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					In this sequel to the author‟s “Crash into Me,” will the strain of Anakin and Padmé‟s secret marriage be too much? ______________________ Fix You By Lady_Sapphire Rated PG-13 Submitted August 2006 ______________________ Prologue Anakin Skywalker‟s gloved hand rested on the controls of his ship. With his other hand, he reached out and lightly patted the wall of the cockpit, grateful to it for two years of unfailing service. It had brought him through thick and thin and had never once let him down. And now, it was bringing him home. To Padme. A bright grin spread easily across his face at the thought of his wife. Two years already. He had just missed their anniversary and was planning on making it up to her as best as he could. Even though it wasn‟t often that he was given leave from the war, he had been able to get some time off last year to be with her on their first anniversary. He remembered the understanding look on her face when he had told her that this year wouldn‟t be the same as the last, but he had known that she had been disappointed. There was a hint of something else in her voice…something he couldn‟t place. Whatever it was, he was positive that she would tell him when he finally returned to her. The war…the Clone War to be more exact, had taken him away from her. She understood and certainly had her own duties to worry about in the Senate. He just worried that it was too much, too much of a strain on her to worry about the state of the galaxy as well as the well-being of her secret husband. Even if it was, he doubted that she would ever admit to it or slow down for that matter. He knew he could never ask her to do that, no more than she could ask him to leave the Order. That was their lives and their curse. He shuddered and felt a little out of control as he remembered the visit from the past he had received only days before. Organa. That man…he clenched his human hand into a fist out of anger and disgust. That man deserved to suffer beyond imagination. Padme had never told him what Organa had said to her that day when she had deserted him at the altar. But now, after seeing him, after seeing the hidden malice in his gaze, Anakin wanted him dead. It was wrong, but he had been hearing some rumors about Organa. Rumors that contradicted Organa‟s „dedicated‟ service to the Senate. In fact, the rumors all but accused Organa of betraying the Senate and the Republic. That alone made him want to physically harm Organa, not to mention the past he had with his wife. Padme. She always had a calming effect on him and he wondered where she was and what she was doing. She wasn‟t expecting him for another two days, but for some reason, the Chancellor had granted him early leave. And now, he was on his way to her. Five more minutes maybe, and

he would be landing on Coruscant. Obi-Wan signaled to him from his own cockpit and Anakin waved back at him. Obi-Wan had always been a great friend to him and he trusted him with his own life. There had been many times when he had feared he wouldn‟t make it, that he had wanted to tell Obi-Wan to tell Padme he loved her, but then had had to stop himself. He regretted that he had to keep that from his best friend. It shouldn‟t have to be like that, and Obi-Wan of all people should have been there when he married the love of his life. And he could only imagine what Padme went through everyday, wondering if he was safe and not being able to really ask if he was alright. Any news of him, he knew, she received from the holonet and that was a horrible to find out. But circumstances would never allow them to bring their marriage into the open. Circumstances would never allow him to love her out in the open. And every time he was with her, he wanted to shout from the roof of his wife‟s posh apartment. And it hurt more than he could have ever imagined to sit next to the Chancellor during the Senate meetings and see her, beautifully seated below him, listening intently to the discussion, and not aware that he was watching her. But she always knew he was there and any glances, any moments that passed between them were stolen and lasted for only a second before they had to look away. He sighed, feeling an overwhelming sense of relief when his landing pad came into view. It was only a matter of time now before he would be with his wife. Just a brief meeting with the Council, then he knew he would have to stop himself from running to his wife‟s apartment. Chapter One Padme Skywalker sat at her vanity, absentmindedly brushing her hair, her thoughts resting solely on the part of her body that wasn‟t visible in the mirror. She stopped brushing for a second, contemplating whether or not she should have worn a less revealing nightgown. She quickly shook her head at that thought. She wasn‟t expecting anyone, well…no one that really mattered. Besides, she couldn‟t help but enjoy the feeling of showing it off, even though it was meant for only her. The only time she could really do that when she was alone. She sighed deeply and leaned back in her chair. Two more days. Just two more days and she‟d finally be able to say what she‟d been waiting seven months to say. Gods, she missed him. She had never known it was going to be that hard, the waiting, the agonizing, the worrying. It was worse than she had ever imagined. And it certainly didn‟t help that she‟d had to do it entirely alone. There was no shoulder to cry on, no one to listen to her pain. She had been alone her entire life before she had married Anakin. She never let anyone in, never cared enough to truly get hurt. But now that she had him, being without him, being alone, was the worst feeling imaginable. Her fingers longed to touch him; her arms longed to hold him. Just to see him would be enough after so long. Her apartment, not to mention her bed, felt cold and uncomfortably enormous. It was amazing that just his presence alone made her feel safe, relaxed, and loved. Her hand rested protectively on her stomach as she felt a presence and before she could even

register whose presence it was, her eyes flew to the mirror. There he was, smiling that incredible smile of his, and not at all looking like he had just come from a war zone. She leapt from his chair and into the arms of her husband, immediately showering him with kisses. “I can‟t believe it! You said that…” “I know what I said. Obi-Wan and I got leave earlier than I had thought and I wanted to surprise you since I missed our special day.” He grinned down at her, loving having her back in his arms. She couldn‟t help but smile back at him, and pressed herself closer to him. The minute her stomach touched him, her eyes flew to his face, searching for some reaction. She frowned slightly when he just kissed her forehead. Much to Padme‟s dismay, her husband immediately noticed her change in mood, but nothing else. His hands cupped her face and looked at her carefully. “What‟s wrong? You‟re acting a little strange.” She laughed lightly and kissed him again. For the Chosen One, he sure was dense. “Something‟s happened, Anakin. Something that‟s going to completely change our lives.” Worry crept into his eyes and he took her hand immediately. “What‟s wrong? Just tell me.” She took a small step back from him and it was then that he saw it. Recognition flicked in his eyes as he took in the extremely noticeable change in her figure. With sheer amazement on his face, he reached out and placed both hands on her protruding abdomen and massaged it gently. He jumped only slightly when he felt a small kick from within then looked back at her in astonishment. “This is incredible.” She smiled brightly and placed her hands over his. He leaned forward and kissed her tenderly on the lips. “This is the best news I‟ve heard in seven months.” He whispered softly. She laughed and brought her arms behind his neck. “Nothing gets past you, does it?” He shook his head, unable to suppress the huge grin that was spreading across his face. “I‟m going to be a father.” “Yes you are…I‟m sorry I didn‟t tell you right away.” “Don‟t worry about it. I completely understand, besides, I‟m not even supposed to be here yet.” “Oh yeah…but I‟m glad you‟re here, though. I was getting pretty lonely here all by myself.”

He smiled faintly but it faded quickly. He should have never left her, especially the last time he had left. He wasn‟t there when she had found out their good news, he wasn‟t there when she had first felt their child kick. It wasn‟t fair to her and it wasn‟t fair to him either. If only the Council…he shook his head at that. The Council was too set in its ways, it would never happen. He turned his attention back to his wife and a brilliant idea struck him. “Well, we should do something about that loneliness, now shouldn‟t we?” He didn‟t even let her respond because he had already swept her into his arms and engulfed her in a passionate kiss. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Anakin?” “Hmmm?” She shifted in bed to lean by on her elbow and looked directly at him. “How long are you going to be here?” “I‟m not sure. Before I came here, I had to meet with the Council and they told me the Chancellor personally requested that I serve as the Council‟s representative for him during the upcoming Senate meetings. I‟m not really sure why he wants me, but I‟m grateful for the time. It‟ll be at least three weeks, probably a little more than that.” “Good.” She snuggled closer to him and kissed his cheek lightly. His last leave had lasted only a week and a half, not nearly enough time, but it had still been better than nothing. “So I guess I‟ll be seeing you at most of the Senate meetings, then.” She yawned. “Great. Now I get to be constantly distracted by you.” He laughed and kissed her again. “If anyone‟s doing the distracting, it‟s you.” She rolled her eyes but snuggled closer to him anyways. “Can we just say that we‟ll both distract each other so I can go to sleep?” “Sure.” He leaned over and kissed her one more time before pulling the covers more tightly over her before finally letting sleep creep up on him. Before he slipped into sleep, he placed a hand lightly on her stomach and felt her hand cover his. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Her face. She was in pain. So much pain. She was calling out to him, asking him to…he wasn‟t

sure what she wanted him to do but he had to do something. She was screaming, but he couldn‟t hear her screams. Her mouth was open, but no sound came out. So much pain. She was…she was dying. Something was killing his angel. Her face twisted again in pain and she was crying out now. Screaming his name. So much pain…he couldn‟t watch anymore. He had to do something to help her…she was dying…fading now… Anakin shot up in bed. Sweat dripped down his face and he threw the covers off him before casting a quick glance at his sleeping wife. He sat on the side of the bed, contemplating what to do as his hands ran nervously through his unruly hair. He took one more look at Padme, and left the room, grabbing his robe along the way in a desperate attempt to escape the images still running through his mind. Chapter Two Padme‟s eyes opened slowly and she instinctively reached out for Anakin. Her head lifted in confusion as the sleep faded away and she realized that he wasn‟t in bed with her anymore. She looked around the dark room and quickly noticed that his robe was gone. Something was wrong, she could feel it. Whatever it was, she wasn‟t about to let him go through it alone. She padded softly to the terrace of her apartment and exhaled when she finally saw him. Yet, something was wrong. She didn‟t have to see his face to know that. His head turned and their gazes crashed; hers sympathetic and concerned, his troubled and worried. She closed the short distance between them and stood in front of him so she could see his face, etched with worry and now…fear. “Anakin…what‟s wrong?” His eyes closed and he sighed. The last thing he wanted to do was worry her, especially with everything going on in the Senate. He didn‟t want to add more stress or strain and he certainly didn‟t want to endanger their child. Yet, something was telling him that if he could tell anyone, it would be her. He knew he could confide in her because, after all, she was his wife, his partner, and the only thing that ever really mattered to him. He sighed again. She didn‟t need to know this. Some horrors just don‟t need to be uttered. Instead, his mind grasped for something to tell her and he remembered a particular encounter that he was planning on asking her about anyways. It probably wasn‟t the best time to question her or ask her for answers, but he needed to know. And he needed something to keep his mind off of the images that wouldn‟t leave his mind. Besides, anger seemed like the better choice over fear, the lesser of two evils. “Padme?” “Hmmm?” “If I asked you something about Organa, you would tell me, right?”

