Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in. That sandbox got really big and became the Forever Destined series universe.
AN: Here's part 3! Thanks for all the great reviews. I'm happy to see that there are still so many fans of this series after so long and that it gains new fans all the time. Enjoy this latest chapter and let me know what you think.
New Arrival: A Forever Destined Vignette
Callista screamed in agony, as another contraction hit. By the time they had gotten her into the house, her water had broken and heavy labor had set in.
"Grr…I hate you Luke Skywalker. I hate you and this…whole damn family…aaaarrrggghhh…" Callista screamed through another painful contraction.
"Here…use this to dab the sweat from her forehead," Kimberly said, as she lifted the sheet to see how far along she was.
"You're dilated enough. On the next contraction, I want you to push," Kimberly instructed, as she glanced at her older brother. Her grandmother Shmi was assisting her and her brother looked really nervous. The rest of the family was waiting in the family room.
"Are you sure you want to stay?" Kimberly asked. Luke nodded.
"Ahhhhhhgggghhh…dammit, give me some pain killers or something!" Callista screamed. Kimberly concentrated on the center of her pain using her abilities and eased the pain with the Force. Callista sighed and relaxed slightly for a moment.
"You're not half bad at this healer stuff. You might make a good one someday," Callista said. Kimberly raised an eyebrow, but let the comment go. Even as backhanded as it was, it was the closest thing to a compliment she would ever get from the woman.
"What now?" Luke asked.
"Another contraction will be hitting her in a just a few seconds. It will only be matter of time if there are no complications," Kimberly stated.
"Complications?" Luke asked nervously.
"Relax big brother, I don't sense anything amiss," Kimberly assured him, as she felt the pain rising in Callista.
"Oh Gods…I want this kid out!" Callista groaned, as the pain swept through her.
"Push Callista!" Kimberly called, as the contraction hit.
"I am dammit…aahhhhh!" Callista screamed. It passed and she fell back against the bed.
"I want a drink…" Callista groaned.
"It will be over soon, I promise. The baby is close. I'd say he wants out of you just as badly," Kimberly replied, as she saw that her grandmother was ready to clean the baby as soon as he was born.
"No one wants him out as badly as me….aaaahhhrrggghhh…" Callista screamed, as she pushed again. She fell back again, as the contraction passed, heaving air into her lungs. Luke dabbed her forehead, trying to ignore Callista's death glare.
"The head is crowning. This will be a really big push, but we're almost there!" Kimberly called, as the pain swept through her again.
"Grrr…GODS, how big is his damn head…aaahhhhh!" Callista screamed, as she pushed and fell back.
"I can't do anymore!" she cried.
"This will be the last push, I promise and then it's all over," Kimberly called, as she held the baby's head.
"Just one more," Luke encouraged. Callista glared at him and screamed in agony, as she made the final push. Kimberly's eyes were wide with wonder and they matched Luke's, as she cradled the wriggling, crying infant boy. As she was trained to, she quickly cut the umbilical cord with a surgical tool. She handed him to Shmi, who expertly began to wash him off, before wrapping him in a fluffy blue blanket.
"Here's your beautiful son, sweetheart," Shmi said, as a few tears slipped down her cheeks. Luke's eyes were as big as saucers, as he cradled his son in his arms for the first time.
"He's beautiful, big brother," Kimberly said, as she kissed his cheek.
"He's perfect," Luke added, choking back tears. Light and very fine blonde fuzz could be seen atop his mostly bald head and his eyes were so blue, bluer than both his and Callista's. And though his mother told him that all babies had blue eyes to start with, he was sure they would stay that way, for Luke could easily tell he had Anakin's eyes. He didn't hear his sister leave to tell their loved ones that the newest edition had arrived, but Callista's voice broke his focus.
"He's not a bad looking kid," she said, with a half-smile.
"Do you want to hold him?" Luke asked. For a moment, Luke thought she might take him up on it, but then decided against it.
"No, he's all yours. A kid with a kid," she said, rolling her eyes. Her usual sarcasm was being used to cover other emotions, he was sure.
Everyone was unusually quiet, as they waited in the living area. Callista's painful screams could be heard in the distance and then suddenly like a beacon of hope, the cry of a baby was heard and a new tiny Force presence was felt. They all looked around at each other, smiles quickly coming to their faces. Padme looked at her husband and squeezed his hand, sharing a smile at him. Their middle daughter came in soon and told them that they could go in to see Luke and the baby in pairs. It was agreed that Anakin and Padme should be first and the new grandparents excitedly went upstairs to meet their first grandson.
