A/N: This is going to be part one of my "happy family" AU series! Expect more oneshots in this universe in the near future.
Three weeks after he leaves her in Naboo after their wedding to fight in the war, Padme has a pregnancy scare.
She waits, before taking a test, afraid of what result it may bring her. The beginning of a secret marriage hidden in the midst of war is not the right time to bring a child into this world… They've scarcely had time together their selves to simply be together without the added strain of a child. Anakin… She knows he'd be wonderful as a father, and more, she knows all about his deep rooted desperation for family. Padme shares this sentiment, adoring her family above all things, and the love she has for her little nieces is indescribable.
And perhaps, one day, it will be right for them…But not now… Not like this.
They deserved better than raising a child in secret, denying all feelings for one another, unable to fully share a life together as spouses should. Whatever child they had deserved a far better life than that.
Anakin finds her alone in the apartment, pacing the length of the windows facing out toward Coruscant, thumb tucked beneath her chin and two fingers pressed against her lips as she stills, watching her husband approach. He shrugs off his cloak as he climbs out of his ship, ignoring R2's chirps, probably wondering why she hasn't rushed forward to see him. She should… It's been long weeks since she's seen him and he deserves her love and affection. As he steps further into the apartment, Padme lowers her arm, and forces a smile.
"Angel..." Anakin reaches out, brushing a few stray curls out of her face with his flesh hand… He rarely touches her with his prosthetic Padme muses for a moment. She'd bring that up another time, when there were less pressing matters to attend to. "I've missed you…"
When she looks up to meet his eyes, Padme can't force the words she must say from her lips, so she simply leans up and presses her lips to his. This couldn't be the greeting he was expecting from her tonight, perhaps something… Warmer. A bottle of blossom wine from Naboo, a meal prepared and waiting for him, her dressed up in one of the… Slinkier nightgowns she owns.
This was completely the opposite of what he deserved to come home to.
"What's wrong? I could sense your uneasiness all the way from the temple."
Anakin grips her elbows with strong hands, looking into her eyes and she can see the worry residing in his own pools of blue, and it only intensifies the nervousness rolling her stomach. She sighs, teeth sinking into the cushion of her bottom lip before taking one of his hands into both of hers, guiding him toward the couch. While she searches her mind for the correct way of saying this to him; her finger traces little patterns across his calloused palms. She hesitates for only a minute or so, but to Padme – and likely her husband – the silence feels like it stretches on for hours.
"Ani, I think… I think when we were in Naboo, after our wedding or perhaps even before, the night we spent together after Geonosis, I missed one of my pills, and now, I'm late…" She trails off, too afraid to meet his eyes, praying to the Force itself that he would understand without further explanation. She'd been so sure that she'd had the pill each day and yet now… Now she feels like a complete fool. Who forgets such a small thing? Especially when the consequences were so… Monumental. Life changing.
Anakin hesitates before speaking, Padme hears his shaky exhale, and wonders briefly, if he's angry with her.
As if he hears her thoughts, his flesh hand slips into hers, their fingers lacing together and he squeezes, a silent reassurance, and to Padme, it's as if he's allowed her breath to return to her. "And… You haven't taken a test?"
Finally, she finds the courage to lift her head and meet his gaze head on, and in those eyes of his she finds the same worry she feels herself, and it only makes her want to look away again. She doesn't. They are husband and wife and they would work through this together. Even if she's never been more terrified in her life. Nothing has ever frightened her this much. And to anyone else, anyone who led a more… Conventional life, this would be a happy moment, one that perhaps they'd been anticipating for a while. And it isn't that she doesn't want this with him… Padme wants a family; she wants children of her own. Just not yet.
"No. I thought of going to Coruscant Medical a few days ago so I'd know for sure, but there would be questions and I'm not exactly unknown around here… I can guarantee if I'd gone there, the HoloNews would have known about this before you did." She can't imagine anything worse… For either of them. Her personal business being broadcast for anyone and everyone to see… If it got out she was carrying a fatherless child, she'd never be taken seriously in the Senate again. And Anakin… To find out she may be carrying his child on the newsreel one night? Padme isn't sure she wants to know what he'd do.
