"Fall to Dark"

By Allronix

SW, Ep 2, V, A

Rating: PG

Note: First attempt with this universe.

Review: Yes, Roses and Onions are necessary!

Archive elsewhere: Let me know first

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Even in later years, memory enhanced by training and cybernetics, he couldn't remember many of the details.

The Tuskan bastards…he willed his hands to not shake as he removed her bonds, every mantra against fear and hatred and sadness he had learned from the temple whispering.

He could fix things. He could get her out. They could be safe again.

Damn it, he wished he had never left her. It was his fault that he was half a galaxy away while those desert animals used her. The little boy who dreamed of lightsabers and protecting the innocent couldn't even convince his protectors to free his mother. No, it wasn't a matter for him to be concerned about.

"Remember your oaths, Ani…She will be safe where she is."

"Why must I not think of her, master?"

"Your duty is more important than anything. Anything that blinds you to it allows the Dark Side an opportunity. This Order is your family now, Ani."

"Yes, Master."

He could sense her life, a flickering light. Concentrating on what little healing he knew, Ani summoned his will and called upon the Force. The light of life in her broken body sparked, weak, but steady.

"Ani…Ani…" His mother wasn't even sane. The Raiders had broken so much. It was sheer will keeping her alive. He tried to assure her, tried to hold onto her, but she was fading and slipping from his grasp.

A month ago, his stepfather had said. His dreams had started weeks before that. If he had trusted his feelings, relied on the instincts that the Order honed in him…Ah, but Obi-Wan would not allow it. A padawan must always listen and learn from his master. He must stay by his master's side and obey what he had been taught...

"It's okay, Mom…" he whispered. The only think in the universe right now were the two of them. Oh, she was fading, and his will wasn't going to be enough.

"Master"…even the word. He hadn't thought of it before, saying it from habit. "Master" was the term of address from padawan to Jedi, but it was also the title a slave gave to his owner. Slave families were commonly split up, child being sold to one owner, parent staying with another. Slave marriages weren't allowed or acknowledged, either. This is why he had no father to speak of - he may have been a slave, or maybe an owner who knew he could get away with it. His mother would never say, of course. It didn't matter.

Only the free men could marry.

"Ani, I love -" Her voice cut off in a death rattle. He'd been too late.

He gently closed her unseeing eyes and laid her on the sand. He left her to be a Jedi, to fulfill a dream of returning to free the slaves. He wanted her to be free, to see her happy. Like the dreams of Padme, it had kept him going, kept him alive. He gave it all up - leaving his mother, denying feelings for Padme he knew she shared…sealing his future.  He had sacrificed for nothing.  

Dreams shatter too easily. The mantras were blown away like unlucky travelers in a Tattooine windstorm. There was nothing - no reason - only pure grief, pure rage and hate.

Pure freedom.

It felt like a strange dream when he powered up his sabre and walked out into the camp, casually mowing down Tuskans like they were sheep. It was as though he were somewhere else. With precise movements, he stalked through the camp - hut by hut, tent by tent. As they came up to him, he struck them down, taking off an arm or a leg, maybe, before striking a killing blow.

A woman, he stabbed in the chest. Her child dove next to her body, making those guttural cries. Anakin struck the child's neck - a fast and almost merciful killing. If he would kill the parents, he would kill them, too. No separations.

No more came at him when he turned around and marched back to the tent with his mother's body. It was then that he realized he had killed the whole tribe, his outer robe specked with blood.

No family, no love…duty and masters and isolation.

The life of a Jedi - the life of a slave.

It hadn't mattered, had it? The freedom he had won in that podrace was a bitter, terrible joke. He was no less a slave now as he was then. All that had happened was a trading of masters. Obi-Wan owned him just as Watto had.

Hatred's haze gave way to sanity. The sabre clattered from his hands uselessly as he sank to his knees, screaming until his voice went hoarse, then falling amid the bodies and sobbing until he wished for death.

No one would own him anymore.