On Tatooine, the days were insufferable; stifling with their heat and the weight in the air, which always felt heavy and weighed down with sand and sunlight. The nights were no better, bringing the cries of animals more than willing to prey on the weak and defenseless in the howling winds. And there was constantly the danger of sandstorms or illness from the heat. Tatooine was no place for a child, and Obi-Wan often questioned his decision to bring Luke there.
At the sunset, though, it all made sense. The art-like display that had been on Coruscant had been bold and streaked with colors and smog, made all the more brilliant by the pollution constantly taking place. They were quick, as well, giving way to a night as busy as the day was, with buildings lit up so much that it wasn't hard to mistake it for a clouded, sunless afternoon. Here on this small, backwater planet, for all the morally wasted people and all the scum that was at its surface, the sky was usually remarkably clean. The sunsets here were a slow and quiet affair, an elegant display of two huge, burning affairs of lights that took their time disappearing into the horizon.
Obi-Wan did his best to set aside the time to watch the sun go down here, after having ignored it on Coruscant and the many planets he had traveled to during missions for so many years. Today -exactly two years after he had arrived and given Anakin's son to Owen and Beru Lars—it would have taken a situation of great urgency to cause him to miss it. It had rained earlier in the day, and in all his months spent on Tatooine, that had occurred well less than a dozen times.
It was a magnificent sight to see, the double suns setting behind a grey scrim of clouds; so quiet, so peaceful, lulling Obi-Wan into a calm, meditative state outside his hut. Everything faded away: Order 66, Anakin, Vader; all his failures…
And then his meditations were interrupted by a loud noise. It was a howl, of sorts, but not from any sort of beast wandering the desert; this was a machine, and though it had been years, he recognized it in a second.
By the time he was scrambling to his feet, the outline of a blue box had become a tall and solid figure that completely disrupted Tatooine's lazy, rolling landscape. Still, it was a startlingly welcome sight for Obi-Wan.
The events that had occurred after the Doctor had left had put the strange man and his companion almost entirely out of Obi-Wan's mind. Ventress had captured him just as more of the Jedi forces had arrived, imprisoning him and Alpha for months. It hadn't been pleasant, and he had had almost no time to wonder the questions which had flowed into his mind just after the Doctor had left; questions concerning how a ship could just fade away, and what had happened to its two occupants. It had been far simpler to just assume that they were fine, and leave it at that.
Master Yoda, and Master Windu were content with that answer as well –after all, there was hardly any time to ponder over what had happened in the past, especially in the middle of a war. Everything had faded to the past for the time being, including the final message Donna had yelled –it had hardly seemed relevant, after all.
After Order 66, though, and after Mustafar, Donna's words had haunted him. "Watch Anakin, will you? Watch him closely." On occasion throughout the war, during the nights he couldn't sleep, he had wondered what she meant; wondered what it was about Anakin that he needed to watch. But, for the most part, he had only thought half-heartedly about her meaning, concluding that perhaps he had somehow misheard her over the odd, grating roar of their little ship's engines.
Once he had stationed himself here on Tatooine, he had cursed himself time and time again: Why hadn't he watched closer? Why hadn't he thought about them more, meditated upon their meaning until he had found a definite answer? And most importantly of all, what exactly had Donna known? Why hadn't she and the Doctor said something? What was done was done, but, more than anything, he needed closure to fully move on from the past. And now, perhaps he could get some.
The doors to the TARDIS swung open, and a single brown-haired figure stepped out, closing the door behind him. He paused in front of the ship for a moment, gazing at the suns, and then turned to face Obi-Wan, a half-grin on his face. "Master Kenobi! Beautiful sunset, isn't it?"
"Yes, truly, and one that will never be replicated. I suppose I should be grateful to have the chance to see it." There was a pause as both men admired the sight, watching as the day ended and they stood close to each other for the first time in nearly four years.
The silence didn't last long: the Jedi Master had been desperate for the chance to speak to the man and his flame-haired companion (who, oddly, didn't seem to be present) for what seemed like an eternity, especially on the timeless sands of the desert planet, which would go for a hundred years without any discernable change.
Still, before he could satisfy the desperate curiosity, there were certain safety measures which needed to be taken. If he was so easy to track down that a man he hardly knew could do it, then the security of both him and Luke Skywalker could be seriously compromised. "Doctor, how did you find me?"
"Oh, don't worry about that. I just… guessed." He shrugged, as though it were no big deal, tracking down a man who the galaxy had tossed away with a marking of death years ago. "Tell me, Master Kenobi, how long have you been here? You look like you've adjusted to it well."
