Hand of Fate
Epilogue III: The Lost Kenobi
The Falcon streaks over endless rocky passes set against pale sand. Brown eyes curiously peer through the cockpit transparisteel at a landscape not so unlike Jakku… very similar, in fact. Barren desert and treacherous mountains make up the terrain here. No homes or settlements are apparent. But then as they come over one last large ridge, the bluffs give way to sandy plains.
"There," Luke says, pointing over Rey's shoulder, and her eyes find it immediately: a small homestead is nestled up against the foot of the mountains ahead, overlooking an enormous flat region. A warm shiver tingles over Rey's body and she suddenly feels more alert. More aware. There's no doubt about it… she felt it the second they came out of hyperspace and it's only growing stronger: something here feels familiar.
It's a sensation that stirs great anxiety and hope alike.
Beside her in the copilot's seat, Chewbacca turns and gives a thoughtful, "rrurrng," as they begin their descent and landing. Rey manages a quick sidelong smile at the Wookie in response. More for his sake than hers. She's distracted: Why did Luke insist on coming here? What answers can be in such a place? He hasn't given her more information on their journey here. Only more questions.
But answers or not, she can already feel it building: She is going to find out things today. She knows it. And that's a thought that can bring her to the verge of tears if she stays with it for too long.
The ship touches down, stirring up small swirls of sand under its feet in the process. As the ship settles and outgasses, Rey curiously looks at the home that's a few hundred yards off—smoke is curling up from the chimney and an eopie grazes leisurely off to the side of the place. The animal raises his head to contemplate the starship briefly before deciding he's not interested. And are those greenhouses set up on the sandy slope behind the home? Somehow this place is welcoming, despite the inhospitable climate. Rey feels again, emotions that are powerful and come from somewhere she doesn't understand. Something here is sacred… inspiring reverence.
"What is this place?" she asks softly, afraid to break the spell.
Behind her, Luke sounds fond. "Home." A spark of wonder, joy, and intimidation lights in Rey. This is where Luke grew up and was trained by the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi…? That feeling of amazement is immediately followed up by intense bewilderment and intimidation. Luke pats her on the shoulder and indicates the house. "Go."
Rey turns, confused. "Alone?"
Luke smiles, his eyes crinkling ever so softly. "Trust me." He's insistent, but in the gentlest of ways. "Go." Something in his gaze causes her internal feelings to whisper yes.
Chewie gives an encouraging "rrrnng!"
And after a brief second more of studying the enigmatic homestead and all the feelings it inspires in her, Rey stands up, contemplates her quarterstaff… then leaves it behind with a deep, nervous breath in. Her staff always goes everywhere with her, but… something tells her she doesn't need it here. This is a place to go into gently. She makes her way to the ship exit, unarmed.
The ramp lets down and the scorching brightness of sun on endless hot sand causes her to squint. Rey is immediately hit by a wave of oppressive heat so much like Jakku as she steps foot onto Tatooine. Even in the very late afternoon, the suns burn her skin as she squintingly shades her eyes with a hand and starts forward. Her nerves are singing. Underneath her boots, the give of loose, dry sand is familiar, and so is the heat that makes her lungs feel tight.
The feeling of anticipation grows. If this is Luke's childhood home, that must mean his adoptive mother—Sabé—is here. Is she the one Luke thinks can help me remember? Remember what though? What does Luke know about who I am? What would his mother know about me? The mounting questions make Rey dizzy. She doesn't want to get her hopes up—she doesn't want to latch onto the possibilities. But it's too late for some things… she already wants Luke to be her family in some way. She just wants to belong.
Her heart beats faster and faster. The homestead grows closer with every step. She notices a small rock that almost looks like a grave marker, off to the right of the house. She gives it a brief glance, then continues forward. Soon enough she can see that two sunken courtyards stand in front of the house—and both are full to the brim with green plants. A surprising, beautiful sight that brings a little wave of peace over Rey. As she gets closer, she can see that someone is in one of the courtyards, tending to the vertical garden crawling up the wall there. It's a woman, and she's standing with her back to Rey. She has long silver and white hair that's down and loose. She wears a dark blue robe with asymmetrical designs embroidered in gold. Her energy is calm, steady, and full of light. Rey is briefly struck to stillness and inaction, feeling reverent inexplicably. Emotional. She contemplates announcing herself, but doesn't know what to say. She thinks maybe the sound of her approach will announce her arrival, so she begins to cautiously go down the stairs, briefly admiring the plants here. The inside of the courtyard is completely green, floor to ceiling, with trailing tendrils descending toward a tiled floor in the pattern of a golden sun. When Rey reaches the bottom level, the woman still hasn't turned. Rey fumbles around for what to say, regretting her choice to enter silently, but then her internal debate is ended for her.
"I had a dream last night…" the old woman says wistfully. Her voice makes Rey still—it's strong and weathered by the years, accented with the same inflection that Rey speaks with. The woman carefully sets her pruning shears aside and turns around, revealing a strong, bright elderly face that has a surprisingly emotional smile on it. "And now it's coming true." Perhaps in her mid eighties, the woman has defined features and keen eyes set in a tanned face that's been aged by lines and wrinkles—but despite her seniority, she is still clearly strong and vibrant. Her energy feels spirited and alert—she has graceful, lithe posture and a sparkle in her eye. Her expression wavers into deeply touched sentiment and her brown eyes begin to shine as they sweep over Rey foot to face as if she's never seen something so amazing. "Oh, look at you," she murmurs, eyes traveling every detail of Rey's face. She clasps her hands to herself, her eyes fond and affectionate as she gives a longsuffering sigh. The woman is Sabé. She has to be. Rey is touched. Stilled. Entranced. And of course confused. "You've come a very long way, haven't you, Rey?" Sabé asks, empathy and knowingness threaded deeply into her tone.
