WHEN HE IS 9 his nightmares consist of childish things - like running down the Temple’s corridors with no end in sight, falling from a great height with no way to halt his descent, being lost in a large crowd with no one to hear his call for help … these are bad dreams that are easily dealt with ( the kind words of the Masters, a soft hand on his shoulder, guiding him back to his room ) & even more easily forgotten.
WHEN HE IS 13 his nightmares are filled with images of boredom, of promises unfulfilled, of potential unrealized; he may never be a Padawan, if he is not chosen, & he may never be the Jedi he has dreamt of becoming … of course, after a time of uncertainty, these dreams fade & he welcomes the newest challenge - a life of service & guardianship, learning by his Master’s side.
WHEN HE IS 15 his nightmares are gruesome, bloody - images of death & destruction & the sister he had never asked for, but whom he had found nonetheless, being shot down in front of him before he could reach her; he dreams of war & how it ravages a people, how it kills their children, how it murders their souls; he dreams of being abandoned to this war, of never being saved, & even though he wakes up in the Temple, he feels constantly as though he is back in that place, fighting for his life & for a people that are not his own but who had given him a taste for family.
WHEN HE IS 21 his nightmares fly by unnoticed; he is too busy, he is too serious, to pay them much heed; he is becoming the Jedi he always dreamt of being, & that means pushing aside any wishes or hopes he might have that do not align with this vision of himself - any bad dreams are forgotten by the end of his morning meditation.
WHEN HE IS 26 his nightmares are of his Master breathing a final breath in his arms; he dreams of the Sith’s red blade & the rage in his own heart; he wakes up in a cold sweat, guilt & righteous fury battling in his chest, but what wins is always grief - that hollow echo in his heart when someone says his Master’s name … he has these nightmares for the rest of his life.
WHEN HE IS 33 his nightmares are confusing & unreadable; he sees a vast darkness, he sees Anakin & not Anakin, he feels as though his body will collapse under an immense pain, he feels —- he speaks of these dreams to Master Yoda only.
WHEN HE IS 35 his nightmares are of Geonosis, & the many Jedi lost under the scorching sun; he dreams of that fight in the hangar, when he had lain helpless, when he had watched the boy he had sworn to protect pick up his lightsaber & fight on his behalf & then watched as that boy fell beneath a Sith’s onslaught. He dreams of friends he will never see again.
WHEN HE IS 36 his nightmares are of her, her last breaths, her last words, her laugh, her smile, everything she is & almost was — he wakes up holding the crystal she had given him, he whispers her name, he tries to go back to sleep but always fails.
WHEN HE IS 37 his nightmares are tinged red & black, the colors of Zigoola, the ancient Sith stronghold; the headache that was borne on the desolate planet under the influence of the Sith Holocron plagues him even in dreams, & he is assaulted by flashes of horrors, by cries of the dead, by the hatred & the anger he had denied a foothold all his life … he speaks of these dreams to no one, just as he speaks of that planet to no one.
WHEN HE IS 38 his nightmares are of battle, of the screams of the dying, brothers in arms, his soldiers, his responsibility, the weight of the Republic on his shoulders, explosions & shrapnel & blaster fire careening out of control & catching him off guard, He dies in his dreams, & he breathes a sigh of relief because finally he is allowed to rest, but then he wakes in the morning & must run back to the war.
WHEN HE IS 39 his nightmares are fire & blood & cries of pain; he sees his brother fall to his blade, sees his friend die after placing her children in his arms, sees the end of all he had held dear as it disintegrates into ash - he feels countless friends & almost lovers ( FAMILY ) die in his arms over & over & over again. He wakes up hoarse, aching, & shivering in the cold desert air.
WHEN HE IS 45, 50, 55 & ON his nightmares are all of these & more - scenes he never saw, scenes he’s seen too often … he wishes for the kind hand of a Master to guide him back to peaceful sleep, but he has forgotten what peace feels like, & he knows that he doesn’t deserve it.