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AN: Here's chapter 5! Thanks for all the amazing reviews! For an age check on the kids, refer to chapter 1. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Change of Command: A Forever Destined Vignette
Xizor exited the bedroom and walked idly past the vast panoramic window in Mon's apartment, observing the city scape. The woman was finally asleep. She was so annoying at times. He could barely stand her, especially when she insisted on clinging to him like a lovesick school girl and pouring her heart out to him. Though when she did open up to him, he usually learned some valuable or interesting things. She was usually very needy, usually craving affection and tonight had been no different. She did nothing but talk and Xizor had wanted to strangle her! He probably would have if she were not his path to power.
He had listened to her rant on about Padme. It was the only part of the conversation that interested him. Pitting these two women against each other would be most interesting to watch. The truth was, Mon was insanely jealous of the Nabooan beauty. Padme was successful in both areas of her life, both career and family. Mon had a successful career, but was far less revered by her people. To Chandrilla, she was just their representative; just a politician. Padme was a heroin to her people. They had even wished to instate her as Queen for life had she not declined. And her career as a Senator was nothing short of amazing, especially for her relatively young age. Padme had passed more legislation that favored the interests of the common person than many who had been there far longer than her, even though Xizor himself and Mon ad blocked many of her latest efforts. And then in the area of family, Padme had everything. A wonderful, loving marriage, with a solid foundation built on love and trust. And then there were her five children, whom she raised together with her husband, despite their busy careers. Mon's first marriage had failed within the first two years and ended in divorce. Her young son was being raised by his father and she barely saw him twice a year. His new step-mother was mom to him. He didn't even know who she was. It was with that confession that Xizor had suffered through a session of her bawling, where she even had the audacity to suggest they get married! Xizor had sidestepped that question and given her more wine. Sex had followed and she had thankfully fallen asleep. Talk about dodging a blaster bolt. Marriage. The thought of it made him both laugh and ill at the same time. Mon bored him to tears and he was not one to be faithful. Padme, on the other hand, intrigued him like no other ever had. Xizor had never been denied much in his privileged life, so when he found something he couldn't have, it only made him want it more. Unfortunately, the Chosen One deterred him from being too forceful in his advances. Xizor was no fool and did not intend to end up in an early grave. Still, she was an interesting pursuit, even if he had to be subtle in his conquest. Pushing Skywalker to do something rash in retaliation against him would not bode well for anyone, including his Master. Sifo-Dyas had been very clear that his main focus had to be Mon Mothma and manipulating her to the maximum extent that he could manage. It was vital to his plans and he insisted on dealing with the Skywalkers on his own. And Xizor was not about to cross the Sith Master.
"Sir, Fett is here," Garen reported.
"Thank you Garen. I do hope you'll keep this little meeting a secret. The bonus I gave you was sufficient enough to ensure your silence, I hope?" Xizor asked.
"What meeting?" Garen asked, as he slipped out. Jango Fett and his twenty-year-old son Boba entered.
"How are our chances looking?" Xizor inquired.
"It will be a close race, but with all the payoffs you've made and all the scare tactics we've employed, the election should go in your favor," Jango said.
"We cannot lose this election," Xizor reminded.
"Don't worry, she'll be elected tomorrow and that is when the real fun beings," Jango replied. Xizor smirked.
"Excellent. Would you both care for a drink?" Xizor asked, as he started pouring some scotch. Jango smirked.
"Don't mind if we do," he replied.
