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han is so tired of this force shit

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Han stepped out of the Falcon, legs protesting the movement after months of being frozen in Carbonite. A small hand brushed against his as he walked down the ramp. Leia.

“What do you mean it was a bad plan—it was your plan!” Luke complained at Chewie. “If we had just gone with my plan first, then maybe we wouldn’t have ended up in that mess!”

Chewbacca just roared something unintelligible in response while Artoo beeped obnoxiously in the background. Han couldn’t speak binary, but if he were a betting man (and he was), he’d say Artoo was cackling at the chaos.

Han cracked a grin and wrapped an arm around the kid’s shoulders. Luke might have been a fancy Jedi now, but some things never changed. Leia came up around his other side and tucked her hand around his arm. A strange warmth filled his chest.

Han was surprised they even came to rescue him in the first place. Going against the Hutts so directly was reckless. Going against the Hutts with that plan was just ridiculous. Seriously, they had a year to formulate the perfect plan to rescue him, and they decided that giving Artoo Luke’s lightsaber was the best plan? Nevertheless, he was grateful, if a bit confused.

Leia’s continued affection confused Han the most. Sure, they had some fun on the Falcon before Bespin and she did profess her love right before he had been frozen—but she thought he was about to die. Hell, he thought he was about to die. Maybe he had imagined it, one last comfort before his end, because it couldn’t be real life. Women destined since birth to rule entire planets didn’t fall in love with broke scoundrels, no matter how un-scruffy-looking.

But then Leia had freed him from carbonite. “Someone who loves you.”

“Han, did you hear me?”

“Huh? What? Of course.”

“We need to report back to command immediately and explain what’s happened. We took leave to go and rescue you, but it took longer than expected. Ackbar won’t be happy about it, but they have to reinstate our positions. The Rebellion can’t afford to lose us right now, and besides, Mon owes me a favor.” Leia explained quickly. “I asked if you’re up for it. Or do you want to stop at the med bay first and get checked out?”

Han rolled his eyes. Leia knew he hated reporting to Command and he hated med bay. “Well they’ll at least reinstate my status— “I’m the victim here, Princess!” Han teased. “And you, Luke, are my knight in shining armor.”

Luke smiled. “Wouldn’t that make you the princess, Han?”

“That’s ‘your highness,’ to you! Show some respect or I may have to execute you for high treason.” Han lightled shoved Luke’s shoulder, who responded by throwing up two hands in a mock surrender.

“Boys! Let’s stay focused here. Han, if you can joke around like this, you can handle reporting to Command. It probably would do you some good to use your brain a bit again after all that time in Carbonite. That is, if you ever used it in the first place.”

“Now, now, is that any way to speak to your princess?” Han questioned.

He was about to command Luke to arrest ‘the filthy traitor,’ but the look Leia gave him shut him up immediately. Then Luke stopped dead in his tracks.

Leia spoke first. “Luke, what is it? What’s wrong?”

“I- I don’t know. Something with the force.” He paused a moment. “Leia, we can’t go back to Command. Not just yet. I need to go check this out. We need to go.”

“Do we have to right now? Command is just going to be that much more upset if they find out we didn’t report immediately.”

“I’m going with Luke,” Han announced. “As much as I’d love to face command, this force thing sounds mighty serious and he might need some backup. Besides, I could stretch my legs after all that time in the carbonite.”

Luke grinned and Leia scowled. “You better hope we don’t run into anyone chasing this ‘feeling.’ Do you have any idea where we’re going?”

“It’s hard to explain. It’s just a feeling. A strong feeling.” He added upon second thought. “We go this way.”

They pushed through the thick vegetation of Yavin IV, hoping Luke’s feeling would resolve itself one way or another. Han wondered if the kid just didn’t want to face Command being disappointed in him. Or if he was hungry.

Leia looked happy. Han knew that her initial resistance was a front. She was supposed to be a princess and a general and follow the rules perfectly, but Han had known her for nearly four years now, and she always chafed against protocol. He knew damn well that she would prefer to get straight to the point. With a blaster if necessary. He sighed. She’s perfect.

Han had unknowingly been staring at Leia for the better half on the last minute. She noticed and gave him a small smile. That warm feeling returned. Rather than reveal how soft he had become, he gave her his best shit eating grin and said, “You know, if Luke is the Knight and I’m the Princess, that makes you the scoundrel, sweetheart.”

“I’d rather be the Wookie,” she fired back. I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.

“I can arrange that,” he replied, smirking as he echoed their past argument on Hoth. It felt so long ago. She shook her head and trudged on.

Luke remained oblivious as usual. He had grown more confident over the years, but he hadn’t changed much other than that. His smiles were rarer nowadays, but whose weren’t? It was hard to believe that the naive farm boy he picked up out of Tatooine all those years ago was the Jedi Knight striding along in front of him.

“Here.” Luke came to such an abrupt stop that Leia almost ran into him, tripping over a vine. As she regained her balance, Han placed his hands on her shoulders, checking if she was okay. Leia, of course, paid him no attention.

“Luke,” she brushed off his hold, “what is it?”

Never looking away, Luke pointed at a strange object. A holocron, Han realized. “Luke, don’t! You don’t know wh—” Han started, but he had already grabbed it. Its faint glow became a blinding glare. Luke looked grossly inhuman in the harsh light. Han couldn’t move.

Suddenly, Luke dropped it, shouting in pain.

“RUN!”

There was no time. Han reached for Leia. There was a heavy boom, like something broke the atmosphere. Then there was nothing. Please not again.

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …. … … … … … … … … … … … 

When Han opened his eyes, he couldn’t see. He was blind. Just like when Jabba captured him. “Leia,” he groaned, clumsily moving his arms out, trying to find her.

“Han,” Leia said. “I’m here.”

“You- you need to go,” Han choked out. “Leave me. Run!” He wouldn’t let her get captured. Not this time. Never again.

“Run? What? Han!” She gripped his arm and looked around in the dark. “Luke?”

Suddenly, a green lightsaber illuminated the dark, as well as a face—Luke’s face. Right.There was an explosion. No Jabba. No Vader. No Fett. Han took a deep breath.

“Luke, what the hell did you get us into this time?” he asked.

“I have no idea. I- where are we?” Luke asked.

“I was hoping you could answer that,” Han muttered.

“Well, clearly we’re in some sort of storage facility. It almost sounds like we’re on a ship, actually.” Leia said, walking around the edges of the light emitted by Luke’s saber.

“That holoron must have taken us here in the explosion. Either that or we’re all dead.” Han reasoned.

“How insightful,” Leia retorted. “The question is how do we get back? And where exactly is this place?”

While Han and Leia bickered, Luke had wandered to the side of the room, holding his saber near the wall. He pressed a button and suddenly the lights came on, lighting the entire room. They were in a hangar on an enormous ship. The Alliance couldn’t afford ships like this. It must be an imperial star destroyer!

Leia must have thought the same as she immediately went into action.

“Luke,” she waved at him to come over. “We need to get out of here. I don’t care what the Force says, I’m not letting one of us get taken by the Empire again.” She gestured at the numerous starfighters surrounding them. “Han, can you steal us a ship?”

Han looked at the ships. Something felt off. Han had thought the empire switched completely over to X-wings, but all he saw were fighters that looked straight out of the Clone Wars.

“Of course I can. Let’s go. That one.” Han replied, pointing at a fighter he had been eyeing the entire time. It was tricked out compared to the others, plus it had a cooler paint job.

“Looks kind of cramped.” Leia observed.

“Sorry, Your Highness, but we don’t exactly have many options right now.” Han paused. “But don’t worry, you can sit on my lap.”

“Good luck with that one, flyboy.”

“Can you guys please stop flirting for five minutes so we can get out of here? And I’m literally a pilot, we can take two ships.”

“Great idea.” Leia said. “I’ll go with Luke.”

“What? Why?” Han spluttered.

“Well if you haven’t noticed, Luke is considerably smaller than you. Besides, a Princess like yourself wouldn’t want to be stuck in a cramped ship with a Scoundrel, now would you?”

Han gave her a dry look and said, “We don’t have time to discuss it in committee.”

She winked at him before grabbing Luke’s arm and pulling him toward the ship that Han had pointed out. Which left Han running toward another ship with a much more boring paint job and no extra upgrades.

Right when they were about to get to the ships, a girl’s voice called after them.

“And where do you think you’re going?” She moved with an impossible speed, blocking them off from the fighters. “Master!”

While the girl called for her master, Han and Leia pulled their blasters out and were about to continue running off toward the fighters when Luke spoke up.

“You don’t have to do this. You can come with us, we’ll keep you safe.”

The Togruta girl gave him a blank look. “What?”

“We can keep you safe from your master but you have to trust me. We need to go right now.” Luke paused a second. “Do you have a chip? I have a device that can locate it and we’ll get it removed. But we can’t stay out in the open like this.” He extended his hand to her.

Now that Luke brought it up, Han realized the girl was likely enslaved. Given the Empire’s attitude toward non-humans and her calling for a ‘master.’ Being from Tatooine, Luke made that connection right away. And of course he would drop everything to help this girl. It was who he was.

However, the girl just looked confused, but before she had a chance to answer, a man sprinted over. “Snips, what’s going on?” he asked. “Who are these people? Are you okay?” He placed a hand on her shoulder, sounding genuinely concerned.

“I’m fine, Master. I have no idea who they are. They looked like they were about to steal some fighters when I walked in, so I stopped them. Then this one,” she gestured at Luke, “started talking about them keeping me safe from you if I go with him.”

At that, the man’s expression darkened. “Who the hell are you and what do you want with Ahsoka?” He took a menacing step toward Luke, looming over him. “Tell me!”

Before Luke could say anything, both Leia and Han had their blasters aimed at the man. “Step back,” Leia ordered. Han couldn’t help but internally smile at her taking control like that (he loved it when she took control).

The man chuckled. “You don’t wanna do that.” Suddenly, something yanked their blasters out of their hands. Just like on Bespin

Luke moved a hand to the lightsaber on his side. “Who are you?”

“Nice try. I was about to ask you the same,” the man replied. Luke tilted his head almost imperceptibly. Everybody knew who he was. Unsurprisingly, it mostly from the damn bounty on his head, instead of him blowing up the Death Star.

“Luke,” he answered. “Are you Jedi?” He asked. In return, the man ignited a blue lightsaber, the same shade as Luke’s old one. 

While Luke was asking the angry man if he was magic too, the girl had managed to cuff both him and Leia. Unless they turned out to be good guys, Luke was their only hope.

“You’re not the one asking questions right now. Who are you and what do you want with Ahsoka?!” He emphasized this by pointing his saber toward Luke’s throat.

At that, Luke ignited his lightsaber. Finally. Then the girl ignited two more. Well, shit.

Leia spoke up. “Put your sabers down and step back from him. I think there’s been a misunderstanding. There’s no need for bloodshed yet. I’m sure we can work something out.”

The man didn’t put away his saber, but he did back off from Luke. Of course, that was just so he could get to Leia instead. “I don’t cut deals with separatist spies.” Leia’s brow furrowed and she didn’t hesitate to step forward toward the man.

Right as she was about to give him a verbal beating, Han interrupted. “Hold up. Hold up. Separatist spies? What, do you think we’re in the Clone War?”

The girl spoke up. “Do you think we’re not?”

“Sister, of course we’re not. The Clone War ended over 20 years ago—you wouldn’t have even been alive, much less fighting in them. Your master has tricked you.” 

“I- what? I haven’t tricked her. We literally just fought them today. You’re the one that’s confused.”

Luke looked murderous, which worried Han. Luke was hardly ever angry (though he was certainly whiny), much less looking like he wanted to skewer a man with his lightsaber like he did now.

“And why should we trust you? A slaver, a thief, and a liar?”

“What are you talking about?! I am no slaver.” The man answered. If his voice had been threatening before, it was downright terrifying now.

“You’ve clearly manipulated and enslaved this girl here. Haven’t you been lying to her? Lying to us? And I know for a fact that that,” he gestured at the lightsaber in his hand, “is stolen. You’re either a liar or you’re delusional.”

“I’m his Padawan!” The girl exclaimed. “He’s my teacher!”

Luke frowned. “He’s still a liar.”

“I don’t know what you think you know, but you better watch your mouth. I’m not lying and I sure as hell didn’t steal this lightsaber. I made it.”

“Impossible.”

“You’re mistaken,” the girl said. “Master Skywalker has had that lightsaber for almost two years—really it’s a personal record.” She added, earning herself a slightly reproachful look from her Master. Skywalker.

The blood drained from Luke’s face. “Skywalker? You’re a Skywalker?”

“Anakin Skywalker? General of the GAR? Jedi Knight? What backwater planet are you from that you don’t know him?” The girl answered.

“Liar. That’s impossible.”

“I’m not the one who’s a liar here. Why won’t you answer any of our questions, ‘Luke’? What are you doing on my ship?” Anakin replied aggressively.

Luke didn’t appear capable of responding.

“Anakin Skywalker is dead,” Leia cut in. “He’s been dead for over 20 years, so I don’t know what game you think you’re playing, but it won’t work.” Then she turned toward Luke. “This has got to be some trick of Vader’s to capture you. We need to get out.”

That at least turned ‘Anakin’s’ expression from terrifying to, like 40% terrifying and 60% confused. “I think I would know if I was dead! I don’t know who this Vader is or what spice you’re on, but I’m taking you to our holding cells. This is ridiculous.”

Han glanced around the hangar again, paying more attention to the starfighters this time. They were old, not even TIES. And that symbol embossed on each—that was the Republic symbol, not the Empire. What the hell…  Whoever designed the trap put a hell of a lot of effort to make this look legit—which made no sense, because it was so obviously untrue. 

“Wait!” Luke said. “Something isn’t right—can’t you feel it?”

“Yes, that something is you three, trespassing on my ship!”

“No, I think—” Luke broke off and looked at Leia and Han. “I think this is real. That artifact I grabbed must have sent us back here.” He paused. “We can save everyone.”

 Leia’s eyes widened by a fraction of an inch, followed by the slightest nod. It sounded impossible, but Han had learned long ago not to question any of Luke’s weird force stuff. He hated to say it, but it was the only answer that made sense.

“Kid, if you think it’s true then I believe you.”

The Jedi interrupted. “I am asking one more time before I drag you all to the holding cells. What the hell are you doing on my ship?”

Han gestured toward Luke as if to say “all yours,” and the kid had the audacity to wink at him. Luke powered down his saber and smirked at the man in front of him. (His father, holy shit).

“My name is Luke Skywalker and these are my friends. We’re from the future.”

Chapter Text

Han didn’t know if Anakin Skywalker believed Luke, but damn if his reaction wasn’t funny. Mouth partially open, lightsaber still ignited but falling limp at his side—the Hero With No Fear was certainly a picture. His brows furrowed and unfurrowed as if they couldn’t decide whether or not he was angry.

Conversely, the girl had no trouble responding. “What are you even talking about?! Time travel?! That’s impossible! Besides, my Master doesn’t have children—he couldn’t, he’s a Jedi! Plus you’re way too old! Why would you lie about that—you make no sense! This is crazy! I can’t—”

Anakin cut her off. “I— What? That’s not true. That’s impossible!” He was still facing Luke, who looked amused in a twisted sort of way.

“No. I am your son.”

“Look, kid. I said it before, but I don’t know what spice you and your pals are on right now, but I don’t have any sons. Snips, let’s take them away.”

“Are you so thick headed that you’d think he’d lie about this?” Leia demanded.

“Look, man,” Han reasoned. (Ironic that he was the one being diplomatic right now.) “I don’t want us to be here anymore than you do, but somehow we are. Can’t you use your magic tricks to know we’re not lying?”

“Magic tricks?” Ahsoka said incredulously. “Do you mean the Force?”

“Same difference.”

“This is ridiculous,” Anakin asserted again.

Luke simply stared at him. Then he spoke in a language Han didn’t recognize. Leia looked confused, but Anakin certainly didn’t. He replied in the same language and they had a short conversation.

“He’s telling the truth.” Anakin said in Basic.

“What do you mean he’s telling the truth?! What did he say?” Ahsoka replied.

“Snips, trust me.”

Anakin looked like he had eaten something sour and was trying to keep a straight face. Han couldn’t blame the guy; if a strange man appeared on his ship, claiming to be his son from the future, Han would’ve told the guy to fuck off and sober up.

Anakin powered down his lightsaber, but he didn’t step back. Instead, he hesitantly reached a hand out toward Luke. Luke flinched away; Anakin’s hand fell back to his side.

“Hello there,” interrupted a man’s voice, in a Coruscanti accent. “I heard yelling. What did I miss?”

Anakin had now turned slightly gray, so Ahsoka spoke up. “Apparently they’re from the future and that one,” she nodded her head at Luke, “is Skyguy’s son.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Master, it’s true. I can feel it.” Anakin replied. Master? Luke had frequently told Han and Leia how his father had been apprenticed by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Did that mean— 

“Ben?” Luke asked.

At the same time, Leia said, “General Kenobi!”

“I’m afraid I don’t know who Ben is, but I am General Kenobi. However, I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting either of you before.” He paused, thinking. “I suppose that would make sense, if what Ahsoka said is true.”

“It is.” Leia replied.

“Well I suppose we should have a conversation then. Ahsoka, be civilized and uncuff them. Let’s all get to a meeting room.”

After she was free, Leia spoke up again. “May I request a moment alone with my friends here? We haven’t exactly had time to ourselves to go over what happened.”

“Look, just because I believe you doesn’t mean I trust you. No way am I leaving you all here in the hangar.”

“Anakin, manners. Of course you can have some time to yourselves, but I’m sure everyone would be more comfortable somewhere else first. We can get you settled in some spare quarters.”

“Lead the way.” Leia replied.

Following Kenobi, Han laced his fingers through Leia’s and squeezed—to reassure her or himself, he didn’t know. Luke came and walked around his other side, leaning up to whisper something.

“There’s something important I need to tell you before we talk with them.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Luke, explain everything.” Leia ordered, arms folded behind her back. “You better be absolutely sure we’re in the past, or else we just screwed ourselves out there.”

“Look, I know as much as you. Back on base, that Holocron was calling out to me, so I grabbed it. Then there was an explosion or something and I woke up here with you guys. I know it sounds crazy, but isn’t it the only thing that really makes sense? That man has my father’s lightsaber and name. Plus, he totally believes they’re fighting in the Clone Wars. I can’t explain it, but it’s like the Force is telling me this is true. It’s not a trick.”

Han spoke up. “I was just a kid on the streets back on Corellia during the Clone Wars but I remember enough. The holonews covered Generals Skywalker and Kenobi all the damn time, and those two look like exact copies. Plus, those starfighters? Way older models than anything even the Rebellion would use, much less the Empire.”

Leia paced back and forth. “I hate that this all adds up! How is accidental time travel the most reasonable answer?! Even assuming that’s true, that doesn’t help us very much! The paradoxes alone…” She trailed off, clearly still worried.

“Hey, it’s alright. At least we’re together!” Luke attempted to comfort her.

“It’s not alright! How the fuck do we get back? If we try and change things now, we might accidentally change the series of events that lead us here in the first place. But then we would have never changed them, so—”

She fell silent when Han put his hands on her shoulders and softly kissed her forehead. “Breathe,” he said as he brought a hand up to the side of her face.“We’ll figure it out one step at a time. We’ve already changed a few things and the universe hasn’t ended, so I say we keep on going until it does.”

She sighed and leaned into his chest. He rested his chin on her head, careful not to disturb her braided crown. He smirked a bit—this was how he had calmed her down back on Bespin. Han reached an arm out toward Luke who smiled and stepped into the hug too. A little less romantic, maybe, but Han was truly glad they were all together again.

After a moment, they separated and Luke spoke again. “I’m sorry, but I have some more bad news before we can speak with the others.

“I don’t know how to say this, but,” he glanced around, “Do you think they’re listening in?”

“I already checked the room.” (Of course she did.) “It looks clear.” Leia responded.

“Okay…Please forgive me for waiting so long to tell you this. You have to understand it’s been difficult. I- When I fought Vader on Bespin, he told me something.” Luke wouldn’t make eye contact with either of them and looked like he was about to shit himself. (Generally not a good sign.)

“Whatever it is,” Han said, “you had your reasons for keeping quiet. We trust you.”

“I’m not sure you will after this. Old Ben lied to me. Vader didn’t kill my father.” He stopped again, clearly hesitant.

“What do you mean?”

“Vader, he-” The kid took in a sharp breath and looked at the two of them. “He is my father. Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.”

Whatever horrible thing Han had been expecting Luke to say, that was not it. Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader? He had been the face of the Republic, the face of the Jedi—the Hero With No Fear. And how could Luke be the son of someone so evil as Vader? Luke, who was pure and good and honest to a fault. But Luke wouldn’t lie about this, so he had to be telling the truth.

“Do you hate me?”

“Hate you? C’mon, kid, I could never hate you. I never even knew who my dad was—who knows, he could be Palpatine!” Han joked.

“Luke, I’m so sorry.” Leia said, grabbing his hand, his right hand (which his father had chopped off).

“Wait, if Anakin is Vader then what have we just gotten ourselves into?” Han realized.

“A mess,” Leia replied, finishing his thought, “but we’re going to take it one step at a time, like you said. We need to make a plan, at least for right now. We need to go talk to them soon or they’ll get even more suspicious.”

“Well, I screwed up already telling them who I am.” Luke said, regretfully.

“Not necessarily.” Leia replied. “It made your father believe you. Besides, you said it yourself—the force brought us here. Jedi should be able to understand that and find a way to get us back. In the meantime, I think we should reveal as little else as possible so we don’t accidentally create a paradox.”

“Hold on now, Leia, wouldn’t it be better to tell them everything and stop the Empire from rising in the first place?”

“And risk what? We might interfere too much with the timeline so that we’re never born to go back and stop it. And who’s to say that we even can stop it? The Emperor used to be the Republic’s Chancellor. Who would believe us? And what if we fail? Then we would expose all the Rebels and too many secrets. No, it’s best if we get back as soon as possible.”

“But what if it all goes right?” Luke said. “Wouldn’t the chance of saving the entire galaxy outweigh the chance of something going wrong?”

“Luke, I appreciate your optimism, but can we just be careful right now? The Jedi will have more insight into the situation, but I want to play it safe until we know more.”

Luke looked like he wanted to argue but Han sent him a look that made him hold his tongue and nod in agreement. It was no use trying to argue with Leia when she put her mind to something. 

“Alright, General. Whatever you say.” Han said. Leia’s lips twitched in what could have been a smile upon being called “general,” her official position within the Rebellion. He knew she often preferred that (at least in official capacity) to Princess.

Suddenly, there was a rather insistent knocking on the door. The girl—Ahsoka—spoke. “Skyguy sent me. Are you ready to talk with us now?”

Han noted Vader’s nickname with a bit of amusement. It made him seem a bit less threatening and a lot more ridiculous. 

“Of course,” Leia answered. “Where are we going?”

The door opened, revealing Ahsoka. “Great! Just follow me.”

Han hadn’t noticed how young she was before—stick thin and short montrals, she couldn’t have been out of her teens. Leia had apparently thought the same. “How old are you?” she asked.

The girl's face hardened a bit. “Sixteen, but I have plenty of experience. I’ve been fighting the Seppies since I was fourteen.” She issued it like a challenge, daring Leia to undermine her authority.

Instead of offering pity, Leia nodded in respect. Han knew she could relate to people not taking her seriously because of how she looked. “So do you have any idea what’s going on? I’m afraid I don’t know all that much about the Force.”

“I have no idea, but I know Skyguy’s in big trouble with Master Kenobi. I seriously thought he was going to throw up when I left them in the room together.” She frowned. “They wouldn’t let me listen.”

“Why would he be in trouble?” Luke asked.

“You!” She exclaimed as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Luke did not catch on. “Me? Why would he be in trouble because of me?”

“You know, attachments and all that. It probably would’ve been fine if it was just a one time deal, but everybody knows my master has a thing for Senator Amidala. I just had no idea that they’d have a kid.” Ahsoka wrinkled her nose in disgust.

“Why-” Luke started. “Why would that be a problem?”

Ahsoka furrowed her brows at him, but before she could answer, they reached their destination and the door slid open.

“Snips! Glad to see you, come on in everyone!” Anakin announced loudly.

“Now hold on, we weren’t done yet—”

“It would be uncivilized to keep our guests waiting, Obi-Wan. We can talk more later.”

The trio filed into the room, a lounge or living space of some sort. Despite himself, Han gave a low whistle. “Quite the ship you got here.”

The Negotiator, it’s a top-line Venator-class Star Destroyer.” Vader grinned. “The 501st and I are temporarily here with Master Kenobi and the 212th because of a little accident with my ship.”

“Accident?” Leia asked.

Ahsoka replied. “He blew it up at Sullust.” Vader glanced down, looking...embarrassed? “It was totally Ventress’ fault, though.” She added.

Once everyone was settled, Leia spoke up. “Where do you want us to start?”

Kenobi answered vaguely. “At the beginning.” When Leia didn’t answer, he added, “In all seriousness, my dear, could you introduce yourselves again? I’m afraid I was rather distracted ”

“Like we said earlier, this is Luke Skywalker,” she said with a nod toward Luke. “I’m Leia and this is Han Solo.”

“Just Leia?”

She hesitated—all her talk of planning and she forgot a fake name? Han wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “My wife.”

“I see.” Kenobi replied. Han could have sworn he saw Vader shoot a nervous glance at Kenobi. “Well, as you seem to have figured out, I am Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, this here is Knight Anakin Skywalker, and his Padawan Ahsoka Tano.”

Anakin spoke up. “How far in the future are you from?”

Before Leia could stop him, Luke spoke up. “The Clone Wars were about 25 years before our time.”

“And how old are you?”

Luke looked at Leia, as if for permission. She nodded. It’s not like Luke’s age would’ve been difficult to guess anyways.

“I just turned twenty three.” He paused, appearing to think for a moment. “You?”

“Twenty one.” Anakin was visibly paler.

As a smuggler, Han had to learn how to do basic math quickly. If Anakin was 21 and Luke was 23, and they were 25 years in the past…Luke was going to be born in a year, if that long. That would also make Han about ten years old and running around on Corellia at the moment.

“But how did you get here??” Ahsoka questioned.

“I’m not completely sure, but I’ll tell you what happened. We all just returned to—returned home after a trip when I had a very strong feeling through the force. We followed it to an artifact of sorts. I picked it up—”

At this point, Kenobi groaned. “He’s your son, all right.” He muttered to Anakin, who shot him a dirty look.

“—and there was an explosion. Then we woke up here. I swear that’s all I know.”

“What kind of artifact?” asked Kenobi.

“I don’t know.”

“What planet was this on?”

“I can’t say.” Luke replied.

“What do you mean you can’t say?!” Ahsoka asked, incredulous.

Leia cut in. “We don’t want to reveal too much about the future in case we create a paradox or something. We were hoping that as Jedi, you all would know more about how to fix this and send us back.”

