Anakin rested, his lead heavy arm draped over his angry wife. She moved to push it aside, but he held firm. Keeping her there. Outside, dawn was breaking. The air smelled of morning dew, and birds chirped and sang songs of life and happiness. But there, where they rested, there was unhappiness and sorrow between them. It was as though the sun had not shined at all.
Padme turned her head to stare at Anakin's shut eyelids.
"I think you should move out," she whispered.
"Out of my own house?"
"Your house? I thought it was our house?" her voice was small.
"Everything is mine."
"I meant you should move out of this bedroom."
He pulled his arm away then rolled out of bed. "If that's the way you want it," he answered, stepping into his pants. Anakin hung his shirt and tunic over his shoulder and carried his boots and weapons in his hands.
"If that's the way you want it," he repeated. Padme turned her head.
In the time that he had become "Emperor" of the Grand Republic, Anakin had grown unaccustomed to insubordination. But Padme... did her best to undermine him at every turn. Why didn't she listen? Why didn't she understand that what he knew was best for everyone? Herself and children included?
Perhaps she'd understand better, if he stripped her of everything she had. Would she then acknowledge his power? That was the only thing that stood between Padme and all the things she wanted? Would she then go back to loving him if he returned those things to her? It was a done deal. He would MAKE her understand. Padme idealised the old Anakin... her "Annie" as she called him. The little slave boy from Tattoine. The young Padawan learner.
Anakin was brooding now, thinking Padme had only loved him out of pity. And now that he was no longer pitiful, she didn't love him anymore. But he didn't want her pity. He wanted her respect. He had done all of these great things FOR HER and still she refused to acknowledge his accomplishments. Seeing only his mistakes.
He would show her... he would show her, he thought.
Padme sat on the bed, blanket pulled to her chest, her head bent forward to rest on her knees, her arms encircling them. What happened to her Annie? The man who loved her unconditionally? The man who looked into her eyes and couldn't find fault within them? Maybe he saw the real Padme. The scared young woman stepping into the shoes of an adult... a queen, no less, facing an uprising within her own planet through the Trade Federation. Or the young woman who shut her eyes as she blasted anything that moved out there in that Geonosis arena, thanking her lucky stars she hadn't mistakenly shot any of her Jedi friends. Perhaps he saw in her now the woman who allowed him to marry her, despite the fact that the arrangement itself was not to be. Maybe that was her mistake. In allowing herself this selfish indulgence, she was less in his eyes. And just maybe, when he looked at her now, he saw the shattered mother and wife she'd become.
Suddenly, she felt a terrible longing for her children. But she couldn't face them. Not now. She needed to get herself together.
Padme looked across the room, staring right into her image through the mirror of her vanity. Her eyes had swollen from having cried the night before, her eye makeup had run down her cheeks, and her hair was a mess. Anakin's voice filtered through her door from outside the room. Various instructions going out to the servants to prepare his room. She then heard him walk away, his bare feet against the tile, echoing through the hall.
Anakin walked to the Colla's room, on the east end of the house. He had a list of instructions for her. The first, which was to gather the children's suitcases.
He tapped on the door, and the woman rose, cheeks flustered, her body visible through her sheer gown. He took the image in, slowly, before coldly withdrawing his eyes. Next time, he'll knock first he thought. Other women were not of interest to him. While he was disappointed with Padme, his eyes were for her only.
"Master Skywalker," she exclaimed.
"Colla, gather the children's suitcases."
"Yes, my lord," she said, lowering her eyes self-consciously.
Anakin turned and stormed down the hall to the north wing of the house, where the servants prepared his room. Only moments earlier, did five of those servants enter Padme's bedroom to withdraw his clothing and take them down the hall to be hung his closet. The servants made good haste. When their master was angry, he had a way of "dropping" them.
Anakin entered. Each servant, three males, two females stood with both feet together, arms folded behind their backs as he looked around, finding the room agreeable.
"Leave me," Anakin said with a wave of his hand.
The servants scurried away, bowing as they parted.
Here, in his new bedroom, Anakin found a terrible loneliness. He felt so out of control... he couldn't make Padme love him anymore. The ache in his heart was so heavy, he could barely lift his eyes. He saw her in his mind's eye... Padme wearing her queenly regalia, her hair in some elaborate design, marching through Naboo to face the Trade Federation who had tried to take over Naboo. He saw her crouching form over him, as he cried about leaving his mother, her telling him she would take good care of him on Qui Gonn's ship. In his mind's eye, he saw her using her wisdom to come to a compromise with the native Gungans, bringing them to fight the trade federation by her side. He saw her, brave and proud as she faced execution in Geonosis, fighting with as much courage as any Jedi, right by his side. He saw her, speaking with such dignity before the council in Congress. He saw her marrying him, at risk to her career and reputation, to once again stand by his side. He saw her, carrying their children, yet bravely continuing her work as a Senator. And last, he saw her, crushed beneath his fist.
It took him a moment to collect himself.
What had he done? What had he done to Padme? Or better, what had she done to herself? It can't all be his fault.
Padme took a shower and cleaned up her face. She then pulled her hair into a no-frills ponytail, dressed herself in a warm pants suit and walked the hall to the children's room.
Thinking Colla had taken them off for breakfast, she raced down the stairs to the dining room, too her little darlings. But alas, they were not there.
Padme stood, looking around, her face contorted in obvious confusion. Anakin climbed down the stairs behind her, dressed in his standard clothing... Jedi tunics and dark cloak. Probably on his way out.
"Anakin..." Padme called. "Where are the children? I've looked all over the house."
He gave her a smirk that filled her heart with dread. "The children? You mean my children?"
Anakin stood atop the stairs looking down, hand poised over the handrailing.
"Where are they?" she asked again, in no mood for games.
He walked down, meeting her at the bottom of the stairs. He stood a breath away, feeling her dread and fear. He liked it.
"I sent them away."
"Without talking to me first?"
"I'll bring them back when you are a wife to me, and their mother and not some stranger stranger I hardly know." He moved toward the door, but Padme was hot on his trail.
"How could you do this to me? I can't live without my children-"
"And I can't live without you, but that hardly seemed to matter. Now you know I feel."
And with that, he turned and walked out the door. A crippling pain shot through her, and she stumbled toward the stairs, holding on to the railing for dear life.