Author's Note: A companion piece to Done.
There is something strange about being in this life-supporting armor. I feel disconnected, as if the world outside my mind is not real. I think that my connection to the Living Force, which I once believed to be stronger than my former master’s – Obi-Wan – has failed me, in my turn to the Dark Side, in my discovery of my power. I’m not sure why that is so, but I feel it is true all the same.
Rarely did I feel I was connected to anything. My only connection to that distant, unreachable world of life was my wife. Padme Amidala Skywalker. It didn’t matter that I could not smell the sweet perfume that she exuded, that I could not see her with my own eyes. I could feel the beat of her heart within my soul. She was not simply my life, she was life.
It is hard to describe to you what it was like when I came upon my Padme, dying. My Master’s forces, his spies built through years of careful planning and disguise, told me where she was. Naboo. If I was the joy of her heart, Naboo was the joy of her spirit. I told myself not to be surprised, but somehow I was. After my duel with Obi-Wan that had ended so disastrously, she had stayed with me. Palpatine’s spies had watched her carefully, but I had been sure that she would be with me, would support me, and that Palpatine’s suspicions that she kept something from me were false.
Then she left.
Forces loyal yet to decayed Republic smuggled her out without my knowledge, perhaps – probably – under the command of a Jedi. She had only been with me for weeks, during my recovery and shortly after. Every night, I had gone to her and let myself absorb her presence. Feel the beat of her heart close to mine.
When she left, I was frantic. I called the Dark Side to myself, trying to search for her. It’s power is beyond imagining, capable of anything. But I failed, my skills inadequate. I kept my fury and rage, and buried it within myself. Every once of hatred and anger can be used. I will one day bend the Dark Side to my will, and be a Master.
My weakness is pathetic.
My Master, Palpatine, deigned to give me access to his intelligence network. And so I came to Naboo, my wife’s home. I didn’t come alone. Imperial ships and troops marched across pristine Naboo lands. The Gunguns ran into their forests and lakes, evading capture temporarily. It was strange to see such Imperial forces, in their stark military form, within the beautiful grace of Naboo. But such things are necessary. The galaxy must be brought to true order.
I went to Padme’s parent’s home, but I knew even before entering that she was not present. I demanded to know where she was, and to my surprise, they told me. With the looks of vicious hate in their eyes – those familiar brown eyes – I had thought that they would not. I took no notice, then, of the dried tracks of tears, the sorrowful hush that had seemed to have fallen over the household. I did not even ask why she was not with her family.
I went to the meadow. I remembered it, of course. For there, we had truly known each other for the first time. I have always known that I loved her. Always. But in that moment on that day, those years ago, she realized our destiny. It was not a softening in her eyes, but a firm confidence that came out of knowledge. Later, her doubts – her dedication to her duty – came to the fore, but that moment still lives in that it was the first.
I ordered the troops that came with me to the meadow to stay behind, with the ship. Scout ships flew across cities, and would soon come to the meadow, searching for traitors and resistors. I walked pass the gently rolling hills, the long grass crunched beneath my boots. I could not feel them at all through my armor, and could only take notice of their green color in a distant way, through the electronic vision of my helmet.
Then I saw her. She lay on the ground, very still. Her stillness – the fact that she did not rise to meet me – gave me a bad feeling. I felt a murmur through the Force. Not through the Living Force, but a quake that rippled through the future.
She wore that dress. The same dress she had worn on that perfect day. It was a beautiful yellow, not the color of sand, or the fiery color of a sun, but the brightness of summer day. Lace and intricate threading gave it a regality fitting for Padme. Her hair was undone and in perfect spiral curls, that loosely spread about her head. Her arms were flung out to her sides, as if she were embracing the sky.
I knelt by her. Her eyes were open, but the normally vivid brown was flat and dark. I almost reached out to touch her. She was not breathing, but there was some fading awareness in her eyes.
Her head tilted back just slightly, and her lips curved into a gentle smile.
I was breathless, speechless. I could not bear to understand what the Force was telling me, but it was insistent, remorseless, and I hated it in that moment, even the power it gave me. Hate.
I took her by the shoulders, dragged her into my arms. I tried to feel her, tried to feel that beat that I could always feel in my heart. My mind begged for her warmth, for that life. But there was nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Through the leather of my glove, I could feel the limpness of death, the laxness. I pulled her tightly to me, embracing her. She was here, I could hold her. That meant she was here, I thought. I looked into her open eyes and thought that, as if by sheer force of will – as if by showing her that her body still remained she must as well.
She was dead, passed beyond me to the Force, to a place within it that I could not reach. A scout ship flew overhead, rumbling in the silence. It was a silence full of thoughts and knowledge too terrible to bear, and the starkness of reality was fully present. And then it waned.
Life was gone. My life – life.
But she still existed, and I knew that. I know that. If one day I am strong enough, skilled enough, I can reach her. She’s within the Force, you see, and that means I can touch her. I just can’t feel her yet. But she’s there. The Dark Side offers such power to those who obey it and follow it’s calling. I can use that power, and feel her again. I’ll feel the beat of her being within my soul, and all will be right, as it was meant to be.
But now . . . now.
Everything is distant. I cannot experience life without her, because everything is faded and unreal. The life-force that was her was also my own. Through her, because of her, I lived. Anything else is merely an echo. Only she could reach beyond this armor, this armor that makes everything feel like it doesn’t exist, because I cannot feel it. I feel as if I am a skeptic, unable to believe in anything I cannot see or feel with my own eyes. Padme made me believe. She changed me, and made see the universe.
But for now, I must be what I am; not yet living, and not yet dead.