During ANH, a few days before the Falcon's arrival at Alderaan.
Han Solo idly watched his passengers as he paused in the entrance to the common room. The old man was sitting on the couch behind the dejarik table, watching the other, who stood in the center of the room with the laser sword in his hands. "One!" Ben Kenobi would call, and Skywalker would slash downward. "Two!" Luke stepped, and slashed upward. Han did not interfere.
When next he came in to the common room only one of them was there, as Han had hoped; Kenobi still sat on the couch, hands on the table, looking at nothing. Han leaned against a bulkhead. He simply said, "Jedi."
Kenobi looked up, smiling slightly, roguishly. "You won't turn us in to the Empire."
"No, I won't. I know what you can do. Even a boy and an old man, right?"
"It almost takes me back."
"Almost." Kenobi did not question the comment itself, but his one-word response asked for clarification.
Han was willing to give it. It was what he had come here for. It was what he had realized he was looking for, as he paced the halls and remembered the Trader's Luck, where he had lived during his childhood and the Clone Wars. But he shrugged and looked nonchalant, because that was the body language smugglers gave one another. "Kids pretended to be Jedi when they were young, even the ones like me. We pretended that magic actually mattered. Then the wars ended—well, the Empire ended them—and we found out that it didn't."
"Kenobi and Skywalker." The old man muttered. Like a rhyme, or a prayer, the names of the once-living legends.
"Yeah." Han could not help smiling. "Kenobi. That's your name. You were…" He wasn't sure what word to choose next. Yes, Ben Kenobi was a Jedi of the correct age…Han had not played pretend often, and unconsciously believed that the two great Jedi Knights were an compilation of fairy tales, rumors, and truths. No one could be in all those places, do all those things. Their names like a mantra, a nonsense rhythm. Kenobi and Skywalker. Obi-Wan and Anakin.
Luke. But the kid wasn't old enough…
"No," said Kenobi. "We are not the heroes."
He is Obi-Wan Kenobi. A Jedi in hiding. His teammate Skywalker might have been killed, or turned by the Empire. He was the younger one…and Luke's somewhere around eighteen...I saw him mourning his aunt and uncle, not his parents.
Skywalker was his father. Han sat down on the end of the couch, hands limp. "You people aren't supposed to have children, are you?"
Han laughed. "They called Anakin 'the hero with no fear'."
"His attachment was his downfall."
Kenobi didn't look like just a sun-roughened old man any more. He was a grave sage, a power with piercing blue eyes, sitting on the drab couch. The Corellian did not like it. It had made his attempt at a risqué, relaxing joke fizzle. He wondered whether Ben wished the kid had never come to be. If so, he almost felt sorry for Luke. Who did he have, now? The government had taken away his blood family and his Force-using brethren. Han organized his thoughts. "I didn't care too much as a child, about the news and the Jedi. War gave pirates like me business. But they were heroes. The whole kriffing order were the heroes in bedtime stories, and then they died."
"We will return," said Kenobi.
"Why didn't you change your names?" Han asked, exasperated. "At least Luke's."
"The galaxy is a big place, and we exiled ourselves to far reaches." He leaned back, turned his hands around in his wide sleeves. "Besides, I wanted him to keep something from that age, just as I did, even though he did not know. Tatooine was too remote for the legends to have sunk in. Even if…Yes, the Empire kept records, but names did not help them if the one named had erased everything else. Address, credit account, all of that. All I kept was our names, and my lightsaber."
Han thought for a moment about the ways the underworld used to keep itself safe. The galaxy was indeed a map of connections and redundancies, and anyone who wanted to stay hidden, and really stayed hidden instead of trying to bury themselves in a haven of crime and rumors like Nar Shadaa, could. Bitterness stole over him, at how the Jedi had survived, but not felt the need to tell anyone that they still carried the torch of hope. "Ancient weapons are no match against the Empire." He growled. "Nothing is." Han stood up, needing something to do to toss himself out of memory.
"The Force," said Kenobi, "is."
"Tell that to the hero with no fear." Han left the room, to check coolant levels or do whatever chore he could think of. And maybe to talk to Luke, because both of them were orphans.