Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, an evil Sith Lord named Palpatine formed an Empire, and went to war with the Republic. The Republic was aided by the Kingdom of the Jedi, a powerful people who utilized a mysterious power known as the "Force." However, the Sith had the power to use the Force as well, and they fought to a near stalemate.
However, the Emperor had a secret weapon. He had married a woman named Shmi Skywalker in order to get to her child, Anakin, who happened to be extraordinarily powerful in the Force. He trained Anakin using painful methods from a young age, molding him into the perfect Sith. Eventually, Anakin, given the Sith name Darth Vader, defeated the Republic forces and the Jedi in several key battles. He was renown for his Force strength and his cunning. Sidious had trained the perfect Sith, indeed.
Unfortunately, Palpatine had done his job too well. As soon as the Republic and the Jedi agreed to a treaty with terms favorable to the Empire, Darth Vader killed Sidious. After all, treachery was the way of the Sith. Vader made himself Emperor as a war-hero beloved by the people of the Empire, and he gave his mother, whom he had loved and cherished throughout his life despite his limited access to her, a position of honor in his Imperial court.
But don't be fooled. Vader was, by no accounts, a good man. He had slaughtered more people than he cared to remember and he didn't give a damn. If not for Shmi pleading for Vader to settle the terms with a treaty, Vader would have likely taken over the Republic and demolished it entirely, massacring the members of the Senate and the Jedi.
And so, since it was her idea, Vader put Shmi as the head of the talks for the treaty. However, he had the final say and dominated the talks, so Shmi's suggestions to go a little softer on the Republic were often ignored. Shmi saw this, and she saw the cruel man that her son had become.
There was a part of Shmi that would always love Anakin, but she was growing to steadily despise the person he was becoming. The worse part was that he had been so corrupted by Palpatine, nothing Shmi would say would turn him back. But Shmi didn't give up easy. So she decided that Anakin may need to hear her ideas from... another point of view. From a person he couldn't just ignore, or brush aside when she got too annoying.
So Shmi came forward and attached one last condition to the treaty, arguing with Anakin for hours before he grudgingly agreed to it. One last condition that just may save her son from losing himself to the Dark Side forever.
"She said what?" Shaak Ti asked after the silence was too long and awkward. "The Lady Shmi Skywalker has asked that, in addition to all of the other components of the treaty to reduce the Republic and Jedi's strength and power that you have so generously agreed to, that you provide a... bride, from one of the twelve most prominent Jedi lineages, the lineage of the Grandmaster himself. A wife for the Emperor," the Imperial diplomat announced pompously.
Dead silence met his statement as the Council members tried to comprehend this startling new development. "Are you serious? The Emperor wants... what, a Jedi for a wife?" Kit Fisto asked in disbelief. "The conditions of the treaty already heavily favor the Empire. You will oversee our military spending, have to approve any legislation we or the Senate pass... certainly you can understand if we object to this one stipulation?" Mace Windu phrased carefully.
"I'm afraid not Master Jedi. The Lady Skywalker was quite specific. This girl is to be the wife of Anakin Skywalker, formally known as Emperor Vader," the diplomat said insistently. "Accept the demands, we do," Yoda said quietly. The diplomat nodded, appeased, before leaving the room.
"But Master Yoda, if we accept the demands, this means your great-grandpadawan, Obi-wan Kenobi, must marry the Emperor. She will not agree to this," Plo Koon said. " Have a choice, do we, Master Koon? Taken everything, the Empire has. Do what we must to survive and fight another day, we shall. For now, comply, we will," Yoda confirmed, but his tone was weary. He was rather fond of his great-grandpadawan, and he did not want to sentence her to this fate. But the Force whispered in his ear and told him that all was not as it seems, and if Shmi included such as strange request in the treaty, she must have a reason. Yoda had met with Shmi, and could safely say she was a much better woman than her son. He sighed and left the Council Room, searching for his wayward great-grandpadawan.
Twenty year old Obi wan Kenobi was relaxing in the dandelion fields, in what would turn out to be her last day of normal, although she didn't know it at the time. White lilies flowed through her copper red hair, glinting in the sunlight. Currently, Obi-wan was preoccupied teaching a youngling how to levitate with the Force.
"Master Yoda!" the youngling squealed. Obi wan turned around quickly. "Master Yoda! I haven't seen you in a while. How did negotiations go?" Obi-wan asked, a slight crease appearing on her forehead, as the youngling ran off somewhere. "Went... as well as expected, they did, as on the losing side, we were. A last minute condition was added. Walk with me," Yoda requested, and Obi-wan obliged until they reached her quarters in the Jedi Temple.
Obi-wan could sense the other master's apprehensiveness as they both sat down on the couch. "Master? What is it?"
"A condition there is, involving you, Obi-wan. Agreed to it, we have, to save the Jedi and the Republic. A great sacrifice, you must make," Yoda said, looking Obi-wan in the eye.
"Marry the Emperor, you must."
Obi-wan looked at Yoda in disbelief. "Are you joking?!" she screamed. "Calm down, you will!" Yoda said raising his voice lightly. "Joking, I am not." "But... but this doesn't even make any... why on earth would Vader want a Jedi as a wife? And why would you agree to this?" Obi-wan asked angrily, her face flushed. This cannot be happening. "Their reasons are unknown. Lady Shmi was specific; wanted you, she did," Yoda responded. "Agree, I did not want to. But agree, I had to, to preserve the Order. Taught you, I have, to make great sacrifices for our people. Accept this, you must."
"But not like this! Master, please, help me run away, don't make me do this! Vader is a monster, and I despise him! I can't marry him, please!" Obi-wan begged desperately. Certainly the Force would not be be so cruel as to sentence her to such as miserable fate? "Proceed with the arrangement, we must. Marry the Emperor, you will, in two weeks time," Yoda said softly. "Get out," Obi-wan whispered, and for once, Yoda complied. As soon as he left, she started to sob, fat tears running down her cheeks. Two more weeks until her life, as she knew it, was over.
But Obi-wan had never given up without a fight, and she certainly didn't intend to do so now.
"Demands?" Shmi Skywalker asked, slightly amazed. "Yes, Lady Shmi. It appears that the Jedi Obi-wan Kenobi has locked herself in her room and has refused to agree to the marriage until you meet a set of demands she has. Most distasteful," the Imperial diplomat said. "No, Tyrian. It's wonderful," Shmi whispered. This was exactly what she had wanted. A strong-willed woman to teach her son right from wrong in a way she never could.
Shmi practically skipped down to her son's bedroom, opening the door... and immediately covered her eyes. "Oh!" a small voice called out, startled. Padmé Amidala immediately stood up and hastily put on her discarded dress before rushing out of the room, her cheeks burning with slight embarrassment. "Hello, mother," Vader said coolly, pulling on his wrinkled shirt and fixing his belt. He surveyed her with yellow eyes, tinged with a slight red color.
"Anakin, really? You're about to get married in two weeks' time," Shmi said, disappointment lacing her words. "So? Almost all of the lords and courtiers have mistresses. Padmé will be mine, and my wife will have to suck it up and deal with it," Vader snipped thoughtlessly. Shmi frowned. It wasn't that she particularly hated Padmé Amidala. On the contrary, she was quite a nice young woman who had, unfortunately, fallen head over heels for Lord Vader. However, Shmi knew that Vader didn't love Padmé. He was merely using her to keep Naboo in check, and to relieve some stress. If anything, Shmi pitied the young woman, who was obviously deceived by Vader's lies.
"Well, your wife has a list of demands before she has agreed to marry you. We have to go to Coruscant to hear her out," Shmi said. Vader raised his eyebrows in shock. "The wench has demands? She's in no position to be making those. Someone should've told her to keep her mouth shut and be grateful she's getting the chance to marry the most powerful man in the galaxy," Vader boasted. Shmi was aggravated on behalf of her daughter-in-law, to say the least, but she kept her temper in check. "Hear her out, my son," Shmi encouraged. Vader sighed, but agreed.
Vader wasn't so sure this whole marriage thing was the best idea. Somehow his mother had convinced him, after weeks of arguing, specifically by mentioning that any child Vader sired with a Jedi would be incredibly Force-sensitive. Vader had to admit that was a huge benefit, as his heir would need to be powerful and capable of running an Empire. However, he had foolishly allowed his mother to pick the bride, stating that he didn't care who it was. It wasn't like they were going to have a real relationship anyway. He was starting to think that may have been a mistake.
"Lord Vader, pleased I am, to see you," Master Yoda greeted grimly, slight disgust for the Sith Lord evident in his tone. "Obi-wan has asked to see you alone. She's waiting for you inside," Master Shaak Ti said, scowling slightly at the Sith Lord, their ancient enemy. But Vader knew they wouldn't dare try anything, and he entered the tent.
A thin, slightly see-through curtain separated Vader from the woman that he would call his wife in two weeks' time. It was not see through enough for Vader to catch a glimpse of her face, as that was against Jedi tradition; only enough for him to see a vague outline. "Thank you for meeting with me, Lord Vader," a sweet, high voice called out. Not entirely unpleasant, Vader decided.
"I have agreed to our marriage if you agree to my conditions. First, in no way will I be stripped of my Force powers. You will not deprive me of my ability to use the Force in any shape or form," Obi-wan asked, hesitating slightly. "And your next demand?" Vader asked, his voice unreadable. "I... I will not be forced to become a Sith, or turn to the Dark Side. I will continue to practice the Light Side of the Force," Obi-wan finished, her voice wavering slightly. Vader said nothing, leaving the tent.
"Attention!" Vader called out. The Jedi, as well as the Republic and Imperial officials that were present, gathered around the Emperor. Vader turned to Master Yoda. "Your headstrong great-granddaughter has requested to keep her Force powers and continue following the Jedi path, the path of the light side of the Force," he stated. The declaration was met with silence in the courtyard. "Your majesty, we should not have to deal with such insolence," Tyrian, the diplomat, started, but Vader held his hand up, stopping him. "After careful consideration, I have decided to accept her demands. She has shown me that, at the very least, my new wife will have a spine. I can respect that, even if I cannot respect her way of life," Vader said, taking a subtle dig at the Jedi before leaving, Imperial officials on his heels. He begrudgingly admitted that the meeting was not what he had expected. She had been surprisingly audacious, refusing to give up her way of life for that of the Emperor's and the Imperial Court's. Perhaps she wouldn't be the weak-willed fool he was used to dealing with, after all.
Obi-wan sank down to her knees. The Emperor had accepted her demands. Well, that threw any chances of freedom that she had out the window. She hadn't expected that. If he had said no, she would have grounds to refuse the marriage, but even that, she knew, was a long shot. She probably would've had to marry the monster anyways. Atleast this way, she wouldn't be forced to turn to the Dark Side, and she could continue to practice the Light side of the Force.
"Obi-wan, I'm so sorry," Quinlan Vos, a friend of Obi-wan's, put his hand on her shoulder. "I know this was your last chance to get out of it," he said sympathetically, and she squeezed his hand, not knowing what else to say. Several of Obi-wan's friends came over, mainly to offer their condolences, which Obi-wan would've found funny had it been any other situation.
