Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars, George Lucas does. He created everything; I just play with it for a while and then give it back. No money is being made here, so no suing!
Author's Note: Here we go, the sequel to Misunderstood! While I don't demand you read the first one, it will help tremendously in understanding this one. Exile picks up just a few months after Misunderstood ends, just so you all know. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
Padmé's eyelids wearily slid shut as she sank back against her pillow, utterly exhausted. She felt disgusting, soaked in sweat, and incredibly sore. But she was satisfied.
Intellectually, she knew giving birth would be a very tiring and painful experience. However that knowledge was no preparation for the reality of it. She really wished she'd had the opportunity to witness someone else in labor first, so she would know to go on birth control regardless of her lack of a love life so that she would never, ever end up pregnant.
But what was done was done, and thank the Gods it was all over now. Giving birth was painful, but waddling around nine months pregnant with twins wasn't any fun either. Now she would be able to see her feet when she was standing up!
Oh yes, and then there was the fact that she'd been carrying twins. Not a single baby, but two babies. That kind of surprise was one she could've done without.
It's my own fault though, she reluctantly admitted. I did tell the medical droid on Coruscant I wanted to be surprised. I just wasn't specific enough on what I wanted to be surprised about. Carrying twins isn't necessarily considered a complication after all…
Tiredly prying her eyes open again, she cast her gaze to the two plastic tubs on wheels that served as little bassinets. Inside each one lay a baby. One was a girl and one was a boy.
Luke was the first born. Her son, the little boy she'd hoped to have, the only one she'd expected to have. He was still too small and young for her to see much of his features, but she had a feeling that he would be a spitting image of his father.
Leia was the second born, younger by about seven minutes. Her daughter, the little girl that she'd wished for, the big surprise she'd suffered in the delivery room. She had slightly darker hair (well, it was more like fuzz actually) than her brother, telling Padmé that Leia would likely take after her.
Both were quiet now, fast asleep and resting their tiny lungs for later. When they'd come out, thought, they'd screamed bloody murder, incensed at being removed from their old home without their consent. Their stereo crying foreshadowed the days and nights that were to come…
Yawning, she shifted her gaze to the rest of the room. It was a sterile white and completely undecorated, just like billions of other hospital rooms all across the galaxy. But the problem was, this room looked just like the rest of the asteroid station that contained this hospital room.
This was Polis Massa, an isolated station tucked away in the Outer Rim. Master Yoda had left the coordinates of this place, far from any well traveled routes, specifically for her. And she was grateful for the diminutive Master's thoughtfulness and foresight.
The station was built on and within an enormous chunk of rock, a piece of debris from a dead and fragmented planet. The beings that lived here, the Polis Massans, were not native to the system, but had come here to explore. Fascinated with the dead world, they set up shop and have been here ever since.
The Polis Massans were a strange species. To Padmé's eyes, they seemed faceless, just round heads with black pin dots for eyes. And to her ears, they were perfectly silent. But their language was so soft and so high-pitched that it simply was beyond her natural range of hearing. So to communicate with them, she had to use one of their droids as a go-between.
Polis Massans were thankfully a peaceful species. They were scientists; they loved to study other species and their cultures. While their primary interest was the dead world where they made their home, they also gladly studied any beings who stumbled across them and over the years they had amassed an impressive store of information.
After Bail had helped her 'die,' she and Sabé and Typho (who despite her protests and pleadings insisted on coming with her) had come here, not sure what to respect. The Polis Massans welcomed them with open arms. They had no idea who Padmé was or what any of her accomplishments were. They were just excited at the chance to study and assist in a Human birth.
For the last few months of her pregnancy, Padmé, Typho, and Sabé found themselves followed around by a few curious Polis Massans pretty much all the time. Padmé also underwent a good deal of medical tests, more than she really needed, to satisfy her hosts insatiable curiosity. Even Artoo found himself under the microscope as the Massans examined him and his interactions with his Human masters.
Padmé wasn't all that bothered by the strange attention, but the dull blandness of her surroundings was a little harder to deal with. Outside of the tunnels and sealed domes there was no atmosphere, just the blackness of space and the cold glittering stars. The view was disconcerting to say the least and she was eager to get away from it.
She and her much reduced staff hadn't been sitting idle here while they awaited the birth of her babies. They'd been researching and planning their next move. And they'd also been forging documents, creating backgrounds, so that wherever they went they would have a solid fresh start. Her babies had been born here, but they wouldn't grow up here.
Because of her condition, she couldn't travel, but Sabé and Typho could travel, and did so that they could investigate possible destination in person. After drawing up a long list of systems outside of the new Galactic Empire, her two friends had gone to check each one out for themselves. Every time one left, the other would return to make sure that Padmé had more than Artoo for company. And after much searching, they'd all agreed on one place.
"Hey, how are you feeling?" Sabé whispered, tip-toeing into the room.
"Like a herd of angry Shaaks ran over me," Padmé croaked. "But remarkably good for a woman who's supposed to be dead."
"Glad to hear it," Sabé smiled.
"Yes, I'm sure you are," Padmé sighed. "And I'm sure that you are glad you're not the one in this position."
"Well, in regards to labor and delivery, yes." Sabé admitted. "But I wouldn't mind having a baby of my own."
"Don't worry; you'll be seeing enough of my two to satisfy any motherly desires of yours." Padmé laughed softly.
"Hmm, I can't wait!" Sabé grinned, her expression almost dreamy.
"Yes, you can't wait for those months of sleepless nights, midnight feedings, and endless diaper changes." Padmé snorted.
"Aw, you're spoiling my fun." Sabé pouted. "Let me ignore reality for a few more days, please."
"Suit yourself." Padmé sighed tiredly. "I'm going to get all the sleep I can, store it up for later."
Sabé didn't reply, she was too busy peering into the bassinets to study the newborn babies.
Padmé rolled her eyes and did her best to find a comfortable position so that she could catch some sleep. She was glad that Sabé was so happy about this. And she was glad too to be a mother. But she wasn't entirely happy.
Her family was back on Naboo, oblivious to their new grandchildren, their new niece and nephew, their new cousins. They believed Padmé to be dead and had no idea that she'd been pregnant in the first place. And for everyone's safety, Padmé could have no contact with them, couldn't let them know that she was really alive and had had babies. Ignorance was the best, and only, shield she could give them, and she refused to compromise it.
This also meant that she could not lean on her family for support. She couldn't call home to her mother, begging for advice on how to take care of her son and daughter. Nor could she call Sola for help. Padmé was on her own, able to pool only her own and Sabé's knowledge of babies and small children together. It would be hard, but there was no other way.
And there was something else that dampened her joy. Stiffly reaching over to the little shelf by her bed, she picked up the Japor pendant that she'd removed when she went into active labor. Her fingers traced the simple lines carved into the smooth light wood and she swallowed hard.
Oh Anakin… Will you ever find your way back to me so that you can see your children? Will you ever come back so that I can slap you silly for giving me two of them at once?