Title: The Rise of Lady Vader
Timeframe: Imediately post ROTS to at least ROTJ
Notes: Amidala does not die. Vader finds her and forces her to return to the Empire at his side.
Disclaimer: Star Wars belongs to George Lucas.
Thanks to BigFatty for Beta.
The Tantative IV had just left the hospital installation when a hesitant ping sounded in the birthing ward where Padmé still lay. There was no hesitation the second time as the nurse droid reentered the ward to check the supposedly deceased woman. The heart monitor showed a steady increase over the next several hours until it reached the normal, healthy heart rate of a woman who had recently had a child.
Padmé awoke disoriented roughly ten hours after giving birth to her twins. Cohesive thought brought on an overwhelming sense of emptiness, like there was something missing from her body and soul. Further inspection of her surroundings revealed that the large pregnant stomach was indeed missing from her body. The rooms lack of a crib reason enough to fear the worst.
"Good, you're awake." The medical droid's voice startled Padmé from her thoughts.
She looked at the droid her eyes pleading. "My children? Where are my babies?" She asked with hope.
"I am afraid they did not survive childbirth." Padmé lowered her head into her hands and wept.
Over the next few days, Padmé's strength steadily improved. Soon she was able to move around the medcenter. Bits about the benevolent Emperor Palpatine and his mysterious second Lord Darth Vader had been a constant on the holo-net. As she watched the commentators' discuss the Emperor's new second-in-command the events of the last week came back to her in painstaking clarity. Anakin had sold his soul in his foolish belief that only he could keep her safe. She now knew that Palpatine had slowly manipulated her husband into what he had become.
Two weeks after the birth:
"Lady Padmé, an Imperial delegation has arrived. You should hide." Padmé shook her head.
"No; if you hide me it will only be worse."
"But he is here."
Padmé stopped cold breath leaving her chest. "Then you must take me to him." The woman gave her a reserved look and then motioned for Padmé to follow. The walk to the reception area was a short one and Padmé wished she had farther to prepare herself. When they entered the conference room she was shocked by the towering black figure. The views they had been seeing on the holonet in no way prepared her for the monstrosity before them. In the breath of a heartbeat, Padmé gained all of the regal bearing she had been bestowed as Amidala. "Lord Vader, I am Senator Amidala of the –
"I am well aware of who you are, Senator. You are, in fact, the reason we are here." The deep voice resonated through the room. He motioned to two of the clone troopers with him. "See the Senator to my shuttle."
Padmé could not say how long she had waited on the shuttle. Upon Lord Vader's return, he simply ordered a return to the ship and remained silent.
Once aboard the assault cruiser, she was immediately escorted to one of the VIP suites kept for Senators who wished to travel close to the front lines. It was an undeterminable amount of time before he came to see her. After entering the room, he started without preamble: "Where is the child?"
She simply stared at the onyx mask impassively before answering. "Dead." She replied in an emotionless voice.
"Obi-Wan killed her!" Vader insisted flying into a rage, but her soft spiteful voice quieted him.
"No," she hissed barely above a whisper. "She died due to tremendous stress brought on by the severe asphyxia experienced by the mother," her voice raised with every word until it was a harsh growl, "or at least that is what the med droid told me." She stalked up to him till she was staring into the black orbs covering his eyes. "Tell me Lord Vader was the peace you brought to your new Empire worth the price?" With the little shame he had left he turned away. "That is what I thought. What do you intend to do with me?" He looked back to her.
"You will return to Coruscant with me. It is the only way to insure your safety." She snorted in disgust.
"I told you before that I would not follow you down this path."
"It is the only choice open to you." He insisted.
"There is always death." She challenged him hoping it would prove her hope about him true.
"No, the galaxy needs you now more than ever." He looked out the single view port to the stars. "You can bring balance against Palpatine that I cannot."
"Emperor Palpatine has no concern for the ideals of the senator from Naboo, nor does what remains of the Senate." She shook her head. "They would never listen to me."
"But they will listen to the Lady Vader" He turned to watch her reaction and was not surprised at seeing her turn away and barely bite her lip. He was enthused that she would even consider the offer but felt trepidation when she spun back to him face set in what he recognized as her senator's mask.
