Title: A Second in Hell
Genre: angst, romance
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars... although that's just stating the obvious
Summary: The dark side offers solutions, but Obi-wan... the final choice is Anakin's
Chapter I: Hell
"It doesn't make sense, master, why accept me in the Council if their are not making me a master too?" Anakin moved nervously while talking to his master, who looked to the front with a reflective expression.
"I'm on your side, Anakin, but everything will solve at its own time" said Obi-wan after a pause "patience."
"And besides that they expect me to spy on the senator, why do they ask that?" stopping in front of a window, the younger Jedi put his covered hand in his hair "who should I be faithful to, master?"
"To the Jedi order, Anakin."
"But they are asking me to betray the Republic! The democracy in which we all believe… betraying the senator is like betraying the people."
"Don't misunderstand politics, my young friend" Obi-wan caressed his own beard, getting closer to Anakin's back "we must be loyal to the Senate, not the senator… anyway, our mission it's not about politics but about peace."
"Then why are we a part of this war?" Anakin turned around, facing his master " why are we mediators in every battle? Why is our training based on weapons?"
"You have a lot of questions, but also wisdom that will take you to your answers" said Obi-wan, suddenly noticing the proximity of the one he had educated.
"You should give me some answers, let your experience be my guide."
"Freedom is not free, Anakin. It takes innocent lives and a lot of injustice is committed because of it" Anakin gave him a sad smile, and Obi-wan refrained himself from caressing his face "we try to stop them" he raised his hand, stopping it in mid-air before reaching anywhere "we fight for what the people ask through the Senate and we avoid pain and oppression" finally, his hand rested on Anakin's shoulder.
Automatically, Anakin moved his shoulder out of the way, leaving his master's hand on the air. Obi-wan watched his own extremity for a second before taking it to his back.
"What is it?" a worried expression stealing away his serene appearance.
"I…" Anakin took his own hand to the touched shoulder "I'm sorry master, I'm just frustrated… I'll go and meditate" with quick steps, Anakin left the room.
Obi-wan watched him leave and then started walking. There was something he wasn't telling him. Had he noticed his attraction? Ridiculous. Anakin had never before rejected his touch, he always looked for peace in it. Something was wrong with his little one, something that didn't have to do with the Council, Padme or himself. Somehow, Palpatine appeared in his mind.
Padme combed her curled hair while looking down the balcony. Anakin watched her, calmed. She was the living image of innocence, beautiful, perfect, somehow impossible to reach. Even if she was involved in politics and afraid of the war, when he surrounded her with his arms, she just let herself go in the perfection of a love that couldn't make him comfortable. He loved her, but not with passion. He knew he couldn't live without her but her presence couldn't take away the infinite thread of feelings that filled him.
"Sometimes I wonder" said Padme all of a sudden "if we could go back to better times, when the only thing that mattered was our love" eaving the brush, the senator got closer to him and surrounded his hips with her arms
"Maybe one day we'll find peace" he hugged her tightly, feeling her melt in his embrace, sighing with relief.
He wished he could feel the same way, but Padme couldn't take away his pain. After all, she was not Obi-wan.
"Are you coming?" asked Padme sitting on the bed.
In a minute, I have something on my mind right now" said Anakin while looking through the window.
"Mmm… all right"
Padme would not make anymore questions tonight. She knew something was bothering her husband, but she thought it would be better to let him think about it a while.
The truth was that Anakin was afraid of sleeping, he had always been. First, what had filled his dreams was his mother's pain, then Padme's suffering in a birth that hadn't happened yet and now it was a recent fact. Every time he closed his eyes he could see it, he could feel it. The strange hands on his body, that laugh in his ears, a contact that he didn't want. And the pain, pain and rage while that body penetrated his, the dark side of the Force creating a net around his suffering.
He opened his eyes and sighed, shivering. He had hated then and he still did. He knew it was wrong, but confusion didn't let him move.
His duty was to go to the Council and tell what he knew, scream who was the Lord Sith that they were looking for and make justice. Nevertheless, the dark side tempted him with its hate, its rage and its easy solutions to Padme's sure death.
When Palpatine had finished with him, his mind was decided to accept the dark side, to become the apprentice of the man who had hurt him, who had opened his mid to a new suffering and who had questioned the Jedi honour.
And he would had done it, but before his mind drifted towards the terror, his heart had given him a loud scream: Obi-wan.
Obi-wan walked towards masters Windu and Yoda with decision in his steps. The Council has just given him the mission of capturing general Grievous, whose location was known thanks to Anakin's information. But before he left the Temple he had one request to make.
"Master Kenobi" said Mace Windu when he felt his presence "I thought you would be ready to leave already."
"Actually, I wanted to talk to you, masters."
"Worried you are, Obi-wan" affirmed Yoda while the three of them began walking again "talk to us."
"It's about Anakin, something's wrong with him" explained Obi-wan.
"The dark side of the Force tempted has him."
"True, I felt it too" said Windu I don't trust him."
"I know he is difficult and that he has extreme emotions, but Anakin would never let me down" hurried Obi-wan "and I know that there's something worrying him, something he doesn't want to tell me."
"What are you asking for, Obi-wan?" half smiled Yoda "time you want to discover the mystery, but your mission more important is."
"One day, master Yoda, please" asked Obi-wan "I'll leave tomorrow, it's just a few hours."
"I don't think it's prudent" said Windu.
"Neither do I" stated Yoda "but in master's Kenobi intuition trust we must" Obi-wan repressed a smile "the few hours of this day and of the night yours are, master, so you can young Skywalker's heart discover."
