Summary: Seems I've opened up a can of worms dabbling in SW fics and now I can't stop myself! An introspective piece set at the beginning of RotS, after Anakin returns to Padme, just before his fateful vision.
Disclaimer: All hail the powerful George and what all. I'm just playing.
Padme makes a soft wheezing noise as she sleeps that has always utterly captivated Anakin. It is not quite a snore- something so undignified would be a laughable trait in his reserved and distant Senator- but it is so close to that that it can only be endearing. He remembers the first time he had been granted the privilege of having her tucked away snuggly in his bed and smiles thinking on how surprised he'd been to have the gentle sounds of the Lake District completely drowned out by his wife's almost snore.
Past experience has taught him that a tender nudge to the side will end it for the time it takes him to fall asleep but tonight he is not interested in that. Propped up on one elbow, he is more than content to watch her sleep; is happy enough just to be in her presence again. Once, he had told her that her presence was soothing and this still holds true. She is like a balm to his war weary soul and not a day goes by when he does not think of her. How could one possibly, when he has been thinking of her constantly for the better part of his life? She is his everything and he does not care what the Code has to say about it. He thinks he would give up all of his knowledge of the Force for her; would gladly relinquish all of the power he can feel flowing through him even now. It is easy to dismiss the voice deep inside him that claims this to be a lie. He would die for her anyway and nothing in him questions that.
Sighing in response to the direction of his thoughts, Anakin allows his gaze to drift from her sleeping face in order to take in the rest of her form. The gown she has chosen to rest in is lovely to touch and he does just that, lightly so as not to wake her. He has never bothered learning the names of materials but he likes whatever fabric this is. It is soft under his calloused fingers and clings to her form in a way that any man would find pleasing- if any man other than Anakin ever chanced upon seeing her, a thought that makes his blood run cold. He pushes it away firmly before the familiar fear can take hold of him and runs his fingers gently over the curve of her shoulder and the fullness of one perfect breast, made all the rounder by her pregnancy. His hand falls to rest on the prominent swell of her stomach and an almost arrogant smile plays upon his lips.
His, now and forever, the both of them. The slave boy and the Queen- improbable to some but an unshakable inevitability to him. Sometimes he cannot believe he has succeeded but her pregnancy makes it impossible to deny. She is his and the baby is his and nothing- nothing- can take that away from him.
Padme stirs beside him and Anakin's attention is momentarily shaken as she turns over and cuddles into him. For a moment, he is in an awkward spot, balancing on his elbow and partially on his back. A quick roll to his side rights this and then she is spooned snuggly against him. In this position, her not quite a snore disappears and he misses it oddly. She seems too quiet now; too still. A strange feeling falls upon him and something about it is largely unsettling. Then she moves and her own hand rises to rest gently against her stomach. His follows.
Anakin cannot yet sense the baby through the Force but soon he will be able to. The idea of this excites him. He wonders if it is a boy or a girl and if he will be able to tell before she will. He has a momentary urge to wake Padme and ask her opinion, only to decide firmly against it. Anakin has not been around many women who are expecting but he thinks it quite plausible that they would need sleep and a lot of it.
Shrugging to himself, he settles down against the pillow and, face buried in the fragrant locks of his wife's hair, attempts to sleep himself. He knows he will not be in Coruscant long and his many missions do not really cater to relaxation. Really, he has no idea how long he has here or when he will be permitted to return. The thought causes his hold on Padme to tighten and an all consuming panic threatens to take hold of him. What if he misses the birth of his child? What if something happens to her in his absence? What if she-
-is not strong enough to bear the burden of childbirth? The silence of their bedroom is no longer comforting and he pokes her until she slips into a position conducive to that relaxing wheeze of hers. It starts up immediately but he fails entirely to be soothed by it. Suddenly, it is no more than an incessant whoosh in the darkness, strangely measured and controlled, and there is nothing comforting there. No, instead there is something else. Something forbidden and evil; something that feels horrifyingly like a premonition to him. It makes him feel sick and powerful at the same time and he releases Padme with a gasp, stumbling up and out of their bed.
Panting, Anakin moves away from her, intent on visiting the refresher for no other reason than distance. At the door, he pauses and glances back at her, still sleeping on the bed that is entirely too big for one person. She looks pitiful and alone, almost ethereal in her pale nightgown. Too far away to see the rise and fall of her chest, Anakin realizes at once what she looks like: she looks dead.
Shuddering, he turns away and tries to use the Force to calm himself. It does not work. He feels strangely dirty all over and uneasy within himself. As the door of the 'fresher slides shut behind him, Anakin is aware of one thing and one thing only.
For a reason he cannot name, he is afraid and more so than he has ever been.