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Title: MY LITTLE HERO

Author: Empress Vader
summary: A story that weaves between the moments unseen in the movie after Anakin returned from the space battle.
disclaimer: Anybody reading this knows Star Wars isn 't mine. This story was not written for profit, only entertainment. I just wanted to play fill in the blank with the holes in the Episode I time frame.


PART 1: A SAD RETURN
 
 

"Do you know you are my hero," the words whispered to him in the night.
 
 

They'd say his feelings were silly, but they were real. He'd felt his pulse quicken at the sight of her. And now he'd been in her arms. So what if she'd been comforting him, he felt close to her in so many ways at that moment. Ways his young brain couldn't find words for. Closer than they were even on Tatooine. And then they'd been equals, now she was a queen. He was completely in love with her in that moment and ashamed of himself for thinking about her when he should have been thinking of the one he lost. But in the end it was always Padme who made things okay.
 
 

It had all started in the Hanger Bay with Qui-Gon's last words to him, "Stay in that cockpit." He'd intended to listen, but when those shield generating destroyer droids began firing at Padme it wasn't a matter of choice. Even if it meant drawing fire, he had to help her. He'd searched for the gun trigger and found it only after making the fighter fully operational causing him to zip out into space right after destroying the droids. And however accidentally, he'd help them win the war. But the return to Naboo wasn't as thrilling or fulfilling as the exit.
 
 

The disappointment wasn't immediate, no. The Pilots, first stunned then ecstatic, lifted him into the air cheering. Then Obi-Wan came in. One look in the Jedi's sullen face told him what had happened. Qui-Gon, the man who had saved him from slavery, who believed in him when no one else did, was dead. Qui-Gon had been like the father he'd never had, it felt like someone had ripped the heart from his chest again. First he lost his mother, then hope of being a Jedi, now Qui-Gon.
 
 

He was lowered to the ground as the pilots ran to the aid of the Jedi, he went back to the fighter, closed the canopy and curled into a ball. After awhile the chatter died down and Obi-Wan came to him. He opened the canopy and looked down at the boy.
 
 

"You okay?"
 
 

"I will be," he replied solemnly. "Is Padme at least okay."
 
 

"The Queen is fine. She won, mostly because of you. You sure you'll be okay."
 
 

"I'll be fine, I just need some time alone."
 
 

But he wasn't fine, he was all torn inside. And five minutes after Obi-Wan left him, the tears broke free. It was hours later when she found him there. He was still crying, she touched him softly on the shoulder. Needing comfort at that point, he stood and wrapped him arms around her neck. And she'd held him, held him like a small baby. He needed that kind of comfort then. He felt her heart beat against his, no with his, as he cried. They were linked, linked together by some tangled web he couldn't see yet. Queen or no, she was his Angel. He felt the charm he'd carved her under her clothes, she had a piece of him still and always would. He felt his head nestle against her small breast, and despite his limited nine years of life, he felt his pulse quicken.
 
 

"Come sit with me," she said leading him away from the fighter. They left the hanger bay and went into a nearby empty conference room.  They sat side by side in two of it's chairs. "Don't you know you are my hero, Ani. You stopping those droids, it changed all the odds to our favor."
 
 
 
 

"Everybody did their part," he mumbled.
 
 

"You made the difference though. You really are a pilot."
 
 

"He was like my dad Padme, I never had a dad, ever."
 
 

"I know, I know," she sympathized as the tears broke free again. She took his hand and led him back to her. She placed a soft kiss on his forehead and held him in her arms. "You know Ani, it could have been much worse. You could have never known him. Never met him at all, then we wouldn't have met and Ani, I would really have hated that, because you made me a better person. And if I'm a better person, I'm a better Queen."
 
 

Anakin smiled through his pain. All at once he felt like a young kid seeking motherly comfort and an adult side by side with their sweetheart. Someday he would marry her. Someday in the clouded future she wouldn't be kissing him on the forehead, he'd be kissing her. But for now he just needed her arms.
 
 
 
 

PART 2: MORNING OF JOY

Anakin awoke in a rainbow of Naboo's colors as the sweetness of the day before washed over him. It was then he remembered Panaka breaking it all up. There were battle reports and casualty reports to sort through, along with a thousand other post-battle pieces that the queen had to attend to. He hadn't gotten near her for the rest of the day.
 
 

It was then he felt a presence in the room with him. He turned and saw something, someone illuminated in the window. It was Queen Amidala. This was the first time Anakin had looked at Padme dressed as Queen Amidala, knowing she and Padme were one in the same. Even after the moment of shock that ran through him when Padme told her secret, she hadn't been dressed as the Queen. When she wasn't in these regal robes, she was easier to deal with. Maybe this wasn't Padme at all, maybe it was still Sabe. He didn't know how to address her.
 
