SHADOWED LIGHT

By Laura-chan

Summary: Padmé Amidala is a young Senator in the Imperial Senate; but when she's suspected of being a Rebel, the Emperor sends his most trusted servant to investigate.

Time: AU

Rating: M/R mind the rating, MAY go up.

Pairing: Vader-Anakin/Padmé

Warning: I'm Italian, not English, so please don't mind too much my mistakes.

Disclaimer: I own only the plot of this story. Characters and background situations all belong to Mister Lucas.


CHAPTER 3

Darth Vader knelt down and bowed his head.

"My Lord." He greeted, as the hologram of Darth Sidious nodded.

"Raise, my friend." The Emperor's wrinkled face contorced in an evil smirk. "So, how it went?"

"I've captured her, my Lord... but I've still not been able to extract any information from her." 'Only moans of desire.' He added mentally.

Darth Sidious was serious and quite displeased, and did nothing to hide it.

"That's not good at all, Lord Vader. If she doesn't talk, terminate her; I don't want to waste my time with something so useless. She won't be useful to us."

Vader's form stiffened almost unnoticeably.

"With your permission, I have a better idea, my Lord."

"A better idea?" Sidious showed great interest and curiosity.

Vader watched his Master with intense azure eyes, reflecting the desire he felt; Sidious observed him for a few seconds then hissed.

"You want her."

It was a statement, not a question.

"Give her to me: she will be a good pet, one worthy of a man such as myself." Vader humbly said, trying to persuade the Emperor. Actually, the idea of killing Padmé Amidala made him nervous and he inwardly cursed his weakness.

Darth Sidious was silent for a few minutes and Vader could feel he was attentively thinking about his apprentice's proposal.

"Very well, " he eventually said, chuckling. "I'm sure you will use – or should I say abuse? – her well." His eyes were as hard as steel,. "I expect her to give me no troubles."

"She won't, My Master."

"Now that this matter is over, tell me what happened on Kashyyyk."

Vader smiled: he should have known that his Master already knew of the attack.

"Two Rebel ships attacked one of our Stardestroyers: I had to intervene and defeat the Rebel. Unfortunately I wasn't able to completely destroy Jedi Master Mace Windu, but I gave him a good scare. He escaped. "

"How many Jedi were there?"

"Only two, Master. I suspect they had grown too few to attack in large numbers."

The Emperor chuckled darkly.

"This is good news, indeed. Well, Lord Vader, I shall not keep you longer from collecting your...prize." he smirked.

Vader smirked too, ansiously wanting to go back to the beautiful woman.

"You're dismissed, my friend: but I expect you back on Coruscant next week."

"Of course, my Lord."

Vader walked back to the Senator's quarters, feeling quite proud of having convinced the Emperor to let him keep Padmé Amidala as his pet...for now.

He entered the apartment to find her still asleep.

'I have exhausted her more than I thought.' He chuckled; then, his eyes took greedily in her now-covered body. With a gesture of his fingers the blanket was swept away and Padmé's form was revealed to him in all its naked glory.

He wanted more, he needed more.

The Sith Lord undressed and lied next to the sleeping former-Senator.


She woke up feeling so tired that she couldn't move a limb.

Padmé didn't remember doing anything strenuous... I mean, the Senate debate had been difficult as usual, but it couldn't have tired her so much... she remembered chatting with her handmaidens on the ship that was bringing her back to Naboo...then... Yes! Her ship had been attacked and...

She gasped.

Darth Vader! She had given herself to that disgusting Sith! Well, he wasn't so disgusting... in fact he was quite handsome...but that was not the point!

He was an enemy of the Rebellion!

He had captured her and almost killed Mace Windu!

And, she thought grimly, he had succeeded in seducing her.

How was she going to face her friends now.? If she ever was going back to them.

How could have she fallen so low, behaving like a simple whore?

She was a Senator, had been a Queen, and didn't fall easily in front of men's charms!

But - she blushed – he had shown her new highs of pleasure, with his hands and mouth...

Padmé moaned in despair - she couldn't be possibily thinking like this!

She sat up leaning on her hands - trying to shake away the dizziness in her head - stopping when she heard a chuckle: opening her eyes, Padmé widened them at the sight of a very handsome, very very NAKED Sith Lord.

"Awake?" Vader smirked.

