"... joined the Republic in 1863 and quickly established their presence in the Senate..."
Anakin added another line to the careful diagram he was drawing on scrap paper behind the cover of the files and folders piled on the desk. His slightly haphazard notes were scattered around him, covered in equally intricate patterns and his 'excessively large and flowery' (as his Basic teacher liked to remark) chicken scratch handwriting.
Core History was his worst class this semester, and not just because someone had managed to screw up the timetable badly enough to have it in a single three hour block on a Monday morning.
A pen flew right past his head. He put his head in his hands and rubbed at his gritty eyes. Yes, no one cared about any of this, and especially not him, but this was a requirement and he couldn't afford to fail.
"What do you think you are doing? This is not acceptable behavior, I have told you this a million times-" The noise levels soared again. He slammed his head aginst the desk, inaudible in the noise.
A piece of flimsi was slipped onto the edge of the desk, folded into quarters. He cautiously unfolded it.
He huffed a quiet laugh, his mood brightening. Padmé wasn’t even in this class but he knew better than to underestimate her congregation of terrifyingly competent friends. As far as he could tell, no one had ever told any of them about their relationship. How long they'd known was still a question mark, but it had been Sabé let the cat out of the bag - by interrogating them on their sex life and methods of protection. Anakin hadn't been able to look any of them in the eye for weeks afterwards but since they were now aiding and abetting them in carrying on their relationship out of sight of the faculty and in particular Anakin’s ‘student advisor’ (aka. the long suffering upperclassman assigned to keep their token scholarship kid from doing anything too uncivilized) he wasn’t complaining too much.
He scrawled a reply and pushed it back in the direction it came from where it disappeared out of his vision. He threw down his pen and shifted so he could see the clock mounted in the corner, where the second hand ticked around and around and around. He jittered, knocking at the desk a little. The teacher turned a warning glare on him and he stilled sullenly. He’d messed around in this class one time too many and he couldn’t afford to jeopardize his scholarship by giving the already suspicious teacher a reason to throw him out. He returned to his notes to stew quietly.
Still, that didn’t mean he was going to stick around a second past the hour. Anakin was out of his chair and out the room like he was repulsor propelled, headed for the stairwell and up to the top floor where the ‘eco-gardens’ were planted.
It was instantly warmer up here than in the beige, concrete hallways with all their artificial lighting, and the air smelled real, filled with the heavy, wet smell of plants, not ventilated until it was scrubbed clean of anything resembling life. He looked around, but the roof was deserted. He dropped his bags and assorted clutter to the gravel floor of one corner. It was normal for him to be the first one here – Padmé didn’t have his aversion to the majority of the drooling idiots that made up the school population.
He bent, only to have his knees nearly buckle as a weight dropped onto his back. He caught himself, and her. Familiar dark hair draped over his neck and familiar hands caught hold of his shoulders before wrapping securely around him. She pulled her legs up over his hips, and he clamped his hands around her knees. Her laughter sounded bright and easy by his ear, tumbling out into the sunlight. He tried to twist, to see her face as he greeted her.
She moved, shifting her weight further up and he overbalanced, falling lightly, catching himself against one of the raised beds, slumping down against it. Padmé was still holding on to him, draped over his back with her head resting on his shoulderleaning in close, her . They stayed like that for long minutes until the feeling of her knee pressed against his kidney and his elbow in her side became too much and, in silent agreement, they pushed themselves up and moved to the corner Anakin had staked a claim on his first week.
The roof had become their place. No one else really wanted to come up here, not these Coruscant-raised tech addicts who considered sunlight and living things to be something that belonged a long way away, so they could see each other without censoring themselves. He’d brought Padmé up here the week they’d met and she’d fallen in love the way he knew she would. She said it felt like home. It wasn’t really anything like home to him - too wet, too green, though it was closer than anywhere else in this seemingly endless city. He could see the sky at least, even if the horizon was an aimless fantasy.
But then, she’d made it hers. It was enough.
He threw himself gracelessly to the ground and she folded her legs under her to settle down beside him. She started rummaging through her bag and took out a plastic container of food.
He peered at it curiously and she shoved at him lightly. "Where's your lunch?"
"But stolen food tastes so much better! Or maybe it's the private chef."
She smiled at him the way she did when she thought he was being ridiculous.
He pulled out his own food. He opened up the container and then jerked his hand back as her fork dipped in. She hummed happily as she cupped her hand over her mouth and ate the stolen mouthful of flavoured rice and he stared at her with fond bemusement. She caught his eye mischievously. “You said it yourself. Stolen food tastes better.”
He unwrapped the flatbread that went with the ralvin and tore one in half to give to her. He raised her lunch to eyelevel and shook it. It didn't look much like actual, edible food to him. "You just like my cooking.”
“Always. It's amazing, although, I have no idea what this is."
She put down the dish and reached for her water bottle. "I swear it’s got more spices than we keep in the house.”
