Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
AN: Here's part 4! Thanks for reading and I'm glad everyone is enjoying this so much. And now, the conclusion of DD&D!
Dinner, Dancing...and Danger?
"And the lady wins again," the dealer announced, as he scooped the credits toward the winning patron with his baton. Mace shook his head slightly.
"Congratulations to you again. You may deal us out," Mace said.
"Certainly sir," the dealer replied, as Mace stood. Zia took his arm and they quietly walked toward the entrance.
"It was just as Obi-Wan said. None of the hands went as they should have," Mace said.
"Then they are rigging the tables," Zia replied.
"It would seem so," Mace stated.
"What now?" she asked.
"We need to find the money room," Mace replied, as they started off through the atrium of the resort. One of the guards near the entrance raised his comlink to his lips.
"Sir, there's another Jedi here," he said into the comlink.
"Yes, Mace Windu, I presume, from what I saw on the cameras. I'm sending someone to deal with him and his lovely companion. Remain at your post," Garret responded.
"Yes sir," the guard answered.
Padme's breathing was shallow and blackness surrounded her, as she banged her shackled wrists on the side of the crate as hard as she could.
"Ani..." she called out to him through their bond, as she slowly faded into unconsciousness...
Padme found herself in a bright white plane of existence. She was dressed in a flowing white gown.
"Am I dead?" she asked.
"Heavens no, Paddy," a woman's voice said. It was a voice Padme had not heard since she was thirteen.
"Grandma?" Padme gasped. Leia Winama smiled.
"Hello darling," she said.
"But if you're here...then I must be dead," Padme said.
"No...you're not dead. This is just a place between life and death. A place in your subconscious where memories are kept. Good memories...and bad memories. You must not die, my child. Your family needs you very much. You must fight to come back to them. The fate of the galaxy depends upon it," grandmother Winama said.
"Why would it depend on whether I live or die?" Padme asked.
"Because your husband is what stands between the evil from triumphing. Without you, he will be lost and so the galaxy with him," Leia replied.
"Fight? What must I fight?" Padme asked.
"Your bad memories will fight to keep you here. They will seek to bind you to death with fear. You must not let them," Leia said, as she faded away.
"Grandma...don't leave!" Padme called.
"Poor, sweet Padme, all alone," an evil voice hissed. Padme whipped around and was met with the person she wished she could erase from her memory and her past.
"No...you're not real. I'm not afraid of you anymore!" Padme yelled.
"The quiver in your voice suggests otherwise. You'll never truly escape me, Padme. You'll always belong to me. I shall haunt you forever," Palo sneered.
"I was never yours, you sick bastard!" Padme screamed.
"Keep telling yourself that. Remember those nights we shared," he goaded. Padme covered her ears and back away from him.
"NOOO!" she screamed in protest.
"Remember that night I made you mine. Remember how I took you with ruthless glee. Remember how you begged and screamed for me to stop! Remember how I was in control and how I made sure you knew your place!" Palo screamed in her face. Tears slipped down Padme's cheeks, as she remembered him tearing her clothes off and raping her violently, ripping her virginity away from her.
"That's right...you remember. I remember too. I remember reveling in your screaming and the way it felt to make you mine!" he laughed maniacally.
"No...NOOO!" Padme screamed in protest.
"Remember the next night, darling? How you dared to defy me! I shoved you to the floor and showed you who was in control again. I claimed you again. You were mine long before you were his...and you'll forever belong to me!" Palo screamed at her. Padme's thoughts snapped away from those horrible nights with Palo and to her beloved husband at the mention of him. She had so many horrible memories with Palo and with her father. She remembered his rage and tantrums. She remembered his brutal whippings when she'd disobeyed him or done something he did not like. But her good memories now far out shined the bad. The memories she had made with Ani came rushing to her. All their wonderful, beautiful moments together. Their five beautiful children...she could see them all being born again, with Ani right by her side.
"He's not here to save you this time!" Palo yelled. Padme focused her thoughts on Anakin, not listening to Palo anymore.
"Tell me where you are, angel," she heard her beloved's voice sound from another plane. Her head turned up to the blank white sky.
"Ani...oh hurry please. I'm at the bottom level in some docking bay!" she cried.
"He's not going to make it," Palo goaded.
