Author's Note: See also Collections chapter 48 by Silver Sky 1138.

1. Luke Skywalker. 19 BBY

The white corridors of the Tantive IV were unsettlingly relaxing. The ambient light and the white background noise of the ship's softly rumbling engines, combined with Jedi relaxation techniques which calmed thoughts with every rhythmic breath, kept Obi-Wan Kenobi separate from the recent horrors. Padme was dead; Anakin was a traitor, as good as dead. Their children needed a home, for the Jedi Temple had been torn out of existence.

The Force whispered to Obi-Wan like the eye of a storm; like Yoda's moss-green eyes. Yoda sat across from Obi-Wan, looking small with his feet tucked close to him on a white couch designed for humans. Beside him, Bail Organa cradled Leia. Luke burbled in a white plastic carrier on the table beside Obi-Wan, his fate undecided.

Obi-Wan said, "I can take him to Tatooine." Already he had chosen the location of his exile.

"No!" Yoda admonished, almost laughing, although his Force sense remained deathly serious. "Give him his father's name on his father's world, would you? To me, foolish this sounds. Connections among smugglers, I have. Monitor him you can, but learn he will to protect and temper himself."

A sudden image of an adolescent unsupervised Force user tearing a starship apart with his emotions flashed before Obi-Wan's eyes; not precognition, but fear and extrapolation. "Monitor him? How?"

"No direct communication will you have. But rescued I did, a holocron from the temple. Contains it does stories of the Jedi, and our teachings. Leave it I will with young Luke's guardian, for a time when old enough he is to need it.

"Before leave this place do you, imprint the holocron to you we will. Its Gatekeeper you will become."

Obi-Wan nodded. So to Luke he would be a hologram, an artificial intelligence, as distant as Yoda or Vodo-Siosk Baas and other legends. It was a surprising decision…but he had to admit that it made more sense than hiding Luke on a planet as important and known to Anakin as Tatooine.

But his misgivings were not gone. Yes, Luke was Anakin's son, but he was also an infant, and smugglers were not known for living the safest, most fulfilling lives. Jedi taught that the so-called underworld of the galaxy was not evil. Smugglers kept the galactic economy running in their own way, and were people as much as any citizen or Jedi was. However, Jedi worked against the suffering caused by such things as drug- or slave-trafficking, and such people prompted so-called aggressive negotiations far more than Obi-Wan liked. He asked, "Who exactly are your contacts?"

"A Trianii woman named Muurkal, and her family. Once helped me they did to stop a slavery ring. Adopts children, she does, and once find she did a Force-sensitive child. Not your typical smuggler is she," Yoda said, gesturing with one hand to wave away Obi-Wan's unspoken concerns. "More of a…trader running outside Republic trade lanes, is she. Takes she does things from those that have an excess, and gives to those with too little."

"Will I meet her?" Obi-Wan tried to muster a last argument.

Yoda nodded.

A few minutes later, Obi-Wan knelt alone beside the tiny, pyramidal holocron between his hands. Its textured, patterned sides, gold and black and tan, looked worn and solid compared to the shimmering floor.

Yoda had told him that all he needed to do was talk to the holocron as if to an older Luke, and to open himself to the Force. His exact words would not be recorded, but his nature would. It was a bit nerve-wracking to be saying something as important as that which would establish his character in Luke's mind, and to be saying it to a small bronze triangle.

He spoke his mind, unable to do more. "I want to say I'm sorry, Luke. I think it's not my fault, that your life will be like this, but…" He paused, touched fingers to his forehead and felt sweat and strands of red-gold hair. "Life, the Force, chose these events, these destinations, for us. But I…I've almost been the Force. I've felt so much, that it feels like there's no justice in being unable to change what happened." He sighed. "We're Jedi. We're supposed to be able to do things about events which…leave people like this." He leaned back, wiping away small tears. "We're supposed to be powers. For good. Except sometimes…you'll know the Code, Luke. It's in here too. You'll know what you're not supposed to do. But….it's hard not to do those things, sometimes. I wish I could tell you what happened to your father, exactly…" Here was the one lie, the one precaution, the one specified incident in the flood of vague truths. "what happened in the crash. But I can't. It wouldn't be good for you.

"So." Obi-Wan leaned close again, sure of himself now, because the fateful words had gone from him. "May the Force be with you, Luke."

He cut his Force connection to the holocron. No longer did it watch him. He stood and picked it up, intended to return it to Yoda as he had been told. But then its Gatekeeper appeared, a blue Obi-Wan figure only a handspan tall, with his robes, his face, and his voice, softened and refined slightly in comparison to the tear-combating cracks which had punctuated his speech. This Obi-Wan tilted his head up at the Obi-Wan which held its source. In a voice with his accent, his nuances, with, he realized, his kindness and wry humor, it said, "Hello there."

Over the quiet world of Manna Sanders, the Tantive IV docked against the pitted side of a freighter slightly smaller than itself. Obi-Wan, Bail, and Yoda stood in front of the hatchway between them, Luke sleeping soundly, warmly, in Obi-Wan's arms.

Sadness left the world crisp.

The door hissed open, revealing a felinoid whose pointed ears folded against the lintel as she ducked to enter the Tantive. Her fur was gray striped with black, neatly combed and gathered around her neck into a mane of banded locks. A furred tail waved behind her from underneath the edge of a light green dress which covered her legs to the knees, her body, and one shoulder. Other life-forms were gathered behind her; Obi-Wan caught a glimpse of something brown-furred and shaped similarly to the Trianii, but sporting a pair of wings as wide again as its body. It stood only a few feet tall, and Obi-Wan felt through the Force, to his relief, that like the rest of Muurkal's entourage, it was a child.

Muurkal bowed to Yoda as best she could. Her smiling face, lips closed over fangs and bright green eyes shining with kindness and merriment, still stopped a few feet over his head.

"Thank you, Muurkal," Yoda burbled, bowing his own head with a wide smile on his face. Then he simply looked at Obi-Wan.

The Jedi Master pressed the bundled baby against the Trianii's outstretched hands. Warm fur caressed his forearms like worn clothing. Luke turned toward the furry shoulder Muurkal held him against, burying his face in the stripes, surely breathing in a scent he would grow to love.

He is going to be safe, Obi-Wan thought. He will grow up strong and kind and watched over, while I hide on Tatooine, waiting for a moment in which history can be changed.

He had not yet pictured that future; the wound was too raw for him to imagine either Anakin's death or his return to the light, because to do so would be to stop the denial Obi-Wan was drowning in. But he would go to dry, quiet Tatooine and live, and heal, as Luke would heal in this new home. Fear for the child did almost make him shout at Muurkal, interrogate her, find out the conditions on board the ship with all those children of indeterminate species—but he did not, because Yoda trusted her, and even after everything Obi-Wan still trusted Yoda. He had too little trust left to lose faith in the one remaining great Jedi. He would still lie for Yoda.

Two green hands held out the holocron which dwarfed them, then was swallowed up in Muurkal's palm as she shifted to cradle Luke in the crook of her left arm.