A/N: This is the second three-part installment to the Seek series that I am writing, I recommend that you read Seek Truth first before reading this if you haven't. each installment consists of only three chapters. Explanations will be explained in the story as it progresses. This is a story of how the Skywalker family learns to mend after the end off ROTJ.
It had been close to thirty years since Padmé had last been to Coruscant and as she looked around as she landed she wondered if it had changed at all. She hadn't planned on ever returning, but that was before she had been reunited with her children, before she felt that she had a life to return to Coruscant for. It had pained her heart to see them depart from Naboo six months prior and even though they had kept up their communication, conversing with her precious children daily, she longed to be closer but their busy schedules and lives kept them on Coruscant for the most part and she told them that she understood, which she did. So, she decided on paying them a visit, venturing away from her beloved lake retreat and Naboo for the first time since she had returned to Naboo to recuperate. Though she loved her homeworld with all her heart, a change of scenery would do wonders for her wounded soul. Luke and Leia would understand, she reasoned.
Her hands delicately flew over his ship's controls. She had always been a competent pilot before she married Anakin, but there were secrets she wasn't privy to until he had shown her. But no matter the number of lessons she had under his tutelage, her ship's controls would never be like extensions of her own body as they were for Anakin. She didn't mind, she knew that he was the better pilot and she let him have his thunder. There was a reason that the galaxy called Anakin the greatest star pilot to grace the skies and stars in all time. It was a skill that her son inherited and enjoyed as much as his father. Padmé remembered the way that she swelled with pride when the Imperial holonet named her son enemy number one for single handedly being the only pilot to not only survive the up close trench attacks on the Death Star but also was the one to fire the shot that destroyed the monstrosity. Since then his name spread across the holonet like wildfire, for his crimes against the Empire during its reign and as a celebrated war hero when the Empire fell, credited for the death of the emperor even if she knew the truth. For as much as she was proud of her son, she was equally proud of her daughter who had been involved in the rebellion long before her brother, risking her death on numerous occasions. Her children were her pride and joy and her reason for happiness of late, even if her own husband refused to speak to her.
Luke had said to let Anakin stew and to leave him to himself for a while before she should start to bug him, as he had put it. Padmé trusted that her son knew what he was talking about for Anakin was an anomaly to her now and as far as she had observed, her son was the only one who could tame his father's temper and foul moods as well as the only one who could literally drag Anakin out of his hole. Luke seemed to be undaunted in the face of his father's tendency to be unbearable, taking it with a challenging calm face, going as far to to get in his father's face and back him into a corner. Luke had his father's backbone and was twice as stubborn with a hint of patience that his father greatly lacked. There was no contest between father and son. Luke clearly held the cards and knew how to play them well, all the while wearing a serene sabacc face.
As she pondered all the things that her children were, Padmé allowed Coruscant flight control to guide her to an awaiting landing pad, relying on the high clearance code that was given to her by her daughter before they had left Naboo. For while Luke was highly regarded as a respected leader of the Rebellion and as a Jedi in a world where those in such a position were scarce, it was Leia who held most of the cards on Coruscant from her office as Vice Chair next to Supreme Chancellor Mon Mothma. Leia was politically and street savvy despite being raised as a princess. She was cunning much in the way her father was, a brilliant strategist like he was as well, and was rumored to be made of stone as much as her beauty was talked about. Leia had a strong sense of justice and knew how to be fair but never once did she let her softer side slip in when she dealt with anyone outside her circle of friends and family. Unfortunately, her was father wasn't a part of that circle. It was too bad, for Padmé knew how much she was like her father and how much she meant to her father, remembering well before either twin was born of how he instead that they were having a girl. It was something that Padmé would make a point to bring up during her visit for if her relationship with Anakin could not be mended, she would make damn sure that the rift between father and daughter was mended, it was her personal mission.
As she made a graceful landing, Padmé could only see one lone figure standing in wait for her. Though he stood at five inches below his father's height, he wasn't any less commanding or any less powerful. He stood facing her ship with his feet at shoulder width apart and hands firmly clasped behind his back, a perfect pose to mirror his father, and wore a serene mask on his face. As soon as she was sure that her ship was secure, Padmé rose from her seat and left the cockpit and descended the ramp with as much regal grace as she had ever possessed walking over to her son who greeted her warmly, his Jedi mask cracking for her only as he smiled. She reached up to kiss his cheek. Hey may not have been as tall as his father, but he still stood six inches above her. Ever conscious of the many eyes of Coruscant, Padmé took the arm her son offered her as he silently led her over to his awaiting speeder and Padmé smiled as she saw that it was obviously designed for speed, a trait he had in common with his father and clearly had no qualms about having inherited it. She allowed Luke to help her into her seat and waited for him to settle himself behind the controls as the droids loaded the speeder with her bags.
"Do you think you brought enough?" Luke asked.
"Most of it is for your sister," Padmé told him as the droids finished loading the last bag. Luke rose an eyebrow at her. "I no longer have use of it all and I thought she would have good use for it," she told him defensively.
"I didn't say anything," Luke replied calmly as he started the engine and took off, thankfully at a more moderate pace than what his father would have taken. But Padmé wasn't fooled, she knew very well that it was for her benefit alone. "Leia's guest room is taken up by her childhood friend Winter, so I'm afraid that you'll have to stay with me for the time being," he informed her.
"I understand," Padmé told him.
"You could have warned us that you were coming you know," Luke said, glancing at her.
"And where would the surprise be in that?" Padmé replied with a smile. "Coruscant doesn't seem to have changed much," she commented.
Luke shrugged. "I wouldn't know. I've only been here for six years," he replied as they traveled the airways.
"What do you think of it?" Padmé asked.
"It's too busy. What use is it for a place to never sleep? Furthermore, how does one go about trying to meditate in such a place?" Luke answered.
Padmé laughed. "Your father preferred not to meditate," she told him.
Luke looked at her blankly. "Why?" he asked.
