Alderaan's sky was a vivid blue, and the air, if it could be described as a colour, would be a pure white

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Alderaan's sky was a vivid blue, and the air, if it could be described as a colour, would be a pure white. It flowed through the lungs of Padme Skywalker as she walked along through the rolling meadows with a cold, clear quality unlike any other place in the known galaxy. Carrying her twins with her, both of whom were fast asleep, she settled under a lone tree, grateful for the shade. Looking down at the snoozing toddlers, she felt the corners of her lips tug upwards in a tiny smile. Yes, she knew that this was a risk, if any Imperial agents saw her with children…

But I don't care, not right now. She thought to herself. Luke is going to be taken away from me soon, and I want to enjoy every second I have with him. Drawing the said bundle of joy to her, she nuzzled his head softly, kissing the nearly invisible blond hair that he had inherited from his father…

Ani…

Luke woke, opening the deep blue eyes that, when matched with the blond fuzz on his scalp, proclaimed him clearly to be his father's son. Flailing a hand up to touch his mother's face, Luke suddenly looked over at the horizon and let out a little cry, smiling and clapping his hands. Padme frowned at this show, but the frown was from puzzlement, not anger.

"What are you doing, little Luke? Eh?" She tickled him slightly, smiling at his squeals of delight. Leia stirred and looked up at her brother. If the child hadn't been too young to make complex facial expressions, Padme would have sworn to have seen a look of utter annoyance flit across her daughter's small face. Then the expression – if it had ever truly been there – was gone, and she too was squealing in happiness. Padme set them both down and watched them play. She sighed, seeing everything so nearly perfect. This was so close to the family Padme had once envisioned; but as close as it was, it was still incomplete. Watching the twins settle down to a good old-fashioned grass-war lifted her spirits, but she felt something at the edge of her conscience, tugging at her attention.

The Force? Padme thought, puzzled at this new feeling. Whatever it was, it obviously was pleasing the twins, as they were both happily bouncing up and down on their pudgy bums. She closed her eyes, as she had seen Anakin do a million times when he needed a better feel of something or another. The silence filled her, broken only by the sighing of the wind. Leia giggled, climbing up on her mommy's lap and snuggling against her. Luke came seconds after, making himself comfortable and falling gently asleep. Padme gave a mental shrug, careful not to wake her sleeping children.

"I guess the picnic's over, kids. Let's go home." She whispered to them, glad that she could spend this time with them. Obi-Wan had wanted to take Luke as soon as he was born, but Padme hadn't allowed it, she wanted time with her children. Yes, the dangers were great, if Anakin ever found them; the children would be taken to Palpatine, or worse, killed. At least that was what Obi-Wan claimed, Padme didn't think Anakin, in any shape or form, had it in him to kill his own children. She started the walk home.

Later, as she set the twins down in their crib – they couldn't stand being separated, even while they slept. Padme didn't know what they'd do when Obi-Wan took Luke to Tatooine – Padme thought about her husband. She would always consider him her husband, no matter what he did. He had fought Obi-Wan on Sullust, apparently, and both had come out of it injured and weak. Obi-Wan had retreated, and Anakin had barely escaped the planet before the volcano they had been fighting on erupted. She had heard that he had sustained a bunch of little injuries, but nothing serious. Not that she had desperately searched for that information…she really wasn't supposed to.

Oh, well, what can I do? I still love him and I know it!

A knock sounded at the front door, and Padme looked at the chrono in surprise.

Who could be calling this late at night?

Walking to the front door, she checked to make sure she was presentable before she opened the door. If this was some door-to-door salesbeing again…but if it was something important, she had to take it.

She opened the door, making the Rodian outside blink.

She sighed "Please, whatever you're selling, I don't want it. I'm sorry." She closed the door, fighting down the fear that had invaded her mind at the knock. If that had been Obi-Wan…

Another knock sounded at the door, and Padme groaned, rubbing her eyes as she opened the door again, not even bothering to see who was there.

"Listen, I told you I wasn't interested in your products. Don't you have anything better to do?" She was too tired at this point to care that she was rude.

"I'm not selling anything," Padme's eyes snapped open at the voice, " and I'll never have anything better to do then visit my angel."

