Vader's Angel

By: wertman25

A/N: Just keep in mind that this is A/U and the characters aren't 100% like in the films, but reflect themes of the saga throughout the story.

Background: It has been two years since the creation of the Empire. Anakin and Padmé have never met. Sidious found Anakin when he was seven years old on Tatooine and trained him as a Sith since then. Vader is not in his life support suit, but remains hidden beneath a hood like in Revenge of the Sith.

Please also note the time that has passed since I began this story. I still have quite a passion for this story since it was a huge reason of why I fell in love with storytelling, but I'm no longer a teen writer and when I began Vader's Angel I was a far different writer than I am now. This being said, I do not follow the basic rules of writing for any of my fanfictions. As I write for a career and for schooling, fanfiction is more a release from those rules that I am given. I will use adjectives, thinking words, wrong tag lines, and all that good stuff in between. There might also be a few errors that I graciously ask you to overlook. This is a fanfiction, not a published piece. Thank you.

Please also be aware that this story is currently "under construction" as I am rewriting/updating the older chapters.

STATUS: Updated.

Author's Note: I am in the process of updating older chapters as well as finishing this story. This work has been picked up by a publisher and I will update you on that process in the PM or on my profile. Some things are being slightly rewritten so please save the story beforehand if you do not wish to forget/reread the original.

I do not condone any type of abuse, violence, or negative themes represented in this fanfic. This is simply a work of fiction and should be viewed as such. Vader's Angel is first and foremost a smut, and is rated "M" for mature readers only.

Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own Star Wars…. or Anakin Skywalker… Which is a pity…


Chapter 1: Curiosity At Its Peak


A long time ago in galaxy far, far way…

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STAR WARS

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Episode I: Vader's Angel

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The galaxy has been engulfed by darkness.

The Galactic Republic is no more, overtaken

by the evil Sith Lord, Darth Sidious and

converted into the ruthless Galactic Empire.

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In hopes of ending this terrible reign of terror,

a group of senators have secretly created a

REBELLION against the Empire, that is now

struggling to survive because of the Empire's

Ghost and Emperor's apprentice, Darth Vader.

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While the Rebel Alliance continues to crumble

under the hands of the Sith, countless members

of the Imperial Senate, including the secret

members of the Rebellion, have flown to

Coruscant to celebrate the mark of the second

year since the creation of the Empire…


Senator Padmé Amidala wished she had a better plan than just attempting to camouflage herself in the farthest corner of the endless overly crowded Imperial ballroom and simply hope that no one would take notice to her. The young senator acting as though she was nothing more than the average simple lady– and above all else, a loyal Imperial citizen– merely becoming one of the masses in attendance with no outstanding issue beyond wondering which cocktail to order or perhaps which Imperial bachelor to snag for a dance... If she had been anyone else in the galaxy, the elementary scheme might have worked with ease, but the issue was, Padmé Amidala wasn't just anyone in attendance, and therefore, her plan had failed before it had even began. She, after all, given her rank, status, and history, had never being one to ever blend into a crowd.

From the very moment the beautiful, young brunette entered the room, she could feel a number of eyes watching her, meaning she had managed to not only fail at going unnoticed, but also seemed to be drawing a great deal of unwanted attention as well. That's when a brave member of the blasphemous and heedless congregation stepped away from his group and passed her by, invading her space and pausing just a few feet away with a strange sort of look burning within his eyes. His eyes traveled her body and he seemed to be admiring the way her dress laid perfectly against her, hugging every curve in all the right places.

Padmé swallowed the lump forming in her throat beneath the stranger's lecherous stare, uncomfortable and humiliated. She looked away before her unease was mistaken as timid interest and she would be forced to indulge the poor man's attempts of any sort of unwanted and unrequited acquaintance. She stepped away and took a small sip of her drink to calm her nerves.

Maybe I should have worn something more modest, she thought as she stared down at the tight dark blue fabric of her newest evening dress.

Although she was no stranger to attention, being a senator and former queen, this was neither the time nor the place to entertain such recognition and she should have thought as much when she was choosing her outfit for the night. She looked down at the dress again, catching another man watching her with that same burning gaze she had seen countless times throughout the night in the eyes of every man she had caught peering in her direction. She fought back at sigh. As far as scandal went, she could have worn something far more scandalous to the night's event. The dress, although different than her usual attire, all in all, wasn't that bad. It was still fairly conservative and cascaded far past her ankles. It even had long sleeves and a collar that cradled an area of her breast around to her neck in the most elegant of fashions. It was just a slightly tighter fit than usual, something she hadn't taken into consideration while choosing the dress in question but now was deeply regretting.

She couldn't help but think that maybe if she would have worn something a little more modest, she could have at least used modesty to her advantage, allowing herself a slightly better chance to blend more into the background of the party, instead of drawing such desperate attention to herself. It was only since becoming a senator, three years prior, that Padmé had begun to embrace more of her sexuality during these types of events, at least in simple ways such as clothing. No longer confined to the honorary accustomed ways which came with being a Naboo queen, with the gaudy, overweight dresses and ten pounds of caked on traditional makeup.

She hadn't cared much about the time-honored and customary rules while she had been in office. The laws set forth by her people had been followed for many moons and by many glorious women who had come before her, and Padmé had been only too happy to follow in those glorious footsteps without much thought of the repercussions. Yes, in the beginning those rules had been the easiest to follow. She, after all, had been nothing more than a child when she had been elected as queen of her home world. A child without a womanly figure: without breasts, nor a monthly cycle. At the time, she hadn't even had a true thought beyond her future in politics. So why would she have a care if they were to put her in garish garments? Why would she care if they hid her beneath ponderous attire and mounds of cosmetics, which at the very least protected her identity more times than none.

No, the rules had been easy to follow for a time being, almost too easy until she had reached a certain age. It was around the age of sixteen when a change developed within herself. That change even manifesting to her outwards self as well. During a time in which a woman truly became a woman, at least in the physical sense. When her monthly time had officially begun and her body had experienced all sorts of changes, like the addition of round perky breasts on her chest or the sparse addition of hair to other more private areas of her body, all of which had been properly dealt with by the most experts of staff in all manners of ways. Padmé had felt any sort of the repercussions then, while all her like-aged peers were able to embrace their changes in private with friends while her's were properly hidden and yet broadcasted for all her staff to know.

It was silly, that Padmé knew, to feel as she did, but that didn't make it any less true. Though she ignored the way she felt until the next set of changes came sometime later. Another new chapter in her life when all her peers acquired suitors and Padmé was left somewhat disheveled. She had had proper suitors too after a point, far more suitable than most, but only one or two more familiar than the rest. One in particular who she could think of. It had never gone anything beyond that though, unlike many of her peers. Never beyond a luncheon, or a walk, or some other proper event with a sort of entourage. Perhaps, there were a time or two, when the smallest of kisses were stolen in the gardens, or hushed whispers were shared before a goodbye, but never had anything progressed to anything else. Never had she had a true relationship, or dare she say the word, boyfriend.

It was hard to acquire such a thing in a position such as her's. A senator now, and a queen then. A queen had much more important duties than to frequently keep space in her mind for such a matter, or even more so an open spot in her calendar. A queen was always busy with some type of ordeal and was always chaperoned. Plus, she had taken certain oaths. Oaths she intended to keep. The vow of celibacy. The vow of abstinence. The vow of purity. To abstain from anything of that sort which would threaten her cherished maidenhood until marriage, and marriage to the most proper of suitor, no less. Even now, far after her last term had ended, she was expected to keep to such a vow. To remain a perfect virgin, maintaining the purity and grace of a Naboo queen, until she was wed.

Those vows hadn't seemed like the biggest ordeal either when she first took them, but it was somewhat of a hazard now. It wasn't that she had an issues with the vows themselves, but more how everyone around her did. Padmé would have liked to keep such a vow and had no issues with it since they fell into line with her family's beliefs as well, but she had to admit it was hard to watch all those you grew up with have such different experiences. Most of her friends had lost their virginity while Padmé had been in meetings with representatives. They had been able to flaunt their physical changes while her's remained completely concealed. Most of her friends were even married with children of their own by now, or at the very least had a serious significant other, while Padmé was still on the lowest level of her political career.

Padmé sighed again, taking another sip of her drink. That life, the simple life of a mother and a wife, was always something she craved. If it wasn't for the Force having other plans for her. That's why she would settle for at least the smallest bit of attention, cause despite everything, she was able to be seen now. And the attention wasn't for the delight of the men, or the hatred of the other women, but solely for her. Cause she was a woman who was no longer hidden. She was a senator, if nothing else. And beyond all, it was a reminder to all that she was not a child.

"Good evening, Senator," another partygoer said as he approached with those same damn burning eyes. "Having a good night?"

"Quite. Excuse me," Padmé responded politely, taking her leave as she returned to her now empty corner.

