong only to you. I'm not looking for fans, okay?"

 

"I know," she smiled at him, enjoying the silly moment. A sharp contrast to the far more serious events normally surrounding their lives. "I was just teasing."

 

"Riiiight." Her playful swat of his arm earned her another lengthy kiss, not that she minded in the least. "Your father asked me for a favor."

 

"Really? What was it?"

 

"He told me that he and your mother invited some guests to arrive soon and he was a bit concerned about their character, if I'm not mistaken. He wants me to Force-read them and let him know what I find."

 

"That's curious." Padmé was surprised to say the least. "No one informed me we would be receiving guests during our stay. I just assumed this was a family-only gathering."

 

"Pay it no mind, Angel. I am happy your father asked me for a favor. Hopefully, I can spend time with him alone and get to know him better, while letting him get to know me better. Someday our secret will be out in the open, and I want to establish a good relationship with him. So I think this is a good thing."

 

She couldn't argue with that logic and would dearly love for her father to see her husband as the good person that he was. "I'd still like to know who these guests are, but I suppose it doesn't matter. We're together and with our family. That is all that matters." Suddenly the pitter-patter of fast moving feet sounded outside her bedroom door.

 

Then the fast rattle of a child's knock came.

 

"Yes?" Padmé called out.

 

"Aunt Padmé, it's me, Pooja. I drew you some pictures when I found out you were coming, and I wanted to show them to you. They're really good and cool."

 

Padmé exchanged a look with Anakin, who knew their brief time alone had ended. They kissed once more... dearly, and then he quietly slipped off the bed and back to his room.

 

No sooner than Anakin entered his bedroom and shut the door a knock came at his door. One that was very similar to the one at Padmé's He walked over and opened it, finding Ryoo waiting for him. The cute eight-year old had a smile that could turn a Sith Lord from the Dark Side. "Hello, Ryoo."

 

Ryoo waved nervously while gazing up at the tall Jedi. "Hi Anakin. How are you doing?"

 

Her Force-signature was one he knew all to well. The child wanted something that was for sure. And he already knew he wouldn't say no. "I'm fine, milady. Is there something I could do for you?"

 

"Uhm, if you're not busy and wouldn't mind, yes. But it kinda sorta has to be a secret. Can you keep a secret?"

 

"Why yes. I think that I can," Anakin replied. Bending down to one knee before her, he smiled widely. In only the short time he'd been around her she felt comfortable enough to ask him a favor. He loved how that made him feel. "Just name it."

 

Taking a step forward, Ryoo bent down to his ear and placed her hand over it and his mouth. When she asked her favor he almost burst out laughing. He

nodded and then followed her down the hall. Pooja joined them moments later.

 

 

 

******

 

The kitchen area

Ten minutes later

 

******

 

 

"Now that is mighty peculiar."

 

Paddy Accu, a former pilot in the Naboo Starship Fleet, had seen a great many things in his sixty-four years of life. With a remarkable record of service to his home world's security behind him, the man who was known as "The Gentle Soul of Varykino" found in his latter years that a quieter lifestyle best suited him. He split his time between being caretaker for the Naberrie family home in the Lake Country and taking request from couples for romantic moonlit rides in his wave-riding gondola speeder.

 

Enjoying a simpler life at this age allowed him to reflect on the wonders his eyes had seen. He'd piloted small underwater ships around the hydrostatic bubble technology that housed the elaborate Gungan settlements while marveling at the architecture. He'd toured the massive network of underwater caves beneath Naboo and even outran a couple of gargantuan sea beasts in his time. He'd witnessed the beauty and wonder of not only the dark heavens above but the unfathomable depths of the sea below.

 

Not much could shock Paddy Accu.

 

Not much except this...

 

With his back to the larger of the two kitchen islands, he found himself staring at an event he couldn't quite explain. He didn't feel the need to scream or shout, as he sensed no fear in what his eyes were witnessing. But the foundation of his thoughts knew this wasn't normal at all. And still he couldn't find his voice to tell anyone what was happening.

