Luke Vader: From Slave to Dark Lord of the Sith
Part 9: More than Partners
By SJ 15-10-00/12-12-00
Disclaimers: None of this belong to me; everything in the Star Wars Universe
belongs to George Lucas.
See my home page 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 :)
Fortunately for the teenagers, the Emperor never discovered the truth about
had happened during their transit, nor did Luke for that matter.
At first, Mara was hard-pressed to even look at him in the eye without
remembering their almost intimate contact aboard the shuttle, but she was well
trained in the art of affecting a cool attitude; she forced herself to be as
cool as ever with her friend/partner.
Naturally, Luke felt a strange tension between them and questioned it, only
be told that everything was normal, but as the months went by, and no more
incidents of a nature similar to that of the shuttle's the uneasiness slowly
dissipated until they were back to their usual selves... and Luke was once again
reminded to not go beyond care about Mara Jade.
Six weeks later, he had recovered from his starvation and lack of exercising
was completely back on his feet. Given his self-imposed, more than rigorous
training to recover his shape as fast as possible, if not faster, he was very
pleased by his results, and especially by those of his missions. Strength was a
very important key to success, he reflected seriously---
Laughter suddenly echoed in his ears and he snapped back to reality. He was
the Emperor's court, following his father and pretending to be his broken slave
who took care of his comlink and his every needs.
However, the true reason for his presence at this reception was that he
to make himself familiar with his master's newly 'refreshed' court. He
naturally kept his head bowed, his eyes cast downward, but that didn't keep him
from 'meeting' everyone thanks to his father's sending. He had thus 'met' and
registered the faces and different particularities of almost all the men and
women who were now composing his master's court. He even knew them by their
roles: sycophants, courtesans, senators... and future senator, he realized as an
image coalesced in his mind.
At first, he didn't believe his mind's eye when a man approached his father,
after a quick flick of his eyes upward, he saw that he was indeed standing less
than five meters away from the young princess of whom he had strangely collected
holos and reports... until he had learnt better.
What surprised him thought was that it wasn't the first time that he was with
his father to functions, and it wasn't the first time that she was amongst the
guests... but it was the first time that she was this close to him... and it had
to happen now that he had just recovered from a stern reminder to change his bad
Aware of what his heart was tempted to do right this moment, he hurried to
it down and focus on his father's words instead of the girl's presence. It
helped, at first... As her nearby presence continued to call out to him, he
tried to counter-attack her lure by reminding himself that she was probably not
even aware that he was there; he was a slave beneath her notice, he spat at
himself to keep his heart in check.
Dimly though, he admitted to himself that he wanted her to notice him,
he rid himself of this thought before it could be heard by his master or his
father. He 'couldn't' care about strangers and the princess was a perfect
His father didn't seem to sense his inner fight; instead, he sent him an
of the listening young woman. Luke groaned inwardly at that, then forced
himself to stop whining and learn what he had to learn.
She was proud, he observed as coolly as he could. She held her chin high
she listened to his father and she was well-groomed in the manners of the court.
Her remarks were also intelligent, and she was beautiful----
The moment he became aware of what he was thinking, he put an end to his
thoughts and forced the image of the tantalizing young woman out of his mind.
He couldn't anger his master again, he couldn't care, he reminded himself
sternly, he couldn't care, he couldn't feel as he did for the princess---
"Excuse-me, your highness," the familiar voice of Mara cut in his
he was used to being a slave, Luke didn't betray his cover-up by looking up in
surprise, but it wasn't easy. "Lord Vader," she continued
Emperor wants me to take care of your slave for the next hour."
"He's all yours then," the dark lord answered even as he stepped
aside to let
the young courtesan through to his 'subservient' son.
Even as Mara stepped closer and took hold of the boy's hand to guide him out
the room, Luke felt the princess disgust almost as clearly as if it were his own
*The master doesn't know, Luke, but get it back under control,* his friend
him even as she led him out of the room.
*I know, I'm working on this,* he sent her even as he did try to purge
from anything related to his feelings regarding a certain princess.
Once outside of the room, Mara let go of his hand and led him down
until they were alone and could disappear inside a secret door.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked him the moment that they were
sealed in. "Do
you really want to be punished again?"
"You know I don't," he retorted even as he closed his eyes and
focused his mind
on the only goal worth serving: his master. "I was all right till she came
in my surroundings," he answered once he was recovered.
"And why did it happen? I mean, what's so special about her?" his
challenged him almost angrily.
"I don't know," he admitted. "I don't want to care about her,
I don't even want
to know her... but..."
"But?" the young woman asked, her hands on her slim hips now.
"It just happens before I can stop it," he half-whispered in shame.
almost as if I'm not even aware of it, Mara. I swear I wouldn't react this way
if I were aware of it when whatever it is begins to sway me."
His partner/friend considered this, then she finally sighed. "I still
understand how you can be interested in such a snotty rich brat, but then,"
smirked more teasingly, "there are several things I don't understand about
"Join the club," he retorted with a half-sneer/half-smirk.
Yes, indeed, he admitted to himself, there were several elements of his
personality that greatly puzzled him. First, there was his bad habit to care
about others. From where did this come from? As far as he could see, no one in
the Empire, not even the stormtroopers, cared about the others, only about
themselves. Considering that he himself had grown 'in' the heart of the Empire,
then by all rights he shouldn't have this bad habit and should be as cool as his
father or his partner.
