Fandom: Star Wars AU
Characters: Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker
Rating: Rated G
Word Count: 2270
Disclaimers: No ownership, no profit, just having a good time with my favorite characters.
Notes: A little AU turn after events in The Empire Strikes Back.
Summary: Luke and Vader are stranded together and have a little father and son quality time.
Together Again, Part 3
Luke Skywalker groaned softly and rolled over onto his back. As he lay there, he became aware of a variety of aches and pains that plagued his body, from his throbbing head to his sore feet. He forced himself to relax and, with his eyes still closed, stretched out with the Force to check his surroundings, wondering why none of the other pilots were stirring yet.
After one quick sweep with the Force, his eyes snapped open to look at almost complete darkness. Obviously he wasn’t where he’d thought he was. His mind struggled with itself for a moment, scrambling for some memory of what had occurred prior to his disorienting sleep and trying to determine if he were with friend or enemy.
A battle of some kind, fires, death screams that had echoed back to him through the Force. Running, hiding…his father. Luke’s breath caught in his throat as the memories finally rolled free. His search for the mysterious man he’d met on Tatooine, unsuccessful at first, until he’d learned to let go and let the Force take him to his quarry. And his suspicions somehow miraculously made into truth. His father. The mysterious and dangerous Sith Lord who had once been Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight and sire of Luke.
And he had been so different from how Luke had thought he’d be. So different from the single-minded determination and malice that had marked Vader when they’d first met in Cloud City. Different from all the dozens of stories he’d heard about Darth Vader. And different from what little he’d heard about Anakin Skywalker. The man had displayed a calmness, a weariness, a…serenity…that Luke had not associated with him before. Luke felt a sudden rush of anticipation mingled with awe that he might finally have the opportunity to know his enigmatic father.
That is…if he didn’t vanish again. Luke sat up quickly, eyes straining against the dark. But now he could see lighter squares across from him, windows showing the slowly lightening sky, and make out the vague shape of some kind of furnishings here and there. Luke himself was on a bed and had been covered with a light blanket. He rubbed the soft material between his fingers a moment and then slowly turned his head to look at the other dark figure that lay still and quiet less than half a meter away.
Sleeping. He was sleeping and Luke laughed silently to himself. Well, there was one rumor disproved. Darth Vader did sleep and he was even sleeping in a bed. Slowly Luke lay back down, turning on his side so that he was facing his father. The other man was still wrapped in his dark clothing, nothing showing except his closed eyes and the dull gleam of one of his hands.
Luke watched carefully until he finally detected the slight movement that showed the other man was breathing. He’d thought more than once the night before that the Dark Lord had been injured in his ship’s crash, but Luke hadn’t the courage to find out if he were right.
Frowning, Luke slid his hand slowly across the space that separated them on the old lumpy bed, stopping when he reached Vader’s dark-clothed arm. He held his breath as he let his hand press gently. He felt momentary alarm at the coolness until his father’s prosthetic hand caught his eye. Of course. Slowly he ran his fingers up the arm until he felt the sudden warmth above the elbow.
Luke turned his hand and lightly grasped Vader’s arm. There it was again, that certain…something…that flared between them, that said they were bonded by the same blood. That said they belonged to each other. It was both frightening and exhilarating, and Luke had the absurd feeling that he could be happy if he never had to move from the particular spot he was in so long as his father stayed with him.
The room was slowly pulling itself out of the darkness and Luke’s gaze strayed to the windows. They wouldn’t be able to stay here for long. He doubted their pursuers had stopped for rest as they had and he’d no clear idea when Vader’s help would arrive. But he’d no intention of ending his young life in a hotel room on a planet whose name he didn’t even know. Perhaps he should wake his notorious father and plan a little strategy.
Turning his eyes back to Vader, he was startled to see the man’s eyes open and watching him. Even in the still dim light, the blueness of his father’s eyes was astonishing. For several moments they simply watched each other silently, Luke’s hand still gripping the older man’s arm.
“Are you alright?” Luke winced as he heard the unsteadiness of his own voice. But then who would have thought he’d ever be inquiring about Darth Vader’s health.
“As well as can be expected. I don’t often sleeping lying down.”
“No. I usually hang upside down from the ceiling.”
Luke blinked, at a complete loss for words until he noticed a strange gleam in the other man’s eyes. “You’re joking, aren’t you?”
Vader shifted and Luke immediately removed his hand. He pushed himself up slowly and Luke heard him hiss out a few not-so-nice words. He sat on the edge of the bed for a few moments before pushing himself to an unsteady standing position. Luke rolled quickly off the other side and hurried around the bed to grasp his father’s arm again.
Vader turned a surprised look at him but didn’t pull away. “Luke? What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt? I had thought you were yesterday but…”
Vader was shaking his head slowly. “No, Luke. A bump on the head and a few bruises and they’re already healing. My legs are just a little stiff when I first get up.”
Luke mulled that over in his head a moment and then reluctantly released Vader’s arm. His father watched him, blue eyes unreadable. Abruptly he turned away from Luke and walked carefully to one of the windows, standing to the side of it as he looked out at the early morning view.
“We should leave, find another place to blend in until someone comes for us.”
“Yes, you’re probably right.” Luke threw a quick look at the small ‘fresher which Vader caught as he turned around.
“Luke, if you want a shower, go ahead while I see if I can pick up another signal on my comlink.”
“You should go first…Father. Perhaps it will help the stiffness…that is…uh…if you can…well…I think it’s a water shower…and…” Luke floundered to a stop but then caught Vader’s amused look.
