Obi Wan knew before they touched down on Polis Massa that something bad was going to happen. It wasn’t like nothing bad had happened yet. His former padawan had gone to the Dark Side, the Jedi were all but slaughtered, the Republic had fallen to the Empire, and the war he had spent most of his adult life fighting had been orchestrated by a man he thought he trusted. Anakin had almost killed him. Anakin had almost killed Padmé.
But as Obi Wan landed Padmé’s speeder on the secret moon base on Polis Massa, there was a wave of unease, of darkness, that washed over him. He knew that the people here wouldn’t betray him, it was just Bail Organa and Master Yoda, for kriff’s sake.
The truth of his allies didn’t stop Obi Wan’s worries. Neither did Padmé’s cries as she returned to consciousness, the pain of her husband’s betrayal and the pain of her labor wracking her body. A new wash of darkness raced over him, chilling him to the bone.
They had to leave. Obi Wan reached to his comm.
“Obi Wan?” Bail answered, his voice crackling over the speaker. Obi Wan ran a hand through his hair. He always knew that Anakin was going to give him grey hair, but not like this. He had never imagined that anything like this could ever happen.
“It’s Palpatine. He’s the Sith, he’s found us.” Obi Wan cursed his bluntness. Bail let out a flurry of curses before regaining his composure. He could hear Bail shouting orders at several droids, and the pounding footsteps echoed through the comm.
“Can you dock for a minute?” Bail asked. “We have no shuttle large enough for all of us, and we most likely need med droids. Correct?”
Obi Wan glanced back at Padmé, who had wrapped an arm around her swollen stomach. “Yes. We do need med droids.”
“What happened?” Another flurry of orders, more pounding footsteps.
Obi Wan let out a choked noise. “Not now, Bail. We need to get Padmé somewhere safe.”
There was silence. “We’ll be aboard in a moment, Obi-Wan,” Bail promised. He sounded like he was out of breath. The comm buzzed off, and Obi Wan was left in near silence. He stood from the pilot’s chair and went to the bunk where he had left Padmé and the droids.
She was completely awake now, but he doubted her coherence. He smoothed a hand over her hair, still sweat soaked, the braided bun falling apart. “We’re leaving soon,” He told her. “Bail and Master Yoda are bringing med droids, and then we’ll be safe. You will have your child in safety, Padmé, I promise you.”
She began to tremble under his touch, and curled further into herself. “This was my fault,” She whispered. Obi Wan’s heart fell through his stomach. He hadn’t thought it could fall any further.
“No it was not, my friend,” He insisted, smoothing his hand over her hair again. She smiled faintly, leaning very gently into his hand. Threepio, unusually quiet, went to lay a hand on Padmé, but stopped himself.
The skiff’s landing gears released gas as it settled. Obi Wan went to the landing bay, releasing the hatch. Bail, Yoda, and two droids that Obi Wan didn’t recognize rushed on board.
Obi Wan went to hug the senator and his grandmaster. “Leave, we must,” Yoda stopped him. “Exchange pleasantries later, we can.”
He shut the hatch and rushed to the cockpit, sitting down in the extravagant seat. He hated flying, he really did. It reminded him too much of his wayward student. His brother. A shout of pain from the main hold of the skiff broke him out of his dissociation.
They left Polis Massa, with no real course, and no real destination. Their future had been pulled out from under their feet. The med droids were working on delivering Padmé’s child, Yoda meditating near the cargo door. Bail was sitting next to Padmé, letting his friend squeeze his hand as she cried out in agony.
Obi Wan pressed his eyes shut. They would discuss their course after Padmé’s baby was born. He turned back to the cockpit, jamming the cruiser into hyperspace. Obi Wan could feel the pain radiating in the cruiser. Not just Padmé’s physical pain, but Bail’s heartbreak, and Yoda’s disbelief, and his own anguish. He stayed there for several hours, sitting in silence until he heard a wail, not like Padmé’s sobs, but stronger, younger. He got out of the captain’s seat, looking into the hold.
One of the med droids was swaddling an infant, wrapping it in soft cloth. The other was still working on Padmé. “It’s a boy,” The droid said, its programmed voice monotone. Padmé laughed softly.
