Well, this is something new and interesting for me. But I'm willing to try anything, with enough research. Since there are no others like it (that I could find anyway), I'm looking forward to seeing how people react!
"The Lovely Stars"
Disclaimer: Harry Potter & Star Wars are property of JK Rowling, George Lucas, Lucas Film Ltd, Bloomsbury, and Warner Bros and all those other nifty people. I make no money from this, just so you know. I own nothing, which is lame; so don't sue me.
Summary: [Vader/HP] He had loved and lost, but never moving on was the real tragedy of Lord Vader. Until he met a boy, and the Force decided that he would love again. There was no better cure than the love of a good man.
Warnings: Slash. Crossover. Major AU. Vader/Harry. M-preg. Violence. Magic. Palpatine. Between RotS and RotJ.
Rating: R… maybe.
A/N: I'm taking some serious liberties here. Bear with me. This is sort of a test-run for a SW story I want to do, but I'm going to see how many SW-related mistakes I make in a crossover first. Feel free to correct me.
"The stars kept coming, until they made the sky so bright that the sun got jealous." – Jodi Picoult.
"It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars." – Richard Evans.
"Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of Heaven, blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels." – 'Evangeline', by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Lovely Stars
The cantina was dark and loud. It was the last place he wanted to be, but as always he had to follow his master's order. A small group of Stormtroopers hovered behind him, standing straight and stiff and awaiting his orders with patience that had been bred into them from before conception. Sly Moore, one of the Emperor's aides, gazed calmly around the dingy cantina. She stood at his side, under the same orders as him, but far more patient.
"Lord Vader," one of the Stormtroopers called. "I see them."
He turned to face the clone that had spoken. Darth Vader then turned away, the leather of his gloves creaking as he clenched his fingers together and turned to face the group who awaited him.
They sat at the far corner of the cantina, hidden in shadows. Empty glasses covered the rickety table they had gathered around, and the glassy eyed gazes he was met with sickened him. Drunk, at an Imperial meeting. Though, Vader supposed, they should have insisted on meeting at the Imperial Palace.
Not much was known about the Unknown Territories. The Core worlds knew practically little about the sectors in the Galactic Empire that they governed that lay within the Outer Rim. Those that lay even further out in space was un-chartered territory, and this was the first time since the founding of the Empire almost ten years ago that representatives from the Unknown Territories had been willing to converse with them. Star Destroyers and probes and droids had been sent out to do the Imperials dirty work for them, but none had ever returned, and for the time interim Emperor Palpatine had stopped trying. This meeting was too good an opportunity for the Emperor to pass up, and so he had sent his servant, his apprentice, Darth Vader to convince these strangers that joining their Sectors with the Empire was the best course of action.
He was almost at their table when he felt it. The ripple, like that across still water sudden and intense, changing everything and disturbing everything. The Force resounded with it. Darth Vader stopped dead, his helmeted head twisted around, trying to catch a glimpse of the person who had caught his mental attention. The cantina was crowded, packed and loud, and fortunately the Dark Lord was tall enough to see over the head's of the other patrons. He spotted the boy easily enough. He couldn't have been much more than a child, eighteen or nineteen at most, and he sat alone at a table in the centre of the room sipping a cup of blue milk.
"What are you doing?" Sly Moore asked, though she already knew the answer. She had not come to the outskirts of Coruscant to follow the same orders as Lord Vader had. Her orders from her master had been slightly altered. She was to meet with the representatives, convince them to join the Empire, and all the while she was to keep an eye out for the boy who had been staring in many of Palpatine's Force visions as of late.
That boy, there. She recognized him from the Emperor's descriptions, but why he was so important she did not know.
Darth Vader ignored her question, as he was wont to do at times. He made his way, instead, to stand beside the boy's table, silent and terrible in his curiosity. The dark helmeted head lowered, his back bent and the leather creaked slightly as he lowered himself enough so that he was eye level with the strange boy.
"I have sensed a tremor in the Force." He whispered, but the vocoder made him sound as he always did: raspy, loud and horrible. "No," he corrected himself. "There are earthquakes in the Force now that I stand before you. What is your name?" One hand came forward, finger pointed at the boy's face, and green eyes blinked slowly in reply. The pale, youthful face scrunched up, eyebrows drawn together and lips pursed, but after a moment his features straightened out and he once again was beautiful.
