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.
There were three rules that Luke Skywalker had to follow to keep himself safe. Each of Tatooine’s moons helped him remember. Ghomrassen was rule number one. Outside of the Lars farm, and the land that his uncle Obi Wan owned, his name was not Luke Skywalker, but Luke Whitesun. He went by Luke anyways, and Skywalker was a slave name. The Whitesuns, on the other hand, had been freemen for generations.
Speaking of Uncle Obi was rule number two, Guermessa. Luke could only refer to Obi Wan as his father off of the farm or their home. That one was easy enough to follow, as he had called Obi-Wan Papa when he was a toddler, and a heartbroken Beru and Owen had to explain to him that his papa was dead.
Finally, rule number three, Chenini. The most important rule of all. Luke Whitesun did not have a mother or a twin sister. This one was the hardest one for Luke to follow.
As a child, Luke’s inability to keep his mouth shut was easily explained as a young boy with imaginary friends. Obi-Wan could easily remedy this by explaining to the person that Luke’s mother died in childbirth, and his twin sister died with her, and the boy wanted some semblance of what he lost.
But as Luke grew older, Obi-Wan found himself grumbling that Anakin had never given him this many grey hairs as he ran around doing damage control.
This wasn’t something that Luke could fully control, like his connection to the Force, shining like a supernova. When he was ten, Obi-Wan realized how much this boy was like his father. He was unable to keep still, lost tools and toys alike, and talked constantly.
He was just like his father, and Obi Wan wanted to keep the boy from becoming Anakin. After a long talk with his mother, Obi Wan and Padmé both realized that Luke had attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Padmé took it upon herself to cover her son’s treatment. She could not be there for him, but she could take care of him as a mother should.
Luke took a stimulant pill every day, had been taking them since he was eleven. The medicine was flown into Tosche Station once a month. It was delivered in an unmarked, but clearly Alderaani shuttle, and for a long time, Obi Wan came with him to pick them up from the pilot, a man that his uncle recognized from before Luke was born. The marketplace wasn’t safe for a boy like Luke, his uncle had explained. He needed to be aware of his surroundings before he could be alone in any of the towns, be it Tosche Station or Mos Eisley.
Luke had been picking up his medicine on his own for four years now. He sped across the salt flats, his precious stimulants in the storage unit strapped in the passenger seat next to him. The medicine didn’t take care of all of his symptoms, but the pills definitely helped him focus, which was wonderful.
The dunes whipped past him as he drove his speeder back to the Lars homestead. The ochre of the sand and the cobalt of the sky were the only colors he could see through the viewport. He sighed, dreaming of heading off-world, flying into the stars and discovering the rest of the galaxy. But his responsibilities were waiting for him. It was the harvest season, after all.
For three months of every standard year, Luke and Obi Wan moved in with Owen and Beru to help with the harvest. Their own moisture vaporators were shut down, and they helped Owen and Beru take the excess water to Tosche Station to sell.
The homestead was just coming into view when something came screaming out of the sky half a mile away. Luke slammed on the brakes in time to see a plume of sand and smoke erupt into the sky. He pulled the thin scarf off of his mouth, and lifted the goggles from his eyes, squinting into the distance.
He pulled a communicator off of his belt, and glanced at the navigator. Good, he was on Uncle Owen’s property. He could speak freely. Luke grinned, proud that he remembered to tell someone where he was wandering off to before bolting into the desert. Flashes of Beggar’s Canyon and Biggs and racing flashed in his mind, and his face grew warm with glee.
The device crackled in Luke’s hand. “Luke? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing went wrong at Tosche, I’m okay, the speeder’s okay. Something just fell out of the atmosphere close to our house. Can I go check it out?”
His uncle (not by blood, but by choice) sighed. “Do you have one of the slugthrowers?”
Luke glanced to the passenger seat. The weapon was tucked in the footwell of the speeder. “Yes I do.”
“And you have your blaster?”
“Yes I do, Uncle Obi. You don’t let me leave without it on my belt.”
His uncle sighed again, his voice crackling with static. “You may go see what it is. Be careful, and be back as soon as you can.”
“I won’t do anything stupid,” Luke promised with a grin. “See you soon.”
He shut off the comm and returned it to his belt. He made sure that his medicine was strapped in tightly to the passenger seat before flooring it. The speeder was his pride and joy. He had worked hard to pay for it, and when he had free time, Luke was constantly tinkering with it and its mechanisms.
He made the distance in no time. As the speeder reached the summit of the dune before his uncle’s house, Luke stopped. A hundred feet in front of his front door was a mass of twisted and smoking metal. He grabbed his blaster before he continued, coasting gently down the dune.
It looked like an escape pod that had crash landed, like it didn’t have someone at the controls. The desert winds quickly cleared the smoke from the wreckage, and the fabric that Luke wrapped around his nose and mouth kept the remainder of it from his lungs.
He peered inside the torn hull of the escape pod. “Hello?” He asked, remembering just in time to speak in Basic. “Anybody in here?”
