ansketil: (palpatine - sith master)
[personal profile] ansketil
Title: Finishing the Bottle
Disclaimer: Own these characters, I do not. To G. Lucas they belong, yes.
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Sexual content and fascism
Word Count: 7,100 approx.
Characters: Palpatine/Anakin
Summary: After being shocked by the feelings they have for one another, two people find each other unexpectedly through their secret lives.
Author's Note: I know I should be writing other things (like Alexis, I know!), but this one just came to me while reading Labyrinth of Evil and re-watching Attack of the Clones (it always amuses me when Anakin starts talking about what a good idea fascism is on his romantic picnic). It's also inspired by some ideas discussed with [livejournal.com profile] veronicaprof. I wanted to write something harking back to my older work with this pairing and just let go and write some erotica. I make no great claim to its artistic merit. This is my attempt at a sequel to the work of the gracious [livejournal.com profile] gizzi1213, who has generously given me permission to try my hand at something in the AU of her tale, The Lovers’ Wine. I hope it comes up to snuff. I usually don’t like to give Palpatine a first name, and when I do it’s my own invented name for him, but the original story was a gift for Wendy, so Palpatine’s private name is Dantius. His family name we never learn. Dedicated to everyone who has been begging me for sex between these two recently. You know who you are. You might also be interested to know the hilarious fact that if you type wine + play + kink into Google, the first thing that comes up are the lyrics to Good King Wenceslas. You might think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.
EDIT: Now with 75% less typos!
 
 
~*~
 
It was still sitting there: thick, blue glass, elegant and awful with its gilded label and decadent aroma. How did Anakin ever manage to afford such a gift? A precious delicacy on Naboo, this bottle had been exported to Coruscant and would have thus incurred an even higher price. Now that the young man had fled, it became the centre of the room; the decadent, half-finished evidence of unexpected debauchery. More so than the bruises on Palpatine’s skin – he was well accustomed to ignoring the aches and demands of his body and not at all the evidence of his surroundings. Memories and scars could be covered over with thoughts and clothes, but an object was less easily dismissed. Was there anything so laden with inconsummate sensuality as a half-finished bottle of wine?
 
Only those who loved Naboo relished the taste of the bouquet and only those in love fell under the wine’s unique spell. And Palpatine had readily succumbed to both. Yet what was love? Its reflection forever turning within the prism of semantics, love could mean anything. His hand was trembling and he hurriedly pulled it back from fingering the stem of the bottle. Besides, what did fermented grapes – however poetic the legend ascribed to them – understand of psychology? It was a chemical reaction they had experienced and that hardly accounted for the subtle spectra of human feeling. It was an aphrodisiac, that’s all.
 
He had until the end of Fete Week to make a decision, as did Anakin. There were several entertainments it was necessary for Palpatine to attend during the senate’s recess, and many more distinguished hosts who would have liked to claim the honour of the Supreme Chancellor’s presence. But Palpatine had little patience for such duties, and what modicum of enjoyment he experienced slipped further away with each empty greeting he returned with equal insincerity. And in one of those moments, surrounded by courteous obsequities, he glimpsed Anakin again for the first time since that night.
 
A flash of dark blond at the edge of the room, a spike of thrilling aura, and – for a second – Palpatine’s ever-fixed smile was imbued with feelings of genuine pleasure as yet another oh-so-honoured individual wished him a pleasant Fete Week. But three sycophantic diplomats later and the feeling palled, replaced by icy displeasure as he realised that neither Anakin nor his senator intended to pay their compliments to their Chancellor. Naturally, Amidala no longer flocked to him as she used to… but Anakin… he would have expected Anakin to –
 
-Your Excellency?
 
-Sir?
 
-Chancellor?
 
“Please excuse me.” he broke free from the fawning circle around him and struck out across the crowded room, losing his retinue in the swirl of beings, and subtly drawing upon the Force to slide eyes away from him as he edged his way around the room toward the balconies. Palpatine do not like how the festive crowd brushed up against him, jostling and laughing almost painfully; the Sith Lord wanted to demand, to flick his fingers and scatter these nothings before him.  The colours of Anakin’s aura were playing in the Force, brighter than any of the chains of lights which were artfully spread across the ceiling like the spiral arms of the galaxy, and darker than the intimate spaces between the figures dancing across the blue marble. His Chosen One. His apprentice.
 
