The usual disclaimers apply. All things in the Star Wars Universe belong
to George Lucas and Lucasfilm. I am not making a credit out of this story.
"Owen, you know as well as I do that Lukeís just not a farmer. No matter
how hard you try and make him one."
Owen Lars sighed wearily. Another hard year trying to keep his family on their property was taking its toll. He turned to the little woman next to him and wrapped his arms around her.
Beru raised her eyes to his as a startled expression crossed her face. It had been a long time since Owen had shown any spontaneous affection to her and especially to Luke.
Her face softened into a smile, he was her pride and joy that boy. She loved him with a fierce determination ever since Obi-Wan had brought him whimpering into their lives. Beru had not been able to have children, theyíd known that when they had married, but Owen had said that it didnít matter, There were always children needing a good home and one day they would find one to love. Owen loved the boy too, but found it difficult to let him know. He was so afraid for him.
17 years previously
Obi-Wan had contacted them three days ago asking for a great favour. Owen had been suspicious at first; he always was of any scheme Obi-Wan involved himself in. However the air of barely checked sorrow made the farmer pause. They were so different the brothers. Owen was a stoic, a man of the soil, dependable and solid, whereas Obi-Wan was dashing and dangerous, had flown the galaxy and achieved great things as a general and Jedi Knight.
Beru knew that all was not well in the Empire currently and that Obi-Wan
was running from someone or something. The last message theyíd received
had for the first time shown a hint of despair about the Jedi. He was unhappy
Owen watched the small speeder approach the farm heíd rented on the outskirts of Aldera. They had known he would come, but not when. He'd arrived sooner than they'd thought.
The speeder slowed and stopped and the driver sat for a moment motionless,
before pulling himself stiffly from the vehicle.
"Brother" Owen had gruffly greeted Obi-Wan.
"Owen", the Jedi returned.
Beru ran out of the house and greeted the Jedi warmly, she'd always been fond of Obi Wan. "Come inside and rest. You look exhausted".
It was true he did look tired, but this was more than simple fatigue.
His eyes were red-rimmed possibly from weeping, lack of sleep or both and
Beru could have sworn that heíd lost weight. His tunic hung on him, shapeless
Owen looked concerned heíd never seen Obi Wan like this. The Jedi moved from the small craft carrying a large holdall and limped after Beru.
"Youíre hurt!" she exclaimed. "Let me call a healer or take you to the nearest centre".
"No!" he broke in sharply, then shook his head as if to clear it. "Iím sorry Beru I didnít mean to snap at you. But it is imperative for all our sakes that no one knows Iím here. No one."
The couple looked confused. "What kind of trouble are you in?" asked Owen.
"I donít know where to begin, itís a catastrophe of immense proportions and itís all my fault. My pride has brought the galaxy to this." he put his hand over his eyes. "Itís better that you donít know too much, but Iíll tell you what I can and I still have that favour to ask. What Iíll do if you say no I havenít worked out yet".
The bag heíd been carrying moved slightly. Beru jumped back from it giving a sharp little cry of alarm. "Thereís something alive in that bag. Obi Wan you canít carry animals in a bag like that it will kill them."
She picked it up and ran into the house, the bag was locked. Kneeling she noticed the carefully punctured holes in the side for ventilation. A mewling cry issued forth. It sounded almost human. "Obi Wan what have you got in there?"
He knelt down waved his hand over the locking mechanism and the catch sprang open.
The holdall gaped open and the mewing cry was repeated, but louder. Beru knelt down and peered into the bag, her mouth dropped open as she looked up at Obi Wan.
"A... aÖ baby?" She went ashen and stared at a dumbstruck Owen, then again at an impassive Obi Wan. She bent forward and lifted the tiny form into her arms. Tiny star-like fists clenched and waved as the infant opened his mouth and exercised an impressive pair of lungs.
Trembling she stretched out her hand and the tiny fingers latched on to one of her own. The baby opened the bluest eyes Beru had ever seen and gently she smoothed a tuft of blonde hair.
Obi Wan breathed heavily and turned to Owen. This is the favour I have to ask of you. Donít say anything until youíve heard me out. It could be a mixed blessing in more ways than one."
Owen looked at his wife who held the baby as if it was infinitely precious.
He sat down and nodded to his brother to begin.
