A Whole New Life
Part 1: Victories and Losses
By SJ 12-23-01/01-04-02 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimers: Nothing in the Star Wars Universe belong to me; everything belongs
to George Lucas. I'm only writing stories for fun.
See my homepage for more details.
Special thanks to my shy, secret beta-reader and best friend, Adrianne, for
help with the final editing of my new stories. Thanks for giving
me some of your precious time, my friend :)
Once the news of the Emperor's demise had made it outside of the throne room,
the after-effects hadn't been long to come. While most of the former imperial
army, which was now mostly made up of conscripts, gladly swore allegiance to the
dark Lords who had freed them from the Empire, a few renegades elements from the
ground army violently rebelled against the new authority.
One of those 'elements' was the Academy of Carida which categorically refused
let its conscripts go and even opened a local war against them. Fortunately,
most conscripts on the planet were already trained and apt to defend their
lives, but Anakin knew that they needed reinforcement and fast. Given the
distance, he himself wasn't able to intervene directly, but he dispatched eight
trusted commanders to take care of the academy as they saw fit.
Two hours after the original signal of rebellion came in, the eight star
destroyers in question exited hyperspace nearby Carida, and ten hours after the
beginning of the attack, Carida, as well as the mines of Kessel and the
Correllian system were as pacified as they could be for the moment.
Thus free from duties for a short while, Anakin left the throne room to check
his son's recovery. As he stalked down crowded corridors, he reflected about
the results of their most recent battle; it had been as bad as when he had been
Lord Vader, he thought glumly. However, the targets hadn't been innocents, and
he himself had been aware of the hatred of his commanders toward the academy
which had stolen their lives from them. He conceded that he shouldn't be 'that'
surprised with the swift results. But more important, he then reminded himself,
the young men who had been taken from their families were now free to return to
With the last remnants of the Emperor's loyalist out of the fight in the
it only left those who had found refuge in section D of the palace, but first,
he thought seriously, it was time for him to take care of his own family.
During the face-off in the throne room, he hadn't had much time to spare to
worry about his son's true status, but now that their new ruling was mostly in
place with the former imperial war machine behind them, he had time to worry,
and he couldn't help but shudder at the memory of his son's injured sight. He
didn't know what the snake and the tyrant had done to him, nor did he really
want to know, he admitted, but he hoped that it wasn't more serious than he
thought it was.
He 'had' felt his son's pain during their mental contacts... He knew that his
body hadn't been complaining about something trifle. If only he had been able
to save him from this torment, he thought again as he entered the medcenter
proper. If only it had been him instead of Luke, he thought while he dimly
noted the scared features of the people he passed in the corridors. He tried to
ignore them and instead focused on his son. He would have deserved to be in his
son's place, he admitted shamefully as he allowed the memory of the disaster on
Falleen to come back to his mind. That had been his fault, his own misguided
choice to build such a dangerous research lab in the middle of a teeming city.
Had he not been responsible for Xizor's family's death, the alien would have
left his son alone...
Or would he have?, he wondered uneasily, he pondered heavily as he stepped
inside the medcenter proper. Around him, medics instantly grew uneasy with
fright and either scurried away or stepped up to the man in charge and handed
him their reports on what he suspected concerned his son's status.
"My Lord," the head medic bowed more ceremoniously. "Your son
"Is he awake?" he asked even as he refrained from sighing as yet
another wave of
fear of him entered his awareness.
They would never see him as anybody but the dreaded Lord Vader, he understood
for the fourth time within the past minutes, then closed in eyes in wariness as
he became aware of the consequences it would have on his and his son's plan.
Luke wouldn't like this, he thought glumly, then forced his eyes open once again
and refocused on the professional medic.
"Not yet, but soon," the man informed him, then invited him to
follow him. "He
is in a private room, resting from the bacta treatment."
Anakin fell in step beside him.
"How bad was his condition, Dr Yuw?" he inquired gently.
The other threw him an inquisitive glance, having obviously noticed his
to be more sociable than his usual self, then faced forward again.
"It was bad enough, My Lord," he answered, stopped in front of a
door, waved his hand in front of the reader, then stepped inside as he activated
Ani followed him and walked all the way to the edge of his son's bed. He was
resting on his back, his bandaged right hand resting over his left one on his
stomach... as if he were at peace at the moment, he reflected sadly, then
conceded that perhaps he was. He admitted to himself that he certainly didn't
want to wake him up just yet to their world in current turmoil.