And then, there was his ability to use the Force without using his feelings
fuel his powers. Once again, the Emperor tolerated it as long as he only used
it that way when at home, and then, as little as possible, but it still confused
the teenager. Even his father couldn't do that; he always used at least a
minimum of resent or anger to accomplish even the most basic of levitation.
Mara for her part always had to focus her feelings to be able to do anything,
and they had to pure if she wanted to be efficient.
Which brought him to his third strangeness; his bond with Mara. The Empire
a lonely place; no one made friends in its ranks... except himself once again.
Fortunately, the Emperor had found a way to accept it while using it.
Otherwise, he suspected that he and Mara would never have been able to stay as
close as they were at the moment. However, he somehow had the feeling that he
himself wouldn't have been able to resist her closeness... kind of like for the
princess, he conceded, except for one tiny detail: Mara had always felt as if he
knew her from the past whereas he merely had the feeling that he 'should' know
What was it about her? he wondered. He didn't know her, he had never even
formerly introduced to her, and she certainly wasn't as wonderful as his
friend... yet, he was strangely attracted to her, at least as far as wanting to
know her went, he amended his instantly recovering heart. If only he could
understand why, he thought in annoyance, he would at least be able to explain
his irrational interest to his friend...
"Thanks for coming in when you did, Mara," he finally commented in
silence. "I owe you one."
"Had we been in a mission, Luke, I wouldn't have been able to do that
know it," she reminded him sternly. "We were fortunate to be present
our own need to 'meet' the court, not the master's."
"Yes, we are," he agreed glumly, then took a deep breath and
prepared himself to
resume his role. "I think we should go back now. Volunteer or not, our
won't go unnoticed forever."
"Just stay against the wall this time, and avoid the girl as if she were
plague," she advised him seriously.
In a way, he conceded, she was a plague; his plague.
Minutes later, Luke was back in the reception room.
*What happened?* Vader inquired the moment that he noticed his returned
*Girl problems,* his son answered shortly.
Even as Lord Vader blinked in utter surprise at his son's answer, a member of
the court stepped up in his field of vision.
"Good evening, Lord Vader," Prince Xizor bowed respectfully.
Vader barely had time to recover his cooler composure before the other
straightened and asked him a most unwanted question.
"I couldn't help but notice that your young slave seems to be part of
Emperor's, select servants now. Do you know how we can earn his service?"
Had he not been surrounded by hundreds of dignitaries and watched over by the
Emperor himself, Vader would have lashed out at this and strangle the snake with
his bare hands---
"Only the Emperor knows," was his answer before he turned away from
"Ah, I see," the other continued. "Since he was yours,
however, I thought that
'you' held the power of decision, my Lord."
Baiting him seemed to be the Falleen's favorite past-time tonight; Vader
to convince him that it was a very dangerous hobby.
"Since when do you bother this much about a puny slave, Prince Xizor?"
inquired pointedly. "I would think that it is beyond your notice."
"Were it owned by anybody else, it would be, but... Lord Vader's one and
slave, and who has survived both him and the Emperor for ten years now, despite
some obviously cruel punishments, the latest one having taken place six weeks
ago I believe. Oh yes, it is intriguing, my Lord."
Even as the Falleen enumerated everything he had compiled about his son,
felt a tingling of warning at the base of his neck. The intelligent alien was
beginning to see past his son's disguise and suspected something. He had to
tread his next answer carefully or else... the Emperor wouldn't be pleased.
"I see your network of spies is as productive, and as misleading as
Xizor," he commented coldly. "Has it never occurred to you that they
reported what they see and never wonder about what happens to the boy when he
isn't seen. I'm sure you know that I don't bring my slave with myself when I
leave, don't you?"
As he had foreseen, his new challenge stumped the alien; he fell mute, having
not considered that piece of the puzzle.
"If you please the Emperor sufficiently, he might someday tell you what
to the boy when he is out of sight... but you might wish that you had never
asked," he finished ominously, then whirled around and headed for the
From the corner of his eye, he saw Luke as he threw a surreptitious glare at
Falleen before rejoining him.
*What you hinted at gave me the creeps, Father,* Luke commented playfully as
they left the area of the reception.
*Let's hope that the Falleen will understand it this way as well,* he
He and his son silently made their way back home, lost in their respective
thoughts about the events of the evening.
Hours later, Luke still wasn't asleep, his head once again filled with
prohibited thoughts, but this time, they weren't only about a certain princess;
they also concerned his partner and only friend.
Shoving his hands deep into his pockets, he sighed in weariness at his
to control his own feelings and leaned harder against the transparisteel of his
chosen living room. He then sighed again, this time to control his rising worry
concerning the Emperor, he leaned his forehead against the cool surface and
closed his eyes.
Why in the Force was it happening again, he whined silently. He had learnt
latest lesson about that, hadn't he?, he asked himself. And he certainly hadn't
liked how it had been taught to him. So why?, he inquired to the Force, was he
unable to stop thinking about the two girls in terms of attraction?? He wasn't,
he sternly rebuked himself. He couldn't be, it would be his undoing, he
reminded himself seriously.
No, the princess' child-like features, beautiful brown eyes and hair weren't
captivating, he tried to convince himself as he opened his eyes once again. No,
she wasn't nice, it was just a lie, and no, she hadn't noticed that he even
existed. She was a princess, cold, haughty, and selfish.
