AN: Going to be honest, not sure what I did wrong last chapter, first 48 hours 1 review on AO3 and 6 on FanFic. I know some people get angry about this, but I don't care how many likes I get, or 'good chapter' comments, written feedback is how I determine if my chapters are landing or not. I know my self worth, but that doesn't mean every story I make is working.
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Chapter 33 - Coronation
Plagueis laid a pale human hand on Sidious's cheek.
The boy was dead, and Plagueis was unable to sense him in the Force.
Victory was his.
Having paid his respects, he swept away in a flurry of skirts, his long white blonde hair streaming behind him as he stepped down the familiar streets of Naboo on unfamiliar dainty feet. He took the same path where he had first found his Apprentice.
Taking the boy had been a mistake, humans were weak things.
The Nubians stepped out of his way as if he were a god, rather, goddess. He was the Supreme Chancellor saying farewell to his predecessor.
Only, it was the other way around, a Master checking to be sure his errant apprentice was truly dead.
Plagueis had been unable to kill Sidious himself, the clones, his children, had woken before he could do more than drink down the Mother's essence.
Plagueis grimaced, he had gained everything Abeloth was, all her powers, abilities, and wisdom about the Force.
However, he had also gained a strange obsession.
While Plagueis could clinically realize what had happened, that Abeloth's last thoughts had been spiralling into the Force, shocked incomprehension on how her sons could ever wish her harm when she loved them.
He shot me.
Because in the end, that's all the Mother had ever wanted, to be loved, adored, worshipped.
Plagueis's own desires were less… well, they were more about having the galaxy kneel before him because they realized how inferior they were to him. And yet, his own emotions had latched onto the shred of Abeloth's living memory. He could not help but view the Mandalorian clones as his children.
Foolish, yet, achievable.
Plagueis didn't need to wage war on the galaxy, he had thousands of years, nay, he had all of eternity, until the stars returned to their creator. He could let the clones live in peace, he could wait for them to die natural deaths, because the galaxy now belonged to him, and him alone.
While today, his name was Chancellor Komari Vosa, he was an immortal shapeshifter. After this form, he could take another.
Abeloth would have survived the shots fired even in her most vulnerable state, a nightmare in another's dream, had Plagueis not been there to take her power.
Because without the power, she became what she had first begun life as nearly a hundred thousand years in the past, a mortal woman.
Not the Mother, but the Servant to the Father, the Son, and the Daughter.
Plagueis was so much more than she had ever been, had come into this power as an immortal soul now hosted within an immortal body.
He did not care that his current form mimicked a female human, a mere fallen Jedi Padawan. Time would change things, he would change things. He no longer needed an empire, he could take power again and again and no one would be able to recognize him from one person to the next.
And the Jedi?
Well, they were currently protected by the clones, his Children, but time would change that too.
Darth Plagueis the Wise was nothing if not patient.
Anakin let out a long breath as he watched Leia take a laughing Luke by the hand and waist to teach him how to dance.
It was a bittersweet reminder of Padme teaching him. Although Anakin had been much taller than Padme, so comparatively, Leia had no issues leading her twin around the dance floor.
Luke's face was so open, his smile a light in the galaxy and Leia's joy mirrored his.
Prince and Princess Organa of Alderaan.
The Alderaanian people were thrilled, rarely had Anakin ever seen a celebration so jubilant, but none so radiant as Queen Breha Organa and her Consort, Viceroy of Alderaan, Senator Bail Organa. Their happiness and pride in their adoptive children were plain for all to see.
Anakin might have been more jealous if the twins weren't already adults, but still, it would be a task not to love Luke and Leia. Anakin felt like a shadow, a bystander to his own life, but he couldn't find it in himself to wish it any other way.
Luke and Leia were so clearly happy.
Padme was happy.
Obi-Wan and Ahsoka were happy.
The clones, well, maybe they hadn't all found their place just yet, but they were free and not bound to a war they had no say in.
Anakin would trade everything he was for all of their happinesses, so this… this was enough.
The Force wrapped around him like comfort from a dear friend, and due to that sensation, he missed her approach and nearly jumped out of his skin when Padme touched his hand ever so lightly.
It was not hard to give her smile, but he was not quite sure it reached his eyes.
"May I have a dance, Knight Skywalker?" Padme asked, her expression pleasant but hiding her true emotions.
"Of course," he said, taking her hand and leading her onto the large marble dance floor.
He had to shorten his stride because Padme was wearing one of her most formal gowns.
Luckily for the twins, Alderaanian fashion was lighter than for the Nubians. Leia was wearing a dress of silver and white, the bead work extensive, and Luke's cape moved like water despite Anakin knowing how heavy the embroidered fabric was.
Padme's own dress was red, making her look like a flower in snow.
The first minute passed in painful awkwardness, even as he revelled in their closeness. So many nights he had feared the worst, but here she was, alive and well.
It's all that he had the right to ask for.
"I'm sorry," Padme blurted.
He raised a brow, "For what?"
"For the way I reacted when you-"
"Snuck in through your balcony while you were otherwise compromised? Honestly, Senator, the only thing you have to apologize for is not shooting me," he said, fighting not to hug her to him, "You do have a history of assassination attempts."