She knows my name. She's glad to see me. Rey finds words difficult for a moment but emotions easy. "Yes," she finally manages, mystified anew. Looking at this woman, being near her… Rey struggles to understand the strange way she feels. She swears she knows Sabé, but can't remember her at all. "I'm sorry, do I…" she trails off, transfixed by Sabé's eyes looking so unwaveringly into her own. "…know you?"
Sabé contemplates for a moment, and Rey thinks she sees a brief moment of debate in the older woman's eyes. Then, instead of answering, Sabé glances around fondly, indicating her home. "Do you recognize this place?"
Taken aback by the implication, Rey is newly anxious. She looks around again briefly, trying to see something that would jog a memory. But she comes up with nothing. "Why would I recognize it?" she asks a little breathlessly.
Sabé is gentle, maybe a little sad, but her smile is reassuring. She comes a little closer and gently touches Rey shoulder. "You've been here before." Information that floors Rey. She feels herself quivering mind and body alike. When? How? Sabé motions for Rey to follow. "Come with me." She opens a doorway and slips inside the house.
Rey follows, but not before casting another brief look around at the plants climbing the entire circular courtyard. For a brief moment, she hears the laugh of a little girl and remembers the feeling of dirt and leaves under fingers, the smell of life in the nostrils. She touches fingers to a trailing tendril of green as she follows Sabé inside. A feeling like comfort passes into her at the touch. The energy here… it's so familiar. Why?
The basement is cool and dark, and when the door slides closed behind them, Rey's eyes adjust and she can see a workshop setup—a table with tools for all sorts of projects and storage containers neatly stacked against the walls. Rey can imagine Luke working here when he was just a boy—tinkering, discovering, and being guided by Obi-Wan. Sabé is slowly ascending the stairs up to the main part of the house. Rey follows, looking at everything hungrily and anxiously, trying to see something familiar. But it's all new to her eyes—she thinks.
They come into a living section of the house: a kitchen with a dining table adjacent to a lounge area. Everything's tidy and clean, and the high ceilings and ample natural light leave the space bright and welcoming. The home is decorated minimally and pleasantly, full of little personal touches. Rey drifts over to the fireplace, momentarily transfixed with the unspoken energy and personality of this place. A shelf full of little things draws her attention. There, a small paper photo of a couple with two very small children grabs her gaze. This must be Obi-Wan and Sabé. They look to be in their forties maybe—and very happy, if a little sunburnt. Obi-Wan has a sassy-expressioned Luke riding on his shoulders, and beside him, Sabé and the daughter whose name Rey doesn't know sits on her mother's hip, grinning big—missing a front tooth. She looks sort of like me. The family is squeezed close. Rey's fingers brush the surface of the picture ever so lightly. The entire home is full of the same feeling she sees and feels from this photo. "So much love here," she murmurs to herself, a ripple of yearning inevitably following the statement. A sudden sound makes Rey whip her head sidelong—it's gears whirring, and they announce the entrance of a very old looking copper colored protocol droid. "Oh. Hello."
"Commander, you didn't tell me we were having company!" the droid exclaims, and Sabé smiles furtively as the droid bows slightly toward Rey. "I am DC-10, at your service."
Rey smiles. She's always had a soft spot for droids. "I'm Rey."
The droid remains frozen in place, and Rey falters as the silence becomes awkward. Did the droid's board just short out? Just as she thinks that, the droid asks: "You're… who?" and looks at Sabé with a slow, noisy turn of the head.
Sabé waves a hand. "Go about your business, DC," she says kindly, and looks at Rey the same way. "Let me show you my children's rooms."
Rey watches DC-10 lumber off, distinctly getting the impression that something significant just happened. As far as Sabé's request, she doesn't know what for, but has decided to just let things unfold. She'd like nothing better than to demand all the answers right now please, but forces patience. She makes her way down one of the halls that goes toward the back of the house, and takes a left when the hall divides. Sabé is close behind her, moving with a slower gait, content to watch the way Rey looks so thoroughly and curiously at everything.
Rey pauses at the first door she comes to. Luke's room—it has to be. It looks like Sabé has kept it the same way for years—it has posters of starships all over the walls and things Luke no doubt built—strange little contraptions and droids and pieces of art made out of junk. Continuing on, Rey comes to the last door, and is startled to stillness when she sees a room with walls that are covered floor to ceiling in roughly carved notches. Thousands of them. Just like the inside of her old home on Jakku… but so many more.
Gone totally silent and spooked, Rey takes a long moment to gawk. Then, drawn like a magnet, she slowly goes in, letting her fingertips touch against the little lines carved into stone. Sabé watches. "What are all of these?" Rey breathes after a moment. She is genuinely afraid. This feels too significant. But she still doesn't understand.
Sabé's eyes go over the room slowly, a certain pain resting in her expression. "One to mark every day since I lost my daughter so long ago," she says, and there's guilt, regret, and pain there. "For so many years… we thought she was dead."
Rey remembers what Luke said about his yet-unnamed sister. Who is this mysterious sister and daughter? What does it have to do with me? Sabé doesn't say. "What happened to her?" Rey whispers. Something about this missing daughter has something to do with her—she can't get away from that feeling.
Sabé is slow to reply, her eyes shining again and looking at the notch-covered walls for a long time. "She was lost." Her eyes then come to look into Rey's.
And it's too much. The feelings clanging around in Rey are too big to cope with. "Look, I'm sorry, but I need straight answers," she says, but not rudely. More soft and desperate. Because her eyes are beginning to brim with tears and her heart is hammering and her instincts are screaming at her. "What does all of this have to do with me?" she barely whispers.
Sabé looks at her sadly. "Everything, my darling." She comes a little closer, and with a motherly smile tinged by sadness, she searches Rey's shining eyes. "I think you can sense it, can't you?"
