A/N: I do not own Star Wars, but here's a little nugget.
[I do not like this.]
Chewbacca has expressed this sentiment many, many times on the journey out to Lothal. His pilot isn't listening.
"Your opinion is noted, Chewie," the pilot says. "But I can't… I can't change my mind. It really is for the best."
[Yourrr death is not worth it. I have lost many frrriends.]
The pilot places a comforting hand on Chewbacca's fur-covered arm. "I know. Maybe this way, you can have them back."
Chewbacca slumps. [Therrrre is no talking you out of this, is therrre?]
The pilot smiles a sad, final smile. "No, Chewie. I thank you for being by my side these last few years. The Falcon is yours now. Fly it where you will. I'm sure there's some places you've wanted to go see?"
Chewbacca smiles. [Yes, therrre is. Goodbye, cub.]
[May yourrr Forrrrce be with you.]
Palpatine looks out his window, and smirks.
Everything is going as I have foreseen.
The Clone Wars rage. The galaxy split in twain between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The Jedi Order, unpopular with its people- and with some of its own members.
A young man in turmoil, threading the line between the light and darkness.
Soon… all of it will be mine.
He feels the note of danger in the Force just a second too late.
Anakin Skywalker is… numb.
Palpatine… dead? HOW?
And yet, there is no mistaking it: Palpatine is dead, his corpse laying by the window, a small hole in the glass, cracks spreading out from it.
Beside the young Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi strokes his beard. Anakin has known the older Jedi long enough to know that Obi-Wan is piecing the whole thing together.
Anakin slowly walks around the office, surverying the artwork- he's never quite gotten the hang of understanding something quite that abstract- but it's taking his mind off of-
Anakin senses something off about one of the statues- conveniently, the one nearest the desk- and goes to investigate. Something seems… off.
Anakin isn't an artist, but he does know a secret compartment when he sees one- and there's a hole in this particular statue that isn't quite filled completely in by whatever is inside it.
Using the Force, Anakin calls the object to his flesh hand- and freezes. "Obi-Wan..."
Obi-Wan comes over, and he too freezes upon seeing the object Anakin is holding. "Where did you get that, Anakin?"
"The statue," Anakin answers, gesturing ahead of him.
"Well…" Obi-Wan muses. "What color is it?"
"I don't know."
Anakin turns on the saber- and horror flashes across both men's faces at the very crimson blade that is now active.
"Obi-Wan…" Anakin says after a moment. "You don't think…"
The Jedi Master turns to one of the investigators, who sees the red lightsaber and sighs. "It's a Jedi matter now, isn't it?"
"It is," Obi-Wan agrees with a sigh. "I'm afraid that we'll be taking it from here, and I apologize."
The detective nods. "Understood. Just let my guys finish up here with the usual fingerprinting and all that, and we'll send over the autopsy report and any information we find. You gonna get the guy who did this?"
"We will," Obi-Wan promises.
Padmè Amidala-Skywalker hums a tune to herself as she organizes the many datapads and files she has to read through for the Senate session tomorrow.
Not that any of it will matter- Palpatine's death will be the order of business- the only item on the agenda.
For her, though, tonight will be spent consoling her husband, who was one of Palpatine's closest friends.
Well… at least Bail and Mon's plans are now on hold.
There had been rumblings of political opposition to Palpatine's policies beginning to stir, with some Senators being more outspoken than others, namely the firm voice of Bail Organa and the calm wisdom of Mon Mothma. Padmè had largely stayed out of it all.
She can feel, somehow, Anakin's approach before she sees him. The dashing young Jedi has apparently taken the lift and come in essentially through her front door. There's a package of some kind in one hand. He looks like he's just on autopilot.
"Anakin…" Padmè breathes, wrapping her husband in a hug.
Anakin's arms go around Padmè's much smaller frame as an automatic response.