"Anakin!" Padme gasped, wide eyes taking in the black clothed form of her husband. "I…"

"I was just in the neighborhood, and I thought I'd drop by. May I come in?"

The children! "Uhh, sure. I was just a little surprised, that's all. How…?"

"Obi-Wan told me you were dead, but I had to see for myself. I could sense your presence, Padme. Aren't you glad to see me? You look a little pale." Anakin's smile was amused, but there was a fair amount of hurt behind it. His eyes, though, were the eyes of the deeply betrayed. "What has Obi-Wan told you?"

"That you attacked him, that you tried to kill him, that you…"

"Would kill you if I found you? Is that what he said?" A snarl twisted his lips "You believed that?! How? You know that I love you dearly! Does that mean nothing to you? Do you truly think I would just throw that away?"

Padme felt tears well up in her eyes at the accusations, but stood her ground. "I know that the Anakin I knew wouldn't, not for anything. But Vader is someone who has done terrible things, and I wasn't sure about him."

"We are one and the same, Vader and Skywalker."

"I don't understand why you've done some of the things you have done, Ani. I can't pretend I do."

"I've done none of those things to you, have I?"

"But you've done them to others! Are you happy with this new life?"

"I would be if you came with me when I leave here tonight." The words were spoken softly, and the bitterness that had been swimming in Anakin's blue eyes disappeared, to be replaced with a sad, but intense longing.

"I…is this one of Palpatine's commands? To bring me to Coruscant?"

"No!" Anakin cried, pain spiraling among the longing in his eyes, and in his voice. "This is not from Palpatine. I want you to come with me, Padme. Please say yes."

"I --" A whimper came from the other room, just loud enough to be heard.

Anakin frowned "What was that?"

Padme looked at the ground; I have to tell him, now. "Do you remember, before you left, on Naboo? That conversation we had?"

"Yes, at the end of it you said you had something to tell me." His eyes went wide and his mouth hung open "You don't mean to say…"

Padme nodded slightly, glancing up at him, suddenly very shy. "I tried to tell you, but we were interrupted."

"I…" He grinned at her slightly, as if unsure "I'm a father?"

She nodded, smiling at him, suddenly very glad she had told him. "Would you like to see them?"

"Them?" He raised an eyebrow, still dazed.

"Yes, there were twins."

"Twins?! I'm a father twice!" He shook his head, then smiled at her, as shy as she had been. "Yes, I would like to see them."

Padme took his large hand in hers, and led him into the twins' room. Both Luke and Leia were sitting up, wide-awake and smiling in delight. Padme turned the light on and Anakin beheld the children he had fathered.

Padme led him towards the crib, and Luke stood up, grasping the rails of the crib in one tiny fist and reaching toward his father with the other.

"Hello." Anakin whispered, totally blown away by this tiny being reaching out to him. He glanced at Padme for permission, then gently picked the child up. Padme picked up the other one, who stared at him with big brown eyes.

"This is Leia," Padme said quietly, indicating the brown-eyed child, "and that's Luke." She smiled at him, sending him mentally head-over-heels. "I think we're going to have to pry him off of you."

Anakin laughed softly, looking at his tiny son. "Hello, Luke." Probing him through the Force, Anakin turned to Padme "He's strong," he looked at Leia, "they both are."

Padme grew scared then, "Ani, you can't take them to Palpatine, he'll see them as a threat. Do you want them to die?"

"No! I mean…perhaps he won't kill them. Perhaps he'll want to turn them…"

"I won't allow that. Anakin, they'll be miserable, like I know you are. Don't condemn them to that life."

"I-" A crash came from the front door, startling all in the dwelling. "What in space..?"

"Lord Vader, Padme Skywalker, come out with the children now."

"Anakin!?" Padme turned to him, whispering furiously "Did you call them?"

"No, I don't know how…Sith!" He had been searching his robes, and came up with a black pin, nearly invisible against his clothes. "He tracked me!"

"Now do you see?" Padme begged him with her eyes not to turn them in.

"I…yes, I think I do." He grabbed her arm and led her back to a window set high in the wall. He smiled at her, "Ladies first." He stroked Leia's dark hair. "We'll join you as soon as you're up."

Lifting his wife and child up to the sill, he checked to make sure they were secure before jumping up beside them. Silently opening the window, they crawled out.

Darth Vader and his family ran from the Empire.