Summary: What if Anakin never got that last nudge that pushed him over the cliff and caused him to fall to the Dark Side? Chapter 1: A Shift in the Force Padme had been worried about Anakin ever since he returned from the Outer Rim. Ever since she had told them that they were about to become parents. Anakin's dreams, the dreams he had had about his mother, had returned. Only this time, they were about her. She had spent the entire night begging Anakin to talk to Obi-Wan about them. Or to Yoda. But Anakin, stubborn like he always was, was determined to handle this on his own. To prevent this dream from coming true. Now that she thought about it, saying she was worried about her husband might have been an understatement. _____________ Padme wasn't the only one worried about Anakin. Obi-wan could tell that something was bothering his old Padawan and friend. But of course Anakin refused to talk about it. While, ok, that wasn't that unusual for him, the sheer terror he felt radiating off of him was. Something was certainly very wrong. Obi-wan knew of only one person who might actually be able to reach Anakin when he got like this. He reached for his communicator and made a call. _______________ Anakin knew that Padme and Obi-Wan were worried about him. He felt terrible for that. But how could explain it to them? Padme, for as much as she tried, wasn't a Jedi and didn't really understand the Force. Didn't really understand why he was so scared of the vision he had. She was there when he had the visions of his mother dying. And she was there when he found her. Didn't she remember how frighteningly accurate his vision had been? And to just brush it off the way she was? He felt his anger building and clamped down on it. Now was not the time. His thoughts then drifted to Obi-Wan. Padme wanted him to talk to his old Master about his dream. But Obi-wan could never understand. How could he? Master Kenobi was the perfect Jedi. He would have no choice but to report Anakin to the rest of the Council for breaking the Jedi Code and forming an attachment to Padme and marrying her. He would be thrown out of the Jedi Order, exiled. And while, ok, he had planned to leave the Order anyway after the war, there was no way he could abandon his fellow Jedi and the Republic in their time of need. Besides, the Jedi had been ravaged by the war. So few Jedi were left that the Temple was almost entirely empty except for the Younglings and the Temple Masters. Actually, now that he thought about it, the Order was in desperate need of Jedi Knights. Maybe he could talk to Obi-wan about it. Tell him about the dream, tell him everything. The Council would be furious when they found out. But maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't kick him out until after the war. Or possibly he could even promise to leave the Order once the war was over. Yeah, that might work. He'd have to talk to Padme about it first though. Diplomacy wasn't exactly his strong suite. He left the negotiating to her or Obi-wan. He tried to stay in the background until they moved on to aggressive negotiations. That thought made him grin, remembering the look on Padme's face when he first explained the term to her on Naboo. Having made up his mind, Anakin turned to leave the Temple. And ran straight into Master Yoda. ________________ Padme was just about to leave for the Senate when her comm station went off. Her private comm station. Only a few people had that number. And if someone was trying to reach her on it, it must be important. Closing the door again, she went to the station and, seeing a Jedi Temple prefix, answered, half expecting it to be Anakin. Instead, it was Obi-wan. Ever the senator, she did not let the surprise show on her face or her voice, though she was pretty sure Obi-wan could feel it. "Come to think of it," she wondered, "could Jedi feel emotions like that through a comm call? She'd have to ask Anakin later" "Master Kenobi," she answered. "What a pleasant surprise. What can I do for you?" "Senator," replied Kenobi. "I could use your help with a, personal, matter. It's in regard to Anakin. I know you two are close and I was hoping for your help." "He knows," was the first thing to cross Padme's mind. Why else would he be calling? She honestly thought more of Obi-wan than this. Certainly his reputation as The Negotiator led her to believe that he wouldn't make such an amateurish mistake. All of this flashed across her mind in just the first second or so after Obi-wan's request. "Of course, Master Jedi. I'm always willing to aid the Order however I can. What is it you would like?" "Actually Senator, this is rather sensitive. I'd rather discuss this with you in private if possible." "That confirmed it," Padme thought. "The gizka was certainly out of the bag now." "I understand completely. Would this evening work for you? I'll be at my apartment around eight or so." "Eight would be fine Senator. I'll see you tonight." "Wonderful," thought Padme as she disconnected the call. "Just wonderful. As if she didn't have enough to worry about." ______________ "Young Skywalker. In a hurry, are you?" asked the aged Jedi Master. Anakin bristled at being called Young Skywalker, but then again, even a being five hundred years old would be "young" to Master Yoda. "Apologies, Master. I've had much on my mind of late." "Know this, I do. Taking a life, never easy it is." "Oh! That's what he thinks this is about?" Anakin thought. "His killing of Count Dooku?" A bit of his guilt at the way he killed him must have seeped into the Force because Yoda was giving him a look he normally reserved only for unruly Younglings that he had caught red-handed in one bit of mischief or another. Anakin knew better than to try to get anything over on the Grand Master of the Jedi Order. He was pretty sure his shins still had the