The sound of moving lava and lightsabers clashing filled the molten canyon of Mustafar. Two Jedi stood on a metallic platform floating toward a large rise.

"I've failed you, Anakin," Obiwan Kenobi said sadly as he deflected Anakin … Darth Vader's blow and answered with one of his own. "I've failed you …"

"I should have known the Jedi would try to take over!" Anakin growled insanely as he swung his saber at his former master.

"Anakin! Chancellor Palpatine's evil!" Obiwan countered as he deflected the blow.

"From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!" Anakin replied, slashing at his master.

"Then you are lost!" Obiwan shot as he jumped away, landing on the shore of the lava river.

"This is the end for you, my Master," Anakin said, glaring up at Obiwan. "I wish it were otherwise."

"Anakin, I have the high ground," Obiwan tried to reason with his former student. "Don't try it!"

Anakin just screamed in rage and leapt toward the older Jedi, and his body, arm, and legs fell separately to the ground, his disarmed and legged torso dropped down toward the moving lava. "YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!" Obiwan screamed at his fallen opponent in angst. "You were meant to destroy the Sith, not join them! You were meant to balance the force, not leave it in darkness!"

"I HATE YOU!" Anakin screamed back in pure rage.

Obiwan watched Anakin in despair as he remembered Master Yoda's words. Anakin was completely corrupted with the Dark Side, and had to be destroyed …

You still have so much to learn, my very foolhardy Padawan …

"Qui-Gon?" Obiwan gasped, eyes widening.

Did you learn nothing from me, Obiwan? Qui-Gon's voice asked with a hint of amusement. The Dark Side, the Light Side, it's all part of the Force; the Dark can be used for good, and the Light can be used for evil. No one can be filled with one side. No one is without saving, only by changing their point of view. If one believes one is good and another is evil, the one that is believed to be evil must only change the person's point of view.

"I …"

Letting the boy burn to death isn't really going to help his opinion of you and the 'evil' Jedi, you realize? What did I always teach you? Trust your feelings. Your mind tells you to follow Master Yoda's orders without question, and as wise as he is, he IS wrong here, Obi-Wan. This is your chance. Old Traditions and take two children's father from them, dooming them all to a life of hardships, or trust the Will of the Force.

Anakin felt a burning sensation on his legs and knew his robes had caught fire, but he was in no way prepared for Obiwan to grab his prosthetic arm, jerking him away from the fire and using the Force to put out the flames on the robes.

"What?" Anakin asked in shock as Obiwan pulled him into a tight hug.

"You're my brother, Anakin. I love you, and I will not allow you to die like this. Not like this." Obiwan said, clinging to his fallen friend.

"I hate you!" Anakin screamed into Obiwan's chest.

"I don't care," Obiwan said, tightening his hug.

"You'll be … expelled from the order … for helping me …" Anakin forced out through his pain and growing emotions.

"I'd care less, my friend," Obiwan stated. "We were all wrong here, Anakin, not just you. Master Yoda, Master Windu, everyone. Palpatine manipulated us all for his own selfish reasons."

"Why should I believe you?" Anakin stiffened in Obiwan's arms.

"Because I swore to your mother and Qui-Gon that I would watch over, and make sure you achieved your dream of becoming a Jedi," Obiwan said, pulling away from the injured young man.

"Force … what have I done?" Anakin began to tremble. "Everything Palpatine said … it made so much sense when I heard him … I … oh gods …"

"Palpatine used you, Anakin," Obiwan said, pulling the boy back into a hug, "He used us all …"

"But I killed almost everyone in the temple, Obiwan …" Anakin trembled violently. "I killed them all … like the Sandpeople … they didn't deserve it … the children … younglings …"

"Wait … almost?" Obiwan asked, pulling away from Anakin.

"I gave a group of the infants … they were going to be taken to be trained as Force adept assassins for the Empire …" Anakin trembled, tears streaming down his pale cheeks.

"Let's get you and your wife to safety," Obiwan said, "Then we'll worry of the Younglings …"

Anakin nodded, trembling still. "I'm going to put you in a healing trance to ease your injuries." Obiwan said, laying Anakin flat on his back, and watching as Anakin seemed to go into a deep sleep.

Anakin groaned as he slowly regained consciousness and found himself laying flat on his back on a metal table. He slowly pull himself to a seated position with both hands … "What the Force …" Anakin breathed, looking down at his two hands, one gold and one pale flesh toned and two full legs attached to his hips.

"Just need to see if the nerves are set up right, my fellow Jedi," Obiwan said from his seat beside the table. "Welcome back, old friend. I've missed you."

"How long have I been out?" Anakin asked as the droid moved to his side and began opening compartments on the side of his wrist.

