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A Moment of Clarity

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As angry as he was, as violent as his rage had grown, the instant Padmé fell, Anakin felt reality sober him.

What had he done?

Obi-Wan looked at him like he was a stranger, and Anakin could only look at Padmé, crouching beside her.

"I have to get her to my Master, to save her!" Anakin said in a panic, as that emotion threatened to blind him again.

Obi-Wan looked at his former padawan, his best friend, and then at the fallen woman. "Anakin… how can a Sith Lord help save her when they know only destruction and power to dominate?" he asked, trying to leave his own rage and grief behind him long enough to save them all.

"You're trying to trick me," Anakin said in a low voice, but how could Padmé be in danger at all, when the Chancellor had promised to save her?

"Anakin, I have loved you too long to argue while the woman you love is in danger. How could you have ever struck her, unless you are unduly influenced?"

Anakin's eyes narrowed, and his hand flexed toward his lightsaber, before he looked to the sky and back to his ship. "Take her to safety, Obi-Wan," he said, not quite begging, as his actions and the words spoken turned the anger toward Palpatine. "Save her, or I will kill you too!"

There was sorrow in Padmé's heart and eyes as she returned to the new Senate. Yes, she had her son and her daughter. She had Jedi Master Kenobi as a beacon to those who had survived the Purge. The Republic still stood, but the cost? The cost had been too high. The Jedi were mostly extinct, the clone troopers were falling into shock as their unthinking adherence to the chip-ingrained order was broken, and…

…Anakin had Fallen and then died in the process of redeeming himself and stopping the Emperor.

That sacrifice would haunt her children forever, but at least they would live free for it.