A flurry of mechanical noise made Luke jump and aim his blaster. He lowered the weapon when he realized it was only an astromech droid wheeling themselves out of the escape pod. It was an older model for sure, but still a very elegant droid. Its body was silver, and its rotating head a complementary shade of dark blue. Panels of the same color decorated its body as well.
It beeped at Luke, and he laughed. “You’re looking for Obi Wan Kenobi? He’s my uncle, I can take you right to him.”
The droid spun its head, beeping in annoyance. Luke smiled, and then he remembered that he had no idea whose droid this was, and he had no idea the droid’s motives. He tore the fabric from his mouth and nose with a sigh. He had already told the droid he knew where Obi Wan Kenobi was. There was no use hiding it any more.
“My name is Luke Skywalker,” He confessed. “Obi Wan is my uncle. If you have a message for Obi Wan Kenobi, I can take you to him.”
The droid beeped, something that almost translated from Binary to a noise of pure surprise. Then it chattered in different pitches, speaking in a whirl that Luke struggled to keep up with.
“Nice to meet you, R2D2,” He said. Luke knelt down, let the sand irritate his knees through his pants.
The droid replied affirmative. Luke’s smile intensified, if at all possible. “Come with me,” Luke pleaded. “I’ll bring you to Obi Wan.”
Artoo chattered, and suddenly an image shot out of his projector onto the sand next to them. The projection was as blue as the Tatooine sky, making it hard for Luke to discern the features of the humanoid. But as the audio began to play, Luke felt his heart seize in his chest. It was a voice that Luke knew too well, Core accent lilting the words slightly.
“Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi,” The figure begged, leaning towards the camera, posture nothing if not regal. “You’re my only hope.”
“That’s my sister!” Luke looked from the projection to Artoo, his mouth open. The last time he had seen Leia Naberrie Organa was four standard months before, on the twins’ nineteenth Life Day. She seemed upset, dressed far more elegantly than normal. Something about Empire Day, Luke remembered vaguely. But this was obviously his sister, despite her far more plain appearance.
Artoo beeped again, and this time, they started toward Luke’s speeder. Luke shot to his feet, sprinting after the little droid. He paused before leaping into the driver’s seat, and moved his package of stimulants to the trunk of the speeder. A message from his sister was far more important than his medicine.
Luke groaned at the thought of heaving the droid into his speeder. Artoo informed him that his propelling thrusters had been deactivated almost two decades before, so unfortunately he couldn’t assist in getting into the speeder. Luke dug his fingers into the sand under the droid and hauled the astromech into his passenger seat.
Luke climbed over the droid to get to the driver’s seat. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem to phase Artoo at all. Neither did Luke’s reckless driving. He pressed the accelerator to the floor, throwing down his goggles as the sand started flying into his face.
Artoo beeped. [Your driving is much like Anakin-Friend’s driving.] Luke froze, foot still down on the accelerator.
“You knew my father?” Luke turned to face the droid, only for a brief moment before watching where he was going. The Lars’ homestead was fast approaching, a figure standing by the front door. It must have been Obi Wan.
[I knew Anakin-Friend and I know Padmé-Friend,] Artoo told him. Luke slammed on the brakes. Thankfully, neither droid, driver, speeder, or cargo was damaged, and Luke had parked the speeder perfectly outside the homestead.
It wasn’t Obi Wan by the front door. It was Aunt Beru, their protocol droid C-3PO tottering behind her. Luke had never gotten a straight answer from either of his uncles or his aunt about why they, of all people, had a protocol droid. They were moisture farmers and mechanics, not the kind of people who actually needed a protocol droid.
But it was C-3PO who saw Artoo first. The droid stopped in his tracks, shuffling backwards for a moment. “R2-D2?” The droid, for some reason, had a thick Core accent. “Oh my, I have not seen you in a very long time.”
Artoo beeped cheerfully at the other droid. Luke blinked. Threepio had never mentioned knowing an astromech, let alone one that knew both of his biological parents. Luke jumped out of the speeder, sending sand flying as he hit the ground. Beru stood straight at the sight of the droid, coming to Luke’s side.
“Where did you get your mother’s droid?” She asked, helping Luke lift the astromech out of his speeder.
“From an escape pod,” Luke explained. “He has a message for Uncle Obi, from Leia.”
At the mention of his sister, Beru dropped Artoo. He beeped indignantly, but Beru paid him no mind. She turned back towards the farm. “Kenobi! You have a visitor!”
Luke and Artoo followed Beru down into the house. Uncle Obi Wan was standing just outside of the living room, his lightsaber in his hand. He had clearly been sitting at the kitchen table, glass of blue milk forgotten there. Nobody called him Kenobi unless there was trouble.
At the sight of Artoo, Obi Wan grinned. “Hello there,” He said, kneeling down to the droid. Artoo chattered, and he was speaking too fast for Luke to translate, but Obi Wan could make perfect sense of the droid’s rambling. His face fell. Obi Wan stood and faced Beru and Threepio. Uncle Owen came in from the back room. He was as Force sensitive as a rock, but even he could read the somber mood of the room.
