How had it come to this? Why hadn't the Jedi discovered all of this before now? Crossing his arms over his chest, he paced back and forth before the large glass windows overlooking Coruscant, the traffic in the busy skylanes zooming about in the brilliant orange sky at sunset. He was oblivious, however, to the frenzied airborne movement that was part and parcel with living on the capital planet. His thoughts, his focus, were inward; his mind deeply ruminating on all that had been revealed thus far...on the options, the crossway…the deadly choice he knew he had to make...that was his destiny to make. Swallowing hard, he shook his head in despair.

How could he choose?

You do know, don't you? If the Jedi destroy me, any chance at saving her will be lost.

Palpatine's words echoed in his mind almost painfully, as he walked over and sat down on one of the plush chairs in the empty Jedi Council room, wringing his hands together anxiously. He dropped his head in frustration, staring at the floor. The words made sense in his mind, yes, and yet…Anakin frowned, trying not to lose himself to desperation. His heart was being torn in two—half of him knew he needed to go after Master Windu to make sure that Palpatine, his previous mentor and good friend, was destroyed, as he should be. Anakin was the Chosen One of the ancient Jedi prophecy, after all. He'd known since before the day he was knighted a Jedi that this was what he was destined for—to put an end to the Sith forever and bring balance to the Force. And, yet...the other half of him wanted to go after Master Windu to stop him from killing Palpatine—at least until Anakin could get the promised answers he needed to save Padme, to save his Angel from the inevitable death that his dreams foretold.

He stood back up, no longer able to sit still, crossing over to the window once more, where he looked out across the Coruscant industrial landscape, toward the tower of apartments over on 500 Republica that Padme was currently residing in, hiding away from the prying eyes of the galaxy. When he'd left her earlier in the day, she hadn't seemed sick. Not at all. In fact, she was glowing with health and vitality, as only a heavily pregnant woman can. Even now, when he reached out through the Force for his wife, he could feel her anxiety and worry for him—but no seemingly impending danger to her life.

And yet…his dreams were never wrong. And, the answer to saving her…to get that vital answer, Anakin was afraid - very afraid - that he would lose himself in the process of getting it. An involuntary shudder swept through him at the thought. But, what else could he do? He had to try. He loved her—she was his everything, his wife, his Angel. He couldn't just sit here and do nothing. He needed to try.

For her sake. For their baby's sake.

A single tear trickled down his cheek from eyes now filled with them, as he turned away from the window, knowing that this decision could very well bring everything the Galaxy held most dear crashing down upon them all…and he stopped cold in his tracks. When he'd turned from the window, he found he was no longer standing in the Jedi Council room—he was standing in a vast, windy, circular expanse, with thousands upon thousands of lights and windows surrounding him. He stood on a narrow metal walkway, and when he glanced in astonishment over the edge, he realized he couldn't even see the bottom of the pit it stretched over.

What the hell? He thought, and for the first time since his first nightmare about his wife, his mind drifted away from Padme, away from the Jedi and Palpatine and the choice he needed to make. His thoughts turned to what was happening before his eyes—a Force vision. It was the only explanation that made sense, and yet…

The furious sound of whirring lightsabers clashing caused him to turn his head sharply. At the far end of this passageway was a triangular tunnel, and two figures were fighting out of it—one, a boy about his own age with sandy blonde hair, was frantically defending against a taller man in a frightening black suit and helmet. The man in black, his cloak whipping in the wind around him, wielded a blood-red saber - a Sith's weapon, while the boy brandished a blue lightsaber so like his own. Anakin moved to assist the boy, but this was a vision—so, he couldn't move. He could only watch. Helplessly. Frustratingly.

The battle raged on, the boy quickly backing up toward Anakin's position. Anakin could tell that he had basic saber skills, but the man in black was clearly superior in skill, and he was backing the boy into a dead end. Suddenly, their lightsabers hit the railing with a fury of sparks, and the boy tumbled over backwards, landing at Anakin's feet. He stared down at the boy, his breath catching in his throat as he beheld the boy's face for the first time. There was something….familiar about him. Maybe it was the hair, or the brilliant blue eyes, or the way his face was structured…but he felt as if he were looking at himself almost…

"You are beaten," A deep,mechanical-sounding baritone voice rumbled from the mask of the man in black as he brandished his lightsaber threateningly at the boy. Anakin couldn't help but agree with the man, and yet, he wanted the boy to get back up and fight, to somehow get away from this monster who threatened him… "It is useless to resist! Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did!"