Galactic City was beautiful at night when it was all lit up. And from their apartment veranda, the view was truly serene, for they were up high enough that most of the traffic noise was minimal. Anakin and Padme spent many nights together on the veranda and tonight was no different. It was often that an evening of romance began right in the very place they were standing now. Anakin gazed deeply into her eyes, his love for her shining in his own. He held her beautiful face in his hands, as he kissed her lips. Padme snaked her arms around his neck, as their lips met passionately again and again. Padme leaned against the railing, as her husband pressed her back to it. He looked down at her and felt his breath be stolen by her. She was so beautiful. He knew that he was redundant, but he couldn't help but tell her how beautiful he thought she was on a daily basis. Hers was different from normal beauty though. She had an inner beauty that was so tangible that it shined outward. Her Force presence shined like a bright star and her beauty was radiant and angelic. He didn't just call her an angel to flatter her. No, he truly believed she was one. He remembered the moment he first saw her and how that moment had changed his life in an instant. The moment those beautiful doe brown eyes had locked with his for the first time, she had claimed his heart in that split second. There had been fear and sorrow in those eyes and he had wanted to do everything in his power to take away the fear. He still marveled at how such a powerful love and connection had been forged in just a matter of moments. He still marveled at her angelic perfection, her endless love for him and the children they had created together in love, and the depth of her compassion for all. She hated the Senate sometimes. She hated the corruption, the conniving nature of some, and the power hungry bureaucracy. But she forged on for only one reason and that was for the people. She was their voice and without her, there would be no one to speak for the poor, the battered and abused, or the orphaned children. The fact that Xizor was undermining everything she had ever tried to do for those who could not help themselves, made him angrier than he let on she did so much good for so many and he was not going to let them destroy it all.
"Ani...are you okay?" she asked, as she gazed up at him with those beautiful brown eyes that he loved. He smiled at her and brushed her curls aside.
"I'm with you, so I couldn't be better," he replied, as he held her close. He often marveled at the way she fit so perfectly in his arms. Her tiny, petite form was perfectly placed against his own tall, lean frame. Padme closed her eyes, as his lips descended upon hers. Padme broke the kiss in surprise, as she suddenly felt like she was floating. And she was, she learned, as she heard her husband chuckle. He levitated them higher, well over Republica 500, until it was just then and the night sky. Padme clung tightly to him, as she gazed around at the now visible stars.
"Don't worry, I'd never let you fall," he said tenderly. She smiled at him.
"I know," she said, as she looked around in wonder.
"It's so beautiful up here," she said.
"It is, but it can't quite compare to you," he replied.
"You are far too charming, my Jedi hero," she replied, with a blush.
"I only speak what I know to be true. The word beautiful is an understatement when describing you. But I've always been much better at showing you how much you mean to me," he replied, as he captured her lips in his own. They floated in the air together, as they exchanged a long series of passionate loving kisses. Anakin finally returned them to their veranda, but he scooped her into his arms, before her feet could touch the floor. Padme gazed into his eyes, as he carried her inside and ascended the stairs for their bedroom...
As morning dawned, Anakin reluctantly woke up. He was thoroughly and blissfully entwined with his beautiful wife and had no desire to untangle himself rom her. He kissed her hair, as she started to stir.
"Is it morning already?" she whined.
"Afraid so, angel," he replied.
"I wish we could just stay here like this all day," she said, as she lifted her head from his chest.
"I know. Me too," he agreed. She shifted and climbed atop him, as she pressed her lips to his in a passionate kiss. He tangled his fingers in her curls, as she slipped her tongue into his mouth, kissing him deeply.
"Someone is feisty this morning," he said playfully.
"It's because you're so irresistible. I can't keep my hands off you," she replied, as she kissed his neck.
"Angel...do you know what you're doing to me?" he rasped.
"Oh, I know exactly what I'm doing to you, so what do you say we go take care of both our needs while we shower?" she suggested.
"You read my mind," he replied, as they slowly got out of bed and made their way to the fresher, amidst a series of endless kisses and soft caresses.
Padme entered the kitchen later, dressed in a deep purple Senatorial gown. She had her hair up in twist and fastened with a sparkling purple barrettes. Anakin had a fresh cup of caf waiting for her, as well as sweet rolls Shmi had made and freshly sliced shurra fruit for a quick breakfast. He speared a piece of fruit and guided it into her mouth.
"Thank you," she said, as she chewed on the sweet, juicy fruit. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her forehead.
"We should finish and go get this over with," she said.
"I wish there was more I could do to lift your spirits," he replied.
"You did. Last night was absolutely amazing. I needed that special, intimate time with you more than you'll ever know. And no matter what happens today, I still have you and our children. That's all I need," she promised.