Yes, she can, but she doesn't what it is. "Who are you?" Rey asks, daring to hope. But afraid to. "Please."
Sabé hovers, as though holding herself back. "Who do your feelings tell you I am?" she asks, whispering too.
Rey blinks, and hot tears spill onto her cheeks. "I don't know."
Sabé is very quiet. "Did you notice you knew where the rooms were?" she asks. "I didn't show you." Rey feels her stomach begin to drop when she realizes how true that is. "You knew where to go." Yes—she had—she hadn't even asked where the children's rooms were. She'd just gone there. Hanging on the moment with wide eyes and a racing pulse, Rey listens as Sabé continues: "Obi-Wan came to me in a dream the night he died," she says, coming a little closer. Cautiously. Carefully. Something seems so meaningful to her gaze. Rey is holding her breath at this point. "In the dream, he told me that our daughter was still alive. He didn't know where. But he could feel her lifeforce, somewhere out there." Rey is hanging onto every word—so much so that nothing else in the entire universe exists at this specific moment. "I spent the next ten years searching while working for the Rebellion… before I came back here to wait for her." Sabé pauses. A tear runs down her cheek, too. "You know all about waiting, don't you?" she asks.
Rey is wrapped up completely in this moment, feeling totally emotionally in sync with Sabé. Her intuition seems to understand what her mind does not. Yes. She knows all about waiting. "How long have you been waiting?" Rey asks, daring to hope against hope.
The older woman's head bows slightly. "My daughter was taken from me more than forty years ago." Her pain, to this day, is very evident.
Rey feels crushed. "Oh." She shakes her head, looks down, and scorns herself for being so stupid. The thought had been so brief and hopeful but foolhardy. "For a moment… I thought maybe your daughter was me," she admits, realizing how pathetic and illogical she is. Searching for belonging anywhere possible, wanting a family so badly she will see her missing father and mother in any kind face that looks her way.
Sabé doesn't laugh at her. Doesn't scoff. Instead she looks struck by emotion and empathy and something else too. With some deliberation, she sits down on the neatly made bed and indicates Rey does too. Rey complies, lost in a word of painful confusion. Sabé holds out a hand to her—a wrinkled, aged hand barren of rings or jewels. Just evidence of hard work and many years in the desert. "Hold my hand Rey," she says, her eyes imploring. "Remember with me."
Three words that send a shiver across Rey's entire body. Has everything in her life been leading here to this moment? There's a surge of adrenaline and fear and thrill and apprehension all at once—and slowly, deliberately, she reaches out and lets her hand slip into Sabé's. The touch of skin-to-skin sends a feeling of comfort and security through Rey, and she feels more tears in her eyes without comprehending why. Sabé closes her eyes, and with a nervous breath and big swallow, Rey does too.
Outside sounds and sensations melt away as Rey allows her focus to hone in on the place Sabé leads: deep into the recesses of memory where all of her experiences sleepily reside. In what feels like a heartbeat and also an eternity, Rey sees and feels it all: A baby girl is born in the desert to two parents who cry with joy at her arrival. A labor of love start to finish, the new life is the spark of hope that completes the little family. The years whirl by, and Rey watches a blonde boy and his dark-haired sister growing up on the quiet moisture farm, the son and daughter of parents who are wanted by the Empire. Despite the looming danger, their life is simple and good on the suns-scorched homestead: there is discovery, learning, and growth. Laughter and songs are often heard in the four walls of the home. Sabé teaches her children about weaponry and tactics and self-defense one day, then cooking and sewing and gardening the next. Obi-Wan trains the children in meditation, Jedi philosophy, then the art of lightsaber fighting and how to use the Force, he shows them how to hunt—how to plant—how to outwit a fool—how to negotiate and barter and de-escalate. He loves his children greatly, and tells them so too.
There are days spent at home completing education units and pulling old defunct droids apart. There are days spent battening down the hatches as sandstorms approach. There are trips to the Motesta Oasis for swimming and fun… and nights camping under the stars while Obi-Wan recounts the days of old, capturing everyone's attention. There's voyages to Anchorhead and Mos Eisley for supplies where all manner of beings and people pass through—the children are entranced, their parents jaded and cautious. There's sweat, hard work, and learning things the hard way. Trouble comes their way sometimes of course: a Tusken raid on the homestead, a ring of thieves looting from them, droughts, supply shortages. Constant challenge defines the family unit, but they always rally as a unit and prevail. Perhaps the most notable event is a red-and-black faced creature with a double-bladed red saber who comes seeking revenge on Obi-Wan. The entire family faces off against him, even the children. His body is buried in the desert after he is slain. Afterward, Obi-Wan tells the children of the first time he defeated the same foe. Of how life has truly come full circle. He'll smile over at Sabé gently and tell the children how strange it is, that if not for the exact enemy he just defeated again, he and their mother would never have met. He reminds them that nothing that happens is without meaning or purpose. Ever.
The flood of memories that pour over Rey suddenly give way to a steady, lingering scene that doesn't just feel like a glimpse. It's like being there. Rey feels it: A cool breeze on her face. The smell of life… plants… water… grass. She hears birds singing and trees full of mighty wind as they bend back and forth. It lifts her spirits and makes her feel at peace. She almost feels like she's not seeing someone else's memory. She almost feels like these are her memories…
This is Naboo. Rey knows it without knowing how she knows. She's standing at a house on a hill, overlooking a beautiful verdant valley and lake. Not far away, she sees a much younger Sabé standing at the crest of the hill with a ten-year-old girl whose hair is styled exactly how Rey likes to wear it. Sabé has an arm around her daughter and is pointing to far distance, explaining something Rey can't hear. The two of them look happy, especially the little girl—who has never been away from Tatooine before. This is her birthright trip—her father hadn't felt entirely comfortable with the idea, but had eventually agreed anyway. How do I know that? Rey wonders briefly.
