mattlauercansuckit: (Chaos)
[personal profile] mattlauercansuckit
title they say you can't catch it (but sometimes you're born with it)
author [livejournal.com profile] patientalien
word count 1965
rating PG-13
summary Anakin's not crazy, he's just a little unwell
notes Written for the "mental health issues" prompt on my [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo card. BINGO! Title from "Runs in the Family" by Amanda Palmer
warning Warnings for suicide attempt(s)



At the beginning, it serves him well. The onslaught of ideas, of energy, of the knowledge that he can, absolutely, without a doubt, save the day again and again and again. He's a Jedi, the Chosen One, he can get by on a couple hours of sleep and then he's back up again, and fighting, and everything is going to be perfect and the war will end and he'll be with Padme and the galaxy will right itself and he can slow down when it's over.

When it's over, he'll rest and in the meantime he has a battle to plan and to fight and to win.

-----


Ahsoka is tired. She follows her Master devoutly, but he is tiring, especially lately. Always somewhat impulsive, somewhat reckless, it has increased tenfold. He jumps out of larties, leads charges on heavily fortified bases with just a handful of men, insists on being followed, insists they keep up, gets angry when they can't.

"C'mon, Snips," he says to her, grinning, running in place. "Race you."

She's tired. She doesn't want to race; she just wants to go to bed, and go to sleep. "How about I just time you?" she suggests instead, and Anakin runs.

-----


They give him command of a battle group. Ahsoka thinks that if they knew what was really going on, they'd give him a sedative instead. But he's been delivering results, and so they've rewarded him. He is proud, beaming and trying not to. He sets up in the war room and begins plotting. Hologram after hologram fills the board, and soon Ahsoka can't follow what he's saying. A shared glance at Rex and Yularen tell her they feel the same way.

"Master, hold on," she says, putting a hand on his arm. "I know you know what you're talking about, but could you slow it down for the rest of us?"

He gives her a look that implies he doesn't think he should have to, but he backtracks. His explanation still doesn't make much sense, but Ahsoka is used to odd, seemingly illogical plans. This is just more of the same.

-----


The plan fails, but Anakin doesn't think so. He is raring to go as soon as he's back on the Resolute, even though he's lost an entire squadron. He won't stop talking. She talks over him, and he doesn't listen, calls her a Youngling, snaps at her. He tells her she needs to learn her place.

Her place is with him, but she's not sure he knows where he's going. She calls the Council, and they order a return to Coruscant.

-----


Back on the capital, he disappears. Ahsoka looks for him with Padme, she says he came by once, and then left after... she trails off. Ahsoka can guess. It's been a week.

She calls his comm. "Skywalker," he says, sounding odd. He laughs, and she can hear a horn honking.

"Are you flying right now?" she asks, hearing an engine rev. She doesn't want to think about the kind of risks he might be taking in the skylanes of Coruscant.

There's a pause. "Yeah," he replies quickly. "What do you want?"

"I wanted to know where you were," she tells him. "We're worried about you."

He laughs again. "I'm fine!" he exclaims. "No worries, Snips, everything is great. Meet me at the Outlander!"

She doesn't want to meet him there, but she wants to make sure he's safe. She goes, and tells Obi-Wan before she leaves, just in case.

-----


At the Outlander, he's dancing. Half-naked, half-drunk, half-stoned, he's writhing in a mass of bodies, sweaty, sensual. She watches him let a bulky Twi'lek lead him into the back room; when he reappears, his eyes are glazed. "Master, we should go," she prompts, grabbing his wrist.

"Go where?" he asks, eying her. "We could go to the lowers, that would be fun, do you want to go there, we could go pit racing - I haven't done that in forever, but it's fun and I think you'd be really good at it -"

She cuts him off, just wanting to get him into the speeder. "Sure," she says. "The lowers it is." When they leave the club, he leads her to an unfamiliar speeder. "Uh, is this yours?" she asks.

He nods. "I just bought it," he replies. "Isn't it wizard?" He shows her the various features, though doesn't mention a price. She has a feeling he's wiped out his account at the Temple. She gets in the driver's seat, pretends to head towards the lower levels, but when she's sure he's distracted, heads back towards the Temple.

He gets angry when he realizes, but Obi-Wan is waiting for them, and he calms, slightly. He's still talking, without taking a breath, and Ahsoka's not sure if she should interrupt. He's doing a good job of letting Obi-Wan get an idea of the problem without her interference, anyway. She walks away.

-----


Obi-Wan leads Anakin to the Healers. His former apprentice looks exhausted, but won't stop moving, won't stop talking, telling Obi-Wan his plans and ambitions and how he's going to be on the Council within the next month because "just wait until they see what I can really do, Master."

An apprentice Healer tells Obi-Wan that Anakin is intoxicated, which Obi-Wan already knew, and that he'd be back to normal in the morning. Obi-Wan tries to explain what Ahsoka has told him, but the apprentice seems certain, so Obi-Wan and Anakin leave.

Anakin doesn't sleep, and in the morning, everything has changed.

-----



His energy is sapped. Where once was boundless, pleasure-filled wonder at the galaxy, now is nothing but a black hole of lethargy and despair. He can hardly breathe with the futility of it. A great weight is crushing down on him, and he can't move. He lies in bed and closes his eyes.

