Title: The Greatest Treasure
Characters: Dormé, Padmé, Ferus, Obi-Wan, Anakin Skywalker (mentioned), Sabé (mentioned)
Pairing (if applicable): Anakin/Dormé, Obi-Wan/Sabé
Summary: This is an AU. The story takes place just over four years after the start of the Clone Wars. Anakin did not marry Padmé and he died in the duel with Asajj Ventress, causing Palpatine to change his plan of action.
“The Greatest Treasure”
Dormé couldn’t recall the last time she set foot in this area of Coruscant; all of the political assemblies and handmaiden duties seemed to run together in one blur. With leaden footsteps, she slowly trod up the long staircase to the entrance of the Jedi Temple. She had never been inside, nor granted permission prior to this day. Once she finally reached the top of the staircase, she had to take a moment to catch her breath. Even with her years of training as a handmaiden and daily workouts, it was quite a struggle to get up the stairs with the heavy weight in both of her arms.
The inside of the temple was quite a shock to Dormé, for she had assumed from what little she knew of the Jedi that they weren’t ones for extravagance; however, just the main entrance looked incredibly grand to her. There were marble statues, stained glass windows and all sorts of wonders that caught her eye, much like her first view of the palace in Theed. After regaining her demeanour, Dormé soon realised that she had no idea where she was supposed to go. She looked about for some sort of holomap device, but there weren’t any nearby. Nor did she run into any other people that might be able to point her in the right direction.
After four years of endless war between the Separatists and the Republic, it was Anakin’s spirit that brought her here. Though Dormé wasn’t currently up to date with politics, having left her duties as handmaiden a little over two years ago after the death of her mistress, she knew that the Jedi still had a little power, even if it was only with their Force worship. It was a gift that she didn’t have and one she had never wanted so much in her life than when she nearly died last night. This temple was the only place in the whole galaxy that this treasure would go unnoticed. It took every fibre of Dormé’s being to protect this largesse with a loyalty fiercer than any oaths taken as a handmaiden. Though Dormé succeeded in killing the bounty hunter, Dormé’s calves and forearms bore scars from the last attempt to steal it. She knew that she could no longer be its sole guardian.
Shortly after the Battle of Geonosis, Padmé returned to Coruscant somewhat shaken. Dormé was the first handmaiden to greet her, relieved that she no longer had to portray her in the senate and concerned for her mistress’s wellbeing. ‘Is everything all right, milady?’ she asked, helping her to the couch and offering to get her something to drink.
‘I’m all right, Dormé,’ Padmé replied, smiling softly at her loyal handmaiden. ‘Have you seen Sabé or Saché around? I wish to speak with them as soon as possible.’
‘They are both on duty right now—I can fetch them—’
Padmé nodded, exhaling as she tried to relax, but something was weighing on her mind. ‘Dormé?’
After alerting both of the elder handmaidens that their mistress wished to speak with them, Dormé switched off the comm. device and swiftly turned around. ‘Yes?’
‘Before they arrive, I have something to tell you...’ Padmé admitted.
Dormé patiently waited for a response as she took a seat next to her mistress on the couch.
‘While I was on Naboo, at the lakehouse...Anakin made advances toward me,’ she stated calmly, though Dormé could tell that it didn’t sit well with her.
Dormé’s eyes widened in shock, knowing that Padmé had turned him down. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest as she interrupted her mistress, admitting to the truth. ‘I’m sorry—he was running ideas by me about what to say and how to say it to you—I didn’t think about—It was terribly unprofessional of me, but he’s my friend and I never really thought about—I’m sorry—’
Padmé laughed and shook her head. ‘I know it’s just a silly crush that he claims to be in love. He doesn’t really know me, Dormé. If anyone truly knows me it’s Sabé as I’ve trusted her with my life and my secrets ever since we were children. Anakin’s—If anyone knows him, it is you, Dormé. I don’t think he really understood it until I revealed it to him—his affections tend toward you. You should have seen the look on his face when I admitted how many times he mentioned your name during our short journey from here to Naboo—’
At first Dormé couldn’t process what her mistress was saying, but then it dawned on her: the sour feelings she had in her stomach when he mentioned how excited he was to see Padmé again, how much he hoped Padmé would see him as a man instead of a boy, how he hoped she would be impressed, how they went over what he would say to Padmé... Dormé felt jealous because she had wanted him to like her as more than a friend.