"One week, three days," Obiwan said, sitting back, "give or take a few cycles."

"Padme, is she ok?" Anakin asked, his eyes widening in worry.

"She's … well," Obiwan glanced around the room. "Can he walk?" Obiwan asked the droid.

"Stand by, please," the droid said, moving to his leg and stabbing it with a needle, making Anakin yelp and jump. Unaffected, the droid moved to Anakin's other leg, jabbing it and causing the same effect from the young Jedi. "He appears to be fully functional again, Master Kenobi."

"Let's go," Anakin said, hopping to his feet, only to have to hold on to Obiwan to steady himself.

"You should gain balance in a moment, Master Skywalker," the droid said before rolling away.

"Slag a moment, where's Padme?" Anakin said, gripping Obiwan's arm.

"Alright, fine, just … be prepared …" Obiwan said, leading the still limping Jedi from the private room.

Obiwan led his friend up seven doors before turning. "Annie, listen to me ok? What happened on Mustafar really affected her, old friend. She may not be immediately receptive to you." Anakin nodded. "Alright, onward to our deaths… again."

The two Jedi walked into the very elaborately decorated room. Anakin instantly saw Padme resting comfortably on a large bed with a cradle on either side of the bed. Sabé sat on Padme's bedside, rocking the cradle where a child slept, and in the far corner of the room Master Yoda sat in a small chair, using the Force to rock an infant in the air. "A beautiful princess who is? Hmm? Hmm?" the aged master smiled up at the baby.

"Hello, Anakin," Sabé smiled at the younger man before shyly adverting her eyes from Obiwan. "Master Kenobi …"

"Sabé…" Obiwan gave a salute with an imaginary lightsaber.

"Ah, awakened you are, Master Skywalker, stronger than I expected you are, yes?" Yoda said, lowering the baby to rest in his arms as he stood to face the two Jedi. "Quiet we must be, your children's mother sleeping she is."

"Master Yoda … I'm … I cannot tell you how sorry I am …" Anakin lowered his eyes sadly.

"Warned you, we did, Anakin," Yoda said as he levitated the child to the empty cradle. "Adventure, hm, excitement, hm," Yoda said, waddling toward the tall Jedi Knight before hitting him hard in the knee with his walking stick. "Now learn to keep your eyes on what you are doing, and not what you will be doing later, you will?"

"Palpatine promised he'd help me save Padme, Master; he said he knew a way to use the Force to keep her from dying …" Anakin bowed his head, yelping when the walking stick struck again.

"And approach the Council, or your friend and mentor, Master Obiwan, you chose not to?" Yoda's eyes widened at the young Jedi. "Wiser a Jedi I had given you credit to be."

"I didn't think you trusted me enough … OUCH!" Anakin's knee buckled from another, even harder blow from the Jedi Master.

"Trust, young Jedi? Trust a Jedi who has broken our code of celibacy … who lived a lie for years … and threw a child-like tantrum when not named a Master, what reasons did we have?" Yoda questioned, "Earned trust must be, Young Skywalker. Trusting others, the easiest way to be trusted is."

"You … knew?" Anakin blanched at the green skinned Master.

"Beautiful your wedding was, young Skywalker," Yoda nodded before snorting, "The Council witnessed it through the Force as well as saw the creation of these beautiful children in the womb of your wife nine months ago."

"You are correct, trust you much of the Council did not, trust in the Council you did not." Yoda, sighed, shaking his head, "A vote was cast … the night you first broke the code, in marrying the Senator. Some were enraged, but still trusted in the will of the Force, and in the will of the Force, voted we did. Decided we did that outweighed the breaking of the code, your service to the Order has done."

"What if I had wanted to leave the Order?" Anakin asked and was shocked when Yoda chuckled.

"You were born a slave, Anakin; when you freed yourself from Tatooine, a free man you have been. None would have stopped you from leaving had you wished to." Yoda shook his head, "Too many Jedi feel that they are imprisoned in their roles, and that … is why we failed."

Yoda gave a shocked look when Anakin's lightsaber dropped at his feet. "I have no right to this anymore, Master."

"Stop you, I will not, Anakin," Yoda said, glancing at the downcast Obiwan, then to the former Sith Lord. "But I ask this, not as a Council Member, or as a Jedi Master, but as a friend asking a friend …" Yoda lifted the saber toward Anakin. "The Jedi have fallen … nearing extinction they are … Great is your power, young Skywalker, great is your will. Stop you, I will not, from walking away … but … need you, the Jedi do … more than ever before."

