Title: Dustland Author: Briannakin Timeframe: 18 months post-ROTS Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Beru Lars, and Luke Skywalker Categorization: AU Notes: This fic is the result of my muse was being a grump. I just kinda work on it whenever I just want to write but the muse is just not happy with anything. It’s mostly just me writing whatever comes, so it is far from great writing, but still a fun story. NOTE 2: This fic was never finished, but I decided it needed to be posted for Evil Author Day. If you would like to finish this bunny, go ahead! Obi-Wan Kenobi woke suddenly, heaving heavily. Luke Skywalker was in danger. Not now, but Obi-wan knew it was soon. He hadn’t had a feeling of intense impending danger since the war. Pushing back both memories and the thin sheets on his small bed, he quickly got up and pulled on a discarded pair of pants and an under tunic. He grabbed both his boots, lightsaber, and a blaster he had bought shortly after beginning his exile. How unprepared and uncivilized you have become. Obi-Wan did not have time to chastise himself further. By the time he exited his hut, his eopie was stirring in her pen. With much haste, but carful not to hurt the animal, he threw on her riding pad and mounted her. Feeling a twinge of guilt, he rode his only friend in the galaxy hard across the desert night. At least it was cool and not high noon. The icy wind whipped at him and a small storm pelted him with sand, but he carried on. Obi-Wan felt the fear before anything else. Being distant from other beings for so long, it overwhelmed it for a moment. Then, he heard a woman scream and a baby cry. As he rode over a crest of a sand dune, he got to see it all. Tusken Raiders. There had to be a dozen of them attacking the Lars homestead. Obi-Wan never stopped to wonder why, he only saw Owen Lars, on his knees in the sand. The man looked fearfully over his shoulder at his wife, their young foster child in her arms. Then, a gaffi stick struck him across the head, sending the man sprawling and blood spattering across the sand. Owen Lars’ life had ended; executed in the most horrific way possible. By now, Obi-Wan had dismounted and was using the Force to aid his flight to the sobbing woman as Tuskens surrounded her. Not caring if there were any witnesses, Obi-Wan ignited his bright blue blade, cutting through the darkness and Tusken raiders. It had been a massacre even before he had thought about his actions. How far had the Jedi fallen? How far will you go to protect one child? In the middle of the rubble of bodies and a ransacked homestead, was Beru, in her bloodied blue nightgown, holding a screeching child. Her eyes were wide and terrified. Obi-Wan calmly turned off his lightsaber, realizing what evidence he had created. He need to get rid of these bodies. “Beru,” he finally spoke, trying to sound as comforting as possible. How long had it been since he had spoken to another human? “Are you hurt?” She shook her head as she slumped to the sand and began to cry. “Is Luke hurt?” Her sobbing was now uncontrollable as she cradled the toddler closer, but she shook her head again. “I need to take care of…” he trailed off, knowing she knew what he was referring to. He knelt to her level. “Is there anywhere you can stay? Just for a few hours?” A plan began to formulate in his head. She shook her head once more. “Okay,” Obi-Wan breathed, standing up. He was’t going to leave this poor woman alone. He then noticed her glancing at Owen’s body. Obi-Wan searched around for a scrap of linen and wrapped it around Owen’s head wound. Obi-Wan let Beru have her time alone with her husband. * * * Obi-Wan had buried all the Tusken Raiders’ bodies just before the first sun peeked over the horizon. No one would bother with missing aboriginals. Not on this planet. He felt so uncivilized. Still, he tried to make the mass-grave unnoticeable, yet dignified. These had been sentient being. It was already getting warm. He wiped sweat from his brow and made his way back to the Lars homestead. Beru was still seated at Owen’s side. At least Luke was asleep now. He was still in his dirty yellow pyjamas, but he looked so peaceful in Beru’s lap. Obi-Wan tried not to startle her as he walked up on him. “Beru? Can we talk?” She looked up at him. Red and puffy skin rimmed her eyes. Her hair was down and disheveled. “I need to go. You know why.” There was no plausible reason for him to be here. No one could learn he was a Jedi. “But you need to tell people you were attacked. You need to tell them you hid with Luke. The raiders… you know, and then left.” He couldn’t bring himself to use the words ‘killed Owen.’ She nodded. “Will you be back?” she asked, sniffling. Her words were soft, but desperate Obi-Wan thought about it. The poor woman just lost her husband in a vicious attack and Obi-Wan had probably saved her life and that of Luke’s. It was not in his already completed plan, but he saw no harm in helping her further. “Yes, of course.” * * * Obi-Wan returned for the funeral later that day. On Tatooine the dead were often buried quickly - heat and decomposition did not mix well - and with few questions. Then, life went on. The planet was harsh to both the living and the dead. Obi-Wan had tried to dress for the occasion in a clean set of robes, but it was hard not to stand out in the very small gathering. Beru was in a plain black skirt and white top. Her hair down, a rarity for women on Tatooine. Luke was on her hip in brown pants and a white shirt. He was clutching onto a blue blanket and occasionally crying out “Unca.” Beru’s family was there; her father, brother and sister. The only other guests in attendance were some neighbours, the Darklighter family - two brothers, their wives, and their children. Beru’s brother and father buried Owen next to his father, who had only died some three years back, and his step-mother, Shmi. Anakin’s mother. Obi-Wan wondered if that had been the start of where it all went wrong. Had Shmi’s death sent the galaxy tumbling on the course it was on now? No. That was unfair to blame all his mistakes on an innocent woman. “Ben Kenobi?” Obi-Wan looked up from the grave to see Beru’s father. Anrai Whitesun was a tall man, tanned skin with dark hair struck with grey and white. His face looked like he had seen too many days under the harsh suns. He was a moisture farmer if there ever was one. “Yes?” “My daughter says you are a neighbour. She said you offered to stay the night with her.” Obi-Wan hadn’t offered, but he nodded. “Yes, whatever she needs.” Later, after everyone was gone, Beru was cleaning up the small kitchen with Luke in a sling on her back. He was asleep. She was keeping busy, but never let the boy out of her sight. “You can go. I only told my father you would stay so that he and my brother wouldn’t worry. They needed to get back to their farms.” “I don’t have a reason to leave. I can stay if you wish,” Obi-Wan offered. Beru silently nodded. She picked up a cup, but then broke down in tears. Obi-Wan gently helped her to a chair and helped her take the slumbering boy off her back and rested him in her arms. “I have no idea what I am going to do. I can’t take care of this farm by myself and raise Luke. Perhaps you should take him.” Obi-Wan knew she didn’t mean this as she said it while holding Luke close. No one would take him away from her, for that would truly be a crime. Obi-Wan didn’t have the knowledge to raise him anyways. “What if I helped you? I can maintain the farm and you can concentrate on Luke.” “Ben - Obi-Wan, I can’t afford to hire a hand,” she bent her neck, defeated. “I wouldn’t want to be paid. Just room and board, here. You can say no, but I am not leaving much behind: a tiny hut and single moisture vaporator.” Of course, Obi-Wan would go back for his material belongings. “Why don’t you put Luke to bed and think on it yourself? I can finish cleaning up.” She nodded. “Thank you.” She then got up. “Perhaps Luke and I will sleep in the spare suite. You can have the main room, just down those steps,” she said, pointing off in a darkened alcove. “Beru, I don’t want to put you out.” “I insist,” she said, her voice carrying weight for the first time. “Besides,” she sighed, closing her eyes. I don’t think I can sleep in there.” Obi-Wan understood. “If you need anything, let me know.” “Likewise,” she replied, heading across a walkway, Luke still clutched to her chest. * * * Obi-Wan woke the next morning early. Or, at least, he thought it was early. He quickly dressed in the darkness, but when he entered the dining room, Beru was already up, preparing breakfast. She was in a plain purple dress with a tie around her waist. Luke was in is highchair. The dopy child was drifting in and out of sleep. Evidence of his dry cereal pre-breakfast ‘snack’ covered the tray in front of him and clung to the drool on his chin. “Good Morning,” Beru said quietly, placing a small plate in front of him. The plate contained two small yeast cakes. She also set down a cup and a pitcher of blue milk. It was a quaint meal, but more than what he was used to. “Thank you,” he said. “You didn’t have to.” “No,” she said, shaking her head. “It’s part of our deal. I hope it isn’t to presumptuous to take what you offered last night? You manage the farm and I will give you a bed and food. Owen had a strict schedule. The first day of the week he would work on the south field, then the east, then the west, finally the north. He would repeat that and on the ninth day he would rest and work around the homestead, then the week would start over again.” Obi-Wan nodded. “What day is it today?” “South. Oh, but,” she then paused like she had something in her throat. “You should take a trip up to the north field. There have been claims that one moisture vaporator isn’t on our property and is encroaching upon Tusken reserves.” He nodded, finally