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The Lone Jedi

Part One—Cradle Robbers

by Autumn P. Torkorgana


Three standard days passed. Andriya and Obi-Wan returned five of the six children, each under different guises for the Jedi and Wherkane, whose parents were not recorded. Now on Naboo, the two Jedi bowed to the re-elected queen in the royal palace at Theed.

Andriya began immediately after their introductions. "I'm sorry, but we have bad news about Anakin."

A look of concern flashed across her painted face at the mention of her husband. "Where is he?"

"We don't know," Obi-Wan said. "The last time we saw him was three days ago on Yestou."

She could tell by the somber tone that something was amiss. "What's wrong?"

"He tried to kill us," Obi-Wan said in a low voice.

"Surely you're . . . you must be mistaken," Amidala stammered, her usual calm shattered.

"I wish we were," Obi-Wan told her.

"You and your child are now in great danger."

"You do mean children, don't you?"

"Do you have more than one?"

"Yes, I had twins."

"Then they're both in danger. You must come with us."

"I cannot leave my people."

"Not even for your children's sake?"

"For no reason."

Loyal to a fault, Andriya thought to Obi-Wan. "Then you must allow us to take them somewhere where they will be safe."

Amidala nodded. "By all means, they must be safe."

As Obi-Wan and Andriya followed Amidala down the hall, Obi-Wan took Andriya's arm. "It's not Amidala," he whispered.

"What?"

"She's a decoy."

"Where is Amidala, then?"

"I think we're about to find out."

The three of them entered a beautifully decorated nursery. The handmaiden who'd posed as the queen knelt down in front of a woman cradling a baby. The two Jedi bowed to the real queen.

"You Highness, these Jedi come with news of your husband."

The real Amidala reluctantly handed the baby to the kneeling handmaiden and looked up at her visitors. "Obi-Wan Kenobi," she said with a smile. "What brings you here again? Do you have news of Anakin?"

"Nothing good, I'm afraid. You are in great danger."

"I usually am. Who poses what threat now?"

Andriya suddenly spoke up. "The man who betrayed and destroyed Anakin Skywalker."

Amidala's eyes widened. "Anakin is dead?"

"He is no more," Andriya answered in a manner that she thought was evasive, but Amidala took it as candid.

"Who is this man?"

"Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith."

"And he would now seek to take the life of my children?"

"In one form or another."

"And what do you propose I do about this?"

Andriya looked to Obi-Wan to answer. "With your consent, we recommend that the children come with us," he said.

"And where are you going to?"

"We're going into hiding."

"Hiding? I think that seems a little drastic."

"The Emperor has made threats on our lives."

"Why? What crime have you committed to warrant this?"

"The crime of being a Jedi."

"Has being a guardian of peace and justice become an illegal activity?"

"Apparently so--Emperor Palpatine decreed it."

"His recent actions have been increasingly appalling."

"We're inclined to agree."

They were interrupted by a baby's cry. A handmaiden brought the baby to Amidala. "This is my daughter, Leia," she said, showing the baby to the Jedi. A handmaiden holding the other baby walked over to the Jedi. "And this is my son, Luke," Amidala informed them. "I entrust them to your care."

"This is painful, but wise, Queen Amidala. Thank you for your trust in us. We will ensure that they are raised in a way befitting their position."

Andriya took Leia from her mother's arms and the handmaiden gave Luke to Obi-Wan.

"This is a dark day--I have lost my family."

"We're sorry to do this to you."

"I understand the necessity and urgency of action at this point, and I've learned to trust the Jedi."

"We thank you for your trust," Obi-Wan said. He turned to leave.

Obi-Wan! Andriya shouted to him mentally. Give her time to say good bye to her children.

Amidala rose from her chair and approached Obi-Wan. "Good bye, little Luke. You'll be safe with these guardians." She gently kissed his forehead before addressing Obi-Wan and Andriya. "What should I tell Darth Vader if he comes here?"

