AN: Sorry guys, I know it's been a long hiatus, and frankly I don't think anything I write could match the buildup of expectations over that period. Honestly I sort of didn't know how to go about ending this properly, but med school orientation is coming up in a week and I gotta finish this before then if only to live with myself. Hope this is not too disappointing! And thanks again for all of your lovely lovely feedback. I didn't expect this story to be as popular as it has been! I heart you all. Now, onward!
Turns of Fate
"Red team, this is Gold Leader, I have the target in my sights, Over."
"Gold Leader, this is Red Leader. My team will cover you, go for the gold. Over."
"Luke, did you put a dung bomb in my cockpit again?"
"Skywalkers," Obi-Wan hissed, "Now is not the time. Please focus."
Anakin's ship did an odd twirl out of the way of the imperial fighters. Fortunately he was flying by himself, or else there would have been more swearing from the comm. Through the lingering master-padawan bond, Obi-Wan sensed him trying not to react to Han's accusation.
"Obi-Wan!" Luke's voice sounded whiny all of the sudden, "What the Sith are you doing here? I thought I told you to stay put at the base!"
Right, like that was going to happen. "Since when did I take orders from you, Luke Skywalker?"
"I happen to be leading this mission! And Force—" Luke uttered a stream of Huttese curses, "But you weren't supposed to be here! Go back!"
"That is not happening, Luke."
"Ugh!" Luke sounded so put off by this that Obi-Wan almost felt hurt.
"Kreth, Luke!" Han's voice cracked in the static, and Obi-Wan saw his ship flying above Anakin's, "Force by all that's holy, it stinks in here! I am so gonna get you, kid!" Chewbacca uttered something in the background that sounded like agreement.
"I don't think it was Luke, Han," Leia said solemnly.
Luke and Anakin were both conspicuously silent.
Han cursed. "Aw come on!"
"Focus, please!" Obi-Wan dove in and shot at a few fighters while narrowly avoiding one that nearly blindsided him. He was going to have to have a few words with Anakin…again.
"Leia! Why is your father constantly trying to kill me?" There was an echo of the same question from Chewie.
Did Han really need an answer to that?
"Han Solo, if you don't focus he will succeed."
"Blegh! Ugh! Krething hells blargghhhhhhhhh!" He actually sounded like he was close to vomiting.
"Can you turn off the comm for this?" Luke exclaimed, "I'm trying to aim for that Force-forsaken target and I can't do it while you're retching into the mic."
Obi-Wan briefly lost track of the conversation when debris smashed into his fighter. It did not do much damage but it did make a sound that resonated in the ship.
"…and I can't even let the air out because it's a vacuum outside! Not cool, man! Not cool!"
"Guys, shut up, I'm trying to destroy the Death Star before it blasts another planet or something! Cut it out!"
"Solo, if you can't handle it turn the ship back to the base," Said Ferus Olin, "And Skywalker, quit putting dung bombs in people's fighters."
"It's a hit!" Luke yelled, just as a slow eruption glowed from the narrow channel in the sphere, "Everyone get the hell out of here! Out out out out out! Backlash incoming!"
"Son of a bantha's whore!" Han was still yelling, "It stinks like a nerf's a—"
Obi-Wan shot an imperial fighter right before it could shoot Han's ship.
Luke yelled again into the mic, "Han, cut that out! The station's about to blow!"
The Jedi and rebel ships locked their thrusters to the max as the Death Star shattered in a brilliant display of light and plasma, bright as any sun and nearly just as hot. The warning systems blared loudly in Obi-Wan's ship as the heat threatened to melt the thrusters. Once the initial wave was past, the Jedi Master's ship was still blaring deafeningly and he quickly punched in the controls to turn them off.
"Obi-Wan!" Anakin called, "Are you alright?"
"Head back to the base," Obi-Wan instructed, "I need a minute to silence these things before they blow my eardrums out."
"Need me to lock on?"
"I don't need a transfer, Anakin, the ship's functional enough for the return trip. I'll see you there. Go."
Luke was yelling more commands to the teams.
"Take out the fighters in your way but we got the main thing down—everyone start heading back! Go go go go go!" Meanwhile, Leia's comm was transmitting cheers from the rebels
"You are not being a good role model," Obi-Wan said to Anakin later, when they were back at the base. Leia and Padme watched Anakin disapprovingly while Luke toweled off his hair. Around them, the other Jedi were also showering or otherwise getting comfortable after a rather stressful mission, and there was a steady thrum of transmissions as people monitored the reactions from the Empire.
"I think he's a great role model," Said Luke, "I now know exactly what to do if a guy tries to hit on my daughter. Not that I will have one, but I can always steal Leia's."
