When Anakin began to come to, he found his hands bound tightly in front of him in a set of binders, and he was lying on a chilly stone floor. It was too dark to fully make anything else out, but wherever he was, it was freezing cold, and dust hung in the air so thickly, he almost choked on it. "Ah, you're awake. Good, good." Anakin's entire body tensed at the warped sound of his former friend and mentor's voice, and he craned his neck to try and find the source….only to have a boot come crashing down - hard - onto the side of his face, kicking him sharply forward again. He bit back his cry of pain, despite the fact that the blow burned and stung. He could taste blood on his tongue. "Such a disappointment. You could have achieved such great things, Skywalker." Sidious spat his name like it was a curse, and the Sith circled around Anakin until he could see the boots and edges of a long black cloak in front of him.

Fury swelled within him. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. He was Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One. He was meant to defeat the Sith and bring balance to the Force. Sidious had another thing coming if he thought binding Anakin would prevent him from destroying him. Anakin reached into the Force…and hit what felt like a durasteel wall, blocking him from the power that had flowed through him all of his life. In fact, as Anakin frantically tried to call on the Force, anything that might help him escape this situation and go to Padme, he found that it was as if the Force was in his body…but it was stuck, somehow, completely useless. "Do you feel it? Or rather, do you not feel it?" Sidious' voice was mockingly empathetic.

Slowly, agonizingly, Anakin looked up at the hooded man before him. Even in the dimness of the room, he could make out the cold, golden-eyed glare of the man he had once called friend, staring out at him from beneath the hood, malevolence in his gaze. On his shoulder sat a lizard-like, furry creature, staring down at Anakin, only mildly curious in what was happening around it. As Anakin watched, the creature flicked a long forked tongue at him. "You see this? This is a Ysalamir." With a shriveled hand, Sidious reached up and patted the top of the lizard's head. "It has a unique innate ability to nullify the Force. I couldn't risk my grand prize escaping me, now could I?" Sidious laughed, the vile sound echoing in the darkened chamber, causing the hair on Anakin's arms and legs to rise.

Anakin cursed in Huttese, spitting blood and drool at the Sith Lord's feet. "You're not going to get away with this, Sidious," He snarled, his voice sounding rough and unused. How long had he been unconscious anyway? His mind flashed to Padme, and worry swelled up in his throat, almost choking him. Where was she? What did she think happened to him? His dreams resurfaced in his mind, hearing her cry out for him as she died. Force, was that happening at this moment?! Was the reason he wasn't there because he was trapped in…wherever he was? "Where the hell am I?!" He tried to keep the panic out of his voice. He succeeded. Mostly.

Sidious laughed again…more like cackled. Anakin had to forcibly quell a shudder. "Underneath the Jedi Temple." He paused, tilting his head, a sinister grin spreading across his face. "Or rather.. what remains of it."

Anakin stiffened. It was suddenly difficult to breathe. What did that mean? He tried for his usual cocky, smartass self. "What a brilliant idea. Bringing the captive Chosen One to the Jedi Temple…where the other Jedi will undoubtedly find him fairly quickly when they realize he's gone missing." He said sarcastically, but it was really an unspoken question. What had Sidious meant by 'what remained of it?'

"You're right." Again, that mocking tone. "They would have found you—if I hadn't enacted the binary chips in every single Clone's head, forcing them all to turn on their masters." He leaned forward, his voice a growled hiss. "Your Jedi friends are all dead, Skywalker. You are what remains of their sanctimonious Order." Sidious practically spat the words.

Anakin's stomach tightened, and bile rose in his throat. He suddenly wanted to puke. He definitely forgot how to breathe as the faces of his friends and colleagues flashed through his mind. Plo Koon. Ki-Adi-Mundi. Luminara Unduli. Jocasta Nu. Shaak Ti. Kit Fisto. Aayla Secura. Yoda. Force, Yoda wouldn't have been killed,too….would he?!

Then he almost did throw up as another face flashed into his mind. Obi-Wan. He'd gone to take care of Grievous with his Clone Troopers. Had he managed to escape? Surely…surely he wasn't dead. Memories of growing up under his master, learning from him, rolling his eyes as the older man lectured him for doing something stupid again (which was quite often), saving his master's hide on multiple missions…fighting by his side in countless battles during the Clone Wars…

His mentor. His best friend. His brother.