"You're right, you're right… As always…" His attempt to make her smile doesn't fail, she laughs, softly, and then she's crying and he's pulling her to lean on him. Less than a month into their marriage, and this… She hardly feels like a wife, much less a newlywed. He must feel the same way, after all, outside of this apartment, he can't act like her husband. Padme knows how possessive he is, keeping a distance must eat away at him sometimes. She leans her head on his shoulder, and allows him to just hold her, and listens to him murmuring things she doesn't quite catch at times. Mostly it's words of comfort, of reassurance and that's all she really needs.
When finally, the tears pass, Padme sits up once more, and lifts a hand to trace her thumb along his cheekbone. It's long past time they find out if all this worry is justified. If it is… Then they'll figure something out, together, and if not… Then well, she isn't sure what happens. Anakin turns his head just enough to press his lips to her wrist, a gentle, fleeting touch but it makes her heart skip a beat all the same. She loves him. Sometimes, it's easy to forget the intensity of that love, but in moments like these, she can hardly breathe under the weight of it.
She doesn't have to say anything, she knows he understands, so she picks up the box she'd sent Sabe out to buy for her and walks to the fresher.
Locked away in the solitude of the fresher while she waits for the result, Padme wonders what he's doing… She can almost see him pacing, having shrugged off his robe, but she knows him, the pacing will have stopped as quickly as it started… No doubt one of their droids is being tinkered with at this very moment. She hopes it's not R2… The poor little thing can't handle anymore modifications… If they return to the battles and he has yet another new feature, Obi-Wan will have a field day with his jokes.
Three quiet beeps alert Padme that the result was there, simply waiting for her to turn over the test and look. A fresh wave of nerves washes over the senator and suddenly it's as if she's lost the ability to move… In just a moment, their whole lives could change; it would be a blessing with the power to destroy them both. They loved each other… But that didn't mean they were ready for a child! They hadn't experienced enough of each other to have the bond a mother and father share, the partnership borne of knowing every part of the other's soul. They both had so much more work to do before they were ready to dedicate their lives to a child. How could she raise a child whose father was off fighting the war, and keep them hidden away? It wasn't possible, it wasn't fair… To her, the child or Anakin… What would he miss out on? First words? First steps? Everything in-between?
When she finally looks down, turning the test to see the result, her jaw slackens a little.
She leaves the fresher a few minutes later, hands shaking more now than when she walked in… At once Anakin is in front of her, silent, but she can tell he's desperate to know. What must have been going through his mind while she was in there? Padme can see tools out and scattered across the floor and knows she was right before, no droid or machine is safe when her husband is nervous.
Or just being around him at all really.
"It's negative… Force, I feel like such an idiot! Ani I'm sorry for worrying you." There was no baby… She'd just misread the signs and come to the wrong conclusion. Padme hasn't felt like this much of a fool in her life; he must be ready to just shake her for putting them both through all of this. Instead of shaking her however, Anakin just laughs and pulls her into his arms. They're both relieved… And Padme feels like she can breathe again now this is all over. Perhaps one day, they might be ready for a child and all it entails, but not yet.
He kisses her cheeks and then her lips softly and pulls back for a moment, looking into her eyes, "you know, if it were positive, I would have-"
"I know Ani… I know."
Padme is a lot more scared about her pregnancy than she lets on. Right now, she has to be the strong one in their marriage, because between the toll the war is taking on her husband and the nightmares of her death he endures night after night; he's closer to breaking than she's ever seen him. Even more so than after his mother's death. It's frightening… There's a war raging within his mind, and she wants to help him, but he won't let her. Not this time. She suspects Palpatine has a hand in all of this, but she will not endure another fight about that.
The last one ended with them not speaking for days.
He feels the council doesn't trust him, and that distrust frustrates him and worse still, things are quickly becoming strained between he and Obi-Wan… Padme doesn't know what she can do to help him if he won't let her in anymore. She doesn't need the Force to sense a part of him crying out to her, desperate for her, but it's being strangled by the influence of Palpatine. Something isn't right, but she doesn't know what it is exactly… And a selfish part of her wants to give in and run away to Naboo to forget all about the rest of the galaxy and its troubles. She plans to be there sooner than later, but not yet; not while this dark cloud is hanging over them all, threatening to engulf everything.
