The Amulet
By Izzy

The morning Naboo was invaded, the Queen lost her amulet.

It was the most trivial, unimportant thing. She was about to lose her planet's freedom, what did a little stone matter? But it felt to Padmé as if hope was lost with that amulet, to the point that she and Sabé left the palace alone and wasted time searching for it. When they found it at last, Padmé gave it to Sabé partly to tell herself that she must be able to manage without it, if need be.

It wasn't easy. She'd been wearing the amulet so much since becoming Princess of Theed that she felt naked without it. And so when a boy with warm blue eyes gave her a little pendant carved from a snippet of japor, she eagerly placed it around her neck, a square in the place of an oval, and it was a comforting weight on her breast all through the struggle for her planet's safety.

Then she took the amulet back, and a year later, lost the japor snippet.

Anakin was gone from her life by then. He was off being trained by a Jedi, and that meant he had to let her go. Except he hadn't, but she didn't known that at the time. She'd put on the snippet every now and then, even so, in less formal situations usually, and she was sorry not to have it. But she didn't go crazy looking for it, at least that time. She went on wearing the amulet exclusively instead, for two years. In a way, that had been the smoothest years of her life. She had a lot of work to do, but no confusion or conflict on how to do it. Time curved along, and she saw herself after eight good years of hard work retiring, handing the throne down to Eirtaé, her heir apparent at the time, and coming full circle.

The japor snippet was unexpectedly fished out of the bottom of the closet one day by Rabé, who put it in her mistress' jewelry box, which really stunned Padmé the next time she opened it. But she was so glad to have it back she searched for excuses to wear it again.

She lost the amulet again, shortly before her second election. It was worse that time, because she had reason to believe she'd left it in the woods just outside Parrlay, which meant she'd never find it. It made her much more anxious about the results, even though she was running more or less unopposed, and even though she of course had Anakin's japor pendant in the amulet's place. She remained on edge for months afterwards, and just as she was starting to get used to having the japor snippet instead of the amulet, the amulet turned up in the palace, in the corner of the bathroom adjoining a guest bedroom, where she had crashed after getting back from Parrlay because it had been so late at night and she had been so tired. She wasn't able to stop laughing.

She took both her good luck charms with her to Coruscant, where she needed them. It felt like most days there she was going around and around in circles, and each night when she stripped out of her fancy robes she'd stroke that smooth amulet, or occasionally japor snippet, and long for home, and even occasionally for Anakin, her young friend who hadn't cared about her grand title.

Then one day they were brought back into each other's lives, and next thing Padmé knew the galaxy was at war-and she was secretly married to a Jedi. Meanwhile, while running to rescue his Master on Geonosis, she'd left her amulet behind on Tatooine. She wore the japor snippet for nearly a month after returing to Coruscant, often clinging it close to her heart whenever she thought of Anakin, before Cliegg Lars was finally able to send the amulet back to her.

But after she had the amulet back, she stopped wearing the snippet. She didn't dare. She was always too afraid, more irrationally than rationally, that someone would find out she was wearing it and ask her why. Even though she'd worn it in the past, the reasons for that suddenly seemed insufficient excuse.

Instead she put it in a box, to which she eventually added Anakin's padawan braid, and kept the box on her table.

Then one day she lost the box, searched for an hour, and collapsed crying.

It was three months before the end of the war when the amulet once again vanished. Padmé ended up spending most of the morning looking for it, crawling about the floor despite her growing belly, and wondering if it was any use to wear the amulet, when the coming baby was likely to cost her her seat in the Senate.

One of the people who had taught Padmé the most in her life was Eirtaé, both while she'd been her handmaiden and heir apparent, and even after she'd lost the throne to Klisté Jamillia and become a ship merchant instead. One of things she'd said to Padmé had been a joke, but it had stuck with her anyway. It was that if you lost something and went looking for it, inevitably you'd end up finding something else that you'd lost months ago.

She'd been feeling about behind her dressing table when she felt something prick her finger. She pulled her hand out and was stunned to discover she had a splinter. She reached in again, and felt her hand close around the japor pendant, its four sharp corners threatening to cut into her skin.

She retrieved the whole box out later, and the padawan braid. The braid had been far more damaged than the snippet when they had both fallen out of the box, but she put it back in the box and the box back on her table. The snippet on the other hand, she hung around her neck, because now she had something much more obvious to hide behind large robes with wide skirts.

