I randomly wrote this on a whim after reading a lot of going-back-in-time fics by others (most of which were excellent, btw). I noticed that the majority of them - if not all - involved Obi-Wan being the one to go back, and I wondered how it would change if I made it Anakin.
So I wrote it. :) Please enjoy.
"Tell your sister … you were right …"
Luke's eyes may have been the same color as his father's, and yet at that moment Vader - no, Anakin - could only see Padmé. It was that knowledge that allowed him the peace he felt, the first peace he had felt in years, as he allowed his eyes to slip closed.
At last, he could rest.
This being his last thought, he was surprised when his head abruptly exploded in pain, seemingly coming from everywhere at once. Emotions and thoughts were all muddled behind the wall of absolute pain, and the once-Sith found himself doubling over from the sheer amount of it that assaulted him.
A voice he hadn't heard in years, speaking his name in a way that he never thought to hear again … It was hard to think through the pain, and Anakin threw his shields up, blocking everything out so he could focus.
"Anakin, answer me." Strong hands gripped his shoulders in an urgent manner. There was a brush against his shields, and he forced his eyes open at last. For a moment everything before him was blurred, but it soon came into focus and brilliant colors burst before him, almost none of them tinged red.
Obi-Wan looked just as he had during the war; brow furrowed and eyes intense. "Anakin, what-?"
Anakin was reeling backwards, pulling out of the other man's arms, falling to the floor - distantly he saw that he was in a diner, and many people surrounded him.
"Anakin!" Hands followed him - Obi-Wan's hands - catching at his tunic and softening his fall. He didn't turn to respond. He couldn't.
He had killed Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan was dead.
He tried to ignore the calming hand on his back as he retched on the floor. He tried to ignore the firm voice that ordered the people to move away, to give him space.
Soon there was nothing left for him to throw up, and the hand at his back patted him comfortingly. "Anakin, you're not well."
So obvious. So understated. So Obi-Wan. Though after so many years it was easy to hear the concern that laced the rounded tones of his old master. Anakin wanted to laugh and cry all at once, and swallowed heavily as bile rose in his throat once more. He didn't deserve that concern. How had he missed it before?
"Can you stand?" The hand shifted to just under his bicep, ready to help him up. Anakin gave a shaky nod after a moment, then felt himself being hauled to his feet with a strength that was just as understated as its owner. "I think it would be best to leave now, don't you?" Worry still infused the voice, though it was harder to hear in the dry tone. "Sorry about the mess, Dex."
"Don't worry about it, Obi." A voice that Anakin could only describe as large answered knowingly. Another voice that didn't exist anymore. "Go take care of yer boy."
"Thank you." Obi-Wan's hand never loosened its grip, and Anakin was suddenly glad for it as he felt his knees buckle, his legs turning to jelly beneath him.
He hadn't had legs in so long ...
The air changed suddenly, and instinctively Anakin knew they were outside; fresh air touched his lungs and throat in a way that it hadn't for years. He just couldn't quite remember exiting the diner. He found himself being lowered to the ground, being leaned against the wall behind him.
A hand rested itself against his forehead, and there came a sigh that had him opening his eyes (when had he closed them?). Obi-Wan didn't say anything as he studied Anakin's face, and the once-again young man was forced to speak first. "O- … Obi-Wan?"
"Anakin … what happened in there?" The older (though for Anakin, much younger) Jedi was crouched before him, his face a picture of worry. "A vision?"
Anakin could feel a prod along their blocked bond, and slowly opened it up a little, allowing his master to touch him through the Force. Obi-Wan didn't disappoint, sending a wave of calm through their bond almost immediately.
It wasn't until Obi-Wan reached forward and wiped a tear from his cheek that Anakin realized he was crying. "Oh, Anakin … what did you see?"
Anakin didn't answer. All of his bonds had been in tatters for so long … to feel his old master again in this way … He closed his eyes. All of his bonds were there again. Obi-Wan's was the strongest, since he had just opened it, but with a little prodding he felt Ahsoka, and his tears began to flow even more freely than before.
After years of crying behind a mask, it was near impossible for him to control the emotions that were erupting. It didn't help when a pair of strong arms enveloped him, his Master forgoing more words in the face of physical comfort.
Anakin could feel the echo of alarm from his own Padawan, just as the worry of his Master all but enveloped him. It was ... beautiful. The only master he had been with for so long-
For a moment Anakin panicked, and he immediately searched his mind, dreading what he would find. Of course it was there. It had always been there. Knowing how to look for it made it simple to find, and he could feel Palpatine's confusion and alarm echoing along it just as he had felt Ahsoka's.
Curled in his mind around the darkness that was in him, the bond with his dark master had always hidden. That was how the Emperor (no, not the Emperor. Not anymore) had always known when he was bothered, or just how to manipulate him. It was the last bond that Anakin had broken, and he would relish breaking it again-
Wait. He searched his mind frantically again, and froze when he found it. His last bond.