"My name is Harry Potter."
Harry had read somewhere once, when he was a child, that 'The World has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the Earth. I smell it, in the air. Much that once was, is lost. For none now live, who remember it'1. He hadn't thought much on it at the time, because honestly who would ever live long enough for something like the changing of a world to matter? Sure, Lord Voldemort had lived through a world war, and two magical ones, but that wasn't the same thing, not entirely. Harry didn't remember the first Magical War, but he had helped end the second, and while it had changed his world, the rest of the world was generally unaffected.
He hadn't realised at the time, but the words from that book were important, almost prophetic. In order to destroy the Dark Lord who had tormented and hunted him, Harry had mastered three magical artefacts, collectively known as the Deathly Hallows. At the time, similarly, he hadn't realised how much of an affect that would have on his life.
First the quote and then the Hallows, and his world was changed.
Time moved on, but Harry didn't. He remained as he was at the time, eighteen years old and barely graduated. His scars never faded, his friends all ages and died and he remained on the outside looking in. A lonely, pain-filled life that he thought he had managed to escape by defeating Voldemort, and yet he was cursed to continue living such a life, alone. Unchanging.
As with all stars, they burn brightly, and then they implode. The Earth's sun was no different. For millennia it burned and the planets in their Milky Way gravitated around it, until one day all of the light went inwards and the star went supernova. All of the humans died.
Some of the Wizards survived.
The magical creatures that were already dead, like the Vampires, they could survive in space. Those who could fly flew away, as far as they could get before the suns of the neighbouring planets exploded as well. Harry wasn't as clever as some of his kin. Some Witches and Wizards cast bubblehead charms or spells so that they could breathe in space and not asphyxiate. Harry did neither. He simply waited to die…
…But he didn't. The Hallow on his finger burned him harshly, the Wand in his pocket vibrated with excitement, and as always the Cloak protected him from view. Asteroids and chunks of their destroyed planet avoided him completely; almost as if he wasn't there, until eventually, he floated into another corner of the Galaxy.
There were more planets than Harry had ever been taught there were. Aliens existed. Humans existed in other Milky Ways (though, that was not what they were called), and Harry had found a new purpose in life just as his old life had finally ended.
He kept his name, but he changed his history. With the help of magic, it hadn't been too hard to convince people that he had the necessary credentials to gain a job and a home. He avoided the Jedi as much as was possible, and eventually that part of the world was changed as well. It was safer for him with the Jedi extinct, but living on Coruscant made it difficult to avoid the Sith.
Harry tried his best to keep track of world changing events. Once before he had thought the world would never change, but he had since learnt that change would occur whether he liked it or not, and it was best to know in advance the main players and hope to avoid their path.
When Darth Vader of the Sith walked into the uninteresting and dirty cantina Harry usually frequented after work, the ground almost seemed to tremble. Harry didn't have the Force, but he knew enough about destiny and fate to know that he was meant to meet this dark behemoth. The black helmet shined in the dim lighting, and Harry found himself staring at where eyes should have stared back. The blank visor was turned towards him, red lights on the man's chest winked as Vader came towards him, and only then could Harry force himself to turn away.
"I have sensed a tremor in the Force." Vader told him, his voice loud in the sudden silence of the room. "No, there are earthquakes in the Force now that I stand before you." He suddenly reached out a hand towards Harry. The fist was closed, but as he continued to speak he uncurled one finger and Harry found himself looking first at the pointing finger and then up again at the Dark Lord's masked face. "What is your name?"
Harry frowned. Something was happening, something monumentus that would change the course of his world and Vader's world and possibly the world if Harry's luck had anything to do with it. His forehead creased, but he forced himself to relax. Events were already in motion; there was nothing Harry could do now to change the future (not that there ever was other than begetting a child to pass the Hallows onto and finally letting himself die).
With a small smile, Harry said, "My name is Harry Potter. Did you know it's rude to point?"
Harry reached up hesitantly, to lie on hand on Vader's hovering arm and he pushed it down. Vader let the arm drop to his side, stunned momentarily at the boy's audacity and the electrical current that shot through his body from the casual touch.
