Disclaimer: George owns all the characters.

Changed Lives

Padme Amidala, Senator of Naboo, stood at the window of her apartment watching the traffic lanes. The sky at twilight was one of the few things about Coruscant that she actually enjoyed. The horizon was painted in red, orange, purple and pink and had the ability to take your breath away. That is if you were not burdened with thoughts of debating, sniping, posturing and the general drudgery of the Senate. Padme let her hand drift to her lower abdomen where the small bump of her child was already formed.

If my husband doesn't get back to Coruscant soon, I'll be the size of a bantha before I have the chance to tell him our news.

It had been four months since Anakin's last mission had allowed him to return to her. It was his first mission as a Jedi Knight, in his own right. She had just become accustomed to hearing news of fallen Jedi and managing to not let it terrify her as much as it had when the war had first started. She tortured herself with thoughts of a letter that wouldn't come to her - but the Jedi Council - as Anakin's "next of kin". Now that he was a Jedi, the missions would be more dangerous. Then a flutter interrupted her morbid thoughts, prompting Padme to shake off the feeling of gloom. She rubbed her bump and crooned, "It's alright my little one, your papa will be fine. He'll come back to us soon and we can introduce you properly."

She reluctantly moved away from the fading beauty that was the sunset and made her way wearily to her bedroom, it was another night without her husband. There were other wives whose husbands were at war; in this she was not unique. They would, however, be able to inquire to the Senate and military of their spouse's state, Padme thought sourly. Enough of this, she thought vehemently. You are wallowing in pity, when this was the life both you and Anakin knew you would have until after the war, she mentally chastised herself. She had cast this lot for herself, and did not regret it. Deep down, she knew she should, but did not care. She loved her husband and she loved their child. Whatever happens, we will be together in the end.

A small flutter of the curtain of her bedroom window startled her. She had left the entry to the veranda open, a foolish thing to do, especially with Artoo gone with Anakin. Threepio had been shut down for the evening. She started to close the veranda entry and was met with a solid, broad wall of black leather and a familiar scent of wool, spice and masculinity. Anakin cocked his eyebrow at her and winked.

"Expecting someone else?"

Padme threw her arms around Anakin with abandon.

"I am so glad to see you!" She whispered fervently.

Anakin tightened their embrace and returned the sentiment.

"Me, too. It has been far too long," he whispered into Padme's hair.

She stepped back to take a look at her husband. Anakin's hair had grown to touch his shoulders and she noticed sadly the padawan braid was gone. As if reading her mind, he pulled it out of his robe.

"I brought it back with me. I know how sentimental and silly you can be about these things," he said with a wink.

She gasped indignantly and playfully smacked his shoulder, taking the braid. She took it to the jeweled box that held her most treasured things, and put the braid in it. Sentimental and silly, indeed.

Anakin, who had been removing layers of robes and leather, sat down on the bed to take his boots off. He stopped and looked at her.

"There is something different here, something different about you."

He stood up and looked around the room. "It's almost like there is someone else here."

His paranoia had started to get the best of him, he was deciding, when Padme turned around and removed her robe. The japoor snippet that he had given her so long ago rested atop a lump the size of a large kuusha fruit.

"This is who is here, Anakin", Padme breathed. She had been thinking of ways to tell him for two months, and he just figured it out. Damnable Jedi...

Anakin stared at her mid-section with a mixture of wonder and trepidation. He moved slowly towards her and tentatively laid a shaking hand on the round bulge of her gown. Padme gasped as a tickling sensation ran over her abdomen and the baby gave a playful kick and rolled. Anakin stood unmoving, his mouth agape at the sensation of being touched by something so tiny, but so powerful . It was if a small force presence playfully nudged its existence out of his wife to be recognized, then did it again. The feelings were so powerful and the presence so significant that he had to move away, frightened at the emotions welling in him.

"When...?"

It was all he managed to say.

Padme recovered from the feeling of being so close to something that she had never been a part of. So this was what it felt like to really know the force, to be able to feel it.

"It happened the last time you got away, right after your trials, when we went to Naboo for those 4 days."

Padme watched Anakin wearily. "Are you upset?"

"No. Not...I... don't think so. No. Not ever with you."

"Good," she whispered.

"What about you? Are you angry with me? This is as much my fault as yours." His eyes held a quiet intensity as he questioned her.

He moved to take her into his arms, her belly twitching between them. "Well. He...or she, is certainly making sure that we are paying attention to them," he laughed. He kissed the top of her head, and moved her to a nearby table and kneeled in front of her.

"So are you well? Is...it...well? Have you been sick? What about your duties?
They had better go easy on you in the senate or things will not be good..." His eyes had that intensity that could set Sith Lords on their teeth.

"Anakin," she said as she laid a finger to his lips.

"Come," she stood and pulled him to his feet. "Let's get Threepio to get us something to eat. Where's Artoo?"

"He's standing guard on the veranda. I used a speeder to come, instead of my ship, so he's a little out of sorts," Anakin winked. "I'll call him in."

After the droids had been reunited and dinner was served, Padme and Anakin ate their Randoo stew quickly. Time together was not something they had in abundance. Padme finished her last bite and put her bowl on the tray. She put her hands on top on Anakin's and said, "Will our baby be alright?" That was her only question, but Anakin knew what she was asking. Will they take our baby, even if you've left the order? Even if we don't want them to? Fear darkened her eyes.

"We will make it alright, whatever it takes. I promise you." He got up and drew her to bed. He lay with her head on his chest, her heart thrumming beside his. The fingers of his real hand tracing slow circles on her arm, he drew the force in around them like a blanket. Whatever happened in the war, both of their lives had now changed immensely. Padme sensed his levity and reached to kiss him. "I'm sure it will be fine."

"Yes, it will. We'll make this a bridge to our future. It will be fine." Anakin kissed her soundly on the lips in response.

He turned slightly and kissed her seriously this time, wanting to keep troubled thoughts at bay, and he knew a good way to do that. This night was for Padme, his child and him. "We can still...well, you know...be together...right?" Padme laughed aloud at the embarrassment rolling off of her husband. "Absolutely. He or she has got to go to sleep sometime."

Anakin's eyes widened. "We have to wait until she's asleep?"

"Or he...," she was enjoying this. The baby chose this moment to kick its father soundly in the side. ...And you can count on me being awake for awhile!