Saga Under Fire (an ROTS AU)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by anakinfansince1983, Sep 21, 2012.

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  1. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    @Valairy Scot : They loved each other like brothers. If only they had had fewer misunderstandings and a better ending in canon. :_|

    @Jade_eyes: Thanks! :)

    @Lady_Misty : Questioning Mace? Oh, just wait...

    @Force Smuggler : Thanks! :)


    Chapter 13



    “The defense calls Jedi Master Mace Windu.”

    Mace took the stand, calmly surveying the crowd.

    “Master Windu, how long have you served on the Jedi Council?” Adri began.

    “The better part of three decades, Madam.”

    “What is the history of the Sith, or should I say, who exactly are the Sith?”

    “The Sith are the ancient enemy of the Jedi. We were at war with them a thousand years ago; they were defeated, or so we thought. Thirteen years ago, Master Qui-Gon Jinn brought us word that he had been attacked on Tatooine by a warrior who was obviously trained in the Jedi arts. We initially did not believe that he could be a Sith, because we thought the Sith were extinct. After the battle of Theed, in which Master Jinn encountered this same warrior again and was killed, we decided our initial assumptions were wrong.”

    “What course of action did the Council take after this battle and Master Jinn’s death?”

    “We knew that the warrior was a Sith, and we knew that there are always two Sith, a Master and an apprentice. For ten years we were not sure if we were dealing with the Master or the apprentice. Then Master Kenobi was captured on Geonosis by Count Dooku. Count Dooku asked Kenobi to join him in fighting the Sith, and informed him that several Senators were under the influence of a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious.”

    “So the Jedi Council set out in search of this Darth Sidious?”

    “We did, especially after learning that he was behind both the Naboo blockade and the Separatist Crisis.”

    “Master Windu, who was Count Dooku exactly? And was he telling Master Kenobi the truth on Geonosis?”

    “Count Dooku was once a Jedi. He left the Order about twelve years ago for personal reasons, or so we believed. He had been an apprentice of Master Yoda and he trained Master Jinn. He was angry after Jinn died, felt that we should have investigated further into who this mysterious warrior was before Jinn and Kenobi encountered him on Naboo. This anger was one reason he left the Order. My understanding is that Sidious fed Dooku the same lines that he fed Anakin Skywalker in an attempt to recruit him, lines about teaching him a more efficient and effective use of the Force, a ‘larger view’. Was he telling Kenobi the truth? Yes, he was, he just wasn’t telling the whole truth. He wanted Kenobi to join him on the Dark Side and overthrow Sidious. That is why there are always two Sith; there were more at one time but they killed each other. And the Master and apprentice are constantly trying to kill each other.”

    “Do you feel that Count Dooku was correct regarding the Order’s ineffectiveness?”

    Mace sighed. “Yes. We should not have assumed that there was no possibility that Jinn was attacked by a Sith. If we had not made that assumption, maybe he would have lived. Our ability to use the Force had been diminished. The Dark Side clouded everything. We did not understand why at the time. The fact that the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic was a Sith Master is very explanatory, however.”

    “Objection!” Dorstar said.

    Adri looked at her. “Two witnesses have already testified that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious were one and the same. Do you wish to have those witnesses charged with perjury?”

    Dorstar shook her head and sat.

    “Objection overruled,” Rosario said. “You may continue, Madam Adri.”

    “Master Windu, when you discovered that the Dark Side clouded your vision and believed that the Sith Master must be within your midst, where did the Council begin its search?”

    “With the Senate. Master Ronhar Kim wished to have midichlorian counts taken of all members of the Galactic Congress. Narrowing down Force-sensitives in Congress would narrow down potential Sith Lords hiding in the legislature.”

    “What were the results of Master Kim’s study?”

    Mace frowned. “The study never took place. Chancellor Palpatine sent Master Kim to the front lines of battle and he was killed.”

    “I see. And what was the Council’s next plan of action?”

    “We needed an insider, someone that the Chancellor trusted. Understand that we did not think that the Chancellor himself was a Sith, we thought that someone among his closest circle of advisors must be. I personally thought that Sate Pestage was the Sith and was influencing the Chancellor. However, we needed a spy of sorts. When Chancellor Palpatine took over the Jedi Council and asked Skywalker to represent him personally on the Council, we had a ready-made opportunity.”

    “How so?”

    “We appointed Skywalker to the Council ourselves and gave him the rank of Jedi Master. We had planned to do so anyway; his accomplishments in battle were highly commendable, especially his defeat of Count Dooku, and his name had appeared for Mastery numerous times. We then asked Skywalker to accept the Chancellor’s appointment and report to us on all his doings. We needed Skywalker to keep the Chancellor’s trust.”

    “Were you not concerned that either Master Skywalker or the Council would be accused of treason?”

    “That thought had occurred to us, however, we were at war, and we were much more concerned about the Sith gaining control of the Republic and destroying the Order.”

    “Master Windu, what happened the day that Master Kenobi defeated General Grievous?”

    “When we received the news, three other Jedi Masters and I prepared to approach the Chancellor about returning his emergency powers to the Senate. We, along with many members of the Galactic Congress, saw no need for his oppressive security measures with the war ending. As we were boarding the security ship to take us to the Chancellor’s office, I was approached by Skywalker.”

    “What did Skywalker tell you?”

    “Nothing initially. He was too sweaty and shaky to talk. I was certain for a moment that he was going to either pass out or vomit on my boots.”

    “Did you have any idea why he looked so sick?”

    “Once he told me his story it was pretty clear. He had just come from the Chancellor’s office, where Palpatine had told him personally that he was a Sith Lord. He knew Sith legends and he knew the ways of the Force. He tried to turn Skywalker against the Jedi and convince him to join the Sith.”

    “What did you do with the information that Skywalker brought you?”

    “Our mission changed. Instead of asking the Chancellor to return powers to the Senate, we went to his office to arrest him for war crimes.”

    “You went to arrest him? You did not go to kill him?”

    “No. The Jedi will always attempt to take a prisoner into custody first. We only kill if we have no choice. We are not assassins, Counselor.”

    Adri nodded. “What happened after you entered Chancellor Palpatine’s office?”

    “I told him that he was under arrest. He asked if I was threatening him, and I told him that the Senate would decide his fate. He said that he was the Senate, jumped over his desk and attacked us with a lightsaber.”

    “Master Windu, what color is your lightsaber?”

    “Purple.”

    “And Masters Fisto, Tinn and Kolar—what color were their lightsabers?”

    “Fisto’s was green, the other two were blue.”

    “None of you own or carry a red lightsaber?”

    “No. Only Sith carry red lightsabers.”

    “The Chancellor attacked you with a lightsaber, and what happened?”

    “Masters Fisto, Tinn and Kolar were dead almost before they had the chance to unsheathe their sabers. Anakin and I were left to fight Palpatine. During the fight, my saber broke the office window; Palpatine shoved us out onto the dias. But we were able to get back inside, knock the Chancellor onto the floor and knock his saber out of his hand.”

    “And you were able to arrest him then?”

    “No. He attacked us with Force lightning. Anakin and I had to deflect it back onto him using our sabers.”

    “How did the Chancellor die, Master Windu?”

    “As he attacked us with lightning, he continued to threaten Anakin, telling him that he had seen a vision of his wife dying and that only he, the Chancellor, could save her. As Anakin told him that his wife would rather die than be saved by a Sith, I managed to free myself from the lightning enough to stab Palpatine in the chest and end the attack.”

    “Master Windu, did you feel you had any other choice?”

    “Absolutely not. If I had had another choice, I would not be on this stand right now.”

    “Why did you feel you had no other choice?”

    “Palpatine had to be disarmed before we could arrest him. We could not disarm him from the lightning. Knocking his lightsaber out of his hands did little good, as he still had that weapon. We were virtually powerless against it. We could have stopped fighting him and attempted to get binders on him, but he would have killed us.”

    Adri turned to Rosario. “In the Court’s possession should be a copy of the autopsy report on Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. It will show the lightsaber wound to the chest, and it will also show that the Chancellor’s face had become disfigured, essentially melted. This is an effect of the Force lightning deflected back on the Chancellor by Masters Windu and Skywalker.” She turned to Mace. “Master Windu, are either you or Master Skywalker capable of producing lightning with your fingers?”

    Mace looked amused. “I am not, and Anakin has a metal prosthetic arm. If he produced lightning with his fingers, it would kill him.”

    Adri nodded. “Final question: what happened after you and Master Skywalker left the Chancellor’s office?”

    “We boarded the security ship to return to the Temple, only to see the Temple in flames. I immediately contacted Master Kenobi and learned that his and Master Yoda’s clones had turned on them. Anakin informed me that he had heard the Chancellor give an Order 66 just as he left his office to search for me.”

    “Thank you, Master Windu. I have nothing further.”

    Dorstar stood. “Master Windu, to your knowledge, did Chancellor Palpatine ever use this lightning on anyone else?”

    “To my knowledge, no.”

    “And did anyone see him use it on you and Master Skywalker?”

    “No.”

    “Did either of you have any side effects of being attacked by lightning? Did Master Skywalker lose use of his prosthetic arm, even temporarily?”

    “No. As I said, we deflected the lightning with our lightsabers. We were not hit with it despite the Chancellor’s best efforts.”

    “Have you ever met another who could produce this Force lightning?”

    “Count Dooku was able to do it.”

    “Did you personally witness Count Dooku using Force lightning?”

    “No. Masters Kenobi, Skywalker and Yoda did.”

    “Jedi. One of whom is also accused of murder. I see.”

    “Objection!” Adri called.

    “Sustained,” Rosario said.

    “Master Windu,” Dorstar said, “If Chancellor Palpatine had not used this lightning, would you have been able to take him into custody?”

    “We certainly would have had a better chance of doing so, although Palpatine could have used the Force to drop a heavy object on us or attack us in another way, as Count Dooku attacked Master Kenobi on The Invisible Hand. The only real way to ensure that the Chancellor could have been taken into custody would be to remove the use of his hands altogether, and even that would not have been foolproof. There are many ways to manipulate the Force, Counselor.”

    “So the gist of your case is built around a battle of a Force that no one understands, or more specifically, an attack of so-called Force lightning that no one witnessed and from which neither you nor Master Skywalker, who has a metal arm, suffered any side effects. Very interesting.”

    Mace glared at her. “I don’t think so,” he said firmly. “Our case is built around the fact that Chancellor Palpatine orchestrated both sides of the war in order to make himself a dictator, ordered the execution of all Jedi, and then attempted to kill us when we went to arrest him.”

    Dorstar gave Mace a hard, cold gaze, and after a minute of silence, said, “I have nothing further.”


    Adri stood. “The defense rests. Your Honor.”



    “Master Yoda, you should at least come for dinner,” Padme said.

    The old Jedi Master shook his head and climbed out of the water speeder, looking toward the lodge on top of the hill, the one that Queen Apailana had told him to use as headquarters for the Jedi on Naboo. It was a few houses down from the Naberries’ Varykino retreat.

    “Generous you are,” he replied. “But much work I have to do. Get established here I must. However, contact me you should, if need me you do.”

    Padme nodded. “I will do that. And you likewise. If you need supplies, or anything else…”

    “Contact you or the Queen, I will,” Yoda said.

    “Have a good evening, Master,” Padme said as the water speeder started again.