It had been almost ten years since someone had last dared to touch Lord Vader. Ten years, and this child had put his hands on him as if it were an everyday occurrence! Behind the mask, Vader narrowed his eyes. Behind them, the Stormtroopers gasped and one of the representatives from the Unknown Territories stood up. Through the Forced, Vader could sense that the representatives were all nervous and that the man standing, in particular, was ready to run away. He turned away from Harry Potter.
"Leave my sight." Vader ordered, in a tone that brooked no reply.
Harry watched as the man turned on his heel, much like Severus Snape had used to, and his cape snapped out behind him as he strode away. To be as tall as Vader was, and yet to be so graceful in his movements, there was no way that he was completely human. Behind his hand, Harry smiled: it wasn't like he was all that human either. Harry was tempted to wait and watch, and ignore the Dark Lord's desires (because he was so good at that), but the man who had looked ready to run away a moment ago had sat down again and was staring pleadingly in Harry's direction, begging him to leave. The man looked familiar. He might have been a great great descendant of the Weasley family with hair that red. Surely at least one of them had survived the imploding sun.
Harry thought perhaps, as he made his way to the cantina's exit, brushing past Sly Moore who was subtly reaching out to touch his skin and extract DNA of any kind, that more than God worked in mysterious ways. The Force, it seemed, could be as manipulative as Albus Dumbledore. It was definitely at work here, Harry admitted as he caught Vader's blank gaze on more time before the door closed behind him. What it would bring, he didn't know, and half of him didn't want to know. But on the other hand, what couldn't kill him would only make life more interesting.
His breathing was loud, a constant hiss, hiss of the respirator in the otherwise silent hall. Emperor Palpatine was seated before him, cowl raised to cover his face, but his lips peaked out beneath the hem, twisted into a mockery of a smile.
"I have foreseen it, Vader," he said, not giving the Sith leave to rise. He stood from his throne, slowly walking in a circle around the kneeling figure, his fingers tapping lightly at his thigh. "I have waited for this moment for some time now, my apprentice. Why do you think I was so against your association with Senator Amidala? I knew he would come, but you were as impatient as you ever was." Palpatine's yellow eyes lingered on the injuries that they both knew were hidden beneath Vader's mask and armour. "To your detriment," he added in close to a whisper.
"My master?" The Dark Lord asked, his voice sounding as it had for the last ten years, ever since he had woken up in the star-forsaken suit. "Why did you never tell me?"
"Rise Lord Vader," Palpatine said with a negligent wave of his hand. He sunk back into his throne, smiling slyly as he crossed his hands over his stomach. "Would you have waited with patience Anakin?" He hissed the name, angry, as if the taste of it caused him pain. "Would you have been content to sit and wile the time away with me, or would you have scoured the Galaxy for a boy who was not yet ready to meet you?"
"Master, I-" Vader tried to defend himself, but fell silent as Palpatine waved a hand at him. He didn't bother to protest the use of his other name: Anakin was dead, and Palpatine knew that. He knew how much Vader despised being address in that manner, but he did it anyway, as a punishment, because he was annoyed with his apprentice.
"You will make an effort with the boy, Lord Vader. If he angers you, do anything but kill him." The Emperor chuckled, feeling his servant's confusion through the Force. "Oh by all means be angry, it is the way of the Sith after all, but do not kill the boy until it is time. He will need plenty of time, but he will conceive you a powerful heir. The child will be strong within the Force, and he will have other gifts that will be of use to the Empire as well. I have seen this, Vader. It will come to pass, and you will let it."
"I understand, master. My only concern is how this child is to be conceived?" He waved his hand, gesturing to himself. As much as it galled him to admit it, he was practically disabled. His lower anatomy worked in the way it was intended to, it was about the only natural organ Vader had left that could work without external help, but having sex while in the suit would prove to be difficult. He had never had to urge to try it, not since he had murdered his beautiful wife, but he didn't doubt that it would take a lot of manoeuvring and be a very uncomfortable experience. He could only breathe unaided in his hyberbaric chamber, where the air was comprised of pure oxygen, but that wouldn't help his lung compensate for the faster breathing rate that sex usually resulted in.
Instead of answering his main concern, Palpatine brushed him off, and address his unasked question. "The boy is not quite human, Vader. There will be surprises in store."