"I don't think that there was ever a time that he could remain still long enough to even clear his mind," Padmé told him.
"Did he ever recharge then?" Luke asked.
Padmé laughed at his choice of words. "I honestly have no idea," she admitted. "I never watched him when I slept to either confirm or disprove if he did."
Luke laughed along with her as he effortlessly guided the craft towards a towering apartment complex and onto an awaiting hanger to which two very familiar droids waited for them. Luke turned to her. "Artoo said that Threepio had his memory wiped. I was going to ask Father if he installed a back up memory chip just in case," he informed her.
Padmé was dismayed at the news. "I am sure that he did, your father is a perfectionist when it comes to droids," she told him as she allowed him to help her out of the speeder.
With a wave of his hand, her bags lifted from the speeder via the Force and trailed behind them as they walked through a private door and into a sparse apartment consisting mainly of the bare basics needed to live.
"Oh, Luke, we're going to have to go shopping," Padmé told him, taking a look around.
"Whatever for?" Luke asked bewildered. "I have everything I need."
Padmé turned to him. "You need to make this place look like a home instead of... something this bare," she told him unable to find the right words to describe the dreary look of the place.
Luke just shrugged her assessment off. "It's fine to me," he said.
Padmé took solace in the fact that Luke was apparently a tidy person as she had heard about the untidiness of where Anakin had holed himself up in. She took a seat on a rather comfortable looking recliner.
Luke took a seat opposite of her. "So what do we owe the honor of this visit?" he asked.
"I missed you," Padmé told him simply.
"We speak every day," Luke reminded her.
"It's not the same, Luke," Padmé told him patiently.
"I don't know the difference to be honest," Luke admitted.
"Isn't there anyone you cannot see whenever you wish that you miss?" Padmé asked.
"Aunt Beru, Uncle Owen, Biggs, Ben," Luke listed off. "I can't see them since they all died shortly before I became public enemy number one. And the really sad part is that Father killed all of them," he put in.
Just how much sadness did her son carry that was his father's fault? Padmé acknowledged the thought sadly and marveled at how he didn't resent his father for it. It spoke volumes for his character. Wordlessly, she took his hand in hers and squeezed it in support and Luke smiled for her efforts.
"I'm fine, really. Death is a natural part of life, I accept that," Luke told her.
"That is one strength that your father does not possess," Padmé told him sadly.
"Has he spoken to you yet?" Luke asked. Padmé shook her head. Luke sighed. "You should probably go and invade his personal space then, it might be the only way you can get him to acknowledge your presence let alone speak to you. It unnerves him enough that he'll let his guard down," he told her.
"You know how to play your father well," Padmé observed.
Luke rubbed his face with his hand. "I can count on one hand the number of times he has answered me in six years," he told her. "He's a mess and I'm not sure what can be done about it," he admitted sadly. "Unless I hunt him down and pester him endlessly, he doesn't speak more than five words to anyone," he told her sadly.
"You're a good son to make that kind of effort, I know that he appreciates that on some level," Padmé told him.
Luke nodded. "I sense as much," he told her and looked her in the eye. "I know that he loves me and Leia, I don't need the Force to tell me that, but he's broken and I don't know how to help him or else I'd do it," he assured her. He shrugged. "Leia doesn't make an effort at all and I suspect that every time I do that he thinks I have an agenda to do so," he told her.
"Why would he think you have a hidden agenda?" Padmé asked.
"Because when he told me that he was my father, I more or less told him that I choose death over him," Luke told her honestly. And at his mother's disappointed look he explained. "He wanted me to join him in the dark side at the time and to rule the empire with him. I was trapped and had no real escape. I never was and still am not willing to become a Sith. I grew up a witness to their destruction, I fought against them for four years, I wanted no part of it," he explained.
It was then that Padmé realized that she had a bond with her son that she would never have with her daughter. "He made much the same request to me, Luke," she told him softly. "I relived that dark day every night for years."
Luke leaned forward and looked her in the eye. "What did he do?" he asked softly. He wouldn't judge, she knew that. It wouldn't have any impact on how he saw his father.
Padmé unconscious rubbed her neck as she relived that moment in her mind. "Obi-Wan came to me, he knew about your father and I when no one else did and we didn't tell him. This was after the massacre in the Jedi Temple. I remember watching from the clear view I had from my apartment, I didn't know that your father was leading the slaughter, that he had pledged himself to the Sith that night. I watched in fear that he was there and that he was to die defending the Temple, defending the younglings mostly. I didn't suspect anything when he came to me afterwards and told me a twisted version of the truth, that the Jedi had figured Palpatine out and went to stop him. He told me that the Jedi had betrayed the Republic and that he swore that his allegiance remained with the Republic and made me promise not to leave the apartment, to wait for him before he left for Mustafar to kill the separatists leaders on Palpation's orders. I didn't know what your father had done until Obi-Wan came to me the next day and told me, that there were security holos to confirm it. He was so broken by what your father had done, they were once as close as brothers. I refused to believe him, I couldn't. Until I saw it with my own eyes. I knew where your father had gone but he told me that he was only going to arrest the Separatists, not kill them. I needed to hear your father to tell me that Obi-Wan was mistaken..." she paused, the emotions from that day were still too raw.
"He didn't deny it did he?" Luke asked.
Padmé shook her head, her hand over her mouth as she struggled to control her emotions. "No. He didn't, he made excuses to justify what he did. He told me he had done it for me, to save me, but I was horrified. I begged him to stop before he went any further, to come back to me, to leave with me and run to where no one could find us. He was so far gone that he was unable to see reason. When he told me he planned on overthrowing Palpatine so that we could rule together and make things how we wanted them, I refused. I wanted no part in it and tried again to beg him to stop but then he saw Obi-Wan and he lost all sense of reason and sanity. He accused me of brining Obi-Wan to kill him, that I had betrayed him and as I tried to deny it, to tell him I didn't know Obi-Wan was on my ship, he..." Luke held her hand and squeezed it, telling her that he understood, that she had his support. "He reached out with the Force and choked me, he would have killed me if Obi-Wan had not intervened. I don't know what happened next because at that time I was unconscious. The next thing I remember was that I was in an unknown medical facility and Obi-Wan told me that in order to save you and your sister that the doctors had to induce labor. I told you what happened after that," she told him.
