Disclaimer: Not mine, I make no profit. All hail George Lucas.

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Prologue

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"Hey Luke, you ever wonder..."

"What?"

"What if your dad hadn't gone Vader?"

Luke Skywalker took a deep breath and turned to face Han Solo who was lounging on Millennium Falcon's 'social' area (which was much nicer now that Leia spent so much time on board the ship). He deduced his friend was merely bored, or maybe a little introspective in the face of his planned official bonding to Leia – at least his voice betrayed no wish to mock his long-time companion.

"Yes," he replied, in the end.

"How your childhood would have been like, growing up with Leia..."

"What the galaxy would have been like had the Emperor not been allowed to seize power. Yes, all this."

"Isn't that forbidden for you Jedi? All those 'what ifs'?" now the familiar grin was back.

"Not really... The Force can help you see infinite different futures but also the pasts that could have been."

"So, have you taken a peek?"

"No." Pause. "Well, not really," he amended.

"Not really?"

"I... found a crystal, at Coruscant, that enhances visions. It nearly forced a waking dream on me. I admit, I was almost afraid to let it go on."

"I'd be curious."

"You are," Luke grinned, and got up to reply to R2's summons.

"Come on, Han, we're nearly home."

Home. Coruscant didn't really feel like home to either man but it was still the centre of the new forming Alliance. Leia was there, helping to build the new governing body. She glowed in the face of the political challenge.

Luke was there to make sense of the remains of the old Jedi Temple. Han was... Han was bored, but Leia was there – they hadn't gotten around to formalising their union but shared quarters nonetheless. Luke was there, and his friendship was almost as much of a reason for the ex-smuggler to settle down.

He escorted Leia to thousands of missions (hence the present presentability of Falcon) and ran these missions with Luke. Quietly, he preferred the latter. Not that there was much danger, these days, they mostly gathered data or did PR when they couldn't wriggle their way out of it, but at least it wasn't as mind-numbingly boring as the endless diplomatic tangles.

Leia was on the landing pad to meet them with a hug and a kiss but an absent air hung around her and she soon excused herself to go attend a meeting or another, muttering something to Han about not waiting up.

With barely a glance at her retreating back Han turned to look at Luke. He was reluctant to let the younger man go – to his evening meditation or whatever – just yet. He didn't really want to examine his motives too closely when he asked Luke about the crystal.

It elicited a sigh from the young Jedi. "Fine," he smiled. "But I'm not sure I can share a vision with you."

He paused, then stared at Han in deep concentration. After a while the older man felt... something. He frowned and rubbed his forehead, and Luke's eyebrows shot up.

This time he definitely 'heard' something inside his head. 'Han?'

"Huh?" 'Luke.'

"Oh my," was all Luke got out. "Either you have hidden Force abilities, or we have grown close enough over the years for me to get through."

"Damn, that feels weird. Maybe you're just strong enough to get through. It's... weird. Not quite words... Hey! You can't read my thoughts, can you?"

Luke smiled at his worry, "Not unless you broadcast them," he teased, then asked, "have you ever experienced anything like this with Leia? She's too busy to practice, but she is strong in the Force, and your closeness..."

"No," Han admitted, not wanting to contemplate why he should be able to touch Luke's mind instead of hers.

While talking, they had reached the Temple, and Luke guided Han through the empty corridors into the cellars.

The crystal was a bit anticlimactic to Han. It was no bigger than his fist, unpolished, but emitting a dull gloom. Luke dropped on his knees in front of the pedestal on which it stood, and Han followed suit hesitantly.

For a while the blonde just sat there eyes closed, then opened them to meet Han's gaze.

"I'm not sure I can summon up a right vision, but let's give it a shot!" his grin was one the younger Luke used to flash around but which this older version used only rarely, and Han was insanely pleased to have the farm boy back – even for a moment.

"Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and try to empty your mind."

A witty remark on his tongue, Han decided to swallow it, and did as he was told.

He heard a sharp intake of breath and then he was –

on Tatooine.

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To Be Continued in Chapter 1: It Begins, as Always, in Mos Eisley