Author's Note: Inspired by the story of Cleopatra and Antony, as told by Margaret George in the novel The Memoirs of Cleopatra. It's a wonderful book.
The long grass tickled my palms as I walked along the prairie. As far as the eye could see there were golden hills, sparkling in the light of the sun. The long stalks waved gently in the soft breeze that caressed my face, and I breathed in that perfect sweetness of my home. It filled my lungs and I held it for a long moment, treasuring the taste of Naboo one last time.
I was dying, after all.
My security had been frantic when I had shown them the small puncture wound caused by the pin left in my study, on Naboo. I had gone into my study to find some documents of dubious importance, especially in times such as these. I had closed my eyes and imagined the scene in my mind – my Anakin laughing, his hand trailing the bare skin of my back as I had looked back at him, and smiled, not caring at all that one of those hands that had touched me so gently was cold, mechanical. He had lost his hand, but he was still my Anakin, then.
Lost in the memory, trying to lose myself, I traced the edge of my smooth, golden wood desk – everything in my study was organic, a contrast to the artificiality of the environment in which I worked – and I felt the slightest prick on my finger. It was just a tiny sting, but it made me open my eyes anyway.
I raised my hand, and looked at my finger – at the miniscule dot of blood. Then I looked down at my desk, ignoring everything else in the room – the pictures and documents, the things that made my study mine. On the edge of the desk, a pin had been attached. The pin was so small as to be nearly invisible.
Mere minutes after I called my security, Captain Typho and his subordinates, they discovered that I had been poisoned. I was quickly given injections meant to stop the poison, but all they did was slow its effects. The doctors consulted one another. Captain Typho, with his one eye blazing and his words full of fury, told me he had no doubt of who had attempted to assassinate me.
I had no doubt either. It was surely our self-proclaimed Emperor, Palpatine. Formerly pretending to be such an advocate of peace and justice, he had revealed himself for what he was in his horrific actions against the Jedi Order – destroying their temple and ordering the capture of their members. It was too late to do anything – to fight – by then, though. He had power, influence, and wealth.
And he had my Anakin.
My brave protector, my husband in secret. Palpatine had ensnared him with lies, with the promise of power that he had so desperately craved after he had been powerless to stop the death of his mother. I did not know, then, how those words – his proclamation that he would be powerful enough to defeat death – would haunt us. His desire for power led him away from the Jedi, and to the belief that he alone was right, that it didn’t matter how one accomplished a thing, just as with the murder of the Tusken Raiders. All that held Anakin from completely embracing the darkness now was me. Padmé Amidala Skywalker.
I loved having his name next to mine. I loved knowing that our love was expressed by having the same name, a thing to bind us. I loved saying that name in the dark and silence of night, the only time I could because of the secrecy involved.
My physician’s aged face was serious and calm, with an undercurrent of sadness and regret, when he told me that he could not stop the poison and its effect. I had a few hours, at the most. It was a quick poison, designed to kill painlessly and quietly, so that’s its presence would not be discovered until it was truly too late. I nodded, and bade him to go. To leave me. He protested, told me there were other things he could try, and I insisted, knowing the inevitability of the events. I would not deny reality, would not deny what was to come. My death was at hand.
I knew where I wanted to be when I died.
My entire family – not only those of my flesh and blood, but also those of my heart and soul – protested at my plan. They wanted to be with me; they wanted me to fight it with my last breath. I looked at them all, one by one. I met their eyes with my own, pleading silently for them to see what I could not express, only know.
They let me go. My mother touched my cheek and kissed me. My father embraced me, and my sister and nieces told me goodbye. Captain Typho – so loyal to me, even after everything – insisted on bringing me to where I wanted to go. I nodded my acquiescence, and we left. I cast one last gaze over my home and my family – still untouched, with Palpatine's New Order, ravenous but slow and sure, not yet having closed its claws on Naboo.
I wanted to die in the place where I had first known that I loved Anakin, in the gently rolling plains of the lake estate. I wanted to remember the happiness, the joy of that time. I wanted to give myself some peace in remembering that so long as my memory lived in Anakin, that moment lived.
The day we had come to the meadow, we had played and laughed, and for that brief time I believed that nothing could have been more perfect or more beautiful. I had felt so happy then it seemed as if I was not in my own skin. That day had been perfection.
And so I was here again. I wore the gown that I had worn that day, years ago. It still fit, even after my pregnancy. I let my fingers trace the lace that covered the shimmersilk beneath. It was as beautiful as I remembered, unchanged by time. Its yellow color blended with the gold of my surroundings. I watched myself walk, seeing the skirt roll around my ankles. I let my hair fall unbound; it was different than the way it had been on that special day, but Anakin had liked it this way, curly and free.
The feathery tips of the grass brushed by me as I half knelt in the thigh-deep grass. I closed my eyes, remembering Anakin’s touch. He had always touched me as if I were the most delicate treasure, precious to hold and feel. Never did I feel so important as I did in his arms.
I lay down carefully, on my back, beginning to feel numbness spread in my hand, the hand that had been pricked. I had been warned of what the poison would do, how it would feel. It would soon be time.
The grass felt stiff and unyielding against my head, and pricked my arms, which I had flung out to my sides – but I barely felt it; the poison was quickly taking effect. I breathed deeply again, tasting the air’s purity. The sky was so blue, so perfectly blue as I looked up. It deepened directly overhead, seeming to span into infinity. It reminded me of Anakin’s eyes – fathomless and wonderful. I had never tired of looking at either of them. As I lay looking at the sky and thinking of Anakin’s eyes, I remembered how many times I had imagined in the earliest days of my pregnancy looking into those eyes and seeing them light up with the knowledge he was going to be a father.
I knew, now, that I would never see that look. His eyes were lost behind a soulless, dark mask and the title Lord of the Sith. His eyes behind that mask would never truly see his children. But my children – our children – were safe. The twins – my beautiful Luke, who was so like what his father had been, and my Leia, who was truly my daughter with those knowing brown eyes. They were all I had left of Anakin.
The Jedi took them, and hid them – my Leia would live among pacifists and a world renowned for its peace, as the daughter of Bail Organa of Alderaan. I knew Bail well, including his love of children and his gentleness. He would make a good father. Luke would live with Owen and Beru, Anakin’s only family, with Obi-Wan constantly by his side – protecting my son with his life, if necessary. He had assured me of that when he took my son from my arms, his gray eyes soft and gentle, but also with steel born of sorrow and determination. I knew Beru would make a good mother – we had talked, those years ago on Tatooine, and she had spoken of her love of children. Both of my children would have good homes, with those who loved them.
I exhaled softly, and strangely did not feel the need to inhale. The sky was blue – so shockingly blue. In the corners of my eyes were the golden waves of grass, moving ever so slightly in the wind. My body felt heavy and limp.
And then there was a flash of something else. A man, I think, dressed in all black, even his face covered by that blur of darkness. Overhead, a ship flying with the sign of Palpatine’s New Order broke the beautiful blue of the sky. The black specter knelt by me, and I thought I heard my name.
It no longer mattered. The sky was tilting, fading from my vision. I had borne Anakin’s children, and given them a home. I had fought for my world, I had loved, I had lived.
I was done.