Darth Vader: Hero of Naboo

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.

NOTE: Sorry for the long wait everyone. A...lot of things happened. I got a new job back in april, and I've been getting use to the new hours. I also got a new laptop, I had to get use to the slightly different keyboard. But more importantly...Covid went through my house. Nobody died, and its passed now, but three people in my home had covid. They're getting better now, thankfully, but that was a nervewracking two weeks. Anyway, my update will be slowed down a bit, but you can still expect this story getting updated every 2 months, at minimum. I plan to get it back to once every month, eventually.

Without further delay, enjoy!

Neither Sith were surprised: Plagueis by Vader's arrival or Vader by Plagueis's question. One might even think they expected one another, that they planned to meet here all along.

Darth Vader approached from the other side of the tower, a hovercar parked behind him. He said nothing as he drew closer, watching as Sidious landed on the surface of the Flats, putting as much distance between himself and his pursuers as possible. "Should I assume you haven't retracted your offer, Plagueis?" Vader inquired idly.

"What? After you played my student and upset our plans? Sent the Jedi to our doorstep? Tore asunder the Veil of the Dark Side?" Plagueis listed off, seeming more amused than angry. "Sidious was a fool to fall for your trap. If I couldn't sense that genuine hatred for Sidious, I might suspect you were just trying to make the Order of Bane destroy itself."

"As I told the Jedi, both sides need to clean house," Vader remarked coolly.

"Clean house?" Plagueis repeated curiously.

"You disagree?" Vader inquired.

"Perhaps with your choice of words. I'd prefer the term "Pruning" if anything," Plagueis mused, glancing upward with interest. "The Veil, I can't help but be impressed. And intrigued. It has been many, many ages since the Dark Side has been present with its shrouding nature pulled back. I wonder, just what effects this will have on the Jedi. Especially the younger ones. Still, it is a temporary thing in the end."

"In the name of transparency, it merely felt like the most irrefutable manner to prove to the Jedi that I was never the sole Sith walking among them," Vader explained simply.

"Hm. I suppose if you're still considering an alliance, my identity has not been revealed?" Plagueis deduced knowingly.

"For now. I'm certain you will fall under suspicion, along with everyone else that had any business with Sheev Palpatine," Vader pointed out.

Plagueis nodded in agreement. Even without being named, Hego Damask would inevitably become a suspect in the hunt for Darth Plagueis. After all, their public personas were known to have ties. But so long as he was not named specifically, he had enough time and space to work around the fallout of this. "I'm not opposed to working with you, Vader, once this matter is settled and we have a proper discussion on our goals."

"A valid reasoning," Vader conceded before the air around them grew thick and cold with his ire. "You let Sidious live."

It wasn't a question, and might have even been an accusation. Plagueis merely hummed. "No, I merely allowed him to, how does the phrase go? Go out in a blaze of glory," he explained, sounding as if they were having a pleasant conversation.

Vader's ire simmered, but remained all the same. "Surely you know how foolish that is?" Vader asked as he watched Sidious use the force to rip away the metal ground beneath himself, making it lurch and bend backward to at least slow the Jedi down. There were a dozen of them, and all were incredibly wary of Sidious's abilities now. The Naboo-born Sith would not be able to slay many more, especially with Yoda and Mace Windu so nearby, not to mention Dooku. "You know very well that if Sidious has a chance to slip away, he will seize it and be a threat to any future plans either of us create."

"Then it is fortunate that there is no chance that Sidious will escape," Plagueis mused with a smile behind his breathing mask.

Vader remained silent for an instant before turning to the Sith Lord fully. "And how have you insured that?"

"Hm? Have you not noticed it?" Plagueis asked wryly. "I know you're accustomed to being the center of attention, Lord Vader, but you should not forget to take note of others."

