Tribute and follow-up ficlet to sparklight’s chapter forty
in her marvelous “In Which Our Intrepid Hero Doesn’t Escape” series.
(Fiercely-protective Mommy Vader wasn’t something I understood I desperately
needed until I encountered it! And I love genderbent “Luca” as well. ^_^)
If you’re wondering about the title, it’s a reference to a beautiful
French poem known as El Deschidado,
which references an “Aquitaine prince with a destroyed tower.” Technically Luca
would be a princess (though I’m not certain how comfortable she’d be with the
title), hence the change.
Trigger warning for a panic attack. I don’t feel Luca is any
less badass than Luke, but you’ve got to keep in mind that the poor kid’s in a
seriously traumatizing situation. (Let’s hope there are some Imperial
therapists available in the ranks.)
L & V are being a bit more emotional than normal, mainly
because I think genderbent Luke and Vader might be a little more in-tune with
their emotions (albeit Vader a smidgen more
Thanks again to the very-excellent sparklight, whom is an
angel, saint, and a bag of chips!
I am the Dark One, – the Widower, – the Unconsoled
The Aquitaine Prince whose Tower is destroyed:
My only star is dead,- and my constellated lute
Bears the black Sun of Melancholia.
In the night of the Tomb, You who comforted me,
Give me back Mount Posillipo and the Italian
The flower that my afflicted heart liked so much
And the treillised vineyard where the grapevine
unites with the rose.
—Excerpt from El Deschidado
“… what do you want?” Luca asked, quiet and shamefully soft, even
as her back was almost painfully stiff. The hand around her wrist tightened,
making the metal of the cuff dig in a little, and the other gloved hand finally
rose up, not quite touching her cheek.
Foreboding gathered in her gut as she watched those starkly
yellow eyes wash out into bright blue again, watched the harsh twist to Vader’s
mouth soften a shade.
Luca had flinched at that. Partially because her stomach had
rolled sickeningly and she had to take deep, shuddering breaths to keep the
remaining contents of her stomach from heaving their way up. She braced a
glistening palm against the wall, nearly slipping.
The hand poised over her face slowly fell. She wondered
wordlessly why Vader bothered if she couldn’t actually bring herself to touch
her affectionately, but the hand had hesitantly reached for Luca, as if of its
Dimly, Luca felt the writhing flare—something like a
supernova—of Vader’s wintry force presence hardening, crackling as it rapidly
frosted over into a pernicious arctic armor. And suddenly it seemed to be much
farther away, as if Luca were looking at it through the wrong end of
binoculars, though Vader’s hand still clutched her wrist so tightly she was
rapidly losing feeling in it.
Luca immediately felt
a hot rush of shame as she gazed up at over-bright eyes, starkly-blue embers hovering
in the dark, unblinkingly watching her. Did Vader sense her revulsion?
Her next thought stepped on her question mark: Why should
she care if she hurt Vader’s
feelings? Insanity, it seemed was catching.
Her free hand drew itself into a shaking fist, nails sinking
in her palm. Uncle Owen had lied about her mother, and while she could maybe,
albeit begrudgingly, understand why he
had, she couldn’t help resenting him even if the feeling came with a maelstrom
And when he and Beru had been murdered, the only person whom
saved her from being crippled with grief was Ben, whom gave her what she’d
wanted her whole life: The knowledge that she was meant to do something special—albeit more so than she ever
could’ve guessed—and that her mother had been, too. She bit the inside of her
mouth hard, and something metallic and hot flooded her mouth. Vader snapped
something she heard, but didn’t understand.
Anakin Skywalker was a Jedi knight, a paradigm of strength
and goodness, whom also had her life cut short by Vader. If Luca hadn’t already
wanted vengeance for Beru and Owen, now it became a purpose, which had been the
only thing sustaining her all this time, her friends aside. A lump rose from
her chest and lodged itself in her throat.
Her grief for her
mother had vapidly skyrocketed, something she hadn’t even thought possible. But
Vader wasn’t anything she
anticipated, the demon she’d needed him to be, and she felt pity for him—her—before Luca remembered and her
contempt washed it away.
But Vader was her mother, there was no use in not accepting
it, the force had no feelings and resonated the affirmation over and over
Vader was urgently saying something else, her hand still
bracing Luca’s back. Luca stared blankly at Vader’s rapidly-yellowing eyes.