    “You as well, Senator,” Yoda replied, glancing at her and the children one last time before walking up the hill. Captain Typho accelerated the speeder and a minute later, docked it outside the Naberrie home. Typho got out, unfolded the stroller, and lifted the children’s carriers into it as Padme got out behind him, scanning the entrances to the house. 3PO slowly got out of the speeder. “I’m not sure water travel is much better than space travel, R2,” he said. R2 chirped something, and 3PO replied. “It’s not my fault. I was built in the desert, I’m not used to this.”

    Padme’s mother appeared in the doorway of the home, smiling broadly as she saw her daughter. “Padme? Is that you? It is you!” She called to her husband. “Ruwee, Padme is home!”

    A moment later Padme’s father joined his wife, with Sola almost directly behind them. Typho put a hand on Padme’s shoulder. “I am going to establish security around the perimeter of the house, milady,” he said.

    She nodded, pushing the stroller along the walk to the house. Jobal Naberrie wrapped her daughter in a hug. “We’re glad you’re home. It’s been so long; we’ve been worried, especially with the war, and Palpatine...” She looked at the babies, then slowly raised her head to look at Padme again. “So the Holonet rumors were true. Honey, why didn’t you tell us?”

    “The Holonet does occasionally report gossip correctly. His name is Luke, and her name is Leia.” She returned her gaze from her children to her mother. “And we didn’t tell anyone. I wore clothes that hid my pregnancy until the very end. Even my Senate colleagues didn’t know until right before I gave birth. Anakin would have been expelled from the Order and the Queen would have asked me to step down from my Senate seat if they knew.”

    “But Padme…we’re your family. We would not have told the Queen or the Jedi Council. Why did you need to hide from us? My goodness, it wasn’t enough that you got married and didn’t tell us until several months later. Now this…”

    She hung her head, ashamed. “I wanted to tell you, I really did…if I had had the chance to come home. It wasn’t something I felt like I could tell you over a comlink. We were going to come out in the open after the war ended, when we could both step out of public life for awhile. I wanted to have the babies here, we had already discussed it, but…” Padme suddenly felt dizzy, and sat on the garden bench.

    “The war took a turn for the worse, and Palpatine accumulated draconian powers and then was assassinated. By the Jedi, if the Holonet is to be believed,” Ruwee said. His tone of voice indicated that he did not believe the Holonet at all.

    Padme nodded. “Unfortunately that’s not all of it. He was a Sith Lord, Daddy,” she said. “The Sith who killed Master Jinn in Theed was his apprentice.”

    Ruwee had gone pale. “Palpatine was a Sith?” he said.

    “Yes. He told Anakin as much himself. Anakin told the Council, and five Council members went to arrest him. He resisted arrest, attacked the Jedi, and killed three of them. Anakin…”

    Luke sucked on his fist and started to cry, followed immediately by Leia. Jobal unbuckled the straps on the stroller and picked up Leia; Sola picked up Luke. “They’re hungry,” Jobal said.

    3PO immediately went for the diaper bag. “Mistress Padme, I have their bottles and the warmer, I just need a place…”

    “We can go inside and use the outlets in the kitchen,” Sola said, looking at Luke.

    “Yes,” Jobal replied. “We’ll feed them, finish updating your father.” She and Sola went inside with the babies, followed by 3PO with the diaper bag.

    “Five Jedi went to arrest Palpatine for being a Sith…” Ruwee prompted.

    “For war crimes. He orchestrated both sides of the war. He was waiting for all his generals and most of the Jedi to be killed so he could declare himself Emperor. His generals and most of the Jedi were killed. And those who didn’t die in battle, were killed when Palpatine ordered the clone army to kill them.”

    Ruwee’s eyes widened in horror. “Palpatine ordered the clones to kill the Jedi?”

    Padme nodded. “He declared the Jedi enemies of the Republic. There is a contingency order that was implemented into the clones at the time of their creation, to execute the Jedi immediately upon the Chancellor’s order. Palpatine gave the Order. Thousands of Jedi died, everyone who was in the Temple that day, even the children.” She felt a lump rising in her throat. “They set the Temple on fire.”

    “Did Anakin kill Palpatine?” Ruwee asked softly.

    Padme shook her head. “Master Windu killed him. Anakin was there when it happened.”

    “I’m assuming that he’s involved in this trial that everyone is talking about? We’ve only gotten snippets in the news here, only that Jedi are on trial for their role in the assassination. Few details.”

    Padme took a deep breath. “Anakin and the rest of the Jedi Council are accused of treason and murder. There were no cameras or witnesses when Palpatine attacked the Jedi, so Anakin and Master Windu are having to prove that they were attacked and that they didn’t just initiate a coup to overthrow the Republic. That they were just stopping Palpatine from overthrowing the Republic himself.” She was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer injustice of it. Sobs that she had buried inside her since the trial began—or since the beginning of the war—came over her all at once. She buried her face in her hands and wept.

    She felt her father’s arms around her, his large hand on her hair, her head resting against his chest. He held her for several minutes until the sobbing slowed. “Shhh…it will be alright,” he said quietly. “Organa has appointed at least one justice, has he not?”

    Padme nodded and sniffled. “Six of the justices are Palpatine appointees, six were appointed by either Bail or Chancellor Valorum,” she said, taking several deep breaths and wiping her eyes. “The chief justice was appointed by Valorum. But the prosecutor’s questions, and the testimonies, even the defense testimonies…it’s been awful.” More tears fell down her cheeks. “People believed Palpatine’s lies. They’ve attacked the Jedi, accused them of being cowards, power-mongers…everything that Palpatine was. They went after Anakin regarding our marriage, accused him of turning against Palpatine because of me…”

    Her father stroked her hair. “I am sorry, honey,” he said. “How much longer is the trial expected to last?”

    Padme sniffled again. “Master Windu was testifying today and closing arguments should start tomorrow,” she said.

    “So you’ll know something very soon.”

    Padme nodded. “Anakin is coming to Naboo when this is over, if he can, if they don’t…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. Ruwee stroked her back.

    “Anakin and the Council did the right thing,” he said. “The Court will see that. Did you decide to come here to wait out the rest of the trial?”

    She sniffled and wiped her eyes again. “Some anti-Jedi demonstrations are planned during closing arguments,” she said. “Since my marriage to Anakin is all over the Coruscant news now, he and Bail both thought that the children and I would be safer here.” She sighed.

    “Yes..."

    “Aunt Padme!” The voice came from around the side of the house; Ryoo and Pooja emerged and threw themselves into her arms. “We didn’t know you were home,” Ryoo said.

    She smiled, returned the hug and kissed both of their cheeks. “That’s because I didn’t tell anyone I was coming,” she said.

    Pooja was frowning. “Aunt Padme, why are you sad?”

    Padme hugged the girl again. “Grown up problems,” she said. “I’m not sad now that I’ve seen you.”

    “Where’s R2?” Pooja asked.

    “He went inside,” Padme replied. At that moment her mother and Sola emerged, carrying the babies.

    “They’ve been fed and changed,” Jobal said, placing Luke in Padme’s arms. Sola handed Leia to Ruwee.

    “Thank you,” Padme said. She looked at her nieces. “Would you like to meet your cousins? This is Luke, and Grandpa is holding Leia.”

    Ryoo’s brow furrowed. “You had two babies? At the same time?”

    Padme laughed. “Yes, I did. Luke and Leia are twins.”

    “When is Uncle Anakin going to come see us again?” Ryoo asked.

    Padme closed her eyes and opened them again. “As soon as he can. Hopefully in a few days.”

    “Good. I want him to make my dolls dance in the air like he did last time. That was funny.”

    “Can we hold the baby?” Pooja asked.

    Padme stood. “Sit beside Grandpa.” They did, and Padme rested Luke’s head in Ryoo’s arms, his feet in Pooja’s.

    “Now that is a beautiful sight,” Sola said, smiling.

    “Senator, all is secure here,” Captain Typho said, emerging from the side of the house. He stopped at the sight of Ryoo and Pooja holding the baby. “Nice,” he said, smiling. He looked at Jobal. “I am expecting a battalion of security droids from Theed by nightfall,” he said. “We will be as unobtrusive as possible in guarding the house.”

    “Is there any danger that we should know about?” Ruwee asked.

    “No sir,” Typho replied. “Nothing unusual. But we have taken additional precautions in the wake of the unrest after Palpatine’s assassination. “

    Jobal nodded. "Thank you," she said.

    Padme and her father stood, Padme taking Luke from her nieces, and the family went into the house.




    “Transmission coming in for you, Padme,” Sola said as the family finished dessert. Padme knew who it was by the teasing look on her sister’s face. She stood and quickly ran into her father’s office, where the com unit sat. A hologram of Anakin appeared before her.

    “You are so beautiful,” he said.

    She laughed. “I’m a hologram, Ani,” she said.

    “And you’re beautiful even in hologram form,” he said. He sighed. “I wish I could touch you.”

    “So do I,” she said. “Soon…it must be soon. How did it go today?”

    “Pretty well. Master Windu stood up to Dorstar’s cross examination. Her angle now is that there was no proof that Palpatine used lightning on us and if we knocked his lightsaber out of his hand, we should have been able to take him into custody.”

    “I thought his face was melted by the lightning you deflected back onto him?”

    “It was,” Anakin replied. “Plus it is practically impossible to take a Dark Side user into custody without Force binders, which we did not have, and even then…”

    “Does this mean you’ll stop chastising yourself for what happened to Dooku?” Padme asked.

    “I don’t know, Padme,” he said. He changed the subject quickly. “I’m staying with Bail. Obi-Wan is being a bit overprotective. He seems to think I shouldn’t be alone.”

    “He knows you have nightmares,” she said. “This has taken a heavy toll on all of us, Ani. Indulge Obi-Wan a bit. For what it’s worth I think he’s right. None of us need to be alone right now.”

    “Oh, I’m indulging him. Two words: Alderaanian caf.”

    Padme smiled. “I thought you were going to say wine.”

    Anakin laughed. “That too,” he said. “Where are the babies?”

    “Here,” Jobal said, bringing Luke into the room, followed by Sola carrying Leia. They held the infants in front of the holoprojector. Anakin smiled at each of them; Luke reached for his father’s holographic form.

    “I know, little guy,” Anakin said. “I want to hold you too.”

    “Ryoo asked for you,” Padme said. “She wants you to make her dolls dance in the air again.”

    Anakin smiled. “Tell her that when I get there, I’ll make the dolls turn somersaults and back flips,” he said.

    "Just a few more days..." Padme said.

    Anakin nodded. “We hope,” he replied.
  2. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Happy sigh - such a wonderful tale with great in-character characterizations.
  3. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    So true! =D= And Mace was as terrific as I was certain he would be. @};- Very much enjoyed Padme with her family. :) :) Adri and the whole defense bunch of witnesses were superb; the makeup of the justice panel -- I hope they're not split down the middle though; who would cast the tie-breaker? [face_thinking]
  4. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    I was sort of hoping that Mace would make Dolstar look dumb or stupid. Can't have everything I guess.
  5. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    @Valairy Scot : "In character" is what I'm aiming for, and it can be a challenge in an AU, so...thank you. :)

    @Jade_eyes : Well, they're split down the middle now... ;)

    @Lady_Misty : That would be a bit too easy, wouldn't it? :p


    And...*drum roll*...the post with the verdict:


    Chapter 14


    Rosario banged her gavel. “Attorneys for the prosecution and defense will now present their closing arguments, after which time the court will recess to discuss a verdict. Madam Dorstar, you may begin."

