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© Danielle Harwood-Atkinson 2002-2021. All rights reserved.

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Author's Note: This is a sequel to A Senate Resolution. My original plan was to post this during the Obidala Valentine Online Convention earlier this year, but due to various circumstances that event never took place. I had one other fic that I was planning to post then too, but its still in progress. I would have kept this back, but I received a query about a sequel recently and so I decided I would post the next moment I was sufficiently awake enough to deal with it. For those of you who have been reading my tumblr lately, you will notice that I have been dealing with a lot of stress lately, least of which the traffic outside my house which is causing a lot of troubled sleep. I should point out that it is worth reading A Senate Resolution before you start reading this. I will also say that fanfic.net is on very thin ice right now due to the missuse and entirely unnecessary abuse from some reviewers. If you want a response from me, please go to the other sites I post on.

The Judgement of Coruscant.


For as long as he can remember Anakin had been a slave. Servitude was ingrained deep within him, almost from the moment he was born. As soon as he was able to move and to use his hands, Watto had put him to work, first in the junkyard, then in the shop, then pod racing. 


Then Qui-Gon freed him and offered him another kind of servitude, to join the Jedi Order. At the time, Anakin had been too young to see it as such. It was not until he lost Qui-Gon and joined the youngling classes that he came to understand that in accepting the late knight's offer he had merely exchanged one type of slavery for another. 


Palpatine was his next owner, after the Jedi Order. The Emperor had always been there, hovering in the background, waiting for the right moment. Whenever Anakin found it difficult to be a Jedi, Palpatine was there to soothe his frustration and temper his impatience. 


Back then, Anakin saw the Emperor as a friend. It was only now that he realised Palpatine's true motives. The Sith saw the power within him, just as the Jedi had done and desired to make use of it. 


He wondered sometimes if there was something within the power inside him that lured him into these forms of slavery. A part of him knew that he had not been able to fully understand the price behind the life of a Jedi or a Sith, yet there was always a question in his mind if the real master of him was the power that existed inside him. 


It was something which he had not been aware of, until Qui-Gon told him about it. He had always been able to anticipate things, to do certain tasks faster than others, yet he never understood why until he joined the Jedi Order. Once there, using the power inside him on a daily basis, it became larger, growing as he did in potential and stature until it began to outstrip him. 


To terrify him.


He had enjoyed it first, being able to do things other beings could not, to be the person that others depended on when all seemed lost. However, as he grew older, he came to see fear in some beings, fear of him and what he could do. It reminded him of the fear he had lived in, when he was with his mother on Tatooine, owned by Watto. He had never wanted to be in that position, of making someone he came into contact frightened of what he could do.


He had seen the fear in Padmé’s eyes when he told her about what he had done to the Tusken tribe who had taken his mother. Until then she had regarded his power with fascination and joy and he had been happy to show off for her, for her to see all that he had accomplished since they parted on Naboo all those years ago. He had wanted to make her smile, to impress her, to show her that he still wanted to marry her, despite it being forbidden by the Order. After all, there were many things the Order had considered as such before he showed them otherwise. He had always been the exception to every rule.


When he lost his arm on Geonosis, he hoped Padmé had forgotten her fear, especially as she married him on Naboo. Yet every time he returned from the clone wars to spend time with her, he saw it in her eyes. He tried his best to make it go away, yet the universe seemed to conspire against him. Their commitments to the Order and the Senate tore them away from each other more often than not, or threw them into dangerous missions which left them too thankful to be alive to work on what was wrong within their marriage. 


When Padmé became pregnant, Anakin was surprised. He had not been aware that they were trying to have children. Not that he thought about it at all when they consummated their relationship. Having children was not something he expected to do. He had just wanted to get married. Then he started to have nightmares about Padmé dying in childbirth. Why he did not know. It was not something that should have worried him, he knew Naboo and Coruscant were nothing like Tatooine, that his and Padmé’s positions would give her the best that medical care could provide. Yet the nightmares persisted, until he was desperate for someone to provide a solution.


And here was the moment when Palpatine became his master. When the Emperor promised him that he could save Padmé from dying. At first Anakin had been determined to stop him from seizing control of the Republic. He had gone to Master Windu and told him of what Palpatine was capable of. He had expected to go with the Council Master, be part of the Jedi task force who took care of the Sith that they had been looking for. He had been tasked with spying on the Chancellor after all, to report on his dealings as part of earning his place on the Council. To remain behind while others accomplished the impossible was not something which he was used to.


Whether his presence as a member of the task force would have changed events was now something on which he could only speculate. In the end he had interfered, he had prevented Master Windu from killing Palpatine. When he finally decided to disobey the Council Master’s order and go back to the executive office, he was terrified by what he saw when he entered the room. Master Windu ready to strike down Palpatine, who was suddenly an old and seemingly frightened, defenceless man. The Jedi looked more like a Sith than the Chancellor appeared to be at that moment. 


