Summary: In a world where Palpatine is Emperor and the Jedi are all but extinct, ex-Senator Padmé Amidala is compelled to marry Darth Vader, the Emperor's right hand man. Little does she suspect the truth concerning Palpatine's prime enforcer. What will she do when she discovers the man behind the mask?
Disclaimer: I own nothing. No copyright infringement is intended. Just a harmless piece of fun, but please don't reproduce this without asking me first!
Pairings: VaderxAmidala, naturally.
Author Note: This fic warrants an explanation. The canny (or widely read) reader will note that it is very similar to another fic on this site entitled Shattered by Nautica7mk (fic id: 2878917, check it out, it's really good), which has, regrettably, remained derelict for some time now. I happen to really like that fic, and honestly hope that it gets finished someday (hint, hint if you're reading Nautica7mk). In the meantime however, the basic idea behind that story just seemed too good to let die, so I've resurrected it and put what I hope is my own unique spin on it (a spin that will become eminently clear in Chapter 4, as the divisions currently stand). If this falls under 'stealing another author's fic' someone let me know and I'll take it down, otherwise I'll just plow ahead with it.
Now that that's all out of the way, on with the show...
Padmé Amidala Vader. She hated the name already, even though it was not hers yet. That will change shortly, she thought as the Nubian holy man stood before her and her soon-to-be husband, reciting the sacred ceremonies for marriage. Unable to bear the mockery that was being made of ancient Nubian tradition, she looked instead upon her future husband. Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith and right-hand man of Emperor Palpatine himself was a tall and imposing figure. He dressed in robes highly reminiscent of those once worn by the Jedi Order, an ironic mockery considering the fact that Vader has personally killed hundreds of Jedi. His robes were unrelieved black, however, rather than the browns or beiges that the noble warriors of the Republic once favoured. His cowl was up, concealing most of his head, and what was not concealed by the cowl was hidden by the mask he wore. The mask consisted of two chalk-white halves, joined by a bronzed durasteel strip that ran up the centreline of Lord Vader's face, widening slightly into an ovoid at the centre of its forehead, like a third eye. Wide oval holes were cut into the mask to accommodate eyes, but the shadows of his cowl were so deep that none could discern whether any eyes actually looked out from those slits. A wide red stripe climbed from the upper edge of each eyehole towards where his hairline ought to be, creating an almost primitive image of a death's head. It was an image known and feared now throughout the entire galaxy, for Darth Vader was the very definition of a monster. His only purpose seemed to be to go where Palpatine told him to go and to kill those whom Palpatine told him to kill. He showed no mercy, knew no pity except to give his victims quick and clean deaths, and seemingly cared nothing for the blood that stained his black-gloved hands.
Some whispered that Lord Vader, as he was colloquially known, was a fallen Jedi, taking revenge on the Order that cast him out. Others suggested that he was the rebirth of some ancient Sith Lord, perhaps Naga Sadow, or Exar Kun, returned to complete their ultimate goal of toppling the Republic. Still others stated that he was simply a machine, built to do Palpatine's bidding, which was why he never questioned his orders or spared anyone, and also why no one has ever seen what lay beneath the mask that he wore. Padmé wondered if she would see what lay beneath the mask. Lord Vader has never been known to be without it. Anyone who may have seen him has never lived to tell the tale. Would he take it off to sleep with her? She did not know, and hoped never to find out, for if she had anything to say about it, Lord Vader would never enter her bed. Of course, she was aware that it would be all too easy for the Sith Lord to force her, he was taller and physically stronger, a trained warrior and he wielded the power of the Force. Considering all these strikes against her, she knew that her body would be his any time he wished it, but she would never surrender it to him willingly.
Her attention was brought back to the moment by the question she has been dreading.
"Padmé Amidala, will you take this man to be your husband, to love, cherish and honour for the rest of your life?"
"I will," she responded in a clear, although quiet, voice, all the while blessing her years as a politician which allowed her to speak without showing her true emotions, which would have had her run screaming from this ceremony.
"I pronounce you man and wife, until death do you part." the holy man declared, and that was it. Padmé Amidala was no more, she was now the Lady Vader.
