That You Might Live (sequel to IYW?, REPOST)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Stories--Classic JC Board (Reply-Only)' started by Vee, Mar 18, 2001.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    This was begun in the second week of August 2000, as a sequel to "I'm Your What?" [http://fan.starwars.com/vadersmask/iyw.html ].

    ------------------

    [originally posted by Vee]

    PROLOGUE

    _It was, in effect, trading one darkness for another._

    Padmé Naberrie Skywalker -- the honorable Senator Amidala from Naboo -- leaned against the observation window of the Temple creche, looking past her faint reflection and among the scrambling toddlers.

    It was midday -- naptime -- but they would have no part in it. The creche master had a shrieking child under each arm and was pretending to growl at them. Another child, an Ampinuan girl, attached herself to his leg, demanding in the most imperious voice that he let her friend go. This led to other protests, certainly, but it convinced the children to follow him, and Amidala smiled.

    She ran her thumb along the edge of her access badge. Security was tight at the Temple for as long as she could remember, and politicians -- formerly a welcome, frequent presence -- were discouraged from coming into contact with anyone below Padawan rank. The fear of Sith was rampant in the galaxy. Nearly thirty-five years had passed since the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo and Palpatine's sudden disappearance. Without the Sith apprentice in place to distract the Jedi, the Palace was taken easily and the terrified Viceroy agreed to testify that Palpatine, indeed, was Darth Sidious.

    There were moments -- just seconds, seconds she always scolded herself for -- that she wished things had not been so easy. That they could have lived obliviously in the original timeline, with all the rewards and punishments it held.

    Anakin was haunted by dreams, he'd told her. Of the respirator, of the suit, of brutal acts. For a period of time, he dreamed of Leia, and in these dreams of her he was oblivious of his relationship to her. They were pleasant dreams at first, he'd said. They were not so anymore. That was all she would hear.

    Amidala did not like to talk about Luke and Leia.

    She was so busy thinking about how much she didn't like thinking about them that she didn't even notice that Anakin had emerged from the creche, weary but smiling.
  2. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by JediGaladriel]

    Anakin ran a hand through his hair as he came out of the creche, listening with half an ear for the inevitable rebellion from little Greleo. She was small enough that she could still fly without too much discomfort (older Ampinuans suffered miserably if they were forced to use their wings), and she frequently tried to --

    "Gotcha!" he cried, grabbing her out of the air at shoulder level and flipping her upside down. He winked at his wife. "I'll be right back."

    She smiled vaguely. Her mind was elsewhere.

    He put Greleo down on her couch and gave her a stern frown. "It's time for you to sleep now."

    She yawned. "Not tired."

    He waved his hand theatrically and said, "You will go to sleep now."

    She giggled.

    "Hmmm, I must be doing it wrong." He waved his hand the other way putting a splashy flourish at the end, and lowered his voice. "You will go to sleep now!"

    She giggled again.

    He examined his hand like it was a droid part, and shook his head. "Must be broken," he said. "You'll just have to sleep on your own."

    "Not... " yawn "...tired."

    He smoothed her violet hair down, and pulled a light blanket over her. "Sleep," he whispered, not using the mind trick any more than he had before -- he didn't believe in using such tactics, though the creche master he'd taken over from insisted that they were necessary in a room full of three- and four-year-olds. Greleo's eyes slipped shut, and Anakin kissed her cheek.

    And felt like someone was ripping his heart out.

    _Where are my children? Why can't I *ever* have them to cherish like this?_

    "You do that so well," Amidala whispered.

    He put his arm over her shoulders, and led her outside, closing the door quietly behind him. As soon as they were clear of it, he turned her to him and kissed her as deeply as he could.

    She broke away after awhile, and pretended to fan her face. "You do *that* pretty well, too." She smiled wanly.

    "You were thinking about them again, weren't you?" he asked.

    She shook her head. "No. I don't think about them. I can't bear it. I promised and... "

    "They're still there," Anakin said. "And we will see them again. Soon."

    "Soon," she repeated. "But *how*, Ani? How? And how do we know when it's time in their when?"

    "It's time."

    "How do you know that?"

    "Because I died last night."

    ----------------------

    TATOOINE. THE SAME MOMENT.

    Luke stood at the base of his father's funeral pyre, now cooling ashes. Kit and the children had left long ago. Leia stood quietly to one side.

    "Nothing changed," she said. "We're still here. But so is... so was he."

    Luke reached out into the Force. *Something* was different, but he couldn't name it. There was a light/shadow, glimmering in the void, a reflection, but he couldn't see it clearly. "They're out there," he said. "Somewhere."

    Leia shook her head, willing herself out of the sacred moment of Father's pyre and back into the world they had to live in. "Whatever happened, we know that Mother's out there, anyway. We have to find her."

    "She won't remember what happened here."

    "We still have to find her."

    "Of course we do."

    "It doesn't matter what she remembers. We'll find her."

    "Of course we will."

    "Then don't you think we'd better get started?"

    ----------------------
  3. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by SithAbigail]

    Gazing at the ashes for the final time, Leia couldn't help but muse at how appropriate the Tatooine ceremony had been.

    Fire destroys. Fire has no mercy, it is unforgiving, relentless. Yet, it revitalizes. It destroys the mast in forests. It allows for the new, in it's own way. Fire can give out warmth or it can take the same warmth away.

    Full of contradictions, it summed up her feelings for her father.

    Leia turned and walked away, Luke trailing behind. They walked in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

    The Princess of Alderaan was doing a quick mental review of the last week, trying to remember any and all useful information. Suddenly, something clicked. "Sabé!"

    "What?" Luke ran a hand through his hair, looking slightly confused.

    "Lando said he knew Sabé, meaning she's alive. She was one of Mother's handmaidens, if anyone would know something, she would," she paused. "Of course, if Lando knows her, that means she's probably a less desirable element."

    Luke laughed, grinning at her. "Leia, you're dating a less desirable element, sister of mine."

    Crinkling her nose, Leia repressed a smile. "Just for that, you can't be Godfather to any future children."

    "I'm crushed..." Luke trailed off as the Falcon came into their line of sight. "Should we get them involved?"

    "I don't think we have a choice," Leia smiled, trying to stop the suddenly somber mood. "Race you!"

    With that, she took off, vaguely aware of Luke yelling cheater. She entered the Falcon, dashing through the hallways, until she came upon the main room.

    She came to a sudden stop when she saw Lando and Han with shocked looks on their faces. "Hi?"

    Luckily, Luke came into the room right after that, breathing hard. "You cheated Leia! What, afraid you can't beat me otherwise or-- Hey Han. Hey Lando."

    At that, the sabacc-playing duo started laughing.

    *Note to self. Next time you race Luke, make sure Han is far, far away.*

    ----------------------
  4. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by JediGaladriel]

    ANOSHAM. OUTER RIM.

    Palpatine slipped deep into his meditation, and glanced sideways. He wasn't always able to do so, but since the first time -- the time just after Maul had disappeared -- he had sometimes been able to see another world, another path, flickering at the corners of his eyes. It was a path he would have much preferred. But when the Queen had returned...

