Reposted 8-16-05: I'd like to thank Princess Stormtrooper for her comments. I added a few sentences here and there to try to help fix things.
Started 6-8-05 at 9:23am… (You'll find the date that I finished this when I post the last chapter)
I've actually already finished this fic, and now all I have to do is edit and post it. I'll try to post regularly, probably once a week on Saturdays, or sometime during the weekend.
Since this is AU, I want to clarify some things. Everything that happened in Episode I and II also happened in my fic. And all the events leading up to the 12-minute lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Episode III should also be considered fact. My fic picks up where Padmé is going to Mustafar to meet Anakin, and from there on out it's AU, and events are my own idea and creation. With the occasional borrowed idea from the other Star Wars episodes.
Warnings: Rated PG-13 (T) for some rude language, suggestive themes, yaoi/slash/homosexuality, and death
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars in any way. Those rights belong to George Lucas, who invented Star Wars and the six original episodes. As I am not making a profit from writing this fic, I am doing nothing wrong with Star Wars. They should be happy that I'm giving them free promotion. ;) Also, I have borrowed characters, planets, and/or situations from Rogue Planet by Greg Bear and the Jedi Quest books from the children series created by Jude Watson.
Writer's Block: This is a little something that I've made up myself. Since this is the first time I'm putting it in any story, let me explain a little bit about its purpose, as well as the name. Writer blocks are usually considered horrible things, the bane of a writer's existence. Well, I decided to create a block of writing committed to writers that was less painful. ;) In here I hope to highlight wonderful fics that others have written, as well as anything else I find inspiring that can help stave off writers block. This is my way of giving back to the writing community, and to try to put lights on some fics that deserve recognition. Please review to the fics I suggest: their writing is too lovely to not do so!
Writer's Block (actual deal this time): A Simple Change by Petite Doll. This is a Star Wars fic that is fourteen chapters long and completed (always a good thing. ;) ). As it says in the beginning summary, it is rated PG-13 and is a "pre-slash" fic; the two stories leading after it will contain slash (but this one doesn't). I love Doll's writing style, and she captures Obi-Wan and Anakin's conflicting nature perfectly. There's some interesting turns in the plot, and I like seeing how Anakin and Obi-Wan's friendship develops and changes as their situations change. It's a good read for any Star Wars fan. (But especially for those obsessed with Anakin/Obi-Wan as I am. XD)
I'd love you to death if you reviewed. I want feedback on my writing. What do you think of my writing style? Too many commas, perfectly fine, too wordy? Did I do fine or do I need work with the plotting, characterization, symbolization, or foreshadowing? If you find any grammar or spelling mistakes, please tell me and I'll fix them and repost the chapter, adding a special thanks to you at the top of the chapter. I want to better my writing, and your advice and reviews (and personal opinions) can do that.
Page amount: 4 (just to let you know, word count and page amount only count for the story, not for my author notes)
Word Count: 3,195
Started on 6-8-05 (I saw Star Wars Episode III yesterday), and finished 6-12-05 (I got four teeth pulled…ouch x.x)
Listening to: silence…beautiful, no? ;)
Written by Ice Dragon3
Chapter One: Death and Birth
Molten lava flowed on the moon Mustafar, giving the solitary building a harsh, bleeding glow. Padmé steered the ship roughly, trying to fight back tears. The baby inside her kicked once, twice, reminding her of its loving existence. Anakin couldn't be evil…Obi-Wan was wrong. He had to be wrong—Anakin couldn't have created something so wonderful if he was evil. The ship landed with a groan and Padmé rushed out of it. She stared fearfully at the bleak, black building. Even though she wished vehemently not to enter that sinister structure, she started to walk towards it, instinctively holding her stomach protectively.
Before she had to enter that dreaded building, she saw Anakin. Relief—thank god she didn't have to enter that building—and rushing into Anakin's arms. He swept her up in a tight hug.