"Even though he didn't have any internal bleedings," the medic read
behind him, "his bones bore micro-seizures and two of his ribs gravely injured."
Anakin barely nodded in answer, his eyes never leaving Luke's quiet feature.
Such a nice, unique young man, he thought to himself... A child who should have
never been through what had befallen on him because of him... his father. Now
even more than ever, he was aware of what he had brought upon his angel-like
son: hardship, and even more hardship than he should have ever seen. He knew
now how wonderful his boy was, not at all like himself who had, in a way,
consciously embraced evil for almost half of his life. Unlike him, Luke had not
been given a choice, yet had retained his good heart... his Light.
His son, he decided with finality, would be the figure-head of the new
government, and he himself would--- he suddenly stopped his train of thoughts as
another truth slammed into him as he remembered his stroll to the medcenter: he
couldn't stay... As long as he would be trapped in his armor, he would always
be Darth Vader, the inhuman monster who was responsible for half of the Empire's
horrors... He would ruin their plan to pacify the galaxy. Luke on the other
hand was still human and young... He would be forgiven for his servitude under
"My lord?" Dr Yuw inquired diligently, stepping closer to him.
"Thank you for your assistance, Doctor," he reassured him warmly,
gazing at him
briefly before he turned back toward his son. "I wish to be alone with him
"Yes, of course, my Lord," the other bowed, then left without a
Once they were alone, Ani sat down on the bed, then took Luke's bandaged right
hand in his own right hand and gently held it. "I'm so sorry, Luke," he
whispered softly to the unaware boy. "I wish that things were different...
I'll make it up to you," he promised earnestly, bowing his head over his son's
hand. "I give you my word on that." He then closed his eyes and prayed to the
Force to be true to this promise----
"There's... no need to... Father," Luke's sleep-dry voice answered,
him; he swiftly raised his head to look at him.
His son's eyes were still slightly closed thanks to bacta-driven tiredness,
they were clear of pain, regret, or sadness. Instead, they were filled with
love and compassion, and even much, much more so than Ani had ever seen them
when they had covered their true identities. It made him shift uneasily beside
Luke was slowly drifting awake, allowing his memories to put him up to date
the previous events. There had been the Emperor's anger, days ago, he dimly
remembered, then his giving him to Xizor. He halted shortly on the painful
memories which assailed him at that, then fought past them. He remembered being
taken back to the Emperor's throne room, and there... his father--- had also
been treated as a traitor, he remembered more clearly.
Slowly, the events continued to play onward in his mind. He and his father
fought, he remembered more vividly even as he awoke a little further. They had
fought... and won. And now? he wondered as he focused on his hearing senses.
At first, the only sound that reached his ears was his father's breather, then
his voice, a ghost of its usual self, entered his awareness.
As he listened to his message, he understood that his father was berating
himself for what had happened to him. How could he blame himself when they had
both tempted their fates? His sacrifice had been as much his fault as it had
been his father, he thought seriously--- then he understood. His father's grief
wasn't only about the outcome of their plan, but about their whole lives as
well. Well, he conceded more somberly, yes, his father 'was' partly responsible
for getting them both into the Emperor's claws, but, he objected instantly, it
had mostly been the Emperor's fault to start with. Palpatine had always been a
schemer, he now knew. He himself had no doubts at all that the evil man had
planned and plotted to ensnare his father in his veil of lies... until it had
been too late to come back to his old self... for the time being. So, he
summarized reasonably, it wasn't really his father's fault, and even if it were,
he added earnestly, they had both survived his mistake and had even freed
themselves from the dark Jedi. He wouldn't let him sink into self-depreciation,
he decided, not after what they had managed to do, both alone and together.
"There's... no need to... Father," he reassured him even as he
pried his eyes
Even as his father gazed up at him in obvious shock, he himself fought
his temptation to just drift asleep once again, but no, he told himself. He and
his father had to settle a few things before he got more rest. He wouldn't let
him entertain false retributions against himself.
"Luke," his father breathed in relief, then pulled him up to a
and hugged him fiercely.
