Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
AN: Well, here it is! The long anticipated Never Gone III! The third and final installment in the NG series. So, sit back and enjoy, as we embark on the final journey! Be prepared for lots of action, drama, angst, adventure...and of course plenty of romance!
Fifteen years have passed since Never Gone II, so here's an age check:
Luke and Leia-20
Jayden Jinn Kenobi-14
Never Gone III
Chapter 1: Freedom's Embrace
It was a day of great celebration on Ryloth. Slavery was no more, thanks to the galaxy's greatest hero. In the last fifteen years, since the destruction of the last Sith, Anakin Skywalker had made it a point to continue helping people across their vast galaxy, especially slaves. He and his wife had done everything in their power to make slavery illegal on every planet they could. She had done her part in the Senate and he had done his in the field. Ryloth was now joining the list of many now slave free planets. But Anakin had yet to face the planet that would be the greatest undertaking yet. Tatooine. It was a place the Hutts had ruled for centuries and a place where the slave population outnumbered the free citizens. But Anakin Skywalker, the Hero With No Fear, was determined to a see slavery ban on Tatooine through to the end. He shielded his face from the Holonet cameras as best he could as he returned to his ship with Obi-Wan by his side.
"We've done a great thing here, Anakin," Obi-Wan spoke.
"I know. I'm glad that no more Twi'leks will suffer the oppression of slavery. I'm also glad Aayla chose to take part in the enforcement of the law with us," Anakin replied.
"Yes, she is very happy that her people will be free of oppression," Obi-Wan replied.
"Tatooine is next and it will be a massive undertaking. The Hutts will not go down quietly," Anakin replied.
"Yes, well, we all know that if anyone can lead us to a victory, it is you. You are a beacon of hope in this galaxy and people trust you, especially since you made it publically known that you were once a slave and that it is nothing to be ashamed of," Obi-Wan replied. Anakin smiled thinly.
"I'm not so sure that was the best thing to announce. Padme took a couple hits for that one. A Senator married to a former slave didn't set well with a few politicians," Anakin replied.
"Well, they were fools and as I recall, they just elected your wife to a second term as Chancellor," Obi-Wan replied, with a smile.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. I suppose there will always be critics," Anakin replied.
"Of course. But for the most part, the Holonet loves you and Padme. They are always running some story about the two of you. I think I was watching one last night. It was called "Anakin and Padme: The Galaxy's Greatest Love Story," Obi-Wan teased him.
"Half the facts in those corny Holonet programs are not accurate," Anakin warned.
"Yes, well, they are no less entertaining. I believe they have a special on tonight called "The Queen and the Slave" starring the both of you," Obi-Wan teased. Anakin groaned in response.
"We should watch it," Obi-Wan joked.
"No thanks. I think I'd rather spend the evening in the arms of my beautiful Queen," Anakin replied, with a smile.
"Hey dad, come on! Artoo and I've got the ship all ready to go!" Luke called, poking his head outside the ship, his padawan braid swinging by his ear.
"We're coming Luke!" Anakin called to his padawan and son.
"It's about time! Mom will kill us if we're late for Anna's coronation!" Luke called.
"We won't be late. Go ahead and take us up, Luke," he told him. Luke loved when Anakin would let him fly on his own; with Artoo of course.
"You heard him Artoo! Next stop, Naboo!" Luke called. Anakin and Obi-Wan strapped in and the ship lurched, as Luke fired the thrusters.
"Oh dear...I will never get used to flying with a Skywalker," Obi-Wan griped, as Luke pulled back on the controls and they shot into the sky...
Anna Skywalker was Naboo's newly crowned Queen. The young girl sat nervously in front of the mirror, as her new handmaidens applied the Royal face paint for the first time. When they were finished, her face was pale white and the scar of remembrance was painted elegantly on her lips.
"You look beautiful sweetheart," Padme Amidala-Skywalker told her daughter.
"Thanks mom. Daddy will be here in time, right?" she asked. Padme hugged her daughter.
"Of course he will sweetie. Daddy and I are so proud of you. He wouldn't miss this for the world," Padme said, as her eyes welled with tears. The sandy blonde haired girl rolled her eyes. She looked as much like Padme as Leia did, except her sandy blonde hair and sapphire eyes had been inherited from her father.
"Mom, are you going to start crying?" Anna asked.
"Sorry sweetie. It's just that all my babies are grown up now," Padme sniffed.
"Mom," Anna whined. Leia giggled.
"You should be used to it by now," Leia laughed.
"Now girls, when you become mothers, you will understand," Lea scolded playfully.
"Can we come in?" Jeena asked, as she poked her head through the door.
"Sure kids," Padme replied, as she and her fourteen-year-old brother walked in. Both still had their padawan braids hanging from the side. Jeena looked every bit like her mother, except she had her father's strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. Jayden-Jinn was nearly the spitting image of Obi-Wan at his age, but his hair was a dark caramel like his mother's and the same hazel eyes as his father.
"That's a beautiful dress, Anna," Jeena said, as she admired the elaborate black gown her cousin wore.
"Yeah, except you look really weird with all that makeup," Jayden commented.