"Ani, Ani, I was so worried about you," She cried out. She hugged him tightly, trying to fight back tears. She knew she was being overemotional, but the pregnancy had affected her in so many ways beyond the physical.
"Shh…" Anakin whispered soothingly, "It's all right. I'm fine, we're fine, the baby's fine." He buried his head in her curly brown hair and breathed in the fresh scent, so unlike the sulfur and smog that clung to his lungs. This whole world was one deathtrap, a lung-cancer in itself. Anakin gazed over Padmé's shoulder to watch a bubble of lava spluttered up before popping with a sick, oozing sensation. He would be thankful when they left this inferno.
Anakin cut Padmé off before she could say anything else. "Obi-Wan was with you?" Jealousy coursed through his veins—and fear. Obi-Wan had been with Padmé in his vision, that nightmare where Padmé died. He didn't want Obi-Wan to ever be by Padmé. That way, the vision could not become truth. He would change it; he had to. Anakin clutched Padmé's shoulders tightly. "Is he with you now?"
"No—but that's not the point!" Padmé said in a surge of emotion. "The point is that he told me you had gone to the Dark Side—killed children—killed innocent people!" Her grip on Anakin loosened, until she dropped her arms entirely to encircle her belly, to shelter it. She gazed at Anakin in despair. There was something wrong in his eyes, but it couldn't be true… "It's not true, is it? You can't be on the Dark Side—think of our child—"
"I am thinking about our child!" Anakin yelled. "The whole reason I've gone to the Dark Side is to protect you. I can learn how to stop death. You don't have to die in childbirth. I can alter the future, fight these premonitions of death."
With Anakin's confession, Padmé paled. "I—I can't believe you. How could you think that this will help anything? Let nature take its course… I won't die during childbirth, Ani. Please, come back with me. We'll find Obi-Wan and—"
"Obi-Wan," Anakin hissed out. "Obi-Wan was with you when you were dying! He can't save you. The Light Side can't save you. Only I can! And I need power to do that. I have to become stronger…" His metal fist clenched.
"No, Ani, that's not true." Tears leaked down her face silently, evaporating in the intense heat and leaving crusts of salt behind. "Power alone won't save anything. You need love. Only the Light Side can give you that. Come back with me, Ani," she pleaded desperately, "Come back, please. We can beg the Jedi Council for forgiveness—"
"There is no more Jedi Council," Anakin said in a dead tone. "There are no more Jedi. I killed them. I killed them all."—he stared down at his hands—"Even the younglings." He gazed into Padmé's horrified eyes. He was searching for something, seeking something, asking something.
But Padmé couldn't decipher his silent plea. She took a step back from him, clutching her stomach. It could have been their child that he had killed. "Obi-Wan was right. You're—you're not Anakin!" Anakin silently took a step towards her, his hand outstretch. "Just stay back and leave my child alone!" Padmé shrieked out between sobs. "Obi-Wan—"
Something snapped inside of Anakin. His outstretch hand became a fist, and Padmé slowly started to gasp. Her quivers from sobbing became gasps for air. Her hands left her stomach to claw at her throat. She managed a rusty "Ani" before becoming completely mute. Her eyes pleaded silently, love and fear and disbelief combating each other within her brown irises.
At his name, Anakin felt his fist loosen. Padmé dropped to the ground with a jarring thud. Worried, he began to run towards her motionless figure. However, he felt a second presence, and this made him whirl around. "You!" he yelled out to the silhouette standing at the ship's exit ramp. He gestured angrily at Padmé's prone form. "Look what you've made me do!" His heart was breaking—first Padmé turned from him, now Obi-Wan.
"I didn't do anything, Anakin," Obi-Wan said quietly. "You must learn to take responsibility for your actions."
Anakin felt anger welling up in him. "Stop lecturing me!" He yelled. "You're always lecturing me, nagging, nitpicking, searching for the slightest fault. Why can't you be happy with what I do? I surpass you in strength, I've learned everything that you have to teach, and still you act so superior to me! I'm not an inferior person to you!" Pipes behind him started to groan, expelling hissing streams of gas as they fractured.
