Leia and Han watched as a massive explosion blasted its way through the atmosphere. Around them, the surviving Ewoks cheered, waving their spears in the air, but for the two humans, only one though was on their mind.
"I'm sure he wasn't on that thing when it blew" Han said out loud, more to reassure himself than Leia. Leia was silent, her eyes distant.
"He wasn't" she said out loud, not overly sure whether it was true or not. Han looked at her, eyebrows raised.
"He's my brother" she said by way of explanation. Smiling, Han hugged her.
"He'll be fine" he confirmed, helping her to her feet. Several of the Ewoks come over to them, chattering and beckoning. Han and Leia followed them back to the village, keeping an eye out for Luke. They were soon joined by their friends, Lando, Wedge and the majority of Rouge squadron. As time passed, Leia and Han began to panic. Where was Luke? Wedge and Lando also seemed to have noticed his absence, but neither dared to approach Han in front of Leia, and Han wasn't leaving Leia's side. Eventually, they drew answers from Chewbacca.
"Luke went and turned himself in?" Wedge gasped from the secluded corner he, Lando and Chewie presently occupied. The wookie nodded solemnly. Wedge looked across at Lando, his eyes filled with fear.
"What if he was on the…?" Wedge faded off, unable to complete the sentence. Lando paused, not wanting to think of the implications that would have on everything. He thought of his newly repaired friendship with Han, and how if his friend would react if he discovered that Lando had fired the shot that ultimately ended the young farm boy come Jedi's life.
"Han's going to kill us" Lando whispered, his head bowed. Wedge and Chewie fell silent, each thinking of the fallen Jedi, the way he always had a smile for everyone, how he took command, how he used to laugh at jokes, how he had flown. Wedge blinked back tears as he thought of Luke's X-wing, deserted on board one of the ships. Chewie gave a couple of low grunts.
"You're right, Chewie, He might still be alive" Lando admitted, though he privately doubted it.
The celebration continued around them, but most present couldn't truly show their joy until a certain young Jedi joined their company.
SW SW SW SW SW
By the next morning, although there were many overwhelming headaches around, there was no sign of Luke, much to Han and Leia's distress. Han paced back and forwards, occasionally muttering curses in various languages, while Leia sat, gazing off into the distance. Their friends watched them in fear, knowing it would only be a sort time before one, or both, broke down. Many prayers were said that day, and those that followed that did not result in Luke's return, that the young Jedi was alright.
SW SW SW SW SW
Luke screamed in pain as the Emperor's force lightning slammed into him, begging for his father to help him. Vader paused, the light that existed within him that was all that remained of Anakin Skywalker growing, like a candle bursting into flame. The light had been growing in intensity ever since Bespin, and now it almost consumed him. Vader looked at his son, and saw himself as he had been years ago, before he ever considered turning, before the emperor had corrupted him. It was at that moment that Vader died, and Anakin Skywalker was reborn. With surprising agility, Anakin kicked out at Palpatine, disrupting the flow of force lightning. Anakin summoned Luke's lightsaber into his hand and activated it, using it to deflect the force lightning now directed at him, back towards the emperor. The emperor howled in pain as the lightning hit him, knocking him off his feet. He fell backwards, slipping on something that looked mysteriously like blood. Anakin watched as his former mentor and master plummeted to his death, falling from the throne room platform. Anakin felt his breathing quicken slightly, running on adrenalin. He deactivated Luke's lightsaber and hurried over to his son. Luke was barley conscious, his breaths coming in shallow gasps. Anakin shook his head.
"Luke, don't go no, please Luke, don't die, don't leave me alone" he pleaded, hating how his voice sounded. Luke weakly opened his eyes.
"Father" he croaked.
"I'm here, son, I'll always be here. I'm so sorry, Force, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me, although I do not deserve it" Anakin pleaded. Luke smiled tiredly.
"I forgive you father. I'm sorry too, about your arm" Luke gasped, his entire body hurting. Anakin smiled beneath the mask. He looked upwards, remembering the battle. Luke seemed to remember at the same time.
"We need to get out of here" Anakin told Luke, preparing to carry him. Luke shook his head.
"No, you go, get out when you still can. You won't be able to carry me. Leave me"
"I'm supposed to save you" Anakin insisted, his old stubbornness returning.