"I'm not afraid of you anymore. You're dead and you can't hurt me anymore!" Padme screamed. The image of Palo vanished, as did all the bad memories that had resurfaced. Padme smiled, but suddenly felt tired and weak. She collapsed to the white ground.
"Hurry Ani...please..." she said weakly.
"Obi-Wan!" Mace called, as they spotted him and Sola sprinting through the vendor market.
"Master Windu, Lady Jade," Obi-Wan acknowledged.
"You were right about the Casino," Mace said.
"Mace and I are off to find the money room. Where's Anakin and Padme?" Zia asked.
"Padme disappeared earlier and Anakin sensed she was in danger," Obi-Wan informed them.
"Anakin headed down this passage," Sola pointed.
"Employees only. I bet we'll find out what's going on down there," Mace said. Obi-Wan nodded.
"Perhaps Padme already did...and that's why she is missing. She found out something they didn't want her to," Zia suggested.
"It's a valid theory," Obi-Wan said, as he led them toward the passage. A burly guard, with a full head of black hair stood in their way.
"You will let us pass," Mace ordered, using a Force suggestion. The guard smirked.
"Your mind tricks don't work on my kind, Jedi scum," the guard snarled, as he punched Mace in the gut. The Jedi was sent flying into the far wall from the Force of the man's brute strength.
"Mace!" Zia cried, as she ran to him. Obi-Wan whipped around to the guard, pushing Sola behind him.
"So...they've built another one," Obi-Wan concluded. The android snorted.
"You're quick, Jedi. You and your friends won't be getting past me," he smirked, as he drew his light whip. Obi-Wan ushered Sola off to the side.
"We shall see," Obi-Wan responded, as his light saber engaged in battle with the android's light whip...
Anakin shoved Malachai off the lift and dragged him along.
"Where is this docking bay?" Anakin snapped.
"At...the end of the corridor," Malachai sputtered. They finally reached the double sliding doors and Anakin thrust his saber through the control panel, which was asking him for an access code. He pried the doors open with Force enhanced strength, as Malachai watched in awe. He grabbed the Senator by the collar again and dragged him along. Anakin was met with the sight of hundreds of crates, all identical. Hundreds were filled with credits, he was sure, and only one contained his angel, who was slowly running out of air.
"Tell me which one she's in, you bastard!" Anakin demanded, as he hauled the frightened man off his feet by the collar.
"I...I don't remember," he stuttered.
"Liar!" Anakin yelled.
"It's too late. She's run out of...air by now," Malachai replied in fear. Anakin angrily shoved his knee into Malachai's gut, dropping the fool to the floor. As Malachai climbed to his knees, he screamed in immense pain, as the young Jedi slammed his elbow into Malachai's nose, breaking it. Malachai's hands and face were covered in his own blood.
"You better hope I find her alive...or I'll send you to Sith hell when I kill you with my bare hands!" Anakin yelled, as he turned to the crates.
"PADME!" he screamed, anguish filling his voice. He was met with silence.
"PADME!" he screamed again, as he clamped his eyes shut tightly.
"Please help me find her..." he pleaded to the Force. It answered its Chosen hero and an aura of blinding white power surrounded Anakin, as his eyes darkened into a brilliant, cobalt blue...
Mace and Obi-Wan stood together and brought their blades down on the android as hard as they could. He only laughed, as he parried both, pressing against them with his oppressive strength. Obi-Wan cried out in pain, as the android kicked him in the gut, which sent him flying into the far wall. Sola cried out and ran to him, as he tried to shake off the pain. Mace continued to fight, evading the androids' blows, but even Vaapad and his Force enhanced agility were no match for something so strong. Mace lost his footing and tumbled to the floor, before he was kicked away. Zia knelt beside him, as the android approached and emptied an entire round of blaster bolts into the thing. But it did nothing. She yelped when he yanked the blaster from her hand and crushed it. Suddenly, they heard a mocking clap
"Impressive indeed, Master Windu. You as well, Master Kenobi. You put forth a valiant effort...but I'm afraid your struggle is futile," Garret Wells said.
"Garret Wells, I should have known you were behind something like this," Mace spat, as the android placed him in a pair of stun cuffs and Zia as well.
"Yes... working for the Imperial Underground now. No doubt, they are the ones that sprung your filthy carcass from prison," Obi-Wan spat. Garret chuckled in amusement.