Yet standing there, pulling his robes tight around himself to prevent anyone treading on their velvet length, Palpatine suddenly, irrationally, felt more trapped than ever before: no longer the affable senator who could finesse this sort of gathering and not yet able to sweep all before him. He had lost something, some unconscious ease, in the decades between then and now. And what would he say to Anakin when he found him and his wife? Something avuncular and polite; more meaningless drivel. Pain flared in his temples and Palpatine reached up to massage the ache, rubbing his thumbs across cheeks stiff from smiling. He felt old, tired and embarrassed by his impulsive action. The tight pressure of rage was building in the back of his spine and the Chancellor heard his Master’s voice echo through the gulf of years: Such a high-strung little apprentice – are all humans thus? And then the fury was rippling across his skin: anger at Plagueis for cosseting him with pain, anger at Anakin for gifting him with that ridiculous wine and opening up such dusty thoughts. Palpatine had told Anakin his name – the name Plagueis slid tight against his skin until he choked on the unbearable appellation. Palpatine. He never called him that… Muuns had trouble with ‘P’.
 
He could see them walking together outside, close but not touching, both of their young faces lovely in the artificial moonlight. Sidious had encouraged them, facilitated their burgeoning secret. It was the correct decision, with no risk to himself; he swallowed, bile burning into his throat, his body reacting while his mind was trapped, unable to embrace the fury pounding in his ears. Anakin was his, his by right, and this naïve little girl was going to die. Dissonant light spilled across his vision and seared into his eyes and Palpatine swayed, clinging to a decorative frond to stop from falling under the onslaught of the migraine.
 
The spell must have slipped away when he lost concentration, as he suddenly found himself surrounded by the murmur of worried voices and solicitous hands steadying him. Something jabbed his arm and his eyes snapped open. Anakin and Amidala had gone. The pain was still there, sharply drilling into his mind, but the lights had vanished and his senses were no longer spinning. “His Excellency is fine,” Palpatine heard Sly Moore calmly declare, “but it has been a very long day…”
 
He managed to escape the gathering without too much fuss, his guards’ captain practically lifting him into a skycar, his aides fiendishly working on damage control as well as still foisting into his lap rewritten drafts of tomorrow’s speech, while doctors asked him inane questions; Sidious would have dearly loved to kill them all and have done with it. No one listened to his irritable snappings of “I’m perfectly all right!” It was a relief to finally get to bed, away from everyone except Sate Pestage and two guards keeping vigil.   
 
“Sir, what happened?” Sate asked; his voice was scratchy and unwelcome, his sharp, gaunt face invisible to the prone Chancellor.
 
“Get out,” was all Palpatine viciously snarled, burying his face in a pillow, needing absolute silence, absolute darkness – his eyes red-rimmed and leaking yellow.
 
~*~
 
Anakin Skywalker ran his hand along Padmé’s hip. They lay in bed together, watching a live holo of the Supreme Chancellor’s holiday address, its blue light guttering across the sheets and their nakedness. Anakin hadn’t wanted to see it, but his wife had insisted, reassuring him it was the only piece of work she had to do all week, and they didn’t even have to leave her bedroom.
 
Palpatine looked tired but his voice was, as ever, strong and reassuring as he advised the Republic to keep faith in victory. Anakin watched the blue image, listening to that beautiful, cultured voice as his fingers slid across Padmé’s breast. His wife didn’t seem to notice, riveted to the hologram as she was. “Gloating about the legislation you rushed through the Senate just before Fete Week, Palpatine?” she addressed the hologram dryly.
 
“What do you mean?” Anakin asked curiously, not taking his eyes from Palpatine. But Senator Amidala had seen enough and flicked a button, cutting Supreme Chancellor Palpatine off mid-sentence and disentangling herself from Anakin.
 
“We hardly had quorum, Ani. Most of the Rim delegates had already left because they wanted to spend Fete week on their home planets – I would have left by then too if I hadn’t decided to spend the week with you instead of Sola and my parents. And that’s when Palpatine – using his favourite puppet, Ask Aak – proposed moving the vote on the Military Relief Act forward. Of course, I spoke against it, but it was Horux Ryyder and his Outer Rim bloc who had led the debate against that bill and hardly any of them were there. It was a disaster. Hence Palpatine’s smug words about everyone doing their part for the Republic. It’s disgusting.”
 
“What does the new law say?” Anakin could feel his hackles rising. “Are you sure Palpatine is behind it? It could be just Ask Aak–”
 
“The Military Relief Act co-opts all planetary armed forces into the Grand Army of the Republic. It’s supposed to help coordinate everyone’s efforts, but what it actually does is abrogate the sovereignty of every single planetary government and take direct control of their troops. So, for all intents and purposes, Queen Apailana is no longer in command of her own Royal Navy, which now answers to Palpatine as commander in chief.”
 
“But it’s just for the duration of the war,” Anakin replied, kissing his wife’s neck, trying to make her see the other side of the issue.  “It makes complete sense to me; there’ve been many times when a law like that could have won us a battle. Too many systems refuse to commit their forces except as a last line of defence – when the battle is already lost. This will make a huge difference to the war, Padmé!”
 