Wait, what?

Anakin didn't have time to process. The words seemed to invigorate the boy instead of convincing him to surrender, and the boy moved on the attack, getting back onto his feet, and the duel continued right in front of Anakin…but again, the man in black was advancing, and suddenly…A scream of pain so piercing Anakin winced, fell from the boy's lips, as the red lightsaber sliced through the boy's wrist, severing his right hand, sending the appendage and the blue lightsaber falling out of sight into the abyss below. Fury suddenly rose up within Anakin, and again he tried to move to defend the boy, to kill the man who had dared to hurt him…but he couldn't move. He watched, helpless, as the boy crawled as far as he could away from the suited man, dangling precariously over the far drop below.

Sadly, Anakin expected the Sith Lord (for that was undoubtedly who this man in black had to be) to destroy the boy. The boy was defenseless, and literally was backed into a no-win situation. But instead, the Sith lowered his lightsaber. "There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you."


"Luke," The boy's name, "You do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training! With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galaxy!" Anakin literally had no idea what the Sith was talking about, but he felt a growing unease in his belly…Something was wrong here, something besides the obvious fact that a Sith Lord had just cut off a young, inexperienced Jedi's hand.

"I'll never join you!" Came the furious, if not incredulous, response from the boy, beaten and clinging to the metal railing of the windswept walkway with his one remaining hand.

"If you only knew the power of the Dark Side!" Anakin's mind flashed back to Palpatine, to what the man was currently offering him. The line was so similar, and yet…Anakin looked again at the boy, bloodied, exhausted, and now missing a hand. He could only see anger, and abuse of someone so young and innocent. And, yet Padme…."Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father…"

Another mention of Obi-Wan abruptly brought Anakin's attention back to the scene unfolding before him. "He told me enough!" The boy accused, "He told me you killed him!"

"No," the Sith replied, "I am your father!"

Shock rippled through Anakin in ever stronger waves, as well as horror, mirroring the boy's. And yet….he felt the truth of the Sith's words also, even though he wanted desperately to deny it. And, appallingly, Anakin felt as if his whole world were crumbling around him, trapping him in a corner as he faced some unbeknown truth that seemingly only applied to this boy…and yet somehow, it applied to him as well.

Confounding. Bewildering. Perplexing.

Anakin felt all this and more as he strived to make sense of the scene before him between the boy and the Sith. He didn't understand, couldn't, in fact. But, he knew with sudden clarity that he didn't want to see more, for fear that the truth would become inexplicably clear and thereby devastatingly horrible to the extreme….

He was finally able to turn away, and the scene changed once again.

He was standing in an open walkway. It was dark, and yet the walkway was brightly lit. Beyond the walkway was a vast expanse of darkened trees stretching as far as the eye could see, their limbs towering high above him, aiming for the starlit sky above. The dank smell of wet rotting wood and underbrush filled his nostrils, and the chirping sound of forest insects reached his ears. In front of him, a blast door slid open with a hiss, and an armed man in a uniform, followed by a slightly older version of the same boy he'd previously seen in the horrific battle scene with the Sith, stepped into the hallway, followed by men whose body armor sort of resembled that of Clone Troopers. Something told him that they weren't, though. He and the boy, now all dressed in black with a leather glove covering his own right hand, just like Anakin's, locked eyes, their blue gaze holding each other's, and with a sudden shock, Anakin realized that the boy was looking directly at him. "This is the Rebel that surrendered to us. Though he denies it, I suspect that there are more of them, and I request permission to conduct a further search of the area."

Once more, Anakin was shocked to realize that the soldier speaking was speaking directly to him. "He was armed only with this." The soldier handed Anakin a lightsaber.