understanding what had cost Owen his life. It had been some trivial land dispute. “I’ll take the property charts up there and see where the issue is.” * * * Obi-Wan returned that night, tired. He had found the moisture vaporator that had been too close to the property line, disassembled it, and moved it closer to the rest of the farm. Beru was no where in sight as he neared the homestead, but he felt her sadness. As he walked down the stairs, relieved to be out of the heat, he saw his dinner on his table. Quietly, he broke open the ration packet, poured it in the broth. After some steaming and bubbling, his spice loaf was ready and he ate in silence. * * * It was like that for many weeks. Sometimes Beru would quietly serve Obi-Wan his meals, other times they would be sitting out for him. He never saw the young woman or Luke otherwise, but he had felt their presence. Obi-Wan’s room was always clean, his bed was made. Occasionally he would hear Luke’s laugh or Beru’s sobs, but he let them have their privacy, until his own privacy was invaded. When Obi-Wan woke that fateful morning, he was face-to-face with a 20-month old toddler, with chubby cheeks and wispy blonde hair. His eyes were captivated. Obi-Wan had seen those wide, curious, blue eyes before. “Hello there,” Obi-Wan said with a smile. Then he heard, “Luke? Luke?” coming from a distance. “Why do I get the feeling you’re an escapee?” Obi-Wan asked the boy lying beside him. Luke simply grinned and grabbed his bare feet. “Come on, Luke,” Obi-Wan said, getting out of the bed and pulling on his pants and tunic. He grabbed the youngling and walked through the plaster halls until he reached the kitchen. Luke insisted walking, but held onto Obi-Wan’s hand. “There you are,” Beru said, exasperated. She had her hair up in braids, but one tendril of blond hair hung down in front of her left eye. Her hands and forearms were covered in blue dough. She was making loafs. “Luke, leave Ben alone. He is taking the day off.” She looked at Obi-Wan. “I’m sorry. He’s always running off. I can’t turn my back on him, which means I can’t get anything done.” “That Ben!” Luke exclaimed, pointing up at Obi-Wan. “It’s fine,” Obi-Wan chuckled. “Actually, I was thinking about going back to my property today, gathering a few things I should have gotten weeks ago. I can take Luke with me, get him out of your hair.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah, you deserve a day off too.” “Alright,” she crouched down so she could look Luke in the eyes. “Do you want to go with Ben in the speeder?” “Yay!” The child quickly toddled off in the direction of the garage. “Go Ben!” “We’ll be back by suns-down,” Obi-Wan said. * * * “And then, your dad rescued me from that nest of gundarks,” Obi-Wan said as he piloted the Lars’ old speeder across the Dune Sea. Luke laughed and kicked his feet up and down. Obi-Wan knew Luke didn’t really understand the stories, nor would he remember them, but they entertained the child. They reached the hut and Obi-Wan turned off the sputtering speeder. He had a bad feeling about the vehicle. It wasn’t going to last much longer. Maybe he could sell some of his possessions and get Beru and Luke a new one. “Alright, Luke, I gotta pack whatever I can in here. Are you going to help me?” Luke nodded eagerly. Obi-Wan helped Luke out of the speeder and they entered the home together. Obi-Wan was surprised to see the place much had he had left it when he had left for Owen’s funeral. Obi-Wan simply never found the time to return in the two months since then. The place felt small compared to the Lars homestead, but it was still very much in order. Obi-Wan knew he had to be practical. He didn’t know when he’d get the time to come back here again. He should get all his clothes - or what little he had. He didn’t need to take any of his kitchen supplies - frankly there wasn’t much there and what was wasn’t worth selling. Though his linens may be of use to Beru. His eyes then turned to his storage box. Within the shiarak wood was his few mementos he had from his time as a Jedi - tools mostly that were on his persons when it all went to chaos. And of course, there was a plethora of mechanical parts in the basement, left over from his own sad attempt at moisture farming. He just never had the energy or the heart to keep it going in the early days here on Tatooine. He could salvage the most expensive parts and sell those. “Right, Luke, let’s to work.” “Da?” Luke was pointing at the storage box. Anakin’s lightsaber was also within. “Yes,” Obi-Wan said quietly. “We will need to pack that.” He had Luke clumsily folding blankets on the bed as Obi-Wan first packed his clothes in his storage box, then put it in the speeder. By the time Obi-Wan returned, Luke had face-planted in the piles of messily folded sheets, fast asleep. Obi-Wan chuckled, then went on with his work. * * * Obi-Wan had the back of the speeder packed with a few of his belongings, plus