So, here it is, the combined efforts of myself and Jedi Jesi Jinn. Binary Skies.

I'm so excited, we were working on chapter two before I even started editing this chapter haha.

Disclaimer, neither of us own Star Wars...though we both want's Hunger Games over here haha. We did a guess a number between 1 and 75 to figure out who would get to do Luke. So Luke Skywalker is done by me, Anakin is done by Jesi. And then Vader, Palpatine, Han, and Obi-Wan will also be done by me, and Jesi has Leia, Artoo, Threepio, Chewbacca, and Yoda.

Please go like the page, AngelDesaray of Fanfiction, I put all sorts of stuff up on there! And I'm also finally a published author! Eternity's Guardian by Shaundra Nash on Amazon!

Please, please review, we REALLY want your opinion on this.


Anakin Skywalker jogged down the hall towards where he knew the bridge to be for the Separatist Cruiser he and Obi Wan were on. The rescue of Chancellor Palpatine hadn't quite gone as planned, but at least everyone was still alive.

Well, almost everyone.

He still regretted beheading Count Dooku, despite the man being a Sith Lord. He'd been unarmed— or unhanded, Anakin thought in a moment of irreverent humor— when Anakin had done the deed. Plus...he couldn't deny that he'd taken maybe a bit too much pleasure in finally getting rid of the galaxy's biggest menace next to the Sith Master they still had yet to unearth.

Either way, Anakin was not entirely comfortable with his actions earlier, but there was nothing he could do to reverse it, and so he focused instead on getting out of there. At the moment that meant getting to the bridge and taking over the ship, which had already sustained heavy damage courtesy of the Republic Cruisers in the battle outside.

But...perhaps he was too focused, because partway down their current corridor, a sudden bluish shield descended, effectively trapping them. Anakin grimaced as they skidded to a halt, berating his lack of focus.

Maybe if he'd...

Anakin paused in that thought as a tugging sensation suddenly came over him. He frowned, throwing a worried glance at Obi-Wan, but the elder Jedi seemed unaware of his predicament. In fact, Obi-Wan seemed more concerned with getting out of the ray shield.

Anakin felt the strange tug again—more forcefully this time—and he felt a trickle of fear. What was going on? Was this a new trick General Grievous and Count Dooku had devised beforehand to separate Anakin from Obi-Wan?

Speaking of Obi-Wan, the man was turning to say something to Anakin. However, Anakin didn't hear what would have been said, because the second Obi-Wan started to swivel toward Anakin, his figure blurred and the tug became an almost violent rip.

Subsequently, Anakin was...falling...through some sort of ethereal tunnel. Anakin instinctively prepared himself for a rough landing, but then a flash of ultra-bright light seared his vision, distracting him.

The air left him with an oomph when his back hit something that was equal parts soft and hard. Anakin lay still for a long moment, keeping his eyes tightly closed and waiting for the light to go away. However, when it didn't disappear, Anakin risked peeking open one cerulean orb. As his eyesight adjusted, a surge of trepidation coursed through his veins.

He was now staring in complete bewilderment at a very familiar pair of suns.

"Well...there are two bantha's down there, but I don't see any...wait a second."

Luke Skywalker's gaze narrowed as he adjusted the macrobinoculars in his hands, resisting the urge to grab the long rifle beside him. The droids were right behind him, and Luke was silently cursing himself for falling for Artoo's trick last night and taking off the droid's restraining bolt. They wouldn't be in this situation right now if he would have left the thing on, or better yet, put it back on the droid.

Luke mentally berated himself again; now wasn't the time to be thinking about that. Right now his sole concern needed to be what he could see in the canyon down below him. Standing next to the bantha—gaffi stick and all—was a Tusken Raider.

"There's Sand People all right, I can see one of them now," Luke muttered. Before he could say or observe anything else, something obstructed his view of the Raider down below, and Luke looked up sharply in alarm.

There, right in front of him with its gaffi stick raised high above its head in triumph, was a Tusken Raider. The being let out a guttural war cry and Luke scrambled back, his blood pumping furiously in his veins as alarm and fear shot through him, spurring Luke to action. He snatched the long rifle up, trying to bring it around to bludgeon the Raider against the head with the tip as the Raider was too close for Luke to fire. Unfortunately, the Raider had surprise on its side, and Luke was too slow to react as the Raider pummeled the blunt edge of the gaffi stick into Luke's stomach. He doubled over, his breath leaving him in a whoosh as he flew backwards onto a slab of rock a few steps down from the perch he'd been spying on the Tusken's from. The Tusken lunged down at Luke, swinging the barbed tip down towards Luke's head. Luke rolled onto his side to avoid the weapon, then was forced to roll onto his back once again as the Tusken took another swing at his head. Luke threw his weight to the side again just in time, the spiked edge of the gaffi stick striking the rock and causing a few sparks to appear where Luke's head had been just moments ago. Again, the Tusken raised the stick over his head in a triumphant shout that echoed around the canyon before he brought the blunt edge down against Luke's head-hard. Luke heard a scream of pain burst out of him, fire gathering to the spot he'd been hit and pulsing painfully in his skull as he raced towards a world of darkness.

Anakin's first panicked—and embarrassing—thought was that he had passed out in some ridiculous way, but then the very real heat of the double suns woke him up to the fact that he was indeed on Tatooine.

But how?

A cursory glance showed Anakin that he was alone; Obi-Wan and Chancellor Palpatine were nowhere to be seen. Anakin calmed himself, trying to remain the Jedi Knight he was. He would remain level-headed and...

Anakin's thoughts were halted cold when a familiar and horrible guttural call sounded all about him. Anakin jerked upright in an instant, his lightsaber lit and in hand even as his eyes scanned for the Sand Person it belonged to.

Anakin swore under his breath when he remembered that where one Sand Person was, there were usually others.

Anakin's sharp hearing picked up the sounds of a metallic scream amidst the war cries of another Tusken Raider and he frowned. It wasn't unheard of for Sand People to attack droids, and if that's all this was, then Anakin would just go the other way.

He was about to do just that when he felt a flash of pain that wasn't his...and yet...

Anakin hissed as fear spiked through his mind as if it was partially his, and he struggled to make sense of it. Then, with a startling clarity, Anakin realized that if a droid was being hurt he wouldn't be able to feel it.

That meant there was a person up there!

"Blast it!" Anakin swore, sprinting toward the sounds of the scuffle as images of another encounter with Sand People came to mind. Anakin resolutely pushed those away and prayed he wasn't too late.

