Anakin sat in his Luke Lars disguise at an outdoor cafe table with a drink sitting in front of him. He'd once again arranged to meet Jango Fett outside (his choice, not Anakin's) in a random area of Coruscant about two hours away from the Temple in a relatively quiet open air walkway lined with small businesses.

He felt Siri sitting at a table on the other side of the street, facing away from them and dressed in civilian clothes. She also had a drink sitting in front of her. Unlike Anakin, she was actually sipping hers. He could, in all technicality, drink his, but he honestly wasn't that thirsty. He had also gotten to a point, recently, where did he trust anything outside of the Temple he couldn't see prepared. Actually, he made a mental note to be a little more careful inside the Temple... just in case. After all, people had infiltrated before.

Perhaps he was becoming a little too paranoid?

"So, you showed."

Anakin glanced up from the holopad he was reading to see Jango Fett standing there looking very displeased. Politely and calmly, Anakin shut the holopad down and placed it on the table before looking through his mask up at the man again.

"You didn't think I would?"

"A man with any preservation instincts wouldn't have."

Anakin considered that. "Or I just believe that the potential benefits outweigh the risks."

"Then you're a fool."

They paused for a moment, and even though Jango couldn't see it, Anakin raised an eyebrow.

"A fool, you say? Why?"

Jango threw a holopad at Anakin, who caught it deftly and turned it on. Then his breath caught. On the screen was a picture of his mother. It took him several seconds to calm his raging emotions. Worry, protectiveness, fear, love, sadness...

Actually, he had to reach out with the Force and calm Siri down, let her know that he was alright and that she shouldn't blow her cover just yet. He did all of this without so much as moving a muscle. Not that the mask would have let anything show, but it was nice to know he'd regained some of his control.

"Who is this?" he finally asked, his voice as steady as he could make it.

"Don't lie to me. She was a slave on your initial list. Then you sent me that second list without her name on it and it made me do a double take. I'd already been watching her when I got that, and she definitely wasn't freed or dead. Then, low and behold, a couple of months later, I watched Jedi come and free her."

Anakin could see where this was going and mentally swore. Was this another 'will of the Force' thing because how else would the Jedi have gotten there when Jango was watching her? What were the odds? He wanted to shake his fist at the Force. Just what did it gain by more or less tattling on Anakin to Jango of all people?

Someone somewhere was laughing at him.

"You said you had contacts with the Jedi," Jango continued, accusing. "The way you speak, the way you move... the way you feel. You're a Jedi."

This time, both of Anakin's eyebrows rose. The way he felt? Was Jango mildly Force Sensitive? It would... actually make a lot of sense. He checked as subtly as he could but only felt a normal person. Hmm. Perhaps he had some training and could shield? Or perhaps he was normal and was just particularly in tune with his sixth sense and what little Force Presence he had?

"Actually, I haven't decided yet," Anakin responded, once again keeping his voice as even as he could.

That seemed to confuse Jango. "What?"

"Technically I am only a Jedi in training and I haven't decided whether I will continue with the Jedi or not."

"You know the ways of the Jedi, that's enough for me."

Anakin's gaze narrowed and he projected his feelings through the Force. "I also know the ways of the Sith. The Jedi don't have a monopoly on the Force or Force Sensitives."

Jango's brow furrowed. "The Sith are extinct."

At that, Anakin couldn't help it. He actually laughed, quietly but no-less amused for it.

"You're naivety amuses me." When Jango's eyes only narrowed, Anakin decided to elaborate. "You are currently working for them. They are, in all actuality, behind the... order for which you are the template."

Anakin could see Jango's jaw set and figured he really needed to back off instead of encouraging Jango's anger. Stupid Sith instincts. It was the first time he'd been in a severely hostile situation like this for a while and even before Vader, he hadn't exactly been prone to being calm. Provoking other people had more or less become his norm in most hostile situations, and he really needed to stop.

He still didn't think he could hide his amusement when he spoke.

Jango must have caught on, because he didn't deny Anakin's words. Had he suspected, perhaps? Instead, his eyebrows drew together ever so slightly. "You really believe that. So why haven't you told the Jedi?"

For a moment, the two just stared at each other before Anakin shook his masked head. "The Jedi would not believe me and I have only my word to go on."

More silence. Then Jango's frown deepened. "I don't work with Jedi. Or those that study under them."

"And yet, here you are, speaking to me instead of handing me over to Sidious."