The night Padme found out she was carrying Anakin's child, it had felt like they were on the cusp of something, something beyond either of their control and she couldn't understand the feeling at the time… But it was something ominous, a bad omen. She doesn't wish to bring her child into a world where war raged on throughout the galaxy, and both sides were growing more corrupt by the day. A world where she could lose her husband and their child could lose their father at any moment in battle and they'd have to learn the news through a senate announcement or worse, through the HoloNews. A world where Palpatine grew more powerful and corrupt by the hour…
Palpatine wasn't the only thing frightening Padme, despite what she tells Anakin time and time again, she does fear dying in childbirth. These days, the rates of women who die in such conditions are low, but it still happens. And it wouldn't be the first time Anakin dreamt the future. She doesn't want to die… The thought of leaving behind her beloved and their child sickens her. How would Anakin cope? Would he leave the Order and dedicate his life to their child? Or, would his fatherhood be disrupted by long absences as their marriage has? These were the thoughts plaguing Padme's mind whenever she wasn't burying herself in her work. Anakin would be the best father any child could hope to have; he was playful, mischievous, loving, and patient. But she wonders how he'll manage it, if she isn't there by his side.
Padme isn't afraid of dying, but she is afraid of the mess she'd leave behind if she does. Deep down, in her soul, she knows her husband would never be the same if she passed away, that a part of him would die with her and the damage would be close to irreparable. She's a smart woman, so she's prepared. She already has an unregistered bank account to which she wires money, bit by bit until the majority of her wealth resides there, easy for Anakin to access. Thank the Force her sister knows everything about her marriage – not that they'd chosen to tell her exactly… It was more of Sola entering the apartment for a surprise visit and catching them kissing on the couch… Now, Padme knows she can trust her sister to help should things go wrong, and explain everything to their parents. When she went to Naboo to set up the baby's room, she'd arrange everything else needed should she not… Be there afterward.
If Anakin knew what she was doing, he'd be furious.
More than furious… He'd think she doesn't trust him and she does, but she doesn't trust his actions of late. She can't. Not while he works so closely with the chancellor. This is something Padme fears they'll never manage to fully resolve, yet the longer it festers between them, the worse it gets. There's distrust growing between them and she hates it. Force, what would Palpatine's influence drive Anakin to if she isn't here to keep him somewhat in check? She can't think about that. Not right now.
Coruscant is cool tonight, the controlled weather slightly colder than usual, and Padme appreciates this. Her apartment feels too warm and it is uncomfortable despite Threepio assuring her the temperature is as it always is and hasn't been altered. Probably yet another effect of her pregnancy she supposes… Standing out by the small fountain where Anakin usually lands his cruiser, Padme watches the countless ships fly past, and tries not to lose herself to her thoughts. Right now she longs for nothing more than a cold breeze to cool her heated skin and soothe her torturous thoughts. Leaning back against a pillar, Padme sighs, closing her eyes and rubs the swell of stomach idly, she's rewarded with a kick from the baby and it brings a smile to her face. The baby is moving a lot lately… Kicking her, then quickly changing positions to kick elsewhere. Something tells her Anakin's influence is already taking hold… Well, at the very least she'd make sure the little one doesn't develop their father's table manners.
She'd hoped Anakin would come home tonight, she knows he's in the temple, and earlier… She'd felt… Something. Padme couldn't explain it. Lately, for all the distance between them, she's never felt closer to him… Sometimes, it's as if she can feel him, feel what he feels. It's always brief, but intense. He's aware of it too, although he's always been able to sense her emotions, and he knows how to shut her out while they're connected. Tonight, she'd felt his pain, felt the turmoil inside of him as she watched the sunset… And once more she felt as if they were on the cusp of something. And just like then, it felt like something terrible was happening. He was suffering, tearing himself apart and she didn't know how to help… All she'd been able to do was look out toward the temple and feel him. He'd severed the connection soon after that, shutting her out completely. It was late, she should be in bed, but she'd wanted to wait for him, desperately hoping he'd come to her and explain everything… It's beginning to look like he isn't coming. With one last glance at the temple, Padme turns around and slowly steps back inside. Perhaps he'd be here when she wakes in the morning. She'd clear her day if he was, and make him confess everything to her no matter what it took.