‘You’re blushing, Dormé,’ Padmé pointed out. ‘Why don’t you go talk to him when the others arrive? I can’t imagine that he will wait long after his meeting in the Jedi Temple to come and speak with you about everything that happened, including the official start of war.’
Though Dormé was also disappointed that the motion had passed, in spite of her loyalty to her mistress as she voted against going to war, she was much more concerned about Anakin and how he was taking things. She nodded in agreement and was surprised when her mistress allowed her a few days off as well.
Even to the end, Senator Amidala stayed true to her heart as she was first loyal to the preservation of the Republic and justice in the universe; finding an end to the war was her top priority. It was this that in turn was her downfall. It was not long after the death of the Jedi’s Chosen One, that influential members of the senate began disappearing. Padmé was not the first of the loyalists to be killed, nor was she the last. The rest of the secret Alliance went undercover, though it was not without its price. The Sith were gaining in numbers while the number of deceased Jedi mounted. Those few who could tell what was really going on were forced to keep their mouths shut, lest they join their fallen comrades and lose what little chance they had for the future. Dormé wanted nothing to do with it, nor with the war. This was one of the reasons she took a position within the Republic’s childcare facilities in the Fobosi District, so that she would no longer be in the public eye.
As she explored the vast hallways of the Temple, her thoughts continued turning to the past, remembering her last moments with their Chosen One.
Swinging through the air and laughing, Dormé had no idea why Anakin was so happy, just that he was home after being away for what felt like ages. Giddy from the excitement of his return and that he was also in good spirits, Dormé couldn’t help giggling as he spun her around in joy before kissing him deeply.
‘Notice anything different?’ he asked.
Dormé hadn’t even had the chance to really look at him properly until he set her back on her feet. ‘Your braid—you cut it off—’ she perceived, looking at him curiously because she had no idea what he meant.
Anakin exclaimed just how he had been knighted and told her everything about his adventures on Praesitlyn. It wasn’t until later that he gave her the braid, which she kept in a small carved box next to the bed.
Attaining the level of Knight was something that Anakin had always wanted and she was proud of him for it. When he told his story, she gasped at some of the more dangerous moments and shuddered at others, not liking the idea of being in the middle of a battle, nevermind fearing for Anakin’s safety. She expressed her relief in knowing that he was all right and also how proud she was that he obtained victory. He had saved the lives of hostages and presided over the marriage of two members of the Praesitlyn Defence Force.
He explained that the girl was about Dormé’s age and before he had a chance to say much more, she flung her arms around him and kissed him again, knowing in her heart that they had already promised their hearts to each other, but now they could make it official.
But neither the Jedi nor the media was kind to the pair. Though Anakin wasn’t cast out of the Order, it was clear that he wasn’t considered in the same way as other Jedi. It seemed as though there was a barrier between him and the rest of the Jedi. Only Obi-Wan openly supported Anakin’s decision, though he also admitted that it wasn’t how the Jedi ought to behave.
Dormé was thankful that her mistress didn’t mind and viewed it as she did any of the other handmaidens’ relationships. Padmé was more concerned with the welfare of the Republic and the people of Naboo than anything else, but Dormé was grateful for the support and that she wasn’t let go because of the way keeping her as a handmaiden might have tarnished Amidala’s good name.
