Author's note: I have never done a five and one fic before and am not really a fan of them, but I thought I'd give it a try. Enjoy, please feel free to leave a review, and as always I own nothing.
Five Times Luke Wondered About His Father….
Luke, Aged 5
"Aunt Beru?" Little Luke Skywalker asked softly. Beru caught the nervous glances around the room, as if Luke was afraid of being overheard.
"Yes, Luke?" Beru questioned, wiping her hands dry on her apron and abandoning the food she had been preparing. She kneeled in front of the young boy, related to her in title only, and not by blood. She loved him as her own, but sometimes she wondered if she and Owen were doing the right thing, raising the son of one of the most hated people in the entire galaxy.
"Where's Unca Owen?" Luke asked, shooting a terrified glance over his shoulder, as if he expected his uncle to appear. Beru sighed. It was true that Owen and Luke seemed to be at odds. It wasn't Luke's fault that he was essentially orphaned… wasn't Luke's fault that Owen and Beru weren't truly his relatives… and it certainly wasn't Luke's fault that he was related to Darth Vader…. And yet, somehow, Owen seemed to forget this. Beru knew that Owen was terrified; terrified that the Empire would discover that they were raising Anakin Skywalker's son. And then what would happen? Beru assumed that it would mean death for herself and Owen, and who knows what would happen to her little nephew.
"Honey, Owen went out for the day, to check on the moisture 'vaporators. He'll be back later tonight."
"Oh," Luke said thoughtfully, and it was amazing to Beru how the boy instantly relaxed. "Oh. Aunt Beru, can I ask a question?"
Beru sighed soundlessly. She knew exactly where this was going; they had had this same conversation at least five times over the last few months, ever since Luke made the mistake of asking Owen, and Owen had reacted with terror, verbally lashing out at the boy and warning him never again to bring up the subject. So far, Beru had fielded the questions expertly, redirecting Luke's attention towards something else. Today, however, she sensed that Luke was not going to back down without a fight, and even a five-year-old Luke was a force to be reckoned with. He has too much of his father in him, Owen's voice echoed in her head, and Beru frowned.
"Luke," Beru said softly, reaching out to gently grasp her nephew's small hands in her own. The boy took a step towards her. "You can always ask me anything, sweetie. I may not have the answers you're looking for, but I'm always going to be here for you, and you can tell me anything, okay?"
Luke seemed to contemplate that for a moment, and Beru concealed a smile as she watched the boy's forehead crease in thought. She could practically see the gears turning in his mind. Finally he smiled.
"Okay," he agreed. "Aunt Beru, why won't Unca Owen tell me about daddy?"
Oh, Luke, Beru tried not to wince visibly. Part of her was disturbed that the boy had just referred to Darth Vader as 'daddy', but mostly she was just saddened that Luke, such an innocent, sweet little boy, would eventually have to learn the terrible truth about his lineage. She dreaded that day, but today was not it.
"Well," she said carefully, preparing herself to repeat the story that she, Owen, and Obi-Wan Kenobi had agreed upon. "Your daddy died when you were very young." Luke already knew this, of course, but Beru had never noticed before how his lower lip still trembled at this news. It broke her heart.
"I know," Luke said bravely. "But why won't anybody tell me about him?"
Beru was struck with the complexity of Luke's question, and she was greatly disturbed to realize that Luke had a point; he couldn't go for his entire life without knowing anything about his parents. She frowned, carefully choosing her next words.
"Luke, sweetie… Can you keep a secret?"
Luke's eyes widened and the little boy nodded enthusiastically. Beru realized that she probably shouldn't say anything without setting the story straight with Owen first, but she also knew that Luke had experienced his uncle's wrath enough times that he would know better than to say anything to him now.
"Yes!" the boy said, excited to be let in on a secret, as all little kids are.
"Let's go sit down," Beru suggested, and Luke raced to the kitchen table, sitting in his accustomed spot. Beru sat across from him.
"Your daddy was a good man," she started, and she realized it was true. Anakin Skywalker was a good man, and it was he who was Luke's father, not Darth Vader. Luke smiled. "He was a pilot, just like you want to be one day!"
