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20,000 Parsecs Across The Galaxy
[FIC] The Protege' 2/? (Vader, Palpatine, ensemble, PG-13) 
1st-Oct-2007 09:23 pm
phantom
Title : The Protege'

Author : jedinemo

Rating and disclaimer : Rated PG-13. The Star Wars Universe belongs to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd, and I have gained nothing but satisfaction from this fanfic.

Summary : Darth Vader has an unsettling encounter within the Imperial Palace that changes the course of Galactic history.

Timeline : A few years before the events of ANH.


Chapter Two


Darth Vader looked away from his clone and towards the great doors of the Throne Room. Apparently Palpatine had been caught so unaware by Anakin's attack that he had no time to send warning to the Imperial Guards, or otherwise they'd have stormed the room already. Instead, the room was peacefully quiet, with only the ebb and flow of his ventilator disturbing the silence. The Galaxy had changed forever, but only two people knew it.

In his head he understood that he was safe, but his body still pulsed with the adrenalin of near death. The task he had believed insurmountable, the boy had accomplished with ease. Did that mean he could have done the same all along? To his surprise, the concern fell away, and he realized that with the Emperor dead, much of his outrage had cooled. He had always thought Palpatine's chains sapped his strength, but perhaps they fed it, because without them he felt not joyous but hollow.



Anakin seemed similarly affected, remaining steadfastly next to Palpatine's body, frozen in place by some glimmer of attachment that persisted beyond death. He considered the boy carefully. Without Palpatine, the youth was no longer his rival, nor a point of contention to argue about with his master. Even the promise he'd made to the boy -I will see to it that your education is expanded - seemed far less pressing. The boy was free now, just as he was, free to find his own destiny.

Without his mentor, though, the boy wouldn't last long in the rancor pit that was Palpatine's inner circle, so perhaps the kindest thing was to eliminate the youth, and let him be laid to rest with his creator. Vader's fingers tightened around the hilt of his saber, his thumb resting on the activator. Strangely, Anakin seemed to have no inkling of the threat that surrounded him. Looking at the unsuspecting boy, a memory drifted forward of other children who thought he had come to rescue them, and who failed to see the danger he presented. In his mind, a blond youngling approached, gazing up with innocent eyes of blue. What are we going to do? the child asked, though by the time the sentence was finished, it was Anakin's face he saw.

His mouth went dry, and he almost dropped his lightsaber. He shut his eyes against the flood of revulsion that poured forth as he remembered the circle of small corpses he had left inside the Council chamber. However weak it was of him, it was an act he wouldn't repeat. And what was it the oldest of the clone troopers called each other? Ner vod-my brother? He might not feel that towards Anakin, there was undeniably...something.

Whatever it was, they couldn't linger here, because it was only a matter of time before Anakin's deed was discovered and the consequences of the Emperor's death began to unfold. Unless Vader seized control quickly, there'd be a free for all among those who aspired to the throne. He clipped his saber to his belt and called to the boy. When Anakin didn't respond, he reached out and grabbed the youth's arm to pull him away. Anakin reacted as if the touch of the black glove burned him, flinging his arm out of reach, and igniting the saber he still clutched in his other hand.

The boy's eyes narrowed as he stared into the mask. "What do you think you're doing?"

Vader could sense the boy's agitation. He'd seen the response many times among green recruits, those who had been trained in combat, but were not yet inured to the realities of battle. Undoubtably Palpatine had taught the boy to kill, but he was far from being a seasoned soldier. "We need to leave," he said calmly.

"Oh, and so you think you're in charge?" Anakin said. "You think I'll just follow you now?"

He snorted. "It would hardly work the other way around."

"Oh, I don't know," Anakin said, his expression as hard as durasteel. "I'm the one who killed him. Maybe I'll be the next Emperor."

The boy's emotions were flying high, that was obvious. He knew how lightning fast his own responses were when he was in that state, and how little thought preceeded his reactions. Until Anakin was disarmed, he was a danger to them both. "All right, your highness. What is your first order?"

Anakin blinked, then stood a little straighter. His brow furrowed, and he walked away from the Emperor's body for the first time. He appeared to be deep in thought as he paced a circle in front of the throne, but if Vader approached him, the boy's lightsaber came humming upwards.

Finally, Anakin stopped. "I will order Sate Pestage to announce me to the Senate."

Not a bad idea, except that Pestage would more likely push the boy over the rail of the central dais. "We'll have to get past the Imperial Guards first."

