"Elf?" Cosima called.
There was no response from Ocean other than -
"Shh, listen." said Ameh.
The two fairies fell silent and listened to the snore coming from another room. They grinned at each other and chuckled.
They chatted softly and got on with their day. Cosima made some coffee while Ameh checked the HQ system for incoming messages.
"Oh, hang on, now I know what's different around here," said Cosima, "Have you noticed things look a bit off?"
Yeah," said Ameh, "I just realized, that little Ben Kenobi figure is not on the sill, and neither is Luke." "Our Star Wars mugs are gone too." said Cosima. "I was gonna have a Jawa Java this morning, but the mug isn't there." "If somebody broke in here after all the new security measures we put in, we have a huge problem." said Ameh.
Cosima nodded, looking concerned. "Ocean's gonna flip when she finds out."
"Wow, this is interesting," said Ameh as she opened the message. "To Ocean Elf, from Sheev Of Tatooine."
"Sheev Palpatine!" Cosima stopped what she was doing and approached Ameh at the console. "What on earth would he want with Elf? Especially after - "
"Wait. The subject says 'My Apology'."
"Oh, sure, the nice guy act, again. Like that would work on her." Cosima scoffed, making a horrible face.
"Wait, this is a different Sheev." said Ameh, and continued reading the message.
"'Dear Ocean Elf
I don't blame you for being angry with me, you have every right to be. But please hear me out. I'm not going to make any more excuses for Anakin or come to his defence. I know you've heard more than you care to of that already. I do understand your distress at being spirited away to some strange place and how that alone must've made you feel.
After our regrettable argument yesterday afternoon, I took a long, hard look at myself, and I did not like what I saw. I heard you yesterday, but was not listening.
I am embarrassed at the way I acted toward you, and ashamed of my part in the little girl's treatment yesterday because of what Anakin wanted. I apologized profusely to her, and do to you as well, and promise you all that will never happen again.
I also learned that it was actually you who vanquished Sidious, not Anakin with your help as I previously believed. That makes me even more upset with myself for threatening to banish you from Tatooine for merely shouting at me, and thinking I had the right to dismiss you from 'your duties' just for uttering a few frightening words out of revulsion and desperation.
Punishing a raised voice at me with banishment? My gosh, Ocean, what in the world was I thinking!? If Anakin had yelled at me with the same intensity you did at that time, I wouldn't have done anything but gone along, in complete submission to him. I was already doing that, and you were rocking the boat, making me feel threatened and personally attacked. An attack on Anakin felt like an attack on me. And like a power-tripping idiot, I threatened you with banishment, oh Ocean, and all of Tatooine, please forgive me!
You are correct, Anakin is no saint. I looked up information on him and am appalled at the things he did when he was going under the name Darth Vader.
You warned me that returning to the dark side for him was not out of the question. Outwardly, I ignored you, inwardly, I scoffed. But I am doing neither any more. He went bananas last night, in a fit of temper, he even donned his old suit. He is displaying the behaviours of a bully who finally didn't get his own way.
What happened to us lately was this: Anakin kidnapped you, and he mind napped us. I only realized that long after our argument and my anger toward you faded into reflecting on my own actions and why I behaved so. Only then did I extricate my mind from the Anakin fog and look at things from a more balanced view point.
You are correct, Anakin is no saint. I looked up information on him and am appalled at the things he did when he was going under the name Darth Vader. They are too numerous and heinous to be brushed off like petty theft. Yes, there are those about who wish to completely absolve Anakin of any and all such things, but Palpatine chose Anakin as his number 2 man for a reason. He never would have done likewise with someone else such as Yoda, for instance. I can only give my word that this kind of thing will not go on while I am emperor. There will be no more purity judgment procedures on little kids, no trying to pressure you or anyone else into relationship, and certainly no torture will be allowed.
Ocean, there have been some new developments since you left, and you have a right to know about them.
But I can't express how sorry I am for the banishment threat, I completely take it back, and you are more than welcome to come back any time. If you don't feel up to excepting this from me in person, at least you have my word here in the message.
"No wonder she came back in such a state." said Cosima. Anakin Vader? Really? How in the world did he manage to kidnap Elf, of all people?"
