AN: I don't own Star Wars - even though this particular version of SW is rather twisted. It's yet another challenge fic where the challenge was to rewrite the SW universe so that the Rebellion never formed because the Emperor was killed and peace was restored early on - thus Luke, Leia, and Han never fought and became heroes. Instead, they had to take on professions that the challenger decided on (I didn't pick them). Confused yet? Well, simply put, the Death Star doesn't happen and Luke, Leia, and Han have different jobs. Complete rewriting of the OT.
Ben Kenobi sat in his Tatooine hovel, his eyes closed, his hands relaxed in his lap, appearing deep in meditation, but in truth unable to get there. His mind was too troubled - troubled by a name, a duty, a life long abandoned.
He wished he could wipe away the memories of his Jedi days, the days when his life served a purpose. When his kind were needed. But then again, maybe they never were needed in the first place. The Empire fell merely seven years after its formation - without any help from the Jedi at all.
No...he was fooling himself. The face of a young man who was no more swirled into his vortex of darkness, one who turned against the Jedi, once called the chosen one. Had he not attempted to overthrow the Emperor, democracy would never have been restored.
Yet the Empire shouldn't have fallen for that reason.
Ben's fingers curled around his robe. Ben...why was he so accustomed to that name? Technically he wasn't in hiding anymore...but what was the point of taking on the old name associated with the life that was gone forever? His eyes shot open, facing a holo of the New Republic President Mon Mothma, taken on the day the Republic had been officially restored.
And the day the Jedi officially fell.
The smiling face in the holo seemed to be smirking at him, boasting that the galaxy could indeed function without the Jedi. Ben sighed, knowing Mon had meant well. She had the best intentions when she refused to rebuild the Jedi Order for fear of another Vader or Palpatine rising.
He closed his eyes again, his consciousness reaching into the skies, his mind unknowing of the particular reason why he was doing so, only listening to the Force urging him on. A ship slowly materialized in the formless color behind his eyelids...a ship heading for Tatooine, carrying something important...
Ben's eyes opened, the flash of excitement that once existed nineteen years ago finally back in them. The Force was preparing itself. The truth was ready to be fully embraced.
It was time.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Luke Skywalker sighed to himself as he ran his knife through the thirtieth (or it might have been the fiftieth, he wasn't exactly keeping count) vegetable of the day, once more nearly cutting himself from lack of concentration. Seven more hours before he could go home and he was already sweating from this kitchen. Why did the food slicer have to stand so close to the stove anyway? It wasn't like he got to actually cook the food.
He didn't hate his job at Biggs's restaurant. It brought in good money and let him spend a lot of time with his friend, which made it slightly more interesting than moisture farming like his aunt and uncle did. It was just that...when they were younger, he and Biggs once thought of a more glamourous future. Going to the Imperial Navel Academy, becoming pilots, seeing the universe...
They hadn't predicted that there wouldn't be an Imperial Navel Academy by the time they grew up.
It was a good thing, Luke knew that, but still...
He flinched, brought back into the real world by a jab of pain in his finger. He glanced down to see a line of red oozing down his skin. Not again, he thought. Sometimes he wondered why Biggs still trusted him with a knife.
As Luke was sucking on his injured finger, Biggs burst into the kitchen, his face glistening from sweat. All the workers immediately ceased their tasks to take notice of their boss, but the only one he took notice of was the young slicer.
"Luke!" he called. "Someone's here to see you."
Luke groaned, the taste of flesh, sweat, and blood still lingering on his tongue. "Uncle Owen again? Tell him I'll check the vaporators when I get home. You know, with those two new droids he bought you'd think they could..."
"It's not your uncle," Biggs interrupted. "Or your aunt."
Luke grabbed a juice-stained rag and pressed it against his finger. "Who is it then?"
Biggs grinned, wrinkling his mustache. "It's Ben Kenobi."
Luke's hand slipped, dropping the rag to the ground. "Ben Kenobi? What's he doing here?"
"Why don't you go find out? He's at the table near the front entrance."
Without picking up the rag, Luke dashed out of the kitchen.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The elderly-looking man was sitting up straight when Luke found him, giving the younger man a sly smile that seemed full of secrets. His hands rested on the edges of the glass table as if waiting to be fed. The suns shone through the window next to him, reflecting off the glass, giving his face an ethereal look.
"Ben!" Luke exclaimed. "What brings you here?"
The former Jedi's smile faded. "You know my real name, Luke." He raised his eyebrows, as if he were a father scolding his child. "Why don't you ever use it?"
Luke slid into the chair across from him. "I dunno...I guess I'm just used to Ben."
"As is everyone else," replied Ben, or as he was born, Obi-Wan. He put no inflection on his sentence, no indication on whether it was resentful, angry, saddened, or merely stating a fact.
Luke's fingers walked a few steps on the table before he found the courage to speak. "So...what brings you here?"
"News from your aunt and uncle," said Ben.
Luke couldn't stop a growl from escaping his lips. "Look, I already told Biggs that I'll check the vaporators when I get home..."
"Why are you rushing to a conclusion before you even hear what I have to say?"
Ben's eyebrows twitched. "Luke, a band of xenoarcheologists are coming to Tatooine."
"What?" Luke asked.
Ben's smile returned, this time giving a closed-mouthed laugh. "You really don't know what a xenoarcheologist is? It's an interplanetary explorer who seeks to find the remains of civilizations long gone..."
"I know what it is," Luke interrupted. "I mean...what are they expecting to find here? It's the middle of galactic nowhere!"
"They have their reasons to come here," Ben said calmly as if Luke hadn't interrupted. "My real news is that your uncle and aunt have agreed to house one of them while they're here."
Luke couldn't fathom why Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru would want a stranger living with them for an undetermined amount of time, but he had to admit that it would bring a bit more excitement to his life. Maybe he'd learn a few things about xenoarcheology and decide to go into the field.
"Who is it?" he asked.
"Her name is Leia Organa."