January 2002

Disclaimer: All characters belong to George, I just write for fun...

Author's Note: Just a little something inspired by the Beatle's song 'I need you.' Song fics aren't normally done to old music but this one was screaming at me to be written. I hope you like it.

Feedback: comments, suggestions, questions... to ---- Jademax@hotmail.com

Note: Things in proper quotations are spoken, thoughts are in singular quotations.

I need you
By Jade_Max

His breathing was shallow as he stared hard at the twisted face that had become his master. The evil that had pretended to be his friend; the evil that had taken her away. "Where is my wife?"

That pleasant smile was infuriating, bringing his already short temper into question. He struggled to reign it in. Losing control wouldn't bring her back, wouldn't help him find her, and he needed to be calm and in control if he was to get her back. "Why, my young apprentice, can you not find her?"

He took a step towards his master, fist clenched around the hilt of his weapon, "You know I can't find her. Where is she?"

The tsking sounds from his master was unexpected, "Demands, young Skywalker? On me? You should know better."

He struggled against the rage boiling up inside him. He felt his control slipping as his lightsaber unhooked from his belt. The cool metal felt at home in his hand and he fought with himself not to give into his rage.

"Yes..." his master's voice was a purr of pleasure, "Your rage is powerful, deep. It simmers inside you waiting for an outlet. Give into your anger, your hate, become mine once and for all."

"Never." he spat the word, taking a deep breath, "I am hers, Senator," his voice was low, controlled, and held a note of danger, "First and foremost and always. I will never belong to you."

The black, pupiless eyes of his master stared back at him, a knowing look in their depths, "Perhaps not today, my young apprentice, but one day soon you will be mine."

"Never." he spun on his heel and stepped out of the Chancellor's office.
His stride was quick, hard with repressed anger and fear. His wife was in that monster's clutches and he had to get her out. The fear ate away at his heart. Their life hadn't been easy, but he'd never had to go without her for so long. Two months. Two long, excruciating months of anguish and worry. She was strong, his lady love, but he feared even she would break under that monster's torture.

He walked directly back to their flat and keyed open the door. His emotions running amok, each over the other, he fought for calm, for peace, as his master, his real master, had taught him. He closed his eyes but quickly opened them again. Her image was imprinted on the inside of his lids. She haunted him, almost taunting him to find her. He grabbed a vase from a nearby table and threw it across the room.

Plexi-glass shattered, raining down on the carpet as he felt his anger subside to manageable levels. He winced. He'd done that unconsciously, calling upon the Force in anger to destroy the vase. He knew better than to do that, she would be disappointed in him if she were here. He bowed his head, sorrow and loneliness overwhelming him as he braced his arms on the doors leading to the balcony. He placed his forehead against the glass, "I need you, Angel," he whispered brokenly, "I love you. Do you know that, where you are?"

His eyes glazed over as he thought back to their last conversation. He'd been furious, so had she, but his anger had come out with such power, such swiftness, it had frightened them both.

"Why? Why do you have to go to this meeting? Sabe can do it, she's been passing as you for years. YEARS, Padme! This is our first time alone, really alone, in months and you're bringing work into it again!"

Her eyes had blazed with an anger he'd never seen. Or rather, one he'd never seen directed at him before. "You know why, Anakin. You knew when we were married I'm a senator, you knew of my obligations. Don't you spout off to me about knowing about obligations, you've been trying all your life to get out of them."

His jaw had dropped in shock. Her words struck a well placed vibo-knife, and he'd lost control of his temper, "You know nothing, Padme, absolutely nothing about me or why I've made the choices I have! You think it was easy for a nine year old kid to leave his mother? I had an obligation to her and I failed. I FAILED! Not by choice but because I couldn't control my circumstances! I married you, if that isn't an obligation I don't know what is!"

Immediately he regretted his words. Her brown eyes filled with a sharp pain that he could read easily. "I didn't mean that," he whispered, grasping her hands in his, "Honestly, I didn't mean it."

She tugged her gaze and hands away, turning her back on him, "If you feel that way about our relationship Anakin, I'll leave you to your life without my presence to burden you."

"Padme, please, I didn't mean it," he begged. He tried to reach out and grab her gently by the shoulders but she moved away from him, almost as if she could tell what he was going to do before he did it.

"Some things come out clearer when spoken in anger, Anakin," she replied, her voice tightly controlled. She'd pulled her regal bearing down around her like a cloak, pushing him away without words, "If you are finished, Skywalker, I'll be leaving for the conference."

He grabbed her by the upper arm, spinning her around to face him, "Don't pull that junk on me, Padme Skywalker," he told her, his voice low. His eyes were diamond hard, glittering in the light.

"Why not?" she demanded, her voice equally low, "Are you the only one who's allowed to be himself? I have a couple of things to tell you, Anakin Skywalker and you're going to listen and listen hard." Her eyes were as hard as his as she met his gaze unflinching, "When I married you it was because I loved you. Not because of what you could do for me, or to me, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. You've changed a lot in the six months we've been married, Anakin, and none of it is for the better. You''re full of anger and hatred. You're afraid you'll fail." her face came in close, her lips flat with anger, "I've got news for you, Jedi, you have failed. You failed your mother because you couldn't control your destiny, now you've failed us because you're afraid to try."

He stumbled back as she pushed him away. He was shocked. Betrayed. Anger consumed him and he grabbed her as she was about to close her bag. His hands weren't bruising, but his grip was firm as he threw her down on the bed and then landed on top of her, pinning her there, "If you were a man, I'd kill you for saying something like that to me." he ground out at her.