The bounty hunter's fists clenched and he straightened, puffing up to appear more threatening. He wasn't wearing his Mandalorian helmet, which would have helped the image, but even if he had been, it wouldn't have worked on Anakin. He knew too much about the Fetts. If anything, his posturing was entertaining. He wondered why he found more or less everything about this man amusing tonight.

"You have been honorable," Jango said with forced calmness. "By Mandalorian law, you are to be given the chance to defend yourself."

Anakin smiled and sat forward. "Indeed. I am not a Jedi and you admit I have stuck to our agreements and been honorable. Technically, I haven't lied to you. I am truly not a Jedi. If you wish to terminate our partnership, then that is your choice, but I cannot allow myself to be turned over to your employer."

Jango's lips parted to show grit teeth. "How can you study under them? They are the epitome of hypocrites!"

The former Sith leaned back in his chair to buy himself a few moments and wonder how Obi-wan would handle this. "I know the Jedi are not perfect. If anyone knows that, it's me. They do, however, know a great deal about the Force."

"They killed people! They are controlled and led around by the nose and do nothing to stop it! They listen to lies and let people die! It goes against everything they preach! They deserve no leeway."

Briefly, Anakin wondered if Jango was simply venting to someone who actually knew most of his story, or if he was trying to convert Anakin to his way of thinking.

Yes, still amusing.

"The Jedi are sentients," the masked man responded with a shrug of his shoulders. "They can only act on what they know. They had the wrong information." He had a feeling the bounty hunter was talking about his biggest run-in with Jedi now.

"They could have verified," Jango insisted.

"They thought they had," Anakin responded.

"That's no excuse."

Something about that line bothered Anakin. Excuse? It almost sounded as if Jango had expected more of them somehow... like he'd been outright and personally betrayed by the Jedi.

And then his eyes widened. "You... fell into the same trap I did," he realized aloud.

Jango's frown deepened. "What?"

Anakin shook his head, chuckling mirthlessly. He wasn't amused any longer. "You put the Jedi on a pedestal, as if they were super-beings or gods. Then a couple of them came in and ruined your life by being normal, fallible sentients." Oh, the irony.

The bounty hunter stayed quiet as he studied Anakin, his face blank.

So the former Sith decided to alleviate his obvious confusion and wariness.

"I used to be a slave. The Jedi freed me, supposedly. But their rules were so strict I felt I'd traded one form of slavery for another." He snorted softly, shaking his head. "My mother was killed, the woman I loved as well, my children estranged... all because one Jedi persuaded me to come with them. Let's just say, they didn't live up to my expectations."

Again, Jango's eyes narrowed. "Then why do you continue to study with them?"

Anakin scoffed. The sound somehow made it through his vocoder. "I didn't have the experience or presence of mind at the time to realize the significance of differences between slavery and the Jedi way that I did notice, nor did I realize that the prison I perceived was of my own making."

What a fool he'd been.

"I blamed them for everything, but I came to realize that I did so to alleviate my own guilt. The Jedi need reform, yes. They are not the perfect Order that society would have us believe and something needs to change. But everything that happened to me was because of my own choices and thus they are my own responsibility. I, too, was angry at myself for building them up and then discovering they were merely average sentients, albeit sentients with super powers, but still..."

"The difference between you and me is that nothing was my fault," Jango practically spat.

Anakin just looked at him for several moments before cocking his head. "And yet you blame yourself, even more so than you do the Jedi."

More silence, which was confirmation enough. So he'd been right. Perhaps that is why he'd liked the Fetts so much – they reminded him of himself, except more honorable.

"I don't work with Jedi," Jango finally reiterated.

And truthfully, Anakin could respect that. "Then I will inform you of my decision. Until then, if you wish to put this on hold, I will look for someone else to help me."

"Why do you defend them?" he asked, and Anakin could hear both the genuine curiosity and the note of desperation in the man's words.

So he answered truthfully. "While I, myself, have a good deal of power, it isn't enough. I want to see the most number of sentients given the ability and opportunity to choose their own fate. I always have. If I have to team up with Jedi to do so, then so be it.

"I also defend them because there are still good people in that order. I want them to change so that instances like yours never happen again. They have the ability and the drive to change the universe. As misguided as they are, they are affecting things the only way they know how. I want to show them another way..."

He didn't realize just how true that statement was until he'd said it aloud.

"You have your work cut out for you then," Jango replied, although he didn't sound nearly so defensive now. That was an improvement at least.

"I do."

More silence as they stared at each other.

Finally, Jango put a hand to the bridge of his nose.

