Which is the more exquisite sensation: revenge, relief, or vindication?
They deserved every bit of his revenge. His anger. They deserved the death he brought to them. Even now, years later, he believes that. Even now, when he imagines that night he has to work to feel guilt enough to drown out the memory of how powerful he felt. Righteous
. It's not the cold shiver of fear he feels in his spine when he hears the echo of the Tusken screams in his memory but a frisson of energy, the whisper of, you could feel like that always
. The guilt he works to feel -- because he's supposed to be guilty, isn't he? -- doesn't ever quite stop him from feeling that, given the same choice, he'd do it all over again. Gladly.
there's a certain sly sort of pleasure in repaying Obi-Wan one of his pranks, one of his cleverly witty little one-liners in one of his own. in watching the consternation on his Master's face when Kenobi realizes he's been had. Anakin's always enjoyed that.
The feeling washes over him in a cold, icy wave. He doesn't know!
And he is utterly, irrationally glad he won't have to explain to anyone what all he did on Naboo. For a moment, he thinks Obi-Wan will ask, but his Master remains silent and saves Anakin from having to lie. Anakin wasn't a liar but for this? He would. Even to Obi-Wan. Especially to Obi-Wan.
the story Palpatine tells Anakin is like a breath of air for a suffocating man. it gives him hope he can save his wife, a chance that he hadn't had before. it's something. and he figures the relief he's feeling probably shows even on his face. he can
do something this time.
When he no longer wears his braid, when the ceremony is complete, he feels it inside of him. A fierce feeling of pride, of course, but also vindication. Justification that he did
deserve the title of Jedi. And while he's pleased and happy and honored to accept this title, he's also looking at the Master's around him and thinking, you didn't think I could do this. You didn't want me here, but I did it. In spite of you.
there's a moment there, at the end when he's looking up into his son's eyes that he feels it. that fierce little flame of pride that's more than merely pride.
vindicated, it says. and he is. a lifetime of making the wrong choices but choosing
her had never been wrong. not when the result was the man who knelt over him. not when he'd finally done what he'd always been meant to do. he smiles...
...and then the Force envelopes him. he's home.