Part I: Any Other Night

Any other night, Senator Padme Naberrie Amadala would have long since retired to her private chambers with a pot of tea and only the latest war reports, bill proposals, and committee minutes to keep her company.

Any other night, Padme would have changed from her voluminous Senatorial wardrobe into a standard, plain sleeping shift designed for comfort and warmth. Functionality was what she needed most from a garment when she was alone in bed. Tonight, on the contrary, she had Motee' apply a fresh cosmetic application and assist her into a newly commissioned blue, shimmer-silk sleep dress; it had been accented with pearls at the shoulder. She noted those strands of pearls presently. Yes, definitely form over function tonight, she thought to herself.

Any other night, a handmaiden would answer the announcement chimes at 500 Republica. Its shimmering sound sent goose bumps up Padme's back in the penthouse's sitting room. She had dismissed her attendants over an hour ago and had sat there in anxious anticipation ever since.

He had promised to come to her as soon as possible. She understood that could mean before sunset, mid-night, or even in the early hours of the next morning. Jedi weren't exactly known for their transparency. Especially her Jedi.

The chimes went off again. Padme slowly pushed her swollen body off the seat and toddled over to the entryway. Her body asked for rest, but her heart buzzed with adrenaline enough to keep her alert through this late hour.

She lightly touched the entry pad. The door swung open to reveal the one she was waiting for. Anakin Skywalker, her husband, lover, and best friend stood opposite her. When their privacy was assured upon the closing of the door, Padme didn't hesitate to move to embrace him. Uncharacteristically, Anakin stepped back. She shot him a inquiring look from under a lifted brow on a face aglow with expectation.

Anakin pulled a bouquet of flowers from beneath his Jedi robes.

"For my Angel."

Padme beamed and readily accepted the exotic purple and orange arrangement. She cradled them in one arm and flung the other around his neck.

"They're beautiful," she breathed into his ear, his face touching hers.

"Not as beautiful as you, my love."

They stood there, holding each other, not caring that the flowers were now crushed between their bodies. Abruptly, he felt a warm, wet sensation on his check. It took him a moment to realize that his wife was weeping into his hair.

"Padme? Padme, what's wrong?" He gently rubbed the small of her back.

The tears continued to fall silently. He finally took the ruined flowers from her, laid them on an entryway table, and led his wife to a chaise in the sitting room. He tried to count the times he had witnessed his wife's tears. He had made her laugh until she cried on the field where they had picnic-ed on Naboo. She cried in happiness after their first intimacy of the marriage night. Those two times only he could recall her tears, and they were positive responses. He didn't need the Force to tell him these tears were different.

They sat towards each other, he looking down at her hands, she looking through the perma-glass windows unto the Coruscanti skyline. Slow, silent tears continued to drip down her flushed cheeks. Her unhappiness was killing him.

"Please, Padme, this is unbearable."

She inhaled deeply, "I'm sorry Ani. I….I was so unsure for so long. It's been almost five months since we've last been together," she shook her head and wiped her tears with her hand. "I didn't know how you would feel…what you would say…"

"About what?"

He squeezed her hands in his. He thought she was just as lovely even with those red, rimmed eyes.

She looked meaningfully down at her middle.

He instinctively took her face into his hands. "Padme, listen to me, I meant what I said. This is the happiest day of my life. Of my whole life. EVER."

Anakin enunciated his words vigorously. He needed her to believe him. He was slightly taken aback at her lack of faith in his devotion but followed up with a gentler tone, "I will do anything I need to do to protect you, to protect us. You are everything to me."

"But the conseque…"

Impassioned, he kissed her mid-sentence. Padme responded eagerly, begging his lips to end the worries that ate her up inside. The consequences would need to be weighed eventually, but she eagerly followed Anakin's lead and pushed them aside for any other night.

With his lips still touching hers he breathed, "Shhh, shhh, not now."

Anakin effortlessly lifted his love up and carried her to their bedroom. "Later…"

Any other night, Anakin would be alone in a military bunk on a some Force-foresaken Outer Rim planet. But not this night. He wasn't about to let the future hold sway over his present...she was far too precious.

With a small Force push, he closed the door, shutting out the galaxy for a little while longer.