“I won’t short out if I get wet, Luke.”
Luke felt his face redden. Would he forever feel like a stupid farmboy around this man? He hoped not. “Yeah…yeah, okay. You go first and I’ll watch for anything strange.” He saw the Dark Lord hesitate, metal fingers caressing the comlink clipped to his belt. “Go ahead, I’ll protect you.”
Vader cocked his head to the side as if thinking over Luke’s words. “Alright. But I’ll be quick. I don’t think I’d want to be caught in the shower if our friends show up.” He walked towards the narrow door that opened into the small ‘fresher, then turned and looked at his son again. “But Luke…they will come, if not now then soon.”
Luke nodded. “I understand.”
A short time later found Luke and his father descending the steep, worn, stone stairs to the lower floor of the hotel. A passing employee had declared the elevators in working order again but Vader had passed them by, not liking the look of their ancient controls.
Luke had to admit to himself that he felt much better after his quick shower and even though he had to dress in the same worn and dirty clothing he’d worn for days, he still felt more his usual self than he had in a while, though some of that feeling might stem from the fact that he’d been in Vader’s company for many hours now and so far there’d been no lightsaber duels, no mention of the Emperor, and no harsh words of any kind between them. Instead there was a growing camaraderie between them that gave Luke a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach and put a glow in his heart.
Luke shook his head and laughed silently. The Dark Lord and the Rebel Commander, what a strange pair they’d make though it was likely enough that they’d soon be parted again. The thought was…disquieting…and…unwelcome. Luke felt his former good feelings rapidly evaporating as he followed Vader out of a side door of the hotel and across a courtyard paved in an unexpected riot of colors.
They weaved in and out of streets, keeping off the main thoroughfares. Vader stopped now and again and Luke wondered if he were somehow listening through the Force. He rather thought so and envied the ability, his own being sporadic on the best of days, though he was improving. Now and then Luke caught a trickle of thought from his father…worry…impatience…still of flicker here and there of lingering pain though Vader walked at a steady pace, gracefully and silently.
He seemed so different like this, without the armor and fearful death mask of a helmet. And he was real, not the imagined father from Luke’s childhood dreams but no evil monster as Kenobi had described him either. Vader stopped so suddenly that Luke almost ran into him.
“Luke, are you hungry? I had not thought to ask before.”
Luke opened his mouth to protest but then realized that, yes, he was extremely hungry and quite thirsty. “Well, yes, but don’t stop because of me.”
Vader didn’t answer, he instead turned and walked toward what looked to be a small café, half opened onto the street. They found a small table in an alcove where they were hidden from the street and yet had the option of more than one escape route. They settled onto the narrow bench, shoulders almost touching and carefully perused the small menu and ordered food and drink. Then they sat in a comfortable silence and for a while it was as if the rest of their troubles were far away. Luke wondered what Leia and Chewie were doing and felt a wave of guilt pass over him when he realized how little thought he’d given Han’s predicament. A predicament that had been set into motion by the very man he now sat next to.
Finally, their food was brought, plain but appetizing enough and the drinks cool in their tall slim glasses. Luke sighed after taking a quick bite. It had been too long since he’d had real food, too many little small packaged ones that kept the body nourished but did little to really satisfy. A thought occurred to him suddenly and he turned his head just in time to see his father adjusting his face covering so that his mouth was exposed.
Luke swallowed, his throat suddenly dry. Vader picked up his drink and slowly took a sip. Though his mouth appeared mostly unscarred there were other scars and discolorations that marred the skin around it and that pulled at one corner of his mouth. His lips quirked up in a smile when he realized Luke was looking at him.
“Did you think I didn’t need to eat at all or perhaps that I got my nourishment from a tube?” The words were meant in jest but Luke heard…something…behind them.
“Yes, I suppose I did.” Vader’s smile faded and he slowly set his glass back down. Luke felt immediate regret that he’d spoiled the comfortable companionship they’d begun with.
“I’m sorry.” Luke’s words were a low whisper but the Dark Lord heard them and Luke saw him stiffen.
“You’ve nothing at all to feel sorry about, Luke.” Vader raised his hand to pull the covering back across the lower part of his face but Luke quickly grabbed his arm to stop him. The blue eyes flickered across his face, suspicious and guarded now, so different from before.
Luke clenched his teeth together, he had so much to say to this man but he didn’t know how to do it, how to get across the barrier of so many lost years. “I don’t…I don’t like the thought of you being hurt…” Luke shook his head, the rest of the words too hard to say.
Vader looked at him in confusion. “It happened a long time ago, Luke.”
“It doesn’t seem that way to me. You’re still hurting and…I don’t like it.”
The Dark Lord stared at his son, amazed. It had been so long since someone had cared about his well-being that he’d forgotten how it felt. And that the caring should come from this boy…his son, who he’d hurt both emotionally and physically, was astonishing and terrifying. He wasn’t quite sure if he were up to dealing with it. Luke seemed to suddenly sense this and slowly let go of Vader’s arm. He reached over and picked up his glass and held it out until his father picked up his own again. Gently Luke clinked their glasses together.
“Here’s to better days, Father. For both of us.”
Vader nodded slowly and Luke sensed his father’s former unease draining away.
“That sounds good, Luke.”
Luke smiled widely at him, aware that a wall that had been between them had been breached, and dearly hoping that his wish would come sooner rather than later.
Together Again, Part 1
Together Again, Part 2
I don't think any of these are locked...let me know if I'm wrong.