Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
AN: Here's chapter 55! Thanks for all the wonderful reviews!
Chapter 55: Peace At Last
Serra looked up to see who was entering her isolation cell and saw that it was her former Master, Cin Drallig. She bowed her head and looked down. She'd been here for the last month with Masters and Healers filing in and out, trying to help her heal. She'd even received a couple visits from Anakin, but had not seen him in a week.
"Good morning, Master," Serra greeted softly.
"How are you this morning, Serra?" Cin asked gently.
"I...I don't even know how to answer that question anymore. I'm just...here," she answered. Cin placed his hand on his former padawan's shoulder.
"You probably haven't heard, but Chancellor Organa has declared that the war is officially over. The Separatists leaders were captured and imprisoned yesterday,"
"That's wonderful," Serra replied, though her tone had no emotion behind it.
"I...I haven't seen Anakin in a few days," Serra said. Cin sighed.
"He's on holiday with his family. But Serra, you can't keep..." Cin was cut off by the young woman.
"I know Master, I know. I can't keep dwelling on him. I'm no longer a part of his life...and I was lucky he even came to see me at all," Serra bit back, as she wiped a couple tears away.
"Things will get better, Serra...I promise," Cin said. But Serra didn't believe him. Even if she was finally let out of isolation, everyone would watch her every move and everyone would be wary of her. Add to that, she knew she would never get over Anakin completely. There was just something about him...and he had left an imprint on her soul that she would carry with her for the rest of her life. She had already decided that if she was released, she would ask to be assigned away from Coruscant...permanently. She wouldn't be able to watch Anakin be with someone else anymore, even though she knew and accepted that he was with the woman that was meant for him. Somehow, that still didn't make letting him go any easier. She would never be the same...but she would try never to stray from the light again...
Pure bliss. That was the state that Padme had been living in for the last two weeks since their entire family had arrived in the Lake Country for a much needed holiday together. They'd spent these precious days together as a family, resting and renewing their spirits after ending what had been a trying period for them all. But today, Anakin and Padme were all alone on a boat, in the middle of the Nabooan ocean. They both had some very important business to attend to in Theed, so they had decided to take the long way around with a leisurely trip on the water. Luke and Leia's grandparents were only too happy to take their precious little ones for the day. The sun bathed her creamy skin in its glow and the light, airy material of the sheer swim cover she wore blew in the breeze. Her hair was still shoulder length, but she had let her natural curl flow. She wore the white bikini her husband loved so much while she still could, for she was only eight weeks along and had yet to start showing. She looked back at him, as he stood at the boats controls, with a sly smile. He was steering the boat, shirtless too, much to her liking. He smiled, gazing at her beautiful form. Her eyes beckoned him and he put the boat on autopilot, before his gaze roamed over her body, as she struck a sexy pose, laying on her side. She sat up, as he knelt beside her. She shivered in delight, as he kissed her knee and stroked her creamy thigh. Her fingers were lost in his golden locks, as he placed sensual kisses up her thigh. She shuddered, as his tongue teased her navel and he placed soft kisses all over her belly, before working his way up again. He heard her giggle, as he kissed the space between her breasts that was not covered by her swim top. He kissed his way over her chest, before making his way up to her collarbone and her neck, nibbling softly at the sweet column of flesh. He finally reached her lips and devoured them with his own, as he lifted her off the bench and laid her down on the blanket they had spread out on the deck. He resumed his intense exploration of her mouth and she further tangled his fingers in his hair. He rolled onto his side and pulled her against him, as he continued to plunder her mouth. They broke the kiss and stared into each other's eyes.
"Are you ready for what we have to do?" he asked. She nodded.
"More than ready. This is something I've been trying to do since I was Queen. Now that Palpatine and Danae are no longer able to block my efforts, I can finally see that the mountain villages receive the same freedoms as everyone else on Naboo," Padme replied.
"Are you ready to face your father?" he asked.
"He's committed terrible crimes against humanity and we have proof that he actually sold me like a piece of land. Who knows how many other girls he's sold in the villages? Slavery is illegal on Naboo, but I have never had the proof that it was actually happening until Zia dug up those documents. After all he's done, I can't acknowledge him as my father any longer. He can't hurt me anymore and I am no longer afraid of him," she professed.
"I'll be right there with you too...always," he replied, as he kissed her forehead.
"I love you, Ani...so much. I still cannot believe that we somehow made it through everything we have," Padme said.
"It's because we never lost faith that love would be enough to save us...not ever for a second. We put all our faith and trust in love and it did not let us down...even in the darkest hours when evil surrounded us," he said. Padme gazed lovingly at him and caressed his cheek.
"If you think about it, it is pretty amazing when you look back on all we've been through, good and bad," he said.
"We made it and what a ride it was," she replied, as memories flooded their joined hearts and minds through their bond, as they gazed into one another's eyes.
She looked up at him and she took his breath away. She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. When he finally found the ability to breathe again, he spoke.
"Are you all right?" he asked. She stared into his blue eyes, swearing that she had never seen such a beautiful pair before. Her Jedi savior had to be the most gorgeous man she'd ever laid eyes on.
"I'm...I'm fine, thanks to you," she answered, finally finding her voice. She stood up on her own feet, but was still shaky from her terrifying encounter and stumbled. But Anakin caught her and held her up in his arms. Neither could ignore the electricity between them and they stared into each other's eyes for the longest time.
"Thank you. You saved my life," Padme finally spoke. Anakin smiled.
"It's kind of what Jedi do. I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time," he replied.
Her long curls spilled down from the silver head clasp and down her back.
"Are you an angel?" Anakin asked, before he could stop himself. Padme looked down and blushed.
"I don't know about that," she replied shyly.
"Are you sure? Because you look like one," he replied.
"You're sweet, no one's ever said something so sweet to me before. And they certainly never called me an angel," she replied, with a shy smile.
"Well, they're blind then. You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen and I'm honored to be escorting you tonight, milady," Anakin said, as he kissed her hand. She blushed again.
"Padme, where are you going?" Anakin called, as he ran to catch up.
"I'm not going to sit here on Coruscant while my people are dying, Anakin. I'm leaving for Naboo," she replied. He gripped her hand and stepped into stride with her.
"You're not going alone," he replied. She stopped and turned to him.
"I can't let you go too. You'd be a lot of trouble with the Council," she replied.
"I'm not letting you go alone. Besides, you're worth any trouble I may get into," he replied, with a smirk. She blushed.
"You'd really do this for me?" Padme asked. He smiled and caressed her cheek.
"I'd do anything for you. And I care about you too much to let you go alone, it's too dangerous," he replied. She flung her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately.
Anakin smiled, as he watched her sleep. They had been in hyperspace for a few hours now and she had fallen asleep against him. He was captivated by her, as she lay sleeping in his arms. These feelings he was having were new and different to him. He felt the need to protect her from all harm and to love her with his whole being. If this is what love felt like, then he wanted to feel it forever. He brushed the curls away from her face, staring at her beautiful, peaceful face.
"I think I'm in love with you. I just hope that I can get the courage to tell you when you're awake," he said, as he leaned down and kissed her hair. She truly had to be an angel. Carefully, he got up and laid her down, covering her with his cloak. He went to the cockpit to check on their course, but not before giving her a light kiss on the lips.
"Padme...there's something I want to tell you," Anakin said.
"Is it what you were going to tell me on the ship?" she asked.
"Yeah. I've never met anyone like you Padme. I know we haven't known each other very long, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was meant to meet you. Padme, I think...no...no I know," he stuttered. He took her hands in his and then began again.
"Padme...I'm in love with you. I love you," he told her, relief washing over him. She smiled at him and threw her arms around him. After hugging him tightly, she pulled back and kissed him hard.
"Oh Anakin, I've never met anyone like you either. I never thought I would meet someone as wonderful as you. I love you too," she confessed.
"You...you do?" he asked. She nodded, as she held his face in her hands. It was then that she noticed that his braid was missing.
"Anakin, where's your braid?" she asked. He smiled brightly at her.
"The Council Knighted me, Padme," he replied. She gasped and threw her arms around him again.
"Oh, I'm so proud of you," she hugged him. He picked her up and spun her around, before crushing his lips against hers.