The young woman screamed, backing against the bed's headboard.

"I'll take it as a yes." He shrugged, crawling over to her.

With a gasp she noticed she was bare too – Padmé inwardly berated herself for forgetting about her undressed state – and grasped the sheets to cover herself; but the Dark Lord ripped it off of her, staring hungrily at her breasts.

She gasped, this time indignately, and brought her hands up to cover her chest, but an invisible force stilled her movements, gripping her wrists: she looked up and noted Vader's raised hand. The former Senator grew angry: he was using the Force to keep her from preserving her modesty!

"Stop that right now!" she exclaimed angrily.

Vader's azure eyes were fixed on hers.

"Isn't a bit too late for modesty, milady?" he asked sarcastically as he easily leaned over her, hissing when his hard body touched her soft one.

His relaxed, pleased expression for a moment captivated Padmé: he looked quite young and defendless with that look on his face and she wondered once again how old was he exactly.

Vader opened the eyes he had closed and bent down to capture her lips.

Padmé struggled, the harsh reality of who this man really was hitting her in full force, but soon she was overpowered and gave in, hating her body's betraying reactions.

Feeling her relax and slowly answer to his ministrations, Vader lost all of his inhibitions and entered her roughly, not actually caring about her discomfort: soon they were engaged in the most ancient dance of the galaxy.


Darth Vader, in his bed clothes (black trousers and a cream coloured tunic), was sitting on the blood-red couch of the quarters assigned to Padmé Amidala on the Executor: he was very satisfied, having just decided that he was going to move her into his own apartments.

His gaze was lost in the stars he could see from the window that covered almost the entire wall in front of him: a memory came unbidden to him...

'I want to be the first to see them all!'

...and he locked it in the back of his mind, wanting to forget the innocent voice saying that to a delighted woman.

The Dark Lord was now lost in more pleasant reveries... like the memory of the previous night; a night of pure pleasure and lust.

He had finally captured Padmé Amidala...the woman he had wanted since he had first seen her; it had been a long wait, but he had patiently waited for his moment – all the while his fascination had bordered on obsession.

He still remembered their first meeting...

Ten Years Before...

Anakin Skywalker was nervous, but not afraid: he had lost his fear the moment his mother had been murdered by the Tusken – the Sand-People of Tatooine – right before his own eyes. He would have probably been killed too, if his new Master hadn't appeared in front of him, easily defeating the Tusken: Anakin had watched in awe the red blade tracing figures in the air as it cut an arm, a leg, a head... And he had revelled in the sight of blood flowing on the sand.

Now he was following his saviour into the magnificent halls of the Senate Palace on Coruscant: Anakin observed everything he saw, happy to finally be away from the desert planet of Tatooine.

It was the first time he went to Coruscant, but he could easily imagine to be the only eleven years old child ever been able to enter the Galactic Senate beside the now–elected Emperor, formerly known as Chancellor of the Republic.

Anakin raised his gaze and watched his mentor, Emperor Palpatine, who was talking with some Senators (the boy grimaced – he didn't like politicians, aside from the Emperor) and Mas Amedda, his aide.

After Shmi's Skywalker's death, Palpatine had put Anakin under his protective wing, promising him to help him become strong... 'So powerful to stop people from dying.'

The Emperor smiled kindly at him. "Anakin, why don't you wait for me out there? Senate sessions aren't made for young men... you will soon get bored."

Of course Anakin nodded, inwardly pleased that Palpatine had called him 'man' and not 'boy'.

He began wandering around in the enormous hallways of the Senate Palace, wondering about his new life.

After some hours he was quite unfortunate to bump in a group of 18 years old boys, who were laughing at some silly joke.

"Hey, watch it, little boy!" one said, leering at Anakin and pushing him to the side.

"I'm not a little boy!" Anakin argued hotly, only to be kicked by a second boy.

"Shut up, brat... you're not even worthy to lick our shoes..."

They watched him curiously, but still smirking.

"And what is doing someone like you in the Senate?

"I'm here with Emperor Palpatine!"

The group began laughing loudly and Anakin had never felt so embarassed.

"Of course, you're with the Emperor...And I'm Sly Moore!'

Anakin had met Sly Moore... she was another one of Palpatine's aides.

"Oh." He smirked "I didn't know you were a woman, milady."