"A pilot!?" Luke sat up straighter, bouncing in his seat with excitement. He had wanted to be a pilot since he had learned to talk, and probably, Beru thought ruefully, even before then.
"Yes, he was a pilot on a spaceship. But do you want to know something top-secret?"
"I can only tell you if you promise never to tell anyone," she warned. Luke nodded in solemn agreement. Beru wondered if this was too much information for a talkative five-year-old who they were supposed to be keeping safe and hidden. "He grew up here, on Tattooine, just like you."
The look on Luke's face would have been comical if they had been talking about anything else. As it was, Beru was just astonished that his eyes could open as wide as they were.
"He lived here," Luke repeated. "Daddy lived here?" And then the child closed his eyes for a moment, frowning in concentration. Beru had seen this expression before, and it was always immediately followed by random objects flying across the room or soft pushes in the opposite direction. Beru found herself rocked to the core as the boy's eyes snapped open and she found herself on the end of a wide-eyed stare. "You've met him," Luke said, and it was not a question.
"I…" she opened and closed her mouth for a moment. This was not something that she had anticipated. Perhaps Owen had the right idea, after all; perhaps telling the boy nothing was the best way to go about the situation. But alas, the damage had been done, and it was too late to take anything back; and she couldn't lie to Luke, not when he very obviously knew the truth. "Yes, I met him." Luke just stared at her, and she wondered if he would say anything. He didn't. He nodded seriously, too seriously for a five-year-old, and then he stood up from his seat and smiled, skipping off to his bedroom.
Years passed and Luke never mentioned the conversation in all of that time. Beru wasn't sure, for a long time afterwards, if he even remembered that they had talked that day. About two years after the fact, Luke disappeared for about three days. They found him at the old pod-racing track, staring around with a wondering expression on his face. Beru never found out what that was about.
Luke, Aged 10
Beru's curiosity eventually got the better of her.
That fateful conversation with Luke had taken place five years earlier, but not a day had gone by that she hadn't thought about it.
One uncharacteristically noisy night, in the middle of a terrible lightning storm brought on by days and days of sandstorms, Beru knocked on the door of Luke's room, wondering whether he was still awake. The door slid open to reveal Luke, still seated on his bed, reading a technical manual on Nubian space cruisers.
"Hi, Aunt Beru," the boy greeted with a small smile, hair just barely falling in his eyes. Beru thought about pressing him to get a haircut, but that subject had been beaten to death, and in the end she and Owen had agreed that the long hair phase was just that – a phase. Surely he'd grow out of it, and then he'd get his hair cut short, as was customary on Tattooine. "Have you heard from Uncle Owen?"
Owen had been stranded in Mos Eisley by the sandstorms, and Beru knew from experience that it could be another few days yet before the storms let up enough for her husband to come home. She shook her head, glancing around Luke's room.
"Not yet. Luke," she paused, wondering whether it was right to bring up a conversation that had occurred so long ago. But she needed to know. She looked up, surprised when she stared straight into her nephew's gray eyes. He had put his book down and was focusing intently on her. She had the very uncomfortable feeling that he could somehow read her mind.
"What's wrong, Aunt Beru?" he asked, cocking his head to the side just enough that it made her uneasy.
"Luke, do you remember that conversation we had, oh, about five years ago now? The one about your father," she prompted. Luke's expression cleared in understanding.
"Yes, ma'am," he said softly. Beru had figured as much, deep down; she had had a feeling that Luke would never forget a conversation about his father.
"How did you…" she swallowed, not sure if she really wanted to know the answer. But in the end she pressed on, "How did you know that I had met him?"
Luke frowned, looking as though he were at a loss for words. He shook his head.
"I'm not sure," he admitted. "I just… knew."
Beru was unsatisfied, but she knew that Luke wasn't lying to her, and so she turned to leave his room, resigned to the fact that she would never have the answers she sought. Ironic, she realized, that Luke was in the same situation, and it was partially her fault. But the boy was only ten; Kenobi had been explicit that Luke could not know the truth until it was time. But how do we know when it is time? she thought.
"Aunt Beru," Luke's soft voice stopped her. She turned to face him, a question written in her face. "What did he look like?"