Luke looked down as he processed what he had been told. He was not blind to the atrocities his father had committed and no matter what else he learned, nothing could ever shock or horrify him more than to learn that Darth Vader was his father. He understood something else from hearing his mother's tale. "I think he believed for years that he actually did kill you," he said at last. "I can sense it. I think that is the biggest problem he had, he hated himself most for what he believed he had done," he looked up and met her gaze. "I think I understand why he won't speak to you," he said at last.
It was a good thing that the Republic was celebrating an independence week when Padmé had decided to visit her children. But Leia suspected that her mother had planned that accordingly. If there were things that Bail had told her over the years about the mother, they would be that Padmé Amidala was the most hard working, honest, genuine and kind Senator the failing Republic had the blessing to be graced with during a time of corruption. She had heard of the countless times her mother would go on mercy missions during the Clone Wars, and had worked steadfastly along side the Jedi repeatedly and was competent enough in the midst of a fierce battle. Leia admired her mother greatly before she even knew she was her mother and modeled her own career in close resemblance to her mother's. Leia knew enough to know that her mother would not intrude if she felt that they were busy with the demands of the New Republic. In a way, Leia expected for her mother to visit for independence week. She couldn't explain how she knew, she just did and she planned accordingly. And no sooner had her door chimed then Leia was there in an instant to open it, mildly surprised to see Threepio and Artoo trailing behind with numerous packages.
"What is all this?" Leia asked as she watched her mother direct the droids with the packages.
"Things that I'm giving to you," Padmé answered her. "I no longer have any use for them and felt that you would," she explained.
"That is very generous of you," Leia said as she watched the droids start to unpack what was an endless amount of official gowns, shoes, jewelry and headdresses appropriate for being seen in during a session with the Senate. "They're all... I've never seen anything like them," she stuttered. She fingered the elaborate gowns knowing that she would feel uncomfortable in them but didn't voice them. She had resigned herself to wearing what was befitting to her station a long time ago no matter if she preferred a nice comfortable pair of trousers and a tunic and a more simpler hair style such as a braid or just letting her hair lay loose.
"I know, it's all a little too elaborate," Padmé began. "But you are in a position of power, Leia, you need to look the part. Even if much simpler attire is more comfortable," she said offering her daughter a smile.
Leia breathed a sigh of relief. "I was expecting you to be as unreasonable as Bail's sisters were," she told her.
Padmé waved a hand in dismissal. "Public perception is important to your career, yes, and you must always look the part in public but in private it is so much nicer to let yourself breath comfortably," she said.
"I'm grateful that you understand," Leia told her.
Padmé held her finger up and smiled. "Luke told me that you haven't yet started making plans for your wedding so I took the liberty to hand deliver something rather important for your day," she told her and walked over to a neatly kept cream box and gestured to it. "Go ahead, open it up," she urged.
Wordlessly Leia complied fingering a delicate hand weaved lace veil with hand sewn beading. Under it was a soft simple yet elegant bridal gown.
"It is a family heirloom handed down through generations to every Naberrie woman in my family for her wedding day," Padmé told her.
"It's beautiful," Leia told her, touched by the sentiment.
Padmé smiled. "I know how much your father is opposed to your marrying Han," she began.
"He needs to realize he has no say in the matter," Leia told him.
"Yes, well, that will never happen," Padmé told her. "And it has nothing to do with Han," she hastened to add before Leia could speak. "It wouldn't matter who you married, Leia, you could be marrying a king or a supreme chancellor or an honorable Jedi, to him, no man would ever be good enough for his daughter," she told her.
Leia let out an exasperated sigh.
"Your father loves you, Leia, he always has since he learned of your existence," Padmé told her gently. "Yes, he did horrible things, but had he known who you were to him, he would have laid down his life to protect you," she reasoned.
"I can't forget what he has done," Leia told her softly.
"You shouldn't, Leia, but you should forgive him," Padmé told her. "It pains me to see how apart you both are," she said softly. She took a seat on the couch and patted the seat next to her. She waited for Leia to sit next to her before she took her daughter's hand in hers. "When I was pregnant we would have debates on whether or not we were having a boy or girl. Your father was adamant that we were having a girl. His logic of reason to back up his claim was that if he felt a strong enough kick then we were having a girl," she told her.
Leia looked at her. "How is that logical?" she asked.
"It isn't," Padmé laughed. "He was being playful. But he wanted a girl, he wanted you, Leia. Did you know, he picked your name?" she informed her. "He would go on and on about how he envisioned you to be. I never saw any man so eager to have a little girl to dote on and spoil as much as he could," she reminisced.
"What happened then?" Leia asked.
"Palpatine exploited his fear of what he perceived to be my death," she said softly. "He foresaw what he believed to be my death in his dreams and it drove him to madness which Palpatine used to his advantage," she explained. She had no desire to explain it to Leia in the same manner that she had explained it to Luke.
"This all happened before Luke and I were born then," Leia guessed.
Padmé nodded. "You were born on the eve of what would be the darkest days of the galaxy in recent history," she told her softly.
"It is impossible for me to picture the man you are painting," Leia admitted.
"I plan to fix that very soon, Leia," Padmé told her assuringly.
"How? He refuses to speak to any of us," Leia asked.
"I have my ways," Padmé assured her. "Now, let's try to put everything away, shall we?" she said standing up. Leia stood as well and together they set about putting everything that Padmé had brought over in it's proper place. As Padmé was putting away some shoes, she noticed a box tucked away in the closet that seemed to stick out. She pulled the box open and opened it finding the most skimpiest get up she had ever seen. "Where did you get this?" she asked her daughter holding it up.
