Title: The Illusionist

Chapter: 23. Continuum

Keywords: Luke Skywalker, Vader, father, son, Lando, Chewie.

Author: Wellingtonboots

Archive: Slytherin Serpent

Summary: Post-ESB. Traumatized and in denial, Luke is unwittingly thrown into a dark underworld of sinister intrigue and brutal murder, where only his father can save him. (Xizor, Inquisitors and Boba Fett)

Disclaimer: Everything apart from Kay, Ronin and Doctor Lassion belongs to Lucas Films. All characters described, other than original ones, have been researched to conform to canon where possible.

AN: I realise that the last chapter confused a lot of reader but all will be explained now! Thank you for everyone who reviewed - it really keeps me going!

The man sitting beside his bed was his father, the nice doctor who visited at all hours of the day was Doctor Laisson, and the shiny silver droid was OB1.

This was all Luke could anchor his life to right now. Before waking in the dim hospital room yesterday night, his life did not exist. It was as if he had been reborn that moment when he opened his eyes and stared into his father's mask. His old life – whatever it may have been – had been wiped from his memory and out of existence.

Amnesia, the doctor had called it, amnesia due to extensive brain trauma. It sounded much worse than Luke felt. He knew the doctor and his father were anxious to provide a sense of security. They were concerned that he would be afraid, terrified, that there was a gaping black hole where his identity had been but he felt no fear or confusion because he knew: he was Luke, the man sitting beside his bed was his father, the nice doctor who visited at all hours of the day was Doctor Laisson, and the shiny silver droid was OB1.

"I wish Han was here," whisper Leia hoarsely as she stared out into the vast expanse of space that separated her from her loved ones. It was no often that she voiced her loneliness and fear but there was only Wedge and Lando in the rec-room.

"Princess, I'm sorry," said Lando softly.

"Don't be," she whispered as she pressed her hand against the glass, "I believe in Han and Luke. I believe that they will pull through."

Wedge did not look as if he shared her conviction. He stood to her left leaning against the cold transparisteel, grinding his teeth with suppressed rage.

"We need to give it time," muttered Lando as he sat with his head drooped on one of the faded grey armchairs. "We need to reorganise, gather intelligence, plot carefully,"

"I know," said Wedge, forcing himself to exhale, "I just hope there will be something left for us to rescue."

His father pushed his unruly locks out of his eyes and Luke stared back at him. Across their bond, he could feel his father's satisfaction.

"Are you happy?" he asked simply,

"I am very happy, my son," rumbled Vader in reply and Luke wondered vaguely why his father wore a life support suit. A hazy sense of normalcy was the only thing he could conjure up, it felt right that his father looked the way he did.

"Why?" asked Luke curiously, perhaps his father had a more exciting day than he did.

"You are alive and with me," replied his father.

"Have we ever been apart?" asked Luke curiously, his wide blue eyes staring intently into the blank eye sockets of his father's mask.

"For a short time only," said his father taking his hand. He watched in awe as his small palm was engulfed in black leather.

"Why do you wear that suit?" Luke asked his voice barely a whisper. In the silences that dominated his life ever since he could remember, even the quietest of sounds was enhanced.

"I was badly injured a long time ago. It is a life-support system," said Darth Vader frankly but Luke thought he could detect a slight feeling of uneasy emanating from his father's mind.

"How?" he asked, eyes widening even further with curiosity.

"I do not wish to talk about it,"

His father sounded strained all of a sudden and Luke made a mental note to leave the subject alone.

"Tell me about my life – before…" he requested softly. The doctor, though patient and kind, never had time to speak to him about who he had been; he always had another patient to see. There were a thousand questions buzzing around his mind, what was his favourite food? His favourite holo show? Did he have friends? What school did he go to? Was he smart? Brave? Foolish?

How ironic it was to be asking someone else these questions…

"I am the supreme commander of the Imperial Navy," replied his father cautiously and Luke felt a gentle probing sensation in his mind, which he had come to associate with his father's curiosity.

That sounds like a very important job, thought Luke as he clasped his father's hand in anticipation but something tingled in the back of his consciousness, something about the word – Imperial. It conjured up images of stormtroopers and giant star destroyers but he could not remember, even when he strained his mind, what exactly he felt about it all.

