Author: CaraJinn Era: After ROTS Genre: Drama Characters: Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Bail, Summary: The Empire is throwing shadows over the galaxy after the fall of the Republic. Meanwhile Obi-Wan Kenobi is facing shadows of his own while exiled after Order 66. Author's notes: I've been evaluating whether I should post this story here or not, it's threatening to be a loooong one. Since I got the idea from the discussion about the potential Kenobi movie, I have found it fair to post here as well as on fanfiction.net. Since I'm more of a character writer (I think) than really action writer it may be too slow for some reader's likes. The first part of the story is trying to follow canon story fairly well, but as it proceeds it may turn up parts that are slightly AU in that respect that nothing of that is referred to in the known storyes. Yet I try to keep away from the impossible, and I'll try by best to keep the main plot aligned with the canon story. Please enjoy - and/or be patient. Chapter 1: The Travel The twin suns were rapidly sinking towards the horizon. In a couple of hours the heat of the day would dissipate and transform into the freezing nights in the desert. «Now I really understand why Anakin always cursed the sand,» Obi-Wan Kenobi muttered through clenched teeth, trying to avoid a mouthful of said substance. Oh, Anakin… The pain was still excruciating. Raw, intense, heartbreaking. Why did you do it? Why did I do it? You were my brother in everything except birth, and still it came to this. Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t I listen? No, don't go down that road, Kenobi, you can mourn later. Now you have to get Luke to his family safe and sound. Then you may allow yourself to feel again. A whimper from the infant in his arms made him startle. «Shhh, little one, we will soon be home where you will meet your uncle Owen and aunt Beru», he whispered softly, hoping it would be the truth. ………………… It had indeed been a long journey even though it had lasted only 4 standard days. He’d never known that infants could be so…demanding. Of course he’d had his fair share of creche duty in the Temple, but those hours had been spent with the toddlers. Not with the infants. During the last days he’d had to be a quick learner. He had volunteered to bring the baby to Tatooine after Padme’s unexpected death. However, there hadn’t been any time for preparations, which he sorely regretted when he was on the first of 4 public transports that eventually would bring him there from Polis Massa. The baby had slept when he entered the ship, but two hours after the departure the boy woke up. He was definitely not happy. The wails coming from such a small person were absolutely disturbing. Great, Kenobi, just great. You wanted to go unnoticed and hide the child and the first thing you do is making the entire crowd of people in the compartment watching you… Well done, indeed. He desperately tried to calm the boy, but all efforts were in vain until an elderly human lady approached. «This little one seems to be hungry?» «Well, yes, he may be. We didn’t have much time before the transport left, so I really didn’t have time to buy any.» «Buy? He’s so small. He needs to be nursed. Where is his mother?» the woman looked suspiciously at Obi-Wan. «She…died in labor. I’m taking the boy to family.» Better not say anything about whose family he was going to see. If the woman noticed the lack of details, she didn't comment. «Oh, you poor man. Your wife has passed away so recently and you’re going to take care of this little one on a ship like this?» «We didn’t have any other possibilities, I’m afraid. It was the only transport we could get this week.» The woman nodded thoughtfully. «Wait a moment.» Obi-Wan could see her moving to a seat across and a couple of rows the aisle, talking to a younger woman who had her own child in her arms. Luke cried even louder, if that was at all possible. A little while later the woman came back. «The woman over there is my daughter in law. She’s still nursing her daughter and I asked if she possibly could help feeding your little boy. She said yes. Would you let me take him to her? I’m Rheena Glib, by the way. My daughter in law’s name is Caella.» «I’m…Ben and this is Luke,» Obi-Wan answered. He felt uncomfortable lying to Rheena, but using his own name did definitely not seem to be a good idea. After all his name had been mentioned quite frequently in the holo-news during the Clone Wars, and right now he had to take for granted that there would be clone troopers looking out for stray jedi all over the galaxy. Being recognized now would not be a good thing. Carefully he handed Luke over to Rheena who carried him over to the younger woman. The angry wailing soon calmed down. 15 minutes later Rheena came back with a contently sleeping Luke. «Thank you,» Obi-Wan said, «I’m truly thankful for this.» «Well, we couldn’t let him cry like that the entire journey,» Rheena answered, «when we reach Ankoth there is a market not very far from the spaceport. I’m sure you can find some white milk there and some kind of bottles too. Stay away from blue milk for such a small one.» «And,» she added cheerfully, «you will definitely need some diapers too.» Obi-Wan paled. ………………… Two days and three flights later he'd learned some lessons not taught in the Jedi Temple. 