The day of the wedding was a huge affair. Everyone who was anyone was there, with the gift table stacked a mile high. Obi-wan had been led into a special room, where girls gossiped as they did her hair. She bathed and then slipped into her wedding dress. It was white, made of a fabric that shimmered when Obi-wan moved, with intricate swirls and designs on the bottom half and flowing sleeves. Her hair was curled and a braid was woven through it. Finally, the handmaidens placed a veil on her head, covering her face entirely. Suddenly the girls looked at her with somber expressions on heir faces, not unlike her friends' faces when they had found out about the wedding. If anyone came in right now, they'd think I was going to my funeral, Obi-wan thought before being led out into the hall.
The chatter of voices quickly quieted down as Obi-wan entered the room. The Jedi looked at her with pity, with just made Obi-wan angry even though she knew what she was doing was for the good of the Jedi Order. The Imperials looked a little smug. Why wouldn't they be? This whole wedding was another way for them to assert their dominance over the Republic and the Jedi. Obi-wan felt like bashing their heads in.
Her heartbeat quickened as she approached the podium. She didn't even know what the Emperor looked like; the tent had been too dark that day and the curtain had separated them. Would he be her age, or decades her senior? Would he be kind to her? She doubted it. A slightly tanned hand came into view, then a blurry face. So he was young then. She gripped his hand as she went up the podium, taking the chance to study his features. His hard, lined face was twisted in a cruel smirk, and his ice blue eyes unnerved her, but she couldn't deny that he was rather handsome, although the effect was somewhat ruined with the knowledge that this man had slaughtered hundreds with his bare hands.
"Do you, Obi-wan Kenobi, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?" the minister asked. She hesitated for a second, before replying "I do." But she didn't. Not really. And judging by the glance Vader sent her way, he had picked up on the hesitance. But the deed was done. "I now pronounce you husband and wife," he announced, and the crowds cheered and clapped.
Luckily, Vader didn't kiss her, as per tradition. She probably would've slapped him, and she wasn't sure how he would react to that. He led her out of the room with one hand on her waist, smiling at passing officials who offered their congratulations. Vader led her into his private room in the Imperial Palace, closing the door before studying her where she sat on the edge of the bed, fingering a corner of her dress, the veil still covering her face. Slowly he went over and sat down next to her.
If you touch me I will kick you where the sun doesn't shine, she thought furiously, her hands already clenched in small fists. Vader's face softened, ever so slightly, as he muttered, "I'm not going to do that, you know. I won't force myself on you, my mother taught me better than that. I'm not that kind of man," he said carefully. He looked like he wanted to say something else but didn't know what else to say, so he got up, muttering something about greeting some guests, and he left her.
What have I gotten myself into?
Obi-wan woke up, still wearing her wedding dress and adorned with jewelry. Where am I? she thought, before her memory suddenly came back to her. She looked around, but Vader was nowhere in sight. Thank the Force. She hears a distinct clanging sound.
Obi-wan goes to the window and looks out into the arena for combat practice. Several Imperials are practicing shooting and sword fighting. Perfect. Obi-wan had the feeling she would be spending a lot of time there.
"My lady?" a soft voice called out. Obi-wan turned around to look at Laura, one of the handmaidens that had been assigned to her. " I have been instructed to take you to your quarters," she whispered, and Obi-wan smiled gently before following her.
Her room was gigantic, to say the least. Vader had clearly spared no expense. But Obi-wan decided that she didn't want to spend any more time in the palace. "Laura? Do you know where I can find some clothes more appropriate for combat?"
Vader was frustrated. What had happened last night? He had wanted to strike up a conversation, at the very least find out what his new partner was like, but he had suddenly felt flustered in her presence. And Vader didn't get flustered. He scowled, resolving to have an actual conversation with her, when a figure caught his eye in the sword fighting arena. Whoever it was, they were quite skillful and graceful, disarming three opponents twice their size.
Vader simply stood there, admiring the fantastic swordplay. "Who is that?" he asked a young handmaiden next to him. "The Empress, your highness. It seems she rather likes sword fighting, she said it's one of her favorite hobbies," she said before giggling at the unusual pastime. The Empress. Why was Vader not surprised? She was a Jedi. She had probably been wielding an actual lightsaber since she was four. She was good... but not good enough to beat him.
Vader picked up the training saber and made his way into the arena. "Empress! Care for a duel?" he asked, smirking at her. The arena suddenly went quiet, everyone watching the two of them. Obi-wan was wearing a headscarf, which was part of the traditional outfit for a swordfighter in the arena. Therefore, Vader could only see bright, blue-grey eyes with hints of green in them. She didn't say anything, but when Vader held up his training saber, she blocked his blow.
The two of them circled each other, assessing. Vader had the advantage; he had personally killed several Jedi, and he knew of many weaknesses in all of their lightsaber forms. He attacked first. Parry. Thrust. Block. Both of them were fighting to a stalemate, sweat glistening down their foreheads. Vader had never fought with anyone that was anywhere close to being on par with him. He was suddenly filled with curiosity, and aimed a thrust at her legs, forcing her to jump and dodge, and the head scarf unraveled, revealing her face for the first time.
Vader froze. He had heard rumors that his wife was beautiful, but right now, with the sunlight turning her hair the color of fire, she was stunning. High cheekbones, a few freckles dotting her fair skin, and soft, pink lips. Vader was so distracted that he forgot he was fighting. But Obi-wan hadn't.
With a lunge, she knocked his blade out of his hand, pointing it at his chest. "I win," she said, before walking away. Point Obi-wan. The shock of finally seeing his wife suddenly wore off as Vader realized that she had beat him. No one had beaten him in years. He flushed as the other Imperials who had been observing stared at their Emperor in shock. Great, this would likely be court gossip by tomorrow. A Sith, bested by a Jedi. He glared at her retreating form. Just who did she think she was?
Obi-wan couldn't deny, beating Vader and knocking him down a peg or two was quite satisfying. He had practically exuded arrogance, and although he hadn't said it she knew he thought of her as inferior because she was a Jedi. Well, she had showed him, taking advantage of a distraction and besting him. She doubted would act so cockily towards her again.
She put her sword in its sheath and decided to go back to her room to freshen up. Laura had told her that Shmi had invited her to dinner with her and Vader. Although Obi-wan had no interest in speaking with her husband(the word sent shivers up her spine), she genuinely wanted to meet Shmi, as she had heard nothing but good things about her.
She chose a silver dress with a black vest and put her hair in a simple braid. Taking a deep breath, Obi-wan entered the room. Vader and his mother were already in deep conversation, but both looked up as she arrived. Vader shot her a sour look, smarting from his defeat in the morning. Shmi, on the other hand, looked delighted, smiling and walking over to Obi-wan. "My lady," Obi-wan shyly bowed to her. Something in her wanted to make a good impression on this woman.
"Oh dear, that's not necessary. Just call me Shmi," the dark-haired woman said gently, putting her hands on her daughter-in-law's arms and raising her up. "My son is a lucky man, to have such a lovely, intelligent young woman for his wife," Shmi complimented. "I don't know mother. Some would say she was the lucky woman, to be able to marry a man so powerful, handsome and rich," Vader remarked, sitting at the head of the table.
How Vader's ego was still intact, Obi-wan didn't know. She had thought that besting him in combat would show him some humility. Apparently not. She took a seat at the table opposite to Shmi. They made small talk, discussing the weather and the aftermath of the wedding. Obi-wan could sense Vader's gaze on her, studying her intently. He prodded her mind with the Force, but she reinforced her mental shields, as Master Yoda had taught her to. She was not some weak-minded fool that Vader could control or manipulate.
"So, this must be a great change for you. From your life as a Jedi," Vader spoke up for the first time, staring at Obi-wan. "I'm adjusting, my lord," she said uneasily. "I can see that. Who taught you how to fight?" he asked bluntly. "The Jedi at the Temple taught me; mainly Master Jinn," Obi-wan replied, her voice quavering at her deceased Master's name. "Master Jinn? The Jedi who was killed at the hands of my dead Master's former apprentice, Darth Maul? I'm surprised you turned out as well as you did. For that man to have been killed by Maul, he must've been subpar at best," Vader said cruelly. "Anakin!" Shmi said, appalled, but Vader ignored her.
"My Master was wise and kind. Two things you will never be. And if he was so subpar, how was I able to defeat you today?" Obi-wan said angrily. She got up and stormed out of the room, not caring how it looked. How dare he insult her late master? He was a better man than Vader, by far.
Well, Vader certainly hadn't expected that reaction. Although he couldn't deny, it was quite entertaining to see her riled up. "Anakin, that was not necessary. She is your wife," Shmi insisted. "And she needed to be put in her place," Vader snapped, quite satisfied. Point Vader.
"My lady! They're expecting you in court today as the new Empress," Laura announced. "I know, Laura. I'm ready," Obi-wan told her. "But, my lady, certainly you can't go dressed like that! The Emperor will be furious!" the handmaiden cried out. "Exactly my point, Laura," Obi-wan grinned before entering the room where the Royal Court would congregate.
Vader was deep in discussion about military strategy with General Thrawn, and how to handle the rebel militants in the Chandrilan sector when he saw her. His wife, wearing a modest, beige tunic and brown boots. The uniform of a Jedi. If Vader was furious over losing the match, he was enraged now. He walked up to her, looking at her dress distastefully before holding out his arm. She looked at him, her eyes the color of ice, and ignored the offered arm, before walking up to her throne without him.
The nobles were all whispering. Gossiping, no doubt, about the blatant show of disrespect. Point Obi-wan. Meanwhile, Vader, who looked like he was ready to burst, marched up to his throne and sat down, seething, refusing to even look at his wife.
The first thing on the agenda was hearing a dispute that an Imperial officer had with a farmer on some Republic world. The farmer claimed that the Imperial had violated his right to property by building an ammunitions factory on his land. Although the farmer was technically correct, Vader cited some ambiguous law to justify the Imperial's actions.
"With all due respect my Emperor, I believe the farmer is in the right. No law can possibly justify a violation of a man's right to own property; it is a fundamental right in the Republic," Obi-wan spoke up. "We are not in the Republic anymore, Empress. The Empire is governed by my laws, and I say that the Imperial officer is correct. You may have an opinion, but my word is final say," Vader emphasized, before dismissing his subjects. Point Vader.
Obi-wan bit her lip, but she didn't say anything further. Master Jinn had taught her that it was crucial to know when to retreat and live to fight another day. It was war between her and Vader, now. She would not allow him to stomp on the rights of the people while sitting idly by again. She would pick and choose her battles, and in the end, she would emerge the victor.
"And she's just so aggravating. I should never have agreed to it, Padmé," Vader complained. Padmé rubbed his arm soothingly, and Vader put his arm around her waist. "It's too bad you two can't get along," she mused. "I mean, you're still married, and you're going to have to tolerate her." She fell silent for a second, before murmuring, "Do you love her?" "What? Of course not, she's the most frustrating person I've met in my life. Plus, I love you," Vader said, almost gagging on the words. Vader never had, and never would, love anything or anyone. But he needed to fool Padmé in order to keep Naboo firmly on the side of the Empire.
