Summary: What if Anakin never had dreams of Padmé dying? Would he have fallen in the Sith's grasp? In this AU of RoS Anakin and Padmé, while trying to end the war, struggle to keep secret their relationship, even with their two children, Luke and Leia.
Time: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. AU
Rating: R or M
Pairing: Anakin/Padmé, my favorite.
Warnings: This story is rated R/M for a reason; in future chapters there will be strong scenes.
Also, don't mind too much my mistakes, please - I'm Italian and English is not my first language.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything apart from the plot: characters, places and background situations come from the great mind of George Lucas.
"Anakin, please talk to me: I need to know what it's troubling you."
The young Jedi watched with dark eyes his former Master, his fingers entwining in his lap; then, he bent his head trying to hide the doubts filling his mind.
"I talked with the Chancellor this afternoon."
Obi-wan just listened, not wanting to press his friend when he was so evidently troubled.
"And...he said some things that unnerved me..." Anakin finally raised his head to stare at Obi-wan right into the eyes. "He told me that he thinks the Jedi began the Clone Wars to weaken the Republic and the Senate and gain more power."
The older Jedi watched him with his mouth agape, his back falling back against the couch, a disbelieving look into his azure eyes.
"You must be kidding." He whispered: this was no what he had expected. "Anakin, tell me you don't believe this!"
To Obi-wan's huge relief, Anakin immediately shook his head.
"Of course, I don't believe it: I told him so. But this doesn't mean that what Palpatine didn't disturb me." He bit his lower lip. "To think that there are people who are convinced the Order started this war...it's horrible and unbelievable: after all the Jedi we lost." He bowed his head. "But..." he couldn't continue, drowning into his fears.
However, Obi-wan was having none of that.
"Nothing." Anakin finally said, as he gulped: he didn't want his Master to know that he didn't consider the Chancellor's words completely false.
"I knew we couldn't trust Palpatine!" Obi-wan exclaimed saldly.
Anakin's eyes widened: he couldn't believe what his friend had just said.
"Obi-wan, he is the Chancellor of the Republic! Of course we can trust him! It's just that he...is a bit misguided."
"A bit misguided?" Obi-wan bit back a bitter laugh.. "You must be kidding, Anakin. What he told you just shows his real nature."
With a frown, Anakin stood up quickly, turning his back to his former mentor: his gaze lost in the tranquility of the Gardens of the Jedi Temple. They were quite and silent, so unlike they had been during his childhood at the Temple, in which they had been full of Padawans running, joking, laughing, their Masters shaking their heads and reprimanding them good-naturedly.
The war had changed that; few were now the Padawans into the Order and even fewer the Knights.
And now that it was over, the situation was still so troubled; Anakin sighed.
"I don't want to talk about it, Obi-wan. I trust the Chancellor: he's been my friend since I've come on Coruscant."
He didn't see, but could feel the older man shaking his head: Anakin knew Obi-wan couldn't understand him, but didn't really care in that moment. He only wanted to join his wife and their children back home.
"If this is all, I'll go home." He said simply.
Obi-wan just nodded.
Padmé was almost hysterical when he got back to her senatorial apartments: Anakin forced back a laugh when saw her hair and dress all wet and childrens' toys floating all around the room.
"What are you laughing about?" she exploded when she saw the amused look on his face.
The Jedi quickly schooled his facial expressions not to anger further his headstrong wife: he raised his flesh hand and in an instant the toys fell on the floor.
"You understand it's all your fault?" Padmé asked him, her finger digging in his chest.
He arched an eyebrow.
"And how is my fault?"
His wife gaped at him. "You're the one who is Force-strong, or have you forgotten? It's because of you that our children find extremely funny to make their toys fly and get their mother wet."
Anakin smirked and, not very intelligently, commented. "Were you trying to bathe them?"
Padmé backed away from him. "That's it. You're sleeping on the couch tonight."
His eyes widened in atonishement as the young woman turned and went to the bedroom from which happy gurgling sounds and laughs could be heard.