A vague memory resurfaced then, of him calling out to Obi-Wan in desperation right before he passed out in the Chancellor's office. "Protect her!," He'd cried out in the Force. Had that message gone unanswered? If so…Padme was alone. Probably terrified out of her mind. Given her delicate physical state, being so heavy with child, that was not something that was safe for her to be. Still, surely she would rally the other senators, turn against Palpatine…

"The whole galaxy believes that the Jedi have turned on me." Sidious motioned to his face. "The physical proof is obvious. And, they believe that you, their beloved Hero with No Fear," he said his unofficial old title with biting sarcasm, "led the charge against me. No one is coming for you. Ever." A wicked, yellow-toothed smirk sent a shiver up Anakin's spine. "And, no one is there to protect your precious wife either."

"Don't you dare lay a finger on her!" Anakin snarled, trying to surge to his feet, but a boot landed squarely on his chest, pinning him down as he struggled. "If you hurt her, I swear, Sidious…"

Sidious waved a hand casually in dismissal. "It didn't need to be this way, Anakin. But, when I revealed that you were the one who led the charge against me, I had to also reveal that your secret wife also helped in collaborating the attack. After that, it didn't take much for the Senate to turn on her and order her arrest." A tilt of his head again, and those sickening golden eyes observed him. "As we speak, a squad of troopers are going to apprehend her and bring her to me—where I shall deal with her personally, I assure you." Sidious' golden eyes fairly gleamed with a perverted sense of delight. Anakin fought back another wave of nausea.

Anakin roared, instinctively reaching for the Force again, infuriatingly coming up empty. He threw his weight up, trying to stand, but hands were now heavy upon him, hauling him upright and holding him fast. He lashed out in the only manner which he apparently still could, kicking at the man he'd once trusted, had adored as an almost father figure in fact, calling him every foul name he knew. And, Sidious just smirked, watching impassively, as if Anakin meant absolutely nothing to him. He had just been a pawn in the older man's game, his scheme…a pawn who had played by Sidious' rules for far too long and didn't know it, and that mistake had now destroyed everything...The Jedi. The Republic. Obi-Wan. Padme. Their unborn children. All things dear to him were now gone. Forever. "You could have had ultimate power. You could have saved her, Anakin." A scowl twisted those melted features. "But, you didn't. You failed." He motioned to whoever was holding him back. "Freeze him." Anakin continued to struggle and fight as he was dragged backward, dragged towards a frozen sleep that he had only ever experienced once. This time, he doubted he would be unfrozen a few hours later. He had a feeling that Sidious meant to freeze him forever, a trophy to commemorate his ascension to ultimate power. As Anakin was dragged back, his feet hit something solid, and he glanced down in time to see…

Mace Windu. Staring lifelessly up at him, multiple burn marks covering his body. Dead.

And, Anakin knew in that moment, as whoever held him threw him back into a pit, knew even as he forced himself to his feet to try to climb out of the chamber, only to find no good handholds to grasp to use to climb out….Anakin knew it was over. The Jedi were destroyed. Padme was about to be captured, and probably executed for treason. His children…As the carbon freeze flashed on, and his world began to instantly solidify, frozen, and unmovable, Anakin let out one last war cry—a promise, an oath that if he ever got out of there…There would be nowhere Sidious could hide to escape his vengeance.

That was when everything suddenly froze, and Anakin Skywalker knew no more.

Obi-Wan cradled a moaning Padme close to his chest and carried her quickly down the ramp of the stolen ship he'd had to commandeer. His Jedi fighter had barely been big enough for himself and Padme, let alone Anakin's two droids, Artoo and Threepio. He had needed to rely completely on the Force to keep from getting caught by the Clone troopers, but he managed to do it. All while cloaking a heavily pregnant woman in the throes of labor, their ship, himself, and two droids who were worriedly looking after her. No small feat for the weary Jedi Master.

Medical droids were waiting at the bottom of the ramp, along with a worried looking Yoda and Bail Organa accompanying them. The medical droids rushed forward, a hover gurney between them. "She's in labor." Obi-Wan huffed, placing her gently on the bed.

"Ani…Anakin," Padme moaned, stirring from the hibernation trance Obi-Wan had placed her under to try to help her get through the hours of space travel to Poliss Massa in the Outer Rim. "Where's….Anakin?" She weakly shook her head back and forth on the gurney.

"Focus on yourself, Padme. Anakin will be fine," Obi-Wan gently reminded her, softly brushing tendrils of her hair away from her sweaty forehead. "Your child needs you now."

Padme weakly shook her head again, as the medics rushed her off to a medical bay, and Obi-Wan moved to follow, but Yoda's voice stopped him. "Killed, Anakin is?"

Slowly, Obi-Wan tore his worried gaze from the hallway where Padme had been carted off to and looked down at the Jedi Grand Master who suddenly seemed much, much older than he was—if such a thing were possible. "I…I don't know, Master."