However, halfway there, there was one more spike of agony before the presence ahead went alarmingly silent. Anakin stumbled from the sudden feeling of loss, and had to stop and catch his breath.

Why would this person's pain be so...personal for Anakin? The Force whispered a warning just as Anakin heard the scuffle of feet on sand, and he dove for the first spot of cover he could find.

Seconds later, two Tuskens passed his position, carrying a limp form between them. Anakin allowed them to get a few paces ahead and, checking the area for more nearby, leapt from hiding and raced forward.

They spun in shock at the snap-hiss his lightsaber gave off when ignited...and before Anakin could make a move, they shrieked in sudden terror and dropped their victim. Anakin stared in utter befuddlement as they literally ran away screaming.

"Okay..." Anakin muttered when they were gone.

He stared at his lightsaber for a few moments before it finally hit him: Sand People passed their history on orally, so they probably remembered his slaughter of that tribe years before...

Grimacing in shame for his act then, Anakin sheathed his blade and knelt beside the downed figure, turning him over.

Blond hair framed a face that had obviously spent all its years in the suns. Anakin noted the cleft chin and yet...the rest of this boy's features were soft. He wore the typical light-colored desert drab meant to protect the body from the heat and sunlight. Anakin shrugged, chiding himself for lagging behind in checking him with the Force.

Anakin placed a hand on the young man's forehead and sent a careful tendril into his mind. To Anakin's utter amazement, he found a deep well of Force-power within this young man...and his presence, when viewed in the Force, shown brighter than the combined light of Tatoo I and Tatoo II.

Wow...Anakin thought, fighting against the instinctual shove the young man's subconscious gave him when it sensed the intrusion.

And yet, the more Anakin studied him, the more this boy's Force sense seemed completely raw...untrained.

What is this? How could the Jedi Council have missed this boy? He mused. His presence is unmistakable!

Then again, how could they have not noticed Anakin's?

Anakin heard the young man groan as he began to stir, and he withdrew the probe, sitting back on his haunches to wait.

Slowly, the darkness Luke had been sent into turned into a drab grey as he felt a strange jabbing sensation in his mind. The sensation withdrew as the grey faded away, and Luke was suddenly aware of himself again. His head throbbed in pain, and his gut still ached from the blow from the gaffi stick. He groaned, then coughed from the dust that had somehow gotten in his airway while he'd been asleep. His hands instinctively curled at his side as he tried to push himself up by his elbows, lifting a hand to his head as everything spun and his head throbbed harder where he'd been hit. Again, he groaned, though this time the coughing caused his head to pound with every cough. Suddenly, he realized he shouldn't have tried to sit up so fast.

He didn't realize that there was someone else with him.

"Whoa, take it easy!" someone cautioned mildly. "You look about ready to pass out again."

Luke started at the voice, opening his eyes and then squinting against the twin suns to try and take in the man before him, hand still on his head. He'd never seen the man before in his life, which was saying something considering he was in the middle-of-nowhere Tatooine. He was dressed rather strangely as well, sort of like old Ben Kenobi, except in darker colors. He had dark blonde hair that fell in unruly waves to his shoulder, a scar over his right eye and two small ones on his cheek, a cleft chin like Luke, and startling blue eyes, the exact same shade as Luke's; and here he'd thought the color had been rare.

"Who are you?" he croaked, pushing himself into a sitting position much slower this time.

Anakin frowned as the young man continued to try sitting up.

He's a stubborn one, Anakin thought. Like me...

"My name is Anakin," he belatedly replied. "And you are?"

Luke felt as if ice had been dumped down his spine. Anakin...that had been his father's name. What were the chances he'd run into someone with the exact same name?

"Luke," he murmured. "My names Luke...what happened? Where's the Sand People?" he asked, glancing around and propping an elbow up on his knee.

Anakin coughed to hide a slightly amused grin. "I, ah...scared them off."

Luke grimaced. "Got it..." Suddenly, he remembered why he'd been out here in the Jundland Wastes in the first place. "Oh no..." he muttered, struggling to get to his feet.

Anakin furrowed his brow at Luke's sudden apprehension. "What's wrong?"

"The droids," Luke grunted, getting unsteadily to his feet. "My uncle's going to kill me if something happens to those droids!"

Warily, he cast his eyes around the canyon, gaze passing in disinterest over the ransacked landspeeder before his eyes caught a glint of something metallic hidden in one of the canyon's many crevices.

Luke sighed in relief. "There's one of them..." he mumbled, making out the domed head of Artoo-Detoo behind the rocks. "Come on, they're gone now...where's that protocol droid?" Luke muttered as the astromech emerged from its hiding place.

Anakin shot a cursory glance in the direction Luke had indicated one droid to be, but he couldn't make out much more than a glowing red photoreceptor thanks to the shadows. A bit warily, Anakin followed Luke, not sure what he should be doing, but not wanting to be left behind either.

"Why did you bring a protocol droid into the desert?" Anakin asked on a whim, searching for something to say.

"It's not like I had much of a choice; that Artoo unit tricked me into taking off his restraining bolt and then ran off during dinner last night. I couldn't go after him then because it was too dangerous, so I set out with the protocol droid first thing this morning to find him, considering the protocol said he'd worked with the Artoo unit before. Then this sort of happened...I've never seen such loyalty in a droid. He's intent on finding his previous owner...I think what he's got might be important and I told my uncle...and told him how I think someone might be in trouble..." Luke kicked a stray rock, keeping an eye out for the gold droid. "He just told me to forget about it and have their memories erased, but I can't get that message out of my head; I mean, what if that woman's in trouble and...I don't even know why I'm telling you all of this..." Luke muttered. Where was that droid? It shouldn't have been so hard to find a gold droid...

Anakin frowned at the younger man, not entirely sure what to make of him. But there was something in his story Anakin could relate to; being underappreciated.

"Well, if someone is really in trouble, then you should do whatever it takes to help them," he said, frowning as a new thought hit him. "What are we looking for by the way? I mean what's this missing droid look like?"

"Ah, gold, somewhat annoying, scuffed up like he's seen a lot of action...hopefully in one piece. He was standing right behind me when I was attacked," Luke told him. Finally, a glint of gold caught Luke's attention, and he hurried to the source. "Oh no," he mumbled again before standing up, the protocol droid arm held in his hand. "He's got to be somewhere around here..."

Anakin stared at the golden arm almost as if it were a magnet. That arm looked suspiciously familiar, and yet...there had to be more than one gold-plated droid in the vast galaxy.

But none that I myself created, Anakin thought. He stopped; his head was beginning to ache.

Anakin started to brush it off as coincidence...until Luke at last located the rest of the thing. Anakin promptly froze in shock. It couldn't be...