"And this bit about a little girl," Ameh said.
Both fairies scowled, imagining some pretty bad scenarios.
They continued with their messages until Ocean Elf joined them, ready for the day and looking well rested.
The fairies greeted her and did small talk. No one dared to ask her about her time away because she had been so agitated the night before.
But she had her breakfast and drink, then checked messages.
Ameh and Cosima exchanged nervous looks when they saw their friend suddenly looking angry.
But Ocean's initial anger turned to confusion in a very short time, and she read Sheev's message. Confusion turned to laughing relief, and she was soon quickly typing out a reply.
"I can't believe it!" the elf laughed as she finished reading the letter, all grins. She began writing back.
The two fairies smiled, relieved.
But Ameh was still bothered by something. "What's that about a little girl?"
Elf looked at her.
"We read the message before you were here.
"It was a test that Anacreep Skywangster devised for her, and - "
The other two burst out laughing, and Ocean continued the explanation when it died down.
"He mind napped Sheev and Ben to help him set it up. She was supposed to be judged as pure enough to actually meet Anakin - now isn't that stupid?"
The two fairies made groans of disbelief and disgust.
"Yeah. It wasn't violent or sexual, just really dumb and terrifying for her. But - she wanted to meet Anakin when she arrived, even before they put her to the test."
"Why?" Cosima asked.
"Who knows? Who cares?" said the elf, rolling her eyes. "It's like Sheev said in that email, Vader mindnapped everyone. So Sheev is coming here shortly, and that he is actually free of Vader's control and willing to hear my side of things is a big relief. But I shudder to think what further developments there've been since we were at each other's throats yesterday."
"Oh by the way, was that you who got rid of all our Star Wars stuff?" Ameh asked.
"Yes," the elf confessed, looking sheepish, "it's all tucked away in various cabinets and cupboards. The way I'm feeling now, I don't want to see anything that reminds me of this abysmal fiasco, not until I have a chance to get over it a little."
"That's understandable." said Cosima. Ameh nodded.
"Thanks." said Ocean.
There was some typing back and forth apparently between Ocean Elf and Sheev, and finally, there was the doorbell.
Elf went to get it, and let him in.
Introductions were made.
"I'm glad, and surprised you'd even have me after what happened yesterday." Sheev said to Ocean Elf.
"I appreciated that message, and am relieved things are the way they should be between you and me again. After all, it was you who took me out to bring Shmi back."
Sheev's expression suddenly turned troubled. He tried to cover it with a smile, but the elf saw it.
"What's the matter.?" she asked.
"Ocean," Sheev said sadly, "I wasn't going to tell you this so early in our conversation, but the further developments I mentioned - one of them is - " he took a deep breath, and said, "Shmi - passed away some time during the night."
The elf's mouth fell open, and she looked confounded, then burst into tears.
"Shmi?" Ameh asked. "I thought she was dead a long time ago."
"So did we all, until Sidious was finally dealt with. I discovered her lying dormant, not dead, and with Ocean's elp awakened her the next day."
The elf got up abruptly and retreated to her room to try and compose herself.
"Sheev looked sad. "Contrasting her reaction with Anakin's, I sure misdirected my fury yesterday afternoon."
"What was his reaction?" asked Cosima.
"He blames Ocean for Shmi's death of all things. Even before that he - "
"Ocean spurned his advances."
What!?" Eww!" Ameh exclaimed.
Cosima grimaced, "So would I." She said.
"Oh, he wasn't overt about it," said Sheev, "but he had us all scheming, trying to get her sorry enough for him to consider a relationship with him."
"Eww!" Ameh exclaimed. Cosima grimaced.
That was her sentiment too, girls, she will not be his friend let alone future wife. She figured it all out when the little girl arrived, begging to see Anakin. The child was brought to show Ocean what a pure and fatherly figure Anakin was and that the child needed a father and a mother. Anakin was hoping Ocean would just slip neatly into the mother role, which would then give him easier access to her. He even had me trying to talk her into it. When she refused and left, Anakin caused a force storm over it last night. It appears Shmi's death may have been a heart attack, possibly due to sudden fright, like a loud thunder clap. But Anakin blames Ocean for making him hurt enough to cause the storm that could have frightened Shmi to death." Sheev looked disgusted as he filled the two fairies in on the details.
