Darth Vader: Hero of Naboo
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
AN Full Disclosure? THIS chapter is the moment I've been building up to for years.
Vader's physical, mundane senses were dulled. Being burning alive and in a suit like his had that effect. His skin was entirely encased and covered, not to mention he was in constant pain. His eardrums had been melted beyond saving and replaced with implants. His helmet filtered out most light and the lenses tented his vision red.
But there was one thing he still had. He could still smell. In fact, his mask actually enhanced his sense of smell. A little known detail he never deigned to share with anyone, already having enough to reasons to be called Sidious's attack dog in his original timeline.
And thus, in this moment, Vader knew something was wrong not from his power in the Force, but because he could smell it.
It, being ozone. Too much, even for Force Lightning. And he only recalled smelling this from Sidious on one kind of occasion.
"Jedi!" Vader barked out as he stopped in his charge, seeing Sidious's smirk. A content smirk with his arms held right in front of him, his fingers almost pointing to himself.
Mace Windu felt true dread at the strangest, most twisted, and somehow...deepest shatterpoint he had ever laid eyes on. It was like...like a bomb in the Force itself.
Plagueis's eyes widened as he turned around in disbelief, feeling the twists forming within the Force as the air grew heavy.
"Get Back!" Vader warned as he retreated, pulling Dooku and Qui-Gon back with the Force. The two clenched their teeth in surprise, but instantly recovered and followed Vader's retreat.
Mace Windu, with reluctance, followed suit, while Yoda frowned, putting up a shield to try and contain whatever the Sith was doi-
"HAHAHA!" Sidious cackled as he appeared to tear open a hole in the air itself.
Yoda's eyes widened as Sidious was all but obscured by a literal maelstrom of Force Lightning that slammed against his shields, bulking and straining them. The mere shockwave of it colliding with the barrier would have knocked the average humanoid of their feet.
"What now?!" Eeth Koth seethed from behind Yoda, clutching his head in pain. "By the temple, it feels like the Force itself is screaming."
It did, Yoda admitted, it truly felt like the Force itself was in pain now from...whatever was happening.
"Know, I do not. Retreat, you must!" Yoda ordered, trying to understand just what he was fighting against now.
This wasn't Sidious's power anymore. No, it felt almost like he was against-
"Admirable attempt, but you're literally trying to hold back the Dark Side in its entirety, Grandmaster."
Yoda didn't react to Plagueis's arrival, his fellow Jedi reeling in shock but otherwise not attacking the Sith Lord. "Planned this, you did?" Yoda accused with a strained grip on his shields.
"No," Plagueis denied, all jovialness lost as he raised his hands, lessening the load off Yoda. "I had no idea he could do this."
Yoda looked surprised if skeptical by the admission, but his attention was drawn by the cackling laughter of Sidious.
"Are you impressed, Master?!" Sidious called out sadistically.
"Bitterly so, Sidious," Plagueis admitted dryly.
"I thought I might have to use this one day, to take you down! But who dreamed I'd have such an audience!" Sidious taunted as he pulled harder on the "opening."
Plagueis gave a troubled scowl before glancing to Yoda. "We can't hold this. Get back to Vader's po-"
The Dark Side howled, physically.
Plagueis's eyes shot wide as the barrier broke nigh instantly under a greater surge of the gathering storm. He barely managed to block incoming shrapnel as the vortex ripped through metal and steel, sending it flying like hail in a cyclone.
"Retreat, indeed," Yoda said reluctantly, glaring at the funnel of power and fury before making a hasty withdraw.
With that, the unlikely group of Jedi and Sith made a hasty retreat as the storm of Force Lightning began to steadily expand in height and size. They ran until they saw a make-shift wall of metal debris, the floor ripped up and curled back to form a defensive wall.
Leaping over it, they found themselves in familiar company.
Yoda instantly spotted Vader and Windu, both appearing to have done the bulk of the work of making the defensive area. Celsha was helping Coleman remove a piece of shrapnel that appeared to have gotten stuck in his shoulder. Koth had arrived with himself and Plagueis. As had Tiin, but he was carrying an unconscious Vono. Evan was sitting on piece of debris, no doubt winded after his recent recovery.
