Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Hey everyone! Thanks for all the great reviews. I'm glad everyone is enjoying the story. Here are notes to a few individuals:
Guest: Thank you, glad you enjoy the stories. :)
Rya Likao: Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the series. As for Prince Isolder, he doesn't appear in this vignette, sorry. I don't know if he will appear in any future vignettes or not. I have a general idea of the direction some of the future vignettes are going, but nothing concrete and I've been known to change my mind, so he may and he may not.
Harry2: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
sexystarwarslover: Thanks for your review, as always. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. Yes, Jenna is powerful and as Leia put it, possibly a little insane, but that's what we love about her. ;)
Hannah Jane: Glad you enjoyed the last chapter and I hope you enjoy this one. :)
WWWMTgirl: Wow, where do I begin? I guess I'm really puzzled as to why you keep subjecting yourself to my stories. You obviously loathe them. That's perfectly evident in the way you conduct yourself in your reviews. So here's a suggestion. STOP READING AND WASTING YOUR TIME! I have come to the conclusion that you are never going to like my stories, which is fine with me. I don't care. You're just nasty in the way you go about reviewing anyway. It rolls right off my shoulders, but that doesn't make it right. I write because I enjoy doing it with the little free time I have, so lighten up! It's a story. You don't care for me as an author so find something else to read. As for the whole Mary Sue thing or whatever, I completely disagree(shock, I know). My characters aren't perfect, regardless of what you think. I have a scene in this chapter(oh and yes, it was written before your review) where Obi-Wan calls Anakin on his reluctance to be forthcoming with the Council on Hunter's midichlorian count. I wrote it as a follow up scene in the last chapter, but thought it fit better into the conclusion chapter. But you judged it before I could even finish the story. That's fine. Again, I don't care. Just please stop wasting your time. I'm not going to waste anymore of mine on you. It is what it is. Take it or leave it, doesn't make a difference to me. It's just a story. Plain and simple. Don't let the back button hit you on the way out.
Taking Chances: A Forever Destined Vignette
"That was a wonderful meal, Mrs. Skywalker," Han mentioned, as their eating slowed.
"Thank you Han, I'm glad you decided to stay," Padme replied, as she wiped Hunter's messy face and hands, much to his chagrin. He fussed and Luke let him out of his highchair, allowing him to go play.
"You have your hands full. He's a busy one," Han mentioned, as he watched the toddler. Luke snorted.
"You're telling me. I don't know what I'd do without all the help I get," Luke replied.
"We love helping with him, honey. And his great grandparents adore him too," Padme mentioned.
"Yeah, Grandma Shmi says he's just like Daddy was at that age," Kimberly mentioned with a giggle.
"Always on the move, as your Uncle Obi-Wan would say," Padme said, giving her husband a teasing gaze.
"Obi-Wan's still brings up how much time he spent chasing me around all the time," Anakin replied, with a chuckle. Hunter sat on the floor, playing with large toy ships and grinned at Han. Luke chuckled.
"What a ham," Luke said in amusement.
"Our little ham has quite a grip too," Padme mentioned, as she held up one of his bent rattles.
"Hunter did that?" he asked in amazement. She nodded and rolled her eyes, as a smile eclipsed her husband's face.
"That's my grandson," he said proudly.
"Not to change the subject, but there is something Ani and I would like to talk to you about, Han," Padme mentioned.
"Oh…okay," Han said, trying to hide his nervousness.
"We're not angry with you," Padme assured him.
"I dragged your daughter into huge mess and almost got her killed. How could you not be mad at me?" Han asked.
"We know you didn't mean to and we were worried about you too, believe it or not," Padme continued.
"Yeah…you can relax; I'm not going to kill you. Padme won't let me," Anakin joked. Padme elbowed him in the ribs and gave him a look.
"We want you to feel like you can come to us if you're in trouble," Padme said.
"I can't expect you to clean up my messes or Lando's dad for that matter. I screwed up and I have to own that," Han said stubbornly.
"We admire you for wanting to take care of your own affairs, but we think there is a way for you to make a very decent living legally," Padme explained.
"You're offering me a job?" Han asked.
"We discussed this with Leia before this whole mess happened and we think that you're the perfect choice to be her personal bodyguard during the upcoming Senatorial campaign. If she's elected, then it would become a permanent position," Padme continued.
"Campaign? You're running for Senator?" he asked Leia. She nodded.
"You're retiring from the Senate?" he asked in confusion, directing his question at Padme.
"No, actually I'm running for Chancellor, though I haven't made the announcement yet," Padme replied.
"You trust me to guard Leia?" he asked uncertainly.
"I trust you and so do they," Leia assured him.
