So now that it’s looking more and more like Riku’s gonna be the one to save Aqua (I’m still holding out for Sora to actually do the derring-do deed), I’ve been thinking about what’s gonna happen when he sees her again. I was pretty struck by the end of 2.8 and his adamant insistence on rescuing her (not to mention straight-up getting angry at Mickey and Yen Sid). After hearing about all her years in the Realm of Darkness, plus how she rescued him and Mickey, plus his experience with fighting the darkness and therefore ability to empathize with her situation, I’m pretty sure Riku’s first words to Aqua are gonna be, “I am so sorry.”
And apologies that tissues do not come with the picture and description. You’ll have to provide those yourself.
Luke broke into a run as he finally caught sight of Vader between the trees, slumped down not far from his crashed and still smoking TIE fighter.
“Father!” he shouted, skidding to a stop and dropping to his knees next to him, his hands fluttering uselessly across Vader’s chest. He had never before been so glad to hear the steady, mechanical breathing, though right now it was far too shallow and labored. He had come as quickly as he could, stammering some excuse to Leia that he couldn’t even remember now, as soon as he had felt the fragile brush of his father’s plea against his mind. He had been surprised at the strength of his reaction, at the surge of terror that had ripped through him when he felt how weak Vader was.
Now he reached out and took his father’s hand. He squeezed it gently, relieved when Vader returned the pressure. “I was afraid I wouldn’t – ” Luke couldn’t finish the sentence. “Where are you injured? What can I do?”
There was nothing obviously wrong with him, no outward injuries Luke could see, and he feared any damage was internal or to his life support.
“Luke,” Vader said, between rasping breaths, “I did not think… you would come.”
“Shh, Father. Of course I came. What happened?” Vader was alone, and there had been no Alliance activity in this system as far as Luke was aware. He should not have crashed.
“My Master was… displeased with me,” Vader replied. Luke frowned. That wasn’t much of an answer. He would need more specific details later, but even without knowing exactly what had happened, his anger flared at the Emperor’s cruelty.
“What do you – Hey, don’t move!” Luke pushed lightly against his father’s chest as Vader tried to get up.
“You cannot carry me, young one.” The gentle rebuke was accompanied by a hint of humor from his father, and Luke ducked his head to hide a small smile. If his father was well enough to joke with him, he would probably survive this.
“No, I don’t think I could,” Luke agreed. “But let me help you.”
He helped pull his father to his feet and let Vader drape an arm around his shoulders for support, wrapping his own arm around Vader’s waist. His father leaned heavily on him, and Luke drew on the Force to help him bear the weight. Their progress was slow, and the first time Vader stumbled, he almost took Luke down with him.
Luke kept up a steady stream of murmured encouragement, trying to soothe the growing frustration he could sense from his father. Vader did not like admitting weakness, much less showing it, and being unable to walk under his own power had to hurt his pride.
Despite Vader’s shielding, Luke could feel echoes of his pain. He worried at the sharpness of it and was glad they did not have much farther to go before they reached his ship.
“I trust you had the sense to bring more than just your X-wing,” Vader said, his voice weaker than Luke had yet heard it, and he clutched his arm a little tighter around his father.
“I borrowed a small shuttle.” Luke was trying very hard not to think about where he was going to take Vader. He would not trust a civilian hospital, and he did not think his father would allow him to bring him back to the Alliance. Nor was he foolish enough to think the Alliance would willingly treat him. No, bringing him back with him would be more of a death sentence than leaving him here, untreated. That left only one option, and Luke’s mind shied away from it. He knew if he set foot on the Executor, he would not be allowed to leave it. But for his father’s life?
His shuttle finally came into view, and his steps faltered, his body trembling with the strain of carrying his father’s weight, the Force augmentation of his strength notwithstanding. He almost lost his grip on Vader, but held on with sheer willpower.
“Almost there, Father,” he muttered, even though Vader could see the shuttle just as clearly as he could. The encouragement was as much for himself as it was his father. He wished he could have landed closer to Vader’s crash site, but there hadn’t been a clearing large enough.
Luke managed to get Vader onto the shuttle and settled into the copilot’s seat without further mishap, but as he turned away to run the ship’s startup sequence, Vader’s hand clamped around his wrist. Luke stilled and closed his eyes, unwilling to look at his father.
“I need to return to my ship,” Vader rasped. Luke nodded once, feeling his stomach twist in resigned anxiety. “Luke, look at me.”
It took Luke a moment to turn and meet his father’s gaze. “I know,” he said quietly. “I knew that when I came.” Now he regretted the hasty lie he had told Leia. He should have said a proper goodbye, or even told her the truth, even though he knew she would never have let him go if he had.
Vader released his wrist and reached up to tentatively brush the tips of his fingers along Luke’s cheekbone. Luke blinked in surprise but didn’t pull away from the contact. “You will be allowed to leave. I will not keep you,” Vader promised.
Luke released a surprised breath when Vader’s thumb swiped across his cheek, brushing away a tear Luke hadn’t realized had escaped his eye. He captured his father’s hand in his own and bowed his head.
“Thank you.” Relief lifted the weight of anxiety from his shoulders, but he felt a small, sharp jab of disappointment at the thought of leaving his father, and he spent the short flight to the Executor contemplating it.
So this is obviously a little longer than three sentences, but it got away from me. I couldn’t do it justice with only three sentences. It’s also a bit disjointed, and I might edit it later and make something longer out of it. It has some promise, I think.
Also, I’ll let you decide whether Luke chooses to leave Vader or not, once he delivers him back to his ship. :)
Send me a set of characters and an AU setting for a three sentence fic!