Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Hey everyone and welcome to the next vignette in the Forever Destined series, number 17 to be exact! This one will be a little lighter than the last one and the one that will follow this one. So, sit back and enjoy and let me know what you think!
Relatively Insane: A Forever Destined Vignette
Five days had passed since the end of the trial and the results of the trial were still all the Holonet could talk about. Since Xizor's sentencing hearing was only two days away now, rumors that his sentence would be death were running rampant and every little detail was being discussed to death. Padme was among their gossip, as her performance in the courtroom was both praised and criticized, as was her newly learned relationship to Riley Zander. Padme had wisely steered clear of any Holonet broadcasts or publications lately. She didn't want or need to hear them trash talk her father. She knew the kind of man that he once was, but that man was not her father. The wonderful man he had become was and she loved him. Anakin had assured her that was all that mattered. The Senate was still in recess and would not reconvene until after Xizor's sentencing. Her first order of business was bringing up Falleen's contract, which had been violated with Xizor's treasonous acts and she would make the motion for their membership as a Republic world to be revoked. Needless to say, it would be another stressful war of words, but it was vital that they never let the Sith have any control in the Senate again. Last time the had, war had erupted and the Jedi had shouldered the responsibility of fighting it, which in the process had cost them thousands of Clone soldier's lives and hundreds of their Jedi brethren as well. But until the hearing, she planned on enjoying her days off she had. That evening Calin Calrissian had invited them to his resort for dinner and dancing to formally celebrate. Their entire family and close friends were in attendance. They had all dressed up for the occasion, including the kids. Like their father, Luke and Jayden wore their formal tuxedos. Padme had chosen a glittering, off the shoulder, white dress that was long and slim with slits up the sides. It hugged her curves perfectly and best of all, drove Anakin wild. Leia, like her mother, had chosen a white dress with thicker straps and a more conservative collar line, appropriate for her age. Kimberly wore a sparkling pink dress that she fell in love with when they were shopping and had begged her mother for, which Padme had deemed a suitable choice for her age, given the dress was just below the knees and had sleeves, also with a conservative neck line. Jenna's was purple and also much like Kimberly's in style, only it was embroidered with white flowers and was shiny, made of shimmer silk. And so far, dinner had been enjoyable, as they shared the company of family and friends. Han wore the only frown at the table, despite their efforts to cheer him up. Anakin called their table's attention, as he rose to his feet.
"I'd like to make this evening's first toast in honor of my wife," Anakin said, as he gazed at her with loving eyes.
"Justice won out over evil, because she had the courage to stand up for what was right and refused to back down, even when threatened. To my wife Padme the most beautiful, courageous, and remarkable woman in the galaxy," Anakin said, making Padme blush.
"I second that toast. Riley said, as they all raised their glasses and drank.
"Aren't you going to toast?" Lando asked his best friend.
"Nope," Han grumbled.
"You're being childish. Senator Skywalker is the reason your mom isn't on death row," Lando reminded.
"Look, I just don't feel like celebrating!" Han exclaimed, as he stormed off.
"I apologize for Han's behavior," Calin said regrettably.
"It's okay. He's going through a lot right now," Padme replied. Leia glared at the scoundrel's retreating form and got up from the table.
"Where are you going sweetheart?" Shmi asked.
"I'm going to track down that Nerf and make him apologize," Leia said.
"I don't think that's necessary, Princess," Anakin replied.
"Well, he shouldn't be so rude and I'm going to go see why he's being worse than his usual self," Leia decided. Luke rolled his eyes.
"I'll go too and make sure they don't kill each other," Luke said.
"I don't need a babysitter," Leia said, glaring at her twin.
"I'm coming, because you two have terrible tempers," Luke replied.
"Fine, come if you want to, but don't get in my way, laser brain," Leia said.
"You're so bossy. No wonder you don't have any friends," Luke jeered, but immediately knew that was the wrong thing to say, as Leia got a hurt look on her face.
"That's not true. I have lots of friends," Leia said, as she turned to their father and batted her pretty brown eyes at him.
"Of course you do, Princess," Anakin assured her, as he looked at his son.
"Luke that wasn't very nice. You should apologize," Anakin told him. Luke resisted the urge to roll his eyes again. Honestly, his sisters could get away with murder if they wanted to when it came to their father. The power they wielded over him was incredible.