Yareal Poof, Depa, and Nat-Sem were nowhere to be seen. Either they escape and were alive, or they were dead from the storm.
Qui-Gon and Dooku were both at the edge of the wall, keeping a more direct, grim watch over the event.
"You are still alive. Good," Vader noted, glancing to the wall pointedly. "I did not believe Sidious was capable of this," he commented, leaving a silent 'yet' in his mind. He knew Sidious could do this, one day, but now?
"Do what?" Mace Windu demanded with a scowl, gripping his lightsaber tightly. "We had him cornered and defeated! How could he have this much power suddenly?" he demanded before glancing to Vader. "And how did you know it would happen, before anyone else?"
"I've witnessed this before. I could smell it coming," Vader answered, deciding to let them believe he meant that figuratively instead of literally. "More importantly, you are correct. Sidious did not suddenly recover and regain his old reserves. He is, now more than ever, dead."
"You're serious?" Qui-Gon said, turning to Vader skeptically. "He's unleashing that and you're saying he's a dead man?"
"He's a dead man for unleashing that," Plagueis countered with a scowl. "This will completely destroy Sidious. Even under normal circumstances, he didn't yet have the power and control to wield something like this. He's just seeking to take us out with him. Also at least a tenth of Coruscant, maybe more?" he offered casually.
"And yet, you keep dodging the question: What is it?" Tiin asked pointedly.
"Are all of you familiar with what a Force Storm is?" Vader asked, straight to the point.
"Of course," Mace Windu answered. It wasn't something one usually encountered, but as High Council, all of them were aware of them.
The Sith Lords allowed the silence to hang over them, letting the implication sink in.
Yoda inhaled sharply, feeling as if decades passed him in an instant.
Force Storms were rare weather phenomenon that only happened on planets where the Force was very strong. Calling it a storm was a bit of misnomer. True, it was mainly characterized by an enormous storm, but it could also cause devastating activity in volcanoes, fault lines, and any other potential natural disaster. It was more akin to call it a Force Cataclysm.
"You can't be serious," Dooku said, looking between the two in disbelief. "You're saying that he is creating a Force Storm, here? That's impossible."
"Oh, it's worse than that," Plagueis corrected grimly. "Unlike an naturally occurring Force Storm, this one literally involves an advanced use of Force Lightning to rip into the space-time fabric, creating a wormhole that, well..." Plagueis paused at their stunned silence. "Essentially, Sidious is allowing the Dark Side itself to flood through onto this world, formed as a planet-rendering storm."
Coleman nearly fell over, needing to take a seat and process that.
"Fortunately, Sidious is too weak to control it, or to unleash it properly," Vader stated, leaving a pregnant pause. "As it is, he can only keep the tear open and, for now, keep it from killing himself. That said..."
Lightning rippled in the sky overhead, and the Jedi quickly discovered why Vader had curved the wall to give them a roof.
The pit of acid had been picked up by the winds of the vortex, causing it to now fall on them as literal acid rain. Qui-Gon quickly pulled his master back under the relative safety of the shelter, just as the older Jedi found a hole burned through his sleeve. Dooku ripped the sleeve off and discarded it, looking out as the substance pouring from the heavens slowly warped and ate away at the metal all around them.
"Stop this, we must," Yoda stated firmly.
"We can't," Plagueis said with a headshake. "This is one ability I know nothing of in practice. Sidious will die from this, but he will make this place his funeral pyre. The best you can do is attempt to evacuate the surrounding areas and save who you can. Because the Storm will sustain itself enough to stretch out for hundreds of miles, Jedi."
"Then end this down, we put your apprentice down before that happens," Mace Windu countered strongly, unwilling to consign so many to death without trying.
