dedication: to Torie. happy Christmas, baby.
notes: SO THERE WAS ANOTHER PICTURE…
notes2: I'm fucking with the mythos so hard you don't even know
chapter title: embedded in the frost
summary: The Rebellion didn't start with a bang, but with a whisper. — Anakin/Padmé, Leia, Han, Luke.
The Rebellion didn't start with a bang, but with a whisper.
It started, in fact, with a marriage, and then later with the birth of a pair of twins. It started with a secret confession in the middle of the night to a Master from a broken man who didn't know what to do. It started with the night sky changing, when the resonant frequency of Coruscant's nightlife settled in just before the sun rose, in the closest thing to silence that ever overcame the planet.
It started, ironically, with Anakin Skywalker sitting with his head bowed in front of Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, and murmuring his secret shame.
"Master," Anakin said, "I think Senator Palpatine is Darth Sidious."
Things moved very quickly, after that.
Padmé refused to leave the Senate.
"We have to go," Anakin said into her shoulder, shaking in the limbs. She was a firm thing with a child on each hip, an anchor in the sea of uncertainty that the world had become in a few scant hours.
"I can't," she said. "Palpatine is going to declare himself Emperor."
"You're not safe here," he said, desperate, choking up in the throat. He thought back to the birth of the twins; her screaming pain and then her golden silence as she held their children—Luke and Leia, Leia and Luke—quiet now, and innocent. They would face a brave new world, but not one where it was easy to be different.
The Clone Wars had been cruel, but Palpatine's plans were far, far more sinister.
And already, Anakin could feel the Force swirling around his children. It was stronger in Leia than Luke, but the Force always had manifested in girls earlier than boys. Likely, they would be of equal power, two sides of the same coin. He hadn't thought he could love anymore more than he loved Padmé, but he loved his children so much he thought his heart might burst with it.
"What are we going to do?"
Padmé slid out of the curve of his arms. She moved slow, soft steps across the floor to the white ornate cradles for each of the twins—Master Yoda's gift, his grave green face lined older than his nine hundred years. Anakin watched her, watched the way her fingers lingered on their downy dark hair.
"I," she said, "am going to stay here. You are going to take the children, and teach them what they need to know. I know you feel their power, Annie, I see it every time you look at them."
"I can't leave you," he said, and that was true.
"I don't think you have a choice," Padmé said. "You can't stay here. Palpatine will know that you've betrayed him, Annie."
"He'll kill you," Anakin said.
(He still dreamt of her death, all the time. Every night. Every second he closed his eyes. But his wife was strong, and there was nothing in the universe that could stop her once she'd set her mind to something. He ought to have known that, by now.)
"No, I don't think he will," she said slowly. "I have too much influence on Nabooine politics—my death would cause a ripple effect that I don't think he wants to deal with just yet. It's better than I stay here."
She paused for just a second, her dark eyes intent on his face as her hands came up to cup his chin. "But you, my love, you're his wild card. You're the unknown."
"I don't like where you're going with this," Anakin said flatly, mouth a thin white line.
"Take the children and go," Padmé said. "And don't come back. Not for anything."
"I don't like it any more than you do, Annie, but it's the only way we'll all survive."
Anakin reached for her again, tugged her close 'til they were chest to chest. She was a small soft thing in voluminous white robes that made her eyes into deep fathomless wells and she pressed her face into the side of his neck.
"I love you," he whispered. "I loved you from the second I first saw you."
She chuckled mirthlessly, a tiny hiccup caught in her throat. "We wasted a lot of time, didn't we?"
"Ten years," Anakin snorted.
They were quiet, for a little while, as they clung to one another.
"Take care of them, Anakin," Padmé whispered into his shoulder. "Please. I need to know that you'll be alright."
"I can't leave you alone," he said again. The desperation had settled in his gut, seething like a living breathing thing. It was acid, sloshing behind his eyes and bubbling through his veins.
But Gods above, if she was stubborn and beautifully fierce, he wouldn't have loved her so much.
"You already said that. Repeating it doesn't make it any more likely to happen," she laughed softly.
"Keep one of them," he said. "Padmé, please, think about it. They knew you were pregnant—they had to know, they had to—"
"I can't—how could I do that to a child? Here? In this place?"
"You wouldn't be alone," Anakin said very softly, and something inside Padmé very gentle crumbled away like a leaf on the wind in autumn.
"Oh, Annie," she murmured. She threaded their fingers together, skin and bone and skin and bone and skin and bone and metal, the warmth of the nerves sore and sick beneath their combined grip. "Oh, Annie."
"I wish you wouldn't call me that," he muttered, but it was an old argument, one that lacked vitriol or any sort of real conviction behind it. It was her nickname, and no one else had the right to use it.
She closed her eyes for a second longer than a standard blink. "You're serious, though, about splitting them up."
"Yes," Anakin said. "They would be—"
"—Safer apart. I know." She didn't comment on his need for safety, but she understood. There was only so much a person could lose before they simply couldn't lose any more or they'd lose themselves.
And that was the last thing she wanted for him.
The very last.
Again she closed her eyes. "Take Leia, then."
Make her dangerous, she didn't say. Make her the scourge of the universe, make her violent and strong and unstoppable. Make her beautiful and powerful and unafraid.
"When do I leave?" Anakin asked, resigned.
Padmé's lips scalpled up into a sad caricature of a smile.
"As soon as the sun rises," she said.
"Come to bed, Anakin," she said. "And show me you love me."
notes3: I'm sorry I can't write anything happy. I really am.