She found the amulet a couple of weeks later hidden among her pillows, but then she felt she couldn't wear it anymore, because not only were her remaining days in the Senate probably numbered, but the Republic itself seemed to be dying, as Chancellor Palpatine took more and more power from the Senate. Once she told herself that she would wear her amulet again when Naboo was freed. Now she told herself she would wear it again when the Republic itself was restored and at peace.

Besides, she preferred to wear Anakin's gift to her, because in these uncertain times, he was all she could rely on. He and their unborn child might soon be all that was left for her.

It even gave her comfort when she dealt with Palpatine. On some level she was already aware that they were fighting for Anakin's loyalty between them, and Padmé did not intend to lose. Palpatine was a mentor for Anakin, especially after his apprenticeship to Obi-Wan had ended, but that pendant hanging on her breast was his heart, and she never intended to lose it again. She didn't know if she could win the battle over the Republic, but she never dreamed she could lose the battle over Anakin.

But she did lose it. Palpatine won both battles, and turned the Republic into an Empire, and Anakin into a monster who glared at her with yellow eyes and closed her throat so she couldn't breath.

A week after her universe had collapsed around her Padmé returned to Coruscant, husband dead and children with Obi-Wan as he ran for all three of their lives. She had worn the japor snippet while giving birth and traveling back, but the first thing she did when she got into her apartment was take it off and put it in the box. She put the box away and never looked at it again.

But she didn't put the amulet back on either. She felt she was entitled to wear neither charm now, and wearing them would have made her feel, and she didn't want to feel. She left it where she had put it before leaving for Mustafar, even leaving by its side the note that it should be given to Sabé if she didn't come back alive, though Motée eventually removed that note. She finally got used to being without a charm, even as she got used to the feeling of emptiness that suffused through her skin and blood and heart.

But when suspicions about her rebel activities forced her to flee Coruscant, as she dressed in simple clothes for her flight Padmé took the amulet and hung it back around her neck. She intended to take the japor snippet too, because whatever she left behind she lost forever. But what packing she had time to do had to be small and practical; she needed to be able to slip out as unnoticed as possible, and while the tiny pendant could have easily been put on top of a suitcase's contents just before she closed it, when that moment came she just plain forgot about it. She only remembered when she was on the ship and Coruscant was shrinking through the rear viewport.

She had the feeling that subconsciously, she'd forgotten the snippet on purpose.

Over a year later, she lost the amulet too, and under circumstances where she thought it too was lost forever. Luke was kidnapped by Jabba the Hutt while they were trying to get off of Tatooine, and all three of her, Ben, and Leia disguised themselves and slipped into Jabba's palace to rescue him. There wasn't room for the amulet in her disguise, so she left it with the rest of their clothes in a room in Mos Eisley. But after the rescue operation, word of a traitorous former senator hiding in Mos Eisley had gotten off Tatooine and the city was swarming with stormtroopers, and they were forced to steal a ship and flee the planet still in their costumes.

By then Padmé had hardened too much to care. But she would have liked to have the amulet, even so, when Anakin returned, sharing the body and mind of young Mara Jade. A square had once replaced a circle above her heart, now she wanted the circle to replace the square in her heart itself. She was even starting to truly love Ben, or Obi-Wan; by either name he was Anakin's nobility without his sharp edges.

But that conflict was ultimately only resolved when Anakin helped her, Luke, and Mara bring Palpatine down, and faded away once again. Then for the first time since she'd lost the japor snippet, Padmé truly regretted that she'd done so. But then, she supposed she'd have lost it anyway leaving Tatooine.

It was a few months after that, when Tatooine was claimed as New Republic territory, that Padmé received an unexpected package from Beru Lars. She learned from the accompanying letter that Owen had been forced to bring his moisture harvest to Mos Eisley that year, and he had recognized Padmé's amulet on sale as a used trinket, and bought it. So now she had it back, but was reluctant to wear it at first.

She finally did so the day Coruscant was retaken, and she was named a Senator once again. That night the Senate, with all of its twenty-one established members, met in an empty storehouse not being used by the recovery workers due to its inconvenience, and she was dressed in old worker's clothes on which the amulet rested. It was the only time she wore it over her clothes instead of under them. A bright shining oval to celebrate her indeed coming full circle.

She never lost or even misplaced it again.