Ultimately, it had been his fears which won out. He could not bear the thought of Padmé dying. So he did what he believed he had to do so he could prevent it from happening. He intervened and let Palpatine kill Master Windu. Then he surrendered himself to the Sith and carried out his orders. He killed the Jedi at the Temple. He killed the leaders of the Separatists on Mustafar.


He did not think about what he was doing. What it would turn him into. He was doing it to save the woman he loved from dying in childbirth. If that meant him committing mass murder then that is what he would do.


After he had killed the Separatist leaders, he waited on Mustafar for Palpatine to contact him and tell him what he had to do next. Instead he felt a wave of dark energy being extinguished. The Force suddenly felt lighter than before, abruptly he felt that the dark cloud which he was suffering under had cleared to let the sun in once more.


It was only later that he came to understand what this event meant. 


The death of Palpatine.


Anakin was angry at first. Angry that Obi-Wan and Master Yoda had killed the only man capable of saving Padmé’s life. Two beings who had professed to care about her safety committed this atrocity and then had the nerve to tell Anakin that it was he who was in the wrong? It was beyond his comprehension.


He continued to feel angry for a long time. Even he learned that Padmé was okay and would be staying on Alderaan until she gave birth. He had many excuses for it. Padmé was still in danger of dying in childbirth. That they had killed his only friend and ally, the Emperor.  That he was not the being responsible for the mass murder of Jedi at the Temple, that he had committed the act under Palpatine’s orders, with the clone army. The same went for the Separatists. He had brought peace to the galaxy, they should be letting him rule the Republic instead of holding elections for a new chancellor.


When he learned that Padmé had lied to him about her pregnancy, her deception became another excuse for his anger. That she could offer up her body to carry someone else’s children while she was married to him, that she would lie to him about the nature of the pregnancy through some misguided attempt to save him from the dark side. As if he had been in danger of such anyway, until she lied to him and put those nightmares about losing her in his head. 


He was prevented from saying any of this to her. After he left for Mustafar, he did not see her for a long time. She stayed on Alderaan long after the twins were born. She breast fed them, something else Anakin could not understand, even after the biological reasons behind such a decision were explained to him. 


Padmé was still on Alderaan when she requested to speak to him, although he was only informed of the request via Master Yoda. After his return from Mustafar, Anakin spent a lot of his time in seclusion, after he came to understand that most beings viewed his actions under the Emperor’s orders with horror and outrage. 


Although the Jedi Order, or rather what little was left of the Order, had tried to keep the identity of whom had laid waste to the Jedi Temple and the Jedi who were scattered across the galaxy fighting the Separatists, private, the information came out as the inquest into Chancellor Palaptine’s actions was put into motion. Calls for Anakin’s arrest and trial, along with the disbandment of the clone army grew across the galaxy, until the Senate and the Jedi could not justify ignoring them.


So Anakin found himself obliged to be under house arrest in Padmé’s apartment, as the Temple was not a fit state to keep him nor were the beings of the Republic willing to let his fate be decided by the Jedi, as was usually the case for a member of the Order. Instead he was under the purview of the Senate, Courts and the Jedi, an usual and unprecedented state for any being.


As for a trial, that was on hold until the inquest into Palaptine’s actions was concluded, along with the Senate elections and the building of a new Jedi Temple. Anakin suspected that the real reason for the delay was because no one in positions of power could agree on what his fate should be, least of all himself.


He had gone through several perspectives regarding his actions since he carried them out. At first they were necessary to save Padmé’s life, there was no other justification than that.


When Padmé spoke to him, over holo communications from Alderaan, he began to feel a bit of guilt, however much he denied it to others. Her horror and grief, along with the increasing terror conveyed in her eyes, struck him far more deeply than anything Obi-Wan or Master Yoda, or any other surviving Jedi had said on the matter.


For the Jedi had survived. Despite the odds and due to the timely intervention of Obi-Wan into the duel between Palpatine and Master Yoda, the total extinction of the Order was prevented. To their relief, and Anakin’s, although again, it was something he did not admit to anyone except himself, a few Jedi had managed to escape the fate of being killed by their clone army troops. Nowhere near the number of Jedi that the Order held before, yet enough to secure its survival, with changes.


When Anakin learned of the changes, he found another reason to be angry. After being told that attachment was forbidden, that he could not have a relationship with Padmé, to learn that the Jedi Order would have to have relationships in order to ensure their survival, due to his actions, he felt justifiably so. 


