Title: Shadow and Darkness

Author: kasey8473

Summary: During Shmi's funeral, Owen thinks about Anakin.

Rating: K+

Timeframe: AOTC

Disclaimer: Star Wars is the property of George Lucas. No disrespect is intended with this story.

Who is this man who brought back his mother?

I had listened to Shmi and heard her stories, those loving recollections of a sweet young boy. Her boy, whose destiny was always bigger than that of those around him. He was destined for something more than ordinary. A remarkable child who was bright and caring, giving shelter to strangers and sharing the little he had with others. Headstrong, yet endearing for it.

I'd wanted to know him.

I have listened to his girlfriend, this pretty woman named Padmé. At least, I think she is his girlfriend. Their exact relationship has not been laid out in plain speech. However, I see more between them than has been said.

There is a familiarity that does not tell of casual friendship, but of something deeper. Their lives are intertwined. When she speaks of him, there is longing and love in her eyes, and I do not think she realizes it.

The tense hours of the night passed with her telling us stories that he had told her. Some were funny and some were a bit more serious. She talked and talked and we let her until she suddenly fell silent, her stare turning towards the stairs leading to the outside. Her anxiety then rode the air. She feared for him. I thought of how foolish it was to go alone, but he'd refused company, leaving an unspoken implication that he thought we had failed. He would succeed. He would bring her back.

How Padmé worried for him!

I did not worry. No, this Anakin Skywalker can take care of himself.

So he did, bringing Shmi back. One young man alone where an entire search party had failed.

Again, I ask, who is this man?

I know he is a Jedi, that thing that had made Shmi so proud, but I see in him something more than that.

His eyes were hard upon return, as though he tried to turn himself to stone to keep from feeling the grief I know must be terrible for him. He wanted no comfort, at least not from any of us. We would have given it gladly, shared his pain. Accepted him as family.

Whatever happened out there in the desert, it marked him. Does anyone but me see it? Does anyone but me think about one man succeeding where many as a group failed and feel a shiver ice up their spine? Am I the only one who sees the glimmer of shadow that now darkens his face or the lurking anger in his eyes?

Tusken Raiders are animals and they deserve to be treated as such. They are feared and for good reason. They are savage and violent creatures. What happened out there? I do not believe that he stole silently into one of their camps and stole silently out carrying his mother. No silence. Their sentries are quick. No one sneaks up on them. No one.

What did he do? One man against an entire camp? Will we come to find them slaughtered, cut open by his blade? And if so, then why does that possibility frighten me?

Because. If he can do that, then what else is he capable of accomplishing in anger or grief? I do not wish to know the answer to that.

Who is this man?

I will be glad to see him go.

Odd, that. After listening to Shmi, I had wanted to call him brother if ever we chanced to meet, just as I would have had he remained here. And now I only want him gone. I am uneasy around him. Is it a contradiction to fear a man for doing us all a great service? Still, I do. I fear him.

Padmé holds him like Beru does me, with a tenderness and care that all women seem to possess. He accepts it from her, that show of comfort, but we are still held at arms length. Does he not see that we loved her too? Does he not realize it?

Perhaps he does realize. Perhaps he is a little jealous beneath it all that he was not the only one to love her, to call her mother. She had more family besides him.

Now, I watch him scatter a handful of sandy soil to the wind and am relieved beyond belief that they will be gone soon.

I do not wish to know him anymore.