15 years later
Padmé walked into her bedroom quietly, depositing her bags on the floor. She glanced over to the bed and spied her husband sleeping on his back, one arm covering his eyes, the other sprawled across the mattress. She shook her head, smiling. Honestly, Ani didn't sleep in very often, but the twins would be over for lunch soon. She walked over to the bed and leaned over her husband's sleeping form. She kissed his mouth softly and he stirred.
"Ani" she said softly and he stirred again. She kissed him once more, this once lasting slightly longer than the last. She felt him moving and pulled back just as his eyes opened.
"Are you an angel?" he rasped, voice still thick with sleep. She laughed at him and sat on the edge of the bed as he became more accustomed to his waking state.
"What time is it?" he yawned, sitting up and running a hand through his hair.
"Late. The twins will be here for lunch soon. You even out slept Obi" she teased, pausing slightly. She stood up and walked over to her bags. "Force knows why you're so tired" she said loftily, back toward him so he would see her grin. She glanced over her shoulder to see his raised eyebrows, small smirk playing on his lips.
"I'm pretty sure you're the cause of it" he said as he swung his legs out of bed and walked towards the bathroom. Padmé unpacked her bags and thought back on the night before.
"So," said Anakin from the bathroom "what did you buy?"
She entered the bathroom and leaned against the door frame as her husband began to brush his teeth. "Well, a few odds and ends that Leia and I need for tonight. I found a really lovely comb that would be perfect for part of Ami's life day gift. Oh! Dormé found a perfect shawl for tonight. Quiet a steal as well."
He spit out and looked at her, confused. "Dormé is going to the gala tonight?" he asked before he began to brush again.
"Yes," she said, inspecting her nails, then looking back at him "with Obi-Wan."
Anakin choked. He spit out the rest of his toothpaste and stuck his mouth under the faucet. "W-What?" he spluttered, hurriedly wiping off the water from his face with his forearm. "Obi-Wan? Obi-Wan Kenobi?"
Padmé rolled her eyes. "No, Obi-Wan Skywalker. Yes, of course Obi-Wan Kenobi."
"Obi-Wan Kenobi has a date?" Anakin clarified.
"Yes, and I think it's wonderful. Dormé hasn't been very sociable since Cobb passed away four years ago, but who could blame her. He was a wonderful man, but she is far too young to behave like a widow for the rest of her life, and we all know Cobb wouldn't want that. Noah will be ten soon and he likes Obi-Wan."
"Obi-Wan has a date" murmured Anakin, still in shock. Then suddenly he was smirking. "Obi-Wan has a date!"
His wife narrowed her eyes at him. "Now listen here, Anakin Skywalker," she said, pushing off the wall and poking him in his bare chest. "This is a very good thing for both of our very good friends. You will not embarrass them tonight."
"He didn't tell me he asked Dormé to go with him" he said, almost giddy.
Padmé snorted. "Oh, I wonder why. You look like a hog in poodoo."
"Yes, well," he said, grabbing her hand softly within his. "This is Obi-Wan. My former master, self proclaimed bachelor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. And he has a date tonight!" he said gleefully.
She sighed, knowing this argument was futile. "At least don't tease him in front of Dormé" she bargained.
He tilted her face towards his, and bent down. "Whatever you want, my love."
Leia Skywalker opened the door to the apartment she had grown up in. She stood in the doorway for a moment, garment bag slung over her arm, letting the memories wash over her. A scream broke her from her nostalgia.
"Obi, give it back!" yelled nine year old Amidala Skywalker.
Small for her age to begin with, Ami's slight figure was no match for Obi-Wan's larger one. Twelve years old, and everyone already could tell that he would be the only Skywalker that took after their father's stature. Obi definitely had the advantage as he held Ami's datapad above his head. Ami launched herself at her brother, grabbing hold at his relatively new Padwan braid.
"OW! Ami, get off!"
"Give it back!"
"Let go first!"
