Fandom: Star Wars AU
Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Owen Lars, Beru Lars, Luke Skywalker
Time Frame: Begins a few years after the events of Revenge of the Sith.
Rating: Rated G
Word Count: 1700
Summary: An alternate universe story in which Anakin knows Luke is alive and living with Owen and Beru Lars.
Sands of Destiny, Chapter 1
He struggled up the low sand dune, legs protesting, nerves beginning to thrum insistently. The areas where the prosthetics melded with his real body were already sore and throbbing. He’d just had them replaced, considering the previous ones were highly inferior, and his body hadn’t quite adjusted yet.
He’d forgotten too about the heat. The heat and wind and sand that seemed to draw every bit of moisture from the body. He despised the sand and had carefully clothed and wrapped his limbs so it wouldn’t wreck havoc with the shiny new arms and legs.
Topping the dune he raised his head and could clearly see in the distance his destination. The Lars homestead. He stood still for a while, exactly how long he would not be able to later say. Memories swirled gently around him, probing at him, begging to get in again. Memories of Shmi. Her warm brown eyes and careworn face. He’d failed her. Not just at the end but always.
His recollections of Padme were almost as painful. He remembered how she had looked here, her beauty like a beacon of light amidst the drabness of the never-ending sand. Her eyes had been worried. She’d not smiled much here. He remembered how she had befriended Beru. The two young women surely couldn’t have had much in common. But somehow Padme had managed it and he remembered their soft voices in the kitchen as Padme had tried to help Beru prepare the food that none of them really wanted.
The sandpeople…he turned and looked behind him. His senses told him that they were still a threat, though a distant one today. Images flitted through his mind. The flash of a lightsaber. The smell of death. Had he really done that? His memories of them were like a dream, fading more each day until one day he would forget.
What else had he forgotten? A lot of things, he thought. The last few years were a blur. He was left with a vague nightmare feeling of blood and screaming and fear so thick he could drown in it. His punishment for failing. For failing to be the man he was supposed to be. For failing to protect those that were his responsibility.
But no more. “No more.” His own whispered voice startled him. It was not a voice he had heard often these last few years. He was surprised to recognize it. Amazed that it still sounded like the man he’d once been. A little rough around the edges maybe…but the same. Would they recognize him? Or would he have to explain who he was?
The suns beat down mercilessly on his covered head, body still struggling to adjust its own temperature without the mechanical help it had relied on before. No sense standing here all day. He took a moment to wrap the Force around him in a way that would hide him from most eyes, and let his legs carry him closer to the home of the only family he had left.
* * * * * *
Owen cursed at the stubborn machine he was trying to unsuccessfully repair and rubbed at the reddened mark on his palm. Though still a young man, he already had the hands of an older one. Scarred and marked up by an assortment of injuries and aged by the harsh desert air. His face was aging quickly too. Tiny lines had already begun around his eyes and mouth and the skin was taking on that weathered texture he remembered his father having.
But it was the only life he knew. A good honest life. That it was a life of constant laborious work was just what fate had drawn for him. He heard voices and turned to see his wife, Beru, and the boy, Luke, going down the stairs into the living area. Beru’s head was covered but the boy’s wasn’t and the sun glinted on his sun-bleached pale hair.
Although Owen still had misgivings about taking the boy in, there could be no doubt that Luke had been just what Beru needed. So far, they had no children of their own and Owen knew that fact would have greatly upset Beru if she hadn’t had Luke to care for. The boy was no trouble, maybe a little too inquisitive, but he’d grow out of that. That he was highly intelligent there was no doubt and he already showed an interest and affinity for mechanical things.
He glimpsed something suddenly from the corner of his eye and turned his head to look past the buildings and to the direction of the nearest town, Anchorhead. He could see nothing out of the ordinary. The structure that housed the speeder and other equipment, always kept locked tightly, looked the same as always. The sand rolled on unmarred beyond that.
Shrugging his shoulders he returned his gaze to his hand and the piece of vaporator he was ready to chuck over the nearest dune. After a few moments, he noticed a tingly sensation on the back of his neck. He could always tell when he was being watched.