“But don’t you see how insidious this is? Systems can no long secede or claim neutrality! If this goes on for much longer, we won’t be living in a Republic any longer! It’s not the Senate who controls the army, but the Office of the Chancellor.”
 
“We’re talking about Palpatine, Padmé!” Anakin shook his head. “Do you honestly think he’s interested in stealing anyone’s sovereignty or freedoms?  You haven’t seen how bad it is out there! We need those men and women to win this war. And so what if it means Palpatine has a bit more power?”
 
“A bit more power?-! You call being able to virtually rule two-thirds of the galaxy a bit more power?-! He wants to be a dictator – what am I saying? – he is a dictator! How can you defend him?”
 
Anakin got up, putting on his tunic. “You’re talking about my friend,” he said stiffly.
 
His wife’s eyes softened. “I know,” she glanced down sadly, her brown curls tumbling down her back. “He was my friend too. A few years ago I trusted him more than any other senior politician, but…” She sighed, “Power does things to some people, Ani. They lose themselves in it. It hurts to say it, but I think that’s what’s happened to our friend – he’s not the same man we once knew.”
 
“I’m going out,” Anakin scowled, his lips pressed tight, hurriedly pulling on his Jedi robes as he walked to the door.
 
“Ani!”
 
The door clicked shut behind him. 
     
~*~
 
The hum of the speeder’s repulsorlift engine was a smooth purr as the vehicle rushed through the deserted access tunnel. A sleek semicircle with an arc of soft, concentric seat and a single steering handle, the speeder was designed for wealthy persons who wanted to be comfortable, go fast – but not too fast – and not have to deal with too many gears. But it was of the highest quality and it was thus a complete surprise when its insides started to emit a curious whining whir. Its driver slowed up, adjusting his grip on the handle, frowning, trying to gauge the seriousness of the noise. Slowing down appeared to be the wrong decision, as the engine gave three worrying hiccups, lost more momentum, spluttered hideously, and emitted an abrupt, jarring sob as it came to a complete stop.
 
The driver waited for a moment in perplexed silence, before pressing the ignition. Nothing happened. A minute passed by, and he tried again – and again – and again. The speeder remained stubbornly uncooperative. Gingerly, he got off and removed the panel which revealed the vehicle’s innards: an incomprehensible tangle of components and circuitry, adhering to arcane patterns to which he was not initiated. At a loss, he slid the panel shut with a wave of his hand and tried the ignition yet again. The machine was still silent.
 
Darth Sidious stared at it with the sort of understated pathos he usually reserved for particularly heartfelt appeals to the Senate. The speeder was not moved. Sitting back on the leather seat, the Sith Lord tried to cast his mind back to his far-flung apprenticeship, when one of his Master’s droids had taught him about the mechanics of pulse engines. It had to do with power capacitors or converters… or something. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.        
 
He was marooned in the service tunnels, halfway between the Senatorial District and The Works, far below any kind of civilised dwellings. This was deep Coruscant, ancient corridors beneath even the lowest slums. A useful, secret conduit from the factory in the industrial district Sidious used to train Maul and Tyranus, and the lowest subbasements of the 500 Republica. He’d needed to go somewhere he could release his anger, take it out on something, even if it was simply Lord Maul’s old combat droids.  
 
Half-heartedly, he tried the ignition again and then sat back, wondering what to do. He could – theoretically – propel both himself and the speeder with the Force. But to levitate such a large object for miles would be a crippling drain on his energies, and Sidious was not at all sure he would be able to maintain the mental shields which hid him from the Jedi in the event of such exhaustion. Walking the tunnels would take too long – his staff would begin to wonder if he didn’t check in with them soon. He tried his comm. unit and heard static. As expected, he was too far down to send or receive communications. There was only one option: he would have to make his way upward from here and send a message to Pestage to collect him once he could get a signal.
 
Warrens of misery lit only by dim access lights, these levels were inhabited by the detritus of Coruscant: refugees, beggars and abandoned droids. It was through these that Sidious wandered, inhaling the fetid stench of air shorn of filters. It seemed to cling to his skin, making him feel itchy and sick. Once out of the sealed tunnels, the polluted air had closed in on him, and he had to keep wiping his watering eyes and fighting the urge to throw up.
 
Hardly anyone bothered the cloaked humanoid. Only a squat Roonan - the skin of his puce-coloured face peeling and scabby – grabbed for the Sith Master's hand, peddling death sticks no doubt past their date. Sidious took vindictive pleasure in hurling the creature from him, accompanied by nightmares more ghastly than even the Roonan's drug-hazed mind could conceive.
 