1) changing diapers on a kicking little boy was considerably more difficult than lifting boulders with the force, 2) bottle feeding a child tended to create a mess, especially on his right hand shoulder, when he held the boy to make it easier for him to burp and 3) being able to give the child a mild sleep suggestion every now and then really came in handy. He assumed his fellow travelers were grateful for that too. Obviously the child did not care for hyperspace travels. Obi-Wan understood him well. He'd never liked the transition from moving in real space among stars and planets to being thrown out into the vast, cold emptiness of hyperspace. They arrived at Mos Eisley spaceport in the evening the third day after leaving Polis Massa and Obi-Wan quickly disembarked the ship, hiding Luke under his robe. He really didn't want to attract trouble and a single man carrying a child might very well attract some of the not-so-nice individuals passing through the space port. Luke appeared willing to cooperate and kept still until they were safe out of the spaceport area. "Thanks, my little friend. You're really becoming a good travel companion," Obi-Wan whispered. The next challenge was to find a land based transport. Anakin had been very quiet about his visit to the Lars' Homestead before the battle of Geonosis. However, he had mentioned that the homestead was situated out in an area called Jundland Wastes, near the Dune Sea. Somehow Obi-Wan suspected that it would be a large area to search unless someone actually could tell him where to find the Lars family. However, traveling during the night with a baby was a total no-go, so he decided to try find a shelter for the night. The first attempt failed. The porter did look dubious and so did the accommodations. The next place looked more promising. The chubby woman in the reception seemed to be in her mid-forties, with pink hair and a rather luminous orange tunic. "A room for the night? For you and the little one? Well, we're actually full booked but there is a small room in the attic, not much more than a closet but there is a couch you can sleep on, and I guess the child doesn't need a bed on it's own. It will be 200 credits, and you can use the fresher on the second floor. Just be careful with the use of water." Obi-Wan sighed quietly in relief. Remembering the trouble his old master Qui-Gon had had 12 years ago when he tried to buy a hyperdrive for a nubian ship with republic credits, Obi-Wan had partly expected that the small pile of credits Bail Organa had given him would be refused and thus of no value for him. Carrying the boy and the small satchel upstairs he really looked forward to cleaning up himself and the boy a bit - with some luck they would have a sonic cleaner so he could clean up both himself and the clothes. He would save the sparse amounts of water for the child. The following day he rose early. The couch had been lumpy and not very comfortable, but surprisingly clean. It might have had something to do with the size of the room. The bulky woman had been right when she'd compared it to a closet. He'd managed to squeeze in with the boy, and for possibly the first time in his life he'd been truly grateful that he'd been blessed with a rather modest height. Qui-Gon would never have fit in there. Some discreet investigations had revealed that there actually was a shuttle going from Mos Eisley to Anchorhead two days a week, and the departure would be one standard hour before mid day. The ticket cost him another 20 credits, but he managed to get a seat in the rickety old vehicle, something he was grateful for. The journey was uneventful and early in the afternoon he stood outside the shuttle station in Anchorhead. Anakin had mentioned that this was the nearest larger settlement to the homestead. What he'd not mentioned was which direction one should go in from there. Obi-Wan stroke his chin pensively while trying to protect Luke from the blazing suns by keeping him covered by his robe. He couldn't possibly walk out into the desert with the child, without even knowing the right direction. He really had to come up with a better idea than that. Two hours later, 100 credits poorer and one eopie richer he'd also learned that most of the moisture farms were situated west of the small town. Hopefully that would also be the case for the Lars' Homestead. The eopie seemed to be a fairly young and yet patient animal which obediently kneeled when he gave the command "nee chokaa". With the reins in his left hand, Luke safely tucked in between his torso and his right arm he set out to the west.