Chapter 1: Friendship
The first time she saw Mon after Palpatine declared the rise of the Empire from the ruins of the Republic, Padmé could feel her fellow senator’s disgust radiating off her.
Padmé understood. Of course she did. She was part of the Delegation of 2000, had opposed Palpatine’s use and abuse of the emergency powers, just wanted the damned war to end… until she wasn’t, and didn’t. Even if only outside her head. Her mind still belonged to her, at least she liked to believe it.
She had sold her soul to trade for her life, her children’s lives, her husband’s sanity. There were things far more precious to her heart than democracy, but that didn’t mean she agreed with Palpatine. Not on her mind. Not on her conscience.
But Mon stared at her with such icy eyes, she saw the disappointment in them, the disgust, the anger.
Why have you betrayed everything you stood for? And us? What of the Rebellion? What of the Future?
Padmé wanted to scream. Shout to all in the Senate, I still stand with you, all I did I did for family, for those I will not sacrifice! But if she did with would amount to nothing.
It was not just Mon Mothma who looked at her with the same questions on their eyes during that session.
They would never again believe one word that came from her lips. Not from Darth Vader’s wife.
“Lord Vader, your presence is required on Al’doleem. You are to capture and execute the Jedi known as Kirak Infil’a. He is a threat to the Empire, and should be dealt as such.”
The cold voice of the Emperor barely seemed to register.
Vader forced himself to play back the words. Al’doleem. Execute. Jedi. Easy enough. There weren’t many left, thanks to him. Or no thanks. Padmé certainly thought so.
“Are you listening, Lord Vader?”
The Emperor sounded annoyed.
“Yes, Master.”, came the automatic answer. He was about to voice his thoughts, but Palpatine was now his Master, not his friend.
He continued “I was wondering how long it will be before the Jedi are completely eradicated.”
“Yes, yes. How long indeed. Long enough surely that your pretty little wife will miss you. It wouldn’t do well for a Senator who works tirelessly for the glory of the Empire to keep her husband from doing his own work, now would it?”
“Of course not, Master.”
“Go now, Lord Vader. You are dismissed.”
Vader bowed and left the ruins of the Temple, now the Imperial Palace.
His feet took him from transport to transport until he reached his flagship, Coruscant looming on the transparisteel in front of him.
Padmé was there. And Leia. And Luke.
Somehow he wasn’t comforted by that thought.
A long time ago, when Padmé younger, she decided she wanted a marriage as happy as her parents’ had been. She wasn’t so naïve now, to ask the gods the impossible.
She sits in a chair near his bacta tank, reading Anakin a book, a book she had taken from her father’s study before going to serve in the Senate, while he floats, trying to gain some semblance of dignity. Recovery is not a dignified process.
She thinks of the time she loved him and the thought of loving him was free of resentment.
Anakin has done so much for someone not worthy of his loyalty. Betrayed the Jedi. Killed Obi-Wan. Almost killed her. All for someone as fickle as Palpatine.
And it hurts. Wasn’t she enough? Why did he need Palpatine’s approval? Why did he crave it?
She feels like crying.
She turns to him, “I’m going to check on the twins.”
She walks away, her black gown melting against the obsidian colored floor.
She stops before exiting the room, turning to her left and saying to the med droid, “Call me when Lord Vader gets out of the bacta.”
She doesn’t look back.
Vader didn’t need to see her walk away from him to understand. She was grieving all that could not be.
It was over now, that part of his life when hoping for something made sense. He had dug this grave by his own hand. When he had it, but still.
It was hard. Vader was suffering too, from his injuries, and from the loss of Padmé’s warmth. He still held her love, but her suffering made her cold.
He felt cold.
She was loyal to her grief.
No matter, their children would be safe.
*singing* Things we lost in the fire, fire, fire...
“Anakin, do you think you could ask Emdee if there was anything she could give you for the pain? I don’t like the children seeing you like this. I am not Force sensitive but I’m sure they can sense you’re not fine.”