"So what do you say?" Anakin asked. Han sighed, trying to process everything.
"No pressure or anything kid, but take it from someone who has made this transition. You won't regret it," Riley chimed in.
"I guess I'm in then," Han replied. Leia grinned and he smiled back at her.
"Are you sure you can stand putting up with me all the time?" Han asked.
"I can handle you and at least you're not afraid to talk to me. All the other bodyguards daddy interviewed were either too afraid to talk to me or have about as much personality as a door panel," Leia said.
"He also won't be afraid to call you on it when you're being unreasonable," Luke chimed without missing a beat. Leia glared at her twin.
"And he's too smart for you to ditch if you get some wild hair and get yourself into trouble," Jayden added.
"Well, you would know all about getting into trouble, wouldn't you Jay?" Leia retorted.
"And he's not afraid to tell you to shut up when you need to be told," Jenna added. Leia glared at her youngest sister, as Han chuckled.
"All right, that's enough," Padme ended it, knowing that her children could do this all night between each other.
"I don't think there is one of you that isn't a handful," Han quipped, shocking them all and causing Riley nearly to spit out his blue milk.
"Stole the words right out of my mouth," the former mercenary chuckled.
"Daddy…" Padme chided.
"Don't play innocent sweetness, you're a pistol when you want to be," Riley teased. Padme huffed, but couldn't help but chuckle herself.
"Welcome to the family, Solo," Riley said.
"I think you're going to fit right in, Han," she said. Hunter caught their attention with a loud squeal.
"No buddy, we didn't forget about you," Luke said, as he picked him up.
"It's bath time. Wave goodbye," Luke said. Hunter waved him little arm.
"Bye bye," he said, as Luke took him upstairs.
"Speaking of family, I believe we will soon be officially welcoming someone else into our family, am I right sweetheart?" Padme asked, as she looked at her middle daughter. Shane grinned, as they joined hands and she flashed her engagement ring. Luke stopped on the stairs when he saw this.
"When did this happen?" he asked. She smiled at him.
"On Mandalore," she replied, as Leia hugged her tightly and admired the ring.
"Congratulations…both of you," Leia said, as she hugged Shane.
"And we're going to have so much fun planning the wedding so don't wait too long to set a date," Padme said excitedly, as she hugged both Kimberly and Shane. He chuckled.
"Don't worry, we've actually already talked about it on the way home," Shane said. Kimberly nodded.
"We were hoping for a spring wedding on Alderaan. We still have to talk to Bail and Breha, but I really like the idea of a May wedding. The gardens will be in full bloom by then," Kimberly said. Padme smiled.
"That gives us almost eight months so that's more than enough time. Since we'll all be gathered here tomorrow night with Steph and Ethan to announce my campaign, it will be the perfect time to surprise Bail and Breha the good news," Padme suggested. They nodded and Kimberly noticed her father looking at her, trying not to get misty eyed. Kimberly smiled and hugged him.
"I love you Daddy," Kimberly told him. He nodded and dropped a kiss on her head.
"I love you too…you're my tiny angel," he whispered.
"I'll always be your tiny angel," she assured him. Anakin nodded.
"I'm so happy for you and I'm happy to call you my son," he assured Shane, as he extended his hand. Shane graciously shook it in return.
"I promise I'll take care of her and love her for the rest of our lives," Shane said sincerely. Anakin nodded.
"I know you will," Anakin replied, as Padme wrapped her arms around her his waist.
"Congratulations to you both," Luke said, as he continued up the stairs with his squirming son.
"Well, on that note, I think it's time for dessert," Padme announced, as she and Kimberly went to retrieve it from the kitchen.
Eris sipped from his glass of fine wine, as he observed those around him. He had accompanied Bana to the swanky restaurant that catered only to Coruscant's elite this evening, mostly to act as her designated escort later in the evening if she needed him. Currently, she was having dinner with Rush Clovis and the two looked very cozy. Despite his tattered reputation, he had managed to hold on to his seat in the Senate and seemed to be genuinely trying to move on with his life. He had only been seeing Senator Breemu for a few weeks now, but he knew that his boss was quite smitten and it seemed that Clovis was as well. He smirked and his eyes flashed yellow for a split second. He was enjoying his new existence, especially after being cooped up in a stasis for the last few years. And he was about to put his plan on the fast track if everything went as it should this evening…
Bana covered her mouth, as she laughed and finished swallowing.
"I'd forgotten how funny you can be," Bana said, as she sipped at her wine.
"Well, a sense of humor is important, or so Jake tells me. He says that you have to be able to laugh at yourself, though in my opinion, he does enough laughing at me for the both of us," Rush mused. Bana smiled.