He had had a child, almost.
No. That child had belonged to another. Anakin Skywalker was dead, and all that remained was Lord Vader. Anakin had died the moment he learnt his wife and unborn child had died.
In his anger… he killed them.
The knowledge had shattered what was left of his soul, but now, now he could feel hope fluttering within him. It was weak and tentative, faint like the humming of wings, but it existed for the first time in almost ten years.
Darth Vader leant back in the chair, his eyes squeezed closed. With his helmet off, he didn't like to look at himself, so he usually kept his eyes closed and meditated unless someone was trying to Holocom him. The ruined skin of his face felt tight, but he resisted the urge to rub at it. It would only cause him unnecessary discomfort, and in a few moments he would lose himself within the Force and the feeling would slip his mind. Meditation was not something that had come easy to Anakin, but it was something that Vader particularly relied on. It was easy to purge his tremulous thoughts and emotions into the Force, to concentrate on the anger and pain and hatred and wrap his mind within it like his cloak. Like his armoured suit hid his scarred body from view, the Dark Side protected his thoughts, the ones he couldn't forget.
Memories of his wife and child.
Never forgotten, no matter how hard he tried. But now, now there was a change to replace those terrible memories with new ones, better ones. The Emperor had given permission to court the boy, Harry, and to create this child (somehow, as unbelievable as it sounded), and for once Lord Vader looked forward to something that didn't include causing death.
The idea of having a child, of finally being known as 'father', was enough to convince him to do what his master wanted done.
As the helmet lowered onto his head with the aide of a mechanical droid-arm, Vader activated his Com-unit. "Deploy three legions of Stormtroopers. Have them search for a Mr. Harry Potter, human in appearance, dark hair, green eyes and pale skin. Attractive, short, no more than a teenager. He was last seen in White Dwarf, a Cantina on the outskirts of the city central. Find him," he ordered, pointing a gloved finger at the blue holographic image of one of his Naval underlings, "and bring him to me. Unharmed."
With that, he cut the connection. He would search for the boy as well. The connection that they had through the Force was strong and with it there was no chance of Vader overlooking the boy accidentally like the Stormtroopers might. The Clones were generally unintelligent, capable of following orders but not of thinking for themselves. Harry, on the other hand, was probably smart enough to try to trick them and hide. He would not be able to hide from Darth Vader.
Despite Vader's thoughts to the contrary, Harry was able to avoid capture for the best part of a week. Lord Vader was standing beside the Emperor, flanked by a handful of the Red Guard, while four of Palpatine's current favourite people talked over themselves. The Emperor nodded attentively, scanning their thoughts instead of listening to their lies, and Vader ignored them. The aristocracy had always aggravated him; he was more at home among the Navy, where even when the officers angered him, they did it through incompetence and not on purpose.
The doors of the hall opened, and an aid began to announce the new arrivals. Vader tuned them out, his eyes riveted on the twelve Stormtroopers that had entered the room. Between them, bound and angry, was Harry Potter.
"I demand to know the meaning of this!" Harry hissed, as Vader walked closer to him. The Dark Lord brought him before his master, dismissing the Stormtroopers with a backward glance. His eyes flickered to the Emperor, and over the courtiers, and then landed, blazing, on Darth's mask. "What the hell is your problem?"
"My name is Lord Vader. I was remiss at our last meeting and did not properly introduce myself. This," he pointed at the Emperor, and pushed down on Harry's shoulder until the boy fell to one knee in an impromptu bow, "is Emperor Palpatine, he wished to meet you."
"He wished to meet me?" Harry muttered, shrugging off Vader's heavy hand. He awkwardly got to his feet, glaring resentfully at the binder's on his wrists. "Well I must be rather important considering the 'Troopers dragged me out of the largest medical centre on Coruscant and brought me here. I sure hope one of you are dying, otherwise I'm going back to work." His eyes settled on the Emperor, whose face was barely visible, but from what Harry could see, this Dark Lord was just as ugly as Voldemort had been. They both felt dark and dangerous, their presence cloying and heavy, and unforgiving, but Harry couldn't bring himself to pander to the man. It was the same as his not calling Voldemort 'You-Know-Who'; the man hadn't deserved the fearful respect. Palpatine hadn't earned his fear or his respect, though Harry had heard enough about him to know he should be feared.
