Title: Objects in motion Timeframe: Most of the Saga Summary: After she leaves Amidala's service, Rabé's life is always in motion. Author's Note: Finally, I've written something for this roulette challenge, which I signed up for...well, months ago. It did say there was no deadline. My quote, by the way, was from Dirty Dancing: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." And it's in here. Just... slightly altered. * Objects in motion Before I left my room, I braided my hair. I had decided on an easy style, one that would only take a minute or so. I had done it so many times, and I didn’t need to think, or feel my fingers as I worked with my hair. My hairbrush was clogged up with bird nest dark hair. Again. It had a gleaming mirror silver back, and had been a present from one of my aunts. I looked at the window, though I couldn’t see the trees and the stickydamp grey sky outside. Everything was quiet. Jollé had helped me pack earlier, but that hadn’t taken long. Amidala was, again, and always, in a meeting. A chrono tick tick ticked in the hallway. The meeting was with Lady Brandes, the music and arts advisor. I couldn’t remember what they were discussing, though I must have known. I would have. But (and I shrugged) that was no longer my concern. I didn’t have to know, and remember, where Amidala was, and what she was doing, at all times. Not anymore. The ticking seemed to echo everywhere, which was odd. It was too loud. I turned back to the room. The room. It wasn’t mine, and really, it never had been. It was a small, plain, room, where I could hear everything in the Queen’s bedchamber. There was nothing to hear out there now. I picked up my dark cloak, and threw it over my shoulders. My fingers were cold as I fastened the brooch shut. That day, I wore the cloak because it was cold outside. The wind slapped at the tree branches. Yané thought it might even snow, though I doubted that. Snow has a whispering voice, I had read in a poetry book the year before. I didn’t know why I remembered that, but there didn’t need to be a reason. My hair glowed dark in the mirror I used. It was polished clean and knife sharp bright. My sisters used to tease me when I was little about being so neat, but really, I did it when I was bored, or needed to calm down. My face looked serious, but then, I do look serious. Not always, but usually. I was nervous, and excited, and (maybe, deep down secretly)relieved. After five years, I was no longer Queen Amidala’s handmaiden. Now, I was going to be something else. I didn’t look back when I left my room, and let the door shut with a diary locked click. There was already a new handmaiden, Berné, to take my place. She would be moved in either that day, or the next. Oddly, I had known her when I was still in school, though her name was Berna then. She had long dark hair that was curly now, but had been straight and slippery sleek then. She looked like Amidala’s twin or sister, if you didn’t look too closely at her. Which, I knew, was the point. --- (Perhaps Captain Panaka had known, or guessed, that Rabé was planning to resign. She wasn’t the first. Sabé had left when she was grown up too tall for anyone to think she was Queen Amidala, and then Eirtaé. Then Lissé. He had paused for a minute, and then he nodded, when Rabé told him. She had met with him in private, in his office, after her training session. Her thighs were stone clenched stiff, and she was flushed. A good, strong girl. He hadn’t asked why. He never would, even when Rabé signed her resignation paper, and had sworn that none of the secrets of the palace would leave it with her. She had blinked, and they were gone. Then, he had said: “It has been an honor knowing you, Rabé. Good luck.” “Thank you, Captain,” she had said. Outside, it was raining, and Rabé, as she walked down the hallway in her pale gown, had suddenly remembered a day when she had run through the pounding rain to class. There had been smashed white petals on the pavement, and there had been other girls shrieking or giggling all around. Her wool skirts had taken all afternoon to dry out. She had perhaps eleven or so, and she had just grown four or so inches and didn’t know how to be that tall yet. Two days after that, she had started her menstrual period, and so she remembered them together. She blinked. She hadn’t thought of that day in years.) --- It was snowing. The girls had gone out into the school courtyard in their matching winter cloaks and boots, and were shrieking at each other. Of course, not all of them were out there. Some of the girls had stayed back near the school and were huddled tight to keep warm. They blew on their hands. One of them, Amlé, had forgotten to bring her gloves. I stayed back, where I could keep an eye on several of the girls. They were popular, well-liked, and somewhat feared. Some of the new teachers thought the girls lived and studied in harmony, but I knew human nature too well for that. Girls can be so mean— (But we weren’t, Rabé thought. Then again, we