TITLE: Anakin's Redemption
AUTHOR: Micki Skywalker
EMAIL: Action, Drama, Romance
SETTING: Alternate Ending to Return Of The Jedi
CHARACTERS: Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2, 3PO
DESCRIPTION: Vader survives Palpatine's lightning attack on the Death Star. He is rescued by Luke and then faces the difficult task of rebuilding a life as Anakin Skywalker. Not everyone is ready to forgive and forget, and moving on is not as easy as it seems. Will he ever make peace with the atrocities he committed as Vader? And how will he put his family back together?
NOTE: I'm sorry to say that another author stole most of the plot of this story from another site and rewrote it under their own name, soif this story seems familiar please note that I originally wrote this more than a year ago! For those of you who have read this before, I've added some new chapters and made a few changes to try to compensate if you read the plagiarized story before this.
To the thief: You suck! Get your own story!
Chapter One - Redemption
"The Emperor has been expecting you," Vader greeted his son.
"I know, father," came the response.
Vader was a little startled. "So, you have accepted the truth."
"I've accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father," he answered.
Hearing his old name shocked him. "That name no longer has any meaning for me."
"It is the name of your true self," said Luke. "You've only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That is why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now."
Vader looked down from Luke to the lightsaber in his own gloved hand. He was curious. How did this boy know him so well, when they'd only met once before. He didn't know how to answer, and turned his attentions to his lightsaber instead. "I see you have constructed a new lightsaber," he said, igniting it. He was pleased with the construction.
"Your skills are complete," he told his son. "Indeed, you are powerful, as the Emperor has foreseen." Vader swelled with pride at his son's accomplishments.
They stood for a moment, then Vader extinguished the lightsaber.
Luke tried to reach him. "Come with me," he implored.
Vader looked at him curiously. "Obi-Wan once thought as you do," he replied. Luke took a step towards him then stopped. "You don't know the power of the dark side. I must obey my master." How would Luke ever understand?
"I will not turn...and you'll be forced to kill me," challenged Luke.
Vader considered that. "If that is your destiny."
Luke made another attempt to reach the man inside Vader. "Search your feelings, father. You can't do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate!"
Vader looked at him helplessly. "It is too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now."
Vader signaled to the stormtroopers. He and Luke stared at eachh another for a long moment.
"Then my father is truly dead." Luke turned and walked into the chamber.
The words cut Anakin more than Luke would ever know. But through his mask no emotion showed. Anakin felt such conflict, just as Luke sensed, between his life of darkness, and now this new choice, a choice to return to the light. Since Padme died, there was no reason to return to the light. What for? There was nothing good in his life. And the Emperor would never let him escape. As Darth Vader he was powerful and respected. He could do what he wanted…as long as the Emperor let him. Anakin knew that if he was honest with himself, he was nothing more than Palpatine's slave. A high class slave maybe, but a slave none the less. He did Palpatine's bidding, with no hope of ever being free. A Sith Apprentice was supposed to grow in power until he eventually conquered and destroyed his Master. But Anakin was weak, a limbless burn victim trapped in a suit. He could still use the Force, but nowhere close to the abilities he had before Obi-Wan had destroyed them. His pitiful ability to force choke would be useless against the Emperor. He had no hope.
Until now…the unexpected discovery of his son shed a new light on things. Not only did Anakin now have a reason to turn back, young Luke had the abilities and power to defeat Palpatine. Or so Anakin hoped. He would have to see. Luke was indeed strong in the force, but inexperienced. He prayed Luke had the inner strength to resist the dark side.
Luke stood before Palpatine as the Emperor taunted him.
Palpatine stroked Luke's lightsaber. "You want this…take your Jedi weapon! Use it. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!"
Suddenly Luke snatched the lightsaber with the force, ignited it and slammed it down towards Palpatine. Vader leaped forward, igniting his own saber and blocking the strike. Although it was a perfect chance to strike the Emperor, Anakin knew that striking Palpatine unarmed was only a step towards the dark side. He had learned the hard way back in his youth, first by killing an already defeated Count Dooku, then again when Mace Windu had tried to kill Palpatine who had been cowering under him. Palpatine wanted Luke to strike at him, it would make Luke more his servant. Anakin wasn't falling for it this time. There was only one thing worse than making a terrible mistake, and that was not learning from it.
Anakin had learned.
Luke swung back at Vader. The boy had considerable skill. Anakin kept him fighting, feeling the anger inside Luke and hoping desperately he could contain it. Anakin tried to think of his hatred of Palpatine, to keep his anger levelhigh.Palpatine would surely sense his change of heart if Anakin did not keep the dark side flowing.
Luke was dangerously close to the dark side now. Anakin had to know if Luke was strong enough.
He was risking too much, his plan would not work if Luke himself fell to the darkness too. The dark side was like a hydra – cut of its head and another grows in its place. It would be worthless to kill Palpatine, if Luke then took his place. That was one thing Mace Windu never understood, and it was what lead to the destruction of the Jedi. Mace believed that he could kill Palpatine, even if he had to use the dark side to do it. But by taking that dark side decision, he strengthened the dark side even more. The fool. If not for Mace, Anakin wouldn't have had to defend Palpatine and been forced to pledge himself to the dark side, in a vain effort to save Padme. Which ultimately, had caused her death, not saved it. Vader shook his head out of the past and concentrated on fighting Luke. He would have to test him, push him, to make sure Luke was up to the challenge.
"Your thoughts betray you, father. I feel the good in you...the conflict," said Luke.
The boy was good.
"There is no conflict," Vader lied. He hoped the Emperor could not also sense his true feelings.
"You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before, and I don't believe you'll destroy me now," said Luke confidently.