Luke, who was still more or less awake, didn't have time to react to the
unexpected move; once he recovered from his surprise, he loosely returned the
hug even as he tried to breathe in spite his father's strong hold.
"I was so worried," his father explained gently as he continued to
hold him. "I
tried to get here as fast as I could, I'm so sorry---"
"It's all right..." he mumbled to comfort him. "It wasn't
'this' bad, and we
won," he reminded him.
Of course, he conceded, Xizor hadn't been lenient in his attacks and the
effects of the Emperor's lighting bolts had been growing worse and worse with
each passing day, but it could have been far worse. After all, he was still in
one piece, even his right hand although it would have every right to be ruined
"I'm all right, Father," he reassured him again when his father's
relax after a while. "Everything is all right, " he comforted him again, this
time referring to both their past lives and their last challenge.
His father remained silent, still holding him closely to himself... and
belatedly, it dawned on Luke that something else than worry about him was going
"What is it?" he asked, his temptation to return to sleep suddenly
from his system in the wake of his resurfacing adrenaline.
He gently disengaged from his father's deeper embrace and locked his serious
gaze with his hidden one.
"I... wish... you didn't have to be involved anymore in the plan,"
finally admitted. "It still presents very serious dangers... which now have to
be dealt with."
Luke instantly surmised that they needed his skills again to be successful.
"What happened while I was out cold?" he asked his father while he
straightened in a stable sitting position.
While he helped his son to stabilize himself, Anakin remained silent,
whether to continue with his semi-lie... or if he told him the whole truth about
both what turmoil still remained to deal with... and his leaving. He didn't
want to hurt him again, he thought glumly, nor did he want to bring more
unhappiness to his son's doorstep... He couldn't tell him right away about his
sad revelation... but on the other hand, he couldn't not tell him about the
Royal guards either. However, he decided seriously, he wouldn't prepare to
leave until the troublemakers were past history; he wouldn't leave trouble in
his wake for his son to deal with.
Still, he decided to begin with the good news before telling him about the
remaining threat of the Royal Guards.
"The remaining fleet has pledged its allegiance to us," he began
with as much
pride as he could conjure up in his voice, "The conscripts took care of any
'true' imperial that might have started a rebellion against us. Nobody outside
the Empire knows about our victory though."
"You didn't make an announcement yet?" his son gaped in surprise.
Ani shook his head in answer.
"Why?" Luke asked in disbelief.
"I... had to take care of other matters," he answered, eluding the
behind his decision.
"Which are?" his ever-intelligent son inquired seriously.
"The royal guards," he answered shortly.
Luke shut his eyes in grimness at the mention of the elite group of warriors,
feeling which Ani shared wholeheartedly with him; they were both perfectly aware
of what the opposition was capable of. More than any other group, the Royal
Guards would be the true resistance to their taking over, and Ani suspected that
they were armed with the Emperor's secret secrets.
"They have gathered in Wing D of the palace and we can't force them out
"It's like a fortress," Luke commented as he opened his eyes once again.
His son's knowledge of what he himself had read in the top secret reports
"How do you know?" he asked him, then wondered if that was a good
idea when he
noticed his son's wince at the question.
"That's where I was quartered after my summon," he answered shortly.
This revelation drew a shiver of horror from his father.
"What??" he gaped in shock.
"I wasn't involved in biogenetic stuff," the youth quickly
reassured him, "but
that's where I trained harder than ever and learnt the secrets of the Dark
Side... I was completely isolated from anybody but the Emperor and a few chosen
"What did he want with you?" Ani asked him, suddenly having a very
as to what had been going on with his son before he had been uncovered. He still
remembered Leia's warning; he suddenly had the unpleasant worry that he had
probably been very far from the truth with his suspicions.
"I don't know," Luke shrugged. "He only told me that I
wouldn't care anymore,
and that training would be the way to focus my mind, but other than that... I
don't know... although he did tell Xizor that he would take me back in time.
Anyway, he's dead now," he finished seriously.
"That he is," Ani nodded in agreement even as he tried to shoo from
his mind the
horrific images of his son in the Emperor's control. He forced himself to
refocus on the matter at hand. "So, in short," he commented as seriously as he
could manage, "you are the only being alive who ever went in that wing."
