Disclaimer: George Lucas used to own Star Wars, and it's now owned by Disney.

Warnings: This story is rated M for strong sexual situations, language and violence. You have been warned.

Forbidden Longing

Bonus Scene

Chapter 37.2


The room was metallic and compact, not really suited for any lengthy period of travel. But that was all right, since the individuals inside weren't really going to be there long anyway. The two Jedi were packing up for Serra's journey to a secure planet. Serra's meager belongings barely included anything besides her lightsaber, but she had some equipment that Bail had given to her for the upcoming mission. They were sorting out items and making sure that was in order, so that she wouldn't have any unwelcome surprise on her way there. They worked quickly and efficiently, at a comfortable pace, content to settle on the task at hand. For a while, they settled with no distractions, at least until a certain subject was brought up, upon Serra's request. The nice, comfortable pace was shattered, upon the revelations of what had happened just a few hours before.

"…They want to what?"

"They wanted to place the twins with some Jedi Master," Anakin answered tiredly. He eyed her warily. "You wouldn't have had anything to do with that, would you?" he asked her suspiciously.

The other was shocked. "Anakin, I know we used to fight about a lot of things in the past, but I would never take your children away from you!" Serra replied, with a bit of offense in her voice. "I know, a while ago I would have agreed that they were better off with the Jedi." Anakin looked at her with smoldering eyes. "But I've changed," she held up a hand to quickly cut him off. "I've seen the power that is to be gained from attachment. There is no sense in separating people from their loved ones, when that attachment will only make them fight harder and force them to have more determination. I only wish I realized that sooner. Our emotions are what make us who we are, and it's a part of what makes us human. I only wish I could have explored that with Cin Drallig, and expressed to him that I loved him more as a father than a Master. There's no point in depriving children of their parents, and letting the Jedi be their only influence, without any outside influence. I know we've had our differences in the past, multiple times in fact. I would never take your children away from you," Serra said, staring into his eyes. She was actually slightly offended that he thought so, given the circumstances.

Anakin smiled. "Thanks, Serra."

They went back to packing her stuff in a comfortable silence. Eventually Anakin had to ask the question.

"So, uh, what are you going to do? Are you heading to Alderaan with Shaak Ti and the others?" Anakin asked, slumping his shoulders a bit uncomfortably at the thought. He didn't know why, but he kinda wished she would stick around for a bit. He liked having another Jedi around to talk to, who wasn't his enemy, or passed judgment on him like the other Jedi did. Of course, not all was peachy. He could see it in her eyes that she still thought she was the better duelist, after that little stunt she pulled at the Temple. But eh, he would deal with that later.

She shook her head. "No, I don't think so. I'm thinking I need some time away from all this," Serra said, gesturing with her hand, and Anakin was startled by the frustration that had built up over the past few months. "This war, fighting every day and not seeing home for months at a time, all of the battles we've fought and bloodthirsty carnage we've seen, and now this, to add to all of the stuff that's happened, it's too much. Eventually I will return to help the Rebellion, but for now I need a break. I need to get away from all this," Serra admitted, sounding bone-dead tired. She hoped Anakin didn't look down on her for that selfish decision. He had been a regular action man during the war, always in the thick of things in battle, and she worried what he might think about her decision. He had changed since then obviously, because of Padmé and the kids, but she still worried that he thought she was abandoning her duty.

"I understand," Anakin nodded gravely. He wanted her to stick around a little longer, but it was her choice. It made him sad a little, but she had to do what she had to do.

He knew the war had taken its toll on her. He had felt the same way. Even before the incidents with Obi-Wan, he had been wanting to leave the Jedi Order. Jedi were built for peacekeeping and diplomacy, not war. Soldiers were the ones built for that. There was no joy to be found in murdering countless people, and seeing thousands of your squad members murdered at every turn. Anakin Skywalker had yearned for adventure and excitement all his life, but now that he had found it, he found that they were kinda overrated. Death and destruction were not something to be relished in, only engaged in when absolutely necessary, and even then with the utmost respect towards your opponent. There was some thrill to be found in pursuing a speeder thief or bringing a great diplomatic victory between two planets, but there was no thrill to be found in seeing monstrous amounts of your soldiers cut down by droids, or seeing the muck and blood civilians had to live with after the forces departed and the planets were left in states of devastation and ruin. And now with the threat of a new war hanging over them, and one that could potentially last for decades, Anakin couldn't blame her for wanting to take it easy for a while. He was kind of afraid to go out there for himself, and see what the hell Palpatine was doing to the galaxy. Though he would never admit that to Padmé.