"You know about the unrest in the galaxy recently I presume. There has been chaos everywhere since the war ended and things are beginning to get out of control. The Jedi have been guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy for thousands of years, but even some of them have grown corrupt. Someone somewhere is destroying us. Since the war the only person to manage any order has been Senator Palpatine and I feel he is the most corrupt of all. I suspect he is behind the recent murders". Obi Wan shut his eyes briefly for a second. "Palpatine somehow has acquired an ability with the force just like a Jedi, but his power feels wrong somehow - dark and evil. He has consolidated the position he gained after the battle of Naboo. Supreme Chancellor isn't enough." Obi Wan took a deep breath. "Palpatine has just declared himself... Emperor".
The baby started to cry, not loudly but little whimpering sobs that tore at Beruís heart as if he knew about Palpatine's evil. Her brother-in-law caressed the babyís soft cheek and prepared to continue. Owen stood up and paced round the room. Heíd met Palpatine once when he served with Bail Organa during the clone wars and hadnít liked or trusted the man. He was too smooth andÖ well, had just made Owen shudder.
Obi Wan continued steadily. "Many of the Jedi have already been killed or arrested. Others have just disappeared without trace. His greatest creation is a dark Sith lord by the name of Darth Vader and he has the ability to seek out the Jedi and destroy them. Vader is betraying and murdering his own kind." The pain in Obi Wan's voice at his last statement was almost tangible. "Anyone with any force ability is in grave danger. I know Palpatine means to destroy the Jedi and amass as much evil power for himself as he can. We never thought that heíd actually do it."
Owen gestured towards the baby in his wifeís arms. "How does this little person fit into all this?"
Obi Wan looked at Beru and then at Owen. "If you wonít take the baby, you must forget you ever saw him."
"Forget I ever saw him - how could you want to forget such a beautiful baby?"
The Jedi waved his hands and then buried his face in them. "Do you remember Anakin?"
Owen nodded as understanding came across his face. The baby was somehow connected to Obi Wan's apprentice.
"Anakin has joined the Emperor, has deserted his wife and has turned to evil. Itís my entire fault." His voice rose in anguish. "Anakin has turned to evil - he has become Darth Vader. Nothing is safe now. The dark times have come."
Complete silence greeted Obi Wan. Beru looked at the baby and then at her husband. "This is Anakinís child?"
She remembered the lanky young man when heíd visited once or twice with Obi Wan. Heíd turned into a dark lord of the Sith; to evil and he was the father of this beautiful baby. How? "What about his mother, where is she. Cannot she look after the child?"
"Padme has gone into hiding. Anakin never knew she was pregnant when he left her. He accused her of the most terrible things, including an affair with me. Yes I loved her, but I never touched her - she was completely innocent. Anakin was making it easier on himself and feeding off Palpatineís lies. If they ever find out about this baby they will kill him and me too. Iíll give my life to protect him, only itís too dangerous for me to actually keep the boy. He is strong with the force and would be considered a threat to the Emperor. If they find Padme they will kill her too."
Beru had met Padme only once, a beautiful dark eyed girl who had come
to see them with Anakin. Beru had thought that Obi Wan had been a little
too interested in his friend's wife, but knew that as an honourable man
he would have worshipped from afar. Seems she'd been right after all. Rumour
had it that Padme was the Queen of a small nation, but sheíd seemed so
ordinary and very much in love with her tall husband. That must have been
a couple of years ago and evil changed things greatly.
"She doesnít want to give up the baby, but knows itís for the best. Sheís entrusted him to me and I told her I would take him to you. She remembered you very favourably from a visit a few years ago. She also knows that you are unable to have family of your own and your longing for family." He stared hard at Owen. "If you agree to adopt the baby he will be told very little of his past. The less he knows the safer he and you will be. Your life will change. You will not be able to stay here. We're condemning you to a life in hiding. I'm not trying to put you off, force knows you're my best chance but I don't want to blind you to the importance or the danger. If it helps Padme had good feelings of you too Owen, she trusts you to keep him safe. The force runs strong in his family. We need him to survive - he is our only hope."
"What is his name?" asked Beru quietly cradling him lovingly in her arms.
"Iíll only tell you that if you agree to keep him, for your own safety and his, but you are very much my last hope."
Obi-Wan picked up the bag and collected the sleeping infant from a reluctant Beru. Carefully he wrapped the baby in blankets and placed him inside. "Iíll return in one hour with the rest of his things. If you decide to adopt him you cannot stay on Alderaan as I've already said. I have property on Tatooine." The Jedi glanced up catching Owen's startled expression. Yes Owen, that dustball. Anakin was born there and so were you and I. Anakin will never return there as heís wiped his previous life from his memory and his records. To his child, and us Anakin Skywalker is dead.