Kenobi nodded. “I’m afraid I’ve never heard of something like this. I can contact the council and see what they think, but it will be at least a few days before we could return to Coruscant.”

“Why can’t you tell us what planet you were on? Surely that can’t be that significant. We could go there and see if we can find the artifact again.” Anakin insisted.

“That’s classified information.” Leia responded curtly.

“Classified?! Look, Ms Solo—”

“General. General Solo.” (So much for not giving away unnecessary information).

“Fine. General Solo, why the hell is that classified?! You said the Clone Wars are 25 years in your past but clearly there’s still some sort of war. Tell us, and we can stop it from happening in the first place!” At some point in this argument Anakin had stood up, towering over Leia.

Leia sprang to her feet, not to be outdone. “Look, laserbrain. The less you know about the future, the better. We absolutely cannot risk anything changing or information falling into the wrong hands. Trust me, telling you is more likely to make our war worse than fix it.” 

They stared at each other for at least a minute. Han didn’t know much about the Force, but even he could feel the anger and frustration rolling off those two. He also knew that Leia was posturing to cover up her fear. He may have had a blue lightsaber and a prettier face, but the man in front of her was Darth Vader. Han was about to intervene when Kenobi spoke up.

Anakin. Sit down. She’s right. Maybe they can share more about after we figure out exactly what’s going on, but it can’t hurt to play it safe right now.”

Leia did not sit back down until Vader did, glaring at him. “Forgive me,” he said.

She ignored him. “Can you contact your council about this?” She asked Kenobi. “It is imperative that we return as soon as possible.”

“I can call them right away, but I wanted to get the details straight with you all before doing so. Especially some of the more…delicate ones.”

“What about this is delicate?” Han asked. “Luke grabbed something that sent us 25 years in the past and we need to get back. Plain and simple.”

“Well, your identities for one.” Kenobi looked somewhat pointedly at Luke.

“Yeah, Ahsoka mentioned something about me being a problem. How’s that?” Luke paused. “Besides the time travel and all.”

“I- aren’t you a Jedi too?” Vader asked.

Luke grimaced, probably thinking about the ‘too.’ Vader and Luke were never Jedi at the same time. “Yes, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.” 

“Um… Attachments!”

“What do you mean?”

“Did that much change in 25 years? Attachments are forbidden. The Council would have never let me have a son.”

“You’re not allowed to have children?”

“I mean I guess there’s probably some accidents, but no, of course we’re not supposed to have children! How did you not know this! You’re going to be born in what, a year? Two years? There’s no way the code would change that fast. And even if it did, you would have at least heard about it!”

Once again, Leia cut in before Luke could accidentally reveal more. “Luke wasn’t trained as a Jedi until recently. I’m sorry, but we can’t say any more.”

It was a long shot, but maybe that would be vague enough to satisfy Vader without revealing the pesky little detail that the Jedi were wiped out, largely at his own hands. Fate, however, was not kind to them that day.

Kenobi frowned. “I’m sorry, but that isn’t possible. Anakin was just barely accepted, because they thought he was too old at nine. How could Luke have only begun his studies recently? Anakin’s son or not, the Order would have never accepted that.”

“Maybe I didn’t want to let the Jedi steal my son from me.” Vader countered bitterly.

“Master, how could you say that? You’re a Jedi!” Ahsoka admonished him. If only they knew the irony of this, Han thought. 

It looked like Kenobi just had a terrible thought. “Did he leave the Order?” He asked quietly, ignoring Vader to ask Luke. Luke didn’t respond.

“How could you say that?! You know I love being a Jedi. I could never leave!”

“Would you?” Kenobi pressed. “If it meant you could be with your family?”

“I don’t have any family except you two!” (Well that didn’t make sense, Luke grew up with his paternal aunt and uncle).

“He means Senator Amidala and your kid, Skyguy.” Ahsoka said quietly. “It is her, right?”

Vader gave her a look. Han couldn’t see his face, but the girl’s expression softened. 

“Senator Amidala,” Luke spoke softly, “Is she my mother?”

Kenobi and Tano stared expectantly at Skywalker Senior, who sighed. “Who else?” Then he realized the meaning behind Luke’s question. “Wait, what do you mean ‘is she’?! How do you not know your own mother?!”

Luke clearly didn’t think that far ahead, so Han tried to fix it for a change. “Hey now, remember the whole trying to avoid creating a paradox that would rip apart the fabric of the galaxy thing?”

“I don’t give a fuck about the ‘fabric of the galaxy,’ tell me why my son doesn’t know who his mother is!” Quieter, he added, “Do you even know who I am?”

“Luke, don’t you dare—” Leia warned.

Don’t tell him what to do!”

“I never knew my parents. I was raised by my aunt and uncle.”

It was like he short circuited. “Your aunt and uncle? Sola and Darred? But that doesn’t make sense, they couldn’t have taught you that language!”

Luke’s forehead creased. Han was pretty sure his aunt and uncle had been named Beru and Owen, not this Sola and Darred. “I’m sorry, but that’s as much as I can tell you.” He said.

“Then Padme and I must be dead in this future. There’s no way I would ever abandon my son like that.”

“Can we get back on track please?” Leia demanded. “What exactly is the issue with Luke and reporting to your council?”

Kenobi sighed. He seemed to do that a lot. “The Jedi Code forbids attachments. Anakin has always struggled with it, but I suppose I didn’t realize just how far that went. If the Council were to learn Luke’s true identity, his position in the order could be jeopardized for something he hasn’t even done yet.”

“...something I have done.” muttered Vader.

“Excuse me?”

“I... First of all, I’m really sorry, Master, but you have to understand that I didn’t have much of a choice.” Kenobi remained silent, waiting. “Wegotmarriedtwoyearsago!” Anakin burst out.

Kenobi clearly wasn’t expected that. “Anakin, you were a Padawan two years ago. How could you keep this secret? From me?”

Ahsoka, on the other hand, leaped out of her chair, pumping a fist. “Yes!” She shouted. “Oh my gods, I knew it! Rex is gonna lose his shit!”

“Language,” Vader replied reflexively. “Wait. Rex?”

“Uhh,” Ahsoka rubbed her neck. “I won’t tell him, I suppose that’s still a secret, isn’t it?”

“Of course it’s still a secret!” Vader paused, “Why would he lose his shit?”

“There might be a, ah, betting pool. About you and Padme.”

“A what?! And you’re involved? For credits?”

“Well, mostly for bragging rights, but yeah there’s a few credits included. I can split the reward with you if you let me tell Rex at least.”

“I- we are going to have a conversation about gambling later on, my very young Padawan. And about respecting others’ privacy.”

“I’m sorry, guys, but I’m still really confused.” Luke interrupted. “Why is it bad for him to be married?”

Kenobi spoke softly. “It goes against the Jedi Code. Attachments can be a path to the dark side, as well as a distraction from a Jedi’s duties. Therefore, a marriage—especially with children—is forbidden. Anakin would likely be expelled from the Order if the Council were to find out.”

Cautiously, Vader asked, “Does that mean you aren’t going to tell them?”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. However, I won’t do anything just yet. And I won’t do anything without first informing you.” He paused. “Although you seem to not grant that same courtesy to me.”

Vader looked away, but Ahsoka spoke up. “Well what else was he supposed to do? If he told you, you would have made him end it at the very least, if not go to the council.”

Kenobi looked seriously hurt by that, more hurt than he had been by Vader’s secret. “Do you really think me to be so cruel?” He asked quietly.

“After Hardeen, I don’t know what to think.”

Han didn’t know what Hardeen was, but Kenobi looked like he was going to be sick. Never meet your heroes, indeed.

“Can we get back on topic?” Leia burst out. “I think we are all okay with you concealing our identities, so long as your council can still help us get back.”

I don’t care who you tell your council we are, just as long as they can get us back.”

Kenobi cleared his throat. “Right. My apologies. I will contact the council immediately. I’ll tell them about the time travel and that Luke is a Jedi. We have been quite busy as of late, but I believe this will take priority. Anakin, Ahsoka—can you get our guests situated in their quarters? I suspect you all would like some time to recover from this ordeal.”

Han knew Leia would never admit to needing a break, but it’s not like they could solve time travel if it stumped Jedi Master and Clone Wars General Obi-Wan Kenobi. It would do them all good to rest for a moment or two.

“Thank you.” Leia replied diplomatically.

After Kenobi left, Skywalker Senior spoke up again. “Luke, have you ever flown a star-destroyer before?”

“Can’t say I have. I tend to stick with my X-Wing or the Fal—Han’s ship.”

Anakin grinned. “But you are a pilot?”

“I’m not bad.”

“Not bad?! Luke is one of the R—our best pilots. The shit this kid has pulled off, trust me, nobody else could do it.” Han interrupted. Skywalker may actually be Vader, but he was still Luke’s father, and Luke was far too humble. He deserved to have his phenomenal flying bragged about.

“I can show you the controls for the Negotiator later, then. She’s not my Resolute, but still a damn good ship,” Anakin paused. “If you want to, of course.”

Luke’s smile appeared a bit forced. Obviously he was uncomfortable with spending more time with Darth Vader, but he had to have been curious about the ship. “I’d appreciate that.”

“Great! I’ll show you the guest quarters, then. Solo, Luke mentioned you had a ship?”

Han gave a sideways glance at Leia for approval. It wasn’t like the Falcon was a top military secret. She was an amazing ship, but it was nothing Vader wouldn’t have been able to figure out. She squeezed his hand in confirmation.

“Yeah, she’s a real gem. An old Corellian freighter—YT series…”

Chapter Text

The second the door to their quarters slid shut. Han collapsed onto the nearest bed in their guest quarters. It wasn’t the softest, but it was certainly better than a lot of places he’d slept. Han threw a hand over his face, groaning.

“Are you all right?” Luke questioned.

Han decided to exaggerate a little bit. Maybe Leia would run her fingers through his hair again. She had done that to comfort him after Vader tortured him and after they had gotten away from Jabba (as well a few other times).

Groaning, Han replied, “I’ve been better.”

“Shouldn’t the carbon sickness have worn off by now?” Luke asked.

“I don’t know. My head is pounding and my vision is a bit shaky.” (That wasn’t totally a lie. He could feel a headache starting and he could barely keep his eyes open.)

Leia came over, concerned. Han kept his eyes shut, working to keep a smile of anticipation off his face. Finally! Her cool, comforting touch ran across his scalp. He sighed deeply, leaning into it, content until she spoke.

“You know, we never had a chance to get you to a medic. Anything the Jedi have is certainly going to be higher quality than back on base. We might as well take advantage of it.”

At the mention of doctors, Han felt the wave of comfort come to a screeching stop. He hated doctors. The poking, the prodding, the unnecessary questions. (Seriously, “do you do any drugs?” Did they think he didn’t?!)

“Actually, hon, I’m sure it’s nothing. I just need to take a moment.”

“‘My head is pounding and my vision is a bit shaky,’” she said in an awful imitation of his voice.

“That doesn’t sound like nothing,” Luke added.

Well shit. Getting caught in a lie (exaggeration!) would do him no favors, especially now. Leia’s hand was still running through his hair, so he had to play along, or risk that she would stop.

“I suppose it couldn’t hurt to see a medic. Not a droid, though.” The Alliance pretty much relied on droids, and Han couldn’t charm them into going easy on him. Not yet, at least.

“Okay. Let’s make a plan real quick and then see about getting you to Medbay.” She kissed him on the forehead (!!!) before getting up and walking around the room.

Han groaned. He said he would see the doctor so Leia would keep stroking his hair, but instead she abandoned him! Instead of Leia, Luke came over toward him. He rested a hand on his shoulder.

“Don’t worry, Han. I’m sure it’ll all be fine.”

Well that wasn’t quite what he was going for, but he wasn’t going to complain. If he couldn’t have Leia’s comfort, Luke’s was fine.

“Okay, it doesn’t seem like there’s any bugs in here. Now, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page again,” Leia began. “While they contact their council, we need to stick with the original plan. Reveal as little about the future as possible. Lie if you have to.”

Luke grimaced. With his baby face, he was an excellent liar, but refused to take advantage of it most of the time. Something about it being “un-Jedi-like.” Han wondered where he drew that line, because Luke’s swearing was definitely un-Jedi-like too. He said things even Han hadn’t even heard of; it was a beautiful spectacle to behold, Luke swearing.

“All they know right now is that we’re from roughly 25 years in the future, Han’s real name and a bit about the Falcon.” Leia rolled her eyes. “They know my first name and that I’m apparently married to Han. And quite a bit about Luke.”

“Yeah, sorry about that guys. I know we can’t tell them anything about the future, but I hate lying. Especially to Ben.” Luke looked down at his hands, voice bitter. “Although it seems that all he did was lie to me.”

Leia’s expression softened momentarily. They had all been so focused on his father’s betrayal, they hadn’t even considered how Kenobi had been lying to Luke the whole time. No wonder Luke was angry.

“There’s nothing we can do about it now. Just try to steer the conversation away from the Jedi and your parents, Luke. There is a war going on now, so it can’t be that far fetched for Vader to assume they both died when Luke was a baby.”

Han frowned. That was a bit harsh, even for Leia.

“We can handle all of that. What’s most concerning is how little we know of the current Jedi as an organization. That attachments thing was a mess.” She paused. “Not that it’s your fault, Luke. Although I am surprised that Master Yoda never said anything about it to you.”

“Well, he was never exactly straightforward about anything, but he did tell me not to go try to save you on Bespin. He told me that I would only make things worse for you…I guess I did.”

“Hey,” Han spoke up. “Shit was already hitting the fan before you arrived. If you hadn’t shown up, you wouldn’t have distracted Vader away from Leia and Lando. I don’t give a shit what the green troll said, none of that was your fault. It was Vader’s.”

“I can’t believe I have to go look at ships with him later.” Luke muttered. 

Right. Vader had snuck that suggestion in right before they got to their quarters. Something about not wanting Luke to get out of practice while he was here.

“You don’t have to,” Leia replied. “Although it probably wouldn’t hurt, as long as you don’t reveal too much. We should try to learn as much as we can about the Empire while we’re here—it should be rising in a year, and the foundations have undoubtedly already been laid.” 

“And how are we going to keep that a secret, huh, Princess?” Han asked. Leia had long since abandoned her sympathetic hair stroking and had been pacing nearly the entire conversation. So now Han was getting no comfort and he had to see a medic. He was cranky.

She rolled her eyes. “We don’t tell them anything. Change the topic. Start waxing poetic about the Falcon again. Anything, just nothing about the impending doom they’re about to face at the hands of Palpatine and Vader.”

“No, no, don’t give me that.” Han ran a hand through his own hair now. “Listen, you’re not stupid. You know damn well it’s a bit more complicated than that. How are we supposed to explain how we don’t know anything about the Jedi? What do we do when they start asking Luke questions about his Jedi training?”

“We don’t answer,” Leia replied firmly. “Han, this has to work.”

“But what if we can make it better?” Luke interjected. “You keep saying that we need to keep things the same, but what if the Force brought us here for a reason? What if we can stop the Empire from rising in the first place? Why are we just deciding that our timeline is the best one?”

“Because it makes no logical sense!” Leia exclaimed. “Listen, stopping the Empire from rising, at its most basic definition, means killing Palpatine, Vader, probably Tarkin and a few others.”

“If that’s what it takes!”

“But do you have any idea how difficult that would be? Palpatine is the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic at this time. He has just as much security now as he did before, plus the Jedi. And Vader? Are you suggesting we kill your father? Before you’re even conceived? Ethics aside, that is a textbook paradox! Besides, the Empire isn’t just Palpatine and Vader. The Senate voted to turn itself into an Empire. Who’s to say someone won’t step up and take their place? It all comes down to complications and paradoxes. It’s not worth the risk.”

“Not worth the risk?” Luke’s voice rose. “Leia, we could save so many lives. Think of how much destruction the Empire has caused. We could save the Jedi! We could save Alderaan! Isn’t that worth it?”

Leia fixed Luke with a glare that would have made Vader himself drop to his knees and beg for forgiveness. She must have been more stressed than Han realized if she was looking at Luke like that. “Stick to the plan until we can consult with the Jedi Council. Understood?”

“Okay, we’ll do it your way,” Luke replied softly. “Sorry. That was unfair of me to bring up Alderaan.”

Leia’s expression was unreadable. “I’m sorry too. But we really need to try and play it safe right now. I know it’s difficult, especially with your father, but we can get through this.” She walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder. “You should be able to meet your mother, at least.”

Leia stepped back and appeared to notice Han again. “Right. It’s been a while, we should get you checked out in the Medbay now.”

“Not so fast, sweetheart. We need to get our story straight, General Solo.”

Leia sighed, putting a hand on her forehead. Okay, so maybe claiming she was his wife, wasn’t his best move. Oh well. It happened. 

“I know I shouldn’t have told him to call me General, he was just pissing me off. Besides that, there’s nothing to figure out. We don’t have to tell them anything,” Leia said.

“Hey, I’m a married man now,” Han smirked. “Is it so bad that I want to know how I met my wife? When we got married? Where the honeymoon was? Do we have kids? Are we trying?”

Leia ignored him. “Both of you, Medbay.”

“Me?!” Luke asked, incredulous.

“Yes, you. You have no idea what touching that holocron could have done to you. And besides, I’m sure you have some scrapes after your fight at Jabba’s.”

“Fine,” he grumbled.

“Great. Let’s go.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Medbay wasn’t quite as bad as Han had expected. He didn’t succeed in charming any of the clone medics into going easy on him, but they weren’t awful. Either way, he was glad to be back in their quarters. He leaned back in a chair and put his hands behind his head.

A gentle knock sounded at their door. “Hello, this is Master Kenobi. I’ve heard back from the council and assume you would like an update?”

“Come on in,” Han answered. The sooner they could get this resolved the better. “Luke! Hurry up! General Kenobi is here.”

Kenobi walked in and stood carefully at the side of the room.

“Please, have a seat.” Leia said. The quarters were certainly big enough for the four of them to meet comfortably; probably big enough for pre-Vader and Tano as well. Han wondered why the Rebellion didn’t have near as nice quarters as this. Probably because they’re broke and on the run, dumbass.

Kenobi sat rather slowly, leaning back and crossing one foot over his opposite knee. He smiled at Leia. “I gather Luke is in the ‘fresher?”

Leia nodded. “We had been traveling before arriving here and only had a sonic for a while.”

“I see,” Kenobi replied, bringing a hand up to stroke his beard. “I would have never guessed,” he smiled. “How long have you been travelling?”

Leia seemed unfazed but Han smirked (he still wrapped a protective arm around her). He could see that half of the famed “Negotiator” strategy appeared to be flirting. It may have worked had Leia grown up like a normal person, but she was a princess, senator, and rebel general. Flattery stopped affecting her long ago.

“Not too long.” She replied curtly, refusing to give him any more information than necessary.

“I see.”

At that moment, Luke walked out of the ‘fresher, hair still wet. “Have you guys seen my lightsaber—Ben! I mean, Master Kenobi. What are you doing here?”

Kenobi looked amused. “Anakin is prone to long showers as well. It must be something about growing up on Tatooine.”

“Yeah, it’s crazy how much water there really is—wait a second! How did you—nevermind. I should have expected that.” Luke’s face hardened at being tricked by his mentor (again).

That motherfucker. Flirting with Leia to try and get information was one thing—Han knew she could handle herself. But tricking Luke? The poor kid was a Jedi, not a politician. “Hey now, old man, can you just give us the news?”

Kenobi looked amused at having been called “old man.” Damn, Han was hoping to piss him off a bit. “Yes, of course. The council has determined that it is best you do not reveal anything too significant about your past until we can all convene at the Temple. However, they are optimistic that you will likely be able to be open with us and the circumstances that led you here. Your very existence here should have already created a paradox, but the galaxy hasn’t ended yet.”

Leia frowned. “So where does that leave us right now?”

“For the time being, try to proceed as you have been. Smaller details, though, such as how long you were on your trip and where Luke grew up should not of any consequence—should you choose to reveal them.” He turned to face Luke. “If you do speak to Anakin, he will probably push for you to reveal more information about everything. Be sure to hold firm with him until we can speak with the council. I assume you’ve inherited at least one of your parents’ stubbornness, so I doubt that will be much of a challenge.”

Kenobi had a small smile on his face, like he was thinking of a fond memory with Vader.

“And the council?” Luke prompted. “Do they know who I am?”

“They do not. And I would prefer to keep it that way when we meet with them. It would cause unnecessary complications for the time being.”

Han could tell Luke wanted to say more, probably about how stupid he thinks the supposed attachment rule is, but held himself back. Han gave him a subtle nod in support.

“How far out from Imp—Coruscant are we anyways?” Han asked, changing the topic.

“Probably a little less than a standard day. Although if I let Anakin fly, I’m sure he could cut that in half. However, the ship would likely be in half too,” he mused. “I heard that Luke is quite the pilot as well. I dearly hope you are less destructive than your father in your endeavors in that department.”

“Can’t say that I’ve ever destroyed my own ship,” Luke said with a smirk.

Kenobi hummed. “I see. Well I hope you don’t pick up any bad habits while you are here.”

At that, there was a knock on their door. Leia sighed and walked over to open it, revealing Vader and Ahsoka. 

“Hello,” she greeted cautiously.

Vader greeted her quickly and turned to face Luke. “Luke, you should come spar with Snips and I. Can’t have you getting out of practice just because you got sent back here.” Vader smiled, appearing friendly.

It was almost painful to see how hard he was trying to be casual and “fatherly,” especially given he was (A) Darth Fucking Vader, who chopped Luke’s hand off, tortured Leia, tortured Han and then sold him to Jabba the Hutt, (B) an overall dick, and (C) two whole years younger than Luke. Anakin was barely of drinking age on some planets.

“Sure,” Luke replied, hesitantly.

“I wanted to discuss something with General Kenobi for a bit,” Leia said, staring at Han. He stared back, confused.

“Alone.” She raised her eyebrows.

Ah. She wanted him to go with Luke and be back up in case something happened. Smart woman. He still wondered what she was going to talk to General Kenobi about.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Han inspected a starfighter at the side of the hangar where Luke was supposedly going to spar. For the last half hour, they had just been “warming up.”

“You sure you don’t want to join us for this part Han?” Luke asked, while standing in some sort of impossibly complicated lunge. “It’d probably be good for you after all that time in carbonite.”

Han put a hand up in a half wave. “I think I’ll pass.”

After what felt like forever, they finally lit their sabers. Ahsoka has two, green like Luke’s. Luke sparred with her at first. Han hated to say it, but Luke looked clumsy compared to the Togruta girl. If Vader’s furrowed eyebrows were anything to go by, he thought so too.

“Clear your mind and focus,” he said, to Luke or his apprentice Han had no idea. Probably both.

Neither said anything, but the fight eventually ended with one lightsaber to Luke’s throat and another behind his back. He shook Ahsoka’s hand. “I’ve never seen anyone fight like that, with two sabers. It’s cool.”

“Nobody?” she asked. “I know it’s uncommon, but surely the form hasn’t died out that quickly.”

Luke shook his head. “I don’t know, but I haven’t seen it.”

“Who was your Master?” Vader asked out of the blue. Apparently Luke’s lack of subtlety was genetic.

Once again, Luke shook his head. “Can’t say too much about the future, now can I?”

“I suppose not.” Vader didn’t look surprised that his strategy failed. “My turn.”

“Your turn for what?” Ahsoka questioned.

“To spar with Luke,” he said matter of factly. “Snips, pay attention to my footwork. You’ve been getting a bit sloppy.”

“Have not!”

Vader laughed and turned toward Luke. As they squared up, Ahsoka came over to sit with Han. “Enjoying the show?” she asked.

“I can keep up with a good fight,” Han said gruffly. “Even if it’s with a lightsaber—although I don’t understand why you don’t have blasters at all. Luke carries one.”

“Master Kenobi always says that blasters are ‘so uncivilized.’ Skyguy just thinks he doesn’t need one,” she laughed before completely changing the topic. “What did Luke mean about you being stuck in carbonite?”

“Ah, that.” Han scratched the back of his neck. “Let’s just say, don’t try to pull a fast one on Jabba.”

“You what?! Even we don’t try to trick him, and we're Jedi! How long did he freeze you for?”

“About a year. Can’t say I remember much, but waking up was a b—I mean, waking up was rough,” he corrected, forgetting she was just a kid for a moment.

“I’m a Commander in the Galactic Republic, and Master Skywalker’s Padawan. I’m used to the language,” she dismissed him. “And holy shit! A year?! No wonder it was rough. Skyguy, Master Kenobi, and I went under for a few hours one time and even that was awful.”

Han’s eyes narrowed. When Vader froze him, he said it was an experiment to see if he would survive the process. And now Han was finding out that Vader had already done it? On himself? “Why did you have to do that?”

“Oh, we had to break into this really high security prison and that was the only way to escape the life detectors.”

“That’s a bit risky, isn’t it?”

“Well yeah, but it worked out for the most part.”

“Whatever you say, kid,” Han said, leaning back to watch Luke again. He looked like he was holding his own better than he did against Ahsoka, but Han wondered if Vader was just messing with him.

Gradually, Luke began fighting more aggressively, gaining the upper hand! Vader smirked and picked up his own intensity in response. Suddenly, Luke started fighting like his life depended on it. Holy shit. He was fighting Darth Vader. He was fighting his father (who was Darth Vader) who had chopped his hand off the last time they fought. Han was about to intervene when Leia and Kenobi walked in.

“Anakin,” Kenobi said. Vader stopped his attack immediately, leaving Luke breathing heavily. “We’re going to arrive in about an hour. I assume you want some time to finish your report?”

Vader rolled his eyes. “Why do you just assume that I haven’t done it already?”

“Because you never do,” Ahsoka replied.

Luke still looked like he was going to have a panic attack when Vader walked past, giving him a friendly slap on the shoulders before noticing his condition. “You okay?”

The concern in Vader’s voice was sickening. “Yeah, I’m good. Just out of practice.”

That was enough to placate Vader. “Alright then. Snips—you should come with me.”

“Now, now, Anakin. Don’t make your Padawan do all the paperwork for you.”

“Hey, she’s good at it! And so am I!”

“Whatever you say, my former Padawan.”

Once Vader and Ahsoka had left, Kenobi noticed Luke. He had visibly calmed down, but Han could tell he was still freaked out. “Luke, are you sure you’re quite all right?”

“I’m fine, really.”

Unlike Vader, Kenobi did not appear convinced in the slightest. “It’s perfectly understandable if you're not. This whole situation is rather strange.”

“It’s just some bad memories. I’m used to it,” Luke admitted. “Maybe I’ll just try and meditate for a bit.”

Kenobi frowned when Luke mentioned bad memories, but he appeared amused at the meditation. He didn't say anything about either.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Finally, they were arriving on Coruscant in less than an hour. Han, Luke, and Leia were all in the flight controls room while Kenobi flew. Ahsoka was babbling away at their side, telling embarrassing stories about her, Vader, and Kenobi. Vader was speaking with a clone on the other side of the room.

