Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Hello everyone and welcome to the 21st Forever Destined Vignette! All you need to know is that two years have passed since Blood Ties and everything that has been building throughout the last several vignettes will all begin to come to a head in this and future vignettes. So without further ado, here's part 1 of ! Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Royal Conspiracy: A Forever Destined Vignette
Padme sighed, as she looked at the very large cake she had spent the whole afternoon making. Each side was adorned with eighteen candles each and beautifully scripted with frosting letters spelling out the names of her oldest twin children. Today was their eighteenth life day and while it was a joyful occasion, it also made Padme a little sad. They were all grown up, even though she remembered welcoming them into the world like it was just yesterday.
"Anakin!" Padme called, as he rushed into the room.
"I'm here Padme," he said, coming by her side and entwining his hand with her own.
"I was afraid...you wouldn't make it," Padme said, as another contraction hit.
"Hey, you didn't think I'd really miss this, did you?" he asked, as another wave of pain racked her body. She felt relief though, as her husband took on some of her pain as his own.
"You...don't have to do that...my love," she said.
"Let me do what I can for you, my sweet angel," he said, as he kissed her forehead tenderly.
"I've missed you so much," he said, as he dabbed her forehead with a cool cloth.
"I think their early coming could be a good sign," he said.
"Why do...you say that?" she asked.
"Maybe that means they'll have your good punctuality and not my inability to get anywhere on time," he joked. She tried to laugh, but was racked by another contraction. It was less painful now though, since her husband was sharing it with her. Bant quietly watched the young couple, as she monitored Padme's vitals, as well as the twins'. They positively radiated love. She had never felt such powerful love and devotion between two people before. These two younglings were going to be very lucky little children.
"Padme...your contractions are almost a minute apart," Bant said, as she lifted Padme's hospital gown and positioned her to give birth.
"On your next contraction, I need you to start pushing, honey," Bant said. Padme nodded and squeezed Anakin's hand, as she felt the pain rising in her again.
"All right angel, you can do this," Anakin encouraged, as he placed his hands on her shoulders.
"Push Padme," Bant said urgently. Padme gasped for air, as she finished the first push.
"Your doing wonderful Padme. These little ones are in a big hurry to get here. The first head is crowning, so this will be a big push," Bant said. Anakin kissed her forehead and held her shoulders.
"Okay Padme...push!" Bant said. Padme whimpered painfully, as she pushed as hard as she could. Bant coached her to push harder and she did. An exhausted cry escaped her lips, as she fell back. A cry pierced the air, as Bant cradled their wiggling, crying daughter. Bant handed her to Barriss, who began cleaning her.
"Oh Padme, look at her. She's so beautiful," Anakin said in complete awe. Padme smiled up at him, love shining in her eyes, before she felt another pain.
"Well, her brother is not wasting any time either. It seems he's just as eager to meet his mommy and daddy as well," Ban said, as the other child's head crowned. Padme squeezed her husband's hand tightly and pushed as hard as she could.
"Come on Padme, push as hard as you can. You're almost done..." Ban coached. Padme pushed with all her strength and another cry pierced the air, as Bant cradled their son and went to clean him up.
"Padme, would you like to hold your daughter?" Barriss asked. Padme nodded and Barriss placed their little girl in her arms.
"Oh Ani...she's beautiful," Padme said.
"She's perfect, just like her mother," Anakin said, as he looked down at her in awe. Padme smiled up at him and gently wiped a tear away that had cascaded down his cheek. He smiled and pressed his lips softly to hers.
"Anakin, would you like to hold your son?" Bant asked. He nodded eagerly and accepted the tiny bundle in his arms.
"Oh, they're both perfect," Padme said, as she gazed at them both.
"Padme…do you need help carrying the cake?" Anakin asked, snapping her from her thoughts.
"Huh? Oh sure. Thanks sweetheart," she replied.
"Are you okay?" he asked She nodded.