"Wait, Padmé!" She couldn't be serious! She had never made him sleep on the couch! Never! And she wasn't going to start now.
"Padmé!" he called again, his long legs bringing him quickly into their bedroom, where a happy Leia was cooing at her mother, who was drying her with a towel; the young woman watched her husband with an arched eyebrow as she asked in an icy tone.
Anakin gulped: she could be scarier than a Sith Lord if she wanted to.
"Were you kidding?"
"I'm not actually sure." She replied, nonchalantly.
"Padmé, I never slept on the couch." He tried to reason with her, walking closer to her to rub her arms with his hands.
"There's always a first time."
Ouch. Now Anakin was really speechless: he searched his brain for a good answer while his wife sang softly, putting the babies into their cribs and lulling them to sleep.
When finally the children closed their eyes tiredly, Padmé turned to watch Anakin, who in turn was looking at her with a heart-broken expression on his face, his beautiful azure eyes pleading her: her heart melted at the sight.
How could she resist him when he was staring at her like that?
"Oh, you big teddy wookie!" she sighed, spreading her arms and moving towards him. She found herself engulfed in her husband's strong arms.
She laughed as Anakin cursed under his breath and backed away, a wet spot forming on his leather tunic.
"This is what you get for making fun of me!"
The Jedi glared at her, taking off his tunic and throwing it to the closest chair he could see: Padmé noted perplexed his sudden change of mood... in fact, he was now grinning madly. He started walking towards her, his voice just a husky murmur.
"Well... then it's better to take you out of those wet clothes."
Padmé arched an eyebrow and replied amused.
"Ah, and you intend to be the one to do it?"
"Of course. And then I'm going to warm your body with my own..."
"Ani." Padmé scolded, "Not with the children here." And she turned to smile at the two little figures sleeping silently – for now – in their cribs. "Moreover, they're going to be awake before we are finished." She grinned at seeing his crestfallen look "Awake and very hungry if I know them."
Padmé kissed Anakin lightly on the lips.
"And you know I know them." She laughed as she walked to the closet to search for a dress, the Jedi following her like a shadow.
"Also, in a hour and half I need to be at the Senate where a ball is held... I can only imagine what Palpatine want to accomplish by throwing a ball of these times!" she muttered annoyed. "So, Dormé is coming in ten minutes to help me dress and do my hair: it's not going to be nothing very fancy, but I need to presentable."
Anakin frowned then said convinced. "You're always presentable."
He inwardly cheered when Padmé looked back at him with a wide smile, sign that he had been forgiven once more. The young man grinned charmingly, knowing she couldn't resist him when he did that; but his wife merely raised an eyebrow – something she was doing all too frequently, lately – and commented.
"Now, don't go all cute on me: you may have been forgiven but you're not completely off the hook."
Their playful debate was interrupted by the door's bell: Padmé gave him a quick kiss, then went to open the door.
Dormé entered, then looked quizzically at the Senator when she noticed Anakin in the apartment.
With a meaningful glance, Padmé smiled at her Jedi husband. "As you can see, Master Jedi, I'm perfectly safe now: and I won't need your protection while at the ball."
"Very well." Anakin nodded curtly. "Then I'll see you in the morning milady." He bent down and kissed gently her hand, his lips lingering on the soft skin: and with a last look at his wife he left the apartment.
The Sith could feel the young man's confusion and hidden anger; he knew he had deep fears which were going to lead him on the Dark Side.
"Now it's time to act." He murmured with a wide smirk on his old face.
He wasn't going to wait anymore.
It was time for the Sith to destroy the Jedi and rule the Galaxy!
Anakin Skywalker's sleep had been disturbed with dark-red images of flames, fire, hidden figures, screams of pain had filled his head while he could only see death and desolation: Jedi, clones and civilians lying in the sand while he stood over them all...
He had woken up suddenly, his chest covered by cold sweat.
