AN: I'm not usually the type to write this kind of chapter, but I blame it on the fact that I was studying modernism in school. It's definitely not modernism, but well… If anyone's studied it before, they'll get what I mean. If you really want to get into it like I did, read it while listening to the Revenge of the Sith soundtrack, particularly, Birth of the Twins and Padmé's Destiny along with the track afterward… But that's only for fanatics trying to really get into the mood. I needed to music to get into the mood I wanted so I could capture the right tone. So this is it, the last chapter.
Read, enjoy, and review!
Anakin was only barely aware of what was going on, barely aware that blood was gushing out of him as Padmé's declaration rang in his head. She had chosen evil over good, a Sith over the Jedi, and her new empire over him. His first reaction had been rage that after everything he had ever done for her, everything they had been through, she would cast him aside so easily. But after his rage went away, after he realized that she was serious about her decision and after she shot him and left him to bleed to death, he was overcome with overwhelming sadness and a physical ache in his heart, the result of her rejection of him. It hurt more than the two blaster bolts or even when he lost his arm to Count Dooku.
I love you… I truly, deeply love you.
Had her love ever been real? Had it all been a lie out of pity for him? It sure seemed like it if she had been willing to throw it away so easily. Hearing her say that broke him more than any manipulation, torture, or death could have. He used to think that his greatest fear for Padmé was her death. But this was worse. She was alive and well and she was lost to him. It was one thing to fight physical death, but how did he fight what she had become without hurting her? And even if he could save her, she didn't want to be saved.
"Padmé," he managed to whisper, his pain clogged mind managing to figure out that it was Sabé. "Where's Padmé?"
She didn't answer him and so Anakin ignored the conversation between her and Artoo. He was only vaguely aware a few minutes later of Sabé practically dragging him somewhere and then her dropping him in the plush seat of his star fighter.
"Get him to Polis Massa. They'll be expecting him. Hurry!"
So Artoo was taking him to get help. Polis Massa was a good choice. It was a neutral planet and they wouldn't care that he was a Jedi. Anakin made a sound that was a cross between a grimace and a laugh. He doubted the medics there could fix the ache in his heart. No matter what they did, it would never go away. Only one person could do that and she was no healer. Padmé was the only one that could fix him. The thought of her should have had him simmering with rage, disapproval, and condemnation, but his hurt overwhelmed him. Love clouded his judgment… The Jedi were right, he mused. Despite everything she had done to him, after murdering the Jedi, after essentially crushing his heart without a second thought, if she came back, he'd instantly forgive her and speak in her defense. It wasn't her fault. Darth Sidious, Palpatine, the man he thought was his friend, had manipulated her and now that he thought about it, he had manipulated her to get to him. But it backfired. He probably hadn't counted on him not liking what Padmé had turned into. Anakin could live with his own faults. He admitted he wasn't a saint, but Padmé was the embodiment of all that was good and pure in his life and now he had nothing. She had destroyed everything.
"Artoo, what happened to him?"
Artoo answered her, but Ahsoka hadn't picked up the language of the droid yet and so he heard her say to him, "Master, what happened?"
"Padmé… She…" he tried to say, but it came out as more of a grunt than words.
He started to say it again until he felt someone else's pain leak into his presence. They were hurting too, but he couldn't pinpoint it. He decided to ignore it.
"Padmé," he said again, hopefully loud enough for Ahsoka to hear. But he didn't get confirmation as they pushed him away and into surgery.
He might have tried to open his eyes if it weren't for the bright lights in the room and if it weren't for the fact that he wasn't so tired. All he wanted was for the ache to go away and maybe sleep would help. He tried to let go of all conscious thought, but the droids weren't letting that happen. They were trying to keep him awake, even as they worked to try to heal his wounds and grunted in pain. They were trying to keep him awake for some reason. He wondered why?
"It appears his systems are shutting down, but I can't find a cause."
