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Beloved Monster: Chapter I
Transformation: Anakin to Vader

Rated overall at R - if a section is otherwise, I will post it at the beginning

It is a time of relative peace. More than ten years have passed since the Trade Federation attempted the takeover of Naboo and establishing a monopoly through force. During this period, Chancellor Palpatine has maintained order within the Republic through an iron grasp on the Senate. Still, there are trouble spots... unexplained aggressions and infighting among the member systems for more control. Naboo has remained neutral, as has Alderaan. Routines of everyday life have taken their toll on many of the leaders, including Queen Amidala who feels sorely in need of some time to leave behind the burdens of her position...

Queen Amidala had entirely enough of doing business for Naboo. She'd been the head of state over ten years and had rarely taken time for herself. Not that she hadn't gone off planet, or even spent time with her friends on Coruscant. But actual time to think something besides thoughts of 'This would be of use later' and 'Now what does that really mean in the larger scheme' had had no place in her life since the whole Trade Federation debacle.

Perhaps, now that things had calmed down a bit and Chancellor Palpatine had claimed to make things safer overall she could afford to become Padme'... really become Padme' and leave her Amidala mind behind in Naboo. She grinned... time to go visit her favorite Master and Padawan as her alter ego. Obi-Wan and Anakin knew about the subterfuge, but she'd been careful to keep her decoy tactic known to only a few. No one on Coruscant except those two should know who she really was. She called her handmaidens together to tell them of her decision and met with mixed responses.

"Your Majesty, is this wise? With Chancellor Palpatine clamping down on interplanetary travel, you might have problems returning," Rabe' protested.

"Don't be silly! I think it's a wonderful idea! After all, it's been years since she's seen Padawan Skywalker. You must tell us how he and Master Kenobi are, Your Majesty," Sabe' teased, a glint her eye Amidala wasn't certain about.

"Then it's settled," she announced. "Tomorrow I will depart as Padme' on an errand to Coruscant. I'll make up some sort of message from me to the Chancellor and once it's delivered I'll ask to visit the Temple to convey my... I mean, the Queen's regards to the Jedi." She smirked, then laughed outright at the various expressions on her friends' and bodyguards' faces.

Still smiling, she pulled Sabe' off alone to speak to her. "Tell me, my friend...do you have any special messages for a certain Jedi Knight we both know?" she teased.

Sabe' blushed and shook her head, then seemed to reconsider. "Well, just tell him hello for me...and that I still remember." With that cryptic remark, Sabe' dipped her head and refused to answer any further questions.

Amidala had the others make the preparations, though the Captain of her security guards voiced his objections as adamantly as Rabe' had. Waiving aside his worries, the Queen departed the next day in her Padme' persona.


"What a pleasant surprise, Padme'... though the Queen's message must be urgent to send you at this time," the Chancellor declared, a strangely hard look in his eyes.

Hmmm... I don't remember him looking like that before when I spoke with him. Oh, stop! You're here to enjoy yourself... just remember that.

"I am sorry to disturb you, Chancellor, but Queen Amidala wished me to ask if you had made any further progress with the proposal regarding slavery in the Outer Rim." This was an actual concern of hers, but it also made for a convenient reason/excuse to send someone to Republic's center.

"So the Queen still has some interest in that Skywalker woman, eh?" he muttered to himself, and then a bland politician's mask seemed to drop over his face. "You may convey this message back to her... Tell her the matter is before the Senate and I hope for some sort of action in the next few weeks. Now, if that is all? I'm very busy."

"Certainly, Chancellor. With your permission, the Queen has asked me to give my regards to the Jedi Temple."

For a moment a terrible hate filled expression flitted across his face before his smooth exterior slipped back into place. With an impatient gesture, he shooed her away, then hurried back toward the Senate chambers.

Now what was that all about?

She shook off her apprehension in anticipation of seeing Anakin and Obi-Wan again.


"Padme'!" a surprisingly deep voice cried out from the door of the room where she was told to wait.

She turned to find a tall Padawan approaching. He looked... familiar.


She got no more out before she found herself scooped up in his arms and whirled around. Laughter burst from her... she hadn't felt so young since the last time she saw him five years ago. Her arms reached round his neck to cling to him as the world spun dizzily once he stopped.

A strange warmth spread through her as he continued to hold her. She tried to ignore it. After all, this was her friend... a Jedi Padawan.

"Padme'... Amidala... I've missed you," he murmured against her hair, reluctantly letting her go.

