Act III: DVD Commentary

By the time I sat down to write Act III, I had a clear idea of how the story was going to end. Which is a good thing, because the third act is supposed to be the climax, after which catastrophe becomes inevitable. After Padmé rejects Anakin, since he is no longer a tragic hero, his action to try to leave the Emperor's service has to be considered an automatic response to her, which of course leads to Dooku killing him. No prompt I had left fit this story especially well, but I thought Padmé's attitude worked with "Fixed." It was posted on June 23 as the 36th Padmé AU.

Both of the Emperor’s envoys were expected to come and see the play again. Neither showed. Padmé had the general feeling that either the second envoy had guessed what was going on and was trying to keep Vader away, or some genuine matter of business had risen which had both taken Vader off before she had woke and kept the envoys away that night. Either way, it was a great relief to her. How she could have performed in front of Vader that night she had no idea.

It was hard enough avoiding the questions of her castmates. They had guessed what Vader had wanted her for, and many had gone out of their way to offer her comfort. Comfort she did indeed need, but not for the reason they thought.

Nor did a summons arrive after the show, and Padmé tried to hope that none would ever come, but that Vader would be hustled off Naboo by his companion, making everything easy. As it was, it was easy enough to do nothing.

She went to bed early that night, but after two hours of tossing and turning, she gave up on sleep. Instead she ended up sitting on her bed running through her lines.

“The most powerful of monarchs may fail to see the seeds of revolt when they are laid deep enough, and even as he raves at the most recent open incident he may fail to notice the detail, thought insignificant by him, which in time will germinate like a seed, and bring him down-” She was cut off by the door knocking, and she knew who it was.

Since the Passion Play Padmé was performing in was serving as a metaphor for the events of her life, I though I might use a quote from it as foreshadowing. As will be observed the in the last part, if the Emperor, represented by Dooku, has Anakin killed for his open revolt but thinks Padmé life or death insignificant (which Dooku seems to because he doesn't arrest her immediately), he'll pay for it when she brings Luke and Leia into the universe and hands them over to the Jedi.

She threw on her heaviest robe, walked from her bedroom to her living space, breathed in, out, and in again, and called, “Yes, Lord Vader?”

The door flung itself open, and also broke from its frame and crashed into the wall. Behind it, Darth Vader smoldered at her, his anger overpowering even from across the room. “Why did you not come?”

For a fleeting moment, she wqanted to say she hadn't thought she was allowed, that he had to call her. She'd heard that the Sith were able to detect falsehoods, but that wasn't entirely one; she genuinely hadn't know if she was allowed, so it just might fly. That was now the easy way out, to throw herself back into his arms and let him forget this evening.

Which begs the question of if Anakin would have automatically forgiven her, but her resistance renders that question moot. Though even so, when editing this fic in 2011, removing too fancy prose and adding other touches for depth, I found myself less satisfied with this two-sentence paragraph, both because it assumed Padmé knew she was supposed to come back, and then, when I thought about it further, because you can't lie to a Jedi or Sith. Thankfully those two issues sorted each other out when I added the middle sentence. Except now the question remains if he would have even bought the half-truth, but again, it's a moot one.

She was frightened now, because she could not run with him blocking the entrance. She should have run the previous night; she could have then. But it was too late to undo what was already done. The best she could do was reject him now. Even though she feared if she got too close to where he was standing she might give in again.

“Why?” he demanded again.

“Because I hate the Emperor,” she answered. “I hate what he has done to my home, my world, and the galaxy I live in. I am no fool, my Lord. I know that as one of his servants, you may have the blood of thousands on your hands. Do you deny it?”

“I see no reason I should need to. Do you not remember what I told you last night? What you must know in your heart?”

“If the Force has handed me over to you, then I defy it! With all that I am. And who says we have not already served its purpose anyway? Perhaps there was no more purpose then for us to make a baby, did you think of that? If so, I would assume that's probably already happened.”

“But if that is true, then why do I still burn for you?” He strode across the room until there he was, almost touching her; he breathed on her face.

The scent of him was temptation beyond endurance. Padmé backed into the corner, all too aware of her helplessness, not daring to breath.

“Why do you flee? Why do you fear me?”

“Why do you think?” she hissed. “You would destroy me.”

There is a very fine line throughout this entire story of whether or not the relations between Anakin and Padmé are consensual (though they had to be, ultimately, or Padmé's downfall wouldn't have been through her own actions), and here, where he clearly thinks himself entitled to her, and exercises power over her, Anakin comes the closest to crossing it. Thankfully with this line she more or less calls him on it.

This would not do. She forced herself to stand up straight, begged her heart to stop hammering.

“Have you nothing more to say?” he asked, and now he sounded nothing but broken, which perhaps he knew was a new attack on her, the same way his inexperience had been the previous night. Only knowing she had faced that attack before kept Padmé from rushing to him.

“I could say many things,” she said, but spoke no further.

I had about a zillion half-formed ideas of what I was going to have her say at this point, but spent days trying to make them coherent. In the end I decided she was in the exact same mindset.

“You are a fool!” he finally cried, and turned and stalked out, his dark robes billowing about the broken doorframe in what Padmé hoped would be her last sight of him.

I still don't know how likely it would be that Anakin really would leave, when he could easily grab Padmé and do away with her resistance. But if he'd done that, he would have crossed the line and the entire story would have been hopelessly derailed, so ultimately the good in him had to prevail.
She'll regret the wish about not seeing Anakin again when she gets it.

She thought it wouldn’t be, though. His desire for her was too great. He would come back and try to win her again, at least a few more times. But now that she had withstood his first assault, she had the general feeling she would be able to resist all subsequent ones, however much it hurt.