"I've been planning on getting rid of that," Leia admitted. "While executing a scheme to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt's palace that Luke concocted, I was forced to wear that," she explained.
Padmé eyed the metal bikini appraisingly. "I can dispose of it for you," she offered.
"By all means go right ahead," Leia told her, oblivious as to what her mother had in mind for it.
Padmé replaced the get up in its box and picked the box up in her arms. "You should take the opportunity of having free days to try something romantic with your groom-to-be," she advised her daughter.
Leia looked at her. "I..."
"Just try it, you might be surprised by the result," Padmé told her. "And I have one more request," she said.
"What is it?" Leia asked.
"I would very much like it if you were married at the Lake Retreat. And there is another thing that you could do to appease your father," Padmé answered. Leia quirked an eyebrow. "You should ask him to give you away instead of your brother," she told her and then kissed her cheek. "You have no idea how much that would mean to him," she told her.
"I'll think about it," Leia told her and Padmé accepted that answer for now.
Padmé sipped the exotic flavored tea that Leia had sent over and watched in fascination as Luke calmly worked on Threepio. The normally fussy droid had started to complain about his malfunctioning motivator. From what Padmé had known about the droids components was that the motivator Anakin had used to build Threepio was taken from a discarded pile that Watto had ordered Anakin sort through and discard what he could not fix. Anakin had confessed to lying to Watto about the usefulness of a great many parts from various piles of the like when he found something he could use himself for one of his projects. It had been about forty-two years since Anakin built Threepio and even then, the motivator was junk. Padmé was surprised that it had lasted this long but recognized that it would have lasted much longer had Anakin had constant access to him.
"This motivator need to be replaced," Luke diagnosed. "It's too shot for me to fix," he said.
"Your father could fix it," Padmé told him.
"Well, he's not here and I'm not going to Tatooine any time soon," Luke reminded her.
"You're really going to let him think that you want nothing to do with him anymore?" Padmé asked.
"Nothing else has worked. I find that drastic measures work best with him," Luke told her.
Padmé sighed. "That is cold," she told him. "While you're in there, why don't you try to find the back up memory chip?" she suggested.
"I looked, I couldn't find a backup one in the memory databank," Luke told her.
"It wouldn't be there. Your father would never install a backup anything near the main component," Padmé told him. "It's precautionary in case of damage," she explained at her son's blank look.
"So where then?" Luke asked.
"Knowing your father, where you least expect it," Padmé told him.
Luke looked thoughtful for a moment before he opened another backing to the droid's parts and started to search around before he nodded. "I seem to have found it," he said.
"Activate it," Padmé told him and watched him fiddle around for a moment before the droid jerked some.
"Oh, Mistress Padmé! I heard such terrible things about Master Anakin," the droid cried in a manner that could only be interpreted as despair.
Padmé smiled. "It's quite alright, Threepio, Ani is doing well," she assured the droid.
"I tried to tell those people that they had no right to wipe my memory and that I belonged to Master Anakin, they said that I no longer belonged to Master Anakin," Threepio told her. "I don't understand, did I do something to offend him?" he asked.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Threepio," Padmé assured the distraught droid. "Anakin just..." she faltered in her explanation. "I sent you to protect Leia, it was too dangerous for you to stay with us," she said softly. "Anakin would have never sent you away otherwise, you always meant a great deal to him," she assured the droid.
Luke looked between his mother and his droid. "I'm going to have to shut you down for a few days, Threepio, until I replace your motivator," he patted the droid's golden shoulder as he said this.
"If you think that is wise, Master Luke," Threepio replied, resigned to his fate.
"Don't worry, Threepio, I'll have you working like new in no time," Luke assured the droid before he deactivated him.
"What was the last thing you said to your father before you decided to pretend he didn't exist?" Padmé asked.
"I called him an uncaring bastard who didn't think about how his actions would affect others, which was not long after I practically told him that he was a selfish Kath hound and that I give up and don't care anymore," Luke answered.
"Luke..." Padmé started.
Luke looked at her. "I know, it was harsh but he needed to hear it. What he does now is up to him," he told her.
"You just might have made him even more miserable than he ever was," Padmé told him.
Luke straightened up and stretched to his full height, stretching his arms over his head before he lounged on the couch. "Most of it was true," he told her.
Padmé took another calm sip of her tea. "One of the first things your father said after I told him that I was pregnant was that it was the happiest moment in his life," she told him in reminiscence. "He didn't want to talk about the complications that would arise, he was too happy, so happy that he didn't want it to be ruined by worrying about what was going to happen."
"Until his dreams started," Luke reminded her of what she had told him.
"Even in his belief that his dreams would come true, he maintained his joy at becoming a father. You and your sister were blessings to him even if his dreams would come true," Padmé told him.
Luke looked at his mechanical hand. "It is sometimes hard to even consider the notion of having a caring father," he admitted. "I used to listen to friends back home who had lost their fathers and they would come to me and ask me how they were supposed to deal with loosing their father. I've never been able to give them a helpful answer. I mean, how do you deal with loss like that? How can you miss something that you never had?" he told her softly.
Padmé's heart went out to her son. She had no words to offer him to comfort him where his father was concerned. Instead, she chose a new topic. "I found the strangest thing tucked between the cushions of your couch this morning," she began. Luke gave her a blank look as she continued. "It was a woman's stocking. If you are too busy to consider any romantic entanglements, why would a woman's stocking be tucked into your couch? If it belongs to you then I think we should talk," she added the last part teasingly.
Luke looked like a peko-peko caught in a tusk cat pack and he sat up. "It's Mara's," he confessed.
"Who is Mara?" Padmé asked.
