Disclaimer: I don't own the SW universe. All the characters belong to George Lucas. This story was written for fun and meditation purposes only.

Just a plot bunny that striked me during another Writer's Block for my other fic, "Change of Fate". English is not my native language, and I don't have a beta yet, so I apologise for many, many, many grammar misyakes! ;)

Enjoy anyway!

Chapter One

The shroud of twilight fell upon Coruscant. Neon lights embraced the city in a cold glow as numerous speeders lit their way with bright white lights that were too harsh to look at. That was Coruscant, the capital of the Republic at night – though untouched by the horrors of the war that raged across the galaxy for over two years, there was no trace of warmness and love on the planet either – only artificial lights at night and busy turmoil during the day.

Among the crowd of people who cared about nothing but their own well-being, there were few who didn't sleep at night, anxiously awaiting their loved ones return. Mothers missed sons, children needed their fathers, and wives ached for their husbands.

A beautiful young woman, who stood on the balcony of one of the high towers in the elite apartment block Republica 500 brushing her hair, was one of them. To most she was known as Padmé Amidala, former Queen and current Senator of Naboo. In truth, it was only a small part of who she really was. Senator Amidala was merely a shell for the dreamy girl dwelling inside. Her real name was Padmé Skywalker, and that's who she was – the wife and life companion of Anakin Skywalker, the bravest and most loyal man in the galaxy. The man she loved with her entire being so much that it sometimes hurt.

The air outside slowly cooled and Padmé stepped inside, rubbing her hands in a vain attempt to warm them. She felt cold inside, as she always did without him. A dark, lifeless room lay before her eyes. The prospect of spending another night alone brought an ache to her heart. A brush of wind gently blew inside, swooping the curtains in a graceful arch and taking away a lonely sheet of flimsiplast she was working on.

Padmé looked at the table, which was overloaded with endless data pads and sheets of flimsiplast. During the times when he was gone, she always worked harder. Whenever asked why she was so passionate about politics, she usually responded that the galaxy needed her in these dark times, that she liked doing something for the greater good. Her extraordinary political talents made the others believe in what she said in the blink of an eye, but she knew these feeble arguments not to be true, at least not entirely true. The complete truth was that she needed a distraction from the dull ache, from the haunting void in her soul she experienced without him.

Absent-mindedly, she came to the table and picked up a sheet of flimsiplast. "To Padmé Amidala concerning the law of the Grand Army of the Republic.", the title said.

Army. War. Anakin…She inhaled loudly, the sound resembling a sob, and tore the sheet furiously apart. Finding diplomatic solutions to grave conflicts was what she had been doing since she was a small child. Padmé had always believed in democracy and she would defend it with her last breath. However, at times like these, she doubted whether the Republic could be pulled from the abyss it was tumbling into. All the laws were just words, typed into datapads - words which had no meaning for the daily increasing casualties in the Outer Rim, to the soldiers that died every day believing they made the galaxy a warmer place. These words had no meaning to her husband…

Earlier in the evening, she had watched another HoloNet report about the status of war. More casualities, more death, more destruction…Many children would never see their parents again and countless families lost their home worlds forever. And there was still no word about Anakin or Obi-Wan. They have already been gone for four months and, according to the announcer, no one knew anything about them. Some even believed them to be dead…

Padmé approached the window and looked at the merely twinkling stars above. She saw her own reflection in the transparisteel – a young woman, with her eyes glancing lustreless at the world, and terrible sadness creeping at the corners of her mouth. She saw her transparent image floating with the stars, just where her heart lay. It was a brutal illusion of her dream coming true. Her reflection was above, with Anakin, but she was still in her apartment on Coruscant. Alone…

Where was Anakin? Was he alright? She would sense it if something happened to him, she was sure. Yet Padmé couldn't shake off a feeling of a dark foreboding, slowly sinking its icy claws into her wounded heart. What if something happened to Anakin? She couldn't live without him. She would simply cease to exist if his light burned out.

