Disclaimer: It all belongs to Lucas, I make no money off this, etc, etc, etc...
Title: Even Angels Have to Earn Their Wings
Timeframe: AotC AU
Characters: Padmé Naberrie
Summary: The "Padmé chose another profession" challenge at This challenge was just too good to pass up! My challenge: Medicine
Even Angels Have to Earn Their Wings
"Doctor Naberrie, we need you stat!"
Her book hit the table and she was on her feet in the next moment, walking quickly towards the source of the commotion and the harried call. She was already pulling the spare pair of rubber gloves over her fingers as she stepped into the corridor.
"Doctor, thank goodness." One of her regular nurses rushed over. "Follow me, we have a case that runs in your specialty and time is of the essence."
Doctor Padmé Naberrie didn't waste time with questions. She simply followed and listened to the information presented her. Her profession had started her where this nurse was now. She'd learned quickly that if you asked stupid questions, sometimes people paid for it with their lives. It was one reason she'd chosen her specialty; lightsaber wounds.
She was one of only a handful of doctors and surgeons capable of handling the wounds, for they were too difficult for droids to handle effectively. It had made her talents much sought after once the war began.
The Nurse was speaking quickly and succinctly. "He just came in from the front and we managed to retrieve both parts of his arm. He's stabilized but in a great deal of shock. We couldn't get him to regain consciousness."
She tucked her hair back under the surgical cap as they walked and Padmé made mental notes as she listened. Arm injuries were fairly common when lightsabers were involved; they were the easiest targets. They were also some of the trickiest to repair as the nerves were often severed beyond recognition. If they were handled carefully, an arm could be reattached; within the first three hours.
They arrived in surgery where Padmé slipped covers over her shoes, pulled on her apron and mask, before quickly scrubbing her arms in disinfectant up to her elbows. She was gloved by the nurse before stepping into the surgery room.
Several other aids and droids were in the room hooking up more fluids and pain killers as they worked. The severed arm lay on a bed of gel nearby, the severed portion already being worked on by her counterpart; a Rodian that was particularly adept at saving limbs.
Padmé looked to the other nurses who were strapping down the patient's limps to various parts of his bed. An IV was hooked to the other arm along with a fluid drip to balance out the patient's levels. She could see several other chemicals being forcefully fed into the patient's system; chemicals that would be circulated with artificial help to identify and isolate the various nerve endings she would need to reattach.
She didn't hesitate. She stepped right up to the severed portion of the arm that was still attached and got to work.
A sponge dabbed at the sweat dotting her brow as she made the final micro stitches and carefully connected the last of the severed nerves in her patient's arm. Carefully, with slow movements, she pulled the pieces of the arm back together and, with micro scissors, cut the last of the filaments used to suture the nerves together.
The wound was then closed completely with a bacta wrap and Padmé stepped away. Finally, her work completed, her shoulders aching with exhaustion, she allowed herself to look at the face of her patient.
He was handsome, with his brownish-blonde hair falling into his eyes and his skin pale. His dark lashes were unfairly long, teasing the tops of his cheeks where they rested, as he hadn't yet awakened. And he was young. No more than twenty. The length at the nape of his neck indicated a Jedi Padawan, where his clothing, had he been wearing any, would probably have indicated the same.
It saddened her that one so young would be forced to fight in such bloody battles. She couldn't help but wonder whose blade had severed his arm for Padawans as young as he normally fought in close tandem with their masters. She would know; she dealt with enough Jedi on a daily basis after accepting a position at their private medical facility.
She managed to smile through the exhaustion and nodded to her nurse. "Take him to the bacta tank. A couple of days will adequately heal the outside; time and luck will tell how much mobility he regains."
"Don't you mean the Force?"
"If that helps him, I'll subscribe to it." Padmé waved the joker away and headed for the prep room, this time going through her procedure in reverse. She stripped her gloves off and threw them in the disposal unit before removing the blood stained apron and gown. She scrubbed her arms thoroughly until they stung.
Her patient had looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place him.
She looked up as she was scrubbing her arms or the second time, managing a weary smile for her friend. "Sorry, Cordé," she apologized to her nurse. "Were you saying something?"
Cordé smiled sympathetically. "You look exhausted."
"Arm injuries are the worst." Padmé finished scrubbing down her arms and toweled dry before removing her surgical cap and shaking her hair free. She couldn't supress the sigh as her hair tumbled down about her shoulders, relieving some of the strain. She shook her head. "I swear I know that boy."
Cordé laughed softly, her eyes sparkling. "He's a man, from the look of him. Oh, Doctor Mishibu wanted me to tell you there's a Jedi here to see you about the patient."
"Did we ever get his name?"
Cordé shook her head. "The clones just rushed him in and said we needed to do the surgery immediately since we were right on the edge of successfully saving the arm. I think that's why the Jedi is here to see you."
"Now?" She took a look at herself in the mirror above the sink. She'd been in surgery for the better part of - she checked her chrono - seven hours. She wanted a hot cup of caf, a hot shower and some time to herself. Was that too much to ask? Padmé sighed, holding up her hands before Cordé could insist. "I know, I'll see him in a minute. I just need to relax for a moment."
Cordé disappeared to speak with the Jedi and inform him that the Doctor would see him shortly. Padmé ran her hands through her hair, giving it a touch more life, but it still looked flat. She pulled on one of the white lab coats hung in the room for that purpose, affixed her name tag and took one last, despairing look in the mirror.
Well, what did he expect when she'd just spent seven hours sewing one of his fellows back together? She strode from the room, intent on getting the meeting over with so she could get out as soon as possible.
Cordé accosted her in the hallway. "He's in your office, Padmé."
"Thank you, Cordé. I'll catch a taxi home; why don't you head off before they rope you into overtime?"
