Day of Honor

By Serena Kenobi

Summary: Anakin's Death Scene-AU take. What if the final conversation between father and son had gone a bit differently?

Disclaimer: Me no own Star Wars. You no sue me.

He couldn't breathe. He couldn't move. His lungs were on fire. His body was on fire.

Funny. This was almost the same way he had felt over twenty years ago. But that had been scalding hot lava – this had been icy-hot Sith lightning. There was a difference. But there was also another similarity between the two situations. Both designated the change between Dark and Light. The first had fully immersed his path in the dark side, and this had renewed his path in the light side. Both dramatic, life-altering changes.

He looked over at his son. His son. His amazing, talented, beautiful son. His son, who was more immersed in the Light than he could ever be. His son, who, in many ways, had saved his life. Yes, he had technically saved his life by killing Palpatine, but Luke had saved him spiritually. And that was something far greater, he thought. He admired his son for his strength, determination, perseverance, and his faith his friends and family. Family. He had a family. He had a daughter as well.

A daughter! That was a novel concept to him. He wouldn't admit to Luke that he had originally wanted a daughter, but now that he had one… well, he wouldn't be talking with Leia again. In just a few short minutes, he would be dead. And rightly so, too. He deserved death. Many times over. It was his time to go.

But he wasn't ready just yet.

A flash and a bang from behind, and Luke faltered in his steps. Anakin knew that he was a heavy burden for Luke to carry, especially one in his unstable condition. Anakin was surprised he had managed to make it to the hangar bay – the boy was surprisingly stubborn. Just like himself, Anakin thought, amused. But the amusement turned to pain as Luke could not bear the burden any longer; and Anakin collapsed to the floor. Luke grabbed his hand and mangled wrist, dragging him along to the ramp of Anakin's Lambda-class shuttle, and he knelt down in front of him.

"Luke…" Anakin rasped. He then winced. Why couldn't he sound like his normal self? He hadn't heard his normal self in over twenty years. Pity.

"Father." Luke smiled at him, and Anakin's heart nearly burst with joy.

"Luke… there isn't much... time. There is… something I have to… tell you."

Luke frowned. "What is it?"

"Your… mother."

Luke's blue eyes – eyes that mirrored his own – widened. "My mother?"

Anakin smiled. "Yes." He sucked in a painful breath. "Her name… was Padme."

Luke tested the name silently on his lips and let him continue.

"Padme… Amidala." Anakin's eyes filled suddenly with tears. "And she… was an angel." He paused. "She would've loved you… so much, Luke. You're… so much like her… you know. You have… her spirit… her heart. Her… stubbornness." He let out a hoarse laugh.

Luke grinned, but there were tears in his eyes as well. "I thought I inherited that from you," he said playfully, taking no notice of the fact that there was chaos all around him. Right now, there was only he and his father.

"You did. Your… sister… shares it as well." Anakin's face drew into a pained one as he remembered the horrible things he had done to Leia.

"She's also got your temper, but you probably already know that," Luke said, smiling wryly. His features then became more serious. "She knows."

"She hates me."

"Give her time… she has to get to know you first – the real you," Luke protested, putting a hand on his father's armor.

Anakin shook his head slowly. "Luke… this is my end. I will only last a few minutes longer. I can feel it."

Luke paled. "No… no… you can't leave! Not now. I have to save you!" He cried earnestly.

"You already have… Luke. You already have. More than you know." Anakin grasped his son's arm with his one good hand.

"I won't leave you!" Luke said, obstinately.

"And there… it is. The infamous… Skywalker temper." Anakin and Luke smiled, and Anakin took a breath. "I know, Luke. But you must. But first… take my mask off."

"But you'll die!"

"Nothing," Anakin said, "will stop that now. Please. Just once. Let me… look on you… with my own eyes."

Luke nodded slowly, and reached up to his head. He took off the top piece, then slowly peeled back the front. It revealed a bald, badly scarred, older man, who was ashen and looked ready to die. But his eyes – his bright blue eyes – the exact same as his, Luke noticed – were full of life and vitality.

And in that moment, Luke looked into those eyes and didn't see an older, scarred man. He saw a young, handsome man with dark, wavy blond hair and a smirk that said everything.

Luke blinked back tears and smiled. "Hello, Dad."

Anakin grinned; and Luke saw the young man again, peeking out mischievously through Anakin's eyes. "Hello, son."

Father and son were silent for a moment.

Anakin stared hard at Luke, memorizing his features and characteristics for the last time. He knew his time was coming, very shortly. In only a few seconds, he would be gone. "I love you, son." His voice was soft.

Luke stifled a sob. He also knew that Anakin, his father, was leaving him. "And I love you, Father," he said in a choked voice, heartbroken.

Anakin smiled, a watery smile. He inhaled deeply, his last breath. Suddenly, he wasn't so afraid anymore. He gazed upon his son, the last face he would ever see in his lifetime, and felt at peace. For the first time in his life, he was completely at peace.

Now, he was ready.