"Tell him the baby was taken. Do not tell him you had twins. And do not listen to whatever lies he may tell you about Anakin."

Andriya approached Amidala, who addressed her daughter in Andriya's arms. "Good bye, Leia. I love you." Amidala again addressed the Jedi. "You will let them know that I love them, won't you?"

Andriya nodded. "They will be told that circumstances beyond your control dictated your actions. We won't fail you."

Amidala turned away with tears in her eyes as the two Jedi left the room with her children. "Take them things they will find necessary," she instructed her handmaidens.

The handmaidens caught up with the Jedi in the hallway and gave them each a bag of baby supplies.

"Thank you," Andriya said to the handmaidens, who were already returning to their queen.

"If Darth Vader can get here," Obi-Wan whispered to Andriya, "Amidala will not live."

"And Darth Vader will most definitely be here," Andriya finished for him. "The only question is whether he'll be able to find the babies."

Obi-Wan stopped walking and looked back down the hallway. "We can't just leave her here to die."

"Will she leave?"

"We have to ask." They turned back and bowed again before the queen.

"Is something the matter?" Amidala asked.

"We cannot allow you to remain here--Darth Vader will surely kill you if he comes."

Andriya spoke out of turn. "You must come with me. I'm taking the children. Obi-Wan has a different destination." She lied to ensure security--when Darth Vader came, the handmaidens would have no idea who it was that had taken their queen.

Amidala silently looked from one Jedi to the other, before nodding. "Lead on, Jedi. I will come."


The following day, Andriya and Obi-Wan arrived on Coruscant, deciding to go straight to the Jedi Temple.

It was a strange and desolate sight to see the normally bustling Temple deserted. Around each corner lay piles of slain Jedi's cloaks and lightsabers. Outside of her office, Andriya found Myndex's lightsaber handle and added it to her collection, as well as her father's lightsaber which hung in her office.

"Who ever did this just left them here--lightsabers and cloaks," Obi-Wan observed.

"I don't sense anyone. . . . Do you think we should split up?"

"No, we'd better stay together."

"Then let's go to the Council Chamber."

"Don't you think they'd go there first?"

"This Temple has many features that you have no knowledge of, Obi-Wan."

"What do you mean?"

"You'll see when we get there."

They arrived outside the Jedi Council Chamber and looked up at the massive doors.

"Cut through them," Andriya instructed him.

"Are you sure?"

"Wait--first, search the room." They were both silent for a moment as they probed the room with the Force.

"Master Yoda!" Andriya suddenly yelled to carry through the door. "Are you in there?"

"Here am I," came the faint reply in Yoda's special brand of garbled speech.

"Okay--go ahead and try to cut through."

Obi-Wan's lightsaber easily passed through the outer door, but that was all it could cut through. He tried again at a different spot, and found the same result.

"What is it?"

"An energy beam between the two sets of doors."

"Like in a generator?"

Andriya shrugged. "I've never been in a generator."

"How will we get in?"

"That I don't know. . . ."

"In a generator, the energy beams open and close. Do you think this one does?"

"It might." Andriya handed him one of her lightsabers and took two of them herself. They waited in silence, using the Force to monitor the energy beam between the doors.

"Now!" they exclaimed in unison as the beam opened. Before it could close again, the two Jedi were inside the Chamber.

Master Yoda was the only Jedi in the Chamber. Andriya and Obi-Wan both bowed before him, but Yoda dispensed with the formalities with a wave of his hand. "Go now, we must. Where your ship is, hm?"

"Come with us, we'll take you there," Andriya said, turning to the wall.

"Remember the command, I could not. Remember it, you do, hm?"

Andriya nodded as she entered a disarm code in a hidden panel in the wall. The energy beam deactivated and the incomplete doors slid open.

"The last of the Jedi, are we, hm?" Yoda asked rhetorically as the three slowly made their way down the empty hallways.

"It would seem so--but others are out on assignments, aren't they?"

"Hunted and murdered, they have been," Yoda pronounced with grim finality. "The last, are we. Betrayed, are we. And by who, hm?"

