It had been a peaceful night for most but not for her; she had been suffering from bad insomnia now for weeks. She couldn't quite explain why, perhaps it was her growing belly, the two small lives wriggling away in there meant that her bladder was a football at the best of times but tonight, she had been walking around trying to massage the bottom of her back for about two hours. She quite enjoyed the warmer nights; the beauty of the galaxy above her was able to be enjoyed in the precarious times of peace.
Han - who was sleeping peacefully - had told a very tired, restless Leia that she could wake him whenever she couldn't sleep but evidently he'd underestimated just what a deep sleeper he could be. After a few minutes of trying - though admittedly not very hard - she had given up and left him to sleep, pushing the thin curtain aside and she stepped out onto the balcony and here she'd been ever since. She walked over to one of the comfortable cushioned loungers she kicked up her feet, resting her head against the back of it as she rubbed her stomach.
"You two are trouble tonight." She spoke softly to her bump.
She knew though that she couldn't expect an different with Half-Skywalker Half-Solo children; she wondered idly for just a moment whether her mother had endured something similar to this when she was pregnant with her and Luke. The thought quickly became far too painful for her.
Ever since she'd learned the truth about who she was and what fate her mother and her father had met in the process, she'd become saddened. It was a tragic story and one that she'd have changed if she could. Love - it seemed - could turn to tragedy incredibly quickly and she hoped that it wouldn't happen to she and Han too. She had been through enough pain in the last few years and finally though her father had been brought peace and some form of redemption, it hadn't changed the past that had been brought about by fear.
Nothing could change that. It was a sad sort of irony that a fear of losing everything had cost Anakin Skywalker exactly that: Everything. He'd lost everything to fear and anger and corruption. Palpatine had broken his very soul, a soul that her mother and Obi Wan had once thought incorruptible and thad had lead to the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people. She didn't look back at Anakin Skywalker with anything but pity, if she was going to be honest.
Pity and a wish that someone had been able to reach through to him, alas though if Padme couldn't she doubted anyone else would be able to.
Her eyes started to drift closed, slowly giving in to the peace and the exhaustion that was overtaking the heavily pregnant woman until she heard a voice coming from her left. Leaning forward - though struggling to do so - Leia Organa studied the man that stood there, the glowing light around him told her that this man was no longer among the living. She studied him, her brown eyes taking in the form before her and slowly, recognition started to overcome her and she wrapped her arms across her stomach, clearly feeling protective over the two small lifeforms growing within her.
"Anakin." She breathed. It seemed impossible.
He looked almost hurt as he studied her, a sadness settled across the mans features and he tilted his head gently to the side as he studied her; she looked so much like her mother that it looked almost as though he was seeing a ghost. There was some kind of ironic joke in there somewhere.
"I won't hurt you." He spoke simply.
"I don't believe I could even if I wanted to." He looked troubled at the thought.
"Not that I do, of course." Why would he?
Leia Organa studied the man that stood before her, more often than she wanted to admit she'd wished that she could talk to her father just once, just to see what kind of person he had been before Vader, before Palpatine had corrupted his mind, before the death and the chaos and the pain he'd caused. Just once, Leia wished she could have spoken to Anakin Skywalker as the man he was before all of that.
"How do I know you won't?" Leia spoke guardedly.
She didn't take her eyes off of the man for even a second; she could feel the emotion rise in her like a lump in her throat that threatened to choke her and she kept her hands protectively over her bump. More than anything, she'd ensure her children were safe and well. More than anything else, Leia would fight to her last breath for their survival if that's what it came down to.
"Because I'm here to make amends, I'd guess? Master Yoda has an ironic sense of humor. I don't suppose that I'd hurt you even if that weren't the case." He smiled, a soft sad smile.
"Then what are you doing here?" She questioned warily.
"You tell me." He studied her then. It was perhaps the first time that he had properly.
She had her mothers brown eyes, the same troubled look that Padme had when she'd tried to ask him what was wrong with him; she had the same youthful features, her mothers nose... Luke, Luke looked so much more like him but Leia was Padme through and through, he could see it. It broke his heart to see if he was going to be honest with himself. Anakin lowered himself to the ground and sat cross legged watching his daughter. His eyes fell to her stomach and he released a gentle sigh.
"You seek guidance, sweet girl. I'm here because you reached out to the Universe and it gave you me." For whatever good that would do.
She deserved a better guide than him, she deserved someone better than him; he almost wished that it were her mother stood here before now. It was clearly the guidance of a parent she sought, not the people that had raised her though he'd thank them for their love and guidance of his daughter for the rest of eternity but as a biological part of her. A part of her that could answer the burning questions that were clearly troubling her. She had questions, questions about who she was and about who her children would become and so, Anakin inhaled and he offered his daughter the chance to say whatever it was she had to say by sweeping his arm toward her and nodding his head slightly.
"The floor is all yours."
"Will I end up like you? Will my children-- Do we have the same darkness in us that you do?" He could see that she was struggling to ask it.
Anakin pondered the question for a moment before he shook his head gently. He didn't believe for even a second that she had the same darkness in her that he did; she reminded him too much of her mother. Their conversation had barely progressed beyond a few words and he could see her heart clearly. She had her mothers compassion, strength, determination and unlimited capacity for love and he found that an admirable quality.