Ben had to have
known Darth Vader was her mother and he’d lied, just like everyone else in the
galaxy so desperate to turn her into a pawn, he’d lied when Luca had no one and
nothing left, not even a home. Ben wanted her to kill her mother—she shrank back from the thought as if burned, it
felt traitorous. But it was true.
Now she could never trust even Ben’s memory ever again. The
only person she could understand innately wasn’t
lying was her mother. Her mother was alive, the sweetest and most secret hope
Luca had ever cherished, but it’d devolved into a nightmare. Vader was a
genocidal and vicious maniac. Nothing short of evil.
Luca probably imagined the faint tremor in Vader’s hand
still clutching her wrist. Vader, whom for all Luca’s training, for all her
giving everything and then some, had
stolen her away as easily like a cat would a kitten, regardless of her
She let out a noise that came out both a strangled laugh and
a sob. Vader was the only person whom she could innately understand wasn’t lying, and yet she in all
likelihood wanted to use Luca too, her own child. Both Obi-Won and Anakin
Skywalker died second deaths in that moment.
Her lungs plunged rapidly for air, seeming to end only at
the base of her neck, not drawing nearly enough oxygen, regardless of how much
she gulped for it.
Her mother’s hands grasped her shoulders as Luca’s vision
blurred orange, bled red. Her mind churned in a near-indecipherable blur of
terror and hysteria. Her ears rang and someone must’ve been screaming while her
throat burned as if it were filling up with blood. She thrashed hopelessly in
Vader’s hold, too panicked to care that there was no escape on the ship, that her
wrist at this point had become a distant, stinging star of pain as the manacle
dug into her skin. Why not, why not, what
did it matter she didn’t care nothing mattered anymore—
Vader’s ear-splitting roar sliced through the air and the
force; Luca’s eyes widened, freezing as Vader seized her in a too-tight hold,
pinning both her arms to her sides. Still Luca struggled, and in Vader’s
now-palpable concern, her icy barriers thawed and Vader’s force presence rushed
to meet hers. Luca fell limp at that, and if Vader hadn’t been clutching her
upright she would’ve certainly tumbled to the floor.
At first it was worse, because Vader’s mercurial force
presence loomed like an enormous, blackish-red tidal wave over Luca’s, reaching
for her like so many hands. Barriers flew up in Luca’s mind as she frantically
retreated deeper into herself, but Vader had been using the force longer than
Luca had been alive, and when she pursued the blockades were carelessly knocked
A second later Vader’s mind immobilized her own in a perfectly-implacable
grip, rippling with furious dark energy—the first icy jolt upon being badly
burned. Luca would’ve cried out if she could’ve, bracing herself for a certain
mental assault and the agony certain to go with it.
gently brushed against Luca’s petrified subconscious, the lightest of touches.
Stunned, Luca tried to speak, but a cool energy glided over her feverish and distressed
thoughts, plunging them into white background noise.
Shaking like mad, her head tilted and fell against Vader’s
There was a quiet hum coming from the gentle energy flowing
into her. It did not quite make her
calm, her heart was beating too quickly for that—but it hushed the frantic,
blind energy that would’ve sent her battering herself against the ship walls.
Luca’s eyes slipped shut. It wasn’t quite unlike the time she’d been slipped
inside a bacta tank.
Another light caress, albeit still uncertainly so, as if
Vader were frightened of her, which was absurd to the point of being hilarious.
Vader’s force presence was infinitely larger than Luca’s, could’ve crushed hers
into dust. But while the idea was baffling, it felt like Vader’s mind was
actually cradling hers.
More likely, Luca had somehow sustained head trauma when
she’d been electrocuted earlier.
Her breathing was still shuddery, but slower and deeper.
Awareness returning, Luca sharply inhaled as she sensed a ring surrounding her,
comprised of a black, thrashing maw of blazing toxic energy.
Alarmed, wishing desperately for hers—Vader’s—saber, Luca
was shocked by the sheer fury and hatred these flames emitted, something
she could dimly understand had been kindled by raw despair.
This force energy jabbed violently out, like so many knives
and so much broken glass and while Luca had once scoffed at the word bloodcurdling, she could not do so now. Approaching
them would be suicidal. She redoubled her efforts to be free, and Vader had
only tightened her mental grip the way she had Luca’s wrist.
While unharmed by the barrier, Luca desperately wanted to
shy away; the flames were comprised from malevolence, lashing out and seeking
so many targets; possibly the whole galaxy. And yet, oddly enough, not at the
girl they surrounded.
