Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Admiral Volshe, Sep 3, 2012.
From a prior chapter:
Oh, well done, well done indeed.
Thank you all for the awesome and encouraging comments and reviews.
I'm working on an (actual) new chapter, however the muse seems to have left the building, so hopefully I will get it back by the time I post the last completed chapter.
Across The Stars
I sat still in the MedCenter bed, my fear clamping my throat. I should have told him the truth! Regret sickened me. I took a deep breath, trying to push back the bile. My hands still shook. Memories from the day on Mustafar rushed to me. For the second time, I was afraid of him. Of what he had become. It seemed impossible that he could ever be the same Anakin I knew 19 years ago.
Despair made my throat grow tighter. How could someone with such good in them become so evil? I stopped myself. Was he even truly evil? As much as I tried to push him away, I realized I could never do it. He was my Ani and I was his Angel! A gossamer vision of his lopsided smile and shimmering sea blue eyes appeared before me.
"I love you, Angel. Forever."
My heart shattered into a million pieces. I blinked, trying to take the image away. As soon as it appeared, it was gone. The nausea returned. My eyes stung, blurring the walls and monitors surrounding me. Small droplets of salt water flowed down my face. They stained the crisp white gown I wore. I wanted to scream. I closed my eyes and turned onto my side. The heart monitor beside me beeped incessantly, the speed making me even more stressed.
His face reappeared behind my closed eyes. I blinked, trying to make it fade. The image lingered, and I grew even more agitated. With my emotions it began to morph. The golden curls changed to pale skin, the eyes became sunken, and red scars crisscrossed his face. The face made me frustrated and even more distraught.
"What do you want from me? What do you want me to do? I love Anakin! Are you even that man anymore?" I gasped as I realized my voice yelling in my head was aloud.
My eyes filled again with hot tears. I bit my lip. I was so furious with him. He could tell me a million times how sorry he was. Force, he could bring me all the Sein jewels in the galaxy. I couldn't stand by his side, knowing what he had done to those innocent Jedi. What he had done to me. He didn't deserve to have me by his side.
I remembered his scarred face, pale and sullen. My strength began to waver. You love him, Padmé. You can't deny that. That was the truth. As much as I hated his actions, I still loved him. I shook my head, trying to get his image out of my mind. Another thought, more painful than the rest. He has lost everything. Do you really want him to suffer without you? He thinks the twins are dead, his limbs are robotic. He is a slave to Palpatine.
Dr. Zhel rushed into the room, breaking my trance. First seeing me curled into a fetal position, she then gasped at the state of the room. I sat up quickly, trying to hide any emotion I was showing.
I caught my reflection in the window. My eyes betrayed my façade. Bloodshot and swollen, the doctor would know I had been crying.
She spoke quietly but urgently, trying to calm my nerves. "What happened? Are you alright? Where is Lord Vader?" I tried to speak, but I couldn't. She took a few steps closer. "Take a deep breath. You need to bring down your heart rate."
I did as she instructed, and started again. "He was so… angry."
She clasped a hand over her mouth, losing her professional appearance. "He did all this?" My shock and fear began to fade. I gathered the strength to follow her gaze. With a glance around the room, I realized why she was so stunned. A pile of smoking metal lay below the monitors. Above it was a large gash in the wall. Wires sparked and sizzled, and a large crack was in the screens showing my vital signs.
Looking away from the carnage to me, she had one question left. "Why?"
I shook my head, not wanting to answer her question. "I can't. I can't talk about it."
With an understanding look, she paged a maintenance droid. "Please try to rest. You will recover much faster with as little stress as possible."
I laid back into the stiff bed. Closing my eyes once again, I turned my thoughts away from Anakin.
I remembered their beautiful faces, their soft skin and big eyes. I recalled the bittersweet joy of seeing them, and my voice speaking their names.
Anakin believed they had died, but I knew they had not. They were alive. The Jedi definitely took them far away from the Empire, but they were still alive.
A smile crossed my face, shunting my tears aside. I would see my children.
Not only that, I realized. They were my last hope to save him. To save the galaxy.
Fuming, the Sith Lord stormed down the hallway. I lost them! I had twins. I am so stupid. Red swirled around the edges of his vision, and he clenched his fist. I'm not the only one to blame. If Obi-Wan had listened, they might still be here! An animalistic growl started in Vader's throat at the thought of his old master.
"Lord Vader!" Ozzel's voice came through on the comm, breaking the quiet of the room.
Vader answered the call swiftly, not even attempting to calm his ire. "Yes, Admiral?"
"We have received information from Tarkin that the small Rebel presence on Dantooine has been eradicated. In addition, The Emperor requests a meeting with you at once." The Admiral seemed unusually anxious, and Vader knew that it was an obligatory conference.
"I will be on board within the hour. Let the Emperor know of my itinerary." Vader had stood, and exited the small room. As livid as he was, he needed to let Padmé know where he was going. Pulling a protocol droid aside, he gave it a message. "Inform my wife that I have gone to my Star Destroyer. I expect to be back within the next few hours."
The droid nodded. "Yes, Lord Vader." It waddled off towards Padmé's room.
Vader continued to walk towards the landing bay, testing the strength of his mind barriers. If
Palpatine got any information, Padmé would be in grave danger. He couldn't bear to lose her again. That was exactly what would happen if he wasn't mentally prepared. Exiting the corridor, he walked to his shuttle. A group of Stormtroopers guarded the entrance, and he waved them away as he boarded.
Rage and anxiety formed a potent mix in his stomach, as he waited for the shuttle to reach the Devastator.
Vader's shuttle arrived on the Devastator, and he strode off the loading ramp. Quickening his pace, he made his way to the holo communications. He prepared to let his anger roam freely; it often put the Emperor off his trail.
He kneeled, and a blue image formed.
"Lord Vader. I am glad you finally returned to your ship." He sneered, showing his rotting teeth.
"How is your health?"
"I am fine; I was undergoing a few routine tests." He replied humbly, trying to block the Emperor from his thoughts.
"Good, my friend. I expect you will be able to attend a meeting on the Death Star. Our intelligence has picked up some vital information, and Tarkin has destroyed the Rebel base on Dantooine." Palpatine's tone was condescending. He tried again to find his hidden memories, but Vader blocked the attempt.
"I shall be there, my master."
"I expect it, Lord Vader." Palpatine was frustrated by the strength of Vader's will, and almost spat the words. Vader bowed his head, and waited for the Emperor's image to fade. When he was gone, the Sith Lord stood.
Blast! He suspects I'm hiding something. I need to make a plan, and fast. If he finds out any information, I'm as good as dead.
Aside from his anger for the Emperor he realized just what his assignment meant. He needed to either leave Padmé alone at the Med Center, or find a way to hide her on board his Star Destroyer. The former might be safer, unless Palpatine learned of her existence. If he had her on board she would be much safer. He could constantly watch over her, and he had complete control of the environment.
Padmé had no reason to listen to him. He betrayed her trust, but if she didn't listen she would be putting herself in danger.
Why does everything have to be so complicated? Vader smashed his fist into the wall. There was only one thing he could do. Ask. Would she even let me near her? With a sigh, he left the small room and proceeded to the bridge.
I can't prove to her anything. I cannot look into her eyes and say I'm Anakin. I'm not!
The door to the bridge slid open, and Ozzel turned to look. With a few strides Vader was side by side with him. "Admiral, prepare hyperspace coordinates for the Death Star. It is in orbit of Dantooine."
Ozzel nodded acknowledgement. "Yes, Lord Vader." He motioned to a crewman sitting at a console.
Vader continued. "I will be going back to the planet's surface. We will have a confidential meeting with the high command on board the ship when I return." If anyone said anything about Padmé being onboard to the other fleets or branches, she would be in more danger than he could protect her from.
Another nod from the Admiral. "Yes, my lord. May I ask what the meeting is for?"
"It is about a security matter that has arisen, involving high profile individuals onboard this Star Destroyer. You may use that as a quick briefing, but do not mention it to anyone not stationed on this ship. Understood?" Vader tried to hold his frustration back, but as usual was not doing well.
"Yes. The proper crew shall be notified, Lord Vader."
Turning away once again, he proceeded to the hangar bay. He boarded the shuttle once more. Gazing out the window, he watched as the glow of the Coruscanti skyline came ever closer.
Dr. Zhel was just about to leave the room, when she turned around to look at me again. From her front pocket she pulled a silken parcel. She stepped back over to my bedside.
"This was in your chamber. I thought you might want to have it back." Taking my hand, she placed it in my palm.
With one last check of the displays surrounding me, she left.
I sat alone once again. The maintenance droid had fixed the damage to the room, as well as the monitors. With a failing attempt I tried to rid myself of earlier emotions. One side of me tried to figure out why I could not bear to leave Anakin, but my heart told me I should just accept it. I just let myself fall into memories, the feelings I could remember, for nothing else seemed to matter.
I mustered as much emotional strength as I could. With one trembling hand I opened the packet.
Out tumbled a pendant, with a silver chain attached.
The Japor Snippet.
A new round of tears started in my eyes. I gently undid the clasp, and put it around my neck. The soft wood fell between the folds of my gown. The torrent of emotion started again.
I stepped into the small living area, dressed in a Handmaiden gown. The lights had been dimmed. Jar Jar slept on one side of the room, and R2D2 nearby him. I stepped quietly; I didn't want to awaken anyone. The vivid fire-like gown trailed me as I proceeded to the holo communication system. A holo of Sio Bibble faded into view. His face was fraught with concern, and he spoke anxiously.
"…cut off all food supplies until you return...the death toll is
catastrophic...we must bow to their wishes, Your Highness...Please tell uswhat to do! If you can hear us, Your Highness, you must contact me..."