Her current strategy of going unnoticed, or trying to go unnoticed, made her feel like a defel who had forgotten how to bend light to blend in. For she had forgotten as well. She couldn't blend in, not completely anyways, because at her core, she had no desire to do so. She didn't want to revert back to her old ways, cause she feared that if she did, she would lose the confidence it would take to make her superiors look at her as anything but that foolish child that had blindly handed Palpatine the lock and key to the galaxy.

She pushed that thought away and focused on her dress. Padmé could tell that some of her peers at the party were already displeased with her, but it had been a bad decision made for a proper reason, and really she knew they were upset just because she hadn't done it their way.

She liked to think differently about the matter, because technically, she hadn't broken any rules. She had just pushed the limit slightly. They never said she had to wear something modest, just that she shouldn't be social and that she was to try to blend in, two things that she was tying to do. She was both, trying to be social and trying to blend in. It wasn't her fault that she was failing at the task. She wasn't as dumb as some believed her to be. She knew what she was doing and that she had to be careful, but she also wasn't going to show that she was afraid, and that she wouldn't bend for any sort of means because of the Emperor. She wouldn't allow him any more satisfaction.

Everything had drastically changed in the galaxy over the past two years. For this was no normal celebration, but a party to celebrate the creation of the Empire, for it had been two years since "Chancellor" Palpatine had dissolved the Senate, turning it into the Galactic Empire and declaring himself Emperor of the entire galaxy. Padmé glanced around the room, taking in the happiness and excitement, the lies and the idiocy. The people that celebrated in the room were either idiots for following such an evil man who was obviously a power hungry maniac, or they hid their true feelings– very, very, very deep down. Still, it amazed her that so many people could find time to attend such a party while the universe was being enslaved. Where was their conscience? Were these people really fine with Palpatine taking over? Were they fine with the Empire? How could they be? How could they not fight back?

It had never been a question in her mind, whether or not to fight, the answer always being an obvious one within her head. She knew she had to fight. She could never sit quietly and watch the galaxy burn. She would never stop fighting for what she believed was right. She owed the galaxy that, not just because she was a leader, or because she too lived in that very galaxy, but because she had sinfully been a key game piece in Palpatine's rise to power. The newly appointed, nineteen year old senator, that she once was, foolishly trusting the man that she had considered her friend and mentor, believing his web of lies and promise of giving back the emergency powers she had trusted, and willed the Senate to give to him. At the time, she had had complete confidence and fully believed she had done the correct thing– the best thing for the galaxy, giving Palpatine the opportunity to use his emergency powers to create "The Grand Army of the Republic" to assist the overwhelmed Jedi, and in return a way to protect the Republic... but of course, the action had all been in vain– the truth being hidden and everything being nothing but a lie.

After what she had done, she could only live with herself knowing that she was fighting back– knowing that she was trying to make a difference for the betterment of the galaxy. She would not stand for it. She could not support the Empire, and that was why she and her peers had created the Rebellion. A Rebellion against the Empire. An Alliance for what they believed in. In fact, the creation of the Rebellion was the sole reason for her attempts of trying to blend in tonight, to go unnoticed by all in the room. As one of the leaders of the Rebellion, she could not afford to bring attention to herself by any means. It was far too dangerous. They knew that there would be Imperial spies lurking at every corner, listening to every whisper, and waiting for any and every opportunity to pounce. Their goal? To locate the leaders, or worse, creators of the Rebellion. The Emperor wanting nothing more than to bring an end to all who dared to go against him.

Her eyes slowly moved across the crowd, suspiciously looking for "the could be" spies– searching for anyone that looked mistrustful, which was a hard task all in itself, since that particular description fit three quarters, if not more, of the packed room. Not to mention, she hardly trusted anyone anymore, causing the young senator to think that just about everyone looked just as mistrustful and suspicious as the next. That was, until she located her dear friend, Senator Bail Organa, one man that she stilled trusted faithfully with her life. Like herself, the male senator hid in the shadows of the party in an attempt not to draw attention to himself. He, however, was blending in far better than she was, her eyes moving to the evidence of her continuous failure: another man standing beside her with his eyes lurking on her body. Oh, joy.

Annoyed at herself, and needing a relief, she took a step in Bail's direction, leaving the safety of her corner and venturing into the throng of partygoers, quickly making her way across the room towards him. When he noticed her approach, he greeted her with a smile which she happily returned as she joined him in the shadows.

"Hello, Bail. Having fun?"

The darker skinned man nodded, lifting his drink into the air as he gestured to the room around them. "Who wouldn't be having fun?" he answered with a small laugh and smile, his lie nearly unnoticeable, hidden perfectly from years of politics.

Padmé laughed as well, agreeing sarcastically. "That's right," she chimed in, moving closer to him with a low bitter voice. "Everyone is enjoying the party, because he hasn't arrived yet."

Padmé watched as Bail's round eyes turned to slits, his head nodding but eyes scanning cautiously around them, hoping that no one had heard the emphasis put on the word he. Truthfully, they both knew that no one had, as they were too far enough away from the crowd to be heard, but that didn't stop his roaming eyes. They could, after all, never be too careful. Not at a time like this. She knew Bail knew that she had meant the Emperor, the sick bastard of a man, who had fooled all of them some years ago. The elder senator truly understood the bitterness she felt towards the Emperor, and why her bitterness was deeper and greater than all of the rest, which was another reason why Padmé preferred his company. Bail had been on that terrible journey with her, watched as the Republic crumbled, and with its demise, watched as Padmé's confidence disintegrate as well. A great amount of her achievements forgotten, overshadowed by her one wrong, a large part of the galaxy believing she was to blame, as she too believed herself. Bail had told her this was far from the case, but she could never the same, and because of it, her hate only grew. She hated Palpatine, and everyone knew it– even the Emperor himself, and although that made her more of a target, she wasn't the only one that felt that way. Even Bail, who did not hate many people in the universe, had Palpatine on the top of his hate list, just like many others in the galaxy.

When he was satisfied with his search, Bail turned back to her with a much more relaxed expression. "Arriving late to his own party," he mused aloud, almost mockingly, as he set his glass down on the tray of a bypassing droid. "How kind of him to keep us waiting."

"Impeccable manners, don't you think?" Padmé laughed in agreement before her eyes filled with resentment. "If we are lucky, maybe he won't show up at all."

Bail raised his eyebrows in response, almost smirking. "Now," he breathed. "That's an idea."

Both of them shared a laugh, their amusement filling the small corner of the room, and in return, attracting the attention of a young Chandrilian senator. Unamused, the young woman excused herself from her current conversation and made her way towards the laughing couple. Bail, being the first to notice her approach, turned to her with a large smile.

"Hello, Mon!" he greeted with a small bow. "It's a pleasure to see you! Are you enjoying the party?"

"Quite," Mon Mothma bowed slightly before nearing closer to the two senators, her eyes filled with disapproval as she glanced back and forth between the two of them– the look she gave them not going unnoticed by the two senators. "Causing a bit of attention aren't we?"

Here we go, Padmé thought, resisting the urge to quite inappropriately roll her eyes, before a frown formed over her face. She opened her mouth about to raise her objections, but was silenced when her friend immediately came to her defense.

"Of course not!" Bail shot back, his voice low, but powerful. "I just thought that Padmé and myself could use a good laugh," he explained, trying to soothe the woman's nerves. "No one noticed."

His statement did not soothe any part of the woman's disgruntled face, instead causing the opposite reaction, her frown growing more pronounced and her disapproval increasing dramatically. Mon Mothma was one of the many senators that had turned against Padmé since the creation of the Empire, believing that the once powerful and intelligent woman was now nothing more than a silly girl who had no meaning being in the field of politics. Even going as far as fighting heavily for Padmé's resignation; and becoming even more bitter when Padmé's home planet, as well as many supporters throughout the galaxy, held their faith in her, and refused to dismiss her as their senator. The vindictiveness seemed to never end. Almost as if they were all children in grade school– or so, how Padmé liked to think of it. Mon evening electing herself leader of the Rebellion, in spite of Padmé of course, after it had all been Padmé's idea in the first place– a fact, no one besides Bail had ever admitted.

In truth, Mon Mothma had done everything in her power to make Padmé's life a living hell, taking every opportunity to push her towards failure– and unfortunately, Padmé had allowed her to do so. The young senator seeming to fail time and time again, in ways she never had before. Almost as if the cards had been stacked up against her personally; by the people, by her peers, and by Palpatine alike.

There was a time when Mon Mothma and Padmé Amidala had been peers, even close acquaintances, but that time had long since passed. Back then, Mon Mothma had nothing but praise and hope when the young Queen Amidala of Naboo had changed roles to Senator Amidala of Naboo. She had thought, and even broadcasted, that the young woman had courage, needed stubbornness, and a heart of a gold. She had called Padmé the next great senator of the Republic, someone who would make a great positive impact in the galaxy, and serve the people well… That was, until Palpatine turned against them.

After the fall of the Republic, Padmé had tried hard to make up for her mistake. Fighting Palpatine every chance the opportunity was presented, even when others remained silent. It was true, Padmé had made it her personal responsibility to ensure his life and job were far from uncomplicated. And she had to admit she was good at it, despite what Palpatine would lead her to believe. She knew that she irked the older man, as much as he pretended otherwise, and that alone was a small victory in her book. Except, the action of such, never came without backlash– backlash Padmé could handle, while other senators thought she had lost her mind.