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the Court, 13 years ago, Chancellor Palpatine was elected by a majority vote after an attack on his home planet and a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum resulted in Valorum’s dismissal. The motion for a vote of no-confidence was presented by Queen, now Senator, Amidala. The Chancellor was put in the very difficult position of leading the Republic through war, a role that no Chancellor in thousands of years has had to undertake. As a result, Chancellor Palpatine had to implement some security measures which were not very popular among some in the Galactic Congress and some citizens of the Republic, including the Jedi Order. Did these measures include falsely portraying innocent people as enemies? Sometimes, yes, but such is the nature of war. Did many of these measures seem draconian? Yes again. However, Chancellor Palpatine was not eager to use those powers; we all heard his reluctance every time the Senate implemented a new security measure. Why did the Chancellor send the Jedi into battle? Because they have proven themselves best able to protect the Republic. Why did the Chancellor order a battalion of clones without the Senate’s consent? Because we were at war and the situation was an emergency. I believe any Jedi will tell you that these clones, whose creation they so vehemently opposed, saved their lives on Geonosis and in many other battles. Did Chancellor Palpatine end the war quickly enough? Ladies and gentlemen, does war ever end quickly enough? Chancellor Palpatine attempted a peace agreement with the Separatists; I believe most of us saw the speech broadcast over the Holonet. Now, the defense has brought forth arguments that Chancellor Palpatine was a Sith Lord and had Force powers which he used for evil. Chancellor Palpatine was a Sith, but the Sith are a religious organization, and the Republic has established freedom of religion laws. And the Force—its use has been strongly and secretly guarded by the Jedi, who oddly enough, when questioned about this secrecy, used the same reasoning about security that the Chancellor was criticized for using. How would we know whether Palpatine used the Force at all, whether for evil or for good? Only six people know what really happened in the Chancellor’s office that day. Four of those six are dead, and two of them have stood in this room and claimed that the Chancellor attacked them using the Force. One of those two, Master Skywalker, has admitted to killing an unarmed prisoner whom he labeled an enemy. What would stop him from attacking another one, especially a political adversary of a Senator whom we now know to be Skywalker’s wife? We can discuss all day long who Palpatine was, and the fact remains that if he committed crimes, he should have been taken into custody. Not executed in cold blood in his office by the very Jedi Masters that he trusted. Thank you.”

    Adri stood. “Ladies and gentlemen of the Court, the Sith are a religious organization and Republic citizens are free to practice any religion they choose, however, they must do so within the confines of existing Republic law. Existing Republic law does not allow for blackmail, extortion, or assassination of one’s political enemies. Anakin Skywalker has been accused by the prosecution of avenging his wife’s political enemy, however, the accusation is baseless and without evidence. Chancellor Palpatine, on the other hand, has a history of ordering the assassinations of his enemies, both political and those outside the government. His closest advisor, who helped plan the assassinations of political officials, has admitted as much, that Palpatine ordered the assassination of his predecessor and threatened the current Supreme Chancellor. The Court has also heard a recording of Palpatine issuing an Order 66, and the clone captain who implemented the order, stood in this courtroom and described its nature. The prosecution has made the argument that Chancellor Palpatine should have been taken into custody, however, Palpatine would not give the same consideration to the 9,900 Jedi whose assassinations he ordered. Some of those Jedi were young children who were unable to defend themselves. Even the fully trained Jedi were taken completely by surprise when the clone legions with whom they had fought for years and trusted completely, murdered them in cold blood on Palpatine’s orders.” She paused. “Palpatine orchestrated both sides of a war that has left Republic citizens in misery and entire worlds in ruin. He did so using the alternate identity of Darth Sidious to direct the Separatists. Viceroy Gunray presented evidence that Order 66, the order given by Palpatine to execute the Jedi, was communicated via a Separatist channel. How could the Chancellor of the Republic gain access to a channel used by the Confederacy worlds that he is supposed to be fighting against?” Another pause. “And even with concrete evidence of Palpatine’s treachery—a direct confession to Anakin Skywalker by Palpatine himself—the Jedi did not enter his office seeking to kill him. They planned to arrest him and take him into custody. With his lightsaber—the red lightsaber found next to his body—Chancellor Palpatine attacked the Jedi, murdering three of them. When Masters Windu and Skywalker fought back using their own sabers, Palpatine attacked them with Sith lightning. Palpatine’s contorted face corroborates Skywalker and Windu’s testimonies that they deflected the lightning back onto Palpatine before killing him. Master Windu ended the attack only by taking the Chancellor’s life. This was purely an act of self-defense against a tyrant who had murdered 99 percent of the Jedi and sought to finish the job. It was not, as the prosecution has attempted to establish, a bid for power or an act of vengeance on a statesman who interfered too much in Jedi affairs. The five Jedi who entered the Chancellor’s office that day sought to take him into custody. Palpatine, however, did not give them that option. They could kill him, or be killed themselves. I certainly hope the Court’s verdict reflects this concrete, undeniable evidence. Thank you.”

    Rosario banged her gavel again. “The Court will reconvene tomorrow at 0800, at which time we will issue our verdict.”




    Anakin, Obi-Wan and Mace were met outside the courtroom by Rex and Cody, who handed them their lightsabers. “Bad news, Generals,” Rex said. “It’s already ugly out there.”

    “What is?” Obi-Wan asked.

    “The People’s Inquest, sir,” Rex replied. “I’ve got 50 men stationed out there to hold them off but still…you’re walking into a gundaark’s nest.”

    “We’ll handle it,” Anakin said. They entered the lift, and Obi-Wan pushed the button to descend to the bottom level.

    “All the same, we are escorting you. I want the honor of arresting Paudaunette myself,” Rex said.

    “I’ll pin her down while you put the cuffs on her,” Cody replied.

    “Are the protests violent?” Mace asked.

    “No blood yet, but there have been some objects thrown and glass broken. Echo and Fives made ten arrests already. The protests started at 500 Republica but my men quickly headed them off,” Cody replied.

    500 Republica. They were looking for Padme. And the babies, Anakin thought. He quickly stifled a surge of anger; his hand went to his lightsaber.

    Rex seemed to read Anakin’s mind. “They were, um, trying to make their presence known to the Chancellor,” he said. “His guards held them off and contacted the 501st.”

    Anakin nodded. All the same, had Padme not gone to Naboo… He didn’t allow himself to complete the thought.

    The lift doors opened into the lobby of the Court building. The Jedi and clones could hear the growing shouts outside. As they opened the lobby doors to exit the building, they saw that the walkway was guarded by a legion of clones, who were holding back crowds of demonstrators on both sides. They were holding signs that read “Jedi murderers!”, “Justice for Palpatine!” and “We will not be ruled by a band of evil sorcerers!” Anakin ducked as an object was thrown at his head. The object smashed into the pavement; it turned out to be a glass bottle. Rex gestured at one of the soldiers guarding the walkway, who immediately handcuffed the protestor. Another woman threw a bottle at Mace; he deflected it using the Force and it shattered. She shouted, “You wizards think you are above the rest of us!” and spat at him, but missed. She was also quickly handcuffed. Numerous shouts of “Murderers!” “Scum!” “Traitors!” and “Execute them for treason!” rang through the air.

    The Jedi moved as quickly as possible to the waiting speeder, which was also heavily guarded by clone soldiers. They got in quickly, Anakin and Obi-Wan in front, Mace in the rear. Obi-Wan pushed a button on the dashboard, and a glass roof covered them. “No open cockpit today, Anakin,” he said.

    “I agree, Master,” Anakin replied.

    “I believe Rex just called in for another legion of clones,” Mace said. “There may be many arrests made before this is over.”

    “If Cody’s squadron headed off the protestors from 500 Republica, I assume it’s safe to go back that way?” Anakin said.

    Obi-Wan sighed. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, Anakin, but…use one of your shortcuts.”

    He grinned. “Your wish is my command, Master,” he said, giving the speeder’s wheel a deft turn and causing it to plunge several stories.

    “But warn us before you do that!” Obi-Wan said, gripping the console.

    “Consider yourself warned,” Anakin said, making a fast 180 degree turn and plunging in the opposite direction.

    “Anakin!” Obi-Wan said, gripping the console again. After he caught his breath, he added, “I have the code for Bail’s private landing platform, the code that was revised just this morning, so go there.”

    Anakin nodded and accelerated quickly. Within minutes they were landing at the highly secured platform of the Chancellor’s private quarters at 500 Republica. Obi-Wan punched in the code to gain them admittance, Anakin parked the speeder and they got out, breathing a sigh of relief.

    Guards stationed outside the entrance palmed the door open for the Jedi, who found Bail standing by the window, a glass of wine in his hand. He had shed his Chancellor’s robes and wore slacks and a turtleneck. He turned quickly when the door opened, smiled when he saw his guests. “You’re safe, good,” he said. “I was beginning to worry. That was even worse than I expected. Rex is supposed to contact me as soon as the crowd is completely dispersed.” He held up his glass. “Can I offer you some?”

    “Yes,” Anakin said immediately. Obi-Wan looked at him, then turned to Bail and accepted a glass as well. Mace politely declined. Bail went to the kitchen, quickly poured two glasses and brought them to the Jedi. As he handed Anakin his glass, he said, “By the way, please go in my study and put a com call through to your wife before she implodes my private channel trying to get through to you again. She’s called at least three times in the past hour.”

    Anakin’s brow furrowed; his hand shook as he set his glass down. “Did she say what was wrong? Is she alright?”

    Bail smiled. “She’s fine, I think she’s worried about whether you are alright.”

    “I should have told her to leave the Holonet turned off,” Anakin muttered as he dashed into the next room.

    “Good luck with that,” Bail said, laughing.

    Anakin, now in the study, found the comlink that connected to Bail’s private network and connected to the Naberrie’s Varykino residence. It buzzed a couple of times before Sola picked up. “Anakin,” she said. “Good to see you’re in one piece. What a mess that was.”

    “I wish they hadn’t broadcast it over the entire galaxy,” Anakin muttered.

    “Well people love a good riot, it makes headlines,” Sola replied. “You did the right thing sending Padme and the babies here.”

    He nodded at the same time that Padme dashed in; her hologram appeared next to her sister’s, and even in that form, Anakin could see the fear written on her face. “Oh, Anakin…”

    “It’s alright, love, I’m fine. Compared to Teth or Kothlis that was easy.”

    Sola squeezed her sister’s shoulder and then withdrew. “But how could they do that to you after the proof the defense has presented?” Padme continued.

    “Because they hate Jedi and they can,” Anakin said.

    “Have any arrests been made?”

    “Yes. Bail is waiting on the final count I think. Really, Padme, I wish you hadn’t watched it, I’m sure it got blown up into much worse than it was. It was worse when Orn Free Taa called you a slut in the Senate chambers.”

    “Free Taa didn’t throw anything at my head though. And as far as my not watching—you can protect me from many things, Anakin, but information isn’t one of them.”

    Anakin sighed. “I’m aware of that. You’ve made that clear many times before. Doesn’t stop me from trying though.” He changed the subject. “Where are the babies?”

    “Here,” Padme said, reaching down and picking up Leia. They had apparently been resting on a mat on the floor of the study. Anakin watched the hologram of his baby girl as she babbled and waved her arms in the air. He smiled at her. “I miss you, Princess,” he said. She smiled, babbled and waved her arms again.