He had last come down here a long time ago, when he was still a senator and looking for the tunnels marked on the maps he’d acquired of ancient Coruscant. He’d remembered it as enjoyable: dreamy meditations on the nature of beings, down where the filthy truth of them was so sharp; a precious reminder in the face of his new life. But, despite this clarity of remembrance, nothing was as it once was. The scent of excrement and industrial waste abused his nostrils, the sights of such wretchedness offended him, and he – so used to deference – found himself loathing his disguise. Stepping deftly around the unmoving body of a Twi'lek, Palpatine fumed – despising the circumstances that had led him here.
 
He increased his pace – these beings, this place, bored him – disgusted him. He had no idea why he might have once thought an experience such as this in any way pleasant. He clenched and unclenched his hands, irritated at the misplaced nostalgia he had carried for so long. A disturbance rippled up the tunnel and the Sith Lord sprang sideways, as a speeder bike zoomed past, scattering the tunnel's denizens, its engines deafening. Trails of plasma blazed in the darkness, shocking his retinae and blinding his night eyes while his vision tried to adjust. Then more came, thick and fast, hooning down the industrial corridors, screaming noisome slogans at each other in an incomprehensible patois. Yet there was a surprising thread of recognition in the roar of ozone and light, some instinctive familiarity that intrigued Sidious.   
 
Not quite knowing why he did so, the Sith Lord followed in the wake of brilliant engines; dark hood low over his brow, sensing, rather than seeing. By good luck, the bikes skidded to a halt in a disused plaza not so far away. Credits – not chips but actual credits – were passed from one gloved hand to another – indicating perhaps some sort of race. The Sith Lord lurked a good distance away, masked in the Force. They were probably speaking Basic, but their thick vernacular and abbreviated idioms mystified him. They were slapping their bikes and each other on the back in a congratulatory fashion. Sidious was watching a being identified as “Kits” who had probably been the one to win the race, and who hadn't yet taken his helmet off.
 
The signature in the Force was unmistakable – the set of his shoulders, the confident stride; these things hypnotised the Sith Lord. Masked, Anakin Skywalker leaned casually against a silvery black bike, arms crossed, drawling the same bizarre slang as the others after calmly pocketing his winnings. Sidious had to fight down the irrational anger that his child, his Chosen One, was here without his knowledge, associating with refuse and speaking their horrible colloquialisms as if he belonged with such trash. An Iridonian female, clad in tattered red synth-leather, was skirting Anakin, her movements so flirtatious as to be animalistic in their sinuous provocation.
 
 I should leave, Sidious thought. How can I explain my presence here to Anakin? The Supreme Chancellor without an escort, walking around in this hell-hole... what can I possibly say by way of justification? But his treacherous feet were carrying him forward, to the edge of the circle of swoop-riders, where Anakin was checking over his bike.
 
“Kits?” he inquired. He should have been an unidentifiable stranger, but he could hear the difference as the syllable left his mouth: unconsciously lengthening out the vowel into richly proper speech. 
 
The helmet moved to meet his gaze, the shoulders squared into aggression, “W’yeeah-huh-oo-da?” Anakin's Basic was abrasive and foreign, tainted with an accent the Sith Lord couldn't place. Sidious had no idea what he’d just said and it enraged him.
 
“Might I speak with you?” He could sense the effect of his diction, the half-recognition.
 
“Sure,” he grunted and Sidious was relieved to finally hear a word he understood. Anakin pulled his bike away from the others, who immediately began to yell, presumably for their companion to return, and abused Sidious with jeering cat-calls and obscene gestures. But Anakin offered up a simple wave of farewell in reply to his companions' entreaties. He angled the bike so it was between the Sith Lord and the gang. Once concealed in the solitude of an alley, he turned on Sidious. “What the blazes are you doing in the deeps?-! Where are your guards?” Anakin hissed the words furiously, like water splashed on heated steel, losing the thick accent as he spoke and acquiring something of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s aggrieved Coruscanti tones.  
 
Palpatine smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes, which were watering again. “I could say the same of you, Kits.” It was somewhat amusing that he, the elder, was being told off by this precocious young man for wandering alone at night.
 
Anakin made an exasperated noise and removed the helmet, his wild hair falling across his forehead. “I'm a Jedi. I thought Pa... Senator Amidala was the only politician this suicidal. Why are you here?”       
 
“I was not always what I am today. I needed... distance. Besides, it is necessary for politicians to visit places like this occasionally. Unfortunately, my transport broke down.” Only half of it was untrue.
 
Anakin growled, and the Sith Lord was arrested by the undisguised anger flaring in his aura which seduced Sidious into apparent docility, hypnotised by its incandescence. “You don't even have a weapon! Hop on – I'm taking you back to the Senatorial District before you get yourself killed.” 
 