They began to call her a child, rebelling like a self-righteous teenager who didn't like the consequences of a decision she had made. Which was a funny statement to make when they were beginning a rebellion themselves. In truth, Padmé was only trying to do her job, but as her peers continued to bash her and the consequences continued to break her, she had to admit she was beginning to feel a bit lost. She had tried and tried, and yet seemingly failed, allowing herself to be crushed over the course of two years, taking her good reputation with her. The Rebellion was her last chance to be redeemed, her last chance to be a woman and a respected senator in the eyes of her peers again… but she could tell that many of them already expected her to fail– expected her to be the reason for their downfall.

And the reminder caused Padmé's eyes to turn cold as they watched the elder woman.

"No one noticed?" Mon repeated Bail's words sarcastically, before raising an eyebrow in his direction. "I did."

"You were a few feet away," Bail retorted as a frown appeared across his features, not about to allow the woman in any way to blame Padmé for such a simple error. "There are over a hundred people in this room, Mon. No one noticed us."

"Yes." Mon sighed in return, the obvious mockery within her voice. "There are hundreds of people in this room. Grand Moffs, royalty, politicians, military leaders, and…" She paused, her face becoming hard and her voice becoming low. "Traitors," she finished, chilling the air, before pressing another sarcastic comment. "Who would pay attention to you?" She allowed her comment to hang in the air, the words' weight growing with each passing second. She paused again, glancing around the room cautiously before turning back to Bail and pointing a finger in his direction. "Wait and see, Bail. You joke now, but I'm sure even you will be investigated by the end of the night."

Bail remained calm, poised, and confident. "I have no doubt of that," he agreed without hesitation. "I'm sure we all will be."

"Yet you continue to draw attention?" Mon growled, before turning her attention to his left, fixing Padmé with a hard glare. "If she was not here, you would not be acting this way. I told you she wasn't ready!"

"I am too ready!" Padmé interrupted angrily, unable to hold in her comments any longer. "I am not a child, Mon!" Unaware that her outburst did nothing to help her case, her objection making her sound like the very thing she was arguing against, a petulant child.

Mon glared in return, her eyes falling away from the young senator in a way that conveyed that she was both, satisfied and hesitant. "I never said you were."

Padmé nearly growled. "You don't have to say it," she replied." I can read between the lines, Senator Mothma. Your lack of support has made that perfectly, crystal clear. You may not call me a child, but you continue to treat me as such."

The woman made no effort to deny Padmé's words, only raising her face to meet the younger woman's eyes. "I have my reasons," Mon only shrugged before taking a large sip of the drink in her hand.

Padmé opened her mouth to retort, but taking advantage of Mon Mothma not being able to speak, Bail put his hand on Padmé's shoulder. "What Mon means," he said, his words gentle and kind, trying to clear the air between them. "Is that she–we have to take every precaution. You have been on Naboo for sometime now and haven't been on these political front lines. We are in a room full of enemies, meaning any sort of attention is negative. This is very dangerous and it is key that everything stays a secret to the Empire– even ourselves if we have to."

"I understand that," Padmé replied annoyed, feeling like she was being treated like a child all over again. Was Bail taking the woman's side? What did they not understand? She was ready! She was fit for this job! How many times would she have to prove herself? What would she have to do to become an adult in their eyes– to regain back her honor?

"I know you do." Bail smiled, trying to comfort her, before pulling her closer to him. "I don't mean to talk down to you, Padmé." He paused, smiling down upon her with a saddened look within his eyes. "I apologize if I offended you by doing so, but I'm just trying to be sure. You are such a dear friend, and I don't want you to be hurt again." He gave her an encouraging smile then, dropping his hand and turning professional. "Mon is correct though. Every precaution must be in check. You are one of these target because you are young and you have made a mistake, so people will underestimate you."

"I'm human," Padmé retorted, slightly less annoyed, but still feeling the need to defend herself. "I admit that I made a mistake, and I have taken responsibility for my actions, but that does not at all make me weak or any less of a leader." She paused, her face becoming stone as she looked towards them both. "I won't fail," she stated confidently. "I am not afraid."

Bail seemed pleased with her statement, but the female senator almost spit out her drink upon hearing Padmé's words.

"Ha!" Mon laughed, before turning to stare directly at Padmé with a bewildered stare. "You will be!" she exclaimed, a hidden promise within her words. "You will be!" She said nothing more, before turning and disappearing into the many groups of people, leaving Padmé and Bail once again alone to their corner. They watched her go, a silence falling upon them before Bail erupted with another laugh.

"I think she likes you," he teased, and Padmé smiled, knowing his joke was untrue.

Still, something sat uneasily in the pit of her stomach. "What is she so afraid of?" she wondered aloud, not meaning to truly ask the question.

She hadn't meant in the obvious way. She knew that these were fearful times. It was apparent that all the members, leaders, and creators of the Rebel Alliance didn't want any information or their names getting back to the Emperor. It was something Padmé had heard numerous times before, but not in the way Senator Mothma had just spoken of it. She was different– her fear was different. When she spoke, there was another fear in her voice, one that was not present before.

"It's–" Bail paused, trying to think of the correct words. He always understood Padmé's curiosity, and for that, she was beyond thankful. Bail, always being the helpful friend to aid her, instead of judging her like so many others. "There is supposed to be many spies here tonight," he offered, his voice unsteady. "She wants to make sure no one, and unfortunately because of your past, especially you, gives anything away while speaking to them."

That wasn't it. Padmé knew from the moment his words hit her ears that that wasn't her answer. There was something else, but something inside told her to let it go. So she simply nodded as confidence appeared on her face. "I'm ready for this," she commented again. "In case you have forgotten, I am a politician. I have perfected how to hide my emotions and such important information away while serving time as the Queen of Naboo. I perfected how to remain cool, collective, and professional as years as a senator. Just as you have. I do have much experience that has seemingly been forgotten by a great deal of many people. Whatever the new threat that has everyone running scared at this party, I'm ready for it."

"I understand, Padmé. They understand that too, but–"

The sound of the giant ballroom doors swinging open cut Bail's comment short; a loud eruption of claps and cheers echoing throughout the room.

"His Majesty, the Emperor!" a man's voice announced, causing an increase in applause– until the cheers suddenly went silent and were replaced by gasps and whispers.

Hearing the change, Padmé pushed herself onto her tiptoes, trying to see what had happened in the front of the room, but was unable to do so as her short figure would not allow it. Even at her tallest height, she couldn't see over the herds of people, only able to see the flash of lights from the press that stood far beyond. She hoped that the old man had had a sudden fatal heart attack, but that simple of a way to be rid of such a vile monster didn't likely.

"What is it?" Padmé whispered to Bail, hoping that due to his height he would have a better view than she had. "What's happening?"

It didn't seem that he did, his own face wearing the same confusion. "I'm not sure," Bail whispered, his head turning towards one of the speakers, listening to the sound that crackled on the other side as if the announcer was also in shock.

"A– And a surprise guest," the man finally announced, his voice shaking and flabbergasted. "Lord Vader."

It was like they had announced Death himself had managed an invite to the party and everything became cold. Lord Vader? Had she truly truly heard that right?

"It can't be…" Bail whispered in shock, his eyes becoming wide as all color drained from his face.

Padmé shared his shocked expression, feeling as if she had become frozen to the floor, while her body fought the urge to faint. It felt as if all her blood had been drained from her body and the air of the room was crashing down upon her. Had she heard that right? Darth Vader? It couldn't be! It was impossible! Why would Darth Vader be there? He never came to events. Ever! It had to be a mistake! Darth Vader wouldn't– couldn't be there.

Even though Darth Vader had only appeared when Palpatine had made himself the Emperor, the Sith hadn't wasted any time making a name for himself. His name struck fear into everyone that heard it. Every being in every corner of the galaxy, despite their age, species, or background, feared the evil Sith Lord, knowing that his presence brought only fear, pain, and death. Darth Vader was the murderer of millions, destroyer of the Jedi, a vicious monster, a deadly ghost, the commander of the Empire's forces, the Emperor's right-hand man, and the second most powerful man in the entire galaxy–or as some people believed, the true most powerful man in the galaxy.

Darth Vader was hardly ever seen in the public eye– or by anyone. Seeming more like an urban legend or a frightful myth, and believably so, if not for his evidence of brutality. Palpatine liked to keep the Sith hidden away until he needed him, and because of that, truthfully, there were more questions about Darth Vader than there were answers. Not that anyone was willing to figure them out. Some people deciding that they would rather die than be caught in the presence of the Dark Lord, and those who were too curious, found themselves dead at the hands of him. The stories and rumors were endless, even longer than his murder list, or so they seemed. Padmé had assumed that all eyes would be on the Emperor tonight, but after knowing of the special guest, she knew that she was wrong.

