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20,000 Parsecs Across The Galaxy
[FIC] In Another Form (Vader, Obi-Wan PG-13) 
21st-Aug-2008 05:06 pm
ROTS mask
Title : In Another Form

Author : jedinemo

Rating and disclaimer : Rated PG-13. The Star Wars Universe belongs to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd, and I have gained nothing but satisfaction from this fanfic.

Summary : Secluded in his chamber on board the Death Star, Darth Vader contemplates the end of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

A/N: Many thanks to tartanshell for the beta.

Weary and muscle-sore, Darth Vader entered the sole hyperbaric chamber installed on the Death Star. Smaller than his quarters on Devastator, but larger than the secondary workstation he also used on his own ship, this chamber had become a necessity since his involvement with the space station had increased. While it was more sparsely furnished than his quarters, it still held the essentials: a broad synthleather armchair, a console workstation, and a basic 'fresher.

The chamber was certainly a necessity today. He closed the seal and watched the pressure gauge rise, impatient for it to reach the correct level. All he wanted was to get out of the suit and get a few hours of rest before the Death Star emerged from hyperspace outside the planet Yavin. After the events of today, he should have felt exhilarated, but instead he was nagged by a hollow dissatisfaction. For years he'd dreamt of the day when he would vanquish Obi-Wan and reap revenge for the damage his old master had done to him. In his dreams he always felt triumphant as he stood over Obi-Wan's body, but the reality of the event had been far less gratifying.

For one, there hadn't even been a body. Though he'd retrieved Obi-Wan's lightsaber, the Jedi robes left bunched on the deck were curiously empty. A use of the Force, he was sure of that, but not one he had ever seen before, and a detail he might very well omit in his report to Palpatine. Even more disappointing was the fact that in the wake of Obi-Wan's demise, nothing had changed. The ventilator still carried on with ruthless regularity; his limbs still whirred faintly as he walked. The revenge he'd planned on dishing up to Obi-Wan had somehow been served to him instead.

He glanced at the pressure gauge and saw that it was at last at the proper level to allow him to remove his life-support suit. He first deactivated the power control on his belt, silencing the ventilator. This chamber had been so hastily built that it contained no mechanical arm to assist with the removal of the helmet. Lacking that, he instead used the Force to give the helmet the slight twist necessary to break the seal. Once the helmet was off, he folded down the mask, unhinging it from the armored neck guard.

The cool air of the chamber washed over his face, and he closed his eyes to savor the feeling. This was his favorite part of removing the suit, the first sweet taste of relief from its confines. Once sated, he removed his gloves to facilitate unfastening the hermetic collar, his fingertips barely reaching the screws because his armor so limited his mobility. At last freed of the neck guard, he angled the durasteel breastplate over his head. As he rolled his shoulders to loosen tense muscles, he thought again of his duel with Obi-Wan. Strange that his old master had appeared now, seemingly out of nowhere.

Absently he unfastened the codpiece and tossed it aside, then unclipped the control belt, placing it and his saber on the console within immediate reach. He then sat on the edge of the black armchair and removed his shinguards. He paused, puzzling about why his old master had simply surrendered, leaving himself open to Vader's lethal swing. He wished they'd fought harder, that he'd been able to truly humble Obi-Wan.

Yes, if only it had been a fight worthy of his anger. He sighed and pulled off his boots. Released from their prison, his metal toes arched against the padded floor of the chamber. It was an unconscious response, one of those reflexive motions caused because his mind remembered when his body had still been flesh. If he thought about it, he could summon the feeling of bare feet against carpet, or even atop tickling blades of grass. It was a curse to remember, to know the sensations that had once been his. Instead his prosthetic feet relayed only enough information to allow him to stand and walk.

Rising to balance on those alloy substitutes, he unfastened the top half of the padded leather suit. After pulling the contact points of the control box away from the implants in his chest, he slid one arm and then the other out of the suit. As on his face, the air was cool over his bare chest and his skin goosebumped in the areas not constricted by scars. He shivered, the sensation almost too much, since he so seldom received any touch at all. Once he had known the kiss of sunlight on a hundred different worlds, the comforting weight of the hand of friendship on his shoulder, the press of her body against his. Now he was left with only the impersonal contact of recirculated air in an isolated chamber. He closed his eyes, imagining for a moment that it was her fingers, her lips that made his skin tingle so.

He undid the lower half of the suit, stepping out of it as he felt his body respond to the images in his mind. He grasped himself through the thin fabric of his underclothing, groaning under his breath. He thought of her in their bed, naked and summoning him to her side. He squeezed again, then cried out as delicate skin was pinched between the joints of mechanical fingers. Teeth gritted against the pain, he cursed the life he'd been given. Even the most basic habit of a man was denied to him.