“It’s even better warm,” he said proudly. He finally pulled off the lid of the not-food and tried what seemed to be purple leaves and some kind of seafood. Nabooian, he thought - not bad, even if everything Padmé ate tended to be a little bland to him. He’d burned off most of his taste buds before the age of nine, eating the way he did. She put down her fork and nudged him.
"Shift up, the floors uncomfortable."
He turned to stare at her incredulously. "The floor is in no way uncomfortable."
"The floor is gravel, Anakin, it is rock. It is rock ground up fine enough to dig in thirty different places at once." A tiny smile played over her lips as she delicately arched one brow in his direction.
"Why would they put it down if they didn't think people would sit on it?" He questioned playfully.
"Perhaps they were expecting people to use the benches?" It was true there were benches scattered around but Anakin had never used them. They were ornamental, made from twisted strip iron and more uncomfortable than the gravel.
They fell into an easy rhythm, teasing lightly. They had this argument every time they came up here, bickering over the flooring like she wasn't looking for an excuse to move closer and he wasn't looking for an excuse to let her.
He finally capitulated, throwing himself back in a dramatic spread eagle against the wall. She grinned and moved so she was sitting in his lap with her head on his shoulder, her back to his chest. She pulled the containers closer and continued eating.
They lapsed into silence and Padmé dug out her notes for her test fifth period. They lapsed into silence except for the sound of food and turning pages.
She turned her head and looked at him.
He had his phone in one hand and was glaring fiercely at the screen as he typed rapidly, all else abandoned but with his shoulder still pressed up against her back. He was growing his hair out again – it had already reached the phase where he looked like he had been running through hedges for hours and he looked so terribly young and awkward but he was still beautiful, bronze and gold in the light.
“I hate hiding up here.”
Her voice was barely a whisper but they seemed to echo, or cause ripples through the air like a stone dropped in a pond.
He answered quietly, cautiously, "Me too.”
“Why do we?” She said tensely, perfectly still.
Anakin stared at the back of her neck. "Do you want me to parrot all your reasoning back to you? Your parents would never approve. The school-, the- the world wouldn't approve, we’ve both known that from the beginning.”
She snapped around, coming alive, "You're always saying that we're going to change the world-"
He cut in sharply. "You. You are going to change the world."
"We are going to change the world. You promised you’d be there, remember?”
She slowly reached out and ran her hand down the side of his cheek, traced his cheekbones and the shadows cast by his eyelashes onto the smooth plane of his face. He cast his eyes down.
“Why can't we start with our world?"
“Angel… I don’t know. Do you really wanna deal with all the crap they’re gonna throw our way?”
“Anyone who has a problem with us isn’t worth listening to.”
He rubbed his hand down his face. “Anyone could very well include your entire family, all of my friends and a good proportion of yours. You’re talking about alienating a hell of a lot of people.”
“Better to find out who’s so caught up in their own superiority they’ll- they’ll reject anyone who doesn’t meet their stupid, arbitrary standards now rather than later.” She was getting angry, he could tell. Padmé went cold when she was angry and she looked like a blizzard right now.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“Why?” She demanded, shocked. “You’re always saying that the way they talk about your people, and all the others from the cities out in the Rim is abominable. That they’re- they’re-.”
“I just don’t. Okay? Conversation over.” He started pulling himself together – bag, phone, jacket – ready to make an exit. At the very least he could delay this for a while. “There’s a thing I gotta do, I’ll see you later.”
“No. No, don’t you dare leave. What’s going on?” She was on her feet now too, following him, grabbing his sleeve.
“I just don’t want to have to deal with the extra hassle, if that’s okay with you, milady?” He turned sardonic as he let her drag him to a halt before he’d even really got far.
Her mouth twisted. “Don’t even try that. You’ve never taken the easy way in your life, don’t ask me to believe you’re starting now.”
She paused and watched him, biting her lip, the way she did when she was working something over in her mind.
“Anakin.” She said his name like a question. What are you thinking?
He let her pull at him until they were chest to chest but kept his face turned away. He looked away, towards the stairwell, towards the city, down and left until he was looking at her neck instead of her suddenly earnest expression. “I don’t want you to get hurt because of me.”
He kept his eyes focused over her head.
“Anakin. Anakin.” Her voice was quieter now. Was she going to let this go now? He’d answered her, wasn’t that enough?
“Anakin, look at me.”
He looked her in the eye finally, determination shining there. He swallowed.
“Whatever happens will be because of the choices I made. It will be because I decided that the benefits were far greater than any consequences.”
“Really?” He was whispering now, afraid to break the spell and find it a dream.
She smiled and tugged him down, close enough that they were breathing each other’s air. “Always will be. I want this. And I want it to last. You and me. After high school, wherever we go next. I want it to be forever.
“Okay?” She teased.
“Okay.” He smiled.
He laughed and tossed his head back. “Okay. Okay. Okay.” He sat down abruptly and she knelt down next to where he lay. “You okay?” She asked, a little dazed looking.
“I’m good. I’m amazing.” He tugged on her hands and she joined him, drinking in his laughter as they lay together on the roof, beneath the cloudless ceiling of the sky as it opened for them, breathless in wonder.