Disclaimer: This is the only disclaimer I'm doing for the entire story. I do not own Star Wars. I wish I did, but I don't. All recognizable characters and familiar lines and scenes that I borrowed from the script belong to George Lucas. I rather not be accused of accidental plagiarism like I know some people have been when I went through some cases on Stop Plagiarism on live journal. But come on, it's fanfiction, really...
AN: I'm so excited! Why? Well, I've been contemplating for a whole year on a Padmé/Anakin fic as it's really my favorite pairing in star wars. Shocking? Yeah, I know. You wouldn't know it with all the Anakin/Ahsoka fics I have. But the reason it's like that is because Padmé/Anakin was overdone and I didn't want to fall into the clichés. So my inspiration for this came when I went into the Dark Padmé C2's and found that I couldn't really find a good dark Padmé fic and I told my sister, that's what I want to do. She said bluntly, and I quote, "You're a good writer, but not even you can pull that off." So I went to work and gave her this to read for me two months later and in less than twenty-four hours, she was through with it and said, "Post it."
So, to commemorate that it's been a year to the day since I first posted Descention into Darkness (Well, actually a year since I wrote the first chapter. I didn't post until the next day), I give you…
Ruminations: Dark Compassion
Read, enjoy, and review!
Discussions and Confidences
Padmé held back a yawn in her senate pod, nowhere in the mood to be listening to the rest of the senate as they justified why they should continue fighting this pointless war. What happened to diplomacy and compromising, coming up with peaceful solutions? It saddened her, to see the Republic crumbling before her very eyes. Sometimes she wondered if they were fighting in vain, if the republic she thought she was fighting for no longer existed.
She resisted the urge to yawn again. She was so tired lately. Perhaps she needed a break, take a few days off. Padmé had been working nonstop since the war had begun and it been a while since she had gone to visit her family. She sighed. Yeah… maybe that would be a good idea. She began to tap her fingers a few minutes later. Never had she felt so scatterbrained in her life. The session couldn't have ended sooner for Padmé and she had never been so enraged at the chancellor. They could stop this fighting if only he would stop pushing for more power and allow the senators to do their job.
Padmé was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn't hear what Bail Organa was saying to her, as they walked side by side in the halls after leaving the arena, until he called her name.
"Padmé, are you alright?" he asked her.
Padmé blinked. She hadn't even realized they had been walking, let alone that Bail was talking to her.
"Oh," she said softly. "Yes. Sorry. I must have spaced out."
She started to walk again before stopping as she began to feel lightheaded. She put a hand to her forehead and felt Bail's hand on her shoulder to steady her.
"Are you sure you're alright?" he asked.
Padmé took a deep breath and then nodded. "I'm fine," she said and started to turn the corner where the Chancellor was coming. He smiled and stopped to greet her, but she was only vaguely aware of that as her world started to spin.
She managed a polite greeting before she fell to the ground and her world went black. When Padmé opened her eyes, she saw the Chancellor standing over her and for a moment thought that she had only blacked out for a few seconds, until she felt the cushions under her. But she wasn't in the sterile environment of a medical center either.
"What…?" she trailed off as she tried to sit up.
"You shouldn't do that," Palpatine said to her and then said, "You gave us quite a scare Senator."
Padmé wasn't sure whether the concern in his tone was genuine or not. She was Palpatine's biggest critic in a way. She would have thought he would like to have her out of the way. It was hard to tell with Palpatine. That was why she didn't trust him, not like she used to.
"Well," she said trying to be polite as she sat up anyway, realizing she was in the chancellor's office. "Thank you. But really, I must-."
"Padmé," Palpatine said to her softly. "Please. Comfort an old man's soul and just rest for a moment. I couldn't bear the thought of you falling ill again with no one around to help."
Padmé sighed and finally, but very reluctantly said, "Fine…"
She sat back on the couch, preferring not to lie down. It made her feel vulnerable in his presence, more than she already felt anyway.
"I had a medic come to check on you personally and run a diagnostic," Palpatine said taking a datachip off the desk. "You may want to look at it in the privacy of your home."
"I think I can handle it," Padmé said as she inserted it into her datapad that in her senatorial robes.
"Trust me dear," Palpatine said in what Padmé thought was a sympathetic tone, but could have been one of his many charades. "It'll be best."
Padmé started to argue again until she caught what was being implied.
"You read it," she accused with a firm look.
