When Luke opened his eyes, he was there. He was crumbled on the floor of the Millennium Falcon, that stupid, ridiculous helmet on, and the concerned, non-blue face of one Ben Kenobi.
Who he promptly punched.
Ben– Obi-Wan, stumbled back, eyes wide in shock. Luke, for his part, was seething. "How could you not tell me?" he demanded.
"I beg your pardon?" Ben asked. Han's eyes were wide and darting back and forth between them.
"That Vader is my father," Luke hissed. "That Vader is my father and that he wants me."
Ben sat back, mouth dropped open in awe and surprise and… and was that fear?
"How… how did you know, Luke?" he asked. "Did you have a vision?"
Luke's eyes narrowed, but, in the end, he nodded. "A vision. Of sorts."
"Of sorts," Ben echoed back, voice a whisper. "And that he wants you? Interesting, indeed." Ben was slowly stroking his beard in thought.
"Do you deny that he wanted me?" Luke challenged.
Ben gave him a small smile. A sad smile. "I wouldn't know," he admitted. "Your father did not feel comfortable telling me about her pregnancy. I only found out when I went to speak with your mother, after Ana- Vader had led the troops into the Temple."
Luke sat up straighter in shock. He hadn't heard anyone ever mention his mother before, and he didn't know anything about his part in the purging of the Temple. He decided to focus on the former.
"My mother? You knew her?" he asked.
Ben nodded. "I knew her well. Padmé Amidala, Senator from Naboo." He let out a long sigh, staring off a bit with a sad look on his face. "I always knew there was something between them, but I had never imagined it had gone that far."
Luke frowned. "Why wouldn't he tell you?" Luke knew all about the infamous Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi duo– they were somewhat of legends in the Rebellion. He had read every old article that spoke about them, and analyzed every picture. The two of them were The Team, and were considered unbeatable due to their close bond.
Ben just gave him a small, sad smile. "I'm sure there were many reasons. Reasons I've ruminated about for nineteen years now."
They sat in silence for another moment, before Han gently cleared his throat. "Not to interrupt this whole, uh, important conversation, but is this force vision thing the reason the kid just passed out cold on my ship?"
"Force visions are very strong, especially in those of us more attuned to the Force," Ben said with a disdainful sniff. "Nothing to worry about. We should be approaching the Alderaan system soon, anyhow."
Luke gave a grimace at that, remembering what the fate of Alderaan was. Or, who knows if it had even happened yet, but regardless, soon Alderaan would be blown to bits. He reached up to rub the back of his neck. "Yeah, about that."
Unsurprisingly, Ben did not like his plan. "The last time I encountered Vader, he was hellbent on murdering me. The time before that, he would have murdered an entire village just to get my attention," he hissed. "You are not going to just waltz out there, and–"
"Don't you get it?" Luke said, throwing his hands up in exasperation. Behind the two of them, Han and Chewie were still rapidly trying to get out of the beam that was pulling them into the Death Star's hangar. "He won't harm me. And once I tell him who Leia is–"
Ben made a strangled sound at that. "You cannot just tell him that the Princess of Alderaan is his daughter, Luke! There is no way to predict how he will react!"
"This is fantastic holodrama material and all," Han interrupted. "But we have a bit of a situation here."
Luke groaned, throwing his head back to stare at the ceiling as if it held all of the answers to his life's problems. "Han, just land the ship. There's no getting out of this." Chewie made a sound of agreement, and Luke turned back to Ben. The older man looked… well, quite frankly, he looked terrified. Luke's own face softened. "Ben, my father told me that you thought he could come back."
Ben sucked in a ragged breath at that. Eventually, he swallowed, and the eyes he cast onto Luke were full of pain and sorry and regret. "That was a long time ago," he practically whispered. "I would do anything to have Anakin back– anything. He was my brother. My best friend. But he told me himself: Anakin Skywalker is dead."
