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By Paul Neu

Horror / Scifi


Tears and sweat mingled as they ran down Vader's face. His amber eyes surveyed the damage before him with a hint of irony. It didn't have to turn out this way.

Somewhere in the distant an anguished cry rang out, a toxic mixture of fear and pain. Turning towards the cry he braced himself. It was nearly time. He walked up the steep incline, absentmindedly picking up the discarded lightsaber in the process. Its handle was damp and warm from the sweaty grip of the warrior who'd lost it. He looked at its intricate design with a hint of sadness before pushing the emotion out of his system. Glancing back at his dead opponent, he bowed his head in respect, than threw the weapon into the river of lava below. Smoke hissed into the air as the weapon was consumed; the last sign that it ever existed.

Turning away from the lava bed he approached the ship where his wife continued her painful labor-induced screams. The droids stood by looking as useless as they felt, or at least within the capacity that droids are able to feel.

"Stay away from me you monster!"

It was the labor talking. He knelt down by his bride and felt her stomach.

"We need to get you back on the ship before she comes out. She's shifted and won't wait long."

She glared at him with a defiant look. "Don't you touch my baby!"

"You mean our baby, don't you Angel?" He looked at her with a gentle smile, his eyes once again the deep blue they'd always been, though more hollow and distant.

"You killed him didn't you? He was your friend! He was your brother, Anakin! Or should I call you Lord Vader?"

His smile faded. "Don't you ever talk to me that way," he said coldly through gritted teeth. "I did what I had to do."

He looked away, his features softening, and muttered, "He left me no choice."

Looking back to his wife, he started to lift her when another labor cramp consumed her. She began to scream again, violently knocking his outstretched arm away.

"3PO, get the ship ready! Artoo, you go with him."

"Yes master Ani, right away."

"Don't call me that. You will call me Lord Vader," he warned the confused droid.

"Yes, of course. My apologies Master Vader." The gold droid started up the ship's ramp, but the astromech stayed put.

"Artoo! I said get on the ship!" He was loosing his patients with the independent droid.

Artoo shook his dome and whistled defiantly. Though he didn't understand his beeps and whistles, Vader knew what he was saying.

"You have three seconds to get moving before I personally administer a memory wipe!"

Artoo waited three seconds before proceeding to the ship.

He turned back to his bride and picked her up. She tried to fight him off but he ignored her weakened hits and slaps.

"Put me down!" she demanded. "I'd rather be left here to die with my child on this hellish planet than to let you raise him!"

"If you don't stop hitting me, I will cut the child out with my lightsaber." He climbed up the steep ramp without slowing.

"You wouldn't dare," she gasped, her arms growing still.

"I will do what ever must be done to ensure my daughter is safe." He gently placed her down in the medical bed. "3PO, get this ship moving!"

"I won't let you take him to that monster!" She moaned.

"I won't. I am going to kill the Emperor and claim the thrown in his place. Our child will one day succeed me."

She began to scream before she could reply. It was time.

"Breath Angel. I want you to start pushing."

"What do you know about delivering babies?" She hissed through gritted teeth.

He gave her his famous lop sided smile. "Enough to know that you need to push."

She screamed as she pushed. Soon he could see a tiny head emerging.

"Almost there," he encouraged. "Don't stop now."

A moment later the tiny child slipped out. "You were right, it is a boy."

"Luke," she panted. A moment later her body began to contract again.

"What?" He asked with concern.

"I think I'm having twins," she gasped.

He looked down to see another head crowning. His smile broadened. "I think this one's a girl. I guess we were both right." He gently placed Luke down on a blanket and returned to his wife.

As the child slid out, his assumption was confirmed.

"Leia," she said before collapsing back. He handed her daughter to her before picking up his son.

"They're so strong in the Force Padme; you wouldn't believe how strong. They will make quite the Sith pair."

She looked at her husband with an anguished stare. "They will be no such thing! Not if I have anything to say about it-"

"You don't," he said, cutting her off. "They will be raised to know the darkside and be the most powerful Sith to ever live."

"I will die before I let you."

He looked at her with a hint of annoyance. "You will serve your purpose and raise them until they are weaned. After that, it's up to you if you live to see them grow."

He thrust Luke into her arms and headed for the cockpit.

Padme lay with her two infants. The moment was bittersweet as she looked at their angelic faces. Luke had the blue eyes of his father while Leia had hers. They gazed at her with curious expressions. She smiled and kissed them each on the forehead.

"My children. I'm so sorry-" Her sobs cut her off. "I'm so sorry you had to be born in this situation."

She hugged them both. As her cries ceased, she looked them both in the eyes once more.

"I love you both so much. Understand that, no matter what I may do, it is only because I love you."

She began to cry again as she kissed them once more. She looked back to make sure Anakin was not there before turning back to her angels. Her hands slid over their faces and covered their tiny noses and mouths. They began to squirm and fight against her grip. She sobbed as she looked at their pleading eyes, not understanding why their mother was doing this.

She closed her eyes, forcing tears down her damp cheeks. She couldn't bear to see them staring at her. A minute later it was over. They both ceased their struggles as their bodies gave out. Her chest heaved and shook as she struggled to control her emotions. A moment later she released a blood-curling scream.

