CATEGORY: Alternative Universe: Drama, Angst
CHARACTERS: Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, Mace Windu (minor), Yoda (minor)
TIMEFRAME: Saga: Prequel/Classic Series: RotS/RotJ
SUMMARY: What would you do if you could live your life over again, starting at the point where you made your biggest mistake? Anakin Skywalker is about to find out.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Written before viewing Revenge of the Sith, this story was based on the countless spoilers available before the movie's release. The flashback scenes don't match what actually happened in the film, but they are still perfectly recognisable to anyone who has seen the movie or read the book.
DISCLAIMER: I willingly and willfully use characters and situations copyrighted by Twentieth Century Fox and Lucasfilm Ltd. without permission, and without monetary gain. Additional characters and situations are copyright 2005 Lisa D. Jenkins.
PART 1 - The Sky is Wild
Slowly, sounds returned.
Rain was falling. Anakin heard it splattering against the transparisteel before he opened his eyes. It was a pleasant sound, or at least it should have been. If there should have been any sound at all.
But there shouldn't have.
Soft voices murmured in the background. A man and a woman. Familiar. Comforting.
. . .Frightening.
With his eyes still closed, Anakin's brow furrowed. Something wasn't right.
The murmurs had ceased. There was the sound of materials shifting. "He's waking!" the woman's voice announced.
Upon the sound of her voice, Anakin's eyelids flew open of their own accord. Nothing in the galaxy was going to keep him from seeing the origin of that voice. That sweet voice. The angelic face. . . .
"Morning, Anakin." A man's aging face, outlined by ginger hair and laced with grey appeared over him. "Or perhaps I should say 'evening'?"
Anakin's furrowed brow became an outright scowl.
"Obi-Wan?" Anakin found his voice. A normal voice. But not normal. . . .
"We're so glad you're feeling better, Anakin!" the woman's voice came from the foot of the bed. Propping himself on his elbows, Anakin stared incredulously at the source. So young. So beautiful.
"Padmé! You're. . .all right?" he called as his eyes grew to bright blue orbs. His wife. His former master. Alive. As they were before. . . .
"Of. . .course." Padmé glanced to the older man and spoke quickly, as if trying to cover up Anakin's indiscretion. "You were right to come here, Master Kenobi. With the Separatists scattered and the Senate up in arms over the revelation about Chancellor Palpatine, who knows—"
"Revelation?" mimicked Anakin.
The two other figures stared at him as if he had grown a second head.
"What revelation?" Anakin repeated.
"That Chancellor Palpatine was a Dark Lord, Anakin," Obi-Wan said as if explaining why the sky was blue to a child.
Anakin blinked at his former master. This wasn't right. This wasn't the way it went. Was it? Anakin's mind raced, trying to remember the events that had happened so long ago. . . .
Yes, yes, that was right. By the time Obi-Wan discovered Chancellor Palpatine's true nature, Anakin had already made his fatal decision. Or was about to. Anakin had been ready to sell his soul for the secret. The secret to save Padmé.
". . .Anakin? Anakin?" Obi-Wan was trying to prompt him out of his reverie.
Anakin's lanky frame shot up from bed as he exclaimed, "The children!"
Instinctively, Padmé's hands flew to her abdomen.
"What children, Anakin?" The older Jedi eyed the exchange suspiciously. "Are the Younglings in danger?"
"Uh. . . ."
Padmé promptly dismissed herself. "Excuse me, gentlemen. I must attend to. . .other things. . . ."
Anakin watched her go, the way her body swayed with the weight of their unborn children which she hid beneath the bulky robes of her clothing. The tall doors of her bedchambers opened just enough to let her through, and she disappeared.
None of it went unnoticed by his former master.
"Anakin?" Obi-Wan prompted him again, looking rather cross with just a barely perceptible crease in his brow. It was as much impatience as he ever allowed himself to show.
"No," Anakin turned his attention to the Jedi Master and answered the previous question. "Not anymore."
Obi-Wan rose an eyebrow to that as his back straightened.
Suddenly, the door to the bedchamber opened again, and a dark-skinned man stepped through. With a bright smile despite his bandaged wounds, Mace Windu strode confidently to the bedside.
"Master Windu!" exclaimed Obi-Wan as he turned and raised a hand to place on the dark man's shoulder. "Shouldn't you be resting?"
"I'll be fine, Master Kenobi," Mace assured his fellow Council member, then turned his attention to Anakin. "Skywalker. Senator Amidala informed me you were awake. I wanted to thank you personally."
Anakin blinked. "Me? For what?"
With a strange seriousness, Mace replied, placing his bandaged hand on Anakin's leg, "For not killing me."
Anakin looked at the hand. The hand he had severed in the duel.
Suddenly everything came flooding back.
