Chapter 217

Three years later...

"Hey, look!" Luke pointed toward the starry horizon, as they sat around the campfire on Kilaui. "It's Jaina and Jacen."

"Really?" Jaina smiled in delight, admiring the familiar constellations. Then her little brows furrowed. "Which one is me again?"

"The one on the left," Luke pointed out. "And the one on the right is Jacen," he added to his nephew, who sat between Anakin and Cory, quietly enjoying the last of his half-burned marshmallow.

"What about me?" Tara asked, nestled comfortably in Obi-Wan's lap. "Do I have a constellation?"

"Hmm... no," Obi-Wan said, his eyes twinkling affectionately. "Your parents came up with a special name, just for you."

"That's right," Zak agreed, sharing an amused look with Cory and Qui-Gon.

"Speaking of baby names," Nadia asked, giving Luke and Mara a curious look. "Have you guys thought of any?"

"Gah... No," Mara sighed; she was four months pregnant, and just beginning to show. "Though we've narrowed it down a little," she added. "I just had my checkup last week... We found out it's going to be a girl."

"A girl?" Cory blinked in obvious surprise. But he quickly smiled, nodding. "That's great... Congratulations."

But Jacen was less enthusiastic. "Another girl?" he asked, with a dismayed glance at Tara and Jaina. "I wanted a boy cousin."

Cory laughed gently. "Maybe in a few more years," he reassured him.

"Really?" Anakin gave Cory a secret, questioning look; but Obi-Wan frowned in disapproval.

"I said - maybe," Cory pointed out, defensive.

"So... Any ideas for a girl's name?" Anakin pressed him, feigning innocence.

Cory frowned uncertainly. "For a girl?" He shook his head, apologetic. "Sorry... I got nothing," he confessed.

"Gah, you're no use," Anakin said, giving him a reproachful look.

"Hey, I saved your last grandkid from being named Nookee Blaster," Cory pointed out.

"Naming him Anakin wasn't exactly an improvement," Anakin retorted, indignant. Han and Leia's younger son had been born eighteen months ago, and the confusion level in their household had risen to new heights. "Do you know how frustrating it is to be offered juice, and cookies, and... and - snuggle-blankies all the time - only to find out it's never for you?" Anakin pouted childishly, as Tara and Jaina giggled in delight. "And don't get me started on all the times I've been accused of spitting up on the sofa."

"That's not my fault," Cory maintained stubbornly. "They asked for my suggestion; I never forced them to use it."

"Well... How about Jade?" Nadia suggested, to Mara. "That's a pretty name."

"Eh... I'm used to it being a last name," Mara told her, smiling appreciatively. "Thanks, though."

But now Obi-Wan spoke up. "What about Ana?" he suggested, with a thoughtful glance at Qui-Gon.

"Ana," Luke said, sharing a delighted smile with Mara. "I love it."

"So do I," Mara agreed, her eyes shining happily. "Ana... It's perfect."

"Anakin; Anakin; Ana... Yeah, that's going to be fun," Anakin sighed helplessly.

Cory laughed. "Sorry, bro," he said. "This one wasn't my idea."

But Tara blinked, curious. "Who's Ana?"

Qui-Gon smiled, gazing into the campfire. "She was your great-great-grandmother," he replied. "And your great-grandmother," he added, to Jaina and Jacen. "She lived here on Kilaui," he explained; then he gave them a curious look. "Would you like to hear a story about her?"

"Yes!" Jaina said, settling eagerly into Luke's lap, as the others nodded cheerfully. Even the older members of their plankton-counting expedition looked on in reverent curiosity as Qui-Gon nodded, beginning his story.

"A long time ago - in a galaxy not so far away," Qui-Gon began playfully, as the children giggled, delighted. "A young man hiked along a narrow path which led to the village on the other side of the hill," he told them.

"That one over there?" Jacen asked, pointing toward the path on the other side of their campsite.

"Yes; that's the one," Qui-Gon agreed. "Now, his Master was hard at work down by the riverbank, studying the iridescent plankton that caused the water to glow red and orange and yellow at this time of year; because it was very important work," he impressed upon the children, who nodded solemnly.

Qui-Gon shared a mischievous look with Obi-Wan, before continuing with his story. "The young man had been sent to get some supplies from the nearby village, and he smiled as he reached the top of the ridge, gazing down upon the quaint farming community nestled in the green, fertile valley below.

"He noticed someone coming up the pathway from the other direction: a girl about his own age, wearing a rough-spun dress in the style of the local villagers," Qui-Gon continued, smiling at the memory. "So the young man stepped aside, allowing her to pass. 'Hello,' he said, offering a polite bow. 'I'm Qui-Gon Jinn.' He thought about adding that he was a Jedi padawan, but decided it was probably obvious from his little braid and ponytail, and the lightsaber hilt which hung from his belt," he pointed out, as Jaina and Tara giggled to imagine him as a padawan, and Jacen grinned sleepily, nestled against Anakin's side.

"The girl smiled back at him, then," Qui-Gon recalled, gazing wistfully into the fire. "And although the young man had never been to this strange, out-of-the-way planet before, he suddenly felt as though he'd come home," he confessed, sharing a fond smile with Obi-Wan and the others.

"'Hello,' the girl said, her lovely green eyes sparkling, as her red-gold hair glistened and shimmered in the sunlight. 'I'm Ana.'"

The End

...or The Beginning.


Thank you so much for reading! This thing has taken me 8 years to write, and is a giant rambling monstrosity, but I hope at least parts of it were entertaining... I appreciate all the encouraging comments I've received along the way, and I'm so happy to have finally seen it through! I have no plans to write anything else, but you never know... Thanks again for reading, and May the Force be with you! - Kelaria :)