"I've missed you, too, Ani. Now turn around and let me see you. You've gotten so... so... big!"

He twirled around with a grin on his face. The Padawan braid looked good on him, as did the Jedi clothing. Something tugged at her heart...he had grown so handsome, this young man five years her junior. Gods, where had the time gone? The last time she'd seen him he was still a child... fourteen... the age she'd been when she'd ascended the Naboo throne.

She must have been staring because suddenly he stood very close and she had to look up... and up. Where did he get that height? His mother was tiny and he'd been a small boy, but now...

"Hello? Do I have food in my teeth or something?" he asked with a bemused question in his eyes.

"Oh, sorry... No, just surprised at how much you've grown," she managed, finding it difficult to breath all at once.
He groaned. "Force, I'm tired of hearing that!"

Amidala stiffened, realizing she'd offended him. "I'm sorry. It's just been such a long time since I last saw you..."

"Oh, shut up," he whispered, moving even closer until her neck ached looking into his eyes.


"I said, shut up...Your Majesty." Then his mouth descended on hers.

She couldn't think, she only felt the softness of his lips, the carefully restrained strength in his arms, the hard muscles of his chest as he pulled her closer. The dizziness returned full force.

Footsteps sounded outside and Amidala found herself abruptly on her feet, Anakin moving away toward the door.

"Master Kenobi, look who's come to visit," he called out.
Obi-Wan strode through the door, a smile on his face as he extended his hand to take hers.

"A pleasure...Padme'," he said, taking in her dress. "To what do we owe this unexpected visit?"

"I just needed some time to myself. Since I wanted to find out what progress the Chancellor had made on certain issues, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to visit old friends."

Liar...you wanted to see me again.

The thought sounded in her mind and her gaze flew to Anakin, who stood beside his master with tiny smile.

Amidala gaped at him. She *was* hearing him in her mind.

Stop that, Anakin Skywalker! I'm too old for you.

Ani and Amidala

"Padme'?" Obi-Wan's voice brought her back.

"Sorry...just wool-gathering. May I see your gardens? I hear they are famed for their peacefulness and I could use that at the moment." She took Obi-Wan's arm and left Anakin standing there, frowning.

She managed to avoid Anakin the rest of the morning, but business called Obi-Wan away that afternoon. He left her in the library; going over some of the Jedi history 'outsiders' were allowed to know. Absorbed in the books, she didn't hear the approach of booted feet until they stood before her.

"Hiding from me? That's not like you."

"I am *not* hiding...I'm studying."

"Well, it looks like hiding to me," he said, plopping down beside her on the low couch.

Amidala's skin began to tingle, the tiny hairs rising as if she were cold. She rubbed her arms, ignoring the heavy book in her lap and trying to ignore him. He wouldn't have it.

Anakin closed the tome despite her protests, looking around the nearly deserted library. Most of the other Padawans and their Masters were in class or off on missions at this time. Since Obi-Wan had been called to the Council chambers without him, Anakin had some time on his hands.

"Don't run away from me, Amidala. You're not too old for me. We were meant to be together. I feel it...I know it," he said emphatically, taking her hands in his.

"Oh, Ani..." She sighed, trying to pretend she didn't feel her heart race at his touch.

"It's okay. Just get to know me again. All I ask is that." He pulled her against him, resting her head on his shoulder.
Amidala nestled against him in companionable silence. He was right. Being with him like this felt so fitting and so good.

Chancellor Palpatine insisted Amidala stay in one of the smaller rooms contained within his quarters. She would have rather stayed near Ani and Obi-Wan, but the Jedi rather frowned upon visitors staying in the Temple environs. Despite this, she managed to spend as much time as she could in her two favorite Jedi's company.

Anakin must have asked Obi-Wan if he could escort her around Coruscant, for the second day after she arrived he came to her door. She had opened it and found a bouquet of exotic flowers thrust into her hands.

"Thought you might like these... they reminded me of you." He grinned at her, bringing to mind the boy who'd given her that carved *japor* snippet so long ago.

"Why, thank you, Ani! That's sweet of you." She looked around, wondering where she would put them in the sparsely appointed room.

He shuffled his feet, seeming oddly uncomfortable all at once. As if he had something to say. Amidala gave him a questioning look.

"May I come in for a moment?"

She stepped aside to allow him entry, then closed the door behind him. "What is it, Ani? Is something wrong?"

"No... It's just... I apologize for what happened yesterday. It was wrong of me to take such liberties with you." He didn't meet her eyes, but she could see the misery on his face. "The flowers are to show how much I regret..."