Meanwhile, Obi-wan was re-evaluating the situation. She decided that even though Vader was a despicable human being, they should atleast try to hold a civil conversation. She went to his room, but was surprised to find the door blocked by two guards. "I need to see the Emperor," she told them, but the guards refused to let her in. "The King has asked not to be disturbed at the moment. He's occupied," a guard said, smirking at the Empress.
All of a sudden, Obi-wan understood the double meaning. Everyone knew that Vader was a womanizer who had had affairs with several women. Why would she expect that stop after their marriage? And yet, Obi-wan found herself getting irrationally angry.
The feeling only intensified after Shmi quietly informed her at breakfast that Vader had gone with Admiral Thrawn to "deal" with some Rebels on Chandrila. Immediately, Obi-wan knew that "deal" meant "kill."
Needless to say, by the time Vader had come back from his mission, Obi-wan was fuming. Shmi had left on some business, leaving her alone with Vader. "So, my lord, how did your mission in the Chandrilan sector go? Did you enjoy torturing the rebels before you finally granted them the mercy of death? Or were you pitiful this time, and you just killed them instantly with your saber?" Obi-wan asked, her eyes burning with fire.
"Watch your tone. This is your Emperor that you're speaking to," Vader said, narrowing his eyes. "I don't care who you are. No one has the right to take an innocent life!" Obi-wan raised her voice.
"It is the natural order of things. The strong survive, the weak do not. The rebels are weak; holding onto petty ideals of freedom and justice. Please. The only thing that matters in life is power," Vader counterattacked.
"That isn't true! Compassion determines the true value of a person. Those without it live empty lives with no purpose," Obi-wan said, standing up and walking up to Vader. "Says a Jedi. If compassion is so important, how come the Empire defeated the Republic? How come the Sith defeated the Jedi?" Vader demanded, leaning in. He was suddenly aware that their faces were inches away from one another.
Obi-wan seemed to realize this too, as she pulled away immediately, shooting Vader a glare before stomping out of the room. "This war isn't over yet, Emperor," she warned before closing the doors.
Shmi had heard about the argument that Vader and Obi-wan had the other day. She was worried, and she knew she had to remedy the situation. Her son would never reform if he hated his wife like he did now. She had to get them to reconcile now, before they stopped even speaking to one another.
"What? Are you kidding? Two weeks, alone with her?" Vader asked incredulously. "Yes, Vader. Queen Jamila would be more than happy to host you and the Empress on Varykino. I think it's a good opportunity for you two to put aside their differences and try for a fresh start," Shmi said. Vader groaned. "Fine, but only because I could use a vacation, not because I want to spend any more time with that she-witch," he said. Obi-wan had been harder to convince, but ultimately she agreed to go as well. Watching the two of them board the aircraft, completely avoiding any contact with one another, Shmi realized that her plan might be a little harder to implement than she thought.
The couple was quiet the entire journey to Naboo, neither of them saying a word to one another. When they landed on Varykino, Obi-wan and Vader immediately separated, going to different rooms. However, despite the rough start to the vacation, Obi-wan couldn't deny that Varykino was beautiful. The lagoon sparkled in the daylight, and she spied a meadow filled with rare flowers native to the planet of Naboo. It was a relief to be away from Imperial Center, even if it was only temporary.
She was determined to make the most of her time here, regardless of Vader's presence. A brief respite from the internal war that raged between the darkness and the light, a war in which only one could emerge the victor.
Obi-wan got dressed in a teal dress, with intricate embroidery and flowers sewn in the fabric. She picked up the picnic basket and informed her bodyguards that she was going to the beautiful meadow she had seen earlier. She went to the clearing and sat down, spreading the picnic blanket and sitting down. It was a beautiful day, and the wind ruffled her copper hair.
She closed her eyes, enjoying the warmth of the sun's rays. "The guards told me you would be here," a voice called out. She opened her eyes to find Vader glaring at her. "What are you doing?"
"It's called enjoying yourself, Emperor. You should try it sometime," Obi-wan remarked dryly. "I know how to enjoy myself," Vader said indignantly, sitting down next to her. "Lightsaber combat, training exercises, and leading raids on Republic planets don't count as fun, my lord," Obi-wan said sarcastically. Vader glowered at her, and she couldn't help but smirk.
"Well, now that the treaty's signed, I won't be doing much more of that will I?" he returned the jest. For a while, both of them just sat there, neither knowing quite what to say. Finally, Vader spoke up: "Well, what does a Jedi know about fun anyway? You fought in the war too." "Well, yes, but we did other things, too. Board games, eating at Dex's, pastimes, hobbies. I used to play the flute," Obi-wan said wistfully. "What did you do in your free time anyway?" she questioned him.
"Palpatine didn't exactly give me any free time," Vader said darkly. "He was... strict. But of course, that's no longer a problem." Obi-wan pursed her lips, curious as to what had happened. Everyone knew how Vader had killed Palpatine and ascended the throne, but no one knew the exact details, or why it had happened. And yet, she had the feeling that questioning him about it would be crossing a line.
"You know, I think this is the first decent conversation we've had," she pointed out instead. "Well, you're the one that always storms out," Vader said. "Because you insulted my dead Master and the Jedi," she bristled slightly. Vader looked at her blankly, not understanding.
"You can't just go around insulting people and expecting them to be okay with it, especially when it's a sensitive topic," Obi-wan explained. Did he really not know that? "Oh," Vader said. "You're the first person that has ever really complained to me about it." "I wonder why," Obi-wan muttered.
"Look, we're married. Whether we like it or not, we're married. So maybe... maybe we can just try to get along. I'd rather not have to complain about my hotheaded, impudent wife who feels the need to meddle in Imperial affairs," Vader said, attempting to reconcile.
"Hot-headed? Impudent? I'm standing up for what I believe in! I still have the right to do that, even if the Empire has taken away my other rights," Obi-wan raised her voice. "What's with you people and rights anyway? Why can't you just accept life under the Empire?" Vader frowned, trying to comprehend the rebels' and his wife's point of view.
"Because we feel it's wrong. You don't give everyone an equal say, and some people are favored over others based on wealth or power. A civilization will crumble to the vices of selfishness, corruption, and greed if this continues," Obi-wan argued. "Atleast the Empire is efficient. Your republic is falling apart at the seams, tangled in the webs of lies spun by politicians. Your system is failing," he explained in his rebuttal. "Maybe it's not perfect, but atleast we're trying to make it work. Atleast we strive for equality, even if we don't always reach it."
Obi-wan paused for a minute. "Lord Vader, how did it feel when your mother was taken away for you at such a young age? I'm guessing it didn't feel too good," she speculated, and Vader's scowl and sudden silence proved it. "Imagine all of the orphans in the Republic and the Empire, orphaned due to a cruel war. Atleast you got your mother back. They'll never see their parents again. Sometimes you have to put yourself in another person's shoes. Believe it or not, the world wasn't created just for you," she said softly before getting up, leaving Vader to mull over his thoughts.
Dinner turned out to be a little more interesting than Vader had planned. He had assumed it would be a silent affair, but Obi-wan had surprised him. She used her Force abilities to make the spoons and forks "dance" around the table, much to the amusement of the servants. Not to be out done, Vader used the Force on his knives to cut the fruit, making the pieces somersault before landing neatly in Obi-wan's plate, who actually laughed. Vader watched her interestedly, the way that her cheeks flushed, how her laugh sounded like the tinkling of bells. He quickly snapped out of his trance, and asked her gruffly, "What?" "Nothing. I just didn't think you could be so childish. Although in this case, it's not necessarily a bad thing," she admitted.
Vader and Obi-wan went back to their separate rooms, each feeling little lighter, thinking that maybe this trip wasn't such a bad idea after all.
The next day, Obi-wan decided to take a little initiative and invite Vader to go glass bottom boating in the lagoon. They fed the fish and continued to debate the merits of democracy versus a monarchy. However, the debates weren't as heated as before, with both of them cracking a joke or two when things got too intense.
It was the third day when Obi-wan finally got Vader to laugh. She was telling him about some prank she had pulled when she was a youngling that involved dying Master Ranciss's hair pink, when he burst out laughing. Not a cruel laugh, like when he was telling her about how easily Qui-gon had been defeated by Maul, but a real one, filled with mirth.
"You know, in all the stories I've heard about the Jedi, I didn't expect this," he finally admitted in the pavilion a few days later. "Palpatine always told me how you were the enemy, and you needed to be exterminated. But you're a person... just like me."
"And you're not quite the Sith I expected either. I mean in the beginning, you were, but then..." Obi-wan's voice trailed off. "Vader, why do you kill?" she asked suddenly.
"Death is necessary. Enemies of the Empire must be punished," Vader said carefully. "Is that what you truly believe? Or what Palpatine had you memorize? Because the people that I grew up with taught me that all life has value, and that killing should be avoided at all costs. Honestly, Vader, tell me the truth," Obi-wan looked at him.
Vader found himself at a loss for words. Nothing he said were truly his words; she was right. They were Palpatine's. And looking at Obi-wan now, he couldn't exactly formulate a proper argument anyway.
The moonlight made her body shimmer where they stood, in the pavilion by the lake. Her dress was made of shades of pale yellow and blue, bringing out her twinkling, blue-grey eyes. He leaned in closer, and she didn't push him away, so he leaned in even more and kissed her. The kiss only lasted a few seconds before both of them slowly pulled away, and Vader had to suppress the urge to kiss her again.
"I'm sorry, my lord, I... I have to go," Obi-wan said abruptly, her face red with embarrassment, all but running out of the pavilion. Vader leaned against the railing, breathing heavily. He had kissed several women before, he wasn't exactly new at it... but this one was different.
This one was real.
Her first kiss had been with Vader. Vader. The most despicable man in the galaxy. Her arch nemesis. One of the most powerful Sith Lords of all time, besides Palpatine. Part of her was disgusted, and part of her was confused. He seemed so normal here, so different from the man he had been on Imperial Palace. He actually listened to her instead of dismissing her.
But this was a dangerous game she was playing. She couldn't get too close to him. After all, Vader may lust after her, but he could never love her. He couldn't love, period.
So for the next few days, she remained guarded. She and Vader engaged in casual banter once more, both ignoring what had happened, and the kiss they never should've shared.
And all too soon, their vacation was over. They boarded the aircraft that took them back to the Imperial Palace. "Well, that was certainly... interesting, my lord," Obi-wan remarked, entering the palace. "Anakin," he said suddenly. "You can call me Anakin. It's my real name."
"Anakin," she said, shooting him a small smile before leaving, going back to her quarters.
Anakin watched her leave, before turning around and leaving to his quarters. Closing the door, he turned around and bumped into none another than Padmé Amidala. "Vader! I'm so glad you're back," she whispered, throwing her arms around him. Padmé tilted her head up and leaned in to kiss him... only for Vader to pull away from her.
"Vader?" she asked quizzically. "What's wrong?" "Nothing, I just... I think it would be better if we took a little break," he replied, shifting uncomfortably. The truth was, when he had seen Padmé, lips coming up to meet his, all he could think about was his wife, and how breathtaking she had looked on Varykino. A feeling knotted in his stomach. Guilt.
