A/N: Please read and review! Strangely enough, though he doesn't make an appearance for quite a while, this story is just as much about Obi-Wan as it is Anakin. You'll just have to wait and see where I've hidden him. This story won't be too majorly AU to start out, but will get a lot different the farther I move along. Hopefully it's not confusing, and I really hope you all enjoy it. I know there are a lot of similar stories but I'd like to think this has some unique twists.
I had this idea a little while ago, and I've really been wanting to write it. I'll just give warning that, while I tend to mostly write long stories, I've tried to avoid posting any because I also tend not to finish them. I've only finished a few chapters of this one, but I have outlined it all so hopefully I'll at least finish this first part.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything... obviously.
"I hate you!"
The curse tore out of Anakin's throat. Each word- each syllable- dripped with the loathing the fallen Jedi felt. He saw Obi-Wan's grief, felt it, but it felt like a mockery.
"You were my brother Anakin... I loved you."
One blindingly bright point tore through the darkness that churned in Anakin's veins. Those words wiped everything else out of Anakin's mind. For one moment he turned his eyes up to the other man. His brother. His father. Then flames erupted on the pitiful stubs of Anakin's legs. The fire raged across his mangled body and he forgot everything. Love. Hate. All was lost to blinding pain.
He threw his eyes up to Obi-Wan again. Would he still try to say he loved him now? But he couldn't see Obi-Wan, or anything else. Pain was his entire existence. He screamed and tried to pull himself away from the river of lava. Skin blackened and peeled away. Each breath brought new agony. Everything faded to black and still he screamed.
Anakin kept screaming even though, strangely, he felt almost... comfortable. Maybe he'd gone past pain. Maybe he'd died. He didn't know. He didn't care. Then he heard something- a voice- that made him freeze. It was the only thing that could have stopped his screams.
His breath caught in his throat.
"Ani, wake up," she said. "It's alright, Ani. It's just a nightmare."
Anakin kept his eyes clamped shut. His breath came out in shudders but those breaths were blessedly pain free. A nightmare? Could it have been? All of it? No. No, it wasn't possible. If only it could be. But it couldn't, no matter how much he wished it so.
Tears started to flow out of his eyes. He wasn't sure how that was even possible. He didn't think he was capable of tears anymore. He didn't question it though. It felt good and so he let the tears flow. He felt Padmé's hands on his shoulders. Her hands felt strangely large or maybe it was just that he felt very small at the moment.
"Ani, open your eyes. It's okay. I'm here," she said.
She was. Even after everything she'd said to him and all he'd done to her, she was there. That was all he needed. He could face anything else if Padmé was there. The darkness around him and in him fled to the edges of his mind. His eyes opened slowly, as if against a great weight. Sure enough, Padmé's face was floating above his. Her smile was dazzling when the world came into focus. Anakin smiled back at her. That was also something he thought he'd never be capable of again. But there it was. And he felt like as long as he had Padmé smiling at him, his own smile would never disappear.
"Now that's better," Padmé said when Anakin smiled.
Padme started to pull back and Anakin's smile disappeared immediately.
"Don't leave," he cried.
He grimaced at the words. He sounded so childish. Padmé just smiled wider.
"I was just going to get your breakfast, silly," Padmé explained. "I won't be gone long. Don't worry."
Anakin nodded mutely. All the same, his heart pounded. Nothing made sense. The air around him was cool and smelled fresh, like greenery and water. Pain had been replaced by absolute, soft comfort. And Padmé. Padmé was with him and she was happy. When was the last time he had seen her truly happy? His mind was still in battle. He'd thought he had died. Surely he had died. Obi-Wan, for all his talk of love, had killed him.
Padmé had betrayed him. It all came rushing back. Obi-Wan on the ramp to Padmé's ship.