    He seethed, and the boiling of his anger warmed him.

    It had begun with the betrayal by the Neimoidians. Nute Gunray. He had known what the price of his glory would be, and he had forsaken it by testifying. But Palpatine didn't need to hurry. Let the Jedi and their Republic consider him a mere nuisance for the time being. He would continue to look sideways, and wait for that shadowy othertime to whisper to him, to show him their weakness and his own strength. For thirty five years -- thirty-five! -- he had waited.

    And now, finally, he saw. He saw the betrayal off to the side, and understood who had done it, and why. That weak boy? The boy who still served as a nursemaid in the Jedi Temple?

    Well, it was time to begin again, and it would hardly be proper to begin in any place other than the beginning.

    He opened his eyes and glanced down. His apprentice knelt before him, her small form lost in the deep robes of the Sith. The boys had been watched carefully. Palpatine had to work with what was available. She was easy to manipulate, at any rate, empty without him to give her a vision. She also provided him with entertainment, when he willed it. He lifted his hand. "Rise, my lovely one," he said.

    She stood immediately, her head still slightly bowed. "Yes, my Master."

    "You have been well-trained."

    "Yes, Master."

    "And you are ready for your Trials."

    He paused. This was the point of danger. If it occurred to her that he had no intention of making her a master -- that, in fact, he planned to kill her should she show signs of such a rebellion -- she could kill him right now. She said nothing.

    He turned his back on her and went to the wide window overlooking Anosham. It had been a forested planet, but most of the trees had been harvested, or cleared for building. Palpatine's small, temporary capital was built high on a hill overlooking a river and a waterfall. A small bit of home.

    He decided abruptly that, once he had dined on the galaxy, he would take the throne of Naboo as light snack. And he would keep Queen Amidala handy to serve any needs he might have... as soon as he killed her weak, betraying husband before her eyes.

    Again.

    He smiled. It would be fire this time. Skywalker hated fire.

    "Master?"

    "Do not interrupt me while I am making plans."

    She fell silent. "Yes, Master."

    "Your trial," he said, "is to deliver a small message to the Senator from Naboo and her husband."

    "A message?"

    "Yes." He looked back at her, inflecting his voice -- and pushing with his mind -- so that she would not doubt what her orders were. "You will find Nute Gunray on Coruscant for business."

    "And the message, my Master?"

    "Is Nute Gunray. Translation will be unnecessary."

    Understanding dawned, and a dark, beautiful smile spread across her face. "As you wish, my Master."

    ----------------------

    Qui-Gon always looked almost comically uncomfortable in the large, high-backed chair in the Council Room. He shifted this way and that, trying to look sage and dignified. Anakin grinned at the sight of him. His master could find deep meditative calm on the front lines of a battle, but the council chamber couldn't hold him still.

    "Anakin!" he said, rising. "I'm pleased to see you. You look well."

    Anakin embraced him. "Master. I was glad to hear you were back." He wagged a finger with mock sternness. "At your age, you shouldn't be wandering around the Outer Rim. You should be here, in the restful atmosphere of Coruscant."

    "Much more of the restful atmosphere of Coruscant is going to kill me." He looked over Anakin's shoulder, then reached out a hand t
  5. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by SithAbigail]

    ORIGINAL TIMELINE

    Lando watched Sabe and the others talk, trying to be inconspicuous. He didn't want Sabe to see him like an idiot after all this time.

    *Still, the fact that she didn't shoot me is a good sign.*

    They had been a thing once, something he would bet she wouldn't admit to. It had been an on and off deal and when it had gotten serious, Sabe had broken it off. That had been around ten years ago and he could still remember how much it had hurt...

    \\Lando reached behind his back, grinning as he pulled out a flower. "For you, my Lady."

    "Oh," Sabe frowned suddenly, her eyes widening. "Lando, I'm-- I'm sorry. I can't. Keep it."

    "Not a big flower person? Should have guessed, you're not too traditional, not that that's a bad thing, you know. It makes you you." Lando realized he was babbling but if he stopped, he'd say something he would regret.

    Or, more likely, Sabe would.

    "Lando-- Force, this is hard. Did you have to give me a flower? Couldn't you have been a jerk for once? It's over. I really did love you, Lando, you have to believe that." Sabe's lip trembled and he had to fight the urge to hug her. Just great, she was breaking up with him and all he could think about was comforting her.

    "Why? Just.. This was actually working, Sabe. For once in my life, I had a relationship. An actual relationship." He shook his head, trying to stop. "Never mind. I'm sure I don't want to know."

    Her eyes glistened, something he found unusual since she was the one breaking up with him. "I'm in the Rebellion, Lando. I could die at any time! I specialize in dangerous activities. We're much to different and...and... I love you too much to want you hurt when I die!"

    Lando froze. After a few moments, he spoke hesitantly. "If that's the way you feel. I wouldn't want you involved in anything you didn't want, Sabe. If you want, we can still be business partners. Or, friends whatever. You have my number. Good-bye."

    Exiting, he couldn't help but feel that she would never call. An awful realization because a life without Sabe didn't seem like a life at all.\\

    With a snap, Leia's voice broke into his memories. "Then you agree that Mother wouldn't have killed herself?"

    "It never made sense. Last I heard, she wanted to save Anakin from himself. Then, she was gone," Sabe paused. "You do know the story? If you didn't, that would have been a horrible way to find out--"

    "We know. Father told me himself. He's dead, you know. Physically, not in the way Obi-Wan used it." Luke interrupted, trying to smile but not quite succeeding.

    Sabe's hand flew to her mouth, her eyes widening. "Ani? Ani's gone? Oh no..."

    Han's lips twitched, probably trying not to smile. Lando did have to admit that to anyone who had known Darth Vader, the idea of someone calling him Ani was funny.

    "Converted before he died, though. For what good that is." Leia's voice had a slight edge to it, one she was probably trying to take out.

    "He did? Well, I guess Amidala was right then," Sabe gave a humorless smile. "We'll have to discuss this later. Now is for trying to figure out where Amidala is. I tried once, actually went on a commando raid about ten years ago. Wrong place, barely escaped with my life."

    Lando's mind tried to figure something out, there was something very important in the way she had said that. He just needed to figure it out. "What was the plan you tried then?"

    "I contacted Palpatine in disguise of a Lady of Courscaunt, trying to act like a concerned Imperial. I said I had seen Queen Amidala, hoped he would contact the prison. He knew it was a trap, contacted the wrong one." Sabe spoke softly, a sign she was annoyed.

    Han spoke up slowly, thinking as he talked. "Why didn't you dress up as Amidala? Prison garb, a little messed up, the typical escapee. Threaten revenge, he's paranoid enough right now to believe ya. Leia and Luke can be waiting to see where his call goes and then we can launch a raid."

    Leia kissed Han's cheek and Lando had to smile
  6. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by JediGaladriel]

    CORUSCANT, NEW TIMELINE.