Even if his thoughts seemed convincing, his inner self immediately balked at
them and tried to defend the almost perfect stranger; Luke didn't let himself do
He counterattacked by focusing on his friend... who was unfortunately also
appealing to him all of a sudden, he remembered almost too late. He barely had
time to stop himself from thinking the "l" word before he turned away
window in search of something to clear his mind from his forbidden thoughts
about Mara---- he stopped in shock at that sight of his father who was standing
in the doorway.
Even as he tried to regain some kind of composure and not betray himself, he
rebuked himself for being so absorbed in his thoughts that he hadn't felt him
Once he and his son had returned home, Vader had headed for his meditation
chamber to consider the events of the evening and clear his mind from thoughts
he simply didn't want to have.
Hours later, he exited the room, intent to get some sleep before the morning.
As he passed by his 'blue and purple' living room however, he changed his mind
and decided to check on his son.
Why was he still awake?, he wondered as he stepped within range of the closed
door. Why did he feel so..., he tried to put a word on his feeling, but he
couldn't identify it. Excitement? Worry? Frustration? The door finally
opened and allowed him to see the object of his thoughts.
His son was leaning sideways against the far windowbay, obviously lost in
thoughts yet his complexion was far redder than usual; he surmised that his
thoughts weren't quiet ones. As if to prove his point, Luke failed to notice
his presence--- then started when he whirled around, as if he had made up his
mind to do something right now.
For a moment, both he and his son gazed at each other, not saying anything
feeling everything that wasn't said. He himself saw beyond doubt that his son's
main concern at the moment was the Emperor's main grief against him: his care.
Now what could trigger this in the middle of the night?, the older man wondered
as he stepped closer to the distraught youth. Had something happened tonight?
Had the Emperor talked again with Luke?
He dimly hoped that it wasn't the case. Last time had been enough, he thought
even as his mind took him back in time when he had returned from his mission,
five weeks ago. Despite the fact that his son was now completely recovered from
what he had been put through, and that he hadn't been physically hurt this time,
Vader could still remember very vividly how horrified he had felt when he had
discovered where his son had been. The Emperor hadn't told him; he had learnt
it from his son's partner: young Mara Jade. Too many days later, he had been
present when Luke had finally been released and had collapsed unconscious in his
arms from severe lack of food. That day, he admitted, it had been extremely
hard to not really worry about his boy, but he had known all too well that the
Emperor had been watching, monitoring the results of his son's latest
discipline; he had forced himself to not put him in anymore trouble. However,
before he had been able to speak a little with him, he had been called away on a
new duty and had returned less than a week ago... to a son who had completely
recovered from his latest ordeal.
His talk had thus become unnecessary... until tonight. Right now, at this
moment, he could see that his strong boy needed advice from his father.
"What is it, Luke?" he asked him once he was standing in front of
At first, his son remained silent, as if considering if he should speak or
"Luke, what happens between us remains between us," he reassured
him as he took
a step closer and rested his hand on his son's still broadening shoulder.
Despite his thick leather gloves, he felt his son's tendons coil in tension
his touch, then, when he added his other hand, he finally relaxed slightly.
However, he was still avoiding his gaze.
"I..." the teenager finally began hesitatingly. "Did you
ever," he paused, then
visibly swallowed to gather his courage, "feel attracted to someone,
finished in half a whisper, as if afraid that saying it louder would alarm the
Even though Vader had expected something about his bad habit to care too
he hadn't expected that kind of matter to come up with it. For a long moment,
he stared at the young man who was standing in front of him, his eyes now locked
on his own, awaiting his answer. His son, not a man yet, but already a---- Then
His son was dealing as best as he could with the undoubtedly raging hormones
his still developing biological system. Not even the Emperor's training could
keep those from happening, he admitted to himself even as he dimly remembered
how he himself had been, seventeen years ago. When he had seen Amidala again...
he had been downright intoxicated by her presence, had almost become blind to
anything but her and their love.
Slowly, he nodded to answer his expectant son. "I was very attracted to
mother just before we truly fell in love... a long time ago," he added more
coolly to implicitly remind his son that love was now forbidden to them.
"How... how I can I control it without going through that step?"
his ever clever
boy inquired seriously. "I don't want to upset the master again,
then admitted, his eyes shining with unshed tears of fear. "Can you help
For a split second, Vader almost flung aside everything the Emperor had
discussed with him and pulled his son in a comforting embrace, but he stopped
himself before it was too late; instead, he dried his son's tears, then invited
him to sit down on the couch with him. Luke followed him while drying more
tears out of his eyes with the back of his sleeve.
"Tell me," Vader began seriously once he was seated at one end of
purple, leather couch. "Who is haunting your thoughts at the moment?"
Luke bit his lip at this, avoided his gaze once again, then barely whispered:
Once again caught unprepared, Vader did the only thing any father could do in
his situation: he gasped in disbelief.
At the other end of the couch, Luke cringed at his father's reaction. Yes, he
conceded, feeling something for one girl was bad enough, but for two of them...
And especially for him...
"I'm sorry," he apologized weakly, wishing he could be stronger
than that and
deal with his problems by himself.
"Hmmmm," his father finally commented more calmly, "so this
was the girls
problem you were referring to during the reception?"
The young Jedi barely nodded in answer, then pulled his legs up on the couch
buried his face against his knees. He felt totally unworthy of everything he
had been taught so far, he reflected glumly.
"Very well, who are they?" the older man inquired seriously, now
his shock and intent on helping him.
