I don't own Star Wars in any way
Lando Calrissian nodded nervously at Darth Vader and strode out of the dining room to fetch Han, the princess, and Chewbacca the Wookiee.
Calrissian felt terrible about this whole mess; he and Han had a long and less than illustrious history and neither trusted the other, but selling Solo and his companions out to the Empire was stooping low even for him.
Lando sighed to himself; there was really nothing else to be done. And apparently Vader wasn't really interested in Han and his friends anyway, but some mysterious dude named Skywalker. Once Skywalker showed up, everything would be Ok. Han could go on his way, and perhaps the supremely gorgeous Leia would be interested in staying over for a few days to see the sights of Cloud City. Most importantly, the Empire would leave Bespin alone.
He took a deep breath and plastered a confident look on his face. He was a con man from way back and could exude confidence with the best of them. Given Han's excellent aim and naturally suspicious nature, Lando had better sell this well.
(It occurred to him, not for the first time, that the whole setup was weird. Why not just flood Han and Leia's rooms with some gas and knock them out? Why have the Rebels escorted to the dining room? Why did Vader have to be so stinking dramatic?)
Lando turned with a frown, startled to discover a middle aged woman dressed in an Imperial officer's uniform at his side. She was both beautiful and short, but her eyes and expression spoke of one accustomed to command.
"Yes?" he asked a trifle weakly.
"Lord Vader sent me to make sure that you fulfill your end of the bargain," she said coldly, even as she flung a cloak around her shoulders and pulled a hood over her head. "I will stay outside in the corridor while you speak to the Rebels, and will quietly walk behind you as you guide them to the dining hall. I suggest, for your sake, you convince them of your sincerity as a devoted friend."
There was a mocking tone in the woman's voice, which only made Lando more nervous.
"Of course, of course," Lando babbled.
A few minutes later
"I've just made a deal that will keep the Empire out of here forever," Lando said, putting his hand up to push the entrance button.
The giant door into the dining hall slid open, and Han and Leia looked up to see Darth Vader rise menacingly to his feet.
Chewbacca howled even as Han pulled his blaster from its holster and began firing his weapon toward the two meter Sith Lord. To his shock and disbelief, the blasts deflected as if off an unseen shield; an instant later, the blaster was yanked out of his hand to fly into Vader's gauntleted hand.
"We would be honored," the deep bass voice stated sarcastically, "if you would join us."
A moment later, the bounty hunter Boba Fett strode out of an alcove, his blaster clutched in his hands.
Behind the Rebels, a squad of stormtroopers filled the hall behind them, even as a slight robed figure walked up behind Lando.
Han shot Lando his meanest look.
"I had no choice. They arrived right before you did. I'm sorry," Lando said rather miserably. He really did not like this situation.
Chewbacca howled mournfully. Leia and Han exchanged grim glances as they reached out to clutch one another's hands.
"I'm sorry too," Han returned with deep foreboding.
"And I'm sorry three," the robed form behind them said in a clear voice, stepping forward into the room as she removed her hood.
Darth Vader, who had been looming in a dramatic and very self-satisfied way, took a breath out of sync with his respirator, then another breath, then ...
"Padme?!" he choked weakly.
The woman slapped the door shut with one enraged hand and then began stalking in fury toward the Sith.
"Yes, Lord Darth Vader, it is indeed Padme. I am so angry at you right now that I can't even find the words, and you know I always had plenty of words. If you so much as touch one hair of Leia's head I will personally take that blasted red lightsaber of yours and cut off all your limbs. Do you understand?"
Vader took an unnerved step backwards, pushing his chair in the process.
Boba Fett, confused by the situation, brought up a blaster and trained it on the woman.
"Stop right there..." he began, then found himself hurled hard against the wall by an unseen Force even as his blaster went flying in another direction. He crumpled onto the floor, unconscious.
"Thank you," Padme said sarcastically, "I guess if you can't kill me, your pet bounty hunter isn't allowed to, huh?"
"Padme," Vader said again, "Padme, you...you're dead."
The woman rolled her eyes, "No, I am not dead. Rough delivery yes. Coma and semi-coma for 9 years after the delivery, yes. But I'm alive and well now, and totally pissed off with you. The Death Star? The torture chamber set up two floors down? For my daughter? How dare you!"
Vader stared at her without comprehension, then at Leia, who looked totally bewildered, then back at his estranged wife.
"The child was a boy."
Another eye roll.
"One of the children was a boy, yes. The other was a girl. Luke, Leia? Those were the chosen names. Does that ring any tuning crystals? I gave birth to one of each so I named them Luke and Leia. It's not atomic science."
