The storm was brutal, airborne grains of sand raging against the weathered window panes of the hut. Heedless of the violent, thrashing wind, Obi-Wan Kenobi sat cross legged on his meditation pad, traversing his way through a very different storm.
Around him, the light swirled, a near-sentient barrier against the dark side. The galaxy had fallen into a void, a veil cast over all that was still light and good, allowing for the evil to roam freely.
Obi-Wan’s concentration was distracted by a rather loud call. Eyes flying open, it took him a moment to realize that the shout had come through the Force—an incoherent voice.
Joints popping from the sudden movement, Obi-Wan sprang to his feet. He knew that voice.
Though he’d been barred from ever seeing the child, Obi-Wan would recognize the voice of Luke Skywalker in a heartbeat. Not only that, but the boy’s Force-signature was quite similar to his father’s—and that was a presence that the Jedi Master would never forget.
Summoning his lightsaber from where it hung by the door, he rushed pulled on a rough travelling cloak before sliding out the door.
It was suicide for any living being to travel through a storm of such caliber.
But Obi-Wan knew he had to—he’d sworn to protect Luke at all costs. And to ignore the boys plea for help would not only undermine his mission, but go against the very founding beliefs of the Jedi.
And so Obi-Wan pulled his cloak down over his eyes and let himself sink into the Force.
He spotted Owen Lars first, hidden beneath a rather large overhang, arms wrapped tightly about Luke’s body, shielding the boy from the vicious storm. The man had his head down and could not see Obi-Wan’s approach.
Cloak pulled low over his face, Obi-Wan let go of the fabric which he had been holding over his eyes and reached out, letting his presence through the air around them. It was a technique he’d practiced in the years since arriving at Tatooine.
The air stilled around the two huddled figures, the sand freezing in place as though time itself had ceased.
Owen looked up, feeling the change in the air around him. Eyes wide, he gently released Luke, rotating on the spot to face Obi-Wan. His eyes narrowed in recognition, his lips pursing.
“Kenobi.” It was a statement, his tone just short of hostile. Luke’s wide, blue eyes looked up at Obi-Wan, curiosity and wonder swirling through the Force.
“You are not safe here,” Obi-Wan said, “I need you to follow me.”
Though he appeared ready to argue, Owen slowly nodded, motioning for Luke to follow. The boy took his hand and together they made their way towards Obi-Wan.
Nodding, the Jedi Master waited until they were close by to turn back. Sweat was already prickling his face from the exertion of holding back the wind, but he knew from the many years of study and meditation that he could keep it up for quite some time.
His body, however, was already feeling the fatigue of tramping through the storm, a feeling only accelerated by the use of the Force.
They arrived in the nick of time, scrambling through the doorway of the hut just as Obi-Wan’s stamina gave out. He collapsed into the nearest dining chair, his muscles protesting his every move.
Owen lowered himself into the seat opposite of Obi-Wan while Luke flopped onto the floor, rolling about on the rug.
Obi-Wan watched Luke fondly, it had already been four years since he’d arrived to Tatooine. After the shock of Owen’s dislike of the Jedi, Obi-Wan had come to understand the man’s protective nature.
Seeing Luke like this… the boy seemed so vulnerable, so full of joy and happiness.
“I hope you don’t mind.” Owen’s voice jolted Obi-Wan back to awareness. “We’ll have to wait a while before we can risk travelling again.”
Shaking his head, Obi-Wan smiled. “It’s no trouble. Better you be here than out in the storm.”
There was a moment of silence. Owen Lars fumbled about his tunic, cursing as he accidentally knocked loose a small wave of sand that had stuck in his clothes.
“How did you find us?” Luke stared up at Obi-Wan intently.
Shooting a glance at Owen, Obi-Wan turned to face the curious four-year old.
“You called out to me,” he replied, smiling.
Owen cleared his throat, “you’re saying that Luke called to you? How?”
“I said it in my head, Uncle,” Luke said matter-of-factly. “I don’t know why Ben could hear me…”
Two sets of blue eyes focused unflinchingly on Obi-Wan who sighed. “I heard you through what is called the Force, little one.”
The boy cocked his head to one side, “the Force?”
Owen abruptly got to his feet, his arms crossed, but Obi-Wan held up a hand to silence him. The man’s eyes narrowed and his presence in the Force prickled with distrust.
“I understand that you do not agree with my beliefs, Owen, but please hear my words.” He looked at the man imploringly. “That is all I ask. No tricks; no games. Just the truth.”
“The Jedi are peacekeepers, those who maintain a balance between the light and dark. I believe you met my apprentice years ago, Anakin Skywalker, as well as his wife, Padme Amidala. Believe me when I say that neither one of them meant you any harm.”
Owen straightened his back against the chair, scowling. “Then what do you call the slaughter of an entire Tusken camp? There were women and children there, Kenobi, and he killed them all in cold blood.”
Obi-Wan braced himself, controlling his words even as his mind threatened to return to a far darker place.
“It was a mistake that cost him in the end,” he said evenly, “but what you saw was a man who had just lost his mother.”
He was treading on thin ice, walking a path that, years ago, he might never have dared follow.
“I know that many families out here have lost loved ones to the Tuskens. Now imagine what you would have done if someone had taken away your wife—or—”
Obi-Wan glanced down at Luke, who was still seated on the rug.