"Teenagers…so sure of themselves. I was uncontrollable at that age," she remembered not so fondly.
"But you turned out all right," he responded. She smiled.
"Some might not agree with you. I have been accused of being promiscuous, you know," she mused.
"You're a beautiful woman who has refused to settle for anything less than the best," he corrected.
"You always have been a charmer, Rush Clovis. But I am toying with this idea of finally settling down with the right person," Bana said, eyeing him.
"Really? Who is the lucky man?" he asked coyly. She smiled.
"I think you know," she replied casually.
"In that case, I think it's time to go home," he said.
"Yours or mine?" she asked.
"Yours does have a better view," he replied. She smiled and signaled to Eris.
"Milady…Senator Clovis," he greeted, as he answered her summon.
"We're ready to return to my apartment. Will you please signal my driver?" she asked. Eris nodded.
"Of course milady," Eris said, as he headed toward the exit and raised the comlink to his lips. Eris got into the front seat with the driver, while Bana and Clovis got into the back of the luxurious air limo.
As the car rounded the corner, there was a loud sounding of a horn, as an out of control driver slammed into the driver's side. The force slammed the air limo into the side of a building…
The next morning…
"You do realize that it is wrong not to tell the Council, right?" Obi-Wan asked.
"Yes…you don't have to keep reminding us," Anakin replied. Obi-Wan rolled his eyes.
"Someone needs to. You know that I've always supported our family first and foremost, but someone has to be the voice of reason," Obi-Wan stated.
"Obi-Wan is right," Qui-Gon said.
"But…" Anakin started to protest, but Qui-Gon raised his hand.
"What do you suggest we do then?" Qui-Gon asked his oldest son.
"We don't alter Hunter's test results, because let's face it, that will just end up blowing up in our faces and you know I'm right, Ani," he said sternly, eyeing his younger brother.
"You know Kuro will just salivate when she finds out Hunter's count is almost as high as Jayden's," Anakin seethed.
"It doesn't matter; she can't do anything about it. It is still up to Luke on when his training starts and by the time Hunter is old enough to be chosen as a padawan, Luke will have long since been Knighted," Obi-Wan reasoned.
"So we don't tell them how he is showing signs of having enhanced physical strength like Jenna?" Anakin asked. Obi-Wan shrugged.
"It's a few bent rattles and broken toys. We can't be sure of anything until he is older. If I remember correctly you yourself and all your boys tended to be rough on things. And we're not lying to them. There's no reason for them to know about something that is a family matter. His midichlorian count is sufficient information," Obi-Wan said.
"As usual, Obi-Wan is right," Qui-Gon concluded. Anakin snorted.
"Don't tell him that," Anakin replied, as his older brother smirked rather smugly.
"Well, someone has to keep you two from breaking all the rules. Force knows how much trouble you would have gotten us all into if not for me," Obi-Wan stated.
"There's going to be no living with him now," Anakin complained to his father.
"It serves your right for all the times you've gone off and done something ridiculous," Obi-Wan retorted.
"Stodgy old man," Anakin quipped.
"Irresponsible brat," Obi-Wan jabbed back, while Qui-Gon rolled his eyes.
"Honestly, you two are worse than all your children," Qui-Gon stated.
"Speaking of Luke, things are looking very good for his Knighting," Qui-Gon mentioned.
"He has been working very hard," Obi-Wan agreed.
"You don't think that some may object since he went to Tatooine without permission?" Anakin asked.
"Some might try, but no one can refute the fact that he is very skilled. He and Jenna took down Jabba the Hutt's operation with very little help from you," Qui-Gon mentioned, making Anakin smile.
"Yeah, if Jayden doesn't watch himself, Jenna might be Knighted before him," he mused.
"That's because Jayden keeps running off with Natalie and shirking his responsibilities," Obi-Wan reminded. Anakin nodded.
"I know…I'm going to have a talk with him. He's just in love…I can relate. But I'll make sure he understands that he can't cut out on his responsibilities," Anakin assured them. Qui-Gon nodded.
"We better get going. The Council meeting will be starting soon," he said, as the three of them stood and after saying goodbye to Shmi, they filed out the door.
Padme sipped at her morning caf, as her eyes scanned over her agenda for the day. Hunter was playing with his toys nearby and she was going to be taking him to Shmi soon, before heading to her office. As she set her datapad down and finished her second cup, the comm beeped. She answered it and saw the face of Eris Phonoi appear on the screen. Bana's vice chair looked tired and the side of his face was sporting a nasty bruise.
"Vice Chair Phonoi…what happened to you?" she asked with concern.
