Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; George Lucas owns "Star Wars" and related characters; I own nothing.~*~*~
Anakin Skywalker sat alone in the High Council chamber, in the seat that he had worked so hard to gain during his time in the Jedi Order. The seat was still new, still slightly uncomfortable, a reflection on his appointment to join the greatest masters in the Order. He closed his eyes and tried to calm his conflicting emotions. He knew that he had done the right thing about letting Master Windu know of his suspicions about Chancellor Palpatine, but he felt like he was betraying Padmé by doing this.
“You can still save her, Ani,” a voice came from beside him, a voice he hadn’t heard in three years, not since that fateful night on Tatooine. Turning around, he swallowed the tears that were threatening to overwhelm him.
“Mom,” he whispered hoarsely. “But, how... ?” He couldn’t complete his question, but Shmi Skywalker seemed to understand what he meant.
“You should be the one to know, Ani, that the Force works in mysterious ways,” she answered kindly, a sad smile on her face. “I’m here because the Force willed me to be the one to guide you.”
“Mom, did I do the right thing?” he asked her, his voice cracking slightly. “If I’m right, and the Chancellor is the Sith Lord, then we can end the war, but what if he’s right and he’s the only one who can teach me what I need to know to save Padmé?” He tried to block out the agonized cries of his wife that had carried over from his dreams to his waking hours, cries that rang in his head no matter what he tried to end them.
“Ani, my son, do you remember what I told you when you left with Master Qui-Gon all those years ago?” Shmi asked, kneeling just out of Anakin’s reach.
“You asked, ‘what does my heart tell me?’” Anakin answered, more tears threatening to fall.
“And what does your heart tell you this time?” Anakin didn’t answer for a moment, and Shmi sighed. “Anakin, you’re different from the rest of the Jedi. You have a source of strength that very few of them understand or even recognize. What would you be without Padmé?”
“I would be empty,” Anakin answered in a hollow voice, closing his eyes and rising to his feet. “There would be nothing left for me.” Everything that he had felt after his mother’s death would only be magnified and consume him in a blaze of glory before leaving nothing but charred ashes behind. “There would be nothing left of me.”
“You must do what you think is right, Ani,” his mother told him gently, getting to her feet as well. “I can only give you advice; I cannot make your choices for you.” She began to fade as a truly happy smile graced her face. “Never forget, Anakin, that I will always love you, and that no matter what you chose, I will be proud of the man you have become.” He watched, the tears finally spilling onto his face, as the shade of his mother faded back into the Force.
Anakin took one deep breath, and then another. His mom was right: he had to do what he thought was right, and he knew that a life without Padmé was not one worth living. His mind resolute, he strode from the chamber and to the Temple hanger.
A moment after Anakin had left the room, the air shimmered, and the form of Shmi Skywalker appeared once again. “Oh, you poor simple fool,” it muttered as its form shifted into its favorite guise, that of the blond Slayer from a future yet to pass in a dimension far from here. “Soon darkness will fall, and this Order will be no more.” The First Evil laughed under its breath as it gazed around the deserted room. Yes. Soon, the Sith would reign once more, and evil’s triumph over good would be complete. It was only a matter of minutes.