The Greatest Crime

By Blacknayami

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars, cool as that would be. If I did, numerous characters including but not limited to Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Padme, Obi Wan and Yoda would still be alive and kicking. (Or, in Vader's case, alive and force-choking). Jar-Jar Binks, however, would have been stuffed down a Sarlacc pit.

He could not really remember what had happened. There was a dark, smothering fog clouding all of his thoughts. He had been on board his ship, he and his men had stormed into the city, he'd spoken to some person of importance, and all around him there had been fear. Fear was good. It kept people away from him, it stopped them from looking at him too closely, from seeing things he would rather remained unseen… It kept him from seeing these things he wanted to remain unseen, that he needed to be kept from seeing. Fear was very good.

He'd said something to his commander… Commander Noire, that was it-no wait, he'd given Noire an order. And the order had been important, he knew that, it had definitely been important. Then Noire had sent his men out into the city to look for something… a base? Yes, that was right, he wanted to find… a rebel base! And he had found it, it must have been found, because now three rebels were lying at his feet, and another one was crumpled in a half-sitting half sprawling position beside one of his fallen comrades. What was that? That dark thick substance splattered around the room was blood, was it not? It must be blood, for when he was angry, there often was a lot of blood.

Vader was angry now. He was very angry.

'Why was he angry?' he wondered. The men before him had done nothing to provoke him personally. They had not hurt him, and he bore them no grudge, although they were rebels. Why then? Why was he angry?

Oh yes. He was angry because the anger hid emotions he did not want to feel. The anger took away the hurt.

Vader hurt now. He always hurt, so he was always angry.

As soon as he remembered the hurt, it started to pain him once again, and he lost focus. He started to recall why he hurt-

" You monster" the rebel hissed from his position beside one of his companions. " How could you? There were thousands of beings in that one city! How could you slaughter them because a handful of rebels hid there?!"

He laughed then. The man before him was pitiful, really. Did he think that he could make him feel guilty?! He felt no guilt! He felt nothing except anger... anger and hurt. He felt no guilt…

Vader stepped forwards, his footsteps echoing loudly off of the cold metal floor, his every breath echoing ominously off of the empty white walls, and he seized the rebel's neck, yanking the man upwards effortlessly until the rebel's furious but terrified gaze met his own.

" Tell me where those who escaped will go and your death will be a swift one", he hissed menacingly. The man ignored him.

" You have caused much harm Vader, but this was truly… your greatest… crime!" the man gasped, struggling for breath.

Vader paused, considering the man's words. Images rose, unbidden before him, brief pictures of how his life once was, how he once was…

' Are you an angel?'

' What?'

' An angel. I've heard the deep space pilots talk about them. They live on the moons of Iego, I think. They're the most beautiful creatures in the universe. They are good and kind, and so pretty they make even the most hardened space pirates cry like small children…"

' I can't do it, Mom. I just can't do it'.

' Annie...'

' Will I ever see you again?'

' What does your heart tell you?'

' I hope so. Yes... I guess'.

' Then we will see each other again'.

' I will come back and free you, Mom. I promise'.

' Now, be brave, and don't look back. Don't look back.'

' What will happen to me now?'

' I will train you, just as Qui-Gon would have done. I am your new master, Anakin. You will study with me, and you will become a Jedi Knight, I promise you'.

' Why do I think that you're going to be the death of me?'

' Don't say that, Master. You're the closest thing I have to a father'.

' From the moment I met you, all those years ago, a day hasn't gone by when I haven't thought of you. And now that I'm with you again, I'm in agony. The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of being with you makes my stomach turn over, my mouth go dry. I feel dizzy! I can't breathe! I'm haunted by the kiss you never should have given me. My heart is beating, hoping that kiss will not become a scar'.

' I'm so proud of you, Ani. So proud. I missed you so much'.

' I missed you, too, Mom, but we can talk later…'

' Now I am complete'.

' Just stay with me, Mom. I'm going to make you well again. Everything's… going to be fine'.

' I love…'

' You're not all powerful Ani.'

' Well I should be!'

' Don't be afraid'.

' I'm not afraid to die. I've been dying a little bit each day since you came back into my life'.

' What are you talking about?'

' I love you'.

' You love me? You love me! I thought we decided not to fall in love. That we would be forced to live a lie. That it would destroy our lives'.

' I think our lives are about to be destroyed anyway. My love for you is a puzzle, Ani, for which I have no answers. I can't control it-and now I don't care. I truly, deeply love you, and before we die, I want you to know'.

' I love you. This won't take long. Wait for me'.

' Always, Anakin. Forever. Come back to me, my love-my life. Come back to me'.

' You say that like I'm already gone'.

' Stop! Stop now… come back… I love you!'

' Liar! You're with him! You brought him here to kill me!'

' You turned her against me!'

' You have done that yourself'.

' You will not take her from me!'

' Your anger and lust for power have already done that'.

' You have allowed this dark lord to twist your mind, until now, until now you've become the very thing you swore to destroy'.

' Don't lecture me, Obi-Wan! I see through the lies of the Jedi. I do not fear the dark side as you do. I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new Empire'.

' Your new Empire?'

' Don't make me kill you'.

' Anakin, my allegiance is to the Republic, to democracy!'

' If you're not with me, then you're my enemy'.

' Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must'.

' You will try'.

And that most painful recollection, the one moment from his past that he most desperately tried to forget forced its way into his head.

' Lord Vader, can you hear me?'

' Yes. Where's Padme? Is she… alright? Is she… safe?'

' It would seem that in you anger you killed her'.

' I? I couldn't have! She was alive… I felt it! NOOO!'

Darth Vader thought back to every being whose life he had ever destroyed. He thought of each ruined planet; each destroyed village; each betrayed trust; each weeping child; each maimed, dismembered corpse. So many crimes to choose from, which could be his worst?

What had caused such horror? From what had stemmed such violence?

Ah yes. He had an answer.

" You are mistaken", intoned the great Sith Lord, his usually fierce, terrifying voice lowered, almost vulnerable.

" My greatest crime was ever loving another being".

And then he snapped the rebel's neck.

A.N.: This is my first fanfic I've ever posted, so please leave a review! Thank you for reading, and may the force be with you!