Disclaimer: Definitely not mine. Definitely not selling this stuff. Definitely broke. Final sum: not worth the effort to sue.


It's my fault you're laying there. No Padawan, don't try to argue, you know it is. I thought we could handle it. I thought you could handle it. How wrong I was.

I know you hate it. The mask that covers your features, the machine that breathes for you. You never like relying on something else. You were always the strong one, the one who could keep going, the one who went too far. And now you can't go anywhere, not until you learn the use of your limbs yet again. But I promise you, we will spar again. Even with this injury, I know you will best me someday. I know it.

I listen to you breathing, each suck-hiss of the respirator assuring me that you still live. You'll be the death of me, young one, if you keep this up. And Padmé! You'll kill her with worry before this is over. Sometimes I'm afraid the Chosen One is too great for his own good. At least you're breathing. For a while there you weren't.

"Master?" Your voice rumbles from inside the mask deeper than normal, darker somehow. In my mind your dark tunics are suddenly stained with blood then they fall away completely in favor of black shadows. I can't see your face anymore.

No, Padawan, don't get up. Use your left hand; the right doesn't quite work yet. Keep breathing, young one, the mask will be off soon. Why do I doubt my own words?

Calm Anakin, calm. The fires in your body are banked now. The burns have been treated. We're waiting for the final adjustments on the arm, but everything will be fine, you'll see. No, I don't know how we got here. The battle took too much out of me and even more out of you, my impatient apprentice. You see now the price of division in battle? At least you didn't have to pay as much as I did for that error. Years ago, I lost my Master; yesterday, you only lost your arm.

Breathe, Padawan. Every breath is a chance for wisdom, a chance for redemption, a chance for peace. Even the suck-hiss of that hated respirator can be comforting to a worried loved one. Why am I afraid that soon there will be no one left to be comforted?

The medics are here. See? What did I tell you? The room seems silent without the mechanical billows. But I'm not sorry to see the mask go. Your face makes you human, Padawan; you can't hide anything on that canvas. The way your smile reaches all the way to your eyes . . . the Son of the Suns indeed.

Peace, Anakin. We will face Dooku again. And when we do, we'll remember today, and fight together. The war has started, Padawan, and we'll all be in it. Take your joy where you can.

As for me, it is more joy than I deserve to see you smile and listen to you breathe.

Suck-hiss. (AN: You know the sound)

AN: Timeline. This is directly in the aftermath of AOTC with an obviously distraught Obi-Wan sitting at Anakin's bedside after Anakin has collapsed from the strain.