Luke looked at her, deciding to be honest. "You might not like it," he began. "Father is actually very familiar with her. She was the Emperor's favorite Hand," he explained. "A while back the Emperor sent her to kill me, he had so much control over her that she would hear his commands in her head and to fail to meet them was painful to her. She missed several chances to kill me before the emperor was killed. Unfortunately, even his death didn't stop her from hearing his last command and she still tried on occasion before certain situations had us relying on each other for survival. Then there was the incident when we found that someone had an evil clone of me created that was programmed to kill me and take over my life. Mara killed the clone and saved my life. That was also the end of Palpation's influence on her. She became lost afterwards and came to the conclusion that I was the only person she could trust," he explained.
Padmé was slightly alarmed that her son was involved with a woman whose sole mission had been to kill him at one time. But she also trusted Luke's instincts, he had given her no reason not to. "How deeply involved are you with her?" she asked.
"I honestly have no clue," Luke told her. "Some days it is easy to tell where her mindset is and others..." he trailed off. "I haven't said anything about her to anyone because I don't know where things stand yet," he explained.
"Do you have strong feelings for her?" Padmé asked.
"Yes," Luke answered honestly. "But I don't know what they are yet," he quickly amended.
"I understand," Padmé told him calmly. She didn't elaborate. She knew perfectly what her son was feeling as she had been there herself thirty-two years prior.
Luke was about to say something else when the door to the main entrance opened with a hiss followed by an angry voice.
"Luke Skywalker, I am going to rip you apart and feed you to a sarlacc!"
Luke winced and looked at his mother's questioning look. "It's just an idle threat," he quickly said just as a woman around his age came into view.
Padmé eyed the new comer. She had dark red hair and flashing green eyes with a pale complexion so much unlike her son's tanned one. She also had a very shapely proportioned body that was well defined by the tight black leather body suit she wore, a blaster and lightsaber hanging off her hips from her belt. Padmé guessed that this was Mara.
Mara crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her foot impatiently. "Explain," she commanded.
"Mara, meet my mother," Luke calmly said as he gestured to his mother.
Mara quickly glanced at Padmé, clearly noticing her for the first time. But there was recognition in her eyes. For a moment she forgot what she had stormed in the apartment for.
Padmé stood from her seat. "It is nice to meet you, Mara," she offered warmly and looked over at Luke. "I think it is about the time I should leave, I'm supposed to meet your sister for lunch," she told him.
Luke was grateful for his mother's understanding and nodded in response.
Once Padmé was gone, Mara looked at Luke confused. "Your mother is Senator Amidala?" she asked skeptically.
"Yes," Luke answered.
"And your father is Darth Vader?" Mara asked again.
"Yes," Luke answered again.
Mara gave him a double take. "Am I missing something?" she asked gesturing with her fingers.
Luke chuckled. The more he learned about his mother, the more confused he grew over that sometimes himself. "Don't try pondering it, it only gets worse," he told her standing. "So what did I do?" he asked.
"Your friend, General Solo, approached me and threatened to let his Wookiee have a go at me if I was still trying to kill you and was using sex as a weapon to get closer to you," Mara told him agitatedly.
Luke groaned. "I had to tell him something to get him to stop trying to tell people that I had a secret girlfriend," he explained.
Mara scoffed. "That is a lousy excuse," she told him.
Luke stood. "What would you have me do? He was intent on backing me into a corner in front of both my parents and Leia. So I told him enough to get him to shut up about it," he told her.
"I would have rather you not say anything at all," Mara told him irritatedly.
"Why?" Luke asked.
"Because it's nobody's business, that's why," Mara snapped as he approached her. Against her will, her eyes followed his every movement, taking him in seeing the powerful set of his shoulders and the way he moved with such ease and grace, enough to disguise the powerful beast that she knew lurked within. She looked into his eyes, seeing the intent in them with her mind. She would be lying if she said that she wasn't in the mood or that she didn't want it. "What if your mother comes back?" she asked.
"She's helping Leia plan her wedding, they spend hours on that a day," Luke told her. "It'll be a while before she returns anyway."
"Your forget, Farmboy, I am very angry with you," Mara reminded him.
Luke only grinned. "Which only makes it more fun," he told her just before he was on her in an instant, crushing her to him, his mouth hungrily devouring hers before she pulled back and slapped him rather hard.
Luke didn't have time to respond to the slap before she pulled him back to her for a heated kiss and shortly after she was shoved hard up against a wall as her hands tore open his shirt which he quickly discarded. Hands reached behind her to unzip the back of her jumpsuit before it was yanked down off her shoulders, exposing the top half of her body while his mouth left her mouth for a slow descent. And as warm breath hovered over her right breast before his mouth covered her nipple, suckling it just as he knew she liked it, she tilted her head back and arched her back from the sheer pleasure of that small contact. The amazing abilities his mouth had were Sith-like in his aggression against her body. Feeling as though he had way too much control over the situation had her Force-shoving him away and hard to the floor. She quickly removed her boots and peeled her body suit from her before she was on him, pinning him beneath her. Her mouth hungrily sought his as she held his wrists above his head with one hand while the other made quick work with his pants as he kicked his boots off. Her mouth traveled down his jaw and down his neck taking her time at the pulse point in his neck, nipping at it slightly which earned her an aggressive growl in response before he shifted, turning, flipping about so that he was the one on top, discarding his pants as he did so.
Mara bit back wanton cries and arched her back as she felt his thickness fill her hard, deep, and fast in untamed aggression. She wrapped her legs tightly around his waist and dug her nails into his back making him growl against her throat where his mouth was attached to her pulse point, nipping and suckling at it. For the moment, she allowed him the momentary power over her body, lavishing in it. Few would ever guess that the soft-spoken and serene Jedi named Luke Skywalker was capable of such aggression as he displayed whenever they were together in this manner. She felt like one of the lucky few who knew that he possessed a fiery beast within his soul, as primitive and untamed as the world he hails from. It was possibly credited to the fact that she knew what the right buttons were to push and how to push them.
