There is a small—very small, mind you, because twenty years in the desert haven't turned him into a krayt dragon—part of Obi-Wan Kenobi that thinks things would be a little bit easier if Beru Lars had burned with her husband. In his defense, she's currently barrelling towards him with a blaster leveled between his eyes and murder in hers.
"Step back!" she shouts, voice raw with a pain that Obi-Wan knows all too well.
Luke glances between him, his aunt, and the burnt husk of what had been his home. His Force presence flicks through emotions just as rapidly—relief, at the sight of Beru. Fury at the destruction of his home. Devastation at the loss of his uncle. And yet, simmering under it all, there's still that burning curiosity, his desire to know even scraps about his father.
Not for the first time, Obi-Wan wishes that Anakin Skywalker really had died on Mustafar. Any stories he tells Luke about his father will be tainted by the smoke and ash.
A blaster bolt strikes the ground mere inches from his feet, spraying sand up on to his robes and interrupting his thoughts.
She's not shouting anymore, and somehow that's more intimidating. Well, that, and the fact that she just shot at him, anyway.
With some difficulty, Obi-Wan extracts himself from the tangled web of Luke's emotions. The boy has been growing stronger every day. More visible, more vulnerable. Maybe getting him to the Alliance and to his sister is the best move after all.
He steps away, his empty hands raised in the air.
"It's all right—" Luke starts, but Beru doesn't let him finish.
With one last look at Obi-Wan, Luke hurries over to her side. Beru manages to pull him into a one-armed hug without wavering with her gun hand for so much as a heartbeat.
"What in the nine hells is going on?"
To her credit, she only allows the still-smoking corpse of her husband to distract her for a moment before her blazing eyes—Obi-Wan can't help but think of twin suns—lock back on to his.
Luckily, it's Luke who answers, extracting himself enough from Beru's tight hold to get the words out.
"Imps," he says. "They were looking for the droids."
C-3PO seems to think that this is the appropriate moment to cut in. "Myself and R2-D2 are terribly sorry for your loss, Mistress Beru."
For a moment, Obi-Wan thinks that Beru is going to put a blaster bolt in the droid's head. He wouldn't blame her for it. He'd had the same desire himself many times over the years.
Then, she collects herself. "Thank you."
They were the very last words that Obi-Wan had expected to hear. He's beginning to think that his theory that the people of Tatooine were put in the universe solely to confuse him is correct.
"Why did they want the droids?"
Luke again: "Artoo has the plans for a super star destroyer, and he's supposed to deliver them to the Rebel Alliance."
Beru assesses the two droids, unimpressed. Then, she turns back to Obi-Wan.
"These plans. It would make the Imps upset to have them delivered to the Alliance, wouldn't it?"
He thinks that she's going to tell him that it's too much of a risk and usher Luke away. And right now, Obi-Wan doesn't think he has the strength to rip her remaining family away from her. Then, he spots a flash of that durasteel resolve that he'd seen in Luke a few short minutes ago when he'd decided to tag along. No, not durasteel. Sandstone.
Beru is desert rock, and she's carved Luke into the same.
"Yes, they would," Obi-Wan says, unable to be dishonest.
"Good." She holsters the blaster. "Let's not wait around for them to find us, then."
She turns neatly on her heel, making a small divot in the sand. Just as she's about to stride away, Luke grabs her by the elbow.
"Uncle Owen," he says, and the small break in his voice reminds Obi-Wan just how young he is.
By Luke's age, Anakin Skywalker was a general. But Luke was raised as a boy, not a weapon. All Obi-Wan can do is pray that it'll make the difference.
Beru turns, all the sandstone lines etched into her face crumbling into dust at the sight of her nephew's expression. She cups Luke's chin gently before walking back to Owen's body.
Obi-Wan takes a few steps back to give them room to grieve. Artoo makes a few impatient beeps, and Threepio kicks him in what Obi-Wan supposes is the equivalent of his shin.
He's been to a few Tatooine funerals over the last two decades, so he knows how they work. Unlike the Core World funerals he'd attended as a Jedi Knight, there is little wasted time. Every moment spent doing something other than work on Tatooine is a moment closer to death or the Hutts. Equally horrible options.
So even though Owen Lars' funeral is quick, it's honestly not much shorter than average. Beru and Luke murmer their way through a quick—he can't quite call it a prayer, because Tatooine doesn't really do religion—mantra. They're words to guide Owen to his final destination, wherever that might be.