"Thank you for your understanding, Anakin," Serra said gratefully. She was truly humbled that he understood what she needed to do, and held no reservations about it. If she had told Yoda about this…well, she had a feeling he would have had a fit. Which was why she hadn't told him. Instead she had told him that she was going to meditate on things for a while, and contemplate what her best place was in the Rebellion. What she didn't tell him was that she wanted to be away from anything Jedi related for a while. It was a huge change from the Anakin of old, who would argue with her at every turn over every little thing, and it was amazing how much Padmé was responsible for that. Maybe she should find a companion of her own…

"You fought well at the Temple," Serra said, remembering how Anakin had saved her, and possibly all of their lives, with his fighting at the Temple. It was a scary thought, that she might have died there, cut down by the former Obi-Wan Kenobi, along with the rest of them, and no one in the galaxy would have even known what happened. They would have been cut down by Sidious' troops and freaky apprentices. Not to mention, the future of the Jedi would have been lost. Roan, Aayla, Yoda, and the others would have been dead. As much as she loathed some of Yoda's methods right now, they needed him to train younglings. That was the only way they grow up to be great and strong Jedi. It was all thanks to Anakin. They owed him. Anakin had come, and along with Shaak Ti, saved their hides from the proverbial and literal fire. "Of course, I still think I'm the better duelist, but I couldn't have done it without you," Serra smiled, letting a small smile play on her face. It wasn't often she had to admit someone was a better fighter, but in this case she had no problem accepting it. The less Anakin knew about that, the better, though.

"It was nothing," Anakin said dismissively. It was funny, he had longed for that kind of praise all his life, but hearing her praise him so openly now, it actually made him kind of uncomfortable. Perhaps it was years of Palpatine praising him so generously, and knowing where it was leading, that led him to find it repulsive now. It was quite a reversal, from his earlier days.

Serra looked down. She looked conflicted, and frustrated trying to understand something. Some complicated thoughts were running through her mind. It was obvious she was struggling with whether to ask something. She wanted to ask Anakin, but she was unsure of what his answer would be, or if she even wanted to hear it. What she was about to ask went against every tenet of the Jedi Order, as she had learned them. But it was true the Jedi Order was changing. If Anakin advised her recklessly, she wouldn't know what to do, but on the other hand, she didn't want him to just give her the same advice everyone had always given her. She rolled the thought over in her mind. Perhaps she should just ask him. The worst he could do was say no to what she was thinking, or that she wasn't ready for that kind of thing yet. She wouldn't know until she asked him, anyway.

Serra looked down. She looked conflicted, and frustrated trying to understand something. Some complicated thoughts were running through her mind. It was obvious she was struggling with whether to ask something. She wanted to ask Anakin, but she was unsure of what his answer would be, or if she even wanted to hear it. What she was about to ask went against every tenet of the Jedi Order, as she had learned them. But it was true the Jedi Order was changing. If Anakin advised her recklessly, she wouldn't know what to do, but on the other hand, she didn't want him to just give her the same advice everyone had always given her. She rolled the thought over in her mind. Perhaps she should just ask him. The worst he could do was say no to what she was thinking, or that she wasn't ready for that kind of thing yet. She wouldn't know until she asked him, anyway.

"What is it?" Anakin asked, concerned about her. He had never seen Serra look so pensive before. There was definitely something bothering her. He only hoped he could help her. He wasn't an expert at giving advice, but he would try his best to do so anyway.

"I envy what you and Padmé have. I always thought that a person needed no one except themselves, just like the Order's teachings told us. Now I'm wondering if I don't want something like that myself." Serra hesitated, but there was no easy way to say this without sounding conceited. "But…I don't know if I should even do that. After all these years of hypocrisy, do I even have the right to have a relationship? And how do I even find someone in the first place?" It was a chaotic jumble of feelings she was feeling, and trying to explain herself was giving Serra a concentrated headache. She was stumbling over her words, and didn't even know if she was making herself sound even halfway-intelligent, or if she was sounding like a confused, love-struck idiot. "I don't know how to attract a man. I don't know how to date. Where exactly am I supposed to find someone? We Jedi are hated and feared throughout the galaxy, especially now after what Palpatine did. I don't know how to get along with someone, or open myself up to someone, unless they're part of the Order. But I have to, because there's no one left from our Order, is there? I can't rely on that anymore," Serra admitted with a pained expression. "How can I meet people that I like? I don't know how to do it. I've never been a part of their world. But I have to, or else I am horribly afraid of what I'm gonna turn into," Serra said, not sure why she was making this confession. She was confused and her thoughts were hitting her like a ton of bricks, but one thing was becoming clear. She was suddenly realizing how incredibly stale her life had been. She had never contemplated it much before, but it was plainly visible now. And if she didn't find someone, she was going to be utterly, utterly alone. She didn't know the other Jedi well. She didn't even want to talk to Yoda. She didn't even have a house to go to. And she had no people to represent. She had nothing.