"I need to think on this."

Anakin nodded his head graciously.

Jango gave him one last, searching look before turning and stalking off.

Several minutes later, Siri approached and took Jango's seat. "I'm guessing it went well?"

Anakin shrugged. "As well as can be expected."

The blond's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean by that?"

"Well, he did not attempt to kill, maim or stun me, nor did he attempt to turn me over to Sidious."

Her expression could have sucked water from the air. "The fact that you describe that as your best case scenario with him doesn't exactly instill the most confidence in me."

Anakin just smiled and shrugged again.


Master Yoda didn't sigh, but it was a close thing.

"We know the boy has had dark training, and we know the Sith have risen again!" Master Mundi insisted. Next to him, Master Tiin nodded in agreement.

"Do we?" Oppo Rancisis asked. "We merely have the body of an obvious dark-sider, but very little proof that he was, indeed, a Sith."

Yoda closed his eyes. The evidence was right there, but he'd always found it interesting, in a very sad way, as to what people could convince themselves of. Even wise, caring people like Master Rancisis.

"We cannot take that chance!" Master Mundi returned, adamant. "It has been nearly two years, and we have yet to really question the boy!"

"We agreed that his mental well-being was more important than an interrogation," Master Rancisis responded.

"Indeed it is," Saesee Tiin said, his voice quiet but steely. "But isn't two years of rather successful mind-healing sufficient healing time?"

"Surely he can withstand a couple of questions about his dark master," Master Mundi agreed.

"If he is the chosen one," Plo Koon spoke up, his voice muffled by the mask on his face, "then wouldn't it be more advantageous for us to have him on the side of light instead of potentially alienating him?"

"How is asking him questions alienating him?" Eeth Koth asked, speaking up for the first time since the topic had come up.

Mace, apparently, had had enough. "Very well. I will consult with his mind-healers and see if they think he is recovered enough to speak of his past. He is going on the next gathering tomorrow. After that, if Master Xio and Healer Girth agree, we can call him before the Council and finally question him about his dark training."

Neither side looked extremely happy, but everyone could live with this concession, apparently, because the matter dropped and they moved onto the next topic.

Yoda made a mental note to visit Anakin and discuss the potential upcoming confrontation with him and his mind-healers (and very likely, Siri Tachi). They would have to proceed with caution, but it looked like it might be time for Anakin Skywalker to reveal more about his past.

He could only hope the Council wouldn't regret this.


Anakin sat on one of the window sills of the transport ship taking the next batch of younglings to Ilum, his attention drifting between the stars outside and the rambunctious children as they play-sparred with each other. It felt strange, being physically older than anyone else here next to the senior padawan who had accompanied them. He was used to being mentally older than his peers, but he physically loomed over these children by several centimeters, and he'd been surrounded by them for hours now.

Still, he was grateful to be here at all. In the previous timeline, he'd been almost thirteen before Obi-wan had taken him to get his first lightsaber crystal. He'd honestly been expecting to not get a lightsaber this time until he was taken by a master. Then, for some reason (and Anakin suspected the old troll), the Council had decided that all the children of the Young Jedi Ambassador program need to have a lightsaber. Funny how this had come right when Palpatine had signed up for said program.

Anakin glanced down at the comm in his hand and reread the request he'd received again. As soon as he returned, Master Yoda had requested a meeting with him. He would also come in at the end of his next meeting with his mind-healers. The former Sith frowned. Why so suddenly? Was this about Palpatine? Most likely, he concluded, then sighed, shoving the comm into his pocket before turning to look out of the window at the stars again.

He could get lost in that view. The nothingness of Space that he always found so comforting and welcoming.

"We will be landing now," a voice from behind him drew him away from his thoughts, and he turned around to face the senior padawan escort. He was a zabarak named Rahth Mo, resembling Eeth Koth, and while the children he'd been escorting seemed to overwhelm him, he also looked at them with such a warm expression that Anakin couldn't help but like him.

He'd been welcoming and open with Anakin as well, despite his age in comparison to the rest of the children here. All in all, it had been a rather pleasant trip.

So, why did he have a bad feeling about this? Or, more accurately, an anticipatory feeling. Something would happen on the planet. Something personal but significant. He glanced longingly out at the stars again before sighing and standing to follow the line of Jedi children to the front where they would watch the descent to Illum. Apparently it was some kind of tradition.