“Luke,” She said, her voice barely audible before pitching into another cry.
“What’s wrong?” Bail asked the med droid still working on his friend. The droid holding Padmé’s son, Luke, turned to face Bail.
“There is another child,” The droid answered, as if it was obvious. Obi Wan’s eyes shot open. This was going to be hard enough with one child of a fallen Jedi. Two of them? How were they supposed to hide all of them?
It wasn’t long until the second child was delivered, screeching with healthy lungs. “It’s a girl,” The droid announced. Padmé choked back a sob.
“Leia,” She said, “Her name is Leia.”
The droids brought Padmé’s children to her, and she raised a tired hand to brush against their cheeks. They quieted as their mother touched them. Padmé smiled, and closed her eyes.
“Healthy, they are?” Yoda asked. The droid holding Luke answered.
“Perfectly so.” It said, handing the tiny infant to Threepio. The protocol droid froze in fear, but relaxed with the infant in his arms. R2 beeped at him, the droid’s volume turned down not to disturb the child.
Padmé laughed at what the astromech said, the noise turning into a sob as she sat upright, back against the wall. It hadn’t been a cry of pain, but of sorrow. Obi Wan and Padmé both knew of Anakin’s fears of her death in childbirth. She had survived, but at what cost?
Bail turned to Obi Wan. “Where are we headed?”
Obi Wan was shocked to realize that he didn’t know. He disappeared into the cockpit for a moment, to check the coordinates he had set. A planet he had only been to once, fourteen years prior. The last time he had been here, it had started the chain of events that had killed his master.
“Tatooine,” He announced to the rest of the people on board. “We’re headed to Tatooine. It’s in the Outer Rim, far from where the Emperor thinks we might be.”
Bail took Padmé’s son from Threepio, putting the infant in Padmé’s arms. He then took her daughter, Leia, and held her himself. “How long until we arrive?”
“Another hour or two. I don’t even remember setting the course,” Obi Wan let the horror seep into his voice, wrapping his arms around himself. He knew that he was radiating his stress and sorrow out into the Force, and if these were Anakin’s children, they were most definitely Force sensitive, and they could tell.
“Trauma, you have endured,” Yoda spoke up, quietly. The twins had nodded off to sleep, and Padmé seemed halfway there. “Endured it, we all have.”
Obi Wan was hesitant, but he nodded.
Padmé seemed to snap out of her slumber. “Anakin has family on Tatooine,” She said in a rush. “I’d forgotten about it until now.”
Bail and Yoda turned to face her suddenly. “What kind of family, Padmé?” The senator asked, tapping gently at his friend’s arm.
“He has a step brother with his wife,” Padmé said. “They have a moisture farm there. I met them once.”
“Trust them, can we?” Yoda asked. Padmé nodded.
“Where else can we go?”
“Mistress Padmé has a point,” Threepio interjected. Bail nodded, careful not to jostle Leia. The air was still and silent. The twins slept on.
“Decided, it is?” Yoda looked to Obi Wan. He mindlessly nodded. “Tatooine, you will go to.”
Obi Wan realized something was off with his grandmaster’s statement. He uncrossed his arms and looked down at the older creature. “Are you going?”
Yoda chuckled. “Go, I must. On this ship I am. But stay, I will not. A planet, I have chosen. Strong in the Force. Uninhabited.”
Obi Wan felt like his chest was going to cave in. First Anakin fell, and then the Jedi were all but slaughtered, and now his grandmaster, one of his last ties to the Jedi Order, was explicitly stating that he did not want to go with him.
Bail noticed his disarray. “Obi Wan, come sit down,” He patted the space on the bunk right next to him. “You look like you’re going to faint.”
As he sat down, Leia opened her eyes. They were dark grey, but Obi Wan had spent enough time with human younglings to know that they were most likely going to grow darker until they were brown, like the dusting of hair on her head. Obi Wan could feel the baby’s Force sensitivity, and her brother’s. They looked like tiny stars, shining like beacons in the Force. They would be impossible to hide together. Obi Wan stroked the back of his fingers across of Leia’s tiny cheek.