"You already have" smiled Luke, before whimpering slightly in pain. Anakin scowled beneath his mask and pulled Luke to his feet, supporting most of his son's weight. It was awkward, especially with Vader missing half an arm, but somehow the pair reached the Hanger. Anakin half dragged, half carried Luke up the boarding ramp of a shuttle, as Luke lost consciousness. Anakin laid out his son on a sleep couch, before running to the cockpit and taking off. The shuttle only just cleared the battle station before the second Death Star exploded from the inside out. Anakin frowned, now facing a difficult predicament. What should he do now? Luke needed urgent medical care, obviously more injured that he had previously let on, and Anakin himself was not looking, or feeling, that crash hot himself. Anakin highly doubted he would live through trying to access a planet controlled by rebels dressed as he was, and so Anakin thought about places nearby he could go to. Tapping his current co-ordinates into a computer, he studied a map for a moment, before a certain system's name popped up. Naboo. 'Perfect' though Anakin as he plotted the course and jumped into light speed. He then rose to his feet and walked back to be at his son's side.
SW SW SW SW SW
Anakin sat by Luke's side as the youth slept. He had stayed like that for hours, the sound of his mechanical breathing the only sound penetrating the room. Luke was still, except for the steady rise and fall of his chest. Anakin frowned as he assessed his son's injuries. In addition to the havoc that the force lightning had played on his body, Luke was covered in bruises and cuts that he gained during the fight with Palpatine, and Vader cursed as he further inspected the wounds. Some had become infected. Within minutes, Luke had gained a fever. Vader sat beside him through out the journey, trying to encourage his son into a healing trance, and using a moistened piece of cloth to wet Luke's forehead. Anakin was surprised at how tense he was, silently pleading with the force to spare his son. Anakin felt his eyes mist over with tears for the first time since he had secretly gone to Padme's funeral.
"Please, force, it's my fault, not his. Don't punish him like this, take me instead" he pleaded out loud. Luke shifted slightly, whimpering.
"Luke?" asked Anakin, resting his hand on Luke's shoulder, "Luke, please wake up"
"Father" Luke croaked, attempting to open his eyes. Anakin checked the lights were dimmed before responding.
"Yes Luke, I'm here. You're safe."
"Father" Luke repeated, a small, contented grin slipping onto his face as he fell asleep again. Anakin almost burst into tears as he looked at his son. Luke looked so young and innocent lying there. Anakin couldn't believe how close he had been to ending his son's life, to ending that youthful innocence. His gaze was drawn to Luke's gloved right hand.
"Oh force! Please forgive me" he cried out as a slow beeping told him that they had arrived at Naboo.
"I will return soon, my son" he told Luke, before returning to the cockpit. Anakin slowly steered the shuttle through the Atmosphere, Here, he faced another dilemma. He would certainly be recognized as Lord Vader. If news of the rebellions victory spread while he and Luke where still on Naboo, the consequences could be disastrous. Anakin looked over his shoulder, towards Luke lay, possibly dying. Anakin breathed in deeply, determined.
He would face that problem when he came to it.
SW SW SW SW SW
It had been surprisingly easy for Anakin to get Luke a bed in Naboo's best hospital. Anakin couldn't help but admit, being a former sith lord did have its advantages, especially as Vader had possessed such an infamous reputation. Once he had been sure that Luke was as comfortable as possible, Anakin had let the healers assess his own injuries.
"Well, lord Vader, you're very lucky. If this arm had not already been prosthesis, it is unlikely that you would have been able to come all the way here.' A doctor nervously told Anakin, shuffling his feet slightly and looking everywhere but at Anakin. Anakin grumbled, and then a sudden idea occurred to him. He had always known that the medical care he had first received after Mustafa had been of the lowest quality. Luke had received mid range care after the incident on Bespin, and you could barely tell, so Anakin thought about what was possible on Naboo, a planet that was famous for it's medical care. Anakin cleared his throat.
"Doctor, I have a question for you, which you must answer truthfully. Is it at all possible for my body to be healed from the burns and damage that placed me in this suit?" Anakin asked. The doctor seemed to freeze.
"Ah, I do not know the amount of damage your body has sustained, My Lord, but with some tests, I am sure we could find out if it is possible."
"Do it then" Anakin told the doctor, who instantly turned and walked away. Anakin turned his attention to Luke, who slept on quietly.
"It'll be alright, Luke, I think I just found a solution to our problem. We'll be with your friends soon.
Several hours later, Anakin sat at Luke's bedside as the Doctor, whose name Anakin had forgotten told Anakin about the test results.
"Well, Lord Vader, It seems that there are some things we can do about your current health. We have the technology to replace your current life support systems and reduce the amount of scar tissue you have gained. Although there will be minimal scarring, you will otherwise look as you did before being burnt, except twenty years older. Do you have any questions?"
Anakin shook his head, "No, when can this procedure take place?"
"Whenever you are ready my lord"
"I will record a private message for my companion, and then we will begin" Anakin told the Doctor, who nodded, and hurried away to make the necessary arrangements. Anakin left Luke's bedside and recorded a message for him in the public recording booth located just down the hall. Anakin then returned to Luke's room and placed the recording in Luke's hand. He then stood over his son, taking in his features.