She smiled, as she placed the medal around his neck, but did not step back from him. He smiled and took this as an indication of what she wanted. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her passionately. It thrilled him to no end that he was kissing her for everyone to see, letting them know that they belonged only to each other.
"I love you, my handsome Jedi hero," Padme said, love shining in her eyes.
"I love you too, my beautiful angel," Anakin replied, as he picked her up and spun her around. She squealed, but was soon silenced by his kiss again.
Why do you say that?" she asked. Anakin looked at her incredulously.
"How could he not be? You've done so much for your people. You're good and honest. The Senate needs more people like you," Anakin said seriously. Padme smiled and took his hand.
"You always know what to say to make me feel good. But you don't know my father. He's a bit of an isolationist and would rather I forget about the problems of others, " she said.
"I only say what's the truth and because I love you. I feel like the luckiest man in the galaxy, because you love me in return," he replied sincerely.
"I do love you, more than anything," she said softly, tears pricking her eyes.
"You listen here, young lady, your father is only trying to provide a safe, happy life for you. But you choose to live that dangerous life on the capital world," Jobal scolded.
"I will not let you and daddy force me into what would be a loveless, abusive marriage. I love Anakin and he loves me," Padme replied.
"You may be the Senator of Naboo, but you are still my daughter and I'll not have you embarrassing this family anymore by running around with some Jedi," Ruwee spat.
"I'm so glad that my feelings take a backseat to your pride daddy," Padme shot back.
Suddenly, she felt something incredible assaulting her senses. It was the same tingling feeling that she'd had earlier when she was learning to open herself to the Force. She obeyed its beckon and opened her mind to Anakin again. Their eyes locked, as their minds and hearts joined.
You're the one that's amazing. Did you notice how many girls from the temple were glaring at me when you arrived at the Senate this afternoon?" she asked, with a teasing smile. He drew her lips into a passionate kiss, as one hand tangled in her hair and the other cupped and fondled her left breast.
"No...all I could see was you. All the others pale in comparison to you. There is no one else for me. They can be jealous all they want, but never fear that I would ever want another . You're in my very soul and I belong to you," he said, as his intense gazed pierced through her. She shivered, as his hands traveled possessively over her body, igniting her desire.
"Let her go!" Anakin called fiercely. Two of the men shot at him with their blasters, but Anakin blocked the shots and killed each with a single saber strike. As he was busy with two more, Garret aimed the dart gun at Anakin's neck. Padme tried to scream to warm him, but her mouth was still covered. Thinking quickly, she bit the burly man's hand and he cried out in pain.
"Arrrgggh...little bitch!" he screamed, as he dropped her.
"Anakin...watch out!" Padme cried. The man she'd bit slapped her face hard. She yelped in pain, as she crumpled to the ground.
"Padme!" Anakin cried, livid that the man had laid a hand on her in such a manner. Suddenly, Anakin felt a sharp pain in his neck. He reached up and pulled out a peculiar looking dart. His vision swam and blackness invaded his senses. His saber fell from his hand and extinguished upon contact with the ground. He fell to the ground with a hard thud.
"Anakin!" Padme cried, as she tried to get to him. She yelped again, as she too felt a pain in her neck. She pulled the dart out, but the sleep agent was already working and she quickly fell unconscious.
"I've been drugged," Anakin replied, as he pointed to the puncture would on his arm.
"There's a drug that can cut you off from the Force?" she asked. Anakin nodded.
"Grandfather says that they can make a serum from the Ysalamir, which is a creature that can actually create a bubble that repels the Force," Anakin explained.
"Then whoever captured us knows you're a Jedi," Padme reasoned.
"Probably, but I have no idea who this person could be or why they would want either of us," Anakin replied, as he looked into her frightened brown eyes. He caressed her cheek.
"It'll be all right Padme. I'll find out what's going on and I'll get us out of this," Anakin promised, as he kissed her lips. Padme wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her body close to his, as he moved his lips passionately over hers.
Garret held his hand out and one of his men handed him what Anakin recognized to be an electro whip. Padme had been whispering comforting words to him through their bond until now, but he didn't want her to feel this at all.
"Close your mind to me Padme," he told her, still not exactly sure how they could even communicate since he was cut off from the Force.
"I won't," she refused.
"Padme please," Anakin pleaded, but was cut off by a painful scream, as Garret lashed his back. A shock of electricity surged painfully through his body. The spot where he'd been lashed left a painful, burning mark.
"Angel...please, you shouldn't have to..." he was cut off by another intense wave of pain, as the whip lashed him again.
"Your pain is my pain. I'm here Ani and I love you...so much," she whispered to him.
"Angel..." Anakin cried to her, as a third lash was spent on his back.
"I'm here my love," she replied soothingly. Garret spent two more lashes, before he finally stopped.
"Ani...what if you're not feeling the Force through me necessary, but maybe because of me," Padme replied.
"What are you getting at?" he asked.
"I'm saying that if this drug is supposed to cut you off from the Force completely, then in reality, it should have cut me off too, because I feel the Force through you. I've heard your grandfather say what a strong Force presence you have. What if the drug isn't strong enough to suppress you fully? It would only be a matter of time before you became immune to it," Padme said. Anakin looked at her in amazement.
"You're brilliant," Anakin said, his eyes wide with hope. Before she could react, he crushed his lips against hers in a searing, passionate kiss.
"You picked the wrong Jedi to mess with," Anakin said, as he Force pushed Garret against the wall. He landed with a hard thud, dazing him. Garret's men began firing at them. Anakin shielded Padme, as he began blocking each and every blast. While he was blocking, Padme was firing at them, shooting several down. Anakin sensed more of Garret's crew coming to the bridge. He raised two fingers and motioned the door shut.
"Blast the lock Padme," he called. She aimed and did as he asked, locking them out.
"Stop them!" Garret cried to his men. Suddenly, a burly man grabbed Padme from behind and put his large arm around her neck, yanking the blaster from her hand.
"Drop the light saber kid or I'll snap her pretty little neck," the man growled. Anakin extinguished his saber and the man laughed evilly. Before he knew what was happening, Anakin had used the Force to pull a blaster from one of the dead men on the floor. A blaster bolt grazed by Padme's head, landing point blank in the center of the man's forehead. The man fell dead, leaving a stunned Padme. She had known Anakin was fast, but he still amazed her with his abilities at times. He wrapped his around her stiffened body and pulled her close.
"Angel...next time, duck," he told her, before planting a quick kiss on her lips.
Padme suppressed a yawn, as she cuddled close to Anakin's side.
"Tired?" he asked playfully.
"It's your fault," she replied playfully. He chuckled.
"You weren't complaining last night. In fact, you couldn't get enough of me, star nymph," he whispered to her, as he blew in her ear. She gasped in surprise.
"You're terrible," she scolded, as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"What am I going to do with you?" she asked.
"Love me forever," he replied. She smiled softly.
"That can definitely be arranged," she replied, as he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers, moving them over hers passionately.
"Padme, from the moment I laid eyes on you, I've been in love with you. You changed my life in an instant that night, because I haven't been the same since. You claimed my heart as your own and as each day passes, I fall deeper and deeper in love with you. I want to spend the rest of my life by your side, for I know that I could never live without you," Anakin paused to pull out a small case and opened it slowly. Padme gasped at the sight of the beautiful ring.
"Padme, my beautiful angel, will you marry me?" he asked, his eyes shining with love. A few tears splashed down her cheeks.
"You're everything to me Ani and nothing would make me happier than marrying you," Padme said, as she brushed her tears away. Anakin stood up and slowly took her hand, before guiding the ring onto her ring finger.
"I take it that's a yes," he said.
"Yes...definitely yes," she replied.
"Senator, you have a visitor," Dorme said, as Sola stepped in behind her with the children.
"Sola?" Padme said, as she rose and sprinted over to her sister. Padme hugged her tightly.
"I finally decided to take your advice...and I left. Mom and dad think we're at the market. I'm scared Padme. What if they realize what I've done and come after me before we leave?" Sola asked.
"They won't Sola and even if they did, Anakin and I wouldn't let them take you back," Padme promised.
"I couldn't pack any of our things since it would make them suspicious," Sola said.
