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Saga Saga - PT Saga - OT Consumed by Ashes (Anakin/Padme and Obi-Wan Oneshot)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Consumed by Ashes

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, and Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Genre: Romance, Tragedy, Friendship, Family

    Timeline: Set across multiple points in the timeline between the end of AOTC and the end of ROTJ, a saga-spanning entry.

    Summary: Anakin is consumed by fire and ashes.

    Author's Note: Written for the Songs of the English Restoration Theater Challenge. My prompt was "I burn, I burn" by John Eccles. Parts appearing in parenthesis and italics are lyrics from the song I have incorporated into my story and used as inspiration for this fic. Special thanks for @Findswoman for offering this challenge since this story would never have been written without the Songs of the English Restoration Theater Challenge!

    Consumed to Ashes

    (I burn, I burn, my brain consumes to ashes…)

    “It’s over, Anakin.” Obi-Wan’s voice was raised in warning—in prohibition—as it always was when he told Anakin he couldn’t do something that Anakin knew in his bones he could do, but Obi-Wan wasn’t his Master any more. Obi-Wan couldn’t forbid him from anything. Obi-Wan’s lack of faith in his abilities couldn’t hold him back any longer. Obi-Wan had underestimated his powers for the last time, and that didn’t grieve him so much as it freed him. “I have the high ground.”

    “You underestimate my power.” Anakin didn’t spare a glance at the terrain—at the sooty hill Obi-Wan had leapt onto seconds ago. The terrain was just another limiting factor that could no longer limit him. It, like Obi-Wan, would be powerless before the raw strength of his finally unleashed power.

    “Don’t try it.” Obi-Wan gave a slight head shake, his tone that of a man trying to be reasonable while the galaxy burned around him, but Anakin didn’t want to be reasonable, and had never wanted to be reasonable. Obi-Wan had always just been too blind to see that, the fool…How could Anakin have ever thought him wise when he failed to see what was in front of his own eyes?

    He opened his mouth in a great battle cry, releasing the fear and rage that blazed in his belly, as he lunged over the Mustafarian lava toward the man he had once called Master. Before his lightsaber could make contact with Obi-Wan’s, he felt fire—hotter than the lava he had jumped across—slice through him.

    It felt like every cell in his body was burning as he fell and rolled across the scorched ground of Mustafar. His howl as it escaped his scratched, parched throat sounded like it had come from a monster, not from him. Part of him couldn’t believe that he had been struck down by the man who had trained him and been like a father and a brother to him, but then another part of him hissed that he had always known it must be him who would destroy his Master or his Master who would destroy him. No enemy could defeat Skywalker and Kenobi, so naturally one would have to kill the other…

    “You were the Chosen One.” Obi-Wan had begun to lecture as he always did, and Anakin had never felt such fiery, all-consuming loathing for him as he did now. How could Obi-Wan think he was so righteous when Anakin was scrabbling in burning soot because of Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan wasn’t even lifting a finger to help him. “It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!”

    Flaming tears filled Anakin’s eyes. Obi-Wan was still too understand that he had only done what he had to do to save Padme because he couldn’t bear to lose her. He was too blind to see that it had been love, not hatred, that motivated him, but Obi-Wan had always ignored Anakin’s love for Padme. Was it any wonder that ignoring had brought them to a duel to the death on this wretched world?

    Obi-Wan was walking away, leaving Anakin to die alone. He was abandoning him to die in agony without even the final grace of a mercy kill.

    It was this last unforgivable betrayal of being left to suffer what he had always feared the most—death—alone that made him shout with all the fire consuming his lungs to ash, “I hate you!”

    The blaze inside him hoped that Obi-Wan would break the Jedi Code. Would at last admit to the antipathy he had always held for Anakin. Would confess to being jealous of Anakin’s powers since the moment they met. Would scream how threatened he had felt ever since Anakin had first appeared before the Council and Qui-Gon had tried to replace Obi-Wan with him. It would prove that Obi-Wan, the perfect Jedi, was truly no better than him—was just as filled with hatred and rage.

    “You were my brother, Anakin!” Somehow Obi-Wan’s words burned more than his lightsaber. It was hard to deny that kinship no matter how much the blazing bitterness inside Anakin wanted to try. “I loved you!”