His anger only increased when Padmé spoke to him, shortly after he learned of this news, to tell him that she thought their marriage should end. In her mind they had grown too far apart, that they had married for the wrong reasons, that there was very little they had in common, in the light of her position within the Senate, in view of his actions and subsequent arrest… There was a point when Anakin stopped listening to her reasons, despite the guilt he was beginning to feel over everything he had done, and the effect it had on her. He still could not get over the fact that she wanted to divorce him, that she no longer believed in their love. That she once thought her love would save him, when as far as he was concerned, he did not need saving.


He had no choice but to comply with her wishes. He was not in a position to refuse, under house arrest and awaiting trial. If he had insisted, it would have only caused more trouble for himself, for her reputation was such that it would probably survive the outcry almost intact.


He did not see Padmé again until after she returned from Alderaan, having survived childbirth without complications. By then the Organa twins were growing at a pace, the Jedi Temple was fully rebuilt and the inquest into Palpatine’s crimes still ongoing. It seemed that the former Chancellor’s plans to take over the galaxy were a lifelong scheme which involved many dealings with several criminal organisations, as well as many honourable beings who believed their actions were in good faith and were now horrified to learn what those actions had really led to. 


While it was somewhat comforting to learn that he was not the only one who had been taken in by Palpatine, it did nothing to lessen the state of his emotions over everything. As the guilt over what he had done started to grow and the justification lessened, his emotions and state of being only became more complex. 


Since Padmé had survived childbirth without Palpatine’s intervention, Anakin could no longer justify his actions. He had committed mass killing before, during the clone wars and when he tried to rescue his mother from the Tuskens. None of these acts had changed the galaxy or his life for the better. Beings regarded him with greater fear now than they had before and he was at a loss as to what he could do to make that fear go away. He could no longer see a future for himself, or a purpose with which to begin again. 


Due to his house arrest, he was not able to take the only other option left open to him. He was kept under close surveillance and visited by a Jedi lawyer who was tasked with defending him, not that Anakin had provided the former with anything that they could build a case upon and a trained Jedi psychiatrist daily, who was supposed to help him come to terms with the events which awaited him. So far the meetings with the latter had hardly been productive, for at first Anakin refused to talk to them about anything, confounding every tactic that they tried to get him to speak. Now, when he was reluctantly admitting to himself that he might need the help that the psychiatrist was still willing to provide, he was reluctant to break his silence, in fear that their verdict on his future would be similar to his.


Obi-Wan visited him occasionally, yet Anakin refused to speak with him too. For much of the same reasons he refused to speak to the psychiatrist, along with some additional justifications, in his mind, at least. 


It had been Obi-Wan who retrieved him from Mustafar, informed him of the Emperor’s death and his actions in ensuring that event, along with those of Master Yoda. It was Obi-Wan who told him where his wife was, yet believed it was up to Padmé to tell him the truth about her pregnancy. It was Obi-Wan who had trained him, yet left him vulnerable to Palpatine’s lies. It was Obi-Wan who talked to Padmé more than she talked to him, her former husband.


It was Obi-Wan whom Padmé, according to the holo feeds with which he was provided to keep him informed of current events, was now involved with. The two of them were very discreet, giving little away by their body language and time together to deny or confirm the speculation, yet it was the conclusion which every holo feed about them drew.


Anakin was also angry about this, yet he refused to confront them over it. He had no justification to do so, as he had nothing except the holo feeds conclusions with which to back up his confrontation. He and Padmé were divorced by the time any speculation began about the relationship and the members of the Jedi Order that survived the attacks were being strongly urged to contribute to the restoration of the Order. 


He was in a state of limbo, waiting for his trial, for the verdict that would reveal what the galaxy had decided his future was going to be. He could not see any other outcome except imprisonment or death. He felt anger and a sense of guilt over what he had done, yet unable to think of what he could have done otherwise, had he known this would be the outcome.


All in all, it was a situation that was out of his control, another kind of servitude, of slavery, that had been so far the purpose of his life.




For Padmé, the events after the conversation with Bail concerning the fate of Palpatine, required all her strength, physically and emotionally. 


She involved herself as much as she was able to do, with the proceedings of the Senate, as it struggled to deal with starting an inquiry into the actions of its late and former Chancellor, along with holding elections for a new one. As more and more was discovered about what Palpatine had done, the election for a new Chancellor was further and further delayed. It seemed much better to have a council of select Senators, unconnected with any of Palpatine’s actions, formed from the group which had put their names to the petitions drawn against the power of the executive office, be able to make the decisions for the Republic, rather than one dangerously powerful Sith.


So far no one had suggested this as a possible alternative to electing a new chancellor, yet the option was being contemplated and not just by her, she believed, from the way most of the Senate was behaving, if it was right to judge the alternative by such. 


As for the other matters which occupied the Republic, Padmè was choosing to keep her distance. She considered herself too impartial to be part of the group that would decide Anakin's fate, while the Jedi, although declaring to the galaxy that they would no longer keep themselves separate from other, non force sensitive beings, were still responsible for their own way of life and not subject to the decisions of anyone else. 