"I love you, son" Anakin whispered, brushing a strand of Luke's hair from the youths face, before walking out. He met the Doctor out in the corridor, and walked with him towards, what Anakin hoped to be, a better future.
SW SW SW SW SW
Luke lay in silence, his eyes still closed. He was comfortable lying there. It reminded him of his sleep couch on the Falcon, the closest thing to home he had. He smiled at the thought of his friends; Han's playful flirting with Leia, Chewie's parental instincts over the group, and Leia's companionship. Luke had been dreaming of them. They had been on Endor, and Han and Leia had been joking about something. Luke had enjoyed seeing them laugh. Both of the droids had been arguing about something, while Chewbacca had been playing with several Ewoks, playfulness rarely seen by Luke being clearly displayed.
Luke slowly opened his eyes as he thought of the dream, surprised to find himself alone in an unfamiliar medical ward. Full recollection of what had happened came flooding back to him, and Luke stiffened. Where was his father? Had he been arrested? Was He dead? Luke became aware of the recording he held in his hand and tentatively hit the play button. An image of his father issued from the device.
"Luke, I hope you feel better, and are recovering well. We are on the planet of Naboo, the planet of your mother's origin. I will be nearby if you require me, however I may be pre occupied for some time as I have opted to undergo treatment that will hopefully result in me not relying upon a mask to live. This may make our return to your friends easier. Your doctor should be able to tell you more, and answer any question's you may have. Luke, I am very sorry about what happened on Bespin, and I regret it completely. I can understand if your friends do not want anything to do with me once the truth about my identity comes out, and I don't blame them, after all, I did torture Leia Organa and place Han Solo in Carbonate for the bounty Hunter, as well as numerous other transgressions. Luke, I just want you to know that I love you. Love is an emotion that I have not felt in a very long time, and I cannot thank you enough for bringing it back into my life. I hope your recovery is swift, and I see you again very soon. I am for ever in your debt, Son. From your father." The holograph of his father faded from sight, and Luke was left alone to ponder what he meant. A couple of minutes after, a strange Doctor walked in.
"Ah, young Luke. It is good to see you awake" he cheerfully told Luke. Luke stiffened slightly.
"How do you know my name?"
"Oh, it's my mistake. Lord Vader brought you in here, and told us your name was Luke, The Doctor told him, "and my name is Dr Baden".
"I'm pleased to meet you, Dr. Baden. Could you tell me where my, I mean, where Lord Vader is now?"
"He's still in Surgery. I took a quick break to check on you, before I go back there."
"How is he?" Luke asked.
"Actually, it's a wonder he's lived like that as long as he has. That life support equipment was outdated almost fifty years ago, and according to his records, it was installed just over 20 years ago"
"That's about right. Will he recover?"
"Its difficult to say" Doctor Baden admitted, "the damage to his internal organs is pretty significant, but we'll do what we can."
"And will he be free of any external help?" Luke asked.
"Yes, if he recovers well, then he should be." Dr. Baden told him. Luke wondered what his father would look like free of the life support suit as he lay quietly after Dr. Baden had left. Luke felt a wave of dizziness sweep over him, and groaned as he was overcome by weariness. He let his eyelids droop, and he fell asleep dreaming of what his father had looked like.
SW SW SW SW SW
When Anakin awoke, he felt weak, weaker than he had felt in a long time, but Anakin relished in the feeling. He breathed in, savoring the silence. He opened his eyes, seeing the world as he had not done in so long. An oxygen mask had been placed over his mouth, but Anakin recognized it as a temporary measure to help his lungs adjust. His chest hurt with every breath he took, but Anakin smiled anyway. Even after he had overcome Vader and rescued Luke, he had not quite felt like himself, but now, he felt like Anakin Skywalker once more. Anakin smiled and glanced down at his right arm. A new prosthesis had been attached, of a similar model to Luke's. Anakin smiled and wriggled his fingers. He clenched his hand, and repeated small little finger games he had once played as a child on Tattooine. A smile broke over his face, beneath the mask, and Anakin laughed. It did not last long, as it hurt his lungs too much, but it was real. Anakin sensed a familiar presence approaching, and faced the door, waiting for Dr. Baden to arrive. Moments later, the doctor arrived, and Anakin saw him smile when he beheld his patient awake.
"Greetings Lord Vader" the doctor bowed respectfully, "I trust you are feeling better." Anakin nodded, not trusting himself to start speaking quite yet. The doctor stepped closer, seemingly nervous.