"I am fine, Senator, but I am afraid that I am calling to inform you of a terrible accident that occurred last evening. Bana's air limo was hit last night on our way home from dinner by a driver they are saying was quite intoxicated," Eris explained.
"Oh my…please tell me Bana is all right?" she asked, her concern for her friend evident in her voice. She and Bana had their differences and their personalities clashed quite often, but they were good friends and had been for many years.
"Our driver was killed upon impact and somehow I made it out with only bruises. However Bana…she was critically injured. She survived surgery, but I am afraid she is comatose. Rush Clovis was with her in the back and he suffered a broken leg and a minor head wound. He is conscious though," Eris explained gravely.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Padme asked.
"No, I am afraid not, but I knew that Bana would want one of her good friends to find out about this from a source other than the Holonet," Eris responded. Padme nodded.
"Thank you for calling. I'll be by to visit later, if that's all right?" Padme asked. He nodded.
"Of course Senator…I will look forward to seeing you then," Eris replied, as the comm screen went dark. Padme sighed and felt a tug at the skirt of her gown. She looked down to see Hunter staring up at her with big blue eyes and knew he had felt the change in her mood through the Force, even though he was so young. She smiled at her little prince and scooped him up, cuddling him close.
"Nana loves you so much baby…" she cooed, as she kissed his blonde head. He babbled something in baby speak and wrapped his tiny hand around her finger.
"Come on sweetheart, I need to drop you off with great Grandma Shmi. Nana has to go visit a friend that's not doing so well," she whispered, as she took him upstairs to get him ready.
"And you believe Luke's trials are complete?" Mace questioned, as Anakin stood before the Council.
"I've taught him everything I can and he more than proved himself when he took down Jabba the Hutt…with very little of my help. But his actions several months ago speak to his integrity as well. He used exceptional skill and judgement in a very stressful situation with the Mandalorians that kidnapped the Princess of Alderaan," Anakin stated.
"Padawan Skywalker had no business on Tatooine in the first place. It's not a Republic world and we had no quarrel with the Hutts," Kuro argued.
"Jabba created a quarrel when he decided to enslave my daughter. He knew exactly who she was," Anakin retorted. Kuro couldn't argue that.
"Well, I suppose being rid of a despicable creature such as Jabba the Hutt is a good thing and the details of both operations were impressive. I will not object to Padawan Skywalker's Knighting, however, I will be telling the young Knight that this Council will not tolerate the same rule breaking, maverick antics that it has suffered from you, Master Skywalker," she stated. Anakin smirked.
"Perish the thought. I doubt you'll have trouble from Luke. He is more his mother' son, after all," Anakin replied, with pride in his voice. Kuro rolled her eyes, but said nothing more.
"If there are no other objections, then we shall signal padawan Skywalker to join us," Mace said. The room was silent and he sent the signal to the padawan guards outside the Council room. A few moments later, Luke stepped into the Council room and stood in the center beside his father.
"Luke…do you know why you have come before us today?" Mace asked, as he and all the Masters wore stoic expressions, even Ferus and his father, who usually were the most expressive in the room.
"Not really," Luke admitted honestly. Anakin did his best to keep a straight face, as his son attempted not to fidget and squirm nervously next to him.
"We have discussed your progress and in light of recent events, we have come to a unanimous decision," Mace said, as Luke gulped. He suddenly heard his father's light saber hum to life and felt it breeze past his ear. It took a minute to register that his padawan braid was now resting in his palm and when it sunk in, he looked at his father's now grinning face in amazement.
"Congratulations Knight Skywalker," he said, as he hugged his oldest son.
"You should have seen the look on your face," Ferus teased, as he patted Luke on the shoulder.
"We're proud of you, Luke," Qui-Gon told him. Luke smiled.
"Thanks Grandfather," Luke replied, as they slowly filed out of the Council Room.
Padme saw Clovis, his head bandaged and arm in a cast, sitting at Bana's bedside.
"I hope I'm not interrupting," Padme said, alerting him to her presence. He looked up and smiled gently, as she set a vase of beautiful flowers down on the table.
"Thank you, that was very thoughtful of you. I can leave if you'd like," Rush offered.
"No, she needs you and I think we're both adult enough to move on from what's happened in the past," Padme replied gently.
"I did some terrible things to you and your husband. You would have every right to never want to be in the same room as me again," Rush admitted.
"But you have regret and that shows me that you have a heart. That's enough for me to be able to forgive. I want you to be happy too and I was so glad when you and Bana started moving on together," Padme said, as she touched her friend's hand.
"I'm so sorry this had to happen," she said sadly.
"Thank you," Rush said, as his voice cracked.