It wasn’t long after Anakin left that Dormé found out she was pregnant. It took all of her willpower not to send him a holo-message, telling him the good news. She knew such things were not something to be sent over a holo and she also wanted to tell him in person. Instead, she sent him a message, saying that she had some good news for him upon his return. Luckily, the Rendeli mission was over soon and he returned to Coruscant once more.
Just after returning from Rendeli, he sent her a message, letting her know he would be home soon. His meeting with the Council took longer than he originally thought, but she was just as eager as the moment she saw his message. She resisted the urge to blurt out the news until she heard everything he had to say about his own mission. Then she took his hand and gave it a squeeze before admitting the good news, grinning broadly.
Telling him the news was one of the happiest moments of Dormé’s life.
The sound of the male voice caused Dormé to turn away from the enormous window to see a Jedi about Anakin’s age looking at her curiously, as well as the little girl in her arms.
‘May I help you?’ he asked seriously, studying the two of them closely.
‘We need a place to stay—somewhere safe—I was told to come here,’ she explained, consciously being vague in case this wasn’t a trustworthy man. Jedi or not, she couldn’t take any chances, not anymore.
The man nodded and gestured for her to follow him.
She remained silent as he led them into a turbo lift that took them to another floor.
After exiting the turbo lift, they went down another hallway and to a room that the Jedi palmed open. She mimicked him as she took a seat on the couch, waiting for him to question her.
He closed his eyes for a moment before opening them again and asking, ‘You’re not sensitive to the Force, but the girl is, isn’t she?’
Dormé knew this was a touchy subject, but one that was unavoidable. ‘Yes. I think that’s why we were attacked—there was a bounty hunter. I don’t know how they knew where I lived, but they found me and tried to take her away from me. I didn’t know what to do or where else to go.’
‘It’s all right,’ the young man replied. ‘We can protect the child here.’
He kept looking at Dormé and it was making her feel uncomfortable. But as soon as the uncomfortable feelings rose within her, they were gone. Somehow, she knew she could trust this man.
Ferus Olin, one of my friends... The name came to her mind.
‘Ferus?’ she asked. ‘Master Olin?’
Ferus looked at her curiously before nodding. ‘Yes.’
‘You were friends with Anakin—he trusted you.’
Ferus nodded gravely. ‘He was one of my best friends.’ There was a slight pause before he continued. ‘I promise to keep a watch over your daughter as long as she resides in the temple.’
‘Anakin told me to come here,’ she said, her voice catching in her throat. Tears came to her eyes as she admitted, ‘It was last night, after the attack—I was so scared...I called to him and he appeared to me, like a spirit—He told me to take her here.’
‘You saw him—’ Ferus gasped. ‘I thought it was only a legend, a myth—’
‘He said his father, Qui-Gon, showed him how and that it was because we were in a time of great need,’ she admitted. ‘I know I can’t stay with her, as much as I want to, but at least I know that she will be protected here. Dormé held their daughter close and kissed her head. She didn’t want to leave her, but knew she must in order to keep her safe. ‘No one can know that she’s Anakin’s daughter,’ Dormé said, ‘but if I could, I would like to see her again—’
Ferus made no promises to her and Dormé admitted that she hadn’t been searching for any, just the promise that their daughter would be protected from whatever was to come and that she would have a chance for a future. Just thinking about having to say goodbye to Aené, and not seeing her again, tormented Dormé. It was the last thing in the universe that she wanted, but she knew she could not protect her as well as those trained in the Force could. She ran her fingers over Aené’s blonde hair, kissing her little cheeks.
Dormé knew Aené could tell that something was wrong. ‘I love you...so much...don’t forget that...’ she whispered to her.
The door to the chamber parted, revealing Master Kenobi, who looked a bit apprehensive at the sight of Dormé. She would have rose and bowed, but Aené had buried her face in her ama’s hair, wanting to hide from the strangers, which made it a little difficult for Dormé to get up, let alone greeting the Jedi Master properly.