Padmé looked at him in shock, her eyes sparkling with tears before running out of the room sobbing. Vader swallowed, and then angrily used the Force to fling his lamp across the room. What was this woman doing to him! He was Emperor Vader, ruler of the entire galaxy. He had everything, and he was cold, ruthless, and vicious. He wouldn't have thought twice about kissing Padmé, or even rejecting her. He had never felt bad about leading her on before. And he has done it for what? The love of a woman, a Jedi who would never love him back? And why did he crave love so badly, when he himself had claimed it as a poison, a weakness? And yet, as frustrated as he was, his thoughts still dwelled on his lovely wife, whose love was, ironically, the one thing in the galaxy he could never have.
Shmi was delighted. Something had changed in Vader. She could see it. He wasn't a totally different person, and he had been brooding a lot lately. But she saw the way his eyes followed Obi-wan when she entered a room. The two of them laughed more than they argued nowadays, and is Shmi were to venture a guess, she would say that Obi-wan was every bit as taken with Vader as he was with her. He allowed her to return to the Jedi Temple to spend her birthday there, and even gave her a gift. A polished, wooden flute. Shmi didn't understand the significance behind it, but Obi-wan had been delighted.
In court, Vader had, to the displeasure of many, started listening to Obi-wan's suggestions instead of ignoring or belittling her. He had met with more Republic officials, and Shmi couldn't remember the last time he had conducted a massacre on a Republic world. He was changing into the man that Shmi had always known Anakin Skywalker would grow up to be.
And then, tragedy struck.
"Doctor? What is it, how is she?" Vader asked urgently. An official had told him that Shmi had collapsed in the middle of discussing something with her daughter-in-law. "Not well, my lord. It appears that the Typhiliodus virus that she had during her time as a slave has made a reappearance. We've tried everything... and nothing is working," the man said, trembling in fear.
Vader shoved him aside and went over to the bed, sitting beside his frail mother. Obi wan was on the other side, clutching Shmi's hand and applying a wet cloth on her forehead in a vain attempt to bring down her temperature. Shmi was whispering something to her. Vader moved closer, and made out a few words. "Thank you, for helping my son and for teaching him things I was never able to," she whispered to Obi-wan, who had tears in her eyes.
"Mother," Vader called out softly, kneeling down next to her. "Anakin, listen to me," Shmi whispered hoarsely. "We both know I don't have much time. I... I am so proud of the man you are becoming. It looks like your wife has had a good influence on you, as I have hoped. I know that you are capable of being a compassionate young man. Do not let Sidious hold you back. My son, I... I love you," she whispered, before the light was finally extinguished from her eyes, and she went limp in Anakin's arms.
Shmi Skywalker was dead.
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."
The simple phrase that changed everything. When Obi-wan had met Lord Vader, she had never imagined this. How would she tell Anakin? Would he be pleased? She hoped so, but their relationship was still a little too new to tell. "Thank you for checking, doctor," Obi-wan muttered distractedly before leaving.
Obi-wan had never thought about children before, since she had been in the Jedi Order. Now, she wasn't exactly sure how to feel.
She dressed hastily in a purple gown before going to meet Anakin for dinner. The entire day, she had been debating on how to tell Anakin. Finally, she decided to be up front and honest. No use ducking around the issue.
So, she opened the doors. Anakin was completing some paperwork on the dining table, and he had barely lifted his head to greet her before she announced, "I'm pregnant."
Dead silence. Anakin looked at her, eyes wide, before getting up and slowly making his way over to her. Obi-wan felt her heart beating out of her chest. Why wasn't he saying anything? Didn't he want an heir? He looked shocked, before quickly schooling his face into a more serious expression and gently placing a hand on her stomach, feeling the baby's Force presence.
Without warning, Anakin suddenly laughed and picked her up, spinning her around before kissing her full on the mouth. "Obi-wan! This is fantastic news! I can't wait to tell everyone, you're going to be a great mother," he said excitedly. She couldn't help but laugh in the face of Anakin's clear elation. She had been a fool to think he would hate the children. He had truly changed.
"You're not just saying that? I mean, this isn't just about having heir, right? You want to be a family?" Obi-wan asked nervously. She didn't want to raise her children as mini Sith Lords, raised to control an Empire. She wanted them to have kind and loving parents, who would teach them the importance of civil liberties and freedom. "Of course. I promise, we'll have an equal say in raising them," Anakin reassured her. "This is the best thing that's ever happened to me," he whispered softly. "I may have lost a family member, but I just gained one more."
For the next few weeks, Obi-wan couldn't help but think that maybe Anakin was overreacting ever so slightly about her condition. He started to read several books on how pregnancies could go wrong, and how to be careful when carrying a child. Every so often, he would spout some random fact about how eating too many apples could lead to a deformed baby. Honestly, Obi-wan loved her husband, but he could be a little ridiculous sometimes(not what she had expected from a Sith Lord, but oh well).
He was always extra careful with her as well, always accompanying her everywhere and yelling at a servant who had accidentally bumped into her.
Finally, the day came when they would officially announce the pregnancy to the Imperial Court, and therefore the galaxy. "Ready?" Anakin whispered, taking her by the hand with his other hand securely on her waist. "Better to get it over with sooner than later, people will find out eventually," she responded truthfully.
They entered the room where all of the nobles were gathered and took a seat on their thrones, as the other officials bowed to them. "Attention, everyone! I have an important announcement to make. The Empress is pregnant, and the doctor had just informed us that she will be expecting twins," Anakin declared.
Thunderous applause filled the room. "Finally, I thought she was infertile," a Duke whispered to his companion. "Indeed, I wonder why it took so long in the first place? Everyone knows the only reason Lord Vader married her was for the child. It's her sole purpose here," she responded.
Obi-wan, who had overheard their conversation, couldn't help but scowl. She was good for more than having children, thank you very much. She was a person who had the power to change the fate of the galaxy. And while Anakin may have initially married her for the heir, that's not why he stayed with her, why he cared so much about her health and her well-being as well as that of the baby's. Speaking of Anakin, where was he? She spotted him conversing with some generals, who were congratulating him, and she started to walk over towards him.
"My Empress," a General in a grey uniform greeted, stepping in her path and blocking her from Anakin. He didn't bow to her, but Obi-wan overlooked that fact. "Hello, General Tarkin," she returned the greeting, trying to step around him to get to Anakin. "My lady, I would just like to congratulate you on your child. Heirs for the Empire are always a cause for celebration..." Tarkin trailed on, talking something about dynasties and Royal legacies.
The general's attitude towards her children, as if they were some means to an end instead of human beings, greatly appalled Obi-wan, who barely managed to keep a straight face. Nodding to Tarkin, she grabbed Anakin and all but fled the room. Stupid Imperials.
Obi-wan turned on the holoprojector, only to see news of her and Anakin's announcement everywhere, all over the news. Didn't people have better things to do with their lives than gossip? A knock on the door led to Obi-wan turning it off before opening the door.
"Siri?" Obi-wan cried out in astonishment before reaching out and hugging her old friend. She and Siri Tachi had been very close during their time in the Jedi Order, but as Empress Obi-wan was not allowed to visit the Jedi as often as she would like. It was nice to see the knight again, but why was she here?
"Obi wan, it's so nice to see you. The Emperor graciously allowed me to some over for a surprise visit," Siri told her, her voice slightly strained. As soon as Obi wan closed the door and sat on the sofa next to her friend, Siri clasped her hands and looked at her worriedly. "Obi, I'm so sorry, how're you coping with all of this? It's just awful, atleast he waited a little bit after your wedding."
"Sorry?" Obi-wan echoed, not comprehending why Siri would say such a thing. She was delighted to be having a child, to bring life into the world. "It must be awful, having to carry that monster's baby, especially after what he did to you," Siri whispered, rubbing her arm soothingly. "We should've gotten you out while we still had the chance."
Immediately, Obi-wan realized what Siri was implying. "No, Siri, it wasn't like that at all. He didn't force me into anything, it kind of just happened, and I couldn't be more delighted about the twins!" she assured her best friend. "What are you talking about?"Siri asked warily, retracted her hand.
"I once thought as you did, Siri, but Vader isn't a bad man, he's actually quite kind, once you get to know him. He's a much better man than you think, and he cares about me," Obi-wan said, blushing softly. She looks up, only to see Siri's gaze filled with fury.
"Obi-wan, do you hear yourself right now?! Vader killed hundreds of our people! He's a monster who doesn't care about anything or anyone! How could you consort with someone like him willingly? Have you lost your mind?" Siri screamed, getting up from the couch, towering over Obi-wan.
Obi-wan stood up, refusing to be intimidating. "You haven't met him Siri, not like I have. That's just the person he was raised to be. I agree that he did horrible, inexcusable things, but that was more Palpatine's fault than his. He may not be perfect, but redemption is possible for him," she insisted.
"I don't believe what I'm hearing. You used to be so passionate about your ideals, Obi-wan. Ideals of democracy, and liberty for all. Now, look what has become of you. You're a fool who obeys her Emperor's every command," Siri said in a disgusted tone. "Siri, it's not like that. I've made it quite clear that I don't approve of the Empire, and I believe that Anakin intends to do something about it. We just have to wait, the Empire will come to an end. I won't allow my children to grow up dictators," Obi-wan said in a softer tone.
Siri shook her head, saying, "Traitor," before quietly leaving the room. "Siri, I'm still loyal to the Republic and the Jedi!" Obi-wan called out fruitlessly. Her heart clenched. She may have become Anakin's wife, but she hadn't grown complacent and given up on her morals and principles, which were everything to her.
"This will be a problem," Tarkin announced stiffly to the group of assembled officials. The officials all wore frowns on the faces, displeased with the news they had received earlier in the day. Tarkin shared their frustrations.
The general had never approved of Shmi's plan to have Vader wed the Jedi, and when he did, Tarkin had taken an instant disliking to the girl. It was clear that the idealistic Empress disapproved of the Empire, and worse, she tried to change it. That would simply not do, but as long as Vader didn't listen to her, they were fine.
However, lately Vader had paid more attention to his wife, shooting her longing looks when he thought no one was watching and listening to her suggestions. Tarkin worried about the degree of influence she had over the Emperor. But all his nightmares were realized when the announcement came that she was carrying Vader's child. If she delivered his baby, she would be a permanent fixture in the Empire, and would likely take it down from within. They had to stop that from happening.
"How will we get her to fall out of favor with the Emperor?" an official questioned. Tarkin put his hand on his chin, deep in thought. "Loren? What do you have on her file? Any youthful indiscretions?" he asked his assistant, who had gathered all the information he could find to take down Obi-wan. "Just one, General. Apparently she had a rather close relationship with the Duke of Mandalore, but it never really went anywhere."
"Well, we'll just have to rectify that, won't we?" Tarkin voiced out loud, smirking.
The Empress was going down. And it would be Tarkin who rose from the ashes of a broken love, claiming all that was truly his. If Obi-wan fell out of favor, so would her children. Which meant the next in line for the throne after the Emperor would be...
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
Obi-wan and Vader were sitting in their respective thrones, discussing something in quiet voices. The Empress had been a little unsettled lately, Anakin couldn't help but notice. However, he quickly dismissed the moody behavior as a result of the pregnancy. Speaking of which, she had started to show more noticeably. The large, dark gowns she wore were no longer adequately covering her baby bump, which was growing more prominent by the day.