“No.” The word didn’t come from his brain, but a contrary impulse generated in his rushing blood and quick, shallow breaths, slipping through his control on the intoxicating closeness between the two of them and the overwhelming emotion in Anakin’s aura. He said it just to see what would happen.
 
~*~
 
Anakin couldn't believe what he was hearing. He worried for the danger-prone Padmé and Obi-Wan constantly. Palpatine was the only one of those Anakin loved who he had the security of knowing would never come to harm. Surrounded at all times by bodyguards and aides, protected by the armour of his high office, and given the best care imaginable, the Supreme Chancellor would always be there for Anakin. He didn’t need to fret over his safety because the entire Grand Army of the Republic would fall before Palpatine came to harm. It infuriated Anakin that Palpatine would risk his life so carelessly. It was one thing for Anakin to dive into the dangerous lower levels to burn off some steam swoop racing, but the idea of his venerable friend exposing himself to the poisonous, unfiltered air and unthinking violence of the slums was horrifying. “Sir, as a Jedi, I am bound by oath to safeguard the Republic,” he said slowly – as if explaining the concept to a very thick youngling – barely reigning in his fury, “that means safeguarding you.” Anakin grabbed hold of Palpatine’s shoulders, on the edge of shaking the point into him as the Chancellor’s hood fell back. I can’t lose you too.
 
It was strange seeing Palpatine in such a plain black cloak, whose only decoration was an antique broach at the throat. Instead of shaking off Anakin’s hold in a display of affronted dignity, Palpatine accepted the hands on him and leant into the embrace. Fine, shockingly tactile, silver hair brushed against Anakin’s chin and he instinctively tightened his hold on the Chancellor, pulling him close. He’s all right, I have him and I can make sure this doesn’t happen again. 
 
“Sir–”
 
“Anakin, many times you’ve told me of your love of travel; how your duties take you all over the galaxy. Imagine, after enjoying such a life, if the limits of your exploration abruptly shrunk to a narrow portion of one district of Coruscant.” The Chancellor allowed his words to sink into Anakin’s silence as he glanced at the bike helmet lying on the ground. He sighed. “We have always kept each other’s secrets, haven’t we, my friend…?”
 
“You promise you’ll never do this again?” Anakin’s voice was less a question and more steely command, his blue eyes sparking fury, his grip still tight around the Supreme Chancellor, as he spoke into Palpatine’s ear.
 
“I promise, Anakin – never. On the condition you’ll have dinner with me. That is, of course, unless you’d prefer to return to your… companions?” The delicate note of disgust was supressed, but seemed to linger – along with something unidentifiable – in the silence which followed. Anakin released Palpatine, his arms dropping to his sides.
 
The Jedi sighed, “No – get on.” The Chancellor looked at the swoop uncertainly and Anakin realised that the racing swoop, straightforward for Anakin, was foreign to Palpatine. He was reminded of the vast gulf of age and character between his wife and his friend – despite their superficial similarities. Padmé would have hopped on immediately and smilingly teased him. Palpatine’s sharp gaze showed up the swoop’s cobbled, makeshift crudeness. Anakin had been proud of it and himself, but it was unworthy of Palpatine…
 
“I made her out of spare parts… it’s a hobby… I keep her down here – she’s safe, don’t worry.” He tried not to sound apologetic and failed.
 
Of course she is, Anakin,” Palpatine replied smoothly, but ruined the effect with his next words, “I’m just not quite sure how to… ah…” Anakin bowed his head and extended a hand. With a small, but genuinely grateful smile, the Chancellor took it.
 
~*~
 
Now that he knew the Chancellor would be safe – Palpatine was not the sort of person who promised anything lightly – he was beginning to enjoy this secret evening; feeling the man’s breath against his neck as Palpatine clung to his waist, riding behind Anakin on the swoop. The anger was slowly starting to wear off, the ache of it leavened by a possessive pleasure which pooled in his stomach. The Chancellor was obviously unused to riding a swoop, which was essentially just an engine with a lick of paint and something vaguely resembling a seat, and Anakin’s swoop was modified, at the expense of comfort, to achieve speeds even the best bikes couldn’t match. It wasn’t pod-racing, but Coruscant had a landscape completely different to Tatooine which the suited the narrow bikes. Anakin was very much enjoying a little revenge in the way Palpatine gripped him in panic as he accelerated into a hairpin turn and wove nimbly in and out of the magnetic sky lanes. 
 