She frowned and stared to him. Where was this coming from? Besides, it was still too painful, too fresh even though it had happened two years ago. “Anakin, I don‟t want to talk about it.” “I know it‟s difficult for you, but I have to know something. Please?” She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment. Even though it was the last thing she wanted to talk about, she couldn‟t say no to him. “What do you need to know?” “What did he say to you that day?” “Anakin…you don‟t want to know. It would only make you angry.” “I need to know.” “Why?” “Please. Just tell me.” “Fine. But don‟t say I didn‟t warn you.” “Padme, I promise I won‟t do anything you won‟t like.” “Fine. He said that he knew about us, at the Retreat. He said I was going to belong to him, that he pushed up the wedding to protect his investment, that he had watched me since I was Queen. He said that if I did anything to stop the wedding, he would make me pay. And he called me a…” “What? What did he call you?” “He said I was a whore.” She grabbed for him and let him hold her tightly to his chest, finally letting the tears and the emotions flow out of her that had been walled up since that day. Anakin‟s jaw clenched so tightly he caused himself physical pain. But there was no way she needed to see his anger. It would only make her worry and she didn‟t have anything to worry about. But Organa did. He hadn‟t known what to expect, but what she had told him made him want to put his fist through a wall. He held her as she cried through the pain of that day, knowing that again, he should have been there for her. He promised himself that she would never have to feel that kind of pain again. He would never let any harm come to her and he would do everything he could to be with her more. And now, there was someone else to worry about and take care of. He would rather die than allow anything to happen to his family. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Anakin fidgeted in his chair, wanting more than anything for the incredibly boring meeting to be over. Politics had never really interested him, but he had never known that it could be that

agonizing. And he certainly had no idea how Padme, or anyone else for that matter, could stand it day after day. His eyes flew to her and he couldn‟t fight the smile that played across his lips. She was listening very intently, leaning over even, with her head resting on her propped up elbow. Then without warning, she grabbed a datapad and scribbled a few notes, then resumed her position. It was far more entertaining to watch his wife than pay any attention to the proceedings. He cast a quick glance at the Chancellor, who was to his left and also listening very intensely. The Chancellor glanced back at him and smiled reassuring, obviously aware of Anakin‟s boredom. Then before long, a break was called and the room exploded with activity and voices as the inhabitants rose from their seats. “Anakin?” Anakin immediately looked at the Chancellor, who was now looking back at him with an intense, concerned stare. “Yes, Chancellor?” “Is everything alright? You seem…distant, troubled today. You know you can tell me. Whatever it is…in complete confidence.” Anakin sighed and realized that he would tell the Chancellor. He needed to tell someone, he definitely couldn‟t tell Padme, and he certainly couldn‟t mention it to anyone on the Council. “I had a dream last night. A nightmare. It was about Senator Amidala. She was in so much pain…she was dying. I don‟t know what to do…” “Dreams of a Jedi often are a glimpse into the future.” Anakin‟s brow furrowed in confusion. “So you think it‟s really going to happen, then?” “I remember, very well, that you had a similar dream about your mother shortly before she died. You didn‟t get there in time, did you?” Anakin shook his head, grief and fear swarming around in his mind. No…no…not Padme. He wouldn‟t let it happen to her, whatever he had to do, he would do it. “No I didn‟t. There has to be something…” The Chancellor smiled knowingly. “I‟m well educated in the ways of the Force, as you know, and there is a power, a very strong power, that can be used to prevent death.” Anakin leaned forward in his chair, listening intently and contemplating this as well. “Is it possible to learn this power?”

The Chancellor stared at Anakin intensely, a faint smile on his lips as he answered: “Not from a Jedi.” Anakin nodded as his mind began to grasp this information. It didn‟t matter to him that this power had to be obtained outside of the Jedi. The Chancellor hadn‟t had to tell him that though. It was just like them to be too afraid to even consider touching the power the Chancellor was talking about. The Jedi weren‟t going to help him; he had no doubt of that. He turned back to the Chancellor and realized that the Chancellor and his knowledge just might be his only ally. Before Anakin even knew what was going on, blaster fire exploded from beneath him. His insides twisted when he finally realized that the fire was coming from where his wife sat. That was all the motivation he needed. Within moments, he was out of his seat and headed towards the blaster fire‟s direction. Nothing was going to harm her. Nothing. He would die before allowing that to happen. Chapter Three Anakin sprinted anxiously to his wife, silently praying that she was alright because blaster fire could still be heard from her direction. To his relief, he could see her crouched under a chair, protectively covering her stomach. He took a deep breath and ignited his light saber. Suddenly, the assassin stopped firing and ran from the room. Without skipping a beat, Anakin quickly followed the assassin, intent on making him pay for trying to harm Padme. As soon as Anakin entered the hallway, it seemed as if the assassin had disappeared into thin air. There was no trace or sign of him anywhere and Anakin dejectedly deactivated his light saber. Besides, Padme had to be his first priority. Once his anger wore off, his only thought was to get to her and make sure she was alright. He re-entered the now crowded room. There were so many faces that he barely recognized, and he thought he saw Palpatine faintly off in the distance somewhere, but at the moment, that wasn‟t what was important. He waded through the fog of people searching for only one face and trying desperately to maintain a calm composure. The only image going through his mind was of her face in the dream he had had. There was pain and she was crying out for him. His heart beat and his pace quickened at that thought. No…she was safe, she was safe. The assassin had disappeared. Relief crept upon him the second her face came into view. He tried his best to remain calm and stopped his feet from running to her because in the back of mind, he knew he couldn‟t give them away. Instead of sprinting to where she sat, he walked slowly over to her and bent down to see her face more clearly. She seemed alright physically. There was no blood visible or tears in her dress. She seemed to be ok. “Are you alright, milady? That was quite a scare.”

Padme lifted her head and sighed deeply at the very welcome sight of him. “Yes. I‟m fine. Everything is fine.” Anakin‟s eyes closed briefly in relief and he squeezed her hand before releasing it quickly. “Perhaps I should escort you back to your apartment.” The sparkle in her eyes that he loved so much returned and she smiled softly. “I think that would be wonderful. I always feel safe around you.” Anakin grinned before helping her stand and alerted a few around them he would be taking the Senator safely back to her apartment. Before he could do anything else, his gaze hardened the moment his eyes locked with the man he hated more than anything. Bail Organa strode up to them carefully, but could not hide the smug smile on his face. “Well, that certainly was a close one, wasn‟t it?” Padme smiled icily while Anakin flung daggers with his eyes. Padme sensed the obvious tension between the two men and quickly decided to end it before either of them made a scene. “Jedi Skywalker…I thought you were going to escort me to my apartment?” Bail‟s lips curled into a knowing smile. “Yes, I‟m sure with all the excitement around here you‟re both very…well…excited.” Anakin took a step forward, nostrils and anger flaring. Padme quickly took him by the arm and led him around Bail but not before Anakin could growl his reply: “She could have been killed you cold-hearted bastard.” With that, Anakin turned back, his attention returned to the safety of Padme and their unborn child. ~~~~~~~~~ Supreme Chancellor Palpatine sat down in his office. He rested his head in his hands in deep thought. He began to nod his head in self-satisfaction at the action he had taken that day. He had been trying to get rid of Senator Amidala for over two years because she never failed to cause him trouble. It seemed that every movement or bill he tried to pass, she always found some way to counter him and persuade other Senators to share her view. She had certainly caused him well over her fair share of headaches which was precisely why he had decided to get rid of her. But now…she was an asset to him. Anakin was attached to her. Palpatine had always known that Anakin had feelings for her; he had just underestimated how strong those feelings were. Yes…he had stroked Anakin‟s mind with the force and found his answer. Wife. Senator Amidala was really Padme Naberrie Skywalker. Yes…the Senator was going to be very useful in persuading Anakin to join him. The seeds had

already been planted that day. Anakin had practically handed himself to him on a platter by telling him about the dream. It was going to be so easy. And he was going to enjoy every second of it. Palpatine‟s calculations were boldly interrupted by none other than Bail Organa. Bail quickly closed the door behind him and sat down across from Palpatine. “Did anyone see you, Senator?” Bail shook his head. “Good. Now tell me everything you‟ve discovered…” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Anakin rubbed Padme‟s shoulders comfortingly but couldn‟t stop her from shaking. He quickly led her to a chair and pulled her into a warm embrace. “I thought it was over, Anakin. I thought the attempts had stopped. I didn‟t think that…” “Sshhh….it‟s ok. I‟m here. You don‟t have anything to be afraid of. I‟d never let anything ever happen to you or the baby.” Padme nodded and rubbed the tears from her eyes. “I know…it‟s just that...I never thought it would happen again. I was so scared that something would happen to the baby and we‟d never get to see him or her. I…” She couldn‟t finish and threw herself back into his arms and let him hold her while she sobbed. Anakin caressed her hair soothingly in an attempt to appear like the calm protector, but inwardly, he was seething and scared out of his mind at the same time. Someone had dared to try to hurt her. Someone had scared her so badly that she was in his arms sobbing uncontrollably. That person was going to pay. There was no way he was going to let anything happen to her. As he held her, his thoughts drifted back to a certain conversation shortly before he had gotten the scare of his life. “There is a power, a very strong power that can be used to prevent death.” “Is it possible to learn this power?” “Not from a Jedi.” Anakin swallowed nervously. He knew he was treading on dangerous territory. If he went down that path, there was no going back. He knew no Jedi would help him. And what he would have to do would be against everything he had ever been taught. But for Padme, for their child, he was willing to do whatever it took to keep them safe and alive.