She fought him. Never had she fought him before. "Get off me."

He shook her, grasping her hands above her head and holding her with his greater weight, "I won't fail this, Padme, I can't." he told her dangerously, "If I've failed you then I have nothing else to live for."

She pulled back from him, fear shining brightly in her brown orbs. "Get off me," she pushed him again, "I don't want this, Anakin, I don't want you. Leave me alone!"

She finally pushed him off and scrambled to her feet, "If you come near me again when you're angry, Skywalker," she told him, her eyes begging him to get some self control, "I'll kill you myself."

He fought to get his temper under control. The anger burning through his veins was laced with hurt. Her words cut deeply into his heart, making him bleed, making him want to lash back. "Goodbye, Anakin," she scooped up her bag and walked away. Her back was straight, her gown hiding the curve of her hips; the slender, muscular build of her legs. His anger bled away, leaving only pain, "Ami!" he cried his voice breaking.

She paused but didn't look back at him, "Don't force me to say it Anakin,"

Damn that calm poise of hers. Damn that senatorial air. "I love you Ami, I would never hurt you. I'm sorry."

She still didn't turn, "I don't know if I can ever speak those words to you again, Anakin," she told him. Her voice was soft, but it drifted back to him, freezing his heart in his chest.

He swallowed hard, "When you know if you can, you know where to find me."

She finally glanced back over her shoulder. Brown eyes met blue and he knew right away she was lying. She loved him. More than anything. Her eyes spoke volumes. She loved him and she was still leaving. Leaving because he'd turned his anger, something he'd sworn never to do, on her. Leaving because he'd terrified her, his Angel, his reason for breathing. She nodded at him before disappearing out of the room. Tears gathered in his eyes. She was gone. His Angel, his love, was walking away because he'd broken his promise. She'd come back, she had to.

He shook his head to clear it. That was the past. And yet, somehow it held the key. She wasn't dead, he knew that. The news reports claimed she'd jumped from her senatorial sweet balcony only days after their fight and yet something told him she was still alive. He knocked his head into the window. He'd been stupid and careless. Not only with her, but with his training. His masters, one good, one evil, both claimed to be showing him the 'right' path. He knew now, after losing her that they were both wrong. His path was his own to choose and it led to her. She was his life, his love, his very spirit. If she died, she'd take his every reason to go on breathing away.

A knock sounded at his door and he pushed away from the window, turning to look at the portal, "Come in." he called, already knowing who was standing on the other side.

The door slid open to reveal a man a few years older than he, his beard a red-gold that matched his hair. His eyes were brown, calm, as they surveyed the room, "And accident, Anakin?"

He shook his head, "No, Master."

"Master? You're a knight in your own right, Skywalker, we are equals now."

He shook his head again, "You're wrong, Obi-Wan. You were, and always shall be, my master."

"Are you well?"

He turned away, "Why ask questions you already know the answers too?" he asked softly, knowing the other Jedi would hear him.

"Sometimes you have the say the words aloud, Ani."

"Anakin. Nobody calls me Ani anymore."

"Nobody but-"

"Don't!" he spun, holding up his hand, "Don't say her name."

Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow, "Someday you will have to face the facts she's not going to come back, Anakin."

Anakin shook his head, "No. She'd come back if she was able. She's alive, Obi-Wan, I know it."

"Where, then?"

"I don't know," his reply was miserable, frustrated, "If I knew she'd be here, at home where she's supposed to be."

"Where she's supposed to be? Or where you think she's supposed to be?"

Anakin's temper flared, "Don't twist my words on me, Obi-Wan, I know where she belongs, she belongs here, in our home, in my arms, where I can protect her from the evil, the hatred in the galaxy!"

"Who will protect her from the anger and hatred in you, Anakin?"

He deflated, sinking down into the plush arm chair, her chair, and fisted his hands in his hair, "I can't lose her. I have to find her. She's the only reason, my only reason, for living."

Obi-Wan crouched next to him, his hands dangling between his legs as he rested his elbows on his knees, "You have to find yourself first, as a Jedi, as her husband. Only then, will she come back."

His anguished blue orbs met his old Master's calm gaze, "How can I do that when I don't even know who I am anymore?"

Obi-Wan's hand came to rest firmly on his shoulder, "You go and find yourself, young Skywalker. In the quest, you might find her as well."

Anakin watched him rise and then, with an encouraging smile, walked away as silently as he'd come. The door closed and his head dropped back into his hands. He had to find her. She made him whole, balanced out the darkness inside with her light. If he didn't find her, he was terrified the darkness that had chased her away to begin with, would consume him entirely.

The sun was rising on the horizon when he looked up again, his eyes bloodshot and weary. He was supposed to report to the Chancellor's chambers for instructions. His heart hardened. He wouldn't play second fiddle to that aristocratic monkey. A powerful monkey, but a monkey none the less. He was chained to the demands on him, chained to the palace and the senate. That was why he needed someone less visible, someone to do his dirty work while he kept his hands clean. Anakin shook his head, running his fingers through his dark blonde hair. He wouldn't report today, nor tomorrow, nor any day in the future, he refused to be used like that by the very man who would destroy his happiness.

