Fandom: Star Wars
Characters: Anakin/Darth Vader and Palpatine
Ratings & Warnings: R for excessive violence and gore.
Beta: Huge thanks goes to cariel =D
Disclaimer: Not mine. None of it.
Vader awoke with a sharp gasp to sterile surroundings he had never seen before. The air was thin, cold, warning him that without the mask time would not be on his side.
Desperately, Anakin tried to sit up, to reach for the mask, but something was terribly wrong. As his eyes fell to the stumps that were his legs it became horrifically clear. His limbs, artificial as they were, had been removed.
Frantic, he reached out to touch the Force, using it to put air into his broken lungs. His eyes quickly scanned the room in search of his cybernetic prosthetics. They were nowhere to be found.
The question sounded weak, far too weak for his liking, but Anakin could feel the dark presence of the elder Sith Lord and knew better than to ignore his presence.
The response was immediate and without mercy.
Despite being sensitive to the Force, Anakin was caught entirely off guard by the Force lightning that seemed to come from nowhere, engulfing him completely.
The metal cot that held Anakin acted as a conductor as did his already burned flesh. Old wounds blistered and re-opened, while new ones formed over them. The pain was excruciating, almost blinding.
Just as Anakin was about to succumb to his wounds and the lack of oxygen filling his lungs, the lightning stopped. In place of the wall of dark lightning now stood his master and one time mentor.
“Master—I completed—the mission,” Vader gasped out in confusion and pain.
Had he not cleared out the rebel stronghold on Naboo?
“If you had succeeded, I would not be here now would I?” the emperor replied in cold tones.
Not understanding the meaning of his master’s rage, Anakin struggled not to whimper in pain as he stared at the elder Sith Lord in silence.
He had removed the rebels, all of them; that he knew for certain. Vader also knew that he had removed a lot of innocents along the way.
Even now, he could still hear the sounds of his victims screams and see their terrified expressions.
However, not all suffered such a fate and it was their fearful eyes that reminded Vader of how close he came to removing the village’s orphaned younglings—and the one who stopped him.
The room sped violently as Vader struggled to use the Force not to heal, rather to breathe.
Sensing his apprentice’s current state, the emperor took full advantage of the situation and attacked once more.
Weakened by previous wounds and the lack of oxygen, the young Sith Lord was unable to block the violent lightning attack. His eyes snapped wide open to the pain and despite himself, Anakin screamed.
What have they done to deserve this treatment? What have they ever done to you?
It wasn’t Palpatine’s curses or taunts that registered in his mind. It was her voice—the petite woman who had done what no one, save his master, could do: force him to stand down.
“I gave you an order, Darth Vader, and I expect it to be obeyed!”
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Anakin could hear his master’s voice as though it were a million light years away.
His lungs burned as stars danced behind his eyes, but his mind continued to run wild.
Breathe, just breathe…
Her voice, so soothing and gentle, came like a whisper into his thoughts causing Anakin to close his eyes as the inky blackness consumed his sight.
Vader could almost feel her lips touching his own as she exhaled, leaving him to draw in her breath. His body throbbed and burned from the pain of his master’s attacks, but his lungs no longer felt it. Her breath was sweet and pure.
“I instructed you to clear out the rebel’s strongholds. You were to stop at nothing until they were found and destroyed!”
Anakin’s eyes snapped open as cold gnarled fingers wrapped around his throat, squeezing the air from his lungs. He tried to resist, but it was futile. Without his limbs and his Force powers entirely focused on his need to breathe, Vader was entirely at the mercy of the elder Sith Lord. Yet as his master grip around his throat tightened, Anakin found his fading sight witnessing another sight entirely.
No longer was he pinned to the metal cot with his master’s hands wrapped around his throat. In fact, he was no longer even the same sterile room he had been moments ago.
Innocent little faces stared at him in silent fear from behind the skirts of a petite woman he had never seen before. She faced him with amber eyes filled with indignation and concern; not for herself, rather, for the little ones who clung onto her skirts. Both regal and humble, she struck Vader as a woman who was a living contradiction to everything he had been raised to believe.