I took a deep breath, and my heart fell. So many of my people were in danger, many were even dying. I had sworn to protect them, to save them from oppression and corruption. I turned, feeling unsleeping eyes upon my back. A 9 year old Anakin sat shivering, unaccustomed to the cold of outer space. Switching off the message quickly, I walked over to where he was sitting. His young eyes had tears in them.
I softened my voice, trying to calm him. "Are you all right?" I could see how upset he was, and it hurt me to know that he was suffering.
He looked at me. "It's very cold." I smiled at him, and took my heavy shawl and tucked it around his small frame.
As I adjusted the red fabric, I began to talk to him. "You're from a warm planet, Annie. Too warm for my taste. Space iscold." I finished wrapping it around him.
He glanced up into my eyes. "You seem sad." He was right, I was sad. Not for me. For him, for the Naboo, for the peace in the galaxy that was quickly ending.
I met his glance. "The Queen is...worried. Her people are suffering...dying. She mustconvince the Senate to intervene, or...I'm not sure what will happen." I was holding back emotion, and I could tell he knew.
"I'm...I'm not sure what's going to happen to me. I dunno if I'll ever see you again." He dug around in his pocket, and pulled a small trinket out. "I made this foryou. So you'd remember me.
I carved it out of a Japor snippet... It willbring you good fortune." He seemed very happy, but also nervous as he handed it to me.
I looked it over, taking in every small detail. Then I placed the cord around my neck, and let it fall on top of the intense orange fabric.
I smiled back at him, the small gift making me quite content. "It's beautiful, but I don't need this to remember you. Many things will change when we reach the capital, Annie. My caring for you will always remain."
A small tear escaped his vibrant blue eyes, and the happiness began fade from his face. "I care for you too. Only I...miss..."
Somehow I knew what he would say. I finished his sentence. "You miss your mother."
His eyes looked up to me again, filled with tears. He nodded, ever so slightly. I leaned forward and hugged him. When I let go, I readjusted the shawl around him.
"Don't be afraid, Ani. You will see your mother again, and she will be so very proud of you." I patted his shoulder.
A bittersweet smile filled his face, and he curled into the fabric. "Good night," he whispered.
"Good night." I replied, as I quietly left the room.
I lay down in a bunk, and closed my eyes. Sleep came peacefully, as I faded into a deep tranquility.
"Padmé?" a deep voice startled me awake.
I slowly opened my eyes, and saw light filter through the window beside me. The rays fell across the room, bathing it in warmth. A tall, dark figure stood beside my bed. I sat quickly, and I could feel my IV protest. His face was covered by the mask once again.
My reply was as harsh as acid. "What?"
"I need to speak with you. Is that all right?" He sounded tired, exasperated. Truthfully, I didn't want to talk to anyone. I gave in only because we needed to sort out the emotions between us.
I sighed. "Yes." I turned to look at him. He sat in a chair nearby my bedside.
"I need to travel to the planet Dantooine. To visit a space station." A lengthy pause interrupted his speech. I knew he was trying to tread carefully, to get the best reaction from me. "It would be unsafe for you to remain here. The Emperor has spies, and many high ranking personnel are treated in this MedCenter." Another break, his harsh breathing filled the room.
I interrupted. "You want me to go with you to the space station?" A trickle of the earlier acidic tone still remained, but mostly I spoke in surprise.
He nodded slowly. "That is correct. It would be much safer for you there."
I wasn't exactly ready to be around him for any extended length of time, but what choice did I have? He would not let me stay anywhere that I was in harm's way. "For the record, Anakin, I don't approve of this. Hiding in plain sight is not an ideal plan." I stopped, making sure the words sunk in. "However, I will stay on your ship if you feel it is best."
I could sense his relief, even though I could not see his face. He stood. "I shall prepare…" He stopped. One of his gloved hands reached out to me, and grasped the Japor pendant. Words failed to come to him. He kneeled beside me. "You-you still have this?" He stammered, and his emotional shield fell before my eyes.
I looked down, and a tear of forgiveness fell onto his glove. The pain he had caused me earlier vanished. "For 32 years, I've kept this with me. I never left it behind." He raised his masked face to mine. "I will cherish it forever, as a token of your love."
"The man you once knew is no longer here. I am no longer Anakin." He spoke in a hushed tone.
"It doesn't matter if you call yourself Darth Vader or Anakin. You still are the only one I will ever love." I matched his quiet voice. My feelings prevented me from anything else. I could feel how much he hated himself, how much emotional turmoil he was in. "I may not forgive you for the times you hurt me. It won't be easy, but I can learn to love you again."
His gloved hand rose and moved a single brunette curl behind my ear. He exhaled, and the ventilator echoed with its rhythm. "I'm… sorry." There was nothing I wanted to hear more.
"Thank you, Anakin." Another tear fell, this time from happiness.
I could forgive him, if he forgave himself.
He stood. "I should find Dr. Zhel." Before I could stop him, he was out of the room.
I held the Japor pendant in my hand, swallowing the rest of my tears. "I love you, Ani." I whispered. Nobody heard me, but it didn't matter. I knew it. I only hoped he did as well.
After a few minutes of waiting, I grew anxious. Anakin had not returned. I was still torn from the earlier events. Common sense was telling me that he was dangerous, and that I could not trust him completely. My heart told me otherwise. I wish something could tell me whether I'm making the right choice!
I looked around the room, and then to my hands. Age was beginning to show, the skin slightly translucent. I stopped, the idea of seeing myself age discomforting. Maneuvering the bed so I could sit more comfortably, I tried to imagine the faces of Luke and Leia. I created memories of them taking their first steps, going to school. Leia would join the Legislative Youth; Luke would become a great Jedi. I saw my own brown eyes set in Leia's youthful face. Luke's blue eyes a reflection of Anakin's. How wonderful will it be to see them. The mere thought made me ecstatic, and my smile lit the room.
Dr. Zhel walked into the room, and Anakin followed close behind. Again, he didn't remove his mask. "Hello Padmé. I'm just going to check your vital signs, and do a few routine tests." She spoke cheerfully, but seemed to be hiding something.
I simply nodded, attributing it to her being busy. She looked over the monitors, and entered something in her datapad before turning back around. She quickly removed my IV, and the minor wound smarted. "Everything seems to be normal. Your recovery went very well. You are free to go, however you must have daily check-ins with the medical staff on board."
Anxiety crawled up my throat. For a moment, I couldn't believe that I was actually going to be on board an Imperial ship. My trust in Anakin's plan began to falter. I hope Ani knows what he's doing. I knew the Emperor, his twisted mind, the evil that coursed through his veins. He followed every plan to the end. His suspicions were seldom incorrect. Those who crossed him had no chance of mercy.
Palpatine was my friend at a point long ago, but now I was truly afraid of him.
Anakin returned to the room with a hover chair. I stood, and stumbled before he caught me.
"Careful. I've got you." His deep voice resonated in the small room. I let him guide me to the chair, and sat down. He was about to turn on the repulsors, when I stopped him.
"Wait." A twinge of regret and fear suddenly showed itself. I knew he could tell, he instantly stopped and strode towards me.
"I will do anything to make sure you are safe, Padmé." He kneeled down to my level, and he spoke tensely. "You are my Angel, and I will not lose you." He gritted his teeth, and I could feel his possessiveness.
I couldn't say anything. As much as I loved him, I could only hope that my faith in his decision would help change him for the better. I nodded. "Let's go then." The chair began to float, and I followed by his side out of the room. Dr. Zhel stood behind the large airlock viewport, and shut off the datapad before instructing the medical droids to begin sanitizing the room.
We passed through the halls in silence. It was only broken by Anakin's breathing mechanism. As we exited out onto the landing platform, a small squadron of Stormtroopers followed close behind. Familiar sounds and sights surrounded me, and I gazed the skyline for 500 Republica, the Senate, and the Jedi Temple. A small but vital part of me wanted those old memories to be real once again. I turned away as the boarding ramp came down; trying to store away the images I saved.
I directed the chair into the small corridor, and Anakin guided me to the stately living quarters.
He helped me into the large bed, and made sure I was comfortable. I had definitely seen his anger and his frustration, but he still had humanity in him. It was the first thing he had shown me, and I would not let the darkness take that. Like he would not lose me again, I would not lose him.
"I have to monitor the ship. We should arrive within 2 hours. Rest." His dark figure left, his cloak flowing behind him. I was left alone again and followed his request.
As difficult I thought it would be, my mind swirling with anxiety, fear, and determination, I managed to close my eyes, and slept dreamlessly.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I awoke in a new room, this one duller than the first. It was a plain steel grey, with a large viewport on one side. 2 doors were on the right side, and a third was across from me. I sat up slowly. Temporary dizziness caused me to reel. After waiting for it to pass, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and tried to stand. I managed, but only by holding on to various furniture items around the room as I walked to one of the doors.
A button opened the door, and I used the walls as a support while walking down the hallway. I reached a large living area, with 3 couches and a kitchen to one side. I imagined this would be the suite for royalty or high ranking government. Still leaning on furniture, I made it to the couches and sat down. Finding out where I was wasn't a problem. I knew I was on the Star Destroyer. I wanted to know where Anakin was.
As if he had sensed my question, his armored form appeared from behind a doorway. He strode forward, and stood behind one of the couches. "I'm glad you are awake." His booming voice echoed through the steel walls. "If you are feeling alright, I would like you to attend a meeting on board."
My eyes widened in shock. I panicked, not knowing what he meant. "Meeting?" I whispered.
"I need to introduce you to the crew." He felt my fear, and his tone became softer. "Don't worry, I trust all of the personnel I have invited. They need to know that you cannot be revealed to the Emperor."
I guess they would find out eventually. I sighed. In my days as Queen, I never enjoyed hiding from my enemies . Or the public eye. Now I wished I could just crawl into the 'fresher and lock the door.