The young Jedi took his face in his hands wondering if it was a vision of the future or just a horrible dream.
Remembering the discussion he had with Obi-wan, he didn't want to consult his former Master about his nightmare: he needed a different sort of advice from the usual 'It was just a dream and dreams pass in time.'
'Yeah.' he snorted mentally, 'Tell that to my mother.'
The bitter memory of his mother's death was always a unwanted remembrance of the impossibility to save her and of his released anger against the Sand People: they deserved what he did to them, but did so the children and the women? Their screams had echoed in his mind for months.
Anakin shook his head: there was nothing he could now for them.
Half an hour later he was standing in the Chancellor's office, the old man looking at him in a benevolent way, as the young Jedi re-told him his dream.
"I think, my son, that you had a premonition: the instability in the Senate, caused by all these bureaucrats, will cause the ruin of the Republic. We need a more solid and powerful government." Palpatine sighed "A government the Jedi cannot give us."
"Your Excellency, the Jedi have served the Republic for thousands of years." Said Anakin nervously.
"Yes, yes." The Chancellor nodded, "But are their principles pure, now, as they once were?"
"Of course..." the young Jedi didn't seem convinced.
The older man gave him a pitying look. "My poor son: you have to see behind their lies."
"The Jedi had always tried to hold you back; and now they are trying to keep me from doing my work." Palpatine sighed again. "My office is constantly under surveillance, so that I can't move freely: I can't punish the bureaucrats and those who are mining the Republic's foundations." The look he gave to the younger man was filled with pain.
"Anakin, the Jedi are trying to destroy the Republic to rule themselves."
Anakin's eyes widened dramatically, as he took a step back. "Your Excellency, I can assure they would never..."
"Stop being so blind!" the Chancellor exclaimed, stunning Anakin into silence. "Don't you see they're trying to kill me? They sent you to Naboo with Senator Amidala to keep you from me." Palpatine took Anakin's gloved hand into his. "You have to believe me, my son: they don't trust you. They didn't show you your true potential, your true power."
The Jedi's head was dizzy: it was true the Council Session had continued after his departure, just a week before, when he had gone to Naboo.
Why had they wanted to keep him away from Coruscant? Was true what the Chancellor was saying?
"Trust me, Anakin, and I can show you the real power, the one the Jedi are too afraid to explore, because of their weakness."
"What are you talking about?" asked Anakin brusquely, forgetting every pretence of politeness.
"I'm talking about the Dark Side of the Force."
The younger man gaped.
"You know the Dark Side?"
"Of course." Replied Palpatine calmly, "My Master taught me."
In a flash, Anakin grasped his lightsaber and ignited it, pointing it to the figure in front of him.
"You're him." His eyes flashed, "You're a Sith, the Sith we're been searching for."
"Exactly." Palpatine was still impertubable, despite the lightsaber just an inch away from his neck.
"I should kill you." Anakin said angrily.
"Are you going to do it?"
"But you're not going to."
Anakin lowered his lightsaber, his eyes still flashing, pride hurting from the betrayal of who he considered to be a friend.
"You should be tried." He still believed in justice.
"Yes, I should."
"I'm going to report back to the Jedi Council: then, I will know the truth."
"I would never lie to you, Anakin." Palpatine said lowly. "And I know you're a wise man: you will know what to do. But remember that only my teachings will give you the knowledge and the powers to protect your loved ones."
"What?" the Jedi's mouth was in a thin line.
"Oh, Anakin, you can't fool me: of course I know of your and Senator Amidala's relationship. And I support it completely. You shouldn't keep hidden your love. Remember I'll always be on your side."
Anakin didn't know what to say, so he turned and walked quickly out of the office.
And Sidious chuckled evilly.
Anakin was sweating profusely, as he exited the cockpit of his speeder in the hangar of the Jedi Temple: the Chancellor's words sang loudly into his mind, as his confused thoughts were running endless.
'A life without deceit... only our love...'
'No! I can't leave the Jedi!'