Iím offering you the chance to move to Tatooine to care for the boy. I wonít interfere until he is ready to know the truth. Think about it, Iíll be back in one hour."
With Obi Wan's speeder gone from the horizon the Lars family stood staring at each other, trying to understand the direction their life could take. Beru raised wise blue eyes, shadowed with a hint of pain to her husband.
"Owen I want to care for that baby so much. You donít know what it feels like to only be half a woman. The Emperor and his kind took away my choice to have family when they bombed our settlement I know that you still love me and that it doesnít really matter to you, but it does matter to me."
He held her tightly in his embrace and kissed her on her tear stained cheeks. Heíd thought she was resigned to not having children, but now he saw how deeply sheíd been hurt and how desperate she was for a child of her own to love.
"Owen Iím asking you to give up such a lot, but the baby needs us. If we donít take him, he will die. I know you donít always agree with Obi-Wanís philosophies on life. You probably think he has got us all into this mess. But for once I donít think he exaggerated. Do you?"
"No, I guess not. He should have stuck to farming Beru like our father wanted us to."
"Owen that's unfair! Obi Wan never had a choice in the matter. He was tested and declared suitable. Your parents declared he could be taken to train as a Jedi. So leave your father out of this."
Owen snorted. "Anakin should have stayed away from him as well. Obi-Wan has been nothing but trouble. If we agree to do this he has to keep the hell out of our lives. They say Jedi can sense other Jedi. Well Iím not having a dark lord of the Sith turning up on our doorstep and taking the child away. Weíll raise him to be a farmer and keep him safe. Strong in the force! How could such a tiny being be strong with the force, itís probably just wishful thinking on his part."
"Do you mean it Owen? Can we raise him as our own?"
"Beru Lars, as soon as he wound his little hand around your fingers I knew heíd wound himself around your heart and there's no way I could deny you this. You know I love you. I may not say it often," he said gruffly. "But I do."
She threw her arms round her husband and he smoothed her hair with his rough hands. Life had never been easy for Owen. Obi Wan had always been the one who had led a charmed life. But Owen would never let her or the baby down.
"I mean it Beru. Obi-Wan has to get the hell out of our lives and not interfere. If we can keep the boy away from all the force nonsense he will be safe."
Beru closed her eyes secure in his embrace. 'Somehow Owen', she thought I donít think you can always order destiny around. This little boy has an awful lot riding on him. Beru had seen the expression in the Jedi's eyes and she'd known this was the most important thing she would ever do. This was her destiny and she had to do it right.
True to his word the speeder could be heard approaching the property exactly one hour later. This time Obi Wan was not alone. A slender figure with red-rimmed brown eyes and a beautiful pale face sat sobbing silently next to the Jedi. Obi-Wan clambered out and held a steadying arm to the woman, supporting her into the house. Just as they reached the door he put his arm around her and gently kissed her brow. In that fashion they walked into the house. Looking for all the world like a couple coming visiting with their baby.
Beru watched from the doorway as the little scene unfolded. 'Thereís
a lot there that they are not talking about', she thought.
"Owen!" she called. "Obi-Wanís back with a visitor. Heís brought Padme."
"I came to thank you for agreeing to do this. I cannot keep my babies safe"
Beru blinked. Had she said babies? 'No it must have been a mistake on my part and she is crying so much itís difficult to hear her words clearly.'
Beru missed the warning look Obi-Wan threw at Padme. 'Don't tell them anything about his sister. It's better this way.'
Padme stepped forward her arms outstretched. "I will always be indebted to you. Keep him close to your heart," she said softly.
"But how did you know that we would agree to take your son?" Beru asked in bewilderment. "Obi-Wan said you would" replied Padme simply.
Owen directed a told-you-so glare at his wife, who ignored him.
The Jedi Knight spoke up quickly as time was running out. Vader was
unaware of Obi-Wanís whereabouts at the present time, but it wouldnít be
long before he found out and came for him too. It was his duty to get the
new little family out of sight.
"The rent for this place has been paid for you by Padme. As has your passage to Tatooine, but you wonít be travelling by a direct route. Some doubling back will be done to put Imperial agents off the scent. I will meet you in three days at the Bakklavva Spaceport on Triadon, where Iíve arranged to hire a ship. Itís a private charter, so no-one will be able to trace us and I will be flying it so that our final destination is completely unknown".
