Star Wars

"A Different Path"

Summary: Nine years after joining the Emperor, two young prisoners have Darth Vader questioning his decision…and start him thinking about a different path.

Author's Note:Very AU.

Warning:This story will contain spanking.

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters; they belong to the great George Lucas. I'm merely borrowing them for this story.

Chapter 1: The Prisoners

Aboard the first (and currently only) Imperial Death Star, Darth Vader sat in his meditation chamber, trying to bring about a calm he did not feel.

As the Emperor's Enforcer he was in command of the moon-sized battle station that had the power to destroy a planet.

They all believe this to be an awesome weapon, but it no match for the power of the Force.

As a Sith Lord, and former Jedi Knight, Vader had a great respect for the invisible, semi-touchable presence known as the Force.

What puzzled him the most was why the Emperor, who was also a Dark Lord of the Sith, could put such faith in this technological monstrosity that he had built?

Vader sighed.

It is not your place to question, but to obey.

Unfortunately, he had been questioning things all his life and he had trouble stopping now.

He had a great feeling of unease lately…a disturbance in the Force he couldn't quite place.

That was why he was having so much trouble meditating.

The intercom chimed, interrupting his meditation and he growled.

Flicking the switch without touching it, the image of General Veers—his second in command—appeared on the holo-screen.

"This had better be good, General," he growled, annoyed.

The general looked slightly nervous.

He wouldn't have been the first one to feel a Force-induced case of asphyxia at the hand of the Imperial Enforcer.

"My lord," he began, his voice cracking nervously, "we intercepted an Alderaan vessel just over the planet of Tatooine. It was an ambassador ship carrying the Prince Consort."

Vader raised an eyebrow.

What would Bail Organa be doing so far from home?

Especially near a backwater world like his old home planet?

"What did you find, General?" he asked, curious.

"Transmissions were beamed to the ship from a Rebel spy, my lord," General Veers went on.

"It is our belief that the Prince Consort was attempting to carry this information to some Rebel contact on Tatooine."

Vader nodded. "Have you arrested Organa?"

"I'm afraid the occupants aboard put up a fight," the general went on. "Prince Organa was killed when our Storm troopers returned fire."

Vader's eyes narrowed in annoyance. "Were there any survivors?"

Too many times the trigger happy troopers shot first and asked questions later.

That was not a good way of getting badly needed information.

"One, my lord," Veers said, nervously. "It seemed that the Prince Consort had his daughter with him."

"Did you take her prisoner?" Vader asked, almost rhetorically.

The general nodded.

"Yes, my lord," he said. "The girl is in route even now—along with one other prisoner."

"What other prisoner, General?" Vader asked, feeling a throbbing in the Force.

"It seemed that before he died, Prince Organa jettisoned an escape pod with two droids in it," the general went on.

"We believed he hid the information he received in one of them. The droids were picked up by local scavengers and sold to a moisture farmer. We sent troopers to track them down, but the farmer and his wife weren't inclined to give up the droids."

"They're dead I take it," Vader said, not surprised.

The general nodded. "Yes, my lord. We found the droids, but also someone else. It seemed they had a child living with them—a nephew."

"He is the other prisoner?" Vader asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, my lord," Veers said. "For all we know the droid could have passed on its information to the boy. That is why I had him brought along with the Alderaan princess for interrogation."

In the Empire, the word 'interrogation' actually meant torture.

Vader nodded, understanding.

He would not torture children, but scaring them might work just as well.

"Have they arrived?" he asked, curiously.

"They are just docking, my lord," Veers said. "Shall I send them to you?"

"Yes," Vader said, "and get the droids seen to as soon as possible."

"It will be done, my lord," Veer exclaimed, saluting.

He flicked his finger and the screen went black.

Vader sighed.

Ten minutes later, his door chimed and he flicked his hand to open it.

Two storm troopers entered, pushing in front of them a boy and girl.

Both were about nine years old and neither looked very happy at the moment.

The girl he recognized as Leia Organa—Bail Organa's adopted daughter.

She had long brown hair, braided into a single braid down her back, and large brown eyes.

She wore a white dress with a hood, befitting her station as a daughter of the royal house.

