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Royal Tribulations

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Vader's head was pounding. A voice whispered, no, no, no, over and over again in denial. Shmi could not be dead, and yet she was. His beautiful mother, who had always seemed so full of life, was now lying dead in his arms. And the worst part was the regret that Vader felt in the pit of his stomach. Regret for not listening to her, for not spending more time with her.

Palpatine had taken Anakin away from his mother, molding him into a Sith. They had missed so much time as mother and son. Playing in the gardens. Telling bedtime stories. Laughing and watching Holonet shows. The memories that Anakin had of his mother were few and far between.

He gets up and runs about of the room, the stench of death permeating the room and making him feel sick. He just wants to run, run and never look back. He finally makes it into his room before the first tear slips out of his eye. And another one. And another one.

Pretty soon, Vader's breaths were coming out in hitched sobs. He tried to show self-restraint, but all he could this about was how his mother had looked at him one last time, had whispered her love for him in her last breaths, and he had never said it back.

"Anakin?" a smooth voice whispered, entering the chambers. Obi-wan looked at Vader with sympathy in her gaze. Anakin glared at her in response. He didn't need her pity. He didn't need anyone. "Go away," he commanded, although the intimidating effect was lessened by the tears.

She stubbornly shook her head and sat down next to him, carefully wiping away his tears with her soft, pale hands. "I know how you feel. I lost my Master when I was very young, too. Qui-gon Jinn, I think I mentioned him. His death devastated me, but eventually I learned to move on. I knew that he would want me to move on."

"She was my mother, Obi-wan. It's not that simple," Vader moaned, lost in his grief. Then suddenly, he remembered the doctor. The one that had not been able to save his mother. His eyes turned yellow with rage. "I'll kill that doctor!" Vader screamed before rushing to get up, but his wife pulled him down, alarmed by the sudden change in Vader's behavior. Obi-wan was silent for a minute, before slowly reaching out and placing her hands in his. She closed her eyes and concentrated. Immediately, Vader felt a light in his chest. It was warm, and comforting. It drew the darkness away from his heart, killing the shadows.

Vader reached out to it, basking in the light. "It's an old Jedi technique to relieve stress or pain. I can teach you if you want," Obi-wan offered. Vader gave a small, bitter laugh. Obi wan teaching him about being a Jedi? Now that was a crazy idea, far more ridiculous than anything Shmi had ever come up with.

And yet, a small part of Vader was curious. He knew so little about the Jedi and their ways, and who was he to dismiss them, when he was forced to become a Sith? Maybe he would've chosen to be a Jedi if he had been given the chance. Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker certainly had a nice ring to it.

"Alright, Jedi. Teach me," Vader said, twisting around to face her.

One of the things that infuriated Vader the most was that no one had offered their condolences over Shmi. For most Imperial officials, she had simply been a nuisance, a woman who could not possibly comprehend their greater vision for the galaxy. They were wrong. Shmi had understood exactly what the Empire had planned to do, and she had known how wrong it really was.

Vader silently swore that her beliefs and her efforts to instill them in her son would not be in vain. Closing his eyes, he finished his meditation with Obi-wan. They had been doing a lot of meditating in the light side of the Force. Obi-wan claimed that it would help heal Vader's soul.

At first, he had scoffed at the Jedi mumbo-jumbo. But slowly, he had started to grow accustomed to meditating with Obi-wan in the afternoon. It was strangely relaxing. The light side of the Force was so different from the dark side. It left Vader with a sense of serenity and completeness. Finally, they finished their meditation and left the Imperial Gardens.

"Are you ready?" Obi-wan asked him gently. She was dressed in a simple, black gown, and her eyes still held grief for Shmi, who she had considered a friend. Anakin nodded, and together they made their way over to where Shmi's funeral was being held. Shmi's body was burned on a pyre. Strangely, Vader didn't feel as empty as he had when she had first died. Meditating, spending time with his wife... it had all eased his suffering. She had passed into the Force now, and he knew that somewhere she was still watching over him. He reached over and held Obi-wan's hand, and she squeezed it gently. So many emotions conveyed in a small, simple gesture.

Vader and Obi-wan walked back to Vader's apartments, reminiscing about Shmi. Vader mentioned one time that he had attempted to cook for his mother as a child and ended up nearly blowing up the kitchen. Shmi had shrugged it off, laughing and telling him that everyone made mistakes. Obi-wan laughed at the story as they reached their destination, Vader's room.

For a moment, they simply stood there, looking at one another. And then, Vader, deciding to be impulsive, leaned in and kissed her. Unlike their first kiss, this one was long and slow, with both Vader and Obi-wan loath to stop. But eventually they did, both stopping to catch their breath. An awkward silence filled the air before both of them gave a hesitant smile to one another, and Obi-wan reached over to squeeze Vader's hand.

Their relationship may have started out on bad terms, but for the first time, she had hope that maybe it wouldn't end that way.

Three months later...

Yawning, Obi-wan stretched her arms and lazily got out of bed. She looked across the room at her husband, who had just finished putting on his uniform. "Good morning," he whispered and kissed her on the cheek. "Why are you leaving so early?" she asked him, slightly curious.

"Well, my lieutenant captured a bunch of Jedi children working with the Alliance. Relax, I'm not going to hurt them. I'll pardon them, they're only children anyways," Anakin told Obi-wan once he saw the stricken look on her face. She may be his wife, but Anakin knew that Obi-wan was still loyal to the Order.

Anakin left the room, leaving Obi-wan alone. She was about to change out of her nightgown when she suddenly felt sick. She ran to the bathroom and immediately threw up in the toilet. "That's odd. I never get sick," Obi-wan frowned. Her force-sensitivity enhanced her immune system, making it stronger than an average human's.

Suddenly, she had a vague suspicion, but only the doctor would be able to confirm it.

And that's how she ended up in the doctor's office at 7 am. The doctor entered the room and beamed at her.

"Congratulations, Empress. You're pregnant."