And then there's the sound of a ship engine, fast descending, and it changes everything. Wind from the close-landing causes the grass to blow down flat and Rey feels panic, looking at Sabé and her daughter to see what they'll do. Sabé's face shows her clear, alarming dilemma: their ship is not close by. There's nowhere to hide. And the shadow cast over them is of Darth Vader's personal envoy ship. Its wings are folding to a point above the belly of the vessel, and there's mere seconds to take action.
Sabé drops to a kneel in front of her daughter and grips her by the upper arms urgently. "Get inside," she instructs. "Hide. Now!" Although she hesitates briefly, the little girl obeys, running to hide inside and watch from a window as Sabé steels herself, not even bothering to pick her blaster up—it would be useless against Vader and she knows it.
His tall, looming figure emerges from his ship like a monster in the night, striking fear into Rey as she watches the memory. He looks lifeless and devoid of humanity, like evil and nightmares made flesh. Behind him, a silent squadron of menacing stormtroopers accompany. He strides up to Sabé, who stands her ground, her expression a mask of sick fear.
"Where is Obi-Wan's child?" Vader demands. His voice is ominous and deep. Sabé says nothing, only lifts her chin fractionally in quiet, terrified defiance. Vader raises an arm and crushes his hand into a fist, and Sabé gasps and clutches at her own throat, slowly being raised up until her feet aren't on the ground anymore. "Tell me, woman," Vader compels, and Sabé airlessly wheezes and struggles.
A little girl's scream pierces the air. "Stop, stop!" She's raced out from hiding and throws out a hand of her own with a little yell—and she's not as strong as Vader, but she's strong enough to startle the Sith Lord and allow Sabé to drop to all fours as she gasps in deeply for air. She's not there long though: she jumps up and snatches her daughter into her arms, shaking her head no with tearful eyes.
"Interesting," Vader muses leisurely, and there's a small glint of emotion there: a greedy, excited notion. "A raw power unlike what I've ever seen before." His head moves a fraction, and even though no eyes can be seen behind his unmoving mask, his gaze has clearly moved from the girl to Sabé. "The circle will be made complete." Vader says with finality, and steps closer to the trembling mother, then motions for the troopers to act. "What was taken from me shall be taken from you."
"No!" Sabé screams, and her attempts to shrink back and escape are foiled as her daughter is ripped from her arms: "No!" she protests, then louder still, she shouts her daughter's name: "Rey!" she cries, a call that echoes across the land.
And Rey is completely and totally floored. Why did she just call her daughter by my name?
There's a sudden skirmish—blasterfire—Sabé tries to dodge away behind a small rock. She doesn't return fire for fear of hitting her daughter—and then she's hit in the arm by blasterfire with a yell of pain. And even as little Rey is being carried away kicking and screaming, she shoves both hands out toward Sabé with so much strength of force that Sabé is thrown over the crest of the hill—safely out of range of being shot, but given no choice but to tumble down the slope more than a hundred feet.
The lead stormtrooper hesitates once their target has disappeared and looks to Vader. "Should we go after her sir?" he asks, voice obscured by his helmet.
Vader contemplates then decisively stands a bit taller. "No. Leave her." His tone is devoid of any feeling. "Let her take her pain to Obi-Wan, where it will rot them apart." He turns with a swirl of black cape.
"Mama! Mama!" little Rey is screaming at the top of her lungs, being held by two troopers who are having a hard time with her valiant fight. Vader passes by and touches a hand to the girl's shoulder. She goes unconscious.
"Put her in the carbonite transport," Vader ruthlessly commands the troopers carrying her. He considers little Rey emotionlessly. "In time, perhaps the Emperor would like to put her powers to work for him." A chilling proposal.
The scene fades away.
And then seamlessly, Rey is no longer floating in Sabé's memories, but in her own: she remembers the coldness of carbonite closing in over her body. The Great Nothing. The waking. The blindness. The disorientation and memory loss. Jakku. And the belief that she had been abandoned there. She hadn't been. She'd been put into carbon freeze then forgotten and stored on the Star Destroyer Ravager—which crashed onto Jakku in battle. Somehow the carbonite chamber survived the crash and its generator kept going, locking Rey into stasis for years and years until one day, the generator finally stopped working… setting Rey free into a world where she no longer remembered anything except her name and the way she liked to do her hair. Although now, Rey realizes there were cracks in the wall that she never recognized as such: Dreams of pieces of her old life. Memories still ingrained into her physical body. She hadn't forgotten everything, just been separated from it. And the separation is gone. Rey remembers everything.
And like a swimmer underwater, she feels herself surging upwards out of her subconscious, to break the surface in reality once more. Her eyes snap open to the real world and she's breathing raggedly, stunned by the revelation of everything she just saw, felt, and learned.
She's on Tatooine in the notch-covered bedroom. Her old bedroom—and she's sitting with her mother, who looks hopeful and worried and breathless. With tears in her eyes and overwhelmed emotions bursting through her, Rey nods. "I remember," she whispers, the tears of joy and grief alike. "I remember everything." She reaches over even as she's being reached for, and longlost mother and daughter hug tight and close.
"I never stopped believing I'd see you again," Sabé whispers fiercely, crying tears of her own.
"Mama," Rey hiccups, the tears pouring. She's held even tighter in an embrace she's wanted and needed so long now.
A tender hand is stroking against Rey's head. "I've been waiting for your return such a long time," Sabé manages, her voice tight with pain. "I'm so, so sorry."
Rey pulls back, shaking her head no vehemently. She remembers why she did it clear as day. "You couldn't have stopped them," she insists. "They would've killed you."
