It had been a beautiful night, she remembered fondly, leaning against the railing of the veranda. A night to rival all others, not only when considering the crisp, calm weather but also when considering the mere company she had been in.
Back when life was slightly simpler, and for the one magical moment that it was measured only in a pure and boundless love... she remembered that night always with a twinkle of adoration in her eyes.
It had been in the early throes of passion, following her marriage to the man of her dreams.
Even now, in the boiling point of the wars, his name still sent a shiver down her spine, and if she happened upon individuals that mentioned him, even if just in passing conversation, she found herself eavesdropping despite her usual mannerisms against behavior of that sort, her heart pounding in her ears.
If only now she could get lost in those stormy blue pools of light that were his eyes, or run her fingers through his untamed locks of dark blond hair.
If only she could take him into her embrace and never let them steal him from her again.
Padmé inhaled sharply, scolding herself as she realized how her thoughts had wandered.
Don't be selfish, Padmé. You knew going into this marriage that it would be this way… The Jedi need him. The galaxy needs him.
She shook her head, as if to rid her imagination of such things, willing herself to focus solely on the memories she had of that one special night.
She stood silently on the veranda, waiting. The cold night air caressed her bare arms, exposed without her husband's own arms to encompass them. She shivered, only slightly, though she refused to ask Threepio to fetch her robe.
Indeed the sort of warmth she craved could not be merited to her by its soft, rich folds of fabric.
Within moments, the outside world had faded away, and she melted into the past, three years slipping back through her fingertips as if they had never transpired.
The night after she married Anakin played out before her as vividly as it had when it originally happened. Hours after the holy man had departed, leaving her alone with her husband, they had still not ventured inside, perhaps shy about doing so.
Gentle arms had simply held her close as they lay sprawled out among the long thick grasses of the Nabooan meadow.
After a time of silence, she had lifted a hand and trailed her forefinger down his cheek, as if to trace his thoughts. "What are you thinking about, love?" she had asked softly, her voice penetrating the cool dusk air.
A delicate smirk decorated Anakin's face, and he had replied, his gaze falling upon her, "Just about how beautiful this night is."
Padmé shifted, the ornate gown she had worn during the ceremony beginning to irritate her. She snuggled into his chest and murmured, "It is beautiful. Just look at those stars."
A light vibration had tickled the side of her face as Anakin chuckled, disentangling his somewhat awkward mechanical arm from her grasp, cupping her chin in his hand. "Actually I was referring to the beautiful angel sitting beside me."
Padmé's cheeks had flushed a light pink, rosy color climbing into her face. "But the stars are gorgeous tonight, have you seen?"
Anakin hadn't spared a glance toward the sky, still smiling. "I'm sorry. I haven't really. I'd afraid I've been previously preoccupied."
"Staring at that angel again?" she teased lightly.
"The very same." His husky voice said back and she had squirmed a bit, feeling his hot breath whisper over her ear. "Why such a beautiful creature would agree to marry me is beyond my comprehension."
Then, it had been her turn to giggle. "I never agreed."
He raised an eyebrow, loosening his grasp on her and lowered his head so that his eyes locked into hers. "Oh?"
"I was too madly in love with you, I couldn't possibly have said no. There was no choice." Padmé told him. A sideways smile spread over his face and her heart did a flip.
"I suppose I do have a certain element of charm about me, huh?" he grinned at her playfully.
Padmé smacked the front of his tunic in mock frustration. "Whatever happened to being much too frightened to tease a Senator, Mister Skywalker?"
"That phobia ceased to exist when that lovely lady became my wife, Mrs. Skywalker." He countered, triumph ringing in his voice.
Failing to think of a retort, she sunk into his waiting embrace, outstretching an arm to point at the dark blanket that had fallen over them, emblazoned with fiery balls of light.
After a brief moment of quiet that fell between them, Padmé spoke up, knowing that his eyes had finally rested upon the sky. "I don't think I have ever seen them shine this way before."
"I can't say I have either." Anakin had admitted, "And I've been to a good few of them."
A gasp had escaped her throat as her eyes found a single illuminating dot blinking brighter than the rest. "Ani! Look at that one!"
Anakin nodded and scooted toward her, his head resting atop hers as he watched the star she had indicated. After a moment of what had seemed like thought, he turned his head, staring into her face once more.