They passed the rest of the flight like this. Obi Wan only realized that he had fallen asleep when the ship fell out of hyperspace. He stood, beckoning R2 to come with him into the cockpit. Bail was there as well.
“You missed the children crying three times,” Bail said. “Did you sleep well?”
He shrugged, slipping back in the cockpit. “I haven’t slept well in a while. The war, and all.” He missed the sad look in Bail’s eyes. Bail sighed, and turned to the viewport. There sat Tatooine, a golden sphere dangling in space.
“R2 knows where we’re going planetside?” Bail asked. The droid let out a sequence of beeps and mechanical noises. Obi Wan leapt to translate.
“He does, and he’s putting the coordinates in right now.” Obi Wan slumped back in the seat as they began their descent towards the planet.
“I’m going to comm my wife,” Bail stated. Obi Wan jerked back upright, but then Bail was putting a hand on his shoulder. “It’s alright,” He assured, “Breha’s hated Palpatine since he became a senator. She will not let him know where we are. And I’m using my private comm. We’ve made sure there are zero bugs or trackers.”
Obi Wan sighed. “Alright, I’m just scared.”
“We all are, Obi Wan,” He said, stepping out of the cockpit, leaving Obi Wan alone with his thoughts.
Padmé woke to the sound of Bail’s voice floating through the main hold of the ship. “Breha, my dear, I’m okay. I’ll be home as soon as I can. We’re all okay. Obi Wan and Padmé are okay.”
She let her eyelids strain open, her entire body sore. Bail was pacing around the hold, a comm to his mouth. Luke and Leia, her children (Padmé let herself relish in the fact that she had given birth to two healthy children) were laying in a makeshift bassinet, swaddled in something that looked like Obi Wan’s cloak.
“Bail,” She called out, her voice soft despite her efforts. Her friend spun on his heels to face her. He lowered the comm.
“Oh, I’m so sorry for waking you,” He started, but she shook her head.
“It’s quite alright,” She murmured. Bail smiled at her, a kind of sad smile, and he went back to the comm, switching to Alderaani, most likely subconsciously. Padmé understood a bit of the language, after spending years with Bail in the Senate. She caught words like “children,” “fall,” and “hidden,” but she didn’t speak up.
The Lars’ homestead came up from under them, and the ship landed. Padmé took Leia from where she was laying in the bassinet. Obi Wan came out of the cockpit, his eyes red and puffy. He took Luke, and when Bail had finished speaking with his wife, he joined them as they stepped out into the desert.
A young man and woman exited the farmhouse, a domed structure half built under the sand. They seemed confused, but like they faintly remembered the ship. The woman was blonde, soft wispy strands that floated around her round face. The man was darker, brown hair and a olive complexion.
“Hello,” Padmé said in Basic, smiling. She would have waved, but her arms were full with Leia. The woman smiled back, stepping ahead of the man.
“You’re Padmé? Anakin’s friend?” She asked. Padmé knew that she meant no harm with it, but the mention of her husband made her chest ache.
“I’m his wife, yes. I’m afraid I don’t remember your names,” She said. “My apologies.”
The man chuckled. “No need. Why would a senator from a Core World need to remember the names of two moisture farmers on Tatooine? I’m Owen Lars, and my wife Beru Whitesun.”
“It’s a pleasure to be re-acquainted with you,” Padmé said. “This is Bail Organa and Obi Wan Kenobi.” She gestured to the men as she said their names. Obi-Wan nodded, the largest smile he could muster on his bearded face, and Bail waved. “I should have remembered your names, because you are my siblings in law. People usually remember that.” They all laughed awkwardly at that.
Owen clearly wanted to ask something, but Beru cut him off. “We can’t have you standing outside in the sun for too long. Come in.”
Padmé followed her step sister in law into the homestead. Bail and Obi Wan followed suit, and they found themselves in the Lars’ dining room. Owen pulled a seat for Padmé.
“What’s your youngling’s name?” He asked. Padmé grinned, the smile morphed by her conflicting emotions.
“This is Leia,” She said. The infant stirred at the sound of her name, but didn’t wake. “And Obi Wan is holding my son, Luke.”