"What?!" Leia squeaked in shock, taking a step forward, her eyes wide with incredulity.
Padme turned around now, her outraged expression altering rapidly to one of love, affection, and sympathy, "My dear Leia, what a shock this all must be! Please let me introduce myself. My name is Padme, and I'm your biological mother."
Leia felt her mouth go slack and just barely managed to close it in time to prevent herself from drooling.
"Um, Ok. So what was that about Luke...?"
"He's your twin brother, Leia. You didn't know that?" the woman asked gently."
Leia's eyes bugged out in horror and bewilderment, "No, that's impossible! I mean, yes, I know we were both adopted and both share a birthday that falls on Empire Day but it can't be! We don't even look alike!"
Padme moved swiftly over to her daughter to raise a gentle hand to the young woman's cheek, "My dear, you are the very image of me when I was your age, and Luke is ... well, based on the holos I've seen, he's the image of Anakin. And genetics are complicated."
Leia screwed up her face in horror, "I kissed him!"
"Who?" Padme asked.
"Luke! On Hoth. Oh yuck!"
"Yuck indeed," her mother said with a wrinkled nose, then continued more calmly, "But er...you aren't ... er...in love I hope?"
"No no no!" Leia replied with relief, as she cast a fond glance at Solo.
"Well, the kiss is hardly your fault, is it? Kenobi's fault yes, your fault no."
She glanced over at Vader now, "You did kill Obi-Wan, correct?"
The cyborg stared at her in a dazed way before muttering, "Yes."
"Well, that means I can't pick him up and shake him 'til his teeth rattle," she said angrily, "And I really want to. Honestly, all this stupid secrecy! You'd think that after the mess that was our marriage that people would realize that where Skywalkers are concerned, big family secrets aren't wise."
"Your marriage was secret?" Leia asked in a puzzled tone, her eyes wide, "To ... er ... Anakin Skywalker, I assume? Who was, uh, my biological father?"
"Yes, indeed," Padme said, her eyes suddenly growing far away and sad, before she focused in on her daughter, "He was a great guy, and I loved him to death. And then he lost his mind and became this two meter disaster of a cyborg standing at the end of the hall here."
Leia just looked at her for 48 seconds.
"What?" she whispered finally.
"Darth Vader, formerly Anakin Skywalker," Padme said with an irritable wave at her husband, "I know, it's a mess. He's a mess. And evil, and homicidal. I don't know what happened to him. I mean, he really was fabulous and we were very happy together for several years but no, he had to lust for power and turn to the Dark Side and strangle me and nearly kill me, and you twins as well..."
"I did it for you, Padme!" Vader cried out suddenly, "I saw your death in visions! Palpatine assured me I could save you through the Dark Side! I did it for you!"
"Dear Sarlacc of Tatooine, Anakin," Padme said with a weary shake of her head, then turned to her daughter and companions, "Why don't you sit down while your father and I talk, Leia. And your companions as well, of course."
She glanced up and down the table with open disgust, "You're a lousy host, Calrissian. Where's the food? I mean really nice table, with plates and glasses, and basically no food."
Lando shot a nervous glance at Vader, "Um, Lord Vader..."
"Oh, I see, dramatic denouement in the dining room but the prisoners won't actually eat, of course. Get some food in here."
Calrissian looked at Vader, but Vader was obviously lost in his own head and incapable of supplying direction.
With a sigh, he tapped in some commands into his wrist com, and sat down across from Leia and Han and Chewie, who had all seated themselves as far away from Vader as possible.
Padme, on the other hand, marched boldly over to Vader, sat down, reached over, and grabbed the black clad arm, "Sit down, Anakin. You looming over everyone is annoying."
Leia blinked. 'Annoying' was not the word she would use for Darth Vader, but her mother obviously had her own perspective of the man.
"Leia, this is impossible," Solo murmured softly, "It must be some kind of trick. This can't be your mother..."
Leia's eyes suddenly filled with tears and she pressed Han's hand, which she had been clutching for the last several minutes, "It is true, Han. I ... I have always remembered my biological mother's face and this is my mother!"
In spite of the situation, Solo grinned, "So Luke's not a rival anymore, then."
Leia looked at him lovingly, "No, he's not. But truthfully, I don't think he ever was, really. I've felt really connected to him since the day we met, but I guess that makes sense now since we're...we're twins!"
"But if this is your mother," Solo said even more quietly, "Does that mean...Vader...?"
Leia grimaced openly and took a drink of water, "I'll think about it, and probably vomit over it, later. Now we have to focus on the situation at hand."