Luke was now in the process of checking the golden droid over, even as it sat up.

No...Anakin felt panic threaten him. He's with Padmé...Wait, did something happen to Padmé?

Stop this! Anakin chided himself, trying once more to deny what was right before him. This isn't...

However, the second the droid began to speak, Anakin could no longer deny the truth.

Anakin dimly heard Luke ask a question and the droid answered.

"I don't think I can make it Master Luke," See-Threepio lamented in his familiar prissy tone. "You go ahead without me; your life isn't worth the risk of saving me."

Anakin made a conscious effort not to pass out.

What in space is going on? He wondered.

"Don't be ridiculous, were not going anywhere without you. Besides, this isn't anything I can't fix," Luke scolded him, helping the droid stand up. He turned to his companion and was about to ask if he was okay when a new voice reached his ears.

"And just where are you going to go out here in the Jundland Wastes, young Luke?"

Luke spun around with relief flooding through him at the new arrival.

"Ben! Boy, am I glad to see you!"

Anakin had thought he was in shock before.

He was wrong.

He'd spun around at the sound of the first welcome voice in the last...however long, ready to thank the Force for this gift of his Master when his eyes rested upon the speaker.

Anakin's mouth hung agape, and he felt the world beginning to spin around him. Desperate to hold on to his dignity, Anakin seated himself on the nearest rock, though his prosthetic hand clenched the upper section so hard it began to crumble at the very edges.

Luke turned his attention once again to his strange companion, staring at the man in open confusion at his reaction to the appearance of Ben Kenobi. Warily, Luke took a step away from the man, especially once he saw Ben's reaction as the elderly man set eyes upon Anakin.

A hand went to Ben's heart as the old man took a seat just as Anakin had done on the nearest rock, staring at Anakin in open shock as if he had seen his shadow come to life, his face draining of all color.

"In the name of the Core..." Ben Kenobi whispered, eyes fixated on Anakin's face. "It can't be...Anakin?"

Ignoring Luke, Anakin suddenly shot to his feet.

"Is this some kind of sick joke, Obi-Wan?" he all but shouted. "Why are you so...old? And why is Threepio with this kid, and where is Padmé?" Anakin threw his hands up in exasperation. "What's next, huh? Is Artoo going to pop up at random, too, now?"

A tootle behind Anakin frosted his blood, and with a heavy swallow, he turned about. Excited and confused whistles instantly greeted Anakin as Artoo-Detoo—in the flesh—greeted his master.

Anakin's knees finally gave out on him and he sank down, placing a steadying hand upon Artoo's dome.

"Artoo, is it really you?" he rasped.

Dooeep! Artoo confirmed.

"...But how?" Anakin whispered. "What's going on, buddy?"

Artoo tootled softly, indicating that he didn't know.

Anakin shook his head, closing his eyes and muttering under his breath.

"This is a nightmare; that has to be it."

"I wish it was, but it's not," Ben told Anakin grimly. Luke shook his head, confusion coursing through his veins.

"Wait, Ben, why's he calling you Obi-Wan?" Luke asked in confusion. "What am I missing?"

"I can't tell you that Luke, because it seems we're all missing one thing or another..." Ben replied. " is this possible...I saw, it doesn't matter right now. We need to get moving. The Sand People are easily startled, but they might be back. My house is not far away."

Anakin opened his mouth to demand an explanation now, but a far-off cry from more Sand People made him reprioritize.

Swallowing his considerable confusion and even some fear—he'd hardly left a good situation behind—Anakin helped get the droids into the speeder and then paused.

"Ah, not that I'm doubting your speeder, Luke, but how do you propose we fit three fully grown men in there too?" Anakin asked wryly.

Luke sighed, running his hand through his hair and trying to ignore the strange, sentimental, mournful look Ben was staring at the pair of them with. "I don't know, um...we can...strap Artoo onto the back, and someone can sit up on the back with him...two in the front...since Threepio is in pieces we can put him on laps...So long as whoever's in the back is holding on tight, we should be all right. That's the best I can think of right now..."

"Well...I think it's rather obvious who's going to be sitting in the back with our little droid friend. It is your speeder, Luke, and I'm far too old for that sort of thing now, so I would like to be securely inside of the speeder," Ben muttered, and Luke blushed.

Anakin piped up almost automatically with a witty reply, not thinking of just who he was talking to. "Finally feeling your age, Master? A Jedi knows no pain..."

"Jedi?" Luke asked sharply, excitement and shock lacing his tone. Ben spared him a glance, but answered Anakin instead.

"I might be old now, Anakin, but I am still very much so the master out of the two of us," Ben replied, a wistful, sorrow filled expression twisting his features as he stared openly at Anakin.

"I feel like I'm invisible...and missing the most out of everyone here," Luke muttered. Ben snapped out of his trance and turned to face Luke, smiling gently and placing a grandfatherly hand on Luke's shoulder.

"We'll do our best to explain as much as we can once we're safely back at my place. Now come, it'd be wise if we hurried. This will most likely be a very...very long conversation."

Anakin frowned deeply at Luke's reaction. It was like the young man had never seen a Jedi before. They were very well known in the galaxy, though he supposed that on Tatooine, as it had been for Anakin, seeing a Jedi was a rare if non-existent occurrence. But even so, the Outer Rim planets still knew of the Jedi; Luke acted as though it was some grand secret.

"Why are you so surprised that Obi Wan is a Jedi?" Anakin pursed his lips as he situated himself on the back of the speeder, with Threepio sitting awkwardly in his lap. "Wait, why do you keep calling him Ben, and then act all confused when I call him Obi-Wan?"

"Later, Anakin, Luke," Ben said sharply. "There are many things both of you don't know...and it's going to take more than a short speeder trip to fix that. Though I will tell you, Anakin, that as far as Luke's aware, I'm just a hermit living in the Jundland Wastes and almost no one out here knows me by my name-they know me as Ben Kenobi, not Obi-Wan."

"You're Obi-Wan Kenobi?" Luke stated, having to force himself to unfreeze and start up the speeder. He felt like his head was going to explode. There was so much he didn't understand, so much he didn't know. He opened his mouth to ask more, but Ben raised a hand to silence him.

"When we get to my house; there we can have a proper conversation about all of this."

Anakin nodded...then froze.

"House?" he repeated. Something wasn't right here, aside from the obvious. "...Are you on a mission, Master?"

Ben gave Anakin a look. "Anakin, the questions can wait, and its best that they do. There's too much you don't know. Patience."