Oh, she thought. Of course he would want to know that. It had been stupid of her not to think of it, and she almost laughed out loud.
"Well," she said, sitting on the edge of Luke's bed and straining to remember, "He had short, blonde hair. He was unusually tall. It was like standing next to a giant; he had at least a foot on me. And he was muscular. You could just tell, even though he wore many layers of clothing." Beru glanced over at Luke, smiling softly. "Really, he looked a lot like a grown-up version of you."
Luke looked proud at this bit of information, and Beru was saddened, as she always was when she thought of Luke's father. She knew that if Luke knew the truth, he would not be so proud anymore.
"How did you meet?" her nephew's voice startled her out of her thoughts, and she was unnerved to find him staring intensely at her again, as if he already knew the simple answer to that question and was instead trying to find deeper truths.
"Hmm," Beru said, trying to decide how much information to give. "Well, I only met him the one time. His mother, your grandmother, had married Owen's father. But unfortunately, there was a terrible accident," Beru amended the story just enough that if Luke accidentally said anything to anyone, it might not be immediately apparent that he was speaking of Shmi Skywalker. "Your father had some basic medical knowledge –" which wasn't a lie, Beru told herself, since she knew from the days before the Empire that all Jedi had at least a basic understanding of healing, "– and he had come to see if there was anything he could do to save your grandmother. But he arrived just as she died."
"But why didn't he stay in touch?" Luke asked, and Beru truly didn't know the answer to that question.
"I can only speculate, Luke, but… your father left Tattooine at a relatively young age, as far as I understand it. He lived on one of the inner planets. He didn't see his mother much after he left, through no fault of his own, mind you, and it had been years since the last time they had spoken. He didn't even know that she had married Owen's father until he arrived here. By the time word got to him that his mother was sick, there wasn't much time for introductions. He arrived, stayed long enough to help bury your grandmother, and then he left. I can only assume that he was grieving her death, and besides, none of us was truly related to him, and he may not have felt as though is continued communication was welcome. Which, of course, it would have been."
"Oh," Luke seemed confused, and Beru waited patiently as he thought about this. She was very well aware that her story had left several holes; she had had a lot of time to think, and she had decided that she had had enough of keeping the truth from Luke. She would continue to respect Owen's decision to keep things silent, of course, however, she didn't go out of her way to hide things anymore, except what was absolutely necessary to their safety.
"But, Aunt Beru," Luke said, and Beru raised an eyebrow. "I don't want to sound ungrateful, but… if you guys aren't related to me, and if you only met my father once, why am I here, and not with other family members?"
Beru knew that Owen would have been deeply offended by this question, but she herself didn't mind it. She let out a long, slow breath. Luke waited with as much patience as he could muster (which, Beru admitted, wasn't much.)
"It's extremely complicated. For a lot of reasons, your… family… was in danger," Beru started. Again, she told the truth, but not the whole truth. It was true that Luke's Jedi family was in extreme danger following the Purge. "Your father's father was… absent. And your grandmother had died years previously. Your mother died in childbirth, as you know… her family was a rather big deal in the Galaxy at one point, and with the Empire rising, it was felt that you would not be safe with them. In the end, the best choice was to bring you here, and we were more than happy to take you in, Luke."
"I'm glad you did," Luke smiled, but it was clear to Beru that he was disturbed by what had been revealed to him. Beru stood, knowing that it was best to leave the boy to his thoughts. The next time Luke mentioned his father, they had just acquired two new droids and Luke and Owen were arguing over whether or not Luke should be allowed to go to the Academy.
Luke, Aged 13
Luke knew he shouldn't be out this late at night, especially without permission, but he was on a mission. Besides, he had snuck out before and he'd never been caught. His uncle would ground him for the rest of his life and his aunt would lecture him if they found out, but he thought that this was one instance where getting in trouble was worth it.
He wasn't sure where the idea had come from. He'd been sitting in bed one night a few weeks ago, reading, and it had suddenly dawned on him, seemingly from out of nowhere, that he had been waiting needlessly for answers to the question of his heritage. If his aunt and uncle didn't want to tell him, that was fine, but there was more than one way to solve this puzzle, of that he was sure.
