Anakin raced after his master, as fast as his feet could carry him. "Please, Master. It's just for a couple of hours!"
Obi-Wan smiled at him calmly, "You know the rules, Anakin. You weren't even supposed to have children."
Luke gave a small gurgle, clinging to his father's neck. Anakin had, fortunately, been able to leave Leia at home with Padmé. "Wanna stay with Daddy."
Anakin shifted his attention to Luke for a moment. "I know. But Daddy's got to do other stuff sometimes too."
"Wanna stay with Daddy."
Anakin shifted his attention back Obi-Wan, begging. "Just a couple of hours. I need time to practice, and I can't very well do that when Luke won't let go of me."
"Absolutely not. You got yourself into this."
Luke smiled, "Staying with Daddy."
Anakin ignored his son. Luke, he had discovered, never noticed if he was being ignored. "The rules were changed anyway! I'm allowed to have them now, and right now, I just need you to take care of Luke."
"The rules were bent to allow you to be married and children, but they don't say that your master has to take care of them. Why don't you hire a babysitter?"
Anakin chose not to answer that. Instead, he turned to his son. "Do you want to play with Obi-Wan?"
Luke's head turned to take in Obi-Wan. Slowly, he nodded.
"Why can't you hire a babysitter?" Obi-Wan asked again.
Anakin sighed. "The twins have a bit of a reputation."
Obi-Wan arched an eyebrow. "A reputation?"
"Babysitters demand half up front."
"Wanna play with Obi." Luke informed his father. Both of the children were having a hard time getting a handle on any name with more than one syllable. Anakin was still trying to convince Obi-Wan that he should be flattered that Luke and Leia had mastered two whole syllables, but with little success.
Anakin held his son out to Obi-Wan, but he backed away. "I'm on my way to a council meeting. Which reminds me, you've been invited along as well. They think you're the only one who can help us make the changes necessary."
Anakin looked down at his son, who was reaching out for Obi-Wan. "What would I do with Luke?"
"Bring him. They've all taught younglings."
Anakin couldn't help being doubtful. "I've never met a youngling with quite as much spirit as this little guy."
"Then you'll just have to keep him under control. Come on, we're going to be late."
Finally giving up on coaxing his master into taking his son, Anakin lifted his son onto his shoulders. The little boy took handfuls of his father's hair. "Go! We're gonna see th' council!"
Anakin gave up, traipsing after Obi-Wan. Luke giggled. "Faster!"
"Not now, Luke. We'll play bantha-back later."
Anakin didn't need to see his son's face to know the boy was pouting. "Wanna play now."
"No. I'll play with you later. Right now, we're going to see the Council. You have to be really good, or you won't be allowed to come back."
"I've gotta be really good." Luke repeated.
"That's right. Are you gonna show them that all Jedi should be allowed to have kids?"
"Yeah," Luke said determinedly. "Gonna show them."
Anakin hurried to catch up with Obi-Wan, who was considerably ahead of him. Luke giggled again. As they met again, Anakin took Luke off his shoulders, putting him down on the floor. Luke took his father's hand and eagerly continued pulling him towards the Council.
Anakin pulled his son back to his side when they reached the door and allowed Obi-Wan to enter first. Luke started to try to pull away again, but Anakin gripped his hand tightly, holding him back.
He met Yoda's eyes. He nodded, and Anakin took his seat. He was still technically on the Council, but he had a hard time participating fully. He was only even aware of meetings when someone, usually Obi-Wan, was able to get word to him. This was because of Luke's most recent hobby. There was nothing in the galaxy the three year old loved more than grabbing any machinery in reach and taking it apart to see how it worked.
Padmé, of course, blamed it on Anakin. Anakin was rather proud of his son. He was impressed by the boy's ability to dissect it without breaking any parts, and a surprising amount of the time he was even able to piece it back together when he was done with it.