At the other end of the table, Padme and Vader stared at one another until Vader managed to force words out of his dry and bewildered mouth, "Where have you been all these years, Padme?"
"Where have I been?" Padme repeated, "Ok, that's a reasonable and good question. So first, as I'm sure you remember, you strangled me on Mustafar. I lost consciousness and Kenobi hauled me off to Polis Massa. The twins were born there and I went into a coma. I was shipped off to my parents who hid me for 9 years while I progressed from coma to near coma to in and out to totally fine mentally except for being an emotional disaster. I'm very thankful for counselor droids and my colo claw plushie, because my mess of a life was too complex to discuss with a human counselor, especially with the Empire wreaking havoc across the galaxy. Not surprisingly, I kept a very low profile. Given that my family had no knowledge of twin babies, I came to the horrifying conclusion that both had died after birth thanks to prematurity and oxygen deprivation in the womb."
Vader openly flinched at this, "I'm sorry, Padme. I never meant to hurt you. I wanted to save you!"
"You're an idiot, Anakin," Padme said coldly, "A complete idiot. How anyone could trust Palpatine to save me by killing a bunch of innocent children in the Jedi temple is beyond my comprehension, though..." and here her face grew softer, "I'm not an idiot and I did trust him too. He was very compelling back in the day. Anyway, to continue..."
She leaned forward now and poured herself a drink of water, just as several droids appeared from behind Vader, all bearing trays piled with food.
"Eat up, Leia, and Solo and Chewbacca as well," she advised firmly, "In the middle of a war, always take time to eat."
Leia raised her eyebrow at this, but obediently reached out as the trays were lowered to the table and began putting food on her plate. After a moment, Han and Chewie followed suit.
Padme turned back to Vader, "So there I was, my husband and children dead, since I assure you I had no idea that Lord Darth Vader, who was stalking around terrifying everyone, was my husband. With time on my hands and my brain cells mostly intact, I began working on a supply and trading company in the Far Outer Rim and even into the Unknown Regions. It was a success, and now is quite a thriving company. Dalam Enterprises – perhaps you've heard of it?"
Vader stared at her with incredulity, "Dalam? Of course I have. You ... you're working for Dalam Enterprises?"
"I am Dalam Enterprises, its leader, I mean," his wife replied. She glanced at her daughter, "Leia, can you pass me down some of that Quinto bread?"
Calrissian reached out and lifted a plate of the bread, hurried down, and placed it before the former Queen of Naboo, "Allow me."
"Thanks, Calrissian," she said drily, "You're a rotten friend, by the way."
She turned back to Vader now, "So yes, my life was sad but fulfilling, and then the Death Star was destroyed and Luke Skywalker appeared on the top of the Imperial Most Wanted posters. My powerful brain came to the reasonable conclusion that our son had survived. And since he had lived, likely Leia had as well. So I did a search around for prominent Leias, and found our daughter, adopted by Bail Organa, a close friend of mine, who looks so much like me that you'd have to be blind to miss it."
Vader's helmet dipped now, "I did not ... it did not occur to me..."
"No, of course not," she continued, "I considered trying to find the Rebel base but it didn't seem wise. At that point, I still thought my husband was dead and Darth Vader was after my son because of the destruction of the Death Star."
She looked down now, and for the first time her voice choked, "And then I was up one night analyzing supply routes and I caught Palpatine's stupid speech on Empire Day and you were in the background for like 2 hours, and all your tells were there. The way you stood, the way you looked around the room, checking exits, even the way you hovered protectively over that blasted ruin of a dictator. I couldn't believe it, didn't want to believe it, but I went back and watched hours of holo on you, on Darth Vader, and it was totally clear to me. And then it all made sense. Mustafar. Lava planet. I assume you and Kenobi fought, and you were burned?"
Darth Vader's hands clenched painfully for a long moment, and then he nodded, "Yes."
"I'm sorry, Anakin. I hate who you are and what you've done, but I'm sorry you were injured," she said, her voice suddenly filled with compassion, "Is it very bad?"
He said nothing, but shifted uncomfortably. He didn't need pity from anyone. Not even his ... his wife...his Padme. He had thought her dead for more than 20 years.
"I have missed you so much, Padme," he blurted out suddenly.
She laid a hand on his arm now, "I've missed you too, Anakin. The real you, I mean, not this burned out husk of a man who is full of violence and destruction and hatred."
She sighed, then continued with determination, "I received intel when the Rebel base on Hoth was found, and of the Executor's frantic search for the Millennium Falcon, which made me think Luke was probably on board. Obviously I was wrong about that. I managed to get here to Bespin about the same time you did, scouted out the place, discovered our daughter was in danger, and here I am."