"Anakin," Obi-Wan murmured.

"Hm," Yoda hemmed in his gravely voice. "Now, no safety, his family has."

"We have his wife and children."

"Children?" Yoda paused for a moment. "Yes," he said slowly, "twins. A proud father, he must be."

"He has never seen his children. He doesn't know that his wife had twins."

"Safer this is, for one child. More protected, the other must be."

"Master Yoda, will you go into hiding?"

"Hide, think you, I must," he stated.

"Will you?"

"If necessary, hiding is . . . to Dagobah, will I go."

"Where is Dagobah?"

"Find it without my help, you will."

The procession stopped as they all sensed a dark presence somewhere in the Temple.

"Returned, he has."

Andriya spoke for the first time since they'd left the Chamber. "Master Yoda, we must hurry. We have to get his family out of here before Vader finds them."

Yoda paused to tap Obi-Wan on the foot with his gimer stick. "If hurry, we must . . . carry me, you must."

As Andriya looked on, clearly amused, Obi-Wan knelt down and allowed Yoda to climb onto his back.

"Wow, Master Yoda," she said after Obi-Wan stood, "I've never seen you at eye-level before."

"Size matters not," he admonished her. They were the last words any of them said before they rushed to the ship.


"For the better, this will all be," Yoda prophesied once they were in the air. "Unruly, Wherkane is."

"She's young."

"An excuse, this is not. Obi-Wan, come here," Yoda commanded, tapping the floor with his gimer stick. Obi-Wan and Andriya stood up and walked over to Yoda, who was in the back of the cockpit.

"No, Master Andriya, stay here, you must. Serious things, to discuss, have we."

Andriya shrugged and headed back to the captain's seat as Yoda and Obi-Wan left the cockpit.

"Yes, Master Yoda?"

"To discuss . . . what, think you, I want, hm?"

"Anakin."

"Hm! Wrong, you are." Yoda paused to gnaw on his gimer stick.

"What do you want to discuss, Master Yoda?"

"A good person, Master Andriya is. And a good Jedi, though focus she sometimes lacks."

Obi-Wan waited for Yoda to continue, but he didn't. "Master Yoda . . . I don't think I follow."

"Help you, she can."

"In what way?"

"Trained Anakin alone, you did."

Obi-Wan hung his head.

"With those feelings, can she help. And other, different feelings for her, you have."

Obi-Wan didn't know quite how to respond.

"A good Jedi, she is. Funny, also. Asleep, the babies are. Talk to Master Andriya, you should."

Obi-Wan stood and headed back into the cockpit.

"Andriya?" he began. She didn't respond. Obi-Wan couldn't blame her--she had every right to ignore him. He threw himself into the copilot chair and focused his attention on Andriya, who was curled up in the pilot chair with her head bowed over her knees. "Listen, Andriya, I--" Obi-Wan stopped short as Andriya startled into a sitting position.

"Oh, are you done talking to Master Yoda?"

"Yes," Obi-Wan said slowly.

Andriya glanced out the viewscreen and did a double take. "What is that?" she exclaimed. Obi-Wan looked at what she was pointing at and his jaw dropped.

"Master Yoda?" Andriya called as she turned around without taking her eyes off the viewscreen.

"It looks like a Victory Star Destroyer . . . but it's too big," Obi-Wan said.

"Unidentified starship, identify yourself," crackled the comm unit.

The comm unit didn't have an auto-reply function, and Andriya didn't bother with the reply switch at all. "Uh oh, that's us," Andriya whispered, still awed. "Where to, Obi-Wan?"

"Um . . . Dagobah, I guess."

"But first. . . ." Andriya's voice trailed off, contemplating which intermediate destination they should choose. It wasn't easy because Andriya didn't know where Dagobah was. Most important right then, however, was getting beyond the reach of this obviously-Imperial starship. She chose Alderaan and began plotting the hyperspace jump.