"You are my son and will also have great responsibility one day."

Suddenly the thought of running the Navy sent a wave of dread through Luke's mind. That inexplicable, illogical gut instinct was telling him that this was wrong.

"I don't think I can do that," he muttered shyly, hoping that his father would not take this as a rejection.

"You have not yet recovered from the effects of the accident, your natural instincts will return in time," replied Darth Vader confidently.

"What exactly happened?" asked Luke tentatively, the doctor had been far too reluctant to tell him a single detail of the terrible accident that had landed him in his current state.

"The Rebel Alliance attempted to assassinate you," said Vader bluntly and from behind the reflective eye sockets, Luke felt his father's piercing gaze settle on his surprised features.

"The Rebellion," whispered Luke cautiously, testing if the sound of those words would draw out any memories of the terrible event but all he felt was the faint pressure of his father's mind pressing against his own. No images, traumatic or otherwise, appeared in his mind's eye and his gut instinct, which had been so active before, stayed silent.

"They attempted to kill you," repeated Vader gravely.

"Why?" asked Luke, suddenly feeling an overwhelming urge to know what had motivated people to plot his demise.

"You are my son, the heir to the Empire. They wished to destroy you and the stability of the government."

"So they don't hate me personally," said Luke slowly. The idea of being reviled sent a shiver down his spine. A sense of genuine puzzlement spiked across their mental bond as his father contemplated a suitable answer.

"They do not know you personally," rumbled Vader.

"Yes, I suppose not," muttered Luke as his mind attempted to conjure up an image of the very people they had been discussing. A vague sense of brown and red floated through his mind followed by a more acute sensation of orange that morphed into an image of a grinning adolescent in a bright orange jumpsuit. Slowly the rest of his memory sketched in the background: an ice cavern filled with air speeders and X-wings. Surprised at the level of detail his memory provided, Luke thought for a moment that he might have actually been in that freezing ice cavern, listening to the gales howling outside as his breath fogged the air around him but that was impossible.

He was the son of Darth Vader, the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Navy, he would have grown up on Coruscant and not on some heat forsaken ice planet with Rebels.

"Do you remember anything?" inquired his father as he held Luke's small hand in his own.

"No and I'm quite glad, I suppose it was horrible?"

"You were seriously injured," replied Vader sounding particularly grave, "you need to rest now, Doctor Laisson has informed me that you will not be able to leave the medical bay for some time."

"I feel alright," sighed Luke, reaching out to his bed side table with his free hand. "I have enough strength to eat and pick things up,"

"You must rest," insisted his father sternly, as he reached on gloved hand to pull Luke's arm back under the coverlet. A sudden wave of sheer fatigue hit Luke like a physical blow and the last time his conscious mind registered as his father tucking the coverlet under his chin.

Darth Vader retired to his private quarters after dealing with a small proportion of his never ending responsibilities. The stark interior of his hyperbaric chamber allowed him to mediate effectively and as he joined the force this evening his felt a sense of deep satisfaction that the force was finally on his side. For far too long he had watched Luke Skywalker fecklessly twist his well plotted schemes into utter disasters but now his son was finally where he belonged.

Erasing the boy's memory was not an easy task but years of funding research into memory modification had produced an unexpected return. He had, in his weaker years, been desperate to erase the memory of his wife from his mind, hoping that if he could not see her face and hear her voice, his pain and guilt would disappear. As the years wore on and the team of scientist he employed encountered on set back after another, Vader had all but given up hope of ever finding a viable way of modifying his own memories. Through the long years of pain and turmoil he had eventually come to terms with Padme's demise and upon discovering his son, he felt unreasonably relieved that he had not wiped the memories of his beloved wife from his mind.

He had tried to convince the boy through kindness and coercion to join him willingly but Luke proved far too stubborn for his own good. Only by starting on a clean slate could Vader ensure his son's loyalty and devotion. The amnesia allowed him to make for the two decades of precious time that had been stole from him by Obi-wan Kenobi. Soon, they would rule the galaxy as father and son.

AN: Many people would be wondering how this whole amnesia thing works - for now I'll will just say that Luke has only lost his episodic memory and not his semantic memory so he understands what a stormtrooper is but he doesn't remember any personal feelings/memories attached to it. This I have been informed happens very often in real life.

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