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FIC: Mortal Instruments | 3, Leash

Since it's been so long, here's a quickie summary so you won't have to go read the story from the start.

In Chapter One, the Naberries are murdered by Palpatine and three-month-old Padmé is adopted by Palpatine. In Chapter Two, eighteen year old Padmé and her 'father' discuss Anakin Skywalker's potential as a Jedi.





Mortal Instruments

3, Leash



(18 years)

"Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi to see you, my lady."

Padmé looked up from the complicated embroidery. "Why, Master Kenobi! How good of you to come on such short notice."

The Jedi bowed stiffly.

With a graceful gesture of her hand, Padmé sent the handmaidens away. The antechamber was now empty save for her and her visitor. The meteorologist had chosen clear skies for Coruscant that day and bright sunlight poured in through the wall glass, highlighting secrets. Padmé noted the deep lines etched into Kenobi's face, particularly along his brow and the edges of his mouth, as well as the haunted expression in his eyes.

She smiled softly. "You haven't changed in the least."

The Jedi shot her a warning look and she resisted the urge to laugh out loud. Instead she just stared back at him, letting the mixture of contempt and amusement she felt toward him remain stark on her face.

He was the first to look away.

"How may I be of service to my lady?" The words were uttered with perfectly courteous spite.

Her smile turned positively incandescent.

-----

Master Sifo-Dyas always dragged his feet to these public affairs and the display of excesses that never failed to horrify his austere soul. So when he heard his name through the crowd, he steeled himself for a stilting polite conversation with some self-important politician.

Instead, after the usual greetings, he found himself staring in confusion at Lady Naberrie and her unexpected companion.

"I thought you weren't available."

"I was persuaded."

Master Sifo-Dyas glanced from Obi-Wan Kenobi to the Chancellor's daughter in frank puzzlement. There was nothing disproportionately affectionate in their auras, and the comfortable way Padmé Naberrie's hand rested on Obi-Wan's elbow seemed more friendly than amorous.

And yet...

"Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi! How nice of you to grace us with your presence."

Through the rainbow colors of the ballroom decorations and the even wider spectrum of the ornamental guests, the tall dark figure of Dooku materialized before their small circle.

There was no mistaking the sarcasm in his voice. Clearly ruffled, young Kenobi bowed stiffly. "Master Dooku, how good to see you again."

Padmé Naberrie bowed in turn. "Your presence here does us great honor, Master Jedi."

Dooku bowed.

"Did you come alone or will Master Yoda be joining us later?"

"Master Yoda sends his apologies. His apprentice will represent him."

"Oh." She was disappointed but she recovered quickly. "And where is his apprentice?"

Dooku gave Lady Naberrie a rather strained smile and bowed yet again. Sifo-Dyas struggled with his own amusement as his old friend discretely rolled his eyes toward the ground.

Dooku straightened up. "He will be with us shortly," he said in a voice that punctuated the sentence with an 'or else.'

"It would be good to see young Skywalker," Sifo-Dyas reminisced. He gave Dooku a teasing smile. "Over in the Correllia Temple, we hear a lot of stories about him. A very high-spirited boy. He was - what? - eight when we left Coruscant, wasn't he, Obi-Wan?"

Obi-Wan nodded silently.

Dooku's gaze returned to the young Jedi. "How is Correllia, Knight Kenobi?"

"Very well sir," Obi-Wan said quietly. "Master Halcyon sends his regards."

"Does he now?"

The tension between the two was palpable. Padmé Naberrie stared from one to the other with an avid curiosity that made Sifo-Dyas writhe internally.

"Dooku, you are being discourteous. Have you congratulated Lady Naberrie on the celebration?" He blurted quickly. "She organized the events practically single-handedly."

Dooku stopped glaring at Obi-Wan long enough to pay Padmé Naberrie his proper respects. The young woman blushed. "However did you find out?"

Sifo-Dyas laughed. "We are not Jedi, for nothing, my lady."

"The real secret is how Jedi Kenobi wrangled an invitation here from the Chancellor's household," Dooku said smoothly.

Obi-Wan started. Sifo-Dyas bit back a groan. His friend was nothing if not one-track minded.

Padmé Naberrie smiled winningly at Dooku. "I persuaded him to come, Master Dooku. I needed an escort to the inauguration and," she glanced sideways at Obi-Wan, "an opportunity to catch up with an old friend."

"I did not know that you and Knight Kenobi had known each other for so long," Sifo-Dyas said, surprised. Obi-Wan had not lived on Coruscant for almost five years. Padmé Naberrie had only recently left Naboo to live with her adopted father on Coruscant.

This time she looked fully at Obi-Wan, an eyebrow raised. "Well, I guess a lowly handmaiden's name won't have entered his report about the Battle of Naboo."

"Don't be ridiculous," Obi-Wan said in that his soft voice, but his eyes were on Sifo-Dyas when he spoke.

Sifo-Dyas stared at them both in confusion. From the corner of his eye, he saw Dooku doing the same.

Padmé Naberrie laughed.

Obi-Wan Kenobi did not speak again for the rest of the evening.

-----


"A conscience is like a leash. Keep a firm grip and its owner remains your slave. But take care not to yank too hard. Even the best synth-leather has a breaking stress."

---Chancellor Palpatine. Quote extracted from the diary of Lady Naberrie.





As always, feedback is very much appreciated!
Tags: fanfic: sw: mortal instruments
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