He trailed off and she knew he didn't regret kissing her, only that Obi-Wan had arrived and made her uncomfortable with what they did.

"Ani, don't ask for forgiveness. I was surprised, but I didn't mind," she protested, taking his hand.

"Am... I... I..." He groaned and in single swift movement, he pulled her into his arms. He didn't kiss her, just held her as if she were more precious to him than anything else.

She closed her eyes, once again feeling strangely at home in his embrace. Warmth flooded her and she wanted to burrow further into it. His scent wafted over her, mingling with that of the flowers she still held.

He pressed his lips against her forehead, and then held her away at arm's length. "Enough, or I'll do something else I regret."

"Very well," she agreed, though she nearly wished he would repeat his actions of the previous day. With a sigh, she turned to rummage through the few cabinets of her room until she came up with a water container. She filled it, placed the bouquet in it and stood back to arrange the flowers. How lovely they were!

"Lovely as you are, Am," Ani whispered in her ear.

The heat from his body made her quiver as his breath puffed against her neck. I will enjoy myself! she vowed and turned to put her arms around his waist.

"Ani, this might not be the correct this to do, but I can't help feeling this way. I've always cared for you."

"And I you, Am. Marry me," he asked urgently. "Let me be with you always."

"What of your Jedi training?"

"Nothing says Jedi can't marry."

"But Obi-Wan..."

"Forget him!"

"Anakin Skywalker! What a thing to say of your own master," she protested. "I will not be the reason you leave the Jedi."

"Amidala of the Naboo, you won't be. I'll finish my training. If you promise you'll marry me...soon."

"Hmmm... I'll consider your proposal, but let's see how this visit goes first." She squirmed against him, trying to move away to no avail.

"Not yet. I want to do this," he murmured, then kissed her again. Before she melted into a little puddle, Anakin released her. "Now... let me show you some of my favorite places."


The next few days he kept her busy. At times she just watched him and his master practice...lightsabers, levitation, telekinesis... and sometimes she just watched them, even when they didn't seem to know she was present. Memories of Qui-Gon flitted through her head... memories of him predicting Ani's abilities within the Force. And she could see those abilities before her every day she spent near him.

How could she ever allow him to leave the Jedi? He could help others with his skills and his caring? Yet how could she turn away from him? He was her friend... the other part of herself she constantly hid from others... and herself.
All too soon she must return to Naboo and leave him behind. Would he truly remember his request of her? She knew she wouldn't forget.


As she had feared, the time for her to return to Naboo arrived far too quickly. She visited the Chancellor once more as Padme' before she left and requested that he contact the Queen as soon as the Senate reached a decision on the slavery issue.

"Of course, my dear. I'm certain the Queen wishes a speedy resolution of this problem...but you must understand how difficult it is to administer justice in the Outer Rim. The Republic must make their presence known there. At the moment, anarchy reigns...gangsters such as the Hutts control many of the systems." Palpatine gave a grim smile. "However, you may tell the Queen I intend to rectify the situation in the near future."

Somehow, despite his reassurances, Padme'/Amidala felt no confidence things would get better. In the week she had spent on Coruscant, she'd seen and heard intimations that the Chancellor had another, unspoken agenda. She tried talking to Anakin about it, but he refused to accept that Palpatine was more than the kindly man who'd helped her planet break the Neimoidian blockade. Much as she wanted to believe that, more and more she feared she knew her fellow Naboo citizen not at all.

There was... something... not quite right about him. Some dark aura seemed to surround him since his rise to Chancellor. She shook her head... perhaps she read too much into the occasional strange expressions she caught on his face.

"You're just being overly dramatic, Am. The Chancellor wants the best for the galaxy... he wants to bring order," Anakin protested when she mentioned it to him on their last walk in the Jedi garden.

"Oh, Ani... I'm worried. I know you think I'm just dreaming this up, but I'm not. Why won't you trust my instincts? Aren't the Jedi supposed to trust their feelings? Why can't I?" She felt like beating her fists against his thick head.
Anakin laughed. "Now, Am. Don't take it wrong. Yes, we believe in that...I just can't see Chancellor Palpatine as some sort of evil manipulator, trying to take over the Republic."

"Hmph! So speaks the great and wise Jedi, eh?" She stalked off, leaving Anakin staring after her with a puzzled expression.

"Am! Wait!" He sprinted after her until he caught up enough to walk beside her.

