AN: It has been such a long time since I updated as family and life and death (I lost my husband and then my father) and work and other stories took priority. I'm not sure when I will be able to up-date again as I have to edit and post Insidious, write more Moments and draft and edit and polish off Dark Times while still dealing with life etc. However, I did want you to know that the story is still alive, is still being added too from time to time, and will be completed. (I know how it ends... ) which is why I am posting this short chapter.

My grateful thanks to everyone who had commented, favourited and followed this story. I appreciate you all for reading.

ps... this has not been beta read.

All Previous Disclaimers Still Apply...


Part 18

The large chamber was in darkness. An absolute blackness, one so dark that one's eyes were useless, blinded. However, the Force could see through it, the Force could penetrate the gloom and bring the outline of the room into relief, could highlight the contours of the sparse area and mark a clear path for him to walk.

It was an exercise he enjoyed. Steeping himself in darkness both spiritually and physically as he walked his apartments on the Star Destroyer. The Force closed itself about him, ever deeper, ever darker and along his bone thin fingers blue light flickered as he grinned.

The peoples of Naboo had bent their knees once more. Their young Queen had stood aside as his troopers had searched its towns and cities, including Theed, and dragged her people from their homes to answer accusations of treason and rebellion.

She had stood by his side and quietly wept as many were executed and then kneeled before him to pledge her planet's loyalty to the Empire to spare her people from further tragedy.

How naïve…

He had then paid his respects to Amidala, had stood with the surviving members of her terrified family as he had lied about his admiration of her, of her compassion and grace while his thoughts dwelled on her secret son; their grandson and nephew.

Padme would never have capitulated. She would never have kneeled to him, she would have fought and argued against the oppression of her people. In some ways it was a pity she was no longer here to fight for her child, the battle with her might have been more fulfilling than the approaching battle with her widowed husband.

Palpatine's mouth turned down with anger, the lightening playing around his knuckles sparking in the darkness.

Lord Vader was an entirely different creature. He was a shadow of the young man who had kneeled before him and pledged himself to the Dark Side. His vibrancy within the Force had diminished and dimmed over the years and he had become embittered and resentful. He had lost everything that had made him such an attraction; his appeal, his passion and power, his dazzling presence in the Force had been set adrift by guilt and loss.

But… Oh… Vader's anger those first few years since Amidala's death had been a fire across the star systems as he took his bloody vengeance on the few remaining Jedi Knights and Padawans. His apprentice had torn a Galaxy apart hunting for his former comrades and his pleasure and pain in cutting each one down thrilled his master.

But now... now Vader was a lumbering, dull, husk dutifully fulfilling his master's bidding, rarely failing, but feeling none of the passion of his youth...

... except that wasn't entirely true anymore.

There was the son.

The son that had ignited a spark within the Dark Lord, a spark that had now flamed into open defiance. He could feel the shift in the Force, the convoluting vortex of possibilities that twisted and turned around his apprentice.

He smiled, would Vader fight for his son?

His smile grew, turning to a grin. Would the son fight for the father who had tormented him, or would he turn against him?

Stepping through the dark room Palpatine activated the comm. The large screen burst to life catching his Fleet Admiral's attention.

"Your Excellency," the man acknowledged with a bow. "We have departed Naboo and co-ordinates for Sullust are be..."

"Set course for Kamino," Palpatine sharply interrupted.

There was a flicker of hesitation, fleeting confusion about the command silently played across the man's face. However, it went unspoken; his subordinates knew better than to question him.

"As you command, Excellency."

He switched the comm. off, once more plunging the room into utter darkness.


Another TIE passed by the window, so close this time that the transparisteel vibrated. Fett frowned as he lifted the power cell of his blaster and fitted it back into place, clicking the safety off as he eased himself up from the couch and crossed the room to the window.

He could feel the boy take note of his actions, could almost feel the youth's tension rise with his own. He gazed out over the rolling oceans as sunlight broke through the cloud cover to glint off the fuselages of the patrolling TIE fighters. He glanced over the city, to the nearest walk ways, to the landing platforms and balustrades, feeling anxiety roil in his belly at the noticeable increase in stormtroopers and scout walkers patrolling the areas.

Something was going on. It might have nothing to do with the kid, it might have everything to do with him, and still he had heard no more from Vader.

He looked down at Slave 1, looking slick and ready on the landing platform, and ran his escape route to the ship through his head. Hell, if he had to make a fast exit he could blaster out the window, shoot a line across and slide down it. Although, how he would manage that with Classified…


…in tow was anyone's guess.

"What's wrong?" the boy sounded nervous, as he bit the edges of a finger nail. Both hands up at his mouth due to the stun-cuffs around his wrists.

"Maybe nothing," Fett told him, taking in his appearance of sleep pants and bare feet, "probably just manoeuvres, drills, but there's a lot of activity across the city. You'd best get dressed."

Luke's eyebrows lifted in amusement and he spread his palms open indicating the cuffs. "Little help?"

Fett reached to his belt and thumbed the attached cuff-control. The binders unlocked and clattered to the floor. "Now, go get dressed."

The boy sighed, answered bitterly, "Yes, sir."

Luke got up, limped to his cupboard; his blast injuries from two days before were still healing and still seemed to be bothering him. But Fett was sure the kid was acting, was sure he was trying to lull him into believing the flesh wounds were hindering him still.

His actions had worked, though. There had been no more episodes of strange whispers, no more pillows floating across the room, but the tension between them had been palpable and he had kept the boy in night attire, confined to the closet and shackled to his cot for much of time since just to be sure that Luke had got the message.

The bounty hunter turned back to the window and to the growing Imperial activity in Tipoca city.

The sooner Vader contacted him the better.


To be continued...