It feels like hours later, when she wakes with a start, the sound of an engine shutting off catches her attention and it can only mean one thing… He's home. For a moment, Padme is torn; she could wait for him to join her, and leave everything else until morning, or meet him out there and face everything head on now. Part of her longs to simply wait for her husband to join her, for him to climb into their bed and pretend nothing else exists outside of this bedroom… But she can't do that, not tonight. Not after everything she felt from him earlier.
She gingerly climbs out of the bed, wincing as the aches in her back intensify for a moment but presses on. The apartment is dark, and quiet, and the tension feels akin to an invisible hand squeezing the breath from her throat… Whatever had happened couldn't be anything good. Otherwise why would she have felt such things from him earlier? Deep down, Padme wonders if she wants to hear what he has to say. It would be easier, to pretend nothing outside of her little world was happening, to run away home to Naboo and forget everything else, and she's tempted. However, that isn't a path she can go down, neither of them can. She finds him by his ship, looking out at the city. He's shut her out again, so she feels nothing from him and it makes her worry more. What is he hiding? His hood is pulled up; shielding him from her view and Padme hesitates where she stands. Suddenly, she feels sick, and wants nothing more than to return to the safety of their bedroom.
Neither of them say anything, but he knows she's here… He always knows. So she gives him his moment of solitude, and waits. Padme won't be the one to break the silence between them; it has to be him this time. The moments stretch on forever, and she's afraid to move a muscle, to do anything until he speaks. While she can't feel him, she can feel something… Something in the air has changed this night.
Finally, finally Anakin turns around to look at her, reaching up to push down his hood and that's when she sees it, the trail of tears across his cheek. Even from across the large room, Padme can see he looks anguished… And she's scared. Truly, bone chillingly afraid. She almost says his name, to plead with him, if it'll make him speak to her, she'll do anything right now. But before she can say anything, he's moving, taking large strides across the room toward her, until he's right in front of her, and even then, he still doesn't speak. The silence is becoming something painful, something she is struggling to stand any longer. He has to say something… Anything! After a moment, he sinks to his knees before her, pressing his forehead against the swell of her stomach, and instinctively she reaches to brush her fingers through his hair.
Usually, she'd feel a small thrill in knowing that she can make the chosen one bend the knee. In knowing that he'll bow to nobody but her, but tonight, it's something different. Padme feels only dread seeing him like this. It doesn't feel right; it feels almost apologetic, as if he is being crushed beneath the weight of his sins.
"I killed him…" He finally speaks, voice hoarse, choked up and desperate. Padme almost feels her heart stop, and a thousand more questions feel like fire in her mind. He killed someone? Who? More blood staining her husband's hands… Something else to torment his already tortured soul. She wants to know everything, wants him to recount every detail until she's heard it all so she knows what to do… However since he's closed himself and his emotions off from her, she can only imagine how he's feeling right now and it's harrowing.
There's a long silence, and Anakin's shoulders quiver and he seems to struggle to breath and for it moment it really does seem as if he's being crushed. All Padme can do is wait once more, hand still slowly combing through his hair softly, and try to hold back the tears threatening to spill over onto her cheeks. She may not be able to feel him right now, but she knows he can feel her, and it must only be making everything so much worse to endure.
They're on every page of the HoloNet.
The media frenzy isn't something they didn't expect when they went public with their marriage… What better story was there, than a secret marriage between the Republic's "Hero without Fear" and the senator from Naboo? Padme doesn't blame them, but she wishes the storm would end. They can barely leave the apartment anymore without being surrounded by crowds of journalists and photographers begging for an exclusive, throwing countless questions their way. It's even worse now that news of her pregnancy has leaked. They wanted to wait until after the baby was born, before announcing it, but somehow, someone found out.
Her security team have never been busier.