He couldn‟t let her die. Not when she was the only thing that mattered. The only one who really understood him. Not when she was carrying his child. Not when he loved her more than anything. No…whatever the Chancellor knew about this power, he was going to find out and he was going to use it to save Padme. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Padme awoke several hours later, grateful that her headache had subsided in her sleep. She immediately surveyed the room, searching for only one person, but he wasn‟t there. She needed him now more than she had ever needed anyone. That day she had thought she would surely die and take her unborn child with her. She had never been so scared in her entire life. Her child had been in real danger that day. It was a feeling she had never experienced before and definitely didn‟t like it. Yes, her maternal instincts were in high gear but being scared for the life of one‟s child is the worst feeling a mother can feel. She wouldn‟t have cared if she died if it meant her child could live. And Anakin…he had been just as scared as she had been. It was a look that she rarely saw from the fearless warrior. The terror in his eyes was unmistakable. She knew he had been trying to stay calm for both her and the unknowing people in the room but she could see the conflict within him. And then Bail had shown up. She had thought Anakin would tear him limb for limb right in front of everyone. She knew she shouldn‟t have told him what Bail said to her. It would only fuel the hatred he hid so horribly. She sighed. He was definitely not in their bedroom. She went further into the apartment and breathed a sigh of relief when she finally found him sitting in a chair. Then as she saw the look that etched his face, her brow furrowed in worry. What was wrong now? Something was truly troubling him and she knew it wasn‟t just everything with Bail. There was something he wasn‟t telling her and she hated that he felt he couldn‟t be completely honest with her. She knew that he was just trying to protect her in his own way, but if it involved her, she deserved to know. “Anakin? Are you alright?” His eyes shot open and took in the sight of her. Even in her rumpled clothes, she still took his breath away. A soft smile played on his lips and he rose to take her in his arms. “I‟m fine, angel.” “No...I know something‟s wrong. I know there‟s something you‟re keeping from me. Whatever it is, you know you can tell me.” Anakin sighed and gazed into the soulful brown eyes he loved so much. Perhaps it was only a matter of time until she found out anyways. Maybe it would even make her more cautious since she would be aware of the threat to her life. Not like she hadn‟t already figured that out that day

but any precaution was still necessary. “I don‟t know how to tell you this.” “Then just tell me. I can handle it, Anakin.” He smiled faintly. “I know you can. You‟re the strongest person I know, Padme. I just want you to know I‟m not telling you this to scare you.” She nodded, prompting him to continue. “I had a nightmare last night. It was so horrible. All I saw was your face. You were in so much pain, you were crying out to me…Padme, you were dying. And there was nothing I could do about. I could only watch.” Tears began to fall down his face and she gently wiped them from his eyes. He took her hand and loving kissed it before returning it to his face. “Anakin, it was only a dream.” “You remember the dream I had about my mother before she died?” “Yes, but you forget that she was already suffering. She was already dying, Anakin. I‟m not. I‟m perfectly fine. We‟re perfectly fine. It was just a dream. Not all dreams come true.” He nodded slowly, marveling at the way she handled his revelation and realizing the truth in her statements. What she said certainly made sense. It could be just a dream. But he wasn‟t going to take that chance. Without saying a word, he pulled her in his arms and held her as tightly as he could. Nothing was going to take her away from him. She was his. Forever. And nothing was going to change that. Chapter Four Padme sat at the edge of her veranda, looking out into the morning bustle of Coruscant. She sighed, thinking of a time when everything had been simple, when she had just gone to her Senate meetings without a single thought of Anakin. She didn‟t regret her marriage to him for a second, but she wished more than anything that it didn‟t have to kept a secret. It hurt her more than anything to have to patiently wait month after month, praying that nothing would happen to him and knowing that if anything did, no one would expect a reaction from her. Her hand stroked her swollen abdomen protectively and felt tears well up in her eyes. There was no way of knowing if Anakin would even be able to be there when their child was born. She didn‟t even want to think about what would happen after their child was born. Would the Council take their child away? Would the Council then find out about their secret marriage?

She shook her head. No…she knew Anakin would never let them do it. She knew he would find a way to their family together, no matter what the cost. That thought scared her, but she knew that whatever Anakin decided to do, she would support him. Her head shot up as her husband walked into the room. He smiled reassuringly towards her and she couldn‟t help but smile back. “How are you feeling today?” “I‟m alright.” “Padme, I still think you should see a healer.” “I just told you I‟m ok!” Anakin winced at that and quickly backed down. He hadn‟t gotten used to her mood swings yet and he wasn‟t sure he ever would. “Well, there was something I wanted to talk to you about. You‟re probably not going to like it, but just listen to me, ok?” She nodded, impatiently tapping her foot in anticipation. She didn‟t know why she had snapped at him like that, but by now, she was just plain irritated. “Padme, I think you should take some time off from the Senate.” Her mouth dropped open in shock. “What? No…there is no way I‟m going to do that. We‟re in the middle of a war, Anakin. I can‟t just take a vacation because one idiot took a few shots at me!” “Padme, you‟re pregnant and…” “You think I don‟t know that? You think I don‟t care about our baby‟s safety, is that it?” “No…I just want to make sure that you‟re safe. We had thought that the assassination attempts were over, but they‟re obviously not. I‟m not going to take any chances here. You‟re going to take time off and that‟s it!” “Fine…then you have to stay away from the Chancellor.” Anakin‟s brow furrowed in confusion. “What? What does that have to do with anything?” “This: he makes me feel very uneasy, Anakin. I can‟t explain it but I really believe that he has some ulterior motives. I don‟t like that you‟re spending so much time with him. If I have to take time off from the Senate, then you have to stay away from the Chancellor.”

“That‟s ridiculous. The Council gave me the assignment to keep an eye on the Chancellor and he personally requested me as the Council‟s representative. I can‟t stay away from him.” “Yes you can. Don‟t you think it‟s strange that he personally requested you? Besides, can‟t you just tell the Council you can‟t do it anymore. Tell them whatever you want but just do it.” Anakin ran his hand across his face and lifted his eyes to the ceiling. There was just no compromising with her. He had never seen her like this before but he knew that there was no way he could do what she asked. Even if he could, what would he tell the Council? Tell them his emotional, pregnant wife was overreacting? “Padme, you know I can‟t do that.” She glared at him and stormed past him. Before she slammed their bedroom door, she snarled: “And if you think you‟re sleeping here tonight, you‟re even denser than I thought!” Anakin sighed and shook his head. He stared at their bedroom door for several moments then finally left and headed for the only place he knew he could go, but really didn‟t want to. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Master Kenobi, it is imperative that you take this mission. We need as many investigators as we can to find the Sith lord. But you are the only one we can spare and you are the only one that he seems to trust.” Obi-Wan closed his eyes for a brief moment to gather his thoughts, and with a heavy heart, reopened them to look at the rest of the Jedi Council. “I will accept this mission, but know that I take it regretfully. I will carry this burden for the Council.” The other members nodded their heads in approval but Yoda remained still, his eyes transfixed on Obi-Wan. “Difficult for you, this is. But done, this must be. A danger and a threat, young Skywalker is. Forbidden, attachments are. More proof, we need.” Obi-Wan nodded, feeling both the pain and truth of the ancient Master‟s statements. If it was indeed true, then Anakin was in danger of falling to the dark side. He bowed one last time before taking his leave from the Council. He walked slowly through the halls of the Temple. It was night now but Obi-Wan was far from tired. He guessed that he would many sleepless nights now that he had accepted the one mission he had prayed he would never have to accept. Investigate his former padawan for breaking the Code was something he had longed feared he would have to do. But there was reason to suspect Anakin. Anakin had made himself scarce in the Temple and when he was no where to be seen,

he never told anyone where he went. The Council had their theory of where he was going and Obi-Wan could only hope that it wasn‟t true and that he would find the evidence he needed to prove it. But if it was true, Anakin was in danger and he would do anything to keep him from harm. Ob-Wan turned a corner and his eyes widened in shock when he saw the object of his thoughts was standing right before, looking out a window with a very somber expression written on his face. “Anakin?” Anakin turned to look at his former Master and smiled faintly. “Hello Master.” Obi-Wan chuckled lightly. “How many times have I told you to call me Obi-Wan?” “Too many but it‟s hard to break old habits, I suppose.” Obi-Wan nodded and they both turned to gaze out the window. Obi-Wan glanced at Anakin hesitantly, wondering why he was here and hoping everything was just as it seemed. “I haven‟t seen you around here much. Is everything alright?” “Yes, it‟s just fine. The Chancellor is keeping me very busy with many boring Senate meetings.” They shared a welcomed laugh and then both became somber. “Senator Amidala had quite the scare today, didn‟t she? It‟s a good thing you were there to make sure she was alright.” Anakin‟s brow furrowed for a second at the mention of Padme, then he quickly regained his composure. “Yes, it was believed that the assassination attempts were over. She was very lucky.” Obi-Wan nodded and decided to pry a little further. “I know she is a good friend of yours so I‟m sure you‟re very worried about her.” Anakin tried desperately to keep his shock and disbelief hidden from his face. He took a moment to decide how to respond before finally answering. “Yes, ever since the battle on Naboo. You know we were writing to each other for awhile. She‟s an old friend, I suppose you could say.” Obi-Wan smiled faintly at his friend and silently prayed that Anakin was telling him the truth. He placed a hand on Anakin‟s shoulder before continuing his walk and leaving Anakin alone with his thoughts. Chapter Five Anakin shifted his head on the extremely uncomfortable bed in the Temple. It had been a long

time since he had spent a night there and he hoped he wouldn‟t have to do it again any time soon. Staring at the ceiling, his thoughts drifted to his wife and their argument. He wasn‟t even sure if it counted as an argument because he wasn‟t sure if they had even argued. Padme had just exploded at him and he didn‟t even know what he had said that was so horrible. He had his duties and he had to carry them out no what the surrounding circumstances. Padme‟s mood swings…her emotions always in high gear…he didn‟t stand a chance around her. He sighed and rolled onto his side. Reaching out with the Force, he found Padme‟s still soothing presence and winced when he realized she was crying. And it was all his fault. He realized that she had her duties too and she had to carry them out as well. When they first married, they had both understood the importance of their careers and she had never once asked him to leave the Order even for a second. He sighed…what a jerk he was…he knew that first thing the next morning, he was going to find her and beg her to forgive him for being so insensitive. His thoughts drifted back to what Padme had asked him to do. Stay away from Palpatine…he had no idea where that was coming from. Palpatine was a friend, someone he felt he could confide in, and now, someone that could help him save Padme‟s life. And even if he wanted to, he couldn‟t end his assignment with Palpatine until the Council allowed it. Besides, he had thought that Padme had considered Palpatine a friend as well. Maybe it was just her hormones talking, maybe she was just overreacting on a feeling she had. Yes…that was it. Nothing to worry about. ~~~~~~~~~~~ The next morning, Anakin quickly dressed and hurried out of the Temple before anyone could notice him. Before he knew it, he was on the doorstep of his wife‟s apartment. He knocked and hoped for the best. Sabe flung open the door and sighed in relief at the sight of Anakin. “It‟s good you‟re here. She didn‟t sleep at all last night.” Anakin nodded quickly and immediately entered the apartment, his eyes searching for her familiar form. When he didn‟t see her in the sitting room, his worry escalated and he quickly entered their bedroom. He found her sitting on their bed, her back facing him and he could see her shoulders trembling. “Padme…” She turned and he bit his lip at the sight of fresh tears flowing down her cheeks. He quickly sat next to her on the bed and gathered her in his arms. “It‟s ok now. Let‟s forget about.” He whispered soothingly into her ear. She shook her head and turned to look at him. “No, I was wrong to snap at you like that. And I was wrong to kick you out.”