“When do we get the next chelii ?” Obi Wan asked, the slave language sounding foreign, almost wrong on his tongue. Owen shrugged.
“Sometime next week,” Beru answered for her husband. “A woman from the Mos Espa Slave Quarters.”
“Do you think that you two can do the surgery without me, Threepio, or Luke?” Uncle Obi asked again. Luke blinked. They were leaving. It had finally sank in. He was going to meet his sister.
“We’ve been doing this long before you three showed up,” Owen nodded. “I’ll get the Darklighters to help us if we absolutely need it.”
Luke looked from his uncle to his aunt to his other uncle. “Are you sure that you don’t need our help? It’s the middle of the harvest season.”
Beru smiled at her nephew, her sweet upana-noma . She had taught him the language of his grandmother’s people. The closest thing he had to a mother when he grew up. She smiled at Luke. “Your sister needs your help more than we do, Lukka.”
He froze. He knew his aunt and uncles better than he knew anyone else on the hunk of rock they lived on (Except Biggs, but that was another story). He was only called Lukka by his aunt. His grandmother had considered her a daughter, taught her grandson her language.
Lukka in Amatakka, the slave language, meant free. Luke was the first freeborn of the Skywalker name. Beru only called Luke “Lukka” when it was important. It meant stay safe. It meant you will not see me for a while. It meant I love you.
Luke ran to his aunt, let her hug him tightly. Let his uncle do the same. Beru ruffled his hair, and then he stood in front of the only family he had ever known.
“Something tells me that I’ll see you again,” Luke promised his aunt and uncle. “I’m not going to be gone forever.”
Obi Wan smiled. Something that he loved about his nephew was his unwavering optimism. “Thank you, Beru, Owen, for all you have done for us.”
“You are kin,” Owen said. “You know as well as we do that family’s the strongest bond here, chosen or blood.”
Obi Wan grinned, something cheeky that had been far more common in the Before, then he sombered. “I would stay away from the land that I own for a while. If Padmé’s droid landed there in an escape pod with a message from Leia, I have a bad feeling about what might be following him.”
Owen nodded, and Beru let a corner of her mouth slide up in a smirk. “Be careful, Obi Wan,” Beru warned. “You won’t have us to remind you to shower and brush your teeth.”
Obi Wan chuckled. He extended a hand to shake Owen’s, but he pulled the former Jedi into a hug. Beru hugged him as well, and then they stood silently, staring at each other. Obi Wan cleared his throat. “I guess we’ll be going now. May the Force be with you.”
He turned and walked out of the farmhouse, Threepio and Artoo following behind. Luke trailed even farther behind, uneager to leave one of the only homes he had ever known. The suns were setting, and a breeze was kicking up the loose sand.
Luke stared off at the horizon. Leaving was a good thing, he told himself. His sister and his mother were waiting for him. It would be okay.
Obi Wan was waiting at Luke’s speeder. He had gotten both of the droids in the vehicle already. “We need to go, Luke.”
He sighed, shoulders slumping. “I know, Uncle Obi. I’m just going to say goodbye to Grandmother Shmi.”
Obi Wan nodded, his voice stern but gentle. “I’m not telling you to hurry up, but time is of the essence.”
Luke smiled, with all of the sadness in his voice. He knew that Obi Wan never had any malicious intent towards him. He took the few steps to his grandmother’s grave, kneeling in the sand facing her tombstone.
“I’m leaving, Gan-amu Shmi, but I will come home. I will come back, like my father did, and Biggs did. I will come back,” Luke promised, knowing that he couldn’t actually promise it. “I love you. Watch over Beru and Owen when we are not here to help them.”
Luke stood, jumped into the driver’s seat. He drove them back to their house, his driving much smoother and gentler. Uncle Obi didn’t like Luke being reckless, said it reminded him too much of his father.
The rubble in front of the door had stopped smoking. Obi Wan inspected it as Luke unloaded the droids. He knew he would very soon have to reload them, and he dreaded its certainty.
“This escape pod is from the Tantive IV,” Obi Wan called out. Luke sighed as he set down Artoo.
“Am I supposed to know the name, Uncle Obi?” Luke dusted the sand off of his hands. He straightened in time to see Obi Wan shake his head.
“No. It is an Alderaani ship,” he explained. “One of Bail Organa’s personal crafts. But we must not dwell on that. Let’s get inside, as time is of the essence.”
Luke nodded, followed his uncle and the droids into their house. The front door led immediately to the common room. Artoo sidled up next to the small table in the center as Threepio plugged himself into the power generator. Obi Wan sat down in his favorite chair, groaning as his joints protested quietly. He had never thought that he would live to be old enough to complain about joint pain.
Luke sat quietly next to him, kneeling on a throw pillow, his ribcage digging into the armrest of Obi Wan’s chair. Obi Wan began fidgeting with a panel on Artoo’s cylindrical body, and the message began playing, a miniature version of his sister projected on the table.