Tentatively, Anakin took the lightsaber, realizing that the man was waiting for his response. "Uh," He said—He knew this was still a Force vision, but he was mystified. It wasn't often that he was able to speak in visions, and in that moment, he had no idea what to say. What was he supposed to say? "Sure. Um. Go away." The officer frowned, looking confused, but he nevertheless, bowed and turned and followed the armored troops back out through the blast doors, which whooshed close behind them.

Leaving him alone with the boy.

The boy looked him over, a frown on his face, and once again, Anakin was struck with the knowledge that somehow he knew this boy, and not just from his first Force vision. He wondered what the boy was seeing in him, what he expected to see….and he wondered again what the hell was happening. "You're almost exactly like what I imagined you'd be." The boy said finally, sounding both satisfied…and sad at the same time. "We look alike."

He had no idea how to respond to the boy's observations. He himself had thought that same thing when he'd first looked upon the boy's face in the earlier vision. What was it that the Sith Lord had called the boy? "Luke." Anakin tried the name out on his tongue and found that he rather liked it. It sounded...nice. "That's your name, isn't it?"

Luke nodded, seeming pleased, which didn't make much sense to Anakin given that the boy was still in binders. "It is. And, you're Anakin Skywalker." He paused for a moment, as if deciding if his next words were the correct ones to use. "You're in grave danger. Very grave danger."

Anakin frowned, staring at this boy who looked so much like him, once more feeling like he should know him. "Me?" He asked, his voice dry, "No. I'm not the one in danger, Padme is th…"

"It's a diversion, Fa….Anakin." Luke interrupted, and Anakin noticed the verbal slip. Before he could ponder it more, the boy was continuing to speak. "I've risked much to send you this message. I don't have much time, but you must know that the real victim here is you."

Anakin really didn't know what to think now. He thought that he was a victim of the Jedi Council sometimes, and Obi-Wan more often than that, but he had a gut feeling that this wasn't what the boy meant. "Why would you think that?"

The boy turned away from him, staring out at the trees. "I have spent long years researching into the Fall of the Jedi," He began, and Anakin's eyebrows furrowed in horror and confusion.

The fall of the Jedi? What?

"It started a long time ago, when you were young." He looked back at Anakin, his clear blue eyes deadly serious and imploring. "The man you call Palpatine, the man I call Darth Sidious, is not what he seems. Don't trust him."

That, Anakin already knew. "He's a Sith Lord." He said slowly, but though his heart raged at being tricked this whole time, his mind wandered back to Padme and his dreams. "But..."

"But, nothing. He is not a friend. Whatever promises he's made to you, they are lies. His motives are selfish and evil to the core. He wants you only for your power, Anakin. He knows that you are the Chosen One of Jedi lore. He's always known that. He knows that with you on his side as his apprentice, he can bring the Galaxy fully under his control, turning it into a Sith-dominated and controlled empire...That with you by his side, he can destroy the Jedi." Luke leaned forward, his voice pleading. "Please, don't turn to the Dark Side. There is great goodness within you. Don't believe him." He nodded towards something behind Anakin. "But, know this. If you don't heed what I say, you will lose everything you love, everything you care about. Look and see." Luke motioned with his still bound hands behind Anakin.

Confused, and not too sure that he could trust this strange boy, Anakin turned around…and froze in abject horror. He was staring into a mirror, but he did not see his own face. No. He saw a nightmare of frightening saw the man in black. The Sith Lord from before.

He realized suddenly that he was the Sith Lord.

"Don't abandon your family, Father." Luke said softly, "Change your future. Change my mother's future. Change my...and my sister's future. Don't fall to the Dark Side."

Father? Luke? A sister? Whoa!

Breathing hard, Anakin wanted to deny it, to tell the boy he didn't know what he was talking about….but just as before, he could feel the truthfulness in the Force, could see it staring him back in the face. It was irrefutable. And, Anakin knew it. He turned once again, opening his mouth to demand more answers…But found, with regret, that he was alone, standing back in the Jedi Council room, the sun setting behind him peacefully, the rest of Coruscant blissfully unaware of the terrible truths that Anakin had just learned…and of the impossible choice that still stood before him.