He pushed himself to his feet, stretching to release the kinks in his back and muscles. He winced as his back cracked in a dozen different places. His backside was numb, and his legs tingled with the return of oxygen fresh blood, as he gazed down at the place where he'd spent the night. He'd not moved since Obi-Wan had left, and he was amazed. He'd spent over eight hours without moving, his focus inside, in almost a meditative state. Something he never would have thought possible. He was an energetic person by nature, moving around even why trying to clear his mind. He shook his head. There were lots of things surprising him lately and none of them were good.

He looked back around the flat, and, reluctantly, approached the bedroom. The sheets were rumpled, as if they'd been thrown haphazardly on the mattress, though in reality he'd not slept in that bed since she'd left, and he wouldn't, as long as she wasn't there. He stepped over a pile of dirty clothes, and stumbled into the fresher. The face that greeted him in the mirror was not his own. The hair was ruffled, too long, and brushed the back of a low collar. The blue eyes were dull, bloodshot, a pallid shade of indigo that lacked life and fire. A night's growth of whiskers coated the strong chin and cheeks, the pale blonde barely visible against his skin. His clothes were rumpled, a stain he didn't remember on his collar. He looked closer. A blood stain?

He blinked, his eyes going out of focus as a hazy image passed in front of his eyes. A damp, muggy atmosphere weighed down on his chest. Something felt like it was choking him and he reached up to loosen it. A coarse length of hide met his fingers and he froze. Amidala's pendant. He loosened it fractionally with one hand but didn't remove it. A part of him was suddenly crystal clear.
This was not him. This was his Angel. Somehow he'd made contact with her. He looked down at his hands- her hands, seeing blood on them and fought a surge of panic. She was injured? No!

She pushed herself to her feet, his mind connected with hers as if they were the same person. He could feel her fear, her determination. He felt her anguish and her sorrow, her heart crying out silently for him to come and comfort her, to wash away the nightmare that had become reality. Something was stalking her. Something that was human, and yet not. Something that was evil. 'Give me details, Angel,' he pleaded softly, 'look around, help me to find you.'

He felt her surprise, her complete and utter shock at hearing his voice so suddenly. He hadn't meant to startle her, only to reassure her that he was looking for her. 'Anakin?' her head turned and he saw jungle, thick and muggy, filled with mist surrounding her.

'It's me, love. Look up, see if you can see the stars...'

She glanced up briefly before looking around her again, 'Where are you? Come and get me, please, take me home!'

He closed his eyes, 'I'm in your mind, Angel. I'm... I'm on Couruscant still.'

He felt her shock, 'Still? I've been gone for two months and you've not yet come looking for me? Do I mean so little to you?'

He winced. Her anger was laced with hurt and the contact started to fade. 'NO! Stay with me, Angel, stay! I have been looking for you. I know who took you, I swear I will find you.'

A sudden image of Master Yoda filled his mind before her connection to him continued to disappear, 'Master Yoda will know where... find him.'

Anakin stumbled back away from the mirror as the connection was suddenly severed, a dark energy sliding between him and her, his cry of pain and denial echoed through the small room, "NO!"


He spun, his eyes narrowing at the voice. It was that calm, cool, smooth voice he'd been obeying for months. The one that was costing him the only person he would ever love. "Get out."

The face smiled, amused, "You didn't report this morning, I thought I should see what kept you."

"I said get out, Chancellor."

One eyebrow was raised in silent query, "Are you going to throw me out? The Supreme Chancellor of the Republic?"

Anakin had had enough of his game and advanced on him, not in the least surprised when the other man didn't even flinch. Under that calm, friendly exterior was a monster of awesome power, "If I must, Chancellor, I will pick you up and toss you out my front door. Even you are not immune to the privacy laws. I never want to see your face again."

The Chancellor's eyes darkened, fading to black, dark energy crackling about him, "Careful, young Skywalker, one day you will push me too far and I will take your words out of your hide."

His crystal eyes were diamond hard, "And you, Palpatine, will one day push me too far and it will be your end."

The Chancellor laughed, his easy, friendly exterior coming back as he nodded to the young man, "Report to me tomorrow, the day is yours." he turned and left the small apartment.

Anakin sat on the edge of his bed and looked around his room. He'd have to move now. They would have to move now. Somewhere far away from the grasp of this Monster in power. He would never allow Him to harm her again. He needed her. Body and soul, she completed him, balanced him out.

He grabbed his worn duffle bag off the floor and searched though his clothes, finding three relatively clean pairs and stuffing them inside. He grabbed his kit from the fresher, taking a few minutes to shave, wash and change before exiting the house. He paused only to grab their last holo-photo, the one taken just days before her departure, and left, locking the door with a series of intricate codes behind him. Only his Angel, or him, would ever get through that door... unless someone wanted to try their hand with an electronic lock breaker. He shouldered his bag and headed for the hanger.

"Off you are, Knight Skywalker? To where you are going?"

He stopped inside the doors to the hangar bay, her last few words filtering through his mind. He'd almost forgot them in his last encounter with Palpatine, and turned to see the diminutive Master Yoda standing to the side, his gimmer stick in one hand. He bowed, "I have to find my wife, Master Yoda, I hope you will not try to stop me."

Yoda stepped forward, the stick tapping on the deck, "Stop you I could not. Help you, I can."


"Know you where you are going, hm? Know you where she is, hmmm?"

"I have a position of the stars from her, and the shape of the world, or part of it."

"Show me you will, know where she is, I may."