"No give it ba-"
The duo froze as the datapad flew out of Obi's hand and into Leia's. Leia raised an eye brow and said "Obi, have you even been home twenty four hours?"
Obi-Wan had been chosen by Jedi Knight Daniel Tron to be his Padwan. Tron was about five or six years older than Leia and Luke and seemed to be a good match for their rambunctious little brother. He lived at the temple with his master, but came home often enough on weekends, as per tradition of Jedi Padwans whose families lived on Coruscant.
Spitting blonde hair out of her mouth, Ami untangled herself from her brother and ran to her sister. She wrapped her arms around Leia's waist.
"Oh Leia, thank goodness! You saved me from this brute!"
Leia laughed and kissed her sister's forehead, giving her back her datapad. Obi-Wan rolled his brown eyes, walking over to his sisters.
"You're starting to sound like Threepio." he said and Ami narrowed her blue eyes at him. Leia ran her hand through her brothers brown hair playfully, making him scrunch up his face and swat her hand.
"Force Obi! You're nearly as tall as I am!" she said.
"If the next words out of your mouth are 'what do they feed you at the temple?' I'll run my head through a wall."
She laughed again and gave his braid an affectionate tug. "Then I'll save you the trouble, baby brother."
He rolled his eyes, but smiled none the less. Ami began to unzip the garment bag, but Leia lightly slapped her hand.
"You'll see later."
Anakin walked into the room, hair damp from his shower. "Hello Leia."
"Hi Daddy," she said, kissing him on the cheek. "I need to hang this up." She walked out of the room and into her parents' bedroom. Leia had wanted Padmé to style her hair for the gala given to tribute the creation of the New Republic and the fall of Palpatine.
Leia hung up her dress and surveyed her parents' bedroom. She walked to the window and crossed her arms over her chest. Her home had changed over the years. Extra bedrooms had been added for Obi and Ami. But the general feel hadn't shifted much. Her home felt safe and loving and just a tad bit chaotic. She jumped slightly as a large crash erupted from the living room.
"Obi-Wan Skywalker!" said her mother, voice sounding extremely irritated. Leia smiled and sighed. Well, there is no place like home.
Almost everyone was seated around the table when Luke walked.
"Hi, everyone! Sorry I'm late" he said. His face was slightly flushed and his hair was slightly damp, as if he just got out of the shower. Padmé walked into the dining room with a bowel of fruit and her son kissed her on the cheek.
"Cutting it close, Luke" said Padmé, teasingly sitting down.
"Yeah!" said Ami adoringly "Obi might have eaten all the food before you got here!"
"Hey!" said Obi-Wan, miffed.
"I was sparring this morning at the temple, and I had to shower" explained Luke, sitting down and piling food onto his plate.
"When has your stomach ever ranked higher over your hygiene?" Leia laughed.
Luke made a face at her, mouth full.
The Skywalker family dug into their meal, chatting and laughing amicably.
"Do you have a date tonight, Lukie?" asked Ami.
Luke smirked slightly, taking a sip of his caf. "Actually, I do."
"Who?" asked his mother, curiously.
Leia choked on her tea. "Lair" she spluttered as Obi smacked her on the back.
Luke's smirk widened, raising his arms in mock surrender. "Search me, I'm not lying."
Leia's jaw dropped. "There is no way she'd agree to go with you. She's one of the only females who can actually call you out when your being an ass!"
"Leia!" admonished Padmé as Anakin laughed.
"Sorry Mom, but its true! Did she loose a bet or something Luke?"
Luke's face fell momentarily, but Leia caught it.
"No! She lost a bet? Really?"
Luke's face was smooth. "I bet her I could beat her in a duel, and I did."
"Luke, are you sure that was wise?" asked Padmé.
"I'm sure, Mom. Believe me. I have a plan."
"Yes, but if-"
"So Leia's taking Han…" said Luke, desperate not to be the center of attention.
"Luke!" shrieked Leia.
"Is that true? Are you taking Han?" asked Anakin sharply.
Throwing her twin a withering glare, she faced her father. "Yes, Daddy, I am."
