Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala
Word Count: 1,840
Summary: "You're in the medical centre on Polis Massa. You've been injured, and the babies need to be delivered."
You are struggling towards consciousness, and it hurts!
“Padmé, can you hear me?” asks a soft Coruscanti accent.
No … please just let me sleep … so tired …
“Padmé, please … the children need you … I need you!”
The voice is desperate now. You decide to open your eyes, if only to request that the lights be dimmed.
A face swims into view. Obi-Wan’s face. What is he doing here? Where are you? Clearly not on the landing platform. You have a dim memory of an angry voice, the breath leaving your chest, everything going black. The metal of the platform cold on your cheek. But this bed is warm, though it could never be mistaken for comfortable.
“Obi-Wan?” you croak. Your voice is dry, cracked.
“Padmé, thank goodness.” He relaxes visibly. “You’re in the medical centre on Polis Massa. You’ve been injured, and the babies need to be delivered.”
One word stands out to you from that speech. “B–babies?”
“You’re carrying twins,” Obi-Wan replies. “The medical droids induced labour about two hours ago.”
That would explain the pain, then. Worse than any menstrual cramps you’ve ever suffered, this is an ache that shoots up your spine directly into your brain. You feel as though your entire body is convulsing with it. “It hurts,” you whisper, biting your lip and feeling your eyes fill with unwilling tears.
“I know,” he says softly. His hand snakes out and grasps yours; surprisingly, it helps. You squeeze, and he squeezes gently back.
“Patient is dilated to ten centimeters,” a mechanical voice says, and you turn your head to see an unfamiliar droid with a padded arm and blue eyes. Blue eyes.
“Anakin!” you exclaim, and your voice echoes around the room. Suddenly panicked, you turn back to Obi-Wan. “Where’s … Ani? He needs to be … here!”
Obi-Wan’s eyes darken for just an instant. “He can’t be here at the moment, so … he asked me to fill in for him.”
This strikes you as odd – why can’t Anakin be here for the birth of his own children? – but another contraction seizes you and you cry out, tears streaming from your eyes, clutching Obi-Wan’s hand in desperation.
“Please push,” says the droid robotically, and you can think of nothing more you want to do at that moment. Your insides feel as though they are tearing themselves, like a desperate beast has gotten loose in there and is clawing to get out. You cry out again, ignoring the look of desperation on Obi-Wan’s face.
A warm, wet feeling, and suddenly a baby is squalling. Obi-Wan diverts his attention to the droid and looks upon the child. “It’s a boy,” he announces, accepting the baby into his arms and bringing him close to you.
Anakin’s son. Your son … your newborn son. You reach out a tentative hand to caress his forehead, warm and wet and ruddy with your blood. The child quiets immediately at your touch, turning his head and straining to look.
“Luke,” you say, and touch him again, running your hand down his face, assuring yourself that he is real. “Oh, Luke.”
The urge you felt previously suddenly reasserts itself, and you push as hard as you can. You feel yourself tearing, ripping down below, and once again you cry out. Much louder this time. Luke startles and turns back towards Obi-Wan, burying his head in the latter’s tunic. Your grip on Obi-Wan’s hand turns vise-like.
The maternity droid murmurs what it apparently believes to be soothing words, but they are in another language and have no effect upon you. You cry out once more. “Aaaah … aaaah … I can’t … I can’t! Ani, help me!”
Soft fingers stroke your cheek. “Yes, Padmé. Yes you can. Look at me.”
Your eyes drift wildly to Obi-Wan.
“You can do this,” he says firmly. “You’re very strong. Since the day I met you you’ve had that strength. And you have it now. Think of Anakin. Anakin is with you, even if you can’t see him. He is giving you the power to do this. You must take it.”
An image of Ani two months ago, on the night he returned from the Outer Rim sieges, springs to your memory. He is smiling encouragingly, holding out his hand to you. You focus on the image, on his face, and push again … again … again, until you feel the same slippery sensation. This time mingled with a sharper pain.
More squalling, and a second baby is wriggling in the medical droid’s arms.
“It’s a girl,” says Obi-Wan.
“Leia,” you gasp.
You are utterly spent. Your grip on Obi-Wan’s hand relaxes, and you want nothing more to shut your eyes and just … leave, abandon the whole galaxy, travel to a place where there is no more pain or exhaustion and you and Anakin can live in the Lake Country and have picnic and the children can be there too …
The room flickers before you, and several shrill noises erupt from around the bed. You pay them no heed. Your responsibilities are at an end … the babies will live, and that’s all that counts. You on the other hand …
“Padmé, no!” Obi-Wan cries as your eyes drift shut. “Stay with us! You cannot leave, do you hear me? You cannot leave!”