Yoda frowned, looking after where Padme had been taken. "Anakin is the father, is he not?"

Obi-Wan closed his eyes, wondering for the millionth time where he should begin to start looking for Anakin. He didn't just need to look for Anakin because he was the Chosen One, who was destined to defeat the Sith and bring balance to the Force, but also because Anakin was his brother. If the roles were reversed, Anakin would tear the galaxy apart to find him, dead or alive. Obi-Wan could do no less, not just for Anakin's sake, but his wife's and their child's sake as well. "He is, Master. He…They married just after the battle of Geonosis, in secret while on Naboo."

While Bail looked at him, shocked that a Jedi would do such a thing, Yoda didn't look that surprised.

"Suspected, I did." He sighed. "Come. Alone, Padme must not be."

Obi-Wan nodded in agreement and followed after the retreating medics. Once she was settled in a delivery room, he watched as Padme briefly passed out again, after she had called out for Anakin multiple times, his own heart crushing with each pitiful cry for her beloved. Force, if he could find Anakin and bring him here, if only just to end her pain, he would do it. But, he didn't even know where to start looking. Coruscant was now under total lockdown per Sidious' order. No one was allowed in or out. So, if Anakin was still stuck there…He was well and truly trapped now, and Obi-Wan had no clue how he was going to get him out, let alone find him first.

One of the medical droids finally approached them. "How's she doing?" Bail asked, his voice rough with exhaustion and concern.

The droid tilted his head as he explained. "Medically, she's completely healthy and her labor is progressing normally. But, for reasons we can't explain, we appear to be losing her."

Obi-Wan felt as if the floor had just dropped out from beneath him, his mind instantly flashing to Anakin. Anakin never did well with losing those he cared for. He'd been a complete mess after his mother died, and if Padme died…Well, he didn't want to even think about Anakin's reaction. "She's dying?!" He choked out in horror. To be honest, he didn't want to lose Padme either. She was a good friend, and with the dark times ahead of them all, she would be a pillar of light to the entire Galaxy. They needed her, just as much as they needed her husband.

"We don't know why, but yes. It appears so.." The droid offered as a means of a lame explanation, "She's apparently lost the will to live." Obi-Wan's chest tightened at those words. No, Padme, he thought, wishing he could somehow will her to live, I'll find Anakin, I promise! Just hold on….hope is not lost…. "We need to operate quickly if we are going to save the babies."

Wait. What was that?! Did the droid just say…

"Babies?! As in plural?!" Bail asked in horrified concern. Would the amount of shocking revelations ever cease? What else would they find out before this wretched day was through?

The droid nodded. "She's carrying twins."

Silence. Utter silence filled the hallway as Master Yoda looked troubled, Obi-Wan stunned, while Bail looked like he'd had the wind knocked out of him. Even Artoo whistled sadly. Threepio simply said, "Oh my." They all simply stared at the medical droid in shock. Slowly, Obi-Wan separated himself, going over to the window and leaning his forearm and forehead against it, rubbing his other hand over his beard as he watched his dear friend suffer there on the delivery bed, alone. Twins. Kriff Anakin, Obi-Wan thought, reaching out through the Force to try to find his friend for the millionth time, Padme's about to give birth to your twins. You're going to be a father to twins. Where the hell are you?!

He got no reply. Not even a whisper of the Chosen One's presence could be felt through the Force.

"I need to be with her." Obi-Wan found himself suddenly saying, turning to the droid. "Her husband…We can't find him. We don't know if he is alive or dead, but he wouldn't want her to be alone like this," he gestured toward the scene clearly visible through the window, "Let me be with her, just so that she isn't alone. Please."

The droid nodded. "Of course." And floated back into the room. Obi-Wan didn't spare a glance at Yoda or Bail as he entered the room, his mind focusing on the task at hand. Somehow, he had to save her. If they lost both Anakin and Padme, in addition to the whole Jedi Order this day…then they were all lost.

But, listening to Padme's screams was painful. More painful than Obi-Wan had bargained for. It wasn't painful in the way that he'd heard other men talk about witnessing their wives giving birth—painful, but still full of determination to get the task done to meet their precious little one. was full of pain—and gut-wrenching sorrow. Because, it was the sounds of a dying woman. That made it so much harder to bear. Obi-Wan could feel Padme's life force slipping away, as if she was just holding on long enough to give life to her and Anakin's children. Part of him wanted to run far and fast. To get away from the reality staring him in the face. But, he didn't. He couldn't. Anakin was counting on him, and Padme needed him.