“And I was wrong to ask you to take a vacation. I know you can‟t leave now and I respect that. I just want you and our child to be safe, ok?” She nodded and hugged him tightly. “I know. Everything you do is to protect me. Even though you shouldn‟t have done it, I know you were doing what you thought was best. You always do.” He smiled and kissed her deeply. “I forgive you if you forgive me.” She smiled brightly and kissed him again. “Deal.” Her face fell when she remembered one very important detail. “Anakin, I know you can‟t completely stay away from him, but I really believe that you should be careful around Palpatine.” Anakin looked at her with a perplexed expression and this prodded her to continue. “I know we haven‟t really talked about it before but there‟s something about Palpatine that rubs me the wrong way. He makes me feel uneasy whenever I‟m in a room with him. He just has this look on his face like he‟s constantly plotting something bad, like he‟s calculating his next move. I don‟t like it, Anakin. And now that you‟re spending so much time with him, that really worries me. I just don‟t want you to be corrupted by him somehow. Please, just promise me you‟ll be careful.” He sighed and nodded his head in agreement. “I‟ll do the best I can. I just don‟t understand, I thought you considered him a friend.” “I did, but lately, he seems very strange, like he‟s hiding something. I don‟t know what it is and I‟m not sure I want you to be the one to find out.” He nodded again and hugged her tightly to him. “I promise I‟ll be careful. Just promise me you will be too, ok?” She smiled softly and kissed him lightly before replying: “I will.” He smiled back at her, feeling much better about everything. But there was still one thing that he knew he couldn‟t let go of. There was still something that needed to be done to make sure that she was going to be completely safe. “Padme, I have to leave now. I have to go with the Chancellor to some meeting that he wants me to attend with him. It‟s going to be long and boring and I‟d much rather be here with you but…” She smiled. “I know, I know. Just remember what you promised me. And if you don‟t come straight home when you‟re done…” He chuckled and kissed her hand. “I know what you‟ll do to me if you don‟t…hey!”

She swatted him lightly and crossed her arms across her chest in mock anger. “Just go.” He laughed one more time before closing the door behind him, leaving Padme to wonder what would happen once the laughter subsided. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Anakin walked briskly up to the Chancellor‟s office, mentally preparing himself for the boredom he would be subjected to. He was about to knock but stopped when he heard voices from the Chancellor‟s office. That was interesting…he had thought that he was supposed to arrive for everyone else. He checked the time, no…he wasn‟t late. Padme‟s words about the Chancellor echoed in his head and he knew he needed to investigate this further. Before he could even enter the room, the door opened, revealing Senator Bail Organa. Anakin‟s hands clenched in anger at the sight of the man he hated more than anything. Bail just smiled, somewhat nervously, and walked away a little too quickly. Anakin narrowed his eyes as he watched his wife‟s ex-fiancé retreating form. Something wasn‟t right. He definitely didn‟t like even being within ten feet of Organa, but seeing him come out of the Chancellor‟s office like that…was more than suspicious. He turned at a friendly, familiar voice that called to him from within the office. “Anakin? What are you doing out there? Come in, come in.” Anakin obliged the Chancellor and took a seat across from him after the Chancellor gestured for him to do so. His eyes shifted uncomfortably from object in the room to the next, for he didn‟t know how to act around the Chancellor after Padme‟s words of caution. “What‟s troubling you, Anakin? You seemed very shaken to see Senator Organa just now. Is everything alright?” Anakin nodded unconvincingly and Palpatine knew to pry further. “But something is going on. I‟m a friend, Anakin. You know that you can trust me with whatever is going on.” This time, Anakin‟s agreement was more than obvious. Throwing Padme‟s caution out the window, Anakin felt that deep down, the Chancellor, Palpatine, truly was a good friend. “It‟s Organa, if you didn‟t already guess that. It has a lot to do with Senator Amidala actually.” Palpatine leaned forward in his seat, more than intrigued by this new development. “Yes, I know you and Senator Amidala became good friends after the attacks on her life two years ago. I‟m sure your dislike for Senator Organa roots back to the days when he used to be betrothed to Senator Amidala.” Anakin nodded furiously, ready to unleash his frustrations. “That‟s not even the half of it. PadSenator Amidala told me later that he said horrible things to her. He called her a whore, told her

that if she did anything to stop the wedding, he would make her pay. I just want to…” Palpatine frowned in concern. “You‟re very angry about this, aren‟t you? You know, I agree with the way you feel. Senator Organa had no right to treat her that way. I‟ve been suspicious of him ever since those rumors started about him being corrupt and betraying the Senate. There‟s no evidence for this, of course, but hearing this now makes me even more sure that he‟s corrupt. Something needs to be done, we just need more evidence.” Anakin moved to stand by the window, his thoughts occupied by more than Organa. “There‟s something else bothering me.” “Yes?” “It‟s Padme. I‟m beginning to think that the dream I had is all too real. The assassination attempt recently was proof of that. I need to learn this power you spoke of. I need to learn how to keep Padme from dying.” Palpatine nodded with a knowing smile and stood to join Anakin by the window. “I will teach you what you wish to know. We will speak again after this meeting is over.” Anakin nodded and they took their place as the meeting was about to begin neither noticing ObiWan‟s worried, yet somber face. Chapter Six Padme rubbed her head wearily and reluctantly returned to her paperwork. After the disagreement she had had with Anakin, she decided that it was probably best if she rested a few days. She knew he had wanted her take more time off, but she couldn‟t do it. There was so much unrest in the Senate and she needed to be there. Nonetheless, she had given in and he‟s better appreciate that one victory if he knew what was good for him. A knock on the door abruptly jolted her from her thoughts. She took a quick look for Sabe, but when she didn‟t her, opened the door herself, only to meet the worried expression of Obi-Wan. “Obi-Wan? What are you doing here?” “Senator, if you would kindly allow me to enter. I have much to talk to you about.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Anakin, there seems to be much you don‟t know about the Force. There is much the Jedi haven‟t told you.” Anakin shook his head in frustration towards the Council. “They don‟t trust me. The Council, I mean. I‟m only on the Council because of you. I‟m not a Master and I should be. I‟ve earned it!

I‟m more powerful than all of them combined.” Palpatine nodded in agreement. “I completely agree with you. Your skills and the power that dwells within you are greater than anything the Council has ever seen before. They‟re afraid of you.” “They‟re holding me back. Everyone is. Even Obi-Wan.” “Yes, I believe you‟re right about that. They‟re trying to contain your abilities. Together, we can take your abilities to their complete potential.” “We can save Padme?” “Yes. We will.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Padme looked at Obi-Wan anxiously, feeling extremely uncomfortable with the knowledge that Anakin could come home at any minute. “What do you need to talk to me about?” “I‟m very worried about Anakin.” Padme noticeably stiffened at the mention of Anakin but tried her best to downplay that. “How is it that you think I can help you?” Obi-Wan smiled. “I know that you two wrote to each other. That was what…four years ago now? You‟ve always been friends. I believe that if anyone knew if something was going on with Anakin, it would be you.” “I‟m not sure. I haven‟t seen him recently.” “But I‟ve seen you talking to him since we arrived here several days ago. You have to know something.” “That was brief after a Senate meeting. I hadn‟t seen him in awhile and just wanted to see how he was doing.” Obi-Wan smiled again at her which only increased her nervousness and discomfort. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Anakin, I can teach you what you need to know. You need to remember that no one can know of this. The Council won‟t support us in our endeavor. They would let her die. But we won‟t.”

Anakin smiled; assured now that his wife would be alright. They walked a little further into Palpatine‟s chambers, each silent, and each deep in thought. “Chancellor, I want to thank you for all you‟ve done for me. You‟ve always been someone I felt I could confide in and I‟m very grateful for that because there aren‟t many I can confide in. I know you don‟t understand my reasons for wanting to save her but…” “Don‟t worry, Anakin. Your wife will be safe.” Anakin‟s face fell into shock and could hardly believe the words his mentor had just uttered. “What did you say?” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Obi-Wan, I don‟t know. I honestly don‟t know. I wish there was something I could tell you to help. I don‟t want anything to happen to him, I really don‟t. If I think of anything, I‟ll be sure to let you know.” Obi-Wan simply nodded, realizing that she might be on to him. “Thank you, Senator. Don‟t be afraid to talk to me, even if you think it might not be important enough to mention.” “Certainly.” As she turned to return to her work, he surprised her by catching her in an embrace. “You can tell me, Padme. Whatever it is, you can tell me.” Padme looked up at him, tears shining in her eyes and shook her head. “I‟m sorry.” He released her and closed his eyes briefly. “No…I‟m the one who‟s sorry.” Padme‟s brow furrowed in complete confusion. “What‟s wrong with Anakin?” Obi-Wan sighed and ran a shaky hand through his beard. “The Council has been investigating a possible Sith lord. We know that there is one out there, it‟s just a matter of finding out who he is. We also believe that Anakin could be in danger of becoming under the influence of this Sith lord.” “Why?” “Because of his attachment to you.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Palpatine held up his hands in defense, his face filling with fear at the sight of Anakin‟s composure. “Anakin, I can explain…” “You‟d better explain. How do you know that…no…you‟re the Sith lord we‟ve been looking for, aren‟t you?” Palpatine sighed in defeat. “Yes, I am the Sith lord.” With that, Anakin immediately ignited his light saber. “I should kill you.” Palpatine nodded, and held his hands up a little higher. “You could…but then Padme will die. Without my help, she will perish and it will be your fault because you killed me.” Anakin‟s grip quivered on his weapon and Palpatine could feel the conflict stirring within him. “Think about it, Anakin. You report me, you have me killed, and she will perish. She will suffer unimaginable pain and she will die a horrible, anguished death and all because of your stupidity!” “No! I will not let her die!” Palpatine smiled and lowered his hands slightly. “Good. You know what you have to do.” “I cannot join you.” “You know what you have to do to save her, Anakin. The choice is yours.” “I‟m reporting you to the Council. They can decide what to do with you.” Anakin glared at his mentor one last time before leaving to find his solace in the only place he could. She would know what to do. She would know what was right. Chapter Seven Obi-Wan walked wearily out of Padme‟s apartment. After their conversation, he could only hope that she would do the right thing and help him. He knew he could have made a grave mistake in telling Padme exactly what kind of danger Anakin was in but he had to try. He wasn‟t sure what else to do, Anakin certainly wasn‟t going to help him, and he knew that even if what he had feared was true, maybe Padme would be Anakin‟s saving grace. Maybe by alerting her of the danger, she could talk some sense into him. He sighed and leaned against a nearby window. He couldn‟t be completely sure, but he knew that Anakin loved Padme. And he had a sinking feeling that the Senator returned his former padawan‟s feelings. That in itself was difficult to understand, but now…Anakin was in real danger. If the Sith lord had come in contact with Anakin at all in the recent months, he could have sensed the conflict and the troubled emotions within Anakin. The Sith lord would certainly

