She was pretty sure he'd wanted to make a new lightsaber since their encounter with the Zabrak Sith Lord. And it had taken him over a year, but he'd done it. She'd watched him make it, stared in fascination at the purple crystal, and then he'd given her a second purple crystal. For her thirteenth nameday, he'd said, as it had been a week away at that time. "But you will not use it yet. Not for many years. If at all."
She had the feeling she never would use it. That she was keeping it for someone else. Some Padawan she herself might train, perhaps.
"Standing in the opening form with lightsaber lit."
Such a deep voice. From the first time she'd heard it, she'd wondered if it could be used in hypnosis. Now she knew it could. She stood completely still, not a molecule out of place, even though the lightsaber felt too heavy in her right hand.
"Fourth Level Mid-Air."
For brief moment she wondered what was the purpose of this exercise, but that was not something she should ask. He would tell her if she needed to know.
Her body was too heavy, a bloated, unruly thing which she struggled to harness. Yet she somehow lifted it, raising her knees to launch into the kata.
Feel the Force flowing through her. She was never sure what she felt was the Force, or her own blood, which was always too loud, especially around her Master.
Blood she tried to calm, as her mind was already calmed, through half the kata. Calmed, and almost clear, the thrum of something propelling itself through her drawn and stretched body the only distraction. Certainly she could not give in to the temptation to draw strength from the pounding of her heart. What she felt had deep enough a hold on her already; she could never encourage it.
She was holding his lightsaber in front of her, and for a moment the purple blade cut between his eyes, and her concentration was nearly broken by the intensity of his stare. Half a year ago it would have been. But there she had made herself better, and she kept going, forced herself to focus on moving the blade behind her, her legs back under her, preparing for the roll from which she would land. She allowed herself no shame until it was done, until she was standing with her arms and legs again spread, in the exact position in which she had started, awaiting her Master's judgement.
"Perfectly done," she heard him murmur, and pride and disbelief warred within her. And yet he still walked up to her around, just looking at her, as if trying to figure out what was wrong. She kept her eyes focused on the wall in front of her, but it did little good. She could feel his presence in her bones, his attention on her. She felt his presence now more than she felt her own, almost as if he was immolating her, and that thought somehow brought the flush up to her cheeks. She didn't know what it meant, whether it was good or bad, that she almost wanted him to.
She both dreaded and longed to know what he was thinking, or for him to touch her. Though what he would know from touching her he had to know already. He could read her with no effort; had done so from two months after he'd taken her as his Padawan. He had to know of her weakness. And he had to realize it was not the weakness of a normal thirteen-year-old, which might be excused. Normal thirteen-year-old humans, even ones trained here in the Jedi Temple, didn't usually have the clarity and maturity of emotion she did, and physically she was more mature-that he had to know, as a matter of medical fact.
She didn't know why he still kept her, in the face of a such a failure.
But he placed his hand over hers, gently taking a hold of his lightsaber, and said her name questioningly: "Padmé?" And his hand was so strong, and she knew he could break her, but never would, at least not in that way. And the heat travelled through her skin, set her chest on fire. And she wanted, and there was no way to hide that from him.
"It is not that which concerns me," he said, almost as if he was reading her mind. Maybe he was. "No, there is something else besides that which is wrong, and I cannot tell what."