"You Jedi certainly provide excellent entertainment," he said, with a smirk.
"Where is my sister, you coward!" Sola demanded. Garret's smirked widened.
"I'm afraid the lovely Padme knew too much and met her untimely end. I'm afraid she'll already be dead when her husband finds her," Garret sneered.
"You're lying!" Sola screamed, as she and Obi-Wan were placed in stuff cuffs.
"I assure you I am not, my dear. But just to make sure, we'll go see that the job is finished. Then, the rest of you can join Padme in her fate. You'll suffocate to death inside my airtight crates as well. And my strong friend here will take care of hero boy also. Nothing will stop my operation...especially not the lot of you. Senator Skywalker got what was coming to her and so will her husband, along with all of you. Bring them!" Garret ordered. Several of his guards appeared to escort them. Garret led the way, while the android brought up the rear.
Anakin's light saber practically blinded Malachai, as it extended forth, lit with a brilliant white blaze. Anakin made several powerful swipes, causing flails of energy to whip about through the air. Guided by the Force and Anakin's undying love for Padme, the energy flails ripped through the hundreds upon hundreds of crates. Credit chips exploded everywhere, raining down upon them, as their containers were obliterated into nothingness. When the blinding energy, smoke, and dust cleared, Malachai was astonished to see only one crate in the center. Anakin leapt toward it and sliced the lock open, before flinging the lid off. He lifted his unconscious wife out of the crate and laid her down, yanking the gag from her mouth. He breathed a sigh of relief, as he found a faint pulse. She had hung on long enough for him to find her. He lifted her into his lap, and tilted her head, as he breathed into her mouth.
"Come on angel...breathe," he said. After four breaths of his own air, Padme gasped and coughed, as she opened her eyes.
"Hey there beautiful," he whispered tenderly.
"Oh Ani..." she said weakly, as she threw her arms around his neck.
"Hey...it's okay. You didn't think I'd really let you go, did you?" he asked. She looked up at him and smiled.
"Not even for a second," she replied. He smiled and pressed his lips tenderly to hers in a loving kiss.
"Well, well, the charming Knight has rescued his princess again," Garret said mockingly. Anakin glared up at him.
"What the hell is he doing out of prison?" Anakin wondered.
"He's behind this, Ani. He's working for the Imperial Underground," Padme warmed.
"Your mouthy little wife is right. This is my operation and I'll not let anyone get in the way," Garret said, as his guards dragged their prisoners in, followed by the tall, burly android, who had captured them. Garret smirked at them.
"You two are as predictable as a fairy tale. But I'm afraid this time, you won't get your happy ending," Garret sneered, as the android stepped forth. Anakin helped Padme up and she stumbled, still dizzy from the near suffocation she had suffered. Anakin lifted her into his arms and set her down against the wall.
"Stay here," he said, as he kissed her forehead and stood up, igniting his blade. The android twirled his light whip and launched at Anakin. The young Jedi met him halfway, his blade shimmering from sapphire to blinding, glowing white. Anakin let the Force fill him in order to match the android's oppressive strength. Anakin evaded several of the artificial man's punches, but was caught off guard when his legs were swept out from underneath him. Anakin staggered to keep his balance, giving the bounty hunter an opening. He wrapped his light whip around the young Jedi and Anakin screamed in pain, as he was electrocuted mercilessly by the weapon.
"Ani!" Padme screamed, as she stumbled to her feet. Garret stopped her and yanked her by the arm.
"Sorry my dear, but you're not going anywhere," Wells said, as he held her wrists tightly, as the battle between Anakin and the android raged on. Anakin writhed on the floor in immense pain, as Wells' lackey tortured him with delight. Padme angrily kneed Garret in the groin and broke free from his hold, as he dropped to his knees in pain. She grabbed the blaster from his belt and shot the four guards with expert aim.
"Padme...behind you!" Obi-Wan warned. Padme started to turn, just as Garret grabbed her by the hair and yanked her toward him. Padme struggled against him, as Anakin fought through the pain of the light whip's bondage. He saw Padme kicking at Garret and screaming, as he manhandled her. He saw Garret backhand her, before wrapping his hand around her throat. And Anakin saw red, causing his power to erupt. The light whip around him suddenly shattered and disintegrated, as he pulled himself to his feet. The android looked at him in disbelief, as he tried to figure out what had happened to his weapon. The young Jedi stared at the manmade monstrosity before him with a menacing stare. The android suddenly knew what fear must be, as he watched the young Jedi charge at him with his blazing white saber. Two clean, powerful swipes from the Force charged blade was all it took to cease the artificial human's functioning. What was left of the android fell to a smoking heap on the floor. Only charred wiring and blackened pieces remained of the once supposedly indestructible creation.