    Every millimeter of his skin scorching, Anakin wished he could retort that if Obi-Wan had ever loved him, he would never leave him in such a state, but Anakin knew with a certainty that had been burned into him like lava that beings always destroyed what they loved. That was why, he understood with an epiphany like lightning striking an unlucky tree, the Jedi forbade falling in love. It was too dangerous and destructive. It burned with the unquenchable fury of a thousand suns, and as it consumed him, he remembered curling against Padme’s soft warmth beneath blankets as the morning sun rose muja over the gleaming gray skytowers of Coruscant…

    (Each eyeball too like lightning flashes…)

    Anakin’s comlink buzzed on the nightside table, and he fumbled for it, mumbling some choice words in Huttsee that offered unflattering assessments of the ancestry of whoever had dared to disturb his slumber while he slept beside his wife after too many months spent apart from her on the front.

    He grumbled something indistinct into his comlink as he accepted the call because it was far too early to even attempt graciousness.

    “Anakin.” Obi-Wan sounded sharply awake. “Where are you?”

    “On a sleep coach.” Anakin didn’t mention that it was Padme’s sleep coach, not his own, to which he was referring. “Taking a well-deserved rest after months of risking my life for the Republic on the front.”

    “I was afraid you’d say that.” Obi-Wan emitted a sigh that usually meant he was trying and mostly failing to be patient with Anakin. “Have you forgotten the Council wanted you to be present for a briefing on the progress of the Outer Rim Sieges fifteen minutes ago?”

    “I hadn’t forgotten.” Anakin reluctantly rolled out from beneath the blankets. “I’m just running fashionably late. I’ll be there within the half hour.”

    “Please make sure you are. I’m tired of making excuses for your inability to read a chrono to the rest of the Council.” Obi-Wan’s words were clipped as he ended the transmission before Anakin could apologize or retort, which might have been just as well since Anakin’s brain was too muddled to know which one he wanted to do.

    “That was Obi-Wan,” Anakin explained to Padme, who was stirring beside him. “I need to go to a briefing on the Outer Rim Sieges, but you should go back to sleep.”

    “I want a kiss before you go.” Padme gazed up at him with warm brown eyes that always made him feel on fire in the best possible manner. It was a lightning attraction shot like bolts from her eyes that drew him to her, he always thought. When he bent to oblige her, kissing her first on the forehead and then on the lips, she murmured, “There. Now I can spend all day thinking about how I was kissed by a hero of the Republic.”

    “I wish you wouldn’t call me a hero of the Republic.” Anakin turned away from her as he began gathering up the robes he had left in a pile on her floor. He would just have to wear them a second day in a row regardless of how rumpled they might be. “It reminds me of the war, and I want to forget it when I’m with you.”

    “You were always a hero in my eyes even before the war.” Padme’s gaze twinkled at him as she watched him throw on the Jedi robes that meant duty was calling him away from her again. “Do you know why?”

    “Because I’m dashingly brave.” Anakin chuckled. “And I can do things nobody else can.”

    “No.” Now it was Padme who leaned forward to kiss his eyelids, lighting fires in his eyes. “I’ve considered you a hero since you were a little boy because you did selfless things, and that’s what heroes always do, Anakin.”

    “I do feel pretty selfless leaving the joy of your presence to attend a boring briefing on Outer Rim Sieges.” Anakin gave her a final lopsided grin as he left, hoping that Obi-Wan had at least been kind enough to save a caf for him so his eyelids wouldn’t droop all through the meeting.

    (Within my breast, there glows a solid fire, which in a thousand ages can’t expire.)

    Anakin watched the candles that had lit their dinner slowly flicker out on the table behind them as he and Padme swayed to a love song about a couple separated by war. It had become popular from one spiral arm of the galaxy to the other as the Clone Wars waged, but like a million other couples scattered across the stars, he and Padme pretended that it was their song alone because it seemed to speak to them—to their separation—alone.

    “I never want to leave you, you know.” Anakin buried his nose in the floral fragrance of Padme’s hair, feeling a fire—a burning desire to always be with her—blaze in his chest.

    “I know,” Padme whispered, cooling the flames that licked at his innards as only she could do. “You don’t need to worry about leaving me, though. You’re always with me even when duty keeps us apart. The memory of you has been burned into my heart.”

    Those words whispered into his chest made him believe that she was on fire for him as much as he was for her, and he smiled as he brushed his lips across her hair, tasting Naboo flowers.

