The Unlikely Pair
By Izzy

Of the five couples that waited in the foyer, they were the youngest. He was barely old enough to qualify for this band. Yet it was not that which made Padmé Naberrie wonder why they had been asked here.

The Hundred was an elite band of warriors, its members originating from planets from all over their section of the Mid and Outer Rim. They had been risen about a hundred years ago, when the enemies of the Jedi had wiped the old Order out, and their purpose was the protection and peacekeeping of their planets in the Jedi’s stead. Yet the way the Hundred operated stood in direct contrast to the emotional isolation of the Jedi Order. The Order had forbidden attachments; the Hundred required them. Every member of the Hundred was married to another member. Besides that, each was noted for their fierce love for home, and sector.

Which arguably should have disqualified her husband right away. Anakin had been born into slavery, and his home planet, Tatooine, was merely the planet he had been sold to and rescued from. He made his home with her now, on Naboo, which Padmé truly did love with all the devotion even the Hundred could ask for from anyone to anything. Her love for her planet was matched only by her love for her husband. But Naboo was really her planet, not his. Though he had learned to love it very dearly, she thought. In any case, that wasn't the biggest issue.

The real problem was her. First, there was that she abhorred violence. But even that was the more surmountable of the two vital points which made her unsuitable for the Hundred. The other was that she wasn’t Force-sensitive. Anakin was, and they’d been told he could be trained to be a very powerful man. But the Hundred served the way the Jedi had, and Padmé could not do that.

Yet they’d been invited to apply for membership, and invitations didn’t happen very often. So they’d come here and been interviewed, and tested, and Padmé had warned them that on top of everything else, she was also about a month pregnant with twins(twins! She hadn’t fully come to terms with that yet).

The membership of the Hundred ended their discussion when the doors opened. All five couples rose to hear which of them were to join the group.

The leader of the Hundred was the Neti T’ra Saa, one of the Jedi Order’s few survivors. It was said that she’d escaped from the burning Jedi Temple with the baby Tholme in her arms. But Tholme, now her husband, walked beside her, and to Padmé’s eyes he didn’t look nearly old enough for that, though old he was, the oldest surviving member of the group besides his wife.

“Our choice,” she said, “is Anakin and Padmé Naberrie.”

Several expressions of surprise filled the room. They echoed Padmé’s own thoughts.

A hand waved by Tholme and the foyer was silent again. “Come, you two,” he said, and his was a voice that was difficult to disobey.

Together the two of them ushered the young couple through the great doors and shut them behind them. Without being told, Anakin and Padmé walked to the middle of the room, then turned to face T’ra Saa and Tholme as they took their seats. A hundred chairs surrounded them, all filled now, save two.

In front of one of the two empty seats stood Obi-Wan Kenobi. His husband had recently been killed, and it was the two of them that Anakin and Padmé had been chosen to replace. He now stepped forward to join them. “As my final duty as an active member of the Hundred,” he said, “it falls to me to induct you.”

“Wait,” T’ra Saa interrupted him. “I think in this case, some explanation is necessary. I believe you two may be wondering why we have chosen you.”

There was something about her voice, as well as her words, which put Anakin and Padmé at their ease. They both nodded.

“It is true that you are not suitable to be members of the Hundred in the long term. However, the long term is not what we need you for. We have not made this public, but the Sith who wiped out the Jedi Order, now a little over a century ago, have recently returned, and we have reason to believe that the conglomerate that rules over most of our galaxy is in fact under their control. We must deal with them, and quickly, not just for the sake of our own homes, but for the sake of the entire galaxy we live in.”

“But what-” Padmé started.

“I will not go into detail at the moment, but we have reason to believe that Anakin here is the one who can destroy the Sith, perhaps for good.”

“What?” They both stared at her with mouths open.