It had been much easier than he'd expected to convince his nearest neighbor to let him borrow a speeder, and before he knew it he was entering Mos Eisley, a place that he had never been on his own before, and hoped never to return to. Nevertheless, he was on a mission, as he had to keep reminding himself.
Sneaking around was never his strong point, but he got inside the nearest crudely-prepared library (if one could call it that) without being noticed. Not that anyone would care if a thirteen-year-old boy ran around in the middle of the night without his guardians; no, he wasn't worried about getting into trouble. He was worried about being kidnapped. Tattooine was not the safest planet, and Mos Eisley was not the safest city, and both of these things were especially true at night.
Entering the library, he glanced around at the other occupants of the building; he was curious to see who else would be crazy enough to be out this late at night. His eyes met those of an old woman, one whom he had never met before, though he was sure that she knew who he was. It was unnerving. From some mysterious place in the back of his mind, he suddenly found her name on the tip of his tongue; but it was just too far out of reach for him to properly bring it to mind. The woman stared him down intently, and Luke got the feeling that she was trying to warn him of something; but he didn't know what she could be worried about. He didn't see anything amiss. Trying to ignore the woman's gaze, somehow sure that she knew what he was going to do, he stepped up to the computer console and accessed the HoloNet.
It took him all of three seconds to load the results to his query.
It was amazing how a simple word brought so many results, and Luke, though he was only a young teenager and not very experienced, instantly knew that something was wrong with what he was being shown. The galaxy's census showed that nobody with that name had ever existed, and yet, when he accessed the Tattooine census, he found two individuals with the name. One was Shmi Skywalker, who had apparently been a slave in the waning years of the Republic but who had suspiciously vanished from history. The other was Anakin Skywalker, but every time Luke tried to find out more about this man, the computer froze and he could not access any information. It was as though someone was blocking his search. It was also abundantly clear that any traces of the Skywalker family had been carefully and systematically erased from history. If Luke worded his searches carefully, he could discover small pieces of information:
Anakin Skywalker had indeed existed, and was the son of Shmi Skywalker. He had left Tattooine at age nine. Shmi had stayed behind, a slave.
Anakin Skywalker had appeared in tabloids in pictures with a woman named Padme Amidala, who was apparently a Senator in the Republic. Luke couldn't find anything more specific, but from the headlines on the few pictures that he could find, it was apparently something of a scandal that they had been seen in public together. Luke could not discover why this was the case, but one thing was certain: he was now armed with his aunt's description of his father, and he had no doubt that Anakin was the man he was searching for.
Anakin Skywalker had been given the name 'Hero With No Fear'. Luke did not know what this meant, and he did not know why it was significant. Any other references to this title led to the same frozen computer screen.
Shmi Skywalker had never been married, and in fact very little information was provided for her at all. She had obviously not been a person of significance, and Luke was certain that she had been born on Tattooine and that she had never left, even for a short time.
Luke stared at a picture of Shmi and a very young Anakin, wondering if he was in fact staring at the faces of his father and grandmother. It was a very old picture, and it was a census picture – a picture of slaves that was required by law, to keep track of who owned who. Barbaric, Luke thought, but it was the only picture he had ever seen of his potential family, and he stared in wonder.
Suddenly, a horrible feeling came over him; a sharp stab in the back of his mind that sent adrenaline pouring through his system. He didn't need the old woman's voice as she screamed for him to hide; his instincts told him that much. He quickly found a spot in the corner and hid as best as he could. The old woman, who he was now positive he had somehow met before, took up his place at the computer, doing her best to erase the evidence of his search. She finished just as the Stormtroopers came in, guns drawn.
"Why were you looking up the Skywalker family?" A Stormtrooper demanded harshly, grabbing the old woman roughly by the arm. When she failed to answer, he slapped her in the face. Luke found himself overcome with anger, and was about to jump out from his hiding spot to do something to help when he caught the woman's gaze. She subtly shook her head at him, and Luke found himself rooted to the spot, unable to move despite the fact that he knew what was coming next. The woman continued to make eye contact with Luke, and the teenager watched, shocked, as one of the Stormtroopers shot her in the head with a blaster.
