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Anakin was on Mustafar, Padmé pleading before him to go back to the Jedi, back to those who had mocked him, talked down to him, who wouldn’t help him save her. How could he make her understand that the Sith were the answer, the only way that he could keep her and their unborn children safe? The roaring inferno around them couldn’t hope to match the sheer force of the anger and hate that was currently pulsing through him. Why couldn’t she, the one person who was meant to ALWAYS be on his side, see that he was right, that Darth Sidious was right? The only way forward was with him, not the Jedi and their weak-willed ways. A tiny, insignificant part of his mind, hurt and afraid and so, so alone, cried out in protest, rebelling against his righteous anger. It was quashed a moment later. There was no time for weakness.

As their argument intensified, Anakin’s patience dwindled, tired of Padmé fighting what was so clearly the best choice, the safest choice, the only option for keeping them all safe, and he began to wonder just who had turned his wife against him. He received his answer a moment later as he heard the quiet hiss of a ship touching down behind them. Before Anakin turned he already knew who was aboard the ship, thought shielding or not; only Kenobi would have known where to find them. Only Kenobi would have dared turn his wife against him. He turned his back to Padmé, and allowed the full force of his hate and anger to flow through him, all directed at the sole figure emerging from the ship. Nothing Kenobi could say now would change his mind. He was a traitor, just like every other Jedi, but this betrayal cut deeper. They had always had their differences, but Kenobi had been his master, the person who should have taken his side and supported him over all else. Sidious had shown him the truth, had shown him all of Kenobi’s failures.

Kenobi began to speak, but Anakin heard none of it. None of it was worthy of being heard. It was all lies, lies, misdirection, and meaningless platitudes that had always been Kenobi’s specialty. He let himself study the man instead of his words, and noted his worn appearance, the exhaustion in his eyes, and scoffed. The Jedi’s great negotiator, brought low. It was fitting. And then Padmé stepped forward, in Kenobi’s defense, and Anakin’s rage came screaming back, blocking out all coherent thought and reason. There was yelling and pleading and so much anger swirling throughout him, until Kenobi finally made a move, grabbing his shoulder and wrenching him around. Anakin finally unleashed his fury, slamming into his once-mentor with the Force and hurling him across the platform and into the wall, where he fell to the ground with a sickening crunch. His stomach twisted and fear flooded his system, ice cold against the roaring hatred, fighting into his mind and leaving him void of all emotion for a terrifying, heart-stopping moment. Obi-Wan pushed himself to his knees, pulled himself up by a wall, took a step, and fell off the platform.

Someone screamed, maybe himself, maybe Padmé, and Anakin couldn’t make his legs work, not fast enough, as he raced across the platforms, throwing himself down as he reached the edge, nearly hurling himself into the lava to haul Obi-Wan up, his heart beating too fast and his head full of screams, only to find himself grasping empty air as his mentor plummeted into the lava. Anakin could only watch as Obi-Wan hit the lava and began to burn, screaming in absolute agony, screaming and screaming and s c r e a m i n g.

***

Anakin jolted upright in bed, biting down on his tongue and clapping his hands over his mouth as he fought the urge to scream, tears streaking down his face. He could barely think, his breaths coming in quick, short bursts as he tried to reign in his panic. Obi-Wan hadn’t fallen into the lava, Anakin had reached him in time, had pulled him up to safety, Obi-Wan had been safe. And then he had left his mentor to die. Another choked out sob almost burst past his lips, and he dropped one of his hands, desperately feeling for Padmé and only calming when he found her arm and giving it a gentle squeeze. Anakin hoped he wouldn’t wake her, her pregnancy had been so difficult, and he had almost lost her, and she needed to rest. His hand traveled up to her hair, gently curling a few strands around his fingers and trying to release his fear and panic to the Force. Instead he was immediately assaulted by the grief and emptiness in the Force, the loss of so many Jedi propelling him entirely out of the bed and stumbling into the corridor, trying to shield his mind at the sudden influx of grief and shame.

