This was a one post answer to a silent challenge. Padmé's thoughts as she waits for Anakin's return.

Disclaimer: The usual disclaimers apply. George Lucas owns it all. I am not making any money on this.

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In Quietus

A gentle rustle of leaves filled the distant night air as a cool breeze danced across the gently curving balcony. Perfectly manicured fingernails tapped along the ornately carved marble rail that enclosed the massive balcony.

Padmé's delicate fingers paused over the cool pink stone, slipping over the edge and gripping it tightly until her knuckles turned white. She turned slightly, pulling at the protective wrap that covered her shoulders. Her gaze fell to the bright, moonlit night.

The pale white light cascaded over a massive vineyard below. Rumor had it, the finest Alderaani wines came from the nearby winery, yet, she was not interested in the social flavors of her surroundings.

She leaned heavily against the rail. Her body ached all over and sometimes it felt like it took all of her strength just to remain sitting up let alone walk about. The cool air chilled her skin causing goose bumps to rise.

The cold snap of air made her feel good. It made her feel alive. It was strange that she would welcome being cold as comfort but she did.

It gave Padmé something else to think about.

Something other than thinking about all that she had lost.

Amidala, former Queen and Senator of Naboono that was not right. It was now just Padmé. No pretense, no ornate mask to hide behind, the decoys were gone and it was just her, bare to anyone who could see.

Even if it was not with their eyes.

A shiver seized her but it was not from the cold. It was from the memory of watching her husband storm out of the senatorial apartment. The anger in his eyes had been so terrible. She had cowered from them as if the glare would poison her.

Fear had made her slink away. It kept her from chasing after the fearsome figure that had been her husband.

Still her husband, Obi-Wan promised to find him.

He would bring Anakin back.

The question she had to ask herself was did she want him back? She was afraid that he was no longer the man she had married. In her memory the invisible mask of hatred blotted out Anakin's beautiful features. She had tried to reach out to him. Tried so desperately to get him to stop and listen to her. She needed him to understand but he would not. He turned his back on her.

She had done nothing to deserve such anger.

Had she?

No. He was wrong.

Angrily she shook her head.

There were no words to express the absolute contempt that had been in his face. She was horrified that he had believed she would betray him. Why would he believe such a terrible thing about her?

Tears fled down her cheeks and she felt helpless that there was nothing she could do to stop them. Terrible sobs wracked her as she gripped the stone rail for support. Weakness had seized her legs and all she wanted to do was collapse on the cold stone balcony and weep until there no strength left to live.

Her husband–her loving husband–had turned against her. And for what? No, no she would not dwell on that. If he had just looked in her eyes he would have known she was innocent of whatever sin he accused her of.

She sank against the smooth pink stone, her gaze empty as it stared out into a vast valley in the Alderaan countryside. That was all that she knew, that she was on Alderaan and hidden away from the bustling metropolises. Hiding like a fearful child at one of Bail Organa's country estates.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, she straightened again, finding a reserve of strength. Her attention turned back to the elegant apartment in the east wing of the massive country house. There were ten rooms to her private quarters. She was not wanting for space but it still felt like a prison cell.

Her arrival days ago in the middle of the night had been so shrouded in mystery that she had not even seen one servant.

Padmé felt so lonely.

She missed her handmaidens not because of the service they provided but in the companionship she craved so desperately. Her "protectors" kept their distance. Speaking to her only when it was demanded preferring to keep their distance. Not that she cared too much. Their brown cloaks reminded her of her husband.

The memory of the smiling young man with the bright eyes came to her often enough without aid.

Sighing softly she entered the grand common room. Ornate, hand carved furniture made the trek through the room difficult. Not that she was in any hurry to get across; she had no place to go. Beyond the gilded double door there was a hall with paintings of the Organas going back twenty generations. At the end of the corridor, was another door and beyond that stood her guards. She was never allowed to leave her apartment. They would not even allow her to walk in the gardens, not even at night.

She was a prisoner, and yet she was being protected. Obi-Wan had said it was for her safety, to keep her from her husband's wrath. Still she had to wonder why her Jedi protectors would care. After all, did they not believe she had stolen Anakin from the Order? Did they not blame her for her husband's fall from the light? That was what they thought.

Anakin was just misguided and she would help him once he returned and she prayed that would be soon.

The feeling remained though in how the Jedi treated her. They blamed her, but the Jedi did not speak it of course, but by those unsympathetic to their dying religion.

Angrily she brushed the tears away but fresh ones quickly replaced them. She hated herself for being so weak. She was better than this, so much stronger. She had led an army to regain control of her world. She had stood bravely before the Senate but she was so weak that she crumbled under the harsh look of her husband. This was not her.

Standing tiredly in the middle of the large room, she allowed her hand to fall to her slightly pooching belly. Anakin's fury had been so great he never saw her desperation to tell him of her secret.

If he knew about the baby he would come back, she was certain. That would be the catalyst to calm his rage. He just had to come back and sense the baby. It would change everything.