"Padmé, when I have to go away, and when you feel lonely, I want you to look at that star."
Overcome by the magic of the moment, she had nodded in agreement.
"It will be our star?" she asked him
"Forever." He said honestly, his fingers entwining with hers.
"Anakin." She told him. "Even stars burn out."
"This one won't." He told her, a hint of determination in his voice. "I won't let it. Our star will always shine."
Padmé had opened her mouth to argue, but felt the words leave her mouth as she found herself staring into those eyes again.
"Ani…" she began, but she had been cut off by his lips descending upon hers.
The wind quickened in pace, arousing Padmé from her daydream. With a profound sigh, she dared to think of the short reunion she'd experienced with Anakin earlier that day, wishing somehow that it had been lengthier. Five minutes most certainly didn't compensate for the near five months he'd been away.
I should be more grateful, she told herself. He's coming back tonight, he promised he would…. I'm such a lucky woman, to have a husband like him. He loves me, and I love him, too.
Blinking, she let her palms rest on the growing bulge of her midsection. Her chestnut-colored curls stirred a bit as another wind caught hold of them, briefly swatting them into her face which was now upturned toward the sky.
She seemed to find their star with ease now, as she had since that night on Naboo, although she couldn't recall seeing it ever before then. And as he had told her to, during the long nights in the big empty apartment during the wars, she had spent a good amount of time merely gazing at it, its tender yet intense pulsating beams of light possessing a silent dexterity that somehow echoed the lullabies of her aching heart.
At times she had considered how foolish and childishly absurd such a notion was, but sometimes; she could swear that a certain connection had been forged through that very star, and that somewhere… perhaps her Ani had spared a glance at it as well.
Her slender fingers rose and distractedly fingered the japor snippet pendant that she wore. She simply regarded their star while tracing the carvings in its surface, floating into the bliss of her memories once more.
The star seemed to wink at her, maybe telling her that it was okay to look away; okay to seek out another star.
The sound of his whispers in her ears caused her to turn, only a little, for a moment convinced that he had finally returned to her. But the hopeful sheen in her eyes soon disappeared as she realized it had only been the rustle of her drapes in the evening breeze.
Her gaze lingered sadly on the interior of her apartment, eyeing the drapes almost angrily, challenging them.
But something within her began to quiver excitedly, catching her attention.
Unsure if it was her heart thumping madly or the baby moving inside her womb, she whirled around, fully intending to focus upon that star once more.
But she was delighted when her eyes fell upon a tall figure standing at the edge of the veranda, arms outstretched.
Before she even realized it, she was crumpled into his embrace, and he was sprinkling her with kisses.
"Padmé…." His voice died on his lips as he pressed them against her forehead.
"Ani." She replied simply, feeling a new wholeness envelope her, and gladly welcoming it in.
"I came as soon as I could." He informed her, his hands now upon the bump below her navel.
She nodded quickly. It didn't matter.
As long as you always come back to me, like you said you would, Ani, I'll be happy.
The time passed so quickly is seemed, and neither knew how long they had been entangled within one other's arms, standing upon the balcony, Padmé simply letting him hold her, as she grasped him desperately, as if afraid to let go.
Finally, he stirred slightly, unnerved as he felt a small shiver run down his wife's body.
"You're cold." He broke the silence.
"Never." She replied indignantly, her eyes shining with love as she looked up. "I could never be cold when you are holding me."
A tiny smile twitched upon his lips. "Even when you're wearing… this?"
He indicated the sleek blue nightgown she wore with a dramatic flourish. She let her eyes follow his, knowing he adored the way the sheer fabric floated over her curves, and how her arms were bared, laced with waves of Nabooan pearls.
Padmé giggled. "Well, excuse me, Knight Skywalker. I was expecting valuable company and wanted to…. dress for the occasion."
"Valuable company?" he questioned playfully as she wandered toward the edge of the veranda, picking up a stray hairbrush she'd left earlier.
"Yes, quite. Someone who means a great deal to me."
She turned to look at him, admiring him once again, as he sighed and leaned against the outer wall of the terrace. She saw hints of fatigue in his eyes, hiding behind the usually shimmer of blue she'd fallen in love with.
He grinned, his smile making her heart jump even now. "Do elaborate, Senator."