 

"Good morning my hero," the queen said turning toward him. Then she smiled, Padme's smile. No, this wasn't Sabe.
 
 

"Good Morning, your high--, Queen---, um, what do I call you now?"
 
 

"You may continue to call me Padme if you like, you made her real again my little hero."
 
 

"But your Queen Amidala," Anakin replied.
 
 

"That I am also. There will be time for us to talk, right now I want you to get up, freshen up, and Rabe will take care of everything else."
 
 

"Will I see you much today?" Anakin asked.
 
 

"I will be very busy today, and I want to show you something first. So hurry."
 
 

She left, two handmaidens in tow. One of them was Sabe, another Eirtae. Rabe stayed behind to wait for him. He quickly got dressed and Rabe took him away.
 
 

He didn't expect to be taken to the Queen's chamber and he didn't know what to do once he got there. Then he saw a big plate of food sitting on the table. In front of the table was a chair. Amidala standing, again, standing away from him by a window.
 
 

"Eat, I already have," the Queen half commanded.
 
 

He looked at the food, it was the sweetest thing he'd ever seen, but it was the Queen's food.
 
 

"I'm not really hungry," he said, feeling weird all of a sudden. She seemed so far away as Queen, even when she smiled at him. "Is that really you."
 
 

She turned to him. "Yes, can you still not believe it?" She sighed, "Your a growing boy, I know your hungry so eat up."
 
 

Anakin's stomach was starting to growl, so he ate and she looked out at the world.
 
 

*****
 
 

Anakin hadn't realized how early it was until he went outside. The streets weren't busy, despite the fact all of Naboo's people had been liberated from camps only the day before. However, the streets were still littered with broken, melted, and deactivated droids. Queen Amidala had taken him out alone, there wasn't one handmaiden insight as they wove through a back street to a waterfall just outside the city. A huge waterfall, the day before he hadn't been able to appreciate it's beauty. Once they got here things had moved so fast. In fact, the day before was a blur.
 
 

The Queen knelt by the waterfall. Anakin didn't know what else to do with himself, so he sat down beside her.
 
 

"When I was about your age, I'd come here and study. Real early, before Naboo came alive for the day. Till this day I'm an early riser. But people panic if I go too far away from Theed on my own. Panaka gets on my back, state officials begin to think me careless and because of my age I can't afford those thoughts."
 
 

"What were you doing when you were my age?"
 
 

"Studying, astounding people, My grandmother was so impressed with me, my parents were so proud. I trained in Theed and lived with my grandmother Winama. I went home for vacations and weekends, I had freedom then. When I turned twelve, all my studying paid off.  I became governor of the beautiful city of Theed. I knew how to do the job, but I never realized how fully it consumed me. And two years later when I decided to run for ruler of this beautiful world, I had to fight so hard to prove I was ready for the position I forgot her, that little girl that had whole mornings to take in the beauty of her world."
 
 

Anakin shifted slightly. He had a cramp, but didn't want to move to much. He knew his friend was telling him a story sealed deep in her heart.
 
 

"Do you know why your my hero Anakin?"
 
 

"Because I blew up the droid control ship."
 
 

"No, because you knew me, you helped me live the life of a girl again for a few days. I worked with my hands, smiled with you, laughed with you, played with you. I have become so much Naboo, a representative of my city and my world, and my history, I forgot about me. I am fourteen and yes, being a Queen means sacrificing parts of my childhood. I accept that, because it's always what I really truly wanted."
 
 

"I been thinking, if not going to be Jedi, can I stay---"
 
 

"You will be a Jedi Anakin. You may have thought of your heroism yesterday as a mistake, but it wasn't. You have a special power, a gift beyond your years, just like me. Everybody knows that now. They're not going to turn you away." She grabbed his smaller hand and held it in her own. "Qui-Gon believed in you the way my family believed in me. And all of Naboo doubted I would be a good queen. Then they saw, I was the right person to do it. And the Jedi council--"
 
 

"Screw the Jedi council," Anakin said pulling away. Amazing himself at the harshness of the statement. "They hate me."
 
 

"No, they don't. Anakin you will be a Jedi, because you were meant to. Just like---"
 
 

"You were meant to be a queen," Anakin finished. "If I become a Jedi, will you marry me?" he asked with a half smile.
 
 

"Yeah, I will," she said without hesitation.
 
 

"Really," Anakin smiled. Of course, she was kidding, but the quick answer shocked him.
 
 

"And we'll have two children, a boy and a girl." The queen continued.
 
 

"Will we live in your palace?" Anakin asked.
 