"Of course not. But the medic felt the need to tell me just in case seeing as I used to be your mentor and we share the same home world," Palpatine said and then looked at her concerned. "I worry about you Padmé. You push yourself so hard nowadays…"
"I'm fine thank you."
Palpatine sighed and sat next to her putting a hand over hers.
"I know we've had our political disagreements and I know we see differently in regards to this war, but please," he said softly. "Let's just put our political differences aside for the time being. Surely you can do that."
Padmé sighed. Palpatine was right in this respect. Sometimes she and Anakin's political views clashed, but that didn't mean she loved him any less. Still…
Palpatine, noticing her hesitancy said, "Surely it wouldn't hurt."
Padmé reluctantly nodded. She couldn't deny the truth in his words. Her disagreements with his political views and approaches shouldn't keep her from treating him as a human being she could talk to.
"My apologies Your Excellency," she said.
"No titles Padmé. We're friends here," Palpatine said. "Would you like some refreshments? Perhaps something to drink will make you feel better."
Palpatine turned to gesture to one of his guards to notify his assistants.
"That's okay. I don't-."
"I insist child. Take a moment to breathe," he said and then clasped his hands in his laps. "Now tell me Padmé. What's got you so stressed? You seem tense and anxious all the time."
Palpatine laughed. "I've known you since you were a young girl Padmé. I know behind that cool façade something's bothering you."
Padmé didn't want to talk about it, least of all with Palpatine, but since he insisted she'd give him the bare minimum.
"It's just this war I guess."
"Ah yes," the man who used to be her mentor said. "It's bothering us all it seems."
"Sometimes I wonder," Padmé said to him. "It seems like more and more people rather this war continue, like they have an invested interest in it to gain more power, instead of thinking of the millions of people who are fighting and dying every day to end what seems like a pointless conflict."
Palpatine sighed and stood up. "I agree. It does seem like it will never end…"
That was one thing they agreed on, Padmé noted. She wondered if he caught her hint at what she thought he was doing.
"Walk with me Padmé," Palpatine said and then turned to her in concern. "You do feel up to it now don't you? Or do you need to stay seated?"
"No," Padmé said standing up next to him and following him over to the window.
When they got to the window, the assistant came back with two glasses of water and a lemon on the side of Padmé's. Palpatine politely dismissed his guards on the grounds that this was just 'Padmé'.
"I too worry about the millions out there fighting and dying for what seems to be a pointless conflict that could have been solved peacefully. You're not the only one who thinks that there's too much self interest involved in this," Palpatine said to her.
"Oh?" Padmé asked dryly.
"I don't want you to take this the wrong way but…" Palpatine trailed off.
Padmé turned to look at him at that point. "What?"
"Sometimes I find myself losing faith in the capabilities of the Senate to guide us through this war…"
"It's when people start to lose faith in something that it starts to die," Padmé said firmly. "We can't lose faith in the senate or democracy."
"Sometimes it's hard to do that Padmé," Palpatine said grimly. "Not when the inaction of the Senate is part of the reason we got into this mess."
Padmé pressed her lips together. "What do you mean?"
"Don't get me wrong, but this war was the result of a failure by the Republic and the Senate to listen and act when controversy arose. In our efforts to keep peace and in the name of democracy, we forgot what democracy truly means. A government for the people, by the people, and when a large group of people cry out we are duty bound as the leaders of the body to listen and then act to try and solve it to the best of our abilities no matter how minor. But because we ignored it, it brewed into hostility and later violence. All because we were unwilling to listen…"
"I agree," Padmé replied quickly. Maybe she could use this to convince Palpatine to lie down his emergency powers. "And that's what we have to remind everyone."
"It may be too late though Padmé. It's only a matter of time before those who aren't heard aren't willing to hear anyone themselves, and it's beginning to prove itself so."
Padmé was silent. She had to say, there was truth in his words.
"I worry. I worry that democracy no longer exist."
"Of course it does," Padmé said aghast.
"Does it? Sometimes I feel like the Republic we're fighting to protect has become the very evil we're fighting to destroy," he added sadly. "It's crumbling before our eyes and no one sees it."
Palpatine sighed and suddenly turned from the window to sit on the couch.
"I see it and others see it," Padmé assured.
"Then perhaps you understand my reluctance to release my emergency powers and hand over complete control of the government back to the senate," Palpatine said.
Padmé blinked. "No. I don't."