"Just thinking. I can't believe they're eighteen," she replied. He nodded.
"I know. I was thinking the same. But wow, look at this cake. It's fantastic! You outdid yourself, angel," he told her. She smiled.
"Thanks," she replied, as they shared a tender kiss.
"Oh, I better get something to light the candles with," she mentioned. But Anakin raised one hand and all thirty-six candles ignited. She smiled.
"Or you could just do that," she replied, as they went out into the living area where family and friends waited.
"Wow Mom, that is some cake!" Luke said, as his father set it down on the table. Luke had filled out a little in the last couple years, but unfortunately did not inherit his father's height and remained only a few inches taller than his twin sister. He had grown up to very handsome, like his father, but had inherited some of his mother's features as well. Leia had inherited her mother's beauty, though she was a slight taller than Padme. Anakin was fond of telling her that she was as beautiful as her Mother, but she often showed that she was Anakin's daughter when it came to temper and personality.
"Okay you two, blow out all these candles before the house burns down," Anakin joked. Together, the twins, as different as night and day, each blew out a set of eighteen candles. All present clapped and Luke and Leia began opening gifts as Padme cut and served the cake. After receiving gifts from their grandparents, Aunt, and Uncle, they began opening the ones from their parents. Leia went first and opened a small velvet box. She gasped, as she laid eyes on the most beautiful necklace she had ever seen. The pendant was made of Alderaanian crystal, which she knew to be very rare and expensive and the strand of Nabooan sapphires. The pendant was iridescent and shaped like a crescent moon with a star resting in the crest. It was a symbol often fashioned in the palace on Naboo and had always been one of her favorites.
"Mom…Dad…it's beautiful!" Leia said in awe, as she hugged them tightly, before allowing her father to put it on her.
"We love you so much," Padme told her.
"I love you Mom and you too Daddy," she gushed. As she pulled back, she saw tears in her father's eyes.
"You're all grown up ad I know I have to let go, but the necklace will hopefully remind you of us and where you came from, even when you go on to do great things, because no matter what you'll always be our baby girl and my little Princess," Anakin said. Leia hugged him.
"Don't ever let go Daddy, because I'll always need you," Leia told him. Attention shifted to Luke next, as he also opened a small box. He took out an ignition switch and looked at his father with wide eyes.
"A speeder?" he exclaimed. Anakin smiled and nodded. Upon Luke's eighteenth life day, Anakin had always planned to give him one of the many speeders in his collection.
"Which one?" he asked. Anakin shrugged.
"Which one do you think it is?" he questioned. Luke's eyes got big again.
"The Sapphire Angel?" he asked, referring to his parent's silver open cockpit speeder with blue flames. Anakin scoffed.
"You wish. Maybe when I'm dead. That speeder is your mother's and mine," Anakin replied, as everyone chuckled.
"The red one. Fireball," Luke guessed. Padme scoffed this time.
"Absolutely not. Fireball is a death trap. I've been begging your Dad to get rid of it for years," Padme replied.
"Then it has to be good old yellow lightning," Luke said. Anakin nodded.
"Yep, now you know why I had you help overhaul the engine and install those new mach two power thrusters last month," Anakin said.
"Thanks Dad," Luke said, hugging both his parents. Padme gave her husband a look.
"Mach two power thrusters?" she questioned.
"Don't worry angel, it's safe. But he needs enough speed to chase any would be escaping criminals," Anakin reminded. She sighed.
"Please promise you'll be safe," Padme pleaded.
"He flies like his father so there's no chance of that," Obi-Wan joked.
"Come on Uncle, I'm a great pilot. Flying is in my blood, after all," Luke mentioned.
"Except that what you and your father do is suicide; not flying," Obi-Wan joked. Anakin patted Luke's shoulder.
"He's just getting grumpy in his old age. He needs to take more naps," Anakin joked.
"You're so funny. You're not so young anymore either, baby brother," Obi-Wan retorted. Before their banter could continue, Sola stopped them.
