In Another FormAuthor :
jedinemoRating 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.