Her husband stared at her with a mixture of disbelief and awe, "You have spies aboard my ship?"
She raised an eyebrow, "Contacts, Anakin, contacts. Not spies. Most of them are of the loose lips blow up starships variety. It's amazing what you can figure out from supply orders and routes these days."
Her chin lifted now with determination, "So this is basically an intervention, Anakin. You've lived the last 23 years doing your best to destroy the galaxy, and our family with it. Are you willing to alter the course of your life, or are you going to kill me and our daughter and our son when you get your hands on him...?"
"No," Vader interrupted quickly, "No. I just want to be together, Padme. That's all I ever wanted."
"Well, then," she said with her glorious smile, "Let's kill Palpatine, shall we?"
"It cannot be done, Padme. He is too powerful...at least without Luke's help. Or perhaps ... perhaps Leia's help? Sidious is most formidable in the Force."
Padme grimaced in open irritation, "Anakin, it's not all about being a Force sensitive. I have Dalam Enterprises and contacts all over the galaxy. The Rebel Alliance is an entity to be reckoned with. Luke...yes, of course I want to meet, and be with, Luke, but he has his own life and is doing his own thing right now. As for Leia, I want you to let her go, and her companions as well."
"That is completely out of the question, Padme," Vader said urgently, "It isn't a safe galaxy out there, and our daughter needs protecting ..."
"Your pet bounty hunter is waking up, Anakin," she interrupted, as Boba Fett staggered slowly to his feet.
"Boba Fett," she said with a diplomatic smile, "My apologies for the smashing against the wall by Anakin. I haven't seen you since Geonosis, and a lot of sand dunes have shifted on Tatooine since then."
The clone stared at her incredulously, then croaked in amazement, "Padme Amidala."
"Indeed," she said with a grin, "And Lord Vader is my husband, Anakin Skywalker. Your father Jango Fett came pretty close to assassinating me a few times, and you've obviously followed the same career path. I am sorry about Geonosis for your sake, though. I have no doubt it was quite traumatic as a child to have your father's head chopped off in front of you..."
"Um..." Fett responded, with an obviously shocked glance at Vader.
"Listen," Padme continued, stepping around the table to approach the bounty hunter, "You've got a great reputation and we need a good hired gun. Perhaps we can work something out..."
Solo firmly closed his mouth and turned toward Leia, "Your mother is amazing, Leia."
She smiled, mistily, "Yes, she is."
Luke Skywalker woke up with a broad smile across his face.
The sun was just rising, though he naturally couldn't see the sun, what with the thick cloud cover and all. As usual, it was hot and very damp, and a light rain was starting to fall. Small bugs were flying around him, and he absently brushed them away with the Force even as he carefully inspected his boots for snake surprises before putting them on.
He was, he realized, completely happy.
"Good sleep you had, young Skywalker?" his master asked, suddenly at his side. The old Jedi Master had a tendency of popping up abruptly, and Luke was no longer startled by it.
"Yes, a very good sleep," the youth responded with a grin.
"Nightmares you did not have?" Yoda probed more directly.
Luke heaved a sigh of relief and ran a hand over his face, "Thankfully, no, Master. Those horrible dreams of Leia and Han and Chewie in pain are gone completely. It must have just been some weird manifestation of my concern for them, I don't know. No..."
His voice trailed away and he looked out over the swamp, even as his eyes misted slightly.
"I had the most amazing dream, Master," he said huskily, "Of a glorious house, on a large lake. And my ... it was my parents, Master! They were standing on a terrace under a tree, with rays from the sun dappling the ground. My mother was in white and my father was in Jedi robes, and there was a priest. It was their wedding. They were so happy together. It was beautiful, Master."
The old Jedi stared at his young pupil for a long moment, and nodded, "A good dream indeed, young one."
"Well, I need to start my training for the day," Luke said, leaping cheerfully to his feet, "Can I eat some root stew first?"
"Go, eat you must!" Yoda said, gesturing towards his small hut. Luke nodded and ran off.
"There is a great disturbance in the Force," Obi-Wan's ghost announced, appearing suddenly next to the ancient Jedi.
"Sense it I do as well," Yoda agreed softly, "A shift toward the Light. Much has changed in the last day..."
Author Note: The Padme of this story is a variant of the Padme in my current ongoing story Dalam Enterprises, obviously with some significant differences. But I am not going to write more because the basic story going forward would be somewhat similar to Dalam Enterprises. Many thanks to my husband for editing for me!