The knowledge seized and clenched at his heart with so much ferocity in a way that he could have never expected. In a way he had not experienced before. Not with his love, Padmé . Not when he discovered Luke was his own flesh and blood.
For the briefest moment Darth Vader, lord of the Sith, second in command of the entire Empire, allowed himself to feel only love.
He had loved Padmé with all he had. He loved her with all he didn't have. In the end his love, as well as her own foolish nature had killed her; or so he tells himself decades later when he is left with only his thoughts. With Luke it was much the same, though different still. They held a muted father-son bond, to say the least. What he felt was Luke – his son, was of equal parts love and hate. He loved him, of that there was no doubt, but he wished to destroy all that made the boy so brilliantly him all the same.
The young man was all light and no shadows. It was up to Vader to change that.
But, then there was her.
Leia Organa. No! His mind snarls angrily. She was never Organa's to begin with!
She was his. His and Padmé's.
Leia Amidala Skywalker.
His Warrior Princess.
Beautiful, bittersweet memories of a past that he had fought so hard to forget dance tauntingly in his brain...
"You know, on Naboo the name Leia means 'royalty'," Padmé said with a sly, knowing smile. She continued to brush her hair as she entertained her husband's belief that the child growing in her belly was a girl and not a little boy as she so certainly believed. She didn't believe it, not for one second, but her lovely smile told him that she would allow him to daydream a bit longer. "Royalty, like a little princess."
"On Tatooine it means 'warrior', however, my angel." He had responded as he walked closer and wrapped his arms around her waist ever-so tenderly. "A fierce warrior."
"So, she will be a Princess and Warrior?" Padmé clucked her tongue in mock consideration and playful disbelief before saying with a glowing smile, finding herself liking the idea more of having a little girl, "She'll be very accomplished child, won't she."
"Of course she will," he whispered in her ear with upturned lips, all darkness receding from his features. Anakin Skywalker had swore he never felt happier than he did in that serene moment.
Kissing the shell of his angel's ear, "She'll be our daughter, after all."
To Vader this wisp of a girl (his girl! his mind hammered in like a beloved mantra) belonged to another world. To another time. She belonged among ghosts and dead dreams.
Yet here she was. Yet here she had always been.
Realizing the truth that the daughter he had dreamed of, that he had craved so desperately had indeed survived, thrived, and been stolenfrom him was the moment another torrent of emotions swept through his veins. If he hadn't been so well-trained he may would have staggered at the weight of them all.
Anger, sick and twisted and incredibly violent anger filled him til he was teeming. Anger towards Obi-wan. Towards Organa. Towards even his dead wife. One had taken her from him, one had kept her from him, and one had left her without him.
It takes a moment but the love vanishes as quickly as it had arrived, as does the anger for the people who had betrayed him. Instead now he is left with an intense need to possess. To find the girl – his daughter, and never let her go. To hold her forearm until he leaves indentations on her smooth, doll like skin. She belonged to him. She was a piece of the past, of what should have been, and he'll be damned if he lets her slip from his fingers like everything else that came before her.
For months prior to her even having taken her first breath she had been all he had dreamed of, and now she was all that he wanted. He wanted Luke, too. But whereas his wanting to have Luke by his side was a violent fire, his want to have his daughter under his wing was a blazing inferno.
It gnawed and twisted at his insides like an all consuming poison.
Much like he wished for Luke, Vader wanted to teach her, as a father would their child. To mold her into the perfect Sith.
What caught him off guard, however was the thought that unlike Luke she didn't need to be broken or changed. Merely...altered, ever-so slightly.
He recalls the look in her big brown eyes. She had Padmé's eyes, he thinks briefly with something akin to pride before he delves deeper into his memories.
She had Padmé's eyes...but not quite...
His love's eyes had been warm, forthcoming, gentle and reassuring.
Leia's were different despite being the same familiar shade of brown.
The girl's eyes were harsh, always scrutinizing, and unflinching. Secretive. Calculating. His.
He recognized belatedly the immense hatred in them. The anger. The fear. The force he should have saw radiating off of her in hot waves.
At that time he realizes something more, still.
They had kept his children away from him to, in their delusional minds, save them.
The plan had only partially succeeded, and only then because it was the will of the force.
Luke, his golden haired son, the boy his Emperor wanted so desperately to leash and control may have looked like the man once known as Anakin, but he was Padmé's son. He was Shmi's grandson. He was all gentleness and soft features; kindness and brightness exuding from every part of him as if he were made from it.
But Leia? Oh, Leia.
Determined, fierce, achingly beautiful Leia. She was no child of Aldeeran, nor of Naboo, or even Tatooine for that matter. She was the daughter of fire. Of suffocating smoke and heat. She was a daughter of the flames of Mustafar; the place where Vader had been truly born and baptized. She had so much barely controlled hatred that was held so tightly inside her small, deceiving frame. Brewing, seething anger that was kept in check only by the thinnest of threads. A thread that could so easily be severed to unleash a monster of the likes that would even make his Master proud.
In his mind's eye Lord Vader saw it so clearly now.
Obi-wan and Organa - the fools, had failed. They had failed even before the twins were born into this galaxy.
Just as much as Luke was Padmé's son, Leia was Darth Vader's daughter.