(A/N: Wow… I'm really sorry about the long wait! I've been busy, but still…I should have updated a long, long time ago. Sorry again for the inconvenience! Hopefully next time the wait won't be as long--but I'm not going to make any promises, considering what happened last time I did. Still, I think I can safely say it won't quite take three weeks… I'll try to update at least once a week. Try is a key word there. I tend to be forgetful sometimes ((winces)) but I'll certainly do my best!
One reason it's a little bit late is also because won't let me upload documents anymore for some reason. But I was smart. I outwitted it. :D I exported chapter four, deleted the contents, and pasted in chapter five. Take that, faulty document manager!!)
Luke collapsed in relief on one of the plain wooden chairs inside Old Ben's home. The dull ache in his legs was beginning to grow into a sharper, more intense pain. He could feel his legs seizing up underneath him. True, he was used to walking long distances on average, but nothing like this. He felt like he'd been walking all day.
He noticed Ben watching him with a slight frown on his face. Luke couldn't help but send him a slight glare--The old man didn't look tired or achy at all! Ben just sighed and began setting out simple but durable earthen plates. Luke watched him, still trying to come to terms with everything that had happened. His mind didn't seem to want to take it all in--it was impossible! Yesterday he had been just plain Luke, with dull prospects for the future and a bossy, overbearing uncle. Now…now he wasn't sure. If he couldn't stay at home, where was he going to go?
As if sensing what Luke was thinking about, Ben spoke. "In the morning we will leave once more for Mos Eisley. From there, we are going to find someone to take us to Alderaan." He rummaged through the cupboards and brought out plain, nonperishable foodstuffs. Luke didn't mind what he ate--now that he was off his feet, he realized how hungry he was.
"Alderaan? Any particular reason?" He asked through a mouthful of food. Ben didn't answer for a moment. He appeared hesitant.
"I have a few contacts there who might be willing to help us." He finally told Luke, watching him anxiously.
Old Ben shook his head. "It's going to be very hard to hide you from the empire now that they know of your existence. I'm almost worried about going to Alderaan, in case of getting my… friends…in trouble as well. Notice from the Empire won't bode well for them, either. However, it's the only place I can think of to go on such short notice."
"I've never been off of Tatooine before. Is Alderaan nice? My friend Biggs said that it was beautiful."
"It is. It's also a very peaceful, quiet planet. I think you'll like it there."
They ate on in silence for a while before Luke finally asked a question that had been weighing on his mind ever since they left his home. "Do you think my aunt and uncle are all right?"
Owen groaned as he regained consciousness. There was a dull throb in the back of his head and a searing pain in his shoulder. He tried to move, but found he could not. Frantically, he tried to recall where he was and what had happened to him.
The last thing he remembered was hurrying off across the sands of Tatooine with Beru. Beru! Owen tried once more to sit up, but his body wasn't responding. As he struggled, he became aware of someone watching him. "Who's there? Where's my wife?" He managed to gasp out. His facial muscles were all working now, and his neck was beginning to respond as well. He could only hope that the rest of his body would shortly follow.
There was a small pause after his questions, and then a figure stepped forward from the dark recesses of the room. "Your wife is in the next room. If you cooperate with my questions, we'll return both you and your wife safely to your farm. It is not you we are after." The voice was dark and emotionless, and Owen thought he might know who he was talking to.
"You are… Emperor Vader?" He demanded, beginning to hope. "You will let us go?"
"Yes to both, but only if you cooperate." The figure drew closer. "Where is my son? Why was he not with you?"
Owen paused for a moment, struggling with his emotions. "You are not going to hurt him? He will live?"
"Of course he will live, he's my son." The voice had become considerably darker and more threatening. "Now, tell me where he has gone."
"I'm not…quite sure." Owen admitted. "The crazy Jedi took him somewhere. Most likely to his house. After that, he was planning on leaving Tatooine." His tone grew bitter as he reflected on this. Apparently, only Luke had been important enough to save from the empire. They were left to fend for themselves. A small voice in the back of his mind whispered that he was not being fair, and that Kenobi had warned them to leave as soon as possible. Owen angrily pushed it away.
"A Jedi? Which…" there was a slight intake of air. "Obi-wan. I should have known." The emperor murmured something else that Owen did not quite catch. "You said that this Jedi took my son back to his house?"
"I'm not quite sure about--"
"Where does he live?" Vader demanded. Owen gave him the best directions that he could. He heard them repeated into a com link and could only assume that they were scouting out the area. "Now…" Vader hesitated for a moment, "What is my son like? Does he know anything of the force?"
"No, not that I know of. My wife and I brought him up…the Jedi had no part in his upbringing. He's had the best education we could give him, and he's been helpful around the farm, but that's it." Owen gained confidence as he realized that he could feel his arms and upper chest again.
"And what does he know about me?"
Owen swallowed. "N-nothing. We told him his father was a navigator. He's had no reason to think otherwise."
