Title: Hidden Within The Knight

Rating: G Or PG Something like that.. I don't know. shrugs

Disclaimer: I don't own em, I just play with them. Please don't sue… I know where you live and I got low friends in high places. EG

Summary: This is a fic about Palpatine's rise and fall.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am feared.

I am the most powerful man in the universe and no one can touch me.

I can command an army to invade a world. Or destroy it, if I'm in the mood.

Ah, the power, the wonder, the joy, the sense of bitter ecstasy one feels at being the supreme ruler of the known galaxy.

There is another presence here. I can't seem to focus on the figure, but they are powerful. Maybe more so than I. Is this person my enemy or ally?

What is the force trying to show me?

Suddenly an image burns itself into my mind, and a deep connection flows. This person, this man, is my apprentice, sworn to protect me and do my bidding, without remorse or conscious.

Oh my, he IS powerful. I can feel his strength surrounding him like swirling masses of electrified energy. He has his own distinct force impression that makes all other force sensitives shudder.

I've sensed this being before, only at a more primitive level. What was once raw latent talent, now spears the senses with finely attuned, honed, wonderfully precise force manipulation.

Anakin Skywalker is by my side.

He's no longer a child, though not quite an adult either. He's changed in other ways than from what I last remember of our encounter. He is donned only in black, his face obscured by a helmet that enhances his breathing.

Its an eerie, yet somewhat magnificent sound. A sound to chill you to the marrow. A sound that evokes fear. A sound that is strangely pleasant in its replies of 'yes master'.

But one thing remains a constant.

Anger.

Anger is swelling and flooding over my young charge with such force its almost staggering. Revenge and an almost insatiable hunger for devastation lies just behind that angry demeanor.

He's a virtual fountain of Dark Side.

But there is a strange sensation here also. Skywalker is the source. He may be aware of his skill and power, which realistically, overshadow mine. His loyalty to me is so strong, I can sense it even in this state. His dedication is true.

He would NOT disobey me.

He is my apprentice.

My servant.

I turn and look out over a strange landscape. It takes a few minutes to realize what I am seeing.

The Jedi Temple is in complete ruins.

Large chunks of the building are raining down on the smaller surrounding establishments. Fire is erupting all over its condemned metal, the flames shooting high into the sky as if to tempt the Gods into some sort of salvation.

The answer is the crumbling of the lower levels, which collapse and spill debris in every direction. Large roiling dust storms follow in the death throes of the buildings wake, taking with them the ashes of the fallen Jedi that were housed within those walls.

I can feel the Jedi's death. I felt their last moments.

So sweet.

With the last tumbling of rock and shrapnel, my greatest achievement is now confirmed with glorified relish.

The Jedi are no more.

The few that were fortunate enough to miss this devastation first hand are scattered to the far reaches of the galaxy. They will be hunted and destroyed. Nevertheless…

The Jedi are dead.

I can feel my apprentice soak in the wake of the destruction of the temple. He seems to derive more pleasure from its collapse than I have. The force swells and breaks over him, all of it dark and terrifying.

How beautiful.

A strange feeling envelops me, causing me to focus harder on the source.

Skywalker has a child?

Yes. He's hidden it deep inside, but I know all. I am afterall, the ruler of the galaxy and the destructor of the Jedi existence.

"They will never rise again, My Apprentice. The last of the Jedi will be captured and executed. I will ensure the continuation of the Dark Side." My voice sounds funny. Harsh and raspy and barely more pronounced than an echo.

"I have foreseen our downfall." The voice is cold, hard, and mechanical. Scary, yet seductive all the same.

"The son of Skywalker will never become a Jedi. They are no more than a memory." I can see the helmeted man before give a bow and bend down to his knee in respect.

"What do you ask of me, My Master?"

"Send out every bounty hunter you can find. They are to destroy any Jedi they encounter, take their precious weapons as trophies, and report me to immediately. There will be a great reward for the one that brings me the most trophies."

"Yes master." I hear a chilling echo and then he rises and walks away to carry out his orders.

Only a handful remain, then the rise of the Dark Side will be complete.

What sweet victory.

And even sweeter revenge.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The remains of the Jedi Order are now displayed in front of me. Almost one hundred lightsabers litter a large table, some still sporting the blood of the warriors who yielded them.

How touching.

But a strange feeling washes over me. The force is trying to tell me something, but I can't seem to grasp its meaning.

Kenobi escaped with Skywalkers' child.

All my efforts have turned up nothing. He disappeared quite efficiently. His power is astonishing in it own right. He would have made an excellent apprentice. But I know there wasn't, and never will be, an once of darkness in him.

Terrible.

He will be found and his lightsaber brought to me to be displayed.

I can see him kneeling before me. Beaten. Battered. Blood soaked. Begging for his life.

I only smile as I bring down his own blade. Hear his screams of death echo faintly in my ears. Feel his life force surge and disappear into the darkness surrounding him.

The last of the Jedi Knights is gone.

The Jedi are now completely extinct.

They exist only in memory.

And all by the hand of a Sith they never saw in their midst. With the help of one of their own for good measure.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Who is this?

There is a face here I don't recognize.

He's young, handsome, with familiar blue eyes. And his force impression is stronger than that of my apprentice.

