The desert sands shifted softly under the touch of the night breeze. All was silent; the stars shone, the air was crisp, and a lone figure crept across the land as a shadow might skulk. The solitary child inhaled deeply; the cold air burned his lungs. The moon danced across the sands and illuminated the stone marker before him.
The boy knelt before the grave, placing the small bouquet of paper flowers before the simple marker. Every year Luke visited his grandmother; she was the only link he had to his father... even if she was simply a stone marker to him. He closed his eyes as he laid his hand in the cool sand over his grandmother's grave, and murmured a prayer taught to him long ago by his aunt. His bright blue eyes slowly opened as he finished the prayer, he shuffled slightly, pulling his tan cloak around him tightly against the cold.
In the homestead, the older girl peek outside from the window to make sure her little brother was ok. So Jessica went to bed to leave her brother alone. She too miss her grandmother to.
This was his night of remembrance. He glanced back towards the Lars homestead, watching for signs that his absence had been noticed. This was the night when he wanted... needed to be alone; alone with the only other that shared his name-even if it were merely a stone.
Luke stared at the sky, wishing for a way to escape... a way to see all of those stars.
Suddenly he stood, frustration burning through his limbs. He glared down at the stone, looking for answers he knew it would not yield.
"Why?" his voice whispered into the night air, "Why can I not be with my father? Why do I have to be stuck here?"
He fell to his knees, then onto his side... and after a time, he fell fast asleep.
Dreams plagued the young man. Dreams of a life he should have had.
What he didn't understand was the darkness that lurked at the corner of his mind. What evil stalked him... what evil stalked his family?
Luke coughed lightly as he inhaled a few grains of sand. He rolled over onto his back, slowly opening his eyes.
It was still dark.
He sat up, suddenly alert. How could have he been so stupid? Falling asleep outside at night! What if Raiders had come across him?
He rubbed the sand from his face in frustration.
Ever the inattentive farmboy.
Luke sighed, slowly standing, and gave one last look at the grave before turning back towards the farm... and gasped, taking a stumbling step back as he beheld the sight before him. He tripped and fell over the small stone, but his eyes never left the being that loomed over him.
"How long have you been here?" he demanded; his voice held its strength despite the fear he felt.
The being stepped closer, causing Luke to involuntarily scramble back more.
The two stared at each other for several long moments before the dark being spoke, his voice resonant and opulent, "Why do you visit this grave?"
Luke could do nothing but stare for several breathless moments. He could not see the being's form, save for a few bright lights... he peered at the stranger, trying to distinguish what it was.
Luke jumped as the deep, angry voice interrupted his thoughts, "I...I... I visit her every year," he replied meekly.
The figure stepped closer yet, a hissing breath sounding from its form. As it moved, the light of the moon caught its shape... and Luke saw him.
The young man's eyes widened as he recognized the image from countless broadcasts and holos...
The man stepped ever closer, his cape brushing the sand... then the gravestone as he proceeded forward-towards the terrified boy.
Luke was paralyzed as the figure approached. Even his mind was frozen; he just stared dumbly as the man stepped before him, then crouched down to look him in the eye.
Yes, Luke surmised, it was definitely him... the mask was now clear to his vision, so close to his face. He could tell by the tilt of his head that the Sith Lord was scrutinizing him from behind that mask.
Finally, the Sith spoke, leaning closer to the boy, "Why do you visit this grave every year? What is this woman to you?"
Luke frowned; he had imagined meeting the Empire's second-in-command often in his daydreams... but never had he imagined this.
He stared into the opaque lens of the mask, strangely compelled to answer, "She is the only link I have to my family... my name."
Vader nearly lost his stony composure at those words, "What?" he hissed, unable to fathom what the boy could mean.
Luke blinked at Vader's question; he never imagined the Sith Lord looking confused before...
Suddenly, he was lifted by his shirt; Vader grabbed a hold of him as he stood, bringing his small body up into the air.
"What is your name?" the baritone voice hissed, carefully enunciating every word.
Luke's feet dangled as his stared into the mask, his face pale.
"Tell...me," Vader grated through his teeth, his grip on Luke's shirt tightening.
Luke swallowed, his eyes wide, "Luke..." his voice was hollow, weak, "Luke Skywalker."
Vader dropped him.
Luke fell back into the soft sand with a light thud; the sound was almost instantaneous with a sudden flood of light that came from the direction of the farm.
Luke looked from his home back to the Sith-
But Vader had already grabbed him and dragged him into the night.
Luke didn't dare struggle. He could feel the strength in the Dark Lord's grip, and he knew of his fury from the numerous tales told about him.
He did, however, find the courage to speak, "Where are you taking me?"
Vader did not reply; he merely continued forward in the darkness, his steps long and steady.
Luke rolled his eyes, feeling a little ridiculous thrown over the Sith's shoulder as he was.
"PLEASE, where are we going?"
"To my ship," came the simple, stoic reply.
Luke paled, and began to struggle, "WHY? I don't understand! I'm nothing to you! Leave me be!"
Vader clenched the child to him tighter the more he struggled.
Suddenly the world began to spin for Luke... and he fell limp as unconsciousness took hold.
Vader hastened on, sighing in relief as the boy fell under his Force-touch.