Callista had made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with any sappy family time, so Luke had already taken the baby a to the nursery down the hall. Shmi informed him that she would go ready a bottle for his first feeding. For now though, Luke was content just to hold him. Father and son seemed particularly captivated by each other and the baby wriggled in his arms, discovering his ability to move. He heard the door slowly open and smiled, as his parents came into the room. He stood up, as they slowly came over and peered down at the tiny infant.
"Time to meet Nana and Papa," Luke cooed, as he gently placed the baby in Padme's arms.
"Oh…oh, he's so beautiful," Padme cried, as tears slipped down her cheeks.
"You were right…I know it's going to be hard, but I've never felt so good about any decision I've ever made," Luke said, crying with her. Padme sniffed and kissed his cheek.
"We're going to be here for you every step of the way sweetheart. And Nana is going to spoil you so much, little prince," Padme cooed to the tiny bundle. Anakin's grin was from ear to ear, pride obvious on his face.
"You do realize that you might have trouble getting him back," Anakin joked, as they watched Padme coo and dote on the child. Luke chuckled.
"Have you decided on a name?" Padme asked.
"I had it narrowed down to a few, but I still hadn't made a final decision. That is, until I held him. Then one just popped into my head and I knew," Luke replied. Anakin nodded.
"That sounds about right," Anakin agreed.
"So…don't keep us in suspense," Padme prodded. Luke grinned.
"This is Hunter. Hunter Riley Skywalker," Luke decided. Padme beamed.
"You're going to make your grandpa Riley cry, you know. That's quite a feat," Padme told him.
"The Force is very strong with him. Hunter is the perfect name," Anakin agreed.
Several hours later…
Luke felt like he had just gone to sleep again when Hunter's cry pierced the silence for the second time that night. He had known this was coming, but it still didn't quite prepare him for the reality of caring for an infant. He rolled out of bed and lifted his tiny son from the bassinet beside his bed. He shushed him with soothing whispers and sent him warm waves of love through the Force. He responded to that immediately, which was still amazing Luke. Only a few hours old and he was already aware of the Force. Both he and his father were curious to know what his midichlorian count was, though they would be waiting until he was about six months old to take his count. He padded next door to the nursery and raised the lights just a little, before laying the infant on the changing table. Earlier, his mother had shown him how to properly change the diaper and re-diaper him. Carefully, he cleaned him off with a moist disposable cloth, before putting a clean diaper on him. He put his pajamas back on, chuckling at the cuteness of the blue sleeper complete with feet to keep his toes warm. His mother had gone and practically bought an entire baby store in Theed earlier in the week. Once he was dry, he went down to the kitchen, warmed a bottle of milk up in the warmer and settled into the comfy recliner in the living area. After Hunter finished eating, Luke burped him and held him for a while, as they bonded. People other than his family members had actually suggested that having this baby would ruin his life. Luke didn't believe any of them, because asking Callista to have the baby, even though he would raise him as a single father, felt right. And now, as he held his child in his arms, he knew why. His decision was the right one. Hunter was his whole world now and he was just fine with that.
A few days later…
Pooja ignored the swarm of reporters that followed them, as Adam led the Queen of Naboo to her private transport. It would take them to the marina and they would travel to Varykino to spend the day with their family and see the new baby. Tomorrow, they would all return to Theed together for the dedication ceremony at the new Angel Center.
"Your Highness, can you please tell us the name of your cousin's newborn?" one reporter asked.
"I believe that is for padawan Skywalker to reveal when he is ready," Queen Aridala responded stoically.
"You will clear the way for her Majesty," Adam ordered, as he guarded her protectively. He didn't trust reporters in the slightest, as they never made any qualms about getting too close or forceful. They made it to her transport and it whisked them away quickly.
Luke stood on the veranda that morning, looking over the water. He could see the ferry in the distance and knew his cousin would soon arrive. He wanted to be there to greet her with his little man in tow. While they waited, Luke enjoyed letting the baby look around in wonder at his surroundings.
"There's a lot of family memories here, Hunter. I'm going to tell you all about them and we're going to make more together," Luke said, pausing for a moment, as he looked down at his son. His blue eyes were now exactly like Luke's, a light ice/gray blue, lighter than Anakin's and Jayden's, and he would definitely be blonde, perhaps even a lighter blonde like Callista.
"I know that most kids have a mommy…and I'm sorry that you're not going to. Maybe someday I'll meet someone, but we're not alone. You may not have a mom that wants to be involved, but you have a lot of family that loves you," he told his son.
A moment later, he saw Callista and Queen Rayna come out. Jayden and Marcus were carrying their luggage and went ahead with the Queen, as Callista stayed behind for a moment.
"So…I guess this is it," Luke said. She nodded.
"Guess so," she responded.
"Thank you again, by the way. You'll never know how much having him means to me," Luke said sincerely.
"Well, it hurt like hell…but the money was worth it," Callista said, though he sensed that those harsh words were covering what she really wanted to say.
