A/N: Here is the first chapter. Thanks to Jedi Master Misty Sman-Esay for dropping a review. I hope you all continue to enjoy my story.
Chapter I: Being a Slave
The first time they took her son away from her was when they implanted the transmitter beneath his skin. She screamed and raved, wanting to be by her son's side when it happened in order to at least hold his hand but she was held back by some healers. When she received him back and held him close to her bosom she saw that there were tear tracks of pain running down Anakin's chubby cheeks but his skin was unmarred. No slave was to know where their implant was to be located so this was the one and only occasion a slave received a bacta treatment. Shmi quickly rewrapped her son back into the tattered blanket that she had cut out from her own blanket in the slave quarters.
Soon after her son was born Shmi was bought by Gardulla the Hutt and her life consisted out of serving and pleasing her new mistress. Oftentimes, she was separated from Anakin whenever he wasn't quiet enough and got on Gardulla's nerves. Those were worse than the beatings – to be prevented from being a good mother to her son who was still so helpless and needed her so desperately. Many times Anakin had cried out towards her throughout the day, wanting to see his mother because he was so hungry. Then she quickly stole herself into their small room, breastfed him and left again. Every time she left him behind a little something of her heart broke away. However, things couldn't be changed. She was at the mercy of Gardulla and it hurt her so much that her son but be at her mercy, too, when he grew older.
During the nights she held him especially close, trying to soothe the nappy rashes that couldn't be prevented because she wasn't allowed to carry and care for him all the time. By that time, Anakin was oftentimes so exhausted from crying all day that he fell asleep as soon as he had finished feeding.
Gardulla soon realized that Shmi had experience with electronics and machines so she was sent to an outer post of her droid collection to repair them. There, she received odd jobs every now and then to repair things. Those were good times. Not only was she out of the evil clutches of Gardulla but also could she carry Anakin on a sling all day and sooth his needs as soon as they arrived.
During that time Anakin stopped crying. Whenever he wasn't sleeping he looked up with his big blue eyes, watching her, as to not let her out of his sight even though he was pressed tightly against her body. Around that time she was also gifted with his first smile. It was so beautiful to finally see him happy and without pain that she started to cry. Her son's smile only widened in response.
When Anakin started to become more aware of his surroundings, Shmi noticed that something was different about him. Oftentimes his childish babbling was interrupted by bouts of silence. During those times it seemed as if he was listening to something and possibly even seeing things that Shmi couldn't make any sense of. His eyes became so wide and intense; little fists were reaching out towards the wind. Gentle air caressed his face and ruffled his baby hair - this never failed to make him smile. Many times he began to laugh out of nowhere; the times he cried were reduced to almost nothing. He seemed to be a genuinely happy child if there wasn't that eerie silence that unnerved Shmi from time to time. But soon she learned to brush it off, accepted it as part of her son and learned to not interrupt these moments because they made him so happy.
One day she was cleaning up the mess in the workshop when she saw something very odd. Anakin was laying on the floor, playing with some soft cloth that wasn't dirty with machine oil, while another soft cloth was hovering over his head. Her son was staring up in delight while making some bubbly laughing noises and smiling his toothless smile. The cloth dipped and twisted, tossed and turned.
Shmi could only stare with wonder and a little bit of fear. What was happening to her Ani?
She quickly walked over to him and picked him up, thus distracting him. As soon as his gaze broke from the cloth it dropped down to the floor as if it had never been lifted by invisible hands. Shmi only shook her head.
"Aren't you full of surprises, little Ani?"
Shmi was never too scared of Anakin's strange abilities, though. Every now and then she was pleasantly surprised and even a little bit prideful: Since he wasn't conceived through normal means she had accepted that he would never be completely normal and always a little bit different from everybody else. This didn't make her love him any more or less – she just accepted this as given and continued to love him.
Soon he began to crawl and utter his first word "Mama". Soon after that he started to walk. He was a really quick learner and she constantly talked to him whenever she wasn't loaded with work. She was so proud of his first step and she couldn't be prouder of his fast grasp of the language – both Huttese and Basic. Most of the times he would start one sentence in one language and end it in the other. Shmi only laughed and answered him in one language or the other.
