AN: This story was originally composed of the scene where they escaped from Bespin, but I chose to cut that entire bit out (which was half the story, but I felt that was being redundant. Instead, this is just what I imagined could be a missing scene, occurring between when the Falcon escapes into hyperspace after Bespin and before they rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance.
Disclaimer: Star Wars is not owned by me.
Leia had taken Luke back to the bed that he had been resting on, before tenderly wrapping Lando's cloak around him again. Luke wasn't looking at her, instead staring down at what remained of his hand. He took a deep breath.
"Leia... thank you..."
She hugged him, not daring to let go of him, as if Vader would appear and snatch him the moment that she did.
"What are friends for?" she said gently. They needed to get Han, but right now, Luke was the one that needed comforting. "Luke..." She was worried. The journey to the rendevous point would take at least five hours from Bespin in hyperspace (thank the Force that Artoo had fixed it when he had!), but it had been two hours and Luke had barely said a word to her until now.
"Luke, what happened?" she asked, carefully. If he was so traumatized by it that he didn't want to talk about it...
"Vader." The name was whispered, and Luke shuddered a bit.
Leia squeezed his hand. She had to know, if only so she could comfort Luke. "Talk to me, Luke. I promise, I'll be here for you."
At those words, Luke responded with a small smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Leia... you were right. It was a trap. A trap for me. Vader found me. We... we fought."
For a moment, Leia was worried that he wouldn't speak anymore, but it seemed that everything was spilling out of him now, as if he felt by saying it would make it easier to bear.
"I thought that... I thought that with the training I did with Ben and Yoda that I... that I stood a chance, that I could save you and Han and Chewie and Threepio from him. But... Leia, he was toying with me. He knew that I couldn't beat him..."
The Princess swallowed. She made a mental note to ask who Yoda was later, but it wasn't important now. The thought of Vader toying with Luke like that, though, made her furious, but she didn't show it on her face except for a slight twitch of the cheek. Luke needed comforting, not anger.
"So he fought back just enough to block everything I did. The entire time he was... asking me to join him."
Leia blinked. That was definitely unusual. Previously, Vader had killed every Jedi that he had encountered, no questions asked.
"He cornered me on a gantry near the bottom of Bespin. I got lucky, and managed to hit him on the shoulder. But... that just made him angry, and then..." Luke stared down at where his right hand was missing, and Leia could guess what had happened.
"He... did that?" she said, wrapping the cloak around him tighter. Luke nodded mutely.
"I lost my hand, and my f- my lightsaber."
Leia knew that Luke had been proud of the fact that had been his father's lightsaber, and had cherished it for that reason over everything else. Something was wrong if he chose to omit that phrase.
"He tried to get me to join him again, telling me that he didn't want to destroy me and that the two of us could destroy the Emperor. I kept refusing." His voice had gone into a bit of a monotone, but Leia's eyebrows shot up. Vader was willing to have a half-trained Force-user help him destroy the Emperor? Wouldn't that be treason on the other's part? And Force knew what the Emperor would think if he found out about it. So why would Vader do it?
"He... switched tactics then. He taunted me a bit about my father, about how I didn't know what had happened to him..."
"But you did," Leia said, tilting her head; she'd heard the story from Luke, who'd heard it from General Kenobi. Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker, the Hero With No Fear, had both been General Obi-Wan Kenobi's apprentices. But then Darth Vader turned on the Jedi, and had betrayed and murdered Anakin Skywalker.
"I told him that. And then he..." A choked sob came from Luke, and he buried his face against Leia's shoulder. Leia wrapped her arms around him, pressing her face against his shoulder. Whatever had happened next had clearly shaken his whole world. Vader had done something to torture Luke, to break him, which was why he was in this condition.
"I felt I'd rather die. I jumped, and fell into one of the trash tunnels, and then fell onto the weather vane you found me on." He shuddered, and Leia could clearly feel it. "Oh Leia... you'd hate me if you knew."
