Author: Deja Vu
Summary: Faced with an agonizing choice, Obi-Wan decides to protect baby Leia and leave baby Luke to be raised by Tusken Raiders...The lives of the twins are thus forever changed.
Rating: No language, some violence and blood.
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars, but this story is mine. Some dialogue from the Star Wars movies is used—that dialogue is copyright Lucas.
Author's Thanks: Many thanks to Kitt and Claudie—you're both lifesavers! Also, many thanks to the reviewers for all feedback!
Author's Notes: Flashbacks are in italics, and when a long stretch of time passes in a chapter, you will find more than four asterisks marking it, so as to decrease confusion. Also, please note that Ghorfa, in this story, is another word for Tusken Raider.
Characters: Major characters include Luke, Leia, Vader, Obi-Wan, and Bail Organa. Mara Jade plays a small part in this fic and a bigger role in its sequel, Galactic Sunrise.
The Tatooinian suns had set less than an hour ago, and the harsh desert wind sifted through the sand with invisible fingers, covering and uncovering dry, bleached bones of indeterminable ancestry.
A massive creature moved forward fluidly and silently on the sandy sea, heading in the starry night toward a small, quiet homestead.
Within the homestead, three occupants slept.
Outside the homestead, the beast let loose a low moan, and into the awaiting darkness a figure sprang.
Owen Lars was a dependable man.
He was never one to let his equipment falter for long, and he always did what he thought was best for himself and his household. No Tatooinian would have ever denied him the description of "responsible."
The head of the Lars household knew the danger that Tuskens represented. He had known it all his life, and he had even experienced firsthand what the savage creatures could do. With this in mind, he had always kept the alarms and the security fence in top condition, knowing that they could one day mean the difference between life and death.
However, the power cells to the security system had been fried by the hot Tatooinian suns two days ago (and since it was one of the hottest Tatooinian days on record, it was no surprise), and, while he had intended to do so, he had not restored them quite yet. So much was on the busy moisture farmer's mind that he was hardly to be blamed. After all, had he been able to hire a little more help, he would have been able to spend more time making sure everything was operating smoothly.
The simple fact of the matter was: the alarms and the security fence were not activated.
A lone Tusken Raider stared down at the stiff, cowled body that was cradled in her arms. Her elaborately jeweled mask gleamed in the light let off by the setting Tatooinian suns, providing a contrast to her dull, sandy robes. She had ventured momentarily away from the others of her tribe, unnoticed for the time being. Now was time for reflection.
Her child was dead, yet another victim claimed by the merciless desert planet.
The shifting sands seemed to mock her loss, hitting her robe like tiny pellets seeking a vulnerable target.
Survival on Tatooine was rare. Every Ghorfa knew that.
But it didn't change the feeling of emptiness in her heart.
She held the lifeless body up to her chest, making soft grunting noises. Her first child...
Slowly, her head begin to lift, and in her mind's eye she saw the homestead she knew was not too far away.
There was a child there. She had heard it.
She and the others of her tribe had been discouraged from going near that particular homestead lately, however, for a strange wizard had recently appeared to protect it...But the wizard was gone. He had left in the middle of the night, though none of the Tuskens knew why. She could go to the homestead—she could become a mother once again.
Even quick moves could be made silently, and it was with increasing stealth that the cowled figure snuck into the Lars homestead, firmly clutching a gaffi stick and subconsciously touching a large brown pouch held at the waist. Gray-clothed feet padded quietly on the floor, and the form moved ever closer to the room from which soft breathing sounds could be heard. The figure listened for a moment, merely a wraith against the doorframe, and then made an entrance.
Two forms lay silently in bed while a baby in a nearby cradle gurgled quietly. Closer, the figure went, finally stopping beside the child. The form clenched a rag-covered fist.
It was a child of a species that was the main enemy of the Ghorfa: humans...
Covered hands reached down gently to pick the baby up. Solemn blue eyes opened, blinking groggily.
The child was raised a little higher into the air, and, suddenly, pudgy hands reached up to play with the golden headdresslike face mask. The mysterious figure clutched the baby protectively with one arm. Free arm raised, the being brought up a ready gaderffii stick, ready to crash it onto the skulls of the two sleeping adults.
The sudden contortion of the child's face halted the robed being's action.
Trying to ignore the baby's strange expression, the creature nevertheless reasoned that killing the two adult humans would most likely result in harm to the child.
Reluctantly, the being left the room, pausing after hearing a feminine voice mumble: "Luke..."
After a brief moment of hesitation and then a rustle of robes, the figure, with the child, was gone.
After removing her dead child's robes from the pouch at her waist, the female Tusken Raider, Arr't'ni, quickly swathed the human baby in the unisex robe typical of Tusken children. Her own child's body had probably already been picked apart by Tatooine's vicious residents, but she no longer felt remorse.
