I wasn't very satisfied with my first SW fanfiction, so I wanted to delve into the conflicted mind of one Anakin Skywalker. Episode III (and IV, V, &VI before that) totally made me enamoured to these movies. Besides, Anakin's angst has been gnawing at me, like a persistent little evil!Ani chibi. It's cute though; takes it and snuggles it, despite the helium-voiced protests.

Standard Disclaimers apply; and I'm not sure of the setting. I'm not so good with the time span between each SW film. Will reflect back to Suit!Vader pre-originaltrilogy. One-Shot


Breathe.

That was the thought that struck Anakin Skywalker first. The mask that had contained him, restrained him, kept him, was gone. He was looking up now, into his son's eyes.

Years of non-use had left his eyes weak, unable to see very clearly. But there was an outline, and the concern was strong enough that he didn't need to see it.

But that air which was letting his son live was killing him. His thoughts scrambled; put the helmet back on! I want to live!

And then he remembered, and those thoughts drifted away.

"Vader."

There was just that word. The name which had made him infamous. No longer was he Anakin Skywalker, no; he had slain so many in cold blood. And there were no regrets. Darth Vader knelt before his Emperor.

"What is thy bidding, my master?"
---

"Anakin? Ani?"

He was on Coruscant; Padme was calling him. He leant back from the railing and smiled. His wife, his love.

His downfall.

---

Twenty-five years of confinement, Twenty-five years since he left the Republic in shambles. Countless beings, systems, innocents...gone.

It was for Padme. She will forgive me.

That was how he always had justified his actions. Killing Master Windu. Slaughtering the young Padawans. Everything. Padme will forgive me.

Obi Wan.

Even now, the name was like acid in his mouth. He would have spit, but that was impossible. Instead, he reached down, mechanical hand pulling at his leg.

I hate you. I always will
, he thought, lips snarling beneath the mask. You turned Padme against me; you made me kill her. I was supposed to be able to save her.

---

The lava had been so hot; the pain so blinding; he didn't have the presence of mind to sense Padme until it was impossible. To hear that everyone he had killed was for naught; it tore him apart.

"Anakin? Anakin?"

"I-I'm sorry, master," Anakin hung his head, shamed to see his old teacher. The years had not been harsh to him, but age had taken its toll.
Anakin had nothing to say. He was standing there, in the appearance that Obi Wan had last witnessed, all those years ago. What right did he, a traitor to the very Force, have to stand amongst Yoda and his old master?

Obi Wan shook his head.

"I forgive you, Anakin. You're redeemed; at least you were saved."

Anakin shook his head, fighting tears that he knew would never come.

"I killed you! How can you forgive that?"

The Jedi turned away.

"How can you forgive me for what I did to you, Padawan?"

Anakin fumbled for words.

"I shouldn't have tried, and you had to..there was no other.."

The old man shook his head.

"Anakin, Anakin...I could not hold a grudge against you."

"I checked to see if you had died by crushing your robes with my, my..," he gestured frustratedly at his feet, "my non-foot!"

There was a pause.

Then laughter. It started out softly, and grew uproarious. Anakin looked upset.

"It wasn't that funny, you know..," he mumbled, watching his children and the others. His phantom blue eyes watched as Han drew Leia close. The Skywalker shifted uncomfortably, which earned a chuckle from the elder of the group.

"In love, they are..."

"I can see that," Anakin mumbled, "but if he steps one toe out of line I'll..."

"You'll what, Anakin?" Obi Wan laughed. This time, the Skywalker joined in.
->
"You know," Obi Wan had said, as the 'ghosts' had retreated farther back from the celebration, "it will not be easy for them to regain peace."

"I of all people know that...it's my fault that all of this happened."

A silence.

"Well?"

"Well what, Padawan?"

Anakin growled slightly.

"You're supposed to tell me none of it is my fault, and then comfort me and help me to do..whatever it is I have to do now.."

Obi Wan chuckled again.

"And that name is getting so irriating. I'm not your student anymore"

Obi Wan sighed.

"I'm not going to lie to you to make you feel better, Anakin. You betrayed many people, endangered countless lives. Took more. Padme...," Obi Wan took a deep breath, "you know what you have done; you alone must confront it."

"I hate it when you're right, Kenobi"

Obi Wan was surprised at the curtness.

"But don't you always?"

A pause.

"Master?"

"Yes, Padawan?"

"Shut up"