A/N: Okay, yeah, I suck for abandoning this story again. Wow, SNL's funny. Heehee.
Disclaimer: It's not mine…sadly.
Silence. The harsh silvery clanking of eating utensils against plates the only noise.
I moved the food on my plate around idly with my fork, daydreaming about stabbing the fork right into Palpatine's black, atrophied heart, if he even had one. Palpatine stared at me, his veiny yellow eyes burning into me out of his purple face. I was sure he could tell what I was thinking, so I quickly glanced down at my plate and tried to clear my mind of thoughts as I'd been doing for a year. But this time, I couldn't bite back the swelling tide of rage that formed behind my eyes every time I looked at the monster who had created this hell out of my life. People are not toys, to be played with, nor are they gamepieces, to be moved and manipulated for your own gain! I wanted to scream at him. He looked at me, and I knew he felt my anger through the Force because of the twisted, broken, horrible facsimile of a smile that found purchase on his face.
"You say your wife is perfectly compliant to the Empire in thought and deed," he observed neutrally to Anakin.
"Thought crimes are not punishable, Chancellor," I said icily, furious with him for addressing Anakin rather than me, as if I were incapable of answering his charge. The title and the tone I used slipped naturally from my lips before I could check it.
"But not addressing me by my proper title is," he responded.
"Oh, but I am addressing you by your proper, legal, right title," I protested calmly.
"You are incorrect," he informed me.
"I am not," I said fiercely. Anakin was held helpless, which I enjoyed seeing, for once. Our positions were reversed; he was held silent and I could speak. "You did not pass it as a resolution, you merely-"
"No one objected, everyone voted for it." He glared at her. "You did, too, as I remember."
"And the armed guards standing at every exit were what, decoration?" I burst out.
"They were protection," he said.
"Protection from what! The fake Separatist threat that you orchestrated? The Jedi that were trying to defend the Republic and democracy from your evil, you Sith Lord!" I was standing now, screaming; he was cold and calm, Anakin was staring at me, horrified, furious, openmouthed, frozen. "And for your information, had I not been pregnant, I would not have voted for you, no matter what anyone else said!"
"What would your pregnancy have to do with anything?" asked Palpatine. He tried for his old tone, his fatherly, benevolent tone, but it wasn't cutting any ice. Not anymore.
"Your damned armed guards might have killed me! And for myself, I wouldn't have cared- democracy is more important than I am- but for my children, I did care- I couldn't do it!" My knife was clutched in my hand; I hadn't even realized it was there. Palpatine had, however.
"Lord Vader," he said calmly, "control your wife."
"Shut up," I said to Palpatine, "you chauvinist-"
"Lord Vader," said Palpatine again, "now." Anakin stood up, and tried to grab me. I slapped him across the face.
"You puppet," I told him, crying now, "you- you- liar, you betrayer, you-" Anakin slapped me back. Hysterical, I began to scream incoherently. Through the fog of chaos in my mind, I heard Palpatine's voice yelling, "Guards, guards!" and Anakin, screaming, "Bring a tranquilizer!" But these words weren't connected to me, nothing was connected to me anymore, not even my body, I was flying and floating as far as my piercing scream could reach- until I felt something cold and alien slip through my skin and into my vein, and the tranquilizer became a silvery liquid leash, dragging me back down into myself and rooting me there, where Anakin was holding my arms behind my back, and my knees were buckling and my head was clouding over and my eyes were closing and I was falling, falling, falling into black darkness and with the last bit of coherence and strength, I whispered, "Anakin, I'm sorry," because I was, for yelling at Palpatine without airing my grievances to him first, like I probably should have, for putting my children and maybe even him in jeopardy, who knew, for losing my temper instead of staying calm like I'd been trained, for not seeing the changes in him, before, and trying to stop it, for not consoling him enough after his nightmare, for not seeing through Palpatine before- and then everything went black.
I woke up in a room that was all white. At first I'd thought I'd been locked up in a holding cell, but as consciousness returned to me, I realized I was in the infirmary, where I'd actually had my children. I struggled to sit up, but I couldn't even move- durasteel cuffs locked my hands and feet to the bed, and one even covered my neck. I was completely immobile. Fear began to flood me, instinctively; not being able to have control, self-custody, had always been one of my fears. I opened my mouth and screamed, even though my throat hurt. A medical droid came over to me and began to ready another tranquilizer injection.
"No," I told it firmly. "That is not what I want. Do not put that in my arm. Kindly either unlock me or call my husband here, now. Go look in the records, then, you worthless thing, and get him down here now!" Thankfully, the droid obeyed.
Anakin arrived a few minutes later, blue eyes filled with fire, anger evident in his tense movements.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" he demanded.
"If individualism and advocating democracy are wrong-" I began. Anakin rolled his eyes.
"You don't seem to get it," he said. "You just insulted the Emperor. He could kill you, and he almost did. You are damned lucky I'm close enough to him to have stopped him."
"I'd rather be dead than immobile," I told him. "And besides, I thought it was 'there is no death, there is the Force.'" I was taunting him now, unwisely, seeing as how I couldn't move. His mouth twitched. Unexpectedly, he smiled, a genuine smile, and he laughed. I laughed too, along with him, but the joy of his being him, for a moment, of the real Anakin surfacing, was accompanied by a twisted pain, an ache of longing for what used to be.
Ignorance is bliss.
And so, for so long, for so many people, very nearly the entire galaxy- it was.