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Only What Seems To Be
by Theed Princess

Amidala's eyes flew open. There was barely yet any sunlight penetrating the window. She surely had another two hours sleep, but she was wide awake. She had high hopes for this day. She felt surely that she'd never been more excited, content, or jubilant than she was at that exact moment. Her eyes still not quite adjusted, she turned to face Anikan, who for the last 2 months had slept at her side, at least when he wasn't traveling with Obi-Wan. Slowly, she realized that he was not there. Jerking upright, she threw back the blanket, her eyes darting all around. Where was he at this hour? Why had he left her in the night?

Quickly sliding off the bed, she let out a soft gasp as her bare feet hit the cold marble floor. Quickly grabbing a night robe she darted out of her door and down the hallway. Her big brown eyes scanned each hallway for any sign of her husband. The thought of him being somewhere without her knowledge frightened her. Particularly recently, she had felt overwhelmingly connected to him. They were joined.

Every second that passed found her more and more alarmed. She didn't think that any tragedy had befallen him. That was relatively impossible within the confines of Theed Palace. It was only that today had held such magic for her in the anticipation of it and she did not want it starting out with the unexplained absence of her husband, not even for a moment.

For nearly an hour she searched alone. All of Theed was sleeping, it seemed. And she woke no one. How pitiful she would be in the eyes of her consorts and aids: the pitiful sleepless queen who searches for her husband. When the palace was abuzz with activity and she, dressed in her ever-official attire, preparing for a meeting with a foreign diplomat, realized that Anikan was nowhere to be found. At least not now.

With every hour that ticked away during the day, her day that was supposed to be her making of enjoyment, she thought curiously of her husband. Where had he been? She knew that now, at this time of day, he would surely be with Obi-Wan somewhere in the galaxy, perhaps even all the way to Coruscant in the Jedi Temple. She never minded his extensive traveling. She understood the circumstances: he was to be a Jedi. But today she had not even spoken to him to see if he would spend the night with her. Now she was uncertain if she could even begin to accomplish what she had wished to this day.

The weary queen did not finish her duties until dusk. Flanked by her handmaidens and led by Captain Panaka, she ascended the steps to her room. At the entrance to the hallway that led to her chambers, Captain Panaka bowed, bid the queen goodnight, and left her. Yane, and Sache, her youngest handmaidens, bowed and left also.

"Eirtae" Amidala said.

"Yes, your majesty" she said, stepping forward.

"Go to my throne room. Captain Panaka will let you in. Try and contact Anikan. You know which places to check."

"Yes, my Queen." she said, and with a bow, scurried out of the room.

Amidala turned wordlessly and strode down towards her room. Her handmaidens trotted along, trying to keep up with the queen's brisk pace.

Amidala was angry. She'd waken to find her husband missing at daybreak. An entire day had passed and night had fallen and he had still made no attempt to contact her. She didn't worry that harm had befallen him. He was safe. She could feel it.

Once at the door, Amidala stopped as her handmaidens stepped ahead to open the doorway. As she entered the room, she reached up and pulled the large golden piece from her head. Her long hair fell down to her waist. She angrily threw the ornament from her, and it skipped across the floor and clanged to a stop against the wall.

"Amidala!" came a surprised voice.

The startled queen jerked her head up and glanced in the direction of the voice. There, in the corner of the room, stood Anikan.

Amidala stood in complete shock. She quickly waved a hand and dismissed the remainder of her maidens.

"Anikan!" she exclaimed in reply. "Where have you been? You didn' t even bother to tell me you were leaving! And how did you get back in without my knowledge?

"Calm yourself, my dear" Anikan said calmly, as if he'd done nothing more than broken a glass. His faced showed no sign of emotion.

"But Anikan!" she exclaimed, exasperated. She tore off her thick red velvet outer robe and threw it down in fury, leaving herself clad in a shimmering gold gown. "I didn't even know you had gone! You didn't send word all day! You have no right to leave me like that!" her words became angrier and angrier. Her chest rose and fell heavily as she drew furious breaths, struggling to get the air she needed.

Anikan stared at her. Finally he spoke.

"I am not bound here. You cannot force me to spend every minute in Theed listening to your speeches. I have my apprentice duties to consider" he said unemotionally.

"That I am not asking" she said quiety, her voice desolate, then pleading. "I only wish to know where you are. Like today. Where were you? I woke to find my bed empty, my husband missing. It was upsetting."

Anikan seemed hesitant to speak.

"It is hard to say. I have many journeys. You now that Master Kenobi controls my travels. Speak with him if you have any complaints" he said cynically."

Surely, thought Amidala, he could remember where he had been this very day? But he was home now, and she wanted desperately to be with him, talk with him. She had news she wished to share.

