Fandom: Star Wars AU
Characters: Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Owen Lars, Beru Lars
Time Frame: A few years after Revenge of the Sith.
Ratings: Rated G
Word Count: 1300
Summary: An alternate universe story in which Anakin knows Luke is alive and living with Owen and Beru Lars.
Sands of Destiny, Chapter 4
Owen Lars’s voice echoed clearly around the homestead. Why didn’t the boy answer? He always had before. He knew he was not to be outside alone without permission. And where had Anakin gone? He’d already been out of sight when Owen had reached the top of the stairs.
What if…what if it had been a trick? What if someone had taken the boy while they’d been kept busy talking in the kitchen? He didn’t think Anakin would do that…the boy was his after all and he could have easily demanded for him to be handed over when he’d first arrived.
He headed for the garage. The boy liked it there with the speeder and other mechanical things. Even though it was kept locked, Luke could always seem to find a way in.
* * * * *
He stood quietly on the south side of the homestead. Listening. Not listening with his ears but listening with the Force. The boy was still here, somewhere nearby. He was hiding but Anakin could feel the little bright pulses that would unexpectedly come from him. The boy was strong with the Force, as Anakin had been as a young child.
Anakin’s scarred mouth twisted painfully. The boy…Luke…was afraid. He must have sensed something while they were inside the house. And he had been frightened enough to disobey Owen and Beru’s order not to go outside. Frightened of me.
Could the boy sense it? What his father had become? Please, no. I…don’t want him to know me that way.
A wind came up, blowing the hot sand and he held a hand in front of his eyes. Looking to his left he saw nothing but a glaring whiteness that competed with the bright blue sky above. In the far, far distance, a line of rocky hills could be seen. The boy…had not gone that way.
Turning to his right he shadowed his eyes again, trying to see past the shimmering mirages that seemed to float here and there. There was a short squat machine, a vaporator most likely, half buried in the sand. Anakin stared at it a few moments before slowly walking towards it, black boots plowing through an area of soft sand before reaching the scarred and dented old machine that had seen its better days quite a long time ago.
Reaching it, he stood quietly, uncertain what to do or say. It was an unfamiliar feeling to him and he sighed, suddenly feeling a little cross and a lot too hot. He felt a trickle of perspiration run down his chest, causing the scarred skin to itch furiously. He rubbed cautiously at a spot.
Well. He couldn’t stand here forever and the boy couldn’t be very comfortable in his hiding spot either. He walked slowly around the vaporator until reaching the other side. There was an opening that had at some time lost its covering. Anakin could see where the boy had scraped the sand out of it enough that he could fold his small body into the hole.
And for the first time Anakin looked at his child. Luke was curled into a ball, legs pulled up tight and chin resting on his knees. Sun-bleached hair was plastered to the boy’s forehead and a pair of sharp blue eyes stared back at him. Anakin regarded him in silence. The boy was just as still, waiting.
Anakin could feel pulses of fear and worry coming from the boy. And underneath a strong current of curiosity. A smile pulled at his mouth again. “It must be hot in there. Uncomfortable too.”
Luke did not answer, just stared at him unwaveringly. Slowly, Anakin knelt in front of him, legs screaming in protest. “Luke. Nothing’s wrong. You’re safe.”
The blue eyes stared back at him. A line of sweat tracked a grimy trail down the side of his face and he reached a hand up to swipe at it. One of his fingers was tightly bandaged.
Anakin gestured to the injury. “What happened to your finger?”
The boy pulled his eyes off Anakin to look at his hand. “Cut it. Again. Aunt Beru fixed it. She takes care of me. She looks after me.” The accusatory tone in his voice was unmistaken.
Anakin swallowed a sudden lump in his throat. The boy knew. Somehow he knew.
“I didn’t leave you. Not intentionally. I thought…you had died when your mother did.”
“Did she die because of me?”
“No, she did not.”
The boy seemed to think on that for a bit, picking at the bandage until the edges were raveling, his dirty fingers staining the pristine whiteness.
“Why did you come here?”
“To see you.”
“Because…I had to…I wanted to see you…”
Luke seemed to puzzle that over in his head. He wiped at his face again, uncovering a spot of tanned, freckled skin.
“Are you taking me away?” The words were said nonchalantly enough but Anakin could hear the fear underneath them.
He closed his eyes tightly for a moment. The hot suns beat against the fragile skin of his eyelids as the boy’s presence beat against his senses.
“Because you don’t want me?”
“No, I do want you.”
“I have to go back to a place that is not safe for you…and I would not see you harmed.”
He opened his eyes and looked at the boy again. Yes, he could see it now, the resemblance to his younger self but also a little of Padme that blurred the edges a little.
“Will you come out and talk to me…Luke?”
“I suppose. Aunt Beru will be worried.” A frown crossed his small face. “I’m not to go out without permission.”
“Yes, that’s best. It…can be dangerous out here sometimes.”
The boy slanted him another sudden, knowing look.
“They took her away. The nice lady. They took her away and hurt her.”
“How do you know this?” Anakin’s voice had dropped to a low whisper and a sudden foreboding curled around his heart. Owen or Beru must have told him…
“I dreamed it. But I know it really happened.” He raised his dimpled chin defiantly.
“Yes…yes, it happened.”
Luke watched Anakin, eyes slowing roving over him, all too knowing. Finally he seemed to come to a conclusion and his eyes returned to Anakin’s.
“I’m ready to go in now. I’m hot and my head hurts.” His voice was a little unsteady but he looked at his father bravely.
Anakin slowly rose to a standing position, legs so pained that they seemed to be going numb in spots, and waited for the boy to uncurl himself out of his hiding spot.
Finally, Luke stood in front of him, squinting up in the glare of the sun and rubbing his hair back off of his face.
“Your legs hurt.”
“Maybe Aunt Beru can fix them. She’s good at doctoring. But don’t let her give you the yellow medicine, it’s awful.”
“No yellow medicine.”
Luke looked over his shoulder and Anakin followed his gaze. Owen and Beru were small spots in the distance, standing near one of the entranceways of the garage. He could barely see Beru reaching over to grasp Owen’s hand.
“I worried them and I shouldn’t have.”
He turned back to Anakin. “Aunt Beru makes good tea. She made fresh this morning. Maybe you’d want some?”
“I’ve had some already but it was so good that I think I could drink another glass.”
Luke looked suddenly pleased. “That’s what most people say about it.”
Luke turned his back to him then and slowly walked back towards the buildings, Anakin trailing after him, a tall black shadow across the flat, white sand.