"I accept, if you think it is safe." I spoke senatorially, something I knew would hide my blinding fear. Looking down I realized suddenly that I was wearing my MedCenter gown. "I can hardly go wearing this."
He walked over to me, and put out an arm. "Come with me. There is a closet within your quarters."
I shook my head stubbornly. "I can go myself." The fear of accepting him again made me seem childish. I stood, too fast. My head spun and I sat down again. "Give me a moment," I panted.
He sighed, and I knew he was a little shocked and annoyed at my sudden break in character. He waited patiently while I regained my footing. As I stood and managed to slowly walk towards the bedroom, he followed behind me. When at last we made it back, he opened the closet door for me. I walked in and it was filled with regal dresses. Most of them I remembered from my days on Coruscant.
"Where did you get these?" I was amazed to see the gowns, yet they were a bittersweet reminder of my past.
"I retrieved them from your apartment. The small sitting room has many of the items from there as well."
With another hesitant step, I pulled a modest silk and linen dress from the rack. It was a beautiful deep red, with a black sash and detailing. In addition I grabbed a long black cloak. I turned to Anakin, and he left. After a few minutes, I had the dress on and my hair in a quick up do. I left the bedroom and returned to the living space, where Anakin was standing, looking out the viewport. Slowly I walked up beside him, waiting for him to react.
We stood in silence, watching the stars sparkle through the blackness of space. His breathing created an ambiance, becoming almost soothing.
He lifted a gloved hand. Hesitating for a mere second, he gently placed it on my shoulder.
I let him. We were together at last, no matter what had come between us. Though he was not forgiven, I loved him. Nothing could change that now.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I anxiously waited at the head of the table, Anakin standing protectively behind me. A few officers entered the large conference room, their eyes widening in surprise at my presence. They sat near the end of the table. As the remaining personnel entered, their reactions were close to the same. Two men were exchanging confused glances. A few muffled whispers floated through the room. I tried to remain calm and collected, hoping my years of political experience would hide any of the strong emotions I felt.
Two more men entered. One closed the door behind him, and the other proceeded to sit to my left. A slight bit of greying red hair showed from his hat, and he had a mustache of the same tones. He seemed quite sure of himself, surely of an aristocratic background. I guessed he was older, perhaps about 50, judging by his aged face. The second sat to my right. He was younger, about 40, but still had wise features. I guessed he was also of a very aristocratic upbringing; he was quite confident and dignified.
Anakin stepped forward. The room grew eerily silent.
"As I am sure you have been briefed, we have a very important passenger. No one but the personnel of this ship are to be told she is on board. It is of the greatest importance." He spoke loudly, the vocoder echoing his voice throughout the room. "If I find any one has violated this instruction, there will be no mercy," he snarled. A few men tried to hide their anxiety, growing with each word Anakin spoke.
One officer looked at Anakin expectantly. Anakin saw him waiting and motioned to him.
With confidence, he started to speak. "Lord Vader, may I ask who she is, and the reason for this security measure?"
A few seconds passed, and I waited for his reply, anxious of how he would handle the situation.
"She is Lady Amidala, former Senator and Queen of Naboo." He paused, waiting for the first announcement to absorb into the group of officers. A few looked confused. I guessed that they heard of my death 19 years earlier.
Anakin spoke again, more solemnly than before. "She is also my wife."
Dun dun dun!!!!
I am worried about the long term remifications of Padme not telling vader/anakin about the children but then again...we DON'T KNOW if he will redeem himself or not (well except the author knows what will happen)
I am really excited about this story and I keep checking in for updates so I look forward to reading more soon
It makes me glad that Padmé wants to fight and believes that his redemption is possible.
I had definitely seen his anger and his frustration, but he still had humanity in him. It was the first thing he had shown me, and I would not let the darkness take that. Like he would not lose me again, I would not lose him.
I am also glad that he tells his crew who she is. Lets hope nobody betrays her to the Emperor.
All right, the last one was, comparatively at least, an interlude. Just a long one.
Sorry for updating so late. This is part two to the "interlude".
The room grew silent, and every pair of eyes trained on me. Some faces were filled with shock, others with confusion. I had no words to explain to them what was going on; I was just as confused. After a long while, Anakin decided to break the eerie quiet.
"I expect you to follow protocol, as she is of the same status as I am." I could envision his eyes scanning the group, focusing on the few who hadn't regained composure. A few of the men nodded to acknowledge his order. In the small pause, an officer made a quiet remark. "Excuse me, Captain Pychor. It would seem there is something you would like to mention about Her Excellency?"
The Captains eyes widened, and he began to stutter. Anakin grew irritated. "You do not hide your true thoughts very well, Captain."
"Excuse me, milord," He managed. "I offer the sincerest of apologies."
Anakin did not seem the least bit soothed by his apology, and I could feel his waves of anger through space between us. He began to raise a clutched fist. The man's eyes filled with fear as he struggled for a breath. "Karking sleemo" Anakin muttered.
I raised a hand, trying to stop the confrontation. My stomach tensed with anxiety towards his outburst, and I felt nauseous watching the man struggle for a vital breath.
He did not see my signal, and I grew further agitated. My face burned with anguish. I released a shrill order. "Stop at once!"
Shocked, Anakin released the man, who fell out of his chair to the floor, sputtering with each breath.
I sat heavy breaths racking my body. I couldn't believe what he had just done.
A man dressed in all black near the door walked to Anakin, awaiting his order. "Call two troopers to take him to the brig." His fist still shook with anger, and he grabbed the back of the chair to hide it. I fought the urge to bury my face in my hands and break down.
He cleared his throat, turning back to the men and began again. "On to our current assignment. We are to leave to rendezvous with the Death Star in 6 hours. Our estimated arrival is in 2 days. When we arrive, I will be boarding the station to deal with the Rebel Princess, as well as meet with High Command." Fury leaked into his smooth voice as the captain was lead out by two Stormtroopers.
I tried desperately to hide my surprise at his comment about the Rebellion. I was still disgruntled by the choking incident, and I realized what the Rebellion really was. The movement Bail and Mon had started. The one I had pledged to join. His booming voice stopped for a moment, so he must have felt my uneasiness. After a short pause, my shock went down a level. He continued.
"I will be returning nightly. When I am gone this Star Destroyer is to be on high alert. I need not remind you of the penalty for inadequacy." He snarled. I nearly cringed once again; his words were harsh and unforgiving, and the man gasping for air returned to my mind. I watched as the officers nervously waited for another sentence. "Meeting adjourned."
They stood and filed out of the room. The two men to either side of me stood, but did not leave right away. I stood, and they bowed deeply.
The older man muttered something to the younger, who left at once, and began to speak. He had a thick Caridian accent. "An honor to have you aboard, milady." I bowed in return, not quite sure of who stood in front of me.
Anakin signaled the man with a wave. "Thank you, Admiral." He turned to me. "This is the Admiral of our fleet, Kendal Ozzel. He is in charge when I am gone, and I want you to let him know anything and everything that may bother you." His tone grew softer, yet not less intense, with each syllable. "It is very important."
Looking back as Ozzel, he spoke sternly once again. "I will brief you on the bridge, Admiral."
"Yes, Lord Vader." With a quick bow, he turned quickly and left, leaving us alone.
I looked at Anakin, and had nothing to say. The atmosphere was tense. Thoughts swarmed around me, each one begging to be said aloud. He took a step forward, coming within inches of where I was standing. I didn't want to be near him, his words from the meeting still smoldered deep in my chest. His actions towards the officer created heaviness in the air.
A gloved and near trembling hand lowered slowly onto my shoulder, and with each second my anxiety grew. A vicious battle of emotions stirred in my mind, and I recoiled. He tried to grab for my withdrawing figure, but I stepped away. I could not try to hide from the person he had become; the Sith Lord was standing right in front of me. Anakin was buried more deeply beneath the surface than I had imagined. Memories of his serene face and striking blue eyes sunk below the soot black mask in front of me.
Managing to step quickly away I exited into the corridor. Still somewhat disoriented, I tripped. My elaborate gown rippled on the floor around me; the red fabric pooled like blood. A few glances from officers became directed at me, and one stopped to try and help. Shaking my head I pulled away from the offer. Trying to smooth my gown, I stumbled a few times as I hurried back to the suite. Locking the door with the touch of a button, I turned and collapsed onto one of the couches.
Closing my eyes, I tried to sift through the near suffocating emotions that threatened my mind. Nothing was working and I could feel Anakin's presence slowly coming closer to where I was. I attempted to believe he was still the man I knew 19 years prior, but seeing him stand in front of those officers and speak so menacingly, to see him harm a person with such anger… I shuddered. I had made a promise to myself, to him, to save him from darkness. It had seemed so simple. Now I had seen reality. I could not bear to leave him, yet I could not stay.
What would I become if I gave in to the very thing I swore to destroy?
I rose and slowly walked towards the viewport on the far wall. A squadron of TIEs passed by, and I watched silently as they maneuvered around the fleet. Anakin's presence was near overwhelming. I could feel his pain and remorse. My pale palm rose to the glass, and rested there. I made a silent wish; asking the Force to help me. Help me save the galaxy, my family. Please.
A tear rolled down my cheek, and I watched my reflection in the viewport. I became lost in my ruminations. My brown eyes filled with sorrow and lost hope. I continued to stare deep into my strained face, and I saw the door slide open behind me. With a sharp twist I stared him down. He just stood in the entrance, making no effort to come close to me.
I felt distant, like I was watching the scene from above. I fought away a rogue tear, determined not to show him how much he had devastated me with that one action. I could barely hear my own voice, and yet it was eerily strong. "Why? I put so much trust in you, and within a day you have already almost killed someone in front of me." I heard a barely audible sigh from him, and he took another hesitant step.
"That… man. His thoughts about you were, insulting, to say the least." he growled. "I do not want that kind of scum on board my ship." I felt a renewed surge of anger from him. A strange feeling came over me. Was it pride? Adoration? I quickly buried it beneath my frustration.