When the time came for her to give birth, she had no ability to keep herself part of the Senate, until the labour was over. She did not miss much, as the birthing was not too arduous and without complications, yet it had required all of her focus and strength. 


Afterwards, while she recovered and nursed the twins when they needed it, she took up her duties to the Republic once more. 


It was during this time that she talked with Anakin and informed him of her wish to bring an end to their marriage. She still cared for him, still loved him, however, it was no longer enough to let her believe that they could have a life together when his trial was over and the sentence had been carried out. The Republic would not kill him, no one was capable of making that decision after what Palpatine had done, yet what alternative they would consider was still waiting to be decided. 


Padmè did not like the delay, knowing that it would do nothing to help Anakin heal, yet there was nothing that could be done to bring his trial forward. Discovering and coming to terms with the full extent of the damage Palpatine had committed was the first priority of the Republic, no one would be able to deliver a fair judgement on Anakin until then. 


The Jedi also needed time to recover and come to terms with what had happened as well. A rebuild of the temple was underway, along with the recovery of who survived the attack by their clone army troops, as well as who did not. Much of the archives and record keeping of missions survived the fire, making it possible for the Order to contact each location that each Jedi had been assigned to carry out a mission by the Council, however, in some cases, there was little evidence to give a definitive answer as to whether the Jedi was still alive or at one with the force. 


Much of their efforts to restore the Order had included the help of those who were not Jedi. There were so few of them left that it was impossible to do otherwise.


One group of beings were not included within the recovery operations. The surviving members of the clone army had been sent back to Kamino, on the condition that they would not be killed because of what they had done. The Kaminoans had little choice but to agree, while ceasing to produce more clones, for no one was asking for them. 


While the clone army would have been useful in the recovery operations, their efforts might prove a hindrance. Although everything had been done to ensure that they were no longer a threat to the Jedi, it might still prove difficult for any surviving Jedi who was recovered by the clones to trust them as they once had done. 


As for the other reason for the existence of the clone army, the war was at an end. Peace had yet to be declared officially, however, no one on either side was willing to take up arms, particularly when it became known that Palpatine was responsible for the war and controlling the actions of both sides. 


Due to the recovery operations, Padmè did not see Obi-Wan until after she had given birth. He came to Alderaan then because Bail had given the two of them guardianship if for whatever reason he and Breha were unable to look after the twins while they were still young. 


They talked about what had happened to each of them since they last saw each other and how they felt about each event. They talked of Anakin, as Obi-Wan had seen much more of him than she had since she left for Alderaan and was possibly in a better position to tell her how his former apprentice was. 


Padmè was disappointed to hear that Anakin was refusing to speak to anyone, refusing to accept help. She expressed her sense of guilt and the responsibility she felt by choosing to marry and then divorce him. 


Obi-Wan pointed out that Anakin was still capable of making his own choices, to choose how much influence a being had over his life, yet he also confessed to feeling the same sense of guilt and responsibility as well. 


It was something that neither of them would perhaps come to terms with until Anakin was able to do so himself. 


Obi-Wan confided in her about his own struggles with the dark side and with love, although he never gave the names of those beings who he had been in love with. 


Padmè respected his ability to protect their privacy and did not attempt to find out, even if she could. Listening to him as he recounted much of his past to her, she came to understand his reluctance to encourage her and Anakin in having a relationship. 


Obi-Wan told her that if he had believed Anakin was capable of having a relationship whilst remaining a Jedi, he would have done everything he could to help them, as a friend and as a Jedi council master. 


However, he also spoke of his belief that Anakin lacked one thing which would have made him capable of doing so. This was mastery of the force inside him, the ultimate goal of every Jedi. Without an ability to control the power inside them, most Jedi were vulnerable to losing themselves within the force if they embarked upon a relationship. This risk was why few Jedi were involved with someone, although now the possibility of a solitary life for all was no longer an option. 


As in the case of one Council Master who had married to prevent the extinction of his race, so was every surviving member of the Order now being encouraged to do the same. 


Padmè asked him if he was considering reuniting with any of his past lovers. She was surprised and relieved to learn that he was not, although the latter feeling was unexpected and required further consideration. 


She thought about it after Obi-Wan went back to Coruscant, while she was still tending to the twins and recovering her pre-pregnancy figure.


She considered Obi-Wan a good friend and good being. She did not fear him or his power within the force. They held many of the same beliefs and where they differed possessed enough sense to respect that difference of opinion without arguing over them. 


She cared about his well being and what he thought of her. She considered him to be an attractive being, physically, emotionally and mentally. 


As she came to realise how deeply she dared for Obi-Wan, Padmè wondered if he felt the same way and if she was prepared for a relationship with another Jedi. There was no comparison to be drawn with Anakin, he and Obi-Wan were entirely different, yet the debate remained in her mind. 