"Don't worry about that Sola, I'll take care of everything. Anakin is getting the ship ready, so we'll be leaving very soon," Padme said, as she hugged her and the girls.
"Everything's going to be okay now, I promise," Padme said.
"You mean you can talk to him with your mind?" Sola asked, her eyes wide in amazement. Padme smiled.
"And my heart. He always knows immediately when I'm hurting and he'll be making me talk about it tonight," she replied, with a smile.
"What happened after that?" Sola asked.
"The next night, he came over and I told him that what we'd done was a mistake. I told him that I didn't love him and that I couldn't be with him," Padme said.
"What did he do?" Sola asked. Padme pushed the memories away, as flashes of that terrible night haunted her.
"He got very angry and shoved me to the floor," Padme said.
"He raped you," Sola stated.
"Yes. Then the next night, I broke it off with him and told him I never wanted to see him again. The only reason he didn't attack me then, was because I informed Captain Typho of his violent nature. I never told him that he'd actually raped me, but only that he was a security threat. Captain Typho escorted him out that night and he was never allowed to come near my building after that. That's when he went home and told mom and dad all the terrible things that I had done to him," Padme said in disgust.
"You can't blame yourself anymore Padme. It's not your fault," Anakin assured her.
"The next night, I told him I didn't love him and couldn't be with him anymore. That's when he called me a...whore and shoved me to the floor. He...he raped me, as I was face down on the floor...from behind. I kept screaming...because it hurt so bad," Padme sobbed against his chest.
"I'm so sorry angel. I'll never hurt you, I promise," Anakin told her. She sniffed.
"I know you won't. The next night I took control. I told him it was over and he'd never hurt me again. Then Captain Typho escorted him out," Padme said.
"Angel...are you okay?" he asked through their bond.
"No...but I have to be for now," she replied.
"I'm right here...I'm not going anywhere," he promised. She nodded and smiled briefly at him, as they stepped onto her platform. Palpatine's face showed complete shock, as she came into view. The body quieted, as Senator Amidala spoke.
"My noble colleagues, I concur with the consensus that, at all costs, we do not want a war!" Padme announced.
"It is with great surprise and joy that the chair recognizes the Senator from Naboo, Padme Amidala," Palpatine announced.
"Less than an hour ago, an assassination attempt was made upon my life. One of my bodyguards and six others were ruthlessly and senselessly murdered. I was the target. I have led the opposition to building an army, but there is someone who will stop at nothing to assure its passage," Amidala announced.
Anyway, I'd read as often as I could and soaked up every word. She sent all kinds of literature and all different genres. I remember a particular fairy tale about a beautiful girl who was being forced to marry a man she didn't love and said man was the most horrible excuse for a human being, better than Palo though, mind you. But then the girl met a handsome stranger when he saved her life. They fell deeply in love and met each other in secret as often as they could. But one day, they were discovered by her family and forced apart. They forbid her from ever seeing her love again and the girl was heartbroken. The next day, her parents were forcing her to marry the man they'd chosen for her. But at the very last minute, the man she truly loved rode in on his swoop bike. He swept her into his arms and they rode off together to live happily ever after. I used to dream that I'd meet a handsome stranger and that he'd save me from marrying Palo...and my dream came true," she smiled at him. He smiled back and caressed her cheek.
"That's a great story. What made you think of it?" she frowned a little.
"Tomorrow will be exactly ten years since my grandmother died. Ani...I know that I'm surprised to keep a low profile. But if I promise to wear a hooded cloak, is there any way you could take me to the cemetery in Theed to visit her grave?" Padme asked. He smiled softly at her.
"I could never deny you that, angel. We'll go tomorrow afternoon," Anakin told her. She smiled and threw her arms around his neck.
"Thank you! I love you so much," she said. He chuckled.
"I love you too, star nymph," he said, as she placed kisses all over his face.
Padme waited patiently for Anakin to return. He startled her, as he came up behind her and swept her into his arms.
"How about a ride, beautiful angel?" he asked. Padme gasped, as she saw a swoop bike waiting for them, just like in her story that she'd told him yesterday.
"Oh Anakin," she said, as she melted in his arms and kissed him passionately. He swung his leg over the bike and sat down. He placed Padme across him and revved the engine.
"Hold on tight, angel," he told her. She tightened her arms around his neck and snuggled against his chest, as he sped off toward their destination.
"I won't let you taunt her or threaten her anymore! You have done nothing but hurt her and I swear I will never let it happen again! I know what you did to her!" Anakin said, as he dropped him to the floor and punched him in the jaw. Before Palo could fall to the floor, Anakin slammed him against the wall.
"I know you raped her! And I swear that if you EVER come near her again, I will kill you!" Anakin promised. Palo's eyes were wide with fear. Anakin let go of him and stepped back, still seething. Padme touched his arm and he calmed considerably, as he pulled her into his arms. Ruwee looked angrily at Anakin and Padme.
"So, she's told you that he raped her now?" Ruwee asked.
"Yes sir, that man that you keep defending raped your daughter twice when they were together," Anakin replied. Ruwee acted as if he didn't believe it.
"But of course, that slimy piece of filth has lied to you about it," Anakin replied. Ruwee was about to retort, when the Holocom began beeping.
"Who would be calling us here?" Padme wondered.
"It has to be dad," Anakin said, as he hurriedly accepted the transmission. His father and brother came into view.
"Dad, what's going on. Is everything okay?" Anakin asked.
"For the moment son. There have been many developments, but first I need you route this transmission to Coruscant," Qui-Gon said. Padme pressed a switch and got the Jedi Council online. She nodded to Anakin.
"Go ahead dad. The Council should be hearing you too," Anakin said. Qui-Gon nodded.
"We've tracked the Bounty hunter, Jango Fett to Geonosis. We believe we are near one of the Trade Federation droid factories. We believe Jango was hired by them to assassinate Senator Amidala. We also believe that there is a meeting of the culprits involved here," Qui-Gon said. Suddenly, they could see Obi-Wan ignite his saber and ward off blaster fire.
"Droids!" they heard Qui-Gon call. And suddenly...the transmission went blank.
"Dad!" Anakin cried. Master Windu came on the screen after that.
Anakin groaned in pain, as he started to come around. Anakin looked up at the man standing over them and slowly pulled Padme into his arms. She moaned and her eyes slowly fluttered open.
"Who are you?" Anakin asked.
"Oh, now that's a great story. Qui-Gon, why don't you tell him the story and I'll fill in the gaps," Xanatos said, as he reached down and yanked Padme to her feet.
"Let her go!" Anakin cried, as he prepared to lunged at the man, but was stopped by another pair of ray shields that surrounded him.
"Thank you Jango," Xanatos said, as he placed a pair of shackles around Padme's wrists and neck.
"Dad, who is he?" Anakin asked.
"He was my first apprentice," Qui-Gon revealed.
"But I thought Ben was your first apprentice?" Anakin asked.
"I am a mistake to him. He doesn't like to talk about me. Go on Master, tell him about all the bad things I've done," Xanatos taunted.
"Padme! Padme, are you all right?!" Anakin called, as he knelt down beside her in the sand. She whimpered, as she began to come around.
"Ani...what happened?" she asked.
"You fell from the transport. Are you hurt anywhere?" he asked.
"I...I don't think so. Just a little dazed," she replied, as he helped her sit up.
"Thank the Force. I was so worried," he said, as he kissed her hair.
"I'm fine," she replied, as he helped her to her feet and hugged her tightly. She hugged him back, but then her eyes widened and her entire body tensed, as she stared at the figure over Anakin's shoulder.
"Anakin," she said, nudging him to turn around. The figure dropped his cloak, revealing his horrifying tattooed visage and horned scalp.
"Stay back Padme," Anakin said, as he pushed her off to the side.
"The rings please," Jocasta requested. Obi-Wan and Sola each handed a gold-silver wedding band to both Anakin and Padme.
"Anakin, do you take Padme as your wife?" Jocasta Nu asked.
"I do," Anakin replied.
"Place the ring on her finger as a symbol of that love and commitment," Jocasta Nu said. Anakin did as she instructed.
"Padme, do you take Anakin as your husband?" she asked.
"I do," Padme answered.