She huffed at him, "I had R2."
"Fair point," he conceded, "but still…"
She laughed, and the sound was magic. It didn't last near long enough as she said, "I am sorry that I hurt you."
He couldn't pretend to smile then, "I'm the one who left you." He paused, thinking of anything to say, then, "Did you really kiss our son?"
She flushed, "He freaked out, Ani. It wasn't funny."
But Anakin grinned, "Obi-Wan thinks you stole his first kiss."
Padme's cheeks were nearly the same colour as her dress, "I did not."
"Have you asked him?" he teased.
She glared at him, "The only conversations I've had with Luke is his telling me about the time travel and that you were gone and dead. I assumed, after you - Luke , ran away from me, avoided me, that what we had was gone."
His heart arched, "I am so sorry, Padme."
"You didn't do it on purpose, I know that," she said, glancing away.
"Is that really all you have seen of Luke? Have you even spoken to Leia yet?"
She looked back up at him as the song changed and they stayed on the floor, "I spoke with Luke on Mon Cala, he is quite the negotiator."
"Well," he joked, "Someone had to take after Obi-Wan, and it wasn't going to be me or Ahsoka."
Padme smiled softly but there was remorse in her voice as she spoke, "I haven't spoken to Leia yet, what is she like?"
Anakin shrugged, "Leia tried killing me during our first meeting and nearly killed Luke in the process. She has hardly left his side since."
Padme gaped at him, "What? Why?"
"Apparently, I fell to the Dark Side and helped destroy the galaxy," he said, still unable to reason with Leia's accusation that he had hurt Padme.
Though, perhaps he had in the same way Leia had hurt Luke.
Padme looked up at him sadly, "That must have been hard."
"You don't sound surprised," he noted.
Her honey eyes were serious as she said, "I was there when your mother died. I never doubted what you were capable of when I married you, I just knew that the man you could grow to become would be so much greater. I think…" she sighed, "I think we all would have been better without the war."
He didn't know what to say about that, so... he changed the subject. He wasn't going to pressure her to take him back, not with the mess he and his future self had created. "Leia has my temper, though she has your gift with politics, but Luke is entirely your son. Also, he doesn't hate Tatooine, I am convinced I'm not the only one with brain damage."
She smiled, "No, Luke reminds me of you, a great general, leader of men, and quite the fearless warrior."
"He's been at war three years longer than I have. One good thing about Mortis is the twins aren't actually older than me."
"Obi-Wan and Luke are frighteningly good military tacticians."
"Apparently," he said, "Leia is better. Well, maybe not on the ground but waging galactic war overall. She helped take down an Empire with a ragtag army of Rebels. Remind you of anyone?"
His teasing tone fell flat as Padme glanced over his shoulder and as they spun, he saw Breha taking Luke's hand and Bail taking Leia's, bright smiles on them all.
The four of them created quite the image of love and happiness.
"They really got the best of both of us, didn't they?" she asked.
"Yes," he agreed.
"Neither of us were there for them."
He looked down to meet her gaze, "No, we weren't."
And it was my fault.
Padme touched his cheek, "Then for their sakes, let us have no regrets. Whatever shape our family has taken-"
He leaned in to kiss her cheek, unable to listen to the truth, even if he already knew it. He whispered in her ear, "The only regrets I have are that in any reality I might have failed you all as failed my mother."
Padme rested her cheek against his, "You were granted the power of god, Ani, but even you, are human still." She pulled back from, "And I do love you for that."
"I love you too," he said easily even as she curtsied to him, and left him on the dancefloor.
It took him a moment to breathe through his broken heart, but when he began to take his leave, another hand caught his, pulling him into the next dance.
Another, dark haired, dark eyed beauty.
Leia's greeting was precisely the same, "I'm sorry."
Anakin chuckled mirthlessly, "I suppose it's a red letter day, two women in my life apologizing."
Leia glanced to where Padme was milling in the crowd, easily spotted in her bold red gown. "You know, I always wanted to meet her. But Queen Amidala seems as mythical as the idea of Darth Vader as a parent. Of course, I had met him and Papa used to talk about Padme a lot, but this whole…" she looked up at him, "It all feels less than logical."
He raised a brow at her, "Are all my relatives so politically spoken?"
She smirked at him, "My speech is far less polished than you might think."
He narrowed his gaze on her, "Your referencing times you cursed my Sithself out of the Outer Rim, aren't you?"
She smiled, a devious light in her chocolate eyes, "I may have a few stories that are removed of their… importance, may make for a rather entertaining tale."
"You're going to make me go grey, is what you're telling me. Obi-Wan's ultimate revenge," he mocked in false fear, utterly elated that she and Padme had come to with the white flags raised.
Leia's smile made the world around them lose importance, and yet, like her mother before her, she insisted on a serious discussion.
He couldn't help thinking if the dancefloor really the place for this?
"I'm sorry for trying to kill you, what you might have been in a different reality doesn't dictate the person you are today."
Hope filled him, and he asked cautiously, "Does this mean you're giving me a chance?"
