One Last Encounter

AUTHOR: Abigail

SUMMARY: There was only one way that Anakin and Padme could have stayed together…Twists the plot from RotS.

CHAPTER 14: Forever

RATING: T

DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything that was created by George Lucas.

NOTE: I want you to read this chapter. Then you can read the note I left at the bottom...

But touch my tears with your lips
Touch my world with your fingertips
and we can have forever
and we can love forever
Forever is our today
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever?
Forever is our today

Who waits forever anyway?

-Queen

It was a crisp morning. The kind of morning where the birds softly chirp and the light breeze causes the curtains to sway. Padme lay in their bed, her head resting against the soft pillow. Her eyes fluttered open for a moment...then closed. For the final time, she disappeared into her dream world, never coming back...

It seemed like her life had gone by so quickly. Luke and Leia grew up, passing through each stage of life with awkward grace. Both of them were stunning reminders of their parents, with their own unique characteristics as well.

Luke began his Padawan training at the youngest age, and excelled quickly. The remains of the Jedi Council thought it would be best if Anakin would train his own son, but he wouldn't hear it. After trying to sway his decision many times, they were defeated, and Yoda hesitatingly took Luke as his Padawan Learner. Padme later asked Anakin why he had never wanted to train Luke. Anakin stiffened at this, but answered anyway. "I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to teach him to his full potential..." Anakin said shamefully. Padme suddenly understood why and the matter was never brought up again.

Luke remained quiet and introspective, always soaking in every detail. It wasn't long until he became a Jedi Master, taking Yoda's place in the council after his unexpected death. Padme wanted to have thought that Luke liked her best, but she knew in her heart that Luke had alwaysloved his Father the most.

Leia, on the other hand, seemed quite a contradiction compared to serene Luke Skywalker. She was always loud, outspoken, and opinionated. And it was long until Padme found Leia following in her mother's steps. After attending several Leadership and Counseling schools, Leia had become an important political leader at the young age of 14. Soon after that, she served one term in the senate, representing her home planet Naboo, and then went on to become Queen. Padme was always so proud of her daughter's achievements.

Padme and Anakin were constantly busy raising the children. And it wasn't until the day that Luke and Leia had finally grown up, leading their own lives and raising their own children, that they realized how much they had neglected their own relationship. At that point, the couple sadly left Naboo, deciding that they needed to leave their home roots for a while. So they branched out.

They visited far off systems, exotic planets, old friends, and had countless adventures together. It was just like they were young again. But it only lasted a while...

Padme was getting old...her encounters with the Sith Lord had not left her unmarred, and it took many years off her noble life. Anakin soon realized this and knew that they needed to return back to Naboo. Back to that old life of content and peace, where Padme could rest and...Anakin wouldn't dare to think about it, even though it crept into the dark recesses of his mind late at night when he watched her sleep. But it was something he couldn't comprehend. How something so alive and beautiful could unknowingly be fading away before his very eyes?

But she did, and it wasn't long until Padme could barely walk, and was ordered to stay in bed most of the day. Anakin constantly sat beside her, recanting old tales, doing his best to sing songs, and sometimes just holding her hand silently. But no matter what, she would always wake up to find him there, staring back into her aged eyes.

One night, Anakin awoke from another nightmare. It had been forever since he'd had one, and it could only mean one thing. He turned to Padme, and wrapped his arms around her, trying to forget the horrible images that were still fresh in his mind. Padme woke up, and turned to him.

"What's wrong, Ani?" she asked, in between a yawn. Anakin smiled and shook his head. Before he could say anything, Padme gave him a stern look.

"Don't try and tell me that 'it's nothing', because I've seen that look before...Please tell me," she said, slipping her arms around him. Anakin obeyed, and began to recant his nightmare, slowly reliving its horror again. In his dream, Padme died, leaving Anakin alone, tormented every moment by her haunting face in his mind.

Padme was very sympathetic for him, as small tears slipped from his eyes. "Oh, Ani..." she said, resting her head against his chest. She began to cry, softly into his familiar embrace that she knew so well.

"I don't want you to die," Anakin said shakily, placing his trembling hands on Padme's cheek. "I can't imagine living every second of each day without you near me, Padme...I know it's selfish of me, but...I still need you. I love you too much. You've just started living, how could you be going so quickly?"

Padme pulled away from Anakin's tight embrace, gently wiping the tears from his eyes. "You're not being selfish, Ani. But I can't keep going on. We lived so much, Ani. All of the memories and experiences we have. We've got to live for today, and if it's over tomorrow, then..." Padme stifled a sob, bringing her hand up to her mouth.

