Title: First Lesson
Author: Nopporn Wongrassamee aka The Evil Author
Summary: In one of his first Sith training sessions, Darth Vader learns a few things about himself that he’s not sure he wanted to know. Contains Episode III spoilers.
Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to whoever owns them. I’m just too lazy to look up who they are.
“Meditation, my master?”
“Yes, Lord Vader,” Darth Sidious said, a hint of danger in his voice. “Is there a problem?”
“No, my master,” Darth Vader replied, bowing his black helmet in apology. “It is just that meditation seems like a Jedi activity.”
“As I have told you before, my apprentice,” Sidious said with a cackle of amusement, “the Sith and the Jedi are all but identical. Now go, contemplate on the Dark Side. Stoke your hatred.”
“Yes, my master.”
Alone in the darkened room, Darth Vader meditated. As his master had instructed, he attempted to culture hatred. He thought about the way Obi-wan had betrayed him. But that kept leading to Padme, whom he had killed however accidentally. And that thought kept puncturing the balloon of hate he was trying to inflate.
It was all very depressing. It seemed that his aptitude with Sith philosophy was the same with Jedi philosophy. And wasn’t that…
No, it couldn’t be…
“Padme?” One look and there she was, beautiful as ever. Despite the darkness, she was fully illuminated. And one detail caught his eye; she wasn’t pregnant.
“Oh, Ani,” Padme said sadly. “You look awful.”
“Padme?” Anakin said again. He reached out with a hand to touch her. “The Emperor told me that I had killed you.”
He only meant to stroke Padme’s face with the lightest touch. Instead, his fingers touched nothing, passing through her as if she were no more than a hologram. His wife flinched away.
“But you did kill me, Ani,” Padme told him. There was a hint of anger in her voice that only grew stronger. “You killed me when you assaulted me with your powers.”
“I was sure you were alive,” Anakin protested weakly.
“Oh, I was alive alright,” his wife spat back. “But I had lost any reason to live. You did that. You became Darth Vader, became something other than the man I loved. Attacking me was the final straw. What reason then did I have to go on living? It’s all your fault, Ani. All. Your. Fault!”
“But I did it for you…”
“Me? That’s a laugh,” Padme snorted in contempt. “You did it for yourself. You were so desperate to hang onto me that you threw away the very things that I loved about you. You should have listened to Obi-wan and…”
“Don’t bring Ob-wan into this!” Anakin shouted back.
“That’s it, Ani,” Padme said quietly, too quiet to hear but for Anakin’s new cybernetic ears. “There’s the hate.”
“You should never have brought… wait a minute,” Anakin’s tirade collapsed with the feeling that something was very off here. Vader took another look at his ethereal visitor. He really Looked. “You are not Padme.”
The two stared at each other for several long moments. Then the Padme impostor broke eye contact. She looked down, grinned sheepishly, and brushed her hair back with a hand. It was such a Padme gesture, but Vader knew this was not her.
“Wow, you figured it out,” she said. Who was she? What was she? “I wasn’t honestly sure you would. I mean, you were always such a dimwit. But then, I made you that way.”
“You did not make me.” There was no heat in his voice, only dull resignation.
“You sure about that?”
A slight nod was all the reply she got.
“Okay, big boy, then who did make you? Where do you come from?”
“My mother was… was Shmi Skywalker,” Vader ground out. At this point, he wasn’t sure why he was even still having this conversation with what was likely a hallucination. He just felt compelled to continue. “My father… I had no father.”
“Really, why not?”
“I was a child of Prophecy, the so-called Chosen One,” Vader told her bitterly. “I was supposedly created by the Force to ‘bring balance back to the Force’.” He snorted derisively at the thought. “So much for that Prophecy.”
“You don’t believe the Prophecy?”
“I was supposed to bring balance back to the Force by killing off the Sith,” Vader explained slowly, as if to a child. “Instead, the Jedi are destroyed and I am a Sith.”
“That’s the Jedi interpretation, Ani,” the false Padme said in amusement. “Nowhere in the Prophecy does it actually say how you would bring balance to the Force. There’s another interpretation, you know.”
“Oh? And what is that?”
“Tell me, how many Sith are there?”
“Two. Always two,” Vader answered. “The Master and the Apprentice.”
“And how many Jedi are unaccounted for?”
“Two. Master Yoda and Obi-wan...”
There was a lull in the conversation. The false Padme looked at Vader expectantly.
“Oh, come on, Ani! Do I have to spell it out for you?”
“It can’t be…”
“Two Sith. Two Jedi,” she listed. “Sounds balanced to me.”
“So this is my destiny,” Vader said miserably.
“It’s what I made you for.”
Vader looked at his visitor wearily. “And who are you to claim to have made me?”
“See, now you’re showing your lack of brains again.”
Vader just stared back, unmoved.
“Oh, alright, fine,” she said, brushing another strand of errant hair out of the way. “I am fear. I am hate. I am the voice whispering to you your darkest desires. I am older than civilization, older than your species, old as life itself. I was made when the first lifeform turned on and devoured its brother. I am the Dark Side of the Force.”
Vader just stared back.
“But,” the Dark Side added with an impish Padme smile, “you can just call me the First.”
Vader just stared back.
“Now, c’mon, Darth Vader,” the First continued, leaning forward seductively. “Show me some anger, some hate. Show me that somewhere under that mass of armor and circuitry that there’s someone still alive in there!”
Vader just stared back.
“Disappointing,” the First sneered in contempt. “You have become little more than a machine yourself, going through the motions of life. And if you’re not alive, then I can’t use you.” She sighed. “Oh well, there’s always the Other.”
And then she was gone. Where, Vader didn’t know. But the Other she mentioned was probably his master. Darth Sidious at least still had passion for life, mostly his own.
It never occurred to Vader that the First might have been referring to someone else.