Apparently, you could take the boy out of Gryffindor, but you could never take the Gryffindor out of the boy. It was a euphemism for stupid, brave and reckless. Sometimes, Harry was all three.
"Really now, which one of you is in need of medical aide? Cause I refuse to believe that the Galactic Ruler is so impatient that he would drag me out here just to say 'hello' while I was trying to save Imperial lives." Harry wanted to put his hands on his hips, but with the binders on his wrists it was impossible. He could have removed them with magic, but fighting against the two Sith in the room was not on his list of things to do.
Vader stared at him, and Harry could imagine his mouth dropping open and staying like that. The courtiers, similarly, looked as if they were catching flies, but the Red Guards were motionless. Everyone was staring at him, waiting to see how the Emperor reacted. It was his reaction that surprised Harry the most. He waited to be Cursed, or hit, or killed (much like Voldemort had been known to do when Harry back-talked him), but instead Palpatine threw his head back so far that his hood slipped off and he laughed. It was loud, and genuine, and it echoed through the cold, marble throne room. The aristocrats gasped and mimicked the chuckles, until the Emperor fell silent, and Vader took an unconscious step closer to his future lover.
"Well," Palpatine drawled, standing up and making his way to Harry. He removed the binders and took each of Harry's hands in his own. "It will be interesting having you around, my boy."
Harry fought not to pull away. If he did, the Guards might think he was trying to attack and hurt him. It wouldn't kill him, but that didn't mean Harry welcomed unnecessary pain either. Palpatine squeezed his hands, and gave a wheezing laugh before he pulled away.
"He burns brightly in the Force." The Emperor said, as he retook his seat.
Vader nodded in agreement, moving to place his hand on Harry's shoulder. "As a star, going supernova. Sometimes he is blinding."
Harry flinched slightly. God, he thought, please don't let that be an omen.
Harry hadn't been allowed to leave the Palace. One of the Red Guard had been sent to the Coruscant First Medical Facility to notify them of Harry's leave of absence. Noting how uncomfortable the boy seemed to be around the Emperor, Vader had removed him to his personal rooms.
Harry looked around, wide-eyed, taking in the numerous strange cylindrical objects that were mounted against one wall. "What are they?" He asked, as he reached out to hover his hand beside one.
"Lightsabers." Came the answer, in the Sith's mechanical voice. "Taken from the enemies I've felled."
"Trophies. Reminders of the people you've murdered?" Harry scowled at him, anger burning intensely within his green eyes.
"They were traitors and enemies of the Empire. I was doing my duty by destroying them." Vader reasoned, not wanting to alienate the boy so soon. He did not like the idea of having to force a child onto him, and though Palpatine had not outright said it Vader took into consideration that it was likely the only way someone could carry his child. No sane person would consent to bed the Dark Lord. People could barely stand to be on the same planet as him for star's sake!
"Why am I here?" Harry asked softly, lowering his gaze and worrying his bottom lip. "When can I go home?"
"I find it unlikely that the Emperor will allow you to leave. He is preparing a suit of room for you within the Palace, close by to my rooms, and I trust you will find them adequate. Stormtroopers will help you move in your possessions, but until the rooms are ready you are welcome to stay with me." A hand clenched at his side, a sharp pain made its way through his chest as Harry took several hurried steps away from him.
"Why am I here?" The boy repeated, looking terrified. No doubt he had reached a similar conclusion to Vader.
"You are not here to be harmed, Harry. I have not brought you here to rape you, and you shall not pleasure anyone else. If the Emperor wanted catamites, he would buy them I'm sure, and not steal well known, well respected hard working citizens away from their jobs in broad daylight." Vader walked forward. Hesitantly he reached out to grasp the boy's chin in one hand. Harry might look young, but the green eyes that looked up at him were old, very old. Harry had seen many things, Vader realised, had lived through many things. But apparently, being enslaved was something new to him. "You are not my slave." Vader whispered, but the words still came out loud.
Harry flinched, his mind instantly remembering the Dursleys, who were long dead and could never hurt him again. "Then why am I here?" He tried to sound strong, and brave, the way he had when he was dressing-down the Emperor, but the words wavered and his lips trembled.
