She had allowed him to leave her arms.

One precious soul slipping from one life into another - out of her world and into a vastly infinite place made up of the allurement of hopes and the attraction of dreams.

Shmi slipped her arms around herself, trying to say that this is what she wanted. Everything she had ever hoped and dreamed of had come true in a matter of a few days. No, it was less than that or so it seemed. There was a sigh of what felt like exhaustion but which came from something deeper within she did not care to analyze.

The cooler air of night breathed relief against her. Cheeks that were usually burned by the twin suns received nothing but a soft caress from an unexpected breeze. From her vantage point on the porch was every brilliant star - every tiny fantasy that he had entertained to let his heart remain free even when he could not. She turned her eyes to the heavens, wondering if he had yet completed the tasks he had set for himself. Anakin had always been a lofty dreamer, and her one true hope in life was to see him accomplish every last dream his mind had created. Such a little boy....

Not now, she reminded herself with a soft smile. Not after so long. Remember, Shmi, he's older now. Perhaps he had changed, but inside, something seemed to sing out that he had not. Something cried that she would remember him when it came time for her to do so. If Fate allowed her to do so.

The winds shifted slightly, coming stronger from the westerly direction, blowing a strand of hair across her face. Somehow it had broken free of its neat, confined bun-desiring a freedom that she so rarely gave it reign of. Cleigg had mentioned that she should wear her hair down more often, that it graced her features with a softness that he ardently admired. Shmi smiled at the thought of her husband and the kindness that he had always shown her. She had been given a gift when she had been given that man. It had been a love regardless of social standing, something which she valued and appreciated as much as freedom itself.

Freedom, love.things that she had hoped for Ani. She still prayed that he would find them all, live his destiny to the fullest. Live it for himself as well as for others. He would do anything and everything, she knew, just to make her proud. But the truth was that it was not necessary. Pride for her son was something she had never been without. As she turned to look up at the darkened heavens once again, she thought of those vibrant blue eyes that had reminded her so often of the stars he had looked to each night. Memories came of sitting at his bedside while young eyes stared through the rough little window, darting around the evening sky. Recollections of a moment when she had had a son-and they had been a family.

The night air whipped up a fiercer current, sending bits of her graying hair flying over her shoulders and into her eyes. Shmi shivered and leaned against the railing, ignoring the chill as she pulled her rough shawl closer around her. She could never hold him - could never be the mother that she had always been, always wanted to be. Ani was so far away, following a different path that would lead him to his destiny. Why had the Fates decided that she, his own mother, could not be a part of her son's life? The bitter, salty taste of a tear stun the edge of Shmi's lips, and she quietly and composedly wiped it away.

As fast as the wind had picked up, it quieted. The night was strangely still now; not one noise arose from the great sands around her. She was alone - except for the stars. And her memories.

The majesty of the night sky and the power of the past struck within her a familiar note, one that Shmi had neglected all these years but not forgotten. The tiny resonance sounded within her heart and grew note by note - growing in intensity yet it remained the quiet, calming lullaby that she remembered so well. The chords were old and sad. Yet within the melody line, there existed a delicate balance between melancholy.and peace. Shmi closed her eyes for a long moment, one more tear threading softly down wind-brushed cheeks.

She spoke no words. No lyrics rang forth into the dark night lit only by the shadows of faraway stars. But there was a steady flow of music, crying softly from both heart and mind and flying away into the heavens, away from the sands of a simple planet. As it filled her, she squeezed her eyes tighter, not wanting to release it - yet knowing that maybe he could hear. Maybe he would know.

The song within died softly in a barely noticeable decrescendo until Shmi could hear the beautiful melody no more. Slowly, she fluttered her eyes open, swallowing tightly. Perhaps he had heard. Perhaps her Ani knew now. I pray, let him remember.Let him hear.let him know.

Inside, Shmi heard Cliegg's deep, soft voice, and she collected the shawl around her, pushing the hair away from her face as she turned to head indoors. But something stopped her - something...tugging at the back of her mind, at the center of her heart. She turned, lifting dark eyes to the sky. Nothing had changed up there - every constellation was the same, every stellar position exactly as it had been before. Why had she looked up again?

It was all she could do not to gasp, and her fingers tightened their grip on the edge of the rough fabric of the shawl as she listened. Eyes narrowed in acute concentration, she struggled to hear. A soft breeze seemed to carry the sound - the very faint, very quiet murmuring of the same lullaby her heart had remembered. It was being.answered. Or simply remembered. Shmi laughed a little. Or imagined, she added mentally. You could make up anything.

But this wasn't fictitious; it couldn't be. Not when it was so clear. And so familiar. She swallowed again, almost unable to believe her ears, and in the breath of an instant, it was gone. The tail end of the breeze caressed her cheek softly, leaving her with a lingering note, and Shmi smiled softly as she looked up at the sky.

"My boy," she whispered quietly, smiling even as another tear squeezed from her eyes. "My Ani." One bright star winked in the night sky, and she longed to reach out and touch it, bring it down and hold it in the palm of her hand. The thought was interrupted once more by Cliegg's quiet presence at the doorway, and Shmi turned with a smile toward him, quickly hiding the tear as she walked inside.

Inside, her heart still sang.