He was dreaming, looking around, Darth Vader was sure that he was asleep. He thought that he could recognize one of the rooms of his castle, but he was not wearing his life support suit. Suddenly he felt a light touch on his hand, he glanced down and saw a little boy holding it.
When the child realized that Vader knew he was there he looked up into Anakin's face, blue eyes sparkling. "Hello, Da. Where are we?" As the boy spoke Vader knew instantly that he was a younger version of Luke Skywalker.
"What are you doing here Luke?" Vader asked, kneeling down and reveling in the simplicity of moving without his constraining suit.
"I asked first." Luke gave his Father an impertinent smile.
"We appear to be in my castle on Vjun. What are you doing here?" Vader answered his son, but by the time he got to ask his own question Luke was already happily wandering away.
"You live here? This is so awesome!" Luke slipped into another room.
"Luke! Come back!" Vader ran after his son. Catching him in his arms he reprimanded him gently, "Watch out! This is only a dream. In dreams things are not always as they seem. I can't be sure that you're safe."
Luke looked up at his Father, "You care if I get hurt?"
"Of course I care, what kind of father wouldn't?" Vader cradled the boy close to his heart, painfully aware that Luke, the real Luke, in the world of the waking, was in prison because Vader was too afraid to stand up to his Master. "Come along, Luke, let's go somewhere I know is safe where we can talk. I think we have a lot to tell each other."
"Yes! Will you carry me?" Luke held up his little arms. Vader sighed, but he reached down and cradled Luke against himself.
Vader carried his boy down the hall to a room with a couch and a small fireplace. Placing his son on the ground, he moved to light the fire. Luke looked on with a small smile on his face.
When there was a warm fire crackling in the fireplace Vader sat down on the sofa. Luke instantly tried to hop up next to his father, succeeding only in hooking his arms around the edge of the sofa. Vader watched the boy struggle to get up for only a few seconds before reaching down to swing the boy up next to him. Luke curled up into a little ball next to his father muttering, "I could have done it."
Vader laughed gently, "I know you could have, but there is no reason for you to wear yourself out. How did you get here?"
"I wished on a star." Luke smiled up at his father.
"Why are you here?" Vader asked.
"I wanted to talk to you. I missed you a lot." Luke said earnestly looking deep into the fire.
"What did you want to talk to me about?" Is this the boy I've left in prison?
"Oh, I just wanted to ask you some questions." Luke pressed himself close to Vader.
"All right, care to start?" Vader looked down at his son, but was surprised not to be looking down on the boy.
"Why do people have to die, Da? It seems so unfair. I don't wanna have to say goodbye." Luke grabbed one of his father's arms and hugged it close.
"I had hoped that you wanted to know why the sky is blue or something." Vader carefully pulled his arm out of his son's grip, but when he saw the child turn away he reached out and nestled him close against himself.
"You said I could ask." There was the hint of a sob in Luke's voice.
Looking at his son Vader thought that, seeing as this was all a dream, he could give the boy Jedi teachings. "It is the way of the Force. In order to bring new life to the galaxy some of the old has to die to make room for it."
"Oh. But, Da, is it really fair that some of the old life taken out of the galaxy has to be family?" Now there was definitely an underlying sob.
"Luke, all life has a family. You can't have something die without some family losing a member." Vader used the Force to bring a blanket from across the room. As he wrapped it around Luke he felt the child shiver and draw closer.
"I wish the Force hadn't chosen to take our family." Luke mumbled pressing his face against his father's chest.
"Luke, if you want to be on my lap you could always just ask." Vader couldn't keep the amusement from his voice. Luke crawled onto his father's lap and put his ear to his heart so he could hear the steady, calming beating.
Vader sat still waiting for his son's next question, he didn't have long to wait. "What was Mom like?"
"Oh, Luke, why do you choose the hardest questions?" Vader still tried at all costs not to think about his beloved Padme, and how he had failed her. He absent mindedly started to stroke his son's hair.
"Because they're the ones I don't know the answers for." Luke's voice was tiny.
"Your Mother was kind and beautiful." Vader turned away from his son.
"I don't like to think about her. It hurts too much."
Luke started to cry for real now, "We all have to do stuff that hurts sometimes. Please, Da, I want to know who she was."
Vader looked down at his son and, seeing the long tear tracks down his face, relented and gave in. "Your mother was the most beautiful woman in the galaxy. Some of my first words to her where 'Are you an angel?' She was kind and selfless, she would always think of others before herself. She had a love of architecture and nature. She was the only honest politician in the galaxy and she was a great leader. Please don't ask me anymore about her." He pushed tears out of Luke's eyes.
Luke nodded and said "One more question."
"One more question, as long as it's not about Padme."
Luke crawled off his father's lap and to the other end of the sofa. Draping his legs over the edge and looking down at his hands folded in his lap he murmured, "What's so much better about this than, say, this." And as his father looked on the little boy's features began to run together and change themselves into the features of an emaciated, wounded, young man.
"How? What? You're impossible!" Vader was shocked and he did not like being caught off guard.
The youth smiled self-deprecatingly "I've been told that before. And this is a dream, as you already said, nothing is certain."
"Why are you here?"
"I already told you, I wanted to ask you some questions. One of which you have still not answered, why is a toddler better than a teenager?" Luke was crying quietly.
"Luke, there was nothing better about your toddler form." Vader reached out to touch the boy's arm, but Luke pulled away.
"You would never have spoken to me like this if you'd known. You would have just forced me to wake up and go back to the horrible people you've left me to." The young man turned away from his father.
"Luke, I'm sorry about all that. I never meant it personally." Vader was now on the brink of tears himself.
"Of course you didn't mean it personally, once you get to know your enemy they're a lot harder to hate. Maybe if you hadn't thrown me away in the first place none of this would have happened, and we would be a happy family, but this has happened and we're not."
"Luke, I'm really, really sorry about all this I'd erase it all if I could, but I can't, can I?" Vader became defensive. But what am I really protecting, I gave up on myself years ago, could it be that I'm trying to protect Luke?
"If you were to save me then I would forgive you. I'm scared of dying, maybe it's not Jedi-like to be scared, but it's not like I ever really got much training."
"I can't save you Luke. Do you have any idea what my Master would do to me?"
"I do have an idea, a pretty good one, I think. Believe me; it's no worse than what they're doing to me now."
"Da, we could overthrow Palpatine. He would never know what hit him. We could put the galaxy right again. Isn't that what Mom would have wanted. Please Da, if you can't do it for me then do it for Mom." Luke's tiny hands reached out and took his father's hands.
"How can you believe in me, Luke? I don't even believe in myself anymore. I'm not strong enough. I would just destroy the galaxy even more." Vader rubbed his son's hands gently.
"I know that you don't believe in yourself, I thought that you might be willing to at least try to do something if someone else did. And, Da, you wouldn't be alone, I would be with you doing everything I can to help you."
"Luke, this is a hard choice, I need time to think." Vader turned and stared into the fire.
"I'm sorry to have been a bother. They're going to execute me in about five hours. Goodbye Father."
"What? Luke!" Vader tried to grab the boy's shoulders, but Luke was already fading out of the dreaming world.