"Place the ring on his finger as a symbol of that love and commitment," she said. Padme did as she instructed. Jocasta Nu smiled at them.
"By the powers vested in my by our Republic and the Jedi Council, I pronounce you, now and forever, husband and wife. You may kiss your bride," Jocasta Nu announced. Anakin carefully lifted her veil and their lips met eagerly in a tender, loving kiss.
Anakin kissed her passionately, as they shared their last private moments together. In just a few minutes, they would be leaving for the Temple and he would be leaving for the outer rim. Padme took her locket off and put it around his neck.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"I want you to take it with you," she replied.
"Padme, this is your grandmother's locket. I can't take this," he said.
"Yes you can, because now you have to come back to me so you can give it back," she replied. He caressed her cheek.
"I will come back to you angel...I promise. But I'll wear the locket to so I can look at your beautiful face everyday and then be here to place it around your neck again when I return," he told her. She smiled and kissed him softly.
"I guess...we should get going," she said sadly. He hugged her tightly and slowly led her to the room's exit...
"Ani...I have something wonderful to tell you," Padme said.
"What is it?" he asked. She smiled brightly and placed his hand on her swollen belly that was hidden by her Senatorial gown.
"Ani...I'm pregnant," she told him. Anakin's eyes widened and a smile formed on his face.
"Oh Padme...this is wonderful!" he exclaimed, as he picked her up and spun her around. She squealed lightly and he placed her on her feet again. Anakin placed his hand on her belly and Padme felt a thump in her womb. A look of child-like wonder washed over Anakin's face and Padme giggled.
"That's right little one...daddy's here," she said.
Anakin pressed his lips to hers in a hard, passionate kiss. They plundered each other's mouths and held tightly to one another.
"I love you so much," Padme said, as she cried freely.
"And I love you, my angel," he replied, as tears slipped down his own cheeks. She took off her locket and placed it around his neck.
"Come back to, my love," she sobbed.
"Always Padme...always. And one day, after we've ended this war, it will be forever," he promised. They hugged tightly again, before they were forced to leave each other's arms.
"I was afraid...you wouldn't make it," Padme said, as another contraction hit.
"Hey, you didn't think I'd really miss this, did you?" he asked, as another wave of pain racked her body. She felt relief though, as her husband took on some of her pain as his own.
"You...don't have to do that...my love," she said.
"Let me do what I can for you, my sweet angel," he said, as he kissed her forehead tenderly.
"I've missed you so much," he said, as he dabbed her forehead with a cool cloth.
"I think their early coming could be a good sign," he said.
"Why do...you say that?" she asked.
"Maybe that means they'll have your good punctuality and not my inability to get anywhere on time," he joked. She tried to laugh, but was racked by another contraction. It was less painful now though, since her husband was sharing it with her. Bant quietly watched the young couple, as she monitored Padme's vitals, as well as the twins'. They positively radiated love. She had never felt such powerful love and devotion between two people before. These two younglings were going to be very lucky little children.
"All right angel, you can do this," Anakin encouraged, as he placed his hands on her shoulders.
"Push Padme," Bant said urgently. Padme gasped for air, as she finished the first push.
"Your doing wonderful Padme. These little ones are in a big hurry to get here. The first head is crowning, so this will be a big push," Bant said. Anakin kissed her forehead and held her shoulders.
"Okay Padme...push!" Bant said. Padme whimpered painfully, as she pushed as hard as she could. Bant coached her to push harder and she did. An exhausted cry escaped her lips, as she fell back. A cry pierced the air, as Bant cradled their wiggling, crying daughter. Bant handed her to Barriss, who began cleaning her.
"Oh Padme, look at her. She's so beautiful," Anakin said in complete awe. Padme smiled up at him, love shining in her eyes, before she felt another pain.
"Well, her brother is not wasting any time either. It seems he's just as eager to meet his mommy and daddy as well," Ban said, as the other child's head crowned. Padme squeezed her husband's hand tightly and pushed as hard as she could.
"Come on Padme, push as hard as you can. You're almost done..." Ban coached. Padme pushed with all her strength and another cry pierced the air, as Bant cradled their son and went to clean him up.
"Padme, would you like to hold your daughter?" Barriss asked. Padme nodded and Barriss placed their little girl in her arms.
"Oh Ani...she's beautiful," Padme said.
"She's perfect, just like her mother," Anakin said, as he looked down at her in awe. Padme smiled up at him and gently wiped a tear away that had cascaded down his cheek. He smiled and pressed his lips softly to hers.
"Anakin, would you like to hold your son?" Bant asked. He nodded eagerly and accepted the tiny bundle in his arms.
"Oh, they're both perfect," Padme said, as she gazed at them both.
There was the sweetest humming he'd ever heard coming from her throat, as she immediately responded to his touch. She slowly opened her bleary eyes and focused on the handsome face of her beloved husband.
"Am I dreaming?" she asked, as she blinked several times. He chuckled.
"I promise I'm real, angel," he replied, as she sat up and threw her arms around his neck. He held her tightly, as he felt a few tears splash on his neck.
"I've missed you...so much," she sobbed.
"I've missed you too, my love," he replied, as he kissed her hair. She pulled back, so she could look at him and quickly began wiping her tears away. He stared at her, drinking every bit of her in.
"You are so beautiful," he said, in awe. She laughed.
"I'm a complete mess, Ani," she protested.
"You're always beautiful, Padme," he replied. She melted in his arms, as he captured her full, pouting lips in a passionate kiss. He smiled at her, as he carefully laid her down against her pillow. She pulled him down on top of her and into another searing kiss. Using the Force, Anakin pulled the blinds shut, darkening the room, as they let the roaring flames of passion consume them...
"Daddy! Daddy!" they chorused excitedly. He chuckled and lifted them both into his arms. He kissed their heads.
"Daddy missed you both so much," Anakin said, as they squirmed and babbled.
"Miss daddy," Leia said. Anakin felt his heart melt.
"Daddy missed you too, little angel," he said softly.
"Hungwy!" Luke whined. Anakin laughed.
"You're definitely mine, aren't you, little man," Anakin said, as he turned him sideways and blew on his tummy. Luke squealed and then Leia did too, as he her father did the same to her.
"Come on, let's get you guys some breakfast," Anakin said.
"Bewies!" Luke called.
"Yeah, I'm sure mama has cloud berries," Anakin answered.
"This place is very new to us. We've lost everything, but we are trying. And whether any of you like it or not, Padme is responsible for our losing everything. She was promised to Palo, who's father is regional governor of the mountain villages. Once she married you, we were shunned," Ruwee stated.
"So, you'd rather sell your daughter to an evil man for a piece of land, rather than let her be happy and just find some place else to live?" Anakin asked angrily.
"It is our way," Ruwee half growled.
"I don't care about your 'ways'. Padme is not a piece of property for you to sell to the highest bidder," Anakin yelled.
"You wouldn't understand our traditions. Besides, you obviously won, Jedi. She's married to you," Ruwee replied.
"Why were you really talking to Palo, Mr. Naberrie?" Anakin questioned.
"Are you accusing me of something?" Ruwee asked. Anakin smirked.
"I'm not convinced your visit here is completely friendly. Something doesn't add up and I'm going to find out what it is. And if I find out that Padme or my children are in danger because of something you've done, you won't have to worry about finding a place to live," Anakin threatened.
Padme resisted him and he slapped her angrily, before he began unbuckling his pants. He grabbed her hips and held them in place, as he prepared to rip her undergarments off.
"Stop fighting me, you little whore," he growled. Suddenly, there was a loud banging sound, as the door to her office flew off it's hinges and was flung against the wall. Palo looked up, only to see the murderous glare of Anakin Skywalker staring back at him. Palo felt himself be lifted into the air and hurled toward the Jedi, who caught him and slammed him against the wall.
"How dare you touch her!" Anakin screamed.
She clung to her husband and glared at the two Officers.
"You won't take him from me!" Padme yelled.
"I am sorry milady, but we have our orders," Scott replied.
"Your orders do not give you the jurisdiction needed her in the Temple," Qui-Gon said.
"Normally that would be true. But our orders come directly from the Chancellor, as Mr. Danae was a government employee. We are prepared to use force and call for back up if we have to," the other said, as he and his partner drew stun blasters.