“Have you ever been to Coruscant?” Ahsoka asked.

“A few times,” Leia replied, stepping on Han’s foot at the same time. He assumed she was aiming for Luke, so Han elbowed him. Luke would have to pretend like he’d been on the planet before—the Jedi temple was based out of there.

“I wonder what all will be different for you,” Ahsoka wondered.

“Hey, Snips!” Vader interrupted. “Did you finish that paper? Do you want me to look it over?”

She laughed. “I did and absolutely not. Master Kenobi already checked it for me.”

Anakin dramatically placed a hand over his chest. “You’ve wounded me, my Padawan. Am I really such an incompetent horrible master?”

“Do you want to read a paper on the nuances of force philosophy?”

“Well, no. But I’m sure you did a great job, right Obi-Wan?”

“She did far better than you at that age.”

“Whatever. Anyways, Rex.” He turned to the clone. “I bet we’ll be getting some time off the front with all of this. I’m not sure how long, but you and the men should get at least a few days to relax.”

“Thank you General. I’m sure the boys will appreciate it.”

Vader chuckled. “I’m sure 79s will appreciate it. And by it, I mean Fives.”

Han heard a droid beeping impatiently in the background. Ha. It sounded like Artoo. Wait a second…

Vader walked up behind them, clapping a hand on Luke’s back. If he noticed Luke’s subtle flinch, he didn’t say anything. “I’ve always loved watching when the ship enters the atmosphere.”

Suddenly there was that beeping again. Han looked down and jumped back when he realized that it was Artoo. No other R2 unit had that much personality. No other R2 unit had that personality.

Luke noticed too. “Artoo?” he asked.

Artoo chirped quizzically at that.

“Huh?” “You know Artoo?”

Luke and Vader asked at the same time.

“Artoo is my astromech back home,” Luke said.

Vader grinned like a fool. “Really? Me too.”

Artoo, apparently fed up with being discluded from the conversation, began frantically beeping and running into Vader’s legs.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, buddy! Calm down! What is it?”

Artoo beeped and booped and trilled for a moment before Vader laughed and rubbed the top of the droid’s head. “Yeah, that’s him.”

“You told him about me?” Luke asked.

“Of course I did, he hates when you don’t give him the full story. Might’ve assumed you were a seperatist and tried to kill you in your sleep,” Vader joked. (Or at least Han hoped he was joking...either way he was going to start being a lot nicer to Artoo at home. Just in case).

Luke and Vader chatted on about droids and ships until they finally came out of hyperspace and Vader walked away to provide commentary on Kenobi’s landing skills.

Imperial Center filled their entire view. Or, Han supposed, it was technically Coruscant at the moment. No Empire yet. Either way, it looked about the same—a crammed, dingy city-planet. The surface gleaming with golden buildings and wealthy senators, the lower levels covered in dirt and crawling with all kinds of people. Han had lived in the second category most of his life, and he knew that it didn’t change much between the Republic and the Empire, and probably wouldn’t with whatever came next.

“Woah,” Luke said quietly, looking at the planet. He leaned over toward Leia, whispering something Han couldn’t pick up. Han squeezed Leia’s hand. They began to land.

Chapter Text

Anakin glanced nervously over at Luke. He couldn’t help it. Almost every conversation they had was awkward and stifled. Luke never seemed quite comfortable around him. Of course, the situation was strange, but was Anakin really so much of a disappointment that his own son couldn’t look him in the eye? Anakin wasn’t so good at conversation himself, so he settled for watching Luke.

Fuck the paradoxes, he needed to know as much as he could about his son. Who was older than him. Fuck, that was weird. (Weirder than not having a father at all?)

Anyways, upon reaching the Jedi Temple, Luke looked like he had never seen it before. His mouth dropped and his eyes lit up. Anakin frowned. That Solo woman had mentioned Luke became a Jedi later in his life (Anakin didn’t even have the chance to try figuring that one out), but surely he would have seen the Temple?

“So, uh, Luke,” Anakin started awkwardly, of course. “I don’t know what the Council is like in your time, but here they can be a bit, uh… blunt.”

Luke didn’t seem to hear him, still staring at everything as they entered the Temple. “Luke?” he prompted.

“What?” he asked. “Oh. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s fine.”

Solo laughed. “He’s been friends with Leia far too long to be deterred by a little bluntness.”

The woman, Leia, glared at her husband. Given their height difference, it should have been hilarious, but even Anakin found himself shying away from her gaze. Yeah. Luke should be able to handle blunt. But Jedi Council-level blunt?

“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Luke replied, hardly paying any attention to the conversation as he watched a group of young Padawans floating various objects around the room to entertain younglings. “And don’t worry, I won’t tell them who I am.”

Obi-Wan was still ignoring him, but he frowned at the reminder of Luke’s identity. Anakin did not want a repeat lecture about his future son and current wife anytime soon. He would prefer to be eternally exiled on Tatooine rather than listen to how much he had disappointed Obi-Wan, broke the code, wasn’t living up to his potential, etc, etc.

“Here’s the council,” Obi-Wan said, when they finally reached the room. Anakin glanced back at Luke, who was rubbing his forehead where he had ran into a pillar earlier. He frowned. Either Luke had never seen the Temple before or they had really renovated in the last 25 years.

“Anakin and I will need to make our reports and then we’ll send Ahsoka out to get you.”

They left the trio on the benches outside of the Council room. Anakin clasped his hands together in front of him, grateful that his sleeves were long enough to cover his nervous fidgeting. Obi-Wan had promised not to say anything about Padme or Luke, but Anakin didn’t exactly trust him all that much after Hardeen. He didn’t know if he could ever trust him like that again.

At least he knew Snips was on his side.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

The report went smoother than he had expected. That is until Luke, Leia, and Han entered.

“From this time, you are not,” Yoda said in that stuck up I’m-so-wise-and-all-knowing tone of his.

“Yes,” Leia replied. Anakin had noticed how she acted as the de facto leader of the group; she had a politician’s confidence. “We were hoping that you would be able to help us return to our time.”

“Explain, could you, how got here you did?” Yoda asked.

“Luke probably has the best perspective on that,” Leia said letting Luke take over the explanation from there. 

Anakin was impressed. Luke was succinct and direct, speaking to the Council as if he had done so a hundred times before. He speaks like a soldier, Anakin realized sadly.

“Find artifact on what planet did you?” Yoda asked again.

“That’s classified.”

“Careful, you are being. A dangerous thing, knowing too much of the future is, hmm?”

“Yes, Master Yoda,” Luke said automatically.

“A Jedi, you claim to be?”

“I am.”

Yoda harrumphed. “From this artifact sense any darkness, did you?”

“No, Master,” (oh, how Anakin hated that) “it felt light, like it was calling to me. I’m sure.”

Solo cut in. “Look, none of this force stuff makes any sense, and I don’t really care. Is there a way home or not?”

“Many possibilities there are.”

Solo pointed a finger at Yoda. “Yes, I know that,” he said slowly. “Does one of them send us back to the future?”

The council members looked shocked at Solo’s brazen disrespect. Anakin could have kissed him for standing up to the wrinkly frog’s bullshit. He shook his finger at the Grandmaster of the entire Jedi Order.

Speaking of bullshit, Master Windu spoke next. “I assume none of you have studied theory regarding the metaphysical force time-space continuum? Perhaps shatterpoint theory?”

None of them answered, although Leia looked pissed. It was the same expression Padme had whenever her political opponents were talking, particularly the trade federation.

Mace continued unperturbed. “Very well. We believe that in coming here, you three have created a new timeline. Thus, your actions here should not impact your timeline. By virtue of being here, you are not in your own timeline’s past. Does that make sense?”

Leia nodded her understanding. “Yes, thank you.”

Thank the force. Now Anakin could finally learn they had been so cryptic about before. 

“So where does that leave us now? Is there a way to send us back to our timeline? To the moment we left? We are in a rather time-sensitive situation,” Leia said.

“I can’t speak for that level of accuracy, but it is possible that we can send you back. It will require some time and effort on our end, so anything you can tell us will help. How about we start with what planet you were on when Luke found this artifact?”

Leia hesitated. “That’s still classified.”

Obi-Wan spoke up. “We cannot help you if you don’t tell us anything.”

“We will tell you enough. But we need some time to sort it out first. Twenty five years is a lot of time to cover. And as you may have guessed, we are involved in military operations at the moment and do not want to compromise ourselves. Or the versions of ourselves that may eventually exist in this timeline.”

Windu looked like he wanted to argue, but Yoda spoke first. “Time, you shall have. In the meantime, study time travel, we will.”

Leia nodded.

Windu concluded their meeting. “We can set you up in some spare quarters here. Normally, we don’t allow non-Jedi to stay like this, but I think we can make an expectation in these circumstances.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Anakin nervously knocked on Luke and the Solos’ door. Luke had probably been ignoring him before because he was worried about the time travel. Hopefully he would open up now.

Luke answered, looking tired.“Father. What is it?”

Father. That was weird. Anakin didn’t have one, so how could he know how to be one? (To a son two years older than him).

“Could I come in? Just for a moment.” Fuck, this was difficult.

“Sure.”

Okay, so not the warm welcome he was hoping for, but at least he was getting in. Anakin saw Han sitting in a chair and Leia looked like she had been pacing. They all looked at him expectantly. He sighed as he was hoping to talk to Luke alone.

Anakin cleared his throat. “I know you still probably have a lot to discuss, but I wanted to invite you to dinner. Padme will be there. I, ah, told her about our situation and she wants to meet you.”

Luke’s eyes lit up. “My mother?”

“Yeah. Is that all right?”

“Of course! We’ll be there.”

Anakin couldn’t help but ask after that, “Why didn’t you know who your mother was?”

This earned him a glare from Leia, but Luke just frowned. “I was told my parents died when I was very young.”

Anakin forced himself to breathe. Now was not the time to get angry. “You mentioned that earlier. How? When?”

“I don’t know.”

Before Anakin could inquire further, Leia interrupted. “Look, we can tell you more at dinner. But right now, please stop asking questions.”

Force, this woman was stubborn. “Fine.”

After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Solo changed the topic. “What time is this dinner? I’m starving.”

“As soon as possible. The Council can’t necessarily force you to stay here, but they probably wouldn’t quite approve of this.”

“Give us ten minutes,” Leia replied.

Anakin nodded. “I’ll wait outside.”

From outside, Anakin could hear Luke’s muffled voice. “Has anybody seen my lightsaber? I could’ve sworn I set it right over there…”

He chuckled. This weapon is your life. Anakin heard that lecture so many times when he was a Padawan (and as a Knight, much to Ahsoka’s amusement). He wondered who had trained Luke. Their sparring session on the Negotiator had revealed his unconventional fighting style—it was functional, but sloppy and didn’t appear to adhere to any particular form. His footwork was truly awful.

A few moments later, Luke, Han, and Leia walked out. Anakin noted the lightsaber back at Luke’s hip. “Okay, follow me. Try not to draw too much attention to yourselves.”

As they walked, Anakin couldn’t help but keep glancing over at Luke. His son. He would be lying if he hadn’t thought about having kids with Padme, but seeing Luke in person was just strange. His height was obviously all Padme. How could he have had a kid so small? From what he had noticed so far, his personality was also Padme—kind, optimistic, stubborn. He had Anakin’s eyes though. And—the question he dreaded asking—he was missing his right hand. 

Glancing back, he noticed that Han and Leia had fallen a few steps behind. Luke stayed next to him.

Fuck it. “So you have a prosthetic hand?”

“Yeah,” Luke replied slowly. “How did you know?”

“Kix told me after you visited Medbay. How’d it happen?”

Luke grimaced a bit. “Lightsaber. I was reckless.”

Despite how horrible it was—he never wanted his son to lose a hand like he had, he couldn’t help but chuckle a bit at the sheer irony of it. 

Anakin took off his glove. “Me too.”

Luke’s eyes widened before he ungloved his right hand as well. The technology appeared slightly different, but other than that, it was the same.

“You didn’t get much shit about that did you?”

Luke’s eyebrows creased. “What do you mean?”

“Well, people aren’t exactly always accepting about mechno-limbs at the moment. Some on the Council are especially wary…” Anakin trailed off.

“Oh. That. Well to be honest, not a lot of people know.”

Anakin was about to say something else, when he heard a familiar voice. “Anakin? Where are you going at this hour?”

Leia replied. “General Kenobi! We were on our way to Senator Amidala’s for dinner.”

Obi-Wan sighed. “Anakin…”

Anakin gave him a look. “She deserves to meet him.”

“You told her?”

“Of course I told her! She’s— she’s Padme.” How could Obi-Wan not understand that Anakin had to tell his wife that they had a son? A son from the future, who had never known her. Besides, he’d rather face the Jedi Council’s wrath over Padme’s any day.

Leia interrupted, “Would it be alright if General Kenobi joined us tonight? We may decide to tell you some things about the future and I would prefer if he were there, as a member of the Council.”

Now it was Anakin’s turn to sigh. If he had it his way, tonight would just be him, Padme, and Luke. Possibly Ahsoka, but she already had plans with Barriss. Anakin was determined to let her have as much fun as she could during the war. He even let her borrow Artoo, who would undoubtedly tell her all sorts of embarrassing stories. Actually, now that he thought about it, that wasn’t the best idea considering Artoo still had all of his wedding photos and videos.

“It’s not a problem,” he forced out. Great. Himself, Padme, Luke, Luke’s friends, and Obi-Wan. Just great.

His earlier conversation with Obi-Wan regarding Padme had been short and painful. Obi-Wan didn’t say much, but Anakin could sense his disapproval. He knew he was already a disappointment to the Jedi council, but it hurt coming from Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan was angry that Anakin hadn’t told him. Which was totally hypocritical! He clearly never planned on telling him about Satine; Anakin had to watch them flirt obnoxiously in front of him on Mandalore to figure it out. Obi-Wan was just upset that Anakin actually had the balls to be with the woman he loved and continue his duties as a Jedi. It was ridiculous! Especially after the Hardeen incident. How could he expect Anakin to trust him not to run straight to the Council?

“Great,” Obi-Wan replied tersely.

…………………………………………………………………………………...

Anakin nervously fiddled with his hands waiting for Padme to answer her door. Every time he saw her, he always felt like a 19 year old Padawan again. (“I don’t like sand” ...really?). He jumped a bit as the door slid open, revealing Padme wearing one of her simpler gowns. 

“Ani!” She smiled. He felt all his fears melt away as she stepped in to hug him. “I missed you so much.”

He buried his face in her neck. “I missed you too, Angel,” he muttered. 

Anakin didn’t know how long they stood like that, holding each other. Obi-Wan eventually cleared his throat. “It is good to see you again, Senator Amidala.” Anakin blinked; he had forgotten that anyone else was there.

Padme jumped back.

“General Skywalker, it’s a pleasure to see you again,” she said, trying to act like that had just been a hug between friends. “And Master Kenobi, I had no idea you would be stopping by as well.”

Anakin wrapped his arm around her waist. Padme looked up at him, concerned. He didn’t let go. There was no point in hiding their relationship now.

Obi-Wan sighed, “Padme, I know. I assume Anakin has filled you in on the details of this…situation?”

“Actually, he was quite sparse on details,” she said, pinching Anakin’s waist. No doubt because he forgot to warn her about Obi-Wan. “He thought it would be better to explain everything in person.”

“I see.”

Padme glanced past Obi-Wan at Luke and his friends. “Why don’t we all head inside? I’m sure there is a lot to discuss.”

Once they were all inside, she turned directly toward their son. “You’re Luke?”

Luke was stunned into silence. He looked terrified, but managed to nod.

Padme smiled brightly. “I’m Padme. I suppose that makes me your mother.”

Luke nodded again.

“Could I-” Padme hesitated. “Would it be alright if I gave you a hug?”

Luke’s eyes widened, and he replied quietly, “Okay.”

Padme slowly stepped forward and put her arms around him. He did the same, moving so carefully as if she would break. Then, he relaxed and brought his head down to her shoulder. (And wow, he was just a few inches taller than her). It looked so intimate that everybody but Anakin looked away. He couldn’t help but stare—how did she connect with him so quickly?

Quickly, Luke stepped back and rubbed at his eyes for a moment. Padme, graceful as ever, turned to Leia and Han. “And you must be Luke’s friends? Anakin mentioned you as well.”

Leia stepped forward and nodded her head in Alderaani fashion. “I’m Leia, and this is Han Solo.”

“It’s good to meet you.” She turned to Anakin again. “Will you go to the kitchen and check with Threepio that everything is ready?”

“Of course,” he said, leaning over to kiss her cheek as he walked past, just because he could. Force, he hated that Obi-Wan found out about them, but he loved not hiding it anymore. It felt defiant in the best way.

“Threepio?” He heard Luke asking as he left.

Everything looked good in the kitchen, and he began to take food and set the table. Padme joined him soon after he started. Once the table was set, they went back to the kitchen for a brief moment alone.

“Did you see him, Anakin? He looks just like you.”

Anakin smiled and held both her hands. “Are you kidding? He is all you.”

“He has your eyes,” she murmured. “I can’t believe this. It’s wonderful. Did you know he knows Threepio? Has he told you much about his life?”

Anakin frowned. He didn’t know that. “Almost nothing. They didn’t want to mess up anything with the time travel and create any paradoxes.”

“That’s smart, I suppose.”

“Yeah well, I’ve still been able to figure out a bit.”

“Such as?” Her eyes were so full of hope, Anakin didn’t want to tell her that most of it wasn’t good news.

“Well, he’s a Jedi, for one. But he didn’t seem to know anything about the attachment rule, which is really strange. Like, he didn’t know anything about it at all. And, well… he didn’t grow up with us, Padme.” Anakin lowered his eyes, staring at their joined hands instead.

“I-” Her face fell. “What do you mean?” she responded in a small voice.

“I mean, he didn’t even know your name. He says he grew up with his aunt and uncle—but not your sister. That’s about all I’ve been able to get out of him. I think—” He paused a moment. “I think they’re still fighting the war. Leia, she wanted us to address her as ‘General,’ at first. And the way Luke reported to the council? It was military style, not Jedi.”

Padme considered that and stepped into his arms once again. “I hope not. It’s bad enough that you have to fight; I don’t want our son to go through that.”

Anakin rested his head on hers. “I know.”

“And Obi-Wan knows about us?”

“Yeah. We haven’t talked much, but he said he won’t turn me in to the Council. It’s so hard to tell what he’s thinking. I know he’s not happy.”

“He cares about you, Ani.” Anakin held back a snort. Obi-Wan cared for the Council more. He cared about the Code more. “Don’t worry. We can figure all this out.”

Anakin moved so that his hands cupped Padme’s face and leaned down to kiss her. She stopped him far too quickly, saying, “We better get going now.”

He walked into the dining room hand in hand with his wife.

Chapter Text

Obi-Wan stared disapprovingly; Anakin stared right back. He didn’t let go of Padme’s hand. She made him stronger, better, happier—if Obi-Wan couldn’t see that, it wasn’t Anakin’s fault. His old master was blinded by the Code and the Council, so much that he denied this happiness in his own life. Anakin wouldn’t let him take it away from him.

They sat down and an awkward silence settled between everyone as they began to eat. Unsurprisingly, Padme spoke first.

“I hope you all have settled in all right? This can’t have been an easy adjustment.”

Solo laughed. “You’d be surprised.”

Leia glared at him. “What he means is, we’ve been in worse situations. The Jedi and yourself have been very kind hosts. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.”

Luke spoke up. “This is the best meal I’ve had in a long time. Did Threepio cook all this?” 

“How come Goldenrod never does anything like this for us?” Han muttered to nobody in particular.

Padme smiled. “Threepio did prepare most of it. Anakin programmed him to. Maybe some of his wires got crossed over time?”

“Anakin programmed him?”

“Yes, when he was a little boy. He’s always been good at that sort of stuff. Do you enjoy mechanics too?”

Han choked a bit on his food when Padme said Anakin had created Threepio. 

Luke nodded and opened his mouth like he was about to speak when Leia gave him a stern look. It reminded him of the look Padme would give him when he started getting “too clingy” in public. He couldn’t quite pick up what Leia said but it sounded like she was admonishing Luke for trying to speak with his mouth full of food.

He swallowed. “Yeah, but I can’t say I’ve ever built a droid. That’s impressive.”

“That makes him your half-brother, Luke,” Han pointed out with a sly grin.

Luke stared at him a moment before bursting into laughter. Even Leia smiled, although it was with a slight roll of her eyes. Then the time travellers went back to their food, chatting amongst themselves. Obi-Wan looked supremely uncomfortable, sitting between Luke and Anakin and Padme. Normally, Obi-Wan’s discomfort would have felt somewhat satisfying, in a vindictive way, but all Anakin could think was that it was sad. Obi-Wan could have been in a family like this, had he wanted to—hell, Anakin basically considered him a brother already (even though Obi-Wan clearly did not feel the same)—but he refused to allow himself to be happy.

And tried to convince others that they were the ones in the wrong.

Nobody said anything after Han’s remark about Threepio and Luke. Padme was holding Anakin’s hand under the table and he absentmindedlyrubbed circles on the top of her hand with his thumb as he snuck what he hoped were subtle glances at Luke.

While they were on the Negotiator and at the Jedi Temple, Luke was mostly quiet, withdrawn. Here, though, he looked happy as he ate, grinning whenever Solo made a stupid joke. Leia mostly just rolled her eyes, although she occasionally smiled—mostly when Luke said something.

Anakin sighed, content watching his family. If only Ahsoka had been able to come, it would have been perfect. Of course, that’s when Obi-Wan broke the silence.

“You mentioned that you were likely planning on discussing some of your past with us tonight?”

Leia and Luke spoke at the same time.

“I’m not sure that would be wise-”

“Of course.”

They stared at each other a moment, having some sort of wordless standoff. Solo made no move to interrupt. Something softened in Leia’s expression. “I suppose you all will find out somehow. It’s a very long story, though.”

“Not to worry,” Padme replied, gracious as ever. “We can move to the living room, that will be more comfortable.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

As they settled in, Anakin wrapped his right arm around Padme’s shoulders. He felt almost euphoric to not hide their relationship, at least for a little bit. In public, he hated keeping an appropriate distance, pretending like they were nothing more than acquaintances, like they hadn’t been married for almost three years.

He held in a laugh as he watched Han try the same thing on Leia only for her to slap his arm and scoot closer to Luke. She then wrapped her arm around Luke’s shoulder, grinning as Han scoffed in mock offense.

“Where do you want us to begin?” Leia asked.

“Whatever you think is most important for us to know,” Padme said. “Anything, really, would be appreciated.”

It worried Anakin that Obi-Wan had yet to say more than a few polite words at dinner. He would have almost preferred anger than this heavy silence. But of course, Obi-Wan was the “perfect Jedi.” Anger would be beneath him.

Leia nodded, whispering to Luke and Han before she said anything.

“It’s a very long story. And I’m afraid I don’t quite have the whole picture. In short, the Republic is going to fall soon. Within a few years.”

That got Obi-Wan’s attention. “What? How? You mean the Separatists win?”

Anakin couldn't believe this. “The Republic? Fall? How could that happen?” he asked at the same time.

“No. The Separatists didn't win. The Senate elects to turn the Republic into an Empire. Separatists were subject to this as well.”

At that, Padme paled. “The Senate would have never voted on such a thing. It’s impossible!”

“I’m sorry, but that is what happened. However, my father told me that you, Senator, opposed it.”

“Palpatine has been pushing the limits of his power lately, but I could never imagine he would go so far. You’re absolutely sure?”

“The Chancellor is a good man, Padme. Surely he would only do this if it was absolutely necessary,” Anakin cut in.

Leia glared at him. “He is most certainly not a good man. He proclaimed himself Emperor and is a tyrant and oppressor to the entire galaxy.”

Anakin found that hard to believe. The Chancellor had always been so sympathetic to him when nobody else was—like a father. Even when Anakin was a young Padawan, Palpatine would go out of his way to support him. He would never do such a thing without good reason.

“And the Jedi?” Obi-Wan questioned. “Where were they?”

This time Luke spoke, his voice hard. “They were massacred. Wiped out.”

“What?” Obi-Wan said, his voice a whisper.

Luke’s voice didn’t falter. “The Jedi were declared enemies of the Empire. They were hunted down and killed. I am the last surviving Jedi.”

Anakin faltered. There’s no way all the Jedi be killed like that. Obi-Wan, himself, Ahsoka—it couldn’t be true. Force, Ahsoka. She was like a sister to Anakin. He couldn’t live with himself if something happened to her. 

“How?” Anakin stared at his son’s face. Luke was unable to hold his gaze.

“Darth Vader, the Emperor’s right hand man.”

Han snorted. “More like his attack dog.”

“That’s impossible. One person couldn’t do all that. There are thousands of Jedi. They couldn’t be destroyed like that,” Anakin said. 

Leia spoke up again, voice growing louder. “The clone troopers turned on the Jedi and executed them on the spot.”

“Clones?! There’s no way. They’re loyal to the Republic, to us! Rex, Fives, Jesse, my men—they would never betray me like that.”

“They didn’t have a choice,” Luke said. “I’ve talked to Rex—he served with you. They have chips in their brains that controlled them. It wasn’t their fault.”

Obi-Wan carefully spoke up. “Their inhibitor chips? Those are to regulate aggression, nothing more.”

“They are slave chips,” Luke said, unyielding. “Your entire army is enslaved and at the whim of Palpatine.”

Anakin felt sick. He couldn’t believe the Chancellor could ever do such a thing. But Luke spoke with such certainty. And Anakin had questioned the clones’ role in the war before. They were loyal soldiers, his friends, but they didn’t really have a choice about whether to fight or not. But slaves? Did Rex really feel that way? Anakin wouldn’t hold any of them there against their will.

Thankfully, Padme spoke up. “Okay. We can’t panic. You said this won’t happen for a few years?” Leia nodded. “So we have time to make a plan. What else can you tell us that will help? How do you fit in with all of this?”

Before Leia could speak, Anakin addressed Luke. “What happens to Padme? If the Jedi are killed, what happened to her? Why don’t you know her?

Luke looked at him, rage clear in his eyes. “I’ve told you everything I know! She died soon after I was born. I didn’t even know her name until yesterday.”

That’s all you know? How? She’s your mother! Surely you have to know more? You said you spoke Rex, did he say anything? Do you know Ahsoka? What happened to her?”

It was one thing if Anakin died. He was a soldier; he never expected to get a happy ending. But Padme? She should have no part in this. She was innocent. She couldn’t die.

Surprisingly, Leia was the one to respond. “I know what happened to Ahsoka. I met her a few years ago.”

“So she survived?” Obi-Wan said, leaning forward.

“She did,” Leia said slowly, “but she had to fight Vader later on. She didn’t make it.”

