The moment passed far too quickly for my tastes. Padmé stepped out of my arms, but she kept her eyes locked on mine. She was scrutinizing me, trying to read me. I didn't blame her, not with my past. I had confessed love to her, then ripped her heart out. I didn't even know if I would do it again. I didn't think so . . . I had learned since then; I knew right from wrong again, I knew when I was going too far.

Finally, Padmé must have decided that I was trustworthy, at least for the moment. She smiled at me, a smile that took over her face, a smile that told me this was everything she'd been waiting for since that day . . . that day I left her. I shuddered at the memory and quickly turned around. I did everything I could not to remember that day, not to remember the hateful things I said, not to remember the things I'd done since then. A dark cloud passed over me. I searched my surroundings, wanting a distraction.

The Emperor. He was collapsed on the ground, his back hiding his face from my view. This was the man I had called Master, the man I had taken orders from, the man who I had respected even when I was of the Light. My stomach convulsed in response to these thoughts. Had I really been so blind that I hadn't realized what was happening to me, what was happening to the Republic? It had struck so fast. Before I could blink I was a Dark Jedi, and I had no intention of returning to the Light. It had been so . . . powerful, so exhilarating.

I shuddered again and turned back to Padmé. It struck me suddenly how short she was compared to me, with my long legs. Height had always been intimidating for others, a plus when I had been Lord Vader. Everyone had been shorter than me, including the Emperor. My eyes trailed over to the lifeless form then switched quickly back to Padmé. They were about the same height.

"I have a plan," I said, breaking the silence. Both Padmé and T-24 turned to look at me expectantly. "You and the Emperor are about the same height, Padmé."

Padmé crinkled her forehead in confusion. "Yes," she said hesitantly. "What are you getting at, Anankin?"

"You could dress in these robes," I said, gesturing to the ones I had clothed myself in. "You could pretend to be the Emperor. If you kept your head low, hid your face from view, I see no reason why you wouldn't be mistaken for him."

Padmé turned the idea over in her mind, studying it with her skills as a Queen and a Senator. She had most likely been in plenty of plans similar, and I knew she'd been in many where somone dressed as her decoy. "What about you?" she asked finally, looking pointedly at the robes I was wearing, the robes she would soon be wearing.

A flaw in my perfect plan. Oh, well. I looked around, trying to find a solution. My eyes caught the silver glint of T-24. "Do you know where the launders are?"

T-24 stood straighter, indignant. "Why, yes, Lord Vader. I know the ins and outs of this entire ship," he said proudly, puffing his chest out slightly.

I tried to hide an amused smile. "Very well. I want you to go to the laundry room and find robes that will fit me loosely, enough to hide my face. Hurry, I want you back in a few minutes, tops."

"Yes, Lord Vader," T-24 said unhesitantly. He looked confused at his slip at my name. I obviously wasn't Lord Vader. At least, I didn't look like him. I wasn't him on the inside anymore. At least, he wasn't dominant. He was still there, lurking in the shadows. But I could turn him off as quickly as he had turned me off throughout his rise of power.

"Please, T-24, call me Skywalker," I said, pleading almost. I didn't want anyone to call me Vader, not anymore, not ever again. T-24 left the room with a nod, and I caught Padmé's eyes. She understood; she understood everything.

I felt myself collapse a little. She must have sensed it, and she rushed to me, putting her arms around my neck, letting my head rest on her shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her waist and held her to me. She always made me feel . . . like I was complete, like everything was all right when we were together, because that was the reason the universe was made. I felt like I was a part of a power bigger than myself, something that no one could comprehend.

I breathed in her scent and was reminded of our short time together. A few years, yes, but far too short. I planned on never leaving her side again for the rest of my life. I pulled my head up slightly and met her eyes. A flash of understanding flashed there, and she tilted her head slightly in invitation. I needed nothing more. I closed the gap between our lips forcefully. I eagerly slid my lips across hers, slowly at first, but with ever growing intensity. She returned it with passion, but I could tell she was holding back. I was holding back as well, come to think of it. The time when we could really kiss would have to wait. I had spent four years seperated from her, and I had pent up love from each and every second of every minute of every day of every . . .

