Okay people. Last chapter! So sad, but never fret. I'll be posting the sequel in… a week no two weeks, not three… How about we just say within the month? I don't want to give a specific date. Just be looking out for it and make sure you read past the chapter. I'm putting up a sneak peak.
Now about the last chapter, I'm glad everyone enjoyed it and I did battle with maybe letting Ahsoka fall in the lava, but the question was making that work for a woman… I could have made everyone think she was a man in the suit or something but that didn't appeal to me. Besides, the fact that she'll be second in command and female in a male dominated empire plays an important role in the next story.
Anakin had never been to Polis Massa before, but he did know it was a neutral planet and its medical advancements were second to none. In fact, when Obi-Wan sent him the coordinates for the planet, he knew something was wrong and it was confirmed when he felt Padmé's pain through the force.
He ran into the medical facility and ran into the lobby where Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Bail Organa were waiting for him.
"Where's Padmé?" he asked.
"She went into labor," Obi-Wan said to him. "We suspect that Pesinoé's attack on her induced the labor."
"It's too early," Anakin said in fear. "She's not due for five weeks."
Just then the droid medical droid came in and Anakin turned to it.
"What's going on? Can the labor be stopped?" he asked.
The droid shook its robotic head. "It would be pointless."
"It's too early," Anakin argued.
"The babies will be fine. It is not uncommon for a woman to go into labor as much as five weeks early when she is carrying twins," the droid said.
Anakin stared at the droid in disbelief. Suddenly all the problems in the galaxy went away for just that moment.
"It's twins," he finally said. "Two babies?"
"Yes," the droid said.
Padmé's scream attracted Anakin's attention.
"Ani!" she said. Anakin didn't wait for the droid to give him permission to come in the room. He was at his wife's side in an instant.
"I'm right here angel," he said running his really hand over her head.
"Ani," she said through her pain weakly. He could sense that she still hadn't quite recovered from Pesinoé's attack. If what the droid said was true, they would never know for sure if she had gone into labor because of Pesinoé's attack or naturally.
"It's alright love," he said to her sending calm waves through the force and lending her his strength. "You and the babies will be fine."
"Babies," she muttered.
Padmé cried out again and grabbed his arm. The droid came to her. "It's time to push," it said.
"Ahh!" Padmé screamed in pain as she pushed.
Ten minutes later, a cry was heard and Anakin looked up.
"A boy," the droid said passing it to another droid which wrapped the wailing child in a blanket.
"Luke," Anakin muttered. He and Padmé had never settled on a name for their child, but it was one of the names they had tossed about. Somehow, he felt that she would approve.
The next child wasted no time and a short time later the next cry was heard.
"Leia," Padmé muttered struggling to get a view of the newborns.
Anakin stroked her hair. No words could come to him. A few hours ago, this had been the worst day of his life, but now, as he looked at his twins, it had been pushed back up to one of the best.
"They are both doing fine," the droid said bringing both babies to them. "A little hairy, but that is normal for premature babies."
Anakin took both from the droid and looked down at them. Luke had his small eyes closed, but Leia was struggling to keep her own open. It wasn't clear what color her eyes would be yet, but he could just picture them being a deep chocolate brown.
"Oh Ani," Padmé said struggling to lift a hand to stroke both babies. "They're beautiful."
Anakin, becoming aware of his wife's weakness sent waves of calmness to her.
"You should rest. You've just given birth, not to mention you still haven't recovered from…" Anakin trailed off. He would not tarnish this happy moment by bringing that up. He would enjoy this while it lasted.
"I don't think I'd even have the strength to hold them yet if I tried anyway. I'm so tired…" Padmé admitted before she dozed off.
Pesinoé stumbled up the unstable slope that was Mustafar. She was hot, exhausted, was missing her arm from the top of her elbow and could barely breathe, but most of all she was angry and that fueled her to live, to keep going so she could get back to her ship.
She had no clue how long she had dangled from that cliff side above the lava river. It was only because of her sheer will that it hadn't collapsed into the lava. It had taken her a while to manipulate part of the lava river to harden and cool suddenly beneath her so she could drop off the cliff, but she had managed it. She also managed to ignore all her physical ailments, including the phantom pain in her arm to start the way back to her ship. Her body wanted nothing more than to collapse and give way to this sith hell, but she pressed on.