Somewhat surprised by his response, she paused a moment, running the brush through her curls. Does he simply enjoy hearing me talk about him?
"Well…" she began purposefully. "He's very tall, which is increasingly annoying because he was once about at my waist-level." She looked at him sideways and watched him smirk. "He has beautiful blue eyes unlike any I have ever seen…"
She broke off; looking into the very pair of eyes she was speaking of. "And he's dreadfully handsome."
An expression of mild curiosity touched his features, which Padmé discreetly thought was adorable.
"Dreadfully, you say?" He inquired. "He is so handsome that you think it is dreadful?"
"Oh no." Padmé chirped in a playful manner. "I think it's dangerous."
"To whom?" He smiled.
"Himself." Padmé quipped with victory, trying not to laugh. "His ego is likely to have doubled since he last visited."
For an instant, a scowl appeared across his face. But it quickly vanished, and he simply smiled mischievously.
Padmé beamed knowingly; sure he was up to something. "Ah, my dear Senator Amidala…" he purred. "And what did you think that outfit would do?" He paused, eyeing her meaningfully. "Surely you realize that outfit would only serve to inflate said ego… seeing as you deem it appropriate to dress so… special for him."
Padmé restrained her laughter and maintained a straight face as she solidly responded, "Oh, you think he will like it?"
"On the contrary," He grinned roguishly. "I think you are overdressed, milady."
"Oh, you!" She scolded. After a slight moment of quiet, she formulated a reply and said, "Surely such a dashing man would now see me as a fat bantha."
"Decidedly not." He said back, almost heatedly. "One would say that you look like an angel."
She laughed mildly, and went back to her hair, feeling his eyes on her as she did so.
"You're so beautiful…" he finally admitted to her, ending the charade.
She raised an eyebrow. "Only because I'm so in love."
He cast an eye toward her midsection and replied expressively, "No, it's because I'm so in love with you."
She rubbed the area lovingly and added, "And look what our love has given us."
Several strides brought him to her and she found herself once again in his arms. He kissed her, long and deep.
When they broke apart, she looked to the sky.
"It's getting late, milady." He told her.
She nodded vacantly, her eyes upon the dark field above them, filled with dazzling, twinkling lights. "Look, Ani." She pointed at the very star she'd been staring at earlier, and the very one she'd sought comfort in during the months of his absence.
He followed her finger, silently regarding the star, and the couple lapsed into silence, each embedded in their own thoughts and memories.
The star beamed at them, then pulsed slightly, winking at them.
Padmé couldn't suppress a small physical reaction, a light intake of breath.
He pulled her closer then, a bright smile upon his face. "I love you, Padmé." He blurted. "And I will love you forever. You are my life…"
She put a finger over his mouth. "You were right, it is getting late." She glanced back toward the entryway. "Escort me, inside?"
He nodded. "Gladly." Extending an arm, he allowed her to link her hand through his, and sparing one last look at the beautiful, ever-burning star, they headed indoors.
Padmé hurriedly tossed the hairbrush into the top compartment of her armoire, then waddled out of the refresher as fast as her current condition would allow.
She stopped in the doorway to their bedroom. He sat, back facing her, upon the bed, shirtless and silent. She crept slowly into the room, eyes never leaving him.
Then, easing stiffly onto the bed, she sat behind him, waiting.
He chuckled, and the sound filled her, warming her up instantly.
"You forget, my angel, how hard it is to sneak up on a Jedi." He stated, mildly, looking at her without turning his head.
She smiled. "How could such a thing escape my mind?"
He laughed again, and she cuddled a little closer, eager to wrap her slender arms around him.
His lips stretched into a smile as she neared.
But something made her stop abruptly.
Her breath caught in her throat as a red, jagged line sliced through her vision, emblazoned upon his shoulder.
Astonished, she focused her eyes upon the mark, mind spinning. She reached a timid hand toward it, fingers inches from the nasty-looking laceration that was smeared upon his skin, creeping upwards and snaking into the curls that tickled the back of his neck.
"Ani…" she began, her voice suddenly smaller and quieter. She didn't finish, as another line caught her eye, a hazy pink scratched right above his hip.
He seemed to notice her distress, turning to her. He eyed her, seeing tears sparkling at the edges of her eyes.
