A/N: I wrote this story a long time ago and forgot about it, then rediscovered it. Anyway, it was inspired by one of my favorite scenes from Return of the King. One day I was looking through a book of pictures from ROTS and then saw one of Padme wearing a hooded velvet robe and thought, "She kind of reminds me of Arwen in this picture." Then, boom, this fic was born.
Disclaimer: George Lucas owns Star Wars. New Line Cinemas owns Return of the King. I only own the idea for this story.
The night was still and peaceful. A cool breeze floated about, wafting the scents of various flowers. The lake lay as smooth and beautiful as a sheet of glass. There was not a cloud to be seen in the sky, the stars shining clearly, illuminating the darkness. In this remote place of idyllic beauty and tranquility that was the Lake Country of Naboo, it was impossible to imagine that a terrible war was brewing across the galaxy.
Padmé Amidala lay in her bed, unable to sleep, with much plaguing her mind. She knew all too well of the impending conflict, having taken part in its violent start firsthand. Not even the peace of her favorite retreat could quell her worry, could lighten her burdens; none of them, however, compared to those in her heart. Earlier this very evening, not long after she and Anakin had first arrived, he had asked her to marry him.
Padmé exhaled and rolled onto her side, remembering her reaction to his proposal. She had been shocked, delighted, horrified and ecstatic all at once. There was no doubt in her mind or her heart that she loved him, and that he loved her, they both knew that now. She had been bursting to say 'yes.' It had been the very first thing that came to mind and had been on her lips, but her practicality and sense of duty had stopped her. Love was one thing, but marriage? Emotional attachments of this magnitude, let alone marriage, were forbidden to all Jedi. How would they ever be able to keep it a secret? What would become of them if they were ever discovered? Anakin would surely be expelled from the Order and Padmé's political career would be ruined. Yet she also felt she would be destroying herself in a much deeper way if she did not say yes. Torn by her conflicting emotions, but keeping a brave face, Padmé had asked Anakin to wait until the morning for her answer. She needed some time alone, she had said. He had clearly been unnerved by her response, but had agreed nonetheless. Padmé knew how hard that must have been for him.
She rolled onto her back, running her hand over her face. Bacta treatment had quickly and completely healed her injuries from the battle at Geonosis, allowing her to lie in such a position without pain. But there were only so many things bacta could heal. It could never go deeper than flesh, never treat matters of the soul.
If only it were as easy as being treatable, Padmé mused silently. Then she sat up in bed. Lying here wasn't doing any good. She got out of bed, pulled on her hooded robe and walked outside.
Padmé shut her eyes, deeply breathing in the cool night air. She just needed a walk to clear her head. For a while she aimlessly wandered about, enjoying the scenery and architecture of the great house. She could walk this place blindfolded from all the time she had spent here in her childhood. So she let her feet guide her and let her mind wander.
She stopped for a moment and then realized with a jolt that she had found her way to Anakin's room. Curiosity and concern getting the better of her, she cautiously peeked inside. Anakin lay in his bed sleeping peacefully, his new mechanical arm sticking out from under the covers. She had not heard him cry out in his sleep at all tonight.
It had taken the death of his mother to finally allow him to sleep without nightmares, Padmé realized, her heart aching for him. And his poor arm; the horror of what had happened to him hit her full force. At least he was free from his pain for now. His still features and deep, steady breathing confirmed that. Padmé quietly left the room, carefully shutting the door behind her.
Padmé wandered again, her thoughts filled with Anakin. His incredible eyes and the mischievous twinkle they had when he laughed. His smile, which would widen into that cheeky grin she loved so much. Who knew when she would see it on his face again anytime soon. She would be lying and blind if she denied that she was greatly attracted to him. He was indeed one of the handsomest, if not the handsomest, men she had ever laid eyes on. It had taken her a while to fully realize it but he was truly a man now. A very young man, to be sure, but a man nonetheless, one full of sincerity, passion, wisdom, dedication and courage. The man Padmé was in love with.
She wandered over to the abundant gardens, which surrounded her favorite room in the whole house. When you were inside it and looked out the wide, glassless windows, the gardens and the lake were in perfect harmony together. During the day the room was always full of sunshine, filling the walls with an almost heavenly glow. Padmé smiled wistfully to herself. This room held many fond distant memories of when she and Sola would play in here and then run out to play tag among the flowers. Things were so simple back then, before politics, before wars, before handsome young Jedi.
Padmé meandered through the rows of flowers. Not even their soothing fragrance comforted her now. Suddenly feeling exhausted, she sank down onto the ornate bench which sat between two bushes covered with blossoms. She took in every detail of the view in front of her. The vast lake, the surrounding mountains, the neighboring island, the balcony in front of her overlooking the lake, the flowering vines entwining the railing. Padmé shut her eyes, sighing deeply and tilting her head back. She just did not know what to do. Marrying Anakin would be unthinkable. Not marrying him would be unbearable. If only there was a way to be sure, to make a decision and know it was the right one.
