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: Doctor's Silence
Genre: Romance, Adventure (RotS AU)
Characters: A/P, Padmé focus
Summary: Sequel to A New Path to Follow - Padmé, the head Doctor assigned to the Jedi Temple and the secret wife of Anakin Skywalker, struggles with the revelation that the secrets she and her husband have been trying to keep will shortly be exposed as their love takes on the most fundamental form...
Confident hands smoothed down the front of her lab coat and gently patted her hair down before she stepped through the double doors leading into the inner most room, overlooking the main heart of Coruscant.
The room was circular, interspaced evenly with large, comfortable chairs fitted specifically to the beings occupying them. Several of the chairs were empty, betraying the grim toll this war had taken on the Jedi and the Jedi Council thus far. She had two Masters, five Knights and ten young Padawans in various stages of recuperation. As she stepped into the room, she felt a twinge in her stomach and prayed the nausea would pass quickly.
"Welcome you are, Doctor Naberrie." Yoda's greeting was accompanied with a smile. "Your patient, is she well?"
Doctor Padmé Naberrie - secretly Skywalker - inclined her head to the Master, slipping her hands into the pockets of her lab coat. "She's doing much better now that she's no longer on Dantooine, Master Yoda. The baby shows a high midicholrian count, but is suffering from a cold that will keep him in the infirmary until it loses its hold. While his high fever can be a concern, it also means he's fighting the infection. Overall, after what they've been through, they're in pretty good shape."
"The mother's to have no contact with the child, Doctor." Jedi Master Shaak Ti's voice was even, but carried a note of warning. "That child is now in the care of the temple."
Padmé's hand clenched in her jacket pocket. Of all the duties she'd assumed as the head physician at the Jedi Temple, this was the one she disliked the most. Her stomach churned, as if in empathy for the sorrow the mother would feel. "After five years, Master, I believe I know the terms. The boy will be placed in the nursery once he's well enough to be taken off the monitors. Cyan is well aware of the restrictions concerning her and her baby."
"Her baby no longer." Yoda's tone was mild in reproof. "Cared for, the child will be. Taught the ways of the Force. A future the boy, and Knight Long, would have not, without your assistance."
"I'm glad to be of service, Master Yoda." She swallowed, her throat working against the sudden, almost violent urge to lose what little breakfast she'd been able to stomach. "If you'll excuse me?"
"Well are you, Doctor?"
Padmé managed a smile, somehow holding her composure. "I believe I may have caught what the boy has, Master. I'll be fine."
Mace Windu rose from his chair and crossed the room, half bowing to her before offering his arm. "If I may, Doctor? We can't afford to have to falling ill with so many patients to treat."
Padmé accepted his arm with a show of reluctance, but was grateful for his help. "I really am fine, Mace."
Mace waited until the council chamber doors had closed before taking a critical look at her. "You're flushed yet pale and your eyes... Do you feel faint?"
"Just a touch dizzy. It's nothing."
"I think Anja-"
"Mace." She cut him off with a forced laugh as they headed for the Infirmary and her room. "I'm alright, I promise. The flu baby Long has isn't one I was vaccinated against. Lana assured me that the symptoms, while irritating and disquieting, would only last for a few days at best. The virus is most dangerous in children." She grinned. "And, if you hadn't noticed, I'm not exactly a child anymore."
Mace appeared to accept her explanation, albeit reluctantly. "True. Has Mik returned from the Clone ward yet?"
"Not yet. She's due back tomorrow."
Mace stopped outside the infirmary doors and turned his intense look on her. "Promise me something?"
Padmé rolled her eyes, knowing what was coming. Ever since his treatment he'd been overprotective of her, claiming that she was an asset they couldn't risk losing. It had translated into an almost father/daughter kind of relationship, though she doubted Mace knew it. "If it's in my power, Mace, you know I will."
His half-smile appeared. "Good. Then you'll have Mik give you a thorough work up when she's back."
Padmé squeezed his arm. "You're worrying for nothing; I'm rarely ever sick."
