The Heir // The Luke Palpatine AU, Part 91: The End
Prompt from @heartsofstars
It had been a year, but it felt longer. The day Vader had waited for had finally arrived—the day when he would see his sweet little angel again—but as he stepped off the ship and onto Naboo, he realised he was nervous.
What if Luke hated him? What if Luke had never fully recovered, and blamed him for it?
Still Vader continued on his path, into the garden... and then he felt someone behind him. Slowly, fearing what he would see, he turned around...and froze.
He couldn't believe his eyes.
There was Luke, wearing the most brilliant smile on his face...and, for the first time in his life, he looked really, truly happy.
Previous parts on the masterpost here!
He was wearing clothes more colourful than he’d worn in the last fourteen years, in a thousand beautiful shades of blue, his cheeks rosy and face tanned. Of course: the school year had been over for several weeks by now, though the work of the Empire had not been, and Luke had spent a lot of time out on the Lake Country with his… friends. The Naberries had been most accommodating for him.
Now… Vader just stared.
That was his son.
He looked so, so happy.
He pattered down the garden path of Varykino, to where Vader was standing, awkward, on the edge of the estate. He was aware that the Naberries were inside, were all staying there for the holiday while Vader dropped by to see Luke, and Vader found himself reluctant to go closer. This was Luke’s happy family tree, the perfect life he’d built for himself, that he deserved. Vader should not step in to ruin it.
But then his son was two steps away from him and had scooted to a halt, bouncing on the balls of his feet. Vader took a moment to study him in even more detail: he was taller, broader—Jedi training with Ahsoka was paying off—and lines around his eyes betrayed an abundance of the broad, bright grins he was currently bestowing on Vader like they were suns and stars to give away.
“Luke,” Vader said, and when Luke leapt forward to hug him he received the hug with an oomph, his heart nearly full to bursting. Vader leant down to hold him as tightly and as gently as he could, careful with his own strength, careful with his boy.
He’d seen him in holo calls and messages, he’d heard about his progress through Ahsoka and through Sabé, who’d been updated through Sola. He’d been sent a holo, which he kept in one of the compartments on his belt, of Luke after Sola had dragged him to the hairdresser’s in Theed to get him a haircut that looked less severe, more like a teenage boy. He’d been sent another holo of Luke after his first day of school, with Leia and Zev dropping by to visit and staying for dinner, with Luke smiling broadly in front of a plate full of potatoes, leaning in to hear something she was saying, his eyes fixed on Zev in a way that made Vader both fiercely protective and nostalgic at once. He kept that one on his desk.
But it wasn’t the same. Luke’s Force presence had blossomed, so lovely and unapologetic and true, and he basked in the feeling of it, the way it opened at his touch like a flower to daylight. Luke laced their fingers together.
“Come on,” he said, still smiling that dizzying smile. “Nova came early, to help me prepare those rooms for you again—you know, the ones you had last time? With the view of the lake?—and Aunt Sola even bought an extra big chair for you so you can sit at dinner, I—”
He realised he was babbling, then, and tried to calm himself—stopped himself from skipping, as well. He’d been skipping.
“I missed you,” he told him candidly. “It hasn’t been the same.”
Vader squeezed his hand gently.
“No,” he agreed. “It has not.”
“Can you come inside?” Luke asked. Vader looked up at the building—the manor where he’d told his son the truth for the first time, the house where he’d married Padmé. The place that had been so much happiness, for so long, even when he was so miserable that the memory of that happiness only hurt more.
There would be Sabé, and Ahsoka, and the Naberries inside that building. It would be awkward—it would be beyond awkward; one thing he was here to discuss with Luke was his official resignation as Emperor, and what he thought about Sabé being coronated as Empress in his wake while she worked to deconstruct the Empire, all the politics that Luke had fled to Naboo not once, but twice, to get away from—but…
Luke would also be inside that building.
And so would Padmé.
He squeezed Luke’s hand tightly as they bounded up the stairs and walked through the doors. The entrance chamber was as beautiful and arching as ever, the breeze stirring through the air to tug at his cape and shift Luke’s hair, the sunlight gleaming in the glasswork. There were several people sitting and standing around in the downstairs living room when he first got in there: two young women perhaps five or ten years older than Luke, who looked so much like Padmé Vader had to glance away; an aging couple, who he’d met before, and were all but glaring at him, the man trying to disguise tears of sorrow and anger; and a woman only a few years older than her sister, who also looked far too much like her sister, and whose expression was not angry but… fierce. When she beheld Vader’s mask, and also the hand which clasped his son’s so tightly, it was positively ferocious.
Her gaze softened when it landed on Luke, though. Good, then, that she was so protective of him. Luke deserved as many protectors—
Luke deserved as many parent figures as he could have.
They were not his protectors. Or his enforcers, or attack dogs, or advisors. Luke was no longer an Emperor—he was just a boy, just a son, and he was a part of a family that had grown into more than the lonely, abused child he’d been could’ve ever imagined.
Vader had grown into a man he could never have imagined, either.
“Grandmother, Grandfather, Ryoo, Pooja… Aunt Sola…” Luke bit his lip, then revealed his teeth in a gleaming smile. “This is my father.”
The Naberries’ eyes moved, cuttingly, to Vader, but all he had space for in his mind was Luke’s words.
As Luke wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him forward, into the sitting room proper, that was all he thought.
He was Luke’s father.
And he realised, he understood now, that that was all he ever needed to be.
Beginning | Previous | Finish
Okay. I... have no idea what to say. Where to start, how to express.... aaaaaaaaah is the only way that comes to mind. This fic was such a strange undertaking. It’s a ficlet series nearly 100 ficlets long! Inspired by a five sentence prompt that ended up being sixty sentences! It’s over 100k on my doc! I started writing it in... I don’t even know, January or February, balancing so many fics, and then quarantine came and this was a reliable thing I could post, and work on, and update, and it helped me a lot. A million shout outs to everyone who made this possible, even though there’s no hope I’ll get you all -- it’s a collabfic, essentially; there are so many people I brainstormed with about different plotlines, so many people who sent in prompts, so many people whose enthusiasm kept me going..... You know who you are, and please know that you were amazing.
This was such a fun challenge to work on, a completely different style to what I was used to, and the emotions, and ahhhh I enjoyed this so much; I’m so sad it’s over now. But I’ll be back soon, once I’ve got into the rhythm of the new way life is going to bel I have a lot of fics I’ve been meaning to write for a long time :D
Thanks to everyone for reading, whether you’ve stuck with me the whole time or are only just discovering this series now!! I love you all so much <3
87 notes · View notes