After all he’d done, after all the hurt he made her pass through, she still called him by the name his mother had given him.
“Emdee is not allowed to administer me painkillers. The Emperor believes the suffering brought by my pain allows my streght to grow.”
She was never easily swayed.
“Ani, that’s ridiculous. How can your streght grow if you get exhausted if you try to go up the stairs to our room without the mask?”
“It is the way of the Sith.” He had nothing more to add to that.
“So you’re telling me the Emperor prefers to have his pet on a strangulation leash in case he grows to strong?” Hard truths hurt. She didn’t care if she hurt him, not anymore.
“ENOUGH! I do not care about the reservations you have with my treatment. I will continue to see the children regardless.”
She stared at him, but said nothing. They continued to walk the halls to the nursery.
Vader didn’t want to hear more about this, not now, not ever. It had been his choice to serve the Emperor in return for the safety of his wife and children. His choice to follow the Sith path.
At least he told himself that every day. He couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t.
Luke and Leia had seemed oblivious to the argument their parents had had that morning. Still, Luke looked at his father with sad eyes, even if pity was a strange emotion too see on a one-and-a-half-year-old.
Leia always seemed perpetually angry at some unseen entity, and annoyed at another.
There was nothing she could do about that, not while her husband refused to acknowledge that Palpatine’s manipulations were just another way to keep him in another form of slavery, different from the first and the second, but still slavery.
She mused on these thoughts as she walked through the Senate’s corridors, until a familiar voice called from one of the entries to the main chamber, from one of the pods.
“Senator Amidala!” It was Bail.
She hadn’t seen him since Palpatine had declared the Empire. Strangely, his eyes were not full of anger, but of concern.
“Senator Organa. I haven’t seen you around for quite a while. How do you fare?” She hoped he didn’t mistake her own concern for a jab at his apparent disregard of his senatorial duties.
He didn’t. “Very well, my lady. I apologise not sending word, my wife and I have welcomed a child in our House.” He smiled, “I’m sure you understand how time-consuming children are.”
She smiled too, “I do. If only they could concentrate on something for more than two minutes, so we could do something productive…”
“Indeed. In fact, I seem to have cracked that particular code: fish.”
Confusion was plain on her face, “Fish, Senator Organa? I do not understand.”
“Yes, fish. I have installed an aquarium to keep my daughter occupied while I work.”
“She seems to like seeing two thousand fishes swimming around, with ever-changing colors, bathed in light. I feel safer knowing where she is, and that she is watched over. After all, we must watch over our children, and trust those that watch over them when we can’t.”
So, he was pulling the ‘protect the children’ card on her to have her join the Rebellion again. She was surprised he still trusted on that level, and insulted that she should put her children on the line for the cause. There was no way she could live with herself if something happened to them.
“Of course, Senator.” Her mask was still perfect after years as Queen.
He regarded her curiously. “Perhaps you would be interesting in installing an aquarium as I have, Senator? I could give you the contact information necessary.”
Oh, Bail, how naïve you still are. Can’t you see I have no choice?
“I thank you for your offer, Senator. Unfortunately, my husband is… severely allergic to fish. I do not wish to aggravate his condition.”
“Of course. Until we meet again, Senator Amidala.”
She inched closer to the door before muttering, “Goodbye, Bail.”
I didn't know I enjoyed writing about fish until this happened. BTW, the fish part was inspired by the aquarium Bail installed in his office to prevent baby Leia from finding Important Rebel Stuff, as seen in the novel «Ahsoka».
Chapter 4: Children
Of course, Lord Vader was not happy with his Master’s decision, even if he wouldn’t dare protest it. It was in Luke’s and Leia’s best interest to be trained in the ways of the Sith.
Of course, they wouldn’t be Sith Lords, but acolytes.