Anakin sighed, but shut his mouth, knowing better than to argue with Obi-Wan when he got the look.

But as soon as they were behind closed doors...

Anakin managed to hold it in until they all filed inside of Obi-Wan's hut, but as soon as the door latched, he whirled on Obi-Wan, who looked like he'd been expecting an outburst.

Not one to disappoint, Anakin launched into a series of questions.

"All right, we're here." He narrowed blue eyes at Obi-Wan. "What in space is going on? Why are on Tatooine instead of back on the Separatist Cruiser? Where is the Chancellor, and how did you get so old?" Anakin caught sight of Luke, who looked both confused and awed for some reason.

"And why does he have Threepio when he's Padmé's droid..." Anakin's eyes flashed with indignation. "...and I don't recall selling Artoo."

Anakin saw Obi-Wan open his mouth to respond, but then another, even more disturbing thought came to him, and he had to ask. "Obi-Wan...where is Padmé?"

The mood in the air shifted, and suddenly it was as if Luke could tell that things were about to get rather...complicated, to say the least. Ben's expression was suddenly twisted with an ancient-seeming pain as the old man shook his head.

"Not that...not right thing at a time," Ben whispered. "We all need to get on the same page first."

Luke was surprised when Ben turned his attention to him. He'd started to believe he was just going to be a background piece to this conversation, and had silently taken a seat in Ben's house to get to work fixing Threepio.

"When you two introduced yourselves...did either of you give surnames?" Ben asked. Luke frowned; what did that have to do with anything?


"It's more important than you think," Ben muttered, purposely avoiding Luke's question. "Anakin...the Chancellor's rescue was nineteen years ago, you must realize that first."

"...what?" Anakin spluttered.

Nineteen years ago? How...

The strange tunnel he'd gone through; it hadn't just transported him from Coruscant space to had taken him to the future! But why?

Anakin felt suddenly lightheaded, and he placed a hand against the wall to steady himself. "I...I can't believe it. Even if it's true..." he muttered.

Then he tilted his head at Obi-Wan's obvious deflection of his final question. Why would asking about Padmé—which, now that Anakin thought of it, hadn't been the smartest thing he'd done today—cause Obi-Wan such pain?

But Anakin knew when not to press the other Jedi, and so he waited.

"Hang on; you're not trying to say he's from the past, are you?" Luke asked skeptically.

"That's exactly what I'm saying," Ben replied seriously.

"I don't believe it," Luke muttered, going back to Threepio's arm. Ben studied him silently for a few moments before turning back to Anakin.

"You should also know, Anakin, that I know you had a relationship with Senator Amidala before," Ben said quickly, raising a hand to cut Anakin off, "I start my explanations...though I think Luke would be a great place to start."

Luke jerked and looked up from what he was doing in shock. "Me? What do I have to do with any of this?"

Anakin shared in Luke's befuddlement. "Yeah, what about Luke?" He cast the blond an apologetic look. "No offense."

"None taken," Luke replied dismissively.

Ben studied Anakin for a long moment. "Where to start..." he murmured before turning to Luke. "What do you know of your father?"

Luke shrugged, trying to look indifferent despite the fact it pained him that he knew next to nothing. "Not uncle told me he was a navigator on a spice freighter before he died."

Ben snorted. "Of course he, your father was a Jedi Knight during the Clone Wars, like me."

Luke blinked in surprise. "What? You fought in the Clone Wars? And..." Luke trailed off, sitting back in shock and trying to absorb this new piece of information. He went to ask Ben another question, but Ben was quick to cut him off-he'd been doing that a lot today.

"Anakin knew your father better than anyone, he's the one to ask most of your questions...up until a certain point," Ben said, smiling mischievously like he knew something the others didn't. "Why don't you two...formally introduce yourselves; full names. I'm interested to see the reaction."

Anakin narrowed suspicious eyes at Obi-Wan, knowing him well enough to understand that he was up to something.

But, deciding to trust his master, Anakin went first.

He held out a hand to Luke. "Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight."

Luke, who had already grabbed Anakin's hand in the handshake, felt his stomach simply drop and all color drain out of his face. He went rigid, breathing suddenly became difficult, and his mind blanked for a few seconds before he slammed back into reality.

"S...Skywalker?" Luke gasped out, letting go to avoid crushing Anakin's hand. He felt dizzy and nauseous, slowly sinking back into his seat, trembling. He didn't know if he should leap up and grab Anakin in a bone-crushing hug, dissolve into a puddle of joyous tears, or pass out. He seemed to be leaning towards passing out at the moment, and the world was tilting dangerously.

"Sorry about that, Luke," he dimly heard Ben say. "There was no easy way to break that one to you."

Luke didn't answer. He didn't think he could manage to form words at the moment.

Upon sensing Luke's reaction, Anakin tentatively placed a steadying hand close to Luke's elbow when he sank down, frowning up at Obi-Wan.

"What's wrong with him?"

Obi-Wan grimaced, but surprisingly it was Luke that answered.

"Skywalker...Skywalker's my..." he shook his head, burying his face in his hands and laughing shakily. "Skywalker's my last name...Anakin. Anakin was my father's name," he croaked, looking up hesitantly at Anakin, fearful of what Anakin's reaction would be.

Anakin stiffened, his hand somehow not jerking back from the young man. He almost didn't hear what Luke said past the surname...but he did.

Anakin stared, unable to formulate words or competent thought.



Anakin instantly thought of Padmé, whom he'd not seen in too long. Was she pregnant? She'd not been when they'd last seen each other. Unless...

Wait...he thought. This is nineteen years in the future...

When he attempted a semi-competent sentence, it came out hoarse and so soft he wasn't certain he had spoken.

"How old are you?" He had to know.

Luke relaxed slightly at the fact Anakin hadn't started to freak out...yet. Luke wasn't quite so sure he wasn't about to freak out himself.

"I'm...I'm nineteen. I'll be twenty soon," Luke told him quietly. Ben seemed to be all but forgotten to him now as he dropped his hands away from his face and stared back up at Anakin.

Nineteen...That would put his birth not too long after the event Anakin had just left...Right?

Oh stars, Anakin thought, his knees turning to jelly. He stumbled over to the first seat he could find, his mind caught somewhere between going blank and swirling.

If Luke had been born then, that meant Padmé...his wife...was pregnant! Would she have told him when he returned to the Senate after rescuing Chancellor Palpatine?

Anakin vaguely noticed Luke staring at him, but he was still caught up in the knowledge that he was going to be a father in his time, never mind the current situation.

After a moment he could imagine Padmé voicing concerns over what others—namely the Jedi Council—would think.

