Reminiscence (AU. Anakin, Obi-Wan)
Timeframe:9 years after The Phantom Menace
Characters:Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, OCs, Yoda
Genre:AU, Drama, Angst, Action
Summary:At age 11, Anakin Skywalker's apprenticeship with Obi-Wan Kenobi came to a tragic end during a diplomatic mission to Selenoor Bukha. Now seven years later, he is being sent back to Selenoor Bukha where he must face his demons and Obi-Wan again for the first time.
Author's Note:This story will probably only be updated twice a week while I am working on Wild Knights.
Chapter One: Reoccurring Nightmares
Like all of Anakin Skywalker's dreams, they began with water. Burbling creeks, quick flowing streams, great waterfalls where the supply of the life sustaining liquid was forever endless. Crystalline waters cascading all about, cool and crisp against his skin. His joy and amazement unbound as he reached warm hands into the liquid that, as a child growing up on Tatooine had been such a precious commodity. Flowing all around him, threatening in a teasing manner to float him away in the eternal currents.
Splashing sounds dance in his ears as he scooped up a handful of the precious fluid in cupped palms bringing it close to his face. He wanted to feel it against his skin and wash away the dirt and grime that clung to it.
The only true luxury he afforded himself.
Like in all of his dreams, joy turns to horror when he looks into his reflection and sees deep red pooled in his hands.
The eighteen-year-old twisted in his sleep, struggling against the nightmare that had claimed him.
"No," a muffled cry was all he could manage.
The blood filled his sleeping hours, flowing all around him, higher and higher as if to drown him.
"No." A little louder, a little more frightened as he fought with his tangled covers. The racing of his heart only drew him deeper into the terror.
He couldn't escape the blood.
"Not again." The youth shook as sobs wracked his helpless form. "Please, not again." Warm tears cascaded down his cheeks sinking into the depths of the head roll.
Shallow breaths escaped him as memory returned. He had been running. Always running from the blood but he could never get away. Dark shadows cast across the duracrete sea that he stood upon. Not even the blue sky above could chase the nightmare away.
Sounds of a lightsaber and blaster fire drew his attention. He spun only to clap his hands over his mouth to stifle the gasp that escaped him. Corpses of men dressed in the deepest of red littered the ground in front of him.
He had seen death before–life was hard on Tatooine–but not death like this.
Blaster wounds left a single clean burned circle where the wound was instantly cauterized. Bloodless. As a young child, he had seen a spacer stabbed once. The dark stain on his dingy jacket slowly expanded until he died. He had seen the bones of travelers lost in the dunes of Tatooine, their blood dried by the hot winds.
He had seen death before, but not death like this.
The scorched blood red of the soldier's uniforms carried the unmistakable trace of lightsaber wounds. Deep gashes crossed their chests. Bodiless hands still clung to their blasters that lay scattered about.
Even as his body fought, his dreaming mind slowly maneuvered through the sea of death. Horror still painted many of their faces.
He knew that Jedi sometimes had to kill but he had never witnessed such an act or seen the remnants of it. He had seen lightsabers cut through droids but never through flesh and bone, the image sickening to his mind.
A child's mind.
This was a new kind of death.
His pace quickened, carrying him past lifeless body after lifeless body desperate to find the source of the killing. Desperate to providehelp?
Help. Make things right, again. Yes, he needed to help.
"No. Please, no more," he softly begged into the darkness but the nightmare refused to free him.
It was after all, his fault the men were there. Had he been paying attention–
"No! Master, no!"
He tugged at the thin covers, wrenching them free and knotting them across his bare chest. Twisting violently on the sleep couch, he turned on to his side drawing his knees to his chest.
His emotions had blinded him to the danger.
Before him rose a great stone wall blocking him from reaching the sound of blaster fire and lightsaber in motion. The sound possessed his attention. The hum, hiss and snap of exploding electricity.
Yet, the blood remained. He stared down at his hands that seemed impossibly small and they were stained red.