"We pay our own way", Owen growled.
"No, you must let me do this for my son. I have the money and when Iím
dead I would want him to know that I loved him."
She sounds so certain of her own death thought Beru anxiously. She's little more than a child herself to talk in this way.
"The force runs strong in my family Beru Lars I await my destiny. Iíve also put a deposit on a small moisture farm outside Anchorhead. I hope you will accept this from me also. It is my sonís heritage. You can arrange a loan to pay the rest."
"I donít need to do that, my lady."
Owen had heard the rumours about Padme, but didnít know if they were true. She was indubitably an aristocrat. "I was saving this to tell my wife, but you all might as well share my surprise. Weíve saved enough to buy our own farm and in the Outer Rim territories it will be cheaper to make a living. I can pay for my family."
"Then all I can say is may the force be with you." She finally broke down and sobbed, burying her face in the Jediís shoulder. The baby clutched in her arms cried in sympathy with his distressed mother." He...heÖ never cries" she wept. It was the sound of a heart breaking. "Ssh Luke, ssh my son", she crooned brokenly. "His name is Luke Skywalker" she offered quietly. "It means light".
The Lars family and Obi Wan left the young mother to say her final farewell
to her baby son. When they returned Padme embraced Owen and Beru, then
handed the baby to Beru. "Take care of my son and never let him forget
that I loved him, please youíll do that for me - please. She started to
cry again and made for the door, turned ran to Luke and kissed him one
last time. Obi-Wan held out his arms and Padme ran into them and he escorted
the distraught girl from the house.
They never saw her again.
The couple looked at each other in silent amazement. They were now to be parents to this tiny scrap of humanity. Beru held the infant out to Owen who accepted him gingerly. The baby opened his incredibly blue eyes and fixed Owen with an almost knowing stare. There was something old in those eyes as if heíd already seen too much in his short life. He opened his mouth and gave a sleepy yawn. Beru fumbled in the bag his mother had left and pulled out several bottles filled with milk. Some clothes, nappies and a fluffy toy like a woolly buwatu.
"I swear to him that Iíll protect this child with my life Beru. Heís
special and we must protect him from Palpatine and Vader."
"Especially Vader. They say that the Jedi always know their own."
"We have to hope that is not the case Beru".
"We also have to protect him from Obi-Wan. He can be manipulative and
sly. Heís responsible for a lot of this mess."
"Owen! He only did what he thought was right."
"He thought he could train Anakin to be a Jedi instead of Yoda. He was wrong. Anakin was powerful but quick tempered and the training was incomplete when Palpatine got his hands on him."
"I think youíre being harsh Owen"
"No Beru we have to think of the baby now, and I want Obi-Wan out of our lives."
"That can never be Owen." They jumped at the sound of his voice behind them. Padmeís hiding place must be close by. "I too have made promises to Padme. I will also live on Tatooine, but I promise not to interfere. I have to hide from the Empire, as my life is forfeit. Vader and I duelled and he fell into a molten pit. When he clawed his way out the fire had burned the evil permanently into his soul. Anakin Skywalker has gone for ever. There was no way I could mention Padme and her pregnancy. She would have been taken to Palpatine and the child used to serve the Emperor."
"Then why did you come here, surely youíll have been followed" cried Beru.
"Anakin/Vader needed treatment and I sensed he would give me time to leave. He has the anticipation of hunting me down and perhaps he wanted to give me a chance after all we were together a long time. He doesnít imagine I will run and hide. I will watch over you and the boy".
"We donít need you".
"Whether you need me or not I will be there. Now I must hurry you. The bookings are for tomorrow."
The Jedi left with a swirl of his brown cloak. Leaving the Lars family alone once more. Beru picked up the sleeping baby and moved through to the bedroom to pack.
Three weeks later she opened her eyes on the twin suns of Tatooine. Owen was already up checking the moisture vaporaters and baby Luke snuffled in his cot. All she could see were endless dunes of sand, but the knowledge of ĎBení Kenobiís serene presence in a tiny hut across the Jundland Wastes; right on the edge of the Dune Sea made her feel nearly safe. Owen too, though he would never admit it.
She picked Luke up and cradled him in her arms and he opened eyes as blue as the sky above. Together they would keep him safe.