"Luke, you're not thinking straight," she told him gently. "Vader messed with your head; whatever it is, it's not your fault, and we can never hate you."
"Yes you will. You, and Han, and Chewie, and the Rebels... Threepio would be horrified... heh... I wonder if Artoo knew, since he was Ben's droid once..."
"Luke Skywalker." Leia adopted a firm tone as she stared into his eyes, but she didn't miss the flinch when she said his full name. "Absolutely nothing can make me hate you."
"...Vader told me something after I told him that he had killed my father." Luke's voice was empty, and she gently stroked his hair. He didn't say anything for a few minutes, so Leia gave him a nudge.
"What did he tell you?" If she needed to hunt the Sith Lord down and decapitate him with his own lightsaber, she would, Force powers or no Force powers. Mentally, she prepared herself for what her friend would tell her. Nothing that Vader had told Luke could be so horrible... could it?
"Leia... are you sure you won't hate me?" He asked again, timidly.
"Luke! I promise!" Leia kissed his cheek to show him she was positive. She watched him swallow.
"He told me that he didn't kill my father, and..."
Leia frowned; Vader had always spoken of the Jedi he had killed, but was denying Anakin Skywalker's murder. Unusual. "And?"
She was not prepared for what Luke said next.
"Vader told me that he was my father."
A cold, icy feeling settled in Leia's stomach, and she stared at Luke with horror in her eyes.
"That's impossible." It came out of her mouth automatically. Luke shook his head.
"I said the same thing. But the Force tells me it's true," Luke whispered.
Leia was shocked. Sweet, innocent, farmboy Luke, who had idolized the fantasy of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker the Hero With No Fear, who just wanted to do the right thing, was the offspring of Darth Vader? How in the name of the stars was that even possible?
A part of Leia was horrified; she had been best friends with the son of the man that had tortured her, that had held her back as Alderaan had been destroyed, and that had had Han frozen in carbonite. But she couldn't hate Luke. Poor Luke, who was traumatized by the revelation, that even a non-Force sensitive like her could tell that he had not known. Luke was the kindest person she knew, and he was not Darth Vader. He could never be Darth Vader, even if Darth Vader was his father.
Suddenly, everything clicked.
Why Vader had been obsessively hunting for Luke. Why his bounty was so high. Why only an "Alive" bounty would be accepted. Why the other had wanted to test the carbonite on someone else before using it on Luke. Why he had held back in their fight. Why he had kept trying to make Luke join him. Why he told Luke he didn't want to kill him.
But Luke appeared to be shaken by her silence, and was eyeing her nervously. Leia knew that she would have to file all of this away for later, and made a mental note not to tell anybody before she turned back to Luke, shifting closer to him.
"Oh Luke... I'm so sorry."
The words felt cheap on her tongue, but she couldn't think of anything else to say. She gave him a slight squeeze.
"You don't hate me?" Luke's voice was quiet. She gave him an encouraging smile.
"Of course not. You're my best friend, Luke, and knowing who... he... is won't change that fact, ever."
Luke gave a smile that finally reached his eyes. Leia hoped that he would be able to smile more often; he looked much better with it, though it wasn't as good-looking as Han's smile, unlike that expression when he had been frozen in carbonite - she quickly banished that train of thought.
"You should get some sleep," Leia suggested, helping him lay down on the bed. "I'll be up at the front with Chewie and Lando, okay?"
Luke opened his mouth, the confused expression clearly asking where Han was and whether Lando was the man that he had seen, but Leia just shook her head.
"I'll explain later when we reach the rendezvous point, I promise."
"Okay Leia..." She watched as he closed his eyes, and stroked his hair a few times before going up to the front.
Luke and Vader. None of the others could be allowed to know. Not everyone would be as understanding about it as she would be. Leia sat down in the seat behind Chewbacca, and took a deep breath.
Just another couple of hours and they would be at the rendezvous point.
Then they could do something about Han.
AN: Thanks for reading! I genuinely forgot if Leia found out in ROTJ, and I'm not trying to stay canon to EU, so pretend that she found out then?