"I'm leaving in the morning. Going back to Naboo. Do me a favor, Ani... just keep an eye on the Chancellor and an ear open for things that don't sound right." She refused to meet his eyes, fearing he'd see the pain in them. He didn't trust her... even after all they'd been through... all he'd promised her.

Not true, Am. I *do* trust you...it's just hard to see him that way.

Amidala stopped abruptly. She didn't want to believe it either, but she sensed an awful power building and feared the focus lay behind Palpatine.

Anakin interrupted her morbid thoughts as he pulled her behind a large tree. So far he'd kept to an occasional kiss on her cheek, her forehead, a brief brush of his lips against hers...a touch of his hand. Her imminent departure seemed to trigger a deep, almost frantic response in him.

"If you're leaving tomorrow, I need to give you something to remember until we see each other again," he murmured as he wrapped his arms around her.

No tentative kisses this time, no holding back...the fire burning in his heart seemed to sear her soul. He didn't hurt her, but the passion tightly reigned in before threatened to burst free. Her back scraped against the tree as he gripped her tightly to his body. His hands pressed her closer until she felt no doubt he desired her. But did he love her?

"Yes, Am... I love you. Don't want you to go..." he whispered as his lips traced heated kisses against her neck.
He picked her up, his hands under her bottom to fit her even closer. Despite her worries, she responded to his caresses, wrapping her legs around his hips, her arms around his neck.
"Ani...I...I love you," she managed between his kisses.

"Want...you...now," he groaned. "Waited so long..."

A discreet cough intruded. For a moment, Amidala thought Anakin would ignore it, but after one last kiss, he released her, his face flushed, eyes dilated.

"Master, I...we..."

"Anakin, I understand your feelings, but this is hardly the appropriate place or time," Obi-Wan admonished his Padawan. "Padme', I heard you're leaving tomorrow morning. Is there anything we can do to help?"

Amidala took a deep breath; oddly discomfited Obi-Wan ignored the fact she'd participated in the embrace as much as Anakin had. Her own face felt hot and she knew she must look...disheveled. With a quick pat at her hair, she struggled to put her cool facade back in place.

"Thank you, Master Kenobi. I've asked the Chancellor to expedite the Outer Rim slavery issue...if you could keep me apprised of any changes..."

A strangled sound from Anakin brought both Obi-Wan and Amidala's gazes to him.

"Am...what did he say? My mom..."

She shook her head with a rueful smile. "He didn't say much except he would try. I got the impression it isn't high on his priorities. All he would admit was that he has little power over what happens there since the Hutts control the majority of that system."

What she didn't tell them was the Chancellor's comments about rectifying the situation and the somehow ominous tone with which he had made that announcement. She used Obi-Wan's presence to escape and hurried back to her quarters to pack what little she had brought. At least traveling as Padm?equired less preparation. Once she finished, she sat staring out at the Coruscant skyline, pondering what had occurred between her and Ani.

She'd managed to push aside the feelings he evoked for a short time, but without any activities to distract her they came back full force.

His hands on her body, his lips on hers, the feel of him so close she could barely tell where she ended and he began... the need to become even closer... to take him inside of her, body and soul...

She moaned and dropped her head to her folded hands. How could she have let things progress to such a pass? Her advisors kept pressuring her to take a consort, but the men they paraded before her for approval held no interest.

Only Ani...I only want Ani...

Pah! At twenty-four, she felt positively old to his nineteen. Yet... she remembered his ardor, his intensity, the age in his eyes belied by his years even when she first met him years ago.

With a muttered oath, she rose and began to pace, wishing the time would speed past and she could return to Naboo and forget everything. Except she knew she would never forget.


Amidala slung her bag over her shoulder, ready to leave. With a final look around the room, she opened the door.


"Ani! You startled me. I...I thought Obi-Wan would have something for you to do," she stammered, half-dreading, half-glad he'd come to say good-bye.

"May I come in for a minute?"

She glanced at the chronometer on the wall, realizing they'd only have a short time and stood aside to let him enter.
"I have to go back, Ani. The transport leaves in twenty minutes."

"I know... I just." He ran his hand through his hair, leaving it as wild as the look in his eyes. "Promise me, Am... Promise you'll marry me. I have to know before you leave if I have a place in your life."

Amidala gave him a tremulous smile and reached for his hand.

He's shaking!

"I promise this, Ani. No matter what, you will always have that."

He gripped her hand to pull her into his arms, holding her tightly against his chest. "I guess I'll have to accept that, Am."

