mattlauercansuckit: (Chaos)
[personal profile] mattlauercansuckit
title Fight and Defend
author [ profile] patientalien
word count 1911
rating PG
summary Padme oversees Anakin's recovery after the events of the 4th season episode "Shadow Warrior"
notes For the "electrocution" prompt on my [ profile] hc_bingo card. Post "Shadow Warrior", slight AU, some spoilers. Title from "Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne


He is unconscious when they bring him out, throwing him unceremoniously into the mud at her feet. She kneels, rolls him over. His tunic is charred, the flesh of his abdomen burnt. His breathing is shallow; she presses her head against his chest and hears an irregular heartbeat. Jar Jar joins her at his side, looking worried - she remembers, Anakin is his friend too. "Meesa call the medicos," the Gungan informs her.

"Thank you, Jar Jar," she says, lowering herself to Anakin's ear. "Wake up, Ani," she implores, running her hands through his hair. She recognizes the effects of a Force pike, the cruel weapon used by Separatist magna guards; saw herself what Dooku had ordered done to her husband, had heard his screams. She doesn't know how long it went on before she'd made contact, and doesn't know how long it continued after she'd disconnected, but she knows if she hadn't made the decision she had, Anakin might be dead now. Surely he'd forgive her.

A Gungan physician and a Clone medic run over, gently maneuvering her out of the way. She resists, keeping close, watching them inspect Anakin, watching them cut open his tunic, stick electrodes to his chest. Watches them pump yet more electricity into his body to get his heart beating at a steady rhythm.

"Ani is a tough one," Jar Jar tells her. "Hesa be okay."

Padme nods, clenching and unclenching her fists. She knows Jar Jar is right, but she's seen Anakin hurt too often in the past few months. She worries that he's not going to be able to take much more, that even with all of his power and strength, his body can't handle the trauma being inflicted on it.

She takes a breath and follows as the medics move Anakin back towards the base, determined to remain by his side for as long as she can.


They tell her bacta won't help, besides with the burns, that they just have to wait for his neural functioning to restore, for his body's own electrical currents to override the foreign ones disrupting his system. They can't transport him to a hospital in Theed; it's too far away, and he's not stable enough. The closest medical facility is Gunga City, so that's where she finds herself, surrounded by beauty but unable to see past her husband's pale features.

She sits by his bed and makes calls. The first is to the Council; she explains what she has done, and feels shame, because she knows none of the other Jedi - Anakin included - would have made the same selfish decision. Obi-Wan promises to come help clean up the mess, but she knows it's more because he wants to be at Anakin's side as well.

She thinks that, perhaps, Obi-Wan would have made the same decision. Maybe.


When Anakin wakes, he is in pain. He grabs Padme's hand and squeezes until she can feel her bones grinding together. It scares her, the tears in his eyes, the agonized gasps. The heart monitor spikes, and suddenly they're swarmed with medics. One of them administers a painkiller, and he calms slightly. "Padme."

"I'm here," she soothes, brushing his hair back, gently easing her hand out of his.

"Hurts." He swallows heavily, blinking bloodshot eyes at her.

"I know," she replies, not daring to kiss him, not daring to move too close. She longs to comfort him, but the room is too crowded, their secret still dangerous.

His vital signs steady, and he sleeps.


By the time Obi-Wan arrives, Anakin is, for the most part, awake. The medics say the neuropathy and nerve pain he is experiencing will fade in time, and in the meanwhile, they're trying to balance pain management.

When Obi-Wan appears, Anakin is curled on his side, vomiting into a basin on the floor while Padme rubs gentle circles on his back. "It's okay," she whispers gently. "Let it out." She looks up as she senses another presence in the room. "Obi-Wan's here," she tells him. She turns towards the Jedi Master, but does not stop rubbing Anakin's back. Anakin retches again, and it sounds like a sob.

Obi-Wan pulls up a chair beside her. "I don't blame you for your decision," he says softly, and Padme bows her head. "That is not something I would wish anyone to have to deal with." Padme feels herself coil tightly, wrapping her free arm around herself.

"Master?" Anakin is aware of Obi-Wan now, and he rolls over, wiping bile from his chin. "Obi-Wan, I'm sorry. I ruined everything. Grievous escaped because..." He trails off suddenly, eyes blank, freezing in place. It lasts only a few seconds, and then he's back, gagging, rolling back onto his side to continue the onslaught of the basin.

"That's been happening," Padme tells Obi-Wan softly. "I want him transported back to Coruscant." She wants him safe in the Halls of Healing, wants to know he's out of harm's way.

Obi-Wan nods carefully. "We can arrange a medical transport," he says, placing gentle fingers on Anakin's temple. He closes his eyes, and winces. "Oh, Anakin," he murmurs, which Padme knows can hardly be a good sign.