"So," Ameh said, rolling her eyes, "Anakin kidnaps Elf, then he or someone else talks her into destroying Palpatine for him a second time since he cheated death the first time when Anakin was supposed to have done it, and now Anakin expects her to be his girl? Oh, brother!"
"And where did Shmi fit into all of this?" asked Cosima.
"Shmi was Anakin's mother. She was, or we thought she was killed years ago. Tortured by sand people, and lay dying in Anakin's arms. He found her too late and she slipped away. Ben told me that Ocean Elf knew about this and she expressed such distress over it that when I discovered Shmi's suspended animation state after Sidious was obliterated, I knew Anakin's force must've kept her from actually dying. But Anakin was too obsessed with his suit and busy getting himself healed to care about anything else, so I took Ocean to bring Shmi back."
"But why Ocean? It's not like she has the force." said Ameh.
"She has it all right. Luke took a blood sample and - " Sheev paused, seeming surprised, "She didn't tell you?"
"She didn't say anything about that." said Cosima.
"Not even close." Ameh added. "She was so agitated when she came back yesterday that we couldn't get a thing out of her beyond yelling about her trip being nothing but an ignominy for her and the worst one she never volunteered to go on.
Sheev looked astounded. "Ignominy?" he repeated. Astounded turned to dismay. "I am so sorry." he said.
Cosima continued. "We didn't want to bring it up this morning either, and she didn't mention it until she read your message. Even then, she said nothing about having the force. Wow!"
Sheev nodded. "I wouldn't have cared about that any more either if I was in her situation. Ben told me her midichlorian count if through the roof. So that's why she could help revive Shmi. I wanted that for Shmi as much as Ocean did. We all thought Anakin would make up for lost time with his mother, but he must've persuaded her to feel sleepy all day. With her napping and out of the way, he started in on us, the little girl, and me, It must have been all to persuade Ocean toward him."
"Gross!" said Cosima.
"Well," said Sheev, "Ocean can fill you in on more of it when she's up to it, I wasn't there for much of what went on, but when I arrived, I felt my own thought process and self-will being eroded into what Anakin wanted, especially since yesterday morning. It's no excuse, and you can fight it off, or allow yourself to let the other person control you. Anakin is going to go crazy when he finds out that on top of Ocean's rejection, Ben and I have combined to resist his attempt at mind-manipulation on us.""
"Ben too?" Ocean said, coming back into the room.
"Yes. He and I had a long discussion about what's been happening. Even he agrees that Anakin is way out of line and using very unethical means of getting people to cooperate with his whims. Ocean, he messed with our minds so much that by the time you and I had that row, I, and Ben and who knows who else, were utterly convinced that you were the odd one out because you were in the wrong, because you snubbed Anakin and hurt his feelings. But that is utterly ridiculous. Worse than ridiculous. That I was prepared to try coercing you to be Anakin's dutiful wife regardless of your own feelings, against your will, because Anakin actually imposed his will on my mind to such an extent, disgusts and terrifies me. I had to be away from Anakin and calm myself down to finally start registering what you were trying to say to me. And now, I'm here to listen, without judgment, and I meant what I wrote in that message. I am sorry for that banishment threat, and will never threaten that against the destroyer of Sidious and Slender Man, ever again."
"I'm sorry for threatening to deluge your residence too, and will never do such a thing - unless you turn to the dark side."
""Truce?" Sheev held out his hand.
"Truce." the elf agreed, and shook his hand. "So, you know about Slender Man?"
"Yes. "That's why it was you Tatooine wanted to help end Sidious once and for all."
"And I did it for Tatooine, not for Anakin." said Ocean. "But from the time I got there, all I heard was Anakin. It was as if he was the only victim of Palpitations Insidious and the crown jewell of the whole planet!"
Sheev couldn't help himself from chuckling at the elf's mangling of Palpatine's name and title.
The fairies broke out into loud laughter.