Didn’t make it? Ahsoka? That hurt just as much as the thought of Padme’s death. Ahsoka was his Padawan, his kid sister. It was his job to protect her. Anakin felt himself heating up with rage at this ‘Vader’ who had destroyed everything he loved. Voice shaking with barely controlled rage, he asked, “And Padme?”

“I told you all I know about her, I promise,” Luke insisted.

“Who raised you?” Anakin asked, changing the subject. “Because Sola would have never taught you that language you spoke back on the Negotiator. Only I could have taught you that, it’s from Tatooine.”

“My aunt and uncle.”

“Your—do you mean Owen and Beru? From Tatooine? You’re from Tatooine?!”

Luke nodded, glancing at Obi-Wan for some reason.

“I- what? How? I’ve met them once. I didn’t even know they were married. I would have never let you be raised on that hellhole of a planet.”

“Well you didn’t have much of a say in the matter, did you?” Luke challenged.

Before Anakin could argue more, Padme leaned over and put a hand on Luke’s shoulder. “Were you loved?”

“Yes.”

She smiled. “I’m glad.”

Anakin was grateful his son grew up loved, but he should have never been in that situation in the first place. “But why were you with them instead of us? Or with Padme’s sister on Naboo? Why Tatooine?”

“Can you all just shut up and listen? We’re trying to tell you what happened, and that’s a little difficult when you keep yelling,” Han exclaimed.

Before Anakin could yell at him too, Padme spoke, her voice small but steady. “Yes, I’m sorry. Please continue.”

Luke remained quiet until Leia spoke again. “Right. Anyways, Luke, Han, and I are members of the Rebel Alliance against the Empire. We’ve all encountered Vader, and Luke fought him. Everything we are saying is true.”

“Luke…” Anakin realized. “Your hand—that was Vader?”

He swallowed. “Yes.”

“Your hand?” Padme asked, confused.

Luke pulled back his glove to reveal his metal hand again. “I fought him. I lost.”

“Hey now, most people wouldn’t be alive after fighting Vader, Luke. You did what you had to do to get us safe. And you survived,” Han said.

“Get you safe?” Padme asked. “What happened?”

“How much time do you have?” Han chuckled.

“Long story short, Vader kidnapped Han and I. Luke was able to hold him off so Threepio and I could get away.”

“And Han?”

“I wasn’t so lucky,” was all Han said.

“I’m sorry,” said Padme.

Then Obi-Wan spoke again. “I’m sorry, but if all the Jedi were wiped out, how did you receive training, Luke? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Actually, as far as I know, all but two Jedi were killed.” Luke looked at Obi-Wan. “You and Yoda.”

Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows but let Luke continue.

“Both of you are gone now. I—” Luke’s voice broke. “I knew you as Ben.”

Anakin hid a small smile. When he was young, he always mocked Obi-Wan about his name—it rhymed—so he called him “bwan” for the longest time. The old man would turn the brightest shade of red, all the way to his ears, and Anakin would just cackle. No matter how many times he was punished with archive duty, he refused to give it up. Eventually, “bwan” morphed into Ben. Anakin grew out of the habit years ago, though.

“You were the only survivors I know of. And both of you are gone now. I—” Luke’s voice broke for a second. “I knew you as Ben. You watched over me on Tatooine and taught me first, four years ago. But Vader killed you. Master Yoda finished my training.”

Obi-Wan was, for once, speechless.

Anakin, however, was not. “Who is this Vader? If we can kill him now, it sounds like we can stop your Empire from rising. At the very least, it would give us more time to defeat it.” 

He was furious at this “Vader” who had orphaned his son, massacred the Jedi, killed his master, and caused Luke so much pain. He wouldn’t allow it.

Before Luke could answer (he had become quite pale by now), Leia spoke up. “That won’t solve anything. It’s too complicated. My father said the Empire was planned years before the Clone Wars. Besides, could you really kill Palpatine and get away with it?”

“And who’s your father?” Anakin rounded on Leia. “You seem to know an awful lot about all of us, but we know barely anything about you, Leia ‘Solo?’” he scoffed. “That’s a fake name if I ever heard one. I also notice you and your ‘husband’ don’t have any rings. How can we trust anything you’ve told us?”

Unlike countless others he had argued with, she didn’t back down in the face of his anger. “First of all, this is all history to me, of course I know more about you than you do about me. Secondly, I don’t see you and your ‘wife’ wearing rings. You don’t know anything about me, because I didn’t tell you. We didn’t know anything about the consequences!”

“What. Is. Your. Name?” Anakin glowered.

She raised her chin, anger written across her face. In another situation, Anakin would have laughed at her attempts to intimidate him as she had to be at least a foot shorter than him. But something about her expression stopped him.

“I am Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, General of the Rebel Alliance.”

“Organa,” Anakin snorted. “You don’t look anything like him.”

“I’m adopted.”

Convenient.”

At this point, both Anakin and Leia had stood up. Before either one of them could say anything else, Padme walked over to Leia and put a hand on her shoulder. Leia recoiled at the touch. “What are you doing?”

“Leia,” Padme said. “Do you know your birth parents?”

Leia stared at her a moment before flicking her gaze between Anakin and Padme. “You don’t mean…”

Anakin was confused. What the hell was Padme implying that had changed Leia’s mood so quickly?

Padme nodded. “I do.”

Leia’s eyes widened slightly then narrowed. She suddenly sprinted over and slapped Anakin across the face. Ow. What the fuck? Before he knew it, she had a blaster against his throat. It was surprising, but she was no match for him. He quickly disarmed her and pinned her against the nearest wall, igniting his lightsaber. He knew he had a bad feeling about her.

“Anakin!” Obi-Wan shouted.

“What are you doing? Stop it!” Padme shouted. At him or Leia, he couldn’t tell.

Leia didn’t answer her. She twisted around so quickly he didn’t have a chance to defend himself before she lifted her knee and kicked him hard. In the balls. Fuck. His vision went white with pain as he fell to the ground in a heap, lightsaber long forgotten.

When he looked back up, there was a green lightsaber in his face. Ahsoka? No, Luke? His son? What was going on?!

“Touch her again and I swear you will regret it,” he said, voice hard. 

Anakin looked beyond Luke and saw Han standing with a protective arm around Leia’s shoulder, whispering something.

“What the fuck was that?! I didn’t even do anything! She attacked me!” Anakin complained. He felt like he was going to shit himself from the pain.

“Luke,” Padme started. “Please put your saber away and step back.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Yes, you can. There must be some misunderstanding. Please, let’s just talk this out.”

Luke finally looked him in the eyes. He hadn’t done so more than twice this whole evening. “Fine. As long as he stays away from us.” Anakin couldn’t even comprehend the level of venom in Luke’s voice. Where had this pure hatred come from?

“Now,” Padme said, once Luke had backed away to stand with Leia and Han. (Who Anakin noticed had a hand on the blaster at his hip.) “What is going on?”

Leia spoke first. “It’s you,” she said at Anakin. “It’s all your fault.”

What is my fault?”

“Everything,” she replied, voice dripping acid.

“Can we back up a bit? What did Padme tell you that made you attack me?!”

“You still can’t see it?”

“See what?”

“I’M YOUR DAUGHTER!”

What? He blinked at her, looked back at Padme, then Leia again. They were the splitting image of one another. But Leia’s anger? The way she attacked him? That was all Anakin.

Speaking of the way she attacked him, his groin twinged in pain. “And this made you attack me because…?”

“You! Alderaan! Everything!” Leia shouted exasperatedly.

“Leia,” Luke warned. “Careful.”

“No, I want to hear this,” Anakin snarled. “What is ‘everything’ that I’ve done?! All you’ve told me so far is that me and everyone I love dies!”

“I never said you die,” Luke replied.

“You said all the Jedi were wiped out and killed. You were raised by your aunt and uncle, separate from your sister! I would have never allowed that had I been alive. I would have never let Obi-Wan die, I would have never let Ahsoka die, I would have never let my wife die! I have to be dead. There’s no other explanation.”

“No,” Luke said, slowly. “You didn’t die.”

“What the fuck do you mean? You said it yourself, Obi-Wan and Yoda were the only Jedi to survive. If I don’t die, then—”

Han interrupted, drawling, “You are Darth Vader, dumbass.”

Chapter Text

Finally, Han had said what they had all been thinking this whole time. This wasn’t some friendly family reunion dinner—they were playing house with Darth Vader. Han might have just permanently screwed their plan of subtlety, but he couldn’t bring himself to regret it.

“What?” breathed Padme. Vader was silent. He still hadn’t gotten up from where Leia had knocked him down.

“It’s true,” Luke confirmed, standing in front of Leia protectively.

“That’s impossible. Anakin would never!” she insisted.

“Never what?” Leia demanded, still under Han’s arm.

“He’d never—” a haunted look overtook Padme’s expression for a moment, like she remembered something horrible. “He’d never do such terrible things. You must be confused.”

“I’m not confused,” Leia said. “I’m sorry, but he will. Vader hunted down and murdered the Jedi. Because of him, The Emperor was able to enslave the entire galaxy to his reign of terror. Vader personally tortured me and forced me to stand by and watch as he obliterated Alderaan with the Death Star! He destroyed an entire planet to make a point. He tortured Han and sold him to Jabba the Hutt. He’s put a bounty out on Luke so big he can hardly walk off base without somebody trying to turn him in or kill him, he—”

Luke took off his glove, once again revealing his prosthetic hand. “He has been hunting me down for four years, almost killed me at least as many times, and chopped off my arm when I refused to join him and Palpatine. My name is common knowledge. He knew exactly who I was and still did it all.” 

Han heard a slight rattling sound after that when Leia dropped her volume as she added, “I know you love him, but he’s a monster.”

Vader didn’t respond, face hidden in his arms as he sat on the floor.

Surprisingly, it was Kenobi who replied first. “I’ve known Anakin since he was a little boy. He is not a monster. You must be mistaken.”

“Luke, Leia, please. Your father is a good man,” Padme insisted, voice growing louder over the ever-increasing rattle. “I don’t know what happened in your timeline, but this one is clearly different. We can’t be talking about the same person.”

Leia laughed bitterly, old pain evident in her voice. “Are you both sure about that? I find it hard to believe someone who could be so cruel was ever truly a ‘good man.’”

Shit, Leia was scary when she was mad. (And kinda hot.) Everything she said was technically right, but Han knew they needed to leave before someone did something they’d regret. Han couldn’t even hear Padme’s response over that incessant rattling. He moved his head down to her ear, voice low enough that the others couldn’t hear. “Leia, that’s enough for now. We need to go. We can handle this later.”

For a second, he was worried she would just turn on him, but she just leaned into his chest and nodded. The rattling stopped. Did Leia do that? Han made eye contact with Luke who nodded, clearly understanding.

“We’ll be back at the Temple. Don’t follow us, please,” Luke said.

“Wait,” Kenobi said before they could leave. “The night guard will be out now, they’ll question you on your way back in.”

“We can handle it,” Han said.

“Please, listen. The Council will be able to figure out where you were, then. They’d learn about who exactly you all are, who Luke and Leia’s parents are.”

“That’s not our problem,” Han replied. He didn’t give a damn about Darth Vader’s reputation; he just wanted to get his friends away from this impending disaster.

As they were about to reach the door and leave, Padme called out. “Luke, Leia, please. I have some spare rooms down the hall, just stay tonight. We can deal with everything else in the morning.”

Luke turned around to look at his mother. He held her stare for a minute and Han was struck by how much she looked like Leia. He also knew they were done for by the look in Luke’s eyes—Luke couldn’t leave her.

Leia knew it too. “We can stay.”

“Where did you say the rooms were?” Han asked bluntly.

“Thank you,” Padme said gratefully. “The rooms are all made up, down the hall on the right. You can let me or Threepio know if you need anything.” 

Han nodded and began walking toward the rooms, one arm around Leia and the other grabbing Luke’s arm to pull him away from whatever was about to go down. As they walked down the hall, he heard Padme speak again.

Obi-Wan,” she said. “If you want to stay as well, you’re welcome to. I have plenty of space.”

“I don’t want to impose,” Kenobi replied.

“Please,” Vader spoke for this first time, voice thick. “Stay.”

Kenobi looked down at his former student, hunched over on the floor. Padme stood protectively above him, resting a hand on top of his head.

 “Okay,” he said quietly. “I’ll stay.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Luke opted to spend some time in his own room to process what just happened, so Leia and Han had the rest of the night to themselves. Han couldn’t help but burst out into laughter the second the door slid shut behind them.

“What?” Leia asked.

“That was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life, Princess!”

“What do you mean?” She responded, not bothering to hide her annoyance.

“I mean, you just charged him! Darth Vader!”

She smiled slowly. “Yeah, I did.”

“And you-” Han could barely speak at this point. “You kicked him in the balls! Leia, that looked so painful, I felt it!”

“You probably deserved it,” Leia said, laughing, but Han wasn’t done.

“Don’t get me wrong, it was great, but don’t you want to be born? I’m not sure it’s going to be possible anymore!”

At that, Leia began to laugh so hard that she fell against Han. They collapsed in a pile on the bed, both still laughing.

Leia traced her hand alongside Han’s face. “What are we going to do?”

His arm already around her, Han rubbed her shoulder. “Whatever you want to do.”

Whatever I want?” She asked, smiling wryly, hand moving to his chest.

“Always,” he murmured.

She rolled over and kissed him.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

A short while later, there was a knock on their door, waking Han up. “What?” he called out gruffly.

“It’s me,” replied Luke.

Han groaned. “One minute.” 

Looking down at Leia, he kissed her forehead before whispering, “Luke is here.”

“Ugh, I fell asleep. Why didn’t you wake me up?”

“I was asleep too, your Highness. Besides, I’m sure you were tired after, y’know, everything that happened tonight.”

Leia rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say, hotshot.”

Han leaned in to kiss her, smiling against her lips. 

They were interrupted by Luke knocking again. “Guys, I know what you’re doing. Can you please stop?”

Han laughed while Leia turned bright red.

“My bad, kid!”

Han pulled on his shirt from before as he walked over to the door. He turned back to check that Leia was decent before he let Luke in.

Luke came in with a hand over his eyes and accidentally walked straight into Han. “Luke, it’s fine,” Leia said.

“Well, I wasn’t sure,” he replied shortly. “Seriously, I can’t even leave you alone for a few hours?”

“It’s the middle of the night, Luke. Or,” she checked the clock, “really early in the morning. What’s wrong?”

“Um... everything?”

Leia walked over and wrapped an arm around Luke’s shoulders. “I know,” she said as he leaned into her embrace. “But at least now I have a little brother.”

“I’m the same age as you.”

“But I was definitely born first.”

“Maybe,” Luke said, a grin growing on his face.

Han didn’t want to interrupt their moment, so he quietly left the room to get a glass of water from the kitchen. He certainly did not want to ask Threepio for help.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

As he was walking back, he heard a sob. Curious, he snuck toward the room where he heard it coming from. The door was cracked.

Han peeked inside and saw what looked like Padme and Vader standing in the dark. Padme was holding Vader while he rested his head in the crook of her neck. Han was still confused about where the sob came from until it happened again.

It was Vader.

Darth Vader, who not 12 hours ago drew his lightsaber against Leia, against his daughter, was sobbing against his wife’s shoulder. One of her hands was wound up in his hair and the other rested on his waist. Her eyes were shut as she spoke softly in his ear.

Han knew that he should turn around and continue on back to Leia and Luke, but he couldn’t look away. He never thought he’d feel pity for Vader, but here he was. The man looked absolutely pathetic, like he was genuinely upset that he would become the monster Leia described. (Han couldn’t believe he used to have a childhood crush on this man.)

Had Luke not been so certain when he told them who Vader really was, Han wasn’t sure he would be able to believe that Anakin Skywalker, hero of the Republic, was the same person who had done everything Vader had done.

Right as he was about to turn and leave, they shifted and Han caught a glimpse of Anakin’s face. He looks so young.

Then Han remembered how young Leia was when Vader tortured her and blew up her planet, the look in her eyes anytime something reminded her of Alderaan; he remembered Luke’s scream when Vader murdered Kenobi, the scars on his arm from getting his fucking hand chopped off; he remembered his own torture at Vader’s hands, how he never even asked him any questions.

He looked back at Anakin. Vader.

Han turned around and walked away, almost bumping into Kenobi. 

“What are you doing?” Kenobi asked.

Han held up the glasses. “Just getting some water. What are you doing?”

Kenobi sighed. “I wanted to go check on Anakin. After what Leia said… I don’t doubt she believed it was true, but I’m sure Anakin won’t react well.”

“Maybe he won’t react well because he knows it’s true,” Han said aggressively. Why was everybody babying Vader when it was Luke and Leia who were traumatized by him? When everybody else had either been tortured or killed by him? “Besides, I don’t think you want to talk to him right now.”

“And why is that?”

“Trust me. I just walked by his room. It looked like his wife was handling it.”

Kenobi looked downward. “His wife,” he muttered. “I still can’t understand why he didn’t tell me.”

“I don’t know, maybe because he knew it wouldn’t end well if you knew.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, it doesn’t sound like you Jedi weren’t exactly going to be sending him flowers after the wedding.”

“But I was his master. I practically raised him. He’s like my-” Kenobi hesitated. “He’s my friend. He should know that he can trust me.”

“I don’t know, man,” Han replied.

“Could I ask you a question?”

Han sighed. Why was he of all people getting involved in all these dead people’s emotional issues? “Shoot.”

“Can you speak with Luke and Leia for me?”

Of course that’s what he wanted. Why didn’t anybody ever ask him an easy question, like “Hey Han, how do you get your hair to look so lucious and soft and perfect?” To which he would reply, “Genetics, baby.” (That was a lie—Chewie had a very intense haircare system and forced Han to follow suit). 

“Why?”

Kenobi stroked his beard. “There’s no subtle way to say this. I need you to convince Luke and, well, Leia especially to be less harsh the next time we discuss your history.”

“Why would I do that? Everything they said was true. If anything, they went easy on him.”

“Again, I don’t doubt that you all believe it’s true. But we won’t be able to make any progress like this.” He took a deep breath. “Anakin, he’s—well, he’s... sensitive.”

Han snorted. “So that’s what happened tonight? He was too sensitive? Forgive me for not feeling sorry for a guy who’s tortured me and my best friends.” He also murdered Kenobi, but apparently the Negotiator was choosing to overlook that.

“I can’t speak for your Vader, but the Anakin I know would never do such a thing.”

“Sure he wouldn’t. He just had a bad dream and became a mass murderer overnight. That makes sense.”

Kenobi ignored him. “Besides, can’t you see how unproductive our conversation was tonight? If we can all agree to be civil, I’m sure we can find a solution soon.”

Han hated to admit it, but the old man had a point. If Vader was going to throw a fit every time somebody pointed out his crimes against the galaxy, it would take forever to finish this and get home. 

“Fine. I’ll talk to them. But only if you tell him to stop being such a little—”

Deadpanning, Kenobi cut him off. “You think I haven’t tried?”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………...

Finally, Han made it back to his room. Luke and Leia were still talking about something, but they stopped when he stepped inside. “Where were you?” Leia asked.

“I just went to get some water,” he said, gesturing at the glass in his hand.

“It took you that long?”

“Well, Princess, you know I like to take my time,” Han smirked. “Anyways, what were you two talking about?”

“We were just trying to piece together our pasts,” Luke said. “We must have been separated as infants, because neither of us have any memories in common.”

“Did you go over what happened a few years ago?” Han chuckled. “You know, when you two made out in front of Chewie, me, Artoo, Threepio, who knows what other rebels?”

Leia glared at him. “Fuck off, asshole.”

“You kiss your brother with that mouth?”

This time Luke glared at him. “Give it a rest, Han.”

“Sorry, kid, I just think it’s funny that you had a crush on your twin sister for all that time. I mean, I know the dating scene on Tatooine isn’t the best, but really? You could’ve got with anybody in the Rebellion and you tried to make a move on your sister?” 

Luke rolled his eyes, heroically ignoring Han’s comments about his crush. “Actually, I was just trying to make you jealous.”

Han blinked. “You were what now?”

“I was trying to make you jealous.”

“You were trying to make me jealous?”

Luke appeared amused at Han’s confusion. “Don’t let it get to your head. I got over it real quick.”

“What do you mean you got over it ‘real quick’? What happened? What did I do?!” Han spluttered, a little offended.

“Nah, you’re just not my type.”

“Not your type?! I’m everyone’s type!”

“Get over yourself, hotshot.” Leia taunted.

Han turned to look in full seriousness. “Did Chewie scare you away? He does that sometimes.” 

Chewie’s ability to scare away dates and hook-ups was only rivalled by Threepio’s horrendous timing. Except Threepio never threatened to rip the arms off of somebody he didn’t approve of.

Luke rolled his eyes and said nothing while Han continued spiraling. Was he losing his touch?

“Well, unfortunately, you seem to be my type,” Leia grimaced. “Now can we get back on track to figuring out what we need to do?”

“Whatever you want,” Han said echoing their previous conversation as he remembered what had followed that conversation.

She smacked his shoulder. “I’m serious. We need a plan.”

“I think we need to talk to them again,” Luke said.

“Talk to who?” Leia asked. 

“You know who. We need to talk to our parents.”

Your parents,” Leia muttered.

“What?”

“My parents are still Breha and Bail Organa. Vader is just a glorified sperm donor.”

“And Padme?” Luke asked.

“I don’t know,” Leia said quietly. “I think I remember her. She was very beautiful. Not her face, exactly, it was like a feeling. Kind… but sad. I just—”

“You don’t want to betray Breha by accepting that Padme is your mother?” Luke said gently.

Leia nodded. “Exactly.”

Han interrupted, “Why does it have to be one or the other?”

“What do you mean?” Leia’s eyes narrowed.

“Han’s right,” said Luke. “Breha, Padme—they can both be your mother. There’s no rule saying you have to have just one mom.” 

She considered that for a moment, her face indiscernible. “I suppose there isn’t.”

Han grimaced, knowing Leia wouldn’t appreciate what he said next. “Speaking of it, I saw them.”

“What do you mean? Did they say anything to you?”

“No. Well, Kenobi did. But that’s not the point right now.”

“Ben? You saw Ben?” Luke exclaimed.

“Han, just say it,” Leia said.

“Okay, so I didn’t see them see them, but like, I saw them. In their bedroom, I think.” Han cleared his throat. This was coming out all wrong. “Hugging. Vader, he was crying. It was not a pretty sight, to say the least.”

“Vader?” Leia said dubiously, eyebrows raised. “Crying?”

“Yes. That’s when I ran into Kenobi. Again, really awkward. He kind of just started talking at me and I got trapped, I had to listen. Anyways, he thinks that this will work out better if the next time we discuss everything with them—although I say we fuck it and go straight to the Jedi who can actually get us home—we should make an effort to be... nicer.”

“Nicer?!” Leia exclaimed, raising her voice to an almost dangerous level. She got to her feet, like she was about to go attack Vader again.

“Not that I don’t think he deserves everything you said! He does,” Han insisted quickly. He didn’t need Leia to turn against him too. “But sweetheart, Vader was a mess. It’s been, what? At least four hours since you yelled at him? He was crying on your mother’s shoulder like a baby. We won’t make much progress if everytime you speak to him he needs hours of therapy just to stop crying.”

“And we don’t?” Leia asked. “After everything he’s done.”

“Look, your worship, you don’t have to like it. But aren’t you the one who always wants us to get things done? We can’t do that if you keep making your dad cry, Princess.”

“Fine,” Leia grumbled. “I’ll be nice to the mass murderer.”

Chapter Text

Anakin woke up around seven in the morning. He rolled over in the bed, turning toward Padme. Burying his face in her hair, he wrapped his arms around her and breathed in.

“Morning,” he murmured as he pressed a kiss to her shoulder.

She woke up slowly and smiled as she turned around and kissed him. He pulled her even closer and deepened the kiss. Half asleep, she climbed on top of him, threading her fingers through his hair. Just as he was about to flip over, someone knocked on the door.

Anakin let out an annoyed sigh. Threepio had the worst timing. “Come in.”

As the door opened and Threepio walked in, Padme practically jumped off Anakin like he was made of lava and shot back to her side of the bed, taking the covers with her. What the hell? He sat up, about to give the droid a piece of his mind when he saw Obi-Wan standing in the doorway.

Shit.

Obi-Wan just saw him with Padme. Everything Anakin had done to hide their relationship, and he gets caught with her on top of him?! His career as a Jedi was over now. There was literally no platonic explanation as to why he was in bed making out shirtless with Padme. He was fucked.

Obi-Wan cleared his throat awkwardly. He didn’t meet Anakin’s eye. “Sorry to interrupt, but your children are awake. If we’re going to talk more, we need to do it soon before the Council starts wondering why you’ve been gone so long.”

Children?

Oh. Right. It was all coming back now. Obi-Wan knew about Padme, and Anakin had adult children from the future who apparently hated his guts. Fuck. Anakin groaned and leaned forward so his head rested in his hands.

He vaguely heard Padme reply something about them being out in a minute. Then the door shut as Obi-Wan left. He didn’t look up, even when he felt Padme’s hands on his back as she leaned in behind him. “Ani, Obi-Wan is right. We need to get going.”

“I can’t believe I forgot.”

“You had a long night. It’s okay.” She combed her fingers through his tangled hair.

Anakin turned around and rested his head on her shoulder, face in the crook of her neck. He didn’t think it was possible to cry anymore (and thank force Obi-Wan hadn’t seen him then), but he wondered if it would have been better if he could. All he felt was a heavy pit of despair in his stomach. It was almost like he needed to vomit, but Anakin knew that wasn’t it—it was guilt, fear, a deep sense of wrongness. He felt like he deserved it.

The worst part was that he could believe everything Leia had accused him of last night. Padme tried to comfort him, saying she “knew he would never do something like that,” but Anakin was scared that he could. He slaughtered those Tuskens two years ago. He knew it was wrong but still couldn’t bring himself to regret it. They had murdered his mother.

What if something like that happened to Padme? Anakin couldn’t live without her. Luke had said she died shortly after he was born—would that be enough to push him over the edge? For him to destroy everything he knew and loved? Abandon his children? Anakin truly didn’t know what he would do if that happened.

It terrified him.

“I love you,” he whispered into Padme’s neck. He could smell her perfume. “I’m sorry.”

“I love you too,” she whispered back as she continued stroking his hair, running her other hand up and down his back. “It’ll be better today.”

She then kissed his forehead and got up to get ready for the day. Anakin pulled on some spare clothes from his drawer before he went to help Padme with her hair.

They sat in silence as he methodically braided and twisted her hair into a casual style—Padme taught him not long after they were married. He loved her hair and the repetitive activity usually calmed him down, especially after an anxiety attack like he had last night.

A short time later, they were both ready, but Anakin froze before the door. How could he go out there and face everybody after last night? He considered jumping out the window, stealing a ship, and joining Hondo’s pirate crew (Obi-Wan would hate that). Anything would be better than what he was about to do instead. But then Padme came up next to him and gave him a small smile.