As much as Anakin liked being in the cockpit, cramming inside an older one with several children while watching someone else pilot was not his idea of a good time. He grit his teeth and counted silently in his mind, doing his best to banish the negative thoughts to the Force while they approached the planet.

He was only marginally successful.


Anakin had been to Ilum multiple times before. This visit wasn't really very different.

He followed Padawan Mo out of the ship, bracing himself for the cool temperature that Ilum usually sported. The other children weren't so prepared and more than one of them cried out in surprise at the temperature, but none of them faltered.

They made it to the cave easily enough and were instructed to head into the tunnels, trust in the Force, and be back before sunset. The children all rushed in excitedly. Anakin followed at a far more sedate pace. Soon enough, he found himself wandering alone down the dark, natural corridors, following the nudges of the Force.

He felt the vision coming before it actually happened and braced himself as best he could. Not every person, looking for a kyber crystal would get a vision, but it wasn't exactly unheard of either. Anakin had always had a vision each and every time he'd searched for one, so he wasn't surprised when he felt that familiar twinge in the Force. Nor was he particularly surprised when the cave suddenly became walls. Very nice-looking, expensive walls and rich, if worn, carpet beneath his feet. He knew where he was.

"The Senate?" he asked quietly with a frown. That did surprise him. It wasn't a hall he'd actually been in before, he just recognized the motif. His surroundings reminded him of the chambers behind each of the Senate pods. This was different, though. He sat on a chair in the center of a circular platform and only one door led into the room.

Frowning harder, he went to stand, but as he did, the platform rose. He blinked in surprise and looked up. Above him, a circular door opened and he could see the Senate chamber beyond it. Oh. He knew where he was now and glanced over his shoulder as he drew even with the floor above, a little apprehensive. Palpatine should be behind the podium on his left. To his surprise, the entire box where the Chancellor should be stood empty. Anakin frowned and turned back to the enormous chamber.

He could hear people speaking in a low hum and knew each pod held a delegation, but he couldn't make out any details.

Of course not. That wasn't the point of the vision.

Repressing his uneasy feeling, he glanced down at his hands for just a moment and realized that, yes, they were young still. About his current age or perhaps a little older. Then he lifted his head and sat as straight as he could. He calmly reached a hand to his side but found that he didn't have his lightsaber with him, which didn't help him feel any better.

That was when he sensed it. The dark pulse hit him and ran through the room, sending shivers up his spine. Instantly he stood and faced the door across from him – the door they brought people to be tried through. The duroplast opened slowly, ominously and Anakin's mouth went dry. His eyes remained fixed on the figures behind the door as the senate guard, dressed in blue ceremonial armor, walked in solemnly.

Suddenly, the gigantic room seemed entirely too small. The fact that it fell into silence didn't help.

There, in the center of the guard, stood Chancellor Palpatine in his Senate robes, looking as tired and confused as ever. Then he glanced at Anakin, meeting his gaze before the latter could look away. The smile that grew over the older man's face was pure Sidious. Before Anakin's eyes, the figure of the kind, grandfatherly man melted away to reveal the cunning, cruel Sith underneath. He took a step forward, into the pod that somehow became a bridge across the chamber to where the time-traveler stood.

Unable to rein in his terror, Anakin went to step back, but found he couldn't. Trying not to panic, he looked down and saw, to his horror, black boots that were far too large for him instead of his soft, initiate shoes. They were bulky and clunky and somehow he knew they held mechanical feet. He choked back a scream. He couldn't show weakness here. He'd already shown too much.

"Ah, Lord Vader," Palpatine said, voice as smooth as silk drawing Anakin's attention. The Sith took another step, the Senate guard striding forward with him. Could no one see this transformation? Why could he still hear talking? Why weren't the guards doing something. "Here to testify against me? You should have known better. I taught you better."

Anakin's chest felt tight and he looked around desperately for something he could use to get himself out of this, but he could see nothing.

"No," he heard himself whisper harshly, bending down to try and physically move his feet. Naturally, it didn't help.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw black forms rising, floating in the air and spinning as if they were debris caught in the vacuum of space. Then Palpatine took another step. A couple of the black shapes shot towards Anakin, latching onto his legs and thighs, covering them in dark leather.

He could no longer feel his legs.

"You poor, simple-minded fool," Palpatine spoke, fake pity in his voice.

Thud! Thud! Thud!

He took another step and more black shapes pounded into Anakin. The more black that covered him, the less he could move, as if nothing covered in black was under his control. His panic rose and it took all his will to hold back the scream as his former master continued. "You thought you could defeat me? With just a little future knowledge?"

