Summary: The difference between fate and destiny is simple. Fate is unavoidable, inevitable, and inescapable. Destiny, on the other hand, is within our own power to control. Our choices, our actions and our words; these all lead us down a certain path. Fate is predetermined, but we make our own destiny.
Or, five endings that Anakin and Padmé never had, and the one ending that they deserved. Sequel to "This Free Fall" and "Where You're Meant To Be"
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
A/N: And here it is! The last installment of my little AU series. I hope you've enjoyed it, and I hope you're intrigued by the different endings I've given our favorite star-crossed couple. Let me know which one you like best. =)
No Turning Back
Come away with me. Help me raise our child. Leave everything else behind while we still can!
Don't you see? We don't have to run away anymore! I have brought peace to the Republic. I am more powerful than the Chancellor… I can overthrow him! And together, you and I can rule the galaxy! Make things the way we want them to be!
I. "For never was a story of more woe…"
Obi-Wan surveyed the office in front of him with a heavy heart. Three years fighting in the Clone Wars had made him no stranger to death and destruction, but the scene before him now was enough to bring him to his knees.
All around him, clone troopers and Senate guards and other Jedi worked to investigate, to collect all the evidence of the battle that they could. It was all a distant blur to Obi-Wan. Slowly, he made his way towards the dead, forcing himself to face the truth of what had happened here.
He knelt beside the bodies, bodies of friends who had been so full of life, and were now unnervingly still. Reaching out a shaky hand, he closed their eyelids, and for the first time in his life, he cursed the Force for taking these people away from the galaxy. Away from him.
"Excuse me, General, but I found the security recordings you were looking for."
Obi-Wan turned to see Commander Cody standing before him, offering the tapes that would give him answers. Answers he wasn't sure that he wanted. Beside Cody stood Mace Windu, his face expressionless.
"Thank you, Cody," Obi-Wan said, accepting the tapes from him. Cody nodded and turned away, giving the Jedi their privacy.
"Did you watch them?" Obi-Wan asked quietly, staring blankly at the tapes.
"Yes," Mace replied. "It appears that Chancellor Palpatine was the Sith Lord we were looking for."
Obi-Wan met his friend's gaze, and he saw the guilt that he felt reflected there. How could they not have seen it?
"Apparently, it was Senator Amidala who uncovered evidence of his corruption," Mace continued. "She brought it before the Chancellor to demand an explanation – he attacked her. Luckily, General Skywalker was present at the time, and was able to defend her."
"But it wasn't enough," Obi-Wan spat.
Reckless Anakin, always rushing into things, never looking before he leaped. How many times had Obi-Wan fought side-by-side with him, how many times had he tried to convince him to be patient, to listen to reason, to think before he acted? What good had it done?
"Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One," Mace admitted. "He saved the galaxy, Obi-Wan."
"But he couldn't save himself," Obi-Wan said. "And he couldn't save the woman he loved."
His gaze drifted back to Anakin and Padmé's bodies. Never had he seen two people so completely and wholly in love with one another. Even after they had officially ended their relationship, he had never doubted for a second that they had stopped loving each other. In the back of his mind, Obi-Wan acknowledged that perhaps it was good they had died together, because he couldn't imagine either of them being able to live without the other.
"Master Kenobi, Master Windu, I have my initial analysis."
Mace nodded for the medic to continue, and the droid spout out a long list of medical reasons for their deaths, none of which made Obi-Wan feel any better.
"Oh, and while I cannot confirm it until I get the bodies back to the lab, I believe that Senator Amidala was pregnant at the time of her death. Twins, if I'm not mistaken."
Obi-Wan physically felt his heart clench in despair, and didn't even try to stop the tears from falling.
II. "You are my whole existence, and I will love you until my last breath."
The war scared her.
Every day it got worse and worse, and it seemed that each visit from Anakin was increasingly shorter and less frequent. It worried Padmé, and she knew nothing good could come from so much violence and destruction.
She continued to faithfully serve her mistress, accompanying her to the Senate and knowingly turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the groups of Senators who came to visit and talked disapprovingly of the Chancellor. She knew Anakin would hate to hear his friend criticized so harshly, but sometimes Padmé wondered whether or not they were right in their convictions.
