Angel

Feb. 15th, 2016 09:24 am
nrgburst: (anidala)
[personal profile] nrgburst
Title: Angel
Fandom: Star Wars Prequels
Characters: Anakin Skywalker/Padme Amidala, R2-D2, C-3PO, The Naberrie family, (Padme-centric)
Word Count: around 5300
Rating/Warnings: T- suggestive language
Summary: in the arms of the angel/fly away from here


A/N: Lots of reference to the AotC deleted scenes in these next chapters. They are easy to find on Youtube if you don’t have the DVD extras disc handy. And this chapter is rather shmoopy newlywed-y, so if tragic!Anidala is more your thing, er. #thisisnottheficyouarelookingfor




[→home?]

“That’s right, Artoo.”

[> established ETA]

“I know. Session ran late and then the Chancellor wanted to talk again. I’m starving. Wish we could fly straight there.”

[|: traffic violation 2167?]

“No, no. We’ll take the proper lanes. You just keep an eye out for traffic droids, and I’ll figure out the flightpath.”

[P(ETA ↑).12 if |: traffic violation 147]

“Since when did you become such a worrywort? Threepio must be rubbing off on you.”

[!$% R2-D2 ≠C-3PO P(Hungry ˫ Anakin error).88]

“Ha! Just teasing, Artoo. I’ll be good.”




***



It feels like they’re escaping to Naboo again, which Padmé knows is ridiculous.


It’s a legally protected right to take vacation time, and it’s only for a few days. Jar Jar has been given strict, thorough instructions, and they’ll be on comms the whole time in case some emergency comes up. But Padmé still worries: the Republic is at war and Senate in constant upheaval- it seems like they lose a system almost every day.


The Galactic Republic has stood for a thousand years and it saddens all of them to see it fracture. And yet the majority continues to prioritize further militarization over diplomacy.


There’s ample evidence that the Core Worlds benefit unfairly in almost every way; that the system to right such wrongs has become miserably inefficient, that the War is not the main cause for discontent. Surely amicable relations are worth the time and hassle of renegotiating trade agreements, visas and other bureaucratic minutiae. After all, not every system wishing to exit the Republic has joined the Separatist cause- some have remained staunchly neutral in the conflict.


She also finds it alarming that so many resources are being diverted to projects that are overtly destructive, despite the boom in trade. Nothing spurs an economy like war, she muses bitterly.


The pro-military faction insists it’s all for protection, of course. And the continued attacks from the Separatists seem to underscore the need for more security- she can understand why much of the Senate feels that winning the war is the key to solving their problems. Why the Chancellor must support the most expedient course, even if amassing a fleet and troops seems more and more like a thinly veiled threat to those considering seceding.



But she’s never missed her grandmother’s deathday observance, and they’ll be returning with the Queen for the Galactic Ball, which makes the trip half official. Besides, this will be Anakin’s first time to participate in Naboo tradition and their first visit home since their marriage.


An important personal step for both of them, no matter what may be happening in politics or on battlefields worlds away.



Of course, Sola is going to be absolutely insufferable; her mom will be laying on the guilt and her dad silently reproachful about excluding them from one of the biggest decisions of her life. But she also knows they’ll welcome Anakin regardless, that they’re eager to get to know him beyond what the awkwardness of holo-calls affords.



The temporary reprieve from war and work and worry may be just what she needs to strengthen her resolve. She just needs to soak up the warmth of family and be surrounded by green things and breathe truly clean air for a couple days…


She’s also looking forward to just being with Anakin again for a couple uninterrupted days. The ingrained Jedi sense of duty means that he tends to forget things like legally protected working hours. He’d balked at the idea of asking for holiday until she’d reminded him that Chancellor Palpatine would understand Naboo tradition better than almost anybody on Coruscant.



And that he’s her family now, too.



How she’d loved the joy in his eyes at the reminder. How it made her ache to ask…



“Milady? Perhaps Master Skywalker will be late again? I’m afraid your dinners have grown quite cold, and I don’t dare to reheat the fish more than once lest it become utterly unpalatable…”


She sighs and looks up from the notes she isn’t reading. “It’s okay, Threepio. You can power down if you want to- Anakin and I can serve ourselves once he gets home.”


“Miss Padmé, I must protest. After all, service is a protocol droid’s primary function! I couldn’t leave you alone here.”


“Well, I’d be alone but not lonely. There’s a difference, you know.”


