Chapter One

The Clone Wars had ended and the Republic lay in ruins at the feet of Chancellor Palpatine. The Senate had broken into small parts, each member desperately hanging onto their position by a loose thread. Each planet quickly pledged allegiance to Palpatine, immediately bestowing near sovereignty into his eager hands.

Fear struck into the hearts of every person as those who opposed Palpatine were rounded and executed. Palpatine quickly used his newfound power to establish an Empire. An Empire that would reign supreme and dictate over the entire galaxy. An Empire that would be ruled by Palpatine and his second in command…Lord Vader.

Ex-Senator Padme Amidala rushed to the window. An Imperial starship had just landed on Corusant and the entire city was in sudden turmoil and chaos. Padme realized that it was imperative that she go into hiding immediately, as there was a bounty out for every former senator that refused to join Palpatine and Vader.

Vader. That name sent a ghostly shiver up her spine. She knew next to nothing about the man except for the fact that he was formerly known as Anakin Skywalker. The man that still held her heart, despite their bitter parting two years ago.

She trembled with anxiety and fear at her thoughts. He had been so desperate. So desperate for her acceptance of his love. Yet, she could not. She could not bear to allow him to give up his lifelong dream, what he had given up so much for. He had to become a Jedi, or else his mother's death would have been in vain. And now, Shmi's death was in vain. Anakin was now Lord Vader, a dark, unfeeling being who had ventured into a world of tyranny and oppression. Anakin was now a man she prayed she would never have to see again in her lifetime. Yet, she had a sinking feeling that they would meet again all too soon.

Her thoughts were interrupted by her handmaiden, Sabe, who now stood breathlessly in front of her.

"M'lady, the transport is ready. Come quickly, we must go."

Padme nodded in quick response, gathered up the few belongings she had managed to pack and followed Sabe's hurried retreat. They both covered themselves with thin veils, in an attempt to disguise their presence.

The brisk walk to the transport went surprisingly smooth and they boarded without much trouble. Almost as quickly as they had boarded, the transport exploded with blaster fire and the passengers searched frantically for cover. Padme and Sabe rushed to the farthest corner they could find, knowing what would happen if they were discovered.

The blaster fire ceased abruptly and heavy footsteps made their way into the ship. One by one, each passenger was escorted from the transport with a blaster to their heads. A dark, cloaked figure awaited for each passenger. He impatiently tapped his black boot on the ground. He had wasted enough time and he was not going to wait any longer to find what he was looking for.

"Lord Vader?"

"What?" He barked, irritated to have been interrupted from his thoughts.

"We found her."

Those three words were what he had been hoping to hear and he turned on his heel to follow the storm trooper who had given him the long-awaited news. He had to stop himself from running the short distance between him and the passengers, now prisoners, aboard the suspected rebel transport. He grimaced at his quickened heart beat and the way his hands began to clench and unclench in nervousness. He had to get a hold of himself, after all, anxiety was not in his nature. Not until recently at least. He hadn't felt this way for two years.

His pace quickened even more as he was now practically running to where three storm troopers stood. When they saw the dark cloak approaching, they quickly bowed and stepped aside, revealing a very frightened Padme and Sabe.

His heart clenched in his chest at his first sight of her in two years. She was still as beautiful as ever and her fear pleased yet alarmed him at the same time. Pushing that thought away, he shifted his gaze to his storm troopers.

"Well, what are you waiting for?"

The troopers immediately prodded Padme and Sabe with their blasters and then ceased swiftly after receiving a deadly stare from Lord Vader.

Padme walked quickly, trying desperately to hide her fear from the man, outwardly, was Anakin Skywalker. The way he seemed hover behind her, so close she could almost feel his breath on her ear, simply unnerved her. He seemed to sense her discomfort at his closeness, he maintained more of a distance between them. Once there was more space between them, she could think more clearly. Anakin or Vader was now her captor. What was he planning on doing with her?

Padme shifted nervously in her chair as she waited for her captor to arrive. He had followed them all the way to her new room, as he called it, and then had disappeared shortly. Her anxiety heightened with each passing moment. Was this how she was going to spend her last moments alive? With the monster that still managed to have a firm grip on her heart? Her heart beat accelerated when she heard foot steps from the hallway. This was it. The moment of truth.

Her captor walked briskly into the room. For the first time, Padme was able to really look at him. He looked the same, his hair was slightly longer and he seemed more muscular than before, but his beautiful eyes that still captivated her were colder and unfeeling. Not the eyes she had once drowned in two years ago, but yet, she felt herself drowning in them yet again.

Vader walked towards her until he was almost unbearably close. He smiled slowly as his eyes traveled along her small frame.

"Hello Padme."

She refused to look at him, and after several moments of her silence, his smile faded slightly.

"You have nothing to say to me after all this time?"

She shook her head furiously, still refusing to make eyes contact with him.

His eyes narrowed slightly at her defiance. This would not do. She had to accept him. And if she didn't, he would make her. He would not be rejected twice.

"Padme, I understand you were attempting to flee the Empire. However, I've been searching for you for some time now. In fact, I started searching the moment we started executing former Senators. You see, I couldn't allow that to happen to you. A woman like you deserves so much more than that."

"What, a slow, painful death as opposed to a quick shot to the head?" Padme fired back angrily, unwittingly breaking her silence.

His expression changed faintly at her outburst. Her voice was still melodious, even if she was furious with him.

"That's not what I meant. I have absolutely no intention of killing you or harming you for that matter. The intent of my search was to rescue you from certain death."

"Rescue me? Since when are you my knight in shining armor? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are a mass murderer and a Sith lord. I want nothing to do with you, even if that seals my fate."

His nostrils flared in sudden anger. She had some nerve to refuse his assistance.

"Padme, I don't wish to argue with you. It's very simple and you have no choice in the matter. What's done is done. Final."

Her eyes narrowed at the cruel smile that appeared on his handsome face.

"What are you talking about, Anakin?"

His face transformed from calm to menacing in a split second.

"That name no longer has any meaning to me!" He roared.

Padme didn't flinch, yet his harsh words and angry tone both hurt and frightened her.

"I'm sorry. I suppose I don't know what to call you." She whispered.

He exhaled and drew another labored breath.

"Vader. My name is Vader."

They were silent for several minutes. Vader contemplated the next best course of action while Padme desperately attempted to suppress her tears. Finally, Vader broke the uncomfortable silence.

"In regards to the matter at hand, you will become my wife in exchange for your life."

A slight smile appeared yet again on his handsome face as he surveyed her shock. She, on the other hand, was completely outraged at what he was suggesting.

"I will never marry you!"

His slight smile turned into a sinister one.

"Like I said, you don't have a choice."