There was chaos when Anakin brought Palpatine back to his apartments (through an appropriately discreet entrance, naturally). The Supreme Chancellor was mobbed by questions and reports, despite it being an official holiday. Palpatine sent Anakin a long-suffering glance and gestured for him to wait. The young Jedi Knight sat down on a plush red bench and watched as the short Palpatine all but disappeared into a sea of beings. Anskin messaged Padmé, told her he’d been held up by Jedi business – security issues – apologised. He loved his wife and told her so; loved her more than anything. But this was right in ways he had yet to understand – needed to understand. And he knew that if he stopped now, if he retreated, then Palpatine would never give him another chance.
 
It was an hour later when the Chancellor finished all official business and sent everyone out with an imperious gesture, leaving him and Anakin alone in the private wing of the Chancellery. “Well sir, I see why you wanted to get away,” he teased Palpatine lightly over dinner. Spending time with Padmé had given Anakin some idea about senatorial dinners, but his wife had simple tastes and Palpatine was well known as a connoisseur of everything from sculpture to cuisine. The Chancellor gave him an amused smile but said nothing, occupying himself with his meal.
 
“I’ve never had this before,” Anakin confessed, poking at the sharply-sauced meat, trying to not to think about the other night – the night they’d both silently agreed not to talk about.
 
“Oh?” Palpatine said disinterestedly and Anakin’s confidence abruptly vanished. He said it the way he’d said companions earlier. It wasn’t derogative, just… just that sometimes the distance between them became oppressive. Padmé was just Padmé when they were alone, despite her position – but Palpatine could never be just anything. Deep anger was beating in his blood again: that he would never be good enough for this aristocrat; that some people had everything growing up and others were slaves. “Anakin?” Palpatine’s voice shook him out of his thoughts and a hand reached across the table and settled atop his own. He gave a wry chuckle, “It must be very dull, dining with an old man when one might be… what did you call it? Swoop racing?”

“No – no – sir, you’re not dull at all…”
 
“Naturally I appreciate your efforts, Anakin, but if you want to go–”
 
“I want to do anything you ask me to.” The words were raw, instinctive, and restless – and Anakin did not retreat from them even though he was sick with terror at them, at the prospect of risking Palpatine’s friendship, ruining everything by letting the other night spill into reality. But it was the truth, and it was stamped into his very soul. Denial was not possible for him.
 
~*~
 
Palpatine whetted his lips. “Anakin,” a quiet warning, a deliberate showing of dignified steel, “this is inappropriate; what happened between us was the result of an aphrodisiac. I hardly think–”   
 
“I don’t care about age,” Anakin told him, his hands trapping the Chancellor’s beneath his own, pressing possessively into Palpatine’s flesh. “I've always been too old or too young for something! It’s not important. What does it matter if you’re old enough to be my grandfather? He’s a dead peasant. You’re the Supreme Chancellor. Please, sir, you’re perfect and if… if you just let me… then I could be – I know I could be – perfect for you too…” Sidious could smell the fear amongst the sweat, but Anakin just kept going, ignoring the terror that was clearly telling him to stop. When Palpatine said nothing, his voice began to edge into hoarse desperation. “You’ve always said… I could have anything I wanted, if I put my mind to it. I want you, Your Excellency… Dantius…” in desperation, he implored with the name Palpatine had given him, which almost made Palpatine flinch, but he controlled the impulse.
 
“Why didn’t you greet me last night?” he asked quietly, “I saw you talking with Senator Amidala.”
 
“I was her security – it wasn’t possible – and you didn’t find me either…”
 
“You know I couldn’t, Anakin. You know how little freedom I have at those gatherings. I wonder, are you afraid to be seen with me?”
 
“What?” Anakin stood up, his chair scraping back, anger slipping onto his face. He tried again: “What are you talking about?” He began to pace the room while Palpatine sat, unmoving, at the head of the table.
 
“They’re trying to turn you against me, aren’t they?” Palpatine fixed Anakin with a saddened expression, “The Jedi and Amidala… they believe I have too much power – all my old friends; they don’t trust me any longer.” The guilty expression in those deep blue eyes was all the incentive he needed to sink his claws deeper with an aggrieved, pleading half-sigh. “I didn’t ask for any of this, yet they’re all convinced I’m some kind of… tyrant...” It was all he could do to keep from laughing as Anakin trembled in rage.
 
“They’re wrong – it’s just… just jealousy!” The words exploded out of Anakin’s mouth, as if he’d been holding them in for a long time. “They know that you’re the only one with enough authority – enough wisdom – to get things done!”
 
“I only wish more senators agreed with you. Amedda told me last week he suspects there are plans for a coup – all this fuss about the Military Relief Act…”
 
“It’s ridiculous!” Anakin said indignantly. “If we’d had the authority to deploy planetary armies to assist the clones before now, we might have already won the war!”
 
