Epilogue: The Dawn of a New Day
The entire Galaxy celebrated the end of the Empire.
It had been roughly twenty standard years since the Darkness had fallen over them.
Luke landed his X-wing fighter in a clearing on the forest moon Endor, not far away from the Ewok encampment. As he climbed down from his ship, he could hear the cheers and echoes of a celebration. Unfortunately, he was in no mood for revelry. He slowly made his way toward the noise. He was dreading seeing Leia.
He had promised to bring back their Mother, but he had failed.
Will she hate me?
He hoped Leia would give him a chance to explain. As he came out into the clearing, he saw Leia and Han embracing. Across the distance, she could see Leia's face change from happiness to surprise and then questioning when she saw that Luke was alone. Her liquid eyes, so like their Mother's eyes, pierced him with her confusion.
Where is Mother?
Even if Luke had missed the questioning look on Leia's face when he arrived on Endor, he would have known her reaction because he felt it profoundly. Her dark eyes had pricked his soul. He would have to tell Leia what had happened, all of it, but not yet. He was in turmoil over how to tell her. It would not be easy.
Leia needed to know what had happened to their Mother and….their Father. She had had an extremely difficult time accepting that Darth Vader was their Father. But she needed to know the truth, the whole truth, and she knew that her brother would tell her everything. Even things she did not want to know.
He knew it was unfair of him to keep the news of Mother's and fate from her, but Leia had been so horrified to find out Vader was their Father. How much more horrified will she be when she finds out that their Mother is gone. He did not want to dampen her spirits just yet. The Rebel victory complete, Leia had been radiantly happy, a rare occurrence in recent history. But this would get ugly. He hoped it would not drive a wedge through their bond.
She was all he had in this world.
He took out the Japor snippet pendant in his utility belt. Ben Kenobi had given it to him, along with his father's lightsaber back on Tatooine. He ran his thumb over the intricate carvings. Ben told him that his Father had carved it for his mother when his Father was just a child. His Mother had kept it for years until she had met with her "accident".
Ben had never told him what the accident was.
The Jedi Master had taken it upon himself to take both his father's lightsaber and his mother's pendant and give them to the Skywalker children. Now was as good a time as any for Leia to have that pendant. He hoped this small peace offering would help. It was supposed to be good luck; he sure would need it.
Leia and Han were finally reunited. He was sure they would marry. He tried to muster a smile.
They look so in love, Luke thought, and bowed his head.
The great darkness had lifted; it was a brand new day for them all. But he still could not catch the jovial mood.
Luke, brooding and pensive, went a little way off from the celebration and sat on a low tree stump. He was trying to let go of his own profound sadness and loss. He wanted to be alone in the darkness. His sense of self-pity rose up.
It's not fair!
He had just gained his Father and found his Mother, only to lose them both. He had not even had the chance to get to know them. Guilt rose up in him. Leah had unfortunately met Vader, but had not had the chance to meet their Father, Anakin Skywalker. Or her Mother. Luke calmed himself at the thought. He needed to let go of his self pity.
Life was not always fair.
His thoughts shifted to more practical things. He had to think of the future and not wallow in the sorrow of the past. And now there was more work to do with the formation of a new government. That was Leia's forte. She had had much experience as a young senator from Alderaan and was more than able to get things moving. She would be the one to lead them all into a new democracy. A new Republic.
And work with me on a new Jedi Order, he thought, with awe. A warmth grew in his chest. Yes, Luke would rebuild the Jedi Order, and bring peace to the New Republic.
Luke was actually looking forward to this new project. He hoped the resurrection of the Jedi Order would keep him busy so that he did not dwell on his grief. He would seek out Force sensitive individuals across the galaxy and train them in the Jedi ways. Perhaps Leia would be the first to be trained. She might balk in the beginning, but he knew she would do it for the Republic. They were family; they would both be great Jedis- like their Father.
Once again, there would be peace keepers and defenders of democracy. At this point, he did not know where to start. It was a bit overwhelming. He hoped Ben would help him. And perhaps Master Yoda. He desperately wished his Father had lived; he would have been invaluable to the cause.
Luke sighed and put his face in his hands.
He knew that he should not mourn them, because they were now free and one with the Force. His Father was now free of the prison of his mask and suit and the prison of his dark deeds. Luke looked up at the dark sky where the Death Star had hung like an evil overseer. Anakin Skywalker had redeemed himself, and by his selfless action, had freed them all.
Something caught his eye in the darkness. He sensed that was not alone; he got up and stood at attention. As Luke focused his gaze, he gave a slight puzzled frown.
It was then that the vision materialized for him.
He saw the glowing Force images of those he had loved briefly and dearly.
There was Yoda, Old Ben, and…his Father, a young Anakin Skywalker- in his Jedi robes! All were gazing at him proudly and smiling with pure, unadulterated joy.
There was a slight shimmer at Anakin's right side and Anakin turned his gaze to look down tenderly as the form of his beloved wife Padmé appeared in the crook of his arm.
Her image grew stronger as she looked up adoringly at her husband, the Jedi. Padmé, dark hair flowing and dressed in dazzling white, laid her head on Anakin's chest as he held her close to him. Anakin turned back to Luke and his smile intensified.
The circle is now complete.
Leia put her hand on Luke's shoulder to get his attention.
She had sensed other strong presences with Luke and had sought them out. And it was past time for them to talk.
At her touch, Luke smiled.
He felt that things could be much worse for them. Not only did he and Leia have each other, but he had a strong feeling that his parents would always be near them, too. Of course, he would have to work with Leia to hone her hereditary skills.
She, too, would be a powerful Jedi.
Luke knew that, no matter what, he and Leia would never, ever be alone in the universe.
They would have their family together and…he actually felt truly happy for the first time in a very, very long while.
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A/N: I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Thank you all for hanging in there with me until the end.