While the room remained in a state of unmoving shock, Mon Mothma broke through the crowd in front of them, nearly sprinting in their direction. "Did you know he was coming?" Mon Mothma hissed, a look of terror on her face as she approached the two senators.

Bail said nothing, not even physically responding to Mon's reappearance. He continued to look forward motionlessly, too horrified, or lost in thought, due to the Sith's appearance. His lack of direct response was enough to know his answer, although eventually he managed to shake his head side to side, making her aware that he had heard her, and just like the rest of the room, had had no idea.

"I thought there were reports of his presence on Jakku?" Mon pressed, her voice angry and still unable to believe the words that had echoed into her ears. "Didn't he just take out a legion of our troops there yesterday?"

"He did," Bail replied lowly. "And an entire squadron as well."

"Then he can't be here," Padmé reasoned, the factors adding up to equal the impossible. They had even been briefed with the knowledge that Lord Vader would be nowhere near Coruscant at the time of the party. He couldn't be. "It has to be a mistake."

"It has to be," Mon actually agreed. "Perhaps it could be a decoy? You heard what the council said. Vader has been hunting us nonstop for the past year. It– He–" She took a deep breath, trying to reason. "He just took out another large part of our forces. He wouldn't stop his hunt to attend this party, not when he was so close. He wouldn't give up his hunt that quickly."

"He wouldn't," Bail also agreed, before his eyes turned seriously to the women before him, his voice changing to a deathly tone. "Unless his hunt has only changed destinations." His eyes moved over them again before scanning the room and falling on the other senators– members and leaders of the Rebellion. "Unless he knew where to find his next prey."

"Sith," Mon whispered, following Bail's train of through, her eyes moving back towards the sea of people that she knew surrounded the Dark Lord. "I've only seen him from a distance," she continued lowly, unable to hide the fear within her voice. "During one or two Senate meetings that the Emperor had him attend, but that was close enough for me." She looked back towards her peers, her eyes scanning their faces. "Have either of you ever seen him?"

"I've met him a few times," Bail replied emotionlessly, his face unreadable.

"I– I haven't," Padmé whispered, unable to hide the fear that was evident in her voice. It was true, she never had the pleasure of meeting or even seeing the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. She had been denied that particular pleasure, and although it was one pleasure she was happy to accept, it still reminded her of the reasons of why she had never seen him, because they had always found every excuse to keep her away from the Senate. "But I have seen him on the Holonet news reports," she offered weakly, the false confidence in her voice extremely unconvincing.

Mon growled annoyed, but obviously scared. "I told you this was a bad idea!" she hissed to Bail. "Especially if the rumors are true!"

Bail remained frozen in place, his view forward, as he waited for the two Sith Lords to come into view. "They are true," he stated lowly, still void of emotion. "Very, very true."

"Kriff!" Mon cursed, her eyes going back to look in the direction of the crowd– to the hidden Sith. "We are done for!"

"What?" Padmé questioned, fear now apparent on her face. She understood being scared, but to actually consider their immediate downfall? She could feel her heart beating rapidly with her chest as she looked back and forth between the two elder senators, seeing their frightful reactions because of the Sith. She had never seen such experienced senators show such fear before, and now that she had, it frightened her.

"He is supposed to have incredible powers. Even more extensive and powerful than that of the Jedi," Mon Mothma hissed in response, her face turning to Padmé. "It is said that he can read minds."

"What?" Padmé practically choked, her eyes nearly budging out of her head at the unforeseen information. "That isn't possible. Is it?"

"Apparently it is," Bail answered, his voice suddenly cold. "I've seen him do it."

Padmé's head spun with the outpouring of the new information. Vader could read minds? He could read minds! The very idea of the ability sent shivers down to her very core, chilling her to the bone. She had assumed, to her alarm, that Vader was more powerful than the Jedi, due to his extermination of them all, but not even she thought it was possible to have such powers. How could they survive against power such as that? Even Padmé had to admit that even though she was able to wear her "political mask" like a second skin, it did not extend all the way to her mind. Why would it? Her mind was her personal property. It was her safe place. No one should be able to look within her mind besides her.

"What about his temper?" Mon questioned Bail, ignoring Padmé's reaction, as she pressed for needed information. "Does he have a temper like everyone says?"

Bail nodded, a lone droplet of sweat rolling off his forehead, finally turning to look at Mon Mothma for a moment. "I saw him kill a man just by lifting his finger," he whispered before pausing and turning back to wait for a view of the two men. "At the time, I didn't know why Vader had killed him. It had all happened so quickly, and from my knowledge at the time, without anything to provoke him. Of course, I questioned the Emperor about it later, because I believed Vader's actions were out of line, but he immediately disagreed. That's when Palpatine revealed to me that Vader did it all in good faith and justice; that the man had many sinister plans of the disruption of peace and that Vader had seen the plans within the man's mind." Bail released a painful and sad laugh, one that resonated from his chest and stayed within his throat. "The man– Senator Kortito had been one of the first to support and encourage the creation of the Rebellion. He wanted to be a leader like us, but Vader killed him before he could begin." He paused for a final time, his eyes almost glazing over as his thoughts continued. "Imagine if he found us now. Imagine what Vader would do."

Padmé choked back her fear, pushing it deep within her chest. Fear was not something they could afford, but it was hard not to be. "What does he look like?" she asked, wanting to picture the monster perfectly before she saw him, hoping it would help with the detainment of her fear. She had a picture of the Sith already in her mind, but it was blurry and lacked detail. Her vision going off of the images and videos that she had seen of Darth Vader on the HoloNet, but the issue was that those images were hardly images at all. There weren't many of them, and the ones that did exist, his face was always covered, and he was always silent, leaving almost everything up to imagination.

"Not much different from the holos of him, I'm afraid," Bail replied. "No one has ever seen his face." He sighed, pausing in thought, rubbing forming sweat from his forehead. "Truthfully, I'm not even entirely sure if he is human."

"Anyone that has seen his face is long gone," Mon added. "Killed by Vader himself, assumedly. Insights have told me that he could be a strange deformed creature from areas unknown, or possibly even a machine made by the Emperor himself to carry out his bidding."

"I would believe he was some sort of droid," Bail admitted, his voice sad. "I don't believe, nor do I want to believe, that a living being could commit the acts that Vader has."

A wave of anger filled Padmé's heart before she could stop it, hearing the blame turning towards Vader and away from the man she considered a monster– a man that she believed could commit as terrible acts as Darth Vader. After all, she had seen it. She was a victim of it.

"What about Palpatine?" Padmé asked, trying to remind her peers of the other monster in the room. "He should not be underestimated or forgotten. We know he is human and he is truly evil. From my point of view, Vader simply acts as his brutal military pawn."

"True," Bail agreed, understanding Padmé's feelings, but obviously having his own. "But Palpatine is not like Darth Vader. Just as you said, Palpatine only commands the acts, but Vader is the one who enforces them. So as evil as the old man is, he still shows his humanity enough, more so than Darth Vader."

Padmé fought back the lump in her throat, feeling the pain of what Palpatine had done to her. Two years might have passed, but the pain– the humiliation remained the same. "I disagree," she growled, the memory burning in her mind. "He shows no humanity."

Bail only nodded with understanding, but did not agree. "Well," he breathed. "Regardless of our opinions, at least Vader isn't a liar like Palpatine. I'll give him that."

Mon nodded, bobbing her head up and down in agreement. "Yes, but then again Vader isn't a politician."

"What do you mean?" Padmé frowned, her face conveying her utter confusion and hardly hidden anger. "I don't understand."

It made no sense to her. First they were criticizing the Sith Lord, and now they were praising him? What did they mean? The Emperor was the one who was a monster, a madman, and as Bail had mentioned, a liar. She knew that from experience and she hated him for it. To her, in a way, no one could ever be worse than Palpatine, not even the monstrous, Darth Vader. But even she had to admit, that if the rumors were true about Darth Vader– about his slaughters and abilities, then Vader had to be the most terrifying monster of them all, and an unredeemable one at that. She had understood until that point– until the point where the two senators had complimented Vader over Palpatine. Which in return, left her with the question: who was worse?

Bail turned to the young senator, again understanding her confusion. "Don't think we are complimenting him," he said, putting his hand on her shoulder before letting out a sigh. "Vader is a monster, just as much, or even more so than Palpatine. We are just trying to say that Vader doesn't hide how he feels like Palpatine does. If you say something to Palpatine, make a proposal or a compliant, he will act like a– well, a politician. His technique is much more secret and conniving than Vader. Palpatine will act as if he agrees until you leave his presence and only then he will command someone, most likely Vader, to take care of you. Darth Vader on the other hand, does the opposite. If he doesn't like you or what you are saying, he will tell you or kill you on the spot, not wait till later."

Padmé's paled, her breath catching in her throat. And he considered that better? How was that any better? If Vader killed on the spot, than that meant he was a man– No, a machine of action. It meant that he was not only not a politician, but also not sensible, and in return, not a being of reason. It was his way or no way at all, no reasoning, and no negotiation. But deep down, was Palpatine any different?