"And I will always be here for you," he promised. They shared a kiss before they finished breakfast and prepared to leave.
Padme entered on her husband's arm, as they approached the entrance to Padme's pod.
"Padme, you look ravishing as always," Xizor said, as he approached.
"Prince Xizor, the voting is not over yet, so you need not come and gloat," Padme replied. He chuckled.
"She is truly something, isn't she? You are a lucky man, Skywalker," Xizor said.
"Yes, I am, though I'm not sure what Mon would think if she knew you were thinking about my wife instead of her. But I don't think I have to warn you to stay away from her. Because when it comes to my wife, I don't act like a Jedi and I don't display the normal Jedi restraint when it comes to protecting her. I act like a husband and I will destroy anyone who threatens her, you and your constituents. This is your final warning, your majesty," Anakin said sternly.
"You don't scare me and I don't take kindly to threats. You would do well to remember that," Xizor retorted, as he walked off. Padme squeezed his arm, as they watched the Prince go. She truly feared the ramifications they would all face if Mon was elected today. Anakin slowly led her to her pod, as she prepared to cast her vote. The future of the Republic was hanging in the balance and she only hoped others made the right decision.
As all Senators took to their pods, Bail prepared to address the Senate as Chancellor for the final time.
"Good morning, my fellow constituents," Bail began.
"For the past twelve years, I have served you and the people of my galaxy to the best of my ability. Together, we rebuilt this great Republic into a government that helps and takes care of its people. We ended the Clone Wars and gave liberty and freedom back to the people. But our new Republic is still very young and requires stable hands to keep taking us down the right path. Today, you're going elect a new leader. I only ask that you chose the person that is best capable of continuing to lead us down a path to peace, liberty, and freedom. As Bail stepped down, the voting opened, as each Senator chose who they wanted to secede Bail Organa as Chancellor. Padme glanced at her husband and he smiled at her. She sent her vote to be counted. Now, all they could do was wait.
Dooku stood on the balcony, overlooking the Senate floor. Qui-Gon, Mace, and Yoda stood with him.
"By the look on your face, I'd say you're not happy with the feelings you're getting from the Senators?" Qui-Gon said.
"It's too close to tell which way the election will go. But I sense much sympathy for Senator Mon Mothma from many of the more compassionate constituents. Then there are ones you could still consider loyalists to the old ways of Palpatine's regime. They hate Senators like Padme. They are going to vote for whoever she opposes," Dooku said.
"Then things aren't looking in our favor," Qui-Gon concluded.
"I'm afraid not," Dooku replied.
"Prince Xizor has always had ties to the Sith. I don't like this," Mace said.
"One thing is for sure," Yoda said gravely.
"To a dark and dangerous place this could take us," Yoda added.
"We can never let Palpatine's followers gain control of the Senate again," Qui-Gon said.
"This time we will be much more vigilant. And you can bet Xizor won't sneeze without Anakin or one of us knowing about it," Dooku promised.
The dull roar of voices on the Senate floor quieted as the Senate chair speaker stepped to the podium.
"The votes are all accounted for. Never before in Galactic Republic history have we had an election this close. The votes were recounted three times, just to ensure no errors were made," he paused for a moment before continuing.
"Senator Bel Iblis of Corellia has received three thousand, six hundred and twenty two votes. Senator Mon Mothma of Chandrilla has received three thousand, seven hundred and five votes. With a difference of merely eighty three votes, Senator Mon Mothma has been declared the victor. Ladies and Gentlemen, please help me congratulate our new Chancellor, her excellency, Chancellor Mon Mothma of Chandrilla," he concluded, as applause erupted from the massive body of beings.
"So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause," Padme said bitterly. Anakin put his hands on her shoulders.
"No, liberty doesn't die today, angel. I won't let it. You can bet that the Jedi will be keeping an extra close eye on this administration. If they think they're going get away with anything they want, they've got another thing coming," he promised. She nodded.