"That's enough. Let's eat some cake," she said, as she ushered her husband to the table, as Anakin put his arms around Padme.
"Are you okay?" he asked, knowing that she was having a hard time accepting that two of her babies were grown adults now. She nodded.
"I'm fine, especially since you're holding me," she replied.
"You know, I dug out their baby books. We could start passing them around and embarrass the life out of them," Anakin suggested. She smiled and bit her bottom lip.
"We shouldn't," she said.
"But you know that you want to go gush about how cute they were," he replied. She kissed his cheek.
"I just hope they'll forgive me, because I can't resist," she said, as she went over and got the books. She opened them and the fawning began.
"Dad…why?" Luke complained, as he watched his mother gush pass around the albums.
"This is so embarrassing. I'm going to get Jake before he sees any of them," Leia complained.
"It makes her happy, Luke and therefore, it makes me happy," Anakin answered his son, as he patted him on the shoulder.
"Oh look, she's getting to the ones of you in the bathtub," Anakin laughed. Luke groaned, mortified. Jayden and Jenna sought no mercy on their older siblings, as they helped pass the embarrassing holos around.
"Ah, you were so cute," Jayden teased. Luke, who swatted his hand away after Jayden started pinching his cheek.
"Keep it up and I'll go get your baby holos and show them to Nat," Luke threatened. But Jayden only smirked.
"Go ahead. Mom already did that to me a long time ago. Natalie's seen them," Jayden replied.
"Yeah, but I bet Jake hasn't seen Leia's," Jenna added.
"Don't you dare, Jen," Leia warned. She scoffed.
"Or what? You'll be me up? Ha, like you could," Jenna teased. It was true. Jenna was insanely strong for a girl, in fact, just as physically strong as Jayden and Luke and stronger than most boys. Unfortunately, Jenna dealt with a lot of issues because of this, one being anger. Boys found her very intimidating and it often made her feel like she wasn't pretty or that she wasn't even a girl at all. And these feelings were often masked by a quick wit and sarcasm. But she was in fact very beautiful, like her sisters. While both Leia and Kimberly's facial structure resembled Padme, Jenna had inherited her facial structure from her father. While her features were chiseled like his, they also had a soft, feminine glow to them, when she wasn't glaring daggers at someone. Her eyes were as blue as Anakin's too and her hair was a beautiful light sandy blonde. But it cascaded down her back in gorgeous, natural ringlet curls that she had inherited from her mother. She was no where near as tall as her brother, for he was quickly gaining on their father, as he had shot up to five foot ten just in the last couple months, but she was taller than her mother and sisters. They were fifteen now and their bodies had just gone through an intense growth spurt in the last year. Jayden had begun to fill out and was no longer as lanky as he once was. His eyes were an intense cobalt color, much like Anakin's were when he activated his powers. It was something that made them all wonder just how limitless his potential would become. His resemblance to his father was uncanny, except he had inherited his mother's rich chocolate hair color, which he was currently growing out in a shaggy style. And while he was definitely his father's son, he was his own person as well. And then there was Kimberly. Her siblings all had very strong personalities and were very outspoken, just like their parents. Kimberly was quiet and shy. Sometimes she had often wondered if she was at all related to her family, though she loved them all. But no one could deny that she was a Skywalker. She was very petite and much smaller than Jenna, despite being almost seventeen. But her parents always made sure she never felt left out or went unheard. Her father especially had always made sure she knew how special she was too, like her brothers and sisters. She was his tiny angel, after all. Still, sometimes Kimberly felt like the odd one in her family. Luke, Jayden, and Jenna were becoming powerful Jedi. She was a capable Jedi too in her own right, but she would never be as powerful as them. Leia was a capable Jedi, but she excelled in the political arena like their mother. She was on her way to becoming a promising young legislator, but Kimberly didn't possess the same prowess for politics that her mother and Leia did. She had yet to find her niche and though her parents insisted that it was okay and that she would eventually find it, she still often felt insecure about herself. But she wasn't the only one that stood out among her siblings, for Jayden was already in love at only fifteen. Anakin and Padme understood his deep connection and strong blossoming for Natalie Organa, but many of his peers did not, which often made it a target for scrutiny. But Jayden didn't care what they thought. He loved her and as he saw her walk out onto the veranda, he quickly followed and observed her, as she stood by the fountain and gazed up at the stars.