He opened the door.

Obi-Wan was sitting in the kitchen reading a holopad while Leia and Han were practically shouting as they argued. Luke looked like he was trying to break it up but couldn’t stop laughing enough to actually get a word in.

Obi-Wan made eye contact with him and did his classic “save me” face, typically reserved for on the battlefield or when he encountered politicians. Anakin rolled his eyes and walked over to get a cup of coffee. Padme sat next to Obi-Wan, probably to discuss anything that had happened in the Senate recently.

While taking his first sip, Anakin realized that the kitchen had fallen silent. He looked up to find Luke, Leia, and Han staring at him while Obi-Wan and Padme stared at them. Well, there it was. Anakin had wondered how long they would go on happily once they realized that “Darth Vader” was in the kitchen—apparently, they wouldn’t wait for him to finish his coffee.

He grabbed some bagels, spreading peanut butter on his and cream cheese on Padme’s, as he walked back to the kitchen table. “Obi-Wan said you wanted to talk?”

“Well, want is a strong word, but—” Leia began before Luke lightly touched her shoulder, and she stopped a moment. When she spoke again, her voice was devoid of all emotion, like a bored Senator. “But yes, we need to discuss things.”

 Okay, so Leia definitely still hated him. “What things?”

“Well, how to stop everything that happened in our time from happening in your time,” Luke said, as if it was obvious.

Leia’s brow furrowed and she pressed her lips into a thin line. Even scowling, she looked so much like Padme. Actually, especially when she was scowling. The entire situation was so strange, though—his children were younger than his wife but older than himself. He passed a blueberry bagel (with strawberry cream cheese) to Padme across the table.

“How do you think we can do that?” Padme asked, absentmindedly accepting the bagel from Anakin.

“Well…” Luke said, hesitating as he thought. “Like Leia said yesterday, it’s really complicated.”

Obi-Wan frowned. “You said the Senate voted on this? To turn themselves into an Empire?”

“It was unanimous,” Leia confirmed.

“Unanimous?” Padme asked. “I thought you said there was opposition? I would have never voted in support of such a thing.”

“It wouldn’t have been safe for anybody to vote against it, even those who wanted to. You, my father, and Mon Mothma were instrumental in forming the Rebellion. But everything had to be done from the inside.”

“Your father? But last night—”

“My father, Bail Organa,” Leia said in a tone that left no room for discussion. Anakin felt that familiar bubble of rage in his stomach. Leia was his daughter, not Organa’s. 

“Anyways, I can get you a list of all Rebel supporters or sympathizers that I know of right now. Possibly a few others down the line, but I’m not sure I want to risk that information falling into the wrong hands.” Leia pointedly avoided looking at Anakin.

“Alright,” Anakin said loudly after he finished the last bite of his first bagel. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Huh?” Han asked blankly. 

“You all obviously think I’m the problem here. I’m not,” Anakin paused as he took a bite of his next bagel. “I’m not denying what you said about your Darth Vader. But I’m not him.”

Luke looked down at his own bagel, voice quiet and determined. He was so clearly Padme’s son, and the resigned expression on his face broke Anakin’s heart. “But you will be.”

“No,” Anakin said firmly. “I won’t be. Not in this timeline.”

Padme squeezed his hand and he saw Obi-Wan give him a supportive head nod. Wow, he thought as he sipped his coffee. Was he really that pathetic? Saying he wasn’t going to become a psychopath and kill everyone he loved was an accomplishment? Fuck, maybe he had more issues that he thought.

“Really? We’re just supposed to take your word for it?” Leia asked, incredulous. “Forgive me, but I’m going to need stronger assurance than that.”

“Well, what do you want me to do?!” He gestured angrily with his bagel.

“I don’t know!” she shouted. Anakin watched Han “discreetly” grab her hand. She looked at him a moment, then sighed. “I don’t know. I don’t think I can’t trust you.”

She really hated him. Anakin knew that. But a small, stupid part of him had held out hope that her reaction last night was just that—a reaction. Not this deep hatred. Even Luke, who had so far been much more receptive to Anakin and Padme, didn’t deny what his sister was saying.

And what about Luke’s response after their sparring session on the Negotiator? Luke had said he was just out of practice, but now Anakin suspected he might have been scared—scared his own father would try to kill him again. You couldn’t fake that fear.

“Then trust me,” Obi-Wan said. Did Obi-Wan just stick up for him?

“Excuse me?” Leia asked.

“You said you couldn’t trust Anakin’s word. Can you trust mine?”

Leia looked over at Luke. Well, that isn’t good. They had yet another silent conversation. Anakin wondered how they hadn’t realized they were siblings before, because apparently these conversations were pretty typical behavior if Han’s reaction was anything to go by.

Anakin took the pause in conversation to use the force and summon an apple from the kitchen while Obi-Wan was too distracted to chide him about it. What did “frivolous use of the force” matter when, apparently, he was going to fall to the dark side and kill all his friends and family?

“If it came to it, could you stop him?” Leia said, the implications heavy.

“Hey!” whispered Luke. “That wasn’t what I meant!” 

“Leia…” Padme started.

“No.” She looked directly at Obi-Wan. “If you had to, could you stop him before he could cause so much destruction?”

Obi-Wan looked at him. “I- Anakin was my Padawan, I’ve known him for over ten years. I practically raised him. I couldn’t—I couldn’t do what you’re asking.”

“Then we can’t trust you.”

Padme stood up then, voice steadying in resolve despite her obvious frustration. “So because Obi-Wan won’t kill Anakin, he can’t be trusted? Could you kill Luke? Because that’s what you’re asking of him.”

“Don’t you dare compare them, Luke would never—

Anakin interrupted, “Obi-Wan, please.”

“What?!” Padme asked. “Anakin, you can’t be serious.”

“If I-” He swallowed a bite of bagel. “If I ever become that monster, promise me you’ll stop me. By any means necessary.”

“I won’t kill you. I can’t.”

“Do whatever you have to do—trap me, lock me up, kill me if it comes to it. But you can not let Vader happen.” 

“It won’t come to that.”

Anakin stared at him, holding his bagel midair impatiently, a splotch of peanut butter about to fall.

“I won’t let it.”

Anakin nodded and took another bite before turning toward Leia. “Is that good enough for you?”

She looked at Luke with clear hesitancy. When Luke offered some affirmation, she turned back to Anakin, a fixed look in her eyes. “I suppose we can work together. For now.”

Anakin’s life was unpredictable, but he definitely didn’t expect that he would be begging Obi-Wan to kill him if it seemed like he was about to go off the deep end and slaughter the Jedi before he had finished his cup of coffee.

Anakin didn’t know much about his future children, but he knew they weren’t liars. Anakin knew that he had to have done horrible things in their life. Hell, he knew that he had done horrible things in his own past. Still, the unfairness of their treatment stung. He knew they despised what Vader had done, but how long would it take them to realize he was Anakin right now?

“It’s not going to come to that,” Padme agreed, but she moved on and turned toward their children. “What’s most important to stop this all from happening is to know how much time we have. When does the Empire officially come to power in your time?

“Empire Day,” all three said at once, like it had been drilled into their head since childhood.

“And when is that?”

“Two days before our birthday,” Luke said.

“You have the same birthday?” Padme asked, a smile overtaking her previous frown. “You’re twins?”

“Apparently,” Leia replied.

Padme considered that before getting right back on track. “That’s about a year from now, then. And you said the Jedi are destroyed around the same time?”

“Right.”

“Okay, so we have some time at least. The first step needs to be protecting the Jedi from the clones so that massacre never happens.”

Luke interrupted, “You mean freeing the clones from Palpatine and the Jedi.”

“Yes, sorry, you’re right. The first step needs to be getting those chips removed. You all should get that information to the Council soon, but keep it behind closed doors. Given how many senators voted in favor of the Empire, I don’t think we can trust them with that information.”

As Anakin finished his second bagel, he noticed that Padme hadn’t touched hers. He picked it up and placed it in her hands again. Leia gave him a death stare as he took Padme’s hands.

“I’ll speak with Rex and the 501st too. They deserve to know they have fucking slave chips in their heads.” With everything about Vader, he didn’t even have time to process what his men had going on right now that they didn’t even know about.

Han spoke in the same casual tone as he had when he revealed Vader’s identity the night before. “And once that’s done, you must kill Palpatine.”

Padme frowned. “Shouldn’t we try to remove him from office? Surely if we can prove he’s a Sith lord—who has orchestrated this entire war and is in league with the Separatists—we will have the Senate’s support.”

“No,” Leia said firmly. “He needs to be killed. He’s too dangerous to be kept alive. You’ll waste precious time with politics here. If he sees it coming, he’ll be able to defend himself or turn the galaxy against the Jedi again. It’s best to kill him before he’s any the wiser about the clones or us or anything. Find proof he was evil after he’s dead.”

“Kill him?” Padme asked. “In cold blood? Regardless of morals, wouldn’t it be safer and easier to take the legal route first? If something were to happen, it would look like the Jedi turned bad and tried to assassinate the leader of the Republic.”

“Then the Jedi better not fail.” A weary look took over Leia’s expression, that of someone who had been fighting for far too long and from too young an age. “Trust me, it’s the right thing to do.”

Padme was an idealist, and although it was one of his favorite things about her, Anakin had to side with their daughter here (be it for slightly different reasons). Palpatine had betrayed him. He took Anakin in, acted as a mentor, pretended he cared—yet all the while he only meant to enslave Anakin to him and the dark side. And if he really was the Sith lord they had been looking for since Anakin was nine, the Jedi would agree he needed to be eliminated. And Anakin wanted to be there when it happened.

He wanted to be the one to drive a lightsaber through his heart.

“Anakin and I will discuss this with the Council and begin removing chips from clones,” Obi-Wan said, interrupting Anakin’s murderous train of thought. “Although, there are tens of thousands of active clone troopers, not to mention the Senate just ordered the creation of more. It may take some time.”

“If there’s a way to activate them all at once, there has to be a way to access them all…” Luke trailed off.

“And if we can access them all, we can shut them all down at once,” Anakin finished, looking over at his son. “But we need to be careful, in case there’s a failsafe like the exploding chips on Tatooine.” 

“Right,” Luke said. After a beat of silence, he nervously continued, “Obi-Wan mentioned you grew up there too?” 

Anakin held back a groan. Of course Obi-Wan would’ve told Luke that. “Yeah, I did. Left when I was nine though.”

“Lucky. I didn’t leave until I was nineteen,” Luke replied bitterly.

“Nineteen, that's quite a long time,” Obi Wan mused. “From what I can remember, Tatooine is just sand as far as you can see. Actually, when we visited Alderaan, it was the first time Anakin had ever seen snow. He refused to leave the ship or go outside for hours, because he thought the world was ending. I can’t imagine what kind of an adjustment it was for you to leave after so long.”

“I saw snow for the first time on Hoth,” he shuddered, looking over at Han. “It wasn’t an experience I want to have again. At least on Tatooine, I had my sand.”

Anakin had been willing to let Luke speak about his childhood uninterrupted, but now? He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Padme squeezed his hand in warning, but this was too ridiculous to let go. “I’m sorry, wh-”

Righteously indignant, Leia beat him to it. “You miss the sand?! The sand!”

Obi-Wan and Padme burst out into laughter. Anakin glowered.

“What?” Luke asked defensively. “Sand is fun! And it’s so soft and warm, too. Of course, sandstorms aren’t the best, but they’re not so bad if you stay inside.”

“How the hell did you survive 19 years of Tatooine and come out of it liking sand?” Anakin couldn’t believe this. Maybe they had been lying this whole time, because that was impossible. “It’s coarse, rough, irritating…”

“It gets everywhere,” Leia insisted.

Exactly,” he agreed. At least one of his children had some sense. His son though? Liking sand? That had to be an Amidala gene, because there’s no way he got that from Anakin.

Maybe if Anakin had been the one to raise him, instead of Beru and fucking Owen, Luke would’ve had the sense to understand how horrible sand is. Anakin downed the last of his coffee, wishing he had grabbed something stronger.

“I don’t know how you managed to stay there for nineteen years,” Leia said. “I could barely handle a week.”

“You were on Tatooine too?!” Anakin said. He thought she had grown up as Alderaanian royalty. Royalty didn’t visit Tatooine. He had hoped that one of his children was spared ever having to visit the hellscape that is his home planet.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t necessarily have a choice,” Leia deadpanned.

“We had to rescue Han!” Luke insisted.

“Kid,” Han warned. “Watch it.”

That certainly got Anakin’s attention. They were seriously still trying to hide things? Did they not just have a whole ass conversation about why they didn’t have to do that anymore? When he begged Obi-Wan to kill him?

“Why did you have to rescue Han?” Padme asked.

“Well, he was being held frozen in carbonite for almost a year by Jabba after Darth—”

So that’s why Han was trying to stop him. They were afraid of setting him off on another breakdown. Did they think he was a youngling? He was a Jedi Knight and a General for the Galactic Republic for force’ sake! Not to mention their father! Didn’t that earn him a little respect? (Not that he had much experience with fathers, in general).

“—Vader captured him on Bespin,” Luke finished slowly, sliding down in his seat, clearly realizing his mistake.

“Of course, none of that would have happened if Vader hadn’t been setting a trap to get Luke to come to him,” Han grumbled.

“Or if Han hadn’t owed Jabba a gazillion credits,” Leia added.

Anakin jerked his head up, concerned. “You owed Jabba?”

“Hello,” Han pointed a finger at himself dramatically, “smuggler!”

“Just spice!” Luke clarified, eyes darting to Han, “...right?”

“Who do you think I am? Of course it was just spice. Very good spice, I might add.”

Ignoring Han, Anakin turned to his daughter. “You married a smuggler?”

Padme smacked his arm, whispering “Anakin! Don’t be rude!”

“As a matter of fact...” Han said with a grin, wrapping an arm around Leia.

She shrugged out of his embrace. “We’re not married.”

“Oh, c’mon, sweetheart!” Han sounded offended.

“So... you’re not together?” Anakin asked slowly. He was so confused. They certainly acted married.

Leia grimaced. “We’re together. Unfortunately.”

“What can I say?” Han successfully wrapped his arm around Leia. “Guess the Princess has a thing for scoundrels.”

Anakin glared, but Padme laughed. “I’m happy for you, Leia. Truly.”

Leia smiled softly, looking up at Padme. (Because she was that short) It was the most genuine smile that Anakin had seen from her this entire time. If he thought she looked like Padme when she scowled, it was nothing compared to how she looked smiling.

She really looked like her mother when she smiled like that.

Anakin glanced over at Luke, who was holding his sides in silent laughter. Anakin could’ve sworn he saw tears in the corner of his eyes.

“What are you laughing at, farmboy?” Han demanded.

“Nothing,” Luke blurted.

“Mhm,” Han hummed. “I’m sure.”

“How long have you all known each other?” Padme questioned, bringing everyone back on topic.

“Four years now,” Leia replied, still smiling a bit. “General Kenobi, Luke, Han, and Chewie snuck into the Death Star to rescue me four years ago. Of course, they had no plan or back up so we ended up in the trash receptor.”

“That was her highness’s plan,” Han clarified, earning himself another glare from Leia. She didn’t move away from his arm, though.

Four years ago? His children had only known each other for four years? For most of their lives, they were separate. And the short time they did seem to have known each other sounded like it was spent during a war. A war against Vader, Anakin, their father.

Apparently thinking the same thing as him, Padme turned away from her polite get-to-know-you questions, and asked bluntly, “Why did you two grow up separately?”

Leia’s smile was quickly replaced by a frown that looked much more akin to something Anakin would do. “I don’t know. We were babies, so it’s not exactly like we remember it.”

“Luke, you mentioned that Obi-Wan was with you on Tatooine,” Padme said. “Did he explain anything?”

Luke looked over at Obi-Wan, a suspiciously neutral expression on his face. “He didn’t tell me anything.”

Concerned, Obi-Wan replied, “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you never told me Vader was my father—you actually told me Vader killed my father—and you never said a word about Leia. Even when we literally went to rescue her from Vader on the Death Star, nothing. You hid my sister from me.” Luke’s face twisted as he spoke, like he had eaten something sour.

“Luke,” Obi-Wan said softly, surprised. “I can’t speak for my future self’s actions, and I know it doesn’t change anything, but I’m sorry. I’m sure I would never have done anything to intentionally hurt you. You’re Anakin’s son, you’re like family.”

“I know,” he looked him in the eye, and if Obi-Wan’s reaction was anything to go by, Luke wasn’t convinced by his apology. “I just don’t know if I can trust you anymore.”

Luke might not have been impressed, but that was damn near the most emotion Anakin had seen Obi-Wan express for him in his whole life. If Luke was like family, what did that make Anakin? Did Obi-Wan consider Anakin family? (Anakin certainly considered Obi-Wan family, but there was no way in hell he was admitting that first).

Obi-Wan’s face fell back to a stony neutral as he processed Luke’s rejection. Anakin felt bad for him, he really did. But he felt worse that Obi-Wan had helped hide Luke’s real family from him.

“We’re going to make sure that never happens in this timeline,” Padme declared. “You will grow up together, loved, with us.”

Luke’s face was hopeful in response to that but Leia’s fell. She looked like she was going to say something when there was an insistent knocking on the door.

“Senator Amidala, is Master Skywalker there?” Ahsoka’s muffled voice shouted, clearly panicked. Ahsoka didn’t panic.

Shooting to his feet, Anakin ran over and opened the door. “Snips?! What’s wrong?”

“Anakin,” she said. (Okay, that was a red flag. She never called him Anakin.) “You need to get back to the Council, quickly.”

“Did something happen? Did they figure something out about how to get everyone back to their own time?” Anakin hoped they didn’t. His children might hate him at the moment, but he wasn’t sure if he could let them go so soon.

“No, I mean, I don’t know. But you’re in trouble.”

“Trouble?” Padme’s stern tone was a sharp contrast to its warmth from before. “What kind of trouble?”

Ahsoka glanced behind him at everybody in the kitchen. “I overheard Master Windu and Master Fisto talking…” she trailed off.

“Hey, talk to me. What is it?” Anakin placed his hands on her shoulders. It wasn’t like Ahsoka to be so vague.

“I think they know,” she said quietly, “and they’re going to kick you out.”

“What?”

“I said, they know! They’re going to kick you out!”

“That can’t be true, as far as they know, I haven’t done anything wrong.”

She gave him such an Obi-Wan look and nodded her head toward Luke. “Really? Nothing?” 

“There’s no way they could know about that!” he insisted.

“Because you’re so good at being subtle. Anyways, the Council sent me to go get you—like they knew you were with Padme…” she trailed off. “What’s going to happen to me if you leave?” she asked quietly, like she didn’t mean to say it out loud.

Anakin always knew that his marriage with Padme might be exposed one day, but he had always known that he would choose his wife over the Jedi every day—but that was before he had a Padawan. Anakin couldn’t just abandon Ahsoka by leaving the order. He didn’t know what would happen if the Jedi actually kicked him out. Would Obi-Wan continue her training?

Not knowing what to say, Anakin opened his arms and hugged her. She froze at first, and he was scared that he did the wrong thing (she would slap at least as hard as Leia). Then she relaxed and leaned closer, hugging him back. She had gotten taller, but she was still tiny compared to him. Sometimes Anakin forgot how young his Padawan was to be dealing with all the bullshit that was the Clone Wars.

He then remembered what Leia said, that Ahsoka died fighting him, and he hugged her tighter. She was family and he would do whatever it took to keep her and everybody else safe, even from himself.

Chapter Text

Han wasn’t really sure what all had just happened, but pretty soon after Ahsoka burst in and yelled at Anakin, he hugged her. It was strangely...sweet? Almost heartwarming, until Han remembered who Anakin was. Seeing Vader be all disgustingly soft with his wife was one thing, but this was almost worse—he was almost like a father? Gross.

“If you all are going to be meeting the Council,” Padme said, breaking the silence, “you’re probably going to want new clothes.”

Leia quickly turned away from where Vader had hugged Ahsoka, face a stony neutral as she addressed her mother. “That would be appreciated, if it’s not too much trouble.”

Vader, who was still standing with Ahsoka, laughed. “Trust me, it won’t be any trouble.”

Padme stared at each of the three of them a moment. When her gaze landed on Han, he looked away, uncomfortable as she stared at him.

“I should be able to get something in all of your sizes—Luke, the sleeves might be a little long but that can be fixed quickly. Is there anything in particular you all would want?”

“We’re not picky,” Leia said. “Anything clean and practical would be appreciated.”

“That’s simple enough,” Padme said, nodding her head as she thought. “Leia, do you want to come with me and pick something out for yourself?”

Leia’s expression didn’t change, but Han knew she was internally rolling her eyes. He knew that for all her fancy hairstyles and ceremonial dresses, Leia really didn’t give two shits about fashion. Luke, however, loved clothes—especially his knee high boots.

Padme picked up on Leia’s hesitation. Because she was a politician, Han knew she had to be skilled at keeping a neutral expression, but something in her eyes seemed disappointed. It reminded him of Leia’s face whenever Luke complained about anything.

Fortunately, Luke responded with so much enthusiasm—enough to startle Han. He instinctively put one arm in front of Leia (who now appeared mildly amused) and the other toward the blaster at his hip.

“Actually, could I come with you? I mostly have flight suits and uniforms back on base and never have many options back home.”

Padme smiled. “Of course.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Han tugged his new pants on, looking at his reflection in the mirror. They were a little tight in the thighs, but other than that, Padme had gotten his size perfectly. He wondered where she got the clothes... oh shit. They were probably from her husband. Her husband better known as Darth fucking Vader. Han was wearing Darth Vader’s pants. He turned around, smirking a bit, when a dangerous thought popped into his head. What if these were pants that Vader had fu— 

“Han!” Leia called, snapping Han out of his spiralling thoughts. “Could you come in here a minute?”

“Give me a minute,” Han shouted as he readjusted his pants.

When he walked out of the bathroom into his shared room with Leia, she was standing with her back to him, long hair loose. Han wasn’t sure he had ever seen her with her hair down before—maybe once or twice during their time on the Falcon before arriving at Bespin. He had asked her about it once, and she told him it was inconvenient and annoying; he then asked her why she didn’t just chop it all off, and she hit him in the face with a pillow.

“Hello? Han?” Leia said when she turned around. “You with me?”

“What? Yeah, sorry Princess. What did you need?”

“This zipper at the back of my shirt,” she gestured, “I can’t get it up.”

Han grinned. “I’ve never had any troubles with that.”

“Watch it, flyboy, or I might kick you in the balls too.”

Han gulped. Leia was not messing around this morning. He walked over and slowly zipped up the shirt, careful to move her hair out of the way. He rested one hand on her shoulder and the other on her waist when he was done, but hesitated to kiss her after her threat.

She turned around, suspicious. “Why are you so quiet?”

“You said to watch it.”

“Relax,” she pulled him down for a kiss as she smiled. Han brought his other hand to the back of her head as he moved even closer. Then she pulled back. “Don’t, I finally got it all brushed out.”

Han stopped immediately. He knew from living with Chewie not to mess with someone’s hair routine, or else they might rip off your arms (or, in this case, kick you in the balls).

He looked back up to see an amused expression on Leia’s face. “What?”

“Your outfit,” was all she said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s just different than usual. More put together.”

“Hey now, what’s wrong with my usual clothes?” he said, quickly looking down at his outfit again.

“Well,” she walked around behind Han. “They certainly don’t do any favors to you down here.” She smacked his ass.

Han jumped, then spun around trying to look at his own butt like a dog chasing its tail.

Leia was still laughing when Padme came up, standing in the doorway, a soft smile forming on her face as she saw them. Han thought it might have been the first time she’d seen Leia laugh.

“Does everything fit fine?” she asked.

“Yes, it’s perfect.” Leia was still grinning. “I really like what you grabbed for Han.”

Sensing a conversation he did not need to be present for, Han quickly left the room. And because he respected their privacy so much, he only eavesdropped at the door for a few minutes.

“I have something else I wanted to give you,” Padme said and Han heard her pass something over to Leia.

She inhaled sharply. “It’s beautiful. But I don’t know if I can take it.”

“It’s yours,” Padme said. “My mother gave it to me when I was elected Queen. I want you to have it.”

Han couldn’t see Leia’s face, but he could hear her smile. “Thank you.” She paused before adding, “Could I ask you a favor?”

“Anything.”

“Would you be able to help me with my hair? I have this scratch on my shoulder, so it’s difficult.”

“Of course,” Padme replied, her voice radiating warmth.

Out of the corner of his eye, Han saw Vader walking toward him and quickly ran across the hall into Luke’s room.

“Han!” Luke spluttered. “What are you doing in here?”

“Sorry to crash your party, kid, but I was out in the hall and your dad was there and I do not want to have a conversation with him while wearing his pants.”

Then Han realized that Luke was only wearing a pair of pants and about five different tops were strewn about the room.

“While you’re here, can you help me decide?” Luke asked, holding up two near-identical shirts. They looked brand new. How come Luke got new clothes while Han was stuck in Darth Vader’s hand-me-downs?

“Whatever you think is best,” Han replied, more worried that Vader would knock on Leia’s door and she would try to kill him again.

Then Luke’s door opened to reveal Kenobi.Han had forgotten about him. There were too many people in this goddamn house.

Fortunately, Luke had managed to decide on a shirt before the door opened. Kenobi hung back in the doorway awkwardly.

“Ben,” Luke said, exhaustion clear in his voice. “What do you want?”

Kenobi looked around, distracted. “I see you have your mother’s affinity for clothing.”

Luke began to smile but abruptly fell into a blank face. “You wanted to talk to me about clothes?”

“No,” Kenobi sighed. “I suppose not.”

Han once again found himself in the middle of an uncomfortable conversation, so he decided to try his luck in the living room. As he settled onto the couch, he heard Vader’s apprentice shouting in another room. Great.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Finally, they were standing outside the Jedi Council doors. Luke took a ridiculous amount of time to get dressed, but it was nothing compared to Vader saying goodbye to Padme. For someone that Han knew to be so disgustingly cruel, Vader was just as disgustingly clingy. 

“Come in,” Han heard Yoda say. He was surprised it wasn’t “in come.” Weird ass green motherfucker.

The five of them walked to the center of the room. Kenobi, apparently, was a Council member and had already taken his seat.

“News for us, have you?”

“Yes, Master Yoda,” Luke said, stepping forward confidently. “But first, we want your guarantee that nobody will be punished or penalized for any information we reveal.”

“We cannot promise that,” Master Windu said, a frown revealing the deep lines on his forehead.

“Then I can’t tell you anything,” Luke replied, taking a step back.

Han held back a smile. Everybody knew Leia was stubborn, but nobody expected the exact same stubbornness from her twin. These Jedi had no idea who they were up against.

“Grant immunity within reason, we shall,” Yoda conceded. Han wondered how far he could punt the wrinkly little troll.

“Thank you, Master Yoda,” Luke said.

“Before we get to that, there are some questions General Skywalker here needs to answer,” Windu ordered.