The voices of the droids stopped and they stopped trying so hard to keep him awake. He was glad. All he wanted was to sleep, to get away from all the pain, the cruel reality that was his life. In fact what he wanted was to never face it again, to die. Anakin had always prided himself in the fact that if anything, he wasn't a coward. But he couldn't come to grips with and face that Padmé didn't want him anymore, that she valued her new empire and the power of a Sith Lord more than him.
There were those presences again, the same one's whose pain he sensed before but had ignored.
"Anakin you can't die. Luke and Leia need you," Obi-wan's voice said.
Luke and Leia… Luke and Leia… For the life of him, he couldn't remember why they were so significant. Luke and Leia… Luke and Leia. They were the product of the love he used to share with her, the love Padmé had traded for the galaxy. In his effort to get away from the pain, he nearly forgot about them. He felt the presences of the two tiny beings reaching out to him in distress. But he didn't reach back. If he did, that meant he had to come back and face this cruel fate the force had bestowed upon him.
There is only the force.
Only the force… The force was supposed to be the only thing that mattered, but Anakin had never believed that. Now he was starting to wish he had. If he had, he wouldn't be like this, wanting nothing more to die like a weakling, not like the powerful 'Hero with no Fear' that he was supposed to be. He would have laughed at the irony if he had the strength.
They reached out to him again, Luke and Leia. They wanted him because they couldn't find their mother, they sensed something was wrong. It was then he remembered that he had never told Padmé that he had Luke and Leia taken to safety, that if she asked the doctor he would tell her they were dead. Part of him was satisfied that now she would feel his heartbreak, but another part of him felt sorry for her, even though in hindsight it might have been for the best. She was unfit to take care of them in her current state. She had been planning to turn them over to that monster, wanted him to learn the dark side from a Sith so that he could learn how to stop people from dying… He couldn't even find it in him to keep himself from dying, let alone someone else…
And then the pieces fell into place in his mind. Now he understood how Palpatine had turned his sweet angel into something that was almost unrecognizable. He had used her greatest strength, her compassion, her need to eliminate human suffering, against her. He instilled fear in her for the safety of those she served and then used her fear for her babies' lives to clench that fear before presenting her with a solution and always the selfless one, Padmé had been willing to sell her own soul because of her compassion for humanity.
Anakin knew then that there was hope for her. She didn't have to be lost forever. He could still help her, but the pain of her rejection was too fresh to face. He needed time and so finally he reached out to the twins who were still desperately trying to find him through the fragile bond they had developed. They're presences met and he felt the relief and calm from them when they managed to grasp him. He smiled faintly.
I'm going to come back little ones and I'm going to save your mother. Just be patient.
Patience wasn't a virtue he possessed and he briefly wondered if the twins had inherited it. He felt their presence calm down, assured that he wasn't going to leave them, not forever.
"Obi-wan," he managed to mutter.
"Luke and Leia… Keep them safe Obi-wan," Anakin muttered as he fought the darkness away with what little will he had left. He had to tell them first. "I can save her."
"There's good in her… I know. I know there's… still…"
It hurt too much to fight the darkness. He closed his eyes and gave into its welcoming embrace.
"Interesting," the doctor that had come in replacement of the droids said as he inspected Anakin's body. "He's still alive."
That caught everyone's attention. They had been expecting a proclamation of death. It seemed impossible that he was alive as he lied there unmoving, as pale as death. His presence in the force was even gone.
"He's alive?" Ahsoka asked, the only one who seemed to be able to risk being optimistic in case this was a cruel mistake.
"Yes," the medic said. "It appears he's gone into some kind of healing trance almost to the point of death, but not quite. He's definitely alive though."
"When will he come out of it?" Bail asked.
"It's hard to say," the doctor admitted. "Judging by the depth of the trance, it looks like it will be a long time. The only thing we can do is have his body preserved until which time he decides to awake, if he awakens."
The doctor had nothing else to say and left the room leaving the occupants wondering what to do next.
"If she finds out Anakin's still alive, Padmé will no doubt seek him out and try to bring him to Coruscant. She may be able to take advantage of his condition when he finally awakes to bring him over to her way of thinking," Obi-wan finally spoke.
