Hope and Darkness Missing Scene # 4: Sins of the Father (Chapter 15)
Author's Commentary: Anakin's banishment was a temporary consequence of Padmé's anger and pain at his failure. I initially thought about expanding on the various characters' reactions to his exile, but as I wrote the resolution of the story I decided that only one set of scenes (Chapter 15, Part 1) was necessary to convey the significance of the event without overplaying it. The crisis makes a good Missing Scene, though.
The soft light of early morning streaming in the windows and warming Leia's face did nothing to improve the somber mood in the kitchen as the three siblings ate a listless breakfast. Somehow Bryon had convinced Sarré to stay in bed and get some more rest, and Mara apparently was sleeping in too. Leia had just taken a bite of her pastry when she heard the footsteps and looked up to see Luke pace lethargically through the open doorway. She narrowed her eyes a little and tilted her head, knowing he'd understand what she was asking.
He shook his head almost imperceptibly as he sat down next to her.
Later, then, Leia thought. Apparently he didn't want to discuss last night's conversation with Mara in front of the others. "We were talking about Mom," she told him. "And Daddy too, obviously. Just trying to figure out what's going to happen now."
"I didn't talk to Dad yesterday, or Mom except at dinner," Luke said in a flat, defeated voice as he lifted the large pitcher to pour himself a glass of shuura fruit juice. "Did any of you?"
"No," Danaé answered from her seat across from Leia at the small table. "She was at the Senate all day. I talked to Daddy, but he only wanted to find out how Bryon was doing and wouldn't talk more."
"Mom checked on me last night before she went to bed," Bryon offered. "I tried to talk to her but it didn't work. She doesn't seem ready yet."
"She doesn't," Leia agreed. After Luke picked up a pastry from the plate in the middle of the table and took a bite, she reached out and took his free hand. She squeezed it reassuringly, and he squeezed back dully. "I haven't seen her this way in… I don't know. Years. Maybe ever."
"Yeah," Bryon said, his voice full of exhaustion. "And I can't…"
When he didn't continue after a long moment, Leia glanced over at him. "You can't what?"
"Don't take this the wrong way," her little brother said, "but I guess I just can't understand why she's so upset. I mean, I can understand her being angry. Obviously. But to do this…" He took a deep breath and sighed. "It's the soldier in me, I suppose. He killed the enemy in battle. That was his mission. Maybe he should've used a different means – I'll even concede that. But it's not like he's gone over to the dark side or something. How is throwing him out of the house going to help anything? It'll just hurt Dad more, and hurt Mom more too. It just makes everything worse."
"I understand what you mean," Danaé said. "And you're right to a point. Daddy didn't do anything like what Oga did. He hasn't become evil. That's a big difference, and it matters a lot."
Bryon nodded. "I know I don't understand the Force, and especially the dark side, the way you do. I know that. Maybe that's why I can't understand why Mom's so angry."
"I thought of something else last night, actually," Danaé said. "I think it's because she remembers what Daddy was like all those years ago when he was using the dark side – when he came so close to falling. She remembers how his actions, and that power, clouded her judgment – don't forget, she was right there with him for all of that. And I think she's terrified it could happen again. Not just to him, but to her too."
Leia furrowed her brow and glanced quickly at Luke, who was lost in contemplation. "How? Daddy wouldn't do that again. His willpower is too strong."
"I think so too," Danaé said. "But Mom's scared. Really scared. See… What you have to understand is how the dark side affects someone. Oga… When I fought Oga… He wasn't there. I mean, it was his body and his voice and his saber techniques and all of it. But it wasn't him – not inside. It was like I didn't know him any more. He was a totally different person."
"Master… Master Obi-Wan…" Luke paused and swallowed hard, and Leia quickly squeezed his hand to comfort him. "He always said that when Dad was affected by the dark side back then… It hurt him so much to remember… He said… that Dad started to become someone different. His personality, and his values and choices – his moral compass. I think Mom's afraid… that Dad could get that way again."
"Exactly," Danaé affirmed. "She doesn't want that to ever happen again – and now she's afraid it could."
"But this time he knows better," Leia insisted. "He's sorry. He's apologized. His remorse is written all over his face. He knows what he did was wrong – really wrong."
"Of course," Danaé said. "But Mom's still too angry and hurt to see it. She's afraid that when she looks at him she's in denial. That he's already changed – that the darkness has affected who he is – and she's not letting herself see it. She's afraid she's blind, and of all the terrible things that could happen if she is."