"I'm good as gone." promised the nurse before making good on her word and disappearing.
Padmé headed for her office, pausing outside to take a deep, bracing breath. She always seemed to need more patience when dealing with Jedi. Especially healthy ones. She pushed inside and stopped.
The Jedi in her office was a face she would have known anywhere. "General Kenobi!"
He turned, for he'd been in profile, and smiled a weary smile, his eyebrows raising in surprise. "Doctor Naberrie, I presume?"
"I am." She extended her hand. "I regret we have to be reunited under such unfortunate circumstances."
"You weren't able to save his arm then?"
She blinked before shaking her head at his misconception, her smile disarmingly reassuring. "On the contrary, I believe he has as good a chance as any of my patients for making a full recovery. Is he your apprentice?"
"Anakin Skywalker." Obi-Wan smiled faintly at the look of surprise that crossed her face. "Yes, the same. It's been a long time, Padmé."
"Almost ten years general. I thought he looked familiar." She motioned for him to be seated. "Please, you look as tired as I feel."
"Thank you." Obi-Wan sank into one of the chairs in her office as Padmé sat across from him, on the edge of her desk. "You've certainly made a name for yourself since you gave up politics."
"The whims of a child." She smiled easily. After her tenure as the Queen of Naboo she'd come to realize her path wasn't in politics. She simply wasn't able to deal with the corruption and the lies. Instead she'd turned to medicine, a calling no one had expected, and become an excellent surgeon in the years since. "I'm pleased to report the surgery went without hazard, Obi-Wan. Anakin should regain the use of his arm so long as he takes the time to heal."
"He will be happy to hear that."
"You should rest, Obi-Wan. Anakin will be fine; you can speak with him once he's out of the bacta in a couple of days. We'll have to examine him afterwards of course."
"Of course." His answering smile held little vigor. "Thank you, Doctor. I know lightsaber wounds aren't the easiest to fix." He rubbed at a raw spot on his leg.
Padmé's gaze followed his hand. "Were you injured as well, General?"
"A scratch compared to Anakin's."
"Scratches have a bad habit of becoming worse." She approached him. "Let me see."
"I thought you only did surgery."
Padmé laughed. "There's a reason I can either be called a surgeon or a doctor, Obi-Wan. Now, do I have to get help to strip you?"
"I'll behave." He hastily rolled up one sleeve, revealing a long slash; his souvenir from the fight with Count Dooku. "They really aren't that deep."
Padmé took his bicep in her hands a gently prodded the edges of the partially closed wound. "You should be in a bacta tank."
"I don't think-"
"Doctor's orders, General." Her tone was stern. "I'll drag you there myself if I have to."
Obi-Wan paused before capitulating with a sigh. He couldn't deny those sad, soulful eyes that were so concerned for his welfare. "So long as I am out before Anakin."
"You should be out before the end of the night."
Padmé was on hand when Anakin was pulled from the bacta tank three days later, a day extra because she hadn't liked the way his arm was healing. The extra 24 hours appeared to have been what was required as there was no scar - simply pink flesh.
He was still unconscious, something that worried her greatly, for if he was to recover, he'd need to regain his strength.
Cordé gently toweled him down, removing the leftovers and leaving behind a faintly orange tint to his skin that would fade in a couple of days. She was extra thorough with his hair, tousling it almost playfully as she dried it, ensuring she got it all out before focusing on the crevices of his face
Padmé waited until they'd moved her patient to a bed before taking over. She checked his pulse, carefully counting it before moving on to check on his arm. She checked his coloration, pleased when she didn't find anything out of the ordinary. She tested his fingers, one hand on his bicep, her eyes closed in concentration as she gently pulled them open and folded them, feeling the muscle contracting and pulling as she did.
"Are you an Angel?"
Her eyes flew open at the hoarse words, going straight to his face.
He was still pale, his hair wild from Cordé's teasing, his expression almost pained. But those startlingly clear blue eyes were bright and clear, drinking in her appearance as a man dying of thirst drinks water.
She smiled faintly. "Still haven't thought of any better pick up lines?"
"It's still as true as the first day I said it. And I was right, you must be an Angel." His gaze dropped to his reattached arm. "If you aren't, you've certainly earned your wings."
Padmé curled her fingers around his, her gaze on his face. "Can you feel this?"
"How about this?" She moved them upwards, applying gentle pressure on his wrist.
He nodded again.
She lowered her gaze to his hand, determined not to be distracted by that muscular chest. "Can you make a fist for me?"
His fingers twitched for a moment before slowly closing. She snuck a look at his face and found he was sweating, his eyes closed tightly as he commanded the muscles to react to his commands.
"Good. Now let it go."
The fingers slowly opened and relaxed. Anakin was visibly shaking. Padmé gently prodded the arm and then smiled. "I think you'll be just fine so long as you don't get it chopped off again."
"Don't thank me yet." She pulled a small ball from her lab coat. "I want you to work with this. form a fist and then relax it at least five times an hour. Your arm isn't up to regular use yet so you'll be in a sling until it's stronger."
"Are you going to be my Doctor?"
She shook her head. "No, Anakin. My work is done. I'll see you in two weeks to judge your progress and then you're off to rehab to get that arm back into shape. Don't push it though, you don't want to sever and of the nerves or tendons I spent the better part of seven hours putting back together."
"Now I know you're an Angel." His hand slowly closed around hers. "Thanks, Padmé."
Padmé gently extracted hers and lifted his so that it was resting across his chest. "Cordé will help you dress. I believe Obi-Wan is in the next room waiting to take you back to yours. Good bye, Anakin."
His eyes sparkled. "I'll see you again, Padmé."
And so she wasn't surprised when, a week after she'd seen him for the last time, an invitation to dinner arrived - though she was surprised she accepted.