Apparently the older boy didn't find his joke so funny; a punch came from nowhere to hit in on the cheek. But Anakin was the first human ever been able to attent the Bonta Eve, the most dangerous podrace in the galaxy which was held on Tatooine, and had exceptional reflexes. He ducked and avoided being hit by the other boy's fist. It instead hit the wall and the boy howled in pain.

"We'll teach you a lesson you will never forget!" growled his friends as Anakin stepped back.

"Stop this right now." Said a calm, but authoritative voice. And then she appeared.

She was beautiful in every way: her hazel eyes expressed intelligence and confidence, her long hair was held back by a multitude of braids, her face was clean and her features lovely.

Her harmonious form was covered by an elegant purple gown and the way she bore herself screamed royalty and inner power.

Anakin was instantly smitten.

"S-Senator Amidala!" one of the boys stammered and Anakin's eyes widened.

A Senator? But this girl couldn't have been much older than him... around 16 years old he thought.

He searched in his mind and finally remembered something Palpatine told him during their travel to Coruscant: the old man had been a Senator under one of Naboo's youngest Queens – Amidala – before becoming Chancellor.

So this was the famous Senator Amidala: the young boy had heard tales about the invasion of the Trade Federation on Naboo, that she had been able to stop. Quite an amazing girl was she.

Padmè Amidala's hard gaze fized the boys, who were older that her too, and said.

"You should be ashamed of yourself: attacking a boy younger than you...you could have seriously hurt him!"

"But...Senator..." they tried to explain.

"No buts!" she interrupted them. "There's no excuse for your abhorring behaviour. This time I'll let it pass, but don't think next time you'll be as lucky! Now go away before I lose my patience."

The group didn't need to be told twice and disappeared in a matter of seconds, murmuring unfelt apologies.

Amidala's gaze softened as she turned to watch Anakin, his mouth wide open.

"Wow..." he said lowly. "You were great!"

Amidala blushed but then smiled at the funny boy in front of her.

"I just hate this kind of behaviour: it's unbecoming of young men. I think they learned their lesson."

"Are you an angel?"

"What?"

Anakin felt stupid as he saw the older girl watching him surprised.

"Angels... I have heard they live on the Moons of Iego and that they're the most beautiful and kindest creatures of the galaxy."

Amidala laughed softly, not wanting to offend the boy who had just complimented her.

"No, I don't think I'm an angel." She smiled. "I'm Senator Padmé Amidala from Naboo."

"I'm Anakin Skywalker." He said eagerly.

The young boy watched her with intense eyes and Padmé squirmed, uncomfortable under the heated gaze.

'Now, don't be absurd, Padmé: he is only a boy, there's no need to feel nervous.'

"Well, Anakin Skywalker, it was nice to meet you." She smiled. "But now I'm afraid I have to go."

"It was a pleasure to meet you!" Anakin grinned charmingly and Padmé laughed.

'I'm going to marry you.'

Padmé suddenly lifted her eyes, looking for someone, feeling confused: then, she turned back to Anakin.

"Excuse me, did you say anything?"

"No, why?" the young boy answered innocently.

Realizing she looked stupid, she giggled nervously. "Nothing... I just... heard something... I think."

The Senator's gaze was lost for a few seconds then she shook her head and smiled weakly.

"I'm sorry, it's just that I'm really tired. Then, I'll see you around, Anakin Skywalker."

"Certainly, milady."

Padmé smiled and disappeared around a corner.

Anakin grinned widely: he had tested his new-found powers on the Senator... and even if he had found quite difficult to mind-speak, he was glad he had been able to do it.

And what he had said to her was true: he could feel that then girl he had just met was going to change his destiny. One day, hopefully one not too far, she would be his.

"We'll meet each other again, Padmé Amidala." He said, savoring her name with a smile. "I'll make sure of that."

Present Time...

She had obviously not recognized him.

Vader smirked: of course – how could one connect a sweet, innocent boy with the tall, handsome Dark Lord of the Sith?

Everything he had predicted more than a decade before had become true: well, almost everything. In fact, he wanted her to completely belong to him, to utterly surrender to him: that would be a sweet victory, indeed.

And it wouldn't be only his victory over her, but also the Empire's victory over the Rebellion.

Vader turned to look at the young woman lying on the bed, her chest slowly raising and lowering with every breath she took: yes – he decided – there would be time to get informations out of her – there was no need to hurry.