"You have no darkness inside of you, Leia. Your heart is as pure and unshakeable as your mothers was before you. You have so much of her inside of you; I cannot promise you that the darker side of the Force will not touch your children, but the twins? I see good in them. A lot of good. I feel them just as I did you and your brother through the tendrils and vines of the Force that tie us all together. I feel the strength of their hearts, I feel the power that flows through them and I feel the love you have for them that I believe can hold them on a truer path than the one I walked."
He released a sigh as he stood, walking toward her and he crouched down next to her.
"I see the heart of a lioness and she doubts herself now, and I think you're allowing fear to rule you. This is me. This is the part of you that is me, my girl. You're allowing fear to get the better of you just as I did, and I can promise you that will lead you nowhere good. You have so much inside of you that's strong, stronger than even you yourself believe. Don't ever underestimate the strength in your heart. You are her. You are your mother. She was as beautiful and fierce as I can see you are. Hold to her. Hold to her because I wish that I had. Let her love be what'll save you from your doubts and uncertainties the way I wish I did."
Anakin harbored so much regret; the archives would never tell anyone that. He knew that they'd tell the tales of a monster and so they should but they'd leave out the parts of him that were a man, too. They'd leave out the parts of him that loved and felt and feared and lost and cried many a tear for the people he loved. They'd leave out the broken, vulnerable boy that lost his mother that day and felt helplessness over and over again. All he'd ever wanted was the strength to save the people he loved and instead his heart and soul had been corrupted by that yearning and eventually, he'd destroyed everything that he cared for out of that fear.
"I wish it were her here with you. You deserve better than the advice of a monster." He spoke sadly.
"You are no monster; your final actions were of love, of protection and redemption. You saved your son. You did the right thing."
"The two of you are all I have left of her."
She could practically feel the pain radiating off of him and a part of her felt something more than Pity for Anakin Skywalker in that moment, she felt compassion for him. She felt a need to tell him that whatever remained inside of him that was still very human had won out in the end and that was what had mattered. She knew it would never take away what he'd done, she knew that it would never right the plethora of wrongs he'd done in the process but they couldn't condemn a man for everything when he still had some good in him and his final actions had proved that. Anakin Skywalker was dominant over the hatred instilled in him by Palpatine and she just wished that it had been all along.
"You weren't always a monster, Anakin." Leia spoke quietly.
He didn't look like a monster now; he looked barely older than a boy. Youthful but broken spirited and hollowed out by the pain that had resided there and eaten away at everything that he cared for and she couldn't imagine the kind of agony that would bring to a person. She wished that she could tell him that he could be forgiven for the evils he'd done over the years but she knew it wasn't possible; the reminders of what he'd done would resonate for longer than either of them could comprehend but she was saddened that there would never be a mention of the boy he'd been before that.
There would never be a mention of the redemption he'd sought toward the end and there should be, but the villain of the story was never supposed to be seen as worthy of salvation but Anakin hadn't always been a monster.
"I wish that I'd fought harder the way she begged me to; she asked me to hold to the two of you and the love that I had for all three of you but it simply wasn't-- I couldn't see past my own fears. When she died I was told that Luke had been the only survivor. I lost my wife, the love of my life and one of our children in the process and that shattered whatever I held to." If at all he had held to anything toward the end of his life as Anakin Skywalker.
It was all so fuzzy for him now. All he knew was that he'd live with the ultimate failure for the rest of his eternity; if the Force held to him the way that it did now he'd be plagued with life beyond death whether he wanted it or not. Redemption was unattainable for him in life, perhaps in death he could make the difference that he should have in life. The universe worked in mysterious ways.
"You fear for the lives of your children but I can't tell you the future, my sweet girl. You must trust in them, even during the times it seems impossible."
He was pleading with her now; he knew, he knew far more than he was telling her because he could feel it there lingering and he hoped like hell he was wrong. He hoped that the dark could be banished with him and his wrongdoings but he knew that there was always a chance, always something lingering in the Skywalker Legacy that would touch the darkness but he sought now not to break someone's heart but to be a father and comfort his daughter.
For once in many a year, Anakin Skywalker was trying to be the selfless person he had always wanted to be and save his baby from the pain and his baby indeed she was; his kind, strong hearted girl and he wished that he'd gotten to know her in life but here in death he could make one vow and one alone: Leia Organa would never again go without the protection of her father.
"Trust in yourself and trust in the light. The light will always find its way into the hearts of even the most stubborn of souls."
He was proof of that. Light had saved him in the end. Light had been what had brought him back just as Padme had told him it would all those years ago.
"I never trusted in myself, do not walk my path. If I can ask anything of you, I ask it be that: Trust the light, trust yourself Leia. Trust yourself and I promise you, you can overcome anything."
He reached out then, his hand touching her cheek and he released a gentle sigh. He couldn't save her from the heartbreak he knew would come for her in time, but he could fight with all of his strength to hold to his promise. He'd fight to ensure that the light prevailed in her life in the end because the darkness in their legacy had taken enough away from them already.
Anakin could be the last destroyed by it. The darkness could not - and would not - destroy his daughter, too.