Everything is looking good, y'all! Life is great for all our faves (even our problematic fave Anakin), and Luke is preparing himself to be the best ruler the galaxy has ever seen. But of course, something has to go wrong...
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars
Everything seemed so surreal to Padmé as she walked through one of the many gardens of the royal palace, her son at her side. He was extremely proper and stiff; an imperial through and through from birth. It was disappointing to her. Luke was so different from Leia due to their upbringing, and she related so much more to her daughter than him. Every time she glanced over at him she saw Anakin in him; the small smile, hands behind his back, sparkling blue eyes were all him. But Padmé could not put her finger on where he got his build; he was taller than she but shorter than Anakin, and was not scrawny, but not strong and solid as Anakin was when Luke had been born. With a little more thought the reality of where his build came from hit her; he was completely his father at the age of eighteen - the lean and athletic build was reminiscent of her husband when the two had wed all those years ago. They continued to walk in silence, the gravity of the situation weighing heavily on the both of them. The son she never thought she would live to see was right beside her, just like in many of her dreams. Luke felt the same way; for as long as he could remember he had dreamt of this moment; he had so much to say but he couldn't find the words. Padmé felt the same way, and eventually broke the silence nervously.
"W-What would you like to know?" she murmured. Luke chuckled a little more, and his posture became more casual as he stopped dead in his tracks. Padmé stopped as well with a laugh.
"If you were to leave that question open I'm afraid we'll be walking through these gardens forever, mother. I just want to know about how to handle politics and whatnot," he sighed. "I was not raised to deal with such things; I was expected to take a spot in the admiralty, serving under my father until my father became Emperor, upon which I would become Lord Commander of the Imperial Navy. No one thought far enough for me to know what to do with an Empire." Padmé sighed; of course Palpatine had kept Anakin from teaching Luke such things.
"Well," she began, "the first thing you must learn is to find people you can trust with your life to serve as your closest advisors. Even then, it will be dangerous to trust all of them; politics now have changed so much since I was involved in them. I would keep Leia and Han close to you. They seem interested in helping as much as they can. Perhaps give Mr. Solo a place in the admiralty and Leia... you will give her an important appointment in the senate to keep her close to you." Luke nodded and they continued their route around the garden.
"What should I do about Mariamne?" he inquired. "And will you return to Coruscant with us? You should come home with us; you could help the senate get back to its roots. Please, mother. I don't think anything would make father happier than to have you back." Padmé thought the issues at hand over; Mariamne was a wonderful girl, or at least she appeared to be, and knew about politics enough to make a good Empress Consort. A quiet marriage at Varykino would be appropriate before returning to Coruscant. And as far as her own return to the Imperial Center, Padmé was inwardly eager to return to her former position and get back in the thick of things.
"If it pleases you and Mariamne, I think a quiet marriage at Varykino would be appropriate," Padmé informed. "And I will return with you all to Coruscant. You will need my help."
"Thank you so much, mother," Luke sighed. "I'll go find Mariamne and tell her the good news." He ran off into the palace, acting much more like the eighteen year old he was. Padmé laughed and a familiar chuckle sounded behind her, making her turn with a small smile. Anakin stood arms open expectantly, and she ran into them, old memories stirring within her. For years she had wrangled with her opinion of him, eventually deciding that despite everything she loved him - and he was the only man she would ever love. She had forgotten how safe she felt in his arms, and sighed to herself, breathing in the scent of him that was so familiar to her yet so strange.
"Our children are all grown up," she murmured. "They aren't in much need of a mother anymore." Anakin chuckled, holding her even closer. "You did a good job with Luke; I am so proud of you. He's everything I would have hoped him to be, Ani."
"He's my pride and joy," Anakin sighed. "He will bring balance to the galaxy like I was supposed to, you know. He's a good boy; he has a lot of you in him. Though not as much as Leia does..."
"She is exactly like me," Padmé chuckled. "I have seen her once before and I saw myself in her then. Hopefully she doesn't have a thing for dashing rule breakers like I did, or I fear you may have Han Solo as a son-in-law. Try as she might, I think she's quite smitten with him." Anakin's brow furrowed in concern; he didn't like the thought of Leia finding someone so soon. She was his little girl, after all, and was far too young to be in love. "Oh don't look so concerned, dear; we weren't that much older than she is now when we fell in love."
"But she is my little girl!" Anakin whined. "And he is an absolute scoundrel. The very thought of him... even kissing my daughter is too much for me to bear! It's hard enough thinking about how much sex Luke is bound to have with that girl. Or any girl for that matter; that is the one area where I fear I failed him. He has quite the reputation back on Coruscant."
