"Earl, stop this!" Leia said.
"Sorry, Leia, but I won't." Earl said, calmly.
Leia sighed. "I will never marry you!"
"Then you will watch your family die."
"That won't happen. You have no idea how powerful we are!" Han said.
"We won't let you get away with this!" Mara said.
Earl laughed with no sign of fear. "I'm sure you'll all try. But, you see, underestimating my powers and abilities will be your downfall."
That sounded familiar to Anakin. Hadn't he spoken similar words before? And where did he end up in? What had those words cost him? Everything. Everything he cared about, and so he knew that they musn't rush into this. Patience was what was needed, just as Obi-Wan has always told him. And so he had an idea.
"Leia." Anakin spoke in her mind, using the force. Leia twitched a little bit so no one, including Earl, noticed. "We need to keep talking to Earl, so when we attack, he won't be expecting it."
"Okay." Leia agreed.
"And Luke..." Anakin now addressed Luke, who was in on the conversation between him and Leia."When I say 'Go,' I want you to break the bars. Can you do that?"
"Yes, Father." Luke said.
"Don't do this, Earl. You're much better than that." Leia said.
"Sorry, Leia. But I don't want to live without you anymore. And I want the man who kept us apart to pay."
"It wasn't Darth Vader that kept us apart. You did. You chose to work for him, knowing that you would put me and all the people I care about at risk. That's what made me leave you in the first place. I would never have been able to be with someone who worked for the Empire."
"Yet you accept the man who has been responsible for the Empire as your father."
"My father was brainwashed by the Emperor. It was complicated. I am not excusing what he's done, but I am saying that he is now a good man and he wants to help restore democracy. He has changed his ways and he is no longer a selfish person. I can't say the same for you."
"You could end this now." Anakin said. "End this and leave us alone forever. You are now free. You can go anywhere you like."
Earl smirked at Anakin. "You're right. I can end this now, and that is what I intend to do."
Anakin saw the evil gleam in Earl's eyes and knew what he meant. He did intend to kill him. "Fine. Kill me, then. Just let everyone else go. They don't deserve to suffer because of my mistakes."
"I will kill you. And everyone else can go if Leia agrees to marry me."
"Why do you want to marry someone who isn't in love with you?" Leia asked.
"Well, you'll have to make me believe it, won't you? Or else you can kiss your family and friends goodbye."
"You will not hurt my family." Anakin said, calmly. "I will never let you do that."
Earl laughed. "Well, that's going to be difficult with you dead."
A flash of green light appeared and the bars surrounding the prisoners were broken. Luke used his lightsaber to break the prison bars and now everyone was free. Earl pulled out his gun, but it was quickly removed by Anakin. Anakin caught the gun and handed it to Padme.
"It'll be like old times." Anakin said as he grinned at his wife. Padme smiled weakly.
Earl pulled out a comlink and spoke into it. "Emergency on top floor."
"What are you doing?" Luke said.
Earl ignored his question and put his hands up. "I'm unarmed. Isn't it forbidden for a Jedi to kill when unarmed?"
Chewie growled as Luke said, "We'll arrest you."
Earl smirked and said, "I don't think so."
Just then, a bunch of droids entered with guns in their hands.
"Fools. Did you think I would be unprepared for this?" Earl sneered.
Han clenched his teeth and said, "We can get out of this. We've all been in worse situations before. This is amateur."
Earl laughed. "I'm sure you'll all try."
A droid took a shot at Anakin, but he was too quick for it. His lightsaber deflected the blast and it hit the droid back, knocking him over along with a couple of more droids. Padme fired a shot at another droid that was about to pull the trigger on Anakin. Han pulled out his own gun and began firing shots at the droids, retreating them back. Leia and Chewie did the same. However, Mara pulled her hands up and muttered an incantation. Minutes later, a silver light poured out of her hands and wrapped itself around the battling droids. They were then immobilized.
"That was great!" Leia said. "Can you do the same to Earl?"
Mara shook her head. "It only works on non-humans. But, I'll see what else I can do."
"Oh no you don't." Earl said and he took out his own gun from his pocket and aimed a shot towards Mara. Luke stepped in the way with his lightsaber and deflected the blast. Earl quickly ducked as the blast came back towards him. He then desperately fired a shot at Luke, who was distracted by the shot that hit the wall and bounced back. Luke was so afraid that the blast would hit someone that he didn't defend himself when Earl shot him. However he manage to move away in the nick of time so the shot only hit his arm. A bolt of fear for Luke's safety hit Anakin and he striked a blow with his lightsaber on Earl. Earl's eyes widened in shock as he realized what happened. He glanced at Leia who was too busy trying to see if Luke was alright that she didn't look towards his side. Earl collapsed on the floor and died in his defeat. Anakin rushed to Luke's side and asked him if he was alright.
"I'm fine. It just hit my arm. I'm not that wounded." Luke said. Leia had already begun cleaning the blood.
Anakin smiled weakly at his son. "You've put up a good fight here. I'm proud of you. You're going to be a wonderful Jedi Knight."
Luke returned the smile. "Thanks, Father."
"I guess you're that hero again, Father." Leia said to Anakin as she put on her earrings. It was three weeks since the incident with Earl and now Leia was getting ready for her wedding. She was wearing her mother's wedding dress and veil. Her hair was opened but in thick curls.
"You look beautiful." Anakin said as he gazed at Leia. She looked so much like Padme right now. He wondered why he had never guessed it all the times he saw her before he knew she was his daughter. "You look just like your mother."
Leia laughed. "Thank you. But I'm nowhere close to Mother's beauty."
"Oh come off it. You and your mother are the most beautiful beings I have ever seen."
Leia smiled at him, but her smile faded when she saw a deep frown on Anakin's face. He had a distant look as if he was distracted about something. "What is it?" She asked.
Anakin looked back at Leia and shrugged. "It's nothing really."
Leia drew her eyebrows together in confusion. "Is something bothering you?"
Anakin sighed. "It's just that I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I not turned to the dark side, how we would have been a family all this time."
"Yes, I know what you mean. I wonder the same thing."
"You know, when I was in the hospital, I was having these dreams where I didn't become Palpatine's apprentice. And your mother and I were raising you and Luke together, and we were happy. That's probably how it would have been if I didn't ruin it all."
Leia walked up to her father and squeezed his hand. "Hey...We can't change the past. I will always hate what you did, but it's over now. Let's not think about the 'what ifs' and concentrate on the here and now."
Anakin smiled as he squeezed his daughter's hand in return. "You sound almost like Yoda." Leia laughed. "But, you're right. I'm lucky that we are all together now and that should be my focus."
"Are you ready to walk me down the aisle, then?"
"Yes, let's go."
Leia headed to the ceremony, her arms linked with Anakin. Han was standing at the alter with a nervous grin on his face and Luke on one side as his best man and Padme on the other side as Leia's maid of honor. Mara stood next to Padme as one of Leia's bridesmaid. Leia happily sighed as she proceeded to walk down the aisle to the man she loved.
Thanks so much to all those who have read my fanfic and for the reviews. I really appreciate it and I hope you all enjoyed the story. Please leave me a review before you leave with your comments and thoughts on the story. :)