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The Bargain

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Chapter One: The Reunion

Padmé awoke to her body hurting. A headache pounded in her temples, behind her eyes, and on the back of her head. Her body felt stiff and ached from having not moved in a while. She slowly started to move her limbs, but found that they reacted sluggish. She felt heavy, even her eyelids. It took effort to open them, and she only managed to open them a small amount.

She sluggishly glanced around her surroundings. She was laying on her side, and she was in a small room, possibly a closet. Only now did she start to feel the cold metal under her. The room had some metal shelving against two walls, but the shelves were empty. The room was dimly lit by a red light in the ceiling. She glanced down and noticed she was wearing a grey flight jumpsuit. Had she been piloting a ship?

Padmé again tested her limbs and found that her arms were bound behind her back. She pulled at the constraints, but found her arms weak. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths. She needed to clear her head. She must have been drugged. She tried to think back to what happened before she awoke, but found her headache kept her from concentrating too much.

She felt the footsteps vibrating through the floor before she heard them. Two or three people were walking closer to her. The steps stopped at what Padmé guessed was the door, which was located behind her. There was a swishing noise and Padmé could feel the air brush against her hair as the door opened. A bright light filled the room. Though Padmé wasn't looking directly at the light, it still hurt her eyes. She squeezed them shut.

None of the individuals said anything. But she heard the steps entering the room and felt the hands grab her. She was harshly dragged up. She then noticed there was some sort of restraints on her legs. Each ankle had a large binder on and a cable connected the two. It was long enough that Padmé would be able to walk, but she would only be able to take small steps. She wouldn't be able to run.

Her captors dragged her along a short hallway into a larger room. They released her arms and Padmé fell on to her knees. Her headache had gotten worse from the sudden movement, and her eyes were still blurry as they struggled to adjust to the bright lights. From what she could see she could tell she was in a ship of sorts. A smaller one. Ahead of her was the loading ramp. The ramp was down, but there wasn't much to tell where it lead to. All she could see was smooth gray metal floor stretching out.

Padmé turned her head as she thought one of her captors had said something. Yet then something was pulled over her head. She panicked a bit. She found her breathing quickly escalated. Then she realized some sort of white cloth bag had been placed over her head. It pooled around her shoulders making it so she couldn't see down to her feet. Her breathing slowed, but her the sense of panic did not.

The hands grabbed her again on the arms. They pulled her up. This time she got her feet under her. She staggered forward as she was taken down the loading ramp. She was having a hard time getting a proper pace down. Her legs still felt weak. She herself still felt dizzy. She easily tripped due to the cable connecting her legs. However her captors never slowed. They just kept pulling her along, even if it was more dragging than pulling.

Padmé tried to keep a mental map of where they were leading her. If she could escape then she could find her way back. If not back to the ship she was on earlier, then surely to the hangar it was kept in. Yet she quickly found herself lost. For one her constant tripping had disoriented her. Secondly, they were walking quite a bit.

They took several turns and two lifts. In the lifts her captors let her sag down onto her knees. Their grips were a bit looser, but she knew there was no point in trying to break free in the lift. In truth, Padmé enjoyed the small rests the lifts provided. It allowed her to catch her breath and gave her body a chance to collect itself.

Yet again the hands would dig into her arms and drag her on. There was no talking amongst her captors. She knew there were more than just the two dragging her. At least one in front and possibly another behind her. Suddenly they stopped. She heard the sound of someone typing into a keypad and the sound of a door opening.

They dragged her into the room a short distance before they released her. She instantly sagged down to her knees. She felt hands grab at her hand restraints. There was clicking noise, and her hands came free. It was short lived before her arms were forcibly crossed tightly across her back. Then something was pulled over her head and across her chest. It was made of heavy fabric. It was quickly pulled in tight. It locked her arms uncomfortably behind her. She found it hard to breath.

Next they undid the cable connecting her ankle binders. However, they didn't undo the binders. Her ankles instead were pushed together. She heard the clicking sound as the ankle binders were locked together. She then heard a second clicking sound. Someone pushed against her ankles and she felt a sharp tug. The binders had been secured to something on the floor.

Then she heard the footsteps walk away from her heading the way she had come in. The door shut. She stayed quiet and still, but there was no other sounds. She was alone. She shifted her knees so she could handle her weight better. Padmé took a mental stock of her current situation. Her arms were pinned behind her back. Her ankles bound together and locked to the floor. The white bag still hung on her head.

First she would need to get the bag off. She didn't recall them tying it it on, so it should be simple to wiggle it off. As she thought of the best way to do that, she heard a door open. It wasn't the door behind her. The one she had come through. The one her captors had left from. It was in the other direction, from in front of her. She heard steps approaching. She could make out it was only person.

The feet suddenly stopped right in front of her. Then she felt someone grabbing at the bag and it was ripped off. Padmé blinked as her eyes adjusted.

