Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Hey everyone! I'm back with another vignette and I can't believe it, but it's number 20! Wow, the twentieth vignette and this series is still going strong. So, without further ado, here's the beginning of another great story in this awesome series. Enjoy and as always, let me know what you think!
Blood Ties: A Forever Destined Vignette
"The tragedy that happened at the Opera House a week ago is unacceptable! We must do more to stop such things from happening!" one Senator called during the open floor debate.
"It is as I have been saying for years!" another called. Padme glared at the human male from a planet she couldn't recall off hand. She couldn't even remember his name, but she knew he had once been loyal to Palpatine.
"The Jedi have become more and more ineffective! The Senate should have more involvement into their dealings! Why is it that they steadfastly refuse to allow us to appoint a liaison to oversee their secretive Council meetings? Whatever could they be discussing that we cannot be privy to!" he ranted. Padme fumed.
"I assure you that the Council is hiding nothing and they make weekly reports to Chancellor Iblis through Jedi Master Dooku. They do not need us telling them what to make of the vibrations in the Force when they are the ones trained to interpret it. What happened was a tragedy, but without the Jedi, it would have been far worse. They cannot save everyone, but it is because of them that evil does not rule us," Padme said.
"You are hardly one to speak on behalf of the Council, Senator Skywalker. You are far too biased, being that you're practically in bed with the Council," he sneered back.
"You are out of line, Senator Melka," Bel warned sternly.
"Padme's marriage to Jedi Skywalker has no bearing on this matter. She is right. The Council doesn't need a politician sitting in on their meetings where they discuss the matters of the order. The Jedi are a pillar of truth and strength. We were caught off guard the other night, but we will not dishonor those that perished by sitting idly by," Bail said.
"I concur with Senator Organa. This rogue they call Bane is unpredictable at best. Only the Jedi are capable and trained to deal with someone like him and his cohorts," Clovis added.
"Chancellor, are you really satisfied with the level of protection, or lack thereof, that the Jedi are providing us?" Melka questioned. Bel glared at him.
"Considering that the Jedi are, as always, patrolling now as we speak, my answer is yes. Master Dooku informed me this morning that Jedi and Clone patrols have been increased by forty percent and will increase even more, as they reassign their forces over the next few weeks. Bane will be found and brought to justice. This session is dismissed," Bel concluded, as he adjourned them.
"The mass of training remotes that whirred in the air fell to a broken mess one by one, as Anakin and Luke made quick work of them. The training simulation ceased at the destruction of the last remote and father and son extinguished their light sabers. Luke rubbed the stinging minor burn mark on his forearm gingerly.
"How come you had to increase the intensity of the lasers on the remotes?" Luke asked in annoyance.
"How many times did you get stung today?" Anakin asked in return.
"Once," Luke answered.
"How many times last week?" Anakin questioned.
"Three times," Luke answered again.
"And how many times two weeks ago?" Anakin asked.
"Seven," Luke mumbled.
"Then you're learning!" Anakin replied, patting him soundly on the back. Luke looked less than thrilled.
"Thanks Dad," he said, as Mace and Mara entered the gym for their training session. Anakin smiled to himself, as he felt Luke's heartbeat quicken through the Force, as Mara flashed him a smile.
"I'm going to go talk to Master Windu for a moment and then we'll go home, so Mom can rub some owie cream on that burn for you," Anakin said. Mara snickered and Luke looked mortified.
"Dad, I don't need Mom to treat it," he insisted.
"It's nothing," he added in vehement.
"Maybe, but your Mom will spot that little burn the minute we enter and she will make you let her treat it. You know how she is," Anakin replied. It was true. His Mother had a thing about nursing their wounds, no matter how minor they were.
"Oh wait, what was your count?" Anakin asked.
"Dad…" Luke whined with an eye roll.
"It's just a little friendly competition, son. Now how many remotes did you destroy?" he asked. Luke rolled his eyes again.
"Seventeen, which means you had twenty-three, because there were forty remotes," Luke stated.
"Not bad. You're closing the gap between us," Anakin replied. Mara giggled.
"Your Dad is fun," she said once they were alone.
"Yeah, he's great when he's not kicking my butt in training or rather, letting the remotes kick it like today," Luke replied.
"Yeah, but I wish my Dad was more like yours sometimes. He makes training fun," Mara said.
"Your Dad is great too," Luke said.
