When the Chancellor had first called her into his office Padmé had steeled herself for all kinds of declarations of war or annihilation - after all you never knew these days what the Chancellor came up with.
Years ago, when he had still only been Palpatine, it was one coincidence too much that the unknown Sith Lord’s lap dog showed up wherever political leaders had refused to submit to the Senate’s biddings. It had been rumoured for some time that the Chancellor had ties to the Sith apprentice that appeared throughout the galaxy to beat whole nations into submission.
Then, at a new years party in the Senate he had finally dropped his act and announced himself as Darth Sidious, Sith Master and sole ruler of the galaxy. The following uproar and immediate assassination attempt had been stopped by the mysterious figure in black, their red blade making quick work of everyone who held a blaster - even Jedi fell to his feet like leaves in autumn.
Padmé had watched this display of power in horror. Her and her handmaidens had been frozen in place, blaster shots buzzing past them, people screaming, lightsaber humming - a weird grief of a lost future weighing them down ever since. They had been safe, a protected island in the middle of dead and dying bodies. After all, Palpatine was Padmé’s mentor and yet their common political beliefs and home world had not been enough to offer the young Senator a glimpse behind the mask Palpatine had worn all those years.
When Palpatine had announced he would keep the Senate around (no doubt for his personal entertainment) Padmé‘s tightrope dance had begun. For five years she lasted and she thought she had done well. Still-half-a-Queen-now-a-Senator back then she had tried to navigate the political decisions that didn’t matter too much to the Chancellor (still Chancellor, he had not chosen a new title as if to mock his former colleagues), while sticking to her morals without finding herself headless after a speech.
With her limited powers the least she could do was protect the ones around her. For two years she was without handmaidens and had managed just fine, the knowledge her friends were safe and doing good in the galaxy a small consolation in her moments of loneliness and grief.
She had gotten somewhat closer to the Chancellor during that time as well; he had been a mentor to her before and they still agreed on the gist on many topics but their methods differed. When Padmé urged to send out delegates, Palpatine sent his Sith apprentice, Lord Vader, and the bloodshed was covered by galaxy wide news just moments later. It wasn’t a secret to either of them how much she despised his methods, yet the Chancellor seemed to enjoy their debates about ethics, pressuring her to admit she’d sacrifice whole nations for the good of many as well.
Still, Padmé refused to give up, their common home planet one of the few that hardly felt the Chancellor's influence - Padmé intended to keep it that way. The good of the galaxy was her noble goal all things considered, but she wasn’t naive. She knew that it was impossible to save all and even well meaning decisions could be painful and cruel to the people. Her vote of no confidence had come from a good place and while it wouldn’t have made a difference to Palpatine's rise in the long run, she felt guilty about it, waking up with a racing heart and tears in her eyes more often than not.
While she had shared one meal too many with the Chancellor she had yet to meet the infamous Sith apprentice Darth Vader, but she was in no rush. Meeting Vader usually meant meeting the end of your own life.
As a young Queen and later young Senator she had been underestimated a lot and she wondered if Palpatine had fallen into this trap as well. Maybe he thought he could bend and shape her to his will; she had come to him for advice more than once and he proclaimed to sometimes have fatherly feelings towards her, calling her his greatest achievement at parties, claiming her political success despite his lack of involvement in her small task forces and work groups. Granted, she was proud to call herself the most popular Senate member if the polls could be trusted. The people they ruled over did not only appreciate her sense of fashion but her sensible decisions and level-headed demeanour as well. Palpatine used her to boost his image and sway his critics towards him; after all, esteemed pacifistic Senator Amidala cooperated well with him.
„He is not here, child.“
As if Palpatine had guessed her worry. Padmé suppressed a shiver and wondered how good those mental shields Obi-Wan had taught her were. The Jedi were in a difficult position as the galaxy’s peacekeepers, especially since Darth Vader had slewn more than one over the years. The public image had suffered greatly, the Chancellor's open disrespect for their work shrinking their influence significantly. Did they regret how they had insisted on running independently of the Senate?
Padmé cleared her mind of thoughts of the past. A conversation with Palpatine was like playing a game of chess on a board game with too many colourful pieces and cards, abiding by rules only known to him. She needed to be alert, but that wouldn’t save her from stepping into traps laid out ages ago.
Palpatine's - Sidious' - offer sounded tempting and too simple. She doubted he'd really give up his tight reign on Naboo for the chance to play father.
„I have prepared a contract, Senator Amidala,“ he continued and her data pad lit up with a new message. „Read it and consider it. There are no hidden clauses.“
As if he needed hidden clauses if he could simply not honour a bunch of words on a data pad.
„Has he agreed?“
Palpatine gave her that soft smile which had let her believe she had a true ally years ago. „He will do whatever is best for the galaxy.“
Padmé‘s stomach churned at the thought of her - partner.
In the past year Darth Vader‘s - Lord Vader he preferred she heard - presence in the Senate had become more and more frequent and the news outlets loved him. He was dressed entirely in black robes, similar to the Jedi ones, probably to mock them, the hood of the cloak always in place. The media at most got glimpses at the orange-yellow Sith eyes shining from the darkness. All they knew was that he was humanoid judging by his build (and he must be human judging by Papatine‘s breeding effort), not much more was known.
He liked fast, stealthy ships, usually painted in back and parted the crowd whenever he power walked through the crowded hallways of the Senate to remind them who was in charge, his cloak a mist of darkness that spread an icy cold and the feeling of wrong .
Padmé had yet to witness what he was most famous for - choking a person across the room without even lifting a finger. Kriff, maybe she was next, who knew.
„I will review the contract and get back to you.“ She said, voice flat and calm, her mind empty.
When Sidious had taken over and shaken up the Senate her old friend Obi-Wan had offered to teach her the basics a non-force user could do - rudimentary shields, compartmentalised thoughts, the likes. She doubted it could really stop Vader or Sidious if they wanted to pick her brain.
“Of course, child.” Palpatine said with that agreeable smile of his - the smile that had welcomed her into the political mess Coruscant was and the smile that had fooled her. For a long time he had worked alongside Padmé for freedom and democracy, which made her wonder when (or if) she should have seen all this coming. She had considered them work friends and Palpatine’s fondness of her had appeared genuine, but she knew better now. She was a tool to him, like anyone and anything in the galaxy.
And now: an olive branch:
A child in exchange for Naboo.
Striding through the halls towards the elevator she wondered if that was just a ruse to bind her tighter to him. In protecting Naboo and the few regions especially dear to her he would always have a bargaining chip over her. Still she could make a difference for millions of lives, even if it meant condemning millions more to an even worse fate by birthing Lord Vader the second. If he became just half the Sith his father was, he’d still deal death and destruction anywhere he went.
The political implications of an open alliance with the Chancellor bothered her more than what the contract asked of her - coupling and conceiving a child with a war criminal. He was Sidious’ apprentice but that didn’t mean he had to be younger than the Chancellor. Still the man whose child she was going to carry worried her far less than the prospect of extending the Sith‘s reign over the known regions and the trust she’d betray by doing so. Padmé was a beacon of justice and progress, aligning herself and aiding the Sith would alienate those who had believed her to be critical of the Chancellor.
Padmé allowed herself a deep sigh when she was in the quiet of her suit, but it was all she allowed herself. She hadn’t broken down in months - years - and she wouldn’t allow herself to break down for many more - she was afraid she couldn’t put the pieces back together.
Naturally she couldn’t tell Obi-Wan but naturally he picked up on her mood when he dragged her away from her desk for a much needed meal. Padmé lived off of protein bars and instant-kaf, a cheap cafeteria meal thrown in once in a while. It had been so long since she had last tasted her father’s cooking she didn’t even remember what flavour was.
“You cannot say.” Obi-Wan observed and she nodded, eating as fast as she could while remaining somewhat regal. They were in a nice cafe on the upper levels of Coruscant, a place that had entirely forgotten the fate of the galaxy was in the hands of a mad Sith Lord and made the most delicious quiches.
“So it has to do with Sidious, I assume.” Obi-Wan was one of the few that dared to speak the Sith Lord’s name, many pretended all was well by still calling him Chancellor - Padmé did too.
“I assume some kind of bargain?”
Again he was right.
Sidious kept the Jedi around like some trained pet - their positions as peacekeepers stopped them from interfering, after all the Chancellor’s election had been just and he hadn’t openly declared war on anyone yet. He was smart enough that violent altercations, deaths and chaos couldn’t be directly traced back to him. All were blamed on henchmen who were quickly disposed of and if he sent Lord Vader himself, you could bet your last credit incriminating paper’s justifying the Senate's violent interference would appear. She didn’t envy her friend for his burden; he had dedicated his life to peace and balance and now he could only stand by and watch this ship wreck and burn.
”I guess some sort of protection for something from you?” He was good at guessing, after all he had known her for the last years of her reign and subsequent work as Senator. They had both grown together, both had graduated from Queen and Padawan to Senator and Master - they shared many burdens and recognised the lines of sorrow in each other’s faces. While she would have preferred a kinder fate for her friend, it felt good not to be alone in a mess like this.
“Hmm.” He dipped his spoon back into the frothed milk, thinking. “I wish I could help you other than advise you against it.”
Padmé snorted, not very lady-like but her manners got less the hungrier she got.
“I could save millions.” She let on.
“While condemning billions?”
“No.” She said and chewed. “That’s the catch. It would only condemn me of sorts. And only for a short while.”
It wasn’t the truth. Padmé couldn’t know what a force sensitive child in the grip of a Sith Lord would become. But Naboo and its neighbouring regions could need a break. Whispers of a rebellion grew louder each day; who was Padmé to forgo a safe haven, a breeding ground for a brighter future?
Obi-Wan’s eyebrows furrowed.
“I do not like the sound of it.”
“Me neither but the contract is solid.” She cringed, letting slip there was physical evidence. “No weird clauses, no blurred words. It’s straightforward and - honest.”
“Hmm.” Obi-Wan hummed again, as puzzled as she was. “Padmé, I ask you as a friend, do not burden yourself because you think you have to. You have carried so many burdens in your young life already.”
He trailed off and his kind eyes were pleading.
They had both grown up too fast in a war torn galaxy, they both could not step down for a personal break when the faith of many rested upon their shoulders.
“And what do you ask me as a Jedi?” She asked back and squeezed his hand. They both knew she would go for what she thought was good and right, now matter what she had to personally sacrifice. She always had.
“I ask you not to make a decision before I meditate. Maybe the Force can reveal to me what his plan is.”
Padmé nodded, a sensible plan. While he could not tell the Jedi council - they did not want to risk spreading word of the deal she had been offered - dealing with Lord Vader (or Sidious) the Force was a good place to start.
Hi guys, hope you have a great weekend.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The only odd clause of the contract was that it insisted on a natural conception and a natural carry of the aforementioned child.
Padmé wondered why, maybe it was some sick preference of the Chancellor to know her growing secret while she continued her work at the Senate, maybe his knowledge of medicine was limited.
Padmé scrolled on her data pad and the words flew by.
Obi-Wan’s dialogue with the Force had not brought anything to light. All he could offer her was his support as a friend. The Jedi had as much impact on the Senate and current dictatorship as a pebble in one of Naboo’s lakes. Currently they were a religious training facility at best, the Chancellor had known how to use a minor scandal to remove the Jedi as executive power from the Senate. While Obi-Wan was apprehensive of the benefit of the contract he didn’t know any concrete details (like a child of a Sith Lord or the sovereignty of an entire planet) to try and sway her in either direction. Padmé was grateful for that.
Obi-Wan knew the Chancellor favoured the nabooian Senator and had theorised this might be a way to bind her to him, to establish a loyal group of politicians to help with his reign, which was by now the most plausible explanation for his proposal.
Yet Padmé didn’t know why her , there were millions of women available - some might even volunteer. Did he hope a pregnancy would make Padmé mellow? While the Force had not told Obi-Wan anything, Padmé assumed that maybe Sidious had had a vision of sorts to make him choose her. But: he could gift her the freedom of Naboo in exchange for loyalty just like that, there was no need to involve children in this. The true reason for his contract had to run deeper.
Padmé closed the document and opened another. Tomorrow an important poll was held, a bill they had been working on for months, a bill which benefited the rule of Sidious as much as it would have the democracy. Padmé looked forward to this as it reminded her all was not lost, that the things still mattered. The day to day Senate life had remained refreshingly unchanged, they argued for hours over taxes and tolls, trade routes, labour laws, menial, almost boring galaxy affairs.
Tomorrow she would vote to change the lives of small shopkeepers and traders for the better.
Tomorrow she would tell Sidious her decision that would change her life, but for what?
Palpatine was pleased and he told Padmé as much. He rambled on in his soft voice about what good deed she did - she almost believed it herself and was convinced this man was not a cunning strategist but rather a delusional old man with too much power. During his praise she had not once the impression he had a sick fantasy or hunger for power driving him - rather an odd wish for a grandchild.
Dazed, she left his office with an appointment for their first meeting and Palpatine’s guarantee that despite Vader's notorious reputation he would not harm her. What a weird promise to make. What a weird guarantee the man she would conceive a child with would make an exception just for her. Would keep his violent hands off her.
She had seen Vader only a few times in person, only from afar and he was always a black storm cloud of billowing robes and orange cat eyes beneath the hood, his foul mood palpable.
Gossip magazines love writing about him, maybe because Palpatine told them to, maybe because they actually found some sex-appeal in the mysterious mass murderer.
The rest of the day Padmé felt numb even when the poll of their bill came out in their favour and senator after senator came up to her to congratulate her on her splendid speech. She accepted the handshakes and well wishes with a blank face, smiling at the appropriate times, nodding along, encouraging ideas and proposals senators threw at her.
The meeting was scheduled late at night, 11:30pm standard time and time went by in the blink of an eye and yet dropped by like glue. When Padmé had exited her booth it was shortly after 4 pm standard time and she had wondered how she was supposed to fill the aggravating minutes. When she checked next it was a few minutes shy of 6 pm and panic gripped her. She excused herself as quickly as possible and collected a ready meal on her way back to her chambers, she had let the congratulations and meaningless smalltalk go on for far too long.
Her stomach churned on the twenty minute ride back to her chambers, suddenly she felt out of breath and out of time.
They (her and Palpatine) had agreed on her chambers because she did not want to sneak around after what they did - Padmé wasn’t really a sneaky person. She was used to walking the hallways in full regalia with an escort of handmaidens and guards, subtle wasn’t really her style. It would save all three of them bad press and embarrassment. Vader himself was hard not to notice, at least when he didn’t bother hiding his presence. She knew from rumours he was present during Senate meetings more often that they thought, hiding in the shadows behind the Chancellor, stalking his next prey.
Back in her room she wolfed the half-warm food down. The silver foil packaging was only halfway inflated but Padmé knew from experience when the self heating meal had reached an edible temperature and consistency. It wasn’t tasty by any means, but her hands were shaking and she feared the ring of her doorbell any second. She chewed and washed her last bites down with a stimulating drink, the food churning in her stomach when she realised how much time she still had. As she continued to break out in cold sweats and hot flashes she decided to tidy up first, though there wasn’t much to straighten around the room as she was more a guest in her chambers than a true inhabitant. A few robes here and there. A misplaced shoe. Some jewellery. Her data pad and her backup one and the private one in different places.
She exhaled when she was done.