But the force defense was more than pure anger; there was a
staggering amount of possession and protection radiating off them in waves,
something near-feral in intensity and if Vader meant to harm her all along
(though Luca didn’t think so) why couldn’t she get it over with?
Vader’s voice within the force struck a rich, deep alto. No
rasping, no staccato breathing, no intermittent noises from her support. Luca’s
eyes flew open, startled.
You are safe.
The voice began hissing the beautiful words over and over
again, and the comforting cool energy coming from Vader increased, lulling.
Eyes flickering once again, Luca sagged in the gloved hold, fighting to stay
Her brow furrowed, bewildered as to why this seemed dimly
Sometimes when Luca
slept she remembered something, or at least upon waking she dimly remembered
recalling something, from a very, very long time ago. Before she’d been born.
In a night without
stars, she was a nebulous being whom didn’t think in words. Her nascent mind
wandered, eventually approaching a much larger presence than her own self.
Innately she understood
without understanding how whom it
was, and brushed against it curiously. At first it started in
blinding-white-shock, iron-defenses shooting up before they crumbled into an
intense tenderness, something tremulous. It recognized her.
The awestricken luminosity softly pressed back, with something akin to
playfulness. It’d wrapped around her so tenderly and tightly she’d been happy,
a profound sense of contentment and rightfulness stealing over her in their burgeoning force connection. The other used
it to send peaceful waves passing over her, both of them basking in mutual
That had been the
first time Luca’s consciousness encountered Anakin Skywalker’s, but it hadn’t
been the last.
When Luca came back to herself, there were tears streaming
silently down her face. Vader held her in a not-quite an embrace, pinning her
arms, which was it was confining as much as it was comforting.
At last by unspoken agreement Luca tugged back and Vader
slowly released her. The former turned to look determinedly at the wall while
rubbing her face.
And she prayed that Vader couldn’t understand that her
earlier revulsion was not least because a little girl from trillions and
trillions of light-years miles away (but not far enough) had looked up at the
dark lord’s words, was scrubbing her dirty face and scrambling to her feet, staring
expectantly at the sky.
The silence between them was every part as uncomfortable as
the shouting. Luca’s face burned and she couldn’t quite bring herself to look
However dire the situation, it was the most profoundly
awkward one Luca had ever encountered. Vader seemed to feel the same,
considering just how quiet she was, save for the intermittent breathing on the
It was childish, but Luca couldn’t help but reach out with
the force towards Vader again, and for her credit was firmly pushed away. The
latter’s force presence was rapidly resealing itself in its fortress.
“Will you be still now?” Vader said at last, sounding as
weary as Luca felt. “Can I trust you not to harm yourself?”
Luca just nodded wearily, still wiping her eyes. Thankfully Vader
didn’t see, or pretended not to. The two remained chained together, though both
were looking in opposite directions of the dilapidated old ship, lost in her
Anakin Skywalker was
still alive. Anakin Skywalker was still alive.
She mopped her face once again, took a few deep breaths.
“Where are you taking me?” She asked, not quite trusting her
“My ship.” said Vader shortly, after only a moment’s
hesitation. The woman’s eyes remained fixated on the windows ahead, reflecting
her ruined face stricken of any color, so badly burnt that hair refused to
grow. “You’ll be interned in quarters there.”
Luca felt a sharp spike of irritation. Exactly how well had
Vader thought this plan through before kidnapping her? “And what, you’re going
to lock me up forever, is that it?”
“Don’t tempt me,”
snarled Vader, pulling at their chain. “As it stands, the idea of having you
handcuffed to my person at all times has its merits.”
Luca went very hot and then very cold at that, because Vader
wasn’t someone whose bluff you wanted to call.
“Please,” she tried again, her voice again reaching that
painfully soft and embarrassing register. “You can’t just—“
Vader spun on her heel to face her, bluing eyes flashing.
“I can. You are safe with
me, not at the beck and call of a ragtag, hypocritical army of anarchists whom
will step on your throat the moment you become a liability.”
“The Alliance would never—“
“Yes, because they clearly had ‘Miss Vader’s kid’s,’ best
interests at heart,” Vader scoffed, and Luca nearly had the heart knocked out
It would’ve been one thing if Vader kept shouting lies in
her ears—annoying, but bearable because she knew otherwise. But the moment Luca
discovered her parentage the soldiers had closed in on her—
They wouldn’t have
hurt me. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.