    Padme bent down again, Leia disappeared from sight, and Padme reappeared holding Luke. Even through holograms the baby’s eyes caught Anakin’s own. Anakin smiled. “Hi handsome,” he said. Luke babbled, and Anakin raised his eyebrows. “Yes, I completely agree, Master Yoda’s nose hairs are much too long,” he said.

    Padme burst into laughter. “Ani!” she said reprovingly. The laughter stopped almost as soon as it started, and she sighed. “I miss you,” she said.

    “With some luck I’ll leave tomorrow night,” Anakin said.

    “Yes,” Padme replied. “Just get out of there as soon as you can before the rioters have a chance to get restarted.”

    “I’ll do what I can,” Anakin said. Neither of them addressed aloud the “What if…?” question that hung on both of their minds. They quickly said their goodnights and turned the comlink off.




    “Fifty-two total arrests,” Bail was saying as Anakin returned to the living area. “And Cody got the pleasure of handcuffing Paudaunette.” He grinned.

    “What did she do exactly to get herself handcuffed?” Anakin asked, taking his glass of wine from Bail and sipping it.

    “Threw a rock at Rex’s head and spat at him,” Bail replied. “Fortunately Rex was wearing his helmet. He held her at blaster point while Cody cuffed her. That should end People’s Inquest demonstrations for awhile. At least we hope.” He met Anakin’s eyes. “Everything alright on Naboo?”

    Anakin nodded. “Padme and the children are fine.”

    “And Padme has seen you now and knows that you are in one piece, no broken bones, no lacerations, no ysalamaris wrapped around your head?”

    Anakin laughed. “Yes.”

    “Good,” Bail said, and turned to the other Jedi. “Shall we eat?”




    A tense silence fell over the courtroom as the Jedi entered it for the final time and were seated. Rosario scanned the room quickly, locked eyes with Anakin and Mace, then spoke. “The Galactic Supreme Court has reached its verdict in the case of the Republic v. the High Council of the Jedi Order on the charges of treason and premeditated murder in the assassination of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.” She turned to the justices seated behind her.

    “Gafomaar?”

    “Not guilty.”

    “Zionz?”

    “Not guilty.”

    “Yoan?”

    “Guilty as charged.”

    Anakin’s rapidly pounding heart leapt into his throat.

    “Ijaaz?”

    “Not guilty.”

    “Arkada?”

    “Guilty as charged.”

    “Inkari?”

    “Guilty as charged.”

    “Jahsop?”

    “Not guilty.”

    “Major?”

    “Not guilty.”

    “Hunt?”

    “Guilty as charged.”

    “Vand?”

    “Not guilty.”

    “Fotzekotze?”

    “Not guilty.”

    “And I am entering my own verdict of ‘not guilty.’” Rosario banged her gavel. “The majority of this Court has determined that Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker acted in self-defense and will not be sentenced for the assassination of Chancellor Palpatine. These Jedi Masters are free to go at the end of this session. The injunction that restricts them from travel outside Coruscant is now lifted.”

    Cheers erupted in the courtroom. Anakin felt dizzy with relief, his heart pounding, but he could not surpress a grin. Naboo, he thought. I can go to Naboo. Finally.

    Rosario banged her gavel again. “However,” she said, and the courtroom once again grew silent. “This Court is ordering some changes in the operations of the Jedi Council. The era of secrecy, which led to numerous accusations against the Jedi, up to and including this trial, is over. Supreme Chancellor Organa will appoint a committee in the Senate to oversee Jedi budgets, which will now be public record. This committee will also approve any requests by the Jedi to keep certain information classified, and oversee any complaints of unauthorized or unacceptable use of the Force. Each subsequent Supreme Chancellor will appoint a similar committee. The Jedi serve at the behest of the citizens of the Republic and the Galactic Congress, and as such, we must have access on demand to their records. Secrecy will be the exception rather than the rule in the new Order of the Jedi.” She banged her gavel again. “This session of the Galactic Supreme Court is now adjourned.”

    Everyone stood, chatter erupted around the room. Anakin and Mace met each other’s eyes. Anakin extended his hand; Mace Windu had never been for anything more than a handshake. But the Korun Jedi Master surprised him by putting an arm around his shoulders. “You have done well, Anakin,” he said.

    “Thank you, Master Windu,” he stammered. “I’m just glad it’s over.”

    Obi-Wan clapped a hand on Anakin’s shoulder. “I’m guessing you’re going to be in hyperspace within a few hours. Want to grab a meal first?”

    “I’d love to. But give me a minute, there is someone I want to speak with.”

    Obi-Wan nodded, and Anakin walked quickly away from the Jedi and towards the closed door of one of the courtroom’s antechambers. He knocked, and the door slid open, revealing Adri at her desk, several datapads spread in front of her. She looked up briefly. “Master Skywalker,” she said. “What can I do for you?”

    Anakin found himself at a loss for words. He took a deep breath and stood in the door frame, gazing at her. She returned the gaze. “Do you need something?”

    Anakin swallowed and found his voice. “I just wanted to thank you,” he said quietly.

    Her expression softened, and she smiled. “You and Master Windu saved the Republic. We owe you our thanks.”

    “We only did our jobs,” Anakin said.

    Her smile widened. “And I only did mine,” she said. “And it was my pleasure. You know, you remind me a bit of my son.”

    “You have a son?” Anakin had not given much thought to his attorney’s family. She had never before volunteered such information, and he had not wanted to ask.

    “He’s a Republic Navy pilot,” she said. “He may be a little younger than you. He’s 21.”

    “I’m 23,” Anakin said.

    “That’s what I thought,” Adri said. “You’re quite a bit alike. He has a big heart and a flaming temper. And his greatest passions are machinery and intelligent women.”

    Anakin laughed. “Only one intelligent woman in my case,” he said.

    She raised her eyebrows. “Enjoy your trip to Naboo,” she said. “Hold your babies; they grow up before you can blink. And while I hope you never again need legal assistance, feel free to call on me.”

    “Thank you again,” Anakin said. “I mean it. I feel like I owe you a life debt.”

    “You Jedi keep doing what you do best, protecting and defending the Republic, and you will have paid it,” she said.





    The Naberries tuned in anxiously to the Holonet news feed. Padme held Luke, who had fallen asleep; her mother held Leia; her father and Sola stood behind her, each tightly gripping the back of her chair. Sola’s children, having given up on getting the adults’ attention after being shushed all morning, had finally retreated to their playroom upstairs.

    “A verdict was reached today by the Galactic Supreme Court in the case of the Republic v. the Jedi Council in the case of the assassination of Chancellor Palpatine,” the reporter announced. Padme felt her heart plunge into her stomach; the hands on the back of her chair tightened. She rested her cheek against Luke’s head, deeply inhaling the sweet scent that only comes from a baby, willing herself to be calm, to hope…

    “In an 8-4 ruling, the Court ruled that Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker acted in self-defense. Evidence presented by defense counsel Arili Adri indicated that the late Supreme Chancellor attacked the Jedi, murdering three of them, Masters Kit Fisto, Saesee Tinn and Agen Kolar. The remaining two Jedi Masters had no choice but to fight Palpatine to his death. Masters Windu and Skywalker will not be sentenced for the former Chancellor’s assassination. I repeat, this is breaking news: Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker have been declared innocent in the assassination of Chancellor Palpatine. The trial is over, and the Jedi are free.”

    The hands moved from the back of the chair to Padme’s shoulders. She let out a breath that she did not know she had been holding, and the tears that fell into her son’s hair were tears of relief.





    “I will probably see you in a week,” Obi-Wan said as Anakin prepared to board his ship. “Mace and I are going to meet Yoda on Naboo; the Jedi Council will need to convene to decide how we want to proceed as far as headquarters on that planet.”

    “The Queen is leasing us a lodge in the Lake Country,” Anakin said. “It’s out of the way and has plenty of space indoors and out. Should work pretty well for awhile anyway.” His brow furrowed. “What about this new court ruling?”

    “We have a Supreme Chancellor friendly to the Jedi so for a few years it won’t have much effect on us,” Obi-Wan replied. “Palpatine had already made many of our doings public. The ruling just gives in to some People’s Inquest demands regarding budgetary requests. We will not be able to keep those classified for security reasons without the consent of this committee that Bail is supposed to appoint. Which could be a problem in some cases but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

    “In other words, the Jedi Order is directly intertwined in politics now.”

    Obi-Wan laughed. “Given that certain Jedi married a Galactic Senator without the knowledge or permission of the Council, I would say that’s nothing new.”

    Anakin ignored the lighthearted reproval. “You could come to Naboo now, Obi-Wan,” Anakin said.

    He shook his head. “No,” he said. “Take this time, you need it. Bail is leaving for Alderaan tomorrow; he and Breha are bringing the new baby home. He won’t be calling Padme back to Coruscant for at least a couple of weeks; Mon Mothma will preside over any emergency Senate business. Spend some time in Varykino with no obligations but your family. You have never gotten that chance, who knows when it will reappear.”

    Anakin smiled. “You are right, and thank you.”

    “May the Force be with you, old friend.”

    “May the Force be with you, Master.”





    Anakin came out of hyperspace with the lush green planet in his viewport. “This is Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker, requesting permission to land in Theed.”

    “This is Captain Mako Anan of Queen Apailana’s security service. Permission granted, Master Skywalker. Welcome home.”

    Home, Anakin thought, grinning. Yes, Naboo was home.

    He expertly landed his ship in one of Theed Palace’s hangars, lowered the ramp and exited. Meeting him on the platform was Queen Apailana, surrounded by her guards and handmaidens. Anakin bowed. “Your Highness,” he said.

    “Master Skywalker,” she replied. “The Naboo, and the Republic, owe you a debt of gratitude.”

    “Thank you,” he said.

    “The Jedi Council is welcome to use the lodge in the Lake Country as planetary headquarters for as long as necessary. As I have already told Master Yoda, we are thankful that the Jedi will have a presence here. Please inform either myself or Governor Bibble if the Palace can be of any assistance to you.”

    Anakin nodded, and the Queen continued. “I won’t keep you. I know you are anxious to go to Varykino.” She smiled. “You have the most beautiful children.”

    Anakin returned the smile. “They take after their mother.”

    “Tell her I would like to see her again before she returns to Coruscant,” she replied. “Have a good trip.”

    “Thank you, Your Highness.” Anakin bowed again and set out from the Palace. He had one stop to make before renting a water speeder and heading for Varykino. At a jeweler’s.





    The trip across the water was a blur. Anakin was sure that he drove the speeder at an unsafe speed, but no lake patrol droids caught him and he only splashed himself a couple of times. He had barely docked and exited the speeder when he saw Padme running towards him. He broke into a run as well, picked her up and twirled her around, inhaling the scent of her hair, the scent of rain water and flowers, before locking his lips onto hers.

    “You’re here,” Padme said breathlessly when the kiss ended. “You’re really here.”

    “Of course I am,” he said, smiling, and hugged her again tightly, lifting her off the ground. “And if I can help it, I will never be away from you again.”

    Padme laughed. “Let’s not go overboard on the promises just yet, Master Skywalker,” she said. With her arm around his waist, his around her shoulders, they walked toward the house, where her parents stood in the doorway, each holding an infant.

    Luke and Leia were placed in their father’s arms; Jobal kissed Anakin’s cheek, Ruwee put a hand on his shoulder and said, “Welcome back, son.” Anakin murmured “Thank you” while gazing into his children’s eyes.