"Then we will let her think Master Skywalker is dead," Sabé finally suggested. "Him and the children."
"Sure we can fool her into thinking Anakin is dead," Bail said. "But I doubt we'll be able to just make her believe the twins are dead."
"I don't think he ever told her," Ahsoka said looked absently into the room.
"A suspicion you have?" Yoda asked Ahsoka.
"If what you say is true, then when would he have had the time to tell her where he took them? And if she asks the doctors, they'll only tell her their dead. He made sure of it," Ahsoka said. "In a way, Anakin hid them from her without knowing it."
"That could work," Obi-wan said to her. "But she's going to want to see Anakin's body. I doubt she'll believe it otherwise."
"Then I'll deliver him to Naboo and have the queen contact her. It shouldn't be too suspicious. It's well known that Anakin and Padmé were close," Bail suggested.
"She'll want to give him a proper funeral and then after the processions we'll retrieve his body," Obi-wan added.
"This seems risky," Ahsoka said simply.
"To ensure young Skywalker's safety from Sidious and Senator Amidala, the only way it may be," Yoda said.
"Hidden, safe, the children must be kept," Yoda said in the conference room of Bail's star cruiser as they approached Theed the next day.
"She will not pursue them if she thinks they're dead," Obi-wan added. "Nonetheless, Padmé's a very shrewd and intuitive woman. We have to keep them somewhere Padmé wouldn't look for them if she happened to figure it out."
"If I may make a suggestion," Sabé said quietly.
Everyone turned to look at her.
"Perhaps we can hide them on Naboo," she said. "Milady would never look for them there if she did find out. It would have to be the last place she'd look."
"But with who?" Obi-wan said. "She'll surely find them both if we hand them over to her family."
"I can get into contact with Dormé. She was also concerned about milady's strange behavior and though she's loyal to a fault to milady, I doubt she will continue to serve much longer," Sabé replied. "I will return to my mistress' side in her steed."
"That's a dangerous proposition," Obi-wan said to her. "If she finds out it was you that helped me escape…"
"She didn't see me fire the stunner. I'm sure I'll be able to come up with something," Sabé replied and then continued. "Dormé is also due to be married soon and planned to take a break from service anyway. I'm sure she and her husband would be willing to adopt them. She could pretend that she became pregnant shortly after her marriage and retire early. Milady would never suspect it."
"Are you positive?" Obi-wan asked.
Sabé nodded. "It is in our mandate not only to protect milady from external harm, but also from herself even if it calls on us to temporarily deceive her."
"Temporary, this will not be," Yoda said with a small smile.
"But not forever," Sabé said. "I can assure you, Dormé will agree."
"I will stay on Naboo and watch over them," Obi-wan suggested even though it would be dangerous staying on the two leaders of the empire's home planet.
"And I will provide sanctuary for Master Skywalker until which time he awakens from his trance," Bail offered. "I'll ensure he is taken care of and hidden."
"Padawan Tano," Yoda said to the uncharacteristically quiet teen. "Go to Alderaan and wait for Knight Skywalker, you will. Keep you safe, Senator Organa will."
"Until the time is right…" Yoda said and everyone began to file out the room, but Yoda called Obi-wan back.
"Master Kenobi, wait a moment."
Obi-wan held back and Yoda continued. "In your solitude on Naboo, training I have for you."
"Training?" Obi-wan asked confused.
"An old friend has learned the path to immortality," Yoda explained.
"One who has returned from the netherworld of the Force to train me . . . your old Master," Yoda finally revealed.
"Qui-Gon?" Obi-wan said amazed.
"How to commune with him, I will teach you."
