Obi-Wan is dead at his feet, crumpled in a heap of brown robe, and Padme stands crying before him. The tears down her face do nothing to stop Anakin from squeezing his hand more tightly… his fingers are not on her throat, but he is the one responsible for her fate.
And Obi-Wan’s; Everything in Anakin is screaming at himself to stop, but he can’t.
To his left, Qui-Gon appears, bathed in blue and holding both Ahsoka's and Obi-Wan’s hands. Obi-Wan… is older than he’s ever looked, the beautiful and youthful red hair turned to white. Qui-Gon shakes his head and states, “Nobody is supposed to be able to kill a Jedi, yet you let him kill two.”
“More than that,” Obi-Wan says, and Padme falls to her knees as the sound of a thousand babies cry out in fear.
“You promised never to let anyone hurt us,” Ahsoka says, “But you were the one who did it.”
Anakin wakes up, his heart pounding in his throat. He is covered in sweat, and his fear grows worse when he sees Padme no longer lying in bed beside him.
“Padme!” he calls, and her reply is a breathless -
(Breathless, because of him…)
- breathless with fear, but also happiness. He runs to her, bent over in the ‘fresher, holding her stomach, her face red with pain and joy. “It’s time, Ani. It’s time.”
The dreams fade, because his baby and his wife needed him.
But he watches Padme’s face contort with pain for hours, and the words of two masters and an apprentice still echo in his ears.
Padme has been asleep for twenty minutes, and the doctors have advised that Anakin should let the children sleep in their beds.
(Children. How did he not know there were two of them? How did he not feel it?)
But Anakin remembers Watto yelling in his mother’s face: “You’re going to spoil him if you hold him every time he cries.” He remembers his mother’s resolve, and the way she always held him … when the nightmares were too much, when he was angry, when he was hurt… when she was terrified that he had to go be in a podrace.
“Little boys are only little boys for so long,” she would tell Watto defiantly.
The same must be true about little girls, and so, Anakin holds both of them. He has two hands - more or less- and they are small enough to fit in both palms. Luke yawns sleepily, having been fed, he’s content to sleep the same way his mother is currently. But Leia looks up at him, neither tired nor fussy, and Anakin knows that he’s never going to be able to pretend he doesn’t have attachment issues.
He’s sitting there, smiling down at his children in wonder, when Obi-Wan walks in.
Anakin is holding children that he never told Obi-Wan about and he's sitting beside a wife he never told Obi-Wan about, and he would normally have a lot of embarrassment. But he remembers his dream.
“You’re alive,” he blurts out.
Obi-Wan raises his eyebrow at him. “Of course I am. The news that Senator Amidala had given birth was surprising, but not so much that my heart couldn’t take it.”
Anakin sighs and Leia lets out an indignant squeal at being jostled.
“There’s two of them and their mother seems to be asleep. Would you like me to take one?”
No. Yes. It’s Obi-Wan, and it’s okay. “If you want… which one?”
“Why don’t you introduce me, first?” Obi-Wan suggests. “It’s the least you could do, since I had to hear about their birth from a droid.”
Anakin rolls his eyes, and makes a mental note to thank R2 later. “This is Luke,” he says, “And this is Leia.”
Obi-Wan studies them for a moment, and then he gestures to Leia. “That one is awake and ready to say hello,” he says. “Why don’t we start with introductions there.”
Anakin gently places Leia in Obi-Wan’s arms. Obi-Wan, who is a favorite among all the younglings, takes the child as though it is the most natural thing in the world. Leia doesn’t squeal, but her gaze goes to Obi-Wan’s face, and she quickly wraps her whole hand around the finger that Obi-Wan offers her. "Hello, there," he murmurs.
Anakin swallows hard. He has so many attachment issues.
“You don’t seem very surprised,” he says.
Obi-Wan takes a while to look at Anakin, too caught up in Leia to answer right away. “I have known about you and Senator Amidala for some time,” he says.
“You have? Really?”
“Oh, Anakin, honestly. Of course I have. Was I that bad of a master that you think you could have gone off and had an affair with someone and I not noticed? Even Qui-Gon noticed when I was … having attachments, and I like to think I am a bit more … observant with my padawan,” Obi-Wan says.
