Sins of the Father:
has absolutely no idea how long she’s been sitting in this
in this uncomfortable waiting room at the Imperial Medcenter. She
numb, inside and out. The cloying, sickly sweet smell of bacta
It is with great relief that she watches Anakin walk across the
cavernous room toward her. “You look like I feel,” she says,
taking in his disheveled appearance and the dark circles under his eyes.
“I don’t know,” he says, critically looking her over, “I caught a few
hours sleep on the way back from Csilla. When was the last time
Padmé blinks up at him. “I have no idea,” she says
Anakin crouches down in front of her, grasping her hands in his
own. He looks pointedly at Astor.
“We’ve been here for nine hours, My Lord,” Astor says. “As far as
I know, she hasn’t slept since the night before last.”
Anakin frowns, reaching up to brush a stray hair out of Padmé’s
“The medical staff came and got Mehht,” she whispers, unable to prevent
the quivering of her bottom lip. “I don’t know what’s going
The doctors said Lorian would need to be placed in a bacta tank - if
he survived the surgery. They didn’t know if the damage to his
Anakin rises to his feet. “Wait here,” he says.
She watches him disappear through the archway. She glances around
the room. Luke and Astor are all that’s left of the group that
originally accompanied Lorian to the Medcenter. There are other
people in the waiting
room, small groups of individuals huddled together in silence.
wonders if Lorian's family has been notified. She has no idea
the protocol is on Imperial agents grievously wounded in the line of
Anakin returns, striding purposefully across the room. “Mehht
will be out in a few minutes,” he says to Luke and Astor. “Escort
her home and then get some sleep.”
He pulls Padmé to her feet but she shakes her head, trying to
pull free of his grasp. “I can’t leave,” she says.
“Yes you can,” he counters, easily ushering her toward the exit despite
her protests. “Lorian is stable. The doctors are going to
Mehht home shortly.”
“I need to be here for her,” Padmé protests again.
“She understands,” Anakin replies. “I already spoke with her.”
Padmé shudders at the thought of Anakin’s conversation with
Mehht, but she is far too exhausted to protest any longer. She
allows him to
escort her to the shuttle and doesn’t complain as he sits next to her,
her to rest her head on his shoulder.
She takes comfort in the feel of his shoulder against her cheek, the
warmth of his arm around her back. They will definitely have
words, but not now. Right now, their personal conflicts can
wait. Right now, she cannot be alone with this aching void in her
Padmé needs someone to help bear the burden. Mehht, who
was her support for so many years, is now consumed with worry for
Lorian. Padmé will not involve Luke, her constant
touchstone, in this issue. Anakin alone has as much vested in
these events as Padmé.
Slowly, Padmé pushes herself into a sitting position, turning to
look at Anakin.
“What?” he says, his voice laden with concern.
Tears stream down Padmé’s cheeks but she doesn’t sob.
“Leia,” she says softly.
“What about Leia?” Anakin asks, color draining from his face.
Padmé shakes her head. “Leia did this,” she whispers,
finally giving voice to the truth she has known since finding Lorian
last night. “Leia and Mehht had an argument, an awful
argument. I know Leia did that to Lorian. Then she left him
for Mehht to find. She - ” Padmé can no longer form
these horrible words. She sobs softly.
Anakin reaches out and once again tucks Padmé against his
“Ani,” she pleads in a whisper.
“We’ll discuss it,” he says. “But not now. Lorian is
stable. Mehht is safe. It will wait a few hours.”
Padmé doses off, not coming fully awake as Anakin half walks,
half carries her from the shuttle to her own bedroom. He pulls
the heavy curtains, blocking out the bright morning sunlight and climbs
onto the bed with her, both of them fully dressed. Padmé
curls easily into his body and oblivion claims her in an instant.
Anakin is gone when she wakes, but the rumpled covers that bear the
imprint of his body are still warm. Padmé doesn’t remember
the last time
she felt this wretched. A quick glance at the chrono shows that
slept for a little over five hours. Her eyes are scratchy and her
is sour. Her very heart and soul ache.
Pushing herself out of bed, Padmé crosses the room to the window
and pulls back the heavy curtains, flooding the room with bright
light. She blinks against the harsh glare. She glances down
herself. The front of her gown is stained with Lorian’s
Last night she managed to scrub her hands clean, but there was nothing
could be done for the gown.
