I remember speaking to Luke, offering my son comfort as I left his life for good. I should have offered that comfort years ago, to him, to my daughter, and to my beloved wife. I traded away my family and friends in a futile bid to soothe my fears and insecurities. I destroyed all that I love and although I have given my children the ability to rebuild the world out of the ashes of my mistakes, I know I will forever atone for what I have done.
I know I will burn in the deepest depths of hell. I murdered innocents, ripped apart families, and destroyed whole worlds. Not only did I do this to myself, but I did it to others as well. I forced the galaxy to feel the pain I felt over my mistakes. I regret it and apologize for my actions, but it is too late for that now.
A day ago I would have dreaded the pain I knew I would endure in hell, but now I welcome it. I'm moving towards it because I saved my son, her son. After all I did to hurt her, I will gladly take the pain of death to give her this one last gift.
Deep in my heart, dear
I have a dream of you
"Anakin." I hear a light breeze call to me in the melodic voice that has haunted me. It seems fitting that voice will tease and taunt me for the rest of eternity while I pay for my crimes. I keep my eyes closed as I drift to my final prison and wait for the flames to consume my soul. I take a deep breath, expecting the smell of fire and brimstone and instead find the light fragrance of wildflowers.
It must be a trick of my senses, so I wait for things to change. I ignore the light breeze as it calls out my name in her voice. Underneath me the solid durasteel of my Star Destroyer fades into something softer and I know the end must be coming. Again I wait for flames to consume me, but instead I feel the air knocked out of my lungs as a warm body falls on top of mine. Out of reflex, my eyes fly open to stare at the devil that has come to torment me, but all I can see is an Angel… my Angel.
"Oh Anakin, I missed you." She murmurs before bringing her lips down to caress mine.
Fashioned of starlight
Fragrant with roses and dew
"Padmé!" I gasp between her kisses, longing to press her more fully against me, but knowing I do not deserve it.
"I knew you would come back to me!" She murmurs in response before seeking my lips again.
I do not know how I managed it, but somehow I stopped her and set her aside as I sat up and turned my head left and right. I was no longer on my Star Destroyer where I had left my son, but in the Nubian meadow where I had tried to win Padmé's heart all those years ago. There was no fire, there was no brimstone, there was just the beauty of a sunny day on Naboo with the woman I loved.
"I… I can't be here." I mumble as I look back at my beloved, aghast that she is here with me.
"Why not?" Padmé's brow furrows as she raises a hand to caress my cheek, as she often did to soothe my worries.
"I… I hurt you." I wince as I add. "I killed you. I have to pay for what I have done."
Padmé come to me and presses a finger to my lips to silence me. "You proved there was good in you Anakin. I never doubted there was, you just needed to see it. Now we have eternity to make up for the time that we lost."
"No!" I shout and shake my head away from her touch. "I destroyed everything; there can be no heaven for me. I must…." I start to push myself up to my feet. Unsure of what I will do, but knowing I cannot stay here no matter how much I want to. I do not deserve my Angel. I should suffer as I have made others suffer.
"Please…" A strangled sound leaves Padmé's lips as she gazes up at me. Her eyes cloud over with unshed tears as she begs, "Please do not go. I've waited so long for you to redeem yourself."
"There is no redemption for the evils I committed." I answer, still searching for something that will take me to the punishment I deserve. "I must atone for my crimes."
"Then do it here. With me." Padmé answers as she stands and grasps the front of my tunic, trying to stop me from moving.
"No!" I shout, grasping her shoulders and giving her a little shake. "You will not pay for my crimes! Hell is where I am destined to go. I cannot share heaven with you."
The tears she tried to hide slid from Padmé's eyes and down her cheeks as she took in my resolve. My heart clenches in the pain I know I deserved, at the sight of her sorrow. However she and I are not meant to be together. I could not taint her with the darkness of my soul. She deserves happiness, not to suffer with me. However, she has other ideas as I watch her cast her gaze down to the meadow floor and offered her soft reply, "Would you deny me my heaven, by leaving?"
Our paths may sever
But I'll remember forever
My resolve crumbles and I find myself gathering her in my arms and dropping a series of quick kisses across her face. I've hurt her too much to do it once more. "You are destined for heaven my Angel. After what I did to you, I do not deserve to be with you. You would be better off without me."
Padmé shakes her head, her hands cupping my face and bringing my gaze down to meet hers. "No, my heaven is with you, being together with you, forever."
"And my heaven is with you, my Angel. But… I do not deserve it." I'm silenced as her fingers slide from my cheek to my mouth. I cannot help but kiss each fingertip as they press to my lips.
"Ani…" She uses my childhood nickname to get my attention. "You cannot change what you did, but you did the right thing in the end. You saved Luke and the galaxy from tyranny. You…"
"How can you forgive me?" I interrupt her, pushing away from the warmth of her arms and turning my back on her. I offer the same question up to the Force trying to understand why they have brought me the one thing I have longed for since I lost it all those years ago.
"Because I love you." She answers as she wraps her arms from around me from behind. She then gives the answer to my questions to the Force, "And you will have to live with the memory of your actions for the rest of our eternity. Is that not punishment enough?"
I whip around in her arms and draw her into my embrace. "I love you, my Angel. Force knows I do not deserve you, but I will not deny you your heaven. I'll regret my actions for the rest of our eternity, but I won't leave you. I did that once and I will not do it again."
Padmé smiled at me as her lips caught mine once more. I do not fully understand why the Force granted me such a gift. I know as I watch the galaxy rebuild from my mistakes I will regret all that I did. Remorse will be a constant companion, but with my Angel by my side I'll hope for a brighter future for those I left behind. If nothing else, it is what she, my Angel, would want.
Deep in my heart, dear
I'll always dream of you