Anakin's mind raced, the thoughts tumbling over and over in his head. He struggled to make sense of it all. Luke is my son...and, he has a sister! I have a daughter! Padme must be pregnant with twins! he thought with joy, before turmoil and trepidation filled him once again. What did Luke mean about 'changing' his future? Did getting the answers he sought to protect Padme lead him down the Dark path? Was he, his choice, what led to the Jedi's fall that Luke mentioned? There was only one way to find out.

Racing for the exit of the Council chambers, Anakin used Force enhanced speed to run to the hanger bay and retrieve his fighter. He had to get to the Senate. The future of the galaxy depended on it.

Heart pounding, Anakin raced into the Supreme Chancellor's office to find Mace Windu with his purple lightsaber brandished, cornering Palpatine against the wall and the window. "You are under arrest, My Lord," Master Windu bit out sarcastically. In shock, Anakin could sense Master Windu's extreme anger in the Force. He was flabbergasted for a moment, having thought the man incapable of losing his cool. Sensing Anakin's approach in the Force, Mace Windu glanced at him, raising his free hand to stop him.

Anakin reluctantly stopped, his mind swirling with confusion. "Anakin," Palpatine gasped in a withered voice, "I told you it would come to this! I was right! The Jedi are taking over!" It struck him as odd that Palpatine would say that. He himself had told Mace Windu that Palpatine was the Sith Lord the Jedi had been searching for all along. It wasn't like Mace Windu just randomly showed up in the Chancellor's office wanting to take over the galaxy.

Instantly, his mind flashed to Padme, and then to the boy from his vision—his son, he now knew. Luke...Luke Skywalker. The name felt as natural to him as breathing…but the image of himself, as a power hungry Sith Lord in a monstrous suit and mask, cutting his own son's hand off…he shuddered uncontrollably, as Mace responded to Palpatine's accusations. "The oppression of the Sith will never return! You have lost!"

Palpatine's face twisted with rage. "No, no, NO, YOU have lost!" And suddenly, blue lightning erupted from his finger tips, hitting Windu briefly before the Haruun Kal Jedi Master managed to block it with his saber. Anakin flinched away. If there was any doubt still left that the man he'd called friend and mentor was a Sith, there was none now. His mind flashed back to Padme, to his dreams…and then to his son, crying out in pain as he sliced his hand off. "He's a traitor!" Palpatine didn't even sound like himself anymore as he screamed out the words in a malevolent tone. He sounded more like…

Darth Sidious.

"He is the traitor!" Windu cried out, as he struggled to maintain his grip on his lightsaber.

Anakin was frozen to the spot, staring between the two men locked in battle. Before his eyes, Palpatine's face and hands began to melt, the skin turning a foul putrid color, shriveling into ugly, wrinkled folds, and his eyes, now black rimmed and glowing a sickly yellow, radiated pure evil with hate penetrating their depths. Anakin suddenly felt nauseous looking at the man he'd once trusted implicitly. Again, Anakin's mind flashed back to Luke, to the boy's severed hand, to what he himself would become…He needed to step in, to end it once and for all. The time for him to finally choose was now.

"I have the power to save the one you love!" Sidious' voice pleaded, as if sensing that Anakin was slipping through his grasp. The image of Luke disappeared in Anakin's mind, replaced by the nightmare of Padme dying. Luke had said whatever Sidious said was a lie, but how could he know? He'd dreamed of his mother's death, after all, and that had come to pass. Why wouldn't the dream about his wife come to pass now?

"Don't listen to him, Anakin!" Mace Windu pleaded.

"Don't let him kill me!" Sidious sounded like a broken, wounded, old man. It was a believable act, given that he was currently in the process of having his face melted, "I can't hold it any longer! I can't…..I can't….I'm too weak! Anakin….help me, help me!" The lightning suddenly stopped. "I can't….I can't hold this any longer…"

Mace Windu snarled, "I am going to end this, once and for all!"

