by Autumn P. Torkorgana
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.
"Where are you?"
"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?"
"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."
"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.