"Unidentified starship, shut down your nav computer and identify yourself immediately."

"No time for that now," she replied even though the ship would never hear it. They disappeared just before the Star Destroyer opened fire.


The Mos Eisley spaceport was as crowded as ever. Well, it was slightly less crowded than it would have been, as Leia and Amidala were now with Bail Organa, Yoda was on Dagobah and Luke was in Wherkane's care on the ship.

"This is a dirty, dangerous place," Obi-Wan told Andriya, them being the only two of their party in the actual city. "Stay close."

"I'm a Jedi, too. I can take care of myself."

"But I know where we're going."

"I'll follow you."

She followed him right into the Mos Eisley Cantina, and then turned around and walked right back out.

"What took you so long?" she asked when he finally exited the Cantina.

"I had to buy a moisture farm."

As Obi-Wan and Andriya calmly strolled through the streets, Andriya sensed something was wrong with Obi-Wan.

"You can stop worrying now, we're both fine."

"Andriya, can I tell you something?"

"Probably."

"You . . . I. . . . You're a good Jedi."

"Not particularly. Is that all?"

"No. . . . Yoda said you could help me with dealing with losing Anakin."

"If Yoda said it, I'll believe it."

"And he said to tell you something else."

"What's that?"

Andriya was going to make him come out and say it. She probably already knew, and hadn't done anything, and now was going to make him humiliate himself.

"Look, Obi-Wan, we need to go check on Wherkane and Luke, so can it wait?"

"Probably."

"I think they're in trouble." She took Obi-Wan's hand and laced their way through the busy streets to their docking bay. They arrived just in time to intercept a small group of stormtroopers trying to board their ship. Using the standard Jedi mind trick, they sent the troops on their way and boarded the ship to check on their passengers, who were both asleep--which looked like a very appealing activity at that time.

Andriya sat on the edge of her bunk, staring at her hands.

"Andriya, I can't sleep with you thinking so loudly."

She waited until she thought he'd gone back to sleep. "Sorry."

"For what?"

"Thinking so loudly." They both knew that wasn't what she'd been talking about, but she left it at that. "Good night."

"Good night."

"Obi-Wan, in the morning, Wherkane and I will take Luke out to the farm--you'll have to give us directions--and you should go see your brother."

"I . . . have a . . . brother?"

"His name is Owen Lars and he is living on Chut'to, in Chanka city."

"But . . . how did you know about him?"

"It's in our records. We keep track of every family that gives us a child."

Obi-Wan's mind froze. There were so many questions to ask, but he put them all out of his mind. "Why do I need to see him?" he finally managed.

"Because he may come out to raise Luke. We can't do it--the Emperor would find us too easily."

Again, Obi-Wan said nothing, sitting in stunned silence.

"He's younger than you, and married to a woman named Beru." She waited for him to ask questions, but he didn't. "You can use my ship."

"Thank you," he said.

"Good night, Obi-Wan."

"Good night, Andriya."


Andriya drummed her fingers on the table, waiting for Obi-Wan to enter the dining room. She knew he was already home and would soon find her. It was dark on Tatooine and Wherkane and Luke were asleep, leaving the house blanketed with a thick quiet.

Obi-Wan entered the room.

"Well?" she said expectantly without looking up from her still drumming fingers.

"They said they'd come."

Andriya looked up at him and smiled. "Then we're all set."

Obi-Wan nodded. "What now?"

She considered the question. "I thought we could go somewhere nice and quiet and probably wait the Empire out."

"We?" Too late, Obi-Wan realized the interrogative sounded more incredulous than astonished.

"I . . . I just thought . . . I mean. . . ." For what might have been the first time, the flustered Andriya seemed much, much younger than Obi-Wan, but she quickly composed herself. "I meant Wherkane and me, of course."

He could tell, even without using the Force, that she had included him in the original pronoun. It was what Obi-Wan wanted her to do, but with one slip of the tongue, he'd embarrassed her out of it. What did I just do? he silently asked himself.

"How soon do you leave to get your brother?"