Her babies… Dead. Her babies were gone and she had only spent a week of their short life with them. How could it have happened? Padmé didn't understand it. The doctors had said she would be able to take them home early than they had estimated. She had finally made the galaxy safe for them to be raised in and then they had to die. She didn't want to see the bodies, but she had certainly asked for the proof, the files and the papers they legally had to present her with and that she had to sign. She even had the entire medical center searched, all records patient transfers. There was nothing. They were dead. She was sure of it. Now all that was left was to find Anakin and break the news to him… Anakin. He had escaped, but she wasn't worried. Anakin couldn't just stay away from her. He would certainly come back and knowing that he was not a coward, if he knew she was looking for him, he'd come right to her and they could settle this mess the Jedi had caused between them and the empire together. She intended to send a team out on the mission to find and capture him, but then Queen Apailana called her to Naboo at the request of her handmaiden, Sabé.
As much as she wanted to ignore it, she had to go. She couldn't ignore her empire in the delicate transition it was in, infancy and barely established, barely stable, just like her babies had been. She especially couldn't ignore something happening on her home planet and her traitorous handmaiden. What would it look like if she was ruling the empire but couldn't keep her handmaiden in control and home planet in order?
She angrily made her way through Theed palace when she got there. Sabé better have a good reason for this, especially after betraying her.
"Sabé," she said harshly approaching the woman. "This better be good, especially after you aided the Jedi in getting away from Coruscant."
"I don't know what you're talking about milady. I've been loyal to you for years and would never willingly betray you, but if I had, I think the person in this room is bigger than both of us at the moment," Sabé said stepping aside and letting her mistress in the room.
"Lady Amidala," the medical droid said stepping aside.
Padmé didn't hear the droid. Her attention was on the person stretched out on the medical table.
"Anakin," she said and rushed to his side, but immediately, she noticed something was wrong. He was pale and cold.
"What's wrong?" she demanded.
"I was forced to take him to a neutral planet far away from Coruscant to treat the blaster bolt as the Jedi had been declared traitors. But it was too late. He lost too much blood," Sabé said simply.
The implication of Sabé's statement didn't sink in immediately. But when it did, she denied. Then she paled dramatically as she remembered pulling the trigger that released the two bolts that Anakin had bled to death from. There was no way… She had just been trying to get him to stop choking her. There was no way Anakin was dead by her hand. She hadn't killed her husband. She couldn't have… This had to be some cruel joke and any moment Anakin would wake up grinning at her. She ran her hand through his hair desperately and shook him.
"Anakin," she muttered as tears formed in her eyes, but he remained unmoving.
"No," Padmé whispered and then screamed. "No! Anakin! Anakin!"
She clung onto her husband's body for dear life, hoping that she could awaken him, reverse what she had done to him.
"Anakin wake up!" she screamed to no avail as she continued to try to shake him awake.
"I didn't mean it," she choked through her sobs, burying her face in his unmoving chest. "Please…"
Padmé sunk to the floor in despair and Sabé went over to comfort her, her heart hurting for her mistress, although she knew it had to be done. Her mistress wasn't herself and if they wanted to save her, this was her only hope.
After the wake, Padmé sent the occupants who had come to pay their respects out the room and then gave a pleading look to Palpatine who only nodded and then left also. When the door closed she sighed and ran her hand over Anakin's pale face, letting it rest there for a moment. She hung her head and closed her eyes as tears threatened to fall. She didn't need to be weak. She couldn't break down. The people needed a strong leader. But she just wanted a few more moments. One last time…
Padmé opened her eyes to look at Anakin. She couldn't help but smile sadly at how peaceful he looked, more peaceful that she had ever remembered seeing him. It was almost as though he was smiling.
"I hope wherever you are, you're happy there," she whispered to him.
And she really did despite everything. She hadn't meant to kill him. She just wanted to… She didn't know what she wanted. He hadn't meant to hurt her. He thought she had betrayed him. He hadn't understood. But that had been no reason for her to kill him, for her to hurt him at all. She had showed lesser men more kindness. But she hadn't thought twice about taking out a blaster to hurt her own husband and to her own shame, she hadn't regretted it. Now she did. Anakin had just been concerned and she had hurt him for it, killed him.
"I didn't deserve you. I was selfish to think I could be Padmé Skywalker and Amidala," she said as she reached around her neck and unclasped the necklace she had rarely taken off since she got it thirteen years before.
