4-13-08 Thank you, all of you, for your amazing reviews. I can't apologize enough for not continuing this story. I am now a junior in college and unfortunately Darth Life took over and this story got laid to rest. Recently I have received some wonderful feedback from readers, however, and it made me angry with myself that I never got back to it. I get peeved when I read a good story and it never gets finished, what gives me the right to do that to others? So anyway, I dusted off the hard drive and floppys that I had this saved on, and I plan to finish all these plot bunnies that threaten my life as I sleep. :) I'm ecstatic that you all have enjoyed my little fantasy, and I'm so glad to have you along for the ride. If you have any questions/suggestions, please feel free to send them! Enjoy!

Ch. 14

Anakin watched as Myjera's eyes fluttered in a dream.

It's all so strange, he thought. To be with her without the sandstorms howling, or the vaporators humming...

Yet Anakin felt strangely at home with the familiar sights and sounds of the Jedi Temple. It had been many years since he had envisioned Myjera there with him; it had been just a fantasy to make him less homesick when he had first arrived. It was strangely fulfilling to see her sleeping in the simple tan and cream linens of the order. Anakin was snapped out of his reverie when the door to the infirmary slid aside to reveal Obi-Wan and Master Yoda.

"How is she Anakin?" Obi-Wan asked, already fond of the girl sleeping on the cot. So much had transpired in the past day, and Obi-wan almost chuckled to himself for considering that the thought of this situation had never entered his mind before last night. So much can change in a simple instant...

"Well, Master," Anakin smiled, both at the familiar salutation and the fact that he could sense her pain diminishing by the minute. "She is finally resting comfortably."

"Good news, this is," Master Yoda responded, "in a time of bad tidings." His tiny face frowned at the recurring thought of the war that was now raging in the Republic. "Much has changed."

Yoda directed his gaze to the woman shifting her weight in her sleep, letting silence fill the corners of the infirmary. Anakin also shifted his weight uncomfortably, now fully aware of the events that had transpired and the situation that was looming over him.

"Sense your reluctance, I do, to leave her side. However, speak, you must, with the members of the council."

Anakin sighed. This meeting was inevitable, and he had been pondering over the words to say to them ever since he had made the decision to return with his family.

His family. They need to be contacted...

"In due time, young Skywalker. Hear your story first, we must." Yoda turned toward the door, not giving Anakin a chance to protest.

"Do not worry, Anakin. Master Can'doa will keep a close eye on your lady. She will be brought in to speak as soon as she has the strength," Obi-Wan coaxed, aware of the bond between them. As if for reassurance, Myjera squeezed his hand slightly in her sleep, and then released it.

"Yes, Masters." Anakin placed a light kiss on her forehead, not caring about the reaction of the Jedi around him. "Forgive me, Masters, but I haven't had time to clean myself up..."

"I fear we'll just have to deal with the stench," Obi-Wan smirked. "Just stand closer to Master Windu, if you don't mind..."

Did Yoda just laugh at me?

"Change, you may," Master Yoda winked. "We have prepared quarters for you. Expect you in 15 minutes, we do." Obi-Wan gestured toward the doorway, and Anakin bowed to the masters. Even though he was no longer in the order, he could not bring himself to act as a commoner. Not showing the proper respect felt inappropriate.

"Thank you, Masters," He replied simply, suddenly feeling out of place. He took one last glance back at his sleeping fiancée, and proceeded to follow Obi-Wan to his room. Anakin suddenly felt tired, and the will to sleep was overwhelming.

As if blowing off the council is a good idea...

No, sleep would have to wait. Anakin trudged along in silence, his discomfort growing as he followed his former master. It took a moment before he realized that they had arrived at a familiar door. His mouth dried a bit as many memories came flooding back. Thankfully, Obi-Wan spoke before he had to.

"I have been moved to the Master's quarters, Anakin. You may stay in our former residence until this whole situation is figured out. Myjera will be staying with Master Can'doa, since her apprentice recently completed her trials."