The walls flashed down around me, and my memories took over. I could feel the heat upon my face; hear the lava bubbling around me. I closed my eyes and focused on coming back to reality. Standing taller I looked at him. "I love you." I tried to iron out the emotion once again taking over. "I know you are not Anakin, not completely. I know there is good in you, but just my trust alone cannot make it show itself."
He looked downward, something he did when he felt overwhelmed or guilty. "I cannot abandon who I am now, nor can I make you love me." He sounded dejected. "I should have…"
I slowly walked forward, instantly knowing what he was going to say. "I'm not leaving." The ferocity of the comment stunned even me. With a rush, every single emotion I had felt since the day on Mustafar took over. "You have hurt me, more than I would like to admit," The words tumbled out, and I tried to finish before tears gripped my throat. "There is pain I have felt that is beyond words, and it was you at the source." I took a harsh breath. "Part of me says to leave you; that you are not worth anything anymore. As much as it might hurt, that side of me hates everything about you. " I quieted my voice. "But I cannot leave. I told you I would love you forever, and I have to save you." My breathing was fast, and I could feel my heart skip a beat. I wanted to scream at him, to show him the pain he had caused me, but I also wanted to embrace him, to leave everything behind. All I could do was run.
I desperately ran to the bedroom, and into the fresher. Locking the door behind me, I sat on the cold painted steel floor and lay my head in my hands. Sobs racked my body. Everything in the galaxy seemed to rest on my shoulders. I was lost. I heard a door slide open distantly. His presence seemed to fade from around me, and I knew he was gone. Another devastating surge of despair took over, and I could not fight it back. Voices of the past haunted my mind, bringing me to the breaking point.
The heat of the lava planet seared my face, and the distinct smell of tar overwhelmed me. I saw his furious face, felt the despair at his betrayal.
Liar! You're with him!
No! My throat burned, as I saw his fist clutch the heavy air. No! I pressed my palms to my eyes. Stop!
The vision faded abruptly. I was back in 500 Republica, and I saw Obi-Wan standing on the landing platform.
I saw a holo of him… killing younglings.
Nausea took over, and I had nothing I could do. The past hurt me in ways that I could not avoid, that no amount of healing could fix.
I thought about the younglings, with innocent faces, and saw Anakin's sickly yellow irises behind his hood. A blue light sliced down, and I heard cries of terror.I
I felt I was going to be sick. I could feel my face going pale, and the light sheen of sweat showing on my face and neck. I shuddered at my thoughts, and tried to calm myself to no avail. Ragged breaths interrupted my dry heaves, and I lay my face against the cold floor. I focused on the soothing coolness, and my quickened heartbeat.
Eventually my breathing calmed and my tears ceased.
I finally stood, the front of my gown damp with tears. My eyes were raw. I didn't look at my reflection, trying to avoid all of the pain that had recently gripped my heart. Slowly getting into a nightgown I adjusted the Japor snippet. During the time I had spent in the refresher, I had not made any progress with the mess of emotions inside. I felt desperate, but I knew nothing was going to save me but myself. There was no way I could think rationally. As much as I hated waiting for a solution, I needed to rest before I could deal with the overwhelming memories and emotions.
I crawled beneath the dull grey quilt and tried to sleep.
You write Padmé´s feelings so intense without getting slushy. I struggle with her, share her frustrations about Vader/ Anakin. Your fanfic shows us that saving somebody from the dark side is a tough ride. Cannot wait to read more. This was the highlight of my week. Thank you.
*has to get back to her lesson preparations, administrative school tasks and her house work cores again*
But after reading that update I feel way better. You write a strong Padmé and an excellent Vader!
Love that Padme is so determined about Anakin, and also how she is dealing with her emotions. Very powerful situation that they're in now. Looking forward to how she will face Anakin again. Great update!
This is a really great story! I love how you write their emotions. I'm definitely going to look this up on FanFiction. Come to think about it, I think I've seen it there before.
I love Obi-Wan, so I'm ecstatic he was in the prologue! Really enjoyed it! The emotions were so strong and vivid, just so good to read. I especially liked her pov of when she gave birth, her emotions, and Obi-Wan being there, etc. I loved the way you wrote her anger, and they way it came across was so strong... was she feeling some of what Anakin was feeling? I thought it really connected them in a way, emotionally, though, and showed a part of him with her, even if it's not really herself. The scariness of her slipping into hibernation was so vivid as well! Chilling.
Great intriguing start! I AU's
-Note to New and Old Readers: I am slowly going through the process of writing new chapters and editing/formatting what has already been posted, but I won't be editing the FF.net version, so the latest version will be here. I will still update FF.net, however.
I've finally gotten my muse back, after dealing with some not-so-nice issues for the past few months, so chapters are coming together again. They may not be as good as they have been in the past, but I'll be doing my best. Thanks for sticking with me and thank you so much for reading and reviewing. You're all amazing!
The rhythmic metal clicking of a droid interrupted my fitful sleep. With a heavy sigh, I opened my eyes slowly to see what it was doing. Glinting silver and onyx metal reflected from the foot of the bed, the protocol droid preparing a small medpac and what appeared to be a bacta injection. I watched closely -examining the metallic casing and watching its tedious movements intently- until I decided it wasn't anything but a standard model.
It looked up as I stirred to prop myself up against the overly plush pillows. As it spoke I still expected to hear a different voice than the soft yet mechanical feminine tone that floated in the room. "Miss Amidala, I am a medical protocol droid of the MD-27 variety. I am to treat you during your time on board."
I nodded in response. "Of course," I replied, somewhat relieved I wouldn't have to walk throughout the ship. It was already worrying that the superior officers knew of my presence. Those that were freshly trained and perhaps weak-willed knowing would be disastrous. If this was Anakin’s idea, I had to give him credit. That did nothing to lessen the frustration I felt towards him, however. The droid made a quick gesture of understanding and then went back to its preparations. After another minute, it walked to me with the syringe in hand. I looked towards the far end of the room. The cool metal of the droid's hand prepared me for the vicious sting of the injection; I tensed in response. I took a deep breath and waited for the pain to subside, while the droid finished the treatment by giving me a simple tablet.
Within a few more minutes, the droid's mechanical creaking was slowly fading down the suite's corridor and I rose from beneath the stiff grey sheets. As I stood, I brushed my curls away from my face and attempted to straighten my gown.
The mirror in the room was only a few paces away and I rushed each step until I stood next to its pristine, glossy surface. My face was as youthful as I had remembered, my wan complexion only making me appear ill. I reached a single slim finger towards the calm reflection and traced my face. It was the same face that had fought for the Naboo; the same one that had put every piece of her being into saving democracy in the Senate.
I reached for the Japor pendant again as it glistened in the dim light. The feeling of the wood brought me closer to that now non-existent past. Warm memories flowed freely in my mind; surprisingly, none of them were tarnished by my pain. I smiled slightly, reassuring myself, before looking up once more at my face in the mirror. I returned another stray curl among the other deep waves of brunette, smoothed them carefully, and turned away.
As I spun, a flash of light caught my eye.
I turned back to the movement and faced the viewport. Menacing, oppressive ships filled the space between the planet and I, nothing changed from the wars that had supposedly ended 20 years ago.
I saw the light again, a blaze of green from one of the massive ships. A small freighter attempted to escape the intense plasma beams before being obliterated in a small explosion. Flames surged from under its hull before it exploded and bits of debris scattered in its former path before they faded away.
I found myself clutching the Japor pendant tightly; worried about how utterly oppressed and impoverished the galaxy had become under Palpatine's cruel fist. Under Anakin.
You're a good person, Anakin... don't do this.
My words echoed softly; a whisper from the past. He should have believed me. We could have had everything he wanted - everything I had wanted. I shook my head to chase away the thoughts. I hated thinking about the past and what I couldn't change. But now it seemed to be like a raging fire, surrounding me, choking off my rationality...
I lurched away from the viewport frantically trying to stop my train of thought, and was startled by the large, mechanical figure of Anakin’s suit. With a small jump, I stopped in my tracks.
"Yes?" I asked coarsely, still shaken by his sudden appearance. I watched the glowing lights on his chestplate, trying to avoid his eyes behind the darkened duroplast. His presence was hauntingly warm, enticing, and I tried to push it away in my mind.
"I wanted to tell you we would be leaving for our destination momentarily." His deepened voice stopped abruptly and I could tell he was frustrated. I couldn’t tell if it was with himself or something other.
I feigned a smile and stared blankly into the onyx mask. "Thank you." My voice took on its usual even, diplomatic tone. Something he hated, but I didn’t want to give away my thoughts or feelings.
He stood motionless; unsure what to respond with. I could feel the storm of his emotions. Each breath from his vocabulator marked their ebb and flow and it was the only break in the unnerving silence.
My own voice startled me as it resonated in my mind, and I opened my mouth fighting to not repeat what it had said.
The intensity of the idea blinded me from my other thoughts. Shock continued to skitter down my spine, my shoulders stiffening.
The children... 20 years old...
Were they even alive? Could I find them? Did Palpatine know?
I felt my face pale, and Anakin's posture visibly tensed, unsure of what was happening. His protective nature caused him to reach a hand towards my arm, ready to steady me. I bit my lip harshly – hoping for the pain to come as a distraction from the thought.
I barely noticed his movement at first. The words I was trying so desperately to avoid flew at light speed through my mind; the ideas were like the sparks of light that faded after mere seconds. My conscience argued angrily within itself, like acid threatening to eat through its boundaries.
Their memory frightened me. I didn't know what had happened and I couldn't think rationally for that reason. I couldn’t decide what to do, how to react.
Should I tell him? He'll know I lied, his anger... But if Palpatine knows, it may already be too late.
