This fan fiction is in response to the "First Kiss" challenge.
"Master Anakin, it is so good to see you again," the droid in the doorway intoned. It had the body of a PO model protocol droid, though badly battered and worn. There was something familiar about it to Anakin, though. He considered it as Padm? and Artoo exited the ship. The squat astromech droid wheeled over to the newcomer like he had found a lost friend.
"3PO? Is that really you?" Anakin asked, an edge of excitement in his voice. "I'm so glad that you finally have coverings! How is my mother?"
"She is well, sir, though misses you terribly. Your Highness! Welcome to Tatooine. My name is C-3PO, Human Cyborg Relations. I am at your service". Hearing this, Anakin turned to see Padm? Amidala again for the first time. Ten years had changed her little, only adding more beauty and grace. In all of his travels with Master Obi-Wan, he had never seen such a woman. Ten years! He thought, She must barely recognize me, much less remember me!
"Thank you," responded Padm? as she came to a halt in front of Anakin. He seemed tense, she noticed. He had become so grown up, so unlike the boy she knew ten years ago. She reached up and caressed the japor snippet that was lovingly carved for her so long ago by this handsome Jedi standing next to her. "What is wrong?" she asked, seeing his eyes searching the horizon, watching the tension mount in his strong frame as he gritted his teeth, the muscles in his jaw standing out.
"There is something not right here, there is a disturbance in the force, but I cannot pin down its location," he answered, eyes still moving over the landscape. "Let's get to the speeder and to a safe place."
The group moved cautiously, but quickly to the waiting speeder. As they piled in, Anakin whipped around, his lightsaber igniting with a snap and the trademark hum. As he spun, he slashed the blade in front of Padm?, coming within a decimetre of her face, deflecting a blaster bolt away from her. "Get in while I hold them off!" Anakin yelled.
"Hold who..." Padm? trailed off as she looked in the direction the blaster bolt had come from. In front of her were two bounty hunters, looking to cash in on the assassination warrant on her head. Turning back to the speeder, she felt an invisible hand lift her into the driver's seat. She furiously pushed the ignition, with just a plaintive whine from the engine the only effect. "Anakin! I can't get it started!"
Anakin leaped up and back, landing neatly on the back of the speeder, his lightsaber still flashing as a blur, deflecting the shots with unerring accuracy. "Would it help if I got out and pushed?" he asked as he caught a stray bolt headed for 3PO.
"It might!" came the sarcastic reply from the front of the speeder as Padm? looked for a power pack for her blaster. I should have grabbed some before I got off of the ship, but I couldn't wait to see Anakin. She thought with regret, wishing she could do more than watch.
Suddenly, the speeder started moving forward slowly at first, picking up speed as more of the blaster bolts went wide. She looked back at her Jedi protector to see he was doing his job, taking his concentration from protecting himself with the lightsaber and putting it into pushing the speeder. He had even been shot in the arm for his trouble.
The trip to the Lars homestead was a long one, and by the time they arrived, Anakin was exhausted. He managed to land on his feet when he jumped off of the speeder, only to fall unconscious into the arms of his mother and Padm?.
When he awoke, he felt her nearby and knew that she had never left his side. He slowly opened his eyes, the bright light stabbing into them as the hot twin suns bore down on the planet. "How long was I out?" he asked, still trying to orient himself.
"Only a few hours," was the reply. Such an angelic voice! he thought. I knew it when I first saw her so long ago. His thoughts concluded as Padm? lowered herself in the chair by his bed. He noticed then a carved piece of japor hanging from her neck.
"You kept it!" He could not keep the amazement out of his voice. Suddenly, his mind flashed back ten years to a young boy on a cold star ship for the first time. He had so carefully carved the trinket for her, hoping to win her affections, wanting to be older. She had remembered him, after all! The realization brought a smile to his face.
"It is my most treasured possession," she told him, smiling. Then tears started flowing, and the strong woman that he was falling in love with collapsed on his chest, her body wracked with sobs. "Oh, Anakin, I was so afraid that I had lost you again after so long!" She fought to regain composure as he put his arms around her, feeling her in the fabric of the Force. Looking up at him, her face streaked with tears and lined with concern, he was struck again by her beauty and strength, knowing that she must care for him to show this lapse in her armour. Leaning up, he looked her in the eyes. "You will never lose me, and I will never leave you again." With that, they melted together, kissing for the first time, but knowing it would never be the last.
Original cover design by Cereth. HTML formatting copyright 2001 TheForce.Net LLC.