Anakin stared at the lightsaber he himself constructed when he was Obiwan's Padawan and barely even noticed Obiwan's hand clasping his shoulder. "We all make mistakes, Anakin," Obiwan said, "The important thing is we learn from them and go on."

Anakin reached out with a slightly trembling hand and took the lightsaber from the Master. "Fearful, I was for a moment," Yoda smiled. "The last of the Jedi Council we three are." Yoda then glanced at the door. "After your most important introduction, the fourth spot will be offered."

"Fourth spot?" Obiwan cocked his head to the side.

"Jedi Aayla Secura, badly injured she was found, but … alive she is." Yoda said, "But first, introduce you allow me to Luke and Leia, offspring of the great Jedi Anakin Skywalker and Senator Padme Skywalker."

"Twins?" Anakin asked, glancing from crib to crib, "We … we've got twins …" Luke smiled down at the babies, then reached down to touch Leia's cheek, and was so distracted by the joy of fatherhood, he didn't sense the movement or approaching danger until after the small fist slammed into his cheek, sending him down on one knee.

"Don't touch my babies, you monster," Padme spat from her kneeling position on the bed.

"PADME!" Obiwan gasped at the woman.

"You said it yourself, Obiwan; I saw it too," Padme gave a teary glare at her husband. "The Anakin I loved, the Anakin I married wouldn't have killed all those people, wouldn't have even THOUGHT about becoming the Sith." She spat, "It's your fault Palpatine's in charge; if you hadn't given in to the Dark Side, Anakin, Palpatine wouldn't be in power!"

"I … I made a mistake, Padme … I'm sorry …" Anakin's trembling voice spoke as he avoided the murderous glare of his wife.

"You're sorry, Annie? You're sorry." Padme mimicked, "You're sorry doesn't bring back the Jedi you MURDERED; you're sorry doesn't restore the Senate to power; you're sorry doesn't help at all!"

"I want to make it right," Anakin shook his head. "I want to fix things."

"This is life, Anakin," Padme crawled back to bed, turning her back to the Jedi. "This isn't a pod racer that you can patch back together. What you've broken, Anakin, cannot be repaired."

"Padme, Anakin is the father of your children!" Obiwan tried to remind her.

"And he will be treated as such; he is the father of my children." Padme said, pulling the sheet tightly over her shoulder, speaking as if Anakin was no longer there. "And that is all he is to me now."

Anakin stared at her dumbly for a moment and glanced at his children before turning on his heel and briskly leaving the room.

"Anakin, wait!" Obiwan called after him as he followed.

Yoda too turned to leave, but stopped to look toward the bed. "Remind you who nominated Palpatine to power, must I?" Yoda asked before leaving the Padme with her children and uncomfortable handmaiden.

"Master Yoda, are you here?" Aayla Secura asked softly as she entered the Jedi Master's quarters on Bail Organa's ship. "Hello?" Aayla asked as she limped into the low lit room. She still favored her back and legs from where she was shot, but the Bacta treatments had helped a lot. "Master Yoda? Blast … he's not here …" She sighed, hoping for word on if Kit had survived.

The blue skinned Twi'lekian Jedi Knight had a strong friend, and forced down feelings for the youngest of the Jedi Masters, Kit Fisto, and after the Clone Troopers' betrayal had a great sense of dread on his condition.

She spotted a holoemitter on the aged Jedi Master's desk and curiosity took her when she realized it was from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. What she saw would haunt her the rest of her days.

She saw a group of Younglings, just about at the age of becoming Padawans alone in the Council Chamber hiding. Suddenly, the door opened and in walked Jedi Anakin Skywalker. "Master Skywalker, what's going on? What are we going to do? Master Skywalker?" the children asked gathering around him. Aayla's eyes widened when Anakin brandished his lightsaber.

"No …" Aayla closed her eyes, but she could still hear the sound of Anakin's lightsaber and the children's cries of pain silenced. "Force, no …" she shook her head, her lekku trembling.

"Anakin?" Obiwan said, following along the silent yet trembling youth. "Anakin, don't keep this bottled up inside."

"Why, Master?" Anakin asked with a trembling voice. "Why didn't you let me burn to death in that volcano… it would have been a less painful thing than living like this … with her thinking of me like that …"

"She's just upset, Anakin, give her time," Obiwan said comfortingly, "You know better than any of us how stubborn she is … let her cool down … rest assured her way of thinking is that of only one person here."


"OK, maybe two…" Obiwan corrected when the two Jedi looked up to see a badly injured Twi'lek covered in Bacta patches, supporting herself with one arm on the wall and grasping her lightsaber with the other.

"Um, I see you're feeling somewhat better, Aayla," Obiwan said, approaching the injured Jedi Knight.