"My master has seen a vision of us. There is a child in his vision. Emperor Palpatine wishes to bring that child into existence."
Surprisingly, Harry first reaction was not shock or horror or terror. Instead, Vader could sense his pleasure through the Force, and a smile was curving his mouth, lighting up his pale, pretty face. "A child?" He asked in a breathless whisper, ignoring the hand that the Sith still held against his face.
Harry had almost had a child once.
Harry had married Ginny the year she had graduated Hogwarts. It took a few years before she got pregnant, though it wasn't for lack of trying. It took the same length of time for them to realise that Harry wasn't aging or changing at all. In three years, Ginny had grown taller, her hair had lengthened and darkened, and Harry still looked as he did when Voldemort had killed him.
Ginny had decided, with the support of her family, that she could grow old with a man who could never age, and so she divorced him. No one knew, apart from him, about the Hallows, and when Ginny found out she was pregnant, she feared that Harry's disease would become their child's curse as well. So she aborted it in secret. It was only many years later, once Ginny had remarried and had four normal children and she lay dying while Harry offered condolences and looked like a child still, that she admitted to murdering his unborn child.
"You're telling the truth?" Harry asked, sounding hopeful. He stepped closer to Vader, and the Sith tensed at the feeling of having another body pressed close against his own in such a way.
Instinctively, as he had done with his wife, Vader's arms moved to encircle Harry's waist. "I am telling the truth. You were brought here so that we could get to know one another. My master likely believes that a child will come into existence overnight, but I was once human and understand differently."
Harry smiled winningly at the man. Whatever fear had been present within him earlier had vanished. Now, there was only hope.
"I suppose we should go on a date then." Harry suggested. "Where would you like to go? I think dinner is a good first choice, right?" He paused, and frowned. "You do eat, right?"
"I do. However, I can only eat in specialised conditions, none of which are at a restaurant." Vader frowned behind his mask, not enjoying the feeling of Harry's disappointment ghosting over his Force presence. "The opera and theatre is likewise not a good choice. I am discouraged from attending. Should you ever wish to go, I could have an aide accompany you?"
"You want me to go on a date with your aide in your absence? That's not exactly what I had in mind when I suggested dating. We could go to a park and talk. We could even go to a restaurant and talk; we don't actually need to eat. Order just enough for the waiters to leave us alone, hide in a booth in the corner and learn about one another."
Vader brushed off the ridiculous notion, but there were only so many other things they could do together. As the weeks moved on, Harry ran out of ideas that wouldn't be affected by the noisy suit Darth Vader wore. They still went on dates, but dinners were taken in the privacy of Vader's chambers, and he still refused to eat in front of the other man. He did not want Harry to see his face, and similarly he kept the rest of his body covered at all times as well. It was five weeks after they had first seen one another that Harry worked up the courage to ask the question that had been constantly on his mind.
Vader had caved, and they found themselves seated beside the window of a posh eatery simply talking. There were two glasses of champagne before them, and while Harry drank his, Vader merely swirled his around the glass listlessly. The boy had ordered desert, instead of dinner, and it sat untouched before him.
"Why do you wear that suit?"
Vader froze. The hand on the champagne glass clenched tightly until the stem cracked. It was only with the use of the Force that Vader managed to stop the drink from spilling onto his chest. What remained of the glass levitated towards Harry, and tipped its contents into Harry's glass, before Vader let it drop and smash onto the table. "That is not something I wish to speak about."
"Oh. Sorry." Harry ducked his head, lowering his gaze in disappointment.
Once again the sight cause a pang of something sharp and painful to resonate through Vader's chest, and against his desire to keep it secret, he found himself telling Harry about Mustafar and what had happened there.
When he had finished speaking, Harry reached across the table to take his hand. "You've probably noticed that I'm not normal," he said. "I'm a lot older than I look as well, and back when I was a child there was a whole community of people like me. Witches and Wizards, I mean, but now we're practically extinct. Some still live in the Unknown Territories, and there are some pretending to be normal in the outer rim, but as far as I know, I'm the only Wizard living on a Core world. I work as a Medic, and…" he trailed off, looking uncomfortable.