Anakin suppressed a smile. The Master's phrases always sounded odd but he obliged, taking a deep breath and reaching down into his short-term memory. Using certain force skills, he enhanced and slowed down everything she'd shown him, trying to keep her feelings out of it. He felt Yoda's touch, looking into the images and probing them deeper for smells and sounds. He opened the communication up to the Master completely; shielding everything inconsequential to this meeting, hoping the Master wouldn't sense his loyalties were torn. And between whom.

Yoda's touch finally receded and Anakin opened his eyes.

"Dagobah is where you must go young Skywalker." Yoda's voice was soft, "Great evil there is there, tempt you it will. Destroy it you must, to rescue

"Dagobah?" he frowned, "I've never heard of it."

Master Yoda pointed his stick at one of the smaller long range craft in the hangar, "Fuelled for you and ready it is. Obscure planet coordinates there are."

Anakin nodded, "Thank you, Master Yoda."

"Return with her, you must, Skywalker."

He paused in the process of turning to walk towards the ship, "I know,
Master Yoda."

"Know nothing you do. With child she is, key to your future she is. Choose your path, she will."

Anakin took a deep breath, rocked to his soul. She hadn't told him she was pregnant. She hadn't even hinted at it. From the sound of it, Yoda had known because she'd told him! "How do you know, she's carrying a child?"

"Tell me she did," Yoda's words were calm, soothing, "Afraid she was,"

"Of me." he bowed his head briefly before looking back up, "I'll find her,
Master Yoda, if it takes me the rest of my life or costs me it. Good bye."

"May the Force be with you, Skywalker."

Anakin boarded the ship, keying the ramp closed behind him and walked into the cockpit.

"Could you use some company?"


His old master smiled, "You've been distant of late. I ask as your friend if you would like some company on your upcoming journey, or perhaps some help in rescuing your wife."

Anakin clasped the other man in a sudden, brief hug before releasing him,
"You're most welcome to come with me. How'd you know I was going?"

Obi-Wan chuckled, "You may no longer be my Padawan, but our bond is there still. I hear some things, especially those that you have to make monumental decisions on."

Anakin glanced at him, suddenly wary. Did he know..?

Obi-Wan met his gaze, "I'm very proud of you from turning away from the dark side without help, Anakin." his voice was soft, holding a note of respect that had never been there before.

Anakin sank into the pilot's seat and ran through the start up before responding, "I'm still fighting it Master," he replied, nothing even thinking as he added the old title, "If I don't find her, I may very well succumb."

Obi-Wan sat in the co-pilot's seat, "You've taken your first steps away, Anakin, that is a very important step."

Anakin lifted the ship out of the hangar and through the atmosphere field into space. He called up the nav computer and plotted a course to the outer-rim, keying in a dozen jumps to mislead anyone who might trying to be following them. Finally, as the computer computed the first jump, he looked back at Obi-Wan, "My first step back to my life, Obi-Wan, will be finding her."

Obi-Wan found no reply as the younger man checked the computer and finally pulled back the hyper drive levers, the stars disappearing into starlines as they were catapulted across lightyears.

Dagobah. A small planet in the outer-rim that supported no intelligent life, a multitude of indigenous species and held his wife captive. He could feel her presence, almost as if she were right next to him. Taking a deep breath Anakin glanced at Obi-Wan, "Hold it steady, I'm going to see if I can't figure out where exactly she is."

Obi-Wan nodded as Anakin's eyes closed, and took control of the ship.

Anakin let out a long breath and allowed himself to slip into the Force, feeling it surrounding him, calling to him. He let it draw him deeper, feeling the untapped power, the anger, the fear... He focused on that, feeling her presence in the midst, her energy surrounded but not tainted by evil. The Force guided him, his heart beating in time with hers as he consciously fought through the rage and pain inside him for a tranquil core. Somewhere, he found the strength and finally...


'Angel. I'm here. Guide me to you, help me find you...'

Her response was jumbled. Mixed. A part of her, the largest part, wanted him to find her now, to take her away. A small part was begging him to leave.
To go away and never come back so he couldn't hurt her anymore. He winced, 'I'm sorry, Angel, so very very sorry. I can't ask you to forgive me, not yet, but I want to help. I need you, Padme, I need you to help me fight this anger and fear inside of me. Please. Let me help you.'

He felt her resignation as she suddenly sent him a picture of the stars, the impression of a huge cavern, of her hands and feet being bound in painful positions. He felt the anger at her treatment well up and forced it back, feeling her shrink from the sensation. He calmed himself with effort, 'I'll find you, Angel, if it's the last thing I do.'

Anakin finally opened his eyes again, "I have control."

Obi-Wan sat back as Anakin flew around the planet, looking for the stars she'd shown him, looking for the constellations she'd seen from her prison. It was slow going as he flew minute by minute around the world. for the next hour he piloted. Finally, his eyes tired from staring at the stars, he let Obi-Wan view the constellation from his mind and take over. He sat back and closed his eyes as his friend piloted the ship.

He had to find her. He was so close; he could feel the evil, the darkness coming from part of the planet. Her presence was like a balm to his soul, no matter what her current feelings towards him. He felt her strength of spirit, her purity, even from this distance, untainted by the evil surrounding her. Her love, her life, was like a beacon, drawing him in and soothing his anxiety. Comforted just by her nearness he dropped into a light slumber.

It was dark. Cold. A shiver racked his frame, and he wrapped his arms around himself. A glance down told him he was sharing her thoughts again. Unconsciously he must have reached out to her, searching for her. His mind wrapped around hers, sharing her experiences. She reached up, caressing his pendant beneath her shirt. He found it odd she wasn't wearing a gown, only a night shirt and a loose pair of trousers. He could feel the difference in her body, the lives they'd created together.


