It was your right hand that I reached for. The black glove covered the twisted mass of wires inside, but I knew they were there. They had been since you fought to save me on Geonosis. It was such a foolish thing to do, taking on such a skilled master of the Force. I would have been dead a split second later. What a foolish boy you've always been. Why did you let me live and let us both die for decades? It could have ended then. We could both have been ended, but we were spared, all because you cared.

Your lightsabre had already fallen out of your grip, hitting the seething bottom of the pit with a sickening hiss of scorching metal. And you tumbled after it a split second later. Your body fell, but your hand was in reach. Only a hair's breadth away, you could have easily grasped my hand with yours. But it was not the hand I had shaken upon first meeting you. Those eyes were not the ones that had looked upon me in admiration, before they began to slowly dull like fading chrome.

Always before, it had worked. When one of us slipped, the other quickly grabbed him by the hand and kept him from falling. It was a lesson we learned when you were still a young man. Who knew it would stay with us in war? It had happened many times- you had taken my hand and I yours. You said I was like your father, and I never answered. I thought the gesture was enough. It was something deeper, a symbol of having given one's life to another. This had been my life for thirteen years. You knew that. I thought you knew. Why couldn't I just have said it?

Everything happened in an instant. One sharp breath escaped my lungs as I stretched out my hand, fingers spread open, reaching. The gap was only a finger's width, and yet it was light years. There was no way to connect. A rift had severed the air between us. It had happened before that. It had started from the beginning. At first I tried to fix it by changing you, but it only made things worse. So I ignored it. I never thought to change myself. I was above being wrong. All those times I'd taken your hand, none were the same as the first time, before we had time to say anything. Before we could stumble and make mistakes. Before we had neglected to say so many things. I know it now, now that it's too late.

We had fought with every ounce of strength in our bodies. Every pent up emotion and unspoken tension flowed forth and clashed like two tidal waves. Neither could break through the other. The walls of water were built from years of pride, bitterness, and mistrust. Their clashing produced nothing more than a futile spray of mist in the air. It may have looked spectacular, but it accomplished nothing. Nothing would change. I saw it on your face. It must have been written on mine, too. There could only be one end- would it be yours or mine?

Yet it wasn't relief I felt as I finally shoved you over the edge. There was no triumph. I only saw you falling and remembered all those times I had helped you off the ground after a haphazard tumble. My calloused hands matched my heart, but in my mind I knew what I wouldn't admit- you were wearing the roughness away. It was a bond I had decided I wouldn't allow myself to have ever again. I knew what it felt like to have it suddenly taken away. But there it was nonetheless. I had become so skilled at denying it, but now I didn't want to. I only wanted to grasp your hand again and pick you up off the ground. I'd admonish your mistake, and you'd acknowledge it. This would be a hard-learned lesson, but we would go on. We'd go back.

We could never go back. Now I see that it was already destined for what it's become. We are both imprisoned in our own minds; yours, full of hate for the things stripped from you by the whirlwind of life, which I now know I helped fan; mine, filled with a million cries and curses of agony from those I left to die. Then, I couldn't see it. I could only see the thing I had dedicated my life to, the one person I had come to care about, slipping into the abysmal fires below. The hate no longer mattered, nor all the stinging words. If I could have pulled you up, everything would have started again. We could have forgotten the past. We could both have changed.

Only a centimetre separated you from your chance at redemption. You could have saved yourself from the tortuous agony of the engulfing hell you fell into. The spiteful words would have been forgiven, even though I know you meant them. Though your mind had been poisoned against me, I still saw the truth in what you said. It was like being lashed with a thorn-laden branch. But those things heal. I had already forgiven you the instant I saw you fall. What really broke me in two and continues to haunt my daily thoughts isn't what you did or said. It was only what you didn't do that drove into my mind your complete rejection of everything I had tried to be to you. You wouldn't take my hand. It was then that I realised I had lost you forever.