It's my apprentice's son. He's no longer a child. No longer being protected from the Sith by a foolhardy Jedi Knight with a cloudy sense of duty.

This young Skywalker is exceptionally strong. I can feel his hatred of me, of what I've done.

Its like ambrosia.

He IS a strong one. He proclaims he will never turn to the Dark Side. That he is a Jedi, like his father was.

What a fool.

Kenobi seemed to instill the boy with a terrible Jedi trait of self-righteousness.

No matter. I will turn him, and make him take his place at my side, replacing his father.

Suddenly, as if someone opened up a floodgate. I'm surrounded by the Light Side. I flinch and feel my body racked with pain. There is a presence here also.

A JEDI!

A Jedi was here, hidden all along. How can I have missed him?

I see Skywalkers' son watch in awe as I feel myself flying away.

I never saw my attacker. The traitor that defied the greatest Sith Lord. The betrayer that wouldn't allow me to see his face!

I'm falling… falling away from my empire.. my life….

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

With a start Supreme Chancellor Palpatine awoke. He ran his hands over his face and hair, taking deep breaths to calm himself down. "It was only a dream." He sighed, turning on his lights and glancing around his palatial suite.

The Sith Lord rose and ventured to the window overlooking the Jedi Temple, where it stood gleaming and formidable in the distance.

"You will fall. You and your self-righteous beliefs and idiot followers. And it all centers around that unrefined power that the fool Jinn discovered. Sleep well my prey. Soon you will fall by the wrath of one of your own."

With a smug smile, the Chancellor went back to his bed, and fell into a deep sleep, filled with destruction, pain, hurt, and one special young apprentice, who was filled with so much anger and pain already, that honing and 'fanning the flames' as it were, wasn't going to be that difficult to the conspiring Sith Lord fast asleep under his covers.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

18 years later…………

"There is a traitor among us my young apprentice. See to it that he is found and executed." Lord Sidious rasped out to the tall, black clad man at his side.

The mechanical suit that encased the body of Anakin Skywalker bowed respectively, "I have sensed nothing of it, my master."

"He is here. His attack will mean my death. I have foreseen this. Send out patrols, seal off this level, and then return to me. I will require only your protection, my young apprentice."

"At once my master." Lord Vader rose, but hesitated. "My son is drawing nearer. Do you wish me to execute him on sight?"

"No. I have plans for him. When he arrives, escort him to my throne room. He will not escape from this level, nor will anyone attempt his rescue."

"Yes my master." Vader bowed and swept from the room.

When Lord Vader, and the Skywalker youth made their way towards the throne room, the sense of worry escalated in the Sith Lords mind. The power the two projected was enough to sway even the strongest force sensitive, which is why the Sith Lord choose to greet his guest sitting on the throne overlooking the fierce space battle outside.

When the two entered the room, Lord Sidious had to take several deep, calming breaths to quell the sudden downward shift in the Dark Side. He focused and projected the Dark Side, strong and powerful, outwards, and felt his apprentice follow suit, doubling the dark energy surrounding them and binding them, subduing the Light Side. For now anyway.

"I will never turn." The blue-eyed prodigy smiled. "I am a Jedi, like my father before me."

Tiring of this constant circling of good verses evil the youth thought the universe centered on, I realized my pursuit would prove futile and mentally instructed my apprentice to end this threat. Kenobi had undoubtedly given the boy a streak of stubbornness in his limited training.

Lord Vader initiated a saber battle, to which I watched my apprentice attack his child viciously. There was no pity. No mercy. No rueful pondering. Only revenge behind that black mask of hatred.

I was only half watching the battle. I must keep my force ability open in case of an attack. My -would be assassin- could be here now, hiding I shadows, waiting for his chance to lurch and destroy me to save the Skywalker child.

As the son of Skywalker lay at my feet, twitching, bleeding, beaten by his own fathers hand, I stare down at him in remorse.

What a waste. He would have been a great apprentice.

I summon all the hatred and pain of the Dark Side and send out shots of negatively charge lightning at the boy, who screams out in pain, convulsing on the cold floor, pleading for his father to help him.

Laughing mentally to myself, I increase the power, and see him shake violently, his life so hanging precariously on the edge of oblivion.

Suddenly, without warning, I'm lifted high in the air, my powers flowing back towards me, as though I'm in a bubble that reflects my attempts.

HE'S HERE!

THE LAST OF THE OLD ORDER OF JEDI!!

I can feel his presence. Its like hot knives, cutting through me, adding to the pain of the self inflicted force jolts.

In my vain attempt to turn the boy, I let my defenses down and he slipped in unnoticed. How could I have been so careless?

But why doesn't my apprentice stop him? Surely he can see what is being done to his master?

As the hands release me and I begin to fall, I turn to glimpse the Jedi that was my downfall, and see my apprentice staring back at me.

All this time I thought there was a hidden assassin on board. I was stupid enough to believe that my apprentices' loyalty would never waver. He would always support his master and defend me to the end. I was short sighted. Blinded by something that was never considered, feeling that the powers of the Dark Side are enough for any being.

I did not count on love.

As I feel my body fall away, reaching velocities that rip apart falling objects and suck the life breath out of living beings, I can only think of one thing as I feel my life draining away.

How did I not foresee love ever beating ME?