Disclaimer: It's George's sandbox, I'm simply wrecking the sandcastles.
Title: Best of Intentions
Summary: Padmé's asked by Jamillia to fill the Senator position for the planet of Naboo.
Notes: I'm assuming that the term length of the Queen of Naboo is approximately 4 years and that she was almost finished her 1st year during TMP. That makes Padmé 21 in this fic. Sané - a Handmaiden - is an OC and created by me as I had none of Jamillia's bodyguard's names in front of me when I wrote this.
The reasons for Padmé's switchover to Senator after finishing her role as Naboo Queen are a tad unclear. She couldn't refuse Jamillia? Let's say there's a good reason why Padme could not refuse to become a Senator.
You get to dream that reason up.
Brainstorming: can be written in the "present tense"--as in, as the decision is being made--or it can be a reflective story, where Padmé remembers why she is working in the Senate at all. There are some helpful hints to help you dream something up.
also include an appearance by a handmaiden of your choice.
Best of Intentions
"There's a message for you, dear."
Padmé pulled her hood from her head as she shrugged out of her jacket and hung it on a nearby peg. "Who from, mother?"
Jobal Naberrie was drying her hands on a dish rag as she stopped in the doorway leading from the entryway of their home to the main room and the kitchenette. "The Palace. It looks official; like a summons."
"Queen Jamillia might have some questions for me." Padmé collected the wrapped package sitting on the nearby stand where Jobal had indicated it. "I know I would have talked to my predecessor for hints if I could have."
Jobal laughed softly. "You didn't need help, Padmé; you did just fine by yourself."
Padmé smiled wistfully. "I hope so." She broke the seal and pulled a message cube from the envelope, looking to her mother. "Things have been pretty quiet since my term ended last month."
Jobal patter her daughter on the shoulder and squeezed lightly. "It just means you did a good job of leaving things in order for Queen Jamillia. I wouldn't worry, Padmé. Maybe she just wants to have you over for tea."
Padmé turned the cube over in her hands absently. "Maybe. Or maybe she's decided to make that amendment to the constitution and give me back the responsibility."
Jobal chuckled softly. "You'd never take it and she knows it. Are you going to watch it or just turn it over in your hands?"
Padmé grinned, flicking on the power button. Queen Jamillia's figure appeared, dressed in the regal robes of state, the scar of remembrance visible even in the blue-white hologram.
The image waited for a long moment before inclining her head and beginning to speak. "Greetings Lady Padmé. It has been a month since your departure from office and I would like to extend my thanks to you for leaving me an office with such a loyal and efficient staff. Your years of hard work and dedication have left a difficult opening I will endeavor to fill."
The hologram paused. "As you know, it is not customary for the Queen to contact the former ruler, however, I would like you to join me for this evening's meal. I have a delicate matter of some importance I wish to discuss with you."
Padmé watched silently, exchanging a questioning look with her mother as the Queen went on to provide the contact frequencies and comm. link channel on which she could reply. The hologram finally shut off.
Padmé placed it carefully on top of the envelope where she'd pulled it from. Without a word to her mother she moved into the living room and sank down to the couch, her eyes glazed as her thoughts centered beyond her family's home.
The Queen had sent a formal request, usually considered a veiled order, to join her for the evening meal. But why? Surely after the Trade Federation mess, a mess that had been resolved by Palpatine's appointment as Chancellor and one of the most powerful men in the republic, it couldn't be anything so serious. His appointment had returned peace, brought unity, though even now Padmé admitted the Gungans were still found to be distrusted by her people. And they didn't trust the planet's representative.
Not that she blamed them. The current Senator for Naboo was a conniving, twisted individual who had his own agenda in mind. The man was corrupt, accepted bribes and favors in return for voting with the whims of whomever offered him the highest price. Falmir Telephan was not a nice person. He'd been appointed by the Chancellor when Jamillia had been elected Queen as she'd had no one else to step into the role. It hadn't helped that, with the election of a new Queen, the Chancellor had been served with a petition from the senate to step down as either Chancellor or Senator as they felt his continuation as Naboo's senator had been a conflict of interest.
Jamillia had been given a month to find someone to take his place and Padmé wondered if she was being called to the Palace to offer advice and candidates.
It had been Padmé who, as Queen, had also acted as the representative of her people in the Senate, rendering the Chancellor's dual role almost non-existent. Jamillia had made it quite clear upon her election, and during her election campaign, that she would be spending more time on Naboo and so an appropriate Senator would be needed to be found upon her election.
Palpatine's appointment of Falmir Telephan, at Jamillia's request to find a temporary Senator, had been just short of disastrous. Thus far he'd not bargained away the rights and freedoms of the Nabooian people, but it was obvious he had neither in mind. Palpatine, when approached, had simply stated that the position was temporary until a real appointment could be made by the Queen. Until then, they would have to live with Falmir.
She almost jumped, her eyes focusing on the concerned expression of her mother's. "Pardon? I'm sorry, I was just thinking."
Jobal smiled knowingly. "I can almost see the wheels turning in your head. Will you be joining the Queen for the evening meal?"
Padmé nodded slowly. "I think I had best."
"I thought as much. I -"
A chime rang, cutting Jobal off mid sentence and drawing a frown from her worn face. "Whoever could that be?" She turned, moving to the main door of their home and opening it. "May I-"
Padmé heard her mother's sharp intake of breath and stood quickly. "Mother, is everything alright?"
"Fine, dear." Jobal's tone regained its composure. "Your escort is here."
Padmé's brows drew together. "But I haven't even responded."
Jobal stepped back from the doorway, allowing Padmé to see who was in the entrance. Two cloaked figures waited silently, one at the top of the steps, one at the bottom. Their plain purple robes and voluminous hoods, hiding their features from view, made it plain who had sent them. The nearest one inclined her head in respect. "The Queen requested we come and meet you, Milady, so that you would be aware of the importance of her request."