Padmé opened her eyes and gasped. The sky was full of early morning light. But that can't be, she thought, It's still the middle of the night! She felt her head turn to the entrance of her favorite room and her breath caught in her throat at an even stranger sight. A fair-haired child, a little boy no more than four or five years old, was standing in the doorway.
"Hello, where did you come from?" Padmé heard herself call out to him. But the little boy did not seem to hear her. He looked right past her as though he couldn't even see her. Then he seemed to catch sight of something far ahead of him. His little face broke into a wide grin and he began running forward. Padmé's eyes followed the boy as he ran past her towards the balcony. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Now the source of the boy's attention caught Padmé's eye. A tall, broad-shouldered man was standing by the railing overlooking the lake, his back to her, his hands clasped behind him in a contemplative gesture. He was dressed all in black, his wavy, dark golden hair stirring ever so slightly in the breeze. The child was about halfway between the man and Padmé when the man turned his head around. Padmé inhaled sharply. It was Anakin.
Yet he was so different from the Anakin she knew now who was sleeping on the other side of the house. He only seemed a few years older, but his eyes had the steely look of eyes that had seen a lifetime of nothing but darkness and grief. His face was still handsome, but as cold and as hard as chiseled stone. It was as if a mantle of darkness had enshrouded him and taken hold.
Then he turned around and saw the child running towards him holding his arms out to him and everything changed in that instant. It was as if the child's very presence drove the darkness away from Anakin. His features softened and filled with warmth. His face broke into a huge grin, his eyes alight with joy. Even his clothes now had changed from black to the color of cream. Anakin now began running to the boy, holding out his arms as well. When they reached each other, Anakin picked up the boy under his arms and swung him around a few times in a circle both of them laughing happily. Anakin then brought the child close to him in a protective, loving hug, which the child returned, clasping his arms around Anakin's neck. They came to a stop, standing so that Anakin was facing away from Padmé and the little boy was facing towards her. They pulled away from their hug and looked at each other for a moment, Anakin still holding him in his arms. Then Anakin leaned forward and tenderly kissed the boy's cheek. The boy giggled, then glanced over in Padmé's direction and seemed to realize she was there for the first time.
The smile slowly left the child's face as he looked at Padmé. There was really no expression on his face now. He just looked at her with a penetrating stare. Padmé was frightened and wanted to look away, but she could not. She glanced down and drew a breath when she saw what was sticking out of his shirt, hanging around his neck. It was her beloved japor snippet pendant that Anakin had made for her, which was one of her most treasured possessions. Padmé looked back up at the child, who was now bathed in a halo of light which illuminated his golden hair. It was as if he came from the light itself. The child's gentle yet intense gaze seemed to be telling her something, but she wasn't sure what it was now. She gazed back at him, memorizing every feature of his beautiful little face. But what struck her the most about this child, were his brilliant blue eyes.
Unable to withstand the child's gaze any longer, Padmé shut her eyes, feeling a tear slide down her cheek. Now in darkness, the terrible words spoken mere days ago came back to her in an echo:
You're right. It would destroy us.
She opened her eyes. She was back in her bed and it was still night. Padmé sat up, a concerned expression creasing her face. What was the meaning of this—it didn't feel like any dream she had ever had before. Was it a vision of the future, where that little boy would really exist? No, it couldn't have been. The Jedi had visions, as Padmé knew all too well now. Even they couldn't always see the future and Padmé was no Jedi. Whatever it was, Padmé couldn't get the image of the child's eyes, so beautiful and full of life, out of her head. And then their silent message dawned on her.
She felt connected with Anakin on a much deeper level. Their very souls were one and the same. If she were to reject him, she would lose half of herself. To live half alive was far worse than dying the worst kind of death. How could loving Anakin be considered wrong when it felt so right? Of course, if she married him, the road ahead would be uncertain and risky. It would lead to hardship, suffering, maybe even death. But there was also hope and life. This love between them was so deep, so true, so right that something good had to come from it.
Feeling stronger and more certain than she ever had felt in her whole life, Padmé lay back down, feeling at peace for the first time tonight. As soon as Anakin woke, she would give him her answer.
A/N: I know you're thinking, "Hey where's Leia?" I thought about putting her in somehow, but then I decided it would be better to only have Luke to emphasize how his 'light' brings Anakin out of the darkness. Keep in mind that Aragorn and Arwen also had several daughters.
Thanks for reading! Reviews would make me so happy.