Nov 2002 Disclaimer 1: It all (SW) belong to Lucasfilm, I don't own it.

Disclaimer 2: The song is by Martina McBride and I don't own that either :P I removed one line "It happens to alot of men" because it didn't fit in the context of the story.

Part 14

*Wrong Again.*

Padmé lay back exhausted against the mess of blankets on her bed, Obi-Wan and a healer woman standing at the end. She'd just spent the last two days in labor and she was tired. Her whole body was one huge ache, but she didn't really register it. She still hadn't recovered from losing Anakin less than a month ago and physical pain meant little. It was the emotional that she couldn't bear.

Obi-Wan stooped next to her and offered her his hand. "One last push, Padmé."

She closed her eyes, accepting Obi-Wan's hand and doing as he said. With barely a sound, she bore down, almost biting through her lip and not caring. Obi-Wan's hand was fairly crushed in her grip. Her body heaved and there was a sudden feel of bliss as the second child was expelled from her body. She lay back against the pillows and Obi-Wan squeezed her hand in return. She didn't really want him here. She wanted Anakin; Anakin deserved to be beside her while she had his children, but that was impossible. She pushed the thoughts out of her mind. She wasn't sure she could think about him right now, in her mentally exhausted state, and stay in control.

The sound of two infants crying suddenly filled the room and her eyes slowly opened. The healer woman, who was also a midwife, was in the process of cleaning the two children up. Obi-Wan sat on the edge of the bed next to her, his eyes dark with an emotion she couldn't read. Whatever it was, she made her recoil. "What's wrong, Obi-Wan?"

He looked to where her children were being gently cared for before being brought to her. "You can't keep them both, Padmé."

Adrenalin shot through her system and she sat almost upright before he caught her and held her down to the bed. "What?" her voice was a whisper of shock. Not keep the twins? Unable to stop them, the anger and tears rose at the same time. "You can't mean that, they're all I have left..." she choked, begging him with her eyes to say something, to tell her that he wasn't serious.

She could read the sorrow in Obi-Wan's eyes. "The Emperor, our former Supreme Chancellor, is hunting for Jedi, Padmé. We have to go into hiding. He knows of your marriage to Anakin. If Anakin were to have children, they could threaten him. He's going to be searching for you, to ensure that you haven't. If he finds you with the twins..."

She turned her face away, unable to bear the thoughts. Be separated from her children? Tears stung her eyes and she shook her head. "No. Obi-Wan, please..." she turned back to him, reduced to begging. She couldn't lose her children! "Anakin is... is..." she bit her lip, feeling the tears sliding down her cheeks and valiantly pushed on. "Anakin is de-dead. Don't make me give up the only pieces of him I have left."

Obi-Wan gently brushed a strand of hair from her face. "I can't let you keep them both, Padmé. When they're old enough, they just might be able to save the galaxy from this menace. By that time, if the Emperor is still in power, he'll be old. Darth Vader, his apprentice, will have become complacent. Your children may be the galaxy's only hope, but if they're caught now..."

The healer suddenly cleared her throat. "Would you like to see your children, m'lady?"

Padmé held out her arms and the woman gently placed two tiny infants in her arms before quietly exiting the room. Tears pooled in her eyes again as she looked down at them. "Luke." She murmured softly, kissing the small boy on the top of his head. He already resembled his father; she could see a hint of Anakin's strong features and it made her want to cry. Luke would be his father's son. She turned her head and placed a kiss on the crown of her daughter's head. "And Leia." She turned her eyes to Obi-Wan, the children sleeping soundly, and her heart clenched.

"You can't keep them both, Padmé."

She bowed her head. She knew that, but how could she give one of them up? She looked at her sleeping children and gently laid Luke on her lap. Leia was placed on the bed beside her. She picked up her son, inspecting him closely, her throat closing. Luke. She hugged him, but not too tightly, "Mommy loves you, my darling," she whispered softly. She held him for several minutes before looking at Obi-Wan again. He had a heavier blanket in his hands and she gently placed her son inside, the Jedi wrapping him snugly. Tears slid down her cheeks as she looked at the two. "Where will you take him?"

"It's better that you don't know. You can never see him again, Padmé. Not until the Emperor has been defeated."

She closed her eyes. "Go, just go. Promise me you'll look out for him."

"You have my word. Goodbye, Padmé."

She opened her eyes when she heard the door close and wondered if her heart could break anymore. She picked Leia up and cradled her daughter while she cried for her son. Leia would have to be protected. Her daughter would grow up knowing nothing of Jedi or the Force, she would make sure she knew she was loved, and if necessary, marry again to protect her. But until that day came, she simply wanted to hold her daughter and never let her go.