"That's why you should get checked out. And no more missions for a while; the children's ward has been asking for you again."
"Is that an order, Master Windu?"
"Should I make it one?"
Padmé chuckled. "If you feel it's necessary. Besides, Anakin's just been sent off with Obi-Wan to search for Grievous; who would go with me on a mission? Most of the other Jedi have Padawans or are waiting for the youngling selection ceremony."
Mace conceded the point with a nod. "Be well, Doctor. May the Force be with you."
"And you, Master Windu."
She shook her head in amusement as he walked away, wondering if he'd ever admit that he was worrying about her like a parent. She doubted it. It was kind of nice to know she had a friend on the council. She stepped into the Infirmary and looked around.
Things had changed since she'd first arrived five years ago to do the emergency surgery on Mace.
Padmé'd had them tear out each section, piece by piece, and replaced them with state of the art - at the time - equipment and facilities. She now had a proper clean room for research, surgery and prep rooms, a visitation area, five individual bunks for critical patients once they emerged from bacta and five tanks of the newest models.
The walls had been repainted a more relaxing light blue tone in all of the rooms and were painted yearly to keep the color fresh. The floors were now gratings over top of siphon troughs to prevent the floor from becoming slick with fluids. The troughs fed into a basin outside the temple that was then recycled and purified to remove any contaminates of the bio hazard waste. If viable, it could be converted into neutral plasma for patients needing blood.
She'd also expanded the staff. In addition to the Junior Healer Anja, whose Master had been lost to Grievous the year Padmé had been appointed to the temple, she had Mik and Lana flown back from the front lines to compliment her department. Cordé was technically a part of the staff but divided her time between the recovery ICU wing at the main hospital and the Temple. Mik did the same, having grown quite fond of the Clones in her time on the front lines, and visited those that were in recuperation phases whenever she could.
Padmé had to admit it was nice having help in the wing and Anja was soon to take her final trials, both as a Jedi healer and a ticketed Doctor for the Syndicate. If Padmé had any pull at all, the girl would get the more-than-deserved recognition.
She spared the new diagnostic equipment and the database it was connected to barely a glance as she headed for the research lab and the work she'd left in Cordé's able hands in her absence. She was pleasantly surprised to find a stack of data cards with a note from Cordé indicating that the observations they'd had in the last few months were ground breaking. She placed the data cards in a nearby container, careful not to mix their order, and placed the container in her pocket. A datapad went into the other before she left the lab and moved across the hall to peek into Lana's self-declared domain.
The children's ICU room smelled of powder and flowers, bringing a smile to Padmé's face as she spied Lana settled in the corner, rocking back and forth in a chair, her eyes on the baby in her arms. A faint, musical humming sound was audible through the steady beeping and buzzing of various monitors.
Lana looked up from the baby in her arms, a smile on her face despite a shadow in her eyes. "He's just beautiful, Padmé. I can't believe Cyan doesn't want to see him; she won't even give him a name."
"Would you if you knew you had to give him away once he's better?" Padmé's question was soft.
"I'd want to give him something, even if it was just his name." Lana rose to her feet and moved back to the high crib along one wall. She placed the baby inside before turning to her friend. "How can Cyan be so accepting of something that's so obviously wrong?"
Padmé's smiled in understanding. "It seems wrong to you or I, but does that really make it wrong? The Jedi have to teach these children from an early age that forming any kind attachments is to open yourself to weakness; to temptation. It blinds one to clarity of thought and purpose and puts the value of one human or alien life above the value of many. To the Jedi and their code, it's wrong to nurture a strong bond between mother and child."
"But Anakin wasn't raised by the temple."
"Anakin's not your typical Jedi." Padmé's smile was secretive. "Anakin also doesn't believe that the council realizes that a Master and Padawan relationship is almost as binding as a Mother and child relationship. They're blind to it even when it's mentioned."
"Then why allow only one Padawan? Wouldn't it make sense to allow several?"
"To what end?"
"Every child needs peers. Surely a Master could handle two or three Padawans and still provide the training required."