The need for control pushed its way through her as she used all of her strength to push him away, off of her and back onto his back and quickly straddled his hips, taking him inside her again as she did so. She held a hand tightly around his throat, keeping him flat on his back as she rode him, her other hand pressed firmly over his chest, curling into it, her nails clawing against his hard muscled chest. Her back arched as she looked up to the ceiling as his hands roamed over her thighs and hips, up her back and settled on the firm cheeks of her backside.
No words were ever spoken. They weren't required. This was about power and pleasure, nothing more. They started out as sworn enemies, they first met by the blades of their lightsabers, both determined to take the duel to the death before they were forced to finish it at another date. Their next encounter forced them to stop fighting each other if they were going to survive and many others of the likes followed until an understanding washed over them. Then came the evil clone called Luuke and it's master, the insane dark Jedi clone called Joruus C'baoth. After the destruction of both the clone and it's master their mutual aggression for each other turned into respect and trust and the aggression took a different turn. Thus became the turn of each and every one of their encounters. Fiery, untamed, aggressive, burning need of the flesh. Their bodies hungered for something that only they could give each other. They didn't discuss the meaning behind this, they didn't question it. They just did. All that they we conscious of was the intense feelings that were provoked by the slightest contact or the slightest movement.
The power shifted again as Luke grabbed both her wrists and lunged upwards and forcing her on her back and under him again in one fluid movement. He held her wrists over her head with one hand. Suckling on one breast and his other hand kneaded the other as he pumped into her, faster and harder, penetrating deeper each time. Mara withered beneath him from the sheer pleasure of his aggressive worshiping of her body, which had her screaming in ecstasy. The heights he brought her to were unmatched by any of the other men she had been with before him. The sheer power of the orgasms that he invoked in her made her feel as though the planet was shaking violently and that everything was crumbling around them. Her own orgasm only brought on his and she felt him stiffen before he came hard, collapsing on top of her out of exhaustion before he rolled onto his back, breathing hard.
"You are still going to pay very dearly for your friend's insult," Mara panted. "One mind blowing orgasm won't get you out of it."
Luke chuckled, pushing himself up on an elbow before he leered at her. "How many orgasms will it take then?" he asked seriously.
Mara secretly acknowledged that he owned her whenever he looked at her like that, but she never admitted to it. Instead, she shoved him onto his back again, firmly covering his body with hers, her mouth an inch away from his. "It doesn't matter how many, you are still going to pay, Jedi," she told him.
"We'll see," Luke told her confidently, rolling her onto her back beneath him before claiming her as his again and again and again.
Padmé entered the restaurant she was meeting Leia at and smiled when she caught sight of her daughter seated in a middle table. She quietly made her way over and took a seat. "How is Han?" she asked.
"He should be due back from Kashyyyk with Chewbacca tomorrow," Leia informed her.
"In time for the celebrations," Padmé deducted. "I look forward to meeting Chewbacca," she said.
"He feels the same way," Leia told her waving off an offer to sample some wine while Padmé accepted.
Padmé smiled as she thought about the simple joy at being able to be with her children, though both were grown adults now. Her smile faded as she thought of all the years she had lost with them, yet that was in the past now. "How long have you and Han been together?" she asked.
"I've known Han for over ten years now. We've been together for seven this coming Selona," Leia answered.
"That is a good courtship length. It's something that your father and I didn't have. We didn't see each other for ten years and when we did about three weeks later the Clone Wars had started and we eloped," Padmé told her. She didn't mention the fact that her and Anakin had been separated for twenty-nine years and they didn't talk at the moment but she took comfort in the fact that he hasn't asked for a divorce.
"You really do love him, don't you?" Leia asked, unsure how her mother could do so and overlook what he had done.
"With everything that I am and I know that he feels the same," Padmé answered.
"Even with what he has done?" Leia asked skeptically.
"Yes," Padmé told her, "I knew about your father's darker side before I married him. I knew what he was capable of. But no matter what he's done, I know that his capacity to love hasn't been dampened."
Leia didn't understand how her mother could have so much faith, trust and love for her father after everything. "How do you do that, believe in him, trust him, love him?" she asked.
"I just do, I know him better than anyone, I know that I can," Padmé told her and reached across the table to take her hand. "Open your heart to him, Leia, you might be surprised at what you'll find," she urged.
At this point a waiter came over to take their orders. Pletik soup and Kopi tea to drink for Leia and Likryt stew and Bluefruit Kintle to drink for Padmé.
"Han wants to elope," Leia said, changing the subject. "But as soon as people heard that we were getting married..."
"You got people expecting an invitation and to be there," Padmé summarized.
"Yes," Leia said. "I also know that someone of my station is supposed to have a formal wedding," she finished.
"You could only invite close friends and family, you know that," Padmé told her. "The Lake Retreat can house about thirty people," she informed her.
"It must have been lonely being there with only the servants to keep you company," Leia said.
"I had my handmaidens and on occasion my family," Padmé told her. "But without you, your brother and your father, yes, I was very much alone," she finished. She saw the look on Leia's face and hastened to add, "The past is the past,we should look forward to the future."
At this point the waiter returned with their food and drinks before making a quiet retreat.
"I can't seem to find a suitable date for this wedding to take place, my schedule is so hectic," Leia told her.
"I imagine it is," Padmé agreed, having no doubt about how busy her daughter was. She calmly took a sip of her tea. "Have you talked about the details with Han?" she asked.
"Han doesn't really have much of an interest in the details, he says that whatever I want is fine with him," Leia answered her.
"There is more than the wedding to discuss with him, Leia. Have you discussed when you would be ready to have children?" Padmé asked.
Leia kept herself from spitting out her tea and forced a calm expression on her face. "I don't want children," she informed her.
"Why not?" Padmé asked, disappointed with the news.
Leia was silent for a moment as she thought of a way to answer her honestly. "Because I keep thinking about genetics and how my father became the second most evil man in the galaxy, I know that certain traits and diseases skip generations and then there is the Force and what Luke told me about how easy it can be for someone with the Force to be corrupted," she explained.