"We suggest you come quietly, Knight Skywalker and that the rest of you do not get in our way," Jansen warned.
"No..." Padme sobbed. The twins sensed her distress and began to cry. Shmi and Elana picked them up and began trying to calm them. Anakin held Padme's face in his hands and lowered his lips to hers in a passionate kiss.
"We'll figure this out, angel," he assured her.
"He's right. We'll get to the bottom of this and find that evidence we need," Obi-Wan assured her. Sobs racked her petite figure.
"I need you...I need you. You can't go...they can't take you!" Padme cried, as they clung to each other.
"I'm sorry milady, but we must take him now," Jansen said, as they both took Anakin's arms and pulled him from her.
"No!" Padme screamed, before turning to her father.
"This is your fault!" Padme screamed at him.
"You're not taking my son for something he did not do!" Qui-Gon yelled, as he advanced on the Officers. One of them raised his blaster and shot Qui-Gon with the stun ray. He fell hard to the floor, unconscious.
"Dad!" Anakin and Obi-Wan cried.
"Qui-Gon!" Shmi screamed, as she knelt beside her husband. Padme tried to run to her husband and Jansen raised the blaster to her.
"No...don't!" Anakin pleaded. Instinctively, reacting on impulse from years of training, Anakin reached into the Force to attempt to pull the blaster from the Officer's hand. The cuffs around his wrists reacted to his action and a surge of electricity lashed through him violently. Anakin and Padme's screams rang out simultaneously, as they were stunned, him by the cuffs and her by the blaster.
"So, what do we do?" Anakin asked.
"Whatever we must, my son. Do you know how proud I am of you, Ani? I am immensely proud...we all are. You've always been so special and we all love you so much. You and your brother mean everything to me. This Sith Lord s trying to get rid of you by manipulating the justice system, but we will not stand for it...even if it means taking the most drastic measures," Qui-Gon said.
"So, the Sith Lord wants me take out, so he doesn't have to face me? Don't Sith Lords believe they're invincible or something?" Anakin questioned. Qui-Gon smirked.
"Some may be foolish enough to believe that. But this one is not. He is very arrogant, but simply may not want to take the chance that you could defeat him. He thinks he's powerful, but is not without fear of your power. He fears that you are strong enough to destroy him. All the more evidence that you are, indeed, the Chosen One," Qui-Gon replied. Anakin sighed and Qui-Gon placed a hand on Anakin's shoulder.
"I know this is a lot to take in, Ani. Believe me, I wish it was not necessary to burden you like this. But I am afraid that it is necessary with the direness of this situation. But you must remember that no matter what, you are my son and I love you," Qui-Gon said.
"I love you too, dad," Anakin replied, as his father embraced him in a hug.
"I'm going to take our luggage to the hanger and then I'll be back," Ruwee said, giving Jobal a stern look, before leaving.
"Mother?" Padme asked, as she touched the mark on Jobal's face.
"I told him this was wrong. That I didn't want to go back," Jobal sobbed.
"And he hit you for talking back," Padme concluded. Jobal nodded sadly.
"I am proud of you Padme. I never get to tell you that, but I am," Jobal said.
"Mother, stay here with Sola and I. He can't hurt you if you leave him," Padme said.
"I'm not strong like you and Sola," Jobal replied.
"You can be mother. If you stay with us, I promise he can't hurt you," Padme said.
"Padme's right, Mrs. Naberrie," Anakin assured her.
"You have four beautiful grandchildren that you'll never see again if you go back with him. If you go back, you'll be trapped for the rest of your life. Please mother...do not let him abuse you anymore," Padme pleaded.
"Oh Padme," Jobal sobbed, as she collapsed in her daughter's arms.
"It's okay mom...it'll be okay," Padme assured her. Jobal dried her tears and looked at her grandson's smiling face.
"Luke senses it. You're making the right decision," Anakin assured her.
He squeezed her hand, as the judge began reading.
"On the charge of murder in the first degree...the jury has found Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker-Jinn...guilty," the judge read. The courtroom erupted in gasps of disbelief, while Tarkin and Governor Danae smiled evilly.
"No...oh please no," Padme cried, as she clung to her husband.
"Because Skywalker is a Jedi, his sentencing will be swift. Chancellor Palpatine has ordered that I sentence him today. Knight Skywalker, you have been found guilty of first degree murder. This crime carries a death sentence. Your sentence will be carried out in 72 hours by lethal injection," the judge said, looking pale as a ghost as he said the words he'd been ordered to.
"No! You can't do this! My husband is innocent!" Padme screamed, as tears streamed down her cheeks.
"How much do ya think I'll get for her, huh?" he taunted. Anakin barred his white teeth in anger.
"I thought about turnin' her over to the authorities like they want, but I bet she'd fetch top dollar on the market," he goaded.
"You won't touch her," Anakin growled.
"The brothel owners'll take one look at her and ask me to name my price. Those pretty brats will fetch a good price too," he chuckled evilly. His last two comments would be the death of him. The bounty hunter did a double take, as he swore Anakin's sapphire eyes grew darker into almost a cobalt color.
"You'll never touch them," Anakin growled. The bounty hunter suddenly looked frightened, as the ground underneath his feet suddenly shook. Suddenly, his blade was plucked from his hand. Sheer terror covered his features, as he watched as an unseen force bent the blade almost in half, before it finally shattered into pieces. Padme watched in awe, as a white aura of power surrounded her husband. The aura of power suddenly extended to his weapon and the once sapphire blade blazed with a crackling, blinding white energy. The man cried out in terror, as Anakin slashed through him. The energy ignited the bounty hunter's body in flames of white fire. After a blinding flash, the light and smoke cleared, revealing just ashy remains of what had once been a man. Anakin's eyes widened and he dropped the saber in surprise. The blade disappeared, as it extinguished upon impact with the ground. Padme ran over to him, as he sunk to his knees in utter shock. She knelt down beside him and took him in her arms.
"Ani..are you all right?" she asked.
"I...I think so. What did I do?" he asked.
"You saved us...that's what you did," she assured him.
"And he did. He swept her off her feet and married the princess. And they lived happily ever after...with their two beautiful children they conceived together in love..." Padme finished softly, as she kissed her sleeping daughter's forehead. Quietly, she put her little angel back to bed next to her little prince and not without a kiss to his head as well. She quietly slipped back into her bedroom and slipped her robe off, before climbing back into bed next to her husband.
"Padme?" Anakin asked sleepily.
"It's okay Ani...I just put Leia down again. I had to give her some pain medicine for her teething and some fever medicine," Padme explained. Anakin sat up part way.
"She has a fever? Is she okay?" he asked, going into protective father mode. She smiled at him, thrilled that her children had a father that loved and protected them.
"Not anymore. She's fine baby, go back to sleep," she replied. He accepted her answer and laid back down, but not before pulling her tightly into his arms. Padme snuggled against his chest and breathed in his wonderful scent that she loved so much.
"Good night, my Jedi prince," she whispered sleepily, as she fell asleep almost instantly against him. Anakin looked confused for a minute.
"Prince?" he mumbled. He shrugged his shoulders and eased back into sleep in the arms of his beloved wife.
His concentration was shattered when he spotted Senator Danae coming down the steps with his unconscious wife. He tried running after him, as he headed for the docks, but the Clone Troopers blocked his path with blaster fire, in which he blocked with his saber.
"Say goodbye, because you'll never see her again," Zeel taunted. Anakin clenched his teeth.
"That's what you think," Anakin said, as he parried another slash. Anakin knew it was dangerous to travel the seas with weather like this and that bastard had just put his angel on a boast and went straight into the storm. He had to go after her and now, before Danae ended up killing her with his stupidity. Anakin felt that mystical power coursing through his veins just like the day on Corellia. He was no longer leery of it, but rather embraced it until his whole body was tingling with the light side powers.
"What the..." Zeel uttered, as Anakin saber suddenly blazed white, nearly blinding him. Zeel jumped back in astonishment, as Anakin opened his eyes, revealing that his eyes had suddenly changed to a darker, but bright cobalt blue.
"What the hell are you?" Zeel asked.