"Let us quarrel not, Anikan." she whispered, reaching forward to take his hand.

She saw a small smile begin to form at his lips. She knew she was his weakness. He loved her more than any apprentice duties.

He leaned down and kissed her. He was now sorry that he'd treated her this way. She didn't deserve to be deserted. He would never do that to her again. He wanted her to stay with him. They would be together forever. Just the two of them.

"Anikan" Amidala said, her eyes broad, "Let us talk for a moment." The two of them moved to sit on their large canopy bed.

"What have you to speak of, Amidala?" Anikan questioned softly.

"Oh, anything." she said, gazing around the room, suddenly nervous about what she had to say.

Anikan knew she was lying. She had a specific subject she wanted to discuss. He gathered the Force and tried to touch her mind, to see in, but whatever it was, she kept it hidden, and he could not discover its identity. This made him even more curious. What could be this big of a secret?

"What is it Amidala?" he said softly, taking her small hand.

"Oh, Anikan." she began. "You are happy with me, aren't you."

Anikan was shocked by the bluntness of this question. Yes, he admitted, he had become increasingly involved with training, with Obi-Wan and otherwise, but his love for her was strong.

"Yes," he said, smiling. "But I am hurt. Why would you ask me this?"

"I don't know." she said, averting her eyes. "I just like to hear it. That's all."

Anikan studied her for a moment. That wasn't all. He looked at her intently, focusing on her eyes.

"And..." she continued "I just wondered, well . . . what you would think, or . . . how you would feel, if . . . " her voice tapered off and she bowed her head, blushing severelyy, too shy to finish the sentence. One slender hand found its way to her belly and rested there for a moment. She involuntarily threw her head upward and caught his eyes with hers. His face shown an expression of disbelief and shock. He reached out and took the hand that rested on her midriff and pulled it back, staring at her stomach as if he would find the truth there. Then resting his own hand on her still flat belly, he looked back up at her and cocked his head sideways and squinted his eyes ever so slightly. She nodded as happy tears came to her eyes.

Anikan shook. He struggled to keep his voice steady. "You're . . . "

"With child . . . " she finished for him in a whisper.

Anikan jumped to his feet and lowered his voice. "Are you sure?" he asked, staring at her.

"Yes! The court doctor informed me yesterday. I've had my suspicions and he confirmed it for me" she said happily, jumping to her feet also and embracing him.

Anikan stook with a blank, desolate look. He did not embrace her back.

"And, it is mine?" he asked.

Amidala felt a severe blow. Was he not happy? She didn't think she could bear that. She considered this to be the best thing that had ever happened to her.

"Of course it is." she breathed. "Did you think me unfaithful?" she asked. Her breathing grew quick and distressed.

"No, it's not that. I just can't believe it, that's all." He grinned, trying to pass his comment as a joke.

Amidala smiled.

"How far are you?" he asked, licking his lips nervously.

"Not too far" she said. "About two months."

Two months? Thought Anikan. They'd scarcely been married two months. And he was away so much. How could she be pregnant now?

His thoughts then raced to Palpatine. Master Palpatine. Only so recently had he first addressed the Chancellor as his master. Though no one knew it, the two had become great friends. He was teaching Anikan things Obi-Wan never dreamed of. He remembered something he and Palpatine recently discussed. Even as Anikan thought of it, his hands trembled and his throat went dry. Master Palpatine considered Anikan to be a prodigy, the best student he'd ever had. He didn't feel he had to warn Anikan of many things. The one thing he warned him of was children. Descendents. Anikan had discovered that his new master had a great gift: foresight. Anikan's children, he prophesied, shone black in his future, waiting in the foreground to bring about his death. And now with his new training underway, his future unfolding as the Galactic Chancellor's apprentice, his life was being challenged by an unborn child.

"Anikan," Amidala asked earnestly. "What is it?

"Are you certain it is healthy?" he asked. "Yes!" Amidala cried, almost giddily. Anikan could tell she was overcome with joy at the whole prospect of a child.

"Well," he said flatly "it is male or female."

"A fine young man" she beamed.

He was still speechless. Admitting to himself that he was not happy with this news, but terrified and dismayed with it, he vowed to hide his feelings from Amidala. With no more to say, he turned and walked from Amidala's prescence.

"Anikan!" she cried and rushed after him, golden train flailing behind her. "Where are you going?"

"I just need some time to meditate" he said with a wave of his hand, not even looking back in her direction, Jedi robes flapping in the night wind.

It was now the Queen's turn to be at a loss. She flung herself on her bed as confused tears began to fall on her cheeks.

To Be Continued . . .

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