Resentment and fury flooded through him, and he swept his arm through the air, the screen of the terminal workstation cracking from the resultant impact of the Force. He opened his eyes at the sound and looked down at his four gleaming limbs. It was not supposed to be this way. He was supposed to have his wife, his family. He was supposed to wield infinite power in the Force, not be cowed by Palpatine because he was a mere shadow of who he had once been. He had been robbed of his rightful destiny. Robbed by Obi-Wan. He should have made him suffer today, not given him the gift of a quick and easy death. He should have captured him, tortured him, made him suffer the way he had suffered. Only then would Obi-Wan have paid for what he had done. Only then would he have had his revenge.

His heart pounded in his chest, his breath wheezing through damaged lungs, and he began to feel faint. He was not supposed to get this agitated when he was outside the safety of the life support suit. He lowered himself to the synthleather armchair, struggling to catch his breath. When his body's demand for air had subsided and the tightness in his chest had lessened, he pushed himself back in the chair and rested his head against the cushion.

He should have learned by now not to torment himself with the past. Most of the time he blocked it out, filling his mind with the day to day minutiae of military life and Palpatine's demands. But some days, some days he was weak. Some days he wished for what should have been. He shook his head. It was childish to wish for something that could never be. He made himself think instead of the upcoming mission against the Rebels. The tracked freighter should bring them straight to the Rebel base, allowing them to bring the Rebellion to an end. That victory would have to be reward enough, as would the crumb of vengeance he gained with Obi-Wan's death.

He closed his eyes and leaned back, willing himself to drift off to sleep. Mired in his unhappiness, he failed to notice the translucent figure in the corner of the chamber. New to being one with the Force and the vantage point it provided, Obi-Wan Kenobi stood shimmering in gossamer blue and wept.
22nd-Aug-2008 02:13 am (UTC)
I loved the description of Vader taking off the suit and the anger that Vader kept feeling towards Obi-Wan but it was the last sentence that really got to me. Wonderful that Obi-Wan was weeping for his brother.

Well done.
23rd-Aug-2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you. I just kept thinking that if Obi-Wan could see what had really happened to Anakin that he'd be devastated.
22nd-Aug-2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Ahh so beautiful!!! You pull so much across in descriptive tones.

And Obi, being there? Wonderfully angstful touch.
23rd-Aug-2008 03:45 am (UTC)
Thank you! And I recognize your new self!
22nd-Aug-2008 03:10 am (UTC) - LOL MY SRS ICON
Wow! Just wow. Sadly, I've never been able to picture Anakin in the darth outfit until now. You've brought it all around for me. I can't thank you enough or tell you what a pleasure this was to read.
23rd-Aug-2008 03:47 am (UTC)
Glad it worked for you. This seems to be my obsession, peeling away the Vader to reveal Anakin.
23rd-Aug-2008 03:59 am (UTC)
Beautifully executed!
22nd-Aug-2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
How wonderfully well you showen that every day, Anakin has to pay for his very poor choices. Such a sad story, and how how hard for both of them.
23rd-Aug-2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Yes, they say the best revenge is to live well, but in this case the most effective revenge is to live, well, like that.
22nd-Aug-2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
What a way to tear a person's heart out and rip it to shreds.

It was a really great way of putting Anakin and Vader into one cohesive character.

I loved the entire story but that last line really got me.

23rd-Aug-2008 04:04 am (UTC)
Thanks! It tore me up, too, thinking of Obi-Wan watching how pitiful Anakin had become.
22nd-Aug-2008 09:12 pm (UTC)

It is a very well-written piece. The commenters have the right idea, or so it does seem.
23rd-Aug-2008 04:05 am (UTC)
I'll take this as a compliment, I think?
23rd-Aug-2008 10:25 am (UTC)
Yes, please do. It was very well-done. I've often... imagined the scene, and your description takes some of the, you know, Big Scary Mystery out of it, and peels back the skin, so to speak. It shows the heart of it.

And I agree with the commenters who said things like "the last line was so poignant and heartbreaking!" - but I'll do them one better, and say that not only that, but the writing itself there is flawless. The meter and rhythm of the sentence are carved like glass. I'm not sure, but I don't think the ending would have worked as well without that flow, that specific syllable rhythm that makes it... music.

Is that more coherent concrit? Er... no crit. But still, a compliment, yes.

Edited at 2008-08-23 10:26 am (UTC)
23rd-Aug-2008 12:43 am (UTC)
Beautiful as always. You do write Vaderkin so breathtakingly well.

