Set after Anakin's nightmare ROTS


PART III – Uninvited Guest

"Our baby is a blessing not a curse."

Padmé sighed as they embraced. She whole-heartedly agreed with Anakin. Though they had never dared speak of the possibility of children, what was more natural, more right, than a married couple expecting a youngling together? Nevertheless, his statement had come out in such an aggressive tone, she could not help but feel unnerved. A marriage was supposed to be built on faith and trust-in each other, in their love, and in the future. All she could feel raditating from Anakin was confusion, anger, and meloncholy.

But where was his faith? Had this dream swallowed it up in one large gulp? Or had the war been slowly chipping it away these last three years? Padmé thought.

Perhaps it was never there. She brushed that last possibility away before really choosing to considerate it fully.

Padmé was no Jedi but she sensed her husband's utter devastation. All her diplomatic training, her schooling in interpersonal protocol and crisis management had not prepared her for this…how could it? Anakin predicted his mother's endangerment and ultimate death with the same visions and now they had returned, haunting him once more and dooming her.

Was the Force so cruel to burden again? She recalled being together years ago on Naboo, listening to his midnight cries from the nearby bedchamber, wishing she could go to him. Your presence is soothing, he had told her that next morning, making her feel all the worse for not coming and relieving him sooner.

Reminded of this, she clutched Anakin's sweltering body closer to her cool skin, willing her spirit to seep into his. His breathing and heart-rate seemed to be slowing yet she felt his back muscles involuntarily spasming beneath her finger tips. Despite their proximity it seemed she could do nothing to ease his pain. Truly nothing. Her words of encouragement, her embrace, even her presence seemed to do little to quench the fire that was threatening to burn him up. Padmé wracked her brain for helpful advice but to no avail. She remembered how he had lashed out when she brought up Obi-Wan. She felt more helpless and useless then she could ever remember.

They eventually let go of their hold on each other. A cool burst of air swept through the veranda and Padmé hugged her bare arms, fighting back tears of frustration. Instinctively, Anakin removed his cloak and covered her shoulders protectively.

If only it was as simple to save her as it was to protect her from the evening chill, he mused.

They somberly made their way back up the stairs, to the bedroom, and into their bed. Anakin seethed. Once this had been the safest, purest place to him in the whole galaxy. Their marriage bed was his favorite place to be with his most cherished person. Now it was forever tainted, laden with ambiguity and anxiety. He felt as if there could be no more happiness, no more kisses, no more laughter there, not tonight at least. There also would be no more sleep for him there either. He couldn't risk the vision's return.

Instead, Anakin took a hold of Padmé and reverently cradled her body into his. She returned to sleep quickly, and for his distraction he counted her breaths while watching her stomach rise and fall…1…2…3. Each release of air only served to gnaw at him further. Every transient breath brought Padmé closer to her death or salvation.

Anakin and Padmé laid together like that for the rest of the night, but unbeknowest to them there was an uninvited guest present.

The guest had always been with Anakin, even from a young age. It bode it's time, reared it's ugly head on occasion, only dampened by continual Jedi guidance and meditation.

Yet it had stayed inside him, nested, mutated, and multiplied over the years.

Neither of them knew it, but that night this guest had penetrated Anakin's heart deeper and deadlier than a lightsaber ever could. A great war had be raged in his heart and the causalities were immense.

Tonight Anakin's visions had fed it a grand feast and finally, Fear had gathered enough strength to consume its host.

Fin


I want to thank everyone who read this and especially my reviewers QueenYoda, ambre, Diz, Nowa1, Akiko88, froovygirl, and sharp52092! Your sweet encouragement and enjoyment kept me going and I'm so proud to have finished my first story! I lean towards vignette's and missing moments so expect more of the same ; )