"You still haven't told me what's wrong..."

"The Chancellor's sending Obi-Wan and me to Tattooine. There's been a problem with the negotiations. The Hutts won't agree to freeing the slaves and Chancellor Palpatine thinks a Jedi presence could make the difference." Anakin shuddered. "I'm afraid for my mom, Am. Watto's not a bad guy, but I don't trust him to not sell her if Jabba decides to pressure him."

"Oh, Ani. I'm sorry." She hugged him tightly, aware of his terror of completely losing his mother. "Just be careful. I couldn't stand for something to happen to you."

He laid his cheek against the crown of her head for a moment and heaved a great sigh. "Thanks, Am. If...if things don't go well, I'm not sure what will happen."

Around a tight throat she managed, "Come visit me, no matter what. You know my door's open any time."

"Am..." He picked her up, carried her to the couch before the window, and then sat with her across his lap. "I know we don't have much time, but I want to finish what we started before."

"Anakin!" she protested, her heart beating erratically at the passion in his eyes.

"I want to make you mine. Always..." he murmured as he bent to kiss her. He ignored her muffled protest, pressing her closer.

Though he didn't hurt her, she pushed against his chest, trying to break his hold. He loosened his grip for a moment to bring his hand up to her face as he moved a breath away.

"I know you want me, Am. I can sense it."

"Oh, Ani, it's not that. We have to think about the ramifications of our actions." *What if I get pregnant?* "It's not just us that's involved. I have to think of my people... and you must think of your order."

He groaned, leaning his forehead against hers without replying.

"What if you don't come back?" she whispered. "What if...what if you change your mind?"

"Never, Am. And I'll make certain you're provided for if something happens to me."

I don't want anything to happen to you, Anakin Skywalker. Just come back alive and whole!

"That's not my concern. What I want is *you*...by my side, raising our children... I don't want to have to tell them their father died fighting injustice. I want them to at least know you for a while. I can't keep you safe forever, but at least I want to share you with them as my husband... not just my lover."

"Then marry me now!"

"I can't. I have to go back to Naboo. We have to have the Council's blessing and my people's as well. You know it's the truth."

She watched the muscles flex in his jaw and she wondered if he'd leave her in anger.

"Very well, Your Majesty," he ground out. "But before you go, I will have this."

He lifted her from his lap and laid her back on the couch, sprawling over her. Amidala remained quiet. Despite her earlier protestations, she truly wanted him with a need she'd never felt before, made more poignant with her fear she might never see him again. Without a word, he studied her face as though trying to memorize her every feature.

She returned it, taking in the brilliant blue eyes beneath dark brows, the short dark blond hair with its Padawan braid hanging over his right shoulder.

Jedi... Since that fateful day I met Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, they've been in my life. What would I do without them?

Enduring Love

She reached up to smooth the tight look from between Ani's brows, trailed her fingers over his cheek to his lips, and cradled his jaw gently with her hand. He turned his head to press a kiss into her palm, and then rubbed his face against it.

"I won't take you, Am, if you fear I'll leave you alone with my child. But I do want to give you something to take back."

"You've given me a great deal, Ani." She reached into her tunic and pulled the *japor* snippet necklace out. His eyes widened.

"You kept it," he choked out, memories of that time flooding him and spilling over into her mind.

"Yes, Ani, I always have it here... next to my heart." *As you are,* she thought with the realization of its truth.

*Too little time...* she caught from him before he proceeded to kiss and caress her.

*Magic in his hands* was all she could think before sensation took over.

He did all but the final act of love, bringing her joy and completion and leaving himself aching and needy physically. Aware of his condition, though replete herself, she wanted to ease his pain.

"No, Am... There isn't time. Besides, I'm used to it," he told her as he caught her intention.

She frowned, hating that she would be the one to leave him in such a state. A knock sounded on the door.

"I'll be out in ten minutes. Tell the captain to wait until then," she called out.

"Very well, mistress," a droid's voice replied. Mechanical footsteps moved away down the hall.

"Ten minutes?" Anakin asked, quirking an eyebrow at her.

"I may not be an expert, but that should be sufficient time for what I plan," she replied with a grin. She ran her hands down his chest to his waist, then hooked a leg over his hips. "Just be quiet and let me do my work."


She managed to board the transport without breaking into tears, though once she reached her cabin the cool facade melted. The encounter with Anakin had shaken her more than she wanted to admit. How she could return to Naboo and go on as if nothing had happened between them was more than she wanted to contemplate.