The elf giggled and grinned, then continued.
"It wasn't all bad," she said, "I don't regret ending Lord InSidious at all, and the surprise at Shmi's return was - well, you know how touching that was." she looked really sad again.
"I agree. I'm so sorry about her too, Ocean." He reached out a hand and touched her arm in a comforting gesture.
The elf did not pull away or rebuff him with a force field. She just hung her head and shed a few more tears.
Cosima approached and gave her a tissue, and rubbed her back. "I'm sorry too." she said.
"What were some of the things you liked about Tatooine, if you don't mind me asking?" Sheev asked gently. Maybe a change of subject would help the elf to regain her composure again and they could talk more.
Ocean replied through sniffles as she tried to pull herself together. "Getting a look around at the areas of the compound I was staying in. The droids up close and personal instead of just seen on a movie screen. Actually trying to handle a light sabre. I'm crap at it, but it's still fun. I liked Yoda, and Ben...when they weren't saying Anakin's name. I enjoyed meeting Luke and Leia, and training with them, and especially when we were just chatting outside of training."
Sheev noted that everything the elf mentioned had nothing to do with Anakin/Vader. And she continued.
"I liked you too, before you were Anakinized yesterday, which made me wonder who you were and what you had done with Emperor Sheev. But as long as you and the others will stop trying to Anakinize me, I'd like to start things over with you, on my next visit, at my own free will."
"You got it!" Sheev said with a broad smile.
Just then, there was an extremely loud, destructive crash.
"What the heck!?" Ameh exclaimed. Cosima made an outcry. Ocean gasped and jumped up, then headed to where the sound came from.
As they all went to investigate, they heard a roaring male voice bellow, "Ocean Elf!"
That was followed by the elf shouting back "You basilisk! How dare you show your wretched face here!?"
"Oh, no, he's really gone nuts." Sheev said.
"Anakin..." Cosima supposed.
"None other." Sheev said.
"You killed my mother and you're gonna be sorry for breaking my heart!" Anakin ranted.
"What heart?" The elf shot back. "You're crazy!"
"Anakin!" Sheev said sternly, "Ocean was not even there when your mother died. She was gone before dinner, and your mother was with us in the dining room."
"well, if it was a heart attack from being startled, the storm wasn't my fault!"
"But it was. Ocean was not there to cause it." said Sheev.
"But she caused it because she hurt me worse than the scrubbing!"
"Oh, don't pull that crap again!" the elf said in disgust. "Your life sucked, so did a lot of your choices, but like I said to Sheev yesterday, I don't owe you a damn thing! So ditch that freaking stupid suit, you don't need it any more, you got healed! Remember?"
"Since you're so tough, I challenge you to a light sabre dual!" Anakin ranted.
"Consider it rejected!"
"Oh, look, finally something Ocean Elf is scared of!" he taunted.
"I'd rather be a live coward than a dead fool!" she shot back. "Besides there being no light sabers here, the idea of challenging such a newbie is actually cowardly on your part, Darth Invader!"
Anakin yanked off his helmet and glared at the elf. Then he put it back on again. "I brought two light sabers with me so you can't back out."
"I never accepted to begin with. Your challenge is rejected, and that's final!"
"May I have a look at those sabers for a moment, Anakin?" Sheev asked gently, "I think I see a defect in one of them and just want to be sure."
Anakin agreed, and moved through the bits of wreckage from the damage he caused, to hand the swords off to Sheev. Then he backed away from him and approached Ocean, who moved away, making a motion of disgust.
Sure Anakin was no longer within reaching distance, Sheev through first one sword, then the other. As they were in mid air, they disappeared.
"So it was all for nothing!" Anakin ranted bitterly at Ocean.
"Well aren't you the ungrateful angsty brute?" she replied acidly. "Insidious is dead, you're healed, Sidious's bad laws are about to be changed to outlaw torture, and you're just sore because I won't be your Mary Sue!"
Just then, Anakin glanced at Sheev. "Where did those sabers go?"
"I sent them back to Tatooine. I do not want anyone getting hurt." he replied.
"I'm already hurt! By her!"
"Oh, boo-hoo!" The elf mocked. "Look at him, always the victim!"