With a heavy sigh, Padmé decides that perhaps a shower will help
her feel more human. The once beautiful gown is unsalvageable and
tosses it into the recycler.
She stays in the shower for a very long time, allowing the steaming hot
water to pour over her aching body. Padmé finally turns
the shower and reaches for her towel. It’s not there.
Brushing her wet hair back from her face, she pokes her head out of the
shower – and finds Anakin perched on the sink holding her towel.
extends one hand expectantly, using the other to wrap the shower
around her body. His only reply is a predatory grin.
“I do not believe you,” Padmé says in disgust, throwing
the shower curtain and stalking nude and dripping wet across the room
snatch the towel from his hand. “Our daughter tried to murder
and you’re playing games with me.”
Anakin frowns and appears chastised – though not chastised enough to
stop himself from raking his eyes over Padmé's glistening
didn’t try to kill Lorian,” he says absently.
Padmé wraps the towel around her body, tucking the end over on
itself securely. “I beg your pardon,” she counters.
Without her naked body as a distraction, Anakin immediately looks more
downtrodden and surly. Padmé wonders how he would have
handled Leia's attack
on Lorian in her absence. She suspects that he would ignore it
if possible. She wonders how much he has ignored up to this point.
“If Leia had tried to kill Lorian, she would have succeeded,” Anakin
says plainly. “His wounds weren’t mortal. She left him
where she knew he would be found and quickly given medical attention.”
Padmé stares at her husband, aghast. The fact that he can
defend Leia’s action is absolutely unconscionable to her. “Get
out,” she snaps.
She turns her back on him, relieved when she hears the ‘fresher door
When Padmé emerges from her bedroom, she finds Anakin conferring
with Astor and one of the other guards. She is taken back for a
moment, to the precious slivers of time they stole together during the
Clone Wars. He has that same look about him, overly-tired,
stubble darkening his jaw, rumpled clothes. Despite being almost two
decades older, he still seems to hold up well on little sleep. He
probably has a lot of practice. Padmé wonders how he
manages to sleep at all with his myriad sins weighing
on his conscience.
As she approaches, Anakin dismisses the guards and turns to face
her. "I contacted Leia," he says.
Padmé watches him carefully. "And?"
"She isn't to leave her quarters until I speak with her," he says.
Padmé shakes her head and stalks through the apartment to the
veranda, away from Astor's prying eyes and ears. She never
dreamed she would long for the days when Lorian was her constant
shadow. Anakin follows and when he steps onto the veranda, she
turns to him.
"Do you have any intention of disciplining Leia at all?" Padmé
Anakin crosses his arms over his chest, regarding his wife with an
unreadable expression. "You’re being overly sentimental,” he says
dryly. “Lorian is my best assassin. He is not an innocent
"I don’t care about Lorian's innocence or guilt!" Padmé
yells. "I'm not Lorian's mother. His soul is his own
business. I’m worried about my daughter."
Anakin looks away, walking to one of the curved couches and taking a
seat, clearly uncomfortable with the conversation.
Padmé knows that it is himself he is trying to delude – not her
– in regards to Leia’s actions. Anakin doesn’t want to believe it
anymore than Padmé does. But Anakin didn’t see Leia last
night. He didn’t see how distracted, insolent – and in
- she was. He didn’t see Lorian’s bloody body or Mehht’s anguish.
She takes a deep breath and releases it slowly. "When you spoke
with Leia, did she tell you why she and Mehht argued?" Padmé
asks, moving to stand in front of Anakin.
Anakin looks up at her. "No," he says, shaking his head. He
looks weary, even more so than he did only a few minutes ago. "I
"Leia took us to see Angel," Padmé says, watching him carefully
for a reaction, bracing herself.
And as if to illustrate the fact that Anakin will forever fail to be
predictable, he does not rage. He does not offer hasty
explanations or try to bend the truth to suit his needs. He just
And then, he shrugs.
"What would you have me do with your clone?" he asks
dispassionately. "I won't destroy her like a malfunctioning
droid. I can't turn her loose
in the galaxy; she's too much of a security risk."
He rises to stand, pacing the veranda. “Zemda Farr presented her
to me as a gift years ago,” Anakin says with a humorless smile.
“He was trying to curry my favor. He wanted the Executor
go to the shipyards at Duro.”