The last time Dormé saw Master Kenobi, he looked far worse for wear.
Shortly after finishing her duties for the day, Dormé returned to the handmaidens’ quarters to get something to eat and change into something less inhibiting. The whole day, her head had been in the clouds, still riding on the high of the night before when she told Anakin they were expecting a child. She hoped this little one would be the first of many children for them. Even though she was as excited about this as Anakin was, they mutually decided not to tell anyone until she was a few months along because they knew that the media would hardly be kind and didn’t want that pressure on Dormé while he was away.
When he left that morning, Dormé knew he had to go to another meeting and then called away on another mission. She hadn’t realised that on his way to the Jedi Temple, the Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress, who had been on a hunt for Anakin’s former master, ambushed him.
Unaware of this, Dormé finished eating a sandwich that she would never eat again when Master Kenobi’s entrance startled her. She couldn’t recall a time he had ever entered the handmaidens’ quarters without an escort or an announcement of some sort. Usually everyone knew who would be arriving to speak with their mistress and what business each guest had. In this case, it seemed it was an emergency.
Master Kenobi looked worn and quite a bit older than he usually seemed to be. Dormé hadn’t thought the Jedi Master was that much older than the principal handmaiden, but in that flustered moment, he looked twice that. He made little notice of the other handmaidens in the main chamber and went straight to Sabé’s apartment. This raised many eyebrows and prompted whispers, but Dormé remained silent as she followed on his heels. She knew that Master Kenobi was Anakin’s former master and whatever he had to say might, she thought, have something to do with her husband. What she heard instead was nothing.
Dormé knew she shouldn’t eavesdrop to begin with, so when she couldn’t hear anything, she returned to the main chamber to clean up. It was about that time when Sabé emerged from her apartment looking just as grave as Master Kenobi.
‘Dormé, may I speak to you?’ the principal handmaiden asked politely.
‘Of course,’ she replied and went swiftly into Sabé’s apartment. As the door slid shut behind her, she noticed Master Kenobi sitting in a chair, looking at her reluctantly.
Sabé and the Jedi Master exchanged looks that Dormé now recognised intimately. Dormé drew the conclusion that the two of them were lovers and was thoroughly excited at the revelation because she knew how much Anakin loved his brother and wanted him to have the same happiness that Dormé and he shared. But instead of an admission of a jovial sort, what she heard instead was incredibly distressing.
‘I’m so sorry, milady—’
Dormé couldn’t understand it. Anakin was one of the most talented of the Jedi, wasn’t he? He had defeated that Dark Jedi before, hadn’t he? He couldn’t be dead. How could she tell them that she was with child...that they were going to have a baby? ‘He can’t be—’ she said in disbelief. She clutched herself around her middle, trying not to give, not to cry because doing so would admit the truth, that he was really gone.
‘Can I see him?’ she asked, her voice trembling.
‘I don’t know if that will be possible, milady.’
‘He was—his body was in such bad shape by the time I got there—’ It was hard for the Jedi Master to continue. Obi-Wan frowned and shook his head before he answered her. ‘The best I can do is to stream a holo of the funeral. It will be a private affair. He will be cremated within the temple.’
Just hearing these words made it that much more real to her. She wished it was just a nightmare. ‘But he was from Tatooine. His body should return there if anything,’ she protested, trying with all of her might to have the chance to say goodbye to him properly. ‘He ought to be buried next to his mother, to his family—’
It didn’t matter what she said because the plan was already in place and she wouldn’t have access to the funeral. He was really gone. The plans they made the night before no longer meant anything. It was then that the tide of tears unleashed and poured from her eyes in an unending stream.
The next few days were a blur to Dormé as the media and all of Coruscant, led by the supreme chancellor himself, mourned the loss of their noble Jedi Knight, their Chosen One. The Separatists used this as an opportunity to expel the myths surrounding the Jedi and spread propaganda about the Jedi Order’s corruption.
