Chapter Nineteen: Breaking the Pattern

Leia turned toward him in angry confusion.

"Don't do it," Anakin told her.

"Why?" asked Leia, livid. "She tried to kill you. She wanted to kill your beloved Padme. Don't you want revenge?"
"No," said Anakin calmly. He pulled the saber from Leia's hands with the Force.
"Hey!" she protested, reaching for it in vain.
"A Jedi does not attack in anger. A Jedi does not take revenge. A Jedi does not strike an unarmed opponent."
"But I'm not a Jedi!" objected Leia. "And I want my revenge! Her father made me be his slave, she threatened my family…"
"You are a Jedi, Leia," Anakin told her, cool and composed. "You have proven this today with your use of the Force. You have taken your first step as a Jedi. A powerful step, considering that this is the first time you have used the force, and you managed to single handedly free us all. But I will not allow that step to take you to the dark side."

"But I can kill this – this slime," she sneered, gesturing to the quivering Jessa. "She deserves it, that won't make me go to the dark side…"

"You don't know the power of the dark side."

"He's right Leia," put in Luke. "She's not worth it. We're safe, let's go. Forget her."
"But I can't…after all she's done…" Leia looked helplessly at them.
"Let it go," said Anakin. "Let…it…go."
"Please Leia," pleaded Padme, grasping Leia's arm. "Don't become like your father. I saw him, I saw what he became. Don't do it Leia, I don't want to lose you like I lost him. Please."
Leia looked around at her family members like they'd all lost their minds. She looked to Han for help.
"Han," Leia beseeched him. "You understand…"
"Hey," said Han, throwing his hands up. "You Jedi are not like the rest of us. If they say you'll go dark side, don't do it."
Leia sighed in resignation. "Han I really expected you to –"

In all their arguing, nobody had noticed Jessa's hand creeping around behind her, reaching for a thermal detonator.

In a flash Han unexpectedly whipped out his blaster and blew Jessa away. He turned back to Leia. "Hey, I said you shouldn't do it. Me, I'm not a Jedi. I can do what I like."
Leia's thunderous face suddenly broke into a huge smile. "I love you," she grinned.
"Mmm hmm," said Han. "I know." He pulled her to him and the two shared a passionate kiss.
"Aww," blushed Luke. Anakin gave a sad smile. "They remind me of your mother and me," he murmured to Luke. "We were so in love…"

"We were, weren't we?"

Anakin turned to face Padme, who was standing with her arms folded. The haunted, vacant look on her face was gone and had been replaced with the fiesty, determined expression he had always known. "Oh…I didn't know you were listening. Oh!" He was suddenly anxious. "Are you okay, were you hurt in all the fighting?"
"I'm fine, Luke took good care of me," she said, looking at her son with affection. "He's brave and selfless, just like his father."
Anakin couldn't take his eyes off her. "Thankyou, Padme." The two stared at each other for a long moment. Luke stepped back, sensing he was not needed in the conversation.

"You were going to die for me back there."

Anakin nodded. "I would have done anything to save you."
"It really is you, isn't it?" asked Padme, searching in his eyes. "That – that thing you were. Vader. He's gone?"
"Yes," Anakin looked down, a tear rolling from the corner of his eye. "That wasn't me. He's gone, I swear to you."
Padme reached up and wiped the tear with her fingertips. "I missed you Ani."
"I missed you too." Anakin's voice cracked and his jaw began to tremble.
"Welcome home…" Padme could hold back her own tears no longer. She fell against Anakin, who held her tight, shaking with his own tears.
"I love you." His voice shook with emotion.
"I love you too. I never stopped loving you. All those years I was hiding, part of me hoped you would find me, just so I could see you again. Even if you killed me, at least I'd be with you one more time!" sobbed Padme. She put her hand inside her shirt and pulled out the japoor snippet Anakin had given her as a child. "No matter what I did, I could never let you go."
"I'm sorry Padme. I'm so sorry," he wept.
"I forgive you. I'm just so glad you're back." She pulled back to look at him. He looked back at her, taking her in. Her lips approached his, and they kissed for the first time since that day on Mustafar.