"And I know how to infiltrate and destroy," his son agreed
instantly noticed that he was intent on convincing him to let him take care of
this mission. "I know exactly how to deactivate the surveillance system,
Father," the youth continued earnestly. "I can do it alone, then troops will be
able to take care of the rest."
At first, Ani wanted to object, to discourage his son from venturing this
into a booby trapped access corridor and its ensuing defense systems, but he was
too much a hardened warrior to not know the value of what his son was offering
to him. Without Luke's help, the Royal Guards would remain entrenched for gods
knew how long.
"Very well," he reluctantly nodded, "but it will wait until
you have rested some
more," he objected seriously, then stood up from the bed as he put an end to
their impromptu meeting. "I'll prepare the strike team and double the
surveillance on the level."
"Cutting off their main feed of power will also slow them down,"
commented as he laid back on his pillows.
"Very clever," Ani agreed as he helped him down, then stroked his
hair from his
forehead. "Rest now, Luke. The time to return to our world in turmoil will
come soon enough," he commented sadly, then left him before his son could answer
him or ask him what he meant.
However, he himself wasn't done with their latest words. On his way out, Ani
tried to quash the feeling of guilt that was now burning in his heart. He knew
that he had no choice but to use Luke's help, but he also knew what kind of
danger he had just brought back in his life... Would it always be this way?, he
wondered sadly. Would he always be deprived of the possibility to just be a
good father?... Of course, he conceded, now that Luke knew what they were up
against, no one, not even him, would be able to keep his son from putting his
plan into motion. Perhaps he shouldn't have told him about this at all, he
scolded himself, just like he hadn't, in the end, spoken about the rest of their
future. The truth would hurt him badly, he sighed sadly; it would be even worse
than when he had injured him physically. Then, as if it weren't enough, another
truth slammed into him: his leaving his son would be the worst pains of all now
that Mara Jade had also left him... He almost shed tears at the thought of
causing this much emotional grief to his beloved son.
There had to be another way, his heart objected desperately. They had just
defeated the Emperor, had overcome the whole Empire without 'too' much trouble
and they were about to set free the rest of the galaxy. Surely he and his son
could stay together, he tried to convince himself... Surely the Force wouldn't
be as cruel as to force him away from his child now that they could finally be a
normal family... but deep down, he knew the truth... As long as 'Vader' would
be alive, the New Republic would never be born and his son would never be as
happy as he deserved to be, might not even be forgiven himself, he admitted with
grief. It would be... the worst day of their lives, he sighed in acceptance,
but, he objected slightly, he wouldn't tell Luke until it was truly unavoidable.
For the moment, they weren't completely done yet.
Five hours later, Luke checked his newly-recovered lightsaber and his pocket
blasters before stashing his weapons in his specially designed utility belt;
next, he secured a vibro-knife in each of his boots. However, unlike the other
times that he had prepared for an assassin mission, he didn't cover his features
yet, nor did he wear gloves or a black uniform.
Instead, he was completely dressed in a heat-insulated white suite, the
purpose being solely to fool the surveillance cameras, and he was going as
himself, Luke Skywalker formerly known as Luke Vader.
Naturally, he drew more than a few gasps when he joined his father at the
of the surveillance cordon, just out of range of wing's D surveillance devices.
"Remember, don't overexert yourself," his father gently rebuked him.
"I'll give you the signal when the coast is clear," the youth
informed him, then
turned away from him and focused his mind on the first phase of his mission.
Seconds later, gasps came from all around him; he knew that he had just
disappeared in the Force. Making good use of his temporary shield, he ran all
the way to the door, then into the white room. Once there, he allowed himself
to reappear, but not before he put on his white hood and gloves. Thus covered,
he took a deep breath... then tempted the rancor as he materialized and stepped
up into the photo sensible security corridor.
Swiftly, he walked past the primed, concealed weapons which were lined-up
the two walls. As he walked onward, he tried not to think about the fact that
the only detail that was saving his life today was that the weapons couldn't
track him, either physically or through his body temperature, against the white
backdrop. Otherwise, he knew that they were aware of his presence and would
open fire on him. He finally reached the internal door without any mishap.