    They went inside; Anakin sat on the sofa, the babies still in his arms, Padme sat beside him. For several minutes neither of them spoke. Anakin watched the babies; Padme rested her head on Anakin’s shoulder.

    “Are you going to meet with the Council while Master Yoda is still here?” she asked.

    “Yes,” Anakin said. “But not right away. Obi-Wan and Master Windu will be here in about a week. Until then…” He grinned at her. “No war, no politics. Just us.”

    She sighed, stroking the top of Leia’s head. “That’s wonderful. How long have we waited for this?”

    “Too long,” Anakin said. “Way too long.”
  6. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Of course I am not surprised at the "not guilty" considering everything. But this is new - the Jedi not withdrawing from ties with the Republic to some oversight/further intwining.

    I actually got the biggest kick out of Cody and Rex and their - er, enthusiasm - for arresting protestors.
  7. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    More or less like I remember!

    The reunion was great! :)
  8. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    @Valairy Scot : I did some research on anti-Jedi sentiment on Wook before I wrote this; one of the biggest causes was the Order's secrecy. Palpatine exploited all the anti-Jedi sentiment for his own gain and I figured that even had they managed to defeat him, the Order would change forever.

    And I thoroughly enjoyed writing Rex and Cody. :p

    @Lady_Misty : Thanks! More to come on that one.

    This will be the last post before the epilogue, and there is a bit here that sets up for the sequels. Thanks for reading. :)


    **********

    That night after the sun set and the babies were asleep, they walked outside and stood in the spot overlooking the lake where they had shared their first kiss, and later, where they had married. Anakin held Padme’s hand and stared at the moon shining on the water, not speaking.

    “What is it?” she asked.

    “Just remembering,” he said, and looked at her and smiled.

    She returned the smile. “I am too,” she said.

    “There…is something else.” Anakin pulled a small black box from his cloak and opened it to reveal two simple gold bands. “We’re not hiding anymore, the entire galaxy knows we’re married. I would have liked to have done this on our wedding day, but…” He took the smallest gold band from the box.

    “Oh Anakin…” she said, holding out her hand and letting him slide the band onto her left ring finger.

    “I thought it was time,” he said, handing her the box. She took out the remaining ring and slid it onto the ring finger of his left hand.

    “It is,” she said, cupping his face for a kiss.

    “I suppose we should have had R2 and 3PO witness this as well,” Anakin said, laughing.

    Padme laughed. “No, they’re both shut down for the night, and it’s better that way,” she said, pulling Anakin in for another kiss. “Shall we go back inside?”




    Blood. There was so much blood.

    His mother’s blood, dried and caked on her face, staining the sand in the Tusken tent.

    The blood of hundreds of Jedi Knights, splattered on the ground in the Geonosis arena.

    His own blood pouring onto the floor of the hangar after Count Dooku cut off his arm.

    Padme’s blood running down her back after the nexu scratched her.

    Obi-Wan’s blood covering his face after he was caught in the Separatist terror attack in the Court district.

    Ahsoka’s blood bubbling on her lips after Grievous stabbed her.

    The blood of his men, the soldiers that Palpatine found disposable like so much garbage, but that the Jedi grew to know as friends. Their blood spilled on the battlefield, on the ships of their enemies, on their own ships.

    The blood of the younglings, ordered slaughtered by Palpatine for the crime of being Jedi, pooling on the floor of the Council chambers.

    Anakin could not stop it. Tourniquets, pressure to the wounds, nothing helped. It kept coming.

    Then Palpatine, more sinister in death than he had been in life. “Only I can stop the blood, Anakin. Ever hear of the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It’s a Sith legend. He could create life, and he had the power to stop death…”

    “Anakin!” He heard Padme’s frightened cry and felt a cool cloth against his face. His throat was raw and he realized that he had been screaming. He could not catch his breath; his heart pounded. He rolled over onto his side, hoping he could breathe more easily that way. He faced the window, which was open, the night air of Naboo soothed his burning skin. He touched the top of his head, which was drenched in sweat. Padme knelt next to his side of the bed and continued to sponge his forehead. The moonlight gave her face a soft glow. Her brown eyes were wide; she looked frightened, but her voice was even, and it calmed him.

    “Breathe,” she said, wiping away the sweat from his clammy skin. His breath still came in short gasps; he tried to concentrate on evening it out. In slowly, out slowly, in slowly, out slowly.

    But there was so much blood. His heart raced again. Inhale…exhale, he ordered himself.

    “Another premonition?” Padme asked.

    He gulped, shook his head. “Flashbacks,” he managed. His voice was hoarse and scratchy. “Did I wake the babies?”

    “No,” she said. “You weren’t that loud. You were thrashing quite a bit though.” She wrung out the cloth, returning it to the basin of cool water. He must have thrashed around in his sleep long enough for her to go to the ‘fresher and fill up the bowl. She climbed back into bed beside him, snuggled next to him, her head on his shoulder, and took his hand in hers. “Can you tell me?”

    So much blood. He started to say it, and immediately thought better of it. She would want details, of each battle, each flashback. And he couldn’t tell her. Couldn’t bear to see the heartbreak on her face. It was better that she never learn the full horror of the war that she worked so hard to prevent.

    He kissed her forehead, held her more closely. “I can’t right now, Padme,” he said. “I really…I can’t talk about it.” He closed his eyes.

    He felt her fingers touch his cheek, running a line down to the stubble on his chin; when they found his mouth, he kissed the fingertips. She rested her palm on his chest, the place where his heart was returning to its normal beat. “The war is over, Ani,” she said. “It really is. I don’t know what you saw, but you won’t have to see it again.”

    We can hope, Anakin thought. He wasn’t sure. He never was anymore.




    Anakin woke to a full sun streaming in the windows. What time is it? he thought. Padme’s side of the bed was cool; she had been up for awhile. He stood slowly, rubbed his eyes, dressed, and went downstairs. There was no sign of Padme or the babies. Jobal stood alone in the kitchen, stirring a pot on the stove, from which a heavenly aroma floated.

    “Good morning,” Anakin said.

    She smiled and winked. “It’s afternoon,” she said, giving the pot another stir and closing the lid.

    “Really? Incredible,” he replied, running a hand through his hair. “I’m pretty sure I haven’t slept past 0800 since I was a Padawan. Obi-Wan used to threaten me with a Gungan electropole if I didn’t get out of bed at sunrise.”

    She laughed. “Well, I was told that under no circumstances was anyone allowed to wake you,” she replied. “Padme and Sola took Ryoo and Pooja and the babies outside. Caf?” She poured a cup and handed it to him.

    “Thank you,” he said, taking a sip.

    “Are you hungry?”

    “A little,” he said. He sat at the table and took a few more sips of the caf.

    She smiled. “You’re just being polite. You’re starving.”

    He smiled back. “Well…OK, yes, I am.”

    They both laughed. Jobal opened the oven and took out a loaf of bread. When she turned to Anakin again, her expression had turned much more serious.

    “How are you, Anakin?” She asked.

    He shrugged. “Fine. Why?”

    “No, how are you really? Padme said you had a rough night.”

    He took a spoon and stirred his caf, saying nothing for a minute. “I’ve been prone to nightmares since I was a kid. It’s fine.”

    He could tell from the look on her face that she didn’t believe him.

    “War can break the strongest of us. Hurt us in places that we didn’t know we could hurt. Even Jedi.”

    Especially Jedi, Anakin thought, but didn’t say anything. He felt like a shell around him had broken, a bandage had been torn off an old wound, leaving raw, exposed, tender skin. And it did hurt.

    Screaming. His mother calling to him in his dream to come save her. Ahsoka crying to him over their bond when Bane had her trapped, when the Geonosian brain worms attacked everyone on her ship, and her final scream when Grievous plunged his lightsaber into her. The clone soldiers,hismen, screaming as they lost arms and legs in battle or worse, when they were hit in the abdomen by Separatist blasters. The screams of the citizens of Coruscant as they saw the Jedi Temple in flames.

    The war was over but the screaming echoed.

    Jobal Naberrie ladled a bowl of stew for her son-in-law and set it on a plate with a couple of slices of bread. When she turned to face him again, she saw that he had lowered his head, covered his eyes with his trembling flesh hand, his shoulders shaking.

    She set the plate in front of him, squeezed his shoulder then backed away, giving him the space he needed.

    He quickly composed himself. “I’m sorry,” he said, sniffing and taking a half-hearted swipe at his eyes.

    She turned back to him. “For what?” she asked. She sat across from him, took his wrist. “Anakin, listen to me. You need to heal. Padme does too, but you especially…And it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not necessarily going to feel good either. There will be tears. Allow them to happen. It’s the only way you’re going to get through this and come out on the other side.”

    Anakin wanted to ask her about her own experience with war, with the Federation blockade, if she had been in Theed, been taken into a camp or had to go into hiding. And Padme—fear for her safety was a fear that he understood all too well, and he knew that time period was terrifying for her parents.

    “Ruwee and I ran the Refugee Relief Movement for years,” she said. “So many of the people came from areas devastated by war. Some had been forced to fight it directly, although they were not trained for it. They lost their homes, many of them lost their families.” She met Anakin’s eyes. “The ones that were able to heal were those who didn’t pretend they weren’t hurting. Who allowed themselves to not be strong all the time.”

    Anakin sipped his caf and ate a spoonful of stew. “After my Padawan died, I was supposed to take a week’s leave. Then we got new intelligence that General Grievous was planning a new large-scale attack in the Outer Rim and they needed all hands on deck. A week’s leave turned into one night’s leave, and we got stuck on the Outer Rim for five months. When I finally got back, Padme was pregnant and heavily showing.”

    “She said she hid the pregnancy under her clothes.”

    “She did, and pretty well. I sensed it—actually I sensed something even from the Outer Rim—but it wasn’t blatantly obvious until she told me, even though she was so far along with twins. I couldn’t really tell until she got out of her Senate garb.” He looked down. “She was completely alone. Dealing with horrific morning sickness and all the other changes and couldn’t tell anyone. I wasn’t there.”

    “It wasn’t your fault.”

    He sighed. “I know. But it feels like it is. I failed in one duty because I was busy performing another one.”

    He looked away as tears filled his eyes again.

    “You were home when they were born…”

    Anakin nodded. “They came six weeks early. The placenta of one of the twins abrupted and she had emergency surgery. That day was scarier than any day I experienced in battle.”

    So much blood, running down Padme’s legs, staining the carpet in the Chancellor’s office…

    He swallowed and closed his eyes; a couple of tears spilled from them. His heart pounded.

    Jobal squeezed his shoulder again. “Take your time, Anakin.”

    He took a couple of deep breaths and nodded. “She’s fine now. That’s all that matters,” he said, as much for himself as for her.

    Jobal replied softly, “And the trial is over. The Jedi have sustained great losses but you are rebuilding the Order.”

    He nodded again slowly.

    “Do you feel any better?”

    He opened his eyes and nodded again. “Yes. Thank you.”

    “Good.” She gave his shoulder another squeeze. “Eat, then go outside and get some air. The breezes here are balm for the most wounded souls.”

    “I know,” Anakin said. A minute later he was spooning stew into his mouth.




    In a highly secured underground fort on Geonosis, Asajj Ventress, Sly Moore, Wat Tambor and Poggle the Lesser waited impatiently for the arrival of a fifth visitor. The knock on the door a few minutes later announced his arrival. Ventress slid the door open using the Force, and the tall, black-haired man entered.