"My lord, it's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance once more," a soft, sultry voice called out. A man with pale skin and golden blonde hair bowed in front of Vader. The Duke Satine of Mandalore, who had been one of Vader's most outspoken supporters during the war. Vader smiled and greeted his friend, not noticing the way that Obi-wan squirmed slightly under Satine's gaze.
Quietly, she excused herself and all but ran down the hall. What was Satine doing here? Once, years ago, she and Satine had been friends, and almost something more before her master, Qui-gon, had put an end to it. Later, she had found out that the Duke had joined the Empire, and they had never spoken again. It was awkward to see him again, to say the least, especially since she was married.
She rounded a corner... only to bump into none another than the Duke himself. "I'm sorry, my lady, did I startle you?" he said softly, leaning in closer, invading her personal space. "No, of... of course not," Obi-wan said, flustered, before trying to walk around him. Satine caught her by the wrist, heat in his gaze as he looked at her.
Obi-wan took a deep breath. She could handle this. "Duke, I hope you are well aware that I am a happily married woman who is expecting a child with her husband. Two, actually. Whatever happened between us in the past will stay in the past, is that clear?" she said, her voice hard and holding no compromise. "I no longer have any feelings for you."
"Of course, Empress, forgive my forwardness. I was just hoping... is it possible for us to still be friends? I have missed your friendship over the years, and I regret that we grew apart," the Duke suggested. Obi-wan relaxed and nodded. So the Duke wasn't looking to rekindle anything after all. He just wanted to be friends.
Apparently Anakin had invited Satine to dinner with them, but it was much less awkward than Obi-wan anticipated, with all three of them getting along fairly well. A small voice in Obi-wan's head whispered that she should tell Anakin that she knew Satine, but she ignored it. Whatever had existed before wasn't there now, and when the Duke left, it would all be over anyway.
She couldn't be more wrong.
Obi-wan dressed in a blue silk, sleeveless nightgown and was about to go to bed when her commlink buzzed. She answered it and said, "Hello?"
"Obi-wan," the Duke whispered. "I'm sorry I haven't been entirely honest with you. The real reason I'm here is because I'm in trouble. Someone is threatening me, and I... I need your help. Please meet me in the throne room. Don't worry, it's empty. No one will be there at this time, it's 11 pm."
The Duke hung up. Obi-wan stared at the commlink, wondering what she should do, but eventually her sense of duty and compassion won out. If her old friend was in trouble, she had to help.
Running to the throne room, she met the Duke, who was standing in the center of the room, with his head bowed. "Satine?" Obi-wan said in a comforting voice, gently putting her hand on Satine's shoulders. The Duke looked up at her, and immediately got up and made his way over to her, grabbing her hand. "Thank goodness you're here, Obi-wan."
"Yes, I'm here, what's this about? Who's threatening you? Maybe I can help-" she never finished her sentence. The Duke pressed her against a pillar and kissed her, taking her by surprise.
"Tarkin, what is this about? What could you possibly want at this late hour?" Anakin asked, irritated. He was supposed to be sleeping in his bed by now, and it had been a long day, but Tarkin had insisted that there was something he needed to see.
"My Emperor, I'm afraid that your wife had not been entirely honest with you. My assistant reported that she and the Duke met and had an affair when she was younger, and his appearance now cannot be a coincidence. I believe she is having an affair behind your back," Tarkin told him solemnly.
Anakin stiffened. "My wife would never betray me like that. I agreed to never take on a mistress after I fell in love with her, and she agreed to stay loyal to me as well. Amidala... she was a mistake. But my wife and I made a promise to each other after her... a promise that neither of us intends to break," he stated, slightly aggravated. Anakin had always been sensitive to the idea of betrayal, but he had full confidence in his wife.
"Well, if you're so sure, Emperor, then enter the throne room and see for yourself if I speak lies," Tarkin said.
Anakin huffed and entered the room. Obi-wan was probably sleeping by now, and this was a tremendous waste of time-
He froze. There was his wife. Kissing the Duke of Mandalore. He didn't understand. How could she do this to him... how dare she. All of a sudden, the hurt than he felt morphed into anger. A dragon rose in his heart, and the love that he held turned rotten. He was filled with rage, and all he saw was red. "ADULTERER!" he screamed, his voice echoing off the stone walls.
Obi-wan heard a scream, and used the distraction to push the Duke off of her. Only to turn around and see Anakin, glaring at her, yellow eyes filled with fire. "Guards! Arrest him!" Anakin commanded. The Imperial guards came and took Satine away, Tarkin leaving with them, but not before shooting the Empress one last victorious smirk.
Leaving her alone with Anakin, who was glaring at her like the mere sight of her disgusted him.
"Anakin, just let me explain-" she pleaded, walking to her husband, who took a step back. "Explain? Explain what? That you went behind my back, that you cheated on me? I admitted that what I did with Padmé was wrong and I swore to never hurt you like that again, because I cared about you. I loved you."
Anakin stopped speaking, but the implications of that revelation hung in the air. Anakin had never said that to her before. But he wasn't finished. "And then you betrayed me like this. You never loved me at all, did you? You hated me from the day we met! You were just using me! That's why you had the affair, because you never cared, all you wanted was to go back to your precious Order!"
"No, Anakin, that's not true! The Duke, he might love me but I don't love him. He took me by surprise, I didn't want to kiss him! It's all just a misunderstanding!" Obi-wan cried out, reaching to him.
Vader slapped her.
Obi-wan fell to the floor floor, clutching her cheek in shock. Anakin would have never done that to her.
But this wasn't Anakin.
This was Vader.
"I see through your lies now, Jedi. You tried to distract me, take me off the Sith path. But your deception has only strengthened my resolve. The Empire will live for a thousand years! And there is nothing you can do about it," Vader hissed. "You will pay for your betrayal."
Vader grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the throne room and into a dungeon. At first, Obi-wan thought he would lock her away in there. But when they reached a cell, Obi-wan realized her punishment was going to be a lot worse.
In the cell, there were the five Jedi children that Vader had mentioned had been captured by the Empire for working with the Rebellion. He had been about to pardon them... but he had no intention of doing so now.
Ordering two guards to hold his wife, Vader ignited his red lightsaber and walked over to them. "No, Anakin, please, spare them, take my life instead if you want. Damnit Vader, you're angry at me! Leave them alone! Please!" Obi-wan begged, a horrified look on her face as she struggled to free herself and protect the children.
Her pleas fell on deaf ears. Anakin plunged his lightsaber into the first youngling's chest, who screamed and then fell silent. Four more bodies hit the floor.
And then the only sound was Obi-wan's sobbing. How could Vader do this? They were younglings! And the fact that they were Jedi younglings just made Obi-wan sob even harder. They were her kin. She could still visualize their faces. So young, so brave to be fighting for democracy, for freedom from the tyranny of the Empire. Their lives had been so cruelly snuffed out. Obi-wan remembers yelling until her voice went hoarse, uncomprehending... and then everything went black.
It was all her fault.
Her eyes fluttered open. Obi-wan slowly rises from the bed, finding herself in some medical ward. Everything seemed a little fuzzy, and her head was pounding. All of a sudden, memories of the events that occurred before she blacked out flooded her mind.
The kiss. Vader. Children.
All the blood drains out of her face, and Obi-wan's hand immediately goes to her stomach. Are the twins alright? She's relieved to feel their steady presence underneath her fingertips, two little balls of light.
The door creaks open, and a female doctor enters the room. "We did a thorough examination, Empress, and luckily your twins appear to be fine. However, I would prefer it if you stayed here for a week, and afterwards check in with me daily and do not wander too far from the Imperial Palace. We want to minimize your distress or... grief levels, for that increases your chances of miscarrying the babies," the doctor warns, before shooting her a sympathetic look.
The message is clear. The doctor is well aware of what happened down there, and she wants to prevent something like that from happening again. Her eyes dart around the room furtively before she comes over and whispers to the Empress, "Your twins are fine. Vader wanted to lock you away in the dungeon until the birth, but I convinced him that that may also lead to a miscarriage. The only reason you have to visit me daily is not because there's anything wrong with your kids but because... well... you seem like a decent person, my lady, and I didn't think you deserved to be locked up down there."
Obi-wan squeezes the other woman's hand and nods, touched by the stranger's compassion. The doctor returns the gesture before hurriedly leaving the room. It's no secret that the Emperor hates her now, and Obi-wan can't honestly blame the woman for being so nervous to talk to her.
Slowly, she gets out of the bed. Images flash through her head of the Jedi younglings. Seeing them dead... it breaks something inside of her. Her master had always taught her that all life was precious, and seeing them so senselessly cut down...
Tears slip down her cheeks, but she brushes them away. Crying will solve nothing. All she can do in quietly honor their sacrifice for the greater good. A sacrifice that did not have to be made if Vader did not jump to conclusions! He threw away everything that they once had, his heart too tainted with darkness to let anything pure fill it. Did her words of mercy and compassion mean nothing to him?
Fury courses through her veins, and Obi-wan has a sudden urge to throttle the man. He had no right to take innocent lives just to torture her! She has never hated him more than that moment. The fact that Siri has probably told the Jedi everything, and she is likely not welcome back there, leaves her in even more despair. Hate leads to suffering. Her old great-grandmaster's words come back to her, and with difficulty she manages to calm herself down.
However, that doesn't change the fact that she was right all along.
Vader was a murderer.
Vader has barely said a word to her, and he has barred her from attending sessions with the Court. Not that her opinion matters anyway; it certainly didn't matter when she vocally objected to the use of a new superweapon called the Death Star and was immediately shut down. Satine is executed, and Obi-wan feels despair once more, despite the fact that he is the reason she is in this situation in the first place. Another death on her conscience. She is left to herself. With no friends, husband, or companion, Obi-wan has never felt more alone. At times, it is the sole thought of her babies, the children, that keeps her going.
Anakin, the kind man who used to love her, is gone. Vader has taken his place, and she doubts that he will ever come back. He has been consumed by anger over the supposed "deception." The Empire has become more ruthless than ever, and they have started hunting Jedi once more.
Meanwhile, Vader deliberately goes out of his way to make her life miserable without physically hurting her or the children. Flaunting his mistresses in front of her, bragging about massacres on Republic worlds, taunting the Jedi in her presence; the list goes on and on. She can see the hatred and betrayal in his eyes, and she says nothing, simply taking any punishment he sees fit to give her. She can do nothing else; he is the Emperor, and if she retaliates, she's afraid he'll hurt the twins. Nothing she says will make a difference anyways. He won't believe her.
Even then, she doesn't particularly feel like begging forgiveness for something she didn't do from a child-murderer anyways.
The screams of the children still haunt her, and it's rare that she sleeps without nightmares, without seeing their bodies in her dreams. Externally, she pretends to accept defeat. She keeps her head down and takes all his abuse, even when he outright states that the only reason she's still in the Palace is because she's carrying his heirs.
His heirs. Not his children. Everything he does is so impersonal now.
But internally, a fire rages in her heart, and she knows what she must do to quell it. It will likely result in her execution, but it's the only option left available to her now. Vader cannot be allowed to take any more lives.
And that's how she ends up in Vader's room. He's sleeping, with some random woman lying next to him in bed. It doesn't matter now. She grips the silver knife in her hand, slowly walking over to the edge of the bed, knowing what she must do. She suddenly remembers how she acquired the knife...