'What if they're really traitors as Palpatine says?'
'No, I know Obi-wan would never betray me...'
'Palpatine was actually the one who started the Clone Wars...'
'We could be free...Padmé and I... with Luke and Leia...'
'But all those dead Jedi!'
"Shut up, just shut up..." Anakin murmured to the voices in his head.
He looked up to see Mace Windu, Saesee Tiin, Kit Fisto and Agen Kolar.
"Masters?" he asked weakly.
"You look exhausted: what happened?" Kit Fisto patted him on the back, worried; he then took a good look at the man in front of him. "Force! You're sweating like crazy!"
"Masters, I have..." Anakin gulped. "I have something of great importance to report."
"Tell us, Anakin, what is troubling you." Mace Windu nodded, walking closer to him, his face set in a worried frown.
"Master Windu... The Chancellor... He..." Anakin gulped again and took a deep breath to calm himself. "The Chancellor is the Sith Lord we've been searching for."
Mace closed his eyes and sighed deeply.
"Are you sure?"
"He told me himself."
"So what we feared has become a reality." Mace Windu murmured sadly. Darth Sidious really had fooled them for more than ten years; he couldn't believe it.
Damn it, how he hated being right!
"We were just going to the Chancellor: it's time to stop the Sith."
"Please, let me come with you!" Anakin pleaded, but Mace shook his head.
"No, Skywalker: I sense too much confusion and fear in you. But you showed of being a true Master." The dark-skinned Jedi put what he hoped was a comforting hand on the boy's shoulder. "Stay here and protect the Temple: soon, the Sith will be history."
Anakin watched them leaving with a heavy heart.
Completely alone in the Council Chamber, the young Jedi couldn't help but wonder what he had done and what he was going to do: if the Jedi killed the Chancellor, then the possibility of becoming stronger – to protect Padmé and the twins – would vanish; but there was no way he was going to betray the Order to save the Sith who caused the war.
He stood up, looking towards Republica 300, where his love had her – their – apartments: could he live without her? He already knew the answer and it was no. Now that he had her love and their children he didn't want to let go.
Anakin laughed dryly, with no real humor in it: he now understood why the Jedi didn't allow attachments. But how could someone live without love?
Anakin couldn't. And he wasn't going to start anytime soon.
He could feel Padmé's presence, soothing and familiar, wrapping around his wounded soul and healing it; he could feel her kisses, sweet and soft; he could feel her body pressed against his, in their bed, naked skin against naked skin, wrapped in a lovers' embrace.
There was no way he was going to let all of this slip throught his fingers.
'I have to know the truth!' Anakin thought, and with a determined frown he exited the Council Chamber.
"You're under arrest, Chancellor."
"Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?" he gritted out, standing up and looking at Mace Windu right in the eyes; he could feel the cold metal of his lightsaber into the sleeve of his elegant dress.
He smirked and used the Dark Side to draw the weapon into his grasp and then leaped towards the Jedi, with an agility that a man of his age wouldn't have.
The four Jedi were taken aback, but soon Kit Fisto attacked the Sith Lord; Palpatine, or Sidious, slashed him across the chest without any effort as he turned his attention to Sasae Tiin and Agen Kolar .
The red lightsaber killed them easily.
Now Mace Windu and Darth Sidious were squaring each other patiently, slowly pacing in circle; the dark-skinned Jedi quickly mourned for his fallen comrades, then concentrated on the fight.
It was an epic battle: the Sith against the Jedi.
They parried and Mace was surprised by Sidious' display of streght and skill, then remembered that this was the man who had fooled the entire Republic for more than ten years; the man who had begun the war; the man who caused so many deaths in the Order; the Sith Lord enemy of the Jedi.
With new strenght, Mace pushed back Palpatine, who flipped over the Jedi's head to surprise him from behind; but Windu wasn't one of the most powerful Masters in the Council for nothing, and he intercepted the killing blow.