And then, as soon as they came, they were gone. Luke remained hidden for a long time, wondering what exactly had happened. What was it about his family that made it such a crime to research them?
Luke had come looking for answers, but he left filled with more questions than ever before.
Luke never tried to research his family again.
Luke, Aged 16
Uncle Owen was, as usual, displeased with Luke.
It seemed that Luke could do nothing right these days. Sure, he had lost his temper, for no reason, but that didn't warrant this punishment, Luke didn't think. Still, Luke thought with a sigh as he hauled the very heavy remains of their broken water vaporator back towards their home, he would take his punishment without complaint, if only to avoid another one of Uncle Owen's outbursts. So, Luke trekked the four miles back to the house, dragging the equipment that they usually used their droids to carry.
It took him hours, of course, but when he finally got back home, he was ashamed to admit that he felt some sort of vindictive pleasure when Uncle Owen was standing outside, waiting worriedly for him.
"What took you so long, Luke?" Uncle Owen asked, and Luke didn't think he had imagined the regret in his uncle's voice.
"It was just…. Heavy," Luke panted, gratefully accepting the cup of water that his uncle handed him. Owen stood sheepishly off to the side, rubbing his hand on the back of his neck as Luke struggled to catch his breath.
"Perhaps I was too hard on you, son," he sighed. It wasn't an apology, but Luke suddenly found himself feeling guilty that he'd thought badly of his uncle.
"Uncle Owen, I shouldn't have lost my temper. You did what you thought was right. And honestly, I needed the exercise anyway," Luke quipped, causing his uncle to laugh a little.
"Listen, Luke… you've done enough work for the day. It's not quite dark yet; why don't you take the speeder and go out and have some fun."
Luke stood ramrod straight.
"Seriously?" He asked, surprised. Uncle Owen nodded.
"Yeah, go on. You deserve a break. I've been pushing you too hard lately. This is the third time in the last week that I've made you do something foolish like this. Just… go take the rest of the day off."
Luke watched his guardian curiously, not entirely sure whether he was expected to take his uncle up on this offer, or whether this was a test. Finally, he shrugged.
"Okay, thanks, Uncle Owen!"
Luke didn't wait for his uncle to change his mind. He ran into the house to change his shirt, and then he was off, jogging to the speeder fast enough that he knew his uncle wouldn't be able to catch him. As Luke was hopping into the driver's seat, he caught sight of Aunt Beru out of the corner of his eye. He didn't hear what she said to Uncle Owen, but he did hear his uncle's response:
"I know I overreacted. I was just afraid that if I didn't do something, he'd turn out just like his father."
For some reason, the statement sent chills down Luke's spine.
Luke drove without purpose, letting his mind wander. He wondered what his uncle had meant when he'd said that he was worried that Luke would turn out "just like his father". From what Luke understood, and in Uncle Owen's own words, his father was nobody but a navigator on a spice freighter. Nobody of note; just a freighter pilot. Uncle Owen knew Luke wanted to be a pilot, too, and although he had expressed concerns about Luke leaving the farm, he had never discouraged Luke from becoming a pilot. So what was Owen talking about when he said that he didn't want Luke to turn into his father?
As he pondered this, Luke found himself bringing the speeder to a stop at the edge of a canyon. He sighed, jumping out of the vehicle and seating himself on the edge of the cliff. Of all the places he could have gone, he'd ended up in the Jundland wastes. Luke was not at all sure why he had come here.
He wasn't concerned with his choice of meditation spot for long. As he sat staring over the cliff, he found his mind wandering to the picture he'd seen three years before. He'd had a lot of time to think it over, and he was now more convinced than ever that the picture he'd seen was truly a picture of his grandmother and his father. But why had they been nearly erased from history? And who had that woman been – the woman who had clearly recognized him; the woman who he had caused to be murdered?
"You seem deeply troubled, young Luke," a voice broke into his reverie, and in his complete shock, Luke nearly fell over the edge of the cliff. Catching himself and taking a deep breath, he turned to face Ben Kenobi, the rather eccentric man who lived in these parts. Ben smiled, a guilty look in his eyes. "I apologize. I thought you had heard me coming."