There's a soft smile from Sabé and then a gentle touch of her hand to Rey's cheek. "My little protector."
Rey's emotions overpower her. "I knew you were out there, looking for me," she manages through a choked voice, "I knew I was never forgotten." She leans into her mother's touch. "I knew it. I didn't remember, but I knew."
Sabé smiles, eyes full of affection and emotion. "Do you know what your name means?" she asks fondly. "Relentless hope." Sabé's smile and watery eyes both grow. "You've lived up to your name, my dear girl. I'm only sorry you had to do it alone."
They are words that empower Rey to know the truth: "I've never been alone," she replies, understanding now how the constant feeling of hope wasn't just of her own creation. It was hope sprung from the reality of knowing how loved she was. How real her family was. She forgot their faces, voices, and past, but she had always believed her family was real. And so in a way, she'd always had them accompanying her along the way. "You've always been with me," Rey says, blinking as more amazed tears fall. "And so has…" she trails off, realizing that her father is gone, and has been for years. Her joy deflates. "Vader killed him, didn't he?" she asks, remembering the legend she's heard about a great lightsaber battle aboard the first Death Star.
Sabé's expression grows more bittersweet. She misses him, Rey can tell. Her heart aches. "He's no longer living in the way you and I are," Sabé concedes, but there's a sudden sparkle in her eye. Like she has a special secret. "But he's not gone, either." She doesn't elaborate yet, instead, looks at her daughter with tearful pride and joy. "Your father would be so proud of you, Rey."
It's like salve on a wound, or water in the desert. Words that brighten a soul long downcast. "Really?" she asks, but she already knows the answer. She remembers now, more and more with every second, as if her brain is coming back on, one sector at a time. Clear memories of her father's patience, kindness, and sense of humor are returning. His gentle spirit, his fierce and understated strength. His constant amusement and dry sense of humor, the way he would hide a smile behind his beard. He always had an encouraging word to share, a lesson to teach, a longsuffering smile to give. He was a superhero in Rey's mind. She remembers how much they mutually adored each other. Rey is hit by a pang of sorrow. He's gone—and the loss staggers her. We never got to say goodbye. Tears come for new reasons now. She remembers the last time she saw her father—it was here, just outside of the house. He'd been waving goodbye, with a smile tinged by worry.
New tears spill out as Rey more and more understands what's happened to her—how many years are lost. "How do you know what happened to me?" she asks her mother, confused about many pieces of the puzzle she's still trying to solve.
"I've been having dreams the past few nights," Sabé says gently, full of her own emotional anguishes too. "About your life. Everything that happened after Vader took you." She regards Rey with great sadness and remorse. "I've lived through more than my fair share of heartbreak, Rey. And now you have too. I just wish I could have protected you better."
More than her fair share of heartbreak: Mama lost her parents young. Raised her sister—Rey's aunt Zana—then lost her too during the wars. Then the Republic fell and all was lost. The stories of Mama and Papa's life before their children… Rey remembers them all now and can smile because of it. "l'm lucky to be strong enough to survive, just how my mother taught me," she says earnestly, realizing the only reason she survived Jakku was because of how she'd been raised. Even though Rey and her mother are currently strangers to some effect, their roots as family are readily bringing them close again. But Rey mourns for what's been taken, because it's so much. "I just wish we hadn't lost all those years," she says, voice wavering on more tears. Thirty years or so, she's lost out on. Thirty years.
Sabé nods, her sentiments similar. "I know."
Rey thinks how long Sabé was here waiting and it's staggering. "You've been alone a lot longer than I was."
But Mama doesn't languish in grief. She smiles bravely, exuding strength and poise. "Oh, I've never been alone," she says, then cracks a strong grin, revealing healthy teeth. "I've had DC-10 with me!" she jokes, then chuckles at Rey's growing, disbelieving smile at the wisecrack. Sabé stands and goes over to a small wardrobe set in the corner. "Before I forget," she says, fishing an object out of a drawer. She turns around, and draws out something that makes Rey stand up with a soft expression. "Something you might want to see again."
Rey drifts over in a trance, her jaw dropped open. "My lightsaber," she whispers joyfully, taking it reverently from Sabé's hands, trembling. It's exactly how she forgot it was: sleek, lightweight, made out of scavenged parts from desert wrecks. It's double-bladed, but she only activates one end of it, letting her eyes travel up the length of the buzzing, thrumming yellow energy. Rey remembers her father's words when she first switched this weapon on: at eight years old, she'd marveled at the golden blades, and Obi-Wan had gently smiled as she tested the weight of the weapon, giving a couple of careful, experimental dips and whirls. "Mastering others is strength, but mastering yourself is true power," he had told her, and she'd turned the blades off to listen and give his lesson her full attention, just as he'd taught her and Luke to both do. "This weapon is not your power, Rey," he'd told her meaningfully. "Your power is your willingness to be One with the will of the Force."
Tears prick her eyes again as she thinks over all the lessons he taught her and Luke through the years. Now she understands why she was able to engage Kylo Ren and stand her ground in their duel—she's been practicing lightsaber forms since the age of five every single day. She'd been taught how to allow the Force to channel through her—and things that never made sense before are now becoming clear. The relief of knowing the 'why' behind so many things is so incomparable.
Just then, there's a sound toward the main part of the house and Sabé, surprisingly fast, reaches for a blaster that was impressively hidden in her skirts and assumes a battle-ready tense pose. "No, no… it's all right," Rey says quickly, shutting her saber off and explaining herself at once. "I didn't come alone."
Sabé's eyebrows rise slowly and she nods, then puts away the weapon. Rey feels her emotions grow as she realizes anew: Luke. His reaction to seeing her now makes sense. He's her brother.