"Lord Vader, it was an immensely difficult operation, and we did encounter problems from the beginning. Due to the seriousness of you initial injuries, as well as the amount of time you were relying upon that suit for, it will take some time for your lungs and other internal organs and muscles to regain their former strength, which is why we have temporarily placed an oxygen mask on you. To aid your recovery, we highly recommend you take part in several physiotherapy sessions." Anakin nodded, showing his understanding. He took a deep breath
"Lu-ke" he croaked. The doctor nervously cleared his throat.
"Lord Vader, your companion's condition has deteriorated since you underwent your surgery. I spoke to him for a brief time during your surgery, but upon your surgery's completion, I discovered that his condition had worsened considerably. We discovered that Luke has contracted an obscure type of fever, usually caused by the bite of certain insects that are found around the Endor system. There is a treatment available, but within thirty minutes of the treatment being administered, Luke had a severe allergic reaction, and his vital systems have begun to shut down. I'm sorry, Lord Vader, but there is little we can do for him."
Anakin felt like the galaxy was collapsing around him. Luke, die? It didn't make sense. He sent out the force along the weak bond he shared with his son, and found him surrounded by darkness. Anakin recognized the darkness as the sort that surrounded a person when they were asleep, unconscious, or comatose. Anakin sobbed, feeling his eyes well up with tears. Luke, his Luke, his son, the one that saved him from the dark side, that helped him defeat the sith, was dying.
"Want…go…him" Anakin croaked out from beneath his mask. Dr Baden bowed respectfully once more.
"Yes my lord. We can make arrangements for the two of you to share a room"
"Do...it" Anakin told him, before withdrawing to his own thoughts. He couldn't believe this. Luke was dying, and nothing could be done to save him. Anakin had regained the light, but he would loose his son. Anakin sobbed. Why Luke, he didn't deserve this. Anakin himself deserved this, not his young, innocent son. Was this the force's way of punishing him for his deeds as Lord Vader, for killing Padmé, Obi wan and millions more. Anakin squeezed his eyes shut as tears rolled down his face. He barely noticed his beds movements as it was moved to Luke's room. Anakin propped himself up on his pillows, wincing as the movement hurt his sore body, trying to get a better look at Luke. His son's cheeks were flushed with fever, and numerous drips were connected to the boy's arms, trying to keep his fluid levels up. Luke was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and he occasionally whimpered as if he was in a great deal of pain. Anakin burst into tears again.
"Can't anything be," Anakin coughed and tried to re gather his breath, "done for him?" he asked Dr. Baden, who was assessing Luke's charts.
"I'm sorry, Lord Vader. Their remains only one other treatment, and that has a very high failure rate. It involves using the blood of a family member to boost the patient's immune system, although in most cases it is ineffective. Am I permitted to ask a question, Lord Vader?" the doctor told him. Anakin nodded, still trying to interpret what the doctor had said. There was a slim chance that Luke would survive?
"Am I right in guessing that young Luke means something to you, my Lord?" the doctor asked. Anakin found himself nodding.
"Yes, Luke is very important to me, he is" Anakin paused, pride flowing through him, "my son." Dr. Baden bowed his head.
"I truly am sorry, my Lord, for this." He admitted, completely honestly. Regardless of whom this man was before him, Baden could tell that he deeply cared for Luke.
"What were you saying before about the use of a family member's blood in a treatment?" Anakin asked. Dr. Baden sighed, regretting telling Vader about that treatment now that he knew of the link between Vader and Luke.
"Lord Vader, that treatment had a very low success rate. It is very unlikely that it would cure your son. The success rate is lower still when the blood donor is a parent."
"Can we still attempt it, using me as a donor?" Anakin asked.
"I would not recommend it, you are not well enough to donate the required blood amount…" Dr Baden began.
"Can it be done?" Anakin interrupted, and Dr Baden nodded.
"I will prepare the treatment immediately, my lord." He bowed and left the room. Anakin gazed at Luke, sending waves of healing energy through the weak bond he shared with his son. Anakin lay in his bed, keeping a silent watch over Luke as Luke struggled to stay alive. After what seemed like hours, Dr. Baden returned. Anakin had not seen him since he had left to prepare Luke's treatment.
"Well, Lord Vader, I have good news. It appears that you are compatible blood donor for Luke. I have prepared the treatment using some of the blood we took during your surgery for a standard test. Do you want me to continue?"
"Yes" Anakin told him, his eyes not leaving Luke. Baden cautiously approached Luke's still form and stuck a needle into the boy's upper arm, injecting the treatment directly into the younger man's blood stream. Anakin nervously cleared his throat, wincing slightly in pain.
"Can I get closer to him?" he asked. Dr. Baden looked carefully at his older patient. The Sith Lord looked relatively healthy, but Dr. Baden was not going to let himself be fooled.