"Don't start, Dad."
"Dad, you like Han, remember? You think Han's brilliant. You said he was the best pilot you've seen! And-"
"Leia, he's seven years older than you."
"So? Mom's four- nearly five years older than you! And you had children younger than I am now!"
"It just is!"
"I'm not a child anymore! I don't even live here!"
"You're my child!"
Leia stood up. "You're a complete hypocrite" she spat at him. She stormed away.
Sorry Luke thought at his sister, wincing at his own stupidity. She closed her mind to him.
Padmé glared at her husband. "Well, you handled that well." She stood up, casting her eldest son a glance. "The pair of you."
Slowly but surely Obi and Ami left the dining room table, leaving the Anakin and Luke in disgrace. After a few minutes, Anakin broke the silence.
"So, what's going on with you and Mara?"
Luke groaned. "Dad, please-"
"No," said Anakin, small smile gracing his lips. "I'm serious. I mean, I remember you chasing Leia around here when you were- I don't know, ten?- and she was chanting 'Lukie loves Mara! Lukie loves Mara!'You almost chopped off her hair."
Luke rolled his eyes, but said nothing.
"My boy," said Anakin, chuckling softly and shaking his head. "You're a man after my own heart. I was in love with your mother after the first time I saw her."
"Dad, I am not in love with her!" Luke declared vehemently.
Anakin raised his eye brow. "Son, I trained you. And as much as it pains for you to admit it, I know you."
"I'm not! It's just- I mean-" he broke off. "Girls…girls like me. And they fawn and compliment me and that's nice and all. But Mara…doesn't. She doesn't feed me bullshit like the others do. And it's honest and refreshing and…" he trailed off.
Anakin tried to quash his smile. "She's very pretty" he said easily. Luke nodded, light-years away. "And talented goes almost without saying."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Luke stood up. "Well, I better go try and make amends with my sister. Then, I'll be off. I'll see you later, Dad."
Anakin nodded and watched his son walk out of the dining room. He got up and absently walked out to the balcony, thinking about his children. He clasped his hands behind his back, closed his eyes, and began to meditate.
Anakin was unsure to exactly how many hours had passed before he felt his eldest daughter step onto the balcony. She stood next to him; arms crossed, but said nothing. He opened his eyes and glanced towards her. She had on a dark burgundy dress. The dress flared out at her hips and was off the shoulders. Her hair was pulled back into and intricate bun, with tiny white pearls stuck into it and a few curls falling around her face.
With a pang, he was reminded that his little Leia was no longer so little.
"Mommy says we fight like this because we are so similar" she said, still not looking at him.
Anakin nodded. "You are very much like me" he allowed.
"Then is it safe to say that you hate fighting with me as much as I hate fighting with you?"
He turned to look at her. She cast him a sideways glance. "More than safe" he said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. She leaned into him.
"Daddy, you know I love you."
"Yes darling, I know."
"It's just… I'm not a little kid anymore."
"I know that too" he sighed.
"Han's a good man" she said softly. "I'm not saying I'm going to marry him or anything. But I really like him, Dad. And it would break my heart if you stopped liking him because I started too."
His heart squeezed in that way that only daughters could make it. "Alright, I'll try. But you have to understand my reservations. I'd hate to see you hurt."
"I know, Dad. I don't want to be hurt either. But I'd rather chance it and be hurt than not and then end up unhappy. Surely you can understand that."
"I can" he said simply. He could. If he hadn't, Luke, Leia, Obi, and Ami probably wouldn't be alive. He kissed the top of Leia's head. "I love you, Leia."
She smiled. "I know."
He walked into his bedroom to see his wife sitting at her vanity, applying makeup.
"Did you talk to Leia?" she asked pointedly as he shut the door and began to change into more formal clothes.
"Yes, I did."
"I told her I'd try and accept her and…Han."
Padmé laughed softly. "Do or do not, there is no try."
He laughed out right, shaking his head. "You are definitely a Jedi's wife." He paused. "I talked to Luke about him and Mara."
