Darth Vader sobbed, clinging to Jar Jar Binks with all his might. The tall gungan bent slightly to wrap his arms around the sobbing sith lord, muttering slightly vague nonsense comforts. The ancient Jedi temple seemed to fade away around them as Darth Vader felt a strange and painful warmth begin to glow faintly in his rotten chest, maybe it was just the booze. His crying was hoarse and ragged, almost strangled by his mask. It shook his whole body like a storm he was unprepared to weather.
But Jar Jar was there, steady and only vaguely slimy, strong gungan arms hugging him like nobody had for what seemed like an eternity. An island in the raging sea of memories.
Darth Vader pulled back, still shaking. His head pounded, his thoughts were drunken and dizzy. He stared at his hands. Visions of bloody children strewn around, screaming, crying. They filled his skull, wailing and twisting into violent, tortured forms. Blood pouring from eyes, mouths, skin peeling back, tiny white baby teeth curling into devious smiles. Darth Vader felt the scream tear from his throat, raw and animal like. He was on his knees, praying with all his might for forgiveness. Then Qui Gon Jin was there, standing over him, face contorted with rage. He held his lightsaber above Darth Vader, he went to swing.
An angry yell pulled Darth Vader back into his body, loosening the hold of the visions. Jar Jar was stood in front of his collapsed form, between him and Qui Gon. “This is not how yousa will redeem yourself!”
Qui Gon paled, his ghostly form shimmering slightly. His face was angry, but also confused and… sad? Darth Vader wasn’t sure. He spat, hissing at Jar Jar, “You think he can be redeemed? After everything that monster has done?”
Jar Jar paused, and Anakin’s heart broke. He felt the familiar wave of anger and darkness begin to swamp him, but then-
One word changed everything.
Anakin felt heat bloom in his chest, strangely painful after the cold darkness. His entire body shook with adrenalyn as he tried to focus on Jar Jar’s words.
“This is not about him, this is about yousa, yousa and your bitterness. The darkness in him is what yousa fear in yourself.” He stood taller than Qui Gon, looming slightly over the ghost, who returned his gaze fiercely.
The Jedi scoffed. His voice was gravelly with rage. “I didn’t think you’d be this weak, Jar Jar, but I should have expected it. Once a fool, always a fool.”
Anakin tried to muster anger, he shouldn’t let his friend be spoken to like this, but he could barely stay upright on all fours. He vaguely wondered how much he had drunk, but the thoughts scattered as he watched Jar Jar stand there.
The gungan sighed sadly. “This is not weakness.” He paused, as if trying to find what to say, but no words came out.
Qui Gon sneered viciously. “You’ll regret this. Don’t come crawling back to me when it all goes wrong.” Then he was gone, leaving a cold echo of emptiness in the silent temple.
Jar Jar let out a shaky sigh, and lowered himself down onto the stone floor next to Anakin. He was close enough to reach out to, and Anakin did, grabbing at his old friend’s amphibious hands. Jar Jar smiled sadly, meeting his eyes, looking exhausted and drained beyond measure.
Suddenly Anakin felt sober, his thoughts clearer than they had been for a long time.
“Did you mean it?” His voice was a near whisper, scared of the answer. “Do you think I can be redeemed?”
He felt Jar Jar’s eyes roam his black mask, before meeting his eyes again. Again he paused, eyes unbearably sad, and Anakin’s breath froze.
Those same marvelous words filled Anakin’s heart with warmth, almost painfully bright. He grinned through his new mask, adapted to show the parts of his face Jar Jar had taught him to love, at his new husband.
Jar Jar smiled softly back at him, gosh he looked so handsome in that new suit. He leaned in and kissed the top of Anakin’s head, gently cupping his face with large semi aquatic hands. When the gungan pulled back to look him dead in the eye his heart nearly froze.
“Ani,” he paused slightly, “mesa always knew you had the light deep down in you.”
Anakin’s breath quickened, he tried to think of what to say. “Jar Jar,” his voice rattled out less terrifyingly than it had before, but still not as tenderly as he wished it would, “Jar Jar… You are more beautiful than the suns above, your light…” He cleared his throat. “You draw me to your light like a moth to the flame, you saved me, after I thought it was impossible. I love… I love you.”
Jar Jar grinned sheepishly and planted another kiss on his hand.
The small congregation started up a small smattering clap. The ghost of Qui Gon Jin stood at the back, faint but smiling. He met Anakin’s eyes and gave a nod, an apology, and Anakin accepted.
Croke Ceel stood awkwardly, grinning at the pair almost proudly. She cleared her throat and tapped her cane against one of the seats in front of her. The crowd quieted down. Jar Jar met her eyes and nodded fondly.
“Mesa not going to pretend speeches are mesa thing,” she chuckled quietly, “But, mesa known Jar Jar for years, wesa spilled the same blood in the same mud.” They both smiled at the quote from so many years ago, back when Jar Jar had convinced her he was on the rebel’s side, such different times. “And mesa thinks he deserves the world.” She turned her keen gaze onto Anakin, “So when hesa told me that he believed in Anakin? Well, mesa prayed thata the dark side had not corrupted his heart, stolen him from us,” she smiled, her voice trembling only slightly, “mesa should have known. Jar Jar is not perfect, but he is the best gungan, the best and most kind, among us. And he taught me,” she gestured around at the gathering, former rebels, all good friends, dressed up in their best, “all of us, that the light conquers all.” She took a deep breath, steadying herself. “He was right. Wesa only here because of that trust, that belief in the power of light.” She raised a chipped teacup, “To the love that saved Anakin, and the galaxy!”
The guests all broke out into cheers and applause, raising their cups to the couple.
Jar Jar looked out fondly, “Croke, mesa thought yousa said speeches ain’t yousa thing!,” he joked.
Anakin could only stare dumbstruck at the cheering group of misfits, they really had saved the galaxy. He had killed the emperor, they had restored democracy to the galaxy. Peace was finally here. The revelation hit him hard in the chest, and he reached for Jar Jar’s hand, tears of joy prickling in his eyes.
He had the rest of his life ahead of him, with the gungan he loved by his side. He had never thought he would feel this happy and loved again. Jar Jar Binks had saved him.