 

Twelve double fudge cookies, one after the other, carefully lifted into the air out of a jar in the upper pantry shelves. The cookies slowly floated across the kitchen and around a corner, all while he stood mute watching them. Then three empty glasses made their way off a shelf and out of the kitchen, rounding the same corner the cookies did. Then the refrigeration unit door opened and a jug of milk, without spilling a single drop, just floated away, curving out of the kitchen down the hall to parts unknown.

 

"Well you don't see that everyday."

 

Perhaps three shots of Hylin wine a day weren't so good for his heart. Paddy shook his head, whisking away the elusive cobwebs and then tried to figure out just why he didn't want to tell anyone about this strange event. Surely Ruwee and Jobal would want to hear that... and then he considered if he told them they might think he was finally too old to perform his duties.

 

Sighing to himself, he could hear the sound of footsteps approaching as the Naberrie family were about to eat dinner shortly. He quietly made his way down the hall in the other direction.

 

Nothing happened just now.

 

He decided to leave it at that.

 

 

 

******

 

 

Five minutes later

 

A first floor guest room

 

 

******

 

 

"That is the coolest thing I have ever seen," Pooja remarked softly in awe while watching her cookie slowly dip into the cold milk, only to emerge seconds later dripping in mid-air in front of her.

 

"Go ahead and eat it," Anakin encouraged her. The six and a half year old bit half the cookie, (no comma) and upon testing its taste-worth ate the rest, all while her sister giggled beside her. "Good?" Pooja nodded happily.

 

"Make my cookie fly now, Ani," Ryoo quietly begged, and then received as her cookie descended into her glass of milk and then lifted to her lips. She ate it whole, laughing while chewing. "Do yours Ani. Do yours next!"

 

"You picked the right cookies too, Ani. I don't like those oatmeal cookies," Pooja explained while enjoying the wonder of floating cookies as Anakin did as requested. "The double fudge cookies my Nana makes are the best."

 

Anakin had to admit it was probably the best cookie he'd ever tasted. "When I was a Youngling..."

 

Pooja looked to her older sister, who seemed to not know what the word meant either. "What's a Youngling?"

 

"A Youngling is a child who is training to become a Jedi." Both children nodded. "When I was Youngling, Master Yoda used to say sweets ruined your appetite for dinner. Well, his exact words were 'Evening dinner ruined by too many sweets, it is'." Both children quickly shook their heads while laughing at the way he talked. "Exactly. I still wanted to eat all my dinner even after I ate several cookies or more."

 

"Cookies make dinner better," Ryoo added, seated on Anakin's right side. "Sometimes I think older people just say that so when we leave the kitchen they can eat all the cookies themselves. I think it's a conseracy... Is that the right word?"

 

"Conspiracy," Anakin politely corrected her. "You almost got it."

 

"Is Master Yoda the little green man with the long ears?" Pooja cheerfully asked.

 

"Yes, that is Master Yoda. He trains the Younglings until they are old enough to be trained by a Master Jedi. Then they become a Padawan."

 

"Can Jedi fly?"

 

"No, I'm afraid not, Pooja."

 

"Ani, can a Jedi breathe underwater?"

 

"Nope."

 

"Do Jedi's have to brush their teeth?"

 

"No, Ryoo. We only brush our teeth once a month." They didn't like the sound of that. "I'm just kidding. Yes, we brush our teeth every day."

 

"Do you have a pet?"

 

"No, but I have a droid. Your Aunt Padmé gave R2-D2 to me as a gift."

 

"Are there any Jedi from Naboo?"

 

Thinking over Pooja's question, it occurred to Anakin that, "No, I don't think there has ever been a Jedi from Naboo. At least I have never heard of one?"

 

"Pooja and I could be Jedi one day," Ryoo seemed certain of. "Or maybe we'll work in the Senate like Aunt Padmé. She does really important stuff."

 

Anakin just had to ask, "Like what?" Ryoo seemed surprised to be put on the spot, suddenly blushing.

 

"Uhm, I'm not sure. But it's real important. No one is smarter than my Aunt Padmé."