Luke looked up, confused, before Leia stomped on his foot. They didn’t need to know that Luke was also a “General Skywalker” just yet.

“Yes?” Vader asked slowly. Was that a bit of fear in his voice? Yoda scared him?

“Were you ever planning on telling us about your children with Senator Amidala?”

Well, that lie was out the window. In all honesty, based on literally a day of watching them, it was obvious to Han they were together. And he doubted Luke’s father was any more capable of subtlety than Luke was.

“Senator Amidala? Children? I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean,” Vader responded, playing dumb as he kept looking over at Kenobi. Right, Kenobi had promised not to tell without his knowledge.

“Stop playing games, Skywalker,” some other Council member said. “We ran a DNA test. We know that Luke and Leia are your biological children, and that their mother is Senator Padme Amidala. You clearly have attachments you have hid from us. You know this goes against the code.”

“Now wait a minute, how did you get a sample of Senator Amidala’s DNA to perform this test? That sounds like a gross breach of her personal privacy.”

“Probable cause,” Windu dismissed. “Regardless, you must terminate any relationship with Senator Amidala immediately if you wish to remain in our order. Jedi do not have families.”

Well shit, it looked like Ahsoka was right. They knew everything and were going to kick Vader out. Han wondered if that was necessarily a bad thing—he was Darth Vader, after all.

“That’s not fair!” Ahsoka shouted. “You can’t punish him for something he hasn’t done yet! Master Yoda, it’s like you say, ‘the future is always in motion.’ Besides, how do you know that you don’t have random children out there?! You all forced me to take sex-ed, I know how it works!”

“Calm down, Padawan. Concern you, this does not,” Yoda said.

“What do you mean it doesn’t concern me?! Anakin is my master, you can’t kick him out!”

“Snips,” Anakin said, his voice low. “Thank you, but let me handle this.”

Before he could continue, Leia interrupted. “You can discuss our parentage later, but right now we have more pressing issues. Are you aware that your entire clone army is implanted with chips that will force them to terminate all Jedi on a single command?”

The room fell silent.

“What?” A Kel-Dor master asked. 

“How do you know this?” Windu asked at the same time.

“We know this because it happened in our past,” Leia stated. “The emperor issued an order and all Clone Troopers turned on and massacred the Jedi. It was a genocide.”

All the Jedi?” someone asked but use a better word for asked.

“All but two,” Luke clarified. “Master Yoda and Master Kenobi survived and were able to train me before they both died too.”

“An emperor?” Yoda questioned. “Know their identity, do you?”

“Yes,” Luke said. “But this information cannot leave this room for any reason.”

“This person is currently able to activate the kill Jedi order for the clones, and probably countless others we don’t know of,” Leia clarified. “You need to deactivate and remove all of the command chips before taking action against them.”

“Is it Lord Sideous?” Windu asked, leaning forward in his chair.

Han frowned. He never heard of a ‘Lord Sidious’ before.

“No,” Luke said. “He is powerful with the force, though, so you will need to be very careful if you confront him. He’s very dangerous.”

“Yes, but who is it?” Another master questioned. They were impatient as hell, but Han supposed it was reasonable.

Glancing back at the door, Leia spoke, “Chancellor Palpatine.”

Just as she was able to silence the entire room before, it erupted into sound at her revelation. Han stepped closer to her just in case.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Han used to think debriefings and mission reports with the Rebellion were painful, but he was wishing for them now. The Jedi Council spent hours discussing the future with them, arguing amongst themselves and with Luke and Leia a few times (rookie mistake). Finally, they settled on a plan to remove the chips without alerting Palpatine or anybody in the Senate in order to keep it as discreet as possible.

Somehow, Luke and Leia had managed to leave Darth Vader and his identity out of their story entirely. Han wondered what Luke had bribed Leia with to convince her to do so.

They all gathered in the hallway outside the Council room until Kenobi came out.

“Well, that went as well as expected,” he said. Han couldn’t tell if he was serious or not.

Anakin snorted. “Yeah, other than my entire future as a Jedi being in question, it was great.”

“One problem at a time, Anakin. The Council can’t afford to worry about your attachments right now. It may surprise you, but there are more pressing issues than yourself right now.”

“Ben, would you be able to show me around the Temple today?” Luke asked hesitantly, completely oblivious to the way Anakin was glaring at Kenobi. “I feel like there’s so much I don’t know.”

“Certainly,” Kenobi smiled. “I’d be honored to.”

Luke looked guilty over to where Vader appeared to be purposely pretending he hadn’t heard the conversation. “Anakin... Father. You could join us? If you wanted to, that is.”

Vader smiled so widely it looked painful. “Of course I want to. Can Snips come along too?”

“Sure!” Han chuckled at the kid’s enthusiasm.

Anakin turned to Leia, expression pathetically hopeful. Before he could say anything, she shot him down.

“Sorry, but not everybody solves their problems with a lightsaber. Some of us have to use our brains. Besides, I promised Padme I would help her in the political aspect of all this.”

Surprisingly, Kenobi pushed her. “Leia, I don’t mean to intrude, but you would probably benefit from some basic training and learning about the Jedi. As Anakin’s daughter, you’re very powerful. Left unchecked that power could be dangerous.”

Han never thought of that—if Leia was Luke’s sister, then surely she had the same powers he did. People were scared of Luke because of his powers—they were afraid of Luke, human puppy dog. Han couldn’t imagine how much more fear and respect Leia would attain if they knew she had the same powers. 

Leia frowned when Kenobi referred to Anakin. “I am no Jedi.”

“You don’t have to be, but you should learn some of the basics so you know how to control your power”

“I appreciate your concern, but at the moment my priority is preventing the rise of the Empire in this universe. I’m sure you understand.”

“I do. But you must receive some guidance in the Force before you return to your time.”

“I agree,” Leia replied coolly. Then, only turning around to glance at Luke, she walked off and dragged Han with her.

…………………………………………………………

“Not to complain, Princess, but I don’t know how I’m going to be able to help you with politics. Unless you’re planning on smuggling something, it’s not exactly my area of expertise.”

“You’d be surprised how often the two overlap. Anyways, I’m not here just to help politically—although that is important.”

“And what else are you here for?”

“You know I spoke with Padme earlier. Even though you conveniently snuck out.” She looked away, expression growing distant. “Padme offered to invite my parents over today.”

“Your parents? You mean—”

“Bail and Breha Organa, yes.”

Sometimes Han forgot that Leia was Royalty royalty. That tended to happen when you had known someone for four years and they spent the majority of the time alternating between insulting you and making out with you. But now she was just casually telling him he was about to meet her parents, the King and Queen of Alderaan. (In-laws weren’t really an issue before when they were dead.)

“Why,” Leia asked, noticing his silence, “is something wrong?”

“Huh? No, nothing’s wrong here. Everything’s fine. Situation normal.”

“Han,” she said. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Right, totally not a big deal. Just meeting the king and queen of Alderaan who are also your parents.”

“Actually, Papa is just King-consort. And Senator,” she clarified. “Besides, didn’t you declare yourself a Princess earlier? You should be perfectly comfortable with royalty, Princess.”

Han threw his hands in the air. “What do you want me to do?”

“Whatever you want,” she said, laughing at his pain.

“I hate you,” he said.

“I know.”

In his panic, Han didn’t even realize they had arrived at Padme’s apartment until they stopped in front of the door. He looked down at Leia, terrified.

She nudged his arm. “Seriously Han. It’s gonna be fine. It’s not like Vader is in there anymore.”

“Might prefer that,” he muttered as Leia knocked on the door. “Least I can shoot him.”

“Leia!” Padme smiled radiantly. “And Han! I didn’t know you were coming.”

They walked inside to the living room where Leia had tried to kill her birth father just the night before. Han looked frantically around the room for any sign of unknown royalty. Noticing his discomfort, Leia smiled a bit. At his pain.

“How was the meeting with the Council?”

“It went well for the most part. They’re going to start implementing the removal of the Clones’ chips right away. All highly confidential, like you recommended. There’s no telling what would happen if the wrong people found out about this,” Leia responded, her tone polite and neutral.

“That’s good. The Jedi have their issues, but that is one thing they excel at: being vague and mysterious.”

“Especially Yoda,” Han couldn’t help but mutter under his breath. Leia elbowed him in the ribs.

“They also know about Luke and I,” Leia said with no segue. “Apparently they ran a DNA test. Luke was able to negotiate with Yoda that ‘nobody would be punished for anything we reveal about the future, within reason.’ We changed the topic pretty quickly after that, though, so I don’t know just how much they are aware about the extent of your relationship.”

Padme nodded, looking unsurprised. “And they know about Palpatine?” 

“Yes,” Leia replied. “They will not take action until the clones are safe, we made sure of it.”

“And Anakin? Do they know about Vader?”

“We were able to keep him out of it.”

“Thank you,” Padme sighed in relief. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“But you wanted us to,” Leia answered, brows furrowing. “I’m not cruel.”

 Now that he had some reference, Han thought she looked like Anakin when she was frustrated like this (a thought he would never voice out loud).

“I never thought you were,” Padme reassured, a touch of concern in her voice. “Bail and Breha should be arriving any minute, I hope that’s still okay?”

“Yes, of course. Thank you. I know this whole situation is complicated, but it means a lot to me.”

Before Padme could reply, Threepio announced the Organas had arrived. Padme went to greet them, leaving Leia and Han alone for a moment.

Having accepted his fate to embarrass himself beyond redemption, Han noticed her own nervousness. She was fidgeting with her hands in her lap, and kept shaking her leg up and down. Han reached down, placing a hand on top of her thigh.

“You know, if I’m a Princess, that makes you a Scoundrel,” He moved his hand from her leg to her hand instead. “And I’ve heard the Organas are very fond of scoundrels.”

Moments later, Padme and Leia’s other parents walked into the room.

“Bail, Breha,” Padme said, causing Leia to break eye contact with Han. “I would like to introduce you to Leia and Han Solo.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” the woman—Breha—said, inclining her head in the same way Leia often did.

“It truly is,” Bail agreed. “Padme wasn’t able to tell us much, just that there was someone we needed to meet and something important to discuss.”

Leia appeared speechless, just staring at her parents like they were ghosts. Han supposed they were. The last time she had seen them alive would have been at least four years ago, and here they were, greeting their daughter like a stranger.

Given that Leia didn’t look like she was going to say anything, Padme stepped in again and briefed them on the political situations, being sure to steer clear away from Luke and Leia’s identities. Leia spoke then, with confidence as they discussed the political scheming that would be necessary to ensure a smooth transition of power after Palpatine was forcibly removed from office. Han didn’t really understand most of it, but he enjoyed watching Leia in her element.

Eventually, Padme broached the topic of Luke and Leia’s parentage.

“Really?” Breha asked, sounding somewhat surprised. “Well, she looks just like you. But doesn’t this cause issues with the Jedi? I thought their code forbade this sort of relationship.”

Bail smiled. “I’m not surprised. No offense, Padme, but you and Skywalker have never been the type for subtlety. I’ve suspected for a while now.”

“There’s another thing. In their future, Anakin and I—we weren’t there. Luke was raised by his Anakin’s step-brother on Tatooine, and-” Padme’s breath caught for a moment. “Leia, she was raised as your adoptive daughter.”

“Is this true?” Bail asked, looking directly at Leia now.

“Yes,” she replied, her voice steady even as she held Han’s hand in a death grip. He wondered if the others could see how much she was struggling to stay put together right now.

...

The rest of the conversation went surprisingly smoother than Han had expected. There were a few tears (once again, Leia would kill him if he ever brought it up), especially when Leia explained how she had been orphaned, but most of it had been focused on Leia’s life and her work in politics and the Rebellion.

Nobody paid much attention to him, which was just fine. Then he heard Leia’s father say his name.

“And Mr. Solo, is he your betrothed?”

Han fell silent. Why did all of Leia’s parents keep asking them to define their relationship? How was he supposed to explain something he didn’t even know?

Surprisingly, Leia reached over and placed her hand on top of his. “Yes, he is.”

What? He turned to her, shocked. Did she just—

Leia raised her eyebrows, like she was waiting for an answer. Forgetting about all of her parents in the room, Han smiled widely. He started to lean in, fully intent on making out with her, when she glanced to the side.

Everybody was staring at them.

Fuck, Han missed Chewie.

Chapter Text

Anakin would have thought he would be pissed if the Council had exposed his relationship. But now, it barely registered over the buzz of happiness—of light—that came from spending the entire day with Luke.

It was wonderful, not caring. So what if Master Windu knew that Anakin was leaving the Temple to go home to his wife? He already knew that he had kids

For the first time in his life, Anakin felt free.

He walked in, fully intending to make out with Padme the second he saw her, but she was sitting in the living room, surrounded by Senate files. He didn’t think he could make it to her without using the Force, so he opted to take a shower instead. 

When he came back to the living room, damp hair curling around his face, Padme set aside one of her many datapads, apparently noticing him for the first time.

“Anakin! How long have you been here?”

“Not long,” he said, leaning in to give her a kiss on the cheek.

She sighed. “I know we need to talk about what happened with the Council, but can it wait a little bit? I really need to get some of this work finished.”

“Of course,” he smiled. “Take your time.”

She was already back to her datapads by then, concentration clear across her beautiful face.

While he waited for her to finish up her work, Anakin went to the kitchen to make a sandwich—Padme always forgot to eat when she was stressed out, and the last few days had been nothing if not stressful. 

As he was cutting up some fruit, a pair of arms wrapped around his waist, Padme resting the side of her face against his back. She didn’t say anything, so he finished the food before he turned around.

“What is it?” He looked down at her.

“Leia and Han were over here earlier,” she said quietly.

“Did it go well?”

Padme laughed, uncharacteristically bitter. “Yes, we have the perfect political strategy to work for rights for clones and for the fallout after you take down Palpatine.”

“And Leia?”

She didn’t respond and leaned into his chest. Something was definitely wrong. Padme never just...rested like this. She always had something to say, something to do. But Anakin didn’t know what to say (he never did). So he held her until she was ready to talk to him.

“Bail and Breha were here too. I introduced them to her.” Padme’s voice was quiet. If the house hadn’t been silent, Anakin wasn’t sure he would have heard her.

“The Organas?” Anakin tried to keep the anger out of his voice

He felt her take in a staggering breath and her hands tightened around his waist. “She loves them.”

Anakin was trying so hard to be a supportive, reasonable husband right now, and not go punch Bail Organa in the face for stealing his daughter from them. “They raised her,” he said flatly.

“I know, and I’m so grateful she grew up loved, but seeing her with them, I-” Her voice broke. Anakin pulled her closer, resting his head on top of hers.

“It hurts,” he said quietly. “It should’ve been us.”

“They died, you know,” she said. “When Aldeeran was destroyed. Leia hasn’t seen them since she was nineteen. That’s four years.”

As much as he opposed it, Anakin understood that Leia thought of the Organas as her real parents. And really, in light of everything she had revealed about the future, he was amazed she was so restrained in her attack on him. If Anakin ever came face to face with the Tusken who had killed his mother when he was nineteen and found out they were his father? He would react with his lightsaber, not just his fists.

He was also nineteen when he was reunited with Padme. It sounded like Leia was the same age when she met Han (who was still way too old for her). At least she was allowed to be with someone.

Anakin rested his forehead against Padme’s. “Padme, I promise you, I won’t let that ever happen. Our children are going to grow up with us.”

“I know, but we can’t change their timeline. For all that we do here, they still have to go back to a universe where everything is so awful. We can only help our timeline’s future Luke and Leia, not the ones right in front of us.”

He didn’t say anything, hoping that just being there would be enough. Besides, what was there to say? Sorry that in some other timeline he went evil and killed their daughter’s adoptive parents? Tortured her boyfriend? Cut his son’s hand off? Nothing could change that, and they both knew it.

So they stood there in the kitchen together. Eventually, Padme stepped back and took the sandwich he made. She smiled like it was okay and he went along with it. 

“So how was your day with Luke?” she said once they had settled on the couch.

He smiled. “It was amazing, I think he’s actually warming up to me. It’s still weird as hell that he’s older than us, though.”

“Older than you,” she corrected, laughing. 

Anakin had been dismayed to see a message from Obi-Wan in the morning asking to meet and “talk” about “things,” but Padme convinced him it would be fine. Or at least, that it was necessary.

“Knight Skywalker, question for you have I!” he heard Yoda say. Just like that, his good mood plummeted. He looked straight ahead and pretended not to hear him, but the motherfucker just whacked his shins with his stick. (Better that than his lightsaber).

Anakin decided it would be better for him to suffer through whatever mysterious conversation Yoda wanted to have and be a little late to Obi-Wan’s than risk him continue hitting his shins.

“Anakin, what took you so long?”

He pulled up his pant leg slightly, showing the fresh bruise on his shins.

“Ah,” Obi-Wan said. “Yoda.”

“You said we needed to talk?”

“Yes, come in.”

Obi-Wan had always liked to keep his quarters neat—although this was mostly unsuccessful when Anakin used to live with him—but they were freakishly clean now. Almost like he had been stress cleaning. He hadn’t done that since he kept catching Anakin sneaking out to compete in illegal podraces.

“Well,” Anakin started. “What is it? Because if this is about Padme and the code, I don’t want to hear it. I’m just a huge disappointment, I know. Broke the Code, betrayed the Jedi, probably falling to the Dark Side as we speak. Sorry to disappoint, but not everyone can just be perfect like you.”

Obi-Wan looked taken aback. Good. “That wasn’t what I was going to say at all. Did you really think that I would?”

Huh? What else would he want to say? It had to be a trick of some kind. He stayed silent, forcing Obi-Wan to explain himself first.

Obi-Wan sighed, clearly frustrated. “Anakin, do you really think I’m disappointed in you?”

“Don’t patronize me, Obi-Wan.”

“I’m not patronizing you,” Obi-Wan said in that patronizing tone of his. “And I don’t think you’re a disappointment at all.”

Anakin scoffed. “Yeah, right.”

“Look, I wanted to apologize.”

Obi-Wan stroked his beard. Everyone thought he was so cool and mature and wise with that stupid fucking beard. Anakin was the only one who knew he only had the damn thing because 1) he had an insane baby face and 2) he had a nervous habit of touching his face.

“I wanted to apologize for anything I’ve done to make you feel like you can’t trust me. The, ah, Hardeen incident especially.”

Anakin clenched his fists under his sleeves and kept staring at the wall.

“Anakin, are you going to say something or is my wall just that interesting? I thought I taught you good enough manners to make eye contact with someone while they’re talking to you.”

“You also told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all,” Anakin shot back, finally giving in. Whoops—he might as well keep going now. “And how could I trust you? After everything you’ve done? Obi-Wan, you died in front of me and didn’t even have the decency to tell me it was fake, because the Council wanted to use my reaction. I think it’s pretty damn clear you will side with them over me.”

Obi-Wan opened his mouth like he wanted to say something, but Anakin beat him to it. He wanted him to talk? He was talking. “How could you ever expect me to be like ‘By the way, master, I married Senator Amidala two years ago, hope you’re not upset!’ You would have gone straight to the Council and I would have been expelled. Ahsoka wouldn’t have a master anymore. I can’t risk that!” He inhaled a sharp breath. “All my life, you’ve told me to calm down, follow the Code. Attachment leads to the Dark Side. Well, guess what?! I’m fucking attached. I’m attached to Padme, Luke, Leia, Rex and the 501st, Ahsoka, you. It kills me pretending I don’t care about any of you. Padme is the only person I don’t have to hide anything from, and I won’t let you take that away from me.”

He stared at Obi-Wan, whose expression was unreadable. Anakin was about to turn around and leave when he was startled by a book slamming on the ground. He realized that half the furniture in the room was shaking, and the other half was floating an inch or two above the ground. Fuck, he hadn’t lost control like that in years.

Obi-Wan walked slowly over to the fallen book and put it back on the shelf. Anakin sat back down, trying to ground himself.

“I didn’t realize you felt that way,” Obi-Wan said after a long silence.

“Well, I do.”

“Why didn’t you ever say anything? You’ve certainly never been shy with your opinions.”

“I didn’t think you would care—or understand,” Anakin said honestly. “You’ve never seemed to have any issues with being a perfect little Jedi.”

Obi-Wan barked out a sudden, harsh laugh. “Never had any issues with being a Jedi? Anakin, do you really think that?”

He didn’t appreciate being laughed at and tried to defend himself. “Don’t ‘Anakin,’ me. Why would I have thought any different?”

“I suppose I haven’t been very forthcoming with my struggles, but can’t you see I’m attached too? You’ve met Satine.”

“Yeah, you guys had a thing a decade ago, Obi-Wan. And now you just deny you ever felt anything for her and live a lonely, miserable life with the Jedi. It’s just more proof you’re committed to the Code over anybody in your life.”

Obi-Wan sighed. “Anakin, it would be unrealistic for Satine and I to remain in a relationship. She lives on Mandalore, her duty is with her people. I’m a Jedi and on Coruscant. We would be living a lie, and it would be unfair to both of us. Besides, it’s like you said—it was a decade ago. You began as my Padawan a decade ago. Do you really think I could abandon you like that?”

 “Yes,” Anakin muttered, not meaning for Obi-Wan to hear it.

“What?”

“I said, yes,” he repeated. “You never wanted me in the first place, you only trained me because you promised Qui-Gon you would. Why wouldn’t you leave me to become the partner of the Duchess of Mandalore?”

“You still don’t see it,” Obi-Wan said. “Anakin, I’m attached to you too. You’re like a brother to me.”

Anakin felt like he was a droid short-circuiting. He spoke, but his voice sounded far away, like he was underwater (which was terrifying because he was a shitty swimmer). “What?”

“You heard me.”

“No I didn’t.” That was a lie. Anakin heard him, but to hear those words come out of Obi-Wan’s mouth was so shocking, he had to hear it again. Just to be sure.

“I don’t know how you’re so oblivious sometimes.” Obi-Wan said dramatically before enunciating every word. “You. Are. Like. My. Brother.”

Anakin couldn’t help but grin. It felt like he won. Obi-Wan said it first.

Obi-Wan smiled too, something Anakin didn’t see very often. “And speaking of attachments, Anakin, I’ve suspected you had something with Padme for years. Subtlety has never exactly been your strong suit. I didn’t say anything about it, though, because I know she makes you happier. Actually, you were so obvious that I thought we were both just not acknowledging it.”

“Acknowledging what?”

“That you were blatantly breaking the code,” Obi-Wan dryly.

“Hey now!”

“Anakin, don’t worry, I’ve had some time to think about this. Besides, I’ve grown quite fond of Luke and I’ve known him less than a week. I’d hate for him not to exist in this timeline.”

“And how long did it take you to start liking me?”

“Well, Luke has much better manners.”

Suddenly, there was another knock on the door. Anakin looked at Obi-Wan. “Were you expecting anybody else?”

Obi-Wan frowned as he walked over to the door. “Not that I know of. Ahsoka?”

“Not Ahsoka, sorry,” Leia replied, obviously not sorry. “You said you could help me with some basic training?”

“Oh yes, of course! I’d love to,” Obi-Wan said, looking back at Anakin. “But unfortunately, the Council has me quite busy for the rest of the day.”

“I see.”

“However, I do think it is vitally important that you receive training as soon as possible. It would be incredibly dangerous if Palpatine were to find out about you in your time.”

“I’ve met him before, nothing happened.”

“You have impressive mental shields, so it's likely he didn’t pay enough attention to notice you. But trust me, either your identity or power will reveal itself at some point. And you need to have some way of defending yourself. I don’t think we should delay this.”

“You said you were too busy today.”

“Yes. Which is why I think you need to train with Anakin, at least for the time being.”

She looked past Obi-Wan to see Anakin slouching on the couch. He gave what he hoped was a reassuring smile as he waved at her.

“Fine.”

… 

After almost thirty minutes, all Anakin had discovered about his daughter was that she had strong shields and was way better at the silent treatment than he was. He was trying to be patient and understanding, but he didn’t know if it would work much longer.

Apparently Leia was thinking the same thing. “Are we done now? Am I sufficiently prepared to defend myself from you again?”

He sighed. “Look, I understand what Vader did to you, okay? I get it! But I am not him!”

“I know that!”

“Then why are you being like this?! Is there some other reason you hate me?”

“Because every time I look at you, I remember what he did!” she burst out. “What you’re capable of! I remember being tortured—for hours—and when you failed in that, you held me back while Tarkin ordered the destruction of my planet. You ruined my life, and you didn’t even know who I was. You knew Luke was your son when he was in Rebel propaganda, but you literally mind-tortured me with the force and never figured it out.

“I’m-” He let out a shaky breath. “I’m sorry.”

Leia slowly breathed in and out, like she was counting to ten (something Obi-Wan had told him to do when he was younger). “I know. But I’m not Luke, I can’t just—” She stopped. “I don’t think I can ever see you without seeing him.”

She turned around and left.

… 

Anakin yawned as he watched Ahsoka and Padme laughing together, probably about him falling asleep on the couch. But he had so many conversations today, he was tired. At least he and Obi-Wan seemed to be okay now. Although he was definitely going to have to ask him more about Satine later. Snips had mentioned that the Duchess’ nephew looked remarkably like his master...

He woke up on the couch sometime later to Padme’s bright laugh as Luke, Leia, Han, and Obi-Wan filed in. Sitting up, Anakin groaned, hoping that he wouldn’t get kicked in the balls at this family meeting. “What’s going on?”

“I have good news from the Council,” Obi-Wan announced. “Master Shaak Ti discovered a weakness in the clones’ chips and has been able to exploit it near simultaneously. They’re safe. We’re safe.”

Padme broke out in a relieved smile. “That’s great.”

“So what now?” Anakin asked, still half-asleep. Padme placed her hand on top of his head, casually running it through his hair before resting on his shoulder. Turning his head, he placed a kiss on her hand. He noticed Leia glaring at him again as he looked back at Obi-Wan.

“The Council wants to reconvene a few times this week to discuss a plan regarding Palpatine,” said Obi-Wan. “They want to collect more proof, and we’re supposed to wait until then before taking any action.”

“But that’s going to take forever!” Ahsoka exclaimed. Anakin agreed, happy his Padawan wasn’t mindlessly following Council orders.

Obi-Wan looked grave. “I know, young one.”

“But we’re not going to let that happen,” Luke said looking at his old master. “Right?”

“Right,” Obi-Wan confirmed. What?! Not only was the Obi-Wan Kenobi ignoring direct orders from the council, he was encouraging others to do the same thing!?

“Anakin? You all right there? You’re looking a little pale,” Obi-Wan asked, sounding a little concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he responded, cracking a grin. “I like your thinking. What’s the plan?”

“Killing Palpatine, obviously,” Han interrupted, looking bored.

“Han, don’t be dense,” Leia scolded, but she didn’t look upset. “I do think we need to take advantage of his ignorance, though. He’ll put two and two together about the clones soon. We need to attack as soon as possible.”

