Author's Notes: Ooops! I owe my readers (if they're still out there) a huge apology. I'm not sure exactly how this happened, but somehow I forgot that I hadn't posted the last chapter of "Christmas Reunion." I think I remember intending to post it, and then something came up and for some reason I didn't. And then I forgot that I never did post it. Anyway, my apologies for being so irresponsible. Here's ch. 7 and I hope you enjoy it.

Christmas Reunion Part 7

Owen was striding down the hall towards Luke's apartment when the door opened and Anakin came out. They both froze and just stared at one another for a moment. Then Owen muttered something angrily under his breath, spun around, and headed back down the hall. He wasn't sure where he was going, but anyplace where he didn't have to see Anakin Skywalker sounded good.

"Owen, wait!" Anakin called. "Please," he added, as Owen kept going. Whether or not Owen would have conceded, he didn't know, but the other man had reached the turbolift doors and had to pause anyway.

Anakin hurried to catch up with him. "Owen, could we please talk? I know that I've done some terrible things in the past, and maybe you can't ever forgive me, but we do both care about Luke. For his sake, can you at least listen to me, just for a few minutes?"

Owen's hand was raised to open the turbolift doors, when he hesitated. He had just been thinking about the need to reconcile with Anakin for Luke's sake, hadn't he? The problem was, he might know that he needed to take that step, but he felt very unprepared for it. His feelings were all in a jumble. Anger, confusion, resentment, jealousy-they all warred within his heart when he thought about Anakin.

But then he thought about Luke. His nephew was such a good boy, always had been. From the time he was little, Luke had always been kind-hearted, caring, and generous. Luke deserved to be happy, and although Owen couldn't really understand it, having his father around seemed to make him happy.

He sighed and let his hand fall back to his side. "All right, but only for Luke's sake."

They went back to the apartment, and Luke did a double take at the sight of the both of them together.

"Okay, it's my turn to kick you out," Anakin told him with a grin. "I'd like to talk with Owen alone, please, if you don't mind."

Luke looked from his father, to his uncle, and back again. Then he nodded. "All right, I'll be next door." And he left.

Once he was gone, Owen crossed his arms and said sharply, "All right, what's this about?"

Anakin sighed. "I know I shouldn't ask for your forgiveness. I've hurt you and Beru too much. But I was hoping-"

"Forget us," Owen snapped. "You've hurt Luke too much."

Anakin blinked, and Owen was surprised to see the glint of tears in his eyes. The Jedi cleared his throat and said, "Yes, you're right. I've hurt Luke too much. There was no reason for him to forgive me, either, and yet he did, anyway."

There was a long silence. Then Owen said, in a tone that was almost imperceptibly less hostile. "Luke's always been a good kid. Too good for his own good, if you know what I mean."

"Yes, I know what you mean," Anakin agreed softly. "I'm glad he's that way. I wouldn't have been saved, if he weren't, but now sometimes I worry about him. He cares so much about people. Sometimes I'm afraid he's going to be hurt."

There was a pause, and then Anakin added, "I will never hurt Luke again. I promise."

For a second, Owen's face seemed to grow harsh again. "That doesn't change the past."

"Nothing can change the past," Anakin's voice was rough with emotion. "If there were any way, any way at all, that I could, I would change it. Every day, my heart breaks when I look at my children, and I remember the suffering I caused them. I would take all their pain on myself if I could."

"Do you think having to live with those memories is easy? It's not. It tears me up inside. But I deserve that, and more. I'm not saying I don't. But still, my children-both of them-have chosen to forgive me and to let me be part of their lives, and we're building a new future together. I can never make up for the past, but I can never quit trying to, either."

Anakin's voice trembled, and he took a deep breath to steady it before going on. "Anyway, Owen, whether we like it or not, we're both very important to Luke. I guess I was just hoping that we could all be civil to one another, at the very least. For Luke's sake."

Owen went to gaze out the window. He'd never been astute at judging other people's feelings, and he was still inclined to be suspicious. But even he could recognize the anguish, the sincerity, in Anakin's voice and eyes when he talked about the pain he'd caused his children.