“Perhaps so, Senator. But if you don’t mind, I shall stay powered on. After all, R2-D2 likes to jabber on about his day to me. I’m sure he’d be quite bored if I shut down early.”


She smiles. “Well, we couldn’t have that.”



***



“So? Is what they say about younger men true?”

“Sola!”

“What? Come on! I saw the state of your hair when you got off the ship. Oh god- look at your face. It’s totally true.”

“I hate you.”

“You love me. So it’s that good, huh?”

“…You have no idea.”

“It’s the Jedi thing, isn’t it?”

“…He can sense what I’m feeling. So he knows exactly how to… Ahhh- he probably knows we’re talking about him right now…”

“Okay, that is hot. With… a side of creepy. He can tell everything? Like even when you’re lying?”

“Why would I ever need to lie to Anakin?”

“You forget I’ve been married before.”

“Well, I intend to be –happily- married.”

“Well, so did I, if you remember. “

“…”

“Look, maybe it’ll help, the no secrets thing. But as someone who’s known you your whole life? You’ve always played your cards pretty close to the chest, you know? Are you really okay with him knowing everything?”

“…I have to be.”


***


“We have to unpack anyway,” Padmé says determinedly as she opens the door to her bedroom.


“Your mother doesn’t seem very happy,” Anakin says quietly, putting down the suitcases.


“Well, we can hardly agree to another ceremony just to please her, especially while we live and work on Coruscant. And during a war, no less,” she says, popping open the first case. “She’ll have to just accept that we’ve had our wedding.”


He tilts his head and shrugs. “On many worlds, weddings are a way to celebrate the joining of families. I can understand why your mother was hoping for more for you.”



“Oh, Ani.”



She abandons unpacking to take his hands and search his eyes. “All I want is your love. And marriage is a commitment between two people, not… cake and speeches and endless holos. Although… I suppose I could have been more understanding.”



He smirks. “So you’re not actually perfect.”



She rolls her eyes. “Especially not around my mother. Aargh. I’ll try to keep an open mind. Hand me the clothes that need hanging first?”


He gives her a thoughtful look as he complies. “I can see if Artoo archived any holo footage. It’s not the same, but-”


She brightens. “It might help. And if not- well, maybe once I’m done my term and we’re free to come home.”


That surprises him, but she’s already turned back toward the closet, shaking out and hanging his new memorial robes next to her gown. They don’t match exactly, but the ornate black fabric is from the same weaver, and it pleases her to see how well they go together.


“You know, the first time I wore this was to my grandmother’s funeral. I could barely breathe for crying but I had to give the eulogy. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”


“…You were her favorite grandchild.”


She scrunches her nose and shakes her head in automatic denial. “No…”


Anakin gives her an amused look before he laughs.


She flushes and swats at him playfully. “That is completely unfair.”


He chuckles, dodging. “Some relationships are special.”


She looks away before lifting a shoulder uncomfortably. “Sola called it the bossypants gene. Nana taught me so much about how to look at situations; how to see that everybody got what they needed—or at least what they thought they wanted. How to ask for things in exactly the right way.”


Anakin inhales, shifting uncomfortably. “…You’re thinking of the Gungans.”


Padmé frowns before she looks away. “I… needed a diversion that would be believable. And some men feel most generous when a powerful woman begs,” she admits.


“…Well, I think you’re a little scary when you’re Amidala.”


That takes her aback, and she gives him a searching look, not sure how to answer when there’s the sound of little footsteps clattering up the stairs before a smiling face peeks in.


“Auntie? Grandma says tea is ready. And Mama made rolls with jaaam!”


Padmé smiles automatically. “We’ll be right down, sweetie.”

***


“Well, I have to say, I’m glad we’d met before. Jobal had a feeling, you know, but we were still surprised.”

“I apologize again for the secrecy. And for staying only in Theed for the parade. We didn’t want the media around…”

“Nah, son, we understand- Padmé’s been in politics for long enough for us to know how that circus runs. Can’t have democracy without open information, can’t have open information without the media prying into personal business. And you’re here now, and Padmé’s happy. That’s always been our bottom line.”

“…Thank you. She’s looked forward to coming back for weeks. The Galactic Senate is in a state of turmoil and she’s been working very hard.”

“Canny as a rawl, determined as a hrumph, and all heart. You don’t let her break it on some bill she can’t stop, you hear?”

“…Truthfully, I don’t think I ever –let- her do anything.”

“Ha! Truer words! Just be there for her and you’ll do just fine, son.”


