Characters: Anakin, Padmé
Summary: After the battle of Geonosis, a brooding young Padawan gets
Notes: This was a fic request from fialleril to write A/P gen. Don't say I don't keep my promises. :)
There is someone at the door… He watches it idly as he contemplates suicide.
Perhaps Dooku has sent someone to finish the job? He wishes he could roll over and die and spare the traitor the inconvenience.
The door inches open. He reaches out into the Force… and then recoils as it slams into him the identity of the person beyond the door.
By the time, Padmé steps in, Anakin is huddled in the bed, his eyes wary and unhappy.
“So, this is where you’ve been hiding.”
“The EM-DEE refused to let me see anyone but the Jedi…”
“Actually Threepio told me he was under instructions from to prevent me from coming to see you. Instructions from you.”
“Is this how you treat all the women you declare your love to? A few kisses and then good bye forever?”
He loses it a bit. “Why not joke about this? I am a joke. Look at me – half a man.”
Her voice becomes softer. “I’m so sorry about your arm, Anakin. But it’s not… you haven’t lost everything. Prosthetics is marvelous. You’ll barely know the difference.”
He gives her a withering look and she flinches. “OK, I have no idea what I’m talking about. But I worked with some refugees when I was a child. I don’t know how you feel but I know that your life hasn’t ended because you lost your arm!”
“It’s not only my arm I’ve lost,” he hisses through clenched teeth. “I’ve lost…” Words fail him.
What hasn’t he lost?
She has come to sit beside him. She reaches for him and he pulls away. Her hand falls to her side, but there is determination beneath the softness of her voice. “Please tell me, Ani.”
He doesn’t correct her use of the childish moniker. He has never felt so small, so in need for comfort, for rescue. Not even as a child.
“When I fought Dooku, I felt the Darkness within him. It was so strong. So powerful.” Even now, he can still see the shadows creeping at the edges of his sight. “It was exactly the same darkness I felt the night I killed the Tuskens. The night I massacred them!”
She is silent. What can she say to that?
“I touched the Dark Side, Padmé. Master Yoda says… once you touch the Dark Side, you can never go back. If I tell Obi-Wan what happened, they’ll throw me out of the Order. If I’m lucky,” he mutters ominously.
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m too powerful for them to let go. Not when Dooku is a Sith Lord, staging a rebellion. I think…”
“You think what? That the Jedi will keep you against your will? Hold you prisoner? On what grounds?”He opens his mouth to answer her but she cuts him off before he can speak, her eyes snapping with fire as she leans closer, presses home her point. “Killing your mother’s kidnappers and torturers in an attempt to rescue her? Getting rid of the terrorists that have been plaguing the peaceful farm people of Tatooine? It will be laughed out of any galactic court – if it ever gets past the jurisdictional red tape.”
He gives a short bark of laughter. “The Jedi don’t prosecute their own, Padmé.”
“Then what will they do to you?”
“I think they will kill me, Padmé.”
She falls back suddenly that it’s almost funny. But in typical Padmé fashion, she’s not rebuffed for long.
“Anakin, that’s ridiculous. The Jedi don’t kill people.”
He gives her a totally incredulous look.
“Not innocent people.”
He looks away from her. “I am not innocent.”
“You made a mistake. You lost your temper and you…”
“…took vengeance into my own hands. Killed a whole village, both the guilty and the innocent. I broke the code of detachment when I went after my mother and this is exactly what they warned me would happen. Master Obi-Wan was right… I am dangerous. They should never have trained me. They should never have taken me.”
It’s only when she grabs his hands, flesh tangled up with wires, that he realizes that they are shaking. “Anakin…”
“I’m a monster. I know that now. I’m not going to wait for them to execute me. I can-. I have to-. I must do the honorable thing as a Jedi, at least. I will…”
She slaps him.
It’s the action more than the pain that shocks him into silence. Even the shadows hovering at the edges of his consciousness temporarily clear. For the first time since she has entered his room, he looks at her – really looks at her. She is fierce and beautiful and completely enraged.
“Don’t you ever talk like that! You are not a monster! You are not dangerous. You are not dangerous. You lost your temper. You were angry. Because you are human.”
“You would never have done the same thing…”
“Do you think so? Do you think it was easy for me when Naboo was invaded? When Nute Gunray had put my people in concentration camps to rot away and die? Do you think I would have handed over the Trade Federation to the Republic for justice if my parents or Sola had been one of those people that had died there?”
“Would you have launched an attack on the whole of Neimodia?”
“I would have fought with everyone weapon at hand! Yours was your lightsabre. Mine was the Gungan Army. And do you know what, Anakin? If I had killed Nute Gunray then, we won’t have had the massacre at Geonosis now. We probably won’t be having the Civil War now!” She is blinking when she finishes and he realizes that this thought must have plagued her for long, realizes that it pains her to say what she is saying now.
“Those Raiders kidnapped your mother and tortured her for weeks, for no crime she had ever committed.” He flinches as she says this.
“No. Don’t.” He covers his ears.
She pulls his hands away. “Yes. Beru told me what the Tuskens did to her family. What they do to those that they take. They torture them. They tortured your mother. For weeks. They cut her and they made her bleed. They whipped her and they hit her and it made them happy.”
“No. Please stop this! Why are you doing this?”
“Because you have to listen to this!”
“Why?” He roars. “What is the difference between what I did and what they did? I killed the innocent! I hurt the defenseless?”
“You killed them because they had killed your mother!” She roars right back. “You hurt them because they hurt you first. What the Tuskens did, they did it because they wanted to!
“That’s what monsters are, Anakin! You made a mistake. You took the law into your hands. But you are not a monster!”
Her voice is breaking at the end and he wants so badly to believe her that he can’t help it.
He bows his head and lets the tears fall. The sobs he hadn’t cried when his mother died – so caught up was he in blood and the sword – he sobs them now.
And she gathers him up in her arms, rocking him as if he were still that small child she comforted so many years ago from the cold, whispering over and over to him the words that he desperately needs to hear.
You are not a monster.
He wants desperately to believe her. He needs desperately to believe her.
“You’re a good man, Anakin,” she whispers. “Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.”
She reaches for the wires that make up his mechanical fingers and grips them firmly. He tangles his wires in her flesh and holds on to his lifetime.