A/N: Okay, so the Prologue was betad by Elfpen, who I can't find right now, so I temporarily asked my friend Esaul to beta for me.. Because I wanted this up and because I knew people are waiting :)
Sorry for taking sooooo long; among college and other stuff, the dream sequences gave me a hard time. Especially Anakin's...
This chapter is inspired by I'm Not Alright by Sanctus Real (among other songs…), so that's my chapter title. :D
Disclaimer: I don't own the chapter title and Star Wars. :)
He felt surreal. It just can't be my Padawan out there in my living room. He wasn't sure if it was just his subconscious playing with him, or if it was reality itself toying with his mind.
Obi-Wan just wasn't sure.
Oh Padawan. It's always you who has me confused, isn't it?
It annoyed Obi-Wan to a point, that after three years of trying to quiet his initially puzzled mind, he'd encounter the same person that gave him trouble all these years. His puzzled mind had been rendered that way by his wayward Padawan, even after all these years he thought of Anakin as his Padawan, who turned to the Dark Side with reasons Obi-Wan would never pretend to understand.
Not that he didn't try. The Force knew he did try to understand, meditating day and night on what he did wrong. But he knew that eventually, he had to move on, and so, he gave up on trying to understand, and shifted his focus on forgetting.
He partially succeeded, enough to stare at Luke and Leia without expressing visible remorse over the fate of his fallen brother and the life that could have been Anakin's. But now… Anakin was back, and living in his house, no less.
The Force hates me. The Force likes tormenting me. The Force… Obi-Wan exhaled, and sighed. He figured he would have to face Anakin again sooner or later, but he didn't think it would be this soon. He thought that it would be on his own terms, his own time – as much as the Force would allow, anyway – and not because the man would simply just show up in front of his house trying to talk to him like before.
The Force really, really has it in for me.
Obi-Wan wiped his eyes and lied back down on his bed, staring at the ceiling. I can't cry about this like a child anymore. But… I just… I don't know what to do. He felt the sudden urge to tell his master all about it like a scared Padawan – then vaguely corrected himself that his master was gone. Along with almost every other Jedi in the order.
Obi-Wan had never felt more alone – even more than when Qui-Gon passed into the Force. He sighed.
Obi-Wan closed his eyes, and basked in the warmth and reassurance that the Force gave him at the very moment. He relaxed, and slowly fell asleep.
Obi-Wan caught Anakin's saber with his own, and slid his down Anakin's blade to disengage. He stepped back.
Anakin apparently took this as a challenge, and lunged forward to attack. Obi-Wan sighed, and brought his saber up again, prepared for the strength of the blows….
"Anakin, calm down. Quickly assess the weaknesses of your opponent and attack according to that – don't be hasty and reckless."
"But surprise and strength, master…"
"Are helpful, but do not always define your stand in the battle. Clear your mind, and focus."
"Good! Now, look for an opening and attack – ow! Padawan I was still talking…"
"Master, you said that I should be always ready for any opening and attack when I've cleared my mind!"
Obi-Wan met Anakin blow for blow, refusing to back down. He knew what he needed to do – he needed to ki-…. He needed to ki-… He needed to finish this. All of this. This is my fault. All of it. Anakin, where did I go wrong…
Anakin's attack left his right open and the Jedi Master reached out to tap his apprentice's side with the blade of the lightsaber. Obi-Wan drew his saber back before it sliced through Anakin. No matter what his padawan did, no matter how horrible his actions and sins were, Obi-Wan just cannot kill him. You were my brother, Anakin, I loved you. Anakin hissed, making Obi-Wan wince. Where did my brother go… Obi-Wan stared with disbelief as Anakin raised his lightsaber, ready to attack again.
Obi-Wan stretched out his hand, and pulled some machinery off the wall. He made it fly towards Anakin, who moved a second too slow and got hit at the shoulder. Anakin screamed, and jumped towards Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan tapped him on his shoulder, and Anakin growled.
"Don't let your guard down – make sure that you're not open. They will exploit your every weakness – they will attack you from every side. It won't be like temple exercises in real life, Padawan. They would kill you…"
"Yes Master. Master Obi-Wan?"