"That will not work anymore," Vader warned. "Even if we managed to kill Sidious right now, the tear will not close instantly. Any attempt to push through that vortex will take time we do not have. The Dark Side itself is pushing through it like a crack in a dam, and Sidious is deliberately making it worse. We'd only be minimizing the damage, and perhaps not even that."
"As I said," Plagueis agreed with a nod.
"I never said you were correct, Darth Plagueis."
Sith and Jedi alike gave Vader odd looks as the acid rain suddenly ended. "What are you saying, exactly?" Dooku inquired with an arch eyebrow. "Do you know how to stop this?"
Vader didn't answer as he faced the wall fully, the clouds and lightning looming over the impromptu barrier...
Padme would admittedly have been happier to be out of her traditional robes, once more pretending to be her own handmaiden. While she didn't hate the garbs, they were often impractical for anything but ceremonial use. Let alone the self-control it took not to accidentally ruin her heavy make up in more private moments.
Sadly, there was a chance that the Senate could reconvene at any time. Thus, she was stuck in her queenly trappings for the time being.
Worse yet, it was rather boring. Not even in the trivial sense, but there was nothing she could do right now. That she was aware of at least. All she could do was sit and wait for things to unfold.
Speaking of which, Captain Panaka entered the room. "Your Majesty," he said with a salute.
"Captain, is there anything to report?" she returned, straight to the point.
"Senator Palpatine is still missing and isn't responding. Despite possessing an impressive number of emergency contact methods," Panaka mused with a scowl.
One the Queen shared. Was that just a part of being a politician on this planet, being that cautious? Or was Palpatine just extremely busy, thus prone to be in various locations? Still, that wasn't important now. "I see. I may have to infer with Duke Brumel what the Coruscant procedure for a missing senator would be," Padme mused idly. "Still, I may have to attempt to act as a temporary senator AND queen."
Panaka kept his face neutral. They both knew that wouldn't go well. Even ignoring her inexperience, it was a general rule with members of the Galactic Republic that one person should not be both a Head of State and a Representative in the Senate. The issue was, they didn't have any suitable replacements for Palpatine if they needed one. While the rule wasn't ironclad, to Panaka's knowledge...they were still convincing the Senate that there even was an occupation on Naboo, let alone that they qualified as such a exemption.
He almost sighed. There was a megaparsec of difference between politics on Naboo and on Coruscant. More often than not, Naboo-politicians cared for the spirit of the law whereas this place felt more like it was only about twisting the letter of the law.
"I do have some...good news," he offered hesitantly. "We located Jar-Jar Binks."
"I almost fear to ask, but where was he found?" Padme inquired, bracing herself for the answer.
"I have no idea."
Padme blinked, finding herself confused. "I'm sorry, Captain, but how do you locate someone and not know where you found him?"
"Because we didn't find him, Your Majesty," Panaka informed. "An officer in a Coruscant Security Force ship dropped him off before leaving rather quickly. I wasn't able to ask him anything, and Jar-Jar Binks is..."
Padme didn't press him further on that, knowing his meaning.
"Might I ask why the sudden interest in the Gungan, Your Majesty?" Panaka asked, truly confused at that.
"Call it an investment for now, Captain," Padme answered, not wanting to discuss this here, where too many hidden ears might be listening.
Panaka nodded, and was about to speak again.
"Hideo? Hisens, yous hair? Disa da right una?" Jar-Jar called from the entrance of the apartment.
Panaka reigned in his eyeroll while Padme held back an amused smile. "Jar-Jar Binks," Padme greeted to the Gungan, who made a noise of greeting with a clumsy bow. "I'm pleased to see you have returned unharmed. But I must ask, where have you been?"
"My no know," Jar-Jar answered with a shrug. "Mesa goen looky for yum-yum and nex Isa know, Mesa fallen some berry yucky junk."
Padme raised an eyebrow. So, Jar-Jar fell into a garbage chute. Or recycling chute. Actually, for all she knew, he was pushed in without knowing it.
"Mesa woka up on a skeebeetle filled with the yuck. Mesa getten off, but Mesa was lost in dis nutsen city," he said sadly before perking back up. "But mesa founda some place wit drinks, lightsa, games, and mula. Than a lot of people and machineeks starta shootin. Mesa nearly a goner, but someboda saven my life!"
