Previously Printed in: Alliance and Empire 1, 1993

This story was written on the idea that Owen and Obi-Wan were brothers, as stated in the Novelisation of “Return of the Jedi” and is the second of two ideas which grew from the same scene.

Untimely Arrival:

The Best of Intentions

by Catriona Campbell Boyle

The landspeeder's engines groaned and whined in protest as Luke Skywalker pushed it to its limits, willing the vehicle with every fibre of his being to find an extra spurt of speed, to cover the kilometres to his home with a power it simply did not possess. Anxiety and fear pounded within him; he should have realized something like this was going to happen, he should have linked the droids' arrival to that space battle he'd seen the day before, he should have known the droids would be sought by the Empire after he'd heard the message the Artoo unit carried. But he'd been so taken by everything which had happened, so intrigued by everything Ben had been telling him, so stirred by thoughts of adventure that the very idea of danger and death had not entered his mind - until he and Ben had come across the burned our Jawa sandcrawler.

"...And that would lead them back home!"

"Come on!" Luke screamed at the labouring craft as it skimmed over the arid ground. If only he hadn't busted his skyhopper, if only he'd been a little more responsible during his last fly-through of the Canyon, if only he hadn't allowed Fixer to goad him into that last race, he would be home by now and his guardians would be safe.

At last he could see the homestead growing steadily on the horizon. It looked quiet, it looked peaceful, it looked normal, and he felt the first stirrings of relief, his panic receding to an almost controllable level. Braking quickly, he brought the speeder to a halt beside his uncle's and threw himself out.

"Uncle Owen! Aunt Beru!" He sprinted toward the dome and ran down the steps to the open courtyard. "Uncle Owen!"

Beru Lars emerged quickly from the living area, alarmed by his harassed appearance and by the anxiety she heard in his voice. "What is it, Luke? What's wrong?"

A slight smile of relief flickered on his features for a moment when he saw her, and then it dropped back to consternation. "Where's Uncle Owen?" He glanced around frantically. "We have to get out of here!"

Beru felt the first crawling of fear. "Luke, tell me what's wrong."

"There'd better be a good explanation for this, Luke," Owen Lars warned as he entered the atrium from the garage. There was anger in his voice, but he, too, was concerned at Luke's panic; even during the Tusken attack of two years earlier the youth had remained calm and in control. This display of behaviour was certainly out of character for his nephew.

"There is," Luke told him, urgently, but somewhat calmer for his uncle's presence. "But I can't explain, not now. We have to leave."

"Luke, where did you get that?" Beru's words were a gasp of dismay.

At first Luke didn't know what she meant, couldn't associate her words with the current events; then he followed her gaze to the lightsabre hanging from his belt clip. He glanced back at her, at Owen, and saw fury fill his uncle's face. He groaned. "Please,“ he begged in dismay. “Not now, Uncle Owen, there's no time to explain. Stormtroopers are --"

"Damn that wizard," Lars exploded as he strode toward Luke, "What did he tell you? What lies did he fill you with?"

Luke took a step back from Owen, startled by his guardian's anger. "Nothing!" he burst out, his own anger rising. He couldn't be drawn into an argument about Kenobi now. "But we have to leave, now!" Tears of fright and frustration filled his eyes

Beru touched her husband's arm, convinced by Luke's urgency. "Owen, listen to him."

Her words silenced Lars. He looked to his wife, and Beru could see reluctant resignation enter him. It had happened. Luke had found Ben. Luke had stumbled upon the fate they had tried to shield him from and, soon, their tragedy would be his, too.

"Stormtroopers, you say?" Owen asked somewhat more quietly, seeing the peaceful life they had enjoyed for eighteen years crumble, seeing their fugitive past resurface to threaten their future.

"The droids are Rebel-owned," Luke explained quickly as he led his guardians from the courtyard. "They were sent here to find Ben but somehow got picked up by the Jawas." They stepped out of the dome and into the sunlight. Luke gestured to the waiting speeders. "I'll take you to Ben." He started toward his own vehicle.

Owen's countenance darkened again at the mention of the Jedi, but a steadying hand from Beru balanced on his arm and he swallowed his rising words. He and his wife climbed into their own vehicle and followed Luke from the homestead.