Padmé looked at her daughter sadly. "Leia, just because your father was seduced to the dark side doesn't mean that anyone else in this family will," she told her.
"I can't take that chance," Leia told her. Before Padmé could say anything else to the subject she quickly changed the subject. "Have you heard back from him yet?" she asked.
Padmé knew that Leia was purposely changing the subject. She sensed that Leia wasn't ready to accept the idea of being a mother yet and hoped that she would change her mind eventually. Instead of forcing the subject further she accepted the change in the subject. Shaking her head, she answered, "No, he hasn't answered any of my messages."
"I don't expect him to, the way he left you..." Leia began.
"He needs help dealing with what happened, Leia, I intend to help him whether he welcomes it or not," Padmé told her. "When I leave Coruscant at the end of the week, I'm going to him."
"Good luck," Leia told her.
Yes, Padmé needed luck, even if Anakin repeatedly told her that there was no such thing. She prayed for good luck.
Leia thought over her conversation with her mother through the rest of her day. Even as she tried to focus on work that she brought home, her mind focused on her mother's words. It was very clear by the way that she spoke that she was deeply in love with her father, which only confused her for the most part. Padmé had told her repeatedly that she didn't know her father all that well and if she did she would love him as well. But Leia didn't see what her mother saw. To Leia, she saw a dark menace, evil encased in black, stuff of nightmares. She dreamed of it almost every night, despite seeing the broken man that he was now. How could she forget the past when it relived itself in her mind? How could she see the real Anakin Skywalker?
Leia had decided to take an early steamy shower to ease her aching muscles. Even then, she thought of her mother's unwavering love. It was so similar to how she felt about Han, she overlooked so much with Han, his past and his dealings with the Hutts. She overlooked it because she saw the real Han Solo. Could she eventually do the same with her father? It was this question that was in her mind as she let the water run over the muscles in her back. She hadn't lathered up yet and she reached for the soap and the sponge and lathered the sponge up. She rubbed the lathered sponge along her arms and over her shoulders, not noticing when the shower door opened and closed until a hand covered hers. She turned around to see Han standing with her in the steam of the shower created by the hot water. Wordlessly he took the sponge from her hand and ran it along her skin. Leia accepted it and leaned into him, eternally grateful that he was home. The sponge fell to the floor of the shower forgotten as her arms reached up to circle around his neck as he leaned down for a kiss and in no time Leia found herself pressed up against the wall of the shower, Han's body covering hers. The kiss intensified and Han lifted her upwards and Leia wrapped her legs around his waist, welcoming the intrusion more than anything.
An hour later Leia curled herself against Han in the bed that they shared and traced circles over his chest with her fingers. She knew without a doubt that she would welcome moments like this until the end of her days. The quiet solitude of the bedroom that they shared was a world away from the galaxy that they were used to, to the galaxy that they were trying to fix. A world away from the twisted family story that they were a part of. Leia never knew anything as peaceful as this. In all the ways that a woman could love a man, Han had been her first. As infuriating as he was at times, she loved him with all of her soul. She loved him with her mind, body, heart, and soul and the wedding would only make it official to the rest of the galaxy. It would put an end to the numerous suitors trying to win her hand as Prince Isolder the Hapes Consortium had tried to a while back. Leia chose not to think about that particular episode and instead focused on Han. "How is Chewie?" she asked.
"As much as he loves his family, he still thinks that I would get myself into trouble and remains insistent that he be by my side," Han told her. "He's back in his own place right now eagerly awaiting his meeting with your mother," he informed her.
The sound of his voice rumbled through his chest and Leia could feel it beneath her hand. She looked up at him. "The celebrations start tomorrow," she said. "Mon wants my mother to stand on the podium with us."
Han yawned. "I suppose it all will start bright and early then," he said.
"Mon wants us there early, yes," Leia told him.
"Then we should get some sleep," Han decided.
Leia laid her head against his bare shoulder and felt his arms wrap tightly around her. "I'm happy that you're home," she told him and heard him mutter 'me, too' before she fell asleep.
Leia stood next to Han and Padmé with Luke on Padmé's other side and Chewbacca on Han's other side and Lando next to Chewbacca while they stood behind Mon Mothma as she gave her speech to open the celebrations for Independence Week. Leia looked over to her mother to see the radiant smile on her face and to see the tears of joy in her eyes from being a part of something so important. Democracy meant a great deal to her mother and Leia wondered how much it affected her to know that her father was a part of its destruction. She then caught Luke's wink and smile that he threw at her and she smiled back. She turned her attention back to the holocam that was fixed on them and felt her mother take her hand.
"...And with a heart full of joy for our being able to celebrate this joyous occasion, let the celebrations begin!" Supreme Chancellor Mon Mothma announced.
Overhead in the sky that had yet to lighten up, fireworks began to sound, which only ended at the sign of light. In the streets of Coruscant, the celebration began to get underway and a parade was about to begin.
Leia held up the ancient unlit torch up in front of her. "On the behalf of the Republic, I hold this torch to symbolize the ancient traditions of the Old Republic and the light of the new dawn of democracy for the seventh year of its return to the galaxy," she announced and much to the surprise of everyone, she handed the torch to Padmé. "As the champion for democracy, I give the torch over to Former Senator Padmé Amidala to carry out the lighting of the torch," she finished.
Padmé's eyes shined with the joy and pride she felt at being able to carry out this tradition. Wordlessly, she walked over to the awaiting pit containing small flames. "It brings great joy to my heart to finally be a part of something this incredible. I was there to witness the announcement of Palpatine's new order and to finally be able to see his mark has finally been left in the past and erased from the present, brings back the hope and good that the people have been deprived of for far too long. May the Force be merciful on us all for this joyous occasion," she said and lit the torch and set it down in its stand.