With a circle of his red lightsaber Palpatine destroyed the window that divided them from the outside atmosphere of Coruscant; a strong wind entered the room, but neither of them seemed to notice.
"It's the end, Sidious." Mace said.
"So you do believe, Jedi traitor."
"You're the only traitor here."
With a scream Palpatine threw himself against Windu and the two Force-strong beings stayed for a few minutes locked in a fierce battle.
This is how Anakin Skywalker found them when he entered the Chancellor's Chambers.
"Anakin!" Sidious exclaimed, "Help me, son!"
"Don't do it, Anakin." Replied Mace in a strained voice, "He had betrayed all of us!"
Palpatine took advange of Windu's distraction and pushed him back: lightening exited his fingertips and he directed it towards the Jedi Master who stopped it with his purple lightsaber.
Anakin's tormented soul shrieked at him.
"He must be tried!" he yelled to Mace.
"Too dangerous! He has the Senate into his power."
"Jedi scum! Help me, Anakin...I'm weak."
The young Jedi looked desperately from Mace to Palpatine, from Palpatine to Mace, and took his head between his hands: he didn't know what to do.
Kill a mentor and dear friend, also losing the possibility to learn ways to protect Padmé and twins, or betray his family, the Jedi Order, helping a man who had started a civil war?
But now he had to decide: he could see Mace's strenght failing him, and Palpatine's face becoming uglier and more wrinkled because of the power he was putting into the lightening.
Anakin watched horrified as the Chancellor transformed under his eyes: was this is real identity?
"Don't listen to him!" Windu ordered.
'Oh...Padmé, give me strenght.'
Anakin knew he couldn't wait anymore: there was only a possible choice he could make without betraying his true self.
I ignited his blue lightsaber and raised it over his head.
(To be continued)
AN: yes, I know I'm evil...hehehehehehehehe. Wow... 11 pages! This is soooo long for me: I hope this make up for the lateness of the chapter...
I bought the RotS' dvd... I love it!
I have a blog you can visit, if you want: it is mostly in Italian, but you can find something also in English. I suggest you to watch also the Archives ('Archivi') with all of my old posts. ;P
The address is http/ spaces . msn . com / members / laurachanfairy / (without the spaces)
I went to see 'Brothers Grimm', with Matt Damon, Heath Ledger and the beautiful Italian woman Monica Bellucci: I liked it, I suggest you to go and see it; just don't bring young children or impressionable people, 'cause sometimes it's crude.
As usual, thank you to all of you who continue to support me and my story.
Vatel, HyDrOmAtIc, Eriksleadinglady, Cataracta, Mei fa-chan, MeyaRose, Bittersweetbloodbaby, Emily, Snow Lepord, FelsGoddess, Anakin's Girl 4eva, PhantomFan13, Celtic Cross, Helen (Thanks for the info!), Warior, Vivilp182, Kal's Gal, ChibiAzn3 (yeah, I love manga...can't live without 'em!), LaPapillon, Jedi SteelWolf, Queen Padme, Kei-Kun, IntotheBlue11, Josette, chocoholicbookworm, Travis Hicks (too many questions I can't answeryet... you'll have to see, hehehehe), Graham Mallalieu, FootlooseFreak08, Hunter Hatake.
Jeannie, dmitchell, PadmeStar.
Sarah B.: That was a great review! I thank you very much; and not only because you said you liked the story (I'm always glad when people appreciate a story of mine ), but because you actually put into words what I wanted to say to those people.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate very much costructive critism (as you may see in my review responses in some chapters), but I felt that they were attacking me: unfortunately, I'm a sensitive person and in the past I tended to get easily offended.
Now, I know Tara didn't want to offend me, but it was the way she said what she wanted to say that hurt of me: after all, she was criticizing the plot, but this is an AU story – like you said – so I'm free of writing what I want.
I don't like M/M stories, but do I flame them? No, I just don't read them... or, if I do, I don't review and keep my opinion to myself.
I hope you like this chapter!