use that for his benefit. Obi-Wan sighed again and ran a hand through his hair. Anakin had been distant as of late. Whenever they spoke, he was vague and somewhat mysterious with his answers. Obi-Wan knew, almost without a doubt, that he was spending nearly all his time with Padme. The rest of his time was being spend with the Chancellor and Obi-Wan wasn‟t sure which worried him more. The Chancellor had been acting strangely in the Senate, as far as politician behavior goes, and many were concerned over the Chancellor‟s seemingly inability to end the war. It was rumored that the Chancellor‟s real motives were to gain complete control over the Senate, but until the situation with Anakin, Obi-Wan had simply cast those notions aside as nothing more than what they seemed to be: rumors. But now that the Chancellor had been spending so much time with Anakin…and the knowledge of Anakin‟s very possible predicament, Obi-Wan knew that it most likely wasn‟t a coincidence that the Chancellor had requested Anakin as his representative. But…he needed more evidence. He needed more proof that Anakin truly did love Padme. And that, Obi-Wan regretfully realized, might be the only thing standing in between Anakin and the Sith. ~~~~~~~~~~~ Anakin walked into Padme‟s apartment and was immediately greeted with a warm embrace from his wife. He smiled and held her tightly while she spoke. “I missed you.” “Well I missed you too.” She released him and led him deeper into the apartment. “Obi-Wan came to visit me today.” His eyebrows raised slightly but then he felt it…yes, Obi-Wan had been there. He could feel his former Master‟s Force signature faintly in the room. “He must have just left.” She nodded and smiled reassuringly. “Yes. He‟s very worried about you.” Anakin frowned at her slightly, trying to think of a reason why Obi-Wan would be worried enough about him to come to Padme, when it struck him. Obi-Wan suspected them. He had to. There was no other logical explanation. He clenched his fists in anger and could feel his nostrils flaringly as wildly as his anger was. Padme immediately noticed the change in him and gently took his arm. “Obi-Wan told me some things. He said he was worried that you were in danger.” “What kind of danger?” “From the Sith.”

At that, Anakin stiffened. Did the Council know what he did? Did they know what Palpatine had offered to him? “Tell me everything.” He took her by the arm and led her to a seat so he could question her more comfortably. She shifted in her seat, now extremely worried by Anakin‟s actions. Weren‟t Anakin and Obi-Wan supposed to be friends? She had thought that if they could trust anyone, it would be Obi-Wan. “He just said that the Council was investigating the identity of the Sith lord. He said that you were in danger of falling to the dark side. You‟re in danger because of me, Anakin.” Anakin visibly paled and ran a shaky hand through his hair. “What?” “Why would he say that, Anakin, if it wasn‟t true?” “I don‟t know.” “Anakin, I think we should ask Obi-Wan for help. We could tell him about us and the baby and he could…” “No! Definitely not! You know what would happen. Obi-Wan would take that right to the Council and they would take you and our baby away from me. We can‟t tell him. We can‟t tell anyone.” Padme sighed and leaned into Anakin so he could hold her. “I‟m so afraid of what‟s going to happen when the baby‟s born. What if the Council takes him or her away from us? Then they would find out about us because I know our baby‟s going to be Force-sensitive. And then your dream…it‟s all just too much to deal with. I don‟t know what to do.” Anakin held her tightly and clenched his jaw in determination. He was going to make sure that she never felt that way again. He was going to make everything alright. He was going to keep his family together and Padme alive and well. “I found a way to save you.” She lifted her head so she could look him in the eyes. “What?” “I wish I could tell you more but I…the Council wouldn‟t be happy about it and…I have to leave soon to learn more…” Padme‟s composure changed from shocked to extremely worried. “Anakin…you make it sound like you‟re going against the Council. You really need to talk to Obi-Wan and find out…” “No. Padme, I told you we couldn‟t do that. There‟s just…I don‟t know.” She moved closer to him on the couch and laid her head on his shoulder. “What‟s wrong, Anakin?”

He bit his lip in agony over what had been haunting him the last few years. His greatest fears were becoming realized and he had to tell someone. “I‟m not the Jedi I should be. Something‟s happening to me. I can‟t explain it, but there‟s this darkness that‟s growing inside of me, ever since my mother died and every time I see that…Organa…every time I think about my life without you…I feel it. It‟s building, Padme. I‟m afraid of exploding, of what‟s going to happen if I let it consume me…but at the same time, I feel powerful, I feel the power that I could have…and it feels good.” He looked down at her and found her shining, tear-filled eyes looking right back at him. She reached up and placed a light, but loving kiss on his trembling lips. “It‟s going to be ok, Anakin. I know it. We‟ll find a way.” He nodded and held her even closer to him. “Yes, Padme. I‟m going to find a way.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ With a heavy heart and a guilt-laden conscience, Anakin slowly made his way to Palpatine‟s office. It was the only way, he knew that, but he wished there was another way. The Council would rather punish him than help him and Padme…she was so frightened. He couldn‟t get her scared face out of his mind, frightened for him, frightened for their baby, even frightened for her own life and he would do everything in his power to make it better. She wasn‟t going to be scared anymore because he wouldn‟t let it come to that. He couldn‟t let her die. She was his whole world. If he didn‟t have her, then life wasn‟t worth living anymore. He didn‟t really want to do what he was about to do, but there was no other way. He might spend the rest of his days regretting it, but at least it would mean that Padme would live. He sighed and whispered softly before entering Palpatine‟s office. “I‟m sorry, Padme, but it looks like I have to break my promise.” Then he pushed open the door, ready to make a deal with the devil. Chapter Eight Anakin‟s mouth dropped open in shock when he realized what he was seeing. Palpatine had Senator Bail Organa kneeling in front of him, his light saber dangerously close to Organa‟s neck. Anakin moved forward cautiously into the office, his hand resting lightly on his own light saber. He looked suspiciously from Palpatine to Organa, wondering exactly what he just walked into. “What‟s going on here?” Palpatine looked up and smiled evilly. “Right on time.” Anakin‟s confusion began to subside and the more his gaze rested on Organa, the more he could

feel his anger flaring. “Anakin, I have caught the Senator red-handed. He‟s betrayed the Senate, he‟s betrayed everyone by what he‟s done. You must punish him, Anakin.” Anakin glared at Organa, feeling darkness begin to wash over him in waves. “What has he done?” “All you need to know is that he is a traitor. You must punish him, Anakin. Kill him. Tear him apart, bit by bit.” At the mention of murder, Anakin‟s eyes began to cloud in confusion. Yes, he wanted to hurt Organa, but…killing him was against everything he had ever been taught. The civil, decent way to deal with Organa would be to bring him before the Senate. That‟s what Padme would want him to do. “No…I can‟t. It‟s not the Jedi way. He should be tried before the Senate, not killed.” Palpatine‟s eyes flashed a devilish yellow before he answered angrily. “NO! You must kill him. Think of what he did to your wife, Anakin. He treated her horribly, called her a whore, threatened her. Just think of what he would have done to her if she had married him instead of you. He would have beaten her, thrown her around. He deserves to suffer the way he made your wife suffer. Torture him, Anakin. Rip him apart.” Bail‟s eyes widened in horror as Palpatine spoke and he looked desperately at Anakin, who seemed to be struggling with an inward battle. “Anakin, don‟t listen to him. He‟s just as much a traitor as I am. We‟ve been working together. I‟ve been reporting to him about the secret dealings in the Senate. He pays me for it, Anakin. You can‟t listen to him! I‟m sorry for what happened with Padme…I didn‟t mean for it to go that far…” “Shut up!” Anakin roared. “You will not speak about the Chancellor that way. You are the traitor…you‟re just trying to save your own skin!” Palpatine nodded triumphantly. “Yes, yes, Anakin. I can feel your anger. It makes you strong. It will give you the power to save Padme. You must feed on it and take your strength from it. Use it now. Kill him. He must die.” Anakin continued to glare at Organa as his light saber flashed in front of Organa‟s face. “You will pay for everything you‟ve done to my wife and the Senate. You deserve nothing less.” Palpatine smiled wickedly. “Good. Use your hate for him and make him suffer.” At that, Anakin proceeded to slice off Bail‟s left arm and grinned when he heard Bail‟s howl of agony. He wait patiently for a few moments so he could allow Bail to continue his wallow in pain, then promptly sliced off his right arm. Instead of recoiling at Bail‟s screams, he drew