Anakin's eyebrows raised for a moment, and he bit his lip, nodding. He powered off his lightsaber and began to pace again, fumbling to attach the saber to his belt. Vader watched him closely, feeling the churning activity in the boy's mind. With precise timing, he called Anakin's saber to his own hand. The boy looked over at him, astonished.

"Lack of focus," he said. "Was my problem. Is still your problem."

Anakin's gaze fell to the floor, and when at last he raised his head, there was a cold clarity in his eyes. "You were never trying to help me. You only used me to defeat him."

The youth's words startled him. Many years after he had led the assault on the Temple, he had reached the same conclusion about Palpatine. How was it that this boy could see the truth of things so quickly? Except that it wasn't the truth. He'd never dreamt that destiny could be altered so abruptly. In advising the boy he'd only been trying to...trying to what? Save him? Take care of him? He frowned. "I did not mislead you. And the Imperial Guards are still waiting. Let's go."

Anakin's feet remained planted. "Why should I go with you?"

He felt his temper flare. He couldn't remember the last time someone had questioned his orders. "Name one ally you have if you stay here."

Anakin stared at him for a moment, the looked away, shaking his head. "None. There's no one I can trust."

"That is why," he said. "Though the choice is yours."

"What will you do with me?" Anakin said.

He studied the boy, the oddness of seeing his own face beginning to lessen. He had hunted a long time for a Force strong apprentice, but he'd never considered anyone so young and untested. In the end, he simply told the truth. "I don't know. But to start, you can help me deal with the Guards."

"What, with my bare hands?" Anakin said, the cocky grin returning to his face at last.

He regarded the confiscated saber, and then proffered it to the boy. "Don't make me regret this."

------

As they entered the main hangar of the Palace together, Darth Vader had to admit the boy had been an able partner. Following his directives exactly, Anakin had dispatched the two guards on the side assigned to him with little fanfare. Afterwards, when they were standing back to back, lightsabers ignited and surrounded by fallen Guards, he felt a satisfaction he hadn't experienced in years.

Matching him stride for stride, Anakin looked toward the row of lambda shuttles lining the far wall of the hangar. "Which one?" he asked.

Vader activated the transponder, and the ramp to his personal shuttle began to descend. Anakin stepped into an easy jog, crossing the hangar ahead of him, and disappeared up the ramp. He shook his head. The boy could hardly be made to stay in one place. When he finally entered the shuttle, he found Anakin occupying the pilot's position. He looked at him in annoyance. "Get out of my seat."

"I thought maybe you'd let me fly," Anakin said.

He hesitated a moment, remembering the joy that flying had brought to him in his youth, and still did to this day. "Do you know how?"

"Sure."

He could sense the boy's deception. "Your thoughts betray you."

"I've flown speeders," Anakin said, frowning. "And didn't you say you were going to expand my education?"

"Out!" he said with a gesture. If this boy were to be his apprentice, he was going to have to learn his place.

Anakin shrugged, and moved over to the co-pilot's seat. Vader raised the shuttle ramp and performed the pre-flight check, then eased the ship upward and free of the other vessels. Once clear of the hangar doors, he accelerated the shuttle, bypassing the Imperial Center flylanes and heading for the stars. He glanced over at the boy and found him absorbed in the view outside the transparisteel window. A small smile escaped him at the sight, but he pushed it back.

They were almost through the atmosphere when the boy spoke. "I didn't bring any of my things."

"There are uniforms on board Devastator," he said. "You will be less conspicuous that way."

"I don't see why we're even going there," Anakin said, swiveling towards him. "Why didn't you just tell the Senate you're the Emperor now?"

His neck prickled at the boy's insolence. "It's not that simple. The transition will be smoother with proper troop support."

"He didn't need an army behind him," Anakin said. "No one dared to disobey him."

The last thing he needed was the boy to remind him how easily Palpatine maintained control. "That was because he had me to enforce his decisions."

"Then why did he want me to replace you?"

That question had gnawed at him ever since he'd learned of the boy's existence. However easily Palpatine changed allegiances, it was never without reason. In what way had his old master thought him deficient? Had his losses in Force ability been too great? Had he proven incapable in some way? He felt his anger rising as he thought of how much of his life he had spent in service to an unappreciative master. "Enough! What I fail to comprehend is how he tolerated listening to your incessant questions."