"You can't!" Anakin suddenly found himself saying, surprising both Windu and himself. Windu turned to him incredulously. "He…he must stand trial!" It was a weak argument. Even he knew that. Windu had clearly already attempted to arrest the Sith Lord to do just that, and the Sith wasn't giving up.

"He's too dangerous to stand trial! He has control of the Senate!" Windu's argument made perfect sense, and with that, Anakin saw his last hopes of holding onto the Light while still getting what he needed from Sidious begin to disappear. Sidious was still moaning.

"It's not the Jedi way," Anakin tried again, "He must live!" But, he saw the look in Windu's eyes. Windu had no intention of letting the Sith Lord live. Anakin knew it. The Jedi Master raised his lightsaber, and…"NO!" Anakin yelled, igniting his own lightsaber…

Luke's voice came back to him. Don't abandon your family, Father. Change your future. Change my future. Don't fall to the Dark Side.

In that moment, his choice was made.

Anakin knew what he needed to do. He knew it…and hated it. I'm so sorry, my Angel, He thought mournfully, his heart seeming to shatter into thousands of pieces, as he arched his lightsaber towards….


The old man saw it coming, and in that moment, as Anakin's lightsaber swung towards the Sith, the helpless expression slipped away, replaced by a horrific, dark, murderous look. One moment, Anakin was delivering a death blow. The next, a burst of vile, dark energy burst forth from the old man, sending Mace Windu and Anakin hurtling across the room. Anakin's lightsaber fell from his grasp, clattering to the floor as he hit the hard edge of the Chancellor's desk. Searing pain lanced through his chest, as the air was knocked out of him, and he landed in a heap on the floor in front of the desk, gasping for breath. Dark spots danced in his vision, but he was still able to make out the older man standing before him. Gone was the weak-act...and that is just what it had been. An act. In the Chancellor's place now stood a dark and menacing Sith Lord.

"I did not work this hard for this long to lose to a boy!" The Sith spat, his voice gravely and full of malice. Anakin shivered—he'd almost become a pawn of this man and his scheming. He would have done it to save Padme, but…Force, he sure hoped Luke was right.

He tried to stand, but as he did, the Sith stretched forth his hands and blue lightning slammed into him. He bit back the scream of pain as electric energy seized his limbs, the edges of his vision going black. "You have failed me, Skywalker." And, it sounded almost like he was disappointed in a wayward son, but Anakin was no son to him. "Such a shame.," the Sith Lord actually had the gall to tsk at him, "You could have saved her."

Struggling to even breathe, Anakin spat out, "She would have….done the same!" And, he knew that with absolute certainty. Padme always did her duty first. She would never give up her principles, never sacrifice what she believed in…not even for him. And, he wouldn't let her down and do anything less than the that himself.

But, at what cost?

The Sith Lord cackled an evil laugh, full of bitterness...a laugh that chilled Anakin to the core. "You have lost, Skywalker. You have lost everything."

Another wave of lightning slammed into him, and as it did, his vision went totally black. But, before he gave himself over to unconsciousness, he desperately reached out through the Force once more, looking for someone, anyone, who could hear him. Protect her!

And, as he slipped into unconsciousness, the sound of Sidious' cackling laughter ringing like a death knell in the room was the last thing he remembered.

Something was wrong….terribly, terribly wrong.

Padme wasn't sure how she knew that exactly, but the rising sense of unease and wrongness had grown in her heart throughout the night. She wasn't a Jedi. She wasn't Force-sensitive, and yet, since she'd become pregnant, she could have sworn she sometimes felt guided by some unknown force. And now, that force was telling her that something truly bad was happening.

She paced the open space in her penthouse apartment, rubbing anxiously at her protruding belly. Her baby had been moving around a lot this evening, more so than usual, kicking her almost constantly. It was almost as if the babe in her womb could sense something amiss as well. She wasn't particularly surprised to think that. After all, her baby was fathered by the Chosen One, after all. Absently, she contemplated that she was getting bigger, much bigger than she had anticipated. It was getting hard to get up and sit down, let alone hide it from prying eyes now.