She knew the answer to that question, for she had been at the warfront of Palpatine's lies far before anyone else– far longer than anyone else. She knew his corrupt and sinister ways. She knew the game he was playing, and although it seemed that Palpatine could now pull a fast one on the other senators, he would not fool her again. She would rather deal with someone who was honest like Vader, than a liar like Palpatine any day.

Breathing in some sanity, Padmé looked towards the crowd. "So Vader is just brutally honest."

Bail let out a small chuckle at her comment. "More like deathly honest."

"You know what this means," Mon sighed, paying no attention and interrupting their exchange. "Don't you?"

"What?" Padmé and Bail asked in unison, their gazes turning toward the redhead.

"That the Emperor is growing tired," Mon replied bitterly, crossing her arms and looking out into the crowd with a sickening glare. "He didn't even bother sending spies, because they take too long. That's why he brought Darth Vader instead, because he can walk through this room without even questioning us and still know what we stand for."

"I agree," Bail nodded, his face remaining strong, although his voice seemed the shiver. "The Emperor wouldn't bring Vader into the public eye without a good reason. He likes to hide him, make him an invisible fear. To reveal him like this does not fit his character."

"Not to mention," Padmé breathed, trying to sound professional. "As you pointed out, it doesn't make sense for Palpatine to pull Vader away from his hunt when he was making such progress. Not unless he knows we are here."

"He's giving the people something more to fear," Mon added, her voice not hiding her anger. "Not just us, but the galaxy. If people know Vader is a real threat, they will not join our cause. They will be too terrified."

Padmé frowned, although she knew that Mon was right. It was a problem they had faced before because of the Sith. People fearing for their lives or too frightened to fight because of him. Some simply had the sort of mentality of "it wasn't a problem if you don't look up," but even then, Vader had always been a hidden threat, to everything and everyone, a whisper within the darkness, and not a being to be seen constantly throughout the universe. If he was being revealed, just as Bail had said, Palpatine had to have a good reason: his reason being, as Padmé had said, the Rebellion members within the room. Still, they had to have hope. They still had a chance, and Padmé fully believed that.

"We have to stay hopeful," Padmé pressed, her voice strong with her confidence. "We still have a chance!"

Bail nodded at her statement. "We shall put up mental walls," Bail instructed, his voice full of authority and hope as he agreed with the woman beside her. "Vader will not get any information out of us! The people will have nothing to fear!" He motioned for Mon to go across the room, to the spot where another group of Rebellion members had gathered. Go!" he commanded. "Spread the word! Hurry!"

"I hope this works," Mon nodded, before she walked away, whispering under her breath. "Or we will all be dead…"

As the senator disappeared into the crowd, Padmé turned back to Bail, her eyes conveying the fear she felt bubbling within her belly. "So Vader doesn't talk?" she asked, her concern obvious. "He won't even question us? He will just read our minds and judge for himself?"

Bail shook his head, trying to control his emotions that were becoming visible on his face. "I'm not sure," he answered honestly. "But Vader does talk. Not often, but when he needs to."

Padmé could see that Bail was lost in a memory; a memory that the man had obviously tried to forget, but had burned into his mind. The visible emotions that showed on his face told Padmé that Darth Vader's voice was not something that she wanted to hear, and if she did, she wouldn't soon forget it.

"Is it that terrifying?"

Her question brought Bail back to reality as looked down at her, giving her an encouraging smile through his sad eyes. "It's just… not something you forget," he explained, before his hand came to her shoulder and gripping it tightly. "I have faith in you, Padmé. I always have, but have faith in yourself. You will be fine. Like I said before, he hardly talks–"

"Unless he has to." Padmé said, finishing his sentence with a smile.

"Exactly," Bail nodded, before eyeing her cautiously. "Or if his anger provokes him." His words hit Padmé like a ton of bricks and his hand instantly tightened around her shoulder before she could truly react. "Padmé, there is no need to worry," he said in encouragement. "This is what the Emperor wants. He wants us to be scared. Vader is here as a threat, as a way to show the Emperor's power, but that is it. I have been in countless meetings with the Emperor while Vader stood by his side. He has hardly ever spoken. He is just the protector and the intimidating force within the room, nothing more. This is no different than any of those meetings, there is no reason for him to speak, and we will not give him a reason to suspect us."

Padme nodded, feeling a small amount of relief, hoping that his statement was true. She tried to keep her fear in check, but looking around at everyone's reactions, could see how much more the people– even Imperial supporters– feared the unseen Sith Lord more than the Emperor himself. It was a fact that she could hardly comprehend. Not because of the fear itself, but because of the entire situation. If it was true, and Vader was worse than Palpatine, than perhaps, she had misjudged due to her hatred. Perhaps, she did want to deal with Palpatine, and did not want anything to do with the Emperor's right-hand. The thought of him questioning her, looking through her mind, or even speaking to her made chills run up her spine and her hair to stick up on her arms. It terrified her.

Maybe Mon Mothma was right, she thought to herself. I wasn't prepared for this.

Her heart stopped within her chest as the Emperor finally came into view, the old man walking very slowly as he gave nods to the important personnel that he passed. Padmé, as well as everyone else, knew that this gesture was just for show and that the man had no real respect for anything or anyone beside himself. He sat on a throne of lies, deception, and death, only caring about himself and his power. Still, the men and women showed him respect, and as Palpatine continued his slow walk, another figure finally stepped into her view, a figure that was tall and black-cloaked, and slowly following the older man's unhurried gait.

Darth Vader, Padmé thought, recognizing the black robes and massive structure.

The room went cold from his presence as people looked away, not wanting to see the face of Death himself; but unlike the others in the room, Padmé could not look away. She wanted to learn– she wanted to see for herself what this man, if he was in fact a man, was. She watched intently as the Emperor and Vader walked around the room, taking note of every detail. Darth Vader wore his usual attire: jet-black robes that hid every part of his body, while Palpatine wore traditional black robes; the ones he always wore to parties that celebrated his Empire. Still, regardless of the darkness of the robes, the two men were far from similar.

Darth Vader was much larger, broader, and taller than Palpatine, as well as most– if not all of the people in the room. The next difference was that Palpatine's hood revealed his white, pasty face, while Vader's went farther other his face, if he had a face to show, creating a deeper hole and revealing nothing but darkness underneath. Padmé tried numerous times to catch a glimpse of his face as he walked, but the man moved with precaution; making sure that his face could not be seen. His body was her next inspection, her eyes moving over his form, looking for any sign of skin. She found none, as Vader's entire body was covered in black robes, even having black gloves surrounding his hands. Looking closer, Padmé could see the black tunic that he wore underneath the black cloak, as well as his weapon dangling from his waist: a lightsaber. A weapon that was once used to bring hope to the Republic and its people, but now only brought darkness… but that was what Darth Vader was, darkness.

If it were a different time, a time of the Old Republic, the sight of Vader might have been confused with a hero, a Jedi, but not anymore. Vader was no Jedi, and he was definitely no hero. He was a Sith Lord, and the black robes that he wore reminded everyone of that. There were no Jedi in the galaxy anymore, only the Sith. There was no Republic, only the Empire. Vader had made sure of that fact two years ago, destroying the Jedi and all that was left of them when he emerged from the darkness. He had taken everything, destroyed their way of life… and it was her fault.

It's my fault.

As Padmé continued her self-loathing and inspection of the Sith, the party continued as scheduled, everyone getting over the shock of the surprise guest and deciding to continue their celebration. It took some time, but the people even began to stop avoiding him as if he was the plague and instead, just accepted his presence. Of course everyone continued to keep their eyes on him, but Vader surprised them all, behaving extremely well and nothing like the stories that were told about him. He walked silently behind the Emperor, occasionally pausing to put his hands behind his back or on his belt while the Emperor talked to someone of importance. Bail, Padmé, Mon, and the other senators of the Rebellion knew this was all a lie as well– a facade. Although it seemed that Vader was only the bodyguard, they knew that Darth Vader was on a hunt for them, and the good behavior was only a show for the press– a way to show that these two men were respectable and the Empire was indeed, a good thing.

The night crept by slowly, and after three hours into the party, Padmé sighed in relief, as it was near the end of the dreadful celebration and thankfully, the Emperor and Darth Vader still had not showed any interest in her. Even more wonderfully, the two had not even neared her at all during the entire night. Which both, soothed her nerves, and had given her the opportunity to watch and learn. She had watched them throughout the night– watched how Vader struck fear into every soul that he neared, and how Palpatine would smile in response, knowing that the people feared him and his apprentice. She also noticed that although Vader was huge and terrifying, he was nothing like the reports or rumors she had heard. Unlike the monstrous beast the reports made him out to be, Vader was acting like a complete, dare she say, gentleman the entire length of the party. It made Padmé question the rumors about Darth Vader. How could they be true? Was it possible that the stories were just that, stories someone made up to create fear like a child's bedtime story?

"Are you alright, Padmé?" Bail asked upon seeing the frown come across her features, her emotions sneaking onto her face.

