I cannot take this anymore

Saying everything I've said before

All these thoughts, they make no sense

I found bliss in ignorance

Nothing seems to go away

Over and over again

Just like before

            -One Step Closer, Linkin Park

            There was no more hope.

            Obi-wan Kenobi stared into the expanse of sand that was the Jundland Wastes with eyes as bleak and empty as the Wastes themselves. His face was slack and pale under its desert tan. He was looking at the desert with his eyes, but what he was seeing was his past. And all the mistakes in it.

            When he had arrived on Tatooine, he had immediately set up residence here, on the edge of the Jundland Wastes, the most gods-forsaken place on the already gods-forsaken planet. Part of the reason was his half-brother's very firm insistence that Obi-wan keep his distance, and that he never ever make contact with them. It was imperative that Owen be guardian over Luke, so Obi-wan acquiesced at once.

Closer to the heart of the matter, though, was that such a place made it possible for Obi-wan to remain in solitude, remain in mourning for Amidala, the Old Republic, Naboo, the Jedi Order…and Anakin. Gods, gods, Anakin.

            To be with people, other people, would require normalcy. To be normal, even just acting, would require a measure of…moving on. And moving on meant forgiving himself, and accepting what had happened. Obi-wan couldn't quite bring himself to do either.

            It was also that reason that kept Obi-wan from keeping an eye on Luke through the Force. Luke's presence in the Force was too much like Anakin's – a thousand burning suns, not a single bit of quiet or gentle glow in the aura like with most Jedi. Oh no, not a simple Force-glimmer for Anakin Skywalker. He didn't glow or even shine, as the Masters did when in especial communion with the Force – he blazed. Always.

It was beautiful – no work of art, no panoramic vista could compare with that Skywalker Force-presence. Everything about it was fierce and powerful, all starfire and lightning, flashing blue and gold and silver and white.  When Anakin was newly-come to the Jedi Temple, Obi-wan remembered all the Force-sensitives – everyone from the youngest of the initiates to Jedi Masters – stopping to watch him whenever he passed. Not so much him, as in physical presence, as the aura he cast in the Force. It was the same with Luke.

            Obi-wan had laid a blanketing on the boy's Force-sense, to hide him from Palpatine and Darth Vader. But he only had to peer a little beyond it, concentrate a little on Luke, to see the brightness underneath the veil. And to feel all the sorrow and regret again.

            So he did not often reach out in the Force to check on the son of his former pupil. He trusted Owen to watch over the boy until…until the time came.
            How he cursed himself for that, now!

            It had been because that day was the eighth anniversary of their – meaning Luke and Obi-wan's – arrival on Tatooine, that the old Jedi had reached out through the Force to touch, however briefly, Luke's mind.

            He could not find him.

            Panic set in immediately. As he jumped into his landspeeder, he chanted the Jedi Code over and over again, and continued chanting it as he sped towards the Lars homestead. His first glimpse of his half-brother did not do anything to alleviate the fear coursing through Obi-wan's veins. The man had been half-drunk, and slurring all his threats at Obi-wan.

            Despite his normal aversion towards things of this nature, Obi-wan had little trouble in delving deep into Owen's mind to see what was happening. At the end of it, he had been dangerously close to cleaving his own half-brother from nave to jaws with his lightsaber.

            Both Owen and his wife had very weak links to the Force, and in the myriad of deaths that took place everyday on Tatooine, Obi-wan had not felt the passing of Beru. Since he kept his distance from the Lars – both physically and mentally – he had not known the abuse Owen, in his swift descent towards alcoholism and brutality, had been heaping on poor Luke's head.

            Luke had run away from home. And in his inexperience, had run straight into the desert without any of the gear necessary to survive in it. The sands covered his wind-scoured bones, now.

            Obi-wan had left his brother as he found him. It had required a great effort to do so. The temptation to kill (torture, maim, make suffer) Owen for his betrayal of Obi-wan's trust, for his brutality on an innocent child, for his slaying of the last hope of the Jedi – nay, the galaxy – was great. It was only Obi-wan's determination that he die in the Lightside, and not fall as Darth had, that stayed his hand.

            The twin suns were setting now, casting a red-gold glow over the old Jedi's face. He stared into the desert with unseeing eyes.

            By all the gods…Anakin. Luke. Obi-wan wept in his soul for them. But no tear fell from his eyes.

---

AN: Oooh-kay. Obviously, major AU here. I ask the readers to please give it a chance; I'm still working on Child of the Sands, but this thing just begged and begged to be written, until, well, here it is. (also, chapter II of 'Child' was in my IBM…which was just hauled off for repairs…) I promise to overcome the usual Cyberwolf slothfulness in putting up chapters; one every three days, at least until chapter 5; I haven't got a clue on where to go from there. I'm certain it will pick up, though. ^_^ Hehehe…especially if helped along by the reviews, comments and suggestions of kind, generous readers.

Oh yeah, I don't own any of the Star Wars characters, they belong to George Lucas (blessed be His name) I do own any original characters or scenarios that will crop up in this series. And no, before you ask, no Mary Sues. All new characters have bit roles. And none of them will be Force-strong geniuses to replace Luke or Leia. I swear!