Ten minutes well spent.
At least she could take her time in the bathroom.
As she soaked in the tub, doubts gripped her. She had thought the independence of her planet was an adequate trophy for what she was about to do but she hadn’t really bothered to think of all the details. She had thought that she could sleep with any man and be over with it, even if there was no attraction but now she had second thoughts. Unhinged murderer aside, what if he was ugly? What if he smelled? He seemed to be in an acceptable shape but what if she was repulsed by him? What if he was incredibly old?
She shuddered but rubbed the goosebumps away with a washcloth.
She could do this. An entire planet ripped out of Palpatine’s reign without a single shot fired! She’d hate herself in the long run, when the battles would become drawn out and desperate hadn’t she secured a safe haven when she had the opportunity.
If she was lucky she’d get pregnant on the first try and that would be it.
If not, there were ways to make the following appointments more pleasant.
After she had bathed and brushed her teeth she unpacked the silk sleep shorts, top and dressing gown in a muted rose colour. The shorts and robe went just beneath her butt, the top fit rather nicely though her collarbones were prominent than she last remembered. She had gone shopping in an afterthought; the set was the first one she had seen on display and she had bought it without checking the price. Padmé didn’t really want to say she had gone shopping for Lord Vader - nononono - and the set was something she didn’t care if it got ruined or ripped. Padmé didn’t lack tasteful nightclothes, but she wanted to keep this exchange as professional as possible. Just like she had her face paint as queen, she had picked this set and a simple braid as a uniform. Her hair could be brushed out, the gown could be tossed, Vader would be out of her life just like that .
With a sigh she realised she still had way too much time on her hand, about one and a half hours.
She tried to catch up on personal correspondence but it was hard to write to her family without mentioning her deal or Vader as her thoughts kept spinning around this exact topic. Re-applying her deodorant seemed like a sensible decision after a particularly stressful train of thoughts.
She tried to catch up on the telenovela she had started three years ago but the plot flew by her brain without sticking, leaving her annoyed with herself and the protagonists.
Then she got hungry again but the room service delivery times were ridiculously high - they would cut into her meeting and she didn’t need that.
So back to her trusty drawer of protein bars.
She wouldn’t kiss him anyway.
That would be inappropriate.
They weren’t lovers.
Padmé returned to what she did the most, what she was good at and what consumed her time like a desert did the rain.
She fell into the mindless stupor of reading messages, sorting them, accepting meetings of task forces and groups of delegates. Her schedule for the next weeks filled up quickly and she was so submerged in work that she just pressed accept when a soft gong announced the presence of a visitor.
As Senator, Padmé didn’t really make a difference between night and day; she had had the best and productive meetings past midnight.
She realised her mistake as the edge of the muted pink dressing gown swept over her data pad and she froze, schooled her features and looked up.
Darth Vader - Lord Vader - had entered soundlessly like a dark cloud and barely stood out from the rest of her room, the dim light of her desk lamp not enough to light it all. His eyes were a pale yellow in a sea of black but she forbade herself from shivering. The cloak hid most of his body, but she could make out the sturdy boots he usually wore. Of course. Why would a Sith Lord dress up for her ?
She felt pathetic.
“Lord Vader.” She said and stood. “Is it time already?”
“Senator Amidala.” He greeted and she cringed inwardly. She didn’t really want to associate that kind of work with her official title.
“Just Amidala please.”
In return he just nodded.
Padmé rounded her table. Should she invite him to her bedroom or would the couch suffice? She hardly used it anyways, no loss if she didn’t want to use it afterwards.
“We both know why we’re here.” She said and like so often she faked the confidence she didn’t feel. “Let’s not dance around the subject.”
Vader nodded and shifted, his gaze underneath the hood never leaving her as she moved across the room.
“We are to conceive a child. Is there anything I should know beforehand?”
Good, she had stated the purpose of their meeting and outlined the next steps. This wasn’t too far away from how drafting bills worked.
Vader shifted again, he was dressed as she had seen him in the tabloids; dark robes, dark cloak, dark boots, dark gloves. The infamous lightsaber was hidden somewhere among his body she assumed and to her relief he didn’t stink of death but smelled faintly of laundry detergent with a hint of mint.
Her earlier self-pity subsided. She wasn’t the only party who had prepared. He seemed to have changed into fresh robes at least.
“Nothing to add.” His voice was dark and raspy as if he hadn’t spoken in a while, younger and softer than she had anticipated. Not that she was complaining. If she had heard a voice remotely close to her father’s she would have jumped out of her bedroom window, welcoming the neon abyss of Coruscant.
“Very well.” She gestured around the room.
Before she could suggest the bedroom he cut her off.
“The sideboard will suffice.“
Padmé nodded stiffly and stalked over to the desk-high piece of furniture that had no other use than stand in her way and assault her toes and shins when she was in a pre-kaf hurry out the door. The shutters to the glass front of her suit were closed already, she wouldn’t have to worry about unwanted audiences. Camera droids floated around the residence area ever so often despite the strict prohibition. More than once embarrassing images of Senators circulated in the tabloids.
As Lord Vader had appeared in full battle regalia she regretted buying the flimsy silk thing; he didn’t even seem to appreciate it and she felt exposed and - desperate. As if all this had been her idea, as if she was some weird fangirl looking forward to this. She straightened her back, gathering the scraps of her dignity.
Vader joined her, slower, probably as thrilled as she was.
After her reign as Queen was over she had expected herself in many places - but not between Lord Vader and a sideboard in her suite on Coruscant.
She cringed a bit, she should have put on music before he arrived but she had lost herself in her work once more; the bill of trade didn’t write itself and could finally bring some stability to the frayed edges of the rim world that played a back and forth with the republic.
“Just a moment.” Vader rasped out. She really couldn’t bring herself to call him Lord or Darth - she wanted an even playing field despite her obvious disadvantage.
Padmé blinked at his declaration; her work could distract her in a second and she had forgotten for at least a moment what exchange would happen within the next few moments, her thoughts dancing along paragraphs, regulations and names of people who owed her a favour.
Vader however retrieved something from his robes - a vial of sorts - and pulled his right sleep far back enough to reveal a thin stripe of tan skin. Tan skin . She filed that information away, any clue of her potential child’s father valuable.
He pressed the vial down and it gave a short hiss - oh. So he was equally un-thrilled as Padmé. Her hunger-fuelled agitation subsided at the display. Her previous low opinion of Vader and her curses about how terrible he was that he couldn’t just find himself a wife like normal people did, felt misplaced.
He didn’t want to do this either.
He didn’t want to do this either so much that an attractive woman like her didn’t excite him enough to perform. He might have issues of other nature, but Padmé chose to pity him to sooth her wounded pride.
Her heart softened in an instant for the tortured soul before her. If Palpatine offered her her home planet, what bargaining chip could he hold over Vader himself?
“Turn around please, Senator.”
Padmé excused his misuse of her title - but only this once because her stomach lurched at the thought of “now”. She appreciated his choice of position, she couldn’t imagine how awkward it could be to stare at one another, especially if she couldn’t see his face except for his eyes.
Dutifully she turned and leaned herself on the polished wood, her forearms flat, her ring and bracelet light against the dark wood, the scraping noise too loud in the otherwise quiet room.
Her heart beat in her chest, she heard everything .
The rustling of his clothing, the sound of his belt buckle.
She jumped when music started playing - blasted Force user ! Still she was grateful he had used his dark powers to take a bit away from the tense mood that gripped the room.
Another sound of something opening, then a tube of lube clattered over the surface Padmé leaned on.
How thoughtful of him.
She didn’t feel him for another moment, then a gloved hand moved her dressing gown up and pulled her shorts just far enough down. When her dressing gown slipped without a hand to hold it in place, she reached for the excess fabric and pulled it to the front, all in all she felt weird, exposed, a bit like at the doctors for a routine check up. She didn’t need to be afraid, she knew what was coming and yet she’d rather not be in this position.
Padmé spread her legs just a bit more when his gloved hand moved between her legs and spread more lube there, he rubbed her up and down, once, twice before he pulled back again.
He was hot against her sex, Padmé knew this feeling and as he entered her; it didn’t really hurt but it wasn’t the most pleasant feeling either.
“Are you well?” He asked.
He phrased the question in a weird way, he could outright ask her if he hurt her, still a kind gesture by an unkind man was more than she’d expected.
“I’m good.” Padmé replied, still more weirded out how professional they were being about all this.
He grunted as acknowledgement and started to move. Mostly it was just the sensation of a man moving within her, yet from time to time he hit the right spot and she allowed herself tiny noises in the back of her throat. She hadn’t expected this to be a lustful occasion but no one could forbid her from taking the little pleasure she was offered. The music swallowed most noises either way, she doubted he could hear her.
It didn’t take long, she had expected this too, and he gripped her hips tighter, the glove with the lube a wet stain against her skin as he grunted again.
It was done.
They stilled for a moment, then he pulled back and Padmé hurried to pull up her shorts and squeeze her tights together, letting the robe down.
When she turned around after a moment to give him privacy he had straightened up as well and they shared a moment of silence, his Sith-eyes unblinking while Padmé looked at him, the room, his pristine clothes, desperate not to look as dishevelled as she felt with her elbow on the sideboard and thighs clutched tight.
“Well.” She said and cleared her throat. “I will let you know if it worked.”
He nodded and continued to stare, clearly not getting the hint.
“You could give me your personal com for that.” She suggested. This was the kind of communication she didn’t want to have over her work data pad, in fact she’d rather not talk about it at all. Ever.
“Why?” He sounded defiant, as if she had made an outrageous demand. Padmé tried to shift against the sideboard as dignified as possible with her legs still pressed closed and her pants growing wetter.
“Do you want to schedule every appointment through Chancellor Palpatine?” She asked back with an empty smile that hinted at her growing annoyance.
He shifted in a way a normal person would have raked her hand through their hair. He was agitated and ready to bail but like a good blood hound he needed to be released.
They remained silent and from the rise and fall of his shoulders it appeared as if he tried to say something several times but decided against it. Instead of answering he turned sharply towards her desk and her three data pads hovered over. Padmé let go of her robe to snatch them out of the air before she unlocked her personal one with her thumb print and closed all open documents. She handed it over with the new contact prompt open.
„You know how easy biometric features are to bypass nowadays?“
He still just stared, a trait that unnerved Padmé more and more. His voice held no colouration that indicated why he had just told her that.
Padmé blinked at him.
„You should set up at least a second authenticator and deactivate auto-connect, it’s really easy to hack these things.“
Had - had the Sith Lord she had just tried to conceive a child with blurted out tech advice?
“All things considered…” he trailed off, unable to give their current situation a name.
„I will consider this, Lord Vader. You will be hearing from me.“ She said with her best diplomatic smile and snatched the data pad from his hands.
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When Padmé got her period three days later it occurred to her she maybe should not have blindly accepted a meeting without knowing what day of her cycle she was on. As an unmarried woman who lived on the Senate floor her period was a reoccurring inconvenience she didn’t bother to track as her love affairs were sparse - correction: nonexistent.
She had not bothered to educate herself on the topic of child conception; she assumed it would come natural to her after one or two meetings with Vader.
Speaking of Vader; she hadn’t seen or heard of him in the past few days and she assumed he was off planet wrecking havoc. The news were oddly silent about him but they never were for too long.
A quick research satisfied her desire for information quickly; as the pregnancy was inevitable for now she would bother herself with the gory details of pregnancy and delivery when the time was right. One step at a time, she told herself, closing the article as it began listing tips for breastfeeding.
With another ready meal she also picked up a parcel for her; a simple pregnancy test which could tell her the state of her body three days after conception with a prick in her finger. There had been much pricier ones, some equipped with fertility testing as well, but she was a young woman who had never been on birth control implants for too long, she wasn’t worried about falling pregnant.
While her meal heated up in the silver-foil package she quickly showered and changed, during her hasty meal she installed a rudimentary cycle tracker on her personal pad, trusting the many four star reviews and typed in the answers to the questions asked. Based on the days she was supposed to be fertile Padmé sent an appointment to Vader who had not bothered filling in any name in her contacts, giving Padmé the opportunity to name him herself.
Prick . She had originally thought but decided it was unprofessional.
She’d rather swallow her tongue than giving him the honour of a title, Lord , Darth , no thank you.
Still she had not expected the jolt of panic and anxiety that shot through her body when a notification from Vader popped up on the screen shortly after she had sent it.
He had accepted the invitation.
Obi-Wan studied her closely.
Padmé glanced at him over the rim of her data pad and raised an eyebrow.
„You seem disturbingly calm,“ he observed.
„I have nothing to be upset about.“
„Which is what disturbs me.“
Padmé rolled her eyes at him and drew down the sleeves of the midnight blue gown.
„Aren’t you happy I get a break for once?“
„Padmé.“ Obi-Wan‘s voice was serious. „You always complain about other Senators or bills or votes. I don’t believe your quiet means content.“
Damn Jedi and their empathy.
„Is it because of Sidious?“
Padmé sighed deeper.
„Look, Obi-Wan, I cannot say much but I assure you all is well.“
Obi-Wan leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms. He didn’t look convinced.
„Let’s not only talk about me,“ she tried next when he didn’t stop studying her with the drawn together eyebrows. „Your padawan is force-stealing a whole cake.“
That got him out of his stupor in no time and he jumped up to do damage control for another disaster the scrawny togruta girl got herself into.
They met two more times, it was just as awkward as the first time. Padmé wore her freshly washed robe and bent over the side board, Vader injected himself and was generous with the lube.
Then, three days later Padmé pricked her finger with the tiny device and threw it on the counter as usual, starting on her make-up for the evening affair.
She picked up an eyebrow brush when she caught a flash of blue.
Padmé was pregnant.
She didn’t tell him immediately, neither Vader nor Palpatine as she couldn’t understand it herself.
The rest of the day and throughout the evening function, her thoughts spun around the fact that yes, she was pregnant, yes, she would grow a person in her belly.
It was an odd feeling.
Her child deserved some loving anticipation but Padmé couldn’t even muster up joy at the thought of having saved Naboo.
She fell into bed late at night and had a restless sleep, her half awake mind imagining her belly growing rapidly, but every time she laid her hand onto her stomach it was flat.
Another three days later her period came, the display wasn’t blue and Vader was scheduled for another visit.
As Padmé finished off another correspondence she wondered how Vader felt.
After all, he was supposed to travel from wherever he was to her suit to perform for a few minutes. Their shortest encounter hadn’t even lasted fifteen minutes, wasn’t it a waste of time? Wasn’t he supposed to do dirty work everywhere else in the galaxy? Conquer cities, suppress riots, kill anarchists?
That night he was on time, he always was, as if he waited in front of her door until the clock skipped to 11:30 pm, standard time.
“Why a natural conception?” Padmé asked him as soon as the doors closed. She hadn’t told him of their momentarily success; she doubted he cared. Neither he nor Palpatine had commented on her lack of pregnancy yet and she appreciated both men backing off.
Orange eyes drifted to the side as if the topic was uncomfortable for him, then she witnessed a rare blink.
“Ah,” he began, like a school boy he stood in front of her desk. “There is something about the natural way which allows the Force to be passed down. There are no records of Force users who have been conceived or carried out under unnatural circumstances.”
Padmé raised both eyebrows.