"Anakin…you may have strength, but you lack greatly in emotional control. Even now, you cannot control your emotions. Which means that you cannot control the Force. I'm not trying to make you feel inferior—I'm trying to teach you. You betrayed us all…the Jedi Order and the Force and those who loved you by turning to the Dark Side!" Obi-Wan's voice cracked with anger and regret, and he had to stop. He then said softly, persuasively, "But you can still make amends—"
"Betrayed?" Anakin said tightly. The pipes shrieked even louder. "I betrayed you? No—you have betrayed me," Anakin spat out the word. "You have turned Padmé against me. Like always, you question my judgment. You think I can't control this power! I can and I will—I'll become a greater Jedi than you ever were! I'll become a Sith!" Anakin watched Obi-Wan warily. "Have you come to kill me?" He still held lingering feelings of affection for Obi-Wan, and didn't wish to have to fight him.
Obi-Wan remained silent.
Anakin's affection was tainted by his anger. He asked more harshly, "Have you come to kill me?"
"I have come to right our wrongs," Obi-Wan said at last, lighting up his blue blade.
Anakin activated his own blue lightsaber. "The wrong you have done is choosing to oppose me." He lunged at Obi-Wan, viciously attacking his former friend and master. Their blades whirled and slashed; sending sparks each time their moves were parried. Anakin slashed where Obi-Wan's stomach was; Obi-Wan flipped backward to avoid the lethal swing. Obi-Wan was slowly forced to give ground under the savagery of Anakin's attacks. The Jedi parried every slice, every hack, every could-be fatal blow. He kept himself calm, letting the Force flow through him. He did the Force's bidding; it would tell him the right moment to strike back.
Anakin was an inferno of power. He felt raw strength in every slash he made. His power fed off itself, growing to enormous heights. It bubbled up in his body, wanting to be let out. It leaked into his eyes; they burned pleasantly with the fires of Hell. Obi-Wan was helpless; Anakin knew this. His old master couldn't even fight back…he was forced to forever dodge and block Anakin's unrelenting lightsaber. He had complete control of the situation—he would show his former Master that he was better than him—that he was the stronger one. Wanting to goad, he expelled some of the Force raging in his body, throwing Obi-Wan back a few feet.
Anakin stood proudly, his blue lightsaber contrasting harshly with the fire on Mustafar and in his eyes. "Have you had enough, Obi-Wan? Have you finally opened your eyes to see that I have the true power?"
Obi-Wan panted slightly. His body was worn, but his mind was still fresh and clear. He straightened. "I have finally opened my eyes, yes," Obi-Wan said sadly. Anakin's red eyes burned brightly at him, two pinpoints of anger.
Anakin snarled. "Stop giving me those decrepit, ciphered answers!" Anakin charged at Obi-Wan once more. His lightsaber collided with Obi-Wan's, and sparks sputtered between the friction. Anakin pushed all of his weight into their locked lightsabers, forcing Obi-Wan to either step back or lose his balance. Obi-Wan stepped back. Anakin grinned wickedly at Obi-Wan, sensing victory near.
The Force finally sprung to life in Obi-Wan: he knew this was the moment to act. As a last moment thought, he started to say, "I am sorry, Anakin" as he swung his lightsaber at Anakin's unprotected head.
He fell to the ground, gasping in pain.
Obi-Wan stared down in disbelief at his severed legs.
Anakin stood over Obi-Wan, tossing his lightsaber from hand to hand in a casual manner. The blue light jumped back and forth, lighting and shadowing Anakin's face gruesomely. With a flick of his wrist, Obi-Wan's lightsaber went off the edge of the ship's docking platform and into the hungry lava below. Anakin stared at Obi-Wan's marred legs with detachment; both had been cut off at mid thigh-length. It reminded him of his own severed limb; a phantom pain ran through his mechanical joints where his real arm should have been.
