A week later, Luke finally plucked up the courage to finally speak to Hermione. For three days he had a black eye from where she punched him. A day ago, he left a single Karythian rose with a note on her pillow. The note simply said, I'm Sorry
"Hello Hermione," Luke said as he approached her in the library.
"Luke," Hermione nodded.
"Listen, I just want to say I'm sorry. The truth is, I like you. I have no experience when it comes to women," he sighed.
"Luke, are you embarrassed to be yourself?" she asked as she faced him.
"No it's just…Hermione, you come from a sophisticated planet, full of culture and refinement. I come from a planet that is anything but," he answered, dropping onto the sofa.
Hermione smiled gently. She sat the datapad she had been looking at and got to her feet. She walked over and sat down next to him.
"Look, so Tatooine isn't sophisticated. What planet you come from doesn't dictate who you are. Look at Han. He's from Corellia. That's a sophisticated planet and he's a smuggler for Force sakes. Han Solo is not what I call refined or sophisticated," she replied.
"I just want to get to know you better," he stated.
"Then be yourself," she smiled.
And so it began. Luke stopped trying to play the part of hero of the Rebellion and just played himself. The simple moisture farmer from Tatooine turned Rebel pilot. Over the next month and a half, Luke and Hermione grew closer.
Unfortunately, the last two weeks, they saw very little of each other. As the Rebellion prepared to leave for Hoth, Hermione began analyzing her feeling toward Luke.
'He's sweet, funny, charming, and I enjoy being with him. Could it be that I'm falling in love with him?' she wondered as she stood on her balcony brushing her hair.
"Come in," she called out.
"Do you have a minute honey?"
"Sure dad," she smiled.
Gareth entered the room and sat on her bed. Hermione sat her brush on the vanity and joined her father. She could tell by his expression it was something serious.
"What is it dad?" she asked.
"What I'm about to tell you stays between us," Hermione nodded. "It's about Luke. The only reason I'm telling you is because I know how close you two have become. It's about his father," he sighed.
"What about his father?" she questioned.
"Luke's father and Darth Vader are one and the same," he answered.
Hermione gasped. She couldn't believe Luke was the son of Darth Vader. She shook her head trying to clear it. As hard as she tried to deny it, the Force was telling her it was true.
"Does…does he know?" she whispered.
"No, well not the whole truth. He told me that Obi-Wan told him his father was betrayed and murdered by Vader. To a degree that's true. Before he became Darth Vader, his name was Anakin Skywalker.
"Anakin, was seduced by the Emperor. When he became Darth Vader, he ceased being Anakin. I feel through the Force, that soon Luke will learn the truth. When he does, he will no doubt feel betrayed by Obi-Wan," he explained.
"Why are you telling me this?" she demanded tearfully.
"Hermione, Luke will help rebuild the Jedi Order, of that I have no doubt. My daughter, I also feel you will play a pivotal role in his life. It wasn't mere chance you two were brought together, it was the will of the Force," he said.
Hermione got to her feet and moved to stand on her balcony which over looked the garden. She looked down and saw the man in question meditating. She too had felt a connection to Luke. A connection through the Force.
"Honey, I know this may be difficult to hear or understand, but I'm following my instincts," Gareth replied as he placed his hands on her shoulders.
"You're right dad. Luke and I were meant to meet. I have felt drawn to him even before I met him. When you first told me about him…I don't know. I felt he and I were meant to meet," she nodded.
"Remember, don't mention this to him till the time is right. You'll know when it is. This unfortunate truth he needs to learn for himself," he stated.
For the last three days of his stay, Luke and Hermione spent as much time together as possible. The night before he was to leave found the two alone in the house. The others giving them that one last night alone.
"Hermione, take a walk with me," Luke invited nervously.
"Of course," Hermione accepted.
Arm-in-arm, the two headed into the gardens. She could feel his nervousness. To try and sooth him, she laced her fingers with his. Luke smiled down at her and lead her to a nearby bench.
"What's troubling you?" she asked.
"Hermione, these past three months with you have been the happiest three months of my life. Even when you punched me," he chuckled. "What I'm trying to say is…I love you. I know we haven't known each other long, but I can't deny my feelings for you anymore,"
"Luke, I love you too. I think I've always loved you. I believe the Force has brought us together," she smiled as she placed her palm on his cheek.
Luke covered her hand with his hand as their gazes met. Slowly he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. Hermione sighed as her arm slid around his neck and her fingers twining in his hair. Luke deepened the kiss slightly and pulled her onto his lap. Their lips parted a few moments later.
"Hermione, as much as I want to make love to you, I don't think…" he began.
"Sshh. I understand. We're both participating in a war. There is a chance something could happen to one or both of us," she nodded.
Luke just held her close. Her voicing the fears in his heart brought reality crashing back to him. The couple sat outside for nearly two hours just holding each other before re-entering the house to go to sleep.
Luke laid in his bed staring at the ceiling in the dark room. He tensed and reached for his lightsaber when he heard someone opening the door to his bedroom.
"Luke?" Hermione said quietly.
"Hermione? What's wrong love?" Luke asked as he sat up and watched her walk into the room.
"Will you hold me? Tonight I wan t to feel you just holding me," she answered.
Luke just smiled as he moved over and made room for her. Hermione climbed into the bed. He gently pulled her into his arms, her head resting directly over his heart. She sighed contently as her arms slid around his waist.
"I love you Luke," she whispered.
"I love you too Hermione," he replied as he stroked her hair.
Hermione stood in her hanger where Luke's X-Wing, the MILLENNIUM FALCON, and her parents ship were. She had already said good bye to her parents, Leia, and Han. The only one she hadn't said good bye to was Luke.
Luke finished checking his ship. Artoo was already in the ship ready to go. He slowly go to his feet and turned around. He saw Hermione standing alone a few feet away. The two had been putting off saying good bye ever since they woke up in each other's arms that morning.
'Time to do this,' he thought sadly as he began walking toward her.
"I guess it's time," she said softly.
"Yes," he nodded.
Hermione couldn't stand it. She let out a strangled cry and threw herself into his arms. Luke caught her and held her tight, his face buried in the crook of her neck. The tears she had been holding back all morning broke free and poured down her cheeks.
"Sshh love, don't cry," he whispered.
"I can't help it. I don't want to loose you," she sobbed.
"I know. I promise, I will do everything in my power to come back to you," he vowed.
Hermione pulled her head back so she could see his face. She wanted to memorize every feature of his handsome face. He smiled gently as he brushed away her tears with the back of his hand.
"Here, take this. If you need to hear my voice or just to feel close to me, call me," he replied as he placed a commlink in her hand.
"The same for you," she nodded as she placed the commlink in her pocket.
"Luke, we have to go," Leia called out, hating to separate her friends.
Luke let out a ragged sigh before pulling her into his arms and crushing his lips to her. Hermione returned the kiss. Both pouring everything the felt for one another into that one kiss.
As quickly as it began, the kiss ended. Luke pulled away and hurried to his ship. He didn't look back, knowing if he did he would not be able to leave. Hermione stood there and tearfully watched the man she loved fly off. Hoping the Force would bring him back to her alive.