His eyes fluttered open slowly, a bright light above him. Was this death? Was he actually going into the Light despite all the horrible things he'd done?

Then he heard a quiet beeping noise and started to come back to his body, at least the part of it that he could feel that wasn't made of metal. He was in…a medical room?

I'm alive.

He fiddled with the various wires and instruments attached to his body and attempted to sit up on the bed. A droid entered.

"Why, Lord Vader! You are awake, at last!" the droid exclaimed, placing its medical supplies on a side table.

"Where am I? What happened?" Vader asked.

"You are in the Coruscant Medical Center," the droid responded. "You were wounded deeply, but luckily no major arteries were pierced. Our team of experts was able to mend you, but the regrowth serum took a bit of time. If only you'd come to use for that arm and leg of yours – we could have regrown those too!"

Vader felt the area that had been pierced by Sidious's blade. It was completely healed, as if nothing had happened.

"How much time are we talking?" he asked.

"Only a few months," the droid responded, handing him a glass of water.

Vader had barely taken a sip when he choked and spit it out. "A few MONTHS?"

"Well yes, my Lord," the droid replied. "It does take some time for the serum to work. We could have woken you up manually, but with the extent of the wound you would have been in extreme pain."

"Where is my wife?" he asked. "Where is the Emperor?"

"I will send for your wife," the droid responded, backing toward the door. "She is well, according to our biweekly evaluations. She has stayed on Coruscant."

Biweekly evaluations? That doesn't sound like well. Why would Padmé need biweekly evaluations?

Less than a half hour had passed, but it was the longest half hour of his life waiting for her to arrive. He considered leaving himself, but had no idea where to find her. When she entered the room, he breathed a sigh of relief. He'd missed her so much, though he didn't know he'd been gone for so long. She was smiling and bolting toward him. He'd missed that smile.

"Padmé!" he exclaimed, pushing himself off the bed and struggling to get his balance for a moment. "I have to tell you some…"

Then he paused. He hadn't noticed it before, but there it was, right in front of him. She was…she couldn't be.

"Padmé, you're not…"

Padmé stopped him. "Please don't freak out. You've been through enough. Let's talk about it later. Panicking is the last thing you need right now."

"How the kriff can I not panic?!" Vader shouted. He could feel his heart rate increasing by the second. The machines he was attached to beeped faster and louder and he ripped the wires off. "I can't…no…is it mine?"

"Of course it's yours!" Padmé shouted. "Actually, not to add to it, but they're yours."

There's more than one?

Vader sat back down and chugged the water, trying to catch his breath.

"Sidious?" he asked.

"Dead," Padmé answered, taking another step toward him. "By Obi-Wan's hand."

So the Jedi had survived Sidious's attack. Good on him.

Vader nodded, displeased that he hadn't been the one to kill the Sith Lord, but feeling a strange sense of satisfaction that his former Jedi Master had been the one to do so. The Light had won after all. His captor for so many years had been wrong.

"Who's in charge right now?" Vader asked.

"Admiral Piett," Padmé responded. "We've been rebuilding the government together, compromising between the beliefs of Republic supporters and Empire supporters. We're close to a resolution."

"That cowardly idiot is running the entire galaxy?" Vader exclaimed, pushing himself off the bed once again. "Ok, now I REALLY need to get out of here."

"That cowardly idiot has been denying calling himself 'Lord' every time someone tries, telling everyone that their true leader and savior is Lord Vader, who will reclaim his rightful position upon his recovery," Padmé snapped.

Vader stopped in his tracks.

"How can they trust me to lead still after everything I've done?" he asked.

"They know you've changed," Padmé replied, putting her hand on his back. "And that you won't be alone. Our new government consists of members of the Empire, the Alliance, the Jedi, and even Outer Rim representatives. You'll still be Lord Vader, but as leader of a council of officials acting in everyone's best interests."

Vader had never liked the idea of a council. The Jedi Council had put a bad taste in his mouth. But he supposed that it was an idea he would have to adjust to. Darkness and Light had converged, and this was the result. Could he really have expected anything else?

He shook his head. "I'll deal with that later. Let's get back to…" He stared down at his wife's stomach. "This." His heart rate increased again.

"Yes," Padmé said. "I figured you might want to talk about that at some point."

"Padmé, I can't be a father!" Vader shouted, the panic filling him once again. "Not just because I've been in a coma for months and I have to jump back into ruling the galaxy, but because of my past. I have MURDERED innocent children in cold blood. I didn't feel pain or guilt as I was doing it. I never even had a childhood myself. This can't happen."

"You're not that man, anymore," Padmé whispered soothingly. "I'm not ready either, but no one ever really is. But this can be your evidence to the galaxy that you've changed for the non-believers. This is your opportunity to make amends for your past. You can't change it, but you can move forward. You have the opportunity to mold the next generation of rulers of our galaxy to make sure that nothing like the Emperor's tyranny ever happens again. And you have the chance to train your own Force-sensitive children so that no one takes them away. Not the Sith, not the Jedi. I align with most of the Jedi's values, but not the separation of children from their families. I have seen through you how powerful the bond of family and love is. It saved you from a lifetime of darkness and death. It's the reason we're all alive and Sidious is gone."

Vader placed his hand on her stomach and concentrated. He could feel it. Not one, but two life forces. They had the capability to be very strong.

And he wouldn't let the Dark Side take them away as it had done to them. For the first time since he was Anakin, Vader shed a tear.

"Now what was it that you had to tell me?" Padmé asked.

He pulled her close and kissed her. He didn't want to waste another second.

"Padmé Naberrie Amidala Vader, I love you."

THE END