"You have been generous, Master." Anakin replied in a robotic tone, the situation becoming a bit overwhelming. He felt boyish again suddenly, his mind brimming with questions. He finally began to realize how much he had grown in a year. "But why? Why am I not being punished? The last time I was here everyone acted as though I was a sonic charge... Have I not broken every rule of the order by now?"

"You're still celibate, I assume..."

"Well, yes, but..." Anakin trailed off when he realized that Obi-Wan was containing a fit of laughter.

"I love that you think we're all a bunch of stuffy old men," the master replied with a smirk that lit up his gray eyes. "Please go wash up. You smell like a Bantha."

Anakin swallowed the retort that danced on the tip of his tongue and entered the quarters. He heard Obi-Wan being to laugh as the door slid to a close.

I guess I'm not the only one who needs sleep... Anakin thought, as he removed his clothes and started the shower, marveling again at the excess of water on this planet. Wait until Mya sees this...

Anakin stepped into the small cubicle and felt the water rinse the dirt away, happily envisioning the worries and pain of Tatooine swirling down the drain along with it. There were no more worries about the future of his or Owen's children, and a sense of relief that soon his mother and Cliegg could retire in an oasis instead of a desert washed over him with the soapy water, and he groaned when the automated cycle completed. Glancing at the clock and realizing that he only had 5 minutes left, Anakin quickly dried off and threw on the familiar trousers and tunic that he had worn for 10 years at the academy. He did not have his robes, however, and the sharp realization that he had no status here made the nervous flutter in his stomach increase.

What in the universe am I going to say? 'I'll happily be a Jedi if you let me have a wife and kids'? Yeah, that'll fly...

He quickly grabbed his lightsaber and ran out the door, trying to clear his mind before he reached the council chamber.

The remaining Jedi Masters sat in silence after Anakin had finished speaking. So few of them remained, and Anakin felt his heart sink. He had come so far and dealt with too much to enter into such a volatile situation. From one war to another...

Yoda sat forward in his hoverchair. " Anything else have you to say, Skywalker?"

Anakin held his breath a moment, then looked straight at the diminutive Master.

"I have returned to ask your forgiveness, Master," his body took over and he found himself bowing to the council. "I have grown much in the past year, and I understand how you once considered me unpredictable and dangerous to the Jedi Order. But I fear a greater power is at work here. From what I now understand, I humbly admit that my powers are too great for me to be able to control on my own. I need support and understanding to keep them in check, and I need guidance. I have found that in my absence, and while I am pleading to be given another chance to rejoin this order- and I feel you all know that I could be a valuable resource if the prophecy is correct- I cannot be effective without Myjera. Were we ever to be separated, the Force would be completely thrown out of balance. Therefore-" Anakin took a deep breath, "I humbly ask that Myjera remain here with me, and that she also be tested to become one of the Jedi Order. I have no doubt that you will accept her as an incredible resource in this war of balance."

Mace Windu now sat forward. "And if we do not accept your conditions?"

Anakin looked him in the eye and squared his jaw.

"Then I intend to do what the force tells me nonetheless. Myjera shall be my wife, and our family shall settle here on Coruscant. We will do what we must to keep the force in balance. I was born a Jedi, was trained a Jedi, and despite titles and status, I will remain a Jedi for my entire life, whether the council considers me rogue or not. I simply offer you all the chance to monitor me and use my powers to end this war, instead of wasting your time hunting me down. I consider my allegiance to that of the light side. Only separating me from my wife or killing me would change this."

Obi-Wan simply smiled, resting his hands in a steeple as he always did when he was thinking. When Anakin finally released the breath he had been holding, he realized that there had been a familiar presence behind him for some time. He turned his head to see Myjera sitting in a hoverchair behind him, with Healer Can'doa standing beside her. The color had returned to her tan face, and the runes across her forehead seemed to be glistening in the light of the setting sun. She bowed her head, and Anakin felt her support surround him like the warm blanket they had worn when stargazing at night on Tatooine. He regretfully turned his glance back to the Masters, who were studying him with intent. The looked toward each other, and nodded almost imperceptibly. Yoda lifted his head to speak.