    (’Tis sultry, sultry weather, pour ‘em all on my soul, it will hiss like a coal, but never be the cooler…)

    Anakin stood beside his new wife on the balcony with Naboo’s gorgeous Lake Country sprawled beneath him like a blanket. The water below him shimmered with the orange and red fire of the setting sun, while the meadows and mountains behind the lake burned like embers in a hearth beside which lovers might entwine themselves.

    “The galaxy is so beautiful and peaceful, isn’t it?” Padme’s breath tickled Anakin’s ear as she asked this question that seemed to be rhetorical or at least an invitation for nothing short of agreement.

    “How can you say that after the ugliness and death we saw on Tatooine and Geonosis? How can you say that when war has just broken out?” Anakin shook his head in disbelief at Padme’s idealism as he remembered cradling his dead mother in his arms and the rage that had swallowed him until every Tusken Raider lay lifeless in a pool of blood that stained the golden sand scarlet as his grief. He had seen the same sickening taint to the sand on Geonosis as so many of his fellow Jedi were slaughtered trying to save him and Obi-Wan…

    “It’s not the galaxy that is anything less than beautiful or peaceful.” Padme squeezed the one wrist of flesh and blood that he had left, igniting a flame of desire deep in his chest. “It’s what sentient beings in their destructive folly are doing to it.”

    Anakin, mouth dry as if desire had burned every drop of moisture from it, found he couldn’t argue with that. His wife, he decided, was far more articulate than him.

    (’Twas pride hot as hell that first made me rebel…)

    “How can you be so unafraid to die?” Anakin’s eyes riveted on the bulge of Padme’s pregnancy after she again declared herself to be uncowed by the prospect of her own death.

    “How can you fight so many battles without being afraid that you’ll die?” Padme arched an eyebrow, answering his question with one of her own.

    “Because I never believe I’m going to die.” Anakin blazed with a defiance and pride he knew was unbefitting of a Jedi who should have accepted death—both his own and others like Padme—but the thought of passively accepting death instead of raging against it with every particle of his being made him want to retch. “Because I believe that through the Force I can be stronger than death.”

    “It’s different for me.” Padme’s brow knotted as if he had said the wrong thing, and Anakin felt his stomach tighten. “I’m not afraid to die because I’ve done everything that I wanted.”

    Her gaze pierced into Anakin for a moment, and Anakin felt his cheeks burn with either shame or desire, he couldn’t be sure which in the confusion her unflinching acceptance of her own ceasing to be had ignited within him. Then her worried face smoothed into a smile as she trailed kisses along his neck as she went on, “I’ve lived and I’ve loved you, Anakin, and loving you was more than I ever thought it could be.”

    Anakin’s tongue felt as if it was swelling in his mouth, preventing him from being able to say that was why he couldn’t lose her as he had lost his mother.

    As if she could read his thoughts, Padme cupped his chin between her palms. “You don’t need to try to save me. I made my peace with death before we met—when I was fourteen and the Trade Federation invaded my world.”

    “But you kept fighting.” Anakin’s jaw dropped in disbelief at her words, because he couldn’t fathom how a woman as determined as Padme could surrender to death so simply.

    “I fought to save my people.” She pulled his mouth against hers until their lips danced across each other like flames. “Not to save myself.”

    Anakin wanted to reply that he wished she would fight to save herself but her kisses had swallowed his words as a fire consumed wood.

    (From love’s awful throne, a cursed angel I fell and mourn now the fate which myself did create.)

    Steam engulfed him and the black suit that imprisoned him as the voice he hated and feared above all others demanded, “Lord Vader, can you hear me?”

    The sound of his new name was repugnant to him. As repugnant as his heavy breathing, which he was sure must have been loud enough to be heard from star systems away. The breathing, he thought, was heavy as if to match the clunkiness of his suit. He, who had always been so graceful in flying and fighting, would now be reduced to the cumbersome bulk of this suit. It made him want to howl against the injustice of the universe that had taken so much from him.

    “Yes, Master.” Hatred and bitterness was carved into every syllable because hatred and bitterness was all he had left after Mustafar. Unless…a fragile hope blazed within him…unless Padme had survived his choking her. He turned his head to his new Master, whom he despised as much as his old one. “Where is Padme? Is she safe? Is she all right?”

    She was the one he had gone to the Dark Side for, the one he had slaughtered younglings to save, the one whose life he had bought with his imprisonment in this terrible suit.