"And you don't?" Padmé raised an eyebrow questioningly. Anakin shook his head. "Good. That's just what I wanted to hear. It's about suppertime; should we head back in?" He nodded and escorted her back in, his mind drifting to Sabé. Now that Padmé was indeed alive, their marriage was never legitimate. Anakin wondered if Sabé was even alive; the thought of her being left alone on Coruscant was a terrifying one. In fact, he imagined there was no way Palpatine hadn't killed her; he was aware of how much influence she had over Luke. His heart ached at the thought, but at the same time it sang at his reunion with Padmé.
While the real adults were making up, Leia and Han were in a heated argument. Solo was ready to leave, and Leia had dared to call him out on it. She didn't understand why he would even think of leaving at a time when Luke needed him most.
"You can't just leave!" she sighed desperately. "Not now, not when there is so much change and Luke needs you!" Han rolled his eyes and started to leave the study where they had convened.
"Sorry, sweetheart," he scoffed, "but he don't need my help, not anymore! He's got his mom back and his dad for that matter; I don't think there's much I can do for him. He's got all the help he needs right here." Leia cried out in anger and grabbed his arm, forcing Han to turn around.
"Exactly!" she declared. "He's got all the help he needs right here!"
"You really think so?" Han questioned, a small smirk on his face. "Y'know, Princess, if I didn't know better, I would say I you've started to grow a little fond of me." Leia spluttered in disbelief; she was shocked by the nerve of him to say such a thing!
"I-I-No! If anything I can't stand you," she declared. "I can't stand any scoundrel, let alone a smuggler with a cocky attitude, and a devious smirk, and... warm brown eyes... soft hair... No; I definitely could not be fond of a man like-" Leia's little diatribe was cut short by Han kissing her, and by the way she melted into his arms he could tell that she had been lying. Han pinned her up against one of the walls, her legs wrapped around his hips. Her fingers were tangled in his hair, and both of them were so desperate for each other that they made love right there in the study. Luke passed the room on his way to find Mariamne, chuckling to himself before bursting into her room. Mariamne was running a pretty ivory comb through her hair, turning at the sight of him. Her lips curled into a small, delicate grin.
"I've got great news," he told her. "If you wish to be Empress Consort, the title shall be yours. If it pleases you, my mother thinks we should be wed at Varykino before returning to Coruscant." Mariamne laughed and threw herself into Luke's arms, burying her face in the crook of her neck.
"I don't deserve you," she whispered.
"Don't say that," he sighed. "We better go; mother will be expecting us for supper."
Everyone gathered together and sat down at the grand dining room table of the royal palace. Luke sat at the head of the table, his father to his right and his mother to his left. Han was seated next to Padmé, gazing across the table at Leia who was next to Anakin. Mariamne was at the foot of the table, directly across from her future husband, a coy grin on her lips. Anakin wondered the little smile meant, but Padmé knew - as she often did - that she had agreed to marry Luke. It would be rushed, as many royal marriages often were, but the potential for the two of them to grow as a couple was great; they could be a true power couple on Coruscant.
"I think you will feel right at home back at the apartment, mother," Luke said after the second course had been cleared. "Father has kept it just as it was when you two lived together; nothing has changed. And I imagine I will have to move into the Imperial apartments... It will be weird not being able to wake up and find R2 rolling into my room."
"Well you will have the power to have the apartments redone however you like," Padmé reminded. "They are yours now, and will be for a long time." Luke smiled and looked over at Han, who was gazing adoringly at Leia across the table.
"Han, I've decided I want to appoint you to a position in the admiralty," he said. "You will have command of your own Star Destroyer, and will answer directly to my father, and therefore to me. In fact, I might grant you a position that gives you a fair amount of leave on Coruscant, if it pleases you." Han was drawn from his dream world and nodded eagerly; getting leave on Coruscant would mean getting to spend time with Leia. Luke seemed to sense this realization and smiled knowingly from behind the crystal glass of Alderaanian wine in his hand.
"Thanks, kid!" Solo managed eventually. "That... That would be fantastic. Any time in-system would be greatly appreciated."
"Yes, of course," he responded. "After all, it would seem that we are not going to be preparing for one wedding, but two. Would I be correct in that assumption?" Leia blushed bright red.
"I wouldn't go that far, but... someday, I think?"
Anakin smiled blissfully as his children all shared a good laugh. Everything was finally falling into place; everything was exactly as he had always imagined it. Padmé was at his side, Luke was happy, and none of them were living in fear of the Emperor anymore...
"You think you've seen the last of the Sith, but you have never been more wrong, Anakin Skywalker, Hero With No Fear..."
Who did that ominous threat come from you think? More Han and Leia relationship development, and Luke nightmares, and panicky Anakin next chapter.
Tell me what you think is going on.