Since they weren’t in the sun anymore, Luke was finally able to see her. If he didn’t know that she was his twin, he would have thought that she had to have been the biological daughter of royalty. Leia looked elegant, her posture poised and straight, a simple white dress shining blue with the projection, two intricate buns on the sides of her head. The more that Luke looked at her, the more he saw his mother. He knew he took after his father.
Suddenly, the audio started, and it was only the part that Artoo had shown him in the sand. Luke winced, squeezed his eyes shut. “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope. Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope. Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” Obi Wan leaned farther forward, mumbling curses under his breath.
The loop of his sister begging for help suddenly cut off. Obi Wan leaned back, a triumphant grin on his face. “Thank you, Artoo, for making this a struggle. Can you play the message now, please?”
“General Kenobi, years ago,” Leia began, “My father served you in the Clone Wars. Now, he begs you to help us in our struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I’m afraid that my mission to bring you and your nephew to Alderaan has failed.“
Obi Wan pretended not to look distressed. Luke saw right through him, and felt his own panic start to settle into his bones. His sister was in danger! The hologram continued playing.
“I have placed information vital to the survival of the Alliance to Restore the Republic into the memory systems of an R2 unit that served both my biological and adoptive parents. My father will know how to retrieve the information. You must see this droid safely delivered to him and General Amidale on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”
Leia’s figure glanced to the side, and frantically shut off the recording device. Luke felt his heart clench. Obi Wan seemed indifferent.
“We need to go to Alderaan!” Luke stood, looking for a bag to throw a change of clothes into. “Uncle Obi, we need to leave as soon as we can!”
The older man sighed, rubbing a hand down his face, combing through his beard, equal parts grey and auburn. “I know, Luke. I am thinking of your mother.”
Luke froze from his search. His mother was a sore subject, one that set an aching light through his heart. If his sister was in danger, hunted by the Empire, that put them all in danger. How was his mother faring with her capture? Was Leia even alive?
Obi Wan could feel his despair singing in the Force. “Remember your shields, young one. Your sister is not dead. She is a fighter. Leia will make it out alive, if we get going.”
Luke nodded, and ran to his room to pack. His father’s lightsaber did not go into the bag, but the weapon was clipped onto his belt, on the opposite side of his blaster. He threw some tools into the bag, followed by his holos. There was one of his mother and Leia, one he took with his friends at Anchorhead, and the secret one with his parents, alive and happy. With a second thought, he put his second-hand camera in his bag as well. He was going off-world, why not bring his camera?
He was in the process of throwing several changes of clothes in his bag when Obi Wan called out to him. “Luke, we need to get going!”
Luke sighed, fastening his bag. “Just a second!”
It struck him that he didn’t want to go. This was his home. But he knew that this was the start of something much bigger. It felt like something was pulling at his heart, one hand pulling him and trying to convince him that he didn’t want to leave home, and the other hand telling him it was his time to go. One voice told him that he would be home soon, and another was telling him that he would never see this place again.
He took one last breath in his room and ran out to join his uncle. He leapt into the driver’s seat, yanking his goggles down and pulling up his scarf. “Which spaceport are we headed?”
Obi Wan thought for a moment as Luke turned on the speeder. “Mos Eisley. It’s much closer. We need to get there as soon as we can.”
Luke turned to his uncle, a wicked grin hidden by his scarf. Obi Wan groaned. “Does that mean I can drive a little more recklessly?”
“Fine,” he laughed, the noise getting cut off as Luke gunned it. The speeder shot off towards the horizon, towards the binary sunset.
All credit goes to @fialleril for creating the Amatakka language
chelii: runaway slave
upana-noma: nephew (translates directly to brother-son)
Obi Wan signalled for Luke to stop the speeder just before they reached Mos Eisley. Luke obeyed, parking it on a ridge overlooking the small spaceport. He pulled the goggles from his head and turned to face his uncle.
The older man had pulled the scarf from his nose and mouth, and he looked at Luke with a serious demeanor that once terrified him. “With the exception of Mos Espa, I have never found a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than here. We need to be more cautious, given our situation. Do you understand?”
Luke nodded, and moved to start the speeder when Obi Wan put his hand on his wrist. “Luke, please be careful. I am going to procure us a ride off-planet. I’m going to have you go find your uncle Kitster.”
“And why am I finding Uncle Kitster?” Luke asked, blocking the suns with his hand. The droids had been mysteriously quiet, but sometimes Threepio got grating with his worrying.
Obi Wan raised an eyebrow. “First of all, he needs to know that Owen and Beru are down a singer and a protocol droid, so he knows not to send as many chelii to the Lars farmstead. He will also take your speeder back to Owen and Beru.”
Luke nodded. “Where do you want me to meet you after I talk to Uncle Kitster?”
“Exactly where I have you drop me off,” Obi Wan stated. “At the largest cantina in town.”
