STAR WARS: The Final Farewell

©2002 R. Joseph Polito

Star Wars and all related characters are the property of Lucasfilm

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I knew Veers was behind me but I made him wait. I didn't take lightly to interruptions so the only thing keeping him alive was his patience. Veers apparently understood this and stood still and silent, the model soldier, as I continued to stare out over Coruscant's skyline.

I remembered how Ric Oli( had once said Coruscant was a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there. He had been right. This planet, while a marvel, was too confining for my tastes. I longed to get back into the openness of space. I had promised Qui-Gon that I was going to be the first person to see all the planets and that was a promise I still intended to keep.

Finally I decided to acknowledge Veers' presence. "What is it?"

Veers cringed slightly but spoke, "My Lord, I found this woman trying to enter your chambers. She insists on speaking with you."

My eyes fell upon the woman standing next to him. I had failed to notice her until now. She looked up at me and I drew back slightly in surprise.

"Shall I take her away sir?"

"No," I said quickly regaining my composure. "Leave her to me. I will deal with her myself." Veers nodded and left. He was a smart model soldier and I had a feeling he was going to go far. Once he was gone I turned my full attention to the woman before me.

"We meet again, Sola."

Sola stuttered as she spoke, understandably nervous in my presence. "It's good to see you again Anakin."

"That is entirely a matter of opinion," I said folding my arms behind my back and turning away.

"I didn't come here to argue," she said finding her courage. "I came for my sister."

My body stiffened and I made sure to keep my back to her. It would be easier to control my temper if I didn't look at her face. "I haven't seen Padmé in years, Sola. I have no idea where she is." Surely she realized the danger of reopening old wounds. It was hard enough talking to her without bringing up my lost love.

"I know where she is," Sola said. "I've come to take you to her. She needs to see you again."

I waved her off. "She could have come to me at any time. Why should she send you now?"

"She doesn't know I'm here. I came because I know she wants to see you even if she didn't say so herself. She has to. She deserves to."

"If she truly wanted to see me again she would have come to me herself. Now leave me while I'm still feeling merciful enough to let you go."

Sola sighed, "Anakin. she's dying."

I could actually feel my respirator skip a breath as those words hit me. I thought for a moment she might be lying. It was certainly possible. But no, I could feel it. My heart knew better. It was a long time before either of us spoke again. Finally I managed a single word, "How"

Sola shook her head and sighed. "I'm not sure. Some new disease. The locals aren't being affected as much but because she's from another world. well she doesn't have much time left. This is the last chance you'll have."

"I've put that life behind me," I said, once again avoiding her face. "She's already dead to me."

"You don't really mean that!" Sola shouted, taking an attitude with me that few would dare to.

"Leave me!" I bellowed. I wanted her gone before I did something I might regret. I was being overcome with raw emotions that had not entered me in many years. There was no telling what I might do.

Sola slowly walked away but paused at the door. "She's on Alderaan. Think about it." With that she was gone and I was once again alone. As I had been for so long.

I don't know what it was that made me go. It would have been so much easier to stay away. I suppose I needed to see a closure to my pain. The first true pain I had felt since I left her. It didn't take me long to discover that Padmé was living with the governing family, the Organas. Not surprising really considering how much help Bail Organa had been to the Republic during the Clone Wars. As I entered a few brave guards tried to block my path. Brave but foolish. Their efforts were utterly futile.

I entered Padmé's bedchamber and found her lying there as I had never seen her before. She was weak and frail. In all the years we had been together I had seen her in many states but never like this. Nevertheless she managed to raise her head and smiled at me.

"I knew you'd come," she coughed. Oh how that cough stung. It cut me worse than Dooku's saber had when it took my hand.

"I've been waiting for the day you'd come back," she went on softly. "I always knew that there was still some good left inside you."

"Obi-Wan once thought so too," I muttered. "You can see what came from that."

"Obi-Wan tried to force you back. But I knew that you had to find your own way. That's how it's always been for you Annie."

I shuddered slightly at the name she used. "No one has called me that for a very long time."

She shrugged lightly. "It's how I first knew you. It seems somehow appropriate now."

I looked down, unable to face her. She knew her time had come and she was ready to die. How could anyone be ready to die while still so young and full of spirit? My eyes fell upon her hand which was clutching a small pendant around her neck. The same pendant I had given her those many years past.

"I made this for you. So you'd remember me. I carved it out of a japor snippet. It'll bring you good fortune."

"It's beautiful but I don't need this to remember you. Many things will change. but my caring for you will always remain."

Damn it! This was just like what had happened with my mother. I finally come back to her just in time to see her die! I was the most powerful Jedi there ever was. More than that I was now a Sith lord. I had powers of the Force that the Jedi dared not dwell into. Yet none of that made any difference now.

Padmé must have known what I was thinking because she said, "It's not your fault Anakin."

I held her hand tightly. "What good are all my skills with the Force if I can't even save those I love?"

Padmé returned my firm grip as best she could. "I know now what you went through those ten years we were apart before. It's been less than half that time since I last saw you and I've." She lapsed into a coughing fit and was unable to continue, but it didn't matter. I knew what she was saying.

Finally she found her voice again. "I know about the terrible things you've done, but I never stopped loving you. The real you. Not this masked shadow you've become."

Suddenly I realized what she was about to ask of me. I hoped she wouldn't but I knew she needed to.

"Annie, could you take the mask off? Just for a moment. I want to see the face of the man I love one last time."

"You won't like what you see," I said, but I was already lifting my helmet off. I took one last controlled intake of air and pulled the faceplate away. Padmé smiled up at me, but her eyes filled slowly with tears. Who could blame her? I looked hideous. No I was hideous! My eyes began to cry along with hers.

With what must have been nearly all her remaining strength Padmé reached up and stroked my pale scarred face with her soft smooth hand. "The scars don't make a difference Annie. Remember what Yoda told us. 'Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.'"

My lungs were beginning to give out, no longer able to support themselves, but I kept the mask off. I didn't want that ugly lump of cold black metal to be the last thing she saw.

She didn't have much time left but she managed to speak one last time. "Anakin, it's too late for me but not for you. There's something you must do. When you left. I was pregnant. We have a son. Obi-Wan hid him to protect him from you and Palpatine. I don't' know where he is. Please find him for me."

I was shocked. I had a son? And that old man had kept him not only from me but from her?!? I wanted to ask her more. but she could no longer hear me.

I leaned down and slowly kissed her goodbye. Slipping the mask back on, I turned and left pausing only as I passed by Bail Organa right outside the chamber. He must have known I was in there but had not interrupted us. When I had first arrived on Alderaan I had been infuriated with him. Blaming him for not saving her. But somehow as I looked into his face those feelings disappeared.

"Send her home to Naboo for burial," I said finally. "Give her a proper funeral, then remember her with honor." Bail nodded. I didn't have to use a mind trick. I knew he would have done so even if I had said nothing. With that I turned again and was gone. No one tried to stop me. No one would have dared.

I have not shed a single tear in Padmé's memory since that day. Nor have I removed my mask for anyone else. There is no longer any reason to reveal the man behind it.

Anakin Skywalker was no more. He had died that day with her.