Fandom: Star Wars
Characters: Anakin, Palpatine
Prompt: I cheated again. This was originally written under another journal but I decided it fit here too, so I'm using it for fanfic50's #9 Smile.
Word Count: 706
Summary: Palpatine makes a Freudian slip...or does he?
Author's Notes: A bit cracky, yes. I wrote this in about an hour. I love it when that happens!
Sometimes, Anakin felt the only person who truly understood him was Chancellor Palpatine. He knew that in the Chancellor's office, he was free to say anything that was on his mind, without fear of reproach -- or of being assigned extra meditation. Meditation didn't solve anything. And it was so boring!
Anakin much preferred to spend his free afternoons with the Chancellor. This extremely busy man always found time to talk to him, never made him feel like an intrusion or annoyance, and offered a sympathetic ear as well as sage advice.
He also offered fine Corellian brandy. Not too much, as Anakin was underage and Palpatine didn't intend to "corrupt" him. The older man, however, could drink glass after glass of it with nary a side effect... or so it seemed.
The Padawan had become accustomed to the Chancellor's praise, but he never tired of it. He drank it up more eagerly than the sips of liquor. In fact, he was never quite sure if the heady feeling he experienced in this office was caused by the words or the brandy. He happily listened to Palpatine practically gushing about what a fine young man Anakin was becoming.
"You know," mused Palpatine, "I've always admired your ass."
Palpatine was still talking, but Anakin couldn't comprehend the words; he couldn't believe how casually Palpatine had said that. How did he expect Anakin to react? After a moment, the Chancellor noticed the strange look on the teen's face, the way he shifted in his chair. "What's wrong, son?"
"I..." Anakin was too embarrassed to formulate an intelligent response. Could he have misunderstood? "Um... what did you say?"
Palpatine smiled. "I said that for others, it would be a hindrance, but not for you -- not with your skills. It gets you out of trouble, rather than into it. Wouldn't you agree?"
Anakin swallowed. Maybe it was a mistake, him coming here, spending so much time with the Chancellor. Maybe he didn't understand as much about him as Anakin thought he did. Maybe... maybe Palpatine was just lonely? And now that Anakin was getting older, Palpatine might think that he wanted to...
"What is it, Anakin?" Palpatine's kind blue eyes fixed on him with concern. "You look like you're going to be ill. Do you need the 'fresher?"
Why was the Chancellor acting like he hadn't said anything bizarre? Suddenly, Anakin was more angry than embarrassed. He stood up and glared down at Palpatine. "Look, I'm not gay, all right?" he blurted out in a rush.
The Chancellor was aghast. "I never said you were. Calm down, Anakin. What brought this on?"
"Why would you say... what would make you think..." Anakin read the confusion on Palpatine's face and in the aura of the Force surrounding them. He suddenly felt very foolish. Could Palpatine have said something different? Or perhaps, not realized what he had said? Was the brandy affecting his mentor more today than it usually did?
"I apologize if I offended you," Palpatine said sadly. "That certainly wasn't my intention. Please tell me what upset you so I can explain myself more clearly."
Anakin sank back into his chair and regarded the man across from him. He could feel the sincerity in his words, in his countenance. He must have misunderstood. "Nevermind," Anakin mumbled, shame coloring his cheeks. "I'm sorry, sir. I don't know what's wrong with me. Can we talk about something else?"
Palpatine tried to pry the truth from Anakin for a short while, but he eventually agreed to just leave the matter open for future discussion. As they continued to talk about other things -- Obi-Wan, Anakin's training, the starfighter he'd recently piloted -- Anakin grew more comfortable, and more convinced he had heard the man incorrectly.
When it was time to leave, they both stood up and shook hands the way they normally did. Palpatine clapped a hand warmly on Anakin's shoulder -- the way he usually did. And though his smile was as warm and kindly as ever, Anakin thought he saw something... something deviant in it.
He had a sudden vision of Palpatine reaching around to smack him playfully on the ass.
Anakin couldn't get out of there fast enough.