Anakin tried to ignore him and instead took a deep breath, attempting to calm himself. He'd have to use the Force to...

Except it wouldn't come! It wouldn't' answer him!

"You know very well you cannot hurt me. Not truly. Before was a fluke, a reaction you couldn't possibly replicate. You will not win again."

"Silence," Anakin shot back, still trying to calm the fear and the anger rising in his chest again. "You are not all powerful."

Palpatine cackled. His robe had darkened into a black shade. The guards' armor had gained a purple hue that grew stronger with each step.

"I do not need to be all powerful! I only need to outsmart you. You and your pathetic Jedi friends." He continued to chuckle. "Which will be all too easy."

"No," Anakin returned, still struggling to free himself from the armor that now surrounded his stomach and hating the panic that he couldn't quite quell. "You won't win again. I won't let you!"

Palpatine took another step and Anakin's left hand became encased in black. His heart skipped several beats. With his right arm, he reached for his lightsaber again and was surprised when a familiar cylinder met his hand. Then his breath froze in his chest when he looked at it. It was Vader's blade. The blade of a Sith.

He could only stare at it in horror and didn't notice Palpatine stepping forward again. The black clamped to his left side. His already pathetic control over his emotions and the Force slipped further.

Desperately, he activated the blade and pointed it at Palpatine. "You will not have me again! You will never own me!"

The other man stepped forward again. Black snapped over Anakin's right hand and he no longer had control over it. He still held the blade, but it fell down to his side no matter how he struggled to raise it.

"It is inevitable." Palpatine's face had gained wrinkles and deformity, draining of color. He now looked like the Emperor in all his terrifying glory. The Senate Guard had been replaced by the Imperial Guard, standing as an escort, all clothed in red. The Senate chamber itself remained, and yet the future ruler of the galaxy continued to move forward and no one seemed to care!

An all too familiar chest plate hurtled at him and Anakin's control snapped.

"NO!" he yelled, reaching out to the Force and not caring which side he called on. To his relief, the Force answered, dark and wild. He drew on the power and pushed with all his might against everything around him. It did no good. The black plate locked into place.

Anakin didn't know what to think or do. He could only watch, paralyzed, as the Emperor continued to stalk towards him.

"You were always meant to be a slave," he practically cackled.

Anakin shook his head, ignoring the tears he could feel pouring down his cheeks. "No! It's not true!" He meant for it to come out strong and sure, but he could only hear a whisper.

"You know it is."

"No..." he whispered desperately.

"At the first sign of trouble, you break. Every time," Palpatine went on, coming to the edge of the platform now, stepping past the red guard. Anakin tried to, but he couldn't deny the truth of the words. Even now the dark side whirled around him and he dared not release it. Just as it had been with Padmé, and at the memory and realization of Leia's identity and before the session he'd planned on confessing to the droid... just how many times had he lost his will, his control?

Was it all inevitable?

Had he fallen too far?

Could he not find redemption?

Somehow he couldn't help but fear that the answer was a resounding 'no'. The world around him began to fade to the blackness of the dark side and he could do nothing about it. Nothing he tried worked. It never would. Why had he dared to believe? Why...

Palpatine stood practically in front of him now, staring into Anakin's eyes. He wanted to break that gaze but a morbid sense of desperation wouldn't let him.

"Now, Lord Vader, you will return to me. Take your place at my side, as you always will."

A great despair rose inside him, swallowing everything else.

He knew how quickly despair could be turned into anger.

He felt himself break just a little more and a sob squeezed itself from his throat. The suit was back, as painful and constricting as ever. No, more so. He only needed the helmet to complete it. It had gotten so hard to breathe...

Sidious, no longer shackled, raised one hand. Anakin wanted to back away, but a deep exhaustion settled over him in wake of the despair. He didn't have the energy to so much as flinch, let alone the motivation to struggle.

Should he just accept the inevitable? It would be easier. Fighting it just exhausted him.

And yet...

"Luke," he whispered, remembering his son. His wonderful, loving, unbreakable son, and he drew on that strength. It wasn't much, but it was something.

"Someone... Help me." He closed his eyes. "Anyone. Help me! Please!" He couldn't make his voice loud enough for anyone but the Emperor to hear, and yet he reached out, desperate. "Please..."

"Pathetic," the Emperor cackled, leaning forward, with a mask held in both hands. "But you will be of use to me."