Obi Wan had gone unnoticed until she said that, but then Beru was cooing over the baby in his arms and asking her if she could hold him. Padmé nodded, her smile shifting more towards glee. Obi Wan hesitantly gave her Luke, making sure that she was supporting his head.
“Oh, he’s so little. I’ve always wanted children,” Beru confessed. “But I can’t.” She gave Luke back to Obi Wan, who protectively held him close to his chest.
Owen cleared his throat, and the three guests turned to face him. “I don’t mean to be crass, but where is Anakin?”
Obi Wan looked to Bail, who looked to Padmé, who looked back to Obi Wan. Padmé sucked in a breath. “He was killed, by a Sith called Darth Vader. Vader tried to kill me, and Obi Wan, and the children, but Obi Wan helped us escape. Obi Wan and I are on the run. I’m not sure how Bail’s standings are.”
Beru covered her hand with her mouth, putting the other one on Padmé’s shoulder. She hadn’t known Anakin for long, but she remembered the stories her mother in law would tell her about her son. Owen was taking the news rather stoically, but she knew her husband.
Owen was going to break down later. The last link of his stepmother to the world of the living was gone. But he refused to let other people in, to help him carry the weight of his emotional burdens. The only person he let in was Beru, but they both knew that was unhealthy.
Beru took a breath, letting her hand fall to her side. “I can’t speak for my husband, but I would be willing to help you take care of them.”
Padmé felt tears welling up in her eyes. “I cannot find the words to express my gratitude. I’ve known you for all of three days, and...” She trailed off.
Obi Wan cleared his throat. Four heads swiveled towards him, and he felt his face heat up. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Padmé, but if Palpatine ordered the clones to massacre the Jedi, he’s most likely on the lookout for Force sensitive beings.”
Padmé’s shoulders sank as Obi Wan continued speaking. “Your twins are like stars in the Force, they glow and shine like nothing else I have ever seen. If I can sense them, then Palpatine and Vader most definitely can as well.”
Bail put his hand on Padmé’s other shoulder, squeezing gently. He and Obi Wan suddenly noticed the blooming of bruises that ringed her neck. “What can we do?” Bail asked, trying to keep the tone of the room hopeful.
“We’re outside of the Republic,” Owen said, his voice quiet and firm. “The Chancellor can’t do anything here.”
Their shoulders sank again as Bail spoke up. “The Chancellor seized control of the government. There is no longer a Republic. It is the Empire now. And something tells me that the Emperor would not stop at the range of his command to find us.”
“Oh, god,” Beru said, running a hand over her hair, practically tied back in a braided bun. Owen went to his wife, putting a large hand on her back, snug between her shoulder blades.
Obi Wan bowed his head over Luke, squeezing his eyes shut. He knew that the suggestion was awful, but he opened his mouth to speak anyways. “What if we separated them?”
Padmé’s jaw fell open. Her grip on her daughter tightened, still careful not to hurt her. “I can’t separate them! How can I take care of my children if they are apart?” She startled as she realized she had started to cry, hot streams of moisture racing down down her face.
Bail watched his friend, a selfish ache growing in his mind. “Padmé, would you trust me to take care of one of your children? They will be hidden with us.”
Padmé blinked. “You’re married to the queen of your planet. You’ve vocally disagreed with Palpatine many times. There is no way in the galaxy that they will be safe with you. I truly mean no offense.”
Bail reached over and placed a hand on her shoulder in support. “None taken, my friend.”
Obi Wan sighed before speaking. “There may be a way to make Palpatine think that the children were never born. There would be no need to search for Anakin’s children if there weren’t any.”
Padmé stared at Obi Wan in horror. “Are you suggesting that I fake my death?”
“Unfortunately,” He took a breath before meeting her eyes, “Yes. I have some strings I can pull on Kamino to make a body double for you. My idea was to then keep one twin here, and the other would go with the Organas. I would stay here, and you would go with them. Each twin knows the truth about their parentage, and we would meet again when it was safe to do so.”
There was silence around the Lars’ dinner table for several moments. Owen left to get glasses of water for himself, Beru, and the guests. The room filled with the fear and sorrow of the new mother, and Obi Wan could feel her emotions distressing the young boy in his arms.