“I see.” She shouldn’t be surprised there was a whole science behind how to make the best Force-gifted kids she supposed, but from what she had heard Force sensitivity was also a random factor.
“What if this once comes out completely mundane?” She did enjoy watching him squirm despite the weight her question carried. She also knew the answer, she had read over it several times.
Orange eyes shifted to the other side and only briefly clung to her face.
“We will try for another.”
Padmé had never expected to meet the infamous Sith Lord and live to tell the tale of it but there was something about him that didn’t allow her to feel the kind of fear that immobilised her. She had felt chilled and weary when she had seen him from afar, never jealous of the Senators who he zeroed in on. Yet having him in her quarters had her have much less panic attacks than anticipated. Yes, she was afraid of him and shouldn’t push him too much, but she also recognised her power over him in discussing topics he disliked but was obligated to answer.
“Let’s hope for the best then.” She said and got up to walk to her usual position. It gave Padmé strength to start their meetings in the same manner each time; she would sit at her desk and work, then get up. It helped her slip into the role of Amidala despite being in Padmé’s private quarters.
He followed her over, slower, his hands gentle on her body.
Gentle or - Padmé paused and held her breath as he entered her - inexperienced? He seemed apprehensive to touch or really grab her and he didn’t carry himself with an air of impassiveness. Was he insecure?
Was he just like her, making it up as they went? Because there was no guide book for what they were doing.
“I will be off planet for some time. Maybe a month or two. I will let you know when I’m back.” He announced after they were done and Padmé leaned against the sideboard, waiting for him to leave so she could waddle to the bathroom without dripping on the carpet.
She nodded and he turned, his robes swishing behind him in a dramatic way.
Poser . Padmé thought.
Despite Obi-Wan’s suspicious glances he didn’t bother Padmé too much, his new Padawan keeping him on his toes. If allowed, the girl talked like a waterfall, stringing question after question from the embroidery on Padmé’s robe to the sound of a speeder passing by.
She smiled at her old friend, Ashoka momentarily distracted with the task to fetch them more cake.
“I do not want to say I regret taking a Padawan.” Obi-Wan began. “But I do miss a full night of sleep.”
Padmé laughed at him, glad neither she nor politics were the topic.
“Well she certainly isn’t boring.”
“That she is not.”
Back in her suit Padmé had a few precious hours to herself. Her predecessor as well as Palpatine himself had told her at the beginning of her tenure how important it was to take breaks, to switch her devices off after ten hours of work, to go do some fitness or hobbies, eat and sleep.
Padmé didn’t listen to them because first of all she was good at what she was doing and second there was always something to do. Senators from smaller planets liked to rally behind her and relied on her guidance, a burden she willingly shouldered.
The committees she was part of rarely produced anything other than hot air if she didn’t move the process along with messages and reminders, urging them to read proposals and drafts.
Just like now she was typing a long, strongly worded message to her colleagues, upset about their lenient behaviour. A part of Padmé got Palpatine - despite her love for democracy the bureaucracy and endless debates could be tiresome and frustrating. More than once Padmé had wished to make a decision because she knew the committee would agree on just that, just in a week except for right now. But patience and understanding were the virtues of a senator.
In a few minutes the dinner would start and she had yet to begin her process of getting ready - though she had time for another transmission right now if she typed quickly.
In the shower she treated herself with a few precious moments to herself.
A few moments in which she would not think about bills and laws and to do lists.
Had she really thought this through? Had she really grasped the consequences of what she had signed up to do? The meetings with Vader and their (so far) futile tries at conception weren’t bad. The sex could be better but he was polite enough that it wasn’t extremely uncomfortable. Getting to know him in close quarters let her believe he was… different from what she had seen in the media and hallways so far.
In the hallways he struck fear especially in the more vocal senators like Padmé. The people who halfway openly dared to criticise the Chancellor were suspiciously absent when the dark Jedi roamed the hallways. There, Vader always carried himself with an impatient air of pissed-off hurry; as if it bothered him that he had to share the same space as mere mortals like Padmé.
In Padmé’s quarters he was still impatient. But impatient to leave because he was in unfamiliar territory. Because he didn’t have the upper hand and he didn’t like it.
How would that mix in the future?
She couldn’t really believe she had yet to have an official encounter with him, of political nature.
Their official duties in the senate overlapped now; during her eight years as Queen she hadn’t heard much of him or maybe she had but back then he hadn’t been the galaxy wide problem he was now.
When she became Senator of Naboo at 21 she recalled hearing about a new Sith more and more often and two years later, when Palpatine dropped his act as their well meaning Chancellor, Vader became the prominent figure he was now. Padmé remembered shivering when she first saw him towering behind the Chancellor, then freezing in fear when he killed half the room without breaking a sweat.
Since then he had been a constant worry in the back of her mind but Palpatine’s favour had also been her protection she feared. There had been whispers of other senators who had received visits by a figure clad in black with a blade red as blood - she had received invites to tea and cake from Palpatine.
“How do I end up in situations like this?” She wondered as she wiped the mirror to look at herself. She had been in the spotlight for as long as she could remember, if it wasn’t for her political pursuits it was for her sense of fashion. If she left the senate building she was likely to be surrounded by the press who would then go on about her outfit - detailing every inch of her, analysing each choice as she had created a dogma about fashion.
Her older sister Sola had lived a life quite different from hers and yet they suddenly had something in common: the wish for a baby.
Maybe she should call her sister up and get the rundown of conception and pregnancy - after all Sola had welcomed her first child last year after an extended period of trying and planned for four more. Maybe the Naberrie women had a bit of trouble conceiving right away?
But: a call with Sola would trigger uncomfortable questions, it had been a while since she had last seen someone, her fancy with Senator Clovis had been nipped in the bud, she knew how to be professional. Yet, Sola wasn’t stupid and she would be hurt if Padmé casually mentioned she had progressed so far in a relationship (or life in general) she wished for a baby.
And, more concerningly:
If she called Sola up to casually ask about the best way to get and stay pregnant, Sola would tell her father in a heartbeat and Ruwee would be absolutely delighted. He had been a devoted father and was an even more devoted house husband. The prospect that his younger daughter would also settle down, hopefully close to home with another grandchild he could knit for would have him over the moon.
Padmé’s heart broke for her father. She knew he would take the fact that the grandchild was never meant to be with them for long, harder than she did.
She would try a few more times with the Sith Lord and if that didn’t work out she could enlist her sister's help. She was scheduled for another call with her soon, so she might sneak some questions in. Sola loved talking about motherhood and their plans for their future children, it wouldn’t raise suspicion if she dug a little deeper this time. Padmé was a politician and she was smart, she knew how she could steer Sola to talk about topics Padmé couldn’t outright ask about.
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Thank you guys for all the kind feedback! I'm sorry I missed the weekend update, I chaught the big C and have been down, so now you'll get 2 chapters as a reward for your patience!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The call with Sola and her parents had been nice but not really enlightening. Sola had gone on and on about her attitude and that she was much more relaxed now than when they were trying for their first, though Padmé firmly believed in science, not attitude.
She wasn’t sure if she should even consider her first try a miscarriage, after all the clump of cells had only stuck around for a few days. She certainly didn’t feel as bad or disappointed as her sister had.
She just hoped it would work the next time so she could be spared of more awkward meetings with Lord Vader.
For the first time since their arrangement Vader didn’t carry himself with the uncomfortable awkwardness but he brought in the impatient air of anger and rage.
Like a storm cloud he hovered in front of her desk, his bad mood rolling in waves over the Senator.
Unbothered, Padmé finished her message. She had felt too exposed and ridiculous in her usual pink shift so she had gone back to the store and gotten a negligé barely longer than the top of the original set; it saved her from the undignified act of having him pull her pants down, though now she sat very uncomfortable at the edge of her seat, skin sticking to leather.
“Now, Senator.” He snapped, obviously in one of his infamous foul moods.
“Just a second.” Her clock told her he was two minutes early anyways. She would let herself be bullied.
“You could have as many seconds as you wished if you would decide to go through with this for once.” His orange eyes were as sharp as his tongue.
Padmé stilled for a moment to collect herself, then she draped the invisible mantle of Queen Amidala over herself.
“Excuse me?” She finally said and nudged her data pad so it would be parallel to the edge of her desk.
“I said,” he began, heated at her obvious disrespect.
“I heard you for the first time.” She said in the calm voice of a ruler. “I was giving you the chance to re-think what you just said.”
“You!” He began but he wasn’t a man of words. Vader raised his hand menacingly but she continued to breathe just fine. Instead, one of her decorative vases shattered as his fingers grasped air.
“Lord Vader!” She shot up and slammed both of her hands on the desk. “Control yourself!”
“Control myself?” Vader took one big step towards the table and slammed his hands down as well. This was the closest she had ever been to his face, during their encounters she didn’t look at him and before they had sex he towered over her, though it wasn’t hard to do so.
“Control yourself.” She said low and slow despite the rapid beat of her heart. “I would prefer my rooms as well as my person to not be collateral damage to your mood.”
He was different than usual and it scared her. There was a dark energy swirling around him, the bright, unnatural colour of his eyes warned her how close he was to losing it on her.
“Listen Princess,” he did his best to contain the anger in his voice and she knew it was only Palpatine’s power over him that saved her from Force choking. “Do not think I am here because I want to. Do not think I enjoy returning to a defect Senator every month. So excuse me if I grow impatient that my life is compromised due to your failure.”
Padmé gasped at the insult and recoiled, gaining an advantage of height over him for a few seconds..
“Your failure.” He confirmed and pulled back as well, crossing his arms. The darkness was still swirling but less targeted on her now his initial anger was out.
“You do realise, esteemed Lord Vader, that a successful pregnancy is not only up the female part of this exchange?” Usually she was good in arguments, usually she didn’t raise her voice or insult but something about Vader made her blood boil and throw her principles overboard. Maybe it was because she only had a protein bar for dinner or it was the suggestion there was something wrong with her.
“How convenient for you to point your finger!”, she called out and rounded the table. “How convenient you tell me it’s my fault a pregnancy doesn’t stick. Have you considered all your interplanetary travel and Force wielding has had an impact on you? That, maybe, I am not the problem?!”
He visibly recoiled.
“And!”, she continued before he could reply. Sola had brought up a valuable point in their last call which Padmé had originally dismissed but she didn’t care; she didn’t need to believe in the point she was going to make to hurt him. “Have you considered that I have not much desire to keep a pregnancy when the whole process is awkward at best? When I am being taken by someone who doesn’t even have the courtesy to show me his face, let alone make the whole process agreeable? No, instead I am taken by some cloaked spirit like it is a business exchange.”
He was silent for a moment.
“No.” He finally admitted. “Yet the safety of your planet should be motivation enough to put more effort into this.”
“More effort?” Padmé screeched and grabbed one of the throw pillows on her sofa to hurl at him. She had aimed well but it hit an invisible wall in front of him. Of course he would not be dignified enough to give her this small victory. “Argh!”
Enraged Padmé reached for more pillows to throw.
“You treat this like it’s a choice! Like it’s a switch I can turn on and be over with! You are insufferable!”
She turned to find more things to throw.
“Don’t you think it would be much easier to decide to make an effort ?” she stretched these words to mock him. “If this playing field was remotely even?”
She reached for the second decorative vase, its twin already shattered by Vader himself.
Instead of breaking on the invisible wall he did an absent minded hand gesture and it gently landed on the side board Padmé usually occupied when he was with her.
“Argh!” Padmé yelled again, out of things to throw. She wanted to launch into another speech how entirely undignified it was to be used as a broodmare by a man she only knew by his title and deeds.
When she turned again he had stopped crossing his arms, one hand hidden within the hood as if he was thinking. The rage and danger were gone she realised but the awkward apprehension remained.
“You make a compelling point, Senator.”
“Amidala!” she hissed, stomping back behind her desk to shield her exposed legs from him.
“I shall schedule an appointment and let you know the results. We can go from there.” He nodded and turned, ready to take his leave.
“That is it?” She asked him, baffled. She had expected them to fight more, for him to threaten her.
“I am interested in solutions, Senator, not spending more time with you.” With that the double doors opened and the pillows flew back to their spots on the sofa.
“Bastard.” Padmé muttered, sinking down into her chain, suddenly tired and worn out. “What an absolute tool.”
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Whenever she saw Vader in the Senate halls they exchanged angry glares and they weren’t half as discreet as she was thinking. More and more senators came up to her, concerned about her obvious spat with the Dark Lord.
“Padmé.” Even Rush Clovis was so concerned he swallowed his wounded pride and approached her. “Are you in trouble?”
Padmé blinked at him, suddenly realising her privileged position as the only person in the building Vader couldn’t Force choke because he felt like it.
“I’m fine, thank you.” she deflected.
Rush looked at her with the worried look Obi-Wan wore often around her.
“Are you sure? Because Va- he’s been looking at you as if he wants to kill you.” Clovis whispered the last words, undoubtedly fearing the Sith was listening in or worse - summoning the bloodthirsty demon with his name.
“It’s fine. Really. Just a minor disagreement.” she said and smiled at him.
“A minor disagreement with a Sith Lord?”
She mentally rolled her eyes and hoped he would just give up instead of trying to weasel his way back into her affairs.
“Yes, just a minor disagreement we had over -” she inhaled, her mind blank what a minor disagreement with a Sith Lord could be. “Parking.” she quickly said as she saw a ship gently descend outside the senate on the designated landing platforms.
“Parking?” Clovis sounded unconvinced.
“Yes. We had a minor debate about our designated spots but it is all solved now.”
“Padmé…” Clovis began slowly. “You basically live in the senate. Last time you used your ship was a year ago.”
“Exactly!” She confirmed, smiled and rounded him. Oh kriff , what had she gotten herself into! She couldn’t even be mad at the Sith Lord without it becoming a major scandal.
“Padmé, wait.” Clovis tried to catch up to her. “Padmé, I know we’re not exactly on best terms but promise me you’ll tell me if you’re in trouble or if you need help.”
Padmé stopped again, now annoyed. As if she couldn’t handle the Sith herself.
Speaking of which, he just made an appearance down the hall and made a point to stop and glare at her, cat eyes ablaze even across the room.
“Padmé -“ Clovis stopped when he saw who she was getting in a staring match with. “Padmé stop!” he hissed and grabbed her arm. Instead of following his hissed instruction the senator broke free and marched towards Lord Vader, ready to continue their argument. She had been on her way to grab lunch but her hunger and appetite were replaced by burning rage.
“Lord Vader.” She greeted him with a cool voice.
Padmé felt her left eye twitch because she wanted to angrily squint at him at the misuse of her name, yet they were in public and numerous news outlets had gathered in front of the senate as usual to pester the politicians with questions. It didn’t help that the sleek ship of Vader smoothly touched down at this moment as well, broadcasting his presence.
“It appears our dispute over the recent parking situation has caught the attention of this house.”
“Parking situation?” He echoed and suddenly the sound of the main hall of the senate was muted. Had he done a Force thing? Or was ist just the fury coursing through her veins?
“Parking situation.” Padmé confirmed, channelling all her anger through her stare. Yet she kept her hands folded in front of her belly like a good Senator would do, careful not to actually touch the fabric and wrinkle it.
Vader crossed his arms and was silent for a moment. “Is it about how I am not allowed to park my ship wherever I please, especially not your… parking lot.” He asked, humour in his voice and she gasped, momentarily breaking eye contact as her cheeks burned.