He felt her smile. That name always made her smile. Well, almost always.

'Has he harmed you?'

'Not yet. Though I haven't eaten in a few days.'

His temper flared, only to be stamped down quickly with comforting thoughts, envisioning his arms wrapped around her, soothing her, 'You need to eat something, love, if not for yourself then for the children.'

He felt her astonishment, 'Children?'

His thoughts were gentle, 'Yoda told me your are with child. I can feel them, Padme, love, I can feel our son and our daughter.'

Her hands slid over her still flat abdomen in a protective gesture. He knew her eyes were tearing up at his revelation, felt her spirit being bolstered by his presence. 'Are they alright, Ani?'

'They're fine, Angel, but you are not. You're loosing strength, they're feeding off your reserves. You need to eat and soon.'

'I know. Oh Ani, I'm so tired... I just want to lie down.'

'Hold on, Angel, please hold on, we're coming.'

A hand on his shoulder brought him quickly back to consciousness. He was shaking, his brow damp with sweat, "What is it?"

Obi-Wan nodded to the view in front of them, "The stars, Anakin."

Anakin took a couple of moments to focus on the dots of light, and another minute or two before he recognized them. His breath caught, "She's somewhere here, down below us, Obi-Wan. I have to find her. She's been weakened, physically, from lack of food," his voice held an anguished note as he spoke, "I have to find her, I can't lose her, not now."

"Take us down, Anakin."

He nodded, taking control of the ship as he dropped them towards the planet. They passed through the atmosphere and were suddenly jolted by a fierce, violent wind. Fighting the controls, Anaking reached out and, though the Force, found an opening in the storm. He angled the ship down into it and kept his eyes on the sensors. the ground was coming up quick and he brought the nose of the craft up. A solid land mass was visible in front of him and he throttled back the engines. The trees swayed as his exhaust hit them, bending and stretching. He set the ship down with barely a bump and cut the engines. They died, leaving behind the sound of the howling wind.

"Nice landing. Come on."

Anakin slid out of the pilot's seat and followed his fellow Knight into the back. They each pulled on a survival pack, wrapping them around their waists and securing them. Jedi needed little to survive and it showed in their packs. A pouch for meal pills, several for small tools they kept with them on any occasion and a place for their communicators. Finally a small, compact blanket slid into the small pouch at the hollow at their back. On one hip they wore their lightsaber, slung for easy access.

Obi-Wan palmed open the hatch and the wind whirled inside, tugging at their cloaks and their hair. Anakin stepped out into the maelstrom and glanced back. Obi-Wan was closing the ramp by remote. With a nod, both men started off in the same direction. On the planet they could both feel the evil, tainted presence, and, in the center of it, the brilliant white fire that was Anakin's wife.

The going was slow, the swampy landscape bogging them down even with the
Force. For hours they trudged through the murky land, using their lightsabers when necessary to clear a path. They were soaked with sweat and rain, their cloaks hanging heavily on their shoulders, dragging them down when they finally saw their destination. A large, dead tree, twisted from the ground. Between its roots, sheltered from the wind and rain, stood an ominous figure.

A black cloak draped it from head to toe, its features in shadow. Anakin's gaze traveled over it, his memory calling up the long dead form of Darth Maul, the man who'd killed his mentor. The hood was suddenly pulled back to reveal a masked face. Firm lips and hard, jade green eyes were the only features visible. One hand, heavily gloved, beckoned them to come closer.

Anakin exchanged glances with Obi-Wan, unhooking his lightsaber, before looking back to the cloaked figure. It backed away, down into the roots of the tree. Without hesitation, Anakin stepped forward.

Obi-Wan's hand on his arm stopped him, "Careful, Anakin. I sense something. Danger."

Anakin met his gaze, his jaw clenched, "I know. It's not to us, Obi-Wan." He shrugged off the hand and ducked down into the cave quickly. His gaze moved around the cavern, his breath visible in the cool air. His hair was plastered to his head, water dripping down his back, his cloak hanging heavily off his shoulders. His hand grasped his lightsaber, the metallic casing cool in his hand. Looking around, her reached out with the force.

"Angel," he whispered softly, feeling her presence. He felt her fear, felt her trying to quell it. Moving quickly, but silently, he advanced on her position, his nerves strung tight. Behind him, he heard Obi-Wan drop down, the hum of his ignited lightsaber muted in the muggy atmosphere.


His blood froze in his veins that the anguished, terrified cry, a chill running down his spine. "Padme!" he darted towards the sound of her voice, his lightsaber in hand, his finger on the switch. His danger sense flared into life as his lightsaber ignited and swung up of it's own accord. His shimmering blue blade, the same color as his eyes caught a blood red blade and parried it near the hilt. A pair of hard jade eyes met his over the locked blades. He heard a muffled sob and his heart skipped a beat. His Angel was crying. She never cried.

His attacker swung again as he took the defensive, parrying blow after lightning fast blow. He could feel Obi-Wan approaching quickly as he parried a couple of strikes aimed at his head and neck. He felt a push on his hands through the Force. He allowed his hands to get flung wide and dove straight at his attacker, going up and over their head. The red lightsaber passed close to his head, his damp hair sizzling as the water evaporated from the wet strands. He rolled to his feet, re-igniting his lightsaber as he spun to his feet to face his opponent.

"Anakin! NO!"