HoloNet specials such as "The Star Crossed Lovers: Anakin and Padme", "The Jedi and the Senator" and "Forbidden Lovers of the Republic" continuously aired, and at first, they'd simply rolled their eyes and refrained from watching, however now, they were learning to laugh at such things. That didn't mean it was easy, seeing talk shows dissecting their relationship, all the while knowing very few facts and a lot of fiction. And saying things like, "but why her? Anakin Skywalker could have landed any woman – or man for that matter – he wished… Senator Amidala seems a little… Plain in comparison!"
No, it wasn't easy at all.
While the Queen decides exactly what she wishes to do, be it, replace her with another senator or welcome her back, she's been put on leave… Or, as the public believe, an early maternity leave. It's driving her mad, not being in the Senate while they discuss what happens now Palpatine is gone. Bail visits as often as he can, keeping her informed but there's only so much he can do. The Senate is on thin ice these days as many people struggle to believe they followed Palpatine for so long, blind to his true colours. Day by day, yet another level of corruption is exposed, and more senators are arrested and taken in for questioning. Especially those once in Palpatine's inner circle. It feels sometimes like it'll never end.
Of course, Padme knows this is exactly what the senate needs, to be turned inside out to clear out any and every trace of corruption and greed before it can be put back together, and once more begin working for the good of the people and repairing the damage caused by Palpatine. But the scandal is much more difficult to deal with than she's ever imagined. Bail believes the story of her marriage is the only thing stopping revolts; it makes for a wonderful distraction from the reality of what's happening.
Padme isn't sure how she feels about this…
It's early, dawn is only now beginning to show but she's been awake for hours already. The little one seems quite determined to keep her from sleep lately, but she doesn't mind, not really. Now their secrets are public knowledge, it's nice to be able to visit Coruscant Medical to receive real check-ups and care, to know everything is going as it should be. She'd hired a medical droid before of course, but hearing it now, from multiple sources is a true relief. Hearing it gives her hope that Anakin's nightmares are just that… Just bad dreams. That doesn't mean she's stopped being prepared for the worst…
The sound of footsteps behind her catches Padme's attention and she turns to see her husband descending the stairs clad only in his dark sleep trousers. For the first time in a very long time, he doesn't look tired and battered... He looks just as he should, like a young man. The war is over, he never has to brave the front lines ever again, and it has done wonders for him. Not just him, but Ben too... The change in them both is remarkable. Padme swears the older Jedi looks years younger already. The Jedi Order, like the Senate is repairing itself, and already so much has changed. The code is in the process of being rewritten; however her husband, through Ben knows the gist of it. Attachments of any kind are now permitted, including marriage. Siring children is no longer prohibited; however it is still frowned upon. It's better than they could ever have hoped for. The freedom has given her husband a new lease of life, despite her reservations; whenever they're in public he never takes his hands off of her. Simply being able to be open about their love has reinvigorated them both… They're no longer confined to secrecy and the freedom is heady.
And yet still, behind closed doors he's mourning. Mourning Palpatine, and the relationship he believed they shared. Padme can't begrudge her beloved this… To love someone as a father, only to have him be revealed as the dark lord, the evil behind the war… To learn of his plans to destroy Anakin's loyalty to the Order, to his friends, it is a devastating truth to uncover. And worse, the plans to lure her husband to the dark side…It's sickening. Simply imagining what might have been if Anakin had made a different choice makes her shudder. She can't think about it for too long… It's too horrible; it came too close to becoming their reality.
Just looking at him now, Padme feels her heart swell with pride. There's a lot of damage to repair, a lot of mess left behind but he made the right choice and he deserves every praise he receives and more. Anakin doesn't quite see it the same way, but she doesn't care. She'll never not be proud of him for this.
When he sits down on the couch with her, outside by the fountain, Padme turns to look at him, and she can't hold back her smile. Everything is far from perfect, and there is a long road ahead of them, but her hope has returned to her and she loves him. She loves him, she loves him, she loves him. Her small hand comes to rest on his cheek, and feels the beginnings of stubble growing on his cheek, usually she hates this, but right now she can't care less. "No nightmares?"