It's here that Anakin starts to break down. "He… he's gone, Padmè. He's gone, and I wasn't there…"
Padmè just holds him for a while. When she can feel Anakin calm down, she asks. "What happened?"
Anakin sighs. "Someone shot him. Sniped him through that big window in his office."
Anakin's face contorts for a moment. "When Obi-Wan and I searched his office, we- we found a lightsaber hilt. Its blade is red, Padmè! Red! It had Palpatine's essence all over it!"
"Palpatine… was a Sith?" Padmè asks.
That brings Anakin up short, and he gets up and starts to pace. "Yeah, it looks that way. I really hope it isn't true, but…" Anakin shakes his head. "If so, then a lot of things… they start to make far too much sense."
"Obi-Wan did mention that Dooku had told him about a Sith controlling the Senate," Padmè noted.
"Not all of the Senate, though," Anakin says, throwing a wink and a smirk in his wife's direction. Good, Ani, good, Padmè thinks. A little smile won't hurt. She then notices the package Anakin is holding in his left hand. "What'd you get me?" She teases, deciding to change topics. Palpatine possibly being the bad guy the whole time is something for the morning.
"Hmm?" Anakin asks, before he realizes. "Oh, this?" He holds up the package. "I… don't know, actually. The receptionist downstairs just said it was addressed to you and asked me to take it up." He closes his eyes for a moment, using the Force to sense if there is any danger. "It's safe."
Padmè frowns in curiosity. "Well, open it!"
Anakin does exactly that, and reveals a… "data stick?"
"Ani, a pad?"
One sails into the room thanks to the Force, and Anakin plugs in the stick. As it turns out, there is only one file- a holo-recording.
It starts off with a bang.
"If you're watching this, then I am dead."
The rest of the Jedi Council is in shock.
After the message had played, Anakin and Padmè had looked at each other, agreed that their secret marriage be damned, they needed to talk to the Council immediately.
It was soon evident why.
"If you're watching this, then I am dead."
The person in the recording is a young human woman, no older than Anakin himself were he to guess. Her hair is brown and tied into three buns on the back of her head. Her attire is somewhat Jedi-esque, if seemingly geared more towards a desert environment. Anakin shudders thinking about all the sand the poor woman has to deal with.
"My name is Rey… Rey Palpatine, and I am a Jedi."
At this, Rey produces a lightsaber, which ignites its blade to reveal a golden beam. The room is dead quiet.
"Yes, I am descended from Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine- although I have not yet been born, and will not be for… thirty-five years, more or less.
"I am also the one who killed Sheev Palpatine."
"Well…" Mace Windu says. "That was easy." Yoda reaches over and smacks him with the Force.
"Your timing, terrible it is."
She's… from the future? Obi-Wan Kenobi says. But… if she killed her grandfather, then that means-
"By the time you watch this message, I will be gone. Erased from the timeline. Perhaps it is for the better. Chancellor Palpatine was a horrid, horrid man. If I am correct in my arrival, then the Clone Wars are still ongoing, but hopefully Senator Amidala isn't pregnant yet."
Every eye in the room turns towards Padmè and Anakin. Both look remarkably like two teenagers who have been busted in the back of a speeder whilst up to… romantic activities.
Kit Fisto whistles and cheers. "Anakin Skywalker, you lucky son of a-"
"CHILDREN." Mace Windu yells. "Can we please finish the recording?"
"Spoilsport." Kit mutters. Aayla Secura smirks and sends him an image to chew on later that has his green face turning red.
In the recording, Rey drops her biggest bombshell. "Chancellor Palpatine is Darth Sidious, the mastermind behind the Clone Wars, and the Empire that follows."
Many voices erupt in cries of "WHAT?" but Anakin, Padmè, and Obi-Wan remain silent.
Anakin, Obi-Wan mentally sighs, later.
"Yes, Empire. The Jedi Order- your Jedi order, who I thought only existed in legends and stories I heard as a child- was wiped out by him. He turns your clone troopers against you."
