Title: All Things Nice Author: devilinthedetails Characters: Padme Amidala; Ruwee Naberrie; Sola Naberrie; Jobal Naberrie; Anakin Skywalker. Genre: General; Family; Drama. Timeline: Before the Saga and Saga-PT. Summary: The Naberrie family, sugar, spice, and all things nice. Author's Note: Written for the Nursery Rhyme Challenge from @Kit'. My nursery rhyme was "What Little Boys are Made of." Lines appearing in italics and parenthesis are taken from that nursery rhyme. Thanks for @Kit' for inspiration that would never have come to me without this challenge! All Things Nice (What are little boys made of? What are little boys made of?) Ruwee welcomed his daughter home for her first summer break since joining the Legislative Youth Program—where she boarded away from her family for so much of the year—with a bear hug, a peck on the cheek, and a walk around the garden. The sun lingered in the sky late into the evening, creating one of those glorious early summer days that seemed to stretch long and hopeful as the horizon, as they strolled beside the flowering green shrubs. “My teachers told me that there are many different cultures in the galaxy.” Padme paused to stroke the rich red petal of a carefully cultivated Malreaux rose. “That’s a good thing.” Ruwee smiled at the sight of his daughter admiring the flower he had planted and watered diligently. “It’d be a boring galaxy indeed if we didn’t have different cultures.” “In some cultures, sons are more highly valued than daughters.” Padme’s lips pursed into a rosebud, and, for the first time, Ruwee noticed with a start that she had reddened her mouth with lipstick. She must have learned how to wear makeup while she was at the Legislative Youth Program. No doubt it was part of the instruction in developing a polished political face—hiding youth behind a coat of cosmetics so that a girl became a woman. “Fathers long to have sons to carry on their family name and lineage. Sons are the pride and joy of a family in those cultures, but daughters will only continue the line of some other family when they are married.” “My daughters are my pride and joy.” Ruwee reached out to squeeze her shoulder in reassurance that she and Sola were all any man could have ever wanted in children. “They’re the light of my life along with my beautiful wife, of course, and they’ll leave behind a legacy that will make my heart sing.” “You aren’t disappointed not to have a boy then?” Padme’s finger had drifted down the rose to rest on its stem not far from a thorn, and Ruwee worried she’d prick herself. He never wanted to see crimson blood blossom from her skin. “Of course not.” Ruwee waved a dismissive hand. “What are little boys made of, my dear? Snips, snails, and Carosi pup tails, that’s what.” “And what are little girls made of?” Padme asked, giggling. “Sugar.” Ruwee tilted the rose toward his daughter so she could inhale its sweet scent. “Spice. And all things nice.” (Snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails, that’s what little boys are made of.) Sola savored the sight of the Queen of Naboo bending over the kitchen counter helping her prepare the light-filled jars that would serve as centerpieces at the garden tables where she would host her baby shower. “You aren’t doing a gender reveal?” Padme referred to the most current trend in Naboo baby showers where the expectant mother would find a creative way to announce the gender of the expected child as she twined a stream of lights around the inside walls of a jar. “No cake with a blue or pink interior when you carve into it? No blue or pink fireworks will be set off?” “No.” Sola pressed her hand across where the mystery child inside her had suddenly started kicking at her womb as if longing to escape the tight confines. “I asked the medics not to tell me whether I’ll have a boy or a girl. I want it to be a surprise.” “Do you have a secret wish for boy or a girl?” Padme was shooting Sola the conspiratorial grin Sola remembered so well from their childhood that now seemed to have disappeared in an eyeblink. “I know that as a future mother I’m supposed to say that I’d love a boy or a girl equally.” Sola couldn’t resist a mischievous smile of her own. “Deep inside, I do want a girl, though.” “Why?” Padme arched an eyebrow as the sweet and spicy aroma of the cinnamon cookies their mother was baking for the baby shower in the oven wafted over them, making Sola’s mouth water. “You know what Dad says.” Sola’s lips formed the words of an old family expression that had become worn and comfortable with love. “Little boys are made of snips, snails, and Carosi pup tails, while little girls are made of sugar, spice, and all things nice.” Sugar, spice, and all things nice. That was what Sola smelled in the air and hoped for in the future as she sat with her sister making light-filled jars to celebrate the promise of new life entering the galaxy from her body, an idea that still seemed an impossible