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Hold Firm

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Vader was close. Far too close. Anakin could practically smell him -- could hear his harsh breathing in the shadows. And for a moment, he hesitated. Even now, he knew what Vader was trying to do -- goading him on, tempting him, trying to have him give into the power of the Dark Side.

Not that that was hard. Anakin had no desire to go to the Dark Side, and yet every time, Vader came so close, too close, to making him break. Vader seemed to hate him -- or at the very least, he was enjoying

far too much

the prospect of seeing the last hope of the Rebellion

although Anakin didn't understand why; surely there were others?

fall. And considering Naboo, considering Mimban, considering...everything, it would be a miracle if Anakin *didn't* crack.

Yet he couldn't. He couldn't. He had to keep fighting -- had to stay strong, for Padme and the others. For Yoda and Han. Even now, thinking of Yoda, he smiled. Mind what you have learned, Yoda had said before Anakin had left for certain doom, Save you it can!

Don't give into hate, kid. We can't lose you, not like we did Vader...

So even now, Anakin ignited his lightsaber and beckoned towards Vader with a smile. Come, oh Great Dark Lord, he mocked quietly. Show me what you've got.