Her hand tightened in his, "Yes. But you need to understand that no matter what, Bail will always be my father."
He nodded, unable to stop his smile.
Obi-Wan had been right, maybe he could repair things with his family. Maybe things weren't what he wanted between him and Padme, but Padme wasn't cutting him out of her life. They did have a shared family, if highly unconventional.
Leia went on, her expression softening as she searched his face, "Luke's uncle… was a distant man… they, well, they had little in common with each other. Luke will always see you as his father, even if he grows closer with my parents. He is my brother, my twin, the better part of me, and so I suppose that makes me your daughter too."
Anakin said nothing, knowing never to speak when he was winning.
Leia went on, "Luke was willing to forgive you at your worst, and I have nothing to forgive you for because you have done nothing wrong, not yet. Given what's happened, I agree with him that you are unlikely to mess up like that. Also, being close to Luke, means I will be close to you, and I don't want him to feel guilty about there being bad blood between us." She sighed, before giving him very direct eye-contact, "You are not Darth Vader."
Anakin had a lot he could have said at that point, but he settled on, "You have my mother's eyes."
She blinked at him, surprised, "What-" she stopped herself, then reiterated, "What was she like?"
Anakin spun her to the merriment of flutes, and when she was back in his arms, he told his daughter about his mother.
Leia listened, asked questions, and he pulled from her more smiles, and not a few snarky remarks that seemed to fill the world in exquisite color.
Anakin thanked the Force for this strange destiny of his.
When the next song was winding to a close, he caught Obi-Wan's gaze.
Anakin smothered a grin at the conspiratorial look on both Obi-Wan and Rex's faces as he directed Leia toward them.
The song came to an end and Rex shoved Cody in his ceremonial uniform forward, Leia, being actual royalty, caught the bigger man and seamlessly directed him into the next songs without creating the slightest disruption that might be caused by shoving Rebel Commanders at Alderaanian princesses.
"Princess," Cody stammered.
"General is fine, Commander," Leia said as she tugged him into the dance.
Rex was laughing, but Obi-Wan was already sighting his next matchmaking prey and Anakin was all too happy to help him.
"Honestly, Obi-Wan, I'm fine," Ahsoka said, "I don't need to-"
Anakin tsked, putting a hand on the Togruta's shoulder, "None of that, Snips, you and Luke are Padawans together, that certainly must come with some privileges."
Ahsoka nearly hit him, however, she recovered her composure as Anakin bullied their way through Luke's adoring lady-fans. "Prince Luke," he greeted his son, "care to treat Padawan Tano for a dance?"
Luke, who had looked lost and uncertain with all the fancy women converging around him, looked up with a brilliant smile, "Of course. Though I'm not very goo-"
"Oh, Ahsoka knows how to lead," Anakin said, smirking at Ahsoka whose big blue eyes were promising to murder him, slowly .
But Luke had no sooner taken her hand than Ahsoka had forgotten all about her meddling Jedi Masters. The ladies and girls who had been converging around Luke, however, looked like they might be already thinking up the step as to where to stash his body.
Anakin bowed to them slightly before retreating back to Obi-Wan who was grinning at them, an arm around Satine's waist.
"Well," the Duchess of Mandalore said, "this is certainly one of the funniest political events I've been to in a long time."
Anakin smirked, "Well, when you have Alderaanians, Mandalorians, Jedi, Nubians, and Tatooinians converging in one place, there is bound to be some entertainment."
Obi-Wan barked a laugh, "Entertainment."
Rex grinned, "What are the chances Cody actually snags the princess?"
"Oh, I do believe it will be entirely her choice," Obi-Wan said.
Anakin snorted, "No kidding." He eyed Rex, "You sleep alright?"
Rex scowled at him, "One nightmare-"
"Where you claimed to kill Abeloth, with a blaster," Anakin interrupted, "The Daughter and the Son said the only times they left Mortis were to reimprison her because they couldn't figure out how to straight up kill her. The Mother is supposed to be immortal."
"Well," Obi-Wan said, "At least we learned who Sidious's Master was."
"At least," Satine said, "Palpatine is dead."
Darth Sidious's body had been found on Muunilinst in an alley two weeks ago.
Cause of death?
Anakin was less than convinced that such a condition was even capable of killing a Sith, but everything had checked out that it had really been him, or at least the gundark's body.
Leia's reaction had amused him again, she had been upset that she hadn't been able to kill the Emperor herself.
Obi-Wan had pointed out that a Jedi should not seek revenge.
Leia then pointed out to the Master that she had never wanted to be a Jedi and that she could be as vengeful as she damn well pleased.
"It was one nightmare," Rex was saying.
Anakin shook his head, "Don't trust that, Rex, the Force is capable of many things."
Rex cursed in Mandalorian and Satine snorted her drink.
Anakin rolled his eyes, but he set aside his worries for now, for this one night, watching Princess Leia lead Obi-Wan's Marshal Commander around by the heartstrings, and Prince Luke flirt innocently with a flushing Ahsoka.
Life was far from perfect, but it was good.
AN: Thoughts, please? Feedback, questions, theories, requests, dragons, or reviews? Pretty Please?