His lightsaber crossed with the red inches from his neck, the energy crackling menacingly as he ducked under the blow, Amidala's scream sending ice through his veins, "I'm fine Angel, please, I'm alright!"

His attacker backed off and took a few steps to the side as Obi-Wan appeared, keeping both Jedi in it's sight. Anakin backed away, his lightsaber at the ready, taking a defensive stance in front of his wife. Something told him she wasn't alright anymore but he had to devote his attention to the very real threat. Obi-Wan circled wide, making their opponent have to glace from left to right to see them both. Those green eyes looked directly at Anakin, meeting his cold blue eyes, "You've won this one Skywalker."

Anakin just about dropped his weapon in surprise. That calm, cool voice was female. Slightly husky with a hint of a disguised accent. "Next time we meet you won't walk away."

Obi-Wan moved to engage the mysterious woman but she darted past him and jumped straight up. Both Jedi followed her movements up the hollow trunk. A few moments later the sound of a ship taking off could be heard above the howling wind, the powerful engines hurtling it towards space.

Anakin shut down his lightsaber and hooked it to his belt as he turned to face his wife, dropping to his knees in front of her. Huddled in a corner, she was shivering, her face streaked with tears, her thin clothes plastered to her body. She looked gaunt, half-starved and he felt his anger rise at her treatment. "Padme?"

She met his gaze, "I thought you were going to die," her voice was hoarse as she choked on the words.

He extended his arms to her, offering comfort he knew she was seeking. She looked slowly from one of his arms to the other before meeting his gaze and throwing herself into his embrace, her face buried in the curve of his neck.

Anakin ducked his head and hugged her fiercely, holding her protectively; possessively, "I thought you'd left me forever."

Her tears wet the side of his neck as they held each other in silence. He gently stroked her hair, his eyes closed, memorizing the feeling of her in his arms again. Finally he scooped her up in his arms and stood. She didn't protest, simply tucked her head under his chin. Her tears had dried, but her grip on him hadn't loosened in the slightest.

"Let's take you home, Angel."

"Is that wise, Anakin?"

The voice of Obi-Wan startled him. He'd forgotten they weren't alone. He glanced up, acknowledging the unspoken wisdom in his former master's words. If he took her back to Couruscant, Palpatin would stop at nothing to kill her. His arms tightened around her. He couldn't; wouldn't, let that happen.

He opened his mouth to reply when suddenly his danger sense flared to life and he spun away. The hiss of a bolt of lightning hitting where he'd been standing was sharp, the sell of burnt ozone permeating the air. Anakin tensed. "There's something else here."

Padme's grip on him tightened, "Don't leave me," she begged softly.

Obi-Wan looked around him, his lightsaber in hand but not activated, "I sense it too. Evil, darkness. We have to get out of here, now."

"Too late," Anakin dropped to a crouch as something flew over his head and spun to the alcove he'd found Amidala in. He set her back down and spun, lightsaber in hand and ignited.

"That play thing will do little against me, Jedi," hissed a voice suddenly from the darkness, an amused tone showing it clearly thought lightsabers were a joke.

Anakin shed his cloak and, sparing a glance at his wife, dropped it over her. She curled into it, searching his pockets for anything of use as he turned back to the hissing voice. "Kenobi?"

"It's camouflaged somehow."

The hiss broke into several pieces, a laugh at their best guess. "Well done. Can you find me, oh exalted Jedi? Do you know where I am?"

Amidala rose shakily to her feet, standing near Anakin, "That voice..." she shuddered, "You're the one who's been tormenting me for days, not that woman." Her voice was strong, holding a note of steal that had been lacking when they'd first walked in, "You won't walk away from his, you monster, one way or another you'll die in this cave."

More hissing laughter, this time sounding closer. Amidala gasped as the blood on her neck started to flow again, staining her collar. She slapped her hand over it as Anakin's lightsaber suddenly flared to life and bit into the wall of the cave at her right. The laughter choked off. Anakin pulled her close to his back, "Stay with me, Angel. I haven't come this far to lose you now."

She smiled wryly, "I'm not going anywhere, Skywalker." Her arms slipped around his waist as she felt the Force surrounding her. Being this close to him, he wrapped her in his Force bubble, allowing her to anticipate his moves so she could move with him. She placed hr trust in him implicitly, knowing he would keep her safe.

Dark energy spat from the left as they spun to meet it, Anakin's lightsaber coming up to deflect it. "Join me, young Knight," the voice softly hissed the invitation, a prodding in the Force showing there was more to the voice than energy.

Anakin fought against the Force backed suggestion, "No."

The sound of a lightsaber slicing into the wall behind him brought him around. Obi-Wan was fighting something in the shadows, something that kept spitting lightning and energy at him. Anakin moved to help when suddenly his friend was caught in an energy burst. The startled oath that escaped his lips was nothing compared to the shriek torn from Amidala's throat.

Obi-Wan was suspended in the air, his lighsaber shutting off simultaneously, his arms spread wide. His lightsaber floared up as they watched, horrified, coming to rest in line with Ob-Wan's throat. Un-ignited, if it were to suddenly be turned on, would sever the Jedi's head.

"One thought is all it will take to end his life," the words slithered down Anakin's spine, "One thought, young Jedi. Join me and he'll be spared."

"Don't do it, Anakin," Obi-Wan's voice was forced, strained, as if there was a great weight on him.

Anakin's focus dropped down into the Force, feeling the life senses flowing around him. The planet was alive, drawing him in, renewing his strength and focus as the voice sought to seduce him.