were hardly normal girls.) I walked out onto the courtyard, into the fluttering light snow flakes. They melted on my lips and eyelashes. My hair was up in a new hairstyle that just became popular in Theed. It was odd that I noticed this, but some of the girls, mostly the youngest ones who I didn’t teach, thought I was the prettiest teacher. Some of the other teachers thought it was because of my accent. It’s so soothing, they said. I didn’t know about that. I was thirty-two, older than Amidala would ever be. I was not old, or even close, not outside of politics, but some of the grey haired women who have taught for years had said it: You’re not a young girl anymore, you know. I knew. The maths teacher, Miss Vinz, came over and stood next to me. She sighs, and breaths out magic show smoke into the air. There was snow glittering like glass diamond drops in her hair. I didn’t know her very well. She had just gotten her position five months before. She was from Kaadara, and was only twenty-one years old. Fresh out of University. Still innocent, whatever that means. I should have known, but I didn’t. “We should have a snowball fight,” said Miss Vinz. “Don’t be silly,” I said. “What will the old girls say? It’s not dignified. Besides, there’s not nearly enough snow.” “That’s not it,” she said. “You’re too scared.” And yes, giggled. “Hardly,” I said. I watched her as I stepped back. Her teeth were sugar white, and her mouth was slightly chapped. I think I smiled. (Innocently.) “No one puts me in a corner, Miss Vinz. I’m sure you’ve heard that.” And I reached down, down, and made a quick, wet fistful of snow. It wasn’t enough for a proper snowball, but it would do. Years before, I had been the handmaiden who understood every joke. It was Eirtaé who knew what they were, but didn’t think they were intelligent enough to be amusing. Sabé had been fierce. Saché had been aloof and shy. Yané had been beautiful, and with clever thief’s hands. In fact, I could remember one time when we did have a sudden, yelling snowball fight. Panaka had not known. --- (Miss Vinz, or Lilani Vinz, shrieked as Rabé jumped up, with a slight, secret telling smile, and threw the snowball at her. It hit, but it was small and already melting. You bad girl, she said, amused, in life and then in memory. Some of the girls watched with moon big eyes as Miss Vinz chased Rabé, grabbing up some snow and throwing. Even in that northern, forest dark island of Naboo, snow was rare. It made people silly, they said.) --- Later, I got married, several months after my thirty-fifth birthday. My mother thought it was about time. So did my married sisters, cousins, and aunts. I had a daughter, who I considered, but only for a second, not even a moment, naming Padmé. Five years later, my husband and I were divorced. My mother sighed, but I was over forty years old. Old enough, and then some, to make my own mistakes. I realized, as I sat up one night in my nightgown, my hair still black as night and daydreams, that I had never believed that I would love one person, forever. Not when I was thirty. Not when I was sixteen. --- (Padmé is, forever and ever, a woman made out of rose white marble, and lying in her funeral boat. I hadn’t seen her, or known her, since I had resigned as a handmaiden, and of course, she wasn’t the fierce, innocent girl-warrior anymore. She hadn’t been for years. There were moth pale flowers sleeping in her hair, and around me, women murmured to each other over their blinking warm candles. Her name is buried with her.) --- That last day, no one saw me leave the palace. I walked out into the streets of Theed, into the crowds of midday shoppers and businesspeople. Alone. I clutched the note that Eirtaé had sent me right before I left. I wondered how I would know her now. It started to rain, and I ducked into the airbus shelter. My mother had offered to come get me, but I had wanted to go out into the world by myself. I would be starting classes at the University in a month, but until then, I had time. And nothing else. A little girl shrieked as she ran past. (Amlé? Another girl who would be named for Amidala?) The rain slowed, and I walked out into it. I could have stopped, but I didn’t. My thighs were tense, and I wanted to jump and run. The next day, I would meet with Eirtaé and Saché at a tearoom. I would have a glass of spiced caf with an ice straw. It would be one of the last times I would speak with Saché. There would be no reason for that. We didn’t quarrel. It just happened. She moved off planet, I would hear, possibly to Coruscant, before it became Imperial Center. I would never know if she stayed there. I have only been to Coruscant once, and I don’t need to go back there. In thirty minutes, I would walk into a coffeeshop down the street, popular with University students and artists, my hair soggy with rain, and would meet the boy who would be my first, not second, lover. But I didn’t know any of that yet. It couldn’t happen until I stepped out of that shelter, and forward.