She was no clearer as to an answer to either of her questions when she returned to Coruscant. She did not see Obi-Wan until she returned to the capital and then only because he happened to be staying at Chatham House, the Alderaan embassy, just as she was, the temple still being rebuilt and her own embassy occupied by a Jedi under house arrest. 


They arranged to have dinner together one evening and it was then that she received an answer to one of her questions. Obi-Wan did care for her, quite deeply, in fact and he was willing to explore if their relationship could turn into something much more intimate than what it already was, provided she was happy to do so as well. He would wait for her if she felt unable to do so just now and he respected her doubts about having a relationship with another Jedi when the last one had ended in the way that it had. 


They began slowly and discreetly. Evenings in at Chatham House, evenings out at the various restaurants which claimed premises on Coruscant. They kept touching while out, to hand holding and chaste kisses. Inside the embassy they exchanged less chaste kisses and embraces in each other's rooms, although it was quite some time before they went any further than that. 


When they did at last engage in the deepest levels of intimacy, it was only when they could both see a future in their relationship, as well as surrendering to the desire for each other that they discovered once the decision to explore if a relationship between them was viable had been initially made. 


By the time that the Senate concluded their inquiry into Palpatine and decided against electing a new chancellor, they were deeply committed to each other, as well as a future together. 



 

The morning before the verdict was delivered, Obi-Wan woke with a need to pause and reflect over all the events which had occurred since his return to Coruscant.


Anakin's trial was a difficult time for everyone, most of all himself. 


Obi-Wan felt a deep sense of guilt and responsibility as to the being his former padawan had become. He took on the mantle of raising and training him as he promised Qui-Gon he would do, against the wishes of Master Yoda and others as he came to learn during his mentoring. 


He remembered Qui-Gon questioning his own ability to properly raise and train an apprentice after one of his former padawans turned to the dark side. A lot of the early years of his apprenticeship were affected by these doubts, as he was the next apprentice, at the behest and contrivance of Master Yoda. Unless presented with a fait accompli, Qui-Gon would have never taken another padawan.


It had been difficult, until he and Qui-Gon reached an understanding, then a close bond, one which he never managed to replicate between him and Anakin. Perhaps the grief over losing Qui-Gon should have given them a common foundation from which to build something, yet it never did. 


Now it was too late to feel regret over what might have been if only he had done things differently, or wish the Force had gifted him with the foresight to see what was to come so he might prevent it. Anakin’s fate was to be decided and set down within the records of the Republic Courts, no deviation permitted.


He had spoken up for Anakin during the trial, when called by the defence barrister as a character witness. Considering the gravity of the charges and the public reaction to the crimes thus far, Anakin’s trial had been a well conducted affair, no outright condemnation or mockery of the justice system, instead an serious and judicious proceeding, delivered in a timely manner, a contrast to the usual slow pace of the Republic Courts.


Obi-Wan believed that he had given an honest and impartial defence of his former apprentice’s character, although it was met with silence by the man in question. Anakin had yet to speak a word to anyone since his return to Coruscant, although there was plenty which could be read into his expressions, should anyone care to study them. His former apprentice was quite angry with everyone. No one escaped his wrath, even Padmé who despite their divorce had also requested and was granted a chance to speak in defence of her former husband’s character.


Yet behind the anger there was another emotion present which Obi-Wan could sense. A certain resignation towards his fate. Anakin had given up hope of a future after his trial, one where he might redeem himself. Either he did not believe that needed to, or that he did not deserve it. Obi-Wan wished he could persuade him otherwise, however Anakin was unlikely to listen to him now when he seldom appeared to do so before.


His former padawan was responsible for his own actions, yet they were subject to the influence of Palpatine, who sought to seduce Anakin into the dark side of the Force, probably from the moment that he met him. Obi-Wan did not know precisely what it was that Palpatine promised him in return for the acts of atrocity upon the Order and the Separatists, for he could only rely on surveillance footage and not his padawan’s testimony. He found it difficult to believe that Anakin would agree to carry out the deeds so willingly just in order to save the life of the woman he loved.


It had taken a long time to reach this moment since the defeat of Palpaitne at his and Master Yoda’s hands. The inquiry into the former Chancellor’s dark deeds was thorough and arduous. The result of it revealed just how deep his machinations went into the manipulation of past events, such as the formation of the Separatists and the production of clones and war droids, to starting a war that would lead to the destruction of the Jedi and the Republic.


Anakin turned out to be one of the many beings taken in by the Chancellor’s seemingly kind and caring behaviour, a lot of them good and honourable members of previously innocent governments and families, who led and continued to lead blameless lives. There were also those whose reputations were criminal, however, who led organisations that were responsible for deeds just as dark before Palpatine chose to use them for his own nefarious purposes.