Her only thought was revenge. Either she had been too weak to successfully manipulate her former master through seduction, or he was too strong and in love with that woman to fall for it. She liked to think it was the former. Either way it stood, Anakin had made his decision. He rejected her. So now she would reject him and start planning her revenge on him.
Pesinoé saw a ship in the distance and then saw her master heading to her. Her breathing became even more laborious, but Pesinoé didn't care anymore. She was saved. Finally, she could give in.
Darth Sidious saw his apprentice trying to make his way to him. Suddenly she collapsed and he touched the force to check on her. He sighed in relief. After all this trouble, the last thing he needed was a dead apprentice.
"She's still alive," he said to the clones flanking him. "Get a medical capsule immediately."
Anakin stared at his lap as he sat next to Padmé. She had awaken a few hours ago and immediately tried to put the twins to her breast. Anakin briefly remember her telling him that on Naboo it was a very common practice still and he didn't find it hard to believe. The Naboo people valued family and believed that it was important to instill family bonds from birth.
Unfortunately, Padmé couldn't keep it up for long as she was still exhausted and for the short time that she did, he had to help her hold up the babies. She had fallen asleep again soon after. Her exhaustion was not only a result of labor, but Pesinoé's attack on her and it wasn't the only consequence. Pesinoé's attack had also left Padmé infertile. Luke and Leia were the only children Padmé would ever have. Anakin believed that maybe it was why the force had seen fit to give them twins even though they ran in neither of their families.
He had spoken to Obi-Wan briefly about it when he came to see him. But then his former master noticed how tired Anakin was. Obi-Wan offered look after the twins in the nursery with Master Yoda and Bail while he got some rest. But rest didn't come to Anakin, and so he sat, thinking about everything that had happened.
"Ani," Padmé said softly.
Anakin looked up at her and smiled at her. Even in her weakened state, she was so beautiful.
"Where are the twins?" she asked looking around the room for them.
"Obi-Wan is watching over them. He thought we should get some rest," Anakin laughed sourly. "Easier said than done."
"Ani?" she asked carefully. He was holding something in and if he didn't talk it out, he would be like a time bomb waiting to blow.
"All of this is my fault," he said standing up to pace the room.
"Ani, you can't blame yourself for this. In the end it was Ahsoka's choice. You-."
"But I should have done more," Anakin said slamming his hand on the side table next to Padmé's bed. "I was her master. I should have known something was wrong. I just got so excited about you and the baby, babies, I cast her aside. If I had been paying more attention to her instead of running away from her the first chance I got for more stolen moments with you, I could have… I could have…."
Anakin turned his back to Padmé ignoring her gesture to come to him as he began to cry.
"I just feel like there's something I could have done to stop this, to help her get more confidence in herself because that's what this all boils down to. She thought I didn't think she was good enough," he managed. "I didn't love her like she wanted me to, but I did in another way. There was nothing wrong with her. She was good enough. She was always good enough. I just didn't take enough time to make her know that."
"Ani," Padmé said, and he finally turned to her, distraught apparent on his features.
Padmé patted the space on her bed and he came to sit with her. She took him in his arms and they were silent for a while.
"Ani, this isn't your fault. Ahsoka didn't have to turn to the dark side. She made the choice, but if there's anyone to blame, it's Palpatine. He used everything she ever wanted against her, to seduce her to the dark side. He offered her everything she wanted on a silver platter. There was nothing you could have done to change that. Palpatine would have found another way," Padmé assured.
"That's the point," Anakin replied and Padmé pulled away from him slightly to look at him.
"What do you mean?"
"It's just… As I was fighting Ahsoka… Pesinoé I… It was scary. Not that I was afraid of what she might do to me, but what she had become. I should have killed her. I had the chance, but I couldn't," Anakin replied.
"Why is that?" Padmé asked. She figured he wouldn't be able to do that. It was why she had tried so hard to get through to Ahsoka. She was hoping that maybe they could relate to each other in their love for Anakin.
"Because I could relate to her. Force Padmé! I saw so much of myself in her it terrified me. Her intentions were noble. Palpatine had twisted facts and truths in her brain to make you and the jedi seem like the enemy. She thought by turning to the dark side she was saving me. All because she loved me," Anakin finished in a whisper.