"Anakin, Ocean, enough!" Sheev raised his voice. Then he continued. "That's not the same, Anakin, and you know it!"
Anakin looked at Sheev in disbelief. "I thought you said you were going to talk sense into her!"
"In my mistaken and muddled mind, I did say those words to you, but I ended up doing no such thing."
"Because she still won't listen! She still doesn't understand me!" Anakin railed.
"There is a difference between understanding and actually agreeing or being sympathetic." said Ocean. "I understood Mr. Insidious too, but that sure as heck didn't mean I liked him! And now it's time you understood something besides drowning in self-pity!"
"I'm not! What I went through was real!" Anakin shrilled. I showed you to make you understand me better!"
"No, you showed me because you wanted to school me, make me feel absolutely terrible for you!"
"That's not why I did it, I even apologized for you seeing me that way!" Anakin protested.
"Lip service!" Ocean countered. "Why don't you just admit it? You wanted to 'correct' me and make me understand it all your way, which means agree with you completely. It was like you were the school master and I was a student - and you have no right treating me that way! If it was only a matter of wanting me to help you end Palpatine, you wouldn't have brought up the subject of your precious stupid painful suit every freaking chance you got!
"Do you think I liked being in that suit?" Anakin accused.
"Yes! the elf finally shouted angrily. "It gave you the means to play with my emotions so you thought you could push and pull me in any direction you pleased, from ending Palpatine, which was only one small step to what you really were going for - marry any girl who destroyed Palpatine and pretend she did it all for you! Then you could say 'Oh look at me, I have Ocean Elf as my wife, she's the one who killed the guy who totally wrecked my life, now ain't that special'?"
"I don't know how you can say this after all we've been through!"
"All you put me through!" the elf corrected sharply. "There is no we, Anakin, there never was - "
"And there never will be! Get it?"
"Sheev, tell her!"
"No, Anakin, she has the right to tell us how she feels, since none of us we're really listening until now. Go ahead, Ocean."
"Fine!" Anakin sulked. "Who cares about all the pain I suffered - "
"Oh, shut it!" Ocean said with a snarling shout, stamping her foot. "One more word about your freaking pain and I'll end it with a wave!"
"Never mind the waves, just tell us your experience, Ocean." Sheev said calmly but firmly.
"You know he stuck some kind of portal on this property that set off the security alarm. I went to check things out and found no disturbance, but ended up in and through the portal to Tatooine. Now this was between three and four in the morning over here. I didn't know how to get back, or if I could. Furthermore, I was told I couldn't go back until Sidious was gone - a man who I had thought was already dead, so that was confounding."
"Using the dark side of the force to cheat death." Anakin said.
"Well anyway, the first person I was confronted with over there was him, and all he wanted to do was drone on and on about his stupid suit and - "
"Stop calling it a stupid suit!"
"Anakin and Ocean," Sheev intervened.
Ocean continued, quieter, but no less agitated. "well I've had more than enough of being anxious and distressed over my loved ones having some kind of pain or condition or other. Things are finally doing well for the lot of us after so many years of that. My parents are aging, but they are doing better with the correct treatments for their conditions, same for my sisters, and I'm finally doing well emotionally. So I really don't want to be hearing any more about people in pain that I can't do anything about, especially stories of past pain that should've been long over. But Anakin just kept on and on about that freaking suit and wouldn't take the hint to just shut up about it. He never went to pieces about it before, he was too busy causing everybody else pain and being smug about his exploits. And he was the last person I ever wanted to see on Tatooine anyway. So that didn't help. Even when he took me to meet Ben and Yoda, we had dinner, and the two of them explained the Sidious mission and why they wanted me for it, and they demonstrated some uses of the force which amazed me. They told me I could ask them any questions I might have. And then he - " she made a jabbing gesture in Anakin's direction, "started in again with 'if you want to ask me about my suit I'll gladly tell you all about it, though it is a tale not to be told' and whatever blah blah blah - ARGH! The only reason I didn't just run out right there and then is because I didn't want to appear rude. But I couldn't help snapping back because I just had it. How much longer was I expected to be there? How much longer would I have to put up with him jawing on and on and on - and - on, about that infernal suit and all his suffering? Would I ever get back home? Would my friends and family still even be there!?" At this, the elf sent Anakin such an acid glare that if looks could kill, his face would've melted off. "No one," she said in a low menacing tone that shook with emotion, "will ever get away with doing that to me again, not even if they are someone I actually like!"
