Author's Note: I recently saw Top Gun for the first time. Not a masterpiece of a movie by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not really picky about things. And most things can be compensated by hot guys and cool airplanes. The whole thing with Goose was so sad, I had to write something. Hope people enjoy!

August, 2000:

Nellis Airforce base was hot pretty much year round, but in August it was at it's worse.

The sun beating down on the Nevada desert, combined with the constant presence of aircraft exhaust clouding around the base made the summer seasons unbearable. It was a kind of heat that you could never get used to.

It was near impossible to sit still, so any free time a pilot got was spent in search of a fan. Sam had found a working one inside a bar, which would be deserted until evening, and had laid down roots there. He stared off into space, sitting perfectly still. He was very good at doing nothing; almost as good as he was at flying.

He didn't hear the footsteps until there was a shadow looming over him, a female voice clearing her throat. He looked up at her to see she had black hair, pulled into a low pony tail, and dark eyes.

"Are you the one they call 'Duck'?" She asked.

"That's my call sign." He sighed resignedly, realizing his relaxation time was no doubt coming to an end.

Instead of giving instructions or handing down orders, she dug around behind the bar for a moment, finding a bottle of whiskey and pouring herself a glass.

"You want one?" She offered.

"Sure." She handed him a cup, which he took.

She was wearing a flight suit, like him, and a pair of sunglasses rested on top of her head. She was tall, but stocky in build. She had familiar features, but he was sure he hadn't met her before.

"Got yourself a nice spot here." She commented. "Hiding from someone?"

Like strange woman who steal booze? Sam thought, but bit his tongue. "Nope, just unwinding."

He ran a hand through his dirty blonde hair, still sticky with sweat. He'd seen pictures of himself as a much younger boy, when his hair had been pure blonde. But like his dad, by the time he was in his late teens, his hair had darkened to a brownish color.

They sat in silence for a while. Sam didn't mind this—he was perfectly content to ignore the presence of others. He was a man of few words.

"Why are you so quiet?" She asked, after a while of sipping her drink wordlessly.

He looked at her like she was crazy. "Because I don't know who you are, maybe?"

She held out a hand. "I'm Dare."

He shook her smaller hand. "Duck, as you already know."

"You have a weird call sign."

"Yours is weird, too."

"Why'd you chose Duck?"

"Cause 'Goose' was already taken."

"Who wanted Goose?"

"My dad."

"Oh," She said. "I guess that would be confusing. Two men in the same family, one name."

"Doesn't matter." Sam dismissed. "He died a while ago." It'd still be confusing, though, had been his initial rational. So he'd thought of something similar, to show respect.

She didn't seem surprised by this. He wondered why he'd blurted that out to a stranger. It wasn't something he was keen on discussing.

He changed the subject as best he could. "How'd you chose your call sign?"

She smiled ruefully. "My dad, too." She didn't elaborate, he didn't prod.

Two fathers up in the air, though Sam's had been Navy, not Airforce like himself. He wondered ideally which one Dare's was in.

"How'd your dad die?" She asked, rather bluntly, Sam thought.

"Training in Top Gun. Had to eject, but canopy malfunctioned and got stuck. He broke his neck on impact."

"Jesus." She was sympathetic, but again, didn't seem surprised.

"I was five, at the time." He said, emotionless. "How's your dad?"

"Retired, with my mom. Both had ties to the military."

"That's good."

"Yeah, I suppose it is." A half smile graced her lips. "They come down and visit me here sometimes."

Sam nodded, glancing at her face again. The familiarity there was starting to bug him. He could swear he'd seen that nose, those eyes, somewhere before. Not in a long time, but definitely before.

What the fuck? He thought, thoroughly puzzled.

He steered away from thinking about his father, or Dare, or anything, and fixed his eyes on the wall.

"Well, I better be off." She said after a while. "Nice meeting you."

"Likewise." He looked her in the eyes. "If you don't mind me asking, what's your real name?"

She'd been heading toward the door, but stopped, a slow smile spreading across her face. "Anita." She replied. "Anita Mitchell."

"Sam." He introduced himself.

"I know." She said, standing on the threshold, silhouetted by afternoon light. "I did seek you out, after all. We should fly together some time."

She padded away soundlessly, without another word.

Mitchell, Sam thought. Yes, I believe I know that name. A man called Maverick, a long time ago...

Seeing as there were no airplanes to fly at that moment, Sam returned to his second best skill. The blank wall had never had so much attention placed on it as it did that afternoon, sa Sam thought over the encounter.

"Great balls of fire." He murmured, smiling to himself.