The setting sun gazed down upon rolling hills of Naboo, illuminating the land and sky in a rainbow of reds and yellows. He let the endless streams of grass sift through his hands as he absently walked through the emerald fields around him. The waterfall in the distance rushed downwards in a torrent of noise that existed simply as a welcomed break from the sounds of an equally noisy imperial engine room. Not that he disliked engine rooms. Anakin had always found an odd solace in working in them. But here, here the peace he felt dwarfed any comfort simple mechanics could ever hope to give him. He looked around, she as here somewhere. He could sense her. He narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms.
"You can't hide from me forever, you know."
No response. They would be here all day if she kept this up. Force they HAD been here all day. A lifetime ago he hid in this very place from her and now she was getting her own back, or so she thought. Anakin closed his eyes and focused on the force, allowing it to guide him in the right direction. He felt Padres' unmistakably pure presence emanating from behind him. It was approaching closer ever so slowly. Was she going to try to scare him? He scoffed to himself. Hardly, no one could scare a man with forty years of force training under his belt. Without warning he jolted around 180 degrees to meet her. There! He grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her close to his chest.
She shrieked in surprise.
"You're too good at this"
She giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck. Her Curly brown hair swayed gently in the wind. Her deep dark eyes stared into his, right into his sole without an ounce of fear. Why would she be afraid? Nothing could hurt them here. She was his and after all these years, finally, they were together.
"I would be a sore excuse for Jedi if I wasn't"
He said it jokingly but the word still stuck in his tongue. Jedi. He hated Jedi, yet he gave up his life to save one. Did that make him a light-side user now? Or perhaps he was just a kind hearted monster. Or maybe he was neither. You know what? It didn't matter, not now. As long as he didn't say the 'S(ith)' word around her everything would remain the same. Everything would be perfect.
"Ani, what's that?" She asked. Her tone suddenly caught a hint of fear.
"What's what?" He asked puzzled.
She drew back from him as if some force was leading her away? He looked down to see shimmering waves of blue wafting around him, distorting his body. He was going blue, ghost blue. A wave of surprise hit him.
"What's going on?" He shouted.
A deep humming erupted in his ears. A blurry haze fell on the world around him. He reached out desperately for Padme. A stab of panic hit him hard in the chest. He couldn't leave her, not again!
"Anakin!" She cried as she jumped towards him. But it was too late. As soon as she reached him he was gone. He had vanished into nothing.
Eyes shot open. He drew a breadth but instead or air he heaved a gulp of sour-tasting liquid. Without thinking he surged forward out of the water. Coughing furiously he desperately tried to get the water out of his lunges. With several choking gasps, his shoulder fell against something metal, sending spikes of pain running up a shaking arm. His heart thumped so hard in his chest he could feel it in his throat. Blinking, he tried to get the think murky liquid (which stung like a deserts sun) out of his eyes. Everything was spinning, his ears rung as though he had been close to an explosion.
A hazy image of a large room Formed in front of him. A large red flashing light burned against his raw eyes. 'Control' he thought. He needed control. He tried to control his erratic breathing, and the wild panic that had consumed his body faded somewhat. The return of controlled thought was swiftly followed by confusion. He looked down, and to be sitting in some sort of bath,; filled with a shallow green liquid. He blinked his eyes again, hoping he might be able to see things more clearly. The bath was hooked up to a series of wires which he followed to a control panel a few feet away. Force this place was filthy. Grime seeped down the ancient and dented metal walls. Everywhere reeked of oil. He shook his head dismay. Anakin quickly decided that he had to get out of here and find out what was going on before someone came in and saw him awake.
Still dazed and confused, he weakly grabbed the rim of the bath and hap-hazardy climbed out. The ringing in his ears was subsiding now, but he almost fell as his shaking legs bore his weight for the first time. He was surprised to feel sensations if cold register in his mind as his toes touched the durasteel floor. His eyes shot down to see a pair of fleshy, human legs holding him upright. Flesh legs. His eyes ran along long, healthy arms. Un-burt arms, devoid of even the smallest scratch on their tanned skin. His hands flew to his head, where he found a mop of damp hair. His stomach fluttered at the sensation. He was whole. He didn't have even one robotic limb. And he realized that he had been breathing independently this entire time. Questions started racing through his mind. How was this possible? Hadn't he died? Was this just a dream?
He frowned and looked down curiously at his young, healthy body. Then another problem presented itself. If he was going to be going anywhere we would be he needing clothes. He took a step forward and nearly fell over. A wave of nausea hit him. His head hammered, maybe the control panel could tell him what was wrong, so he stumbled towards it. It displayed his name and underneath showed a small chart of the human anatomy. At the very bottom a small bar was full. In small writing it said:
"Re-materialization process 100% complete. Please run diagnostic tests as outlined before awakening either subject."
Either subject? Wait. Anakin glanced around. Sure enough there was another bath full of green liquid close to his. It was ominously empty. He shook his head, he didn't have time to figure this all out. He had to get out of here. Whoever had done this to him could appear at any minute. Suddenly the ground shook beneath him. He heard a loud boom from somewhere in the distance. Well that settled it, he was leaving right now. He trotted towards the exit and to his pleasant surprise he found a lab coat (which had spots of blood on it) and a robe on the floor. He scooped them up and put them on as he headed out the set of auto-doors ahead.