And then, she discovered she was pregnant. There were no words to explain the emotions that filled her when she finally realized it. She was both happy and sad, excited and scared, but mostly she just wished Anakin could be there with her.
She didn't tell her mistress and her fellow handmaidens outright, but they figured it out for themselves. They offered their own, silent show of support, and Eirtaé pulled her aside one night to tell her that she had arranged for her to return to Naboo when it was time for the baby to come. Padmé was so grateful to her for the arrangement – she was truly the most wonderful mistress.
But the news of her pregnancy was soon overshadowed by news of war. There had been a horrific attack in the Outer Rim. Two Jedi Knights had faced a Separatist armada in what the holo reporters were describing as a "gruesome, bloodthirsty battle," and one of them had died. Padmé waited two weeks to learn that Anakin Skywalker had perished at the blade of Count Dooku.
For three whole days she merely laid in her bed, refusing to speak to anyone, and only eating when Eirtaé ordered her to. Eventually, she was well enough to perform her duties, but she was no longer the glowing mother-to-be. Dressed entirely in black, she was a zombie, only half of herself, and she walked around with a dead look in her eye and an ache in her heart.
About a month after becoming a widow, she was shaken awake by a frantic Eirtaé. She brought her to the window and Padmé cried at the sight. The Jedi Temple was aflame.
Padmé quickly packed her bags, and Eirtaé called for a private speeder to take her to the nearest public transport. Naboo wasn't safe anymore – the Chancellor was out for Jedi, and her child was in danger.
"Stay away from systems active in the Republic," Eirtaé had told her. "You must keep the child out of Palpatine's reach."
Padmé fixed her with a steely gaze, and for the first time since the news of Anakin's death, Eirtaé saw a spark of life in her friend's eyes.
"I will protect my child with my life," Padmé vowed. "This is all that is left of Anakin in the universe – and I will not let it be destroyed."
Padmé travelled throughout the galaxy for days, accompanied only by Threepio (at Eirtaé's insistence) jumping from transport to transport, trying to decide where the best place would be to both raise a child and hide from Palpatine. The reports on the holo-net frightened her; this man, the Emperor, was not the friend that Anakin had spoken so highly of. This man was evil, and twisted, and it scared her that no one had been able to stop him from gaining power.
Anakin would have stopped him, she told herself. But there was a part of her that wondered if that was really true.
It was while she was eating lunch aboard her fifth public transport that she realized where she needed to go. As soon as she landed she was able to buy a small ship for herself and Threepio, and she settled down for the trip. She smiled to herself as she made the jump to hyperspace, resting a hand on her swollen belly.
"It's alright, my love," she whispered. "We're going home now."
The suns were beating high in the sky when Padmé landed in the outskirts of the Lars homestead. Her black robes offered little protection from the overwhelming heat, but Padmé had already resolved to wear them indefinitely, in honor of her husband. It had been three years since she had been to Tatooine, Anakin's birthplace and homeworld, but she had been able to find the moisture farm with little trouble. Owen approached the strange ship warily when it landed, but when he saw Padmé and Threepio walking down the ramp he breathed a sigh of relief.
"You should have commed to tell us you were coming," he said.
"I know. I didn't even know I was until a few hours ago," she explained.
Beru ran from the entrance of the hovel and pulled her friend into a warm embrace. And then pulled back with a gasp.
"Padmé," Beru looked astonished, "You're – what –?"
"I was wondering if I could ask you a favor," Padmé began, resting her hand on her stomach.
Beru and Owen exchanged a look that lasted hours for Padmé, but finally Owen gave a short nod and Beru smiled happily.
"Come inside," Beru said, pulling on her arm.
"You're sure about this?" Padmé asked.
"Of course," Owen insisted. "You're family. We take care of family."
One month later Padmé happily welcomed Luke Anakin Skywalker and Leia Naberrie Skywalker into the world. Owen and Beru loved them as if they were their own children, and Padmé found herself happier than she had been in a long time.