When she had come up with the excuse she had not thought of the possible innuendos but of course Vader took and ran with them like a teenager.
She hoped she didn’t blush and if she did, it would be read as anger. From the corner of her eye she saw the flashing lights of the cameras outside. No doubt they did not only have the attention of the suspiciously mingling Senators but also of the press.
Kriff . Padmé shouldn’t have made this decision on an empty stomach.
“So to speak.” She finally managed, letting her eyes wander across the room to give the illusion she was just looking around. Her gaze settled on him again, accompanied by a slight lift of her chin.
Defiant . They had called her when she was still Queen.
Bratty . They had called her when she was even younger.
What would the press call her in just an hour, articles typed with restless fingers, photos and video clips embedded just a second ago?
“I myself am still waiting on my - permit.” He said, still with an amused voice that irritated her. She knew him as angry and quiet and full of rage, not funny. The easy way he shifted, confident in how much taller he was, irritated her even more.
“That’s fine. I am patient. I just hope we can resolve this matter and put any angry glaring in the hallways behind us.”
“See, Amidala.” He said and uncrossed his arms, his hand undoubtedly dangling close to his lightsaber. Yet his posture wasn’t threatening, he didn’t try to intimidate her. “It’s not out of character for me to stare at someone from across the room. You on the other hand…”
“Are you blaming me again?” Padmé all but hissed and she really tried but failed not to let the anger in her face show.
“I do not. I am merely stating the obvious.”
Padmé inhaled, recognising her defeat. Confronting Vader had brought absolutely nothing except for more curious stares and the attention of the media.
“Well then, have a good day Lord Vader.” She snapped.
Padmé power walked towards the cafeteria, her head held high and face impassive. She really shouldn’t fight with the Sith on an empty stomach.
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HAS AMIDLA FINALLY MET HER MATCH?
Much beloved Senator Amidala seems to have finally found an opponent worthy of her; the fearless Naboo delegate has come head to head with Lord Darth Vader over parking space this afternoon.
While the press was kind to Padmé, she just wanted to vanish. She didn’t know what was worse; discussing the headlines with Palpatine or Obi-Wan, either way both were inevitable.
“Oh, here is another.” Palpatine said and flung another article onto the holo projector.
FALLEN FROM GRACE? HAS SENATOR AMIDALA’S FAVOUR REACHED ITS END?
“Oh that’s just rude.”
MATCH MADE IN SENATE: SENATOR AND SITH LORD
“This one is just lazy!” It almost sounded as if Palpatine was complaining how his two favourite prodigies were being treated by the gossip mill.
Padmé on the other hand clutched her cup of tea and hoped the ground would open and swallow her whole.
“Padmé, dear.” Palpatine stopped picking out his favourite headlines and looked at her. How could this nice looking older gentleman be a Sith Lord? “Is there something I should know? Did something happen?”
Padmé smiled and shook her head. By now she knew the snake ready to strike that hid behind well-meant questions.
“No. Just a minor disagreement.”
When he didn’t stop looking at her with a gentle smile she added: “We agreed on finding out if the requirements for a pregnancy are fulfilled. On both ends.”
“Ah.” Palpatine smiled and started to scroll through the news again. “A sensible choice which will hopefully save you much heartache. But say, Padmé.”
He flung another headline onto the projector; speculations about a new senator from Naboo very soon.
“Is all going well? Do you have enough time for each other?”
How could Palpatine - Sidious really - write a contract where a child would be exchanged for a whole planet and still act as if Padmé and Vader had decided out of love to want a child and now suffered from infertility as Sola and her spouse had?
“All is well, Chancellor, thank you for your concern.”
“I thought maybe a vacation to the Mid Rim would do both of you well, some time for just the two of you, far away from your duties.“
Padmé did her best not to gape and her mind raced to her and Vader (of course still completely clad in black) in a holiday resort sipping colourful drinks with funny straws in them. Vader was married to his work as General of the clone troops in the war against the Separatists and if he could spare a moment he did not sip cocktails in a hot tub, he conquered planets for fun.
“Thank you, Chancellor but that won’t be necessary. We have both negotiated the terms of how we wish to proceed.”
SENATOR AMIDALA IN HOT WATER?
“Negotiated, my child, that does not sound like the joyous occasion the expectancy of a new life usually is.”
WILL FORMER QUEEN AMIDALA UNMASK THE SITH LORD?
“Chancellor, I think you know Lord Vader and I are both very practical people.”
“Indeed.” He agreed, still engrossed with the headlines. “Oh, that one sounds like the media has set their eyes on a plot line.”
FORBIDDEN LOVE? WHAT IS GOING ON BETWEEN DEMOCRACY LOVING SENATOR AMIDALA AND THE SITH ENFORCER LORD VADER?
“Chancellor, a question.”
If she was to read headline after headline about her and Lord Vader she might as well use Palpatine’s good mood.
“Why me? Why not any other woman? As I understand, despite his anonymity Lord Vader has gathered quite the fan club.”
“Ah.” Palpatine looked up and smiled. “I was wondering when you would ask such a question.” He interlaced his fingers and rested his chin on them, eyes dancing between Padmé and the constantly refreshing news feed.
“See, Padmé, the Force works in mysterious ways, yet it has revealed to me that you are the only woman in the whole galaxy Lord Vader will ever have offspring with.”
After her awkward meeting with Palpatine she braced herself for a visit from Obi-Wan but instead an emergency call from her family waited for her.
“Padmé, honey-bee, are you well?” Her father asked without a greeting.
“I am, thank you.”
Actually she was not well, Palpatine’s biscuits had been a terrible replacement for dinner and she was mentally and physically exhausted.
“We heard about what happened at the senate this afternoon!”
Intergalactic news be damned, her parents got an alert whenever her name was mentioned.
“It’s fine, really.”
“We know you get along well with the Chancellor, but Lord Vader -“ Her mother shuddered.
“Mom, Dad, please. While he is certainly dangerous he is not a rabid dog who will attack me for no reason. And rest assured we really had a petty argument. It is solved now.”
Her parents did not look convinced but changed the subject to Sola and their first grandchild, the Queen and when Padmé would finally visit them again.
When she finally fell into bed, utterly exhausted and too tired to eat another protein bar despite her empty stomach, her personal pad lit up once more.
A transmission from Lord Vader. He had included no note, just a doctor's report which was more blacked out than any classified document she had ever seen; he might as well simply cut out the relevant passage instead of sending her three pages of redacted personal information.
“Sperm count and quality are age and species appropriate, no issues with fertility are expected.”
Padmé moaned, consulted her cycle tracker and sent him another appointment.
Padmé had picked out a playlist that reflected her mood for the night, her family’s, Obi-Wan’s and Clovis’ continuous pestering as well as the press requests and photographs on the Senate had not bettered her mood in any shape or form.
Her colleagues looked at her, some in fear, some in awe, some simply distanced themselves from her and she lost precious support on her latest reform on intergalactic rights.
Her mood was still sour when Vader arrived, 11:30 pm on the dot and he didn’t seem too happy about being with her either.
Wherever he had been the press had followed him around and the news outlets had been full of pictures of him or his ship. It bothered him, but Padmé knew from Palpatine he had strict orders to leave press-droids and reporters alone. Otherwise he’d leave a path of dead bodies and broken wires and cases.
“A moment.” She told him and continued to move time slots in her calendar around. Vader busied himself with the remainder of the twin vase that still rested on the sideboard instead of the usual shelf.
When she looked up to signal he had her attention he dove straight back into dangerous territory, setting the vase down with more force than necessary.
“If this attempt proves unsuccessful again, Senator, it would be only fair for you to get checked out as well.“
His gloved finger pointed at her in an accusing way, out of character for a deadly Sith Lord.
“It would be.” Padmé said, miffed and drew her robe closed as she approached him. “Though I am confident this will be the last time we have to meet.”
“If you say so.”
Again it was the familiar song-and-dance, he injected himself with whatever helped him get an erection in the first place (Padmé firmly believed it was due to a battle injury and had nothing to do with her personally), spread lube over him and her but this time Padmé perceived his touch as rough and impatient instead of the hesitant gentleness.
He was still annoyed with her she assumed and she couldn’t blame him, after all they shared the sentiment.
The grasp on her hips was rougher too and she had to admit she appreciated his mood; while she wasn’t out of her mind with lust he hit the right spot more often than usual, her toes curled and she had to quickly grab the edge of the sideboard to steady herself.
Something was different that night; he was more - more into it as well, especially after an undignified moan escaped her. He grasped her tighter and thrust deeper and Padmé let him; she let her body lie on the surface of the sideboard and hooked her foot behind his knee to draw him closer; he obliged.
For the first time she heard his breath over the music, usually he gasped when he came but not tonight. Again Padmé solidified in her mind that she was not the reason he couldn’t get it up because he did seem to enjoy it as well.
When he came - he hadn’t lasted that much longer than usual, still Padmé felt a twinge of satisfaction tonight - he drew her even tighter but she hissed and tried to move away.
“Too deep.” She gasped and he let go of her immediately, pulling out and tuning away.
“Forgive me”. He said out of breath but without any emotion.
“It’s fine.” She didn’t have full control over her voice and the negligé proved to be impractical as there was no fabric to soak up what ran down her tights. When she estimated he had had enough time to make himself decent again she turned, still leaning on the sideboard.
“Fetch me a towel, please?” She asked him.
He stared for a moment but retrieved what she had asked for. The moment it took him to walk into her bathroom Padmé used to collect herself, her cheeks flushed and still oddly aroused.
“Anything else, Senator?” He asked as he handed the towel over, a glint of humour from their last interaction on his voice. “Or do you just need your space?”
“Fuck off Vader!”
This time it stuck.
Padmé felt as weird as she did during the first two weeks where her usual morning prick in the finger had told her she was pregnant. This time, when the two week mark passed, she actually missed her period.
Another feeling mixed within the weird nothingness of her mind.
A feeling she couldn’t name or understand thought it was sure not joy.
Slowly the weight of her situation settled in, the realisation startling her awake late at night and after another two weeks she did her first tentative research of pregnancy and childbirth - a search that left her entirely unprepared and scared and overwhelmed.
She decided to give it a few more days to stick around - after that she could formulate a plan. She had read that after the first trimester it was safe to announce the pregnancy so she decided it was best to keep it to herself. While she planned on keeping the whole pregnancy a secret from her friends, colleagues and family, she had to cancel her next meeting with Lord Vader. Palpatine had to wait for the joyous news just a little longer.
Still, she decided to meet with Obi-Wan, it was a risk but she really needed to get out of the day-to-day of the Senate and see what his rascal padawan had come up with. Chances were high that the Jedi could feel the early pregnancy and pinpoint it on her despite the crowded cafe, but she was willing to take the risk. Chances were even higher he put two and two together and wouldn’t buy that Padmé suddenly had had the urge to become a mother and visited a clinic to do so without a spouse, but even he could not predict Padmé’s chosen sperm donor was Darth Vader himself.
If he felt anything he didn’t mention it and she loved him for that.
While she munched on her quiche he told her stories how Ahsoka had turned the Order upside down. Yet he was fond of the girl she could tell.
He didn’t mention the headlines from a few weeks back either, with all the stories how Ahsoka kept him on his toes it was likely he had simply forgotten between damage control and pulling his own hair out.
They parted and Padmé was left with a stomach in her knot and tears in her eyes.
What could this child mean for the Jedi order? For Ahsoka and Obi-Wan and the rest of the galaxy?
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Instead of using words, Padmé simply cancelled their next appointment which they had set up.
He would get the message, she assumed.
Next time she saw him spreading fear on the Senate floor he only briefly glanced at her.
Padmé decided that pregnancy was exhausting.
When the novelty of the feeling wore off she either panicked because she had to go to the doctor at some point or panicked because of the horrific birth reports she read.
She also grew suspicious of anyone who looked at her twice, mainly Clovis, convinced they all could see the pregnancy right away.
Vader on the other hand gave her a wide berth that disappointed her somehow. They were both not jumping up and down at the prospect of being parents but he could have at least acknowledged her message.
So, Padmé spent some miserable weeks throwing up in the morning, forcing herself to eat despite her lack of appetite and evading the questions of her family, secretaries and colleagues if she was alright.
One morning she felt particularly on the brink and would have rather stayed in bed but she prided herself that she had never taken a day off so far. She forced herself to dress and put on makeup to hide her exhaustion. When she stepped into her booth she counted the minutes until her speech. During her speech cold sweat covered her back and she felt nauseous but finally it was done.
She would leave early, even if it was kind of rude but she really needed to get something else inside of her other than the tea - kaf was off limits now and she felt the withdrawal through a splitting headache.
Well if her day couldn’t get worse. She decided not to look at the dark storm cloud following her, her quiet steps drowned by the smacking of his boots.
“I do not have time for you right now, Lord Vader.” He had no issue catching up to her, kriff her short, exhausted legs. Just to the elevators then down the hallway and the first meal she’d set her eyes on she’d eat. She could do it.
“Amidala, are you well?”
“Just a little dizzy, thank you.” She replied and called the elevator, pressing her lips close to fight the urge to breathe through her mouth. Since when was it so hot in the Senate?
“Dizzy? You are white.”
“It’s called makeup, Lord Vader.”
He stepped after her into the elevator and she rolled her eyes, the rapid movement made her stomach dance.
“Are you sure you’re well? I felt-“
“ I feel good.” Her voice wasn’t as sharp as she had intended but she did remind him who this was about.
“Amidala!” He grabbed her by the arm and turned her towards him, the elevator turned with Padmé. If she threw up on his boots it would be his fault entirely.
“Vader, let go of me, I'm fine!”
At least she thought that was the last she had said to him.
Padmé awoke to the towering figure of Sith Lord Darth Vader at the foot of her bed. Groggy, she fought against the heavy sheets to sit up but it seemed futile.
She flopped back down again and rolled her head to the side. Her left hand burned, her head felt stuffed with cotton.
This wasn’t her bed, this wasn’t even her room.
“You are awake.” An attendant droid called out. “Please remain calm, a doctor will be with you in a moment.”
“Vader-“ she wanted to ask him what was going on but her throat was too dry to speak. Vader didn’t look like he was up for conversation either way; once more he was a dark, brooding shadow looming over her.
“Senator Amidala.” A human, female doctor came through the automatic doors. She was well past fifty, had grey hair and a motherly demeanour. Her entire face moved when she smiled, wrinkles around her eyes and mouth a testimony to her happy attitude. “How are you?”
“I don’t know.” Padmé rasped out and glanced at Vader. The doctor ignored the Sith Lord entirely and checked the terminal next to Padmé’s bed. Was he doing some Sith magic again? Or did she simply not have time to deal with a foul tempered General?
“Senator Amidala, you fainted today. You were lucky your security detail was with you, otherwise you could have seriously injured yourself during the fall.”
The doctor looked at Padmé, eyebrows drawn together.
“Yes. And I am sorry Senator Amidala but it appears that you have also miscarried.” The doctor's face was far too kind for the indifference Padmé felt.
“Oh.” She finally said, it felt as if this was an appropriate reaction.
“We do not have recent medical records or yours. How far have you been?”
“I-“ Padmé tried to think but the light was too bright and caused a static sound in her ears.