"The officer that brought you back here?" Padme deduced elegantly, and patiently. If she just heard right, Jar-Jar just survived a shoot out in some unsavory part of Coruscant.
This Gungan had a lot more luck than brains, obviously.
"Yep-yep! Hesa bomband. Be berry redsa and scary, but hesa hepped me. No longo tello, so: Wesa gotten a little lost and lotsa stuff happened, but hesa getten me here," Jar-Jar skimmed over cheerfully before cocking his head. "Yous no look like yousas haven a good time."
"Just tired, Jar-Jar," she lied reassuringly. "Now, if the- what is it, Panaka?" she asked, seeing her captain touch his earpiece with a look of deep concentration.
"The Jedi are on the holonews again," Panaka answered as he moved to turn the device on. It flickered on to show a droid reporter, riding in a gunship.
'We are currently in route with Coruscant Security to an active scene in one of the Industrial Sectors, alternately designated as The Flats or The Works. We have received reports that some sort of battle is taking place in The Works, with sightings of Jedi flooding in from all call lines in the area. We do not know the situation and so warn that this may be gr-!'
The feed cut off for a second, a rumbling heard in the background.
"What's going on?" Padme murmured, more to herself than anyone.
The feed returned to normal, revealing the droid was now setting itself back on its feet, holding tightly onto a line for balance. 'Apologies, viewers. We seemed to have experienced some short turbulence, but all is functioning normally now. We are approaching the scene.'
The view shifted as the gunship side door opened, revealing the nigh-abandoned realms of the Works. And, more importantly, several figures wielding lightsabers, standing next to a pit of some kind of liquid.
And one of those figures was Darth Vader himself
"What is he up to now?" Panaka murmured with a scowl.
"He's not fighting the Jedi though," Padme noted. It was a little hard to tell on the holovid from this distance, who the group was staring at, but it was definite that Vader was standing alongside the Jedi now.
The reporter droid came into the frame again to address the audience. 'As many viewers recall, there was an attack on the Jedi Temple mere hours ago by an unknown person, which many have coined as a Dark Jedi. The Temple has given no word on this event, nor why they abruptly allowed the attacker entrance to their temple after the fighting ended. It does appear that this figure is once more involved in a conflict with the Jedi, however- wait, wait. One moment, viewers, we are getting a better view on the individual the Jedi appear to have cornered. Amplifying image now.'
Padme watched with dread slowly pouring into her veins as the image pulled closer and closer to reveal that the center most figure, the one every Jedi was staring down...was none other than her own Senator.
"What...?" Padme breathed, feeling as if the floor had vanished under her. What did this mean? What was going on?
'Organics and Synthetics, it appears that...the Jedi have cornered none other than Sheev Palpatine, the Senator for Naboo. For what purpose, we can only- By my circuits, they're attacking him!' the droids exclaimed in surprise.
"But why so many...?" Panaka voiced, stunned by what he was seeing.
Some were no doubt already trying to paint this as some conspiracy by the Jedi themselves, but that didn't make sense. Why were some of the greatest Jedi there to kill one old man, out in the open, where anyone could see it happen? And why would Vader want to kill a senator?
'Wait, are they retreating? What is-' The droid paused as a glaring light filled the screen, right where Palpatine had been. 'I am sorry, viewers, but I am unsure what is-AHHHHHH!'
Everyone in the room leaned back as the droid, the officers, and even the ship itself seemed to scream as electricity clearly coursed through them, frying the bodies and the systems, freezing the feed as it ended.
"Uh-oh," Jar-Jar summarized, rather perfectly for once.
"What just happened?" Panaka questioned, looking to the Queen in surprise, wondering if she knew more than him.
Padme swallowed thickly. "I believe Darth Vader had more answers for us than he was willing to give," she said as she numbly took a seat, trying to process what she just saw and what it meant. For her, and for Naboo.
