Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Here's part 8! Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Blood Ties: A Forever Destined Vignette
Sifo-Dyas' eyes snapped open and he clenched his teeth in anger, before snapping his eyes shut again. And he didn't like what he found now. In his short time exploring the realm of dreams, which was normally a realm that usually only existed in one single person's subconscious, he had learned much. For one like him, with extensive knowledge in the Force, he possessed the ability to travel and manipulate the subconscious state of others. And there was only one mind he was interested in. Being nearly and almost completely disembodied at the present time left the realm of her dreams the only way to exert some kind of control or power over anything or anyone. For him right now, that was crucial, because he was so used to being in control. But he his life at the moment consisted of floating in a vat of bacta all day and everyday. So if he could not yet physically claim his Queen, then he would claim her dreams for his own. And he had been doing just that, until Skywalker had interfered again. He seethed angrily. Just moments ago, he had her in his grasp. And she was everything he had imagined and more. A goddess she was and one he would claim, even if it wasn't real at the moment. But it felt so real. She had screamed and cried, as he pinned her beneath him. She clawed and fought and it only made him want her more.
"I told you I would have you," he hissed at her. She was hysterical, screaming for her husband to save her. But Anakin couldn't save her. This was a dream, or so he thought. Once again, he had underestimated the power of their love and connection. In the blink of an eye, the whole dream changed. She was in Anakin's arms and he was cast out somehow. Anakin had intervened and the most traumatizing part of the dream had been erased. He had pulled her from the dream before he could cement a hold on her mind and it had expunged his horrid acts from her memory. She only remembered being captured by him and almost being raped. But he remembered it. He remembered everything. And he felt unimaginable power in her presence. She was more than the key to the power of the Chosen One; she was the embodiment of it. Taking her had been far more thrilling than he had imagined. It was no wonder that Skywalker was so possessive of her. No wonder why so many were drawn to her and so many had tried to claim her. He would have that power! She would produce him an heir! He would have her and the galaxy would be in the palm of his hand! He had her and then the Chosen One had intervened, ripping her away again. He would have entered her dreams again, but when he closed his eyes again and connected to the realm of her subconscious, he was enraged by what he found. His goddess, clothed in a billowy white gown, was concealed from his behind a barrier. A mind barrier. He seethed in rage. Skywalker had interfered again and was now protecting his beloved, even in her dreams.
"This is not over Anakin. She will be mine," Sifo-Dyas growled.
"No, she will never be yours. I will fight you till my dying breath to protect her from your evil!" Anakin called back, as his light forced him out completely.
Sifo-Dyas' seethed angrily and thrashed in the bacta tank. The sensors began to beep in warning, as it read his vitals went off the charts.
"Master…you must calm down! Your heart rate is dangerously high!" Talga warned.
"What's going on?!" Taurek demanded.
"The Master is very agitated," Talga reported.
"Taurek, I must study and consult my Sith holocrons," Sifo-Dyas ordered.
"At once Master," Taurek replied, as his fingers flew over the console. He entered the lengthy, complicated code into the computer and accessed his Master's most secret files.
"That will be all, Talga," he said sternly, before any information appeared on the screen. She bowed curtly and left.
"I need everything the holocrons can tell me about the possibilities for a disembodied Force spirit," Sifo-Dyas ordered.
"At once, My Master," Taurek obeyed.
Being that it had almost been five a.m. when they went to bed and sleep had been interrupted by a nightmare only two hours later, it was mid afternoon when they woke up.
"Wow…I can't believe how late we slept," Padme said, as she stretched.
"Well, it was almost dawn when we went to bed," he replied.
"We should clean up and eat. We have a certain young lady that we must have a very long talk with," Padme said. he held her back from getting up.
"And we will, but first I need to know if you're all right," he told her. She nodded.
"Thanks to you. I still don't and never will understand his sick obsession with me. I…I still can't believe that he could be alive," she replied.
"Me either, but I won't let him win and I won't let him haunt your dreams. The next time we meet, I'll make sure I finish him for good and he knows it," Anakin said.
"I know you will and he'll regret every crossing paths with us," she added. He smiled and kissed her tenderly.
"Come on, let's clean up and then go feed the kids," he said, as they went to the fresher.