"I'll have to leave here in the morning."

"You should've just waited there." Andriya stood and sighed. "I guess I'll see you when you get back, then." She turned to leave the room, but stopped. "Obi-Wan," she said as she turned around, "whatever you do, make sure that your brother doesn't get in trouble. If you do, leave your brother out of it as much as possible. The Empire must not have any reason to know his name."

Obi-Wan nodded. She stood still, lingering for a moment longer while debating whether or not to bid him a good night as she always had. Finally, Andriya silently turned and left the room.

Obi-Wan waited there until she was out of ear shot. "Good night, Andriya."


Andriya didn't keep track of the days after Obi-Wan left. She simply held on to her communicator, waiting for Obi-Wan to contact her from Mos Eisley after his arrival.

Wherkane was entertaining Luke on the floor of the main room of the house. Andriya was reclining in a chair, supervising the two at play. She suddenly sat up, alarmed.

"What's wrong?" Wherkane asked as Andriya stood and picked up the baby.

"Obi-Wan's in trouble."

"I didn't hear the communicator."

"He didn't use it. . . . There's something in the Force. I'm going into Mos Eisley. You stay here."

As quickly as possible, Andriya put Luke to bed and left him in the care of the twelve-year-old Wherkane.


It seemed like a very long time had passed in his cell at the Imperial Garrison. Hopefully, Owen would remember to go on to Anchorhead or stay the night in Mos Eisley or . . . something safe. A million things could go wrong, and Obi-Wan had plenty of time to consider the consequences of each one, as well as any route of escape--none of which worked, he tried them all--before he drifted off to sleep.

A loud noise jolted Obi-Wan to the world of the waking. He glanced around, looking for the source of the noise. To his surprise, his lightsaber lay in the middle of his cell. Before Obi-Wan could pick it up, his communicator fell from the ceiling, landing next to the lightsaber.

"I said 'Don't get your brother in trouble,' not 'Give up without a fight.'"

Even more surprised, Obi-Wan looked up. There, perched on the various pipelines and cables that obscured the true cell ceiling, was Andriya Delvee.

"You have no idea how glad I am to see you."

"You're absolutely right."

Obi-Wan realized that she didn't have her Force-sense turned on, which meant that she couldn't sense how happy he was to see her--or anything else.

"Well? Grab your stuff and get up here . . . unless you like your cell."

Obi-Wan looked around at his sparse accommodations. "I was getting comfortable." Andriya laughed as he retrieved his lightsaber and communicator and jumped to join her on the pipes.

"How did you get in here? I tried everything."

Andriya pointed to a ventilation grating. Obi-Wan had tried the grating, but he didn't have a lightsaber at the time, and that changed everything. Picking their way though the maze of pipelines, they crawled back through the hole Andriya cut in the grating, and found themselves right above a group of stormtroopers. Andriya switched on her Force-sense and glanced at Obi-Wan. He nodded, silently assenting to attack. The two Jedi dropped from the ceiling and ambushed the troops. They quickly injured or killed all of the soldiers. When the smoke from the blaster shots cleared, Andriya was no where to be seen.

"Andriya?" Obi-Wan shouted. He only succeeded in drawing the attention of a second group of stormtroopers. Obi-Wan ran down the hallway and around the corner before jumping back up to the pipes overhead. Passing over the bewildered troops, Obi-Wan retraced his steps back down the hallway past his cell. He paused at the end of the hallway and pulled out the communicator.

"Andriya?" he hissed.

The communicator was silent for a moment. Finally, someone replied. "Mister Kenobi?"

"Who is this?" Obi-Wan asked suspiciously.

"It's Wherkane."

"Where are you?"

"The farm."

"Is my brother there yet?"

"No. Where are you?"

"Um . . . nowhere."

"There he is!" The triumphant shout came simultaneously from two directions as two different squads spied Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan turned the communicator off even as the first blaster shots rang out in the hallway. He would have probably led the two groups on a chase if it weren't for the sudden disturbance in the third portion of the T-intersection of hallways. Leading a third squad of troops, Andriya reached the intersection and stopped short.