***



Threepio’s been programmed to make small talk and facilitate pleasant conversation, but tea is still awkward. Everybody is achingly polite except for the girls, who alternatively stare at or avoid Anakin while they gobble their desserts in uncharacteristic silence.


Padmé’s rather dismayed. It’s even more awkward than when she’d brought him home the last time.


She’s struggling to come up with some sort of common ground when Pooja runs out of the dining room and back with a small starship toy.


“Mama, it needs a new energy pack.”


Sola sighs and shakes her head. “Honey, it’s broken. You crashed it, remember?”


“But Artoo is back to play spaceships with,” she complains.


Anakin glances over. “Can I take a look at it?”


“Oh- you don’t need to trouble yourself, Anakin. It’s just a toy,” Sola says.


“No trouble. I’ve always been good at fixing things.” He smiles tentatively at Pooja, holding his hand out. “May I?”


Pooja looks up at her mother for confirmation before giving it over, retreating behind Padmé while Anakin turns it over in his hands.


Padmé hoists her up onto her lap, ostensibly so Pooja can watch the proceedings, but also to steal a cuddle. “It’s actually how we met. We were forced to land on Anakin’s home planet when our ship took damage escaping from the Trade Federation blockade. Without him we might have been stranded there.”


Jobal’s eyes widen. “You never mentioned that.”


Padmé shrugs dismissively, looking away. “It was just a… detour on the way to Coruscant,” she insists.


Jobal shares an exasperated look with Ruwee before she sighs. “Well, we’re glad you have Anakin by your side now, at least. Everyday we get news on the War and it’s hard knowing you’re so far away on your own.”


“Mom! I have a very capable team. But I do feel safer at night now,” she admits, flushing.


Anakin looks up at her and smiles warmly before he turns to Pooja. “Your ship’s got a bad motivator. I can fix it if you have a spanner and some bonding tape.”


Pooja peeks over Padmé’s arm. “It’s usually the energy pack,” she informs him skeptically.


The other adults chuckle at that, but Anakin raises his brows seriously. “I bet it is. But this time I think it’s a cracked motivator. I can show you once we open it up.”


“How can you know what’s wrong if you can’t see it?” Rooj pipes up suspiciously.


Anakin hesitates. Naboo has historically produced few Jedi youngling candidates- most don’t bother with testing except in major urban centers. “The same way you know that you’re hungry without needing to look at your tummy,” he explains.


Both girls nod, and Sola gives him an approving smile.


Ruwee clears his throat and pushes back his plate. “Well, why don’t we take it for a looksee, then? Tools are in the garage.”


“Can Artoo come too?” Pooja asks.


Anakin smiles at the droid. “You want to help us fix this, Artoo?”


R2 beeps an affirmative, and Pooja slides off Padmé’s lap and grabs Anakin’s hand. “I can show you where!”


“Save me a couple of the rolls?” Anakin manages over his shoulder as she hauls him along, R2-D2 whirring happily behind, and Ruwee and Rooj following.


Padmé laughs and waves.


“So he’s good with kids. Interesting,” Sola comments, winking.


Padmé tries to give her an exasperated look, but she knows the flush in her cheeks ruins the effect.


***



“Well look at you, the big hero of the evening. I’m surprised they let me get a dance with you at all.”

“I enjoyed it. Younglings aren’t as… demonstrative.”

“I’m glad you had a good time. …Ugh, I don’t think I can move.”

“I’ve never seen you eat so much.”

“They made all my favorites, and that wine…. I can’t believe you didn’t like the oysters!”

“Yeah, I’m not convinced they’re supposed to be eaten like that. Or, you know. At all.”

“We can take the boy out of the desert, but not the desert out of the boy? You know food isn’t supposed to burn your mouth off.”

“No, food isn’t supposed to be slimy and cold.”

“Ha! More for me, then.”

“Yeah, I noticed.”

“Hey! Hmmm… ”

“…”

“No! Ani…”

“But you want to, too.”

“I can’t with my family down the hall! Just hold me? Everybody I love is here under this roof, and the War is a billion miles away…”


***


The ceremony is held at a graveyard, which is like the rest of Naboo- lush and verdantly green, dotted with sleek marble. Padmé’s parents lead the procession behind the priests, followed by firstborn Sola and her children, and Padmé and Anakin behind. After them follow a train of friends and more distant relations, every person bearing a flower of some kind.


She murmurs cues to Anakin throughout the proceedings (“bow, three pinches of incense, hands together, bow again”), knowing they all make allowances for offworlders, but her eyes widen when he recites the incantation with them.


