Padme was gone. His children Luke and Leia gone with her...driven to their deaths and it was his fault. There was no one to love anymore... to hold in his arms... his empire meant nothing at all with no one to share the spoils with. He only meant to prove his love worthy of the senator, the queen she was. Who was he but a runt from the outskirts of the outer rim? From the sand dunes of Tattoine?

The days, weeks, months, and eventually years passed by like sand in an hour glass. Though, he could hardly feel the hours, minutes, the seconds, spent in meditation in his room at the Jedi Temple. A decade a of healing and striving to redeem himself with good work and deeds, with Obi Wan's help. Was it possible to made whole? To be washed clean? Guilt was of the dark side. Guilt had made him do many bad things. It was human to have feelings. But he was no ordinary human, he was the chosen one.

As Supreme Chancellor of the New Jedi Order, his only role in the temple was to teach the most advanced of their pupils, with Obi Wan beside him as second in command. He was the wise one. Thanks to him, the padawans had matured significantly, and in the years forward, would soon become full Jedi Knights. But Anakin had himself to thank for the cleansing of the temple and the end of corruption even if his deeds were done in malice and selfishness. He had united dark and light. There was nothing to fear anymore. Where Obi Wan was wisdom, he was power.

Anakin imagined Luke and Leia among them at the Jedi Temple, perhaps, fourteen years old and strong in the Force... their powers double of what his might be.

Sometimes, he saw their mother, still beautiful, a line or two along her lovely porcelin face, beside him, encouraging him to be the best Jedi... or man he could be.

Anakin laid his face into his open palm. The Chosen One myth was only that. He was only human. He would mourn Padme until he united with her on the other side... the day he died. But his blasted Force powers would never let him die! Honorably... on the battlefield. Its unwanted guidance spurring him to victory in each perilious mission he set himself upon, no matter the suicide mission he always prevailed!.

Sensing the arrival of his second in command, he sensed Master Obi Wan Kenobi's arrival, having forseen the Jedi Master had grave news that he was soon to announce.

"There's trouble near the Outer Rim?"

Obi Wan stroked his beard, pacing into the room to sit on what used to be Yoda's pod. "Indeed, there is, Anakin."

"But... there's something you do not wish to tell me. That you are afraid to tell me."

Obi Wan sighed. "Because I wish to protect you."

"I don't need your protection, Master."

"Very well...but this..."

"Please, Master!"

"I know how much Padme's death has tortured you-"

"What about Padme?" Anakin interrupted.

Obi Wan sighed again.

"The dark storm trooper..."

"Where? He could tell us what happened to Padme...this is...good news! If only to have some closure, is it not?"

"No, Anakin," said Obi Wan, nodding his head. "I sense this information will lead you to an even darker place."

"He used Padme and the children to take revenge against me. I have moved on. I've meditated each day since they have gone, to bring balance and peace to my mind and heart. If there were anything to make me evil again, it would have happened by now."

"I understand. But we don't know that the dark storm trooper killed Padme, Anakin. Only that her ship crashed and that there were no survivors. We can't know whether he meant to do it on purpose."

Anakin tensed. "There's more," he replied.

Obi Wan took a deep breath. "Yes... there were two dark Jedi with him. And they've amassed an army on Naboo."

"On Naboo?" Anakin's heart began to race. He had not been to the planet in years since Padme's Memorial certainly not after. How could he set foot on its soil? To war with the enemy who destroyed her? Padme opposed war. She would not accept it even as a last resort. He wouldn't descretate her memory in carrying out an operation there.

"It appears so. I know how you feel about Naboo."

"YOu cannot possibly know how I feel, Master."

"Remember, Padme was my friend. As close to my heart as you have been."

"I know," Anakin said, rising from his chair, long black cloak swirling about him. He strode before the expansive window that overlooked Coruscant's evening sky, eyes thoughtful. Ten long years of wanting, longing for Padme and searching the galaxy for her elusive kidnappers who yet remained a threat to the Republic, silently plotting to resurface, had done so nearly ten years to the day. For him, it was a New Hope.

What hope it gave him, he remained unsure.

"I have a plan. We'll lead the enemy away from Naboo. To Deserea. And go to battle with them there. We'll use the clone troopers to ambush them on Western Deserea."

Anakin, ever the tactitian, used the force to darken the room and initiate a holomap of Naboo and its nearby Moon.

"Tread carefully, Anakin. We want to arrest the dark storm trooper. Not kill him."

"He deserves to die," Anakin replied, arms crossed over his chest, face resolute.

Obi Wan gave him a chiding look. "I sense there is more to this than what we are able to see in the Force."

Anakin laid a friendly hand on Obi Wan Kenobi's arm, to draw from his gift of foresight and see what his own swirling emotions prevented him from seeing.

"I feel Padme in the Force."

Drawing his hand away from Obi Wan, an intense feeling swelled in Anakin's chest. "I feel it too. I wonder, Master...if Padme is alive?" a look of hope lit his face.

"We'll know soon enough, Anakin. IF she is not, perhaps she is reaching out to us from the other side. To direct us to her killer."