Dormé was given a few days of leave before returning to her duties. She served her mistress faithfully until the senator died. Then the handmaiden left her position and the media spotlight behind as she went to work in the Fobosi District. With everything else going on in the galaxy, no one batted an eye when her pregnancy became noticeable, nor did anyone suspect that it was Anakin’s child, despite the fact that she still kept his name.
Dormé could tell from the look in Master Kenobi’s eyes that he knew this was Anakin’s daughter. ‘It’s so good to see you again,’ she said politely, though it pained her heart to be reminded of the day he told her that Anakin would never meet their daughter.
‘I’ve told her that I would protect the girl,’ Ferus said, catching Obi-Wan up on the situation.
Obi-Wan looked at her in a way that made Dormé think he was reading her mind. She knew he wouldn’t do something like that because he was a noble man, but she felt slightly intimidated by his gaze.
‘Has she been tested?’ Obi-Wan asked Ferus.
‘Not yet,’ Ferus replied, not really thinking that it was necessary.
‘If we don’t do it, then you know the Council will and it would be less traumatic for her if her mother was here.’ Obi-Wan removed a device from his utility belt and showed it to both the mother and child. ‘It will just pinch her a little bit,’ he admitted, sending soothing thoughts to Aené and trying to slightly numb the spot before taking a sample.
Aené already knew it was coming and tried to dodge it, but the Jedi Master was quicker than her. She yelped more out of fear than pain and clutched her ama tightly.
‘Shush, it’s all right, baby,’ Dormé said, stroking her back and murmuring reassurances to her while the Jedi overlooked the data.
‘Same as Anakin’s,’ Obi-Wan replied, seeing that her midicholorians matched up to the amount within Anakin.
‘What does that mean?’ Dormé asked in confusion and concern.
‘That means,’ began Ferus, ‘that she will be a powerful Jedi, just like her daddy, and make great changes to the universe.’
‘But first,’ Obi-wan said, smiling at them, ‘we’ll have to see about getting you a place to stay.’
‘Me?’ asked Dormé, not even beginning to hope that she could remain in the temple and possibly see Aené.
‘I will do everything I can to convince the Council that you ought to be able to remain here with Aené.’
It was two years since Anakin’s death and Dormé struggled against the bounty hunter that was going to kill her in order to get to Aené. Dormé didn’t know how she was able to stand against her and fight for so long, but she did it and with it came the dear that she might not be able to protect her anymore.
Dormé finally got Aené to go back to sleep, her arms wrapped firmly around Aené as she began to pray. ‘Anakin,’ Dormé desperately pleaded, ‘if what they say about the Force is true—Anakin—I’m so scared. I’m so scared for her. I don’t know what to do or how to protect her. I wish I had the strength and the powers you did, but I don’t—I need you, Anakin...Aené needs you.’
It was in that moment that Anakin’s spirit came to her. She thought she was dreaming, for it wasn’t the first night that she had seen him; so often in her dreams, he would appear to her. But when he explained it to her, she knew that it was real. ‘I want to hold you—’ she said, but his touch was feather-light like a warm breeze upon her cheek.
She watched him kiss the sleeping form of their little girl and it brought tears to her eyes. At least she had this moment. At least he was able to see Aené and watch her grow if only from a distance.
‘Aené will know both her mother and her father,’ Obi-Wan resolutely told her.
Dormé didn’t care about Jedi protocol in that moment as she used her free arm to embrace the older Jedi whom her husband had once called his master. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered.
The media, the politicians, the Jedi never truly understood Anakin, the Jedi’s Chosen One and Hero With No Fear, nor did they understand why he fell in love with a simple, ordinary handmaiden. But the Force had a will of its own and sometimes destiny never made any sense to those who lived it until it was the end of their lifetime. One thing remained clear: it was love that allowed Anakin to return, to save his daughter, and to give the Republic a true hope for the future.