He didn't feel ready to accept Anakin yet. But the other man was right. They were going to have to get used to each other. They both loved Luke, and neither of them was going to give up their connection with him.

"I don't want to hurt Luke. I guess, for his sake, maybe we could try." He said finally, almost reluctantly.

"Thank you," Anakin told him. He hesitated, then said. "I guess I'll go back to Han and Leia's apartment. I'll send Luke over."

Owen just nodded and kept staring out the window as Anakin left. When he heard the door open again in a few minutes, he said without looking. "Well, Luke, I'm still not sure about your father, but if you can give him another chance, I guess I can, too. Or at least, I'll try. I'm not making any promises."

"I was just thinking the same thing," Beru said quietly.

Owen turned to see his wife standing in the foyer while servant droids carried in an amazing number of packages around her. But it was Beru as he hadn't seen her in years. Her hair was neatly trimmed, and a soft tawny color. She wore a simple, yet well-made blue sweater, and a blue and green plaid skirt.

He watched in silence as she thanked the droids and they left. Then with rare abandon, he went over and said, "Beru, you look beautiful." He took her in his arms and they shared a long kiss.

"Should I come back later?" Luke interrupted them a few minutes later.

They drew apart, laughing, embarrassed, but happy, too.

"Come on in, honey," Beru held out her hand to him.

Luke took it, and grinned at her. "Wow, Aunt Beru, you were always pretty, but now you're gorgeous."

"Why, thank you," she smiled and then turned to her husband with a gleam in her eye. "Now we need to work on your uncle."

"Oh, no," Owen began, but his protests were in vain.

"Come on, Uncle Owen, Christmas is tomorrow. You want to look nice for it, don't you?" Luke teased.

"Of course he does," Beru said firmly.

"We can't afford-"Owen began.

"Oh, did I forget to tell you?" Luke said unconcernedly. "I'm kind of rich now. So you don't have to worry about money anymore."

"You might as well give up, Owen," Beru told him. "You're outnumbered."

Owen looked at them, then he just shook his head. "All right, all right. Let's get this over with."

So Luke took his guardians out to dinner and then to buy Owen some new clothes and to get a haircut as well. They talked and laughed. Even Owen seemed to have a good time, and it was late when they got back home.

"We all better get some sleep," Beru remarked. "Santa won't bring any presents if we're awake."

"Santa's already brought mine," Luke hugged her and Owen.

"He's been good to us, too," Beru's eyes filled with tears as they wished each other good night.

Christmas morning was clear and cold. Luke, Owen, and Beru rose early and shared breakfast. As they were finishing, Luke slipped out of the kitchen and came back with a small present.

"Here," he handing it to them.

"Luke, you've already given us too much," Beru protested, but Luke shook his head.

"You have to accept this. I'm not taking 'no' for an answer," he said firmly.

They opened the package and saw a hologram of a small, pretty stone house.

"What's this?" Owen asked after a moment of puzzled silence.

"The house I'm going to have built for you on Naboo," Luke held up a hand to silence any protests, although Beru and Owen still looked too surprised to say anything.

"I'm not saying you have to live there. You can go back to the farm on Tatooine if you want. The Darklighters fixed everything up there. But even if you go back to the farm, you're still going to have to come visit me at our lake retreat sometimes. And I thought you might like to have your own place there."

"It's beautiful," Beru said. She and Luke both watched Owen carefully. He peered closely at the hologram, turning it around to study it from all angles. Finally he set it down and cleared his throat. "It looks like a fine house."

Rather to Luke's surprise, his uncle reached out and gave him an enormous hug that almost crushed his ribs. Luke hugged him back, and then Beru held her arms out to him, too. It was several long minutes before they stepped apart.

"Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, I need to go next door now," Luke said a little awkwardly. "Leia, Han, and Father are waiting for me."

They nodded, and Luke started for the door, then paused. He hated to leave them, but didn't think they would feel comfortable around Anakin.

"What are you going to do?" he asked.