Rey and Sabé go back to the lounge area together, where a Wookie is picking up a vase and looking at it upside down curiously. "Chewbacca!" Sabé exclaims pleasantly. And then she sees who is with the Wookie. Smiling apologetically, as if bracing for a guilt trip about his absence, he appears from behind Chewie's massive, furry shape: "Luke!" Sabé breathes, lighting up again and going forward to him. "Oh Luke!" she embraces him joyfully and then looks at him and cups his face in her hands. "Oh, both of my children here again…" she says, growing tearful again as she looks to Rey briefly, who watches with her own shining eyes. She reaches an arm out, beckoning Rey to join, and she does. Luke can see that Rey has remembered, and through vast emotion, he manages a teary smile. They all three hug together, Sabé embracing them both with a fierceness that promises to never let go.
After a moment, they all draw apart. "I've missed you, Mom," Luke says, an unspoken apology in his tone.
Sabé just smiles at him, a weary, loving, happy smile. She's clearly missed him too. "And I've missed you," she replies, then arches an conspiratorial eyebrow. "But now how exactly is it that my two longlost children reappear on the same day?" she asks, clearly desiring to know more. Before either can say anything, she holds up a finger to say 'wait.' "I'll make some tea," she says. "And then we'll talk."
She bustles into the kitchen and Rey hovers, not sure if she should help or not. "How do you know Chewie?" she asks, intrigued. Luke takes a seat at the kitchen table and Rey does too.
There's a sly smile. "Well, we've had an adventure or two, haven't we, Chewbacca?" Sabé winks at the Wookie, who chuckles—a goofy sound. Luke shakes his head and sighs, apparently knowing about whatever the inside joke is. "We have a lot to catch you up on, I think," Sabé says to Rey with both ruefulness and gratitude.
Tea is made and the family settles at the kitchen table with Chewbacca noisily slurping his tea in the lounge. DC-10 re-emerges and bustles around in the background, cleaning and picking things up and asking for them to explain it to them just one more time please, it's quite confusing really.
As they share warm, spiced tea, Rey tells Luke about what she remembers now: being frozen into carbonite, life on Jakku. He's simultaneously amazed and horrified by what happened. Rey agrees. It's all still processing in her mind. "I should be your age," she ends, feeling the loss anew. Even though she's reunited with her mother and brother… so much has been taken from them all.
Luke seems to understand where she's coming from and attempts humor. "Be glad you're not my age," he mutters. "Everything hurts, and my knees are shot." He reconsiders banter and falls into more seriousness. "When you were taken…" he starts somberly, his eyes growing distant, "it changed something in me. In all of us." Their mother is somberly nodding her agreement. "I think we got a little better over time but… things were just never the same."
Sabé's eyes are far away in painful memories for a moment. "I didn't think I'd ever smile again at times."
Rey's chest hurts—she's felt like that too.
Luke is contemplating Rey with intense eyes. He's been through a painful journey of his own. "Until today, I didn't have hope anymore," he says quietly, and his mother puts a hand silently on his shoulder to show her support and comfort. He briefly sends a thankful smile her way and takes her hand to hold it before looking at Rey with building light in his eyes. "Your return is a sign. That things aren't over yet. That I still have work to do." He sits a little straighter, as if shoring himself up. "I've decided I'm going to rejoin the Rebellion and rally the surviving Jedi," he says, earning a disbelieving, earnestly joyful grin from Rey. "I don't know what I can do…" he says, "but if you really believe Ben can be saved… I'll help you try." Words Rey goes still inside to hear. She feels hope and emotion rising in herself and nods at Luke.
"He can be," she whispers, too overcome to know how to speak at full volume. "I know it."
Luke nods, choosing to believe her. Then he turns to Sabé, hopeful. "Will you come with us, Mom?"
She's already smiling at him, gracious and tender. "Not even a question you need ask, my boy," she says, then chuckles. It's easy to see the dynamic between the two of them: loving, respectful, healthy. Rey's heart wells up again. Sabé is nodding. "My time waiting is done," she says with great satisfaction. "I'll go wherever the two of you go—of course I will. There are some loose ends to tie up here—but DC can help I'm sure." She hesitates. Grows conflicted. "But there's one thing. You must both promise me something." She folds her hands onto the table, her soberness demanding their attention. "Bring me here to be buried when I die. Beside your father." An unexpected request. Rey thinks back to the single stone she saw to the right of the house, and understands now what it is—and feels a pang of heartache. Sabé is bittersweet. "I know his body isn't there, but… after so many years, our souls are intwined with this place." Her eyes are distant, seeing beautiful things she seems content with.
"Mom, don't talk that way…" Luke coaxes, uncomfortable at the request.
He's met with a offhand laugh. "I'm old, Luke—let's be realists, shall we?" She smiles readily, her steadfast energy giving Rey strength. "Just promise me," she asks again, peaceful and at ease. "Both of you."
Rey nods, ready to give her word. "We promise." She hopes she doesn't sound as small and frightened as she feels: "But you promise you'll stay a few more years." The strength in her voice fails. "I need you to."
She's met with reassurance and a strong, firm word given: "I promise." Her mother reaches over and lovingly squeezes her shoulder, reassuring her. And everything in the universe is okay in that moment.
Luke stands up and indicates the back of the house. "Let me help you pack up, Mom."
For the next hour or so, there is quiet, humble work done: Sabé chooses to only bring clothing and a few small choice items, and says that for now, she'll leave DC-10 in charge of the homestead to sell off the animals and caretake until she's made more decisions. She does say she thinks the homestead would make an excellent place for the Rebellion to hide fugitives—since it worked so well for her and a certain Jedi Knight. She speaks fondly of Obi-Wan, and takes every opportunity to hug, touch, and show affection to Rey. It's overwhelming and beautiful. The most strange and wonderful day of Reys life ever.