    “Ventress,” he said coldly.

    “Pestage,” she replied in the same tone, then looked at the others. “Are we ready to begin?”

    “Yes,” Poggle replied. “What do we have?”

    “The Jedi are rebuilding their Order,” Pestage said. “Although they now have to get permission from some Senate committee if they even want to ignite their lightsabers.” He laughed. A cold gaze from Ventress and the laughter stopped.

    “Do we have a spy on that committee?” she asked.

    “That could be arranged,” Sly Moore said. “I could be very…persuasive with the Senators when the last Chancellor was in office.”

    “I could as well,” Pestage said.

    “You fool,” Ventress said to Pestage. “You threatened people. Don’t you think that would be a bit obvious now, after you cut a deal with Organa and testified for the Jedi in order to save your own sorry, slimy hide?” She looked at Moore. “We need her. She doesn’t strong arm anyone. Her methods are a little more…subtle.”

    “What exactly do you mean?” Tambor asked.

    “She gets inside their minds,” Ventress said. “Much more effective.”

    “So we persuade some Senators to our side,” Poggle said. “We find any remaining Separatists who were not the cowards that Gunray and San Hill are, who are a little more interested in telling Organa to take his treaty and shove it. Then what?”

    “That will take some time,” Ventress said. “There are Separatist cells all over the Outer Rim, a few in Wild Space as well.” She looked at Pestage. “That will be your job.”

    He returned her sneer. “Of course,” he said.

    “What of the Jedi?” Sly Moore said.

    Ventress looked at her. “Patience,” she said.

    “Patience?” Tambor asked. He pointed at his missing eye. “Skywalker did this to me. I want revenge. On him and Chancellor Organa.”

    Ventress’ hand shot out and Tambor fell backward, pushed to the ground by the Force. “Idiot!” she said. “The Clone War just ended. The Jedi and Organa think they have brought peace to the galaxy. They must be allowed to think that. They must let down their guard, become complacent, before we can strike. At the moment, even after the Order 66 deaths, there are still too many of them and too few of us. If we strike now we will be defeated easily. We must wait.”

    “How long?” Tambor asked, getting up and brushing himself off.

    “As long as it takes,” Ventress said. She grinned. “Years, if necessary. I have all the time I need. Battles have been lost by those who were impatient. Ask Skywalker. The scar over his eye was my gift, the metal arm was Dooku’s.” She laughed.

    “What of his precious Senator and their filthy spawn?” Pestage asked.

    “The twins are very well protected right now,” Ventress said. “Mommy and Daddy aren’t sure they are out of danger. We need to wait until they are sure.” She sneered. “We do nothing.”

    “Nothing?” Poggle asked.

    “Not nothing, you idiot. We regroup. We gather forces. And then we go after the Jedi themselves, and the legislators who refuse to see things our way.” She gave Pestage a hard cold gaze. “The children are a last resort. There will be too much of an outcry and too great of a fight if they are taken young. They could eventually be a very strong bargaining chip for Skywalker, Amidala and Organa, but…we wait.”

    Poggle nodded, his concession to Ventress. “Skywalker can be dangerous. I have seen personally the lengths to which he would go to protect his Padawan.” Poggle shuddered at the memory of the invisible hand around his throat, cutting off his airway even as he was lifted against the wall of his cell. “He would be more menacing in the face of a threat to his own flesh and blood.”

    “Tano. Ah yes, he was very fond of his obnoxious little pet.” Ventress laughed. “And you are right. I take great pleasure in imagining the lengths to which he would go to protect his brats. We can use that to our advantage. We might even be able to throw in Organa’s brat as a consolation prize.”

    Wat Tambor looked excited. Ventress noticed, and glared at him. “But we wait. If you are interested in enacting personal vengeance on Organa or the Jedi, Tambor, I suggest you keep yourself undercover and alive until the time is right.” She glared at Pestage. “You as well.”

    His sinister grin matched one of her better ones. “Oh, I am a very patient man, Ventress. You know that.” The grin disappeared and he glared at her. “But I expect to be rewarded handsomely.”

    She met his cold stare with her own. “Of course you do.”




    Blood. The blood of the citizens of Christophsis, staining the streets of the Crystal City after their futile attempts to defend themselves against the Separatists.
    The terrified rodent melting into its own blood on Lanteeb, a victim of Lok Durd’s biological weapon, which could cause populations of entire planets to dissolve in one astronomical pool of blood.

    Screaming, then the deafening silence as their communications were jammed and they had to fight the Separatists on Kothlis in silence…Ahsoka’s silent scream over their bond as her ribs were broken…the frustrating silence of the medical team as he demanded, begged, for some information on his Padawan and the injured clones…Ahsoka’s words, “All those who are going to die, have died, Master…” Screaming, and then the silence of death…

    Anakin was grateful that this time, he didn’t cry out and awaken Padme. The expression on her sleeping face in the light of Naboo’s moon was as peaceful as it had been on their wedding night, so peaceful that Anakin’s heart climbed into his throat. He smoothed her hair, pulled the blanket to her chin, kissed her cheek and slowly got out of bed.

    He listened for the twins; they were sleeping soundly as well. He went outside and leaned on the railing, gazing at the full moon reflected off the lake.

    “Master?”

    Ahsoka’s shimmering form appeared next to him. He turned to her and smiled slightly. “It’s been awhile, Snips.”

    “I know. I’m sorry.”

    “No need to apologize. Once I pass onto the other side of the Force, I don’t know how often I’ll want to reappear on this side either.”

    “But you will,” she said. “In fact, everything has almost settled down enough to start our lessons. But that isn’t why I’m here.”

    He sighed. “I suppose I’m about to find out.”

    “First I wanted to tell you that I’m proud of you. You did well during the trial.”

    “Well, thanks.”

    “It was hard on Padme, you know.”

    He had returned his gaze to the moonlit lake but now whirled to face her again. “What are you talking about?”

    “You hadn’t noticed?” She asked.

    He was speechless for a minute, a little angry, but then he sighed and looked out at the lake again. “No, I guess I didn’t.”

    “She was trying to be strong for you, but this was hard on her as well.”

    He sighed again. “I know. Or I should have known. Of course it was. But really, Ahsoka, I didn’t need anything else to feel guilty about.” He turned, walked to a nearby bench and sat down, his head in his hands.

    “That isn’t why I told you. You two need to talk. You’re shutting her out of your nightmares.”

    “She doesn’t need to know what I see in those,” Anakin said stubbornly.

    “Actually I think she does.”

    “I have to agree.” The voice was very familiar, although he had not heard it in years, and he jumped in surprise.

    “Master Qui-Gon?”

    Qui-Gon Jinn’s shimmering form appeared next to Ahsoka’s. “Hello, Anakin.”

    He caught his breath. “OK, Ahsoka did say you were training her, I don’t know why I’m surprised…”

    He smiled. “You shouldn’t be.” The smile disappeared. “Anakin, your mother-in-law is right. Healing is a long and painful process. You can’t do this alone. And Padme isn’t going to be tolerant of your silence. The idea of your hiding information to protect her—you of all people should know that that won’t go over well.”

    Anakin’s head went back into his hands and for a minute he said nothing. When he did speak, his voice was muffled. “I don’t know why this is happening to me.”

    “Because you’ve been through hell,” Ahsoka said.

    He lifted his head and looked at her. “I hear you screaming for me over and over, and I can’t reach you.” His voice choked and the tears started, and he put his head in his hands again.

    “Anakin, you did everything you could,” Qui-Gon said.

    “I wish I could believe that,” he replied between sobs.

    “You keep revisiting those scenes because you still think you should be able to fix what happened.”

    He didn't answer.

    “I called for you because I knew you would come help me as quickly as you could—and you did. You were—are--my hero, but I knew that even you would lose some battles. You are not all powerful,” Ahsoka said.

    “I should be.”

    “No, you shouldn’t,” Qui-Gon replied. “You don’t want that kind of responsibility, even if you think you do.”

    Anakin wiped his eyes and looked at Qui-Gon. “My mom…the day she…I heard you.”

    “Yes,” he said. “I had to interfere. You would have wiped out the entire camp.”

    “I know,” Anakin replied.

    “I am sorry about Shmi. I was fond of her, in the short time we spent together. She did not deserve such a cruel death.”

    Anakin nodded and the sobbing started again. After a couple of minutes he said, “Obi-Wan…is this happening to him too?”

    Qui-Gon raised his eyebrows. “I think that’s a question that you need to ask him yourself,” he said.

    Anakin didn't answer.

    “This will get better.”

    Anakin took a deep breath and wiped his face.

    “There is one other thing, Master,” Ahsoka added.

    Anakin sniffled and looked at her.

    “Ventress,” she said.

    “What about her? She’s been laying low ever since Dooku was killed.”

    “You don’t expect her to do that forever, do you?” Ahsoka said. “That hairless harpy isn’t known for lying down and taking defeat. She might run right now like the coward that she is, but she won’t hide forever.”

    “What do you know?” Anakin asked.

    “Nothing at this point. Just saying you should keep your ears open, and warn the rest of the Council to do the same.”

    “I can do that. Thanks, Snips.”

    “May the Force be with you, Master.” She disappeared. Qui-Gon faded away as well.

    A few minutes later Padme appeared in her robe and slippers. She put Luke in Anakin’s arms and handed him a bottle, then kissed his cheek. “I’m getting Leia, I’ll be back.”

    Anakin settled the baby against his chest, wrapping him in the folds of his robe, and began feeding him. “Well, little guy, I can handle this at least,” he said. “I can take care of you.”

    “Keep that in mind,” Qui-Gon said, re-appearing beside him.

    “Where did you go?” Anakin asked, looking up.

    Qui-Gon didn’t answer. “You are good with the babies, Anakin. Taking care of them comes naturally to you.”

    “Most of the time,” he said.

    “Remember that,” Qui-Gon replied. “The twins don’t need you to fix all the wrongs in the galaxy. They don’t need you to be all powerful. They just need you to be their father. And Padme…she wasn’t looking for a savior or protector when she married you, nor does she need one, as she can take care of herself pretty well. She needs a husband. She needs you to share with her what is going on with you and let her help.”

    Anakin sighed. “I know. I’m trying, I really am.”

    “Sometimes trying to shelter other people is not the best for them, or for us. I’m afraid that’s a lesson you will learn with your children as well, as they get older.”

    “It’s scary,” Anakin said, kissing the top of Luke’s head. “Loving someone this much. Terrifying actually.” The baby gazed upward, at the stars and moon, as he drank.

    “I’m sure it is,” Qui-Gon said. “That is why the Jedi normally prohibit having families.”

    “If you had lived and had trained me, would you have stopped me from marrying Padme?”

    He smiled. “Would you have listened to me if I had tried?”

    “No,” Anakin said.

    “That’s what I thought. There would have been no point. You have a great capacity for love, and that was not something you could just turn off like a switch. I would expect no differently from you.” He paused. “But as you saw in the courtroom, there are those who will try to use Padme and the children against you. Be mindful of that, and do not let them succeed.”

    “Yes, Master, and thank you.”

    “May the Force be with you, Anakin.” Qui-Gon disappeared again, and Padme re-emerged from the house, holding Leia. She sat beside Anakin and began to feed the baby.

    “I know you had another nightmare,” she said quietly after a couple of minutes. “I want you to tell me.”

    “I didn’t want to wake you,” he said.