“Eight weeks.” Vader threw in. His voice sounded calm but Padmé felt the anger underneath.
“I see.” The doctor flipped through the displays again. “It is not uncommon to lose a foetus that early.”
“You seem to be taking this well.”
“It wasn’t my first try.”
The doctor nodded again. “Has there been a doctor consulting you?”
Padmé shook her head and felt scolded, like a child. Even Vader had made it to the medical centre to get a checkup, why hadn’t she? She had signed the contract just assuming all would go well.
“See, Senator.” The doctor turned the terminal towards her, a long list of red indicators swam in front of her eyes. “We ran a blood test and you have several severe deficiencies. You are also slightly underweight. I understand being a Senator is a stressful job but you must take care of yourself, especially if you wish for a baby.“
Padmé nodded, stunned at the red markers. She knew her diet wasn’t balanced but not like this .
“Now, all is not lost. Tell me, Senator Amidala, what do you eat in a day?“
“Uh, I-” she stuttered. “I wake up and then I usually have coffee, I go to the cafeteria and have lunch or to a cafe nearby and in the evening I have ready meals or room service.”
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Before the doctor could respond Vader spoke up. “She hardly eats a whole meal per day. She lives off of hyperspace-travel-grade protein bars.“
Traitor! She blinked, dizzy at the thought alone of snapping her head towards him.
Padmé smiled apologetically at the doctor instead. “Only when I’m in a hurry.”
“That explains a lot.” The doctor said and nodded at Darth Vader. Did she really not know who he was?!
“It’s really not that often.”
“It’s enough to put your health at a serious risk.” The doctor typed away on her data pad and the room opened again with the droid returning. It carried a tray with a multi syringe.
“Senator Amidala. We will now administer you a shot of the basic components you are lacking. You may leave in the afternoon after we have gotten enough fluids into you. Then you will be on strict bed rest with an even stricter diet for two weeks, after these two weeks you will continue to stay away from the Senate in person. After those four weeks we will check your vitals again and discuss if it is safe for you to try again for a baby.
“A month at home?” Padmé called out and fought once more against the bedsheets.
“It’s the bare minimum of rest your body needs. Please understand Senator that your condition is so bad I advise you against travelling home. The travel will only disrupt a much needed routine you will need. Especially regular meals and sleep.“
“I can’t be away from the Senate for so long!”
“Does the sun not rise every day no matter if you get out of bed or not?”
“Then you will stay in bed.”
“I will personally make sure Senator Amidala adheres to your advice.”
“Thank you.” The doctor gave Vader a court smile, then took Padmé’s arm and injected the first of many cocktails. “Do not hesitate to reach out to us.”
Padmé wanted to object or at least yell at Vader for being such a low life traitor but sleep took her instantly.
Padmé was bored out of her mind.
A week ago Vader had discreetly escorted her out of the hospital and back to her suite where he had ordered her into bed before handing her new meal plan over to the kitchen.
He did not trust Padmé enough to stay in bed and stay away from her two work data pads, so he had set up camp on her sofa where he busied himself with what looked like coding.
Padmé had slept the first week away, only waking up for meal or toilet breaks but by day eight she was terribly cranky and upset, her butt hurt from all the lounging around and no series on the holo net entertained her for more than five minutes.
“What are you doing, Vader?” She called out to him. She couldn’t see him and she didn’t want to see him because it was weird he lounged around in his Sith attire which made her feel more like a prisoner than a patient.
“Kernel coding.” He called back, delayed, obviously occupied.
“How fun.” Padmé said to herself and opened the holo net again.
The images of Vader carrying Padmé off towards his black ship and their arrival at the hospital was old news by now, still the well-wish baskets, cards and messages flooded her inbox and lounge. Vader had taken it on himself to force-float all the cards he collected from the baskets into her room before he got rid of the gifts. Padmé was glad for the distraction but as he refused to let her write thank you cards she had crumpled them up and thrown them through the doorway at where she guessed he was - just so he would have to clean up after her.
“Just going to the bathroom.” She called out as she threw her blanket back. The noise would alert her faithful watchdog no doubt.
Her bathrobe was down to her ankles and of blue silk with peacock embroidery on it. She didn’t bother with her unkempt hair, Vader had seen her in more scandalous positions than in her own suite with bed hair.
He hadn’t moved even though Padmé had taken her time in the bathroom, rearranging her makeup drawer and shampoos just so she had something to do that wasn’t lying around. Now she sauntered over the sofa, rubbing her hand lotion in.
“It is difficult?” She asked him and flopped down on the sofa next to him, still enough space for another ill tempered Sith between them. He had his data pad lying on the coffee table where it projected lines of code in front of him. If she was going to be bored out of her mind, not even allowed to read eMails, her self appointed caretaker would be as miserable as herself.
“No.” He said and his voice sounded muffled. Both his hands had disappeared underneath the hood and she could imagine how his chin was resting in his hands.
“Then why are you thinking so hard?”
Orange Sith eyes eyed her for a second. He was annoyed. Good.
“I am not thinking hard.”
“Then why aren’t you programming?”
He glanced at her again.
“Senator, are you trying to pick a fight?”
Padmé adjusted her sleeves and smiled politely.
“Lord Vader, I am just making conversation.”
“By insulting me?”
“I am not insulting you. I am merely asking questions.”
“You are trying to pick a fight.”
“That is a crude accusation.”
“I see.” He huffed but didn’t engage further. For a Sith Lord with the reputation to kill for looking at him wrong he was extremely boring to bicker with.
“Maybe you overlooked a control character.” She suggested when he went back to staring at his lines of code, the prompt blinking steadily.
Very slowly he turned his head towards her, Sith-eyes dim, disappearing for just a blink.
“Do not try to pick a fight with me.”
“I am trying to be helpful.”
“Let me inform you, you are not.”
Padmé huffed and drew her legs up. No need for court protocol but when he fucked her once a month on the side board.
“You could eat something that isn’t a protein bar, Senator.”
Padmé rolled her eyes but recognised she had pushed his limit far enough. While he would not force choke or kill her, he had shown her he really wanted to focus on his coding issue without her suggestions.
Time dropped by and she considered starting with proper research on pregnancy, though her enthusiasm about it was limited. The utter destruction of her private parts childbirth could be had her close the books she had ordered very quickly.
“How old are you?” She asked when she grew bored of staring at the lines of code that meant nothing to her. Laws and paragraphs spoke to her but code? She was glad her data pad installed the updates it received without issue.
“Why do you care?” He asked quietly, then erased and retyped a line hesitantly. Another error message popped up to Padmé’s satisfaction.
“I’d like to know if I will carry the child of a man who could be my own grandfather.”
He was quiet for a moment as he undid the changes.
“I’m almost twenty.”
“I said twenty.”
“You’re a baby!”
“I am not a baby.” His voice was laced with annoyance once more, emphasising each word as if she was dense.
Her mental image of him, the grim, scarred, battle hardened man changed to one of a lanky man barely out of his teens.
“Senator, please. You’re only five years older.”
“And it’s almost illegal for us to-“
He snapped his head around, his eyes now bright orange again.
“Do not treat me like a child for I am not one. This is why I don’t show you my face or tell you anything. You’re too quick to judge so now please get back to your bed and rest.”
Padmé gasped at him.
“I’m sorry.” She murmured quickly and retreated. Maybe she had hurt him. Maybe she had taken her attempts to make time go by faster too far.
After all he was still a Sith and she a Senator and as soon as she was pregnant they would be out of each other’s lives.
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Obi-Wan stopped by at the end of her second week of bed rest with a cake in a dented box.
“Ahsoka has insisted on carrying it until she got - side tracked.” He explained with an apologetic smile.
“Accidents happen.” Padmé just said and gladly accepted the gift. Her strict food regime provided her with all sorts of nutrients and even snacks but nothing compared to the cake of her favourite café.
If Obi-Wan was surprised by Vader's presence he didn’t show it.
“Lord Vader.” He greeted.
“Master Kenobi.” Vader returned from his place on the sofa which left Padmé and Obi-Wan to stand.
“He’s nineteen!” Padmé suddenly blurted out as an awkward silence settled over the three. Obi-Wan hadn’t asked and neither Padmé nor Vader had felt like explaining his presence to the Jedi knight, but Obi-Wan wasn’t stupid and he watched the news. Maybe he bought into the security detail story Palpatine had spread after their trip to the hospital. Whispers of an assassination attempt on the former queen of Naboo weren’t implausable and since she had always been close to Palpatine it only cemented his favour in making Vader her watchdog.
“Who?” Obi-Wan asked.
“Him!” Padmé said and pointed towards Vader who just glared at her through his lines of projected code.
“You see, Obi-Wan, that’s way too young!”
Obi-Wan just raised an eyebrow. “Ahsoka is barely fourteen and is training to be a Jedi and leading troops.”
“Yes but she isn’t travelling across the galaxy doing what Vader is doing!”
“But she will be one day, if her choice is to become a part of the Jedi Order.”
Padmé inhaled to say something but Obi-Wan held up his hand to silence her. “A force user as powerful as Lord Vader is destined to be trained from a young age on and put his powers to use. Age is not necessarily a factor when it comes to shouldering the burden of responsibility. Especially you should know that, former Queen of Naboo.”
Padmé deflated and barely registered the honest “ thank you ” Vader directed to Obi-Wan at his compliment.
“Just giving credit where credit is due. Your force signature is very powerful and felt all over the planet.”
“Alright.” Padmé said, suddenly tired and sad, also a little bit betrayed by Obi-Wan choosing not to gang up with her on Vader. The week of bed rest had gotten to her and she terribly missed going out, doing things.
“Have you eaten yet? Let’s go to the balcony, Padmé.”
After her bed rest Lord Vader became even meaner, arriving at her suite at 7am sharp with the breakfast tray, only after Padmé had finished it completely he handed her her work data pads, just to take them away for a whole hour of lunch break and confiscating them at 6pm on the dot, leaving after she finished dinner.
On her first day back in office he had also taken another blood sample and sent it off to the clinic, just a few hours later she looked away as he administered the second nutrition shot into her arm, her skin a stark contrast against his dark leather gloves.
Though he did not speak to her, at least he was kind enough to let her have her beloved instant-kaf even if it wasn’t on the meal plan per se.
His age didn’t really leave her mind, between reading and writing messages (almost two thousands had stacked up), she glanced over at him more and more often.
“I’m sorry I called you a baby. I didn’t want to insult you. I guess I was just - surprised you’re so young but I shouldn’t have insulted you.” She finally said.
He didn’t look up from his lines of code, just grunted and nodded.
She wouldn't beg him to like her.
The doctor's visit went well. The strict diet and the nutrition shots had put most of her vitals back to the green, rarely yellow, indicator.
Vader had taken his place in the corner of the room while her doctor went with her over the importance of keeping up with her meal plan and having it adjusted in the case of a pregnancy.
“Senator Amidala, I know you are a woman who just does things, who doesn’t hesitate to try, but I have to warn you, a pregnancy and a child are not like Senate projects.”
She smiled softly.
Padmé smiled back, thinking that the doctor had no idea what a battlefield the Senate could be. A pregnancy seemed like a walk in the park.
“Even though we know plenty of things about conception and birth, a few factors we cannot medically control remain. Your mindset for one. Do not treat this child as a project, be excited for it. Welcome the pregnancy. Especially after a few futile attempts sex becomes a means to an end but do not forget to enjoy the intimacy with your spouse.”
She smiled again, oblivious of the Sith Lord hovering in the corner who was supposed to be said spouse.
“Thank you. I will remember your advice.” Padmé replied in a clipped voice, hoping the doctor would stop smiling at her.
Apart from that she also got a proper run down of cycle tracking as well as a new device similar to her pregnancy test, only to indicate her fertile days. Embarrassed, she tucked it away and wished Lord Vader had waited outside, even if he could be spotted there. Had she paid better attention she would have known she had about 6 fertile days in a cycle, though she blamed the rudimentary cycle tracker for that. Why had no disclaimer popped up when she first bought it?
Their return to her quarters was quiet and she preferred he had let her find her own way back, instead he followed her inside, crossed his arms and looked at her.
“Can I trust you to stick to the meal and rest plans, Senator?”
“Can I trust you to remember my name?” she shot back, annoyed. Yes, she had insulted him and hadn’t been the best at taking care of herself, but she was an adult and should be treated as such.
He bristled like a loth-cat at her tone.
“Amidala.” he corrected himself. “I will be off planet for a while. We have established it is in our mutual interest to end this mandatory friendship as soon as possible, so I hope after my return it will be the last time we see each other again.”
Padmé nodded, his words sounded harsh but she wasn’t hurt by them.
“I will ensure we do not have to spend any unnecessary time with each other. So please come back with the relevant parts still intact.”
Lord Vader’s arms dropped down, no doubt he was taken by surprise by her crude words.
“What an uncivilised place Naboo must be if you’re the best diplomat they can send?” he asked, the hint of humour in his voice once more.
“Must be my natural charm.” Padmé replied.
It was hard to stick to the meal plan and not work into the early hours of the morning but it wasn’t as hard as Sola’s continuous probing questions about the “Vader-incident” as she had called it, as well as her parent’s constant concern as Coruscant became more and more of a political melting pot. The separatists were a problem as always and rumours of a revolution grew louder and louder. Her parent’s had always been worried about her - especially since the assassination attempt which had cost Cordé’s life.
While she could escape her parent’s calls by switching her device on mute, she couldn’t mute Obi-Wan’s soft eyes.
“You look better, Padmé.” he observed, pleased.
“Thank you. I hate to admit it, but I feel better as well.”
“A healthy mind lives in a healthy body.” he said and laughed at her scolding glance.
“Please tell me platitudes aren't the only thing you teach Ahsoka.”
“Oh no, I teach her much more. Especially to live, laugh, love and how in the end everything will be just fine.”
Padmé giggled, relieved and free for the first time in years. Her strictly enforced time table had left her with too much free time at first, that was until she realised how much life she had missed. One day she had lamented to Obi-Wan how the Senate and all they fought for would fall apart if it wasn’t for her and he had rightfully pointed out that she just had to give her colleagues a chance. Padmé hadn’t been convinced, she was a do-er through and through but it had been a pleasant surprise that her fellow senate members scheduled meetings and pitched ideas if Padmé gave them the opportunity to. She had learned a valuable lesson and she had found some new work-friends she had dismissed as dull and uninspiring before.
Not without embarrassment she had finally opened the message thread she and her handmaidens had kept over the years, guilt whacking her left and right as she read all the messages she had ignored. Even more guilty she typed her plea, asking them to come to her rescue. Her evenings in her quiet suite had never felt more lonely without her dear friends and she had shamelessly sobbed into each of their robes as they all found their way back into Padmé’s life as if they had never left.
With her new plethora of free time she had found the time to work over her wardrobe and finally graced the front pages of fashion magazines again. They had rightfully dropped her as their favourite when she had begun to circle through the same seven robes and stopped bothering with more than basic make-up.
Yesterday she had taken her handmaidens in an upper-class shopping district just for the feeling of being doted on, no responsibilities weighing her down, switching elegant robes for flutes of champagne. They had returned tipsy but very well dressed, their luggage droid beeping to indicate his maximum capacity was almost reached.