"I'm sorry Leia, I didn't mean it. Let's both go find Han," he suggested.
"Okay," Leia said sweetly, as they left. Padme shook her head in amusement.
"She has you wrapped around her pinky finger and she knows it," Padme said.
"Well, guess I'm a sucker for those pretty brown eyes that she got from you," he replied, as he kissed her tenderly. It was true. All three of their girls had their mother's warm brown eyes and they each wielded the power to bend him to their will. But that suited him just fine.
"I think I owe you a dance, my beautiful angel," he said, as he offered his hand to her. Padme accepted and stood up.
"Daddy, I want to dance too," Jenna called.
"Me too!" Kimberly called.
"I'll dance with you two next, I promise," Anakin told them.
"Until then, why don't you two dance with Grandpa?" Riley asked.
"Okay!" they chirped, as they each took one of his hands.
"Take it easy Riley," Jobal fretted.
"Aw Jo, you've been mothering me for the last five days. I'm fine," Riley complained. She smiled and shook her head.
"Oh all right. Get out of here," he called, as she watched him lead their granddaughters onto the dance floor, much to their joy.
Jayden hopped down from his seat next.
"Natalie, will you dance with me?" he asked. She smiled and hopped down from her seat as well.
"I'd love to," she replied, as she allowed Jayden to lead her to the dance floor. Bail smiled, as he watched them go.
"Bail, how has Breha been doing lately?" Shmi asked. The Senator of Alderaan sighed.
"Not as well as we'd like. The antibiotics that Bant is using are staving off her disease from running its course, but they zap all her energy. But Barriss has been in the Archives extensively studying for the last few days. She's trying desperately to discover just what this horrible illness is," Bail said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with her," Shmi told him. He smiled faintly.
"Thank you," he replied gratefully.
"Han...Han!" Leia called, as she and Luke followed him out to the gardens.
"What do you want, Princess," he snapped in irritation.
"I want you to apologize for being so rude. Mom did her best to help your mom, you know," Leia said.
"Maybe, but my Mom is still in prison. And you ain't getting an apology from me, so get lost," Han spat. Luke winced, as he saw the fire in his sister's eyes.
"You are such a Bantha rear! My Mom didn't have to help yours, but she did, because she cares. The least you could do is be grateful. But nooo...you'd rather be a stupid Nerf!" Leia screamed. Han glared at her.
"Well...excuuuuse me, your brattiness! I forgot I was in the presence of her Royal Highnessness, Princess Bossy herself! You know, I didn't ask for your Mommy's help. Maybe you can bat your pretty eyes at your Daddy and get whatever you want, but now with me, sister. I may be a stubborn Bantha rear, but you're the most spoiled, bratty, irritating girl I've ever met. Your brother is right. No wonder you don't have any friends," Han ranted. Luke shook his head, hoping that Han wouldn't go there. The hurt look returned to Leia's face, as tears welled in her eyes.
"That's not true Leia...honest. I didn't mean it when I said it. Dad's right. You have a lot of friends, like Mara," Luke told her.
"No...he's right. No one likes me. The other padawans think I'm mean too. I...just try so hard to be like Mom, but I'm nothing like her," Leia cried, as Luke put his arm around her.
"That's not true. Lots of people like you. The other padawans girls are just jealous, because you're so smart and pretty, just like Mom. Dad says so all the time. And well, you intimidate all the boys for the same reasons. But we're special, because we're Skywalkers. And you know that isn't always easy. I mean, sure, you're bossy sometimes, but that's how you keep me and the young ones in line. Kimberly and Jenna always want to be just like you. And Mom and Dad are really proud," Luke said. Leia sniffed.
"Thanks Lukie," she replied. Han rolled his eyes, but realized that for some odd reason, he didn't like to see her cry.
"Ahhh...stang, don't cry. Look, I'm sorry, I didn't mean all those things I said," Han said. Leia sniffed.
"Really?" she asked sweetly.
"Yeah...you're okay, kid," Han replied. Leia smiled.
"So, is that an apology?" she asked. Han glared at her.
"Don't push it Princess," he replied. And fortunately, Leia knew when to quit. He had apologized in his own stupid Nerfherder way.
