Author's Note: Utter boredom plus a spare computer plus one scrap of a Fantasia Barrino song stuck in my head equals, well, this.


Truth Is...

I have every reason in the galaxy to be grateful to my Master.

I had been lost in a sea of lies--I had grown so used to the evil around me that I barely even understood it was wrong until my Master came for me. He rescued me from a life that I could not have escaped on my own. I had no future--I had nothing--until he appeared, almost out of nowhere, and took me away. Sometimes I wonder, deep down, if I've done enough to repay him for all that.

But I do try--really, I do. I understand that he took a chance on me, but surely I've put his fears to rest by now. We work perfectly as a team, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

As I said, I have every reason to be grateful to Lord Sidious.

The first time I sat down with him, I was shocked at the things he said. I left hurriedly, because I didn't want to confront the infirmities within my precious Order. But I couldn't stop my mind from wandering that night, and always all I could think of his words. It seemed amazing to me that he, a civilian and a politician, could know so much about the Jedi. And he was right in his critiques--he was always right. I had been blinded to the lies of the Jedi, and he had almost literally opened my eyes. The very next day, I saw dozens of examples of exactly the flaws he had pointed out, and each time it happened, I felt a tiny burst of forbidden excitement explode somewhere inside me. I had grown up with the Jedi tenets branded in my mind for so long, it was difficult to see anything else--even as a prisoner will grow used to his chains over time--but on that day I felt as though I had been liberated.

I asked for more, the very next time I saw him.

Lord Sidious was destined to rise to greater heights--that was no great secret. I was only lucky enough that he chose to take me with him. I didn't realize how much I had been lacking in my education until he showed me the feats that the light side of the Force could not manage. It was surprisingly easy to master these--I wondered at this, until he told me that I had been practicing unconsciously ever since I had become a Jedi. Each time I grew angry and used the Force with that feeling, I had been teaching myself in his absence. Before, I had been forced to feel ashamed each time I had fought with my rage--now, Lord Sidious allowed me to use the power I had been granted from birth, and praised me in it.

My secret thirst for the knowledge he had slowly grew into an obsession. As the months went by, I saw less and less of other Jedi; I spent more time at the Senate House in that year than I had in all the rest of my life put together. I wanted--I needed--his approval. He possessed something that I did not, and I wanted it so desperately that, at times, I could almost taste it.

And then finally, when he felt I was ready, he offered me the chance to become his apprentice.

Only briefly did I think of Obi-Wan, waiting for me at the Temple. I could not deny that we had grown to be more than just student and Master over the years, but lately he had been pushing me away whenever I tried to get close to him. I was young, but I was not so foolish that I could not understand where my best interests lay. And so I accepted, with all my heart.

I have come so far since then. My Master built an empire, with myself at his side, and we accomplished what that pathetic bunch of whining senators could never have done: we restored peace. We eliminated the troublemakers that would have disrupted the newly-found balance, and the galaxy was the better for it. And all the while I was the Emperor's right hand--truly, I was the Chosen One.

Now I kneel before my Master, secure in the knowledge that I have done right. I shudder when I think where my life would have ended, had it not been for his generosity. He has taken me farther than I ever could have come on my own, especially with Kenobi dragging me down.

I was rescued from Kenobi's trap just in the nick of time, I realize that now. Had I been allowed to follow the instincts they had given me and gone to him, tried to speak with him, perhaps none of this would have come about. Lord Sidious was the only person who could teach me as I needed to be taught--all Kenobi ever did for me was hold me back.

But as I kneel, I look into my Master's face, disfigured long ago from old age and the strain of hiding such a power as the Dark Side. And through it I think I see, just for an instant, the face of a man with light blue eyes and ginger hair and a kind expression.

Lord Sidious taught me well; but I feel nothing for him but respect and reverence, and I will never do otherwise. His feelings toward me vary at times, but I know the same holds for him as well: his heart is cold, as mine is not, and he will never care for me. It is a great fault of mine that I cannot feel the same detachment from my baser emotions.

Obi-Wan Kenobi lied to me, tricked me, hurt me, and used me. He deserved a far more painful death than the one I provided.

But he did love me. And I did love him back, once upon a time. It is the one thing my Master can never give me.

In the darkest time of night sometimes I feel a raw, gnawing pain inside my mind, so powerful that at times it is physical. I know its cause, but I will never tell anyone. The truth is not for everyone's ears--it is my curse only.

Because the truth is, I miss him.