"But it was the only option - " Anakin tried making his excuse again and was cut off.
Fixing Anakin with a baleful stare, "Do - you - understand - me!?" the elf said in such a severe tone that even Anakin finally wavered, appearing to take the hint at last.
He nodded. "Sorry." he mumbled.
"And I'm not finished yet," said the elf more quietly but still dead serious. "Even Yoda was Anakinized."
"Ana - Anakinized!?" Anakin sputtered. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"How so?" asked Sheev.
"The night he showed me to my room, he made sure I would be comfortable, and his parting words weren't just 'Learn from Tatooine you will' or 'Learn many different things you will' oh, no. It was, get this - 'Learn from Anakin you will'!" She threw a punch in midair that was accompanied by a shouting growl.
"Oh, goodness." said Sheev. "Now I see the reason behind your outbursts at me yesterday."
"I didn't think Anakin qualified to teach me things, I didn't wanna learn anything more from him, I'd had enough of him on that first night and be damned if I was going to be some little cog fitting neatly into whatever part of life Anakin thought he could lay out for me!" Then her voice took on a mocking perky sing-song tone "Well, the next day," she said as if she was narrating the cheesiest kindergarten level program ever, "I did learn something from Anakin, I got to hear him scream in pain - oh, what fun! We just happened to be going by in the hospital section when that was going on. Funny little coincidence, huh?" Voice became hard again. That put me out of sorts for the rest of the day," she glared at Anakin, "just as you planned it!" Tone becoming mocking sweet, "I bet that was absolute music to your ears when I came back and apologized for brushing you off the night before. You must've thought you still had a chance with me after all. Well, it doesn't work that way, mister!"
Anakin couldn't do anything to stop the flow of words that seemed to bring all his machinations out in the open, revealed for what they were.
"They told me it was a once a month procedure, but the next day they told me I should just go ahead and eliminate Sidious because Anakin was being scrubbed again. That's when I really started to be quite sure something hinky was up. So, that was done, and when I came back, Abra cadabra! Anakin was healing on his own to a point. But he ordered me like some errand girl to go find a medical droid, and find him a new emperor too. Like what the heck was I going to do to accomplish that? The droid I could possibly do, but I was sick of him bossing everyone around, and talking down to me with this 'I hope this will help you better understand me' crap! Oh, he hit me with that one when I was in there apologizing for my remarks from the first night.
"I don't boss everyone around!" Anakin retorted.
"Yes you do, you probably just don't realize it and neither does anyone else because they're so used to it!" said the elf, and continued with her story. "So then," she said, looking at Sheev, "suddenly you showed up out of nowhere, sir. I didn't know what to make of it. But I'll tell you something, if you had not said everyone including me would be invited to your instalment ceremony, I would've been gone from Anakin's world like a bat out of hell that night!"
"So the next day, you and I brought Shmi back and we had the celebration of that and the end of a bad regime."
"And my healing, don't forget that." said Anakin.
"Yes, yes," the elf said impatiently, "your healing too, and that you shed your suit completely for all to see, yada yada yada! Lucky you had some duds underneath or that would've made for a really embarrassing scene."
Everyone but Anakin laughed.
"That's not funny!" he bellowed.
"Then came the disasterous day after," said Sheev. I was so blind."
"Everyone was," said Ocean, "Except maybe Leia. I think she and I could have really got along. Luke was definitely Anakinized. He kept calling himself and Leia 'the Skywalker twins' and though they are biological twins, Leia sees her adoptive father as more of a father and - "
"That's enough! Leave them out of it!" Anakin suddenly shouted at the elf.