My face began to flush and I sat down on the edge of the bed, trying to block away the urge to exclaim my thoughts.
Anakin continued to stand awkwardly and I could feel his worry and uneasiness join with his waning frustration. He took a hesitant step forward. All I could do was wave him away, hoping he'd leave me. He did, though reluctantly, his heavy boots clicking as he turned and disappeared into the hallway. I sat back onto the bed.
Guilt began to radiate through me at the thought of keeping them from him and pushing him away.
But I couldn't trust him. Not yet.
The ship lurched slightly and the quiet hum of the engines filled the room. I breathed heavily, gripping the rough woven sheets in my palm, hoping that would somehow release the stress and fear that was laced into my every muscle.
A fleeting hope crossed my mind, and I wished that by pulling one of those tiny little threads clutched beneath my fingers, that I could somehow unravel time and return to the past.
“Chewie, revert us to lightspeed,” Han said as he flicked a group of switches. They were coming up on Coruscant and he estimated they would arrive within the next hour or two. If the hyperdrive didn’t fail again. Chewie grunted, and nearly in sync with his co-pilot began to adjust a few various levers and knobs that littered the console.
Breha entered the cockpit as she nervously wrung her aged hands. Memories of Padmé crossed her mind and the fear of her friend being held by Lord Vader threatened to take over. Her nerves were already frayed from her daughter and husband being held captive. The thin veil hiding her emotions threatened to fall apart at any moment.
“Captain Solo, when we arrive we must land at the Imperial Senate MedCenter. That is where we had Padmé placed in hibernation,” she said quietly. The idea seemed silly to her now. She had convinced herself that hiding Padmé somewhere that was in plain sight - yet also well-equipped - would be the best for her. She hadn't counted on being forced to rescue her from Vader or Palpatine’s clutches. She should have. Once again, she had misjudged their intelligence and power. With a dispirited sigh she looked to Han, silently wishing she had followed Mon Mothma's advice to have Padmé placed on Alderaan.
Han nodded, and responded solemnly, something extremely rare for him, Chewie noticed. At least he seemed to understand the gravity of the situation. “Yes, your Highness.”
As he looked back to Chewbacca, Breha left, still clutching her hands together.
As she returned to the living area, a deflected energy bolt flew past her head. She jumped. Luke looked up from the training remote and hurried to turn off his lightsaber. Old Ben stood as well, his tattered robes floating to the ground. Luke felt the echoes of tormented emotions from Breha and knew she was fighting desperately to keep them in check. Breha feigned a smile. She knew it was useless in a room with Jedi, but she had never been one to show weakness. Luke started to speak but Ben interrupted him.
“Are you alright, Breha?” The question was merely showing compassion. The wizened Jedi already knew the answer. Looking at Ben silently before returning her gaze to Luke, she shook her head and walked slowly to the sleeping quarters.
Luke looked back at the old Jedi, trying to reassure himself after feeling the strain and intense worry from Breha. “I know we will find the Princess and the Senator.”
Ben’s eyes were still creased with concern as he sat into a high backed chair. “We may find them, but that does not mean we can rescue them. We must be extremely careful when dealing with the Empire. The Dark Side of the Force surrounds them and shrouds their true intentions.” He spoke quietly, and Luke sensed his hesitancy; there was something the old Jedi was hiding.
“Ben, there is something you aren’t telling me.” Luke’s blue eyes seemed to burrow into his own. Much like his father, Obi-Wan reflected. They contained an intense craving for knowledge along with a bright spark of defiance.
“There are things about the past that you will find out in time. I cannot tell you anything right now.” He was being enigmatic, as he usually was, and Luke hated that about his responses. Discovering something at the exact moment it was needed wasn’t Luke’s idea of learning; he much preferred to know everything beforehand.
“Ben, I need to know,” he urged on, hoping that his pressing the issue would finally change the answer.
“Persistency is not always the way to gain knowledge, Luke,” he began, a light echo of sternness crossing his voice. “Some answers you must find out yourself. Now we shall continue with your training.”
“Alright,” he said. With a sigh Luke gave in, trying to hold back his frustration as Ben had instructed him to. He turned on the remote again and ignited the vibrant sapphire blade. His frustration slowly chipped away and gave way to focus. With his eyes closed, he attempted to create the small droid in the blackness of his eyelids. Soon he was moving the blade effortlessly, blocking the small energy blasts that fired upon him with almost perfect accuracy. He could feel every vibration in the ship beneath his feet and sense the every move the remote made.
After only a few moments, the blade began to feel heavy in his grip, and his pulse began to throb uncomfortably, snapping him from his focus. Discouraged, he readjusted his hands and took a deep breath, trying to detect the droid once again. Only blackness greeted him. Giving up after a few long seconds, he tried to break himself completely from his focus.
His eyes felt heavy as he tried to open them, but they finally yielded to his command.
Instead of the close quarters of the Falcon greeting him, he was once again in the long, dark halls of his dream. A figure was marching forward. The same figure. Luke gasped as his blade slowly pulsed into view. The shadows seemed to close in on him and fear clutched at his throat as he blinked frantically to clear the vision. A mere second later, the entire hall had faded to the confined common room, and he felt the harsh sting of the remote’s small plasma beam upon his shoulder.
He shouted out as his lightsaber clattered to the floor. Ben moved his eyes to meet Luke's own.
"Sorry," Luke mumbled, embarrassed by his lack of focus. "I just wasn't paying attention. I guess I was distracted."
Ben eyed him cautiously, sensing his anxiety. "There is no emotion, only peace,” he reminded quietly, ensuring the words had been heard before continuing. “Think only of the threat, let the Force guide you. If you lose focus or if you allow emotions to take over in true danger, you won't be escaping with such an inconsequential injury."
Luke took his lecture with a quick nod of his head, relieved there were no questions to go along with it. His blade shot to life as he bent down to retrieve it, the effervescent blue dusting their dismal surroundings. He put the blast shield down this time, not wanting to close his eyes again.
For the next few minutes he continued to reach for the ebb and flow of the Force. Each subtle movement in its flow guiding him, he cleanly caught the beams of energy from the remote. Minute after minute disappeared to his determination and eventually he felt the Falcon shift under his feet as it slowed from light speed. A quick movement of his wrist flipped up the blast shield. The remote tried to fire a last shot, but Luke quickly deactivated it and his cobalt blade simultaneously.
Ben was sitting completely still in the chair behind him, the light noise of his breath the only sign he was alive. Luke gently placed the helmet down onto a table before sitting as quietly as he could manage. A jolt of anxiety passed through him as he clipped his saber to his belt and remembered what lay ahead.
The news reports and the tall tales of Biggs and his other friends formed vivid scenarios in his head. Stormtroopers fighting against them as he nobly protected the hostages, running down the steel corridors and turning to shoot waves of troopers. He smirked at the thought until the scene faded quickly.
He was alone, facing the uncertain shadow of Darth Vader. Faceless, unpredictable, and impossible to defeat. Oppressive shadows like those of his vision created walls of fear, and he fell back helplessly into them, before the mammoth figure of Vader leaned over him.
Shaking his head quickly and trying to scatter the thought, he began to wonder how long exactly it would take until they reached Imperial Centre. As his mind began to wander off again, Han swung into the room.
Luke started and stood, just as Ben woke from his stone like trance.
"We're too late." Han rushed through the words and the loud barks of Chewbacca nearly cut him off. "They're here. 5 Imperial ships, Star Destroyers. Thousands of fighters. And now they know we're here." He took a breath and throwing his head toward the Wookiee's calls, gave an unintelligible shout.
He turned and rushed back to the cockpit, Luke directly behind him.
Noticing Luke’s footsteps behind him, he decided they could use his help in what seemed to be an imminent confrontation.
"Kid, we might need some help in a minute. Sit right here," he said as he motioned to a small seat in the cockpit, directly behind Chewie.
Just as he had sat into the pilot chair, a garbled signal forced its way from the comm, and Han pressed the button to reply. He failed to think of an unrecognisable name for his ship before answering. "This is the captain of the unidentified YT-1300. We're making a charter trip, no cargo, just passengers." A hint of frustration flitted through his voice, more with his lack of creativity than anything.
The signal cleared as a voice finally broke through. "Unidentified YT-1300, this is the Star Destroyer Devastator, you are unauthorised and within Imperial airspace. Please transmit a ship ID code and your authorisation, or you will be fined and detained."
Han reached into a small bag beside his chair, muttering under his breath. "Nice bunch of people, huh?" His words were bitter and laden with sarcasm. Chewbacca barked in agreement. Han finally found an ID that he had barely used and sent it through the ship's computer. Still irritated, he clicked the comm back on, waiting for the approval.
Within a few moments, the warped voice returned. "To which spaceport are you heading?"
Han responded quickly, glad he still remembered something about the planet's organisation and spaceports after spending most of his time in the Outer and Mid Rims. "Level 27 of the Imperial Centre Spaceport."
Another deafening silence fell upon them before the disembodied voice spoke. "We must divert you to another spaceport away from the central city." The comm clicked twice. "We are sending you an approval code for another location. Please proceed there at once."
Han saved the code as it appeared on the navicomputer, now thoroughly annoyed. His relief at their lack of interest disappeared; he now had to worry about how they would get to the MedCenter. And if they would even make it out alive. It was obvious they wanted something on the planet; the 5 star destroyers told Han that. It was utterly foolish to try and convince himself it wouldn't be this Senator they themselves were after. He motioned to the Wookiee with a nod of his head, his voice cautious. "Chewie, keep an eye out."
No bounty is worth this, he thought silently, noting that Luke had been completely quiet during the whole ordeal. He normally preferred it this way, but the silence had transformed from peaceful to eerie and unsettling.
"Look, Luke," he started, guiding the Falcon towards the atmosphere, "I have one of those bad feelings again, I’m pretty sure this is going to be a suicide mission. You sure you want to do this?"
