Disclaimer: If you recognize any of the characters or universe, they're obviously not mine.
Chapter One: Arrangements
Padmé Amidala was not normally one to curse, but this certainly was an acceptable opportunity. She was tired, scared, and completely out of options. They'd caught them. There was no way out. She had put all her chips out on the table and had lost the hand. The Empire had called her bluffs and was coming to collect, only she had nothing to give except that which was dearest to her.
Immediately she scrambled to her feet and went through her room to her personal pad. She began deleting every incriminating piece of information she had, even as troopers were coming ever closer to the apartment complex. Everything, every file, every letter, every everything had to be destroyed. With that in mind, after deleting what needed to be gone, she smashed the pad and stomped on the pieces before sweeping up the remains and shoving them in a box under her bed that housed other broken pieces of equipment she hadn't taken out to recycling yet.
As she straightened herself up and her apartment as best as she could, Padmé's mind buzzed with possibilities as to what she could say. Of course she was a high ranking member of society, she could deflect a lot of what was happening…at least for a short time. But the Empire thus far was not exactly known for being reasonable. If there was even a hint of treason, a being was sentenced and silenced so fast there was no time for appeals, no time for any sort of help or intervention. There was, more often than not, not even a trial. Once within the grasp of the Empire all anyone could be was kriffed.
Hearing the Storm Troopers just outside, Padmé sat down on her couch and picked up a pad that she'd brought home with work on it. She turned her head towards the door, schooling her expression to be one of shock for when the troopers kicked down her door. They would be filming her reaction, of course, and anything that she did or didn't do would be used against her in court… Not that the court system was fair if they bothered with it at all. It was just for show. Like the senate.
When the troopers finally did burst through her doors, Padmé's expression was one of perfect shock as she stood up from her seat. "What is this?" she demanded after the appropriate amount of time. "What are you doing here?"
Troopers began flooding into the apartment, blasters raised as they scouted out the apartment, looking for anyone else that might be hidden inside. Luckily there was no one here today. "We have a warrant for your arrest, Senator," the Commander said bluntly, already getting binders out to cuff her.
"Arrest?!" Padmé exclaimed with the right amount of shocked indignation. "On what grounds?"
"Treason," the Commander replied simply. "Now please turn around."
"But I haven't done anything!" She had to put up a bit of a fight. It would be unrealistic if she simply gave into demands.
"Please turn around," the Commander said again, this time a little less patiently. "You're to be questioned."
"For what?" Padmé snapped, narrowing her eyes. "I haven't done anything. What sort of treasonous acts have I supposable committed?"
"I don't have clearance to give you that information," the Commander snapped.
"All's clear, Commander," a trooper called out from her bedroom.
"Come with me, Senator. If you continue to resist, I will stun you."
Padmé weighed her options. She knew she was going to end up in a cell no matter what, but what looked less suspicious? Fighting as was her instinct when she was caught by surprise— and she had to make them all believe she was caught by surprise— or to give in to the request? She thought about all of the people she'd be letting down if she chose unwisely.
"Fine," she spat, turning around and putting her hands behind her back. "But this is ridiculous! When I make contact with my—"
"Commander," another trooper cut off her rant. "We found a box of destroyed equipment."
"What sort of equipment?" the Commander asked, as he cuffed Padmé.
"A broken pad, some old holocoms, and some broken pieces from a droid."
"That's my scrap box," Padmé rolled her eyes, scowling at the emotionless white helmets. "Is not taking out my recycling somehow treasonous now, too?"
The troopers didn't reply as they took her away, bring the box and several others with old reports and whatnot with them. Padmé was a little worried, but she'd done everything to erase any evidence and connection she had with the Rebel Alliance, and it would take a genius with too much time on their hands over the course of a year or more to retrieve any information from her pad. The Empire would lose interest and patience. And besides, everyone had a scrap box of old technology. Nothing looked suspicious, especially since she'd kept other boxes of things under her bed, too. She knew they'd look there, and they knew she knew they'd look there. She had made herself look as less suspicious as possible without that looking suspicious. If they wanted to actually arrest her for a reason, they would have a hard time doing so, and they would have to have a good reason. The galaxy was on the side of Senator Amidala, Champion of the People and former Queen of Naboo. The new Empire couldn't afford anymore slipups, especial if someone as beloved as Padmé was in the middle.
