Act II DVD Commentary

I let two weeks slip by without writing the second fic in this series, and promptly got yelled at for it. Which made me feel slightly resentful, because I didn't think it was at all my best work, but ultimately I decided to deliver, and to get this done as soon as possible, and the series was written for every other week for the next seven weeks. With three whole weeks in between writing I had time to think about what I was going to do, and that the span of time in this fic justified the use of the "Hours" prompt. It was the 34th Padmé AU and was posted on June 10th.
The second act is considered to be "rising action," and very often in it the tragic hero will take some action or make some sort of decision from which there is no turning back.

Everyone was shocked by the summons except Padmé herself. She knew what the Emperor’s envoy wanted, and she couldn’t even say she was unwilling.

He was known as Lord Vader. She managed to pick up another thing or two about him before walking through his door: he’d been an envoy for only about a year, but was already close to the top of their pecking order. There was a story too that his birth hadn’t been normal, and that his mother had instead been impregnated by mystical means, but she was reserving judgement on that.

I've heard this referred to by readers as Padmé/Vader rather than Padmé/Anakin fic. But even if the character doesn't use the name of Anakin, I automatically think of him as Anakin, as I don't draw a line between Anakin and Vader; I treat Vader as an extension of Anakin, so I refer to him as Anakin, and to Dooku as Dooku, though he doesn't use that name here either.

She bowed before him, and was almost smothered by the sense of power he radiated. Had he toned his presence down so as not to disturb the play, or was it that he had her, and he knew it?

“Padmé Naberrie. I am Darth Vader. Have you heard of me?”

“I am merely an traveling actress, my lord,” she replied. “I don’t know the names of people like you.”

“I would have everyone know your name. I would have them see you and adore you as I do.”

“Lord Vader, you hardly know me,” Padmé protested, though she knew it was in vain.

“But I will,” he insisted. “I knew it the moment I saw you standing at the edge of the arena, heard your voice. And surely you knew it when I removed my hood and you saw my face.”

“Knew what?” she pleaded.

Boldly he lifted her into his arms and said, “The Force has spoken to both of us. Perhaps you can’t hear it as well as me, but to a command this loud noone is deaf. We are made for each other.” With that, he kissed her.

These two sentences were quoted when this fic was recced in a signature at forums. Which made me feel embarrassed, as taken out of context, it's way too melodramatic. Even in context it's cheesy, but this is Anakin we're talking about; he would be.

Padmé would have thought that, if she believed in the Force, and she wouldn’t pledge to that, she wouldn't believe it would grant anyone to someone like Vader. She would have thought that, if in that moment she'd been capable of thinking, or of anything besides frantically returning his kisses, sinking like a stone into his embrace, her skin and heart assaulted by unbearable heat. It was hard to protest his words when she wanted him more than she had wanted anything in her life.

Still, when they broke for air, she made one last feeble protest. “I can’t.”

“You can and you will.”

There was nothing more to say. Vader led her, now unprotesting, to his bed.

Usually there's much more dialogue in the second act, long words with which lead the hero to his first fall, but given the way dialogue goes between Anakin and Padmé, I decided to deviate. Though since Padmé isn't fully participating in this yet, at this point, she hasn't yet fallen.

Yet once there, they stood there for several minutes until Padmé finally snapped, “What are you waiting for? You won’t expect me to initiate this, at least?”

“Padmé...” he started, stopped, and then started again, “Padmé, you may not be aware of this, it might even seem contrary to some appearances, but these kind of relations, however much some envoys overindulge in them, in fact are my Master.”

This is the biggest alteration I have made to this fic as I write these words in 2011, during my long period of editing and cleaning up my entire website. Back when this series was first posted, one of my readers noted the detail of this universe, that envoys are able to summon civilians for their pleasure, and rereading now made me think that their doing so when their Master doesn't like it needed more clarification. This habit of envoys would probably be another objection Padmé has to the Empire, though of course she can't hold his colleagues behavior against Anakin when he himself hasn't done it before.

“You’ve never done this before?” she demanded, shocked.

Anakin's always a virgin in my stories. Padmé typically isn't. This is partly deliberate subversion of the old "innocent maid" tropes and partly what I genuinely think makes sense with their characters. In most of my universes I've seen her as having two lovers, though in this one I think she's had more.

“I have not. Padmé, I am not so foolish as to assume you have not. Teach me. Please.” He grasped her head and forced her to look at him. “Show me.”

Such beauty and such fire in his eyes, and she was kissing him again, initiating after all, and now it was he who was claimed by her, he who lay limp and passive as she lowered them both onto the bed, skillfully running her hands under his dark robes as he arched under her touch.

And this is Padmé's fall, when in a moment of weakness she actually lets the passion take her, and the night's events become dictated by her own actions rather than by the Force alone. Had she kept her "What are you waiting for?" attitude and rejected their love that way, she probably wouldn't have killed Dooku later.
This is hardly the only time in my writings when Padmé has displayed an unexpected dominance streak. It floored me the first time I wrote it, but by this time I was used to this part of her character.

His hands reached up, tore at the clasps of her dress, and she guided them around her body, which he grasped at like an animal.

With his robes removed and they were pressed skin to skin, Padmé started to lose her ability to concentrate. But by now both were running on instinct. She took him into her body and he howled and came. He looked dismayed, but she only murmured to him, “We have all night.”

If there was any doubt that Padmé was a willing participant here, I think this little seductive line of hers does away with it.

In the hours following, she was proven right. Unable to keep their hands off each other, they spent almost the entire night entwined in wild passion, a haze of gasps and thrusts and cries and the rustling of the blankets as they were twisted and thrown every which way. Near morning they all but passed out.

Personally I think the sexual components of the final two paragraphs the hottest and best-written part of the fic. I was far more satisfied with them than I was with the earlier ones.

Many hours later Padmé woke up alone in Darth Vader’s bed, her body still limp and sore and worn, and fled from his rooms in terror.

For some reason the idea of a character waking up in someone else's bed is a vanilla kink of mine. I think it's the everyday intimacy it implies.
At least one reader was worried about the significance of Anakin's absence, but I actually figured Padmé had overslept(many hours after staying up most of the night and she'd have had to) and Anakin had needed to get up and go about his business as an envoy, and it was late enough into the day that she would realize that. Her terror is purely at her own actions.