of the Father: Chapter 15
ADULT rated version
straightens her gown, thinking
of her clothes from Tatooine with longing.
As much as she wishes to connect with the part of Anakin which
for his homeworld, such simple attire would not be appropriate. She needs to remind everyone – herself
included – of her station and her position within the Empire.
sighs and glances over as
her bedroom door opens. Anakin stands
there for a moment looking her up and down.
He is dressed in the same black tunic and pants he wore earlier. She easily reads the unmistakable look of
satisfaction on his features.
wonders what it means to him
to have his wife once again sharing his bed.
They have so many issues to address, so much to resolve. It was frivolous and self-indulgent to spend
the afternoon in bed, especially when they don't have time to truly
what this change means to them and their relationship.
must sense the flow of her
emotions in the Force for his smile fades.
Wordlessly, he steps aside, bidding her to walk past him into
they enter the living room,
Lorian and Mehht are waiting. Padmé's
cheeks pinken. The tender flesh of her
neck and jaw – and some far more delicate, hidden regions – is abraded
Anakin’s unshaven face. Despite a second
shower and clean clothes, she knows she looks tired.
There is no doubt Lorian and Mehht know what
transpired between the Emperor and his Empress.
As usual, Lorian's face betrays no emotion.
Mehht, however, is positively buzzing with
curiosity. Padmé avoids her gaze.
hands a datapad to
Anakin. “Taly’s final report,” he says
scrolls through the
data. “How bad is it?”
of Senators are
involved,” Lorian says. “I suspect that
is a conservative estimate. Taly only
implicated individuals he was certain he could prove are conspirators.”
feels sick. This can’t be happening. “Involved how?” she asks.
most cases, yes,” Lorian
says. “All funneled to Byss.”
vision is fixed on the
screen. "Palpatine amassed enormous
repositories of incriminating information on all sorts of people. I suspect he’s putting it to use now.”
you really think he’s back?”
turns to face his wife,
his expression softening. “I do,” he
says. “I don’t know how.
Considering the length of his absence, I
suspect whatever dark powers he used to sustain himself took a
wonders if Anakin
appreciates the irony of his words. She
doubts it. “And Leia’s involvement?”
don't know,” Lorian
says. "There is nothing in the
records Taly found to tie her to any of this."
leaving for the Imperial
Anakin says. "If Korto knows
anything, I will find out.”
want to go," Padmé
says boldly. She sees the look on Anakin's
face and immediately heads him off.
"Leia is my daughter too. I
have a right to know as much as you do."
Anakin informs her firmly. "It's
not safe. You need to stay here with
Lorian and Mehht."
lying and she knows it. What place could
possibly be safer for her
than inside his fortress at his side?
She steps closer to him, turning her back to Lorian and Mehht. “You can’t keep me safe if I’m at arm’s
length,” she whispers.
looks down at her with an
unreadable expression. “That may be
only way I can ever keep you safe,” he says.
Without another word, he shoots a pointed look at Lorian and
on his heel, leaving her.
says, carefully setting the cup of caf on the table before retreating.
gratefully sips the
drink. It is late afternoon and she sits
at a small table on the veranda of her penthouse. Anakin
left more than an hour ago and Padmé
retreated outside to give Lorian and Mehht – and herself - privacy.
here alone, she has time
to think. Padmé knows the danger of
opening herself up emotionally to her husband.
She knows how easy it would be to lose herself in her love and
Anakin, to overlook his sins. To
overlook Vader. She learned that lesson
the hard way. And it cost the entire
galaxy a great deal. She will not do it
she doesn’t want to live
without passion. She doesn’t want to
live a stilted, desolate existence without Anakin.
She can feel Anakin changing, feel his
lightness gaining ground on his darkness.
But he isn’t the man she married.
