What if - instead of Qui-Gon finding Anakin, it was Jango Fett? (I've been re-reading Jedi Shmi and got curious about this)
Okay, bear in mind here that I haven’t read any of the books Jango is in, so my knowledge is entirely film and wiki.
So here’s a scenario (that got really long, wow).
Jango ends up on Tatooine for a job and it goes south. Bad south. He’s injured and has no way to get to his ship hidden more than three days walk into the wastes.
He’s tucked into an alley, tearing up his undershirt to wrap the seeping leg wound he got slipping out of the hutt stronghold and wondering what the kriff he’s going to do.
“Are you okay?”
The voice comes out of NOWHERE and it’s only the fact that his hindbrain registered ‘tiny high voice = child?’ before the rest of his brain caught up, or the kid might have ended up splattered on the opposite wall. But it did. So while he does flinch, and his hand does drop to the blaster on the ground next to him, the kid doesn’t die.
Kid’s a tiny thing, human, with sun paled hair and tanned skin. They eye Jango for a moment, clearly registering the threat, but their eyes drop to the torn flesh and cloth after a moment.
“That looks bad. Momma says it’s bad to leave cuts and stuff untreated. You’ve gotta wash it, even if it uses up some water, and it’s gotta have an-ti-sep-tic or it’ll get all hot and make you sick, or maybe even get all icky and you gotta get your leg chopped off.” The kid rambles bending down to look closer at the injury.
Jango blinks, “I’ll be fine kid.” He finally says, because what else do you say?
The child shakes their head, frowning. “Anakin, not ‘kid’. You need to come with me. Mamma will fix it. You can’t stay out here. There’s a storm coming.”
Jango looks up into the utterly clear sky, “A storm? On Tatooine?”
Anakin giggles a little. “ Saaaand, not waaater. I ‘member seeing a waterstorm a looong time ago, before we came here, but water doesn’t fall like that here. Here it’s sand, and it’ll strip the paint off a hull and flesh off of bones in an hour.” The last is said with an air of repetition, as if it’s something the child has heard enough times to repeat word for word. They reach out a hand and grab at the hand Jango doesn’t have resting on a weapon.
Jango thinks about it for a moment before going with his gut. He lets himself be pulled up by the surprisingly strong little brat. The slave quarter is massive here in Mos Espa, and will probably take a while for the hutts goons to search, given that some of the owners would be a bit irate if the local toughs started tossing the place and possibly damaging valuable property.
And while he’s got plenty of medical gear in his ship, right now the damn thing might as well be in Alderaan. He’s got a bloody leg, broken ribs, and a couple of tiny hand bones busted if he’s not mistaken (he’s not). Any medical help, even in a backwater slave quarter, is better than what he was lookin’ at before the kid poked his nose in.
The kid’s mother looks Jango up and down, this new stay her baby has dragged home for her to fix, and then tells Anakin to fetch her medicines and a cup of water while she guides the injured man to a seat at the table in the central room.
Outside the thick walls of the little home the wind begins to kick up, heralding the storm Anakin spoke of.
“I am Shmi.” The woman tells him as she gives the wound a cursory examination. “I do not know how you came to be here, now, nor do I know the circumstances behind injury, but I will treat it, and you are welcome to stay for the duration of the storm.”
He nods slowly, then bites back a curse when she peels the ripped fabric away from the cut, pulling the solidified blood free and releasing a fresh well of dark blood.
Anakin is back within the next breath carefully balancing a clay cup of liquid on the top of a scuffed and battered rectangular plas box. Shmi accepts both, setting them on the table. The cup is set aside and the box is opened to reveal an od hodgepodge collection of modern medical packages and rough little glass and clay jars.
A moments rummaging and the woman pulls out a packet of little tablets and drops one in the water, making it fizz and froth for a minute. “A water cleanser. There are herbs we use for drinking water, but this is faster and more thorough for cleaning out an injury.” She explains as she pulls out several clean rags from a basket under the table.
He doesn’t bother to stop his virulent cursing when she sets to cleaning with quick, sure movements, first clearing away all the fresh and dried blood and dust around the slash and then actually pouring some of the treated water into the injury where it burns like fire ans it froths and boils all the particulates out.
Then she packs it with salve drawn from one of the archaic clay pots (”Molo root. A better antiseptic than half the modern ones you can buy in the shops near the port.”) and then dusts it with a fine green brown powder (”A mix of many desert herbs. It will help with the pain and minimize the scarring so the leg will move as it did before.”) before finally wrapping it tightly in yet more clean rags pulled from the basket beneath the table.
Throughout this Anakin watches avidly.
Shmi shares their food, still not asking who he is or where he acquired such an injury, and he does not offer an explanation.
After Anakin is in bed and the two adults sit at the table with sweet herb tea, the two speak for a while. Conversation drifting eventually to Shmi’s rather well stocked medical kit and her obvious skill at patching up injured strangers.
“You’re very good at this.” He gestures to his propped up and pleasantly herb numbed leg.
Shmi smiles a little. He can’t help but notice she looks a good ten years younger when she smiles. “I was not always a slave, guest. And I have only learned more since then. Some owners care if their slaves sicken or are crippled with injury. More do not. We are easy enough to replace, after all.”
He shifts uncomfortably, and doesn’t ask any more. Turning the conversation to desert storms instead, and what one might expect from one on this planet.
Shmi allows the change.
The storm lasts three days. In those days Jango learns who the two people who helped him are, and as he slips out before dawn on the fourth day, he leaves a small stack of wupiupi on the table in thanks.
And six months later he returns with a scanner and a list of shut down codes for explosive slave implants. Three people leave the next morning.
(Aaaand the galaxy shifts because Jango has Shmi and Anakin to verbally shake some sense into him about the clones, who have already been created, but will NOT be an army for anyone tvm.
Maybe Little Anakin makes friends with some Jedi and happens to mention them not really seeming like the type of people who’d order an army? and the jedi are like, waitwhut?
And Anakin never fully comes to Palpatine’s attention until he is a full grown Mandalorian raised holy terror of a grey Jedi, so he’s got no foothold in his mind.
He ends up meeting Padme at some point near the end of her political career and she scandalizes her planet by taking off with a dashing force using bounty hunter/adventurer. They end up stealing Obi-wan at some point too. Obi-wan protests, but not really.
“If it meant keeping you safe, I’d melt for you any time.” Phillip smiled as he put his arms around Aurora and kissed her forehead softly, his hands sat on her waist and he pulled her closer to him with a warmer smile.
“Now, my dearest, have I told you how much I love you today?”