    “You didn’t. The twins woke up hungry and you weren’t in the bed. I know what it means when you get up in the middle of the night and go outside.” She looked at Leia, then back at her husband. “Talk to me. Please. I love you. I want to help.”

    He looked away. “I love you too. That’s why I want to spare you this.”

    “And I’m asking not to be spared,” she said firmly.

    “Padme, there are some things you really don’t want to know about.”

    “This isn’t one of them,” she replied, a bite of anger in her voice.

    He squeezed his eyes shut for a minute, then took a deep breath. “I see blood and I hear screaming,” he began.

    And he told her, every sordid detail of every flashback. He answered all her questions, although she asked some that he would have given anything to avoid. By the time he finished, they were both sobbing.

    The twins had finished their bottles and fallen asleep. Anakin and Padme carried them back inside and settled them in their cradles, then got back in bed and fell into each other’s arms. They didn’t talk; they held each other, their tears mingling, until sleep came.




    Obi-Wan docked the water speeder, disembarked, and saw Padme coming toward him. She wore a long royal blue gown, her hair pinned back with a gold clip. She was carrying Leia and walking quickly.

    “Obi-Wan,” she said. “I trust your trip was uneventful?”

    “Yes,” he said. He gazed at her, at the dark circles under her eyes, the pallor of her face. “Have the twins been keeping you awake?”

    She sighed. “No, their father has.” She looked away for a minute, then met his eyes. “The nightmares are really bad, Obi-Wan. He cries a lot during the day too. Mostly when he thinks no one is looking.”

    Obi-Wan looked worried. “Has he told you what he sees? Is he having premonitions again?”

    “No. Flashbacks. He did finally tell me, after quite a bit of prompting. He seems to be reliving every battle in all its bloodiest, goriest detail. He’s also reliving his mother’s and Ahsoka’s deaths.”

    Obi-Wan sighed. “Those tragedies compounded an already existing problem. Anakin always took the loss of his men very personally.” He put a hand on Padme’s shoulder. “I know it probably doesn’t seem like Anakin is healing but I’m going to guess that this is a necessary part of the process.”

    She frowned. “I know.”

    “What’s happening during the day? Other than surreptitious tears? Is he functioning otherwise?”

    She nodded. “He takes care of the babies. He plays with Sola's girls. He tinkers with any piece of machinery he can find.”

    They walked around the house and found Anakin facing the water, standing with his legs spread, his arms clasped behind him and his eyes closed. They thought he was meditating but he opened his eyes as soon as they approached.

    “Sorry to interrupt you, Padawan,” Obi-Wan said.

    Anakin shook his head. “Meditation is no use lately.” He took a deep breath.

    Obi-Wan laid a hand on his arm. “It’s no surprise,” he said. “I’ve had a few nightmares myself. I’ve even relived Qui-Gon’s death, and that hasn’t happened in ten years. And Yoda and Mace have both had their meditations disrupted. This is hard on all of us.”

    Padme had put Leia in the stroller next to Luke and was starting to go back into the house, when Anakin held up his hand. “Don’t go, love. Your presence is soothing.”

    Your presence is soothing. The memory of the long-ago interrupted meditation, in this same spot, made tears sting her eyes. In a little over three years’ time, premonitions of horror in an innocent world had become flashbacks of horror in a world that had crumbled. She walked back to him and took her hand in his.

    “Hey,” he said, stroking her cheek. “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing, it’s just…oh, Anakin.” The tears came faster now; he held her and rubbed her back.

    She was trying to be strong for you, but this is hard on her as well.

    Anakin held her more tightly and kissed the top of her head.

    “Should I come back later?” Obi-Wan asked. Anakin and Padme said “no” at the same time and Anakin added, “Please stay, Master.”

    Padme pulled away from Anakin and hastily dried her eyes. “I’m fine, it’s just…look what this war has done to all of us. Look what Palpatine has done to all of us.”

    “That’s the mission of the Sith. To destroy lives. Fortunately we had—have—the means to stop him,” Obi-Wan said.

    “What happens now?” Anakin asked.

    Obi-Wan looked at him. “Time will be the only healer,” he said. For the first time Anakin noticed how tired his former master looked. His eyes were red and bloodshot. Obi-Wan sat on the bench. Anakin picked up Leia, Padme picked up Luke, and they sat next to him.

    “Have you seen Qui-Gon?” Anakin asked, resting his daughter’s head on his shoulder and stroking her back.

    Obi-Wan nodded. “I have. He’s been very helpful.”

    Padme’s eyes widened. “You two are seeing ghosts?”

    Anakin gave her a small smile. “The ancient Journal of the Whills teaches Jedi how to retain their consciousness beyond the Force, so they can help Jedi who are still here. I’ve seen Ahsoka as well.”

    Padme looked stunned and shook her head. “There is far too much that I don’t understand,” she said.

    “Normally we would not share that information beyond the confines of the Jedi but I expect you’ll be privy to many of our secrets,” Obi-Wan said.

    “Well, if it’s helpful…your version of the wisdom of the ancients I suppose…” She looked confused but a little relieved at the same time.

    “You could call it that,” Anakin said. “It’s new to me as well. I think Qui-Gon knew something was going to happen to the Jedi, and started looking for a way he could help us even from beyond the Force.”

    “How would he have known?”

    Anakin looked down. “I don’t know,” he said.

    “Qui-Gon was always more in tune with the Living Force than the rest of us,” Obi-Wan said. “And the Dark Side clouded our vision.”

    For a moment Obi-Wan looked more tired than ever, then he seemed to come back.

    “The best way we can defeat our demons is to rebuild the Order,” he said. “I feel better when I’m actively doing something to fix a problem, and I think you do as well, Anakin.”

    Anakin met Obi-Wan’s eyes and nodded slowly.

    “We’re meeting tomorrow afternoon. Mace arrives in the morning.”

    Anakin nodded again. Obi-Wan stood, with Anakin following him. Anakin put Leia in the stroller, took Obi-Wan’s arm, and pulled the older man into a hug.

    “You should sleep, Master. You don’t look good.”

    Obi-Wan smiled. “I could say the same for you, Padawan.” He squeezed his shoulder. “This will pass in time. For all of us. But it will only pass with time I’m afraid, so we must be patient.”

    Anakin nodded, hanging his head, frowning.




    The lodge that the Jedi had procured for temporary headquarters was sparsely furnished—a sofa, a couple of chairs, a stool that Yoda had co-opted as a meditation stool, situated in front of a large fireplace.

    Anakin entered the room just as the others were settling down with cups of tea. Obi-Wan waved him over. “Good news,” he said. “Mace just received word. We are not the only survivors on the Council after all. Shaak Ti is alive.”

    Anakin’s eyes widened. He sat next to his former master on the couch and took a cup of tea; his hand shook. “Really? Where is she?” Shaak Ti had been in the Temple a mere 30 minutes before the attack by the 501st; the Jedi had assumed that she was among the unrecognizable dead buried in the rubble.

    “Master Ti, as I’m sure you know, is one of the most accomplished in lightsaber skill. She fought off ten clones, escaped in one of their speeders, and managed to get to an off world hangar and leave Coruscant before martial law was enacted. She’s been hiding on Felucia,” Mace said.

    “Felucia? Isn’t that a Separatist world?” Anakin asked.

    “A Separatist world it is,” Yoda said. “Disguised herself, Master Ti did. Befriend the natives, she did as well, and convinced them to hide her.”

    “She was waiting for the outcome of the trial before she revealed herself,” Mace said.

    “Why?” Anakin asked.

    “Because if the outcome had been different, she would have needed to try to rebuild the Order in hiding. As it is, she can join us. She contacted Bail this morning,” Mace said.

    “Bail is still on Alderaan of course, but when he received her message, he contacted Mace,” Obi-Wan said.

    “How is the baby?” Anakin asked.

    Obi-Wan smiled. “Doing well. She has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, even in the holo image Bail sent us. She will be well loved and pampered, I’m sure.”

    Anakin smiled.

    “Anyway,” Obi-Wan continued. “Master Ti will meet us on Coruscant in a week’s time. We need to salvage what we can from the remains of the archives.”

    “Assume, I do, that in charge of this facility, you want to be?” Yoda said, looking at Anakin.

    “I would like that,” Anakin said. “We’re going to get our own place in Theed, put the twins in the same schools that Padme attended.”

    Obi-Wan nodded. “We used to have teachers in the Temple that gave Jedi younglings their education in other subjects,” he said. He frowned. “Of course that is no longer true. Younglings will now need to attend school on worlds where they are being trained.”

    Anakin nodded. He had been behind on his subjects when he arrived at the Temple. Jedi tutors had taught him to read, write and do basic arithmetic, which he picked up quickly. His natural propensity with machinery led to a natural propensity with mathematics.

    “Jedi training used to be all-encompassing and exclusive. It will now be almost supplemental. Extracurricular courses for Force-sensitives,” Mace added.

    “Is that necessarily bad?” Anakin asked.

    “Not necessarily, no,” Mace said.

    “Change we needed,” Yoda said. “Only the beginning, this is.”

    “I will run the training facility on Alderaan; Obi-Wan will be in charge of the one on Corellia. Yoda will stay on Coruscant,” Mace continued.

    “Return there tomorrow, I will,” Yoda said.

    “The Jedi have been given a fresh start,” Mace said. “May we use it well. And may the Force be with us all.”
    Last edited by anakinfansince1983, Oct 7, 2012
  9. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    I was wondering if we would see what happened to the remaining Separtists. Palpatine isn't coming coming back like in Dark Empire is he?
  10. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Die Sith cronies!

    It true that denial is harmful to the healing process.
  11. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Ah, I'd wondered about Obi-Wan also having nightmares (wondered because the focus was of course on Anakin at the time) and I'm so glad Padme's trying times got some attention as well. The always trying to be strong makes me think of Obi-Wan for some reason, although he is not the only one to so behave.

    My prior comment was how in fics no one has ever written about the Jedi getting "tighter" for lack of a better word with the Republic. It's always been withdrawing and serving only the Force, not man.
  12. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Friday's update: buya for the verdict [face_dancing] [face_dancing] Jobal -- so sweetly compassionate and wise! :)

    Yesterday's: -- I am glad that everyone is mutually supporting the other & making concrete tangible plans :) But ick! [face_nail_biting] Ventress and her cabal... Is time to heal going to become a luxury again? :( [face_thinking]
  13. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    @Force Smuggler: You'll see more of the remaining Separatists in the sequels, but no Dark Empire...unlike some of the EU and TCW, my dead characters stay dead. They might reappear as Force ghosts but nothing beyond that.

    @Lady_Misty: Hold that thought... :p

    @Valairy Scot: Yes, Obi-Wan is always trying to be strong, particularly in canon--in this AU he won't have to do that as much, but the war did take its toll on him as well.

    And the withdrawing and serving only the Force--just my opinion but I think they did too much of that in canon and Palpatine exploited it. I know there are fics that have them going that way though. I admit to not being so good at writing the introspective side of the Force, but I don't think even Obi-Wan or Yoda could teach me to be "calm and at peace" long enough to meditate and trust the Force. It's easier for me to write the more, er, active side of it.

    @Jade_eyes : I really enjoyed writing that conversation between Jobal and Anakin. As far as Ventress...um, maybe. It won't be a "happily ever after" for the Jedi by any means.

    Here's the epilogue, I'll post the first part of the sequel within the next couple of days.

