Darth Vader in the Past

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.

Notes 1: There seems to be some misconception about this story: When I say this fic is ending in so many Chapter, I mean that "Episode 1" is ending. I'm definitely making a sequel to this.

Note 2: Sorry for this being late, everyone. Had a lot of shit going on in RL: one of my baby nieces had to go back to the hospital for a week, but she's back now. Than I got sick for a little while, which wasn't fun. And finally, my bird died. Naturally found that depressing, but it was a pretty old bird by now.

Note 3: One happy delay I had was finally watching the Mandalorian. Fucking brilliant series and gave me a lot of material and ideas to work with.

Without further delay, on with the story!

It wasn't hard to find Vader after leaving the meeting with the council. Even without it trying to overtake the temple, the presence of the Dark Side was left in his wake. Which was how Qui-Gon came to be standing on one of the balconies of the Jedi Temple with the Sith Lord.

"Well, that was rather eventful," Qui-Gon stated, leaning his back against the railing, the night sky lit by the innumerable lights of Coruscant.

"It must be interesting for you, Jedi," Vader stated idly, his right arm resting on the ledge while running his left hand up and down the bottom half of the arm. "This world is your home twice over; you were born here, and you were trained as a Jedi here. Most cannot make such a claim."

"It was bound to happen a few times, with the world having a trillion souls upon it," Qui-Gon reminded, studying the Sith Lord's actions curiously as he felt tiny movements in the Force. "Please tell me you're not constructing a bomb in your arm."

Vader paused abruptly before glancing in Qui-Gon's direction. "I was about to scold you for taking after your Padawan, but I should congratulate you on giving me an idea."

"Oh, wonderful! Now I'm thinking too much like a Sith in trying to understand you," Qui-Gon stated with a mirthful chuckle, which quickly evaporated. "In all seriousness, what are you doing?"

"I am using the Force to fix some of the damage to my limbs," Vader answered bluntly.

"That would sound impressive if I wasn't sure it was just a patch job," Qui-Gon stated thoughtfully, giving the Sith an odd look. "I'm going to assume the contents of that sack were for your inevitable repairs?"

"Among other things," Vader admitted vaguely. "Now, how long are you going to dance around what you wish to say, Jinn?"

Qui-Gon nodded, both to himself and Vader, as he took on a contemplative scowl. "You're actually serious?"

"Do I come across as one for jokes, Jedi?" Vader questioned rhetorically.

"Well, for wanting to end this never-ending war you certainly have an interesting way of showing it. You knew coming here with the Dark Woman like that would provoke something," Qui-Gon accused neutrally.

"Yes, I did. It seemed the best way to make you all confront the fact that your order has a serious problem," Vader answered calmly.

"I thought you said we both needed to clean house?" Qui-Gon asked with a small smirk.

"My order's problems are well known and obvious to both sides, your order feels justified in your own," Vader countered without missing a beat. "All of which does not negate the simple fact that, even though I accurately predicted the Jedi making the wrong choice, it does not change the fact that it was indeed the wrong choice."

"I want to deny that, but it is rather difficult to argue against a small army of Jedi attacking a man for the aftermath of a wrong assumption. Especially when I scolded Obi-Wan for essentially the same thing after that display back on Tattoine," Qui-Gon recalled with a head shake.

"It is rather telling when so many of your order make the same mistake as your Padawan, on a larger scale," Vader commented, and Qui-Gon almost thought the Dark Lord was amused.

"So, is this peace then?" Qui-Gon asked with interest.

"By certain definitions. Most sapients take the notion of peace to equate to being allies, that our relationship is somewhat positive. My intent is that Sith and Jedi should be able to co-exist separately in a large galaxy without attempting genocide on one another simply because we are Jedi and Sith," Vader explained, raising his arm and flexing the fingers to test the cybernetics. "That should be sufficient."

"And what of the others in your Order? Will they be so eager for this peace, to co-exist?" Qui-Gon asked with a skeptical look.

"As I said, Jinn, we both need to clean house," Vader stated coldly.

Qui-Gon made the conscious decision to not lean away as the air grew cold around Vader again. "And how long do you expect this will last?"

