Fandom: Star Wars
Prompt: fanfic50's #41 - Shine
Word Count: 1013
Summary: Palpatine gives Anakin a gift.
Author's Notes: No sexin', kids, but I should warn for mush. I blame the holiday season!
Anakin Skywalker fidgeted with the small box in his hands, frowning at the ornate ribbon tied on it. It was bad enough that he’d been sneaking out of the Temple from time to time to spend the night with the Chancellor, but now this. A gift! He couldn’t possibly accept it.
He wondered which breach of the Jedi Code would perturb Obi-Wan more.
Chancellor Palpatine was sitting next to him on the settee in the older man’s bedroom, watching him expectantly. He placed a comforting hand on Anakin’s knee. “It’s all right, Anakin,” he cooed. “No one has to know. Please open it.”
Anakin’s frown deepened. “It’s not just that. You shouldn’t have gotten me anything. I can’t give you anything in return.”
Palpatine gave the Jedi’s knee a gentle squeeze. “You give me plenty,” he said, sounding quite suggestive.
Anakin scowled and abruptly stood up. So that’s what this was about! The Chancellor felt he had to buy his affections? Or maybe “services” would be a better choice of words. The thought disgusted him. “I’m not your whore,” he spat out as he tossed the offending gift onto the bed. He heard a scandalized gasp from the Chancellor -- he didn’t care. Anakin crossed his arms in front of his chest in annoyance and stubbornly looked across the room, away from the presumptuous gift-giver.
"Accepting a token of my affection makes you a whore?" asked Palpatine, infusing the question with hurt. "I'm sorry you feel that way. I'll have it destroyed."
Destroyed? Couldn't Palpatine simply return the item? And why wasn't he even trying to get Anakin to accept it? Anakin turned around to face the Chancellor. His righteous anger dissipated when he saw the frown etched upon Palpatine's thin lips... and the frosty look in his eyes that belied his wounded pride. Anakin felt inexplicably ashamed. "Why would you destroy it?" he asked softly.
"I had it custom-designed for you, Anakin," Palpatine explained as he rose and walked over to take a seat on the bed. He picked up the discarded box and set it in the lap of his septsilk bathrobe, plucking at the ribbon much like Anakin had done. "I don't wish for anyone else to have it."
Now Anakin felt even more ashamed. He crawled across the large bed sit next to Palpatine. "I'm sorry, sir," he said sincerely, taking the older man's soft white hand in his. The "sir" was a title of respect that Anakin couldn't seem to break the habit of using, in spite of their intimacy; Palpatine had said he didn't mind, and Anakin suspected he rather liked keeping their hierarchy intact. "I didn't mean to offend you. Maybe... maybe I could keep just this one thing."
The Chancellor smiled at him warmly, lovingly, and Anakin knew he'd been forgiven. "Yes, just one thing," agreed Palpatine, honey-sweet tone restored. "Open it."
Anakin took the box in his hands again and looked at it with mixed emotions. He was not accustomed to receiving gifts; neither slaves nor Jedi were, and he'd known no other lifestyle. The Chancellor did spoil him on occasion with fine cuisine, but that was different -- it was something the Chancellor enjoyed on a regular basis himself. Like a part of his life he was allowing Anakin to share.
And the wrapping on this little present was almost too beautiful to undo.
"Go on," urged Palpatine. "I want to see the look on your face when you open it."
Anakin was really curious now, he had to admit. With rising excitement he tore into the wrappings. Beneath the lavish paper was a jewelry box of rich burgundy velvet. Anakin eagerly opened it and gasped at the ring within. It was large and square-faced, with rows of shiny gemstones -- mostly clear ones, the others red. Every slight tilt of the box sent sparkling light bouncing from jewel to jewel. It was the most dazzling thing Anakin had ever seen, and he simply stared at it in awe.
"I was hoping you'd like it," said Palpatine, sounding pleased and a little amused. "You can take it out, it won't break! It's white gold. Fifty-eight diamonds and twenty rubies. You'll find your initials carved into the band, there, on the inside... see?"
Anakin examined the ring closely. "It's so... shiny," he finally managed to say.
"Yes, well, I do know of your penchant for shiny things," replied Palpatine. "A shiny new speederbike would no doubt please you more, but that's a gift not so easily hidden."
Anakin barely heard him as he slid the ring on his finger and marveled at its perfect fit. "How did you know my size?" he asked incredulously. "I don't even know my size."
"I have my ways," Palpatine replied mysteriously. "Now, I know you can't wear it in public, and you'll have to keep it a secret from the Jedi... you could leave it here with me for safekeeping, if you wish."
"There's no safer place than the Jedi Temple," Anakin said confidently, rotating his hand to watch the brilliant gems sparkle. "And I want it with me. It's mine."
"It certainly is. All yours."
Anakin looked at the Chancellor's beaming face, every wrinkle a testament to the wisdom of his years, his ice-blue eyes sparkling with life yet to live. He looked so joyful, so completely satisfied, that one might think he was the one who had received a gift. He was so selfless and generous, always putting others before himself. At that moment, it seemed to Anakin that the love shining through Palpatine was even more spectacular a thing than his magnificent token of affection. Anakin leaned over and engulfed the smaller man in a fierce hug. "Thank you," he said, his voice cracking with emotion. "I don't deserve you."
"Of course you do, sweetheart," murmured Palpatine into the Jedi’s shoulder. “After all, you deserve nothing but the best.”
Anakin laughed happily for a moment before pulling Palpatine into a tender kiss. He’d never been gifted with words, but his “physical vocabulary” could speak volumes.