"Hey Nat, are you okay?" he asked, noticing the far away look on her face. He could sense her sadness too.
"I'm fine," she said unconvincingly.
"Nat, it's just us out there," he told her. That's when the tears began to roll down her cheeks.
"Oh Jayden," she cried, as he pulled her into his arms and she sobbed against his chest.
"Natalie…what is it?" Jayden asked.
"It's my Mom. She's dying," Natalie sobbed.
"But the healers are still searching. Aren't any of the treatments working?" Jayden asked.
"They keep her alive, but that's about it. She's…she's tired and she's giving up," Natalie answered.
"She can't. I know they'll find a cure," Jayden told her. Natalie shook her head.
"She doesn't think there is one, since they don't even know what she really has. She…wants to go home to Alderaan, be taken off her treatments, and then die with the people she loves around her. Dad has tried to talk her out of it, but she's adamant that her wishes be followed. She doesn't want us spending our lives at her bedside any longer. Dad and I don't agree, but he's going to follow her wishes. We're leaving for Alderaan tomorrow," Natalie cried.
"She's going to die, Jay," Natalie sobbed, almost uncontrollably. He took her in his arms and hugged her fiercely.
"I won't let you go through this alone. I'm going with you," he insisted. She nodded gratefully.
"Thanks," she sniffed. He caressed her cheek softly.
"I love you Nat and I'm always going to be here when you need me," he told her. Fresh tears slipped down her cheeks. They had been together since they were toddlers. Many thought they were too young to be as in love as they were, but there was nothing childish about the love and connection they shared, for it would only continue to grow by leaps and bounds. As she started to cry again about the impending death of her mother, Jayden continued to hold her. Distress rolled off her in waves, so it was only a matter of time before Anakin and Padme noticed.
"What's going on?" Padme asked, as she and Anakin saw Natalie sobbing in their son's arms.
"It's my Mom…she's not getting any better and she's told Daddy that she's ready to accept it. He doesn't want to, but she wishes to return to Alderaan and be taken off her treatments so she can die with the people she loves around her," Natalie cried.
"Oh sweetheart," Padme cried, as she took the young girl in her arms.
"I have to go with Nat when they leave tomorrow," Jayden told his Dad. Anakin put his hand on his son's shoulder.
"We'll all go," Anakin stated.
"Really?" she asked.
"Of course, we love you like our own. And your parents are practically family too. When I first came to the Senate, I went through a lot of bad things and there were a lot of mean people around me, but they were so kind to me and they became my friends in a time when I needed friends the most," Padme told her, as she hugged her close.
"It was no coincidence that I found you when you were a baby. And your parents were the first ones I thought of to raise you. We're going to be there for you and your Dad.
"Thank you," she cried, as Anakin and Padme hugged her.
"I'm going to take her back to the Temple and stay there tonight," he told his parents, who nodded, before leaving the young couple alone.
"I love you and I don't know what I'd do without you," Natalie said, as she gazed into his mesmerizing dark blue eyes.
"And you'll never have to find out, because I love you too," he replied, as he slowly lowered his lips to and their lips met in a tender, passionate kiss. She was so beautiful. Those were his thoughts often, as he gazed at her. He towered over her, for she was petite like his sister Kimberly. She had beautiful, long chocolate colored hair and matching eyes that always seared through him. Her features were beautiful, soft, and delicate, truly worthy of that of the Princess of Alderaan. And he loved her with all his heart and soul.