Owen looked up again, expecting to see Beru or, more likely, young Luke trying to hide and frighten him again. But this time he saw a dark figure standing silently watching him. For a second he thought it must be his imagination, the man stood so motionless and quiet.
Owen slowly reached to the side and grasped the rifle that was never far from him. He still remembered what happened to his stepmother, Shmi, and how dreadfully his father, Cliegg Lars, had been injured all those years ago. Others had grown negligent in guarding against the sandpeople and other dangers, but Owen had not.
The man, he thought it was a man, but couldn’t be sure, was covered head to toe in dark clothing, not the lighter kind that Owen and the other farmers preferred. Owen rose to his feet slowly but steadily and then walked towards the figure, trying to watch him and his surroundings at once. Had he walked here? Owen had heard no vehicle.
Perhaps it was Kenobi. Although he didn’t often come around, Owen suspected he still kept an eye on Luke somehow. His jaw hardened as he thought of the man. Owen had warned him when they had taken Luke in that there would be no changing his mind. He could not have the boy back.
As he neared the figure, Owen decided it was not Kenobi. Not just because of the difference in clothes, Kenobi had worn light colored and brown clothing the times Owen had seen him, but because of how he stood, how he held himself. This man was dangerous.
“What do you want here?” Owen’s voice was firm and carried over the gentle scorching wind that had begun to blow. He stopped when he was a few meters from the man, his eyes scanning the area hurriedly. Owen realized his vulnerability and hoped Beru and Luke stayed inside.
“Who are you? Are you passing through or do you need help? I want no trouble here.” Owen held the rifle firmly in his hands, not quite pointing it at the stranger.
“Owen…” The man’s voice was husky, as if he were ill and he stopped to clear his throat before he continued. “How have you been? And Beru…is she still here?”
The voice was familiar to Owen but also sent an alarm racing through his head. Almost involuntarily he took a few more steps forward. Although most of the man’s body was covered his eyes and a little of his face were not. The eyes that looked at Owen were blue, the skin he could see below them reddened in places as though from injuries.
Owen knew who he was though he’d only been around him for a short span of time years ago. Anakin. Shmi’s son and his stepbrother. Luke’s father. The man Kenobi had claimed was dead. Owen should have known not to trust Kenobi. He’d known the Jedi was lying about something but he’d not thought it was about the boy’s father.
Owen took a deep breath and finally replied to Anakin’s questions. “Fine. We’re fine. Beru’s here. We were married you know. Not too long after the time when you were here.” He stopped, not knowing how to say what he needed to say. “I thought…he told us you were killed. With the rest of the Jedi. If I’d known…”
Anakin stepped closer to him. “Who told you I was dead? Obi-Wan Kenobi?” Owen nodded and Anakin looked away from him a few moments, across the white sand, a variety of emotions passing quickly through his eyes. Then he looked back to Owen and said, “I should have been dead. I should have died with them.”
He looked at Owen, wanting to say more…to explain…but how could he? This man knew nothing of the life he lived. This man was gentle and kind and knew little beyond this farm. Anakin did not want to change that. This man and his family had been kind to his mother. Had been there for her when Anakin had not.
“Where is he?” Anakin finally whispered. “I was told he was here. My son…”
“He’s inside…with Beru.” Owen gestured in the direction of the living quarters. How was he going to tell Beru? How was he going to tell her they would lose Luke? His father was alive! He felt tears burn his eyes and he reached up a dirty shaking hand to rub over them.
“Owen…” Anakin put his gloved hand out towards the other man. “I’m not here to take him away. I can’t…I can’t protect him…where I am now.” His voice broke a little and he swallowed hard. “I just want to see him.”
Owen Lars looked up and met his stepbrother’s eyes. He saw pain there but he saw truth as well. He took a deep breath, feeling his fear subside to a manageable level. “Alright. Let me tell Beru first and then you can come inside.” Anakin nodded and Owen turned and walked towards the living quarters, leaving Anakin to make his way toward the slim shadows of shade against one of the white walls.
Sands of Destiny, Chapter 2