"We're going to go back. Are you coming?" Luke asked.
"Yeah, in a bit. I just need some time to myself," Han replied, as the oldest Skywalker twins retreated.
Anakin twirled her and then pulled her back into his arms, as they swayed to the soft, romantic tune. He spotted their youngest son on the dance floor and nudged his wife.
"Look over there," he said. Padme did so and smiled. Jayden and Natalie were dancing together and it was one of the most precious things she'd ever seen. And fortunately, she saw Qui-Gon with a Holo recorder capturing the whole thing on holodisc.
"True love is an amazing thing," she mentioned.
"It is. I can't imagine my life without you and I don't want to," he replied.
"And you don't have to. As we've said so many times, what we have is an eternal bond and commitment. A forever kind of love that so many dream of, but so few attain. We are among those few," she replied.
"Well, we don't have our glasses, but I make a toast to us and to our eternal love and unbreakable bond," he said. She smiled.
"We don't need our glasses. A kiss would be a good way for us to toast," she replied.
"I like the way you think," he said, as he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers in a tender, passion filled kiss. Padme stared at him dreamily, as their lips parted.
"There they are," she said.
"What?" he asked.
"The stars. There they are. The ones I see every time you kiss me," she replied. He smiled and dipped his head away shyly. Her praise always humbled him, even though she made him feel like the strongest, most handsome man in the galaxy. And to her, he was.
"Now who's blushing, love?" she teased, referring to how he'd made her blush earlier.
"That was a very lovely toast you made earlier," she mentioned.
"I meant every word and it was completely true," he replied.
"Perhaps, but it is you and our love that gives me the courage to do the things I need to and your love that gives me the courage to stand and face the adversity that I do. I know I couldn't do it without you," she replied.
"And you never have to. I will always be by your side," he promised.
"I know. I fear that things in the Senate could worsen now. Mon Mothma is out of control and I am worried about any future decisions she makes. Our future and our children's future rests on what happens in these next few weeks. And I don't trust our future in her hands when Xizor is the one pulling the strings," Padme stated.
"We'll remove her from office if we have to. I'll do it myself," he replied.
"There is a way to do it legally and I would have to have the necessary grounds to make the motion. And then we'd have to be ready for the backlash," Padme said.
"You know I will protect you with every breath in my body," he replied. She nodded.
"I hope it doesn't come to that," she said. He nodded.
"Me either," he replied, as he hugged her. He knew they would discuss this more later, but for now, they would let the subject rest and not actually speak the name of this option until they were in private.
"Let's forget all that for now. Tonight we're celebrating your brilliance," he said. She smiled, as he leaned in for another kiss. Padme rested her head under his chin, as they swayed slowly, until they noticed a commotion over by their table. Padme's father was talking to two strange people and he didn't look very happy.
Riley set two glasses of punch down for Kimberly and Jenna, as they sat in their chairs.
"Thanks Grandpa!" they chirped.
"You're very welcome," he replied, as he noticed a commotion at the entrance where security was trying to keep two people out. Riley recognized them immediately and was stunned that they were actually here. He had some correspondence with them in the past few years and he had become their favorite new joke. They couldn't get over the fact that he'd gone the straight and narrow path and actually had a real job, helping catch people like he used to be and people like they were. Of course he had never told them why he had changed, but now that everyone knew about Padme being his daughter, he supposed that he should have seen their visit coming. He sighed, as Calin approached.
"Riley, this riff raff keeps insisting that you know them," Calin said.
"I do and unfortunately they're related to me," Riley replied.
"I can get rid of them," Calin said.
"No, you can let them in. I'll handle them and keep them in line," he promised. Calin nodded in agreement and motioned for security to allow them to pass. He observed them as they approached with excited looks on their faces like this was some kind of family reunion. The man was taller than him, about Anakin's height and bore a strong resemblance to him, except his hair was kept short. He had a scar on his right cheek and another above his left eyebrow, evidence of the rough life he led. But unlike Riley, he had not lost an eye. The woman looked a little older, but younger than Riley. She was a tall, leggy brunette, about Riley's height and quite beautiful, though had a hard edge to her appearance, evidence of a harder life.
