Just a short little clip from Darth Vader's POV. Contains elements from geo3's "Winds of Change" storyline, which, if you have not read, you should definitely do. One of the best SW fics out there. Any and all reviews are welcome.

And just a reminder but, George Lucas owns it all, not me. I'm just borrowing them for a bit.

Unbidden images of a time long past now assault my memory. Myself, young and whole, walking next to my master as he says to me, "You know, sometimes I feel your going to be the death of me."

Did he perhaps have a force vision? Or was it just one of those frustrated parent-type comments, made in the moment and never really considered until later, if at all? I suppose I'll never know. And even so, it no longer matters. I stomp the memories of the past back down where they belong as I make my way back to the main bridge. Thank the Force for my acute sense of direction. Elsewise I'd be unutterably lost in this giant monstrosity. I have never understood my master's need for more, bigger and better war machines.

To occupy my mind, I begin examining the impressions of the Force I had felt in Obi-Wan's presence. He had been protecting something, that much I could readily sense from him. As always, it had been the hidden layer of intent in his Force presence that I had had to uncover. He had intended to sacrifice himself to protect...what? Surely not those unscrupulous pirates he had arrived with? While I deemed it entirely within his warped perception of the universe to be willing to give his life for such scum, I also knew that his sense of duty would not permit it. Unless...no. That line of thinking I vehemently suppressed. The princess perhaps? But no, it was obvious that he'd had no knowledge of her presence here. Although I didn't want to think he would be that obviously stupid, (loathing for him aside, I had always had a strong belief in his intelligence) could he have possibly grown senile enough to bring HIM here?

It was apparently clear that he thought that I was ignorant of the fact that I had a child.

How foolish of Obi-Wan. Did he really think that I would not know I had a child? Did he truly believe that she wouldn't have told me?

That was always the crux of our problem, you know. Despite all our years together, he never really KNEW me. Whose fault that was or even if it was anyone's fault, I could not say. In truth, my wife was the only one who ever did, besides my mother. But my mother had known me since birth. Amidala's understanding was a gift. I like to think that it was because we truly had been made for each other, she for me and I for her, that she was able to always read me so well. Even at the end, as I held her for the last time, she was able to see clearly through the darkness that swirled around us and to forgive...everything. I think that it must have been because she truly was an angel, so purely of the light that no darkness, no matter how deep, could block her from shining that light wherever she chose. That she chose to shine it on me will, I think, remain one of the unfathomable mysteries of the universe.

But I digress.

It would have been impossible to hide from a force sensitive the fact of a pregnancy. Especially when the child was as force sensitive as ours. His presence, even in the womb, was like a beacon to those who knew the force. It was why I made her leave.

She fought me, as I knew she would. Even as she acknowledged the truth of my arguments, she knew, as well as I did, that it would be only a matter of time before Palpatine discovered the child's presence. She would not be able to avoid him forever if she continued her duties in the Senate and I knew I would not be able to hide the knowledge from him forever. As far as I could tell, his access to my mind was virtually unlimited and the only thing that kept him out of Padme's was me and the force shield I had created in her mind. So far, I had managed to hide the child's existence in a small shielded part of my mind. But I knew that HE would not let me keep that shield up for long. Nothing but complete capitulation of my mind and will, or the appearance of it, would ever satisfy him. Eventually he would know and the only chance the child had was if I did not know him, if Palpatine thought she had left before I could know more than that he existed.

We knew, both of us, that I would not be able to leave with her. We would be captured before we even escaped the gravity well of Corusant. I had to stay and I could have no knowledge of where she went, what she did and I could have absolutely no knowledge of our child. Anything could be disastrous for him.

But I knew Padme. Her skills, and those of her devoted protectors, would be equal to the task of keeping her and our child out of Palpatine's grasp long enough for them to escape to safety. The biggest difficulty had been, without a doubt, convincing her to go to Obi-Wan. After the disaster on Naboo, her distrust and dislike of him were palpable. I had no great liking for him either, now, however, I knew him better than she did. The biggest ace card she or I could ever have with him, we had in spades. His guilt. He always did tend to take on the burden for every failure and wear it like a bantha hair shirt. And I knew his sense of failure with me would be substantial. He would do anything Padme asked of him in order to expiate that guilt. And we both knew that having a Jedi with a guilty conscience would be the best insurance and protection that our child could possibly have. Even so, I could not stand the thought that my child would know nothing of me. It was why I sent my old lightsaber, my Jedi saber, with her. I wanted him to have some knowledge of his history. I knew all too well the pain of not knowing and I did not want that for our child. I trusted her to make sure he didn't find it until he was ready. I admit, I am not nor ever was I, as strong as she was. She would have to leave him as well. We knew this, we had agonized over it for some time. Palpatine would most surely hunt for her, as I would have to make a pretense of doing as well. The chances were too high that she might eventually get caught for her to keep the child with her indefinitely. Just as we could have no knowledge of him, he could have no knowledge of us. It was the only sure way to keep him safe. Obi-Wan would remain wherever he was and stand guard. And, perhaps, when the universe was safe again or when he became a man, whichever came first, he would tell him of his heritage. Obi-Wan, our silent and unwavering protector. A ghost to the outside world.

Had I known then what I know now, I would have CHOSEN to burn in that molten hell before allowing that traitor to have the care of MY wife and child.

Words could not possibly describe the agony of mind and soul that I underwent, watching her leave me, knowing I would not see her again for years, possibly never. It was even worse than losing Bale, because this time I lost not only my heart but my soul as well. Padme was my soul. She was my light, my balance, everything that kept me sane and reasonably in control. I knew that keeping myself from sliding into the darkness would be next to impossible without her near. All I had now were memories, and memories are a very cold comfort alone in the dark.

And so now, the game started so long ago, speeds in earnest to its inevitable conclusion. 20 years it has been since I watched the only two lights left in my life fade into the darkness of space. So many years of careful planning, of waiting and watching are almost at an end.

I am frozen at an access terminal on the bridge, having just finished reviewing the report of the incident on the Deathstar and the subsequent holovid of the perpetrators of the daring rescue attempt made for the Princess Leia. The holovid is paused, freeze framed on a face I had never expected to see in my lifetime. A face so familiar and yet so different that it made me tremble just to look at it. I would have known WHO it was anywhere, but thanks to his fortuitous announcement, I also now had a name. A name I had wondered about for 20 years...Luke.