ansketil: (Coruscant)
[personal profile] ansketil
Title: A Period of Rest
I own neither Vader nor Palpatine and I am not making any money. Sad, but true.
Emperor Palpatine has been prescribed several days of rest.
Word Count:
Characters: The Emperor and Lord Vader
Author's Note: The little bit of light-heartedness I so desperately needed today. *headdesk*

There are sounds here: the subtle stirrings of flora caressed by the air, the chirp and buzz of night-borne creatures. Breeze where metre-thick transparisteel should be, only here can one realise the oppressive weight silence carries. No lamps which place the world in perpetual twilight, but the simple candles of his youth, spilling soft warmth no artificial light can cast.

He imagines fingers tracing over his back as he lazes in bed, naked but for a silk sheet and tries to clear from his consciousness the sharp minds of the guards who – unseen – circumvallate the borders of his suite, communicating tersely with one another. Reaching a hand up, he idly caresses his shoulder, imagining himself to be the object of another’s touch.

In the absence of work, his thoughts are given leave to wander: the medi-droid prescribed him rest. He had dismissed the advice immediately, but was dismayed by the collective relief he could sense in all his attendants upon hearing the physician’s suggestion. It was this that convinced him to come here – an hour’s journey from Coruscant.

Hesperidium: named for its beautiful orchids, renowned for its refined luxury; a jewel of a moon loathed by the people of Coruscant for the obscene affluence it catered to. Yet the elegant comfort of Hesperidium’s most exclusive resort affords him only a few pleasures. It brings out a latent loneliness which catches him off guard, like his reflection in the mirror.

Here, they pride themselves on letting their exclusive guests take their ease undisturbed by the cares of the galaxy; a place where one is supposed to relax and forget all but the moment. The Emperor finds it criminally boring. Perhaps if he’d taken several courtiers with him, he could have amused himself with their ridiculous infighting and sycophancy? But the doctor had advised a period of rest.

There was a soft knock on the door. He covers himself quickly, pulling the sheet upward and places a finger on the communications console next to the bed. “Yes?”

“Sire, forgive me for waking you, but Lord Vader is outside. I informed him that Your Majesty was asleep, but he insists on speaking with Your Majesty.” The tone in the guard captain’s voice indicates that the Dark Lord has threatened dire consequences should his request not be granted.

Palpatine, thanking the Darkness for the first amusing thing in two days of ennui, informs the guard he will see the Sith Lord and begins dressing with the excited air of a youngling. Quickly throwing on a set of simple robes, he set a stately pace toward the reception room, lingering to prolong his pleasure and his apprentice’s annoyance.

An imposing presence amongst dainty couches and crystal tables, Lord Vader’s black-clad immensity is wonderfully out of place. Palpatine chuckles, sitting down in an over-stuffed armchair, richly embroidered with fine aurodium threads, and signalled for tea.

The Dark Lord kneels on the distastefully gaudy rug. “My Master, I have just come from the Outer Rim. The rebels…”

“The rebels? Surely you haven’t disturbed my rest to discuss Mothma’s pitiful rebellion?” Palpatine interrupts as a servant set the steaming tea on the crystal table beside the Emperor. He loved tasting Vader’s vexation. Obviously, something important had happened, but Palpatine was more interested in amusement than news.

“Forgive me, Master, but the insurgents have–”

“Did you know that they brew a particularly wonderful tea here? It has such a delicate flavour…”

Anger flares as brilliant as the crystal lights and Palpatine sighs as he takes a sip of tea, its aroma all the sweeter for his Dark Lord’s mounting fury.

“I was not aware. Master, the matter is of grave urgency, I need your permission to–”

“Granted,” Palpatine cuts him off cheerfully. Vader deserves his approval for rescuing him from this stultifying retreat. He saw enough in his apprentice’s aura to tell him he would not regret granting the request, whatever it was; probably permission to grant concessions to the planetary government of some system or other, or reform some petty legislature.

“Thank you, Master.” Vader’s tone is wary, careful of what must seem a strange mood – or what price he’d have to pay for Palpatine’s abrupt acquiescence. Palpagine probes his apprentice’s thoughts: …How is he already aware of events? Could he possibly have known that the governor would do such a thing? Was that his plan all along?

The Emperor smiles at being second-guessed and offers Vader a seat. He felt his droid physician would approve. His apprentice was so highly strung – a period of rest would doubtless do him good.
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December 2011

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