George owns the characters, and did this quite well!

Characters: Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader

Summary: Missing moments of Return of the Jedi. Luke's off the Death Star with his father, now he needs to make preparation to pay his final respects.


The Imperial shuttle lowered itself quietly onto the soft ground on Endor; Luke could hear the shouts of Rebel celebrants in the village below over the low whine of the repulsors as he shut the engines of the ship down. It was still daylight, as far as he could tell it was late afternoon. It had been dark in space, on the Death Star. He had no perception of time – only that it felt like a lifetime. In fact, it had felt like there would never be light again, Luke thought as he squinted out the front viewport into the dappled sunlight reflecting from the giant trees. The heaviness on his heart returned, breaking him away from the sense of relief and elation. His thoughts of light reminded him of the other passenger in the shuttle, its presence as unforgettable in death as in life. On the sitting area behind the cockpit, laid in state was the body of Anakin Skywalker, his father. The robes that had been the symbol of the former Dark Lord provided a backdrop for the large body that Luke had fought so viciously to get onboard.

I will not leave you.

Luke moved slowly from the cockpit to stand over the body of the man he had dreamed of since childhood, and feared since the first Death Star. A strange mixture of his worst nightmares and his fondest wishes lay before him, unmoving. The smell of leather and circuitry assaulted him as he came closer to his father's side. He almost expected the large figure to jump from the bench and stand, it seemed so odd for someone this big in the force, to now appear humbled, resting at last. Hesitantly, Luke reached out and touched the face of the man that had given him life. Surprisingly, his face was not yet cold. Luke looked at the face of the man that had saved his life at the end, really seeing now what he had missed as he had hurriedly taken in his father's visage onboard the battle station. His eyes had been blue when he'd removed the mask, Luke remembered this.

Luke knew he needed to get moving, to start looking for the things he would need for the task that he would soon undertake, but he couldn't. He sat and stared at the man that had been an enigma, his whole life had revolved around the image he had of his father, a young, handsome pilot with sparkling, intense blue eyes and a reckless swagger. That was all that Aunt Beru would tell him. He sat reconciling that with the man before him, the man that had given himself to darkness twenty-six years ago, and had never looked back – until today. With a sense of overwhelming sadness at the things both of them had lost to Palpatine, Luke laid the black cape of Darth Vader over the face of Anakin Skywalker, and left the shuttle.

As the afternoon slid into evening, Luke stood back and surveyed the results of his efforts, wiping the sweat away with his sleeve. Small trees, cut with care, were stacked into a meticulous mountain of wood. Luke could still hear the celebration in the valley below. He could feel his sister's happiness, her thoughts carefree for once. He knew he needed to get to the village soon, even though Leia knew he was okay, but something in his subconscious kept him here, tarrying longer. It was as if, the longer his task took, the longer the whole body of his father would lie there. Luke shook the thoughts away and turned for the shuttle, the time coming that he had dreaded since landing on the forest moon. He could procrastinate no longer. How odd that the only remnant of the power of the Empire would be burned away on this little sanctuary moon. But it wasn't about the Empire any longer; it was about his father, himself and Leia. This wasn't the Empire's endowment to give any more. It was from the Force, from the light.

Luke struggled with the litter he had tied together with vine and branches, his father's bulk still heavy with armor. Pulling his load up the mountain of wood, he stopped at the pinnacle, and laid the cape out under the body. The time for the task that Luke regretted probably most of all was at hand, but it could not be helped. He could no more watch his father's face burn as he could Leia's. His father had saved his life, and Luke loved him. He placed the mask and helmet over his father's face and head tenderly, tears gathering in his eyes and his throat closing with emotion. He made his way down the side of the bier and lifted the torch. Using the flint from the emergency kit on the shuttle he lit the torch, and lifted the fiery staff to the body of his father.

A strange sense of peace came over him as the flames leapt up to consume the last Jedi of the old order, surrounding the mask and lighting the sky with a strange, yet beautiful orange glow. Luke stood watching for what seemed like forever, his cheeks wet with tears, hoping that there was some closure to his father's life and that he would find peace. A life given for his, he thought sadly. He hoped he honored it for the young Jedi Anakin's sake – every day that he lived out his life. Suddenly bursts of light and exploding sparks lit the sky. Word had gotten out and the galaxy had begun the celebration of their freedom from tyranny. Luke watched as the last embers of his father's pyre burned and smoldered to nothing. Finally, he turned to leave, knowing it would be hard whenever he left, he should be getting back to his friends. With one last look at the ashes of Anakin Skywalker, he turned and left.

With the celebration still going wildly in the late hours of the night, Luke felt the need to break away from the crowd. He could feel the Force pulling him to the alcove outside the main walkway of the village, beckoning him. With a sense of wonder and elation he looked as the figures of Obi-Wan and Yoda appeared, regarding him with pride and satisfaction, then another figure materialized and Luke realized he was watching as his father looked on – young, whole and handsome. His father watched as Leia walked up to Luke, a look of pride and love on his face, and understanding. The trio smiled at each other, then back to Luke, their look urging him to join his friends. He had accomplished what no one thought possible, helping his father to fulfill his destiny. The Force was balanced and the galaxy was at peace. With a final nod of understanding and love to his father and teachers, he joined his friends in the celebration.