Finally, Luke and Rey begin to take containers of their mother's things to the Falcon. Chewie helps too of course. After one particular load is finished, Rey comes across Mama standing by one of the courtyards, gazing at the homestead with sad eyes. There's a slight moment of hesitation. Then bravery. "Are you all right?" Rey asks gently, a little shy around her mother despite herself.
Sabé nods, thoughtful and lost in memories, holding an arm out to indicate Rey come to her side. Once she's there, a comforting arm goes around Rey. "When your father and I first came here, I thought I would hate this place," Sabé admits, her eyes wistful on the desert around them. "Now… I feel like I'm leaving an old friend behind." She smiles, and looks at Rey with worldweary eyes.
Rey understands, because she's lost in memories of this place too. "We can come back," she says optimistically, both for herself and for her mother. "Anytime we want."
Sabé smiles even more and squeezes her daughter softly. Rey feels less and less shy, more and more comfortable. All her life it feels like she's waited for these exact moments. To know where she came from, to know who she looks like and who raised her. It's a gift. A gift that so many take for granted.
"Can I get a hand with these?" Luke calls, and Rey breaks out of her reverie and readily jogs over, helping to carry another container over to the Falcon. When it's on board with Chewie, who has fallen asleep in the cockpit, Luke and Rey reemerge to see their mother has gone to the small stone marker off to the side of the house. They fade to a halt, realizing what's happening. Sabé is saying goodbye to Obi-Wan.
There's a moment of silence, and the hot wind whistles over the sand. "Do you remember how they used to be?" Luke asks, sounding wishful for the days of old.
Rey does remember, and smiles as she does. She wishes to be back in that period of time again. "Laughing. Smiling. Always joking about something," she says, remembering the connection her parents shared with great amounts of appreciation. "In love." They were best friends and teammates, confidantes. Always facing things together. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to have something like they did.
"Yeah," Luke says, but his demeanor is transitioning from enamored to sorrowful. "It changed when you left," he murmurs, watching their mother with eyes that have seen many seasons pass. "I think they barely made it. For awhile, this place was joyless. A tomb."
What else is there to do but feel sorry for what happened? And accept it? Rey watches their mother too, feeling pain when she thinks again of everything that was taken from them all. "What changed?"
Luke thinks for a moment. "Time. The great healer."
Rey mulls it over. She's selfishly jealous of Luke's time with their father. Time she'll never have. Her chest constricts as the loss again registers. "I wish I knew him."
There's a knowing smile on Luke's voice. "You will." Rey looks at him immediately, a sudden wretched hope in her heart. Luke doesn't disappoint: "He comes to me."
Words that send a rush of amazement and hope through Rey. "How?"
Luke nods toward their mother. "Focus. Look."
Look at what? All Rey sees is Sabé, standing opposite of the small stone, quiet and still. Focus. She closes her eyes and remembers her father's lessons. She breathes in and out, letting her notions go to the all-powerful Force that surrounds all and binds all. A calm, tranquil river as deep as the ocean envelopes her in peace and security. She can feel Luke's Force signature near to her. An anchor and a guiding light. He shows her the way. And when she opens her eyes again, her heart leaps: beside Mama, a blue figure stands, his ghostly hand on her shoulder. It's him. Their father. Amazed, Rey is almost brought to tears. "I see him," she breathes, then realizes her mother probably can't. "Does she know he's there?"
Luke sounds just as reverent as she feels. "I think so. She can't see him like we can. I know he comes to her in dreams. I bet she can feel him now, too." He smiles at the sight, then at Rey before he nods to the last of the luggage that's waiting to be loaded. "I'm going to put these things in the Falcon." He waves her away as she begins to go with him. "I don't need help. Stay."
Rey does. When she looks back at her mother, the blue ghost beside her is gone. Even as she wonders where he's disappeared to, an elegantly accented voice that makes hair stand on end is quietly heard just behind her. "Hello there, little one."
She hasn't forgotten his voice. Of course she hasn't. But to hear it again after all this time… and using the way he used to address her when she was just a girl… Rey's eyes flood even before she turns around to see the blue apparition of her father standing before her in the robes of a Jedi. His eyes are warm and wonderful, his smile is serene. "Not so little anymore though, are you?" he asks, and Rey smiles through tears.
"Dad," she whispers, overcome completely. He's presenting himself in his fifties—perhaps it's the age he died at—which is Luke's age now. Rey is ruined in good and bad ways both as she faces him. "I never got to say goodbye," she manages, struck by the tragedy of it all.
Sadness mirrors back at her in his eyes. "I know." Obi-Wan smiles through the bitterness, somehow tranquil and mildly irreverent, just how she remembers him. "But I much prefer hellos, don't you?" he asks, and Rey's heart begins to sing. All is not lost. He is here. And so is she.
"Yes," she agrees, and dawn breaks over her spirit once more as tears of joy streak hotly down her cheeks. "I do." She thinks again with great joy what she's discovered here today: She is not a nameless scavenger alone in the world. She is Rey Kenobi.
Sabé and Luke stand off a bit in the waning evening light. Sabé can't see who Rey is speaking with. To a non-Force user, it appears that she's talking to nothing and no one. But after raising two Force-sensitive children, Sabé knows better. "Is she talking to him? Is he there?" she asks quietly, and Luke softly nods, sending a flush of wonder over Sabé's old and tired body. "I wish I could see him," she says longingly, but accepts it just the same. She had Obi-Wan for decades. Rey is certainly more in need of his presence than Sabé is.
