My dearest Son,
I had been planning to do something special today because today is the day of my birthday, my true birthday.
One year since the day you brought me back to Life.
I know you well by now and I because I know you, I just know that you also intend to give me something, because this day means as much to you as it does to me.
But Luke, I'm the one who must give you a present.
I have so much to thank you for, Son. All the presents in the galaxy are not enough to show you my respect, my gratitude, my admiration. My love.
You gave me a second chance at life, and even if it feels wrong to exist when I denied that right to so many others, I find a sweet joy in the fact of simply being alive. Every new day renews my determination to make up to you, to everyone. And even though I know it'll never be enough, having you by my side, having your love, gives me all the strength I need to go on.
You're so much better than I, little one. I look into your eyes and my mind and my heart are full of Light and Hope.
You teach me something new every day, and every day I wonder what I ever did to deserve an angel like you.
You're a grown man now. And yet, so often I wish I could cuddle you, and hold you, as I know I would have done if... But those days are gone for good, I must accept it.
Still, we have each other now, and I thank the Force that it is so.
I will always love you. I will always honour you. And I will always honour the gift you continue to give me. The gift of your smile, your trust, your faith in me.
I'm not Anakin Skywalker. That's not the way I envision myself and my place in the universe anymore. I am the father of Luke Skywalker. That's who and what I am.
I've done some good and a lot of evil, but there's only one perfect thing I've done in my life. And that perfect thing is you, and your sister.
I love you, Luke. My beloved Son. My most cherished soul. Thank you for bringing me back, so I can devote the rest of my life to being worthy of you.
P.S. You may be wondering why I chose to write this letter as my present for you. You see, I've been observing you this past year. What makes you happy – so I can give it to you; what makes you sad – so I can keep it away from you, if I can. I wanted to find something you might want or need. Something special you'd like to have. It took me some time, clueless man that I am, but I finally figured out that it's not material things you want. I finally realized that this letter will mean more to you than anything else I could possibly think of.
I am the richest man in the universe, Luke.
I have you.
Luke put down the paper and stared at it for an eternity, learning it by heart, soaking up every word until tears trickled down his cheeks.
When he returned from the blissful place where his father's letter had taken him, he blinked and wiped away the moisture on his face.
His greatest treasure. His most precious and beautiful treasure.
Smiling softly, he reached for his stationery.
Taking a deep breath and holding the pen firmly to keep his hand from shaking, he poured all of himself into the words that flowed from him as if they had been waiting a lifetime to be written.
And they had.
One hour later, Anakin received the letter in his quarters.
Immediately recognizing the lovely handwriting, Anakin sat down at his desk and caressed the sender's name on the envelope.
"For the Attention of Anakin Skywalker, Vice-President of the Republic"
Anakin's eyes drifted closed. Even in an internal letter, Luke always deferred to his father's importance, always putting him and his dignity first. His chest constricted at the small but sublime gesture.
With trembling fingers, he opened the envelope and took out a folded sheet of paper. He cradled it in his hand for a minute before reading it.
And here I was, agonizing about not knowing what to get you to honour the happiest day of my life. Or rather, the first of the happiest days of my life.
You're so much braver than I, Father. I was embarrassed to ask, because I thought I was too old to need something that at age twelve children claim to be too old to ever need again.
I may be 24 years old now, but I will never stop needing you. I'll never stop needing your constant displays of affection. I need you like the very air that I breathe.
I'm not worthy of your words, but I'll spend the rest of my life striving to be worthy of the most beautiful gift. The gift of *you*.
It is my greatest honour to be known as your son. Having your name defined my identity when I was too young to know who Luke Skywalker was. I'll always define myself in relation to you.
I love you, Dad. Words cannot express what I'm feeling in my heart right now. But you are in my heart. You live in it. You do know.
No tokens are needed to celebrate this day. A hug from my father is all I need. It's what I prayed for since I was old enough to dream, and what I resigned myself to never have.
I'm afraid I disagree with you, Father. *I* am the richest man in the universe. For how's a person supposed to feel when their one dearest, impossible dream comes true?
Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin.
"No, Son. *I* am the richest," Anakin whispered to himself, putting the letter down, his voice thick with tears.
The door buzzed, shaking him out of his highly emotional state. Knowing he wouldn't be able to disguise it from whoever it was, he prepared to excuse himself with the first pretext that came to mind.
"Come in," he invited, looking away when the doors opened.
Luke walked in, cheeks already flushed in embarrassment, twisting his hands like a nervous five year old and averting his eyes timidly.
Anakin felt his insides melting as the image of a shy, dishevelled, agitated little boy filled his mind.
"Happy Birthday, Dad," Luke whispered, his voice hoarse with emotion.
"My little one," Anakin sighed, holding out his arms.
Luke's eyes met his father's at last, and an avalanche of aching need swept them away.
Together, they took one step forward. Arms enveloped the beloved prize, and they surrendered themselves to the unrestrained waves of love they rained on one another.
'Bless the Force that I'm alive,' Anakin thought, 'so I can give him this. So I can give him everything he needs. So much to make up to you, my gentle, beautiful child. Always. Always!'
Luke buried his face in the crook of Anakin's shoulder, getting lost in the heavenly feelings that floored him every time his father welcomed him into his arms. His mind touched Anakin's tentatively, and Anakin opened wide to offer the deepest, most sacred part of himself for Luke to snuggle up to.
Forever safe. Forever loved. Forever home.
And in that single, perfect moment in time, no being in the Universe had ever been richer than those two hearts forever bonded to each other, forever beating as One.