Obi-Wan's heart twists. Once upon a time, he'd stood with a hand on nine-year-old Anakin's shoulder as the boy had spoken the same words for Qui-Gon.
It feels like an echo. A warning, that maybe all he's doing by setting Luke on this path is orchestrating a way for the Force to repeat itself. He's certainly played the fool often enough.
He shakes the feeling away.
Much like the Jedi, Tatooine burns their dead. Of course, in this case, there isn't much left to burn. Beru reaches that conclusion at the same time Obi-Wan does. Her mouth twists. Obi-Wan thinks he understands. The stormtroopers have denied her catharsis.
Instead, she and Luke skip to the final step. Both take a fistful of sand and let it rain down on the body. Neither sheds a tear, although Obi-Wan can't say he's surprised. On Tatooine, you don't waste water. It's not what the deceased would want.
The entire ritual lasts around three and a half minutes. Then, at last, Beru steps back, her arm looped loosely around Luke's shoulders. The other stays steady on her holstered blaster.
"Lead on, Kenobi." she says.
Obi-Wan turns away from the homestead and toward the speeder and Mos Eisley. He doesn't look back, and neither do his companions.
It figures, Beru thinks, that Owen would manage to have the last word.
Nineteen years ago, when Obi-Wan Kenobi had arrived on their doorstep with a newborn in tow, Owen had urged caution. The fledgling Empire had already learned how to inspire fear. Even on Tatooine, word had spread about the slaughter of the Jedi.
"He'll be his father's son," Owen had argued.
They'd made an odd group. Owen, the sweat of a long day still sticky on his brow. Her, standing beside him with her arms crossed as their uneaten dinner grew cold in the rapidly cooling desert night. Kenobi, bouncing a baby gently in his arms, far more practiced than Beru would have expected from a Jedi Knight. And Luke, wailing every so often throughout the proceedings, despite Kenobi's attempts to lull him to sleep.
"For all of our sakes," Kenobi had said in an even graver voice than usual, "I pray he won't be."
At the time, the ominousness of the statement had just blended in with the rest of the atmosphere. Now, with his surrogate still smoking a half mile behind them, Beru spares a thought for Luke's long-dead father. She wonders what Kenobi had meant.
Nineteen years ago, Beru had wanted children. Always had, really, but there was a danger to it on Tatooine. You had to wait for a wet year, one where the mother and child would both have enough to drink. A year when Hutts didn't decide to collect on their debts.
That very day, they'd filled their first tank of water two weeks ahead of schedule. Even then, Beru hadn't been naïve enough to believe in signs. But that didn't mean the galaxy wasn't trying to nudge her one way or another.
"Owen," she'd said quietly, reaching out to take his hand. "He doesn't have anyone else."
She'd only met Anakin Skywalker the once, but she knew the Jedi weren't allowed attachments. Weren't allowed children. So there could be no one, save Obi-Wan Kenobi, who even knew of Luke's existence.
"What about him?" Owen had groused, though he hadn't pulled his hand away.
In the split second before Kenobi had managed to force his expression into something neutral, an anxiety that Beru would have never expected to see from a Jedi Knight had crossed his face.
"I want to give him a family," Kenobi had said at last, that infuriatingly calm expression back in place once more.
Perhaps anticipating the perfect in, he'd held Luke out to Beru. The baby had finally fallen asleep, his reddened skin paling as he calmed. Despite Owen's warning look, she'd taken him into her arms.
"Are you gonna take him?"
She'd fixed Kenobi with a particularly sharp look that she liked to think even now had cowed him somewhat.
"We might live in the Outer Rim, but we're not stupid," Owen had answered gruffly before she'd gotten the chance. "We know what your people do. Steal kids away from their parents."
Beru could tell that he was thinking about Shmi Skywalker, too, and the wistful look that had come over her face whenever she had spoken about her freed son. Owen had always liked her, and Beru had always thought that she'd looked at him like another son.
"There is not a Jedi Order any longer," Kenobi had said. "Luke will remain with you."
Beru had glanced Owen's way, face pleading. "He's her grandson, Owen."
Owen had stayed silent a moment too long to refuse. When he'd swiped a hand over his face, she'd known that she'd won.
"Fine. But if we die doing this, Beru, I'm going to haunt him."
One single traitorous tear trickles down her face at the memory, cleaned away almost immediately by the wind and sand as the speeder's pace picked up.
He always did get the last word.