Prologue

I must be completely out of my mind.
I told Captain Typho to belay my request to prep the skiff for takeoff and confined myself to my apartment as the Republic crumbled to dust around me. I did not have the energy to change out of the utility suit I had planned to wear during my desperate dash across space to find my Ani, and for the thousandth time I asked myself the question - the one that haunted me since he had appeared on the veranda in the dark hours before dawn.
"Please, wait for me."
Wait? What for?
He had scared me, with what he said, and how he acted.
Like he was not…himself.

Then those blue eyes would change, and light up from the inside like they used to, and he began spewing those impossible promises that I find so endearing.
"Things will be different, I promise."
Everything is different.
I watched a man – someone who I thought was a good man – declare himself the sovereign of the democracy I had spent most of my adult life serving, and my fellow Senators had applauded.
Applauded the birth of an Empire.
I made me nauseous – more so than the morning sickness that had plagued me in the early months of my pregnancy. When I lived in fear that my husband was dead, somewhere in the farthest corners of the galaxy, fighting a war that was a mistake – and which now I believed to be an orchestrated event, upon hearing Obi-Wan's revelation.
"Palpatine is the Sith Lord we've been looking for."
But you had worse news for me, didn't you, Obi-Wan?

I sit on the edge of our bed, hunched over, rocking back and forth, arms wrapped around my body as I struggled to block it out, to make some sense of it all.
"Padmé…Anakin has turned to the dark side."
I still see him – my brave, strong, handsome Jedi protector – with that strange expression in his sky-colored eyes, murmuring words of assurance before he left on his "mission".
The mission he said would end the war.
Wars always end in death.
I feel my body shivering, and my teeth chatter, so I curl up on the bed, grabbing one of his old cloaks. The coarse fabric wraps me in his scent, and for a moment, I am calm.
There is a fluttering of movement under my ribs.
"Anakin is the father, isn't he?"
But you are still looking for him. Prepared to kill him for his crimes.

If I weren't in this situation, maybe none of this would be happening. Ani would not have had that stupid dream…I don't really mean it, though.
But even Ani doesn't know how complicated things have truly become.
I could not bear to tell him, to fire another laser blast that would surely knock him off of his feet – and his fragile grip on sanity.
I am carrying twins.
Two tiny lives sheltered inside me, sharing our genes – children of a forbidden passion, but they will be loved – that is one promise I fully intend to keep. But their father…
He is not ready.
And I realize I don't know what to do. That's why I decided to stay here.
He told me to wait.
And for once, I am listening.
What will that mean for me, for him, and the beginnings of our family in a universe turned upside down and plunged into darkness?
I don't know.
I don't know.