Of course, it didn't open for him, but he had other ways to force it open, he
thought to himself. Reaching out with the Force, he keyed it open from the
other side of the wall, then ducked, pulled his vibroblades from his boots, then
waited for the guards' forcepikes to cross themselves together above him; the
moment they did, he extended his now armed hands and dispatched the first,
living opposition. Even as the others reeled from his lightning fast attack, he
himself rolled away from them and into the second room, which he had already
opened with the Force, then backflipped from hands to feet and back again to
avoid the swift, deadly laser rays that replaced the scanning beams when proper
clearance was granted. Solely focusing on the Force, Luke reached the safety
zone of the main entrance, still unscathed. There, he flipped back to his feet,
took hold of his blasters and opened fire on the two still surviving men who
were struggling against their weakened bodies to either stop him or raise the
alarm; three shots later and that danger was over.
And now for the main dish, he thought to himself as he stashed one blaster
took his cowl and gloves away, then readied his lightsaber for action. While he
knew that he wouldn't kill all the royal guards, he steeled himself for quite a
few unpleasant murders before he would be able to neutralize the surveillance
system of the renegades. Enjoying a last second of peace, he took a deep
breath, focused his mind, then opened the door.
As he had surmised, several men in red were already waiting for him in the
corridor, ready to defend their murdered master if the traitors ever got past
the security system. His presence seemed to catch them by surprise, giving him
a precious two seconds which he exploited to its maximum; he shot at two men and
attacked a third one with his blade, then lunged forward to meet with the rest
of his adversaries. He quickly realized that the rumor that the royal guards
were trained in very similar arts to his owns was indeed true. Hence, he didn't
waste time in useless contest and dealt with them the moment that he had a
chance to do so.
Between kicks, slashes, parries of other lightsabers and rolling away from
accurate aims, Luke took care of nearly half of the fifteen men who had seen his
entrance. The peculiar thing about this battle though was that unlike when he
had fought against thieves or outlaws, he didn't have time to think this time.
Instead, he had to trust the Force to save his life... and it did.
He jumped yet again, sharply extended his foot while airborn, thus catching
another man in the throat--- while he swept downward with his bladed right hand
and badly injured two other men. When he landed back on his feet, he recovered
his complete awareness--- and became aware that he was finished here. He
instantly rushed toward the door that seemed to call to him, prepared himself
for yet another demanding fight--- and stormed in the control room, firing from
both of his blasters at the few enemies who had been waiting for him.
Fortunately for him, the close quarters played against them; they were caught in
the ricochets of his skillfully 'wrongly aimed' shots. However, the small
quarters equally played against him.
Despite his swift changes of position which brought him from a roll on the
to a tumble in the air and back again, the enemy managed to nail him in the left
thigh before he had finished the three men.
In the main corridor, Anakin winced as he felt his son's newest injury and
barely restrained himself from going to his help, but his ensuing victory
stilled him. Then, he received the signal that the surveillance system was out;
the moment that he gave his order, his troops charged the small door and invaded
what had been, up to now, the secret labs of the Emperor.
He too took part to the rest of the battle, dealing with the lightsaber-armed
imperials while he left the more regular guards to the volunteers.
After the first five minutes of battle though, he understood that this would
trickier than he had first surmised. The enemy had discovered the Emperor's
secrets and were using them against them. Thus, the volunteers found themselves
fighting against furious royal guards 'and' venomous plants, or animals... or
even sentient beings.
He himself attracted the attention of a huge vornsk. As he fought against it,
he wryly reflected that the new strength/growth agent was definitely a success,
then barely avoided the snapping jaw that would have taken off his head. He
slashed again at one paw with his lightsaber; it barely affected the animal.
It continued its steady advance on him, slowly backing him toward a wall. Ani
reached out again, more and more desperate to find a weak point in the monster
to attack, but either by design or from nature, the creature was immunized
against even his Force attack.
He kicked out again, hitting its nose this time before looking for a
place to use his lightsaber, but the other didn't give him time to find it.
Instead, it reared its head in anger, catching him straight in the side, and
slammed him hard against the wall that was now very close in his back. Anakin
crumpled to the floor, thoroughly dazed.
He was so dazed that he didn't realize that his lightsaber had just been
from his hand--- until a sudden howl of pain brought him back to a more aware
Luke finished to slash all the controls around him, thus making sure that the
experiments which depended on them would die within the next minutes, then he
exited the small room. The battle was raging around him. Everywhere he looked,
he saw white armored troopers against one or two red-clad enemies, or against
abominations, which the others had freed to fight against the traitors.