But, that took hours, days sometimes, and it made using any kind of technology to try to get news quite pointless. Luke had even had a go at Artoo once, but a slight shock any time he got too close to any of the panels on Artoo had been enough to deter him.
Artoo had taken to the children immediately. Anakin got the feeling that Luke was quite fond of Artoo as well. In fact, the reason that Anakin didn't use Artoo as a babysitter, aside from needing him when flying, was that the robot seemed to think that the twins' particular brand of destruction was more like creativity.
When Anakin had tried to explain to Artoo about what the twins were allowed to do, and what they weren't, Artoo had responded that he didn't let the children do anything that Anakin wouldn't do. Anakin felt that that was a ridiculous criterion when dealing with small children, but Artoo had just whistled that he wouldn't let anything happen to them and trundled back to where he was watching Luke take a com apart.
Anakin sat down in his chair and scoped his son up, resting him on his lap. Luke reached immediately for Anakin's prosthetic hand. Anakin had managed to establish that that was one of the four pieces of equipment in the house that were NOT to be destroyed, no matter what. Luke still enjoyed opening up the panel in Anakin's wrist and poking around at the inside. He was infinitely amused; it seemed, by making his father's hand twitch.
As his son opened the panel up, Anakin tuned into the beginning of the meeting.
"Have children, the Jedi should be allowed, Anakin?" Yoda asked.
Anakin nodded, "Yes, Master Yoda."
"What answer do you have to our objections? Made them clear, we have."
Anakin nodded again. "I-uh…" he looked down at his son's messy blonde hair and hugged the boy gently. "Well, attachment. Um, yeah, you do get attached to them, but I think that's the way it is with anyone you really care about. And I'm including masters in that. And as far as being distracted by that in battle, I think you'd fight a lot harder if you have something very specific to protect. For the original Jedi, I guess the Order itself was enough. But now the Order is so huge, that it's pretty impersonal."
He looked around the room, and saw the Council members nodding slowly.
"And back to attachment," He paused, "Sorry this isn't very well organised, I'm sure you know Obi-Wan just happened to run into me on his way here, so I haven't had time to prepare anything.
"So, again, back to attachment, I think that a lot of Jedi are attached to people, and we're just thinking that's more separate to legal and biological bonds than it really is. I can't believe that none of you have ever been attached to anyone. That just seems kind of ridiculous to me."
He looked around again, and this time there was some annoyance in the looks he was getting back.
"Untrue, this may be."
"Yes, I know. But I think in many cases, it is true."
Yoda didn't interrupt again, so Anakin continued. "And besides, if Force sensitivity is in your blood, then I'd assume that Jedi's kids would be Force sensitive too. I know Luke and Leia are, and they only have one Jedi parent. I don't doubt that a lot of Jedi would fall in love with other Jedi, and their children would be stronger in the Force than ever."
Yoda shook his head. "True, this is not. Passed the Force is, from parent to child. Made stronger by two Force sensitive parents, it is not."
Anakin resisted an urge to groan. "Still, it would help us have enough children to train at all times. And I think that parents might be really good teachers for their kids."
"Strengthen the connection between child and parent, we should not."
"But why not? A parent would be much more careful about teaching their child to protect themselves."
Yoda shook his head, "Himself, yes. But what of his troops?"
Anakin frowned slightly and looked down at his son, who was prodding happily at the inner workings of his father's prosthetic. He would want his son to put himself before his troops.
"The teachings of the Jedi would explain to the child that their troops are worth as much as they are. And even with the Separatists more or less gone, I don't think we can really risk having a smaller Order anymore. The Republic has come to rely on us more than a small order can cope with."
Yoda nodded, and didn't respond. Anakin felt a bit more confident. From what he knew of Yoda, if he didn't answer with any problems he saw right away, then he probably didn't see problems.
"I guess I'm done, then."
He watched the Masters starting to converse about his arguments, and sat back a bit, pulling his son close against himself. The boy was being very good about sitting with his father in a meeting that would have bored Anakin if he hadn't been desperate to make his points.