Padmé nodded as she shook away her thoughts. "Yes…" she breathed. "I'm afraid I was lost in thought."

"Oh?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "About what?"

Padme's frown deepened, feeling even more confused. "He's just…" Padmé whispered, almost laughing at herself. "He just doesn't seem like a monster. He looks like one, but this isn't how I expected Vader to be at all." She took a moment to think her words through, before deciding on something simple. "He is acting so civilized," she decided upon. "It's just not what I expected."

Bail nodded, understanding her comment in response from the show that she had been seeing all night. "Vader is on his best behavior," Bail commented. "But don't underestimate him, Padmé. He is very dangerous and very powerful. Palpatine probably commanded him to act like this. They want to fool people, confuse them, and have them lower their guard. You said it yourself; they aren't to be underestimated. Vader doesn't seem like a monster, but he is. I promise you that." He looked down at her, hoping his words had helped, but could still see the questions fresh in her mind. Taking a deep breath, he continued, hoping to shed some light. "Padmé?" he asked. "You've been to previous parties for the Empire, correct?"

"You mean official parties?"

"Yes."

Padmé shook her head, for some reason, she had purposely missed the last one– and the time before that, and the time before that. This was also her first, and hopefully last time, attending the annual anniversary party for the creation of the Empire, missing the first year for the reason of being the guest of honor.

"Well," he responded, a strange emotion passing within his eyes, before completely responding. "Then you and Vader have something in common, because as you know, like yourself, Vader is never an attendee at such things. Although he does on occasion, or so I am told, make a habit of going to some of the military galas. "

Padmé frowned, not liking the fact of having anything similar to Vader, as well as failing to see her friend's point. "What's your point, Bail?"

He shrugged, almost as if not knowing the meaning of his own words. "I suppose," he began slowly–unsurely. "I mean to make a point that Vader is on Coruscant very often, and yet no one ever sees him, not even at official events, which is somewhat strange for a man with his ranking." He paused, gesturing around them and to the buildings outside. "He has an Imperial base here, and from my understanding, when not on missions, he has daily visits with Palpatine."

"Daily?" Padmé frowned, the question within her voice knowing that Palpatine nearly lived within the Senate building– the building that she too nearly lived in, until recently anyways. "I've never seen him?"

"Exactly my point," Bail answered. "No one ever does unless Palpatine wills it. Unless Palpatine needs him for some sort of intimidation factor."

"You've seen him," Padmé challenged.

"I have," he agreed without hesitation. "But I needed to be intimidated because I was a threat. And," he added quickly. "I also said I have seen a glimpse into his true nature." He looked around the room quickly, before looking back at her, his face tense. "There was a reason Vader appeared at the creation of the Empire, and then has hardly been seen since. You yourself have heard the rumors and the reports. Vader is a mad dog. He is incapable of being in the public's eyes, which works in Palpatine's favor. Plus, I think Vader likes it that way anyways, causing fear from the shadows.""

"But you said he was here often," Padmé questioned once more, still confused about her friend's words. "How can that be true?"

"Vader has been busy tracking us down," Bail agreed. "But something tells me that Palpatine likes to keep Vader close. Hidden, but close."

Padmé nodded, feeling foolish for saying her mind and for still not understanding. It made her feel weak and stupid– like the child her peers thought she was. Not only was she being anything but professional, but she was also being fooled by Vader's act, just like many idiots in the room. Of course everyone still feared him, but his behavior made them question things, made them second-guess themselves, made them lower their defenses, and most importantly made them allow him inside.

"He hasn't acknowledged anything or anyone all night," Padmé commented, her eyes moving back to the Sith that stood behind his master. "It's like he is walking in an empty room."

"He is trained very well," Bail explained. "Just because it looks as if he isn't paying attention doesn't mean he isn't. He has probably looked into your mind countless times by now."

Padmé quivered at the thought. It seemed strange to her that a man– a monster that hadn't even acknowledged her existence had already seen into her mind. She was confident that she had the information well hidden, but if he hadn't seen that within her mind, what else had he seen? What had he seen within the other's minds? He couldn't have found any information if he was still walking around unaffected… Right?

She watched him once more, watched as he shadowed behind the smaller man, looking very much like a dark, ancient protector, or like the Shadow of Death coming upon a not expecting man. She watched his nearly inhuman actions and lack of responses. The power he had over everyone in the room. The power that was not shown, but whispered in his every stride, his every moment, his very existence in the room. He seemed almost inconceivable, just like in the rumors and the HoloNet reports, only this time; he was standing before their very eyes.

Unable to stop herself, she sighed, speaking her mind again. "He doesn't even seem real," she stated, lost in her thoughts. "I could hardly imagine him before, and now that I see him, I can hardly comprehend it. He just seems so mythical. So… inhuman."

"Oh, I understand, and that very fact is why so many people believe he is only a machine," Bail quipped before he laughed humorlessly. "I thought the idea was ridiculous until after I met him." He shook his head, returning her gaze. "Now, I question everything about him. He isn't just intimidating. He is something that you just cannot comprehend. His very presence is unimaginable. He is very impassive, lacking feelings, or emotion for that matter– besides anger. Besides his show of anger, he is very inhuman, and–."

"Ahhh…" an older voice cracked. "Senator Organa."

Both senators paused at the sound of the elder voice, turning towards the pair who approached them. Immediately, Bail regained himself as he faked a smile and bowed his head in false respect. "Emperor Palpatine, an honor."

Ignoring Bail's comment, the Emperor turned to stare at Padmé, a large, sickening smile on his face. "And," he breathed. "Senator Amidala."

Padmé followed Bail's lead, forcing her sickness because of his closeness deep down, before faking a smile as she bowed. "Your Majesty."

"It is so good to see you," he continued, forcing the conversation onwards despite Padmé's obvious disinterest, and known bitterness. "It has been sometime since I have been able to speak to you outside the walls of the Senate. I always do enjoy speaking with someone from home– especially someone like yourself who has been so monumental to the endeavors of my career."

"I feel exactly the same," she replied, the words burning her lips as she tried to control her anger she knew he was trying to flare. "I do apologize for my lack of socialization. I'm afraid I have been quite busy."

His smile disappeared, but he cackled a laugh, his eyes turning dark. "I have no doubt." He turned then, to the Sith behind him. "Vader," he called upon the motionless Sith, causing both Bail and Padmé to pale. "Were you aware of Senator Amidala's importance in my rise to power? That without her, nether of us would be in the position we are today?"

She ignored the fire that was burning through her body at the harsh reminder, using the opportunity to forget about the Emperor, and turn her attention to the huge darkness standing behind the older man. Vader didn't respond to Palpatine's comment, but still her heart began to beat quicker and harder against her chest as she finally realized she was in the presence of the monstrous, Ghost of the Empire, Darth Vader. He didn't acknowledge them, as expected, only remaining still, almost lurking, silent as a dead man. His closeness made her breath hitch, for the first time truly taking in how massive he actually was and feeling first hand the true strength of the darkness that surrounded him. Silently, but curiously, she looked to his face, seeing nothing but darkness under the black hood, but instead of terror, she felt some other emotion pass through her veins– a warmness even, and although she knew she shouldn't, she spoke to him.

"Lord Vader," she said respectively, her voice surprisingly smooth as she bowed her head. "I believe I've been denied the pleasure. It's an honor."

She didn't expect him to respond, and even further more didn't understand why she had even greeted him. The strange feeling coming and passing before she could even explain it. It had surprised her, but even more so when Vader actually responded.

After her comment, Darth Vader moved for the first time during the entire night, his head rising as if in surprise– or possibly out of complete bewilderment. It was an automatic response, that she could tell. She had said his name and he had responded to it. She could only guess that it was just a matter that he hadn't expected her greeting, not receiving an acknowledgment the entire night, compared to the others who feared and dreaded his presence, but had not acknowledged him directly. His head dropped almost instantaneously, the incident only lasting a half of second, and everyone around missing it– everyone except Padmé. A second was all she needed. In that quick second, Vader had moved his head and Padmé hadn't missed it… Unlike the conversation that was unfolding between Emperor Palpatine and Senator Bail Organa.

"…. of course, we will both keep our ears open for you, my Lord." Bail finished, bowing slightly to the Emperor, ending a conversation that Padmé had completely missed.

Realizing she missed an entire conversation with the Emperor made her heart drop. If she had missed an entire conversation, how long had she been watching Vader? No. How long had she been staring at Darth Vader? And more importantly, had anyone noticed? Looking around, thankfully, it didn't seem so.

"You are in our deepest thanks," Emperor Palpatine responded with a false look of sincerity. "It is always a pleasure, Senator Organa." He paused, looking towards Padmé with a wicked smile. "Senator Amidala."

The Emperor slowly turned and began to walk away, Vader closely in tow. It was a pleasant sight, and even more pleasant knowing that the conversation was over. Silently, she thanked her lucky stars that she had made it through the small meeting between the Emperor and Vader, not that she was mentally there for most of it. Still, she rejoiced. It seemed the night was going to end without a single person getting hurt…

Or so it seemed.