She entered back into the receiving room of her apartment, listening to the fountain gurgle next to the couches and looking out at the speeder landing pad just off the veranda. She'd lost count of how many times she'd glanced that way. For about the millionth time possibly, she stared at the landing pad, hoping that she would see Anakin's speeder landing. But, there was nothing, just the same old view as always of Coruscant beyond. A gentle breeze wafted into the room, brushing against her face, tousling her dark curls hanging loosely about her shoulders, and once more she rubbed her hand over the rounded bump her belly had grown to. From somewhere in the room, she heard Artoo whistle worriedly. "I'm fine, Artoo," she called, still staring out at the view before her. When given a choice by the Queen of Naboo for her official senatorial residence, Padme had chosen this apartment for it's spectacular view of the city, but now, she couldn't help but imagine, with horror, her little one running to the landing area and tripping and falling off the edge into the city streets below. She shuddered at the thought, rubbing her belly again protectively, and looked away. No, this apartment was not child-friendly. She would need to discuss this with Anakin and press him again about moving to a more child-friendly home when he got back home.

If he got back.

A sudden chill raced through her. She shouldn't think like that. He was fine. Why wouldn't he be? "Milady," Threepio said, shuffling into the room, "Can I get anything for you?"

She opened her mouth to assure the worrisome droid, but then thought better of it. "Threepio, could you try contacting Anakin again for me?" She asked, not bothering to turn to look at the droid.

"Certainly, Milady." The golden droid, pleased that he had something useful to do, shuffled off to the corner of the living room to attempt to contact her husband. Suddenly, a sound caught her attention—a speeder, landing outside of the apartment! Anakin! Heart racing, she whirled, picking up her blue skirts, and waddled as quickly as she could towards the balcony, as a hooded figure climbed out of the speeder. "Ani!" She breathed in relief, raising her arms up to embrace him…

But, the figure stepped back, lowering his hood to reveal Obi-Wan. "No," He said gravely, "I'm sorry, Padme. It's just me."

Padme froze, trying to hide her disappointment while trying to come up with a reasonable excuse as to why she'd tried to embrace who she thought was Anakin, her secret husband. "Master Kenobi," She cleared her throat, stepping back and easily slipped into her 'senatorial voice' to address Anakin's former master, "I…I was not expecting you." She frowned. Didn't Anakin say something about Obi-Wan going to deal with General Grievous? "I thought you were…"

"I was." Obi-Wan stepped into her apartment, his eyes scanning the room, as if searching for something. "Padme, you must listen to me." He finally said, turning back to her and meeting her eyes, his gaze somber. "You're in grave danger here."

Padme was no stranger to danger. It had followed her throughout her political career. Now, however, it wasn't just her—it was her unborn baby. She had to forcibly resist putting her hands on her belly. The dress she wore barely hid her pregnancy, but that didn't mean that she wanted to draw attention to it. Anakin didn't want to talk to Obi-Wan about it, so she would respect his wishes. "Obi-Wan, what's happening?" She asked, "Where's Anakin?"

Obi-Wan stilled, uncertainty flickering in his eyes. "The clones…have gone Rogue."

She felt as if all the air was knocked out of her. "What?! NO!"

Obi-Wan nodded. "I'm afraid so. They've turned on the Jedi, under the orders of the Sith Lord we've been unknowingly working for." He took a deep breath. "Padme, Palpatine is the Sith Lord the Jedi have been looking for." Shock. Utter disbelieving shock ripped through her, causing her to gasp. Never in a thousand years would she have imagined such a thing! Padme tried to picture the friendly senator from her home world being the vile villainous creature who had orchestrated this whole war…and failed. Still, she did not doubt Obi-Wan one bit. She could see the truth of the matter clearly in his eyes. She wondered if Anakin knew, and what he would do when he found out. He would be crushed, she knew. "Most of the Jedi have been killed overnight…some have escaped, like myself, but too many have been gunned down in cold blood by their own battalions of men. And, the Temple…Padme, the Temple has been destroyed."