Finally, Padmé broke the silence, her body slumping over her daughter. “I see no other solution,” She said, and Obi Wan found himself back on Mustafar as she told her husband that he was breaking her heart. “Bail, does this sound alright to you?”
She hadn’t noticed how heartbroken her friend looked. He had known her for thirteen years, since she was Queen, and he had never seen her this broken, this vulnerable. He nodded. “I will give my life to protect your children, Padmé, and I promise you that Breha would too. She is sending a shuttle to pick me up, flown by the only pilot I trust with my life.”
Padmé smiled, choking back a sob. “Thank you, Bail, Obi Wan, Beru. I don’t know how I could have survived today without any of you.”
Obi Wan swallowed past the lump in his throat. “Padmé, I will make sure your child grows up safe, whichever one you leave with me and the Lars.”
“Is there any way I can keep in contact with you?” She asked. There was no denying her motives. In that moment, they knew that there was no way that she could live without seeing her other child.
Obi Wan thought, while everyone else stayed silent. “Take R2. He has a holoprojector with an unique frequency. I have it memorized. If I can get my hands on something that can call him, I will call, and you can keep in contact.”
Padmé smiled, the tears still rolling down her face. “Thank you, Obi Wan. There is one more problem. Which child are you going to keep?”
Obi Wan blinked, and looked at Beru, then to Owen, and finally at Padmé. “That is not my decision to make, my friend. They are your children.”
She cried out, unable to hold back her tears. “You’re asking me to choose which one of my children will grow up without their mother. You’re asking me to choose.” She held Leia closer. “I cannot.”
Obi Wan nodded. To his surprise, he had started crying as well, the moisture running into his beard. He held his padawan’s child in his arms. His padawan had fallen to the Dark side. The adrenaline and shock of Mustafar was wearing off. He was, after all, only human. The baby in his arms, Luke, glowed much brighter in the Force than his sister. “You take Leia with you, I will raise Luke.”
Padmé bowed her head over her daughter. “Make sure he is safe, Obi Wan. Can we call every six months? So they don’t forget us and each other?”
Obi Wan swallowed, the lump rising back behind his Adam’s apple. “Yes. I will raise your son as if he was my own. I will protect him with my life.”
Padmé laughed, the sound like muffled bells. “Take my ship. I think you can sell it for quite a bit here. If I’m going back with Bail and I’m faking my death, there is no need for it. Use it to make a life here, Obi Wan. Thank you.”
She stood, and Obi Wan moved to hug her. They both realized that their arms were too full of children to embrace. Bail and Beru noticed this, rising as well. Bail took Leia from Padmé, holding her carefully in one arm, and Beru took Luke from Obi Wan, allowing the friends to hug tightly. Padmé sobbed into Obi Wan’s shoulder, and he couldn’t help but cry onto her own shoulder, her clothes smelling like the lava and smoke of Mustafar.
They let go, and Padmé walked towards Beru. “Again, thank you, so much. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that you are willing to take care of my son. Thank you.” She kissed Beru on the cheek, before taking her son out of her arms. “Luke, my shining son, I am so sorry.”
Behind her, Bail’s comm rang. He answered it, speaking in Alderaani before shutting it off. “Breha’s shuttle is in the atmosphere,” He announced. “It will be landing in a minute or so.”
Padmé’s gaze turned back to her son. She cooed at Luke, who smiled sleepily at her. “Be good, and kind, and be brave. I love you, and nothing in the galaxy will stop us from reuniting. You will meet your sister one day, I promise. I love you.”
With that, Padmé gave her son back to Beru. She swallowed hard, and then she took Leia from Bail. Obi Wan stopped her before she could leave the farm house. He bent down and kissed her on the forehead. “May the Force be with you, Padmé, and with Leia.”
Padmé smiled up at her friend. “Thank you for everything, Obi Wan. May our reunion be soon.” She walked out of the farmhouse towards the shuttle that landed. She let herself take one last look at the humble farm where she was leaving her son before boarding the Alderaani shuttle.
Padmé wouldn’t get to see her son in person for nineteen years.