Timeframe: a month after Return of the Jedi
Characters: Anakin Skywalker, mentions of Padme, Luke, Leia, and the leaders of the New Republic
Summary: The New Republic doesn't believe in executions. There are exceptions to every rule. It is no more than Anakin expected, however, and as he reflects in the last moments of his life, he can't bring himself to be bitter or to hate. He only wants to see her again.
AU: Anakin's one remaining arm wasn't lost in his battle with Obi-wan, and so he was able to pull himself free of the fire before he lost the ability to breath on his own. He therefore wasn't as grievously injured at the end of Return of the Jedi, and survived to stand trial.
Star Wars belongs to George Lucas, and I am making no money off of anything here. The poem I've just added, along with the partial poem, is by E. E. Cummings. I thought they were strangely appropriate to the story, and I just couldn't help myself. I couldn't get the formatting to space Buffalo Bill correctly, though. Grrr.
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
for whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
Anakin looked at the primitive handcuffs that his captors knew couldn't hold him; had he actually chosen to break free, nothing could have held him, so powerful was he now. They chaffed the skin of his one remaining natural arm, irritated him like Tatooine's sand, reminded him in a small, childish part of his mind of the bonds that had restrained him all his life, the slavery, the servitude he'd been subjected to since he'd learned how to say his own name.
I'm a person, and my name is Anakin, he could still remember telling his Angel the first time he had seen her. He had been so indignant then, and part of him still was now, as he was led down the cold, metallic halls to his death. For all his fame as a war hero, his son had not been able to save him from this fate, yet in a lot of ways, in all the ways that mattered, the fact that he was about to die in chains just as he had been born into them didn't matter now. He was beyond that now, and he could feel her feather-light touch brush his skin, smell her hair in the air he breathed, hear her voice in the wind, like a howling longing, calling to him, sucking him dry until there was nothing left of him that hadn't melted into The Force to join her.
He could have escaped, but he owed them this much: the Jedi, his Master and the friends he had slaughtered; Padme; the authors of this new government that would fix what he had destroyed. His time to fix had long passed; he had missed his chance. This was the last thing he could do for them, the only way what he had broken could ever be undone; he would finally stop running from the consequences to his heinous actions, would no longer be ruled by despair. His children were the present and the future, not him, but his death didn't matter anymore, because he was already beyond time; he could taste her, feel her soft skin as her lips brushed his, feel her breath warm him as she slept next to him, peaceful while he was cold, the calm center the spiraling inferno that was his heart orbited, incendiary in its devotion. There was nothing left for him but to let himself melt into her presence once more, reach out into their connection and join her where he felt her fire touch him, beckoning him from the beyond. She was his sight, his happiness, sadness, taste and anger, and he could no more live without her than she had been able to exist without him, all those years ago. Darth Vader had been able to, but he had run from truth, had been a product of the dishonesty inherent in every weakness of humanity. Anakin Skywalker, on the other hand, was unable to prevent himself from looking truth in the eye once he finally found it, whether he was ready to or not, unable to do anything but sacrifice everything to keep it in his grasp, forcing every being in the Galaxy to come to terms with all its harsh realities in his quest to do so himself.
He stepped calmly into the unforgiving, steel cell, the room in which he would live out the last moments of his life, at the moment of his death every bit the serene, selfless Jedi he had tried and failed to become all his life. He took his last breath, and smiled.