It’s not until they’re given their time before the grave that she can take his hand and squeeze.


“Thank you for learning it,” she whispers.


“We’re family,” he says simply, giving her an embarrassed half smile, and she smiles back even though her eyes and nose sting.


They offer their flowers and incense before she speaks.


“Nana, this is Anakin, my husband. We were married three months ago.”


She hesitates before she speaks again, softly. “You were right. I didn’t expect it. And it was just like you said.”


She carefully wipes ash off the stone with her fingertips before she steps back again, and she meets Anakin’s eye before they repeat the formal farewell phrases in Naboo, bow, and follow after her family.


***


“Anakin Skywalker! How’re ya doin’?”

“Commander Olié. I’m very well, thanks. I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Aw, you know. Ruwee and I were in the Freedom Relief Movement way back when. His mother was a force of nature, I tell ya- have to pay my respects.”

“Of course. You’re still stationed out of Theed?”

“That’s right- Bravo Squadron. We’re hiring more pilots and purchasing more ships, what with the War and all.”

“You’re still flying N-1s?”

“No, N-2s now- more power. You can stop by and see them while you’re in Theed picking up the Queen, maybe. But you’re living on Coruscant- have you seen those Republic TIE fighters in action?”

“The Chancellor actually pulled some strings and allowed me to take one for a test flight. They’re amazing- fantastic acceleration and maneuverability. Strange to fly without an astrodroid though- no way to repair damage or make longer range calculations.”

“Ahhh, trade-offs, I suppose, for the smaller body. And the specs on them look incredible! If only her Majesty had the Republic’s deep pockets, eh?”

“Well, surely the Separatists have better targets than a small Mid-Rim planet like Naboo…”

“We’re a pacifist world and the Senator’s been supporting a moderate political agenda. But can’t help but worry, what with being the Chancellor’s home world, and all. Need a proper first line of defense since it takes the Republic so long to get movin’.”

“…That’s true.”

***

“I can tell when you’re brooding over something,” Padmé prompts gently, unpinning her hair.


Anakin eyes her and shrugs, hanging up the fancy robes carefully. “It’s just… you still feel the pain of losing your grandmother.”


“Of course. She was a big part of my life.” Understanding dawns. “You’re thinking of your mother.”


“We love each other so much. I thought… it would fill up the… hole.”



“…Love doesn’t work like that. It helps you carry losses, not… block them out. And grieving takes time.”


“Jedi aren’t supposed to grieve. Mourning is selfish when they have simply returned to the Force. Master Yoda called it a shadow of greed.”


She presses her lips together. It’s just a different way of thinking, maybe, but everything she’s heard about repressing emotions… “…Jedi aren’t supposed to feel love either. And you told me once that you never wanted to forget her,” she points out.


Anakin grimaces ruefully. “It was always easier for other Padawans to maintain serenity, since they’d been trained from birth. And I’m not a Jedi anymore, I know. But- I can’t imagine feeling pain is healthy.”


“Well, normal people learn how to deal with their emotions --even the painful, ugly ones-- not shut them away. And I’m here to listen, and support you. Like you’re here for me.”


Anakin considers that before he meets her eyes and nods.


She smiles wanly. “Besides, they haven’t gone. Not really. They live on in our memories; their legacy carries on in the things they’ve accomplished. And in us. So. I’m sorry to inform you, but when we have a girl, her name will be Leia.”


Anakin has to laugh. “When?”


Padmé gives him a hesitant look. “I was Queen for two terms and now Senator for almost two. And I told you once that…”


“…You want children. I remember.”


“I know you probably haven’t thought about it yet. But I see how caring you are with Threepio and Artoo and my nieces and…” She shrugs. “Maybe it’s also being home. I feel like I can breathe here. Know I can build things and make them grow instead of fighting to keep something irreparably broken from crumbling.”


He inhales and tilts his head, troubled. “I’ve never known you to back down from a challenge.”


She huffs a laugh and leans against him, closing her eyes. “Maybe I’m wiser now. Or just ready to live for me instead of Naboo.”


He gives her a thoughtful look before he kisses the top of her head. “I would love to… continue the legacy.”


She turns her face up to his, smiling tremulously. “Yes?”


“I can’t think of anything more wonderful. Especially the making part.” He tilts his head at the bed and raises a brow.


She shoves him, laughing. “Oh you!”





But she’s the one who initiates that night after they get into bed, sliding her hand down into his pajama bottoms and making him bite back a moan.