It was all too much. Too much to think that all of those innocent lives were killed, snuffed out mercilessly, by those they had trusted, and to think that Anakin was out there somewhere, possibly dead, and her child….her child was being brought into this nightmare, possibly never to know it's father! Padme shook her head, staring at Obi-Wan in disbelief, and her knees suddenly gave out. She ended up sitting on the couch, wringing her hands, staring off into space, seeing nothing but Anakin's smiling face in her mind's eye. Her dearly beloved. Her golden Knight. "Anakin…Obi-Wan, where's Anakin?" Her voice was barely a whisper.

There was a long silence. "I don't know." Padme closed her eyes, her heart wrenching painfully. She felt Obi-Wan sit next to her. "When I escaped my Clones, I felt…I felt him. He called out in the Force and asked me to 'Protect her.' Then, I couldn't sense him any longer." Padme looked at Obi-Wan in alarm, and he hastened to add, "That doesn't mean that he's dead. You know Anakin—he's resourceful. If anyone has survived, it's him. But, Padme…" Obi-Wan's eyes drifted to her belly, and he let out a long sigh. "I am not a fool. I've known how he's loved you, from the moment that he met you on Tatooine as a child. Anakin….Anakin is the father, isn't he?" Padme didn't stop herself from touching her belly this time, unable to speak. She simply nodded. "How long?"

She swallowed. She knew there was no point hiding the truth any longer. The Jedi were suddenly gone. Everything she knew was crumbling, and Anakin… "Since just after Geonosis." She whispered. "We married after Geonosis. When he and I went back to Naboo. We married at my family's home in the Lake Country."

Three years. Three whole years they had hid their secret from the galaxy. Obi-Wan rubbed a tired hand over his face, and it was then that she realized how exhausted he probably was. He must have pushed the hyperdrive specs to near overload to get back to Coruscant so quickly.

"All this time…how were we so blind?"

"I'm sorry you had to find out this way." She said softly, and she was sorry. "But right now, I need to know where Anakin is."

Obi-Wan was shaking his head, however. "That is not your primary concern right now. Let me handle that. But first, we need to get you somewhere safe."

"No!" Padme stood, aghast. She wouldn't abandon Anakin! He was her husband! She had to find him, she had to make sure he was alright! She couldn't raise this baby without him…

Obi-Wan stood as well. "Padme, we must operate under the assumption that Palpatine knows of your relationship with Anakin. If he knows you're pregnant with the Chosen One's child…"

A loud insistent banging on the front door interrupted Obi-Wan, causing Padme to jump, one hand flying to her belly as if to protect it. "Senator Amidala!" A Clone's voice shouted from the other side of her front door, "Open up! The Chancellor has ordered us to protect you!"

"Oh my, how rude, banging like that!" Threepio chided, heading for the front door, "No word from Master Anakin, Milady, but I'm sure that…."

"Do not open that door Threepio!" Padme hissed quietly, stopping the droid in his tracks.

Threepio stopped, looking back at Padme, confusion and concern clearly evident in his tone. "But, Milady, it's rude…."

"Artoo, Threepio, get into the speeder, now!" Obi-Wan ordered, using his 'General-voice.' He turned to Padme. "You too, Padme. If something were to happen to you and the baby…." He trailed off. "I have to get you to safety first, then I promise I'll look for Anakin. He…he would want you and the baby to be safe first and foremost."

If only this wasn't real!

Everything was wrong. It wasn't supposed to be like this. As the droids headed to the speeder, and the pounding on the front door became more insistent, Padme's breaths became more shallow, the galaxy seeming to collapse in on her…

And, suddenly she doubled over in pain as spasms wracked her body. She cried out, tears escaping. "Padme!" Obi-Wan tried to help her straighten, but it just caused more searing pain to rip through her belly and her back.

"Obi-Wan," She gasped, "The baby….I think it's coming!"

The last thing she remembered was being picked up in Obi-Wan's strong arms and hurriedly carried to the speeder, unable to protest over the waves of pain tearing through her lower body, rendering her speechless, her broken heart calling out in her mind for her missing husband.

"Anakin!...Anakin, help me!"

A new story! Huzzah! Let me know what you thought!