Disclaimer: Star Wars belongs to George Lucas and Lucasfilm. The Revenge of the Sith novel was written beautifully by Matthew Stover. I mean no infringement and make no profit.
A/N: This is the prologue to a series of vignettes which will consist of various people's perspectives and memories of the death of Padmé Amidala over time. For, as we know, often "the truths we cling to depend very much on our own point of view." The prologue, which is more or less written in the style of the Revenge of the Sith novel, is Padmé's death from her own point of view. (A link to further details about my own perspective on the whole thing will be provided in my profile, in case you get confused.) Thanks to Marten for answering the call and beta-reading this for me.
"A most unspotted lily shall she pass
To the ground, and all the world shall mourn her."
-William Shakespeare, Henry V
This is the death of Padmé Amidala:
White lights glare down from the ceiling of the Polis Massan medical center, a glowing frame around the face of Obi-Wan Kenobi. She knows that he has been there for some time, but only occasionally is Padmé aware of him.
She is dying. She knows that, now. She fought it at first, but not anymore.
I'm not afraid to die. I've been dying a little bit each day since you came back into my life.
He has killed her. Anakin, her Anakin, her love… has killed her. And it's strange how little that matters to her now. Around her neck is the japor snippet he'd carved for her so long ago so you'll remember me.
It's beautiful. But I don't need this to remember you. Many things will change when we reach the capital, Ani. My caring for you will remain.
Pain grips her spine and wracks her entire body. Hadn't she and Jar Jar once had a conversation about pain? What was it they had said? Mesa wonder sometimes why da Gods invent pain. To motivate us, I imagine. She cannot help it, she screams.
"Anakin! Anakin, help me! Please!"
She has to have the baby now—her baby, and Anakin's. The baby she's wanted for so long, the baby she loves. You die in childbirth. And the baby?
"Obi-Wan…" She looks up at him. "Save the baby." She remembers what he has told her. "The babies. The twins. Look after them. Please." He doesn't understand. She has to force him to listen. "Obi-Wan, please, promise me…"
He does. Obi-Wan is a great mentor—as wise as Master Yoda and as powerful as Master Windu. And he loves Anakin. That is enough.
Padmé closes her eyes and, in between bursts of pain, lets her mind drift. She is watching her whole life, helpless, powerless to touch it as it slips away from her. She is in the lake country of Naboo when there was nothing but our love. She and Anakin are lying side by side in the meadow, they are safe, they are home, and the pain comes again and I want to have our baby back home on Naboo. We can go to the Lake Country where no one will know. Where we can be safe…
"I want to go home." She is crying. Suddenly I'm afraid. She feels so small, not strong enough, and like a lost little girl she sobs, "I want to go home…"
She should be home. Home, on Naboo, with her family. They worry about her so. Have you even wondered what it might be like for you to settle down and concern yourself with those things that will make your own life fuller? they ask her all the time. They don't know where she is. They don't even know about the babies; they may never know, now. She wants to hear her mother's voice, so badly. "Mom…"
You've done your service, Padmé
"I want my mom."
"I know, Padmé." That is Bail Organa's voice. When did Bail come in? He sounds so sad. She opens her eyes and tries to smile at him.
"I'm sorry, Bail."
"Padmé…" She can see in his eyes that he wants to ask her questions she cannot answer.
"Remember, be a good little Senator. Save the Republic. You promised."
He nods, and makes his own attempt at a smile. "I remember. But…"
"How is your wife, Bail?" He looks confused at the question. "You told me once you wanted a baby girl." Her eyes start to close, her voice fades. "Anakin thinks it's a girl…"
Anakin has turned to the dark side.
But Anakin is just a little boy, a pilot, you know. Someday, I'm gonna fly away from this place. No, that was a long time ago; he is a Jedi. I know I'm better than this and she kneels beside him and holds him as he cries that he's killed them all, they're dead, every single one of them. At the Temple—the younglings—the Jedi Temple is burning you could see the smoke from here, and everything is burning you're breaking my heart you're going down a path I can't follow and there is fire in his eyes and pain…
She screams again.