"I see what you're saying," Leia said. "But how could she think that? She knows Daddy too well to be blind."
"Does she?" Bryon's tired voice was so hushed it was almost inaudible.
Leia glanced over in surprise. "Bryon?"
"I hadn't thought about it this way until now," he said, looking at Danaé. "Until what you said. See… the thing is… You guys see me when I'm home, and when I'm with Sarré. You see me this way. You don't see how I am out in the field. In battle with my men. When I'm in commander mode it's like I'm a different person. A totally different person."
Leia saw his eyes welling up. "It's okay," she whispered. "It's okay."
"No," Bryon said as a few tears ran down his cheeks. "It's not okay. You don't… You don't get it. At the Senate… I did…" He took a drink from his glass and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. "Look, I'll tell you the details some other time. For now let's just say I did something I really shouldn't have done. And when Sarré found out, she couldn't believe it. She knew it was true, but she couldn't believe it. She thought I wasn't capable of something like that. And I wasn't – not the Bryon I am when I'm around her. But when I'm not with her… I… I have problems. Problems she's going to help me with, now that she finally knows the truth. Now that I've finally stopped hiding from myself."
Danaé reached out a hand to rub his shoulder. "We'll all help you, Bryon. We all will."
"I know," he rasped. "So that's why I know what Mom's afraid of, you see? I'm one man with Sarré, and another in the field. And maybe Dad could be too… It's not impossible. And maybe that's what's scaring her."
"That makes sense," Leia said. "It makes a lot of sense. But I still think Daddy's stronger than that. He's too strong to fall to the dark side. Mom believes that. I know she does."
Luke squeezed her hand just before he spoke. "It's more complicated than that," he said gravely. "Even the strongest person has weaknesses."
Danaé nodded. "And we're Daddy's."
"Exactly." Luke took a quick drink from his glass. "When I was fighting the Sith Master, I wanted to kill her. I really wanted to kill her. She said she was going to turn Danaé to the dark side. Or me. Or Dad. Or all of us. And I got so angry… I just… I hated her."
Leia squeezed his hand again. "You're only human. We're all human."
"I know," Luke said. "But I'm a Jedi too. I'm supposed to be better than this. And usually I am. But when I got angry… and full of hate… The dark side is so tempting. When you touch its power… it's… I can't describe it. It's just… You feel invincible. You feel like if you just take a bit more, you'll be unstoppable."
"And imagine what Dad felt in the Force," Bryon said. "I was shot – he probably thought I was dead. Leia lost Han. Danaé killed Oga. And Luke's hand got cut off. Imagine all of that at once. So much pain, and he's so far away. He must've felt completely helpless."
"I'd want that power too," Danaé said. "To be powerful enough to make that kind of pain go away."
"Or you'd want revenge," Luke said. "Revenge against those who caused it."
"I would," Leia said under her breath. She still remembered all too clearly her pain nearly two years ago. Jarren had been assassinated, and in her sudden and soul-rending grief she'd miscarried the baby she'd just learned she was carrying. That double loss had sent her into a downward spiral of anguish and despair that had seemed infinitely deep. But she'd never hit bottom – because soon her grief had warped into rage. A terrible, wrathful, burning rage at the unknown source of her loss. If she'd found who'd killed Jarren – and her unborn daughter – she'd have executed them herself. With her bare hands. By inflicting all the pain and suffering she could upon them. Feeling that way had frightened her then, and it still frightened her now to realize she was capable of such uninhibited fury.
Leia was glad she'd managed to keep her emotions at Han's loss under control, at least by comparison. She felt no murderous rage this time. And she wouldn't because she wouldn't let herself be that way again. It was truly horrible to experience, and she couldn't ever repeat it. That kind of hate was terrifying.
Those feelings in a Jedi… the power of the dark side… She shivered involuntarily at the thought.
"I'm sure Mom will change her mind," Danaé said, moving along as if she hadn't heard Leia's muttered comment. "Once the shock finally passes."
"I'm sure she will," Leia agreed. "She just needs some time."
"If she'll talk to me tonight, I'll see what I can do," Bryon shrugged. "But I'm not counting on it."
"She'll forgive him," Luke said confidently, the first sign of brightness in his face since he'd joined them at the small table. "She loves him too much."