    The house that Anakin had built -- leave it to Anakin to actually, physically build a house, no matter how many droids and building contractors were in easy reach -- didn't look like it even belonged on Coruscant. Actually, it didn't look like it belonged anywhere, precisely; he'd deliberately melded the simple forms of Tatooine and the classic details of Naboo, to create a delicate dome of reddish marble, with softly arched entrances guarded by intricately carved statues.

    Amidala always looked for it as they rounded the last turn from the Temple, when the gentle curve of the roof first came into view above the line of the walkway. They had planned it together. It should have been bittersweet, with the empty rooms they had lovingly built for the twins (and had always refused to relinquish to other purposes), but it never was. Seeing the sun reflecting warmly off the stone never failed to raise Amidala's spirits. She squeezed Anakin's hand, and leaned closer to him.

    "It's possible," he finally said. It was the first time he'd spoken since they'd left Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.

    "So, what happens? Everyone in the galaxy ends up with doubled memories? Or everyone remembers some completely befuddled version?"

    "I don't know. But I sense... " He shook his head. "I've always felt both worlds."

    "I know. I sleep beside you. I hear your nightmares."

    "I still do."

    "Of course..."

    "There's no 'of course' about it, Am!" He went on ahead, then stopped at a small vantage point that bubbled out from the walkway. He leaned on the rail and looked out over Coruscant. "It wasn't bad, you know. Dying."

    "It was bad enough," she grumbled. In all the years she had been with him, she'd suffered from the nightmare of her memory of the night when, in another world, he had died for her. After such dreams, she always rolled over to him, and clung to him, and prayed to whatever was listening that she would never have to go through that again.

    He sighed. "It was bad," he agreed. "But if you want to know, last night... last night it was more like remembering. Remembering when I was there before. I can still feel... him, me, whoever... out there. I felt him slip into the Force. And he's still out there. Looking for the door between worlds, maybe. I don't know. What I meant to say is, after the... accident... " -- he never called it "the duel" -- "I thought that I'd go crazy, feeling something like that again. But it didn't happen. We're further away now."

    "Too far?"

    "No. But things are going to start moving quickly. I can feel that here, and I can almost feel it there."

    "After all this time, why now?"

    He was quiet. Too quiet. When he spoke, his voice was low and carefully modulated. Amidala knew that this was because he had knowledge that he didn't wish to have. Some bonds, apparently, had carried an echo across the split string. Only one of them would make him sound like sounded when he said, "Because now Palpatine knows."

    ----------------------

    NEW TIMELINE.

    The Neimoidian smelled of alien corruption, and he disgusted her. That he enjoyed a posh lifestyle that her parents -- human parents! -- had been denied was offensive in the extreme, and she did not mind her assignment at all, despite the fact that it wasn't very challenging.

    Nute Gunray had been dead for a good five minutes. There was little reason to keep him alive. He would only make pathetic noises, and get in the way. Also, Skywalker might have tried to rescue him, and her instructions were not to start killing Jedi.

    Yet.

    She waited patiently in the small sunken garden near the front door. A small marble fountain had been here until she arrived, showing a human woman blowing a trumpet, and an alien -- Gungan? -- raising a sword. She had smashed it on sight.

    She felt a slight tremor in the Force, and she cloaked herself as deeply as she could. It was a useful skill that her Master had taught her.

    A moment later, she saw Skywalker on a walkway, jus
  7. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by SithAbigail]

    CAMP ONE-A, NABOO. ORIGINAL TIMELINE.
    Reotti held in a grimace, looking at the transmission. "You wish for me to execute the Lady Vader? Personally?"

    "You are the commander of the camp, aren't you? Or are you simply masquerading for the real Captain Reotti? I am sure the correct man would not be afraid to kill a woman because he's afraid of her dead husband." Palpatine lips curled upwards, in what passed for a snarl.

    Reotti's mind raced, searching for a reason the Emporer would take. For some reason he had a feeling that saying he didn't want to harm her out of respect for Lord Vader wouldn't work.
    Reotti spoke a few seconds later, his voice appropriately apologetic. "My Emperor, I fear you have misunderstood. Of course, I would gladly kill Lady Vader, if you believe that I am worthy of such a task. How shall it be done?"

    "Throw her off the building." With that, the transmission was cut and Reotti was left to stare at shadows.

    He hadn't hoped for much else when he'd re-opened the transmission. He sighed, and went back for the Queen.

    -------------

    [originally posted by JediGaladriel]

    Amidala followed Reotti into the bongo, her heart feeling strangely light. She would be taken to the surface, at least. Transmission would be impossible from down here. She would see the

    (Son of the)

    sun again before she died.

    The Captain spoke little as he maneuvered the craft out of the core. He was a skilled pilot. Amidala told him so.

    "Thank you," he said curtly, not looking at her.

    "Will Palpatine be in attendance?"

    "The Emperor has business elsewhere."

    "Really? Where?"

    "The Sanctuary moon of Endor." He answered her easily enough. After all, a walking dead woman was hardly a security threat. "He is overseeing the construction of a new battle station."

    Amidala tried to remember her star maps. It had been awhile. And she wasn't sure she had ever known the name "Endor." "It's somewhere close?"

    "No, my Lady."

    "Captain, you have a choice."

    "I am aware of it."

    It was all he needed to say, and all she needed to know. She leaned back in her seat, and waited for the sky to reach down to her one final time.


    ----------------------

    Luke leaned forward, trying to control his eagerness to see the planet where his mother had once reigned. He was here as a Jedi, not a tourist. And there was something, some shadow in the Force... he couldn't quite get a handle on it, so he simply watched the planet draw closer as they pulled into a tight, quick orbit.

    "I don't feel anything," Leia said irritably.

    "I'm not sure what it is..."

    "No, I mean I don't feel *her*, Luke. I don't feel her at all."

    Luke stretched out with his feelings. He wasn't *that* much more experienced than Leia, when he thought about it. Obi-Wan -- the young Obi-Wan -- had told him that Jedi used to train for ten years or more. He'd only had a few months. No wonder Yoda hadn't thought he was ready. No wonder --

    *Concentrate!*

    The Force spread around him like an ocean, rising and falling in its waves of energy. Here was Leia, beside him, a strong and definite eddy of energy, connected strongly to his own. Han and Chewie, up in the cockpit, kinetic and jumpy, but bound to each other and to everyone on board... and to the ship. Strange. The _Falcon_ had its own sense in the Force.

    Beyond the cockpit, around the corridor, into the galley. Lando was there, but Luke couldn't pick much else up. He was with someone else, who had to be Sabé, just by process of elimination. But he couldn't read her at all.

    He cast his consciousness further out, toward the planet below. The surface was wrecked, burned and ravaged, but life was struggling to come back. He could feel sentient creatures, thinking their thoughts. He could even sense the despair of prisoners.

    But of Mother... was she there? His mind seemed to circle like a bird. He knew she was there, but he couldn't find her. There was another group of people. In the ruined city. He could see
  8. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by BelleBayard]

    NEW TIMELINE - CORUSCANT

    Anakin would have like to have piloted the fastest ship they could find to where Palpatine had holed himself up, yet he knew he must concentrate on narrowing their search down. Time was of the essence.