Their attention went to the window as they heard the thundering roaring in the distance.
Here in his death throes, Sidious had never felt so alive.
He had given up everything now truly. Even control. The storm was wild and untamed, propelled solely by the Dark Side itself. Nothing could stop it, save time itself. Because as the Dark Side poured through the rip in space-time, Sidious could feel himself slipping away more and more. Was that the virus still or was that just what was left of him fading into the Force?
He didn't know, but it certainly felt like the second. He didn't know when the Dark Side began and he ended now. He was in the wind, strong enough to rend metal and break bones. He was in the clouds that would blot out light and hope. He was in the lightning, the power that would reduce all in the wake of this storm to dust.
Oh, he had no delusion. He was but a specter now, here only to watch and hold open the tear. It was rather amazing, how easy it was to actually to create this. Well, easy for himself at least, being a natural at Force Lightning. Still, creating a Force Storm was easier than one might think, if they don't value their own life. He didn't need to protect anything, nor did he need to direct the storm in any way. He just had to let it grow and keep it from killing him before he expired on his own.
Not to say it wasn't hurting him. Oh, his fingers burned and tiny parts of him were burning away from the Force Lightning flying all around him. But he was numb to it, reveling in the sheer power of this beast he had unleashed. Ah, what it would have been like to wield this storm like a saber instead of a mere beast he had uncaged.
Oh well, he was far past caring how or when things went all wrong. He merely breathed deep in the death and despair that grew as the people of Coruscant looked out upon his creation.
This was who Darth Sidious was in his truest form.
A King of Beasts and a Storm of Death.
A sadist in the highest.
He was brought out of his enjoyment as the howling of the Dark Side grew quieter. With what awareness he had left, he looked down and saw that the tear was somehow...mending itself? No, no something was trying to force it to close.
He was not even surprised anymore. Focusing his sight through the Force, he searched for the culprit. It could only be Plagueis or Vader, only someone strong in the Dark Side could be so effective in this attempt.
Low and behold, he saw Vader; form braced and hunch slightly as he held his cybernetic hands together, as if holding a ball.
Vader looked up and, from across the Force, their gazes locked.
Sidious smirked and pulled the hole wider, even as the skin began to peel from his digits.
The Force imploded in Vader's hand, sending the Dark Lord flying backward off his feet and crashing into the ground.
"Vader!" Qui-Gon called in alarm, Vader slowly rising to his feet on his own.
"An impressive attempt, Vader," Plagueis admitted grimly, even as the metal protection around them began to tremble and shake before the fury of the Force Storm. "But it's impossible to close that so long as Sidious lives."
If Vader heard the Muun, he ignored him as he brought his hands forth, as if grasping the air itself and trying to drag it together.
Once more, the space around Vader seemed to groan and warp under his power. For while he and Sidious were separated by distance, in the Force, they were standing right in front of one another. Sidious's dark form both grinned and snarled as he refused to let his hold slip, while Vader's own monolithic signature tried to rip the very fabric of space-time from Sidious's grip.
Sidious let loose a manic laugh of triumph as his very bones became visible.
Vader coughed out a pained groan as he was sent flying once more, the covering of his gloves beginning to tear and shred.
"Vader, enough," Plagueis said with a sigh. "Even if you-"
"Leave if you wish. That goes for all you Jedi as well. Perhaps you will save some lives," Vader snapped coldly. As if to punctuate his point, a great bolt from the encroaching storm shot out and struck a building just outside the edge of the Works. "I will finish this regardless."
Vader could feel their stares, wondering why he was trying so hard to save the people of Coruscant. After all, he was still a Sith and didn't present himself as the type to truly risk his life for people he had no allegiance to, and had never met. Not without reason.
And they were right. But he had already done the math in his head. Sidious's storm, if left unchecked, would expand far enough to reach the Queen's Nubian starship and the 500 Republica.
In other words, it could kill Padme and Shmi.
"True, he speaks," Yoda agreed, looking to a restless Mace Windu. "Lead them you must, to save who you can. Here, I will remain."