"Jayden-Jinn Kenobi! Your cousin is the Queen and you should show a little respect!" Lea scolded.
"Sorry," he mumbled. Anna smiled.
"It's okay Jay, it is a little strange to be wearing all this stuff," Anna replied.
"You're going to be a wonderful Queen, sweetheart. Now, we'll all give you a little time to yourself before all the festivities start," Padme said. Her family members filed out of the Queen's spacious suite and Anna sighed, as she took in all that was happening. Like her other siblings, she'd been trained in the Jedi Arts under her father's tutelage. But like her sister Leia, she took after her mother in a lot of ways. Shortly after her sister was named Senator of Naboo, Anna had run for princess of Theed. She loved being on Naboo and wanted to do so much good for it. So, when her mother suggested that she run for Queen, she had and was elected in a landslide vote. She only hoped that she had what it took to be a good Queen...
Luke brought their ship into the Theed Palace hanger and set it down gently. Artoo rolled down the ramp first, followed by Luke, Anakin, and Obi-Wan.
"I still can't believe my little sister is Queen. That means she can boss me around," Luke said.
"She does anyway," Anakin joked.
"Ha, ha," Luke replied, but then stopped, as he sensed someone he really wanted to see nearby.
"Go on, just don't be late," Anakin said, as he headed into the palace to find his wife.
Luke smiled and dashed around the corner to find his beloved waiting for him.
"Luke! I've missed you," Kira Organa exclaimed, as he took her in his arms and spun her around. He pulled back to gaze at her beauty. She was small and petite, with long blonde curls and soft brown eyes.
"I've missed you too Kira," Luke replied, as he captured her lips in a passionate kiss. She was the Senator of Alderaan and best friend to Leia. And she'd been Luke's girlfriend since she was fifteen. They'd grown up together as friends and their relationship slowly blossomed into love as they had blossomed into young adults.
"Three weeks is much too long to be away from you," Luke said, as he broke the kiss.
"I agree. I say we go to my room...and um, get reacquainted," she replied softly.
"Yeah, we still got a couple hours until this whole coronation thing," Luke replied, with a smile. Kira smiled back and led him inside...
Motee, who sat at the reception desk, looked up as someone entered the office. She smiled, seeing that it was her Lady's husband.
"Master Skywalker, you're back!" Motee said.
"Hello Motee. Is my wife in her office?" he asked.
"Oh yes, rehearsing her speech for the hundredth time," Motee replied.
"Well, then I'll just have to surprise her," Anakin replied, as he walked to Padme's office door.
"Oh and Motee?" he asked.
"Yes sir?" she answered.
"Hold all my wife's calls," he replied. Motee smiled.
"Yes sir," she responded, as he entered.
Padme sat at her desk, reading over her speech again when her office door opened. Her face lit up when she saw that her husband was the one to walk through the door.
"Anakin!" she called, as she jumped up and ran into his arms. He hugged her tightly and spun her around. Their lips met in a passionate kiss that was exchanged for several moments, before they finally broke apart.
"You are the most beautiful woman in the galaxy," he said.
"I doubt that, my love. I am getting old," she replied.
"Oh please, you don't look a day over thirty and you know it too," Anakin replied.
"Perhaps, but that is only because your love keeps me young. And you have not changed much either in the last fifteen years. You're still as handsome as ever," she replied.
"I love you and I missed you terribly," he said.
"I missed you too," she replied, as they kissed again, letting all the love they felt for each other flow so effortlessly between them. Anakin lifted her into his arms and she squealed lightly.
"Ani, we're in my office," Padme said. He smirked.
"That's never stopped us before," he replied
"Anyone could walk in, especially one of the kids," Padme replied.
"I told Motee to hold all calls and visitors. Nobody will be coming in until I let them in," he replied, as he tossed her on the couch.
"You're all mine," Anakin said, as he leaned down and kissed her.
"Mmm...then I surrender to you, my handsome Knight," she replied, with a giggle.
"I like the sound of that," Anakin replied, as his lips descended on hers...
"Dad!" Jayden called, as he ran up and hugged his father.
"Hello Jay, it's good to see you," Obi-Wan said, as he hugged his son.
"Dad, we saw you and uncle Anakin on the Holonet! You freed all those slaves!" Jayden said.
"Yes, it was very rewarding work too," Obi-Wan replied.
"Daddy!" Jeena called, as she hugged her father tightly.
"Hello Jeena," Obi-Wan replied, as he hugged his little girl, who was not so little anymore.
"Jayden, Jeena, please go finish getting ready for the coronation tonight," Lea said, as she approached. The both obeyed and went back to their rooms.
"Hello, my love," Lea said, as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Hello to you too," Obi-Wan replied, as their lips met passionately.
"I missed you," Lea told him.
"I missed you too, my love," he replied, as he kissed her again.
"You look a little tired from the trip. Let me make you some caf," Lea said, as they went to the kitchen.
"Well, you know how I hate flying, especially with a Skywalker," he replied. Lea giggled.
"Anakin let Luke fly again, didn't he?" she asked.
"Yes, and he's just as bad as his father," Obi-Wan replied. Lea handed him a cup of the steaming liquid.