"After I give you a brief examination, Lord Vader. Don't worry; you will definitely be here if Luke wakes up, the treatment takes a while to take effect." Dr. Baden told him. Anakin paused for a moment, before nodding. Baden picked up some instruments from a locked drawer and approached Anakin. Firstly, he recorded Anakin's pulse and blood pressure, before using a pin to test the reflexes and sensing of pain in the prostheses'. Anakin stayed silent, his eyes often darting to Luke, making sure he was alright. Dr. Baden cleared his throat as he completed the first part of his examination.
"Alright, Lord Vader, could you please remove the oxygen mask so I can see how you are breathing on your own. Anakin nodded and complied with the request, but before he let Dr. Baden begin, he made one of his own
"Please don't call me Lord Vader, The Empire has fallen, and I no longer am that person. My name is Anakin."
"Yes, Anakin, of course. Could you please breath in and out deeply" Dr. Baden asked, smiling.
SW SW SW SW SW
It did not take long for Dr. Baden's examination to be completed. Anakin concentrated fully on Luke throughout the examination, using only single word responses to the doctor's questions. Dr. Baden nodded, obviously pleased with Anakin's health.
"Well, Anakin, it seems that you are recovering very well after the surgery. Your lungs have adapted very quickly to working for themselves once more. I don't think it would be an issue if you sat quietly beside Luke's bed"
Anakin sat up, a smile beneath the oxygen mask. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he instantly noticed that the new prostheses' were much more life like than his old ones. Rising shakily to his feet, Anakin stood, using the small table between the two beds as a support as he tentatively stepped across to the chair at Luke's bedside, before gently lowering himself into the chair. He carefully picked up one of Luke's hands, stroking it gently with his thumb. Tears prickled at Anakin's eyes, but he somehow managed to blink them back as he sat by Luke's side, where he knew he belonged.
"I'm here, Luke" Anakin whispered, before closing his eyes, and letting the Force flow through him ,and directing it both through his bond with Luke, and as a after thought, himself. He could feel through the bond Luke unconsciously responding to the force, directing it to where it was most needed, fighting against the illness that was conspiring to take his life. Anakin smiled, before directing the force that he had not directed into the bond towards his own injuries, letting it flow over them, easing the pain in gentle, healing waves. It took a moment before Anakin realized he was actually meditating, in an obscure way. After how many times Obi-wan, and to some extent Palpatine, had nagged him to meditate more, here he was willing letting the force flow through him. Had he been able, Anakin would have laughed out loud.
"Well Obi-wan, guess I finally did what you wanted me to, only over twenty years too late."
"Better late than never, Anakin" Came a slow, and very familiar voice. Anakin jumped, looking up to see Obi-wan standing on the other side of the bed, glowing eerily blue.
"Obi-wan! How? I killed you."
"Yes, you did"
"Sorry about that"
"It needed to happen. The Force works in mysterious ways."
"It does, doesn't it?" Anakin agreed, glancing at Luke.
"It wasn't your fault, Anakin."
"How do you figure that?"
"Palpatine tricked you, corrupted you. He'd been doing it ever since he first met you. No-one blames you."
"I'd bet Yoda still does"
"Blame you, I never have. Blame Palpatine, I do" A tiny green troll added, although he looked more blue than Anakin remembered.
"Yoda? This is getting a little odd."
"You want odd? This morning, I was dueling Jar Jar Binks over the last pop tart at breakfast." Obi-wan joked, and Anakin snorted with laughter, and then coughed painfully.
"Ok, you win. That is beyond odd."
"You look a lot better than the last time I saw you, by the way."
"I'm guessing that was a complement"
"It was. Black wasn't a good colour for you"
"And you never said anything when I was wearing black and I was still a Jedi?" Anakin said in mock indignation.
"Well, I guess I wanted to be the handsome one for once, but it turns out you'd already attracted who you wanted." Obi-wan grinned, and Anakin nodded, his eyes filling with tears as he thought of Padme.
"I guess so. Force, I can't believe what an idiot I was. I killed her, I tortured our daughter and I maimed our son, almost killing him too. Let alone what I did to you, and the Order, the younglings," Anakin gulped as the memories of THAT day seared his mind, and tears leaked from his eyes.
"When you put it like that, the word idiot seems a bit of an understatement. Anakin, you forgot the important one. You destroyed the Sith. You wiped out everything they stood for, redeeming yourself at the same time."
"What your master says is true," added Yoda, who had been silent, watching the banter between master and Padawan with a small smile upon his green features.
