Summary: Lying on the brink of death, a choice is made in his final breath. Back to the past he goes, to change what he knows. The night that changed everything, now he can change anything.
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
Chapter two: Present
Palpatine stared out at the city of Coruscant before him, a haunted smile covering his face. His yellow eyes ate up the bustling streets below him and the ignorant Jedi in their precious Temple that would soon be covered in flames. His patience had finally paid off; his plan was unfolding before his very eyes. Soon he would be Emperor of the first Galactic Empire, the greatest Sith that would ever live, with the Jedi's fabled Chosen One by his side. Yes, he could foresee the power they would hold together. Nothing could ruin these plans, not even that troublesome Obi-wan Kenobi who was conveniently off world. He watched the progress of the Jedi flightier that held some of the Jedi Council members who foolishly thought they could arrest him. He licked his lips already tasting their deaths.
Palpatine hoped they would put up a fight; it had been quite a while since he'd had a real duel. He blinked as he detected a sudden brightness surge in the High Council room at the top spire of the Jedi Temple. Had Yoda returned? Impossible, he must be still fighting the battle on Kashyyyk. Maybe it was the last bit of the light side of the force going through his future apprentice… yes that had to be it. Palpatine couldn't even sense Anakin Skywalker's force signature, which perhaps that meant he was hiding his decision from the Jedi. Palpatine crackled with glee at the thought, soon the Jedi would be no more!
Ahsoka Tano made her way through the under city of Coruscant. It had been a couple of months since she'd become the twenty first lost Jedi, but Ahsoka couldn't bring herself to leave Coruscant, despite everything that had happened it was still her home. Well maybe not these lower levels, she was only here because her need to do good deeds that had been drilled into her since entering the Jedi Temple went much more unnoticed from down here while the war was going on. She tugged her hood lower as she passed a holo news screen recounting the hero of no fears feats. She couldn't help the small smile coming to her lips as she noticed her master had grown out his hair more, it reached below his jaw line now.
Ahsoka stepped onto a turbo lift to the upper levels, she and Lux Bonteri still kept in contact, he and Padmé Amidala were the only people who knew that she was still on Coruscant. Though she suspected that her master knew through their still connected Padawan bond, Anakin it seemed still wanted her to return to the Jedi Temple. Lux happened to live in the same senate apartment complex as Padmé. Ahsoka had stayed nights in each apartment's spare bedroom as both the Senators had suggested nothing else. She'd gotten closer to them both in the process, even made friends with the handmaidens Sabé, Dormé, Morteé and Teckla being much friendlier than Ellé and Eirtaé.
The hover carriage that took her towards the apartment complex gave her a good view of the Jedi Temple; longing filled her at the sight. Why had Barriss framed her? Was nobody trustworthy now? Attachment is forbidden. Maybe the Jedi who wrote that code had their heartbroken by betrayal. That code had always puzzled her, they were taught not to attach themselves to anything, to not have any possessions but even since forming into clans they had made friends with other Jedi. It felt like a lifetime ago since she'd been in the Bear Clan, since she'd seen her friends. Were they all still alive, or had the war claimed them, like so many others?
Captain Typho nodded to her as she walked into the building; she thought briefly of going to see if Anakin was upstairs but decided against it, as he would probably drag her back to the Temple as soon as he saw her. Her master certainly didn't listen to the code; through their bond she'd felt his feelings for Padmé, she'd seen the lingering looks and the words of comfort they'd exchanged. If he could be the chosen one of the Jedi and still protect those he held dear, couldn't they all?
Ashoka stared out of the lift as it shot upwards her eyes still trained onto the Temple. She'd felt the pull of it in the force more today than in the last couple of months, what was so special about today? Breath escaped her as the feeling of weightlessness overcame her and then brightness. The light side filled her, the force followed through her bond like nothing she'd ever felt before. Anakin was powerful in the force and she'd thought she'd felt the extent of that power while she fought with him, but this. Well now she knew why Master Qui-gon had been so lenient that Anakin was the chosen one. Ashoka knew that something profound had happened, something that would change the course of history forever. Anakin had finally given himself over the light side of the force, and judging by what she felt through her bond he was going to be even more powerful than ever before.
