Title: Stargazing Author: Alexis_Wingstar Characters: Shmi Skywalker and Yane Genre: Friendship mush, vignette Note: This is for the MMM, and the MMM amateur astronomy challenge in which we were supposed to write a mush story which included some sort of amateur astronomy. This is also a part of my AU story, "The Bond". Shmi stood on the balcony outside the rooms she was staying in at the Palace, and stared up at the stars with a wistful expression. She had spent the day at the university library in search of the Skywalker family homeworld. However, the searches only brought up herself and her son, Anakin, the youthful hero who helped save Naboo. She’d been surprised to find news articles about herself... rather articles about Padme trying to raise funds from the Naboo treasury to free her. It had taken the past two years for the funds to be approved, and by then, Qui-Gon had already done the job. More recent news stories tell of Padme’s efforts to earmark those funds that would have gone to free her as to help refugees. Shmi smiled as she thought about the young queen’s spirit of generosity, and hoped those funds would go to help the unfortunate refugees. Hearing a knock at her door, she turned and called, “Come on in, Yané!” After the handmaiden entered, Shmi smiled when the girl asked how she knew it was her. “You’re the only one whose knock sounds like an apology.” Yané blushed slightly as she giggled and came out onto the balcony. “It’s unusually warm tonight,” she commented. It was mid-Welona, and indeed, it was a balmy ten degrees celsius with uncharacteristically clear skies for a winter in Theed. The girl gazed up at the stars as she asked, “Did you have any luck finding your homeworld?” Shmi shook her head with a sigh as she turned back to look at the stars. “I’m sorry.” The older woman’s smile did not reach her eyes as she looked over at her young companion. “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” “Perhaps you can ask your Jedi friend to look. The Jedi Order has the most extensive stellar library in the galaxy. If the information is anywhere, it would be there.” It was Shmi’s turn to blush. “I’m sure Qui-Gon has more important things to do than be my research assistant.” “Judging by how he looked at you when he brought you here, he’d make the time,” Yané’s tone was teasing, and the ex-slave felt her cheeks grow warm even as she smiled in response. “Is there something else you came here for besides ribbing me?” “Oh, yes!” The girl giggled as she apologized. “I was supposed to tell you dinner is delayed for half an hour because the kitchen staff found out they didn’t have enough of the right cheese for the sauce.” “Sounds like they need to learn to improvise,” Shmi commented. Yané chuckled. “Chef Brymoush, would sooner die than substitute anything.” Shmi shook her head. “Oh, I forgot to ask... how did your exams go this morning?” “I think I did well. I was so nervous this morning I couldn’t eat breakfast before the tests began, but I don’t think I was the only one. I heard the stomach of the student who was sitting behind me growl even louder than mine during the third exam.” The two companions fell silent as they gazed at the stars. Suddenly, a light which looked like a small star with a tail arched across the sky. Yané gasped, “Did you see that? That’s part of the Izziod meteor shower. We should be able to see more. Let’s count how many we see before we have to go to dinner.” Smiling at the handmaiden’s youthful enthusiasm, Shmi agreed. She began to feel young herself as they watched for the ‘shooting stars’. A part of her wondered if she had family somewhere watching the night skies at this moment. I wonder if it’s night where Ani is. He always dreamed of traveling to every one of those stars. Soon it was time to go to the dining hall. Shmi took Yané’s hand. “Thank you.” “For what?” “For being a friend. I’m sure a young lady like you would rather be doing other things than hanging out with some old woman.” The girl laughed. “I enjoy your company, Mrs. Skywalker. Teaching you our culture has helped me see things about Naboo I always took for granted.” “Come, let’s go eat.” Shmi slid the transparisteel door shut after they left the balcony.