Padme rocked Leia gently in her arms in a futile attempt to lure the little girl to sleep. She sighed and looked over to Luke, who was sleeping soundly, but Leia was fighting to stay awake. After everything that had happened that day, all she wanted was to rest and she desperately needed Leia to do the same.
Her gaze shifted to the door as Anakin opened it hesitantly.
"Can I come in?"
She nodded gratefully and he pushed the door open so he could enter the room. His eager eyes found his sleeping children and for the first time since they had been reunited, he was able to really look at them. He cautiously stepped closer to Padme and laid a calming hand on a stubborn Leia.
His eyes silently pleaded with Padme then sparked with joy as she gently shifted Leia into his waiting arms. It was awkward at first; he had never held a baby before in his life, but after a few moments, it seemed like the most natural thing he had ever done. Leia watched him curiously as he rocked her gently in his arms. Within a few moments, she was sleeping soundly in her father's arms.
Anakin moved carefully laid her next to her snoring brother. Anakin smiled softly and placed a tender kiss on each of their foreheads.
Padme moved next to him and he couldn't stop himself from placing his arm gently around her waist.
"They're so beautiful." He whispered.
She nodded and rested her head against his shoulder. She sighed softly, wondering what Anakin was going to decide. Part of her wished that he would do what he had always said he would: leave the Order and be with her and their children. But then again, everything they had worked for would be gone and she couldn't fault him for wanting to continue to pursue his dreams. She knew now that whatever he decided it had to be his decision and his decision alone. It was time he knew that.
"Anakin…can we talk? There's something I have to tell you."
He eyed her cautiously before nodding and followed her to the cockpit where Obi-Wan was relaxing.
"Do you mind if we take over for a little while, Obi-Wan?"
Obi-Wan lifted his feet from the chair opposite him and graciously left the room without a word.
Padme looked around the room for a few moments to try to gather her thoughts. There was so much that needed to be said and she didn't have much time to say it. She took a deep breath and went for it.
"I just wanted to tell you, Anakin, that I'm sorry for everything I've put us through these last few years."
Anakin started to reply but she stopped him with the pleading look in her eyes. He recognized that whatever she had to say, she absolutely had to get it out.
"I've loved you for a long time, Anakin, longer that I'd probably care to admit, but that doesn't change the fact that I pushed you away for far too long. I denied you the right to see your children and I denied you the right to make your own decisions. I'm so sorry…I wish I could go back in time and fix all these mistakes that I've made. Whatever you decide now is your decision and I won't interfere in any way. If you want to be with me and our children, I won't fight it, I'll welcome it. And if you decide to stay with the Order, I'll be happy that you'll finally be able to be the Jedi I know you can be."
Anakin didn't know how to respond. For so long, he had been longing to hear her say anything like that and now that she had said it, it was hard to believe it had actually happened. He nodded suddenly and heard her sigh with relief. He looked up and met her sad eyes. He knew.
He pulled her quickly into his arms and held her tightly. He felt her tense at his sudden movement then she relaxed into his arms and hugged him tightly to her.
"Padme," he whispered into her hair. "I love you. I've always loved you. I know why you did it, I still don't agree with it, but I understand it. I'm just glad that you're finally ready to let us be happy."
Her hands grasped his face and kissed him softly. Anakin gripped her tightly and kissed her deeply. He moved back into the chair and pulled her into his lap which only increased their passion. He only stopped when he felt tears run down her cheeks.
"No…don't cry, Padme." He pushed her hair out of her eyes so he could take her chin in his hand. He gently brushed the tears from her cheeks and lightly kissed where the tears had been.
"I just can't help but think of how much time we've…I've…wasted."
He stroked her cheek lightly. "You don't have to worry about that anymore. Marry me, Padme."
She smiled softly and kissed him fervently. When they finally pulled away, it was to the sound of their children crying.
Anakin smiled tenderly. "Well…I think it's about time I started doing my share around here."
She laughed and hit him playfully on the shoulder as they left the cockpit and headed toward their children's room. Their merriment came to an abrupt halt when Obi-Wan's somber figure crossed their path.
Obi-Wan smiled slightly and put his hand reassuringly on Anakin's shoulder. "Don't worry about me, my friend. Believe it or not, but I've always known it would turn out something like this. I couldn't be happier for both of you."
Anakin and Padme exchanged relieved glances as Obi-Wan proceeded to shake Anakin's hand. Padme surprised him by catching him in a quick embrace.
When she released him, she gently kissed his cheek. "Thank you for everything you've done for us, Obi-Wan. Not just for helping us find our children, but for your understanding, your acceptance, and your discretion."
Obi-Wan nodded as Anakin clasped his hand again before excusing himself.
Anakin watched sadly as Obi-Wan took his place in the cockpit. "I'm really going to miss him."
"He can still be part of our lives, Anakin. He can visit, you can send each other…"
"I don't know if the Council will allow that."
Padme sighed and rubbed her temples, very grateful that the twins had stopped crying now. "Oh yeah, the Council."
"Don't worry about them. I'll take care of it."
She sighed again. "Alright."
They looked up as Obi-Wan gently cleared his throat. "We're approaching Coruscant. I've already contacted the Council to let them know you need an audience with them."
Anakin nodded gratefully and rubbed Padme's arms soothingly. "It's better to just get it over with now."
She smiled and kissed him reassuringly then they entered the twins' room to prepare for the landing.
"Master Kenobi, the Council is glad to hear of your mission's success."
"But Master Skywalker, your disobedience is quite disturbing. You were aware that Master Kenobi was given the mission. Why did you disobey?"
Anakin hesitated before answering. "Because they're my children."
A loud murmur echoed through the room. Suddenly, Anakin knew what it felt like to be in a room full of one's enemies.
"When I was a little boy on Tatooine, all I wanted was to be a Jedi Knight. I came to the Temple with the most honorable intentions and I tried to continue that with the best of my ability. But I fell in love and I had children. I know this is against the Code and I acknowledge that. But I want you to know that my so-called transgression is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I resign my rank of Master and will spend the rest of my days in peace with my family."
The silence in the room was deafening and just when Anakin thought he couldn't take it anymore, Yoda broke the silence.
"Expected this, I did."
Anakin nodded in understanding and dared to make his request. "I just ask that I be allowed to contact Master Kenobi from time to time…he's like a father to me."
Anakin's gaze met Obi-Wan's in that instant and Obi-Wan smiled gratefully before quickly wiping his eyes.
Yoda, having witnessed this exchange, gripped his cane thoughtfully before answering Anakin's request. "Contact him, you may. Return to your family now, you must."
Anakin nodded, then bowed one last time before the Council, then he left. He pushed through the doors and entered the Temple halls. He began walking towards the hangar, but soon he began jogging happily, hardly able to contain his excitement. He ran past the room he had been trained in, past the hall he had eaten his meals in, past the room in had slept in for countless nights, but none of it had been home to him.
When his feet finally carried him to the hangar, his smile brightened at the sight before him. Padme stood there with a slight smile on her face, carefully balancing both of their children on her hips.
"I guess it went well?"
His smile only grew wider as he closed the short distance between them. "It did. I can still talk to Obi-Wan."
She smiled happily as he kissed her softly, then kissed each of his children gently on the head.
He grinned contentedly as they headed back towards their ship and put his arm lovingly around her shoulders.
"Let's go home, Padme."