"Did you really?
"Yes, and I think she'd be good for him."
"Well, you heard Leia. Mara isn't afraid give him a good telling off when he needs it. And you know for a fact he does need it every now and again. The way he was talking about her…I told him he reminded me of myself when I met you and he defiantly denied that, but I don't think I'm that off base."
"I don't know, Ani. He had to bargain with her to go out with him."
"You know Luke, Padmé. He can be a bit of a show off when he wants to be, which doesn't impress Mara. She's also very stubborn."
"Luke and Mara, huh?"
"Yeah, I think so."
She was silent for a moment. "Luke and Mara, Leia and Han…Our children are growing up, aren't they?"
"Yes," he answered, not wanting too. He looked in the mirror, fixing his robes. "I wonder what Obi-Wan will say when he see's Luke and Mara together tonight. He loves Mara like a daughter."
"Yes, but he loves Luke too."
"Yeah, I know that, but it's not the same. He trained Mara like he trained me. He raised her. Plus, it's different with daughters" he said, thinking on his own daughters. At least Ami was still young. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see his wife.
She was radiant.
She had on a silver gown that fell strait to the floor. Her hair was pulled out of her face, but fell in soft curls down her back. She had on silver dangling earrings, a diamond bracelet, and the jappor snippet he made her when they were children around her neck. Still, after all these years, she could still take his breath away. She made him feel like he was nine, in awe of an angel; like he was nineteen, burning for her; like he was twenty-six, so in love and desperate to be with her, all at the same time.
She cupped his cheek with her hand and he leaned into it. "I know it's hard for you, this thing with Leia and Han, but Han is a good man. If we knew anybody to treat Leia right, it'd be Han. He already proved that much to you."
"Yes, I know. Leia said just as much." He ran his thumb lightly over her lips. "You look beautiful, my love."
She smiled softly, a smile she reserved solely for him, and put her hands on his shoulders. "Thank you, Ani. You look rather handsome yourself."
He bent his head to meet hers. "I love you" he whispered.
She smiled again and before pressing her lips to meet his she whispered back "I love you too."
Anakin and Padmé entered the hall where the gala was taking place arm in arm. Many dignitaries stood about, chatting with one another. Anakin's eyes scanned the room, catching sight of his son and daughter with their respective dates. Padmé saw where he was looking and smiled.
"Come on, love, let's make our rounds." Anakin frowned slightly, and she squeezed his arm. "Let the children be for now. We'll see them later" she said softly.
After what felt like hours, Anakin and Padmé reached their eldest children.
"Hello everybody" said Padmé. The group acknowledged the older couple as Anakin shook Han's and Luke's hand. Leia smiled at her father, happy to see him making an effort.
"You all look lovely. Mara that color suits you."
Mara Jade tucked a piece of her red hair behind her ear and smiled. She had on a simple emerald green dress that fell to the floor. The front was cut modestly and the back was backless.
"Thank you Mrs. Skywalker."
"Are you all having a good time?" asked Anakin.
"Best party I've ever been too" said Han, flashing Leia a smile.
Anakin was about to respond, but he caught sight of something far more amusing. He grinned, eyes gleaming of mirth.
"Dad, what are you-" started Luke, jaw dropping mid sentence. "You've been holding out on us!" accused Luke, jerking his head in the direction of Obi-Wan and Dormé. Mara gaped at the couple.
Anakin shook his head. "Not me, I only found out this morning. You're mothers the one who's been holding out."
"Why didn't you tell us?" asked Leia.
"Because I know you all too well" answered Padmé, with no remorse.
Anakin glanced at Mara, who was still shocked. "I'm guessing he didn't tell you either."
She shook her head. "N-no," she said, grin slowly beginning to resurface "no, he didn't."
Obi-Wan and Dormé were walking over to them.
Padmé turned to her husband. "Be good" she said, semi threateningly.
"I promised, remember?"
"Just reminding you, love."
After half an hour of Obi-Wan pointedly ignoring Anakin, Anakin finally got him alone.
