AN: Where to begin… Life has been hard this past school year. I almost failed out- not because I'm not smart enough, but because I simply didn't give a damn about it. Not a good thing, when you're in your final year and it's really important. My personal life is not that great- nor has it really ever been- and I had some real problems recently.

In October, my arm started to hurt when I wrote or typed. So much, that I went to the doctor and they thought it was tendonitis, so they immobilized my arm by putting it into a full cast- for eight weeks. After eight weeks, when it was still causing me a lot of pain, they had me do an MRI and they realized that it was the bone. So basically, the cast was for nothing, my arm still hurts whenever I type or write a lot and I have to get surgery done. Fun.

School's also been hell lately, I've gotten sick- really sick- several times and in Feb/March, my computer crashed and I was out a computer for weeks until I got it fixed.

Stuff just keeps on adding up. I will continue this. I've got more written. It should be up soon. I'm sorry for making you all wait so long. Yes, I'll admit that part of it was a bit of laziness on my part, but a lot of it was also other factors.

I'll do review responses next chapter. If you ever want to talk to me or say something, either leave a signed review and say you want me to answer back or email or IM me directly. My IM is in my profile and it's the easiest and quickest way to reach me.

And now I'll stop talking and let you read the long awaited Chapter 3.

Chapter 3: Matrimony

"Where is my husband?"

Where is my husband?

Husband.

Husband.

"Your-" Obi-Wan choked, "Your what?"

He felt as if his heart had stopped beating. He felt as if the world had stopped turning on its axis. He felt as if time itself had stopped in the galaxy. And perhaps it had- at least in that small hidden room.

Bail Organa had a surprised look on his face and Obi-Wan knew it took a lot to surprise the Senator. Sairía looked a bit amused, almost, a soft smile forming on her lips. And Padmé…Padmé just looked annoyed.

"My husband, Obi-Wan. I want to know where my husband is."

Looking into her eyes, Obi-Wan found a fierce determination he recognized. She wasn't going to be easily placated about Anakin and his fate. Yet on the other hand, he did not believe he could bear to tell her what happened. It had been two years since his last encounter with his former apprentice and, most of all, friend, and he still had a hard time dealing with that fact. The collapse he had almost had earlier that same day was testament to that.

But first, before he could go into Anakin's fate- or at least figure out a way to tell her something without telling her anything in reality, he had to come to terms with the fact that his apprentice had been a married man.

It had been hard enough to deal with the fact the two of them were in love, but Obi-Wan had managed. Barely. He had forced himself to ignore it and convinced himself that in reality, it was nothing more than an infatuation or something similar. And that there was no way either of them would act on their feelings.

It wasn't until the end of the Clone Wars that Obi-Wan had begun to face the music, so to speak. There was simply no more denying the fact that his apprentice would sneak away- often at night- and then return the next morning, his shields in his mind clamped down even more than they usually were. And even though Anakin wasn't strictly his apprentice anymore, but a Knight in his own right, he still felt responsible for the lad. And he had been dreading the fateful confrontation they would eventually have to have.

But then the approaching end of the war changed it all. Visiting the Senator to tell her that her lover was not the man he used to be was hard enough. Listening to her protests and faith in him was even worse. Seeing her tears almost brought him to tears himself.

But it was her pregnancy that shocked him the most.

He had sensed for awhile now that something wasn't right. The day he visited her in her apartments while Anakin was away with Palpatine, he could tell that she wasn't behaving in her usual manner. Not that she did not try to hide it, but he was a Jedi Master. He knew that something was wrong that day. However he had figured that it had to do with Anakin and the fact that he knew she and Anakin were in a relationship.

And then seeing her again, days later, telling her what had transpired, he could tell that she was even more off. Something was worrying her. Of course, the fact that Anakin, no, he reminded himself, Vader had been there, shortly after he had destroyed the Temple was reason enough for her to be in such a state. But after she had collapsed in his arms, he had been confronted with undeniable evidence- her large stomach, round in pregnancy.

Rounded in pregnancy with Anakin's child.

