Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Here's chapter 7! Thanks for all the great reviews. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Shattered Peace: A Forever Destined Vignette
As expected when they landed, a mob of reporters awaited them. They weren't sure how much the media knew about what had gone on during their time on Bandomeer, but Anakin suspected that they knew more than he was comfortable with. He glanced down at his youngest son. He wanted more than anything to preserve his son's innocence as long as he could. He was already going to have to start training him much earlier than he wanted to. It was unavoidable now. But his first challenge would be to get his family passed the salivating reporters and across the tarmac to the transport that waited for them. Walking to the transport wouldn't be any special feat, but getting his children to ignore all the insane questions that would be thrown at them would be.
"We're ready when you are," Rex said. Anakin nodded.
"Keep the vultures back as best as you can," he instructed, as he and Padme picked Jayden and Jenna up. Luke and Leia held Kimberly's hands between them, as the ramp lowered. Holocams flashed and the questions blurred into almost a whirring nose, as they fired them a mile a minute.
"Move out of the way!" Rex commanded.
"Master Skywalker, the holo recording of your son's powerful display has been seen by all across the galaxy and was released by an anonymous source. What can you tell us about Jayden's amazing abilities?" one reporter shouted. Anakin clenched his fist, knowing his worst fear had happened. Sifo-Dyas had recorded the battle and leaked it to the media to exploit his son.
"Senator, the Chancellor is said to be very upset with you for not getting her approval to travel to Bandomeer. How do you feel about facing suspension?" another shouted at Padme. She ignored the woman and turned her daughter's head away from the flashing holocam.
"Senator, some are saying your son could be dangerous in the future. How do you respond?" a male reporter shouted at her, with malicious intent. As the questions drifted to the subject of their personal lives and the raising of their children. Anakin's patience snapped. Several of the holocams sparked and fell to pieces, as they reached the transport. They filed onto it and it took off.
"Jayden!" Natalie called in excitement.
"Natalie!" Jayden called back, as his father let him down.
"Bail, is the recording of the battle really circulating all over the Holonet?" Padme asked fearfully. Bail nodded gravely.
"I'm afraid so. The media is having a field day. Some are hailing him as the Son of the Chosen One. Others are calling him the destruction of the Republic," Bail said quietly, as they looked to where the children were playing.
"He's just a boy," Padme said sadly.
"Yes, but your enemies have seen what Anakin has grown up to be and they want people to fear your child. Making life harder for you and your family will be in their favor," Bail said.
"They can say they want about us, we don't care. But attacking our children is inexcusable," Padme lamented, as anger filled her. Whoever had said these things to initialize the gossip didn't realize what it was like to contend with an angry mother. Padme was a pacifist until you attacked one of her children. Their children sensed their mother's distress, as Anakin put his arms around her.
"Shh…you need to calm down angel. The kids are fine," he assured her. Bail sought Breha's hand, as they sat quietly together. They couldn't imagine what the other couple was going through, but they each knew that if it was their little Natalie was being attacked, they would do anything to protect her. And they knew Anakin and Padme well enough to know that they would fight for their children. Prince Xizor and his fellow constituents didn't stand a chance. They soon arrived at Republica 500 and the transport unloaded them all at the veranda of Anakin and Padme's apartment. A few minutes later, Pooja and Will were brought from the Temple and to their parent's waiting arms. Shmi and Elana went about starting dinner for everyone, as the rest sat down to discuss and try to make sense of the events that had occurred. The five Skywalker children, Mara, who had arrived with her mother, Natalie, Ryoo, and Pooja went to the playroom.
"What are we going to do? They're trying to crucify our son," Padme fretted.
"Padme, most of the general public is on your side. They don't share the media's skewed version of things," Breha said.
"Maybe that's true, but Jayden is still in a lot of danger, especially since the Holonet won't let this story go," Obi-Wan added.
"They're about to forget all about it, especially after you and Padme set the record straight," Yan said.
"You want us to talk to the reporters?" Anakin asked in disbelief.
"Oh, not just any reporters," Yan said, as two people entered the apartment from the veranda.
"Ethan and Steph," Padme said, as she rose to greet them each with a hug.
"It's great to see you both, but an interview isn't going to make them stop broadcasting the recording of the battle," Anakin said skeptically.
"The holodisk containing the recording and all subsequent copies have mysteriously vanished," Yan said.
"What? How?" Padme asked. Qui-Gon smirked at his father.
"We've been back on Coruscant only thirty minutes. Even for you, that's fast," Qui-Gon said with amusement. Yan shared a smirk with him.
"Sifo-Dyas is not the only one who has people embedded on the inside of the media and he's also not the only one who can throw money around. Besides, you and Padme are going to have an explanation for Jayden's display," Yan said.
