Okay, here it is...the grand finale! For this part, anyway! I can't tell you when I will start the second part, but I promise not to keep you waiting too long! You've been absolutely fabulous through this whole story! I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read and give your thoughtful reviews! I wouldn't have had the inspiration without them!
A dark haze was all Padme could see. She could hear a voice, but couldn't make out what it was saying. Where am I? Padme struggled to recall what had happened to her, but her mind wasn't cooperating. The voice spoke again. I know that voice. It was a voice that brought her a sense of love and safety.
Obi-Wan stroked Padme's hand worriedly. "Padme, please wake up. Please, come back to me."
That was a request Padme could not deny. She opened her eyes and was met by the light blue ones she loved so much. Padme looked up at his relieved face and managed a tired smile. "Hi."
"Hi." Obi-Wan kissed the hand he held. "The medical droid says that your children are ready to make their appearance."
It took a moment for those words to really sink in. "Children?"
"Yes. You're carrying twins."
Twins…Padme was nearly overwhelmed by sadness at the thought that her children would never know their father. Not only had Anakin betrayed her, Obi-Wan and the rest of the Jedi, but his own children as well. In trying to kill her, he might have killed his own offspring! But then again, Padme thought bitterly, he was good at killing kids. Her train of thought was interrupted as a powerful contraction hit.
Obi-Wan did his best to soothe Padme, using the Force to ease the worst of the pain. He held her hand and smoothed back the hair from her sweaty forehead. Obi-Wan stayed by Padme's side, comforting her through each and every contraction. Finally, the medical droid came over to them and said, "It is time to start pushing."
Padme nodded, looking up at Obi-Wan. He gave her an encouraging smile and squeezed her hand. Padme couldn't imagine doing this without his presence and support. He infused her with the courage to keep going, to keep fighting and to keep hoping. The vision of her death be hanged! She had an overwhelming desire to survive – for Obi-Wan, for her children and for herself.
Obi-Wan soon heard the cries of an infant. He watched in fascination as the droid cleaned the squalling baby and brought it over to him. Obi-Wan had never seen the birthing process before and he was completely awed by the experience.
"It's a boy," the droid said clinically.
Obi-Wan threw Padme a surprised look when the infant instantly stopped crying as it was placed in Obi-Wan's arms. He looked down into eyes that were very much like Anakin's were. Obi-Wan felt an instant connection with the young one in his arms. Perhaps it was the pull of the Force between them, as the Force was strong in the baby.
Despite everything that had happened, Padme's heart rejoiced at the sight of Obi-Wan holding her newborn son. "Luke seems rather taken with you."
Obi-Wan moved closer to Padme. "Luke? That's a wonderful name."
Padme's respite was short-lived. The contractions started again in earnest. She was now quite ready to have this whole thing over with! The droid's monotone commands to push were really starting to get on her nerves. She almost wished she could kick out and permanently shut the thing up!
The second birth went quickly, and before she knew it she was told she had a daughter. Exhaustion was quickly taking over as Padme watched her daughter being placed in Obi-Wan's other arm. "Her name is Leia." She shook her head when Obi-Wan offered to hand over her children. Padme was just too tired. She fell asleep to the beautiful sight of the man she loved holding her two babies in his arms.
Padme woke up with a start. "Obi-Wan?"
"I'm right here." Obi-Wan took hold of her hand from the chair beside her bed.
"Where are Luke and Leia?"
Obi-Wan stood up and stroked Padme's cheek. "Do you think you can sit up?"
"Yes." Padme smiled her gratitude as Obi-Wan helped her.
"They're sleeping," Obi-Wan said as he maneuvered a hovering bassinet her direction.
Padme looked down at her children, who were clinging to each other in their slumber. "They're so beautiful," she breathed.
"They are beautiful." Obi-Wan put his arm around Padme's shoulder and pulled her close.
Padme gladly obliged, leaning into his solid chest. "Well, I'm still alive," she said ruefully.
"For which I'm extremely grateful." Obi-Wan smiled slightly before turning serious again. "Those visions were most likely the work of Palpatine – the final gambit to pull Anakin to his side."
Padme snorted. "It worked all too well! I was the tool used to wreak all of this destruction!"
"An unwilling tool. And only one of many."
"Sorry to interrupt you, I am." Yoda's voice came from the doorway.
"It's alright, Master. Please come in." Obi-Wan watched as the diminutive Master hobbled over to them.