The helmet descended, along with the blackness and he felt himself slumping, giving in —

And then, a green lightsaber ignited between him and Palpatine, who stepped back with an angry hiss as the helmet flew from his hand. For a moment all Anakin could do was blink. He couldn't let himself hope. Almost not daring to breathe, he turned and saw his son standing there, glaring at the Emperor.

The Force stilled as Anakin just stared in shock.


The boy shot him a bright smile. "Your best may not be good enough, Father. But you have help. You will always have help if you ask for it."

"Out of my way," Sidious hissed, shooting lightning at Luke, but it was stopped by a blue blade. Anakin turned his head, the only thing he could move at the moment, and saw Obi-wan. His Obi-wan. The old man from the desert whom he had killed, standing there, gaze fixed on Palpatine.

"W-why?" Anakin whispered, his voice cracking.

He got a warm smile from Luke and a sad smile from Obi-wan.

"Fools, you cannot stop this!" Sidious bellowed.

"I hope I'm not too late," Ahsoka – teenaged Ahsoka – jumped down from somewhere, landing between Anakin and Sidious, both lightsabers held in an opening stance.

"We will not allow you to undo all of the good we've helped Anakin with," Master Xio said, somehow stepping out of the shadows with Healer Girth in her wake, the little drall standing firm beside her as his nose twitched irritably.

"You cannot stand in my way! I will destroy you all!" Sidious screamed.

"Hmm. Wrong, you are."

"Master Yoda?" Anakin asked, hating how his tone shook.

And then more people came out, placing themselves between him and Palpatine. Plo Koon, Master Gallia, Master Mundi even.

"Ani," a soft voice at his side sent a shock through him, and he glanced over to see Padmé, his Padmé, standing there, as beautiful as ever as she reached down and took the lightsaber from his hand and turned it off.

"Oh, my boy," another voice and a hand on his cheek.

"M... mom?" he asked. His mom. The older one.

"We will help you, Anakin," Young Obi-wan said, sanding to the side of his older counterpart but facing Anakin instead of Palpatine. "We will always help you if you ask."

"Yeah, Ani!" Hik'te burst forward, throwing his arms around Anakin's now much larger form. He was followed closely by Coira and then, more subdued, Hale and Maelee and Thoran and Tru and Darra and even Ferus Olin, even if he didn't look like he wanted to be there and... Oh, Force. Were those the children? Those children he could never forget... and yet, they filtered into his view, their gazes never holding any anger or judgment.

"It looks like you aren't alone, and there are a great many people happy to support you," Qui-gon Jinn said, with a smile, walking up behind the children and gazing around at the crowd that had gathered thoughtfully. Then he nodded over to Palpatine. Anakin followed the older Jedi's gaze and found the wrinkled Sith's screams could no longer reach him. The man yelled and cursed and spit and threw lightning and tried to break through an invisible wall to no avail. To his great relief, Anakin couldn't hear a thing the man said.

"Now," a final voice said as Siri stepped into his view. "Let's get that armor off of you."

For the first time in a very long time, Anakin allowed himself to cry.


When he came to his senses, he knelt on the ground in front of Senior Padawan Mo. The zabarak watched Anakin warily, seeming unsure and very protective – as if seeing Anakin as a threat. Smart Jedi. The younger children all gathered behind him, peeking out at him with a mixture of worry and fear. He felt wetness on his cheeks and wondered if he happened to look as disheveled as he felt.

Padawan Mo cleared his throat. "Well, Initiate Skywalker, you seem to have made it back just in time."

Shocked, Anakin glanced back at the cave opening just as it finished freezing over. Oh. It hadn't seemed like that long... and yet it had seemed like far longer. In his vision it had taken a combined force to get that armor off of him and had taken all too long. Some parts, he feared, would never be truly gone, but they all kept working at it until the vision had faded back to reality.

"Also, we felt a dark presence earlier..." the padawan said slowly, bringing the initiate back to the situation at hand.

Anakin's mouth went dry. "Sorry," he muttered, "I had"

"Yes, I can see that."

Anakin didn't offer any more explanation, too exhausted to deal with the suspicion right now. Instead he just looked down at his hands where he felt something. Then his eyes widened. There, in his palms, he held three kyber crystals.

They were all purple.


AN: You guys are lucky you're getting this now. I've actually been working on it for a couple of months. Still not entirely happy with the chapter, but I feel it gets the points across that I needed it to.

Thank you to Carradee and Khalthar for beta reading!

Oh, and final Clone Wars Movie ftw! I cannot wait! *super excited*