She is slowly growing to accept he will never be that man again.
from her thoughts, Padmé
turns to see Mehht standing in the doorway.
of the explosion is all
over Holonet,” Mehhts says, her lips pursed into a thin line as she
hates that Mehht had to
learn of her injuries second hand. Mehht
has been her closest confidant for years and yet in the last few days,
distance has grown between them. Both of
them have been so enmeshed in their own affairs there has been little
connect. "I'm fine," Padmé
crosses the veranda and
sits down, critically staring at Padmé.
Padmé presses the pads
of her fingers to the bruise at her temple.
"Considering I was almost killed, I don't think it's too bad,"
shakes her head. “Not bad considering. You’ll be good as new before you know it.”
inwardly marvels at the
situation. As recently as a few weeks
ago, Mehht would have vilified Anakin.
Mehht would have blamed him for putting her in jeopardy. Yet now, Mehht remains silent.
In that instant, Padmé knows Mehht truly
loves Lorian. Mehht is many things, but
a hypocrite is not one of them. Mehhts
now understands what it means to truly care for a man so similar to
Anakin. For the first time ever
feels as though she has a confidant who truly understands her plight.
her cup in its saucer,
Padmé looks directly into Mehht’s eyes.
“He didn’t want me with him at the detention center.”
shakes her head
somberly. “No, he didn’t.”
stares at her cup of
caf. “He’s going to torture Korto to
death.” She looks at Mehht, searching
for something she can’t articulate, even to herself.
tried to have you
killed,” Mehht says plainly, her jaw firmly set. It
is clear she finds no fault in Anakin’s
actions. Any justice to be found on
Tatooine is of the vigilante variety. In
their combined history is plenty of precedent for this situation. Owen Lars participated in more than a few
raiding parties solely for the purpose of exacting justice.
destroyed the Jedi Order
and toppled the Republic in order to protect me. I
lied to myself. I ignored the signs. I held my tongue until it was far too late,”
Padmé whispers. “I won’t do it
again. I can’t condone this path. Even if Korto is guilty, no good will come
from his death.”
husband is the Emperor,”
Mehht says firmly, but not cruelly. “You
can’t stop him.”
herself to her feet,
Padmé looks at her friend with sad eyes.
“I have to try. Not for
Korto, for Anakin. I
have to try.”
first of Coruscant’s
innumerable layers of buildings were erected hundreds of millennia ago. Through countless governments, social
movements and architectural sensibilities, level upon level has risen
the stratosphere. Galactic City
is constantly re-inventing itself.
Quadrants fall in and out of vogue, wealth migrates from one
the next. The only constant in this
eternal metropolis is change.
yet, there are certain
places – even on Coruscant - where things never change.
looks at the damp stone
walls still caked with countless layers of torch soot despite the fact
torches haven’t been used as illumination for millennia.
The Imperial Senate Complex was once a
shipyard. Before that it was an
apartment block. Millennia before that,
it was one of the giant Rakatan foundries.
Yet unlike the Senate Complex, Padmé knows Imperial
Center H5 has been a place of pain and death since humanity first
the primordial ooze. Darkness seems to
seep from the stone walls. Padmé
suppress a shiver.
her side, Lorian betrays no
hint of his reaction to this place. His
lips are pursed into a thin grim line and he is not happy to be here. He did everything he could to try and prevent
Padmé from coming here, but short of physically restraining her,
he had no
way is soon blocked by a heavy
iron door. Lorian grabs the handle, but
rather than pulling it open, he turns and looks at her.
“You’re sure you want to see this?”
swallows thickly before nodding.
Lorian pulls the
door open and stands aside so Padmé can enter.
this room, torches burn in
their sconces as they did millennia ago.
There is a stone pit in the middle of the room where a fire
crackles. It would seem more welcoming
if there weren’t branding irons glowing red hot within the flames.
sees the scene before her
but in what is no doubt a self-preservation tactic of her mind, it
immediately register. Little by little
details come into sharp focus; the cold damp feel of this place seeping
her bones; the dark, congealed liquid glinting off the stone floor and
the acrid stench of burning flesh; the wet, sucking sound of Korto
for breath; the nauseous bite of bile rising at the back of her throat.
turns away, coughing
quickly to stave off retching. She
covers her face with her hands, but nothing can block out the
of Korto’s burning flesh. The twi’lek
doesn’t moan or cry out in pain and Padmé knows it isn’t because
creature isn’t in pain. It is because he
isn’t physically capable of making noise.
she doing here?” Anakin
demands of Lorian.
stands his ground,
holding his head high as he faces the Emperor.