Of petite height and gait, the beautiful woman stood before him, demanding with her silent glare to know his intent; as though he should be bowing before her instead of staring her down.
“Get the urugal out.”
This wasn’t so much of a challenge as it was a command. Beneath Vader’s mask, the darkness that clouded his mind and coursed through his veins began to clear.
The children, feeling protected by their mother grew a little braver. From behind her skirts, they peeked up at the black armoured behemoth before them.
What of the mission? Anakin thought to himself before wondering what he was doing, why he was even here.
“I won’t let you hurt them. You’ll have to kill me first.”
At the memory of her words, fresh air filled his burning lungs and Vader’s eyes snapped open. A pale haze filled the room and somewhere in the back of his mind, Anakin knew his master had activated the air purifiers, permitting him to breathe.
“Do you think this is a game? That my empire is your little playground?”
Vader tried to piece his master’s words, to understand the source of his rage. None of it made any sense.
Anakin struggled again to move to free himself, but without full limbs, it was virtually impossible. His broken body protested violently to the movement causing his new wounds to tear and bleed further.
“Master, I don’t’ understand—” he gasped out. “I removed the Force sensitives as you had ordered—”
“You fool! I told you to remove all Force sensitives, not just the ones you felt like destroying!”
Anakin’s eyes widened to the realization. “They were younglings! They’re no threat to us!” Anakin stammered in disbelief.
That never stopped you before, his guilty conscience reminded him.
“You kill because I tell you to kill! You aren’t here to think, Lord Vader; you are here to follow my orders! My commands!”
Palpatine was not a man of mercy and the young Sith Lord’s ignorance infuriated him to no end. When had Vader decided to gain a conscience? It was time to teach the boy a lesson he would not soon forget.
Amplifying Anakin’s nerve sensitivity, Palpatine began a new form of torture, taking the young man to whole new realm of pain.
For all his training and tolerance, there was no way to prepare Vader for this new blinding, choking pain. He screamed in horror while attempting to block it with the Force as he had before. Nevertheless, Vader wasn’t nearly as familiar with the dark side as his master was and so his defence was short lived.
Succumbing to this new form of torture, Vader cried out a name he had never known. A goddess or a nightmare he couldn’t say. The invisible razors made it impossible to decipher much, save the pain. Soon his body was riddled with deep gouges that flowed with rivers of blood; wounds that were a vibrant contrast to the layers of blisters and tendrils of burns.
No longer able to register what was real and what was dream, Vader felt the Force calling to him. A small smile crept into his features as he knew it was finally time to go home.
Gentle phantom fingers began to caress his scarred face. Though Vader couldn’t see who it was, he couldn’t help but imagine it was the petite brave beauty that faced him a short time ago.
Her voice accented, yet musical, filled his tormented thoughts.
I’m here; you’re safe now…
Anakin vaguely recalled that she had said these words before, not to him, but to the younglings. Vader found himself hoping they were safe. He then found himself hoping that one day he could see them again, if only to apologize.
It was then that Vader realized his decision to spare the children at the orphanage was the first time he openly defied his master. It was also the first time he had actually behaved as a Jedi without being ordered, or pressured into it.
The torture continued relentlessly without mercy as the emperor vented all of his fury and hatred on his protégé.
Though he couldn’t see her, Anakin could hear her voice softly singing in a language he didn’t understand. Vader could also feel her calloused fingers holding him tightly, giving him the strength to survive, and to remain silent.
Yet, in the end, even her silent strength was not enough. Just as Anakin thought he was going to lose his mind, unseeing lips brushed against his own, causing blissful unconsciousness to transcend on his thoughts.
Filled with a sense of peace, Vader’s final thoughts were filled with the hope that one day he could repay the mysterious woman for giving him the chance to fulfil a dream he had longed for since childhood: the dream of being a true knight.