Padmé noted that the softly accented voice was pleasant, mirroring the Queen's own. "I am aware of the route to the Palace, Handmaiden. The Queen need not fear that I will become lost."
The Handmaiden reached up, removing her hood, and smiled. "That was never my fear, Padmé."
"Jamillia!" Padmé grinned as the soft, dusky colored skin of her friend was revealed.
"My Queen, you honor our home." Jobal curtsied.
"You do not need to be so formal, Mrs. Naberrie." Jamillia told her with a slight smile. "Padmé and I have much to discuss and I preferred to do so away from the eavesdroppers in the Palace."
Padmé pulled the older woman into a hug. "Bring in your Handmaiden, Jamillia, and then you can tell me what this is about."
Jamillia sipped the tea that Jobal had brought, her face lined with worry as she finished her tale. "As you can see, I have no one I trust to take up the position of Senator. No one with the good of the people in their hearts and minds. I cannot allow that man... that..." she stopped and took a deep breath to calm herself. "I have no choice but to find someone, Padmé, and it must be soon or the Chancellor's appointment will stand. I cannot abide such corruption."
Padmé's response was full of contempt. "He is a little man trying to make himself seem larger. He takes no pride in his heritage and none in his people." She paused, sipping her own tea and then continued softly, with passion. "You need someone with conviction, Jamillia, someone willing to fight for the good of the people. You need someone strong, who won't be cowed by the senate or daunted by the endless negotiation process. Someone who has passion."
Jamillia's gaze went to Jobal as she brought small sandwiches. "Your daughter is right Jobal; that is the kind of person we need representing our people. Falmir Telephan represents only the bad and shows a weakness we cannot afford if we wish to avoid further problems with the likes of the Trade Federation or other coalitions. Do either of you know anyone who fits that description?"
Jobal's eyes went directly to her daughter. "I know only of one person who fits that description, Queen Jamillia. She is strong and proud. She has proven her willingness to fight for her people and given up much in the process. She would honor our world if she were to agree - but the ultimate choice is hers."
"Who is it, mother?" Padmé cocked her head and then stopped as she realized both the Queen and her mother were looking at her intently. "Me?"
Jobal nodded. "You, Padmé. If you'll excuse me, I have to begin dinner. Your father will be home soon."
Padmé stared after her mother as she disappeared, leaving her alone with the Queen.
"Oh Padmé, would you? Would you be our Senator?"
"I..." She stopped, pausing as she thought of the sacrifices she'd made to become Queen. She'd lost her childhood and then her teenage years; she had just turned 21, the age of maturity on Naboo, and no longer a child. But she'd missed so much in being a strong leader for her people. They hadn't known her fears, or her faults, they'd only seen the strengths she'd wanted them to see. And now, finally free to begin her life for herself, came another request to serve.
One not of her own choosing.
But how could she refuse. She saw the suffering of her people daily, the fragile trust she'd worked so hard to develop between the races fracturing. She saw the hard won respect between the peoples crumbling due to the actions of one man, their unity being discarded as their role models and leaders showed nothing but selfish motivations.
She was being asked to serve, but in serving she would have to sacrifice everything she'd started to dream of once more. A home, a family; children. The ache in her hear at the thought was nothing like the ache that came every time she saw Falmir Telephan cut deals that would do nothing but bring more hardship and strife to her people. How could she say no knowing that doing so might damn her people to slavery or worse if Falmir Telephan was not removed from office?
She took a deep breath. "Yes, Queen Jamillia, I accept. I will serve as the Senator of Naboo for as long as the people permit me."
Jamillia rose and came around to stand beside Padmé, extending her hand. Padmé rose to her feet, accepting the handshake only to be pulled into a tight, relieved hug. "Thank you, Padmé. Thank you on behalf of our people. You will make a wonderful Senator."
Padmé smiled, feeling the rightness of her choice spreading through her as she returned the hug and stepped away. "It will be my honor and my pleasure."
"Excellent. You've just relieved me of a terrible burden my friend. I know you won't fail us."
"I will do everything in my power not to." Padmé escorted the Queen back to the main entrance. "Are you certain you won't stay for the evening meal?"
Jamillia shook her head regrettably. "With your acceptance I now have the power to remove Falmir Telephan as our Senator. I will to send a message to the Chancellor immediately to inform him of your new appointment." She pulled her hood over her head and nodded to the Handmaiden who accompanied her. "Tomorrow I will have Sané collect you and bring you to the Senator's residence in the capital. I will have it cleaned and redecorated for your arrival as Sané holds auditions for your own Handmaidens."
"Handmaidens? I'm not the Queen; I've no use for decoys."
"True, but there are still many people who were only too happy to see you step down from the throne. I prefer to be cautious. And you will need their help to dress even if you do not require their more practical skills." Jamillia, her decision made, nodded once and took Padmé's hands in hers. "Our people and I owe you a debt of gratitude we cannot hope to repay, Padmé."
Padmé simply smiled, squeezing the Queen's hands in response. "Our people owe me nothing, Jamillia; the honor is mine."
There was no more to say as Sané exited the house, Jamillia on her heels, and led the way back to the speeder that they'd taken to get to Padmé's home. The Queen and her bodyguard disappeared into the now darkening sky, but Padmé remained at the window.
She'd been railing about the injustices of having Falmir Telephan as their Senator. She'd been pushing for something to be done. She began to laugh, softly at first, until she was forced to sit down and clutch her side so painful did they become. Be careful what you wish for. The words echoed in her mind as her head came up and she looked out the window once more, a wry smile on her face.
It served her right.