"Let her go Wells," Anakin demanded. Garret sneered and drew a vibro knife from his belt, placing it at Padme's throat.
"Take one more step and I'll slit her pretty throat," Wells threatened.
"Put the knife down and let her go. If you don't, you're a dead man," Anakin warned.
"And go back to prison? No, I'd rather die and I think I'll take her with me!" Garret sneered, as he pressed the blade closer to Padme. But suddenly, he felt as though his hand was being crush. He screamed in pain and dropped the blade. Padme wrenched away from him, but not before kneeing him in the groin again. Garret raised his blaster at her, as he doubled over in pain.
"See you in Sith hell...you little bitch," Garret yelled. As he was about to squeeze the trigger, he saw a flash of sapphire out of the corner of his eye. He turned and screamed, as he saw Anakin's blade spiraling brilliantly toward him. His scream was ceased, as the blade severed his head from his body, before Anakin recalled it and used it to free their friends. Padme ran into his arms, as he extinguished the blade and he spun her around, before kissing her passionately.
"He was wrong. We are getting our happy ending," she said.
"And we always will," he replied, with a smile. Obi-Wan and Mace smirked, as they approached the terrified Senator Malachai.
"Well Senator, it seems that you are very much under arrest," Obi-Wan said.
"No...it was all Wells' doing. He...was forcing me to work for him!" Machius stammered
"I'm sure. Your cowardice forced you to do a lot of things. And you're still under arrest for all of them," Mace stated, as he shoved Malachai toward the exit.
"Just a minute, Master Windu," Padme called, as she approached. Malacahi looked hopeful for a second, which made what Padme did next all the more funny. Padme drew her fist back and punched him in the right eye, adding what would be a black eye to his already broken nose. Malachai screamed in pain, as he held his eye.
"Rot in Sith hell, you bastard," she said, as Mace led him out, followed by Zia. Sola hugged her tightly.
"I was so worried," she said.
"I'm sorry Sola, but everything's okay again," Padme assured her. Anakin nodded.
"You blew this investigation wide open, angel. But I'm sure the Holonet hounds are all over this by now, so let's go get that over with," Anakin said, as the four of them followed Mace and Zia.
After wading through the Holonet and curious patrons, Malachai was taken in for interrogation and lock up at the prison, where he would await trial. Bail promised to release a statement to the press within the next day, explaining what had transpired. The Casino manager was promised only probation, if he agreed to cooperate fully. Calin Calrissian, a native of Bespin, had been hired originally by Malachai. He agreed to run the establishment legitimately under the scrutiny of the Jedi. Calin was grateful for the Jedi's mercy, saying he had only taken the job to provide for his young son, Lando, who lived in the hotel with him. Anakin sensed he was telling the truth and being a father himself, he decided to give Mr. Calrissian a second chance. After evening meal and debriefing with the Council, Anakin and Padme retired, as did the others. Now, Anakin lounged comfortably in the Jacuzzi. He watched Padme, who was still in the bedroom, trying to get rid of Sabe on the holocom. Her friend had called, of course, to pump her for details about Malachai's arrest, while giving her a monthly report as well. He smirked, as he listened to the conversation. Sabe could be even bolder than Sola at times.
"Wow...so you finally got the slimy womp rat. I wish I could have been there to see you punch him," Sabe said.
"You would have blackened the other eye if you were," Padme replied.
"I would have enjoyed it immensely too. And I hope Garret Wells burns in Sith hell," Sabe replied.
"He will, I'm sure," Padme replied.
"So...now that business is out of the way, tell me all about your romantic weekend with your gorgeous hubby," Sabe gushed. Padme sighed.
"You are as bad as Sola," Padme scolded lightly.
"It's nothing to be silent about, Padme. If I had a husband that looked as good as yours, I'd be sexing him all the time too," Sabe said. Padme's mouth dropped open in mock outrage.