"Let's go home," he said, as he maneuvered her pod back to the dock and helped her out of it. The four senior members of the Council met them at the exit with solemn sympathetic looks. They could still hear Mon addressing the Senate, as they joined the four Council members.
"This is not good. Perhaps the Council should have been more involved in the election process," Mace fretted.
"You know what would have only created a controversy. The Jedi would have been accused of manipulating the process in order to place our selection in office," Qui-Gon replied.
"Well, maybe that would have been the best thing for the people," Mace argued.
"If we manipulate the system, then we are no better than Xizor and the Sith, you know that," Dooku reminded. Mace sighed.
"It just means we have to be more diligent in keeping our eyes and ears on our new leader and more importantly on Xizor himself. The Jedi will need to be more involved in this administration. I know that Xizor is connected to Sifo-Dyas and the Fetts. We just can't prove it," Anakin said.
"Right, Anakin is," Yoda agreed.
"Proof we need. Watch him closely, we must. Challenging to deal with, this administration will be. But on our side, the Force is. Revealed the truth will be in time," Yoda said. It was then that Mon Mothma and Xizor exited the Senate floor, surrounded by Holonet, soaking up the attention.
"This is truly a grand day for the Republic. I do hope everyone will be joining us at Republica 500 for our victory celebration," Xizor called, glancing smugly at Anakin and Padme, before moving on.
"Come on angel, let's go home," he said. She nodded, as they joined hands and headed out.
The entire lobby area of Republica 500 was filled with Senators, aides, and campaign workers, taking part in the celebration of Mon's election as Chancellor. Xizor gloated, as he sipped at his fine wine. He had just finished talking with Sifo-Dyas over a private comm channel. The Sith Master had praised him on his fine work. Now, Sifo-Dyas could finally put his plans into action. It would be a slow, orchestrated series of small events that would ultimately lead to the demise of the Jedi and the rise to Imperial rule. And Xizor was ecstatic to have a front row seat to watch it all unfold. As he saw the Skywalkers enter the building with their children, he couldn't help but make his way to them in order to further gloat about his victory over them. He had no idea what the Sith Master had planned for them, but he knew he would enjoying watching their eventual demise.
"Can I get you both a drink? And maybe some juice for the tykes," he asked.
"No thank you. We'll be going up to our apartment right away," Padme replied.
"Oh, it's a shame you won't stay," he said, with a fake tone in his voice.
"Yes, now if you'll excuse us, my wife and I would very much like to take our children home," Anakin said sternly, as they passed by the gloating Prince.
"He's a bad man," Jayden said.
"Yes he is. And I want you all to remember to stay away from him," Anakin replied, as they entered the lift.
Sola cradled her son, as her husband arrived home with Ryoo. As he came inside, he kissed Sola tenderly and then dropped a kiss to the baby's head.
"It's all over the news. I can't believe Xizor got away with it. There's no way Mon won this election fairly," Sola insisted.
"I agree and so do Anakin and Padme. Unfortunately, we can't prove anything," he replied. They plopped down on the sofa and Will went about climbing into his father's arms. Obi-Wan smiled, as he cradled their son. He put his hand on his wife's and squeezed it.
"I don't want you to worry too much about all this. Things will definitely be more difficult with this Chancellor. Having one like Bail spoiled us. We're just going to have to work a little harder at seeing eye to eye with this administration," Obi-Wan said.
"Ben, I know when someone is on a power trip and that's exactly what is going on with Mon Mothma. I blame Xizor too for some of the change in her, but power has changed her too. My father was the perfect example of that. The more duties and power that Governor Danae gave him over the years, the more evil and ruthless he grew to be. I know that it's not what my sister wanted at this time in her life, but I almost wish she had run for Chancellor. She was born to lead and she's one of the few people like Bail Organa that can't be corrupted by power," Sola said.
"I know...and perhaps someday Padme will run. But you know she wouldn't be happy spending even more time away from the children than she already does. When they are older, maybe then it will be the right time for her run for office. And she will win that election by a landslide, I'm sure. I was talking earlier with father and the Jedi are just going to have to be more diligent in watching this Chancellor and her cabinet. We could trust Bail and we cannot trust Mon. We couldn't trust Palpatine either and believe me, we will be involved as much as we possibly can, so that history does not repeat itself," Ben promised. Sola nodded and stood up.