The Senate and the Courts were preparing a series of trials focused on these organisations to take place after Anakin’s, whose reputation straddled both of these groups. As far as those whose previous reputations were pure, the Senate and Courts chose not to press charges. This could not be the case with Anakin, however, for his crimes were considered to be too great for his previous reputation as a member of the Order to stand him in good stead. Even the proof of surviving holo footage which portrayed his agreement given under duress in fear for his wife’s life, had not been enough to grant him a certain clemency as simply another victim of Palpatine’s schemes.


The trial was short in comparison to the inquiry into Palpatine. Any trial would be considered short by such comparison. Yet it was also just as thorough, exploring every aspect of Anakin’s life from the mysterious nature of his conception to the last moments spent on Mustafar after he was confronted with news of the Chancellor’s death. Obi-Wan learned many things about his former padawan during the trial which previously he had been ignorant of.


One act in particular cut him to the quick. That of the death of Shmi Skywalker and what Anakin had done to the Tuskens by way of revenge. To learn that he had committed mass murder before being ordered to do by Palpatine was of little comfort and hardly helped his sense of guilty responsibility in training the boy.


Later that evening, away from the court, Padmé confessed to him that she knew of Anakin’s actions on Tatooine and was too terrified of what the consequences might be for Anakin to confide in him at the time. He felt no anger at her for concealing the matter, it was Anakin’s responsibility to admit what dark acts he had committed, not hers. 


Since her return to Coruscant, he and Padmé had become much closer. When he visited her on Alderaan shortly after the birth of the Organa twins, she had told him of her decision to divorce Anakin, yet he did not expect that the end of her marriage would lead to the beginning of their relationship. True, he cared deeply for her, regarded her as a good friend, yet he had not thought to contemplate any further intimacy. He was a Jedi after all, such attachments were forbidden.


Were being the operative word. Due to the scarcity of survivors from the attacks by the clone army and Anakin on the Temple, the Jedi Order was required to make some changes to its code if it wished to escape extinction. Jedi were being encouraged to form attachments now, to contemplate having younglings so they may restore the Order to something approaching prosperity once more. 


Obi-Wan had no desire to rush Padmé into another labour quite so soon after her first. Even though he had heard that it had gone smoothly and without any complications, what she endured during the delivery seemed too arduous for such to be true. Her previous relationship had been a rushed and secretive affair. He wished to court properly, as he believed she deserved it. Certainly she was far from objecting to his proper manners when they began their relationship. When they introduced gestures of a more intimate nature between them, the need to restrain himself became something of a hardship. She was beautiful inside and out, possessing a caring nature and shared many of his beliefs concerning the galaxy and their future. He had cared for women before, yet never had any touched his heart so much as her. 


Still, he wished to do right by her and so it was not until she asked him to take her to bed did he do so. Everything between them was soft and sweet and loving, just as it should be. Their relationship did not change noticeably, yet there was a difference now that was marked by this change in intimacy. Obi-Wan could see a future of companionship and children, he felt ready to take on an apprentice once more.


Only one thing could perhaps alter that future and that was Anakin’s trial and the effect that it would have on them. While he had been under house arrest, it was something which hovered in the back of their minds, yet could be pushed away, as they focused on the other matters which occupied the Republic and the Order, such as the Palpatine inquiry and the rebuilding of the Temple. Their relationship, begun with the foundation of friends, flowed smoothly alongside these events, as it felt natural to come together at the end of every day and talk about what had occurred, exchange views and strategies for the next. 


With Anakin however, both of them were too closely involved to be able to discuss the court proceedings without being affected by them. Aside from their feelings of guilt and responsibility in contributing to who Anakin had become, both of them held mixed opinions as to what the verdict should be. A lot of it was due to Anakin’s behaviour so far, his continuous silence and yet outwardly angry appearance. Neither of them could determine whether he regretted what he had done, if he wanted to make reparations. And then there was the moral debate of whether anything could be done in view of the crimes he had committed. As well as whether he should be regarded as a Sith or a Jedi. There was footage of him surrendering himself to Palpatine, however it was questionable if the decision to do so had been of his own free will and not influenced by what Palpatine promised him, out of threat to his life, or due to the murder of the Jedi Masters who tried to kill the Sith Master.


Obi-Wan would all too often try to imagine what he would have done if he had been confronted with the same dilemma, committed as he was to the same woman whom Palpatine had offered to save the life of, at the price of becoming his apprentice. However, his response was always to fight the Sith Master, rather than surrender to him. 


At that moment when the deal was made, Anakin had been in a unique position. Palpatine had just finished fighting Master Windu, who had managed to weaken him enough to age his body. If Anakin had not intervened, Master Windu might have been able to kill Palpatine, although whether it was at the cost of his own fall to the dark side, was still under some debate. He had seen the footage and he was just as torn over Master Windu’s behaviour as Anakin had been. There were moments during that time when Anakin could have killed Palpatine, either with the help of Master Windu, or after his death. 