“Where all the spacers hang around,” Luke scoffed. “Okay, Uncle Obi. We both know how much you like the spacers and their awful driving. You don’t need to tell me again.” He started the speeder.
Obi Wan cracked a smile at Luke. “I only complain about your driving because it reminds me of your father, and how much you are like him.” Luke froze where he sat as Obi Wan kept speaking. “But as you’ve gotten older, you are reminding me more and more of your mother. You have her passion to do the right thing, to help others, her sweet demeanor, and her steadfast morals. I cannot wait for you to meet her. But, no more reminiscing. We must be going.”
Luke wiped the moisture from his eyes and accelerated recklessly down the sand dunes into town. Obi Wan clutched the seatbelt and the side of the speeder, his knuckles as white as the stormtroopers patrolling the streets of Mos Eisley.
Luke sent his uncle a worried glance, but he didn’t seem to be concerned, only throwing the hood of his cloak up. Imperial soldiers very rarely showed up on the Outer Rim planets. Something was wrong. In the world that Luke knew, wrong meant dangerous.
They drove slowly through the busy streets, dodging vendors and pedestrians alike. The stormtroopers noticed them, and one of them gestured for Luke to stop. They approached the speeder, and Luke squirmed a little in his seat.
“How long have you had those droids?” The leader asked, identified by the blaze orange swatch on his shoulder. The voices weren’t quite human, being distorted slightly by the helmets.
“A couple of seasons,” He answered, doing his best to appear innocent, like he wasn’t carrying an fugitive in his speeder.
“They’re for sale,” Obi Wan piped in, “If you’d like them.”
The stormtroopers seemed to not have noticed Obi Wan until he spoke up. The leader tilted his head at them, his helmet almost seeming to clatter. “Let me see your identification cards.”
Luke couldn’t help his eyes going wide. He fumbled in the pouch on his belt, startling when his uncle began speaking to the troopers. “You don’t need to see our identification.”
He looked from the stormtroopers to his uncle, who made a small gesture at the leader. It was impossible to read the troopers’ expressions, but then the leader spoke. “We don’t need to see your identification.”
Obi Wan made the same hand gesture. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
As if on cue, the leader spoke again. “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”
Luke looked to his uncle again, and was surprised to see that Obi Wan was grinning smugly. He groaned internally as he realized that Obi Wan was showing off, making a game out of this. “He can go about his business,” Obi Wan prompted, accompanied by the same hand gesture.
The leader gestured to Luke. “You can go about your business.”
Obi Wan tapped at Luke’s sleeve. When he made eye contact, Obi Wan grinned. “Move along,” he whispered.
“Move along,” The stormtrooper motioned for him to continue driving. Luke obeyed, pressing down on the accelerator. He turned to his uncle as he drove, rolling his eyes at him.
The cantina was only a few blocks away, and Luke parked next to the sandstone building. Several Jawas, scrap collecting desert-dwellers, ran up towards the speeder as soon as the engine stopped.
“Hey!” Luke yelled. “I’ve told you a hundred times that this is mine! Not for sale!”
As the Jawas skittered away, Obi Wan climbed out of the speeder. Luke turned back to him, a mix of laughter and sternness on his face. “I could have sworn that the Jedi had no sense of pride, or arrogance, about their abilities, Unc- I mean, Pops.”
Obi Wan smiled fondly at Luke. “I am no longer a Jedi.” He began to walk towards the entrance, making sure Luke was the only one who heard his voice. “But you will find that many of the Jedi of old were as arrogant as I am, if not worse. However, I would hardly call myself arrogant. I call it being a showoff.”
Luke coughed a laugh as he started unloading the droids. “I’ll be back in a quarter of an hour or so,” He called to his uncle as he set down Threepio.
“Thank you, Master Luke,” The protocol droid said, the Core accent out of place in the market. Artoo whistled his thanks, and Luke hopped back into the speeder.
“Luke,” Obi Wan called from the threshold of the cantina, “Please be careful when you come back. We can find the pilot we need, but this place can be rough.”
Luke only nodded before driving off. It wasn’t very far to the chelik-ta that his uncle Kitster ran. The freedom house was hidden under a functional apothecary, which Kitster had been running on his own since he himself had been freed.
There was no solid door, just a piece of faded and frayed cloth hung over the door frame. Luke ducked past this and found that the one room building was empty. He paid this no mind. Luke knew where Kitster was.
Luke took a second to take a breath of the air inside. It was his favorite smell, the air thick and still, the herbal scents radiating from the shelving that lined three walls of the building. The fourth wall had a small greenhouse pressed up to it, plants green and the lights buzzing. A counter bisected the building, and more shelves lined the front of it.
Containers of all shapes and sizes, mostly reused ration packaging and ancient glass jars, filled the shelves. Each container was labeled in a neat script, in a language that a good portion of Tatooine residents did not understand. Luke was one of the few who could.
Luke sighed in the air and climbed behind the counter. He crouched and removed the bantha rug behind the counter, revealing a trap door. Luke knocked, a staccato followed by silence, and then two more notes. Voices suddenly went silent, their absence making their presence known. Presences in the secret basement shifted, and then a man called out.
