Disclaimer: I own nothing – it all belongs to George

Title: Hard Love

Author: JadeMax

Timeframe: AU

Characters: Padmé Naberrie

Summary: The "Padmé chose another profession" challenge

Notes: Second Story for this challenge. My challenge: Medicine

Hard Love

"And the little Nexu cried out, 'Where's my mommy?' But he couldn't find his mommy. He came across a Shaak and asked. 'Are you my mommy?' The Shaak replied, 'I'm not your mommy, I'm a boy Shaak and my fur isn't as fluffy as yours.'"

Giggles greeted the revelation.

The story continued. "The Nexu continued walking. Eventually he came across a Nerf. He looked at the creature, noting that it didn't have a tail and got its attention. 'Are you my mommy?' The Nerf looked at the Nexu. 'I'm nor your mommy. I'm a Nerf, Nerfs don't have tails like yours."

"Poor baby Nexu!" piped up a young voice. "Will he find his mommy Padmé?"

Padmé smiled. "I think we'll just have to read on and see, Nasha."

Nasha quieted down, her impish face, topped by a mop of curly hair stuck in a pensive expression. Padmé continued reading.

"The baby Nexu had now spoken with five different creatures, all of whom were not his mommy. He sat down in the middle of the path and cried. 'Little Nexu.' a voice called. He sniffled, lifting his head, wondering at the worried sound in the creatures voice. He perked his head up and spied a striped black and white animal. He bounded over to it. 'Are you my mommy?' And the creature took one look at the baby Nexu and wrapped him in a warm hug. 'I am your mommy, baby Nexu. Don't you ever wander off again.' And the baby Nexu promised to be good. The end."

A cheer went up from the children seated around her, Nasha jumping to her feet as fast as the gelli cast around her leg would permit.

Padmé closed the book and smiled at her charges. "You've now had two stories for the price of one and it's bed time. The first one in bed gets double kisses!"

The children scrambled away as fast as they could, heading for their individual beds. They rushed to get in, and Padmé pushed to her feet, brushing the dust off the seat of her pants. When she looked up she found all of the children were tucked snugly into their beds.

"Oh dear, it seems you all need extra kisses!" She started at one end, gently smoothing the covers of each child before placing two small kisses on their foreheads. They beamed under her care, and once finished, she made a show of checking under each bunk before turning on the night light. "Sleep well, my little ones."

"Good night, Padmé!" they chorused, each child closing their eyes as she stepped from the room.

Padmé's shoulders sagged. Each of those little angels was terminally ill and none of the vaunted technology she used on a day to day basis had been able to come up with cures. Each child had a different genetic mutation that prevented something from happening.

The problem was no one knew what. Padmé rubbed her eyes before rubbing the back of her neck and turning towards her office. She had a couch where she could catch several hours of shut eye before her pediatric skills would be needed again. She only hoped it wouldn't be another mutation that they couldn't fix.