"How long do you imagine your comrades can abstain from attempting to kill me, Jinn?" Vader countered, growing impatient. "And you continue to evade your true question."

Qui-Gon winced. He wasn't sure this was the best time for this discussion, but with how things were playing out, he had no idea if and when another chance might arrive. "You had a...conversation with Obi-Wan," he stated with a steady voice.

Vader didn't say a word for a moment, letting the meaning float in the air. "He possessed a question. I gave the answer, if only because I was impressed that he even thought to ask such a thing."

"Assuming I take that theory as truth, that there is a "Sith-Side" within the Dark Side," Qui-Gon allowed, looking up into the sky. Or rather, the Force. "That begs one question, Darth Vader."

"Yes, Master Jinn?" Vader returned in kind.

"Why choose to stay with the Dark Side?" Qui-Gon asked with furrowed brow.

"What are the grandmaster's teachings? That once one ventures down this path, the Dark Side rules them forever?" Vader asked rhetorically. Qui-Gon looked to him and almost swore he saw Vader's imposing form sag. "The answer is not something you can easily believe, Jedi."

"Try me," Qui-Gon said with a curious frown.

"You often compare the Dark Side to a drug; feeding one with a sensation that they dive deeper and deeper into to obtain that feeling again," Vader started off. "One would call that a stimulant addiction."

"Yes, I suppose?" Qui-Gon granted, wondering where this was going.

"You Jedi seem to forget that addictions to more sedative drugs are common as well," Vader finished ominously.

Qui-Gon waited, expecting more, but Vader remained silent. Thus, the words replayed into his head a second time, then a third. His brow rose as understanding dawned. "Now you can't be serious."

"Why not?" Vader asked, glancing back towards him. "Because there cannot possibly be any negative side effect of diving too deep into the Light Side of the Force, for too long of a time?"

"The Light side is not addictive like the Dark Side," Qui-Gon stated firmly.

"No, it isn't," Vader agreed, but they both know they weren't agreeing on the same principle. "The Dark Side is a rush, it is adrenaline, it is energy in motion. It makes someone feel more alive than they can ever recall. The Light Side is peaceful, tranquil. Soothing. Lulling you into a pleasant state that you wish to retain and fall deeper into while all others matters are deemed less and less important," Vader elaborated before pausing. Qui-Gon got the distinct impression he was smug beneath the mask. "It is amazing, the ease to make one sound alluring and the other so insidious."

"And what do you possibly base this on?" qui-Gon challenged with his arms crossed.

"Experience," Vader stated firmly. "And a lifetime to consider which addiction I believe I can manage best."

Qui-Gon paused, if only to process that nugget of information, before shaking his head to return to the conversation. "That is the most cynical view on the Force I've ever heard, I admit."

"Do you desire a more poetic description?" Vader asked in annoyance. "The Light Side promotes compassion and empathy while causing tendencies of inaction and complacency. It also often reduces a user's sense of agency as they deem most consequences and misfortunes to be the "Will of the Force." Is that sufficient?"

Qui-Gon looked at Vader, trying to decide if the Sith Lord truly believed any of this. "This sounds more like an argument for both sides to abandon the Force entirely than anything else."

"Trust me, Jedi. Dark or Light, a majority of those that have touched and been touched by the Force would rather die than simply never use it again," Vader stated coldly. "Both sides of the Force have their strengths and weaknesses, their flaws and powers. Accept that, Jedi, and adapt. Or choose not to, and wither away."

Qui-Gon stood there for a moment, contemplating how or even if he would continue this discussion. "And how does the Queen fit into all of this?"

"The Force works in mysterious ways, Jinn," Vader stated vaguely. "On that matter, I should depart soon."

Qui-Gon didn't disagree with that statement. "Against the better judgement of others, I shall leave this be," Qui-Gon stated with a knowing smirk about him before turning to leave.

Vader waited patiently, drumming his fingers as the Jedi's footsteps faded away. After a moment of long, impatient silence, the Dark Lord spoke. "Do you have something to say, or are you simply failing at stealth?"

"Expecting me, were you?"