Anakin was proud of his son. He needed to give him one last test. "You underestimate the power of the dark side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny." Anakin threw his lightsaber upwards, severing the catwalk. Luke fell in a shower of sparks, where he rolled and hid under the platform. Anakin hoped Luke would find a way to escape, where they could get away from Palpatine. Luke had passed the test, he would not be turned. But Anakin was still not strong enough to take on the Emperor, and he would not risk Luke. He needed to get Luke out of there, somehow.
"You cannot hide forever, Luke," he called.
"I will not fight you," came his disembodied reply.
"Give yourself to the dark side," taunted Vader. "It is the only way you can save your friends."
Anakin stretched out with his feelings, into Luke's mind. Luke was trying to resist him, but the boy was not experienced enough. Anakin caught an image. Could it be true? He had…a daughter? He searched his feelings and knew it to be true. He saw her in Luke's mind- it was the Princess, Leia. Somehow, he realized he already knew that. Of course...
"Your thoughts betray you," he boomed. "Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for... sister! So. You have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the dark side, then perhaps she will."
"Never!" screamed Luke, bursting out with his lightsaber. He attacked Vader with a fury he'd never felt before. Vader was pushed back, shocked by his rage, unable to fight back. Oh no, thought Anakin in panic. I pushed him too far. He was not as strong as I thought. Luke slashed and slashed repeatedly, slamming him with the saber until Vader fell back. He is indeed just like me, thought Anakin. His love will ultimately destroy him. My love for Padme destroyed me, now his love for his sister has destroyed him. The circle is complete. Luke slashed again, severing Vader's right arm along with his lightsaber..
This is it, thought Anakin. I have lost my son to the dark side, just as I lost Padme, Obi-Wan and myself. And now I will die by his hand. At least I'll see Padme again...
Palpatine walked up behind them, clasping his hands in glee. "Good!" he hissed. "Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father's place at my side!"
Luke paused, looking at his father's severed mechanical hand and then his own, gloved mechanical right hand. He is just like me, thought Luke in horror. We are no different.
Luke stumbled back. He made a decision, a decision he knew would cost him his life. But he would not become Darth Vader. He cast his lightsaber away.
"Never! I'll never turn to the dark side. You've failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me," said Luke, tossing his head towards the crumpled heap of Darth Vader.
The Emperor's gleeful expression suddenly turned to pure rage. "So be it...Jedi. If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed. " He held up his hands, shooting blue lighting towards Luke. It struck him down and left him writhing in pure agony. Anakin struggled to get up, watching his son in horror. He was still not strong enough to stop the Emperor. There was nothing he could do to save Luke. He felt completely helpless.
"Young fool...only now, at the end, do you understand," jeered the Emperor as Luke twisted and shook before him. "Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side. You have paid the price for your lack of vision."
"Father, please. Help me!" Luke called to Anakin in desperation. Anakin turned back and forth between Luke and his Master.I'm not strong enough, I'm not strong enough! he thought in anguish. I wasn't strong enough to save my mother, I wasn't strong enough to save Padme, I wasn't strong enough to ever break free! I can't help you my son! If only I was as strong as you…
Palpatine took an evil pause. "Now, young Skywalker...you will die." Leering and gritting his teeth with the sheer power, Palpatine struck Luke even harder.
Anakin watched in helpless despair. If only I was strong enough, as strong as you echoed in his mind. His son had sacrificed his life for him. Sacrificed himself rather than become a slave to the Emperor. His son was so strong…he was his father's son. Anakin was suddenly struck with the realization that Luke was part of him. And Leia…how she had resisted when he tortured her with that interrogation droid! If Luke and Leia, his son and daughter, had that strength…then maybe he had it too.
Anakin stepped towards Palpatine and grabbed him. He lifted him high over his head and walked slowly to the edge of the abyss at the central core of the throne room. With one final burst of his once awesome strength, Darth Vader hurled the Emperor's body into the bottomless shaft. Screaming, Palpatine's body spun helplessly into the void, arcing as it falls into the abyss. There was a sudden explosion and rush of blue light. Vader's cape was whipped by the explosion and he staggered, collapsing toward the hole. Luke crawled to his father's side and pulled him back from the edge to safety. For a moment, father and son were too weak to move.
Finally Luke gathered enough strength to rise. Taking his father's arm over his shoulders, he hoised Anakin to his feet and clumsily dragged him through the Death Star. There was chaos as the Imperial Troops ran terrified from the Rebel attack. Luke, already weakened from the lightning, was losing the strength to pull his father and himself to safety. His knees buckled and he collapsed.
"Luke, help me take this mask off," Anakin whispered.
"But you'll die!" answered Luke.
"Nothing can stop that now. Just for once...let me look on you with my own eyes."
Luke reluctantly removed the mask. He found the bald, scarred face of his father. He had bright blue eyes.
"Now...go, my son. Leave me," he told Luke.
"No. You're coming with me," insisted Luke. "I can't leave you here. I've got to save you!"
"You already have, Luke. You were right about me. Tell your sister...you were right."
Luke rose uncertainly, then stepped away. He started to walk towards the shuttle, then paused to turn back to his father.
"Wait Luke!" gasped Vader. "I can…I can breathe!"
Luke ran back. "You can?"
"Yes Luke…I don't understand it. Since my accident, I haven't been able to breathe without my mask. I have tried many times to heal my lungs, and breathe alone, but I never could. But…something's happened Luke, I'm breathing!"
Luke's face broke into a smile. "Maybe the dark side was preventing your body from healing? Healing is a light side trait. The dark side was keeping you from using it."
"I don't know what it is, but I'm feeling stronger. Son, help me to get up. We need to get out of here before this thing blows!" Luke joyfully pulled his father up and helped him into the ship. Luke fired up the engines and the shuttle roared from the dying Death Star.