A/N: This was done for a challenge over at TF.N. It had to center around a love letter and could be no more than 2000 words, so being the Luke-lover that I am (!) I had to make the story revolve around him. This is what I imagine it would have been like if Luke had written letters to his father as a child.
The flames of his father's funeral pyre had died down some hours ago, but he still sat on the cold, hard ground, staring at the ashes that remained. He knew that he should return to the Ewok village where the Alliance was celebrating their victory. He knew that his sister would be worrying about him, although he had felt her presence awkwardly reaching out for his as the Death Star had exploded, so she was aware that he had survived the confrontation with their father.
The mere word sent a spasm of mingled joy and pain through his heart. Joy, that his father had returned to the Light before he had died; that Luke had had those precious few moments face-to-face with the man who had twice given him life. Pain, that those few moments would be all that he would ever have.
He followed one of the tiny sparks left over from the flames as it drifted upwards towards the black skies of Endor's night. He hoped his father was with Ben and Yoda now because he couldn't bear the thought of Anakin being alone. His father had been alone most of his life, surrounded as he had been by the darkness of Palpatine's evil. Of course, he realized that Darth Vader had done horrible, horrible things in the twenty-odd years that he had been the Emperor's apprentice, but Luke had to separate the two entities--Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader--in his mind. It was the only way he could make any sense of the confusing choices that his father had made so many years ago.
He loved the being that had been Anakin Skywalker and he came dangerously close to hating the thing that had been Darth Vader. Vader had stolen his father from him. He understood that his father was the one who was actually responsible for their separation, but it was easier somehow to blame it on the Sith Lord. Perhaps at some point in the future, he would be able to come to terms with the many crimes his father had committed, but at the moment, he was simply a son who had sorely missed having his father when he was growing up.
If he added up every minute that he had spent in his father's presence, the pitiful total would equal less than a standard day. One day out of an entire lifetime. It wasn't enough. And it was infinitely more painful when he considered the fact that most of those minutes had not been pleasant. A silent tear slid unnoticed down his cheek as his mind drifted to what could have been.
He reached into his tunic and pulled out the object that he had quietly snuck back to the rebel camp for when he had landed the Imperial shuttle on Endor several hours ago. He hadn't been ready to face anyone at that point, not even his sister or Han, and so he'd slipped in and out again with no one aware of his presence.
He brushed one hand over the cover of the old-fashioned journal. He had kept it hidden away in his X-Wing ever since he had retrieved it from his old homestead on Tatooine right before the mission to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt. It was made from genuine nerf leather and contained real flimsiplast pages, with an antique ink pen tucked inside. The words "Luke's Journal" were on the cover, stitched in his Aunt Beru's fine handiwork.
He smiled softly as he remembered the birthday that she had given it to him. That time seemed so long ago now.
"What is this, Aunt Beru?"
"Why, it's a journal, Luke. You use it to write down all your secret hopes and dreams. Things that you can't tell anyone else."
He looked at her skeptically. "Couldn't I have a datapad instead? They're so much cooler!"
"Oh, no, sweetheart. Hopes and dreams should always come from your heart and those can only come from your own hand."
For the longest time, Luke was unsure what to put in the journal. The first couple of pages had been filled with every kind of ship he someday hoped to fly, but after that, he was at a loss. He thought about it long and hard and finally remembered what Aunt Beru had said. "Things that you can't tell anyone else."
If there was one thing he'd learned very early in his life, it was what not to talk about with his Uncle Owen. The quickest way for Luke to earn a punishment and extra chores around the farm was to ask questions about his father. Owen had given Luke the bare bones about who that mysterious man had been. He'd been a navigator on a spice freighter and he'd died when Luke was only a baby. That was the sum total of knowledge that Luke had about his father. He often envied Biggs, even as his best friend was complaining about some punishment his father had given him. At least Biggs had a father.
He often wondered if his father had known about him. He sometimes imagined that Uncle Owen was wrong and that his father was still alive and searching for him. Maybe he just didn't know where Luke was. And when he found him, wouldn't he want to know about Luke? Wouldn't he want to know about all the things in his son's life that he had missed?
So Luke had decided that he would write his father letters, telling him all about himself and all his hopes and fears and dreams.
It's me, Luke. I guess you might not know it, but I'm your son. I am eight years old. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I think I look like you, because Aunt Beru said that one time, but I am not sure. I miss you very much. I want to be a pilot when I grow up, so I can be like you.
Luke laughed a little ruefully at the childish scrawl that covered most of the page with just those few words. He flipped through the pages slowly, reading each entry as memories flooded him. Most of the early entries were about the various things that happened to him as he went to school and there was a lot about him wanting to be a pilot when he grew up.
"Some things never change," he murmured.
An entry around his thirteenth birthday sent another pang through his heart.
Yesterday, that old hermit, Ben Kenobi came to our house. He looked at me kinda weird, like he was seeing someone else instead of me. Uncle Owen got really mad and made him leave. I feel sorry for the old guy sometimes. I bet it's lonely living all by yourself, 'specially out here on this worthless planet. It's gonna get better, though! Uncle Owen said he's gonna get me a T-16 Skyhopper for my thirteenth birthday in two months! But I have to get really good grades this term in school and make sure all my chores are done every day! I can't wait! It's gonna be so awesome!
"Oh, Ben. If I'd only known…" Luke whispered as his fingers traced the letters of his mentor's name. But what good would knowing have done? It wouldn't have changed anything, he realized sadly.
The letters stopped abruptly soon after his thirteenth birthday. Uncle Owen had found the journal and to say that he'd been furious would have been like saying Jabba the Hutt was a little overweight. His face had turned so red, Luke thought for a moment that his head was going to explode. He had taken away not only the journal, but also Luke's new T-16 for over a month. He'd gotten his flying privileges back, but he'd never seen the journal again until he'd dug it up at the ruin of his former home.
He had been surprised to see it, having been sure that his uncle would have destroyed it. He supposed that he had Aunt Beru to thank for that, as he was grateful to her for so many other things. He only wished he'd taken the time to let her know how much he appreciated all that she had given him.
He picked up the pen and experimentally scribbled on one corner of the last page he'd written on. Amazingly, the pen still worked. He smiled quietly to himself as he settled the journal more comfortably on his lap.
He began to write.
I miss you very much…"