Luke reached out, placing a hand on his shoulder. "I looked Anakin Skywalker in the eyes as he took his last breath. He's in there, Obi-Wan. He just doesn't know that he has anything worth fighting for. He has to believe Anakin is fully gone. I have to tell him. The Force brought me back here to set things right, and that's what I'm going to do. Starting now. I couldn't save Alderaan. But I can save my father, and as a result, thousands of lives."
Ben searched his face, looking for any hint of a lie, before, just as the ship was landing, he nodded. "I will do my best to protect you while you speak with him. I cannot guarantee your safety if we go through with this."
The smile that erupted across his face was almost too wide, and he quickly threw his arms around Ben, something he'd wanted to do for ages now. After a moment of surprise, Ben returned the hug, giving him a small pat on the back.
"You won't regret this," he promised.
Ben sighed. "I've heard one too many Skywalkers say that to me."
"This shit is insane," Han grumbled.
"I beg your pardon?" The stormtrooper asked. Luke imagined he was blinking in shock behind his mask.
"Tell Lord Vader that Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi want to meet with him," Luke said, giving his most bashful Outer Rim farmer boy smile. "I promise he won't kill you when he hears."
Even with the helmet on, the stormtrooper looked doubtful. They were standing on the hangar floor– Han and Chewie were hiding in the ship while Obi-Wan and Luke let themselves be apprehended. The cuffs were easy to break, but now wasn't the time to cause a scene. The stormtrooper hesitated for just one more moment, before raising his comm to his mouthpiece.
There was a crackle, and then a voice came over the comm. "What is it?"
"We've got two prisoners from that rustball of a ship that just landed. Says they need to speak with Lord Vader." The stormtrooper wasn't even looking at them, and there was a long pause after their words.
"I will patch you through, but it's your head," the Captain said. Obi-Wan winced, but Like sent him a comforting wave through the Force.
No one is going to die here today.
They didn't have to wait for long before the comm crackled again, and a familiar voice filtered through. "What?"
Straight and to the point as always. The stormtrooper shifted a bit in his shoes, but didn't dare to hesitate. "My Lord, we have two prisoners here. An Obi-Wan Kenobi–"
"What?" Vader roared.
The stormtrooper winced. "And a Luke, uh, Skywalker."
There was a long pause, before Vader asked, "Skywalker?"
Another short pause. And then, "Where are you located, Trooper?" Vader demanded.
"Docking Bay 327, my Lord," he quickly answered.
"I will be there momentarily. Do not let them escape," Vader hissed before quickly cutting off the comms. The stormtrooper stared at his comms for a moment before looking back at them.
Luke gave him a bashful smile. "Told you it'd be fine."
"You consider that 'fine'?" The stormtrooper asked.
"He can choke people through holocalls, so, yeah, I'd say it went well." Luke shifted on his feet before staring at Obi-Wan. "Did you teach him how to do that?"
Obi-Wan just sighed. "That wasn't an approved lesson for Jedi Padawans, no."
"Can you imagine Palpatine teaching him that?" Luke asked with a small smirk. The stormtrooper made a small sound, amusement and horror mixed together in the Force.
Obi-Wan's lips twitched up a bit as he looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "The only thing Palpatine and I will ever have in common is the experience of trying to instruct Anakin Skywalker," he said, amusement coloring his voice. "If we survive this, remind me to tell you some delightful stories from his youth."
"I'll hold you to that," Luke promised. The stormtrooper was still staring at them, but before Luke could open his mouth to say something, the hangar doors slammed open, and Vader was there.
An unexpected emotion seized Luke's chest at the sight of him. The last thing he remembered on the Millennium Falcon was his father dying in his arms, after he'd successfully ridden himself of the dark side in order to save Luke and defeat Palpatine. And yet, the Force had deemed it that Luke gave another go at it, and now he actually had the chance to speak to his father. To get to know him. To save the galaxy with him.
But first things first: actually get out of this first encounter alive.