Owen shrugged. "Maybe watch the holonet. Isn't there supposed to be some big Christmas parade here?"

"Okay," Luke opened the door. "I'll come check on you in a little while."

Still feeling sad at leaving Owen and Beru behind, he knocked on Leia's and Han's door, but he had to laugh in spite of it when she flung the door open and grabbed him around the neck.

"Luke! It's about time. Merry Christmas." She pulled him inside and then he was engulfed in bear hugs from Han and his father as well.

"Merry Christmas," they all exclaimed, and Anakin held both twins close to him and blinked back tears.

"My babies," he whispered. "I can't believe I finally get to spend Christmas with you."

He thought about all the Christmases they had missed, how he would never see them as children opening their gifts from Santa, but then he pushed those thoughts away. Today was a time for joy, not sorrow.

They exchanged presents. Leia received several pieces of jewelry, some clothes, and tickets from Han to the Coruscant Symphony. She looked at him with raised eyebrows.

Han gave a self-deprecating shrug. "Well, we never did go, and I know you were looking forward to it."

She kissed him. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. I'll just have to make sure I bring a pillow along."

Luke received a box of handcrafted tools from Leia and Han, and a new state- of-the-art speeder bike from his father.

Han also received tools, and tickets for the podracing season on Malastare.

"Now if we could only arrange for time off work to go," he remarked.

"You'll have some vacation time again in a few months," Luke pointed out.

"Knowing us, we'll be busy saving the galaxy again by then," his friend responded.

But the best present was Anakin's. He opened his gift to find a beautiful portrait of Padme, the same portrait that had hung in their room at Theed Palace when they had first gone to visit. He stared at it, speechless with amazement.

"Leia and I talked with King Tripday before we left Naboo," Luke said happily. "He wanted to give us a reward for saving him, and we told him that we would love to give you that picture of Mother."

Anakin gently brushed one fingertip across Padme's cheek. A tear fell from his eye. Then he carefully laid the portrait aside and embraced his children.

"Thank you," he whispered. "I love it."

Luke and Leia hugged him in return and for a while, they just stood close to one another. Finally Han reached into the box that had held the portrait and retrieved a smaller piece of paper.

He gave it to Leia. "Don't forget to tell him about this."

"Oh, yeah," she laughed and handed the paper to her father. "This is an appointment slip. Before you and Luke go back to Naboo, we're going to have another portrait done, with all the family."

"You couldn't have given me a better gift," Anakin told them.

After that they cleared away the wrapping paper and got ready for the Christmas dinner. Leia went into the kitchen to supervise Threepio's efforts to set the table, and Han and Anakin turned on the holonet to catch a glimpse of speeder racing. Artoo was rolling around with a serving tray of drinks, just as he'd done long ago on Jabba's Sail Barge.

Thinking of Tatooine reminded Luke of his guardians. Feeling a pang of guilt that he'd left them for so long, he headed for the door. He'd run over and see how they were doing before Leia and Threepio decided dinner was ready. From the loud bangs and exclamations coming from the kitchen, it sounded like dinner was going to be a while, anyway.

But just when he got to the door, the bell rang. Luke opened it, and there were Owen and Beru. Beru wore her new red and gold gown, and Owen was in the midnight-blue tunic and pants they'd bought for him last evening.

Luke stared at them in surprise. "You came."

"We couldn't bear to be apart from you any longer," Beru told him. "We've spent too many Christmases apart already."

"Yeah, guess we better get used to being part of this new family," Owen remarked.

Luke flung his arms around them. "Come on in."

He turned to call back, "Leia, Han, Father, guess who's here."

They all came to greet Owen and Beru, and if there was any tension between the Lars and Anakin, they all seemed to have an unspoken agreement to keep quiet about it for today. There were still issues and problems to be resolved, but for now, they were just going to enjoy being together and have a Merry Christmas.

The End

***Author's Notes (again): If anyone is interested, I've begun working on the next story in the series. It's called "Sandstorm" and I'll post ch. 1 this weekend. Thank you, everyone, who has taken the time to read and review! It means a lot to me.