Obi-Wan had just enough time to raise a hand before the Son’s Sith lightning threw him to the ground, writhing in pain. It felt as though every nerve in his body had been lit on fire and melted. Instinctively, he reached out to Anakin through their bond but only found crushing darkness. It was as though a void had opened up where his connection to his former apprentice had been—a gaping maw that could not be crossed. His heart sank as he frantically fought to paddle through the dark quagmire of his own mind.
In the Force, there was no sign that Anakin Skywalker had ever been his padawan. There wasn’t even a single hint that the bond had even existed.
No! Get up, Kenobi. Move. You have to get to him before he gets to Ahsoka!
But he could not move. His heart pounding in his temple, Obi-Wan barely managed to bite down on his lip to stop from screaming. The bitter taste of iron entered his mouth, but the fact that he'd cut through his own skin didn't compute, and he only clamped down harder as the pain grew.
Through their fragile bond, he could feel Ahsoka screaming for him.
For Force’s sake, no. She doesn't need to suffer, too—
“You could have done so much for me, Jedi,” the Son whispered, voice rattling inside Obi-Wan’s head. "So much potential… but you are no comparison to the Chosen One.”
The red lightning died away, but Obi-Wan barely felt it. It was as though pins and needles were entering every pore in his skin, digging deep into his flesh and bone. Breathing uneven and labored, he leaned his head back onto the dark stone. Blood seeping down his throat, he coughed weakly, gasping for air. A shadow fell over him, and glowing red eyes crinkled as a terrible sound filled the air.
Obi-Wan realized that the Force-wielder was laughing. Laughing. And Anakin just stood there, off to the side, watching with that dark expression and corrupted yellow eyes. Obi-Wan struggled to roll onto all fours, clutching his midsection feebly as spasms wracked his tired limbs.
“Anakin…” he choked, “why?”
A strand of hair fell into his eyes, blocking his view of the Son. He would have pushed it back, making sure that he could at least see, but right now there was barely enough energy left in him to keep breathing, let alone move. Even then, it was far from pleasant, almost like breathing acid...
“Master!” Ahsoka called desperately to him through the Force, her voice frantic, “What’s happening! Can you hear me? Please, oh Force, please respond!”
“Hmm, it seems that the apprentice still calls to you,” the Son mused, eyes glittering. He turned to Anakin, whose expression visibly grew more conflicted. "Now how can we fix that?"
Karking hells, no!
Obi-Wan threw all of his remaining energy into the Force. Ahsoka had to know how much danger she was in. His feeble attempt met a wall of darkness, almost as deep and dark as the hole where his bond with Anakin was supposed to be located.
It was as though he were a caged animal, pounding against welded iron bars. There was no way that he was getting through to her now. He had lost and she was likely in for a similar fate unless...
“Anakin—don’t hurt Ahsoka. She's your apprentice—Anakin!” His voice was tight and raw as he essentially yelled at his former Padawan. "She needs you right now! You can't leave her! Ana—" He choked on his own words, blood seeping over his torn lips as he coughed roughly. He nearly gagged on the overwhelming taste of iron.
The Son hummed softly—whether in pity, humor, or mirth, Obi-Wan couldn't decide.
Anakin turned his head away so that Obi-Wan could no longer see his face. It was something that he'd done as a padawan but only when he'd done something wrong. That was Anakin's guilty face. He knew he had done something; that much was clear. Either that, or despite his turn the Dark Side, he still had a bit of consciousness left.
The Son's bright red eyes were still focused on Obi-Wan's face, laser-like in appearance and intensity, glowing with savage pleasure.
“Now, Jedi, we are leaving this place and there is nothing you can do to stop us.” The tall Force-wielder paused. “Right now, even Father cannot stop us.”
The electricity slammed into him like a freight train, sending Obi-Wan sprawling backward. While he managed to stay silent earlier, a terrible scream ripped from him this time, quickly shredding his already-worn throat. The world was a hurricane of spinning red light, a maelstrom of agony, and he could feel himself thrashing on the ground.
“We will be free!” Hissed the Son’s voice, impossibly loud in Obi-Wan’s ears.
Silently, he begged for all of it to end.
Please, end this!
Slowly, he sank into darkness and the mercy of its deep embrace.