"I think I made a wrong turn."

Before the stunned stormtroopers could react to her entrance, Obi-Wan fell to her assistance. "This isn't a fair fight," he stated.

"Poor troops," she added. With the Force, Andriya knocked one of the groups over, clearing a path, which the Jedi quickly took.

A few minutes later, the two were hopelessly lost.

"Well," Andriya sighed, putting her hands on her hips, "we have two options: ask for directions or just cut our way through."

"If those are our only options--" Obi-Wan stopped short when an Imperial officer rounded the corner.

Andriya's mind raced, wildly flailing to decipher the insignia the officer wore to determine his rank. She gave up after a few seconds. "Um . . . sir, we're lost."

"Who are you? What are your ranks?"

"I don't know!" Andriya blurted out. "I mean . . . Captains Kenobi and Delvee, sir."

"Why are you out of uniform?"

"We were on special assignment, sir. Can you direct us out of here?"

The officer eyed them suspiciously. "Turn left at the end of the hallway, third door on the right, fourth left, and you're out."

Andriya and Obi-Wan looked at one another, each confused, but neither dared to ask the officer to repeat himself.

"Thank you, sir," they said in unison and saluted. The officer walked past and they followed his directions to the front gate . . . front, heavily-guarded gate

"We sure did miss you guys," Andriya said, simply staring at them.

The stormtroopers looked as confused as they could in their faceless uniforms.

"We've been out on assignment on this rock for so long," Obi-Wan added.

"Show respect!" Andriya snapped authoritatively. "We are your superior officers!"

The troops saluted and allowed the Jedi to leave the garrison.

"That wasn't so hard, was it, Obi-Wan?"

"I decline to answer that."

"Where's your brother?"

Obi-Wan paused, reaching out with the Force. "That way," he said, pointing. They were already on the outskirts of Mos Eisley, and the only logical place in that direction was the city of Anchorhead, which was the closest town to the moisture farm they were headed to.

"Anchorhead it is," she said as if he'd ordered it off a menu. "We'd better get hopping."

"I don't think that's an effective travel method," Obi-Wan said.

"Oh, you think you're so funny," Andriya said sarcastically, hopping forward twice.

"Come on, we have a long way to go and not much time to travel it in."


Andriya looked around the table at the faces of all the diners. Weeks before, the only ones she would have recognized were Obi-Wan Kenobi and Wherkane Awestat, another Jedi and Andriya's adopted daughter, respectively. Now, she knew Owen Lars, Obi-Wan's brother, and Owen's wife, Beru. The last person at the table was sleeping in Beru's arms--Luke Skywalker, one of a pair of twin babies Obi-Wan and Andriya had taken from their home to protect their family. Andriya couldn't help but wonder if they'd done the right thing in taking the children and their mother . . . but it was too late to try and take them back. Their father would definitely find them then, and that could be disastrous.

"Are you finished yet, Wherkane?" Andriya asked, breaking the peaceful silence that had settled upon them. Wherkane pushed her plate away and nodded. Andriya stood and Wherkane followed suit. "Go get your things." Wherkane left the dining room to collect the items she'd brought with her.

Andriya turned to the Larses. "Thank you so much for doing this."

"We've always wanted children," Beru said for the fifth or sixth time. "Thank you."

Andriya smiled and departed from the dining room, following her daughter.

She stopped in the hallway when she heard footsteps behind her. "Yes?" she said as she turned around.

Obi-Wan stopped. "Where are you going?"

Andriya shrugged. "I haven't decided yet. Are you going to stay here?"

Obi-Wan nodded.

"Then I'll go to Trigavyk. It's close enough to keep an eye on Leia. You can come and visit any time," Andriya pitched her voice to carry a little further for the final words, "right, Wherkane?"

