Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars and I'm not making any money in writing this, so please don't sue…you won't get anything from me if you do, for I am a college student, and therefore poor.
Notes: Here's a little one-shot AU in a "universe" where Anakin isn't a blockhead and doesn't turn to the Dark Side. It's rather sad, one of the saddest things I've ever written, but sweet. If you're prone to crying, get the tissues ready! While it can stand on it's own, it can be viewed as a distant-future epilogue to some of my other work (Misunderstood/Misunderstood V2, Exile), and it may end up being used as the epilogue to a story I've been kicking around in my brain lately (don't hold your breath, it could be a year or more before this idea ("Reformation") sees the light of day…if it ever does).
…Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! And remember, reviews are loved—the longer the better!
Honor Thy Father
He always found this hall so cold and impersonal. It was stark white and made worse by the bright lights that lit it. Walking through it in the past, he had been reminded of museums he had visited on Coruscant and elsewhere, especially modern art museums. Now, however…now it was different.
The hall was a maze-like, twisting left and right and left and right in a zigzag sort of pattern, located just beneath the Archives. The sterile white walls were decorated only with lightsabers, small plaques, and tiny holo-projectors. Even on a busy day, this place was fairly empty. Only Masters seeking to meditate on the past, or Padawans working on history reports, lingered here.
It was the Hall of Lightsabers, a place of honor for the weapons of the greatest Jedi of the Order. After death, if a Jedi was accomplished enough, the Council would vote to see if their saber was worthy of being enshrined here for all time. If it was, there would be a small ceremony with some speeches of remembrance, presided over by a Master of the Council.
They were waiting for him as he rounded the final corner. They were clustered around the next open hooks on the wall that awaited a lightsaber hilt. It was so hard to face them, but he had no choice. He had specifically requested this duty and he had to see it through. Really, it didn't seem right to leave it to anyone else.
As he slowly drew nearer to them, he paused as he came to lightsabers that he knew personally.
First there was Master Yoda's tiny weapon. Crafted to fit the alien's diminutive hands, it was very much like its Master—small but deadly. Lightly running his fingers along the smooth, cool metal, he could remember the Master's wisdom wrapped up in his strange syntax. He could remember the ancient Jedi's unsurpassed skill with a blade when he'd dueled a much larger Jedi and won, teaching he and all his classmates a valuable lesson. He could remember how broken everyone had been when Master Yoda had finally gone to his eternal rest, and the black banners had hung on the massive sides of the Temple for weeks and weeks and weeks.
Next came Master Mace Windu's elaborate hilt. He'd never defeated the Vaapad Master's violet blade, and after his first match against it, he'd never made fun of the color again. While the dark-skinned Master had always been grim and intimidating, he had always respected him. Master Windu had been no less missed than Master Yoda when he had journeyed off into the Force forever.
He skipped a few sabers – weapons of notable Council members that he respected, but had no real connection to – to reach his own Master's blade. The last time he had come to this hall, it had been for the enshrining of Obi-Wan Kenobi's faithful weapon. He hadn't been the speaker for the ceremony, a fact he'd been pathetically glad of as he doubted that he'd had the strength to make himself understandable. And after that event, he hadn't returned to the hall, still suffering too freshly from grief.
But now he had no choice.
They parted for him without looking at him, giving him a clear path to the empty bracket on the bleached wall. He hesitated for a moment before sliding the name plaque into the empty slot and loading the image chip into the tiny projector. The device chimed and a minute image fizzled into life above the bracket and nameplate, forever displaying the visage of the Jedi about to be honored. And then, with extreme effort that left his vision blurry, he removed the second lightsaber that hung on his belt, and hooked it into place.
He was supposed to give a speech now, eulogizing the dead, but he head nothing prepared. For two whole weeks, ever since the vote and his acceptance of this duty he had been trying to think of anything to say. Nothing had come. Still at a loss for words, he stepped aside so that the others could view the silver hilt as it glittered in its new place on the wall.