“I thought you didn’t want to here,” he gasps.


“I changed my mind. We can be quiet,” she explains between kisses. “And now that it’s okay to start trying...”


Anakin smirks as he pulls her close. “And you’re horny.”


Padmé groans. “The Queen will be with us on the return journey and it’s already been three days. I feel like I’m going to explode.”


“Well, I suppose that is my specialty,” he chuckles.



***



“Queen Jamillia! Senator Amidala! Master Ani! Welcome to Coruscant! It’sa so good to see all of yousa!”

“Thank you, Representative Binks. It’s good to see you all as well. I trust nothing unusual happened in Senate while we were away?”

“Just the same old bigga bigs talkin’ the same old longo tello. Ain’t nothin bein’ decided except makin’ muy muy committees.”

“…It’s a wonder anything has been decided at all.”

“Lotsa bosses gonna be at the Galactic Ball. Itsa gonna be hot! Mesa thinkin’… it might be speedier to get themsa agreein’ there, while desa whoopsy an’ smilin’.”

“I agree. So does the Chancellor. So we all have to be as prepared as we can for this… party.”


***


It’s got to be the corset. And it doesn’t help that she’s starving-- it takes so long for full makeup, hair and wardrobe, even with Dormé’s help. The full regalia isn’t as extravagant and heavy as what she was expected to wear as Queen, but on special occasions she still needs to be half ornate display and half impressive tradition.


Officially, the Galactic Ball is to celebrate the commissioning of the new Super Star Destroyers, but it’s also a show of power and wealth for the systems thinking of defecting. The Chancellor is also pushing through a tax increase to cover ballooning military expenditure, and this event is PR to convince those reluctant to support the bill.


Like her.


The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it, she reminds herself sternly. And it’s her duty to serve her queen and her people in the way they wish- even if it means an evening of carefully worded conversations over cocktails and dancing with diplomats.


But first she needs to fix this.


“Ani?” she manages.


He hurries in, looking both handsome and awkward in his new blue silk robes. “I think Threepio might short out from excitement- he can’t stop talking about the guest list. What’s wrong?”


She indicates her back with a tilt of her head. “Could you loosen the corset strings a little? I think Dormé’s done them a little too tight and if I have to debate with military officials all night, I need to be able to take a proper breath.”


“You sure? I don’t want to mess up your whole Amidala look...”


“Dormé needs to get ready too, and you’ve done this before.”


Anakin smirks and tilts his head. “I’ve helped you undress before. You seem to want this to stay on,” he points out.


“Ani!” she admonishes, laughing before taking a shallow gasp and grimacing. Alarmed, he crosses the room immediately, unhooking the back of her gown with practiced ease and undoing the corset fastening. The relief is immediate, and she gulps for breath.


“Oh, that’s better!”


He shakes his head ruefully. “All this for an evening of politics.”


She gives him an apologetic look as he carefully reties the lacing. “That’s perfect. I know it’s a bit ridiculous, considering the circumstances. But if it prevents more systems from seceding, we all have to play our parts. The Chancellor wants everybody to understand which side will be the winner and remind us that we have more bounty as an interconnected whole. And good food, wine and music might make all those sovereign heads more amenable.”


“There will be many Jedi present tonight.”


She catches his hand before meeting his eye in the mirror. “Will you be all right?”


He shrugs. “It had to happen eventually. Just strange to be one of you instead of one of them. But I’m glad you intervened with the Chancellor. I’d rather escort you than him to this thing. Even if it means we have to dance.”


She has to laugh. “Sheev Palpatine was an renowned dancer back in the day. A graceful gentleman who never stepped on any toes. You’d be lucky to get a dance with him,” she teases.


Anakin rolls his eyes and grins as he reluctantly refastens her gown again. “You know what I mean.”


She meets his eyes in the mirror again and smiles knowingly. “Well, I know you prefer your boring uniform. But I can’t wait to dance with my incredibly handsome husband.”


He smiles and presses a kiss to the makeup-free spot on the back of her neck. “And I’m delighted to be your partner, milady.”


***


“Well, well, Naboo silks and colors. You wear them well.”

“Thank you, Chancellor. I suppose I should have known marrying Padmé would make for fancier clothing. The fabrics are a lot more luxurious than I'm used to.”

“One of the many benefits of leaving the Order, I’m sure.”

“I suppose so, Excellency.”

“Ah! What sublime timing… Anakin, I’d like you to meet Captain Wilhuff Tarkin, one of the fleet’s finest. Captain, this is Anakin Skywalker, Senator Amidala’s husband and an accomplished star pilot, as well as one of my most trusted guards.”