    While Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan sought the Sith apprentice, Ani began his own search for a suitable vessel...one Palpatine would not recognize. He scanned the Temple's records as well as the Republic's, frowning in frustration as page after page of ships and pilots scrolled before his eyes. Too flashy, too expensive, too careful... No one seemed to meet his specifications. Until...

    Hmmm....this appeared interesting. A Corellian smuggler, his Wookie first mate and souped up Corellian freighter had just evaded a Hutt trap and sought sanctuary here on Coruscant. Odd... Something tickled at the back of his mind... Some memory of another such vessel and crew...

    Amidala peeked over his shoulder and gasped.

    "It's them. The one's the children..." She paused with a thready breath, then continued. "When we traveled to that other time... That's the ship... The Millenium Falcon. Han Solo's the captain, Chewbacca, the first mate. Oh, Ani, do you think they'd help us now?"

    "Don't know, Am, but I'm willing to make them an offer they will find difficult to refuse," he said grimly, indicating the fugitives reason for being on Coruscant.

    "What are you planning, dearest?" A ghost of a smile crossed her lips.

    "You'll see," he told her, grinning back at her in anticipation of their next course of action.

    ----------------------

    Han nursed his drink in the disreputable bar he'd found in the lower levels of Coruscant. As usual, Chewie sat beside him, his eyes darting around the dark and smoky room with a hunted look. Poor Chewie, Han thought. Never got to go back home to visit his wife and kids. A lump formed in Han's throat, which he promptly tried to ignore with a stiff swallow of the noxious brew the bartender called alcohol in this dump.

    He was getting too old for this...one reason he'd fled to Coruscant after his last run in with Jabba and company. Sometimes he wished he'd found someone to settle down with... Someone to call his own, to have his kids, to share his adventures with. But he'd never discovered anyone who would put up with him. A woman who wouldn't try to change him completely or try to be a door mat for him. He didn't want that...what he wanted was someone who could give back as good as he gave, who could show courage with compassion. Someone with fire.

    With a snort of self-derision, he upended his drink and called for another. Fat chance of finding someone like that in this god-forsaken galaxy. He turned to Chewie, seeing the tension in his friend.

    "Ya know, Chewie, you really should go see your folks. Been too long." At Chewie's growl, Han put his hands up. "Hey, things have gotten pretty dicey here lately. Time to lay low. I'm sure I can find you a ride..." He trailed off at Chewie's glare.

    Chewie told him in no uncertain terms exactly what he thought of abandoning Han to the Republic's tender mercies. Han sighed. He'd tried, but as usual, he couldn't get Chewie to leave him. His gloomy thoughts absorbed him until a shadow fell across the table.

    "Han Solo?" A tall man stood before him, dressed in Jedi robes. Han figured him to be in his late forties, early fifties...still trim, with a remarkably dangerous air about him despite his pleasant expression.

    "Do I know you?"

    The man gave a strange smile and Chewie muttered something Han couldn't quite catch.

    "No, not at this time..." With another odd smile, the man continued. "However, I could use your help. Both of you, actually. I'm seeking passage to Anosham for myself and one other. You will be compensated for your trouble."

    Han quirked an eyebrow at him. "Oh, yeah? Don't know that I'm the best choice for that at the moment. Things are...a bit heated out there for me."

    "I know of your situation, Captain Solo, and feel that despite it, you are i
  9. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by Moriah Organa of Alderaan]

    Qui-Gon stood on the skyway in front of the Temple breathing the metal and fuel scented air of Coruscant and watching the continuous activity of people and vehicles. Then walked with long, easy strides to the nearest transport terminal collecting a number of startled looks along the way.

    Jedi had never been a common sight in the streets, even before they'd retired into a state of near seige with the return of the Sith. Qui-Gon had always thought that a mistake. The Jedi had made themselves distant, alien, even frightening to the general population. Perhaps that was why no hand had been lifted to prevent their slaughter in that other timeline.

    He took the first skybus that came by, sat calmly in his window seat ignoring the whispers and surreptitious picture snapping from his fellow passengers.

    He was looking for the Sith Apprentice, in his own peculiar way, putting himself in the hands of the Force and letting It guide him where It would. Sooner or later he would be given a sign, he just had to keep his eyes open.

    Qui-Gon wasn't thinking about the Apprentice as he watched the spires and rooftops of Coruscant go by, or even of Anakin and Amidala gone to face The Sith Master, Palpatine himself. but about Obi-Wan.

    He was intensely proud of his third Apprentice. General Obi-Wan Kenobi was the exception to the usual Jedi annonymity. His Clone War service with the various starfleets and his many diplomatic missions had gained him both fame and a mass of admirers - a fact which embarrassed him inordinately.

    Obi-Wan had become all his Master had ever hoped he would, and more, but Qui-Gon was troubled by the persistent self doubt and self distrust he sensed in his former Padawan.

    It was the older Obi-Wan in that other timeline who was to blame, Qui-Gon was sure of it. 'Ben' as he'd called himself had believed Anakin's turn and the destruction of the Jedi were his fault, the result of his flaws as a Teacher. Qui-Gon hadn't accepted that for a moment but unfortunately Obi-Wan did. As a result his relationship with Anakin had always been stiff and distant - Obi-Wan not trusting himself to have anything to do with the boy's training.

    And Ani's painful consciousness that he'd betrayed and murdered Obi-Wan in that other timeline hadn't helped matters, making him feel ashamed and guilty in the older Jedi's presence.

    If it hadn't been for their bond to him, their Master, the two would have avoided each other completely and that would have been the biggest mistake of all.
    ----------------------

    Obi-Wan stared at nothing waiting for the computer to finish correlating criteria and present him with a list of possible Sith Apprentices.

    *Another mistake. You'd think by now I'd know better than to trust my judgement over Master's.* he thought disgustedly, ignoring the fact that the rest of the Council was equally guilty. Still, it wasn't like Palpatine to break pattern like this. *His prejudices have always been set in viridium. And being bested by Amidala only increased his dislike of women...A female apprentice just doesn't fit...*

    Obi-Wan shook his head sharply, dismissing the thought. *You were wrong, admit it and move on.*

    The computer seemed to be taking forever.

    *I shouldn't have let Master go out alone.* Obi-Wan smiled wryly. *As if I could have stopped him!* but the nagging worry remained. It was a Sith Apprentice who had killed Qui-Gon in that other timeline, and he was older now, more vulnerable....He shut off the thought.

    *You should be worrying about Ani and Amidala, you know they're going into danger. The greatest threat the Jedi have faced in a thousand years and we send the Creche Master to deal with it!*

    Yes, granted Anakin was the Chosen One but he had absolutely no field experience. Obi-Wan had never been happy about the Temple bound existence Anakin had chosen for himself - but considering the mess he'd made of that other Anakin's training he'd kept his objections to himself. Perhaps that was where he'd gone
  10. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by BelleBayard]

    CORUSCANT - ALTERNATE TIMELINE

    As Chewie did the preflight checkoff in the Falcon's cockpit, Han spent his time putzing around in the main passenger area. He knew everything was fine, but he felt as nervous as a bridegroom on his wedding night. More disturbing, he couldn't figure out why this run seemed so blasted important. Ever since he'd gotten into smuggling, he'd done all he could to stay away from 'causes' and the troubles they entailed. This thing smacked of just that and yet... Some indefinable need to help the Jedi drove him to take extra care with the preparations.