“If you wish to do business, I’ll be right with you!” The voice turned back to the other presences, trying to soothe them.
“Ma!” Luke called back. “Ek masa nu Lukkanal Ekkreth ka, vikka a Anakin Ekkreth, pac upana-noma a Kitster Banai, Beru Whitesun, pac Owen Lars.”
The voices went quiet downstairs. The trapdoor creaked open as Luke moved away from the rusted hinges. As it opened, a man close to Owen and Beru’s age poked his head out. He was balding slightly, the salt and pepper hair and beard contrasting brightly against his dark olive skin.
“Good afternoon, Luke,” Kitster greeted, a boyish grin growing on his face. Luke returned the smile. “What brings you to this fine establishment?”
“Ben and I are leaving,” Luke said bluntly. “There’s business we need to take care of off-world.”
Kitster blinked. Below him, two terrified voices whispered to each other in Ryl, the language of the Twi'leks. They were runaways getting their transmitters removed. Kitster shook his head, clearing himself of his daze. “I’m assuming you want me to send the speeder to Beru and Owen?”
Luke nodded. “And don’t send as many chelii to their homestead. They’re out a singer and a droid.”
It was Kitster’s turn to nod. “I understand. I can get the speeder back to your aunt and uncle by sundown tomorrow. I’m completely swamped until then. And before you go, Luke, let me get you some of your tzai .”
Luke felt his face flush. “You know how to make Skywalker tzai ?”
Kitster climbed out of the cellar and stretched. Luke got to his feet. “Many years ago, when I was younger than you, I grew up with your father and his mother. We were chosen family. I know the Skywalker tzai recipe because your Gan Amu Shmi taught me how to make it.”
Luke looked at his feet. He knew why he called Kitster Uncle, but Luke’s short attention span always made him forget that he was, in Tatooine standards, a Skywalker. Thankfully, Kitster understood, and did not mind explaining things to Luke more than once. The older man pulled a satchel from a shelf. He began to rummage through the jars and containers lining the walls, pouring a little of the herbs and spices inside into the satchel.
Kitster closed the satchel and handed it to Luke. “May your business go smoothly. Amarattu. ”
Luke bowed his head. “ Amarattu , Uncle Kitster. Thank you.”
Kitster turned back to the secret cellar, and Luke walked out of the apothecary’s cloth door into the blinding sun.
Obi Wan entered the cantina, the smell of alcohol, sweat, and vomit overwhelming. He gagged. Obi Wan sidled up to the bar as the bartender approached him.
“Just a water, please,” He requested, letting his Core accent conflict with his Tatooinan clothes. The bartender nodded, wiping at glass with a filthy rag. Obi Wan hid his shudder of disgust. “I am here for business, and I have no interest in being intoxicated for that.”
When he got his drink, Obi Wan cast his gaze around the cantina. The band was playing something obnoxiously catchy and most likely off-world in origin. Smugglers and criminals of all species drank and gambled. A tall Wookie bumped into him at the bar, apologizing with a grunt.
Obi Wan’s Shyriiwook wasn’t the best, but he could understand that the Wookie recognized him, not as Ben Whitesun, but Obi Wan Kenobi. A jolt of fear shot down Obi-Wan’s spine. He had not been recognized like this since Before.
“Do I know you, friend?” He tried carefully in Basic. The Wookie barked, and Obi Wan burst into a grin. He did indeed know this Wookie, and had met him when he was a Padawan under Qui Gon Jinn.
“It’s good to see you here, Chewbacca. I believe that you know these circles better than I. Do you know if there is anybody who can get me a transport to Alderaan?”
Chewbacca growled and gestured to the back of the cantina. Obi Wan followed to where he was pointing: A dark corner, where a young human man sat slouched back in a dark booth nursing a drink. Chewbacca barked something and disappeared. Obi Wan drained his glass and followed the taller creature.
As the two approached, the man looked up, revealing what could be considered a pretty face and clever eyes. He adjusted his vest and collared shirt as he sat upright. “I’m Han Solo, the captain of the Millenium Falcon.” He introduced, gesturing with his drink for Obi Wan and Chewbacca to sit down. The Wookie growled something that Obi Wan could not understand.
The expression on Han’s face shifted as he recognized the older man’s confusion. He took a sip from his drink. “Chewie here is tellin’ me that you’re looking for passage to the Alderaan system.”
“What he says is true, indeed.” Obi Wan nodded respectfully at the young captain. “If she is a fast ship.”
Han seemed to recoil like he himself had been personally insulted. “A fast ship?” He leaned forward, tilting his head at Obi Wan like he had been living under a rock. “Have you ever heard of the Millenium Falcon?”
Obi Wan shook his head. “Should I have?” He snarked, trying to hide the fact that he had not heard of this ship.
The captain rolled his eyes. “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs,” He leaned forward even more. “I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers, mind ya, I’m talking the big Corellian ships. She fast enough for ya, old man?”
