Disclaimer: Only the cracky idea is mine. Everything else belongs to George.
Note: Written as a request on LJ.
Really Bad Art
Or, The Tragedy of Darth Sidious the Art Collector
Later, they all agreed that it made a better story if truth, justice, and the Jedi way were the reasons. It was more dramatic that way, and much more media friendly. ("Media attention," said Master Yoda. "Heh. A Jedi craves not such things." But nobody was fooled; the Jedi Order relied on media portrayal.)
Actually, Anakin agreed on this with himself before even reporting the incident in the Chancellor's office to the Council. He also stopped off home to see Padmé, and made a visit to a local gallery featuring Gvanish's works. And bought two bottles of blue milk. He had priorities.
In any case, the Sith Master was dead, and that was the important thing. It didn't make too much sense to look a gift eopie in the mouth, and minor details like his reasons for killing Palpatine shouldn't matter much anyway. Especially when Master Windu had such atrocious taste in art himself.
So the version of events that the Council heard was…tailored to their interests. The version that Padmé heard was a good deal less tailored. And Kitster, of course, would appreciate his reasoning.
This is what really happened the night Chancellor Palpatine died.
Though most people didn't realize it, Anakin was actually something of an art aficionado. Obi-Wan wouldn't have believed it, of course (and there was a reason Obi-Wan would never hear the full story), but then Obi-Wan had a very Core-centric vision of what constituted art. Anakin himself preferred Outer Rim artists, particularly Tatooine artists like Jalren and Shalla. He tried not to think about why. It was certainly not because Tatooine was home.
Palpatine, on the other hand, preferred Coruscanti surrealism. There were many things Anakin admired about Palpatine, but his taste in art…
Looking back, Anakin realized that the night of Palpatine's death had been a long time coming. It started when Anakin was only eleven and Palpatine took him on a tour of the prestigious Hanash Galactic Museum of Art. They'd spent so long in the surrealist rooms that Anakin hadn't even been able to see the small display from Tatooine.
It became probably inevitable, though, when Palpatine sent Anakin and Padmé a Janerrie as a belated wedding present. They'd unwrapped the large painting and shared equally horrified glances over the rim of its frame. Anakin supposed it hadn't been all bad—he had learned that he and Padmé shared a similar taste in art. But really, if Palpatine wanted to send a work by a Naboo artist, couldn't he have sent a Gvanish?
As it turned out, Palpatine didn't like Gvanish. That might even have been putting it mildly. He found his art too political. An artist, he said, should be without judgments.
Anakin realized with some surprise that he disagreed completely with this assessment.
Things only got worse when Palpatine seemed to make it his mission to convert Anakin to his taste in art. He said (jokingly, of course) that he was trying to civilize his protégé. Anakin pretended to be amused by such comments because it was the polite thing to do.
So there were visits to Coruscanti surrealist galleries, discussions in chic nihilistic salons, and lectures on obscure, ugly pieces of art.
It got worse with the war. When Anakin came home on leave, the very last things he wanted to see were surrealistic images of elongated bodies and sharp, gaping mouths.
It was starting to make him paranoid. Either Palpatine had the worst taste imaginable, or he was doing it on purpose. (Or possibly both. But that was too horrific to think of.)
Still, he was almost glad when the Chancellor was captured, because the resulting rescue earned him two standard months and twenty-five days of leave. He had every intention of hightailing it to Naboo, consequences be damned, and he only made one mistake in that whole glorious plan.
He stopped off to see the Chancellor first.
And somehow ended up appointed to the Jedi Council. It was a well-known fact that members of the Council, when on leave, were required to stay on the Temple premises.
And for all of that, they weren't even going to make him a Master.
He didn't stop himself fast enough from thinking that it couldn't possibly get any worse, and so, of course, it did. Palpatine suggested that they meet at the opera.
Now, Anakin was rarely a fan of the opera under any circumstances. He thought it was flighty and far-fetched and generally far too concerned with glamour and appearance and surfaces. But Mon Calamari opera was particularly bad. They were so concerned with glamour that they didn't even bother with a storyline.
In fact, the so-called opera appeared to be a lot of dancing inside of soap bubbles.
It was so boring that he actually decided to humor his mentor's ridiculous story about bringing the dead back to life. At least it was a story.
Only a few days later, he was firmly regretting that decision. Palpatine just wouldn't let the story go. Anakin thought it might be a sign of an unhealthy obsession.
Things came to a head, though, the night that Palpatine called Anakin to his office to see the new, wall-length frieze he'd just acquired. It depicted the Sith Wars: a dramatic range of suffering and death spread across the wall, complete with considerable artistic license.
Also, it was ugly.
What Anakin did next was the only reasonable course of action, really. He ignited his lightsaber and demanded to know what the hell Palpatine thought he was doing with all this really bad art.
It might have been an unfortunate choice of words, true, but Anakin didn't think it was a request for true confession time.
Still, it made sense. If Palpatine was a Sith Lord, that would certainly explain his horrific taste in art. (Although it did also raise some questions about Master Windu…)
"Are you going to kill me?" Palpatine asked.
Anakin sighed. "Look," he said, "it's nothing personal. It's just that I don't think I can live in a galaxy ruled by a man who thinks that—" and here he gestured angrily at the frieze "—is a great work of art!"
A change came over Palpatine's face then, a kind of raging madness. He pulled a lightsaber out of his sleeve and started cackling about great art and ultimate power. He even frothed at the mouth a bit. It was sad, really.
So what happened was for the best. You might even call it merciful.
Still, when Anakin told the Council about how he'd killed the Sith Master, he didn't mention the art. It was too traumatic, anyway.