Disclaimer: Star Wars belongs to Disney and is the intellectual property of George Lucas; he created the sandbox. I'm making no money off of this and am simply destroying the sandcastles.
Title: A New Path to Follow
Timeframe: Prequel Trilogy AU
Characters: Padmé Naberrie, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker
Summary: Padmé chose another path once her first term as Queen was completed; a "Padmé in the Medical Profession" story.
Author's Note: Written several years ago, this has only undergone a very minimal update.
A New Path to Follow
"I have been honored to serve as your Queen this past term. The difficulties and challenges have been many and you have all risen magnificently to meet them. I have never been more proud of you, my people, than I have been this past year." Her voice was strong as she spoke to the assembly, her image and speech being broadcast across the world. "I regret to inform you that I will not be able to accept the honor of a second term in office; I must decline."
She paused as she collective gasp, the murmur of the crowd was audible even across her localized amplifier. She forged ahead, and the noise slowly receded as the people strained to hear the rest of her speech.
"Personal reasons and revelations have led me to believe my path is elsewhere. I leave office with a heavy heart but know I am doing what I believe is best for you above all else. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your belief in me through trying times." She turned, departing from the stage, and stepped back into the cool shadows of the Palace. A weight appeared to have lifted from her shoulders and she reached up to remove the elaborate head dress her current office demanded.
She didn't pause, simply handed the head dress to the speaker and smiled slightly. "Yes, Sabé."
"Is this wise?"
Padmé finally stopped, her handmaidens having formed a semi-circle around her as she turned to look at them. "You, more than anyone, know why I must do this, Sabé."
"But the people need your strength." Eirtae objected. "They need your wisdom."
"No, they don't." Padmé's smile never wavered as she disputed the fact with a shake of her head, rubbing her scalp with both hands. "The people need someone who isn't second guessing their decisions, who can be a leader for them without remorse or guilt. They need someone far more world conscious than I."
"No buts." Padmé pulled each of her handmaidens into a quick embrace. "I will miss you all, but my path lies elsewhere. I am sorry I'm leaving you without jobs."
"That should be the least of your worries." Sabé told her, unable to be angry with the woman she knew better than anyone else. "You're really going to study medicine?"
Padmé nodded. "The new Queen will take over next week. I guess I just have to pack my bags. My application's been accepted; my classes start in less than a month."
Sabé looked from Padmé to the rest of the handmaidens and back. "We'll help you pack."
Padmé smiled gratefully. They hadn't wanted her to resign, to decline the will of the people of Naboo and she'd been encouraged and counseled to accept the second term in office. They'd been hurt when she'd informed them of her decision. She hadn't expected them to agree with her, hadn't asked for, nor expected, their help.
To have it offered, well, it was more than she'd hoped for.