 

The Queen got up enjoying this game that she didn't really believe. He was just a little boy after all, why not encourage his fantasy. There was something about him anyway. From the moment he'd compared her to the most "beautiful creatures in the universe" he'd had this certain type of charm. Perhaps the ache for childhood was stronger in her than she knew. Perhaps it was because he was so little and cute, she'd never had a sibling. If she had to, she'd march into that Jedi temple and force them to allow Anakin to train as a Jedi, he deserved it.
 
 

"There you are," Obi-Wan said as he approached the two, Sabe in tow.
 
 

Obi-Wan had been treating him differently. He'd tucked him to bed last night and now he was looking for him.
 
 

"Kitster," Anakin said as the handmaiden and Obi-Wan approached.
 
 

"What about him?"
 
 

"I'm naming our son after him."
 
 

"My son will not be named Kitster," Amidala protested as if they were really going to have children someday.
 
 

"Your highness," Obi-Wan bowed. "Anakin, what are you doing?" Obi-Wan asked
 
 

"Enjoying the morning with me. And now I guess we're all going back."
 
 

"Yes, lots to do today. Senate members will be arriving, Jedi Masters for Qui-Gon's funeral, Senator Palpatine."
 
 

"Supreme Chancellor," Amidala corrected with a smile.
 
 

And they all turned and headed back toward Theed.
 
 
 
 
 
 

All in all, the rest of the day wasn't very exciting for Anakin. More reports came in and out. Guest arrived, crowding the castle with noise, hiding the Queen from him. He did not really see her for the rest off the day. They were in the same area at times. Like when they greeted Papatine, and he said something about watching the boys career. What career?
 
 

Obi-Wan got him out the castle for awhile and they talked about Qui-Gon. Then he was busy with the Jedi council members so Anakin took a nap, in no rush to see them again. Especially Yoda, there was something about the way the Jedi master looked at him. Because of his nap, late in the night he lay awake looking out the window. It was then he saw a hand creep through his door. "Ani," it called softly.
 
 

"Padme? Um, your highness," he questioned.
 
 

"Padme will do fine," she said steeping into his room in a hooded cloak. There was no make-up hiding his Angel.
 
 

"Lets go play," she smiled. It was a foolish request, but she wanted to be foolish for night or two. Between arranging the pick-up of those, now harmless, broken droids, along with a thousand and one other procedures, her day had been a twenty four hour reminder of the tragedy that had happened. The days to come would be sad, she'd vowed to visit every family, Gungan and Naboo alike, who had lost a loved one, and then there was Qui-Gons funeral. There would be a big Parade in the end, but until then she needed something to lift her spirits.
 
 

"Tag," she said taping him, "Your the Ranchor."
 
 

She ran toward the courtyard and Anakin followed laughing. And they played this game until they were tired. Then they went to bed and slept through the morning. The next night, after Qui-Gon's funeral, they just sat in the courtyard together and made up names for their kids. One or the other of them usually found the name they picked horrible.
 
 

"I will be a Jedi," Anakin whispered. "Obi-Wan has been given permission to train me." Anakin said.
 
 

"That's great."
 
 

"He's going cut my hair though," Anakin said. "I never had it real short. What if I look weird."
 
 

"I'm sure you'll look adorable with that little braid."
 
 

"Ugh," he groaned and feel onto his back.
 
 
 
 

PART 3: THE GOOD BYE
 
 

"What do you think?" Anakin asked as he modeled his new "Padawan uniform" for Queen Amidala. Now they both were dressed up in traditional garb.
 
 

"Your adorable," she smiled. "Sabe, Rabe, Eirtae," she called asking for her handmaidens opinions.
 
 

They all agreed he was adorable.
 
 

"I hate it," Anakin said running his hands across his now spiked hair.
 
 

"You think I love all the elaborate gowns I have to get into every morning."
 
 

"It's the sacrifice we make for our destiny," he replied. The Queen herself was wearing a simple white gown for today's parade, well simpler than her other outfits. There was no head piece, just this fan thing that rose out the back of the dress.
 
 

"Ani, I can't believe you'll be leaving me soon. My little boy is growing up." She pinched his cheek more to annoy him than anything.
 
 

"Ugh," he groaned again. It was almost as bad as saying he was cute. Little boy?
 
 

"It's time," Panaka said coming into the throne room.
 
 

"I have to go catch up with Obi-Wan," Anakin said running out the door.
 
 

"Good-bye Anakin Skywalker," Padme said as her handmaidens assembled. "My little hero."
 
 

She would see him again. They were linked, she knew that. She would see him off officially later today, but this was there last private moment as Anakin and Padme.