Veterans Day

Author: pronker

Setting: AU in which Obi-Wan raises Luke and Leia on Tatooine; see fanfictionDOTnet's profile picture, also the drawing "Moving Day" on dA account, link on fanfictionDOTnet's profile. Ben Kenobi's fortunes have improved since "Moving Day."

Characters: Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan

Rating: M

Warning: could be considered chan

Disclaimer: I am not George Lucas and I make no profit from this fanfiction set in his Star Wars.

Summary: Obi-Wan struggles, yet prevails like the survivor that he is.

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Obi-Wan never knew for sure when storytime turned sensuous with Leia. Was it a little before or after she reached twelve Standard, when it became obvious that she had attained her full height? At a younger age, she used to curl up on Obi-Wan's lap for her story, her hair a blur on his white undertunic. As she grew, she sometimes spread her coltish legs to straddle his shin and he would give her an eopie ride, bemused at her squeals as she clutched his knee for balance, her eyes sparkling in fun while his boot jumped her up and down. The last time she did it before swearing off as 'I'm not a baby anymore!', they both laughed at the way her heels now reached the floor even at the top of each bounce. She'd clambered higher up on his lap after her ride that last day, too, brows quirking when Obi-Wan grunted or shifted her forward or to one side, his smile strained. Later, he was certain that she only thought of her own reactions to the position, not his. She considered the situation as pleasuring her, and not him. He was positive that was the case. He was wrong.

In the six Tatooine months it took for her to catch on to herself, she had pleaded to be allowed to grow out her hair, and he had let her. It wasn't as if he had to wash it for her anymore. He remembered Amidala's soft coils, and it pleased him to envision Leia's new coiffure.

One hot and still summer day when Luke was tuning up a cranky vaporator four klicks to the east, Leia approached Obi-Wan for her story.

"Please, Pa? I'm bored." Obi-Wan had monopolized the comm station the entire morning and he understood ennui all too well. He looked her up and down in the pale light of the ancient station's two-dimensional screen. Because he was behind doing laundry, today she had had to wear the only clean things available, a patched pair of Luke's leggings and her old batiste summer tunic. He saw that it was getting threadbare and that she had outgrown it; the next time he went into Town, he'd search in the charity bin for an appropriate robe for her. It ought to be white, he thought. Perhaps the bin would have the right sort of undergarments, too, since she had recently gotten her curves. Obi-Wan sighed at the passage of years as he glanced at the topmost clerestory skylight in their common room. The slant of the suns said it was indeed storytime.

"Come here then." Obi-Wan left off balancing the household accounts of their moisture production. He clicked shut the scratched cover on the comm station, placing their home in a cool, pleasant gloom. He protected Luke and Leia from money troubles when he could. It simply seemed wrong to drag up wearisome subjects; if the twins could have one-tenth the security he'd had as an Initiate, he'd be content. Master Yoda would disagree about the need to coddle innocent minds, but then the ancient Jedi had had hundred of years to develop his brand of sinuous adaptability, and Obi-Wan's fifty-two years of existence shrank in comparison . At least, Obi-Wan felt that way most days. Other days, like today going over the tallies, he felt he was a veteran of everything that could happen to any being in any lifetime, anywhere. Seeing Leia's growing desire for tales of a life outside the home he had made for her and her brother made him feel epochs older than her. He hugged her as she settled on his lap, her cheek pressed into his graying crown as usual and her arm wound around his neck. She squeezed him in return longer than ever before, and when he pulled back to question her with a look, her lashes swept down in an opaque veil. He shrugged and began his story.

It was a continuation of an adventure that Siri and he had undertaken as youths, when the galaxy rumbled with discontent that had yet to spill over into apocalypse; Obi-Wan changed the names in his stories and made his characters non-Jedi, as always. As the story dove into the action part, Obi-Wan flailed and smacked a fist into his palm, moving his shoulders beneath his desert robes to imitate piloting a crashing transport. Leia used to laugh at his acting, or stare at his hands as they wove patterns in front of her while her imagination whirled so fast he could hear it in the Force. Today was different.

As he poked two fingers out to imitate a blaster muzzle and spat, "A-a-a-a-aaah" in a staccato growl, Leia grabbed his hand and then somehow she was sitting on his stomach, her thighs high on either armrest of their lumpy chintz easy chair. His legs went rigid as her weight pressed him against the creaking seatback. He froze. She yanked. In sheer astonishment, he allowed her to pull his wrist until his hand slid under her and his knuckles grazed her center. She closed her eyes.

"Leia, no."

"Please, Pa? This feels good. I'll show you."

"It's not - Leia, stop doing that."

Obi-Wan sensed danger as he took her shoulders, ignoring the way that his knuckles felt scalded. Face her away from you, fool, and don't frighten her. It's a natural thing. He twisted her shoulders around, she swung one leg over his head and ended up facing the comm station and they both didn't have to look at each other. She sat stiffly upright on his lap. "I know you are worried, Pa. I want to help."