When Harry let go of Vader's hand, the dark-clad man reached for it back, holding it tightly. They ignored the gasps of the waiting staff and the patrons that were stupid enough to stare. "I don't want to sound presumptuous, and I don't want you to get angry with me, but I could try to heal you if you wanted it? It might take some time, because, well, it's a lot of work from what you've described and I am only one person. But I can try."
Vader stood; Harry's hand still within his own, and he lay down more than enough credits to cover the bill on his empty plate. "This is a conversation that should take place in private." He told his companion, and led Harry from the restaurant.
The world had changed again, Harry often thought.
The last ten years had seemed to pass so suddenly, the days and weeks and months sped by endlessly. His Copper2 wedding anniversary was approaching fast, but there was no point planning a party, because honestly who would dare enjoy themselves in the Dark Lord's presence? The day would probably be spent with Vader and Palpatine, who Harry had grown to hate as much as he had grown to love his husband. Darth Vader understood his husband's dislike of his master, but the fact remained that if it had not been for Palpatine, Anakin would never have lived to escape Mustafa, and Vader would never have been reborn.
It was something that Harry had to force himself to remember every time he was tempted to attack Darth Sidious. Vader owed his life, Harry owed his marriage, and their child would not have existed without Sidious' interference.
Someone pressed themselves against Harry's back, arms encircling his waist until his hands could rest on the small bump that rounded his stomach. "Hello, my Star," Vader breathed softly into his ear, lips lightly fluttering against the shell.
Harry leant back against his husband's chest, his own hands covering Vader's. "Hello love," he greeted quietly.
They stayed like that for a moment, simply taking comfort in each other's presence as Darth fought to control the anger within him and temper it with his love for Harry.
Harry had successfully managed to heal Vader of most of his injuries, including the damage to his internal organs and nervous system, re-growing and attaching the limbs that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Count Dooku had cut off on two separate occasions, and re-growing his hair. Some of the scars still remained, on his face and his chest and legs, but Vader found he didn't mind them so much since Harry took every opportunity to cover them with kisses. Vader looked as he had before, when he had still be Anakin: blond, and handsome with a scar through his right eye, young and lithely muscled.
His eyes were the biggest change though. They had once been a bright, clear blue, full of warmth and emotion, but as Anakin fell to the Dark Side his eyes had turned hawk-yellow, burning with anger and hate. But, since first realising his love for the husband he married before they loved each other, Vader's eyes were blue again.
Palpatine had punished him furiously, and threatened him with Harry's torture and death for his supposed betrayal. Since then, Vader took pains to make himself as angry as possible before every meeting with his master. If his eyes were yellow Palpatine felt no need to question his private matters.
"I'm not stupid," he whispered against Harry's neck. "I know that he is afraid of me now, because I am no longer confined in that suit. He plans to kill me, and take the child as his apprentice. I won't let him harm you, my Star, either of you."
"You will keep us safe," Harry whispered, turning in his husband's arms. "I'm not entirely useless either, you know. I can take care of us, too." Their lips met, wet and soft and willing, and Harry yielded beneath Vader's passion.
"He is sending me away. The rebels have stolen plans to the Death Star. He fears that if the study the plans, the Death Star could be in danger. In a few months, it shall be operational and I will be able to return, but until then…" He trailed off, lowering his head for another kiss.
"When are you leaving?" Harry's arms wrapped around Vader's neck. The man lifted him easily, and Harry wrapped his legs around his lover's waist, smiling softly as he was carried towards the bed.
"The Star Destroyers Avenger and Executor will be ready to leave in the morning. Until then, we have the night to ourselves."
He dropped Harry onto the bed, and crawled on top of him, always mindful of the growing child between them. They kissed and hands roamed, and when they finally came together Darth Vader felt a sort of peace that he hadn't known in twenty years, outside of Harry Potter's arms.
Months passed unbearably slow. Time seemed to drag on as if years were passing instead of days, and Harry waited impatiently for his husband to return to Coruscant. Their child grew larger within him, and the swell of his stomach became more pronounced. His back hurt and he was tired and hungry all of the time, and he missed Darth Vader.
Being at Court with Emperor Palpatine was not something that he enjoyed, nor did he like the spontaneous visits to Vader's living chambers that the Emperor made when it was only Harry within them, and no aides.
