Author: Disco Shop Girl
Disclaimer: Characters, worlds, etc. aren't mine.
Warnings: The M rating is for real. Take note now - this fic has adult scenes! They can't be cut out - they're part of the story. That means NC-17 younglings! I'll warn at the end of the previous chapter, and at the beginning of the chapters they're in, but just beware - alright?
Background: ROTS AU: Starts near the end of Revenge of the Sith. Instead of following Anakin to Mustafar, Padmé inadvertently revealed Anakin's location to Obi-Wan. The Jedi master went to the lava planet alone, and took part in the same battle, with the same result.
Summary: The physical boundary between Anakin and his loved ones is starting to wear him down. Perhaps Padmé can help?
Timeframe: 2 months post ROTS
Thanks: I was so heartened by all that really positive feedback I got for my last fic. I want to thank you all so much - I was truly overwhelmed. You've encouraged me to continue and improve - and I'm going to try to!
What Came Before (Prologue)
"Where is Padmé? Is she…safe?" Anakin asked, taken aback by the way his voice came out.
Taken aback and then disgusted. It held an edge of intimidation he wasn't giving it. And it was deep. So much deeper than his own voice.
What's wrong with my own voice? he thought indignantly.
"I'm sorry my friend. I'm afraid after Obi-Wan discovered your whereabouts from her, he killed her."
The outrageous physical pain that continued to scream through his body was nothing compared to the anguish that rushed in to engulf his heart. No. No! He'd done all this for her! He'd sacrificed everything for her. He was like this for her. How could she be gone? He'd felt no threat to her when he left, how could Obi-Wan – Obi-Wan.
He hated him. It had been born when his friend had refused to take him to Utapatu. It had intensified when the master had jumped from his Jedi fighter on to the Mustafar landing platform and started demanding that Anakin give up the safety the Emperor was bringing billions of beings for the simple sake of electing their leaders. And it had solidified when Obi-Wan left him to die, mutilated and on fire at the edge of the lava flow.
But now, he'd not only destroyed Anakin's physical being, he'd killed Padmé. Padmé. Even as his soul had spurned everything the Jedi had stood for, even as he was leaning back against the righted operating table, suffering unimaginable pain, he would never have thought Obi-Wan capable. The man who had been with him for so long, who had been such a trusted companion. Anakin had never once thought him capable of killing a pregnant woman.
Let alone Padmé.
In fact, it went against all common sense. Obi-Wan had screamed at him that his allegiance was to democracy. Why then kill Padmé? Anakin finally understood what she had hidden from him. Not an affair with his mentor, as he'd misunderstood, but an opposition against the creation of an empire. Why would you kill her, if your allegiance was to democracy? Surely she would be your biggest ally?
But none of that mattered. He'd killed the only reason Anakin had to live.
My beloved his heart screamed.
Externally his voice screamed as well. But it was a long and haunting "no," of terrible pain.
He crushed everything he could, ripping at the force to destroy droids and objects alike. Control long forgotten as his mind briefly released consciousness to scour everything in range, like his heart itself was scoured. Only the emperor remained untouched.
Which he could feel Palpatine's eagerness about. Eager? Whatever for? Eager that Anakin be angry? Why?
"There is a small problem. Some of the Jedi escaped the temple, hiding still on Coruscant I believe. I can feel how strong you are getting. Deal with them while I deal with the Senate. Keep your mind off your wife."
Padmé his whole being wept for what was lost.
Why did she have to die? Why couldn't I save her? Why did Obi-Wan have to kill her?
"Go now," the leader encouraged him.
The new Emperor nodded and left Anakin to slowly adapt to walking on his new artificial feet, legs. It felt horrible. Unbalanced, awkward. And the pain it shot through him fuelled his loathing. The Jedi would pay for Obi-Wan's crimes.
But first there was something he had to do. Though he knew the emperor would not support it, Anakin slowly made his way to the speeder bay. After all,Palpatine hadgone to do something with the senate. And Anakin would round up the rogue Jedi. But first his heart had to stop being tugged and battered, and with some sense of morbid fascination see just how cruel the universe had been to him. How cruel Obi-Wan had been to him.
The betrayal of his friend spurned him towards where transport could be found. People stared, turned their eyes, were appalled by his appearance. And those that didn't have the decency to keep their shocked thoughts from passing through their lips suddenly found their throats constricting, until he had passed by them when they dropped to the floor gasping.
But he didn't notice. His mind was preoccupied with Padmé. How Obi-Wan had seen fit to hurt her. She was so big there would have been no way for her to even try to escape from him. She was so vulnerable, and the Jedi master had seen fit to take advantage of that. All she'd done was love him! And she'd had to pay with death for association. Why? Why!
He guided the speeder at an angry pace towards her beautiful home. Their home. No one's home now. Pulled up at the same balcony where mere days ago he'd kissed her goodbye, left her softly crying and told her he'd be back soon, all she had to do was wait for him. Wait. How ridiculous, was all he could think now. He should have sent her away to be safe. Carrying the child of an ex-Jedi had left her vulnerable, in fact, being known as his friend had left her vulnerable. After all, Obi-Wan didn't know about their baby. How had he not seen that she wasn't safe?
He stepped out of the open cockpit onto the firm, perfect floor and strode inside. Like he was determined to be confronted with the horror of it all. He briefly wondered if her body still lay somewhere on the floor. A lightsaber gash through her stomach. So Obi-Wan could be sure that his unborn child had perished too.
Anakin's fist clenched as he surveyed the small entryway with that thought.
He hated Obi-Wan.
The murderous traitor had not only left him to die, but killed Padmé and murdered the beginnings of their family before it had even come to life.
Why were the lights on so dim? Had she been sleeping when he killed her? Had the lights remained this way since? The Jedi master must truly be evil. To kill Padmé in her sleep. Not even give her a chance.Anakin had seen her deny their relationship so perfectly, he had no doubt she would have been able to convince Obi-Wan she didn't know where he was. If only she'd been awake. Although the emperor had said he'd somehow managed to draw Anakin's location from Padmé. Perhapsthe planet's namehad been ripped from her mind?
Taking a deep breath he took the final step and crossed the threshold. Into their bedroom. There she lay. Turned on her side away from him. Unruly hair tumbling over her shoulders.
Perfect. Like she was simply asleep. This sleep, however, was ghastly – eternal.
He reached out in sadness. Needing to know how different she felt. Now that it was simply her body, and nothing was there. She felt…
Warm. He felt her blood as it coursed softly through her veins. Still moving? And her breath as it tickled quietly from her nose, her chest rising and falling and…
A sudden loud cry from behind him as under his mask his eyes widened. His heart started thudding in his chest as hope pumped far too much adrenaline into his veins.
And with that cry
"I'm coming," murmured her voice from where her body lay.
Not cold. Not dead. Not even harmed. And no longer pregnant.
"Padmé?" his artifically altered voice questioned with none of the sincerity that plagued his confused mind.