"My Redemption is a lot more involved than that," Anakin sighed, leaning back in his chair, running his hand over his bald head "its going to be complicated, even if people don't know the connection between Vader and myself. What am I going to say? 'Hi, I decided to go into hiding because of the empire, but now that somebody else has got rid of the sith, I'm back now.' It doesn't work like that. People are going to be suspicious. During the clone wars, I was painted as 'the hero with no fear.' People would have expected me to fight.
"But you never did."
"I know, but we, that is, Palpatine and Vader, made it look like I died in Order 66, along with the rest of the Jedi. That story is actually true, from a certain point of view." Yoda burst into cackles of laughter.
"Too alike, the pair of you is."
"Yoda, please be serious. If the rebels find out the truth, then I'm dead, which is a fate I deserve, and Luke would risk his own life to save mine, again, which would end up with him being just as dead as me, and I don't want him to end up like that. He's got too much to live for."
"Anakin, Luke is older than how old you were when you turned now; he knows what he's doing, sort of."
"And I did know what I was doing? Besides, I really don't want to compare Luke's age to mine." Anakin pouted, and Obi-wan stifled his laughter.
"Because that means I could be a grandfather by now, which I really don't want to think about. I'm still getting used to being a father. It's NOT funny Obi-wan." Obi-wan had collapsed into gales of laughter.
"Sorry, Anakin," Obi-wan wiped tears of mirth from his eyes, straightening, and brushing himself off. Anakin looked at his former master.
"Obi-wan, they'll never forgive me."
"Yes, they probably won't."
"What am I going to do?"
"Well, I guess its too late to tell you to never turn to the dark side"
"Yes, its definitely too late for that."
"The only advice, Padawan that I can give you is…"
"Is to say that you were forced into hiding by me because you were too badly injured during Order 66 to do anything about it, and then you couldn't find me because I went and hid Luke and Leia, before going into hiding and hope to the force that no one asks too many questions."
"Are you sure that they'll believe that?"
"Yes, you still carry injuries from our, er, last confrontation before I died, you know, on M..."
"Don't say the name. It hurts more when you say the name, just as much as it hurts when I say Padme's name. Oh Force, I can't believe what I did to her. Even that would have been enough to warrant my death, but still I linger on."
"ANAKIN! Don't even think about killing yourself. Luke, and Leia as well, and the rest of the alliance, need you. I didn't train you just so you wallow in your own guilt. You've always been far too hard on yourself."
"Its okay, Obi-wan, I'm not going to kill myself. I know that my children need me, even if Leia is going to pretend she doesn't. I'm so glad Luke told her. She can't stand me"
"No, she couldn't stand Vader. You, she could like. There's a huge difference between the two of you."
"Still, tread cautiously; she's far too much like you to be treated as harmless or submissive."
"So she's not like Padme?"
"How should I know, I only met her once, when she was less than a day old. It's him you should be asking." Obi-wan pointed at Luke, who groaned in his sleep, his body arching, before relaxing once more. Anakin gently reached out a hand, brushing sweat covered hair from Luke's face. Obi-wan was silent as Anakin took in his Son's face.
"He looks the same as he did the day he was born." Obi-wan grinned, and Anakin smiled wanly back at him.
"Really? I wish I could have been there."
"Well, not exactly, he's a lot bigger now than what he was, and he had more hair than he did. One time when I was passing near where he was living on Tattooine, he must have been about nine, and I swear, I thought he was you the day I met you. It was eerie how much like you he was."
"It was scary. My first thought was 'Oh no, not again. I'm too old for this.' Thankfully, when he hit his teenage years, he straightened himself out. He still kept me on my toes, but. If I wasn't there, he wouldn't have made it to even seeing the first death star, let alone blowing it up."
"I still can't believe he did that. When Palpatine told me, or rather, told Vader who Luke really was, I felt so proud of him. Who was piloting the other ship, the one that shot me?" Obi-wan gave a mischievous smile.
"Well, he wasn't then, still really isn't, but they like each other."
"Obi-wan don't do that to me. You almost gave me a heart attack. I'm trying not to think of them as having Girlfriends or boyfriends."
"Luke's the innocent one of the pair, except he had the biggest crush on Leia for a bit there. I hope THAT'S gone by now."
"Disgusting that is" Yoda scrunched up his nose, "Leave, I shall, tell him, you should, Obi-wan, before wake up, Luke does. Never shut up, that boy does. Goodbye, Anakin. Meet again, we shall."
"Goodbye master Yoda." Anakin bowed his head respectfully at the aging master, before he faded from sight. Obi-wan stepped forward, perching on the end of Luke's bed. Anakin looked up at him. Despite all the burns that scarred Anakin's face, and the healing surgical wounds, that Anakin had obviously tried to heal with the force, Obi-wan could still see the same scared little boy looking up at him that stood beside him at Qui-gon's funeral.