“The Executor was built at Fondor,” Padmé counters
Anakin’s lips curl into a smile of satisfaction, obviously pleased with
his wife’s knowledge. “Yes,” he replies. “And Senator Farr
met with an unfortunate accident.”
Padmé flinches. With Anakin as a role model it is no
wonder that Leia attacked Lorian.
"Angel likes puzzles," Anakin continues with another shrug. "I
make sure she has puzzles. I make sure she is treated well.
I also make certain that no one ever learns of her existence."
His smile turns hard, humorless. "Obviously I need to work on
that last one."
Padmé is at a loss for words. She was mentally prepared to
try and counter his rage, to try and protect Anakin’s relationship with
Leia. But Anakin isn’t angry. He seems to find this entire
exchange inconvenient. Her own rage, which she set aside
in the interest of protecting Leia bubbles to the fore.
"You're not a victim of circumstance in this," she snaps. "You
named her. Angel was what you called me. It was
special between us. Zemda Farr may have commissioned her
but he couldn’t possibly have known that. You chose to give that
His cool, collected façade cracks a bit and he glances at her
out of the corner of his eye. “In retrospect, that was a
She snaps. Despite his casual demeanor, Anakin never meant for
her to find out about Angel. Padmé will not stand here and
listen to his pitiful explanations another second. She grabs a
nearby vase and lobs it at his head.
He makes a startled noise and ducks, but to both their surprises, the
vase clips him in the shoulder. "What are you doing?" he
rubbing his shoulder, more shocked than pained.
“It’s no wonder that my child is morally bankrupt!”
He scoffs. “I’m morally bankrupt for not destroying your
She glares one last time and then turns on her heel and stalks back
inside the apartment. She nearly runs over Mehht.
Mehht reaches out to steady Padmé after the near collision and
Padmé immediately envelops her in a hug. They retreat to
Mehht's bedroom. Padmé is glad for the excuse to avoid
Mehht relays the doctors' findings. Lorian is expected to make a
full recovery, but he needs to spend the next day in a bacta
tank. No one is thrilled about that, least of all Lorian, who
complained extensively to Mehht prior to being submerged.
"Does Lorian remember the attack?" Padmé asks carefully.
Anakin is the only person to whom she voiced her opinion on Leia's
involvement. Padmé doesn't know how much Mehht might
Shaking her head, Mehht says, "He doesn't remember anything."
Padmé nods, inwardly wondering if Lorian truly doesn't remember,
or if he's attempting to spare Mehht's feelings.
Padmé's heeled sandals echo loudly on the cheaply tiled
duracrete floor. The smell of bacta seems to cling to her very
skin and Padmé suspects she'll have to recycle this gown.
While she has never cared for the scent of bacta, the last day has made
it particularly revolting.
It is late evening and the hallway is deserted, save Typho who stands
guard outside the bacta treatment room. Despite Anakin's concern
over Typho's ever increasing age, he seems as reliable as ever,
impervious to the long hours he keeps. Padmé wonders if
Leia deigned to be escorted or if Anakin gave her no choice in the
matter. Either way, Padmé approves. Typho, despite
his age, is far more adept at keeping track of Leia than anyone –
Leia's parents included. Padmé still doesn't know how he
managed to locate Leia on Captain Solo's ship.
The lights in the treatment room are dimmed to mimic the natural light
– or lack thereof - outside. The only illumination comes from low
intensity lights inside the bacta tank itself, casting a reddish glow
over both the treatment room and the observation room. Only
medical droids are allowed inside the treatment room, but it is
entirely visible. The wall separating the treatment room
from the observation room is made of transparisteel.
Leia stands in the observation room, silently watching Lorian float in
the healing synthetic chemicals. Thanks to Typho, Padmé
knows Leia has been here for hours, though she is uncertain why her
daughter is keeping this vigil. She prays that Leia is not here
to gloat or bask in her dark deeds.
"Lorian should be released tomorrow," Padmé says.
Leia turns to face her mother. Her face is too pale and her
cheeks seem unnaturally hollow. It doesn't appear that Leia has
slept since Padmé last saw her.
Leia looks from Padmé back to Lorian and nods. "Dad told
me," she says quietly.
Padmé wonders what else Anakin said to their daughter. She
hasn't spoken with him since the incident on the veranda several hours
Padmé takes a deep breath and releases it slowly, squaring her
shoulders. "Did you do this, Leia?" she asks.
Leia turns to face her mother, her chin jutting out defiantly despite
her frown and sad eyes. "Yes," she says.
