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The Broken Shell

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Title: The Broken Shell

Author: CG Aka HeKilledYounglings

Summary: Sequel to The First Time - The AU of Revenge of the Sith in which Anakin chooses differently in fulfilling the prophecy when he overthrows Palpatine, to unite with Obi Wan Kenobi against an out of control Jedi Order to defeat Master Yoda and Mace Windu, who is left burning beside a bank of flowing lava on Mustafar. Anakin is named Emperor of the Grand Republic, but because of his ruthless ambitions, and brutal murders at the Jedi Temple, he loses the love of the woman he did it for: Senator Padme Amidala. The story continues as an at-his-wit's-end, Anakin, tries in vain to win Padme's heart again.

 

Chapter 1

Her slender fingers raked through the sand, catching a handful in her palm. She watched as the dark brown grains slipped through her closed fist. Like time, as she laid beside a sparkling blue ocean where the waves battered her listless body and the sun painted her flesh gold, and streaked the coils of her dark hair at the nape of her neck, and along her face, bright yellow.

The sound of laughter rang out. She stirred, opening her closed eyes. Two plump happy looking four year-olds sank into the sand behind her, pulling and tugging at her arms.

"Play with us mommy," the girl yelled.

A wave crashed over them. And just behind, the little girl's father instantly stood, his eyes checking to see if they were alright.

They were.

He sat down again, the heels of his booted feet digging into the sand as he motioned the child to distance herself from the rising tide.

"Come, Leia," he said. The girl ran toward him, chubby legs running as fast as they would carry her, arms wide. He grinned.

Suddenly, a handful of sand crashed into the back of his head. He turned, grabbing the boy, Luke, by the arms, and slinging him over his shoulder playful-like.

"How come you never play with mommy?" Luke asked, giggling.

Children had a way of saying things that were never to be said aloud. Anakin knew his wife, Padme had heard. Still she did not move, lost in her thoughts. Resentful of their happiness when she was so miserable. Resentful of him.

"Come... Padme," Anakin called.

He stood again, suddenly ready to leave. He towered over the two children, who clamoured to hang from his legs. A gleam of sweat trickled down the center of his chest to his abdomen. He pulled the towel he carried from around his neck and wiped it away.

"Padme!" he called again. She heard him. He knew she heard him. But it was her away of undermining him at every turn. Her way of proving he wasn't all-powerful. At least, not as powerful as he thought he was. She wanted to prove that the one thing he wanted most, he would never have: her love.

Anakin watched her. Expensive jewelry adorning her neck, brass bangles on her arms. Beautiful and slender, her hips rising from the curve of her waist like a small bell. The sheer empire style covering she wore over her two piece suit clung to her like a second skin, seaweed from the tide wrapped around her legs and feet .

His eyes were forever drawn to his Padme. She could enter a room, and he would lose focus, his mind moving wherever she went, his spirit walking in the echoes of her footprints, wishing he could hold her hand and go wherever she were going... even if only, to another room.

"Move her," Anakin ordered, signaling a nearby storm trooper, dressed in standard white armour with a cooling system inside. So sad to be him, Padme thought. So sad to stand knee deep in so much beauty, never to taste the salty sea air. Her husband was cruel like that. Cruel to everyone...including her.

The storm trooper grabbed Padme by the arm and pulled her to her feet. Another pulled seaweed from her ankles, as though she were a crystal doll to be handled and treated with uptmost care.

Her head rose and Anakin turned. He seldom met her eyes, he couldn't bear to see the emptiness, desperation and hatred he saw within them. Hate that only appeared when she looked at him. Padme gave him a resentful stare as she fingered the jewelry around her neck.

Jewelry she had fastened about her, believing it to be a gift. Something to cover the permanent scars left on her neck from where her husband's hands nearly crushed her fragile bones a little more than four years ago. But turns out, it wasn't a gift at all... but something that came with a heavy price. An electrical signal embedded in some of the stones prevented her from leaving the compound. From moving beyond the garden.

Anakin hadn't meant to hurt her. He simply didn't want her to leave. Without the necklace she would go and never return. She would devastate their children, sacrificing their happiness for her own. It wasn' that she didn't love them, it was the fact that she hated him just that much. Enough to leave her own children behind. But somehow he sensed she couldn't. Thinking him a murderer of children. Which in reality, is exactly what he was, he thought, the blood in his veins running cold.

