FFN Warning: Fic is slash, though there's not actually all that much of it. Sorry if that's not your cup of tea. If you don't like slash, please consider whether this fic is for you or not. I write so people can enjoy the awesome world of space and adventure that's in a galaxy far, far away, and I'm making the contents of this story very clear. I'd appreciate it soooo much, even when you disagree, if you could be polite when you review. Constructive criticism is appreciated, but hate messages aren't. Everyone's interpretation of canon is different, and anger over those differences will only hurt people. Thank you!
Edit: Crossposted in its entirety from AO3. Formatting may take a hit.
Original Author's Note: SO, UM. YEAH. The Deaged/Force Soulbond fic.
Dude, full disclosure, this is crack that's wearing reading glasses and pretending it's intellectual. Every hint of seriousness I get in here will at some point be totally overshadowed by Anakin's bouncy hair and Obi-Wan's desert-dry humour. I'm saying this in case there aren't enough ways I can creatively tag "Crack!fic incoming!" and nobody notices.
Also, what is angst? Baby, don't hurt me.
Original Chapter 1 Author's Note: The Force just does whatever. It's so chill, man. It's like the next honey badger.
(I have more written, but not the entire story. My update schedule basically doesn't exist, I'm sorry.)
(Vader does lighten up in later chapters. Both in a figurative sense and Force-wise. And, one day, I swear I'll switch out of Leia's POV.)
Leia had no idea how they'd gotten to this point.
Vader and Obi-Wan were doubled over on the floor, their fight completely forgotten. Luke, the idiot martyr, had rushed over past tens of trigger-happy Stormtroopers to save them as soon as it happened, but no dice. It seemed to be a Force issue, not that she knew much about it. There was a vague sense of distress permeating the docking bay, but she was too disconnected to tell more.
"Luke," she cried. "Are you alright?"
"Am I alright?" Luke stared wildly. "What about Ben?"
She looked down at the famed General Kenobi, who was silently encased in some kind of golden energy. He had stopped writhing in agony and seemed to be in some kind of peaceful trance. Vader wasn't much different.
"This is absurd," she said, horrified.
"Tell me about it!" Luke reached out a hand to touch Obi-Wan, but quickly wrenched it away. "Ouch, that's hot. Why is it hot?"
Luke stood for a moment, mouth drawn into a tight line. He looked like he wanted to say something, but couldn't find the words.
"What the hell?" It was Han now, from behind her. He'd had no trouble crossing from the Millennium Falcon, which was unsurprising, as she supposed the Troopers were too terrified at seeing their superior discarded on the floor like some sort of limp rag to fire.
"I'd like to know, too," she agreed. "He's not in pain anymore, at least."
"Is there anything we can do?" Luke asked, voice filled with desperation. He made another aborted attempt to reach out.
"I don't think so." Leia held a hand over the energy casing, feeling its warmth, which was slowly lessening. "It's wearing off, whatever it is."
"Will they be okay?" It was rhetorical. They could barely see through the thick, shimmering beam. Luke twisted his hands nervously, peeking through every so often and measuring the subtle change. The heat and light was fading faster now.
"I think I can see him!" Luke announced, after a minute or two. "He looks- he looks different. Something's wrong."
Sure enough, the energy dissipated, leaving behind someone who, though less weathered, was still very much Obi-Wan Kenobi. He looked at least twenty years younger, as impossible as that seemed.
"The Force," Luke was quick to decide. "It must be the will of the Force."
Leia honestly had no idea why the Force would want an unpolished, more inexperienced version of the General to face up against the galaxy's greatest threat. Unless, of course...
She inclined her head to look at the now-risen, clearly shaken Vader, who was scrabbling to get off his helmet. It fell to the floor, echoing loudly in the now very, very silent room. There, inside the monstrous armour, was someone who looked so disturbingly like Luke, she had to look twice.
"This is absurd," Vader said, in an uncanny parallel to her earlier words, yet sounding at once like a petulant child without his imposing air to guide him. She almost laughed at the contrast.
Obi-Wan, who had shaken off his daze, chuckled in agreement. "A second chance, old friend," he offered, holding out a hand, which, to Leia, was in equal parts a dangerous and unsound decision to make when faced with the man that was only five minutes ago trying to murder you.
Vader snarled in response, brushing himself off. "You're a fool if you think a little youthful vitality is all it takes for me to ally myself with you once more, old man."
"I don't suppose you know what you'll do with yourself now, then," Obi-Wan said, casual. "Can you truly face the Emperor like that?"
"Underestimating my power again, Kenobi? I thought you'd learned from your mistakes."
"Come with us," Obi-Wan suggested, ignoring Vader's thinly-veiled warning completely. "Think of the Force, the Prophecy. Why else would we have been gifted this opportunity?"
"Do not speak to me of the Prophecy," Vader hissed. Leia had the sudden impression that she was woefully under-prepared. Even with the Alliance's knowledge, not many had a firm understanding of the Republic's fall, nor the reasons behind it. Clearly, there was something incredibly important they were missing, something that Obi-Wan and Vader knew.
"Of course you must have a better explanation." Obi-Wan looked distinctly unimpressed.
Vader said nothing. He clenched his fists, tight leather scrunching audibly. Then, finally, "The Prophecy has long since given up on me. There's something else behind this 'second chance.'"
"Then help us find it."
Leia wasn't convinced inviting evil incarnate to join them in fighting the Empire was exactly one of Obi-Wan's brightest ideas. She glanced briefly at Luke, who looked similarly doubtful, though more willing. His devotion to Obi-Wan was a little blind, perhaps.