He smirked satisfied.

Padmè didn't realize how lucky she was that Vader liked her so much, because otherwise she would have been tortured long and hard: physical tortures, mind-numbing, excruciating, pure agony with unbearably hot or deathly cold devices.

But the Sith wanted her to be – physically – intact: he wanted Padmé for himself, for his pleasure, he wanted her to be bound and dipendent from him.

A first step in that direction had already been taken; now there was the second...

Vader's comlink bipped and he sighed when realized he was needed on the main deck: was he the only man capable to pilot that ship for more than five hours? He hoped there weren't troubles, because he wasn't in the mood to deal with incompetent ufficials.

With a last longing look to Padmé, he dressed and was soon out of the apartaments.


Padmé scrubbed herself frantically in the shower, hoping to get off her skin the feel of Him: his hands, his kisses, his lips, his perfume…him.

She had woken up dizzy and confused, finding a messy bed: her memories coming back in a moment, the young woman had immediately began searching for her captor.

When it was evident that Vader wasn't in the room she had breathed in relief: she didn't want to confront him first thing after waking up.

Padmé really hated how her body responded to him, betraying her mind: she was disgusted by herself. What would Obi-wan say if he could see her now? And Dormé? Or Sabé? And what about her family? And...

...Palo? What would think of her if he saw her in the arms of another man? She really couldn't help but feel like she was betraying him... her sweet Palo.

She was starting to cry but then shook her head.

'No.' Padmé thought angrily. 'He doesn't deserve my tears... He doesn't deserve anything, that monster. I hate him, I hate him...I HATE HIM!'

The former Senator continued scrubbing and couldn't help but compare the two men.

Palo was gentle, a dear friend... he treated her with respect and had never pushed her into something she didn't want to do.

Vader was... Vader: dark, menacing, cruel, obsessive, agressive... and still Padmé knew she was a bit attracted by him.

She had always thought that Palo was the most handsome man in the entire galaxy, but after seeing the Dark Lord of the Sith her views had changed. Vader was beautiful in a dangerous way, lethal as a viper and seductive as a cobra... he was like a mortal poison, which at first tastes sweet then softly kills you.

Everytime Padmé looked into his icy blue eyes, she would fall deeply into their depths, losing awareness of herself, and she would forgot everything around her.

The Senator in her didn't like to lose control: everything she had done in her life – especially her political one – had been based on the tight control she had on herself and over her emotions. And now, this...this man came and destroyed what she had done for most part of her life.

Padmé remembered well what he had said the first time he had laid with her.

"Now I'm going to show you that you're not only a politician, but also a woman... a very real and solid woman."

How long had she felt tired of being Amidala? Since when had she been able to behave like Padmé?

She loved her life, she loved helping others... but she felt the need to take some time for herself too; and, maybe, she was attracted by Vader because he'd been the only one to notice how truly she wanted to be her real self. He had freed her from the shackles she had put on herself and she, albeit unwilling, had followed him.

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that Vader was a monster: a horrid monster enclosed in a handsome man's body.

With a sigh she exited the shower, her normally pink skin now red from all the scrubbling. Wrapping a towel around her body and using another one to dry her hair, she got out the bathroom, intending to take a nap: she really felt tired, not having sleeping much.

Padmé let the towel fall to the floor, a hand reaching for the clothes she had prepared on the bed; just then, two large hands grabbed her from behind and pushed her against a warm body.

The former Senator would have rolled her eyes, if she wasn't so intent in fixing them to his face, glaring at him.

Vader ignored her look and embraced her tightly, keeping her from struggling too much.

He kissed her forehead, startling her into silence; Padmé was actually stunned by the gesture of affection – he had been passionate, heated, but never affectionate... and this kept her on the toes... who knew what was he planning?

"Is there something you want?" she asked sarcastically.

"The Emperor gave you to me." The Sith simply said, looking straight into Padmé's blazing eyes.

She broke the circle of his arms angrily.

"So, I'm just...something you and Palpatine can play with?" she hissed "I'm not his or yours...I'm my own person and I have my rights! You can't just 'give' a person to someone!"

The young woman was really disbelieving: how could they treat people like that?

"I'm not going to stand here and watch as you and the Emperor play space-volleyball with me!"