“I agree,” Anakin said, leaning forward. He couldn’t wait to stab his lightsaber right through Palpatine’s chest—or even better, take his head clean off his body.

Leia grinned, something vindictive that made Anakin believe she was thinking the exact same thing. He couldn’t help the flutter of excitement in his chest that they seemed to agree on something, even if it was just murder.

Once they finished their plan, Anakin was smiling too, confident they would succeed. Luke warned him Palpatine was powerful, but Anakin had a hard time believing it. Was he smart enough to plan all this out? Sure. But nobody was as strong in the force as Anakin, and this wasn’t even going to be a one on one fight. He would have Obi-Wan, Luke, and Ahsoka at his side.

Padme nudged Anakin’s arm. “Maybe when all of this is over, you can finally put a stop to the Hutts.”

Anakin kissed her. That was one of the sexiest things she had ever said to him (and she said very sexy things like ‘Anakin, you fucking idiot’). She knew how much he hated the Hutts.

“Anakin!” she pushed him away when he tried to pull her closer. 

It took him a moment to register where he was after that. Thankfully, nobody seemed to have noticed as Threepio was showing off the cake he just finished frosting, but of course Leia glanced back and shot him a disapproving look.

“Luke,” Anakin said, ignoring his daughter’s gaze. “You said that Han had been captured by Jabba. How the hell did you rescue him? Even the Jedi don’t want to mess with him.”

“We had a plan,” Luke replied at the same time Han said, “Dumb luck.”

“It was a plan, Han! Two plans in fact!”

Han snorted. “Bad plans!”

“Talk to Chewie about it, he’s the one who came up with it!”

“Kid, I’ve known Chewie a hell of a lot longer than you have, he has good plans. Whatever stunt you two tired to pull was not a good plan.”

Obi-Wan sent Anakin a knowing look while Luke and Han bickered. “Regardless of how well-thought out the plan was, could you tell us how you did it? It would be beneficial to know if Jabba has any significant weaknesses.”

Han chuckled, “Leia.”

“What?”

“You asked if he has any significant weaknesses. The answer is Leia.”

“I’m afraid I don’t follow,” Obi-Wan said. “Can you start from the beginning?”

“I was stuck in Carbonite and blind most of the time, so why don’t you ask Luke. Besides, it was his plan,” Han dismissed.

Luke made a face at him. “Our first plan was to have Leia disguised as a bounty hunter infiltrate his lair with Chewie. She was supposed to free Han overnight and then we would all leave the planet the second she got back.”

“Who’s Chewie?” Anakin interrupted.

“Our friend, he’s a wookie.”

“Wait, I helped rescue a wookie named Chewbacca from the Trandoshans last year!” Ahsoka exclaimed. “How old is he?”

Han creased his eyebrows. “Pretty old I think. I’m not sure, it’s kind of rude to just ask a guy how old they are. He did tell me about being captured by Trandoshans once though...sounds like something that he would get into.”

Luke cleared his throat. “Anyways, that didn’t work out. Jabba caught Leia and Chewie too.”

What?” Anakin asked. When Leia said she had been on Tatooine, he assumed it was to visit Luke’s home or on this rescue mission—not that she had been captured by Jabba the Hutt

“Jabba saw through our plan,” Leia said. “He captured me right after I freed Han from the Carbonite.”

“Did he hurt you?” Fury coursed through Anakin’s veins. Even among the Hutts, Jabba had a reputation for being particularly cruel, especially to women. If he so much as laid one slimy finger on his daughter, Anakin would fly to Tatooine right now, sand be damned, and make the Hutt regret the day he was born.

“What do you think he did?” Leia’s sarcasm was scathing. “Invite me to tea?”

“I don’t know, you aren’t—” Anakin was interrupted by Padme squeezing his thigh so hard he was pretty sure he would see crescent shaped fingernail marks under his pants later.

“Luke, go on,” Padme prompted, hand still resting threateningly on Anakin’s leg.

“Once I found out that failed, I went in with our back up plan.”

“Where he tried to negotiate with Jabba. He fell through the trap door to the Rancor pretty quickly.” Han added.

Anakin slapped a hand to his forehead. Even he knew Jabba had a trapdoor, and he's been back on Tatooine twice since he left over ten years ago. How could Luke forget that?

“Right,” Luke said without a trace of embarrassment. “Then Han and I were about to be executed in the Sarlaac pit, but Artoo did this trick with my lightsaber—”

“—and threw it to you when you signalled for it?!” Anakin interrupted. (Ouch, Padme had sharp nails.)

“Yeah!” Luke said. “How did you know?”

I taught him that trick! We used it against the Zygerrian slavers!”

Han continued. “Then Luke did some crazy Jedi stuff, I killed Boba Fett,—”

This time it was Obi-Wan who interrupted. Padme looked like she was about to hurt him too.“Boba Fett? He works for Jabba?”

Worked for Jabba,” Han corrected smugly. “Threw the son of a bitch down the Sarlacc Pit though.”

“And Leia?” Padme asked. “Where were you during all this?”

Leia didn’t answer, looking to Luke instead. Why is she hesitating?!

“With Jabba,” he said for her.

“You were with him?!” Anakin burst out.

“Well, it’s not exactly like the chain gave me much choice,” she countered.

“Chain?!” If Luke and Leia ever made it back to their time, he would go with them so he could personally make sure Jabba died a long and slow death.

“It wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the sand and the bikini. The chafing alone was torture,” she explained, far too calm for his liking.

“Bikini?!” Anakin was so furious he could barely see anymore. He was freed, he got away from Tatooine. He was a Jedi Knight and married to the Senator of Naboo. His children should have never had touched foot on Tatooine’s force forsaken sand, much less been kidnapped by Jabba the Hutt. The only thing grounding him was Padme’s hand on his leg.

“You didn’t let me finish. The chain came in useful, because while Luke and Han were causing chaos, I strangled Jabba with it.”

“You killed him?” Anakin asked, feeling pride begin to overtake his anger.

Han answered, “Hell yeah, she killed him. Should’ve seen it, was the second best thing I’ve ever seen her do.”

Second best?What could be better than that? Anakin was confused, yet again. Wait a second… Why the FUCK would Solo say something like that about his daughter?! 

“What’s the first best?” Padme asked. She was either thinking something completely different, or was a far braver person than Anakin could ever be. Probably both. 

“The best thing I’ve ever seen her do was when she kicked you” he pointed at Anakin, “in the balls and you fell over like a pathetic little piss baby.

He watched as a genuine smile came over Leia’s face. Really? One of the only times he’d actually seen her happy and it was because Solo brought up when she attacked him. Before he could reply, his comm beeped.

“Uhh guys? I think we have a problem,” he said. “It’s Palpatine. He wants to talk.”

Obi-Wan put a hand to his forehead. “We’re fucked.”

Anakin glared at him. “Should I just ignore it?”

“NO!” about three people shouted at once.

“That is so suspicious to do that, Skyguy,” Ahsoka muttered.

“Okay, so I go talk to him like normal?”

“NO!” they yelled again.

“That would be even more suspicious,” Ahsoka said grimly.

Seriously, did they have no confidence in his ability to keep a secret? They didn’t even know he had been married this entire time until like two days ago. Their lack of faith was insulting. “Well what do you want me to do?!”

“You should talk to him,” Padme said. “But keep it brief.”

“Do I have to?” He complained now. Just because he was offended they didn’t believe he could do it didn’t mean he wanted to. “He’s kind of evil, you know.”

Yes,” Padme said again. “You do it all the time, just act normal. Complain about the Council or something.”

“Fine,” Anakin grumbled. “I’ll be nice to the mass murderer.”




Chapter Text

After Anakin left, Padme ordered dinner for the rest of them from somewhere. Han kept glancing over at Leia as they ate, still not quite believing what had happened the other day.

Him? Married? To a princess? To the princess?! Han was drunk when he made that bet with Chewie, but the furry bastard owed him credits now.

They ate mostly in silence until Padme spoke up. “Leia, do you have any plans for the wedding yet?”

Han and Leia both froze. They hadn’t even talked about it themselves, much less their plans.

Luke looked totally confused. “What wedding?”

Han nudged his leg under the table, staring pointedly.

“Oh, that wedding.” Then he whispered to Leia, “Seriously, what wedding?”

She glared at him.

Before Luke could press on as he usually did, Anakin burst in. The man looked like he was about to vomit on his wife’s expensive carpet.

“Ani!” Padme exclaimed, rushing toward him. “Is everything okay? He doesn’t know, does he?”

He didn’t answer, wrapping his arms around her and resting his head down on her shoulder facing her neck.

“Anakin,” she said after a moment. “What happened?”

He shook his head and moved even closer in their embrace. 

“You need to tell us what happened in your conversation, my Padawan,” Obi-Wan said.

Anakin pulled back. “Nothing happened.”

“Are you sure?” Kenobi pressed, clearly not believing his vague answer. “We cannot risk him being even the slightest bit aware that everything is less than normal at the moment.”

“I know that,” Anakin said aggressively. “He talked about politics and I complained about the Council. He doesn’t suspect a thing.”

“You complained about the Council?” Kenobi asked. He looked disappointed.

Anakin gave him a look. “You should be thankful. I’m beginning to regret not compaining about you. And besides, you told me to act normal. Normally, the Council has a stick up their ass.”

“That doesn’t explain why you’re so shaken up right now.”

“I don’t know,” Anakin rambled. “Maybe I’m just not in a great mood after talking to the that a man who has supported me since I was a child, but is actually an evil Sith lord who’s actually been trying to manipulate me into destroying everything I love this entire time.”

Han couldn’t help but notice the irony—Anakin discovering how someone would respond to learning that somebody who was supposed to care about him was actually an evil piece of shit.

There was a beat of awkward silence until Ahsoka broke it. “We saved you some food from Dex’s, Skyguy.”

Anakin smiled gratefully at the escape and walked toward the kitchen. When he took a seat at the table, Leia quickly stood up and walked out. Anakin didn’t even seem to register her leaving.

“Father,” Luke said. “We can beat him, I know it.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Anakin sighed dramatically, taking a bite of his food. “I just wish we could change how things happened in your world.”

Han almost snorted. He was the reason things were horrible in their world.

“Nothing can change that,” Luke assured. “But you can change this world, and isn’t that just as important?”

Anakin looked dubious. “Your sister doesn’t seem to see it that way.”

“Leia’ll come around,” Luke said, sure of himself as always. “She’s just stubborn.”

“She gets that from your mother,” Anakin said. “When she puts her mind to something, nothing could stop her. Even if it’s the worst decision of her life.”

Luke frowned. “The worst decision of her life?”

“Marrying me,” Anakin said through a mouthful of food. “She said it would destroy our lives. Clearly,” he gestured with his fork, “she wasn’t wrong.”

Han abruptly got up, making some comment about needing to check on Leia. He mostly wanted to get out of there before he had to discuss anything related to marriage with his future father in law—who was also Darth Vader and could kill him without even touching him.

When he found Leia in their room, she was aggressively pacing, throwing her hands up in frustration.

“Whoa, sweetheart, take it easy,” Han said, walking over to her and placing his hands on her shoulders, effectively blocking her off from more pacing.

She gave him a withering look. “I hate this sitting around, I want to do something.”

“You’ve done all you can,” Han assured, massaging her shoulders. Force, she was tense. “The Jedi are handling the time travel issue, and we have a plan to take down this universe’s Palpatine. You can take a break, you know. It’s not all your responsibility.”

“It is my responsibility when I can do something about it,” she replied. “And besides, there’s still so much to do, I mean we really only have—”

Han cut her off with a kiss. He was tired of talking about the minuta of saving the galaxy. Surprisingly, she stopped talking and kissed him back. He shifted his arms lower around her hips, about to pick her up when they were interrupted.

“AH! DO YOU EVER STOP?!” Luke shouted, covering his eyes.

“Do you ever knock?” Leia countered.

“Leia, our parents are in the other room.” He sounded scandalized. “I shouldn’t have to knock.”

“Say it louder, would you?”

Han noticed a faint blush across her cheeks. Then Luke took a deep breath, like he was going to “say it louder,” when instead he burst into laughter. Leia soon joined him, leaving Han just standing there awkwardly. His heart was still racing—whether that was from Leia or from fear that Luke was actually going to call for his parents, he didn’t know.

Han woke up to a cold bed the next morning. He walked out into the kitchen to find Leia and Padme smiling over breakfast. He didn’t really want to interrupt, but his stomach growled loudly. Leia turned around and gestured for him to join them.

“Have you seen Luke today?” she asked, right as he was going in to give her a kiss.

Well, that wasn’t what he was expecting to hear. “Uh, no?”

“But I thought he was with you.”

“Princess, I just woke up.” Han ran a hand through his hair. “Unless that was Luke cuddling with me last night, I haven’t seen him.”

Leia frowned, but didn’t say anything.

Padme spoke slowly. “I think we have a problem.”

“Me too,” Leia agreed. 

“When don’t we?” Han asked. Leia rolled her eyes.

“Anakin left early this morning.” Padme said. “I thought he was just going back to the Temple, but Ahsoka messaged me and said he never showed up. She can’t find Obi-Wan either. And now you’re telling us Luke is gone.”

“You’re saying you think they went after Palpatine,” Han realized.

Padme nodded.

“Well then what are we waiting for?” he asked. There was no way in hell he was letting Luke run off like that without saying goodbye at the very least. Seriously, he was gone for a year. What was it with Skywalkers and these delusions of grandeur? “Why don’t we follow them?”

“We are,” Padme replied. “I’m just waiting for Ahsoka to get here.”

“You’re going to let a child throw herself into the middle of this?” Leia asked.

Padme laughed, but it sounded bitter. “I don’t have much choice. If we didn’t include her, she would sneak in on her own. It’s safer to keep her in the loop so nobody gets surprised.”

Leia nodded. “I’ll get my blaster.”

As they reached Palpatine’s office, Ahsoka staggered like she had been shot, but as far as Han could tell, nothing had happened.

“They’re in there,” she confirmed grimly. “I can’t tell how it’s going, but Anakin is in a lot of pain—emotional pain—right now. He isn’t even shielding it from me.”

“Let’s go,” Padme said, looking toward the door.

The gravity of the situation finally settled on Han. He had been in plenty of life or death situations, but this one felt different. He quickly pulled Leia into his arms and passionately kissed her.

When they broke apart, he was breathless. Fortunately, Leia understood his wordless confession.

“I know,” she smirked, echoing his words on Bespin. “Now, let’s go kill the emperor.”

Ahsoka looked at Padme for confirmation, and opened the door. Luke, Anakin, and Obi-Wan were sitting across from an old man, everybody looked disconcertingly casual.

“Senator Amidala!” the old man exclaimed. “I didn’t realize you were stopping by. Who are your friends here?”

“Apologies, Chancellor,” she said. Chancellor? That old man was the Emperor??! “These are university students from Naboo, I volunteered to give them a tour of the Senate and government life on Coruscant.”

Like anyone could mistake Han for a university student. He didn’t even finish grade school.

“Padawan Tano,” Palpatine continued on. “I apologize for stealing your masters away from you, I’m sure you have important Jedi training to do.”

“It’s no problem,” Ahsoka said in a forced tone as she looked at Anakin. “We can just do it soon, right Skyguy?

He nodded. “‘Course, Snips.”

Wow. Even Luke had more subtlety. Didn’t Leia say that Ahsoka became the first Fulcrum? That must have been one hell of a steep learning curve.

“Please, everyone. Take a seat.” Palpatine gestured at various chairs in his office. Why would he have so many chairs?

Luke looked over at Leia and Han, his face neutral. If he were to speak, Han would bet he would sound like he did when he tried bartering with Jabba—all righteous anger controlled underneath a veil of Jedi serenity. 

“Senator Amidala,” Anakin started, sounding overly formal. “Ahsoka could take your students on a tour of the Jedi Temple if you want. I’m afraid she and I will be too busy later.”

“Actually, we’d rather meet the Chancellor,” Leia said, smiling deadly sweet, “as long as that’s not a problem?”

Han could literally see Anakin swallow, his Adam's apple bobbing. Clearly, he didn’t want them there. “Of course not.”

They all settled down as Kenobi continued some small talk about the war with Palpatine. He was stroking his beard, which in itself was not unusual, but this was to an almost obsessive degree, twirling the ends of his mustache. Anakin was doing something similar, alternating between rubbing his chin and his brow. What in the hell?

Palpatine seemed to notice too. “Anakin, my dear boy, are you quite all right?”

“No,” he replied slowly, hand dropping from his face before shouting dramatically, “But I will be!”

And with that he ignited his lightsaber, pointing it at Palpatine’s chest. Kenobi did the same, and Ahsoka and Luke followed suit once they realized what was happening. Han, Leia, and Padme backed up, training their blasters on the Emperor. This was totally not part of the plan, but when did things ever go to plan for them?

“Is this some sort of trick? What is the meaning of this?” Palpatine shouted.

“You’re the Sith lord,” Anakin said, copying how Han revealed Darth Vader to him (except he got the tone all wrong).

Palpatine looked genuinely surprised. “I’m the what?”

“Don’t play games with me, Chancellor. We know you’re lying.”

The Emperor snarled, his face inhumane. “So be it, then.”

Han had one second to process the look of betrayal on Anakin’s face before Palpatine jumped to his feet with an agility a man of his age should not have and whipped out his lightsaber. 

Three blasters fired on him at once, and he dodged all of the shots while also fending off five lightsabers. Shit, Han knew the guy was politically powerful but really? Didn’t old men step the wrong way and break a hip? What the hell was this guy on?

Next thing Han knew, there were blaster shots coming in behind him, aimed at him. He turned his back on the blur of lightsabers to face this new attacker. Stormtroopers?! No, clone troopers. Didn’t the Jedi remove the chips from all of their heads? Maybe this group was just ultimately loyal to Palpatine. Han didn’t have much time for thought as he focused on taking them down.

They were holding their ground until Han took a shot to his thigh. He yelped and fell to the ground. Leia sprinted over to cover him, taking down quite a few clones on her way. But she couldn’t hold them off all by herself.

Han heard Anakin shout, “Go!” at Luke, encouraging Luke to abandon his attack on Palpatine to defend him and Leia.

That’s when it all fell to shit.

Anakin’s shouting distracted Padme, who had previously been methodically taking down troopers (she wasn’t kidding when she said she was skilled with a blaster). Han saw her look up for just a moment, but it was enough time for a trooper to put a blaster to her head.

Anakin halted his attack on Palpatine, staring in fear and horror at his captive wife. Palpatine, of course, had no sympathy for him and simply knocked the lightsaber out of his hands. Han heard it clatter even as he was fending off troopers back to back with Luke and Leia.

Ahsoka didn’t hesitate to move in front of Anakin, still frozen, and joined Kenobi in attacking Palpatine in his defense. Unfortunately, without Anakin, they were no match for him. Palpatine lifted her up with the force and sent her flying across the room into a wall.

She crumpled to the ground unconscious.

Han could hear Leia shouting at him to move, but he couldn’t look away from Ahsoka. He had been in dozens of battles like this before, it shouldn’t be a big deal. But there was something about the way her wrists bent at an awkward angle that forced him to stare. She’s just a kid.

Han wasn’t sure how much time had passed—probably only seconds—but he was pulled out of his head by Leia’s voice, angry.

“Take your hands off me!”

“Hey!” Luke shouted. “Leave them alone!”

That’s when Han realized there was a trooper behind him, grabbing at his arms. They had already taken his blaster. Han jerked around and kicked them hard in the shins. Shit, that hurt. He had kicked with his bad leg.

A quick look around the room revealed that everybody was compromised. When Ahsoka woke she would be looking down the barrel of no less than three blasters. Palpatine himself suspended Kenobi and Anakin in the air, each struggling against invisible ties. Luke was the only one still fighting, but suddenly his lightsaber flew from his hands, straight into Palpatine’s. 

The clones roughly grabbed his arms, placing cuffs on his wrists. He slumped forward and Han pulled against his bonds, trying to break free and check if he was okay. They placed similar cuffs on Kenobi and Anakin, who fell to his knees.

“Force suppressors,” Padme mouthed at him and Leia. Ah. That would explain Luke’s reaction. It would be the first time in his life he didn’t have access to the force.

They had three advantages in their original plan: surprise, number, and power. Now they had nothing.

Anakin got to his feet, shouting with as much authority one could after getting their ass kicked by an 80 year old man. “Why are you doing this?!” he shouted.

“Why aren’t you?” Palpatine waved his arm around the room, still holding Luke’s saber. “This is only a fraction of my abilities, imagine what we could do with our combined power.”

“Don’t listen to him,” Obi-Wan said, earning him a kick to the ribs from the clone behind him.

“The Dark Side is fear, anger, suffering,” Anakin recited. “The Light side is peace and balance.”

“You really believe that?” Palpatine asked. “How peaceful has your life been since you joined the Jedi, General Skywalker?”

Anakin didn’t answer.

“Join me,” Palpatine said. “Join me, and you can put an end to this awful war. Join me, and you can save your family.”

“No!” Padme shouted, still struggling against the clones holding her back. “Listen to me, Ani, the Jedi may have flaws, but this is evil!”

“From my perspective, the Jedi are evil,” Palpatine replied. “Your worldview is narrow.”

“You-” Anakin stopped, shaking his head. “This is insane. You don’t want to end the war, you just want to start another one. I won’t be your weapon.”

Han felt himself breathe in relief. Leia, however, wasn’t quite so assured. Her jaw was tense and Han could practically see the thoughts whirring around in her head.

“Very well.” The emperor shook his head. “Then watch them die.”

“NO!” Anakin shouted. “YOU CAN’T DO THIS!”

“That’s where you’re mistaken.” Palpatine smiled. Han was reminded of a slimy, toothy worm. “I can.”

Suddenly, he shot lightning out of his fingers, straight at Kenobi who collapsed to the floor.

Han was starting to panic. He and the two people he cared about most in the world were trapped in an increasingly impossible situation, twenty five years in the past. They were about to die before the Empire was even formed. Chewie would be embarrassed by them.

This entire time, Luke had been eerily silent. Luke was not quiet, the kid was always chattering about something. If not chattering, then complaining. Han stared at him, trying to get a hint of what he was up to. He certainly wasn’t this silent the last time they were about to die.

Can you do that? Han mouthed at Luke, who shook his head.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Luke muttered.

“No shit, kid,” Han replied. “You got a plan?”

“You’re not gonna like it,” he said. “Chewie would make a better one.”

“Probably,” Han grinned but his heart wasn’t in it. “But he’s not a Jedi.”

Anakin began shouting, threatening, begging, then threatening again. Palpatine looked amused. “You have the power to stop this whenever you want. Just say the word and they’ll go free.”

“Never,” Anakin replied, but his voice didn’t hold the same conviction as it did before. (But maybe that was just hoarseness from screaming.) Either way, Han was growing more worried by the second. He certainly didn’t want to get lightninged, nor did he want anything to happen to Luke and Leia. This wasn’t their world. They needed to get out of here.

“Very well,” Palpatine said, appearing almost bored. Kenobi’s robes started smoking.

“Stop!” Padme yelled. “Leave him alone!”

“And why would I do that, my dear?”

She glared at him, radiating fury. “The Senate will never let you get away with this.” 

Wow. At first Han had thought Leia had gotten her glare from Vader, but it was clear it was Padme. She wasn’t even looking at him and he was uneasy.

“I am the Senate,” Palpatine asserted. “None of those snivelling cowards who call themselves Senators will be able to do anything about it. And don’t forget, this is for the good of the galaxy. The Jedi just tried to kill me in a coup for the Republic. Anything I do is pure self-defense. But if that doesn’t satisfy your worries, just ask your husband to join me. He can put an end to this nonsense.”

“Anakin would never join you,” she snarled.

Han held in the urge to roll his eyes. Clearly, Anakin would join him, they were living proof. 

“Would he?” Palpatine asked, a nefarious glint in his eye. “Not even to save his wife?”

Padme’s eyes widened marginally, but she didn’t say anything else. That was when Han knew they were screwed for sure—there were many things he doubted about Vader, but his devotion to Padme was not one of them. Hell, Han didn’t know what he would do in Anakin’s position if Palpatine was torturing Luke and Leia instead.

Palpatine didn’t waste a second and directed the lightning to her. Her knees buckled and she convulsed on the floor.

“PADME!” Anakin screamed.

Leia soon joined him, shouting bloody murder and threats Han didn’t doubt she would follow through on given the chance. As much as he appreciated her wrath, he wished she would stop, have a sense of self-preservation for once. He didn’t want to be the one to have to save their skins.

“Anakin,” Han overheard Kenobi say. He couldn’t catch the rest of it over Palpatine’s cackling, Padme’s screams, and everyone else shouting. Whoever soundproofed this office deserved a raise.

“Okay!” Anakin’s voice was commanding despite the obvious panic behind it. Han grimaced—this was it. 

“Okay, what?” Palpatine asked, pronouncing the “h” like some kind of sick twisted psycho.

“I’ll join you,” he amended. Palpatine halted his attack on Padme. 

Ahsoka had apparently regained consciousness during the fight and at that moment of distraction, managed to slip out of the trooper’s hold. She rushed to Padme’s side, feeling for a pulse.

“Anakin, what are you doing?” she exclaimed.

“What I must,” Anakin replied, turning toward the Emperor.

He knelt.

“I pledge myself to your teachings. To the ways of the Sith.”

Palpatine stepped forward, smiling. “Good, Anakin, good. The Force is strong with you. A powerful Sith you will become.” He paused. “Rise, Darth Vader.”

Chapter Text

Anakin—no, Darth Vader—got to his feet slowly.

A clone came up behind him and undid his cuffs. The feeling of relief as he had access to the force again was instantaneous, like water breaking through a dam.

He hid his shaky hands under the sleeves of his robes as he took excruciatingly slow, measured steps toward his wife.

“How could you?” Ahsoka seethed. She didn’t understand. He didn’t expect her to.

He ignored her, kneeling by Padme’s side. Placing a hand on the side of her neck, he sighed in relief at feeling her pulse, dropping his forehead against hers. She was barely conscious. She was never meant to get hurt or caught up in all of this—all he wanted was to keep her safe. He kissed her one last time before he stood up and returned to Palpatine’s side.

She might hate him, but she would live. As long as she survived, he would pay any price.

“Uncuff them,” he demanded Palpatine.

“Not quite yet, my apprentice,” he replied. “That would be dangerous.”

“What threat do they pose?” Vader gestured around at everyone in various states of injury, feeling a moment of relief to see Luke and Leia mostly unharmed. “They don’t have weapons. You promised their safety.”

“That I did,” Palpatine said, “But I will not fall into stupidity. While you have come to your senses, I’m not sure the rest of them would agree.”

Vader offered no reply.

“Besides, I only promised your family’s safety. Unless there’s something you’re not telling me, I do believe most of them are expendable.”

“No!” Vader shouted for what felt like the millionth time today. “That’s not what I meant!”