Palpatine’s eyebrows shot upwards – he had no idea Anakin was keeping up with the latest wartime legislation. Perhaps there was hope the boy would yet develop a political mind? “Precisely, it’s vital for the Republic to be able to conduct this war as a unified force.”       
 
“Sir,” Anakin dropped the syllable with a soft urgency between them, kneeling beside Palpatine’s chair, “that’s why you can’t ever be alone, why you have to be guarded at all times. Force knows, I understand – I get itchy feet whenever I’m stuck at the Temple – but you’re too important. I know you tell me I’m the hero and you’re just a politician, but it isn’t true. Heroes are replaceable. It’s you keeping this Republic together. You and only you.”
 
The back of Palpatine’s fingers ghosted down Anakin’s cheek. “For me, Anakin, you are irreplaceable.” The Chancellor’s voice was a deep purr that seemed to ignite Anakin’s nerves. The thick air was charged with a strange static, almost as if the Force itself was thrumming to the sound of that pleasure. Anakin – eyes shining – rested his hands on the arms of Palpatine’s chair, and reached up to touch his lips to the Chancellor’s. Palpatine gave himself over to it, lingering in its sweetness. And into it Anakin whispered the name Palpatine had told him, making him shiver into the kiss.
 
~*~
 
The Chancellor’s bedroom was as red as the rest of his apartments, but sparser, with only the simplest art decorating the walls; just stark blocks of colour; black lacquered furniture against scarlet walls. Anakin’s eyes were riveted once Palpatine began to undress. There was some power simply in watching it happen – he’d been too addled to notice it last time – watching this man remove his garments. It was only when the Chancellor shot him a curious glance that Anakin began taking off his own clothing, but still observing Palpatine surreptitiously – it showed just how honoured Anakin was to see the impeccable Chancellor in a state of undress. It meant he was trusted. He, Anakin, was trusted by the most important man in the galaxy. No wonder he couldn’t look away.
 
Padmé talked about Palpatine: how he’d never let anyone close; kind but aloof, affable but distant. No wife, no family, nor any real personal life to speak of. But it made perfect sense to Anakin: Palpatine was above the galaxy he governed, on a red plateau where no one else existed – anything else would be lowering; perhaps that was another reason why he had been so angry earlier – Palpatine defiled himself by mixing with everyone else. He belonged in this place, surrounded by perfection.
 
At a distance, Anakin wasn’t sure if Palpatine’s body was curiously hairless, or if his hair was simply too pale to be noticeable. He realised part of his fascination was that he’d never realised that Palpatine could be naked before that night, that there could be real skin beneath his robes of office. It was still shocking… strange. There were very few real signs of his age: a little jowliness about the neck and a slight fleshliness in the torso – a loose, soft quality to his pale skin, mitigated by his slender build and narrow limbs; not at all unattractive. The oldest part of him was his face, weathered by time and responsibility. Palpatine wrapped a dark silk robe about his shoulders, and carefully produced from a cabinet the bottle of lovers’ wine they had never finished, along with two faceted crystal glasses. “No,” Anakin stayed his hand, taking the glasses from him and setting them down on top of the cabinet, noticing the other small bottle Palpatine had taken from the cupboard. “We don’t need it.”
 
“But it will spoil if we leave it much longer,” Palpatine’s smile was the picture of control, but his hands twitched nervously “and it would be such a shame to waste your gift. It deserves to be savoured.”
 
Anakin nodded in mock seriousness, “Of course, sir, you’re right…” He took the wine from Palpatine’s unresisting fingers and opened it, debated with himself for about five seconds, and then emptied the bottle over Palpatine’s – Dantius’ – head. The wine plastered down the Chancellor’s hair and ran down his face in pink rivulets, dripping onto the carpet. He yelped, blinking in owlish surprise before his eyelids shut tight to protect his eyes from the acidic liquid. Anakin took advantage of the moment to lick the Chancellor from neck to temple, “it deserves to be savoured…” he whispered hoarsely as he threw away the blue glass bottle and continued lapping at the wet skin, pulling Palpatine toward the bed and stripping away the black silk robe, inhaling deeply the heavy smell of the alcohol as he discovered the wet, pale hairs at Palpatine’s chest and wound his fingers into them, his teeth catching the equally pale nipples.
 
The Chancellor reached up to wipe his eyes, opening his mouth as if to say something, but Anakin grabbed his slender wrists and kissed his eyelids and ginger lashes, wiping away the trails with his generous lips and greedy tongue. “Let me do it… all of it…” he growled, biting Palpatine’s cheek. “Let me worship you…”  
 
~*~
 
As Anakin pushed Palpatine against the sheets, his kisses and bites trailing lower, Darth Sidious’ mind was in crisis. His future Sith Lord, the being he had groomed for many years – his vital delight – was flaring dark possession, drunk on it as the wine took effect. Everything he desired: power, beauty, destiny, worship… it was that last that undid his reserve completely; to be touched with such reverence – he could almost resist everything else, but not that, not when all he could smell was lovers’ wine and all he could see was Anakin’s golden shoulders, darkly blond hair brushing against him as eager teeth sank into his upper thigh. He cried out and the Dark Side began to pulse in his blood, as pungent as the wine and smooth as the silk sheets.
 