Or children, as he had later found out. But in any case, her pregnancy was testimony to the relationship she and Anakin had held. Children weren't just conceived by wishing, nor were they brought by flying Ewoks as some parents might tell their children. Conceiving children required a more…physical…act and one that he doubted the Senator would be prone to do without some form of a relationship behind it. Not to mention the fact that Anakin had been in love with her for years.

Simply put, displayed in all its glory, Padmé's stomach meant that not only had Anakin and she shared feelings, but that they had also shared…physical…acts as well. And Obi-Wan didn't want to think much more about it.

Yet here he stood, faced with even more knowledge of his former Padawan's actions. It hadn't been enough for Anakin to break the Code by falling in love with her or having relations of a physical nature with her. It hadn't been enough for him to impregnate her with his children. No, for Anakin Skywalker, trouble-maker extraordinaire- all those forbidden acts weren't enough.

He had to marry her as well.

For some reason, he felt a rage welling up in him as he stared into her broken eyes. She reached for his hand, perhaps in comfort, and he drew it back, eliciting a look of confusion from her.

He wouldn't look into those eyes of hers.

He wasn't going to let her make him feel guilty, as he hurriedly backed away from the bed.

"You- you and Anakin, my Padawan, my friend- the same Anakin Skywalker that many considered to be the 'Chosen One'- the same General of the Clone Wars who had his face splayed on every holo in the galaxy with that ridiculous 'Hero With No Fear' title- you were married?"

He tried to refrain from shouting, but by the end, he couldn't help himself. He stumbled backwards, finally sitting on a chair that was placed behind him- by his own use of the Force or by Bail or Sairía, he wasn't sure. It didn't matter much anyway. All that mattered was the extent of the relationship between Padmé Amidala Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker.

Padmé Amidala Skywalker.

He connected the name together in his mind. Mrs. Skywalker. Senator Skywalker. She had been all these things for who knows how long - and no one had known.

He felt like crying.

Not in sadness, but in utter confusion.

Putting his face in his hands, he just sat there. He could feel the gazes of the others on him, but he ignored it. It was just too much for him. Anakin's betrayal had taken another step.

How could he have not noticed?

Was he really that bad of a Master?

Was he really that bad of a friend?

Of a brother?

Of a father?

Looking up, seeing Padmé sitting there, her eyes wide with tears pooling in the corners, her frail hands shaking over the blanket that covered her, a sudden wave of anger washed over him. How could Anakin have done this? How could she have done this? Anakin had always been moody, unpredictable and selfish, tuned to his needs and no one else's. Yes, he hid it well, but deep down; Obi-Wan knew that Anakin would do what he wanted, regardless of what it might mean to others.

But Padmé… Padmé was different. Or so he had thought. Padmé was a politician, but one that truly cared about the galaxy. Padmé had seemed dedicated to bringing peace again. She had been a kind, steadfast woman who could always be counted on and was selfless to Anakin's selfish nature.

And yet she had married Anakin.

Staring into the troubled eyes of the woman he had been so worried for these last few years, he could not help but be disappointed. He had trusted her with Anakin, by the Force! He had left their relationship alone, deciding not to interfere, because he had believed that the young, yet infinitely wise woman would help Anakin mature.

And she had betrayed his trust.

He ignored the small voice in the back of his head that whispered that she had in fact 'tamed' Anakin- Anakin had mellowed some over the years of the war, growing in maturity and truly becoming a man and it had to have been in part due to Padmé's influence. But Obi-Wan refused to think of that, concentrating only on what he was feeling now.

He shot up, startling the room's occupants as he took a deep breath and addressed Padmé. "You married Anakin. Do you know what you have done? Anakin could have been saved if it wasn't for you! Do you realize that?"

He stood, trying to gain control over his body and emotions, but he was failing. Jedi or not, Obi-Wan Kenobi was human and he had been alone for a very long time. There was no Jedi Order left to remind him not to give into his anger. Still, he tried to grasp the raging emotions within him and send them away.

"Sir." Sairía suddenly spoke out, giving him a look that would have brought a lesser man to his knees. She moved towards Padmé simply shoving him away as she bent down to stroke Padmé's hand.