Ahsoka caught herself dozing off once more in the midst of repairs. From what Skyguy and Master Kenobi had said—and from what she’d put together—she had literally died and then come back to life. If only she could remember what had happened after being bitten by that twisted creature in the cell…
Or had it been a creature at all? She guessed that it most likely was the Son.
Upon waking up, she had been given just enough time to pull herself back up into a seat in the cockpit before the Force exploded. Pain shot through her mind, and she nearly toppled out of the chair, gripping the seat in front of her for support. With one hand pressed to her temple, she closed her eyes and let out a shaky breath, heart hammering inside her chest.
The Dark Side was everywhere, filling her senses and shrouding everything around her in a thick fog. Never had she felt the Dark Side so powerful, so potent. It was like a thick goo sliding over the Light Side of the Force, oozing and leaving trails all over. It felt worse than disgusting; it was more revolting and horrific. In her mind's eye, she pictured a writing, terrible monster rising from a pit of black tar, its dark claws reaching towards her.
Shards of terror leaped into her throat, constricting it until she could hardly breathe.
Anakin, where are you? she pleaded through the Force, reaching out through their bond. Someone was in pain, imprisoned within the beast, tortured and ensnared past any hope of escape… someone… Ahsoka instantly recoiled as she felt a dark void.
Our bond is… gone? But how?
Where a calming, reassuring presence had once rested in her mind was a whirlpool of nothingness. Anakin had just vanished without a trace, and no matter how hard she tried to reach him, she was met with the same empty void. Breathing rapidly, she felt panic fluttering in her stomach.
So much pain...But if it's not Anakin...
“Master Kenobi!” she whispered, horrified.
Carefully, she reached into the bond she shared with her Grandmaster, hoping for an answer. She got a garbled response, incoherent and filled with agony. He was trying to tell her something, repeating it over and over. Eventually, she caught “Ana… don’t hurt...” She tried to send him healing energy, bundling as much as she could from herself and pushing it through the Force, but she found their link so heavily shrouded by the Dark Side that there was no possible way for it to go through.
“Master, are you okay? Master, can you please tell me what’s going on? Let me help you! Oh, Force, please respond!” she cried, trembling slightly.
She pictured her Grandmaster. He was calm and reserved, yet kind and welcoming—heroic, yet humble. Despite Anakin's initial hesitation to take her on as an apprentice, Obi-Wan had always been there, helping her from the very beginning. Though she hadn't really voiced it, she'd looked up to him even before her apprenticeship as his name and heroic deeds became legend in the Jedi Temple.
But that had been in the past; now, he was more like a father. Lineages were never really that close, something that had been stressed during her early training days. Kriff, even Masters Windu and Yoda had said that. And yet, years after her wide-eyed youngling days, she now had a 'training' bond with one of the Masters of the High Council and was apprenticed to the legendary Anakin Skywalker—who she was closer to than what was considered the 'Jedi norm.'
As if Obi-Wan’s tormentor had sensed her presence, the pain doubled in intensity, forcing Ahsoka to the ground, hands clutching her head. A ragged gasp left her lips and tears leaked from her eyes. Ghostly echoes of a scream met her ears.
Obi-Wan is in so much pain and there’s not a kriffing thing I can do about it.
After a few seconds, the sensation died away alarmingly fast and nearly without a trace. Uncurling from where she had been balled up on the floor, she wiped her eyes and sat up, looking around in confusion. Her brain was numb and slow, like in the first few seconds of waking up from a long sleep.
Right, I’m on the ship. I’m on Mortis.
She slapped her face lightly with both hands. As expected, it didn't do much.
Tentatively, she reached out into the Force again. This time, there was total darkness outside of her mental walls. Both of her bonds, both cherished connections to people who she cared about dearly, were empty and as dark as the planet itself.
“Oh, no, please no.” A sob built its way up into her throat and it nearly overcame her before she managed to stuff it back down.
Are they dead? Where is Anakin? Is Master Kenobi …alive?
She stood up shakily and slowly activated Anakin’s channel.
“Hello?” She spoke softly, her voice oddly quiet, “Master?”
There was no reply. Hands shaking, she changed channels and tried Obi-Wan. Still nothing, but she hadn't expected a response from him.
“Oh.” She let out a long sigh and closed her eyes.
