Summary: Father. The word has different meanings for each of us. A look into the minds of Vader, Luke and Leia during ESB.

Author's Note: This story was originally posted on TFN in 2007. It was my first Star Wars fic.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Star Wars universe (obviously) and I do not make any money from these writings.


Part I
Darth Vader

I never had a father.

I am not saying this because he was a slave, a drunkard, a smuggler, a Jedi, or someone to be equally ashamed of.

The children I played with while growing up on that detestable planet used to laugh at me, calling me the boy with no father. I was five when I asked my mother the question.

"Mom, who was my father?"

"No one, Ani," she said. "You're a miracle I can't explain. There was no father."

Truth, the Force whispered in my ear. The Force was always with me, even before I knew what it was.

What still perplexes me is why I did not look like a clone of my mother. If I had only her genes in me, my physical appearance should have been a replica of hers. Yet I looked nothing like her, with hair the color of sand and eyes like the sky. These physical characteristics must have been a gift from the Force which conceived me.

This gift was stolen from me, but not before I had passed it on to my son.

Luke.

His name awoke something in me that had been absent since her death: hope. When I learned of his existence, I realized I am not alone in the Galaxy. I have a son, and he is my hope for a better future – a future his mother denied me.

But what would I know about being a father, I who never had one? And the substitutes I had were far from worthy role models. One led me to damnation; the other left me to a fiery death. Both lost my loyalty.

I know better than to repeat their mistakes.

I once told Obi-Wan he was the closest thing I had to a father. That was a lie; I think he knew it even then. Actions speak louder than words, and mine proved how untrue my words had been.

As he left me to be consumed by lava, Obi-Wan called me his brother. I never had a brother, and if this is what brothers do, I am grateful for that. But what could Obi-Wan know about family? He spent his childhood in the Jedi Temple, brainwashed to blindly follow the Code since the crèche. At least I knew my mother.

The Jedi were his family – and mine, he wanted me to believe. It was another lie to keep me in their traitorous Order. They kept me away from my mother, took my wife from me, and then dared to speak of family?

At least, unlike the hypocritical Jedi, I knew enough about family that when the time came to choose between my father and my brother, I made the right choice.

Yes, it was the right choice at the time. But time passes and circumstances change. My two Masters betrayed me, and it is only right that I should betray them in return.

Killing Obi-Wan was satisfying.

Killing the other will be even more satisfying. And long overdue.

But I need Luke's help. Because of the injuries Obi-Wan inflicted on me, I am not powerful enough to succeed alone. The smallest amount of Force lightning is deadly to me in this suit.

When we meet on Bespin, I will tell Luke the truth Obi-Wan kept from him. I will make him understand his importance.

I have learned the lesson: surrogate family betrays. True family is held together by the ties of blood. My mother was my only such family, and she never betrayed me. The bond of blood is the only one that cannot be broken. All the others are temporary and can break at the whim of will or circumstance.

I know it will not be so between Luke and I. There is a bond between us that I had with neither of my father figures. Blood is the chain that binds my son's destiny to me. Luke will know this to be true.

I am Darth Vader, and I have no father.

I am a father.


Part II
Luke Skywalker

I fiddle with my prosthetic hand. It's the second gift from my father, if the lightsaber I lost on Bespin can be counted as the first.

High Command has awarded me another medal and called me their "new hope", but I don't feel like a hero. Before I joined, they had been on a steady slope towards defeat, and apparently my arrival turned the tides, but they shouldn't be so sure about that. What they don't know...

Okay, so I destroyed the Death Star, and now I've rescued Princess Leia from Darth Vader's clutches again. But it was my fault Han and Leia were captured. They were Vader's bait for me. They would've been safe if they weren't my friends. I wanted to run away when Mon Mothma thanked me for my service to the Alliance. I felt so guilty.

Mothma said Leia is like a daughter to her. She's all that's left of her best friend, Bail Organa.

Leia's father must have been a great man. I wish I had met him. Leia is so lucky... I can't imagine how it hurt her to lose him, but at least he was there for her as she grew up. If only I had a father like that, even if he was dead, instead of...

Vader.

I shudder at the name. But I no longer feel the old hatred and fear of the Sith who tortured my friends and killed my father, or so I thought.

I'm a Jedi, and Jedi aren't allowed to hate. Or fear.

Or feel...

