By Izzy

By the time they got to Brentaal, it was clear that it wasn’t over yet. They’d barely escaped Ysanne Isard, and had been forced to leave her in control of Coruscant, and she was not the only figure poised to seize control of a large part of the galaxy in the wake of the Emperor’s demise, which was taking some time to become known. Though by the time they left Brentaal, the news of it was on everyone’s lips.

Ben and Leia, on hearing the news, had decided to seek out Mon Mothma. But first the two of them were waiting on Sullust for Padmé, Luke, and Mara to rejoin them. Leia had been very indignant at all their running off, and told them so, but both were glad for what they had accomplished.

Luke and Mara both slept as Padmé kept watch, the endless shifting glow of hyperspace flowing steadily past the viewport. Occasionally she brought up the display of their course or surroundings, but nothing was going amiss.

Since she had been forced to flee Naboo completely, this had become the most peaceful environment Padmé knew. The steady beeping of the consoles reinforced the sense of being securely wrapped in an interstellar blanket.

She was gazing out at the blue light, her eyes mindlessly following the swirly patterns, when she heard the sound of boots on metal. “You can sleep another hour, Luke,” she said turning around. “My shift’s not...” Then she saw it wasn't Luke who had gotten up. It was Mara, except that it was not her who was looking at Padmé, but Anakin.

“It’s me alone,” he said to Padmé through her. “She’s still technically unconscious, so she isn’t even aware of what’s going on, and she won’t remember this. I’ve just said goodbye to her.”

“So you’re going.” It wasn’t really a question, but she needed him to say he was.

“My purpose is done.”

“Really? You know the situation now. It’s not done at all.”

“I was allowed to stay only to destroy Palpatine. The rest is up to you and the others, and I can only wish you good luck.”

She half expected him to close Mara’s eyes and lay down again, but when she just stood there she asked, “Shouldn’t we wake up Luke?”

“No. Mara will say goodbye to him, and to Leia. I want you to tell Obi-Wan goodbye, and that I’m sorry for everything if he is.”

“I know he is.” She noticed, of course, that he didn’t have any goodbye to give to her.

Or so she thought until a moment later when she said, “Padmé, before I go...hold me?”

She couldn’t refuse him. Wordlessly she took the girl into her arms. But as her hands curled onto her shoulders, she realized she was holding her as a mother would. She couldn’t help it. It was very far from impossible that this girl would someday become her daughter-in-law.

But that girl’s voice was now begging her, “Please, Padmé, look at me,” so Padmé did. It was different when she was looking into those eyes, and they were so, so blue.

“Love me again,” was her plea, and she sounded as much like him as she ever had. “Just for this one moment, the way I’ve loved you all along.”

It felt awkward, because Mara was shorter than her, while Anakin had been much taller, but Padmé found herself leaning down and kissing lips too soft and too small, while two small flesh hands clutched at her own hand and curled around her neck.

Then suddenly she was pressed back against the control panels and the girl’s tongue was in her mouth, and her own was grasping at it hungrily, because she could never not know how to kiss Anakin, no matter how many years had passed.

Then equally suddenly Mara went limp against her, and nearly slipped out of her arms, even as she tightened her hold. She opened her eyes to find that Mara’s were closed as she slept peacefully.

She hastily carried her back across the cockpit and lay her down where she’d been sleeping previously. When she was more sure she wouldn’t wake up, she tucked her tongue back into her mouth.

It felt almost as if nothing had changed. They both still slept, Padmé still kept watch, and outside the ship, hyperspace still glowed blue as it flowed by.

That kept her from crying, though she knew she probably would later. Instead she just sat down and resumed her staring out the viewport, and into the endless open space of the galaxy she lived in.