He had heard from Vader several times, but not once did the Emperor allow Harry to speak to him by Holocom himself. It gave Palpatine another excuse to seek Harry out and enquire after the child, if only to pretend that the knowledge was for Vader's peace of mind rather than the furthering of his own nefarious plans.
News travelled fast in the Imperial Sectors. Not to mention that Palpatine's anger was hard to avoid. Every one knew of it, though no one spoke of it. But with the destruction of the Death Star, Vader was free to make his way home to Coruscant and Harry. However, when Harry eventually went into labour, he was once more alone with Emperor Palpatine. Vader still hadn't arrived.
The wrinkled face, the skin of which appeared to be melting of its own accord, looking upon him in feigned concern. "We should get you to a medical centre, I suppose, my boy."
A Red Guard appeared out of the shadows, and ignoring Harry's pained moans, lifted him carefully into his arms.
The birth was longer than it should have been, and more painful than Harry thought it would have been. It was meant to be a simple C-Section. The medics were supposed to drug away the pain, cut open his stomach and remove the child, then sew him back up again. Harry had seen enough of them in his career to know that they weren't complicated unless the medic was incompetent. When Harry noticed the lack of human physicians attending him, he almost panicked.
The droids cut into his stomach without medicating him, and the pain was terrible. Harry screamed. In the corner of the room, Palpatine chuckled faintly. Harry squeezed his eyes closed, trying to ignore as the machines cut into him and butchered him. It wasn't a stretch to imagine that this was Vader's punishment for not saving the Death Star. Palpatine planned to have Harry killed, say it was an accident and while Vader knew otherwise, how would he prove it? He would be forced to live with the knowledge that once again he had caused the death of a spouse he loved. For as long as he lived, anyway: until the child was old enough to dispose of the old Sith apprentice.
The Hallows wouldn't let Harry die. Harry knew that Palpatine wanted the child safe and alive, so he was not worried about that either, not once he calmed himself enough to rationalise. All he had to do was survive through the pain. It was almost maddening, but he had been hurt before and torture was something that he had experienced a few times in another life. He recalled the memories of Voldemort and the Cruciatus Curse, and it was enough to tide him over until he heard the loud wailing of a newborn baby.
"My child," he murmured, lifting weak arms towards the babe. "Give me my child."
"It is a boy," Palpatine told him, as he took the hastily wrapped bundle from the Droid carrying him.
Harry held his arms out, and concentrated. Without having to say a word, he managed to summon the child to him, and he caught him carefully in his arms, tucked tight against his chest. "Hello Orion," Harry whispered, a name he and Vader had decided on together. "Our own little star."
Palpatine watched, wide-eyed and wary, as the gaping wound on Harry's stomach that had been purposely left unattended healed itself before his eyes. The child had stopped crying and he whimpered lightly, hungry and afraid of the dark presence within the room. A bottle of milk appeared out of thin air, the tit seeking Orion's small mouth as Harry guided it with just a thought.
He didn't know that Harry could use magic to summon and levitate. As far as Palpatine knew, the child was using the Force.
"He burns brightly in the Force," the Emperor whispered as he backed towards the door. "Much like Skywalker's child."
The door closed behind him, leaving Harry and his son alone with the droids who had only been following orders. That had been a threat, Harry knew, but what did another child have to do with anything?
It dawned on him suddenly, and like a tidal wave hitting sand the thought was mind-numbing and terrifying. Skywalker's child. Anakin's child, who was supposed to be dead, but according to the rumours, Skywalker's child was the Jedi pilot who blew up the Death Star.
Vader's other son.
The world was about to change again, Harry knew. He clutched Orion closer to his chest, murmuring inconsequential words to sooth the baby boy, and he prayed silently that his small family would survive this change unscathed.
1 – The World has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the Earth. I smell it, in the air. Much that once was, is lost. For none now live, who remember it. – Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship.
2 - http:/ www . hintsandthings . co . uk / livingroom / anniversaries . htm
I don't see why only Luke can redeem Vader. Leia sucks, so it's understandable that they never really connected. There are a handful of stories out there where Vader decides to beget other children (mainly through medical means or cloning), but it is hardly an unwritten rule that love of another, other than a child, cannot redeem him either. To have loved and lost is one thing, but to have never moved on is the real tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.