"Obi-Wan," Vader hissed as he approached. He waved a hand at the stormtrooper. "Leave us. All of you." It didn't take more than a couple of seconds for the hangar to empty out, the troopers scattering like fleas.
Obi-Wan inclined his head. "Anakin," he greeted.
Vader winced, a barely noticeable thing. However, it seemed that both Luke and Obi-Wan caught sight of it. "I told you. Anakin Skywalker is dead. I am all that's left."
Obi-Wan cocked his head. "So you have no claim over his son?" Luke straightened up at that, as Vader's attention quickly changed to be directed at him. After just a moment, Vader stumbled back.
"What sort of trick is this?" he demanded, voice booming and crackling. There was a desperation in his voice. Around them, items began to slowly shake. "Another one of your lies?"
"Search your feelings, Father," Luke spoke up, repeating familiar words. "You cannot deny this. I am Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin Skywalker."
Vader shook his head, looking back at Obi-Wan– looking back at his old Master. "I killed her. The child did not survive." There was a deep sadness in his voice, and Luke winced. He'd always thought that was what happened, but it was different to hear it confirmed.
Obi-Wan let out a long breath. "She survived long enough to give birth. I thought you dead, Anakin, and by the time I found out you were alive, it had been a decade and you all but told me that there was no goodness in you left."
Vader was shaking his head, the items around the hangar shaking with more vigor now as his emotions grew stronger and stronger. Luke gasped as he felt tendrils of the Force– cold, dark, harsh, the feeling of metal arms– wrap around him, inspecting him.
"I am from a future where you found out soon after this meeting. But we never get to know each other," Luke whispered, not able to talk much louder as his father's Force signature continued to wrap around him, searching and digging. "The Force gave us another chance. Please, Father."
"Impossible," Vader said, as quiet as the vocoder would allow him to speak. "Time travel is–"
"As impossible as a child being born without a father?" Obi-Wan asked. Vader slowly turned his head to look at him for a moment, before turning back to Luke. Luke offered him a small smile.
"You can feel this is the truth, can't you?" Luke asked, voice soft and gentle.
The Force suddenly withdrew, and Luke sucked in a breath, feeling the slight warmth of the room again. Obi-Wan was looking at him in concern, scanning his face and checking that he was alright, before he slowly turned back to Vader, who was standing stock still, staring right at Luke.
There was silence for a long moment, before Luke took a cautious step forward. And then, one more. And another. Until he was standing so close that he had to angle his head upwards just to stare into his eyepieces. "Father, I am alive. And well. And I want to fight with you. End this madness." A few breath cycles went through, Vader continuing to stare at him. Slowly, tenderly, Vader reached a hand down and stroked his cheek.
"Luke," he said, as quietly as he dared. "Luke."
Luke leaned into his touch, closing his eyes and basking in the closeness. Behind him, he could hear Obi-Wan approach.
Vader looked up at him from behind Luke's shoulder. "You kept him hidden?"
"Safe and hidden on Tatooine," Obi-Wan confirmed. "With your stepbrother Owen and his wife, Beru. They were good to him."
Vader stared at him for another moment before looking back down at Luke. "I take it you would be upset if I killed him?"
Luke sighed, still leaning into his oversized hand. "Very."
Vader continued to stare, his thumb tracing over Luke's features. "My son."
Obi-Wan cleared his throat a bit, and Luke sighed, knowing what was next.
"There is, of course, one more thing," Obi-Wan admitted. "Though I doubt you'll be too happy to hear this."
"You always did love surprises," Vader snarled. "What is it? Does it have to do with those two pathetic life forms hiding on the ship?"
Luke snorted. "They're just our pilots."
"Padmé did not just give birth to Luke," Obi-Wan said. Luke felt as Vader straightened. "He has a twin. A sister."
"And which long distance relative was she whisked off to?" he asked, anger, though it seemed at himself, barely restrained.
Luke and Obi-Wan exchanged a look, before Obi-Wan politely cleared his throat. "That's just the thing. It wasn't a relative, per se."
