Chapter 8: The End of the Beginning

by dreamingofani

A/N: I dedicate this to anyone out there who is promoting peace in these not-so-peaceful times.

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Clouds are coming

Air gets heavy

Looks like trouble on a rainy day

Sun stops shining

Can't see my shadow

Looks like trouble on a rainy day.

Holes uncovered.

Walls will crumble.

All spells trouble on a rainy day.

-Guster- Rainy Day

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The sun was beginning to set over the lake as they at last returned to the resort. Padmé set her things down in their chamber, and she disappeared into the fresher, presumably changing out of her wet swim suit. Anakin took off his soaking clothes and hung them over a chair to dry. He pulled on a light shirt and some pants, and he hooked his saber back on his belt. He cheerily put some of Padmé's things away, whistling a little tune to himself. But he passed by the comlink on Padmé's nightstand, and he stopped dead in his tracks. The red message button blinked ominously before his eyes. He took a deep breath and pressed the play button with trembling fingers. A projection of Obi-Wan appeared on the nightstand.

Padmé walked out of the fresher, pulling a brush through her knotty hair. She became silent as she, too, saw Obi-Wan's image. She stopped brushing.

Obi-Wan's message was brief.

"Anakin, please contact me as soon as you get this message. Oh and try picking up the comlink next time, Padawan. Kenobi out."

Anakin silently picked up the comlink and took it out to the sitting room. He punched in some information, and soon enough, another projection of his Master appeared before him.

"Hello, Anakin," Obi-Wan said.

"Hello, Master. I got your message..."

"Yes, Anakin. We have been assigned another mission. You are to depart for Coruscant as soon as possible."

"Yes, Master," Anakin said, having to filter the disappointment from his voice. "What is our mission this time, Master?"

Obi-Wan heaved an enormous sigh. "Well, Chancellor Palpatine thinks that the clone armies will become inefficient without proper leadership and guidance." He paused and sighed again. "As his second act with his emergency powers, he has assigned the Jedi to command troops in the Clone Wars."

"What?" Anakin asked incredulously. "You've got to be kidding me!"

"Anakin, as Jedi, we serve the Republic. That is our duty. When we are asked to do something, we do so without question," he said. Anakin could tell it had taken him quite a while to arrive at such a calm state concerning this matter.

"Yes, Master," Anakin said. Obi-Wan's heart broke at the bitter defeat in his Padawan's voice.

"I will see you tomorrow, Anakin. May the Force be with you," he said.

"Goodbye, Master. May the Force be with you."

Obi-Wan's image faded away and Anakin stood in a shocked silence. He walked back to their chamber, where Padmé was sitting on the bed. All Anakin could do was stare at the wall. Padmé stood from her spot on the bed and walked over to him.

"Oh, Gods Anakin. What is it?"

"Obi-Wan wants me to return to Coruscant as soon as possible. For another mission," he said sadly.

Padmé was silent for a moment. "Well, we knew this day would come soon...but not now. I don't want it to end," she spoke softly.

Anakin just stared pleadingly into her eyes.

"That's not all, is it?" Padmé asked, not sure if she wanted to hear his answer.

"The mission," he said quietly. "Is by the orders of the Supreme Chancellor. All Jedi have been assigned to command the clone armies."

Padmé couldn't speak for a long time. "You're fighting in the war, is that what you're telling me?" she asked, silently fighting back tears.

Anakin just nodded.

"No..." she whispered. "Oh, no no no..." she muttered over and over again.

He lifted her chin to face him. "Yes," Anakin choked.

She couldn't hold it in any longer, and she ran into Anakin's arms. "Just hold me, Anakin," she sobbed into his shoulder.

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Padmé rose early with Anakin. He silently packed his things while Padmé was in the fresher. They barely spoke a word.

When they stepped outside, Padmé shivered as the cold air and darkness whisked past her. She wrapped her cloak tighter around her shoulders, but the cold seemed to be more than that. She was cold down to her bones, to her heart, and not even the warmest blanket could alleviate it. She shivered again.

A cab was waiting in front of the lake house. Anakin put his bag in the trunk and slammed it shut, and he turned to face Padmé.

"Anakin," she whispered and threw her arms around him.

He buried his face in her hair. "Shh..." he whispered. He brought her head up to face him, and he gently wiped away the tears that were falling down her cheeks. Ever so slowly, he lowered his head and gently kissed her. They wished it would carry on forever.

"Take Threepio, okay?" he whispered.

She nodded. "I love you, Anakin."

"I love you, Padmé." He slowly let go of her hand and climbed into the cab.

Her eyes followed the cab until it had flown out of sight.

Anakin leaned back in the seat. He couldn't help but think about something that had been bothering him this morning. Padmé was so strong, but he was afraid that he had given her a weakness.

Himself.

It wasn't a very comforting thought.

Back at the resort, Padmé went inside and silently welcomed herself to the first day of utter loneliness.

THE END

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A/N: Well, that was officially my last fanfic. Ever. I'll miss you guys *sniff sniff*. But you can still read my originals! : P

I would like to thank everyone who ever reviewed any story of mine. You are the best!