Disclaimer: not mine
Sorry for the very long wait.
I re-read Living in Shadows recently and realised it was a bit of a mess so i've begun editing it, i've reposted ch1 so far if anyone wants to read it again. I haven't posted it as a new story though since i'm just cleaning it up, fixing some formatting issues, clarifying what's going on in sections where i had big blocks of dialogue, etc. Not adding lots like i am in the re-write of 2 Potter's. When i repost a chapter it will say edited in bold at the top
Anakin walked beside his Master, listening to every word while also keeping watch for danger. It wasn't meant to be a combat mission, but he'd learnt over the last few years that that meant little. The Separatist movement was gaining ground much faster than in Obi-Wan's original world, probably because Sidious lost the election. The faster the war began, the faster he could seize power after all. He'd been eighteen in that world when the war began, he was nearly seventeen now and he didn't think they had another year before the fighting broke out.
Padme sighed and stood from her desk, moving to the window to look out at the never ending traffic. Being a Senator was nothing like she had imagined, even after having seen the Senate that once when she was Queen.
She wasn't sure what to think about the Separatist movement. Honestly, a lot of their grievances were very understandable. Hadn't she stood before the Senate herself and told them the Republic was failing its members? Her words had changed nothing, and some were tired of that response. She did not believe war was the way but if they wished to secede from the Republic peacefully then that was their right.
She was fighting against the whispers that the Republic needed an army to fight, she was very much against armed conflict though Naboo was not as pacifist as Alderaan. The rumours that the Trade Federation were backing the Separatists was concerning, she had seen their armies first hand, and if they did attack, it would not be against planets with the forces to fight back.
She went back to her desk at the chime and pressed the button. "Yes?"
"A Jedi to see you My Lady," Cordé answered.
"Send him in," she told her handmaiden and the door soon opened, Padme smiling as Obi-Wan entered her office. "Master Kenobi, it is good to see you," she greeted, moving away from her desk.
He bowed and then clasped her outstretched hands. "It is good to see you again, My Lady."
She'd had all three Jedi over for dinner several times, although all three were not always available at the same time. Still, it was odd for one of them to come to the Senate to see her. She led him over to the more comfortable chairs in the corner. "What brings you to see me?"
"Intelligence learnt on our last mission," he answered gravely.
"What is it?"
"Nute Gunray has issued a bounty on you."
Padme was shocked but she knew Obi-Wan would not have told her if he wasn't sure. "Why?"
"He appears to hold you personally responsible for all of his troubles, despite the fact it was his own actions that have done so. You will need to inform your security forces of the threat. The bounty is substantial, enough that there may be attempts even here."
"I see…" she had not expected that at all. Every court case against the Trade Federation had failed, they had faced no penalty for what had been done to her people, making many from Naboo lose even more faith in the Republic. She looked down to find Obi-Wan had taken her hand gently. She managed a smile for him, accepting the silent support.
Anakin stared at his reflection in the mirror, unable to stop. He looked….strange. He had known it would happen one day, but it was still a shock.
"Ani?" His Master called and then he was in the Fresher doorway. "Ah, I thought it would happen soon."
"Master?" he asked shakily, and then strong hands were on his shoulders, guiding him from the small room and he leant into the grip.
"It's alright Anakin," his Master, his brother, soothed, sitting him down on his bed. "Deep breaths," he coached, and Anakin obediently followed the calming breathing pattern.
"Sorry," he muttered and Obi-Wan chuckled.
"You should have seen my reaction the first time it happened to me. The trashed training rooms later I calmed down, but I spent my entire life raised by the Temple and had only been with my Master for a year."
"Why did it take me longer?"
"My entire life had been upended, I went from an Initiate to a member of the AgriCorps, the future I had trained for gone. You haven't been under that same emotional distress since you were brought here from Tatooine." He wrapped his arm around Anakin's shoulder and Anakin leant against him.
At least they weren't at the Temple where his shock and turmoil could have been sensed by others.
Sidious listened to the bickering of the gathered beings before him. He hated that they were necessary…for now. Gunray was especially annoying but his grudge could be useful, he too had a score to settle with the young ex-Queen. This was why Dooku was meant to be leading them and he was supposed to be guiding the Senate.
The clones would not yet be ready for deployment, so they were hesitating over beginning the war. Then again, were they really needed anymore? He could make his Empire from the ashes of a conquered Republic just as easily as he could guide the Republic into seeing him as a benevolent leader.
For choosing another leader, perhaps the Republic deserved to burn.
Obi-Wan stared at the screen in horrified shock with everyone else, watching Christophsis burn. He knew it had been involved in one of the earliest battles in the war but here, instead of attempting to claim the planet, the Separatists had chosen to destroy it. Due to Sidious being directly involved rather than Dooku running the day to day operations?
"Master?" Anakin whispered as he joined him, and he gripped his arm in support, the teen had shot up in height again making his shoulder out of reach.