"Bana is strong and feisty though. Nothing will keep her down for long," Padme assured him.
"I hope you're right," Rush said, as Eris entered the room.
"Oh…Senator Skywalker, how lovely of you to come by," he greeted.
"It's nice to see you Eris. I'm glad that you weren't serious hurt," she greeted in return.
"Yes, I only hope Senator Breemu recovers from this. I have been asked to fill in for her until she recovers, but I'm not sure I am ready for such an undertaking," Eris said uncertainly.
"You'll do fine," Padme assured him, as she spent a few more minutes there, speaking to her comatose friend, before she quietly left.
Later that evening
"It's good to see you both," Padme greeted, as she let Steph and Ethan in. They were joining them for dinner and to watch the broadcast of Padme's campaign announcement that she had recorded earlier that day.
"Thanks for having us, as usual," Ethan replied, as he held his daughter.
"Oh…hello Trina," Padme cooed, as Ethan handed the baby to her.
"Hunter will be happy to see you," she cooed, as she heard Hunter call out in excitement when he saw the other baby. She smiled, as Trina squirmed and she put her down. They watched the little girl crawl toward Hunter, before sitting on her diapered rear, as he offered her a toy.
"What a little charmer," Steph giggled, as she and Padme watched them.
"That's a Skywalker male for you," Padme said, as she heard the door chime again. She answered it, letting Bail, Breha, Shane, and Natalie in. Since everyone had arrived, dinner was served and conversation broke out as they enjoyed the wonderful meal Shmi and Jobal had prepared. Once their eating slowed, Shane decided to make his announcement and stood up with his wine glass.
"If I could have everyone's attention please," he requested. The table quieted and he spoke.
"I have a bit of an announcement to make this evening, though there are already a few here that know about the news I'm about to share," he began. Bail and Breha exchanged a glance, wondering what their adoptive son had to say.
"Bail and Breha, in the few short years that I've been in this family, you've made me feel so welcome as if I was your own flesh and blood. The same can be said about the welcome I've received from the Skywalker family as well. There will never be anything I can do to thank you for allowing me to be a part of the kind of family I always dreamed of having," Shane began eloquently.
"From the moment I met you Kimberly, I was completely smitten," he said, with a grin, making her blush.
"Bail and Breha, I've asked Kimberly to marry me and she did me the great honor of accepting so with your blessing, we wish to wed this spring," he announced. Breha gasped and looked at Padme, who was grinning widely.
"Oh honey…that's so wonderful!" Breha exclaimed, as she hugged the two young people. Bail smiled as well and hugged Kimberly.
"It will be an honor to officially call all of you family," Bail said.
"Congratulations you two," Ethan said, as he shook Shane's hand and hugged Kimberly. Steph nodded and looked at the chrono.
"Oh, not to interrupt, but the broadcast should be airing about now," Steph said, as she turned on the holoscreen and they gathered around.
"Tonight, we bring you an exclusive interview with Senator Padme Skywalker. As you know, Senator Rush Clovis recently withdrew his name from contention for the upcoming campaign for the next Chancellor of the Republic. This has left the Senator of Ryloth, Orn Free Taa, as the only major contender. Many speculate, however, that if Senator Skywalker enters the race that it will be a very close race. We will now air a prerecorded interview, conducted by one of our top reporting teams, Steph and Ethan James," the reporter said, as the recording began. Padme was wearing a beautiful royal blue Senatorial gown, as she appeared on the screen with her office as the backdrop.
"Good evening citizens of the Republic. I have come before you this evening to formally declare my candidacy for the next Chancellor of the Republic. I have served the people of Naboo for many years, but I believe I can do even more good for the Republic as a whole if I am elected as the next Chancellor. Bel Iblis has led us with strength and integrity and I believe I am the best candidate to continue his work. I look forward to the coming months where I will do my best to earn your support. Thank you and good evening," the recording ended and Anakin put his arm around her.
"You've got my vote…as if there was any doubt of that," he told her, as he kissed her tenderly.
"Thanks…we have so much to celebrate. One of our babies is getting married and Luke has been Knighted. Even if I'm not elected, nothing will ever be able to destroy this family and our love," she replied.
"Couldn't have said it better myself," he said, as they shared a tender kiss, before they joined their family for a celebratory dessert and wine. They celebrated Padme's campaign announcement, Kimberly's engagement, and Luke's Knighting well into the night…
Well, that's it for this vignette. I don't have a title for the next one yet, but it will take place about six months after this one and highlight Kimberly's wedding to Shane, as well as the campaign race for Chancellor and Leia's own campaign to replace her mother as Senator of Naboo. I hope to have the next vignette out sometime in February so look for that soon. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!