Summary: Following the events of the last chapter, in his dreams Anakin meets a ghost and comes face to face with his own dissociation.
Note on the chapter title: Anamnesis is Greek for "remembrance" or a calling to mind. In Platonic thought it often refers to remembrance of a past life.
Thanks to Le1a Naberr1e for the beta!
He was sitting on a bed in a small room made of mud brick and colored in dust. Across from him, perched like some curious watching spirit, a small boy sat half-peering out of an alcove. They had both been there for a very long time.
The boy was watching him curiously, blue eyes bright with some emotion he couldn't name. He had the feeling that he'd seen those eyes somewhere before, but he couldn't remember where.
"Who are you?" he asked the boy in a whisper. He was startled that he had spoken at all—he hadn't intended to speak first—but the boy didn't seem surprised. Instead, he was smiling slightly, as though he thought they were playing some elaborate game.
"You don't remember me?" the boy asked, words quiet and bright as the voice of trickling water beneath the sun. The image seemed out of place, somehow, in the drab, dusty little room.
"I've never known you," he said, perhaps too harshly. "How should I remember?"
The boy looked up at him with too-bright eyes, and his lower lip trembled slightly. But there was very little of the child in his words. "You choose to forget, that's why," he said, still in that flowing soft child's voice, though some of the brightness was gone now. "I wish you would remember, though. It would hurt less."
"Hurt?" he repeated, baffled. "How have I hurt you?" But he flinched away from his own words—the possible answers to that question were far too many.
The boy said nothing, and so he began to study the child's face, looking for the answer.
The boy's eyes were blue, a bit brighter than was natural, as though he'd been crying. His face bore the common roundness of childhood, dotted liberally with freckles and topped with an unruly mop of dust colored hair, nearly the same shade as the mud brick walls and dusty floor of the strange room in which they sat.
He did not remember, but he had an idea who this boy might be. After all, it was always this boy, wasn't it?
"You're Penu Chadisk," he said, the words sticking in his throat. Outside the room they sat in, the sound of gusting sand sang of impermanence and loss. And of death. Always, always death.
The boy looked up at him sadly. "No," he whispered, "I'm not. He is one with the Force now."
"A ghost," he answered, his words harsh, ragged. "But you're a ghost, too. Aren't you?"
The boy nodded slowly, something strange shining in his eyes. "But not a dead one," he whispered.
He stared at the boy. Saw the intensity of expression, the non-innocence (remarkable in a child so young), the mingled recognition and denial in those too-bright eyes. And he knew.
"Ani," he said, and his voice sounded hoarse, unused, to his own ears. "You're Anakin."
For one brief instant, the boy favored him with a dazzling smile. And then it was gone.
"Why do you talk about me like I'm someone else?" the boy asked. "I'm you, aren't I? Anakin. I'm what you used to be."
He looked at the child strangely, as though he didn't understand the question. "No," he said at last, and his words rang with finality. "You are only a ghost."
And then there was only the wind, and the roaring sand, and the enveloping crush of blackness.