Obi-Wan resigned himself to his fate. He had failed in his teachings to Anakin, and he had failed in correcting those failures. He only hoped that death would right his wrongs when he returned his spirit to the Force. Obi-Wan didn't beg for his life, he didn't pray. He closed his eyes. He did not want to have to gaze into Anakin's garish red eyes as Anakin killed him. His last vision would be a memory of better times.
Anakin stopped tossing his lightsaber as Obi-Wan closed his eyes. He frowned, weapon in hand. Obi-Wan still wouldn't acknowledge his superiority. Obi-Wan always turned a blind eye whenever Anakin did anything of true significance. Anakin brought his lightsaber up, preparing to behead Obi-Wan in one single motion—when he stopped.
The heat of battle having left him when faced with Obi-Wan's neutrality, thoughts now made their way into his head. Realization dawned on him. He didn't want to kill Obi-Wan, just as he hadn't wanted to kill Padmé. He just wanted to prove his greatness to them. Knowing that emotion was the foundation of the Dark Side, Anakin followed his. Instead of killing Obi-Wan, he lifted his mutilated body and carried him to the ship. He laid him down on one of the beds in the ship's medical room—it was a small and inadequately equipped room, but it would do for now—and went back to get Padmé. Once they were both on the ship and in the medical room, Anakin put a salve on Obi-Wan's burned stumps. The lightsaber had instantly cauterized the wounds, so no blood had been lost or infections gained. The only real damage Obi-Wan suffered from was burnt skin and the two lost limbs. Padmé herself was perfectly fine; she was probably still out because the baby exhausted her.
Obi-Wan bit back a hiss of pain as Anakin applied the burn salve to his wounds. He was astonished—he was still alive. Maybe, in spite of everything, there was still hope for Anakin. He prayed there was. "Why—" he was forced to stop as another burst of pain surged through him. "Why did you spare me?"
Anakin was silent for a minute, collecting his thoughts. "I want to prove to you that I am better. I don't want to kill you—at least, not now. But if you ever hurt Padmé—" Anakin halted for a moment to regain his composure. "You were my Master, and my friend. A bond like that cannot be easily destroyed. You and Padmé are all that I have left—if I lost both of you—" Anakin abruptly stopped again, and this time he didn't pick up where he left off.
Obi-Wan sighed before wincing; Anakin was wrapping his stumps, and the bandaging hurt his burnt skin. "Anakin…why have you done all this, then? You lost Padmé and myself when you joined the Dark Side."
"No, I haven't," Anakin said harshly. "I'll make you see that I'm right. I've done all this to save Padmé. I can save her life with this power."
"Power is gained only for the sake of power. You lie to yourself in thinking otherwise; only love could save Padmé. Now, I fear that you have tainted your love, just as you have your soul," Obi-Wan said sadly. He turned his head away from Anakin.
Anakin clenched his fists, trying to make the shaking stop. The slight shriek of metal grinding on metal sounded as his mechanic joints protested the abnormal amount of pressure. He forced himself to relax his grip. Holding a needle, Anakin explained calmly, in a tightly controlled voice, "This serum will help your body heal, but you'll most likely feel sleepy, as all your energy will be directed towards aiding the cells damaged in your body. This is the best that I can do until we can get you to a proper medical center and into a bacta tank." Anakin injected the serum into Obi-Wan's left stump, using a little more force than necessary. Obi-Wan bore his agony in silence.
"If you'll excuse me, I need to fly this ship back to Coruscant. There you can get better medical attention. I myself must be there for an emergency meeting of the Republic Senate. I will be a witness to the grand reformation of the Galactic Republic." Pride and anticipation colored Anakin's voice.
Obi-Wan lifted his head, using a great deal more energy and effort than he normally would. Already the serum was affecting his body and dulling his mind. "You mean to say when the Republic—and with it democracy—dies."