Since the ceremony was a private one, the departure of the holy man once he had completed his duty left the newlywed couple alone. Padmé had not been able to stand the thought of having her parents watch as she was forced to marry this monster, and no one knew whether Lord Vader had any family at all. Unwilling to acknowledge her new marital status or, by extension, her new husband, Padmé simply stood looking out over the great lakes that made this part of Naboo such a beautiful place to be. She glanced up and back to see Lord Vader also facing out, apparently taking in the view, although his expressionless mask revealed nothing of whether or not he was enjoying it. At last, after a few more minutes, she broke the silence.
"Are you happy now?" she asked him.
"Happy?" his voice was deep and growling, but it sounded somewhat puzzled.
"You have what you wanted, don't you? A beautiful wife, a trophy to hang on your arm at Imperial functions and please you in bed at nights, isn't that why you forced me to marry you?"
"Senator, you proposed to me, not the other way around. I have forced nothing," Vader definitely sounded perplexed now, "I have no idea what you are talking about."
"Don't lie!" she rounded on him, "Palpatine threatened Naboo if I did not marry you! He promised to find and kill all my relatives here unless I asked you to marry me! You just wanted to appear as the innocent party in this! Well I wasn't fooled, I know that you were behind this."
"I had no idea," Vader simply stated, as though they were discussing how nice the weather was.
"I don't believe you!"
"As is your prerogative, Senator."
Padmé wanted to scream in anger, she wanted to beat Vader into a bloody pulp, firstly for lying about his involvement and then for being so indifferent to her anger. Of course she knew that she had no chance of realising her desire, but it made her feel better about it.
"I take it you are unhappy with my presence Senator," Vader made it more of a statement than a question, "so I shall leave you for now. Please do not think to wander off; forced or not, you are my wife and I do not wish to risk you coming to harm from Rebels who might seek to strike at me."
Without waiting for Padmé's response he turned and stalked off, his cloak swirling dramatically around him. As soon as he was gone Padmé let out a breath she did not realise she had been holding. She had expected some kind of response for her outburst, some punishment. Every story she had ever heard about Vader pointed to him being mercurial and quick-tempered. He was known for strangling subordinates who failed him, and generally anyone who came near him when he had specifically asked them not to, such as the holo-reporters who had once made it their life's mission to find out who Darth Vader really was under the mask. Strangely, however, he had taken her in stride, completely unruffled by her anger at him, although she supposed a lot of people were angry with Lord Vader, particularly the families of those he had killed over the years, so he must be used to dealing with that. Perhaps she had simply caught him on one of his good days.
She continued to stare out at the lakes as the sun grew lower and lower in the sky, all the while considering her new station in life. Her days as a Senator were now over, although Vader still addressed her by her title. She would probably lose all credibility with her former friends in the Senate, since they were all pro-democracy and she had just married the chief enforcer of democracy's greatest enemy. Either that or they would attempt to rescue her, which she would have to decline lest Palpatine and Vader destroy Naboo. All in all the prospects were bleak. She had no idea what being Lord Vader's wife would entail, but she was certain that if any official duties were assigned to her, they would not be ones she would relish or enjoy, and in all likelihood they would call on her to do something she detested doing. So she was either condemned to sheer boredom, if Vader chose for her to remain sequestered as his wife, relieved only by whatever official functions he might attend, or she was condemned to taking on work that she was sure she would hate, since it would invariably involve spreading the lies of the Empire. She considered the situation from every angle, and could come up with no less distasteful angles or lines of thought at all.
Suddenly she shivered and, realising that the sun had well and truly set now, turned to go inside herself. On arriving at the chambers she shared with Vader now, she discovered to her surprise, that he was not there. She shed the beautiful wedding gown that Vader had procured for her at her own request and carefully hung it up in the closet. Something bugged her about the closet, but she could not put her finger on it for several moments. Then it hit her; there were only dresses in it. Vader did not seem like the dress wearing type, so where were all his clothes? There was not even any sleepwear for a man. Did he sleep? She realised that she knew nothing whatsoever about the man she was now married to. She did not even know if he had the same basic requirements for food and sleep as she did. She did not know his species, his homeworld, whether he had now, or had ever had any family, or indeed anything beyond his name, his position in the Empire and various stories she had heard about him.
A knock on the bedroom door startled her out of her reverie. Who could get in here and would knock? Her response was pure reflex.