"No." He was in motion again, racing toward the edge of the wall that never seemed to end. He just kept running, hoping–praying–that any moment he would reach the edge. The sound getting louder in his ears with ever step.
"Master!" he screamed but it was not his voice. Not his voice as it was now but the voice of a child crying out over the sound of blaster bolts.
He had seen death before, but not like this.
More red uniformed corpses littered the ground and stepping amongst the bodies were living men wielding heavy blasters. Orange bolts zipped through the air exploding harmlessly against the wall.
Not all of them, some were deflected returned on the men by the powerful swipe of a pale blue lightsaber blade.
"Master!" his childish voice cried out at the sight laid before him. No matter how fast he ran the scene always remained just out of his reach. Never getting there fast enough.
Those that still stood were only seven of nearly two dozen that had foolishly tried to ambushed a Jedi knight. In the small circle of men stood Obi-Wan Kenobi. His cloak hung ragged and limp, scorched and burned against his weary form. Muscles straining as he raised the pale blue fire to defend against the continuing onslaught.
Anakin had seen that look in dying men's eyes before.
There was blood coloring his master's lips, drawing a line down over his chin and staining the front of his tunic. Over all of the noise, he could hear the Jedi's desperate breaths as he stepped into action against the volley of blaster fire.
He moved with a speed that belied the exhaustion that radiated from him.
Then there were five.
"Die, Jedi!" a voice ripped into his memories causing Anakin's corporeal body to jerk.
A brilliant flash of light blinded him.
He saw himself, a boy of eleven rising up off the ground, the concussion of the blast having thrown him backward. His dreaming self reached out to the boy that wiped purple spots from his vision.
The edge of the wall was nothing more than a pile of debris, crumbles littering the ground. The men in red were gone. They were always gone; denying him his turn to fight but the blood remained.
"Master!" ripped from the sleeping youth.
Small hands dug into the shattered stone. If only they had been larger, he could have moved the stones away quicker. If only he had not been so angry. If only–
His vision blurred with tears. He could hear himself sobbing and calling his master's name.
The Force gave him the strength to pull a large stone away revealing blood stained fingers.
Desperately he clutched the warm skin, clinging to it as if life were at stake. The training bond that he had often blocked and narrowed pulled and drifted.
He may even have felt it die if the rest of the wall had not collapsed.
"No," he sobbed, gripping his covers. "No."
Startled out of the nightmare, Anakin abruptly sat up. Realizing that he was in his room in the apartment he and his master shared safe in the temple, the chill of the nightmare began to lift. His breathing slowed and he consciously took several long, slow breaths. Fingers drifted to the roll of muscle at his left shoulder and he massaged the slight ache that radiated out.
His shoulder always hurt after the nightmare.
For a few moments, he sat there silently, listening to the dearth of sounds in the apartment. Good, he thought, he had not awakened his master. Every mention of his nightmares always brought worry out in the older Jedi.
A few moments more and he had regained control of his raging emotions. Stilling his mind, he sat there quietly in a light meditative state. He never tried to seek answers for the nightmare. He knew the cause and knew there was no reason to analyze it.
There was nothing he could do to change the past.
"Anakin?" a soft voice shattered the quiet.
"Master," he sighed having not wished to wake her. With a gentle wave of his hand, the lights came up low and revealed the imperious figure of Hiiro'eza Katua. Even startled from sleep, she was a commanding presence and he often felt the awe of a child when he looked upon the Isa'rui woman.
Her long dark blue hair with its golden streaks had been tied back and plaited, lapping over her shoulder in a thick braid. Large eyes as black as night, framed by pale blue skin stared out at him. Long thin fingers reached up and brushed over her flat nose before wiping the sleep from her smooth face. "You were dreaming again, my padawan," she stated, not asked.
"Forgive me," Anakin said softly, glancing away from the kind look she offered.
"It is not I whom you should be asking forgiveness of." She glided across the small room and pulled the long layers of her gown to the side before sitting on the edge of his bed. Fingers gripped his sweat-dampened arm. "Until you forgive yourself for what happened, these nightmares will never set you free."
"It was my fault."