When Anakin and Padme entered the kitchen, they were pleasantly surprised to see that Elana and Yan were there. Elana had cooked lunch and the kids were all eating.
"We thought it would be nice to come help with lunch after such an awful ordeal last night. We figured the two of you needed a little extra sleep," Elana said knowingly, as she greeted them with hugs.
"Thank you Grandmother," Padme said gratefully.
"No thanks needed sweetie. Now sit down and eat," Elana told them.
"I'll join you in a minute," Anakin told them, as Padme sat down with their kids. Yan followed Anakin out to the veranda, getting the indication that his grandson needed to speak with him.
"You're troubled. What is it?" Yan asked. Anakin turned to look at him.
"Padme and I think…Sifo-Dyas may be alive," Anakin announced. Shock registered on his weathered face.
"How is that possible?" he questioned.
"I don't know. There must have enough left of him for his soul to cling to and his remains must have been recovered, before Falleen exploded. And now, last night, he invaded Padme's dreams. I had to sever his hold on her mind and she woke up screaming," Anakin said.
"The only way for him to completely invade and bond to one's mind is if his spirit had been disembodied," Yan responded.
"What does that mean?" Anakin asked.
"That he has no mobile body right now. It takes a very powerful Force adept to do what he did to Padme. What remains of him must be in a stasis of some kind. The Force is the only means of making his presence known," Dooku said.
"I'm going to teach Padme how to shield her mind from him. I just wish I knew where he was and I'd go and make sure for certain he could never haunt us again," Anakin said.
"Perhaps Bane knows something," Dooku suggested.
"If he does, then I will find out what it is. But I'm doubtful they would have informed Bane of their location," Anakin replied. Dooku put his hand on Anakin's shoulder.
"Until then, go be with your family," Yan said. Anakin nodded and headed back to the kitchen.
"You will not continue to plague the galaxy and this family with your evil, Sifo-Dyas. We will stop you again and this time will be for good," Yan said.
After they enjoyed lunch together as a family, Yan and Elana left, taking four of the kids with them to the Temple. Anakin and Padme would be joining them soon. But first, they were sitting down to have a talk with their eldest daughter.
As Leia sat down on the sofa, she reflected on her recent behavior with shame and regret. She had been a spoiled, selfish brat in recent weeks. Her ego had gotten out of control and she had treated the people that loved her most with unkindness and disrespect. Add to that, she had then proceeded to disobey and deliberately defy her loving parents. And then she had put her entire family in danger when she was kidnapped by Bane from the club where she wasn't supposed to be in the first place. And if all that wasn't bad enough, her parents weren't nearly as mad as she thought they should be. It was ten times worse than that. They were disappointed in her. Her mother sat beside her, as her father sat in a chair across from her.
"Your mother and I talked a lot this morning about a fair punishment and we agreed to ground you from all social activities and from use of the comm station for two months," Anakin announced. Leia nodded mutely.
"But we're not going to just dish out this punishment without explaining to you exactly why," Anakin continued.
"Sweetheart, we know that you're trying to fit in desperately at your new school, because you're not like them. And as much as you might want to be normal like all the other kids, you're not. But that just means that you're special and our family is very different from other families. And we know that can't always be easy when you're a teenager. You might think that your father and I don't understand, but we do and we want you to know that you can always talk to us about anything," Padme told her. Leia nodded and sniffed.
"I'm so sorry for acting the way I did. I…I thought I wanted to fit in with them, but I learned that, except for Jake, they're all stuck up, mean snobs that don't know anything about love. They say things about our family, because they're really jealous and they don't understand us. I'm proud to be a Skywalker," Leia said. Anakin and Padme shared a smile. Their little Princess was back.
"And we're proud that you're our daughter," Padme replied.
"You are?" she asked, surprised.
"Of course we are. We're not proud of your recent actions, but we'll always be proud of you, Princess," Anakin replied.
"In the future, we just ask that you respect our decisions when we tell you not to go somewhere at least until you're old enough. The Coruscant nightlife isn't very safe," Padme said. Leia nodded.
"I promise," she replied, as she bit her bottom lip.