"Yes" came the muffled reply as Wherkane stepped into the hallway carrying her bag. Andriya stood facing Obi-Wan for a moment longer, as if studying him, before brushing past.

"You at least have to let me take you into Anchorhead."

"We'll be fine, thank you," Andriya replied quietly without slowing down or looking back. Wherkane walked past Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan followed the pair down the hall and back to the dining room.

"It was very nice to meet you," Andriya was saying as she shook Owen's hand. "Thank you again for taking him." She gave Beru a hug and the sleeping Luke a gentle kiss on the forehead.

As Wherkane shook the Larses' hands, Andriya came to face Obi-Wan.

"Well," she sighed, "thank you." She offered him her hand. Disappointed, he shook it, but Andriya quickly stepped closer--close enough to whisper, "For saving my life. If you hadn't been there with me, I would definitely be dead by now. And without you, Luke would have no home. In fact, his family would probably be dead, too. So, thank you." She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before stepping back. As soon as she did so, Wherkane ran up to Obi-Wan and wrapped her arms around him. Obi-Wan returned her hug half-heartedly, still pondering Andriya's speech--and kiss. Wherkane released him and picked up her bag again. She and Andriya turned and walked out of the room.

"Good bye!" Beru and Owen quietly called after her.

"Bye," echoed the reply.

Beru and Owen turned to Obi-Wan.

"What?" he said, even though he knew very well what.

"Aren't you going to say good bye?"

Obi-Wan headed after Andriya and Wherkane. He caught up with them just outside the front door.

"If you won't accept a ride," he began, "will you accept a companion?"

Andriya looked at him before beginning for Anchorhead. Obi-Wan took that as a yes and followed her.

As Wherkane alternately ran ahead and lagged behind them, Andriya and Obi-Wan conversed.

"I wonder why I was supposed to meet you," Obi-Wan mused.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the first time I saw you, the Force urged me to become acquainted with you."

Andriya pondered what he'd said. "Perhaps it was so I could help you now. Or maybe it's because I have a strong conviction that Luke will, one day, be the way to redeem yourself for losing his father."

"Why would that be the reason?"

"Because if I say it, you'll believe it."

They lapsed into silence for a long time. They were past Anchorhead when they spoke again.

"You won't stay here?"

Andriya, unsure of what exactly he was proposing, shook her head. "It's not my place."

"Why not?"

"Luke is your project, not mine."

"Is Leia yours?"

"No . . . I think she'll be Luke's."

"Will this be the last time I see you?"

"Oh, I hope not," Andriya said emphatically, no longer caring what he thought. "I want to at least come back and visit."

"You're always welcome--more than welcome."

Andriya silently marveled at the utter stupidity of pride and its control over people--namely herself and Obi-Wan, at the moment. This was utterly ridiculous. And yet, because of pride, Obi-Wan and Andriya "chose" not to tell one another what they were really thinking. They'd allude to their feelings, but to openly say them, because they might be rejected, was unthinkable. Even now, Andriya's confidence was faltering--she didn't have any evidence that he really did . . . she couldn't even think it!

They continued in solemn silence, finally arriving at the outskirts of the city as dark crept over the sand of the desert. We must have walked very slowly, Andriya thought.

Obi-Wan slowed to a stop and cleared his throat. Wherkane ran ahead, and for the moment, neither one of them considered the possible consequences of that action. Andriya came to stand in front of Obi-Wan.

"Your ship is in Docking Bay 92," he informed her. She nodded in understanding.

"Obi-Wan," Andriya began, but couldn't continue. She stared up at him in silence. Finally, after seeming frozen in place, she leaned forward and kissed him. Not as she had before--this time she kissed him on the lips and out of love instead of gratitude.

And then, before Obi-Wan had even time to comprehend her action, she pulled away.

"Well," she said, "goodbye."

Obi-Wan was barely able to stop himself from gaping at her. "Goodbye," he replied, stunned, as she turned and headed after Wherkane.

"I'll be back soon," she called over her shoulder. But after that display, Obi-Wan wasn't sure she would be.


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