After searching the Temple, Obi-wan was surprised to find Anakin in his rooms, meditating. The truth was that the boy had never had the gift of patience; Obi-wan remembered how he used to use meditation as a punishment when they were master and padawan. Still now, he used to roll his eyes while whispering "if he stays stills, he'll die" too many times.
That just confirmed that something was not right, and Obi-wan knew it was not going to be easy to find out. He had never been able to read in the twisted mind of Anakin, and if he decided to hide whatever was happening, he wouldn't say a word. But he had to try.
He took the few steps that separated them both and sited in front of him, indian style.
"What is it, Anakin?" through the years he had discovered that bluntness was the best way to get something out of him.
"We already talked about that… shouldn't you be leaving?" asked Anakin relaxing.
"What is it?"
"What do you want me to say, master? I don't know what you expect to get with this insistence. You know what happens."
"But there is something else, right?" Anakin's expression turned sad "I know I can't push you to talk to me, but there's so much confusion inside you."
All of a sudden, Anakin fell forward, leaning his head on Obi-wan's shoulder who took his hands instinctively to his hair.
"There are some details…" Anakin started "details I've been hiding… from you and the Council, some important things…" Obi- wan stayed silent, loosing himself in Anakin's hair, letting him take his confession as far as he wanted "the senator thinks that the Jedi order is disloyal, that their after the control of the Senate".
"Anakin, you can't believe that!" – exclaimed Obi-wan, fighting his own fury.
"And what if I do?" Anakin raised his face, Obi-wan's hands coming to rest on his neck "just because you trust in the Council you can't believe all of its decisions are correct."
"You can question some aspects of the Jedi, but you can't think that our intentions are far from just helping others, padawan" the term slipped unconsciously, reminding him of when he used to lecture him.
"I'm no longer your apprentice" Anakin shook his shoulders, separating his master's hands with a thought gesture.
"Don't touch me!" he exclaimed before one of Obi-wan's hand reached his cheek "why can you just leave me alone!?" he stood up showing his back to his master.
"Don't talk to me like that" Obi-wan stayed seated, sending calm trough the Force.
"I have enough rights to talk to you the way I want."
"Who do you think you are?" this time Obi-wan stood up, trying to decide if approaching Anakin would be the best thing to do. Rage crossed the room through the Force, his little one sending it unconsciously.
"I don't know, Obi-wan!" screamed Anakin "you expect things from me but you don't listen to me! You seem to be humiliating me with every step I take. Nothing is right, nothing earns trust! And the senator…"
"Palpatine" Obi-Wan cut in "it's him, isn't it?"
"The senator… you don't know a thing about him."
"And why don't you tell me, Anakin? Why don't you explain me what is he doing to you, what are you becoming? Disloyal Jedis? The words that leave your mouth are his, not yours… you have a pure soul, don't let him ruin that."
"A pure soul?" Anakin chuckled "from the moment I entered this Temple nobody has stopped telling me that the dark side calls me, you didn't want to train me because of that!"
" I believe I've demonstrated you that my opinion changed as soon as I took you as my padawan. I respect you, Anakin, and you should know it."
"You lie! You lie just like everybody else… everybody is seeking power I can't do a thing… and Padme is going to die and you… you never… he can, he can… the darkness could" Anakin kneeled, his head between his hands, his shoulders shaking.
Obi-wan ran towards him, keeling beside him and putting a pair of shaking hands on his shoulders.
"Don't touch me!" Obi-wan took his hands away with a pained expression "don't touch me… I don't want to… but the darkness…" and then something clicked in the master's mind.
"It's him" he said quietly "the Sith lord… Darth Sidious… Palpatine" he took one of his hands to his neck, never stopping to look at Anakin "and you knew and… Anakin, you have to go to the Council."
"To the Council!?" the boy allowed himself a maniac laugh "and what is the Council going to do for me? Clap me in the back and say well done, kid? And what about everything else? I don't trust the Council… I don't even trust you anymore."
"Stop it!" shouted Obi-wan raising to his feet "what has he done to you? What is that pain that's killing you? Anakin… go to the Council please, is your duty, is your… your way of proving to me that you are not becoming something you are not."
"Do you think I would do something like that for you?" Anakin raised his eyes, watching Obi-wan's pained features.
"Do it for yourself."
"Don't give me cheap demagoguery."
Obi-wan took two steps towards the back, dizziness filling his head. He took one of his hands to his hair and the other one to his dark blonde beard, trying to think. His mind was a heap of incomprehensible sensations and the Force full of hate that Anakin sent scared him.
Taking the most diplomatic choice he buried his own pain and composed himself.
"I'm leaving tomorrow morning, Anakin" he started "that's as much time as I'm giving you to go to the Council. If you don't I will… as much as it hurts."
"Are you threatening me?" whispered Anakin"you threaten me and you expect me to believe that it hurts" he raised slowly, sending Obi-wan a furious look "that you are sorry… that you care."
"Anakin, you know…"
"I don't believe you!"
The desperate exclamation was followed by a sudden movement of his hand towards Obi-wan. The master found himself with a stroke of Force surrounding his neck, tightening by the minute. But he didn't want to defend himself, he couldn't give his little one another reason to become what he feared the most. Nevertheless, before he could think of something to do, he was freed, leaving just the sight of a confused Anakin.
"Master…" he whispered, scared "master no… no… I'm sor… I…" – he fell to the floor.
"Anakin…" said Obi-wan "Anakin… you know the deal… please, Anakin… don't do this…"
"Master…" when Anakin raised his hand, his master was already going towards the door. Anyhow, before leaving the room, Obi- wan stopped for a second.
"I never doubted you, Anakin."
Anakin stayed alone in the room, crying.
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