Padmé chuckled softly. "Masters focus on one Padawan to ensure that nothing is missed. You work in a children's ward, Lana. Surely you've seen children that don't want to share."
Lana blushed. "That's different."
"Whose side are you on?"
"It's not about sides, my friend. It's about personal values, ones I have to put aside when treating the Jedi. Cyan won't allow herself to name her child so that a bond isn't formed between them. Just like I can't let my personal beliefs color the effectiveness and quality of the care I give them. I may not agree with their methods, but it's not my place to judge."
"Any yet we still help them do it."
"You can leave at any time, Lana."
Lana blinked, shocked by the quiet revelation. "Who would take care of the children if I did? Certainly not their parents!"
Padmé grinned. "I take it that means you're going to stick around?"
Lana's return smile was chagrined. "I suppose so."
Padmé made to speak and was hit with a sudden, violent dizzy spell that made her reach for the nearby table to hold herself up. Her vision blackened around the edges, spiraling down to almost non-existent as she teetered on the edge of consciousness for a moment. Focusing on the sight of her hand gripping the table, she tenaciously clung to it, forcing the weakness away even as she felt the first slivers of fear. What if Mace was right and she really was sick?
Lana's concerned tone and the feel of her friend's cool hand against her flushed cheeks, brought her back to reality. "I'm alright."
"You don't look alright. I thought you were going to faint. How do you feel?"
Opening her mouth to reply that she felt fine, Padmé closed it without uttering a sound. She didn't feel fine. Her stomach was churning, the queasiness of the last few days coming back full tilt.
Lana slid a chair up to the back of her knees and forced her to sit. "Put your head between your knees and take a deep breath."
Padmé did as she was instructed, closing her eyes to fight off the slightly imbalanced angle of the floor. She still felt a little faint but the nausea appeared to have passed; for the moment.
Lana rubbed her back. "Don't you think it might be more than little Long's flu?"
"Name the baby, Lana." Padmé slowly righted herself. "I'm fine, I promise. I'll feel better once I've had a nap."
Lana looked to the baby, torn between her friend's suggestion and Padmé's condition. "I don't think it's my place-"
"If you don't, the Council will choose a name in session. And we can't keep calling him baby Long; Cyan won't have any connection with him."
Lana frowned but finally nodded. "Ty."
"Ty?" Padmé arched her eyebrows. "That's his name? Ty?"
Lana blushed. "It's my brother's name."
"Ty it is then." Padmé pushed to her feet slowly, careful to avoid another dizzy spell. "I'm going to catch a few hours of sleep. Keep me posted on how Ty is doing. I'll send a note to the council with his new name."
Lana nodded, going back to the crib, as Padmé let herself out.
Heading down the hall, Padmé stopped at the last door on the left. Her room; the room that had been hers since the day of Mace's surgery. She keyed open the door, stepping out of her shoes the moment she was over the threshold. She really should head back to her apartment, but she spent so little time there anymore, it was a wonder the Chancellor insisted she keep it.
No matter. She pulled the data disks and the datapad from her lab coat pocket, placing them beside her bed and then removed her coat, hanging it on the back of a nearby chair. She sent off a quick message with the baby's new name to the council chamber before settling on her bunk. She arranged the pillows and then braced herself on them, scooping the datapad and the first disk from the stack.
She didn't feel tired anymore, but rest would do her good. There was no law against catching up on personal research in the meantime. And so she did, reading through the first disk with fascination as Cordé's notes explained the process of midichlorians and the speculation as to why they appeared in such high concentrations to make Jedi. She was disappointed to note that midichlorians couldn't be synthesized; she'd been hoping for otherwise, and that they expired quickly once outside the Jedi blood stream. According to Cordé's notes, the small organisms needed live Jedi blood to survive, almost like a parasite, so they would quickly expire.
As Padmé read through her notes she felt a niggling, insistent pressure at the back of her mind as if her body were trying to tell her something. She ignored it, deliberately loosing herself in work, firmly telling herself she simply had the flu and it would pass.
It was nothing to worry about.