"I know," Padmé replied.
Anakin couldn't even find it in himself to be upset. "How long?"
"For about a week," she said. "Oh Ani. I know I should have said something. But I thought about when I was concerned about your friendship with Palpatine, and then I ended up being right. But I didn't want to throw this on you about Ahsoka. I didn't want you to think that you couldn't have other friends just because I was concerned about it or make you think that I wanted you all to myself. So I didn't say anything, even when she told me she hated me. I didn't want my feelings on the matter to be right again and I too could relate to Ahsoka because I love you," Padmé said beginning to cry. "I know I'd be dying inside if I thought you could never love me because you loved someone else, so I couldn't condemn her for it."
"I felt the same way. I mean in relating to Ahsoka. I'd sell my soul to save you if I had to. I think that's what Palpatine was going to do," Anakin replied.
"You mean he wanted to turn you to the dark side," Padmé asked.
"On the invisible, he told me to kill Count Dooku in cold blood and I did. I think he wanted me to replace him and he was going to use you somehow, but I bet he sensed Ahsoka's feelings and used her instead. I'd always love you, dead or alive, and it would comfort me to know you loved me too, maybe even shame me. But Ahsoka feeling rejected just fueled her more and now…" Anakin sighed. "I know there's good in her Padmé. I felt it. She really didn't want to fight me or even try to kill me, but her anger got in the way."
"If you can believe that, I can believe the same," Padmé said.
"Do you though?"
"Love can't exist in a heartless person Anakin," Padmé replied simply.
"You know, I always hated the part of the code that forbid attachment, love, but now I understand why they did it. Even a good emotion can turn into a bad one and drive you to the dark side. Before emotion was banned, people turned to the dark side because they couldn't fully understand their emotions and control them and use them to fuel their power positively. But the new order was so afraid of it that they took it to the opposite extreme and forbid it, but taught what it could do to a person. But how can you fully teach something and warn against it when you've never experienced? How can you relate to those that are struggling with it?" Anakin asked and Padmé just listened.
"They were right to warn about the possible dark side of emotions, but they were wrong to forbid it. Everything has its risk, but that makes it all the more worth having. Perhaps it's time for the jedi to change its way and take a more balanced view to emotions and attachments. Maybe that's the kind of balance I'm supposed to bring to the force," Anakin suggested.
"Well, we've got a while to figure it out," Padmé replied. "And we will. And we'll bring Ahsoka back somehow."
A few days later Anakin and Padmé sat at a round table with Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Bail.
"Into hiding, we must go. Too dangerous at this time, to challenge the sith it is," Yoda began.
"That is especially true with you and your family Anakin. Have you all decided what you're going to do?" Obi-Wan asked.
Padmé nodded unable to speak with tears in her eyes. Anakin grabbed her hand with his prosthetic one and began.
"Darth Pesinoé knows I'm alive, and she'll search the galaxy to find me. Fortunately our connection has become severed. That will make it harder for her to find me," Anakin explained.
"However," he continued, "together, the twins' force presence is a beacon of light that I feel will only get stronger. Combined with mine, we may very well lead the sith right to us."
Padmé found it in her to speak through her anguish. "And so we decided that the twins should be split up, and they should be raised to believe we're dead, killed in the aftermath of the clone wars. Their lives are more important than us being together as a family."
"Bail," Anakin said to the Alderaanian Senator. "Padmé told me you and your wife were thinking of adopting a baby girl. We'd appreciate it you both would be willing to take care of Leia."
Bail nodded to them, touched that they trust him with their little girl.
"She will be loved with us."
"And what of the boy?" Obi-Wan asked.
"I will take him to Tatooine to live with my step brother and his wife. I believed they were engaged when I last left them," Anakin replied and then added, "Obi-Wan, will you watch him for me?"
Obi-Wan nodded. "Of course Anakin."
"And of you and the senator?" Yoda asked.
"We were hoping that Padmé could live with you on the palace," Anakin said to Bail. "To watch over Leia, as a handmaiden or caretaker."
"Of course," Bail said. "And yourself."
Anakin groaned despite the situation. "I'm going to open a shop in Mos Espa. I've always been good at fixing things and it will let me watch over Luke from a distance." No matter what Anakin did, he always found himself having to go back to that dust ball for a planet for one reason or another.
