Obi-Wan is about half-way to Tatooine when he realizes. He’s cooped up in a small public transport, cradling Luke to his chest and whispering to him softly whenever he starts to fuss. Luke isn’t particularly loud, but Obi-Wan can still feel the stares of the people sitting around him.
It hardly matters, not with everything that has happened.
The Force is dark and empty, utterly void of the Light. He hesitates to reach for it now, to allow the reality of everything that has happened to come crashing down on him now.
That can wait, until Luke is safe, and he is…alone.
He can’t exactly remember when he was last truly alone. Perhaps it was before he became a padawan, but even then, he had Bant and Garen and Reeft and Siri and the rest of his clan. Obi-Wan has lived a life surrounded by Jedi, surrounded by so many different beings who were the same as him, but now…
He is alone.
Luke lets out a gurgle, and Obi-Wan looks down at him. The blue eyes that look up at him are Anakin’s, but the expression is so similar to Padmé’s that Obi-Wan feels the familiarity of it through the hollowness in his chest, the tears burning in his eyes.
He takes a deep, shuddering breath.
No, not now.
The shuttle isn’t that crowded, and luckily, no one seems to be paying attention to him. He and Luke have taken multiple transports at this point, taking an extremely indirect path from Polis Massa to Tatooine, to make sure no one will follow them.
He opens his eyes again to see Luke still staring at him curiously. Obi-Wan tries to smile at him, but he finds himself struggling to even do that against the tightness in his chest.
Something reaches for him in the Force, and he almost gasps out loud. It was pure Light—joyhappinesslovetrust—all at once. He hasn’t felt anything like it in so long, probably not since his own childhood.
The sheer strength of it, after the unrepressed darkness Obi-Wan has felt over the past few days, is enough to cause tears to spill out of his eyes. It doesn’t matter if anyone is looking at him right now—all that matters is Luke and the light and…hope.
“Luke?” he whispers, voice shaking. If Luke is already able to manipulate the Force, then certainly…Obi-Wan will need to start training him as soon as possible. Luke will need to be shielded well, protected from the darkness.
And Obi-Wan simply does not know if Luke’s family will be able to provide that sort of protection, let alone if they will be willing to make that sort of commitment.
Perhaps taking his former padawan’s son to Tatooine is not the answer. Maybe it will be better if he raised Luke himself.
He dreads to think of what will happen if he fails Luke the same way he failed Anakin, but Obi-Wan cannot bring himself to be alone in the desert, especially for so long. He doesn’t know what will happen if he’s alone, and now he realizes he doesn’t want to know.
There are options, other ways to hide from the Empire and raise Luke as a Jedi. Then, when the time comes, Luke will be ready, and so will Obi-Wan.
He makes his decision right then, with Luke’s familiar eyes still peering into his and the Force whispering quiet reassurances to him. There is another way; there will always be another way.
Luke sighs and closes his eyes, as though the effort of using the Force has somehow exhausted him.
The shuttle comes to a creaking stop and an electronic voice filters through its speakers; Obi-Wan barely hears it over the quiet rumble of the crowd, but he stands on numb legs anyways, still cradling Luke to his chest.
The Force urges him on, and so he picks up his bag and walks out of the transport into unknown territory, the thought of loneliness slowly shrinking away from his mind.
He will not be alone, and that will make all the difference.