After securing the eyemask on the confused baby, she placed the whimpering boy into the pack on her back. She stalked forward quickly. The others must never know that what she carried was a human child...And unless problems arose when he was assigned a mate, they never would.
Beru had never heard Owen utter so many profanities in her life.
Frankly, she was a little surprised...Not about his strong language—which he was known to use occasionally—but about the fact that he actually cared so much about Luke's disappearance. The desert had hardened Owen quickly, and the sweet emotions he had shown while they were courting had become rare indeed. Now, he always seemed to be angry.
Then again, perhaps she shouldn't be quite so surprised that he cared about Luke's disappearance. After all, Owen had been entrusted with a job by Obi-Wan and had failed—though she did know that Owen was a lot more passionate about the child than he let on. She could still remember how tenderly he had touched the baby when he was brought to them. It had been love that she had seen in his eyes, though he wasn't one to express it often.
Thinking about the boy's arrival made her feel heartbroken. But not for Owen—nor for Obi-Wan—but for herself and Luke.
It seemed like just yesterday when Luke had first entered into her life. He had been the one bright spot in a world dimmed by uncertainties.
And now he was gone. Taken away from her like so many other things on this accursed desert planet.
Somehow, she found the courage and strength to raggedly inquire, "You don't think it was Anakin?"
Owen Lars spun toward his wife in rage, quivering, his face red. "You will not speak that name in this house!"
Beru's gaze immediately fell to the ground, and she couldn't help but tremble.
Owen softened, moving closer to her and pulling her into an embrace. Her tears finally began to fall as she rested her head against his chest. Squeezing his eyes shut in frustration, he muttered, "I'm so sorry, Beru. I just...I think it was the Sand People...Why we weren't killed...The alarms...I forgot about the alarms...It's my fault..."
"No, no," the pained woman muttered, "you're busy, always so busy..."
"And Kenobi...That Jedi...He'll—"
"Shhh," Beru managed through her tears. "Don't say a word..."
"Master Yoda," Obi-Wan sighed, rigidly standing on the damp Dagobah ground in front of Yoda's small hut, "what must I do?"
He was agitated and doubted that any easy answers would be forthcoming. The plan for Anakin's children had gone so very, very wrong. Obi-Wan had recently left Tatooine while praying to the Force that Owen and Beru Lars would be able to keep the baby in their possession safe for a few days. He had had no choice but to leave—there had been an assassination attempt on the other child's life. How Bail and Breha Organa had managed to save their adopted baby, he didn't know; he could only assume that the Force had played a hand in the ordeal. But the would-be assassin had escaped, and Obi-Wan had been snared into detective duty. But things on Tatooine had gone horribly wrong, and he was so very agitated.
"Too late for him, it is. Choose, you did, between the girl and the boy. In the Force's hands now is the boy." The wizened Jedi Master said the last softly. He prodded the ground with his gimer stick, as if seeking answers. But if he received any, he said nothing.
Obi-Wan clenched his fists. He couldn't help but see the child's wide blue eyes staring at him in his mind's eye. They were intelligent eyes, full of emotion and understanding. He could still remember holding the child—so quiet for a baby—in his arms and looking down at his sparkling sapphire eyes, smiling as chubby fingers reached up to touch his beard and gently pull at the individual hairs. The child had been so amused by his beard, always giggling and happy, his blue eyes dancing to music only heard by him...Even if this recent development had been shaped by the Force, could Obi-Wan just abandon the child?
Obi-Wan remembered the signs surrounding Anakin, signs which had made Yoda hesitant to advocate his training...Was this a sign that Anakin's child would follow in his footsteps?
Finally, the Jedi ventured, "Couldn't I just retrieve him from the Sand People?"
After a long pause in which he averted his gaze to the ground, Yoda finally met Obi-Wan's eyes and answered, "Require manipulation of minds or brute force such would, both coming from the Dark Side. A noble quest it would be, but doing it without compromising your values, you cannot."
Obi-Wan couldn't help but think of Anakin's slaughter of Tusken Raiders. Was Yoda afraid that Obi-Wan would be driven to that?
The ghost of Qui-Gon, who had been standing by silently, finally spoke. "After Anakin's fall, you have been too close to the Dark Side to pull off something like this without compromising yourself."
"But what of stealth?" Obi-Wan tried, his voice almost a plea.
Yoda shook his head. "The way of Darkness is stealth. At every corner, Treachery looms. Separating the two children was our desire; done so we have. Separated, they are, on two different worlds, in two different lives. To seek the boy is to forsake the girl. Two options has the Force provided you with, not three." The small alien paused. "Much unrest on Alderaan, do I sense. To the girl to provide protection, you may go—or open to harm, you may leave her...You must let the Force guide you. What does it tell you?"