Anakin looked at him through narrowed eyes, and then flung himself out of the co-pilot's seat and towards the rear of the ship. Vader glanced back and saw the boy curled up in a first row seat in the passenger compartment. He returned his gaze to the viewscreen, sighting Devastator's ever enlarging profile. He sighed, hoping he had not made an error in bringing the boy, because it was seeming that having Anakin present was less liking having an apprentice, and more like having a child.

------

"Lord Vader, there is a priority call from Grand Moff Tarkin on channel two-nine-two."

Darth Vader stared at his desk com speaker. That had to be a record. Since his return to Devastator, he had only issued the command to retrieve the 501st Legion, and settled the boy into a cabin. An hour, tops. Yet there was Tarkin, somehow having already received word of his change to the status quo.

"Send the call to my quarters, Lieutenant."

"Yes, m'lord. Transferring now."

Even though he was expecting the call, he let the com chime several times before answering it. "What is it, Governor?"

"Bevil Lemilisk tells me you are removing the Five-oh-first from the project," Tarkin said, his voice spiked with anger.

Ahh, there was the source of the leak: the mealy-mouthed chief engineer of the Death Star. "The Five-oh-first has always been under my direct control," he said. "I have a more urgent need for them."

"More urgent? What is more important than the project?" Tarkin stormed. "The Emperor must be unaware of your manuever."

"Quite."

Tarkin was silent for a moment. "Things will not go well for you once I inform him."

"Be my guest."

"What are you up to, Vader?"

Tarkin's refusal to grant him the respect he deserved had long irked him, particularly the way he addressed him like a common soldier. That was one habit that was going to change. "Is that any way to speak to your new Emperor?"

"What?" Tarkin's shock was evident over the speaker. "Palpatine is dead? Why have there been no reports?"

He couldn't help feeling smug. "You're the first I've told."

"Are you saying you killed him, then?"

"No," he said innocently. "Not me. Not exactly. But he is dead."

"I have no time for your games, Vader. And even if the Emperor is dead, you don't automatically inherit the title."

His humor faded in the face of Tarkin's continued opposition. "It is too late for debates, Governor. Control of Imperial Center will be mine shortly."

"You have few friends, Vader. You'll never be able to keep it."

He was done with this conversation. "I suggest you stop worrying about me and instead ensure that progress is maintained on the project now that the Five-oh-first is gone. And that, Tarkin, is an order from the Emperor."

------

Pacing the length of Devastator's bridge windows, Darth Vader calculated the time remaining until the 501st Legion arrived. Their battle honed discipline would have allowed them to mobilize quickly, and by now they should have loaded their gear onto a transport and be enroute to Imperial Center from Despayre. That left only the two hour hyperspace journey before the unit rendezvoused with Devastator and the occupation of the Palace could begin. As long as no one on Imperial Center was yet aware of Palpatine's demise, that brief delay should present no problem.

He paused at the center of the bridge and turned his head from side to side, attempting to relieve the tension in his neck. In all the times he had imagined taking over Palpatine's position, he had never dreamt that when it actually happened, he'd be so unprepared. He berated himself for allowing Tarkin to irritate him, because it would have been much smarter not to have informed the Governor. But even thinking of Tarkin's words still perturbed him, as the Grand Moff would not be the only one to dispute his right to the Throne. Until the 501st filled the halls of the Palace, and he could demonstrate the overwhelming control Palpatine had always mustered, there was a chance his bid could fail.

It all hinged on whether Palpatine's death was discovered before he could pronounce himself Emperor. In truth, Tarkin was unlikely to spread the news because he harbored his own dream of ruling the Empire. But if the body were to be found accidentally.... He shook his head. No one would enter the Throne Room without permission, and if Palpatine had been expected for a meeting, his tardiness or absence would be completely accepted. And anyone seeking audience with the Emperor would know that access was not always speedily granted. But if someone had something to report, something so important that they would fear not reporting it, that might drive them to search for Palpatine. Something unusual, such as the disappearance of the boy.

With an abruptness that startled some of his crew, he whirled about and headed down the command walkway of the bridge towards the turbolifts. Once inside, he selected the level of his own quarters; the boy was housed only a few doors away. When he arrived at Anakin's cabin, he activated the door chime, but received no response. Frowning, he pushed the button again and again until the boy answered from within.

"Go away!" Anakin growled.

Instead, Vader reversed the servos in the door lock with a twist of his hand, and waved the door open. The interior of the cabin was darkened, but the brilliance of the boy's presence revealed him at the back of the room. He motioned on the overhead lights and walked towards Anakin, who squinted as his eyes adjusted. Dressed in the Imperial uniform Vader had provided, the boy was sitting on the floor with his knees drawn up, and his back against the cabin wall. The scarlet banded shirt he had worn previously was clutched in his hands, and dried tear tracks lined his face.

