Title: Time Well Spent

Author: Smenzer

Email: None

Rating: PG

Archive: Yes, please. If you want to put this on a web page please let me know.

Teaser: Luke buys a time machine and asks Vader for help in assembling it.

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to George Lucas and Fox. This is just for fun.

"Father," Luke called as he approached Lord Darth Vader. A few months ago he would have been apprehensive about approaching the famous Sith Lord but he was slowly getting to know the man hidden inside the black armor. The young Jedi gazed up at the expressionless black mask, a faint smile on his face. They were aboard Executor and Luke knew that Vader's duty shift was just about over. With the war between the Empire and Alliance over there was no pressing need for the older man to stay on the bridge. "Will you help me with something?"

"Of course, Luke. What is it?" Vader followed his son into the turbolift and gazed down at him. It was still a miracle to Vader that he had a son after all these years and that they were now together. He had been sure that when Padme had died his life had ended as well. But then it had all changed and the best part of all was that Luke wanted to be a part of his life. It was a blessing! "You know I'm happy to spend every free moment with you."

Luke clasped his hands in front of himself and grinned up at the Sith Lord. "I bought a time machine!"

Loud breathing echoed in the small moving chamber.

Finally Vader spoke, his mechanical voice loud and disbelieving. "You bought a WHAT?"

"A time machine!" Luke exclaimed happily.

"Luke…" Vader sighed, sensing the innocent Farmboy had once again gotten scammed by some unscrupulous person. Luke was too trusting for his own good. "Where did you get this … time machine?"

"There was a little coupon in the back of this magazine." Luke explained, excitement clear in his blue eyes. "And best of all it only cost 19.95 credits! Isn't that great? But it needs some assembly and I thought you'd like to help me."

"Of course I'll help you, Son." Vader replied as the doors hissed open.

/And I'll track down that person and Force-choke them, too./

Vader stepped out of the turbolift and headed down the long shiny white corridor. He had given Luke rooms next to his own so they could spend time together after all the long years apart. His black cape flared out behind him as he walked, his footfalls loud and distinct. They reached the younger man's room and went inside.

"See? Here it is!" Luke pointed at a large box that rested on the floor, the top pried open. He reached inside and pulled out a thick sheet of instructions and quickly passed them to his Father. "I'm good at some mechanics but I'm afraid that gibberish is way beyond me! But I think you told me once that you fixed things for a living, didn't you?"

"Yes."

Luke gazed at Vader's black breath mask expectantly, anticipation in his eyes.

"I used to fix things for Watto back when I was a slave…" Vader informed his son, his mind far away from Executor and the boy in front of him. He could almost feel the hot burning of Tatooine's double suns and the sharp sting of flying sand. Watto's wings would buzz in the air like some great insect and the air would be filled with exotic smells of every type, not like it was on the ship. No, Executor was a sterile environment and was practically free of scents, except for perhaps engineering with the fuel fumes and lubricants…

Vader shook his helmeted head. That was the past and was dead forever. As much as he wanted to he could never see Padme or Shmi again. Snapping out of his reverie, he focused his gaze on his son. "Let's get the parts out of the box."

Happily Luke set to work doing what Vader had requested. In a short time a large clear space was made ready in the center of Luke's room and all the parts were laid out. There were large pieces of metal, curved in shape. There were bits of electronics and control panels, chairs and what appeared to be a door. Clear plastic bags held screws, bolts and other tiny pieces. "Do you think you can follow the instructions?"

Vader nodded. "Luke, surely you don't expect this contraption to actually work, do you?"

The young Jedi was silent for a long time as he stared down at the floor. When he lifted his eyes to his father they were shiny with unshed tears. "I … I just wish I had known Mother and Grandmother, that's all."

Heaviness settled on Vader's heart upon hearing his son's words and he wished he knew what to say to the boy. And although he had had possessed enough power to end the war he had no ability to grant Luke's wish. The dead were dead and out of his reach no matter how much he wanted the opposite to be true. Even an all-powerful Sith Lord couldn't do everything. Blinking tears out of his eyes, he swallowed the lump in his throat. Stepping forward, he placed his black-gloved hand on Luke's shoulder. "Son, I wish you could have known your Mother and Grandmother. I loved them both very dearly and wish with all my heart they could be here with us today. If I had done things differently we would have raised you on Naboo as your Mother had desired, but things went wrong. I know they both would have loved you and your sister with all their heart."

Luke sniffed and rubbed at his wet eyes. He really hadn't expected it to work. After all, he wasn't that much of a Farmboy. But he had hoped it would get Vader to open up and talk more freely about his past. And although Vader was the commander of the entire Imperial Fleet he still loved to tinker with his own specially built Tie Fighter like a common mechanic. They both shared a love for fixing things but the Sith Lord was fat better at it than he was. Still, the older man was as closed mouthed about his past as the seals around his mask and Luke had thought up this hair-brained scheme. But maybe it hadn't been such a good idea… "I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry for." Vader spread open the assembly instructions and quickly found the first two parts. "Now let us build this time machine you have bought…"

Time passed and the two worked well together. Two hours later they gazed upon the finished project: a shiny silver orb with bright red rings circling its surface. It had a door that folded out into a ramp and two comfortable chairs inside. The interior was cramped and just big enough for two people. Blinking control panels and mysterious switches took up most of the room.

Finally Luke spoke up and broke the silence. "Shall we try it out?"

Vader marched up the ramp and settled into one of the chairs and soon Luke joined him. The contraption was nothing more than a fancy child's toy really; a type of playhouse for make-believe. It still astonished him the type of toys some children possessed while his childhood had been spent fixing broken items and cleaning shelves in Watto's junk shop. With a flick of a switch the door hissed closed and the interior overhead light came on.

"So," Luke's voice hitched uncertainly as he glanced at the control panel in front of them. "What do we do now?"

The Sith Lord stabbed at a button with a finger and emotion trembled inside him. He closed his eyes and an image of his mother swam before his closed lids. She smiled happily at him and he imagined he once again felt her warm arms wrap around him. "Let me tell you about your grandmother. Her name was Shmi and Watto won her in a bet from Gardalla the Hutt. We lived in the slave quarters of Mos Espa. She became a slave while she and your great grandparents had been traveling in the Outer Rim and had been captured by pirates…"

A sad smile crossed Luke's face. Perhaps the time machine worked after all…

The End

AN: Not sure that's how you spell the Hutt's name. I couldn't find it in my SW Episode I Visual Dictionary…