Luke however slightly hesitated before he revealed his feelings for a perfect
stranger. Mara would be understandable, but the princess... "Mara," he
slowly, "and... Princess Leia Organa... of Alderaan," he admitted
His father fell silent once again, perhaps in shock, perhaps to ponder his
predicament, Luke didn't really know nor did he probe him; he was too busy
keeping his own mind in check.
"I should have known that your collecting information about her would
this someday," his father finally commented in slight rebuttal, but not too
either, he noticed. "I thought I felt something coming from you
then admitted, "but I never suspected that the source of your nervousness
been the princess."
"I don't know why I feel that way about her, Father," he admitted
raising his head to gaze at him. "I don't know her, I've never met her for
real... It's just..."
"She intrigues you," his father finished for him. "She is your
age, she is the
last true princess of the galaxy, and she does have a most peculiar of position
as youngest senator ever. She might not be as resourceful as, say, Mara
he offered seriously, "but in a way, Son, she does have attributes that
her share of manly attentions, not yours exclusively."
That stung Luke. Not just him? "What do you mean?" he asked in
"I mean that several teenage boys all around the galaxy dream to someday
Princess Leia Organa, and more than several 'noble' boys have requested to be
formally introduced to her for... marital purposes."
"Really?" he gaped in unpleasant disappointment.
"Trust your feelings, Son."
Up to now, Luke had always thought that he was the only boy to be attracted
the princess, but under his father's cold certitude that he wasn't, that he was,
in fact, part of what was known as propaganda victim in the psychology world,
his anger flared slightly at himself; his feelings for the princess dissolved to
almost nothing... although, a slight ember remained, at the bottom of his now
"What a fool I am," he cursed himself openly even as he clenched
his fists in
frustration. "With everything I know, I shouldn't have fallen for
"You were young, Luke," his father reminded him more gently.
"You needed to
relax from your hard training; she was your escape, but 'I'," he added,
at himself, "should have stopped it before it put you into trouble."
"Guess we're both guilty then," he muttered, then regained his
about Mara?" he inquired seriously. "I can't love her either yet I'm
with her... and I miss her when we're not," he admitted to his father.
The Force bond, Vader reflected as he considered his son's question. As pre-
destined soul mates, the youths were naturally more than attracted to one
another, and, he conceded, he greatly doubted that anything would keep them
apart for much longer. They were closing their seventeenth birthday, and with
it, their maturity. According to the old Jedi books he had read, it was the
point of no return for two predestined lovers. Once maturity was reached, they
'would' end together, join path and become one as they were meant to be.
Not even the Emperor would be able to stop it, he reflected as he gazed at
son, and especially not given the strength of the bond between the two youths.
"What did you do last time that you had to control your care for
her?" he asked
his son seriously.
"I focused only on what we had to do and her answers or work, nothing
it doesn't work anymore," he complained slightly. "Now, no matter how
don't want to think about her personality, or..." he blushed slightly, then
averted his eyes. "Anyway, it doesn't work anymore," he summarized
Vader couldn't help but smirk at his son's discomfiture. No matter how
different he was from the other sixteen-year-old boys of the universe, when it
came to the more physical aspects of his growth, he was exactly like them. He
dimly wondered if the girl had similar feelings for his son, then made a note to
discuss this with the Emperor first hour the following day.
He knew now that nothing would keep the two youths away from one another on
intimate plan for much longer, and he didn't want to see either children hurt
because of what was totally out of their control.
"Continue to counter your thoughts with those, Luke," he advised
that too much care might put both of you in harm's way; I suspect it will dampen
your improper feelings.
His child blushed at the implicit of his comment, then nodded in agreement.
sure don't want to be the source of trouble for her," he commented
"There you go. Now, go to bed and clear your mind of everything but the
You have a busy day tomorrow," he reminded him although he didn't know what
business would be.
He only knew that his son's days were always as busy, if not busier, than his
"Yes, Father," he nodded tiredly, then stood to his feet and
shuffled his way
out of the living room.
Once alone, Vader considered those latest events. Whether the Emperor liked
or not, he resolved, he would have to let the two youths live the love that was
already churning inside their hearts.
He didn't really know for sure that the girl was in a state similar to that
his son, but, he conceded, if the way she had intervened tonight to take his son
out of the princess' presence was anything to go by... she had been jealous of
his interest in the other girl, which meant, he summarized, that she too was
slowly falling in love with his son.
He decided to find a way to use this unavoidable love for the Emperor's
and thus obtain his benediction to let it grow.
He himself knew all too well what a denied love could do to someone, and dark
lord or no, he didn't wish this for his sole child: his son. He deserved to be
with Mara Jade; he had more than earned the reward of this love in his life.
The next morning, Vader was true to his decision and went first thing in the
morning to the Emperor's throne room. However, as was custom with his master
when he hadn't summoned him, he made him wait in the Grand Corridor for hours on
Sometimes, Vader reflected to himself as he gazed outside at the sight of the
teeming city, it almost felt as if the Emperor wanted him to ponder if his
unplanned visit truly was necessary or if it could be postponed. He also
received the same treatment when he was trying to call him from the Executor.
However, he scolded himself, he knew better than to have such thoughts about his
master. The Emperor was a busy man with a very tight schedule between his
An unplanned visitor had to wait, and only himself or his top agents/servants
like his son and his friend had the privilege of being heard on the same day.
Anybody else was turned away, to the muzzle of blasters if need be.