Vader grew annoyed by that, but his curiosity and suspicions overruled that. He reached out, taking sense of things in the Dark Side. He could feel much, of course. Anger, rage, sorrow, fear, sadism and so much more. But there was something else. Something Vader relished to feel yet found baffling all the same.

Despair. More specifically, Sidious's despair.

The scheming senator, the man that would have manipulated the entire galaxy into playing his tune, was in utter and total despair on the inside. The Jedi would never sense it through the rage and twisted delight Sidious radiated, but it was there, truly.

Sidious had no hope of getting out of this situation, no hope of seeing tomorrow. He was fighting, not to survive, but to do as much damage as possible. But why? Surely Plagueis's presence wouldn't be enough to prevent Sidious from at least trying to force a path out of these circumstances. Sidious was an opportunist, he never admitted defeat and, as weird as it was to think about, always had hope that things could work out to his desire. With enough plotting, killing, torture, visions of the future, and mind control.

So, what could make Sidious feel like there was nothing he cou-?

Vader stilled and Plagueis chuckled knowingly. "I'm pleased to know I can surprise you, Lord Vader," the Muun remarked in amusement. Dark, horrible amusement.

"What have you done?" Vader questioned ominously, almost unable to believe what he was sensing.

"Oh, don't tell me you aren't pleased with this," Plagueis said casually, gazing down at his former student, who had made another explosion occur. Oh, was that the lightsaber Plagueis had tossed out the window earlier? The Dark Side had a strange sense of humor sometimes.

Vader stood there in silence for a moment, obviously processing some implications. "...How much longer?"

"If he wasn't fighting? Maybe a few days. As it is? He'll be lucky to see the sunset before it takes full effect."

"Sidious didn't know you had such a thing at your disposal," Vader noted, and he knew it had to be true. Because he certainly didn't know about this. And this was definitely something Sidious in the future would have been interested in.

"Of course not. He thought our Order abandoned that project entire. And we did," Plagueis assured before smiling cruelly. "But I always knew how in love with his own power Sidious was. I could think of no better punishment for him than infecting him with a Force-severing virus."

Silence fell over them, Plagueis's words hanging heavy in the air. The fighting now felt like a distant echo under the weight of this topic, and now the blaringly obvious fact that Sidious's presence in the Force was slowly growing weaker. His very power eroding like a stone against the waves. Vader had sensed the weakness before, but just believed it was Sidious being overwhelmed, having to fight the Jedi after fighting Plagueis. And that was still true, but it meant that Sidious would never recover from this. Even if he survived, he would be cut off from the Force entirely.

"And there is no chance of it spreading?" Vader questioned pointedly.

"None," Plagueis assured. "The virus is genetically engineered to infect Sidious, and only Sidious."

Vader wasn't completely certain of that. After all, if Plagueis couldn't promise it wouldn't mutate. But he decided to trust Plagueis's expertise in such matters.

That and Plagueis completely lowered his mental guards, for a moment. A bold move, assuming Vader wouldn't attempt some form of mind assualt. But he was telling the truth about the virus, if nothing else.

Still, to be severed, that was a nightmare for many: Sith, Jedi, and others. To lose one's connection with the Force, a bond formed practically at conception. Vader could scarcely imagine a greater hell for Sidious. And on some level, that pleased him, but...

"Sidious is backed into a corner," Vader pointed out sternly. "He has nothing to lose and nothing to gain. There is no telling what he might attempt to do, if given the slightest chance."

"Why do you think I am still here?" Plagueis asked idly. "Of course, if you're that concerned, you could always enter the fray yourself. Is that not why you are here? After all, you could never be satisfied with just letting Sidious be killed by another, when you can do it with your own hands."

Plagueis was baiting him. Vader knew he was. Plagueis knew that he knew. Neither really cared that the other knew. It didn't change that Plagueis was right.

"You may wish to find a new perch, Plagueis."

