Bail Organa closed his eyes. It didn’t feel right, watching her give birth like this, as if she were an exhibit in a zoo. No, it was worse than that: stark walls, cold, shining metal, no life or colour anywhere, nothing but the impersonal murmurs of the droids.
Not a zoo at all. A museum. There might as well have been a plaque beneath the pane. Widow of the Republic. No known creator, but one of the finest examples of early Imperial art. Modeled by Senator Amidala of Naboo.
No, it shouldn’t be like that. Padmé was Padmé, vibrant and alive and herself, not just a -- a sacrificial vessel of the Force. It wasn’t right. Somebody should stay with her. Hold her hand. Something.
He glanced at the others. Yoda appeared very much as usual, but Obi-Wan was half-covering his face. Guilt? Shame, at any rate. No surprise there. He’d raised Skywalker, and if he weren’t exactly Padmé’s friend, he’d cared for her, in his way.
A medical droid stepped forward. “We need to operate on her quickly if we are to save the babies.”
Bail’s jaw dropped. “Babies?”
“She’s carrying twins.”
“Save them, we must,” said Yoda. “They are our last hope.”
Obi-Wan drew his breath sharply, and followed the droid through the door, taking Padmé’s hand. It was something, anyway.
Another voice joined Padmé’s, another scream. Bail’s eyes jerked down to the baby in the droid’s arms, its body a splash of life against the cold sterility of the room.
“It’s a girl,” the droid remarked indifferently.
“Lucy,” said Padmé, her eyes distant.
An odd name, Bail thought. Not Nubian. Nobody knew where Anakin Skywalker had come from, but he’d have wagered his diplomatic immunity that a girl named Lucy Skywalker wouldn’t draw any attention there.
Three minutes later, a second infant Skywalker burst into the galaxy, shrieking even more than loudly than the first.
“Another girl,” said the droid.
“. . . and Leia,” Padmé whispered.
When they joined Padmé, finally, she was clutching her younger daughter and trying to smile. Her colourless lips hardly moved. Exsanguination, he thought automatically. It had to be. She must have hemorrhaged as they watched her, bleeding out in this comfortless room --
Obi-Wan stood helplessly beside her bed. Somebody had given the elder girl to him, but he didn’t seem to know what to do with her. Padmé’s hand twitched and she gasped something that Bail couldn’t hear.
Then she was dead.
Without hesitation, Bail snatched the baby out of her limp arms. Leia howled for Padmé and her sister whimpered.
“Strong in the Force they are. Too strong, perhaps,” muttered Yoda, and nodded at Lucy. “This one especially.”
Later, as they flew to Theed, he said: “Hidden, safe, they must be kept.”
“We must take them someplace where the Sith will not sense their presence,” added Obi-Wan.
“Split up, they should be.”
Bail blinked. It hadn’t occurred to him that they would take the twins to anyone other than Padmé’s family. Skywalker might not have had any -- well, naturally he hadn’t, he was a Jedi -- but she had. There was a sister, parents, uncles and aunts, cousins, nieces. But of course Palpatine would know who had fathered Padmé’s children, and Naboo was his homeworld. If he could sense them, it would be the worst possible place for them. Yet --
Bail felt the highest regard for Grandmaster Yoda and General Kenobi. He always had. But he didn’t like the way they looked at Padmé’s daughters, as if they were their hope and salvation. He didn’t like any of it. Force-sensitive or not, these girls deserved better lives than their mother’s. Than their father’s.
Split up, he thought, and Lucy’s stronger, they’ll never let go of her, but Leia --
The words were out of his mouth before he knew he had spoken them.
“My wife and I will take the younger girl. We’ve always talked of adopting a baby girl,” he said, and hesitated. “She will be loved with us.”
“And what of the elder?” asked Obi-Wan.
Yoda sighed. “To Tatooine. To her family, send her.”
So Skywalker did have family: or relatives, at any rate. On Tatooine. No wonder he'd never talked about it -- the entire population were little more than slaves of the Hutts. Now he’d enslaved himself more securely than any Hutt could imagine, and his firstborn child was being sent back to whatever hellhole he’d clawed his way out of.
Bail walked over to the cribs and stared down at Lucy Skywalker’s sleeping face. I’m sorry I can’t save you from this, he thought. I’m sorry I can’t even try.
Lucy stirred, already restless, and Leia began to scream.