“The Empress commanded I bring her here,” he says.
forces her reactions under
control, turning to face Anakin. She
won’t let him punish Lorian for following her orders.
sight before her is
Lorian. Though Lorian is slightly
taller, Anakin is larger, his shoulders broader, his frame muscled by a
of physical training. Bare to the waist,
he is dressed only in a pair of loose fitting black pants.
His skin glistens with sweat and blood. The
blood is undoubtedly Korto’s, sprayed
across Anakin’s well defined chest, arms and even his stubble-roughened
face. His hair is completely soaked with
sweat making it appear far darker than it truly is.
In his right hand is one of the branding
irons. In his left is a knife. It isn’t a vibro blade. It
isn’t a technological marvel. It’s simply
a piece of sharpened metal forged
solely for the purpose of inflicting pain.
looks at her, his expression
cruel. “I didn’t realize you were so
eager to watch me work.”
swallows thickly, forcing
herself not to cower. “I’m not.”
You forced Lorian to bring you here.”
He looks at his most prized lieutenant, sneering at him. “I’m sure Lorian tried to talk you out of
it. He never shies from this sort of
thing, but he prefers to keep his dark deeds secret.
He’s very concerned about protecting the
gentle feminine sensibilities.” He turns
to Padmé, smiling broadly. “Are you
going to tell your little moisture farmer about this?
What do you think she’ll think about her
dashing young Imperial operative now? He
got a pretty good start on Korto before I arrived.”
“Anakin,” she says softly.
unlike their exchange at the
medcenter, this time her gentle plea seems to enrage him further.
are you here, Padmé?” he
demands. “Do you want to see how many
pieces I can carve Korto into before he finally dies?”
shakes her head
vigorously, biting the inside of her cheek to keep from gagging. “Lorian said you were trying to find
engineering schematics Korto stole from the Imperial data repositories.”
nods almost casually like
he isn’t standing in the middle of a dungeon covered in his victim’s
blood. “Korto had them,” he
confirms. “His quarters were searched,
but someone ransacked them before we had a chance.
The plans were gone.”
are you doing this if he
doesn’t have the information you want?” she pleads.
laughs again. “Oh, Korto couldn’t tell us
anything even if
he wanted to,” he says with sickening cheer.
“He hasn’t had a tongue for hours.
Or fingers. So unless Twi’leks
have learned to communicate telepathically, he’s not telling anyone
anything.” He uses the back of the knife
blade to absently scratch at his opposite shoulder.
The metal is covered with gore and Padmé
can’t help but gag.
steps closer, reaching
out a hand to Padmé. He is Force
backwards into the wall. Padmé
herself from running to Lorian’s aid.
She knows it would only spark Anakin’s wrath.
crosses the distance to
Lorian. He looks his lieutenant over
closely. For the first time, Lorian’s
stoic veneer cracks the tiniest bit and Padmé can feel how
nervous he is.
in closely, Anakin
whispers, “You can’t protect her from me.
No one can.”
steels his resolve, his
jaw clenches tightly. Padmé knows
about to do something fatally stupid.
leave us,” she says
Lorian and Anakin turn to
face her. While Lorian’s features are
incredulous, Anakin’s are smug.
commands. “Leave us.”
Lorian’s side to return to his wife. He
stops directly in front of her and Padmé stands perfectly still,
straight. Anakin reaches out and traces
a finger along her jaw. She knows it
leaves a trail of blood, but she does not react.
taking his gaze from
Padmé, Anakin says, “Your Empress bought your clemency, Lorian. You best heed her words.”
is still staring into
Anakin’s eyes when she hears the door clang shut.
are you here?” he asks
again, this time angrily.
want you to spare Korto.”
snorts, turning away. He walks over to the
fire, stoking it with
the branding iron. He finally drops the
iron into the flames. He looks down at
the knife he holds, studying it in his palm.