"No one will take her from me," Anakin stated in a low voice, as he now seemed unaffected by the heavy rain pelting down on them. Zeel yelped in surprised, as his blade was pulled from his hand. He watched in absolute disbelief, as an unseen Force bent the blade into an arc. He could scarcely believe his eyes, as the blade was made of the strongest durasteel in the galaxy, hardened in the very volcanos of Malastare and therefore constructed to withstand the heat of a hundred light sabers. But this one young man was bending it like a brittle twig. It finally snapped and shattered into pieces. He watched in horror, as the blasters were plucked from the Clone Troopers hands and cried out in surprise, as each weapon was crushed and bent until it was completely useless. Zeel turned back to the young man and screamed in terror, as the young Jedi advanced on him. Anakin drove his blade, lit with the white flames of the Force, through the Bounty Hunter's chest.
As the Senator lunged at her, she whipped around and beamed him across the face with it. Blood spilled from his nose and mouth, as he screamed in agony. Padme drew the ore up and brought it down on him as hard as she could and he screamed in immense pain, as she cracked his skull open and broke the ore in half in the process. She ignored his pain filled groans and made her way to the controls in an attempt to turn the boat around. She yelped, as a blaster bolt hit the control panel and sparks flew everywhere. Senator Danae had pulled himself to his knees and had a blaster in his hand. Suddenly, thanks to his blunder, the engine died, leaving them dead in the water and adrift in the violent waters.
"If I'm going to die, then I'm taking you with me, you little bitch!" he screamed, as he pulled himself to his feet. He was bleeding profusely and truly intended to take her down with him. Padme grasped the rope that controlled the sail and swung the horizontal metal bar it was attached to around. She intended to knock him overboard, but when he turned, the metal beam, pushed by the force of the powerful winds, was thrust through his chest. The sounds was sickening, as it plunged through his heart and blood spattered from his mouth and chest. Padme yelped and turned away from the gruesome scene. Suddenly, she heard a faint voice calling her name. She looked up and spotted her husband, hanging from a cable attached to a speeder.
"Ani!" she cried in relief.
"I'm coming, angel," he called, as he began lowering himself, while Jac steadied the speeder.
"Come on angel...breathe..." he said, as he pumped her chest and breathed air into her mouth again. She coughed and her eyes fluttered open.
"Hey beautiful...I won't let you leave me that easily," he said, with a soft smile, as he cupped her cheek.
"I knew you'd come for me," she said, as she slowly sat up.
"I'd travel through the fires of Sith hell to get to you if I had to," he told her, his eyes smoldering with love for her. Padme wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Did he hurt you?" Anakin asked.
"He was foolish enough to touch me and I beat the living Sith out of him," she smirked. He smirked back.
"I would have loved to see that. The bastard is dead and he got what he deserved. Don't feel guilty for doing what you had to do," he told her.
"I don't and I'm glad he's dead," she replied. He took her hands and examined her bleeding wrists.
"Those cuts need bacta," he mentioned.
"I'm sure Neela has some. She's with the twins, right?" she asked. He smiled.
"She's taking good care of them, mommy," he replied. Padme held his face in her hands and drew his enticing lips to her own in a loving kiss, even as the rain still poured down on them. Anakin tilted his head, slanting his mouth over hers, deepening the kiss. Their lips moved over each other's passionately. They plundered each other's mouths with searing passion and insatiable love. Their minds joined, their hearts beat as one, and their souls melded. It was a bond so powerful that it would remain forever unbreakable...
"She broke into Tarkin's office in the middle of the night...and she found the real verdict. It seems that the jury originally found Anakin innocent. Tarkin admitted to being paid to switch the verdict and kill the jurors. Unfortunately, the Chancellor has still managed to keep his hands clean. Just as Tarkin was about to tell us what he knew about the Sith...he was killed right before our eyes. Master Yoda tried to sever the Force choke, but it was too late. However, once we showed the evidence to the Chancellor, he had no choice but to pardon you. Word of your pardon is spreading like wild fire," Dooku said, with a smile.
"That means we can come home, right?" Anakin asked. Dooku grinned.
"Yes Ani and we can't wait to see all of you," he replied. Padme hugged Anakin tightly.
"We're going home Ani! I told you everything would be okay," she said.
"Siri, we can't just leave you!" Anakin said.
"You have to!" Siri roared, as Xana's blade met her own.
"You are the only hope the Jedi have for survival against whatever the Sith have planned! The survival of the Republic and the Jedi depends on you...Chosen One," she said, as she grabbed an overhead bar and kicked her legs into Xana as hard as she could. Xana screamed, as she went through the cockpit window and rolled down the nose of the ship, landing hard on the hot sand.
"Go now Anakin!" she said, as she crawled through the busted window.
"Come with us, Siri!" Anakin called.
"That is not where my destiny lies," she said, as she stood on the nose of the ship.
"You were always the little brother I never had, Ani. You take care of him and those babies, Padme," Siri said.
"I will," Padme squeaked, as tears streamed down her cheeks.
"Siri, don't go!" Anakin pleaded.
"Go now Anakin! You're the galaxy's only hope! Do not let the Sith rise to power or billions will perish!" she said. The tears flowed down his cheeks, as he mourned her coming demise.
"Serra said something that bothered me. She said that her Master has had the means to take out the Jedi for some time now," Anakin said, pausing to let the implications sink in.
"We think she meant the Clone army. She implied that the Jedi have never really been in control," Padme said.
"But that's absurd. The only other person that has any kind of control over the Clones is Chancellor Palpatine," Obi-Wan said. Anakin and Padme looked at them, as that implication sank in.
"Sweet Force..." Qui-Gon exclaimed.
"The Force is telling me that Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious are one in the same," Anakin stated.
"Force...it has been him all along," Obi-Wan said in disbelief.
"We merely thought he was another puppet for the Sith to manipulate...but it is clear now that he is the puppet Master," Dooku said.
The young Jedi landed on his back and screamed in agony, as Palpatine's Force lightning seared through his entire body. And, as much as the other five Jedi present wanted to help him, they were fighting for their own lives against dozens of Clone Troopers that had been ordered to turn on them by Palpatine directly. Anakin writhed in pain, as the Sith monster tortured him viciously.
"Young fool...all that power and you waste it on love," he spat the word in disgust.
"She will soon join you in death, for my apprentice is very eager to sever her pretty head from her body. I'm sure Xana will see that she suffers," Palpatine goaded.
"Padme..." Anakin rasped. Palpatine sneered.
"Pitiful whelp...you cannot save her. You cannot even save yourself," Palpatine snarled. "Padme..." Anakin panted through the pain.
"Ani...Ani, I'm okay. I love you...I'm so deeply in love with you. You have to come back to me, for I cannot live without you..." Padme told him through their bond.
"Padme..." Anakin uttered, as his sapphire eyes darkened into a cobalt blue and brightened at the same time. The pure power of the Force illuminated them and they seared in Palpatine's own yellow eyes.
The ground beneath them began to shake and the duraplaster around them began to crack under the pressure. A shockwave of power erupted from Anakin, shattering every window around them and knocking Sidious on his back, ceasing his lightning attack. Sidious snarled and launched at him, crimson saber blazing to life once again.
"Anakin!" Obi-Wan called, as he tossed his own saber to him. Anakin caught it and two sapphire sabers blazed forth. Responding to his power, the sabers suddenly blazed white with the blinding power of the light of the Force. Palpatine's saber crashed against Anakin's and exploded into pieces upon contact with the frightening blades that were lit with white flames.
"This...cannot be possible!" Sidious screamed in rage, as he felt his dark powers being devoured by Skywalker's light.
"I have been chosen by the Force to ensure that your maniacal rule cannot continue," Anakin said calmly. Palpatine screamed in rage, as Force lightning erupted from his fingertips. It was in vain, however, as it did not affect Anakin at all.
"Your reign of terror is over...Sidious,"Anakin said, as he scissored his sabers through Palpatine's neck and torso. Sidious howled a blood curdling scream, as the white flames consumed his body. His scream ceased, as he was reduced to nothing but ashes. The room was deathly silent, as they took in what had just happened. After several minutes of silence, the people erupted in victorious cheers.