"We are?" Anakin asked.
"Of course. When you saw your son was in mortal danger, you used what little power you had left to protect him from certain death, just as you lent your powers to your brother to help destroy Xanatos. At least, that's what you and Padme are going to tell us in the live interview you're about to give us," Ethan said. Padme smiled.
"Do you think everyone will believe it?" Padme asked.
"You underestimate your influence with people. They love you and your husband. You and Senator Organa, along with a few others are about the last politicians that aren't corrupt. And of course, Anakin is a beacon of hope to the people. Everything else is just gossip. Believe me, I know this dirty business," Steph assured her. Padme nodded.
"Thanks Steph," she replied.
"So, it's going to go away, just like that or are they going to discuss it to death?" Anakin wondered.
"Oh, it's going to go away, because we're about to give them something else to chew on. And you can thank Zia for that," Yan said. Zia smiled, as she pulled out a folder.
"What did you manage to dig up?" Riley asked his partner.
"Just the juiciest scandal of the year," Zia replied, as she slapped the folder down. It opened, revealing several incriminating holos.
"Is that…Xizor?" Padme asked hopefully.
"I followed him for four nights. Unfortunately, he has yet to slip up when it comes to his involvement with the Sith. But he's not so careful when it comes to his love life. Four different women in four nights and those were just the ones I could manage to catch," Zia said.
"Ugh…what a sleaze," Sola said in disgust.
"Maybe Mon will finally see him for what he is now," Breha said.
"She will, until he uses his pheromones on her and gets her to forgive him," Padme said in disgust.
"Regardless, this will ruin Xizor's personal reputation and set him on edge, which in turn will set him up to slip up later again," Zia said.
"She's right," Obi-Wan replied.
"Plus the best part is that this story will trump all else and it won't go away for a very long time," Ethan said.
"He's right. Tonight, you'll set the record straight about your son and in the morning, before they can talk about disputing your claims, they'll be salivating over the Chancellor's sleazy, cheating boyfriend," Steph added. Anakin was blown away. This was actually going to work.
"Ingenious," Obi-Wan said, echoing what his brother was thinking.
"We thought so. Are you ready for your interview, Mr. and Mrs. Skywalker?" Ethan asked. They glanced at each other.
"We'll do anything to protect our babies," Padme said, as she stood up and hugged Yan.
"Thank you," she said. He smiled.
"I will do anything to protect my family," Yan told her, as they led Ethan and Steph outside to the veranda to do the interview.
As Jayden roughhoused with Luke. Two of his sisters and Natalie colored on their data pads, while Leia and Mara sat on the sofa, reading their datamags and gushing about the latest teen holo star.
"Hey Nat, whatcha drawing?" he asked, as he came over the table. Natalie's cheeks turned rosy.
"A picture of you and me," she said shyly.
"Really? Can I see?" he asked, as he came over to the table.
"Sure," she replied, as she showed him the picture of the two of them holding hands.
"Wow…that's really good," he said.
"You think so?" she asked, her eyes shining at his praise.
"Yeah," he replied.
"I drew you, because you're a hero. My Daddy told me how you saved your mommy and daddy," Natalie said. Jayden reddened shyly.
"Natalie…time to go!" she heard her mother call.
"I guess you hafta go," Jayden mumbled.
"Yeah. See you tomorrow," Natalie said, as she placed a kiss on his cheek. She giggled, as Jayden turned bright red and she scurried out of the room.
"Jayden and Natalie, sitting in a tree," Leia sung teasingly.
"Ah, leave him alone," Luke said.
"Jayden has a girlfriend! Jayden has a girlfriend!" Jenna sang.
"Shut up Jenna," Jayden whined in embarrassment.
"All right, let's leave him alone," Luke said.
"Aren't you jealous Luke?" Mara asked.
"Why would I be jealous?" he asked.
"Because your baby brother got kissed before you. Cause Force knows no one's ever gonna kiss you," Mara teased.
"Good, because kissing girls is gross!" Luke retorted, as they glared at each other.
"Mara…it's time to leave," she heard her mother call.
"See ya Skywalkers!" she said, as she rushed out of the room.
By the time they put the kids to bed that evening, the interview they had just given was all over the Holonet. Surprisingly, most bought the explanation that Jayden's explosion of power had actually been his father transferring the power to him for protection. There were some skeptics that were shouting about a cover up, but then they received breaking news. Xizor's holo was splashed all over the news and his infidelity was exposed for all to see. Padme sighed in relief, as she switched the holoscreen off and put her brush down, having finished brushing out her hair. She wore a short, silky white nightgown, as her husband pulled on a pair of dark blue sleep pants.