Instead his apprentice had chosen to surrender to his fears and Palpatine, in the hope that the Sith Master would save the life of the woman Anakin loved. Obi-Wan knew that Padmé would never consider her life to be of more worth than the life of anyone else and that as much as he loved her, accepting such a deal would be an injustice to their love, as well as an injustice to her. 


A lot of his mental conflicts would be resolved if Anakin had given testimony at his trial, yet his former padawan never spoke a word, even to enter his plea. His barrister fought his case well, yet it was based on testimony from those who knew Anakin, not Anakin himself. This was evident in certain aspects of the trial, such as the recounting of the events on Tatooine that led to the death of Shmi Skywalker. What happened up until Anakin left to find the Tusken camp was recounted by Padmé, C3PO, Beru and Owen Lars. Anakin’s journey to recover his mother and his subsequent revenge was told by Padmé’s testimony of what Anakin had said to her, not personal testimony from his former padawan, who was the only witness to the affair present at the court. What occurred in the Chancellor’s office, at the Jedi Temple and on Mustafar was reliant on surveillance footage, which was a little difficult to decode at times, due to the destruction of the technology that housed the recordings whilst they were in operation of archiving the events occurring before them. 


This silence did not mean that the trial was slanted towards the prosecution. The barrister charged with that task delivered a well balanced case. He did not put special emphasis on the crimes committed, conveying them in a simple recounting of the facts and figures, although even those by themselves were chilling enough. Nor did he attempt to speculate as to the nature of Anakin’s motives behind the crimes. It could be argued that he used Anakin’s silence for his own advantage, however he did not comment or speculate on that either.


All in all, it had been a well delivered court case, despite everything which had come before it. Aside from Anakin’s continued silence, Obi-Wan had no complaints as to how the proceedings had been conducted, or how the beings involved behaved. The preceding Judge had been particularly careful when he delivered his summing up to the jury, along with guidance on the verdict.


Now, all they could do was wait and reflect while the jury deliberated amongst themselves. Obi-Wan appreciated the fact that they were taking their time over the matter, as opposed to making a rash decision based on the opinion of a divided holo-press - who were torn between condemning Anakin concerning his crimes and calling him a hero for killing Palpatine - and the horror revealed from the inquiry into the former Chancellor’s crimes. 


As to what verdict would be delivered, Obi-Wan could not, nor did he desire to contemplate what the outcome would be. His feelings regarding his former apprentice were still very much conflicted. He knew a great deal of his turmoil was due to Anakin’s silence, though it was probably selfish of him to wish Anakin would talk just so they could resolve the discord which lay between and reach some sort of closure concerning their relationship. He did desire it for Padmé also, as she had often spoken to him about her wish to talk with her former husband and part on better terms than she felt they had after he left Coruscant for Mustafar. His silence during their divorce proceedings felt unnatural to her, as well as leaving the lawyers involved at a loss sometimes whenever a matter legally required a mutual decision. She told Obi-Wan that she felt the dissolution was somewhat one sided, even though as a Jedi Anakin held little legal recourse to claim rights to anything from their marriage, as the Order denounced possession and wealth.


Maybe, after the verdict was delivered, Anakin would break his silence and speak with all of them, though Obi-Wan felt that was probably a selfish hope of his that held little foundation in reality. A part of him was beginning to wonder if this silence was a side effect of what had happened between Anakin and Palpatine, a Force induced consequence in response to the murders and crimes he committed. He had never heard of such an event occurring before, though there were many Jedi who suffered grave injuries due to Force related conflicts, he had yet to encounter the inability to speak as one of them. 


No, Anakin’s silence was most likely a choice, though no one could determine why. If it was to do with his commonly displayed expression of anger, then Obi-Wan had to admire the newly found restraint which his former padawan now possessed, for previously Anakin’s rein on his temper was perilously short. If it was a sign of remorse or trauma perhaps from the turmoil which he had obviously suffered during his time on Coruscant, then his former apprentice was receiving all the counselling they could provide, thanks to visits from trained health and Force sensitives professionals since his return from Mustafar. He wondered if this would be permitted to continue after the verdict, though whether Anakin had found the visits a benefit remained to be seen.


Before Obi-Wan could contemplate how to arrange such matters depending on the sentence delivered, Padmé came through from the living area to tell him that they were being summoned back to the courthouse.


A verdict was ready.



 

Anakin shielded his eyes as he witnessed another sunset. He found it somewhat soothing to see the twins' suns slowly descend from the sky and disappear behind the sand dunes and the vantage point he held in this particular spot of his homestead was a spectacular one.