Obi Wan smiled. Han was satisfied by this answer.
“What’s the cargo?”
The older man shrugged. “Only passengers. Myself, my nephew, two droids, and no questions asked.”
Han smirked. “Local trouble?”
Obi Wan coughed a dark laugh and leaned towards the smuggler. “I need to get my nephew to his mother, who is on Alderaan. His twin sister has been captured by Imperial forces, and I fear that her fate has been sealed for a long time. There is nothing we can do to help her. I need to get the boy to his mother. He will be the only family she has left soon.”
Silence fell over the booth. Obi Wan let his despair nudge towards the man, who appeared to be Force sensitive enough to have qualified to be a Jedi in another life. How he had escaped scrutiny, Obi Wan had no idea. The man in question spoke up.
“I can’t do this for free, ya know.” Han finished his drink. Obi Wan nodded, understanding.
“You must make a living somehow,” He sighed. “I have ten thousand credits remaining from the sale of a Naboo cruiser some time ago. Perfectly valid credits.”
“That’s not enough. Trips to Core planets are dangerous nowadays, especially if I’m smuggling.”
Obi Wan groaned internally. Time to see if the Negotiator was still up to par. “Alright. The boy’s mother can cover the rest of the fee you propose, when we arrive. Ten thousand for a down payment, and the rest of the fee when we get there.”
Han leaned back in the booth. “That’s wonderful, wait, what did you say your name was?” Chewbacca barked something to his captain, and the man leaned back forward, both intrigued and confused. “Kenobi? You mean like the old war hero?”
Obi Wan’s eyes darted around the room, looking for anyone who had overheard. Thankfully, with the music and banter, no one had. He leaned towards the smuggler. “No one needs to know about that, Captain.”
Han easily read the older man’s expression. “Your secret’s safe with me, sir. But how do you have your birth family? I thought that the, I mean, I thought they separated children from their families.”
“The boy is not mine by blood,” Obi Wan explained. The younger man was clearly not from Tatooine, nor did he know much about the culture. “But he has claimed me as the brother of his father, and I am not one to deny him that. I raised him with his blood aunt and uncle.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, what happened to his father?”
Obi Wan froze, but thankfully, Luke decided to walk in at that moment. Dodging the conversation, Obi Wan waved the boy over, and he plopped down in the seat next to his uncle.
“Kitster is gonna take the speeder back tomorrow night, and he won’t send a whole bunch of people down to Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, ‘kay Pops?” Luke asked, and Han looked from Obi Wan to the newcomer.
“Pops?” Han cocked his head. “What do you mean, ‘Pops?’”
Obi Wan turned to Luke. “I told him you are my nephew. He knows I am Kenobi, not Whitesun.”
“Oh,” Luke breathed, and he relaxed. “Is he our ride to Alderaan?”
The older man looked from Luke to Han. “If he accepts my offer?”
Han shrugged. “If you stick to your word.”
“Of course, Captain. I may have spent the last twenty years of my life living on a planet of criminals and slavers, but I am still an honest man. My morals do not bend.” Obi Wan folded his hands on the table. Luke glanced between the two men.
Han set down his glass with a satisfying thud. “Then it’s settled. My ship is at landing bay sixteen. Meet me there in twenty minutes.”
Obi Wan stood, gestured for Luke to stand. “Thank you, Captain Solo. We will be there then.”
Obi Wan turned to leave, but Han cleared his throat. Obi Wan turned around to find that the smuggler had extended his hand to shake. Obi Wan took it, and they sealed their fate.
Again, all credit for Tatooine Slave Culture (tzai, Amatakka, blood vs chosen family) goes to Fialleril
chelii: runaway slave
chelik-ta: a safe house on the freedom trail
Ek masa nu Lukkanal Ekkreth ka, vikka a Anakin Ekkreth, pac upana-noma a Kitster Banai, Beru Whitesun, pac Owen Lars: I am Luke (literal translation freeborn) Skywalker he/him, the son of Anakin Skywalker, and nephew (literally brother-son) of Kitster Banai, Beru Whitesun, and Owen Lars.
Chapter 4: Leia Interlude 1
The cell was colorless, too bright, too empty, too sterile. Ten paces long and wide, making it even smaller by her short strides. Leia jammed herself in the the bunk as far back as she could, just a space carved out of the concrete wall, and began to tighten every shield she had, every mental strategy she had been taught.
She knew what was going to happen here. Countless spies and intelligence officers had never returned after being captured by Imperial forces.
Now it was Leia’s turn to never return. She rubbed at her face. What would happen to her mother? Her parents? Her brother?
Her brother. She would die before she got to meet Luke face to face. And if the Empire got their hands on R2-D2, and she bet that it had happened already, Luke would soon meet her fate. But Leia would not cry for her family. Not now. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan would face her worst nightmare with acceptance and honor.
