Torn Lace and Scar Tissue
Diana & Iella
I am very nervous, trying not to jitter or squirm. Waiting for my husband to come home to me is always nerve-racking. He is away fighting a war, like so many other husbands and wives. The difference is that my husband is a Jedi Knight.
Yes, we know a Jedi may not have possessions. We are keenly aware of it. They may not love, because love will make them lose their balance with the universe. His master, Obiwan Kenobi, told him a story that his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, had told him about twin brothers who both fell in love with the same woman. They murdered each other out of jealous rage; neither won the girl. Their behavior had damaged many things around them, and their hate consumed a whole planet. Imagine! Two brothers strong in the Force, who had shared a womb ... neither could stand to defer to the other, nor to share the woman they loved in common. How could such hate erupt where love had resided?
Hate and love lie back-to-back, like two sides of a single thin sheet of flimsi.
I think I understand this, for I am struggling with love and hate for Anakin now. I love him more than I love anything else in this galaxy. I love him so much that I willfully married him, even though I knew our relationship had to be kept a dark and fearful secret. If the Jedi Council suspected Anakin was married, he'd be expelled from the Jedi Order Master Obiwan had told him as much on Geonosis, back when I realized how much I loved Anakin.
I hate this life we are forced to lead, but my love for him and his love for me compensates for the deception and dishonesty. So in the hours leading up to his arrival, many emotions churn through me: love, hate, fear, lust, anger ... I wonder if he feels these things, too? He is a Jedi. Jedi do not feel such things.
But then, Jedi do not marry. Or have children ...
I have a deep secret: I am pregnant with Anakin's baby. It has already been two months, and soon I will start showing the evidence of our love. Already, my clothes do not fit me, and I am struggling with what to do about my gowns and formalwear. The Naboo styles can be voluminous and concealing, but that look tends to be reserved for older people. I have always worn tight-fitting and midriff-baring gowns and uniforms, as is the custom for political leaders. That will have to end, of course ... I will need to hide my pregnancy as long as I can.
If this had been a normal situation, I would have new gowns made, but I have to be careful about budgeting now. As I said, Anakin is a Jedi Knight; they do not have possessions, and thus they do not have money of any sort. The Jedi have the temple on Coruscant, and they go on many missions. But their needs are simple and are financed by the Republic government. I have sat on several government budget committees, and the Jedi's funding is surprisingly modest. They beg rides from any manner of starship to complete their missions and rely on charitable gifts for things such as food and clothing.
Anakin is no spendthrift, to be sure ... but we will soon have a child ...
I've sent my servants to their quarters. There are my handmaidens and security officers around the estate, of course I had promised both my parents and Anakin that I would always have trusted people around me for my safety, but I try to ensure it is not onerous. I am to check in with assigned protective personnel on a regular schedule, but otherwise I am not observed. Like now, I am alone, waiting for my love.
Of course, I am not really alone. From now on, everywhere I go, I will have our baby with me.
When Anakin arrives he is, as usual, accompanied by a security officer. We continue to show the trappings of friendship, even though I could easily order that he should be allowed in unaccompanied and unannounced. However, to do so might arouse suspicion. Of course, I don't know how people could not suspect something special between Anakin and me, but we are very careful. He is away so much and he does not come home more than a few times a year. Other times, we might meet on another system or on Coruscant if I am required at the capital.
This time, he has come to Naboo, and I am ready to welcome him. He is received and announced by my handmaiden in the outer office as is proper. Anakin publicly refers to me as "milady," as he always has ... well, almost always. When I first met him on Tatooine, I was an "angel," like one the old spacers told him from the moons of Iego. I remember Anakin's young voice, and I think of my baby as "angel," the way he said it.
We are brought refreshments and we sit on opposite divans, facing one another, my handmaiden seated behind me. I think of the first day he declared his love for me, when he told me that a kiss we shared earlier might turn into a scar on his heart. I look into his eyes; after all this time, I am still startled at the intensity of his gaze. I wonder if my handmaiden thinks he is flirting with her when he casts those smoldering glances in my direction?
I am wearing the tightest dress I own it's made from leather, heavy shimmersilk, and antique lace, and it's one of Anakin's favorites. He says it drives him mad thinking of how sexy and feminine it makes me look, possibly because the tight boning and lacing make me impossibly inaccessible. I can feel him undressing me with his eyes and I imagine his fingers the flesh ones and the cyborg ones unbuckling every binding, the feeling of him touching the restrained skin, heavily marked by the bumps and folds of the garment. I wonder if he will notice the new plumpness of my breasts, the new warmth in my body?