"You brought that on yourself!" she snapped back, then looked around at the others as she continued. "So then came the little girl, and she was carrying on for Anakin like a lost puppy. I had absolutely no doubt it was more kidnapping and big mind napping going on, and what really took the cake was that ludicrous judgment thing, and then Sheev bawling me out for not orbiting around Anakin like everyone else was, including that I would be breaking his heart if I didn't give a relationship a chance. At the time, he saw nothing wrong with Anakin kidnapping me from my home, a terrible violation of my most basic human rights. But he threatened to banish me for merely saying I would kill Anakin if he tried that again. Then I was out of there. And that's what happened." Then she stared at Anakin. "Now, understand this, Darth Invader, - *YOU AND ME WILL NEVER HAPPEN! Besides the fact there is torture commission in your past, there is a guy in my own home world who is the only one I ever had any feelings for in that way, and whether or not he and I ever get together doesn't matter right now. But he is my type. You are not!"
Anakin was crying by this time, tears of rage and wounded pride.
Sheev walked slowly over to him and put a hand on his shoulder, then looked him in the eyes. "Anakin, you're so busy being upset at the idea that you can't have Ocean for your wife or even a friend. I know Ben has already tried talking to you about that. But it's clear to me that you do not love her either."
"Yes, I do." Anakin blubbered.
The elf made a disgusted grunt and scowled.
"No, you do not." Sheev insisted. "You wanted to possess her, and unlike those of us around you lately, she would not be possessed. You were trying for an unhealthy codependent relationship, with Ocean's role as someone who made you happy and proud, regardless of how she might feel. If you really loved her, it would not happen in just a few short days, you would have respected her wishes and stopped trying to make her feel bad about your suit. You might have even tried to understand why she didn't want to talk about it. You would not have implanted your own ambitions into our minds to use us, people she respects, to force her to give you what you want. You do not love her, you don't even love us. You want to conquer her. And Anakin, this Ocean will not be conquered."
"Shut up, Sheev!" Anakin shouted.
"Neither will this future emperor be shouted at. I will threaten you with the same punishment I did Ocean yesterday for shouting at me. Do that again, and you will be banished."
There was a deafening silence.
It was Ocean who spoke up.
"I thought you were never going to do *that* again, even if it is directed at Anakin this time."
Sheev grinned sheepishly at the elf. "You are right. I will never dole out such a draconian punishment for a mere shout. But at least it got his attention."
"So what is the punishment for shouting at the emperor?" Cosima asked.
"Other than maybe a shout back, nothing unless the shout is a deliberate act of contempt, along with some other action. And Ocean, you will be unbanishable unless you turn to the dark side."
The elf smiled broadly. "Thank you! Now, I can finally make peace with you, Your Majesty."
"You are welcome, Ocean." Sheev smiled back happily. "And you and your friends here, are welcome at my instalment ceremony. Please do consider that an invite."
"We will come if we can., said the elf, "thank you."
"Oh, Anakin's gone." said Ameh.
"I thought I saw him slink away in the trees over there," Cosima indicated the direction.
"He better not be planning to skulk around here and pretend to be Slender Man at night to try freaking me out," said Ocean, "it won't work, and he'll get himself into a load of trouble."
If he does, he'll be in trouble with me as well, for violating an intergalactic restraining order." said Sheev. "After all he put us and you through, I will forbid him from having any contact with you, or using anyone else to get to you on his behalf, until such a time that you say different."
Really!?" Ocean squealed, looking for all the world like a kid who had just received the best birthday or Christmas gift in their life.
"Yes, really." Sheev confirmed. "Now, I should see where that boy got too. Thank you ladies, for having me, and for your willingness to listen and give me a second chance, Ocean. There's just one more thing I must try, and hope it'll work here before I go."
With that, Sheev stared at the broken door Anakin had kicked in.
"Oh, dear. I'm so sorry about that. I just tried to fix your door."
"Oh, that's no problem," said Cosima, who magically put the pieces back together and in place.
"Wow!" Sheev said, astonished. When he recovered, he said, "Still, Anakin owes you for the damage. I'll work it out and see that you are paid the next time we meet."
"Thank you." said the elf.
The girls and the emperor said their goodbyes, and Emperor Sheev returned to Tatooine, and the girls returned to their regular activities at Mission HQ.