Luke snapped out of his blank state to meet Han's. "It's what I have to do." His tone was unconvincing and hesitant and he tried to mask it in his urgency.
Han opened his mouth with a rebuttal on the tip of his tongue, and was swiftly interrupted by a unsettling trill from Chewie. Three pairs of eyes trained on the Star Destroyers that had been hovering menacingly. There were only four.
Before Han or Luke had time to ask what had happened, they received their answer. A quick blast of white hot plasma burst from the fourth Star Destroyer's engines, before it stretched into a speck and disappeared.
"They're leaving!" Luke exclaimed, incredulosity and shock widening his eyes like the twin suns of Tatooine. Chewbacca began to adjust the console, nodding to Han questioningly.
"Tell me something I don't know, kid," Han shot back, before quickly manoeuvring the Falcon away from the atmosphere. They had what they wanted, he knew that. Everything pointed to the worst case scenario and following them seemed the most valuable option. He hoped it was. "Turn on the cloaking now, Chewie." A few switches clicked into place under his hands and the ship shuddered. He hoped his less than satisfactory repairs would hold.
Luke jumped up as the pieces fell into place. "What are you doing?" The only thing in front of them was the menacing silhouettes of the remaining Imperial ships. They were heading straight towards them.
Han only half turned to respond, growing further agitated by his constant barrage of questions. "Following them. And maybe hitching a ride." He smirked ruefully before motioning to Chewbacca, who entered a few codes into the console. The Falcon lurched forward and began to cruise at a breakneck pace.
Within moments they were behind the bridge of one of the Star Destroyers, and moments after that Han had set the Falcon up against it.
"You'd better know what you're doing, Han." Luke half-lectured him, his usual composure and sense of adventure failing. Very few people he had met had guts like Han seemed to. None of them would get within 4 parsecs of a Star Destroyer, he knew that much. This wasn't brave by any standard, this was stupid. He sat back in his chair, crossing his arms tightly. "I don't like this."
"Don't worry. We'll float off as soon as they drop out of lightspeed. And they can't see us, I've put on our cloaking," he reassured, though his own lack of confidence betrayed his words. "I knew a few people who tried the same thing a few years back. They turned out fine..."
Well, they would have, if they hadn't pushed their luck. Han grimaced at the thought of the Falcon being shot to dust... or worse, Imperial prisons. He changed his focus to turning down the ship's power and diverting it to the cloaking device, before turning back to Luke.
"As I was saying, sit back, enjoy the ride. Wherever they're going, we're going too.” Chewie growled in response, before sitting back in his own chair. Han waved him off before continuing his rambling. He still hoped these two were worth it. Truthfully, he didn't even know why he hadn't turned back. He should have, he definitely would have, but the thought hadn't even crossed his mind. So much for avoiding the Empire…
"Anyway, we'll be there before you know it,” he said half-jokingly, trying to lighten the room’s now oppressive atmosphere. Leaning back, he watched Imperial Centre begin to grow smaller. The sight turned into a nest of chromoflies in his stomach. There was no turning back now, they would be pulverised by the change in speed. He took a breath and turned back to Luke.
“All we need to do is wait."
Breha entered the cockpit as she nervously wrung her aged hands. Memories of Padmé crossed her mind and the fear of her friend being held by Lord Vader threatened to take over. Her nerves were already frayed from her daughter and husband being held captive. The thin veil hiding her emotions threatened to fall apart at any moment.
“Captain Solo, when we arrive we must land at the Imperial Senate MedCenter. That is where we had Padmé placed in hibernation,” she said quietly. The idea seemed silly to her now. She had convinced herself that hiding Padmé somewhere that was in plain sight - yet also well-equipped - would be the best for her. She hadn't counted on being forced to rescue her from Vader or Palpatine’s clutches. She should have. Once again, she had misjudged their intelligence and power. With a dispirited sigh she looked to Han, silently wishing she had followed Mon Mothma's advice to have Padmé placed on Alderaan.
Well others also had the plan to hide a certain pair of twins in plain side.
Anyway, like the dynamic between Breha, Han, Chewie, Luke and "Ben".
Very exciting, and I loved seeing Han and crew together on this mission. Love Han's snarkiness and Padme's thoughts, and I love the different ways this could play out. Welcome back, and looking forward to more!
Yay! I finally caught up.
You've got quite a gem of a story on your hands here. As I've mentioned before, you leave us wanting more.
The most recent chapter was great. I don't know where you're going with this yet, mainly due to the fact that there are so many possibilities for the next installment.
The Han and Luke interactions are really enjoyable. I was also fond of Ben's portrayal. Especially the tidbits of wisdom he throws at Luke. Well done.
Chapters are going, but they'll be shorter. Sorry for the loooong delays. I've got another one in the works, it'll be here much sooner.
A whisper in Ben's voice cut through the silence. Luke looked up quickly, scanning the corridor for his figure. Finding it empty, he shook his head in disbelief and looked towards Han. He hadn't so much as glanced up from the console.
"Did you hear something?" he questioned.
"No," Han replied curtly, his eyes still fixed on the navicomputer. "Did you?"
"I thought I heard a voice. I guess it wasn't anything," Luke said after another expectant glance to the vacant corridor. Not even a shadow lurked within the ordinary metallic walls. He mindlessly adjusted the clip on his lightsaber hilt and pushed it to the side before he leaned back into the small chair.
The whisper came again, its gossamer touch sending a shiver down his spine. He looked again, still seeing nothing but the cramped hallway. He ran a hand through his hair, trying to decide whether to ignore what he had heard. Maybe Ben would be able to help and talking to him would be a good idea. He could probably at least teach Luke something new. Even some more basic lightsaber training could help. It definitely couldn't do any harm, he reasoned, his eyes still focussed on the dimly lit passageway.
"I'm going to go talk to Ben," he said suddenly, looking to Han and Chewbacca.
"Sure," Han responded, giving him a sidelong glance.
Luke stood and left giving a curt nod before heading back towards the common room.
Han sat back into his chair. Though Luke's sudden departure had distracted him, he was relieved by the cockpit's emptiness. With Luke now gone the looming destination seemed to be somewhat avoidable. At least he could try to ignore it.
He sighed, checking the navicomputer again. The loathing he had for his earlier decision was still stewing in his gut, and it created a miasmic brew paired with the irritatingly long wait to wherever it was they were headed.
Settling back in, he looked up only occasionally to check the blinking console or the stars through the viewing panel.
Chewbacca turned to him and growled, breaking through the hum of lightspeed travel.
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes at the comment, he leaned back further in his seat. "I know, but it's not like we'll have to go with them. I say we descend to the nearest planet, wait for 'em there."
Chewie growled again, this time taking a defensive tone. The Wookiee had never liked the Empire and it was for good reason. Han's reassurance didn't make him feel any better about the situation.
"Listen, it'll be fine," he responded calmly. "You know me, we'll work it out." He leaned forward, watching the readings on the Falcon's navicomputer. That at least was true. He had gotten them out of a more than a few less than stellar situations - even if he was the reason they'd gotten into them in the first place.
There was always a first for things though. Unfortunately that also meant there was a last to go with it. Han tried to hide the disgust that reared up at the thought and turned back to look at the deep vacuum surrounding them.
Chewbacca simply gave a sharp bark in response, indicating he wasn't about to argue, and shook his head.
The sound of boots against the plasteel floor gave Han a short warning before Luke re-entered the cockpit.
With a mild sigh, Luke sat back into the small chair and looked straight ahead.
Han didn't bother to turn around before speaking. "You alright?" he asked, only a twinge of true sincerity in his voice.
"Wha-?" Luke cut himself off as he understood the question, "Yeah. Fine," he replied, trying to avoid discussion. Ben had called him out on the vision and had just finished recounting every generic detail of what could possibly lay ahead in his mission. Except what Luke really wanted to know. He didn’t know what exactly the topic was; but he knew Ben was still withholding it. Frustration creased his brow as he attempted to find hints in Ben’s words.
With nothing standing out to him, he grew more irritated. The lessons ran through his mind and he tried to remember what Ben had taught him.
Patience, awareness, calm.
Words from the Jedi code joined the trio in a silent chant. He closed his eyes and tried to slow his racing thoughts.
As soon as he had begun the exercise, the ship lurched under him. Han snapped his head up to see the stars begin to stretch into pinpoints of light. "Is the cloaking still up, Chewie?"
He let out a low trill, nodding his head once.
"At least that's still hanging on," he replied and smirked, pleased with his handiwork. "Turn up the thrusters, half power should do it."
Chewbacca turned a knob directly above him, before turning to his right and adjusting a few blinking lights among the thousands along the walls. The engines burst to life, almost deafening compared to the previous silence.
"So far so good," Han mumbled, hoping everything would hold up long enough to get to the surface of the planet...
"What system are we in?" Luke asked, finishing Han's train of thought.
As Han looked back to the dashboard of twinkling lights and panels, Luke looked towards the corridor instinctively. A light, warm presence had draped itself across him and it could only be Ben.
Ben had walked into the room, his footsteps ghosts in the thrum of the Falcon's thrusters. His eyes their soft blue melding with the black of space as he stared out the viewport. He took a seat slowly before acknowledging the three of them who had now turned to watch him.
Han looked back towards the navicomputer their location finally appearing.
"Raioballo," he replied belatedly, "Dantooine system."
Luke nodded silently.
A groan followed by a violent tremor shook the Falcon.
"They've almost reverted to cruise speed," he said, directing the comment to Chewie, "Get ready to pull the landing gear."
The Wookiee hovered his hand over a switch, waiting for the signal from Han. The stars finally dotted the sky in their usual shape, pinpoints of soft blues, oranges, and white. Another tremor shook beneath them and Han nodded to Chewbacca.