"Grown, you have, young Skywalker. But much we feel is behind your relationship with Ms. Tiquestua."

Master Windu took a deep breath and stood from his chair.

"The council gives you permission to rejoin the Jedi Order."

Anakin couldn't withhold the smile that now graced his lips, and Myjera held her hands to her heart in relief.

"However, you are returned at the status in which you left. You will continue to study under Master Kenobi as an apprentice, and your trials will commence in due time. We will test Ms. Tiquestua as soon as she has recovered, and determine her stance in the order accordingly. We must also make a full investigation as to her role in the prophecy and her ancestry. Your family may reside in an apartment in the city, but not in this temple. If you resume your duties here, you must reside here. Is this clear?"

Anakin nodded his agreement. "Yes, Master."

"Do you agree to these terms, Ms. Tiquestua?"

"I do, Master," Myjera bowed as far as she could while seated. "I am grateful for this opportunity."

Yoda stood up from his seat and walked to the window. "A long day it has been. Rest, we need. Resume our meeting tomorrow morning, we will."

"You are dismissed," Master Windu concluded. Anakin bowed deeply to each of the remaining masters, and turned to walk Myjera back to the infirmary.

"Anakin, would you stay a moment?"

Anakin turned to Master Kenobi, a sinking feeling developing in his gut. What do I say to him?

Say what you mean, Anakin. The Truth is wisest.

Anakin turned to Myjera, who squeezed his hand in support.

"I'll take care of her, Anakin," Master Can'doa offered. "You may visit her before you turn in."

"Thank you," he replied gratefully. "Get some rest," he told Myjera, kissing the back of her hand as the Master Healer pushed her hoverchair back to the sick wing. As the door shut behind them, Anakin turned his attention to his Master.

There was an awkward silence as Obi-Wan continued to stare out of the window.

"Master, I..." Anakin began.

"Anakin, you need not make a speech. You will tell me what you need to in due time."

"But Obi-Wan..."

"Anakin, please," Obi-Wan insisted, finally turning to face him, "I just wished to tell you that I am happy for your return."

Anakin smiled, taken a bit off guard.

"There is something different about you now. Before you were so unpredictable, so..."

"Rash?" Anakin offered with a smile. Obi-Wan hung his head a bit.

"Anakin I was very hard on you. I was fearful because this cloud of doubt always surrounded you..."

"Master, please," Anakin interrupted. This apology was going in the opposite direction of what he had expected. "I never gave you the respect you deserved, and I never truly thanked you for taking me on as an apprentice. No other knight or master would have been willing to do so."

Obi-Wan sat in one of the chairs, offering Anakin the one beside him. The younger sat next to him, leaning his elbows on his knees and rubbing his hands together so his master would not see them shaking.

"Anakin, you are the most talented Jedi I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. You are also the most unorthodox."

"I fear that was my undoing."

"You were the Chosen One, Anakin. Everyone expected so much of you. You have lived quite a different life than we all have, however. We asked too much of you. You cannot so readily destroy the family ties of a decade," Obi-Wan sighed and looked at Anakin in the eyes for the first time. "I did not realize how deeply the ties of family can go, until I had you as a brother."

"Obi-Wan, you are the closest thing to a father I have ever had. And I've realized that the love of a family is a blessing, not a curse. I spent my time in this temple regretting my life before, feeling that missing my mother was a weakness. I fought the heartache instead of dealing with it, and then when Padme passed away it all became too much to bear," Anakin paused to collect his thoughts before continuing. "The Jedi are supposed to always be compassionate, giving themselves unconditionally. Yet how can we expect that of each other if we are denied that same compassion- that same unconditional love. The Jedi are afraid that this bond would cause conflicting loyalties. But my love for my family, and for Mya..." Anakin smiled as her name graced his lips, "they are my motivation to do good, to make this universe safe to live in. I will not stop until this universe is safe for our children."