Leia scowled. The modern twins, or at least they were called that by Anakin, seemed to share the same ridiculously powerful connection to the Force that they did in the past. Neither of them actually remembered their alternate lives, but they both saw as much as they would need or possibly want in order to understand the order of events. From Anakin's account, their personalities were largely the same, though Luke was much more subdued this time around. Despite the various warnings, he did not actually cause too much trouble. Most of the time, anyway. The boy was a Skywalker, after all.
"Now we just have to wait until the Empire strikes back," said Leia, folding her arms and pointedly ignoring Luke's cheeky grin, "Eighteen years of waiting around for the rebellion to grow in support and resources under Palpatine's nose, he no doubt knows that there are plenty of Jedi still at large and we haven't actually disbanded as you all made it look. The galactic public will also realize that we were hiding all this time instead of helping them overthrow the tyranny, so there will be a lot of resentment there. The Jedi purges will begin all over again. I suggest we split after this, instead of gathering all the Jedi together at once. We're fighting enemies on multiple fronts and even those we are trying to save will work against us. Let's not all collect on Hoth, since that will go sort of badly."
"Well it's not quite that dire," Anakin pointed out, "The galactic public was actually quite happy with Palpatine up till they destroyed Alderaan. They didn't want the Jedi back. Now they will, and here we are."
Luke sighed. The twins had tried to prevent that calamity, but even with all the Jedi on their side, they had not been able to determine when the Death Star intended to show up and blast Alderaan.
"Poor Bail," Padme said softly, "Breha. An entire planet, gone. They were a good people."
"He's going to build another one," Luke said to Leia, "One even bigger and more retarded than the last. I'm thinking ewoks, for some reason. Ewoks. Which planet had ewoks again?"
"Endor," Said Leia, "And it's a moon. Moon, Luke."
They were starting to talk in that language no one else could understand. Obi-Wan folded his arms and waited with his former padawan and his wife.
"Well the first time around…"
"There was Lando, who's here with us this time instead of on Bespin."
"Han and Jabba the Hutt,"
"No that was before Jabba."
Anakin and Padme glanced at each other. "I remember Jabba," Anakin muttered.
"The problem is the first time around everything relied on Vader," Luke suddenly announced. "Even his death was linked to Vader, who is very obviously absent in this scenario."
"He has another apprentice."
"Right, like we can appeal to her sense of fatherhood."
"Well, we could…"
Leia gave him a meaningful look.
"Nuh-uh. Not happening. Maybe if I looked as handsome as Dad did when he was my age." Anakin cocked an eyebrow at this. "Besides, Vader died in the effort. If we're to go with that, she'd die too."
"I don't understand this," Said Obi-Wan, "I'm going to debrief with Master Yoda."
Hours later, Luke and Leia were meeting with everyone while Han stared sourly at Anakin, who was pointedly ignoring him. Padme, meanwhile, was rather fond of Han and was pointedly ignoring her husband. Obi-Wan stood next to Bant Eerin and Siri Tachi while everyone else listened to the twins articulate the plans by finishing each other's sentences.
"So we're going to lay low for a while, since the Empire will be berserk, and—"
"—In the meantime we will split into five groups, since five is a good number,"
"The first will be on Hoth, because Luke insists that someone has to be on Hoth—"
"—We'll be drawing up a list of people who are assigned to the Hoth system. Wear warm clothes, people. The second—"
"—Will actually be at the imperial capital, since it's safest in the lion's den, and—"
"—This group will be in charge of keeping up with the news and relating it to the other systems, since no one else will have access to galactic holomedia—"
"—We'll also be heading back to Dantooine and reset up a rebel base there, this is mainly for the Jedi younglings who are being trained. The Empire is unlikely to believe we'd go back there if we left already but we should be cautious. Most of the Jedi will be assigned there, as well as the refugees. There isn't likely to be another Death Star for at least a decade or so, given the first—"
"—And Leia wants one group to go to Bespin's Cloud City, because that is the area the Empire is likely to look for bounty hunters and will likely set up a temporary base there,"
"And we need to go to Endor, set up shop there and wait for the Emperor to begin building his next Death Star, that way the two of us can face him and get rid of him for good."
Everyone was so use to this that no one batted an eyelash at the odd discourse, and they launched straight to the details. There were questions and answers, but ultimately everyone agreed to this plan and began preparations.
"Can you imagine Palpatine's face when he sees mine?" Luke pointed at his chin, "The guy still thinks I'm his father."
"Next time you two use Force suggestion," Obi-Wan drawled, "You can try telling him to kill himself. It would save us a lot of trouble."
"That's no fun. I could be more ambitious," Said Luke, tilting his eyes upward in thought, "I can convince Palpatine to dress in a bikini and devote the rest of his life to dancing strip dance."