As Anakin and Padme went back inside, they announced that they would be going to Alderaan tomorrow, for Breha's health was deteriorating. Despite their celebration, they shared a somber moment of silence.
"It truly is a travesty that we may lose such a dear friend," Rush told Padme.
"I know…she's been my friend for so long. I guess I was sure she would be able to beat this illness," Padme said sadly, not noticing the sudden predatory gaze that momentarily glazed Rush's face.
"I did too. Poor Bail…he must be devastated, knowing that he is going to lose the woman he loves," Rush mentioned.
"I know. And Natalie doesn't deserve to lose her mother," Padme mentioned
"Yes, I pray that Anakin will never lose you," Rush mentioned coolly, causing Padme to look at him curiously.
"Losing an incredible woman like you would certainly destroy a man," he added quickly.
"No man should go through what Bail is going through," he added. Padme nodded. If not for her preoccupation with Breha's plight, Padme would have found Rush's reference to Anakin being destroyed by losing her alarming. Rush, however, or the parasite infecting him, noticed his careless misstep.
"Well, I should be going. As always, you are a gracious hostess, Padme and I always enjoy these little gatherings for our children," Rush said.
"Thank you for coming, Rush," Padme replied, not really paying him any attention, but rather lost in her thoughts.
"Have you seen Jake?" he asked.
"Oh, I think he is on the veranda with Leia," Padme replied. Rush smiled.
"Of course," he said, as he went to retrieve his nephew.
Jake kissed Leia vigorously and pressed her back against the railing of the veranda momentarily forgetting that her father was only a few feet away inside. His memory lapse continued as he put his hands on her waist. But Leia wasn't into the kiss like she usually was.
"Jake…stop," she said.
"What's wrong?" he asked. She looked at him.
"I just found out Breha is dying. She's like an Aunt to me," Leia said.
"I'm sorry Leia. I'm being insensitive," he apologized.
"It's okay. Do you think you could transmit any reports or assignments we have this week to my datapad?" Leia asked.
"Sure, but aren't you going to be in school?" he asked.
"No, I'm going to Alderaan with my parents," she replied.
"Oh," he said in disappointment.
"I know that the spring social is Saturday, but my family needs me and I want to be able to say goodbye to Breha," Leia said.
"It's okay, I understand," he replied.
"Thanks," she replied, as she kissed his cheek.
"There you are. We should be going," Rush said, as he called out to them. As he turned away, Jake kissed Leia again, allowing his hands to rest on her back. He broke the long, lingering kiss and went inside. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw Anakin leaning against the wall, just inside from the veranda, with his arms crossed over his chest.
"Oh, um, good evening Master Skywalker," Jake said politely.
"Goodnight Jake," Anakin replied.
"Oh Jake," he called then, causing the boy to turn back.
"Yes Sir?" he asked.
"Do you like your hands?" Anakin questioned. Jake looked confused.
"Sir?" he questioned in confusion.
"Are you fond of your hands?" Anakin rephrased.
"Yes Sir," Jake answered.
"Then you might want to be mindful of where you put them on my daughter or I might be tempted to hack them off," Anakin warned. Jake gulped nervously.
"Yes Sir," he answered, as he nearly tripped as he hurried out.
"Daddy…that was so mean!" Leia yelled.
"Sorry Princess, I'm just being a Dad," Anakin replied with a shrug.
"Jake is nice. Why are you so rotten to him?" Leia asked.
"Maybe I won't be when he proves to me that he's good enough for you," Anakin replied. Leia let out a frustrated squeal, as she stormed up to her room.
"Hacking off his hands? Really Ani, that's harsh, even for you," Padme teased.
"He's the one that was almost groping her with me barely five feet away," Anakin replied.
"True, but he's a nineteen-year-old boy. His hormones make him stupid," Padme joked. He chuckled.
"Touché, my star nymph," he replied, as he put his arms around her and they stepped out onto the veranda.
"How are you coping with all this?" he asked seriously. She sighed.
