Disclaimer: None of this is really mine. It might look quite a bit different from canon, but it's still not mine. It all belongs to George.

Summary: Not too long ago, it seemed that quite a few people were writing stories in which Vader started out on the Dark Side, and Padmé was his slave. They would eventually fall in love, and Vader/Anakin would destroy his master to save her. And then they would all live happily ever after. Padmé would go back to the senate, and democracy would be restored, and Anakin would be accepted easily by the Jedi... I enjoyed many of these stories, and I don't mean to criticize them, but it always struck me that the end was just a bit too easy. The Jedi of canon did not, as a whole, seem the sort of people to simply accept a former Sith Lord. They didn't even believe it was possible to turn back from the Dark Side, and as we can see from other matters in canon, they seem rather reluctant to accept that they have been wrong. What would they likely have done with a reformed Vader?

And so this story was born. It begins where most of the others end, and explores the life of Anakin Skywalker, formerly Darth Vader, in the aftermath of the destruction of the Empire, during which time he is held as a prisoner in the Jedi temple. But he makes an unlikely ally...

Characters: Anakin/Vader, Dooku, Padmé, some Obi-Wan, guest appearances by Yoda and Mace Windu

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Prologue: The Prisoner

It had been eight short months since the fall of the First Galactic Empire. Only eight months ago, Lord Darth Vader had turned suddenly on his master, Emperor Palpatine, in order to save the life of a slave girl. No one quite knew why, but rumors abounded, and in the streets of Coruscant, the people talked of little else.

The fact that Vader had reportedly spent a whole month in the Jedi Healers' ward following the overthrow of Palpatine only added to the speculation. There were whispers that he had been brutally injured, even near death. Some said that he had had several organs and even limbs replaced, others that he had spent nearly two months on a mechanized respirator. Still others, more sensible folk, insisted that the whole business was nonsense. The Emperor had, after all, simply been an old man. Politically shrewd, certainly, but not physically dangerous. Vader should have had no difficulty murdering him.

What was more puzzling, then, was why Vader had not declared himself Emperor. Instead, he had disappeared, apparently whisked away by surviving members of the Jedi Order. Masters Yoda and Windu had announced, only two days after the death of the Emperor, that the Order held Vader in custody, and that the surviving Jedi would be returning to their ancestral temple on Coruscant. The galaxy would be restored to a state of democracy.

Vader was kept as a prisoner at the Jedi temple. The Jedi themselves were wise enough to know that the galaxy would need proof of their claims, and in the early days of the interchange of power, they missed no opportunity to display their prisoner to the masses.

Vader himself, strangely, showed no indication of fighting back against his captors, or even of attempting escape.

Nevertheless, the Jedi were loath to have him out of close confinement. They considered him still highly dangerous, and when he had made enough appearances to satisfy the fears of the public, he was kept permanently in a small cell in the Jedi temple, and allowed no visitors, save one.

And that was the other thing. No sooner had the Senate been reinstated and the democratic process returned to a semblance of normality, than Senator Amidala of Naboo had begun arguing for Vader's release.

She said that he had changed, that he was no longer a Sith. She said that Palpatine had been his Sith Master, but that Vader had nearly died in order to save her life. She claimed that she had been the slave girl of the rumors.

And she said that she loved him.

It was all a bit too much. No one really believed her. They thought perhaps she had gone mad, what with all the turmoil and personal loss she had faced lately.

So when the Jedi were forced to confirm parts of her story, the people didn't know what to think.

What she had said was true, and it was verifiable. She had in fact been Vader's slave, and he had, apparently, saved her life when Palpatine attempted to kill her. Her handmaiden Sabé could corroborate this. And even the Jedi admitted that it was true.

What they refused to admit was that Vader had changed. It all seemed far too simple. And many of the people agreed with them. After all, would this not be the perfect ploy to gain power?

But as the months passed and Vader continued to put up no resistance to his Jedi captors, much less make a bid for galactic dominion, people began to wonder.

Some of them even began to wonder if Senator Amidala might be right.