Amidala wasn’t real. She was a character they created at handmaiden training camp the summer before her coronation. They stitched her together from pieces of themselves in-between blaster practice and learning to apply the queen’s make-up. She walked with Eirtaé’s aristocratic poise and danced with Saché’s effortless grace. She had Sabé’s aim, Yané’s laugh, and Rabé’s taste in clothes. When she spoke, her accent sounded like all of theirs put together. Her word’s though, they were always Padmé’s.
The queens of Naboo had always had handmaidens, but Padmé doubted their relationships had ever been quite like this. They had all poured so much of themselves into Amidala, it was like they were all melting into each other. There were days when she could scarcely tell where she ended and they began. She and Rabé laughed at jokes they’d only shared with their eyes. Eirtaé would simply appear with things without ever being asked. Kissing Sabé was like making out with a mirror. Saché going down on her was masturbation of the sweetest sort. They were all part of her now.
By the time of Amidala’s coronation, they were all good enough to play her, but Padmé was the one the people had cast. Even when it wasn’t her face behind the queen’s make up, it was always her will, her mind. At the end of the day, whatever Amidala decided would always be Padmé’s call.
Two years into her reign, they received intelligence that someone had taken a contract on Amidala’s life. It was probably Nute Gunray. It certainly wasn’t the first time, and Padmé doubted it would be the last. Panaka advised caution, but since when had that gotten her anything? It was bold action which had freed her planet from the Trade Federation and bold action which would serve her now.
If they could draw Amidala’s would-be assassin out at a time and place of her choosing, then maybe, just maybe, they could get the proof they needed to take Gunray and the Trade Federation down for good. It was decided. Amidala would give a speech, someplace with one perfect vantage point where her security forces would be waiting to catch the assassin in the act. Yes, Amidala would speak, but not Padmé. Sabé volunteered to wear the queen’s make-up.
The day of the speech, Padmé’s hands shook as she settled the queen’s wig on Sabé’s head. She didn’t know what was wrong with her. Sabé would be fine. She was wearing blaster-resistant robes and security forces were in place. They would catch the assassin before they could ever fire a shot. She would be fine and yet, Padmé couldn’t help but feel she was sending Sabé to her death. Her steps never faltered as she walked behind Amidala on the way to the speech, but she couldn’t keep her hands from shaking.
Padmé pulled Sabé back before she could step out onto the balcony like a shaak to the slaughter. “I—” She had been so sure when they were discussing this in the council chamber, but now it felt all wrong.
There was no doubt though in Sabé’s eyes. No fear either, but a strange sort of light. She looked almost exalted somehow. “For Amidala,” she said and kissed her hard enough to leave a ghost of her make-up on Padmé’s lips.
“For Amidala,” she agreed and let her go.
She closed her eyes as Sabé stepped out onto the balcony and kept them closed as the shot came. Padmé was willing to let her handmaiden sacrifice herself, but Amidala couldn’t bear to watch a piece of her die.