Isn't that what Yoda was trying to knock into my head with his stick? Ben's Jedi Code said something like that too, though he didn't have the time to explain it. Why did he have to get himself killed hours after he promised to train me as a Jedi?

I examine my new hand. In the medbay's dull lighting, it doesn't look different from my other hand, and somehow that's more scary than if it was a metallic claw. The synthetic flesh looks and feels like it's really part of my body. I'll have to wear a glove over it or I might forget that it isn't.

Would the Alliance still trust me if they knew I'm the spawn of their second most hated enemy?

I shake my head. I shouldn't be thinking about this. The dark is dangerous, especially for a partially trained Jedi who is the son of a Sith Lord.

So I use the Force like Yoda taught me to wash away these dark thoughts. Then I look down, and the sight of my right hand poking out from a black sleeve brings me right back to them.

I've started dressing in black to remind myself of what I can become. Yoda taught me I must never forget the danger of the Dark Side. I must be mindful of the truth, of who I am and where that can lead. As the saying goes, like father like son...

No.

Understanding hits me like lightning. It feels like I'm back on Tatooine looking at the sky, and a new star has shown up while I was blinking. I grab my prosthetic hand and hold it tight against my chest.

Ben was right about one thing. Darth Vader is not my father.

Maybe we share the same blood, and he's the source of the Force sensitivity that I have, as unfair as that is. But whatever he says, the monster who cut off my hand is not my father.

Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight, was my father. And like Ben said, Vader killed him, right? So I'm going to kill Vader – from a certain point of view – and bring my father back to life. Because whatever Ben and Yoda would think, I know he's still there, hiding inside that black armor and helmet, a prisoner of the Dark Side. Vader couldn't kill him completely.

I'm going to find him and bring him back.


Part III
Leia Organa

I am the last of the ancient house of Organa.

My beautiful home, the planet I would have served someday by being its Queen, is gone. My family died with it. The Alliance is all I have now, and it is my only way of making sure my people didn't die in vain.

I did not cry when the Empire destroyed my planet. I have never cried about it. Alderaan deserves better than tears to keep its memory.

Alderaan deserves justice.

My life is now dedicated entirely to fighting the Empire. It's what my father would have wanted.

I feel that if I do not avenge my people, I should have died with them.

I remember my real mother, the one who brought me into the Galaxy, on Empire Day, revoltingly enough. I know she wasn't Alderaanian. And since I had a real mother, I must have had a real father too. On an intellectual level, I know this. But I have no idea who my biological parents were, and I've never felt the need to know their names. I always suspected my father knew them, but I never asked.

I don't care where my blood came from. Bail and Breha Organa gave me the childhood every youngling in the Galaxy dreams about. They raised me as their own daughter and they loved me more than most parents love their real children. I was privileged to be adopted into such a family, and I couldn't be prouder to call myself an Organa. Why would I care about my other parents when I had such a family?

Now they are gone, murdered in the worst of the Empire's inhuman atrocities. But I will carry on their legacy. I'll achieve what they wanted. For Alderaan, and so that no other planet has to suffer its fate...

I'll do it to prove to those monsters that although they have obliterated Alderaan, they will never defeat its values.

It's comforting to know that Tarkin and the Death Star received their comeuppance thanks to Luke, our new Jedi, and the brave pilots who flew with him. Their courage gave us the chance to show the Galaxy that we can effectively stand up to the Empire. The Rebellion's recruitment tripled after that victory, and the enemy has learned not to underestimate us.

I will do it because we must not give up now, when the rays of hope are finally peeking out from behind the black clouds of oppression.

But most of all, I will do it for the man who was my father and my best friend. The man who protected and spoiled me, who put my happiness above the cause he served, and whose memory will always be my inspiration.

He made me who I am. He taught me about life and love; he showed me truth and justice. He was the only father I knew, and the only one I ever wanted.

I remember him neglecting his responsibilities as Viceroy to play with me, and skipping Alliance meetings to stay with me when I was sick and my mother's double duty as Queen and Education Minister left her no time for family. I remember his understanding and support when my mother didn't want me to join the Rebellion or to accept the perilous assignment of being the Alliance's spy in the Imperial Senate.

I will always cherish these memories in my heart.

The Galaxy needs me, and I'll serve it as my father did. I am honored to have called him father, and I will do my best to make sure he would have been proud to consider me his daughter.

Blood means nothing. Bail Organa was my father.