A Life Not His Own Rating: PG

First Sentence Challenge.

His heart sank as he realized that the explosion in front of him couldn't have possibly spared the life of his best friend. He can hear the echoes of the scream from when he called her name. His heart is pounding in his chest, ready to burst. With a twist of the Force, the two men holding his arms fly through the air, and Anakin Solo leaps forward, jumping towards the explosion, into the fire. He lands amidst the flames, can feel them lick his flesh.

Ignoring the pain, he pushes in further into the remains of the building, searching, hoping, demanding of the Force that he can find her and find her alive.

A tingle in the Force, and he jumps to the side as a support beam crashes down, showering him with sparks and ash.

Squeezing his eyes against the burn of smoke, he stretches out with the Force, searching once again for that spark of life. Fighting back the tears as he can't find her presence, he dashes into yet another room.

Anakin glances around, noting that this room took most of the brunt of the explosion. Then he spies her shattered, broken body. He kneels down beside her, gently touching the broken and bloodied face. His body hitches, as he sobs, his pain and anguish pouring into the Force.

He can feel the tears slide down his face, a line of coolness which evaporates ever so quickly in the heat of the fire. He picks up her body, sheathing it in the Force, keeping the flames away from marring her beautiful face any more than it already is and begins retracing his steps. Finally he emerges from the fire, burns covering his body, most of his hair gone.

He gulps down the air greedily as he gently lays her on the ground.

The shuffle of booted feet, and clicks of weapons, attracts his attention. He glances up and sees his captors, those who placed her in the building. Those who blew her up, who killed her.

Anger and hate consumes him. He hears the words that have been drilled into him since birth. Words saying that anger and hate leads to the Dark Side. That revenge is of the Dark Side. That he should rejoice in her death, rejoice that she has joined the Force.

He hears those words, but they hold no meaning, no power over him.

After all, they are merely words.

Anger, hate, vengeance. That is what holds meaning for him; that is what powers him. They are real, viable things. Not the abstract ideas that are words.

Anakin glances around, finding his saber attached to the belt of one of the men. His eyes flash, and the saber rips from the man's belt and smacks into this hand. He hefts the saber, comforted by the weight and pull of the weapon, the subtle whispers from the lambent. He presses the activator, glorying in the purple glow of his blade.

"You are going to pay for this."

He stalks forward, raising his blade as those arrayed against him raise their blasters. Slowly, inexorably, he advances, batting blaster bolts back at them, and when gets close enough he cuts them down one by one. Minor inconveniences such as morality are burned away in his hate and anger.

Finally, he stands over the corpses of those who killed her, who took Tahiri from him. Yet it is not enough, there are others who are responsible. The Yuuzhan Vong. They empowered these Peace Brigade scum, they ordered them to capture Jedi.

With a smile, he decides that they too must pay for what has happened.

He turns around, and walks back to her, kneeling beside her once again, his grief and rage palatable to him, a thirst that no amount of death can quench.

He runs a hand down the side of her face, her body coolly rapidly in the crisp autumn air. He sobs, and covers his face with his hands, unsure of what to do, where to go, who to kill. He feels a hand fall on his shoulder, and he looks up to see Corran standing over him, a stricken look on the older Knight's face.

"She's dead." With that said, he covers his face once more.

Corran's voice is thick with emotion. "Come on, we need to get off planet."

Anakin picks up her slim form, and walks behind Corran, his head bowed, his emotions locked behind his shields. Finally they arrive at the ship, and Anakin places her gently on one of the bunks, and then kneels down beside the bed, laying his head there next to her.

Corran appears beside him again. "You need medical attention Anakin."

"Go away Corran."

A hand is placed on his elbow, and Anakin bites back the growl that wishes to escape. "Come on, kid. There's nothing you can do for her."

Anakin yanks his elbow out of Corran's grip, and spins towards him. "I can avenge her!"

"You're not falling to the Dark Side on my watch."

Anakin can feel the hate and anger surge through him, making him powerful. "And who's going to stop me."

Corran reaches for his saber, but Anakin is faster. In an eye-blink, he has placed his palm against the older man's chest, and then pulses out with his hate and rage. A blast of lightning pours into and through Corran, slamming through him and against the wall, as if he was not there. In the inferno of energy that courses through his body, Corran is left with a brief moment of pain and anguish, and then every muscle and nerve in his chest erupts under the onslaught of unnatural energies. Anakin stands over him, his breath coming in shallow gulps as he looks down at the dead body, still twitching from the residue of lightning.

Turning away, he once more resumes his vigil over Tahiri's body, determining what he should do, who he should kill next.

Finally he comes to a decision. One that is irrevocable. He knows what to destroy next. The Vong. The Peace Brigade. Or anyone who gets in his way. He will destroy them all.

Yet first he needs to become a symbol. Something which will strike fear into their hearts, make them hesitate to face him, make the Vong regret coming to his galaxy.

Anakin stands and strides towards the cockpit, arriving, he pulls the levers dropping them from hyperspace. A short course correction, and their ship is once more propelling into hyperspace.

Hours later, Anakin pulls the levers once again, and the blue swirl of hyperspace drops away revealing a planet swathed in sickly yellow clouds. Anakin closes his eyes and can feel the Force radiating from the planet. He opens his eyes again, and swiftly enters Vjun's atmosphere, heading towards Bast Castle from memory.

He lands and carrying Tahiri, once more enters Bast Castle. Deactivating the security system, he calmly goes to the med center, and delivers Tahiri's body to the droids. Two of them take her away, and Anakin feels a moment of anguish as she disappears, but he quickly crushes the emotion, and turns towards the remaining droids.

"I want Vader's armor."

He smiles as the droids carry in the black plasteel armor pieces. Quietly Anakin dresses, covering himself with the black armor, piece by piece, taking up his birthright, his namesake. He clips the cape around him, feeling the steelweave flow and shift against him. Then he picks up the helmet, and looks at it for a moment.

For as long as he can remember, he has been plagued by dreams of becoming his grandfather. Of looking out at the world through the red tinged lenses of the death's head mask. The dreams, tinged with blood and smoke and pain have haunted and dogged his footsteps as he trained in the Force.

He has often wondered if she was what kept them from coming true.

Yet as he pulls the helmet over his head, he is not afraid. It is a comforting thing; it almost feels like coming home.

The helmet clicks into place, and Anakin opens his eyes onto the world. Gone are the blues and yellows and whites. Now everything is shades of red. A press of a button on his chest plate, and the sound from the nightmares of billions of beings is heard once more.

An inhaling hiss, followed by a loud mechanical exhale.

It is the sound of the labored breath of a creature which used to be a man.

Anakin looks into a mirror, nodding his approval at the reflection. He has realized something fundamental about the Dark. That it is generous and patient and always wins. Yet in the Dark, there exists a weakness. Light, love, life and laughter. Such things can destroy the Dark; shatter it to a million pieces.

As Anakin allows himself to be comforted by the metronome of his breathing, he realizes that he does not have to worry. He is the Dark's and the Dark is his, and nothing can stop him from exacting his revenge. After all, his light, love, life and laughter now lies on a cold slab in some other room.

He spins and strides confidently from the room, his cape billowing out behind him as he unleashes himself upon an unsuspecting galaxy.

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