"You - I - Leia, this is not something you can help with."

Leia's shoulders slumped and he continued, "For one thing, problems are a part of life. And for another, I am taking care of you, not the other way round." He was bound to make her mad with that one, he realized. She had inherited a larger dollop of Anakin's pride than had Luke.

"But I want to take care of you!" she burst out. "Whatever it is, I want to help, whatever way I can. I get dreams sometimes of you and you struggle so hard, Pa, with your problems. With Luke and I, I mean."

She dreams of me? After all this time, I need to work on my shielding. Or the two of them are simply more powerful in the Force than I'd realized and they're getting older and wiser about feelings ... Obi-Wan rubbed soft, slow circles on her back. "You and your brother are never a burden or a problem, Leia. I love you both." He had made a practice of saying 'I love you' once a month since they were born and he'd never regretted it. What a responsive and responsible pair of younglings it had gotten him! "And things are looking up. This season is our best yet and the harvest will be spectacular, you'll see." It was even true.

Leia flung herself against his chest in adolescent passion, clasping his head to her heaving bosom. "I want to do more to help distract you, I'm old enough, why can't I do something for you, it's not fair and, and I like doing it - "

Now his cheek burned, too. "Mrrfffff. Leia, listen to me." Obi-Wan undid her arms and pushed her back until he looked at her straight on. She was teary-eyed and so much like Anakin at the moment that he stuttered. "Y-Yes, you can help me by helping yourself." She was listening, at least, trembling a little, but the pout had receded and the tears didn't fall. He cleared his throat. "You already do a lot around here and I'm prepared to teach you some new subjects, since you are ready to learn more adult matters." Teach, you old fraud? Teach what? "I've been thinking, Leia, that you - and Luke, too, of course - need to be aware of, of self-defense." The word sprang out of his mouth. Yes, this was perfect. Not lightsabers, since his nestled atop Anakin's in the old chest, but weapons in sync with their Jundland Wastes environment: blasters. "The next time we go into Town, when the harvest is done and we have funds, we'll shop or trade for blasters and you can become a sharpshooter. That will make me feel better. How about it?" Her breath hitched, he took it for agreement and he stumbled on. "And about that other thing, Leia, that is something you can do for yourself, too. And, erm, by yourself." She looked at him with wide eyes, completely open-hearted. His chest ached. "I-It's really better done that way, my Leia. Trust me on this."

Leia considered. "So it wouldn't have helped y- "

"I blame myself. I should have told you before about it." Except he'd thought to have another, oh, year or so. "And we live alone out here since moving back to the farm, so there's another thing. You've not had girls your own age to, to talk many things over with." He pushed back a strand of hair, curling it around her ear under her coiled braids. He patted her cheek. "You can talk to me about anything, Leia. Even that."

Leia swung her feet. "Good, because I want to ask you about Luke. Sometimes he grunts in his sleep and moves around a lot and moans and I get half-awake. Then he wakes me up all the way, except he doesn't say anything, I just know he's awake and kind of tired out from something. Why is that?" She looked down. "And then we talk about all sorts of things, in the middle of the night."

I must really be dead to the world at sunsdown if I don't Sense Luke's new maturity. "He doesn't do anything except talk to you, does he?"

"N-No." Leia fiddled with her hair.

"Then while we're in Town, we'll shop for another bed, just for you alone. You'd like that, wouldn't you? I think it's time, a big growing-up girl like you." Stars and galaxies, I got her through this one. I deserve the Republic Medal of Valor.

"But why does Luke do that? And why don't you want me to help you relax that way? And why do I get funny flutters inside sometimes? Am I sick?"

Give me words, Master Qui-Gon. "Because you and Luke are getting ready to love, Leia. It's a natural thing. It can be a wonderful thing."

"I love you, Pa."

"Not with me! And not that way. It's another way, with someone you haven't met yet." She was back to laying down her head on his shoulder and he willed himself not to react when she squirmed to get comfortable. "But you will meet someone special, I know it."

The door hissed open, letting in light like a small sun. "Like you said, Pa, it was the franistan supraorbitor valve. I greased it and it's working ... fine ... now ... Hey, what's going on?" Luke perched on the edge of the comm station's table, brushing off a few flimsis. At Obi-Wan's 'humph', he said, "I'll pick them up in a minute. Leia, you sick?"

Leia's voice was small. "I'm all right. Pa told me a different kind of story today."

Luke crouched in front of the chair, peering up into his sister's face. "You sound funny."

"Let her alone, Luke. And you're getting grease all over. Go take a sonic shower, please." Luke and Obi-Wan locked eyes and Obi-Wan felt a Touch from the Force, but then Luke seemed satisfied that everything was, or would be, all right with his family.

"Sure. Can I go to Tosche Station after dinner?" Luke's eyes were begging, but his voice was steady. Somehow he must have known that Obi-Wan would agree. And Obi-Wan did.

"Get back before dark. This time of year, you'll have plenty of time to spend with your friends."

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The End.