At this point Luke stepped forward, behind him stood the surviving Jedi as well as the waiting Padawans. He held his lightsaber before him and ignited it, the green blade glowing next the flames of the torch. "May the Force be with us all for the rest of our days for it is our greatest ally," he said and raised the blade before lowering it to cut the ribbon to signal the start of the parade.
At a very young age, Anakin learned the bitter lessons of doing business with people. Though most of what he knew of how to live was either by being a Jedi or a Sith, being a business man was quite new to him. So, when an old friend named Kitster Banai walked into the shop some four months back, Anakin instantly made him a business partner. Luckily, Kitster knew quite a lot about business. It was business that brought Anakin to the Mid Rim, unfortunately he choose the wrong week to make any sort of deals. The streets were overcrowded and on public viewscreens the beginning of the celebrations on Coruscant were being broadcast and Anakin caught the sight of his family and watched as each one signaled the start of the celebrations.
"Independence week, it's not celebrated back home," Kitster muttered from beside him.
"That's because Tatooine is more or less owned by the Hutts," Anakin replied, his eyes on his family.
Kitster followed his line of vision and sighed. "Have they tried to contact you?" he asked.
"My wife has but I'm not ready to answer her. My children ignore my existence. Luke didn't used to but now..." Anakin answered him and turned away from the viewscreen. "We're not going to accomplish anything here, we should leave," he said changing the subject. He began making his way through the crowds back to where his ship was.
Kitster followed him. "Perhaps you should go to them," he suggested.
Kitster shook his head. "Shmi would tell you the same thing," he pointed out. If there was one thing he knew about the man his childhood friend became, it was that in order to talk reason into him sometimes was to appeal to him through his mother's influence.
"You don't know how difficult that would be," Anakin told him, still being stubborn about it. Kitster was the only person he knew that still lived who knew his mother well and could speak for her.
"Yeah, yeah, life is so difficult," Kitster muttered earning him a sharp look from Anakin. "Look, at least your family is alive, mine's dead and I would give anything to get them back. You're wasting time with them," he told him.
Anakin looked away. "You didn't do to yours what I did to mine," he told him.
"Yeah, well, without Shmi, you had a horrible example," Kitster said brushing it off.
"Lets get off this topic," Anakin nearly growled.
"Fine," Kitster said, "Oh look what's being thrown out!" he gestured to a trash pile with many junk parts.
Anakin reached out with his senses as Kitster looked around. "Take it," he said, knowing that no one would notice.
Kitster eagerly grabbed the scraps and shoved them inside a cloth bag. "See this trip isn't a waste of time like you said," he said looking over at his friend.
"These crowds are starting to grate on my nerves," Anakin grumbled as people bumped and pushed past him.
"They're celebrating, let them," Kitster told him as he slung his bag over his shoulder. "Ya know, I feel like a drink, how about you?" he said cheekily.
"Which means I'll be buying since you don't have the credits," Anakin grumbled.
Kitster slung an arm around Anakin's shoulder's. "Which makes you such a good friend," he told him cheerfully and laughed at his annoyed look, happy that for once he wasn't choking anyone.
Padmé put the finishing touches on Luke's apartment and stepped back to admire her work. From what she knew of her son, she knew that he would like to be reminded of home. So she searched around for things that she knew would be found on Tatooine. On a side table she placed Shmi's grave marker as a centerpiece in the living room. The apartment, while belonging on a world like Coruscant, had a feel of Tatooine to it, which was what she was trying to achieve. "Perfect," she breathed. It was at that moment that Luke walked in and stopped short. Padmé turned to him. "Well? Do you like it?" she asked hopefully.
"It reminds me of home," Luke said as he examined the apartment that had been painted a nice earthen shade and decorated much in the way that the homestead used to look. "Were you ever on the farm?" he asked as he looked at the pattern on the ceiling.
"I was there with your father thirty-two years ago when he met his step-family and his mother died," Padmé answered.
"So, once, then," Luke deducted. "You did this all from memory?" he asked. Padmé nodded. Luke was impressed. "That's amazing," he said and dropped the bag he had been carrying by the door. "But why did you do this?" he asked.
"Because I'm your mother and I wanted to do something for you, besides, now you can call this a home," Padmé told him, coming up to him.
Luke smiled. "I've never really had much experience with this. Aunt Beru was great and all, but she never...she taught me how to do things and then expected me to do them afterwards myself," he told her.
Padmé heard the appreciation in her son's words and cupped his cheek. "You're welcome," she told him.
"Are you really leaving today for Tatooine?" Luke asked.
"I am," Padmé told him.
"Good luck then," Luke told her. "Are you ready?" he asked.
"As ready as I'll ever be," Padmé told him.
Luke noted the bags that she had packed and ready to go, a great deal less than she had came with. With a wave of his hand he guided the bags with the Force. "I'll see you off then," he said. "Again, Leia can't make it, she's tied up at the Senate," he told her.
"I completely understand that," Padmé told him. "We said goodbye this morning," she told him as they left the apartment for the landing pad that held Padmé's ship.
Luke looked at her but didn't say anything as they flew across the city to the waiting landing pad. Once there he helped his mother out of the speeder.
"You have the same manners that your father has," Padmé commented as they stood on the landing pad.
"I haven't noticed," Luke said dryly.
Padmé shook her head and kissed his cheek before embracing him. "I love you," she told him as they broke away. She didn't bother to await an answer or for similar spoken sentiment. Neither Luke nor Leia were quite accustomed to her yet, and she had enough patience to wait for them to utter those words. Luke helped load her bags into her ship and murmured a goodbye and good luck to her before he exited the ship. As she took a seat in the pilot's chair in the cockpit, Padmé noted Luke's pose as he watched her, the same mirror pose as his father and she smiled before she began to take off. She kept an eye on her son as she took off until he was no longer in sight. She knew that his eyes were following her ship even without the Force. She silently sent a prayer that her plan would work out as she expected it to.