    “It seems in your anger you killed her.” He hated that answer with every fiber of what was left of his being because he wanted it to be a lie but knew it to be the horrible truth. He had reached out to choke her because she had rejected his sacrifice for her, because she had betrayed him to Obi-Wan, and because she had chosen to believe Obi-Wan instead of him. She had abandoned him by bringing Obi-Wan to kill him, and then she had abandoned him again by dying.

    “I-I couldn’t have.” He remembered her being alive when Obi-Wan had yelled at him to let her go, and he had obeyed that stern, unyielding tone out of instinct before he recalled that he didn’t owe Obi-Wan an apprentice’s obedience any more because he had a newer, darker Master. He had felt her life, her pulse, inside him even after he had choked her. She had been crying out for him while he lay in darkness, consumed by fire. “I felt it.”

    Rage at the lie—at the truth—at her death—at losing her even before her death filled him, and he vented his fury on the medical droids that had trapped him in this nightmarish suit. Clenching his fists, he used the Force to free himself from the gurney where he was strapped and finally let loose his howl of mingled acceptance and denial, “NO!”

    That cry echoed in his head years later on the Death Star as he watched his son on the cusp of death and realized that he wasn’t going to let the Dark Side claim another person he loved, a child whose love and faith reminded him so much of Padme that it broke the heart he thought had turned into stone in his chest…

    (Adieu, adieu, transporting joys. Off, off, ye vain fantastic toys.)

    “I never thought I’d be able to attend my own funeral.” A ghost in the forests of Endor, Anakin watched as fire and ash consumed him.

    “Few people have the opportunity.” Obi-Wan gave a gentle grin as if their friendship had never been interrupted by a duel to the death on Mustafar or Anakin killing Obi-Wan on a Death Star that Anakin had always known was insignificant next to the power of the Force.

    “I’m burning but it doesn’t hurt.” Anakin thought the fire licking through his body should have been a painful, purging fire, but he didn’t feel it at all. He felt nothing but peace he had never known in life now that he was dead. Perhaps that was what it meant to become one with the Force after years of struggling against his destiny.

    “You’re not burning.” Obi-Wan corrected him, and Anakin, a willing apprentice once more, didn’t bristle. “The empty shell of your body is burning, but your spirit—your true self—is beyond suffering.”

    “Beyond suffering,” Anakin agreed, thinking that he would only linger long enough to say farewell to his son before fading into the Force with Obi-Wan to have his energy reused by the Force as Padme’s had been. “At peace at last.”
  2. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 20, 2018
    Beautiful! I loved the insight into Anakin's head during these momentus events.
    Findswoman and devilinthedetails like this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb response to the challenge! So many different moods and tones, but every single one insightful and intense! =D=
    Findswoman and devilinthedetails like this.
  4. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @TheRynJedi Thank you so much for commenting! :D I'm so flattered that you found this piece beautiful. As a writer, I enjoyed being able to explore Anakin's emotions and thoughts during these life-defining events, so it makes me so happy to hear that you loved the insights into Anakin's head.

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments! Anakin's moods were definitely all over the place in this story, but as a writer, it was exciting to be able to go through the highs and lows with Anakin. I'm so happy to hear you found each section insightful and intense in it's own way, since that's exactly what I was hoping would happen:D
  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    If youre song of inspiration didn't fit Anakin down to a T, then I don't know what would! But it's your gift for insight and charged eye for detail that really packed this piece with life. You could feel Anakin burning, backwards and then forwards through time untol finally that burning was the cleansing fire of purification and renewal. Just beautiful. [face_love] =D=

    Very spot on bit of characterization! The foreshadowing here was stunning - both for Anakin's fall, and for him finally living by Padmé's outlook for others being the thing that saves himself and Luke, and that brings balance to the Force in the end!

    Gah, perfect!!

    I really adore how you chose to end with this powerful glimpse of Anakin at his best self at the end. Obi-Wan welcoming him to his final rest after the violence of their duel at the beginning was all too fitting!