"None… Since Palpatine was… Since then, I haven't dreamed of you dying in childbirth. Not once." Her hand moves, trailing along his chest, pausing over his strong heart and she sighs happily. This can only be a good thing. If the dream is gone, perhaps the future has changed? Perhaps the death of Palpatine has altered things and granted them both a new path to follow? Padme believes this; she believes it with every part of her soul. Anakin lifts his hand, wrapping one of her curls around his finger and smiles… A smile that truly reaches his eyes for once and she's more than happy to return it.
"Perhaps we've been given a second chance… Ani, I don't want to waste it. Not one second…" Unable to help herself, Padme leans forward, brushing her lips against his once, twice, three times before pulling back again. "I want us to go to Naboo, so you can meet my family as my husband and be treated as such. It's long past time for it." Her family is his too, and he deserves to be acknowledged by them. Her mother has been calling and calling since Padme told her the truth, desperate for them to come home so they could get to know Anakin as a son-in-law. "And I want to show off my wonderful husband…" The last part has them both grinning like fools, they haven't been this happy in some time.
"I'll take leave from the Order… I doubt they'll begrudge me a month or two after everything."
"What about after the baby is born? I'm not sure we should be so quick to come back here… At least in Naboo, we'll be able to find some semblance of privacy. I don't want our child all over the HoloNews Ani." There was still so much danger, by slaying Palpatine, Anakin has made many new enemies and no doubt earned countless bounties on his head. Bounties she had no doubt now included her too. The last thing they needed was their child's face shown all across the galaxy. She wants to keep the birth a secret for as long as possible, it's safer that way, especially if they're surrounded by family and friends. In an ideal world, they could raise their child on Naboo, where there is nothing but their family and their love… It would be bliss. However they have work to do and it would be selfish of them to pull the blankets over their heads and hide away.
"Stop worrying my love…" Anakin laughs, tracing the pad of his thumb across her bottom lip. His smile is contagious and Padme feels one of her own blooming in response. "We don't have to have everything planned out right this moment. This is a happy time. In a few weeks our daughter will be here, and we'll take life as it comes."
He's right, of course he is… Well, at least, this one time. There's a first time for everything after all! Once the baby is born, they can decide what to do, until then she wants nothing more than to enjoy this time with her husband. Everything else can wait. After everything, they have earned a reprieve… At least for a few weeks. Then they shall be forfeiting sleep and relaxation entirely, at least for the next eighteen years that is. "I believe you mean our son will be here in a few weeks." He is so adamant that the baby is a girl, but he's wrong. Padme knows it's a boy… She can feel it. Otherwise, she may suspect he was using some kind of Force trick of his to find out after they'd agreed to wait.
"Angel, it's a girl. I know it is…"
"Oh I see, you're the one carrying him are you?"
"If it meant I didn't have to watch you devour anymore Rycrit stew, I'd do it happily. Proving she is in fact a girl, would just be an added bonus."
At this she leans back, mock offence clear as the daylight on her face. He had some nerve! She did not want it, his son did! Unlike his constant desire for Factryn meat pie! He eats like a Wookie – quite literally and he has the audacity to tease her about eating habits! "You question what I eat when it's well known you have eaten bugs! Multiple times!"
At the reminder of this, Anakin blanches however Padme doubts it has anything to do with the actual eating bugs… More like he remembers her reaction to the story. Honestly, he truly would eat anything served to him… Even if it just happened to be crawling past… It's a wonder she still allows him to kiss her with that mouth.
"Very well senator, I concede. However I feel I should inform you Ben has multiple bets on the baby being a girl…"
That is a subject she doesn't have the energy for this morning, however it is something they shall discuss another time. With Ben. At length. For now however, Padme merely sighs and leans her head against Anakin's shoulder. They still haven't truly talked about what happened that night in Palpatine's office… She knows some details, but not nearly enough. She's giving him time, hoping that he'll speak about it eventually, however she won't give him forever. Bottled up emotions don't work well with her husband and she doesn't want to ever find out what the weight of that night will do to him.
But none of that matters right now, the future looks bright and blissful. They have so much to look forward to… So much damage to repair. They will do it, all of them, the senate, the council, and everyone else, Padme knows they will. After all, as Anakin's hand comes to rest on her stomach, she's reminded of what exactly they're fighting for, and for a moment, as she watches the sun rise over Coruscant all she can feel is hope, hope and complete and utter contentment.