"Stay here long, we cannot."
"I know, Master."
Padme was confused by the urgency in their voices. "Wait a minute. I thought the Sith were destroyed."
Yoda's ears flattened against his head. "Alive, Sidious still is."
Padme had never before seen Yoda look ashamed! "Oh." Her mind was racing. Palpatine would be furious at losing the apprentice he had worked so hard to get! But more than that, he would be furious at the one who had caused the loss! Padme pulled away from Obi-Wan enough to look him in the eye. "He'll be coming after you!"
Obi-Wan nodded his head. "Yes, he may want revenge."
Padme gaped at Obi-Wan. "He MAY want revenge?" How could he be so casual about this? "This isn't the first apprentice of his you've killed! In fact, he may just decide that YOU should be his next apprentice!"
"I doubt that. I think he'd probably prefer me dead."
Blast his Jedi calm! It frustrated Padme that Obi-Wan was discussing his own death as one would discuss the weather!
"Agree with Padme, I do."
Obi-Wan looked down at Yoda in surprise. "You do? Master, the only thing Palpatine will want with me is to be on the receiving end of his Force-lightning!"
"Doubts about that, I have." Yoda sighed heavily before continuing. "Sought you in the past as his apprentice, Sidious did."
"What?" This came from both Obi-Wan and Padme.
Yoda used the Force to lift himself into the unoccupied chair beside the bed. "Interested in you Sidious became after the Battle of Naboo. Remember do you, all the meetings Palpatine requested with you?"
"Yes, I do. Now that I think about it, he did ask me a lot of questions about my feelings about the Jedi Order, about the loss of Qui-Gon, about the pressures of training an apprentice right after becoming a Knight – about a lot of things."
"Testing your loyalty to the Order, he was. Seeing if he could manipulate you."
Padme laced her fingers through Obi-Wan's. "As he did with Anakin."
"Hmm. Yes. But successful in that, he was not. Came to understand that only coercion could possibly work with Obi-Wan."
Padme did not like the sound of that. "Coercion?"
Obi-Wan was thoroughly confused. "But, Master, he never…"
"Captured by Sidious, you were. Tried, he did, to force you to the Dark Side."
"What?" Obi-Wan searched his memory frantically. "But I have no memory of that!"
"By the time Mace rescued you, receded deep inside your mind to protect yourself, you had. Succeed at reaching you through the Force, Mace and I nearly did not. Thought it best, we did, to lock up the memory of what you endured. Guided by the Force in that decision, we were."
Padme's horror grew. "It was that bad?"
"Very bad, it was. But succumb, Obi-Wan did not."
"How long was I held?"
"Nearly a month."
"Anakin never mentioned…"
"Asked him not to, we did."
Padme tightened her grip on Obi-Wan's hand. It was obvious that he was struggling to absorb all of the ramifications of Yoda's words. "We should definitely leave here soon. But where are we going to go?"
Yoda looked pointedly at Obi-Wan. "Only one option, there is."
Senator Bail Organa stood with Yoda and Obi-Wan on the small landing platform. "Feel free to contact me if you need anything."
"You've already done so much to help us, Senator." Obi-Wan shook Organa's outstretched hand. "Thank you so much for the ship." They were leaving Padme's ship behind. They had all agreed that the Nubian design was too recognizable.
"You're welcome. Those of us in the senate who still love freedom will do what we can behind the scenes to restore it."
"Be careful, you must. Served the greater good will be, if appear loyal to the Empire, you do."
The senator sighed heavily. "Reluctantly, I agree." He turned back to Obi-Wan. "When the time comes, I'm sure we'll need your strategy skills."
Obi-Wan nodded. "I'll be just a com call away."
"Are you sure it wouldn't be good for someone to know where you are, just in case?"
"Knowing where we are would only put you in danger. But we will keep in touch."
"Very well." Senator Organa bowed to the galaxy's only remaining Jedi. "May the Force be with us all."
Obi-Wan sat in the common area of the small ship, a dozing Leia in his arms. He looked over at Padme and Luke, who were sleeping on the sofa. Sleep was escaping him this night. He wouldn't allow himself to think about everything that had transpired over the last day or so. It was just too much to take in. He wouldn't allow himself to grieve all his losses just yet – not until they were all safe in their new home. Obi-Wan had no idea what the future would hold, but he did know that he had crossed over into a completely new life.
THE END...For now!