Meanwhile

Padme felt something was amiss. Granted, anyone would probably have come to that same conclusion already, given that her greatest yet most mysterious ally in this current crisis had been on the holonews, fighting a vast number of Jedi at the temple of the order. Fighting and winning, it had to be said. Between the late hour and the unusual news of the attack on the temple reasonably distracting everyone's attention, it was decided that the motion for a vote of no confidence would be decided upon as the first thing when they reconvened the following day. It was just bad timing on her part that they arrived so late in the day on Coruscant.

Or perhaps good time.

But upon returning to the residence of Senator Palpatine, she found her fellow Naboo-born politician was not home, nor had he ever returned to the Senate after the recess had ended. It was as if the man had vanished. She might have been upset, angry even for the senator being absent in their planet's time of need, especially when this was his advice and plan she had been acting on. But more than anything, she was worried. Had the Trade Federation made a move on the good senator? Had there been some horrible, still unknown "accident" with an unidentifiable body somewhere down at the bottom of Coruscant's enormous buildings?

Vader wasn't here either. She wasn't sure how to feel about that. She trusted Vader, but he clearly had his own agenda in the capital of the Republic, specifically with the Jedi. She couldn't say for certain that said agenda would allow him to help her further in liberating her planet. Still, his advice had helped, probably more than he even knew. She now had allies; allies against a common foe, who had more experience with the Trade Federation's droid armies than she imagined she ever would.

She resisted the urge to massage her brow and ruin the makeup that went into her royal attire. This entire thing felt so surreal. Two years ago, she was twelve years old and the Supervisor of Theed. Or the "Princess/Prince of Theed" as was the nickname for the position, as Kings and Queens of Naboo held the position of Supervisor of Theed before their coronations. Two years later, at her parents suggestion, she made a bid for the throne in the coming election. She was popular, so that gave her enough of a chance to attempt it. But she had only agreed to it because something just hadn't sat right with her about King Ars Veruna, having been the elected monarch for thirteen long years.

Then the Foreign Affairs scandal happened. Everyone discovered the king's secret dealings and wide-spread corruption in his handling of foreign affairs, lining his pockets to a degree that made many wonder how much the Treasurer was getting bribed to cover that up so well. Much of it had been from Naboo's original dealings with the Trade Federation. She was glad, proud even to be running against him until the man abdicated the throne and vanished, supposedly in shame. Which left Padme herself more or less unopposed.

She had been coronated with simple ambitions: put some limitations on the terms for the monarchy, deal with the fallout of Veruna's corruption, hopefully root out all those who had been complicit in the scandal, secure a less exploitive deal with the Trade Federation or cut ties with them altogether, and prove to her people that their faith in democracy was not misplaced. That Ars Veruna was an exception, not the norm, a bad dream they had awakened from.

Then the real nightmare happened.

Five months.

She had been queen for five months, one week, and two days when the Trade Federation started the blockade. She had barely learned to feel comfortable on the throne in her elaborately traditional attire, barely memorized the names of every governor of every realm on Naboo, and had barely gotten the ink dry on the term limit amendment to the constitution she had proposed. She was not, and probably would never be certain if this disaster was somehow linked to Veruna again, or if this was simply the greed of the Trade Federation baring its twisted fangs. But it didn't really matter why it happened anymore. This was long past a time for trying to assign blame. Her people were dying, and many more were suffering.

She hated this. She hated it with every fiber of her being. She hated how the Senate was filled to the brim with more of same ilk as Ars Veruna. She was the most powerful authority on Naboo, but could do nothing to save the people she was suppose to help. And why? Because the highest authoritative body in the galaxy, the one power that should and was suppose to reign in things like the Trade Federation, did nothing because it was marred with corruption and self-interest. She could not blame them all. She could only imagine how many kind souls would become jaded or fearful, unwilling to risk their own people to help another.

She was fairly sure that what she hated most was meeting Darth Vader under these circumstances. The Sith himself was a blessing, there was no other way to consider him, but the contrasts he forced upon her reality were unsettling.

Law and order, tempered by kindness and fairness, which in turn were tempered by pragmatism and commonsense. That was the mindset of Naboo. A group of people could not help another group if doing so truly harmed themselves and their families, but nor should a group be unwilling to make a small sacrifice to aid others. The rules of the land must be upheld and criminals held accountable. But to do so too strictly and too harshly invited crime to repeat, hide, and spread elsewhere.

