Title: Remember Me This Way
Author: VAParky
Genre: Challenge Response, angst
Characters: Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker
Timeline: ROTS
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars - I just like it a lot!
Summary: As her own life drains away, Padmé remembers Anakin's final promise.
Author's Note: A short vignette, written in response to a challenge. Hope you enjoy!

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The night I told Anakin about the baby was the night our lives changed forever.

He held me even tighter than usual, his arms still trembling from our passionate reunion. His eyes seemed peaceful, his tawny hair curled in damp tendrils around his face. I had never seen him happier.

"You're going to be a wonderful mother, Padmé," he whispered, kissing the tip of my nose.

"But what should we-" I began.

He placed a finger over my lips. "No worrying allowed. Tonight, we're celebrating."

I nodded and tucked my head under his chin, noting how perfectly we still fit together. "I suppose you're going to teach our child all sorts of Force tricks. He will probably be levitating his bottle before he's six months old."

He chuckled softly. "She will certainly be a handful."

"You really think it's a girl?"

"Just call it my 'fatherly' intuition," he teased, lovingly mocking my earlier comment. He yawned and for a split second, I could see how exhausted he was. Months on the battlefield had taken their toll on my husband. I felt a pang of sadness and snuggled closer.

"You should get some rest," he noted. "You're going to need it. The baby really starts to grow during this trimester."

I peered up at him in surprise. "How did you know that?"

He blushed and the result was so heartwarming, I couldn't resist covering his neck with kisses. "I did some reading on it before I came to bed. You had a medical flimsiplast on your desk-"

The rest of his words were cut off when I pressed my lips to his, love coursing through every fiber of my being. When we finally pulled apart, both our chests were heaving.

"Well, that's certainly not going to help us get any sleep," he groaned.

My eyes sparkling with mischief, I rolled him onto his back. For a long moment, we simply stared at each other, absorbing the sensation of being together again. I knew it would have to sustain me through his next mission - and perhaps the one after that...

Or maybe even forever?

"Remember me this way," I blurted.

"What do you mean?" He leaned up to kiss me but I ducked away. Somehow, it was incredibly important that he made such a promise.

"No matter what happens, promise that you'll hold onto this memory; that you'll know that we will always find our way back to each other. It may take longer than we would like but if we can just hold on..."

I watched his mouth tighten. He always hated it when I talked like that but there was something about this day... something that said we were poised at the edge of a great precipice and had no choice but to jump. And I needed to know that he would be all right whenever - or wherever - we finally landed.

But he remained stubbornly silent.

"Come on, Ani," I pouted. He could never withstand the sad expression for long but I didn't take any chances. "You wouldn't deny the woman carrying your child, would you?"

As I predicted, he melted and shook his head at my underhanded tactics. "You should be ashamed of yourself, Senator Amidala."

"Well, as long as it gets me what I want..." I playfully batted my eyelashes, stifling a gasp when he reversed our position.

"Remember me this way," I murmured again. I leaned up to feather kisses along his jaw. "Please."

He finally gave a curt nod. "I promise."

I glance at our children one last time as the sterile birthing chamber fades away. The Force surges around me and I fall into the unknown willingly.

Because I know that even within the depths of the darkness, Anakin will remember his promise.

And one day, he'll come back to me.

-FIN-