A/N: WARNING(S)! This story will be slow moving. This story will also be AU—not vastly AU, but AU nonetheless. This story is also a sequel. The first story, To Save the Queen, does not need to be read in order to understand this one, but it would flesh things out. To Save the Queen corresponds with The Phantom Menace. To Die for the Republic roughly corresponds with Attack of the Clones. (To everyone who read the first one: Hi! Glad you're back! To everyone new: Hi! Glad you're here!)
Disclaimer: George Lucas owns Star Wars. Sweet Christabel made the fantastic cover image.
To Die for the Republic
"Weren't you scared you were going to die?"
Anakin Skywalker and I were sitting in a tiny office in the palace of Naboo, exchanging battle stories.
"Oh, silly, Anakin," I teased him gently. "Why would I be afraid of dying? I'm only fifteen. I won't die until I'm eighteen."
Anakin laughed. "What?" He shook his head at me. "That doesn't make any sense, Sabé. You purposely made a whole bunch of battle droids chase after you and you weren't scared because you're not gonna die until you're eighteen? That's stupid."
It wasn't, actually. I had it on quite good authority that I wouldn't die until I was eighteen. Then, unless I played the klutz, I was going to end up deader than a doornail.
However, I wasn't going to explain my dreams about the girl who had burned to him.
"Oh, yeah?" I raised my eyebrows at him. "Then tell me, oh wise one. Were you scared when you accidentally flew into a Trade Federation Droid Control Ship?"
"No," Anakin answered immediately.
"And why not?"
"Because…because I wasn't," Anakin shrugged. "I don't know."
"You know," I told him seriously, "I don't think that makes much more sense than my answer did."
Anakin stared at me for a moment and then reluctantly nodded. "Guess not."
I sighed and then looked down at the list sitting on my desk. There were still seventeen families left to contact.
I took a moment to glare down at my badly blistered feet—if it weren't for them, after the Battle of Theed, I probably wouldn't have been stuck contacting the families of the dead, and trying to find ways to transport the dead bodies home. Instead, Padmé could have assigned me to traveling the country side and taking in the damages away from the capitol city, like she had Rabé; or had me working with Governor Bibble to assess the damages in Theed, like she had Eirtaé.
Instead, I was stuck here, telling mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, that their loved one had died freeing Naboo from the Trade Federation. That their loved one was a hero and that I was so sorry for their loss and how would you like us to send your loved one home to you?
"Sabé?" Anakin interrupted my increasingly glum thoughts.
I looked up at him expectantly.
He shifted a little bit uncomfortably. "Sabé, do you ever…" he hesitated and then spit the rest of his question out in a rush, "do you ever have nightmares?"
I stared at him. Unwillingly, I thought of the Yellow Man and Blue-Eyes and all of the other guards and pilots who had died in defense of the girl they thought was their Queen—the girl they didn't realize was only me, only a decoy. I thought of Master Jinn's peaceful face as he had lain on the floor of the generator room, dead. I thought of the Neimoidians whose lives I had ended and futures I had destroyed. All of their faces haunted my dreams.
I thought of the nightmares I'd had on Tattooine: of Yané and Saché being tortured, Theed burning, my people starving.
Then, I thought of the dreams I had when I was ten years old. I thought of the little girl who had told me that she had burned, that Naboo had burned, that the future was a horrible place. I thought of her telling me that I would die when I was only eighteen.
I thought of the imbalance she had spoken of and of how she'd told me that I was important and that if I was strong enough and good enough and if I listened well enough, I could save her and maybe even the galaxy. How she had implied that if I wasn't good enough, the galaxy would fall to darkness. I thought of her scared eyes and the burning children that had kept me awake at night for years.
"Yes, Anakin. Yes, I have nightmares."
Expected Update Time: Before 10/21/12