Anakin sighed. "Serra, I can't tell you what to do. I kinda lucked into Padmé, to be honest," he said, shifting uncomfortably. "However, I think you're stressing a bit too much. You don't have to find someone right away. And even if you do, you don't have to take things so fast. Just take your time in getting to know the person first. As far as communicating with someone, I don't know what to tell you," Anakin shrugged, thinking back. "When I first met Padmé after a long time apart, I tried to seduce her with bad poetry," he said sheepishly. Serra half-frowned, half-smirked knowingly. "When that didn't work and I got a second shot, I decided to just be honest with her. I told her how I felt and asked her if she had the same feelings for me. I didn't take any of the advice from the Jedi Masters I knew, because that advice would have been terrible, even if they had approved of me dating. You can't take people's advice like that, you have to go with your instinct," Anakin admitted sheepishly. It was pretty basic advice, and pretty straightforward as far as words of wisdom went, but that was all he had. He cringed, thinking of the early days when his attempts to woo Padmé had been fraught with embarrassing lines, and plenty of blushing afterward, upon reflecting on how embarrassing those lines were. But, he reasoned securely, he had gotten Padmé in the end, so maybe there were some good points behind what he was saying.

"There is someone out there for you Serra, and when he finds you, you'll know what to do," Anakin smiled reassuringly. "But you have to open yourself to people. All you have to do is just let people get to know you, wherever you are. People aren't going to hurt you, if you choose well. And if they do, it'll probably be accidental. That's why you have to cut them some slack. But you have good instincts. I trust that you'll be able to know when someone's right for you, and when they're not right for you at all, and they're just using you. There is someone out there for you, Serra. You're too good of a person for there not to be, Serra Keto. You care about people more than you think, and I think that you can be very happy with yourself, if you just give yourself the chance," Anakin said earnestly. He genuinely believed that. She had given him a chance after all at the Temple, when she could have told him to go to hell. She needed some work, and she was a little rough around the edges, but he was confident that she could learn to communicate with someone in a personal manner, and have a gratifying relationship with some lucky person.

Serra smiled sardonically. "Just be honest, huh? That's all it takes?" she asked skeptically.

Anakin shrugged. "It's worked for me," he said. There wasn't much more he could offer her. His eyebrows knitted together. "Serra, what are your interests? What keeps you captivated and makes you want to enjoy life? You can talk to him about it, and see if he responds in kind. Find some method of common ground between the two of you, some way of bonding you together. The more you have in common, the easier it'll be to talk to each other. And you have to put yourself out there. The better people get to know you, the more they will be able to have a relationship with you," Anakin said sagely. The advice he had to give had reached its end. He had nothing else to give to her. And it was practical advice, from his point of view; he wasn't giving her something trite or useless, it was something she could actually put into practice. Then again, considering he had only dated Padmé, he wasn't sure how effective it was actually going to be, he thought ruefully.

Serra thought about it. "I like podracing," she said, after a while. She smiled at that.

Anakin was nonplussed. "You like podracing?" he asked, sounding incredulous. He couldn't keep the disbelief out of his voice.

Serra glared at him. "It's one of my favorite things, and yes girls can like podracing too. This isn't a primitive society," she snapped viciously. She'd gotten enough of that load of crap over her lifetime.

Anakin backed off. "Whoa, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Just unexpected, is all," he said, holding up his hands in surrender. It was just an observation. He didn't expect that reaction!

She shrugged. "Yeah, well…" Serra moved her hands around helplessly, gesturing at her general point. She couldn't explain it, but her general point was clear.

He calmed quickly. "Huh. I didn't know that about you," Anakin said, smiling contemplatively. It was amazing what he could learn about his closest allies, even after all these years.

"Yeah, well, I never told you. It's not something I go around broadcasting to everyone," she said uncomfortably. She didn't like having to defend herself. She thought about it pensively. "Maybe after this is all over, we can take part in a race together," she said, offering him a slight reprieve.

Anakin looked at her incredulously. "You, challenge me in a race? Serra, I was the champion of the Boonta Eve Classic," he said proudly, boasting about his past exploits. He wasn't prideful about too many things nowadays, but this was one in which he had to be. "I think you're at a disadvantage," he said.

Serra scoffed at his bravado. "Skywalker, you may have been the champion back on your home world, but you haven't raced a pod in ten years. I'll destroy you in a race," she said confidently. Serra smiled viciously, showing that she was serious about her victory. Anakin smirked at her. "Bring it on!" he said confidently.


They held the glare for a moment. Serra smiled eventually, and Anakin did the same, and the tension disappeared.

Anakin smiled. "I'm going to miss you," he said.

Serra looked down shyly. "I'm going to miss you, too," she said, blushing a bit.