The ball of stress in the pit of her stomach lessened by an infinitesimal amount. She shook out her hands and began to fiddle with her lightsaber in a very un-Jedi-like way. Something bad happened to Obi-Wan, she was sure of it. More than anything, she wanted her Master to come back. Just seeing him would be a reassurance. He’d probably say that everything was going to be alright…
Seemingly out of nowhere, the hum of a speeder filled the air, and great wave of relief washed through Ahsoka. She nearly cried out in relief and raced down the ramp, out into cool night air. It definitely was her Master, his dark-robed form hunched over the controls of the land speeder. She shifted from foot to foot urgently, suddenly feeling impatient to talk with him. She had so many unanswered questions. Where was Master Kenobi? What happened? Why was he alone? What was all the pain?
The questions seemed to burst from her mind, nearly forming on her lips by the time Anakin had climbed the closest hill and come into full view.
Why is our bond broken? Why does he suddenly feel… dark?
A thread of doubt crossed through her mind, and uneasiness washed through her. The feeling grew like a plague, growing with every second that her Master drew closer. The Force had started to whisper warnings in her mind.
Her Master was alone, but Obi-Wan had gone to find him. Could Obi-Wan have failed? But he lit up the Force like a beacon, even she could’ve found Anakin...
The whispers in the Force grew stronger, and she took several steps back, her heel scraping against the metal ramp of the ship. Every nerve in her body desperately wanted everything to be fine, for her Master to just have missed Obi-Wan, and that he was fine and well... But that would be too good to be true, wouldn't it?
It's going to be fine, it'll all be fine, just fine...
The moment her Master came into full view, she knew that things were far from alright. Despite the dark haze that filled the Force, she was beginning to pick up a focal point for all of that dark power. Anakin reeked of anger and despair, radiating it so powerfully that it almost blew her off of her feet. He was the dark monster in her mind's eye. Suddenly she had a very good idea as to what had happened to Obi-Wan, and she desperately hoped that she was wrong.
He’s…dark, all dark. Why? How? When?
Where’s Master Kenobi? Oh, Force—
“I cannot let my Son leave this planet.” The Father’s words from before came to her, and, hating every fiber in her body for it, Ahsoka knew what she had to do.
In one fluid motion, she spun and sprinted into the cabin. She probably had a minute before he got to the ship. One minute, quite possibly, to save them all. With the Force, she viciously ripped the ignition switch from the board right above the pilot’s seat. Catching it, she rushed back outside with just barely any time to spare.
Holding the switch tightly behind her, she edged around the ship and began to back away from the approaching speeder, fear gnawing at her insides.
If her Master had seemed powerful before, it was nothing to the raw energy that he exuded now. Waves of dark energy radiated outwards from his form, almost dizzying in power—frightening, to be sure. Climbing from the seat of the speeder, he cast his yellow Sith-eyes down upon her.
“Ahsoka, I’m sorry, but you don’t understand what I have to do,” he said, voice echoing in her mind.
Now there were fifteen yards between them, but she kept backing up, away from him.
A knot formed in her throat, and her voice hitched as she struggled to speak. “W-what are you? Master? Why?”
Hardness entered Anakin’s face as he balled his hands into fists. “What does it matter?” he growled venomously. “I’ve become what I need to be to end the war, to save everyone. As I said, you wouldn’t understand. And neither did Obi-Wan.”
It was like a rock had landed in the pit of Ahsoka’s stomach. “What did you do to him?” She cried, taking a step forward for the first time, “what did you do?”
Anakin threw her a half-smirk. “Me? I didn’t do anything.”
Ahsoka backed up another few steps. She didn’t recognize this monster. It wasn’t his appearance or mannerisms as much as it was his presence in the Force. He was cold, icy cold, with a slightly feral hint to him. It was terrifying, the kind of terror that made her blood turn to ice and her limbs stiffen. She had never felt a presence like this before, not even in the coldness of the Son.
I have to find Obi-Wan. I have to get out of here.
She stumbled a bit over some loose rock and accidentally thrust out her right hand out to stabilize herself. Belatedly, she realized that it was the same hand which gripped the ignition switch.
Kriff, I just blew it. I just may have ended the world. Dear Force…
“Ahsoka.” His voice was calm and deadly when he next spoke, his terrible yellow eyes boring into her like lasers. “What did you do?”
She couldn’t hold down the tears; she couldn’t.
“I-I’m sorry, Master.”
With a loud, gasping sob, she spun on her heel and took off across the rocky terrain, tapping into every reserve of the Force that she could, willing her legs to carry her as far away from the monster who Anakin Skywalker had become.