Hence, he settled in to wait as long as he had to; what he had discovered
his son was important enough to postpone his own duties for a whole day if he
had to. In front of him, the busy lines of traffic filled the sky, the floating
cars forming perfect, orderly rows of vehicles which progressed at a steady pace
in the yellow light of early morning. If only they could instigate that kind of
order on all the worlds, he reflected seriously. It was perfect order, everyone
aware of their place and being content to fulfill their role the way they had to
do it for the Emperor's greatness.
The very opposite of the rim worlds where everything was chaotic and violent
rebellion. Now that the Jedi Order was almost completely eradicated, he himself
could dedicate more of his time to bringing much needed peace and order to the
galaxy. However, he conceded, the chaos was such that it would take years to
even be able to rebuild what had already been destroyed by the upstart
He knew that his son and his friend were greatly involved in neutralizing the
resources of such groups, but despite their awesome talents, the youths could
only do so much. They would need his help and---
His comlink went off; it was his turn.
He turned away from the always mesmerizing sight of Imperial City and headed
the heavy double doors of his master's throne room.
Engrossed in his own study of his domain, the Emperor didn't turn around to
greet his servant as the tall man knelt respectfully behind him.
"Good morning, Master," he told him formally.
"You wished to speak with me, Lord Vader?" he asked coldly, letting
him know how
unhappy he was about his attitude.
He himself was perfectly aware that the dark lord had cancelled a meeting
his spies to speak with him.
"Yes, Master," Vader told him as he stood to his feet yet remained
where he was.
"It concerns a most important matter."
"Your son, perhaps?" he commented in mild disgust. The boy, he
the only one who could make his father change a top secret meeting. Vader cared
too much, he decided. He would have to---
"My son and Mara Jade, Master," the dark lord explained seriously.
children are soul mates."
The Emperor barely turned around to pin his servant with his coldest glare.
"Yes, I know. I remember telling 'you' this, Lord Vader," he reminded
"Their time is coming, Master," the other man answered him without
"Time?" he frowned, wondering what his right hand was referring to?
A time of
recognition? Certainly not for their skills since they were active agents since
the age of fourteen. It had also settled the problem he had had with the boy's
"They will soon be seventeen years old, Master, and the closer they will
eighteen, the more they will be attracted to one another until they will
inevitably acknowledge their love for one another and become one as they are
meant to be."
"Well, we shall not let them reach this point, then, shall we, Lord
inquired, implicitly warning his right hand to stop it from happening or else
'he' would do so.
Vader cringed inwardly at the Emperor's words, then braced himself and shook
"We won't be able to stop it from happening, Master," he told him
"It is their destiny; their paths will soon join into a single one, as will
Flashes of blue energy suddenly appeared at the fingertips of the Emperor's
fingers, then they were gone and he clenched his fist in frustration.
"I shall not tolerate more care in your son than I already do,
Vader," the ruler
spat in disgust. "He might be one of us for the moment, but more corruption
he will become an enemy, a Jedi," he sneered.
"Luke will not become a Jedi, Master," Vader reassured his master.
them as much as I do. However, his bond with Mara is not Light nor Dark... and
can greatly serve you," he added with just the right touch of temptation in
tone of voice.
As he had expected, it helped the Emperor to calm down his rising temper. He
completely turned toward him this time. "Explain yourself," he ordered
"According to the information I uncovered," he began seriously,
mates will be reunited no matter the circumstances, the time, or even the
people. As long as they will be separate, they will not reach their full
potential, but once they join together, in every way possible, they will become
like one yet remain two beings. For two agents like my son and Jade," he
continued thoughtfully, "the speed of communication would be unlike
have ever seen for they would always know what the other think and is doing
without the need to even word their thoughts. Mara Jade would also gain more
knowledge of the Force through Luke while my son would gain more focus from
"And they would always remain so?" the wary ruler inquired dryly.
"The bond is impervious to almost anything," he nodded.
"Except?" the Emperor prompted him.
"I couldn't find out about this, Master," the dark lord apologized
killed the Jedi before he had time to finish his memoir," he commented more
The Emperor barely nodded in understanding, then turned away from him once
and fell deep in thoughts.
Vader patiently waited for his decision. As it always was with him, he knew
that it would be final, without any appeal possible.
Jedi soul-mates completely joined as one, the Emperor mused slowly. The
troublesome yet powerful Jedi upstart with his most loyal, blindly obedient Jade
project. He would definitely obtain a very efficient tool to keep the boy in
line, he conceded, and the girl would be less vulnerable thanks to the boy's
income of power. As far as those elements went, he reflected greedily, he
What sat less well with this new element though was the necessary love
the youths. For years now he had taught the boy to not give into his feelings,
had begun to literally scare him from feeling anything. At last, he was getting
results... and would now have to deny them?? He felt the temptation to lash out
on the boy's mind for the new trouble he was responsible for, but he refrained
According to the child's father, it wasn't his doing, nor Jade's. Instead, it
was the Force, and the Force served him very well. If it had brought two pre-
destined soul-mates to his feet and in his claws, then, he reflected seriously,
he could surmise that their being together would serve him better than his
keeping them apart.
Their friendship had sure been worth the trouble of tolerating care in the
children, he admitted to himself, then conceded that it had even been necessary
to obtain satisfying results.
Vader's discovery was unpleasant, and would not be implemented right away, he
decided, but he would prepare himself for the day when he would truly have to
make a decision regarding the children... his best agents on all fronts.
