May 2006

Disclaimer: I own nothing – it all belongs to George

Title: Changing Strands

Author: JadeMax

Timeframe: AU

Characters: Padmé Naberrie

Summary: The "Padmé chose another profession" challenge – Seamstress

Changing Strands

"Those awful Trade Federation Nemodians went too far this time." The clucking of an angry tongue was heard above the hum of the sewing machines and the clacking of old-fashions knitting needles. "Invading our beautiful capital and holding the Queen hostage. It's a miracle the senate didn't approve immediate and complete sanctions!"

"Fala, you're so jaded," teased the youngest lady in the room. "Those times are long past. We have a new Queen, the Chancellor is looking out for our best interests and Jamilla has just been reappointed as the Senator. There are worse things that could be happening."

"And worse things that have happened, Padmé," pointed out a third voice. "We're lucky the Jedi were here when they were, otherwise we might have lost everything."

Padmé focused on the delicate embroidery she was doing, smiling down into the cloth. "Jedi are over rated, Cali."

Cali hissed with surprise. "Hush child, that's blasphemy."

"Have you ever met a Jedi, Cali?"

"Have you?" Came the quick response.

"No," Padmé admitted. "But if I ever did I certainly wouldn't be starry eyed or naive. They're just people."

Cali cackled. "You hear that Fala? Just people! Child, how do you know if you're never met one?"

"I've read stories."

Cali shook her head, clucking her tongue in dismay. "Well, Fala has met a Jedi and believe you me, they're not ijust/i people. They see things and know things. They can read your mind."

Padmé rolled her eyes, finishing off one line of beads before beginning a new one. "Cali, you sound like a fangirl. Jedi may have saved Naboo, but our pilots played a huge role in that conflict too. Don't you think there are better topics than Jedi. We iare/i sewing the Queen's new wardrobe."

"Bah!" Fala shook her head. "Padmé, you need to explore your horizons. The Queen's new wardrobe may be your biggest concern, but when are you going to find a man."

"Palo and I-"

"I said a man, Padmé, not a boy." Fala's eyes danced gleefully. "That artist of yours is a sweet boy, but he's too sensitive for someone as headstrong as you. You probably walk all over him."

Padmé flushed, ducking her head as she concentrated on the bead work. She refused to comment, but secretly agreed they were right. Palo was nice, and she hadn't accepted his proposal – though she'd felt like a heel for it. She hadn't wanted to hurt him.

Silence followed, broken only by the sound of the machines the elder ladies used.

Finally. Padmé spoke again. "It's just as well, I suppose. You ladies can sit here and gossip all day if you like. I've already picked the location for my store."

Cali and Fala stopped working, turning to stare at her in surprise. "You're really going to leave us, child?" Fala asked sadly. "Are we so horrible to you?"

"Of course you're not horrible! You both know I've wanted to be my own boss. Working for the state is wonderful, but to be able to set my own hours, to deal with customers; to make what they want and not the same patterns year after year. That's a challenge! Imagine, I could be making costumes for this year's gala!"

Cali sighed sadly. "We'll miss you child. When do you leave?"

Padmé finished her line of embroidery and pulled it away, looking at it critically. The lines were straight, the shape perfect. She let out a breath, smiling. "I start next week. We'll have the wardrobe finished by then. This is the last of her gowns for the year."

"For now. You know that." Fala sounded downright disappointed. "Well, I suppose we can always send you some work if you're ever in need of it."

"You're all heart." Padmé's dry response broken the tension, letting them laugh. "I'll miss you both."

Cali and Fala nodded, but said nothing. Padmé was finishing her last row of beads, and then would begin helping on the full bodice of the dress.

Her attention to detail and the little things would be difficult to replace, something either looked forward to doing. There was just something special about Padmé. And silently, they wished her well on her venture.