"Very well then, I believe that will be all. Unless you know where Kenobi plans on taking him after they leave Tatooine? No, I thought not. That will be of no matter, anyway…we'll catch them before then."
Owen breathed a sigh of relief and, slowly, sat up. He still couldn't feel his legs from the waist down, however. "Then…My lord, you said that you will allow us to return to our farm?" He inquired.
Vader was silent. He was facing the doors, and appeared to be waiting for something. "My wife," Owen managed shakily, "You…you will not kill her?"
Finally, he received an answer. "No," Owen started to relax, but Vader continued, "It is not possible to kill someone who is already dead."
Icy water seemed to have replaced the blood in Owen's veins. His voice rose, becoming frantic. "But--But you said she was alive! She was in the next room!"
"I lied." Stormtroopers were filling the doorway now, filing into the room. "But there's no need to fret, Lars…You will be joining her shortly." Vader's voice became distant as he exited into the hallway beyond. Owen, however, could still him give the order,
There was a flash of blaster beams, then everything went dark.
Obi-wan sighed, running a hand through his hair. "If they left right after we did, they'll be fine." He answered cautiously.
"And if they didn't?" Luke asked. When he didn't respond right away, the boy continued, "They're dead, aren't they?" His voice broke slightly. He had not been close with his uncle, but he had still respected him. And his aunt was one of the sweetest people he knew. They had raised him…he couldn't imagine them not being there.
"You can't be sure of that, Luke," Obi-Wan told him gently, attempting to soothe him, "They very well might have gotten away. The empire is interested in you, not them…it's possible that, even if they stayed, they will be allowed to live." Luke picked his head up and met Obi-wan's gaze, giving him a look that said quite clearly, You're only trying to comfort me. Don't. Obi-wan was slightly startled. It was not a look he had associated with Luke thus far…in fact, it reminded him much more of Luke's father. Anakin… Obi-wan stood and pushed back his chair. "Come with me, Luke…It's about time I show you something."
Luke stood reluctantly, wincing from the pain in his legs. They were very stiff, and he was having trouble walking. Obi-wan looked concerned, but said nothing. Luke followed him into the small bedroom in the back of the house. Curiously, he watched as Obi-wan knelt before a chest in the corner of the room and unlocked it. There was not much inside. The former Jedi removed one of the objects and then closed the chest again, relocking it.
Confused, Luke eyed the small metal cylinder. He opened his mouth to ask about it, but at that moment Kenobi ignited the weapon and the question died on his lips. "This was your father's," Obi-wan informed him. He thumbed the button on the hilt again and the glowing blade disappeared. Then he flipped the hilt over in his palm and held it out to Luke, "It is now yours. If you choose to pursue the way of the Jedi, as he did, then I will help you with your training." Luke took the weapon, an expression of awe on his young face.
"I could become a Jedi?" he whispered, looking hopefully up at Obi-wan. "But isn't that illegal or something?"
"You certainly wouldn't want to flaunt it," Obi-wan told him, amused, "But if you become good enough, you'd be an invaluable asset to the rebel cause. Perhaps one day you will even live to see a Jedi Academy again. For now, however, it will help you defend yourself against the empire. Will you accept my training?"
Luke grinned eagerly, "Can we start now?"
"We certainly can. Sit, Luke, and I'll teach you how to feel the force around you. You probably have already without even knowing what it was. And don't look at me like that," he added, amused as Luke pulled a face. It was obvious he had thought they would start with lightsaber training. "Patience, Luke. This was not your father's favorite pastime either, but unfortunately it is essential. Using that weapon is not a good idea until you understand the Force. You wouldn't want to cut your arm off before you even begin, now would you?" He smiled as Luke sheepishly sat down beside him. "Now, reach out with your mind…"
The landspeeders pulled to a stop at the top of the sand dune. Down in the small valley that had occurred naturally in the sand over time there was a tiny, plain house, surrounded on the other side by a jagged cliff. Vader smiled slightly--his master's presence was strong here…and there was also another present, from what the Force was telling him.
Vader ordered the troopers to stay circled around the small home up on the dunes, and he moved down to the house by himself. There was no need for clumsy stormtroopers here--they would only get in the way. Or worse, they might injure his son. No, it was best he went by himself. Lord Vader could handle an old man and a boy quite easily.
Obi-wan jerked up from the meditation state. He had been so focused on teaching Luke that he hadn't sensed the growing darkness. It was difficult to tell at some times where Vader was when he was on the same planet, but there was no doubt now. "Luke!"
The boy jumped, startled. "What is it? Did I do something wrong?"
"No, of course not." Obi-wan was now quickly rummaging in the storage chest. "Here," he said, handing Luke a wad of over six hundred credits, "Take this and get out of here. There is a back exit that I rarely use--take that and run straight up beyond the cliff that's behind this house. I have an old speeder hidden in the rocks there. Go directly to Mos Eisley and get someone to take you to Alderaan. Sell the speeder if you need more money."
Luke stared at him, uncomprehending. "But I thought we were waiting until morning. I'm too tired to go now…I can barely walk."
