A low moan echoed throughout the chamber as the maintenance station on the platform that had suffered so in the raging battle broke free of its moorings and slid over the slanted surface. Ripping through the thin rails, the console smashed into the Borimai glass creating a larger wound in the once elegant dome.
The ever shifting weight too much to bear, a deck support shuddered and bent with a terrible growl sending the platform crashing into the jagged edge of the dome. Thick blue shards sliced through the floor plating as if it were nothing. A long, narrow piece ripped into Anakin's mechanical arm. Crying out in surprise, he released his hold of Obi-Wan.
Under the savage rain of glass, the Jedi threw his arm across his face protecting it from the barrage of tiny explosions that blew all around him. Sensing Anakin's movement, Obi-Wan peered under his dingy sleeve just in time see him dive toward the center of the now bowed platform.
Dark power swelled around the younger man as he swept his blue blade about with deadly intent. Anakin burned bright with rage as he drew the shadowy energy to him. Catapulting off the bent deck plating, he lunged for the Jedi.
The ginger haired man threw himself backward just as the other bore down. Rolling back, Obi-Wan kicked out redirecting Anakin's momentum and in a fluid motion tossed the youth over him.
The instant he had gone into motion, he recognized his mistake. Anakin flew over the damaged railing just as Obi-Wan whirled about and launched himself at the rail.
The young man's lightsaber clattered across the damaged deck plating.
Anakin cried out at the sudden halt to his fall. The rail moaned and bent under the Jedi's weight as he struggled to hold on to the younger man's arm. Blood that had flowed so freely over torn flesh from the wire injury made it even more difficult for Obi-Wan to get a good grip as Anakin slipped further through his fingers.
"Give me your hand," the Jedi demanded through gritted teeth not wanting to waste any more energy than he had to.
Anakin tried to raise it but the damaged servos did not respond quite as they should. His head shifted limply to the side revealing a deep laceration on the back where he had hit the rail. Under their struggle, the platform sank a little deeper into the shattered glass threatening to take both men with it.
The bent railing dug into the Jedi's wounded side and he gasped for each breath but could not let the pain interfere. He had to save his apprentice. Sweat ran into his wounds and intensified the fire that raged through him. It was too much; robbing him of his much needed hold of the Force. He clutched desperately to Anakin's arm that seemed determined to slip further through his grip. "No," he growled. "No. Do not let go." The younger did not respond. Weary muscles were infused with his determination to hold on, no matter what. "Anakin," his fear laced voice called out. "Padawan."
The hard angles of the rail's utilitarian design cut deeper into the Jedi's wounded side even as he pressed harder seeking what little aid he could in firming his hold of Anakin's wrist. Sweat beaded against his pale skin while he fought for a stronger foothold. Just beneath where his former padawan dangled was the jagged edge of the shattered false ceiling.
"No." He could not draw on the Force. He could not focus. Breaths came quick and shallow. "Anakin, wake up." Concern tempered his voice, "Anakin."
The young man's head jerked back. Bright blue eyes focused briefly on him before dulling.
"Snap out of it!" Obi-Wan barked but the youth slid a little further. "No. No."
But a power far greater than the Jedi reached up and wrapped its dark claws around Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan could feel the darkness growing but was helpless to combat it. His calm scattering, as he realized that he could not even rescue his own apprentice from the abyss.
"Anakin! Fight it!"
Again the young man's head jerked and bright blue eyes focused. "Why?" he asked softly. "Why save me after everything–"
"Help me," Obi-Wan said. "Hang on, Padawan."
Anakin slipped further through blood slicked fingers.
"No," Obi-Wan growled. "No. I will not let you go."
But no matter how hard he tried, Anakin grew heavier in his grip.
Then he was gone.
Fire clawed across Obi-Wan's chest as he fought for each breath between miserable bouts of movement. He had to get up. He had to face Vader even if that was all he had the strength for but his body rebelled leaving him slouched against the wall. Every shallow gasp tearing free of the Jedi only battled for dominance against the rasp hiss of Vader's damaged life support. Pressing his wounded back against the cool wall, Obi-Wan spurred his traumatized form into a sitting position. Watery blue eyes rose to the large figure. Twilight blurred the edge of his vision as Vader closed the space between them.
The sections of shattered chest plate ground together with every motion the dark lord made. Towering above his former master, Vader casually brought his weapon forward and with a twist of his mechanical wrist aimed the blade down and adjusted his grip. A single stab of the crimson blade was all that was required now. His adversary was rendered helpless.
For Obi-Wan Kenobi, death would not come in the heat of battle, but instead in the form of an execution, branded a traitor to all he had once faithfully served.
The Jedi opened his mouth to speak but instead desperately gulped small amounts of air. Anguish expressed itself in tears cascading down his bruised and bloodied cheeks. "No," he finally managed after several failed attempts, the word high and broken. "No."
Red splashed across the sharp edges of the inhuman mask Vader wore where no emotion could bleed through. He spoke no words, consumed with the hitch of his failing respirator and the deed at hand.
Death had come.
Obi-Wan focused his gaze, wishing for the strength to accept death without flinching.
Give me your hand.
In the end, Vader had been right. He had failed. Failed so completely, so miserably. He gripped his wounded shoulder with what remained of his strength.
Raising the red blade high, Vader prepared to end it.
Allowing only a slow exhale, Obi-Wan braced himself as the lightsaber was driven down. Scarlet seared his vision as the tip of the blade suddenly halted and floated centimeters before his face. The warm hum vibrated in the still air as the heat of the blade danced over his flesh.
Vader's wheezing intensified, but once more he hefted the blade over his hooded head. No remorse echoed in his voice. "It is now over, my Master."
Hang on, Padawan!
Offering a weary smile, the Jedi nodded and closed his eyes, his tattered spirit longing for respite from the battles and strife. The gentle ebb and flow of the Force called to him.
He was ready.
I will not let you go.
Yet, the deathblow never fell.
Grief the Jedi had never known before welled up at the sound of retreating footsteps. Obi-Wan cried out, "No!"
Vader's slow gait across the stone floor broke off at the edge of the melting pit. Deactivating his weapon and lethargically clipping it to his belt, the wheezing figure turned and studied the Jedi once more. "Go," the mechanized voice said without inflection.
"Anakin," the Jedi mouthed unable to vocalize the name.
"There is nothing between us now." The dark lord turned his back to Obi-Wan, squaring his armored shoulders. "See that we do not cross paths again, my Master. Next time I will not be so merciful."
And like that, Vader was gone.
Tears coursed down Obi-Wan's colored cheeks as he began to sob oblivious to the pain of his physical injuries. Pressing a pale hand to his battered face, he could do little but mourn the lost moment.
He had been denied release into the gentle energies of the Force. His soul ached as he reached into the swirling currents, seeking meaning for his continued survival.