    You did a wonderful job with this! Thanks for sharing your answer to the challenge with the rest of us. [face_love] =D=
  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Gorgeous! I love how you use the motif of fire here in so many different ways. This is really an inspired set of vignettes. =D=
  7. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Mira_Jade Thanks so much for your kind comment. You're right that this particular song definitely fit Anakin to a T since as soon as I saw the opening lines, "I burn, I burn..." I thought of Anakin burning on Mustafar, so from there it was a matter of expanding the story to add those details and insights that would hopefully make it unique. I'm so happy that you felt I succeeded at doing that:D

    The great thing about burning from my writer's perspective is that there is so much imagery associated with it (much of which was also found in the song that inspired this story) as well as a range of human emotions: passion, hatred, desire, jealousy, anger, and even purification or cleansing. So it was amazing to be able to explore Anakin experiencing the burning that range of emotions can create by bringing him backward and then forward in time. When Anakin's body burns in ROTJ while his Force Ghost spirit looks on with Obi-Wan and Yoda, I always get tears in my eyes, so it was incredibly moving for me to be able to end this story on the note of that purifying, cleansing fire that renews Anakin's spirit, and it's wonderful to know that part resonated with you as well.

    I'm so glad that you highlighted that section of dialogue because to me it was a very important one both for showing that burning need to overcome death that was so much a part of Anakin's tragic fall but also for laying the groundwork for Anakin being prepared to die once he has saved his son and brought balance to the Force (in a way, doing everything he wanted so he can die in some peace).

    That might have been my favorite line in the whole piece since I really loved that transition between the different times and that connection between Luke and Padme so it means the world to have you quote it and call it perfect[face_blush]

    One of the things I love most about Anakin's character journey is we get to see his fall, the reasons for his fall, and his ultimate redemption all play out on screen, so I really wanted to include him at his best, most peaceful self at the end. Also I really wanted to end with him being reconciled with and welcomed by Obi-Wan at the end to contrast with the harshness of their fighting in the opening of the story and demonstrate how their relationship evolved from best friends turned enemies back to best friends with perhaps an even deeper friendship in the end.

    Thank you again for your kind and detailed comment! It really made me smile to read it:D

    @divapilot Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I'm so flattered that you thought this piece was gorgeous and that you enjoyed seeing the many ways the motif of fire was used in so many different ways throughout the story. The song was great inspiration for that and for this series of vignettes as a whole:)
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    WOW! :eek: Yes, I agree: if this song isn't a perfect match for Anakin, I don't know what is. I love stories that fill in on-screen events with characters' thoughts and feelings, and you do an amazing job with that for all these scenes—the dialogue from the film dovetails seamlessly with your own dialogue and introspection in each. Fire has been by way of Anakin's "spirit element" throughout his entire life and career: from his all-consuming love for Padmé, to his tendency toward anger, to the Mustafar confrontation, and finally to the Endor funeral pyre, where Anakin "consumes to ashes" for the very last time—but this time in such a way as to find peace. Which is why that final scene with the ghosts' conversation is so amazing—the icing on the cake to an already stunning story! I don't think I've seen anyone take this approach with the ghosts, imagining a conversation among them, but it makes perfect sense that they would have things to say in that poignant, amazing moment. They are there for each other as much as the were there for Luke.

    Beautiful, wonderful work, as always—you are such an ace with these characters, and you really hit this song prompt out of the park! Thank you so much for being part of this challenge. =D=

    EDIT: Fixed this post—a paste glitch caused it to be a little mangled at first. Sorry about that!
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
  9. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Findswoman Thank you so much for commenting and thank you so much for the challenge that inspired this story! :DThis song definitely does seem to be the perfect match for Anakin and the perfect opportunity to explore all the ways in which he burned throughout his life.

    Stories that fill in on-screen events with the thoughts and feelings of characters can be some of the most rewarding and challenging for me to write so I'm so happy to hear you thought I did an amazing job making the dialogue from the film dovetail with my own additions.

    I agree that fire was definitely the element associated with Anakin throughout his life an career. He is defined by his all-consuming desire for Padme, his tendency toward anger, his hatred, his burning on Mustafar, and finally his peaceful burning in the funeral pyre on Endor. It was so moving for me to be able to turn the last time Anakin was consumed to ashes into a way for him to find peace after a long life of struggling and suffering.

    I'm so glad you found the final conversation between the Force ghosts so amazing. I really wanted to give Obi-Wan and Anakin a chance to speak to one another when they were finally at peace with one another again, so I'm so pleased that moment worked so well for you.

    Thank you so much for the challenge and the kind comment! I'm so flattered that you find me an ace with these characters I love so much[face_blush]
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Sorry. Posted to wrong thread...[face_blush]
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019