9-26-07: Okay, since I've gotten several requests for ANH-period Vader-Cat fics, I'm ammending my notes. Since the whole idea is comedic, I'm just going to say that this reality assumes that Executor was commissioned earlier and Vader was already using it as his flagship.

This is a follow up to Cracking The Armor...or Possibly Just Cracking, and Another Disturbing Crack. It helps to have read them, but it's not entirely necessary as long as you're willing to accept that a little orange kitten has adopted the Dark Lord.

The cat fics were created after my friend Sarah (aka Polgarawolf) found a stray and we were discussing how a kitty would do wonders for Vader. Ridiculous? Yes. But it's fun. Enjoy.

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Completely Cracked (And the Cat Came Back)

Vader didn't realize how problematic that the cat's attachment to him was going to be until the Millennium Falcon entered the Alderaan system. Or, more specifically, until its crew boarded the Death Star and he realized that Obi-Wan Kenobi was among them. While awaiting his former Master, he spent several minutes in the hallway attempting to convince the cat that it could not come with him. First, it refused to get off his shoulder. Then, when he physically picked it up and set it on the floor, it immediately ran behind him and began attempting its cloak-climbing routine. It was virtually impossible for Vader to reach around far enough to be able to remove the cat from his back, and so Kenobi found him turning a series of increasingly clumsy half-circles in a vain attempt to catch hold of the animal before it reached his shoulder.

The Jedi approached warily, lightsaber in hand, but the sight that met his eyes was so surreal that he, much like Tarkin, could only stare with wide eyes. Vader was forced to stop, then pivoted again to face his former mentor. The cat, of course, was then free to make its way to his shoulder, where it perched quite happily, rubbing its head against Vader's helmet. It mewed cheerfully at Obi-Wan, seeming to hold none of the dislike for him that it had shown for Admiral Motti.

Vader sighed.

Taking his lightsaber from his belt, he ignited the weapon and said, "I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan."

"Have you?" the Jedi raised an eyebrow.

"Yes," Vader intoned, attempting to infuse his tone with some semblance of threat. "When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master."

"Really," remarked Obi-Wan dubiously. "It appears to me that your friend there is the Master."

"Appearances can be deceptive," grumbled Vader.

"Oh, yes, I'm sure," Obi-Wan retorted as the cat rubbed Vader's helmet again.

Vader glared darkly at the Jedi. Then he picked the cat up off his shoulder and muttered, "Just a moment."

"Whenever you're ready," Obi-Wan shrugged.

Vader whirled around, stomping to the end of the hallway without another word. Once he reached the next set of blast doors, he stepped through and strode a few more feet. Then he set the cat on the floor, planted his fists on his hips and glared at it.

"Stay," he ordered sternly.

Then he spun around again and stalked back to the waiting Jedi. Obi-Wan leaned casually against the wall, lightsaber still in hand but dangling at his side as if it had become and afterthought. Vader raised his own weapon again, determined to wipe the smug look off of the Jedi's grizzled face.

"You should not have come back," he sneered.

Obi-Wan coughed lightly and didn't move. He pushed himself off of the wall and gestured toward the floor with his free hand. "I believe we have a problem."

Vader looked down at the floor, following the direction of the Jedi's finger. "Cat! I told you to stay!"

"You have it quite well trained. Really, Anakin, I never knew you were such a cat person," remarked Obi-Wan.

"That name--" Vader began, but the words were cut off by a sudden rush of activity across the hangar. Both he and Obi-Wan turned toward the Falcon and saw the stormtroopers on duty now watching them with puzzled interest, and a small group, on the other end of the hangar making a run for the ship.

One of them, a sandy-haired boy who was for some reason wearing a stormtrooper's utility belt suddenly halted, having caught sight of Kenobi, Vader and the cat. After a second of stunned staring, he finally managed to find his voice.

"Ben…?"

"Run, Luke! I'll be right with you," ordered Obi-Wan.

Vader bent quickly, trying to scoop up the cat with one hand while still holding his lightsaber with the other. The cat, however, had other ideas and was trying to squirm away. "You will not escape so easily!"

"Are you talking to me or the cat?" Obi-Wan asked.

"Both of you!" Vader fired back.

"Luke, come on!" shouted the princess.

The stormtroopers, now alerted to the rebels' presence, had turned and begun firing at them. The princess and her companions returned fire, backing toward the ship in an attempt to open a path for the old man. Kenobi himself gave Vader a last look and shook his head in disbelief.

"Well, old friend, I'm afraid our time's up," he said before he darted through the doors and sliced through a couple of stormtroopers on his way toward the ship.

"Shoot the door, kid! The door!" bellowed another voice.

Vader, finally having managed to get the kitten in hand, started for the doorway. Before he reached it though, the blast doors slid closed, leaving him with a lightsaber in one hand and a cat in the other. He looked from the weapon to the purring feline and heaved a sigh, letting his weapon hand fall to his side.

"Well done," he told the kitten ruefully. "You have now completely ruined my credibility."