"I just hope it's soon," Danaé frowned. "We can't go on like this much longer. It hurts too much for all of us."
"It'll be soon," Bryon said. "I promise."
Leia seized the chance for a diversion, and grinned mischievously at her little brother. "Do you want to bet on that? Lay some odds?"
"I'd be happy to, sis," Bryon said. A lopsided grin so much like their father's formed on his face. "See, I've had pretty good luck with the odds lately. If I can cheat death, I certainly think I can cheat you."
The four of them burst into laughter, and for just a moment everything wrong in their lives suddenly seemed a lot farther away.
Hope and Darkness Missing Scene # 5: Apology Accepted (Chapter 15)
Author's Commentary: Sometimes a good Missing Scene is just an expansion of a scene in the story. I thought the Anakin/Padmé reunion in Chapter 15 accomplished everything it needed to do for the story to move on – but it's interesting to consider what might have happened after that.
"Come home, Ani," Padmé said. "Come home."
Anakin tried to speak, but his voice was still frozen in his throat. He nodded once, definitively.
She smiled a little and reached up a hand to brush her fingers along his cheek. Then she wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her blue flight suit and clasped both his hands in hers. "Do you need to get anything before we go?"
He could feel the weight of his lightsaber handle on his belt, and that was enough for now. Swallowing hard, he squeezed her hands. "No."
Padmé's wet brown eyes had a hint of a sparkle. "All of your things are at home anyway."
Anakin couldn't keep the lopsided grin from forming on his face. "They'd better be."
She laughed – and it was a glorious sound. "Of course they are, idiot," she said, tugging him by his hands toward the armored Senate airspeeder waiting for them a few meters away on the Jedi Temple's landing platform. "Let's get going. It's freezing out here."
He laughed too, and it felt great. "As you wish, angel," he nodded, following along obediently.
They sat down as closely as they could on the padded bench in the passenger compartment of the speeder. As the craft rose into the air Padmé took Anakin's hand and interlinked their fingers, and she leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulder. "I missed you," she whispered. "I missed you so much."
"I know," he said, leaning his cheek on the top of her head. "I did too. More than I've ever missed you in my life."
She leaned up her face and kissed him on the lips – firmly, passionately, and desperately. He responded in kind, making sure all of his overflowing happiness was expressed. They didn't stop until they were left gasping for air and grinning like lovesick teenagers.
"What I said the last time we talked," she whispered, suddenly blinking to fight back tears, "I take it all back. I didn't mean it. Not really. I was just angry. And in shock. I said a lot of hurtful things I shouldn't have."
"Perhaps," he replied tenderly. "But you said a lot of things that were true too."
"Shh, angel," he insisted, cutting her off with a finger on her lips. "I forgive you. For whatever it is you wish you hadn't said, I forgive you. All things considered, I think you took it rather well."
Padmé furrowed her brow. "How do you figure that?"
Anakin shrugged. "You didn't try to kill me."
"Don't forget how easy it is for me to read your emotions, angel. You were practically ready to strangle me with your bare hands for a while there."
She glared at him indignantly. "I was not!"
He only raised his eyebrows and grinned.
She blew out a sigh and glowered at him. "Stupid Jedi powers," she muttered.
"Of course not, angel," Anakin chuckled.
Padmé nestled her head on his shoulder again while they sat silently for the rest of the short ride back to the residence. When they arrived she kept her grasp on his hand and led him to the kitchen, where she finally released him to pour them each a tall glass of ice water. They sat down across the small table, and she reached out her left hand to take his right. "Ani, I have more I want to apologize for."
"Don't, angel," he soothed. "There's no need."
"I need to say it for myself," she said. "I need to say it to you, even if you don't need me to."
"I shouldn't have made you leave," she began. "I was hurting. A lot. More than you've hurt me in a very long time. But I was wrong to make you leave. You needed me, and I needed you. We needed to start our healing together, not apart. It's my fault we did, and for that I'm truly, deeply sorry."
"Thank you, Padmé," he said. "Apology accepted. My turn?"
She nodded, and took a long drink from her glass.
"I'm sorry I failed. I was weak. I knew better – I know better. I betrayed your trust in me. That's something I thought I would never do, but it happened." He gazed deeply into her eyes. "These days at the Temple, I've done nothing but meditate about everything that's happened. I've studied it all, gone over everything in my mind, reconsidered every last little detail. I see where I went wrong. Why I was weak. How I let myself lose control of my feelings. I'm a Jedi Master. I'm better than this – we both know that. I'm sorry that I failed you."