Then, followed her gaze, and sighed. "Padmé, it's nothing…"
"Nothing?" Her voice was empty and sad. She ran a hand gently along the remains of the wound, not looking at his face. Then, after a moment, an indignant pair of dark brown eyes snapped upward. "It most certainly is not nothing!" she exclaimed. Then, perhaps realizing her volume, she lowered her voice an octave and added tenderly, "Ani, how did this happen?"
He shook his head. "You shouldn't worry… it's healed."
"I don't care." She replied dispassionately, the glimpses of tears in her eyes. "Who did this to you?"
"Padmé…" He reached out to her, cradling her in his arms. "This is a war… minor injuries like this happen all the time."
She had calmed a bit, but he reached up and stroked another small scar next to his collarbone. "And that's supposed to make me feel better?"
Anakin nodded. "Yes. Because it means the med droids out there know how to handle it. The treatment is short and almost effortless for things like this."
She seemed to assent quietly, though she couldn't bring her eyes to meet his.
He took her chin into his hand gently and brought her face toward his, staring into her eyes austerely. "I'm fine. I promise you. It could have been much worse."
"I know." She told him, the tears returning. "I have nightmares about it every night while you're away…"
She threw her arms around his neck and buried her head into his chest. "Oh, Ani…"
He kissed the top of her head. "Shhhh. Its okay, Padmé…"
A few moments passed, with Padmé weeping, not sure if the tears that slipped down her cheeks were happy or sad. He simply murmured comforting words into her ear, holding her close.
She pulled away slightly, looking up. "I'm so sorry, Ani… these raging pregnancy hormones…"
"Don't apologize." He said sincerely.
She didn't reply, her gaze turning to the window. She located the star quickly, and then, fully reassured and comforted, she closed her eyes.
Padmé was finally at home in her husband's warm embrace.
And she didn't need a star to tell her that.
A Jedi starfighter glided up to the veranda, and she could breathe again.
He exited the cockpit, a grave expression upon his face. Feeling tears run down her cheeks, she ran to him and collapsed into his arms.
He was silent.
She examined him a bit. "Are you all right? I saw the attack on the Jedi Temple… you cane see the smoke from here!"
Blood pounded in her ears from the rush of adrenaline and fright that had filled her. She looked up at him, noticing that his face had softened considerably but his eyes…
His eyes bore a hardened look she didn't recognize.
He touched her cheek, brushing a tear away with his thumb, his eyes deep and devoid of feeling. "I'm fine." He assured her quietly. "I'm fine. I came to see if you and the baby are safe."
Padmé couldn't stop searching his blank blue orbs for something that was peculiarly missing. "Of course…" The words were almost shaky. "We're okay. Anakin what has happened?"
Though she hadn't thought it was possible, more light died within his eyes. "The Jedi have tried to overthrow the Republic."
Something shattered within Padmé's heart, taking her breath from her lungs. Blinking, she steadied herself and replied in incredulity, "I can't believe that!"
He broke away from her, pacing along the edge of the balcony. His voice came to her, gruff and impassive. "I saw Master Windu attempt to assassinate the Chancellor myself."
His eyes closed for a split second longer than a blink, and Padmé could swear that when he opened them again, there was pain in their murky depths. Confusion and sadness.
Concerned, she took a step closer to him. "Oh, Anakin! What are you going to do?"
His eyes avoided hers, and to her bewilderment, as she took another step toward him, he walked away from her, staring at something on the horizon. "I will not betray the Republic."
A stab of fear shot through Padmé. He continued, slowly turning, facing her again. "My loyalties lie with the Chancellor… and with the Senate…." He closed the gap between them. "And with you."
Padmé let his hands stroke her arms and she resumed aimlessly seeking the usual glow in Anakin's eyes. "What about Obi-Wan?"
Like a bolt of lightning, a flash of uncertainty rumpled his face, but he soon straightened himself, stony and detached. "I don't know…." A hand reached up and ran through her hair. "Many Jedi have been killed…."
Padmé did not know what to think when scarcely of hint of sadness appeared in his eyes as he spoke of his fallen comrades.
"We can only hope that he's remained loyal to the Chancellor."
Padmé felt something break within her as she realized that something in her Ani had changed. "Oh, Anakin, I'm afraid." She admitted truthfully, longing to see the steady beams of brightness in his eyes.
He faltered slightly, becoming even more tender. "Have faith, my love. Everything will be set right."