When the twins were two, Padmé was visited by none other than Obi-Wan Kenobi. He took one look at the children and instantly knew who their father was.
"Leave it to Anakin to save the galaxy by breaking every rule set before him," he said. He offered to train them, once they were a bit older, so they could properly control their powers and abilities in the Force. He was planning on settling down in a place not too far away from the homestead, and would appreciate a chance to get to know Anakin's family. Owen didn't like the idea, but Padmé wanted her children to be able to protect themselves, so she agreed to the training. A few years from now.
"How were you able to find me?" Padmé asked him one evening.
"It was actually by accident," Obi-Wan, or Ben, as he was now answering to, explained. "I was looking for a place to live, some place where I wouldn't draw attention to myself, and I ended up here. I overheard a conversation while I was in Anchorhead about how Owen Lars had brought his nephew into town. When I heard the name Skywalker, I knew it wasn't a coincidence."
Padmé smiled to herself. "Perhaps Anakin was trying to lead you home to us."
"Perhaps," Ben offered. He hesitated for a moment before speaking again. "You should have changed their name, Padmé. Anakin was one of the most well known Jedi in the galaxy. Carrying the name Skywalker will attract all sorts of attention – attention you don't want."
"We are perfectly safe here Ben," Padmé disagreed. "Shmi Skywalker was a beloved member of the community. Owen has already told anyone who bothered to ask that I am her widowed niece, and that Owen and Beru have kindly taken me in. There's no reason for anyone to think Luke and Leia are the children of a Jedi Knight."
"Still, if the Emperor were to hear about you, nothing would stop him from coming to find you," Ben persisted. "Why not give them the last name Lars? Or Naberrie, perhaps. It would be safer for all of you."
Padmé was silent for a moment before finally meeting Ben's gaze. "I know this may be difficult for you to comprehend, but let me try to explain. Anakin was my husband. I loved him more than anything in this galaxy. After the war, we had plans to retire together, to start a life of our own. I would finally be able to take his name and publicly be introduced as Mrs. Skywalker. That never happened for us. But Ani gave me a gift before he left. Our children. And our children and I will be called Skywalkers. We are Anakin's family, and even if Anakin is gone, the three of us will continue on in his stead. No Empire is going to take that from us."
Ben nodded in understanding, and he never brought the subject up again.
III. "Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong."
Darth Vader stared at her still, lifeless body, and begged the Force that it wasn't true. That this wasn't happening. That in a minute, she would sit up and smile at him, demanding to know why he was kneeling over her like a fool when there was a galaxy to save.
But she didn't move.
And as he continued to stare at her motionless form, something inside of him clicked. Padmé, his one remaining champion, his protector, the one person left in the galaxy who still believed in the good in him, was gone. Never again would she look at him and smile, or yell at him for putting his life in danger, or argue with him about politics and war and the philosophies of the Force. He wouldn't ever get the chance to tell her that he loved her.
It was too late for that. Too late for them.
But Padmé would not die in vain. She had dreamed of a free galaxy, of a free Naboo, and, most incredibly, a free Vader. One who wasn't controlled by the Empire, Palpatine, and the Dark Side of the Force. She had not lived to see those dreams come to fruition, so he would complete the task for her.
Silently removing his cloak, he laid it reverently over Padmé's body, covering everything but her face. And as he stood up, he left the shell of Vader behind. He had a new mission to undertake, and for once, it was something that he both wanted to do, and knew was the right thing to do.
Padmé Amidala had given her life so that Anakin Skywalker might live again, and he was not going to let her down.
IV. "May the Force be with you."
Now it was simply a waiting game. There was nothing left to do, no work still to be done, and Padmé knew she would never be able to enjoy the celebrations if Anakin wasn't by her side. Both Obi-Wan and Ahsoka had tried to offer her words of comfort and reassurance, but they fell on deaf ears. She wouldn't be satisfied until she saw Anakin walking up the path towards her, with a smile on his face.
So while the rest of the rebels – the pilots, the fighters, the Jedi, her droids, and a rather exuberant Sabé – celebrated the demise of the Empire with their newfound Ewok allies, Padmé sat by herself. She waited at the entrance of the camp, constantly scanning the trees, searching for her beloved's face.