"Two years exactly. It's been almost four years since Jabiim, Doctor. What have you and Donna been doing in the meantime?" Had it been anyone else from his past, he probably would have been more concerned about being found, but there was something about the Doctor's casual response that fit perfectly with the image of mystery built up upon him, an image which wasn't associated with the Sith by any stretch of imagination. The Doctor would have to be better at shielding his emotions than Anakin had been, and somehow, Obi-Wan had a feeling that this wasn't the case.
"Four years already? Seems like just a few days to me." The Doctor frowned and shrugged, although he didn't look too worried. "Anyway, we haven't been up to… much. Donna isn't with me anymore." At Obi-Wan's questioning glance he added, "She's back home, with her mum and granddad. It was for the best, really."
Even through the ever-present, strong barriers around his emotions and thoughts, Obi-Wan could detect the sadness in him as he spoke of Donna, and so he decided not to press the point, although he couldn't resist asking, "Back home? On Coruscant?"
The Doctor chuckled and gazed out at the darkening sky above them. "Yeah, you've probably realized by now that was a lie."
"I suspected as much, yes." Another silence fell over them, this one more comfortable and without the heaviness of their individual ponderings weighing over them like before. "So tell me, Doctor, what brought you here?"
"Oh, not much. I was just checking in; making sure everything went okay. You know, that you were doing well out on Tatooine, and all that."
"I think I've settled in well." It certainly hadn't been easy, or anything close to fun, but after two years he was used to the comfortable routine of his days, and used to playing the part of a strange old hermit.
"Yeah, I can see that you have. That's good." The Doctor nodded towards Obi-Wan's small hut, which he had taken residence in soon after coming to the planet, before stretching his arms and turning back to the TARDIS. "Well, if everything's alright, I guess I'd best be on my way."
"Going? You just arrived! I have so many questions." He had been waiting too long to let the chance to find answers just slip through his grasp. "Doctor, you and Donna… did you know? Know about Palpatine, and the Sith, and Anakin turning, I mean. And if you did, why didn't you warn us? Donna started to, I think, but in the end she didn't. I don't understand." Two years gone by, when his days were filled with little better to do than to meditate and dwell upon the past, and to try to make sense of Donna's parting words, but there had been none. If she –they—really had known about the Sith's plans, why had neither of them spoken up? It seemed so unlikely that they were evil, and yet Obi-Wan could think of no reason why a person with any sort of affiliation to goodness would have kept the knowledge of such genocide hidden.
The Doctor sighed and shook his head as he leaned against the TARDIS. "Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're a great man, you know that? And let me tell you, it doesn't end here for you. Luke –yeah, I know about Luke too, and don't worry, the Empire won't find him. Luke is going to rise up and bring the Jedi with him. There'll be a new Order, and new Masters, and they're going to remember you. Old Ben Kenobi, who taught Grandmaster Luke what the Force was. Everything that's happened, and everything you do is leading up to this new era, and it'll be fantastic. A bit of your famous Jedi patience goes a long way, and the years will fly by. It'll be happening before you know it."
"But that doesn't matter!" He didn't even bother to comment upon the likelihood of what the Doctor said happening. "Why didn't you tell somebody before? I would have been able to save so many lives." And it was highly possible that the Doctor's words were untrue. Although they seemed sincere to Obi-Wan, he had proved long ago that he wasn't as good at understanding a person's emotions as he thought he was.
"Don't you see, Obi-Wan? I couldn't. The Jedi wouldn't have become as great as they're going to be. You weren't ready. I can only imagine how much you've lost, and I am so, so sorry for that, but great things rise from ashes. I know you probably don't have any reason to, but trust me on this." His eyes begged Obi-Wan to understand him, and in a vague, shadowy way that was based mostly upon what had happened and what could happen, it did start to make a little sense –but that didn't come close to answering all of his questions.
"How did you know, though? How could you? Who are you and Donna?"
The doors to the TARDIS were open now, and the Doctor was stepping inside. Once again, that deep klaxon began to play from some place deep within the ship, and the air around began to shimmer like a hallucination from the desert.
The Doctor was leaning out and shouting to be heard. "G'bye, Master Kenobi! You'll understand one day."
"But why?" He had spent years wondering this, and now the closure he had sought seemed to be slipping away from him, so soon after it had reappeared. "I don't understand –please, just tell me who you are!"
The TARDIS was almost gone now, and the last thing that Obi-Wan saw of it –would ever see of it—was the closing doors and the Doctor's grinning face. "I'm the Doctor!"
Hours later, still standing in the darkness of night, Obi-Wan let go of a wisp of a smile. If the Doctor said everything was going to be all right, he believed him. He just needed a bit of patience.