This is a fill in Story set between my story 'Tortured Soul' and 'Son Of The Chosen'. It would be the sequel of 'Tortured Soul' except I came up with 'Son Of The Chosen' first.
It has been just over a year since Anakin's torture at Dooku's hand, he has recovered, but everything threatens to fall apart on his first mission since the terrible ordeal.
Rexan: 1 year 3 months old.
"I don't think I should be here," Anakin shook his head. "I'm not ready."
It had been just over a year since his torturous ordeal, a long year, and hard too - it had taken him several months before he had regained even a little of his confidence.
Now, the Council wanted him to be part of a mission.
Separatists were - according to their information, supplied by the Chancellor - preparing to attack Alderaan.
Obi-wan sighed softly, "you're never going to be ready, if you don't push yourself out of your comfort zone." He had used the same approach to help Anakin overcome his overcome his fear of facing an opponent in a lightsaber duel. "Besides, your mission is simple." He said, reassuring his former padawan and now close friend.
Looking at the Council members, Anakin took a deep breath. "Ok, what's my mission?"
Master Windu cleared his throat, "when Senator Organa heard about the separatist's planned attack on Alderaan, he requested that we send a Jedi to escort his wife safely from Alderaan to Coruscant."
Anakin frowned, "so I will be leaving before the attack?"
"Like I said," Obi-wan smiled at him, "it's a nice simple mission, it's why I suggested you for it."
Yes, but even the most simple missions could become difficult. Anakin closed his eyes, he knew that it was the only way he was going to regain his confidence in himself, but he still wasn't sure he was ready.
"Trust in Obi-wan you should," Yoda told him gently.
Anakin opened his eyes, "I do." It was only through Obi-wan that he had been able to recover, Padme had helped him deal with the horrible nightmares that had plagued him - and still did occasionally - but Obi-wan had forced him to deal and overcome his fears and psychological issues.
Looking at Yoda, he sighed, "it's myself I don't trust." If he hesitated in a crucial moment in battle, it could be the difference between life and death.
"Help to rebuild your confidence, this mission will."
Anakin clenched his left hand tightly, he needed to be able to have faith in himself and his abilities. "When do I leave?" He would do this, he would succeed; he would not let his fear control him.
"You'll be fine Anakin." Padme smiled at him as she handed Rexan to him, "you're ready for this, even is you don't think you are."
Anakin chuckled slightly, "you sound like Obi-wan."
"well, he's right."
Holding his son close, Anakin closed his eyes. "I hope so," it was an easy mission, but he was still nervous. Rexan cried and babbled at him, through the string of indecipherable chatter he heard the words "Dada" "sad" and "no" used several times; an image appeared in his mind, it was himself walking away from Padme and Rexan accompanied with a distinct feeling of distress and longing.
Anakin blinked and smiled in pride at Rexan, "he knows I'm leaving."
Padme shook her head, grinning, "he's a smart boy."
It was both amazing and slightly frightening, he was fifteen months old and through his bond with Anakin, Rexan was learning at a rate the astounded everyone; he knew over 15 words, and when he didn't know how to say what he wanted, he could convey his thoughts through Anakin.
Even the Jedi were astounded, he could use the Force with an ease that a five year old youngling could not; he could float any toy or object to him, Anakin had 'semi' taught him to meditate - although Rexan didn't understand what he did - it had begun when Anakin had been meditating a few months ago, Rexan had snuggled beside him, and after a short time, the one year old's breathing had slowed to match her husbands and Anakin had briefly felt his son's mind connect with his through the Force.
Anakin looked toward the small shuttle and sighed, he was in command of three new clone troopers who were replacements for their losses in the war; the three men stood by the ships loading ramp, waiting for him.
Hugging Rexan close, he planted a kiss on the boy's forehead and gently placed him in Padme's arms. "I have to go," he told her, leaning close to kiss her.
Padme put and arm around him and leaned her head against his chest. "I love you," she said quietly, stepping back.
"I love you too," smiling Anakin ruffled Rexan's pale blonde hair. "Be good Rex."
As he turned and started to walk away, Rexan began to cry; the sound reverberated through the Force. Wincing, Anakin forced himself to keep walking, fighting the urge to turn around and run back to his son.
Anakin took a deep breath; it was too late to back out now, but part of him wished he could.
Breathing deeply he looked back at the three clones, "we're about to come out of hyperspace."
They all nodded; all four had been surprised when he had asked their names and even more so when he remembered them; Ziggy, Flash and Arrow.
The ship came out of hyperspace.
And Anakin felt his eyes go wide as he stared at the Star Destroyer in horror. It couldn't have happened, not again. Anakin felt his terror flood through him.
"I thought we were supposed to get here before_"
"We were," Anakin looked back at Ziggy, "this was a trap." And he had fallen for it, again. Breathing deeply, Anakin swung the shuttle around.
The ship jolted to a stop as Anakin tried to reprogram the hyperdrive... Then it jerked backwards, towards the Star Destroyer, caught in the tractor beam.