"It's a relief to know that Jayden won't be over exposed in the media now. They'll forget all about this now for the most part," Padme said.
"Yeah. I just wish I wasn't always putting you and the kids in danger like this in the first place," he replied.
"Ani, you don't put us in danger. The evil people out there that want to destroy our love do," Padme reminded.
"Yeah, but it's because they're always after me. They constantly use you and the kids against me. You are in constant danger because of that reason," he said.
"No…I don't want to hear this. Do you honestly think we'd be safe without you?" she asked. He shrugged.
"Sometimes I wonder," he replied dejectedly.
"Well, I don't. I would be lost without you Ani, we all would. We love you so much. I can't live without you," Padme said, as she wrapped her arms around his waist.
"I could never live without you either, angel," he replied.
"Then never leave me," she said.
"Leave you? I would never leave you. I could never. I think you misunderstood me," he replied.
"I just meant that sometimes I wish I could take you and the kids away from all this, where no one knows us and we could live a simple, peaceful life. But I know many would suffer if we left and that's why I train so hard. But to leave you? Such a thing would kill me. Perhaps I'm selfish, but I could never let you go. I would die from the inside out without you," Anakin replied, as he pressed his lips to hers.
"You had me worried there for a minute," she said, as their lips parted. He smiled.
"Sorry about that. Allow me to make it up to you," he replied, as he captured her lips in a passionate kiss again, sensually moving them over hers in a passion driven rhythm, leaving her breathless as always.
"Am I forgiven?" he asked, as he released her lips.
"You're getting there, but I believe the situation requires further study," she replied. He chuckled, as he pulled her against his chest and into another series of fiery, passionate kisses. Their foreplay began slowly, as hands roamed and passion swelled between them.
"I love you too much to ever break your heart and my own by leaving you. I couldn't do it. You're mine…mine forever," he whispered in her ear, as he nipped at her throat hungrily.
"Oh Anakin…" she breathed, desire lacing her voice. The bed caught them, as their lips engaged in a feverish exchange. They rolled several times, taking turns on top, until they settled in the center of the bed with Anakin pinning his petite, beautiful wife beneath him. Anakin raised his hand and using the Force, he lowered the lights…
The heavenly aroma of cloudberry pancakes drew him to the kitchen the next morning. He'd spent extra time in meditation this morning, as he asked the Force for guidance in the now very real and present battle they faced with Sifo-Dyas. He'd seen just flashes of memories in Calmek's mind during his probe and what he had seen and felt chilled him to the bone. Sifo-Dyas was preparing to massacre them. His thirst for power was limitless, as were his resources and technologies. Sometimes battling the evil they faced seemed tireless and for naught, but he never let that get him down. If he needed a reminder for the reason he fought so hard, he needed to look no further than his own kitchen. His five beautiful children sat at the table, chatting animatedly and eating pancakes. His amazing, insanely beautiful wife stood at the stove, making the pancakes. Her mood this morning was much more serene and relaxed than it had been last night when their youngest son had faced the media's cruel exploitation. But Grandfather and Zia had really fixed that problem. He'd already seen the Holonews and read this morning's data news. The interview they gave, informing everyone it had really been his power that protected Jayden and not his own was widely accepted. Anakin supposed it was much easier to accept, rather than thanking a child really had that much power. Jayden was all but forgotten and Xizor's scandalous infidelities were all they could talk about now. After all, he was the Chancellor's lover. This story wouldn't go away anytime soon. For once, the media's obsession with him and his wife was on hold and Anakin would savor this time. He knew he shouldn't be happy about someone else's misfortune, but truly Xizor deserved to be exposed for the sleazy sleamo that he was. His misfortunate was justice, as far as Anakin was concerned and he knew Padme felt the same way. As for Mon Mothma, her problems had only begun. Media scrutiny would double time her today, for it was about to become public knowledge that she had afforded the privilege of mother's hours to other female Senators and denied it to Padme for no reason. The court was going to call her out on it and Luminara was going to claim preferential treatment, as well as simply stating Mon's obvious jealousy and dislike for Padme. If Mon even dared to suspend Padme after this, there would be an outcry against her. This hearing was already going to create more scandal and discontent with her. She was on her way to becoming a very unpopular leader and her own gender, especially mothers like Padme, already despised her. Mon was not going to win another term in office if he had anything to do with it. Unfortunately, they still had to put up with her for two more years. But in that two years, there was no way he was going to let her bully his wife.
Padme smiled, as he wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Good morning beautiful," he said, as he kissed her neck. She turned and smiled at him.
