3. Arson

It was supposed to have been the beginning of a new life together, the beginning of hope, of love, of two hearts intertwined so completely that there was no place to show where she ended and he began.

Instead, it was the end. The end of that dream. The end of his life.

She had asked him to come see her. The venue and the time were very precise. He had sneaked out of the Temple with little difficulty. His Master was not there to stop him. He held his new arm awkwardly against his side as her handmaidens let him into her apartment. Their eyes were shuttered behind their deep hoods. A sense of guilt that he could not quite place radiated from them. That should have been his first warning. But he was too overwhelmed with the thought of seeing her again to interpret that.

The guilt seemed to thicken as he moved deeper and deeper into the apartment. Anticipation faded within him and became dread. He paused at the door to her chambers, paused before the fatal step that would make it slide open automatically. He could almost feel his midi-chlorians curling up in his blood, crying out to him that he should not take that step. He should just turn back and run and run and run. But she was there. Waiting for him.

And so was his Master.

He took the step and the door slid open.

He had known and yet, he had not known. The pair of them, entwined in an embrace that was unnatural in its naturalness. They were more aware of him than they were of each other. But they took their time breaking apart. And when their eyes deigned to rest on him, the aloofness he saw was a lie.

Why were they doing this?

"Why are you doing this?" Anakin shouted.

Padmé. His love. The woman who had pledged her troth to him. She looked back at him, a small, amused little smile on her face.

"Can I help you, Padawan?" She asked with soft dismissal. Her eyes were telling him, "Please try to understand. I'm hurting you to save you."

His reply choked in his throat. (He was dying, there were holes in his heart and the blood was flowing freely. )

He didn't understand.

Slowly, casually, she got to her feet, drawing her robes around her and walked around the bed of iniquity. After that first time, she didn't look at him, even as his eyes bored through her back.

How quickly did love turn to hate.

"Anakin, shouldn't you be in the Med Bay?" His Master asked him coolly. But inside those blue eyes, Anakin could see the guilt, the apology, the…

It's for your own good!

"Be wary of your thoughts, my young apprentice," Obi-Wan said sharply. But his composure buried his alertness. He reclined on that bed, looking as relaxed as an indolent Hapan prince, but his every sense was prepared for an attack from his apprentice.

Anakin looked at his Master, his mentor, his father. And hatred was too much feeling for him. Instead there was emptiness.

He turned blindly (He was bleeding, he was dying) and made his way out of the apartment.

"It was the work of a Sith. That's the only explanation."

Dusk in Coruscant. A small room in the Jedi Temple, that was attended only during special occasions. A room of passing. Of fire and pyre.

The flames seemed to glow from within him, rather than burn him. They danced on the faces of the Jedi in attendance – the whole Council, almost every Knight, Padawan and Initiate that was within reach. Every Jedi, that is, except his own Master.

They watched him burn.

"Killed before he could become a danger to them."

The Masters discussed the matter, discussed the murder, tried to rationalize his passing and hold onto their own sanity.

Their only hope against the rising Darkness dead.

"His heart was destroyed. A Force choke that ruptured the entire muscle."

At last the flames consumed him. His golden skin darkened, blackened, charred. His body was now a living torch, a burning light in the Darkness.

"Where is Obi-Wan?"

The whisper was passed on from Masters to Knights to Padawans to Initiates. No one knew. No one wanted imagine the agony, the Chosen One's Master was going through now.

"He must feel so responsible. It wasn't his fault."

The flames consumed him and themselves. It was a long, slow burn but in the end, even the ashes stopped glowing. All that was left was soot.

And darkness.