"Hello, my love," a deep voice said.

Padmé flinched back, but it only made the binders dig into her. She almost lost her balance, but she regained herself. She could feel the hatred burning inside of her.

"You!" she spat. Only now did she get a good look at him. Standing in front of her was her husband. Her heart skipped a beat. He was mostly as she remembered him. Tall, long dark blonde hair, a scar above his right eye. He no longer wore the Jedi robes. He wore all black well tailored clothes. One hand was gloved in black leather, while the other was free. His lightsaber was clipped to his belt.

"Is that how you welcome your husband?" he said. He crouched down and grabbed her chin with his mechanical hand. Padmé tried to flinch away, but his fingers only dug in tighter.

"Let go of me!" she said between clenched teeth. He chuckled. Her rage and anger boiled inside of her. She wasn't going to back down. She wasn't going to cower. She stared right into him. The biggest physical change in him was his eyes. They were no longer the piercing blue they had once been, but an almost glowing yellow with a red tinge next to the pupil.

"I've missed you, my wife," he said in a low amused and sensual voice. In a quick movement, almost too fast for Padmé to track, his lips were against hers. He pressed violently into her. She took a shocked breath through her nose, thankfully not parting her lips for him. Her gut reaction was to strike him, but her arms only pulled against their restraints. So she finally opened her mouth and bit onto his lips, hard.

He pulled back. Blood escaped a wound on his mouth. But he only smiled. He brought up his flesh hand and wiped away the blood.

"You know for attacking me, I could have you executed," he said. The amusement had not once left his voice.

"Then do it!" she hissed at him. Again he moved too fast for her to follow. He moved to grab her hair at the base of her neck. He pulled it back and she let out a small yelp.

"You forget your place, my wife," he snarled. For the first anger and darkness lashed into his words. His true colors coming out. "Your place is by my side. You belong to meEverything you are belongs to me." His voice was low this time, more calm. "And I would never let anything come to harm you."

Except you, she thought to herself. She took no solace in his words. Perhaps five years ago she might had found them comforting. A sweet promise from her love. But now they seemed like a threat.

He let go of her hair and stood up. She finally got a look at the room. The room was dimly lit. It was a sparse empty rectangle made of dark metal. There was only chair about a meter in front of her. Behind the chair was a door. There was him and her, and that was it. She shifted once again testing the restraints. They held.

Her husband paced over to the chair. He turned and looked at her. His body language read that he was relaxed and at ease. Once again the smile played across his face. That sadist, she thought, He's enjoying this.

"It's time for you to be where you belong, with me," he said.

"Never!" she shouted. "You can keep me locked up here, but don't you think I'll ever love you again. Don't you think I'll ever let you touch me again."

He laughed. "Didn't I just do that?" he said. She struggled against her restraints again. She would attack the man if she could. She would quickly pull the trigger to a blaster aimed as his heart. She would slash his throat if given a knife.

"As much as I enjoy seeing you like that," he purred. Padmé believed he did get off on this. "I'd much rather have a willing wife."

"Tch," she said, but otherwise did not respond to his goading.

"I understand this new situation is a bit of an adjustment," he said. His eyes were half lidded as he looked down on her. "I'll give you some time to rest. Think it over." He turned and walked away to the door beyond the chair. The door swished open. He paused, turned and look at her. A smile crept across his lips before the door slid shut.

There was scream building inside of her throat. She wanted to let it lose, but she swallowed it down instead. She imagined he was still lurking behind the door or watching her through some hidden holocameras. She wasn't going to give him any pleasure of her anger. Instead she took a few deep breaths through her nose.

She sank down, allowing her body to rest on her lower legs. It wasn't comfortable. Already she could tell the circulation would be cut to her lower legs and feet. Yet with her ankles locked together and to the floor, there weren't many comfortable positions she could take. She did think about allowing herself to fall over on to her side. While it would get her weight off her legs, it would make her slow to get up. So she kept in her current position.

First she let her mind wander about how to free herself. She tested the restraints on her arms. The tight heavy materials felt like it was laced with durasteel. However they had tightened, it had been done in the back. Her arms were successfully pinned against her back. There was no weakness in the ankle binders either. She craned her neck over her shoulder, trying to get the best look at them. She could tell they were thick durasteel as well. Even if she had her arms free, she didn't know how she'd get her legs free without any tools.

She glanced around the dark room. It looked like no other cell she knew of. Even if it wasn't originally a cell, it currently was. She had no doubt he had taken extra precautions. She didn't notice any door controls by the door. She glanced into the corners to see if there any hidden cameras, but didn't spot any.

She let out a deep sigh. Her frustration and anger still rolled around in her. How could she let herself be caught? Truthfully she always figured it was a matter time before the two met again. One day her luck would run out. He'd outsmart her. She was hoping she'd have more time before that time came.

She closed her eyes and thought back to how this situation came to be.