But Obi-Wan was too riled to realize the shape his friend was in. "It was bad enough that he loved you, but you just had to love him back! And then you had to consummate your relationship and just look where it got you- pregnant! Pregnant! Did it ever occur to you what would happen? And then," He took a deep breath, trying to regulate his breathing but failing, "Then it wasn't just one child, but twins! Two of them. And now you tell me that you were married! What were you thinking?"

"That's enough, Obi-Wan." He almost jumped as Bail put on arm over his shoulders and turned him towards the door. "You've just upset Padmé, who does not need to be even more distressed than she already is. Let's go and discuss this new information calmly in another room."

And it then hit Obi-Wan what he had done. He had let his emotions get away from him with disastrous results. He had not only upset Padmé, but had failed her as well.

And she didn't even remember it.

How was he supposed to tell her of Anakin's fate after this?

He looked over his shoulder before he allowed Bail to lead him out of the room, looking at Padmé one last time. His heart began to break all over again. Not only was she so frail, Sairía having to support her as she leaned forward, her arms hanging limp at her sides, but it was her mumblings that made it even worse.

"Anakin…Anakin, I need you…Anakin, come to me, please."

And then "twins…twins…what happened to my child, my children?"

"Anakin, your family needs you. I love you. Anakin…"

The room was sparsely furnished, with a small elegant table and two chairs, as well as a small case for a few very ancient books and that was it. Obi-Wan had to admit that it didn't necessarily look like it fit the Royal Palace of Alderaan, except for the fact that the furniture that was present was costly. Standing in the middle of the room, he refused to sit.

He didn't think he could bear to sit now, not after what had just transpired.

Crossing his arms, he met Bail's heated gaze. "I do hope you realize what you have done," the Senator stated coolly. "I warned you that she was in bad shape, yet you had to cause a scene anyway."

"I am sorry." Yes, he was sorry. There was no excuse. He had reacted very strongly and wrong. He was a Jedi, above these things. And yet…

For once in his life, he believed he had just experienced what Anakin had gone through daily at the Temple. He now realized what it was like to have such strong emotions that you couldn't help but to act on them. He now knew what it was like to fight with yourself, knowing that what you felt was wrong, but being unable to control the feelings anyway. For once he looked back on his Jedi training with disdain. Two years on the harsh desert planet of Tatooine, living in solitude, had taught him something.

The Jedi Order needed changing.

And they had discovered it too late.

Back on Polis Massa Yoda had spoke of a new training for the twins, a new way to build the Order. Yoda had told him that he had received a new Master- although Yoda himself was the Chair of the Jedi Council. And when he had learned who that master was, he had been shocked. Qui-Gon Jinn, his own former Master had appeared to Yoda and taught him the ways of the Living Force. The Jedi Order would be resurrected someday, but with new values and teachings.

He hadn't believed it himself then.

Oh, he had in a way. Or maybe it was more that he hadn't understood what that could mean. He had spent a good part of the last two years meditating over these changes Yoda had spoken of, but his meditations had been fruitless. He simply did not understand.

Now he did.

He lowered himself into a chair, leaning back as he closed his eyes in thought. He could sense the senator pulling out the other chair and sitting, his gaze still trained on the confused Master. Finally he spoke as he opened his eyes.

"I let my emotions take over, my lord. I am sorry for that. But I will also express my…" he searched for the correct word, "reservations on learning that Padmé and Anakin had married. And I will also state that we must learn more."

"I had no knowledge of this myself, Obi-Wan." Bail shook his head lightly. "I too assumed that they were nothing more than lovers and that they had no lasting, legal bond to another."

"Yes…" For once both the senator and Jedi were at a loss of speech for words. Finally Obi.-Wan decided to continue after they sat for seemingly endless minutes in silence. "Married. I just…I cannot understand what happened. Anakin, I could understand him wanting to marry her. But that she would also wish to marry him- it is so unlike her." He smiled ruefully. "The one reason I never voiced my suspicions to Anakin or anyone else about their relationship was because I was sure she would keep him in line. She was good for him- she helped him mature greatly over the years they were together again. But now I almost wish I had said something…done something to stop it."

"We cannot change the past." Obi-Wan looked at the senator who was leaning over the table between them both. "We can only hope for a change in the future."

"I know." He sighed, thinking for a moment. "But now we must discuss how we are to go on. Padmé cannot learn of Anakin's fate. And we must also learn from her what she does remember."