The thought came far too soon, causing an absolute jinx, as everyone shared the same thought of being safe from Vader's wrath, a young man, probably in his early thirties, who had too much to drink, stumbled into the Dark Lord. He had been laughing and too intoxicated to realize the direction he was going until it was too late, colliding into the Sith's back and resulting in the spilling of his glass of dark wine down the Dark Lord's black cloak. As it occurred, the whole room froze, music falling silent, gasps echoing through the air, as their eyes widened at the scene. Palpatine paused just barely throwing a glance over his shoulder, and Vader remained still for a long moment, the anticipation choking everyone in the room until he slowly turned to face the man.

Realizing whom he had bumped into, the man took a quick and large step back; even in his drunken state knowing that he was looking death in the face. "L– Lord Vader, I a–am terribly sorry," he mumbled, bowing his head drunkenly. "I didn't mean… I didn't see… I–"

"Are you blind? Or just as unintelligent as you appear?" Vader's voice growled.

The sound of his menacing voice roared throughout the room and would have caused every guest to hush, if they wouldn't have already been silent. Every pair of eyes moved to the Sith, memorized by fear, waiting for Vader's next move, knowing that if any the stories were true, the young man would not see another light of day.

"N–no! I mean yes," the drunken man stumbled confused and frightened. "I didn't mean to– I'm– I'm sorry. You just were in my–"

"Now you're blaming me?" Vader hissed, stepping closer to the man, who had to look up at the Sith to accommodate for Vader's tall structure that towered over him.

"No, no, no!" the man exclaimed swinging his arms and dropping more wine onto Vader's already wet and stained cloak.

Abruptly, Vader's gloved hand clamped down onto the man's neck, before effortlessly raising the man into the air, the act looking very much like a trick of the eye, the man looking as light as a feather in Vader's tight grasp. The man remained held into the air, his feet dangling above the ground as his airway constricted and he gasped for air, clawing at Vader's gloved hand in an attempt to free himself. The sight made Vader laugh, filling the room with his dark chuckle as the room watched on helplessly.

"You seem hung up," Vader whispered as he tightened his grasp on the man's neck, hearing his innards begin to buckle under the pressure. "Perhaps, I should relieve it."

"No…Pl–Please…" the man tried to beg, slowly falling into an unconsciousness state.

Vader was amused with the man's pain, and everyone could feel it. He enjoyed making the man suffer, enjoyed taking away his life. It was easy as–

"Stop!" Padmé screamed, not being able to take the sight any longer. She didn't care that everyone else remained silent. She would not stand around silently as she watched a man get murdered before her eyes. She was a senator! She was supposed to be the one to protect the people– to stop crimes like this!

Vader's head snapped towards her after her interruption, but he said nothing. It was obvious that without even seeing his eyes, she could tell– feel that he was glaring at her, not to mention the other hundred people in the room that shared his look, only in shock. It was almost enough to make her step back into line. Almost. But she stuck to her guns and took a deep breath, knowing there was no turning back. She stepped forward into the empty circle that had been created around Vader, and felt Bail move behind her, grabbing onto her hand tightly, either out of fear or support. She didn't know which, but she didn't want to know, only knowing it was too late to stop. Her stance had been made, and her eyes were already Vader's prisoners, locked and transfixed upon him. She looked into the hood, at the blackness concealing his face, with no fear in her eyes– with no way back.

"Please," she whispered, almost mournfully. "Lord Vader, please put the man down."

Vader's head remained turned in her direction, and although his body did not move, his hand tightened, as if in retaliation, the man gasping once more.

She realized that begging would get her nowhere, but she didn't know if anything would. She decided to fight on, catching the eyes of Palpatine staring at her with a smile on his pale features. The sight causing the flame to be relighted within her soul, knowing she could not submit.

"Lord Vader!" she commanded, her voice now strong and confident; sounding like a true leader. "This is no battlefield. This is a celebration for the Empire, which this man is obviously a guest of, and as a member of the Imperial Senate, I must say your actions are simply appalling. So I shall not say this again, put him down now!"

She heard people snicker around her, laughing at her attempt to stop Vader. She knew they thought it was hopeless to beg, and even more foolish to command, for he was the second most powerful man in the galaxy and a killing machine, so why would he be persuaded by a simple young girl? She didn't know if he would, but in the moment she had to try. She had tried. She had stood up for what she believed in, unlike the others that remained silent in the room, and she was proud. She was proud of herself for what she had done. She was proud.. until she looked around the room. Her triumph had lasted no longer than thirty seconds, before she looked around the room and realized the amount of embarrassment she had caused to herself– again. She could feel the elder senator's stares, their undermining feelings, as well as Palpatine's delight, catching a glimpse of his widening smile. Her confidence shattered there once again, realizing yet another mistake that would again cost her, her reputation.

A small final "please..." escaped from her lips as she closed her eyes, a desperate and broken plea. She decided not to watch; unable to see another one of her good-hearted attempts gone wrong.

"Idiot girl..." she heard Mon's voice break through the whispers, putting the final nail in her already lowering coffin.

Why did I do that? Padmé wondered painfully to herself, her questions and self loathing fueling together. Why do I do this to myself? Why am I such a fool? Why do I act like the child they want me to be? Vader would never–

A loud plump echoed through the room, followed by a large series of gasps that caused Padmé to open her eyes. Confused, she looked towards the people, then to the Sith Lord, and then to the floor– or more specifically, towards the shocked eyes of the people, then to the empty grasp of the Sith Lord, then to the man that lay upon the floor. Her eyes widened at the sight before her, at what Vader had done, because he had done the unthinkable. He had let the man go. The man was no longer in Vader's grip, but lying practically unharmed, breathing heavily across the floor.

Could it be true? Padmé's shocked filled eyes moved towards the Sith Lord, who stood unmoving, looking down at his spared prey. Did he listen to me?

His head snapped toward her instantly after her thoughts, as if she had said something that offended him. She could feel the coldness and death in his hidden glare– the glare that was only on her– and for a moment she felt the ghost of a hand brush against her neck.

Her eyes widened at his action, widened in shock, as she was forced to return his hidden gaze. It was only then that she realized that she had offended him, because to him she had spoken her thoughts. He had heard her, or so that was her only explanation.

Did he hear me? her mind asked, unable to contain the forthcoming thought.

A low growl sounded from his chest as he raised his hand, grabbing an invisible object and throwing it across the room. That was until, to everyone's alarm, the object turned out not to be invisible, but the drunken man. Padmé, as well as everyone else's eyes widened as they watched the drunken man rise into the air and fly across the room, mimicking Vader's action. The drunken man hit the wall with a loud thud before falling to the floor where he laid motionless, and assumedly lifeless. Padmé's eyes flew between the Sith and the body, watching as a few women and men ran for cover in fear that they would be his next target. Vader, however, had no plans of staying. He turned and stormed out of the room without another word, his black cloak flowing behind him victoriously as he exited the party.

Emperor Palpatine, unlike the others, did not react to the scene that had just unfolded in front of him. He merely shrugged it off, before walking towards the exit, smiling happily at what Vader had done and making Padmé sick. When he reached the doorway, he turned back to the people inside, the people that were still shocked and startled because of the scene they had just witnessed. His eyes dwindled on Padmé for a second longer than the rest.

"I must be off," Palpatine called as his red guards flocked to his side. "It seems Vader has had enough of this party as have I, and I must say, I think it would be wise for you all not to upset him again." The old man smiled one final time, taking in the flourishing fear inside the ballroom, before he turned and exited out of the room.

As he disappeared, Padmé released a breath she didn't know she was holding and she turned, avoiding the gaze of every being in the room.


Vader was furious. No, beyond that. He was seething. Never in his life had he ever been forced to deal so long with such imbeciles and simpletons. It was outrageous! He would take the sanctuary of a battlefield to the tortures of a civilized social function any day. To endure the torture of so many brainless, moronic, and down right traitorous minds at once. It was almost agony, if not have been for the pleasure of knowing what was to come next. If Vader had his way, the entire room would be on grounds for extermination and the Empire would finally start a new. Even those who considered themselves loyalists to the Empire, and there for, in their minds, safe from his wrath, were sadly mistaken. In Vader's mind, they were scum, just like all the rest.

He had fought to keep it together all night, acting his perfect part in his master's scheme, and although Vader himself had had doubts about his presence during the night, he found himself somewhat surprised when the night had finally come to an end. Those in attendance were fools, to be sure, but it was easy to forgot about the passing of time or even other matters of his mind when he was busy navigating their punish minds. He usually passed time in that way, completely and utterly dedicated to his mission at hand. This one had been no different.

