Anakin and Luke Skywalker

For Real

Type: Post ROTJ A/U
Rating: PG
Summary: Father and Son share a tender moment on their way to Coruscant, after the Alliance's victory.  Continuation of "The Vision."
Acknowledgments: Thank you, Fiona, my wonderful beta.

The young Jedi looked out of the massive window of his assigned room, at the vastness of space.

Despite the persistent pain all over his body, he looked five years younger. There was peace in his heart, and peace in his mind. Quiet happiness hummed its sweet melody in his veins.

The long way to Peace had started tonight, with his father’s redemption.

He had done it. His love for his father had not only saved Anakin’s soul, but healed his body as well.

He couldn’t believe the miracle, but he was revelling in it like a shameless child.

They were flying back to Coruscant, where they would meet the rest of the Fleet.

It amazed him that there wasn’t the slightest trepidation in his heart. He didn’t fear the Alliance’s resolution. He knew that no matter what their decision was, nothing and no one would keep him away from his father.

Not anymore.

Luke closed his eyes when a wave of ecstatic joy suffused his soul.

His father was close.

When the doors of his quarters opened he turned about, a dazzling smile illuminating his features.

Anakin walked in, a shy smile on his face that made him look terribly young.

Luke reckoned that his father had to be around 45, but no one would say he was older than 35.

His eyes studied the handsome face, taking in every single feature. The wavy blond hair almost the same shade as his, the lively blue eyes, the dimple on the chin, and the cheekbones that were exactly like his own. He gloried in every feature that cried out where he came from. Who he was.

Anakin did his own share of staring at his offspring. Free of his infrared visor, he could see now the similarities between them, the features they had in common and the features Luke shared with his mother.

His son was beautiful. Inside and out. And if he loved him any more, he would explode.

"Did you take the painkiller 2-1B prescribed?" he asked when the echo of the pain in his child’s body resonated in his own.

Luke’s smile broadened and he nodded, immensely grateful for the heartwarming fatherly concern.

They couldn’t look away. They had waited so long for this!

Anakin walked up to his son. From his true height, the boy reached his chin. He had looked so tiny before!

There was nothing to say, nothing that their adoring eyes weren’t saying already.

Their hearts and their minds were totally open to one another; the link between them a soothing balm of loving feelings and thoughts they rained on each other endlessly.

Through that constant outpouring, Anakin suddenly found out that his son had shared his vision on Endor. Even more astonishing, the source of the vision had been the two of them, simultaneously.

So attuned to each other they had been, even then.

The boy looked up at him as if he couldn’t believe that his father was really there with him. Almost as if he was afraid to believe it was real.

Anakin reached out and cradled the soft cheek in his palm.

He could allay his son’s fears and make his dream come true now.

And his own, too.

"It is for real, Luke. Believe it. As I do." His thumb caressed the pink cheek tenderly. "I won’t fail you again, Son. I will never hurt you again. I’ll die first." His eyes misted and he looked down for a moment before braving the crystal blue eyes again. "Can you forgive me?"

Luke’s chin began quivering.

"I love you, Luke. I love you with all my heart." Anakin brought his son’s head close and settled it on his chest after kissing his forehead adoringly. "I always loved you. The day your mother told me she was pregnant was the happiest moment of my life." He wrapped his long arms around his child’s body, holding him for all he was worth.

The pain of his burns disappeared as if it had never existed. Luke’s throat constricted and teardrops started falling from his eyes, wetting the front of Anakin’s top. It was a soft, steady crying. The release of a lifetime of need.

His arms enveloped Anakin’s back and he clung to him, burying his face in his father’s warmth.

Anakin’s own tears streamed down his cheeks in rivulets, but he was completely oblivious to them. He sheltered his son in the safe cocoon of his love, knowing that this pure, primal touch was all Luke needed. The only thing his beautiful boy had ever needed.

Just like him.

Responding to that thought the moment it coalesced in his father’s mind, Luke crushed Anakin to him, returning his embrace, giving as much as he was receiving.

The only thing they had ever needed.

Anakin bit his lips, overwhelmed by his son’s infinite generosity.

This was being a father. This selfless love beyond any other.

"Don’t cry, my son," he cooed softly. "Don’t cry, little one." He kissed the top of the blond head. "Your father is here." He rested his cheek on the silky hair, nuzzling it, and his hands roamed the wounded back everywhere, wishing he could make those wounds his own. "Your father is here for you, forever."

Luke let out an indescribable sound.

‘This is the happiest moment of my life!’ their minds sang in unison.