Meanwhile

Sidious gritted his teeth. He was running out of time and options, he knew that. His strength, his very power was slipping away all the time. And if he stopped to rest, if he even found a moment of reprieve, he could feel his connection to the Force fading even faster than if he kept fighting. It was a diabolical paradox, rest making him weaker than if he just tried to power through on sheer willpower.

By sheer irony, the only reason he lasted this long, was his own despair.

The Dark Side delighted in his own anguish, and the fury it created in his very bones, fueling and powering him on. Without it, he could never have held out this long after an extended conflict with Plagueis. But without the virus eating away at the one thing he clung to the most, he wouldn't be here at all. He'd be dead. Plagueis only allowed him to live because he knew Sidious was already a walking corpse for all intents and purposes. Jedi or Sith, it didn't matter, one of them would kill him.

That said, he still planned to scar the Jedi Order as much as he could before finally falling to their sabers.

Who knows, if he was feeling spiteful enough, he might reveal Plagueis's identity with his dying breath.

But right now, he was barely holding off Dooku as he ran across the Works. The noble-born Jedi was able to distract and slow him down just enough as other Jedi began to outflank him. From the sides, at this distance, they could dodge his Force Lightning. And if he tried sending it at Dooku, that would prompt Yoda or Windu to rush forth and take over for him, both very capable at defending against Sidious's favored form of attack.

Unless something fortunate happened, he would have to attempt a desperate maneuver.

What happened next wasn't fortunate, but oh how Sidious welcomed it.

The Dark Lord and his Jedi pursuers came to a halt as sheets of industrial plating came raining down like metallic hail. It came down all around Sidious, who managed to divert them at the last moment to impale around him. Blocking his exit, but also forcing the Jedi to halt for an instance.

Both sides looked off to the side, up at a looming tower where stood Darth Vdder, in all his dark glory.

Without lifting a single finger, the cyborg ripped apart more pieces from his lofty perch. The fragments danced in the air as ominously as a beck-tori looking for prey.

Evan stepped forth, intent to attack the distracted Sidious, but felt a subtle force-pull. He glanced to Yoda as the grandmaster was staring intently at Sidious.

More precisely, the metal fragments stabbed between them and the Sith Lord in question. Getting too close for this specific instance would be risky, having to dodge Vader's attack and avoid Sidious taking advantage of any distraction on their part.

They had lost enough today by underestimating this Sith.

Without a word, Vader sent forth another bombardment. Sidious snarled as he sent out a great burst of Force Lightning. The insidious power leapt from metal to metal, surging much further while sending the projectiles off course. The Jedi stood, unphased as one or another among their ranks would effortlessly deflect any that strayed their way.

Vader raised his hand as the lightning closed in on him, forming a fist as the remaining metal floating by his power rushed forth to shield him. He could sense the Dark Side attack withering and scorching through the make-shift shield, but knew it would not be enough to pierce it. The lightning lost too much power between the fragments.

Despite knowing Sidious would sense it, he sent out a signal of warning to the Jedi through the Force, who tensed as Vader sent the shield bursting out, pelting the entire area. The Jedi were forced to dodge and shield themselves while a chunk of the remaining shield was sent right for Sidious.

The Naboo-born Sith grinned and snarled all at once as he tore the shield in two, looking between the bisected metal to see-

Nothing?

There was a half second where Sidious stared owlishly at where Vader had been. Then he immediately turned his attention upward and saw-

A falling hovercar?!

Sidious had just enough time to bat the falling-vehicle away with the force. A dark blur shot from the vehicle before it crashed.

*Kuuuuuuh Kerrr*

The would-be chancellor turned with an expecting scowl, seeing the Third Sith Lord standing not even twenty feet from him, an unignited lightsaber in his right hand. "You actually threw a hovercar at me," Sidious spat out. "Not many have tried that."

Vader said nothing as he stared down Sidious, his breathing and the burning flames of the hovercar being the only sounds around the now.

"Nothing? After all this effort, you have nothing to say?" Sidious asked with a growl. "I don't even know who you are."

