"No, Anakin please-" Padme gasped. She shook her head, pleading.
Her chest seized with pain as her lungs strained to take in air. Her ribs seemed close to breaking from the immense pressure inside. It was pain like she'd never felt before. She couldn't ever imagined feeling so tortured, physically and emotionally.
The tears in her eyes blurred her vision. Patches of black, red swam, looming before her then flashing away. For a moment she could no longer see Anakin in front of her, and then his face reemerged from the haze.
There was intense hate in his eyes, so strong they colored his blue eyes black. Her heart wrenched.
Hate directed at her.
She stared down at him, brown eyes locked to blue ones. She could feel the heat from their bodies as they were pressed against each other. A pink flush rose up in her cheeks.
She looked away, but unable or maybe just unwilling, to move from where she was.
There was nothing in the air, except their soft slow breathing humming in her ear like an insistent reminder of their close proximity. The low grunts from the shaaks faded away into the light breeze and the crash of the waterfall was almost non-existent. There was only the tall thin grass and sprigs of wildflower shrouding them. She was acutely aware that they were alone.
With nothing, no one else to hide from.
She glanced up, if for just a second. But it was all it took to bring her a realization she'd been trying to deny for a week.
Anakin wasn't that little boy she'd known on Tatooine. He could no longer be. She saw that now.
His voice resonated in her head.
I am grown up. You said it yourself.
She struggled to find all those restrictions, reasons that she'd thought of in opposition to a relationship but somehow the few she had so stoutly clung onto for days weren't good enough now.
They never really mattered in the first place, she realized.
She could feel her resolve slipping.
Then Anakin's hands moved from underneath her palms where she had pinned them down, and she was roused out of her scattered thoughts. Slowly, almost cautiously, they inched towards her. Then hesitantly, they moved across her back till he was gently circling her waist. She looked at him.
There were flicks of uncertainty and nervousness in his depthless eyes; she was sure he saw the same thing in hers.
His lips curled in a small crooked smile as she turned to face him, then it slid away softly. She could feel his arms stiffen slightly.
A new flicker appeared in his eyes, if only for an instant. She caught traces of it as it fled away. Wretchedness.
Then she felt it herself as his arms began to move away from her. No.
Uncertain but decided, she lowered her arms where they had been propping her up, closing the remaining distance between them, slowing placing her arms around his neck. She bit her lip, sure she was trembling. Anakin's arms stopped. A faint light appeared in those clear blue eyes of his.
"Don't stop…" she whispered, giving him a shaky smile.
She tucked her head under his chin as his arms tightened gently around her waist, beginning to trace tiny circles on the small of her back.
She breathed in shakily. There was the scent of wildflowers and sweet grass and Anakin…something she couldn't describe. She felt a peace she hadn't felt in a long time.
She was choking. The thick humid air she gasped to inhale had no where to go but out.
Her stomach felt as though it would burst. A sharp pain shot through her middle, so severe for a moment the world seemed to seize around her. The baby!
Her world faded in and out. She remembered promises, so long ago, promises rushing back to her with aching clarity. Her eyes burned with hot tears. They were promises she had once held dear, close to her though her wishes had been fulfilled; promises she realized, she still held hold of.
More tears gathered in her eyes. It was rare she would cry; she kept her emotions inside as she'd been taught to. She let them fall now.
They ran down the side of her face, into the crook of her mouth. She struggled to raise her head, so she could swallow her tears, swallow the pain like she'd always done, but she couldn't. She was choking on them now.
Her bare feet made no noise as she moved across the cool stone floor. She couldn't sleep.
For one thing, the wounds across her back were healing too slowly and painfully, and for another, she wasn't at peace. Her mind was wandering, and she was restless. Distracted…was one way she could put it.
They had arrived from Coruscant three days ago. "Security escort" was how the Jedi Council had put Anakin presence here, but she, they both knew there was a lot more to clear up other than security in the five days here.
It was late, the darkest hour of the night, but she found her way to the guest room Anakin stayed in. Her heart lifted at the warm yellow light that spilled from the open door into the corridor. He too, like her had been unable to sleep.
She reached the door, but hesitated, turning back more often than once to return to her chambers. What would she say? She didn't know what he would think of her turning up in the middle of the night like this. She pulled the dark blue robe around her more tightly. Somehow she felt self-conscious, almost like that night when she'd seen Anakin again for the first time in ten years.
She crept up just before the door, pausing. This was wrong. She knew it was. They both did. Yet they were too far in to pull out. And she admitted silently, they didn't want to pull out.
They'd made a choice, and she decided then, they would follow through.
She inhaled deeply and took a step forward. Then she stopped again. No words came to mind. She knew what to do, but she didn't know how.
At the moment, the sound of Anakin's voice startled her.
After a tentative hesitation, she entered softly into the room. It was dimly lit by a dying fire, and in the flickering flames Anakin's mechanical arm glinted lightly.
It rested lightly on his lap and in his hand he held what seemed like a tiny metal tool. Sitting down quietly next to him, she opened her mouth to ask, but he spoke before her.
"I'm fixing some circuits…It doesn't feel as it should…" There was an odd thickness to his voice that stirred something in her.
"You don't always have to fix everything Anakin…"
"I need your help to fix something,"
He looked up at her after a moment.
She stared at him and opened her mouth but unable to speak, closed it numbly.