"Sweet," said Han, resting his head on Leia's.
"Those are my parents," sighed Leia. "Together again."
"Hey I just gotta ask…" Han pulled back to look at her. "How'd you blow the lights back there? And the ysalamiri thingies too?" he asked. Leia smiled and pulled up her pants leg, revealing a small blaster strapped to her ankle.
"Never leave home without it." She gave Han a wicked grin.
"Ahh, I love you!" he said, kissing her forehead.

"I know."

"Marry me."

"Well…I don't know if I want to marry a nerf herder…"

"Okay, okay!" she laughed. "Yes."
"What was that?" asked Han, straining his ear. "I didn't quite hear that."
"Yes!" shouted Leia playfully. "Yes I'll marry you!"
"That's more like it!" He picked her up and twirled her. "Oh – wait, I forgot!" Han put her down and turned to Anakin. "May I ask for your daughter's hand in marriage?"
Anakin put on a mock serious face. "Well young man, first I need to know - what are your intentions with my daughter?"
"To love, obey and cherish…well, mostly obey with Leia around…"
"Hey!" Leia tried to frown, but laughed and punched his arm instead.
"You have my blessing…" Anakin began.
"Our blessing," corrected Padme, taking his arm. Anakin grinned down at her and squeezed her lovingly.
"Our blessing," he agreed.

They left Jabba's palace, Han and Leia arm in arm, Anakin and Padme holding onto each other like they would never let go again. Luke walked slowly at a distance behind them.
"I guess everything worked out great," he said to Artoo. "So why do I feel like a fifth wheel?" Artoo chirped a response. Luke sighed. "Everyone ended up together except me. Do you think I'll ever find someone?" Artoo beeped again.

Standing in the shadows was a single figure, watching Luke. She aimed her blaster at him, then thought better of it. She would get another chance. Mara Jade put away her weapon and waited.




Final chapter everyone! HUGE thanks to everyone for supporting this story!

To the people who kept mentioning MaraJade: Haha! She did make an appearance after all! I love Mara, she's the best EU character there is. When I orignally posted this a year ago quite a few people didn't know who she is: quick explanation in case some of you don't know, she was an assistant to the Emperor who is sent to kill Luke. She escapes Palpatine's programming, becomes a Jedi, and all you really need to know about her is she eventually marries Luke ;)

Thanks for keeping me in stitches every week with your hilarious comments, especially VFSnake, Sayuri Akimoto, Mord Sith Raul and Sith Knight-Galen the resident comedians. I'll have to write a sequel just to get your funny feedback again. And I just might write Sayuri into it ;)

Padmeonpaper: Go read the little sketch at the end of chapter 19. I am NOT writing an explanation of Hutt reproduction in the middle of a critical chapter!

Keley: Of course you can write your story, this certainly isn't the only "Anakin survives ROTJ" story out there! There are some great AU post-ROTJ stories out there! I only have a problem with the one that used 95 of my storyline.

Arie: Ok now mine is finished, you gotta finish yours!!! PLEEAAASE!!!

Lachrin: Thanks for your kind words, it annoyed the hell out of me, but yes I must have had a few good ideas if they were worth stealing!

Faithful Cherry Blossum: Thanks so much for all your sweet comments along the way. See, Anakin and Padme together again just like you wanted:)

Thanks to BabaPip, Phantom Jedi1, Aerocat, Tigerstar's Innocence, Firechildslitherin, Haydenfan, SB Michael B Jackson, Sentrosi, WaCKaMole, Ladyknightshade1, Star Wars Geek71, Sentrosi, thefragile, Kent Frost, Senoir Franco, Darth Riven, Screwy Louie, eaglescout021606, Nina Sky and Taeniaea for all the nice comments. Sorry if I forgot anyone, thanks to you too!

Big thanks to the Alternate Anakin site, that originally hosted this story and got me started!