"What's death like?"
"What do you mean?"
"Is it nice, or not?"
"Its," Obi-wan paused, "different. Its like you wake up after a long sleep. Your not hungry, tired, or thirsty. Your never uncomfortable. You do things like eating, drinking, maybe sleeping, out of habit, but its not necessary. You meet so many new people there. You reunite with old friends, and make new friends. In other ways, its much like this galaxy. Why do you ask?"
"I wonder if I made a mistake."
"Doing what? Turning?"
"No, Giving Luke this treatment. I can sense he's suffering, and that he's in a lot of pain. Will he recover, master?" Anakin's eyes were pleading. Obi-wan felt his heart melt.
"Oh Anakin, I'm sure he'll be fine. He needs you, and you need him, badly. You are still at risk of falling back into the darkness.
"I know. I love him so much, master, I know he's almost all that's drawing me to the light. Leia is too, but Luke's doing the most."
"Oh Anakin, That's normal, for someone in your position. The number of times I was in the same position as you, sitting beside your bed as you fought to survive after something happening on a mission. Deep down, I knew that if something happened to you, and you died, I'd die as well. In the end, it sort of came about that way I guess."
"From a certain point of view?" Anakin asked.
"Yes, from a certain point of view." They fell into silence again, and Luke stirred once more. Anakin soothed him with the force.
"There is something I need to tell you, Anakin, before Luke wakes up"
"And I need to ask you something, master"
"Alright, you go first then."
"Who's better at flying, me or Luke?"
"Your asking the wrong person, Anakin. It's difficult to compare your skill, because you've flown for a lot longer than Luke has, but Luke is one of the best pilots I've seen, despite his relative inexperience. You're probably the best, but he's definitely second, for now.
"Thank-you, master. Now, what did you want to say?" Anakin smiled.
"I have to tell you, Anakin, that, although I don't advise going to see her right now, Padme, as in your Padme, did not die."
A stunned silence reigned over the room.
"What?" Anakin whispered.
"You heard me Anakin. Padme is alive, safe and sound."
Anakin felt tears fun down his cheeks, but couldn't move.
"Please, don't joke about this, Obi-wan."
"I would never joke about this, Anakin. I know how much she means to you."
"And she's well, she's happy?"
"Well, she's healthy in body and mind. I wouldn't go as far to say she's happy."
"And she wasn't hurt by anyone?"
"Other than Vader, no. Giving birth to Luke and Leia almost killed her, but she survived, just. Bail Organa and I hid her, well away from both Luke and Leia, although I think she was allowed to visit Leia when she was younger from time to time. I think Leia still carries a few memories of her. Padme never met Luke after they were first separated, and I never saw her when I was alive again. I've visited her a few times since my death, in this state."
"I can't believe, after all these years, she's still alive."
"What does she know about what I did?"
"She knows who Vader really is, but other than that, she knows only what she's learnt through the media."
"Oh, I'll have to tell her what I did to Luke and Leia though, if she'll see me of course. You better set up somewhere for me to live near you after I do that. She'll kill me." Anakin winced.
"Well, she already knows what Luke did to the Death Star. I was impressed with him, and I'd already told Yoda, so I didn't have any other live people to tell, so I told her. She was so proud of him, her 'baby boy.'"
"Better not hear Luke talk about him like that"
"No, I probably shouldn't. Still, it was one heck of a shot"
"I know, Obi-wan. I WAS there, sort of."
"Yes, but you were preoccupied with other things."
Father..." came a whimpered cry. Anakin whipped around, facing his son. Luke's gaze blearily met Anakin's, and Anakin smiled.
"I'm here, Luke. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere." Anakin told him, his eyes misting over with tears. Luke gave a tiny nod, before groaning and letting his eyes slide closed once again, his chest rising and falling evenly. Sure that he wouldn't wake Luke, Obi-wan laughed.
"What's so funny?" Anakin asked, smiling at his friend and wiping his eyes.
"You are, Anakin. You're so fatherly towards Luke."
"There is good reason for that, Obi-wan." Anakin told his master.
"I knew that, just, you are so tender and gentle with Luke, and yet, you never used to be."
"I'm sure I was, you just were never around to see it" Anakin grinned slyly
"Well, whenever you were out of it, I looked after you, and with Padme, you know..."
"Don't even go there Anakin. I'm still getting used to the idea."
"It's been over twenty years master"
"I know, but just, in so many ways, you'll always be that little boy I met on Tattoine." Anakin flinched at the words, remembering how Padme had spoken them before the left for Naboo. He suddenly recalled the last time he had seen Padme, on Mustafar. Anakin groaned, trying to escape the memory, but he couldn't tear himself away. Obi- looked at his former padawan, worried. Anakin had screwed his eyes closed, and was whispering something under his breath.