My nipples are sore, straining against the thick leather bodice, and I fidget, feeling the warm dampness between my thighs. The leather squeaks as I move and I must look flushed, for my handmaiden asks me quietly if I will be all right? I look to Anakin and tell him, "I will have to take your leave, Master Jedi. I am feeling a bit tired; good night."
He stands and bows, and tells me he will see himself out. For the sake of show, he exits the door, then slips into a concealed ventilation tunnel which leads directly into my bedroom. He tells me later that he watched me enter the bedchamber as he hid behind the vent grate; he wondered if I'd allow the handmaiden to undress me. The last time I had, he said he couldn't contain himself and was in agony trying not to masturbate to what was in his mind a highly erotic scene. I scolded him, telling him I never partook in the charms of those in my service.
"You lie, milady," he had replied. "I am forever in servitude to you ..."
That was two months ago, when we conceived the child growing secretly deep inside me now.
But this time, I want to tell him about the baby my way, and quickly. So I tell the handmaiden that I will be fine, that I need to lie down a bit and will undress myself after I have rested. This is not an unusual request I often nap in my clothes. I got into the habit when I was first elected as Princess of Theed, nearly a two decades ago; the delicate clothing and ornate hairstyles took so long to put together that I simply slept in them rather than having to disassemble, then redress, after a nap. After assuring her that I will call her if needed, I dismiss her and tell her to return to her quarters. She locks my doors and windows on the way out and activates the soundproofing so that I will not be disturbed. She also activates the security alarms.
Anakin built the security system for me when I first came back to Naboo after the Battle of Geonosis, so he knows all its intricacies. He did it as a service of the Jedi, so he could stay with me an extra day after we were surreptitiously married.
I lie on the bed with my eyes closed nearly all the way. At a young age, I learned to look asleep while still able to peer through my eyelashes to observe others. In the darkened room, I see Anakin soundlessly drop in through the impossibly small vent; it's a good thing he's not the one who is pregnant! I'd never fit through there now.
I see him approach me, and even though he knows that I am awake, he plays the game and sneaks up to me slowly. He leans down to kiss me and trails his lips down my chin, to my throat, down my forced and enhanced cleavage.
It is too much! I grab my husband and roll him onto the bed, pinning my body over his and kissing him like a drowning girl seeking breath!
The dress is a sheath, very tight all the way down, so I can't straddle him. Though the garment is heavy, the lace overskirt is fragile and so restrictive that I can't even pull it up to bunch over my hips! He torments me by slowly trying to undo the buckles and straps as I desperately kiss and lick him ... I push him away from me and place my hands over his leggings and pull at them, exposing his beautifully rigid member ...
He howls as my teeth graze him. He had installed the soundproofing not just for security, but also so our passion cannot be heard even by anyone standing right outside the door. Trapped as I am in this dress, I torture him with my hands and mouth, preventing him from reaching the parts of me he craves so badly!
Our lovemaking is often tender, but when we see each other for the first time after a long separation, it can be erotically violent. We are wrestling for control of his orgasm, pushing and jumping each other! I have him naked from the many layers of his loose-fitting Jedi uniform much more easily than he has my bodice open and my breasts exposed. He bites the tender flesh as he works on removing the tight, lace-covered skirt, which sticks to my skin in my arousal. He gasps in frustration as I twist and turn, till he puts me on my stomach and places his knee on the small of my back to keep me still enough to attempt to undress me completely. Alas, he fails to keep his desire under control and I feel the start of my orgasm building as he rips and tears at the tender fabrics! He enjoys my shrieks and protests as he pulls my body to his and pushes my legs apart! Feeling him in me is an indescribably perfect thing, this way. One moment, I'm still virtuous ... the next, I'm all his!
Our lust sated, we lie panting on the bed exuding heat and moisture from our energetic act. The ventilation shaft is sheathed in soundproofing, which prevents anyone from hearing our lovemaking, but it also slows the freshening of the air in the room. No matter we both enjoy slowing our breathing and simply enjoying our physical presence with one another. Slowly and simultaneously, we roll toward one another to nestle together like an oyster closing its shell. I think of the meaty morsel between the two halves of an oyster, and how it lies soft and protected.
"I've missed you Padmé," he murmurs, breathing gently.
"I love you, Ani," I reply, in barely a whisper. "I'm pregnant."
