"Who's the bravest person you know, Ben?"

It was an innocent question from wide blue eyes. Luke was staring at him very seriously in the manner that small children had, kicking his legs absently against the sandstone wall.

He was supposed to be meditating.

"You can't expect a seven year old to sit still for that long, Master Kenobi," Beru had said, her eyes full of disapproval.

But he could. Luke was going to be a Jedi, and Jedi younglings meditated from before they learned to sit up. Being in tune with the Force should have been inner nature for the boy.

He'd missed too many years of training with the child, and he wasn't going to give him more to grow apart from his destiny. Perhaps, if Padmé had not been the blasted blasted fool who went to visit Bail Organa- but that was in the past.

Luke was the future. The only future. Their only hope.

And he must be trained.

"Ben?"

"Luke," said Obi-Wan, sighing, "if you can ask me questions, you aren't meditating."

The small boy scowled, obviously disagreeing. "But I'm asking the Force questions, and you don't mind that!"

"Luke," said Obi-Wan.

Luke gave an exaggerated sigh and determinedly sat scowling forward at the desert.

Living on this planet. Those were the bravest people he knew, the ones who had first flown down to Tatooine and thought "This looks like a great place to live!" The bravest or the strangest.

But, he reminded himself, it was a place Vader would never come.

-

"Owen says he should come home now."

Beru's eyes were flinty as she glared at Obi-Wan. "He says he's been away too long."

"He can't go back," said Obi-Wan. There was another horrible upheaval of the guilt that had been consuming him- you are taking away these people's child- but it was nowhere near the guilt he would feel if Luke was found. "Madam- Beru- we don't know how much they know. I can't take chances with his life."

The expression of horrified shock on the round face in front of him made what little conviction there had been in his words melt away. "You can't just take him, Kenobi! I don't care who gave birth to him, Luke is our son-"

"I know that," said Obi-Wan, staring at the ground. He remembered Anakin's mother. She had been a brave woman, to let her son go somewhere she'd probably never see him again. He tried to convince himself that the same reasoning applied. That he needed to take Luke- that it was the right thing-

"I can turn you in, Kenobi."

He could tell that the words had merely slipped out, but they still stopped him cold.

He was ripping them apart, confound it, how did that make him better than Vader? How did seeing a goal in the distance and attaining it by any means possible make him better than Vader?

"I- I would," said Beru Lars, her voice shaking. "Give me back my son, Kenobi." Every time the word left her lips, it came out as more and more of a curse.

She was truly beautiful, in that moment. She was everyone who had stood, against the odds and firm, scratching out a living and claiming what was theirs. She was faith and hope and a last stand as the battle raged.

Obi-Wan bowed his head slowly, and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Beru… I can't-" Every word he could think of was cruel and terrible and a half-truth. "I know," he said, at last.

She held his eyes for a moment longer. "I'm taking Luke with me."

He nodded. "I'll be by."

She didn't give assent, but neither did she forbid him. She knew. She knew what the galaxy needed as much as she knew what Luke needed. "We'll have you for dinner." This conversation is over, said the statement.

He raised his hand to her cheek for a brief moment, then dropped it down by his side.

She did not look at him again as she rode away, the bravest person he knew.


Yes, I just posted a oneshot while I've got a multichapter going, and I apologize. This was written for a friend and I decided I might as well put it up here. For those of you who are interested (Hi, Aunt Mary!), more of Searching should be up soon. For those who aren't, hope you enjoyed this.

Smiles! Lou.