"I'm sorry Anakin," she said and then grabbed his left hand that rested on his right one and put the necklace in it, the pendant visible.
She kissed him on the forehead and gave one final look, hoping that her one look might bring him back to life. Laughing bitterly at her ridiculous notion, she turned her back, not only on Anakin, but on her former life. With Anakin Skywalker also died Padmé Naberrie Skywalker. Only Lady Amidala remained.
She walked out the room only giving a curt nod to the guards telling them to prepare to move the funeral bed for the funeral march.
The media didn't understand it. If the Jedi had betrayed the Republic, why was Lady Amidala making such a big deal out of one, declaring it a day of galactic mourning? Anakin Skywalker was given a traditional Naboo funeral, complete with the traditional funeral march that would take him to his final resting place. To everyone's surprise, Lady Amidala and the new Emperor Palpatine walked behind the funeral bed, a black veil covering the seemingly indifferent face of the former senator. Many of Naboo's citizens came to witness the event. They hadn't forgotten that Anakin Skywalker was the reason their planet had been saved during the blockade of the Trade Federation and apparently, thankfully, neither had their former queen, despite the charges brought against all the Jedi.
After the funeral, Lady Amidala was due to speak in front of the palace, not only to her fellow Naboo citizens, but the people of the empire. She glanced at Palpatine who nodded to her as she turned to face the press, taking back on the flat tone she used as a queen.
"Welcome," she said. "Welcome to an era of a new dynasty, one who's birth is shrouded in grief, sorrow, and mourning for those who have lost their lives to this horrible war and to those who unfortunately lost family to the lies and twisted truths of the Jedi. It wasn't easy for me to sanction the death of the Jedi, even though many of them were close friends of mine, Anakin Skywalker in particular…"
Lady Amidala paused for a long time and for years to come after that, people would swear she was trying to hold back tears, that Anakin Skywalker meant more to her than she was admitting. However, she would never comment on the matter.
"I now completely live for and devote my life to you," she said starting softly as she collected herself and then continued firmly, " It is always darkest before dawn and we now we approach the dawn of a new era, where we will put the mistakes, pains, and hurts, of the past behind us. I promise you that I along with our Emperor will make sure that such a tragedy will never be repeated, that your families will not be ripped apart and snatched away from you on the basis of a lie like so many had been by the Jedi. So long as I live, the security, freedom, and peace of this galaxy will be ensured… by any means necessary."
Amidala smiled a little as the people erupted in applause. She was no fool. The Emperor had the seat of power, but she had the backing of the people. She was the real ruler and it was only matter of time before everyone else knew it.
Meanwhile, Bail Organa and Ahsoka Tano used the distraction of Padmé addressing the galaxy to move Anakin's body from what was supposed to be his final resting place and had him transferred to a supply ship headed for the Alderaan Palace.
Kilometers away from Theed Palace though, on a private estate, the newly married Dormé and her husband waited anxiously for Obi-wan for finish his approach to them with Luke and Leia Skywalker. They hadn't planned to have children so soon, but Dormé had explained the situation to her new husband. Officially, they wouldn't file for a birth certificate for another six months, but it didn't matter. As of now, Luke and Leia were theirs.
Obi-wan laid Luke and Leia into Dormé's waiting arms and then grasped the hands of her husband in greeting before turning to leave. They couldn't have their parents, but at least the two would have each other and grow up together in a loving home.
Until the time is right…
AN: Well that's it for now. I decided that it was time for Luke and Leia to stay together in one of my stories and I really wanted to kill Anakin off and originally I was to deter me from wanting to write a sequel because I originally didn't want to. My intention was not to write a sequel to this. My goal was to turn Padmé without making her force sensitive or something like that, to find her weakness and turn her into someone far from the person she had been and I feel I accomplished that. But… You all really need to thank my sister. She became livid when I told her and demanded I write the sequel. So it's in the works, but I don't know when it will be up. I'm not going to give a date yet because I haven't even finished it so you'll just have to take wait while I take a mini vacation. Until next time, Lady Dae out!
Hope you enjoyed. Review Please!