So how does one answer corruption when it is no longer just fleecing from the coffers, but spilling the literal blood of the innocent? What can one do when all the laws in the galaxy are of no help? When it is corruption that order itself has come to side with?

Vader answered it with merciless, ruthless efficiency. The means should not justify the ends, that was what she had been raised to believe. Thus, in many ways, Vader embodied many things she disapproved of. The fact that he did not truly insult the ways of her or her people made it hard to hate him or his methords. And her time on Tatooine had opened her eyes. She had always known there were planets less fortunate then her own, but it was another thing to see it, a world that still practiced slavery unchallenged. A world that Vader personally hated, and she could only imagine why.

She had seen it in the eyes of those the duke had taken her to meet. There were times when laws and diplomacy could no longer be relied upon. The time to fight had indeed come and nothing would be the same after this, she knew. The humans of Naboo hadn't had a war for nearly a century since they clashed with the Gungans-

Padme paused as she considered something very interesting. "Where is Jar Jar Binks?"

Meanwhile

Yoda had let the silence swell after Vader's departure, the council sitting and contemplating. Some looked to one another, others gazed off into the distance or closed their eyes in thought. Many simply continued to stare at the damage, the crater left in the wake of Vader's rage.

Yoda was among them, but for different reasons. He had caused that reaction. This Sith Lord, this Darth Vader, took great offence to Yoda's words. To his claim that the Dark Side was easier. A curious thing to take as an insult. Most Dark Siders had often made claims as such, that the Dark granted them more power than the Light ever did. That the Light was weak and the Dark was strong. Yoda's own observations had not contradicted this, as it did often lead to the user gaining a boost in power. Often at the cost of some common sense, sanity, empathy, or all of the above.

But Yoda had never agreed that the Dark Side was overall stronger, just that it was quicker and easier. For Yoda had known every Jedi that had came through these halls for hundreds of years. While he was not always close to every Jedi, he had met every member of the order at one point or another. And whenever he met or sensed one who fell to the Dark Side, he felt a great sorrow, as if a candle that been snuffed out from its own flame raging too intensely, leaving only a smoldering and dark remain. But, more objectively, he could sense the difference in power. And the boast that the Dark Side could make one stronger than any Jedi had never been proven to his mind.

Yet here a Sith Lord stood, more powerful than many Jedi had imagined, angered by the notion that his path had been easy, that the Dark Side was easy. Yoda wasn't ready to consider his view wrong, but perhaps it was incomplete.

Of course, that was the last thing on the mind of his fellow Jedi Masters. No, their thoughts were only on the Vader's proclamation. That Vader did not just want the war between the Sith and the Jedi to stay ended, but he was bluntly saying that it was over. In military terms, it was essentially one side ordering another to accept their ceasefire. But the Jedi were not a military. Nor should they think like one, in the eyes of Yoda.

"It seems that my old padawan was correct," Dooku commented, stroking his beard. "Darth Vader truly claims to be disinterested in being an enemy of the Jedi."

"It's bound to be a trick," Even Piell stated with a scowl. "A way of getting us to lower our guard."

"While skeptical of his claim, I find that unlikely," Oppose Rancisis disagreed carefully.

"Explain, please?" Plo Koon requested, leaning forward as he contemplated these events.

"Our guard has been lowered for a thousand years. Coming out in the open already put us on edge and I doubt he didn't realize that we would suspect trickery on his part," Oppo explained.

"He had to know we'd think he was lying, therefore he is probably telling the truth," Yarael Poof summarized with some amusement.

"I didn't say he's telling the truth," Oppo denied firmly. "Just that it being for a surprise assault would be unlikely."

"So you believe he is still our enemy, just pretending to not want to be our enemy?" Poof retorted with a tilt of his head on his long neck.

A number of gazes turned to him. "Master Poof, you can't seriously be considering the idea that this Sith is genuine in his desire for peace," Eeth Koth stated with a scowl.

"And why not?" Poof asked casually. "Two groups can disagree with each other, vehemently even, while choosing not to attack one another. That is, after all, the first step in diplomacy."

"There can be no peace between the Jedi and the Sith," Mace Windu stated firmly.