He doesn't miss a breath or a touch. He is asleep.
He wakes up, arms and legs thrashing! "Padmé! I had a dream!"
Dreams distress my husband. He's told me that his dreams come true; some Jedi receive visions in this manner, while others never dream at all. I hold him till his breathing slows.
"We had children, Padmé," he whispers.
"Tell me more," I say, softly.
"A boy, and a girl ... they were sad, Padmé. They never knew their parents ... hidden from us ..."
I could tell Anakin is thinking of his own mother as the tears run down his cheeks.
"Anakin, you know any children you have, they could have the Force strength you do ... if so, the Jedi would take them, wouldn't they?"
I am waiting for him to realize that we already have a child-to-be.
"But is it right, Padmé? Would you want our children to not know us?" Anakin is clearly distressed by his dream.
"No ... but is it wrong to have children?"
He holds me with his both arms, pulling me closer to him. "Please don't misunderstand me, Padmé ... the thought of a child growing up as I had, or losing them in any way is so frightening! My dream ... it showed poverty, despair, desperation, bleakness ... all things I know." I feel him grip my naked body tighter to him. The cybernetic arm is heated to human body temperature, but it feels cold against my overheated skin. "The way we live ... you know my soul would die if I lost you Padmé. And a child ... I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose our child, even to the Jedi!"
His arms hold me so tightly that I feel this heart beating hard, and I imagine my heart being grabbed and forced to follow his rhythm.
He is whispering now, trying to control the quavering of his voice. "You know ... for the first time, I understand what my mother felt when she told me, 'Don't look back' the day I left Tatooine ... Could I be that strong? I know you could, Padmé ... but as for me ..."
My stomach is in knots. Did he not want this baby?
"Ani," I push myself from his close grasp gently, so I can look into his face. I touch his cheek and stroke it, and my voice shakes just a bit. "I'm pregnant."
Anakin closes his eyes and pulls me back against him. "I know ..."
"I'm happy, Padmé ... I'm so happy! But I'm so scared! We can't ..." His voice chokes to a panicked silence.
I am getting annoyed. "Ani ... a Jedi fears not ... loves not ... but I know you love me. I know you love our baby. So I know you fear ... I'm scared, too!"
Unbidden, tears drip out of my eyes and onto his chest. "When I gave myself to you the last time ... I should have been more careful, Ani ... but we're together so little, and I got careless ..."
"It's not your fault, Padmé," he says tenderly. "It is the will of the Force. If we're to have a child, we'll have a child, and he or she will be beautiful and powerful."
"Are you saying our child will be a Jedi?"
"Padmé, I felt the baby before I arrived ... the baby is strong in the Force. It is MY baby."
"It is OUR baby, Ani."
"Yes ... our baby ..."
We are silent for a long while.
I ask in a small voice, "What will you do?"
He sighs deeply. "I don't know ... I'm happy, but I'm shaking with fright ... this isn't a good time ... I have to be gone before daybreak, to catch a transport to Antion. Obiwan knows I'm taking 'a long route' there ... but even so, I can't stay. I don't know, Padmé ..."
I feel more tears erupt and I try not to wail.
"Padmé! It'll be all right ..."
"It's not fair, Ani! We're good people ... why can't we live like a family?"
It's true. It is completely unfair that we have to keep our feelings deeply hidden from anyone's knowledge. We've done so much for others ... why can't they tolerate a Jedi and a Senator the right to be in love and to raise children? After all, our only indulgence is each other.
"Ani, it's not like our child is illegitimate we're married!" I am ashamed of myself for my passionate cry.
We both cry, lost in this big, uncaring galaxy. We always said as long as we had each other, we could ask for nothing else, but we were wrong. We need to ask for something else now, for the sake of our child.
"Padmé, are you considering ...?"
"I had," I sniff in reply. "But I can't do it ... I thought about it, but I can't!"
"It's the will of the Force for this baby to have been conceived, Padmé. I don't want you to terminate ..."
"Oh, damn the Force!" I cry, jumping out of the bed and looking for a robe to cover myself, suddenly self-conscious of my nudity; I feel like I am with a stranger! I trip over my torn dress on the floor and the site of it makes me panic and sob. It seems like a once-living but now-broken thing, like my dreams of living with my husband and our baby. "And you're right, the Jedi will come to test the baby and find its midichlorian count is off the scale and take it away. No need for anyone else to know, is that what you're thinking, Anakin Skywalker?"