Beru glanced back at the receding farm holding they had just abandoned, watching her home disappear into the horizon and she wondered, sadly, if her life would ever again find the peace and happiness she had enjoyed here. She glanced at her husband, watching him closely as he appeared to concentrate on the speeder's controls, but she knew he was seething inside, his anger and dismay at this turn of events apparent from his white-knuckled grip on the vehicle's controls. Beru turned her eyes to the speeder ahead, to Luke. What did this all mean for Luke? What had Obi-Wan told the boy? Why was the truth always so painful to admit?

They travelled in silence, each lost within their own thoughts, their own concerns. The journey took them deep into the Jundland Wastes and eventually Beru could see thin wisps of smoke rising from the horizon. She watched as Luke drew up beside a burned-out Jawa Sandcrawler, smoke from several small funeral pyres casting a dark pall of death over the area. As Owen braked and cut the landspeeder's engine, Beru spotted her brother-in-law sitting on a rock with the two robots by his side.

Obi-Wan rose and started toward them as Luke pulled himself from his speeder. "Owen," he greeted softly when he had reached them. "Beru."

It had been many years since Beru had seen the Jedi, since Owen had run him off the farm on Luke's fifteenth birthday, and she felt a flood of warm affection. She had always been fond of the handsome Knight.

"What the devil's going on, Ben?" Owen burst out. "Luke turns up babbling about Stormtroopers and the rebellion, and carrying that damned sword! I warned you about interfering --"

Ben glanced up as Luke approached; the youth's face was tense, anxious about his guardian's reaction. "Now is not the time, Owen. We cannot stay here to discuss matters. It isn't safe."

"To hell with safety! I want an explanation!"

Ben ignored his brother's words and directed himself at Beru. "Beru, please. If you'll travel with Luke and the droids. I'll join Owen. We'll return to my home and talk there."

Luke appeared surprised at this. "What about the Princess?" he questioned, his concern for her overriding his anxiety about Owen. "Shouldn't we --"

"Princess?" Beru suddenly felt her heart leap. "Leia?" she asked.

Luke glanced sharply at his aunt. She knew the Rebel princess? What was going on here?

"I'll explain when we are safe," Obi-Wan offered them all. He glanced to the side looking at nothing in particular before looking back at Owen. "We must hurry, though."

Beru exchanged looks with her husband, understanding the Jedi's words --danger was approaching, the Imperials must have doubled back. The group quickly split and she joined Luke in his speeder. She could tell the boy was bursting with questions, but she diverted his attention by telling him to wait until they had reached Ben's. There was much for her to consider during the short journey.


"You told him what?" Owen exploded after Obi-Wan's short narrative ended. The four of them were sitting together in Kenobi‘s home. "How could you be so stupid, tempting fate like that? Luke's not ready for --" Lars abruptly stopped, as though just becoming aware of Luke's presence. He regarded his nephew briefly, uncomfortably. "Luke, wait outside with the droids."

"What?" Luke couldn't believe his uncle's order. They were talking about him and he wasn't to listen? "This concerns me," he argued, incredulous anger lacing his words.

Owen swallowed his own choler. "We need to talk, Luke, about other things besides you. We need to straighten a few things out and you being here will only complicate matters."

Luke turned to his aunt for support. "Aunt Beru?"

Beru appeared torn. She looked to Obi-Wan then back to Luke. "Do as your uncle asks, for now."

His aunt's words appeared to knock the wind from him. "I don't believe this!" he burst out and turned to storm from the room.

"And take that sword off."

Fury spun Luke around and he glared at Lars, an angry retort balanced on his lips. Then he noticed Ben watching him. The Jedi smiled and nodded. Subdued by Ben's gesture, Luke unhooked the sabre from his belt and stared at it for a moment. In the short space of time he had owned the sabre it had become to mean so much; it was the only tangible link he had to his father. Sadly, he handed it to Owen who placed it on the seat between himself and Beru, and then he turned on his heel and left the building.

The brief silence following the boy's departure was finally broken by Obi-Wan. "He needs the instruction."