The ride to the interrogation center was long and silent. Padmé had to work to stay angry and not let any of her nervousness show. She struggled a bit, as was to be expected, and she even snarled at the troopers that rode in the back with her a couple times. Not that they responded, but it did make her feel a little better.
When it came time for the interrogation, Padmé snapped and yelled at the troopers some more, demanding to see her lawyer. Technically she had diplomatic immunity, or she had before the Empire's creation, but even as she reminded the interrogators of that fact, she knew that diplomatic immunity probably didn't exist anymore. At least not for her. But thankfully after about an hour or so of questioning, they must have gotten bored and/or too frustrated with her, because she was taken to a holding cell. Once alone, after yelling at the guards some more, Padmé slumped down on the bunk with a sigh.
What a day.
Now that she was alone, she had time to think. She knew that there were cams watching her closely, but she just showed her true exhaustion over the situation. She had nothing to hide…as far as they knew. She laid back and stared up at the ceiling wondering what would become of her, of what would become of the rebels. All the message she'd received earlier had said was: They know. They're after you.
What did that mean, though? How much did they know? They obviously didn't know much if they had taken the time to question her and not just simply put her on the short list for execution. With what the Empire had found out, it was obvious that they still didn't know enough and they had to keep her around for a little while.
Would they torture her? She hadn't thought of that earlier, but the possibility of it frightened her. But of course she couldn't let on, or she had to try not to. Despite how much the Emperor hated it, Padmé was still a very important figure in the galaxy. Despite the people being stupid enough to elect an emperor and support the overthrow of democracy, they still very much adored Padmé. She was essentially the sweetheart of the galaxy, the Champion of Good, and she had a tremendous weight behind her when it came to politics. The Emperor couldn't just sweep her under the rug as he had with so many others.
But what would he do with her? The Rebel Alliance had a pretty bad reputation with most people at the moment. Somehow Palpatine had been able to manipulate events so that the Empire had looked like the ultimate good in a crumbling, chaotic society. The people believed that he had saved them all from a virtual galaxy-wide apocalypse, for Force sake! So even though there were those few, like Padmé, who knew the truth of how evil and corrupt the Empire was and joined the Rebel Alliance, the vast majority of the galaxy backed the Emperor, as scary as that was. If Palpatine accused her of being a part of the rebels, even with her popularity and the sure outcry that would come from such a thing, Padmé feared that in the end, the people would turn against her. The real question now was, how long would that take?
An hour or so passed with Padmé trying to think of every scenario that could occur when the troopers came back. They opened her cell and gestured for her to get up and follow. They weren't talking. That wasn't a good sign. Even though she tried to fight it, a thrill of fear shot through Padmé. Had they convicted her already? Had they found out? Had she not destroyed all the information about the Alliance well enough, and they found it? Did Palpatine simply not care and was going to get rid of her? The possibilities for the troopers' sudden change in attitude were numerous and could be as simple as them just not wanting to speak. It was quite possible that her imagination was getting the better of her, and so Padmé forced herself to remain calm as she got up and walked past the troopers, allowing them to take her to wherever it was she was supposed to go.
As it turned out, she was escorted to the Throne Room of the recently built palace. Padmé had not realized that the detention cells were so near or connected to the palace before, but she knew she shouldn't be all that surprised. Palpatine was a sick bastard, he probably went to torture prisoners for fun when he had some down time for laughs. He was a Sith Lord, after all. But Padmé still had trouble grasping that idea. She'd known him for years as just a friendly politician from Naboo, and sadly enough, a mentor of sorts in politics. Never had she imagined the kind old gentlemen to be a Sith! Not like his apprentice…
"Ah, Senator Amidala," the Emperor's voice floated towards her across the large expanse once the majestic five meter mahogany doors were opened. "It is so good to see you, my dear."
Padmé scowled. "EmperorPalpatine," she spat as she and the troopers continued to walk forward before stopping before the throne. "What is the meaning of this?"
The old man grinned in sick delight, bearing his yellow teeth. It was disgusting. "Oh, you do not know?" he mocked, his voice sympathetic, but Padmé could hear the sneer underneath. "I received troubling news about the Rebel Alliance this morning."
Padmé continued to scowl, not giving any sign of guilt or understanding. "The Reb—? What does that have to do with me?" she asked incredulously. The Emperor wasn't the only actor.
The smile slipped form the Sith's face as his sharp golden eyes narrowed into slits. All humor seemed to have fled him. "You know perfectly well what this has to do with you."