He was running. He had felt the presence of other Jedi, and a great draw upon the Force. A very strong and powerful calling of the Force that had shocked and amazed Anakin. What was its source?
Anakin burst through Palpatine's offices. Bodies of Palpatine's red-cloaked guards and Jedi strewn everywhere. Mace Windu stood over a helpless Palpatine, the Jedi's sabre pulsing over the old man.
"Return to the Jedi Temple, Skywalker," Mace's deep voice instructed, never letting his eyes fall away from his prisoner. His victim. Anakin's confidant. His advisor. His friend.
The Jedi Knight looked down upon Palpatine's kind, elderly fear-filled face.
"Please, Anakin! Save me from this madman! He's going to kill me!"
Anakin's eyes drifted back to the Master Jedi, whom he had trusted for so many years. Believed in. Feared.
"Anakin, do as I say!" The dark man's voice was a twisted bark, a command. . .a plea?
"Do you remember the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise?" the old man on the floor pleaded.
Anakin glanced down at Palpatine, ignoring the Jedi Master.
"Darth Plagueis was real," breathed Palpatine, a smug sneer tugging at the corner of his mouth.
"Real. . . ?" The word escaped from Anakin's lips.
"Anakin!" Mace commanded, "He's telling you a lie! Don't believe him!"
Inexplicably, Palpatine appeared even older, even more fragile. He pleaded again for his life, cowering before the buzzing blade of Mace's sabre.
Conflicted, Anakin stared at the two men, trying to know what to do. The Jedi had freed him from slavery, trained him in the ways of the Force, and opened the doors to a greater life. But they impeded him, blocked his progress, and prevented him from being with those he loved. Palpatine, on the other hand, was honest, loyal and willing to share the secret of life. . .to save Padmé. . . .
Anakin's lightsabre flashed. The Jedi Master against the Jedi's Chosen One. Fear was in the master's eyes. The Chosen One had indeed stepped forward and tipped the balance of the Force.
To the Dark Side.
Anakin looked into Mace's stoney face. Slowly, deliberately, Mace's lips curled into a grin, then a smile, and finally he chuckled. Mace patted Anakin's leg as if they were life-long friends, comrades, brothers-in-arms.
"I'm. . .afraid Anakin took a nasty bump to the head, Master Windu," Obi-Wan explained, as if he were covering up a young padawan's foolish prank from the prying eyes of the Council.
"Ooooh," Mace acknowledged, still in a playful mood, "you don't need to remind me, Obi-Wan!" He smiled down at the young Jedi on the bed. "Get your rest, Anakin. You deserve it!" Mace turned to go and called over his shoulder, "See you back at the Temple, Master Kenobi."
Obi-Wan watched Mace go, his thoughts on the recent mission, the sudden change in galactic politics, and his duties to the Jedi Council. He also thought of what he had seen pass between his former padawan and the senator from Naboo.
". . .Master?" Anakin called out to him.
Obi-Wan cocked his head to look at his former padawan. "I'm not your master any more, Anakin," he gently reminded.
"I know. . .Obi-Wan." The younger man's eyes flashed with a hint of humour. Or was it something else? Anakin looked away, cleared his throat and asked, "What happened? I thought you were on Utapau?"
"I was. It was apparently a plot to draw me away from Coruscant," Obi-Wan confirmed what Anakin had later learned. Would learn. Or was he about to. . . ? Obi-Wan was still explaining, ". . .Of course, I had to defeat General Grevious first."
"Of course," Anakin peered up at his former master, forcing a half-smile upon his lips as he struggled to understand why things seemed so different than the way he remembered them.
Silence fell between the two Jedi, the older one pondering the younger. Obi-Wan spoke, "How did you know, Anakin? When did you know Palpatine was a. . .Sith Lord?"
"Darth Sidious. . .," Anakin hissed the name out through his breath.
Obi-Wan frowned. "Yes."
With a faraway look in his eyes, Anakin answered, "When he told me, himself."
Obi-Wan's frown deepened. "He told you. . .himself?"
Anakin looked up as he remembered where he was. . .when he was. . .and certainly he shouldn't have been able to remember his Sith Master if it hadn't happened. . .should he? "It's. . .rather complicated. I'm tired."
With a quirk of his mouth, Obi-Wan chuckled and replied, "I have no doubt. Master Windu insists that if it weren't for your defiance of his orders to return to the Temple, he would be dead now. And the Republic would be in the hands of a madman."
Oh, if Obi-Wan only knew, Anakin thought silently as the older Jedi turned to go.
"Master!" the young Jedi called after his friend. The man who raised him. The man he killed.
"I mean. . .Obi-Wan," Anakin said with a slight smile. "Good night."
"Good night. . .my padawan," Obi-Wan returned with a gentle smile.