"Breha is accepting that she's dying. I guess I haven't yet accepted it yet though," Padme said.
"I always thought the healers would find something. That's what makes it so bizarre. I was talking to Bant and what she has resembles a handful of different illnesses. Some of the treatments work to keep her alive, but can't cure her. I've never seen the healers as baffled by anything like this before," Anakin mentioned. Padme shook her head.
"I just…it doesn't make sense, Ani. If she had any variety or mutation of any disease it would be contagious. All viruses are. But while the symptoms are like a virus, they act like non-contagious terminal illnesses too. Whatever she has is a radical thing and it just makes me wonder how she ever contracted something like this. Breha doesn't go anywhere obscure. She lives here on Coruscant and goes home to Alderaan periodically to deal with business in the palace," Padme said. Anakin shook his head too.
"It reminds me of when Sifo-Dyas had his scientists injecting me with all those different drugs. It's like someone just threw them all together in a dish and mixed them around," he said. What he said struck Padme. He noticed the perplexed look on her face.
"What is it, angel?" he asked.
"What if what she has isn't some radical new disease?" she asked.
"What are getting at?" he asked.
"What if she has something that someone created?" Padme wondered.
"But why Breha? What would anyone gain by her death?" Anakin questioned.
"The Throne," Padme answered. Anakin shook his head, confused.
"But even if Breha dies, then Bail will continue on and Natalie will become Queen," Anakin stated.
"Except that Natalie isn't Breha's biologically and Bail is only Prince Consort by the way of his marriage. Natalie's royalty could be questioned," Padme replied.
"By who?" Anakin asked.
"If there is no blood heir to follow Breha, then the Alleman family can challenge Natalie's appointment to Queen upon Breha's death, even if in her will Breha has stated that she wishes for Natalie to secede her," Padme stated.
"Do you think they will?" Anakin asked.
"I met Shefan Alleman once many years ago and he has been salivating over the possibility of claiming the Throne for a very long time. He is descended from the noblest and perhaps the most crooked family on Alderaan. They have been waiting for the day that they could force the Organa family out and when he found out that Breha could not conceive a child, it only made him want the Throne more. But he is getting old and will likely try to get parliament to crown his nineteen-year-old son Shane as King," Padme said.
"So, if Breha were to have lived a very long life, then it would be likely he would never see that his son was put into power and that no one would have the clout necessary to challenge Natalie's ascension. Therefore, if he were to find a way to see that Breha didn't live, then the power that he needs in parliament would be in hands," Anakin replied.
"Exactly," Padme stated.
"A conspiracy and he has the money needed to do whatever it takes," Anakin said.
"Do you think it's too farfetched?" she asked.
"Some might think so, but would I be correct in assuming that if the Alleman family gained power that their affiliation would change?" Anakin asked.
"The Alleman family were big supporters of Palpatine," Padme replied.
"Of course and with them in power, Alderaan's support shifts away from Chancellor Iblis and they take a lot of loyal allied planets with them. Our majority in the Senate would drastically shift," Anakin said.
"Just like it did during the Separatist movement," Padme replied. He nodded.
"Iceheart's stench is all over this," Anakin said.
"But how do we prove any of it?" she asked.
"You and I will do a little undercover investigating when we get to Alderaan," he replied.
"Do you think we can save Breha in time?" she asked.
"I hope so. If they did hire a scientist to somehow poison her or make her sick, then we'll find this person and they will give us a cure for her," he said. She nodded and rested her head against his chest, as he pulled her into his arms.
"If someone has poisoned Breha or made her sick, I will find out and we will bring them to justice. The Organa's are family and no one hurts this family without answering to me," Anakin told her. She nodded.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love too angel," he replied, as he swept her into a passionate kiss. Tomorrow, they would embark on a journey to Alderaan and if there was a royal conspiracy going on, then they would expose it. The future of the Organa family and the Throne of Alderaan rested in their hands…