"And why is that, Master of the Order?" Poof asked, his question some how neither challenging nor friendly, and yet both at once.

"The Sith bring unbalance to the Force, and stand against everything we believe in," Mace Windu pointed out with a small glare.

"And the idea of the Republic stands against everything most hereditary monarchies stand for, yet a great many still take part in it," Poof countered with a smile.

"You're actually suggesting to make peace with the Sith?" Even Piell asked with a small glare.

"With this Sith, yes," Yarael confirmed mysteriously.

Ki-Mundi turned to stare at him curiously. "What exactly do you mean by that?" he asked in interest.

"Qui-Gon's report, and Vader's very existence means that there might actually be more Sith out there, that their Rule of Two has been bent or discarded," Poof elaborated, his jovialness morphing into seriousness rather well. "Darth Vader claims we both need to clean house. Take as much offense as you feel the need to, but please comprehend the other implication. That we have at least one Sith claiming that, if the other Sith attacked us unprovoked, he'd side with us. So, yes, if Vader is saying that he will try to change the ways of the Sith and keep others in his order in line, I say we should continue with our original plan; We step back and observe. Let his actions speak for him. If Vader aides other Sith and Dark Siders against us, his lie will be obvious."

"And then what?" Eeth Koth asked with a furrowed brow. "If he is lying, by the time it is revealed, he may have already built up too much power and support to be dealt with."

"What was that, young Kenobi?" Dooku called with a small smirk to the Padawan, intentionally drawing attention to a now startled Obi-Wan. "I don't believe I quite heard that."

Obi-Wan swallowed and decide to NOT glare at Dooku for intentionally doing this. "I-I said that he is already too much to handle when all he has is himself and the leader of a planet whose planet is being held hostage."

"Call upon the Dark Side's totality again, Vader cannot," Yoda spoke up finally, feeling Obi-Wan's gratitude for taking the spotlight off him. "For a moment, their hold on the Dark Side, all others surrendered. Willingly they did, so that Darth Vader...No, so to be heard the Dark Side would be. To do so again, more reluctant they would be."

"So, the Dark Siders of the entire galaxy all independently and unanimously decided that they hated us enough to risk giving up their power, even just for a short time, just to let someone else give us a bloody nose?" Dooku summarized, genuinely surprised by the explanation of his old master. "I'm not sure if that's intimidating or pitiful."

"Pitiful for us or them?" Ki-Mundi asked with a tilted head.

"Both," Dooku answered.

"And what is your wisdom, Master Dooku, if Vader is revealed to be an enemy?" Windu asked with a hard look about him, challenging the aging master.

Dooku looked entirely unimpressed with the question. "Taking Master Yoda's words into account, Vader would require careful time to plan a proper attack on if it became needed. You could, assuredly, just best him with overwhelming numbers. Without the Dark Side sustaining him in that state we witnessed, he would fall. But there would be many Jedi that would not rise again after such an encounter, Master Windu. Darth Vader proved today that he is not one you can simply rush with a lightsaber, with faith in the Force that you and your fellow Jedi can succeed. Time you will need to see his intentions, Master Windu, and time you will need to prepare for how you will react to them."

That was a sobering notion. Unless they committed to putting Vader down right now, and unleashed a bloodbath within the temple, they had to resign to waiting for Vader to reveal his hand. "Avoiding a topic, we are," Yoda stated with a sigh, giving the many masters a thoughtful look. "What should we do, if genuine, Vader proves to be?"

"Master Yoda, there is-" Mace Windu spoke up with a firm voice.

"No chance of the Sith returning, we believed. The Dark Siders releasing their power, I believed impossible. Presented with another impossibility, we are," Yoda stated, scowling as he finally looked away from the crater, giving Windu a stare. "Lost faith in the Light, I have not. Nor ever, will I. But a Sith like Vader, none has the order ever known. Tread carefully, we must. For if the truth he brings, into the trap of another Sith, we may step."