He refocused on his right arm, who hadn't been caring after all; he had been
"Well done, Lord Vader," he finally commented as he turned around
to face him
once more. "This discovery has just saved us much trouble," he
disgust. "However," he added seriously, "our current conversation
between us. If the youths are indeed drawn to one another as you have read,
then I will tolerate their love, in exchange of even better work of
added greedily, "but if the legend doesn't happen, we shall maintain things
they are at the moment."
"As you wish, Master," Vader bowed deeply.
"Good. Go back to your duties now. We need the information about the
on Nirauan," he reminded him dryly.
"Yes, Master," Vader bowed once again and turned on his heel, then
headed out of
the throne room.
On his way down the long stairs, he allowed himself to sigh inwardly. His son
and his friend were safe from the Emperor's wrath.
Now all that remained to be seen was if his information had been right, or
lies from the hated Jedi scholars.
Unaware of what the older dark Jedis had discovered, the younger ones
with their regular duties, at first as if their bond would never act up between
them... but as the days, then weeks passed, its effects began to appear in the
youths, making them feel attraction, growing interest and even making them dream
about their best friend.
Perfectly aware of the consequences of such feelings, both agents tried to
squash them; it only made them stronger and more dazing when they returned.
They didn't threaten their efficiency during missions, but practice became
another matter altogether.
That evening, Luke and Mara were together in their private gym, practicing
Sluissi while pitting their muscles against Coruscant's gravity. For the past
weeks, they had fulfilled their regular duties while carefully avoidind standing
too close to one another, not per common agreement, but because neither of them
wanted to take risks with the strange, demanding feelings that were now
definitely surging within themselves every time they touched. They were both
careful to keep that fact from each other as well as from their master; both
teenagers feared that he would blame it on Luke.
To counter their less and less unexplainable reaction to one another, they
challenged themselves to their limits, thus the other as they had been doing
since the beginning of their training together, some nine years ago now.
Luke pushed upward one last time with his arm, thus reaching the roof where
straight rope was securely attached. Besides him, his friend touched her head
to the same ceiling.
*First down?" he asked her in Sluissi.
Without answering him, except for a challenging smirk, she expertly flipped
position, coiling her legs around the end of the rope, then almost instantly let
herself slide downward. Luke let go a split second after her. The floor
suddenly rushed up at him, threatening him with a very rough, painful if not
deadly landing if he missed his shot.
He had no intention to crash on the floor though; instead, he focused his
let go of the rope and flipped down to the cushioned carpet. Mara's hand
touched the floor at the same time than his feet did. Once he regained his
complete senses, he looked down at her inverted form; she had tightened her legs
just in time to avoid a smashing landing, he surmised---- then his eyes rested a
little longer on her shapely, long legs ; he could make out any details he
wanted through the body-tight fabric... Her muscled legs, her firm ass cheeks
that were invading his dreams lately, her lean shape that was perfectly hiding
her true abilities, her upper curves...
Her feet suddenly spread apart. Luke snapped out of his reverie and
turned away from her while she flipped back to her feet; he worked double-time
on regaining his cool composure while ridding his mind of what was now
Mara noticed his uncharacteristic silence; she looked up from her inverted
position. Gods was he handsome, she reflected privately. Even from under, she
couldn't detach her eyes from his hard-work-crafted, bare arms, his eyes that
seemed naive yet saw everything and registered everything... his well-trimmed
chest that felt extremely good when it was close to hers...
Suddenly aware of her line of thought, she dropped her gaze and flipped back
a more normal position. She couldn't keep thinking that way about him, she
admonished herself. She couldn't---
Since she was distracted by her friend's close presence, she slightly
miscalculated her landing; she ended up so close to him that her arm and right
side seemed to melt against his left side as she stumbled in him.
They both gasped in unexpectedly pleasant surprise, then their eyes met
as quickly as the now familiar bolt of awareness spread all over their bodies.
The mysterious bolt ended its trek in their eyes, or so they saw in each other's
colorful pools of disbelief, warmth, and definitive attraction.
Mara slowly became aware that her breath had quickened to a much faster rate
during the past seconds than throughout her whole work-out session; so had
Luke's, she then noted. Their eyes were glued together, as if held by an
extremely powerful magnet. Their bodies remained still, except for their heads
which slowly, oh so slowly, began to yield under the magnet's pressure.
By the Force she wanted to kiss Luke, she gaped at herself in disbelief as
tried yet failed to resist his appeal. No, she tried to object, they couldn't,
she couldn't risk his safety like this---- yet she reflexively closed her eyes
as his breath brushed against hers--- then she snapped her eyes open when he
took a step away.
What?--- What the heck had she been doing? she sternly scolded herself as the
pressure inside herself diminished to a quieter level.
Luke turned away from his friend and raked his fingers through his hair in an
attempt to regain some kind of control over himself. This couldn't be
happening, he reminded himself sternly. He couldn't feel attracted to his
friend, he had no right to... He wouldn't anger the Emperor, even less be the
reason of a punishment for her who was so much better than he himself was.
He took a deep breath, then made his decision; he would leave her for the
of the evening. He called a towel to his hand, threw it on his shoulder, then
addressed her while keeping his back to her.
*I'll check the master's new ship." he told her in Sluissi, trying to
still hot feeling that was present in the room.
She didn't answer him. Instead, she turned away from him, as if pouting.
Wonderful, now he had miffed her, he sighed as he walked toward the exit.
He had almost reached the door when she spoke again.