"Who is it?"
"Senator," said the deep growling voice on the other side of the door, "There are only two key-cards capable of unlocking these chambers so your question is pointless, it can only be me."
"May I have a moment?" she called back, "I'm not dressed."
"Certainly," Vader replied, "Please indicate when you are decently attired, I wish to ask you something."
Padmé dressed hurriedly and then opened the door to find Vader standing there patiently.
"Senator," he acknowledged, as he stepped into the room.
"You wish something of me, Vader?" she asked, closing the door behind him and then stepping away to face him in the middle of the room.
"I will ask you a question that is somewhat blunt, Senator, but I wish for you to answer me both civilly and honestly."
"Of course," she said, wondering where this was going.
"Do you wish for me to share your bed?"
He had been right, it was a blunt question. It was also one she was totally unprepared for. She had a choice in the matter?
"It is your body, Senator," he said, as though reading her thoughts.
No! her mind was screaming at her, but she was hesitant to say it out loud, fearful of the consequences for Naboo and its people if she went through with such open defiance. Voicing her opinion, however proved unnecessary. She supposed he must have read it through the Force, for he turned away.
"I see," if she did not know better, for a moment she might have thought he looked wounded, "In that case I shall bid you good night Senator."
He made for the door and had it open before she thought to call him back.
"Where will you sleep then?"
He stopped briefly, but did not turn around.
"I am no stranger to the floor, Senator."
Then he walked out and closed the door behind him. She stood there speechless. She could not believe that she had just effectively ordered Darth Vader out of her bedroom. More to the point she could not believe he had just gone without a word of protest or a single threat. This ran counter to everything she knew about him. He was a Sith, for Force's sake! What sort of Sith Lord would meekly walk out of a room just because he was told to do so by a woman less than three quarters his height and probably less than half his weight? Was this some ploy to lure her into a false sense of security? Then his final comment processed through her shock-shrouded brain. The floor?? Sith Lord or not, he was definitely a strange one. If anything she should be the one sleeping outside on the…floor. Yet he was being gallant and giving her the bed, something few normal men would have done, let alone one of the most evil beings in the galaxy. Gallantry from a Sith Lord, this was not turning out the way she had expected at all.
Feeling rather guilty, Padmé made to go outside and tell Vader that as long as nothing happened he was welcome to share the bed with her. Evil or not, making him take the floor felt very petty to her, even if she did feel he deserved a horrible death for all the things he had done. However her plan to assuage her own conscience was foiled by the door. It would not open. She stared hard at the door handle. The internal doors of these chambers had no locks on them, she knew that from her previous stays here. Why then would the door not open? It was not too heavy, and had been swung closed easily mere moments ago. The only explanation that jumped to mind was him. For some reason he was holding the door closed, but why? Did he want to sleep on the floor?
Suddenly a wave of tiredness washed over her. She had seen and felt too much today, and it was catching up with her now. Deciding to abandon her futile attempts to shift the immovable door, she got ready for bed, using the fresher that was directly off the bedroom, and slid into the bed. As she did so, she felt a last lingering pang of guilt. Vader did not even have any pillows or blankets out there with him. They were all in here with her. Then she was unconscious, simply too tired to think any longer.
Darth Vader felt satisfaction as he felt Senator Amidala finally succumb to his sleep suggestion, now he would have time for contemplation without her errant thoughts getting in the way. The woman intrigued him, she had done from the very moment she had proposed to him. It had been a new experience for him, the idea that someone might find him romantically attractive. Of course now he knew the truth of that idea. He repulsed her, and she had only gone through with it to save her planet from the perceived threat of occupation. The thought that she hated him evoked something he could not identify. He did not have many emotions any longer. Years of hard training and harder missions had burned away his capacity to feel. Mostly he was either angry or empty. Now, however, he was feeling things he had never felt before, and that was what intrigued him about Senator Amidala. No one had ever caused such changes in him before, that he could recall. He wanted to see why this was, and more importantly what she was doing to him. Then he would be able to armour himself against it and return to his existence as Dark Lord of the Sith.