"And you never will," Vader promised hauntingly.

His lightsaber ignited.

Sidious breathed in his rage as it bubbled and erupted back to the surface. This was Vader. This was the reason for all of this. Without his interference, he would have been chancellor and Plagueis would soon be dead. Oh, some blame lied on his own rashness, but he had been aching to take his pound of flesh for Vader's schemes against him.

"Fine, I'll just tear that mask off myself!" Sidious declared, rushing forth with his own weapon at the ready.

Even now he was like a snake, like lightning itself as he closed the gap, ready to sever Vader limb from limb.

But Vader was no Hutt, he did not lumber in his size and weight. His blade parried Sidious's, matching him blow for blow as their sabers blurred from the onslaught against one another. Sidious was agile, but in close quarters, the Force allowed Vader to easily keep pace with this foe.

Sidious knew this to be true as well, and so abandoned any plan of beating Vader in a mere lightsaber duel.

With a wide arcing slash, Sidious pushed both blades to the side, giving him the opening he need. His right hand reached out, Sith Lightning already dancing from his finger tips.

Vader knew what came next. His left hand came up to block the attack...

And Vader smirked behind his mask.

Flashback

"I know what this is."

Vader glanced to Shmi minutely. Minimalism was the key to keeping himself together right now. Otherwise, he might say something...unwise. Something too telling. And so he focused on his repairs and the material Shmi had retrieved from the bag of items he collects on Tatooine.

"As should anyone that handles parts for starships and droids," Vader noted shortly, taking it from her with the Force before focusing on his gloveless left arm, exposing its true mechanical nature.

"Yes, but..." Shmi paused as she regarded him strangely. "Why haven't you ever insulated your prosthetics before?"

"My master didn't wish me to," he answered, truthful but blunt as he began to install the material.

He could sense it from her, the suspicion at the way he almost spat the title of Master. What did she deduce from that? That he was a former slave? That he had a cruel teacher?

"Did..." she hesitated for a moment. He didn't look, but he could feel her frustration. Not in the Force, but in his memories. He had seen his mother struggle to find the right words in the past. She hated moments like this. "Did it help?"

Vader stopped. Against all logic and reason, he stopped and looked to her fully. Only his breathing broke the silence.

"Breaking the detonator," she clarified, swallowing a lump in her throat. "Did it really...help Annie?"

"Yes," Vader answered without hesitation. "Beyond my own expectations even. It helped him truly feel that he is now free."

"He's you, isn't he?"

The world, the Force itself froze to Vader at that sudden question. All his training, all his experience, all his knowledge and he was rendered powerless so easily.

His silence prompted her to continue. "You see...who you use to be, in Annie, don't you?" she guessed with a strange, sad smile that he swore only mothers knew how to make. "That's why you care so much about him?"

He didn't answer, even if he felt relieved by her misunderstanding. Even if it was technically correct. It was just...too correct for her intentions.

"I can't sense things like he can, but...being a slave makes you learn how to read others," Shmi murmured with hollow amusement. "So...whatever is happening, Vader? Whatever you're getting ready for?"

He almost broke at a sight he hadn't seen in decades. One he knew he didn't deserve the genuine, grateful, encouraging smile on her face.

"I hope it sets you free, like it did Annie."

End of Flashback

The Sith Lightning condensed in Vader's palm, defusing via Tutaminis. He only had enough time and parts to insulate one arm, but that should be all he needed. If he could fool Sidious, if he could hide his suit's overall weakness to Sidious's favored attack, then the Sith of Naboo would not try to capitalize on it.

Sidious snarled, pouring more power into his attack, the ball of Force-power growing between them, until it burst. The explosion sent Sidious off his feet, if only for an instant, while the floor groaned and dented under Vader's efforts to keep himself grounded.

