Timeframe: Clone Wars
Characters: C-3PO, R2-D2, Padmé, and Dormé
Summary: moonspinner came up with this for my Droid Challenge: “During the clone wars, Artoo leaves Padmé’s household to serve on Anakin's ship. How does Threepio handle the parting?”
Notes: Probably a little short of what she asked, but part of the challenge (albeit optional) is that the challenger writes a follow-up to what I wrote. ;)
Gifts Without Explanation
Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo tapped her data-pad with her stylus. “And have this added to the Planetary Defense Funding Bill. My involvement at the Battle of Geonosis may be enough motivation for Cout Dooku and the Confederacy to retaliate against Naboo. We’ll need some of those funds.”
Her handmaiden, Dormé, made a note on her datapad. “Yes, Mi’lady.”
Padmé raised her head at the sound of squeaking servos and gears entering the senator’s front-room. “Hello, See-Threepio.”
The gold-plated protocol droid bowed the best he could. “Greetings, Miss Pad, uh, I mean, Senator Amidala.”
“You can call me Padmé, Threepio,” she responded with a courteous smile.
Threepio straightened, pleased to be permitted to address someone in such high-standing in such a personal way. “Of course, Miss Padmé.”
“What’s that in your hand, Threepio?” Padmé asked, nodding at the small cylinder the droid was holding.
“It is a package from Master Anakin, and he expressed that you open it alone,” he finished with a glance at Dormé.
The handmaiden stood before the senator could say anything. “I’ll see that this gets to the correct committees,” she said, indicating the information on the data-pad.
Padmé stood and thanked her handmaiden as she left. “I believe Artoo-Detoo is in my private rooms, let’s join him, Threepio.”
The senator and the protocol droid found the blue-tiled astromech droid just where she said he would be, his photoreceptor focused on the window. “Hello, Artoo. Look who has come to visit us.”
Artoo’s head swiveled, whistling a friendly greeting to Threepio before turning his attention back to the window. “You’ll have to excuse Artoo,” Padmé said. “He hasn’t been in a starship since the start of the war and I think he misses it.”
Threepio shuffled over to Artoo’s side. “You wouldn’t want to be plugged into a star-fighter these days, my friend; it’s far too dangerous, especially during a war. You might be destroyed and lost to the vacuum of space, or worse, captured and sold for spare-parts!”
The astromech droid twittered a response that sounded like he didn’t care, that he belonged in space and why did all those other astromech droids get to have all the fun.
“Fun? Getting shot at by wrongfully programmed droids is not my idea of fun,” Threepio responded with a note of outrage.
“Excuse me, Threepio, but Anakin’s gift?”
Threepio straightened, looking as embarrassed as he could with an expressionless metal-face. “I’m sorry, Miss Padmé,” he said, handing her the cylinder. “Master Anakin did not tell me what it was, but he did say that you would understand when you see it.”
“I see,” she said, not really sure what to make of the cylinder as she examined it. It was far too small and light to be a lightsaber, a spare to keep at her place in case he lost his. Maybe it was an extra toothbrush? Padmé could barely contain a mischievous chuckle; there were two full shelves with Anakin’s grooming products in her refresher, including three toothbrushes.
She unscrewed an end of the cylinder, tilting it so whatever was inside would fall into her palm. At first she thought it was a foot-long length of string, but then she notice the familiar colored-knots tied into it. “Anakin’s padawan-braid,” she breathed, her eyes widening, her heart swelling with pride. “He’s a Jedi Knight, now.”
While her words were meant for herself, Threepio easily heard them. “Why that is happy news! Did you hear that Artoo? Master Anakin has been named a Jedi Knight!” Threepio wasn’t sure what that had to do with Master Anakin giving Miss Padmé his padawan-braid, but he would file that in his memory as something Jedi did to announce that they had been elevated to the level of Jedi Knight.
Artoo whistled a comment. “Yes, I do believe that Master Anakin has just become one of the youngest Jedi ever raised to knighthood. He has dreamt of becoming a Jedi Knight ever since he was a little boy. His mother would be so proud of him.”
Padmé felt a lump form in her throat. “He has me now, Threepio, and I am very proud of him.”
The protocol droid nodded his understanding. Human emotions were quite complicated to fully understand for a droid, especially when humans did not fully understand their emotions. But he was coming to understand the meaning of Love in the Skywalker family. If someone asked him he was not sure he could fully explain it, but he could try and probably come close. Humans were a complicated species.
Padmé went to her expansive closet and the bureau where she kept her personal things and keepsakes, pulling out a plainly decorated box where she kept her most precious items. Inside were a handful of small items from family and friends, and a snippet of carved jarpor wood tied to a leather cord. Padmé place the braid next to the good-luck charm: her two most valued pieces.
She wanted to celebrate this occasion with Anakin, to see his smile and share his joy of obtaining knighthood, but he would surely be sent to the front soon and their time together would be far too short. She looked in the mirror, hoping her reflection could tell her how best to share her joy with the man she loved. It only took a few seconds for her to discover exactly what she wanted to do.
“Artoo, could you come here for a moment? I want you to take a message to Anakin.”