"No! Padmé, calm down! I don't have much time. We have to figure this out before I go! I won't have you panicking and worrying on your own!" Anakin strides over to me and quickly lays me back down on the bed, then straddles my legs to hold me down. "Don't worry, I won't hurt the baby." He giggles as he says this and it forces me to smile.
At least he isn't going all wimpy about this crisis. This comforts me a lot, seeing Ani behaving as he always does when he is with me. I really should value our time together better, I think to myself. With my eyes closed, I take several deep breaths through my nostrils, as much to calm down as to inhale and memorize his scent. Every sensory memory will help sustain me during his absences.
"Ani," I whisper when I am finally calmer and more reasonable, "every time you come back to me, it feels like the first time I saw you on Coruscant ... and every time you go, it's like you've died and gone to hell. Promise you'll always come back, Ani ... I'm not as strong as your mother ... she knew she might never see you again when she told you not to look back ..."
Leaning down to kiss me, he murmurs against my ear, "Always ... I will always come back to you, even if I am dead. I promise."
I wrap my arms around his strong shoulders, shivering as I push away the thought of him returning to me from the lands of the dead. "You believe we will lose our child to the Jedi?"
He nods, slowly. "It would seem so. And given our situation, it is not the worst thing, Padmé. It's a noble thing, to have a child trained at the temple."
"But ... you said ..."
"I was just babbling. I'm sorry Padmé, it's impossible for you to understand ... I was nearly denied my time at the temple because I was born outside the Republic. My mother would have had a far simpler and better life if her son had been taken by the Jedi immediately. And I wouldn't have been haunted by nightmares, which continue even now that I'm a knight."
He slips sideways off my body but keeps one leg over my thighs to prevent me from getting up. He props his head up on his bent arm and looks down on me. "Being taken to the temple ... it's more than an honor. It's an obligation. And for us, it's the right answer ... We can't provide properly for our baby ..."
I hate that he is right. His logic is impeccable. Even though Anakin and I are doing nothing wrong, we know it isn't exactly right ... Why else would we endure this 'hide and seek' game? We have been married not quite a year, and we still act like nervous teens hiding from disapproving parents! Except the disapproval is not from our mothers and father it is from the Jedi Council and the whole Republic government!
I don't want to talk about it any more. I push him onto his back and climb over his body and sit with my wet, sore vagina directly over his penis. I feel him grow rapidly and it only takes a slight shifting to direct it into me. I groan as I feel it sliding in deep ... feel his hands on my hips, directing the speed, the angle as we grind against one another.
As my control leaves me and I feel my orgasm pull at me, I know he is right. This baby will have to be sacrificed, born hidden from even those close to us. We aren't ready to come out with the truth of the forbidden relationship between senator and knight. Our galaxy is at war, Anakin and I each have our responsibilities and expectations, regardless of our personal desires and secrets. How selfish is it to think only of us? Only of our baby?
Both now spent, I collapse and fall into a dreamless sleep, knowing that when I awaken, he will be gone again.
* * * * *
I didn't have to tell Anakin about the baby. He had felt it through the Force before I could tell him I was pregnant, and I know he felt it disappear from the Force when it died.
He shows up beside my bed on his knees and is pulling away from my security staff, who are trying to drag him out of my room. All that my handmaidens know is that I took sick shortly after I arrived on Coruscant. My poor baby was born in the refresher; I was so numbed that I didn't know what I was doing when the lacy patterns of blood and slime were flushed away. It was so early in the pregnancy that I couldn't find the embryo as I ran my hands through the bloody, lumpy mess ... I have since learned that it is still microscopic at this point in pregnancy.
I don't know what I was thinking ... I think I wanted to save the embryo somehow. I thought that if I could recover it, that Ani could make it all better. He had told me not long ago that someday, he will be able to prevent people from dying ...
Outside my door, I heard him yelling loudly that he needed to see me, no matter where I am or how I felt! He burst into the room, practically dragging handmaidens and security men after him. When Anakin is determined, nothing stands in his way absolutely nothing. I had miscarried only a few hours before; how had he managed to come see me so quickly?
From my bed, I look up at them and try to keep my face neutral and impassive. "That's all right," I tell my staff. They are trained to protect me; not that protecting me against Anakin is possible. But they are doing their jobs. "Leave us. I asked him to come see me, I'm sorry I neglected to let you know ..."
