Fandom: Star Wars
Written For: swficchallenge
Prompt: “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” – Kurt Cobain
Characters: Anakin, Padmé. Obi-Wan and Palpatine are mentioned.
Word Count: 1,210
Summary: Who has been interfering in Anakin’s life? He is about to find out.
Author’s Notes: This turned out completely different from what I expected. I had originally intended it to be a very introspective piece, with no dialogue, from Anakin’s point of view. Instead it turned into a very anti-Palpatine fic. I don’t mind too much; it’s always interesting when pieces veer off into left field.
Everything was wrong. All he knew, all he had ever known, was collapsing in front of him.
Usually, when things were wrong, Anakin could talk to the people around him. Obi-Wan, Palpatine, and Padmé. Especially Padmé. But something was happening. To the Republic, to decency, to those he knew. Perhaps even to him. Never had he felt so powerless.
Anakin paced the landing pad. Thoughts and emotions bubbled inside him, each one passing too fast. He longed to reach out his hand, capture one, examine it. Turn it over and over and figure it out, figure out what in the Force he should do.
His eyes caught on 500 Republica and instantly hot, bitter rage boiled upwards. How could she? How could he? If what Palpatine had told him was true … he had nothing left. Padmé was the reason he existed. If she was in love with someone else, anyone else, that was bad enough. But for it to be Anakin’s best friend – right under Anakin’s very own nose – how could he accept that? How could they ever expect him to go on?
Maybe the baby wasn’t even his. Maybe it was Obi-Wan’s.
Anakin choked on this thought and abruptly forced his mind over to something else. If he didn’t stop thinking like that soon, he was going to kill something.
Palpatine. What was he going to do about Palpatine? Should he tell the Council what the Chancellor had offered him? Anything he wanted. Speeders, apartments, buildings, entire star systems. Surely this wasn’t right. There was something else going on here, something beyond appealing to Anakin’s inner greed. Something persuasive, something just beyond the light that he couldn’t see.
Anakin climbed into his speeder and, without knowing where he was going or why, he found himself on Padmé’s landing pad, punching the bell to enter.
She arrived quickly, pulling a robe over her expansive belly and deactivating the security field. “Anakin! What are you doing here? It’s late, I was just going to bed.”
“What, am I not allowed to visit you anymore?” Anakin snapped, striding into her apartments. “I’m your Forcedamned husband, or have you forgotten that already!”
Padmé looked stunned. “Of – of course not, Ani, you’re welcome here at any time of the day or night. I was just a bit surprised, that’s all.”
Anakin snorted and flopped down onto the couch. “Yeah, everybody’s surprised,” he muttered darkly. “Nobody expects me to think for myself anymore. Nobody expects me to notice stuff that’s right in front of my face!”
“What are you talking about?” She sat next to him and put a hand on his shoulder, attempting comfort.
“Everything’s … different. Bad. Wrong. I don’t know what to do or who to trust anymore.”
“I know what you mean,” Padmé said. “I face that in the Senate every day.”
“Do you really, though?” he challenged, looking her directly in the face. Searching her eyes for signs of deception. “Do you really know what it means? You don’t have nearly as much to deal with as I do! Everyone depends on me for everything. When they need something done they call on me. I’m not supposed to take anyone’s side and yet everyone wants me on theirs.” He buried his head in his hands. “It’s too much. It’s just too much.”
She kissed him softly, stroking his cheek. “What’s really wrong? I’ve never seen you like this.”
“Palpatine, he’s – he’s not behaving in the best interests of the Republic anymore,” Anakin choked out. “The Jedi have me spying on him, but he’s my friend, I can’t report to them what I’ve seen. He wants to give me – gifts. Gifts I shouldn’t take. I’m sure he’s accepting backroom deals. Maybe he’s even working with the Separatists, I wouldn’t put it past him! But I can’t say anything. I can’t challenge him. He’s my friend.”
“Sometimes a person is more of a friend if they help their friends to see what they’re doing wrong,” Padmé said quietly. “Palpatine may thank you later. He may not even realize what he’s doing.” She sighed. “At least, we in the Senate hope he doesn’t. It would be so much easier if we could discover that someone was influencing him, so we could deal directly with that person.”
“Maybe.” He took her hand, kissing it and playing with her fingers. “He told me something. Tonight, when I was meeting with him. About you.”
She swallowed. “Me? What would he want with me?”
Anakin screwed up his courage. “He said there’s been reports that Obi-Wan … was seen leaving your apartment at an – indecent hour last week.”
“Force. Gossipmongers will come up with anything they possibly can to ruin reputations, won’t they?” Her tone was light, but she didn’t meet his eyes.
He grasped her hand a little more tightly than before. “Did he – are you and he, you know, with each other in a romantic sense?” It took every ounce of Anakin’s willpower to keep his voice steady.
“We were visiting, Anakin. Is that against the law now?” Padmé’s eyes seemed unusually bright.
“At three o’clock in the morning? Tell me the truth, Padmé! I’m lied to every single day! By everybody I know! Don’t you start too!”
She looked away. “Ani, I love you. I love you so much. It’s not your fault. None of this is your fault.”
“WHAT? None of what is my fault?” Anakin jumped up, pacing before her. Pieces were falling together in his mind, but he didn’t want to look at the picture they formed.
“It was only once. It won’t happen again. I told him – I told him we couldn’t. I told him I won’t live a lie. I won’t do this to you.” Padmé’s voice was full of tears, and when he looked at her, he saw that her face was streaked with wetness. “He talked to Palpatine the other day. Some things came out … Palpatine made him admit he was attracted to me. I guess he finally decided to consummate that.” She stood and went to him, clutching him desperately. “But I can’t lose you. I won’t.”
Anakin ground his teeth. This was it. This was the absolute last straw. It apparently wasn’t enough for Palpatine to manipulate the entire galactic government and the Jedi. Now he had to start interfering with Anakin’s personal life, with those dearest to him. He wouldn’t stand for it. He couldn’t.
“Are you mad?” Padmé asked timidly.
“Yes. But not at you.” He kissed her passionately, rubbing at a sore point in her back. “I forgive you. None of this is your fault, it’s just – the same people trying to manipulate me are manipulating you. I’ll put a stop to it, I promise.”
She cuddled into him, and he could feel her shaking. He stood there, holding her, thanking the Force that he had found the courage and the strength to forgive her, and Obi-Wan.
He did not know how long they stood there. But he eventually let her go, kissed her on the top of the head, and made towards the door.
Padmé frowned. “Where are you going?”
“I’ll be back soon,” Anakin replied, drawing his cloak around his shoulders. “There’s someone I need to speak to.”