And then, finally, after hours of worrying and wondering and hoping he was all right, she saw him. He was tired and she was sure he had returned with a few new scars, but Padmé had never in her life been so happy to see him. When Anakin looked up and saw her waiting, he started to run, not stopping until she was in his arms again.
The next moments were filled with embraces, soft whispers, and desperate vows to never be separated again. As the reality of what they had accomplished finally hit them, Anakin whooped for joy, picking Padmé up in his arms and spinning her in a circle, both of them laughing happily. And as he set her down, he knelt to the ground before her and put his hands on her swollen stomach, showering it with kisses.
Because truly, that baby was whom they had been fighting for all along.
V. "Seasons may change, winter to spring…but I love you, 'til the end of time."
Padmé laid in her new bed, covered in the finest silks and softest fabrics the Empire could buy, and sighed sadly. Anakin had been gone for three days now, and she was going out of her mind. She hated being apart from him for so long, hated being stuck in this huge castle by herself.
Being mistress to the most powerful man in the galaxy did have its perks. She lived in a beautiful castle, had access to a bank account larger than anything she could have dreamed, and a closet full of beautiful clothes that she was afraid to wear for fear of ruining them. And it was all very, very nice.
But it didn't make it any easier.
The only time it was easy was when Anakin was home. When he was there, it was like old times, the talking, the cuddling, the amazing sex. She almost felt like his wife instead of his mistress, and she wondered if maybe Anakin would ever consider taking that step one day. But after a week or so, the Emperor would call, and Anakin would leave and become the masked menace that the galaxy feared. Darth Vader.
Darth Vader scared her. He killed ruthlessly, showed no mercy, and was responsible for the oppression and murder of thousands of beings. He lived only to serve the Emperor, and would go to any lengths necessary to fulfill his master's bidding.
Every time Anakin returned home, she would try to talk to him about Vader. About the horrible acts he committed in the name of justice and freedom. But Anakin would dodge her questions, refuse to give her straight answers, and after awhile it was just easier to ignore it than to force him to talk about it.
The fact that Anakin wouldn't talk about it with her was proof that this Vader persona wasn't just another name. It was a completely different person. She was slowly losing Anakin to Vader, and she didn't know what would happen if Vader ever took over.
Anakin was the only one who could keep away her loneliness, the only one who could keep away the nightmares. When he was gone, and she was left by herself in the castle with only the droids as company, she spent hours crying, hours simply trying to sleep away the pain, only to be awoken by the cries of a baby that was not there. That would never be there.
It had been almost a year since she had given away her babies. Almost a year, and it still hurt as though it had been yesterday.
She had never told Anakin about the pregnancy, not wanting to worry him with the problem of a baby. At the time, she was still working the streets, and he was out fighting in the Outer Rim. She had simply taken some time off, gone through the pregnancy on her own, and then given the twins up for adoption. By the time Anakin came back for her, she didn't even look like she'd ever been pregnant.
By the time Anakin came back for her, he was no longer a Jedi Knight, and maybe she could have kept them.
Anakin would have been a wonderful father. He was kind, caring, and loving. He would have sung them to sleep every night, with the lullaby his mother used to sing to him. When they were older, he would have taught them how to fly, and how to use a lightsaber. He would have loved them more than life itself, and it killed Padmé that she had taken that away from him.
But the Anakin that had come back for her, and brought her to his castle to live, safe and protected and off the streets for good, he was no longer the Anakin she had fallen in love with. This Anakin was different, darker; still loving, but there was something else, something just out of sight that she couldn't see, but still knew was there. The darkness that Anakin had always struggled with, the evils of the war, they had finally caught up with him. And they'd changed him from her beloved Anakin, into the Emperor's servant – into Darth Vader.
Anakin Skywalker would have made a wonderful father. Anakin made her wish that she had kept little Luke and Leia, and raised them herself. But Darth Vader – he made her grateful that she had given them up.
VI. "A single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever."
"Do we have to do this now? We can't wait until tomorrow?"
