Epilogue

Years after their Jedi Trials, Padmé would still marvel over how calm Anakin remained in the events that followed. Master Yoda had granted both her and Anakin the rank of Jedi Knight on their journey back to Coruscant, but with their newly revealed relationship that rank would be called into question once they reached the Jedi Temple and had to face the Council. Love may have saved them from the Sith, but it was unclear how that would settle with the Jedi code.

The Jedi code had been drilled into both Anakin and Padmé since they were small children. Attachment was forbidden and what Anakin and Padmé had discovered they had was certainly an attachment. They may have tried to hide their feelings through their arguments and squabbles, but in the end they could not resist their true feelings. However that did not change the fact that their relationship was against the Jedi Code and although neither Anakin nor Padmé had any wish to be without the other, they also wished to remain in the Jedi Order.

Padmé spent the entire trip back to Coruscant fretting over every possible income while Anakin seemed to remain unfazed. Next to them R2D2 seemed pleased that Anakin and Padmé were both together, but irritated that it had taken them so long. However, he seemed to forgive both of them once Anakin promised to fix him up properly once they were home. Aside from that he and Padmé remained silent for most of the trip home. He simply sat beside her holding her hand in his, while stealing an occasional kiss. He did not seem to care what the outcome would be as long as he could spend time with her. Deep down Padmé knew all she wanted was to stay with Anakin, but the thought of doing it outside the Jedi Order was a little difficult. She loved Anakin dearly and would leave the Order if that was the Council's decision, but she could not shake the feeling that they were destined to do more for the Order.

While Anakin and Padmé travelled back to Coruscant with Master Yoda, Masters Kenobi and Ti remained on Yavin to help the Sith's prisoners get back to their homes. With the death of the Sith, his control over his prisoners was broken and the potion that had induced their stupor eventually wore off. Most people were unhurt, but both Masters Kenobi and Ti insisted that Sabé receive medical treatment at the Jedi Temple for the trauma she had suffered at the Sith's hands. However, even she healed with time and eventually became a respected Senator from her home system of Naboo. She helped rebuild the Republic's reputation after its unwitting rule under the Sith's control.

When Anakin and Padmé first arrived at the Jedi Temple they were initially greeted as heroes for their defeat of the Sith Lord as the Force has signaled to all Jedi about their victory. However as the Jedi in the Temple took notice of Anakin and Padmé's linked hands as they strolled towards the Council chambers whispers started to follow their steps. The whispers caused Padmé's heart rate to increase as hers and Anakin's futures became an unknown, but beside her Anakin held his head high seemingly determined to let nothing stand between him and the woman he had grown to love. His calmness irritated Padmé slightly who could not understand how he could take all of this so casually. She wanted to argue with him, but decided they had done plenty of that to last them awhile.

Padmé expected the vote against her and Anakin to happen as soon as they entered the Council chambers, but instead the Council debriefed them on their Jedi Trial and like Master Yoda congratulated the both of them on their successful completion of their mission. Padmé spent the entire time waiting for the Council to change their tone and banish both her and Anakin from the Temple. She almost wanted to ask them about it hoping to just get it over with, but every time she tried to speak up, Anakin would tighten his grasp on her hand as if signaling her to wait.

"You two should be commended on facing the greatest evil any Jedi has ever had to face. There are not many that survive an encounter with a Sith Lord, and your teamwork in the face of adversity is commendable." Master Windu spoke on behalf of the rest of the Council.

"It was not just teamwork." Anakin spoke up for the first time, his head turning towards Padmé as he spoke. To emphasize his point he kissed the top of her forehead, causing her to blush scarlet.

"No, that much is obvious." Master Windu spoke. Out of the corner of her eye, Padmé could see his eyebrow quirk which made her blush deepen. She scowled slightly up at Anakin, irritated that he was not blushing like her.

"You both know that the Jedi Code states…"

Padmé interrupted Master Windu before he could continue, she knew this was inevitable, but she had hoped to avoid it. Drawing in a large breath to calm her nerves she repeated the Jedi code. However as her mind skipped ahead to the words that would come next an idea started to form in her head. "Attachment is forbidden, possession is forbidden…."

"But compassion which I would define as unconditional love is essential to a Jedi's life…." Anakin stopped Padmé's speech; she flashed him a look of annoyance that he would do so when she had just had a break through. She cast him a stern glance as she finished her own thought.

"So you might say that we are encouraged to love."

A moment of silence filled the room before the holographic image of Masters Kenobi and Ti, who were still helping with the prisoners on Yavin, spoke up. "Very wise Padawans." Both Anakin and Padmé spun around to see warm smiles on their Masters' faces.

"Learn something, all Jedi do, from the trials." Master Yoda added with a nod before a murmur rang through the Council as a brief debate occurred. Padmé tried to focus on what was being said, but she was not able to piece together the Council's final decision.

"Master Kenobi, Master Ti? Is there something you would like to say to your former padawans?" Master Windu gave the floor to the young Jedi's mentors.

A fissure of dread and sadness ran down Padmé's spine as the term "former padawans", and for the first time she could feel Anakin tense at the words, finally showing the appropriate emotion for what they were facing. As if to confirm his earlier calm and confidence, he had not expected the verdict they both knew the Council was about to deliver.

Master Ti was the first to speak. "The Jedi Code is designed to guide and protect the members of the Order from the darkness we battle. We are agents of the light side of the Force and the rules are meant to keep us from straying into darkness. We have never condoned relationships as it was believed they would cloud our judgment." Padmé squeezed Anakin's hand in reflex to her Master's word. A part of her wanted to hang her head, but while the Jedi Council had made its decision so did she. She did not like giving up this duty she had trained for all her life, but she could not imagine doing it without Anakin at her side. It had taken her too long to figure out what he really meant to her and she refused to give him up now. She turned her gaze to his, flashing him a warm smile, pleased that it seemed to bring a sparkle to his own eyes.

Master Ti continued her speech. "That being said, sometimes out rules are not the correct path." Watching both of their eyes widen in shock, Anakin and Padmé turned to Master Ti to see her smiling at them. "Love is a pure emotion grounded in the light side of the Force and your love for one another more than proved to be stronger than the darkness of the Sith. I am pleased that the two of you could finally set aside your petty arguments and see your feelings for what they truly are."

Obi-Wan chuckled slightly at Anakin and Padmé's stunned faces. "Do hold off the wedding until Master Ti and I can return. We would like to celebrate your union and this new chapter of the Jedi with the rest of the Order."

At Obi-Wan's statement there was a smattering of chuckles before the Council broke into applause for the two newly knighted Jedi who would bring forth a new future for the entire Order. For a brief moment of disbelief, Anakin and Padmé stared at their former masters in shock before finally turning towards one another and giving into their happiness and coming together in one of the many kisses they would share in their lifetime.

Anakin and Padmé's unconventional Jedi trial seemed to spur an atmosphere of greater openness and camaraderie within the Jedi Order. Their wedding would not come for another few months after their knighthood, but it was soon followed by those of other members of the Order. And years later as Anakin and Padmé's twin children grew up with their peers they did so in a changed Order, one that was not rigidly ruled by a code, but one that was ruled by its heart.

The End.