Yoda nodded his head in approval. "Until the time is right."
Bail nodded and stood up. "Would you have me get the droids cleaned up and have the protocol droid's mind wiped?"
Anakin nodded and Bail left. Padmé squeezed his hand and left, probably to see the twins with what little time she had left with them. Anakin got up to follow her, but Yoda stopped him.
"In both your solitude on Tatooine, training, I have for you."
"Training?" Anakin asked.
"An old friend has learned the path to immortality."
"Who?" Obi-wan asked
"One who has returned from the netherworld to train me… Your old master."
"Qui-Gon?" both men asked and Yoda nodded.
A few days later, everything was set. Obi-Wan had their ship destroyed from an engine accident in space on route to Naboo. They told Padmé's family that the remains were scarred and unrecognizable and hid the truth for their own safety. If Pesinoé was looking for Anakin and Padmé, Naboo was the first place she would look.
A closed casket funeral was held on Naboo in remembrance of Padmé, her jedi husband, Anakin Skywalker, and their unborn child. The Queen had a beautiful memorial built in honor of their memory.
Padmé remained stoic she passed Luke on to her husband. She had no more tears. She had cried already. But her husband sensed her turmoil and tried to comfort her.
"It's not forever Padmé," he said holding her to him. "We'll be a family again someday."
Padmé nodded her head and held Leia up to him. He smiled at her and kissed her cheek.
"Don't ever forget me little princess," he said. "Daddy loves you. Remember that."
Anakin looked at Padmé. "I love you angel. I'll see you soon," he said.
They had made arrangements for Padmé to come see him on Tatooine when she could, but it couldn't be often and they couldn't make a pattern of it. The sith would become suspicious of a ship that frequently made trips to Tatooine.
"I love you too," she said and pecked him on the lips.
When they got to Alderaan, Padmé saw Breha looking over the balcony at the mountains. Padmé could imagine she was nervous and thought perhaps Padmé would change her mind.
Padmé looked at Bail who was standing next to her. He urged her along.
"Remember Leia. You may have to play the part of Princess Leia Organa, but you'll always truly be Leia Skywalker," she muttered to the baby as she kissed the baby and walked to where Breha was standing.
The queen turned around and unmistakable joy spread over her features while sadness came over Padmé's. Breha reached out as though asking permission to take the child. Padmé held Leia out to her. Breha took the baby and cradled her in her arms.
"Thank you Padmé," Breha said with happy tears shining in her eyes.
"No," Padmé said and pulled up the hood of her handmaiden dress. "Thank you."
Anakin patiently finished telling Owen and Beru the situation. Tatooine was a remote place so it was safe to tell them. Owen was showing disapproval for the whole situation, but Anakin could sense his sympathy as well. Luke would be well taken care of with them, as well as they could mange.
"Obi-Wan will come by sometimes to watch over him," Anakin replied and then took off his light saber and handed it to them. "When he's old enough, give him this. Tell him his mother and I love him very much."
Owen took it from him and nodded.
Anakin looked at Luke one last time and then rode on the back of the large beast away from the hovel. One day he would come back and train Luke to be a jedi and he would also train Leia. He had given Padmé Ahsoka's light saber to give to their little girl one day. Ahsoka probably would have ended up being her jedi master one day anyway, or Anakin had planned to ask her to in any case, so it seemed fitting.
As he rode off, he didn't look back. It was the second time he was leaving someone he loved behind on Tatooine.
The woman was acutely aware of the obvious stares she was getting from the officers on the star destroyer as she made her way to join her master at the window. She had become very proficient in the ways of seduction in the dark side these past few weeks and she was positive her revealing black choker top, black low rise trousers and sleek thinly heeled, pointed-toe boots did nothing to help matters. Her crystal studded prosthetic arm didn't help either. It was made of the finest and strongest metal, yet it was sleek, feminine and durable. Fortunately, her arm was the only long lasting effect her battle on Mustafar had left. It took a while for her lungs to fully heal, but that was all.
Pesinoé removed her hood as she looked on at the construction of the death star. It wasn't her style as it was anything but subtle and alluring, but the emperor wanted it, so she'd live.
"Have you heard?" Sidious asked.