"And what makes you so damned sure about that?" Owen retorted immediately.

"He is so strong with the Force, Owen. You can't have failed to notice."

For the briefest of moments Owen was silent. Yes, he had noticed; the boy's unrealised powers simmered ever closer to the surface, pulled him farther and farther away from his guardians, filled his head full of fanciful dreams. Even one such as Owen, who'd turned his back on the Force, who chose to remain untrained after witnessing the atrocities of the Darkness, who denied his potential and was content to let his head rather than his heart rule, could sense Luke's growing abilities. However, he was not about to admit this to his brother and so he spoke scornfully, derisively, trying to wound the Jedi. "And who is to teach him? You? Look what happened to your last pupil!"

Obi-Wan was aware of Owen's knowledge, aware of the farmer's feelings. Owen was afraid to lose Luke, afraid to watch the child he regarded as a son turn his back and walk away, afraid to allow Luke to follow the path before him; terribly afraid Luke would join his father in the shadows. "Luke is made of different stuff than his father," Ben announced, trying to dismiss the fears the farmer had nurtured over the years.

"Oh, yes. You would know. You're not the one who raised him. Luke is exactly like Anakin. He's impulsive, a dreamer, he wants everything sooner rather than later --"

"He's also kind-hearted, sensitive, and loyal," Beru added softly in her nephew’s defence.

Owen chose to ignore his wife's words. "It's too big a risk to take. If Anakin ever found out he had children --" He left the sentence unfinished, knowing the others would need no elaboration.

"The girl's in trouble," Ben told them. "Her message was sketchy, but I fear she had been captured."

"Leia!" Beru started at the mention of her niece, recalling Luke's words about the Princess. She had often watched the daytime broadcasts for any mention of the Princess Leia Organa; had often wished Owen would allow the holo-vid to play in the evening so Luke could see his sister. "The Empire?" she questioned. Force, had Anakin found his daughter?

"This is supposed to sway us into allowing Luke to leave with you. To train as a Knight?" Owen broke in before Obi-Wan could answer Beru. "We decided to keep their identity secret, to allow them to live out their lives in relative safety. To keep the Galaxy safe from their possible fall."

"No, Owen. You decided that for yourself," Obi-Wan retorted with an uncharacteristic bite to his words. "We wanted to keep them safe, to allow them to grow. It was never our intentions to stifle their potential, their lives, or their destinies."

"Destinies be damned!"

Beru listened to the two men argue. They were overlooking the most important people in the discussion, thinking only of themselves - Owen and his fear of the Force, of the power he had watched bud and grow within Luke, Obi-Wan and his desire to see the Jedi resurface. What of the children themselves? What of Luke and Leia? What were their wishes? Shouldn't they be allowed to make their own decisions? If Anakin had discovered Leia, if the troopers here had -

With a sudden horrible comprehension, Beru knew this argument was pointless and that they had no choice; that Luke had no choice. It had all been decided for them. The troopers were searching for the droids and had traced them to the farm. The Imperials would discover their identities; send a report to their superiors. Anakin would discover his son in the details of some officer's search report. When that happened Luke would have to be prepared, would have to be trained to withstand his father's power, would have to be appropriately armed.

Discreetly her hand closed over the hilt of Anakin's lightsabre and she stood. "I'm going to check on Luke," she told them and, keeping the sword at her side and away from their view, she moved toward the door.

Obi-Wan turned to watch her leave, a call to stop her balanced on his lips when he realized her intentions. Then he understood and swallowed his words. Beru was often the wisest of them all.

Beru found Luke sitting on the sand in the shadow of this speeder a short distance from the hut. He was angrily tossing stones into a small dune. The droids sat silently in the speeder where they had been left. Luke glanced up, shielding his eyes from the suns as she approached. Beru handed him the lightsabre and sat down beside him, ignoring his look of surprise.

"Luke," she began hesitantly, thinking of the infant she had nurtured here, thinking of his sister and their hidden past. "I want you to understand why we did what we did. I don't want you to condemn us for our mistakes, our misguided best intentions." She paused, trying to find the correct words, wishing to explain the situation to her nephew in the easiest, least hurtful way. It was difficult. "I feel I have to tell you this, I feel you need to know so you can make a sure decision based on truths."