"Happy Birthday Obi-wan!" Qui-gon laughs and spins her around. She laughs with him, nestled in his arms, the man who is like a father to her. He has been away for awhile, fighting some campaign for the Republic on the planet of Naboo, and it's good to have her Master home.
He kisses her cheek before putting her down and saying, "We won the first battle. The monarch of Naboo gave me this as a gift of gratitude, but I thought it would suit you more." He presents her with a beautiful, silver ceremonial knife. Intricate carvings run alongside the hilt, depicting scenes of Naboo's history.
She is surprised by the gift, as Jedi are not supposed to have possessions. However, she accepts it and treasures it anyways.
Especially since, when Qui-gon leaves the next morning, he never comes back.
It's ironic that she's using a ceremonial knife for this, something that is only supposed to be used in ceremonies, but in a way it's fitting, too. Vader, who has survived so many lightsaber duels with the greatest Jedi of the age, killed by his wife, struck by a simple dagger.
Her hand trembles as she gets a good grip on the knife. She knows that another will likely take his place, that this will not be the end of the Empire, but it may weaken it. She remembers their time on Varykino. Falling in love. She hates herself for loving him even now, when he clearly despises her. And now her children will grow up without a father... all for the greater good, she reminds herself. Atleast her children won't grow up monsters. Yet, there's no denying that this deed will irrevocably break something inside of her, because she still loves Vader, despite everything.
But to save the lives of others, she will gladly sacrifice her soul.
And so, taking a deep breath, Obi-wan plunged the knife downward.
Straight to Vader's heart.
The knife went down with deadly intent, but a tan hand shot up and caught it, right before it struck the chest. Obi-wan stared, horrified, at the yellow eyes of Anakin. He was smirking at her, completely awake and unfazed by the fact she had just tried to kill him.
A horrible feeling settles in Obi-wan's stomach. She backs away quickly, clutching the knife in one hand, her entire body shaking. What was he going to do?
"So, you tried to kill me. What took you so long?" Vader asked, almost bored. He casually walks over to her, and everything in his stance is dominating and threatening, but Obi-wan refuses to back down. She has never given up without a fight. Vader stops a few feet away from her, raising an eyebrow as if daring her to try again. He's baiting her, and she knows it, but she tries again anyway.
She lunges at him again, knife in hand, but he dodges and grabs her by the wrist, twisting the knife out of her hand. It clatters on the floor. She Force pushes him against the wall, and hears a satisfying grunt come out of his mouth as he is slammed against it. The woman that was in bed with Vader has woken up and watches the scene, petrified and trying to stay out of their way. It only takes a moment for Obi-wan to recognize her as Padmé Amidala, but she quickly decides that this is irrelevant and makes a break for the door.
However, Vader has recovered quicker than she could imagine. He uses the Force to slam the door shut, trapping Obi-wan inside, and grabs her by the forearms from behind. "Not so fast, Empress," he snarls before shoving her on the ground. She turns around and prepares to fight him, hands curled in small fists. It's a fight she will lose; Vader is clearly physically stronger than her, and she is already weakened because of her condition.
Vader glares at her, his eyes darkening with hatred, his hand pulled into a fist to match her own. Before he can hit her, though, Obi-wan is rescued by an unexpected savior. It is none another than Padmé Amidala who steps in between the couple, holding her hands out to Vader.
"Wait! Vader, don't hurt her!" Padmé exclaims, and Obi-wan is shocked to find genuine concern in the other woman's voice. "Why not? Get out of the way, angel, I'll deal with this on my own," Vader says, trying to step around Amidala, but she moves with him, blocking him from Obi-wan. "If you hurt her, you might hurt the babies. Your heirs. You know what the doctor said; Obi-wan is in a fragile state already. She's the one that committed treason, Vader, not your children. Spare them," Padmé pleaded.
No one moves for the longest time, Vader contemplating Padmé's words. Obi-wan's heart is beating out of her chest. Finally, he gives her a curt nod and lowers his hand. Padmé nods in return and walks to the closet for more suitable attire, but not before shooting Obi-wan a look of empathy that makes her wonder if maybe she misjudged Amidala.
Vader grabs her by the arm and roughly hauls Obi-wan to her feet. "Listen, Jedi witch. The only reason you are alive right now is because you are carrying my children. Once you give birth, you will be forbidden from ever seeing them and imprisoned for life for treason and for betraying me. Enjoy your freedom; once my younglings arrive, you'll be a prisoner for the rest of your days. Really, this is so much better than outright killing you. Now, you will suffer for the rest of your days under my Empire, a reign which will never end, despite your best efforts," he whispers in her ear nastily. She glares defiantly in return, despite her fear at knowing her ultimate fate.
It is a battle of wills, the Jedi versus the Sith. Light versus dark. Neither willing to back down.
It doesn't escape her notice that their faces are inches apart once more, and by the way he's looking at her, it doesn't escape his, either. For a second, his face changes, and he leans in ever so slightly before letting her go and turning away as if she is a piece of filth that he cannot be bothered with.
She flees the room like her life depends on it(which it did), running back to her quarters and collapsing on her bed before finally allowing herself to cry at the miserable fate that awaits her. She has failed, and now they will all pay the consequences.
However, a few days later, something surprising happens.
Padmé Amidala approaches her in her quarters. "Hello?" she says tentatively. Obi-wan ignores her, choosing to look outside her window at the sunset instead, absently stroking her stomach. Her twins are the only reason she has a will to live anymore, even if they will be taken away from her. Her only lights in a never ending darkness.
"Empress, I have been informed by your doctor that you have been in severe depression. Dr. Che expresses concern that this might harmfully affect your pregnancy. I have been able to convince Lord Vader, with some difficulty, to allow you to come with me to Varykino for a small vacation. I am visiting my parents there, and I have heard that you greatly enjoyed your last visit there. Hopefully it will help lighten your mood," Padmé tells her, awaiting her response.
Obi-wan takes a moment before answering: "Why are you doing this? Why are you helping me?" She didn't understand. Why on earth would her husband's mistress go out of her way to aid her?
"To be honest, I'm not quite sure. Maybe we can figure it out on Varykino?" Padmé suggested, looking at her kindly. "I've seen the way he treats you... and it's cruel, even if you did cheat on him."
"I didn't have an affair," Obi-wan said softly, but she can tell by the look on Padmé's face that she doesn't believe her. It doesn't matter; Amidala is offering her an escape from Imperial Palace, if only for a short while, and she'd be a fool not to take it. She gives her a brief nod, signaling that yes, she'll go with her.
For her health, for the health of her unborn children, and for Padmé Amidala, whose motives she still cannot quite figure out, and who is clearly a lot cleverer than she lets on. Sadly enough, she is so desperate for companionship and for something other than the monotony of a life as a disgraced Empress that she's willing to hang out with the senator who had an affair with her husband. Not that their marriage means anything anyway.
She's starting to doubt it ever did.
Naboo was as beautiful as she remembered it, with sparkling lakes and a palace that took your breath away. For a moment, Obi-wan just closed her eyes and forgot. Forgot that her husband had turned out to be a murderous Sith Lord who wanted her dead. Forgot that the twins would likely be trained to join him. Forgot everything.
She followed her old master's advice and decided to simply live in the moment, disembarking from her ship. Padmé motioned for the woman to follow her, and they entered Padmé's parents' house, by the lake country. "Mom! Sola!" Padmé greeted her family enthusiastically, surprising Obi-wan greatly. This was not the young woman she knew on Imperial Palace.
She stood awkwardly to the side, before a tiny girl with adorable brown curls asked softly, "Who are you?" "My name is Obi-wan Kenobi," she replied gently, and the Naberries immediately tensed. "Your majesty, it's an honor," Padmé's father said stiffly, looking at her curiously. Clearly, they were no fans of the Empire, but her status as a former Jedi must have stopped them from greeting her with downright hostility.
"Please, call me Obi-wan. I'm not the Emperor," Obi-wan emphasized, hoping that they would understand the secret meaning behind her words. Fortunately, they did, and quickly warmed up to her. She unpacked her luggage and ate dinner with the family. Padmé's nieces were especially charming, and they made Obi-wan wonder what her own children would be like, once they were born.
The one thing that confused the Empress was the secret looks that Padmé would share with her family sometimes, or how guarded the adults were with her. Then again, she couldn't really blame them. It was subtle, but it was obvious that the Naberries were no fans of the Empire. But why were they involved with it?
The next morning, Padmé suggested the two of them go and spend some time in the meadow. Obi-wan agreed, without realizing that the meadow was the same one that she and Vader had visited on her last visit. The memories all sent a pang to her heart, and the somewhat good mood she had been in was quickly extinguished.
Vaguely, Obi-wan heard Padmé instruct the Imperial Guards to keep their distance as she and the Empress had a private conversation. Her mind was too preoccupied with all that had happened the last time she was here, as she sat down in the clearing of wildflowers in a velvet dress. "Thinking about something?" Padmé questioned. "You seem distracted. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine. So are the twins," Obi-wan responded tersely, shooting the other woman a slightly suspicious glance.
"Obi-wan, don't look at me like that. I'm not here with any agenda. How do you like the lake country?" Padmé asked her. "It's beautiful," Obi-wan admitted. "And your family was very nice; thank you, for making me feel welcome. You didn't have to do that." Padmé shrugged, before proceeding to tell Obi-wan some story about her neices pretending to fall into the lake, and her sister going half sick with worry and calling the Naboo Guard. By the end, both Obi-wan and Padmé were laughing hysterically, and the twins lightly kicked in her stomach, sensing their mother's lightened mood. It was ironic; her husband hated her, and here she was, telling stories and laughing with his mistress. If someone had told her months ago that Obi-wan would get along with Padmé Amidala, she wouldn't have believed it.
Padmé was silent for a moment, before saying, "You know Vader loves you, right?"
"You've got to be joking." Obi-wan looked at the other woman incredulously. Where had she been these past few months?
"The fact that he was so hurt by your betrayal only proves how strong his love for you really was. Every time you walked into the room, you were the only one he would look at it. It's like the rest of us weren't even there. He loves you Obi-wan; you'd have to be blind not to see it."
Obi-wan fell silent, not knowing quite how to respond to that. Especially since Padmé had a wistful look in her eye. She has loved Vader, yes, but did he still love her? She doubted it. He had been hurt too badly from her supposed "betrayal."
"Whatever feelings Vader and I had for one another, they're in the past, Padmé. It's best to leave them there. Anyways, even if he does love me, that won't stop him from throwing me in prison once I deliver the twins. You were there, and you heard him threaten me."
"So that's it? You're just going to resign yourself to this miserable fate?" Padmé said in disbelief. This could not be the young Jedi who had married Vader, filled with passion for upholding her beliefs and notorious for possessing a volatile temper with her husband. "What choice do I have? My situation is hopeless."
"Not necessarily," Padmé told her mysteriously, biting an apple from her picnic basket. Something in the other woman's tone made Obi-wan both suspicious and curious. "Padmé, why did you bring me here again? Why are you so concerned with helping me?"