Ben and Luke leaned forward slightly as the Falcon broke off from the Star Destroyer. The sky twisted as they floated aimlessly away and Han breathed a low sigh of relief.
A sudden and deafening screech followed by a violent jolt caught his breath. Hoping it was merely one of the thrusters acting up, he checked the systems.
They had stopped moving.
The results of the scan flashed onto the dim screen. Not one, but both thrusters had failed along with the cloaking. Full power still flowed to both thrusters; which left only one option.
The Imperials had noticed them and they were caught in a tractor beam.
He was about to try to push the engines and pull an evasive manoeuvre when Luke stood and pointed through the viewport.
"We're being pulled to that moon. Is that even possible?" he sounded confused and looked to Han. "Unless it’s got an artificial gravity well..."
Ben's voice cut through Luke's sentence. "That's no moon," he exclaimed, "That's a space station."
Han's eyes grew wider as he examined it. The edges were smooth; no craters, flora, or imperfections dotted the surface. Its grey surface was dotted with tiny lights and perfectly symmetrical rectangular holes. A squad of fighters swooped around the front, like small mudflies in the hot sun.
Ben was right. It was a space station, but not just any space station.
It was Imperial, and it was pulling them in.
Han clenched his teeth and slowly turned a knob. This wasn’t good. No. This was extremely bad, he corrected himself as he waited for the ship to respond. A click from the control panel and the power restored. The engine hummed softly before growing into a roar. Chewbacca watched him, understanding instantly; then reached for the thrusters to turn them up to near full power. With a steady hand, Han manoeuvered the ship until it was facing the opposite direction and gave the last signal to Chewie.
He turned around to see both Luke and Ben looking at him incredulously.
"Strap in, this isn't going to be pleasant," he ordered, trying to keep calm.
Luke grabbed the small belt to his left and Ben did the same, though he raised an eyebrow apprehensively. He had mentioned he didn't like any sort of fancy flying in the cantina, but Han didn't exactly have a choice. If this worked, the Falcon would need major repairs. The hyperdrive would last, but the power cells would be reduced to half capacity at best. They wouldn't be getting very far. A jump across the system would be the best case. At least they'd be getting out of range of the Imperials. After that they could make it to Dantooine and hide somewhere.
Chewbacca growled, asking if he was ready.
He reached for the engine start and held his breath. If they failed there wasn't much they could do, other than to be pulled in. He pressed the button and waited for the engines to flare. They burst to life in a cacophony. The force of the engines struggling against the tractor beam pressed the four of them against their seats.
Luke watched the sky, waiting for the stars to move that slight bit. They remained the same; merely distorted by the well of energy around them.
And then the engines began to fail, their usual noise morphing into a faltering whine. Han pushed them in a last bid, getting the Wookiee to do the same with the thrusters. The systems resorted to a brash shrieking before completely failing, the cockpit falling under an ominous silence.
"Blast!" Han exclaimed, hitting his fist against the console. He had nothing left.
He started to quickly check the power; trying to divert other functions and hoping to restore it enough to try again. The engines sputtered with the surge, before once again silencing. Chewie growled twice, first condescendingly, then with a curious appeal. Thinking for a moment, Han realised with a melancholy grin that the Wookiee was right. He patted him on the shoulder and spun in his chair.
Luke stood as Han did, concerned with the turn of events. "What are we going to do now?"
"Follow me," he stood as he directed them towards the common room. Luke leaned a head to one side and Han matched his questioning gaze with an icy tone. "Get the droids and the Queen and bring them to the main corridor."
Luke nodded, though only partially understanding and nearly ran into Ben as he hurried out of the room.
The old Jedi simply shook his head before falling behind Han's quick pace.
Chewbacca turned off the last few non-vital functions of the ship and followed Han and Ben.
He let out a reassuring snort - directed more towards himself than the group - hoping that his plan would work, and not daring to think of the consequences if it didn't.
The low vibration of the sublight engines below me grew deeper as I walked from the small kitchen into to the room's living quarters. I put down the glass of water I had just filled and took a cautious step to look out the viewport.
A planet swirled with white, gold, and blue, half of it covered in shadow. There was a moon floating close by which seemed to be casting the darkness. I watched as space glided soundlessly beneath us, expecting the ship to turn at any moment towards the planet's serene surface.
Instead we continued to coast forward, the engines' thrum growing quieter by the minute. I craned my neck and looked confusedly at the approaching moon.
Before I realised it wasn't a moon at all.
I took a step back, finally seeing the full silhouette of the space station. A gasp broke free from my chest as I watched it inch closer to us. It was enormous, rivalling the size of Rori and Tasia. The sun dully glared on its surface, obstructing it from the planet below. Fighters danced across the vast grey arrow of the Star Destroyer stretching out in front of me. Two more ships paralleled us in perfect formation, their bows cutting through the pristine darkness around them. Anxiety began to once again grab hold of me.
I had been reassured enough that being on this Star Destroyer would be safe. Anakin would at least be on board; though I hadn't forgiven him, he wouldn't lose me again. But this was a vast station; the size would mean that he couldn't be in close range. I would be alone, surrounded by the Empire.
I took a deep breath to soothe my nerves. It didn't help. My pulse continued to pound in my ears, prickling heat creeping from my shoulders to my neck.
What is he thinking?
Droplets of anger added to my flare of anxiety. He hadn't told me anything aside from when we were leaving, I hadn't seen or heard from him since I had asked him to leave earlier. I didn't truthfully want to see him. I still hadn't even thought of forgiving him.
If I was ever going to.
I bit my lip as I glanced towards the viewport again. We were even closer, the space station obscuring half of the limpid pane. I took a step back; it almost made the choices that I needed to make seem less important, trivial. Though I never had wanted to escape from adversity before, I felt truly overwhelmed. My mind wandered back to the most recent talk with Anakin and the tingling of nervousness returned with it.
If he had wanted to tell me something earlier...If he knew anything...
My conscience screamed at me.
You shouldn't have pushed him away, you should've told him.
The two choices played over and over in my mind, shrill and demanding. To tell him or continue to hide the truth. Neither was any more appealing. The ghosts of the past joined them, whizzing about and weaving a seemingly impenetrable wall of emotions. I pressed my palms to my eyes, trying to stop my churning thoughts and fall away from the present. Just seconds would be enough.
I stood motionless in the centre of the room for what felt like hours, letting my mind push against the boundaries. My surroundings became ethereal and the incessant voice finally dulled to a drone. I slowly pulled my hands away; bursts of vibrant blue and black floated in front of them. Stars dying out moments after their birth, lost to history. It was then I realised that I was insignificant and truly lost. I knew nothing. It was as if I had been pulled from the past and placed in some grotesquely shaped future that I could never begin to understand. Even the one person I had sworn to love eternally had been moulded to the same twisted fate. I no longer knew the only one I had left.
I waited for my eyes to readjust to the dimly lit room before looking back to the viewport, once again feeling anxiety begin to slowly break free from underneath the calm. The station was now unavoidable. Only thin slivers of space separated the ship from the cold, dystopian surface. Lights glared out from behind the jagged edges and spires of metal jutted from the crevices. Fighters swooped in front of the bridge, criss-crossing as they circled the ship dizzyingly. Directly in front of us a hangar, an open maw waiting to swallow the ship; to take me from whatever past I once had and trap me. Red lights glistened on either end like threatening fangs, warning me against any attempt to escape.
I instinctively stepped back. My heart was pounding. My blood coursed through my veins, whispering doubt filled questions with each throb. I couldn't hold them back any longer.
Where was he? Was he hiding something? Was Palpatine here?
But the questions stopped abruptly and a single word took over.
The whoosh of blood repeated it like a broken holo recorder. Over and over again, mocking me. Trust was something I had already given, only to have it used against me in the end. I didn't know what trust truly was to Anakin, I certainly didn't want to give it again. Not now, perhaps not ever. Though somewhere deep in my heart there was that belief that he was still good. That we could redeem him. There was the part of me that just wanted us to be back on Coruscant, wrapped in his embrace as the sun rose, the golden light dusting his hair and warming the world around us. For it to simply being us, together, nothing more to worry about. I wanted more than anything for this all to be some twisted dream that would fade away into oblivion.
I realised I did trust him; though it was only a sliver hidden deep within.
But how could I?
I clenched a fist, feeling my nails dig deep into the skin. I vaguely realised that my thoughts were going in circles. I let a long sigh out, watching the last view of space slip behind the enormous orb. Giving up had never seemed an option until now. Now I felt trapped, anxious to find the truth but surrounded by shadows and lies. I felt as if I wasn't grounded, that I was simply floating between two realities.
I turned away from the panel of transparisteel and walked slowly back to the kitchenette, picking up the glass of water. I hoped something to drink would help calm me. The warm water at least felt soothing as I held the glass. My hand shook slightly as I took a cautious sip. It wasn't much; I hadn't eaten in two days. Instantly I had to brace myself against the wave of nausea that followed. I leaned back against the durasteel wall, closing my eyes to stop the heaves that burned in my abdomen. It passed soon after and I made my way back to the couch, leaving the glass behind.
I simply closed my eyes, pushing everything else away.
As I focussed on the ships quieting whine beneath my feet and then my breaths, I heard the door click against the lock. I snapped my eyes open and stared straight towards it, frozen, waiting for it to slide open. Part of my mind knew it was Anakin, but there was still the creeping doubt it would be someone else.
I looked away right as the door opened; trying to hide the fact I had even cared to glance over. The click of his armoured boots ended abruptly and I moved my eyes slightly to the side to see he had merely stopped. I ignored him and as discreetly as possible directed my eyes away again. He still stood; his alien breathing causing the hairs on my neck to stand on end. I refused to move until he did. The noise of his respirator encroached into my mind and made it more than impossible to ignore him.
