A shout rang through the deserted courtyard, followed immediately by its source, a running young man. He skidded to a halt and looked around, but saw nothing other than plants and startled avian life forms. "Owen! Owen, where the hell are you?"

Anakin Skywalker cocked his head to the side, considering for a moment. Then he bolted into the house, aiming for the office. "Owen!"

"Slow down, Skywalker," Owen Lars said, not looking up from his paperwork. "I'm not going anywherre."

Anakin laughed and sat on the desk, knocking papers awry. "That's where you're wrong, my friend."

Owen leaned back from his scrambled paperwork and rubbed his tired eyes before he favored his friend with a sour look. "Why does it not surprise me that you just said that?"

"Because I got my ship, that's why!" Anakin grinned. "And you're coming with me."

"Come on, Anakin, you know I can't—" Owen started, only to be cut off by his friend.

"You promised, remember?" Anakin reached out and rumpled Owen's dark hair. "Come on, I know there's a brain in there, you remember everything else under the sun! No sense trying to pretend you've forgotten something so important."

"Okay, you've got me there," Owen sighed heavily. "I remember. But why now? Why couldn't you wait until it was winter, for Force's sake?"

"Because," Anakin said, hopping off the desk with an irrepressible grin, "the opportunity presented itself now, not in winter. So are you coming?"

Owen scraped the papers, comprising his quarterly Imperial reports, into a pile and looked at them for a moment, ignoring the impatiently pacing Skywalker. He'd known this day was coming, known it for a very long time, but definitely hadn't expected it today. "You willing to wait until tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow? Why?"

"I'd like to set things in order here, if you don't mind."

"Oh, come on, Owen! Don't give me that look." Anakin laughed. "I was only kidding. Of course I'm willing to wait. But you're not backing out of this trip, you hear me?"

"Wouldn't dream of it," Owen lied.

"Ha! If you didn't dream of backing out of travelling, you wouldn't be you. But that's okay."

"Why, Anakin?" Owen asked suddenly, looking at his friend with a combination of affection and bewilderment. "Why is it okay?"

Anakin looked back at him with one of his rare serious expressions. "You know. Because you're my friend. Anything you do is okay, remember?"

Owen shook his head slowly. "Sometimes I wonder why you put up with me. We're so different... you're all energy and fire, ready to take on the universe, and, well, I'm not."

"You keep me sane," Anakin said, then lost his seriousness in the flash of his quicksilver grin. "But right now, I bet you have a ton of boring stuff to do, don't you?"

"Yeah, you would think so. Fortunately, it won't take much to put the farm in order, even with all this new Imperial paperwork poodoo. Why they want to have quarterly reports on the state of my vegetables, I'll never know."

"Something's wrong with the system," Anakin shrugged. "First thing tomorrow, then?"

"You're on." Owen smiled. Somehow Anakin never had to try very hard to convince him, even when it was something against his better judgment.

Anakin left, off like a shot. Owen knew he'd be up all night, fiddling with his new ship, making sure everything was absolutely perfect. Anakin had planned for this day for most of his life. Owen finished up his paperwork and put in a call to his brother, leaving a message that he was going offworld for an unknown amount of time. They'd discussed it before, agreed that Sheldon would watch over the farm until Owen returned. Somehow Owen hadn't thought it would be so soon, though...

He shut down all the peripheral power, leaving only the house on. Then he went outside for a walk through the warm moist evening. The gardens around the house, his mother's legacy, filled the air with the scents of opening night blossoms and herbs. He loved this place. His roots were here. His family had owned this farm for three generations. He'd taken over just last year, in time for the harvest, when his mother's health required a move into the city, to be near medical care. This would have been his second harvest... but Sheldon could handle it. Would be glad to, in fact. While Owen... Owen would be off galivanting across the galaxy with his best friend.

Owen smiled suddenly, through the premature homesickness. One thing certain, Anakin would make sure the trip was interesting.

* * * * * * * *

Owen was packed and waiting in the courtyard by the time Anakin staggered in. Owen rose, grinning. "Still not much of a morning person, I see," he laughed. He loved mornings.

"Never have been, never will be," Anakin grunted. "You coming? Port authorty's on me already."

"I believe it." Owen slung his duffel over his shoulder. "Lead on, friend."

"Must you be so damn cheerful? Think I liked you better when you were all sad last night."

"You would," Owen chuckled. "So where's this ship of yours? I'm expecting her to be damn amazing, from the way you were acting last night."

"Huh. Wait until midday. Then I'll be awake enough to give you the tour."

Anakin's runabout was parked outside the farmhouse. Owen tossed his bag in and climbed aboard, glad Anakin had developed the dubious skill of flying safely while more than half asleep. His friend pulled himself into the pilot's seat and took off without a word.

The spaceport was not far away. Owen spent the ride looking out the window, watching the lands pass by that he'd known for all his twenty years. He was a little scared still, but now that he'd actually gotten started on this trip, he was getting excited. After all, they'd only been planning to travel together since they were both little boys... Anakin had never been interested in farming, always looking towards the stars, always saving and scrounging money for the day when he could finally buy his own starship.

"There she is," Anakin said, breaking the silence, when they reached the spaceport. "Third one on the left, the small freighter."

"Not bad," Owen said, straining for a clear look at the ship. Not overly large, but she was neat and trim. She looked fast. "And she's all yours?"

"Paid in full. Got the title transfer and name change registered yesterday."

"So what's the new name?"

"Need you ask?" A quick grin flashed through Anakin's morning grumpiness.

"Fortune's Flyer!" the two said together, then Owen laughed.

"I can hardly believe you named her that," he said, shaking his head. "Hope she'll have a better run than her namesake."

"No doubt about that, my friend. I think a starship, even a small freighter, can outfly fate a bit better than an old tree branch."

"But oh, the adventures we had, before that blasted storm knocked our faithful Flyer flat." Owen chuckled. Then Anakin maneuvered the runabout into the storage area and the two friends hiked across the spaceport, back to the Flyer.

"It's all real now," Anakin said, as the ship powered up. Owen gave him a thumbs-up when the clearance came over the radio. "Here we go!"

With a steady hum from well-tuned engines, the Fortune's Flyer rose into the air and left the planet Terillon behind.


AS&J BSG Farscape Jeremiah Jurassic Park Litslash Potpourri SAJV Star Wars