Mace Windu bit his lip as he struggled with himself. As much as he didn't believe Vader could possible be anything but an enemy of the Jedi, the Grandmaster did raise a great point. Just because Vader was openly a Sith did not mean that they should gain tunnel vision. The implication was still sinking in for Windu, honestly, that the Sith had been in hiding and lurking under their nose this entire time. And that there were more of them. His scowl deepened as he realized an error on their part. "We never did question Vader about the Dark Sider on Tatooine," he stated, causing many grimaces and other looks in surprise.

Including Yoda massaging his ancient temple with the top of his walking stick.

Meanwhile

Vader regarded the small, shuffling figure carefully. It had been a long time since he saw this Jedi. This meeting summoned forth old memories, older than the Clone Wars, of this one dying. A heroic death, admittedly; absorbing the poisons of a bioweapon to save an entire city of some crime-ridden Core Planet. And the life of a teenage padawan named Anakin Skywalker.

"I would have been rather disappointed if at least one Master wasn't monitoring my movements in the temple," Darth Vader answered promptly to the one living Jedi that shared the same species as Grandmaster Yoda. "Why are you here, Jedi Master Yaddle?"

"Live here, I do," Yaddle stated with patience as she studied him. "Seen much, you have."

Vader said nothing for a moment, reevaluating her presence. "I could say the same, The One Below," Vader countered as he watched within the force.

"Find none, you will," Yaddle informed with a knowing look about her. "Made peace with my past, long have I."

"..." Vader didn't say anything. But only Vader didn't.

Yaddle was very aware of the Dark Side. It still flowed from Vader, its great tendrils unwilling to divide and spread back across the galaxy any quicker than it had to. It was savoring this. This night, this time it could lurk so openly amongst the Temple of the Light Side. She could hear its soft, vile whispers at her old heart. Words against those who imprisoned her and killed her master; those who robbed her of a century of her life. Against those who destroyed the long work of rebuilding she had aided her former captors in. Against Yoda, the Grandmaster and lone Councilmember that opposed her being granted the rank of master.

And the Dark Side simmered discontentedly as her kindness ignored its siren call, the Light Side refusing to wane and let her be touched by its influence without effort on the part of Vader. The Dark Side retreated back to feed on his own anger and hatred. If not for the battle of the Sith Lords, it would have grown vastly more impatient with him. The turmoil of the Jedi was a delicious treat, but not nearly filling enough for the Dark Side of the Force, with so much of it still gathered on this one world, around this one Sith.

"You have more right and more reason to hate than most," Vader acknowledged. "Even your own master fell."

"And to his death, it led him. Made him reckless, his hate did," Yaddle countered softly with a disarming smile, "Experience with that, you have."

Vader acknowledged that with a slow nod. His own arrogance, the mania one experienced by losing control within the Dark Side, had cost him more than Anakin Skywalker could have ever afforded to lose. "I take it you were not fond of my words."

"Rarely a warm welcome, is criticism given," she conceded without scorn or bitterness. "Flawless, none are. Some that you say, correct they may be."

"Curious. I had thought I would find more stubbornness from one that found unity in the Force through a century of isolation," Vader commented with interest.

"Teachings of my twice fallen master, were my only lessons," Yaddle stated with a heavy tone. "A perfect Jedi, he was not. Make him a less good man, falling to the Dark Side, it did not."

Vader watched her for the moment. He could hate many Jedi for many reasons. Many of those reasons were lacking in Yaddle. "There was something you disagreed with," Vader realized.

"The Jedi Lords," Yaddle stated solemnly.

"From one who was a Jedi Lord in all but name, I find that a strange claim to make," Vader retorted with a scowl beneath his helmet.

"Speak as myself, I do not, but as a Master on the Jedi High Council," Yaddle stated firmly. "Shocked by you, many are. To similar realizations as this, soon they will come."

"I see. Well then, Master of the High Council, explain your exact rebuttal," Vader challenged.

"To be rulers, we were never meant to be. Soldiers, we are not. To keep the peace, is our duty. Perfectly done, it is not. Yet do so, we attempt. To uplift the galaxy, we are not meant to. Rob them of much, we could, with well wishes," Yaddle explained sagely.