“I still worry about you and Lord Vader. While I respect his power as a Force user and share his opinion on your work ethic I-” Obi-Wan paused and stared off into the distance. “The Force does not speak to me about him. He is shrouded in darkness and it is what concerns me. While me and the other Jedi can clearly sense Sidious and who he is, Vader is... a mystery.”
“I guess hate the game, not the player, right?” she offered, hoping to pull her friend out of his worrisome mood.
He nodded with a sad smile. Obi-Wan knew better than anyone how much Padmé despised her closeness to the Chancellor and yet she had to play the game. An open opposition would put her and what was left of freedom in the galaxy at risk.
“Let’s not ponder on dark thoughts. Tell me about Ahsoka’s trials.”
She was sitting in Palpatine’s office once again, sipping tea and watching him, well, for a lack of a better word, scrapbook. Once more he collected news headlines and arranged them on his holo display, some were about Padmé’s latest fashion escapades, some were of Vader’s glorious campaigns.
“You have a question, child.” he said as if he remembered just yet Padmé was sitting there with her tea cup for almost half an hour.
“I do.” she confirmed, but ever since she had entered his office she had regretted pestering the Chancellor with her petty question. “I was wondering...” she trailed off.
“Ah, so it is about my apprentice Lord Vader.” Palpatine deduced and smiled.
Padmé sat her tea cup down before she could drop it.
“I was just wondering if he-“
“Why do you not ask your questions to the Lord himself?”
“We do not communicate well, Chancellor.” Padmé admitted, embarrassed.
“Such a shame. He was always so smitten with you.”
Palpatine sigh and stopped with his scrolling.
“You see, dear Senator Amidala, ever since Lord Vader first saw you when he was a boy, I believe during your second term as Queen, he was in awe. It was always his dream to meet you. You two share quite a lot of opinions but I could tell you secured your admiration for your outspoken position about slavery.”
Padmé had to force her chin to stay in its place.
“Lord Vader wanted to meet me?”
“So has he - volunteered for this task? Did he ask you for this contract?” She couldn’t help but sound about half as hysterical as she felt. Was this his sick and twisted stalker plan to get close to her?
“No, oh no, please you must not think bad of Lord Vader. He is rather shy when it comes to relationships and I doubt he would have ever approached you in the Senate by himself. When the Force revealed its plan to me it took me quite a lot of - convincing to do.”
Padmé didn’t know what to say. Palpatine had nothing to gain if he lied to her and even if what he revealed was a lie it would only bring him further from his goal. Unless he was sick and twisted and enjoyed forcing at least Padmé to carry the child of not only a madman but also an obsessed stalker.
“You see.” Palpatine confirmed. “Though while I do let the fulfilment of our contract up to the both of you I begin to wonder if I should not force you to at least consider my offer of an extended holiday. It seems like you haven’t been talking at all and not in a good way.”
“While I do appreciate the offer I would like to decline for the moment.”
“Of course, my dear.” he said and opened another media outlet. “Let me know if you change your mind.”
Lord Vader sent her a simple message with the content “returned” which had Padmé hurry into the bathroom to prick her finger. It wasn’t too late and she had some questions for him, mainly why he had never mentioned he had known who she was long before they met and how he felt about the contract.
Vader would only have about forty minutes from receiving her message to getting to her, but he was on time as usual, 11:30 on the dot as if he had spent his weeks of absence just waiting behind the door.
To Padmé’s surprise she wasn’t the only one who had changed. While she wore her usual negligé and dressing gown he was in the same dark pants, boots and cloak but wore a loose fitting white shirt underneath.
“Amidala.” he greeted.
“Vader.” she stood.
They stared at each other for a long time.
“I sense you have questions.” he finally said and shifted from one foot to another. “Maybe we should start with those.”
“I have spoken with Palpatine-”
“He is a Sith Lord and you should call him by what he is.”
“I have called him Palpatine so far and he never corrected me.”
“It’s not for him. It’s for you to remember who you’re speaking to.” he snapped. Alright. His Master was a sore subject.
“So I have spoken with Darth Sidious and he has mentioned you have known me from a young age on. That you share my view on slavery.”
Vader nodded, not open for more discussion.
“Would you... elaborate on that and how it might have played into us being in a contract resulting in a child.”
“Alright.” Padmé aligned her three data pads.
“Then I guess I might as well ask my next questions regarding this to the vase and I will be just as wiser.”
Padmé closed her eyes.
“Moving on from that.” She sat back down. “I noticed you have changed.”
“Yes.” When Padmé stared at him he added: “The doctor mentioned the mental aspect of conception so I figured you might be more comfortable if I did not wear my - work clothes.”
“That is - sensible.” she admitted and her heart jumped. While all the kindness he had extended to her so far was for his own benefit (getting her pregnant) it was a nice touch he had thought about her feelings. “Does that mean you will remove your cloak, too?”
“I would not do it out of my own volition but I will do it if you deem it necessary.”
And he closed back up like a clam.
“Is it because I called you a baby?”
“No.” He shifted again and crossed his arms. “I just don’t see the point of revealing my face if we never speak again.”
“You could” Padmé waved her hand to demonstrate her conception of Sith magic . “erase my memory.”
“You would want that?”
“I wouldn’t remember.”
He scoffed and stared at the remaining vase. Hopefully it would not shatter, too.
“Tying into all this age, cloak thing. Lord Vader please tell me, have you had relationships before this arrangement?”
He bristled again and she had her answer right there.
“This was your first time?” she asked, shocked.
“Is there a problem with that?” he snarled and the vase started to shake.
“No, no,” Padmé quickly got up and in his line of sight to save her decor. “I just feel like it’s unjust your first experience is an impersonal one like we shared.”
“I don’t see why you would care. And as a Senator you should know injustice is spread far and wide in the galaxy.”
“Yes.” Padmé said. “But what bothers me is that while this wasn’t the most satisfying experience for me, you have nothing to compare and I’d hate for this to be your first and lasting impression.”
“Save your pity for those you want it, Senator.”
Padmé drew herself up, she was still short compared to him but he wouldn’t walk all over her.
“I am not your enemy! As you are extending kindness to me I might as well do the same to you! I assume you have watched holos in preparation?” He stared over her head and again it was answer enough. “Then maybe there is something you would like to try?”
Next a wave of pure anger and rage rolled over her. She panted and stumbled back towards her desk to catch herself as the emotions pressed down onto her.
“Listen to me, Senator. I don’t need your pity or well meaning. If you want to do me a favour, get pregnant and stay pregnant so I never have to see you again.”
Padmé fought through the dizziness that the onslaught of rage caused.
“But Pal- Sidious had mentioned you were smitten with me, liked me, we might turn this into something dutiful but at least enjoyable!” She gasped for air as the pressure only increased.
“Stop talking to Sidious about such things! Don’t you realise there is more in it for him? You really think you get to reign over Naboo for the end of the time? Do you even know what he could do with a force sensitive child half as powerful as I am?”
“Please - “ Padmé begged, her vision blacking out.
Suddenly the rage and weight were gone and hands grasped her. She sat down again as the back of her knees hit something, it was her office chair, the leather sticking to her naked thighs, gloved hands grasping her shoulders.
“I -” she heard him move away from him and march up and down. The demonstration of his power’s hadn’t made her afraid of him - but of Palpatine. What could this man hold over his apprentice that he felt the urge to push even the idea of something nice away from him?
“Sidious is a ruthless man, Senator. You should be wary of him. You should be happy if he takes your child and forgets about you.”
“What - what does he hold over you?”
Vader laughed a dry, hollow laugh.
“What do you think?”
“Someone who is dear to you?” The orange cat eyes disappeared for a moment and when they lit up again they weren’t full of rage but defeat.
“Let us postpone this meeting.” he said and stalked towards the door. “And just for the record, you should have said no to him!”
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Sorry for the long wait. I wish life was easier right now.
You'll get another chapter tomorrow :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
She felt bad.
Because she had had a fight.
With a Sith Lord.
Padmé looked at Obi-Wan who took the news better than she had expected. As he had already known Padmé and the Sith spent time together, she felt safe to tell him they had a fight.
“That is the method of the Sith - or Sidious at least.” he said, saddened. “He isolates his apprentice and forces him to subscribe to his ideals - by fear mostly. His ultimate weapon to keep Lord Vader obedient until he fully submits to his Master is most likely the last thing that brings Lord Vader joy or happiness. Maybe a friend or lover or sibling or a parent.”
Padmé deflated at his words. The records of Sith killing their Masters and breaking the vicious cycle of fear, anger, hate and ultimate suffering were non-existent.
“Do not try to save him, for it is not possible. Try to remove yourself from this situation as best as you can Padmé. It might be best for you to remove yourself from Coruscant for a little while, too.”
“Yes, Obi-Wan.” she said and hung her head.
Padmé saw Vader quite often, a dark storm cloud roaming the hallways of the Senate, fulfilling tasks for his Master no doubt. Months ago Padmé would have taken other routes to avoid him, now she hoped they’d take the same elevator together just so she could talk to him.
He hadn’t confirmed their appointment yet and Padmé grew anxious - she really did fear the romantic rejection of the Sith Lord.
She almost gathered all her courage and approached him as she exited her booth but she decided against it. What would she say to him in front of a crowd? Please meet me tonight so we can make a baby?
A small consolation was that he seemed to be as torn as she was and Padmé was endlessly relieved when her data pad finally lit up at 11:02 pm with a confirmation. Even if they weren’t going to have sex she really wanted to talk to him and at least get back on his neutral side.
Vader was dressed in his work clothes and stopped right behind the door. Padmé adjusted her dressing gown and tried to smile in an inviting way.
„Once again I wish to apologise.“ she began and slowly rose. „I should have not pushed your boundaries and I am sorry for that. We can proceed with our agreement as before if you are comfortable.“
Vader stayed silent for a moment, then he walked up to her, a dark cloud of menace.
„Please sit, Senator.“ he instructed. Padmé obliged, weary. Instead of talking he continued to pace up and down the lounge and work area of her suite. He stilled at the sideboard, unclipped the infamous lightsaber and placed it down, then he started another round of pacing. It did not comfort Padmé the slightest. As a force user he could throw the lightsaber out the window and it would yet return should he decide her head had been atop her shoulders for long enough.
„Do you - do you wish to halt our agreement?“
„No.“ he cut in sharply.
Padmé decided to stay quiet for now.
„I have been thinking.“ he finally said and it sounded like a threat. „About what you said last time. While I stand by my warning I want to tell you that it is nice you were concerned for my well being.“ It sounded plastic and rehearsed, but not untruthful. „I have been given an assignment.“
Padmé’s eyebrows rose. Another assignment like theirs? Was he to build an army of Force sensitive children?
He paused again, then turned sharply to approach her desk and leaned heavily on it, eyes bright in the darkness of his hood.
„The electoral season is coming up.“ That was correct. New Senate members would arrive on Coruscant and fancy galas and other parties were held so the new politicians could seize each other up. Padmé’s seat as Naboo‘s Senator was already confirmed and secured, as she was much beloved by her people and the Queen herself.
„My Master tasked me with sort of undercover work. I am to mingle with the crowd and pose as a rebellion leader to draw out the ones plotting against them.“
And then kill them no doubt. Padmé didn’t know why he told her this. Was it a warning for her to be more careful? To warn her Senate friends who were speculated to at least oppose Palpatine, if not plot for his downfall?
„But your eyes?“ She asked, latching on the detail to clear her mind of names and faces associated with the rebellion.
„I can change them when I focus,“ he explained. „and it means I will show myself to the world without this cloak and hood and all.“
He pulled back and laughed dryly. „Why does it matter to me if you know I am this rebel-guy or not?“
He moved away from her once more and the shutters turned at his bidding so he could stare into the night - if there ever was truly night in Coruscant. The city was always busy.
„Maybe because I will be carrying your child.“ Padmé suggested and flinched when he cringed at her words.
„You would save yourself much heartbreak if you didn’t use such soft words.“
Padmé only shrugged.
„So I will finally see what's underneath your hood?“
„I-“ he turned towards her. „You spoke of enjoying our meetings more. Would you enjoy them more if you knew my face? I can make you forget too, if that is what you wish.“
Padmé sat there for a moment in silence, weighing her options. She was curious, of course. But she didn’t want to force his hand either. He could resent her for it, she knew it. He was already on the short leash of Palpatine, he didn’t need to be under her heel as well.
„Thank you for your honesty, Lord Vader. I would lie if I said I didn’t care what you looked like but if it makes you uncomfortable it is a secret you should keep and erase my memories, should I catch a glimpse of you.“
„Very diplomatic.“ He remarked after some time.
„Comes with the title.“
„If I,“ he inhaled audibly. „If I were to show you my face would you in return be willing to negotiate our offer of making our exchanges more -“
„Of course.” Padmé cut him off. She knew what he was going to ask and she also knew it wasn’t fair to let him squirm and suffer. She would have agreed to his request without anything in return. He did not want her pity, but Padmé couldn’t help but nurture the soft spot she carried for him. He was a cruel man in a cruel world, but despite the cruel decisions she made, she did not take pleasure in suffering.
Her heart beat faster nevertheless. She did not expect him to insist on revealing the galaxy’s best kept secret.
The lights dimmed by his will and were barely bright enough for Padmé to see how he drew his hood back.
She knew he was nineteen, shy of twenty, so she had expected him to look young but he didn’t look boyish rather… mature. And most important: handsome. He had unruly hair, probably a shade of blonde, no beard and a hard line around his mouth. His orange eyes stared at her, unblinking, waiting for her to pass judgement.
Her heart broke for him, like it had so many times before.
His face, the fear of rejection in his eyes showed how little of that unconditional parental love Padmé had been showered in he had ever received. How insecure he truly was despite all his achievements. He may be a Sith Lord but he was a broken man as well.
Padmé smiled softly and his face softened just a bit.
“You are very handsome.” She told him and slowly approached, wrapped her arms around his neck and played with his hair. Vader didn’t reject her but he didn’t touch her either, just continued to stare.
“Why are you hiding behind that hood?”
He started to say something, maybe object, then just stared at her with his head slightly tilted. He was probably reading her through the Force, expecting mockery but only found Padmé’s honest feelings that his man was a million times more attractive than the cloaked figure he had been to her.
“You are beautiful as well.” He finally said, quietly.
Padmé just smiled at him and leaned into him a little bit more, her body pressing into the stiff fabric of his uniform.
“And you may touch me if you wish.” Fulfilling their contract seemed so easy now. While Padmé had approached it with rational feelings, she had always feared he was an ugly, repulsive monster at the age of her father.
“You don’t have to pretend to be attracted to me.” He finally sad and gently took her arms from his shoulders.
“Can’t you read the force?” Padmé asked back.
“I do and I can’t quite understand why you would change so quickly.”
Alright. Maybe Padmé had moved too fast. She stepped away from him, kept her hands to herself.
“I’m sorry. You spoke of things you wanted to try.” The dim light of the room hid most of her embarrassed blush. “Or we can come back to that another time.”
“I still - maybe the couch? The side board is so - impersonal.”
Padmé agreed. As he didn’t want her to get too close to him she just kneeled in the middle of the couch and smoothed over the backrest of it, the familiar sound of fabric rustling behind her.
At least this time she didn’t hear the hiss of his injection.