    One more time, he checked the weapons rack, the storage bins where he hid his smuggled goods, the hyperdrive, the laser cannons. As usual, they remained in the tip-top shape he demanded. Unable to stand the tension any longer, he yelled out to Chewie that he was going to wait for their passengers on the landing platform.

    An odd sense of deja vu swept over him as the man and woman walked toward him. The man he recognized as Jedi Skywalker... complete with that uncomfortable ghostly image of a black cloaked, helmeted figure. Beside him strode a tiny woman, her long brown hair worn in smooth buns around her ears.

    Han almost staggered under the impact of...memory? Another tiny woman, dressed in white robes, hurling insults... Then, some time later, the same woman more practically dressed in some sort of uniform, leaning toward him, pressing her lips to his, love shining from her eyes. He leaned against the boarding ramp strut, striving to appear nonchalant.

    "Captain Solo, are you all right? You appear... distressed," the Jedi observed, his ice blue eyes filled with concern and interest.

    "Of course. Welcome aboard, Jedi Skywalker and..." Han raised an eyebrow in question at the other man's companion. The woman extended her hand, her warm smile filling him with uncomfortable feelings.

    "Amidala. Nice to see you again, Captain Solo," she said, cryptically as she gripped his hand in a surprisingly strong clasp.

    "Again?" he murmured as she released him and moved up the ramp.

    Skywalker grimaced, then gave Han a rueful smile. "Never mind. Things will hopefully sort themselves out... in time. Now... Shall we be off?"

    "Yeah... whatever you say. I just don't get it though. I keep feeling like I should know you... her... or somebody like her," Han said as they walked inside together.

    "For the moment, I can't say exactly, but perhaps as we travel I can... enlighten you regarding what you sense."

    Han snorted, doubting very much the old guy would be able to shed any light on the bizarre things he'd been seeing. Still, Jedi were known for their ability to look beyond the obvious. Maybe it had to do with that other person he keep getting flashes of when he laid eyes on Skywalker. He shrugged and saw his passengers settled in for the flight.

    Chewie gave him an odd look when he flopped into the pilot's seat, but didn't say anything. The Wookie busied himself with getting ready to take off.

    "Real wise, Chewie, 'cause I can't explain what's going on any better than I could earlier. Just don't ask why we're doing this," Han warned his copilot.

    With a roar of her powerful engines and clearance from Coruscant Central's traffic control, the Millenium Falcon lifted off and headed toward the Outer Rim and Anosham.

    ----------------------

    In the passenger area, Anakin turned to Amidala with a sigh.

    "That wasn't very wise, Am. He's already confused by the sense of that other timeline."

    "Oh, for heaven's sake, Ani. I can't stand this. We've got to do something to end this awful situation. Even if..." She hesitated. "Even if we can't be together any more."

    Seated beside her, he pulled her into his arms to give her comfort... and himself. The same fear ran through him, yet he agreed with her. Even if he died again, even if everything changed back to the horror of the original timeline, they had to stop Palpatine and try to mend time. After all, their children deserved to
  11. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by Moriah Organa of Alderaan]

    Qui-Gon got off at Monument Park, followed by everybody else on the bus. Well the park was one of the main tourist sights of Coruscant, it was probably just a coincidence.

    *There are no coincidences.*

    Qui-Gon smiled inwardly and strolled casually, trying to ignore the growing crowd trailing him.
    Monument Park was an unexpected bowl of green admidst the gray plasteel and stone. Carefully landscaped with exotic plants from all over the Galaxy laid out in formal geometrical patterns. The park took its name from the many monuments and memorials to Republic Heroes dotting its grounds and was ringed by clifflike terraces and spires comprising some of the most desirable and exclusive residential apartments on Coruscant. The offices of assorted Republic Agencies as well as resturants, shops, theaters, museums, arboretums and media centers relating to the park's vegetation or the heroes memorialized there.

    Qui-Gon strolled towards the center of the park, towards a jagged outcropping of gray/black rock, once a remote mountain peak now the only bit of Coruscant's crust that could still be seen and touched. The rest of the planet's surface lay buried beneath hundreds of thousands of kilometers of steel, concrete and stone.

    There was a force field around the peak, to protect it from vandals and souvenir seekers. Untouched and untouchable. Obscurely saddened Qui-Gon turned away, seated himself on one of the viewing benches ringing the crag.

    *This is the place. But not yet the time, soon though.*

    He closed his eyes in meditation and waited.

    The best place to hide is in the midst of a crowd. Which was fortunate since Coruscant was nothing but crowds.

    Palpatine's Apprentice felt very secure, she was certain no Jedi could possibly find her through the Force or even by more mundane means, but she was careful not to let confidence make her any less vigilant.

    She moved slowly round the circuit of her watch screens, as close to happy as a Sith was capable of feeling. At last the Chosen One had been goaded into leaving his refuge - and his wife had gone with him, a little bonus her Master should appreciate.

    Palpatine was powerful and well prepared. He should prevail - but if he didn't, the Sith would live on through her.

    She had many dreams, many plans and she wasn't going to let herself be bound by foolish rules made by frightened old men one second longer than she must. Even if Palpatine survived this battle he could not have much longer to live. Either way she would soon be Master of her own fate and of the Sith. And then everything would change.

    Something onscreen caught her eye. She frowned, something odd in Monument Park. A crowd seemed to have gathered, silent and well ordered their attention focused on - what?

    She adjusted the scan and saw. A Jedi sitting alone on a bench far from his Temple and brethren. And not just any Jedi. Her eyes widened as she recognized him. Qui-Gon Jinn one of the three her Master hated, and feared, above all others.

    He sat quietly in the sun, seemingly unaware of all the people watching him from a respectful distance. A gray lion of a man, aging but still powerful - and very dangerous.

    What was he up to? She felt the faintest frisson of fear.

    Deep in meditation Qui-Gon suddenly felt himself brushed by a darkness, like a shadow passing over the sun. Fleeting, but still a touch. His eyes opened. He still didn't know who she was or where she was but he would. She was aware of him now, inevitably her own actions would lead him to her.

    ----------------------
  12. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by BelleBayard]

    Han sat at the table, looking like a Rancor had hit him between the eyes. Amidala gave Ani a worried look. They'd tried to explain everything as best they could, but she still worried they'd overloaded him with information.

    "Captain Solo?"

    "Huh?"

    "I know this is... difficult, to say the least. However, I assure you, all we've told you is true. Do you have anything you want to ask us?" She reached over to touch his hand.

    He looked over at her, his eyes with a glazed expression for a moment before he sat back and rubbed them as if they ached. Without answering, he rose and began pacing back and forth before the table, muttering to himself.

    Anakin gave Amidala a "I told you so" look, then concentrated on the distressed pilot.

