Title: Stitched Together Beneath a Harvest Moon Author: devilinthedetails Genre: Romance; Family; Mush. Characters: Shmi Skywalker; Cliegg Lars; Owen Lars; Beru Whitesun. Summary: Shmi and Cliegg picnic beneath a harvest moon. Notes: Written for the Autumn Bingo Challenge. The words chosen were: Harvest Moon + Cider+Quilt+Cobweb+Crisp. Stitched Together Beneath a Harvest Moon Tatooine had two moons, but they had different cycles and were never full at the same time. When the largest of the two moons was at its biggest and brightest, the moisture settlers who sought to gather as much water from the dry, dusky red landscape as possible referred to it as a harvest moon. Beneath the harvest moon, they labored around the chrono from dawn until midnight, collecting moisture from their vaporators and loading cartons of water onto transports to be guarded heavily and sent into Anchorhead, Mos Espa, and Mos Eisley, where there was always demand for water. The scene at the Lars farm, Shmi was sure, was no different than it was on a thousand homesteads staggered across Tatooine’s barren bowl of desert. She drained water from a vaporator that she then passed to Cliegg, who carried it to the transport for loading. At the vaporator beside her, Beru (helping with their harvest rather than the Whitesun one for the first time, which was a significant marker of how far her relationship with Owen had progressed since she first visited their farm to be introduced to her and Cliegg) filled another carton with water and handed it along to Owen. Cliegg had hired an assortment of laborers with palms calloused from hard work, dull tunics stained with sweat, and rough, wrinkled faces from the harsh winds of Tatooine that lifted whirls of sand to whip their cheeks and the merciless light of the twin suns that forced them to squint as they worked with bent backs. The laborers appeared as if they could go several more hours without rest as long as there was the agreed upon amount of credits as a reward. Owen and Beru also seemed unflagging, but Shmi could see sweat beading her husband’s forehead and veins bulging from his neck in certain signs of exertion and exhaustion. She watched a spider, clinging to the moisture of the vaporator for survival, climb a cobweb it had woven carefully as she sought to weave her own life and family together now that she had her freedom. Conscious of how easily an indifferent gust of wind or a cruel finger could destroy the cobweb of the life she was trying to build for herself on this farm beneath cool desert moon and stars. “Let’s have a picnic beneath the harvest moon,” she murmured to Cliegg as he returned to her to collect another carton of water. Instead of giving him the carton of water, she gestured at a wicker basket she had filled hours ago with spiced cider, terrine—a hearty soup with a medley of chopped vegetables and mushrooms she had picked from the vaporators herself mixed in a rich brown broth—, flatbread for dipping in the terrine, and crisp Zucca fruit pastries for dessert along with all the bowls, plates, and utensils necessary for enjoying this delicious harvest celebration. Below the basket, cushioning it from the gritty grains of sand, was a soft quit Shmi had begun sewing herself in the evenings when the day’s work was done. It was a peaceful project that reminded her of the unexpected, miraculous joy she had found on this simple homestead with her honest husband and his son whom she now considered to be her own. It would be a pattern of their life together, Shmi had decided. Each patch would illustrate an event that had deep meaning to them, extending a transitory moment of time into eternity. She planned to show her husband that quilt she had started in secret tonight. It seemed to her a romantic gesture. “You have a romantic streak, don’t you?” Cliegg asked her with a teasing grin, but he had enough of the romantic inside him to gallantly scoop up her basket and quilt so she wouldn’t have to carry them. He led her to the crest of a sand dune where they could gaze up at the constellations and the two moons—one crescent and one full. As she and Cliegg spread out the quilt, she felt the cool night air—the desert was always cold at night as there was nothing to retain the heat of the suns—wash over her skin and thought that if she closed her eyes she could imagine a crispness in the breeze like it was said came to other worlds at harvest time. Other worlds she had never been to and never would be to. Other worlds she could only imagine orbiting suns lightyears away (lightyears, she remembered Anakin telling her long ago in the slave quarters of Mos Espa, were measures of distance, not time, despite the misleading name). She remembered that, treasuring that knowledge, as she did everything he had told her. “Some spiced cider?” Shmi offered her husband a thermos. “You know it’s my favorite drink.” Cliegg accepted and opened the thermos. As ripples of steam rose out of it, he waved his empty hand at a square of quilt below him. “Is that the moment we met?” “Yes.” Shmi gazed down at the colorful threads meant to depict her first conversation with Cliegg in Watto’s shop, her cheeks warming. She pointed at another square. “And that’s where I met Owen.” “And that’s where I freed you.” Cliegg’s finger stroked another patch. “And that’s where you came to live out here with Owen and me.” “Yes.” Shmi leaned her head into the nook where his shoulder melted into his neck, a cranny where she had always felt safe from any harm, a refuge on a ruthless planet. “It’s meant to stitch our lives together.” “It’s a beautiful quilt.” Cliegg kissed her beneath the desert stars and harvest moon. Shmi could taste spices and cider on his lips and then on his tongue. “But we don’t need it to stitch our lives together. Our love is strong enough to do that.” Breathing in and tasting his love as he kissed her, feeling her own love for him well within her like water from a vaporator flooding a carton at harvest time, she believed him. They would be stitched together with or without her quilt. Their love would endure forever with or without her quilt. There were no cobwebs in her life after all.