strength of it and realized that this new feeling, this new dominance and darkness as fueling him. It did make him strong and if this would save her, then he loved it. Anakin waited several moments again before severing Bail‟s legs from his body until he was merely a stump with a head. Anakin smiled sinisterly before leaning closer to whisper in Bail‟s ear. “Now, Organa, you will die.” Several moments later, Bail‟s head flew across the room. Anakin breathed in deeply and felt the darkness surge at his victory. He knew now that his fate was sealed. There was no going back now. He paused for a moment and reached out delicately with the Force to find the other half of his heart. He found her, sleeping soundly, safe and warm in their bed. That was how it must stay. And this was the only way to accomplish it. His eyes flashed and he kneeled down in front of Palpatine. “I pledge myself to your service. I am your servant. I will do your bidding…I just want to save her. I‟ll do whatever it takes.” Palpatine smiled and placed his hand on Anakin‟s shoulder. “Good, my young apprentice. From now on, you shall be called…Darth Vader.” Anakin nodded, signaling his approval of his new name. “Now, Vader, you must travel to Mustafar to tie up some loose ends for me. I will give my order to have our opponents and the Jedi eliminated. Meet me here once you have completed your mission.” Vader bowed once again before leaving for his mission. First, there was one stop he had to make. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Padme sighed deeply and continued gazing out the window. Her frown refused to relinquish and her worry hung over her like a storm cloud. Something horrible had happened. There was something wrong with Anakin, she could feel it. Their child seemed to second that worry as she felt a strong kick from within. “Anakin, please be alright. Please.” She whispered into the silence. She turned abruptly at the sound of the door clicking open. Joy spread across her face and she ran immediately into her husband‟s waiting arms. “Anakin, I was so worried about you. Is everything alright?” He stroked her hair reassuringly before replying: “Of course it is. Why wouldn‟t it be?” “I don‟t know. I just had a bad feeling, that‟s all. It was nothing.”

He smiled lovingly down at her and placed a tender kiss on her forehead. “I can‟t stay long. I just wanted to let you know everything was ok. I have to go on a mission and I‟ll be back before tomorrow.” Padme‟s forehead furrowed in confusion. “What? Where are you going?” “Mustafar.” “But why?” “I have something I have to do there. I can‟t explain it…but, Padme, you have to listen to me. There‟s going to be a lot of things going on within in the next few hours. The Chancellor and I…we‟ve discovered treachery in the Senate and in the Jedi. We‟ve decided to fight it and bring the traitors to justice. The Jedi are going to say I betrayed them, when they‟re really the ones that have betrayed me and everything I thought the Jedi stood for. Don‟t believe any of it because what I tell you now is the truth.” “I…can‟t believe the Jedi…they‟re against us…they‟re trying to take over?” “Yes…you‟ll wait for me, right?” She nodded quickly. “Yes, yes of course. I will, but Anakin…can‟t you tell me what‟s going on?” “I wish I could…but you just have to trust me, alright?” She nodded and he gathered her in a strong embrace. They kissed tenderly, both wishing that the moment didn‟t have to end. Before finally turning to leave, he placed a hand gently on her abdomen, then rested it lightly on her cheek to wipe away her tears. Then, he was gone. Chapter Nine Obi-Wan stared helplessly at the destruction before him. Bodies laid strewn about the Temple‟s floor, old ones and young ones alike. It was the most catastrophic and horrifying thing he had ever see in his entire life. Smoke and blood filled his nostrils and he knew that life as he had known it was over. Yoda hobbled up next to him and Obi-Wan leaned down to hear. “The last of the Jedi, we are.” Obi-Wan‟s mouth opened in horror. “Everyone...even the younglings?” Yoda nodded sadly. “Yes. A tragedy, this is.” “Tragedy is a mild word for it.”

Yoda nodded once again in agreement. “Something you must see, there is.” Obi-Wan mutely followed the small Jedi back onto their transport. Yoda carefully switched on a recording and Obi-Wan froze when the image appeared. It was Anakin…he murdered Senator Organa and was…bowing to Palpatine? “The Sith lord, Palpatine is. His new apprentice, young Skywalker is.” “No…Anakin, no. He didn‟t do this? Did he?” “On the planet during the attack, he was not. Still, Sidious‟s apprentice, he is. Vader, is his name.” “Vader…” The word rolled off Obi-Wan‟s tongue as if it was laced with poison. No…Anakin wouldn‟t have done this. He couldn‟t have turned. There had to be some explanation. “Find him and destroy him, you must.” “But where will I find him.” “Search your feelings and find him, you will.” Obi-Wan nodded thoughtfully and all became clear. The letters, stolen glances, Anakin‟s disappearance during the nights, his strange behavior whenever Senator Amidala was mentioned…if there was any doubt about their relationship, it was completely mute now. And now, if there was one thing he was certain about, it was the Senator Amidala knew where Anakin was. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Padme sat nervously on her veranda with too much contemplation on her mind to keep straight. Anakin had been gone for only a few hours but it seemed like weeks. There was something about his visit that she couldn‟t explain. There was something that told her he wasn‟t being completely honest with her. Something that said he was hiding something from her that he was desperately afraid to tell her. She looked down at her stomach and placed a protective hand over it. She sighed, knowing that whatever he had done, it couldn‟t have been good. But she knew that whatever it was, he had done it because he truly believed he was doing the right thing. She was thrown from her thoughts abruptly when she heard a knock on her door. Was he back already? That thought completely overwhelmed her and she ran to the door. When her visitor was finally revealed, it was certainly not who she was expecting to see. “Obi-Wan? What are you doing here?” He attempted a smile but it faded immediately when he saw her figure in her nightgown. Padme noticed the change in him and quickly looked down. To her horror, she realized that in her haste

to open the door, she had forgotten to hide the very thing that Obi-Wan was now gaping at in disbelief. She gestured for him to enter her apartment, then ran to her bedroom to find a robe. She came back to find Obi-Wan resting on the couch with his head in his hands. “Obi-Wan, what‟s wrong?” He looked up to see her standing before him, unable to get the previous image of her out of his head. If it was Anakin‟s child, all hell was about to break loose. “Padme, I think you should sit down.” Her hand flew to her abdomen at that, fear creeping into her heart. If something had happened to Anakin…she had no idea what to do. After she was sitting, he took a deep breath and began to speak. “Something‟s happened. We have a video recording of Anakin and Chancellor Palpatine. Anakin murdered Senator Organa, then bowed to the Chancellor. We believe that Palpatine is the Sith lord we have been searching for and that Anakin is his new apprentice. On the recording, Palpatine or Sidious called him Darth Vader.” Padme couldn‟t believe what she was hearing. No…no…Anakin wouldn‟t do that. He wouldn‟t turn. His words came flooding back to her and she quickly remembered that he had warned her about this. “I can‟t believe this, Obi-Wan.” He nodded quickly. “I know. It was difficult for me to believe at first, but you must believe me now. Have you heard what‟s happened to the rest of the Jedi? They are all dead, every last one except for Yoda and me. The Temple has been destroyed…everything is gone. Palpatine has made a move to take control of the Senate. I don‟t see what‟s going to stop him from succeeding…don‟t you see what‟s happening? The Sith are taking over…and Anakin is helping to lead the attack. I know you know where he is…I need to find him.” “You‟re going to kill him, aren‟t you?” Obi-Wan‟s face turned grim. “If need be, but I‟d like to avoid that. You can help him by helping me. I don‟t want anything to happen to him…he‟s like a son…a brother to me. Please, Padme, tell me where he is.” Padme looked down and a second later, her decision was made. “I‟m sorry, Obi-Wan. I don‟t know where he went.” Obi-Wan nodded sadly, having known all along that this would happen. He rose to leave but before opening the door, he turned to her one last time. “Anakin‟s the father, isn‟t he?”

She looked away, tears falling down his cheeks. He smiled sadly and whispered softly. “I‟m sorry.” Then he was gone. Padme‟s shoulders began to shake as tears continued to fall down her cheeks. She couldn‟t believe what Obi-Wan had said…if she wanted to remain sane, she couldn‟t believe it. There was no way that the man she loved more than life itself had betrayed everything he had ever stood for. There was no way…besides, he had told her that the Jedi would do this. He had told her not to believe it and to wait for him. But then she remembered the feeling she had had that he wasn‟t being honest with her. She shook her head. There was only one way to find out what was really going on and she wasn‟t planning on waiting around to find out. “I‟m sorry Anakin, but it looks like I‟m going to have to break my promise.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Anakin looked out into the fiery pits of Mustafar. He had carried out his Master‟s orders and was waiting for the order to return home…to come back to Padme. She had been on his mind through everything that day. While he had gotten rid of Nute Gunray and his associates, while his Master gave him the news that the Temple and all the Jedi were destroyed…he had been thinking of her. It was all for her. He had to admit he loved the new feeling of power and dominance that surged through him and the knowledge that this new power was going to save his wife only increased his need for it. A nearing ship caught his gaze and then his eyes widened in surprise as he realized the ship belonged to Padme. She was supposed to be on Coruscant…what was she doing here? He ran out to the landing pad to greet her and she flew into his arms. He kissed her gently and placed a careful hand on her abdomen. “What are you doing here? You shouldn‟t be here, Padme. I told you to wait for me on Coruscant.” She gazed into his expectant eyes and somehow knew that everything was about to change. Life as she had known it was over. Chapter Ten Anakin stared down at her expectantly; the only thing running through his crazed mind was that she didn‟t belong there. She should be at their apartment in Coruscant, safe from all the madness that he now found himself in. He took her gently by the shoulders then used a hand to cup her chin.