The lights were terrible.
Luke groaned and rolled over, pulling a blanket over his head, murmuring, "Let me have five more minutes, Aunt Beru."
Luke bolted up, looking around frantically. He froze as his eyes landed on the dark form that stood over him.
"You're awake," Vader stated simply.
Luke rubbed his eyes against the offensive lights, "Aren't you the king of observations..."
Vader tilted his helmet, studying the boy closer, somehow not angered by his lack of respect. Rather, he was fascinated by the child...
He had performed the proper blood tests while the boy slept; and he was indeed his son.
Luke was also studying him, he noticed. Wondering what he was doing here, no doubt.
"Where am I?" the boy finally whispered, his sarcasm vanished.
Luke resisted the urge to groan, "Where's your ship, then?"
"Enroute to Coruscant."
Luke sat up straighter, his heart pounding, "I.I don't understand. What were you doing on Tatooine? Why did you take me with you?" the young man frowned, "You're not going to kill me, are you?"
Vader ignored the persistent questions, instead addressing one of his own, "How long have you lived with the Lars?"
Luke frowned, "For as long as I can remember."
Vader narrowed unseen eyes, "Really?"
Luke blinked innocently, nodding his head.
Vader clasped his hands behind his back, muttering a curse. Luke faintly heard the word 'Jedi'.
Luke's brow creased in confusion, "I don't understand, I-."
Vader shook his head, "Go to sleep, Child. You will need your strength for your meeting with the Emperor." Vader vanished out the door, turning out the lights.
Luke blinked his eyes in the darkness; he frowned and whispered meekly, "Emperor?"
Luke had never seen a palace of such magnitude... nor had has seen such a city as the one that housed it.
He followed behind Vader silently, having long ago given up on asking the Sith questions.
He was so confused. His mind hadn't caught up with his situation at all. It was inconceivable.
Last night... was it last night? How long had he been gone from Tatooine?
He hadn't time to contemplate further. The massive doors to the throne room were opened, and he followed the imposing Sith into its dark depths.
"Ah, I see you have brought me the boy, Lord Vader."
"Yes, my Master."
"And... what do you think of him, Lord Vader?" the Emperor taunted; leading his servant to places he knew the Sith Lord did not care to venture.
"He is untouched by the Jedi, my Master."
"AH! Very good news, we wouldn't want the claws of the Jedi in him, would we?"
"No, my Master."
Luke frowned at the conversation he was obviously not meant to be part of.
"You have a question, Young Skywalker?"
Luke nodded, "You keep using that word..." he looked from Vader to Palpatine, "I do not think it means what you think it means."
Palpatine raised an eyebrow at the youth, "What word, young man?"
Palpatine scowled, "You question ME?"
Luke nodded, ignorant of the Emperor's rising wrath, "You use it as if it were a curse. Aren't Jedi supposed to be great warriors and guardians of peace?"
Luke was on the floor in a burst of lighting before he could draw another breath. Through the roaring pain in his veins he dimly heard the Emperor remark to his servant, "He must be destroyed. He is too dangerous."
Luke struggled to stand, only to be rewarded with another blast of electricity.
"Kill him, Vader. I will not tolerate his presence."
Luke blinked back the tears forming in his eyes to see the Dark Lord approaching him.
Never, even in his nightmares, had he seen such a terrifying vision.
Luke tried to push himself onto his elbows as the Sith came ever closer; a hum reverberated through his ears and a crimson lightsaber came into view. Luke gasped, but boldly held his ground; he knew he could not escape. He would die bravely.
Die! He was eleven years old! Why did he have to die?
Blue eyes stared up at the dark figure unwaveringly; there was courage behind those eyes...
"Kill him, Vader," Palpatine hissed, moving closer to better view the execution of his orders.
Luke closed his eyes.
Vader raised his weapon.
The blue eyes reopened.
"How could you do this to me?"
Luke's eyes widened at the sight before him. Vader had, heartbeats before Luke was certain he would die, turned on his master... impaling him upon the weapon.
Vader quickly withdrew, extinguishing the lightsaber, and grabbed Luke into his arms-running full speed back the way they'd come.
Luke unconsciously wrapped his arms around Vader's neck, clutching the Sith, staring wide-eyed over his shoulder at the screaming Emperor.
Just as the two reached to doors, the being who was Palpatine burst into a wave of fire-rolling towards them with speed and fury.
Vader slipped through the massive doors with mere seconds to spare and slammed them shut just as the inferno struck. He slumped against the closed entryway, clutching Luke against him.
Several moments of silence passed before Luke finally found his voice, "Um, he just combusted."
The man holding him simply nodded, looking as if he were in shock. Luke tilted his head slightly, trying to look the man under the mask in the eyes.
"Who are you?" Luke whispered.
"I'm... I am Anakin Skywalker," the helmet lifted and turned to face the boy in his arms, "I am your father."
A smile slowly blossomed upon the child's lips as father and son simply stared at one another.
After what seemed a lifetime, Luke finally moved; he wrapped his arms tightly about his father's shoulders, resting his head against the ebony helmet, whispering softly, "Grandmother granted my wish."
End of Chapter 1. Next Chapter Coming.