Title: Under the Gun

Rating: K+

Author: vegemite

Summary: Anakin is falling apart before Padmé's eyes, and so is her dream of their life together. Angsty. Some time during ROTS.

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars or any of these characters.

A/N: Ha, I can't believe I'm writing an Ani-Ami pairing! I'm usually all for the Obidala... Anyway, I originally wrote this as a songfic to 'Under the Gun' by The Killers, but since fanfiction dot net banned songfics, I've posted it without the lyrics. Personally, I think it flows much better with the lyrics woven in. If anyone would like to read that version, either leave a review with your e-mail address or PM me with your e-mail address (I need to send it via e-mail because the PM system doesn't allow for a whole lot of formatting). Thanks!

Under the Gun

"Anakin, what's wrong?"

"Nothing," he says, cold and unmoving as a rock.

"You're lying. Why won't you tell me the truth?" This is the last thing she needs after a difficult day of politicians trying to swindle her. She always thought that she and Anakin would be honest with each other, that he would be the one person she could rely on to tell her the complete truth. And now he was hiding his feelings from her. What was happening to her life?

"I told you, nothing!" He raises his voice only slightly, but it's enough to make her shrink back. She rises from the couch, hand on stomach, and goes into the kitchen where she shakes until she's regained her composure. He used to be the most loving man, never a harsh word or tone, always treating her with worshipping gentleness. But now he's icy and distant, and the only emotions he shows are annoyance, anger, and a strange desperation that frightens her far more than the other feelings. She knows he loves her, because he tells her so, but it's only when he's got that disquieted expression in his eyes.

The baby moves inside her. How can she bring a child into this world? It will be bad enough for this baby, that it will be called a bastard, that it will be called forbidden, that it will hardly see its father for all his traveling. But when its father is around, will it be something the child looks forward to? Will Anakin be aloof with his don or daughter, as he is becoming aloof with its mother? Will he give this baby the love and attention it will need?

Padmé isn't sure.

"I'm a little tired," she says, now standing next to the couch and smiling weakly. He ignores her. "I'll be in the bedroom." She rushes off, stifling her sobs until she can bury her face in the pillows of the bed. What went wrong? Why doesn't she believe him anymore when he says that he loves her?

She lifts her head and looks in the mirror. If he saw that she was crying he'd ask why, calm and caring on the outside, but there is so much anger hidden beneath. His jaw will clench, his hands form fists. He will destroy anything that makes her cry…but he can't destroy himself.

Then again, maybe he's already doing it. Padmé can feel the turmoil inside him, something much greater than she can comprehend. And somehow, everything she sees and touches seems to be connected to this conflict inside her husband. A small part of Padmé's core whispers with heavy weight to get out while she can. She's being urged to leave him, save herself, save the baby. She could never do this! Anakin is her husband, her love. They are for each other and they are meant to be, and even if she wants to, she can never change this.

She can never change this.

-

That night he has the dream of her death again. He is frightened beyond words, and the whole rest of the night and morning her presses their bodies close, hand on her belly. Instead of comforting her, this makes her feel smothered and sleeping in this position is uncomfortable for her back and for her stomach. She thinks bitterly, fleetingly, that she is not his mother. She is not here to hold his hand and kiss his hurts better. She is here to love and be loved, in a passionate and romantic way. Then she regains herself and is shocked at her angry thoughts. This is Anakin, her love. He deserves better than reluctance. He's genuinely worried about her.

But he's taking it too far! She thinks.

No. He just loves you.

-

The things he'd been saying scare her. He never says them outright, but muttering under his breath. Anakin's not a mutterer, is her? She didn't think so, but now she isn't sure. He'll look at her belly, then off to one side and say something about falling. She can't believe that's how he thinks of their baby, but every time he looks at her stomach with anything other than awe, she is reminded of how excruciatingly long those seconds were between when she told him she was pregnant and when he finally responded.

Maybe he's just too stressed about this. They were trying not to get pregnant, after all, and this really is not the best time. She keeps hoping that one day she will wake up on Naboo, at the lake house, light streaming in, no cares in the world, and her husband sleeping peacefully next to her, sometimes even with his flesh and blood arm back. But just as Anakin can't regain his lost limb, they can't regain the innocence of the life before their marriage. Not that it still wasn't dangerous, but it just felt simper.

Maybe if she closes her eyes, wishes enough…

-

He tries to kiss her but it is not received well and turns sloppy and dispassionate. He breaks off, sighing and furrowing his brow in frustration. She is a little frightened that he is angry with her, but has to try again, for her own sanity's sake.

"Anakin, what's happening? I know something's going on. I love you. I want to help."

He is quiet and doesn't look at her, even as she pleads to him.

"You don't understand. No one does. No one can."

"I can try. If you'd just talk to me—"

"Padmé, you have no idea." He still doesn't look at her, and it's driving her crazy.

"Damn it, Anakin! At least act like you care." She grabs his face and turns it so that he can see the tears ready to spill from her eyes. She starts sobbing and, only to appease, she knows, he reaches out and takes her in his arms. This just makes her feel even hollower. She weeps harder into her husband's harsh chest and wonders how much longer she can survive like this.


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