Star Wars is the property of George Lucas and LFL. No profits were made and no disrespect is intended with this fic.

Round Robin
Part Twenty-four
by Paula



I tossed open the door to the hotel room and shoved Anakin into the bathroom with his newly purchased clothes. Tossing myself on to the bed, I sighed. Okay, I was ready to meet the hot Rogues and Wraiths now as opposed to dragging cranky Anakin around as my little brother. For the first time in a half an hour I sensed that mind was privy only to my own thoughts.

And to think that I used to believe Force-use was kind of sexy.

I stretched my arms over my head and closed my eyes. The bed was so comfortable and my neck muscles were so sore. Arching my back put everything back into alignment. The `fresher turned on.

I don't know how long I was lying there, but I suspect that I fell asleep for a couple of minutes because when I opened my eyes, Anakin was kneeling beside the bed, hanging over me. He had shaved and bathed and now, unfortunately, smelled really good. "It's amazing how much more tolerable you are when you're not conscious."

"Bite me," I groaned and pushed his face back so I could push myself up on my elbows.

He shrugged and stood up in a smooth graceful movement. "Thanks for the invitation, but I'll pass."

I was now getting the full effect of a cleaned-up Anakin and the results were hardly in my favor. The clothes clung to his lean athletic body and with his dark, slightly too-long hair and level blue eyes, he looked kind of artsy. "Don't flatter yourself," I yawned and sat up fully.

"Come on," he urged. "I'm not hungry."

"And I'm not your mother. Or C-3PO, or whoever cooked for you when you were little." I looked down at my assembled outfit. Black tanktop, paint-splattered jeans. Unfortunately, that was about all I had. Having missed the memo, I hadn't brought anything else. That's why I had brought my American Express Card. Now, I looked at the clock-thing beside the bed and realized that we were supposed to have been at the damn banquet five minutes ago. I thought quickly.

"Why don't you just go like that?" Anakin suggested not helpfully. "That way, I'll definitely draw more attention than you."

I made a face. "If your ass was half as good as mine, you'd be constantly fighting them off. As it is, you've never even gotten laid." The look on his face was a classic. He turned bright red and started to sulk.

With a grin of satisfaction, I reached for my hastily discarded bag and pulled out a somewhat fancy white shirt. Throwing it over my tanktop, I looked pretty damn artsy myself. I dug further into the bag and pulled out my brush. Facing the mirror, I ran it through my abundance of hair until it was no longer stringy from too much time in economy class.

"Hey Venus," I said, inspecting my reflection. Nothing special, but I was operating on paint-stained jeans. It could have been worse.

"What?" Anakin asked from the bed.

I turned and looked at him. "Venus if you will...oh, you."

The Frankie Avalon reference blew right past him, which I kind of expected it to. "Come on," I said, content with the slightly confused look on his face.

He stood up from the chair he had been sitting in and brushed out of the door. Downstairs and out of the doors, we went, until we were once again in the oppressive crowds of Coruscant. I absently grabbed Anakin's hand and pulled him after me and across the street. I wasn't particularly gentle either; a sort of pay back for the boutique incident.

The Lucas-verse equivalent of an air-conditioner was a welcome relief from the heat. Just as Gavin had said, there was a good-looking, if slightly dour man, sitting at the counter. "Myn Donos," he said by way of a greeting. "You are?"

I stuck my hand out and he took it in a firm grip. "Paula. Nice to meet you." His eyes flicked suspiciously to Anakin behind me. "Oh!" I said quickly. "That's my brother, Ana - " what was the name I had given to Ton and Gavin earlier? Alex, Adrianů.?

"Aidan," Anakin said, his voice calm and sure. I dropped Myn's hand, rather rudely I fear, and turned and gaped at the boy beside me.

Anakin looked passively at Myn and didn't even acknowledge me. "Nice to meet you. I'm a hell of a fan."

Myn nodded. "The same. Reception's down a level, to the left of the lift, four doors on the right."

Anakin took hold of me and propelled me to the lift. The doors opened and he stepped in, pulling me after him.

"What the hell was that about?" I asked in amazement, still slightly shocked that he had bailed me out.

"Don't get your hopes up," he said in response, "I must have blanked for a moment."

"Riiiiiight," I said. "Is that a regular consequence from using the Force?"

He shook his head and made a tisking noise. "You've done better than that in the past."

I was about to say something, but then the doors opened. There were four people standing outside of it and I recognized them immediately. Leia, Han, and two tiny twins were standing there. My reflexes kicked in; I couldn't let the twins or Leia to Force-sense their brother, who wasn't even supposed to be born yet. Force only knew what that could do to the universe. Anakin apparently had the same feeling, and we reacted the same way.

He jumped on me, wrapping his arms around my shoulders and I yanked his head towards mine. My lips met his and I felt his voice in my head. Don't look.

I heard a gruff voice from a long way off give a big laugh and a disapproving hush. "Go on," Han Solo, said in between guffaws despite Leia's reprimands, "don't let us stop you."

"We'll just wait for the next one," the Princess added diplomatically. Somehow I managed a nod without breaking a kiss and the doors closed with Han still laughing hysterically.

As the lift started moving again, I heard Leia's disapproving tone. "Hanů"

-----------------------------------------

The song is Hey Venus sung by Frankie Avalon, who in the grand tradition of teenie bop acts, didn't write the damn thing.


Continued in 25