Disclaimer: Don't own Star Wars, just this little idea.
The shout died away, echoing in her brain and Leia looked up sharply to look around the classroom, then down. No one had been shouting... /At least not out loud./ She thought, and wondered. This time she'd been awake, and while the call had been weaker, it had at the same time seemed stronger.
As if it had subconsciously been meant for her too, and not just whoever it was the caller had wanted. She wasn't sure what was going on, or how she could hear these calls, but she couldn't deny to being curious... and besides, the caller always seemed to be in trouble when he or she reached out. Closing her eyes and letting the teacher's voice drop into the background, she grasped the flickering light that was as hard to hold as moonlight or water.
Grasped it and stretched out clumsily.
Who are you..?
Just looking at the child made it apparent who his parents were, or at least who one parent was, but Vader wouldn't let himself hope... wouldn't let himself be led on by a possible imposter no matter how much resemblance there was. The boy was sitting in the seat in front of him, sulking while trying to look like he wasn't freezing.
"What is your name?" Vader's deep voice rolled between the two occupants of the compartment, the stormtroopers having been left outside. It wasn't as if one child could pose any threat to the dark lord of the Sith. Not any physical threat, at any rate. He had to admit to a flowering hope, weak and hesitant, but there. If this child really was hers... that meant... what did it mean? Shaking his head mentally, he resolved to think on that later. He wasn't sure this was his and Padmé's son. Not until he'd gotten proof in the form of blood, even if the resemblance between Anakin Skywalker and this child was almost striking.
"Luke Skywalker." There was something almost defiant in the way the boy said it, and Vader smiled in the privacy of his mind. But that was the only thing vaguely amusing with this. Here was yet another proof, and while his heart cried out for it to be true (hadn't his heart been gutted when Padmé turned against him, and then torched and burned to ashes by Obi-Wan?), his mind still shied away from the possibility. If only because hurt lay that way. Hurt, and a stirring of pasts and memories he had wanted to forget.
Luke was upset at himself at agreeing so easily, but done was done. And besides, he had a feeling Vader wouldn't have accepted anything other than a "yes" of some sort. Or, if that hadn't been forthcoming, he would have just taken him and walked away anyway. He really had a way of getting himself into trouble, didn't he?
A weak, silent flutter in the back of his mind almost made him jerk, but since Vader was right across from him, he didn't want to show that anything might be different. It was light and sweet, and strong as steel even if it had been weak. It was a question of some sort, directed at him, Luke was sure. But anything else had been lost on the way, and it was way too weak for Luke to be able to hold onto it. It wasn't like that other thing in his mind which even now was pulsing in a far-away corner, but closer than it had ever been before. Looking up quickly at Vader, because maybe it had been him anyway, Luke found the dark lord staring out the view port.
Quickly looking away, Luke frowned. So who had it been? It had been nice, whoever it was. Nice and somehow comfortable, familiar. Just like that other thing. It was a little confusing to call them "things" but since Luke had no idea what they were, he had no other choice. Of course, he could always ask Vader... but maybe not. Not yet at any rate. Besides, the stronger thing was important.
Maybe it meant his father wasn't dead.
"How did you end up on this planet, child?"
Luke felt vague irritation at not being called his name. What was it with all these grown-ups insisting on using a lot of other things, but his name? But Vader was waiting for an answer, and while the man hadn't done anything but look at him (Luke assumed anyway, since the helmet was turned in his direction), he could feel Vader wasn't going to wait infinitely on his answer.
"Um... I was kidnapped by someone who wanted to me to race and win it." Luke muttered. It sounded really stupid like that, but for some reason Vader seemed angry. How Luke could tell he wasn't really sure, but why was he angry? It wasn't as if Luke had done anything wrong! Vader was silent for a few moments, and when he talked again, he seemed to have calmed down, or at least Luke didn't notice anything.
"And how did you get the podracer? They are not exactly common." Vader pointed out and Luke squirmed in his seat. There was nothing embarrassing in this part of the story, but if Luke's suspicions were correct, then Vader wasn't just the dark lord of the Sith... he would be something much more important... at least to Luke. But however it was with that, how had Vader found him? Biting his lower lip in thought, Luke figured he'd ask that as soon as he could find the opportunity to.
"Found it in a junkyard in Anchorhead. The alien who'd taken over the junkyard owned it.