It would destroy us.
"Anakin… I love you…"
Don't be afraid.
"Save your energy," Obi-Wan's voice speaks out of somewhere.
"Don't give up, Padmé."
She has survived multiple assassination attempts and two fullscale battles, but this is harder… much harder.
"Is it… It's a girl. Anakin thinks it's a girl."
"We don't know yet. In a minute… you have to stay with us."
Have faith, my love. Everything will soon be set right.
Soon. The baby is coming.
"If it's… a girl—" She loses herself in the pain until Obi-Wan's voice calls her back.
"Padmé, you have to hold on." The lights are so bright Obi-Wan's face seems in shadow, she can't focus, but she has to have the baby. She has to.
"If it's a girl… name her Leia…" Her hand grips Obi-Wan's, she closes her eyes, and then a cry breaks forth.
"It's a boy."
The lights aren't harsh anymore. They glow. Her baby is surrounded by soft light. "Luke…"
Obi-Wan holds him close to her; she cannot hold him, but she reaches out and gently strokes his cheek. There is not time or strength to say all she wants to: you're beautiful, you're perfect, I'm so sorry my little son, but know that I love you and I always have and always will love you… So she tries to capture it all in that one gesture and the words, "Oh, Luke…"
His eyes briefly blink open and she sees in their brilliant blue depths the eyes of another boy, so long ago. Are you sure about this? Trusting our fate to a boy we hardly know? He's so small, so helpless. He can help you. He was meant to help you.
Then there is more pain and more screaming, taking more of her strength away. And another infant cry.
"It's a girl."
She looks up into wide, solemn brown eyes, looking straight back into hers, and so like her own that she wants to laugh, but can only manage a smile. Are you an Angel? "Leia…"
Obi-Wan begs her to hold on, he tells her that her twins need her, but he doesn't understand. She has not the strength to explain it to him, what is so clear… and yet harder than anything she has ever done.
The twins need her to let go. It is that simple, and it is that complex. It is the only way to protect them. With her they would be chased and hunted down without cease, without fail, but these are good people. You'll be safe here. She does not know what tells her this, whether it is the Force, or her own heart, or both, but she knows it is right.
And that is why she can let go, even though it hurts her worse than any pain she's ever known, even though she's only twenty-seven and she doesn't want to die. Even after all she has been, after she has done so much and all she wants to do is hold her babies and love them and take them home to Naboo and watch them grow up.
She can let go because she is Padmé Amidala, and she will do what she must. That's what every mother needs for her child—to know that he, that you, have been given a chance at a better life. She will let go for her children. And for Anakin.
And no one will ever know. This is Padmé Amidala's sacrifice.
It's very cold.
She wishes that just once they could all be together, that Anakin could see the babies.
The Force had brought her and Anakin together for a destiny greater than either of them, and these children would save him. They're our only hope.
"Anakin… isn't here, Padmé," Obi-Wan's voice speaks gently.
But he is alive. And she loves him. She doesn't want to leave him. She loves him and hopes for him still.
"Anakin, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry… Anakin, please, I love you…"
Her fingers still clutch the snippet of japor he gave her as a little boy. So that she'd never forget him. And she never would.
Before we die, I want you to know…
She presses the japor snippet into Obi-Wan's hand, hoping he will understand.
I truly, deeply love...
She takes one more look at the beautiful babies she and Anakin have created, and sees how they shine in the dark. How could she not love the man who has given her these gifts, even if she only has them for a moment? How could she not love the man who changed her life, brought her to life, simply by loving her?
I'm glad to have met you, Anakin.
The Polis Massan medical center fades slowly into darkness. She focuses on the faces of Obi-Wan and the children.
"Obi-Wan…" she struggles for breath, "There is good in him. I know… there is… still…"
And then Padmé lets go.
And there is nothing but light.