"Luke," she called in basic. "I should tell you this more
often, but..." she
began, obviously hesitant. "Well, you're a great guy," she told him
Luke dared turn around to meet her gaze once more. He thus realized that she
was as confused as he was by what was happening to them, that she was as afraid
by it as he was because of their master, yet... she did like him a lot, he
understood through their bond.
However, she knew that it was against their master's orders and wouldn't
Oh, he thought in answer to this thought, did he wish that they could---
When new, fresh feelings of lust and desire assaulted his mind, he turned
once again and headed straight for the shower stall. He needed a cold, very
cold shower, he decided, steeling himself for the unpleasant experience. Better
that than displease their master though.
Unbeknown to him, Mara chose to do exactly the same thing, sharing his line
After his shower, Luke hurried to leave their private headquarters, assuming
once more his role of a slave.
Ever since he had covered his real mark with a tattoo, he had had to create a
new mark, on his neck this time, one that would always be visible, hence, keep
him out of trouble when he was playing his subservient role. His master had
promised him that he would have it removed by his best surgeons in time, when
the time would be right for him to claim his place as his new dark lord.
Now aged of seventeen, Luke couldn't wait for that blessed day to happen. He
served his master devotedly, helping him to keep the galaxy under his control...
but he didn't trust him, nor Mara, with Jedi business. For the past years, he
hadn't really minded anymore, but now that he was almost an adult... he was
beginning to grow antsy about not being given the chance to prove himself
against the few remaining ones.
Perhaps that would be his test, he reflected seriously, forcing down his
feelings of impatience. It would be logical, he admitted as he walked with his
head bowed. After all, when he would acknowledge him, he would become Lord Luke
Vader... someone to be reckoned and feared by everybody, even Jedi Knights.
He liked the ring of that name, he smiled slightly, bowing his head further
down to hide his expression. When he entered the more crowded corridors, he
left the middle of the corridor to the other denizens of the palace, only
stepping aside to avoid the stormtroopers who were guarding the entrances of
Some of them naturally bullied him for as long as he was within their reach;
he walked away from one such trooper, he reflected that he he could've knocked
that one dead without his being aware of it, but he would have then blown his
perfect cover to go as he pleased within his master's palace.
His master wouldn't have been pleased, he reminded himself sternly.
His well-known status of the Emperor's errand slave boy gave him access to
of areas of the castle. Thus, he bore once again the troopers' actions, telling
himself that if they overdid it, his master would find a way to punish them---
He snapped his head up and looked toward the secret hangar that was concealed
the seemingly dead end. He reached out--- Someone was in there, he realized
with a start. He instantly reached for some kind of weapon.
He belatedly realized that he had been so distracted by his friend while
changing clothes that he had forgotten to grab his basic weapons before leaving.
Wonderful, he cursed inwardly, then set about studying his remaining options.
After making sure that no one saw him enter his master's secret hangar, he
slipped inside the secret door. The ship was already in its warm-up cycle, he
noted with growing urgency.
Whoever it was, he surmised, had managed to get past his master's defense
systems, had stolen the data on how to start the sleek new model of Tie fighter-
-- and was going to take off with it if he didn't do something soon.
Without further thoughts, Luke tried to choke the intruder through the Force;
found himself unable to connect with the other's senses. For a moment, he was
too puzzled to think about trying something else. He had felt the man before he
had boarded the ship, hadn't he? He had to be there, he tried again--- then it
clicked: ysalamiri. His master had kept an ysalamiri in the prototype, probably
to shield whoever was working on it from probes from the drat Jedi survivors.
Well so much for using the Force, he thought grimly as he surveyed the hangar
for a new strategy. Meanwhile, the ship hovered upward, ready to blast off.
Luke made up his mind; He had no other choice.
He reached out for the fighter's engine, brushed the zone that was just out
the ysalamiri's bubble, and pulled on the feed and cooling leads that were
surrounding the already overheating engine. He barely had time to dive behind a
nearby console before the slick little ship exploded in a fiery display of
The force of the explosion reached Luke's inadequate cover; it hurled him
against the wall, then he barely had time to call on the Force to shield
Himself against the remains of the explosion.
He thus barely avoided being smashed by whatever bounced off his shield.
Once the explosion was over, he turned back toward where the ship had been.
Smoking wreckage, torn up walls and slanted ceiling and floor testified that it
had once existed... and that he himself had once again pushed it. He felt his
eyes widen in slight fear. His master wouldn't be happy...
Indeed the Emperor wasn't pleased.
As he surveyed the remnants of what had been the sole prototype of a more
efficient TIE fighter model, Palpatine decided that he didn't know who to curse
more: the hated Jedi spies, or his semi-Jedi servant who had just destroyed any
hopes of ever rebuilding the prototype since the ship had taken its plans and
everything concerning it when it had destroyed the surrounding landing bay.
He turned around toward his waiting, faithful royal bodyguards.
"Bring the guards of this floor to me," he ordered angrily.
One of his bodyguard bowed to him and left to fulfill his wish while the
kept his eyes peeled to protect him with his life if need be.
Not that such a sacrifice would be needed, the evil man reflected dimly as he
took another moment to study his servant's latest handiwork, but no the men's
ignorance about his powers kept them loyal to death. It pleased him. Now, he
thought less happily, for his young dark Jedi... He hadn't been caught in the
hangar after the explosion; by the time the nearby guards had come by to check
what had happened, he had been long gone via one of the secret corridors.