Padmé was draped in a night blue vision with tiny crystals like the stars in the sky. Her hair was open and fell in loose curls to the middle of her back, silver bangles matched her earrings and tiara that dipped onto her forehead. The sheer sleeves puffed just enough to be still decent rather than extravagant, after all this could be considered a work gala.
As she strode into the atrium flanked by her handmaidens she paused in the doorway to give everyone a moment to look at her and take in her arrival. It was part of her routine; after she would walk in one big circle around the room, giving the old and new delegates the chance to speak to her. After a few moments whispers picked up around the room; her sign to slowly descend the steps. The party had been in full swing already when she had put a stop to it, as it was a habit of hers.
“An extraordinary delegate has arrived.” Dormé reported quietly as she pretended to tuck Padmé’s hair behind her ear. “His name is Anakin Skywalker and he spent a lot of time talking to the secret members of the liberation front.”
Padmé thanked her handmaiden and continued her circle; she hoped no one would approach her before she reached her goal for the evening: the buffet.
Anakin Skywalker was a name that had come up quite often in the underground working against Palpatine. First there had been only whispers of the reckless pilot, now he had finally found his way into the political mess the Senate was.
“Senator Clovis.” She greeted not before shooting the buffet a longing glance.
“May I compliment your exquisite taste in fashion once more?”
She hoped Clovis was to say hello and move on but he continued with the same boring small talk topics she had spoken about ten times already. Getting the hint had always been kind of a problem for the man and she hoped he would get distracted by the champagne glass tower which was being refilled right now.
He did not.
Half an hour later she feigned a flimsy excuse to continue with her circle, after all she was here to network and find young delegates to support.
“Senator Amidala.” Another Senator called her into his circle, an invitation she followed gladly. “May I introduce to you Delegate Skywalker from …”
Padmé glanced over Skywalker and an odd feeling of déjà-vu hit her, her mind blanked out for a moment trying to place the man.
“Welcome to Coruscant.” She simply said.
“Thank you Senator.” He threw his head back to clear his eyes of his unruly hair, then fixed her with a sly grin and intense stare. “It is an honour to finally meet the famous Senator of Naboo.”
Padmé bowed her head.
“Delegate Skywalker has brought reports of the mid-rim, you might be able to confirm those for us?” The Senator who had invited her into the circle looked at her with expectation.
“I hail from the mid-rim, Senator Sully, but I only speak for Naboo.”
“Well met, Senator.” A dressellian croaked over their translator module. “Though the news he brings should be of interest to Naboo as well.”
“Then I shall hear them.”
It was clear to Padmé Delegate Skywalker was the talk of the evening - in more than one aspect. While his presence whispered of revolution and new ideas, the whispers talking about his handsome face, swoopy hair and bright smile were louder.
Padmé appreciated the sight of a handsome man, yet there was something about Skywalker she wasn’t able to pinpoint. His eyes for once bothered her and every time she looked at him she had the feeling she should know who he was - maybe they had been introduced but she had forgotten him? But Dormé denied they had met him before which left her with an uneasy feeling.
The night passes quicker than anticipated - it always did. After exciting introductions a boring networking session started which tired Padmé out less quickly than it had before - her new diet must be good for something. Still, she was glad when she was able to retire with her entourage and fell into bed with make-up still on her face.
The display of the pregnancy test just wouldn’t turn blue and cheery so Padmé sent out another invitation. Next she ordered herself some dinner and for the first time in years she felt like - skipping work. Much needed to be done, the new Delegates had shaken up the Senate but she was tired and weary and disappointed.
It tired her that despite their effort she still wasn’t pregnant but it really irked her that she failed to place the Skywalker guy. After she had pestered Dormé, Moteé and Ellé until they dared to roll their eyes at her she had taken to shifting through the collected data she and her handmaidens shared. Rumours, connections, names, dates, all to keep each other in the loop to bring the figure of Senator Amidala to life.
Still, no trace of Skywalker.
She considered asking Vader about the guy, after all someone coming along and whisper-shouting about revolution would be of interest for the Sith Lord. Vader had not attended the gala but she doubted Skywalker had escaped his notice. When the familiar dark figure swept into her apartment she decided against asking. She wasn’t done with her dinner yet and Vader was once again in a bad mood - he had been all day and she had witnessed an altercation with a reporter who had published a slandering article about the Chancellor.
It had not ended well for the reporter.
“Vader.” She greeted and scraped at the rest of her dinner.
“It’s almost midnight and you’re having dinner now?” He asked without returning the greeting.
Padmé glared at him. Of course he’d scold her.
“Which I am finishing now.” She replied with a pointed glare at the last few forkfulls.
“Take your time.” He said and sat down on the couch, the familiar lines of code plopping up.
“Still working on that - project?” She had wanted to say “ problem” but she decided they didn’t need another fight.
“A new one.”
“In the last one I - oversaw a control character.”
As Queen and Senator Padmé knew how to quietly celebrate tiny victories like this.
A few minutes later she felt his gloved hand move up her dressing gown and negligée - he moved it up further than usual, his hand a bit more pressed into her back. A nice feeling Padmé noticed despite the leather as she gathered the fabric in front of her.
“Are you okay?”She asked after he had entered her but didn’t move.
“Yes.” He finally gritted out.
He was not okay.
“You know,” she began softly. “we could move away from the sideboard and maybe try the couch.”
Her second and last vase shattered with a bang and she jumped. Vader grabbed her to steady her but slipped out.
“Stars.” Padmé breathed, aware how thin the ice beneath her feet had gotten.
“Let’s just get this over with.” He said, thrust into her again and gripped her hips tighter than usual.
Padmé received a banged up package two weeks later with exact copies of her destroyed vases inside.
Vader must have felt so bad that he had ordered them from across the galaxy, the many clearance labels witness to the urgent delivery.
Padmé put them up again, wondering how long they would last.
“Ahsoka is - under house arrest.” Obi-Wan said and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“House arrest?” Padmé echoed as if she hadn’t received a full retelling of the story from her handmaidens. It was rather funny, at least to them, Obi-Wan not so much.
Ahsoka and a few other Padawans had taken it upon themselves to uproot a slave trade ring and in the process exposed some high ranking politicians who had not taken the embarrassment kindly. The Jedi had locked the kids up, primarily to their protection Padmé assumed. While the mission wasn’t something to laugh about, the Padawans had insisted they had planned on being stealthy but everything that could go wrong did go wrong during their mission in rather comical ways.
While the Padawans could be punished with house arrest and chores, the politician’s credits were a reliable way out of this debacle as well.
“She has her heart in the right spot.” Padmé assured Obi-Wan and her thoughts briefly wandered to Vader - Palpatine had said he admired her for her stance and outspokenness against slavery (in fact they were typing up a statement in defence of the Padawans right now), he would approve to the self assigned mission as well.
“I know. But it will be hard to protect her. The Jedi council isn’t half as powerful as they once were.”
She nodded. The situation in the Temple was dire. Suddenly all sorts of Jedi were cooped up in the Temple - the missions Padawans could be taken on sparsely and Obi-Wan had told her everyone started to get affected by cabin fever. They hadn’t even taken on new younglings this turn, as Padawans, Knights, Masters, Consulars and Guardians had been called back.
Palpatine had done a truly outstanding move in dismantling the trust in the Jedi and keeping them out of politics. They were just a cult now, as some media outlets suggested.
“Do not speak to Vader about this.” Obi-Wan said sharply, as if he read her mind.
“Why not?” Padmé leaned against the railing. “He is against slavery as far as I know.”
“Last thing you want is a Sith Lord speaking for a bunch of Padawans.” He inhaled and schooled his features. “I’m sorry Padmé, I know you mean well. But the Jedi have enough problems without a Sith Apprentice.”
“I understand.” Padmé said softly and patted his arm.
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“Bail!” Padmé called out, relieved. Her oldest friend in the Senate still drew icy stares from Clovis but Padmé was immensely relieved to see him back on Coruscant.
Bail had lost his seat for the last turn and while the new Alderaan Senator wasn’t bad, he lacked the spine the free thinkers of the galaxy needed in this time.
“It’s good to have you back.”
“It’s good to be back,” he agreed.
“Senator Organa.” Clovis spoke, despite his promise to Padmé their relationship would remain unchanged he became uptight as soon as he saw her around other men. Stars, he had been jealous of Lord Vader, unknowingly of the right reason but it only emphasised to Padmé how far gone this man was.
They made their way back to the rotunda, taking turns in filling Bail in.
Her old friend by her side made her feel much better about all that was going on; the brewing revolution, Vader’s constant presence in the senate and - her pregnancy.
Four weeks after their last meeting she had dared to prick her finger, just in case she had to send another appointment to Vader. The display had been blue and happy and she had been relieved. Now she still debated if she should tell him or not. She hadn’t the first two times and there wasn’t much of a need to tell him now. The lack of appointment would be enough for the stoic Sith.
They were almost at her booth when she felt the familiar cold presence of Vader and she knew the hairs on her arms stood up as well. He was back and on the prowl.
“Until later.” she said to Bail and Clovis, happy to dip into the shadow of her booth before presenting herself to the Senate. Both men bid their good-byes and as anticipated Vader melted out of the shadow of her booth as soon as the heavy curtain closed behind her.
“Lord Vader.” She greeted, a bit cold.
She knew he nodded though she only saw his eyes.
“Lord Vader, I do not think it is necessary we further discuss the parking situation.” she said primly, weary of listening devices.
A groan escaped from the darkness.
“Alright, Senator if you want to use that kind of language I am glad we have this issue resolved.” he eyes lit back up again, surely he had pinched the bridge of his nose before.
“Is there something I can do for you?”
“I will be busy within the next few weeks.” he explained. “But if you need anything, comm me.”
Padmé was surprised, they had only communicated in writing if sending appointments back and forth could be considered as such. Now he offered her to comm him?
“And I mean anything . No matter what time.” Padmé was almost touched by his apparent concern but yet he had to add: “This time shall be successful.”
Right. He couldn’t wait to get rid of her.
“Thank you.” she said and hoped he would swoosh out of her booth and leave her alone. Her mood had soured by his addition and she considered comming him at odd times just to annoy him.
“One more thing.” He finally said, not that she had not anticipated it after he kept on hovering. “Pass this to the Kenobi Padawan.” He handed her a small device, not even as big as her thumb. “For her next - mission.”
Orange eyes rolled in the dark.
“What is it?”
He shifted and she felt his uneasiness. It must be something personal then. While he was open to discussing politics, any personal topics like his coding project, his looks or his admiration of her as a boy had him shift and squirm. Why he did not choose to leave instead of replying was a mystery to her.
“It’s a modified banking chip. It will transfer the active accounts of brothels and auction houses with the winnings of the night to accounts all over the galaxy and finally to organisations which working against slavery.”
He shifted again, waiting to be released. Truely, a man bound by duty to his masters.
“Did you make it?”
A wave of upset rolled over her.
“Just pass it along to her and don’t tell her where you got this.” He snapped and stormed out.
Padmé rolled her eyes. She would definitely comm him at three in the morning just because.
Vader really was absent and Padmé assumed he needed a break from the Senate. He really wasn’t a people person, and she doubted intimidating or choking people brought him pleasure - the most content she had witnessed him had been when he was working on his coding project. She’d bet her new set of vases he possessed a nice little man cave full of computers and speeders to work on.
Palpatine was absent as well, on a tour through his empire, so maybe Vader was there, too, though the media had not caught a good glimpse of him yet, just a looming shadow behind the emperor. Padmé didn’t doubt Vader knew the value of body doubles just as she did.
With the elections and transit of terms coming closer and closer, more parties were held. This week Padmé did a gauntlet from brunches to tea parties to galas, each conglomerate of planets hosting with their own theme - Padmé and her handmaidens had been delightfully distracted from the dire political situation by making headlines with her outfits and flawless make-up.
However one thing was the cause of a literal headache for her.
Delegate Skywalker claimed he was born and raised on one of the many stops at the Corellian Run trade route - a fact that was hard to prove as truth or lie as the stops were hardly regulated and people came and went as they pleased. And this detail wasn’t the only wishy-washy one about him. Yet the Senate was smitten with him, half because of his looks, the other half because of his ideas.
The media loved him as well and dedicated a quarter page to him in the usual Senate feature - an honour only bestowed to Padmé so far. Ellé had rightfully marked his feature as “not interesting for me” on the news page to avoid further notifications - and the media reported on everything he did. Hailing from the trade route hadn’t stopped him from making a career in the republic military, where he had claimed the rank of a general rather quickly and if he was truthful about what he whispered to the more daring Senators, he could catapult the rebellion years ahead of their current timeline.
Yet, Padmé could only muster half the enthusiasm Mon or Bail had, as he literally caused her to have a splitting headache the longer she thought about him.
Her Senator records held no trace of him, much to her chagrin and she couldn’t shake the feeling he was playing them.
She had voiced her concerns to Mon and Bail, as well as her handmaidens who had all promised to be careful around him.
Yet, Skywalker proved too much of a valuable asset to fully ignore him; while she had the urge to excuse herself whenever he came up to her, she stayed and listened to his ideas, despite finding her mind drifting away, a dull throb in the back of her head. He was opinionated about lots of topics dear to her heart but mostly about slave trade - his origin from a galactic highway brought her many insights how much more layered and sinister slave trade could be.
“We cannot call ourselves a free society if we built our empire on the back of slaves.” He had told her (not her, but he had been staring at her while the rest of the Senators listened idly).
Padmé hated how she could not dismiss a word out of his mouth as hot air, plus he was rather handsome as her entourage had remarked. As much as she loved her handmaidens and as grateful she was they had heeded her call after her breakdown to assist her once again, sometimes she felt like they knew her and her type too well.
The Senator dreaded the day she couldn’t hide her pregnancy from the three, after all she needed their help in finding clothing that hid her belly well or she needed Dormé as a convincing double. Yet she had decided to concern herself with the pregnancy at the three month mark when she could be sure it would stick around - then she would consider herself a mother to be and process what it would really mean to give up a child in exchange for a whole planet. Then she would read about pregnancy and birth and tell her handmaidens and forge plans.
But until then, she would visit galas and smile and nod, just as she did just now.
Kriff . Her mind really tended to wander when she was around this Skywalker guy.
Padmé had expected this pregnancy would be like the last - normal and from time to time she would wake up and remember she was pregnant.
During this pregnancy she was incredibly horny.
While she had not made good on her promise to comm Vader at ungodly hours, she considered comming him now.
She had woken up in the middle of the night again with the lust of a fleeting dream clinging to her, throughout the day she had been way too aware of her own body and any male around her, now she had showered and was ready for bed and she was still riled up.
Yesterday, in a desperate attempt to ease her longing she had leaned over the side-board and made quick work with her fingers but it had left her unsatisfied and empty and quite frankly, desperate.
She had debated finding herself someone else, even Clovis crossing her mind for a split second, but the change of terms was a time too precious to risk any scandals. No matter how clinical and cold Vader was, he was also discreet and the safest option if she wanted to remain in the good graces of the media.
“Kriff.” She cursed but picked up her comm anyway, pinging Vader's frequency. If he was free, stars, if he was even on Coruscant, he could call her back and if she was still brave enough to explain she was incredibly horny and needed him for maybe five to ten minutes, it was up to him to decide.
Padmé threw the communicator on the bed and flopped down beside it, fanning air to herself. Hot flashes were unnatural so early in the pregnancy so she coined it to her days-long desperation.
