AN: Now, don't anyone get the idea that I think Padmé dies soon after Episode III ... I think she lives for quite some time. But this plot bunny kept nibbling and nibbling at my brain until I had to write something. This viggie turned out to be a bit more stream-of-consciousness than I would have liked, so I hope it's coherent and comprehendible. Enjoy!


I am bleeding.

Not literally, for there is nothing here that could cause such an injury. I am well provisioned, in this small room that is pretty in its spare, prim way. The pale blue walls, the same shade as my little son's eyes, the soft, textured material covering the bed, even the sweet flowers resting in a delicate vase are intended to comfort. The Organas want me to relax and forget in these final days.

But something permeates this chamber: an air of expectancy, of waiting that is so strong it almost borders on fear. For that is what I do, from the rising of the warm sun above Aldera City to the appearance of those sparkling ivory gems above the rooftops. I sit, watching and thinking and anticipating. Time seems to slow, trickling by gradually and painfully, stealing my life with each second passed. Each hour means that I am closer to my doom.

And what really frightens me is that I never know what it will be. Some days, when the past is hammering down on me and my agony becomes as harsh as a Tatooinian noon, I wish I could just die. That he would enter, black-cloaked and menacing, and cut me down with one swift stroke. Or that the Emperor's new soldiers - his stormtroopers - would take the Palace by force and plow us all down as an example to the rest of the galaxy.

Rumors are constantly circulating of a superweapon with the power to destroy planets and devastate entire solar regions. A star of death, navigating the heavens in search of rebellious worlds. Even that fate would be better than my current life. A flash, an explosion, then just a vast emptiness where there was once humanity and vibrancy. There would be no delay, no suspension, just one beam that obliterates millions of conscious beings.

Those moments are fortunately rare and few. For despite the evilness that surrounds me, I do want to survive, if only to see my children bring an end to this horrid regime. I could have been a part of it, if I had chosen to unite with him. We could have reigned together as husband and wife, he wielding a mystical power while I used a more practical force: politics.

But why become Dark when the Light still prevails? Even though it is diminished, its strength still remains. Like a fire temporarily weakened by a sudden gale, but rekindled through great sacrifice, the truth will ultimately triumph. In the blackest of times, qualities like love, honor, and fidelity still lurk in the most remote of places.

That is what I hold on to, in hope and fierce desperation. Good must succeed. We will defeat Palpatine, and cast his empire down into shadows. If only the Jedi would join together and fight this wrong! Instead they cower in terror from a man with no face and no heart. The old Anakin is dead, replaced by a monster lacking any morals. A creature has taken the place of my husband.

Who hides behind that impenetrable mask? A young man, with bright eyes and sun-kissed skin? A decaying wreck, with battle scars and flaming gaze?

Perhaps there is nothing. A blank space, signifying his loss of any human emotions.

I should not be thinking such things. The doctor said I must not overexert myself, and I need rest. But how can I stay calm when the unknown waits with every new day? Soon I will sleep eternally, free of these troubles. Become one with the Force, as Anakin used to say.

So my anxiousness is acceptable. I am weak, true; childbirth was painful, but I am stricken with a different disease. A broken heart. At times it feels as though all my seams have come undone, and my strength - my sanity - is seeping out of the cracks. I am not well.

Betrayal can do that to a person.

They took Leia from me a few days ago, when they realized I could no longer care for her properly. I do not know where they have exactly taken her - Lady Organa's quarters is my guess - but I miss her. She was such a cheerful baby, with her cinnamon curls and large dark eyes. And her laugh - more of a gurgle, actually, but it was so soft and innocent. Not burdened with any of the wounds I am carrying.

Now that she is gone, I do not really see the purpose behind anything I do. Leia is content with her foster mother, never missing the sorrowful woman who brought her into this world. Luke is somewhere far away, placed by a weary Jedi and protected from a fiend. I am not a part of their lives anymore. It is almost as if I never existed.

Obi-Wan would say that I have given into despair, lost all hope of survival. That is true. My children, though close at hand, are separated from me by a deep chasm, an unbridgeable canyon of insensitivity. I do not care to watch them become toddlers, taking tentative steps into strangers' arms. I no longer require Leia's toothless smile, or Luke's beautiful blue eyes, to boost my spirits. Happiness is a foreign object, a growth that has been burned away from my being. My babies deserve so much that I cannot offer them: warmth, affection, and attention.

I pace the room to pass time, to do something purposeful in this surreal world. I continue that motion, up and down, back and across, side to side, until my legs give out. Any exercise carries a price later on, and I have discovered that thirty minutes of slow, steady walking will leave me bedridden for two days. I have been ordered to stop, to preserve my energy. I do not listen to them anymore. This sense of waiting, of my dreams bleeding away, has taken hold of me with feverish intensity, and only those ordinary activities keep me from slipping into the abyss.

I am dying. I do not doubt it anymore, though the others try to conceal the fact. They speak encouraging words in my presence, of how I am recuperating nicely, but behind my back they express different opinions. And I believe them. My spirit is deteriorating, my skin chilled and almost transparent, and my mind seems muddled. I sometimes neglect my toilette, or forget to complete some simple task; not out of spite, but because my brain seems to be misfiring.

The present is shaky. But the past is clear. It is a blessing, and at the same time a deadly curse. Some memories are sweet, and I dwell upon them often. My honeymoon, when Anakin was tender and caring and more than I ever imagined; the birth of Luke and Leia, and that joyous moment when the medic placed two squirming newborns into my arms; times with my family and lessons taught by my wise grandmother.

Others … others I try to avoid. I used to fight against injustice and hate.

I never thought I would become a victim myself.

I know now what Anakin seeks to bury beneath that frightening helmet: a bleeding soul. Just as damaged as my own, broken by his treachery. In his attempt to expunge all love and compassion, he has destroyed the knot that bound us, the thread that tied our fates together.

He is dead; Darth Vader has stolen his body and his mind. And so I too am failing, fading away into nothingness.

I am melting, a solitary figure in an empty room. But what awaits me at the end: everlasting peace, or perpetual sorrow?

I am bleeding. Alone.