Anakin snapped upright in bed. His eyes flew around the room. Where was he? It definitely wasn't Mustafar or even Padmé's ship. It was strangely familiar and comforting, which made him all the more confident it was some sort of trap. Padmé must be working with Obi-Wan again to trap him. The darkness returned and coiled around his consciousness once more. Fury flooded into him.
"Where is Obi-Wan?" he growled when Padmé returned, holding a tray of food.
Padmé looked startled and confused. "Ani, you're upset," she said. "Are you still worried about that nightmare?"
Anakin wasn't going to be thrown off so easily.
"Where is Obi-Wan?" he repeated.
His voice seemed oddly high but he shook it off.
"Obi-Wan? Ani, I don't know who that is," Padmé answered. "Is that who you were dreaming about."
Anakin wanted to scream. Who did she think she was fooling?
"Obi-Wan," he said acidly. "My former Master. The man you brought to kill me."
Padmé looked sad now. She sat on the bed and shook her head.
"Your master? Was he someone who used to own you on Tatooine? I thought your old master was named Watto."
Padmé's voice was soft and comforting. Anakin felt his shields drop involuntarily. He shook his head. He had to keep on guard. He couldn't let her trick him again. However, when she took his hands in hers, he felt the touch like a jolt. Not only could he feel her hands but he could feel his own. Both of them. Anakin looked down and his eyes widened in shock. Not only did he have two flesh and blood hands, but they were small. Cradled in Padme's delicate hands were the hands of a child.
That's when it hit him. He knew where he was. He was in a room in the Royal Theed Palace on Naboo. And Padmé... he hadn't noticed at first, but she was different too. Every memory of Padmé was burned into his heart. This was Padmé as he hadn't seen her in a long time. A Padmé he had to look up to. A Padmé that was only fourteen years old.
Anakin scrambled backwards and pulled his hands from hers.
"What's happening? Where am I?" Anakin asked, frantic.
Then he saw his reflection in a mirror on the far wall. He suddenly understood why his voice was so high. It wasn't from panic or lung damage, he was a boy again.
"What?" he said in a hushed voice to himself. "What kind of trick is this? Why? I don't-"
Padmé put her finger to Anakin's lips. "Shhh," she said. "Anakin. Everything is alright. The battle is over and no nightmare is going to hurt you."
Anakin's breath started to catch in his throat again. He felt like crying. Maybe he had really died and he was being given a second chance. Only, he didn't know if he wanted it. Could he stand being with Padmé again, only to inevitably lose her? To live through the death of his mother again? To be trapped in the Jedi Order and their lies? To be Obi-Wan's padawan?
"You don't know who Obi-Wan is?" he asked slowly.
Padmé shook her head.
"I think he was just someone in your nightmare," she said with a hint of concern softening her voice.
So Obi-Wan wasn't here. He hadn't been sent on this mission. Something had changed. Things were different. Maybe Obi-Wan didn't even exist. Now that was something. But how did he feel about that? You were my brother Anakin... I loved you. Pain, quickly swallowed by hatred. His mother had died because of Obi-Wan. Everything with Padmé had fallen apart because of Obi-Wan. It was all his fault. All of it.
"Ani, are you sure you're alright? If you need to rest, I can tell Master Jinn to wait," Padmé said, interrupting Anakin's thoughts.
Anakin perked up, all other thoughts momentarily forgotten. Padmé had said the battle was over, and yet Qui-Gon was still alive. Just one more impossibility.
"Qui-Gon?" he said breathlessly.
"Yes, he said he wanted to talk with you about something after you ate breakfast," Padmé replied.
Anakin's mind was racing. He was going to talk to Qui-Gon again. He couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe any of it.
"Great. Lemme just eat and that would be great," Anakin said, his young voice almost a squeak in his excitement. "And... would you stay?"
Padmé smiled. "I'm sure I can escape from my duties a little longer. But just a little."
The memories of burning and betrayal were momentarily forgotten. Anakin was too elated to dwell on what had been. He was being rewarded. He was sure of it. He was the Chosen One and the Force was making sure he got the life he deserved.