"Not much, from what I have heard from Sairía, or at least not anything that was recent. She remembers her childhood and her service in the Senate. Which she is also asking about and which we must tell her of- the Empire and everything it entails. But she does not remember very much close to the attack."

"So she does not remember her pregnancy?" Obi-Wan ran a hand through his hair, a gesture he belatedly realized he had picked up from his former Padawan- a thought which made memories spring to life again. The way he had stood on the cliff over his former friend, now bitter enemy, as the rock crumbled in his grasp, the way he had spoken the words he had never forgotten, the way he had watched him fall, down and down, screaming in hate as rocks came loose and joined his descent, the way he could barely force himself to look over the edge and see the splash where the body and rocks hit the lava, sinking.

He hadn't known at the time that an almost invisible ledge in the rock face would save Anakin, keeping him free from the lava that burned everything that it touched. If he had…he didn't know what he would have done. His training dictated that he kill Anakin, somehow bringing the unconscious man to himself or going down to him or even using the Force to propel him off that ledge and into the lava he should have fallen into. Anakin Skywalker was no more- all that existed was the shell of a once brilliant man, inhabited by the evil of Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith. But perhaps there had also been a way to save him. Perhaps after he woke up, in the care of his old friend, he might be inclined to see reason. Perhaps after seeing his wife and child, he would realize what he had done. Perhaps if Yoda survived the duel with Sidious, they could make him come to his senses.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

The truth was that he hadn't looked down that cliff and noticed that ledge. The truth was that when he saw the rocks and boulders tumbling into the lava, he had assumed that his apprentice was among them. The truth was that he hadn't stayed long enough to sense out Anakin in the Force. The truth was he had rushed as quick as he could, to do one last favor to the man Anakin had been.

He had set out to save Anakin's wife and unborn child.

And he had managed to do so. No matter Padmé's condition at the moment or Anakin's for that matter, either.

He had done what he had set out to do.

Only that was important.

"No, she doesn't. At least, if she does, she has not said anything."

"Yes she does." The two men in the room whirled to face Sairía, who was now standing in the doorway, arms crossed, and a frown on her face.

"Thanks to you, sir," she glared at Obi-Wan, "she does now remember. Slightly. She believed the child dead before this. And she had no memory that it was twins. Now she is asking about them both, wanting to know everything. Or," Sairía said as she entered the room, pulling the door shut behind her, "She did ask. I've put her to sleep again. Your outburst, sir, caused much more damage than you would expect. Not only did it get her worked up, causing physical damage, but it also caused mental damage as well. She's spent this last week wavering in consciousness. But not only that, she's also wavering between reality and dreaming."

"I don't- I don't believe I quite understand." Obi-Wan looked at the woman and was met with a fierce glare in return.

"She has spent two years in a coma, as you know. In this coma, she was dreaming. I don't know exactly what she dreamed about, my lords, but I do know that she was very confused. When she awoke, it was because something had happened in her dreams. She has been awake for a week, but she is still very troubled and cannot differentiate between dreams and reality very well."

"So you're saying that although by appearances she is awake, her mind is still dreaming?" Obi-Wan tried to wrap his thoughts around the situation. But the truth was that while he knew the basics of healing the body and the mind, like any other Jedi, they were not his specialty. And therefore there was very little he could do.

"Correct." Sairía stepped closer, nodding her head to the Viceroy. "My lord, as I said, she now sleeps. But she will awake soon and she will want answers. She now knows about the twins and she will ask about them. As well as Anakin…" Again, she shot a glare at Obi-Wan, who sighed in resignation. He and this woman really hadn't gotten off to the right start.

"I don't believe I have introduced you two, Sairía," Bail quickly interrupted. "This is an old friend and someone who may have the ability to heal her, Master Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Sairía at first grudgingly gave him her hand as she bowed slightly. "I thought you were referring to a doctor, my Lord, not someone who may or may not have the ability to heal her. But-"

And then suddenly recognition was displayed on her face after she received her hand back from Obi-Wan.

"Did you say Obi-Wan Kenobi?" She took a step backwards and Obi-Wan could not help but be slightly amused at her reaction. "You-you're a Jedi."

