With Her Daemon
By Izzy

Her whitewing daemon was on his usual spot on Padmé’s shoulder as they closed in on Mustafar’s docking platform. Both stared through the viewport, Padmé’s hand on her head. “This is it, Adelymin,” she whispered softly to him, so that even Threepio couldn’t quite make out her words. “He must know we’re here by now.”

“He’s coming,” was the reply, “Gordonisa’s on the platform already.” Like all Jedi, Anakin and his roughpaw daemon had the ability to separate from each other without pain. (“Though it’s best not to do it over light-years,” Anakin had once laughingly told her.) Indeed, when Padmé looked, she could see the silhouette of the daemon, keeping a safe distance from where the ship would land.

Anakin wasn’t far behind her. Padmé could see him too now, and she was up and running for the ramp, Adelymin leaving her shoulder to fly ahead of her.

But as he passed near the supply closet, the daemon suddenly stopped. Padmé stopped and looked at him. “What is it?”

“Never mind. I must have imagined it.” But she sensed his uncertainty. He flew down the ramp, Padmé following. Even weighed down by her swollen belly her feet seemed to fly as well, without her even directing them, and within moments she was in her husband’s arms, a feeling of security, and yet she was terrified.

“I saw your ship,” Anakin was saying. “What are you doing out here?” He voice was gentle, but at the dark tone, Adelymin flew down anxiously to his daemon and through his eyes Padmé saw her suspicion.

“I was so worried about you,” Padmé tried to explain. “Obi-Wan told me terrible things.”

“There’s something about Obi-Wan she doesn’t like at all,” Adelymin flew up to her ear to hastily whisper, as Anakin asked, his tone suddenly very dark and frightening, “What things?”

Padmé repeated Obi-Wan’s accusations, remembering the almost-denial in his own voice, the anxiety with which his avian daemon, who took the form of a species Padmé didn’t know the name of, had fluttered about and brushed tenderly against Adelymin.

“Obi-Wan is trying to turn you against me,” said Anakin quickly. His daemon growled her agreement.

“He cares about us.”

“About you and Adelymin, you mean.” This tone was the darkest yet.

“No, about you and me. He knows; he wants to help you.”

“The dark side is too strong with him,” Adelymin whispered to her. “You should be able to sense it too now, Padmé.”

She could sense something, something very terrible; but was Adelymin supposed to know for sure what it was? Besides, if the situation was like this, he wasn’t being of much help. “Anakin,” she pleaded, “all I want is your love.”

“Love won’t save you, Padmé. Only my new powers can do that.”

“At what cost?” The idea of this price being paid for her life was unbearable. “You’re a good person, don’t do this.”

“I won’t lose you the way I lost my mother,” Anakin replied. “I am becoming more powerful than any Jedi has ever dreamed of, and I’m doing it for you, to protect you.”

“I think we’ve heard enough,” said Adelymin, and he started to fly away. Anakin’s daemon yelled and ran under him, and he returned, though Padmé wasn’t sure how the daemon could force him back.

“Come away with me,” she now said, her hands stroking desperately at his head. “Help me raise our children. There are two of them, Ani; Adel sensed it hours after you left. I can’t take care of two children by myself, don’t leave me.”

“Don’t you see?” Padmé had to retract her arms as his daemon climbed up to his shoulders. They both looked at Padmé with golden eyes, forcing her to face that the blue in Anakin’s eyes was gone. “I’ll never have to leave you anymore; we don’t have to hide anymore. I have brought peace to the Republic, and together you and I can rule the galaxy, make things the way we want them to be!”

When Padmé’s only response was to back away, his daemon reached out to Adelymin. “I know about the Chancellor,” she said to him. “We’re more powerful, him and I; we can overthrow him.”

“You really think that’s what we want, don’t you?” replied Adelymin sadly. Then, quietly to Padmé, he said, “You knew it already, Padmé, didn’t you? We both knew it as soon as Obi-Wan told us. Solusuann couldn’t lie to me. And she knew we knew, too.”

Hearing this conversation, Anakin shook his head, and said, “I don’t want to hear any more about Obi-Wan. The Jedi turned against me don’t you turn against me.” His daemon struck out her claws, and Adelymin, frightened, pressed himself into Padmé’s neck.