"You are decades too soon for this battle, Sidious," Vader warned. And it was true. In less than twenty years, Sidious would have been more than able to overpower Vader's Tutaminis and attack the still-vulnerable parts of his suit. But this Sidious was weaker, spent, unprepared, and out of tricks. Here and now, Sidious was his inferior.

This time, Vader went on the offensive.

Sidious gritted his teeth as he found himself in another duel with Vader. His speed matched Vader's, for now, but the cyborg definitely had him beat in pure strength. Still, he had one more strategy. One that Darth Vader had so generously provided him the perfect stage for.

If only to himself, Vader admitted he almost stumbled forward when Sidious made a sudden withdrawal while in mid-swing of a strike. Knowing what Sidious was doing, Vader reached out to crush two imbedded metal fragments to prevent his escape, but Sidious countered by holding them apart until after he passed them.

Vader simmered in his own annoyance, even if he foresaw this coming. Sidious had quieted his presence in the Force, hiding among the makeshift maze Vader had made when he bombarded this place with the metal from the tower.

He could just level the area with the Force, but it didn't really matter. Two could play at this game.

As the two Sith hunted one another, the Jedi watched on with tension coiled over their bodies.

"Quiet, it had grown," Yoda observed grimly.

"But the battle is clearly not over," Qui-Gon realized. "They are hunting one another."

"What are we waiting for?" Tiin questioned with a curious scowl.

"The right moment," Windu stated, matching Yoda's tone as they heard the tell-tale noises of lightsabers melting through metal and clashing with one another. "Sidious was obviously luring us towards another trap. And Vader wouldn't have provided this much cover for Sidious to hide within if it hindered himself."

It was clear that Windu didn't enjoy acknowledging of the skills of each Sith, but his own pride and wisdom wouldn't allow him ignore such things.

Meanwhile, Sidious ducked as a durasteel fist imbedded through the metal fragment he passed by. He grinned wickedly, stabbing his lightsaber through it in an attempt to gut Vader. But the cyborg deflected it with his own as his fist retracted, prompting Sidious to cut down the piece entirely. Yet, Vader was already gone.

If either of them were anyone else, this would be a stressful moment of cat and mouse. Instead, for Vader and Sidious, this was little more than an over the top Force-equivalent of Hide and Seek.

Though, Sidious had to admit, the selective silencing of Vader's breathing was a very fine touch to the tactic. Whoever had trained Vader, had trained him very well.

On the positive side, he was getting very close to his destination. Now he just needed to time this properly.

With a roar of power and fury, Sidious let out a wave of Force Lightning in all directions that arched across the various metal plates.

He was momentarially surprised when Vader leapt up and over the wave attack instead of blocking it, heading directly to Sidious. Still, the former apprentice of Plagueis smirked as he pulled back on his power, bringing all the fragments hurtling towards Vader.

It wasn't a well known thing, but Force Lightning could also be used to move objects by a skilled user. If they weren't destroyed by the attack.

The Dark Lord landed and instantly raised his arms to hold back the wreckage from impaling and crushing him.

He barely caught sight of Sidious rushing towards him, cackling as he sent out Force Lightning aimed off to the side that burned through the metallic ground.

Vader narrowed his eyes as he saw a series of small explosions forming some sort of large rectangle around him. He had been in enough battles to know what the lurching floor under him meant. Those were demolition charges, arranged in a way to cave in this specific area right under his feet.

And Sidious would only be rushing towards him for one reason in that case: To keep him from escaping this trap.

The cackling Sith landed onto of the metal surrounding Vader, using one hand to still keep it pinned against the Dark Lord's own Force Powers. Sidious leapt up and off it as the platform began to descend, sending a strike of Force Lighting down at his immobilized enemy

The plates of metal surrounding him held it off, for a moment. But Vader could smell something burning, and he suddenly had a very good idea what Sidious's plan was.