The cell door slid open, and the towering menace stepped into the tiny room. Leia did not flinch away, but stood and faced the monster with her steely confidence. An interrogation droid floated just behind him. Leia stood to meet him, even though he was an entire foot taller than her. The sound of mechanical breathing echoed through the cell, and the terrified pounding of Leia’s heart filled the offbeats.
“And now, Your Highness,” Vader said, a low monotone voice that chilled her soul to the core, “We will discuss the location of your hidden rebel base.”
Leia inhaled through her nose, exhaled softly through her mouth. She watched as Vader shut off the cameras that were surveilling her constantly. The droid floated towards her, and the door slid shut. She gulped.
The interrogation droid had two appendages, each with a hypodermic needle at the end. Clear liquid sloshed inside of them, and Leia knew that the chemical cocktails were going to cause her extreme pain.
Vader held her by her shoulder as the droid injected the chemicals into her forearms, not bothering to look for a vein. She felt it immediately. Her knees buckled as every nerve end in her body seemed to light on fire.
“Where is your base?” Vader asked. His voice was nearly drowned out by Leia’s scream.
“I will not tell!” She said, barely understandable through her gritted teeth. She squeezed her eyes shut, willing flashes of her adoptive sister Winter and her parents to flash behind them for support. She would not give in to this.
She felt Vader probing at her mind, an iron fist trying to tear through her mind. She had seen the handful of people who had survived Vader’s interrogations. They had come out alive, but without their minds intact. She could not let him in. She slammed all of her shields tighter, not caring that Vader could find out that not only was she Force sensitive, but she had been trained, even if a little bit.
Her body was burning, and she thought that they might have given her more drugs than her system could handle. Most of the prisoners of war were soldiers and pilots, men and women much stronger and larger than her, an intelligence agent who just happened to be a princess. If she overdosed on this torture drug, it might be a painful death, but it should be over quickly.
Vader reached out with his left hand and squeezed it into a fist. Leia felt her throat tighten, just like it had when Vader murdered Captain Antilles, and brought her hands up to her throat, scrabbling at the invisible hands. Just like the ring of bruises on the decoy corpse in her mother’s grave. Leia cursed out loud, masking her mistake with a reaction to physical pain. She had betrayed her mother to the man who had tried to kill her.
Vader didn’t react to Leia’s thought of Padmé Amidala, at least not that Leia could see. Her peripheral vision had gone fuzzy, and it was hard to bring Vader into focus. Besides, his face was covered by that blood chilling mask. Leia was going unconscious, she realized, and her death from oxygen loss was imminent. It was getting harder to control her shields, and Vader was still prying at her mind.
She started to pray, quiet in the back of her mind so Vader couldn’t see. I’m sorry Madré, Padré, Mamma. I’m sorry Brother, Sister, Uncle, Aunties. Do not weep for me. And with that thought, she started to cry. It was not dignified, as expected from a princess of a Core world. She screamed out choked sobs as the tears and snot ran down her face. Leia clawed at her own neck as her vision faded faster than before. She was hyperventilating, but there was no air in each of her breaths. She did not remove her stare from Vader’s mask, hoping to reach through it to the creature inside.
And suddenly, Leia saw red. It was not anger, but lava, volcanic rock and ash. Vader and the Death Star cell were gone.
She watched as she stretched her own leather gloved hand out, but instead of squeezing a fist, it was open, like it was physically fit against a neck. A pregnant woman with dark, puffy eyes stood in front of her. She was crying as she gripped her own throat. It was Padmé. It was Mamma.
Leia was watching Darth Vader’s memories. She was watching her mother's attempted murder. She wanted to throw up.
She could hear another man’s voice screaming to let the woman go. Leia couldn’t hear him clearly because her ears were ringing. And then the woman spoke, and the world went silent. Her voice was hoarse, and Leia could feel her suffocation. She had been there, in her mother’s swollen stomach.
“Anakin,” Padmé Amidala whispered, not breaking eye contact with Vader, desperation turning her begging into a plea.
Her father had to be the one screaming in the distance. Vader would turn his attention from her mother to her father and kill him. She could feel her father’s despair, and was that guilt storming around her? Leia couldn’t tell.
And then Vader let go of her. Leia watched her mother collapse to the hard ground of the landing pad. She stayed still, and Leia wanted to scream at her mother to get up. If she didn’t know that her mother had survived the attack, she would have been certain that she had died.
Then the world came back to Leia. The real Vader loomed over her, and Leia realized that she could breathe, and she was sprawled on the ground, just like her mother had fallen. She sucked at the cold, sterile air and thanked whatever higher power had saved her.
“We will resume your interrogation when you are coherent, Princess. Be thankful that I have not killed you yet.” Vader gestured, and he and the interrogation droid left her cell.
Leia heaved several more breaths, and she hauled herself to the bunk. Her limbs were heavy, and she laid down, the remnants of the interrogation drug sending occasional sparks of pain down her spine. She was thankful for the time, and she closed her eyes, unable to shake the image of her mother’s attempted murder from behind her eyelids. Padmé stayed with her daughter until she fell asleep.