"I need to finish ironing your formal robes for tonight," Lea told him, as she kissed his cheek and went in the other room.
Just thirty minutes before the coronation celebration began, Anna sat in front of her vanity, as her handmaidens finished putting on the elaborate headdress she was to wear with her gown. She was nervous, but her mother had assured her that this was normal. There was a knock at the door and one of her young handmaidens went to deal with the visitor.
"I am sorry, but her majesty cannot have any visitors at this hour," the handmaiden called through the door.
"Oh, I think you can make a small exception for her majesty's father," Anakin's voice called from the other side.
"Daddy! Let him in," she ordered to her handmaiden. Despite her bulky headdress and gown, she ran up to her father and hugged him tightly.
"Goodness Anna, you look just like your mother did when she was Queen," Anakin said, as he pulled back to look at her.
"Thanks daddy," she replied.
"I'm so proud of you, baby girl. I'll see you a few minutes. I have to get back in line for the procession," he said, as he made a quick exit.
"My Queen, are you ready?" one of her handmaidens asked. Anna smiled.
"I am now," she replied.
Theed Palace was bustling with activity and excitement, as Noble people from Naboo and around the galaxy gathered to see the Chancellor's daughter crowned Queen. Kira Organa stood next to her father Bail near the front of the ball room. Many other notable Senators had attended as well and many rulers of Naboo's allies had come to meet and welcome the new Queen. Shmi Skywalker-Lars and Ruwee and Jobal Naberrie sat near the front as well, being that they were family. Cliegg was not with him, for Shmi had lost him to heart failure five years earlier. Behind them sat Owen, Beru, Darred, Sola, Ryoo and Pooja. At the entrance, a tall blonde man surveyed the room with careful scrutiny.
"Your majesty, I still do not understand what we are doing on this backwater planet!" the dark haired man next to him spouted.
"I am simply here to offer my congratulations to the Chancellor on her daughter's election," the blonde man replied.
"You could have done that over a comm channel, yet we are here," his aide replied.
"If you must know, Jaren, it is the Chancellor's daughter that has brought me here. Do you have any idea what a union between us would mean? They are the most powerful family in the galaxy and I wish to win her heart," the man replied.
"Prince Isolder, I am well aware of the immense power this could grant us both in the Senate and the galaxy. But marrying a child Queen?" Jaren asked.
"I am not interested in the child, Jaren. It is her older sister that I have my eye on. Her beauty is as exquisite as her mother's and she is a powerful voice in the Senate. She would make the perfect princess for me," Isolder replied.
"Have you thought about getting this little proposal past her father?" Jaren asked.
"Do not worry about the courtship. I plan to woo the Senator and her father will not stand in the way of her happiness," Isolder replied.
"And what happens if the esteemed Senator Skywalker rejects you?" Jaren asked.
"She won't," Isolder replied confidently.
"You would do well not to cross her father, your highness," Jaren warned.
"That is exactly why I plan to make a good impression on him this evening," Isolder replied, with the upmost confidence. The room quieted, as the procession began...
Han Solo cranked the wrench on the bolt he was fastening and wiped the sweat from his brow. He stepped back and looked proudly at his very own ship, The Millennium Falcon. Han heard a rawl from the other side.
"How's it coming, Chewy?!" he called. Chewy rawled that he was all finished.
"Good, now we can get outta here. If I don't pay Jabba what I owe him, he'll have me for breakfast," Han said. Chewy rawled again.
"Look, I told ya, I ain't gonna ask them for the money!" Han snapped. He threw his towel down and ran a hand through his hair. Fifteen years ago, he'd entered the Republic army with Anakin's recommendation. But, the job had not gone the way Han would have liked. He still had a big problem with authority and he eventually got himself kicked out. He'd been so ashamed that he had refused to go back to Anakin and Padme for help. They would have certainly been disappointed in him and that was just something he didn't think he could handle. So, when Lando offered to let him stay in Cloud City with him, he had taken up that offer. That was where he'd won The Millennium Falcon from and had quickly started his own smuggling business to make ends meet. Unfortunately, he somehow found himself mixed up with Jabba the Hut and now his skin was on the line if he didn't pay Jabba back the money he owed him. To do so, he would have to find a pretty good job.
"Solo!" he heard a gruff voice call.
"Jabba!" Han greeted nervously. Jabba spoke in Huttese and patted Han's shoulder.
"Look Jabba, I'll get you the money. I just need a little more time," Han replied.
"If you don't, then you'll be Bantha poodoo," Jabba spoke.
"Look, I got some pretty powerful friends. I'm sure they got a job I can do and I'll have that money for ya in no time," Han replied.
"You better, Solo," Jabba answered, as she slithered away.
"Great, now what am I gonna do?" Han asked to no one in particular.
"We could go find your friend, Skywalker. If he's like what you've told me, then he'll help you, no matter what you've done," Chewy rawled.
"Guess we got no choice. Set our course for Naboo," Han replied reluctantly. Chewy patted Han's shoulder and walked up the Falcon's ramp.
"I'm gonna pay Jabba his money and then I'm never comin' back to this sand box," Han said, as he walked up the ramp too, ready to head to Naboo...