"I saw it, Ani. I saw you save us all," she said.
"But everyone should really be thanking you for my victory," he told her. He brows furrowed.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"The Force gave me the power I needed to defeat him, angel, but your love gave me the strength I needed to use that power," he told her. Padme melted in his arms, as he crushed his lips against hers in a hot, passionate kiss.
"Oh Anakin," she breathed, just before he crushed his lips against hers again.
"It's over, it's finally over," she almost cried in relief.
"It's over angel...it's over..." he promised, as he held her close.
"I'll love you forever, angel," he promised. She smiled.
"I know and I will love you forever too, because there's no doubt in my mind that we were destined to be..." Padme trailed off softly, as Anakin crushed his lips against hers. Their boat coasted slowly through the water, as passion consumed them...
Obi-Wan smiled, as he stepped out onto the beach in a pair of swim trunks. His three girls awaited him and he spotted his soon to be wife rubbing tanning oil on her arms. He made a mental note to go help her with that.
"Daddy!" Pooja called, as she ran to him. Obi-Wan held his arms out and plucked the child from the sand and into his arms. Pooja kissed his cleanly shaven cheek. Obi-Wan had grown very close to both his adopted daughters. While Ryoo was old enough to know he was only her step-father, that didn't erase the fact that he really was the only father they'd ever known. For Pooja, she didn't even remember Darred, being that she was only four. To her, Obi-Wan was her real daddy and she was every bit the daddy's little princess, even more so than Ryoo was. Last week, the adoption papers had been finalized and both girls now carried the last name Kenobi. And very soon, Sola would as well.
"Daddy, will you help me build a sand castle?" Pooja asked sweetly. Her caramel colored pig tails bounced and her chestnut eyes sparkled. Refusing a request from her adorable little face just wasn't possible. His little Poojy had him wrapped around her pinky.
"Well, that depends, my little one. I only build big castles for little princesses who give their daddy a big hug," Obi-Wan answered. Pooja grinned and wrapped her little arms around his neck.
"I love you daddy," Pooja said.
"I love you too, princess. Now, let's go build you the best sand castle this galaxy has ever seen," Obi-Wan said. Pooja cheered, as he put her up on his shoulders and chose a flat place of sand to begin. Sola watched the girls and her husband to be build their castle. Once it was finished, it really was as grand as he had promised. Ryoo had dug a mote around it and then filled it with ocean water. Obi-Wan watched the girls play around the castle with their dolls and sat down beside Sola.
"They love when you play with them," Sola said.
"Yes, well, I enjoy it as much as they do," he replied, as he guided her lips to his own in a sweet kiss.
Anakin and Padme cleaned up on the boat and arrived the harbor in mid afternoon. Padme met with the Queen briefly and then she and Anakin boarded a speeder. Following them in another speeder were two Republic Officers, as they headed for Padme's village...
The moment Anakin and Padme entered the village, they created a commotion. As they passed, the people stopped to stare. Their sights were set on the Governor's mansion at the top of the hill. Her father now resided behind those walls, profiling daily from the village's crops and the deals he struck between families by arranging marriages. Greed had consumed Ruwee Naberrie and it was clear that he was beyond help. In her hand, Padme carried the warrant for his arrest. He would be tried by parliament and sentenced to prison. A young, battered servant girl answered the door and Padme's heart immediately went out to her. She was probably Anakin's age and probably knew nothing but abuse.
"Hello, may we come in?" Padme asked gently.
"Um...I'm not allowed to let anyone in that doesn't have an appointment with the Governor," she stuttered timidly.
"Well, we have a warrant that allows us to see him without his permission. I can promise he won't harm you anymore," Padme said, as she gently took her hand.
"I...I'm sorry, but you must go. If he finds out I'm even talking to you..." the girl trailed off in fright.
"He won't hurt you," Anakin promised.
"He's right. Wait right here and everything will be all right," Padme replied, as she, Anakin, and the Officers marched toward his office. As they arrived, Ruwee was stepping out into the reception area.
"What is the meaning of this?!" Ruwee demanded, as he glared at his youngest daughter and her husband.
"You're under arrest, Governor Naberrie," Padme announced.
"You can't arrest me!" Ruwee yelled in outrage, as the Officers produced a pair of stun cuffs.
"By my orders and the Queen's, they can," Padme replied coldly.
"What are the charges?" he screamed.
"Slavery is illegal on Naboo and in the Republic. We have proof of your enslavement of young girls in the mountain villages. We also have confiscated Governor Danae's and your financial records, proving the purchase and sale of young women. Other charges include abuse in various forms. Several other men will be arrest on enslavement and abuse charges as well," Padme replied.
"You little tramp! You won't get away with this!" Ruwee spat. Anakin punched him in the mouth for calling Padme such a name.
"Speak to her like that again, and they'll be burying you instead of locking you up, you sick bastard," Anakin growled. Ruwee was hauled out, kicking and screaming. Padme sighed, as Anakin pulled her into his arms.
"You okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine," she replied, smiling up at him.
"Come on, let's get out of here," Anakin said, as he put his arm around her waist and led her out...
One Week Later...
The Jedi Temple garden's many species of flora bloomed richly in the breezy spring air. The floral aroma was fitting for the event taking place here today, for flowers were often associated with love. Obi-Wan stood at the alter, nervously looking out at his Jedi peers that were there to witness him enter marital bliss. He felt Anakin, who was next to him, pat him on the shoulder.
"Nervous?" he asked.
"A little...but more anxious I think than anything," he replied.
"I was too. But once she's walking down this aisle, the only thing you'll be anxious for is hearing her say "I do". Oh, and the honeymoon, of course," Anakin replied, with a sly smile.
"Oh believe me, I already can't wait for that. For a long time, I never thought I'd ever be standing at an alter, waiting to be married," he replied.
"Things change and sometimes for the better. I'm happy for you, big brother," Anakin replied.
"Thank you Anakin. You're a pain in the ass, but I love you too," Obi-Wan said, with a smirk.
"I'm a pain? Well, I learned from the best," Anakin retorted.
"Touche, baby brother. Though I must say while you're a pain, being the older brother of the most famous man in the galaxy has it perks," Obi-Wan teased. Anakin groaned.
"Please, don't get me started on that. I loathe Holonet reporters. Padme and I can't go anywhere without being hounded by them.
"You two are plastered all over the Holonet. I do believe I bought a copy of every single data paper on the stand this morning. There are some very interesting stories in those," Obi-Wan teased.
"They are all horribly untrue," Anakin replied.
"Yes, but no less entertaining," Obi-Wan chuckled, as Anakin glared at him.
"I don't know how you find such an invasive intrusion into the personal lives of my wife and I soooo entertaining, especially since nearly all of it is untrue," Anakin replied.
"That's why Sola and I find it so entertaining. These people really come up with some good ones," he laughed.
"Laugh it up old man, cause you know what pay backs are," Anakin replied, with a smirk.
"Bring it on, cocky brat," Obi-Wan teased back. They were silent then, as Ryoo and Pooja trotted down the aisle. Ryoo carried the rings and Pooja carefully dropped flower petals. Both girls wore periwinkle dresses and grinned at Obi-Wan. They took their places and Padme was next to enter. She also wore a periwinkle gown and slowly approached the alter, her eyes locked with Anakin's. The twins sat in the front row with their grandparents, babbling and giggling. The music intensified and Sola entered on Yan's arm. Obi-Wan forgot momentarily how to breath, as he stared at her. Her beautiful white gown flowed around her and her dark gypsy eyes were glossy with happy, unshed tears. Yan patted his eldest grandson's shoulder and then took his seat next to his wife. Obi-Wan took her arm and they turned toward Jocasta Nu.
"We have come together today to join Obi-Wan Kenobi and Sola Naberrie in holy matrimony. What we bring together, let no one come between," she paused for a moment.
"Master Yoda, is this union sanctioned the Jedi Council?" she asked. Master Yoda stood up on his chair.
"Sanction this union, the Council does. About time we say, hmm, Obi-Wan? Hmmm...hmmm..." Master Yoda chuckled and everyone else followed suit.
"Yes Master," Obi-Wan answered in embarrassment.