"Anakin, we set out on a rescue mission to save the Chancellor from his Separatist captors, and we returned with his corpse. I believe you owe the Senate an explanation."
"Well, why don't you give them one? I'm the one that did all the work while you napped in the corner. Which makes this the tenth time I've had to save your skin, by the way."
"I was not out for that long, Anakin. And it's only the ninth time. That business on Cato Neimodia doesn't – doesn't count."
"I'll call it eight times if you address the Senate for me."
"As much as I am a fan of your public-speaking abilities, I'm afraid you will have to make this speech on your own. I was unconscious when Palpatine revealed himself to be a Sith, and that is what you need to relay to the Senate. Don't worry though, I'll be right beside you the entire time."
"I do try."
Anakin couldn't help but smile as he and Obi-Wan walked to the Senate Rotunda, accompanied by Masters Yoda and Mace Windu. After his unexpected discovery aboard Grievous's flagship, he and Obi-Wan had changed destinations and arrived at the Jedi Temple instead of the Senate. After placing Count Dooku and General Grievous under Jedi custody, it was decided that a statement needed to be given to the people of the Republic to explain what had happened during the Chancellor's rescue mission. Anakin wasn't aware of how much the Senate knew so far, but he knew they wouldn't be happy to hear what he had to say.
The four Jedi filed silently into their assigned pod, and Anakin looked around at all the other senators, chatting away amongst themselves. Master Yoda had requested that Mas Amedda call an emergency session of the Senate, so that the Jedi (or Anakin, more specifically) could address the entire body at once and answer any questions they might have. Anakin anxiously scanned the rows for a familiar face, but could not find the one person he wanted to see.
Anakin turned to see Ahsoka Tano race into their pod, quickly coming to a stop next to him.
"Are you alright? I heard what happened, is it true? Did you really – was the Chancellor actually –?"
"Slow down Snips," Anakin chuckled. "And to answer your questions; yes, what have you heard? Yes I did, and yes, he was."
Ahsoka's eyes widened in amazement.
"My thoughts exactly, Padawan Tano," Obi-Wan interrupted. Ahsoka looked up to see Masters Yoda, Windu, and Kenobi sitting beside her own Master, and her face flushed with embarrassment.
"I'm sorry for the interruption Masters, I just, I wanted to make sure that – "
"Concerned for your Master, you were," Yoda interrupted.
"Understand this, we do. Join us, young one."
"Thank you, Master." Ahsoka slowly sat down in the empty seat next to Anakin, keeping her eyes on the ground.
"Worried about me, Snips?" Anakin teased.
"Not in the least," she replied. "I just didn't want to miss out on you giving an address to the entire Senate."
Anakin scowled as Obi-Wan hid a chuckle behind his hand.
"Does no one have any confidence in my speaking abilities?" he demanded.
Obi-Wan and Ahsoka merely smiled.
"Let's just get this over with," Anakin groaned.
"Order! We shall have Order!"
The entire room quieted as Mas Amedda called the Senate into session. After explaining to the Senators the reason for the emergency assembly, he turned towards Anakin and his fellow Jedi.
"General Skywalker, you have the floor."
And Anakin told his story. He explained how he and Obi-Wan had infiltrated Grievous's flagship, and how they had found the Chancellor chained to a chair in the general's quarters. He detailed their battle with Dooku – making sure to include exactly when and how Obi-Wan lost consciousness – and how he ultimately defeated the former Jedi turned Sith. He explained how Palpatine ordered him to kill Dooku, but that he had refused, based on the Jedi principle that you do not attack an unarmed enemy. He described Palpatine's rage at his refusal, and how that led to a shocking discovery. Palpatine was, in fact, the Sith Lord they had been looking for.
There was an outbreak of cries and shouts at this point, and Anakin waited as Mas Amedda quieted the room. He quickly continued his story, explaining how this revelation had lead to a duel between himself and the Chancellor, one that ended with Palpatine's demise.
"And, then, well, General Kenobi came to," Anakin finished. "And the two of us took control of the ship, and brought Count Dooku and General Grievous to the Jedi Temple to be kept under protective custody."