However, he thought in annoyance, the child had once again destroyed one of
toys, this one being irreplaceable compared to the almost finished chemical
experiment he had ruined a few months ago. He had forgiven him last time,
warning him to pay extra attention to his projects when his missions were
bringing him close to them, but this time, he decided with finality, he wouldn't
The boy would learn once and for all to protect his top secret projects, with
his life if need be.
He turned around once again; his royal guard was already coming back with the
ten guards who had been on duty in the surrounding corridors.
Ten minutes later, and ten deaths later, he headed for his quarters where his
already humbled servant was waiting for him and his punishment.
As he walked passed the teenager, he viciously wrapped a Force-leash around
neck, and yanked him down hard before pulling him forward with a sharp tug of
his mind; the youth had no choice but to fall in step and follow. He felt some
of his anger dissipate as the boy's fear entered his awareness; the child was
now convinced that he would be severely punished.
Perhaps he would be, the ruler admitted to himself even as he released the
once his doors were closed. However, the conviction he had had in the hangar
bay was now diffuse; he recognized the Force warning regarding this latest
accident. Something beside a destroyed ship had happened, he understood.
Facing the still subservient youth, he crossed his arms.
"Explain yourself." he ordered coldly.
The child bowed his head respectfully yet in shame. "I'm sorry,
began in apology, "I tried to save your craft, but the pilot was protected
ysalamiri. I couldn't kill him with the Force and it was too late for me to
board the ship," he continued truthfully.
"And?" he sneered in disdain at his pitiful excuse. "What
stopped you from
disabling it without destroying it?" he spat, taking a step closer to the
teenager, his relatively controlled temper resurfacing to punish the boy---
"I... wasn't armed, Master," he admitted even as he cringed in
The Emperor stopped in mid-motion at that.
"Unarmed?" he whispered darkly, taking another step closer to the
"I'm sorry, Master," the young Jedi hurried to apologize as he
at his implicit threat. "I was distracted tonight; I only wanted to see
new prototype when I felt the intruder's presence in the hangar, then I had no
other choice but to destroy your ship. Please, forgive me, Master," he
apologized earnestly once again, bowing his head further.
The Emperor wouldn't have any of that; he raised his hand to the boy's chin
swiftly forced him to look at him. "And what distracted you from your duty
time, young Vader?" he asked dangerously, his fingers already tightening
the boy's small chin.
At first, the boy's eyes widened in great fear and it seemed as if he
answer him, but his latest lessons had taught him well and he obeyed him.
"Mara," he answered simply, then lowered his eyes when he let go of
his chin in
For a long moment, the Emperor remained silent and still in great
It had begun.
What himself and Vader had discussed about the youths had begun; the boy was
already loosing his focus to the presence of the girl, and vice-versa he
suspected although he didn't have any tangible proof about the girl. Up until
now, he had truly believed that Vader's discovery had been nothing but a myth, a
legend to fill the Jedi libraries with nonsense; deep down, he had never thought
that he would have to consider his choice between the actual status quo... and
deeper love for a deeper link between the children.
For a brief, very brief moment, he considered finishing it right away and be
done with the troublesome boy, but the moment his hand shot upward to touch his
neck, he changed his mind.
The boy was powerful, was dedicated to him and wanted to please him to earn
right to be free from his 'slavery' role and serve him with his father. He was
too much a powerful asset to destroy, he decided while he left his hand on the
boy's neck, dimly reveling in his growing fear while he pondered the future.
The boy would survive once again, he finally decided, but until he and Jade
truly came together and went beyond being distracted by one another's presence,
he wouldn't openly allow him to love her, nor would he tolerate any wavering in
the boy's focus.
When the Emperor's cold hand gripped his neck, Luke braced himself for a very
bad punishment. Given his training, he knew that he should have never forgotten
his weapons, that he should have felt the danger much sooner---
His master shocked him hard in the neck, forcing him to his knees when his
strengths abandoned him--- then nothing.
While Luke worked hard on his senses to not give into the strange
unconsciousness that was threatening to overcome him, his master took hold of
his chin and made him look at him. The youth tried to look as deferentially as
he could given the situation.
"That was for destroying the hangar and being distracted by your
child," the other informed him coldly, "as long as you correct the
he added warningly.
Luke weakly nodded in answer; he understood the warning.
"However, since you saved my prototype's idea from being stolen
will not punish you for the destruction of the plans and prototype, but..."
paused once again warningly. "I shall not always be this lenient," he
"I will be more attentive, Master," he promised earnestly.
"Good. Next time you destroy something in the palace or my bases, young
you will be punished according to the amount of destruction you've caused, am I
clear?" he asked darkly.
"Yes, Master." Luke bowed to hide his fear.
Luke left his master's private quarters, feeling even more humbled then when
had entered them. On his way toward the closest slave stairway, he reflected
that he was far from being worthy to serve his master if he still had to
threaten him with punishments.
He would have to take example on his friend, he tiredly.
To be continued in part 10: Bonding
Well, liked it?
Copyright 2000, SJ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Any positive stuff is welcome, but any mean stuff will be sent to the garbage
smasher without being read.)
Part I | Part
II | Part III | Part
IV | Part V | Part
VI | Part VII | Part
VIII | Part IX | Part
X | Part XI | Part
XII | Part XIII | Part
XIV | Part XV | Part
XVI | Part XVII | Part
XVIII | Part XIX | Part
XX | Part XXI | Part
XXII | Part XXIII | Part
XXIV | Part XXV
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