"You are meant to be monks, is that the summary of your claim?" Vader asked, getting a nod. "Unfortunately, the argument is an invalid one. Your order has long ceased to be "simple monks" that studied the ways of the Force. Monks do not act as a police force for a galaxy-spanning government. Or, at minimum, they should not by your own admission. Yet you are routinely sent out to settle issues with pirates, economic tensions, and military matters. The fact that you are sanctioned, aided, and financed by the Republic just highlights an already clear picture. A picture that often shows you as Dogs of the Republic."

"Blurred, some lines become," Yaddle accepted with a nod. "Much a cause of that, the Sith were."

"Master Yaddle, do not play the fool. You all collectively demilitarized with the Ruusan Reformations and believed the Sith gone to history. Your order, and the Grandmaster especially, have had nearly a thousand years to consider and ease the act of dissolving your union with the Republic, and becoming self-sufficient without them. But without you, the Republic loses one of its greatest assets. Without the Republic to fund and aid you, finding infants to raise in your ways would become exceptionally more difficult. Would that not be the true path, by your claim?"

Yaddle scowled at that, clearly not having a perfect rebuttal for that. "Adapt, we did. Again, we would."

"You have NOT adapted," Vader refuted harshly. "And you will not convince me otherwise. You have regressed. If you left the Republic now, the order would have to face the reality of the Jedi ranks depleting within mere generations or, if you are capable of it, removing certain restrictions you have placed on your Jedi. You might even have to entertain the idea of allowing or even promoting Jedi to marry and have families."

"To have attachments, we are not," Yaddle reminded, and she could feel Vader's annoyance.

"Your desire to lack attachments only creates stronger ones. Instead of clinging to parents and family, Jedi cling to the Code, the Order, or the Force itself," Vader stated, cocking his head at the Jedi Master. "I am genuinely impressed you can seriously make a case for a notion you do not believe in the slightest."

"Help more we can, I do believe. At least on that, agree we can," Yaddle acknowledge with a shrug. "A question, I might ask."

"Only if it is no longer from a representative of the High Council," Vader retorted.

Yaddle snorted in amusement before sobering. "Hate us, do you? Or the Order itself?"

Vader paused as he considered the strange yet important question. "Long ago, Yaddle, I believed like many Siths. That I should hate you Jedi for your weakness and your petty narrowmindedness. But after a lifetime of having little control over my own path, I learned a valuable lesson. The greatest weakness of the Sith Order is not that we hate, it's that we hate for the wrong reasons. Hating someone because you are commanded to, told that you should condemn their ways, or just because they are not from the same factions as you? These are pitiful reasons to hate someone. Hatred is not an impersonal emotion, nor should it be given so freely. Hatred should be reserved for those whom you know and know well. And in knowing them, you come to realize that their very existence riles every cell in your body," Vader turned to stare down at a fairly stunned Yaddle. The small Jedi was staring into the force, into a crack in Vader's dark presence in the force, showing a sliver of the true Hatred burning within him. "I detest the Jedi in general. I despise what your Order has been allowed to become. But the one I truly and sincerely hate, Yaddle? That is a being that not even you, Savior of Koba, could ever forgive if you truly knew him."

End of Chapter

Yes, yes, I'm sorry! No Plagueis and Sidious this chapter. I started this with the plan put them at the end of this chapter, but I always think certain scenes are going to be shorter than they are. Don't worry, we'll get back to them next chapter.

Fun fact: Going by Legends, most of what I wrote about Padme is canon; including that she really had only been queen for five months by Episode 1

Hardest part of this chapter was deciding who showed up to talk to Vader at the end. It was originally going to be...anyone besides Obi-wan, honestly: I had started a few different versions with Dooku, Anakin, even Yoda. But Yaddle fit too perfectly to pass up once I thought of her.

Quick Acknowledgement: Yaddle's argument against the Jedi Lord part was inspired from a review of Chapter 18 by "Uncle Woody." If Woody is reading this, this not mocking your points through Vader. I actually thought that was a good case for someone to put to Vader, but I did have a good counter-arguement for him to give as well.

Also, for fun: Vader's speech is inspired by another fictional speech. I will reveal it next chapter.

Just consider this the Aftermath Chapter in regards to the Great Debate Chapter. A lot of the Jedi are more than skeptical, but some have curious takes on this whole thing.

Hope you all enjoyed this chapter, even if it was all just talking this time.

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