Pesinoé frowned. "If you're talking about the fact that Skywalker and his wife died in a ship accident, yes. It's been all over the holonews. A person would have to be stuck in a hole not to know."
"And," Sidious urged.
The sith lady laughed. "I think it's a bunch of bantha pooda. Skywalker is too resourceful in the ways of the force to die in such an undignified freak accident. But it is highly likely his wife did die. She was just starting labor when I attacked her and I doubt her body could have taken that kind of toil and survive labor. However, I'm positive Skywalker and his son still live. They are hiding," Pesinoé said confidently.
"When I was with his wife, she told me she thought it was a son and I peeked into the force to see for myself. She was correct," Pesinoé said.
"Then you know what you must do if you are to ever find them," Sidious replied.
Pesinoé nodded. If she ever found them, she would kill them. Skywalker would not make a fool of her again and she'd have her revenge on him for rejecting her… in due time.
AN: Just a little tidbit before I go on with my ending comments I wrote this phrase for the sake of style "even though they ran in neither of their families", but in reality fraternal twins (they come from two separate eggs) like Luke and Leia can only run in the mother's family. It's passed down from mother to daughter. So even if twins were in Anakin's family, it could have never come from his side. Identical twins (they come from one egg that splits after conception) is just more of a random occurrence and I don't know if they can run in families. Just an FYI.
Okay, so like I said, the ending was bittersweet. Padmé didn't die but she can't have any more children and even though Anakin didn't turn, his family was still broken. As you know there will be a sequel. But I had to ask the question, how could I write this without it just being the original trilogy with characters playing different roles and little tweaks here and there? I eventually figured it out and I hope you like it. Here's the sneak peak:
"I don't think we're going to be getting out back that way," Han said.
Leia looked at him and then tried to look over his shoulder. "Why?"
Han was cut off as they heard a snap-hiss. He, Luke, and Leia turned just quick enough to see the man they knew as Alex charge head on into the officers and clones that crowed around the doorway and into the room. The next thing they knew he was a blue blur as he deflected blaster bolts and cut people down left and right until the room was clear.
"Okay," he said brushing off his clothes and turning off his light saber. "Exit's clear now. Did you find Leia?"
The three younger adults gaped at him. Chewie growled something and pushed them along. Han got over his awe first.
"Remind me not to get on his bad side," Han muttered coming up behind him.
"Too late for that Solo," Anakin said walking out the detention bay. Han gulped. "Now let's get out of here."
Leia did a double take at him and said, "Alex? What are you doing here? Where's Pemé?"
Luke blinked running to keep you with the older man's long strides. "You know her?" he asked and when it was clear he wasn't going to say anything turned to Leia.
"How do you know Alex?" they both said to each other.
Han scowled. "We can discuss this later. Let's get back to the ship. I hope that old man disabled that tractor beam."
"I have full faith in Obi-Wan," Anakin replied. "He got it."
As they started down the hallway, Leia stopped and pulled on Luke's arm to go the other way.
"Oh my God!" Han said and turned to her. "This better be good princess."
"We have to get to Pesinoé's quarters," she exclaimed
This threw all three men, along with their wookie friend, for a loop.
"What!" Luke and Anakin exclaimed together. Chewie growled.
Han looked at her thoroughly flabbergasted and said, "I think you were in that cell a little too long princess. You've lost it."
"Please," Leia said. "She took something of mine. It's the only thing I have left of my father. I have to go get it."
"How do you know she put it in her room? She might have tossed it," Han suggested.
Leia somehow knew Pesinoé hadn't 'tossed it' as Han put it. The woman seemed shocked to see the light saber when she grabbed it off Leia's person. She just couldn't shake the feeling that it was in the sith lady's room. She didn't know how to explain it.
"Please! I can't explain it, but I know it's there," Leia pleaded.
Luke and Anakin looked at Han, then each other. They nodded and followed Leia in the opposite direction of the hanger. Han gaped and then groaned
"We were actually about to get out of here, alive! Not in a body bag! You can't be serious!" Han yelled after them. Chewie growled something at him and then followed the three.
"Pesinoé's room. I swear, as if this wasn't already a suicide mission…" Han trailed off running after them. "Hell, this is beyond suicide."
Well, that's it. Be on the look out for the sequel, Ascension in Darkness. Hope you enjoyed. Review please.