"Then if there are no objections, we shall join these two together in marriage with the Force as our witness," Jocasta Nu said, pausing for a moment.
"You both have chosen to recite your own vows and we will hear them now," she announced. Sola took Obi-Wan's hands in her own and looked into his hazel eyes.
"Obi-Wan...when I look into your eyes and see the love that shines in them, I still think sometimes I will wake up and find that this is all just a dream. I didn't know what it was to be happy or feel loved. But then I escaped that nightmare and you showed me these things. You've made me feel happier and more loved than I ever thought possible. You've been the strong, loving man I've always wanted and never thought I'd have. And you've been the wonderful father that my...our girls need. Today, I pledge myself to you and promise to love and cherish you for the rest of my life...and whatever awaits us beyond this world..." Sola finished and Obi-Wan reached under her veil to wipe a tear away.
"Sola...my love..." he began.
"Putting into words what you mean to me is difficult, but I will try and hope I can spend the rest of my days showing you how much I love you by being everything you want and need. A couple years ago, some would have described me as cynical at best when it came to love. I had been hurt and I told myself I would never let my heart be broken by love again. Then I met you...and I saw how you'd also been broken and by a cruel hand no less. The more time I spent in your presence, the more my heart healed. I wanted so badly to help you heal as well and I found my healed heart longing for you. I finally came to the realization that I loved you when I was amidst a battle. All I could think about was surviving, so that I could see you again and hold you in my arms. Today, I take you to be my wife and I promise that no one shall ever harm you again. I promise to love, cherish you, and take care of you for the rest of our lives and whatever may await us after this world," Obi-Wan said.
"It is clear that love has blessed these souls. May the Force always light their path, as they embark on the journey of matrimony. By the power vested upon me by the Force and the High Council, I now pronounce you, husband and wife. You may kiss your bride," Jocasta Nu announced. Obi-Wan lifted her veil and their lips met in a passionate kiss. Anakin and Padme joined hands, as the newly wedded couple descended down the aisle and to the atrium for their reception.
After Ruwee's arrest, many changes were put into place. Sabe, Padme's former handmaiden, was selected as the new Regional Governor, representing the Mountain and farming region of Naboo. Nabooan law was now implied and enforced in the villages. Slavery, abuse, and refusal to comply with the law were all punishable crimes for the villages now. Special educators were brought in to help the battered and naive women that had been suppressed for so long. Education was now an option and girls were finally being sent to real schools. For the young women, the changes were welcomed and embraced. Older women were skeptical, as they knew nothing else and did not know what it was to be treated as equals. And most of the men were very angry, refusing to accept change. Most did not continue their abuse, but those who did were arrested. Padme was happy that the women finally had been liberated, even though she knew it would be a long time before the old ways were squelched completely. Just the fact that justice was now being done was enough for her. Ruwee Naberrie was tried by parliament in the presence of the Queen and Padme. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to thirty years in the maximum security prison on Rori, one of Naboo's moons. Padme was pleased with the result of the hearing, knowing that her father deserved to pay for his crimes. Now that the Sith were gone, the galaxy had entered an era of peace. Peace the Jedi hoped would last for centuries to come. As always, disputes, conflicts and even petty crime would keep them busy maintaining the peaceful state of the galaxy. But with no more Sith Lords running around, it eased the minds of many.
Almost eight months after Palpatine's fall, Padme gave birth to Kimberly Skywalker. Kimberly was the name of a flower that grew on Naboo. It was a brilliant pink flower that adorned the meadow grasses by the large waterfalls near one of Anakin and Padme's favorite places. They decided it was the perfect name for their new little angel. Two years later, they would be blessed again with another set of twins. A boy they would name Jayden and a girl they would name Jenna. More peace and love than either of them ever imagined had truly blessed their lives...
25 Years Later...
Padme gazed out into the darkening from the veranda of their penthouse apartment. She giggled, as her husband wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her neck. She gazed up lovingly into his eyes, as he smiled down at her. Time had been good to them both. At fifty-one, the only signs of aging on Padme were some silver strands that graced her chocolate curls and a few more wrinkles than she would like. It was the same for him. Strands of silver graced his sandy blonde mane and he too had a few more wrinkles. Still, both looked younger than they were and they attributed that to love. They were patiently waiting for their guests to arrive. Their lives were all busy, but they all tried to get together for dinner at least once a week. Padme turned in his arms and he pressed his lips to hers in a passionate kiss. Time had also done nothing to dull the love and passion between them. Their family had grown very big, even though they had lost a few along the way. They'd lost Yan to old age some years ago and Elana died within a year of her husband. Jobal had also passed away a few years ago, but Qui-Gon and Shmi were still alive. They were in their late eighties and still got around surprisingly well for their age. All five of their children were grown and they were proud grandparents already. Luke had married Mara Jade Windu when he was twenty-one. Now at twenty-six, he had a son of his own they named Ben, after his uncle and mentor. Ben was two and loved coming to visit his grandparents. Leia was also married to a man she met on a diplomatic mission to Corellia. He had been a smuggler when she first met him and Anakin didn't think he was good enough for his little princess at first. But Anakin had learned that Han was just a little misguided. He loved Leia and was good to her, which was enough for Anakin. Han had long ago given up his old ways and now held a respectable job. Their twins, Jacen and Jaina were almost four. Six months ago, Leia had given birth to their third child, a boy they named Anakin, after his grandfather. Their thoughts were interrupted by those same two four-year-olds they had been thinking about.
"Grandma! Grandpa!" Jacen and Jaina ran to them with excitement. Anakin and Padme picked them up and hugged the children. Leia hugged and kissed her parents as well, handing baby Anakin to her mother, who happily cradled the infant. Luke and Mara arrived next and little Ben toddled excitedly into Anakin's arms.
"Hey there, little man," Anakin said, as he picked him up. Obi-Wan and Sola arrived next with Ryoo, Pooja, and their husbands. Mace, Zia, Qui-Gon, and Shmi followed them. Finally, Jayden and Jenna arrived with their fiance's. Jayden was almost the spitting image of his father, except his hair was a rich chocolate color like his mother's. his eyes, however, were a deep sapphire, like Anakin's. Jenna was the opposite. While she had her father's blonde hair, she had her mother's brown eyes. And last, but never least, Kimberly arrived with her husband. Her belly was swollen with the couple's first child and she glowed radiantly. She had her mother's petite figure and was almost a copy of Padme, even more so than Leia, except her hair was a lighter caramel color and her eyes were also inherited from her mother.
"There's my little Kimmy," Anakin said, as he hugged her tightly.
"You must be starved sweetheart," Padme said.
"Famished," she replied, as she and her husband went inside. Anakin and Padme stood outside for a moment, observing as their large family interacted with each other. There never was a dull moment when they were all together and Anakin and Padme liked it that way. Padme wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Hungry?" she asked.
"Starving...as always," he replied, as he kissed her.
"Mmm...and for more than just food," he said.
"Not now," she smacked his arm playfully, as he kissed her again.
"Later then?" he asked. She smiled and kissed him softly.
"Always..." she replied, as their lips met again in a loving kiss.
"I love you, my beautiful angel," he whispered.
"And I love you, my handsome Knight," she replied, as they went inside to be with the people they loved. Above them, they failed to notice several bright stars twinkling in the night sky...
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has read this story. I want to thank everyone who has reviewed, which has been a ton of you, since this story has hit over 500 reviews! Most of you have requested a sequel...and I am considering. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I know there will probably be one. I ended it with the peak into the future for two reasons. The first was to make sure it could end here if I decided not to do a sequel. The other reason I ended with a glimpse into the future, is I left myself a twenty-five year gap to fill. This opens a lot of possibilities for a sequel. Right now, I have no plot ideas for a sequel, but I will begin brainstorming later this summer. (Suggestions are always welcome. Feel free to PM, E-mail or IM me). I can say that if there is a sequel, it probably will not debut until the fall. For the rest of the summer, I will likely concentrate on Burning Vendetta and Never Gone III. But, if enough people want it, then a sequel will probably happen. Again, I just want to thank all my readers and reviewers. This story was such a monumental success because of all of you. Your warm comments and encouragement truly warmed my heart every time I read each one. Thank you and I'm so glad that so many people could enjoy this epic. :)