"Thank you, Anakin," she said. "Apology accepted."
"We both have a great deal of healing to do," he said quietly. "I will do anything you ask."
"I know you will," she agreed softly. "And I will do whatever you need."
He could see the exhaustion in her eyes and knew they'd both said enough for tonight. And as much as he wanted to see his children, it was the middle of the night – and there'd be plenty of time for that in the morning. "How is Bryon doing?"
"When did you talk to Danaé last?"
"The day before yesterday."
Padmé nodded. "About the same, then. He still sleeps most of the day. He can stay awake for two hours or so at a time. It's frustrating for him, but he's just so happy to be alive I think he's beginning to accept it."
"That's good," Anakin said. "I'll be honest, angel. I still can't believe he survived those injuries."
"I can't either," she admitted in a whisper. "But the Force is strong in his family. It was with him that day."
"It was," he agreed.
She took another drink from her glass. "The twins are struggling. Leia's distraught over Captain Solo's capture, and Luke's obviously completely devastated about Obi-Wan. They'll both need your help."
"Of course." He took a drink too. "And Danaé needs some time to process what she's been through. I know her; I know she's been so focused on helping everyone else she hasn't taken care of herself yet."
"I'm sure you're right," she said. "She's always been more open with you about Jedi matters."
"I'll talk to her tomorrow," Anakin said. "I'll make sure she's started her grieving too."
"Thank you," Padmé smiled. She rose from her chair, took his glass too, and paced over to the cleaner unit.
Anakin stood up and walked over to her. When she turned back around he pulled her into a firm embrace, holding her close and resting his chin on the top of her head.
After a moment she pulled away and stretched up to kiss him tenderly on the lips. With a little smile she took his hand and led him from the kitchen. "Come on, Ani," she whispered. "It's time for bed."
Hope and Darkness Missing Scene # 6: Panic Attack (Chapter 15)
Author's Commentary: This was a scene I decided to hint at in the full story; it would have distracted from the flow to include it. That makes it a fun Missing Scene, though.
Cuddled in Bryon's lap on one of the sofas in the salon of the Skywalker residence, Sarré sat gazing out at the sparkling nighttime cityscape of Coruscant. One hand held his in her lap while the other played with the short brown strands of hair on the back of his head. "Today went well," she said.
He sighed happily and kissed her forehead. "It did."
She kissed him back – on the lips. "I think my father's still in shock," she laughed. "Poor Mom, it's almost like she didn't know what to do with him."
Bryon laughed too. "To be fair, the grandchild part was pretty unexpected."
Before Sarré could reply, a voice called out to them from the far door of the salon. "Is now a good time?" It was Luke. "I saw you were still up."
"Now's fine," Bryon answered. "Come on over and have a seat."
Sarré watched Luke walk slowly toward them. His feet were shuffling. His hands were fidgeting with his white shirt. His eyes were flicking back and forth. His frown was grim.
He looked terrible.
"So," Luke said, not sitting down but instead beginning to pace, "I wanted to ask you about something."
Sarré smiled warmly. "What's that?"
Luke blushed. "It's… something personal."
"It's okay," Bryon shrugged. "You know all my secrets anyway."
"Most of them," Sarré teased in a mischievous voice, and grinned even broader when Luke blushed deeper and her husband blushed too.
Luke swallowed hard as he continued to pace. "It's about your baby. About… um… the conception."
Sarré furrowed her brow. She looked over at Bryon, who was equally befuddled. "We'll do our best," she said. "I'm not sure we really understand it ourselves, to be honest."
"That's just the thing," Luke said. "You were… you were still on the injections, right?"
"Yes," Sarré nodded. "Yes, I was."
Luke sighed and kept pacing. "Leia told me you both just found out about… Mom and Dad… and Bryon … and how he was conceived."
"That's right," Bryon said. "Leia told Sarré on the Falcon, and Dad told me tonight after dinner. I don't know why he waited so long to tell me, but he did."
"Oh, I think it's pretty obvious, Bryon. He was in denial about what his little boy was doing behind closed doors," Sarré laughed. She looked up at Luke. "When did he tell you?"
Luke blinked, as if he'd momentarily lost focus. "When Leia married Jarren. I think he told me the same day he told her. My guess is he figured she'd tell me anyway, so I might as well hear it from him."