Sidious grunted as he descended and realized he wouldn't be able to contain Vader for long. That was fine, he didn't have to. He just had to-

His eyes widened as he used the Force to dodge a thrown lightsaber, looking just in time to see Tiin and Qui-Gon in mid-jump towards him, Dooku on the ground behind them, holding up a hand to catch his returning lightsaber.

He almost expected the Jedi to let himself and Vader kill one another instead of interfering. Pity they didn't. He smirked as he used the Force to do something that was somewhat ill-advised: he made himself fall faster. Just enough to keep out of their range. With that time bought, he send one last mighty impact of a Force Push down on Vader.

Vader shoved off the attack, pushing back against the metal trying to encase him. This was a contest Sidious could not win, not now. The metal would break between their efforts before long. Already it was groaning above and around him.

Wait, no. That was below him.

That was his only warning before the entire ground caved in beneath him, forcing him to fall through. In his own long held hatred of Sidious, in his eagerness to to not just kill him, but to dominate a battle against him with his own power, Vader had missed the weakness of the floor beneath him, made worse by the punishment of Sidious hammering down on this spot with the Force.

Vader felt his rage aimed towards himself. He had gotten sloppy. Against Sidious of all people.

He couldn't stop his fall. This floor was flimsier than he thought, it was designed to fall apart once broken. He had no place to gain footing, and no time to cut through the metal dome aroudn him. Which meant he only had once option.

To fall.

Sidious smirked as he saw the Jedi become shocked, watching the platform caving in and dissolving into an old supply of industrial acid, the green liquid steaming dangerous. Only rare or specially coated metals could survive contact with the substance. It hadn't been hard to find the acid in these abandoned factories of Coruscant. Finding the right place to hide it and use it as a trap, well, that had been trickier. However that had paid off, if only at the end of his life.

He let out a cackle, knowing he sent Vader into the abyss first. Now, he could die at least partially satisfied.

He turned on the trio of Jedi, prepared to meet his end with glee now. But he and the Jedi shared confused scowls as the signature of Darth Vader refused to fade. Nor did it radiate agony or any sign of dying.

Sidious glanced back to the Jedi, who kept their lightsabers at the ready while taking several cautious steps backwards, their eyes never leaving him. They weren't retreating because of him, Sidious knew.

He snarled as something exploded out from the acid. It was Vader, Sidious knew that. He expected that now.

What tore his snarl away in surprise though was the state the other Sith Lord was in.

Vader had acid dripping from his suit, but save for the already damaged cape, not one inch of him was burned or scarred by it. That was impossible, Sidious was sure. There was no feasible chance that Vader just happened to have his entire suit coated for this type of acid, was there? But if not, the alternate was just as bizarre. And yet the more Sidious stared, the more he realized the alternate was the correct conclusion.

Instead of keeping the acid back with a Force bubble, Vader had coated himself in the Force, wearing it like another layer of armor to keep the acid from touching him. THe acid falling off him was quietly literally rolling off a thin layer of the Force, not touching Vader himself. But if Vader could do something as absurd as that, that meant he could survive in almost enviroment for a time, even in an inferno of lava or the vacuum of space.

Sidious had no time to contemplate how to get around that as Vader landed directly in front of him, blade ready to cleave him in twain. Sidious barely blocked it, feeling the heat of Vader's lightsaber on his face and shoulder. He was losing this. He was-

Punched in the gut.

Vader's free fist had impacted with his stomach. Sidious bit back a cough, and he could feel the internal bleeding. He should have sensed that coming. With his connection to the Force fading, his powers in the Dark Side was slipping. His body was becoming more and more just that of a human well past his prime.

But Sidious was too stubborn to just accept death.

He reached out his left hand to use Force Lightning, but Vader predicted this. The metallic hand grasped Sidious's wrist and broke it instantly, without effort. Sidious hissed, feeling not only the snapping of his bones but a touch of acid burning against his skin. Vader's lightsaber finally touched down and set Sidious's robe on fire, beginning to cut and burn into the shoulder.