“Padme, you shouldn‟t be here. What are you doing?” “I had to see you…” He smiled quickly at her then turned serious again. “That‟s great, Padme. But couldn‟t you have just waited until I came home?” She shook her head. “No. This is important. I have to talk to you. Obi-Wan came to see me again. He said horrible things about you…and I…” His eyes closed briefly then he opened them to look at her with an annoyed expression on his face. “I told you this was going to happen. You can‟t believe it…you know that whatever he was telling you was just to find out where I was. All of it was a lie.” “I‟m not sure about that anymore, Anakin.” He froze and stared at her in disbelief. “You can‟t mean that. Don‟t tell me you actually believe him.” “Obi-Wan said that you had turned to the dark side, that Palpatine is the Sith lord and you‟re his new apprentice. He said there was a recording of it and…he said you murdered Bail. Did you do that, Anakin? Did you kill him?” Anakin shook his head hurriedly, refusing to believe she was doing this to him. He had come so far, he had the power to save her and now…she was turning on him. “He was a traitor, Padme. He betrayed the Senate. After learning that and after everything he‟s done to you, I didn‟t hesitate to kill him. He was a horrible person and he deserved everything he got.” “No, Anakin, he didn‟t deserve to die. You know I don‟t like Bail but no one deserves that. How do you know that Palpatine was even telling you the truth and even if he was, Bail should‟ve been brought to trial before the Senate. You just took justice in your hands, Anakin and that‟s completely wrong.” “Padme, I had to do that because Palpatine can help us. He can help me save you.” She backed away from him, fear shining in her eyes. She placed her hands over her abdomen and continued to distance herself from her husband. “You do all this just to save me? What about you, Anakin? What about your soul? What about our child? You would bring him or her into this, as a Sith? No…I can‟t allow this. You have to stop this, Anakin. Get out of it…do whatever you have to do…just end this!” He stared at her in shock and horror. He had gone through all of this, turned his back on everything he had ever known for her and now…she didn‟t want this. She didn‟t want to accept

help from the only person they could turn to? He glared at her now...darkness began to take over him as his anger towards her intensified. “Padme…we can overthrow Palpatine. He‟s taken over the Senate by now and after he‟s gone, we‟ll have complete control. We can rule the galaxy together.” “A dictatorship? No…Anakin, that‟s not what I want. I can‟t believe that this is something you want. He was right about you. Everything Obi-Wan told me was true. You have turned to the dark side. What have you done?” He clenched his hands in anger and resisted the urge to take his anger out on her. “Everything I‟ve done has been for you. All of this is for you, Padme. Why can‟t you see that? Why won‟t you let me save you?” She stepped closer and took his face in her hands. “I don‟t need anything but your love. That‟s all I want. Our love and our child will save me, I know it, Anakin.” He shook his head sadly, the anger quenched for a moment. “Love can‟t save you, Padme. Only my new power can do that.” Tears began to flow down her cheeks as she realized that maybe there was no reasoning with him. He had turned just like Obi-Wan had said. And he had committed murder. It didn‟t matter to her who it was; he had committed a horrible, violent, unforgivable crime and she couldn‟t let that go. And now, he had turned his back on everything he had ever stood for and by doing that, he had turned his back on her and their child. The man she had married was gone. She began to shake uncontrollably and when he moved to comfort her, she backed away hurriedly with fear in her eyes. His hands froze in midair then fell to his side in defeat. Out of nowhere, it rose up again…the darkness…the anger…boiling over and he couldn‟t stop it. It took control of him and drew him dangerously close to the edge. Padme stared at him in horror now as all hope of saving him grew dimmer and dimmer. He stood before her now, no longer a man, no longer her husband, but a monster. “You‟ve gone down this path, Anakin, and I can‟t follow you. I can‟t…” “NO! I won‟t allow this, Padme. You‟re mine! You‟re my wife! We belong together…” With that, his arm outstretched and he firmly gripped her neck with his bare hand. He began squeezing slowly, gradually increasing the pressure and taking away her precious air. She struggled against him, shock and fear shining in her eyes. Soon, he was lifting her up in the air with such a menacing expression that she thought she would die just from the horror of what he was doing to her.

He squeezed even harder now despite her struggles for air. Then he looked in her eyes and all he saw was fear and pain. He had done this. He was causing her pain. He was causing her to die. She fell to the ground with a thud and all he could was stare at the hand that had almost choked the life out of the one person he cared about more than anything. At that moment, he wanted to cut it off, punish it for what it had done to his wife, but then again, he realized that he was the one who had done it. His anger and his loss of control was what had caused this. His stupidity and trust in the wrong person had caused this. Tears flowed down his cheeks as he carefully picked her up and set her down in her transport. With one last look at her unconscious form, he trailed a hand down her abdomen then set course for Coruscant. Chapter Eleven Anakin stood in the doorway of the ransacked Temple, searching for the one person who could help him. He winced at the sight of the bodies that hadn‟t yet been removed and his eyes clouded over when he realized that he had been apart the force that had been behind this. His eyes filled with relief when he finally met the eyes of his former Master and now, perhaps the only person he could turn to. Obi-Wan looked on in shock as Anakin approached him and before he could even utter a word, Anakin raised a hand and then began to speak. “I know, Obi-Wan, I know. I‟ve done horrible things the last few days but nothing compares to what I did only a few hours ago.” He sighed and Obi-Wan could only stare back in surprise and anticipation for what Anakin was about to reveal. “Padme and I married two years ago. She‟s expecting a child, she‟s probably giving birth right now…prematurely…she could be dying right now and it‟s all my fault. I hurt her, Obi-Wan. I could have killed her…I…I can‟t live myself. I can‟t look at her and the child she‟s carrying and know that I could‟ve killed them. I don‟t deserve to be her husband anymore and I don‟t deserve to be the father of our child. I…have to leave now…I just wanted to tell you everything…” Obi-Wan leaned forward, his brow furrowing in confusion. “What? You‟re leaving, Anakin? You just said yourself that she‟s probably giving birth. You can‟t leave now.” Anakin gazed at him sadly, grateful that Obi-Wan wasn‟t lashing out at him but kindly trying to reason with him. “I turned to the dark side. I let go of that, now, after what I did to her, but what if it‟s not completely gone? What if the darkness takes over again and I can‟t control it? What if I hurt her again or our child? I couldn‟t live with myself…I would rather die than let that happen.” Obi-Wan nodded pensively then looked intensely at Anakin. “You‟ve felt it now but it didn‟t completely take over. You were able to let go of it before it went too far. With guidance and

meditation, I can help you, Anakin. You don‟t have to leave. I know Yoda would agree with me. I believe that your love for her saved you. What else could it have been? Palpatine lost his control over you the minute you stopped yourself from hurting her any further…” “I was strangling her, Obi-Wan! Choking her with my bare hand…I didn‟t even need to use the Force, that‟s how angry I was! How can I forgive myself for that? How can I even look her in the eye now? I love her…gods, I love her…but I can‟t be with her now. It‟s not right. I don‟t deserve her forgiveness.” “You would abandon your wife and child because you‟re not man enough to take responsibility for what you did? You can say whatever you want, but you‟re taking the coward‟s way out, Anakin!” Anakin took a step back, feeling the truthful sting of his words, knowing that he was right. “Yes, I am a coward. Padme told me that we should come to you for help, she said you would understand. I felt I had nowhere else to turn but to Palpatine. I see now that I was wrong, that you would have helped us. I‟m right about that, aren‟t I?” Obi-Wan nodded before replying sadly. “The Council had ordered me to find out what was going on between you and Padme, but I was prepared for the worst and also prepared to help you however I could.” Anakin smiled sadly. “Padme was right, then. She always is, you know.” They exchanged brief smiles before Obi-Wan spoke again. “I suppose I can‟t talk you out of your decision, can I?” Anakin shook his head. “I‟ve made up my mind. Just promise me you‟ll look out for them. And if Padme will allow it, train our child. Will you give her this for me? It‟ll at least explain why I‟m leaving. I owe her that.” Obi-Wan nodded remorsefully and quickly embraced his old friend before taking the note from Anakin‟s hand. “I promise I will look after them. I‟ll answer any questions she has as best as I can and if she‟ll let me, I would be honored to train your child. You must at least do this for me though. Please, keep in touch. Let me know how you‟re doing, where you are, what you‟ve been doing.” Anakin nodded. “I will. Take care of them for me.” Obi-Wan smiled sadly and waved goodbye as Anakin walked away. “May the force be with you, my friend.” Anakin turned to look at his friend for the last time and replied: “May the force be with you also.” Then, he was gone and on his way to refuge, now the darkness had been replaced with

emptiness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My dearest Padme, I don‟t know how to do this. I never thought I would have to. I‟ve driven us down this path and now I must be the one to end it. I‟ve hurt you, Padme and I can‟t tell you how much I wish I could take back that moment and leave with you instead. I should have listened to you about everything, about Palpatine, about Obi-Wan, and about our lives. You always knew what was best and I should‟ve listened to you than my fear of losing you. And now, in my efforts to keep you, I ended up driving you away from me and have lost you forever. No matter what you say, no matter how much you say you forgive me, I know that you will never fully be able to because I‟ll never be able to forgive myself. I could‟ve killed you and our child and I‟ll never be able to forgive myself for what I‟ve done to you. I‟m leaving now, I don‟t know where I‟m going but I can‟t stay with you, not after everything that‟s happened, not after everything I‟ve done. I don‟t deserve your love, Padme. I don‟t deserve any ounce of forgiveness you could offer. I can‟t live with myself and I can‟t bring myself to even look at you. I‟m so ashamed, so terrified that if I stay, I‟ll hurt you and our child again. I don‟t know what I would do if that happened and I won‟t allow it to happen ever again. So I‟m keeping my distance from you. I‟m going to let you live your life in peace and happiness because I won‟t be there to hurt you anymore. Please tell our child that I love him or her very much. Anakin Tears splattered the paper and Padme had to set it down because her hands were shaking too much. He left her. He was gone and he wouldn‟t ever know the joyous news she had received. She sadly turned to her left and tearfully gazed and not one, but two baby cribs. She had given birth a few hours ago and had relieved yet terrified at the same time when Obi-Wan came to sit with her during the births. He had sorrowfully handed her Anakin‟s note and left her to read it by herself. She was just recovering from the injuries Anakin had caused and now had to recover from giving birth to twins. She had been lucky…if Anakin had held on a few moments longer, both her and their children would have perished with her. She knew that if they had died, that would have thrown him over the edge and flung him into insanity. There would have been no stopping the darkness to take hold of him then. And now…he was gone. He had left her. And for what? She couldn‟t help but feel anger and resentment towards him now despite the love for him she still felt deep within her soul. He was a part of her now and always would be. He was the father of her children and would never see them. It was the decision he had made for them and she couldn‟t help but feel angry at the fact that he hadn‟t included her in such a life-altering decision. She grabbed for his note and read it and reread it again before finally collapsing into sobs. This