Vader's other hand clenched. "Elaborate. Now."
"You remember my good friend, Senator Organa, yes?"
Every lightbulb in the hangar exploded.
Luke and Obi-Wan could barely keep up with Vader as he stormed through the halls of the Death Star. No one they passed even bothered to ask questions, instead quickly jumping out of the way to hide in rooms and behind columns. After the announcement in the hangar, and after Vader and Obi-Wan had had a screaming match that would put any soap opera to shame, the Sith Lord had abruptly turned on his feet and began marching out of the hangar.
"Tell that pilot to prepare his ship. We will be leaving soon," he'd commanded.
"And where are you going?" Obi-Wan had yelled.
"To retrieve my other secret child!" Vader had screamed back.
And that was that.
"You aren't honestly planning on just breaking her out of her cell, are you?" Obi-Wan asked.
"I am. It's hardly breaking. I am the highest ranking person on this ship," Vader said. "For the most part."
"The most part?" Luke asked, startled.
"As long as we don't run into Tarkin, I'm confident that we will be successful," Vader reassured, still not stopping in his quick pursuit of the detention level.
"Oh Force help me, you haven't changed a bit," Obi-Wan grumbled. "Anakin, she just watched her planet be blown to smithereens. I hardly think that she's going to be receptive."
Vader paused then, whirling on them and shoving a finger at Obi-Wan. "I detest this monstrosity as much as anyone," he claimed, with passion and desperation in his voice. "I did not make the call to destroy Alderaan."
"And yet you stood by," Obi-Wan pointed out. "Do you really think she's going to care who made the call?"
Vader let a few breath cycles through, before whipping around, continuing his stalk towards the cells. "Then what is your suggestion, Master?"
Obi-Wan and Luke exchanged a look before hurrying to catch up. "I have a history with the girl," Obi-Wan said. "Do you remember that…"
"I know what you're talking about," Vader snapped. "You could have told me then."
"You threw a pile of rocks on top of me," Obi-Wan bit out. "Didn't seem like an optimal time."
"You did what?" Luke asked, eyes wide.
"He cut my limbs off. Being buried alive seems reasonable," Vader argued. While the modulator prevented it from sounding whiny, Luke could hear the sullen undertone. Vader stopped again, turning to face them. "Fine. Obi-Wan, retrieve the girl and take her back to that… what is masking as a ship."
"And what about us?" Luke asked. He crossed his arms and arched an eyebrow. "I'm not joining the dark side. You tried that before and it didn't work."
"You don't know the power of the dark side," Vader said with a growl, but he quickly relented. "Our main goal is to leave this battle station before Tarkin informs the Emperor about your existence."
Luke scowled. "I'd like to give Tarkin a piece of my mind."
"Luke…," Obi-Wan scolded. Vader waved him off.
"Tarkin has always been intolerable," he said. Vader shifted a bit on his feet, thinking. "I cannot disobey my Master, even if he had lied to me about your death. And… and about her death."
Luke cocked his head to the side, approaching his father. "You killed him for me, you know?" Vader stared at him, no words being said. Luke took that as his sign to continue. "You killed him for me. He was electrocuting me because I wouldn't turn to the dark side. I wouldn't kill you. And you sacrificed yourself to kill him and save me."
The silence stretched on for another few moments, before Vader slowly turned his head to look at Obi-Wan. "Retrieve the girl–"
"She has a name, Anakin."
"-- and Luke and I will defeat Tarkin," Vader finished. "I am not joining the Rebellion, but I… I can do this."
"Kill Tarkin?" Luke asked, just a little bit giddy. "Can we destroy the Death Star, too? I know a weakness."
"I will not sacrifice the millions of soldiers on board, but with Tarkin disposed of, we can evacuate," Vader said. "And then…"
"Then, we will let the Force guide us," Luke said, reaching out a hand to place on Vader's shoulder. "Together."
Vader searched his face for a moment, before inclining his head. "Together."