    *Be at peace. This is the truth you have heard. Calm yourself. Prepare for what lies ahead.*

    Han stopped pacing with a frown, then spun to face the seated couple.

    "Okay. Go over it again. Maybe it'll seem more real if I hear it again."

    "Would you prefer I tell you this time?" Anakin asked.

    The captain shrugged. "Sure, why not? After all, sounds like you were a pretty big player in this 'other' timeline."

    Anakin grimaced, not entirely happy with that all too accurate assessement. Yet he felt perhaps it most appropriate that he tell of the less than pleasant aspects of his original timeline's persona.

    "Very well, Captain Solo, though you may not care to deal with me much after this." He sighed and began again to tell how things had come to change.

    "Twenty-five years ago..." he began.

    Han settled beside him, his gaze intent as he listened to the Jedi knight speak of how a freak accident had changed not only the lives of the main players, but his and Chewie's and many others as well. Indeed, he began to realize, in that other timeline, this man had died... after causing many others' deaths.

    With a quick look at the woman, Han also understood that she had not survived... Yet something else became apparent. This couple had created children in the alternate... or was it original?... timeline. Something they hadn't been able to do in this one. And the girl had become... *his* love. A very odd feeling rushed through him... almost a memory. Like the image he had seen the first time he laid eyes on Amidala.

    *I like nice men...*she had whispered as he held her hand.

    *I'm a nice man...*he replied.

    *No, you're not...*she began.

    Then the Princess had let him kiss her, had even leaned into him, her lips softening and molding to his... before that annoying C3PO had interrupted...

    "Hey! I remember..." His voice trailed off. How could he remember something that had never happened?

    "What do you remember, Captain?" Anakin prodded.

    "Stop calling me Captain. Might as well call me Han. After all, you're the one who tortured me, then put me in carbonite for Jabba," he ground out with a glare. "Lord Vader... The Emperor's right hand man and all around bad guy. Amazing how I could forget that."

    Anakin sighed, his face reflecting incredible sadness. Amidala took his hand and gave it a squeeze before she addressed Han's hostility.

    "Perhaps I should speak again, Han." She put up a hand to stop any further protests. "You must understand how hard this is for us both. We're aware of the horrible things Ani did as Vader in that other time... How he turned to the Dark Side and worked for Palpatine. Don't you think we both regret all that happened then?"

    The image of her daughter's royal demeanor seemed to waver around her as Han stared at her and he could understand where Leia... yeah, that was the Princess' name... had gotten her haughty and regal ways. Must be bred in the blood.

    "Yeah, I know... It's just more than a little freaky to know this guy's alter ego did stuff that's more than borderline war crime and just downright crimnal."

    "Granted. Yet you must understand this Anakin Skywalker remains innocent of those things." She silenced her husband's rebuttal with a stern glance. "Indeed, w
  13. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by JediGaladriel]

    NABOO. ORIGINAL TIMELINE.

    Amidala clung to Sabé more than she meant to. It was just...

    _The last of the old world._

    Sabé smiled at her and patted her arm, then backed away. She was only touching the twins now -- Luke's hand, Leia's hair.

    _The nursery, the little hand wrapped around her finger, the soft touch of the fine hair on the girl's head. *Leia's* head. I will call her Leia, the musical sound of a cloud in the night sky._

    She pulled them to her wordlessly, felt their faces against her cheeks. "I've missed you," she said. "For so long."

    "Us too," Leia said. "But we have to get out of here. There are things that need to happen."

    Amidala nodded, and gave them a shaky smile. Across the square, a mongrel ship was lowering its gangplank. A man appeared at the top of it -- Lando, she presumed -- then came into the focus as he came out of the shadows. Sabé looked up at him and Amidala understood without needing to read anyone's mind that they had once been in love, and that Sabé, at least, still was. Sabé noticed her glance and looked away.

    Strange.

    "Come on!" the man called. "She's still warmed."

    Amidala let the children lead her into the ship. The man in the vest -- Leia's man, she was beginning to understand, and the implications of that were too large to comprehend on the run -- disappeared into the cockpit with the Wookiee, and Lando grabbed for a ladder. "I'm taking the top turret gun," he said. "The Empire is probably still out there."

    "I'll take the bottom," Sabé announced quickly.

    "I can -- "

    "You can stay and talk to your children." She disappeared down the ladder, and the man went up.

    Amidala turned and looked at the twins. They were looking back at her, wide-eyed and silent, and she was again reminded powerfully of their infancy. They'd seemed to know when they needed to be quiet for her, at least most of the time. They would lie down, and look up at her peacefully, like this.

    _They believe in me. They count on me. They need me to be Mother._

    _And I don't know how._

    "I... " She bit her lip, and felt a sting of tears in her eyes. It wasn't fair. "I... " The first tear brimmed over, but it was an angry tear and she brushed it away and stomped her foot in frustration. "I DON'T KNOW YOU!" she finally managed to bring out. "I don't know you, and I want to, because I love you more than anything."

    There was silence, and in it, the ship jumped out of the atmosphere. There was the momentarily strange sensation of switching to artificial gravity, then the ship rocked.

    Amidala hadn't been prepared, and she tipped to one side, slamming her hip against a table.

    Leia ran to catch her, and guided her to a chair she could strap into. "I guess we all stared at each other too long."

    The ship rocked again, and Leia almost lost her own balance, but Luke grabbed her arm and stopped her fall. They both strapped themselves in.

    "Sabé!" Lando called down from his turret gun. "Sabé, four o'clock!"

    There was the unmistakeable sound of laser fire, then a shockwave as something exploded outside. Then the ship jumped into hyperspace.

    ------------------------

    Ever since the first Death Star, Han hadn't trusted easy escapes where the Empire was concerned. No *way* he was heading to the rendezvous point until he'd searched the ship for tracking devices.

    Chewie asked where they were going, glancing at the readouts from the naviputer.

    "Ah, I just went back a few saved trips. Tatooine, then from Tatooine to the other place. The swamp."

    Chewie howled in protest, but he knew that it was as good a plan as any. They could hit the rendezvous as soon as the ship was checked. Meanwhile, they weren't leading the Empire to anything that they'd bother attacking.

    "Can you take her for awhile?" he asked.

    Chewie nodded and barked impatiently.

    Han left the cockpit. He was going to skirt around the passenger cabin and leave Luke and Leia to their mother, but Leia saw him and waved for him to come in
  14. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by Moriah Organa of Alderaan]

    DAGOBAH: ORIGINAL TIMELINE


    "They're coming here. Luke and Leia, Amidala is with them."

    "Yes. Coming for you they are."

    "I don't sense that. They just need a place to hide."

    "Never the less, join them you will."

    "Yes, Master." Obediently. It would be good to be close to Luke again. And to learn something of Leia. But it would be hard to face Amidala after abandoning her to Palpatine's mercies.

    A snort. "Take to much upon yourself do you. Her choice it was."

    Maybe. But surely there had been more he could have done. The story of his life, doing the wrong thing or not enough when it counted. He had no idea how to help Luke mend the timelines. But he could at least be with him, and trust the Force to guide them both.

