AN: I've yet to see someone try to tackle this scene for obvious reasons.

Warning: Casual cruelty and senseless slaughter of children

Disclaimer: George, this is what happens when you give us something like Order 66 to deal with.

Cold Comfort

I exit the Council Chambers, shutting the bodies in it. Let the stolen youth of the Jedi rot in the room which had ruled them. The corridors are silent as I descend from the lofty spire that welcomes only Masters of the Order, and suffers the rest with ill grace.

"Master Skywalker! Master Skywalker!" A youngling, no more than ten and already sporting a half-inch Padawan braid crashes into me. Small arms wrap around my waist and a weeping face buries itself in my robes. I smile at the form of address. Let the Council determine who is fit to be called Master, the children on the Temple know greatness when they see it. "What's happening Master Skywalker? I feel so . . . cold."

I kneel to bring myself level with the weeping child. Transferring my saber to my mechanical right hand, I use my warm flesh one to raise his face to the light. This one I recognize. Caleb. He followed me around for months at one point. We have become friends. I can not afford friends.

"Caleb, I don't expect you to understand, but things are changing." I look into wavering gold eyes and pet the dark black hair stiffly. What am I doing? He is Jedi and the Jedi are traitors to the Empire, to Palpatine, to me.

"It's the Dark, isn't it?" Caleb asks, his lower lip trembling. "It's coming to get us. What do we do Master Ani? Where do we go?" He is innocently fragile in this moment, calling me by my nickname and reaching out to me for guidance.

I gather the child into a hug, enfolding us both in my cloak. He is shivering and clings to my leather tabard with a death-grip. "There's nothing we can do, young one," I tell him. "All things must balance, even the Light and the Dark." Somehow, I don't think Master Windu would have approved of my interpretation of Balance, but he wasn't the Chosen One, I am.

Caleb's brow furrows as he pulls back slightly. I keep my hands behind his back, protecting him in the circle of my arms for a few precious seconds. "Then what do we do, Master Skywalker?" he questions finally. "How can you fight the Dark?"

With a fatal snap-hiss, my lightsaber ignites, driving through his side to impale both spine and heart. The golden eyes glaze over still holding my own gaze. I let go and the body slumps to the floor silently. Rising to my feet, I stare at the child I had watched grow up as one of those I now knew to be my enemy.

"I don't fight the Dark," I quietly answer his last question, "so you don't have to."