miracle to Sola. (What are little girls made of? What are little girls made of?) “I don’t know whether it’ll be a boy or a girl,” Padme whispered into the shell of Anakin’s ear as they lay together in a tangle of sheets the night she told him that she was pregnant with his child. “I requested the med droids not inform me whether I’m carrying a boy or girl. I want it to be a surprise.” Speculating about whether a baby girl or boy was growing inside her had been one of her few secret pleasures in these difficult months of hiding her pregnancy, and now she couldn’t wait to share this secret pleasure—this forbidden joy—with Anakin as she had so many others. “I’ll be happy with either.” Anakin kissed her forehead. “It could be a son.” Padme’s hand curled on his chest. “A boy you could repair droids with and teach to fly. A boy who could be a hero and a light in a dark universe like you.” “Or it could be a daughter.” Anakin’s kisses traveled from her forehead to her hair, and as he went on, Padme was reminded of her father’s words about little girls being made of sugar, spice, and all things nice, “A girl who could be as beautiful as you. A girl who could fight for peace in a war-torn galaxy. A girl who could speak for those whose voices so often go unheard.” (Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of.) “That little girl looks a lot like Padme.” Jobal’s spoon, which she had been using to stir sugar into her cup of spiced herbal tea as she watched the daily propaganda that passed for the holonews under the Empire, dropped from her abruptly limp fingers. She often saw brown-eyed and brown-haired girls who reminded her of the daughter who had died too young—she had come to regard that as the painful snap of sanity that came with having to commit the ultimate unnatural act of motherhood, burying a child that should have outlived her—but the girl on the holoscreen had more than just Padme’s hair and eyes. She had Padme’s regal bearing and the same sense of expectation emanating from her—the burden of being forced to represent all things pure and noble to her people at a young age along with the grace and the poise that came not crumbling under that responsibility. “That girl is the Princess of Alderaan.” Ruwee winced at the sound of Padme’s name as if salt had been poured into the wound of her loss that would never heal. “The adoptive daughter of Queen Breha and her consort, isn’t she?” Jobal’s eyes narrowed as she studied the holoscreen. Her eyes weren’t as keen as they had been in her youth—diminished by age and dimmed by sorrow as they had been—but she was certain that she’d be able to recognize any grandchildren she had even from a galaxy apart just as she would have always known her own daughters. Blood cried out to blood, she believed that in her creaking bones. Gesturing at the pulmonodes that had replaced the queen’s heart and lungs, she added, “Queen Breha can’t bear a child of her own.” “The girl was the orphan of a war hero killed at the end of the Clone Wars.” Ruwee stared without seeming to see the grand Imperial ceremony being broadcast on the holoscreen. “She would’ve been adopted around the time that Padme died.” Jobal was anything but blind as she continued to gaze at the holoscreen. “Bail Organa was always very close to Padme.” Padme, Jobal remembered with an agonizing tightening of her chest, had always spoken glowingly of how articulate and uncorrupted by the politics of the Senate the erstwhile Bail Organa was, but she had never mentioned how handsome and well-built he was. Jobal could imagine her daughter falling in love with this man who was married—this man who could never marry her and whose good name she’d never want to taint. Everything—her daughter’s secret pregnancy and why Padme had never told her whose child she carried—clicked in her mind. Padme must have been pregnant with Bail Organa’s child, and when she died in childbirth, Bail had publicly pretended that the baby hadn’t survived either while adopting the child as his own because she was his own. “Padme always said he was an honorable man.” Ruwee shook his head as though emerging from a daze of grief. “I don’t think he’d do what you’re implying, my love.” “Yes, he’s an honorable man, and our daughter is dead.” Tears blurred Jobal’s vision at last, and her heart was cut with the sharp realization that if Padme had been so determined to take the secret of whom the father of her child was to her grave, Jobal couldn’t betray her by ever seeking out this granddaughter. This granddaughter’s existence would be bittersweet to Jobal. Bitter because she could never meet her granddaughter and share stories of Padme with her. Sweet because she would know that a breathing legacy of Padme had a heartbeat somewhere in the galaxy. This granddaughter would be sugar, spice, and all things nice just like Padme had been, Jobal tried to assure herself as she scooped up her spoon and began to stir her tea again.