He left the throne room still reeling from the emotional blow. He was sad, afraid, and angry. Angry that someone could take his children away like that. He would see them, of course, but it would be as a Master, not a Father.
He calmed himself. They would be fine. Palpatine had watched over him since he was small. They would be fine. Even on Tatooine, it was normal for children to be sold away from their parents. They still grew up fine. If they survived.
They will be finetheywillbefinetheywillbefine-
He needed to calm down. He needed to tell his wife the news.
“No. No. He won’t take my children. They’re still too young. No.”
She paced across the room. A pause.
“It won’t be now. In a couple of years, when they’re older.”
She turned to him sharply, “It doesn’t matter what age they’ll be. They’ll always be too young for that. I won’t leave my children to that man. No. I won’t allow it.”
“That man is your Emperor. You will address him with the respect he is due. His word is law; it would do it good to remember that, wife.”
“I don’t care who he is. I don’t care! He will not have my children, not now, not ever. I’d rather die.”
He didn’t flinch, despite feeling like it.
“They will need to be trained, regardless. The Emperor is the best choice they will have to fulfil their potential in the Force, for he his Lord of the Sith.”
“You think that helps your case?!”
Another pause. “I was also taken from my mother at a young age. I got a better life for it. You should strive to be as selfless as her.”
Padmé saw red. “For one, I’m not your mother, and I’m sure she wouldn’t agree with your statement. Secondly, do not compare that yellow-eyed snake in robes to Qui-Gon Jinn. Would that he were still alive! I’m sure he could have annoyed some sense into you, you certainly need it.” She started walking away from him.
“Where are you going?”, he demanded.
“To see my children, since I’m not sure for how much longer I will be able to see them, and to get away from your infernal breathing.” She didn’t even look back.
Anakin didn’t believe he was doing this.
Anakin didn’t want to believe he was doing this. He was betraying his Master.
But that was it, wasn’t it? Palpatine was not his friend, the Emperor was his Master, and he was as good as a slave, just like Padmé had said.
He was a pet, an attack dog to scare away and kill the Emperor’s opposers. And he was becoming one of them.
It was a scary thought, but he was doing the right thing, he was revolting.
Even if he died the next day, even if he’d never saw his children again, he would be happy knowing they were free. Like he wasn’t.
His fast pace was hurting where his prothesis met his flesh. He felt like he was running into a black hole.
He wasn’t dragging his children down with him, as he had done to their mother without acknowledging it for a long time.
Luke and Leia, and his beloved Padmé would be far away from Coruscant by the time he plunged his lightsaber through Palpatine’s back. He hoped, at least.
He stared at the doors leading to the throne room. They opened.
“Lord Vader, you may enter.”
He noticed he hadn’t dared hope for so long. It was like giving water to a man in the desert.
Anakin was going to quench his thirst, and that of all that were unwilling puppets to his Master.
When Anakin had asked if her offer still stood, Padmé was very confused.
“What offer?”, she had asked?
“To go away with you, and raise our children.”
She was struck dumb, but quickly sobered.
“I was under the impression that was not the Emperor’s wish.”
She hoped then that they could all leave, never looking back.
But he had to stay.
“Someone has to deal with the Emperor, otherwise he will never stop looking for us.”
So here she was, parsecs away, disguised, on a transport to some blackwater planet in the Outer Rim, with two sleepyheads on her lap, basking on her newfound freedom and dreading the possibility of never seeing her husband again.
But she hoped.
Months later, after word that the Emperor had been murdered had even reached the farthest edges of the galaxy and no word surfaced about Anakin, after Luke and Leia had grown 7 inches (combined) and adopted three loth-cats, Mira and Ephraim told her one of their contacts in the Rebellion was bringing her a package in the next few days.
So when the contact ended up being a very smug Bail, and the package a very much alive Anakin, she was very happy indeed.
“Seems like your husband isn’t allergic to fish after all.”
“Shut up, Bail.”