Suddenly, a wave of pain entered his mind; it was coming from his father. He
frantically searched for him amongst the confusing, fighting crowd--- and
spotted him, at the end of the corridor, backed to the wall by a huge quadruped.
He was done for, he realized even as he ignored his own lancing injury and ran
to his help. He thus witnessed the animal's attack when it slammed his father
into the wall, then prepared for the kill. Luke didn't think anymore; he acted.
Calling his father's lightsaber to his hand, he gathered his strength in his
legs---- and jumped and tumbled in the air, catching his second weapon as he did
so. A second later, he was in position; he straddled the back of the huge
beast, his two lightsabers ready for the kill. Before the creature had become
aware of his presence, he planted his two blades in his back, then twisted.
The poor creature howled in anguish and torment, rearing itself on its back
to throw him off of itself; it thus nearly slammed him against the nearby
ceiling, but Luke held on, steadying himself with the Force as he stabbed it
Finally, the vornsk gave out a last moan, then collapsed on its side and
Meanwhile, Luke had barely landed back on the floor when a new warning came to
him; he whirled around, his father's blade still armed and ready in his hand; he
reflexively threw it. Unlike his smaller blades, this one twirled on its
horizontal axis before it slashed at the venomous plant which had identified him
as its next victim.
When no new danger tingled his senses, Luke allowed himself to relax
His father appeared beside him and scanned the ongoing battle. Several
volunteers had lost their lives, but they had won. The royal guards and their
'weapons' were either out of the fight... or dead.
"Now we've won," he sighed in relief, then turned toward his father.
"Thanks to you," the other commented warmly, drawing him closer to
an arm around his shoulders.
Luke gratefully leaned against the giant, taking some weight off his injured
"I never want to kill again," he mumbled reflexively before he had
he was saying.
"And you never shall," his father reassured him. "With your
wisdom as galactic
guidance, there won't be need for it anymore," he added softly.
While the comment slightly surprised Luke, he didn't reply. He was battle
weary, and despite the Emperor's rigorous training of the past weeks, he hadn't
been completely up to such strenuous exercise just yet. He was tired, he
Around them, the volunteers sealed the labs, then set the demolition charges.
Soon, he reflected in relief, nothing would remain of the Emperor's dark plans
for the universe.
Once the area of the palace known as Wing D was safely destroyed while not
ruining the rest of the said palace, Luke and his father retired to their
temporary quarters some fifty floors below the location of their latest victory.
Unfortunately, Ani sighed to himself, what 'had' to come next wasn't a
at all... Now that the action was over, he knew that it was time to inform his
son of the most awful decision he had ever made in his entire life. He knew
without doubts now that he had to disappear from the future New Republic or else
it would never come to be; throughout the past seven hours, he had been more
feared as the cruel Lord Vader, Father, then he had ever been aware of. Even if
he could still accept the feeling as being unavoidable, he wouldn't be able to
stay, he thought glumly; to succeed, he and his son had to kill the Empire...
and every symbol of it.
He was all too aware that he was such a symbol, curse his dreadful
armor/survival suit! If only he hadn't been this naive, way back when, he
scolded himself, then caught his thoughts and rebuked himself for crying over
the past. It was too late to change it, and he knew what he had to do to make
the future a better place for everyone... but foremost, for his son.
Pulling himself from his regretful thoughts, he refocused on the young man as
helped him bandage his thigh injury.
"We won't be able to keep our coup secret much longer, Father," the
commented in the silence. "I think we should inform as soon as possible the
rest of the galaxy of their freedom."
Ani nodded in agreement. "I arranged for a priority one broadcast
began seriously even as he finished his tending and stood back to his feet.
Luke silently expressed his pleasant surprise upon hearing those news.
"Excellent, we couldn't have delayed it much more anyway," the young man
commented. "Do you know what you will tell them?" he then asked his father.
Ani remained silent, then sighed while he closed the emergency medkit which
beside his son; he had to tell him, he steeled himself. No more lies this time.
"Actually, Son," he began sadly as he slowly turned back toward him
to gaze into
his eyes, "'you' will speak to the galaxy tomorrow."
"Me?" the youth gaped as he gazed up at him and locked his eyes with his.