To hell what they think! Anakin thought vehemently. I'm...I am...I'm going to be...a father...oh, this is so confusing!

Anakin at last focused on Luke, seeing him anew and picking out details he could see; of both himself and of Padmé.

The obvious things Luke shared with Anakin were his hair, blue eyes and cleft chin, but the rest of his softened visage was all Padmé, and even some Shmi.

Anakin didn't have the strength—and if he had, he still wouldn't have trusted himself to take a step—to stand, so he sat weakly in his seat.

"I have a son?" he finally uttered quietly, hearing the unexpected emotion coloring his tone.

Then he snapped his head to Obi-Wan, only then recalling something else the man had said.

"You know...or knew?" he demanded. "For how long? And...why didn't you say anything?"

Ben pursed his lips. "It was obvious that you two had feelings for each other. The...extent of your relationship I did not realize until..." he paused, thinking for a moment. "A day before Luke was born; when I visited Padmé and discovered she was pregnant...I still don't know if you two were wed or not though."

Once again Luke buried his head in his hands. Padmé...that was her name...he'd never even known his mother's name! This was too much for him. He waited in tense anticipation to hear whether or not he had been born in our out of wedlock, hungry to know this part of his past that had been hidden so long from him with sharp reprimands of 'I told you to forget about it' or 'never you mind' or anything along those lines. Luke felt contempt bubble up for his uncle hiding so many things from him about his parents as if it didn't happen, and he wrestled with the feeling for several long moments before he managed to quash the feeling.

Anakin did shoot to his feet then, suddenly livid at what Obi-Wan was trying to say—at least in Anakin's mind.

"Do you really think I would get her pregnant without marriage?" he snapped. "I would never do that to Padmé! And if you think she'd let me, then you obviously don't know her!"

Luke jumped at Anakin's reaction, but Ben remained still, although he did suddenly seem wary and seriously concerned.

"Anakin, please, calm down," Ben pleaded, his voice holding more of a plea then Luke had ever thought he would hear, as well as a note of alarm. "I did not know if you'd ever legally married, especially with everything going on; I didn't know if you'd even had the time. I know you two loved each other deeply, and I know that both of you were well aware of the consequences should there be any evidence that the two of you were married, like a legal document. I'm not accusing the two of you of anything but not telling me; I don't even know how long you were married. Questions of my own were never answered."

Anakin did a slight double take at Obi-Wan's apparent distress, but in any case the older man was right; he did need to calm down. He was a Jedi, and...Anakin hadn't told anyone.

"I'm sorry, Master." Anakin sighed. Why not tell him, especially if in his time it was about to come out anyway? "We married on Naboo, after Geonosis."

He still tensed in anticipation of Obi-Wan's reaction.

Ben blinked, leaning back in surprise. "Three years before..." he trailed off shaking his head. "You were still a Padawan—my did I not realize..." Ben ran a tired hand down his face.

Luke wanted to ask Anakin more about his mother, but he was afraid he'd say something wrong—like speak of her in the past tense. Still, he did have one specific bone to pick with the older of the two. "How come no one ever told me? All these years—nineteen of them—and not once have I heard the truth it seems. At least I know my father's name, but I was lucky to get that out of Uncle Owen; to this day I still think it was a slip of the tongue," Luke stated, no longer as dizzy as he'd been earlier. He was rather convinced the two men had forgotten about him by now.

Anakin jerked his gaze around to Luke, a new kind of anger arising in his heart. He too turned to Obi-Wan.

"Why wouldn't he be told about his parents?" Anakin seconded.

Anakin then realized what Luke had just said and whirled back to the younger man, watching his startled gaze shift to him in turn.

"Wait," Anakin felt a headache forming, and he resisted the urge to pinch his brow. "You say you don't know us...Are you an orphan? Who do you live with? And why are you living on his dustball and not on Coruscant?" There were so many other questions, but Anakin saw Luke's gaze glaze over slightly and he stopped his interrogation.

Instead he turned to Obi-Wan, who seemed to hold all the answers.

"Obi-Wan, why is my son living here and dressed like a farmer?" Anakin wanted to know.

Ben put his hands up in defense, shooting a look to Anakin before he started to speak, mostly towards Luke. "That one is not my fault. I tried training you, Luke, to be a Jedi when you were about eleven, but your uncle wouldn't let me. You were put here on Tatooine to protect you under your uncle's care...he's the one who decided what to tell you. He feared you would follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade like your father did. He believes you're safer here on Tatooine unaware of your heritage," Obi-Wan said tiredly. "And before you ask, Luke, I know you're smart. I'm sure you can figure out why you needed to be protected."

Luke was still for a moment, struggling to process the new information before he nodded mutely. The son of a Jedi Knight...the Empire would come after him and kill him.

Anakin wasn't so smart apparently. "What am I missing?"

Ben glanced at him. "A lot...quite a lot...Luke was hidden for his own sake. Him being hidden here on Tatooine is the reason he's still alive today."

Anakin glanced to Luke, catching his solemn expression.

"He's being protected from what, exactly?" Anakin almost didn't want to know. "Why am I not protecting him in this timeline? And why can't his lineage be known? And for Stars sake where is Padmé? "

"I believe Luke's already answered the question of why you're not here protecting him," Ben responded quietly. "As for what he's being protected from, that one ties in directly with the why his lineage can't be know. The Republic is gone, Anakin. It's been gone as long as Luke has been alive, and in its place is a Sith Empire. It's a dark time, Anakin...and if it were to be known that Luke's father was a Jedi—the great Clone Wars General Anakin Skywalker, nonetheless—then the Empire would do everything in its power to capture him and either twist him to their own ends or kill him."

Luke paled slightly at Ben's words. He said it so bluntly, but it was true, and it was a truth that scared Luke to his very core. Twisted to an instrument of evil...he shivered, unable to bear the thought of it.

Anakin did recall the navigator story, but he still didn't know why Obi-Wan seemed to keep skirting his most prominent question. Then again, if Luke was in hiding, maybe Padmé was too.

Anakin hoped that was the case anyway, because if the worst had happened...Anakin didn't know what he would do.

"Okay..." Anakin muttered, giving his best friend some space. He did feel bad for snapping at Obi-Wan. It wasn't his fault that an Anakin from the past had suddenly shown up in the future. "Can you at least tell me where I am in this timeline? Did I leave Luke in someone else's care to fight his new Sith Empire? Wait... Sith? Did we fail in...well...before?"