Anakin recoils as a memory plays throughout his memory.
"The nightmares… they're finally… over…."
"Fives," Anakin mutters. "What did you know?"
"Anakin?" Padmè asks.
"Later, Angel," Anakin says apologetically.
"Palpatine is eventually overthrown, but he just takes over a body he had cloned for himself. Enclosed with this data stick are coordinates to a world called Exegol. Fly there quickly and destroy anything you see on the surface. Palpatine must not come back. Planets are destroyed by him. Families are ripped apart!"
Rey sobs, and what she says next is barely audible.
"Because of him, the man I loved is dead."
Anakin has a vision of a man in black cradling Rey's body. She awakens, while he literally fades away.
"I came back to your time to try… to try and stop Palpatine before he does everything he does between your time and mine. I can only hope I succeed.
"May the Force be with you."
With that, the recording ends.
"That… was a lot to take in," Saesee Tiin finally says. "We have the confession of Palpatine's assassin, but that was probably the least shocking bit of news."
"Some of it can wait," Plo Koon says. "Palpatine was Sidious."
"It makes only too much sense," Mace Windu muses ruefully. "How could we not have known?"
"Of greater importance at the moment," Obi-Wan Kenobi weighs in, "are the bit about Exegol and the clone troopers turning against us. We can't do much now that Palpatine is dead other than end the war with the Separatists." Kenobi chuckles. "Dooku was right, as it happens. Palpatine controlled the Senate. Dooku told me his Sith master was in control of that body."
"I volunteer to lead the mission to Exegol," Anakin speaks up. "If what she said is true, then we need to be sure. If Palpatine has the resources to come back, we should make sure he doesn't."
"I'm surprised, Skywalker," Windu observes. "You and he were good friends."
"Yeah," Anakin snaps back. "We were. Hard to be friends when one of them is just putting up a front."
"About that…" Windu starts, but Yoda interrupts him again.
"Discuss Skywalker's attachments later, we will. Our priorities, keep focus on we must. Go, Skywalker will, to Exegol. Order Tano to rendezvous with you en route, we will. From Mandalore, she is returning. Victorious, she is."
That's my girl.
"May the Force be with us all."
In the years to come, much change takes place.
Anakin, as it turns out, leaves the Jedi Order behind, citing the feeling that his purpose has been fulfilled. He settles on Naboo. As it turns out, while some of Naboo's elite are scandalized by Padmè marrying a Jedi, the public at large are elated at the news. All the same, Padmè retires from politics after her term is up- mainly because she and Anakin have twins to look out for. Obi-Wan visits often, as does Ahsoka.
The Jedi order does soften up its rules on attachments after a very convincing argument by Obi-Wan Kenobi that (1) they need to bolster their numbers, (2) it would strengthen their public image with the galaxy at large, and (3) Yoda loves kids, and this way there'd be more to train. Mace Windu grumbled about the rules, but everyone just ignored him.
Exegol was bombed into oblivion after a thorough examination. Anakin swears he saw Palpatine's ghost getting browbeaten by his own mother's ghost, but no one else is able to confirm this.
But, before we go, there is one little postscript.
A much older Anakin Skywalker relaxes as he watches the sunset.
His hair is greyer and shorter now, but the old man is happy. His family is all coming together for a yearly celebration, and there's only one more arrival left.
His grandson, Ben Solo, is coming aboard the Millennium Falcon. The kid finally got himself a girlfriend, to boot, and everyone wants to meet her.
When the ship touches down, the happy couple descends the ramp. First is Ben Solo, large and intimidating and smiling like a lovestruck fool. His companion, though, makes Anakin stop dead.
It's Rey. Anakin is certain of it.
"Hello," Anakin greets, trying hard not to act like he's seen her before.
Rey doesn't buy it, but she does smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Master Skywalker."
Anakin chuckles. "Welcome to the family, young one."
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