He tosses it several times, easily catching it again.
knows he is trying to
scare her. She is fully aware he is
capable of using the knife to harm.
However, she does not truly believe he would ever physically
harm her. He wants to scare her, to chase
her away, not
to maim her.
already dead,” he says
flatly. “He died the second he intended
takes several steps and
reaches out, pressing her palm to the bare flesh of his muscled back. Her nail marks from several hours ago are
still clearly visible on his skin. “I
don’t wish his death,” she says.
steps away, breaking the
physical contact and turns to face her.
“And you think I should spare his life because you ask?”
smiles cruelly and offers
her the knife. “It would be far more
humane to finish him off. With the extent
of his injuries, he won’t have much of a life.”
looks at the knife and then
back to his eyes. “I am asking you to
spare him. For me.” There
is a moment, a connection. She is no
longer his wife in name only. Her lips are
still swollen from his kisses,
her body still aches deliciously from their lovemaking.
will not stay at arms’
length, my lord.”
hangs in the air for
innumerable heartbeats. She does not
know where exactly the demarcation resides in her husband’s soul and
she knows in this moment he is more Vader and less Anakin.
And still, she cannot turn away. Both
sides of him are always present, one
ceding dominance to the other as the situation demands.
She realizes now the danger for both her and
Anakin lies in denying his duality, in trying to deny his darkness. Darkness is part of who he is.
It doesn’t have to rule him as it has for so
long. But to deny the darkness, to fight
it, only feeds Vader’s power.
Anakin shrugs, tossing
the knife onto a nearby table. He yells
something in a language Padmé doesn’t understand and several
scurry into the room through a door she hadn’t noticed.
life is on your
conscience,” Anakin says. “I doubt he
will think you merciful.”
turns away. Anakin probably has a point,
but she is not
willing to concede that now. He turns,
walking through the door and she follows.
They walk down a short hallway and down a set of narrow, curving
stairs. She runs her fingertips along
the wall, wetting them with the condensation and wiping frantically at
blood trail on her jaw. They walk down a
short hallway before entering another room with a heavy iron door.
room is much like the
previous. Same damp stone walls, ceiling
and floor. However the illumination is
provided by standard electric lightbulbs and a small heater in the
provides meager warmth. There is a
sleeping couch in the corner and a table with a computer terminal and a
importantly - nobody is
being carved into little pieces in this room.
one corner is a showerhead
with no enclosure. Underneath it a grate
is cut into the stone floor. She watches
as Anakin quickly discards his pants and steps under the showerhead. With the turn of a faucet, water rains over
his naked flesh, quickly washing away the sweat and blood.
He takes his time and Padmé watches, unable
to look away.
knows he tortured
Korto. She knows he has done far
worse. And in spite of that, she still
cares for him. She still believes he is
a good man and he is strong enough to fight his way out of this
scrubs at his hair with the
pads of his fingers and then leans forward, bracing his palms against
wall, allowing the water to sluice over his skin. Padmé
feels heat rise in her body as she
watches him. She watches the water
cascade over his toned, muscled flesh, his well defined backside and
legs. She knows he is very aware of her
to his naked body. That knowledge
electric tendrils of desire curling outward from the pit of her stomach.
watches as he runs one hand
down his chest. His fingers brush across
his pectorals, down his rippled abdominal muscles and then venture
lower. She watches as he strokes his
hardening cock several times.
swallows thickly, exhaling
loudly. His attention snaps to her and
he stands there under the water, watching her predatorily.
Without taking his eyes from hers, he reaches
out and turns off the water. The abrupt
lack of sound is startling and Padmé is excruciatingly aware of
cadence of her own quickening breath.
some great predatory
feline, he stalks across the floor toward her, his bare feet making no
the stone floor. Her heart pounds in her
chest and she is overwhelmed by a primal, instinctive urge to run. She forces herself to stay rooted to the
floor. If she runs, he would most
certainly give chase. There is little
doubt as to how quickly he would catch her.