"You don't listen very well," Anakin said.

For a moment Vader wondered what had happened to prompt the change in the boy's emotional state, but he made himself ignore the distress he sensed in Anakin. There was business at hand. "I need to know if anyone will be looking for you. A tutor, perhaps, or a caretaker of some sort."

"What, did you come here to rub it in?" Anakin's demeanor changed from sullen to outraged. "The only person who cared about me, I just killed."

Even as a sense of relief flowed through him about his own plans, the profound lonliness emanating from Anakin resonated within him. The sorrow consuming the boy was so familiar. He remembered all the losses of his own youth: his mother, his arm, and the last, when everything went away on Mustafar. When he killed the person who loved him most. His hand went to his chest, pressing against the leather of the suit as the dull ache in his heart sprung anew. It was a pain he had tried to will away, but could not. He looked away from the boy to the cabin desk, where the meal he'd ordered for Anakin lay untouched.

"Is there something wrong with your food?" he said, trying to bridge the gap between them, as if assuaging the boy's pain would soothe his own.

"I'm not hungry," Anakin said, leaning his head back against the cabin wall.

Though rusty in offering comfort, he persisted in spite of Anakin's rebuff. "When I was your age I was hungry all the time."

Anakin met his gaze, holding it for a moment, then nodded. "Maybe later."

A small acknowledgement, but he would accept it. With nothing else for him to offer the boy, he headed for the door.

"He wasn't all bad, you know," Anakin said.

Silently, he turned back towards his clone.

"He told me he found me on a beach of black sand," the boy continued. "He said I was all alone and would have died if he hadn't saved me."

He listened, fascinated. The boy hadn't been found anywhere. He'd been decanted in a glass vat somewhere.

"When I was younger, I did have tutors, but never the same ones for long. He was always there for me, though," Anakin said. He unclipped his lightsaber and held it gently. "He taught me how to make this, and how to use the Force."

Vader could almost say the same thing about his own life. If not always, Palpatine had often been there for him, too, with words of advice and encouragement. Of course, that all changed after Mustafar, and he now recognized his master's kindness as a ploy, but he still remembered what it was like to bask in the warmth of Palpatine's praise. Sometimes he wondered if the memory of that warmth was what had kept him from severing his tie to his master, the remaining person in the Galaxy to know who he had been. And since Anakin existed, perhaps Palpatine had valued his former self. Unbidden, a ripple of sadness spread through him at the thought of the slight form sprawled across the Palace floor.

Anakin gazed up at him. "He said that I was special. That there was no one more gifted in the Force than me."

How many times had he worn those same words as a cloak of protection against the bitter wind of Jedi disapproval? To strip the boy of their comfort was to leave himself bereft as well. He walked up to Anakin and looked down into his own troubled face. "Not everything he said was a lie."
Comments 
2nd-Oct-2007 08:33 am (UTC)
I didn't know you were going to continue this! I liked it very much and I'm looking forward to how you will go on with the plot. I cannot even guess. Well done.
3rd-Oct-2007 03:48 am (UTC)
The discussion after the initial story (now chapter)prompted too much thought, and before I knew it ideas for a longer story were flying all ove the place. And it is about to get plotty!
2nd-Oct-2007 12:24 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful update! I'm so glad you decided to continue the story.

How ironic that Vader will have to suffer through Anakin's mood swings and this time he'll have to be the calm, cool adult. At least though he'll know the feelings behind them. Palpatine really worked his magic on the boy and how sad that he was the only comfort in the boy's life.

My mind is scrambling to figure out what is going on in the galaxy at this time...it's what, 7 years or so before A New Hope?

I am really excited about seeing where you will take this story!
3rd-Oct-2007 03:56 am (UTC)
With the two of them together, you can see Vader has learned a thing or two. On the other hand, some things about him never change.

And as for time frame, Anakin is sixteen, so it's about three to four years before ANH. And having written a ROTJ era story, things politically feel much less unified than than do the later period.
2nd-Oct-2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
Vader has certainly gained some insights into himself, over the years. But that might be Anakin's downfall. Because nothing annoys us like our own faults reflected back to ourself.