Anakin looked at Obi-Wan for a long moment. "Yes, I do. Democracy is a failure for governmental purposes. Quick, decisive actions are never reached, and people suffer because of that! We have been given the chance to right this wrong, and I won't let anything get in my way."
" 'We'?" Obi-Wan asked, letting his head sink down onto the pillow. It was too heavy to hold up.
"Chancellor Palpatine and myself."
Obi-Wan said nothing more. He turned his head away from Anakin and stared at the harsh white walls of the room. He was too tired to do anything else. Defeat weighed heavy in his soul.
Anakin was about to leave when Padmé groaned in her unconscious state. Anakin rushed over to her bed and grabbed one of her hands. "Padmé! You're all right!" he said joyfully. But quickly his smile turned into a frown. He could feel an irregularity with the Force lying dormant (as it did in most life forms) in Padmé's body, and it brought a sense of dread to him. He quickly called over the ship's medical droid. "Do something!" he commanded it harshly, trying to hide his fear.
The droid examined her body, taking far too long in Anakin's mind. Finally, it said in its metallic voice, "She has gone into labor. In her state of unconsciousness, she cannot fully expel the two babies."
"Padmé!" He cupped her two hands in his; he was too worried about his wife to even be amazed that Padmé was carrying twins. "Padmé, you have to wake up." He pushed some of his Force into her body, giving her enough energy to wake up. She did so groggily, before the pain hit her; at that point, she instantly became awake. Sweat poured down her face and she screamed. "It's all right," Anakin said smoothly, wiping a drenched lock of hair out of her face. "I'm right here. You just have to push your babies out, okay, honey? You can do this."
Padmé nodded, attempting to smile, and squeezed Anakin's left, flesh hand tightly until his hand turned white around the edges of her fingers and deep red everywhere else. The droid, in its cold and mechanical way, helped Padmé give birth to her twins: a baby boy and girl. Anakin held his twins in his arms joyously, an enormous smile on his face. He showed them to his wife, who smiled wanly. "What should we name them?" he asked her softly.
"L-Luke and Leia," Padmé said in a gasping breath.
"Those are wonderful names. I'm so proud of you, Padmé," Anakin said happily. "We did it, we have children…I love you so much." Padmé smiled at him, and Anakin felt the same wrongness creeping back again; every second he felt Padmé's life force dim. Quickly he set their babies down on Obi-Wan's infirmary bed, and took Padmé's hands. "Hold on," he said desperately, "please hold on, Padmé." He sent a shock of Force through her body, but it was met with resistance; his power simply slid off her soul. Desperately he tried to pour more energy into her, to give his life to her. The more he struggled to hold onto her, the farther away her spirit went.
Padmé smiled up at him, her hand lifting as if to caress his cheek.
The hand fell, the smile fell, and Anakin felt as if his soul had plummeted out of his body.
He dropped her still-warm hand and backed away. He ran into the droid and tripped until his back hit the wall. He slid down it and covered his face with his arms. He cried great, large, heaving sobs. Padmé was dead. There was nothing left, there was no hope, there was no point to living—
He heard the babies cry, screaming for their mother. He lifted his head from his arms, a dazed look in his eyes as he searched the room for the noise. His gaze fell upon the two plump little beings that were his children, and at Obi-Wan's prone form which seemed to protect and envelope the children. As the droid moved to pick up the children, responding to the babies' cries as it was programmed to, Anakin sent out a blast of Force to knock it aside. He staggered to his feet, still feeling numb, and hurried to the bed containing Obi-Wan and his children.
The droid voiced mechanically, "Sir, I must feed and wash the babies—"
Anakin cut off the droid harshly. "I shall do that myself." He took one last long, lingering look at Padmé's dead body. Then he squashed down the ache in his heart and turned his gaze away, onto the three living beings by his side.
He had a new family to take care of now.