As she dared to glance at the vacuity of his gaze once more, she couldn't recall ever before doubting his words… but now…
"The Chancellor has given me a very important mission. The Separatists have gathered in the Mustafar system. I'm going there to end this war." He announced, almost proudly.
She gripped his arms tightly. End this war? How? What does he mean?
"Wait for me until I return . . . things will be different, I promise." He brushed her cheek lovingly and pressed his lips to hers.
Desperate, she clung to him, not sure why she was so frightened.
He broke away, looking into her brown eyes, which pooled with tears. "Please wait for me."
She nodded, despite her wishes to grab him and hold him back. Something deep within her was screaming.
His hands lingered a moment upon her face, but then he departed.
She waited until his fighter was a single speck on her vision. Then, alone and terrified, she burst into tears, her heart wailing, yearning for the Anakin she remembered.
Gone was the loving gentle man who had been by her side to wipe her tears.
Something had scarred him, and it was becoming clear to her that this scar, quite unlike the ones she'd eyed with such animosity in the past, would not heal like the others.
Threepio neared her cautiously. "Milady, is there anything I might do?"
"No thank you, Threepio," she choked out.
"Sometimes I feel so helpless." The droid said as woefully as a droid could.
Looking back toward where her husband's spacecraft had faded into the night sky, Padmé couldn't help but agree with him.
Sniffing, she watched the spot where she had last seen him, as Threepio retreated indoors for the evening.
Blinking back more tears, something caught her eye.
In the place of the Jedi starfighter, the star…. their star sat among the billions of others surrounding it.
Any hope she had left was smashed to pieces as she saw in the star no light… a dull pulse of shine that merely allowed it to be visible… but nothing more.
It stared blankly back at her, strength seemingly draining from it as the seconds passed.
Padmé found that she suddenly couldn't move, paralyzed by an unseen force, as she looked upon it.
She couldn't find it.
The curve of glass before her filled her vision with innumerable stars, but the once she sought was mysteriously gone.
She slowly stood, stomach churning with fear. She felt a small pulse within her womb.
The baby sensed her agitation.
Forcing herself to calm down, she lowered the ramp and exited the craft, eyes scanning the fiery landscape toward the place where she had seen his dark silhouette.
Locating it through the pounding hot rock that fell upon the control center, her heart skipped a beat as relief flooded her.
He lowered the cowl of his robe, obviously surprised to see her, and quickened his pace.
She met him halfway, falling into him, the heat of his robes nearly singing her front.
She stepped back, just as he spoke. "I saw your ship. What are you doing here?"
She opened her mouth to tell him, but the words melted in her throat before she could.
She peered into his eyes, heart racing. The pair of eyes that regarded her held no sheen, no compassion.
But that, she realized instantly wasn't all that was missing.
She felt something wrench into her heart as she glimpsed tinges of yellowish-orange within his dulled, blue orbs; flecks of fire that burned into her.
"Oh… Anakin." Softly. Barely a whisper.
"What are you doing out here?" Disappointment and confusion laced the edges of his voice.
"I was so worried about you." She managed to say, trying not to look ashamed. "Obi-Wan…. told me terrible things."
The name she spoke tore a streak of anger and hatred through his expression.
"What things?" he demanded.
Padmé swallowed, hardly able to look at him. "He said… that you've turned to the Dark Side… that you… killed younglings!"
Forcing herself to look at his face, she prepared herself to accept his dismissal of this charges, his assurances of some misunderstanding.
All she saw was fire in his eyes. "Obi-Wan is trying to turn you against me."
No! Padmé suppressed her alarm, extending an arm toward him. "He cares about us."
"Us??!!!" The man who was not her Ani asked intensely.
Gulping, she took a step back. "He knows. He wants to help you!" Terror gripped her heart suddenly. Anakin, what have you done to yourself?
A bolt of sheer fury crossed his face.
"Anakin, all I want is your love." She told him; trying to coax some of the blue shine she so loved from his eyes.
"Love won't save you, Padmé! Only my new powers can do that!" He informed her with confidence ringing in his tone.
"At what cost?" The world was crashing down upon her in an explosion of red fire and smoke. She felt her heart begin to sink solemnly as she wept bitterly. "You're a good person… don't do this!"
One look at those swirling eyes and she knew the plea went unheard.