She suspects Lord Vader would love nothing more than to run her
ground, to catch her and dominate her in the oldest, most basic way a
dominate a woman. It would serve to
remind them both what a monster he is, how separate he is from Anakin
will not run. Not from Anakin Skywalker. Not from Lord Vader.
stands there, her chest
heaving as she watches him approach. He
stops several feet from her, examining her with a cruel, ravenous gaze. She cannot stop her eyes from dipping to his
tumescent cock. Her vision immediately
flicks back to his face and he sneers, using his hand to once again
wants her to be scared.
she is also aroused.
they started their physical
relationship nearly two decades ago, behavior like this from him would
terrified her. It probably would have
sent her screaming for the door. But
this life has stripped her of most of her illusions, even those about
herself. She is not pleased by the
desire she feels for him in this moment, but she is finished with
deny it. For better or for worse, she
physically hungers for the man before her.
Perhaps he is not the only one with a dark side.
takes one tentative step
toward him, then another. She lifts her
hand, tracing her fingertips lightly over his chest.
She can almost feel his shock though he tries
to hide it, tries to act nonchalant. She
looks up into his eyes. He stares down
at her coldly.
doesn’t buy his act for a
second. He wants her, here and now on
this cold stone floor. Trying to deny
that fact while his convincing argument to the contrary pokes her in
stomach gives no doubt as to just how much Lord Vader fears this
smiles up at him and it is a
carnal, giddy smile full of feminine power.
As newlyweds, their sexual relationship was definitely filled
passion, but not a great deal of experimentation. They
were both so young and ignorant and
afraid of disappointing or shocking the other they rarely ventured
vanilla sex. While Padmé had no
complaints at the time, sixteen years of chastity have given her more
few ideas she wishes to put to the test.
She doubts he will protest.
holding his gaze, she
drops to her knees before him. One of
his eyebrows arches, but he does not move.
smiling up at him, she
grasps his cock gently in her hand. She
doesn’t take her eyes from his as she presses a wet, open-mouthed kiss
underside before drawing back and laving her tongue up the length of
gaze burns with
intensity. Shifting his weight, he
widens his stance. She licks him again,
this time, lingering at the head of his cock, savoring the salty tang
pre-cum. He groans and his lips fall
open as he pants, his tongue flicking out to wet his upper lip. His left hand traces her cheek.
Teasing the head of his cock with her bottom
lip, she stares into the perfect blue of his irises.
hand traces along her jaw
until his thumb reaches the corner of her mouth. It
lingers there, gently rubbing against her
bottom lip. She gives him a wicked grin,
turning her head and sucking his thumb into her mouth.
She sucks hard, biting gently with her teeth,
never letting her gaze falter from his.
She can easily read the excitement in his eyes.
finally turns away, breaking
eye contact as she releases his thumb.
She takes the head of his cock in her mouth.
Using her hand to stroke his length, she
traces the head with her tongue. She
allows her eyes to fall shut, concentrating on the taste and feel of
fingers brush along her jaw,
gently threading through her hair, but he does not attempt to guide her
movements. He whispers her name and she
takes him deep into her mouth before pulling back to the very tip. She repeats the action again and again and
again, taking more of him with each pass.
Her hand ventures lower, cupping his testicles as she takes as
him into her mouth as she can. With a
shout he explodes, spilling into her mouth.
Padmé swallows, stroking him gently with her hands and
mouth until he is
fully spent. She finally pulls back,
releasing him from her mouth and sitting back on her haunches. She looks into his eyes.
stares down at her, his jaw
slack as he breathes heavily through his mouth.
He closes his mouth, swallowing as he drags a hand through his
licks the corner of her
mouth, catching a drop she missed.
trying to kill me,” he
wickedly. “But I promise you’ll like
have no doubt about that.”
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