"No worries," Luke muttered, somewhat uncomfortable when he realized that Ben was looking at him in a way that made him feel as though he was being interrogated. Ben always seemed to know more than what people told him, and although Luke had enjoyed the rare times when they had been able to talk, he never particularly cared for those times when he found himself on the receiving end of one of those stares.
"How are things with your uncle?" Ben asked, again demonstrating an uncanny ability to know exactly what it was that was troubling Luke. Luke frowned, looking down at his hands to avoid eye contact.
"Great," he told Ben, but cursed himself when he realized how hollow his voice sounded. There was no way Ben would buy that.
The eccentric old man sighed thoughtfully for a moment, and then, surprising Luke, he lowered himself to the ground and sat next to the teen on the edge of the cliff.
"Owen always was bullheaded," Ben said, summing up Luke's thoughts with accuracy. Luke laughed a little bit.
"Yeah, I suppose that's one way of looking at it."
"He's been rough on you lately." It wasn't a question.
"How did you…?"
"Does it matter?" Ben countered, and Luke sighed impatiently, although, he supposed, it really didn't matter all that much.
"I overheard him talking to Aunt Beru," Luke said hesitantly. He wasn't sure what he should tell Ben, but it felt right to say this.
"Oh?" Ben prompted when Luke didn't immediately elaborate.
"He…" Luke hesitated, suddenly feeling nervous that Ben would be as closed off as his aunt and uncle had been, although Luke's gut told him that Ben knew more about his family than he had ever let on. But Ben glanced over at Luke, and suddenly Luke felt a rush of confidence that he could tell Ben what was on his mind. "You're right; he has been kind of hard on me lately," Luke admitted. Ben hummed in acknowledgment. "And, well, this morning, I, er…" Luke felt his face burning with shame. He coughed. "I lost my temper, said some horrible things… I really had no reason," he admitted, but if he expected Ben to reprimand him, he was disappointed. "And my uncle made me do something that I thought was kind of unfair, but he acknowledged that, and then he told me to take the day off. And as I was leaving, I heard him tell Aunt Beru that he knew that he'd overreacted, but that he was just afraid that I would turn out to be too much like my father."
Luke frowned. "Ben, I don't even know who my father is."
Ben sighed heavily, staring off into space, apparently lost in thought. Luke sighed, too, thinking of the things he'd been told by his aunt and remembering his fateful trip to the library to use the HoloNet.
"Well, that's not entirely true, I guess," he amended out loud, immediately aware of Ben's sharp, penetrating gaze.
"What?" Ben asked, startling Luke. "What do you know, Luke?"
Luke hesitated, again uncertain. Maybe he knew nothing at all.
"Luke, please. This is important." Luke failed to understand why, but he liked Ben, and he didn't want to get on the man's bad side.
"I… my uncle tells me that he was a navigator on a spice freighter," Luke said, repeating the story for the umpteenth time and realizing that it still sounded just as false as it had the first time he heard it.
"And…?" Ben said, sensing that Luke had more to say. Luke shook his head.
"Ben, it isn't right." Luke sighed, shaking his head again. "I mean… maybe. But it doesn't feel right. There's too much secrecy. Nobody will tell me about my father, or my mother… I'm living with family I'm not even related to. If the story is that my father was a navigator on a spice freighter then I can go with that for the public's sake, but I don't believe it."
"Ah," Ben said, and Luke realized that he sounded resigned, as if he'd expected this.
"And that's not all. Aunt Beru has told me some things. Nothing major, mind you, but she told me that he used to live on Tattooine, and that he left and lived on the inner planets. Ben, spice freighters don't go to the inner planets; that's strictly an outer-rim trade."
"I see," Ben said, and Luke noticed that the old man had not refuted a single word that he'd said. There was a pause in which Ben observed the teen. "There's something else you're not telling me."
"No," Luke sighed. "Well, I suppose… I snuck out one night," he admitted. Ben raised an eyebrow in disapproval, but remained silent. "I went to Mos Eisley, and I logged into the HoloNet. And… I looked up the name 'Skywalker'."
"You didn't. Oh, Luke…"
"I wanted to know where I came from," Luke defended, not understanding why it had to be such a big secret.
