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Her sleeve brushes against his skin like the whisper of her kiss. He catches her eye, smiles, blushes like he's still nine years old and not a Jedi. She doesn't give anything away, but she's always been better at hiding her emotions.

"The Trade Federation cannot be allowed to continue unchecked." She shifts away from Anakin slightly. "All I recommend is that the Senate take action."

"What you're suggesting is dangerous, Senator. You'd do well to be more careful." Obi-Wan bows slightly, a genial reverence Anakin would never think of offering her. Padme wants familiarity, companionship, not the repressed, closed-off nature of a Jedi.

Padme returns the bow. "I appreciate your concern, Master Kenobi." She smiles at him; it's small, a quiet upturn at the corner of her mouth, but it's a smile. She smiles for Obi-Wan.

"I don't understand the danger. She's standing up for her beliefs, for what's right. There should be nothing dangerous in that. Master," he adds belatedly.

"There should be nothing dangerous, but there is, apprentice." Obi-Wan’s soft voice is more reprimand than the crack of a whip.

"I came to you for your counsel," Padme says. She leans in, her hand warm and reassuring on Anakin's arm. "And I appreciate your support. You've left me much to consider."

Obi-Wan bows again. "You are most welcome. Come, Anakin."

"Wait." Her hand tugs slightly on Anakin. "May I have a word?"

Obi-Wan’s brow furrows. "I'll be waiting."

She waits until the door shuts behind him before embracing Anakin. Her hair tickles his nose, like dust, reminding him of sunrise on Tattooine, when the motes in the air spark gold.

"Can't you stay longer in the Core? Can't you persuade Obi-Wan?"

"Persuade Obi-Wan." He tightens his grip on her shoulders. "I doubt I could sway him."

He feels her sigh more than he hears it. Her fingers dig into the back of his robe, rooting into the fabric. "Then we are once again left only with stolen moments."

Even holding her, feeling her breath at his neck, kissing her skin, Anakin cannot chase the traces of her smile for Obi-wan from his mind.