Nightmare and Questions
Piett traced the scar along his arm. The culprit was dead, and the thought brought him great satisfaction. A tremor in the Force followed by the door of his room opening announced his brother's presence. He didn't bother to rise from his chair. Vader would say why he was there. There was always a reason they interacted. No more simple talking or meditating together. No, that had all ended the day Luke died.
Vader did not speak, and Piett finally looked up to sneer at his elder sibling.
"What?" he growled.
"I saw the news. The massacre of the royal family of Diran."
Piett arched a brow, uninterested in whatever Vader was trying to say or if his brother was trying to get a reaction out of him.
"It was you."
"So what if it was? I followed the Emperor's orders."
Vader stepped closer, towering over the younger man, who refused to be intimidated any longer by the Dark Lord's great height.
"You slaughtered the children."
"That doesn't matter. I killed yours."
Vader physically flinched at the mention of Luke's grisly murder at the hands of his own uncle.
"Keep your wits about you. One day, you'll end up just like him, brother," Piett spat.
Vader lunged, his control snapping.
Piett shot up in bed with a gasp. He looked around wildly, covered in a cold sweat. He was in his quarters aboard the Executor. He looked beside him in a panic. Luke was snoring softly in the spare bed, safe. The Admiral felt sick. A dream where he had fallen prey to the Emperor and the Darkside. He had murdered Luke and slaughtered a family, threatening to do the same to Vader. Shuddering, he stumbled to the 'fresher, where he promptly threw up, wishing he could expel the nightmare as easily as he had his dinner.
With no desire to return to the land of dreams, he dressed and slipped out, leaving a note for Luke should the young man wake and find him gone. He had no destination in mind, but his feet brought him to Vader's quarters. He stretched out with the Force, alerting his brother to his presence, then went in. He reached the pod and sank down beside it, watching it open to reveal Vader, his mask in place. The sight of the mask brought back the accident as well as the nightmare.
Piett dropped his head to his knees, suddenly unable to look at his older brother. He felt a wave of concern and a mental nudge, followed by Vader's hand on his back.
He opened the bond and sent Vader his memories of the dream, unwilling to speak of it aloud.
Vader felt the echo of his younger brother's horror as he viewed the dream. It was disturbing to see Firmus like that. The idea that he would murder anyone, especially Luke, and be prepared to do the same to him was certainly a disturbing idea.
"How do you do it?" Piett croaked.
"What?" Vader asked, unprepared for the sudden break in silence.
The Admiral lifted haunted eyes to meet his own through the lenses.
"How do you touch it, use it, everyday?"
The Darkside. Piett's brush with it and the resulting accident had clearly rattled him more than Vader had previously thought. It would also explain the nightmare. The first time or so it often brought about bad dreams, but one grew used to immersing themselves in the Darkside of the Force, so such dreams became rare.
Firmus shuddered, rubbing his arms in an attempt to stave off the chill that came not from the temperature but from the memories of today. One would think being near Vader would only make it worse, but at the moment his elder sibling was not using the Force, not reaching for the Darkside, so there was no affect from it. It was silent and dormant within the black, armored giant.
"It made me feel sick. I felt so... cold inside, so... empty. It was like all the warmth and life inside me was gone, even for just a second."
Vader said nothing, knowing that his brother wasn't finished speaking. He didn't press him however. He knew Piett would continue on his own time. Today had shaken them all, the Admiral most of all.
"I didn't feel any of the power I've heard you talk about. I felt.. broken. How do you do it? How do you do it everyday and not break?"
As he gazed into his brother's eyes, Vader found he had no answer for him. Firmus, however, seemed to sense this and dropped his head back onto his knees, growing quiet. For whatever reason, beyond any reason Vader could come up with, being near his brother was a comfort, and the younger of the Skywalker brothers slipped back into the land of dreams, leaning against the side of the Dark Lord's meditation pod.
No more nightmares haunted Piett that night as he slept, the towering shadow-like form of his brother keeping watch as he dreamed of a home and family with those he loved.