"I want us, I-I want a family,…children with you. A home." His voice was unsteady as he spoke.
"I know what I'm asking of you is hard. It's hard of me too. But I'm willing to take that and try. We can make it work Padmé…" He continued on, an urgent grip in his voice.
"Anakin-I…" She looked away but couldn't focus her gaze anywhere. She didn't know what to say.
If only, if only she could have that, but fantasy and reality were two entirely different worlds that she had never dreamed of crossing before. And she understood that. Her life was built around this understanding within herself, and now, here she was, being offered a chance to make those two worlds one. She didn't know if she should take it.
She sat in a stunned silence for a few moments. Her mind seemed like the hundred different pieces to a big puzzle, strewn a million directions.
Then slowly but surely, her mind cleared as if on its own accord. It was simple really.
Lifting the chain around her neck off her head, she pressed it into Anakin's palm. The smooth worn edges of the japor snippet gleamed dully in the light.
"I haven't forgotten Anakin…" she whispered softly. She didn't trust herself to speak now, but her eyes shone resolutely. They would make it work.
The sandy-haired boy in the workshop stared at her for a long while. He was intriguing, in a bizarre way she couldn't explain, she found herself drawn to him like a moth to a light.
Then he opened his mouth and said, "I'm going to marry you someday…"
Anakin's face, that once held nothing but love when he looked at her, was now mutated with hate. He was her Anakin, but she no longer recognized those dark eyes, the growl in his voice, those hands, now outstretched towards her, seizing her throat with an invisible grip.
She clutched at her throat in a panicked seizure. Stabs of pain sparked through her and she was frantic. Her hands scrabbled unavailingly, but grasping and touching nothing. Her nine months was almost up and she could feel the baby coming.
Bitter, wretched tears streamed down her face as she shook her head. This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
The hold on her throat tightened and she felt herself growing faint. Her body felt like lead, dragging, pulling her down towards a ground she never felt her feet touch. Her head grew heavy, spinning and big pools of black swam in her eyes, blocking her vision.
She couldn't think, couldn't comprehend, couldn't feel properly now. She sensed an end, and a dim, faint beginning as her stomach seized in pain, but even that didn't seem within her reach.
Then memories, snippets, sounds, voices regurgitated in her brain, wrecking her body in a silent scream as she struggled dazedly to hang on to every fleeting one.
They were standing in the balcony of her Coruscant apartment. She remembered his smile, her laughter.
"I will become the most powerful Jedi ever! I will even learn to stop people from dying!"
Lying in bed with Anakin's arms around her, their child growing in her stomach. She had been so happy, so contented. The deceit, lies, it was all worth it, for this.
"You haven't changed a bit. You're exactly the way I remembered you in my dreams."
"I thought love was forbidden for a Jedi…"
"So love has blinded you?"
"I killed them…every single one of them."
"I don't care if they know. I'm tired of all this, tired of all this deception…"
"You're going to kill him aren't you?"
"I'm not the Jedi I should be…I want more."
"We could keep it a secret."
"Anakin's the father, isn't he?"
"I'm so sorry."
The feel of his lips against hers as he bent to kiss her in the veranda. So soft and so forbidden.
"What can I do? I will do anything you ask…"
"I am a person, and my name is Anakin!"
"We'd be living a lie! One we couldn't keep even if we wanted to."
"I hate them!"
The burning rage in his eyes. She saw something in them, she couldn't describe it, but it had put fear in her heart, if just for a split second. Fear of him.
"To be angry is to be human…"
"Are you an angel?"
She was standing anxiously outside the homestead in Tatooine, staring out into the endless spread of sand. Watching. Waiting.
"I truly, deeply love you and before we die, I want you to know…"
"Then you do feel something!"
"Our baby is a blessing."
A sandy haired boy swinging his legs on the countertop in a Tatooine shop. Those same blue eyes. She'd never seen such intensity before.
"I love you…"
"We can rule the galaxy! Make things the way we want them to be!"
She couldn't see anymore. She fought to blink away the tears, the darkness, to see his face. She wanted him to tell her it wasn't true, that it was just another nightmare, and watch his face to morph into that crooked grin of his and those haunting dark eyes dissolve to crystallize into the soft blue ones that told her everything she ever wanted to know.
Why wouldn't he tell her? She struggled for a last gasp. The raging fiery world around her was fading rapidly away and she was slipping into a depthless black that smothered almost all of her remaining will.
She clung on tightly to that last speck of light. Suddenly everything sharpened and condensed into a crystal clear view before her. The image of Anakin now, this Anakin who she no longer knew lingered fleetingly for a second, then a second face emerged.
She remembered this, back on Naboo in the Lake Country, after he'd confessed his feelings to her. His face was turned back towards her, shrouded partly the night and partly by his own darkness clouding his face. It was a look she had never forgotten.
She heard it in her head, just as she lost hold and the last thread of consciousness slipped through her fingers.
"You're right. It would destroy us."
Black, unknown oblivion swallowed her and she neither saw nor heard no more.
Hey. I just wanted to write something angsty and a little tragic. I always felt this part in Episode III was really heart-wrenching, especially since I'm a big P/A fan. Hayden and Natalie were fantastic here. I love them both! Anyways, I hope you like this, I had a nice time writing it. Thanks for reviewing.