Padmé cannot help but be reminded of that day in the garage of
the Lars farmstead when Anakin confessed his slaughter of the entire
Tusken camp. Not just the men, but the women and the children
too. It was
as if he was daring her to condemn him. Padmé senses the
intention from Leia.
That day, so many years ago, Padmé comforted and consoled
Anakin. She freely offered him every bit of acceptance she
… and he went on to murder thousands, to rule the galaxy with an iron
“This behavior is not acceptable, Leia," Padmé says quietly.
Leia does not move, but something shifts in her eyes. "I know,"
she says and this time she sounds almost smug. Without a word,
she turns to watch Lorian and ignores her mother until Padmé
Luke is waiting at Padmé’s apartment when she returns. She
puts on a brave smile for him, hoping that he will not sense how deeply
upset she is.
Her charade is no use, of course. Luke frowns at her.
“Leia's behavior is escalating,” he says softly, rising to his
feet. Next to him on the living room couch is a travel bag.
“It definitely appears so,” Padmé responds wearily.
Luke motions for her to sit and she takes the suggestion gladly.
“You’re leaving again?” she asks, nodding toward the bag.
“I have to see Ben,” Luke replies softly.
Grimacing, Padmé hides her face in her hands for a moment before
returning her gaze to her son. “Luke,” she says without trying to
him, “you know that your father won’t take this well.”
Luke looks at her, his features open and honest. “I have to take
Ben somewhere safe,” Luke says. “The longer I leave him there,
the more likely Father's patience will run out and he will order Ben's
Padmé wishes she could argue, but she can’t. Luke is
absolutely right. She sighs, tears welling in her eyes. She
knows, as does Luke, that this may very well be the final transgression
as far as Anakin is concerned. Anakin goes to absurd lengths to
defend Leia, to deny just how dangerous she is. Luke, however,
the even tempered and dependable twin is afforded no such consideration
from his father.
Padmé knows that Luke does not court his father’s
disapproval. Their personal friction is merely a side effect of
the fact that their goals are often at odds with one another.
Padmé knows that regardless of how it appears on the surface,
Anakin and Luke do care for each other deeply.
She also knows that care in no way means they can exist together
“How will you get there?” she asks. “I thought your ship was
“It is,” Luke says. “Mara has a ship. She’s going to take
Unable to prevent her shock, Padmé’s gaze snaps to him. It
is not lost on Luke and he watches his mother intently. “Do you
think that’s wise?” Padmé asks, trying to recover. “You
will be putting Mara in harm’s way.”
“I know,” Luke replies. “I’ve explained the situation to
her. She knows the odds. She is insistent on helping.”
There is a beautiful synchronicity to it and Padmé can’t stop
herself from smiling a sad smile. A Skywalker and a Kenobi
teaming up for a mission. She never dreamed she would see that
She wonders for a moment if she is losing her mind. She's sending
one of her children off to the far reaches of the galaxy at the same
that she's trying to keep the other confined to her room. It's
fair and she knows that. However, the bottom line is that she
Luke – and Mara – in ways that she simply cannot trust Leia right now.
She rises to stand and presses a kiss to Luke’s cheek. “May the
Force be with you,” she says quietly. There are so many more
things she wants to say, but she knows they would only embarrass him so
she holds her tongue and allows her son to be a man.
He takes her hand, squeezing it once. “May the Force be with
you,” he replies.
Anakin looks up from the schematics he is reviewing. "I didn't
expect to see you," he says, his face betraying no emotion. It
has been two days since their argument on the veranda and they have not
communicated. Padmé finds his silence suspicious.
Through Typho, she learned that Anakin did have some very pointed words
with Leia the previous day. Padmé is somewhat
shocked Anakin didn’t try and use that information to get back in her
good graces. Of course, he still has time to
try that tact.
"Lorian was released from the medcenter," Padmé says.
Lorian has mostly recovered from his wounds. He is currently in
Padmé's apartment, being cared for by Mehht. Padmé
suspect that Lorian is taking advantage of the situation, but she
hasn’t complained considering her child was the one responsible for his
Anakin turns off the schematic display and swivels in his chair to face
his wife. "Yes, I know," he replies coolly.
Padmé stands there waiting for Anakin to say something, anything
of import in regards to their daughter and her actions. He
"I don't know why I bother," Padmé counters, turning on her heel
and leaving his office. She stalks through the Imperial war room
out into the Imperial Palace's grand hallway.