Qui-Gon’s disappointment in Anakin’s dream rips into his heart, and Luke opens his eyes, startled. He looks like he wants to cry, and Anakin does his best to release his anxiousness into the force.
After a minute, Luke relaxes, and closes his eyes again. “You never said anything,” he notes to Obi-Wan.
“I was respecting your privacy and hoping you’d feel comfortable telling me, eventually.”
“I was afraid you’d tell the council.”
Obi-Wan looks at him, and he looks so hurt that Anakin feels guilty; he wills it away, because he doesn’t want Luke to be disturbed again.
“Your secret is safe with me, Anakin,” Obi-Wan says. “And it always has been.”
“They think there’s a sith in the senate, and they think it’s Palpatine,” is the one sentence that Anakin honestly never believed he’d hear.
Obi-Wan looks so tired when he says it. But maybe it’s because he’s been helping so much with the twins (and outright lying to the council, which, honestly, Obi-Wan not being the model Jedi is so bizarre.)
Obi-Wan is holding Luke when he says those words to Anakin, and Luke fusses slightly. “Sorry, little one. It’s been a long day; I’ll do better on my shielding from now on,” Obi-Wan tells him.
Obi-Wan looks at Anakin, expecting something, but Anakin can’t talk. He can’t talk because two days ago, Palpatine had held the twins in his arms, smiled and asked if they were “as talented as their father.” Two days ago, he had wondered aloud if even the Jedi could protect both Anakin’s wife and his children. Two days ago…
But two weeks ago, in his dreams, Qui-Gon had whispered, “You let him…”
“Are you alright, Anakin?” Obi-Wan asks, and it’s a legitimate question because Leia has began yelling - she only does when she is hungry or needs changed, but this time that’s not true. She’s screaming in the bassinet, and the feeling of being a failure is overwhelming.
“He can’t be a sith,” Anakin says softly, trying to keep his voice low, so that he doesn’t upset his children.
“Why not?” Obi-Wan is gentle as he puts Luke down into the bassinet, a matching one next to Leia. Anakin can feel Obi-Wan’s shields wrap around Leia as well.
Protecting; always protecting. How could he have ever thought Obi-Wan would harm them? How could he have thought Obi-Wan would go to the council?
(He hasn’t yet; none of them have. Only the Chancellor, Obi-Wan and Padme know.)
“I let him hold my children,” Anakin says angrily. “I let him …”
(“Nobody is supposed to be able to kill a Jedi, yet you let him kill two.”)
“I let him,” Anakin says, and he falls to his knees.
Obi-Wan is with him in an instant. “He has been your mentor… your friend. Of course you let him… but we have to stop him, Anakin. For Luke and Leia’s sake.”
“He can’t have them,” Anakin says firmly, glancing over to the bassinets.
“I wasn’t planning on sharing favorite Uncle status,” Obi-Wan huffs, and Anakin manages a soft sound that isn’t quite a sob as Obi-Wan wipes his tears away. He’d never wanted to cry in front of his master, but here he is on his knees, and Obi-Wan isn’t judging him at all.
(“What will your master say, when he realizes you can’t be part of the order?” Palpatine had asked, and Leia’s head had been in his palm at the time. Leia, Leia, who had not stopped screaming the whole time. Luke, silent while he’d been there, had not stopped screaming for hours afterwards. “Surely you realize you must make a choice, my boy.”)
“We’re going to defeat him, Anakin,” Obi-Wan tells him, and their foreheads meet. “He won’t touch them. Not as long as I live.”
Anakin remembers a crumble of brown robes, and his fingers dig into Obi-Wan’s arms. “We will defeat him,” Anakin swears. “Together.”
Palpatine is dead and everything is suddenly so very clear. It’s clear, for example, that he has to resign from the order.
“I’ve grown attached to Senator Amidala,” he tells them. Obi-Wan, still nursing several bruises from the fight that Anakin doesn’t ever want to think about again, is standing beside him and … and it’s been so long since he’s heard Obi-Wan laugh.
The war, and Palpatine, had stolen that, but Anakin gets it back as Obi-Wan gives a full chuckle at his announcement. Windu gives them both a glare, but Anakin doesn’t care. He has babies, his wife, and Obi-Wan’s laugh, so the entire council is … not very relevant right now.