Amidala looked around, checking for any guards who could possibly overhear them before wordlessly handing Obi-wan a cookie from the basket. Puzzled, Obi-wan took the cookie, and gasped. The frosting was the symbol of the Rebel Alliance, the insurgency that was going against the Empire and secretly aided by the Republic.
"You're a Rebel," she whispered, her head spinning. Padmé only nodded. "I'm a rebel, tasked to seduce Vader so I can learn Imperial secrets and pass them onto the Rebellion. My lady, there are several people in the Alliance and the Republic who are sympathetic to your plight after word of your falling out with Vader reached their ears. You had access to classified information, and we genuinely want to help you and your children. Tonight, a rebel transport docks at landing bay eleven at the Naboo airport at 9 pm. Find a way to lose the guards Vader sent to accompany you, and I'll try my best to distract them. Make it on board the ship, and you're free."
Obi-wan blinked, still trying to process all of the information. She couldn't believe it... she could escape! But even as her head was filled with thoughts of fleeing from Vader, her heart was filled with guilt over leaving him.
Guilt which quickly faded when she remembered how eager he had been to kill her.
Their love was dead. She had to give her children their best chance, and that meant taking them as far away from Vader as possible. Hesitantly, she nodded to Padmé Amidala.
She took her chance right after dinner, after the Naberries, except Padmé, all went to bed. Clutching a small blaster that Padmé had slipped her, Obi-wan went out on the pretense of taking a stroll, and immediately shot the two guards who accompanied her when they turned their back.
Padmé handed her some basic supplies she would need, reassuring her that the Alliance would take care of most of her needs. Obi-wan pulled the purple cloak around her a bit tighter, walking up the ramp of the transport, where a green skinned twilek stood and greeted her with a smile.
"Padmé?" Obi-wan called out, right before the ship was about to take off. "Thank you. For everything." "You're welcome." Padmé smiled at her. Obi-wan studied the young woman, before saying in a much softer tone, "You love him, don't you?" She knew that Padmé had said seducing Vader was her mission, but the way that the young woman spoke his name... somewhere along the line, she had fallen in love. The slight tilt of the brown-haired woman's head, and the melancholy look in her eyes, only confirmed it.
They were both lovelorn fools, losing their hearts to a man, a Sith, who could not love. Ultimately, however, both chose duty over the heart. Indeed, Obi-wan realized that she had far more in common with Padmé than she had originally thought. Taking a deep breath, Obi-wan turned around and entered the ship. Ready to begin a new life, and do whatever it takes to protect her children.
"NO!" Vader screamed, swiping everything off his desk, his face filled with fury. He held out his hand, and a sickening crack filled the air, as Obi-wan's remaining Imperial guards assigned to her on Naboo fell to the floor, dead. Padmé flinched, subconsciously rubbing her own threat, although she knew she was relatively safe. She had covered her tracks, so no one could pin Obi-wan's escape on her.
"How could this happen? She was seven months pregnant! How could she just disappear without anyone noticing anything!" Vader said agitatedly, dismissing everyone in the room with a wave of his hand. Padmé stayed, knowing that she was flirting with death, and said, "My lord? There's something you need to see. I was talking to security, and it appears Obi-wan was telling the truth after all. Upon careful examination, the security tape that day was shown to be tampered with, and it was the duke who took Obi-wan by surprise and kissed her. She did not intent to kiss him. Tarkin was lying."
Vader's face was blank as he watched the recording. It was blank when he gave the order for Tarkin's arrest and execution(not that that was a surprise, no one was going to miss that sleemo, especially not Padmé), and when he finally dismissed Padmé as well.
It was only after the young senator shut the door that she heard a sound coming from the room. The sound of a wooden flute being played. The Empress's favorite song.
Her heart ached, but Padmé left. "Mistress? Why did you tell Vader the truth about his wife if you care for him? She's gone, so it wouldn't make a difference whether he hated her or not anyways," Sabé looked at her curiously. Sabé was Padmé's most trusted handmaiden, and it isn't surprise her that the clever girl had figured out the truth about her feelings for the Emperor.
"Because, Sabé. If you really love someone, you'll do whatever it takes to make them happy. Even if it's the most painful thing you've ever done, even if it means letting them love someone else."
A couple months later...
"Master!" Obi-wan called out in surprise, before suppressing a moan of pain. She was in a wheelchair, being taken to the medcenter after the contractions started. On the way, she had passed Yoda, who had smiled and merely wished her well, hoping that the children would be healthy.
Since she had arrived at the rebels' headquarters, Obi-wan had reunited with several of her old Jedi friends who were rebels in secret, and she had met some new ones like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, two key Republic figures who had to keep their involvement a secret. She had shared as much information with them as possible.
Vader had reportedly been furious when he had found out about Obi-wan's escape, and the former Empress wasn't sure how to feel about that. For the most part, she was glad that she was away from him, but there was a part of her that longed to with him. There was a part of her that wished it was his hand, and not some random nurse's, that she was clutching as she was laid down on the hospital bed.
"Take a deep breath and push, as hard as you can," the doctor instructed, and Obi-wan did just that, screaming in pain. Her scream was soon joined by that of another. Her son. She could hardly believe it.
"Just one more push, you're doing great," the doctor encouraged, and Obi-wan pushed with all of her might, as another cry soon joined her son's. Her twins were born.
Obi-wan lied down, exhausted and in great pain. She held her hands out, and the nurses wordlessly her babies to her. "What are their names?"
All of a sudden, tears formed in her eyes. She and Vader had spent countless nights thinking of the perfect names for their children. The desire to have her husband here, by her side, holding one of her children and rubbing her arm soothingly was almost too much to bear. They were supposed to be a family.
However, returning to Vader would be suicide. So it would just be her and the twins in their little makeshift family. Instead of Anakin at her side, she would have to raise her children on her own, but that didn't mean she would love them any less. Whatever happened between her and Vader was between her and Vader, not the two adorable children in her arms. She would love them until the day she died.
Which may not be long, considering that Vader is sending Imperial troops everywhere to look for you. The rebels can't keep you safe forever, a nasty little voice in her head whispered. Obi-wan ignored it. This was the happiest moment of her life, and nothing was going to ruin it.
"Luke and Leia," Obi-wan replied to the nurses' question. "Their names are Luke and Leia."
"Mommy?" Leia asked, lightly tugging on her mother's long skirt next to her brother, Luke, who was hiding in his mother's cloak. Both had greatly missed their mother, as she had been in a war briefing. After much debate, it was decided that Luke and Leia would stay with their mother and be raised on Yavin IV, the Rebel base. As a result, both twins saw a little more of violence that Obi-wan would like, and both of them were being trained to fight for the Rebellion one day.
No one outside the rebellion even knew that the twins existed. The story was that Obi-wan Kenobi had mysteriously disappeared four years ago, and no one knew what happened to her or the Emperor's children, although there was a hefty price on her head. A price that had sent many bounty hunters after her, although none had found her yet.
Bringing herself back to the present, Obi-wan looked down at Leia before picking her and her brother up and holding them in her arms. "Yes Leia?" "Where's our Daddy? I was talking to Jyn, and she's always helping her daddy on some mission for the Rebellion. Why don't we have a dad?"
The girl's simple inquiry caused a brief stab of pain to Obi-wan's chest. How could she possibly answer that question without traumatizing her children for life? Oh, hey kids, your dad is actually a lightsaber wielding phsycopath who happens to rule the galaxy, enjoys choking people to death, and may or may not kill us all if he ever finds us. Who wants ice cream?
However, she owed it to her children to give some version of the truth. "Leia, your father died. He died several years ago, when he was destroyed by an evil Sith Lord named Vader. I'm so sorry, sweetheart." Both Luke and Leia's eyes welled with tears, and Obi-wan hugged them both to her chest, her tears intermingling with those of the children's.
She wished she could give her children a father that they could love and be proud of, but she would always be there for them, even if Vader wasn't. She looked at her two children, who had draped theirselves over her. Leia still looked distraught, and Luke was chewing on the ear of his ewok teddy bear, silent tears streaming down his face.
Both children greatly resembled their father. Leia had inherited his brown hair and his fierce temper. Luke, on the other hand, resembled Obi-wan a little more in temperament, with blonde hair that was reminiscent of his father's in his youth(Anakin had told her that he had blonde air when he was younger). However, Luke had inherited Obi-wan's blue-grey eyes, filled with hidden depths and a wisdom behind his years.
Despite their resemblance to Vader, Obi-wan still loved her children and would gladly sacrifice her life for theirs. They were her whole world, and she couldn't imagine life without her Luke and Leia. The two of them were pure and brilliant in the Force, despite the fact that they were born from a tainted love.
Sighing, Obi-wan sat in a rocking chair and sang her children to sleep. Eventually, both twins drifted off, with Luke burying his head in the crook of her neck and Leia resting her head on her lap, leaving the older woman alone with her thoughts. For the first time in years, she felt the strange urge to go to Vader. To reunite with him, and let her children actually meet their father. However, she quickly disposed of that irrational thought. Anakin Skywalker no longer existed. Vader was a monster and a murderer that she was devoting her life to bring down.
Elsewhere, the man in question sat on his throne. At a glance, this man had everything. The circlet around his head and his expensive robes signified power and wealth. However, the man's sad eyes told a different story. He stared at a picture of a lovely red-haired woman in his hand with sorrow in his gaze. It had been four years since had had last seen her, and he was starting to doubt if he ever would. The sadness in his heart was turning into rage.
How dare she leave him? How could she do this to him? Was she even alive? And the children... the children would be four, now. The thought only made him angrier. She had taken his children away from him. Vader's didn't know if he had ever hated and loved anyone more in his entire life. The Emperor was growing obsessed; consumed by his desire to find her.
He looked at the stars above him, wondering if the object of his twisted affections was staring at the same sky, seeing the same stars. Wondering when the day would come that he would finally see her.
Ten years later...
"Luke! Leia!" Obi-wan screamed, grabbing her children amidst all the chaos.
They were on a rebel transport, the Tantive IV. The rebels had just acquired plans to the Death Star in the nick of time from the rogue one squadron on Scarif, and were now fleeing an Imperial vessel that was chasing them. A vessel reported to be carrying Lord Vader himself. Obi-wan prayed that it wasn't true.
Luke and Leia were clutching their lightsabers. The two of them had been trained by herself and Master Yoda, so Obi-wan knew they could take care of themselves, but she still didn't want them in harm's way. Ducking into a tunnel, Obi-wan hastily gave R2-D2 the Death Star plans that she had just acquired.
"R2, you need to get this to Mon Mothma, leader of the rebellion, understand?" Obi-wan asked the quirky little droid, who whistled in agreement before barreling down the dark hall. A droid should be able to slip out undetected. Obi-wan turned to her children and instructed them to hide behind a black pillar with her.
She clutched her lightsaber in one hand and waited with bated breath. She could hear the footsteps of stormtroopers running around the ship, and screams filled the air as she clutched her children close to her. There was no escape.
Suddenly, footsteps filled the hall that she and her children were hiding in, but these footsteps felt different. Familiar, almost. Closing her hand around the hilt of her saber, Obi-wan motioned for her children to stay put and leapt from behind the pillar, swinging the saber at her opponent.
And coming face to face with Darth Vader himself.