Ani nodded in confirmation, then straightened up.
"But I don't have any experience in politics," his son argued
don't have 'your' experience," he then added earnestly. "We need you, Father.
You should be the----"
"No," he shook his head, then slowly paced nearby.
Luke followed him with his eyes, speechless and more than a little confused.
While they had never really discussed their plans as to who would do what once
they won, Ani conceded that they had constantly implied that he himself would
take care of the politics... Once again though, he had been too naive for his
own good and hadn't considered the emotional impact he would have on the
citizens of the galaxy.
"I've thought a lot about this, Son," he admitted, feeling a pang
tighten around his heart; Luke remained silent but his eyes told him that he was
beginning to understand where he wanted to go with his next sentences. "I have
reached the conclusion that I can't stay in the new government," the older Jedi
told him glumly. All this work to free themselves from the Dark Side, he
thought sadly, only to be separate once again... He resumed his pacing.
It wasn't fair, Luke thought in instant resent.
"That's ridiculous," he finally commented out loud even as he moved
to get back
to his feet and face his father.
The man's hand appeared on his shoulder and stilled him, silently admonishing
him for putting a strain on his healing wound.
"It isn't," he answered him, then sighed as he let go of his
shoulder. "You can
see for yourself what is going on," he then reminded him seriously. "The Empire
is dead, and every reminder of it is being, or will soon be destroyed... I am
part of those reminders, Son."
"So am I," he argued defiantly.
His father shook his head sadly.
"Your address will establish you as Luke Skywalker, my son, a young,
human man who was enslaved and is now free, but I..." he hesitated slightly,
then fought past the catch in his throat to speak: "will always be Darth Vader,"
he finished glumly.
"No you're not," Luke argued, jumping to his feet before his father
him. "We can do something about the armor, Father. There's no need for you---"
he began earnestly but was interrupted by his father's upset voice.
"I will not be naive again, Luke," the older man objected strongly.
change the armor, but unless I can be Anakin as a whole, I will always remain
Luke was so shocked by his father's sudden temper that he forgot his upcoming
In front of him, his father seemed to catch his breath after his outburst,
reached out and mentally caressed his cheek and mind. " I... don't want to ruin
your future," he told him more softly.
"No, father, please...," Luke begged as he recovered his ability to
limped closer to the black-cloaked giant. "I can't do it alone. I need you."
Anakin shook his head at him in answer, then gently rested his gloved hand
against his cheek, very much like what he had done just seconds before but with
"You don't need me, Luke Skywalker," the ex-dark lord of the Sith
softly, rubbing away a tear which had slipped from the corner of the youth's
eye. "Everything you need to succeed is in you... my child, my precious boy who
has already done much, much more than humanly possible..."
Suddenly, Luke felt as if he were back in time, when his father had told him
truth about his parentage. Once again, he was a little, tough yet fragile boy,
and he didn't want his father to leave him.
Mara was enough---
"Please, Father," he begged again, allowing his tears to spill free
"I'm sorry, Luke," his father apologized as he stepped slightly
away from him.
"I have to go; it is the best for all of us."
"But why right now?" the youth insisted, taking a step forward once
clutched his forearm. "Father, we've barely won, and we've barely had time to
be together. You could at least stay for---"
Aware that his son's heartfelt pleading might just sway his heart, Anakin cut
him off before he could tempt him with the impossible happiness that they had
promised each other while they had been surviving the nightmare of the Dark
I must go, Luke, and I have to disappear before your first contact with the
of the galaxy as Luke Skywalker. If I stay, everything you will say will be
taken as a lie," he answered seriously, then softened slightly. "You're a grown
man now, Luke; you don't need your father looking over your shoulder to succeed
in life," he commented, reminding him that he was not a child anymore.
"But it was supposed to be 'our' new lives, Father, not just mine,"
argued earnestly, new tears slipping out of his eyes.
The mere sight of those broke Ani's heart into even more numerous pieces; why
couldn't it be like they had foreseen?, he asked the unseen Force. Why did he
have to hurt his son once again?.. Then an answer seem to float up from his
deeper self: because he himself deserved the pain of having to give him up like
this... because of his unforgivable mistakes of the past.