“Forbidden, attachments are,” Yoda says, and he’s probably frowning too, though it’s harder to tell. “Lead to the darkside, they do.”
“Actually… I don’t think so. Attachments kept me pretty damn centered,” Anakin says, looking over at Obi-Wan. He thinks of having that man beside him as they confronted Palpatine, and how much it had helped to focus on Obi-Wan, Padme and the twins during the battle as Palpatine kept spewing his web of deceit. “Attachment to my master, to my wife, and … to our children.”
There is a murmur of shock that ripples through the council, so Anakin goes ahead and finishes it off. “I recognize this is against the order’s rules, and that’s … honestly okay. Senator Amidala is quite busy, and one of us needs to stay home and take care of the twins.”
He shrugs, and turns around to leave.
He isn’t coming back, and for the first time in a long time, that feels okay. It doesn’t feel like a failure.
It’s an hour later when Obi-Wan shows up at his door. “They’re both very bright in the force,” he says. “You might need two trainers.”
Anakin bristles slightly. “They aren’t going to the temple.”
“Then it’s probably a good thing I resigned from the order,” Obi-Wan says.
Anakin steps on a small model plane as he hobbles out of the twins’ bedroom and he bites down a curse. It’s his own fault; he’d been flying the plane around, not Luke. Luke isn’t old enough.
But oh, Luke had loved it. Just as Leia claps her hands together and shouts gleefully each time her father and Obi-Wan spar, Luke shouts for joy when Anakin or Obi-Wan make the planes fly over his head. Obi-Wan can’t stop himself from making commentary about flying and how awful it is. But the last time Rex and Ahsoka had come to visit, Obi-Wan had actually volunteered to go on a short flight with them.
Anakin tries not to think about how much it had hurt to have Obi-Wan away from Naboo, even for a short trip. He focuses instead on how bright his children shine in the force. He still marvels that he couldn’t feel them before; Luke is as bright and shining in the force as the twin suns of Tatooine. Leia, on the other hand, feels much the same as the first time Anakin had ever stood beside an ocean - as overwhelming and powerful as the suns, but so very different.
Obi-Wan supposes it’s Palpatine’s fault, always filling Anakin’s head with “nonsense.” As Anakin walks past Obi-Wan’s bedroom, smiles to himself, and continues on to his own bedroom. Sliding into bed next to Padme, he says, “They’re finally asleep.”
“Good. It’s been a long week and I’ve missed their father dearly,” she says, wrapping her fingers in his hair.
“That bad? I thought things would go better with Supreme Chancellor Organa than they did with Palpatine,” Anakin says with amused smirk.
“Oh, undoubtedly, but there’s so much to repair… although, speaking of Bail, I had quite an interesting conversation with Breha,” Padme tells him.
“Oh?” Anakin has moved on from the conversation, because his wife’s curls are beautiful, but he tries to listen, even as his fingers thread through them.
“Mmm. Did you know that on Alderann it is common for relationships to involve more than just a solitary couple?” Padme asks. “Triads, quartets… all of these are common. Apparently, Bail and Breha are very … much about that.”
Anakin briefly thinks of the feel of Obi-Wan’s forehead against his own, but he frowns. “The Chancellor and Her Majesty are very beautiful, but I’m not -”
Padme laughs. “Oh, think Bail is beautiful, do you?” She continues to laugh at him, but manages to add, “I wasn’t talking about them…. Not for us.”
Red hair and brown robes flash brightly in Anakin’s mind and the smile that splits his face is one he doesn’t even try to control. “Obi-Wan,” he says, a little more joyously than is probably proper. “He left the order for us, you know.”
Padme doesn’t roll her eyes, but he knows she wants to. “Yes, I know. And he loves us. Do you think…?”
Anakin pauses to think about it. If you had asked him before, he would have said no… but so much has happened since the twins’ birth. “We’ll ask him,” he says, and he’s already throwing back the covers by the time he hears Padme’s laugh give way to a fit of giggles.
“Ani! What if he’s asleep?” Padme tries to scold, but her laughter is warm in the room, and Anakin knows she is as impatient as he is.
“What if he’s not asleep? What if he says yes?”
The answer to Anakin’s question are, in order: he isn’t, and he does.