There was a long stretch of silence that was only broken when the only two non-Jedi stepped up to pay their respects. He didn't think that any civilians had ever been allowed to such a ceremony before. It had seemed not only natural, but necessary, to have invited them here.
"It never seemed like this day would come," the man, a Corellian, sighed as he stared at the lightsaber. "It's funny; I never thought he'd die. It just seemed like he'd go on forever." He paused for a time and shifted uncomfortably. "Well, I'm no good at speeches, worse at good-byes, so…I'll be seein' you." He gave a jaunty salute. "It's been an honor, sir."
The Corellian's Wookiee companion shuffled forward and made a gesture of respect for his species. The lanky, hairy alien softly growled and woofed his farewells, saying things that only his Corellian friend entirely understood. When he finished, he and his Human honor-brother backed away, allowing others access.
The rest stepped forward to touch the weapon and say their good-byes, aloud or silently, one by one. Some were around his own age, other younger, the youngest being a baby not quite one year old. They were of different generations, but they were all united by strong ties, and their grief.
"It's not fair," one of the younger boys said suddenly, his voice quiet and strained. "It's not fair, Uncle Luke!"
"Isn't it?" He countered gently, speaking for the first time.
"It's not time for grandfather to go!" the young teenager protested.
"I think it was time," he replied softly, surprised at his own steady voice. "I think he was ready for it for a long time, Anakin."
Young Anakin was distraught. "How can you say that, Uncle?"
"You were one of the closest to grandfather, you of all of us should know this," he remarked. "He was so lost after Master Obi-Wan left; I was amazed that he could speak for him when his lightsaber was hung here. And then grandmother…he was never the same. These last few years you know how little he was here, with us."
"But…I miss him so much," the boy whispered helplessly.
"I know," he said, gently clasping his nephew's shoulder. "We all miss him. Time will make the ache less, but we will always miss him." He stared at the masterless weapon for a time. "Grandfather will always be with us in a way. He's part of the Force now, and he'll be watching over all of us. When it's our time to join him, he'll be there to take our hands and lead us away."
He didn't say any more. He doubted he could speak another word without his voice breaking. And although it was silly, he didn't want to break down and cry like a baby in front of everyone, even though they were all family. It didn't seem proper.
Silence reigned for the rest of the "ceremony." Perhaps it was proper that there were no speeches. His father had never been one for tradition or formality. The quiet gathering felt much more respectful, he thought.
They stayed and paid their respects for at least an hour before they drifted away in bits and pieces. His niece, Jaina, and her husband were the first to leave; they had to put their baby to bed. Anakin and his older brother, Jacen were next; he got the feeling that they were going to hack at each other with their lightsabers and exhaust themselves to escape from the pain. His wife took their son, Ben, away next; the boy had homework to do. His sister was the last to go, led away by his Corellian brother-in-law and Wookiee companion. The droids followed them, beeping and muttering softly and sadly to each other. And then he was alone.
"Bye, Dad," he croaked, vaguely aware that he was crying now. "Say hi to Mom, and Master Obi-Wan, and Grandma Skywalker for me." He slumped his shoulders and leaned against the dead-white wall. His father's black and silver weapon turned blurry and indistinct to his eyes. "You went out the way that you wanted to; you didn't go lying down, or giving up… I miss you, Dad. I love you."
"I know, Son," he thought he heard his father's voice whisper. "I love you, too."
He ran his fingers over his father's lightsaber one last time. "I hope I make you proud someday," he whispered and turned to walk away.
"You make me proud everyday, Luke," his father's voice answered. "You make us all proud."
Luke paused and turned back to see a transparent, bluish figure leaning on the wall at the end of the lightsaber line. His father wasn't the weary old man he'd been at the time of his death. He was young, healthy, strong, and smiling like Luke hadn't seen him smile since before Master Obi-Wan had died. Before Luke could move, the spirit faded from view.
"Keep up the good work kiddo."
"Sure thing," he whispered hoarsely, wiping at his eyes. "I'll be seeing you, Dad."
Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, member of the High Jedi Council, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, husband, father, and son, walked away, and never looked back.