A/N- Just a brief vignette that I used to get rid of a plot bunny before it turned into something more...


Power. It surged in his veins with raw energy, blocking out everything else there was. Power. The word was seductive and strong, and he tasted it; he could feel it.

It was much more then a word to the newly christened Darth Vader. It was in the fear that he felt his victims exude. It was in the way he could feel the new respectful, fearful looks the Clone Troopers sent towards him. He had always been set apart, marked by the distinctive title of Chosen One. It had always earned him loneliness and fear; Anakin Skywalker had always been a solitary creature.

But the new power… ah, he had never experienced anything like it! For once, he was looked upon with reverence instead of with uneasy respect. People cowered in his wake instead of walking past him.

And it was much more then looks, too. He could feel the power in himself, the way he called upon his anger to become greater then he ever had been. All the Jedi lessons about how hate and rage were evil seemed trivial and selfish; how could they hold him back from this new majesty? He could feel the darkness wrapping itself around him, holding him and whispering dark words of comfort in his ear. He sunk into it, allowing the tide to have him.

It was changing him, he knew. Once, he had been selfless, willing to be kind and serve the Republic, content to love his wife and respect his peers. Now, new thoughts began to rise of domination and conquest. He savored them, respecting the dark dream that he had began to treasure inside his heart, choking his love.

There was still a trace of him that resisted, that cried out against the unfairness of the deaths he had caused. The part would sometimes dominate him until he felt emotions too powerful for him to control, too powerful for him to grasp in his hands objectively like his master had taught him. So instead, he shoved them back, using the new power over himself.

Looking back objectively, he could not place the point where he had decided to take over the Empire. In the beginning, he had simply wanted to save Padmé. His whole self was consumed by the need for her not to die, for the promise he had made to his mother to stay intact. It had even overcome the supreme feelings of loyalty he had for Obi-Wan and his fellow Jedi knights. If the price he had to pay was to accept the Chancellor's teachings and become damned, then he would do it, for her.

He had slowly found the wisdom in Palpaltine's teachings. He had discovered the way to utilize the rage within him as a weapon. It almost felt like a relief to know that his dark fury was not wrong, like the Jedi had told him. Releasing himself, he embraced the darkness that had been in him since his mother's death.

And the rage had consumed him. Slowly, piece by piece, his soul had fallen victim to the thoughts that had invaded his mind. There had been resistance at first from Anakin Skywalker, but that had soon faded. Soon, his thoughts had changed from 'How can I save Padmé' to 'How can I use Padmé.'

Embracing the anger had also allowed him the freedom of release from guilt. Sometimes, the thought of his deeds would sweep in uninvited, and he would fight back nausea and self-loathing as he thought of what he had done. There would be a brief conflict between his doubt and his power-lust, and the driving need in the darkness would always win. Because it was stronger.

And eventually, he managed to lock the part of himself out that felt; that loved. The love that had once been pure and radiant turned darker, until it became more of an obsession, more of a need. He dedicated himself completely to the twisted product of his own ambition until even a mere glimmer of the man he used to have been had faded. Or that was what he told himself.

During the night at Mustafar, he would wake sweating and screaming. The faces of the children he had killed haunted him, refusing to leave him. He would throw objects against the wall in a massive display of anger, but somehow, nothing seemed enough to comfort him. The emptiness of a soul that was once whole tore at him, leaving gaping wounds in which he poured the bitter salt of anger. It fueled him, allowing him to go on serving the Emperor.

And, in his delusional, power-drugged mind, he believed that it would be enough. He believed that enough rage could cover the strange weakness in himself.

What he failed to realize is that darkness does not comfort. It takes and uses, snatching greedily upon a sick mind, but it does not love.

And eventually, the short-burning fuse of rage dies, and there is left only a vast, stretching emptiness that nothing can fill. Not even power.