"You want to hold him for a minute?" Luke asked.
"No…I'll leave that to you. Hunter…is a great name though," she replied. Luke smiled.
"Thanks. Take care of yourself," he said. She smirked.
"I always do. See ya kid," she called over her shoulder, as she walked away. Luke wondered if he would ever see her again and knew it was very unlikely.
"Are you okay sweetie?" Padme asked, as she put a hand on his shoulder. Luke nodded.
"I'm fine. He loves it out here," Luke mentioned.
"Of course he does. I can take him for a while if you want," Padme mentioned.
"Are you sure?" Luke asked, as Padme eagerly took him in her arms.
"Of course I'm sure. You look like you could use a nap," Padme told him.
"Yeah…but I probably shouldn't," Luke replied.
"Honey, when your father and I told you that you're not going to do this alone, we meant it. You don't think your father and I needed breaks when you kids were little?" Padme asked. Luke shrugged.
"I don't know. You were always like an amazing mom. I mean, you were the best and always there…and so was dad, even when he went away on short missions. I…I just want to be the kind of parent that you and dad were to me," Luke said.
"You will be," Anakin said, as he walked in and put his arm around Padme's waist.
"Your mom and I were able to be the kind of parents we were because we took help when it was offered. Your grandparents were only too happy to help us and give us a break once in a while. And we will do the same for you," Anakin told him. Luke nodded gratefully.
"Thanks…I think I'll go take that nap," he replied, as he kissed Hunter's forehead. Padme smiled.
"We'll be fine, won't we, my little prince?" she cooed to the baby. Luke chuckled.
"Guess that's my cue to leave so the spoiling can begin," he joked, as he went back into the house and straight up to his room.
"He's so perfect, isn't he Ani?" Padme gushed. He smiled.
"He is," Anakin agreed, as he kissed her cheek.
"The Force is very strong with him," Anakin whispered.
"You can tell that already?" she asked. He nodded.
"It's no surprise though. The Force is very strong in this family, after all. He'll carry on our legacy someday," Anakin said. She smiled, as their lips met in a tender kiss.
Luke woke up later that evening, well rested, and made his way downstairs after cleaning up. He smiled when he saw his cousin holding his son.
"There you are. You look better," Padme said.
"Yeah, I guess I needed that. Did I miss dinner?" he asked. Padme smiled.
"Yes, but I saved you a plate. I'll go warm it up," she told him, as he greeted Adam with a handshake and Pooja with a hug, while peering down at his son.
"He's perfect," Pooja gushed. Luke grinned.
"Thanks, it's still sinking in that he's finally here," Luke replied.
"Raising him and studying to become a Jedi at the same time won't be easy, but I know you'll do fine and you have a lot of help," she reassured him. He nodded.
"I know and I know it will be hard, but I wouldn't give him up for anything," he replied.
The next morning…
Luke knew that as soon as they stepped off the ferry at the Theed marina that they would be mobbed by the Holonet, but it still didn't prepare him for the scene. His parents, experienced with this, led the way, both regarding the reporters with stoic indifference.
"Master Skywalker…is it true that Callista Ming has been banished back to Dathomir?" one reporter questioned.
"Ms. Ming left by choice and of her own free will," Anakin responded shortly.
"Senator Skywalker, is it true that Ms. Ming signed away all parental rights to your grandchild?" another questioned.
"You're too close," Jenna growled, as she started toward the man, who quickly and wisely backed away. Jenna's amazing strength was no secret.
"Ms. Ming chose of her own free will to give up her parental rights. To protect my grandson's future, this stipulation was included in our agreement," Padme responded stoically.
"Padawan Skywalker, what are you calling your son?" another shouted, as they arrived at the private gates of the former Winama mansion and now Angel Center where their employed security guards stood ready to keep the press out.
"Um…" Luke said, uncertainly, as all the recording devices were suddenly shoved in his face. Hunter whimpered beneath the blanket he was under.
"Two members of the press have been invited to this event this afternoon. We will reveal our grandson's name to them and not before. No further comment," Padme said, as they were led inside the gates. Obi-Wan led Ethan and Steph inside, while the rest of the reporters were left on the outside looking in.
"Thanks for coming," Padme said, greeting them.
"Don't mention it. We wouldn't miss it," Ethan replied.
"So…let's see him," Steph said. Luke smiled and pulled back the blanket. He stopped fussing and was now content to look around at his surroundings.
"Wow…what a beautiful baby," Steph gushed.
"I named him Hunter Riley Skywalker," Luke told them.
"Appropriate. Steph and I have a bit our own news," Ethan said.
"What is it?" Padme asked.
"Well…we're going to be having a little one of our own in about six months," Steph said, as she patted the small swell on her stomach. Padme gasped and hugged her tightly.
