Title: Mausoleum

Author: kasey8473

Rating: K+

Summary: Vader stands staring at the lava on Mustafar, justifying his actions to himself.

Disclaimer: Star Wars is the property of George Lucas. No disrespect is intended with this fic.

Notes: An extremely short one-shot that refused to be put in a file and forgotten.

The child inside him cried.

Vader looked at the flow of lava, watched it crest and swell like an ocean seething. The child he'd once been was frightened, terrified. He yearned for the safety of his mother's arms. He wanted so desperately to hear her calming voice, feel the soothing touch of her fingers on his cheek. The boy huddled by himself. There had been such innocence in the boy he'd been, innocence now gone from him. He wanted someone to hold him, to stroke his hair and tell him everything would be okay.

The child wanted reassurance.

While the child cried, the teenager paced, eyes wide, also frightened. The teenager hid it better than the child, letting his fear manifest as temper.

"What are you doing," he cried out, then said it again, demanding. "What are you doing!" He turned his eyes to his own hands, terror, pain and misery on his features. "What have you done? What have I done?"

What have I done, Vader thought. Coolly, he ticked off things to himself. I've ended a war. I've eliminated enemies. I've saved my wife.

Padmé. He'd saved Padmé. He had the power now to keep her alive and with him. Power.

He lifted his chin a little, feeling the new powers inside him, those abilities that opening himself, giving himself had produced. Vader was stronger than his old self, the only end that Anakin Skywalker could come to. As much as the Jedi had called him the Chosen One, they'd never really wanted him to embrace it, to excel to his full potential. They'd been afraid.

Now, he was finally reaching the place he should be. He was reaching his full potential and there was nothing anyone could do about it. As it should be.

Unlimited power.

The young man he'd been only two days earlier stepped in front of the child and the teenager and slowly shook his head. "This is not right."

To which Vader replied, "The end justifies the means. The galaxy is safe. Padmé is safe. And she is all that matters."

Anakin sighed and in a sad tone said, "You kid yourself, Vader."

Vader let the tears come. Perhaps they would wash him clean and erase the memories of the boy, the teen and the man he'd once been. Vader was a Sith lord. There was no going back.

Not now.

Not ever.