The sound of the door opening made me pull away quite suddenly. I was on edge, and I didn't have my lightsabre. Instead of danger, T-24 toddled inside, clothes neatly folded in his stiff arms. He shut the door behind himself and I quickly began to strip of the black robes. Padmé let out a sound of shock at my immodesty, but I simply prodded her to start changing as well. Thankfully, she turned her back to me, and I to her. I didn't know if I could resist her if I watched her, and I had to resist her. I loved her, but it had to wait. I wasn't going to attack her in the middle of the Death Star.

I quickly changed into the clothes T-24 offered. At least he didn't seem miffed by sudden nudeness. When I was inside of the clothes, I relished at the feeling of cloth on my skin. It had been so long since I'd had skin to feel the cloth. This brought on the question that had been popping up again and again since T-24 had healed me. I had been told I couldn't be healed, that I was as healed as was possible. It was obviously a lie. If I had stayed in my normal body, would I have tred the Dark path so willingly? I might have, but I would not have emersed myself so completely. Palpatine knew this; he knew everything about me. I had the uncomfortable feeling that he'd watched me from the moment he met me, studied my moves, used my thoughts against me, made me betray everyong.

It hadn't been completely his fault though. Had I not been a willing victim? I shook my head slightly, wanting to clear myself of these thoughts.

"T-24," I said. The droid looked up at me curiously. "As the former Lord Vader, I dismiss you of any duties you have on the Death Star, and I now am your master."

"Yes, Master Skywalker," the droid responded immediately, as I knew it would. The Emperor was its official master, but now with its death, I was next in command.

"You are to help Padmé and I escape," I said firmly. "You are to help Padmé and I destroy the Death Star."

Padmé gasped. She reached for my arm. "Anakin, no! Let's just get ourselves off of here. We can worry about this another day."

I looked down at her, at her pleading eyes, but held my stand. "No, Padmé. This is our only chance. There are very few Jedi left, very few of a Rebellion, I'm sure. There are millions on this one ship. We can wipe out most of the Dark side by blowing this ship up."

"What about the Emperor dying? Will they still follow his lead?"

"You know they will. A new leader will rise. Not as powerful as Palpatine of course, but he will rise. There will be some who will turn back to the Light, but we have to risk their lives. There are too few."

Padmé nodded. She suddenly seemed to stand taller, squaring her shoulders against the pain she obviously was feeling. "Okay," she said. She shrugged down again, and her eyes became haunted. "I don't want to lose you, not after I just got you back."

I kissed her forehead tenderly. "Don't worry, Padmé." I flashed her my cockiest grin. "I'm the Chosen One afterall. If I can defeat the all powerful Emperor, I'm sure I can manage to bring down the Death Star without a scratch. After all -- did I not do the same at the age of nine?"

Padmé smiled at the memory. She seemed to be convinced of my reasonings. She hugged my tightly, wrapping her body around me. I sighed contentedly and rubbed her back. The moment passed, and we stepped apart, all business yet again.

"T-24, search your knowledge for a way to bring the Death Star to destruction," I instructed, setting my steely gaze upon the droid. He seemed to turn inwards, loosing himself in . . . himself. He muttered little ramblings every few seconds, but finally made a gesture that he'd found what he'd been requested to find.

"The power supply, there is a self-destruct button, for evacuation," T-24 said. "You can shut down all of the ships so there's no way of escape."

I nodded, taking in the information. Finally, I checked Padmé's appearance, then my own. Neither of us were visable. I just hoped I still leaked out the power that Vader had had.

"T-24," I said softly. He understood this was important and stared at me intently. "If anything happens to me, I want you to make sure that Padmé gets to Obi-Wan Kenobi safely."

"Anakin! No!" Padmé gasped. She grabbed at my arm. "Nothing will happen to you. And if it does, I'd rather die than spend my life without you."

"Understood?" I asked T-24, ignoring Padmé.

"Understood, Master Skywalker," T-24 answered. I knew there was no doubting him. I turned to Padmé and whipped her to my body, crushed her lips with my own. She made a slight noise, then clutched at me in the same urgency. We ended the kiss just as abruptly as it had started, and neither of us aknowldged it. I opened the door and began the descent outside. T-24 and Padmé followed closely behind.


AN: I know it's a little shorter than normal, but I thought this would be a good ending. This is going to be a series, I hope it turns out all right. Please review, I haven't written a SW series before, and I'm a little nervous. Well . . . I'm nervous about all my fics. More so with this one.