'But it hurts my son,' he objected to the thought, to which it answered
instantly; only for the moment. He would be happier once he were completely out
of his life until he had earned the right to return to him... Despite the
difficulty of the sentence, and convinced that it was coming from the Force
itself, Ani accepted it as his due for his crimes. He only wished that Luke
wouldn't have to be hurt by it.
"There is no other way to insure the success of the plan," Anakin
commented softly in the silence as he made the grieving boy look up at him; he
brushed away more tears from his son's eyes.
"Will I see you again?" he asked sadly, locking his beautiful blue
eyes onto his
hidden blue eyes.
Anakin, who had almost completely convinced himself that he had accepted his
fate and couldn't let his son sway him---- suddenly felt his resolve falter as
the past came back to him.
He had asked that very same question to his mother, way back when... And her
answer had offered him the only comfort that he could have had at that time, he
remembered. And indeed, he reminded himself more hopefully, he had seen her
again, years later.
"What does your heart tell you?" he asked his son as gently as his
done with him.
Luke took a moment to ponder his question, then he reluctantly nodded, hiding
once again his tears of regret.
"Then we will see each other again," he reassured him even as he
himself that he would find a way to return to his son. Somehow, he 'would' get
rid of the armor, atone himself for his crimes, and would be a father to his
son, a real one this time. "Now, Luke, be strong," he told him softly, "and
give me a last hug for a while."
His son was only too glad to abide; he hugged him so tight that he himself
his strength despite the fact that he was wearing an armor.
"Where will you go?" his son asked him, his despair now cracking into his voice.
"I don't know yet," he answered truthfully, "but I will
someday come back to
you, I promise." He pulled his son's head away from his chest at that and gazed
deeply into his blue eyes. "However, you must promise me to not search me out
until I return to you," he added more seriously.
"I... okay," Luke nodded reluctantly.
The two of them hugged one very last time, then Ani disengaged from their
embrace and stepped away from his beloved son, whom he could now love without
any fear of putting him into trouble. However, he accepted reluctantly, he
would have to love him from a distance for the time being.
"Take good care of yourself in my absence, Son," he advised him
added: "I will keep an eye on your achievement."
Luke was too tear-stricken to answer; he barely nodded, then kept himself
going to him one last time. If he could take care of several royal guards who
wanted to kill him, he suddenly thought in despair, surely he could keep his
father from leaving him---- but, he moderated himself, he unfortunately
recognized the wisdom behind his father's words. They had no choice but to
sacrifice their closeness if they wanted to get rid of the Empire for good.
Still, he reflected with resent, his father deserved to share their victory
freedom with him, not in self-imposed exile from everyone.
Couldn't things be simple for once?, he asked the unseen Force, then looked
around himself to see if his sister was with him. Only blank walls stared back
at him. He was truly alone this time, he realized as he turned back toward his
leaving father--- who had already reached the door.
"Anakin!" he called, reflexively taking a step closer to him--- and
his wounded leg strained to keep him from falling down.
His father stopped, but he didn't turn around to look at him.
"Everything you need to succeed for yourself and the galaxy rests within
Son. I will miss you... but I have to leave for the moment," he finished
regretfully, then straightened his shoulders and stepped into detection range of
the sliding doors.
Then he was gone... and Luke was alone.
"Father," he whispered sadly as he crumpled to the floor, devoid of
to go on.
Leia was gone.
Mara was gone.
His father was gone.
And now even his sister's spirit seemed to have abandoned him... How was he
supposed to go on?, he wailed silently, then buried his face in his hands and
let out all the tears of his body until he fell asleep from his sorrow and
Still with him, but unable to connect with the realm of the living for the
being, Leia exchanged a sad glance with her mother. Everything was in Luke's
hands now; his strength of character would determine if the future would
continue to unfurl toward a brighter tomorrow... or if the new hope would falter
and die once again.
"Courage, Luke," she bid him even though he couldn't hear her.
"You can do it;
you're our only hope."
"Things will work out, Son," Padme added, obviously taking a chance
son's subconscious would pick up on their encouragement. "You must be strong."
In the realm of the living, the young Jedi remained unresponsive as he laid
an awkward curl on the carpet of his temporary quarters.
TBC In part 2: Alone
SJ: Skyjade@globetrotter.net (any positive stuff is welcome, but negative or
mean comments will be thrown down the Sarlacc's throat without being read.)
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Epilogue
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