Author: Aelan Greenleaf
Category: Drama, Angst
Summary: A two part short story; a prequel AU. Takes place during ROTS.
Part One: A Tenebrous Figure in the Dark
It was always strange, to see him on the holo-screen.
A two-dimensional figure, so quiet and calm, and yet imposing and loud in a way without words. For the past six months he had been on the HoloNet, almost always in the Current Events programming that was so commonly rampant during the new war. "Jedi Heroes", the captions would almost always read, detailing the newest campaign in the caves of Sullust, or the deserted Dantooine, or near the asteroid belt of Camos IV.
Like celebrities, the Jedi were the face of the good and great. They were the defenders of the galaxy, fighting against the horrible and oppressive forces of the evil Separatists. Lightsabers flashing on screen, parrying blaster bolts and obliterating the droid armies of the enemy, as the faithful and resilient clonetroopers rallied behind them. Green and blue and purple and pink, the colours of the victorious.
He doubted himself that the Jedi really enjoyed the publicity; in fact, he knew it. It hadn't been all that long since he was a Jedi himself. His hand went down to his belt; unconsciously, he was searching for the familiar hilt of his blade. Warm skin touched a cold, and somewhat unfamiliar cylinder, and he remembered that his old life was gone. Muscles tightened around the cylinder, and it burst into life as he removed it from his hip and studied its' glowing red nature. The dark room danced with shadows in front of him.
A voice caught his ears, and he turned back to the screen, replacing the lightsaber to its' holster and returning his attention to the figure on the news.
"...And we are receiving live feed of the return of the amazing tandem team of Jedi, saviours of Coruscant and of the Republic!" A crowd cheered in the background as a tall young man emerged from the shuttle, brown hair waving in the afternoon winds. His mentor looked on, standing further back, quiet as always.
He could feel the sneer pull back at his lips as he watched the two 'heroes' be escorted down into the Chancellor's private transport, and as the crowds screamed their delight and infatuation ever louder. The older Jedi continued on, but the younger one, he looked back to the thousands gathered around, and smiled, waving to them all. The crowds chanted "Anakin!" after him, as the shuttle took off.
For a moment, he saw the other Jedi's face. For a moment, he saw the look of sadness and disappointment that flashed across his face when his apprentice turned to the crowd. For a moment, everything was forgotten and it was twelve years ago, and it wasn't Anakin that the master was facing.
He shook his head in an effort to clear such thoughts from his mind. The past was in the past. There was nothing that he could change, and nothing that he really wanted to change.
Nothing at all.
He moved towards the viewport, his eyes settling on the changing cloud cover and landscape of the planet below. The time hadn't come yet; the ship and the fleet were waiting, impassive and patient. A war was not won by the foolhardy, nor was it won by the impatient. Planning, and waiting, and patience; these qualities were what won a war.
A sigh escaped his lips, and he ran his hand through his short-cropped hair, leaving finger tracks. Ever since the hostilities had begun, ever since the first volley had been exchanged, and ever since the first man had died, he had doubted this war. Time and again, he'd thought of what he was doing, and if it was right, and if this was really the right thing. The Republic was corrupt, but the Separatists were really no better, and he couldn't sleep much anymore because of his damned Jedi values that kept coming back to haunt him.
Part of him would always be the Jedi, calm and idealistic. He knew this; and yet, he didn't. He wore the red blade at his hip not because it was who he was, but a reminder of what he could never become.
The ship vibrated beneath him, and the planet started to fade away. The stars disappeared in grandiose streaks of light as the fleet entered hyperspace. The attack had begun.
He turned back to the screen, and he saw the people who were still celebrating, and for a moment, his heart turned to ice and he shivered. In a very short time, there would be no celebrating on Coruscant at all.
The ship's engines throbbed onwards, driving them deep into the Core.
I'll post Part Two: Thunder in the Sky on Sunday.