"Anakin..." his name was a hiss on the evil tongue, "Yes... a strong name
for one, for a chosen one..."

"You can't have him!"

The evil laughter echoed through the cave, Anakin focusing on its source as Amidala responded to the taunts thrown at him. His steps led him around the room, slowly, his lightsaber held at ready in front of him.

"Who are you to say if I can have him or not? The choice is his, woman, Anakin Skywalker must choose."

Her arms tightened around his waist, "I have fist claim on him, you monster, I'm his wife."

The hissing voice took a nasty downturn, anger clearly sparking from the tones, "Wife? Wife of Knight Anakin is to be removed."

Anakin spun as the energy flashed towards his wife, catching the energy on his blade, "You will never get to her,"

The words had barely passed his lips when she was torn from his back, crashing into a wall with enough force to snap her head back. It cracked, rendering her unconscious. His anger spiked viciously as he swung at the wall, a shriek echoing through the Force as a shadowy thing fell from its perch.


Anakin froze, feeling the anger coursing through his body.

"Don't give in, Anakin," Obi-Wan's voice was soft, gasping as he fought for breath, "If you give in, it's won."

He took a deep breath, focusing on Amidala's life force. She was alive, unhurt save for a few bruises. He parried a bolt of energy unconsciously. He had to find his calm, his center, if he wanted to get all of them out of this alive.

"Give in to your hate," hissed the evil voice as the shape slithered across the floor and seemed to grow as it raised itself up, "join me, it's the only way to save your friends."

Anakin stepped back, his lightsaber at the ready, "Never. If you want me, you'll have to kill me."

The hissing came closer, as if the thing was breathing. A lightsaber materialized from the growing shadow, "Then it shall be so."

Anakin blocked the first, powerful down stroke, his arms almost going numb. He let his anger drain away, allowing calm to fill him. He had to succeed, he could not fail, four lives other than his own depended on his success. He parried two fast strokes in quick succession, blocking a chop at his head before responding in kind. His arms felt numb, but he trusted in the Force to guide them as he counter-attacked. His jabs were precise, lightning fast, his blade a stream of light.

The hissing voice seemed to stop in shock. He was too fast. It attempted to pull back but Anakin, sensing the advantage he'd gained, picked up speed, smashing his blade against his enemy's repeatedly as he forced the shadowy creature back. He found a chink in its defence and his lighsaber slide through. The sharp, sudden intake of breath told Anakin he's scored a vicious hit. It tried to retreat again but Anakin parried the feeble attack it tried to mount and curved back over the blade with a slashing motion. Its cry echoed through the cavern. "You cannot win, Skywalker," it choked as the blade tore into its guts, "He will find you..."

Anakin finished the slash as its lightsaber dropped to the floor. Breathing hard, Anakin stood over the body of the Sith creature and nudged it with his foot. Black robes appeared to be masking its body and face and he kicked them off, revealing a reptilian creature. Blood oozed slowly from its mouth and he could tell the thing was dead. He kicked the foreign lightsaber away and turned his back on the dead thing. He didn't see the body suddenly combust in a brilliant white-blue flame, or that flame disappear into the wall it fell next to.

His footsteps were quick as he moved back to pick Amidala up. She was light in his arms, her head hanging limply. He gently brushed her hair off her face and hugged her close, turning to look at Obi-Wan.

The other Jedi was pulling himself off the floor, coughing slightly from the tight force grip he'd been suspended in. "What was it?"

Anakin stepped next to him, his wife in his arms, "Some kind of Sith." He took a deep breath, "I've failed, Obi-Wan. I used the darkside when fighting him."

Obi-Wan forced himself to his feet and clasped his friend on the shoulder, "You've overcome it and redeemed yourself, Anakin. That is the hardest part of being a Jedi. Come, let's get out of here, I've been here far too long for my taste."

Anakin looked down at his unconscious wife and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, "I'll second that."

Obi-Wan collected his lightsaber and led the way out of the cave, Anakin following closely as he carefully held his delicate bundle. Nothing would harm her ever again, he vowed softly, even if that meant one day giving his life for hers.

Obi-Wan stopped at the entrance to the ship and motioned for Anakin to enter before he did. They were soaked to the bone, Anakin dressed in little more than his clothes as his wife was wrapped in his cloak, and water ran off their hair and down their faces. Anakin stepped up the ramp, not surprised to feel it closing as Obi'Wan stepped inside. He paused in the small entrance way, glancing back at the other knight. "Thank you, Obi-Wan."

"For what? You're the hero today, Anakin."

Anakin smiled his half smile, "For pulling me back when I was willing to fall. I'll never forget it."

"You'd do the same for me, Anakin. Get her inside and warmed up, I'll start our warm up sequence."

Anakin nodded his thanks and disappeared to the back of the ship where there were two bunks. He gently put her down on his bunk and pulled the sopping cloak off her. It was weather proof, or so the Jedi claimed, but it wasn't built for this kind of exposure to water. He dropped it in a pile on the floor, the wet sounding smack it made making him shudder. He suppressed a sneeze as he quickly stripped her down to her skin and wrapped her in four of the eight blankets on board. She shivered and groaned softly as he gently checked her head for damage. She had a large goose egg where her head had connected with the wall and it was slowly oozing blood but she wasn't in any serious danger. He gently cleaned the wound before rolling her onto her side.

