Scarcely a Minute
By Izzy

Padmé Amidala woke up to the sound of a tentative voice saying, “Mother?” and the faces of her two children in front of her.

“Luke? Leia?” She reached out, sure she was hallucinating; maybe the fever wasn't completely gone after all. They couldn’t be here; it was too dangerous. But her hands brushed their cheeks. “How?”

“We were in the process of changing planets.” Obi-Wan was there too. She turned and saw him, covered in a cloak of dark blue. “We heard on the Holovision that you were sick, and they insisted on stopping to see you.”

“You’re not dying, are you?” Luke asked anxiously.

“Is that what they’re saying?” laughed Padmé. “No, everything’s fine, at least now. Except I won’t be able to have any more children. My family’s heartbroken.” What remained unspoken was the real regret; ever since she’d finished her Queenship, they had wanted her to have children, and she couldn’t tell them she had.

“The truth of the matter is,” she lowered her voice, and looked and Luke and Leia, reminding herself that while only seven years old, they were both far from innocent. “The truth is, the Emperor wants me out of the way. He sent one of his physicians here to tend to me. We turned him away. I think my family was stunned at how adamant I was about not taking any favors from him. I don’t think they really believe such a favor could be deadly. One of my old handmaidens is a doctor; she’s the only person I’ve let touch me. I think they fed false information about my sickness being worse than it was so it would be automatically accepted when I was dead.”

“Do you think it’s safe for you to go back to Coruscant?” Obi-Wan asked, his concern for her very clear.

“No,” she said flatly. “But I’m going to anyway.”

“Why?” Leia demanded.

“I’m needed there,” she insisted. “There's a new weak spot in the bureaucracy, possibly a few thousand credits in the right place...” Momentarily she wondered for the thousandth time just how she’d descended to bribery. “I can get a lot accomplished.”

“So you’re just going to go back there until they kill you like they killed father?”

Three pairs of eyes turned on Leia as she asked this question. One look at Obi-Wan and Luke’s faces and Padmé knew the former had not told Leia this. p>“Well, that’s what happened to him, isn’t it?” She looked at her mother and Obi-Wan challengingly. “I heard that you killed him,” she added, to Obi-Wan, “but I know that can’t be true. And he was a Jedi, and the Emperor killed all of them except you, so the Emperor must have killed him.”

“Yes,” said Obi-Wan softly. “The Emperor betrayed and murdered your father.”

Never mind the actual events, thought Padmé to herself. That is true.

The silence was broken when Obi-Wan looked up and said, “Someone is coming.”

There was barely time to exchange kisses and whisper goodbyes, and then all three of them were gone, and it would perhaps be a long time before Padmé saw them again.