"Yes, that's right," Obi-wan frowned and lightly touched Luke's shoulder. "I was never much of a healer, and it's been a while since I've done anything like this… but I fancy I can still heal stiff legs." There was a moment of silence as he closed his eyes, and suddenly Luke felt the tension in his legs go away.
"Wow! Will I be able to do that when I'm a Jedi?" He asked excitedly.
"Yes, of course Luke. Now hurry--he's almost here. This way." Obi-wan directed Luke to the back exit and opened it for the boy.
"Wait, who's almost here?" Luke inquired, confused. When Obi-wan hesitated, his eyes widened. "You don't mean… Vader is here? Now? But then why aren't you going to come with me? He'll kill you--oh." Luke stared at his new friend.
"Yes, Luke. I'll stay here and hold him off for as long as I can. You must escape! The future of the Jedi order is dependent on you. I am old, and now it is time for me to join with the Force. Go to Alderaan, Luke…and if you wish to pursue the way of the Jedi, find a way to get to the Dagobah system. Now hurry, Luke, you don't have much time." Before Luke could protest any further, Obi-wan gave him a slight push out of the door. Luke stood in the shadows behind the house for a moment, clutching the money Old Ben had given him and the few things he had brought from his house.
He started to take a step out into the night when a crash echoed from behind him. Luke whirled around, the blood draining from his face. Lord Vader was inside the house now. What was Ben doing? How could he hold off the Emperor alone? Luke stared at the door desperately. What was he doing? Was he just going to abandon Ben like that? No. He went back to the door and tried to open it, but it was locked. Luke frowned--no matter, he would just go around the other way…
He started to move again, but once again came to a halt. What help would he be? Did he honestly think he could fend off Lord Vader? No…he was being stupid. Ben had won him some time, had sacrificed himself so that Luke could get away, and now was he just going to make Ben's sacrifice meaningless?
Luke shook his head. He had to find the hidden speeder and get away. Quickly and quietly he made his way over to the small cliff, trying not to think about whether Old Ben was still alive or not. He had to focus on the task at hand. He analyzed the cliff--it was more of a rocky ledge, and one that he thought he could scale easily. Luke made up his mind and placed a hand on the stony wall, hoisting himself up.
After he closed the door behind Luke, Obi-wan turned and headed back into the first room in the house. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes and connecting himself with the force. The darkness felt so close that it was almost suffocating him. He forced his breathing to be even, reaching for his lightsaber.
His hand paused in mid-air. No…it wouldn't do to simply attack the Emperor the moment he entered the door. He hadn't seen Anakin in years. Obi-wan smiled sadly. He would like to talk to his old apprentice once more, before…
Obi-wan held no delusions about how this meeting would end. He was not as powerful a warrior as he'd once been, even with his deep force connection, and Lord Vader hated him. Still, perhaps he would be able to speak with the Sith lord before he was killed…anything to gain Luke more time to escape.
Slowly, he lowered himself into one of the chairs. A split second later, a red lightsaber pierced the door and began slicing it from the frame. A small smile appeared on Obi-wan's face. The door had been completely unlocked. Trust Anakin to not try the doorknob, first. In a moment the door was cut completely from its hinges and fell with a crash to the ground.
Obi-wan looked on his former apprentice for the first time since that fateful day when he had stabbed him on Mustafar. Their eyes locked.
"Hello, Obi-wan. It's been a long time. Far, far too long." The red lightsaber ignited and the Emperor advanced on his old master.
Luke paused in his climbing, sweat beading on his forehead. The ledge had been steeper than he'd originally thought.
His belongings and money were all shoved in his pack, which he held with his teeth. Steeling himself, he continued to struggle up the cliff face, feeling for small outcroppings to use as handholds.
He paused again only a moment later when he heard a shout from behind him. It wasn't Old Ben's voice, but nor did he think it was Lord Vader's. Luke twisted his head around to look, and instantly the color drained from his face.
Blast, was he in trouble! Ten stormtroopers were gathered near the front of Ben's house, and one had spotted him. Luke scrambled up the cliff face faster than ever. For some reason, the troopers weren't shooting yet. They seemed to be arguing about something. He was nearly there, however, when the voices stopped. There was the unmistakable sound of a blaster being fired, and then he was falling… falling…
(A/N: Whoo-hoo! That took forever. Sorry about taking so long, everyone, but for some reason this was a hard chapter to write. This ended up a kind of transition chapter, instead of the chapter I thought it was going to be… which is, by the way, the next chapter. That one should actually be fun to write.
Lol… I seem to like people almost getting away, don't I? Poor Luke. He was so close, too.
So, anyway, more action in the next chapter. The Vader/Obi-wan meeting will be completed in there. As for the rest, I'll let you wait and find out! ;) Please leave a review if you want to a.) Get me to update soon, b.) Tell me you liked it, c.) Tell me you hated it (and why) d.) Ramble on about some random topic or another. I like those reviews :D