"The...chancellor...lived past Grievous' ship seems that Sith Lord we kept trying to find was twenty steps ahead of us...the Jedi Order is no more Anakin; ancient history with the Republic. Almost no one survived that night. It didn't help that the Sith Lord found himself a new apprentice, a powerful one. Darth Vader...he helped hunt down and kill each and every Jedi Knight..." Ben looked up at Anakin. "It's what happened to you. Anakin, you've been...gone...for nineteen years now."

Luke looked down, swallowing painfully. His father...he'd been murdered by Darth Vader...

Anakin felt as if he'd been sucker-punched.

"What? The Jedi are all gone? How? And I'm...gone, too? Where'd I go? Am I...dead?" Anakin bit his lip. "Or don't you know?"

Anakin didn't miss it when Luke had swallowed with difficulty. His reaction alone made Anakin think that somewhere between the Chancellor's rescue and Luke's birth he'd died. What else was there?

"I died, didn't I?" he whispered.

"Yes..." Ben said quietly, and Luke turned his full attention to Threepio, focusing on finishing up the droid. "Darth Vader...betrayed and murdered you."

Curiously enough, he didn't look Anakin in the eyes, though it was probably because it pained him to talk of Anakin's death.

Anakin decided to let the strange eye-contact slide.

"And Padmé?" When Obi-Wan didn't immediately respond, Anakin's heart clenched painfully. "Obi-Wan, please, I have to know!" His voice cracked to a bare whisper on the last word.

"Anakin...I'm so sorry..." Ben said softly.

Anakin didn't need to hear any more...but he did need to get out of that house. Without another word, but with chest heaving unsteadily, Anakin made his way swiftly out the door.

Luke stood up on instinct to go after his father, a deep set concern pulsing through him, but Ben's hand on his elbow stopped him.

"Let him go, Luke. If there's one thing to know about your father, it's that sometimes he just needs his space."

Luke froze in place, but he didn't sit down, staring painfully at the door Anakin had disappeared through. He wanted to go after badly...

"Let him process everything, Luke. He needs time to think."

Anakin sat down in the first private place his eyes found; an outcropping of sandstone near the hut Obi-Wan now apparently called home.

His chest still worked unevenly, but his mind was even worse. Chaos would have been putting it lightly.

Tears that had been stubbornly kept at bay now refused his control any longer. He didn't sob outright, but he was close.

Padmé...dead? How? When?

Anakin resolutely pushed those questions aside. The how and when didn't truly matter if she was actually dead, did it?

Anger threatened his sanity, but Anakin desperately clung to one grounding fact: this was the future he was in. His Padmé, the one from his timeline, was still very much alive and well...and apparently expecting a son.


That thought drew Anakin's gaze back toward the house, where the young man named Luke Skywalker waited with a burning desire Anakin understood well to get to know his father.

Anakin felt a twinge of guilt at leaving Luke in such a state. The reminder of his son also brought up the boy's apparent loneliness. He'd grown up on a farm in the most desolate place in the known galaxy...what kind of a life was that for his boy?

And what of Anakin dying? And the Jedi Order? The very notion sounded ridiculous, and impossible, yet the truth was written all over Obi-Wan's face and Force presence. The Jedi were indeed no more in Luke's world.

And a Sith Empire? What could have gone so disastrously wrong that the galaxy would be taken over? Anakin's head was really hurting now, and to add to his mental state of disarray, he couldn't help but wonder if the Obi-Wan from his time knew he was gone. Did that timeline come to a standstill while Anakin was here, or were they living life without him now?

Anakin wrestled with the notion of Padmé going through the pregnancy all alone thinking he was dead until he could stand it no longer.

He let out a loud cry if frustration and pounded the rock face. Then, with nowhere else to truly turn for direction and peace, Anakin attempted what he'd always frowned down upon.

He began to meditate.

He let go of his conscious self with an effort and allowed the eddies to carry him where they would. It came as a sort of rebuke to him that he should question the opportunity he'd been afforded by the Force.

Here was his son, orphaned and desperately in need of his father, and Anakin had been sent to learn of him. Anakin already felt love for Luke, a fatherly love he'd never knew could be so...potent and whole.

He should be inside with his child, not lamenting a dark future that for him had yet to happen. And maybe, just maybe along the way, he could figure out what went so utterly wrong to make Luke's life like it was.

Opening his eyes to the suns of Tatooine for the second time that day, Anakin noted the symbolism. Two Suns, two Skywalkers.

How often had Luke gazed at Tatoo I and Tatoo II and pondered a family that would never be for him?

With a new purpose, and a much calmer being, Anakin stood to return to the hut.

Instead of sitting down, Luke remained standing. He didn't know if he could stand sitting down right now. He ran a hand through his hair, mind spinning. " my mother's name was Padmé? She was a senator? Uncle Owen never even gave me a name."

Ben sighed, slowly standing up. "I think your father is the one to answer your questions about her; he's the one who married her. I was just a good friend with her. But yes, she was a Senator for some time."

Luke shuffled over to the wall, leaning against the wall and burying his face in his elbow. He took deep, steadying breaths as he tried to gather his scattered thoughts. So many questions, and he didn't even know when to start.

"Why did my parents have to hide their relationship?" Luke eventually asked.

"The Jedi Order used to forbid attachments. If your parents were discovered, it could have meant that Anakin would be expelled from the Order. The Order was...unable to bend and adapt, and that's part of the reason why we were so unfit to handle some of the problems we were faced with."

"Is he going to be okay?" Luke asked softly, staring out the door where Anakin had been for a few moments.

"Eventually. Your father's going to need you Luke; he's found himself in a galaxy where he's lost everything, and what he fought for failed. He's always been a little...volatile, and he needs someone to keep him centered. I used to be that person, as was your mother, but your father and I grew distant in our last few months together, and now I'm just too old to try and keep up with him."

Luke nodded, resting his head back in his elbow and struggling with the many emotions that threatened to overcome him. "I'll...I'll do my best, I guess."

"That's good to hear."

Anakin paused just outside the front door to the abode, uncertain what he'd say to break the ice between himself and his son.

Deciding to leave things up to Fate, Anakin let himself back in, grateful to once again be out of the harsh glare of the double suns.

Two sets of eyes looked to him and he stood awkwardly in the entry for a moment, still seeking for something with which to...

Anakin's eyes settled on Threepio, who still hadn't been completely repaired. Seeing an opening, Anakin made his way over and took up the tools Luke had been using, looking closely at the arm and then beginning to reattach wires and components with ease.

"You know, Threepio has quite the history with both Tatooine and the Skywalker family," Anakin offered gingerly, hoping Luke would accept his offered line.

