Vader stood to the side, eyes fixed on his son. Force lightning came from Sidous's fingertips. Helplessness washed over Vader. He didn't want his son to die, yet it would be a relief if he did. No more the one person who tried to get him to turn away from the Dark Side. No more draw backs. Nothing to hold him back from killing. Except for Leia, perhaps. Or his guilt.
"Father, help me! Please!" Luke writhed in agony on the floor as the Emperor electrocuted him.
That one phrase almost made Vader collapsed as memories flew into his mind.
An image of Padmé appeared like in one of those dreams he had had. She was lying in the hospital bed, crying out, "Anakin, help me!" She was dying. The image was awas as clear as it had been all those years ago in his nightmares.
Then, before he could make any reaction, he was back on Tatooine, working for Watto. He recalled the cheerfulness of each evening where he was released to go back to his mother for the night. Her wonderful, kind face flashed before him.
"You can't stop it any more than you can stop the sun from setting." The phrase raided his mind. The next thing he knew, Vader was watching his old self helplessly telling his mother to stay with him as she died in his arms.
Fresh grief swept through him. That's when Padmé came in.
"To be angry is to be human," she said.
Then he was on Mustafar. Padmé stood in front of him, tears fresh in her eyes. "Anakin, you're breaking my heart. You're going down a path I can't follow," she cried out.
The next thing he knew, Anakin Skywalker had his hand cuffed and then Padmé was laying on the ground, unmoving.
Flashes of her beautiful face rushed through Vader's mind. The first time he had seen he and had mistaked her for an angel. He couldn't have been far off.
Then on Naboo. There had been no worries, other than their love for each other. Their laughs rang through his mind and he could have smiled for the first time in years.
That was until the memory was suddenly replaced with Obi-Wan. His old master. He expected hatred to shake him like it had so many times before, but it was grief strong enough to crack his heart.
Obi-Wan had been his best friend. His brother. Their time in that arena on Geonosis. That time where he had carried Obi-Wan's limp body on Grievous's ship. Facing Count Dooku.
Then Mustafar came along. It's intense heat. He recalled the burning of his body when he had overestimated his powers.
"You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you." He recalled when he had vaguely heard this phrase.
And that was all it took. Those memories of his mother, Obi-Wan, and Padmé were enough for Vader to realize what he had lost in order to gain power.
Power. Who should care about it when you could have a family who loved you? A friend who would have died for you. A wife who did die because of you.
What about the countless adventures he had had with Obi-Wan? Their hand signals that had always confused their enemy. They had risked everything for one another.
What about risking expulsion from the Jedi Order in order to be with Padmé? Those dreams had been warning him of what would happen if he followed a dark path, not what would happen if he chose the right way. Had all that been for nothing?
That's when he realized it. No, it had not been for nothing. He may have made the wrong choice by joining Sidious, but that didn't mean he couldn't make it right at this moment.
He had to save his son—Padmé's son.
Vader grabbed Sidious, trying to ignore the pain of the electricity firing out of the emperor's fingers and into his bloodstream. It was excruciating, considering how much metal he had attached to his body. Sidious's screech as he fell down the chamber brought satisfactory to Vader's ears. He had finally avenged all those people he had betrayed.
He felt hands grip him and he knew it was Luke. He felt himself being half-dragged, half-carried until they reached a ship, but he didn't care that the Death Star was about to be destroyed. He didn't care that he was dying—in fact he welcomed it.
He sensed Luke's anxiety as he collapsed with exhaustion. And that's when Vader realized he still had one thing left to do, before he died.
"Luke," he said, "help me take this mask off."
"But you'll die," Luke's worried voice barely came to register in Vader's ears.
"Nothing," he panted, "can stop that now. Just for once…let me look on you…with my own eyes."
After a moment's hesitation, Luke nodded slightly. He reached forward and took off the top of the helmet, slowly. He then gently removed the mask.
The feeling was unfamiliar, yet wonderful. He couldn't help but give a small smile at Luke's face. He was so young—too young to have died that day. His blue eyes were like Anakin's had once been. They were kind, worried, and intelligent. Just like Padmé's had once been…
He couldn't help but feel a bubble of laughter in his mind at the thought of Leia. No wonder she had reminded him of Padmé. Her defiant, yet caring personality. He only wished he could have met her without being a threat to her.
"Now go," he panted, "my son. Leave me." It was getting painful to speak.
But Luke was already shaking his head. "No," he said, "You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here—I've got to save you."
"You already have, Luke. You were right…You were right about me," Anakin said. "Tell your sister you were right." He slowly blinked his eyes closed, vaguely hearing Luke say, "Father, I…"
The rest was lost, and Anakin Skywalker was dead in that life.
A hand rested on his shoulder, awaking Anakin. He looked around in confusion. Wasn't he dead? He rubbed his eyes and allowed them to focus on whose hand had touched him.
"Obi-Wan!" he cried. No hatred filled him, no anger, just guilt.
His old master smiled at him. "Hello, Anakin."
Anakin sat up. "Where are we?"
Obi-Wan smiled. "We are part of the Force now."
Guilt clawed at Anakin's heart. "Master, I'm so sorry. I was supposed to stop Sidious, not become his apprentice. I—"
"Anakin," Obi-Wan reached his hand out to his old Padawan's shoulder. "It is alright."
"No, it's not. I—"
Obi-Wan pulled Anakin into a brotherly hug. "Yes, it is," he said, letting go. Tears shone in his blue eyes. He had missed his brother.
Anakin smiled softly. Obi-Wan stood up, ready to leave. "Where are you going?" Anakin asked quickly.
"To get someone who has missed you most of all," Obi-Wan said. He soon faded away, revealing a beautiful woman.
"Padmé!" Anakin cried out in joy and raced toward his wife.
"Oh, Anakin," Padmé whispered, "I've missed you so much."
"You have?" the Jedi looked at her in confusion.
"Of course!" she answered. "Why wouldn't I?"
"After Mustafar…" Anakin began.
Padmé shook her head. "Nothing could stop me from loving you." Suddenly her eyes were filled with tears. "Not a day has gone by where I haven't thought of you, or Luke, or Leia."
"But now we're together," Anakin smiled. "Our children are safe."
"For now," Padmé said.
"What do you mean?"
She shook her head. "Nothing, but it's time for you to go."
"What?" Anakin looked at her in dismay. The had just been reunited!
"Don't worry," she smiled. "You'll see me soon, but it's time for the Jedi to pay Luke a visit."
"What do you mean?" Anakin asked. In her place, suddenly, were Yoda and Obi-Wan.
"Come, Young Skywalker," Yoda said, placing his hand out. Anakin reached out and grabbed it, and the three former Jedi knights appeared on Endor. Luke and Leia were standing near one another but it was Luke who noticed Yoda and Obi-Wan. He smiled, and that's when Anakin appeared.
The Jedi had returned.