Fandom: Star Wars *AU*
Beta: A huge thank you to cariel for beta reading this for me!
Ratings & Warnings: PG het pairing.
Disclaimer: Not mine. None of it.
Summary:Anakin faces his fate on Mustafar only to be saved by the only one who can truly set him free.
In this AU ficlet Anakin doesn’t face Obi-Wan on Mustafar but another jedi knight.
Was it really worth it? The thought swam into his mind, intermingling with the pulsating, searing pain that threatened to rob him of his sanity.
Cybernetic fingers grasped ash and stone while a lifeless hand of burned flesh remained limp within in reach. It was another silent reminder of all he had once taken for granted.
If he had legs, he could run away. If he had both of his arms, he could at least crawl away. Would it really make a difference?
Obi-Wan’s voice soon haunted his thoughts, encouraging a bitter hate that was becoming all too familiar. You can only run for so long before it catches up to you. It hurt too much to think of the past and so Anakin turned his attentions to the present instead.
Using all of his strength, Lord Vader pulled what remained of his body forward. Gravel, ash, and molten rock found their place within his exposed charred flesh. The guttural scream that escaped his broken lips sounded foreign to his ears. Movement was not an option.
Is this really worth it?
The young Sith Lord closed his eyes as he struggled to shut out his mocking thoughts. His breath was weak; his lungs burned and throbbed, struggling to filter the poisoned air. The phantom cries of his youngest victims haunted his senses reminding him of his shame. Their eyes, vacant and glassy, seemed to stare at him until Anakin’s own eyes snapped open. If only he could escape it all! Even if he did survive, by some miracle or curse, could he really live with himself?
His bleary eyes took in the hazy mist of toxins and heat. Through it, he could almost see silhouettes of shadowy figures just beyond his reach. A shiver of fear ran down his spine as legends his mother once spoke of filled his pained thoughts. As a child, he used to love the stories of the desert nightmares. What did he have to fear from them? The creatures, as the legends told, would never hunt the innocent or the good; only the wicked ever needed to fear their wrath.
He could almost hear Padmé’s final words and see her lifeless form falling at his feet. You are dead to me now, Anakin. It seemed appropriate that he should die in this wretched place, surrounded by death and decay.
The hate that once consumed him had long since faded away. As did the heady, blind rush of the Dark Side. All that remained now was the all-consuming sense of pain—and regret.
The voice that filled his thoughts was so familiar and yet, he could not remember where he had heard it before. Its accent, however, was as foreign to him as the language she spoken, yet he understood every word. Sometimes we must lose it all before we can truly gain what we desire.
Using the last of his strength the fallen Jedi forced himself to turn onto his back. If he was to face his enemy, he wanted to look them straight in the eye—just as his victims once did only a short time ago. Another horrific wail of pain erupted from his throat as the burned flesh of his back rested against searing hot molten ash and stone.
Through the Force, Anakin felt a shift and knew he was no longer alone. He could feel another’s emotions, one so unusual, yet powerful, but not with Force sensitivity. The love and compassion he felt from this person was like a soothing balm to his senses.
Suddenly, calloused, cool fingers gently touched his brow while tears, so sweet yet sorrowful, cleansed his burned cheeks. The soft scent of water flowers tempted his dying senses and even when Anakin closed his eyes, he could still see her beautiful, but tear-filled amber orbs in his mind. Such mercy wasn’t deserved but he couldn’t find the strength to turn her away.
“Please—our baby,” he murmured, already fearing the answer. It hurt to speak, but Anakin didn’t dare touch the Force, not anymore, not after what he had done.
“It’s all right. Sabé is with medical droids. The baby is going to be fine.”
He didn’t have to ask if she knew that Padmé was gone as Vader could sense it through her emotions. Her relief mirrored his, but it was short lived. A pang of shame overwhelmed him. This was not how he imagined how he’d meet his child or become a father.
The young woman seemed to understand what he feeling as her expression softened, turning compassionate and loving as she gingerly prepared his body to be placed on a med cot. “It’s going to be all right. The worst is over,” she whispered softly before soothing lips gently brushed again his scarred mouth.
Tattered garbs were removed with care while burned flesh was soothed with bacta. As Anakin was injected with a pain killer to help him rest, his bleary eyes gazed up at the freckled beauty who watched on with unshed tears in her eyes.
Sometimes we must lose it all before we can truly gain what we desire. The strange words he had heard only a short time ago echoed in his thoughts and in that moment he understood what it meant. This wasn’t the end; it was only the beginning.
With a small smile, he gingerly reached out with a bandaged hand and gently caressed the young woman’s freckled cheek. “You freed me—thank you.” As soon as the words slipped from his lips, the fallen Jedi’s arm slipped to his side.
As he closed his eyes, Vader began to drift off to sleep, but not before hearing the gentle whisper of his saviour’s voice in his thoughts:
“No, I’m free because of you.”