Realizing what Anakin was trying to do, Luke took the seat beside him, staring at Threepio with open curiosity now. "Really?"

Anakin's heart did an unexpected flip that his son would be so open and willing to indulge his father.

"Yes. You see, like me, Threepio was born on Tatooine. Well, created I guess is the better term," Anakin amended. "I built him when I was nine so he could help mother."

That last word was laced with a deep pain he hoped Luke wouldn't quite notice, but another part of Anakin wanted Luke to know his grandmother as well.

"You built him?" Luke asked in shock, staring at Threepio in a new light. However, the pain in Anakin's voice drew Luke's attention, and he leaned forward. "What was she like?" he asked carefully, not wanting to upset him further. He remembered Uncle Owen taking down the grave marker when he was really young, but he felt like that comment might cause Anakin to explode again.

Anakin smiled wistfully. "She was the best mother a little boy could have asked for. She was always kind, helpful, understanding...but most of all she was supportive, and she never raised her voice to me unless it was an emergency."

Anakin looked down, a few new tears slipping in silent remembrance down his cheeks. "She died a few years ago in my time. The Sand People got to her." That was all he could say without getting angry.

Luke nodded slowly, figuring it was best to steer the conversation elsewhere. Besides, there was another person he wanted to know more about more than anything in the galaxy. "And...and my mother?" Luke asked hesitantly.

Anakin's smile grew wider, and he completed his task before answering. This was something he could look Luke in the eye for.

"Her full name is Padmé Naberrie Skywalker." Anakin chose to speak of her as if she was still alive, which she was in his time. "She is from Naboo, and when she was only fourteen, she was elected Queen Amidala. She was their best ruler and beloved by her people. She spearheaded the efforts to rid Naboo of a Trade Federation blockade, and won. She's a dynamite politician, and is currently serving as Senator for her home world."

Anakin set his tool down when he realized he still had it in hand. "I met her when I was nine. She was stuck here after escaping Naboo to get to Coruscant during the blockade incident." Anakin hesitated a moment, but then decided he would be honest and open with Luke and allow his son to make his own judgements. "My mother and I were slaves then, and I was freed by a Jedi named Qui-Gon Jinn. I didn't see Padmé after she won her planet back until a decade later. She was still as beautiful as ever."

It occurred to Anakin then that Luke would probably appreciate some physical descriptions too and maybe would like to know that he shared some resemblances with her.

"Her hair was like the riches and silkiest chocolates in the galaxy, and her eyes...let me just say that it is possible to have brown fire. When she's passionate about something or angry, you'd best watch out." Anakin smirked. "She can be a real spit-fire, but she's got the most tender of hearts. You actually have her softened facial features and, based off of my short exposure to you so far, I'd say you also inherited her personality."

Anakin hoped that information would help Luke come to terms with the mother he'd never known, and he watched the young man closely as he absorbed Anakin's words.

Luke had to swallow a thick feeling of raw emotion. He would have never believed that he was the son of such amazing people. All this time thinking he was the son of some random spice navigator and he was actually the son of a great Jedi Knight and of a Queen of Naboo turned senator. His heart warmed at hearing what he'd inherited from his mother, and it took him several long moments to calm himself enough to answer.

Luke smiled a little, ruffling his hair nervously. "I...this is a lot to take in at once," he said with a small laugh, leaning back and studying his father just as intently. It was surreal to have this experience, and Luke momentarily wondered if the Tusken Raider hadn't just thwacked him on the head hard enough to make him hallucinate.

Anakin somehow caught that last snippet of Luke's thoughts, and he chuckled. "I don't think he could hit you hard enough to cause your past-time father to appear, Luke."

Then he stopped, realizing what he'd just done.

"Ah..." he fumbled, trying to figure out how to apologize for inadvertently reading his son's mind.

Luke sat back in shock, staring openly at Anakin. "How did you do that?"

"The Force," Ben interrupted, and Luke jumped, having forgotten the older man was there. His face scrunched up in confusion, his brow furrowed.

"The Force?" Luke asked. What was Ben talking about?

Now it was Anakin's turn to stare, first at Luke, then Obi-Wan, and then back to Luke, who was looking to him for an answer.

"What do you mean what's the Force?" Anakin began to rant, but then he cut himself off. "Oh, right...The Jedi are no more here...Evil Sith rule...Got it."

Anakin sighed picking up the tool he'd used on Threepio and shifting to turn his body more towards Luke. He levitated the object from his palm.

"The Force gives a Jedi his power," Anakin explained. "It is an energy field that surrounds and binds us all together, and while its part of all living beings, not everyone can control it. Those who can feel and use the Force, with proper training, can become Jedi. Though if they turn to evil, they're known as Sith."

Luke had blushed at Anakin's obvious surprise that he had not known what Ben was talking about before paying rapt attention to what Anakin was telling him, staring in open awe at the levitated tool.

Luke wasn't given the time to answer. Instead, Ben spoke up, shuffling over to a chest in the back. "You have that ability to feel and use the Force as well Luke, just like your father. And speaking of your father..." Ben rummaged around inside of the chest for several moments before he gave a grunt of satisfaction and pulled a silver cylindrical object out of the chest. "I tried to give this to you when you were much younger, but your uncle wouldn't have it. Your father wanted you to have it when you were old enough."

"What is it?" Luke asked curiously.

Ben approached the two Skywalkers, hesitated for a brief moment, and then handed the object over to Luke, who turned the object over in his hands with gentleness and extreme care as he stood up, captivated by the object. "Your father's lightsaber."

Anakin's gaze was riveted to the hilt he had not only seen for a good chunk of his Jedi years, but that he had built with his very own hands.

He had to resist the urge to snatch it from Luke's hands, and he settled for patting his belt. He relaxed upon feeling his weapon on his belt.

But still, seeing an exact double of his weapon was unnerving. But then he realized that it wasn't just anyone holding the was his son was holding it.

Anakin allowed the smile that tugged his lips to form entirely, and he stood, gesturing for Luke to do the same as Anakin.

"The lightsaber is a weapon built by Jedi when they reach a certain point in their training." He threw a quick glance at the older Jedi in the room and added to his statement. "Or that's how it was done in my time. But it's an honor to wield it."

He nodded to Luke, lifting his own lightsaber from his belt. "Turn it on, go ahead." He wondered if he sounded like the giddy school kid he felt like.