They finished putting her stuff away. They stared respectfully at each other, and there was a moment where something passed between them. Anakin didn't know when he'd see this woman again, yet he felt confident nonetheless. He was going back to a life with Padmé, and she was realizing the first steps towards a life of her own, or at least preparing for one, if she could find someone worthy. They were on good paths, if only they could survive the carnage that the Empire was going to throw at them over the next few months. It wasn't all doom and gloom, like he had thought in the beginning. Strangely enough, their talk had reassured him as well.

Anakin smiled at her with a reassuring glance. "I know it may seem difficult to meet someone in the Rebellion or wherever you end up, but you can do it. And I've found that you fight a lot harder in a war when you have someone to fight for at home," he said to her kindly. It was one of the unspoken truths of war, that you fought much harder when you had someone at home waiting for you, rather than just a cause on the battlefield. You didn't fight for causes, you fought for people.

Serra nodded in grateful acceptance. "Thank you, Anakin," she said, feeling humbled by that. He was only a year or two older than her, but he had taught her some great things. It truly meant a lot that he had faith in her, to live her life as adequately and fulfilled as any one individual outside the Order.

They held hands with each other, clasping them out in front with respect. This wasn't about two Jedi wishing each other success on their next mission. This was about two friends connecting with each other for the first time, wishing each other well now that their futures were looking rather uncertain after everything that had occurred.

"Take care of Padmé and those kids, Anakin," Serra said, in a voice deep with emotion.

Anakin looked back, completely serious. "I will," he nodded, deadly serious.

Suddenly, without warning Serra leaned up and kissed Anakin on the cheek. Serra immediately backed away, blushing a bit in self-conscious realization. She didn't know why she did that. All she knew is that she suddenly felt closer to this man than she ever had before, and she suddenly had the urge to do something that was completely against her nature. Anakin wore a flabbergasted expression, like he couldn't believe what she had done. He had his hand pressed to his cheek on the left, and Serra knew that he was giving her a look of sheer disbelief as he stared at her from behind. Again, she didn't know why she had done that. She wasn't one to normally show her emotions like that, and it went completely against her nature. Nonetheless, she couldn't bring herself to care. Serra smiled a little smile in delight; she kinda liked that. Still, it was an odd mood. They were both embarrassed, and seeing as how they went with what was considered the universal option for dealing with such awkward situations, they chose to ignore it. Moments later, they bid each other farewell.

AN: I'm normally not a fan of sticking the female hero with a love interest, if she doesn't need it. However, in Serra's case I think it's different. I think Serra is realizing just how empty her life has been until now. This is a woman who, in her first appearance in the comics, was willing to throw her life away by sacrificing herself even though Anakin suggested a perfectly reasonable alternative. She's playing catch-up now, because everything else has literally been taken away from her, and she has no choice but to start a new life, and she's coming across as rather desperate. However, she really doesn't know how to relate to 'normal' people outside the Order. Anakin advises her in favor of romance, because he thinks that is what'll serve her best. I think Anakin is very family oriented. This is a man who never had a family for a large portion of his life, being only with Shmi on Tatooine, and then being with Obi-Wan after having been taken from her, who was rather distant. Because of this, I think he places a very high emphasis on having a family, and wanting the same for others. It's not that I think people can't fight for causes. It's that I think most of the time, it's tough to fight for a cause when you don't know anyone who'll benefit from it. When you win a civil rights victory, you fight for people you know and those you support. When you're in a war, you fight to protect the people you have back home. And when you devote yourself wholeheartedly to a cause like charity, you're usually fighting for someone (or something) that you know is important. I think there are a couple Jedi who could fight for a cause, without particularly caring about anyone. Obi-Wan was probably like that, before he went insane in this story, and Mace was like that, and so was Yoda. But generally speaking, I think people need something *concrete* to fight for. Something you can touch and hold dear, not just vague ideals and beliefs. I think Anakin is hoping that in finding someone who brings her as much happiness as Padme does to him, it will lead Serra to fight even harder against the Empire, and give her a powerful new found strength that she didn't have before, now that she has something to lose. That's his hope, anyway. Normally, friendship would suffice to motivate someone appropriately. But seeing as how most of the Jedi have been wiped out, there aren't going to be too many opportunities for friendship for Serra in the near future. And most of the people who are left; Aayla, Shaak Ti, Yoda, etc., are her superiors. Love, however, is something that could come her way. (And will, thanks to me. ;))

Anyway, that's my take on Serra's reasoning here, and why Anakin gives her the advice that he does. For anyone who was wondering, my reasons for setting up this scenario, and why Anakin advises her the way he does, and so forth, that's why. Serra has nothing left at this point. She needs something to fight for besides the darned Jedi Code, and Anakin. Anakin is hoping that by her finding someone to be in her life, it'll give her that. Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoyed it. I promise, this will be the last long author's note I leave in the end of the chapters. ;-)

- PH316