"Aunt Beru, I…"

"Hush, Luke. Let me speak." Beru took a long breath of warm air, placed her hand on his and continued. "It's hard to know where to begin, but your father...."

* * *

"No!" Owen said, still arguing with his Jedi brother. "Luke cannot--"

"Why don't you let me make my own decisions?" Luke asked quietly from behind them.

Both Owen and Obi-Wan turned to find the youth standing in the doorway, Beru at his back. They both saw the expression in his eyes, the weight of knowledge within him.

"You've told him," Owen said, needlessly, all his arguments falling to the wayside. "Told him it all."

"Someone needed to," Beru told them simply. "It's the only way he could know what to do."

Obi-Wan regarded the young man, noticing the lightsabre hanging from his belt. "You've made your decision."

"And your father?" Owen asked wearily, knowing he had lost both the argument and the boy, but he had no strength to condemn Beru. After eighteen years of hiding and lying, he was tired.

Luke hesitated, a flicker of pain and indecision crossing his features. He lightly fingered the hilt of his father's sword. "I guess... I guess that's something he and I will have to face when the time comes." He turned then with resolve to Obi-Wan. There was annoyance in the look, a flash of accusation directed at the man who had tried to deceive him with half-truths. Then the anger faded with the understanding his aunt had given him. "I'm going with you to Alderaan."

Obi-Wan merely smiled and nodded in acknowledgement. Perhaps this was for the best; perhaps Beru's actions had given Luke an edge, put the youth on a more even footing with his father, given Luke a knowledge Vader himself did not yet possess -- and knowledge over an opponent was always an advantage. Obi-wan hoped Luke would use his advantage wisely.

"What about us?" Owen found himself asking. Was the boy going to turn his back on them, on the time they had given him, on the effort they had put into raising him, on the love they had given him, to chase his shattered dreams of a hero father? And was his Jedi brother leaving without giving them any consideration?

"I'll come back," Luke told him firmly, and glanced at his aunt, including her in his words. "You know I'll come back." He could never wilfully abandon his guardians.

"You can stay here," Ben offered to the couple. "You'll be safe here. When the fuss dies down and the Imperials' attentions are placed elsewhere you can return home."

"Thank you," Beru stepped forward and took the Jedi's hands in hers. "You'll be in our thoughts."

"And you in mine," he replied giving her hand a gentle pat. He glanced over at his brother and smiled when Owen merely nodded. He turned then and watched her move to embrace her nephew tightly.

Beru broke away from Luke and placed her palm on his cheek. She searched his eyes, seeing sadness there, seeing barely subdued excitement, seeing anxiousness, seeing only future possibilities. "Be strong, Luke," she told him. "Listen to what he tells you, but take your own meaning. Trust in your heart and your feelings and remember the image you hold, for that is his true nature."

At first Luke was unsure of whom she spoke, then, understanding slowly dawned -- his father, Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader. "I will," he promised.

Beru moved back to Owen's side and took her husband's arm as they followed Luke and Obi-Wan from the dwelling into the Tatooine sunlight. Ben climbed into Luke's speeder and seated himself in the passenger seat. Luke was about to follow when he stopped and turned around to find Owen watching him. He hesitated as the old familiar feeling of guilt filled him. His uncle often had the ability to instil such feelings with his arguments and entreaties for him to remain on the farm. It was only now that Luke understood why.

"I'll come back," he repeated to the man. "Don't be afraid." His reward was a slight, approving smile; his release. Luke seated himself by Obi-Wan and gunned the engine of the speeder. With a last glance behind him he turned the vehicle toward the Dune Sea and toward the future.

As the landspeeder disappeared into the horizon, Beru stifled a sob, turned and fled into Ben's home. Owen paused a moment, his eyes remaining on the path his nephew had followed. "But I am afraid. Afraid for us all," he whispered to the warm breeze which flickered at his hair and clothing. Afraid of the confrontation between father and son, afraid of the power they held and the repercussions for the Galaxy should those powers be loosed upon it. "Afraid for you," he added, then turned and entered the dwelling to comfort his wife.


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