On the table, Owen’s fist clenched. Obi-Wan knew that the man would do anything to keep Luke safe. But it was a matter of realizing who the real enemy was. The threat of the Tusken raiders paled in comparison to the might of the Empire.
“Owen, as much as you’d like to believe that Luke is an ordinary child, you must realize that he has the blood of a Jedi. He possesses the blood of his father. The Force is very strong with him; it’s how I was able to find you so quickly even in the worst of desert storms. Without proper training, any Force-sensitive being—whether good or evil—could find Luke within hours. The galaxy is dark now, no longer the same place that it once was, and his presence is like a beacon.”
Owen’s blue eyes fell on Luke, and Obi-Wan felt, for the first time, a shred of doubt crossing the man’s mind.
“You’re saying”—the man hesitated—“that he could bring trouble to us, that the Empire could track him through this… this Force of yours?”
“Yes,” Obi-Wan looked him right in the eyes, “I am positive of that. He must learn how to shield himself from unwanted eyes. It is only a matter of time until the Empire finds us here. If things do go sour, know that whether you like it or not, I will be your first line of defense. I believe, however, that Luke should be ready to handle himself before that time comes.”
Across the table, Owen hummed softly, nodding. For a moment, Obi-Wan felt a glimmer of hope—
—only to have it crushed when the man shook his head.
Frustration boiled beneath his careful mask of calm. The man was so suspicious, so stubborn.
“I can’t say that I don’t agree with what you’re saying,” Owen leaned forwards. “But I still can’t shake the memory of when those Tuskens came for revenge, they attacked us in return, Kenobi. Blood was shed because of your apprentice.”
Swallowing the bitter taste of regret, Obi-Wan glanced back at Luke, who was frozen in place watching the exchange.
“Luke, your father, Anakin, was… different. And it was a mistake of mine to think that the discipline of the Jedi alone could help him. He needed the comfort and kindness of a parent… something I could not give. It eventually drove him into darkness before Darth Vader—”
He broke off, suddenly unable to continue. A familiar pain radiated from his mind. For a moment, he felt overwhelmed.
Luke’s face abruptly turned in his direction and Obi-Wan mustered up the strength to slam down his mental shields. The child did not need to feel his pain as well.
Owen’s expression twisted. “I know we’ve had our differences, Kenobi, but for what it’s worth—god, I cannot believe that I’m saying this—” The man ran a hand across his face.
“—I’m sorry about what happened to Skywalker. He seemed like a great man. It’s just every time I think of him, I see the moment when he came in on that old speeder, Shmi dead in his arms. I watched my father grieve for so long after her death…” Owen shook his head.
“But you were right, all those times.” He looked down. “I’m not saying now , but one day, the boy has a right to know the man his father was.”
Obi-Wan sat there, stunned into silence. After years of rejection, Owen Lars was giving in?
He looked at Luke, and suddenly the boy’s excitement filled the air. The boy leaped to his feet from where he’d sat, hands clasped at shoulder level, blue eyes sparkling.
“What are you training me in?”
Owen raised an eyebrow, smiling at the display of enthusiasm. “Kenobi,” he said, clapping his hands down onto the table, “you have me convinced.”
Was it a dream? Obi-Wan closed his eyes and leaned his head against the wall behind him. In that moment, he uttered a silent thanks to the Force, hoping that Qui-Gon would hear him.
“But I have one condition.” Obi-Wan opened his eyes to meet Owen’s intense gaze. “You will allow me to oversee his training. I don’t want him doing anything crazy at this age.”
That was all? The Jedi Master nearly laughed aloud. Compared to a life in helpless isolation, the request seemed insignificant.
“Of course.” He couldn’t help but smile.
“My place, then?” Owen asked “It would be easier for Luke that way -and then I wouldn’t have to trek all the way out here just to watch you teach the boy the Force. The trip here isn’t always the easiest either… the Junland wastes are home to quite a few Tuskens. Besides, Beru seems to like you.”
Owen offered a hand. “Do we have a deal?”
Around him, Obi-Wan could feel the Force singing. All of a sudden, his heart felt light as a feather. He had a purpose, a role in the boy’s life other than just that of a silent guardian.
Suppressing a laugh, Obi-Wan shook Owen’s hand. “I believe we do.”
Luke ran in circles about the dinner table, his high-pitched squeal of happiness piercing through the air. Obi-Wan smiled from his seat, watching the youngster’s post-training antics. Beside him, Owen chatted with Beru as she cooked a stew for dinner, carefully stirring the steaming pot in front of her.
The first week of training had been a success, resulting with Luke learning how to lift rocks—which excited him to no end. Owen, as it turned out, had found great entertainment in watching his foster-son learn to levitate objects. Together they had shared many laughs.
A ghostly form flickered into existence near Obi-Wan’s right shoulder. Looking up, Obi-Wan took in the smiling form of Qui-Gon Jinn as the ghostly Jedi watched Luke continue running circles about the room.
As his Master vanished back into thin air, Obi-Wan leaned back into his chair and let out a sigh of relief.
He was going to train Luke.
He wouldn’t fail this time. He wasn’t a young Jedi this time, unprepared and doubtful of his own abilities.
Though stuck in the desert and living in isolation, he now knew what to do.
And the first time in many years, Obi-Wan Kenobi felt at peace.