"Wait," he says, grasping her upper arm and ushering her to a
stop. It is a request rather than an order which is the only
reason she complies. He could drag her to a stop to be certain,
but had his tone been the tiniest bit less contrite than it was, she
would have forced him to do just that.
She turns to face him. “Did you find out why Leia was trying to
hitch a ride into the Deep Core?” She isn’t ignoring the issue of
Lorian, but despite how discouraging she finds it, Leia’s attack on
Lorian is no longer
the most pressing issue.
Anakin looks at her with another unreadable expression. He waves
off Astor who dutifully retreats into the background. Anakin then
escorts her down a smaller corridor that leads to the busy landing
platform where her shuttle is docked. The two supplemental guards
whose names Padmé has never bothered to learn stand sentry
outside the shuttle. The landing platform is noisy, windy and
swarming with people and droids. Yet because of that, it affords
them a great deal of privacy.
Padmé squints in the late afternoon light at Galactic City’s
skyline while Anakin hovers closely. “Did you?” she demands.
“No,” he says, frowning tightly.
Padmé sighs. “You’re the Emperor. Shouldn’t you have
spies to keep track of your children?” she asks dryly.
“In case you missed it,” he says, “Leia stabbed the best spy I have.”
It is now Padmé’s turn to frown. “I thought he was your
best assassin,” she counters in irritation.
“The two are not mutually exclusive,” he replies.
She watches several shuttles land. “Taly showed me his
preliminary report this afternoon,” she says.
“I know,” he replies.
Raising an eyebrow, Padmé looks at him.
“I am the Emperor,” he says. "Lieutenant Piett hand
She shakes her head and looks away. For all his assertions that
he neither cared nor wanted to know about her activities, he certainly
keeps close tabs. “Do you know anything about Byss?” Padmé
She looks at him expectantly, but he won’t meet her gaze.
“Nothing good,” he replies.
“What is that supposed to mean?” she demands.
He frowns and looks at her. “Palpatine discovered several
hyperlanes into the Deep Core. Byss was his personal retreat.”
“You didn’t feel the need to tell me this?” she yells, putting several
feet of space between herself and her husband.
“I’m telling you now,” he counters. “I just saw Taly’s
report. What did you want me to do?”
Padmé shakes her head and looks away. “I don’t know,” she
says honestly. She snaps her gaze back to him and she steps
closer. “Do you think this has something to do with Palpatine?”
she asks in a low voice, chilled to her core at the very idea.
Anakin looks at her and from the intensity of his expression, she knows
she is not going to like his answer. “Palpatine knew how to cheat
death,” he says flatly. “You and the twins are proof enough of
“No,” Padmé whispers, pressing the heels of her palms against
her eyes. “No. Not my baby.”
He reaches out for her and she dances back out of his range. She
turns, bolting for the shuttle. It isn't Anakin's fault, at least
not directly. He would never willingly place his children in
Palpatine's grasp. Point of fact, he murdered the Emperor to
prevent such a thing. But she doesn’t care about Anakin's
intentions right now. He chose to become a Sith Lord and crown
himself Emperor. He chose to present this role model for his
children. Whether he intended it or not, he is guilty and she
cannot be near him. Right now, she needs to put as much distance
between herself and her husband as possible.
Anakin lets her take several step before he follows.
“Padmé,” he says, loud enough to be heard over the din.
Blindly, she makes her way to the shuttle, threading through people,
cargo and droids. She doesn’t want to talk to him now. She
can’t. She can’t face the idea that her daughter may be retracing
all of her father’s footsteps.
The guards see her coming and they open the shuttle doors. One of
them steps inside to pilot. Padmé is almost to the
but Anakin grabs her shoulder, angrily pulling her backwards.
“Dammit, Padmé!” he snaps.
She doesn’t hear the explosion, but she definitely feels it. She
is slammed forcefully into Anakin and they are both thrown away from
the fiery remains of the shuttle.
She doesn’t know how long she lies there. She is staring up into
the shimmering sky. She blinks, coughing violently and her vision
falls on Anakin. He is crouched over her, mouthing her name over
and over, but she doesn’t hear a sound.
There is a deep cut across his left cheek and soot and ash cover
him. She reaches up and gently touches the trail of blood on his
And then everything fades to black.
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