"It's not really something you have power over." Vader's menacing figure towered over her.

"The Emperor can do whatever he wants; the Senate is not foolish enough to disobey him."

"Corrupted people, aren't they?" Padmé replied back, sarcasm filling the statement.

Vader drew her back to him, expecting some fighting from her; instead, she went still.

"What is it?"

"Well, kill me." The woman answered flatly. "Is it not what you want to do?"

His laugh was harsh and loud.

"Kill you?" he gasped for breath. "You really believe I want to kill you?"

Vader turned her to look at him, an arm wrapped around her waist, his free hand grasping both of her wrists.

"You really believe.." he growled in her face "...that I did all of this, went through all of this...just to kill you?" his eyes narrowed. "Maybe you're more stupid than you seem."

"You arrogant, deceitful ba--." she began, outraged, only to be silenced by his deep kiss.

Vader released her wrists only to wrap both arms around her, touching her silky skin, stroking it. With her hands free, Padmé began pounding her small fists against his chest, even knowing it was useless: Vader didn't let her go, only tightened his embrace.

He broke apart to breathe and Padmé took it as her chance to get free, her cheeks flushed.

"How dare you..."

"Shouldn't you be worried about your future?" he said, smirking.

"Why? Am I not going to become your sex slave?" sarcasm filled once again her voice.

"Oh no." The Sith laughed.

The young woman bit her lower lip, then quickly schooled her expression.

"Then what?"

"We're going to marry tomorrow."

It took some time for her brain to elaborate these words.

"WHAT?" her eyes stared disbelieving at him. "You're completely crazy if you believe I'm going to marry you!" she exclaimed, before laughing a hollow laugh that would have freezed the blood in the veins of those who knew her.

"I'm too young to marry. And, believe me," Padmé said, her eyes fixing him with a icy glare "I would die before marrying you."

Vader's own eyes flashed, impressed but also outraged, and he grasped her wrist, tightening painfully his grip.

"You are not too young to marry." Hearing her hiss, a satisfied smile came across his face.

"And I believe I told you have no choice but taking me as your husband."

"I'm engaged!" she protested furiously.

"So, it is in Naboo's tradition to sleep with a man while promised to another?"

That hurt: not that she was ever going to admit it.

"As you said, I had no choice." The woman hissed again. "You took me."

"I may have taken you..." he answered amused, "...but I didn't rape you."

That also was true and they both knew it; Padmé struggled not to be defeated by the Sith but didn't have anything to say back. Lips opened to let a frustrated sigh pass.

"And I don't want to hear about other men. There will be no one else but me."

"Arrogant and cocky. My, my, what a prize I got." Sarcasm once again filled her voice.

The former Senator found herself back in the arms of the enemy, his rough tunic bruising her soft skin. Suddenly his mouth found hers and Vader stole her breath, his tongue searching hers.

She gasped when a hand cupped and squeezed her ass with force, and opened her eyes to glare silently at the man in front of her, who just smiled against her lips.

They broke and Vader grasped her chin, making her look at him.

"I'm the only one who can do this to you."

"You overstimate yourself."

He growled, seriously annoyed by her behaviour.

"I'm warning you, Senator, it is best not to anger me; I tend to get a bit violent..." his hand caressed her throat and collarbone "...and I'd hate to mark something so pure and beautiful."

Padmé scoffed, but said nothing, looking downward.

Vader didn't like how she refused to met his eyes. His grip returned to her chin and he deeply kissed, again, the defiant woman: she was infuriating, but – oh! – how she excited him!

His free hand traveled across her bare back, loving the feel of the now familiar skin.

The Sith felt her tremble slightly in his arms and smirked inwardly, slowly but inesorably pushing her towards the bed.

But Padmé wasn't so far gone not to realize his intentions.

"Again?" she gasped incredulously "You are insatiable!"

Vader laughed out loud.

"My dear Padmé, I've been waiting for you for ten years." His eyes bore deeply into her own.

"Do you really believe I would be satisfied after two or three times?"

He gave her no time for answer as he sealed her lips with his.


Padmé stared blanky ahead as Alura hurried around her, adjusting to perfection the stunning azure dress the former Senator was wearing: her wedding gown.

Padmé's cheeks were rosy because of her make-up; after waking up that morning, fortunately alone in bed, she had cried and cried, causing her whole face to redden.