"Riley...it's so good to see you!" the woman exclaimed, as she threw her arms around him.
"What are you doing here?" Riley asked.
"Hey, is that anyway to say hello to your baby brother and sister?" the man asked with a contagious grin. He sighed.
"He's right. You've been keeping secrets from us. So where is she?" the woman questioned, as she looked around.
"Who?" Riley asked, playing dumb. She smacked his arm.
"You know who. We want to meet the niece you've kept from us," she replied.
"Yeah, what's the big deal anyway?" the younger man asked.
"The big deal is that you two bring trouble wherever you go and I ain't crazy about that kind of stuff around my daughter or my grand babies," Riley said. The woman gasped.
"Grandchildren? We have to meet them too," she said, as the younger man chuckled.
"Grandpa Riley...wow, you have changed. Come on, we're family. Let us meet them," he said. Jobal curiously came beside him.
"Riley...aren't you going to introduce me? Jobal asked. He sighed.
"Jobal, this is my baby sister Rachelle and my baby brother Rocky. Guys, this is Jobal...my fiancée and my daughter's mother," Riley introduced.
"It's so nice to meet you," Rachelle said, as she shook her head.
"Likewise," Jobal replied politely.
"Can I get you anything to drink?" the waiter asked, as he came by.
"Bourbon for me," Rachelle told him.
"Scotch. Make it a double," Rocky told him. Riley rolled his eyes.
"Is that the reason you're really here? To meet your niece?" he asked. Rachelle looked wounded.
"Of course. Why would you ask that" she asked.
"Cause when I first told you that I switched sides, as you put it, you couldn't stop with the wisecracks," Riley replied.
"Well, that's before you told us why. Come on, we're family and we want to meet our niece," Rocky replied.
"Daddy, is everything okay?" Padme asked, as she and Anakin approached. He looked over his sister's shoulder, as she turned.
"You must be Padme. Oh, she's a doll," Rachelle said enthusiastically, as she surprised Padme by hugging her.
"She looks nothing like you Riley. That's definitely in her benefit," Rachelle joked. Riley gave her a sarcastic glare.
"Wow, did you come up with that one all by yourself?" Riley joked.
"Um...excuse me, but who are you?" Padme asked.
"Oh, I'm sorry sweetie. I am your Aunt Rachelle and this is your Uncle Rocky," she said.
"Pleased to finally meet you, kid," he said, as he hugged her. It was strange that he had called her kid, because he didn't look too much older than Padme was. Rachelle huffed.
"I can't believe you never told us about her, Riles," she complained.
"Well, you two are always too busy swindling people out of their hard earned credits. I didn't know if you'd be able to find the time to be decent," Riley retorted.
"Ouch...that's harsh big brother," she said.
"Yeah, especially considering the lot you used to run with," Rocky added.
"Daddy probably never told you or anyone else, because he's pretty protective of me," Padme said, defending her father.
"Yeah, he doesn't want any of his old crowd that he gladly walked away from or any of your crowd getting any ideas and neither do I," Anakin said, as he put his arm around her waist.
"Oooohh...and who are you?" Rachelle asked, as she got a hungry gleam in her eye. Padme put her arms around his waist.
"This is my husband, Anakin," Padme replied. Rachelle smiled.
"Wow...lucky girl," Rachelle said, as she wriggled her eyebrows playfully.
"Daddy, you said you would dance with us," Jenna whined.
"Yeah Daddy, pleeeease," Kimberly added.
"Oh, they're so darling. Are they both yours?" Rachelle asked.
"Yes, those are two of our girls," Padme replied.
"You have more?" Rachelle asked, surprised, as a little boy came bounding toward them.
"Mom, Natalie's dad is taking her home. Can we go too? I'm bored," Jayden complained.
"I told you I'd get him to apologize," Leia told Luke, as they approached.
"Leia, he didn't really apologize. I think he just wanted us to leave him alone," Luke replied.
"Whatever laser brain," Leia retorted.
"Actually, we have five," Padme said. Rachelle looked surprised.
"Wow...you're so tiny. I can't imagine you carrying one, much less five," she exclaimed. Riley rolled his eyes. Rachelle hadn't changed. She was still a loud mouth.
