Failure

In his hyperbaric meditation chamber, Darth Vader sat motionless, trying to focus his thoughts and stoke his anger, to build up the power of the Dark side within him. He brought up his most hated memories, all the better for his current intents and purposes.

His mother's death in the Tusken camp was the first memory that came to mind. He bitterly remembered how he had found her in a bantha-hide teepee, barely clinging on to life. As he remembered her dying in his arms, he felt several conflicting emotions within him.

He had failed to save her.

He had failed to be strong enough.

He was weak.

He was suddenly aware of a boiling anger within him. He had been weak! He had been too weak to save his mother from the Sand People, and too weak to save Padme, in the later future.

Vader felt his throat constrict, as though trying to swallow air, as he thought of Padme.

Sweet Padme.

Beautiful Padme.

Dead Padme.

He let out an animalistic roar of rage as he cursed anyone that came to mind. Curse Palpatine for manipulating him like a string puppet. Curse Obi-Wan for failing him as a Jedi Master. Curse Padme…

No, Padme wasn't to be cursed.

Vader then recalled giving her a Force choke on Mustafar, where he had been burnt until he became what he was today. He recalled seeing her lying unconscious, while Obi-Wan tried to feed him more drivel on how Anakin was falling into the Dark Side.

It wasn't true, Vader insisted to himself, that he had fallen to the Dark side for personal gain. He had done it to save Padme from death, but she had died anyway.

The memory of Padme's death caused Vader to feel like his heart was being ripped apart into shreds.

He then realized that she wouldn't have died if he hadn't turned to the Dark side. It was only when she had seen what he had become that she had lost her will to live! He had, in trying to prevent her death, unintentionally killed her.

Yoda had been right in warning him about taking visions seriously.

He had failed his mother and Padme. He had killed Padme through his foolishness. He was a FAILURE.

The sudden rush of emotions washed over him like a flood, and parts of his ravaged face repaired themselves long enough for something unusual to happen.

Tears ran down Darth Vader's ruined cheeks.

xxx

In his personal chambers, Palpatine smiled a reptilian smile as he felt Vader's anguish.