Consumed 5/5 (Star Wars, Ani/Obi, 1,275 Words) Fandom: Star Wars Title: "Wake Me" / Consumed - Part 5 of 5 (1,275 Words, 8,921 Words Total) Author:jarkai_fic on LJ / jarkai everywhere else Beta:legolad Theme(s): (For 30_somethings on Insanejournal, Nights: #03, Escape) Pairing/Characters: Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi Rating: Mature - previous parts contains character death, violent imagery, and sexual situations Disclaimer/claimer: AU, but heavily influenced by Matthew Stover's adaptation of Revenge of the Sith Critiques: Yes Summary: Sometimes the 'ghost of the past' is more than just a metaphor.
A sob escaped me. Bent over my mother's body, tears fell freely down my face. I could not hold them back. I stroked her hair softly, letting the strands slip between my fingers. As filthy as it was, it was just as soft as I'd remembered. I rubbed my cheek against hers.
Something moved over the back of my fingers. I jerked sharply, expecting to flick an insect away. That's when I noticed how clean my hand was, how free of blood. I lunged, but grabbed nothing. The hair in my grasp faded along with all evidence of the Tuskens. Even the sand beneath my feet was gone.
I wiped my eyes on the back of my sleeve, biting back anger. Where were we? How could anyone know my secrets like this? I couldn't take much more of this... this mindtrick.
Behind me, metal groaned, as if a droid in need of an oiling had decided to test his joints. I spun around. The caves and tents--all gone. In their place stood ancient steel walls, the type common in ships during the days of the Old Republic. Most were in good shape, with only a few spots of rust. Really, I didn't care. The ship had let me out, but had it freed Obi-Wan?
Head down, I hurtled through the passage ways. Maybe, if I did not look, the corridors would stop doubling back on themselves, would begin to make sense. Perhaps the ship would stop redesigning herself.
A familiar voice echoed off the walls. "No! Master!"
I ran faster, no longer trying to figure it out. Obi-Wan was in trouble, and that was all that mattered.
Before I could even get out of breath, I found him. He stood with his back to me, hands raised, flailing against... nothing? I knew by now not to trust my eyes, not with everything else I'd seen. Cautiously I extended a hand, gripping his shoulder.
He whirled. Fresh smears of blood streaked his cheeks. Scarlet coated his bruised and battered hands. He spared me a few words-- "Don't! Please, I can't--" and spun away from me again, miming punching a wall. "Master!"
His eyes remained wide, fixed on an empty hallway. At the edge of my vision, something shifted; faces of rust filled the corridor. Their mouths opened and closed in silent screams.
"Master!" he shouted again, louder this time, and more desperate. Blood flew as Obi-Wan pounded his fists, hitting us both. He turned back to me, but only for an instant, as if he didn't dare look away from the horrors before him. "Please! You have to help me!"
"There's nothing there, Obi-Wan. There's--" I tried to say as gently as I could, tried to hold him still as he struggled against me, but it was no use. I seized his hands. "Obi-Wan! There's nothing there!"
His voice rose to a shriek. "What? Can't you see them? My Master, that thing is going to kill my--"
I squeezed harder. "Qui-Gon's already dead!"
"Am I dead, too?" Padmé asked, her voice soft but sudden behind me, her hand coming to rest on my shoulder.
I tensed, blinking repeatedly, my eyes burning. Obi-Wan broke away from me, slamming his hands against imaginary force-fields again. His cries echoed through the ship.
"Is that what you want?" she asked. Cool fingers stroked my neck. "For me to be dead?"
I balled my fists, not turning, and the caress changed. Padmé purred in contentment as her fingernails trailed down the side of my throat, tracing the path of my jugular. I pressed shut my eyes. If I looked back, would the nails be the white my wife always painted them or the scarlet of a seductress? Would they be nails at all? Arms slid around my waist, a cheek pressed into my back, and I nearly wept again.
"You don't have to leave, Ani. We don't have to be apart, not ever. You could--"
Obi-Wan wailed. I could smell it now, through our mindlink: the sweet stink of burning flesh. I had killed before; I knew all too well what it meant. A man long dead had just died again, his Padawan looking on helplessly. In a matter of heartbeats, the shield would dissolve and Obi-Wan would engage his murderer. Last time he had won, but what did that mean in this place?
Padmé's arms tightened. Teeth brushed my neck. Eyes still closed, I tore away, stabbing my lightsaber backwards in the same movement. Whatever it was behind me stiffened and screamed in pain. I couldn't look. If I did, I knew I would only see my wife clutching her stomach again, blood pouring between her legs. The child was long gone and so was she. There was only Obi-Wan here, the last of the living among the dead.
There was no thought to it. With a surge of Force, I jerked him towards me. He screeched, struggling to get back to the corpse of the man who had raised him.
"Please, I have to--"
"I won't lose you, too!"
My will became a fist, slamming into the hull of the ship again and again. Girders bent. Metal tore.
"A breath, Obi-Wan, take a--"
The world exploded, and I opened my eyes. Shrapnel from the hull shot past, tearing at the bubble I had thrown up around us. Stars whirled, none of them familiar. Somewhere, our ship drifted in the darkness.
I looked down. Obi-Wan stared up at me, his eyes wide, his lips faintly blue. His throat worked, but nothing emerged, no sound, not the faintest gasp, not even in the confines of my Force bubble.
I made the only choice I could. I clutched him tighter, pressing my mouth to his, and exhaled.
The body on the cot twitched, curled tighter into itself. Slowly I pried loose the hands locked to its face. Eyelids fluttered, revealing azure streaked with red. Tears left stripes on filthy cheeks.
"Anakin. Anakin. Enough of this now. It's time to get up."
Lids fluttered again, and then finally rose. At the sight of me, his gaze jerked to the ceiling of our ship. "You're alive."
I smiled faintly. "Apparently."
He stared upward, refusing to look at me. "I let her die."
"No more than I let Qui-Gon die." I paused to rinse the cloth in my hands, watching in silence as a cloud spread across the surface of the basin. "We both did what we could, even if we made some very bad choices."
Anakin blanched. Wet eyes rolled toward me. "How long have you known?"
"About the marriage? You know that I didn't."
"About..." He swallowed. "About Mace."
"I always suspected, Anakin. I won't say I didn't."
"Then why? Why us?"
"I won't say it's right. It isn't. But..." I paused, wiping blood from the corner of his mouth. "I would have done nearly anything to save Qui-Gon. Think of what I would have done for you."
His eyes swam. He held my gaze a long time before he squeezed them shut again, his face rigid. "I don't think I can do this anymore. The Council, the war..."
I let the cloth slip back into the basin, bending lower to rest my forehead on Anakin's own. Before I could even blink, tears slid down my cheeks, tears for Padmé, for Qui-Gon, for everyone I had ever loved and thought I had failed.
"Obi-Wan," he began again, clutching me now, "I just don't think I can do this."
I drew a shaky breath, and let myself weep for the first time I could remember. "I don't think we have to."