"You called me Padawan."
A chuckle. "Yes, yes I did, didn't I? Well, you are my Padawan, aren't you?"
Obi-Wan's step faltered, and stepped away a little too late. Anakin nicked his clothes – closer than Obi-Wan would've liked. Obi-Wan raised his saber, but midway, he stopped. What am I doing? Why am I fighting you, Padawan? Obi-Wan sighed, and put his saber down. "No."
Anakin stopped in his tracks, and stared at Obi-Wan. "What?"
"No. I am done fighting you Anakin. You were my Padawan, my brother." Obi-Wan turned his saber off and hung it on his belt. "I'm not doing this anymore. I'm not going to fight you." Obi-Wan turned, and walked away.
"Fight me old man! Coward!"
Obi-Wan kept on walking. His senses were still on full alert, in case Anakin attacked. He clutched his saber, but didn't do anything.
"I knew it. You're not strong enough – that's why you're afraid. Afraid I'm going to beat you. To kill you." Anakin sneered. "Typical Jedi. Always running from fights. Can't face what you fear most. I'm stronger than you, Obi-Wan."
Obi-Wan stopped, and laughed bitterly. "You were always stronger than me Padawan. I knew you were." He turned around, his hand still on his lightsaber. He looked away. "I'm not strong enough to fight you, Anakin. I can't. You're my brother." Obi-Wan paused, and looked straight at Anakin. "I'm glad Qui-Gon's not here to see this." He walked away, and never looked back.
Obi-Wan woke up, breathing hard. It had been a year since he had that blasted dream, and now it was back. He wasn't sure if it was a memory or a nightmare, but all he knew it was something he would never, ever want to go back to again. He cursed to himself, and wiped the sweat that accumulated on his forehead. Obi-Wan hid his connection to the Force, knowing that his sadness would resonate through. He didn't want it to reach the children. He especially didn't want it to reach Anakin. Obi-Wan didn't want Anakin to know what he was going through. No. I will not give him the satisfaction. I would not lose control like this.
He knew whose fault it was, who brought back those memories. Obi-Wan shook his head, and sighed. He couldn't believe that he convinced Padmé to let that man stay at his house.
Kriff. I hate this.
Anakin entered his new room, and sat on the bed. He felt like a Padawan again, every move he made felt like it was under scrutiny, under everyone's watchful eyes. He felt like every step he took was evaluated. Although back then he would have protested, rebelled and kicked his way through every "wall" and "obstacle" Anakin would encounter, even if he knew those safeguards are for his safety.
Right now, though, he felt so safe. Anakin knew that Obi-Wan didn't mean for Anakin to feel like that, safe of all things, but that was how he felt. A year under Darth Sidious – even just thinking about it made his blood run colder than Hoth. Anakin felt safe under his real master's wing again, and he was grateful that he took a chance on reaching them.
Even if he was not exactly welcome.
At this point, Anakin didn't care. Trying to steer the Empire's horns while being steered himself wasn't the easiest and the best job in the world – after each and every day he felt slimy and dirty. What he feared most was the day that he wouldn't feel anything anymore, so after a year, he made his move and left.
There just wasn't any point – he thought Padmé was dead anyway, and Obi-Wan: his best friend, his mentor, his father – the only man he ever really wanted to please, hated him. On top of it all, Anakin felt horrible and strangled under Sidious. As he grew more powerful in the dark side, the more he felt empty and hollow. Power just wasn't what he was looking for.
And so here he was, trying to get back the life that he let go because of… I don't even remember the real reason why, anymore.
He sighed, and dropped backwards on his bed. He stared at the ceiling, pondering what he needed to do to get his life back. To get everything back.
He turned over, and buried his head into a pillow. Why did I ever think this is going to be easy?
He stood alone in the middle of the darkness. Anakin looked around, and grabbed for his lightsaber to produce some light. The small amount of light surrounded Anakin, and he cautiously stepped forward, reaching through the Force to see if he was going to hit anything.