"Yeah, he is and I love him, but I guess it's strange, because he has a really hard time expressing his emotions sometimes. He's more relaxed and open at home, but in public, he's all business," Mara replied.
"Yeah, but that's not all bad. Some argue that sometimes my Dad has too much passion and emotion," Luke said.
"Yeah, but that argument doesn't hold much water, considering he's the Slayer of Sith and all," Mara replied.
"Very true, but don't let him hear you call him that," Luke warned.
"Mara, let's go," Mace called.
"See ya round, Skywalker," Mara said, as she went to train. Anakin smirked at his son knowingly.
"What?" Luke questioned.
"Nothing. Just wondering if you're ever going to get up the courage to ask her out," Anakin replied, enjoying the horrified look on Luke's face, as he turned red.
"Dad…I'm not interested in Mara," Luke lied.
"It's pretty obvious that you like her and that's okay. You just need to do something about it," Anakin replied.
"If I ask Mara out, she'll laugh at me and then she'll probably punch me," he said.
"Two years ago, she probably would have, but she's becoming a young woman now. It's okay if you like each other and it's perfectly normal if you want to start dating girls," Anakin explained.
"You're not going to give me the talk again, are you?" he asked.
"No. Your little brother is next on my list for that," Anakin replied.
"Good, because I think I'd rather be pelted by lasers than go through that embarrassment again," Luke said.
"It's supposed to be embarrassing. I was mortified when your Grandfather gave me the talk too. But it's important to wait for the right woman. Believe me, I wish I would have waited for your Mom. It's also important to be responsible," Anakin told him. Luke rolled his eyes.
"I thought you said you weren't going to talk to me about this stuff," Luke complained. Anakin chuckled.
"Okay, I'm done. Let's go home," Anakin replied.
As Anakin arrived home with four of their children, he noticed that Clovis was there, picking up Jake. His mood soured a little, as he realized that Leia had probably brought Jake home from school and spent the afternoon with him.
"See you tomorrow at school," Jake said, as he bid Leia goodbye.
"All right. Goodbye," Leia replied, as she hugged him. Jake looked nervous under Anakin's gaze and quickly got into his Uncle's speeder.
"Okay, you have about an hour until we leave for dinner, so make sure you're washed up by then," Padme told their children, as she headed back to the kitchen. But not before calling to Luke.
"Oh Luke honey, I'll put some owie cream on that little burn on your arm before we leave," Padme told him. Luke let out a loud sigh of exasperation, causing his siblings to snicker. Anakin chuckled, as they went into the kitchen together.
"Wow, it smells good in here," Anakin said, as his hand reached for the bowl of frosting that was sitting next to a freshly baked chocolate cake. But Padme smacked his hand away.
"No you don't. We're coming back here for dessert after we go to dinner," she scolded.
"We are?" he asked. She rolled her eyes.
"I told you last night that we're all going to Dex's tonight for dinner and then I invited Mace and his family back here afterwards. Obi-Wan and Sola are coming too. I guess you weren't listening," she replied.
"I was listening…I just forgot. Luke should have reminded me, because that's what padawans are for," Anakin replied in his defense. Padme gave him a chiding look, as he snaked his arms around her waist.
"Besides, you should know by now that you shouldn't tell me things you want me to remember when you're wearing a sexy little negligee like you were last night," he said, as he kissed her neck. She giggled.
"It was just a nightgown," she replied.
"There was curve hugging and cleavage," he argued, making her laugh.
"You are so bad. But I'll remember to make sure I'm fully clothed next time I tell you something of importance," she joked, as she stirred the frosting.
"You better," he joked back, as he kissed her cheek and they went upstairs to clean up for dinner.
Chase Munez loitered outside the establishment known as Dex's Diner, as he prepared to make contact with his targets. He had just reported to Bane on his progress and his boss was getting impatient. But tonight was the night he made himself known. He'd been following Zia for almost a week and watching her work with her partner, whom he had learned was Riley Zander. He hadn't met Zander, but knew him by reputation from his days as a smuggler and bounty hunter, before he had turned into a Jedi ally. He had been very careful as to not alert either of them to his presence and never got near Zia when she was anywhere near her Jedi husband. But tonight, that was all about to change and he was only moments away of turning Zia's and her daughter's life upside down. He smirked. This would actually be quite entertaining. As he entered, his eyes scanned the diner and it did not take him long to find them. They were sitting at a large table in the back with friends. Chase recognized Skywalker, Kenobi, Windu, and Zander. A lovely little family outing. How quaint. It was nauseating and made him glad he had never settled down with any woman, because he couldn't imagine such an abhorrent existence. As Zia got up to go up to the bar for a refill on her drink, he saw his opening and moved in.