    Thanks for following along, I've really enjoyed posting this reboot and glad it got so much response. :)


    **********

    Epilogue



    Theed, the Skywalker residence, four years later




    Luke Skywalker adjusted the helmet over his eyes and powered on his training saber. The remote was…yes…there. He zapped at it, and sensing a hit, it powered off and fell into the grass. Now where was the second remote? He stretched out with the Force…it was…ouch. Poodoo. Too late. He powered down his saber, took off his helmet and slumped onto the grass.

    “You did well, Luke,” Anakin called from the porch, where he had been watching.

    “I missed one,” he said.

    “After having defeated both remotes five times in a row. Take a break.”

    “I’m taking a break,” Leia said. She was sitting on her father’s lap, her head resting against his chest.

    “Battle droids don’t give breaks, Daddy,” Luke said.

    Anakin frowned. “Well, Jedi Masters do, so take one.”

    “Hi, Uncle Obi-Wan,” Leia said. Anakin turned to see his former master climbing up the steps to the porch.

    Obi-Wan approached Anakin and patted the girl’s dark hair. “Hello, Leia.”

    “I beat both of my remotes seven times.”

    He smiled and raised his eyebrows. “Good job.”

    “And I’m going to go do it again,” she said, bounding off Anakin’s lap. “Watch me, Daddy!”

    “I’m watching, Princess,” he said, then turned briefly to Obi-Wan. “Good to see you, Master.”

    “I’ve stopped to refuel and bring you some supplies for the training facility before I head to Coruscant,” he said.

    “We’re headed there tonight ourselves, you could just ride with us. Padme left this morning; I was just waiting for the twins to finish this week in school.” Anakin watched Leia put her helmet on and power her saber.

    “What is Luke doing?” Obi-Wan asked, seeing the boy sitting in the yard.

    “Pouting,” Anakin said. “He’ll be alright in a minute. Leia has beaten him in their training exercises today and he doesn’t like it.” He sighed. “They’re so competitive. Was I ever…?”

    Obi-Wan laughed before Anakin even finished the question. “Do you want me to answer that?”

    “No,” Anakin said, and laughed as well. He changed the subject. “Have you watched the Holonet today? We’ve been training since lunchtime, I haven’t had the chance.”

    “I have, and there is good news. Bail has handily won re-election.”

    Anakin sighed with relief. “Good. I was hoping Padme didn’t leave before the crack of dawn for nothing.”

    “Definitely not. And it would have been very bad for all of us if Free Taa had won.”

    “Yes,” Anakin said.

    “There is also some bad news,” Obi-Wan said.

    “What is it?”

    Obi-Wan looked at the twins. Luke had stood, brushed himself off, and was once more working with his remotes. Leia seemed to be trying to defeat her remotes with her back turned to them. When Obi-Wan spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper.

    “Separatist cells re-emerging on the Outer Rim. Most of the reports are unconfirmed as of yet, but a few have been confirmed.”

    Anakin leaned back and closed his eyes. Blood. So much blood. And screaming. Loud, horrifying, and helpless. He quickly shook his head to clear the old vision and opened his eyes again.

    “Does Bail know?”

    “Yes. And Shaak Ti is going to Felucia. She may be able to find out more.”

    Anakin closed his eyes again. “I sense Ventress.”

    “So do I,” Obi-Wan said gravely. “We will need to investigate this and put a stop to it before it turns into another all out war.”

    War. Anakin took a couple of deep breaths, willing the flashbacks to not reappear, willing his heart to stop pounding.

    He felt 35 pounds of little girl climbing onto his lap again, smelled the sweet scent of children’s shampoo, and felt her tiny hand against his cheek. “Daddy?”

    He opened his eyes and smiled at her. “I’m sorry, Leia, I got distracted. Did you finish?”

    She nodded. “I beat them eight times this time.”

    “That’s good, that’s very good,” he said. He kissed her forehead and held her. “I’ll do a better job of watching next time, I promise.” He unscrewed the top off a bottle of water and gave it to her. “Drink up.”

    She leaned against him and sipped her water.

    “Uncle Obi-Wan!” Luke called, putting his helmet and training saber down and running onto the porch, wrapping the older man in a hug.

    He laughed. “Hello, Luke.”

    Anakin grabbed another bottle of water, unscrewed the top and handed it to his son, who now sat on Obi-Wan’s lap. “Drink,” he said. “You don’t want to get dehydrated.”

    “What’s ‘dehydrated’?” Luke asked,

    “Really really thirsty,” Anakin replied. “Your insides turn into a desert.”

    “Like sand?”

    Anakin smiled. “Yes, like sand. Gritty and dirty. So drink your water.”

    Luke nodded and downed the entire bottle.

    “We’ve got to pack soon,” Anakin said to the twins. “We’re leaving to meet Mommy on Coruscant.”

    Leia grinned. “Coruscant? Is Alys going to be there?”

    Anakin smiled. “She very well might be.”

    “What about that blue man with the pigtails?” Luke asked.

    Obi-Wan laughed. “Blue man?” he said.

    Luke nodded. “The one Daddy doesn’t like. I don’t think Mommy likes him either. He’s fun to watch though. He gets mad all the time. Acts like he wants to start a war.”

    “Luke!” Leia scolded. “Stop talking about war. War makes Mommy and Daddy sad.”

    “But Daddy and Uncle Obi-Wan are war heroes!” Luke said.

    “Only because we had to be, young one,” Obi-Wan said, smoothing the boy’s blond hair. “Your sister is right. War is sad. Better to be the kind of hero that keeps war from ever starting.”

    Luke frowned, seemed to be contemplating something, then nodded.

    “Speaking of heroes, I met a kid that I think you would like,” Obi-Wan said, looking at Anakin. “I was at a Republic Navy recruiting center on Corellia a few days ago, watching the ensign in charge deal with a 16-year-old who was absolutely irate that he couldn’t enlist yet. Name was Han Solo. Said his parents were gone, he had basically raised himself and had no more use for school, and what was two years anyway?”

    “What did you do?”

    “Nothing. I was there to speak to the admiral but evidently Solo thought I was on some other sort of duty. He looked at me, mumbled something about hokey religions and ancient weapons, and left the center without another word.”

    Anakin laughed.

    “Interestingly enough,” Obi-Wan continued. “I think the kid will probably make a good officer one day. He has the persistence. He just needs some patience and discipline.” Obi-Wan paused. “Seemed to be good with machinery too. He told the recruiter that he had modified his own ship.” He smiled at Anakin. “As I said, I think you’d get along.”

    Anakin smiled. “He’ll probably be at the recruiting center again tomorrow, different recruiter, and lying about his age,” he said.

    “Not something I would normally condone but we need cadets with his enthusiasm,” Obi-Wan replied.

    “Especially if these Outer Rim cells turn out to be any more numerous than we think,” Anakin said, his mood suddenly more somber.

    The somber mood was contagious, and for a moment no one spoke, even the children. Then Obi-Wan stood, lifting Luke from his lap and setting him down, and looked at Anakin. “Need any help packing? I think I will take you up on your offer of a ride to Coruscant.” He smiled. “I would actually rather put up with your flying than do any more flying myself right now.”

    Anakin laughed, and stood, setting Leia down. “Padme took 3PO with her so yes, any help is welcome.”

    “But Daddy, R2 is still here!” Leia said.

    Luke scowled. “Leia, R2 would just say beep beep beep if we tried to get him to put clothes in a suitcase.”

    “So? 3PO says ‘Oh dear, too many choices’ every time he opens Mommy’s closet,” Leia replied.

    “Alright, I’m calling a moratorium on bickering before you two make my ears bleed,” Anakin said. But he was smiling. Obi-Wan laughed as Anakin hoisted up both twins, kissed them, then took their hands and went into the house.





    The Naboo skiff, similar to Padme’s but a smaller version that Anakin had procured for himself, landed easily next to the Senate building. Anakin could see Padme waiting for them; with her was Mon Mothma, Fang Zar and Bana Breemu. Behind her was the newly-reelected Chancellor Organa with his wife, Queen Breha, their daughter and several guards.

    The ramp lowered and the twins, heedless of any formality normally present on the platform, ran out of the ship, calling “Mommy!” in unison. Their mother also momentarily dispensed of any protocol, transforming from Senator Amidala into Padme Skywalker as she knelt down to take her children in her arms. “Luke and Leia!” She said, kissing both of their cheeks. “Did you have a good trip?”

    The twins started talking in unison.

    “We did. Uncle Obi-Wan came with us too!”

    “Daddy flew fast. But not too fast. He said he was ‘flying casual’.”

    “R2 put ruby bliels in our meal packs. Daddy says they made us hyper and if R2 does that again, he has to put extra Corellian brandy on the ship for him. R2 said beep beep beep beep, and Daddy said Uncle Obi-Wan drank it all. Uncle Obi-Wan said he has to drink Corellian brandy to deal with Daddy’s flying and…”

    “Luke went into the cockpit and tried to push some of the buttons.”

    “Did not!”

    “Did too!”

    “Did not!”

    “Did too! I saw you!”

    Padme laughed and kissed them again. “OK, you two, why don’t you go with 3PO.”

    “Can they come with me?” Alys Organa had broken away from her parents to meet the Skywalker twins, and was now gazing shyly at Padme.

    Padme smiled at the girl, meeting her vivid blue eyes. “Of course,” she said.

    “Thank you!” Alys stood between Luke and Leia, took both of their hands, and led them in the direction of her entourage. Padme watched the scene for a minute, the platinum-haired Princess of Alderaan standing between her own very brunette and very blond twins. Then she turned to her husband and his best friend, who stood at the bottom of the now-closing ramp.

    “Good to see you, Obi-Wan,” she said.

    He nodded. “Padme,” he said. “Your husband just tried to kill me again.”

    Anakin feigned offense. “I did not!”

    Obi-Wan returned the teasing smile his former apprentice gave him and turned to Padme again. “My stomach will be joining us shortly. It got left on some Inner Rim planet a couple of parsecs from here.”

    She laughed, then turned to Anakin and kissed him lightly. “Darling.” He smiled, stroked her cheek and returned the kiss.

    Then she put on what Anakin called her “politician face,” transforming back into Senator Amidala, and took his arm. With Obi-Wan and the droids, they followed their children and the Chancellor’s entourage into the building.
  14. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Young Luke and Leia growing up together -- fun! :) :) Love the teasing. :D
    Last edited by Jade_eyes, Oct 9, 2012
  15. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    [face_laugh]

    Best part of the chapter, IMHO.

    Han Solo, huh? Thanks for the great story and doing justice to all the characters.
  16. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Very good chapter. Sort of glad Palpatine won't be coming back but the way things could go if he came back would be interesting to say the least. Either way can't wait to see what happens next
  17. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    [face_love]

    Truly cute!

    Those Separatists are big meanies!
  18. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    @Jade_eyes : Yes, the "what might have been"--both fun and sad to think about.

    @Valairy Scot: "Doing justice to all the characters"--some of the best praise I could get, so thank you. And if you liked that scene, I think you'll enjoy Anakin and Obi-Wan in the sequels. And Han--let's just say he becomes pretty important.

    @Force Smuggler: He doesn't physically come back but his spirit lives on...

    @Lady_Misty : And that gets better. [face_skull]

    Thanks for sticking with me, everyone. The sequel is up:

    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/seeds-of-resistance-sequel-to-under-fire.50004355/
  19. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    Great ending... I dont worry about the galaxy and future problems. I enjoyed the story... looks like there is a sequel I need to read.
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