"I am becoming more powerful than any Jedi has ever dreamed of. And I'm doing it for you! To protect you!" He declared, as Padmé took another step back.
This can't be happening…she though in disbelief and shock. Wanting so badly to have the man she loved take her into her arms and never leave her again, she begged this…this stranger that stood before her.
"Come away with me…. help me raise our child. Leave everything behind while we still can!" Tears flowed freely down her cheeks and she did nothing to quell their descent.
"Don't you see? We don't have to run away anymore! I have brought peace to the Republic. I am more powerful than the Chancellor…. I can overthrow him, and together you and I can rule the galaxy! Make things the way we want them to be!"
Anakin was lost to her. She couldn't find a trace of him, and the thought left her breathless.
A stirring note of finality overtook her, but she pushed it away.
"I don't believe what I'm hearing." She finally spoke, words mirroring her thoughts. "…Obi-Wan was right. You've changed."
The last statement brought a fresh wave of tears to her eyes.
Anakin… no, the man she once knew as Anakin glowered at her. "I don't want to hear any more about Obi-Wan. The Jedi turned against me. Don't you turn against me!"
The words left his lips in a snarl. Something feral and unfamiliar.
Padmé's heart seared in two, all of her attempts at bringing the man she loved back had failed. " I don't know you anymore….! Anakin, you're breaking my heart! I'll never stop loving you, but you are going down a path I can't follow!"
Wishing desperately that he would forget the world and hold her again, she knew she didn't want to hear his response.
Pain reeling through her, she watched him as he eyed her. "Because of Obi-Wan?" he asked callously.
Oh, what has happened to you? Her mind screeched.
"Because of what you've done…" she shouted, letting the pain flood into her voice. "What you plan to do!"
Only one more shot at this, she thought grimly. "Stop! Anakin, please…. Come back…."
She felt her shoulders slump as the tears soiled her face. Weakly, she told him, "I love you…"
She lifted her head a bit, a jolt of an unknown feeling going through her as she saw a ghost of blue cloud his eyes. For a moment, he was her Ani again, and she nearly cried out.
But then, he brought his gaze up ever so slightly, and to her utmost dismay, burning yellow scorched his eyes, his face morphing into the visage of someone she knew was not her husband.
"LIAR!" he yelled, the words slicing her like a hot vibroblade.
Padmé allowed her eyes to travel to where he glared, and a scream reverberated within the walls of her mind. No… no anything but this…
There, at the top of the gangplank, stood Obi-Wan Kenobi.
"No… Anakin, I didn't…" she started, but he cut her off, his angry voice silencing her.
"You're with him!" he spat. "You brought him here to kill me!"
"No! Anakin, I would never… please… I love…" His hand lifted, outstretched toward her. His cracked lips curled over his teeth and his eyes held nothing but hatred at her supposed betrayal.
Her throat tightened, and her lungs screamed. Gulping, she fought the restraint.
"Anakin…" she said desperately.
Something in the eyes of the monster that slowly throttled her died, and blue outlined the yellow once again.
"Let her go, Anakin! " She heard Obi-Wan, but his voice was distant, as though far away.
The strength ebbed away from her as the seconds slipped by, and she clutched her throat, trying to wrench the force that held her away.
"Let her go!" Obi-Wan commanded again.
Padmé, vision blurring, could barely make out the figure that stood before her, but suddenly, something stood out among the hazy clouds of gray.
Two blue shining eyes.
Then, the pressure gave away, and she fell, her world fading to black.
She knew she was dreaming, but she preferred the bliss of the dreams over the harsh reality that had grasped her.
She fought herself to stay in the dream, thought the cold of the transparisteel medical table began to prickle against the light white of the fabric that she wore.
Anakin… she thought desperately. You promised me… you said our love would never burn out!
She held onto the threads of that promise, the tattered ribbons of love that she could remember, but now was painfully absent.
Shuddering, it was that last infinitesimal strand of hope in the husband she couldn't live without that she held onto was her eyes opened and into focus came the weary face of Obi-Wan.
"Padmé, they have to induce labor."
She bit back the weak tears that threatened to fall, determined not to think of him as lost… knowing that she couldn't bear it.
Despite her best efforts, a small though slipped into her mind.
Ani should be here.
She fell back against the surface of the table sadly, silently nodding her assent.