The boy had sandy blonde hair and large blue eyes.

He wore the desert style clothing worn by most males of Tatooine that Vader remembered so well.

In fact, this boy looked so much like him as a child that he began to wonder…

Standing up, he towered over the two children.

"Leave us," he growled at the two white armored figures.

The two troopers saluted and obeyed.

Alone with the two 'prisoners' he pulled back the black hood of his cloak so that they could see his face.

He'd allowed his hair to grow longer over the years—long enough to pull into a tail at the nap of his neck—and had dyed it black.

He felt it made him look more imposing, more menacing, especially with his golden [feral] eyes—a by-product of his use of the Dark Side of the Force.

"I don't know who you are," the boy spoke up, angrily, "but I ain't done nothin' and I want to go home!"

Vader raised an eyebrow at that, but didn't say anything yet.

He turned to the girl.

"Lord Vader," Princess Leia spoke up, her tone and bearing haughty, "I demand that you release me at once. You have no right to keep me here."

Vader smirked.

The princess reminded him of someone, another young lady, he'd known long ago.

"You'll find, Princess," he told her, "that I do not give into the demands made by nine year old little girls. You will remain here as long as I deem it necessary for you to remain."

The girl crossed her arms and scowled at him.

If looks could kill, he would have certainly have been dead.

He found it amusing, though he did not let it show on his face.

He returned his gaze to the boy.

"What is your name?" he asked, curious.

He sensed that the Force was strong with him…with both of them, really.

Organa had never allowed his daughter near him or the Emperor…he supposed he knew of her potential…so he had only ever seen her at a distance.

Now, close up, he could sense her inner strength.

Even at nine, it rivaled someone else's he once knew.

"Luke Skywalker," the boy said. "You can't keep me here, either! M-My aunt and uncle will be worried about me."

So, the boy either didn't know his relatives were dead or he was in denial.

Either way, it didn't matter.

His name, however, was of great interest to him…

"What are the names of your guardians?" he asked the boy, curious.

If it was who he thought it was…

"Owen and Beru Lars," Luke answered, his jaw setting stubbornly. "I want to go home! I didn't do anything, so you can't keep me here!"

He crossed his arms and glared at him, his blue eyes flashing fire.

The boy has spirit, Vader thought, and a stubbornness to match it. The princess has a temper to match hers.

"Like he cares," Leia spoke up, glaring at the Enforcer. "This is Darth Vader, farm boy. He's the Emperor's lap dog and does what ever his master says like the good little doggy he is."

Vader narrowed his eyes at her.

He did not tolerate disrespect, especially from children.

"You have a sharp tongue, Princess," he told her, towering over her. "That could get you into serious trouble."

The girl sniffed. "I'm not afraid of you," she declared, hands on her hips.

Her wide brown eyes, however, told a different story…

Vader chuckled.

"No," he agreed, "I don't believe you are, but that could change very easily."

Both the children's eyes widened at that, and they looked at each other hesitantly.

Summoning the storm troopers, he ordered, "Take our young guests to the infirmary and have the standard exams done. Inform the chief medic I want a word with him once he is finished, and then take them to a cell block."

"Should we place them in separate cells, my lord?" one of the troopers asked.

Vader regarded the children, using both his eyes and his Force senses to examine them.

Despite their brave words, he could tell both were terrified—as well as emotional traumatized.

Having a companion, he supposed, would ease their fear a bit.

"No," he said, grinning at the children. "They are both small enough, I think, to house in one cell. Why waist space when we do not have to, after all?"

The Storm troopers saluted and led the children from his chambers.

He sighed as the door closed behind them.

He knew what the Emperor would order, should he be informed of this.

These two were Force-sensitive, of that he was certain, and there was something else about them…

Palpatine would order their immediate deaths, but there was no way he was going to harm any more children.

Never again, he vowed angrily.

An image of the younglings' faces appeared in his mind and quickly pushed it away.

He could not change the past, but he could change the future.

No child would ever die directly by his hand again.

Why do I feel connected to them? Why do I feel this…pull?

He didn't know the answer to those questions, but he was sure going to find out.