An AU very short shot written in a boring Sunday rainy afternoon: After an hard working day, Darth Vader musts rock his three-year-old son to sleep.

My tiny pet

Lord Vader was tired out. The working day had crushed him well. The rebels seemed increasing every day, the Emperor thought him responsible for each hitch that happened in the Galaxy and his subordinates were nothing more than incompetent's band. After three years since the Empire foundation, he began to doubt the so-called Alliance would be ever defeated and he came eventually to understand he had to take care of every aspect of war.

Recollecting the secret services' information, planning a war strategy and leading the battles were just an hard task. When he had to waste time with prisoners' interrogations as today, he secretely longed for a vacation from his duties. But then the evening came and he felt the satisfaction for that little piece of order, he had created against everybody and everything with the only strength of his Power and Believe: if the Galaxy was a surer place that day than the day before, it was mostly because of the Dark Lord's merit.

With this awareness, he walked the Executor corridors straight to his quarters for his deserved relax. As soon as the sliding doors opened, he heard noises coming from the sitting-room. Trying not to breathe too loud, he neared enough to see his son playing with a navy model.

His boy was so taken by his game that he neither noticed his presence, but C3PO greeted him with the usual petulant reverence: "Master Ani, welcome at home"

He had to remember to change its program: if a day or other that stupid nickname had come to the Emperor's ear, he had would really be in for it.

But before he could even correct verbaly his butler, Luke had left the toy on the carpet and had run into his arm, shouthing joyfully: "Daddy, daddy!"

Lord Vader tightly hugged him, lifting him to his heigth: "Hi, Lukie. Should a young boy be in his bed so late in the evening, shouldn't he?"

"Milord", C3PO answered. "I tried to put him in bed, but he wished to greet you before. After all, you haven't spent a minute with him today", he added with an hint of reproach in his tone that always made Vader to feel a little guilty: his duties took his whole days, while his boy lived secluded in few rooms with a boring droid.

"All right, then", he conceded, "but that mustn't to become an habit"

Luke smiled at the fast victory, put his arms around his father's neck and his head on the large shoulder, brushing his mop on the black silk velvet cloak. He relaxed, yawning and blinking often.

The Dark Lord gently rocked him for a long. He always forgot his tiredness when he carried his tiny tot.
He knew that settlement was a temporary benefit the Emperor had allowed him.

"If you like, you can take your pet…for now", the tyrant had told to his bowed servant, who had flinched under his mask, both for the insulting appellation and the implied menance.

And now that it was clear little Skywalker was strong in the Force, even if totally untrained, Vader was aware soon a drastic decision about the future would have to be taken.

But how could he just think to lose the only human contact in his life? How could he let down the only eyes that trustfully looked at him and the only heart that beat love for him?

A deep sigh, exaggerated by the hideous oxygen breathing set, escaped from his mouth and he saw his son's little face rose and studied his mask. He istinctively blinked when a tiny finger touched his binocols, obscuring the red light of his vision and leaving dirty fingerprints on the glass. He prepared himself for a difficult question he knew by expierence was coming.

"Will I have hard eyes like you, when I'm older?"

"No, you won't, I've told you yet", he answered patientely.

"But I want eyes like you and 3P", Luke protested.

How did you explain a boy locked in that little world that 3PO was a thing and he himself was wearing a mask?

The Dark Lord failed to find words and his child went on in his remostration: "Don't wanna soft eyes as Piett's!"

His father smiled heartly at the remember of his child's only meeting with an usual human being and his young stiff low-ranking officer's bad-hidden dismay for the little child's fearful cry in front of a pale soft face and watery blue eyes.

"Then, I see what I can do", he let go, not wanting to stick to any importance point at the moment.

"Thanks!", satisfacted and really grateful Luke answered. Then he leant his head back on the wide shoulder to yawn peacefully, letting the Dark Lord to deal with war, politics and conspirancies.

Darth Vader rocked him again and again, thinking melancholically what his life could be without his son.

When eventually the boy got asleep, he turned to his child's room. He leant him in his bed and whispered as much soft as the mask allowed him: "Sweet dreams, honey", regretting not for the first time he couldn't kiss his chubby cheeks.