"And what did you find?" Ben looked as though he were afraid to learn the answer. Luke pursed his lips unhappily.
"Not much. The name 'Skywalker' has obviously been systematically deleted from the galactic archives." Luke paused, glancing over at Ben. "I did find an old Tattooine census, and I found two slaves by the names of Shmi and Anakin Skywalker. There was a picture. My aunt told me what my father looked like; I put it together pretty quickly, even though Anakin was only about seven or eight when the photo was taken."
"I see," Ben said, suddenly sounding faint. "This… is unexpected."
The pair sat in silence for a while. The suns began to set, and Luke sighed, regretfully jumping to his feet. He offered a hand to help the old man up.
"I have to be going," he admitted sadly. "My uncle said I could leave, but I don't think he'd be pleased if I stayed away."
Luke headed for his speeder, stopping when Ben called his name.
"Luke," the two made eye contact; Ben casually raised his hand, gesturing as he spoke. "I'm so sorry, but you will one day understand. This is for your own safety. Your father really was a navigator on a spice freighter."
And as Luke climbed into his speeder and went back to his home, he thought about how it didn't make sense for his aunt and uncle to lie to him about who his father was. It didn't make sense that the Skywalkers had been erased from history. Surely, he had imagined the whole thing; he had always had a vivid imagination.
Something still wasn't quite right, but Luke couldn't put his finger on it.
"My father really was a navigator on a spice freighter," he whispered, and he almost believed it.
Luke, Aged 19
"No, my father never fought in the clone wars," Luke said with an ironic laugh. "He was a navigator on a spice freighter."
Obi-Wan Kenobi, formerly known as Ben, smiled, but Luke missed the pain in the old man's eyes. It was probably for the best. Luke didn't remember what Obi-Wan had done, and Obi-Wan was more than happy to keep it that way.
"That's what your uncle told you," Kenobi reminded him. And me, too, Obi-Wan realized, cringing. In retrospect, it had not been one of his better moves; in the moment, however, he had thought that mind-tricking the boy was the best choice in order to keep him safe. He had already learned far too much.
"How did my father die?" Luke asked, and Obi-Wan felt his heart skip a beat. He had pictured this moment in his mind for years, always with a great sense of dread, but he found that he was still unprepared to answer the question. In the end, he told Luke a half-truth about how Darth Vader had betrayed and murdered Anakin Skywalker, never letting on that the two were one in the same.
Luke would not be pleased when he found out about the deception, Obi-Wan knew, but he wasn't at a position in his training where he could handle the truth. Not yet.
Obi-Wan had been a Jedi for many, many years, and he had been watching Luke grow up for the past nineteen. He knew very well how to read the boy's emotions. And he knew that Luke wasn't quite buying the story. He knew that Luke wouldn't question it now, but that over time he would think about what he had been told and he would find that it did not quite hold up.
Obi-Wan also knew that he would be long dead by the time these questions came to light. He could feel it in the Force; his time was almost up.
Luke was not yet trained in the Force, and didn't know that he was projecting his thoughts to Obi-Wan. It was all the Jedi could do not to gasp out loud when he realized that there was only one thing going through Luke's mind in that moment:
My father must not have been as good as Obi-Wan is letting on, if uncle Owen is still so worried about me being too much like him.
Oh, Luke, Obi-Wan thought… if you only knew.
...And One Time He Didn't.
Luke, Aged 22
Luke tried very hard to hold onto Yoda and Obi-Wan's advice as he fought Vader on Bespin. They had told him not to give in to anger; not to go down the same path as Vader had. But it was so hard to keep that in mind, when he had his father's murderer in front of him. If he just allowed himself to feel the anger that was threatening below the surface, he knew that he could overpower this… man. He knew that he could avenge his father.
"Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father," Vader taunted when Luke had been beaten.
"He told me enough!" Luke shouted, accepting defeat, but unwilling to let Vader win. "He told me you killed him!"
"No," Vader said, and Luke was no master of the Force yet, but it scared him when he didn't immediately feel that Vader was lying. "I am your father."
And suddenly, 22 years' worth of confusion over his identity were clarified. In an instant, everything made complete sense.
And Luke wished that he had never sought the truth.