"Oh, I'm so happy for you," she gushed, as she pulled back.
"Congratulations, it's about time," Anakin said, as he shook Ethan's hand.
"We're also getting married in a couple weeks. It's going to be small, but we want you both and your family there. You two are pretty much the reason we're together," Steph said. Padme beamed.
"We'd love to be there. Where are you having it?" Padme asked.
"Well, on Coruscant, but since it's so last minute, we're having trouble finding a place to have it. We thought about waiting until after the baby is born…but we really don't want to wait," Ethan said.
"We've waited way too long as it is, mostly thanks to me being so difficult," Steph said, remembering how horrible she had been years ago.
"We'll talk to Calin and I'm sure he'll insist we have it in the gardens at his resort," Padme told them.
"Really?" Ethan asked.
"Of course, what are friends for?" Anakin asked rhetorically.
"Thank you both so much. I don't know what to say," Steph said, humbled by their warmth.
"No need to thank us. This just gives me an excuse to go buy Hunter a formal little outfit," Padme said, as she kissed the baby's blonde fuzz.
"Mom, he can't possibly wear all the clothes you bought him already. He's going to grow out of them before he wears even half of them," Luke said.
"Oh hush," Padme shushed, as her husband and oldest son chuckled.
"You boys just don't understand," Padme said, as they made their way to the fountain where the dedication ceremony would take place.
Ethan ran the holocam, as all the residents that were currently signed up to live in the center came outside with the staff. Everyone had been moved in this morning and once they were all gathered, Padme stood at the podium.
"Hello everyone," Padme greeted and paused for a moment, as the small crowd quieted.
"As most of you know, I'm Padme Skywalker. This mansion at one time belonged to my grandparents, Wil and Leia Winama. My grandparents were courageous people, who served their people with such passion that they became the very embodiment of what a public servant should be. I am the woman I am today in large part because of them. They taught me to never give up, no matter what tragedies that life dealt to you. And before I met my husband, I had my share of injustices. Two very evil men stole this property from me when my grandmother passed away and made sure the true deed was lost to us. But thanks in no small part to my husband, he convinced the city of Theed to draw up a new deed and return the property to the hands on my family," Padme said, smiling at her husband.
"And knowing me as well as he does, he began the renovations and hiring the staff, with the help of my mother Jobal, my father Riley, my sister Sola, my children, Luke, Leia, Kimberly, Jayden, Jenna, and of course my niece, Queen Aridala. Knowing that young women can come here for their safety, bring their children, and receive education and job training makes me very happy. And I know my grandparents would be overjoyed that their former home is going to help so many people. The Force has truly blessed me and my family. I'm glad that we can use our good fortune to help those who need it. May the Force bless all of you that have bravely made the steps toward building a new life. I know it seems daunting and frightening right now, but I believe that you will all succeed. No one deserves to be abused and no one has the right to abuse another person. Standing up for yourselves takes true courage and you should all be proud," Padme concluded. There was applause and Padme stepped down, as Anakin took her hand. People started mingling toward the house for the lunch they had catered in for the event. Luke hung back for a moment and fished for one of Hunter's bottles.
"I'll take him for a while if you want to go grab a bite," Riley said eagerly. Luke smiled and gently put the baby in his arms.
"Thanks grandpa," Luke said, as he headed inside. Padme smiled, as she watched her father cradle his great grandchild. When Luke had revealed his son's name on the night he was born, Riley Zander was in fact brought to tears and she remembered the awestruck look on his face when he found out what his new great grandson's middle name was.
"You coming inside?" Anakin asked. She shook her head.
"Go on, I think I'll spend a few moments with daddy," she told him. He nodded with a smile, as they shared a tender kiss.
"He's pretty amazing, isn't he?" Padme asked, as she put her arm around him and rested her cheek on his shoulder.
"Amazing doesn't quite do him justice, just like you," Riley said, as Hunter looked up at him with fascination.
"Wish I had gotten to hold you like this when you were his size," Riley said, a bit sadly.
"I know, but you've more than made up for all the time we lost and Hunter isn't going anywhere," Padme assured him.
"Yeah and I'm not going to miss a minute of this one's life, that's for sure," Riley replied.
"I love you daddy and thank you for all you did to make this possible," Padme said, referring to the center.
"Well, I didn't do all that much, but you know I'd do anything for you, sweetness. I love you too," Riley replied, as he kissed her forehead. She smiled, as they started inside to join the rest of their family.
That's it for this vignette. I know this was a short one, but it was mostly meant to be a small transitional vignette. I don't have a title yet for the next one, but the next one will begin at least six months to a year after this one. I don't have too many other details at the time, as I'm still brainstorming, but I hope to have it out soon. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think!