I love the juxtaposition of Vader's mental state and his physical state. In the beginning, he's much more open, much more raw. He feels more open if a bit melancholy.

but the reality of the event had been far less gratifying.

Then he allows himself his simple comfort of beginning to remove his armor ... And it's almost as if those simple pleasures trigger a darker turn, a shunning of that enjoyment. He retreats, wraps himself in painful memories, marshals his anger, his rage, his sense of betrayal. So while he is physically more vulnerable, he has emotionally retreated behind his trusted walls of anger and rage.

And then to contrast him completely with Obi-Wan

Obi-Wan Kenobi stood shimmering in gossamer blue and wept.

God, that is just heartbreaking. And though your Vader will always be my favorite, you give damn good Obi-Wan as well. And as usual, you manage to find the humanity inside it all that fills in all the gaps so elegantly that George Lucas left gaping open.

While I dig on Episode IV Obi-Wan's sagely ways, I do think he was kind of a dick. I think his "sacrifice" in dying at Vader's hand was some epic manipulation of Luke and his feelings towards Vader.

And yet, in this, I can believe that Obi-Wan, now one with the Force, has the distance to let go of his own anger, his own sense of betrayal toward Anakin and to truly behold his brother, not as the enemy, but for the achingly lonely, solitary creature he has become.

Damn good fic. Le sigh.

23rd-Aug-2008 04:19 am (UTC)
I do think I gave canon OT Obi-Wan an enormous break in this story. I want to throw something at the screen every time he smirks at Luke just before he sacrifices himself to Vader.

But if I continued from the Obi-Wan I saw in the PT, this is where I ended up. A much more conflicted and complex man, and one far less bitter.

I just kept thinking that if they actually saw each other again, instead of as the enemy on the other side of the Force line, that they wouldn't be able to maintain their anger.
23rd-Aug-2008 04:29 am (UTC)
Well, so and the more I think about it, there's some beautiful irony in that Vader finally got what he thought he wanted ... wounding Obi-Wan to the core. Except that with everything Vader does, that doesn't quite work out like he planned.
23rd-Aug-2008 04:42 am (UTC)
Vader finally got what he thought he wanted ... wounding Obi-Wan to the core.

Yes, this is the point I intended, exactly.
23rd-Aug-2008 04:47 am (UTC)
Some days I'm slower than others

23rd-Aug-2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
No! You're not slow at all. You're the only one who mentioned this. I was afraid the point had been too subtle and hadn't come through, so I was very happy to read your comment.
24th-Aug-2008 12:51 am (UTC)
You know that I think this is absolutely gorgeous. ♥

I love everything about this fic, and I agree with everyone above who mentioned the ending. The last line really does make the fic! But the rest is such a fantastically human (and heartbreaking) moment in Vader's day-to-day life, in which Anakin is very present. The foot thing killed me.

...Rite moar plz? *g*

24th-Aug-2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
*blush* Thanks! And I'm sure there will be moar - I don't know how I can avoid it.
24th-Aug-2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Oh this is wonderful. You made me cry! *shakes fist* (heh, to be fair, I am overemotional tonight!)

I just want to hug both of them. SO SAD. It was painful enough being in Vader's skin throughout but then that last line... OUCH! Yes, Vaderkin, you've succeeded in hurting your former Master -- every day, more than you know.
24th-Aug-2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it is so sad. And it's easy to see how from this place of despair and desolation Vader would seize onto the discovery of Luke as his only hope.
24th-Aug-2008 09:38 am (UTC)
Wonderfully written!
You portray Vader so very well and describe the point I always thought essential to his character in such a masterful way. The point that Vader always expects his situation to improve when taking revenge, when retaliating upon Obi Wan, in this case, for leaving him a cripple. But neither happiness and not even satisfaction come afterwards. In wounding Obi Wan he only accomplishes to wound himself further.
And maybe that is what Obi Wan observes and what makes him cry.
It made me cry, anyways. So, well done, jedinemo.
24th-Aug-2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And you're right, time and again he lashes out, but it never brings him the relief he seeks.
2nd-Sep-2008 01:29 am (UTC)
The revenge he'd planned on dishing up to Obi-Wan had somehow been served to him instead.

Isn’t that the truth?

You do a great job in highlighting the ways in which Vader’s actions cost him not only his loved ones but also his physical wholeness. All of the work he has to go through to get out of the suit!

Very, very well done and also well written as always.
7th-Sep-2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Thank you! And you'd think Vader would give up on ever trying to plan anything; nothing ever turns out the way he thinks it will.
13th-Apr-2011 06:51 pm (UTC) - Hoping to get involved
Hey - I am really delighted to find this. cool job!
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