"Really? I was not aware of that fact." Obi-Wan nodded at her letting a slight smile trace his lips. "Truly, Sairía, I meant no disrespect earlier with Padmé. But I was caught completely unaware with Padmé's revelation. She and Anakin… We had no idea the extent of their relationship reached so far as to marriage."

"And Anakin…by the gods, Anakin Skywalker? I thought I heard that name when you were screaming in the other room, but I was concentrating on her ladyship more than on what you were saying." She shook her head and Bail vacated his chair for her. She tumbled into it, shaking her head. "Anakin Skywalker…Kenobi and Skywalker…"

Obi-Wan felt his heart tremble again when she spoke the phrase that had made him and Anakin famous. It seemed today that he would never gain freedom from Anakin and his fate.

Sairía looked up once again. "Are not Jedi forbidden to marry? It is none of my business, I know this. But I still wonder…I have cared for the poor Lady since she has arrived here and I wish to help her."

"It is all right, Sairía," Bail finally spoke up. "And you are correct, it is forbidden for Jedi to marry. However she and Skywalker married anyway."

"That must have been a match made in the stars, "she said, flinging a hand in the air, motioning towards the ceiling of the room. Obi-Wan and Bail both looked up in confusion and then gasped.

The ceiling of the room was painted a midnight blue, but it also shimmered from within. Golden stars were portrayed, shimmering themselves and in one corner of the room there was a portrait of a beautiful woman dressed in white, her eyes closed, her hands clasped in solemn contemplation and wait, her head inclined to the corner diagonal, where a portrait of a young man stood, posed in very much the same way. A chorus of lines wound between them, connecting them in silver streaks.

"The woman, her name was Saraía- my name was taken from hers, actually. The legend has always been a fascination in my family…" Sairía smiled softly into her lap, before looking up again and continuing. "But Your Highness, you would know her under a different name," she said, glancing at Bail.

Obi-Wan looked towards him, but Bail shrugged his shoulders. "I'm sorry, Sairía, but I simply don't."

"Yes you do." Sairía took a deep breath. "Saraía was a beautiful young woman with many suitors, but she only wanted one, the one who was forbidden to her. He was a dashing Knight of the Order, but because of his vows, he could never take a wife. Yet he and Saraía met in secret and their relationship grew. It is even told that they were married secretly.

"Years passed and no one became the wiser. It was curious as to why Saraía never married, but she was young and an educated woman and so many believed that she just wanted to wait. It wasn't until another suitor came calling for her that she learned how much trouble she was truly in. Saraía learned that she was pregnant with the Knight's child. She hid her pregnancy from the people and tried to refuse the suitor's attentions, but it failed. The suitor learned that she was not only pregnant, but who the father of her child was.

"He became so enraged in his fury and in his fury he almost killed her. Her Knight heard her calling from the deepest corners of the galaxy and rushed to her aide. But by the time he got there, it was too late. She had entered a sleep that she would never awaken from-"

"Le Dormiena!" Bail interrupted, his mouth falling open. "These figures are Le Dormiena and her Knight?"

Sairía smiled softly at him. "Correct. Saraía fell into that deep sleep and her Knight hid her body away in a secret room inside this very castle. He commissioned a portrait of her to be painted, but died before its completion. The artist, a very old friend of them both, decided to complete the painting, but added her own touches in. She painted the ceiling, calling their love one which reached across the stars."

Amikía Devaro, the artist, was actually a relative of mine. Whether she actually knew the Princess and the Knight personally, I cannot say. But in any case, I will admit that once I saw our lady sleeping, I felt immediately that Le Dormiena had appeared once again. And now that I know of the true love story between the two, it makes me feel even more connected."

She swallowed, both of the men's eyes upon her. "What is little known is the ending of the story. There is a reason for that. Even if the legend bears no truth and Amikía Devaro simply wanted to paint a known legend, the end still remains secret. See…" She trailed off, placing her head in her hands before looking up again, "I said that the Knight died before the painting had reached completion. But there is more to it than that. He was so distraught after finding her that he immediately sought out the suitor. He murdered the suitor but didn't stop there. So consuming was his rage that he turned to evil, leaving death and destruction in his wake. He became a feared warlord, and his name was met with terror. But then something happened one day."