His father blanched. "Please don't. Ugh! Oh Force why did you plant that image in my head! Arghhhhhh!"
"Oh. Ew. Ughhhhhhhhh why did I do that to myself! Oh son of a bantha someone sterilize my brain!"
Padme was busy cleaning up after her husband when it came to Han.
"Anakin can be a bit impossible," She said to the former smuggler, who was still very upset about the stunt. Rightly so, since he was actually nearly killed. "He can be really immature sometimes—"
"Don't mind him," She went on, "He's just overprotective of Leia."
"He could have gotten me killed! Seriously, what is he, five years old? No offense, ma'am."
"None taken," Padme muttered dryly, "I often wonder that myself."
Her glare at her husband was so full of exasperation, Obi-Wan could not help but chuckle. Force knew how close they had been to losing this, these petty pranks and overprotectiveness and the quirks of dynamics that made up a family. For all her annoyance, they were all happy that Anakin was Anakin and not Vader, that the twins were able to grow up with their birth parents and experience the agony of being nagged about boyfriends and girlfriends and general friends all at once.
It was not a perfect life by any means—the Empire was strong and though it was stifling, people were still brainwashed into hating the Jedi Order, and their lives had consisted of constantly being on the run, hiding who they were, and living in fear of being found out. In a way, time-travel Luke had been right—the galaxy needed this dark time of oppression, because they were sick of the Republic and of all the turmoils that had built up when it was in power. Life oscillated between light and dark, and darkness was coming no matter what. People did not want the Jedi Order, because they all believed that as bad as things were now, the Jedi had been even worse. Nearly everyone was an enemy, and training in the Force was usually a perilous endeavor. Still, they were alive, they had hope, and most of all, they had a plan that was actually not too insane.
Luke thumped Obi-Wan on the back. "Well, old man? Need you and Yoda to get all the younglings together. You're off the field."
"Really?" Obi-Wan scowled, while Yoda watched from his hoverchair, "You're taking me off duty?"
"Hey, you hate flying anyway. It's mostly going to be flying."
"You're sending me away," Obi-Wan was not letting him get away with that so easily.
"You like younglings!" Luke's smile was filled with trepidation, "Right? And there's an ancient enclave on Dantooine and…and…younglings!"
"I had to train you two!" Obi-Wan exclaimed, "I'm still recovering!"
"Well you had Dad to share the duties…and plus I'm sending you with Yoda."
"Oh Force—what about Mace?"
"Oh he's coming too, don't you worry about that. But you old people should take a break and let us young people handle these things."
"Audacious, he is," Yoda commented wryly.
"Wait, you're actually complaining too?"
The Grand Master gave Luke a level stare. "Show more respect to your master, you should."
"Yes Master Yoda. Master Old Man," Luke said with a straight face, "You're going to Dantooine to keep the younglings together I swear nothing significant will happen between now and the eventual fight on Endor with ewoks and by that time we'll get you to blindside the imperials yes?"
"He's trying to keep you alive, Master," Anakin walked by, "Listen to him."
"Why?" Obi-Wan asked.
"You weren't even supposed to be involved with the Death Star," Luke went on, looking frustrated. "Who told you to go on? Leia, you were supposed to keep an eye on him!"
"I was busy with Mother!"
"Why exactly was I supposed to just sit back when three of my padawans are out risking their lives to destroy a battle station the size of a moon that also happened to be able to destroy entire planets, hm?"
Luke scratched his head. "Fine, you're really going to make me say it? Fine. You're supposed to be dead, alright? Or at least your life ended here. Happy?"
Obi-Wan stared incredulously at him. "Mace was supposed to be dead eighteen years ago, but you are still fine with him being on missions."
"Right, well, I don't really care about Mace…"
Obi-Wan managed not to roll his eyes. "If I recall correctly, I killed myself last time, and since I have no intention of doing so this time since Anakin is not Vader, most of the Order still lives, and I'm not depressed, I think I'll be fine."
Luke wrinkled his nose.
"A good Jedi, Master Kenobi is," Yoda pointed out to the young lad, "The master of Soresu, some say, and most agree. Easy to kill, he is not."
"Besides, if it is my time—" But Luke was not really in the mood to listen to that, "And even though you and your sister are strong in the Force, you do not know everything." They had enough disasters in the past to prove it. Thankfully most of them were not lethal.
"Really," Leia was muttering to her father several meters away, "A dung bomb? Kind of juvenile, don't you think? You couldn't settle your differences like adults?"
"I don't want to bother," Anakin said stubbornly. "That nerfherding smuggler doesn't deserve it."
"I'm not going to Dantooine," Obi-Wan turned back to tell Luke seriously.