Luke, looking like Anakin, but so much Padme in temperment, might have a real advantage over Anakin with Vader. And I think jealous Anakin doesn't share daddy figures.
3rd-Oct-2007 04:00 am (UTC)
While self-awareness is definitely not his strong point, by the time we're in our forties we can't escape gaining some.

Yeah, the dynamic between Luke and Vader will be quite different since Palpatine's already gone. Wait, did I say Luke would be in this story? :)
4th-Oct-2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
The more I ponder this, the more interesting it becomes. How exactly does Vader feel towards Anakin? Is it more sibling or more fatherly? Because you expect different things from each. Even with a younger sibling, there is the expectation of equality and an equal giving and getting from the relationship much earlier.

From a child, there is a more unequal relationship, protection and guidance become far more important for a much longer period. And if push come to shove, most people would pick a child before a brother or sister. (Wouldn't be a fun or easy choice, but the sense of obligation is more overwhelming with a child, I think.)

Would a brotherly Vader expect Anakin to get with the program much faster than he would expect as a father towards his son?
5th-Oct-2007 10:20 am (UTC)
I was thinking along these lines just today as I was writing the third chapter.

As for what Vader feels, I think he hasn't truly separated himself from Anakin yet, and doesn't perceive him fully as an individual. Anakin is a reflection of himself, more than his son would be, and yeah, I think he'll expect him to get with the program pretty fast.

The more I think about it, it seems that his feelings about the clone are simply about himself, while his feelings about a child would be more about Padme'.
(Deleted comment)
3rd-Oct-2007 04:05 am (UTC)
Someday I'll write some more Palpatine POV stories.

Though he's dead, Palpatine still connects Anakin and Vader through how much influence he had on their lives. For each, their interaction with him drives their sense of identity.
2nd-Oct-2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
Just what I needed! A great fic to get the juices flowing! : ) I adore your Vader and seeing him reating to Anakin (himself) is a great idea! PLEASE tell me Lukey is going to appear sometime soon??
3rd-Oct-2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, the cast of characters is about to expand, and of course Lukey will be there.
2nd-Oct-2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
Yay!!

I didn't expect to see more of this story and I'm absolutely delighted.

Like everything else you craft, it's gloriously layered.

I love the dual irony and synchronicity in Vader being forced to deal with a younger version of himself. Sort of the ultimate karmic retribution, to be able to truly step back and take a look at a moment trapped in time and see all of your potential and failings simultaneously.

I adore how Anakin can't seem to sit still, all of his emotional and physical chaos.

And then compared to Vader. It's lovely to contrast his inner monologue with what he actually speaks aloud, to be able to see the kindness he offers by not speaking exactly what he thinks.

His hand went to his chest, pressing against the leather of the suit as the dull ache in his heart sprung anew.

That was incredibly touching. And I loved Vader's reaction to Anakin's sorrow. That's some serious emotional terrain to cross there ... What would it be like to be able to sense someone else's emotions, but not just someone else, another version of yourself. And to absorb his emotions and have to deal with your own emotional baggage. Intense.

Also, Vader being unable to keep his mouth shut with Tarkin was quite lovely. Perhaps he's not so controlled as he would like to think.

Lovely!
3rd-Oct-2007 04:18 am (UTC)
There were too many interesting plot and character twists stirred up by the discussion of the first chapter to leave it be.

And while they are of course two different people (you being a twin probably know this more than most), emotional tone is by my observation a fairly elemental part of personality. It's the part of a person that persists despite what they learn or try to "improve" about themselves. So to me, Anakin and Vader are going to be very similar in this matter.

It's also why I write Vader so 'squishy', as some have put it, because I don't think emo-boy would be able to change himself that much.
3rd-Oct-2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
you being a twin probably know this more than most

*grin* Actually I'm not a twin. My twinly, tangofic, is my best friend and we had so many people accuse of us actually being the same person that we just started calling each other 'my twin'.

It's also why I write Vader so 'squishy', as some have put it, because I don't think emo-boy would be able to change himself that much.

Oh, I think your characterization of Vader is fabulous, the 'squishy' parts in particular. Though Lucas says he had this grand plan all along, I firmly believe he was winging most of it. The OT Vader and the PT Anakin are vastly different characters. You are one of the few authors who I think can believably meld the two into a coherent headspace.

One thing I forgot to comment on earlier:

"Then why did he want me to replace you?"

That question had gnawed at him ever since he'd learned of the boy's existence. However easily Palpatine changed allegiances, it was never without reason. In what way had his old master thought him deficient? Had his losses in Force ability been too great? Had he proven incapable in some way?


