"You have failed me for the last time, captain." Vader snarled. "I wanted those Rebels alive for questioning, not burning in a pit on a backwater planet in the Outer Rim!"

Captain Baschi's skin paled. He could feel his fear seeping into the Force. Vader drank it in, let it fuel him.

"L-Lord Vader, I assure you, we did everything possible to…" Baschi's words cut off and Vader watched as the captain grasped at his throat.

It was futile. He didn't know why people bothered to try to pry off what wasn't physically there.

Behind him, he listened to the sound of the blast door hissing open. "Dad!"

Vader froze, his hold on the captain's throat disappearing. He felt his son's blinding presence in the Force before he whirled to face him, to command him to leave. He was busy, and his son needed to…

Luke slid to a stop in front of him, grinning ear-to-ear. He either ignored or didn't notice Captain Baschi gasping and coughing for air behind Vader. "Guess what?" The boy practically hopped in front of him, and had Vader not been in the middle of killing a witless fool, he might have found it amusing.

"Luke, I am in the middle of…" he broke off as Luke pulled out a data pad and lifted it for him to see. Had anyone else interrupted him mid-sentence, he at least would have taught them a lesson they would never forget, but this was his son. He'd discuss the matter with him later, away from the prying eyes of his subordinates.

"I passed the test!"

Sure enough, Vader could see the score reflected on Luke's electronic copy of his math test. The end-of-year test he'd been stressing out over for weeks. Vader didn't appreciate the stress the school put his child under over a stupid, meaningless piece of paper that wouldn't affect the boy's life in any way, but he wouldn't admit that to his son. So, he'd encouraged him, made great speeches on why it was important to use his fear to fuel him into becoming stronger, all the things a good Sith Lord father should say to his son.

But the boy didn't just pass; he achieved top marks.

So, his speech worked, then.

"I am pleased, son." And he meant it. His chest swelled with pride, the Dark Side momentarily slipping from his grasp. He didn't care, not when his son beamed at him as if he'd won the Boonta Eve Classic. Vader would give the entire galaxy to see his son smile like that. "Congratulations are in order."

Luke lowered the data pad. Vader didn't think it was possible, but the boy bounced harder. He knew what came next. "You promised that if I did well, we'd go flying, in your new TIE fighter."

Behind the mask, Vader couldn't help but smile. One thing he'd learned over the last ten years: children remembered every promise, big or small. This was one promise he was pleased to keep. "As soon as I am done dealing with Captain Baschi. Why don't you…"

Luke gasped, and before Vader could stop him, he darted around his father. "Captain Baschi, look! Your tutoring helped!"

Vader blinked, looking from his son to the terrified captain who attempted a smile for the boy. "I'm glad to be of service, Luke." Baschi's voice was rough from the throat maiming Vader had begun only minutes earlier.

"Tutoring?" Vader repeated, evenly.

The captain winced, but Luke didn't seem bothered. "Yeah, do you remember when I went to talk to you a few nights ago?" Yes, Vader remembered. He'd been in the middle of meditating when the boy had come running in. He'd sent him away, despite Luke's protests. "Well, after I left, I ran into Captain Baschi and asked him to help me practice."

Vader clenched his teeth as a wave of jealousy washed over him. Luke was his son. He was his to help.

And yet...he'd turned the boy away. And he'd found help in the Captain.

"Starship captains are not tutors, Luke." Vader admonished.

Luke winced. "I know. I just…" then he mumbled something Vader couldn't understand.

"What did I say about mumbling, son?"

Luke sighed. "I wanted to make you proud. So...I figured, he couldn't have gotten to be a captain without being good at math, so…" He shrugged.

Vader stared at his son, warring with conflicting feelings. Baschi had failed him in the capture of the Rebel cell. He deserved punishment for that...but he'd also helped his son. He'd of course heard the rumors on board that if either of his children were aboard, having them around helped spare lives. He hated that rumor-because it was true. He didn't have the heart to ruin his children's innocence. He could kill Baschi later, but…

He'd helped his son. Luke was happy. He'd achieved an admirable goal because of the captain's assistance.

"Captain Baschi." Vader said, sternly.

The captain immediately straightened up, and he could feel the man tensing, bracing for what was to come. "Y-yes, My Lord?"

He waited a breath. One day, Luke would not be enough to save them from his wrath. But that day had not yet come. "Take this as a warning. Do not fail me again." The threat was clear in his words, and Luke frowned, looking between the captain and his father.

Captain Baschi nodded curtly, and with a wave of his hand, Vader dismissed the man.

Luke watched the captain go, a frown still on his face. He almost expected the boy to ask what that had been about, but the moment Baschi was gone, that excited smile creeped back onto his expression, making the boy look younger than his ten years. "So, can we go now?"

Vader pretended to think about it. "I suppose I could clear my schedule…"

"Dad."

Vader smiled, and though Luke couldn't see it, he knew his son felt the sentiment behind the gesture. "Alright. Let's go flying."


Thank you for all the reviews! I don't usually write one-shots (I'm more the 100,000+ word work kind of girl) but these are fun!