Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, or the Emperor, unfortunately. Lucasfilm does. I do this only for personal enjoyment, and I make no money off this.

Rating: PG, for a very minor curse & one violent scene. Basically, if you're old enough to watch ROTJ, you're old enough to read this. grin

Author's Note: As always, all feedback is appreciated, especially constructive crit.

My son's cries fill the air as lightning crackles against his skin. He is in tremendous pain, but he is not dying, not yet. I crawl, like a wounded dog, to my master's feet, and slowly, painfully rise. I know that the unspoken message is clear; I will stand by my master.

I watch as Palpatine sneers triumphantly. "Young fool...only now, at the end, do you understand." Palpatine again raises his arms, continuing to assault my son with his force lightning. He is almost unconscious now, but I know Palpatine will never give him the mercy of being unconscious when death finally overtakes him. Luke has gone too far, and now he will pay the price for defying Palpatine's wishes.

"Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side. You have paid the price for your lack of vision," my master hisses. It will be over soon now. Luke groans, and I turn my attention back to him.

"Father, please!" He is crying out to me for help. Why does he have this faith in me? It is too late for me. Once you start down the dark path, my son, forever does it dominate your destiny. I cannot come back to you, no matter how much my long buried heart wishes I could. I truly wish it didn't have to be this way.

If only Obi-Wan had not filled your head with these foolish notions, you would not be in this predicament. You could have been at my side Luke, a ruler of the galaxy, if not for those cursed ideas. I curse at Obi-Wan in my head and wonder if he can hear it out in the ether. All of this is entirely his fault.

Luke groans and raises a hand towards me again. I wish I could say I feel nothing for you and your plight, my son, but that would be a lie. I feel as if my heart is being ripped in two.

But that is foolish. I have no heart, no room left to love after all those whom I loved betrayed me; I have only dark hatred to cling to.

Yet...I love this son of mine. I love this boy, whom I have never truly known. I realize with a start that if I could, I would be crying at this moment. I do not want my son to die.

But...I glance back at Palpatine. I must obey my master. He stops his attack for a moment and I dare to hope that he will forgive Luke of this transgression, and allow me to keep my son and turn him. "Now, young Skywalker...you will die," he cackles. My hope dies. He resumes his assault on my son, increasing the lightning's powers to a fatal degree.

I glance back at my son, no longer capable of begging me for help, writhing on the floor in agony. I look back at my master; sickened and disgusted at the pleasure he takes in my child's pain. There is no doubt in my mind now what I must do.

I pick Palpatine up, surprising him. He struggles against me, and I wonder if I can manage to do this. The lightning in his fingertips once meant for my son sweeps over me. Palpatine may know that this is the end of his reign, but force be damned if he isn't going to take me with him.

I stumble under this barrage, but I summon the last of my strength to keep going. With a final burst of power, I accomplish my task and hurl him as far as I can down the core. I watch Palpatine fall helplessly, screaming. When he is out of sight, I hear an explosion and see the blue flames swirling upwards. My master is dead, and with this knowledge in mind, I collapse toward the core myself.

The emperor's lightning has shorted out my breathing apparatus, and I black out for a few seconds. When I open my eyes again, I feel my son pull me away from the edge of the abyss. Now we both lay here on the cool floor, exhausted.

There is so much I want to say to him, but now there is no reason to speak; today our actions have spoke much louder than words ever could. I am too weak to move, but for once I don't care. I know the end will come soon.

I embrace it.