"Padmé!" Anakin jerked his head back, and winced when it collided with the wall. That didn't stop him from attempting to get to his feet, however, realizing that his wife was still alive! She was-!
"Anakin!" Obi-Wan's voice brought him back to reality, sharp and reprimanding. "What do you think you're doing? I'm certain that if Padmé were in need we would have been notified!" Strong hands kept Anakin from running towards the speeder that was parked not too far away (Only Obi-Wan would be able to park behind Dex's diner and get away with it).
"Anakin." Obi-Wan's eyes were hard, and it was clear that he wasn't going to budge on this. "You just collapsed from something that caused a very large backlash in the Force. It almost broke our bond, and I'm certain that I'm not the only one that felt it. So until I'm also certain that you're not going to fall over dead, it's best that you don't go running off to save a senator that hardly seems to need it."
Anakin wanted to fight him on it, but his head hurt so much … and he was tired of fighting against his Master. He slumped back against the wall after giving a tired nod. It was like Obi-Wan hadn't even been surprised that he had called for Padmé. Now with so many years behind him, Anakin was tempted to ask if the man didn't already know. Perhaps his old Master had always known.
That only made him angry at Palpatine all over again.
"Anakin, what did you see?"
It was good that his old com-link chose that moment to beep, since Anakin had no idea how to answer that question, and he slipped slowly to the ground again as he tiredly answered it. Obi-Wan let him. His breath caught when a small hologram of his once-again teenage Padawan flickered to life. "Skyguy? I- … Are you all right? I felt something and then you closed the bond, and- … what happened?"
"I … I'll tell you when we get back, Ahsoka." He managed to speak, but his voice was threatening to give out into more sobs as he looked at her. Her lekku were short and her montrals were so much smaller ... the last time he had seen her, she had been a woman.
She had been trying to avenge his death ... by killing him ...
"All right, Skyguy, but this explanation had better be good." Her resolve was clearly as firm as her voice, but that didn't stop the latter from shaking a little. The call ended, and Anakin looked up to find Obi-Wan seated on the ground before him.
"Please tell me you didn't close your bond off with her like that as well, Anakin ..." Obi-Wan hid his worry well, but it wasn't well enough for Anakin to ignore it. Something in the expression reminded him of Luke, and his throat ached with the effort of not crying. "You've never been this closed before."
"Does it make you feel left out?" Anakin couldn't help but ask, since Obi-Wan was honestly the one who most often closed his end of the bond.
"Anakin." How many times had he said Anakin's name now? "What did you see?"
Again, Anakin was stuck. He didn't know how to tell his friend - his brother - that he was from the worst possible future that they could ever hope to live. He would sound crazy, and he honestly still wasn't sure that what he was experiencing was real anyway; though the Force was constantly affirming his surroundings as real and true, tearing at him with its desire for him to know.
Obi-Wan's com-link beeped with an incoming call this time, saving Anakin again. Only ... his old Master made no move to answer it.
It was several moments of silence later that Anakin dared ask, "Aren't you going to answer that?"
"It's most likely the Council, wanting to talk about the violent wave in the Force." Obi-Wan didn't take his eyes off of Anakin's and for the first time in years, the once-Sith felt a very difficult-to-ignore-desire to fidget. "I don't see what good that will do, however, when you're the one who has the answers."
Perhaps years and years before, if Anakin had heard that sentence, he would have felt offended - unable to believe that his Master didn't trust him to tell the Council himself or some other such garbage. Now, however, after all of his experiences, it was simple to see that his Master was ignoring the call merely because Anakin was far more important. It warmed his heart in a way that he had thought only Luke could do again.
He had been quiet for a long while now, and Obi-Wan finally put a hand on his shoulder to ask (even while his com-link continued to beep), "Anakin … are you all right?"
"I … don't know." Anakin could hardly believe what was happening. For years, he had dreamed of going back in time, of killing his Master before he could betray him, of saving Padmé before he could harm her … yet those dreams had never felt the way he did now.
And now, after touching the light again, he had no desire to kill anyone except for the monster who had turned him in the first place, then maybe himself for ever following him.
"What did you see?" His master's voice was still as calm as ever, and now after years of being controlled by hate and loathing … it felt good to know that something would never change.
Even when he had killed Obi-Wan, the man had been calm and confident. The only time Anakin had seen anything different, he had been looking at him through the heat-filled air of Mustafar. The memory now had him swallowing and sweating again.
"I- … I saw everything."
And unfortunately, he had.
Okay. I had forgotten this little clip I'd written, and I honestly had no plans beyond where I got to. But it made me cry the second time I read through it (maybe I was just having an emotional day), and so I felt it only fair to let others have the chance of reading it as well.
I hope you all enjoyed it, and I'd love it if you let me know what you thought upon reading it.
It's also only fair of me to let you all know that this is only a clip, and that it was never supposed to be any longer than this. If a bunch of people want me to continue it, I'll probably try, but for now this is it. :)