She froze in shock as Vader easily disarmed her, taking advantage of her surprise. He looked slightly older than when she had last seen him, his crystal blue eyes filled with emotion. Doubt, anger, and something deeper that she couldn't quite identify. She knew she should do something, perhaps use the Force to push him back, but that would only delay him. Her heart was beating out of her chest as he took a step towards her. And another step. And another.
Until he was inches away from her, clutching his red lightsaber in his hand with a deadly intent... and dropping it. He gripped her waist and kissed her instead, and Obi-wan eagerly responded, melting into her husband's embrace after 14 years of separation, for once allowing herself to be utterly irrational. A kiss filled with longing and desire.
Of course, Luke and Leia had no idea what the heck was going on. They thought their mother was about to fight a Sith Lord, and now they see him kissing her instead. Their first thought was what any child would think after seeing their parent kiss someone: Ew. Their second thought was that they had to rescue their mother from this vile man who was forcibly kissing her, the man who had murdered their father.
"GET AWAY FROM HER!" Luke screamed, charging towards Vader with Leia on his heels. Vader broke the kiss, looked up and, upon seeing Luke and Leia, flicks his hand, and their training sabers are wrenched from their hands. However, this wasn't going to stop Leia. "Don't touch mom!" she yelled, kicking him in the shin. Vader winced, but he was too preoccupied with what Leia said to really care.
"Mom?" he whispered hoarsely, looking at Obi-wan, and then the children in shock, wanting to memorize every inch of them. "Obi-wan, are these my children?" he asked incredulously, holding out a tentative hand to Luke and Leia. Obi-wan hesitated before nodding. "What? This isn't dad. Mom, you said our dad was Anakin Skywalker, not Vader!" Luke protested, confused. "Yeah mom, you said dad was dead," Leia looked at her, slightly accusatory.
Obi-wan disentangled herself from Vader and put her hands on her childrens' shoulders. "I'm sorry, Luke, Leia, but Vader speaks the truth. You're his children. Vader is just an alias for Anakin Skywalker. I lied to you because I couldn't tell you the horrifying truth when you were younger." "Horrifying?" Vader asked, frowning at the term, but Obi-wan continued, "I did tell you a version of the truth. In a way, Vader destroyed Anakin when he turned to the dark side once more after he thought I 'betrayed' him. I'm sorry you had to find out like this."
"Mom, you should've told us the real truth," Luke sulked, and Leia looked at her with slight anger in her eyes, but she knew that they wouldn't stay mad at their mother for long. "Well, now that introductions are out of the way, I think it's time we all go home," Vader announced, peering at them with yellow eyes.
"Home? Home is with the Rebellion, not with you. Just because you're our father doesn't change the fact that you're a murderer," Luke shot back, stepping closer to his mother, and Leia nodded her head in agreement. Obi-wan looked at Vader, more guarded than she had been when they had first reunited.
Now that she finally had her wits about her, she realized what a horrible situation they had gotten themselves into. Vader's eyes darkened, and he he motioned for a few stormtroopers to enter the hall, leading his family out of the rebel transport and already preparing to give the announcement to the Empire that his family had finally been found.
They may hate him now, but they would learn to love him. They'd have to.
Vader watched her by the door. His wife was standing by the balcony, brushing her soft, red hair, the moonlight making her shimmer. She was dressed in a white silk nightgown that, in Anakin's opinion, made her look like one of the angels of Iego. He silently walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her from behind, eliciting a small gasp from her. "Even after all these years, you're still the most beautiful woman I've ever seen," he murmured and leaned in to kiss her... and she turned away, his kiss landing on her cheek instead.
She tensed up, and Vader backed away slightly, confused. "Vader, I know how I greeted you back on the ship, but that was after many years of thinking that I would never see you again. Nothing has changed between us. You are still the Sith Lord, and I am still a knight of the Jedi Order."
"But I thought... I thought you loved me," he whispered, hurt by the rejection, but this only seemed to enrage Obi-wan even more. "Have you even apologized for what you've done? Even once? You murdered those children in front of me! You taunted and threatened me! How can you possibly expect me to forgive you after that? And let's not forget the thousands of people that you've killed in my abscence!" she screamed, her voice biting and filled with fury.
"Most of them were rebels anyway! I had to protect the Empire," Vader argued, his face flushed. "Is that your justification for killing? Because it's pathetic, Vader. The point is, we are not the people we were fourteen years ago. You have turned into the man you were when we first met, with a complete disregard for the value of life. We stand on opposite sides concerning our morals, and when it comes to my beliefs, there can be no compromise," Obi-wan replied stonily before marching out of the room.
"Your beliefs? You kept our children from me! I missed their first birthday, their first words, their first steps... I missed everything!" Vader screamed at her. "How can you justify that?"
"I can justify it by saying that it's better my son and daughter grow up without a father than with an evil one."
"I would never hurt them," Vader whispered.
Obi-wan scowled and left the room, slamming the door behind her.
To say Lord Vader was frustrated would be an understatement. He had given his wife everything she could ever ask for. Her room was enormous and filled with rich, colorful tapestries. She was Empress of the galaxy! What more could she ask for?
But no matter how many things he gave her, from diamond necklaces to designer dresses, she refused to talk to him, or even look at him. She wouldn't let him touch her either, and he had to start sleeping in the guest bedroom because she refused to sleep with him. He had spent so many lonely nights without her... and even now, when he finally had her, she denied him time and time again.
It was worse with the children. Whenever he would enter the same room as them, they would start throwing things at him with the Force and run away, vehemently denying that he was their father. To them, their only parent was their mother, the woman who had raised them and loved them for years. In their eyes, Vader was simply the man that had kidnappd them and forced them to live with him.
It was hopeless. No matter how hard he tried to get them to love him, they just rejected him, time and time again. At first, he was angry, but afterwards... all he felt was sorrow and pain. This was his fault. He had ruined his family, made it so that they could never be whole.
He had broken all his promises, especially the one he had made to Shmi after she died. He had become the monster she had always feared.
Obi-wan made her way to the dining room, and paused upon finding Anakin, who was seated anxiously. Upon seeing her, he got up and walked over to her. "Obi-wan, please. I know you're angry with me, but believe me when I say I'm sorry for what I've done. I should never have done all of those things to you, but I'm hoping I can make it up to you."
He gently took her hand in his and led her out to the gardens. Obi-wan couldn't help but feel curious and confused. What were they doing here?
They ventured in deeper, and Obi-wan gasped at what she saw. In the middle of a patch of daisies, there was a statue of Qui-gon Jinn, with an inscription honoring her late Master's achievements. Next to it, there were five more graves. "It's the graves of the Jedi children. I thought, at the very least, they deserved a proper burial," Anakin muttered sadly.
Sudenly, Obi-wan hears a large explosion in the distance, and she sees something falling from the sky, like shooting stars. "It's the Death Star. I had it destroyed," Anakin murmured next to her.
He got to his knees, grasping her hands, his eyes filled with internal strife and woe. "Obi-wan, I am so sorry for everything I've done. I completely overreacted that night, and I should've trusted you. And you were right, about everything. These past few years, I've been murdering and massacring rebels when I promised you and my mother that I would dissolve the Empire one day. I'm a hypocrite, and I don't know what I can possibly do or say to atone for what I've done. All I know is that I want to spend the rest of my life, making it up to you and the rest of the galaxy. Please, forgive me."
His plea was so heartfelt that it brought tears to Obi-wan's eyes, and she bent down and hugged him. He had made mistakes, yes, but didn't he deserve to be forgiven for them? It was the least she could do, especially considering what she was about to do. So she held him, silently forgiving him for all the pain he had caused her, for destroying their marriage. She hugged him with the silent promise that she would always be there for him, until the end.
Vader hugged her back, relieved to have finally won back his wife's forgiveness. He closes his eyes, and suddenly gasps in pain. He looks down and sees a scarlet pool of blood, and a silver knife in his chest. Uncomprehending. Until he sees Obi-wan's hand on the hilt, tears still streaming down her face.
Vader collapses in her arms, and she buries her face in his hair and sobs. "I'm sorry, Vader, but I can't take the chance that you'll go back on your word. I told you, all those years ago, that my morals are more important to me than anything. I have to end this Empire, one way or another. I'm so sorry."
"It's alright... I... I forgive you," Vader coughed, his fingers brushing his wife's cheek. In his eyes, Obi-wan saw understanding and acceptance. This was the price he had to pay for the thousands of innocents he had slaughtered, and strangely enough, he would rather be killed by his wife than some random Jedi or rebel officer. Atleast this way, he could die happy, knowing that the last thing he ever saw would be her.
"I love you," she says, finally saying the words that he has waited a lifetime to hear, the ones that she never said back to him the night it all went wrong. They kiss, one last time, before the light in Vader's blue eyes finally goes out. A kiss conveying a thousand emotions, one that Obi-wan wished could last an eternity. Obi-wan holds onto Vader like a madwoman, not wanting to ever let go and dreading the moment she would have to. Memories flash in their eyes. Laughing by water in the lakes of Naboo, playing the flute in the Imperial Music room... a love, a life lost to the stars. They could have had it all... but the light and darkness cannot coexist in peace forever, for to do so was against their fundamental natures.
They are no longer the children they once were.
They are two adults, hardened by the war and forced to choose duty over love. Her ideals... her ideals wouldn't allow it any other way, she had to kill him.
The Emperor is dead.
Long live the Republic.
*runs away from angry reviewers who want to give author a piece of their mind after said author kills off main character*
Sorry guys, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was really the only way their story could end.
UP NEXT: Epilogue
A very brief epilogue, just to wrap things up...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Keep your guard up, Luke!" Obi-wan instructed her son as they duelled, their sabers a flurry of color and light. Leia fought alongside her brother, and feinted to the left to allow Luke to attack from below, disarming her.
"Well, it looks like I'm getting old," the red-haired woman joked before wrapping her arms around her children and leading them back into the Temple. It had been four years since the Emperor's death. Since then, the Republic had been restored, ushering in an era of peace.
The Jedi Order had been restored to its former glory as well, and Obi-wan had returned to the Temple to train her children in the Jedi arts, as exceptions were starting to be permitted regarding the rule of attachment. Both were capable, headstrong warriors that she couldn't be prouder of.
She knew Anakin would be proud of them, too. If she closed her eyes, she could see him, ruffling Luke's hair and joking around with Leia. The children were older now, and they understood that their father hadn't always been a bad one; just a very complicated one.
Obi-wan looked up at the sky. She knew that, somewhere, Anakin was watching over them. If she closed her eyes, she could still feel his arms around her, hear his bellowing laugh, see his twinkling blue eyes the day he died.
She missed him. It was impossible to deny. There were nights that she could wake up screaming, horrified by what she'd done. Days when she felt a pang of loneliness in her heart, imagining his tear stricken face as he died in her arms. However, she still knew that it was the only choice she could've made, and it was a choice that she wouldn't go back and change. It had been the right thing to do.
"I love you," she whispered to the sky, to the stars. She turned around to go back to her room, holding her children close to her as they whispered about some new Force technique Yoda was teaching them, never seeing the shimmering blue ghost which materialized behind her, whispering the words back.
Thank you to everyone who has been following and commenting on this story! You guys are so supportive and I love hearing from all of you.