The hallway outside was just a wretched as that room. Part of the ceiling had completely collapsed leaving wires dangling precariously towards the ground. He didn't have much time to look around however, as the force almost immediately whispered warnings of strangers approaching. Cursing under his breath, Anakin searched for somewhere to hide. He awkwardly slid into one of the many skinny lockers that lined the hallway. It was so small and he was so tall that he had to hunch himself over just to stand in there, if it didn't remind him of Kenobi so much he would have rolled his eyes. But he didn't want to be anything like that traitor.
The sound of boots running in unison came from the left. A group of stormtroopers stormed passed him with rifles raised. He furrowed his brow, they looked like storm troopers alright, almost. Their helmets were different, not like the helmet of a clone trooper, or a storm trooper. It was an entirely new design. Why? What year was this? Where in seven hells was he? He couldn't take this confusion much longer. Ignorance was a sorry excuse and he wouldn't be caught using it. It was as though he was a child all over again! He climbed out of the blasted locker and slammed it shut. No one kept a former Sith Lord in the dark for long. He stalked down the hallway. This wouldn't do. He needed a disguise so he could move around freely. If he could get his hands on a set of stormtrooper armor he could have just that.
Now he was marching through the hallways like an angry storm. The force ripped through the facility, feeding him with knowledge. Such as the fact that just ahead was two troopers, one was injured. The other unarmed. Easy pickings. Turning the corner he saw them. A half dead trooper lay in the ground. The other kneeled beside him, his helmet off, which was a clear violation of protocol. It was as if he was asking for Anakin to finish him. The trooper stood as he saw him.
An expression of utter fear spread across his face. Which surprised Anakin somewhat as he wasn't wearing the suit.
"P-Please don't tell anyone, I can't feel bad for him dyeing" he spluttered.
Anakin sighed. Every fiber of his being was screaming at him to snap the young boy's neck. Or so he thought. Something tugged at the humanity he thought had long since died, urging him to spare the kid. He sobbed and looked down towards his fallen comrade, who had by now taken his last breadth.
" Fine, I won't" Anakin said.
" Oh thank you! You don't want to know about the kinds of punishments they give here." The boy gushed.
That was ironic, Anakin thought as an image of him choking a senior imperial general in front of all of his men flashed though his mind. But the thought was quick to pass; he needed this boy out of his way. Gathering the force around him, he -strongly urged- the trooper in front of him to fall asleep. Which he promptly did. Anakin shook his head, since when had he become so soft? At one point he would have eliminated that trooper where he stood without saying a word simply because it would have been more efficient. Shrugging, he grabbed the dead trooper and hauled him into a service closet nearby. Then he pain-stakingly dismantled the armor, (which had almost as many small and unnecessary pieces as Anakin's old suit had) and began to put it on. Finally, he fastened the helmet to his head and stepped back into the corridor. He couldn't help but groan, the design had somehow managed to facilitate for an even worse field of vision his old mask had allowed him.
"I can't see a thing in this helmet"
He muttered to himself as he shoved the compartment closed.
At least it didn't stick needles into his skin like his old suit did. Another 'boom' emanated in the distance. The ground rattled. He nearly fell over but managed to lean against the wall for support, cursing in Huttese while doing so. This place was falling to pieces around him. He ambled aimlessly down another long corridor. What even was this place? Why was it so run down? He grabbed his helmet and tried to pull it down further so he could see better though the lenses.
Suddenly, a squad of stormtroopers rushed out of a door to his right and hurried down the corridor. Anakin quickly caught up with them and fell in line. They didn't seem to mind in the least, annoyingly enough. For all they knew he could be a spy or agent and they just let him join up with them without a second glance, which, if he were in charge would have merited severe reprimands. He could feel a quiet panic floating in the air around the troopers. Something was definitely wrong here. But on the bright side, at least now he wouldn't have to wander aimlessly through this absurdly large... Place? They rounded several sharp corners and marched straight for a pair of large auto-doors at the end of the hallway.
Suddenly he stopped in his tracks. But this time it wasn't an explosion that halted him. He felt an overwhelmingly angry force presence approaching much too quickly. It roared like a burning forest fire, ready to engulf and burn down anything it came across. It was behind those doors. He couldn't leave now, the troopers would think him a traitor and gun him down. Not that he couldn't handle them, but he was without his light saber and if whatever was beyond those doors decided to get involved he doubted he would last long.
But fate, it seemed, decided to intervene. Before the squad could even reach the doors they flew open and a tall black-clad monster stormed down the hallway right for Anakin. He had a red light saber in his hands, with a cross guard at the hilt. Something Anakin had never seen anyone wield before. Before he did anything he drew up his force shields, hoping that the stranger hadn't picked up on his force presence.
Despite that the black-clad man barreled down the hallway, he was staring Anakin dead in the eye, or where his eyes would be if he weren't wearing a helmet.
"You." He thundered.
Anakin wouldn't hide from him, if he knew who he was then Anakin would just have to accept whatever came after.
He stormed past Anakin and the rest if the troopers, who all saluted in unison.
"Yes Kylo Ren, my Lord!" They said as one before marching off behind him.