Scrunching up her nose she looked at the com-link and wondered if she should have thought this through. Vader had assured her to let him know if he needed anything, but he had probably meant anything baby related. Though, if he was willing to help her with pregnancy cravings, horniness must count as well, right?
Stars, she just hoped he wasn’t in a bad mood.
If he was, it would be hard to find the relief she craved so badly.
Maybe he would take back her right to contact him whenever.
Maybe he’d make a mean remark and leave her desperate and feeling terrible.
“Senator!” Vader’s voice cut through her apartment and before she could think he was in the doorway to her bedroom, red lightsaber humming softly. His cloak settled around him and he had obviously been in a hurry. “Senator?!”
Padmé barely lifted her head from the mattress, shock slowly releasing its grip on her body.
“Vader.” She greeted, her knee long nightgown now maybe a bit too high up her thighs. “I didn’t expect you that soon.” She eyed the lightsaber wearily.
“Are you well?” he asked, out of breath.
“Yes?” she replied and sat up, at ease as he deactivated the lightsaber.
“I thought you were in danger.”
Padmé had to admit she had not thought this through. Of course, a Sith Lord like him would think the worst if she only pinged him for a second. Instantly she felt bad.
“I’m sorry, I should have clarified I am well.”
Vader continued to stare at her. It was obvious he had been in what Padmé had dreamed up to be his man cave, he wore work boots and sweatpants with a grease stained tank top, the rest of him hidden underneath the cloak and hood.
“What do you need?” It was hard for Padmé to distinguish his emotions, but at least she wasn’t beat down by anger and rage, so he couldn’t be too upset.
“I-” Padmé tried to formulate it in a way she did not sound desperate. “I have been feeling rather - lonely and was looking for company.”
He continued to stare. “Don’t you have handmaidens?” he finally asked, his voice oddly calm. Oh maybe he was upset. Maybe she had ripped him out of his staring-at-kernel-coding sessions.
“Not that kind of company.” she said and smiled at him with far less confidence than she felt.
The orange eyes disappeared for a moment, then he let go of the lightsaber. It clattered on the ground, his eyes blinking in irritation.
“You have called me because you want sex.”
“Yes.” Padmé said and stood, the lightsaber was well within his reach but at least it was turned off.
Vader continued to stare and let Padmé come close.
“I thought-” she could not call him father of this child, he had made it clear he had an aversion to emotional titles. “maybe you would be up for it.”
Now she didn’t feel horny, now she just felt stupid and desperate. Her night gown was too short, the lacy triangle covered her nipples just so and her hair wasn’t in its best shape either - Vader couldn’t feel much attraction to a lonely Senator.
Before she could launch into a diplomatic apology and ultimate dismissal that would leave her with some kind of dignity he spoke up.
“And you thought that when I said anything you could call me to cater to every pathetic whim you have?”
Padmé saw red.
Not literally but figuratively.
Anger twisted her belly.
How could he be so stoic? It was his child after all that had turned her into a hormonal teenager for the whole last week and now he had the gall to mock her?
“It’s not like you’re my only option.” she bit out and rounded the bed, she needed some space from him. “This may come as a surprise to you but there are men in this building who are not repulsed by me. Who would be very happy to answer a comm like this. I merely gave you the courtesy as it is your child I am carrying.”
Farkle being nice.
Farkle being fair.
This kriffing man would regret treating her like this.
Padmé considered for a moment to rub their child into his face a bit longer - but that might just get him angry.
She didn’t want him angry.
She wanted him jealous.
“I have understood, Lord Vader.” she said coldly. “So please, I think you know where the door is.” She sat back on her heels and put a finger to her lips. “I’d like to use this nice night and call someone who will appreciate me. Maybe -” she pretended to think. “Skywalker.”
Vader immediately grew tense and Padmé grinned, satisfied.
“Is there something wrong with him?” she asked, innocently. “Does it bother you that he gave me his personal comm?” He had not, but Padmé had his work comm, not that Vader needed to know.
“Would it -” her voice grew lower and seductive. “Bother you on our next attempt that there has been another man?” She leaned forward on her hands, her chest maybe on full display, who knew, after all she just wanted to get to her com-link. “That I have been on the side-board with a man like Skywalker? Maybe I even moan his name.”
With great satisfaction Padmé felt the air around her tingle - he wasn’t upset - not in the way he had been when he had overwhelmed her with his emotions. She was on the right track. Just one more push and he might take her on the bed, just like she had dreamed.
“Or would I call him Skywalker?” she played around with the shut off comm. No need for embarrassing mishaps. “I do call the ones dear to me by my first name and he seems like such a great guy. We have so much in common.” She smiled again and looked up; with great pleasure did she see Vader ready to pounce, eyes glowing in the dim light.
“Don’t.” he rasped out but Padmé didn’t even know what she wasn’t supposed to do.
“I would call him Anakin, I think.” she smiled at Vader and bit her lip. “Oh Anakin.” she moaned. “Do you think he would like that?” her free hand played with the hem of her nightgown.
At loss for words, as he could be when Padmé had won their verbal sparring he pounced. The com-link flew out of her hand and clattered onto the ground somewhere, but it didn’t matter to Padmé. She was tackled into the mattress by a solid body that smelled slightly of sweat and garage, and she closed her eyes in anticipation of hot breath and strong hands.
Still, she wanted to punish Vader a bit more, not too much as he had been genuinely worried, but just a little more to soothe her wounded pride.
“Do you think he would go down on me first?” she asked and arched into Vader. He had stilled, unsure of what to do next. “Or do you think he would just fuck me.”
“Shut up.” Vader growled and Padmé knew she had him there and then. He grabbed the neckline of her nightgown and ripped it apart with ease - the fabric was flimsy but it had been expensive. “Close your eyes.” he ordered, and she obliged while she slipped out of the rest of her clothing. He was probably undressing too, or at least getting rid of the cloak, and soon a warm, calloused hand and the gloved one slid over her body.
“The glove too.” she breathed, pulling herself closer as she wrapped her legs around him. Judging by the feel he still wore his pants and shirt and was kneeling between her legs. Good.
“You don’t want that,” he said quietly. “It’s a prosthetic and cold.”
Padmé only sighed at the feeling of hands roaming her body. Did he appreciate the sight? She hoped he did.
“What do you want?” he asked, breathless and with that tightness in his voice she now knew to read as insecurity. “Should I go down on you or -” so he didn’t think things through either. He had wanted her to shut up about Skywalker but he wasn’t brave enough to just take her. While she appreciated the courtesy, Padmé would have gone along with anything.
“I don’t know.” she said and wiggled into him. The sweatpants betrayed however calm his voice had been and his hands tensed on her ribs. “What do you dream of Lord Vader?” His title made him shudder, another piece of valuable information.
He didn’t answer but his breathing grew loud and agitated. Suddenly music began to play and the light changed behind her closed eyes. Padmé dared to blink and found herself in complete darkness, the Sith eyes shining somewhere above her.
“Look again and I will blindfold you.”
“Oh no.” Padmé moaned, turned on instead of fearful.
Vader pinched her side with his human hand, in return she rubbed herself on him.
“I-” he began but paused.
“You do what you feel like.” Padmé encouraged. She wanted to grab him and flip him so she could sit on him, she wanted to pull him close and feel his weight on top of her - anything! But she knew she could still startle him enough to leave, her hands remained over her head, bunching up the fabric of her duvet.
“I - just tell me when to stop.”
“Mhm.” She very much agreed to that.
They had established he was only nineteen - or maybe twenty now and had not had physical relationships before - Padmé felt it in the way he hesitantly explored her body, shielded by the darkness. She didn’t know if he could see in the dark or if he had just guessed correctly earlier, still she tried to give him much positive feedback by her face and her voice. As Sith he might read her force signature as well and she surely wasn’t worried about what she might be sending him there. He must have known she was ready to jump him the moment he had turned his lightsaber off.
Padmé shivered as he pushed her further onto the bed, the untouched satin cold under her skin.
“It’s fine.” Vader assured her in a delicious low voice. His breath was on her stomach and then - oh. Padmé was delighted. She didn’t care if he did it out of his own curiosity or if he had taken her earlier ramblings as instruction. Either way she was very pleased by the way he gripped her hips and kissed her tights.
If he had really only watched holos until now he proved to be extraordinarily talented.
“Use your fingers.” Padmé breathed after a while when the novelty of a hot tongue had worn off. As he let his left hand go from her hips she took his fingers and guided them to where she wanted them. “Yes.” she hissed.
If making him jealous had been the key to getting him to properly fuck her she would have done it a long time ago.
Pleasure filled Padmé and the burning urge in her stomach didn’t subside - it burned only brighter at the promise of what Vader was capable of. She really wanted him to take her, like he had that one night on the side-board. She hoped her longing was strong in her Force signature.
He pulled back - breathless as Padmé. She sat up, eyes still dutifully closed. By the movement of the bed and the sound of it he was fully undressing himself - a task she would have gladly helped him.
“Yes.” Padmé interrupted. Whatever he asked, if it brought her closer to her orgasm she was game.
He chuckled in the dark.
“You don’t even know what I want.”
“Yes.” he admitted, voice thick.
“Then we are in an understanding.”
He chuckled again and the bed dipped around her. Her hands shot out in search of what she was longing for - finally she was rewarded with smooth warm skin.
“Come here.” she demanded, impatient. The feeling of pleasure began to subside and frustration rose in her.
“Yes, Senator.” he teased and earned himself a pinch.
Padmé still felt his hesitation, searched for his arm in the dark and smoothed over it while he scooted closer, hot between her legs. She welcomed the stretching sensation and pulled her legs up higher. Her sigh was relieved and content.
Vader placed his arms left and right from her head, his wrists the perfect place for Padmé to hold on and she was glad he didn’t pull back.
When he gave no indication he would move, Padmé clenched around him and wiggled her hips.
“Vader?” she asked and owned sounding whiny and desperate.
“Just a moment.”
She exhaled loudly to express her impatience.
“Careful, Senator.” he said and rearranged her hair, as if he feared to accidentally pull it and smoothed a finger over her collar bone. “I might get the impression you are bored.”
“Oh no.” she said again, revelling in the attention of his careful touch. “How can I possibly convince you otherwise?”
He huffed out a laugh, his breath warm on her skin. Who would have thought this ruthless Sith Lord was gentle and even funny?
“Hmm.” he said and rolled his hips after a moment. Padmé moaned. “I don’t know.”
“I don’t know either.” Padmé quickly reached for his arm as he leaned over her again. “But please just take me.” She hoped she sounded at least a tiny bit dignified.
“How polite you are, Senator.” he leaned in to whisper into her ear and she shuddered. “Then it’s almost like I have to oblige.”
Finally he moved and Padmé moved with him. Their breaths mixed in the dark, small moans escaped them more and more often.
“Turn around.” he instructed suddenly and pulled away. Padmé obliged, whatever Vader was planning was good. She leaned on her forearms like she had done before but he surprised her by pulling her upright. A moment later they were joined once more but it was so much nicer than on the sideboard.
“So, Senator.” his prosthetic arm wrapped around her hips and kept her close. “We have not finished our conversation earlier. You have been talking about Skywalker.”
Padmé's stomach did a somersault. How could he be thinking about another man now?
“Yes, Lord Vader.”
“Tell me, what would you have him do if he was here instead of me.”
Padmé was unsure how to react. Was this how he got off or was he trying to punish her - worse was he trying to interrogate her. Vader waited patiently, his left hand slowly travelling down her belly until he touched her like she had taught him earlier - stars, why had he been so observant? She couldn’t really think of what to do next if he touched her like this.
She gripped the arm that held her in place.
“I would tell him - “ she moaned. “Not to stop.”
“How would you say that?” did his voice have to be so close to her ear. Did he have to tickle her just enough to send shivers down her spine so she would thrust herself onto his perfectly still body.
“P-please don’t stop Skywalker.” she blurted out, embarrassed.
“You said you don’t call people you like by their last names.”
“Please don’t stop, Anakin.”
“Hmm. That’s a bit - unclear.” His hand stilled.
Kriff, that really was his revenge, wasn’t it?
“Please don’t stop touching me, Anakin.” she corrected herself and her reward was imminent. In tiny moves Padmé moved against him to get more of that delicious friction but he tightened his hold on her.
“And touching is the only thing you would want from him?”
“No.” Padmé wailed. The brink of her release was almost painful, she knew exactly what he wanted to hear but blurting it out wouldn’t do the trick - she had to be patient and play his game.
“What else would you want, Senator?” he switched sides and licked up her throat to her ear. Padmé shuddered again.
“Anakin, please fuck me.” she breathed out, hoping to have spoken the magic words.
“Ah, so vulgar, Senator.” Vader teased. Padmé didn’t care about her choice of words as long as she could convey her desire.
“What would you hope he would do?”
“I-I would hope he would fuck me until I come.” Padmé admitted.
“Hmmm.” he sounded thoughtful. “I see.”
The sudden thrust was unexpected and sent a wave of pleasure through her.
“Yes.” Padmé whimpered. “Anakin.” she added in case he wanted to hear it. Promptly she was rewarded with another thrust.
Padmé hadn’t expected their game to be like this but she didn’t dislike it either. With every correctly answered question she was rewarded with a thrust that brought her closer and closer to what she had searched for days and to what her own fingers hadn’t been capable of.
Vader only paused for a brief moment to move them a bit further up the bed and placed Padmé’s hand on the elaborate headboard. Without his arm she leaned forward and it felt a bit like their nights on the side-boards. Oh, conceiving a child by a handsome rebel leader, what a fantasy.
Vader stopped their question game soon after, but kept a steady rhythm that was just perfect. Each thrust had Padmé moan and mumble words of appreciation - either to Anakin or Vader, she wasn’t sure and she didn’t care. When she finally gripped the headboard hard, her whole body was tight. She couldn’t even speak and her ears rang. Finally. He breathed hard, Vader’s thrusts and breath on her back a background sensation. He found his release soon after and they stilled, his prosthetic hand making a dull sound as he leaned against the headboard, the skin sticking together from sweat.
They just - stayed like this, breathing heavily, content.
“What happened to your hand?” Padmé finally asked, still flushed and a bit breathless.
Padmé rolled her eyes at the reply. It was the first topic that came to her mind - she didn’t want to know what that Skywalker thing had been about and she didn’t want to ask him to leave right away. Yet cuddling in the dark like lovers was just ridiculous.
Vader took the decision from her when he reached between her legs with her ruined nightgown and pulled out, leaving her to press the fabric in place. Padmé sat back on her legs, her whole body still tingling and listened to him moving off the bed and getting dressed. A part of her was sad and offended he wouldn’t stay, another part was relieved.
Even though she was pregnant with his child he was right that they should avoid further complications as their only connection was a contract, not love.
The lights in her living area slowly turned brighter until they were light enough for her to find her way to the bathroom. In the doorway Vader was dressed, hood in place and picked up his lightsaber like a normal human instead of Force calling. He also retrieved her communicator and placed it on her night stand.
“Just so we’re clear.” he said, a looming figure in the doorway.
Please don’t ruin this. Padmé prayed.
“Ping once if you are in danger. And twice for-” he gestured. “simple needs.”
Feel free to leave "<3" as extra kudos.
I won't be able to update next weekend as I'll be away. I wish I could qeue chapters tbh.