"Saraía had birthed her child before she entered her sleep. The child was taken away, hidden in the Knight's very Order and grew in secret, never learning of his heritage until the one day when he met his father. Seeing his son opened up the father's closed and deadened heart and it was to save his son that the father finally gave up his own life. The son journeyed to where his mother laid to look upon her, but when he arrived, she was gone. Saraía had vanished… And the son had the room locked, never to return again. To this day, no one knows what happened to the son."

"Of course, this is all a legend, gentlemen. But…" Sairía took a deep breath, "to me it always seemed real. And it has always saddened me…to think of what happened to them."

But Obi-Wan was no longer paying any attention to her words. Instead he shared a worried glance with Bail and then nodded slightly in response to Bail's questioning look.

It was Bail who interrupted Sairía. "Sairía, I want to thank you for telling us of this ending. I never knew of it and I'm sure Obi-Wan did not either. And I am now aware of how much this might mean to us… What do you know of Darth Vader?"

"Darth Vader?" She stared at him in disbelief. "Very little, for personally I would rather not know too much…but he is supposedly young, very powerful, very evil and always keeps his face hidden underneath his hood. Why do you wish to know?"

Bail sighed and reached into a pocket, pulling out a data pad from that morning's newspaper and another older data pad. "I'm going to show you two pictures and I want you to tell me who they are." He flicked a button and a figure appeared dressed in black with a metal cylinder attached to the belt at his waist. He had dark blond curls and blue eyes with a scar over the right eye.

"That's Anakin Skywalker." Sairía confidently said, pointing at it. "He had that scar over his eye…I don't know much about him, but Lignía, an errand girl, was always very interested in him and she'd show me his pictures or talk about him."

"Correct, that is Anakin Skywalker. Now for this one." Bail pressed the button on the other data pad and another figured appeared. There was no difference between the two figures except that one wore a hood over his face and there was a scattering of lines on the left cheek.

Sairía stared at it and then gasped. "No…it can't be…"

"Yes it is." Obi-Wan finally moved over towards her. "Anakin became Darth Vader. Which makes the story all the more tragic and it fits your legend even more."

"And you also understand the need for secrecy now." Bail added. At Sairía's enraged look, he quickly went on. "I trust you implicitly, Sairía. Otherwise I would have never trusted you in the first place. And you do deserve to know. I am just telling you to be extra careful and on your guard."

"I understand." Sairía didn't sound happy about it, but still curtsied. "And I should be returning to her ladyship." They watched as she left.

"What do we do?" Bail asked, his eyes still trained on the door.

Obi-Wan turned and looked at Bail. "We try to keep as much information from Padmé as we can while assuaging her fears. I will try to take a look into her mind, but I am not very trained in Mind Healing. And we shall…wait and see what happens. That is really all we can do."

"Yes, I agree. Yet I still wish we could do more for her-"

Bail stopped suddenly as a high scream vibrated through the room.

"Padmé."

Little star

In the Night

Glowing brilliantly

With shining Light.

Show me what I wish to know

Guide me in the ways I chose

Teach me what I will achieve

In your light I do believe.

Protect me from all the harm,

Hold me in your caring arms

Care for me, I will be strong,

As you save me from all wrongs.

Guardian in the sky,

Always there on the nigh

Sing softly in my ear,

Always singing through the year.

Never forget me when days have gone

Even when it has been so long,

Keep me near in your heart

From you I shall never part.

She cradles the child in her arms, softly singing the children's rhyme she has known since she was a child. She rocks in the chair, smiling down on the babe. It is a cool night, but there is a fire going in the fireplace and she and the child are both wrapped in a blanket. It is so peaceful now, ever since he came back to her.

Ever since he came back…

She still does not know where he went. She doubts he will ever tell her and part of her is glad. She knows that it must have been horrible. The way he acted afterwards is testament to that. But she loves him with her whole being and she will never hold it against him. She knows that the war was hard on him.

And it is so nice to have him back.

She stands with the bundle in her arms, softly humming a melody. The child sighs once as it closes its tired eyes and stills in sleep. She smiles down at it, rocking her arms gently. "Good night, my little one."

