Old Mistakes, New Beginnings

By Lincoln Six Echo

A/N: this is a special story that can be read as a simple Obi-Wan/ Anakin friendship story or as an Obi/Ani slash—but this is not our typical slash too. The slash in this story is very "pure" and this is a story of love, not romance, a love that can push two close friends to do something neither of them would have thought possible.

Most of the chapters show only friendship and they are common to both story lines. But there are chapters that deal with the slash side of the story.

Since the story works well in both versions I will post both of them and leave to the readers the choice of which version they want to read. When the time comes, I will post two versions of the same chapter (ie Chapter 7- Friendship and Chapter 7-slash) and the readers will decide which version they prefer to read. The chapter simply sporting a number are common to both storylines.

PART ONE

Mustafar

Obi-Wan deflected another of Anakin's blows and realized with dismay that his former apprentice's attack had had him back away so much he was now on the edge of the platform.

A step more, and he would fall in the river of lava that ran beneath them.

He looked around, searching for a way out and found it. He jumped toward the safety of a low cliff, just above the soft black sand of the riverbank.

"It's over, Anakin!" he exclaimed spreading his arms. "I have the high ground." Yes, Anakin, please stop here…Don't make me kill you…

Anakin piloted the platform to the shore and growled, "You underestimate my power!"

"Don't try it," Obi-Wan said again, his voice full of desperation, but it was too late.

Anakin leapt off the platform, aiming to land behind Obi-Wan's back— but the Jedi master was quicker. His lightsabre whirled and slashed, cutting off both Anakin's legs and his left arm.

Anakin tumbled down the embankment and rolled to a stop near the edge of the lava river, clawing at the black sand with his mechanical arm in an attempt to escape the scorching heat.

Obi-Wan looked down, at his fallen friend, and let the pain in his heart burst free.

"You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would, destroy the Sith, not join them. It was you who would bring balance to the Force, not leave it in Darkness!" he cried, as tears streaked his face. Why Anakin, why?

Then he bent and picked up Anakin's lightsabre and began to walk away. He stopped,

looked back a last time and added, "You were my brother, Anakin, I loved you!"

Below his feet, Anakin burst into flame. Obi-Wan lowered his eyes, not wanting to see as the red-yellow tongues devoured the flesh and the skin of the man who had been his closest friend.

He was about to take his first step to climb back toward the landing platform, when a wheezing sound stopped him.

"Help me… Obi-Wan…don't leave… me…here…please…"

Obi-Wan stopped as his heart, the heart he had thought broken beyond repair by Anakin's betrayal, started beating faster with renewed hope. There had been something in that plea… a softness that had been missing from Anakin's tone since he had become an adolescent.

Slowly, cautiously, almost afraid it would be a trick, Obi-Wan turned around. His heart constricted at the sight welcoming him. The flames had left Anakin's body and face almost unrecognizable, the charred torso and head of what once had been a man.

Obi-Wan felt like throwing up at the sight, not because he was disgusted, but at the mere thought of how much Anakin must be suffering.

"Please…Master…" Anakin wheezed, raising his head and looking straight at Obi-Wan. His eyes were blue, with no hint of the yellow he had seen during their fight. They were clear despite the pain, and shining with tears.

"Help me… Obi-Wan…" Anakin whispered again and the Jedi Master made his decision.

He could not, would not leave a pleading man there. He would take Anakin with him, and help him in every way he could.

Obi-Wan stepped down the slope and knelt at Anakin's side. The damage inflicted by the flames was even more terrible at close inspection and the smell of burned flesh caused his stomach to churn.

He reached out to take Anakin into his arms, but the poor man cried out in pain at the barest of contacts. Obi-Wan looked toward the landing platform and the sleek Nubian cruiser parked there. Maybe there was something he could use as a stretcher on board…

A glimpse of metal flashed through the sky, and Obi-Wan felt the darkness closing in around them both. He knew that ship: the Chan­cellor's shuttle. Now, he supposed, the Emperor's shuttle. Yoda had failed. He might have died. He might have left Obi-Wan alone: the last Jedi.

Obi-Wan frowned. His time was running short. He had to act quickly. He focused deeply into the Force and held his hands out toward Anakin. He levitated the charred torso and head off the sand and up, toward the rocky path that led to the landing platform.

Palpatine's shuttle had disappeared on the other side of the planet, and Obi-Wan hoped it would allow him enough time to reach the cruiser, board it and fly away.

Anakin was conscious as Obi-Wan levitated him, and his grateful eyes never left his master, helping the Jedi to maintain his concentration despite the exhaustion caused by their fight.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Obi-Wan reached the landing platform. Padmé's unconscious form was no longer sprawled on the pavement, and he hoped it was because Threepio had carried her inside the ship, and not because she had regained her senses.

He was totally exhausted; physically, emotionally, and mentally, and he had not the strength to face her, and her reaction upon seeing what had happened to Anakin, just now.

Threepio appeared on the ramp of the ship, gesturing with his arms. "Master Kenobi! We have Miss Padmé on board. Please, hurry. We should leave this dreadful place. Oh dear…but this is Master Anakin. He seems to be hurt pretty badly."

Obi-Wan just nodded as he took his precious cargo inside the ship and gently deposited it on a couch.

"I will be back soon," he whispered, and Anakin tried to nod with his head.

Obi-Wan left the room and went to check Padmé, who was lying on a nearby sleep cot.

"Obi-Wan?" she murmured weakly. "Is Anakin all right?"

He could not answer her, not just then, so he simply looked at her sadly. He brushed her hair back as Padmé blessedly dropped back into unconsciousness.

Obi-Wan walked to the cockpit and lowered himself onto the co-pilot's seat, rubbing his face with his hand, trying to brush away some of his tiredness, as Threepio piloted the cruiser away from Mustafar.

"Where should we go, Master Kenobi?" the droid asked after a few moments.

"Both Anakin and Padmé need immediate medical assistance. Scan frequencies for one used by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan. His ship is the Tantive IV. Tell him of our situation, he will tell you where to go."

"Yes, Sir. I will do so."

"Good. I will be with Anakin or Padmé, call me only when we reach our destination or if some kind of problem arises."

"Yes, Sir."

Obi-Wan returned to Anakin's side. The young man's breath was more laboured than before, and the Jedi used the Force to turn him on his back, and put a pillow beneath his head in the hope of making it easier for Anakin.

Obi-Wan had enough medical knowledge to know his former Padawan's condition was desperate. The scorching heat had damaged his lungs and the raw skin he could see here and there was already infected by the sands that had stuck to it.

Anakin had lost his senses and Obi-Wan was grateful for it. Nobody deserved to suffer so much—not even Darth Vader.