Summary: Vader reflects on how he ended up in the suit
Warning: Mature themes and sexual imagery.
Obi-wan crippled me and left me to die, but I don't blame him. He made his choice, and couldn't do anything else. The one I blame is Sidious, for keeping me alive, in this suit. I am sentenced to live, and this suit, for all its capabilities and audience impact, is my prison. It is my true home; my kennel. I am comfortable in it, and wish I were not.
I think again of how my master eased my way into this kennel he planned for me. I was certainly one of many schemes he nurtured over the years, as he "took an interest" in my life. When I was still a padawan, there were always excuses to casually touch me, to ruffle my hair, pat my shoulder, and being starved for the gentle caresses of my mother, they were welcomed. Decades rolled by, but the touches never ceased. Gentling, as if I were a riding beast. It was an inroad into my comradeship that he never misused. It never registered as a threat, but only as a subtle comfort.
I remember how on the strength of them, I sought the same connection with Obi-wan, and the warmth with which he returned the intimacy, the gratitude with which my affection was received. Yet I would never dare to return the touch of Palpatine. Why did I never even consider it, until the end of my illusion of freedom?
It was because of my instinctive sense of his power. Oh yes, my master Obi-wan was powerful, but the power was not his; it rested in his connection to the Force, its true source. In Palpatine I sensed his power over other beings. And I knew that if in any way way I violated the decorum of our relationship, ceased to call him sir, returned his pressure upon my forearm, that he would withdraw. And I did not want that. I wanted that avuncular hand, laden with rings and expensive cologne, to rest upon me. It was a bridge, to a larger universe than the austere province of the Jedi, to a million possible futures.
The gambler and the pod-racer in me had always exploited those possible futures, and was never quite tamed enough to cease desiring multiple possibilities. Absolute peace and certainty was ultimately boring. Stability, though necessary up to a point for a career, and, later, a married life, would inevitably have to be sought outside the Jedi Order anyway.
That is what Palpatine's hand upon me signified--possibility. I welcomed our special friendship, because it kept alive hopes that strict adherence to the Code would have killed. It allowed me to indulge in attachments without judging them. I thought that the joy of my ability to love Padme, even Obi-wan, could not have flowed freely without this permission. Even then, I was being guided by that touch.
There came a time, when I was a fully autonomous knight, when my life was full. Even though the Republic was at war, fighting for it gave my life purpose and acclaim. I had my two loves to enjoy in private, and stamina enough that neither one felt neglected. My confidence, that I would always be on hand to protect them, had not been shaken.
In the case of Obi-wan, it was quite simple-- I never let him out of my sight, as I had vowed after his escape from the stronghold of Asajj Ventress. When he did go out on his own, he would have to order me directly to remain behind. For the most part, it worked. The Council recognized our effectiveness as a bonded team, and very rarely assigned us to separate duty. And of course, we had our nights in each others' arms.
With Padme, it wasn't so easy, because of the onus of secrecy. To protect her, I needed to protect every other citizen of the Republic, as well. But that was a compatible fit to her own dedication to public service, as a Senator and former Queen. Still, we were often kept apart by our careers.
The coming baby didn't change things; we were both glad about that, and Padme had always been ready for that. What changed everything were the dreams. I am certain, in hindsight, that Sidious was choosing to reveal his true hold on me at last, by sending those dreams of death and loss. What had happened to my mother before her death, what she had sent along our bond that drew me to her, had left me vulnerable.
Now the mother was Padme. And Sidious, that voyeur who had set up shop in my brain when I was still a child, now determined to exploit that, at last. His discretion was beginning to end.
My masters, both Yoda and Obi-wan, counseled me to detach emotionally from the dreams. True or not, the will of the Force would come to pass. But I was greedy. I wanted more love in my life, not less. Even my and Obi's continuing connection to Qui-gon Jinn in spirit would not reconcile me to Padme dying. She was no Jedi-- how could she persist past the veil of death? I would not allow it! I was determined to acknowledge our child, and did not think I could handle parenthood without her. So that unease gnawed at me constantly in those days.