He had stopped hovering objects over his head but his periods of silence still prevailed. If not, they became more pronounced whenever he stopped talking in the middle of a sentence and stared off into nothing.
One time she caught him smiling softly during those times, reaching out his arms and a soft wind would tousle his blond hair. Whenever the wind did that a soft laugh would escape his lips and soon after that a small pout would pass over his face since the sand just slipped everywhere.
At those times Shmi smiled to herself in amusement: Her son was just too cute!
When he turned four she recognized his passion for mechanics and technology. In the beginning she began to instruct him in the basics and she let him watch her at work but soon she realized that he was much more talented than her. Anakin started building little things from scratch – it seemed like he let his instincts guide him to do the right things. His hands worked so certainly as if he had been doing it for years. Shmi was surprised by his fine motor skills but brushed it off like all the other things that were so strange about her child because nothing could stop her from being the proudest mother in the world.
Soon after Anakin developed his mechanical skills Gardulla lost them to the Toytorianer Watto who owned a junk shop in Mos Espa not far from where they had lived so far. On the day they moved to their new destination Anakin developed a small fever which got gradually worse throughout the day.
Shmi felt helpless and didn't really know what to do since he had never been sick before even in the slightest bit. No sneezing, no coughing - he hadn't even experienced a common cold before. Only looking back she noticed how unusual that must have been. Nevertheless she didn't know what to do but when their new owner took just one glance at him he said: "He has Dust Fever. Why do I always get stuck with the useless ones? Gardulla must have done that to spite me. No matter. He will be fine in a few days. I expect you to come to work at the shop as soon as he his healthy enough again!" And the Toytorianer flew off.
Shmi had never felt so grateful in her life. Her Ani would be fine, she told herself and tried to sooth her own worries.
During the first night her son tossed and turned, sweat soaked his skin and he was clammy all over. Whenever he woke up from his strange dreams he was either staring into nothingness or crying silently with big tears rolling down his round cheeks. When she tried to sooth him and take him in her arms he thrashed around himself, not wanting to be touched. She soon realized that he wasn't really conscious of his surroundings and that he was caught up in those strange dreams.
"A storm's coming", he would whisper in low moans. He repeated that sentence several times that night but around the morning the fever went down and Anakin fell into a deep healing sleep unlike the restless ones he had been experiencing beforehand. She wondered if it was normal for the Dust Fever to be cured that quickly because she never experienced this illness herself. She hadn't grown up on Tatooine so she had never experienced that illness that was specific to that planet and to their younglings growing up on it.
For now though, she could leave Anakin alone and start her work for Watto. She had a feeling that he wouldn't be a kind owner like Pi-Lippa but he would also never be as cruel as Gardulla. Maybe he would dish out some occasional swats but hopefully he wouldn't beat his slaves just for fun – she didn't think that that was in his nature and normally Shmi was a very good judge in characters.
When she returned from the junk shop that evening she didn't expect Anakin to be out of bed yet but he sat there at the small table on the singular chair that was in their small room. As he saw his mother he sat up on wobbly feet and began to walk towards her. Shmi hurried up to him and pulled him into a comforting embrace.
"Anakin, how do you feel?"
He looked up with his eyes full of hurt and sadness. "I was all alone," and tears rolled down his face. Shmi hugged him again, tried to solace him.
"You weren't alone. I was there the whole time."
"But you wasn't there.* You died. I was alone. I was alone in that big sandstorm…" his small voice seemed to fade into nothing.
"Hush, don't think things like that. I won't die – at least not in many years when I'm all old and wrinkly like Jira" she tried to smile at him but failed when she saw how her attempt was not appreciated.
"Do you promise?" A hopeful expression. How could she say no? And how could she say yes when the future for a slave was so uncertain? Her decision was made in a heartbeat, though.
"Yes, my Ani. I promise," and a soft smile warmed her face.
He tentatively smiled back but didn't let go of her all evening.
"Anakin, what are you doing?"
Shmi had gotten out of the small house that they now owned thanks to Watto who didn't want to deal with them at his own place and so granted them a small house in the slave district of Mos Espa. She had left the protective cool of the house to see what the racket outside was all about which was disturbing her deserved hours of peace. She was disappointed to see Anakin in the middle of a fight with another slave boy – and apparently winning by choking the poor thing!
