It took nearly a year for Darth Vader to find out the name of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star.
Luke Skywalker. From Tatooine.
It took him three days to get over the shock.
I have a son.
Did he know? Had Obi-Wan told him the whole tale?
For a single vain moment, Vader allowed himself to wonder what else had turned out to be a lie. Was Padmé still alive? Had she raised their son, hidden from him? Only a moment, though. He had no doubt she was dead. All that remained to him was his son.
Vader redoubled his efforts to get his spies in and near the rebellion to give him more information, but anything about the Alliance’s new golden boy was locked up tight. It was maddening.
Then came news from Naboo that a pair of rebels had infiltrated an Imperial ball. Normally something like that would be beneath Vader’s notice, except for the information that one of the rebels had fought his way out with a lightsaber.
The security holovids were clear and vivid, and for the first time, Darth Vader knew he was looking at the face of his son.
At first he felt a slight disappointment. He had sensed so much power from the boy in his X-wing, but on the ball’s security footage, he saw only an awkward young man out of his depth. Why the Alliance had sent him undercover was a mystery; he had a face like an open book. Handsome enough, with the same binary sun-bleached hair that Anakin Skywalker had taken years to grow out of, but small like his mother. He was familiar, and after a moment, Vader realized the boy had been with Kenobi on the Death Star. Had helped rescue the princess, who stood by his side in a thin disguise.
Vader remembered the girl well. Bail Organa’s daughter, she’d had grit enough to spit in his face after the destruction of Alderaan, despite the tears in her eyes. She was more powerful in the Force than she knew, and she had all the guile his son lacked. They were a well-matched pair, and it didn’t take the Force to see that his son was devoted to her. There was a link that burned bright between them; Vader could see it even on a recording.
Luke vanished for a time and Vader kept his eyes on the girl. There was something about her, something he hadn’t noticed before. She clearly was working on beguiling the entire room from the center of the dance floor, and her charisma and charm were unmistakable. He’d only ever seen anyone take control of a room like that a few times before–
The records said both of them were twenty standard years old. Same age. That link between them…
Vader sat back in his chair, pausing the display and zooming in to the princess’s face. The resemblance could be his imagination: the same piercing dark eyes, the same endless cloud of hair. The girl smiled up at her partner and the space where Anakin Skywalker’s heart used to be contracted. His feelings told him what his eyes at first had not.
Twins. They’re twins. I have a daughter.
The link he saw between them made more sense, the strong bond connecting them to one another.
He started the recording again, and saw when the rebels’ plan went to hell. That was when he saw the true face of his son for the first time.
Faced with a squadron of stormtroopers, Luke leapt fearlessly in front of his sister and held them off with a lightsaber he clearly barely knew how to use, and the two of them made their escape.
Any doubt vanished. They were his children, brave and reckless and strong. Perhaps he could be forgiven for a little swell of pride, even if they were fighting for the wrong cause. What might you have become if I’d raised you?
It might not be too late. If he could bring them around… what assets they would be. His children, together with him…
Vader skipped watching the recordings of the spaceport. He already knew that Luke was a skilled pilot. Instead he looked through Theed’s other security recordings from the day prior. The spaceport logged the arrival of the Corellian Dawn early the day before the ball.
He found them.
They appeared all over Theed that day, and watching them, Vader came to one startling revelation: they didn’t know. His intel had given him their aliases; he knew that they were posing as a married couple, but the cameras from Naboo told a story that had nothing to do with espionage.
Luke wasn’t just devoted his sister, he was in love with her, and–although she hid it a little better–she with him. It showed in a million little ways they looked at one another. They kissed on numerous occasions, and Vader’s stomach tightened in discomfort.
If Obi-Wan Kenobi weren’t dead already, Vader could have killed him for doing this to his children. Separating them, not telling them who they were to one another. And now this.
Even as he thought it, though, Vader’s mind began to whir with other possibilities. He knew, better than anyone, the destructive capability of love–especially forbidden love, secret love kept hidden.
What might a carefully-timed revelation of the truth do to them? What sort of darkness might it nurture? Anger, regret, shame, fear… all things that he could use to bring one or both of them around to the dark side.
How much was his son like him? How much anger simmered in the core of his daughter?
The man who had once been Anakin Skywalker watched the security footage again, and saw his children sowing the seeds of their own downfall. He would be the one to catch them.
The family that Obi-Wan Kenobi had stolen from him would finally be his.