"I will set my own terms, only supporting or denouncing that which I chose." She pointed a finger at him. He nodded his head in acceptance. "Furthermore, none shall have your ear or confidence before me--this includes Palpatine." She spat the name as a curse.
"What you ask is treason."
"A far lesser treason than that which you have already committed against your family."
"It will be so"
"Anytime we are alone together will also be on my terms. If you inflict your anger upon me in any way it shall be the last time you see me."
"As you wish it."
With his answer, she paused to decide if this pact with the devil could possibly have the benefits she desired. This would put her in a far better position to aid anything the rest of the delegation of 2000 initiated that she as a fugitive, which she would otherwise be, could not. However, she would be hated and despised as a traitor by the very people she sought to aide. The true cost of acceptance materialized: aside from the remnants of her husband here beside her, she would be alone in the galaxy.
When Lord Darth Vader returned to Coruscant, all of the news vids were on hand to get another glimpse of the Emperor's mysterious second. What they got was a deeper mystery as Lord Vader descended the shuttle ramp with the missing senator from Naboo on his arm. With her dressed in an elaborate black Naboo gown and an intricate hairstyle and severe makeup, the reporters could not help but comment on how the two seemed a couple. It was verified when they were announced as Lord and Lady Vader at a reception to introduce the Emperor's new system-wide governors to the senate later that day.
Bail had arrived only minutes before the party was to start. He had been forced to leave his wife and new child to attend a reception that would install men, some of whom had been the most brutal commanders in the war and all of whom where completely loyal to Palpatine, in direct control over the various star systems of the Empire. He had missed all reports of Vader's landing in his rush to the reception so it was a shock to hear the announcement or Lord and Lady Vader's arrival. There was literally only one person who could be the Lady Vader. Bail could not help but watch in a sort of terrified awe as she made her way through the room mingling along the way. He smiled, realizing that nothing had changed about the woman he knew. Where Lord Vader and Palpatine were viewed with an apprehensive awe the Lady Vader's presence had the opposite effect. The people to which she spoke relaxed and opened up as if she were an old friend.
He was shook from his thoughts when he realized that the object of his reverie was in front of him. He immediately bowed at the waist and took her offered hand.
"My Lady, it is a pleasure." He remarked before releasing her hand and rising.
"Senator Organa, the pleasure is all mine." She smiled at him sadly and he realized the depth of the sacrifices she had been forced to make. "If the rumors are to be trusted, there is more cause for celebration than just the forming of our new Empire. Is it true you and your wife have adopted?"
"Yes," Bail couldn't help but smile at the thought of his stolen heart, "a little girl."
"Wonderful, I'm sure you will make excellent parents. What is her name?"
"Leia" Amidala's smile froze in place as she repeated the name in a whisper. Her eyes looked into some unknown place. Her brown orbs locked back on to his pleading. "You have a holo?" Her eyes riveted to the holo as he handed it to her. He had a strong lump in his throat as he watched her memorize every detail. When she looked back as she returned the holo there was determination in those brown depths. "She is a lucky girl to grow up in a home so full of love. Have a good evening, Senator."
Bail watched in trepidation as she left him and strode straight to Vader. Apprehension turned to outright fear when she took him by the elbow and said something up towards his helmet. The fear got absolutely overwhelming when they turned and strode together in his direction. Bail thought he was experiencing the last moments of his life until they passed him and exited the ballroom.
The tension hung heavy in their transport back to 300 Imperial, formerly 300 Republic. Vader watched Amidala intensely as she stared out the window.
"What upset you tonight?" Vader asked.
"Were you aware Bail and Brea had adopted a daughter?" She replied looking at him with sadness, "He had a holo, she's beautiful."
"I had heard the rumors. Have they named the child?"
"Leia," she replied wistfully, "it was one of the names I had considered." Her tone fell. "It just reminded me that it should be us."
"You're right." The vocalizer wouldn't allow his tone to soften but Amidala swore she felt it.
"Yet another sacrifice in the name of peace for your new Empire. I'll ask you again, was it worth it?" Again he looked away.