"So after I'm not grounded anymore, can I still date Jake?" Leia asked. Anakin's face soured.
"You really like him?" Padme asked. Leia nodded.
"I do. He stood up to his friends for me too," Leia added.
"Well, he seems nice and as long as he agrees to take you only to places we've approved first, then I don't see why not. What do you think Ani?" Padme asked.
"I'm not his biggest fan, Princess. He can't protect you if he needs to. That's important to me," Anakin stated.
"I know Daddy, but he's really nice and he treats me well. That's important too, isn't it?" she asked, batting her brown eyes at him. Padme had to hold back a giggle, as Leia used her "Daddy's little girl" magic on her husband and she wasn't surprised to see his firm front fade in an instant. Anakin sighed.
"I guess if you really like him, then it's okay if you see him. But I'm going to have a talk with him before he takes you out next time," Anakin replied. Leia nodded excitedly. She was glad she was going to get to still see Jake, but her brief kiss that she shared with Han was present in her mind and had been edging out her thoughts about Jake since it happened. But she banished those thoughts when she had them.
"Now, come here and give me hug," Anakin requested. Leia did so and Padme smiled, as she joined them in a group hug. About that time, Artoo arrived on the veranda with Anakin's favorite silver, open cockpit speeder per his request.
"Come on, let's get to the Temple. I have a sleamo bounty hunter to interrogate," Anakin said, as they piled into the speeder and headed for the Temple.
Anakin entered the interrogation room. Qui-Gon stood calmly in the corner, quietly contemplating the news he'd heard about Sifo-Dyas possibly being alive. Anakin glared at the back of Bane's head and the bounty hunter seemed to feel his gaze.
"I'm not afraid of you, Skywalker," Bane growled. Anakin's eyes flashed gold for a split second and he kicked Bane's chair out from under him. The bounty hunter cried out, as he hit his chin on the table before falling unceremoniously to the floor. Bane watched, as the metal chair floated into the air and then crashed into the wall above his head, before clanging to the floor in a twisted heap of durasteel.
"I told you that your parlor tricks won't scare me into talking," Bane spat, clearly unnerved now. Anakin smirked.
"Parlor tricks? You wound me, bounty hunter. But I have another one to show you," Anakin goaded. Bane watched and couldn't hide his amazement, as a tiny golden sphere of what could only be described as pure, crackling Force energy appeared in the palm of his hand. The energy grew slightly in size until it was the size of his palm.
"One hell of a parlor trick, isn't it?" Anakin joked. Bane glared at him.
"The one that killed Sifo-Dyas was only slightly bigger than this one…or so I thought," Anakin said, as he slowly approached the bounty hunter.
"But I've discovered that the bastard is alive and you're going to tell me what you know about that!" Anakin growled. Bane clenched his teeth and stared back in defiance.
"And if I don't, what are you going to do, pretty boy? Kill me with all your power? Hardly a fair fight, don't you think?" Bane spat. Anakin smirked again, as the power sphere in his palm faded.
"No…death is too good for you. As promised, I'll just melt your brains with a mind probe. By the time I'm done, you'll have an I.Q. of two and they'll have to feed you through a tube," Anakin retorted.
"Or you can talk and just go to prison for the rest of your miserable life. Your choice. But here's a taste of the pain of one of my mind probes," Anakin said. Bane screamed in agony and held his head for what was suddenly the longest and most excruciating two seconds of his life. His legs gave out and he writhed on the floor from the after effects. Anakin grabbed the collar of his shirt and slammed him against the wall.
"Now talk. Tell me what you know about Sifo-Dyas," Anakin demanded.
"If you know that he's alive, then you know as much as I do!" Bane spat.
"Where is he?" Anakin questioned.
"How the hell do you think I know something like that?!" Bane screamed. Anakin shoved him and he hit the table, as he fell painfully to the floor.
"You were going to kidnap my wife for him. His lackeys must have told you to take her somewhere," Anakin stated.
"They didn't. They said if I managed to make if off Coruscant with her, they would give me a location at that time, but that never happened," Bane rasped.
"Yeah, you're lucky to still be breathing after touching her and my daughter," Anakin retorted. Bane scoffed.