wasn‟t supposed to happen. They were supposed to be a family. They were supposed to be happy. She glanced out the window, looking to see his ship. But she knew that he had already left. He was really gone. He had left her alone to raise their children and…he didn‟t even know there were two. She understood why he felt he had to leave them, but she couldn‟t believe he had actually done it. She understood what he was feeling…the shame…the horror of what he had done…but that didn‟t mean he had to leave. They could‟ve found a way to work through, to somehow get back some normalcy and raise their children in peace. Padme looked up as Obi-Wan quietly entered the room. He smiled reassuringly at her then moved to stand over the twins‟ cribs. Then before she knew it, he was sitting beside her on the bed. “Are you alright?” She nodded at his soft voice and couldn‟t help herself from saying what was on her mind. “Why didn‟t you stop him from leaving?” Obi-Wan sighed and took a deep breath. “Even if I had bound him and dragged him back here, it wouldn‟t change anything. He would still want to leave and you would still know that he had wanted to leave.” She wiped a stray tear from her cheek then turned away from him. She knew that he was right but that didn‟t change the fact that she wished more than anything that Anakin was here with her and their children. “I wanted to tell you that Palpatine has been arrested and the Senate is slowly getting back in order. They‟re preparing for his trial as we speak, actually.” She nodded and smiled at him. He gratefully smiled back at her then left her to her thoughts. She leaned back in her bed and reached a hand out to her children, tears forming in her eyes. “Oh, Anakin…you didn‟t have to go…” One last look at their children sent her over the edge and she collapsed on back on the bed in uncontrollable sobs. Chapter Twelve One year later at a dirty, rough cantina in Tatooine, Anakin sat at the bar swallowing another drink. It had a horrible taste and he didn‟t even know what he was drinking but at least it helped ease a year‟s worth of pain. His days were spent either at some bar or in working every once in awhile as a mechanic. He made decent money but the majority of that was spent right where he was, drinking away his sorrows.

When you try your best but you don't succeed, When you get what you want but not what you need, When you feel so tired but you can't sleep, Stuck in reverse. He sighed and rested his chin on the edge of his glass. He couldn‟t help but think of the family he left behind. Every day, no matter how hard he tried, he thought of them, wondering how they were doing, trying desperately not to imagine what his child looked like. Sometimes he wondered if he had done the right thing but then he could only shake his head and stop that train of thought. There was no use contemplating what might have been because it would never be. The one thing he knew for sure was that his family was better off without him. No matter what his state was or how miserable he was, he was willing to endure that so his family didn‟t have to suffer. He had saved them from a lifetime of pain and anguish. It was all he could do after what he did. He had almost ruined everything that was good and worthwhile in his life and the only thing he could do for them now was to not be anywhere near them. And the tears come streaming down your face, When you lose something you can't replace, When you love someone but it goes to waste, Could it be worse? It was a sad existence but he grew accustomed to his way of life. He would wake up in the morning, to an ever-empty bed, and then he went to work. There was a domesticity about it that he had never had as a Jedi and he at least enjoyed that part of his new life. But loneliness was never too far away and it was a nuisance that never failed to rear its ugly head. He knew that his child‟s birthday was coming very soon from what Obi-Wan had told him and that was a day he was dreading. He knew it would take all the strength within him not to just pick up and go to them. But he couldn‟t do that. Not ever. His child would never have to know what a monster his or her father had been. And Padme wouldn‟t have to be bound to a man that had tried to kill her. It was better this way. He trudged back to his home and collapsed into bed. He passed out within moments, dreaming of the family that was going on without him, dreaming of the family he would never be a part of. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Several hours later, Anakin‟s alarm went off and he dragged himself out of bed, only to practically slip on the mail that was at his feet. Cursing softly, he hastily picked up him mail, pausing to glance at the contents of it for only a moment. One caught his eye and he glanced at it again, now seeing the flourished handwriting that could only belong to one person. There it was in black and white right from Naboo. With shaky hands, he tore open the letter and dared to read what she had to say. Dear Anakin,

I‟m not sure how to begin this. It‟s been so long since I‟ve seen you or heard your voice that I can hardly think of the right thing to say to you. I thought you should know that you are the father of twins. I named them Luke and Leia and they‟re going to be a year old in two days. I‟ve been too scared to write to you before now but now that our children are almost a year old, I thought it was time you knew. Obi-Wan told me you were on Tatooine and as you probably already know, the twins and I are on Naboo, we live at the Lake Retreat actually. The Queen gave it to me out of gratitude for my service and I gladly took it. I almost didn‟t because of all the memories it held for me but I couldn‟t turn it down because of the memories. I treasure them Anakin and I won‟t let them go. I won‟t try to find you or ask you to come back to us but I want you to know that you can back anytime you want to. I love you Anakin, and I always will, no matter what. I still believe that there‟s nothing we can‟t work through together and I won‟t ever stop believing in the love I know still exists between us. You‟re in my soul and you‟ll stay there until the day I die. I love you and our children love you. Padme His trembling hands let the paper fall to the ground and his legs gave out from under him as he sank to the floor. He began shaking uncontrollably and the tears he had held for the past year tumbled down his cheeks. With his head rested in his hands, a deeper heartache grew within him that he never thought was possible. He had thought that nothing could be worse than what he was already feeling, but he had been wrong. What he felt now cut into the deepest parts imaginable. She was so understanding. It seemed like she had even forgiven him for what he did. And what she had revealed to him was beyond anything he could comprehend. Twins? Luke and Leia. His son and daughter. He was overjoyed and saddened at the same time at this new information. They would be a year old in two days and he was missing everything. They had to be getting so big, maybe almost walking and talking now. His weary eyes fell to the letter on the ground and then, for the first time in a year, his life held meaning again. Everything made sense and he knew where he belonged. There was only one thing left to do. Lights will guide you home, And ignite your bones. And I will try, to fix you. ~~~~~~~~~~ It was a beautiful day for a picnic and that was exactly what Padme, Luke, and Leia intended to do. Tomorrow was a special day, one that she was certainly not going to forget. Her babies were going to be turning a year old and she was overwhelmed with emotions. She was proud of the way she had managed on her own, Obi-Wan had known she could do it, but she hadn‟t been so

sure, especially the day that Anakin walked out on her and their children. Leia was a handful, always on the go, causing trouble, and had taken her first steps several weeks ago. Now, she was motoring around like walking had always been a second nature to her. Luke, on the other hand, was a quiet, passive child that rarely acted up but was always smiling and laughing. He hadn‟t progressed as quickly as Leia, which worried Padme a little despite her belief that Luke would be walking in no time. She sighed and turned to Leia, who was trying to put grass in her hair and Luke, who was proceeding to eat some moist dirt. She chuckled at the sight of the two and found herself wishing for the hundredth time that day that Anakin was there to share this with her. He should be there and many would call her crazy for sending him that letter but she couldn‟t stop the words from being written and the letter to be sent. It was something she had to do and she certainly didn‟t feel right that Anakin had no idea he even had twins. If anything, now he would have that knowledge. But she couldn‟t help but hope that he took her words to heart and followed them home to her and their babies. She loved him too much to not at least try. She owed it to herself and to her children. And high up above or down below, When you're too in love to let it go. If you never try you'll never know, Just what you're worth. “Momma!” Leia reached up, telling her mother that she wanted to be held. Padme quickly obliged her and soon, they were twirling around in the meadow, circling and laughing together. Leia‟s sweet laughter echoed across the meadow and Padme found herself laughing right along with her. Leia‟s laughter abruptly halted, which caused Padme to turn to see where her daughter‟s gaze was now transfixed. Her mouth opened to speak but no words would form. Her shock and disbelief was too great and she gaped now at the figure now walking towards her. The drained prodigal had returned and he was now standing two feet away from her and looking very uncertain. The tears stream, down on your face, I promise you I will learn from my mistakes. The tears stream, down on your face tonight. Tears welled up in her eyes and he hesitantly brought up his hand to wipe them away. She smiled softly, her gorgeous brown eyes glistening which brought him a new surge of strength and hope. His hand rested lightly on her cheek, then moved his hand to caress his daughter‟s hair and he was just about to speak when Padme grabbed his arm and stared at something a short distance away from them. He followed her gaze and watched on in astonishment at the small boy who could only be his son. Luke stood up on wobbly legs and cautiously took a small step toward the gaping group. He

almost fell over but was caught by two strong arms. He looked up uncertainly at the strange face and took a moment to study his features. The man seemed nice and was smiling down at him reassuringly and now lovingly so he softly smiled back. “Come on, you can do it. I know you can.” Anakin whispered to his son. He helped Luke steady himself then slowly took a few steps back, motioning for Luke to walk to him. “Come on, Luke.” Luke took an uneasy step, then another, and then a few more until he was safely in the arms was this kind stranger. Anakin looked down at him, pride and love welling up inside of him. He smiled down at his son and then at Padme, who was now at his side with Leia in her arms. He looked back down at Luke and said softly: “I‟m your father, Luke.” Luke smiled back at him. “Dadda?” Anakin grinned down at his son and nodded. “Yeah, that‟s me.” Leia‟s face lit up with excitement and she threw her arms up towards him. “Dadda!” Anakin laughed lightly and gently took Leia‟s hand. “Hello Leia.” Anakin positioned it so that he could hold both his children in his arms and now, his reason for living was here. These children needed him to be there and now, he would never make those horrible mistakes again. He stiffened slightly when he felt Padme slowly slide her arms around him, then relaxed at her touch. She stood up on her tiptoes and pressed a light kiss to his lips, then one to each of her children‟s cheeks. He looked from each member of his family to the next and knew he was home to stay. One look at each of their faces rooted him in the ground and that was where he intended to stay for the rest of his life. Padme reached up and lightly stroked his hair and kissed him again, longer this time with more passion behind it. No words needed to be spoken for them to know what the other was thinking and feeling. There was no need for apology and regret. All that was needed was right in his arms, something he should‟ve known a long time ago. He smiled faintly at the remembrance of the last time he was in the meadow with Padme. She had been twirling around and laughing very much like she had just been with Leia and he realized that now she was not the only one who was free. The chains of darkness and guilt were broken. He was now free to be in the light and to be happy with his family. He was where he belonged. The past was gone. Stubbornness, fear, pain, nightmares, evil fiancés and Sith lords, Jedi Councils, and hidden marriages were far behind them and they would never look back. The future was right in his arms and he was never letting go. Lights will guide you home, And ignite your bones.

And I will try, To fix you. THE END. “Fix You”- Coldplay