It could be considered ironic that after all of his complaints about sand that he was now content to be living amongst the golden grains of his homeworld once more. Or perhaps a just punishment, in the minds of the Jury, to send him back to where he came from.


Banishment was a mild punishment for the crimes which he committed and certainly not what he was expecting. Coruscant did not believe in the death penalty unlike some worlds within the writ of the Republic, yet they could have given such a sentence as the verdict was permitted on Mustafar and Tatooine. Although representatives of those worlds were present at his trial, none of them had made any objection when the verdict was given, so he could only presume to believe that they agreed with the judgment of Coruscant.


Anakin had expected death, though whether he would have preferred it was something he could not decide. The first years on Tatooine had been harsh, as anyone would know who was no stranger to living on the planet, be they free citizens, slaves or criminals. 


The court obtained an old abandoned homestead with a few vaporator plants for him. He could use the water delivered by these devices as barter for supplies, just like many of the moisture farmers did, though unlike them, he was expected to send back reports of the state of his finances to Coruscant and not be permitted to make a profit. 


Getting the machines to work and making the living quarters habitable had been his first priority, before he gave a thought to selling what moisture he produced that was surplus for his requirements. Normally it took time to find a trader and fix on a regular price for his produce, however the Republic took that matter into their own hands, setting up the process for him before he arrived. 


At first he resented their presumption at setting it up, their arrogance in presuming to know better than he, a Tatooine native, the price of water. However, it soon proved to be advantageous when word reached the outer rim world of his crimes, trial and verdict. Not that the citizens of the planet had any objection to a criminal living on their world, after all he was only one amongst the many, yet now there was a certain notoriety to him and the moisture he sold which took time to go away.


The Republic did their best to protect the location of his homestead as well as his appearance, though due to his preference for a solitary lifestyle, both were eventually discovered by the natives, leading to the natural consequence of him having to hole up in his living quarters until the tourists disappeared.


After a few years however, everyone seemed content to accept his presence and preference, leaving him well alone, save for the odd long stare or two. Gradually they offered words of greeting and small talk which he found himself obliged to return, especially when there was news from the Republic, which took time to reach the outer rim, so much that it was usually out of date when it did so.


There was little news that proved interesting, except when it concerned the newly restored Jedi Order, Padmé or Obi-Wan. Due to the passage of time, his anger towards them had long since faded away, now he only felt a mild disturbance within the Force whenever the three were mentioned.


He came to learn of a wedding on Naboo, with family, certain Senators and Jedi invited, though still judged to be a quiet and romantic affair by all of the holopress and from statements given by the people involved. Padmé and Obi-Wan continued to keep their relationship discreet, which he was grateful for, though time had given him the ability to come to terms with their union, he was appreciative that the terms of his exile did not continuously shove the matter in front of his face.


He heard chatter of children a few years later, though the Order still maintained a strict policy of protection over Force sensitive younglings, a protection which the Senate also adopted in light of one kidnapping case or two. The Republic was not entirely peaceful, despite the reforms and the cordial agreement they held with the Confederacy, there were many beings who held objections to their governments and rebelled wherever they could. None had led to the widespread conflict of the clone wars however.


Aside from the occasional trip into the nearest trading port, he lived a quiet life on Tatooine, content to spend his days within his homestead, tending to vaporators, keeping the living quarters free of sand, watching the suns rise and set. He rarely used the Force, not from any requirement of the terms of his sentence but from choice, as he had little to do which called for him to use it. 


It was a simple, solitary life, a contrast from that which he used to lead as a Jedi and one not entirely unwelcome. In his silence after returning to Coruscant from Mustafar he had found a desire for solitude, a peace within it that suited him after living so many years in what he came to view as busy chaos. Though he rarely tried to ponder what might have been if he had never trained as a Jedi, as he found it never leant any solace to his emotions or mind, Anakin did wonder if it would have been better for the galaxy and for himself if he remained on Tatooine his whole life.


He probably would not have appreciated it as a youngling growing up with his mother, still a slave most likely, working and racing for Watto, yet if he had continued saving, as he did back then, for a better life for his mother and himself, one that allowed for a homestead such as this, untroubled by Tuskens, - although whether that was a consequence of what he had done all those years ago as opposed to the location of his homestead and their settlements was something he chose not to investigate - he imagined he would have become content to live out his days here with her, eventually.


He knew there was little prospect of him having anyone to join him in this exile however. It was not a requirement of the courts that he must live alone, it was more through personal choice. After the notoriety of his presence on Tatooine faded away, he acquired a distaste for socialness. Even the matter of trading his moisture with the Republic arranged merchant was a necessary chore. It was a welcome calm to return to the quiet solitude of his homestead, to live the simple lifestyle which the upkeep demanded. He had been troubled by the galaxy far too long, although it may seem selfish, he now preferred to be ignored as much as possible.



The End