"Good night, my little ones." She almost jumps in surprise as a pair of strong arms wrap around her waist, pulling her into a hard body as a voice whispers near her ear. But as she recognizes the arms, she relaxes, leaning back against his chest.

"Anakin…" She sighs, snuggling her head into his chest as she keeps her arms around the child in her arms. "You startled me…"

"I'm sorry," he whispers into her ear before slowly pressing his lips to the lobe. She sighs in contentment as he continues kissing a path down her neck to her shoulder where her dressing gown and night gown meet flesh. He moves his arms up from her waist to her own arms as he removes the child from them.

"Come." Nodding at the cribs lined up on a wall, he smiles at her. "It's time for this little one to join the other."

She joins him as he walks over and lays the child down in its crib, slowly drawing up a blanket and flicking on the mobile of stars and moons. She leans against his shoulder while he completes the act of tucking in their child, an act that thrills and calms her at the same time. It is glorious to see him tuck in the child that they both created out of their love.

He finishes and turns to her, smiling in the moonlight before walking over to the other crib and placing a hand in it. She follows him, expecting him to repeat the same process with this twin as he had with the other one. She can see him reach in the crib and draw up the blanket. She sees him flick on the mobile. She sees him stroke the child-

There is no child in that crib.

Her heart shatters and she cannot breathe. She lunges towards the crib, throwing back the blanket to see-

Nothing.

There is nothing there except a decorative pillow, a blanket and a stuffed animal. The mobile turns, sending the light of the stars and moons around in a circle, casting light in the darkened corners. But the child- the child is not there.

She collapses, her body hanging over the railing of the crib. She feels him take hold of her shoulders and stand her up, supporting her weight. "Padmé, what is wrong?"

"The baby, the baby…" She moans, barely able to keep her head up. "Where is my baby?"

"Lying right there," he points, hugging her close to him. "Sleeping along with its twin. Come, Padmé, there is no reason to worry."

"No!" She can feel something reach out to her, icy yet burning, and she recoils from it, leaning so far back that he must fight to keep her in his arms. "No! Give me my child!"

The room wavers before her eyes. The darkness reaches out for her, but she will not let it touch her. She cannot let it touch her. Yet Anakin's grip on her shoulders, the way he presses her against his body allows her no freedom from the darkness. She cannot move. She cannot escape. The Darkness approaches, smoky tendrils reaching out for her. She can feel its presence. She can feel the way it is about to touch her skin and the way it will enter her body and take control. She will not give up, even though there is no chance. She cannot fight it.

And then suddenly it leaves her.

It goes after the other twin.

She fights his grasp around her and even though she knows she has not hurt him, he lets her go. She stumbles to the other crib, desperately needing to see her other child. She tears back the blanket.

The child is gone.

"No!" She screams, collapsing into a puddle on the floor. "No!" She bangs her fists on the ground, her fingers grasping the rug and pulling, clawing at it. "Not again! Where are my children? Where are my children?"

She does not feel how he picks her up, cradling her against his chest. She does not feel the way he tenderly strokes her hair and forehead and cheek as he leaves the room. She does not hear his whispered words that there is nothing wrong, that her child sleeps and that they only have one child. She does not feel how he lays her down upon their bed and slowly removes her dressing gown. She does not feel how he leans down and kisses her on the mouth, trying to soothe her anxious cries with his lips.

She cannot feel anything.

The darkness has taken her two children- or was it only one? The darkness swirls around her and there is nothing she can do. She feels her strength leave her. She feels the way it wants to take her over. She is helpless. She is weak. Only Anakin can fight this darkness…

"Anakin!" She cries out, only they are muffled by his lips. "Help me!"

He ignores her cries, trying to soothe her as he runs his hands down her frame and back up again, his body on hers, only their clothes separating them. But she has become numb to his caresses and kisses. She cares only for the approaching darkness and the fact that he does not hear or heed her cries.

And as she opens her own eyes, to stare into his, she realizes that there will be no help from him, not anymore.

She is no longer staring into her beloved husband's cobalt blue eyes.

She is staring into a stranger's lifeless yellow eyes.

And now she knows that it is too late.

The darkness has already taken him over.

She screams.