So far away … you’re drifting in a white light, and incredibly, you can see grass! Green grass, just like on Naboo, at the end of a long hallway. It looks so inviting … and Anakin … is that your Anakin, waiting for you?
“Ani!” you cry joyfully, stretching out your hand toward him.
“You have twins, Padmé!” comes a voice from the distance. “They need you – hang on!”
Anakin is beckoning, extending his hand towards you …
“I can’t,” you say to that voice, and walk a few steps forward.
You’ll be with Anakin again, you can be together, you can raise the children …
“No,” Anakin says. “The children can’t come.”
You pull back your hand; it had been inches from connecting with his. “What?”
“The children can’t come,” he repeats. “They have to stay with Obi-Wan.”
“No – no, they have to come with me!” you insist. “I need them!”
And you take a step backwards.
“No, Padmé!” exclaims Anakin. “No, you belong here, with me – this is your destiny!”
“I need the twins,” you say again, and your voice is firm. Nonnegotiable. “And they need me. I can’t let them grow up without a mother.”
“They’ll be taken from you anyway,” he says cryptically, his face morphing into an emotionless mask. “Obi-Wan will take them, and you’ll never see them again.”
“That’s not true!” you cry. “Obi-Wan would never do that.” You lift your chin defiantly, staring directly into his eyes. “I’m going back. And you can’t stop me.”
“Padmé! Noooooo!” he shouts.
But your decision has been made. You slide along the tunnel, away from Anakin, away from his hand reaching towards yours, back to the medical table and the alarms shrilling and Obi-Wan’s quiet sobs next to you and the babies crying …
“I have a pulse,” announces a medical droid. “Blood pressure low but steady.”
Your chest rises in a gasp and your eyes snap open. The medical centre before you is a scene of controlled chaos.
“Padmé!” Obi-Wan exclaims, kissing the back of your hand lightly. “Oh, thank the Force. I thought we’d lost you.”
You blink dazedly, still in pain, unsure of what has happened. “The twins …”
“They’re here, I promise.” He shows you first Luke and then Leia, rocking and whispering softly to each baby. Both continue to fret but are calmer now that the frantic atmosphere has eased. “I won’t take them away without your express permission.”
This is oddly reminiscent of your words to Anakin, but Obi-Wan’s declaration is a comfort, and you relax to allow the medical droids to stitch you up and administer a strong pain medication.
You think of Anakin as the medicine begins to take effect, focusing on the children and your husband … whose whereabouts you still don’t know. You promise yourself that you will ask Obi-Wan, later. And you need to tell him … now … before you lose consciousness …
“Obi-Wan,” you whisper, tongue thick in your mouth, “there’s good in him. I know … there’s still …”
Wakefulness comes slowly. You’ve never been one to spring out of bed at a moment’s notice, but this feels even worse than usual. A ton of duracrete must surely have fallen on your head, your body aches all over, and someone apparently decided that it would be a good idea to pull your innards out through your lower orifices. The first thought that comes to your mind is that it would be an excellent idea just to drop off back to sleep. But something is sponging your face, and another something is rubbing at a place where no something has the right to touch – particularly not when said location is feeling so delicate.
“No,” you moan, eyes still closed. “No … please … aaaahh …”
“Shh,” whispers a soft voice.
It’s stinging now, burning, it has to stop!
You suddenly remember that you have legs, and that kicking out at whatever is sponging your sensitive bits might be a good idea. No sooner is the decision made than it is acted upon, and your foot connects with solid durasteel.
“Ouch!” you exclaim, your eyes popping open to reveal Obi-Wan hovering over you with a wet cloth, and a medical droid whirring away from your lower half. If a droid can possibly look affronted, this one does.
“I beg your pardon,” it grumps, “but I must sterilize you!”
“You must – what?” you blurt out. Then as it advances on you again, you attempt a dodge out of the way. “No, no, it hurts too much!”
“Shh, Padme,” Obi-Wan says, stroking your hair in an uncharacteristically intimate manner. “You need to be clean. Otherwise you’ll become ill.”
“But it hurts,” you reply, and to your dismay, your eyes begin filling with tears once more.
He takes your hand again, massaging the fingers lightly. “Just relax. Squeeze my hand as hard as you can when you feel pain. Cry if you need to. I’m here.”
For a reason you can’t explain, this brings you immeasurable comfort. You nod, gritting your teeth, and allow the droid to resume cleaning you. To be sure, it is an indignity, but you are not yet permitted to leave your bed. At least they’ve moved you and the babies to a more comfortable location, away from the lights and noise of the delivery room.
“Time for medications,” another droid says, floating up to your bed with a hypospray.
Moments after it gives you the injection, you remember that you have not yet inquired after Anakin’s safety. You open your mouth to speak to Obi-Wan, but before the words can be formed, you’ve slid into sleep.