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Domestic Life Was Never Quite My Style

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Padmé fell ill a month after Anakin left for the Outer Rim. Except, it turned out that she wasn’t ill at all.

“Pregnant?! No, that-” Padmé tried to shake the ridiculous idea from her head- “that can’t be right.”

“I am programed to identify pregnancy in over 300 species,” the medical droid said indignantly. “An analysis of your blood-hormone levels indicates that you are most certainly pregnant.”

“But…” They had been so careful. Padmé was on hormone regulators and Anakin always used condoms. She couldn’t be pregnant. She couldn’t. “How?”

“Natural conception in humans occurs following vaginal intercourse between a male and a female.” The droid droned on about sperm and eggs and fertilization while Padmé buried her face in her hands and tried not to scream.

****

Padmé bolted for the ‘fresher and made it just in time to vomit acrid bile into the toilet. She knew she aught to get up and back to her desk, but instead she stayed slumped on the floor, trembling and empty.

“Oh, my lady,” her handmaiden Teckla sighed from the doorway. She knelt down beside her mistress to rub soothing circles across her back. “That’s the third time this morning. Can’t that med droid do anything?”

It could. Just a simple injection and a few days of heavy bleeding and her little problem would be gone. She could wipe the droid’s memory and then no one would ever have to know, not even Anakin. It would be just one more crushing secret for Padmé to bear alone. “I’m pregnant,” she blurted.

“Congratulations, my lady.” Teckla gave Padmé an excited squeeze. Feeling the tension in Padmé’s shoulders, she pulled back to study her mistress’s face. “Not congratulations. You don’t want children?”

There was no judgement in her voice. Sola and their mom would have judged. They couldn’t conceive of a higher calling than parenthood. They didn’t understand how much the Republic and her constituents were depending on her or how much the Jedi and the war effort needed Anakin. A baby could endanger all of it.

“I do want children. Just not-” Padmé swallowed her resurgent nausea- “not now.” When she and Anakin had discussed children, they always spoke of after. After the war. After Ahsoka was knighted. After Padmé pushed through the reforms the Republic desperately needed. Children someday, but always after.

Teckla nodded with true understanding. “Not with the galaxy at war,” she agreed. There was strange look on her face, but she was up and filling a cup from the sink before Padmé could figure out what it was. She sounded so sad, Padmé wondered if Teckla regretted having started her family when she had. How hard must it be for her to provide for her children with all the shortages? How hard must it be to keep them safe?

Teckla returned with the cup and waited while Padmé rinsed her mouth out. “Whatever you need, whatever you decide, I am with you, my lady.” She drew Padmé gently to her feet. “Now let us get you something to eat. You’ll feel better with a full stomach.”

*****

Padmé always made a point of reading the casualty reports. Not every senator did, but she felt she owed it to the good beings who died because of her decisions and her failures. The fighting must have been terrible this week. There were 6,738 clones killed, plus 79 regular military, 257 citizen volunteers, and seven Jedi. And there, at the bottom of the butcher’s bill was one Jedi missing in action: Anakin Skywalker.

The datapad tumbled to the floor as Padmé pressed a trembling hand to her lips. “No,” she whispered. Her knees gave way and she sank down beside her fallen pad. "No, Ani, no,” she sobbed.

“Mistress Padmé,” exclaimed Threepio, “whatever is the matter?” She let him pull her to her feet.

“It’s Ani,” she gasped, clinging to the droid and struggling to catch her breath. “Ani’s missing.”

“Missing? But he was with Artoo. Is he missing too?”

Padmé slumped back against her desk. “I don’t know.” She didn’t know anything.

“Oh, they’re doomed, doomed.” Threepio threw up his arms in his usual dramatic fashion. “I just know it.”

Somehow, the droid’s hysterics helped to calm her own. “I’m sure they’re alright,” she assured him with a watery smile. After all, how many times had Anakin gone missing? Or been captured? Or tortured? Or maimed? Padmé took several short, sharp breaths to keep the tears at bay, but her eyes burned anyway.

He could be dead. Her husband could be dead and all she’d have left of him would be a japor snippet pendant and a neurotic droid. And the baby, she realized. Her hand drifted across her stomach. The baby was no bigger than her fingernail, but Padmé swore she could feel it. No, him. A sweet little boy with sun-bleached hair and his father’s summer-sky eyes. The last shining piece of her Ani left in the galaxy.

Padmé took a deep, shuddering breath and pushed away from the desk. Whether Anakin ever made it home or not, she would meet her son. In the meantime, she needed to do everything she could to ensure he was born into the galaxy he deserved. She did her best to wipe the tears from her face without smearing her makeup and reached for her comlink. She had work to do.