His wife tended too, he quickly slipped into dry clothes, taking the time to run a towel over his head to dry his hair off. I really need a haircut, he mused silently to himself as he tugged it away from his face. He scooped the wet clothes off the floor and hung them in various places around the small space before grabbing a fresh change of clothes for his friend and an extra blanket.

Anakin stopped in the entrance way to the cockpit. "I thought you might be a little wet," he told his friend as he extended the offerings.

Obi-Wan smiled, accepting them, "Thanks. How is she?"

"Unconscious still. She may be out for a while yet. She hit that wall pretty hard."

"She'll be fine, she's tough."

Anakin sank down into the co-pilot seat as Obi-Wan shed his clothes and quickly changed. Anakin had his head in his hands, seemingly unaware of what the other man was doing, "She's pregnant, Obi-Wan."

Obi-Wan paused while tugging a new shirt over his head. He finished pulling it on and sat back down to re-lace his boots, "Say that again?"

Anakin met the other man's gaze, "She's going to have our children,"

"Children, plural?"

Anakin nodded, "Twins," his smile was rakish, "Unexpected but not unwanted." He sighed, "I've caused so much damage, how can I ever make it up to her?"

Obi-Wan placed his hand on his shoulder, "You've made steps just by coming to her rescue, Anakin. However, you won't get anything accomplished here, talking to me. Go sit with her, hold her, until she wakes. Let the Force guide you."

Anakin pushed to his feet, "Thanks, Obi-Wan."

Obi-Wan grinned, "It's what friends, and masters, are for."

Anakin's laughter was soft as he stepped back into the living area and closed the door behind him. His eyes went to the form sleeping in his bunk. With a shake of his head he took the three steps to her side and sat next to her. He tenderly brushed a tendril of her hair off her face, "I'll never loose you again, Angel," he told her softly, kicking off his boots and curling behind her. She snuggled unconsciously into his embrace, "I love you and need you too much to ever let you go."

Amidala woke slowly. Her head hurt. She felt a gnawing sensation in her stomach but found she couldn't move. The solid warmth at her back was achingly familiar, and she was terrified for a second to open her eyes and find out it was only a dream again.

The arm across her waist suddenly tightened slightly and then relaxed, "Morning, Angel."

She opened her eyes and turned her head, smiling. Her headache dulled to almost nothing as she leaned forward and gently kissed her husband, "Hello, Handsome."

He chuckled softly, kissing the tip of her nose affectionately, "I should rescue you more often."

Her smile died as she rolled away. She shivered as she lost his warmth and put her back to the wall, hugging herself around the waist. He propped himself up on one elbow, his diamond blue eyes serious, "I'm sorry, Angel."

She hugged herself more tightly, "I thought you didn't care when you didn't come," she told him honestly.

Anakin winced. "You were very angry with me. I wasn't sure if you wanted to be found or not. Padme, I said a lot of things, hurtful things, when we last spoke before your conference. I'm not proud of any of it, and I know I shouldn't ask, and the Force knows I don't deserve it, but I have to know. Is there still a chance for us? Can you forgive me?"

She searched his eyes, her knees against her chest. She shivered and he tugged one of the blankets off and held it out to her. She wrapped it around her naked form, tucking it snugly around her body and watching him warily. "Have you changed, Anakin?" she asked, her voice intense and searching, "Have you thought about what it was you've done and why?"

He nodded, "I've had two long, lonely months to think, Padme." He yearned to reach out and touch her but her posture and the wary way she watched him told him it wouldn't be welcome, not yet. "In that time I've had to come to terms with my anger, the possibility of my life without you. I don't want that. I never have. The thought of what it would be like, lived through what it would be like, without you. Never being able to wake up with you; never being able to touch you, hold you, speak with you again or argue with you again. I love you, Padme, your fire, your life. I've lived without that for the last few weeks and they've felt like years. I've never been so alone, Angel. I never want to be that alone again."

A tear slipped down her cheek, "You can be so eloquent when you want to be," she choked out softly. She reached out one hand to him and grasped his hand, squeezing his fingers, "What almost took you from me, Anakin, what tore you away and made you so distant? You were full of anger and hatred, you didn't show it but I could feel the difference. It almost tore you from me forever."

He slid closer to her and kissed the back of her fingers, "Supreme Chancellor Palpatine recruited me to become his assistant about four months ago. I didn't know at the time, but he is a Sith lord. His powers are incredible. He influenced me, telling me the only way to get what I wanted, to never be afraid again, would be to tap into the dark side of the Force." He took a deep breath, the pain clearly visible in his eyes, "I didn't know it would take me from you, Padme, you've got to believe me. I would never do anything that would take me from you."

"But you did."

He sighed, nodding, "I did. I did it before I realized what was happening. Palpatine has a way of speaking that makes little things seem important and the really important ones seem trivial. I'm sorry, Angel, oh so very sorry. Nothing will take me from you again, I decided before we came I would never go back to him. He took you from me to try and gain control of me, I will never, ever put you in danger that way again."

She closed her eyes briefly before meeting his gaze again, "Can you promise me that, Anakin, not knowing what the future will hold?"

He sat up, sitting crossed legged in front of her and taking both of her hands in his before gently cupping her face. Her hands held onto the backs of his as he ever so tenderly brushed the tears from her cheeks, "Yes, Padme. I promise you that no matter what the future holds, I will be with you always. I need you, I love you, I will never again let you go."

She smiled then, her smile brilliant as she launched herself into his arms. He was her Anakin again, her husband the man she'd fallen in love with. No matter what the future held, she felt secure in the knowledge that they would face it together.