A sudden, piercing wail rattled Anakin out of some of his shock, and he cursed himself for never truly trying to learn how to shield his emotions fully, not to the degree that Obi-Wan tried to teach him. Maybe if he had, he wouldn’t be waking his children. Kriffing hell, he was such a waste of a father. As he approached the room that Padmé had repurposed into a nursery, he felt himself grow wearier with every single step, until he let himself into the room and immediately sagged against the wall, trying to keep up the mental shields that he had hastily crafted at Luke’s first wail. As Luke continued to sob, Anakin sensed Leia waking up, feeling as curious as a two-week-old baby could as to why her brother was wailing his lungs out. As Force sensitive as they were, he knew that his inner strife had woken Luke up, and he immediately scooped his son up, trying to be as gentle as he could be while rocking him in his arms. “It’s okay, Luke. It’s okay. Daddy just...daddy had a bad dream. I’m sorry, sweetheart. Daddy’s sorry.” he whispered, projecting love and comfort into the Force as he cradled his son closer. Luke seemed to be the more sensitive of the two, although Padmé insisted that, at two weeks old, they weren’t quite old enough to develop fully distinct personalities yet.

As Luke finally began to settle down, Anakin gently placed him back into his crib, and turned to find Leia staring at him from where she was lying in her own crib. He scooped her up and carefully hugged her close, full of love and guilt and grief for these two innocent children that they brought into a world full of such danger. Danger caused by him. He crossed the room and slumped into the rocking chair that Padmé had insisted on, carefully adjusting Leia so that she was resting comfortably, and tried not to cry. He had just calmed Luke back down, he would not unsettle his son again with his uncontrollable emotions. Instead Anakin just tilted his head back and tried to wrestle with the grief that was clouding his heart. His children would grow up without so much. There was no peace in the galaxy, and there would be no hope for peace until the Emperor and his army were defeated. They were rebels, fleeing with everyone else whose lives were destroyed, and Anakin wondered how he had ever agreed with Sidious. Looking back, his manipulation was so obvious, the way he had made Anakin feel isolated, the way he had carefully twisted and warped his trust into something that could be used and exploited. It made him feel sick. “I’m so sorry, Leia.” he murmured, his voice shaky as tears began to roll down his cheeks. “I’m so sorry for what we’ve brought you both into. For what I’ve done.”

In the silence of the nursery he fell into an uneasy sort of peace, and his thoughts drifted once again to Obi-Wan. The rescue party had found no sign of him when they reached Mustafar, save for the smoldering remains of half of a Jedi cloak left to burn near the lava. Anakin had wanted to deny it, to scream and argue and shake some sense into them, because Obi-Wan could not have died. He couldn’t have. There was nothing there to kill him, and he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t. But Padmé had called upon Dormé, the woman who had once been her most devoted handmaiden, to go with them, and she wouldn’t have lied. Obi-Wan was gone, dead, and that was yet another thing Anakin had taken from his children. They would never know the man who had given his life to save their own, they would never know the best Jedi that Anakin had ever known. He felt grief grip his throat, and held back an awful sob. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” he gasped out, finally letting the wave of sorrow crash over him, drowning him in emotions so strong that he was lucky Luke didn’t wake up again. “I’m so sorry.”

***

Padmé found them in the morning, Anakin asleep in the rocking chair with Leia securely held to his chest, sleeping just as soundly. She couldn’t miss the obvious tear tracks that were present on his cheeks, and closed her eyes, her lips thinning into a line as she fought between her own sorrow and frustrations. Anakin still didn’t know everything, and she didn’t know when she would ever be able to tell him. He didn’t remember slaughtering the younglings, the attack on the jedi temple, or even the Clones turning on the Jedi. He could feel their overwhelming absence in the Force, he had told her as much, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell him what had happened. What role he had played in it. Padmé carefully eased Leia out of his arms, smiling as her daughter grumbled at being moved, and walked over to the cribs to pick up Luke as well, her son gurgling happily at her.

There was so much that had to be done, so little time left, and now, with their twins born, there was so much more at stake than just the galaxy. The Emperor hadn’t let them go. Padmé knew better. He was biding his time, coming up with a plan to ensnare Anakin once again, and she had to be ready. She would be ready. He had already tried to destroy them once, and it had ended in countless lives lost, including Obi-Wan’s. She thought of Ahsoka, one of the only other Jedi that she was close to, and could only hope that she had escaped the slaughter. It was inhumane and monstrous. It had broken their family and killed one of the men that she and Anakin had trusted most. It was unforgivable. And she would not let the Emperor go unpunished.