Vader's masked head perked up minutely, but enough for Sidious to notice.

Vader knocked Sidious's saber aside, forcing Sidious to release and lose his weapon. But Vader could not take the finishing blow, reaching out his saber hand out to the side as if to block something.

That was all the warning Sidious got before he heard a screech of wrenching metal, seeing that a wall of the sharp and jagged debris was being shot at them by an enormous force push. Something only one Jedi could have done.

Vader kept a tight grip on Sidious's crushed limb, preventing him from dodging. Sidious's only choice was to ride out the storm, as both he and Vader used the Force to block the mighty attack from the Grandmaster.

Vader held the debris back firmly, like an unbreeching wall, but Sidious found himself covered more and more by cuts and lacerations. The pain, the exhaustion, the weakening of his power. It was all becoming too much for him to focus through anymore.

It struck Sidious, the totality of this moment. He was truly going to die here. He knew that before, intellectually, but he hadn't accepted it in his soul until this very moment where he was forced to stare down Vader.

He first met Vader by shaking his hand, surrounded by Jedi.

He was going to die with his hand crushed by Vader, surrounded by Jedi.

Truly, the Dark Side had a twisted sense of humor.

Vader was on guard the moment he saw Sidious smirk, before the Naboo-born Sith sent Sith Lightning through his broken arm. The cyborg roared in pain through his mask as he was forced to release Sidious.

Sidious leapt away, allowing the Force Push to carry him off, landing on the other side of the acid pit. He turned to grin in momentary victory at Vader, Yoda, and all the others that might be there.

Only to find the other side vacant. But that was impossible. That was too fast, even for the Jedi Council.

Wait, no, there was someone there. A tall, non-human figure, with a smile on his face.

Flashback

Unknown to Jedi, while they waited for the time to strike, they were being observed rather intently by the lurking figure of Darth Plagueis. But even if they did see through his illusionary invisibility, they would still only see his shadowy apparition. "Hmm, it might have been wiser for them to rush Sidious at this point. The area is too small for him to hide from them and separate them enough to pick them apart."

"Yes, well, we've come to assume the worse."

Plagueis blinked as he turned and saw a Jedi standing several feet from him. One that almost could be mistaken for a kiminoian. "Yareal Poof," Plagueis stated with a furrowed brow, more as an observation than a greeting.

"Darth Plagueis," Yareal returned with a disarming smile.

"My first guess is that you've been here the whole time," Plagueis stated with a scowl. "That you've been using your mind tricks on Sidious to aid your comrades, keeping them alive by putting Sidious off his mark, if only minutely."

"Yes, that does sound like a good plan, doesn't it?" Yareal answered with a chuckle.

"But you've been very poor at it if so," Plagueis continued without even acknowledging Poof's statement. "My second is that you were with Dooku's group, expecting a confrontation with me. It's possible, but unlikely that you simply allowed me to heal your wounded though."

"Yes, that would imply I trusted a Sith to not stab us in the back," Poof agreed whimsically.

"The final, most likely idea is that you arrived with Vader. That you remained with him, wherever he was, and used his presence to help in masking your own. But that would make revealing yourself now seem rather pointless," Plagueis continued.

"Perhaps I merely felt persuaded by your conversation with Vader?" Poof suggested casually. "But I think you know it doesn't matter which theory is correct. The fact that you did notice me in any of those situation is the important part."

"Indeed," Plagueis agreed, scowling towards the maze that Sidious and Vader lurked and fought within. "This was Vader's idea, in case he needed to...clean house beyond Sidious."

"When facing a true master of any craft in said craft, they are either completely unprepared or completely prepared to face a true rival. There is no in between," Poof remarked. "So, naturally, you being a master of illusions-"

"I am not accustom to facing masterful mind tricks, yes," Plagueis acknowledged. "But now you have revealed your ace. Why?"