Then all would be all right. It would be the way it was supposed to be.

She could fix it.

Padmé's gaze found the small food tray and stand that had been brought in earlier. It just appeared, but she knew it was one of her Jedi protectors that had silently delivered it. Juice and fresh fruits covered the fine white porcelain. Her stomach rumbled nervously. She had barely eaten in days but she knew she needed too, if not for herself for her unborn child.

Gathering her strength, Padmé approached the tray. Pale fingers pushed bright purple fruits to one side. A golden inlay of masterly created fish danced around the rim of the plate. Just as she reached for one of the fruits a door slammed in the distance.

Her heart pounded as she fought to remember to breathe. Fear settled into her bones, as she stood frozen, unable to respond to the sound of more doors opening.

Anakin had come to her.

Another door opened at the end of the corridor. It was so close. The footsteps were so loud. Her heart swirled as she ran to the large, gilded door that had held her inside the apartment for so long. Shaking, panicked fingers struggled with the ornate handle. The footsteps were so close; he would be there any moment.

The handle turned and Padmé shoved it open, throwing herself into the grand corridor. Her gaze brushed across the bright paintings of Organa ancestors. The name–her husband's name–danced on the tip of her tongue. She opened her mouth to cheerfully call it out but there was no sound.

The sound was trapped inside her like she had felt these many days.

Her strength was ripped from her the moment her joyous eyes settled on the sight in the middle of the grand corridor. Tears welled up in her eyes, blurring the image of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Jedi stopped just beyond her reach.

Padmé strained to see if Anakin was further down the hall but there was no one, just Obi-Wan. A pain filled sob struck her and she wavered. Before she could fall, strong arms caught her.

She wanted her husband.

Even through her tear blurred vision she could still see the battle weary eyes that studied her with deep concern. A long gash had been carved just above his right brow, red glistened under the bright light of the chandeliers above.

Suddenly energized by the fear that Padmé would never see her husband again, her body convulsed with anger toward the man before her.

This could not be happening. It could not end like this. She wanted Anakin. She had waited for him.

At the moment, all she could do was scream but in her pain her throat refused to allow even the smallest sound. All of her emotions twisted into one uncontrollable spasm. With her hands, she could respond where her voice could not. Delicate fingers tightened into powerful fists as she brought them down against Obi-Wan's chest, each furious strike harder than the last.

Her husband should be standing there, not Obi-Wan.

All she wanted, had waited for, was Anakin. Without him, her life had little meaning.

Obi-Wan stood there taking the abuse. He did not attempt to push her away or to free himself of her attack.

Adrenaline flooded through her as she continued to fight her unwilling opponent. She wanted to hurt him like she hurt.

He had told her he would find her husband, but not like this.

Not like this!

Her poor heart had clung so desperately to hope when her mind long ago had realized that Anakin would never return. Yet, she would not let up her attack on the Jedi. Her hands remained drawn into powerful fists that she continued to rain down on Obi-Wan. She just kept fighting him, but to her frustration, he refused to defend himself against her hatred.

Under her fists, she could feel the warm blood that had soaked the material of Obi-Wan's tunic. Blood that had been drawn in battle.

Anakin's blood.

Incensed by the thought she doubled the fury of her attack causing Obi-Wan to wince and stagger slightly, but he did not retreat from her anger. In her pain, all Padmé could see was what she had lost and wanted only to punish the man responsible.

Still, Obi-Wan did not fight back.

Grief quickly usurped her anger. Her husband was dead. She had waited so patiently for him to come back to her. Obi-Wan had promised that he would find Anakin, not to kill him.

As her strength bled away, she clutched at the bloodstained material. How dare he come to her like this? How dare he bear the signs if his victory like a trophy before her?

The blood was still fresh.

Warm.

The material was singed and burned through in places.

Through her own sorrow induced haze she saw the weary face of the Jedi. It was different than the last time she had seen him. Sorrow had etched itself in the lines at the edge of his eyes. Their pale depths shifted away. He would not ask, nor would she offer forgiveness.

With her remaining strength, she pulled away. Her feet took her back to the door of the apartment she had been imprisoned in. She stood there silently for a time. Fear of a future without Anakin shook her to the core.

Her baby would never know its father, it would never know what a kind and loving man he had been. Just because he had turned to the darkness did not mean he could not return to the light, had he been given the chance. Again anger bloomed in her and she wanted to take it out on the Jedi standing silently in the corridor.

Obi-Wan held his hand out toward her and from within the shaky grip, a rough piece of string dangled. His trembling palm opened to reveal the japor snippet that she had given Anakin to remind him of their love.

Now it was returned to her, the string frayed and broken where it had been violently wrenched apart. The wood was scarred and the carving all but gone in some violent act to deface it.

Casting her gaze away, Padmé refused to look at it, knowing what its return meant. In the end, even love was not enough to save Anakin.