many things he could sell for a decent price to Jawas. Luke was awake again, looking at all the parts Obi-Wan had salvaged. “You ready to go back to Auntie Beru?” “Home Auntie Bru!” Obi-Wan was glad to hear Luke making sentences. The child had been so quiet after his uncle’s death. “Yes,” Obi-Wan laughed, strapping Luke into the speeder. “We are going home to Auntie Beru.” They were half way across the Dune Sea when the old grey speeder sputtered, and died. “Sithspit,” Obi-Wan cursed. “Sithspit!” Luke mimicked the word. “No, Luke, you don’t say that word,” Obi-Wan said, trying to quickly fix the situation. He hopped out of the speeder, popping the access to the controls. Smoke billowed out, making him cough. “Why?” Luke asked. “Because it’s a bad, grown up word,” Obi-Wan replied, looking at the damage. The power-converters were shot, among with a dozen other things. “Oh, bad, bad, bad,” Luke was saying. “You got that right, Luke.” Obi-Wan stroked his beard. He first tried his comm-link. Of course it wasn’t in range. He sighed as he tried to figure out a plan. He looked around. The wind was picking up, but there was an alcove of rocks nearby. Using the Force, and hoping Luke wouldn’t realize it, he pushed the speeder into the alcove. * * * Obi-Wan held his robe tightly around Luke as he cried into Obi-Wan’s tunic. It was the child’s first time in a sandstorm and the guilt ate at Obi-Wan. Luke was terrified as the wind howled and they were trapped in darkness, even-though they were relatively safe in the speeder, in the alcove of rocks. Beru was probably worried sick and that just made Obi-Wan feel worse. He had been unable to get the speeder started before them storm had set in. “Auntie Bruuu,” Luke wailed. “Yes, I know, Luke. I swear, as soon as this storm is over, I’ll get you home to your Auntie Beru.” “Blankie-be?” came the sob. “Yes, I will make sure you have your blanket. Why don’t you try to go to sleep?” he said, rubbing Luke’s back, putting the Force into his words. “You are getting very tired.” Luke seemed to consider the words, then pressed his head to Obi-Wan’s stomach. The child was soon fast asleep. * * * Obi-Wan woke to people calling “Ben!” and Luke!”. It was the calm moments before dawn. The sand had settled and the wind was quiet. “Here!” Obi-Wan called back, stirring the child. With Luke still in his arms, Obi-Wan exited the speeder and soon saw Jula Darklighter, the Lars’ neighbour, in his speeder. “Oh, thank goodness,” the young man said, powering down his speeder. “Beru is beyond herself with worry. Let’s get you two back to her.” “The Lars’ speeder needs new power converters.” Jula nodded. “I’ll get you guys back, then come out with my brother to see if we can coax it back to life. But we can load anything you have in the back. I’d hate for you to lose such a haul to Sand People.” Obi-Wan placed Luke in the front seat of the Darklighter speeder. “Thank you. I’m hoping to sell most of this stuff from my old home to buy Beru and Luke a new speeder.” Jula spoke as they loaded the contents up. “You really care for Beru and Luke. Most of this will fetch a small fortune.” Obi-Wan didn’t want to admit he had conned Jawas out of most of it. It had been a dark hour for him. He had needed it to live. “I know,” he lied. “But they need it more than I do.” “You happy just to work on their farm?” Obi-Wan shrugged, pretending to be disinterested. He knew Jula knew only the basics of the Lars family. “Owen’s mother and mine were friends. He helped me out when I wanted to quietly settle down after the war. I was on the wrong side, if you get my meaning.” Jula huffed. “Neither side cared about Tatooine, so I guess you picked the right place.” “My sad attempt to start a moisture farm never really got anywhere, so I’m happy just to help Beru out. Her cooking is much better than mine.” “Well, from the rest of us in the area, thank you. Beru is such a sweetheart, and Luke is just her life. It would be a travesty to think where they would be without you.” Obi-Wan nodded without thinking about it, strapping Luke into the other speeder, but as they made their way back to the homestead, Jula’s words seeped into his mind. Obi-Wan blamed himself for so much: for Anakin’s fall and the rise of the Sith. But, where would Beru be without him? She may not have been given a chance to raise Luke, but she would also probably be dead. It was small, but it was something. * * * Beru was waiting at the homestead’s front entrance when the speeder arrived. She came running even before the Darklighter speeder parked. She Spoiler: My loose ideas for this fic So… this was basically going to be a slow burn love story between Beru and Obi-Wan as they raise Luke. They would be together at the end, but like ANH, Beru would die at the hands of the stormtroopers and Luke and Obi-Wan would go off to the Death Star. Obi-Wan would die at the hands of Darth Vader and in his last moments think of Beru.