Watching the World Die

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
And watch the world die

Santa Monica


It all happened in an instant. It's one of those moments of decision that, while you don't even realize it at the moment, can change your entire life. In the space between one second to the next, you could be on top of the world, or in the depths of hell.

Anakin Skywalker faced such a decision. He chose badly, and the entire universe suffered. But suppose, perhaps, somewhere, in another place, in another time, he didn't choose badly. Perhaps, somewhere, he made the right choice. Maybe somewhere right now, he is alive, and happy.

"I'm…Annie, I'm pregnant."

For an instant, he didn't think he had heard her properly. Then all at once, he felt his heart begin to speed up, and his hands go numb and start to shake, as a wellspring of joy deep within the very core of his being suddenly exploded.

A baby…

"That is…" he tried to speak, and found that his tongue had gone numb and useless. He lowered his head, catching her hands in his and holding them clasped together between them almost in prayer. "…wonderful…Padme, that's wonderful news!" And then his lips were on hers, and any reply she might have had was washed away in the torrent of her husband's love crashing against the shores in her heart.

What was she about to say? Something about their baby being dangerous…but how could that be, when they loved each other so much? How could anything that felt this good be so bad? And then as he broke away, and he spoke, she remembered painfully exactly why that was.

"Padme," he said, cupping her face gently in his palms. "I love you. I…" he sighed. "I know what this could mean for us, and I know you're scared." She nodded, but he tilted her head back to look in his eyes. "I'm going to leave the Order." In the shocked silence that followed, all she could hear were three heartbeats.

"Wh- what? Annie, n-"

"I had already made up my mind before we landed," he gently cut her off, "I want to be with you, Padme, and I can't do that as a Jedi."

"But being a Jedi was your dream, your life!"

"None of that matters now," he whispered, his warm breath caressing her mouth in an almost kiss. "I have you, and our child." Padme couldn't respond. She hung her head and he hugged her to him, his strong arms encircling her, comforting her with their warmth. "All I want is for us to be together," he continued, and she pressed herself closer to him, listening to the soothing rumbling in his chest as he spoke. "I've already made arrangements," he continued, "we'll move out to the Rim where no one will find us. We'll raise our baby in peace, no Jedi to lecture us, no HoloNet to bother us. Just you, me and our child. That's all I've ever wanted." She wriggled out of his embrace to look up at him.

"What about Obi-Wan?" she wondered. Only at this did she see fleeting sadness on his face.

"I'll deal with Obi-Wan."

Anakin strode confidently through the halls of the Jedi Temple, his cloak making it appear as if he floated on air. It was a sham, of course, for inside his heart was swirling with a tumult of conflicting emotions, and it took all of his self-restraint to hold it back.

He was going to the Council.

The next time he walked down this hallway, he would no longer be a Jedi.

He was scared to death.

The lift arrived and he stepped in, grateful for the long ride to the top so he could center himself with some meditation. His heart and mind being the jumble of thoughts and feelings that they were, he didn't even see Obi-Wan standing next to him until the elder Jedi spoke.

"You know you're a wreck," he murmured. Anakin nearly jumped three feet in the air at the sound.

"Master!" he cried, clutching at his poor heart. Obi-Wan smiled.

"I have asked you repeatedly to call me 'Obi-Wan'," he replied. "What's troubling you, Old Friend? I was told you requested an audience with the Council." Anakin turned away, hoping his friend would not notice the tears prickling his eyes. He nodded, and swallowed several times. "What is it?" he asked, placing a warm and loving hand on his former student's tense shoulder.

"Obi-Wan," his voice cracked as the doors opened to the outer chamber, "I'm going to miss you."