He said I could get it if I repaired it and raced him in Beggar's Canyon and won, of course." Luke shrugged, looking at Vader from the corner of one eye. There was nothing, and Luke wasn't sure if that should be interpreted as good or bad. Deciding to use this as an opportunity to ask, Luke turned to face Vader and squared his shoulders.
"How did you find me?"
Luke's voice cut through the haze of anger (how dare that man have his son living on Tatooine of all places?), astonishment over the fact that his old podracer had found its way back to Tatooine and the Skywalkers again, and rage, Luke could have been hurt. Shaking his head mentally Vader focused back on the small, suspicious and inquisitive face.
"I heard you call."
Something like hesitant and wary hope flashed over the young face before the more realistic feeling of suspicion snapped in.
"I didn't call for you!" Luke said, voice edgy, hope somehow yet flickering in clear, blue eyes. Just as it did inside Vader, since the possibilities of this being his child... The possibilities were glorious, and in secret, somewhere deep, deep down there was that old want of family. A want that was firmly ignored, since he had something much more fulfilling now, that being the dark side of the Force.
"But I heard." Vader calmly pointed out, and silence stretched between them, since both were aware of whom Luke had been calling for. But the child was uncertain, since apparently someone could have heard it, and Vader... well, there was no point in needlessly expecting something that should be impossible, since she had died, however much he seemed to be looking into a mirror to his youth.
/And in more ways than one, it seems./ Vader thought as his mind flashed back to the podracer gleaming in the muted sunlight of Ord Ibanna when it had been safely put back on the ground. A podracer that was now being shipped back to the Gauntlet, and why had he done that? He should have had it scrapped the moment he had turned his back on it. But Luke had so obviously put so much love and effort into repairing the 'racer, and seeing it, he simply hadn't been able to just leave it there.
It had seemed like a waste somehow.
The ship was giant, an echoing construction of durasteel and light; at least for Luke it seemed gigantic. He'd been kidnapped, forced to race, almost died, and now he had to walk along these seemingly endless corridors! But he didn't say anything, silently following in the dark lord's wake. When they finally stopped in front of a door, Luke could have cried. But of course he wasn't allowed to rest just yet. It was the infirmary, and Luke couldn't help the groan that slipped out. Couldn't this have waited until tomorrow? Or at least until he'd gotten a few hours of sleep or something?
"Look him over," Vader said then whirled around, the door sliding shut with a soft hiss. Staring, slightly annoyed at the now-closed door, Luke was beginning to think he wasn't wanted, because if that was the case, Vader could just have left him on the planet.
"Hmm... hop on up then..." The doctor trailed off, and Luke grinned shortly.
"I'm Luke Skywalker." It came out slightly sharp, but the doctor didn't seem to mind, just nodded at the table again. Luke grimaced but did as asked, being silent through the poking and prodding. Just as the doctor was finished, Vader came in again, stopping by the door like an ominous shadow.
"Take a blood sample, and compare compatibility with this." Vader gave the doctor some instrument or other, and Luke sat still as he got pricked. He was way too tired to care about some little pinprick. The minutes ticked by silently, Luke staring at Vader under his lashes, and Vader looking and thinking on who knew what.
"My… My Lord..." the doctor seemed quite startled at the result for some reason, his middle-aged face wrinkling in confusion.
"What does it say?" Vader apparently wasn't about to wait until the doctor had collected himself, because that wasn't so much a question, as a demand. Luke found himself leaning forward eagerly, because he could guess what this last check had been about. Finally (even if it had only been a few seconds) the doctor turned around with a slight grin.
"Well... I guess the only appropriate thing to say... Congratulations. It's a boy."
Silence reigned supreme as father and son turned to stare at each other, no one saying anything. Luke wanted to jump up and run over to hug Va... his father, but he realized that probably not would be taken very well. So he sat still, silent, but the truth burned between them, inside them, with the intensity of Tattooine's twin suns, and something just... clicked into place.
Ugh. This is such a short chapter... if it even can be allowed to call itself that, but this was all I wanted to say in this one, so it goes.
But anyway. Thanks to all of you who reviewed, and especially Ar-Zimraphel, because you gave me the extra needed to get the insipration to finish this chapter.
Hopefully the rest won't be so recalcitrant.