-----

The screen in a royal apartment in Republica 500 showed the images of the HoloNews transition. Little dirty children in lumps, crying over the bodies of their parents…Devastated cities, lifeless houses and burning forests…Battle fields, with shattered pieces of battle droids and countless dead bodies of fallen heroes… It was a picture of destruction and despair

The Sith Lord turned off the screen, cackling delightedly. Everything was going according to his plan. The galaxy was consumed by darkness, as fear and greed were dominating the Force, nurturing the dark and diminishing the feeble light. It was closing in on the shatter point and the apocalypse.

The Jedi had been keepers of the peace for centuries, maintaining the ocean of the soft glowing light in the Force. The horrors of war and webs of deceit and deception polluted that sea of tranquillity, spreading with the waves of darkness.

There was a single light in the ocean, a unique pearl, which remained untouched by darkness. It alone glowed with bright, disgustingly beautiful light and shoved away the waves of approaching darkness. Anakin Skywalker was the source of light, and were it to be put out, the galaxy would be drown in darkness, for eternity.

From the first moment he laid his eyes on the boy, Sidious saw that this small child would be a perfect ally. He was powerful, brave, but he had also known fear and anger. For many years, Sidious has been preparing his plan, trying to lure the boy to his side and alienate him from the Jedi. Boring hours of listening to unstoppable whining weren't spent in vain as Anakin became an even greater alien among the Jedi than Sidious could ever have hoped, and now he knew Anakin better than the boy did himself. Nothing that held Skywalker in the Light, except for one – Padmé Amidala, the Chosen One's secret wife and one of Sidious' most powerful opponents in the political arena.

If he could only break the two lovers apart, the last anchor would be gone, and Anakin would be embraced by the consummating power of darkness.

Sidious grinned maliciously. The boy had some dark skeletons in his wardrobe, things from his past his wife was not aware of. All Sidious had to do was give a tiny push, and the chain would be set in motion. He had a perfect candidate in mind, who would start the reaction…

----

Her large bed was cold and bleak without his warm body next to hers. Padmé tossed from one side to another, plagued by nightmares in which she watched Anakin die before her eyes.

A soft hand touched her cheek gently and stroked her hair, murmuring the words of comfort into her ear. She knew this touch, and this voice was music to her ears. Padmé's eyes snapped open, and she saw the dark silhouette of her husband, caressing her lovingly. Brown met blue, and gazing into the depths of his intense eyes, she felt complete again.

"Ani?" she whispered in a hoarse voice, a part of her still refusing to believe he had returned to her.

"Shh, Padmé," he echoed back, never taking his brilliant eyes from her face, as if memorizing every little detail of it.

She sat up and flung herself in his waiting arms. She buried her face on his chest, breathing his scent in, letting his presence wash away all the horrors of the night. Ani was home, with her…

"I watched you die before my eyes," she sobbed quietly, tears of happiness and anguish running down her cheeks.

"But I'm here now, Padme," he said softly, stroking her back gently. The endless months of waiting were finally over, and Anakin was by her side again. Two hearts that were never supposed to be separated were together, beating as one, feeling as one…

"I love you Padmé," he murmured into her hair. He held her so tightly as though he was afraid she would slip away if he lessened his grip. "I would die if you were taken away from me."

Padmé shuddered.

It was her gravest fear to lose Anakin. She couldn't understand how she had existed twenty-four years without him in her life. She didn't know how to laugh, she didn't know the skill of savouring the smallest moments of happiness, like a sun ray shining through thick clouds. Her heart didn't know what to love and what being loved felt like. Who was she before Anakin came back into her life? A small, insignificant person, whose heart was covered by a thick armour of ice. His warmness and glowing light had melted the ice away, and destroyed the cage she had put herself in all those years ago. With Anakin she learned how to be just Padmé, not the Senator from Naboo. Anakin taught her so many things…

"I am always by your side, Ani. Nothing will ever change that," she promised him earnestly. She gazed deep into the eyes, losing herself again in the intensity of blue. "I couldn't live without you. I could never leave you."

