AN: Okay, the story's FINALLY over. Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed over the years. You're the best.
"Push!" Nia commanded. "Rianna, push!"
Back on Naboo, back at the hospital where Padme was born, again witnessing a grandchild's birth. She was holding Rianna's sweaty left hand while Luke held his wife's right hand, but Rianna paid attention to neither – all her focus was on following Nia's directions.
"Push!" Nia repeated.
Rianna ground her teeth as Padme wiped sweat off her forehead. She cried out in pain, her eyes scrunching shut.
"This is normal, right?" Luke said, staring wide-eyed at Nia.
Nia quickly nodded at Luke before turning back to Rianna. "All right honey, you're almost there, now PUSH!"
Luke held his breath as his wife screamed a final time, echoing around the room. The final push seemed to last a good thirty seconds, but Luke refused to take a breath until he heard that tiny wail, and even then his inhale sounded like a small gasp.
"It's a girl!" Nia called. "It's a girl!"
Luke suddenly dropped his wife's hand, taken aback by the realization that his daughter was actually here. Rianna was breathing in and out, a smile breaking onto her face, pushing out the words, "a girl" over and over.
Padme glanced over at the infant Nia was cleaning, but just as when Leia gave birth, she knew the first people to properly see the baby should be her parents. "I'll go get the others," she said, taking another quick glance at her granddaughter before leaving the room.
. . .
The Solo family was in the children's playroom, all of them asleep on the floor, curled up in the sleeping bags they had brought. Padme didn't understand how Leia and Han could possibly fall asleep tonight, but then again, they had three children with them.
"Everyone, WAKE UP!" she shouted, turning on the lights.
Han groaned and put his hand over his eyes in an attempt to shield them from the light. "Whaaaa . . .?"
Leia gave a large yawn. "Mother . . . what?"
"Come ON, sleepyheads!" Padme shouted. "It's a girl!"
"A GIRL?" Leia and Han reacted together.
"Yes, a girl! Come on!"
With that, Leia and Han shook their children awake and they all followed Padme back to Luke and Rianna's room.
. . .
When Padme and the Solos arrived, Rianna was sitting up in bed, nursing the baby, while Luke was squeezing his daughter's tiny wrinkled foot with his real hand. Both of them were gazing down at the infant as if hypnotized, tears at the edges of their eyes, neither one acknowledging the others' arrival.
"She's perfect," Luke murmured. "What should we name her?"
"Well . . ." said Rianna, glancing at Padme and the others before returning her focus to the baby, ". . . I'd be tempted to name her Padme."
Luke grinned. "Me too, but there are already two Padmes in the family."
Rianna gave a short sigh, stroking her daughter's pudgy cheek. "You're right." She brushed her finger over the baby's forehead. "Well . . . what about Mae? Just Mae."
"Mae Skywalker," Luke breathed, "I like it." He smiled down at his daughter. "Do you like it too?" he said in a high voice. "Would you like Mae to be your name?"
The baby made a muffled cooing sound without interrupting her drinking.
"Then Mae it is," said Rianna. She looked up and gestured in the direction of the doorway where Padme and the Solos stood. "Come on in, everyone. Come meet little Mae."
Padme practically raced into the room and up to the bed. She supposed the others were close behind, but the baby distracted her from checking. The child had finished her drink and now had a tiny drop of milk dribbling down her light tan chin, which her mother gently brushed away. She burped slightly, her light blue eyes opening and closing, as if trying to take in everything at once.
"Pr'ity baby!" Anakin suddenly exclaimed from Leia's arms as his older siblings leapt onto the bed in an attempt to get a better look at their new cousin.
"I like her," said Jaina, crawling rather close to the baby.
Luke smiled down at his niece. "I like her too, Jaina," he said, rubbing her back.
Rianna smiled up at Padme – it seemed that neither she nor Luke could stop smiling. "Would the grandmother like to be the first to hold her?"
Padme held out her arms and let her daughter-in-law gently place the baby in them. Though this was the fourth time she had held a newborn grandchild for the first time, but that did nothing to stop her heart from rising the same way it had the other three times. Mae looked up at her grandmother with those wide blue eyes, her tiny hand raising slightly as if trying to touch her.
"Hello Mae," Padme murmured, brushing the infant's yielding cheek with her finger. "I'm Padme, your grandmother."
The baby squeaked in response, making Padme giggle. "You look like your mommy and daddy, yes you do," she said in a high voice. "You're so sweet, so sweet, so sweet."
Mae opened and closed her mouth, fish-like, her eyes still looking up at her grandmother, reflecting the light in the room. Padme felt a lump forming in her throat, but it wasn't just because she was so happy to see her new grandchild. It was the same lump that formed when Leia and Han's children were born – the lump that came from thinking about her own childbirth and what had happened afterward.
Now Leia and Han were next to her, one on each side, though she hadn't noticed them right away, perhaps due to being distracted by the baby. Han was stroking the infant's forehead, but Leia was gently putting her hand on her mother's shoulder, as if she knew what Padme was thinking.
"She's Force-sensitive," Leia whispered in her mother's ear.
The news didn't surprise Padme, given that both of the baby's parents were Force-sensitive, but why would Leia whisper it as if she didn't want anyone else to know?
A quick glance at Rianna in the bed suddenly gave Padme the answer. She remembered why Rianna had been so against having children, why she once insisted that it would never happen. Her accidental pregnancy and miscarriage may have changed her mind about having children, but there was probably still some hesitance about producing a Force-sensitive child and possibly putting her in danger of the dark side.
She looked again at Rianna, who was biting her lip as she looked back at her mother-in-law, communicating that she had heard the whisper, and even if she hadn't, she already knew her child was Force-sensitive anyway.
"Are you cute?" Han was gushing, digging his finger into Mae's cheek. "Yes you are, you're cute. When you get older your uncle's gonna take you for rides in his ship, yes."
"If her parents let him," Rianna said.
Padme laughed as she handed the infant to her father, keeping her eyes on Mae as Luke wrapped her up in his arms and kissed her forehead, his eyes still moist. He didn't appear concerned about his daughter's Force-sensitivity at all.
Well, Padme thought, if she had learned anything from her various experiences, it was that destiny was never fixed. Whatever Mae's future was, it wouldn't come only from her innate abilities, and she wouldn't have to face it alone. Her family would be there to stand with her – her parents, her aunt, her uncle, her great-aunt, her cousins, and her grandmother.
She smiled at her son, knowing that he would make an excellent father.
Luke smiled back at her, knowing his daughter couldn't ask for a better grandmother.
AN: Wow, finally done. Sorry it took so long (years) to finish, but life has a tendency to get in the way. Well, as for what I'll write next, I'm not sure, actually. As of now there are no plans for a third story in this particular timeline, but you never know.