Poof shrugged. "Why do we do anything?" he retorted, getting narrowed eyes from Plagueis. "Vader wants an end to our never-ending war. Sidious won't survive to continue it. That only leaves you, Darth Plagueis. So, as Vader was the first to offer us an olive branch, I thought it most fitting if a member of the council would offer you one in turn."

Plagueis blinked. "You're serious?"

"Rarely, but yes," Yareal answered with a chuckle. "I could have tried to end you, and the very least, I would have gotten far closer than you would have enjoyed."

Plagueis didn't confirm or deny that, which spoke enough for the Jedi.

"Instead, I hope one day that we can have a civil conversation on how the Force can be used to affect the mind," Yareal offered with a wave of his arm.

"...The other Jedi have no idea what you're doing, do they?" Plagueis deduced.

"Not at all. Granted, I believe the Grandmaster has a good guess. Because I doubt you haven't noticed him observing our general direction through the Force," Poof retorted.

Plagueis snorted. "If I could have a civil discussion on the Force with any Jedi, I would surely pick him over you, Master Poof."

"And?" Poof countered with a head tilt. "I would as well, in your shoes. Assuming you have feet."

Plagueis nodded absently. "Still, trading notes over the subject of mental manipulation with a Jedi Master would be an...interesting experience for me, Poof. But in full honesty, I don't see this "ceasefire" between us lasting indefinitely."

"I doubt you're wrong," Yareal agreed. "But the Jedi Order can't really call ourselves Peacekeepers if we didn't try to keep peace ourselves, now can we?"

End Flashback

Sidious's eyes widened as he recognized the being as Yareal Poof, who smiled and waved at the Sith Lord.

With dread in his heart, he turn to his right and saw Vader was there. This was no illusion, Sidious realized, but a simple mind trick. Poof had made him think he was jumping into the Force Push, but instead had jumped against it. He had landed on the same side he started on.

And once more, he was surrounded by the Jedi. To his back was a pit of acid with Yareal Poof on the otherside. To his left was Vader, Mace Windu to the right, and approach from the front was Yoda himself. Not to mention the others flanking them.

The were closing in. Charging, but it looked like it was in slow motion for him.

Sidious breathed heavily. He was done, he knew it. Even if they left him alone, he'd be dead within the hour. That was generous. More likely in twenty minutes.

And off in the far distance, he could see Plagueis walking away with his back towards towards the battle. A battle with a forgone conclusion

Sidious felt his body growing heavy as he lowered his hands...

End of Chapter

And there we go, the curtain fall is finally coming for Sidious. Naturally, Vader couldn't let the man die without taking a round with him. And while he'll probably try to take someone out with him, Sidious himself has accepted he is dead. Vader and Plagueis seem to be willing to work together, and Plagueis appears to be at least willing to play along with whatever ceasefire forms between the Jedi Order and the Sith Order.

And I'm surprised but happy that none of you noticed that Yareal Poof completely vanished after the car ride with Vader! One of my long term plans there that paid off. Along with Vader's bag of tricks from Tatooine. He got what he needed to insulate his suit, somewhat. Weither due to lack or time, resources, or both, he could one insulate one arm though.

As for the Acid trap: Its the abandon industrial section of Coruscant, where forsaken factories are still running on auto. I'd be surprised of there wasn't a pool of industrial acid just sitting around somewhere in that place. And I've seen the comic where Vader goes back to Mustafar and literally is submerged in and running through Lava without being harmed at all. So I wanted to give him a scene like that.

Well, until next time, I hope you all enjoyed this!

PLEASE READ: In my quest to become an original writer, I've decided to regularly start posting chapters to my original stories on my pat-reon, one chapter a month. I currently have two stories:

"Among the Amazons," depicting the journey of a man named Kazimir as a slave of the Amazon Empire.

"I Am The Apocalypse," telling the story of a vaguely trope-aware person finding himself with the body of a powerful monster in a fantasy world.

First chapter is free for both.

p a treon . com (slash) akumakami64