"Zia Jade…you haven't changed at all in the last fifteen years. But I shouldn't be surprised, because to this day, you're still one of the most beautiful women I've ever been with," he said, as he approached her at the bar. Zia looked at him and suddenly grew very nervous, as she recognized the man instantly.
"Chase…" she said. He smirked.
"Glad to see that you haven't forgotten me. I'll take a Corellian brandy," he ordered to Dex, as he dropped some credits on the bar. Dex watched him suspiciously, but reluctantly went to get his drink.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I've…recently got out of the business and I'm trying to clean up my life. I thought a good way to start would be to right a few wrongs. And luckily, you're not that hard to track down these days," he said.
"Well, things turned out very well for me, so consider this wrong righted," Zia said quickly, as she prepared to return to her table.
"Zia wait…" he called. She stopped reluctantly.
"I want to meet her," he stated. She turned and shook her head.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Zia replied too quickly.
"My daughter. I want to meet her," he stated.
"She's not your daughter. Mace is her father," Zia retorted.
"Not biologically," he replied.
"It doesn't matter. You told me to get lost when you found out I was pregnant. You threw me out and left me pregnant with little to no money and just my ship to live in. You lost your rights to be her father when you dumped us," Zia spat. She had drawn Mace's attention and he calmly approached, giving the man a stern gaze. And Chase had to admit that what they said about him was true. He carried a formidable presence and was almost more intimidating than Skywalker.
"Zia, are you okay?" he asked his wife calmly, as he put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm fine. We should just go back to Padme's now," Zia replied.
"You must be the esteemed Mace Windu," Chase said.
"And you are?" Mace questioned.
"Chase," he replied simply.
"Ah, Chase Munez," Mace said.
"Then she told you about me," he stated. Mace's gazed turned icy.
"Oh yes, she told me all about you, which means that you should leave…now," Mace almost growled. Chase smirked.
"Oh, I'm not going anywhere until I get to meet my daughter," Chase replied.
"She's not your daughter," Mace snapped.
"Whether you like it or not, technically she is and I'm trying to turn my life around. It was a mistake to ever let you go, Zia. But at least I can correct one mistake by getting to know my daughter," Chase said.
"Mom, is everything okay?" Mara asked, as she approached.
"It's fine honey. Go sit back down with the other kids," Zia told her. Mara looked at the brown haired, shady looking man that her father was glaring at with curiosity.
"Hello Mara, it's nice to finally meet you," he said.
"Don't talk to her," Zia snapped, as she ushered her daughter away.
"Leave now," Mace ordered.
"This is a public establishment. I have just as much right to be here as the rest of you," Chase replied.
"Well, then I guess we'll just have to throw you out," Riley said, as he approached.
"Riley Zander, your reputation precedes you. It's nice to finally meet you in person," Chase said.
"Get out. Your kind isn't wanted here," Riley retorted.
"It's as I told Zia, I've turned my life around and I'm working to make amends with those that I have wronged. Or are you the only one allowed to turn over a new leaf, Zander?" Chase questioned.
"Look, I don't care if you really have changed. I don't want anything to do with you and I don't want you near my daughter," Zia hissed at him.
"She's fifteen. Don't you think she should be allowed to decide?" Chase asked.
"No, I don't. Leave now," Zia told him again, as she went to get her daughter. Padme and Sola were rounding up the rest of the kids, as they prepared to leave.
"Mom, who is that man?" Mara asked.
"No one important," Zia replied.
"She's lying to you, young one. What she doesn't want you to know is that I'm your biological father!" Chase called.
"No…you threw me away like trash and left me pregnant with nothing! You didn't want us then and you can't have us now. And that's just fine with me, because we don't want you! Mace is her father and you better stay away from us!" Zia yelled, as she led Mara out the back with everyone else.
"Stay away from my family," Mace warned, as he followed. Chase smirked and gulped his drink down. The girl had a curious look in her eye, which meant she would give him the opportunity he needed to snatch her for his boss. Then Mace and Zia would be forced to ask Count Dooku for his ransom demand. He would pay his boss, take his cut, and he would have his freedom. And the irony was that his own flesh and blood was the means to his own financial independence…