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The Returned Past And The Clouded Future

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He wasn't noticed when he entered the room.

After all, it was the middle of a ball and people were constantly coming in and out of it.

His presence was finally noticed when he crossed the dance floor, continuing his stride across the room, not stopping to great anyone from the guests.

His tall, broad stature caught the eye, but his high cheekbones and dirty blond curls kept the gazes on him.

The dark and elegant suit gave him an air of importance, although it might have been the man himself that was projecting it.

The attention of the Emperor's high court was stubbornly glued to the tall man who hadn't for a moment slowed down his pace.

The gazes, varying from calculating to dreamy didn't seem to bother the man.

The man's attention was glued to the small wrinkled figure sitting on the throne talking with one of his Moffs.

Finally, the Emperor turned his head towards the person who had caused the wave of interest and caution to manifest in his throne room.

The only sign that something of great importance had happened was the slight widening of those sickly yellow eyes.

The same eyes the man in black had.

Later when recalling the situation many would try to make heads or tails as to why some people thought he had the bluest eyes they have ever seen, while others swore up and down he had the eyes of sulfur and liquid gold.

But that was later, now the whole room had quieted down, with only a few whispers breaking the silence.

The man finally reached the throne and the old man sitting in it.

When two pairs of yellow eyes met, something happened unexpectedly by the audience.

The blond man fell on his knees, saying something only the Emperor and those close to the throne heard.

Palpatine's smile appeared once again albeit a bit strained.

"Ah, I am glad you could make an appearance tonight, Lord Vader," the Dark Lord said his voice echoing through the ballroom making sure that even the guests in the furthest part of the room could hear it.

"I was left with the impression that you couldn't come due to an injury," the Emperor asked, seemingly oblivious to the shock, fear, and curiosity that resonated in the Force.

Darth Vader rose on his feet "My mission was a success."

The sound of the monotone diction of the Supreme Leader of the Imperial Navy combined with a surprisingly melodic voice with a slight outer-rim accent, left no doubt that the speaker was the Sith Lord himself.

"The pirates were executed and the goods returned. While inspecting the spoils, I found some of them very interesting. I believe they will interest you"

Several people chocked on their drinks, hearing the amusement in the man's voice.

Palpatine wasn't one of them.

The Emperor, whose words were barely loud enough even for Vader to hear, asked "This could have been said over a report, Lord Vader. And while I might find interest in the matter, I do not wish to discuss this now. Why don't you enjoy the evening?"

Every Moff in close proximity trained their ears on the conversation. Tagge wasn't even trying to hide the fact that he was eavesdropping.

A fact that was clear to the Emperor if his expression was anything to go by.

Sighing, Vader lowered his head in sign of submission.

"I need to verify certain information. Master, I am asking for permission to use your personal library. It's of great importance and I need to do so immediately."

Sidious' eyes narrowed in suspicion, searching for deceit in Vader's words.

The dark sun that Vader was in the Force hadn't changed at all, unlike his physical appearance.

If his apprentice hadn't been kept in the dark about certain abilities provided by the Dark Side, he would have thought he had cloned himself. Vader had also mentioned objects of importance that could have been responsible for his new appearance.

That at itself could have been a lie, but he remembered Anakin Skywalker. His inability to lie was one of the characteristics Palpatine hadn't tried to change over the years he had known the boy.

After decades of wearing the mask, his apprentice's facial expressions were like reading children's datapad.

Effortless.

Another matter was the fact that he hadn't even mentioned to his apprentice the possibility of transferring one's energy to a new, younger body.

Still, Vader's real intentions remained hidden and his apprentice was once again in his prime, bristling with power.

Emperor Palpatine reached through the Force, demanding to see why the present was so different from the future he once saw oh so long ago.

The future was unreadable for him and he could do nothing to see the events in order and no matter how hard he bowed the Force to his whim, he couldn't see anything more than several space battles and bits and pieces of dialogues.

He returned to his body and opened his eyes meeting the golden gaze of his apprentice.

The future was unclear and everything was tied to the man in front of him.

Sidious smiled widely, the temperature around him dropping drastically, causing shivers to travel down to the spines of his court.

"We will see, Lord Vader. As you surely know, the future holds answers for everyone who wishes to find them"

Well, Darth Sidious had always liked a challenge.