A chill wanted to run down the senator's spine, but she refused to let it. Perhaps it wasn't so hard to imagine her former mentor as a Sith after all. "I don't know what you're talking about," she snapped, working to keep her breathing steady.
The Emperor sat back in his chair, staring at her intently for several long minutes, even as Padmé tried her best to continue glaring at the old man. It was much harder than she thought it would be, and a few times she had to dart her eyes away before continuing her glaring. His eyes were just so intense. They burned. But she couldn't give up. She couldn't let herself crumble and be pushed around. If she was going to go down and die, she would not show weakness, would keep her head held high…or at least, she hoped she could.
After another moment, the Emperor leaned forward, twitching his hand ever so slightly. It was some sort of signal, but Padmé didn't know what for. She supposed it was the signal of her doom, but she remained staring at the Emperor.
"Senator," Palpatine began, a cool, easy smirk finding its way onto his lips. That wasn't a good sign. "I do not think that you have been introduced to my apprentice?"
Brown eyes widened in realization and fear. Without meaning to, Padmé flinched, cursing herself as she did so. Being face to face with the Emperor was one thing, she'd done it so many times before and could recall him as a different man, one less intimidating than he was now. But the Emperor's heir? That was something completely different.
The nasty smirk grew into a vicious smile as the Emperor leaned back casually, as though making himself more at ease. "You haven't, have you?" he mused cruelly. "I think it's high time you become acquainted with him. Lord Vader!" he called. "You may come forth."
Padmé watched in horror as a figure melted out of the shadows, the looming form of Darth Vader. The sudden sound of his respirator hissing filled the room, and the senator found herself shuddering before she could have stopped it. Who wouldn't cringe at the sight of the Emperor's Right Hand? Who in their right mind would not be scared of Darth Vader?
Not much was known about the Emperor's Shadow, but everyone knew that the Sith was dangerous. Extremely so. Some said more so than the Emperor. Who and what Vader was remained a mystery to the galaxy. No one knew why the creature beneath the black armor wore the suit, why he needed a respirator, and no one probably ever would. There was no home planet for this Sith, no life before the Empire that could be traced. It was as though Vader suddenly just appeared, born a fully grown terror alongside the Empire. The moment the Empire was created, so Vader too had crawled up from the depths of the underworld. Some said he was spawned out of hell by Palpatine to be his warrior, others said that he was simply an extension of the Emperor himself, separated by sorcery to serve. But what was known for a fact was that Darth Vader would now and always remain an enigma.
This enigma, however, was known for his ruthlessness, his cunning, and his brutality. There were very few people that lived once Vader was sent to enact Imperial 'justice,' and those that did were only yet alive because Vader willed it. There was no reasoning with the Sith and begging was utterly useless. Some said it strengthened him. Once Lord Vader had it in his mind to kill you, you were dead. Vader cast a Shadow of Death upon the Empire in the name of 'order.' He was the poster child for the Empire, the looming threat and reminder to everyone who had thoughts of disobeying or causing trouble. Everyone knew and feared the Sith in black, and for good reason.
But what was he doing here now? Vader was a highly skilled and fierce warrior, surely the Emperor would not waste his apprentice on a mere execution of a lowly senator? Of perhaps Vader would be the one to torture her? Padmé had heard rumors of the Sith's…efficient methods of gaining information. If stories were to be believed—and everyone was nearly one hundred percent certain that these stories could not be made up— the interrogation of enemies by field commanders of the 501st was like an interview for the holovid compared to what Vader did to you. One story said that Vader once disemboweled a man while he'd still been alive and forced him to eat his own entrails. Another said that he began dismembering a woman's child in front of her and had troopers hold the poor woman down so she could not look away.
If there was a reason for Senator Amidala to pale and feel ill, being introduced to Lord Vader was a valid reason. No one could blame her for her fear, and yet she despised herself because of it. She could have handled the Emperor killing her, could have gone out with a smile had it been Storm Troopers. But not Darth Vader. He was like a creature out of her nightmares. Her own personal demon.
As she pondered all of the horrible scenarios that could befall her soon at the hands of the evil creature, the Sith walked right past the senator and the troopers holding her to kneel down before the Emperor, his head low. "What is thy bidding, my master?" his booming baritone filled the throne room impressively.
The Emperor smiled wider, and Padmé knew he was drinking in her fear. "Rise, my old friend. Rise! I've brought you here to introduce you to Senator Amidala."