 

"You're quite right, milady." Both children seemed to genuinely love it when he called them that. He supposed they felt older whenever he did it.

 

Ryoo and Pooja ate the rest of their cookies and drank the rest of their milk, all the while asking Anakin a ton of questions about Jedi Knights, Light sabers, and starships. He greatly enjoyed his time with them, as they seemed to adore his company. They had already taken to calling him Ani just as Padmé had years ago. They were sweet, well-mannered children, but like his beloved carried a mischievous streak and were able to rationalize their actions to fit their needs.

 

They were allowed two cookies each per day, so they decided they simply wouldn't eat any couple for the next two days. That way they would still be on pace for what they were due.

 

Anakin thought they'd be great politicians some day.

 

"I don't believe this!"

 

Anakin, Pooja, and Ryoo all looked up at the same time to find Padmé standing in the doorway, hands on her hips, staring back at them. They couldn't possibly look more guilty. Cookie crumbs on their clothes and emptyglasses of milk sat before them.

 

"This cookie theft plot, who's (whose) idea was it?" Ryoo nervously pointed to Pooja, who did the same to her sister. "Who aided you two in the plot?" Each seated on opposite sides of Anakin, both pointed his way. "How could you three steal all those cookies and a whole jar of milk," she accused the trio while walking toward them, "And not taken any for me. I'm so disappointed in you two."

 

The remorseful expression Pooja and Ryoo wore instantly faded into smiling faces as they rose from the floor and ran to their favorite and only aunt, wrapping their arms around her.

 

Ryoo offered, "We're sorry, Aunt Padmé We'll make Ani go ste... Uhm, borrow more."

 

"That won't be necessary, but I will not have you two using Anakin as a means to your nefarious ends." The children sort of stared at her, unsure what she meant. "He's not going to be stealing cookies for you anymore."

 

"But Aunt Padmé!" both half pleaded.

 

"No." Padmé's stern voice was followed by a dear hug and kiss for both. "Go wash your hands and prepare for dinner. Because I love you so much I'm going to forget this little event, okay?" Both nodded and then turned around and barreled into Anakin, hugging him tightly.

 

"Thanks for helping us with our nefarious ends, Ani." Pooja gently kissed his cheek.

 

"Yeah, thanks." Ryoo added without thinking, "I love you."

 

Pooja followed suit. "I love you too. You're cool."

 

"And I love both of you as well." Anakin waved as they scampered off and out of the guest room, leaving him alone with his wife. He spun around to face her and immediately defended his actions. "They made me do it."

 

"Yes, I do believe Pooja is a Sith Lord hiding in kindergarten."

 

"She keeps asking about my lightsaber. What if the Sith Lord is from Naboo?"

 

"I'd still doubt it was my six-year-old niece," Padmé snickered, and then stepped into his welcoming arms. "You're their new best friend. Expect them to follow you around wherever you go."

 

"They aren't so bad. And the cookies were delicious."

 

"You stole them, Ani."

 

"And I intend to steal this kiss and your clothes off your beautiful body later on," his voiced faded at the end before sealing their lips in a passionate lip-lock, his arms clutched tightly around her small frame. Her ams circled his neck, deepening their kiss, losing herself in her husband's strong arms.

 

"Sorry, I forgot my..."

 

Anakin and Padmé quickly broke apart when they heard Ryoo's voice.

 

"Shoes," the eight-year old barely finished, her equally shocked sister by her side. No one said a word...

 

Pooja then slowly pointed and uttered a phrase that on any world, no matter the alien dialect, was a kid's trademark.

 

"I'm gonna tell."

 

 

 

******

 

 

The End of Chapter 2

 

 

Lol, don't let the whimsical nature fool you as this story will have equal parts humor, drama, angst, and erotica.

 

Chapter 3: Padmé and Anakin explain things as best they can to the children. Padmé suffers through the absolute worse conversation anyone could ever have with her mother. Anakin and Sola's husband discuss Naberrie women. Anakin comes face to face with the first man seeking Padmé's affection, though she later shows it to him alone.