(with apologies to Carson McCullers, the author I shamelessly stole this title from!)
Fandom: Star Wars
Characters: Anakin, Palpatine (Anakin/Padmé)
Prompt: fanfic50's #48 - Empty
Word Count: 581
Summary: Anakin has dinner with Palpatine but dessert with Padmé.
Author's Notes: No slash in this one!
Palpatine patted his mouth daintily with his napkin as he swallowed the last of his supper. His companion, having just returned from an assignment rife with tasteless ration bars, had already devoured everything on his plate and had even enjoyed a second helping. The Chancellor watched with mild amusement as Anakin swiped his own napkin across his mouth now, as if he’d forgotten to do so earlier but had since realized it was the right thing to do in polite company. The boy was delightfully unrefined.
Anakin stood and gave a somewhat awkward bow. “Thank you, sir. It was delicious. Now I really do need to get back to the Temple…” He winced slightly, no doubt anticipating the Chancellor’s reaction.
Palpatine didn’t bother to hide his disappointment. “So soon? We’ve not yet had dessert. Stay and have some of that chocolate mousse you enjoy so much.”
“I can’t,” Anakin mumbled, a blush creeping over his cheeks. He sighed and averted his gaze. “I’m sorry.”
Even a Force-blind oaf could have detected Anakin’s nervousness. Palpatine knew by this refusal that it wasn’t the Jedi Temple that Anakin was returning to; he also knew his young friend would soon be partaking of a different form of dessert that was sweeter than the one offered here.
He could make the boy squirm, certainly. A couple carefully chosen questions about the urgent nature of his late business at the Temple… perhaps an offer to call his master and request that this business be delayed a bit.
But he wouldn’t. Anakin clearly wanted to leave, and there was no sense keeping him here. The Chancellor suspected that Anakin had only accepted his supper invitation due to a sense of obligation – as well as the convenience of having an alibi should his presence be missed at the Temple.
“All right then,” Palpatine conceded with a benevolent smile. “I’ll save you some mousse should you change your mind.”
“Thanks, Chancellor. Good night.” Anakin’s relief was palpable, as was the excitement that followed it. The young Jedi wore his emotions on his sleeve, and the exposure certainly assisted Palpatine in his manipulations.
Palpatine ate his dessert alone; he knew Anakin wouldn’t be back that night. He savored the rich sweetness on his tongue, ruminating over the evening’s conversations with Anakin…pieces falling into place in the jigsaw puzzle of his plans. He couldn’t be more pleased with the way things were progressing. He retired early (HoloNet rumors that he never slept were quite exaggerated), expecting to fall asleep easily with only pleasant thoughts of unlimited power occupying his mind; however, unbidden images of Anakin and Senator Amidala soon displaced those.
Anakin pawing at the Senator’s clothing, perhaps ripping it off in the throes of passion. Padmé sliding her slender hands beneath Anakin’s tunics, pulling him against her with feverish longing. Anakin kissing her hungrily, moaning her name, crying out as their bodies throbbed and pulsed as one flesh.
Mentally scowling, Chancellor Palpatine rolled over and tried to recapture his former reverie – as if a change of position would alter his thoughts. He stared into the darkness, towards the spot where his partner would lie if he had one. He could see Anakin lying there, tantalizingly close, his handsome young face smirking at him. Instinctively, Palpatine reached for him, but his hand grasped only air before it fell to rest on the pillow.
He was still alone, of course. Of course he was.
His luxurious bed had never felt so empty.