    ----------------------

    Let me see if I got this straight, you want me to try to track down four girls who could be anywhere in the Galaxy."

    "In the next forty-eight hours if possible."

    "Obi-Wan!"

    "Owan, one of these girls is Palpatine's apprentice. She'll be the one you can't find."

    Colonel Owan-Lars Kenobi of Republic Counter-Intelligence rubbed his forehead. "Run that by me again, Obi-Wan, I seem to have missed something. How will *not* finding her help?"

    "We already know *where* the apprentice is." his brother explained. "here on Coruscant. If we can establish *who* she is I can begin to make some guesses about her exact location and intentions."

    Owan nodded. "I see. All right, it's not like I don't have a trillion other things to do. You know, brother, for an all knowing Jedi Master you seem to need a lot of help from us Force blind types."

    Obi-Wan smiled. "And I'm grateful for it. Thank you Owan. My best to Beru."

    "I doubt she'll return the good wishes, this'll be the third night in a row I don't make it home. I call as soon as I have something." the screen went dark.

    Obi-Wan pushed himself away from the console. Now all he could do was wait. Again.

    ----------------------

    "Master?" Obi-Wan rose from a chair as Qui-Gon switched on the overhead light in his quarters.

    He folded his arms in his sleeves and regarded his former apprentice, his amusement slightly tinged with annoyance. "It is not necessary to wait up for me, Obi-Wan."

    The other flushed a bit. "It's very late Master, I was becoming concerned."

    "I am old enough to be out after dark, Obi-Wan." Qui-Gon crossed to the the room's other chair and sank into it. He was visibly tired - and troubled.

    "You found something?"

    The old Master shook his head. "Not yet." a smile flickered across his face. "But I was found."

    "By her, the Sith?"

    A nod. "I sensed her presence. She is aware of me, knows I am seeking her. Her nature will force her to take action and that will lead us to her."

    The Master was undoubtedly right. *Which means I musn't let him go out alone again.* But Obi-Wan knew better than to start that argument now. "I think I know who she is. Owan-Lars was unable to locate Lilit Vall, the last on our short list of possibles."

    Qui-Gon thought. "Lilit...yes I remember, Anakin was concerned about her - her impatience and impulsiveness."

    Obi-Wan smiled involuntarily. "And of course he consulted you, our resident expert on impatient and impulsive young Jedi."

    "I do have a certain experience in the area." the Master conceeded with a twinkle. Sobered. "But I wasn't able to help Anakin with Lilit. She left the Order."

    "At fifteen." Obi-Wan agreed. "She didn't go back to her family and Owan-Lars has been unable to trace her at all after her time in the Temple."

    "She's the one." Qui-Gon said with conviction.

    "That is my feeling as well."

    "We failed her. We are failing too many of our children. And the people we are supposed to serve as well."

    "What do you mean, Master?"

    "Have you been to Monument Park, Obi-Wan?Do you remember the rock pinacle, the only part of Coruscant's natural surface still visible?"

    He nodded. "Yes, Master."

    "I saw it today but I couldn't
  15. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by JediGaladriel]

    Leia had gone to Han and Luke had gone to the service cubby, leaving Amidala alone in the passenger area. She'd hinted for it, heavily. She needed to clear her head of the storms of conflicting emotions, from black despair over Ani's death to fierce joy in the twins' survival, to sheer panic at whatever mission her other self had sent them all on without bothering to leave so much as a hint behind.

    None of those things would be helpful.

    She wanted Ani to come to her again, as he had in Camp One-A, possibly this time with a fully realized battle plan in one hand, and a written contract promising that he would never leave her again in the other. Of course, that wouldn't happen. She didn't understand *how* she knew it, but she knew that catching her as she fell from the ruin of the Palace was the last time Ani would be allowed to reach between worlds to...

    She lifted her head.

    "Between worlds," she muttered, not paying attention to herself. "Ani... "

    "Amidala?"

    She hadn't heard Sabé come up behind her, and jumped at the sudden sound of her voice. "What?"

    "You were talking... "

    "I was? Yes."

    Sabé took a seat across from her, the seat Luke had been in. "I remember how to listen to you, if you want to work it through."

    "I'm not sure what it is that I'm working on. That's the problem. I don't know what the ultimate goal is, so it's hard to imagine what the logic is for realizing it."

    "Hmmm."

    "According to the children, most of my time before, when I came forward, I spent with Ani. I was with him when he died."

    "With him, as Vader?"

    "I don't know. I'm tempted to say that it was Ani. It was certainly Ani at the end. But... the delineation was never particularly clear for me, where Vader began. He loved me, in his way, even then." For a moment, the creeping depression reached up into her consciousness. _I should have tried to reach him. I should have dropped my mental shields and let him find me. I should have held him and loved him as well as I could, and maybe I could have brought him back without losing him at the threshold. I should have, I could have... _

    "Amidala."

    "Yes. I... it's been a difficult time. I need to think, not feel. Why wouldn't I have said anything?"

    "Maybe you thought you would remember."

    "Why would I? The line had to split -- "

    "Maybe you were counting on an echo. A dream."

    "The Force?" Amidala raised a wry eyebrow.

    Sabé didn't scoff. "Maybe. I think... some things may be different. I seem to have spent my time with Lando when we were here, and I always found him... familiar."

    "I've noticed that you seem to be a bit familiar."

    To Amidala's surprise, Sabé neither denied it nor took it lightly. Instead, she burst into tears. "I'm sorry, Amidala. I got distracted by him, I... "

    Amidala stood and wrapped her arms around Sabé's shoulders. "Good lord, Sabé. Are you apologizing to me for falling in love with someone?"

    "Yes, I know I should have been fighting all this time, and Lando isn't... well, he never was even... he's not very... appropriate... "

    Amidala couldn't help it. She laughed. "Oh, Sabé... do you really think *I* would make a fuss over you loving someone with a slightly tarnished record?"

    Sabé looked at her oddly, then, apparently surprised at herself, she also barked out a short laugh. "I hadn't thought of it quite like that."

    "Well, think. And if you're using me as an excuse to perpetuate some sort of foolishness, stop it."

    "I... " She shook her head. "Yes, Your Majesty."

    "Good."

    She brushed away the last of the tears, and sniffed. "What I started out to say is, I think that there was something of an echo for me. I think I recognized him, deep down, on instinct, when we met. Maybe you were counting on something of the sort for yourself."

    "But *what*?" Amidala went back to pacing, trying not to bang her knees against the counters in the passenger area. "There's no one I can think of that I've met, no one unexpected... "

    "Well, ther
  16. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by Moriah Organa of Alderaan]

    ORIGINAL TIMELINE: THE FALCON, ENROUTE TO ANOSHAM

    Amidala lay on the hard little bunk, an arm over her eyes. The two other bunks in the small cabin were empty. Leia was sharing Han's watch and Sabe was - somewhere. With Lando Amidala hoped.

    "Obi-Wan."

    And he was there. Removing her arm she sat up, studied the glowing blue apparition of her friend.