"Out of the way, Master Kenobi," Aayla growled, glancing from Obiwan to the approaching Master Yoda. "I saw the holodisk in Master Yoda's room. I know what you've done, Vader," Aayla said, turning her attention to Anakin. "You murdered them all. Even the children … who came to you for help … YOUNGLINGS, and you chopped them down like they were nothing more than training droids."

"Aayla, you don't …" Obiwan was silenced when he was lifted into the air and slung into the wall.

Anakin lowered his arm immediately after. "Yes, I did, Aayla," Anakin said, approaching her, "and before that I stepped over my Master's work, the Masters who went with Master Windu … even the one you had feelings for… I stepped over his body… I helped Palpatine killed Master Windu, then a slaughtered the Jedi at the Temple, and at the time, I enjoyed it."

"Lift your saber, Sith," Aayla spat, "LIFT YOUR SABER!" Anakin just stood there before her, their eyes locked in an intense gaze.

Anakin reached out in the Force, and gripped Aayla's blade wrist; he lifted it up where the edge of her lightsaber was just barely away from touching his neck. "Do what you must."

"You want to die …" Aayla breathed in realization, and as badly as she wanted to, she couldn't push her wrist to end the traitor's life.

"No, I'm already dead," Anakin replied, and felt a mix of relief, but mostly disappointment when Aayla powered down her saber and dropped to her knees, tears rolling down her blue cheeks.

"Anakin!" Obiwan growled, pulled his former student by the collar. "That was the stupidest stunt I have ever seen in my life!"

"You want to save the younglings?" Anakin asked in a sad voice, turning a glance toward Yoda, "I can take you to them. It won't pardon my sins, but it'll be a start."

Deep inside the newly dubbed Imperial Palace, Emperor Palpatine walked alone into a mechanical construction chamber. His deformed features curved into a smile when he saw who was strapped onto the table. "Master Windu … Most interesting to see you still conscious."

The badly injured Mace Windu turned toward the Sith Lord and spat in his direction a mix of saliva and blood. "I will not be turned to the Dark Side."

"Dear boy … you have already turned some time ago," Palpatine chuckled, "you have been a most enjoyable puppet to control."

"You cannot confuse my mind as you have, Skywalker," Mace said stubbornly. "I am a Jedi Master."

"You are a fool who has played into my hands more times than I can count," Palpatine growled. "I did not do a thing to young Skywalker to turn him from your Order. You Jedi did that on your own. You did everything I wanted you to do … I befriended the boy and you believed him to be a follower of mine even when he would have easily died for you without a second thought."

"That's not true … Skywalker …"

"Was the greatest of your Order, and you made him hate it." Palpatine grinned, "Isn't irony grand?"

Palpatine took a seat beside Mace's bed. "He reached out to you, begging for you to accept him. The Jedi slapped his hand and kept him chained … expecting him to be a mindless weapon. While the Sith reached out to him, offered him friendship … offered him equality. That is the truth of the galaxy my friend. The Jedi are weapons for politicians and those who rule, the Sith are the saviors … the Republic just …altered your points of view."

"That isn't true …" Mace shook his head, his voice losing some of its edge.

"Think about it, Master Windu," Palpatine sighed, "Who orders the Jedi Council? Who informs the Jedi Council of potential Jedi Recruits? Who do the Jedi protect without question?"

"The Republic …" Mace closed his weak eyes tightly.

"The Republic was in full control of the Jedi since before you were even a Padawan, my friend," Palpatine laced his fingers in his lap. "There was little you could have done … but now … the Republic is no more … only the Galactic Empire of the Sith."

"You are a master of the Light Side of the Force, Master Windu," Palpatine leaned forward. "To become a true master of the Force … would it not be beneficial to learn of the Dark Side as well?"

"How many times did the Senate make a decision you didn't agree with … how would you like to have full control over what the Senate does or does not do?" Palpatine questioned, "Would you not like the ability to use your wisdom to control the galaxy as we see fit?" Palpatine touched Mace's remaining arm. "Pledge your allegiance unto me, Mace Windu, and as my Apprentice you will rule over the Galactic Senate as ever you wish."

"I …" Mace choked slightly. "I accept …"

"Excellent, now we will have to do some physical alterations to save your life, you understand … it could be painful," Palpatine stood up as a group of droids moved in. "But rest assured … you will be the greatest of my Apprentices … Darth Neco."

To Be Continued …

Neco: Latin for "To bring death and suffering"

I know Aayla died in the movie, but she rocks too much to not bring into this fic. This was just a preview chappy so the rest of the fic might not go up until I get somemore chapters written for it before hand. Let me know what you think of the premise and if ya'all like it enough, might get more faster. lol.

C. Cowboy