Still, as they say, the enemy of my enemy, she thought. Objectively, Vader could be a powerful ally. Personally, she would find it hard to look past his... flaws. Obi-Wan was taking a risk - one that he couldn't let his affection cloud over. She was almost positive this was a terrible idea.
Vader's eyes danced around the room, taking in the petrified Stormtroopers, the blaster-marked walls, coldly calculating. He looked somewhat disappointed, and the fight left him, replaced with wary cooperation. "Very well. I will help you discover the cause of this event, but that is all. Don't mistake this for friendship, Kenobi."
"I wouldn't dare."
Luke and Leia sat quietly, listening to the hum of the Falcon as she flew through hyperspace. The past hours were catching up to them, finally sinking in, and Leia was, at this point, far beyond confusion.
"Ben," Luke began. "Uh, what are we doing?"
"Saving an old friend." Obi-Wan shook his head sadly. "I haven't told you the whole truth about your father, young Luke. Or yours, Leia."
She blinked at the non sequitur. Was this the missing piece she had been looking for? If only he'd stop speaking in riddles and tell them the straight truth.
"Anakin Skywalker was once a great Jedi, before he was seduced by the Dark Side. When he fell, it became my job to protect his children, to hide them from him. To separate them."
Leia knew, somehow, precisely where this was going, and that it wasn't the much-needed clarity she'd wished for. She could sense Luke's fear through the Force. "You can't be saying that he's-"
Obi-Wan's gaze wasn't pitying, but it was close enough. "He was a good man," he assured. It did little to help.
"That monster cannot be my father - our father."
"But we're helping him, right?" Luke cut in, voice shaking. "He's not all bad."
"No, he's not." The General smiled, small and hopeful. "And I think he knows it, as well. This, the will of the Force, was just the push he needed."
Leia shut her eyes. Luke was her brother, and together, they were Vader's children. It sounded like nonsense, but The Force told her it was true, no matter how much she wanted it not to. The thought made her blood feel like poison. If the Alliance knew, they'd look at her like she was a ticking time bomb, and would they be wrong?
"There's still a chance, Leia," Luke pleaded, "that we can save him."
She had been staring at nothing for far too long, trying to ignore Vader's presence on the ship. With so much Force power, she knew he'd have sensed their shared blood about as soon as she acknowledged its existence. Luke was with him, she could tell, probably already making amends, but she couldn't bring herself to move. She had nothing to say to him. As far as she was concerned, Bail Organa was her real father. Not in blood, no, but certainly in spirit.
She sighed and stood up to make her way to Vader's quarters. She couldn't leave Luke to face him alone.
She couldn't hear anything but muffled voices when she arrived at the door. She probed the Force to check, but felt only peaceful emotion. Hopefully Luke's warm demeanour would act as a mediator and save them from being choked to death.
"Come in," she heard, through the door. So, Vader could sense her after all.
She entered slowly and with a feeling of surreal detachment. Luke was there, smiling as wide as ever, waving in greeting. Vader stood next to him, wearing simple robes, which she could only presume Obi-Wan must have lent him. The family resemblance was striking, now they were lined up side-by-side.
"Welcome to our family reunion," Luke laughed. "I'm really glad you made it."
"You must have questions," Vader said, and Leia knew the guilt she might have seen in his eyes was only her imagination.
No, of course not. Why would I have those? she thought in reply, but resisted the urge to voice it aloud. Instead, she only narrowed her eyes at him in acknowledgement.
"Please, sit down." The gracious hospitality did nothing to ease her suspicions. "I'm sure we'll be here a while."
She sat on the only available surface, the small bunk in the corner, and rubbed a hand over her face. Where could she start? Half of her wanted to deck him in the face, but that would get her an angry Sith Lord and no answers. The other half wanted to shake him, hard, and demand an explanation, even though she knew none that he could give would lessen her disgust. She was part of the movement sent to destroy him, for Forcesake. Talk about family dysfunction!
"Family dysfunction is one word for it," Vader said, and Leia's hackles rose. She shot Luke a cautious glance, but he only shook his head. "Your shielding," Vader clarified. "You have very loud thoughts, much like I did at your age."
She winced at the comparison.
"I can help you with that later, if you want," Luke cut in, reassuring. He must have understood her need for psychic privacy.
She smiled tightly and hoped he caught her gratitude.
"I'd have liked to teach you about the Force, had things been different," Vader offered. "I sense great power within you both."
"Oh, spare me," she snapped. "You're not here to be a father, we know. Save the formalities for someone who needs them."
For a moment, she saw surprise colour his gaze, soon to be replaced by almost fond amusement. "You have your mother's eyes, but the attitude is all mine."
Was that supposed to be a compliment? She had no idea who her father once was, but it wasn't much of a leap to assume her stubborn determination was inherited. The idea put her on edge.
"Relax, I'm not making a statement." Vader sighed, an unexpected reminder of how quiet and unassuming his breathing had become. He looked young, tired. "I'm trying to get to know my children."
Leia didn't know what to say to that.
"Okay," Luke said. "This is a pretty extraordinary situation, so I think we can put aside our differences, right, Leia? It'll be a second chance, like Ben said."
She knew it would be pointless to keep up this tense atmosphere, that they'd drive themselves mad before long. She wasn't trusting, but she could compromise. "Alright. A second chance."
"Great!" Luke smiled, and the Force radiated like the sun. "So, how about lunch?"