bruises from Yoda's gimmer stick to prove the impossibility of that particular strategy. "That is partly it, Master. I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated than that. But I'm sure you're quite busy." "Hmmmm, busy I am. But not so busy to neglect a Jedi in need. Walk with me, you will Young Skywalker. Talk, we will." "That name again! Ugh. He really should just get used to it. He doubted Yoda would ever call him anything else." "Yes, Master." As they walked through the Room of a Thousand Fountains, or rather, Anakin walked while Master Yoda rode his hoverchair, Anakin found that the calming waters of the fountains helped to soothe his mind. Not enough to reach true peace, Anakin hadn't known true peace, other than when he was in Padme's arms, since Geonosis. Though he suspected Yoda knew that and this seemingly aimless stroll was done purposefully to let Anakin calm his mind and order his thoughts. For that he was grateful. Since, during this walk through the room, the largest in the Temple, he had felt the Force urging him to tell Yoda everything. Even if it meant getting banished from the Order. Finally making up his mind, Anakin said, "Master, would it be possible for us to talk privately? What I have to say, it would be best not to say in public." "Come, Jedi Skywalker, talk in my Meditation room, we shall." ___________________________ Across Coruscant, Darth Sidious felt a wave of ice wash over him. As if the whole planet's temperature had suddenly dropped to that of Hoth. There was only one thing this could mean. His carefully laid plans, plans he had spent decades honing, building and cajoling into reality, were about to be completely upended. His only hope was to try and delve into the Force tonight and root out the cause of this shift. Fortunately, the Jedi were as blind to that as they were to everything else. The veil he and his master had cast over the Jedi years previously still seemed to be very effective. Soon, he was quite sure, the Jedi would be nothing but a footnote in history. ____________________________ Anakin had spent the last two hours talking to Master Yoda, telling him everything. Leaving nothing out. Not his killing of the Sand People on Tatooine all those years ago, not his secret marriage to Padme, not how he had executed Count Dooku when he had been defeated and kneeling before him. He told him all of it. And as he did so, a sense of calm that he hadn't felt since he was a boy settled on him. A feeling that he was doing exactly what the Force wished him to. Master Yoda sat, and listened. At the end, when Anakin explained how he had had a vision of Padme dying in childbirth, Anakin broke. With tears in his eyes, he begged the Jedi Master for help. Telling him he couldn't lose her, that she meant everything to him. Pleading for some way to change what he saw in his vision. When he was finished, Yoda reached out, put his hand on Anakin's shoulder and squeezed. Speaking softly and kindly, Yoda said, "Young Skywalker, a great deal to discuss you and I have. Done things, you have, that you should not. Time for that later, we will have. For now, your vision we will see to. Remember, do you, your first lessons, when you arrived at the Temple?" Anakin, through the tears in his eyes, looked at Master Yoda with something akin to shock. "Hadn't he heard him? He had murdered men, women and children for revenge. In anger. He had killed a helpless man. And the thing Master Yoda wanted to focus on was something that might not even happen?" That thought brought Anakin up short. "Whoa, wait a second. Had he really been being so selfish that he was no longer putting his duty as a Jedi first? Was this truly the first time he had done so in years? What kind of a Jedi was he?" The bad kind, his conscience told him. Realizing Master Yoda was looking at him, he shook himself out of his thoughts. "Master, I've just realized that for the last few years, I have been an absolutely terrible Jedi. Not just my actions, but by putting my needs and wants first and failing in my duty as a Jedi." Reaching for his lightsaber to give it to Master Yoda and resign from the Order, Master Yoda stopped him. "Remove your lightsaber, do not. A decision for another day this is. Your vision. Remember, do you, your early teachings?" "Yes Master. The future is always in motion. That what we see is just one possible future of many and may not come true. But, Master Yoda, my visions of my mother did come true. What if these do the same?" "Hmph, why this is, attachment is forbidden. An easy answer for you, I do not have. To let go of those you love, you must learn. Easy, this will not be. All life ends, Young Skywalker. The way of the Force, this is. Many years will it take you to learn this, I feel." "But Master, I don't have years. Our child is due in two months. I can't lose her. OUCH!" Cried Anakin as Yoda's gimmer stick cracked across his shins. "Much to learn, you still have my young Jedi. For 800 years, have I been Jedi. Much I have seen. Much I have learned. To attempt to change your vision, ensure its outcome you may." Closing his eyes, Yoda reached out with the Force and brushed against Anakin. Opening his eyes again, Yoda told the young Jedi, "Much fear I sense in you Anakin. Fear for yourself, no. But fear for those around you, you do. Aide them in this state, you cannot. Share with me, your vision." Collecting himself, at least as much as he could right then, Anakin sank into a meditation exercise. "It had never been his strong suite, he never could sit still." Anakin reached out with the Force feeling for Master Yoda. He really wasn't that difficult to find, his force presence shined like a beacon of light. Anakin was pretty sure his presence looked like a thunderstorm at the moment. Yoda joined with him and Anakin began to share his vision.