So, Obi-Wan stayed, undeterred, because it was what Anakin would have wanted. At least, part of what he would have wanted. The other part would have been for Obi-Wan to save Padme, to do whatever it took to keep her safe. But, Obi-Wan didn't know how, and for the first time in his life, he wasn't ready to let go, to just leave her fate to will of the Force.

So, while he puzzled it all out in his mind, he smiled for Padme, smiled and encouraged her to keep fighting, to not give up, whispering promises of finding Anakin, just as long as she lived. Neither of them spoke of the very real possibility that he was already dead. He even kept smiling for her while she pushed, and finally…a baby's cries filled the room, so full of life—and the Force. Oh, the Force—the raw, pure light of the Force that this baby brought to the galaxy…it was enough to almost make Obi-Wan stagger back!

Padme stopped screaming. She simply stared at the child that the droid was now holding in its arms, moving it…no, him closer for Padme to see. "Luke." The name, spoken with such loving reverence and awe, made Obi-Wan smile a little. Oh, if only Anakin could have been there, to see his firstborn, his son, Luke…Obi-Wan took the newborn boy from the droid so that the droid could go back to delivering the other baby, and he held Luke closer to his mother. Slowly, weakly, she reached up with a single finger, touching Luke's cheek gently, as he cooed and wiggled in Obi-Wan's arms. "Oh, Luke…" and then gone was the amazement, replaced by sadness. Sadness for the galaxy Luke had been brought into. Sadness for the fact that Luke would lose not one, but possibly two parents that night.

But, neither of them had time to dwell on that, for it was time for Padme to continue pushing, and Padme's cries of pain and sorrow continued, as Luke calmed in Obi-Wan's arms.

Not long after, more wails could be heard piercing the air, and Obi-Wan felt another brilliantly light presence strong in the Force fill the room, joining Luke's to the point where it was almost blinding. To the point where Obi-Wan had to hold back a gasp of worry. Would the Sith Lord sense their birth? They were so strong, Obi-Wan could tell that together, if they were just a little older, they would be impossible to miss in the Force. If Palpatine didn't sense them now, there was no question he would very, very soon. This was not good.

But, he didn't say that. Instead, he translated for the droid, "It's a girl."

Padme gasped out a name, her voice weak. "Leia." Already, Obi-Wan could tell that she was starting to rapidly decline, her life slipping away into the Force…Oh kriffing hells, what would he tell Anakin?! How would they protect these precious children?! How would they even begin to take back the Galaxy from evil without Padme and Anakin to lead the way?! How….?

Wait. Inspiration. He had an idea.

No, Obi-Wan decided, firmly, setting Luke in the arms of another droid. No more death. No more pain. Let that be dealt with in the future—but not today. "What are you doing?" One of the droids frantically asked him as he gently and yet quickly scooped Padme up into his arms. She gasped a little, wincing in pain, and her sweat soaked into his tunic.

"Where are the carbonite chambers?" Obi-Wan demanded in a rush, already heading towards the door where Bail stood looking at him like he'd lost his mind and Yoda looked…well, not that surprised, actually.

"Master Jedi," the droids were following him now, still carrying the wiggling twins. "We don't know if that will work. It may only prolong her death, and…"

"It will work." Obi-Wan insisted firmly. Padme was dying of a broken heart without her beloved Jedi. But, her heart wouldn't be broken if he could just find Anakin. And, when he did find him, for he refused to believe Anakin was dead, then they would unfreeze Padme, and Anakin could help his wife fully recover. It was certainly better than the alternative—just letting Padme die without a fight.

Padme suddenly went limp in his arms, but she was still breathing. "It's….just up here to the right." The droid relented when Obi-Wan continued marching forward. Obi-Wan took a sharp turn, finding himself in a cold room. Padme gasped again, shivering, and he knew he didn't have much time.

"Be ready to freeze her." Obi-Wan ordered, and reluctantly the droids complied as he approached the chamber, and Obi-Wan carefully used the Force to lower her into it.

"Obi…..Obi-Wan," Padme groaned, looking up at the Jedi Master, as he gently laid her down. "Tell Anakin….tell Ani….I love him. Always."

"With all due respect, Senator," Obi-Wan replied, as the droids signaled that they were ready. He gave her one last encouraging smile—hoping that it wouldn't truly be his last smile for her. "You can tell Anakin that yourself." He stepped back just as the droids pulled the lever, and he watched as his dear friend—and possibly one of the last hopes for their future—was frozen in carbonite.

He prayed he'd done the right thing.

I normally don't take this long between updates, but things have been busy.

Music inspires my scenes, so the song that inspired this chapter is The Immolation Scene by John Williams (Revenge of the Sith).