With a deep breath in and a sigh out, Sabé looks sidelong at the man she raised from youth. Luke has made her proud a thousand times over, and turned so many hairs gray in the process. He came here about five years ago—his 'final goodbye' by his own words back then. But just like she never stopped believing she would see Rey again, Sabé always knew she would see Luke again too. While she's had dreams of her daughter's life after Vader took her away, she doesn't know what her son has been doing. "Where have you been the past five years, Luke?" she asks, but there's no accusation. Just curiosity and concern.
Luke is obviously ashamed of himself. "Hiding. Afraid." He looks at her with regret that's overtaken by bravery. "I feel less afraid now. I feel ready."
Sabé touches his arm reassuringly. She understands the sentiment well, and smiles easily because of it. "So do I." There is a feeling of completion that Sabé has been waiting so many years for. She will not take it for granted.
There's a brief silence in which Luke uncomfortably deliberates. Finally, he gives her a guilty look. "I'm sorry, Mom," he says earnestly, apologizing even though it hasn't been asked. "I couldn't face the world anymore. Not after what happened."
Sabé looks at him with a vehement, powerful expression. She knows his story better than most. Mara Jade, Jaina and Ben Solo, the New Jedi Order, the struggle with Admiral Thrawn… "Of all people, I understand, Luke," she says, because she's no stranger to pain and hardship. Gentle and pained on his behalf as only a mother can be, she smiles at him, giving him some grace. "You know I do."
He receives the empathy with gratitude. As he looks off at Rey, who he hasn't seen in forty some years, questions are visible on his face. Anxieties. "Han died," he says soberly. "Ben—Kylo Ren—killed him." Sabé listens with a pinched expression and deep surprise. It's hard news to hear. It seems that the Skywalker and Kenobi bloodlines are doomed for struggle. Sometimes, Sabé thinks that the universe is still trying to right the rift between Anakin and Obi-Wan. "Do you think our families can be repaired?" Luke asks, obviously feeling some doubt about it.
Sabé breathes in deeply, contemplating all the moving pieces. She may be old and worn out, well past her prime, but she has some spirit left. And if she knows one thing it's this: "There's always hope, Luke." She truly believes it, too. Despite everything. Smiling to herself is courageous as she thinks of all the events of her life. So many of them were painful and unexpected. So many, she wishes never happened at all. But Obi-Wan taught her to trust the design of the universe. It's impossible at this point to think of her life without recognizing how deeply his presence influenced her. Not a day goes by that she doesn't feel his absence deeply and profoundly. When one day she is given her final rest, she hopes her soul goes to find his. Until then… she looks at her son—Padmé's legacy. She would be so very proud. Luke smiles, softer than she's seen him in a long time.
Rey is coming back toward them now, her expression satisfied, encouraged, and optimistic. She's so beautiful—and looks so much like how Sabé did when she was younger. Sabé smiles and welcomes her daughter with a brace of the hands. She knows the three of them have a lot of catching up and relearning to do, and is eager to do so. But first…
"Before we leave…" she says and turns toward the familiar setting suns. Luke and Rey stand with her as she puts an arm around each of their waists. "Let me see one last sunset, in the place our family started," she says, voice catching on deep emotion. "With both my children at my side."
So much life has been lived here in the quiet desert plot of land. So much love, so much growth and loss and defeat and triumph.
A quiet gust of desert breeze fans over the family of three. "Dad's here too," Luke says, a quiet smile in his voice.
Sabé closes her eyes for a moment and breathes in deep. Yes. He's close—the steadfast presence is a familiar friend she knows well by now. Life without him has been hard and lonely, but she didn't lose him completely, and she will always be thankful for that. In her mind's eye, she readily sees the boyish young man who stole her heart when she was just a girl on Naboo—she sees a flash of crystal blue eyes that became her safe haven and greatest desire. Their years together nurture her soul, reminding her of a journey she would take a thousand times over again. They grew together, they experienced together. They created new life together. They were helplessly drawn closer and closer until made forever intwined. Obi-Wan. The man she's loved for over half a century now. She always will. Breeze kisses her face, leaving warmth and assurance behind. Her soul smiles and her lips do too. "I feel him."
She opens her eyes to a burning red and orange sunset she has seen many times over as the two orbs of light sink to the distant horizon. This will be the last time her weary, fading eyes take in the twin suns of Tatooine. The scattered pieces have been gathered. The lost have been found.
There is still life to be lived. And together… they shall live it.
Author's Notes: I cried a little bit writing this chapter. You KNOW I had to end with a binary sunset! Omg. I can't believe the story is over. It's always so heartbreaking and satisfying at the same time to write the final word and update for the last time, but it's also the loss of a friend you've been spending so much time with.
So yeah. Surprise! Rey is Obi-Wan and Sabé's daughter! I thought it would be a cool twist to write it this way and play with what the sequels put out. Rey REALLY deserved a loving family and I was not into her being a Palpatine, not the way the films portrayed anyway. I think Episode 8 & 9 could be a lot more powerful if the focus was on saving Ben/rebuilding the limping New Jedi Order/facing down Snoke/mending a broken Skywalker/Solo family rather than the "suddenly, Palpatine!" plotline.
On that note, if you're curious, my ideas for the future SW plot include a Ben Solo who lives, then a power struggle with Jaina Solo when she attempts to become Snoke's apprentice by killing him/Leia. It would culminate in Ben choosing his family over power, and giving in to the call of the Light. He and Rey would work with Luke to rebuild the New Jedi Order, and as always, the adventures would go on. So yeah episodes 8 & 9 wouldn't exist at all in my take on things ;)
I am thinking about writing a sequel, which would be the Tatooine years - Rey and Luke's childhood, the loss of Rey, Sabé/Obi-Wan/Luke dealing with the fallout. Let me know if you'd be interested to read that or not. I definitely need some time to let my mind settle after writing this/all the stuff going on in the world either way. But I'd love to know your thoughts.
Thanks again for your feedback and support everyone. All my love. May the Force be with you! Always.