Obi-Wan could only look at Anakin as he gazed off into his own future. It took him a minute to gather his voice.

"We tried to make you forget what you had experienced, just because it fit our rules. While the pain of losing a loved one is the most devastating of all, it is also what makes us the strongest."

Obi-Wan stood and put a hand on Anakin shoulder. "You are far stronger than I will ever be, Anakin. I have learned much from you."

"I am honored to be your apprentice again, Obi-Wan," Anakin replied, feeling the weight of 10 years lift from his shoulders. The council may still be coming around, but Anakin finally felt as though he had someone on his side. Someone who understood him, and who supported him.

"We have much more to go through together, Anakin. I look forward to it."

Anakin stood and shook his master's hand.

"But now I believe it is time to retire. Tomorrow will be another long day, and not nearly as heartwarming. We will have much to discuss."

"Agreed. Sleep well, Master."

"And you as well. Give my regards to Lily."

"I will," Anakin replied, bowing his head. He then turned on his heel and headed toward the infirmary, breathing as though someone had lifted a boulder off his chest. He finally let the weariness of the day's events to wash over him, and he stopped only to kiss Myjera before heading to his quarters. He felt a slight twinge of regret that she had been asleep. He wanted to talk with her more about what had transpired, and it had been days since he had held her, but she needed to recuperate before tomorrow's meeting, and he was anxious to see how the Jedi Order would accept her.

Will you calm your brain and go to bed already?

Anakin smiled at the sudden voice in his head.

I need to send a message to the family first, then I will go to bed.

I already sent it when you were talking with Obi-Wan. They are packing up tonight and will start the journey tomorrow.

Always one step ahead of me.

We both need to sleep, and I knew it would keep you awake until it was done. I did not, however tell them of my condition.

Anakin shook his head.
Don't act that way, Luic. You know it would worry them all sick and it's not something they would readily comprehend...

I don't even readily comprehend it! No one has given me any answers!

Stop shouting. We're not the only force-sensitives around anymore.

Sorry... I am very thankful that you are alive, but I still do not understand. That blade...

Anakin instantly shut out the memories of the brutal encounter. He refused to have nightmares about that day.

I have a feeling I will have to explain everything tomorrow. I do not intentionally keep this from you, it is just a very long story...

I know. I do not mean to make you upset. I am going to go to bed now or I'll never wake up tomorrow.

Goodnight Love. I will see you in the morning.

Anakin felt a slight chill as her presence left his mind, but the exhaustion of the past few days finally took their toll. It took only a minute for Anakin to fall asleep.

Holy crap guys, I'm back!

I thought I was done. That I had let my writing go. Almost 18 years have passed since I first named my main character Myjera. 18 years. People change a whole lot in that time.

Thank you all for the reviews, favorites, and follows that have continued through all these years. I am sorry for not finishing what I'd started in a timely manner. But with that being said, I am also glad that I have had the courage to return to writing. I needed that time to grow and have actual life experiences and fail a whole heck of a lot. You will notice that my writing is a bit more adult, a bit more real, and I hope that you still enjoy this massive plot bunny that has haunted me for years.

I hope you all with check out the sequel to this story, titled "Journey to the Past". I have a few more chapters written and will update periodically. The story begins just after AotC, and will become quite AU as time goes on. I have rated this story a very strong T, but please be aware that some chapters will include adult subject matter (because they are adults, in love, in a war- right?). I will change ratings on chapters if needed. I could also release a separate chapter consisting of pure smut. Because why the hell not.

In any case, I hope you enjoy. Read, review, and follow if you feel so inclined. I don't require them, however. This is for me. I just hope it can make some of you all happy too.