As Anakin floundered around for a way to end his story without sounding like a complete moron, his audience finally lost their patience. The Rotunda was filled with cries of outrage and shouts of disbelief at Anakin's testimony.
"How can you accuse the Chancellor of such treachery?"
"You slander the name of a great man!"
Mas Amedda attempted to quiet the crowd, but the Senators were having none of it. Their screams and yells increased, and Anakin quickly backed away from the podium.
"This is outrageous," Obi-Wan muttered, standing up beside him. "You just saved the entire galaxy! How dare they treat you like this."
"Aw Obi-Wan, you do care."
"Oh be quiet."
As Obi-Wan stood beside Anakin, trying in vain to also quiet the Senators, one cry pierced the entire chamber, effectively silencing the angry mob.
A lone pod floated into the center of the arena, and at its helm was none other than the one person Anakin had been waiting to see; Padmé Amidala.
She looked radiant. Absolutely stunning. Anakin drank the sight of her in, slowly letting his eyes rake over every inch of her body. He knew that if Padmé could see what he was doing she would be appalled, and secretly flattered. But the most gorgeous thing about his lovely wife, at least in this moment, was her eyes. They were bright and shining; furious at the way her colleagues were reacting to Anakin's news. Anakin felt a flash of pride as his wife stood before the entire Senate to defend him.
"Senators of the Republic," she began. "I am truly disappointed. For years we have been working towards the end of this war. We have all spent countless hours in meetings and assembly, debating how to bring about a peaceful resolution to this conflict, and trying desperately to determine the identity of our true enemy. And when the Jedi finally present us with an answer, when General Skywalker steps forward and reveals that he has single-handedly defeated the first and last Sith Master in over a millennia, you mock him? Have you no appreciation; have you no understanding of the impact of Knight Skywalker's actions? Well, fellow Senators, allow me to enlighten you. He has ended the war! The Jedi, who have fought valiantly and tirelessly for the Republic ever since the beginning of this conflict, have finally brought the peace that we have long been seeking. The fighting is over. The identity of the Sith has been revealed, and he is no longer a threat to our way of life. And I refuse to stand by while you condemn the very organization that has saved our galaxy!"
There was silence for a long moment in the Senate Chambers. The entire audience seemed to be frozen by Senator Amidala's words. Both Anakin and Obi-Wan were still standing at the head of their pod, and Anakin could tell he was not the only Jedi who felt humbled by Padmé's speech.
And then, Anakin heard it. It was soft, but it was still there. A clap.
Behind Padmé, Senator Organa rose to his feet, and slowly began clapping. Padmé joined him, and soon the entire Rotunda was filled with the sound of cheers and applause. Anakin felt overwhelmed. One minute, he was being ridiculed for his actions, and the next, the entire Republic was applauding him and his fellow Jedi.
Well, he always did say that Padmé could accomplish anything she set her mind to. Apparently, forcing the Senate to approve of her reckless Jedi husband was no exception.
After the applause died down Anakin and Obi-Wan returned to their seats, and Padmé continued speaking. "My noble colleagues, we have achieved a hard fought victory. And now, we must take our newfound knowledge and move forward. We need to rebuild our Republic into the once great democracy that it was. It is time to weed out the corruption and the bureaucracy that we have allowed to develop and replace it with honest, hard-working citizens who wish for nothing more than the safety of our people and the continued existence of freedom and liberty in the Republic!"
If the applause for the Jedi had been overwhelming, it was nothing compared to the roar of praise that Padmé received now. The Senators loved her, and after the shock of hearing that their formerly great Chancellor had been a Sith Lord, they were eager to find a new, strong leader to guide them into a new age of prosperity.
"It looks like your friend has set herself up quite nicely to be elected Chancellor," Obi-Wan commented.
"And why shouldn't she?" Anakin asked. "I know of no one more devoted to democracy and independence than her. Can you think of a better candidate?"
"I have no objections whatsoever," Obi-Wan placated. "She was a beloved Queen and is a highly respected Senator; she will make a most impressive Chancellor."
"It is time," Padmé persisted, "for a rebirth. Time to renew the ideals that this institution was founded on. Time to start a new life, together."