“We had heard,” T’ra Saa continued, “when we sent out the invitation, that the two of you were attempting to have a baby. You may have thought it unfortunate for us that you have recently succeeded, but in fact, that makes you, Padmé, temporarily able to serve alongside us. Your two children will be very powerful. While you carry them, they will give you some power of your own. Not much at the moment, but we tested for the effects while you were choosing your crystal, and they are there.” She and Anakin had been asked to choose a crystal from among a selection of them as one of their tests.

“What will happen, if you agree to this, is you will join us now, and remain with us for the next eight months, perhaps longer if it proves completely necessary. When your work here is done, you will help us select two new members and honorably retire. But let me first warn you that those months may well end with both of you dead. You knew, of course, that as members of the Hundred you would be prepared to lay your lives on the line for the sake of others, but this risk is higher than I believe you anticipated.”

“I’m not afraid,” said Anakin. Padmé said nothing, letting her silence act as consent.

“You are not afraid now,” replied Tholme, “but I think you will be.” His stare was the most piercing Padmé had ever seen. “You will be.”

T’ra Saa, meanwhile, nodded to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who said to them, “Anakin and Padmé Naberrie, the Hundred have, by full consensus, chosen to include the two of you among their ranks. If you accept this calling, kneel and open your hands.”

Anakin and Padmé got down to their knees facing each other. Into each of their left palms Obi-Wan placed a lightsaber, the weapon of the Jedi, and of the Hundred. These, Padmé assumed, were his and his late husband’s.

“These you will learn to wield during your first days in the Hundred, until you are capable of making your own. The crystal for that you have already chosen.” The crystal in question floated between them. Then, before their eyes, it appeared to expand, then split in half. The two halves molded themselves into a pair of perfect green diamonds, then the first fell into Anakin’s right palm, making him gasp. “You shall now be known as Anakin Skywalker for the great deeds you will do.”

Then Padmé felt the second crystal land in her own hand, and she felt her arm tingle up to the shoulder. “You shall now be known as Padmé Amidala for the great heart that you possess.”

“Rise and take your seats,” said T’ra Saa. “Obi-Wan Kenobi, your duties to the Hundred are now fulfilled. Go now and rest, and know that our hearts go with you.”

By the time Anakin and Padmé, awkwardly still holding the lightsabers and crystals, had sat down in the last two chairs, Obi-Wan Kenobi was already passing through the doors. They closed quietly behind him.

“Now to further business. We must do our best not to destabilize the conglomerate. I am aware of objections to our noninterference, but it is simply something we do not have the strength to deal with; we can only manage our small component of the galaxy. This means we go in as unnoticed as possible, we determine who are the Sith are, we get them out of power however we can-and yes, we probably will have to kill them, that’s the simple truth-and we avoid connection to the incident if we can, and if we can’t, we make whatever concessions the conglomerate leaders demand, barring any of our own lives. We need to send in a pair good at subterfuge.”

There were several volunteers, and several more suggestions. All of those suggested also offered their services. Then the debates began. Anakin and Padmé hadn’t been able to get most of the names of the other members of the Hundred, but half an hour later they had a few given names memorized. Torm and Sharra. Geith and Callista. There was another pair whose names she couldn’t hope to pronounce from a planet she thought the Hundred hadn’t protected, though she was starting to suspect they covered any planet they got members from, which meant a much wider range than she’d initially thought. T’Bolton and Sara very nearly got chosen as their two spies, but at the last minute an objection to T’Bolton resulted in the final choice being Joclad and Sarrissa.

“Meanwhile.” finished T’ra Saa, “Kit and Aayla will see to Anakin and Padmé’s training. They are to be kept separate until they have both constructed their lightsabers. May the Force be with us all.”

The meeting adjourned, Anakin and Padmé, stunned, could only look at each other as the Nautolan Kit Fisto and Twi’lek Aayla Secura came to part them. Just before they reached them, Anakin finally moved and gave her a parting kiss, very slow and gentle, the way she liked them best.

Hands on their shoulders lightly disconnected them, and Padmé was turned around to face Aayla Secura. “The separation is normal procedure,” she explained to her. “You’ll both emerge from it much strong than you would be otherwise. Come.”