Padmé stared down in bewilderment as her baby furiously kicked against her stomach. She felt a shiver roll down her spine and immediately knew something had happened to Anakin. Her eyes sought out the Jedi Temple from behind her and she couldn't stop herself as she rose from the couch and walked towards the glass that covered the walls.
Anakin? She pushed the thought out as he had taught her to, her pregnancy had made her more attuned to the force. Perhaps because she carried a force sensitive child in her womb or because her own midi-chlorians count had risen due to her pregnancy.
Angel? Are you all right? Are the babies hurt? His response was almost immediate; the joy in it was enough to make her cry. His worry over clouded the words she'd just heard. She reached out to press her palm onto the glass over the Jedi temple, wanting to be in his strong embrace.
We're fine, did something happen? She frowned at the window, sensing something was off. Was he still worrying about the dream he'd had? Yet she felt an overpowering sense of peace flow through her bond with her husband.
We need to leave Coruscant, you're going to give birth today. I'll tell you everything else when I get home. I love you Angel. Anakin's voice filled her thoughts. Padmé couldn't help but panic, she was going to go into labour today? Had Anakin foreseen this? He didn't sound panicked about it, in fact his voice radiated calm; he must have talked to Yoda about his dream then.
I love you too, Ani. Padmé smiled as she breathed in relief. Glad that earlier that day she'd finally bowed down to Sabé and requested leave from the senate. She felt their conversation end and turned away from the window, walking towards the kitchen where she knew Sabé was making them all some caf.
"Sabé!" she shouted in relief as her closest friend lifted her head up at Padmé's entrance. The other handmaidens were all there thankfully; at least she wouldn't have to repeat herself.
"We're leaving today, I've got to get packed." She bit her lip worrying about the unsaid words her husband hadn't said.
"Today?" Dormé's eyes widened as she set down her mug.
"I'll go pack." Ellé said making her way towards Padmé's bedroom.
"I'll help you." Eirtaé tucked her blonde hair behind her ear and her blue eyes looking at Padmé as if trying to find out the reason for her sudden need to leave.
"Does master Skywalker know that you're leaving?" Teckla asked.
"Yes, Anakin will be home soon." Padmé nodded smoothing her hair behind her ear.
"I'll com Captain Typho then, to get the ship ready." Teckla pulled out her com from her robes, walking off with her black hair swinging behind her.
"Is there anything else you need Padmé?" Morteé asked as she began to gather up the forgotten mugs.
"Could you order some essentials for the baby?" Padmé ran her hands over the huge green dress she wore; she felt the profound feeling that they weren't going to Naboo. She'd done some shopping for the baby with Sabé and Dormé in the past months; it had kept her mind occupied from worrying about Anakin. But now that she thought about it, she suddenly felt they didn't have enough.
"Of course, would you like it loaded into your ship straight away?" Morteé didn't blink an eye as she got out her data pad already searching stores. "And like usual I expect you don't want the order's traced to you?" Morteé smiled as she looked towards Padmé.
"Yes that would be much appreciated, thank you for your help Morteé." Padmé breathed out in relief, they'd kept her secret so far hidden it would be a waste for it to get out now. Morteé nodded and made her way out the kitchen tapping on the pad as she did so.
"What's going on Padmé? Why the sudden need to leave Coruscant? I thought you'd arguing staying right up to going into labour?" Sabé turned to her as she put a cup of caf in front of Padmé. Padmé nursed it in her hands for a moment, not feeling thirsty any more.
"Anakin said I'm going to give birth today, there was something in his voice Sabé. I feel like something is going to happen today. A dark cloud hangs over us, and one by one we're going to be consumed." She looked into her friend's worried gaze, letting her fears be spoken. Sabé was her closest friend, and she was so glad the Queen had agreed to let her come to Coruscant, at least if she couldn't tell her family of her marriage to Anakin and her pregnancy she could tell her friend.
"I'm coming with you, no matter what." Sabé stared definitely at her, and Padmé knew they'd be no way of getting through Sabé's stubbornness. So instead of wasting time she simply nodded. "Now let's get you changed, that dress won't be at all appropriate for you to travel in." Padmé could help the smile that filtered across her face as she looked into the warm brown eyes that lit up with excitement.