I thought that my mentor Palpatine could not possibly know what was eating at me, and how the Jedi platitudes left me with no solution that I would accept. Now I know how wrong I was about that. He knew it all, and simulated ignorance of my plight in order to lure me closer to him. And he began to touch me more. And I let him.
In the midst of this emotional confusion, he began to let me feel his desire. And Obi-wan was away, sent by the Council to take on Grievous alone. They wanted me to spy on the Supreme Chancellor, that regal being! --the being who grasped my arm with his elegant fingers, smelling of incense and mulled wine, as he confided in me. In whose eyes was compassion and wisdom, suddenly seeming as deep as that of Yoda himself. His glamour was upon me. Little did the Council know that they were driving me into his arms by their disrespect of him.
Finally, driven one night to his private residence for more confidences, he made it plain how much he wanted of me as a man. And I could not say no. I found that I desired what he could give too much to be put off by petty distastes. And I was rewarded. I was stroked, and pampered, and affirmed in my choice of him. Loyalty felt good; he felt good--elegant and lethal as a dose of drug, that could be medicine, or poison.
I thought I could handle it. I knew I was not his equal, but his pet; I thought that could change, the way my growing up had changed my relationship with Obi-wan. But it has not. I had forgotten about the love.
I was all ready to have Palpatine as my third love. Things moved so quickly, that I failed to notice that it was a one-way flow. I gave him my love, and power over me. But in return, demands only deepened, rewards grew more abstract. Now, instead of pats and pampering, I would rule the galaxy for him. I would conquer death, save my wife. And though I had to report him to the Council, I could not give him up. I needed him. I began to kill for him. I am very good at killing.
When I killed Dooku, it was still for the Jedi, though it pleased him. When I killed Windu, it was for him. At first I tried to pretend that it was to stop treason, but knowing now that he was a Sith, that I loved a Sith, I found it was simply my duty as a good apprentice. What had I done? I had chosen, in a moment of passion. Even though his physical beauty was marred, I was sure that the Palpatine I knew would hold to his bargain. He would share thoughts with me more and more, and teach me to channel passions into power as he did.
As I went off upon his bloody errands, I still felt those caresses in my mind. I was being his splendid golden boy, his pet, his Darth. I began to think of things I would like to do to him, for him, once my tasks were done, and they did not disgust me. I enjoyed being the chosen one at that moment, when being the chosen one of the Jedi had always been a burden. When I thought of Obi-wan and Padme, I imagined that their love for me would pull them along into the new world I would create for them.
I will never know if I really could have done it, taken that road of triumph projected so clearly in my mind. Because my faith in Palpatine showed signs of wavering when I learned that Obi-wan would fall prey to Order 66, the clones eliminating their commanders. That is when he decided to demonstrate to me exactly what sort of leash I was on. He raped me.
And he did it without touching me at all. All he had to do was flip every switch in my being that would have me rolling on the floor, in a froth of pleasure and humiliation. And helpless rage. Not one pretense of love was there. Sidious knew only enough about love to despise it. And it amused him tremendously to see me struggling to rid my consciousness of him.
I still haven't. I'm still his dog.
I live in this suit he made for me-- my prison, my kennel. But also my weapon.
Long ago, Obi-wan had me meditate in a cage. It took that experience to understand how this cage I am in will be my ally, at the right moment.
He comes to me, and I inevitably thrill at his presence, the bliss with which he floods me. He calls me by the name he gave me, his pet name for me. "Lord Vader." And his Lord Vader answers, in the voice he has given me.
"Yes, my Master." Once, I had outgrown having a master, but I chose one again. I chose to follow the owner of this voice, whose very timbre sends involuntary tremors through me. He never needs to touch me now. He made me this way.
"Rise," he says, and the very cells of my body obey him. I have risen. We stand at the zenith of his Empire together.
Yet I know that it is at his whim that he comes to me. And I know that there are other pets-- the Moffs, the Hands. I am just one of his arsenal of tools.
But someday, he will be in my presence, and he will be distracted. And then I will kill him. His dog will rip out his throat.