As Vader stood, Padmé, coming out of her astonishment, suddenly realized just how big the creature actually was. He was massive! He stood at two meters tall or so, and his shoulders were impressively broad, even without the armor. As he towered over her— and everyone else for that matter— Padmé understood why so many stories and legends had so quickly surrounded the Heir to the Empire. Vader was like some sort of nightmare from the ancient times come to life with his impressive bulk and terrifying presence without adding in his strange Force powers. As he looked down at her, the senator wondered briefly if she might throw up.
"Senator Amidala," the Emperor said amiably as he stood and made his way over to his apprentice, "May I introduce you to my apprentice, Darth Vader. I'm sure you have heard of him?"
It took every ounce of control Padmé possessed to force herself to nod. "Y-yes," she only stuttered slightly. It certainly hadn't gone unnoticed, unfortunately. "I have heard of him."
"Good! Good," the Emperor cackled. "I was hoping that the two of you could become better acquainted with one another over the course of time."
Padmé gasped, gawking at Palpatine, while Vader snapped his helmeted head towards his master, but he did not say a word. "What do you mean?" the senator snarled, pushing herself forward against the hold of the troopers, yet trying not make a fool of herself. Don't let them see anymore weakness! she thought desperately. But what in the galaxy did he mean?
The old man lazily walked back to his throne and sat down, a cruel smirk still adorning his features as he stared down at his apprentice and the senator. After taking what seemed like forever to the fearful senator, Palpatine finally answered. "It seems that there are nasty rumors floating around about you, Senator. We both know the truth about your involvement in the Rebel Alliance, but if these lies about you get out, these terrible fabrications about you being involved, well…your reputation would be ruined, wouldn't it?"
As she sneered, he went on. "I would hate to see the people turn against you, especially since we have no proof of any involvement you have with the rebels. So, to protect you, and to show my complete confidence in your innocence, I've decided to assign Lord Vader as your personal…attendant."
Padmé was shocked. "What?"
The Emperor chuckled. "You know, you've always been my favorite, Amidala," he mused. "Without your vote of confidence, I might have had to wait longer to become elected chancellor, and then who knows how long I would have had to wait to create the Empire?"
"You can't do this!" Padmé cried, struggling against the troopers who held her. "I've done nothing wrong! You can't threaten me!"
"Threaten you?" Palpatine's eyes widened in faux surprise and hurt. "My dear, you misunderstand. I'm assigning my apprentice to you for your protection and to show my support of you."
"Or to have him watch me," she growled, finally becoming still.
Although he was still smiling, the air around the Emperor seemed to change as he leaned forward, glaring down at her with those intense, angry yellow eyes. "Why does that concern you? Do you have something to hide?"
There was a time and a place for everything, every fight had to be planned out, and Padmé knew that no matter how she might struggle now, she would not win this time. Palpatine had her no matter what she might try. He could have her killed at that very moment if he wanted to, but he must have decided that it would be better to mess with her for a little while longer instead. She hated this man, she truly did, but there was nothing she could do. No matter what she might say, how she might struggle, at the end of the day, Vader would still be assigned to watch her.
"No," she replied bitterly, holding the Emperor's gaze. "Nothing."
"Good," the old man nodded slowly before smiling once more. "I've taken the liberty of having your things moved into Lord Vader's home."
"What?!" Padmé couldn't control the shriek that came out.
Even Vader seemed to have a hard time with this announcement. "Master?"
Palpatine continued to smile. "Word's getting around about your arrest, my dear," he purred. "Can't take the chance of having someone attack you, believing you're a traitor. I want to make sure that you're safe at all times, and what better way than to have you stay with Lord Vader so he can watch and protect you?"
Padmé fought to keep herself in control. She was between wanting to lose herself in a fit of rage and hysterics or vomiting. Neither would help, however, and so she stood there, still in the arms of the troopers, shocked and horrified into silence. Staying with Lord Vader? Staying with Lord Vader?! What did that even mean? What did that entail?
"Now off with you," the Emperor shooed her away with a hand, as though she was some sort of errant child. "The Storm Troopers will process you out and clear up this terrible mess. Lord Vader will collect you shortly."
Collect. Padmé shivered at all the implications that that could mean. What sort of collecting did Darth Vader do? Besides collect niches on his lightsaber belt.