“Don’t worry, your wife and Padawan are safe,” Palpatine reassured. “As for Master Kenobi, the Council’s loyal puppet, well...” he trailed off, his intention clear.

Shit. Now Vader was regretting all the times he complained about Obi-Wan. “Master Kenobi is no use to us dead,” he said, hoping he sounded threatening. “He would make a powerful ally.”

“Or a powerful enemy,” Palpatine countered. “Besides, don’t you want him gone? After all the harm he caused you, nobody could begrudge you a little revenge.”

“Revenge is not the Jedi way,” Vader said automatically.

“And that is why you are a Sith now,” Palpatine hissed. “Kill them.”

“I won’t.”

“You are my apprentice, and you will do as I say,” Palpatine said. “Prove your loyalty. Do it!”

This wasn’t good. He couldn’t kill his children any more than he could Ahsoka or Padme. And Obi-Wan—they fought all the time, but he didn’t want to kill him. His master had faked his death once before. Vader didn’t know what he would do if it was real and by his own hands.

Anakin shook his head, refusing.

“Very well, I’ll do it myself.”

Instead of turning to Obi-Wan, Palpatine shot his lightning at Luke, who fell to the ground screaming.

“STOP!” Anakin shouted while Palpatine cackled. “He’s family, you can’t do this!”

Palpatine stopped. “Family?”

Anakin swallowed. There was no hiding it now. “My son.”

“My apprentice, there is no need for lies. That is impossible.”

“It’s true,” Obi-Wan added, still breathless from getting electrocuted. “Time-travel. We’re not sure how it happened.”

“Time travel? I suspected...” he trailed off. Palpatine suddenly looked even more menacing as he turned toward Luke. “Tell me about this future of yours.”

Luke, still laying on the floor, spoke with certainty. “Never.”

“There are other ways to make you talk,” Palpatine mused.

Luke didn’t acknowledge him, looking to Anakin instead. “Father, don’t.”

Anakin knew what he meant, but was tempted to ignore it anyways. Their plan had been off the rails since they first set foot in Palpatine’s office. What did it matter any more that he followed it? Before Anakin could try and intervene, Leia spoke.

“How did you get the clones?”

“What?” Palpatine asked, uncharacteristically confused.

Leia tried to take a step forward but a pair of clones held her back. “How are these men loyal to you?”

Palpatine didn’t say anything. Keep him talking. Anakin moved slowly behind the Sith.

“It was my understanding that all clones have an ‘inhibitor chip’ implanted in their brains,” Leia continued. “But the thing is, all of these chips have been either deactivated or removed. You no longer have access to them.”

“And how do you know this?” Palpatine demanded.

“That’s not important right now. Why are these men loyal to you and turning against innocent civilians and Jedi?”

“I see,” Palpatine said, a smile growing on his wrinkly face. How did Anakin ever find him comforting? “You’re from the same time as young Skywalker here.”

“Actually, Luke’s older than Anakin. So really, he’s old Skywalker,” Han interrupted.

Luke nodded. “It’s true.”

“I am,” Leia admitted her existence as a time-traveller while Anakin kept inching toward his lightsaber.

“Would you say the two of you are close?”

“What do you mean?” Leia asked cautiously.

“I think you are,” Palpatine decided. “And that’s the interesting thing, you see. Usually, good people just can’t be persuaded to speak for their own life. But I’ve found that under the right circumstances, they will almost always speak for someone else’s. And you, my dear, have information that I want.”

Leia’s eyes widened. “No,” she whispered.

“Yes,” Palpatine grinned, once again directing his lightning toward Luke.

Anakin lunged for his saber while Leia screamed at Palpatine. It was pure, blood-curdling rage. The force of it knocked Anakin to the ground, clones collapsed where they stood, and furniture flew around the air, knocking into the walls. Leia ran toward her brother.

There was no way Palpatine wasn’t surprised by Leia’s display of power, but he kept torturing Luke. His attention, however, was divided between the lightning and defending himself from Leia’s storm of an assault.

Amidst the chaos, Anakin struggled to his feet. He ignited his lightsaber and drove it through Palpatine’s chest.

The Sith gasped, looking Anakin in the eyes one last time before he crumpled at his feet. He looked disgustingly human in death, a frail old man who barely had the strength to walk up a flight of stairs. It was strangely anticlimactic—for some reason, Anakin felt like there should have been more explosions.

Anakin felt a hand on his shoulder and flinched.

Anakin,” Obi-Wan said. “He’s dead. It’s over.”

That did it. Anakin turned around and pulled his old master into a tight hug, rambling apologies into the fabric of his robes like he was a child.

“It’s okay, Padawan,” Obi-Wan pulled back. “There’s nothing to forgive.”

Anakin nodded gratefully, looking past him and realizing that Luke and Padme were walking toward him. Luke grinned, which, given his injuries, looked far more grotesque than he probably intended.

Padme smiled despite her obvious pain. “How was that for aggressive negotiations?”

… 

They only had a few moments respite before Padme—still hardly able to stand on her own two feet—put everyone to work. She contacted Senator Organa and a few others while Obi-Wan called the Council.

“Skywalker!” Windu barked as he walked into the room. “What is the meaning of this?”

Normally Anakin would have yelled right back, but he was exhausted. The thought of holding a debate with Windu right nowmade him feel like he should have never left Padme's apartment that morning. Luke answered instead. Anakin held back a laugh—he kept forgetting he wasn’t the only Skywalker anymore.

“We killed your Sith lord,” Luke said plainly.

“You killed—” Mace said. “What?!”

Luke gave him half a smile, folding his hands in front of him. “Emperor Palpatine was the Sith lord. Father killed him.”

Father?! You mean Anakin?! This is—I can’t do this right now,” Mace muttered, placing a hand on his forehead.

It was still weird hearing 23 year old Luke call him father. Good. But weird. The weirdness was definitely worth seeing Mace speechless, though.

Yoda had stepped back from the conversation to examine the body. “Dead, he is,” he announced.

A lightsaber through the chest will do that. Nevertheless, Anakin was still relieved at the confirmation. For some reason, he felt like it shouldn’t have been that easy to kill him. He wondered if there was some Sith secret that could allow him to come back to life.

 “Without permission, this assassination was.” Yoda continued, frowning at Anakin.

“Sorry?” Anakin said. He literally just killed the Sith lord. Shouldn’t they at least be a little bit grateful?

“Master Yoda,” Obi-Wan began. “This was my idea. You know the Council would have spent too much time deliberating and clearly,” he gestured at all the destruction, “we needed to take action. Palpatine was onto us.”

“Or this is the result of a poorly formed plan,” Windu said. “Were the Council to have assigned a mission to take on Palpatine, we would have never sent all of you. Certainly not Skywalker, with all of his attachments.” His lip curled as he said the last word, like it was disgusting.

Anakin was about to retort back—he couldn’t talk about Padme or his future kids that way—when Luke gave him a look, one he usually reserved for Leia. Its message was clear enough: leave it. It was weird to feel so chastised by his future adult son, but Anakin listened. He had more important things than to fight Windu right now. Like eat. He was starving.

Yoda ignored Windu’s comment and Anakin’s growling stomach. “Medical care, you need. Discuss this later, we will.”

Anakin nodded as they left, distracted by Padme and Leia walking back in. Leia hugged Bail tightly before he left, and Anakin averted his eyes. He understood, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

Ahsoka ran up to him, still holding her right arm funny.

“Snips! Are you okay?” He exclaimed, looking her over for more injuries. “We need to go see the Medics at the Temple before this office is swarming with politicians.”

She didn’t say anything, just stepped forward and slapped him across the face with her good arm. Ouch, that stung.

“I probably deserve that,” he said, rubbing his cheek.

“Probably?!” she shouted. Oh boy. This was not going to go well. “Probably?! Master, I thought you actually fell! I thought I lost you! You’re not allowed to keep me out of plans like this! Especially after before! Do you have any idea how that felt?!”

“Ahsoka, I-” he started, excuses ready. She wasn’t supposed to have ever been there for the attack to begin with! But then he remembered how he felt when Obi-Wan didn’t tell them about his fake death, and instead said, “I’m sorry.”

She stared at him for a moment before stepping quickly toward him. He stepped back, expecting another slap. Ahsoka laughed. “Don’t worry, Skyguy, I’m not going to hit you. Probably.”

He hugged her then, carefully avoiding her right arm.

Finally, they began to leave the office. Right before Anakin walked out, he turned around to glimpse what remained of the man he used to consider like a father. Instead, he saw Leia and Han lingering behind. Han leaned over and spit on Palpatine’s corpse.

Good.

A short while later, Anakin stepped into the Council room, once again hand in hand with his wife. If the Council wanted to give him shit for it, let them. What did they know?

“Young Skywalker,” Windu said formally. “We commend your actions in eliminating the Sith Lord known as Darth Sideous to us, and in your children’s future as Emperor Palpatine. Nevertheless, this was highly reckless and dangerous.”

“But it worked!” Ahsoka exclaimed. “He’s dead! You can’t punish us for that!”

“Punished for killing the Sith, you will not be,” Yoda agreed. “Fret not, Padawan.”

“Consider the situation with Darth Sideous handled, Knight Skywalker,” Mundi said. “It is your attachments we are concerned about.” He glanced down to Anakin and Padme’s joined hands.

“What about them?” Anakin said, squeezing Padme’s hand a little tighter.

“Don’t pretend to be stupid, Skywalker,” Windu said. “You know attachments are against the code. We cannot let this continue.”

“Why not?” Luke interrupted. “What is so wrong with attachments anyways?”

“A Jedi, are you not?” Yoda questioned.

“You finished my training yourself, Master Yoda. You did warn me of my attachments to my friends, yes, but never in such extreme terms. Why are you all so against Jedi having attachments? Isn’t that what the light side is about? Love?”

Windu sighed. “Attachments are corrupting influences. At best, they will distract a Jedi. At worst, they will cause their fall. It is an unnecessary risk. Therefore, Jedi are forbidden from it.”

“Is that even legal?” Leia asked, frowning. “And logistically, how do you forbid thousands of people from making emotional connections? That doesn’t sound realistic or healthy.”

“Sounds like a cult,” Han added.

“You wouldn’t understand, civilian,” Mace said, a look of distaste coming across his face. “This is the Jedi way.”

Anakin couldn’t take this anymore. He was trying to be civil in front of Padme, but this was too much. He had to do something.

“You know, Master Windu, I bet if you actually got laid once in a while, you would feel a lot different about this subject.”

“Excuse me?” Mace said threateningly.

“I think maybe you’re just jealous.”

Windu gave him a death stare, looking like his head was about to explode. Anakin stared right back, but he stepped closer to Padme (she was definitely going to yell at him about this later).

Master Mundi cleared his throat awkwardly. “Actually, Anakin, Jedi are not forbidden from…intercourse. It is simply attachments we must avoid.”

Anakin blanked. “So you’re saying you would have preferred I had sex before I got married?!”

“Master Kenobi,” Plo Koon said. “Did you never explain any of this to your Padawan?”

Obi-Wan had his head in his hands. “I did my best,” he said weakly.

You knew?!!” Anakin practically shouted before addressing the Council as a whole. “You’re all disgusting. Have a sense of decency.”

“Really, Skywalker, have a sense of maturity, please. This is unbecoming,” Windu said.

“First off, I’m twenty-one. You’re the fifty year old man telling me it’s okay to have one-night stands but marriage is unacceptable. Second, WHAT THE HELL?! HAVE YOU ALL HAD PREMARITAL SEX?!!! YODA?!!!!!!!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW—”

Anakin was pulled out of his rant by choked laughter. He looked back to see Han with his hand over his mouth. Leia glared at him. She looked pissed, but her face was bright red. Luke, too, was blushing, all the way to the roots of his hair.

Padme took his moment of distraction to remove her hand from his grip and cover her face. He paused his tirade. “Sorry, Angel,” he muttered.

“You will be,” she said through clenched teeth. Anakin hoped it would be the fun kind of sorry. Oh force, would he have to think about the Council every time he was with Padme now?!

“Regardless of your own miscommunication,” Leia said, blush fading, “Your code surrounding attachment is unhealthy.”

No shit, Anakin thought to himself.

“How so, Miss Skywalker?” Windu said, failing to regain his sense of decency after being publicly slut shamed by a 21 year old.

Leia’s eyes flashed. “You may address me as General Organa, Mister Windu.” She continued. “And forbidding attachment is clearly an unrealistic expectation—what sentient being is not attached to someone? You’re setting your entire order up for failure.”

“I am the last Jedi of my time,” Luke added. “ Without my attachments to my family and my friends, I would never have been able to stay sane, much less been able to complete my training as a Jedi.”

Padme stepped forward, hands clasped behind her back. “In this future, the Jedi order has fallen. Clearly what you are doing now is not working. The Order needs to change and progress in order for its survival. You can’t just stick with thousand year old mantras for the rest of your lives. Like Leia said, it’s unrealistic.”

Yoda grunted. “Regular people, Jedi are not. Processed differently, our emotions are.”

“This is true,” Windu agreed. “Jedi are granted great power. To be so careless with their emotions would undoubtedly lead to disaster.”

Anakin was fuming. Was the Council seriously lecturing him that is was a flaw to love his wife?! This was ridiculous. “Look, I killed Palpatine because I was attached. And don’t you all think I’m the Chosen One? Shouldn’t my opinion hold some weight here?”

“All due respect, Master Windu,” Padme said. “But it sounds like your current path leads toward disaster as well. The Jedi cannot remain stagnant as you are. And regarding Anakin’s prophecy, do any of you know what bringing balance to the force even means? Perhaps his role was not to destroy the Dark Side, but to reconcile the extremism of the Light.”

Anakin wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, but it sounded smart so he nodded along before he spoke again. “If you won’t change the rule on attachment, I’m leaving the Order.” 

The Council room burst into chaos again. Obi-Wan gave him an exasperated look from his seat. Anakin grinned back. He always had been good at making the Council lose their heads.

Padme leaned in closer, eyes wide. “You’d leave? Are you sure?”

Anakin looked down, surprised at her surprise. “For you? I’d do anything.”

Anakin’s eyes met with Ahsoka’s as she crossed her arms. She rolled her eyes. Right. Anakin had promised he would stay for the completion of her training. Maybe there was a way he could leave the order but continue to train her? Obi-Wan had promised him he would train Ahsoka if anything happened, so maybe he could just sneak in with him. He didn’t want to abandon his Padawan, but there was no way he could stay with the Jedi if they insisted on continuing this insanity.

“If Master Skywalker leaves, I’m leaving too,” Ahsoka announced loudly.

Anakin barely had a second to process his surprise when Obi-Wan stood up. “As will I.”

Anakin raised his eyebrows, legitimately shocked at Obi-Wan’s admission. Ahsoka had always had a rebellious streak, so he wasn’t too surprised she was willing to leave in order to prove a point, but Obi-Wan? Obi-Wan was the perfect Jedi—and on the Council! He was the Jedi authority, but he was willing to leave for Anakin. 

Then Yoda got to his feet, slamming his cane against the ground three times. The room immediately fell silent. 

“Leave, none of you will,” he said. “Discuss revisions to the Code, we shall.”

Anakin brushed Padme’s hair off the back of her neck as he slowly zipped up her dress. It was dark blue and had incredibly fine and intricate detailing that served no purpose other than aesthetics. He didn't understand why someone would design something with no practical purpose, but she certainly looked beautiful wearing it.

He bent forward and kissed the back of her neck. “All done,” he said quietly, resting his other hand on her waist as she slowly turned around in his arms.

When she saw his face, she froze. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he said, nervously running a hand through his hair. “It’s just that this is going to be our first time in public now that everyone knows we’re married.”

She stepped closer. “What do you mean?”

“I just don’t think,” he tried to say, ignoring the look of amusement on her face at that. “I don’t want to mess it up. I’m horrible at politics. What if being married to me ruins your career? Or what if I—”

Padme cut him off with a kiss as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Anakin happily obliged, closing his eyes and moving his free hand to the back of her head, carefully avoiding her intricate updo.

She pulled back. “You won’t mess up. Besides, the public loves you, Hero With No Fear. You don’t mean to tell me you’re scared of a little party?” She teased with a soft smile.

Anakin blushed at the mention of his “nickname,” but he had already forgotten why he was worried about the party—now he was focused on kissing his wife. His hands began to creep lower down her back when he remembered—Yoda. Ew. He had to stop.

“What is it?” Padme asked, her teasing expression gone.

“Remember how when we were talking to the Council, and they revealed that,” Anakin felt his face heating up again, “Jedi were not celibate?”

“Yes,” she said slowly, taking a step away from him.

“Well, you see, I just thought about—” He couldn’t finish the sentence. He couldn’t do it. He’d rather fight Palpatine again.

Yoda,” she finished with a grimace.

“Yeah.”

Padme sighed, walking over to sit on the bed. Anakin followed her. She got up.

“Well, Ani, I think we’re going to have to go to couple’s therapy for the first time too,” she said, sounding exhausted.

“Couples therapy?!” Anakin said. “I haven’t even been to regular therapy!”

“You haven’t been to regular therapy?!”

Anakin waved his hands around, trying to find a response. “No?”

Padme groaned, resting her head in her hand. “How did the Jedi ever think you were okay…”

The war didn’t end with killing Palpatine—there was still Grievous, and Dooku, and apparently Maul—but the end was in sight. Anakin had also been granted a few weeks of off-time from his general duties, as he had to endure a whole legal trial about assassinating Palpatine. The Senate didn’t seem particularly focused about him actually being an evil Sith lord, though. They were more upset that he had been playing both sides of the war from the beginning. Either way, Palpatine was declared a traitor and Anakin innocent (for once).

Bail had been elected Chancellor after everything. Anakin was confused why Padme hadn’t even been considered for the position, but she told him that she wouldn’t have been elected anyways—the Senate, after all, was full of stupid politicians. From their perspective, she was too connected to Palpatine through Naboo and way too connected to his murderer through marriage. Anakin told her he would personally visit every single Senator who would oppose her as Chancellor, but for some reason she didn’t want him to do that.

At the moment, Anakin danced with his wife at the inauguration party, arms carefully positioned like Obi-Wan had lectured him about in a diplomacy lesson years ago. Speaking of Obi-Wan, he was smiling a suspicious amount while talking to the Duchess of Mandalore across the room. His old master had seemed a lot happier now that the Order had officially relaxed their stance on attachment.

Anakin did not want to think about what Obi-Wan might be doing now that the rule was abolished. He shuddered. That was almost as bad as Yoda.

“Hey,” Padme said softly. “Come back to me.”

“Sorry,” he said. “Just thinking.”

“About what?”

He grimaced. “Obi-Wan.”

She shook her head. “We really need to get you to therapy.”

Then, over Padme’s shoulder, he saw Leia and Han dancing. Force, she looked so short next to him. Also, he was dancing way too close to her. Anakin knew Han was a smuggler, but Leia was a princess! He should have some respect.

Han leaned down to whisper something in Leia’s ear, which she pulled back and slapped his arm for. Then she stepped away and called out, “Luke! Come dance with me!”

“Excuse me,” Anakin said to Padme, walking over toward where Han stood forlorn by a pillar. Artoo was with him, rambling on and on about some dumb thing Threepio had just done.

“I get it, buddy,” Han said. “My friend Chewie is the best, but sometimes he doesn’t understand that not every problem can be solved with his crossbow.”

Anakin stepped in. “You know, I’m sure Artoo would love solving problems with a crossbow.”

Han looked surprised that Anakin was there, but he didn’t run away screaming, which Anakin took as a good sign. He cleared his throat. He knew Luke and Leia were a little older than him, which was weird enough on its own, but his future son-in-law? That was too much.

“How old are you anyways?” he asked accidentally.

Han snorted. “To be honest, I’ve got no clue. I grew up on the streets.”

Well, that wasn’t where Anakin had been hoping to take this conversation. “Oh. Uh. I’m sorry about that.”

“Yeah, me too.”

Clearly Han did not want to be having a conversation with him right now. “Look, I wanted to talk to you about Leia.”

“Why?”

What? Did he really not know why? “Time travel or not, she’s my daughter,” Anakin said, copying the same speech he had heard on many different holo-films. “I think you’re a good man and I can see you make her happy, but if you do anything to hurt her in any way, there is no place in the galaxy you will be able to hide from me.”

Completely serious, Han looked him dead in the eye and asked, “What would you do?”

“Huh?”

“If you found me,” he said slowly. “What would you do?”

Anakin paused, taking in that comment. Did he think he was joking?! Was Leia a joke to him?! He felt himself growing angrier by the second when Han spoke again.

“Both Leia and I have been on the receiving end of Vader’s anger, so, really it’s going to take a lot to scare me away. I can handle it.”

How was Anakin supposed to reply to that? Fortunately, he was spared by Han bursting into laughter.

Anakin nervously joined him, but kept glancing around, hoping someone would come get him out of this conversation. Padme, Luke, and Ahsoka were talking, and by the way they were laughing, they wouldn’t notice his struggles. Leia was standing with Bail and Breha, a smile on her face. Anakin realized that he wasn’t even jealous—he was just grateful that she grew up in a loving, supporting home. Even if that home wasn’t with him. Either way, she probably wouldn’t even want to rescue him from Han.

Just as Anakin was losing hope, Obi-Wan walked over.

“Sorry to bother you, Mr. Solo,” (This time Artoo joined in on the laughter) “But could I borrow Anakin for a moment?”

“By all means,” Han said, still chuckling. “Take him away.”

“What is it?” Anakin asked once he and Obi-Wan had walked away from the party. “Did Satine propose?”

“Propose? Propose what?” Obi-Wan asked. “Ah. No, this is not about her.” He paused. “Do you think she will?”

Anakin gave a genuine laugh. “I’ve got no clue, Master. What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Right. I spoke with the Council. As you know, since we killed Palpatine, the Force has become much clearer. Less fuddled with darkness.”

“Yes,” Anakin said. It was true—Palpatine’s very presence had manipulated the Force so much, it was like they were trying to see in a sandstorm. Now, it was as clear as the lakes of Naboo.

“Because of this,” Obi-Wan continued. “We have a way to return your children and Han to their own time and universe. They found the very same artifact which sent them here in the first place. But records in the Archives indicates it will only be active for a few more hours. We must act quickly if they are ever to return.”

Anakin looked back toward the party, seeing Padme and Leia sitting on a bench. They were sitting leg to leg and smiling as they chatted. They looked like they could be sisters. Ahsoka was off talking to Satine’s nephew (who still looked suspiciously like Obi-Wan). Artoo was creating chaos as always, showing Luke and Han his rocket boosters. It was only a matter of time before he offered to give Luke a ride—which, if he had any sense of self-preservation, he would decline. For all his similarities to Padme, Luke was Anakin’s son too. He would absolutely want to go flying sitting on top of Artoo. 

If they are ever to return. Maybe Anakin should just let time run out, and they could stay a family like this forever.

“Do you want me to tell them?” Obi-Wan asked after a moment.

Anakin pulled his gaze away, looking Obi-Wan in the eye. “Do we have to?”

“No,” Obi-Wan said. “But do you really want to keep them from their lives?”

Anakin sighed. “I can tell them.”

...

“I assume you want a moment to say your goodbyes?” Windu said.

Anakin nodded, holding back his thoughts. Now was not the time to start a fight.

“Very well,” Windu replied.

“Fast, you must be,” Yoda said as he walked away with Master Windu. “Much time, we do not have.”

Anakin tried not to shudder at the green troll’s voice. He was definitely going to need some therapy.

The goodbyes began. How do you say goodbye to your future children who haven’t even been conceived yet? Knowing they are going back to a universe where you are actively trying to kill them? Even Padme’s diplomacy skills couldn’t handle this.

Despite how momentous it was, it felt like a blur to Anakin. Obi-Wan quietly said a good-bye to both Luke and Leia before stepping back to give everyone more privacy. He had never been good with emotions.

Anakin felt frozen, sending a panicked look toward Padme, who looked back knowingly. She walked up to Luke first and hugged their son tightly like when they first met, his eyes tearing up. “Goodbye, Mom,” Anakin heard him mutter against her shoulder. She kissed him on the cheek and he squeezed his eyes shut, a few tears escaping.

Right after that, Leia walked over to Padme in uniform, controlled steps. She embraced her cautiously, only really hugging her after Padme whispered something in her ear. Leia gave out a short laugh before turning her head against Padme’s neck. Anakin knew she hid it well, but there was no mistaking Padme’s sniffle when they parted.

Anakin went to say goodbye to Han, so she had a moment to compose herself. He didn’t really want to hug him, so he clapped him on the shoulder the way he and Rex did.

“I meant what I said before. You’re a good man, Solo,” he said. “Take care of them.”

To Anakin’s amusement, Han blushed. He recovered quickly, but the tips of his ears were still pink. “I’ll do my best, but they can be pretty damn stubborn about getting into trouble sometimes.”

Obi-Wan had wandered back at some point, and laughed at Han’s comment. “If they’re anything like either of their parents, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Good luck.” He paused. “You’ll need it.”

Then the moment had come for Anakin to say goodbye to Luke and Leia.

Luke approached him first, immediately stepping in to hug him. Anakin was a bit surprised, but wasn’t going to question his son’s ability to forgive. He clearly took after Padme, and she was a much better person than Anakin could ever hope to be. He stood there for a while, marvelling both at Luke’s innate goodness and his height. Seriously, he was so small. Yet another sign he was Padme’s son.

Eventually, Luke stepped back, giving him a small smile. “You’ll see me again.”

“Luke,” Anakin began. “When you’re back, you’re probably going to have to confront Vader at some point.”

“I won’t kill him,” Luke insisted.

“I know,” Anakin assured. “But you might have to fight him. When you do, bring a container of sand—from Tatooine if you can. Throw it at him. Trust me.”

Luke nodded, taking his request completely seriously. Anyone from Tatooine knew sand was not to be joked about.

As Luke walked over to Masters Windu and Yoda with Han, Leia stayed behind. She approached Anakin cautiously, stopping about a foot away from him. He didn’t know what to do. Most of the time she had been there, she could hardly stand to look him in the eye. In fact, the closest he had been to her was when she had literally attacked him. How could he try to hug her right now?

Leia set her jaw, and Anakin was once again reminded of how much she looked like Padme. She stepped forward and pulled him into a stiff hug. Anakin didn’t know how to respond, and his first thought was how the top of her head didn’t even reach his chin. He leaned down so he could rest his head on top of hers, closing his eyes. Neither of them spoke, both too stubborn to break the silence first.

Leia pulled back first, smoothing her hands over her shirt. “Don’t mess this up,” she warned.

Anakin nodded, not trusting his voice. Then, giving one last glance at Padme, she turned around and left.

They were gone.

Obi-Wan and Ahsoka returned to the Temple soon after everyone had been sent back to their proper times, but Anakin and Padme stayed behind, staring at the spot their children had vanished into thin air.

Anakin held Padme close to his side, kissing the top of her head.

“So, you ready to start trying to make baby Luke and Leia?”