Eight Years
By Izzy

Luke and Leia were both selected early, a couple of weeks before their eighth birthday. Anakin gave Padmé the news right after they started eating.

“An old friend of Obi-Wan’s took a liking to Leia,” he explained. “A Mon Calamari knight named Bant Eerin. I think Obi-Wan was waiting for one of the twins to be claimed. Bant had barely gotten approval over Leia when Obi-Wan formally declared his wish to train Luke.”

Padmé thought Obi-Wan might not have been the only one waiting, but that Anakin would have wanted to train one of the two children himself. However, she did not say so, but merely said, “I’m glad for that, then. They must both be doing very well.”

“They are. Though I’ve heard Bant say she thinks Leia’s more suited to be a politician than a Jedi.”

Was that accusation in his voice? It might very well be.

He spoke a little more of them, mostly about how Luke was doing settling in, but after that they avoided all but the most trivial subjects until their plates were nearly clean. Then Anakin said, “I think now there’s something you need to tell me.”

He hadn’t used that tone of voice with her since before the twins were born. “What?” she asked nervously.

“Do you intend to run for Chancellor? And if you do, what do you think your chances are of getting elected?”

“What?” She hadn’t been expecting that question. “Bail Organa has another two years in office...”

“I know these things start early,” he cut her off. “At the very least, you have to be thinking about it.”

“I...” She had been thinking about it in spare moments, of which she didn’t have many, but she was forced to say, “I’m leaning towards it, but I don’t know if they’d vote for anyone from Naboo. But why do you need to know?”

“Padmé,” she couldn’t remember the last time he’d called her by her first name, “think about it! I meet with Bail at least once a week. I doubt that’ll change in two years time. If you do become Chancellor, we’ll be pushed back into each other’s lives.”

She should've known that of course. But she hadn't been able to, simply because being forced to realize that now was enough to freeze Padmé’s mind. They were barely able to stand meeting one night a year. Having to see him that often was beyond her comprehension.

“Do you want me not to run?” she asked.

“I...” he drifted off, and they finished the meal in silence. It wasn’t until the dishes were put away and they stood in the kitchen that he spoke.

“I don’t want you to give up anything for my sake. But I don’t know if I can handle seeing you so often and not being able to be close to you. I still feel like I need you, so badly it tears me up inside.” He was stumbling over his words again. He’d never been very good with them.

But Padmé couldn’t care, when he had moved so close she could feel his hot breath on her face, making her own breath quicken, and it took all her willpower not to move closer, and she couldn’t move away even as he leaned in...

But then he turned away, and practically fled her apartment, a moment before an action, which, Padmé realized only after if had failed to happen, would have reversed everything.

She cried herself to sleep that night as always, but it was not like the previous years, because then her tears had been purely ones of despair. Those of that night were of frustration, and fear.