"Master Yoda?" Dooku said in alarm, many ready to implore the old master to not remain here.
"Hold back the storm, I can. Buy time, for the planet and Vader, I shall," Yoda said firmly.
Plagueis said nothing, even as the Master of the Order gave him one last look of suspicion before nodding reluctantly. "May the Force by with you, Master Yoda," Mace Windu said solemnly before reluctantly adding another into that. "And you, Darth Vader."
The illusion of the Dark Lord watched as the Jedi made their leave before turning to Yoda. "You know this might kill even you, Grandmaster Yoda," Plagueis noted idly.
"One less to challenge you, you will have," Yoda countered knowingly.
Plagueis's ghostly form almost looked amused before vanishing.
Vader paid no mind to any of them as he held his stance, as he wrestled with Sidious and the Dark Side itself.
Truly, it was like trying to overpower a rancor without using the Force. It didn't help that the Dark Side was on Sidious's side in the Naboo-born Sith's final hour.
And why wouldn't it be? Sidious was unleashing the Dark Side in its purest form, and Vader? He was trying to cut it off from this world now. The Dark Side was a fickle thing, being both a generous patron and an unruly pet to its wielders. Lavishing them with power and abilities, while rebuking them at the first hint of weakness.
Or, in this case, when one wielder provided far more for it than another.
Oh, it had not abandoned him, Vader knew, but it would not bow to his whims this time and simply cease this Force Storm from existing. Not while Sidious was willing to throw away the last of his ties to the Force to keeping this vortex going.
That was why he had to make it stop, he had to wrangle down the Dark Side and crush Sidious in this moment.
Sidious snickered, and Vader was sure that the man's very face was losing its skin now, exposing bare flesh and even some of the jaw bones.
Vader felt the Force fighting against him once more, trying to send him flying and push back on his efforts. But he fought through it, keeping himself routed.
But he did pay for it.
Yoda turned in alarm at the pained voice of Vader. The Dark Lord stood there, his prosthetic arms now naked to the world. And worse yet, damaged. Yoda could hear and see the parts coming undone, being crushed and ruined under the strain of Vader's own efforts.
And blood dripped from the mouthpiece of the mask.
The Grandmaster did not move though. He couldn't. He was busy in his own battle against the storm, his hands raised as he managed to hold the vortex at bay. But he wasn't really stopping it, just causing it to grow in the opposite direction, into the abandoned industrial sector instead of the skyscraper landscape. If the storm reached there in full, there would be millions dead in minutes due to the sheer population density of Coruscant. He didn't even know what the Force Storm might be doing to the levels below the surface.
All he could do was delay the storm and hope that Vader could end this.
Vader ignored every alarm and warning that his suit's system gave off as the damage compounded itself. There was a genuine chance that this might kill him, here and now. Pragmatically, this was stupid and foolish. There was probably a better chance of him saving Padme and his mother by just going to them and getting them to safety.
It wasn't even pride or vindictiveness that made him continue to try. No, it was the simple fact that this was the best chance, realistically. Going to get his mother and Padme meant having to find them and hope they were where he thought that would be. If one of them strayed from the ship or the apartment, he'd never find them in time.
But if he eliminated the threat, the storm itself, then they were both safe.
And he wasn't about to-
Sidious scoffed at his Vader's most futile effort so far before forcing him back once more.
His mask cracked, the glass from one lens falling away as the time-traveler breathed heavily.
This time Sidious's counter had been accompanied by bolts of lightning leaping form the clouds in all directions. Yoda was forced to block and redirect them, but they were luckily unfocused and un-aimed. Unfortunately, it meant Yoda could no longer hold back the storm, having to form a barrier around himself and Vader this time.
Sidious cackled madly as he felt his body going numb. He was now only kept alive by the Dark Side itself, and even that would soon come to an end. But he delighted in knowing that, at least, Vader might be dragged down with-
"I hate you."