"Anakin, stop it right there!" she shouted but her order fell on deaf ears.
She acted quickly, pulled him off the other boy and dragged him away from the crowd. As soon as they were inside their home she spun around and slapped him across the face.
"What were you thinking? You could have seriously hurt that boy!"
She was so disappointed! Never in her life could she have imagined her innocent boy hurting someone else intentionally.
Anakin was looking up at her in shock with a hurt expression and with tears in his eyes.
"Oh no, young man! Your crocodile tears won't get you out of trouble this time!" Shmi yelled at him. Anakin stayed silent though, tears now leaking down his face. There was a stubborn glint in his eyes that showed that he wasn't sorry at all for what he had done.
"Alright. Go to your room. There will be no dinner for you tonight until you are ready to talk about why you did that to that boy!" She was frustrated and also feared for her son. How could he have done that? Had she not raised him right? Where had she gone wrong?
Anakin scrubbed his eyes furiously and ran into his room. Unfortunately it didn't have a door so she could hear his desperate sobs throughout dinner. After getting ready for bed she felt a lot calmer than a few hours ago. It had broken her heart to hear his crying but she had to be strong. She shouldn't give in to his childish bouts. He had been the one hurting another and lessons needed to be learned. She knew that it must have felt like betrayal to be hit by his own mother after being mistreated and beaten by Gardulla his first years in this life so she decided to ask him again.
Shmi entered his dark room and sat down on his bed. Anakin's huddled figure hid under a thin blanket.
"Anakin. Tell me why you did that to that boy?"
The small form beneath the blankets stiffened but other than that gave no reaction.
"Please, tell me. Ani, I love you. You know I cannot stay angry with you for a long time."
A loud sniff broke the silence after that until she saw swollen blue eyes peeking out from beneath the covers.
"I just-," he began to hiccup softly, "I just got so angry!"
She sighed at that non-telling admission.
"I know Ani, but why? No kind of anger justifies this kind of behavior."
"They were talking bad things about you!" His eyes turned away from her staring at the various mechanics laying around his room.
"What kind of bad things?" Her hand soothingly went down his back to rub in small circles. Suddenly she had an armful of Anakin as he flung himself into her embrace.
"They say that you are like those girls in the South of Mos Espa! They say that I am not a child created out of love!" Now he began to cry in earnest again.
Shmi was shocked that little children knew about brothels already. It was no wonder, though: Slavery robbed them of their innocence very young and easily. These children lived in an environment of adults and so they quickly knew their way around adult-behavior.
"Anakin. You know that's not true. I was never a girl like that," Shmi started to rub his back again.
"But who is my father then? Why isn't he here?"
"Oh Ani. I wish I could tell you who your father is, but not now. I will tell you when you're older. When you will be able to understand. But remember, you are the most wonderful thing that has happened to me during my entire life. I love you and nothing will ever change that."
Anakin looked into her eyes to see if she was lying. He had always had an instinctual knowledge about truth and lies.
"Yes, Mom. I love you, too. Can you stay with me tonight?"
"Yes. But tomorrow you are apologizing to that boy and you will promise me to never do that again. Never give into this kind of anger again. I taught you better than that."
Anakin looked at her hesitantly but nodded anyways. He was a good boy at heart.
"Mom, why did you slap me?"
"I am so sorry about that. I guess, I also reacted in anger. I promise to never do that again. I love you after all."
"I forgive you, Mom."
A relieved smile grazed her lips. "I'm so sorry, Baby."
"I'm no baby!" She laughed a little shakily at that exclamation. He must be feeling better if he can already feel insulted abou this wounded pride.
"Oh yes, Anakin, you are my Baby", and she hugged him tighter to herself and lay down next to Anakin's small form. Both drifted off to sleep quickly. Tomorrow would be a long day full of work while teaching Anakin to read and write and doing basic math problems. It was hard but somehow they got by. Time would wash away the pain and sorrow that was inflicted today – Shmi firmly believed in that.
* Little children do make mistakes with their Grammar. Just to let you know that this wasn't a mistake :-)
Next update is going to be next Sunday! Thank you for reading!