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He couldn’t save her.

Hot tears burned down his cheeks, heavy sobs wracking through his entire body as he fell to the ground on his knees. He turned against the Jedi, the Republic, his own brother, to save her. To prevent his dreams from becoming a reality once again.

And yet, the love of his life, his sole reason behind every single one of his actions, was lying lifeless in front of him.

He failed her. He failed Obi-Wan, the Jedi Council, and his two beautiful children that Padme had used her final breaths to birth. Everyone who had ever put faith into him, the chosen one, he betrayed at the cost of the safety of Padme’s life, which even he was unable to preserve.

In that moment Anakin felt scared, broken, and alone, and it was entirely his fault. He had nobody to comfort him; all he wanted was to feel the arms of somebody he loved squeezing tightly around him, to tell him everything is going to be okay and how he’ll make it through. But he had nobody, and never had he ever felt so unbelievably empty.

For the second time in his entire life, Anakin felt completely powerless.

Using the remaining strength left in his exhausted body, Anakin rose to his feet and peered inside the bassinets that held his children.

The boy, Luke, had thin tufts of light blonde hair sitting atop his small head and big, bright blue eyes, just like Anakin. His little arms were waving frantically up at his father, almost as if he was signaling for Anakin to pick him up. With slow and shaking arms, Anakin gently picked up his newborn son and cradled him in his arms. He rested his forehead against the baby’s, tears silently rolling down his cheeks and onto his son’s. Anakin pressed a soft kiss to Luke’s forehead and looked over into the other bassinet.

Leia. He remembered how Padme loved that name, her constantly stating how if their baby was a girl, that’s what she would be called. Her big, brown doe eyes, much like Padme’s and his own mother’s, peered up at him with calmness and curiosity. She was much less mobile than her brother, but content all the same. Anakin reached down with a gloved finger and very gently, almost invisibly, ran it down the bridge of her nose. Even as a newborn, Leia resembled her mother, which caused a tugging in his chest, a feeling that could not be described as anything other than the simultaneous tearing apart and mending together of his heart. With his other arm, Anakin cautiously scooped up his daughter in his mechanical arm and cradled her close to his chest.

Luke and Leia were his last chance at happiness. He could sneak off undetected to raise his children on a faraway planet, teach them the ways of the Force, the Jedi, tell them stories of how he and their mother met, how they came to fall in love. He could tell them all about her and how strong she was, how intelligent she was, and how lucky he was to have such a beautiful woman find him worthy enough to speak with him, let alone agree to marry him. He could tell them about Uncle Obi-Wan and how he taught him everything he knows, tell them about their grandmother and Qui-Gon and his former apprentice Ahsoka, and how they all helped him become the man he once was.

He could imagine them as toddlers, taking their first steps together with Anakin being the one to catch them when they fall. He could imagine them as young children with practice sabers, giggling while clumsily running through the house after each other while Anakin scolds them for knocking over various items. He could imagine them as teenagers; Luke building a lightsaber of his own and joining the Jedi Temple as a padawan, training to become a Jedi Master as Anakin did, and Leia well on her way to becoming a powerful politician, following in the footsteps of her late mother.

His heart yearned for the happy life he envisioned with his children, but he knew deep down that it would not be as he wished. He knew most of their childhood would be spent in hiding, running away from the Jedi, facing the same consequences their father does because of his reckless decisions made in the fruitless attempt to protect their mother. He did not want them to look up innocently into his guilty eyes and see the man they think is protecting them, when in reality, he is the one that jeopardized their safety in the first place. They deserve better than that kind of life.

They deserve better than him.

With one final glance at his late wife, and one final kiss on each of his children’s foreheads, he laid them back down in their bassinets and left the room without looking back.