Sidious blinked. Whose voice was that, resounding in the force? That wasn't Vader's, surely. It sounded younger, more full of rage and untamed emotions than the cyborg. He narrowed his eyes as he perceived Vader's very presence in the force, fighting him once more for control of the rift.
But in the dark ocean that was Vader's power, Sidious spied something bright. Like a lighthouse in a storm. But it was not a hopeful glow one might think of from a Jedi, no. This brightness was red, and angry. It was hateful, and it spread like cracks in the dark armor that was Vader's monolithic presence in the Force.
"I Hate You!"
He had been wrong before. This...this was Vader, the truest hidden core of the Sith roaring to the surface in this fateful final battle. Like a hidden sea of lava, boiling to the surface of Vader's emotions.
Darth Sidious, with the Dark Side at his back, stared deep into the abyss of Vader's hatred. Hatred that bore back into him like a thousand red giants.
And Sidious swore, in that moment, that the Dark Side itself blinked, and stepped back before Vader's animus.
"I HATE YOU!"
It came from all sides now. The hatred, the spite, the loathing. It was like Vader was trying to crush him and the Vortex from all sides, attacking the Dark Side in his bloodlust. But Sidious grit his teeth and endured it. If he could outlast this, Vader would be spent. He didn't need to survive holding him off, he just had to make him use up all the strength he had left and be unable to close the rift. It would stay open for at least a full minute on its own, and Vader would be doomed by that. Perhaps even Yoda himself would fall to the storm.
He just had to-
Someone was here.
Not in the Works, but in the Force. Yet, it somehow felt like it was also in the Works and not in the Force, somehow.
Sidious turned in alarm and found himself staring into a pure light, a power in the Force that would one day rival even Vader's might. Uncorrupt, young, yet gifted.
Sidious had no time to dicipher what or who he was looking at. He had no time for anything, really.
For in that one distraction, he had lost.
Vader ripped through Sidious's grip and slammed the rift closed with a resounding echo in the Force.
Sidious could only stare in disbelief. He had no pain, no sensation to connect what just happened in reality to his awareness. He was only faintly conscious of his own body: barely clothed in rags, every inch of him covered in wounds scorched closed by the lightning of the Force Storm. Nothing about him was recognizable, as a Senator or a Sith.
He was in the eye of the storm. A dying storm, but a storm all the same.
He numbly wondered, did he have the strength to do that again? Even just a tiny one? Perhaps, if his hands weren't gone, reduced to mere stumps at the wrists. Even the small bones had been turned to ash...
Death was strange without pain, Sidious realized. He knew he was dying faster now, but he had no idea when he would be fully dead without pain as a context.
Was he even still standing? His legs should have given out by n-
He blinked as he glanced down, finding another reason to hate his lack of pain-receptors: he failed to realize there was a red lightsaber impaled in his chest.
With more confusion than shock, he looked over his shoulder. He didn't know who he expected at this point. It could have been a Jedi using one of his non-boobytrapped lightsabers to finish off the job. It could have been Plagueis. It could have been the one Jedi with a red lightsaber.
But no, of all people, it was the vengeful face of Darth Maul who stabbed him in the back.
Why? How did he even get through the storm?
It didn't actually matter, he realized, as Maul yanked out his saber before decapitating his head.
Thus ended Darth Sidious.
End of Chapter
Oi, yes, finally! I have been waiting YEARS to write Sidious's last stand with the Force-Storm. And yes, Sidious is officially dead and gone, and this battle over. To all of you that felt this dragged on: Of course the bastard would make this battle last as long as possible. Sidious is spiteful and petty, we know this. Still, yes, he's dead. I'm confirming that.
Vader, however, pushed himself to the very edge to stop Sidious in the end, digging deep into his hate for this. And that still only worked because Sidious was distracted. Than Maul comes in to put Sidious down. Seemed fitting enough, dying by the one he used as an attack dog.
The timeline is officially derailed, and if this doesn't prove Vader's changes don't always turn out for the best, I don't know what will.
Anyway, next chapter will focus a bit on the aftermath of...everything before we get back to worrying about Naboo.
Happy 4th of July!
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