“No, you did not. But your innocence would not save you; you
were culpable in being born my child.”
It sounded so awful spoken aloud, given shape. Luca had to
count to ten to avoid screaming.
“I can’t turn. I can’t be like you. You have to let me go.”
“I have to do no such thing. What I must do is my
obligation, which is to keep you from harm.”
Surprise flitted on Luca’s face and her breath caught. Vader
pointedly looked away, her force presence growing positively polar, an icy warning
to keep a safe distance.
It was a very strange dance. When Luca stepped forward, Vader
stepped back, and however much Luca had tried denying her parentage, Darth
Vader had only told her the truth over and over again.
Too exhausted to argue anymore, and knowing it was useless
in any case, Luca sank to a sitting position again and closed her eyes, so
emotionally drained she could scarcely move.
Vader had stolen yet another thing from her. She couldn’t
imagine harming her now.
Sometimes when Luca
was small, she woke up crying in the middle of the night. Aunt Beru would come
in and rub her back, assuring her that her nightmares were only ever just
And she did have
dreams of black, white-eyed creatures dragging her away and eating her (she
couldn’t scream, because they’d eat that too), but sometimes she didn’t dream
at all, but only woke up crying from a fissure so horribly hollow and hurting it
made her worry she might never stop.
When Luca came to, she awoke wrapped in a black cape, as
whomever was carrying her marched across a white bridge. A docking chamber.
Suddenly remembering and returning to hell, she warily
turned to gaze up at Vader—whom by now had her unholy black mask restored, eyes
shrouded in black. What color were they now, and what was she thinking?
Luca wearily shoved at Vader’s front so as to least have
some decency in walking, but she might as well as pushed a wall for all the
reaction Vader gave.
Luca pressed a hand against her eyes and was annoyed when it
came back wet; she’d been crying from the old place again, the one with bits of
her that had never grown up, not really. She hid her face upon wondering what the
imperial soldiers must’ve thought, to have seen the dark lord carrying a girl
draped in her cloak and crying as if her heart were on the verge of stopping.
Vader had turned grief into murderous, destructive power.
Luca could only let it turn into pain and something tenderer, infinitely more
vulnerable. Maybe that was why Vader turned—sheer fear of being torn apart by this
She sulked, hating the fact that she couldn’t hate Vader,
despite the enormity of her actions. The woman had razed entire civilizations and
now Luca needed her and that thought was so disturbing so she feebly tried
pushing against Vader again, wriggling in her hold and knowing the futility.
“I can’t stay here.”
“You can and must. At my side, you will be a princess.”
Luca’s mind wiped itself blank, faintly hearing Biggs laughing.
“I’m not a princess. I have it on good authority I am the opposite of a
princess. A princess told me that.”
“You were one before you were born, child. It is your
“Please. My friends
will come for me in any case.”
This was something Luca did and desperately did not want,
for Han, Leia, Threepio, Artoo and Chewie to appear. They’d be in mortal
danger, and yet Luca was already missing them.
“I will kill Palpatine for what he did,” said Vader coldly
as they stepped into yet another long white hallway. “He told me you had died,
and so I’ll burn him from existence. Here is another lesson, child. I’ll destroy anyone whom tries taking you from me.”
Luca’s jaw dropped, and despite the cloak draped around her
I wrote you a letter in June 1792 inclosed in one to Mr. Donald of Virginia Since which I have had no further accounts from you. My bad State of health has prevented my going to Sea at this time being afflicted with a complication of disorders.
The war which has lately broke out between France & England makes it very dengerous going to Sea at this time, however we daily expect news of a peace & when that takes place provided it is not too late in the Season I will embark in the first Vessel that Sails for Philadelphia.
I have now Settled all my business in this part of the World, with the assistance of my good freind Mr. Donald who has been of every Service to me that lay in his power in contributing to make my life Easy, at this advanced period of life. The bearer of this, Capt. Sherref of the Brig, Dispatch Sails direct for Philadelphia & has promised to deliver you this letter with his own hands, & as he returns to this Island from Philadelphia I beg you will drop me a few lines letting me know how you & your family keeps your health as I am uneasy at not having heard from you for some time past.
I beg my respectfull Compliments to Mrs. Hamilton & your Children, & wishing you health & happiness, I remain, with esteem
Dear Alexander Your very Affectte. Father
James Hamilton to Alexander Hamilton, June 12, 1793, the only surviving correspondence between father and son. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t board the first vessel to Philadelphia.