The harsh breathing turned to knives against my eardrums. The sickening worry and fury like white hot metal in my chest, I tried to keep my eyes averted. A few more moments passed, and I felt I could almost touch the frustration between us. I couldn't hold out anymore. I felt like my anger was charring my heart as it smouldered deep in my gut. His mechanical breaths continued to grate against my nerves.
I stood up in a rush, taking two steps forward before either of us registered it. Another violent wave of nausea caused my stomach to lurch and I staggered before getting my bearings. I stood only a few feet away from him.
My eyes narrowed, glinting with frustration. I wanted to scream.
"I did not agree to this," I growled, my boldness surprising me and sending jolts up my spine. I didn't give him time to respond. My voice became frigid.
"After everything," I paused, the words shrill. "I do not condone being put on a space station surrounded by them."
I didn't care the consequence. If he truly loved me like he had said, he would listen. If he didn't... I wouldn't stay. I knew I couldn't love him the same I had 20 years ago either way. As much as I wanted to rewrite the past, I couldn't just ignore it.
His voice shattered my thoughts and brought me back to the living room.
"Yes?" I asked.
"I've arranged for you to be in a suite near the meeting rooms. I'll be on that level the entire visit. My best men will be patrolling as well." he said, his voice now bizarrely quiet.
Though his words should have been soothing, I was now concerned about the attention it would gain from others, as if the idea of simply being on the station wasn’t enough. My back stiffened instinctively and I shook my head. “Who’s in control?”
His head leaned back with what I assumed was shock.
I repeated myself after a second. “Who’s in control of it?”
He cleared his throat, briefly interrupting the rhythmic breaths. "Wilhuff Tarkin." He was almost sheepish, reluctant to tell me the truth.
My eyes narrowed. "Him?"
I had never liked Tarkin. Self-centred and arrogant, his only loyalty lay with power in his hands and credits in his account. He was quick to judge and quick to use whatever authority he was given. The times I had met him, once in particular on Coruscant, he had pushed my diplomacy to its limits. He spoke as though he was above others and had addressed them with obviously facetious respect. Anakin hadn't disliked him as much as I did; but then again he hadn't spent his life dealing with the unsavoury types, picking apart their every movement and word. Whatever intelligence and potential Anakin had seen in him was, in my mind, buried beneath his immoral causes.
I placed my hands on my hips. "You trust him?" I asked incredulously.
The void mask betrayed no emotion, not even in the deep recesses of the lenses. I hoped his temper was under control. I couldn't believe he wanted me to let Tarkin take control of my fate. Or that Anakin thought he could trust him with my life. I bit my lip to stop the venomous remarks that stung the tip of my tongue. If this was twenty years ago - during the Clone Wars - I would've more than likely disagreed with his judgment. Now the man had a space station under his command, not just lackeys. I spoke again when he didn’t respond. "I can't believe you trust him, Anakin. You know how I felt- how I feel about him."
He nodded once, slowly. I strained to tell if he was truly acknowledging my feelings or simply dismissing them. Regret gnawed at my stomach. I chided myself for the outburst - for speaking against him - reminding myself how volatile his mood was. The warm energy of his that usually surrounded me had turned to a cold, parasitic void. My back tensed and my hair stood on end as the darkness settled into every corner of the room, dense and foreboding. I retreated two steps in an attempt to escape the atmosphere.
His anger was something I didn’t understand, one of the only fears I truly had. I didn’t know what exactly I had done to set it off and I had no idea how close he was to lashing out. The suit revealed nothing of his emotions. His deep black cloak had shifted, now it draped around his shoulders and shrouded him in mystery. A small glint of silver from his lightsaber hilt sent another shudder through me. I froze my eyes on the chrome handle, expecting him to ignite it at any moment.
But he didn't.
He took a long stride backward as well, distancing himself from me. I felt my eyes widen in shock, the fear that snaked up my spine waning slightly. His helmet tilted toward the ground as he averted his gaze. The mechanical breaths became staggered; I knew he was fighting with his emotions.
The glow of compassion sparked deep inside me. It was dull, but palpable. His mood hadn't settled, he was far from it, but the fact that he was fighting the darkness to spare me was oddly comforting. Proof that a small piece of my Anakin still lay beneath the monstrosity of a suit.
I shook my head, looking back to the room around me. I watched him in silence for a few moments. He still took harsh breaths, but his posture seemed to have relaxed. The oppressive aura of the room had receded. He snapped his head up, the soulless eyes meeting mine.
"A escort group awaits you. My personal best to guard you at all times. You will be safe," he stated, "I promise you."
He ended the sentence abruptly, awkwardly hanging on the last syllable.
I could almost read his thoughts; he had said the sentence so many times before.
I found my mind rushing back to the night he had the first dream; how troubled and devastated he had been. As the sun rose we sat in silence, its rays shimmered across his tear-streaked cheeks, scattering the night's dark fears into glittering jewels upon his face.
I promise you.
I shook my head absently in response. The words changed nothing; in fact, they just brought me more pain. The memory splintered into painful shards, cutting easily through the wall I had built between us. He should have been able to feel he fear that still bled from my aura, the only words he had offered as comfort did nothing to stop it. He still stood back from me with his head turned away. I knew he was still fighting to gain control, to push away the temptation of the darkness, but I wished he would listen to me. The empty feeling of worry returned as I watched him. He turned abruptly, his tall figure hovering over me.
His breath hitched again and he cleared his throat. An indiscernible whisper slipped from the vocabulator.
Somehow I knew it was meant to be an apology. As much as he struggled with it I pulled it in, letting myself tuck it close to my heart reigniting the compassion that had lay there minutes earlier. I started to doubt my earlier hatred and stubbornness, thinking my reaction too severe. I shifted on my feet and waited for him to speak again.
Instead, he spun and left abruptly.
My heart dropped. I had wanted him to change his mind, to have listened to me for even one moment. I fell back into the couch; the cushions were cold and uninviting. My eyes darted around the entire room, the once familiar Naboo art pieces now foreign. There was no comfort in any of the décor. The kind sun of Varykino was long gone from the trinkets around me, leaving desolation in its place.
The words came suddenly as I saw the empty path to the doorway. If I did, the past could fall away. I could change my future and find a new life alone. Nothing would have to matter anymore. I could find the children on my own; have the life I had always wanted.
But I did the opposite, taking another step backwards.
I knew that I couldn’t do it, no matter how I afraid I was of him. I couldn’t give up. Not then, not when I could see how weak he was now. I couldn’t hurt him when I could still see that glimmer of hope in the vacant mask, that small spark of light that reminded me of our past. I realised he could hurt me again at any moment, that I would have to cope with the constant reminders of my past. But that was trivial. I was safer here than I would be at any far corner of the galaxy.
I turned my back to the door and let my eyes wander back to the viewport. The enormous hangar had closed around us; I had barely noticed that the ship had glided to a halt within its seemingly infinite walls. The air around the ship was filled with whorls of steam, creating a ghostly fog as it scattered the bright lights that lined the walls. A distant beam of crimson light wavered in the mist. I marvelled at the size of the room. Level after level of scaffolding lined the duracrete walls and I could barely make out figures upon them, ant-like people clad in white passed in and out of the fog seamlessly.
I took another breath and continued to watch, knowing that Anakin would return soon. Another jolt of anxiety came with the thought, the unknown encroaching into my already frail confidence. The battle between my conscience continued on; the anger that was still so unfamiliar to me beginning to form as I replayed his words. I had to trust him.
I didn’t want to go without a fight, especially not to what might be a death sentence. There was no way I was in a position to attack his decision. Everything was different. I was as vulnerable as I felt, and though I hated him for cornering me… I knew beneath the layers of scarred memories and fear that I had to relinquish some of my control. I had to allow him to help me. I told myself it was only for my safety and nothing more. In the tangled mess of thought and emotion, I wasn’t sure that was the truth, or why I even gave in. Whether it was the past, my own weakness, or the future was a mystery.
Anakin returned minutes later, standing at the doorway and waiting for me to follow him. He didn’t bother to ask my decision, but I stood and followed behind him without a sound. I made sure I took my time, trying to show the slightest annoyance in my gait. I didn’t know if he noticed my reluctance or if he even cared. I felt like a prisoner being lead down the winding path to an insufferable fate. Fear still clawed at me with every step, but I couldn’t change anything. Even if I could, I didn’t know what was right and I still couldn’t see past the uncertainty of the future.
We made a sharp turn into another corridor and I turned away from everything around me; ignoring the commotion, the officers and droids flooding the halls. I resigned myself to simply taking each new step. I knew there was nothing more I could do.
I only hoped I wasn’t making another mistake.
Deeply emotional update! The reader really feels with her - her fear, her disorientation, her anger - her frustration.
I also liked that you pointed out that Vader never liked Tarkin in the first place. Well, the dark side and the totally different aspects of friendship there!
It is also a clever idea that you wove this little sentence into your update: Before I realised it wasn't a moon at all. Made me think so much of ANH, the Star Wars that I used to know...
Dang, now I have that song in my mind!
Anyway, I like the way you write Padmé.
Actually, Anakin didn't ever really have a problem with Tarkin. Padmé, on the other hand, did. Which is I think what she's saying...
And a Yay! to you for the update, Volshe.
Since it's already at the top so I'm not bumping it....
Thank you very much
Your kind words mean a lot,
@AzureAngel2 ! Thank you!
I'm glad I'm writing her well, it's reassuring to know
Thank you for the like and comment,
Thank you for the likes,
@Lady_Misty , thank you so much for the reviews on FF.net!
Well this is something, Finding the author of one of my favorite stories on FF net on the same day I join this site? Today is totally a good day!
I read your story in one sitting when I first came across it, The sounds of the rooster crowing was the perfect companion to my anguish over there being no next chapter.
Thank you for creating such an amazing story!
I hope that this author goes on & gives us something for dull autumn evenings!!!