In the days it took to reach her home again, Amidala forced herself to calm and tried not thinking about what might occur on Tattooine. Much as she knew it for the best that Anakin hadn't pressed her to consummate their relationship, at times she regretted not allowing him to truly finish what they'd begun. She kept to her cabin and studied the reports sent from Coruscant on the situation in the Outer Rim with a sinking heart.

The Nubian landed in the Theed palace hangar and Amidala found herself surrounded by her handmaidens as she made her way to their quarters. Captain Panaka stood apart, studying her entirely too closely for her comfort. She gave him a nod, then shooed the others into the handmaidens' receiving room.

"You must tell us all of what happened, Your Majesty," Sabe' insisted.

Amidala gave her a quelling look that told her decoy certain aspects of the matter were not open for discussion around the others. "I discovered a great many things which troubled me."

Not to mention a certain Jedi Padawan who troubled me... no small amount.

She spoke of what the Chancellor had told her about the slave situation on Tattooine and mentioned briefly that Obi-Wan and his Padawan had gone to see if they could help. Sabe's gaze drilled into her, but Amidala refused to elaborate in front of the others. The Queen pulled out the few small presents she'd brought from the Core and distributed them among the young women she considered her friends as well as her bodyguards. Still, she didn't feel comfortable telling them everything. Sabe' noticed her wan expression in an unguarded moment and clapped her hands to get their attention.

"Let's give the Queen some time to recover from her trip. Rabe' could you help unpack while I take her back to her rooms?"

Rabe' nodded and grabbed Amidala's bag before the Queen could snatch it from her. Sabe' ushered Amidala toward her room and the Naboo monarch couldn't help wondering if her decoy sensed there was more to her story than she let on. Once alone with Amidala, Sabe' approached the subject again.

"I know you didn't want to talk about in front of the others, but I need to know. What happened? You seem... troubled."

"Oh, Sabe', I don't know where to begin. Something about the Supreme Chancellor bothers me." At Sabe's shocked expression, Amidala sighed. "Yes, I know. Anakin didn't want to believe me either. I spoke to Palpatine about the slave issue, but he didn't seem very open to the idea. Then he sent Obi-Wan and Anakin off to Tattooine to 'help' with negotiations between the Hutts and the Republic."

She flung away to stare blindly out the window. "I don't trust him."

"Why? Isn't that what you wanted? For someone to step in and stop the slavery practices in the Outer Rim? Who better than the Jedi?" Sabe' asked.

*But not my Anakin...he's too close to the problem!* Amidala wept inside.

"That's not what I'm worried about," she said aloud, then pushed aside her worry as she turned to her friend. "Obi-Wan said to give you his best."

Sabe' blushed and looked away. "Thank you. I had hoped he would remember me."

"How could he not, my friend?"

"What of Anakin? You seem rather sensitive about him," Sabe' probed, turning the tables.

"I...we..." Amidala ground to a halt, heated memories of their last minutes together flooding her. "He asked me to marry him," she managed at last.

"Oh, how wonderful!"

Amidala shook her head, uncertain how to explain her doubts and worries.

"You refused? Why?"

"I'm five years his senior, Sabe'! Not to mention he's a Jedi Padawan. How can I take him as my consort? Obi-Wan needs to finish his training and who knows how long that will take."

"Don't be silly, Amidala. There's a lot more than five years between Obi-Wan and me. If he asked me to marry him, I wouldn't hesitate," Sabe' declared with a militant glint in her eye, which quickly dissolved into tears. "Not that I think he would." She sniffed, then hugged her friend. "But you've already been asked. Don't turn him down. I'm sure he means it..." With a quick swipe at her eyes, Sabe' straightened her shoulders. "Do you love him?"

I love you, Ani. There'll always be a place for you in my heart.

"Gods know I do, Sabe'. I just don't know if it's the right thing to do."

"Do you want him? Do you think he'd be a good husband?"

I don't want to do anything to hurt you, Am. I want to be there for you.

"Yes...to both. But I have a terrible feeling about this mission he and Obi-Wan are on. So much can go wrong. Just look at what happened when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan got involved in my affairs. Something awful can occur." She rubbed her temples, the beginning of a headache threatening. "I just don't know... I would be proud to be Ani's wife, but would the Jedi Council or our people approve?"

"How will you know if you never ask?"

Amidala sighed again. "I suppose I'll just have to wait and see how things turn out on Tattooine. It's all theoretical until then."

Beloved Monster: Chapter II