He slowed, allowing her to walk by, nose in the air. So bitter... so very bitter, he thought. And there was nothing he could do. Nothing he could do to change what was already done. What did she want from him? Did she want him to be the one who died at the bank of the lava river on Mustafar?

Luke and Leia bustled past him, racing to their mother, each taking a hand. Luke whined then tugged the side of her gown. She pulled him from the ground to rest on her hip, while Leia dawdled behind, reaching, longing to be held too.

Leia wasn't the only one. Anakin raced ahead, scooping the girl into his arms. She calmed, eyes on the brink of tears. He turned to Padme and saw her shoulders stiffen at his close proximity.

His lips tightened. "I'll be leaving tomorrow."

"Good," came the short reply. Murderer...

His shoulders fell. "Don't fall asleep. I'll be visiting your bedroom tonight."

"Whatever your wish," she coldly replied. "Emperor."

This was typical of how love making was initiated. He'd warn her some hours ahead to mentally prepare herself for his visit. He would arrive, she'd wear cold cream on her face, or some other appallingly disgusting mixture, or toxic smell. He would order her to remove it, and she would come back to bed, fresh as an ocean breeze. He would hold her, kiss her, love her...

And Padme would pretend she was dead. At least until it was over. Then Anakin would back out of her room unable to tear his eyes away from the soft image of her body sprawled beneath the luminous stream of moonlight that shone through her window. But alas, there were systems to conquer. He couldn't linger there forever...wanting what he would never have again.

He walked quietly into her room. She sat on the edge of the bed, curtains that hung from the canopy drawn. He stared through the sheer fabric at her exposed back. Good. There would be none of that awful tussling, he thought.

He pulled his black leather glove from his hand and casually tossed it aside, then peeled out of his clothes. She turned her head ever slightly, to look over her shoulder. A sigh escaping her lips. He walked around, drawing the curtains wide enough to allow him to pass through, his knees sinking into the cushions of the bed. He didn't look at her, nor she at him. Instead, he pressed a hand to her shoulder and pushed her back, clamoring over her stiffened body awkwardly. Anakin kissed Padme's exposed shoulder, his lips trailing down her neck. But she recoiled, then stretched her arms forth, her hands pushing against his chest. He eased back just a bit, closed his eyes and pushed her legs apart. He entered her, trying to forget how much she probably hated him. The mixed emotions swirling inside of her. Feelings he easily sensed, against his volition. A moan escaped Padme's lips and he couldn't resist a grin. She felt his mouth move to smile against her shoulder and instantly resented her body's betrayal. Anakin paused in his lovemaking.

He laid there a moment, contemplating, then leaned forward to kiss her on the mouth.  Padme turned her head away, but he cupped her chin, turning her face back to him then settled his lips over hers. She closed her eyes, and drifted...somewhere else til it was over.

Soon Anakin was dressed and out the door to systems unknown. Typical. So typical.

Padme laid in bed, her fingers toying with the broken blue shell she found on the beach. She moved the curtain of that hung from the canopy back, looking around to ensure he was gone. She left the soft cushion of the bed then drew her robe from a nearby chair and covered herself, waiting for the noisy children to sneak to her bedroom, as they always did when he was out of the house.

Chapter 2

Two cherubs sat on the edge of Padme's bed. She closed her eyes, shutting images of Anakin in her bed only moments prior, out of her head. Leia bit into a seeded breadstick, and Luke climbed onto his mother's lap and gazed at her face, his eyes almost ancient.

"Mommy... are you mad at daddy?"

Padme gave the boy a surprised look, then calmed, eager to soothe his worries away. "No. I love daddy."

It pained her to say it. But who was she to be selfish? Who was she to upset her little one? It wasn't his fault. He didn't ask to have them as parents. "Why would you think I was mad at daddy?" She leaned toward the boy, a softened look in her eyes, lips almost smiling.

"I don't know," Luke replied. "Sometimes..." he started. "Can I have a cracker?"

Padme sighed. "Not before bed."

Luke turned, pointing at Leia. "But Leia has a cracker." Leia broke a piece and passed it to her brother. He stuffed the torn breadstick into his mouth with chubby fingers.