It was as if the world didn't seem real to her anymore.
A tiny sigh blew from her lips, and she looked away to the small viewport on the opposite wall.
Black spots appeared on her vision, but she kept herself conscious. For the baby.
A single tear ran down her cheek, but she hardly felt it. It was one of many that had fallen in the past few hours.
Slipping into poignant reminiscence, she didn't even feel Obi-Wan's supportive hand on her shoulder, or hear the entry of the med droid.
The pain rippled through her entire body, and her eyes rolled blindly.
"Is it a girl….?" She asked breathlessly. "Anakin thinks it's a girl."
She heard a distant voice answer her, but the words never reached her. She simply felt a hand squeeze hers.
"Padmé, you have a boy."
No, she thought the memory floated back to her. Realizing that Obi-Wan was now holding an infant, she offered a weak smile, watching him wriggle. My beautiful baby boy.
"Luke…" she whispered. Bringer of the light…
Another wave of pain. She hardly felt it now, feeling the numbness begin to claim her.
"Padmé, you have twins… you have to hang on for them." A clipped voice brought her back to reality.
Moments later, that same voice told her, "It's a girl."
A girl? A girl, oh Anakin…
She peered desperately at the second infant.
"Leia…" she pronounced audibly, feeling another wave of blackness consumed her.
Behind the blurry figure that held her daughter, Padmé vaguely made out the sparkle of a lone star.
Gasping, she squinted a moment. Is that…?
As the thoughts rushed into her mind, she watched the tiny beacon of light blink rapidly for an instant before snuffing out, a small void of black filling that portion of the sky.
And the remnants of her heart.
She clasped Obi-Wan's hand in hers, not willing to take her eyes from her babies just yet. In a tiny, feeble voice, she told him certainly, "There's still good in him… I know there is…."
With a final breath, Padmé's eyelids slipped shut and her pallid, wet face slumped onto the pillow.
Moments later, the two infants began to wail.
Somehow she became aware that she could see again, the brightness of her vision overwhelming her.
Startled, she reached out to a single source, the man she loved.
Trailing deeper and deeper into their connection, a smear of darkness mocked her, and she recoiled slightly, but pressed on.
Within the black flames, a single dot of light… the soul of her husband blinked weakly, poisoned by the dark that fatally attacked their bond.
A gleam of silver, weak but visible, in a vast sea of black.
Padmé, in the netherworld of the Force, found solace in the star, pushing back the darkness a bit and cradling it in her arms.
She nestled it within her embrace, coaxing a light mist of sheen from it.
Tears welling in her eyes, she experienced the profound scarring upon his battered soul and the deep gouges that were carved into it.
Sighing, she reached out and concentrated the pureness of the Force, it light filling a single pock-marked blemish on the star.
Within instants, it had vanished, and a stream of light comforted her.
Eager now, she tried once more to use the almighty power of being one with the ever-lasting Force to soothe him, but found, to her dismay, that the second attempt refused to affect it.
Then, she smiled, suddenly feeling more satisfied than she could remember feeling in a long time.
A flood of memories gripped her, but she relaxed and let them take her, oozing into her very being, flowing into her veins where blood would have in the state of living.
Now all she could do was wait. For she had realized that she may not always be able to erase his scars, as she recalled wanting so desperately to do on a crisp clear night she held dear in her memories, love would prevail… and her Anakin would return.
Though no one was all-powerful, there was always the possibility that someone else would be able to heal this type of scar…
A feeling of something that she absently registered as something similar to delight graced her features, as she remembered something…
And she settled close to the star, simply admiring it beauty.
Upon the bridge of the Executor, the hulking black form stood before the beginnings of what would be a space station, a hunched figure draped in a dark robe at his side.
"Magnificent, isn't it?" The shadow whispered to the dark Lord.
Vader didn't reply, for something else had caught his vision, tinged now through the lenses of the mask, but visible nonetheless.
A tiny pulse of light in the sky.
Silence claimed the Sith Lord, as he simply stared in awe.
Padmé grinned again, feeling the impact of the star enhance upon Vader's mind.
It would take time, she suspected, but in her mind's eye, in the future, the star would again be the brightest in the night skies, impossible to miss from the vantage point of any part of the galaxy.
With a gratified purse of the lips, she found peace in the Force once more.
Luke and Leia… the rest is up to you.