"Well, I'm going to start dinner if you'll take him for a while," she said. He nodded.
"We'll be fine right here, Mommy," he replied. She smiled and kissed him softly, before heading for the kitchen.
Padme sat hard at work the next day, buried in a mountain of paperwork. The new Chancellor had wasted no time in seeking revenge on her for not supporting her. She had buried Padme so far in paperwork that she had to cancel her usual appointments at the women's shelter. Padme volunteered there a couple time a week. She liked talking to and helping the victims, because she knew what most were going through. She never missed a visit and she felt so guilty. She looked at the chrono and saw that it read five thirty in the evening already. She put her datapad down and decided that she'd had enough for the day. There was a knock at her office door, as her husband poked his head in.
"Hey, I was getting worried, because you weren't home yet," he said, as he entered.
"I'm just buried in paperwork. A little payback from Mon Mothma. She demanded that I have all these reports to her by morning. I just don't see how it's possible. I've been in this chair all day," she said, as she stood up to stretch. Anakin put his hands on her shoulders and gently massaged them.
"I can tell. You're all stiff. I think she's being unreasonable and you should come home. It's nothing that can't wait until tomorrow," he said.
"On the contrary, Master Skywalker, I need those reports first thing in the morning," Mon said, as she entered Padme's office.
"It's getting late," Anakin argued.
"Master Skywalker, I'm afraid you will find out that I'm not as soft or lenient as Bail Organa. Legislation does not sleep or go home to a family," Mon said.
"With all due respect, your excellency, the paperwork needed for tomorrow's session is finished. And I am a person, not legislation. I need sleep and I need my family," Padme replied.
"Are the reports I gave you a few hours ago complete?" Mon asked.
"No, those aren't slated to come to the floor until next week," Padme replied.
"Yes, but I want to look them over after tomorrow's session. Finish those and you may go home to your family then. I will no longer tolerate your "mother's hours," Mon said.
"My mother's hours were approved by both the Queen and Chancellor Organa. I am more than capable of finishing the work needed in that time," Padme said.
"Your mother's hours have been revoked, since I have the power to do that as your new boss. You will be expected to work the schedule I expect for all my subordinates. And I do hope you will begin limiting the amount of visits that you receive from your family. After all, the Senate is no place for children," Mon said.
"You're being unreasonable, your excellency," Anakin said.
"Last time I checked, Master Skywalker, I was not required to run any of my decisions by you for approval. I expect those reports on my desk in the morning, Padme," Mon said.
"But that could take all night," Padme exclaimed.
"Then you best get busy. Bid your husband goodbye and get back to work. I would hate to write you up with an insubordination mark on your otherwise squeaky clean record," Mon said, as she turned and headed toward the door. Padme looked sadly at her husband.
"I guess I'll see you at home later then," she said dejectedly.
"Don't let her push you around like this, Padme," he replied.
"I don't want to, but she'll just make things harder for me if I fight her. I'll try my hardest to be home for bedtime. If I'm not, tell the kids I'm sorry," she said. Anakin was outraged. Not at Padme of course, but at their new esteemed Chancellor. He wasn't going to let her get away with this.
"I love you and I'm going to see that your mother's hours are reinstated. She can't discriminate against you like this," Anakin insisted.
"She shouldn't be able, but she's going to try. I love you and I'll be home as soon as I can," she said.
"I love you too. Tyler will be outside your door if you need anything. Comm me when you're ready to come home," he said. She nodded.
"I will," she replied, as they shared a tender kiss, before reluctantly parting ways. Already, they both had a foreboding feeling about Mon Mothma's rule as Chancellor. They were in for a bumpy ride.
That concludes Change of Command. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the story. I don't have too many details on the next vignette yet, for it's still in the brainstorming stages. But I'll be working hard to get you the next vignette very soon! Again, thanks for reading and please tell me what you think. :)