years before Sins of the Father]
The door hisses open and he strides through. She
jumps up from her perch on the luxuriously upholstered repulsor sofa.
Her movement catches his attention and as soon as he looks her direction,
she bows her head and curtsies.
“What are you doing here?” he demands, abruptly stopping in the middle of
his private quarters.
She risks a glance up at him and then looks away quickly. “You instructed
me to leave.” She glances up again. “But I have nowhere to go.”
He looks at her, angrily shaking his head. He gestures with his hand,
but seems at a loss for words. “Go back where you came from,” he finally
She shifts uncomfortably on the balls of her feet, wanting nothing more than
to obey his commands. Yet, he asks the impossible. “I cannot,”
she says simply. “Responsibility for me was passed from Senator Farr
to you. I have no home to which I can return.”
He gaze narrows and his nostrils flare. He takes one step toward her.
Then another. “Responsibility,” he bites out. “You mean
She blinks at him, understanding he is angry, but not understanding why.
“Have you no – “ he yells and then stops short. He glares at her, his
voice low and measured. “No one can own you. You are a
sentient being. You are free.”
She cocks her head to the side, studying him. “But I was created for
you. You own me.”
A crystal vase on the side table shatters loudly, despite being touched by
no one. He is breathing hard, unable to look at her. He pinches
the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.
Long minutes pass in which neither of them move. Finally, he looks
up at her. “You need to leave.”
“But – “
“I don’t care where you go, but you need to leave. You can’t be here.
I’m in no shape to be discussing things with you.”
“You’ve been drinking,” she says without judgment.
He looks up at her, his expression guarded. “Yes.”
She looks over her shoulder. The large viewport in the stateroom suite
aboard the Emperor’s flagship Star Destroyer provides a magnificent view
of the planet Duro. Though so polluted it is now uninhabitable, Duro
is still beautiful from afar, a vast sea of oranges and yellows. She
has studied many star systems and it occurs to her that from high orbit,
Duro bears a remarkable resemblance to the Emperor’s homeworld of Tatooine.
She wonders if it makes him homesick.
Turning, she steps closer to the viewport. She is well aware of the
Emperor’s attention on her, and of his standing order for her to leave his
presence. But he’s lying to her as much as he is to himself.
He does not want her to leave. His heart and breath rate are elevated,
his skin is damp with perspiration. His eyes are slightly dilated.
All of these physical signs are partially attributable to the alcohol he
imbibed. But not entirely. He desires her. And that
is what she desires.
“This is a much better view than the one from my former rooms,” she says.
He doesn’t immediately reply, but she is encouraged when he joins her at
the viewport. She turns to look at him and finds him looking not at
the view, but at her.
“How long have you been on Duro?” he asks.
She easily senses the anger simmering beneath his words. Possessive
anger. And a hint of fear. “Not long,” she says, looking out
the viewport. “I arrived from Kamino a week ago.”
He steps closer, nearly looming over her. “Have you been with Senator
Farr the entire time?”
She stands there, feeling his breath puff against her temple. She turns,
looking up at him. He’s so close. She is shocked at the vibrant
blue of his eyes. “No one touched me inappropriately,” she says.
“I am property of the Emperor. I was treated with the utmost respect.”
He stares at her for a moment and she is well aware of the labored sound
of his breathing. Then, with a groan, he turns away. “I’m asking
if Farr paraded you through the orbital city’s streets,” he snaps.
“You’re a security risk.” He turns and looks at her, his movements
jerky and clearly agitated. “Do you know who you are?” he demands.
She looks at him placidly. “I am a modified clone of Padmé Naberrie
Skywalker, former Senator of Naboo, your wife, the Empress.”
He stares at her aghast. “You know?”
“Of course, I know,” she says, confused. “How could I be expected to
perform my duties if I didn’t have as much information as possible?”
“Information?” he asks, sounding almost wary, his eyes slightly glassy.
“Yes,” she says, nodding cheerfully. “The Kaminoans possessed detailed
information on your history as well as the history of the Empress.
Most of the information was procured via information brokers, so the reliability
is not assured. Perhaps you can correct any inaccuracies. I was
informed you met the Empress when she served as the Naboo Queen. She
was fourteen at the time. Did you prefer her like that?” She
looks down at her body, covered in skin tight Dramassian silk in a dark crimson.
“My age was accelerated to approximate eighteen standard human years.
I am more physically developed than Queen Amidala would have been at your
initial meeting. But perhaps I could – “
“Stop,” he says in a quiet, almost pleading voice. He turns away, shuddering.
“My daughter is nine. Just don’t go there.”
She frowns, confused, but boldly presses forward. “I have many gowns.
Reproductions of attire the Empress wore in public. If she had any
other apparel, perhaps garments she wore specifically for you in private,
I can procure – “
“Kriff,” he curses under his breath. He glares at her.
“I know you’re a clone, but how can this not bother you? You aren’t
Padmé. You’re someone else. These gowns, this information.
It’s not yours." He slaps his chest with his palm. "I’m
She smiles at him, a wicked seductive smile. Padmé’s smile.
Learned by watching intercepted holo’ transmissions for hours on end.
Private recordings meant only for Anakin Skywalker’s eyes.
“I want you, Ani” she says, with exactly the same breathless inflection Padmé
Naberrie Skywalker recorded for her absent Jedi husband more than a decade
ago. Her manicured fingertips play along the exposed skin of her upper
chest exactly the way Padmé’s did in the holo’ recording. Slowly,
she trails down her chest, her fingers splaying low on her abdomen.
“I miss you,” she says quietly, almost a whisper. “When you’re not
with me, I think about you.” She smiles, turning her head to the side
in the precise manner Padmé did so long ago. She even blushes.
“I think about you all the time. I think about you touching me.
I want you to touch me.”
She looks up at him. His jaw is unhinged, gone slack as he stares at
her with wide eyes. She steps closer and he does not retreat.
She licks her lips and leans in close, pressing her body against his as she
whispers in his ear. “My wish. My only wish is
to bring you pleasure in whatever way you wish me to bring you pleasure.
I. Am. Yours.”
He groans, but reaches for her.