Vader ran into the room. "What's wrong?"

He knelt down and attempted to take Luke from his screaming wife. Her arm tensed for a second before going limp. His son lay motionless in his arms. Vader looked at his tiny blue lips and vacant expression.

"What did you do?" He barley managed the words as the breath was sucked from his lungs. Pulling in more air he asked again. "What did you do!"

Looking at Padme he could see her mind had broke. She continued to scream until her vocal chords were shredded, taking her voice from her. Air hissed from her mouth but no other sound would come. It wasn't until he finally struck her that she stopped. She collapsed into the fetal position and stared at nothing.

Tears streamed down his face as he closed his children's eyes and wrapped them in blankets.

The ship entered Coruscant's atmosphere and proceeded to the capital sector. 500 Republica stood tall among the smaller buildings. 3PO expertly landed the craft on Amidala's private landing pad. The ramp lowered and Vader stepped out with two tiny bundles in his arms. His face was pale and vacant as he approached the apartment. He entered the nursery and gently placed the bundles in the crib.

"Shh. Sleep now. Daddy's here and he won't let anyone hurt you ever again."

"Sir," C-3PO interrupted. "If I may suggest, Lady Padme needs assistance."

Vader nodded absently and proceeded back to the ship. His wife was still in the fetal position when he approached. She didn't respond when he picked her up and carried her down the ramp. He took her to her bedroom and placed her in her bed, pulling the covers around her.

As he turned to leave the room he startled at the sight of Sabé.

"Is everything alright?" she asked, her face red and puffy from sleep.

"She needs to rest," he said. "The babies too, they need to rest."

"Babies?" She asked confused.

He ignored her and proceeded to the couch. Sitting, he could hear the startled gasp as Sabé found the two infants. She began to scream, causing him to throw his hands over his ears.

"No more screams!" He yelled. "I can't take anymore!"

"Their dead!" She shrieked.

He got up and entered the nursery. Sabé held the two bundles to her, sobbing hysterically. His eyes grew soft as he watched her.

"Padme, angel, you must be quiet." He approached her but she backed away, shaking her head.

His face contorted in a sneer. "You're not Padme!"

Her sobs stopped prematurely as her head detached from her body. His blue blade hummed softly before returning to its hilt. He gently picked the infants off the ground and stepped over the headless body. Placing them back in their crib, he left the room.

His personal com beeped. He looked at it with a vacant expression, ignoring its insistent beeps.

"Sir, I believe your com has been paged," 3PO interjected, attempting to help.

His eyes rolled to the protocol droid before returning to the com. He flicked its switch and a blue hologram appeared.

"Lord Vader. I see you have returned. I assume you have been successful in disabling the droid armies?"

He looked at the holo image expressionlessly.

"Lord Vader? I sense you are not well."

Vader began to laugh. It was a quiet laugh at first, one that started deep down. It grew louder as he began to lose control. A flood of emotions came out in the form of hysterical laughter. He dropped the hologram, ignoring his master's dismayed replies. He continued to laugh until the world grew dark.

"Lord Vader?"

He opened his eyes and gasped. The hideous sight of his master's deformed face filled his vision. He looked around the apartment and noticed they were alone.

"Your children, what happened to them?"

Vader shook his head, his eyes blank. "Padme killed them."

He began to laugh again. The Emperor took a step back, looking on with concern. "You are not well my apprentice."

Vader laughed harder. "You think?"

"Your insolence will not be tolerated, no matter what your mental state," Sidious hissed.

"I'm sorry Master," he said as he continued to laugh.

"Anakin?" Vader's laugh immediately stopped. The voice was low, barely audible. They both looked in the direction of Padme's room.

He got up, ignoring his master, and ran to his wife. As he entered he could see her lying still on the bed.

"My Angel, you called?"

She looked at him with a confused look. "The baby, I can't feel him in me."

His face cringed in horror. "You don't remember?"

"Remember?" She asked.

"They're in the nursery," he said.

"They? We had two?" She began to smile.

"You had them and then you... you killed them."

Her face contorted as she took in his words. Her mind allowed the memory of what she'd done to return. A moment later she was screaming.

"No!" Vader hissed. "Not again!"

Padme grabbed her neck as she began to struggle for air.

"Stop screaming! I can't take it!"

She collapsed as the bones in her neck splintered in a wet snap.

"See what you made me do? I told you not to scream!"

Laughter echoed behind him. Turning to its source he could see his master.

"Master, why do you laugh at my pain?" He asked.

"Your pain makes you stronger, Lord Vader."

Vader nodded. "I see. You are most wise my master."

"Come. We will get you medical attention. I will send a crew in here to dispose of the bodies."

"No!" Vader hissed. "You will not touch them!"

Palpatine began to speak but was cut off by the sudden pain of a lightsaber to the chest. "You… you betrayed me," he managed before falling to the ground in a heap.

"Balance," he muttered as he looked at his dead master. "I've brought balance."

He began to laugh again. "I am the chosen one!"

He continued his bitter laugh as he placed a blaster to his temple and squeezed the trigger.

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