    *He's old, so old. He must have lasted longer than we'd hoped.* Aloud. "Anakin killed you." It wasn't a question.

    "We both knew he would, in the end." Obi-Wan replied calmly. Robes rustled as he sat on the side of her bunk. She was surprised to feel the mattress give, ever so slightly, as if he still had some weight.

    Amidala leaned back, closed her eyes. "Tell me what happened."

    He did. By the time he'd finished she was sitting upright, staring at him apalled.

    "You *let* him kill you. Obi-Wan, how could you!"

    "I had to do it, Amidala," he replied, almost pleadingly. "I was cut off, surrounded, reinforcements were on their way - Luke had to go and he never would have left me alive. I had to do it, though I know better than any one what it means for a student to watch his teacher die."

    She shook her head impatiently. "I wasn't talking about Luke. How could you do that to Anakin?"

    He blinked, taken aback. "Amidala, Vader was not Anakin. All vestige of the man who was my student and your husband was devoured long ago." raised a hand to stop her protest. "Yes, I know there was still some residual affection for you but that was all it was, a stray memory of what had once been."

    She shook her head fiercely. "You're wrong, so wrong." knowing she'd never be able to convince him. He was the Jedi, the master of the ways of the Force, not her. And he'd never let himself see how his own grief and guilt blinded him when it came to Anakin. She tried anyway. "Ani loved you as much as he loved me. If his feelings for me survived than so must his feelings for you."

    Obi-Wan stood up, impassive Jedi mask securely in place. "Whatever affection he'd had for me was destroyed by Palpatine. It certainly didn't survive the molten pit. My death meant nothing to him, Amidala, nothing but the defeat of an enemy." Vanished.

    Amidala put her arm back over her eyes. It was a pointless argument anyway. The Anakin who'd become Darth Vader was dead and gone. Now there was only that other, unfallen Anakin in the other timeline to stop Palpatine. Somehow they had to draw him into their own dimension but how?

    ----------------------
  17. Vee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2000
    star 3
    [originally posted by JediGaladriel]

    THE MILLENNIUM FALCON -- NEW TIMELINE

    Amidala pulled her hand away from the cupboard as if burned. Anakin could feel spikes of alarm radiating out from her.

    "What is it, Am?"

    She turned around. "I suppose I should have been prepared for odd things to happen on this voyage."

    "What odd thing happened?"

    She bit her lower lip. "I saw... a shadow. Not really a shadow. But that's the only thing I can describe it as. I saw it, but I didn't actually *see* it."

    Anakin nodded. Most Jedi were familiar with the frustration of visions that refused to coalesce. Like words stuck on the tip of the tongue, they would neither form themselves nor allow the mind to stop searching for them. "What did it seem to be?"

    "It felt like... me."

    "Were you free?"

    She nodded impatiently. "Of course. The twins knew to come for me."

    Anakin smiled faintly at her perfect faith that the twins would have no trouble freeing her from whatever prison Palpatine had thrown her in. Anakin remembered being captured by the Empire, even in the small ship he'd been in, and he had half-seen, sideways memories of the other life... his faith in his children had been solid, he'd thought, but he was more than a little surprised that they'd accomplished the rescue this quickly. Amidala, of course, hadn't considered the notion that anyone could possibly stand in their way for long. "Did you see anything else?"

    "No. I just picked up a feeling. She's... I'm... confused and nervous. And trying very hard not to be in mourning. It's strange, hardly seeing anything, but feeling that much... " She bit her lip again, made a strange sound in her throat, then abruptly ran across the cabin to Anakin, kneeling beside his chair and putting her head on his knees. "Ani, Ani... I have to lose you next."

    He slipped out of the chair to hold her as tightly as he could. He hadn't realized how close to the surface this fear was. "You won't," he said. "Everything will come together. We won't lose each other."

    "We don't *know* that, Ani. I... she'll be a stranger. She won't know where our house is, or how you tell stories to the little ones in the creche. She won't remember you sweet-talking her into giving you a kiss for your sixteenth birthday -- "

    " -- well, she might -- "

    "She won't. Ani, how could she? There, we didn't have that... that foreknowledge."

    "So you only kissed me for the twins?" Anakin tried to make his voice light, but he'd always had some fear of that.

    "No. I just -- Ani, you were sixteen. I was just short of twenty-one. It wasn't time yet. But we both knew there *was* a time, and you played on me being curious. In the line where we didn't know, I wouldn't have been curious." She stood and wiped her cheek impatiently. "That's not the point. It's off the subject. The point is, she won't have any of the memories we built together. She won't even remember what happened in the desert."

    Anakin went to her, wrapped his arms around her waist, and kissed the top of her head. "I won't lose you. Do you understand that, Am? I'll find a way."

    "Even if it destroys *her*? After all she's been through, what right do I have to -- "

    "She *is* you!" He turned her around, and covered her face with kisses. "Amidala, listen to me: this will work. We'll be back with the twins, and somehow, you'll be whole. And if you aren't... " But this time he was the one who couldn't consider the alternative. If this other Amidala was truly a stranger, he could never... she wouldn't be his wife. His wife would be left behind, would maybe cease to exist. It wasn't fair. It was his mistake. She shouldn't have to pay anything more for it. "I'll fix it," he said again. "I don't know how yet, but I will."

    She fell into his embrace, and he felt her lips press against his chest. "I can't lose you again, Ani. Don't do anything foolish. If I *cease*" -- they both shuddered -- "then I'll be gone, and that's all there is to it. Don't do anything to risk yourself or the children on some half-baked sche
  18. p_stotts Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2001
    star 4
    Hoping to see more very soon! :) This is very good! Too good to let languish for very long! So....UP! :D
  19. I love Sci Fi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2000
    star 4
    just out of curiosity, is there any more story? And if there is are you gonna post it here?
  20. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Yes, there's going to be more story. It's just been laying around dormant for a long time, and it's being sluggish in waking up. :) I'm going to take the advice from a PM (Teflon Billy?) to give some of Anakin and Amidala's new timeline history; I just need to find a good way to work it in.
  21. anya Skywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2000
    star 4
    Waw!
    I'm really glad to see this one again, expecially since there are posts that I hadn't read.

    Every writer is doing a wonderfull job, and I can hardly wait for more! :)
  22. Master_Bumpy Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2001
    star 2
    Waiting patiently.....

    By the way ladies- I love your stories, and in fact have cut and pasted the story posts to many of them into a word document for easier reading on my train ride home.

    As these stories are your property, I'd be happy to provide you a copy of the word doc so you could post them on Vader's Mask or something. I have "The Penitent 3", "Lady Vader", this story, and "In the Hands of Time 2" by Darth Pipes and Ami-Padme.
  23. p_stotts Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2001
    star 4
    Awe man! I thought more of the story had been posted! :_| Impatiently waiting with baited breath for more. ;)
  24. Ashamaphone Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2001
    star 4
    Waiting for more, while upping back to pg 1 FROM PAGE *7*!!
  25. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Sorry folks! We're talking it out and figuring out a couple of things. I'll *try* to get something together. After leaving something fallow this long, it's hard to make things start growing again.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.