"Makes sense," Bryon nodded. "Did he ever tell Danaé?"
"I don't know when," Luke said, "but he must have at some point. She mentioned it to me about a year ago before she…" Suddenly he stopped in place and looked away.
This time Sarré was the one who blinked. "Before she what?"
Bryon was staring at Luke too. "Danaé? Really? I just always assumed… Was it someone at the Temple?"
Luke was biting his lower lip when he looked back at them. "I'm sorry, but I've already said too much."
"Oh, come on," Bryon laughed, "what'll it hurt to…"
"I'm sorry," Luke interrupted. "Danaé would kill me for even letting that slip. Seriously. She'd kill me."
Sarré put her fingers on Bryon's lips to silence him. "It's okay, Luke," she said quietly. "I don't think you came here to talk about Danaé."
"Right," Luke nodded, resuming his pacing and fidgeting. "So… Sarré was still on the injections, but you're pregnant anyway."
"That's right," Sarré replied.
"Okay." Luke took a deep breath and ran his fingers through the long strands of sandy-brown hair on his forehead. "Now… I know Dad's theory of how Bryon was conceived… And I believe him, I guess… But I'm just not sure with only the one time if we can be sure that's why it really happened."
Sarré closed her eyes for a moment to keep herself quiet. So Leia really had been serious on the Falcon when she'd said that only Anakin knew about the miscarriage. To this day Leia still hadn't even told her twin. "What is it that you need to know from us?"
Luke's troubled blue eyes met Bryon's. "I need to know if your pregnancy meets Dad's theory."
"Oh, I get it," Bryon said. "You want to know if I wished for a baby."
Sarré finally understood too. "Or if it didn't even take that to overcome the injections."
Luke's voice suddenly seemed paralyzed and his gaze was fixed to the floor. He only nodded.
Sarré glanced over at Bryon to see his eyebrows raised and his jaw hanging open. When he felt her gaze on him he glanced back and shut his mouth. Sarré tipped her head affirmatively.
"I wished for a baby," Bryon said softly. "I just know Sarré is going to be such a wonderful mother, and I was just so happy right then… I wanted us to have a baby…"
"And we will," Sarré finished for him. "So yes, Luke, it does fit with your father's theory, the way our baby was conceived on Naboo."
Luke met her eyes. "Thank you," he said, his voice hoarse and hushed. "Thank you for being willing to tell me this. I really needed to know."
"Of course," Bryon shrugged. "Any time."
Sarré could see that Luke's anxiety hadn't abated much at all. "Is something wrong, Luke? Did you…"
"No!" Luke's voice clearly was far more defensive than he'd intended, and he wasn't looking at them any more but instead gazing aimlessly out the window. "No, I didn't. No. Not at all."
Bryon narrowed his eyes as he pondered his brother. When he spoke, his voice was quiet and reassuring, and tentative. "Then she's not pregnant, Luke."
"Right," Luke said almost inaudibly, still lost in his own thoughts. "She isn't."
Sarré felt Bryon squeeze her hand, and she instantly met his gaze. She was pretty sure this time her mouth was hanging open too. They stared at each other, but neither of them said a word.
"So… um… thanks," Luke said emotionlessly into the silence. "I should go."
Sarré looked up. "You're welcome. We'll see you tomorrow."
Luke met her gaze, nodded once, and strode quickly from the salon.
Bryon's voice grabbed her attention again. "Mara?"
Sarré looked back at him. "It has to be, doesn't it?"
"I can't imagine it's anyone else," he said. He paused a moment, contemplating. "There's no chance she went off the injections, is there?"
"None," she replied immediately. "No way."
"That's good. It seems like those two have enough issues to work out as it is."
"It does. Too bad, really."
He flashed a resigned smile. "It sure took them long enough to figure out they're meant for each other."
"No kidding," she laughed. "It's about time."
"Better late than never," Bryon shrugged. "The real question is how we're going to get the truth out of Danaé."
"Oh, I know," Sarré said excitedly, bounding up off his lap and offering him her hands. "Who do you think it was? Do you have any ideas? Who was she hanging out with a year ago?"
"I do have a suspicion, actually," Bryon said conspiratorially as he pulled himself to his feet with her leverage. "But first I need some water."
Sarré slapped her arm around his waist and tugged him forward. "Pick up the pace, soldier. This I want to hear."