"Good morning yourself handsome," she replied, as she set the plate of finished pancakes on the table. She and her husband sat down to eat with their children. Just as they were finishing up, there was a pounding at the door. A few seconds later, they heard Threepio's worried voice.
"Oh my…Mr. Xizor, you can't come in," they heard Threepio fret. It was followed by an angry whirl from Artoo.
"Ouch…you little rust bucket!" Xizor cried, as they assumed Artoo had zapped him with a plasma charge. There was a bang and another angrily shrill from Artoo. He didn't like being kicked. Anakin and Padme rushed out to deal with the angry intruder.
"Get out now or you'll be leaving in pieces!" Anakin threatened.
"Not until I deal with this little bitch!" he screamed, pointing at Padme. Anakin clenched his teeth.
"Take one more step toward her and I'm taking you out, so please fell free to try it, because nothing would give me greater pleasure than to break every bone in your disgusting green body," Anakin snarled.
"You did this to me! I know you're responsible for this, you snippy little bitch!" he screamed.
"Call her that again and I'll rip your tongue out," Anakin growled.
"I'm sorry your highness, but I assure you I had nothing to do with those holos being taken of you. You have to be careful on Coruscant if you're in the public eye, because you never know where a reporter will pop up," Padme said calmly.
"Don't patronize me, you little…" he stopped short of calling her a name, clearly afraid Skywalker would make good on his threat.
"My wife and I haven't been on Coruscant for the last week. We had nothing to do with it and we could care less about what you do. However, here's a little tip. You could avoid this kind of scandal by not cheating on your girlfriend," Anakin said.
"I didn't! Those holos were fabricated! And Mon believes me. She knows people, including the two of you, are out to get me. She's standing by me," he boasted.
"Then she's more stupid than I thought. Now get out," Anakin retorted.
"Fine, but mark my words. I will make you both pay for this humiliation," he growled, as he stormed out.
"Ugh…and just when I thought he couldn't get any creepier," Padme said.
"Forget him. We should get going or we'll be late," he replied. She nodded, as they started to round up the kids.
"Please rise for the honorable Judge Annae," the court Officer called, as the Judge entered and took her place behind the bench.
"This hearing will be short, as I have already previously reviewed the claims and complaints that have been submitted by both parties," she said, pausing for a moment.
"Chancellor, I was quite disturbed when I read the complaint and even more upset when I found that the claim made by Senator Skywalker had merit. This is a democracy and your favoritism toward others and discrimination toward Senator Skywalker is unwarranted. And it shall not be tolerated," the Judge stated.
"Padme abused her privilege of mother's hours. That is why I denied her," Mon explained.
"I found no evidence of any such abuse. I am ruling in favor of Senator Skywalker and reinstating her mother's hours. Case dismissed," Judge Annae announced. Anakin and Padme smiled at each other and hugged.
"Congratulations Padme," Mon said stiffly, as she passed by.
"Mon, we used to be friends. Things don't have to be like this between us," Padme said, extending her willingness to make amends. But Mon would have none of it.
"It's a little late for that sweetheart. You are far too trusting," Mon snipped, with an air of superiority.
"We were never really friends. It was simply a politically friendly relationship, at least for me. And it has long since dissolved, as our political views have changed. I've moved on to more ideal relationships with practical, realistic politicians," Mon said.
"Like Xizor? Because, oh yes, his infidelity is certainly practical," Padme replied with disdain.
"Xizor has been framed. I know he would never cheat on me," Mon argued.
"Oh please Mon, you're not stupid. You can't seriously believe that," Padme argued back.
"Well, I do. Now I must be going. Not everyone lives in your silly little fairytale world," Mon spat, as she was on her way. Padme sighed.
"She's just jealous of what a wonderful person you are," Anakin told her.
"She's jealous of what I have with you," Padme replied.
"Probably, but the important thing is that justice was done today," he said.
"Yes, it's a nice change, isn't it?" she asked.
"It is," he replied.
"Things are far from being okay, aren't they?" she asked.
"I won't lie to you angel. There are dark times ahead. But I won't let any harm come to my family. They want a fight from me, then they're going to get one. But we're not going to worry about that right now. We're going to go get the kids and then we're going out," he said.
"Out where?" she asked.
"To Dex's, of course. Because despite all that happened, we still have a lot to celebrate and a lot to be thankful for," he said. She smiled, as they shared a tender kiss.
"Yes, we do," she replied, as they walked toward the landing pad hand in hand…
I hope you all enjoyed this vignette. I don't have too many details yet on the next one, but it promises to packed full of action, danger, adventure, and of course, romance. I will begin working on the next vignette soon, so look for it hopefully very soon! Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think!