Anakin must have felt the darkness, but he was lost on the aphrodisiac he’d suckled from Palpatine’s flesh and he instinctively met it with his own heated soul, its tendrils not yet abyssal like Sidious’ aura, but the searing, teasing wildfire of a Dark Jedi racing along the brink of the chasm. His mouth closed around Palpatine, lips tightening, and the Sith Lord growled, a demanding, primal noise, evoking a shiver of the warmth Palpatine felt around his sex.  
 
While his body gasped and shook in Anakin’s clutches, the Sith Lord’s astral spirit feasted on the young man’s chaotic energies, twisting streams of fire between his claws. If the Jedi’s soul danced like a ravenous flame, then Sidious’ was like pitch: frozen solid long ago, its blackness made molten by Anakin’s heat, streams of sticky corrosion pouring into that liminal soul, weighting him down, entrapping that brilliant fire. “Anakin!” Palpatine cried through delirium as he came into his creation’s mouth, physical and metaphysical whirling together into shocking bliss that stripped him of everything but this divine moment which thundered through his body – leaving him panting and wasted; his limbs useless at his sides.
 
~*~
 
Anakin gazed at Palpatine - that milky body pink with wine-stain and exertion, sprawled across black sheets, the sound of the Chancellor’s breath heavy on the air - and smiled, crawling up the bed; touching as he went. The line of a thigh, the trembling stomach, the soft inner arm, the curve of the neck, the fans of little crevices at the corners of his eyes, and the much caricatured and beloved arch of nose – while Palpatine’s pale eyes watched him from beneath lids heavy with pleasure. “Dantius?” he began roughly and the Chancellor raised a languid brow. But that wasn’t what Anakin wanted, he realised. “No – I don’t want to call you that, not now…”
 
“We-ell…” Palpatine purred teasingly, and Anakin rested on top of the man’s chest, wanting to feel that deep, sexy voice buzzing into him. “You can hardly call me Your Excellency…”
 
“That’s exactly what I want to call you,” Anakin gasped out hoarsely, grinning mischievously as he turned Dantius over, “My excellent Excellency…” His lips lingered at Palpatine’s nape. “I couldn’t think of a better description, could you?”
 
“I had no idea you had such a talent for flattery,” Palpatine laughed, shifting beneath him.
 
Anakin held him down, stilling the smaller man. “I’ve never flattered anyone in my life, sir. If I tell you you’re the most regal–” he punctuated his words with a fierce kiss, “…majestic – excellent – being in the galaxy, that’s because it’s true. You shouldn’t be modest about it, not with me.”
 
“Can trust you with something, Anakin?” Palpatine whispered as Anakin used the Force to fetch the other bottle Palpatine had taken from the black cabinet. “A secret I haven’t told anyone?” The Jedi poured the aromatic oil across his fingers before slowly easing one into the Chancellor.
 
“You can trust me with anything, Your Excellency, anything at all…” He began to widen the orifice, his finger moving in slow, gentle circles.
 
“I don’t think… ah… I have never thought… that democracy was an effective system of government. Those senators who say I want… a… a crown; that I don’t want this war to end…” Anakin slipped in a second finger. “They’re right, Anakin – I don’t want it to end. I want peace,” he continued hurriedly, “I want peace for the galaxy more than I can say!” His voice darkened and lost its hesitancy, “But I want to turn this turgid Republic into something that works, and I want to rule my creation with absolute authority. Does that make me wicked – a… a monster?” Power does things to some people, Ani. They lose themselves in it. It hurts to say it, but I think that’s what’s happened to our friend – he’s not the same man we once knew.
 
“No,” Anakin breathed, inserting a third finger and beginning to slide his digits in and out while stroking Palpatine’s legs with his metal hand. “People would have to listen – you could actually govern the Outer Rim, stamp out the Hutts and their slime, end the corruption, and abolish slavery…” He gave a slightly hysterical laugh. “Somehow, I think I’ve always known you would rule… that after the war nothing is going to be the same…”
 
He entered the Chancellor, making Palpatine’s breath hitch. “Except this – Your Majesty,” he murmured into his lover’s ear, nipping the lobe with his teeth, “This is going to be exactly the same…”
  
~*~

THE END
 
  
 
 
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December 2011

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