"But my lady," started Jardé, "you are not wel"
"I'm fine," I interrupt her, regretting my tone but wanting them to just leave. "Please leave me and the Jedi alone. I'll call out if I need anything, I promise." It is very difficult for me to keep my composure. I see it is hard for Anakin, too.
The women and guards hesitantly back out; Anakin waits for the door to lock shut before he grabs my hand from his prone position.
"Padmé, forgive me! I'm an ass"
"Don't, Ani." I turn away from him because it is impossible not to cry. "I know you do, but it's not your fault. It's not anyone's fault, it is ... the will of the Force ..." I sob quietly.
He hangs his head down, unconcerned about hiding his own grief. "I'm sorry, Padmé ... it wasn't supposed to turn out like this ... that dream ..."
I whisper to myself, "It means we may have others? I can't"
He crawls up to the bed and lays next to me to cuddle up against my back and he hugs my shoulders. "Yes, Padmé," he whispers into my hair, "we will have two, a boy and a girl. We will! I have foreseen it!"
Unable to resist him, I roll around to face him and nestle my head in the hollow of his neck. "But ... you said you're not ready ..."
"Padmé, I'm an ass. I didn't know. I took our baby for granted. I'll never do that again, I swear. I understand now, I should have treasured our baby ... Padmé, no matter what, no matter when, I'll be ready for our children." Anakin is openly sobbing now.
How quickly I turn from the one needing to be comforted, to the one doing the comforting! For a second, I think I hate all men, in particular this one! How dare he turn the tables on my need to be consoled!
But his body-wracking sobs are genuine, and the way he grasps for me, like a man clutching for survival ... how can I stay angry with him? Poor Anakin, he probably fretted and suffered precisely because he couldn't do anything. I was the one experiencing the pregnancy and the loss first-hand, while all he could do was to simply watch and wait and worry.
I re-discover a secret about my husband: that though he seems to be made of brawn and ferrocrete and ready to protect me from any threat, those things hide a core which fears pain and hurt. Why is it that it is the woman who must be covered in lace to conceal the strength within? What a puzzling contrast ...
My thoughts are interrupted by his weeping, "I promise, Padmé ... I promise for the next baby, nothing will come between me and you! I will make sure I am with you, I'll leave the Order, I'll ..."
I don't know whether to believe him or not, but at that very moment, all that matters is that right now, he is my child. I rock him to sleep, as I had once long ago when we escaped Tatooine together. Qui-Gon was alive then, and I was a young Queen in disguise. It occurs to me as he sobs that the veil of disguise and secrets are part of my trade; I am good at these things and it suits me. It's stressful, but very necessary in these dangerous times. I must consider actively using my talents not only for the good of the galaxy, but for the good of me, my husband, and our as-yet unborn children.
As he whimpers his apologies to me, I know I must do whatever is necessary to move past this tragedy and help Anakin overcome the guilt I know he feels. I know what he is thinking: he had lost his mother when he went to save her, and now he's lost his first child because he dared to doubt.
Anakin is intense and strong; he is not accustomed to nor accepting of failure in his life. Remembering back to when his mother died, I consider how tragic it seems that the more powerful a person is, the more fatal their fall when they come across anything unexpected. I worry about my husband's desire to become the most powerful Jedi in history.
Silently, I blame myself. I shouldn't have traveled to Coruscant in my current state of health. There is so much stress with the ongoing war, and in this position of public responsibility, my safety is a primary concern, even when I'm healthy and focussed. I have to let the death of our baby become a scar ... like the one Anakin feared from our kiss, not even a year ago ...
I have been selfish, not thinking of others when I take such risks. I think to myself that I will need to confess my needs to my handmaidens; they are sworn to serve and protect me. I know I can trust them, and they deserve the truth.
This time, Anakin blames himself rather then anyone else. I hate to think how he'd respond if he thought someone else was to blame if I became unhealthy or lost another baby. I begin to fear my husband's passion and confidence, and his absolute certainty in his dreams. I don't know if I can believe his dream of two children who do not know their parents. If the dream is true, why would we bring children into this galaxy? Wouldn't it be better to simply not have any more?
When Anakin is determined, nothing can stop him ... absolutely nothing. I imagine he will even force me to carry his children if I resist ... I know in my heart that I will be pregnant again, and I pray it ends more happily that this first pregnancy ... though my heart is filled with mourning and anguish for our lost baby and for my grieving, guilt-ridden husband. I know I need to put aside my agendas; my life is no longer simply my own.
I must be more careful to ensure that Anakin's baby will survive, for the good of all of us.
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