Agony encompasses me, no longer slow, pulsing anger. It is now pain, unlimited pain that spreads throughout my entire body, burning, consuming my soul. There are no tears for this destruction; it goes beyond weeping, beyond anything else I have ever felt. Even love is no match for this; I wonder if it ever was.

Here, when I am alone, I can feel hear whispers, sibilant sighs. I can feel the warmth of a palm against my cheek, the smoothness of lips sliding against lips, the all-encompassing warmth of the Force.

Padmé, my mind whispers, her voice a curse. Damn her, I think, my hand trembling, my resolve slowly slipping away.

No, an inner voice breathes, mocking me with its laughter, Damn you.

My injuries have not yet healed, and they are a constant reminder, as inescapable as her face. Each are just as painful, just as searing.

Every imagined touch, even the softness of her gaze, burns, touching me with fire. There is a fantasy that lurks at the edges of my mind, unleashing itself upon me, and I am helpless, unable to prevent myself from reliving it.

In my dreams, she stands before me, eyes soft and welcoming and loving. There are no tears in her eyes, no despair that I am able to reach out and touch. She is dressed in white, the color of innocence and purity.

And death.

She reaches forward, touching me with a soft, calm, delicate hand, fingers pressing gently over my injuries, smoothing her hand against my brow. I am held captive by her very presence, and her existence is painful to me, a new kind of pain. She reaches forward then, a small, serene smile on her lips.

She kisses my forehead softly, tenderly touching wounds that are set aflame by even the softest movement of her fingertips. Her touch is the gentlest of pains, small flames lit along my flesh wherever she places her fingers. Agony and ecstasy mix, entwining around one another until they are the same. I burn while watching her, and she does not know that she is putting me into torment simply with her eyes.

I scream, coming back to myself, my yell echoing into the stillness of my chambers. I close my eyes, knowing that none would dare disturb Lord Vader.

Except for her.

Memories race through my mind, each seeming to want to supersede the other, each wanting all my attention. Her voice murmurs in my mind, soft and gentle.

Hold me, Anakin. All I want to feel is you right now; let us forget about the world.

I'm afraid, Love.

Raw, burning, destroying emotion comes over me, and I sink into despair. There is nothing, nothing left for me. She would have given me everything, and I destroyed her. Irony is far more cruel then I could have ever imagined.

I loved her. That much I can remember. Yes, I think, there once was love, love that shone and illuminated everything, giving light to my soul. My eyes close as I think of how the love twisted in my veins, pulsing no longer the heartbeat of innocence. Dark, consuming, possessive, jealousy, wanting, needing more.

My jaw clenches as I think of Obi-Wan. Anger spreads throughout me, terrifying, consuming everything. I never knew rage could be soft, but it can be, it is.

I remember how it happened, remember everything. I often think that is my curse, to be helpless to the force of memories.

Anger came to me, slowly whispering comforts. It was sweet and seductive, and a thrill to me. I never knew the other side of the Force, the other spectrum of emotions and feelings there was. Rage is powerful and addictive, the sweet breath of a serpent before the jaws open, swallowing everything whole.

I remember the visions that tormented me. Bodies, slowly closing around each other in the dark. Her small smile, his calm blue eyes twinkling with some hidden knowledge. His beard rasping across her face as she whispered against his lips, 'I love you.'

They fueled the furnace within me. I remember my racing heartbeat, and the final, bitter accusation.


Memory fades, until there is only stillness. There is a growing numbness in the pit of my stomach, the removal of all feeling except for anger. All the pain seems so distant, I think, as the darkness gathers me into itself, comforting me, enveloping me into its cold embrace. My soul still screams at the sound of her name, but there is something else.

Purpose. My racing pulse stills, and the tears that I did not know I had shed dry on my cheeks. Memories tear at my new existence, threatening to rip my soul apart again, threatening to break my newfound equilibrium.

I savagely repress all of Anakin Skywalker into an abandoned corner of my mind, one that does not feel. I bite my lip until it bleeds, shoving everything that I had felt, the love, the warmth, all of it, away.

There is only darkness left within me, pure and untainted, and the sheerness of my pain is gone, dulled to a slow ache.

I allow unrepentant coldness to fill me, until there is nothing but ice in my veins.

I am, after all, Darth Vader.