Obi-Wan stared at the elderly green Jedi Master. Yoda's sad eyes contained much wisdom, but he could also see expressed within them a willingness to let others choose their own paths...Yoda would let Obi-Wan choose his own path; he would not force him into a decision.
He moved his head to look at Qui-Gon; his former master was also willing to let him make his own choices, his own mistakes...
How Obi-Wan wished that Yoda would leave his self-imposed exile! But he knew that the alien was old and preparing himself for one last great effort should the children of Padmé prove unable to retrieve Anakin or destroy Vader.
No...The choice, the guardianship of one child, was Obi-Wan's decision to make.
Obi-Wan took a deep breath; he knew what he had to do.
The brown-haired baby stared at the dangling objects above. Stubby fingers reached up and touched the stars and planets, sending them spinning. The child giggled.
A shadow fell against the wall. Noises began drifting toward the cradle from the window.
The old nurse smiled as she came upon the nursery doorway. Surely it would not take too long to check in on Princess Leia. Ah, she was such a sweet child.
The door slowly began to slide sideways. It stopped just wide enough for a kindly eye to peek through. But the eye widened at the sight of a stranger in the nursery.
Cursing, the figure's movements briefly ceased before he gathered his tools and retreated back out the window.
Rushing over to the window, the nurse watched the form depart as she pulled out her comlink. "S-Security!"
The little girl in the cradle stared at the strange purple droplet of fluid left behind by the fleeing figure. She started to reach her chubby fingers toward it, but she was scooped up by the nurse before she could touch it.
The nervous aide entered the meeting room, standing at attention at the door.
"What is it?" Bail Organa inquired, giving an apologetic look toward the others at the table. It was bad enough that the night meeting had lasted so long.
Glancing at the other occupants of the room, the aide went to Bail Organa's side, whispering, "There has been an assassination attempt on Princess Leia's life."
"Obi-Wan! Call Obi-Wan!" Bail shouted, so agitated that he was trembling. He had immediately left the meeting room and was currently standing beside his head of Security. He dared not tell his wife yet...Oh, Breha was going to be so upset...
"But, sir," his head of Security—one of the few people who knew details concerning how the precious baby had ended up in his hands—interjected quietly, "it was not long ago you received the child. Obi-Wan might not think such a situation is suited for the baby and take her a—"
"Call Obi-Wan," the man growled, leaving no further room for argument.
"Obi-Wan!" Bail Organa held his hands out in greeting. "Will you stay longer this time?" His voice got quieter: "You may have already taken care of the assassin, but others may come, and I don't know what Breha and I would do if—"
"I understand," Obi-Wan said quietly. He could not meet the other's eyes.
Hesitantly, the Alderaanian ventured, "And what of the boy?"
"I don't know, Bail...I don't know..." The Jedi looked troubled.
Obi-Wan held the assassin up against the wall by his throat. He had been difficult to find with the nurse's sparse description, but Obi-Wan, with a judicious use of the Force, had done it.
"You tried to kill a child. An innocent girl!" the Jedi hissed. He could feel the rage swelling up within him. It was his job to ensure that the twins remained alive. He owed Padmé that much, after he had failed her husband...He tried to wipe such thoughts from his mind, but it was harder than it should have been for a Jedi.
"And it would've worked, too, if that blasted nurse hadn't—"
"Quiet! Who sent you?" Obi-Wan demanded. He could not help but think back to Padmé's own failed assassin, a shapeshifter. But it was not Padmé in danger this time; it was her daughter.
"You'll never get it out of me," the furred creature gritted, sharp white teeth glistening in defiance.
"That purple chemical. We can trace it—"
"Hah!" the alien spat. "Not in a hundred centuries. You'll never trace it unless you happen to have a bunch of outlaw friends running around." The creature smirked. "If you're gonna kill me, do it now, 'cause this interrogation is gettin' boring fast."
Obi-Wan glared at him.
Author's Notes: I've done a lot of research for this fic, but I haven't found enough detail, and some things I've found are contradictory, so I've made up a few things and guessed at others. Some sources: the official Star Wars page, Wikipedia, Wookieepedia, the Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide, A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, the Star Wars Encyclopedia, and a visual and informational source Kitt showed me. My online sources have been updated since this fic was first posted, so not all of this fic is in accordance with what I've listed.
My original focus was going to be on Luke, yet Leia seemed to call for my attention. I try to address the twins equally, but sometimes I focus on Luke more.
I started this fic in at least August of 2003 (I have an email from Kitt about it dating that far back). I put it on hiatus for a while before finally returning to it. Basically: it's been a while in the making.