"You're forty years old!" Leia went on to scold her father, once again breaking into their conversation. "You're not four! What forty-year-old human resorts to such things? Stop abusing my boyfriend! I'll never get married if you keep doing things like this!"
"Does she realize that's exactly his intention?" Obi-Wan asked Luke.
"Leia can be slow on the uptake sometimes."
"Har har, very funny," Luke was scowling impressively as he walked away from Obi-Wan. "Fine. Fine fine fine. Try to look after someone, they don't even appreciate it…"
"Change my name from the list, Luke!" Obi-Wan called to the departing youth, "I've been with two versions of you and your father. I can come up with far more impressive comebacks than dung bombs in a fighter, I'll promise you that! Impudent brat…"
Hours later, the imperial troops that were sent out to search for the rebels were getting a bit close, so the base was a swarm of activity as everyone prepared to leave. Anakin and Luke were actually dispatched to separate areas, with Luke heading to Bespin with Han who knew the area, and Anakin heading to Endor with Obi-Wan. Padme was to head to Dantooine to manage the refugees, while Leia prepared to go to Coruscant. Since none of them actually knew when the Emperor intended to begin construction of his second Death Star, the group was loosely gathered in the middle of the hangar, though Han was doing his best to get close to Leia without catching her father's eye. Luke, for his sister's sake, was distracting the elder Skywalker so he would not notice what his daughter was doing. Thankfully, this was easy, because despite everything Anakin was a good father and being away from his children and wife made him uneasy.
"And if he throws the lightning at you—"
"Yes I know, Dad, use the lightsaber, I happen to have worked with the guy before, remember? He even treated me to dinner."
"Well, you can't blame me for worrying, can you?"
Obi-Wan smirked at this. Since time-travel Luke's "death", Anakin was pretty protective of Luke as well, something that irritated the youngster most of the time. Padme had been fond of Luke also, though with her maternal instinct and general good sense, she was able to quickly realize that stifling her son was not the way to raise him. Over the years, the couple had gotten into many arguments and quarrels about Anakin's neurotic tendencies and Padme's observation that Luke should be allowed to grow free every once in a while. The Jedi Order had observed all of this with the wry amusement they all shared in response to anything the Skywalkers ever did.
Luke punched his father lightly in the chest. "For the last time, Dad, I can take care of myself! I'm fine. We'll be alright. Besides, we're all going to do this together. Team Skywalker. When the time comes, Palpatine can't face all three of us at once. He relies too much on his lightning."
"Don't get too cocky," Anakin warned, but ruffled Luke's head.
"Aw Dad! Stop doing that! It's bad enough that I'm so short, you make me feel even shorter when you do that!…And you messed up my hair!"
There was a sudden flicker in the Force, slight and yet obvious enough that it made all of the Jedi pause.
"Why do I get a bad feeling about this?" Anakin asked as he and his son stopped on each side of Obi-Wan.
"…" Luke shook his head. He apparently could not tell what was going on. Obi-Wan stretched out his senses but perceived nothing but a blur.
The three of them tried to continue with their activities, but it was not long before a padawan ran to the hangar.
"Master Kenobi! Master Skywalker! Knight Skywalker!" Behind her, Terin Oller was also running up to them.
"You might want to see this," He said, pulling his padawan back. "Come on."
The three of them glanced at each other as Knight Oller went to fetch Leia and Yoda.
"I just destroyed the Death Star after not sleeping for thirty-six hours and already something happens? I didn't even get a medal yet!" Luke moped. Anakin reached behind Obi-Wan to smack his son on the back of the head.
Right outside a hangar, a group of Jedi were waiting, and Obi-Wan suddenly had a strong sense of deja vu. It was years ago, back on Coruscant, when a similar ripple in the Force had jolted through the galaxy and all the Jedi had collected to the main lobby where—
"Oh wow," Said the girl that looked suspiciously like Leia, dressed in casual brown robes with her brown hair loose about her face. She smirked as she eyed Luke up and down and suddenly looked like Han Solo. "You're even shorter than I remember!"
Luke stared at her for a full five seconds. "Sith!" He yelled in absolute horror, "No! No! No! This is not happening! Leia! What did you do?"
Leia's eyes were large in their sockets, Padme's face was expressionless, while Yoda looked like he had just been electrocuted. Knight Oller patted Luke on the shoulder with some sympathy, while Obi-Wan and Anakin were practically rubbing their hands together in glee.
"Interesting," Obi-Wan remarked in delight, "So this appears to be an inherent gift! Well Luke, I guess it's your turn to experience what it's like! You're supervising this one."
"And so the trickster gets his comeuppance!" Anakin exclaimed to his son.
"Oh!" Luke whirled on his father, "Very vindictive! Need I remind you that she is a product of that 'nerfherding smuggler' as well?"
"****," He said.