Several weeks later she was sitting in the garden, Leia in her arms, as she sung softly to the infant. Leia was sleeping soundly, her angelic face, so reminiscent of her own, yet holding a few features of Anakin's, relaxed in a contented smile. Tears pooled in her eyes and she blinked them back. Was Luke alright? She hoped so. Obi-Wan would look out for him.

"M'lady?"

She looked up, seeing one of the women standing in the garden entrance. "Yes?"

"You have a visitor."

She blinked. Visitor? Oh, yes, Bail must have come by again. She sighed. Bail Organa. Now there was an enigma if she'd ever met one. However, he was good for getting her mind off her problems and he was a good friend. "Show him in, Ganaé."

She nodded and left, returning a few minutes later with a tall, handsome man. Dark hair with green, smiling eyes, Bail Organa painted a classic picture. Padmé didn't get to her feet from her chair, but managed to find a smile for him. Bail was always a welcome distraction.

His long legs ate up the ground between them and she saw the gentle, almost reverent smile he always used with her. Or had since her pregnancy had come to his attention. Knowing as he did that her husband was gone; he'd made it a point to be there for her. She'd hated him for it at first, but the last six weeks would have been impossible to get through without him. Padmé had never realized exactly how cut off she'd been from people until Bail had come into her life again. "Bail. It's good to see you."

He dropped to one knee next to her, a smile on his face. "Padmé. You look lovely, as always. Leia is doing well, I hope?"

She nodded, gently shifting the baby in her arms so that Bail could see her. A genuine smile, if somewhat sad, crossed her face as Bail gently stroked her daughter's cheek. "Have you spoken to Obi-Wan, Bail?"

Bail nodded. "I did. The Emperor is close to finding you, even though we've tried everything to throw him off track. Without a husband, he'll know that Leia is..."

Padmé's smile died and she bowed her head, looking down at her daughter. Palpatine, the man she'd helped put in power, wanted to destroy her life. She almost laughed. It had been destroyed when Anakin had been taken from her, now he could only destroy the pieces.

"Padmé."

She looked up, seeing Bail's serious expression. "What is it?"

"I know you're not ready to marry again, and that several stipulations regarding physical contact would have to be ensured, but I'd like you to consider me as your best choice."

She recoiled instantly. Marry Bail? Her rational mind, once again in control, gave her pause. Was that such a bad thing? She could claim that Leia was his, and Bail could teach her everything she needed to know from a father figure. Yet, marry Bail? She wasn't ready for that, may never be ready for it, but he was offering a marriage in name only, to protect her daughter. Would that be so bad? She lifted her head, meeting his gaze reluctantly. "Why would you do this?"

His smile was soft. "I have a soft spot for children. I would love Leia as if she were my own, Padmé. She'd have both a mother and a father in her life to guide her down her chosen path. Consider it, please? That's all I ask. I simply want to protect the two of you."

She swallowed hard. "And you won't push me?"

He shook his head. "No, Padmé, I won't. You're not ready for anything beyond friendship, you may never be, but I can accept that. I love you and I respect you too much to ask for something you're not ready to give. Maybe one day you'll come to me as more than a friend, but if that days is ever to happen, I want you to do it freely and openly, without this grief."

Tears slid down her cheeks and she found a smile for him, reaching out an arm and sobbed softly as he pulled her and Leia into a gentle hug. His touch didn't affect her in the same way Anakin's had, it was too familiar, too gentle, to have much of an effect. Yet, it was secure. In Bail's arms she found security and the promise of a future she might never have had. She nodded once. "I will marry you Bail."

He smiled, placing a gentle kiss on her cheek. "Thank you, Padmé, I promise you won't regret it."

Leia woke then, ending their discussion as Padmé excused herself. She would marry Bail and accept his offer for protection. And maybe, just maybe, she'd be able to recover from her broken heart.

It took two years, but Padmé eventually came to love Bail in her own way. As a friend and protector. They never shared a bed; it wasn't something she was sure she could handle, but Bail proved to be a most adoring and attentive husband and father. He treated her daughter like his own, true to his promise, and loved her devotedly. Her heart never truly mended from the damage Anakin's death and desertion had caused, but she'd recovered enough to enjoy life to a degree. If anyone noticed she seemed excessively sad in such a happy marriage they never spoke of it.

Fin.

*********

Author's Note: I'm really sorry about writing such a sad fic, but it seemed fitting. It was one of those "I have to write it now" kind of stories that just happened while listening to a song. They, unfortunately, give me writer's block on everything else. Strange that.

Thank you for reading, and please R/R! I'd love to hear your thoughts about this!

Jade_Max