That was, until one tiny slip on his part. Vader nearly growled in annoyance, the hot taste of failure on his tongue. In his defense, it had come at the end of the night, after he had grown tired of simply playing a part as his master's composed right hand and digging through the minds of those he had already condemned. The man in question had annoyed Vader more than once during the night with his piercing lustful thoughts. The loud ideas which screamed so loud that even Vader had a hard time to ignore. On more than one occasion did Vader consider ending the man throughout the night. It would have been almost too easy, to kill the man while Vader looked in another direction. Surely none of those imbeciles would have expected him while he remained on the opposite side of the room with his back to the scene. It could have even been amusing. To have the man accidentally fall onto a sharp object, to cause the wine to stick in his throat. Not even the best medical physician would be able to tell the difference between an act of his power and an accident, not even the witnesses either.

But that's not what had happened, because instead, Vader had opted to obey his master's wishes until that man had decided to literally test Vader's last nerve. His hand curled at his sides, remembering the feeling of the man's neck crunching within his grasp. How easy it would have been to crack his windpipe, to break the bones, to end his life. He wish he would have. He wished he would have killed him and that ridiculous young senator as well– Amidala. Such a fool as well.

Her kindness ran deeper than the rest, a purity that was absent in the others, and although he conceded to that making her a somewhat less despicable politician, at least more so than most, it made her even more of a fool. He hadn't even needed to look in her mind to know her hated for the Empire, and thus making her guilty by fault to the sympathy of the Rebellion before his investigation had even begun. He and his master knew she was associated for months now and although he hadn't seen her personally, he remembered her face in his master's mind well. His master had a complicated thought process involving the girl, to say the least, despising the girl while also holding her in the upmost importance. Most often or not, he'd think his master even obsessed with the young senator, though in ways he had yet to explain.

Seeing her for the first time tonight in the flesh, made Vader question his master's long-lived obsession, for he did not see the point. She was young and attractive, as nearly every male species in the room had dubbed her, but again, Vader hardly cared. She may have had physical attributes to her advantage, which he was sure she put to use as many of the other corrupts, but what was her point beyond that? What did she have that his master saw? He couldn't understand it. This was the girl that his master had held in such high esteem? This is the one that had the upmost importance? This is the one who Sidious hated beyond anything else, and yet continued to bedevil in his mind? Vader couldn't help but wonder, after all, hadn't the girl served her purpose? Like his master said, hadn't she gotten him to power? Was her job not complete?

Unless, his master favored her as well, which all in all didn't seem too absurd. His master did usually like to pick younger women that would be disgusted by the act. The ones that he could not only find physical release, but find pleasure in their horror as well. Vader imagined from her thoughts of the Empire, and her hatred for the Emperor as well, that she would surely be one for consideration. But Vader pushed the thought away, suddenly feeling nauseous following that particular train of thought to conclusion. This one was too kind for his master's liking anyways, he concluded. She had been even kind enough to even greet him during the evening, which was a surprise to be sure, but an annoyance as well. Although, not as much as of an annoyance as her trying to order him.

The thought angered him and the nearest paintings on the wall began to rattle. How dare she try to command him. How dare she think she so paramount that he would ever listen to her. She was just like that idiot of a man. Thinking he so above it all that he could act so recklessly without any reverberations from the Sith. Yes, he wish he could have ended them both, but he knew their torture would come in time. If he would have acted at the party, he knew that his master would have discouraged the task. After all, his master had wanted fear, not panic. Panic would come tomorrow.

His master would surely be indignant, though, displeased with his actions, but as Vader reached out in the Force he felt only pleasure. It was a relief to sense that his master was pleased and not irate, and that already calmed some Vader's mood, but just barely. Vader was still angry at himself, his anger rolling off of him like waves. It matter not that his master was pleased with the fear he had created, the panic that flourishing inside the ballroom. He could not find peace. He sensed the old man as he walked slowly through the halls, his thoughts clear. He was pleased with what Lord Vader had done. Yes, Vader had done exactly what he had wanted: he created fear and hopefully found him answers.

Vader wasted no time joining his master and entering into a dark hall, Darth Sidious smiled as a familiar presence joined his side. "Ah," he mused without turning to look. "Lord Vader, there you are."

"Yes, my apologies, master," Vader replied darkly, taking his rightful place at his master's side with a slightly darker, but calmer mood.

"For what, my young apprentice?"

"For my actions against that man," Vader snarled, his mind recalling the idiot that had ran into him– the fool that had set him off and made him fail his mission. He breathed in, trying to find relief, but found none. The smell of wine that was emerging from his cloak only made his anger worsen. "You told me to control myself. I failed you."

"No, that man was an idiot. He deserved what you gave him. He deserved far worse actually," the Emperor replied, for the first time looking the other man in the eyes. "Remember Lord Vader, your anger makes you strong. You showed them your power. You showed them why you are better than they are, and why they should fear you."

Vader nodded. "Yes, my master."

"Now," his master said, returning to the true subject. "Who are our suspects?"

"Everyone who you had suspected," Vader replied. "They were onto us the moment I stepped through the door. There is no doubt that they trained themselves to put up mental walls against powers such as mine."

"Trained by existing Jedi?" Sidious asked, sickened by the thought.

It sickened Vader as well. The younger Sith held in the growl that almost escaped his lips at the mention of the Jedi, the statement reminding him of his failure to wipe their existence completely from the galaxy. He had failed once, but he wouldn't again. It was only a matter of time before they were all dead, before they would be nothing more than a myth.

"Perhaps," he admitted, against his ego. "It is possible."

His master frowned. "So you did not get any information?"

The statement caused Vader to smile arrogantly. "Of course I did, my master. They were no match for me."

His master smiled, a true hideous and carnivorous smile. "Of course they aren't my young apprentice."

"Shall we act now?" Vader asked.

"Patience," Sidious commanded. "Patience." He took a few slow steps forward, his hands pointing towards the younger Sith. "My plan is clear. Tomorrow," he said. "Tomorrow we act."

Vader nodded. "Yes, my master."

The Emperor's evil laugh echoed through the Imperial Palace as his apprentice told him of the information he had received from the guests' minds. It was true, despite their precious hope, they had been no match for the young Sith. It would be far too easy to exterminate the Rebellion from the galaxy. It was only a matter of time, but soon… soon they would meet their end.


While the two Siths discussed their plans, a handful of senators and delegates remained in the Imperial Ballroom, long after the party had ended.

Those who stayed dared not to ask Padmé about her actions, but it didn't matter if they asked out loud or not, because Padmé knew what they thought of her. She knew that they thought that she had been young and foolish. Bail had told her that he had thought she had been brave, but Padmé knew that even inside of him there was a part that disagreed, that thought she had been foolish.

"Um–Agh," the drunken man stirred, his eyes flashing open as he breathed in a large gasp of breath. The air filled his lungs too quickly, crashing against his aching and almost crushed innards, sending him into a coughing rage. A young delegate held onto him as the coughs threw his body forward until the air finally filled his lungs.

Bail was the next to come to the man's assistance; knowing the younger man had sobered up, he leaned down next to the man, handing him a glass of water. "Glad to see you coming around," he said. "You're very lucky to be alive."

The man said nothing as he took the glass from Bail and sipped the drink in small chugs. The large bump on top of his head was visibly thumping, and Padmé silently questioned how much of the party he would remember or even if he would remember what she had done for him. She got her answer quickly, his eyes moving to her as he finished the glass. He breathed heavily, putting the empty glass down on the floor, before he turned to her and reached for her hand.

"I want to thank you for what you did," he whispered, a hotness in his throat. "You saved my life."

Padmé politely pulled her hand away, hearing his tone of voice, and knowing it well. "You're welcome…" she paused, not knowing his name.

"Clovis," he said, finishing the unknown part of her sentence. "Rush Clovis."

"You're welcome, Mr. Clovis," Padmé said, forcing a polite smile.

"Rush," he corrected quickly, too quickly. "Call me, Rush."

Padmé's smile faded, but she nodded again, hoping to please the man and be done. "You're welcome, Rush."

A feeling of awkwardness came over her as the man continued to stare at her. It seemed that no matter how much time had passed, he did not remove his eyes from her. It became so strange that she began to wonder if the man had not yet regained control of his mental faculties or thought maybe he was just a pervert looking at her body. Regardless of which, she was unable to stay under his gaze any further. Trying to act as normal as possible, she rose from the floor nodding to Rush.

"I'm glad you're feeling better. Nice to meet you," she said, before turning to her colleagues. "I'm afraid it is time for me to depart. I will see you all tomorrow."

The senators nodded their goodbyes to Padmé as her bodyguard came to her side and led her from the room, but she did not have to have eyes in the back of her head to know that Rush Clovis was still staring at her. It was something that should have made her feel uneasy, but in reality, hardly mattered to her at the moment. She cared not for Rush Clovis– or any other male for that matter. Her mind was too much of a buzz, filled with only one man, the mystery man at the party, the man she didn't even know if was a man at all: Darth Vader.

But her message was not so clear to Rush Clovis, because he smiled brightly as he watched the retreating senator, his eyes glued to every part of her body, admiring the way the dress laid perfect on every curve, amplified her bottom, and moved like skin as she walked away from him.

"Oh yes…" he purred delighted. "She will be mine."


Author's Note: Hope you liked it! Drop a review!