"I'm tired Padmé. I would like to step down. But how could I leave with this galaxy in shambles like it is. This war was a result of the infighting and inaction of the senate to begin with and the Separatists took advantage of that. I hate to think what might have happened if I hadn't approved the clone army although I didn't want to. But it was necessary for the protection of the Republic. If I give that back now… Can I really trust the senate to bring this war to a swift and peaceful end, or will they make the situation worse? Can I trust that democracy will hold true and they'll do what's in the best interest of the people? Or will they do what's in the best interest of their office? I'll just feel so much better about handing it over when Count Dooku and General Grievous are captured. That way at least we won't have to worry about an invasion…" Palpatine said.
Padmé hated to admit it, but she could see Palpatine's logic. What would happen if he stepped down and gave control back over to the senate? Even she had to admit it had been hard enough before they handed over powers to him. There was a possibility that the Separatists in Count Dooku's leadership would take advantage of them and the entire senate would fall apart, frozen in fear unable to figure out what to do about the Separatist threat.
"Please believe me Padmé," Palpatine said to her. "I know you've lost faith in me, but I really am doing everything in my power to end this war and furthermore reform this government and pull it away from the tyrannical path it's going, trying to force the Separatists into submission."
"I…" Padmé couldn't believe it. Had she really misread Palpatine's actions so wrong?
"I need people like you on my side Padmé, people like you who aren't afraid to say what needs to said, to do what needs to be done even if the entire senate is against it, in the name of the good of the people of this galaxy, who understand what I'm trying to do even if it looks like something else on the surface," Palpatine said. "Or else we may never bring back our fighters, close friends, families, wives and husbands…"
Padmé's thoughts went to Anakin again, fighting a war that may very well not end if the senate didn't stop fighting about what to do, a situation that may take him away from her forever. It had already been a month since he had gone. How much longer would they be separated? Another month? Two or three even? Sure politically and logically she understood it had to be done, but part of her, the selfish part of her just wanted to take her husband and leave the galaxy to fend for itself. But everyone had to make sacrifices for a cause that was bigger than all of them. And here in front of her was a tired leader, practically begging her to help him end this fight, ready for peace but unable to see a way to do that with endangering or destroying the Republic more than it already was. They really had dug themselves in too deep a hole to suddenly stop now.
"Perhaps you're right," Padmé said slowly. "Maybe… Maybe I can help you somehow and we can work together to find a solution to this and help rally the people behind it."
"I couldn't ask you to-."
"You're not asking me to. We may disagree but we both want this war to end," Padmé said taking a sip of her water. "I'll help you find a way. Perhaps we can start by making contact with Count Dooku and the Separatists leaders…"
"Perhaps it won't hurt to try," Palpatine said resignedly. "If anyone can talk to them and perhaps make them see peaceful negotiations, it's you Padmé. I'll arrange it for you."
This was the best news Padmé had gotten all day, her spirits instantly lifted.
"But before that, I sincerely suggest you go get some rest. You'll certainly need it," Palpatine said with a secret smile.
Padmé frowned. "Oh?"
But Palpatine didn't say anything, only stood up and walked her out his office.
"Padmé," Palpatine said just as she was about to leave.
"Yes," she said turning back to look at him, not minding being in his presence so much as she had before.
"I'm glad we were able to talk, get these things cleared."
Padmé only smiled a little before saying, "Everyone deserves to be heard out, shown compassion, chancellor, and maybe I forgot that. It's a terrible thing to be misunderstood."
"Good day sir," Padmé said and continued on her way out the office and out the building. She paused on her way out though looking at the datapad in her hand. She wondered what the chancellor meant…
Activating the datachip, she went past the personal information and straight to the diagnosis. When she read it, she nearly dropped the datapad, her free hand going to her abdomen as she gasped. Now it was even more imperative that this war came to a swift and peaceful end. She would not bring a baby into a broken galaxy.
AN: This was probably one of the hardest things I've ever written because I really had to think about the politics involved in dealing with Padmé and keeping her in character as I've never really done a story with so much of her point of view in it from her standpoint, which is political. I wanted to at least sound like I had an idea of how politics and the political system worked. Thank God for my American Government class. Who knew it would come in handy? Anyway, this is just the beginning. Unlike my other stories, Palpatine plays a very large role in it this and so I had to get his character right. Anakin comes later, but right now, it's about Padmé. Tell me what you think so far and here's the update schedule btw.
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
Hope you enjoyed. Review Please!