There was a small light in the distance, and Anakin tried to make his way to it. Drawing closer and closer, he couldn't help but wonder what waited for him on the other side. But it didn't matter – all he knew was that he needed to get out of this darkness.
He felt something brush his hand. Anakin whirled around, willing the Force to enhance his vision. There was nobody there, so he moved forward again towards the light. Something then brushed against his shoulder, and Anakin jumped back. He brandished his lightsaber, and light fell on a little child, sobbing, and Anakin knelt before him.
"What's wrong kid?" Anakin asked, placing a hand on the child's shoulder.
The child looked up, and Anakin saw the child's face mirror Luke's – and there was a gaping hole in Luke's stomach. "He killed all of us. He – It's you! You killed all of us!" The child struggled to get away from him, but the wound in his stomach just made Luke gasp, and fall backwards. "Get away from me. Away." The child gasped with one final breath, and his eyes rolled back in his head.
The light in the distance grew smaller, and Anakin's eyes widened. He dropped the child, and stumbled towards the light, trying to reach for it as it grew smaller and smaller… "NO! No!" He screamed, his hand stretching out desperately until the light vanished completely.
He stumbled onto the ground, and darkness completely swallowed his body and soul…
Anakin opened his eyes, and shook his head clear of the nightmares. He sighed, and rubbed his face with a hand. He glanced at himself at a mirror, and thought he saw a reflection of Vader looming behind him. He swiped angrily behind him, calling on his lightsaber to slash the menace that appeared behind him. He knew there was nothing there, though, and he dropped the saber.
Anakin wrapped himself in a blanket, knowing that the chills would come soon. They always came, each shudder becoming more and more violent until the Force washed over him, calming him down and letting him rest.
He knew what the shudders were. It was guilt and remorse, coming from the core of his very being. The atrocities that he did… he might have been redeemed, but that didn't mean that his past didn't come to haunt him.
And every time the shudders stopped, without fail, he would scream and cry to the Force, asking for forgiveness and for his burden to be over. Every time, the Force would wash over him, calming him. It helped, but it did not completely shatter the cold that wrapped his soul. He might have been forgiven by God, by the Force, by the Power in the universe, but he knew that the people he did this to had not forgiven him.
Anakin honestly did not know how to get the forgiveness that he lacked.
Obi-Wan heard the scream resonate through the Force, and immediately ran to the children, who clung to him and started crying.
"Uncle Obi, who was that?" Leia hugged his leg.
Luke was crying loudly, and squeezing Obi-Wan's hand as hard as he could. "My head hurts."
"He sounds scared, Uncle." Leia murmured, and looked up at Obi-Wan, teary-eyed. "He was so sad – "
" – so hurt." Luke continued, and sat on the floor. He glanced at Anakin's room, and pointed. "I think it's him. Uncle, he sounds like he needs a friend."
Leia and Luke tugged at Obi-Wan's shirt, and frowned. "Uncle, can we be his friend? He needs our help."
Obi-Wan could not answer. He and Padmé had talked about this – he promised that Padmé would be the one to tell them about their father, and that for the meantime, he wouldn't let the children near Anakin, no matter what happens.
Obi-Wan smiled sadly, and shook his head. "I'm sorry kids, but I think he needs some time alone. Talk to your mom about it when she comes back, okay?" He kneeled, and faced Luke and Leia, wiping their tears with a thumb. "Right now, I want you to give him some space. Talk to me and your mom only, okay?"
Luke and Leia nodded at the same time. Obi-Wan smiled, and was about to leave the room when Luke stopped him with a question. "Uncle Obi?"
"Can we know who he is? What's his name?"
Obi-Wan sighed. He debated whether to tell the children or not, but he knew he couldn't hide Anakin's name from them forever. Padmé and Obi-Wan never talked about Anakin in front of the children. In stories about their past, Anakin was always referred to as "dad", "my student", "your father", "Obi-Wan's Padawan", among other things. Obi-Wan frowned to himself, and placed a hand on Luke's shoulder. It may not be his role to tell the children that Anakin's their father, but he thought that a simple name wouldn't be a problem.
"Anakin. His name's Anakin."
Please review? :D Hopefully the next one wouldn't take too long. .