"If you ask me, she seems like more trouble than she's worth. I will never understand why men seem to lose their minds over her, though she had quite a hold over you that happens to be a very exploitable weakness. But she's still too much trouble if you ask me, even for a pretty little face and a tight body like hers," Bane goaded.
"Well, I wouldn't expect you too. You're just a low life scum laden bounty hunter for hire. Like you could actually understand or appreciate a beautiful complex woman like my Padme. You have no heart and therefore, you don't know love. For that, you should be pitied," Anakin goaded back. Bane snarled, as the door opened. Ferus waited with stun cuffs.
"Enjoy prison, because that's where you're going to be for the rest of your worthless life," Anakin said, as the bounty hunter was cuffed and led back to his cell.
Talga continued to monitor her Master's vitals, as he delved deeply in to the dark side of the Force.
"Commander, if I may say, what the Master is doing is very risky. If he were to lose focus during transference, he could become unable to reconnect with his physical form and his spirit would be permanently disembodied," Talga said.
"The Master knows what he is doing," Taurek snapped, as he walked to the console. "The Master's new body is at least three more years in the making. He is not someone who can remain sentient for so long. When he wants something, nothing, not even his current state, can stop him. Meanwhile, that fool, Iceheart, has possession of the Master's ultimate weapon. She could ruin everything. But through transference, the Master can manipulate his chosen pawns to ensure things go his way," Taurek stated.
"Pawns?" she asked.
"The weak minded are easy to possess if one knows how. And the Master has studied this sort of thing all his adult life. The foolish Prince Draxun of the Falleen will give him influence over an angry army of survivors and access to the Death Star. Boba Fett will allow him to interact with the galaxy's most dangerous and brilliant criminals and plot against the Republic, as well as Ysanne too. And finally, Senator Clovis can give him a seat in the Senate and close proximity to his Queen. He can undermine them all and they'll never suspect anything until it is too late," Taurek stated.
"Then everything will fall into place as it should and the Master shall soon be the galaxy's supreme ruler," Talga replied.
"Yes…nothing can stop us this time," Taurek added.
Padme ended a frustrating call with an irate politcian with an annoyed huff. She had decided to work in her office she kept at the Temple for just a little while and had started by going through her messages. Angry delegates wasn't anything new to her, especially from Nubia, another planet in her sector. Ship building and production made up nearly eighty percent of Nubia's economy so there was constant debate surrounding the rocky industry. Padme was no fan of the Nubian King, who she had described in the past as a greedy, selfish tyrant. He often raised fees without raising labor wages, causing mass dissention among his people. Being Senator of the Chommel sector, Padme was often the litigator between the King and the Queen of Naboo, who was of course, her niece. When Pooja had cited evidence of the King's recent money laundering, Padme had sent a team of impromptu auditors and investigators to launch an inquest. And they did not report findings that she was pleased with. She ordered parliament to implement stronger sanctions on Nubia's financial transactions and promised surprise audits. And the King was livid about her proposal to Nubia's parliament for wage increases for the working people. She let him yell and scream at her for interfering, even though Naboo sustained Nubia's economy with the purchase and ordering of ships and vehicles. After his little tirade, Padme cut the transmission. She wasn't in the mood to deal with him. She decided to go find Anakin, guessing that he would probably soon be done dealing with Bane. As she stood, she suddenly felt an eerie chill and she shivered violently. Unbeknownst to her, Sifo-Dyas' Force spirit shimmered into sight behind her. He would haunt her this way and stalk her through his future pawns. He would prey on her weariness and when the time was right, she would be ripe for his claiming. Just as she was about to turn and find him gazing upon her, he felt Anakin's bright Force presence approaching. He snarled and disappeared. Padme shivered again, as the hair on the back of her neck rose. She touched her neck and looked all around the room.
"Padme…are you okay?" he asked, as he entered, noticing the puzzled look on her face. She turned to her husband and smiled.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's just really cold in here," Padme replied.
"It is. That's really odd, because it's about ten degrees warmer out there," he said, as he touched her arms and they were like ice.
"Angel, you're freezing. No wonder you're shivering," he said, as he pulled her close.
"You're so warm," she said, cuddling against his chest. He smiled.