The last of her denials gone, Padmé strangely felt no fear, only a feeling too bleak to be described as any normal emotion, as if something inside her had just collapsed. “I don’t know you anymore,” she sobbed. “Anakin...no Gordonisa,” for the daemon had withdrawn her claws and was now in a panic, trying to beckon Adelymin to come to her, to curl with her like he had so many times in the past. “Tell him you’re going down a path we can’t follow.”

“Because of Obi-Wan?”

“Obi-Wan!” Suddenly Adelymin whirled around; another moment and Padmé felt his panic rachet up; though she still felt nothing; she just couldn't anymore.

“Because of what you’ve done...” Padmé started to say, but her daemon suddenly shrieked, “Padmé! Look!”

She too turned around, and saw Obi-Wan standing at the top of the ramp of her ship, his daemon peering out from behind him.

“He must have been in the closet,” Adelymin was saying, “cloaking his presence from me! That’s not easy even for a Jedi, to hold it that long; it exhausts you-he must have slipped for a moment, if only-”

“LIARS!” Anakin roared. “You’re with him! You brought him here to kill me!”

“No,” Padmé protested, but Anakin opened his hand up and pulled Adelymin into it.

They'd touched each other's daemons before, many times, the only time Padmé had done such a thing with anyone, and before, it had been too wonderful to describe, almost too wonderful to stand it. But this felt as if he had seized some part of Padmé that could not bear it, that wasn’t supposed to be touched, as if he was trying to rip her out of her body. Her strength drained out her; her legs gave way and she crumpled onto the metal of the platform.

He was gripping Adelymin so tightly he couldn’t struggle, though the urge to drove them both mad. He could barely breath, which meant she couldn’t breath at all, and Padmé could feel that hand squeezing at her, fouling her, and nothing in her life had felt so absolutely wrong.

“Let him go, Anakin!” she heard Obi-Wam yell, and some vague screeching from his daemon, and even Anakin’s daemon yelling, “No! Stop! Stop!”

Adelymin was released, but Padmé remained limp; the violation had been too much. She could barely raise her head as Adelymin collapsed against her, pressing his tiny body across her cheek. Her tears rolled across his wings.

She could hear Anakin and Obi-Wan yelling things-she couldn’t tell what. She managed to reach her hand up, curl it around Adelymin, and pull him close to her heart.

“...for power and now your desecration of her daemon have already done that.” Being reminded by Obi-Wan’s angry voice of what had just happened was one pain too many; Padmé felt everything go black.

She came back to awareness sometime later to the feeling of a pair of metal arms scooping her up and Threepio’s voice saying, “Yes, that does sound very terrible, Miss Solusuann, but I’m sure that there is some sort of explanation, though I must admit, I have never quite understood this sort of thing.” He was carrying her, Adelymin still clutched to her breast, back onto the ship. She was aware that Anakin and Obi-Wan were gone from the platform, but that their daemons were not.

Then Obi-Wan’s daemon appeared hovering in front of them. There was a deep grief on her feathery face that Padmé had never seen on any daemon before. “Padmé?” she asked softly. “Adelymin fears you’re dying.”

It felt to Padmé as if she might very well be dying. “Where’s...?” she gasped out.

“They’re battling all over the planet’s mining station. Both intend to kill. Gordonisa’s still here, but she won’t speak to me or Adelymin.”

She should have known again, yet she still couldn’t believe it. It all hurt so deeply that if she truly was dying she’d welcome death.

Threepio had placed her on a flat surface and left her lying there when she heard a high-pitched screech of agony, as she herself felt some new pain batter at her, someone else's suffering. Adelymin wiggled out of her grip and fluttered up. “Was that...?” he started.

“Gordonisa.” Obi-Wan’s daemon, of course, and her voice was almost as pained as that screech. It was too much again. “Anakin has...” But again things were going black.

She woke up a second time to the feeling of a hand pressed against her cheek. She looked up and saw who it was. “Obi-Wan. Adelymin?" His feet were shaky as they settled on her forehead. "You're all right then," she raised her eyes up to Obi-Wan and Solusuann together, "and you're all right...is Anakin all right?"