"Um...thanks, I think. Kids, come here. I'd like you to meet your Aunt Rachelle and your Uncle Rocky," Padme said.
"This is so exciting. You're all so adorable," Rachelle said. Luke and Leia glanced at each other, as if to say, "is this lady for real,"
"These are our oldest twins, Luke and Leia. This is our middle daughter, Kimberly, and these are our youngest twins, Jayden and Jenna," Padme said.
"Hi," they chirped, a little uncertainly.
"Sweetness, I think I still owe you a dance. Now would be a good time, I suppose," Riley said. Padme nodded, as he led her onto the dance floor.
"So...they're nice," Padme offered, as she swayed slowly to the music with her father. He smirked.
"You don't have to be nice, sweetness. They're trouble," Riley said.
"Now Daddy, I wasn't so sure about you at first either, but look at how that turned out," Padme replied. He smirked.
"I suppose you have a point," he admitted.
"How come you didn't tell me about your family? I though you said they were dead," Padme questioned. He signed.
"I didn't mean to lie to you, sweetness. It's just that they bring trouble with them as a rule. Rocky didn't get those scars just for fun. It's because they pulled scams on the wrong people. You see, our father was a lot like that scum of a step father you grew up with. He beat our mom and used to knock us around too. He eventually went too far one day and killed mom. She was a good woman. You would have liked her," Riley said.
"That's terrible. What happened to him?" Padme asked.
"I killed him for it. And I don't regret it, because it ensure that he'll never know about you, so you can see why it made me so livid when I found out what Ruwee had done to you all your life," Riley said.
"Daddy, you know I don't blame you. It's not your fault," Padme insisted.
"Well, I blame me. I should have come back to your mom," Riley replied. The important thing is that we found each other and that we're a family now. And if your siblings want to be a part of that family, we should give them a chance to earn our trust," Padme said. He smirked.
"Anakin doesn't look too crazy about them. You think he's really going to want them around?" Riley asked.
"Ani wasn't too crazy about you at first either. Besides, I think he knows that you'll be keeping a close eye on them," Padme replied.
"You bet I will. They ain't pulling their usual antics or they're out of here," Riley said.
"I'm sure they just want to reunite with you and get to know us. And who knows? Maybe they'll give up their old life like you did," Padme said. Riley smiled at her.
"I hope you're right, sweetness," he said. But he didn't want to tell her that he doubted their sincerity.
"All right, here's the deal. You can stay with Jo and I. But if I get so much as an inkling of trouble, then I'm sending you both packing," Riley stated.
"And that goes double for me," Anakin warned, as he put his arm around Padme. She smiled and leaned into his embrace. It was best if she humored her husband's over protectiveness, especially since getting him to loosen up later would lead to all kinds of fun.
"We won't let you down, big brother," Rocky said.
"We'll see," Riley replied, as they departed for home.
Padme came out of the fresher in a short, white shimmer silk negligee and saw her husband sitting by the fireplace in their large spacious bedroom, meditating. He wore only a pair of sleep pants, giving her eyes the pleasure of feasting on the sight of the gorgeous, rippling muscles that etched his entire torso, with perfect, delicious definition. She shivered with anticipation, as she slowly sat down on the futon beside the warm, crackling fire. She reached her hand out and touched his leg. He opened his eyes and met her gaze with his own.
"Am I disturbing you?" she asked. He smirked.
"Never. You are a beautiful distraction," he replied. She took that as her cue and climbed into his lap, straddling his waist and locking her knees around his hips. His eyes glazed immediately with desire. She smoothed her hands over his broad shoulders.
"Your shoulders are so tight and tense," she mentioned.
"Yeah, well my shoulders aren't the only thing that's tight all of the sudden," he replied. She smirked and bit her bottom lip playfully.
"Besides that, you know how I get when I think you could be facing danger," he said.
"You shouldn't worry. I know Daddy will keep them in line. Besides, I'm hardly in any danger right now. I'm in your arms, after all," she purred, as she trailed kisses up and down his neck and finally to his chest.
"I think I can make you forget all about your worries," Padme said seductively. Anakin smirked.
"I'm sure you can," he replied, as their lips met in a feverish kiss. The lights went out, leaving only the glowing fire and the burning passion between the two lovers...