He also wanted to know why it was so important to his master that they be together. Why would Palpatine threaten Naboo just to get this woman to marry him? There was no justification for an invasion of Naboo. They were completely peaceable and accepting of the Emperor's new rule, so Palpatine would never have carried out his threat. His master only ordered intervention where a planet was breaking Imperial law or suffering from internal unrest. He had read the intelligence reports for Naboo before coming here, and they indicated a remarkably stable culture, which, although their proclivities for democracy might easily have caused them to be discontent, seemed to have adapted remarkably well and swiftly to Imperial rule. He decided to meditate and see if the Force would provide him with any insight. Seating himself on the floor, he closed his eyes and reached out, sending his questions out into the Force, to see what answers he might be able to glean from it.
Padmé woke the next morning to discover that the curtains she had drawn in the night had been pulled back to allow the golden rays of the sun entrance into her bedroom. That meant that Vader had been in here while she was sleeping. Oddly the thought did not frighten her as much as she thought it should have. His actions so far had indicated that she was of no particular physical interest to him, and while she still feared that he might force her against her will, the idea was less immediate and more abstract than it had been before. She had lasted the first night with her honour intact, and it gave her a shred of confidence that she might last another.
Getting up, she showered and dressed in a simple golden summer dress that left her arms bare but had a full length skirt, before attempting to test the bedroom door. Unlike last night, it opened with ease and she slipped out. Padding into the kitchen area lightly she found the table spread with food of all sorts. Idly she wondered if Vader had ordered room service or had done this himself. The image of the dreaded Sith Lord with an apron over his dark robes working the cooking unit expertly to make the generous spread that was on the table was good for a laugh, and with her bleak situation stretching before her she would take all the laughs she could get. She was careful, however, to bury the thought, Vader would probably not take too kindly to the image, and she did not want to test his anger.
It was then that her rational mind caught up with her, and she scolded herself severely. One day and one night of marriage and already she was being seduced by his lies. She had to keep firmly in mind the fact that her husband was a monster. While they were alone he might act as though he was a normal person, even a gentleman, but in reality he was a cold-blooded killer. He chose to follow Palpatine, to kill for him. Whatever kindnesses or considerations he might show for her were more than outweighed by his atrocities on innocent civilians on countless worlds. And she had ample proof from what she had heard that those kindnesses and considerations were, in all likelihood, going to be fleeting.
He's a murderer. He's a murderer. He's a murderer.
She found that the mantra helped. It banished all the warm thoughts she had been having about him since yesterday evening. It even reversed her plan to leave a pillow and blanket outside in case he should elect to take the floor for another night. Let him sleep on the floor! She hoped it was cold and hard for him as well! More coldly, she picked up her plate and went out in search of her husband. She found the Sith Lord standing on their balcony, still dressed in his black robes, with his back to her, looking up at the sun. She repeated her mantra in her head as she watched him warily from behind.
"Pack your things, Senator," he said, not even deigning to look at her, "We are leaving."
"Am I permitted to know where we are going?" she asked icily.
"Fondor," Vader replied, apparently unperturbed by her tone "The Emperor has ordered me back to the Fleet, specifically to command the newest design of Star Destroyer, the Executor. Our transport leaves in three hours."
Having received her marching orders, and not wishing to spend any longer in the company of the Sith Lord than necessary, she headed back to her room to pack.
Vader marked her exit idly as he contemplated the new turns in events. Last night and this morning were turning out to be most informative, most informative indeed. His meditation had revealed to him a vision, a vision of his children with Padmé. He sensed that this was what Palpatine wanted, to possess his offspring and to raise them as Sith. Vader would have been willing to oblige him, if it did not mean raping the Senator. Killing traitors was one thing, raping defenceless women was quite another and he was not willing to go that far, not for anyone. He knew now that it was highly unlikely that the Senator would ever feel any kind of affection for him. He had marked her changed mindset towards him, although her little mantra was liable to give him a headache if she continued to use it. He wondered when weeding out seditionists and traitors who were a danger to society had become classed as murder. He thought it was justice. After all the laws were very clear, and the punishments well publicised. How she could blame him for executing those laws he could not fathom, but it was just one among many puzzles that existed around the Senator, so he did not dwell on it. Perhaps she was simply ill-informed. He put it out of his mind for now, there were other things to consider now, like his new command and the new missions he was sure to receive from his master.
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