That section in particular intrigued me and bring up all sorts of issues I've been wondering about lately. I don't know if you'll ever address this issue directly in this fic (I hope you do), but what are your thoughts in general?

Not so much in the movies, but definitely in the novels, we get Palpatine's irritation with Vader's 'inability' to recover from his injuries. We get the impression that he thinks Vader is weak, blaming his decreased Force abilities on his injuries when Palps thinks it's all in Vader's head.

And then in RotS, we get Palpatine salivating at the thought of his new apprentice being so powerful ...

It just makes me wonder, does that track? Obviously Palpatine's true power lay in his understanding of human nature and his ability to manipulate the hell out of any situation. But would it really be a boon to him to have an apprentice with considerably more raw Force potential than he possessed himself? My initial reaction is no, but I'd love to hear other thoughts.

Anyway, I'm rambling as usual. Sorry. ;)
4th-Oct-2007 03:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, Palps definitely knows how powerful Anakin should have become. He states plainly to Yoda that Vader will become more powerful then either of them, and that's saying quite a bit.

My take on Palpatine is that obviously he likes control, but more than that he needs the thrill of potential defeat. If there's no risk of him losing, then it doesn't do anything for him. He likes to push the situation far to the edge and then prove how great he is by still making everything come out the way he wants through his combined manipulative skills, intelligence, and Force ability.

I think he salivated over having an apprentice more powerful than him because maintaining control would be so difficult and hence more gratifying when yet again he proved himself the master.
4th-Oct-2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
That is a fabulous explanation (as usual).

I guess I wish there was more text (vs subtext) for it in the movies. I understand that they white wash so much and thank god for fanfic being around to fill in those blanks.

In the movies I really feel like Palpatine's line to Yoda about Vader becoming more powerful than either of them exists solely to accentuate the horror of his injuries and wasted potential and how pathetic he has become by ROTJ. The idea that here is this man who should have been more powerful than Yoda or Palpatine and yet he ended up just another sad cog in the machine.
4th-Oct-2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I'm so glad you continued this! I love the Vader/Anakin interaction.

And I still want to give Anakin a big ol' hug just like when I watch the movies and he's emo. Poor boy!
5th-Oct-2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this Anakin didn't even have a mom to hug and fuss over him. He's a little lacking in the comfort department.
5th-Oct-2007 10:39 am (UTC)
I thought the first one was a one shot, but by crikey I am loving this!

>>having Anakin present was less liking having an apprentice, and more like having a child.
Vader's former self was an emotionally immature person as well.

>>he found me on a beach of black sand
A nice little black sandy beach on Mustafar....

I wonder with whom the clone will fall pasionately in love?

Keep up the good work!
5th-Oct-2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
I wonder with whom the clone will fall pasionately in love?

In true Skywalker fashion, it will be someone totally inappropriate. :)
7th-Oct-2007 01:41 am (UTC)
Goodie, another thoughtful chapter, and I'm looking forward to seeing lots of intrigue and Tarkin's conniving to power. Anakin, gads, what could Vader say to him, his younger self? I liked the slight regret that Vader had over visualizing Palpatine's "slight form" lying dead; even for awful people, there is someone to mourn over them and reassure themselves that no one could possibly be ALL evil, because then they themselves could become that evil through time, and we don't want to think of ourselves having that capability. Halloween is coming up, makes one ponder evil and all that ...
7th-Oct-2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
As usual, I make lots of discoveries in writing.

I've always thought that the reason why Vader was so resigned to his fate in ROTJ is that sometime in the inter-trilogy period he must have tried to kill Palpatine and failed. After all, even on Mustafar he talked about whacking Palps.

But in writing this story, another idea occurred to me. Vader's identity is still wrapped up in Anakin Skywalker, despite his protestations to the contrary. And as far as he knows, the only person who's aware of his former identity is Palpatine. (Yoda and Obi-Wan are MIA, and I'm not sure Vader knows that Bail and Tarkin know who he really is.)

So if he kills Palpatine, to the Galaxy he is a faceless puzzle. Who would ever believe that he used to be handsome and whole, let alone human? With Palpatine dead, he is only Vader, but with Palps alive, he is Anakin and Vader.

In canon, he kills Palpatine to save Luke, but is this possible only because Luke knows a bit of the Anakin Skywalker story? Can Vader kill Palps only when someone else knows he used to be more than he is now?

Anyway, it opened my mind that he might truly miss Palpatine.
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