Heavy winter rain beat down on the large windows of Padme's Coruscant apartment. Neon lights flickered into the room from the street as she paced back and forth, practicing her latest speech. Then there was a knock at the door.

Anakin, who had been about to doze off from boredom, quickly stood up and went for the door. Reaching out to the Force, he did not sense any ill-will, and was vaguely surprised to find a droid holding a tray of hot chocoloate.

"Enjoy." It thrust the tray into his hands and disappeared.

"Did you order this?" Anakin asked, turning around.

"Oh good, it's here," she said at the same time. Then added, "I thought you'd like some, too."

"Thanks." He stood still, puzzled, as she took the tray and began to serve. "I didn't think you'd like this."

"I love hot chocolate," she said. "And it's too late for coffee. I don't know how Chancellor Palpatine drinks it all day long."

"He probably doesn't sleep," Anakin suggested, accepting a delicate cup. "This is good."

"I had them make it like they do in the mountains of Naboo. When I was a girl, my parents and I would always go there to ski in the winters. Those were some of my favorite memories."


She nodded. "It's a way of navigating the landscape without machinery. On planets where it snows year-round, it's still not uncommon for infantry to use skis for mobility, especially when they need to move quickly. Some Jedi are quite good at it."

"Obi-wan kept me away from the snow after my first experience with it," Anakin said, with a trace of bitterness. "That was the sickest I've ever been. I slept for a whole week."

"I'm sorry." She glanced over at the table where her speech lay waiting then looked back to the young Jedi. "I'll take a little break from my preparations. I think there's some old holo-recordings from one of our trips. Just so you can see what I'm talking about."

She rummaged through a box of holotapes for a moment, and then came up with one. "Please, sit down."

A blue, flickery image showed a much younger Padme, about five years old, struggling to stand up on her skis, until her father finally pulled her up onto her feet.

"That was my first time," she explained, smiling in embarrassment. "But watch my mother."

Anakin turned his attention back to the tape, where her mother waved to Padme and her father, and then disappeared like a bird down the mountainside, out of the frame. The image pixilated, and then refocused with an older, more confident-looking Padme successfully skiing up closer to the recording device with a broad smile.

"It's like flying," Padme said, sounding dreamy.

"Why not use a speeder?" Anakin asked.

"Skiing is traditional. And it doesn't use any power, so if your speeder breaks down, you can still cover the distance. And skis are lighter."

"I could fix the speeder and get there faster."

She pointed her teaspoon at him. "Now you're just being difficult."

He grinned.

"You would like it if you tried it. If the Jedi Council ever lets you visit the mountains of Naboo, I'll make sure you and Master Kenobi get a few lessons."

"All right." Anakin raised his teacup. "I'll hold you to it."

She laughed and picked up her speech again. "I can't wait."

Author's Note: I had a specific history example in mind for Padme's line about skiing being used by the military. Check out this video for more information: h /lWi2Kclq0DE.