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I understand you flew in the Battle of Naboo?”

“Yes, but-”

“Now, now, Anakin. This is not the time for modesty. You must explain your thoughts about the TIE fighters that you shared with me earlier. After all, a good commander listens to those who have more expertise in the trenches, so to speak.”

“Of course, Chancellor.”


***


Padmé can tell Anakin’s still unsettled- he meditates throughout the drive and his eyes go immediately to the Jedi Knights watching over the guest arrivals, bowing slightly in acknowledgement when they turn to meet his eye after they step out of the vehicle.


"Obi-Wan isn't here," he says softly, brow furrowing.


She takes his hand, trying to project as much support and understanding as she can, and he smiles wanly at her.


“I’m fine. Couldn’t think of spoiling Threepio’s big night,” he jokes softly.


C-3PO is in a state of intense excitement, his head swiveling erratically as he scans the other arriving guests. “Senator! I do believe that gentleman behind us is the Archduke of Ceba! You expressed a desire to speak with him earlier if I recall, and I am fluent in all the languages of Ceba Prime. I would be delighted to translate if you wished to approach him. Oh! And by the entrance! The Senior Councillor from Malustare!”


“Told you,” Anakin murmurs in her ear, “I wish I could’ve brought a Harris wrench.”


Padmé laughs and squeezes his hand. She’s glad he’s maintaining a lighthearted humor, despite the underlying discomfort. “Well, this has to be nirvana for a protocol droid. Think of how many years he spent on Tatooine talking to evaporators.”


“I guess. I just worry about all the language switches- I never imagined he would do more than help my mother,” he admits.


“Senator Amidala!” A reporter calls out, “As a staunch opponent of the Security Tax proposal, isn’t it hypocritical to attend tonight’s event?”


She gives her a measured smile. “If this Super Star Destroyer is as impressive and powerful as promised, I am sure the Republic will need only the one that has already been bought and paid for. And of course, Naboo celebrates this technological achievement with all the worlds of the Republic tonight.”


“But Senator! Isn’t it true that-“


Anakin smiles politely for pictures and keeps Threepio from hurrying too far ahead as she makes her statements. He still has little patience for politics, but he has to admire the way his wife does her job; how hard she works to represent the views of her people. From what he’s observed, not all –or even most—of the Senators the Chancellor interacts with on a daily basis have the same priorities.


Still, he likes the media even less, and he exhales with relief as they clear the press section, and get ready to clear security.


There are the usual weapons detectors, droid registration and retinal identification checks, but they all know the two Jedi Masters standing guard over the entrance are the most important sentinels.


Padmé edges in front of Anakin as they approach, chin raised and ready to take the brunt of any censure.


As if amused, the Togruta Jedi smiles, although her eyes seem to look as much through them as at them. “No further judgment shall he face unless he breaks the law, Senator,” she says gently. “And it warms my heart to see a former pupil so happy.”


Anakin smiles and bows formally. “Master Shaak Ti, Master Plo Koon.”


The Kel Dor Jedi on the other side of the entrance seems to be giving them the same scrutiny before he gives Anakin an approving nod. “Your emotions are already steadier. I too, am glad. Although-“ he breaks off as he turns his gaze to Padmé, tilting his head as if curious.


“Masters,” Padmé replies with a bow, keeping her face carefully neutral. She doesn’t have to ask how they knew what they were feeling, but it’s unsettling nonetheless to feel so transparent.


But then they wave them though, and Anakin exhales audibly as they enter the hall to collect C-3PO. “Well, that was easier than I expected. Think we can eat before you dive into the politicking, though?”


She squeezes the arm he proffers, feeling giddy with relief herself. “Yes, please!”


***


“Strong his feelings for his wife are.”

“They are newly married. It’s to be expected.”

“For a human, yes. For the Chosen One, worrisome. Clouded his future remains.”

“Perhaps we should ask Master Obi-Wan to pay a visit to his former apprentice. They were exceptionally close. If we have another Count Dooku in the making, surely he will sense it.”

“Agreed.”

“Masters Yoda and Windu.”

“Masters Shaak Ti and Plo Koon. A problem to report?”

“Not exactly. We believe Skywalker’s wife is pregnant. And the Force must be strong with the child for us to be able to sense it already.”

“If this child has even half of Skywalker’s talent-“

“And we can train it from birth-“

“Yes… Perhaps misread this prophecy was…”





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