To her dismay, Anakin pulled himself away from her. She couldn't interpret the look he gave her.

"Are you sure?" he asked quietly. "We live in perilous times, entangled in webs of deception and deceit. Anything could happen. Anything."

"Ani, what's going on?" Padmé asked anxiously, feeling cold chills running down her spine. "You are scaring me."

"I need you, Padmé. I'll die if you are gone. I won't survive if you betray me or turn your back on me."

"I could never betray you or…turn my back on you!" Padmé exclaimed worriedly, now positively alarmed. The intense look he gave her became dark and menacing. A dark feeling of foreboding stirred in her. Something was not right here…

"Ani, did you hear me? I would never do anything like that. Never," she said fearful, stroking his arm.

He shoved her arm away, looking disgusted. Padmé felt her eyes burning, a shroud of tears started to cloud her vision. Anakin continued to glare at her, and with every instant, she grew more uncomfortable under his stare. It was astonishing how piercing his eyes were. Then the corners of his mouth twitched, forming a menacing, dark smile.

"Liar," he said shortly.

Padmé felt hot tears running down her cheeks. Her vision was becoming blurry, and she believed that the cerulean of his eyes had turned to the venomous yellow.

"No, Ani," she squeaked helplessly, a desperate feeling of fear and hurt claiming her heart.

Icy, inhuman laughter was the only answer to her words. What was happening to Anakin? Then his laughter subsided, replaced by an expression of ultimate fury and uncontrolled rage.

"LIAR!" he yelled at her. "You'll stab me in the back and turn away from me, at the moment when I'll need you most. You'll lure me to my death. You'll break my heart, and it will be shattered into thousands pieces, and will never be whole again!"

His ragged breath turned into a cry of pain. A hole in his chest appeared out of nowhere, and Anakin held his heart in his outstretched palm.

"There is my heart," he hissed through gritted teeth. "I sacrificed it for you, and you betrayed me."

"Ani-" Padmé said in a small voice, trying to reach out to him, but he jerked away from her touch.

He started to laugh quietly, a bitter laughter that made her hair stand up. "I loved you too much and was too blind to see who you were."

Another cry of pain burst out of him, and streams of dark mist enveloped Anakin, devouring him from the inside. She tried to call him, say that she loved him, but her voice seemed to have left her. She could only watch Anakin being consumed by impenetrable darkness… The edge of her consciousness vaguely perceived a piercing shriek, and she realised that it came from her own throat, screaming at the top of her lungs.

A warm hand shook her by the shoulder. Padmé flung her eyes open, and stared at the worried face of Dormé.

"Are you alright, milady?" she asked anxiously. "You were screaming in your sleep."

"I'm fine, Dormé. Thank you," Padmé replied weakly, trying to persuade more herself than her handmaiden.

"Are you sure, milady?" Dormé asked uncertainly. "I could stay with you if you'd like me to."

Padmé shook her head firmly no. "I'm alright, Dormé. Really," she added, seeing the doubtful expression on her loyal handmaiden's face. "Go to sleep. And that is an order."

"As you wish, milady," Dormé said, putting out the night lamp.

"Good night, Dormé," Padmé said, adjusting her pillow. She vaguely heard the handmaiden wishing her sweet dreams and her retreating footsteps.

A dead silence fell over the room again. Padmé glanced at the edge of the bed where Anakin had been sitting in her dream. It was perfectly smooth.

It was just a stupid nightmare, Padmé told herself, trying to fall asleep again. But she was still shaken from the dream, and the dark sense of foreboding didn't leave her. When she drifted into sleep after a very long time, the image of Anakin being consumed by darkness continued to haunt her, and his voice, accusing her of betrayal, kept ringing in her ears.