Anakin pulled her to him again, tucking her head under his chin, stroking her soft hair. His other hand rubbed her back, trying to calm her tremulous body. "No more talk about darkness..." he whispered, lifting her head and leaning in for a kiss. Padme reciprocated his actions, and soon all of their fears were gone, delayed for another day.

After that night, Anakin always made a point of being there when Padme would wake up. It became his daily regimen to see her waking face each morning, greeting him contentedly. Even if she was sleeping, Anakin would wait, and simply watch her dream.

But one morning, Padme did not wake up. Anakin had made her a warm cup of tea, and set it next to her bed. He gently shook her shoulder, and whispered in her ear. "Wake up, Padme..." She didn't move a muscle. Anakin tried again, but he already knew what was wrong. "Padme!" he cried, a sob catching in his throat.

He moved away from the bed, sitting down on a chair that lay in the corner. His hands covered his face, hoping that somehow it would all go away. I'm not ready for this...But there was nothing he could do to postpone it. She was gone. Padme had left him, and now he was alone. Alone...

Anakin wouldn't accept it. He immediately stood from the chair, and ran from the room. He continued to run, down the hall, past the maid, and out the balcony. He stopped, looking for somewhere to go. He quickly found the stairs, and ran down them, easily maneuvering down them despite his age. But Anakin couldn't even feel the throbbing pain in his knee, or the stinging pain in his ankles. The only thing he could feel at that moment was the overwhelming ache in his heart.

He slowed down once he reached the river and he waded into it. As the adrenaline wore off, so did the numbness and Padme's death loomed in front of him again. A new wave of emotions washed over him and he began to sob. So many reasons ran through his mind...she is too young to die, too innocent, too beautiful, too precious...she was Padme. His wife, love, heart, soul, and very being...Now she was dead. Dead...The wind picked up and tossled his hair about, stirring the water into a wild rage...

What pained Anakin the most was that he was alone, left to suffer and be tormented by her image forzen in his mind. She was in a better place now, a place where reality and the sorrows of mortality are never found. She was home, atpeace with the angels...

Anakin stopped walking through the water, and itmadly lapped against his chest, swirling and rippling against his body. He closed his eyes, the tears flowing freely from them. He could still see her, in the depths of his mind. Padme on Tatooine, Padme at the lake retreat, Padme as a Senator, Padme as his wife, Padme becoming a mother, Padme bearing her soul, Padme being hurt, Padme making love to him, Padme softly whispering his name, Padme...

Padme was Anakin's very soul...and once she died, so had he. He slowly left the swirling water, walking up the shore until his bare feet met dry sand. Anakin let his mind lead him, for his body was numb, paralyzed, gone...yet he didn't need that where he was going. He floated up the stairs, and the images of his life played over in his mind one last time. His life as a child, leaving his mother to become a Jedi, training with Obi-Wan, reuniting with Padme, marrying her, going to the dark side, the birth of his children, the destruction of the Sith, raising his children, growing old with Padme...

And then he was in their room again. He drifted over to the bed, and slipped inside, right next to Padme. Anakin laid on the bed, covering his arms around Padme's still form. The force rippled around him. He could feel it now, the strongest he ever had. His mind was flashing with the memories...everything. For a moment, he felt the fear creep upon him again...

But when he closed his eyes, the fear disappeared. The memories dissolved into nothing, and Naboo was gone. He felt nothing but emptiness. No feeling or emotion whatsoever. Anakin Skywalker cautiously opened his eyes, and saw light. Then he felt a warm hand slip over his shoulder. He turned to see an angel. He fell into her arms, and she cradled his head gently, singing a soft song. Anakin felt at peace, his soul wrapped in tranquility. He was with Padme now, and there no longer was the threat of loneliness. Anakin and Padme disappeared into the soft light, forever leaving behind the mortal lives they once led.

Padme Naberrie, a woman of inner strength and beauty, ceased to exist, alongside a man known as Anakin Skywalker, a man who changed the face of the galaxy forever. Their once separate lives, intertwined to form a beautiful flame, a flame of love that extinguished as quickly as it was created. These two lovers now walk where mortals only dream to go...and for the rest of time, Anakin Skywalker remained in the arms of his angel...

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A/N: First of all, I want to thank everyone who took the time to read this story plus review and give me ideas. And yes, sadly, this was the last chapter for this story. I am very sad because I loved writing this. I'm disappointed about certain aspects of it that I desperately want to change, but I'm going to leave it the way it is. Make sure that you review now that it's done, so I can improve it in the future. I mainly wrote this story to give myself the happiness and hope that was totally lacking in Episode Three, (since I cried the first time I saw it). I hope this let everyone else have a happy ending for our most favorite couple in the galaxy. In case anyone wanted to know, I've already started another story that is a Vader/Padme pairing that I'm really enjoying, so look for it! cheers