Luke stared at the exact replica on his father's belt. If he'd had any doubt in his mind previously that it was his father he was talking to, those doubts were now gone. Tightening his grip on the weapon, Luke's thumb slipped over the activation button and a brilliant blue blade sprang to life, a light hum resonating from the weapon in his hands. Luke's eyes widened marginally in awe, and he gave the weapon a few experimental waves, his stomach doing flips of excitement. This was his heritage, right here in this weapon; the weapon of the Jedi, his father's blade, the very one he could see on Anakin's belt right now.

"Not as clumsy or random as a blaster," Ben quipped as Luke continued to get a good feel for the weapon, though Ben didn't keep his eyes on the weapon long. He turned his attention away, towards the astromech that had been sitting quietly in the corner during the exchanges. "An elegant weapon for a more...civilized age."

Anakin grinned openly at Luke's excited reaction to the lit blade in his hand. He placed a hand on his son's shoulder.

"Just wait until you spar for the first time!" He squeezed the shoulder lightly. "I'd be happy to teach you what I know. If you want, that is."

Luke felt his throat clog. His father, teach him to be a Jedi? "I'd like nothing more," Luke said, and then he hesitated. What about his uncle? Would Owen let Luke? Did Owen even have the authority to stop Anakin from training Luke?

Ben interrupted Luke's hesitation with a question that reminded Luke that he'd forgotten something very important.

"Luke, if I may interrupt...what were you doing all the way out here in the first place?"

Luke immediately deactivated the lightsaber in his hands, eyes going wide again. "Oh no, I forgot!" he exclaimed, rushing over to Artoo and getting on his knees to inspect the droid. "This droid, he's carrying a message-for you, Ben, apparently; some woman. I only got part of it, he wouldn't let me see the rest, but she sounded like she was in serious trouble!" as he spoke, he tinkered with the droid, trying to bring the message back.

Anakin thought of doing the job for Luke since Artoo was technically his, but he let his son have his moment while Obi-Wan and Luke spoke about the message.

However, the moment the young woman appeared all went quiet in the house.

"Got it!" Luke cried out triumphantly as the holoimage flickered to life. Luke turned around, entranced once again by the image of the beautiful woman. Except this time he was able to hear the entire message.

"General Kenobi; years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars; now he begs you to help him in his 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 my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this Artoo unit. My father will know how to retrieve it; you must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan." The woman paused, her voice suddenly warped by tears. "This is our most desperate hour; help me Obi-Wan're my only hope."

With that, the woman looked around as if she'd heard something, then leaned down and finished the transmission. A long silence followed, with Luke staring at the spot that she had been in a few seconds previously. Ben leaned back thoughtfully, pulling at his beard as Luke turned crestfallen eyes to his hands, turning over the message in his mind. So lost was he in his thoughts, that Luke jumped when Ben spoke. "I agree with must learn the ways of the Force, Luke...if you're to come with me to Alderaan."

Luke looked sharply up at him, surprised. "Alderaan?" He rose to his feet, shaking his head as doubt suddenly swirled in his mind. "I'm not going to Alderaan, I've got to get home! It's late; I'm in for it as it is! Uncle Owen will have my hide if I don't get home soon..."

Anakin, who'd only been listening with half an ear as his gaze was focused on the place the girl had been, suddenly snapped to full, indignant attention.

"Like space he will!" he all but thundered, taking them all by surprise, and at Obi-Wan's warning look, he calmed himself. "He will not hurt you, or he'll have to answer to me!"

Luke looked aghast. "I didn't mean he'd hit me, just that he'd be furious."

Anakin felt his cheeks color. "Oh...right. Well, still."

Obi-Wan had an eyebrow lifted, but to Anakin's relief instead of calling his former apprentice on his temper, he turned back to Luke.

"I need your help Luke—she needs your help," Ben said sharply. "I'm getting too old for this sort of thing..."

Luke felt guilt well up with a longing to help the woman in the message, but...he couldn't! He couldn't just up and leave his aunt and uncle, they needed him on the farm. Luke shook his head, at war with himself. "Listen I...I can't get involved, I've got work to do! It's not that I like the Empire, I hate it! But there's nothing I can do about it right now..." He sighed, leaning against the pillar. "And it's such a long way from here..."

"That's your uncle talking," Ben said suddenly and just as sharply as before.

"Uhg, my am I ever going to explain this?" Luke groaned, placing a hand on Artoo. The lightsaber was still in his hands, and it suddenly felt much heavier as he stared down at his father's weapon.

"Learn about the Force Luke..." Ben said softly.

"Luke, you're old enough to choose for yourself," Anakin said with gentle firmness, understanding to a degree his dilemma. "And if this girl is in such trouble, isn't that the greater objective here? Her life over Owen's wish for another harvest?"

Anakin then threw a sly look to Obi-Wan. "Besides, I've disobeyed Obi-Wan more times than we can count."

Luke swallowed, bowing his head and heaving a sigh that made him feel...well...old. "Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead; you can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you're going..." he said softly. He hated to disappoint the two of them but...he just couldn't do it, he couldn't! No matter how much he wanted to... "I want to help, I do but I...I promised him one more season, I gave him my word, and I can't just leave without any sort of warning, they'll think the Tuskens got me or something. And even if I do try to give them a heads up...I just can't..."

"You must do what you feel is right, of course," Ben told him quietly, folding his arms over his chest and staring at the spot the transmission had been.

Anakin hated to badger Luke once more, but...

"Luke my mother once told me to look at what my heart is telling me," he said gently. "So if this is where your heart is telling you to be, then I will accept that."

Luke shook his head, leaning in the doorway. "I'll...I'll help as much as I can without leaving the planet, but beyond that...I can't help you," he murmured, turning away so he wouldn't see their disappointment. Especially his father's—he couldn't bear to see his father's disappointment. There was an ache in his heart and a longing for adventure that these two promised...but he couldn't go. He was needed at home. He'd had that feeling sometime during their conversation; he was needed at home.

Anakin was careful to keep his expression clear of the slight disappointment he felt, but he kept his word. And he really did understand. He needed Luke to know that; he could feel the boy's deep sorrow...but there was something else there, too...

"Luke, you don't have to feel bad for keeping your word. That right there speaks to your character, and I'm proud of you." Anakin made sure he sounded as sincere as he felt.

Luke nodded somewhat sharply, clearing his throat before he spoke. "Thank you..." he murmured, leaving the, you don't know how much that means to me, unspoken.

Anakin placed a supportive hand do Luke's back briefly, and looked to Obi-Wan with a nod.

"Take us as far as you can, please, Luke." Anakin asked. "And when we are done I'll come back to see you if that's okay."

Luke nodded fervently. "I'd like that." He huffed, glancing around the room as he subconsciously clipped the lightsaber to his belt. "Shall we be going then?"