A/N- Alright, here Alright, here I go with this! This is just a real quick story that I'm going to write while preparing for another epic. It's probably going to be about four or five posts; while I'd like to turn it into a full-length epic, I simply don't have the time. I have two ways I could go with this. It could be either really, really angsty, dark and depressing or have an ultimatley happy ending. I might just end up with an ending and an alternate one, but your thoughts on this would be highly appreciated.
Padmé watched as her ship slowly touched down on Mustafar. Red-hot, fiery lava surged and bubbled far beneath her, and it was made clear to her that this place was in constant turmoil; that even during the night in this place there would not be a brief respite from the conditions. She closed her eyes, her sudden weariness having nothing to do with the pregnancy and everything to do with what was about to happen.
Even before the cloaked figure appeared before her, even before she began to get up to run down to meet him, some part of her knew. Some part of her felt that it was too late, that something had happened that she could not mend, something had been done that she could not undo. It was in the way her heart felt suddenly heavy, the lead numbness that had settled at the bottom of her stomach. Her eyes rolled up as she grimaced; only wanting to seek comfort, only wanting to drown herself in their love, to forget, to allow love to blind her…
So it was that she ran into his arms, seeking only the sheer comfort of his warm, sheltering hold, only needing to find words of sweet love on his lips, of gentle honesty in his voice as he spoke. Even as she allowed herself to be held, allowed his name to escape her lips in a gentle cry, she knew.
It was too late.
Anakin saw her starship touch down, saw it slowly land on the cracked, weary, dry ground. His first reaction was slight anger that she had come to such a place, that she had dared to disobey him. His second one was of joy that she had come, and knowledge that it was him that she sought, and of hope that she was here.
He embraced her, sliding his arms around her pregnant form, holding her in a way that he knew she needed to be comforted. He had often held her this way, and so his arms settled into a familiar position, his head settling itself into her hair as it had a thousand times before.
When he found his voice, he spoke.
"It's alright, you're safe now." he said softly. Rage rose up in him, almost terrifying in its sudden and abrupt ascent in his emotions. She had nothing to fear from anyone; no one should cause her to tremble as she was, there should never be the need for her to run to him on a mission. "What are you doing out here?" Her eyes fluttered closed as he stroked her hair, closing his eyes.
"I was so worried about you," the words spilled out of her mouth in a desperate rush, "Obi-Wan told me terrible things…"
Anakin's rage flared up again, this time with dark, terrifying intensity. Obi-Wan… and Padmé… the demon of jealousy stirred in him again, and this time he did not try to suppress it. This time he embraced it.
"What things?" He growled at her, not caring how his voice sounded, not caring that his hands had tightened to bruising force on her arms.
She only clungto him tighter.
"He said that you have turned to the dark side…" her voice trailed off, and he could feel the agony in her, the pain of getting ready to speak something unbelievable, something so horrendous it was almost too much to say aloud… "That you killed younglings."
Anakin did not allow himself pause, did not allow his eyes to see the face of the children he had murdered. He did not respond to her, did not offer any kind of reassurance, for there was none to give. He only tightened his grip, not even knowing he was doing so in his anger until she gave a low cry and pulled away.
The tightness in his throat, the defying fury within him, all the anger he was feeling at his sins being brought out in daylight… all those did not lessen with the words he spoke.
"Obi-Wan is trying to turn you against me," he hissed, and his voice had dropped to the point to where it was that of an animal, of a beast not suited for civilization.
Padmé stared into his eyes with disbelief, disbelief that grew second by second. This could not be happening; he could not be accepting what she was saying. His eyes could not be the color of flames; he could not have just accused the man who he thought of as a brother of doing this…
The feeling she had since the beginning of her voyage grew, and even as she tried to suppress it, it encompassed her to the point where she wanted to weep, to break down and allow her fists to slam into his chest, to deny what she already knew.
But she had to still try, had to reach him, had to find him, had to save him. For without Anakin… she forced the thought out of her mind desperately. There had to be a way to reach him; there had to.
"He cares about us," she said softly, wanting to turn away from the raw hatred and power she saw in his face, the way he stood.
The look in his eyes only grew, and the sense of inevitability that had been hanging over her since she had come arched in her until it was filling her throat with tears and pain grew in her, pain that overcame her until there was nothing else.
"Us?" He asked, and she could sense that he had already let himself go, that he had let himself be corrupted to the point of destruction. Tears formed in her eyes, flowing down her cheeks in sudden weakness. She could not find her strength, could not draw on the internal power she had that allowed her to cut off everything and forget, forget what was happening around her. This cut too deep, too close to her heart.
"He knows," she pleaded. "He wants to help you." She needed help, needed someone to rescue him, for she did not know if even her love, the love that had overpowered everything… she did not know if even that would be enough.
Anakin stood still at her words for a second, absorbing them. Help? he thought, the rage burning inside his heart with more and more intensity. Why would anyone need to help him? The only person who needed help, the only person who needed saving… she was standing right in front of him.
And had he not done it all for her? He asked himself the question as bitter self-righteousness grew within him. Had he not murdered for her, given up everything for her, to save her? A snarl grew on his face. He had done it all for her, ascending to new heights of power, triumphing over weakness, and now she wanted to rip it all away from him. She had even dared to trust Obi-Wan over him, had dared to go to his betrayer instead of coming to him.
But still, even as he watched her, tenderness blossomed in him. Despite the fact that she had run to Obi-Wan, despite everything that had happened, she was still his wife. She was still the one that he treasured above all others, still his very reason for breath, for life itself. And because he loved her, he would be willing to forgive.
"Is Obi-Wan going to protect you?" he asked, coaxing his voice down to a reasonable intensity. "He can't… he's not strong enough." Obi-Wan did not deserve her. He had done nothing to buy her love, had not given all that Anakin had. Anakin had paid the price, had paid it in every child he had slaughtered, every piece of charred flesh that now lay inside the control center… their bodies had bought her life. It was more then fair trade.
As Padmé stood before him, countless images of Anakin streamed through her head. Waking up, caressing her face, stroking her cheeks softly as he bent down for a kiss… laughing, saturated with blissful contentment… Love rising softly, love that passed over everything, nothing remaining unchanged, hearts binding themselves together…
And as he now stood before her, she closed her eyes, only wanting to see her husband again, only wanting to see his warm smile, only wanting to feel his fingers, calloused by saber training, glide softly over her skin… But even as she stood there, remembering, she knew with a sudden inevitability that she could not escape any longer, could not avoid.
He was no longer Anakin Skywalker, she thought, and tears coursed even more freely down her face.
He was gone to her; lost.