And as she said this, for the first time during her entire speech, her eyes sought out Anakin's. And as the words "new life" left her lips, her right hand slowly moved from the podium to rest on her stomach. Her rather large stomach. And in that instant, something passed between Padmé and Anakin, and suddenly everything in their lives had changed. Changed drastically, but most definitely changed for the better. Anakin felt his eyes well up and he didn't even try to hide the huge smile that was taking over his face. Padmé's eyes twinkled, but she continued her speech as though nothing had happened. And to everyone else in the rotunda, nothing of import had occurred.
Well, almost everyone.
"Anakin," Obi-Wan whispered. "Please tell me that what I just saw didn't actually happen. Tell me that I was hallucinating, and that what I think I witnessed means absolutely nothing."
Anakin slowly turned to look at his Master and friend, beaming with pride.
"Master," he said, "I'm afraid I can't do that."
Obi-Wan groaned out loud, shaking his head in disbelief. "Oh, Anakin. I don't even know where to begin! Do you realize the scandal this will cause for Padmé, a well-respected Republic Senator turned into a single mother?"
"Who said anything about her being single?" Anakin demanded. And Obi-Wan froze. Literally froze. A distant part of Anakin realized that he really shouldn't be having this conversation three feet away from two of the most respected and powerful Masters in the Jedi Order, but at this point he no longer cared. Besides, they weren't paying any attention to him.
"Anakin. You didn't."
"I did," he smirked. "Three years ago, actually. After Geonosis."
There was a moment of silence as Obi-Wan let this new information sink in, Anakin grinning happily beside him.
"I never should have let you go back to Naboo," he muttered.
"Um, Masters?" Ahsoka interrupted. "Is everything ok?"
"Snips," Anakin said, "Everything is perfect. It's wonderful, actually. One of the happiest days of my life."
Obi-Wan sighed, massaging his temples with the tips of his fingers. "You're going to be the death of me."
Anakin had no response to that; he simply smiled.
The rest of the session passed by in a confusing blur as Anakin impatiently waited for the Senate to adjourn. As soon as they did, he bid his Masters and his Padawan farewell, and bolted out of the pod. He could feel Padmé's presence calling out to him, like a beacon calling him home, and he hurried towards her as fast as humanly possible.
Then all of a sudden she was there, talking to her colleagues and smiling that magnificent smile, and Anakin had never realized how truly beautiful she was, couldn't believe how lucky he was, and couldn't stop the smile that spread across his face.
Padmé saw him approach and her eyes lit up, her feet instantly taking her to his side. And she was right in front of him, so real and not a dream at all, even though he had the biggest urge to pinch himself.
"Congratulations, Master Jedi," Padmé smiled, her eyes bright and sparkling. "You truly are the Chosen One."
"Well, I'm technically not a Master…"
Padmé gave him a look that simply said yet and Anakin fell in love with her all over again, that this angel would think he deserved such a title.
"…And I never really liked the name 'the Chosen One.' It's a bit too…much, for me."
"Well, what name would you prefer?"
"I've actually always liked the name Luke for a boy…"
Padmé gasped – Padmé, the cool, collected politician, actually gasping! – and brought a trembling hand to her mouth.
"You-you figured it out. I was trying to tell you, but I didn't know if you'd understood…"
"Of course I did," Anakin smiled. "But I have to tell you; I think it will be a girl. Fatherly, Force-sensitive intuition and all."
"How can you possibly know that?"
"I can't, but here's what I do know," Anakin said, reaching out and taking one of Padmé's hands in his. "This horrible, terrible war is finally done with. I've managed to get rid of the Sith, while you've managed to keep the Republic in tact. And we promised each other that things would change once the war was over. I think we're already off to a brilliant start. But most importantly, I know that right now, I just want to kiss my wife, who I haven't seen in five months."
"So what's stopping you?"
And then there was hugging and kissing and tears and laughter and more kissing and somewhere in the background shouts of outrage and confused mutterings, but none of that mattered. All that mattered, everything that was important in life, was held securely in Anakin's arms. And he was never going to let her go again.