Slowly, the meeting slipped back away from Anakin's consciousness. His son, on the other hand, seemed to be listening quite intently. Finally, the little boy tipped his head up to look at his father's face.
"Daddy?" he asked.
"Shh, Luke. Whisper, they're trying to talk too."
"Daddy, are they talking about me and Leia and Mommy and you?"
Anakin made himself listen to the conversation for a second. He caught his wife's name and nodded at his son. "Yes."
"Is this all about us?"
"Yeah, kind of."
Luke looked a little spooked, but he nodded.
"Don't worry, kiddo. They're not going to take you guys away. I wouldn't let them." He kissed his son's little cheek, and suddenly noticed that the Council room had gone silent.
He looked up, and saw all the Masters staring at him.
Instinctively, he hugged his son closer, wanting to protect the little boy from any sudden attempts to take him. He was sure he'd said the wrong thing, and now the Council was going to take his son away from him.
But their expressions didn't become angry or disapproving. Instead, they seemed to be looking at him approvingly. Anakin didn't loosen his grip on Luke though, just in case. After a few moments, the little boy held up one pudgy hand and waved.
None of the Jedi answered, but they turned back to the meeting.
"Why'd they go all quiet like that, Daddy?"
"I wasn't really supposed to say that. Uh, Jedi aren't supposed to be possessive. And I kind of just refused to give you up. I'm not supposed to have anything I wouldn't give up at their command."
Luke nodded knowingly. "Seems like a silly rule."
"Trust me, Luke. You do NOT want to tell your master that, when you're a Padawan."
"Just believe me. They don't like it."
Anakin looked up, and all the Masters were watching again. "Would you quit watching me talking to my son?"
"Instructive it is." Yoda answered.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Anakin muttered.
"Changed you, parenthood has not."
Anakin smirked. "No, it hasn't. You're right."
Anakin bent down to speak in his son's ear again. "Trust me, you shouldn't do that either."
"Why do you do all the stuff you tell me not to do?"
"I don't do everything I tell you not to do. For instance, I haven't ever tried to poison Obi-Wan, no matter how much I've wanted to."
Obi-Wan snorted. Anakin looked up, and saw the Council watching him again. He moaned softly. His son snuggled against his chest.
"Daddy? I'm bored." Luke whispered up at his father.
"Yeah, I'm sure you are. You've been great so far. You just have to be quiet, okay?"
Luke groaned. "Is it okay if I go to sleep?"
"Yeah, absolutely. Good idea." Anakin picked his son up properly and rocked him gently. In his arms, the little boy started to doze off. Hoping the Council wouldn't listen in, Anakin started humming tunelessly to his son.
Thankfully, the Council didn't seem to have noticed. In Anakin's arms, his son drifted off. Then the boy yawned and stirred slightly. Anakin allowed him to roll over in his arms.
"Shh, Luke. It's okay. I know it's a little louder than you're used to."
Suddenly feeling like a very small child in class, he raised his hand. The Council turned to look at him far faster than he would have thought possible. After several seconds, Mace spoke.
"Yes, Anakin?" He seemed too confused to be hostile.
"Would you please be a bit quieter, please? Luke's trying to sleep."
Obi-Wan snorted again, and as far as Anakin could tell, most of the Council members were smiling at least a little bit. He couldn't read all of their expressions, of course.
After that, the Council was much quieter. They continued glancing over at Anakin, who kept rocking his son and cuddling him gently.
Finally, Obi-Wan addressed Anakin directly, the first time since the start that anyone had. "Anakin, why don't you go take Luke back to bed. You look like you haven't been getting enough sleep."
Anakin nodded groggily. He stood up, draping his son over his shoulder. The boy's arms dangled down, brushing his father's back.
Anakin heard Obi-Wan laugh one more time as he left the room. Luke snuffled around until his nose rested against his father's neck. Slowly, gently, Anakin continued to rock his exhausted son.