"So," he said and Obi-Wan winced in anticipation "Anything you'd like to share, Obi-Wan?"
"No, actually" he answered with as much dignity he could muster.
"Really? Nothing knew or exciting in your life?"
"I've tried a new recipe. Would you like to hear it?" Obi-Wan said sarcastically.
"Is it a romantic dinner type? Or more of a breakfast in bed?"
Anakin laughed. "Oh, come on Obi-Wan. Why didn't you tell me? You would've known I would've found out eventually."
"Frankly, it was none of your business" said Obi-Wan, crossing his arms. Anakin snorted. "And I've know you far too long to give you ammunition like that."
"Well, all I've got to say, it's about time."
"What?" asked Obi-Wan, completely bewildered.
Anakin shrugged, grinning. "All I'm saying that's an awful long time to hold a candle, Obi-Wan."
Obi-Wan opened his mouth preparing to deny the point, but simply sighed and rolled his eyes. "Like you should talk."
Anakin chuckled. "Touché." He looked over to where his wife and Dormé were talking. "She looks happy. And so do you."
"I was before I started to talk to you" said Obi-Wan smiling.
"Speaking of looking happy" said Anakin, watching Mara walk across the room right towards him and Obi-Wan.
"You mean smug" commented Obi-Wan. "Hello Mara" he said.
"Obi-Wan" she said, smirking. "Tell me, am I getting the mummy I've always wanted?"
"That depends," said Obi-Wan, smirk matching hers "Am I getting a son-in-law?"
Her smirk dropped. "No, no, no. That is not the same as you."
"I don't see how it's not" he chuckled.
"It is!" she insisted. "I know you! You must have asked her at least two weeks in advanced. I…I was shanghaied it to…this…uh-"
"I believe the word you are looking for is date" said Luke smoothly, sliding right beside her.
She gave him a quick glare. "Yes, whatever...this thing only this morning. You had ample time to tell me."
Luke held out his hand to Mara. "Would you like to dance?"
She turned slightly pink and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "I…uh…"
"Come on, I know you like to dance" he said.
"Alright, fine" she said, placing her hand in his. She narrowed her eyes at the two older men, warning them not to comment and walked off with Luke.
"What's going on there?" asked Obi-Wan as he watched the pair begin to dance.
"Oh, I think he's in love with her" said Anakin off handedly, watching his daughter dance with Han.
"W-what?" said Obi-Wan, shocked. "Since when?"
Anakin shrugged. "I don't think he realizes it yet. And she'll take even longer to. Like father, like son, eh?"
"She's…she's very young" said Obi-Wan uneasily.
Anakin nodded. "I know just how you feel." He sighed. "Well," he said, clapping Obi-Wan on the shoulder. "I'm going to follow my son's example. I suggest you do the same."
As if she felt him move closer, Padmé's gaze shifted to him. He gestured with his head to the dance floor and she nodded. Politely excusing herself from Dormé's presence, she met her husband on the dance floor.
He took her hand wordlessly as they began to dance. "Are you having a nice time?" he asked his wife.
"Yes, I am. Everyone seems to be." She her eyes went to where Obi-Wan and Dormé were, just starting to dance, albeit a little awkwardly. "They're adorable, aren't they?"
Anakin followed her gaze, smirking slightly. "I don't think I ever want to equate Obi-Wan with the word adorable but yes, they are rather endearing."
"And the children?"
"Yes…the children. They don't seem to be children anymore, do they?"
"Oh, tear my heart in two, why don't you?"
He chuckled and kissed her forehead. "I'm so happy" he said softly.
"So am I" she said, resting her head on his chest, understanding his sentiment completely.
Twenty two years ago neither of them would have been able to fathom the life they lived together. Their life was never easily explained, nor was it ever the same. Ever since they found each again the loved they shared between them and their children were always a constant.
Well, that, and a full fish tank.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you all enjoyed Seven Years. I sincerely appreciate every single one of you who reviewed or put this on your favorite or alert list.
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