"Sabe!" she protested.
"Oh please Padme, you really shouldn't be so uptight," Sabe teased.
"I'm not," Padme said, crossing her arms over her chest in a huff.
"Uh huh...so how many times have you had sex this weekend, Mrs. Skywalker?" Sabe retorted.
"Like I would tell you, nosy," Padme retorted back, making Sabe laugh.
"That much, huh?" she teased again, as she caught sight of the brown material covering Padme's shoulders, as she shifted in her chair.
"Padme...are you wearing Anakin's clothes?" Sabe asked. Padme flushed again and Sabe laughed.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry milady. Did I interrupt something?" she teased
"If you're finished giving your report Lady Sabe, then I believe we are finished for the day," Padme stated.
"Of course milady. I'll let you get back to making your husband a happy man. Do him good and get some for me too while you're at it," Sola teased mercilessly.
"Goodbye Sabe," Padme said in exasperation, as the holocom screen went dark.
"Don't laugh," Padme called, as she heard her husband snicker. He smirked, as she sauntered into the fresher. She was indeed wearing only his tunic, which was much too big for her...and nothing beneath it. He felt a burst of heat surge through his body. Force...did she know what she did to him? He wondered this, as he watched her sit down on the edge and brush her fingers through his bangs, before kissing him tenderly. Anakin stroked her creamy thigh and placed kisses along her shapely leg. Without warning her, he put his arm around her waist and pulled her into the water with him. She yelped in surprise at first, but then settled into his arms, as he kissed her softly. She held his damp face in her hands, tenderly stroking his cheeks, as they stared into each other's eyes.
"You know, you just got your tunic all wet," she said. He slipped it off her shoulders and dropped it to the floor, outside the basin.
"It'll dry," he replied, as their lips crashed together in a searing kiss, as passion consumed them...
"Wells is dead," Lady Ziya informed her employer. Sate Pestage sipped at his brandy.
"Yes...well, he was a disaster to begin with.Fortunately, we still have plenty of places we can stage on Coruscant, thanks to the deal we made with the De'reux family. We will find a way to eventually gain control of the restort again," Pestage stated.
"What of Malachai?" she asked.
"Let him rot in his prison cell. He's useless. If he starts talking too much...we'll have him taken care of. That will be all. I must speak to the Master..."
The next day, as a show of good faith, Calin Calrissian had reserved the picnic gardens for their family and ensured complete privacy. Anakin and Padme loved taking the children on picnics, but weren't able to go to Coruscant's main park area very often, for once the Holonet discovered them, they were all over. Only when they were on Naboo, were they able to take the kids to the meadow for picnics, so today was something they were looking forward to. Shmi and Elana were bringing all the food and would be here soon, along with their husbands and the children. Padme had invited Mace and Zia to join them with Mara. And Bail and Breha to join them with Natalie. Anakin could tell how excited she was, as he watched her spread out several big blankets on the grassy knoll. Padme loved their family get together's. He figured it was because her own family life had lacked so much of this kind of closeness and she craved these chances for them to be together like this. He smiled and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing her cheek gently.
"I love seeing you so happy," he said. She smiled and turned to him.
"Well, I'm always happy when I'm with you. And I'm always happy when we're all together like this," she replied. He smiled and kissed her tenderly.
"Mommy!" she heard two little voices call. She and Anakin knelt down, as Luke and Leia came bounding toward them.
"There's two of my angels," she said, hugging and kissing them both.
"We missed you," Leia said, as she hugged her father.
"We missed you too, princess," he said, kissing her hair.
"Daddy!" Kimberly called, as his father approached with their middle child in his arms.
"There's my tiny angel," Anakin said, as he accepted her from his father and held her. His mother rolled up with the double hover stroller with their youngest twins, Natalie, and Mara in it. They set all the children out to play, while they began setting the food out. The rest of the day was filled with good food, togetherness, much laughter, and much love. Evil had once again failed to prevail over love...
Thanks for reading everybody! That concludes this vignette. Be looking for the next one soon. It will be titled Winter Festival: A Forever Destined Vignette. It will be probably one chapter, possibly two. The Skywalker and Kenobi families journey to Naboo for the annual Winter Festival Celebration. This is a fic in honor of the holiday season and can be enjoyed no matter what you celebrate, if anything, this time of year. Look for it soon:)