Obi-Wan's comm beeped at him and he sighed. "The Council. Keep an eye on the younger Padawans in Temple, they may need support. I shall see what the Council wishes us to do."
Padme stood with Bail and the others as war was declared. What did it mean when the Republic had such a small Judicial Force to defend them all? The Jedi Order would not be enough either, not against armies of battle droids.
With the unprovoked attack, there would be no stopping the Military Creation Act. Everything they had worked so hard to stop was now going to be done in the name of loyalty to the Republic. She didn't see how it would solve anything, by the time they could gather the necessary numbers and equipment, then train them…the Separatists would have taken whatever planets they wished.
There had to be some way to find peace, but how?
Obi-Wan felt the flash of fear, pain, and grief, and immediately turned the speeder around, flying for Padme's apartment.
'Master?' Anakin called out through their bond, alarmed.
More distantly, he felt Qui-Gon's concern as well, they no longer had a training bond between them, but they had spent enough time together and with Padme to be more aware of each other. He sent them assurance he was on the way and then focused on flying and not hitting anyone.
Obi-Wan landed on the balcony and leapt from the speeder, lightsabre in hand, making his way cautiously into the apartment, reaching for Padme's presence. He stopped as a blaster was levelled at him but then Captain Typho lowered it, looking relieved to see him.
"Master Kenobi, it's a relief to see you."
"What has happened?" he asked.
"An assassination attempt, the Senator is unharmed but Dormé…"
"Obi-Wan!" Padme called, and he turned as she rushed out of a back room, her hair down in a mess, blood streaking one cheek but it wasn't hers. She obviously didn't care what anyone thought when she threw herself into his arms, Obi-Wan surprised but catching her easily.
He felt Typho move away, trusting him to keep her safe. "I'm so sorry Padme," he whispered.
"She saved my life," Padme whispered, fighting tears.
He held her, offering what comfort he could, the danger had passed so they had time.
Padme let Obi-Wan hold her as she cried for her lost friend. She had used decoys for years but now for the first time, one of her handmaidens had done what they trained to do, to give their lives for hers. Dormé was dead. Was this because of the bounty Obi-Wan had warned her about?
"Padme?" he whispered, and she pulled back enough to look up at him.
"It was an assassin," she told him, and he hushed her.
"There's no danger now," he promised. "Take your time."
"Why did you come now?" she suddenly asked, realising that he had no reason to have been nearby.
"I sensed your fear and pain, Anakin and Qui-Gon did as well, but I was already in a speeder, so I came immediately," he explained, shocking her.
"You all felt…" she knew Jedi could do amazing things with the Force but surely it should be impossible to pick her out among all the lifeforms on the planet.
"You are dear to all of us Padme, so yes, we sensed that something was horribly wrong," he gently stroked her cheek with the sleeve of his robe, and it came away with blood on it. he then looked away. "Senate security is arriving."
"You should go," she told him. "Best not to confuse things."
He stared at her but then nodded. "I'll be nearby if you need me." With that he slipped away, and she sank onto the couch.
Qui-Gon and Anakin were waiting when Obi-Wan landed late that night, Anakin fighting the urge to pace as Qui-Gon watched him. He'd been shocked to feel the Senator's emotions, though they had been very strong. She was a good friend so perhaps it shouldn't have been so surprising, except what could have caused such a thing when she should be safe?
Obi-Wan joined them, looking tired, and Qui-Gon reached out to clasp his shoulder. "What happened?"
"An assassination attempt, P…Senator Amidala is unharmed," Obi-Wan caught himself on her name, there was the chance someone was nearby or just passing and while friends outside of the Order weren't forbidden or anything, it was generally considered smart to keep a distance from Senators. "One of her handmaidens died saving her, Dormé," he finished.
"Poor Padme," Anakin whispered.
"Come Padawan, you can comm her tomorrow and see if she'd like a visit. Remember, we leave the day after on a mission," Obi-Wan told the teen who nodded.
Qui-Gon met his last Padawans' eye and nodded, he would keep a closer watch on Padme while they were away. When not off investigating leads on the Sith, he spent his time at the Temple teaching the Initiates which meant he had more free time than they did.
Anakin stared out into hyperspace, watching the stars streak by. "Do you think Sidious did it?" he asked and his Master sighed.
"It seems likely," he admitted. "He targeted her to ensure the Trade Federations loyalty last time and I think for at least partially messing up his plans for the invasion. There at least, he got his wish in becoming Chancellor so here he has even more reason to wish her dead."
"How long do you think it'll take the Council to find the clues to the Clones? Or will we have to find a way to 'stumble' across the army?"
Obi-Wan chuckled. "We may need to with the way things are going. I don't like it any more than you do but at least this time they lack the hardwired orders to commit genocide. And once the war is done, their freedom can be arranged."
Anakin nodded; he didn't like it. But there was no other way to meet the Separatists in battle now that they had started the war. An army of slaves made him feel sick and he would do everything he could to ensure they were treated well and free to make their own choices wherever possible.