Luke pressed himself against a pillar in the darkness of the Emperors throne room, straining to keep his breath quiet as Vader stalked him through the artificial forest of support columns. He knew that he was doomed. His father will never turn away from the dark side.
He had thrown everything he had against Vader, and the imposing figure had taken it easily. He had felt through the course of the battle the conflict in his father begin to wither away in the passion of combat. He now knew that the man that had been Anakin Skywalker was truly and irrevocable gone.
The thought of his impending doom didn't bother him as much as he had expected, having resigned himself to any of three possible outcomes to the duel before he turned himself over to the Imperials.
Vader was speaking to him, taunting him. Luke tried desperately to ignore the voice that was as much in his head as his ears. The calm that he had been cultivating began to slip however as Vader mentioned his friends. A small crack appeared in his mental armor as images of his friends began appearing before him. The thought of them dying in the battle outside the massive station and on the moon below started an avalanche of emotion within him.
"Yes, your thoughts betray you..." Vader began in a sly tone, knowing that he had found a way in.
This sent Luke's mind in an unerring course toward the one image that he had been fighting to hide, the image of Liea, as she looked to him now that he knew the truth.
"Especially for..." Vader started, and Luke knew that he had failed.
"Sister" Vader finished with a slight hint of surprise in his voice.
Luke's eyes flashed open, and he knew that the situation was now desperate. Vader continued, with satisfaction dripping through the modulation in his voice, "So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her too. Obi Wan was wise to hide her from me. His failure is now complete."
"If you will not turn to the dark side..." Vader began, and Luke knew what was coming. He fought to let go the terror he felt rising in the back of his throat. He was terrified of what he knew his father was about to say. He was even more frightened that it might work.
"Then perhaps she will..." At this, a dam broke in Luke's mind, dragging forth all the fear, anger, terror and rage that he had thought he had let go of long ago. Fear for his life and the lives of his friends, anger and rage that the path he had chosen had cost him and those he had loved so much, and a overwhelming rage that the monster before him would try to turn his sister into the same thing he was.
Screaming an inarticulate battle cry, he lunged at Vader with his lightsaber, no longer afraid for his life, not just resigned or at peace, but a mad animal fury that cared nothing for self preservation.
As their glowing blades crossed for the first time , he was surprised to feel some give in the arm of his towering opponent. Luke felt a dark surge of power at that, 'Vader was not all powerful!' rushed through his mind, and he redoubled his reckless charge.
With each swing of his saber the Dark Lord of the Sith began to falter more and more. Luke's suicidal charge was gaining momentum, as he felt the strength flowing out of Vader, gathering around him. Spurring him on.
Luke had released himself to the light side thousands of times, and had never felt this true, visceral rush of power. Indeed the dark side was powerful. None of this registered in Luke's conscious mind. He was too wrapped up in the raw energy that was flowing through him, pushing back the foe that embodied the danger and death that had been stalking him and his friends for years, really his entire life.
He could tell in an abstract way that this power was wrong, but it filled him so much more than the light ever had. The light side seemed like a tepid glass of water compared to the strength that sufficed him.
As he pushed Vader back with swing after powerful swing, Vader was forced back onto the bridge that they had entered through. One misstep gave the opening that Luke had been waiting for. Vader dropped to the ground, clutching the railing while trying to hold Luke off with his raised lightsabre. Luke hooked his blade around Vaders, and flipped it away, and took his hand with one last swing.
Vader let loose a modulated cry of agony has his lightsabre and hand flew down the vent shaft. Luke paused, savoring the power coursing through him, holding the tip of his glowing blade to his fathers throat. Then he noticed Vaders hand, mechanical, like his own. The rage that had started to ebb in his heart paused, as it seemed to shift direction.
*Clap, Clap, Clap* "Good, your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny, and take your fathers place at my side." The Emperor ordered.
Luke turned slowly as he felt the Force building in his blood, as he contemplated the frail figure before him. The man had power, but could not contain it. It had driven him mad, leading to all the bloodshed that he had endured. Images of his family, Owen, Beru, Biggs, all the others that were gone forever. His father, turned into the creature that lay behind him. 'More machine than man' floated through his mind. Like Luke had become, he thought, flexing his mechanical hand.
Something in the power that Luke was using gave him the mental image of a prophecy, about him and his father, and great things being done for the galaxy. Luke knew that he did not deserve to serve this man, this abomination that stood before him. The Emperor should serve him and his father, they were the ones truly blessed with the power.
As the darkside energy began to form around Luke, The Emperor sensed that he had made a critical mistake. That the son of Anakin was not going to bow to him. This infuriated Palpatine, the knowledge that what he had foreseen was not to come to pass.
"I will not join you." Luke stated in an ominous tone of voice. He slowly started advancing, holding the now deactivated saber in a low, open guard position.
"If you will not serve, then you will ...die!" Lightening flashed from the Emperor's fingers, the darkside lightning enveloping Luke. The power was devastating, forcing hin to slump to one knee. He felt the pain from the energy rip through his body, and it began to reenforce the anger deep within him. The thought 'This man Will Not Win!'burned through Luke as he turned baleful eyes on the man torturing him. He felt the essence of the darkside force hurled at him, and began to change it.
The Emperor watched with incredulity as the boy before him did not go down, as he braced his hand on his knee, and slowly looked up to his tormenter.
It was then that Palpatine knew the first slivers of fear. This infuriated him, and he renewed his attack, forcing all his hate into it.
Luke faltered against the new onslaught for a moment, before he felt the fear emanating from the hooded figure before him. 'He is afraid of me'. The Emperor is afraid of me.
The Force jumped to a new magnitude within his soul when he realized that fact. He began to stand, the Emperor backing away as he realized the danger he was in.
"I will not bow!" Luke shouted as he started to advance through the lightning crackling around him. He put his hand out and began to pull the energy toward him, making it his own.
Palpatine watched in amazement as the boy before him began to absorb the darkside lightning thrown at him, and he could feel the power making him STRONGER.
The Emperor threw out a mental cry for his Imperial Guardsmen to come to his aid as be backed away from this surprising threat. The Force sensitive Guardsmen arrived as Luke reached the platform the Emperor was standing on.
Luke sensed them charge into the room , and spared a thought from his intense focus to grab the Guards with a mental hand , and despite their attempted resistance through the Force, lifted them out over the chasm next to their entrance, and let go. They were gone in a moment, their deaths a minor ripple in the Force.
Luke could sense his father stirring behind them, and wondered how he was going to respond to the tableau in front of him.
"Vader, stop him!" The emperor ordered his former servant.
"You have foreseen this, your time is at an end." Vader rumbled.
The Emperor gave up on his lightning attack, and backed toward the throne, looking for a way out.
"You have failed your highness..." Luke began as he advanced on Palpatine.
As he closed within a few feet of the Emperor, Luke brought his saber up, igniting it. In the green glow of the humming blade, the Emperors eyes were wide with fear, and he knew that he was doomed.
* Authors note: The three possible outcomes referred to in this story relate to the Samurai belief that going into battle there are only three possible outcomes, either you are better than your opponent, and will kill them, they are better and will kill you, or you are equal and will both die.