Usually brides cry on their wedding day because they're happy: but hers were tears of despair.

To be legally bound to Darth Vader was something she didn't believe she could stand: and in a few hours her nightmares would become reality.

All too soon, a young ufficial, who Padmé would later get to know as Alura's husband, knocked on the door, asking if she was ready: Vader was waiting.

When Padmé entered the little, intimate room where their wedding would be celebrated, she couldn't help but feel like throwing up: a sick feeling originated from her stomach, bile rising in her throat. She took a deep breath, straightening her shoulders and walking forward, her lovely face pale.

As she moved, the young Dark Lord admired the beautiful figure of his wife-to-be: from the outside you wouldn't have thought it, but inside he was a nervous wreck. In fact, he had finally ackowledged that marriage was a big step; one thing was seducing someone, another was marrying that someone.

But he knew that there wouldn't be anyone more worthy of him than Padmé Amidala... and he wanted no one else.

In the room there were very few people: the bride, the groom, the priest, Alura and her husband (chosen because of their loyalty to Vader) and C-3PO (Padmé had no idea why he was present).

The wedding was short and it ended with a quick kiss between an eager husband and a reluctant wife; Padmé had a sick look on her face and Vader couldn't help but notice, a frown taking the place of his previous grin.

They seemed a bad-assorted pair.

The Sith Lord brought his new bride to his quarters (it wasn't like she needed hers anymore), now slightly irritated by her disgusted and disgrunted look.

"You could try to look a bit happier." He gritted his teeth

"Why should I?"

"I'm your husband!"

"You're simply crazy." She whispered, "You forced me to marry you, you who are one of the men I hate the most."

He inhaled sharply.

"You hate me this much?"

"And more."

"Why?"

Padmè laughed an hollow laugh.

"You are really asking me why I hate you?" she looked at him right into the eyes. "You and your Emperor have destroyed everything I held dear, everything I fought for! I love democracy, I loved the Republic, and now the galaxy is under the control of a mad man who wants the ultimate power! He has the power to decide who is going to die and who is going to live... who is he to take this kind of decisions? Who is he to say that something is wrong and something else right? The Republic was far from being perfect, but at least we were free! Palpatine canceled every freedom we had! We are just his prisoners..." Her voice trailed off in a whisper, "...and you more than everyone else. I really don't know if I pity or despise you."

Vader's heart clenched in his chest as hurt filled his entire being.

"You really hate me..." it was a statement, not a question.

Padmé arched an eyebrow.

"Well, what did you expect? Me to be grateful of being kidnapped by you?" she said sarcastically. "Well, you'll be terribly disappointed."

His heartbeat quickened.

She...she couldn't hate him! No, she simply couldn't!

Padmé found herself slammed against the wall, a pair of lips kissing desperately hers, strong hands diving under her gown and parting her legs. With a sigh of surrender she stayed still, waiting for him to end.

Vader remotely realized that the woman in his arms wasn't answering to his ministrations, but was too hurt and pained to care. With a hand he opened his trousers and entered her roughtly, stifling her yelp with his mouth: harshly, he took her, not caring about her well-being, but only caring about his needs and the urge to mark her someway, to show everyone – even her – who she did belong to. His thrusts were uncoordinated and painful, but Padmé did not even gasp as her body was pushed harder and harder against the wall.

Finally, Vader finished and stayed still, panting in the hollow of her neck and savoring the sweet smell of sex that clinged to her.

When Padmé started talking, her voice came out only as a whisper:

"...Do you really this is going to change things between us?"

Startled, Vader moved his head away from her, eyes open wide: he stared in her calm, but tired face and suddenly realized what he had done.

He moved completely away from her, shaking his head: with something similar to a scared expression on his face, he ran away and left a disbelieving Padmé standing there alone.

(to be continued)


AN: Hope you like this extremely long chapter; I know it came out late, but I've been REALLY busy, and when I say busy, then I mean ABSOLUTELY AND COMPLETELY BUSY.

I almost did not have time for myself.

Well, if you liked this chapter, please just review and make me happy: reviews are what keep me going on. Thank you for reading and thanks a lot to everyone who reviewed: I love you guys to bits, what would I do without you? I'm glad you appreciate my work, and just know that I adore every single review you send in. Once again, THANK YOU