He's maxing out on the painkillers. The medics look at each other over him, concerned, as another seizure takes his consciousness for a few moments. They don't talk to Padme, or to Obi-Wan, who is her companion now, in between his other duties, ones he has taken upon himself in Anakin's stead.

"There was a question," Obi-Wan tells her softly as the medics confer about other options for neuropathic pain control, "about the appropriateness of you being the one to make the decision." Padme nods; she knows she is biased, knows anyone else would have been able to separate. "There will be another chance to apprehend Grievous," Obi-Wan continues. It is a struggle for him to say it, to rise above duty and admit that he, too, is biased. "If Anakin were lost to the Separatists, I fear the war itself would be lost." Well, still duty, but Padme can read between the lines.

"General, Senator," the medic says, crisply interrupting. "The current pain management regimen is not working, but the only other medication that may help is going to exacerbate the neurological symptoms. Until we have clearance to return to the capital, this may be the best option." It is not, Padme knows, a good option.

"Will it cause any lasting damage?" Obi-Wan asks thoughtfully, stroking his beard.

"There's always a possibility," he replies, "but the scans all show improvement. Once he's back in the Temple medical center, I think he'll improve even more." The medic looks around somewhat sheepishly. "This place isn't really equipped for trauma."

"You've done a fine job," Padme tells him kindly, and he has. He and the Gungan doctors have been working tirelessly to make sure Anakin is comfortable, that he's stable, that his organs are functioning and the damage is reversing. It is, just... slowly.


The new medication plays havoc with Anakin's body, and they end up having to give him anti-nausea medication through the IV port to keep him from spending all day throwing up. They're trying an anti-seizure medication as well, but the three drugs mingle unpleasantly, making his muscles spasm slightly.

"You shoulda left me," he accuses one day, as Obi-Wan is making the final arrangements for the transport back to Coruscant. "Grievous was more important, and you should have..." His eye twitches, and he zones out, returning seconds later.

"You would have done the same thing if it were me being held by Dooku," she replies once she knows he's back.

"It's different," he says. "It woulda been different. This is... it's just..." He gags, and she hands him a basin. "I hate that you're seeing this," he admits after he empties his stomach. "I've been hit with force pikes before. This shouldn't be happening."

"Your body was overloaded," she explains softly, rubbing his shoulder. "It's not your fault. And I don't mind being here." She doesn't, really, but it makes her uncomfortable to see how distressed he is, how ill and hurt.

"I've been hit with force pikes before," he repeats, and she's not sure if it's for emphasis or because he's forgotten he's already said it.

"I know," she replies, and lapses into silence.


Obi-Wan stays behind on Naboo while she accompanies Anakin back to Coruscant. It is her place, she says. Anakin is her Jedi Protector, and it is her duty to look over him, as he looks over her. Obi-Wan understands, bids the Force to be with her.

Anakin spends the day and a half it takes to get to the capital sleeping, and Padme doesn't exactly blame him. He finally seems to have gained some kind of relief; the medication has evened itself out, and he is no longer spending hours curled up and vomiting, nor are the seizures as frequent. She is hopeful. And, they are mostly alone, so she is able to wrap herself around him and feel his gentle breathing, hear his heart beat as they are spirited home.


The Halls of Healing are a comfort to her. Vokara Che greets them, and begins her work immediately, settling focusing crystals on Anakin's forehead, his chest, the limbs that still sing with pain. Padme knows she is one of very few outside the Order granted the ability to watch this, to see a Master Healer work the kind of Force magic that make most civilian doctors green with envy.

Though Padme is not Force-sensitive, she can feel a kinetic energy in the air as Vokara Che channels the Force into the crystals, which in turn pinpoint the areas of Anakin's body that need healing. His breathing calms, his muscles relax, a gentle glow surrounding him.

It takes hours, and by the end Vokara Che looks drained and Anakin is in a deep healing trance. "He will sleep for a couple of days," the Master Healer tells her. "But he will be fine."

Padme is tempted to throw her arms around the woman in her gratitude, but she restrains herself. She is still a Senator, still has to maintain some level of propriety. The fact she is here at all is improper itself, she is not going to make the situation more uncomfortable. "Thank you," she says instead, bowing her head.


She takes the time to report to the Chancellor. Palpatine is not as concerned with the escape of Grievous as she had expected him to be; in fact, he seems grateful that she made the choice that she did. She supposes it makes sense; Palpatine values Anakin as a friend and confidant, and often speaks of him and his value to the war effort.

Padme still wishes she didn't feel so guilty.


Anakin comes to see her. She doesn't expect it, but assumes he is not supposed to be out of bed. He looks better, though, and claims to feel better as well.

They don't talk about what happened on Naboo, but Padme is okay with that. She doesn't want to talk about it, ruin what little private time they have together.

But when Anakin falls asleep on her shoulder, she can't help ghosting her hands over his face and thinking that, despite the guilt, she would do it again.

She kisses him, and settles against his chest to sleep.
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