-----


Ahsoka tries to get her Master to get out of bed. The Council has, typically, overlooked his behavior while on leave and have given them a new mission. But they can't leave until the General is up and ready, and she gets the feeling he is anything but ready. "Master, come on." She is perilously close to whining.

He looks at her from under the blanket. "Fine," he says. "I'll be there in an hour."

She looks at him, doubtful, but leaves to prep the 501st.

-----


"This is hopeless," Anakin announces, staring at the battle plan in front of them. Ahsoka can't help but notice he looks unkempt, like he hasn't bothered to comb his hair or shave in several days. "There's no way we're gonna be able to get behind those defenses."

"Sure we can, Sir," Rex offers, pointing to the map. "We set up the tanks here and here, and then we cover the ridge with our heavy cannons. It'll be tough, but we can do it." He takes a step back, seemingly surprised at himself.

"See, Master?" Ahsoka asks, prodding. "It will work out."

He gives her a look. "We'll see."

-----


She hears his cry of pain and runs to him. Blood is spreading out from between his fingers, clutched over his abdomen. Shrapnel has embedded itself in his stomach. She winces, decides to leave it put until the medics can take a look. It's a stupid mistake, one her Master shouldn't have made. But the look on his face as blood loss and unconsciousness take hold is one of relief. It makes her blood run cold.

She tells the medics that it was intentional. She opens the floodgates, she knows, but they had to know. They have to take her seriously, now. "He meant to get in the way," she tells him, insistent.

They begin their work, and Ahsoka returns to the battle.

-----


Anakin is released from the med bay long before Ahsoka expects him to be. "Oh," she says, running into him in the hall. "How are you feeling?"

Anakin looks irritated. "Fine," he snaps. "Come on, Grievous isn't going to defeat himself." She follows him to the war room. He seems more confident, now, but there is an edge to him that wasn't there before. She frowns. He talks. And keeps talking, snapping at anyone who dares interrupt him. This is his mission, his destiny.

-----


She hears him crying. She tells the medics. Nothing is done.

-----


Grievous is not defeated, and they limp back to Coruscant. Anakin is furious at his failure, lashing out at everyone who comes near him. Ahsoka is determined to get him to see that something is wrong, she goes to the Healers.

Vokara Che offers to talk to him, but getting him there is easier said than done. He makes excuses. He has to be debriefed by the Council. He has to make sure the Resolute is repaired properly. He has battles to plan and places to go and goals to achieve and he doesn't have time for her silly little concern. "I'm fine, Snips," he tells her, patting her head. "Now go away."

-----


He gives her a river stone. "Obi-Wan gave it to me," he tells her. "And Qui-Gon gave it to him." He pauses. "I've treasured it since I was a boy. And I want you to have it." There's something final about his words, and Ahsoka shivers.

"Master," she says, gently, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Please. Talk to the Healers."

He shakes his head. "Don't worry about me, Snips," he says. "Everything will be fine soon."

-----


She's passing by the Healers when they bring him in. There's no blood. He looks almost peaceful. They shove a tube down his throat, and he gags as they empty his stomach of whatever he's put in there to make him unresponsive. She clenches her fists, surprised they're not ushering her out. They have him tied to the bed, she realizes suddenly. Tears well in her eyes, and she turns away.

-----


She hears the whispers in the halls. The Hero With No Fear, waylaid in the Healers, as if he didn't realize swallowing a bottle of painkillers was a bad idea. Some of them sniff that it had only been a matter of time, that Skywalker was always... close to the edge. She wants to punch them.

Her Master recovers, physically. She goes to see him, and he is still restrained. She hugs him, but he can't hug her back. His eyes are blank; the IV they've got him hooked to is full of heavy-duty mood stabilizers.

-----


He leaves the Healers three weeks later with a prescription and orders to return weekly for therapy. He balks, but does as he's told. Ahsoka makes sure of it. She establishes a routine, makes sure he takes the medication. She doesn't mind being stuck at the Temple, not if it means her Master is alive.

He hates the medication, and Ahsoka can't blame him. It makes him lethargic, makes him sick to his stomach and dizzy. He can hardly spar with her for more than a few minutes without having to sit down. She feels terrible for him, but knows without it, things would be so much worse. He seems to know, too, but still is resentful.

When he stops taking the pills, she doubts anyone is surprised.

-----


He talks to people who aren't there.

-----


Anakin Skywalker knows the end is near. Even though the Chancellor has been rescued, primarily due to his own efforts, even though Padme is pregnant and it is the happiest he's been in ages, he can still tell. He almost calls Ahsoka, invokes their safety contract, but he can't. Instead, he sleeps beside his wife, and dreams of her death - and his own.

Date: 2011-09-10 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wyncatastrophe.livejournal.com
Oh, ouch. And yet it's all too plausible. I love the way you've spaced it out, catching stills on the way down.

Date: 2011-09-10 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! This was kind of painful to write, but it seemed like it came very naturally and, er, Anakin-typical for lack of a better term.

Date: 2011-09-18 01:34 am (UTC)
ext_25678: (rainyestate)
From: [identity profile] pronker.livejournal.com
This is him, all right, the way he looked in ROTS, dreary and exhausted. Poor Ahsoka, to see it all happen in front of her!

Date: 2011-09-18 02:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patientalien.livejournal.com
I like writing these things that lead up to canon, kind of like what-ifs for what happens in RotS.

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