There was nothing else she could do now. The Storm Troopers led her away and began the tedious task of processing her out of the detention cell. Vader did not follow as apparently the Emperor was giving a more detailed description of what he expected his apprentice to do while he was…entertaining the senator as his guest. The whole thing was completely absurd! I'm staying with Lord Vader, Padmé thought incredulously. Would she even survive until tomorrow?
But it was about more than just her survival now. What about the Rebel Alliance? What had become of them? She couldn't make contact with them. Not anymore. Not with Vader going to be breathing down her neck. Probably literally. Communication before had been difficult and risky. It was impossible now. She could always talk to Mon Mothma and Bail Organa when she went to the senate.
But then, how far did Vader's orders go to 'look after' her? Surely he wouldn't be expected to go with her to work…Would he? And even if he wasn't going to work with her, security for her would probably skyrocket up and she'd be watched more closely than ever before. How could she even begin to talk to Bail or Mon without being discovered?
More importantly, what would they think once they learned that she would be residing in Lord Vader's residence? Surely they would realize that something had gone very wrong. Surely they'd realize that she was being held prisoner by the Sith?
But deep down, Padmé wasn't so sure. Even if her friends in the senate knew something was up, essentially living with Darth Vader would not look good. At all. There would probably be those that would accuse her of selling out and betraying the rebellion. There would be suspicion and anger directed towards her from the Alliance as it would look like she was fraternizing with the enemy.
Son of a nerf! Padmé's eyes widened in realization. Of course it would look like she was consorting with the enemy! Palpatine knew that. That's why he was doing this. It wasn't just to keep an eye on her and to perhaps get her to crack, it was to make her look bad in the eyes of the rebels while at the same time boosting his support with the populations as it would appear as though the renowned Senator Amidala was now on friendlier terms with the Empire that she had so infamously spoken out against. The Emperor had set it all up to trap her, and she could do nothing to stop it.
I'll think of something, she told herself, if just to keep a little hope alive. He might have me now, but he can't hold me!
Padmé jumped slightly, startled when the doors suddenly burst open and the ominous black figure of Vader strode into the room. He certainly knew how to make an entrance.
Without even looking her way, the Sith commanded, "Let's go," as he continued walking. The senator was surprised, momentarily confused, before a trooper grabbed her by the upper arm and none too gently pushed her forward after Vader. Padmé tried to shake off the rough hand, but couldn't.
It was like a death march through the halls at Vader's neck-breaking pace. Because she was so much shorter, she had to almost run to keep up, and the troopers seemed to almost jog even as the Sith continued to stalk off, unconcerned with the difficulties of the others behind him. I'm doomed, she couldn't help the pessimistic side of herself that flared. If it felt like he was killing her just by walking, what hope did she have at living with him? Whatever that entailed, anyway.
After fifteen minutes or so, they finally made it outside to the landing bay. Padmé almost cried in relief when they stopped a moment as Vader located his personal speeder. Of course it was black, like everything else about the creature, and without a word, he jumped in without the use of a ladder for the tall vehicle with apparent ease. It surprised the senator. Vader looked heavy, sometimes the ground seemed to shake when he walked, but he had jumped as though he was light as a feather. Must have used the Force, she thought to herself. She'd seen Jedi do it in the past.
Thankfully no one expected her to make such a fantastic leap, and the troopers retrieved a ladder for her to use. The other door opened and Padmé was all but pulled inside by the Sith. She was surprised when the troopers didn't follow her up, and even more surprised when she realized that the speeder was only built for two. It was like a sport vehicle for the rich and famous to play with. For some reason, she hadn't imagined Vader with anything that wasn't strictly practical.
Looking over at him warily, Padmé watched as the Sith expertly managed the controls, readjusting everything to fit his bulk more out of habit it looked like than for the fact that it needed to be changed. "Strap in," he commanded, not bothering to look at his passenger, before the speeder leapt to life, and they were away, streaking across the sky.
A small yelp of surprise was pushed out of Padmé before she could stop it, and she quickly buckled herself in as Vader tore through the skies with reckless speed. And so this is how it all ends, she thought miserably as she watched the military base he called home come closer and closer into view.
Author's Note: A reminder, this is going to be more of an adult story, so please, if you can't handle that, please look elsewhere. If you do not like Vader acting like Vader, you might also want to look elsewhere. For those wondering, this will be a 'sort of' version of Beauty and the Beast, I suppose, that's so popular, though twisted and not necessarily pleasant. Don't like, don't read. Though if you can put up with some violence and mature topics, you might enjoy this.
Reviews are welcome and appreciated. Thanks!