Disclaimer: George Lucas owns Star Wars. This story is purely a work of fan fiction. I am not making any profit from it.

Author's note: No good reason for this. I was waiting for my caffeine this morning and decided that the day called for a little Padmé self-discovery fic. It's sort of head!canon-ish. But also, it's a story about nightgowns.

Title from "Turn Me On," by Norah Jones.

[waiting for the spring]

She's eighteen the first time a man makes a pass at her. It's not that young, really, compared to billions of young women across the galaxy. But Padmé is appalled to the assault on her innocence, as though this being with the not-quite-clean hands and working-class accent can sully her with nothing more than his clumsy words.

She backs away, horrified, and the young refugee stares after her, baffled.

Later she'll realize that his advances - "hey, you want to get out of here for a little while? get a drink?" - are nothing all that unusual, and she'll come to understand that, in spite of her initial reaction to them, they aren't meant as an affront. This is just how men talk to women, all over the galaxy.

She learns that some women actually like that sort of thing.

[~]

Not long after she becomes a Senator, Padmé accepts a few dinner invitations from men of her own class - raised, like her, with the expectation of influencing lives on a galactic scale. To her horror, most of them don't seem particularly interested in that they're doing, only in what they can get out of it. But there are a few of whom she thinks a little bit better, and these are the ones she spends more time with. It takes her a surprisingly long time to learn that she is considered beautiful - it's not that she ever felt ugly, before; it's just that she's never given her personal appearance (as opposed to the dignity of her appearance as a Queen and then a Senator) much thought. She's never wondered what it would be like to try to attract a man.

[~]

She doesn't try, for a few years. She has better things to do, and if her fellow Senators are not interested in anything more than a pretty face - well, that's what courtesans are for (and there seem to be a lot of them). And then Anakin ... happens.

She doesn't have to try, with him, but she discovers suddenly that she wants to, anyway. She finds herself wearing her most daring outfits, the things she owns but has never taken out of the closet because it's just much too fast to be seen in public with them. But the look in his eyes when she walks into the room makes her feel ... giddy. It's like she's drunk a whole bottle of wine, except better - so much better.

Then he confesses his love, and she feels ... guilty, instead. Because she realizes suddenly that he was the innocent, here. Anakin is younger than her, and socially inexperienced, and ... vulnerable. She can hurt him. She is hurting him.

It comes to her that night, lying alone in bed after Anakin has accepted her rejection and bowed to the inevitable ("you're right; it would destroy us") - I'm a tease.

She wonders if Rush Clovis ever felt anything like the way Anakin did, if he just hid it better because he had upper-crust polish in place of Anakin's raw honesty. If she's been hurting people all along.

No, she decides, in the end - there's something different about Anakin. Probably her fellow Senators - most beings anywhere - don't have that kind of passion.

She ... likes it.

[~]

She doesn't try to tempt Anakin for the first year or so they're married - maybe longer. There's no need; he's already crazy about her, can't get enough of her. He pursues her, on the rare occasions when he's home, with the same single-minded determination that has made him the bane of Separatists across the galaxy.

Except Anakin's attacks on her are much, much more enjoyable.

But then ... something shifts, and there comes a night when Padmé is lying awake, wishing Anakin were here, even just to talk to - he'd laugh about her latest upheaval in the Senate, she just knows he would - and she can't help thinking that maybe ... maybe it would be nice to invite his touch, for a change. Not just ... accept.

That's when she starts her racy nightgown collection.

It makes her blush furiously, at first, and she hides them even from her handmaidens ... but they're there. Deep in a drawer in the back of her closet.

Sometimes, on lonely nights, she takes them out. Runs her fingers over the silk and lace and tries to choose one, for Anakin's homecoming. Imagines the look on his face.

It does astonishing things to her sense of self, because what kind of woman actually plans for this kind of debauchery?

But sitting alone in her bedroom and trying to pick one from her stash, heart thudding recklessly because tonight, tonight, tonight, he's coming home tonight - she discovers that she doesn't care.

It doesn't matter.

She doesn't keep any of them on for very long.