"Come on, let's go home," he suggested. She nodded. There was nothing she would rather do than go home and spent the evening with her loving husband and wonderful children.
Leia calmly approached her cousin, who was with Lando.
"Ryoo…I'm really sorry about last night. I was a brat and I got us into a lot of danger that I could have avoided by staying home like I was supposed to," Leia said regrettably.
"It's okay, we know you didn't mean to get us all kidnapped. It just happened. I just hope you learned a very big lesson from all this," Ryoo replied.
"I did, believe me," Leia said, as Ryoo hugged her.
"Good. So how long did you get grounded for?" Ryoo asked.
"Two months and I deserve it. Mara got grounded for a month and I feel really bad. I owe her big time," Leia answered.
"Yes, you definitely deserve it," Ryoo agreed.
"Thanks a lot," Leia replied sarcastically.
"And I'm sure Mara is still your best friend and she doesn't hold it against you," Ryoo assured her. Leia nodded.
"Hey...did Han come with you guys?" Leia asked curiously.
"Han left this morning," Lando replied.
"He left?" Leia asked in surprise.
"Yeah, he's been working on his ship for quite some time now and he left to do some traveling. My Dad is totally against it, but Han's pretty set on doing a little rebelling himself," Lando replied. sadness washed over her face, as their brief kiss replayed in her mind.
"Leia, are you okay?" Ryoo asked.
"Yeah," she replied quickly.
"The nerf could have said goodbye, but I shouldn't be surprised that he didn't. I think my parents are getting ready to leave. See you later," Leia said quickly.
"Wonder what that was all about?" Lando asked, puzzled. Ryoo shrugged.
"It's hard to say with Leia," she replied.
"Padme…your office said you were here," Rush said, as he pulled his speeder beside theirs on the landing pad at the Temple. Leia was disappointed to see that Jake wasn't with his Uncle. Padme was surprised to see him there too.
"Hello Rush, what brings you here?" she asked politely.
"Well, Senator Breemu wanted you to look over this proposal and she didn't think it could wait, so she asked if I would bring it to you here," Rush replied. Padme was unsure what his motives were, but she was positive that he had probably asked Bana if he could bring it to her and not the other way like he had suggested.
"Thank you. I'll take a look at it tonight," Padme replied, as he handed her the datapad. In the process, their hands brushed and the look on Clovis' face was one of pure delight that almost frightened her.
"What in the world has gotten into him?" she wondered silently. As he saw Anakin coming, he got back into his speeder.
"I'll see you tomorrow during session. Good evening, Padme," he said, as he flew off.
"What did he want?" Anakin asked.
"Just to give me this proposal from Senator Breemu," Padme replied. Anakin rolled his eyes.
"I wonder how long he had to beg Bana to let him bring that to you," Anakin said sarcastically.
"I wish he would just leave you alone. He always finds ways to be around you. It borders on stalking, you know," Anakin added. Padme took his hands in her own.
"He's annoying, yet harmless. And you know that you're the only man I want," she reminded him.
"Yes, I do, but it doesn't change the fact that I'd like to Force choke him," Anakin replied. she smiled.
"And what have I told you about Force choking?" she questioned.
"Force choking is bad," he recited half heartedly.
"It is, so no Force choking. Now, let's go eat. I'm starving," she replied.
"Who's up for Dex's?" he called to their kids, who promptly replied with a chorus of "me's". he helped Padme into the speeder and leaned down, kissing her tenderly. She smiled at him, as he went around to the other side of the speeder and got into the driver's seat. The speeder lifted into the air and they went sailing into traffic toward Coco Town to visit their favorite diner and their good friend Dex.
Sifo-Dyas cackled, as he returned to his immobile, physical form and gained the attention of his charges.
"Are you all right, My Master?" Taurek asked.
"Oh yes Taurek, everything is perfect. Manipulating these pawns will be painfully easy and I can see that things go my way. Ysanne has her people working hard on the Death Star and I estimate it will be about two years before it is complete. That gives me ample time to manipulate everything. And no one shall suspect anything at all, until it is much too late…
That's it for this vignette! I will begin working on the next one very soon and it will begin two years after the end of this one. Then that will be the last time skip for quite some time, for I have many events in mind. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think!