'No, no, make it stop. Please, just make it stop. I'm sorry.'
Obi-wan stepped forward, laying a ghostly blue hand upon Anakin's shoulder.
"Anakin I'm here, its okay, we're on Naboo with Luke. It's over" Obi-wan whispered, soothing Anakin's mind with his own. Anakin opened his eyes, tears streaking down his cheeks.
"I was killing her, Obi-wan. Every night ever since... I became, you know, since I went bad, I've dreamt that I killed her, and then, the burning of the fire, the lava. Every day was painful. I wanted to die, I hated what I'd done, who I become, what I represented."
"Anakin, it's over. You've been redeemed. You don't have to worry about that anymore. Padme' is fine, we are all okay."
"You call being dead okay?"
"Well, at least I'm happy and, well, being dead has its advantages." Obi-wan shrugged. Anakin looked sheepish,
"Sorry about that, by the way"
"Its alright. It's not your crime to apologise for. Besides, being dead, it's not that bad, except that Jar Jar Binks steals all the breakfast cereal." Obi-wan laughed. Anakin sighed.
"You're going to leave soon, aren't you?"
"I'll never leave you, Anakin, but yes, I need to go back."
"Because it's what I have to do, like you have to look after Luke and Leia."
"I know, but why did it have to be so soon?"
"It's not forever you know."
"I know, but I don't want to say goodbye. I still need you, Obi-wan."
ven seeing the first death star, let alone blowing it up."and then you couldn'
"Like I said, Anakin, I'll never really be gone." Obi-wan began to fade.
"Goodbye, Obi-wan, my brother." Anakin, whispered, and Obi-wan smiled.
"Farewell, Anakin, Brother" Anakin sat alone for a few minutes, until Luke stirred once more.
"Shh, Luke, I'm here." Anakin soothed him, his voice having recovered quickly from his operation. Luke turned his head to face Anakin.
"Father, what happened?"
"You got sick, something you picked up when you were on the surface of Endor. You had an allergic reaction to the cure they gave you. They had to give you an alternative, using my blood. They were fearful you would not make it. You probably wouldn't have if the force wasn't helping you."
"You look," Luke paused, "better."
"Thanks. I feel better too." Anakin smiled.
"Your operation went okay then?"
"Yes. How do you feel?"
Luke groaned, "Sore and cold, and sick, and really tired."
"Close your eyes and get some rest, son. I'll be right here when you wake up."
"Goodnight, father," Luke yawned. Anakin smiled.
"Goodnight, Luke. I love you"
"I love you too, father" Luke sleepily told him. Anakin grinned, his eyes misting over in tears.
'Thank-you, master, for looking after him'
'It was my pleasure, Anakin.'
SW SW SW SW SW
Anakin and Luke sat together in the cockpit of the shuttle they had flown to Naboo a week later. Anakin was flying, after winning the argument between the two, while Luke sat at the radio, changing the frequency to a Rebel one he knew would connect him with Han and Leia. Satisfied that he had the radio tuned correctly, Luke began to speak into the mike.
"Millennium Falcon, this is Sand Dune 1, please respond. I repeat, Millennium Falcon, this is Sand dune 1. Please answer." Luke paused. The naming of the shuttle had been an inside joke between Anakin and Luke, a passing reference to their shared upbringing on Tattooine.
The radio crackled static, before a clear voice that Luke recognized easily issued from the speaker.
"This is Millennium Falcon receiving you, Sand dune 1. Please identify yourself."
"Did you guys miss me?" Luke asked, laughing at Han's shocked tone of voice.
"Of course we missed you, where are you?" Leia's voice cut across Han, and Luke grinned.
"Hi Leia, we're just leaving the atmosphere at Naboo. You guys still on Endor?"
"Yeah, waiting for you to show up. Where were you?" Han spoke.
"Oh, just getting patched up, nothing major. By the way, did any of the rebel's get sick from this virus that is down there?"
"Yeah, why do you ask?"
"I got it too. Any fatalities on your end?"
"No, thank the force you're alright though. Leia was worried sick."
"And you weren't?" Leia interrupted, snapping. Luke winced sympathetically for Han.
"Hey, kid, who's with you, anyway. You said 'we're' blasting out." Han asked, ignoring Leia.
Luke glanced side ways at Anakin, smiling. "Long story you guys, I'll tell it to you some time, but not now."
A.N. The end. This story has taken me AGES to write. It was going to be short, (yeah, right), but then I came up with the idea of Obi-wan and Yoda visiting Anakin and Luke. I really hope you enjoyed it, because I like writing it. One little thing would make writing this story even better…
You guessed it