"Guys it's late and mommy is tired." She was always tired, and felt bad using that excuse once again to be alone.

"NO!" Leia wailed, fist pounding one of her pillows. "I don't wanna go to bed! Unfair! Unfair!" she growled.

Padme gave the girl a stern look. "Oh... we'll have none of that, young lady," Padme barked. She pulled the little one from the bed and dragged her down the hall to her miniature room. She would not have Leia acting like her father. Not now not ever.

Padme didn't have to say it. The girl sensed it. Her mother sat her on the edge of her little bed, then leaned toward her face, eyes searching. Leia's lips begin to tremble, but she held back... fingers squeezing a nearby plush toy. Padme pulled the child into her arms and hugged her tight.

"I'm not angry with you. But please, control your temper."

Leia calmed, then pulled her feet into the bed. Luke ran across the room and jumped in his own.

The house they lived in was big enough for the children to have their own rooms. Their father WAS the "emperor" after all. And had access to untold wealth. But the children were close, wanting each other for support, especially on nights when their parents fought.

Nights when Padme's cries filled the hollow walls of their house. Nights when "mommy" threatened to leave when Daddy got too close. Or times when he threatened to hurt her with violence, or her cries fell silent because he'd done something neither child could name. But always... always, he'd tell her how much he loved her.

But mommy never replied in kind. The awful names she called him... murderer. "You killed those children! You killed the Republic! You destroyed your friends and the Order!" things neither Luke or Leia could or wanted to confirm was true, especially at so young an age. But still, they feared him, their father. All he need do is call them by name and all bad behavior fell to the wayside. If "daddy" was a child murderer, then they better not ever step out of line for fear of what he might do. And daddy was big and tall, and stronger than all the other men around him. Who listened with palpable fear when he spoke.

Padme tucked the little ones in, then walked to her bedroom. Her lonely, empty bedroom with the arched ceiling, canopy bed, expensive decor. He could give her the galaxy... and had, but nothing could make her happy. Nothing could undo the unnecessary things he had done "for her". Things she could never forgive herself for.

Anakin thought himself so powerful, being emperor now. But she hadn't loved him for what he would become, but for who he was. The little Jedi from Tattoine. She had already served as queen, she had already served as senator. Those things meant nothing to her. If only Anakin had understood this before he led the massacre that resulted in the death of so many of their friends, including the younglings. He had no right to children of his own, after what he had done. Someday, she'd take her children away. Someday she'd make things right.

But still, she sometimes felt as though she loved him. These were feelings she buried deep. Feelings she even kept from herself. If only he'd let go, just a little... just enough so that she' could spread her wings and fly away. Perhaps someday she'd fly back and perch herself on his arm.

But he never gave her a choice.

And then there were rumors of various atrocities. His strained relationship with his former Master, Obi Wan Kenobi. Things were growing ever tense between them, but luckily OBi Wan still had a measure of influence, in keeping Anakin in check enough not to become an all around dictator. Obi Wan was still his moral conscious.

Padme walked left the children to their rooms then traveled down the hall again. She walked through her bedroom door, and saw a shadow hovering near her bed. Her breath caught in her throat until, she realized Anakin had come back.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

"Obi Wan."

Padme slipped out of her robe then tossed it on a nearby chair. She wore a nightgown beneath, that hugged the curves of her slim figure. He turned, not looking at her. Not wanting to upset her, less his needs come into play.

She climbed in bed and turned the light out.  "I suppose... you and Obi Wan did a bit of negotiating."

"Obi Wan is only doing his job. Keeping the peace. If he can do that, then yes, I'll keep from crushing the insurgency."

In the darkness, Padme sighed.  "Good."

Anakin stood over her bed, gazing at her curled up body. "We have to figure something out," he said.

"Not now," Padme answered.

"I want you to be happy," he started.

"You want yourself to be happy."

"Padme," he whispered, voice pleading. "Would it help if moved out?"

"You're never here!" she shrieked. "And now you want to move?"

He fell silent and Padme clasped a hand over her mouth. What had she said? What did it mean?

"Just... go. Get out," she yelled.

Anakin drifted toward the door. "Be angry all you want. But I'll always love you."

"Just go," she repeated, sobbing.

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